Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cruising the Mediterranean and the Port of Crete, Greece

Crete has a couple of different ports where cruise ships dock. The Navigator called on Chania, but it would be a short day as our all aboard was at 2:30 pm. While the beach was high on out to do list, we woke to cloudy and cool weather. What's a girl to do faced with such an abrupt change in plans? Shop of course! There was a city bus that ran shuttles into town, stopping in front of the the Municipal Market. It runs every 15 minutes at a cost of 3 euro round trip.

The Municipal Market is the local market with stalls selling cheese, freshly baked bread, spices, olive oil soaps, etc. I was sorry I ate such a large breakfast on the ship because the baking breads and pastries smelled so good.

Exiting out the back of the market and heading a block west is Skridloff, ""leather street"" . It's actually more than one street...a whole area of great little shops! I saw some of the best prices on leather I had seen and a corner shop in particular had very unique bags. I couldn't decide between two so purchased both along with a matching wallet. There weren't many merchants willing to bargain, but prices were good. Jewelry, glass, ceramics, leathers etc. Lots of tavernas and cafes to stop for a snack or lunch. If you take Halidon Street north you come to a lovely waterfront area. This is where we stopped for a snack of coffee and baklava and it was so good!

If you are shopped out or want to see the historical sites of the town head for the waterfront. The Venetian Dockyards that have been there since the mid 1200s and it's here that great merchant ships came for repair. Strolling to the other end of the waterfront is the Firka Fortress and Naval Museum, and the Byzantine Museum. You can walk through everything in a couple of hours.

Tip: If you are traveling with children there is a one hour glass bottom boat ride for 10 euro pp that leaves from the waterfront and also horse drawn carriage rides.

To get to the beach just follow the promenade along the waterfront. I heard it was ok, but there's a really beautiful beach, Chrisi Akti, about 10 minutes away by cab.

So that's it! I'm writing this last installment as I sit in the Rome airport waiting for our flight. What a trip! An amazing ship, a wonderful and eclectic mix of ports and fun-loving girlfriends to travel with. I can't wait to do it again!

Thanks for coming with us!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cruising the Mediterranean and the Port of Kusadasi, Turkey

Kusadasi was the port I was most looking forward to, mostly because I wanted to see the ancient city of Ephesus and some of the surrounding sites. I have to say, it was one of the most magnificent places I have ever visited. The ship offered many different excursions to Ephesus, with minimal walking, others longer, and yet others combining Ephesus with other sites including lunch.

Once again my friends and I contracted with a private driver and guide to show us as much as we could possibly see in 7 hours! We started with a trip to the Virgin Mary's is believed that this is the house where she spent her final years. I like many found being there to be an emotional and moving experience.

Tip: If this site has religious significance for you, bring a small bottle from home so you may take some Holy Water from one or all of the three fountains. One was for health, one for wealth and one for fertility. There is also a prayer wall where visitors write a prayer on a white piece of paper and tie it to the wall, so remember paper or a tissue and a pen.

Then it was on to Ephesus which again has religious significance to Christians because St. John the Evangelist came here with the Virgin Mary in his care. It is said that this is where he wrote his gospel. For others, the city's significance is that it was the trade center of the ancient world and today, the best preserved ancient city. We saw the Library of Celsus, which was one of the 3 great libraries of ancient time, the Temple of Hadrian, Roman Baths, the Fountain of Trajan, the theater, and the Terrace Houses. These houses are well preserved and provide a vision of the lifestyle of the Ephesian elite. There are still archeologists working on site. If you have been to Pompeii and thought it incredible, you will want to see Ephesus, which by the way, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cruising the Mediterranean and the Port of Athens

Athens....the birthplace of democracy and home to some of the wisest men of ancient times. A city watched over by the ancient gods, Athena, Zeus, Poseidon to name a few, and where their memory is preserved. It is no wonder that in modern day people from all over the world look forward to visiting this city!

