Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party


October is Halloween Time at Disney Parks

Halloween came early for us this year. In fact it occurred  in the midst of our National Conference at Walt Disney World Resort on Tuesday, October 16th.  Following a day of meetings, it was time to unwind in the Magic Kingdom.

  
Private Party - You are Invited to Attend If You Dare

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a Halloween-themed special event held on select dates in Magic Kingdom theme park. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  The park is closed to other guests for the evening.
Click for More Pictures

During Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. There are several locations where you can collect delicious candy as you trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom theme park.  We didn't dress up, but we did take part in the trick-or-treating.

In addition to many favorite Disney attractions, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is filled with special entertainment, including:
  • Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade—including Disney Characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman.
  • Happy HalloWishes—a spectacular fireworks show where the Disney Villains go trick-or-treating in the sky.
  • Many favorite Disney Characters and Disney Villains in special Halloween costumes.
  • Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom theme park into happy haunted hollows.
We've posted some pictures from the event on our Facebook Fan Page.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tropical Storm Rosa Near Mexico

TS Rosa
Click here for Interactive Map
Tropical Storm Rosa
Well Offshore of Mexico

200 PM PDT SAT NOV 03 2012

...ROSA WEAKENS TO A DEPRESSION...
...EXPECTED TO BECOME A REMNANT LOW SOON...
 
Last NHC advisory issued on ROSA 
 
Tropical Storm Rosa has formed well offshore Mexico and isn't a threat to land at this time.
Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here

See where ships are relative to tropical storms
Interactive tracking map (real-time ship tracking)
SUMMARY OF 200 PM PDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...12.7N 120.8W
ABOUT 1005 MI...1615 KM SW OF CABO SAN LUCAS MEXICO
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 260 DEGREES AT 3 MPH...6 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1006 MB...29.71 INCHES
 
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 35 MPH...55
KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  FURTHER WEAKENING IS FORECAST DURING THE
NEXT 48 HOURS...AND ROSA IS LIKELY TO DEGENERATE INTO A REMNANT LOW
BY TONIGHT OR EARLY SUNDAY. 
 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
NONE 
 
HISTORICAL DATA:   Storm Archive          Graphics Archive                

Monday, October 29, 2012

National Cruise Vacation Month Wrapup

Let The Memories Begin!!
Creating Magical Memories

Once again, National Cruise Vacation Month coincided with our annual National Conference which this year was titled:  Creating Magical Memories 2012.  

The conference began at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and continued with a Bahamas cruise on Disney Dream, one of the newest ships in their fleet.

Following the conference, we extended our stay with a cruise on Carnival Sensation, also sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida.  We had a short drive from one pier to another to get to our second ship.   The magical memories start when you see the first glimpse of your ship as you approach the pier.  All the anticipation has quickly become a reality.  

Catching Up

Now that we are back home, we've begun sorting through all the pictures and videos and have started posting some of them on our Facebook Fan page.  You'll want to become a fan so that you'll be notified of our updates.

Hurricane Sandy has kept us busy

Since our return, we've been kept quite busy with all the changes to cruise ship itineraries and even cancellations due to the very powerful hurricane.   Had our cruise been one week later, we too would have been impacted since both Disney Dream and Carnival Sensation had their itineraries altered.

 Last Days for Cruise Line Offers

National Cruise Vacation Week was the peak of the month-long cruise celebration, but there are still a few days left on some of the cruise line offers.

Hopefully we've already given you a taste of why Cruising is the Vacation of Choice

We'll use Disney Dream and Carnival Sensation cruises, which we've just completed, as another vehicle to demonstrate differences between cruise lines and ships.   Both are fantastic short cruises for first timers or experts wanting to visit the Bahamas.


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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tropical Storm Sandy in Caribbean


TS Sandy 2012
Click (here) for Interactive Map
Tropical Storm Sandy
Forms in Caribbean
 Currently: Post-Tropical 
HPC issuing advisories on SANDY 
NHC issuing advisories on TS ROSA
URGENT: Dangerous Storm Threat... 
click here for additional important warning information
 
 
NHC statement concerning the expected transition of Hurricane Sandy to a 
Post-tropical cyclone and the flow of information from the National 
Weather Service (PDF)
1100 PM EDT MON OCT 29 2012
 
...SANDY STILL PACKING HURRICANE-FORCE WINDS...
...NEXT PUBLIC ADVISORY TO BE ISSUED BY THE HYDROMETEOROLOGICAL
PREDICTION CENTER...


