Monday, May 22, 2017

A Pre-Cruise Stay in Vancouver

Vancouver is such a beautiful city and it would be a shame not to spend a day or two before or after your Alaska cruise.  Here’ some of my favorite spots.

Just minutes from downtown Vancouver, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is a must-do! The sceneryis beautiful, with 3 different vantage points from the bridge, treetops and cliff walk.  The 450 foot-long Capilano Suspension Bridge soars 230 feet above the Capilano River. You can also get a bird’s eye view of the rainforest via Treetops Adventures or traverse the dramatic Cliffwalk, a 700-foot long, 300-foot high walkway anchored to the east face of Capilano Canyon and suspended out and above the river. Exhilarating!

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Pre-Cruise Stay in Seattle

This is Alaska cruising season and most of these cruises embark from the city of Seattle or Vancouver.  Both are beautiful, exciting cities worthy of a pre-cruise stay. Today let’s take a closer look at cruising from Seattle, Washington and the places that shouldn’t be missed if you have the time to spend a day or two pre-cruise.

Pike Place Market: One of the oldest continuously operating farmer’s markets in the country, this place has been around a while! Hard to believe it came from such humble beginnings; eight farmers that gathered to sell their crops in August of 1907. Today the market is a great for site seeing, shopping, eating, and people watching with approximately 500 shops, restaurants, and vendor stalls spanning over nine acres. If you want to know a bit about the market’s history there are several companies that offer specialized in tours.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line to Add Lifeguards

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I wrote about Royal Caribbean Cruise Line following Disney Cruise Line’s lead by adding lifeguards to their pools. I’m now happy to report that Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it will employ certified lifeguards at all family pools across their fleet.

Lifeguards will be trained and certified by the American Red Cross in lifesaving rescue measures and will monitor the family pools during scheduled pool hours. They will begin service this summer on the line's four largest ships - Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Getaway, Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Epic - and on the remainder of the fleet by early 2018.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cruise Line Loyalty Clubs

I recently read about a couple that was celebrated onboard a Carnival Cruise Line ship for taking their 200th cruise! It took them 15 years, meaning they averaged more than 13 cruises a year with Carnival. Wow, that’s loyalty!

Most cruise lines operate a loyalty club.  They have catchy names; in the case of Carnival Cruise Line it’s the VIFP Club…Very Important Fun Person Club. CelebrityCruises’ loyalty club is called Captain’s Club.  For Royal Caribbean its Crown and Anchor and for Norwegian Cruise Line its Latitudes. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Crystal & Fantasy Caves of Bermuda

Bermuda is one of the most picturesque islands I’ve ever been to!  Beautiful blue ocean with foamy white capped waves, open stretches of pink sandy seashore, and pretty, pastel cottages painted butter, honeydew and mint!  But to see the most breathtaking views on the island, you must go underground, and discover the astonishing wonders of the Crystal and Fantasy Caves of Bermuda!

The caves were discovered in 1907 when two young boys were playing cricket and one hit the ball into a hole.  As the boys went looking for it, it soon became apparent that this was not your ordinary hole. What the boys had discovered was, in fact, the entrance to this spectacular natural wonder.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Princess Cruises 2017 Discovery at Sea

Princess Cruises’ Discovery at Sea program features regional destination specialists, as well as naturalists and experts in their fields to share their experiences on board with guests on select sailings. Whether your interests include regional culture, astronomy, well-being or pop culture, Encounters presenters are prepared to educate, inspire and entertain. 

Each speaker hosts a 45-minute talk followed by a question and answer session, as well as a meet-and-greet opportunity with photographs and in some cases, book signings. Here’s the impressive line-up of speakers for 2017 North America cruises.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Adventure Out of Cape Liberty

In the summer and fall of 2018 Royal Caribbean’s Adventure of the Seas will join Anthem of the Seas out of Cape Liberty (Bayonne, New Jersey).