You can find some of the most famous archaeological monuments in all of Europe within the city of Athens. We wanted to see as much as possible in our 8 hours in port so we pre-arranged for a taxi for the day. Cabs are lined up where the ship docks in Piraeus (or you can take the subway to the city center, Syntagma Square). You can see so much more this way as opposed to a big bus tour. By 8am we were off the ship and on our way to to the Acropolis. It gets hot and so very crowded here that it's a wise move to make it your first stop. For 12 euro your ticket includes the Acropolis as well as several other sites, so don't throw it out if you have a day of touring planned. At the base of the site there are licensed guides for hire that can give you a brief history of Athens, the mythology, and what you are seeing. The sites at the Acropolis include the Propylaea, the Erectheion, the Temple of Athena Nike, and of course, the Parthenon. Using the guide, we went through the area in an hour.

Tip: Negotiate your rate and ask other people looking for a guide to join you and split the cost. We joined up with a family we met there that brought the cost down to
15 euro per person.

The Acropolis museum is small but so worth a visit. Lots of important pieces from the Acropolis were moved here to protect them. There are also archeologists on site to chat with and watch them work.

We then made a quick picture stop at the Kalimarmaro Stadium, home of the first modern day olympics, before heading to both the Greek and Roman agora. Then it was time for lunch.

Hint: Don't eat in the tourist areas. Ask someone who lives there to recommend their favorite spot.
We wanted an authentic Greek lunch and our driver took us away from the tourist area to a little taverna. We ordered 5 different dishes to share...I can't spell or pronounce their names, but it was a delicious lunch.

Timing was perfect because we were right on time for the changing of the guard at the president's palace. That whole ceremony takes about 20 minutes but is really interesting to see. If you don't have the time at least pass by for a picture of the guard. The uniform they where is quite unique.

The Plaka is where all the shopping is. Leather sandals, olive oil products, jewelry etc. Amongst a bunch of typical, cheesey souvenir shops are a few really nice places. There are also places to eat.

There is lots of traffic in Athens so leave yourself plenty of time to get back to the ship. You don't want to swim to the next port!

Tomorrow: Ephesus

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cruising the Mediterranean, At Sea

"I'm always pleased with the entertainment and activities aboard a Royal Caribbean ship and this cruise is no exception.

The ice show is called Ice Dancin' and is spectacular! Gosh, I feel like I'm always saying that about the ice show but it's true! The music was really good and the skating...well, if you've ever seen one of these shows you know what I'm talking about when I say UNBELIEVABLE! The skating surface isn't that large, yet they're twirling, jumping, spinning, throwing....! The guest performer was Alexey Sirota from Russia and he rolled around on something called a German Wheel. It was pretty cool to watch. They did a group of songs to a ""hockey theme"" that was a lot of fun. Costumes were great. I always enjoy the ice show!

I love the 70's Disco Inferno party on the Promenade. I guess you can say they were my ""glory days"" so I never miss it. It always gets really crowded especially when it seems like the entire ship is doing YMCA together !

""Now & Forever"" was the show starring the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. I always like these Broadway revues best when I know the song. In this one the do an Abba medley so I was loving it! Strong leading man vocals was a plus too. All in all it was a good choice of show tunes.
We had dinner at Chops Grille. Have you tried it?

Oh my gosh, it is so good! The shrimp cocktail has humongous shrimp...they must be genetically engineered that way! For dinner I ordered shrimp again! So good! There were 5 of us at dinner so they put mashed potato, asparagus, green beans, onion rings, oven roasted potatoes, and mushrooms on the table to share. And although I usually have the Mississippi Mud cake for dessert, this time I spotted something velvet cake!

If you never tried Chops before, I really recommend it. It doesn't have to be for a special occasion. Just go!

Tomorrow : Athens

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cruising the Mediterranean and the port of Messina, Italy

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean. When looking at a map of Italy, it is located off the toe of the Italian ""boot"". The Navigator docked at the port of Messina on the island of Sicily. There are many options as to what you can do in port, some at no additional cost.

Since the ship docks right in town you can walk off and explore Messina. The cathedral is probably the main attraction with it's astronomical clock in the bell tower. Get there at 11:55 to see it do it's thing. Figures and evangelical scenes start moving around and it's quite a spectacle! Nearby is an original Crusader's church, Annunziata dei Catalani Church built in the 12th century. Or you can just wander the neighborhoods and markets.

An excursion to Mt. Etna, Europe's largest volcano is an interesting tour. I chatted with folks that picked this excursion and they said it was quite chilly up there, so if you ever choose to go, dress appropriately. They make wines in that's said volcanic soil is good for the grapes and some tours include a stop at the winery.

