Sunday, May 31, 2009

Holland America 2010 Mexico Cruises

Holland America Line
2010 Mexico Cruises - Now Available for Booking

The excitement of the Mexican Riviera and wildlife-rich Sea of Cortez await you on a Holland America Line Mexico cruise vacation. Revel in the pulsing energy of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Acapulco, and then relax in the quiet beauty of the Sea of Cortez with unique, off the beaten path destinations like La Paz, Loreto, and the Copper Canyon. Throughout Mexico discover historic sites, shop for local treasures, and enjoy all manner of beach and water activities. Perfect for family vacations, our award-winning shore excursions and onboard amenities allow every guest to experience a tailor-made Mexican cruise fiesta.

Holland America Line offers a variety of Mexico cruise itineraries from 7 to 14-days, all beginning and ending in downtown San Diego where the pier is conveniently located just minutes from the airport on beautiful San Diego Bay. Begin and end your cruise sailing past Coronado Island, Cabrillo National Monument and Point Loma.

Holland America Line will have two ships in the Mexican Riviera for the 2010 sailing season: Oosterdam and Zaandam. The sailing season goes from January 2nd with Oosterdam sailing a 7-day round-trip from San Diego and ends with a 14-day repositioning cruise from San Diego to Vancouver again aboard Oosterdam.

More information about Oosterdam Itineraries

More information about Zaandam Itineraries

Whether this is your first trip to the Mexican Riviera or a return trip, you will truly enjoy the color and scenery of this part of the world. We have been there several times, and keep returning there. Experience it in style on one of Holland America's ships.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Princess Announces 2010-2011 Caribbean & Mexican Riviera Program

Announcing the Fall 2010 - Spring 2011
Caribbean & Mexican Riviera Program

Princess® - Escape to sunny isles in 2010 - 2011
Nothing says escape like the warm, welcoming islands and colorful cultures of the turquoise Caribbean. Princess® has a variety of festive voyages sailing eastern, southern or western Caribbean on six of their grandest ships in 2010 and 2011, visiting over 25 of the region’s very best ports. Frolic on white sand beaches and swim above reefs teeming with colorful sea life on islands such as St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola, Barbados, Grenada and more.

The convenience of Ft. Lauderdale, New York and San Juan.
Princess sails year-round in the Caribbean and departs from a variety of convenient ports including Ft. Lauderdale, New York and San Juan. Choose from easy week-long sailings to a relaxing 14-day itinerary. For an extensive Southern Caribbean exploration, departures from Barbados are also available.

Six spectacular ships.
The Princess Caribbean fleet includes some of the best ships in the region. The magnificent Ruby Princess® sails 7-day Eastern Caribbean voyages from Ft. Lauderdale. Caribbean Princess® sails two alternating 7-day port-intensive Southern Caribbean itineraries from San Juan. Crown Princess® sails a week-long Western Caribbean itinerary, Emerald Princess® sails on two alternating 10-day itineraries to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Sea Princess® a range of 14-day Eastern and Southern voyages from Barbados and Grand Princess® the immersive 14-day Caribbean Collection from Ft. Lauderdale among other options. Whichever ship you sail, you’ll enjoy warm, welcoming Princess service and wonderful amenities including Movies Under the Stars,® the adults-only retreat, The Sanctuary, the freedom of Anytime DiningSM and more.

Princess Cays® — a private paradise in the Bahamas.
All 7- and 10-day sailings from Ft. Lauderdale feature a call at Princess Cays,® Princess own Bahamian paradise where the relaxing options range from sunbathing and shopping for crafts to volleyball and snorkeling.

Warm Sandy Beaches are Calling You!
Why not grab a group of your friends and plan a Caribbean vacation for next winter. There are special offers for early booking and groups. For more details, visit me on Facebook and my website.

Request More Information on Princess 2010-11 Caribbean & Mexican Riviera Program via email

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Viking River Early Booking Offer

Early Booking Discount Offer! Ends May 31, 2009

Have you ever considered trying river cruising? If so, take advantage of this special offer for booking your 2010 cruise. Viking River Cruises itineraries and services provide an excellent value.

Receive the following benefits when reserving your 2010 river cruise vacation by the end of this month:
  • All-inclusive 2-FOR-1 fares starting as low
    as $1,156 per person

  • Per-day rates starting at $132—including
    accommodations, tours & meals—less per day
    than many hotel rooms

  • Air savings of $1,000 per couple off brochure
    prices—reduced roundtrip international air
    including all government taxes, fees, surcharges
    & transfers, now starting at $495 per person

  • Complimentary wine: special with our
    2010 Early Booking Discount

  • Cancel-for-any-reason Travel Protection
    Program covers your entire vacation—cruise,
    land & air—when purchased all through Viking

  • Price Guarantee: pay in full by May 31, 2009 to
    lock in price & savings

  • Service Guarantee: the only river cruise line
    to guarantee its award-winning service

  • Space is limited—get your first choice of
    itinerary, ship & departure date

Hurry! Limited-time Offer! Just book & pay in full by May 31, 2009. Various restrictions apply; contact me for complete details.