NOAA's GOES-13 satellite captured this visible
image of the massive Hurricane Sandy on
Oct. 28 at 1302 UTC (9:02 a.m. EDT).
The line of clouds from the Gulf of Mexico
north are associated with the cold front
that Sandy is merging with. Sandy's western
cloud edge is already over the mid-Atlantic
and northeastern United States.

(Credit: NASA GOES Project)
Hurricane Sandy started as a  Tropical Storm near Jamaica causing Hurricane and Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings to be posted. Sandy called on Jamaica and Cuba and set sights on the Bahamas.  It is now unleashing its fury along the Eastern Coast of the United States.

We are now back from our Disney Dream and Carnival Sensation cruises in the Bahamas.  The next sailings for both of those ships were been impacted by Hurricane Sandy as well as many others.  We have posted the links for the cruise lines and will continue to update this page with updates.

Weather conditions Tuesday in Nassau were overcast, cooler than it has been, with a good breeze blowing. The storm didn't impact our trip. On Wednesday, we had a mix of sun and clouds with warmer temperatures. The seas had been full of white caps all day and we were rocking a bit heading back to Port Canaveral.

We wish calm seas to all cruising in the region

This storm is going into the record books for sure.  Notice that this is the first hurricane that I can recall that had SNOWFALL as a possible hazard.   This is quite serious - if you are in the area, please head the warnings by your local governments.

Cruise Ship Impact    Current Watches & Warnings

 
SUMMARY OF 1100 PM EDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...39.8N 75.4W
ABOUT 10 MI...15 KM SW OF PHILADELPHIA PENSYLVANIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 305 DEGREES AT 18 MPH...30 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...952 MB...28.11 INCHES


Cruise Impact 

 

Latest Updates:

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE:


HURRICANE SANDY UPDATE – 11:00AM – 10/28/12
We continue monitoring the forecasted path of Hurricane Sandy and keeping in close contact with port officials.  As always the safety of our guests and crew is our number one concern and our ships will maintain a safe distance from the storm at all times.

CARNIVAL SENSATION – 10/28/12 DEPARTURE – NOW SCHEDULED TO SAIL ON 10/29/12 The Carnival Sensation is experiencing a significant delay due to rough weather conditions caused by Hurricane Sandy.  Our scheduled 4 day cruise will now operate on Monday as a 3 day cruise.
Check-in for your cruise will take place on Monday, October 29 from 11:00AM – 2:00PM and sailing is set for 3:00PM. Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal today.

Our revised itinerary is as follows:
Day      Port of Call                               Arrive               Depart
Mon     Port Canaveral, FL                                          3:00PM
Tues    Nassau, The Bahamas       10:00AM          7:00PM
Wed     Freeport, The Bahamas        8:00AM           5:00PM
Thurs   Port Canaveral, FL                  8:00AM

As a result of this change, guests will receive:
• One day pro-rated cruise fare refund (processed within the next 2 weeks to original form of payment)
• Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened voyage.
For further updates, text CCL6 to CRUISE (278473).
We sincerely regret the inconvenience this has caused.  However, please do not proceed to the cruise terminal today.

CARNIVAL MIRACLE – 10/29/12 DEPARTURE NOW SCHEDULED TO DEPART SUNDAY 10/28/12
The port is expected to be closed on Monday.  In an effort to continue with the cruise and keep safely away from the storm, the cruise will now depart on Sunday, October 28.  Check-in is scheduled from 2:00PM to 5:00PM, and sailing is set for 6:00 PM from Pier 90. 

Due to the short notice, we were unable to reschedule the delivery of our supplies (food, beverages, etc.) that was planned for Monday.  Unfortunately, we will need to change our itinerary so that we can receive our provisions at the first port. 

Below is the revised itinerary:
Day      Port of Call                                Arrive               Depart       
Sun      New York, NY                                                    6:00 PM
Mon     Fun Day @ Sea
Tue      Fun Day @ Sea         
Wed     Port Canaveral, FL                  7:00 AM           6:00 PM 
Thu      Nassau, The Bahamas       11:00 AM           8:00 PM
Fri        Fun Day @ Sea
Sat       Grand Turk                               8:00 AM            5:00 PM
Sun      Fun Day @ Sea
Mon     Fun Day @ Sea
Tue      New York, NY                           8:00 AM

Guests who sail will be treated to complimentary gratuities for the extra day and will be reimbursed for any additional parking expenses at the port.   
If you are unable to sail, please contact us at 1800 CARNIVAL.    
For updates, text CCL4 to CRUISE (278473).

