Monday, March 28, 2011

Alaska Cruise Primer

A cruise to Alaska is a voyage into America’s pristine wilderness!  From the icy blue glaciers and white snow-capped mountains, to the rich green forests just beyond the shore line, spectacular scenery will envelop you throughout the journey.  The deep fjords and densely wooded islands you cruise by are home to abundant wildlife including bald eagles, brown bears, dolphins, sea lions and whales.

 Alaska’s rich culture is diverse and has both Native American and Russian influences. Tlingit and Tsimshian Indian’s history is reflected in the towering intricately carved totem poles that dot Southeast Alaska. In addition, Russian settlers left a legacy of onion-domed churches, while village shops still sell traditional nesting dolls, wood carved St. Nicholas statues and gleaming lacquer boxes.

 There was once a time when the only people who cruised to Alaska were retirees and the sight of children on these ships was an anomaly. That is so far from present-day reality!  Today, an Alaskan cruise is a great family vacation, a romantic honeymoon destination, or an adventure trip for the courageous.  Let’s take a close look at what you need to know when planning your trip.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Royal Caribbean Updates

Itinerary Updates for 2012:  Royal Caribbean is shaking things up a bit with the 2012 sailings from the Northeast.  Now don’t get too excited…I’m not talking about a new ship coming into the area (I know, I know, that’s what we’re all really waiting for)!  But this is good too!

 Enchantment of the Seas, which home ports in Baltimore year round, currently sails a 5-night Bermuda / 9-night Eastern Caribbean schedule in the spring and summer.  During that same time of year in 2012 the rotation will be a 6-night Bermuda / 8-night Bermuda & Northeast itinerary.  What’s nice about the new Bermuda itinerary is that the ship is docked for three days in Kings Wharf, Bermuda.  I’ve always felt that two days on the island cuts things a bit short, despite how much I enjoy my sea days.  The new 8-night cruise will still have an overnight in Bermuda, but will also make stops in Boston and Newport.  Come the fall of 2012, the itinerary of the 8-night changes to a Canada & New England route.  Ports of call include Portland, Bar Harbor, St. John and Halifax.

 Explorer of the Seas, which leaves from Cape Liberty, New Jersey year round, will still alternate between a 5-night Bermuda / 9-night Bermuda & Caribbean in the spring and summer.  In the fall that changes to a 7-night Bermuda itinerary that includes three days on the lovely island.

Beverage Package Modifications:  Some new options have been announced for those guests that like the all inclusive beverage experience. There is the …
  •  Beer Package:  All beer brands plus 25% discount on cocktails and wine. Cost is $29 per guest /day.
  •  Classic Package:  Included in this package are all beer brands, as well as cocktails in the house and call brand categories. A 25% discount is offered on all premium and specialty brand liquors, as well as all wines.  Cost is $39 per guest /day.
  •  Premium Package: The Premium-brand liquors are included in this package, as well as champagne cocktails. All beer brands, and wines by the glass up to $10 are included as well. A 25% discount is offered on specialty liquor brands, as well as wines by the bottle and glasses of wine price over $10.  Cost is $49 per guest /day.
 These packages will only be available on three ships; ships which cater to non-American cruisers; Independence of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, and Legend of the Seas.  I suppose if these packages prove to be successful Royal Caribbean may consider rolling it out to other ships."

Friday, March 11, 2011

Guess Who's Coming To New York

I have exciting news for all you cruisers that like to sail out of the Northeast!  Beginning in October 2012 the Norwegian Pearl will call New York City her home!  The Pearl will join her sister, the Norwegian Gem, and together they will take Manhattan by storm!

 Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO, Kevin Sheehan, said, “With the arrival of the Norwegian Pearl in New York, we will have two of our newer and larger Freestyle Cruising ships sailing from this very popular homeport.  New Yorkers love Freestyle Cruising because it suits their needs.”

 The Pearl will make her New York debut October 14, 2012 sailing the popular seven-night Florida and Bahamas itinerary.  A stop at Port Canaveral puts the theme parks of Orlando practically at your doorstep!  Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World!  What family wouldn’t get excited over the choices that are available!

 Then it’s on to rest and relaxation in the beautiful Bahamas.  There are many beautiful beaches to lounge on and an abundance of water sports to enjoy. Nassau, home the famous Straw Market, is a shopper’s Nirvana.  Here you can find a plethora of faux designer handbags, shot glasses, t-shirts, beaded jewelry, and all kinds of kitschy tourist souvenirs. Look a bit harder and you can find wonderful baskets, bags and dolls made from dried palm and sisal plant leaves.

 The highlight of this cruise is the day the Pearl spends at Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island.  Renovations will be complete well before the Pearl’s first visit.  The island is a true oasis.  White sand, azure waters, and everything you might need to enjoy a day here.  A brand new dining pavilion serves a barbecue lunch so there’s no need to head back to the ship for lunch.  Hammocks, loungers, water sports, great snorkeling…you may never want to leave!

 To find out more information about the Norwegian Pearl’s New York sailings visit the Direct Line Cruises website or call our office (1-800-352-8088) to speak with a cruise consultant."