Become a fan on Facebook

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Norwegian Epic Sneak Peak


A few days ago, I announced the ability to begin booking on Norwegian Epic. Now, I'm offering you a sneak peek at this new ship.

Click on the banner or on the link to learn more about Norwegian Cruise Line and while you are there, once again, click on the banner to go to a customized website that provides an insider's look at this engineering wonder.

This is not just another new ship. This is a step forward. This is cruising re-imagined, with a ship unlike any other. This is world-class entertainment that is way beyond your expectations. A wide array of accommodations, with different levels of suites and staterooms having keycard-only access to private lounges, exclusive pool decks and the spa. And every oceanview stateroom is a Balcony Stateroom. Plus, discover the most diverse collection of restaurant choices ever assembled at sea. This is Norwegian Epic – the most spectacularly innovative ship in NCL's fleet or, quite frankly, any other.

Reminder New Passport Rules Effective June 1st

There has been much attention given to the new travel requirements going into effect on June 1, 2009, and I would like to revisit this topic. In my previous post, New Passport Rules Starting June 1st - Are You Ready, I summarized the new rules, the list of 19 affected countries, and provided links to various government resources that would help you decide what documents are required in your particular circumstance. I'll repeat the links here for your convenience.

In this post, I want to call out a couple of the caveats that I referred to in my previous post. I suggest you read both posts and visit the websites if you are not certain what requirements pertain to your circumstance.

Closed-Loop Cruises
While the new Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requires valid passports for land and sea travel, a final ruling was issued allowing leniency for “closed-loop” cruises, i.e., sailings that both originate and terminate in the same U.S. port.

U.S. citizens taking “closed-loop” cruises are not required to have a passport but will need proof of citizenship and a government-issued photo ID, such as an original or certified copy of a birth certificate and a driver’s license. Children will also be required to carry a birth certificate and a photo ID if over the age of 15.

Although a passport is not required for “closed loop” cruises, we strongly recommend all guests travel with a passport (valid for at least six months beyond completion of travel), a passport card or an enhanced driver’s license (EDL). Having these documents will enable them to fly from the U.S. to a foreign port in the event they miss their scheduled embarkation or to fly back to the U.S. if they need to disembark the ship mid-cruise due to an emergency.

If a cruise begins and ends in different U.S. ports or begins and ends in a foreign port, a valid passport or other recognized WHTI-compliant document is required. A valid passport is required if you are traveling on any Europe cruise.

Rules for Children
U.S. citizen children under the age of 16 will be able to present the original or copy of their birth certificate, or other proof of U.S. citizenship such as a naturalization certificate or citizenship card.

Groups of U.S. citizen children ages 16 through 18, when traveling with a school or religious group, social organization, or sports team, will be able to enter under adult supervision with originals or copies of their birth certificates or other proof of citizenship. See the Department of Homeland Security's for more information on the changing travel requirements.

Here are the links to useful websites once again:

State Department - overview of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - see Travel page
Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – see Crossing U.S. Borders page
Canada Border Services Agency - for travel to/from Canada

Plan For Unexpected
I cannot emphasize enough that you need to take both land and sea requirements into consideration when deciding what document you need to satisfy the new WHTI rules. In my previous post and above, I've already cited a couple of very common situations where the unexpected can find you traveling by plane instead of by sea. In emergency situations like these, the last thing you want is to be denied boarding due to the lack of proper documentation.

You may be denied boarding if you do not have the proper identification. I suspect that there will be some delays in boarding as the rules take effect, but after they have been in effect for awhile, this should speed the boarding process at airlines and cruise ports across the world.

Finally, don't forget to complete your online cruise check-in, providing the passport numbers. This will help the cruise line comply with government manifest requirements and also speed the boarding process.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Holland America 3 Day Sale

Holland America Line - 3 Day Sale

Get the best fares of the season
when you book May 27-29, 2009

Where do you want to go on your next cruise vacation? Holland America Line has announced a three day sale now through Friday, May 29th. Virtually all of their destinations are on sale with special pricing and other offers.

Perhaps one of the following offers might appeal to you. There are way too many cruises to list in this blog, but I'd be happy to provide details on any of the itineraries - just call or email me for more information.