CARNIVAL DREAM – 10/27/12 DEPARTURE NOW SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY 10/28/12The Carnival Dream is now scheduled to dock in Port Canaveral on Sunday, October 28.  Our scheduled 7 day cruise will be shortened to a 6 day cruise visiting Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya.  Unfortunately, this means we will cancel our call in Isla Roatan.  Check-in for your cruise is now scheduled on Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 1:30PM to 3:30PM, and sailing is set for 4:00PM at Terminal 6.  For updates, text CCL2 to CRUISE (278473).

As a result of this change, guests will receive:
• One day pro-rated cruise fare refund
• Refund of the government fees and taxes for Isla Roatan
• Pre-paid shore excursions purchased for Isla Roatan will be automatically refunded
• Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened voyage

CARNIVAL ECSTASY – 10/27/12 DEPARTURE NOW SCHEDULED TO DEPART 10/28/12The Carnival Ecstasy is now scheduled to dock in Port Canaveral on Sunday, October 28.  Our scheduled 5 day cruise will be shortened to a 4 day cruise visiting Nassau and Freeport.  Unfortunately, this means we will cancel our call in Key West.  Check-in for your cruise is now scheduled on Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 11:00AM to 3:00PM, and sailing is set for 4:00PM at Terminal 3.  For updates, text CCL3 to CRUISE (278473).

As a result of this change, guests will receive:
• One day pro-rated cruise fare refund
• Refund of government fees and taxes for Key West
• Pre-paid shore excursions purchased for Key West will be automatically refunded
• Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened voyage

CARNIVAL GLORY – 10/28/12 DEPARTURE HAS BEEN CANCELED Due to the storm, high winds and tidal flooding are expected in the Norfolk area.  The Norfolk cruise terminal is positioned behind a major flood gate in the city which will likely close during the day tomorrow.  When this happens, there will be no access to the cruise terminal. 

We are sorry to say that we have no alternative but to cancel the 10/28 cruise.  Refunds will be processed to the original form of payment within the next 2 weeks.
We know how much our guests were looking forward to this getaway and regret the disappointment this has caused.  We look forward to welcoming you on board on another Fun Ship in the near future.

CARNIVAL PRIDE – 10/28 DEPARTURE - CANCELED
The US Coast Guard has just made us aware that we will not be able to depart from the Chesapeake Bay.  At this time, it is uncertain when this restriction will be lifted.  We respect the Coast Guard’s decision and since we do not know when we will be cleared to sail, we will not be able to operate this cruise.

Guests will be provided with a full refund (within two weeks to the form of payment) and a 25% future cruise discount.  Parking expenses will be refunded as they leave the parking facility.  Should guests need a hotel room for this evening, please have them contact a Guest Logistics team member in the terminal.  We will also cover $30 per person for dinner this evening.  Receipts to be submitted to guestcare@carnival.com.  


DISNEY CRUISE LINE:

Disney Fantasy October 27 sailing
Potential of a delay in the boarding process should the wind conditions prohibit the ship from safely navigating the channel in Port Canaveral on Saturday morning. 
Check DCL website or call 1-866-858-7416 on Saturday morning for updates and port operation hours before traveling to Port Canaveral. 

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE:

Holland America's Eurodam, Currently finishing up a 12-night Atlantic Coast cruise
Thirteen-day Atlantic Coast cruise that departed Quebec on Oct. 14, with scheduled arrival in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday, Oct. 27.
The ship is now alongside at a cargo pier in Jacksonville, Florida, having arrived at approximately 3:00pm today. Changing conditions necessitated routing to Jacksonville rather than the originally scheduled Ft. Lauderdale or Port Canaveral alternative that was anticipated yesterday. Guests on this sailing will disembark tomorrow, October 27. Complimentary motorcoach transportation will be provided to guests to the Fort Lauderdale airport, Miami International Airport and the Port Everglades cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale. Motorcoach transfer between Jacksonville and Fort Lauderdale will take approximately six hours. We are working with those guests who booked their air through Holland America Line to make arrangements for any affected flights.