We chose to visit the the town of Taormina. You can get there by cab, train, shore excursion or in our case, we pre arranged for a private driver that also booked us a boat ride around the lake for the afternoon. Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and the boat was cancelled. In it's place we went to other hill towns.

Taormina is a quaint walled city that sits high on a cliff. The two gates still remain as does a Greco-Roman theater built in the 2nd century. It is still used today and I bet it would be really something to see a Greek tragedy production on the site. There is also a very old cathedral; I believe somebody said it was from the 13th century.

For most, myself included, the lure of Taormina is shopping on Corso Umberto. Clothing, leather bags, and ceramics are there, but not necessarily good buys. We had a light lunch at a little cafe that made delicious Italian sandwiches and cappuccino.

Ceramics are crafted throughout Sicily and it was one of the items on my shopping list. There was a great ceramic shop in the hilltop town of Castelmola that I loved. The owner explained about the different artists, the regions in which they were created, and the symbolism of the pieces. I could have spent hours there, and as I type this I am still wondering how to get all the large fragile pieces home.

Movie lovers would enjoy the the Godfather towns we visited. There was the church Michael Corleone got married in, a house used in some other scenes, and a place called Bar Vitelli that had a collection of photo from the filming in the area. I'm personally not a fan of the movies but I enjoyed walking through the towns.

Tomorrow: A Day at Sea

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

All Aboard Navigator of the Seas

We were in no big rush to be the first onboard so made a quick journey out on this last morning in Rome to pick up a pair of shoes admired in a window late last night . And since we were passing a gelato place, I figured why not. There are so many flavors to try!!! I had a scoop of coffee, nutella and chocolate.

When we got to the port in Civitiavecchia (a 75 min ride from Rome) we were able to just about walk right on the ship. On this cruise they collected passports to be returned at the end of the cruise.

**Tip: Before leaving home make 2 copies of your passport. Leave one with someone at home and bring a copy for yourself (info pages only).

**Tip: Remember to pack anything you may need immediately in a carry on (medications, bathing suit). I think our limo driver thought we were crazy when he took our bags out of the trunk and we began opening them all in the parking lot searching for bathing suits).

We have a balcony cabin. I love sitting on the balcony early in the morning with a coffee I grab from the Promenade. That being said, I'd take an inside if it meant that or not going. Get on the ship anyway you can!

The Navigator of the Seas has 2 specialty restaurants, Chops Grill and Portofino. We have reservations at both this week. There is a nominal fee but they serve meals as good as any fine dining restaurants on land. But more about that on another day.

The Royal Promenade has Vintages, featuring Robert Mondavi and Berringer wines.They also served sangria which I'll try later in the week. Some other Voyager class ships use this space as a sports bar. The atmosphere was lovely here and we sat a while for a pre dinner glass of wine and a plate of appetizers.

Tomorrow we arrive in Messina. See you then.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Cruising to the Mediterranean; Arriving in Rome

We're here! We arrived in Rome on schedule and our driver was waiting to whisk us off to the hotel. The place we chose, Hotel Nazionale was centrally located, just a short walk from the Pantheon and Piazza Navona. The rooms were lovely, the staff friendly and the included breakfast was both convenient and delicious. Great choice!

With little time to spare, we quickly dropped off our bags and headed out to explore. There we're 6 of us, some have been here before and others had not. We split into groups of 2 planning to meet back at the hotel at 8 to go out to dinner.

Having already been to Rome twice before, this was my opportunity to leisurely stroll the cobblestone streets, stopping whenever something caught my eye. And the colorful tubs of gelato, and leather sandals definitely caught my eye! But we did lots of walking and when we began to tire we purchased tickets for a hop on / hop off, took seats on the open air top section , plugged in the headset and rode around for about 2 hours. We got off at the Trevi Fountain to throw our coins and walked back to the hotel.

Dinner was amazing. We heard about a restaurant from a co-worker and it sounded so good we knew we had to find it. Four of us took off on foot but after walking and walking, with the street we were looking for no where in sight we hailed a cab. The Trattoria der Pallaro on Largo del Pallaro was well worth the hunt to find! There's no menu here, and the food just keeps coming, course after course! The place was full of locals, as opposed to tourists like us so that says plenty! Owner /cook Paola Fazi reminded me of my childhood and trips to Brooklyn to visit family where my aunts who would put out an endless spread of food for Sunday dinner. When it comes to food, that's the ultimate compliment from me! We never asked the fixed price and were shocked that after all we ate including unlimited homemade wine we paid 25 euros pp!
With full bellies we hailed a cab to head back to the hotel. A perfect day!