Sample of the offers:

Get an outside for the price of an inside!
• Alaska Cruise / Cruisetours
• Asia & Pacific Rim
• Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific
• South America & Amazon
• Holiday Cruises
• Panama Canal Cruises

Upgrade to an outside from $50-$100 on select sailings
• Asia & Pacific Rim
South America & Amazon
Canada & New England Cruises
Hawaii Cruises

Upgrade to a Verandah from an Ocean View from only $50 on select sailings! Plus enjoy limited-time savings on Verandah Suites!
• Northern Europe Cruises
• Mediterranean & Western Europe Cruises
• Transatlantic Voyages

There are also special pricing on Caribbean sailings. Savings start today for Mariners.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Thoughts on Memorial Day

History of Memorial Day: Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. May 30th was chosen for Decoration Day because it was believed that flowers would be in bloom all across the country.

On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset, in honor of the nation’s battle heroes. In the early days of our country, no regulations existed for flying the flag at half-staff and, as a result, there were many conflicting policies. But on March 1, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower issued a proclamation on the proper times.

You will notice in the collage above, that the flag is flying at half-staff. Those pictures were taken during our visit to the American Cemetary in Normandy, France. It was very moving seeing row after row of graves. For more pictures from our visit to Normandy, see my previous posts on the topic and also our cruise vacations website.

I've mentioned several times in the past about the opportunity to relive history while on a cruise vacation. This is especially true in Europe due to the large battle field from the World Wars. Whether your cruise vacation takes you to Normandy, France or Honolulu, Hawaii, please take some time to visit a historical site and pay your respects to the troops that fought to keep America strong. We have done so on several cruises and of all the trips we've taken, those tend to stand out in my mind. Don't forget to bring you children with you so that they too can learn about war first hand.

As Albert Schweitzer said "... Wargraves are the great communicators of peace ..." Perhaps another more striking quote was by George Santayanan who said "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

And who can forget those immortal words of President John F. Kennedy: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. "

To the brave men and women, living and deceased, who have taken President Kennedy's charge to heart, Thank You for your Service. May we never forget the sacrifices you have made.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Royal Caribbean 2010 Asia & Far East

Royal Caribbean Announces
2010 Asia & Far East Sailings

Asia – The Far East
Isn’t As Far As You Think

Known throughout the world as one of the most culturally unique destinations, from exotic cuisine to beautiful handmade crafts, ancient traditions and distinctive dresses; it truly is an once-in-a-lifetime voyage. Visiting such culturally diverse destinations as:
- Hong Kong – a cosmopolitan city that offers world-class shopping, spectacular
cuisine and the unforgettable scenic beauty China is known for.
- Singapore – East truly meets West - where towering skyscrapers overlook open-air
markets and running rickshaws.
- Nha Trang – Vietnam’s “Ocean City” lined with vast white-sand beaches and a crescent
shaped coastline.
- Cambodia – explore some of the world’s most beautiful ancient temples.
Royal Caribbean International released the 2010 Asia & Far East schedule today.
Legend of the Seas® will be your floating hotel for your exotic Asian itinerary.

Legend of the Seas® certainly earns its name with this unbelievable itinerary combined with all the comforts and amenities expected of Royal Caribbean International®, including:
- Signature rock-climbing wall
- Casino RoyaleSM
- Acclaimed Adventure Ocean® kids and teen programming
- Solarium with sliding roof
- Stunning open atrium Centrum
- Fabulous spa treatments
- 9-hole miniature golf course
- Delicious dining options
- Gold Anchor Service® - Royal Caribbean’s friendly and engaging signature service style
Choose from several different itineraries:

9-Night Exotic Asia
January 28, 2010
Singapore • Ho Chi Minh City (Vung Tau), Vietnam • Nha Trang, Vietnam • Hue/Danang (Chan May), Vietnam Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam • Hong Kong, China Kaohsiung, Taiwan, China

4-Night Taste of Vietnam
February 11, 2010
Kaohsiung, Taiwan, China • Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam • Hong Kong, China

5-Night Gem of Asia
February 15, 2010
Hong Kong, China • Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan, China Hualien, Taiwan, China • Hong Kong, China

5-Night Indo China Explorer
February 20, 2010
Hong Kong, China • Sanya, China • Hue/Danang (Chan May), Vietnam Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam • Hong Kong, China

6-Night Indo China Explorer
March 2, 2010
Hong Kong, China • Sanya, China • Hue/Danang (Chan May), Vietnam Hanoi (Halong Bay), Vietnam • Hong Kong, China

5-Night Gem of Asia
February 25 & March 8, 2010
Hong Kong, China • Kaohsiung, Taiwan, China • Hualien, Taiwan, China • Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan, China • Hong Kong, China

5-Night Hong Kong to Shanghai
March 13, 2010
Hong Kong, China • Taipei (Keelung), Taiwan, China (Overnight) • Okinawa, Japan • Shanghai, China

5-Night Asian Legacies
March 18, 23; May 26, 31;
June 5, 10, 15, 2010
Shanghai, China • Fukuoka, Japan • Busan, South Korea
Shanghai, China