Oct. 27th seven-day “Malt Shop Memories Cruise” originally scheduled for departure from Ft. Lauderdale 

Embarkation for this cruise will now be done in Jacksonville, Florida. This cruise will not be embarking at the Port Canaveral alternative as anticipated yesterday.
Complimentary motorcoach transportation will be provided to Jacksonville from Port Everglades cruise terminal #29. The first coach will depart at 11:00am and the last coach will depart at 3:00pm. Guests who arrive at the Ft. Lauderdale or Miami International airports will be directed to transportation to the pier, from where they will depart for Jacksonville. Calls are currently being made to guests booked on this sailing. Departure time and revised itinerary for this sailing will be finalized based on weather conditions. Guests onboard will be kept apprised.
For guests who live in the region and would like to arrange their own transportation, they can go to Jaxport Cruise Terminal, 9810 August Drive in Jacksonville between 4:00pm and 7:00pm. However, please be advised that the cruise will end in Ft. Lauderdale as originally scheduled, so any guests leaving their car in Jacksonville will need to make their own arrangements to retrieve their vehicle after the cruise.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE:

Norwegian Gem (October 31 sailing)
Given the current information regarding the path and speed of Hurricane Sandy, and as long as the Port of New York re-opens, we expect embarkation for Norwegian Gem’s next cruise to take place on Wednesday, October 31 beginning at noon and the ship will depart at 4 pm. Guests should continue to check ncl.com for the latest information or call 800-327-7030 if they need assistance.

As soon as the Coast Guard re-opens the Port of New York, Norwegian Gem will proceed to the pier which may be Tuesday, October 30, in the afternoon. At that time, we would give guests the option of disembarking the ship or staying onboard overnight, allowing them the opportunity to make the appropriate travel arrangements.

Norwegian Jewel will arrive as scheduled in Port Canaveral, Florida tomorrow, Tuesday, October 30.

Norwegian Dawn is overnighting in Halifax, Nova Scotia and will depart at 7 am tomorrow. The ship is scheduled to call in Boston on Wednesday, October 31.

Guests on board these vessels will be kept up to date by the ship’s Captain.
We appreciate our guests’ understanding and patience.




PRINCESS CRUISES:

Caribbean Princess
Voyage B237
4-day cruise
Updated as of October 29, 2012 at 2 pm PDT

Passengers onboard Caribbean Princess’ voyage B237 are currently in Boston during Day 2 of a 4-day cruise.  Passengers have been advised that the ship plans to sail for New York tomorrow (Tuesday).  The sea conditions will require the vessel to operate at significantly reduced speeds and will impact their arrival into New York.  We currently expect to be delayed by at least one day and arriving no earlier than Thursday morning.  As this unprecedented weather condition is constantly changing, we will continue to keep our passengers onboard updated on the situation.
Due to the unprecedented circumstances, we understand that some passengers will wish to disembark in Boston and have provided them information how to disembark Tuesday.
We are currently rebooking air travel for those passengers who purchased air through Princess, and are offering complimentary phone and internet services for those passengers who need to make changes to their independent travel plans.

As a gesture of goodwill, in recognition of the extreme circumstances, we are offering compensation to all passengers onboard in the form of a Future Cruise Credit. Once we are underway and the full impact on our voyage is known, we will communicate details to the impacted passengers while onboard.

Caribbean Princess
Voyage B238
10-day cruise
Updated as of October 29, 2012 at 2 pm PDT

We look forward to welcoming passengers onboard for Caribbean Princess’ voyage B238 originally scheduled to embark on Wednesday, October 31.
Due to the extreme weather conditions of Hurricane Sandy, we have advised our passengers on Caribbean Princess’ voyage B238 that we expect to embark passenger later than originally planned. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience; however the current voyage of Caribbean Princess is expected to arrive into New York at least one day late, impacting the embarkation for the following voyage.
We tentatively expect our embarkation to be moved from Wednesday, October 31 to Thursday, November 1.  Passengers will receive a per diem for any cruise days missed due to a late embarkation.  As this unprecedented weather situation continues to change, we will keep passengers updated as to any new information.   Those passengers who have Princess Air and/or Princess transfers will be contacted regarding their specific travel plans.  We apologize for the inconvenience and look forward to welcoming our passengers onboard.


Emerald Princess
Voyage E229
12-day cruise
Updated as of October 27, 2012 at Noon PDT

Passengers joined Emerald Princess yesterday in Quebec to begin their 12-day cruise ending in Ft. Lauderdale on November 7.