Adventure of the Seas is a Voyager-class ship built in 2001 but don’t let her age discourage you!  This ship has had upgrades that let her proudly live up to her name! There are the dual racer waterslides, Splashaway Bay aqua park, the flow rider, outdoor movie screen, a two-story golf course, rock climbing, and basketball court.  And if you miss those Promenade parades and ice-skating not found on the Anthem you can enjoy them on the Adventure.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The "Suite Life" on the Celebrity Edge

Suites are the most lavish, well-appointed and spacious accommodations aboard any cruise ship. They are often designed and decorated by famous interior designers. Many of these suites are larger than the average American home!

Last week Celebrity Cruises shared drawings of the suites created for their current build, the Celebrity Edge. Designed by Kelly Hoppen, one of the most celebrated and sought after interior designers in the world, these suites are sophisticated, clean spaces with luxurious textures and saturated bursts of color.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Peek at the Celebrity Edge

Earlier this week Celebrity Cruises gave us our first look at their new “Edge-class” ship and I have to say, I was totally blown away with what I saw! Celebrity’s Solstice-Class ships, in my opinion, are some of the most elegant and voguish ships I’ve ever sailed.  Now, take that same level of sophisticated style and enhance it with modern innovative upgrades and you’ve created an unexpected, exciting, and edgy design like nothing else afloat! Here’s some of the design elements they unveiled:

“Infinite” Verandas:” I watch a lot of home design shows and see a lot of those bi-folding patio doors that are now recognized as a must-have feature in the design of contemporary homes, due to their creating bright, versatile spaces that can bring the outside into the home in an instant. Take that same idea and put it on a cruise ship and you have the “infinite veranda.” Open up the doors with a flick of a switch and guests are able to expand cabins right up to the edge of the ship (think infinity pool)!

Monday, March 06, 2017

Celebrity Cruise Line and the 35th America’s Cup

For many, vacations are just as much about experiences as they are about relaxation. For some, more so. I recently read an article that said the more unique you can make your vacations, the better you’ll feel about it afterward. People like to know that they’ve experienced new and exciting things that maybe others haven’t. It gives them special memories to cherish, something interesting to talk about in conversation, and makes their experience feel special.

Celebrity Cruises recognizes that this is what many sophisticated cruisers are looking for and that’s where Celebrity Signature Events comes in.  For example, the June 18th sailing of the Celebrity Summit is a “Signature Event” sailing; one in which guests can experience special events and celebrations as part of their cruise vacation. This particular one highlights the America’s Cup yacht race.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Do Cruise Ships Have Lifeguards?

The answer to that question is “some do, but not all”.  Cruise lines compare their ships to hotels and resorts, where signs often warn that no lifeguard is on duty and guests swim at their own risk. I doubt anyone would disagree that it is the responsibility of the parent to assume the first layer of supervision, but is that realistic on ships that may carry as many as 1,000 children on a summer voyage?

Disney became the first major cruise line to hire lifeguards for its family pools in 2013. The lifeguards are always on duty, so long as the family pool is open. He /she is constantly moving around the pool and there are even multiple lifeguards when necessary. This move came after a tragic accident earlier that same year.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Oprah and Holland America Partnership

Oprah Winfry has made 2017 the year of adventure! It is her magazine’s 17th year anniversary and she was looking to do something that was fun. To celebrate Oprah’s Year of Adventure, Holland
America Line and O, The Oprah Magazine have announced a partnership, believing pairing the power of travel with the magazine’s personal growth endeavors to be a perfect fit.