So reserve your Asia cruise in advance, snag the best staterooms and plan the details of your vacation without the last minute dash. And don’t forget to add shore excursions to your voyage so you can see all the sensational nuances of this exotic locale. I'll be happy to help plan your cruise vacation to the Far East.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Norwegian Epic Open for Booking

NCL started it all with Freestyle Cruising® – where people can enjoy a cruise without being handed a schedule. A vacation where you are free to do whatever. And now they’re following one success with another. Welcome to Norwegian Epic: NCL’s incredible new ship that reinvents cruising yet again. You’ll want to be one of the first to experience this ship’s day and night entertainment where you can wander from one exciting venue to another. Aboard Epic, there are as many ways to have fun as there are to have dinner. And she’s got the most innovative and wide-ranging accommodations at sea. Norwegian Epic sails summer 2010. Be there.

Are you ready for the most innovative living spaces at sea? Introducing Norwegian Epic’s giant leap forward in accommodations. Starting with the New Wave Staterooms, where curved walls meet a curved ceiling with soft recessed lighting and where every “outside” stateroom has a balcony. Then there are the three “private-access” stateroom complexes – each with a unique ambiance: The Studios transform inside staterooms into cool, urban spaces with windows to the corridor, mood lighting and access to The Living Room, where guests can kick back, watch a flat-screen TV and have a drink before dinner. The Spa Staterooms and Suites have 24-hour access to the Mandara Spa thermal suites and the fitness center right next door. And finally The Villas, hidden away on their own deck, are accessible only by private elevator and offer an exclusive, all-pampering experience with private bar, pool, sundecks and even a private gym.

Open for Sale
Norwegian Epic has opened for sale for Latitudes members with an exclusive offer. Through 8/31/09 Latitudes members will receive up to a 3-category upgrade with additional savings of up to $100 per person. Or, if booking a Suite they will receive up to $500 per stateroom to spend on board. Rates for Latitudes members start at only $599.

For those not familiar with NCL, Latitudes members are guests that have sailed at least once before on any Norwegian Cruise Line ship.

Blue Man Group
Blue Man Group to headline Norwegian Epic’s entertainment offerings. NCL is changing the face of cruise line entertainment on their next generation of Freestyle Cruising ship, Norwegian Epic beginning in summer 2010 . Blue Man Group, best known for their wildly popular theatrical shows and concerts which combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics will be performing in the 685-seat Epic Theater. In addition, Norwegian Epic will have multiple, specially-designed entertainment venues throughout the ship so that guests can choose from a wide variety of entertainment each evening of their cruise.

Learn More
I am in the process of putting additional information together to share with you. If you need more information in the meantime, contact me via email or phone (see links for website details).

Monday, May 18, 2009

Arnhem - Walking Tour

High Point of the City of Arnhem

After lunch we walked, with another couple from the ship, to St. Eusebius Church in the heart of Arnhem. The four of us toured the inside of the church. When you enter the church the first thing you see is the main pipe organ, the Strümphler organ, which dates back to 1795 and is the replacement of the Wagner organ from 1770 which was destroyed completely in WWII. There are five columns that house the pipes. Each of the towers are adorned with angels.

The church was extensively damaged during the Second World War following Operation Market Garden in 1944, with the interior being completely burnt out. Later the tower, weakened by the fire, collapsed entirely. Following the war the church was restored between 1946 and 1961.

The church is no longer used for religious services but rather is a tourist attraction, specifically commemorating the bravery of the paratroopers of the Allied forces who attempted to isolate the Germans by capturing the bridge across the river. The fourth picture from the left in the collage above, shows the Paratrooper memorial inside the church.

The Eusebius Tower is an amazing feature of Arnhem. This is the high point of the city of Arnhem. It rose out of the ruins of the Second World War. It reached its highest point ever, 93 meters. In 1994, a glass elevator was added inside the tower up to the belvedere, a lookout point with glazed sides at 73 meters. Two of us paid the 2.50 Euro fee to ride up the elevator past all of the array of bells and into the loft of the church. We had a 360 degree view of the surrounding city from the observation tower. We decided to climb the additional steps, up a winding staircase, to the spire. You can see the steps and the view from the tower above and in our photo album. The view from there was phenomenal and worth the admission cost.

Other items of interest in the church include the Mausoleum of Duke Karel of Gelre, the Salvator Bell (a gift from Duke Karel), and the the crypt below the building where you can (if you dare) find ancient human bones which have been left in the state of their burial or death. Needless to say, we skipped the last part of the self-guided tour.