Due to the presence of Hurricane Sandy and the impact it will have on the New England area, the port calls to Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport have been cancelled. Port calls to Port Saguenay and Corner Brook have been added.

The revised itinerary is as follows:
Saturday October 27          Quebec               depart 6:00pm
Sunday October 28           Port Saguenay      7:00am - 4:00pm
Monday October 29           at Sea
Tuesday October 30           Corner Brook       8:00am - 5:00pm
Wednesday October 31      Sydney                 7:00am - 4:00pm
Thursday November 1         Halifax                 7:00am - 4:00pm
Friday November 2             at Sea
Saturday November 3         New York           7:15am - 5:00pm
Sunday November 4           at Sea
Monday November 5         Charleston             9:00am - 6:00pm
Tuesday November 6         at Sea
Wednesday November 7    Ft. Lauderdale      7:00am
We will continue to provide updates on Princess.com as more information becomes available. 

Ruby Princess
Voyage R232
7-day cruise
Updated as of October 29, 2012 at 9:30 am PDT

Passengers joined Ruby Princess on Sunday October 28.

As we previously communicated, we made the decision to cancel our call to Princess Cays. As Princess Cays is a tender port, the predicted strong winds and high seas will make it impossible to carry out a safe tender operation. We do not anticipate any additional changes to our itinerary due to Hurricane Sandy. While we make every effort to sail our itineraries as originally planned, the safety and security of our passengers and crew is our highest priority and this decision, while disappointing, is necessary.



ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL:

Brilliance of the Seas

Brilliance of the Seas cancelled its call to Bar Harbor, Maine, for Tuesday, October 30. Instead, the ship called to St. John, New Brunswick, today, as scheduled, and will remain in port until Tuesday. This will provide the ship with the most shelter from the weather and ensure a safe and comfortable experience for all guests and crew onboard.

Enchantment of the Seas

Enchantment of the Seas will be unable to call on Kings Wharf, Bermuda, as originally scheduled.  Instead, the ship sailed out to sea in an effort to try to find the calmest seas possible.

Jewel of the Seas

Given Hurricane Sandy’s current location and projected path, Jewel of the Seas did not depart Boston, Massachusetts, yesterday, as scheduled, but will remain docked in port until Tuesday, October 30.  Due to the delayed departure from Boston, Jewel of the Seas will sail a revised itinerary.

Monarch of the Seas

Monarch of the Seas will call to CocoCay, Bahamas, on Thursday, November 1, instead of on Tuesday, October 30, as originally scheduled.

Previously Reported Cruise Ships Impacted - CLICK HERE

WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...
NONE 
 
THERE ARE NO COASTAL TROPICAL CYCLONE WARNINGS IN EFFECT.
 
HOWEVER...THERE ARE NON-TROPICAL HIGH-WIND WARNINGS IN EFFECT FOR
PORTIONS OF THE MID-ATLANTIC AND NEW ENGLAND STATES. PLEASE SEE
STATEMENTS FROM LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICES.
 
HURRICANE-FORCE WIND GUSTS ARE POSSIBLE ALONG PORTIONS OF THE COAST
BETWEEN CHINCOTEAGUE VIRGINIA AND CHATHAM MASSACHUSETTS DURING THE
NEXT FEW HOURS.  THIS INCLUDES THE TIDAL POTOMAC FROM COBB ISLAND
TO SMITH POINT...THE MIDDLE AND UPPER CHESAPEAKE BAY...DELAWARE
BAY...AND THE COASTS OF THE NORTHERN DELMARVA PENINSULA...NEW
JERSEY...THE NEW YORK CITY AREA...LONG ISLAND...CONNECTICUT...AND
RHODE ISLAND.
 
TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE NORTH OF CHATHAM
THROUGH MUCH OF NEW ENGLAND...AND OVER THE LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY...
AND SOUTH OF CHINCOTEAGUE TO EXTREME NORTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...INCLUDING POSSIBLE
INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY
YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE FORECAST OFFICE.  
 
A HURRICANE WARNING MEANS THAT HURRICANE CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED
SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA.  PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE
AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN 24
TO 36 HOURS.
 
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 48 HOURS.
 
INTERESTS IN SOUTH FLORIDA SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF SANDY.  A
TROPICAL STORM WATCH MAY BE REQUIRED FOR PORTIONS OF SOUTHEAST
FLORIDA AND THE FLORIDA KEYS TONIGHT OR EARLY WEDNESDAY.
 
