Monday, May 23, 2016

Cruising to Cuba

Cuba may only be 90 miles from Florida but up until recently it was as difficult for an American to visit there, as it would be to visit the moon!  The embargo placed on Cuba by the United States in 1962 actually made it illegal for Americans to visit the island; no
American tourist should be contributing to Cuba’s economy!  Fast forward to today. Although the embargo has not yet been totally lifted, it has been modified, allowing restricted visitation by American citizens.

CarnivalCruise Line has already commenced sailings to Cuba aboard its new Fathom brand focusing on “voluntourism”. And Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean, recently indicated that the cruise line could move into the Cuban market as early as late July. I find this all very exciting and would like to book myself on a cruise to Cuba sooner, rather than later.  Here’s why:

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Culinary Arts Centers Aboard Holland America Ships

I am an avid cruiser and enjoy trying new foods when I'm onboard! At home I love watching the Food Channel and probably spend way too many hours “pinning” recipes and tearing out pages from gourmet magazine (so it’s not from lack of effort or interest that I’m a terrible cook!). Now I know there are  many cruisers out there that also share an enthusiasm for cooking, so I wanted to be sure that you all know about the Culinary Arts Center available on all Holland America ships.

The Culinary Arts Centers, presented by Food & Wine magazine, can best be described as a set resembling the sophisticated kitchens of your favorite chefs on television cooking programs. The venues feature a rotating schedule of activities daily including cooking shows, wine tastings, mixology demonstrations, hands-on themed cooking classes for both adults and kids, and regionally inspired workshops.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Compelling Reasons For Considering Bermuda

Have you made your cruise vacation plans for this spring or summer? Still undecided as to where to go? There are some pretty compelling reasons for considering Bermuda!

The Zika Virus is still making the news and, understandably, there may be concerns about traveling to areas where the virus has been transmitted. However, the Aedes mosquito, which is the most common species to transmit the virus, is not found in Bermuda, so cruisers to the island do not need to be concerned about Zika in Bermuda.

Monday, May 02, 2016

"Overnight Adventures" by Azamara Club Cruises

I have traveled to Europe many times, sometimes cruising and sometimes as a land-based trip. Although each mode has advantages and disadvantages over the other, I must say, it’s a common misconception that travelers cannot immerse themselves fully in a destination if they return to a cruise ship every night! That argument is really no longer valid now that cruise lines like Azamara Club Cruises are so very focused on destination immersion.  

Azamara provides guests with longer stays in port, more overnights and night touring options. In addition, the cruise line has expanded the possibilities of immersion even further with their new “Overnight Adventures”! Mid-voyage cruisers actually leave the ship to spend two or three days visiting cities and places that require extra time to truly be appreciated.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Royal Caribbean’s Voom Internet Plans

I think it’s naïve to think that any person, regardless of age, would willingly “live off the grid”, “disconnect”, “go offline”, or whatever you want to call living without an internet connection - even if it’s only for a week cruise vacation! Thank goodness the cruise lines realize this and are working hard to ensure guests as well as staff can connect quickly and affordably when at sea.

Voom is Royal Caribbean's high speed internet service that provides guests with the kind of high-speed connections they are used to on land. I bought a Voom package on a recent Royal Caribbean cruise and was very pleased with the speed, but I was only using it for checking Email and I-messaging.

Royal Caribbean has now announced it will offer two types of service; Voom Surf Voyage which provides internet service for basic web browsing, email and social media and Voom Surf & Stream that will also support video streaming (full support for all internet activities).

Monday, April 18, 2016

Rhapsody of the Seas Sails into Cape Liberty in 2017

A new Royal Caribbean ship will be sailing from Cape Liberty, New Jersey in 2017…well, not “new” new ship, but new in the sense that it will be her first time sailing out of this northeast port.  The 1,998-passenger Rhapsody of the Seas will be joining Anthem of the Seas, marking the first time that two Royal Caribbean ships will be sailing from Cape Liberty.

Rhapsody of the Seas is a Vision class ship that was built in 1997, but don’t let her age deter you from trying her out! In 2012 she went through a complete bow to stern renovation with additional refurbishment planned before she arrives in Bayonne, New Jersey.

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Glaciers of Southeast Alaska

If you have been looking into an Alaska cruise you may have noticed that each one includes a visit to a tidewater glacier (a tidewater glacier flows far enough to reach out into the ocean), and quite frankly, that’s one of the highlights of an Alaska cruise! Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, or Tracy Arm…is one better than another? Here’s what you need to know.

Glacier Bay is a protected national park spread across 3.2 million acres of southeast Alaska, It is
home to more than 50 named glaciers, countless seabirds, otters and humpback whales. It is quite common to see seals sunbathing on ice chunks. Cruise ships spend most of a day in Glacier Bay, where passengers will visit several tidewater glaciers and explore inlets carved by the ice. Most ships head up the West Arm, towards the Margerie Glacier, an impressive glacier, which is advancing 12 to 14 feet a day and calves frequently.