We really enjoyed our visit to this amazing church. Definitely put it on your to-do list when you are in Arnhem. Here are some additional photos from our walking tour:

Arnhem - St. Eusebius Church
Arnhem - Walking Tour

Arnhem was defintiely one of the highlights on our Tulip Time Cruise. History buffs will definitely enjoy the visit. Come back again to read about other stops on our Amalegro cruise.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Port Information - Arnhem

Welcome to the Province called "Gelderland"

Continuing our Tulip Time River Cruise on AMA Waterways Amalegro we next arrived in Arnhem, the capital of the province called Gelderland. Amsterdam, Volendam, and Edam were all located in the Dutch Province called North Holland.

After Edam, we traveled south again, through the Markermeer, formerly part of the famed Zuiderzee, and we entered the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal. This canal is just over 50 years old, and connects Amsterdam to the lower Rhine River, where Arnhem is situated.

The tour, Monday, April 13th, focused on what Arnhem is most remembered for: The Battle of Arnhem and Operation Market Garden. The events of this battle inspired the well known movie known as "A Bridge Too Far".

The battle which took place in Arnhem in September 1944 was a disaster for the Allied troops and was a saddening part of modern Dutch history. On September 17, 1944, 10,000 men from the 1st British Airborne Division were parachuted into Oosterbeek, just west of Arnhem. They were to then march on Arnhem and secure a bridgehead on the Lower Rhine River. Under the direction of John Frost, Commander of the 2nd British Battalion, this bridgehead was to be held until the American and Polish troops could make their way up from the south.

Scheduled to arrive were 20,000 Americans from the 18th, 101st, and 82nd Airborne Divisions, along with 3000 Polish soldiers, but they were delayed by unusually heavy fog. By the time they could arrive it was too late and the Americans destroyed the bridge to prevent Germans from using it. This very bridge became known as "A Bridge too Far", about which the movie was made in 1977. The bridge is now named the "John Frost Bridge".

Our visit to Arnhem began with a bus trip which included a photo stop at the John Frost Bridge followed by a stop at the Groesbeek Canadian Cemetery. After visiting the cemetery we drove to the Liberation Museum in Nijmegen-Groesbeek. The Liberation Museum recreates the period before the war, the occupation during the war, and the liberation during 1944-1945. After the tour we returned to the ship for lunch and enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon on our own. I'll talk about the afternoon in another post.

Here are some pictures from the organized part of our tour in Arnhem:

Our visits to the bridge, cemetery, and museum were very moving. Reliving history, especially that of World War II, has become one of our favorite cruise activities. Perhaps it is because my father served in WWII and survived the D-Day landing and the Battle of the Bulge. This helps us to understand what sacrifices were made by the troops in those days.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Disney Wonder to Get New Home in 2011

Disney Wonder Getting New Home at Port of Los Angeles
Cruise Ship Will Arrive for Extended West Coast Stay in 2011

Disney Cruise Line® has announced plans to reposition the Disney Wonder® Cruise Ship from its base in Port Canaveral, Fla., to the West Coast in 2011. A two-year agreement, with a three-year extension option, was considered by the Port of Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners on April 2, 2009.

With the port's proximity to the Disneyland® Resort, you'll be able to enjoy even more magical Disney vacation choices - both on land and sea! The addition of a new homeport for Disney Cruise Line is part of the overall expansion plan for The Walt Disney Company. Two new ships, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy, will arrive in Port Canaveral, Fla., in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Disney Cruise Line successfully tested the West Coast market with two summer seasons of Mexican Riviera cruises in 2005 and 2008. Disney Cruise Line has not yet announced the details of its itineraries for 2011. As soon as they are announced, I'll share that information with you.

Known for establishing family travel in the cruise market, Disney Cruise Line continues to be a leader in the industry. The Disney Wonder was recently named the top large cruise ship experience by readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine in the 9th annual “Reader’s Cruise Poll.”

The Disney Magic Cruise Ship, which was also ranked in the top five cruise experiences in the poll, will embark on a season of limited itineraries exploring Northern Europe and the Mediterranean in 2010. Salings for Disney Cruise Line

Friday, May 15, 2009

Carnival Cruises Returning to Mexico

Carnival Cruise Lines will resume visits to Mexican ports of call based on the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, which is no longer recommending against non-essential travel to Mexico. Once all voyages with previously modified itineraries are completed, those vessels will revert to their original routes featuring stops in Mexico.

Most itineraries were modified through mid-June with the exception of the Holiday which was modified through late May. For full details on modified itineraries, and the effective dates for the return to the original itineraries, click here.

In communicating this news to their travel partners, Carnival said "Please rest assured that the health and well being of our guests and crew is our highest priority and we are returning to Mexico after careful evaluation and consultation with the CDC. It is important to note that the concentration of H1N1 flu cases in Mexico has been inland rather than in the coastal resort areas where our ships visit."

