Monday, November 20, 2017

Cruising to Some of the Southern Caribbean’s Best Islands

For a cruise vacation with some lesser known ports of call, try a Southern Caribbean itinerary that include Antigua, Barbados or Dominica. Of course, all are perfect for beach and water sports…it is after all the Caribbean.  But that’s not all!


Antigua

 The island also is known for having 365 beaches or one for every day of the year. One of the better ones that is close to the cruise docks is Miller’s Beach. A taxi is the best way to get there; be sure to negotiate rate before getting into the cab. Another great one is Galley Bay Beach where the, surfing conditions are first-rate.

Monday, November 13, 2017

New Ships Sailing in 2018

Love to be the first on a new ship to experience the shows, dining, and of course, all the state-of-the-art innovations?  Here’s what’s setting sail in 2018.


Carnival Horizon 135,000 tons
Coming April 2018 
Things to look forward to:
  • Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse.
  • Seafood Shack for for favorites like Crab Cake Sliders & Fried Buffalo Shrimp.
  • SkyRide; zip around the suspended two-lane bike course high above the deck.
  • Two movie theaters next door to one another, called the Carnival Multiplex.
  • Dr. Seuss WaterWorks featuring side-by-side racing slides, splashy water-spray toys and a giant tipping top hat!


Coming April 2018
Things to look forward to:
·        El Loco Fresh for all your Mexican favorites.
·        Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade with 30 big-screen TVs!
·        Laser Tag; An epic glow-in-the-dark experience.
·        The two level Ultimate Family Suite; a dream come true for kids of all ages!
·        Hairspray the Musical, a Tony Award winner!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas; The Ultimate Family Suite

Are you thinking about taking your family on RoyalCaribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, one of the most spectacular ships to debut in 2018?  Then maybe you would also be interested in staying in the most magnificent family suite onboard…The Ultimate Family Suite!


The two level, 1,350 square foot Ultimate Family Suite will have two bedrooms and accommodate a family of up to eight people. To say it is kid friendly is a gross understatement!  It is so bursting with fun features, you may have a hard time getting the kiddos to leave long enough to enjoy the rest of the ship!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Haven by Norwegian Cruise Line...a Personal Experience

I have cruised on mega-ships that are like floating cities housing over 5,000 guests with tons to do as well as lovely, intimate ships that carry less than 700 guests.  I love both for very different reasons, but the fact that I have always had to choose one over the other made me feel that I was compromising, or worse, conceding one important aspect of my cruise vacation to gain another!


How naïve I was! You see, I recently sailed the Mediterranean aboard the Norwegian Epic in a Haven suite and it was EVERYTHING I wanted my cruise vacation to be, and more! 
So, what exactly is the Haven? The Haven is a private access all suite enclave on the top of many Norwegian Cruise Line ships, accessible only by a platinum keycard. Guests staying in these gorgeous suites have access to an exclusive dining room, bar and lounge (select ships), a private pool, hot tubs and sundeck and even a  fitness center.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Splurge On Your Next Cruise

Cruising is the ultimate vacation experience! And with cruise lines becoming more “all-inclusive” they are also an incredible value. But what if you’re looking to make your next cruise vacation extra special? Here are my top three splurges that will take your next cruise vacation from marvelous to magnificent!


Splurge…on a Suite
For a special occasion (think honeymoon, 40th birthday, or 25th wedding anniversary) or if you just want a more luxurious cruise experience, consider booking a suite. Many suites will give you a lot of extra space with separate living and sleeping areas, large and lavish bathrooms as well as sprawling balconies. In addition to designer styled rooms, the top suites at sea almost always come with concierge service, priority embarkation and disembarkation, exclusive restaurants and lounges and other perks. I recently stayed in the Owner’s Suite on the Norwegian Epic and let me say that it was a cruise I will never forget!  Everyone should experience accommodations and service like that at least once!

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Carnival Horizon to Debut Teppanyaki Restaurant

When I think of a cruise vacation aboard a Carnival cruise ship “fun” is what comes to mind!  So how can the addition of Bonsai Teppanyaki on the new Carnival Horizon be anything other than a perfect fit?



Teppanyaki refers to Japanese dishes that are typically prepared using a large, flat iron griddle. With this unique entertaining dining style, chefs have all utensils and ingredients lined on the borders of the grill and cook several dishes in front of diners with stunning flair and speed. The chef’s performance generally includes juggling food with spatulas and building steaming volcanoes out of tower of cooking onions!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

What to Bring When Going Ashore

Spending a day in port is always fun, whether you’re heading to the beach, going to do some shopping, or taking an excursion.  Whenever I leave the ship for the day, regardless of where I’m heading, I always take along what I consider my “essentials”.

Photo ID:  Every cruiser knows that their Sea Pass card should always be carried whether you’re on or off the ship. This is required to get you both off and back on the ship. Well it’s just as important to carry a photo ID when you get off the ship.  Cruise line personnel will tell you when a passport will be required on return to the ship.  If it’s not necessary then it’s your choice to bring it or leave it locked up in your cabin (I bring mine). If you don’t bring it then be sure to carry a photo ID.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Cruising Aboard the Norwegian Bliss

New cruise ships always generate a lot of excitement! There are innovative, state-of-the-art recreation, exciting entertainment and delicious new dining concepts to look forward to. Every ship promising to deliver the ultimate cruising experience.