** Do try to spend at least 2 nights pre cruise in your embarkation city. You need the time to recover from jet lag and you won't feel so rushed !

** Look for the restaurants where the locals dine you're guaranteed a great meal.

Tomorrow... All onboard Navigator of the Seas

Monday, May 16, 2011

Planning a European Cruise aboard Navigator of the Seas

Do you remember the Royal Caribbean commercial that featured a group of women on a Mediterranean cruise?  It showed snippets of their experiences…shopping for shoes, admiring Michelangelo’s David, taking corny pictures of holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and dancing the night away in a ship club. I loved that commercial and always thought that it would be so much fun to get away with the girls on a European jaunt!  And while I’ve been fortunate enough to take several amazing European cruises with my husband and son, none included the aspects best shared amongst girlfriends.  You know, spending time in the little shops on the Via Veneto, commiserating together over the extra hours in the gym it will ultimately cost if you indulge in yet another gelato or pastry, and chitchatting on the pool deck with a strawberry colada in hand!  Well, that is all about to change because next week, I along with five co-workers board a plane bound for Rome and a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas.  I invite you to join me for the week, (pending a decent internet connection) as we tour Rome, Athens, Messina, Crete, Ephesus, and of course, check out all that the Navigator has to offer!

 Pre-Cruise Planning:

 When it comes to selecting a European cruise, I always look at the itinerary before the actual ship.  For this particular cruise I’m very happy with both.  Ephesus and Messina were high on my “places I want to visit” list and the Navigator of the Seas is a Voyager class ship, which has an abundance of the amenities I love. My advice for anyone doing their own planning is select a region or a country you want to explore and check your cruise line of choice for ships that go there. I have done all my European cruises with Royal Caribbean because their ships have everything I look for in a cruise vacation; great service, delicious food, flexible dining options (love “My Time”), and great nightly entertainment. This ship features the Royal Promenade and it will be great to know when we come back from touring we can make a we quick detour into the CafĂ© for a slice a pizza or coffee and a cookie!

 After the ship and itinerary is locked in its time to start planning out what to do in port. Your starting point is a good guidebook. Most public libraries have a nice selection but I prefer to purchase my books so I can I highlight what’s important to me and make notes in the margins. Once I have a good idea of what I want to see I have several options of how to go about it.  Cruise line sponsored shore excursions are always a safe bet, as they know where the majority of passengers want to go and what they want to see.  They provide transportation, knowledgeable guides and guarantee you’ll never miss the ship if there’s a traffic jam in the city center! Private shore excursions are another option, but if you go this way, choose a company that’s been recommended. The advantage to this is that you can tailor the tour to your personal specifications. Of course, one can venture out on their own with a good map and maybe a bus or train schedule. For this trip, I’m doing a combination.

 A couple of weeks before the cruise date I started figuring out how many dollars I wanted to exchange to Euros at my local bank. Most banks don’t charge a service fee if you have an account. I like to always go with a small amount in my pocket knowing that there are ATM’s all over Europe where I can easily get money when I need it. One thing about the European ATM’s is that you need a 4-digit pin code as opposed to a 6-digit and you may want to check with your bank regarding fees. My bank also noted my account with my travel plans so ATM withdrawals aren’t mistaken for fraud. You can even exchange money onboard many ships, but I’m unsure about fees and the difference in the exchange rate (though I’ll let you know once I’m there). I don’t think anyone uses traveler’s checks these days. I’m planning to shop using a credit card.  Once again I alerted the bank to my plans.  Some banks tag on a foreign transaction fee to credit card purchases, which can add up, but fortunately my card does not. Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Europe; American Express not as much.

  We’re on an overnight direct flight into Rome, arriving just before lunch.  Unfortunately we are only able to spend one night in the city pre-cruise but I’ve been to Rome twice before (and once I throw my coin in the Trevi Fountain, I know I’ll go back again) so I’ve already seen the highlights. That being said, if you have the time, I recommend staying a few days in the city of embarkation.  It’s nice to adjust to the time, get rid of jet lag, and have extra time to explore the city.