The cruise industry works closely with U.S. public health officials in the CDC's Vessel Sanitation Program in developing and complying with extensive policies and procedures that are effective in mitigating illness aboard cruise ships. Carnival will continue to follow CDC guidelines for cruise ships which include pre-boarding health questionnaires for all guests and crew, along with secondary screening by shipboard medical professionals as necessary. Additionally, all Carnival ships stock influenza test kits and anti-viral medications for treating type A influenzas.

Carnival concluded their travel partner update by saying "We are very pleased to be returning to Mexico and would also very much like to thank you for your understanding and patience during the past few weeks."

Royal Caribbean Resumes Mexican Cruises

Royal Caribbean Update on H1N1 Flu Precautions

Royal Caribbean International informed their travel partners that they will resume its port calls in Cozumel, Mexico, beginning with sailings that depart on or after May 24, 2009. RCI applauded the decision of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to downgrade their previous "Travel Alert" to a "Travel Health Precaution for Mexico."

Their statement went on to say "Like our guests we are anxious to return to Mexico. Until then, our guests will have time to fully review and understand the CDC's decision." The ships with Cozumel port calls include Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, and Enchantment of the Seas.

Mariner of the Seas will continue its modified Pacific Northwest itinerary, up to and including, its June 14 sailing. RCI will continue to utilize the Influenza Prevention and Response Plans, which their office of Medical and Public Health developed in coordination with the CDC and other health experts. The plan is based on three pillars: Preparedness and Communication; Surveillance and Detection; and Response and Containment.

Itinerary updates are provided daily at 1 PM. See the following link for latest update.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Princess Cruises - Summer Caribbean in 2010

2010 Summer Caribbean
Now Open for Booking!

Emerald Princess® joins Caribbean Princess® for Summer 2010 Roundtrip sailings from Ft. Lauderdale and New York

Emerald Princess features alternating 7-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale throughout the summer. Both itineraries visit Princess Cays®, an exclusive island experience in the Bahamas.

Caribbean Princess returns with 9-day itineraries roundtrip from New York featuring visits to Bermuda and a special 7-day Eastern Caribbean sailing from San Juan to New York.

Emerald Princess® – Sail to sunny shores on alternating 7-day sailings
In Summer 2010, you can enjoy voyages to Eastern or Western Caribbean islands on this exquisite vessel. Spend a week sailing our popular sailings of the region, visiting Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Jamaica – all featuring Princess Cays®.

Caribbean Princess® – More time to explore at sea and ashore on9-day sailings
Relish more leisurely days at sea while you visit the irresistible islands of Bermuda, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and beyond. Sail during the months of May to July with departures from New York, making your Caribbean adventure as carefree as it is unforgettable.

A Bahamian island reserved just for Princess® guests
A delightful island retreat awaits your discovery on sun-drenched Princess Cays, featured on all 7-day Emerald Princess® Eastern or Western Caribbean voyages from Ft. Lauderdale. From snorkeling and kayaking to island cuisine and drink, there's something to do for the entire family.

Are you a past guest on Princess Cruises?

Princess Captain's Circle® Launch Savings Exclusive
$50 per person discount for past passengers on 2010 Summer Caribbean voyages. Expires 12/31/09. Call or email me for more details about any of these summer cruise vacations.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Sail With Disney Channel Stars

aboard Disney Wonder® Cruise Ship

This summer, you can sail with popular Disney Channel stars aboard the Disney Wonder® Cruise Ship during the first-ever "Disney Channel Summer at Sea," presented by Kodak.

Popular stars from Disney Channel shows like "Hannah Montana," "Sonny With a Chance," "JONAS," "The Suite Life on Deck," "Camp Rock," "High School Musical" and "Hatching Pete" will join Guests on 3- and 4-night cruises beginning July 9 through Aug. 2, 2009.

All eight sailings are available to book now with special fan activities included in the prevailing cruise rate.

During the voyages, Disney Channel stars will participate in onboard deck parties and join Guests for Q&A and autograph sessions as well as preview screenings of Disney Channel programming.

The onboard fun culminates with a "Party with the Stars" event, an evening in which Guests are invited to join the stars for a special musical performance by a Disney recording artist.

Each cruise will include multiple Disney Channel stars. Among those scheduled, with more to be announced shortly, are:

3-Night Disney Channel Summer At Sea Cruise
Sail Dates and Appearance Schedule*

July 9 to 12, 2009 – Tiffany Thornton (Sonny with a Chance) and Nicole Anderson (JONAS)
July 16 to 19, 2009 – Jason Earles (Hannah Montana)
July 23 to 26, 2009 – Jason Dolley (Hatching Pete)
July 30 to August 2, 2009 – Debby Ryan (The Suite Life on Deck)

4-Night Disney Channel Summer at Sea Cruise
Sail Dates and Appearance Schedule*

July 12 to 16, 2009 – Tiffany Thornton (Sonny with a Chance) and Nicole Anderson (JONAS)
July 19 to 23, 2009 – Musical Act Mitchel Musso and Jason Earles (Hanna Montana)
July 26 to 30, 2009 – Jason Dolley (Hatching Pete)
August 2 to 6, 2009 – Alyson Stoner (Camp Rock)

*Schedule and talent subject to change. Not all stars available for each sailing.