 It looks to me like the Norwegian Bliss does just that!

Looking for a little action on your next cruise?  How about playing some open-air laser tag? The backdrop for this action-packed game of high tech tag is designed to look like an abandoned space station. I don’t know who would have more fun, my husband or our son! Honestly, this is something the whole family can enjoy!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Preparing for Your European Cruise

This fall I will be taking a European cruise.  With departure about 6 weeks away, I’m starting to go review my checklists.  Since even the most seasoned traveler can benefit from a reminder now and then, I thought to share some of my miscellaneous thoughts with you here.

All countries around the world require a valid passport for entry, but a lesser-known requirement for some countries is that a passport must be valid for a certain number of months from the date of entry.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Should You Book Shore Excursions Through the Cruise Line?

When I cruise I want to make the best use of my time in port.  There’s always so much to see and do and a limited amount of time to fit it all in. Sometimes that means hubby and I will walk off the ship and head out on our own, other times we’ll book a private excursion and there are many times when we’ll book our shore excursion directly from the cruise line.


Here’s some reasons why you may want to consider booking your shore excursion with the cruise line.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Should You Book A Balcony Cabin?

What type of accommodations do you choose when you plan a cruise vacation? Many people select an inside cabin, reasoning that they will only be in our room to shower and sleep. I agree with that to an extent. However, it only took one stay in a balcony cabin for me to realize that for all future cruises, a balcony cabin was a must!

Here are my top five reasons for book a balcony cabin:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line Invites You to Meet the Winemaker

Norwegian Cruise Line announced the schedule for its 2017/18 Meet the Winemaker Cruises aboard Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Dawn. The lineup includes Michael Mondavi, Aaron Sanchez, Gerard Bertrand, Bill Whiting, and Salvatore Ferragamo.


While onboard the Norwegian Escape inaugural cruise in 2015 I got a glimpse of “The Cellars, A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar”, but I did not have a chance to explore any deeper than a quick look around. I’m told the bar boasts a curated wine list and service provided by a Court of Master Sommeliers certified Sommelier, which is quite a big deal to an oenophilia. This partnership was expanded to include Norwegian Dawn in 2016.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Celebrity Cruises Reveals Eden

Celebrity Cruise Line recently revealed Eden, a combination lounge, dining and entertainment area aboard their new Edge-class ship. To me, I think of Eden as a garden paradise anchored in the center by The Tree-of-Life. From what I have seen and read thus far, Celebrity designers have taken that same association and developed it even further creating an amazing architectural wonder.

Spanning three decks at the aft of the ship, this multi-use space is clearly nature-themed… there’s even a living tree in the dining area (a feature of Celebrity's Solstice class ships)!  However, with almost 7,000 square feet of glass that reaches 32 feet high, one cannot ignore the connectivity to the ocean, and isn’t that what people want when vacationing at sea?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Marvel’s Mightiest Sail from New York in Fall 2017.

Marvel Super Heroes and villains from The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as Spider-Man, join guests onboard the DisneyMagic for an exciting cruise filled with fun activities,  photo ops and meet-and-greets on select sailings from New York in October and November of 2017.


During the themed Marvel Day at Sea, guests will enjoy:

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cruising to Cuba...Updated

Just when it seemed that Cuba was becoming “the” Caribbean cruise destination of 2017, the threat of the reversal of U.S. policy regarding Cuba tourism hung over the cruise lines until the President’s announcement this past Friday.


However, based on the information that was publicized, it seems that  Caribbean cruises to Cuba will continue under the new restricted guidelines laid out by the Administration. From the start, the cruise lines made sure that all cruises to, and shore excursions in Cuba were in full compliance with regulations set forth by the US Department of the Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control ("OFAC"). What is uncertain at this point is if U.S. citizens can disembark their ship and tour with independent Cuban tour guides

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

What's Special About Alaska Cruise Tours?

A friend of mine  returned from an Alaska cruise tour last week and hasn’t stopped talking about it!   Majestic, Breathtaking, Grand…those are just a few of the words she used from an endless list of similar adjectives. Is a cruise tour better than just an Alaskan cruise? It’s not a fair comparison.  Everything about the cruise portion is also Majestic, Breathtaking, Grand!  The cruise tour just takes the experience up a couple of notches!


Here’s some things you can experience on a cruise tour that you can’t if you opt for just the cruise portion.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Norwegian Cruise Line Offers Ferry to St. George's, Bermuda

Good news for all those cruising to  Bermuda on a NorwegianCruise Line ship this year. Norwegian Cruise Line has just begun providing ferry service, exclusively for their guests, between Bermuda’s Royal Naval Dockyard (where the NCL ships dock) and the quaint town of St. George’s.


The Dockyard area is a bit of a distance from tourist and resort areas including St. George’s and the capital city of Hamilton.  Residents and cruisers alike have complained about the crowded public transportation to access these areas as well as Bermuda beaches. Although taxis are lined up at the dock when the ships are in, they can be rather costly.

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.