Holland America will sponsor five “O, The Oprah Magazine Adventure of Your Life” sailings featuring O Magazine-inspired activities that will be scheduled aboard select North America ships. The inaugural Alaska trip on Holland America's Eurodam ship will embark from Seattle July 15.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Beauty and The Beast on Disney Dream

“Beauty and the Beast” is my favorite Disney movie…the music, the romance, the predominant theme of “beauty is only skin deep”, makes for such a great story! I am not even ashamed to admit that I am anxiously awaiting the new live-action adaptation of the animated classic that premieres in movie theaters this March, (even though I have no young child or grandchild to bring along). Now, if I could only convince my husband that our next cruise should be aboard the Disney Dream next fall, when Disney Cruise Line debuts its brand new musical production of the same name!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Enhanced Latitudes Rewards

I’m a BIG fan of Loyalty Clubs and my spending habits reflect that.  Shoe stores, restaurants, movie theaters and especially cruise lines!  So I’m excited to tell you about Norwegian Cruise Line’s enhanced Latitudes Rewards loyalty program, featuring new benefits at all tier levels.
Available for all cruises beginning Feb. 3, the new program includes the addition of two new elite tier levels for the most frequent cruisers.  The ranks look like this:

Bronze…..1-29 points
Silver……..30-54 points
Gold……….55-79 points
Platinum…80-174 points
Platinum Plus…175-699 points
Ambassador….700+ points

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Carnival Ecstasy Gets Dining Upgrades

After a two-week dry dock that took place earlier this month, the Carnival Ecstasy has returned Charleston, South Carolina refitted with some of the dining and beverage venues that are so popular on the cruise line’s other ships.  Here’s the rundown:

Guy’s Burger Joint: Name sound familiar?  This is a free-of-charge poolside spot developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri. Known for its hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries, this is “the place” for the best burger at sea!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Upgrade Advantage

What cruiser wouldn’t love the opportunity of upgrading their cabin at a reasonable price! Maybe that means moving out of an inside cabin into a light-filled ocean view cabin or gaining that extra outdoor space by moving up to a balcony cabin. Or perhaps you are already booked in a balcony cabin but would welcome the opportunity of stepping up to a mini-suite or even a full suite!

Beginning in February many Norwegian Cruise Line guests will get that chance when the cruise line begins to roll out its new program, Upgrade Advantage! Upgrade Advantage offers guests the opportunity to bid a nominal amount to be upgraded to a higher category stateroom. Guests are selected and sent a pre-cruise email inviting them to bid based on a variety of criteria including, but not limited to what they already paid and the type of staterooms available on their specific sailing.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Disney’s Star Wars Theme Cruises

Attention Star Wars fans! Disney Cruise Line's popular Star Wars themed cruises will return from January through April of 2018, and now is the best time to book! 

Remember, the newest Star Wars movie is due to come out in December of this year so you know it will be showing onboard during these themed sailings. In addition, all the classic and modern films and television shows, including the newly released “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and “Star Wars Rebels,” will be screened.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What is Princess Medallion Class?

What was the CEO of Carnival Corporation, Arnold Donald, doing at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week?  Talking about new technology to debut on Princess Cruises in the near future! A quarter-size smart “medallion” that can be worn as a bracelet (makes me think of a Fit Bit) and paired with the corresponding app called Ocean Compass will have the capability change the way we cruise!

Now you’re probably thinking that this is nothing new.  After all, Royal Caribbean has its RFID WOW Bands and Disney has Magic Bands.  However, per Mr. Donald, the Medallion has much more capability and features. The Ocean Medallion enables a new level of personalization that delivers an enhanced guest experience previously not available in the global vacation industry.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

New Cruise Ships Debuting in 2017

Lets take a look at the new ships entering service in 2017.
            Winter 2017: The 48,000 ton Viking Sky will 
      be the third of six ships in the Viking 
      Ocean Cruises fleet.

·         Spring 2017: After its debut, the 143,000 ton Majestic Princess will be based in China year-round.

·         Spring 2017:  The 163,000 ton Norwegian Joy is the second in NCL's Breakaway-Plus Class 
      (the first was the Norwegian Escape). Norwegian Joy will be custom-built for the Chinese 
      market, and it will be deployed full time to Asia, catering to Chinese passengers.