Let the Magic Begin this Summer aboard the Disney Wonder. Call or email me for details.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Princess Ships Spotlight Alaska Culture for 50th Anniversary

Princess Ships Spotlight Alaska Culture This Summer for State’s 50th Anniversary Year
Passengers Will Experience Local Flavor Right Onboard with Alaska Cuisine, Guest Experts,
Cultural Presentations and Special Children’s Programs
Princess Cruises begins their Alaska Season this weekend offering passengers more local tastes and culture onboard than ever before, giving them a rich “Great Land” experience not only on land, but also while at sea.

Princess’ 2009 Alaska season begins May 9 and runs through September 14, featuring a total of 130 sailings aboard Diamond Princess, Sapphire Princess, Coral Princess, and Island Princess traveling on the line’s signature Gulf of Alaska sailings; Golden Princess, Star Princess and Sea Princess sailing the Inside Passage routes from Seattle and San Francisco and Pacific Princess offering the line’s small ship experience on 14-day Connoisseur voyages to some of the state’s less-visited ports.
“Alaska’s 50th anniversary year is the perfect time to celebrate the wonders of this magnificent state,” said Jan Swartz, Princess executive vice president. “And this summer, especially, our passengers will enjoy a multi-faceted shipboard program to immerse them in the flavors, culture, history and natural wonders of Alaska throughout their cruise.”

The Princess Onboard Alaska Program:

Sanctuary Glacier Viewing Experience - Aboard Golden Princess, Star Princess and Island Princess, The Sanctuary will become a prime location for glacier viewing of the unforgettable Glacier Bay or Tracy Arm. It will offer passengers a variety of ammenities to make their viewing comfortable. It will be educational as Park Rangers and Naturalists will be on hand to provide commentary to Sancturary guests. A variety of special food and beverage offerings will also be avaialable.

Tastes of Alaska – Passengers can experience the flavors of Alaska with a number of special opportunities. Food dishes that reflect the state’s culinary delights, featuring fresh local fish, savory meats, and an assortment of seafood specialties will be served throughout the Alaska fleet. Some of the highlights include:

  • Glacier Bay Champagne Breakfast
  • Glacier Bay Gala Buffet
  • Alaskan Dinner
  • On Deck Fish Barbecue
  • Reindeer Chili & Rockfish Chowder Cook-off
  • Warm up on Deck
  • Alaskan Beers/Hot Toddy
  • Chef's Table
  • Culinary Demonstrations

Local Experts – Passengers can learn about many aspects of life in Alaska and the state’s natural wonders from a variety of special guests onboard:

  • Iditarod Champion Libby Riddles: Sled Dogs and Adventure
  • Alaska Naturalists
  • Park Ranger Programs in Glacier Bay
  • USDA Forest Service Partnership – Ketchikan/Misty Fjords

Award-winning video presentations – Passengers can learn more about the wonders of Alaska from the comfort of their own stateroom, with these specially produced videos, including a series of Telly Award-winning port videos.

  • “The Heart of Alaska”
  • Glacier Bay Videos
  • Alaska Port Presentations

Alaska Youth Program – Special programs especially for younger cruisers will give them an appreciation for the wonders of the state’s wildlife, people and natural beauty

  • Glacier Bay Junior Ranger/Teen Explorer
  • Ketchikan/Tongass National Forest

Alaska Mementos – Princess ships offer a number of opportunities for souvenirs and unique Alaska gifts

  • Alaska’s 50th Anniversary Statehood Commemorative Souvenirs
  • Art Auctions to Feature Alaskan Wildlife
  • Exclusive Cruise Companion Book/Map and Video
  • Gold Rush Marketplace

There are a limited supply of cabins still avaialable for the remainder of the Alaska Season. If you are interested in celebrating Alaska's 50th Anniversay of Statehood, I suggest you contact me very soon. This will be one of your most memorable cruise vacations ever, so don't let it pass you by.

Monday, May 4, 2009

H1N1 Cruise Line Update - Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line's scheduled deployment does not include any ports of call in Mexico until the end of September 2009. However, they have proactively taken increased health and safety measures as a matter of caution.

The company has stringent protocols for cleaning and sanitation on all of its vessels to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. In addition, the company is taking proactive precautionary measures to protect its valued guests, including, but not limited to:

Fleet-wide guest screening via a health questionnaire prior to embarkation. Any guests exhibiting influenza symptoms which meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's case definition of suspect H1N1 influenza will not be allowed to board the vessel.