 So, with all the basics out of the way I’m ready to go!  Hope to see you next weekend in Rome!"

Monday, May 09, 2011

Cruising to Asia aboard Celebrity Cruise Line

Traveling to the Far East…an exotic destination with a myriad of countries to explore! Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Thailand; all have unique cultures, traditions, foods and languages, so this could be a bit of an intimidating trip for some.  Now imagine traveling to these foreign ports of call from the comfort and familiarity of a Celebrity cruise ship.  The Celebrity Millennium, to be exact. Beginning the winter of 2012 through early 2013 Celebrity Cruise Line will begin cruising through Asia.  Whether you want to explore the cosmopolitan cities or rural locales, hike the mountains or the rainforests, visit tranquil temples or opulent palaces, a cruise to Asia on the Celebrity Millennium is a vacation of a lifetime!

 The inaugural Asian season consists of three Hong Kong to Singapore cruises as well as several round-trip Singapore cruises.  Long flights and incredible embarkation ports demand pre or post cruise stays or a cruise tour to maximize your experience. Hong Kong, a former British territory is an exciting, electric city! A collision of Western and Eastern cultures, of ancient values mixed with the modern world, and of course, the shopping!  I could describe Singapore the same way and would recommend spending a few days in both cities. Cruise tours feature visits to Xian and Beijing giving guests the opportunity to see the Terra Cotta Warriors and stroll the Great Wall of China.

 Indonesia is a group of islands, 13,670 in all, though many are small and inhabitable.  Bali is the best known of these islands and when I think of Bali I think of the serene, lush tropical oasis that was the backdrop for Elizabeth Gilbert’s  “Eat, Pray, Love.” Rice paddies that cling to the hillside, dense jungles swarming with monkeys and hidden stone temples and sandy white beaches that beckon relaxation all make Bali the perfect retreat!  East of Bali is the island of Lombok, which has until very recently remained almost unknown.  With miles of pristine beaches, magical waterfalls, the large, looming volcano of Mount Rinjani (part of the celebrated “Ring of Fire”) combined with relatively few tourists, Lombok is paradise! Think of it as Bali was before the influx of tourism.

 Thai food has become popular throughout the world, but no matter how authentic your local restaurant claims to be, nothing compares to sampling the fare in Bangkok!  While some Thai food ingredients are familiar, others are strangely exotic, like the country itself.  Thailand has more than 30,000 Buddhist temples and Bangkok is home to some of the most beautiful in the world. If you have time to visit one consider the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which houses the country's most revered Buddha image and is on the grounds of the Royal Palace.  If you are lucky enough to be in Bangkok on the weekend check out Chatuchak, a huge, 9000 stall market that takes place in an area of the same name. It is a shoppers paradise selling everything from souvenirs, crafts,  clothes, antiques and all kinds of food from different regions of the country.

 It’s hard to figure if the increase of tourism in Vietnam is due to the country’s incredible natural beauty or American’s curiosity based on our history there.  Regardless, the Celebrity Millennium calls on several different ports in Vietnam that just may be the highlight of any cruise!  A stop in Ho Chi Minh City sharply illustrates the contrast of the adoption of Western culture and the connections to the past.  Skyscrapers stand alongside pagodas while motorbikes wizz by the food stalls that dot the streets.  Hue, another port of call, was the ancient Imperial capital city during the Nguyen dynasty.   The Citadel, constructed during the early 19th century, still remains, moat and all. Palaces, temples and royal tombs await exploration by anyone interested in the compelling history of the region. The cruise itinerary overnights in Hanoi. This allows time to visit the famed Hanoi Water Puppet Theatre and gives you time to travel to and enjoy the beauty of Halong Bay. This UNESCO World Heritage site is breathtakingly beautiful! Calm and clear bay water and thousands of limestone islands, many with lovely beaches and hidden grottos.

 A cruise on the Celebrity Millenium allows you to travel throughout the Far East on premier cruise line. Experience exotic cultures, sample authentic Asian cuisine, and discover ancient sites on an itinerary you’ve always dreamed about! The cruise specialists at Direct Line Cruises look forward to helping you plan this once in a lifetime vacation."