On-board education regarding H1N1 symptoms and preventative actions. An informative flyer is being placed in all staterooms fleetwide.

A mandatory visit to the ship's medical center for further evaluation and treatment if necessary for those guests who may develop flu-like symptoms while sailing.

On-board medical centers are stocking an appropriate amount of the anti-viral medication used to treat the illness, in the unlikely event the need for its use becomes necessary.

Norwegian Cruise Line will continue to closely follow developments regarding the H1N1 Influenza. Additional information regarding H1N1 is available at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:

H1N1 Cruise Line Update - Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Cruise Lines has cancelled all port of call visits in Mexico for 16 of its ships that were previously scheduled to stop in that country. Itineraries for vessels departing between now and June 15, 2009 that included stops in Mexico have been modified. In many instances, the modification simply involved substituting an alternate port. For full details on modified itineraries, click here.

Guests who do not wish to sail on a modified itinerary may opt to receive a refund in the form of a future cruise credit equal to the full amount paid for the voyage. The credit may be applied to an alternate sailing departing through the end of 2010. Compensation for missed ports/altered itineraries (where applicable) for guests who sail varies by itinerary. With four and five-day cruises from Galveston and New Orleans that are being converted to seven-day voyages, those guests may opt to receive their refund in the form of a future cruise credit or money back.

Princess Cruises has modified its itineraries to suspend calls to Mexican ports through the few remaining voyages of the spring season, which concludes in May. Seven voyages were impacted by this change. More details ...

Carnival Cruise Lines is dedicated to the health and safety of all guests and crew. The recent emergence of H1N1 flu has caused concern among public health authorities and the traveling public. Although there have been no suspected or confirmed reports of H1N1 flu on any Carnival cruise ship, we have proactively taken increased health and safety measures as a matter of caution.

Carnival maintains close coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and utilizes very stringent recommended sanitation protocols to minimize the possibility of viral transmission of infectious diseases. Our onboard medical centers have supplies of antiviral medications, personal protective equipment and appropriate diagnostic test kits, as recommended by the CDC.

For further information on H1N1 influenza, visit the CDC’s web site at

Saturday, May 2, 2009

H1N1 Cruise Line Update - Royal Caribbean International

Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have temporarily suspending their port calls in Mexico. The decision was made in an abundance of caution, and to allow additional time to better understand the full impact of the Swine Flu.

The temporary suspension involves four Royal Caribbean International ships currently making regularly scheduled port call in Mexico - Enchantment of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas. It also involves one additional Royal Caribbean International ship scheduled to make upcoming Mexico port calls as it reposition - Radiance of the Seas.

The temporary suspension involves one Celebrity Cruises ship scheduled to make upcoming Mexico port calls as it repositions - Celebrity Infinity.

Itinerary updates are provided daily at 1 PM. See the following link for latest update.

Royal Caribbean will continue to closely follow developments regarding the H1N1 Flu. Additional information regarding the H1N1 Flu is available at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cruise Line Industry Enhanced Screening Guidelines

I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the enhanced screening guidelines the cruise industry is beginning to implement to continue ensuring the healthiest environment for all cruise passengers. It is important for you to know that the cruise industry is taking these proactive steps out of an abundance of caution to identify, isolate and treat any suspect cases as appropriate.

Under new CLIA member cruise line health screening procedures, All passengers scheduled to board CLIA member line cruise ships will be required to complete the new public health questionnaire prior to boarding at any port. Under the enhanced screening protocols, CLIA member lines will perform a secondary screening if a passenger reports on the questionnaire flu-like symptoms, including fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat, or contact with a confirmed Influenza A (H1N1) case. Medical personnel at each cruise line will make case by case decisions regarding the boarding of these passengers. Passengers will not be permitted to travel if they exhibit influenza-like-illness or meet the suspect case conditions for swine flu as defined by CDC ( All other passengers will be permitted to travel.

If you have questions about these procedures, contact your cruise specialist or the cruise line.

Further information on travel and the swine flu can be found on the CDC Web site at: CLIA will continue updating its communications as necessary and I will keep you apprised of any significant developments.

The cruise industry always takes your safety and health seriously, so I am confident that with passenger cooperation, you will be assured of a safe and healthy cruise vacation during these difficult times.

As I have said many times in this column, I stronly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. I offer my customers a customized Travel Guard policy which provides emergency assistance amongst the other benefits. Travel Guard has announced that it is Offering Free Assistance and Information on Swine Flu to U.S. and Canadian travelers affected by or concerned with the recent Swine Flu outbreak. They have the most up-to-date information for travelers seeking travel status updates, health warnings, prevention and treatment tips.