Monday, May 02, 2011

Cruising With Special Needs

If you are a cruiser with special needs or are traveling with someone that has special needs, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy a stress-free, perfect vacation!  With a little advance planning many of your requirements, whether they are mobility issues or medical related, can be met.  Every cruise line requires that the passenger fill out a “special needs” form prior to sailing to assure the ship is prepared when that guest arrives. They all maintain an Access Desks with coordinators that have experience in providing a safe and accessible cruise vacation for anyone that wants to take advantage of the assistance they provide.

 If needed, assistance is available to a guest from the moment they deplane in the city the cruise leaves from.  If a guest is purchasing cruise transfers, with advance notice, almost all cruise lines provide accessible transportation from the airport to the ship (not available outside the U.S.). Pier assistance is available to guests with mobility issues that need some extra time or a wheelchair for embarkation.

 For guests that use a wheelchair, scooter, or walker, please note that the cruise line cannot provide one for use onboard.  Wheelchairs are limited and reserved exclusively for embarkation and disembarkation, so be prepared to bring your own or there are companies that rent and deliver them to cruise passengers.  If you are traveling with your own motorized wheelchair or scooter some cruise lines require it to be powered by gel-cell batteries with chargers adaptable to 110 volts. 

 There may be limitations to guests that use wheelchairs or scooters when it comes to disembarking in certain ports.  Transferring to tenders, weather conditions, or steep gangways may deem it unsafe for the guests to go ashore.  As for shore excursions, U.S. ports almost always offer options for guests with mobility issues, but this is not always the case in foreign ports of call.

 Cruise ships offer accessible cabins in several different categories, (inside, ocean view, balcony).  Features of an accessible stateroom may vary between cruise lines or ships within a cruise line so check for specifics before booking. Stateroom and bathroom doorways are usually between 32” and 34” and without doorsills.  Bathrooms are traditionally equipped with grab bars, lowered sinks and roll-in showers.  Many have fold down-shower benches and hand-held showerheads.  Toilet seats are raised or commode chairs can be requested in advance.  The staterooms themselves have lowered vanities, safes and closet rods.  Refrigerators that hold medication, sharp’s containers for syringes, and distilled water for CPAP machines may also be requested.

 Blind or sight-impaired guests are invited to bring their service animals onboard and have access to all public areas except swimming pools.  Care and feeding (cruise lines are not required to supply dog food) of the animal is the responsibility of the owner.  Note that permits may be required for service animals to depart a ship in a foreign port and it is the responsibility of the owner to obtain them.  Braille has been incorporated in elevators and public areas of almost all ships. Low vision guests may ask for large print menus and cruise activity programs. Most cruise lines offer orientation tours upon request which is a great way to gain familiarity of the ship.

 The cruise lines will make every attempt to make technology available to assist deaf and low hearing guests.  Some staterooms have visual-tactile alert systems to warn the occupant of a knocking at the door, a ringing phone or smoke detection. Close captioned television is widely available but only on select programming.    More and more ships now have pagers available to alert guests of ship announcements.  For theater goers assistive listening devices are available on many ships.  Sign language interpreting services are provided on some cruise lines but should be requested 90 days before sailing.  Requests are subject to availability and other considerations and are not guaranteed.

 Guests that require peritoneal dialysis are welcome on all cruise ships. All solutions and equipment needed should be delivered to the ship on the day of sailing (although advance notice is required).  If a guest requires hemodialysis treatments, the cruise lines do not have the ability to administer these treatments.  There is however, a program called Dialysis at Sea, which specializes in the treatment of hemodialysis care while onboard cruise ship. This service is available on select Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruise Line voyages.

 For those that need to bring oxygen onboard, different cruise lines have different policies as to what is permitted.  While Royal Caribbean Cruise Line allows all types, Norwegian Cruise Line does not allow liquid oxygen.  You are welcome to bring your own equipment, but cruise ship staff is not allowed to handle or assist you with it during embarkation or disembarkation.  For your ease supplies may be delivered to the ship, but you must use the outside vendor of the cruise line’s choice.

 Some people still believe that if they have any sort of disability or impairment, it could be more stress than relaxation to cruise.  Not so! Pre-arranging for special assistance 60 to 90 days before sailing is the key to smooth sailing.  The cruise specialists at Direct Line Cruises are able to assist you in communicating with the cruise line so that all your needs are met. With that done, the only thing left to say is Bon Voyage!"