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE MONITOR
PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL METEOROLOGICAL SERVICE.
  
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 75 MPH...120 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  THE STRONGEST WINDS ARE OCCURRING OVER WATER TO THE EAST OF
THE CENTER.  STEADY WEAKENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
 
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 90 MILES...150 KM...TO
THE EAST OF THE CENTER. TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD
UP TO 485 MILES...780 KM FROM THE CENTER. A SUSTAINED WIND OF 56
MPH...WITH A GUST TO 71 MPH WAS RECENTLY REPORTED AT LAGUARDIA
AIRPORT IN NEW YORK.  A TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY AUTOMATED OBSERVING
SITE HAS REPORTED SUSTAINED WINDS OF 50 MPH...WITH A GUST TO 67
MPH...ALONG THE COAST OF NORTHERN NEW JERSEY WITHIN THE PAST HOUR.
 
THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE BASED ON SURFACE DATA IS 952
MB...28.11 INCHES.
 

 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
WIND...TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS WILL CONTINUE OVER PORTIONS OF THE
MID-ATLANTIC STATES FROM VIRGINIA NORTHWARD THROUGH NEW ENGLAND.
HURRICANE-FORCE WIND GUSTS ARE POSSIBLE ALONG THE COAST OF NEW
JERSEY...NEW YORK...SOUTHERN MASSACHUSETTS AND RHODE ISLAND DURING
THE NEXT FEW HOURS.
 
IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT WINDS AFFECTING THE UPPER FLOORS OF
HIGH-RISE BUILDINGS WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY STRONGER THAN THOSE NEAR
GROUND LEVEL.
 
STORM SURGE...THE COMBINATION OF AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS STORM SURGE
AND THE TIDE WILL CAUSE NORMALLY DRY AREAS NEAR THE COAST TO BE
FLOODED BY RISING WATERS. THE WATER COULD REACH THE FOLLOWING
DEPTHS ABOVE GROUND IF THE PEAK SURGE OCCURS AT THE TIME OF HIGH
TIDE...
 
NC NORTH OF SURF CITY INCLUDING PAMLICO/ALBEMARLE SOUNDS...2 TO 4 FT
SE VA AND DELMARVA INCLUDING LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY...2 TO 4 FT
UPPER AND MIDDLE CHESAPEAKE BAY...1 TO 3 FT
LONG ISLAND SOUND...RARITAN BAY...AND NEW YORK HARBOR...6 TO 11 FT
ELSEWHERE FROM OCEAN CITY MD TO THE CT/RI BORDER...4 TO 8 FT
CT/RI BORDER TO THE SOUTH SHORE OF CAPE COD INCLUDING BUZZARDS
BAY AND NARRAGANSETT BAY...3 TO 6 FT
CAPE COD TO THE MA/NH BORDER INCLUDING CAPE COD BAY...2 TO 4 FT
MA/NH BORDER TO THE U.S./CANADA BORDER...1 TO 3 FT
 
SURGE-RELATED FLOODING DEPENDS ON THE RELATIVE TIMING OF THE SURGE
AND THE TIDAL CYCLE...AND CAN VARY GREATLY OVER SHORT DISTANCES.
GIVEN THE LARGE WIND FIELD ASSOCIATED WITH SANDY...ELEVATED WATER
LEVELS COULD SPAN MULTIPLE TIDE CYCLES RESULTING IN REPEATED AND
EXTENDED PERIODS OF COASTAL AND BAYSIDE FLOODING.  IN ADDITION...
ELEVATED WATERS COULD OCCUR FAR REMOVED FROM THE CENTER OF SANDY.
FOR INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA...PLEASE SEE PRODUCTS ISSUED
BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE OFFICE.
 
RAINFALL...RAINFALL TOTALS OF 3 TO 6 INCHES ARE EXPECTED OVER FAR
NORTHEASTERN NORTH CAROLINA WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM TOTALS OF 8
INCHES POSSIBLE. RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 4 TO 8 INCHES ARE EXPECTED
OVER PORTIONS OF THE MID ATLANTIC STATES...INCLUDING THE DELMARVA
PENINSULA...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 12 INCHES POSSIBLE.
RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF
5 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE FROM THE SOUTHERN TIER OF NEW YORK STATE
NORTHEASTWARD THROUGH NEW ENGLAND.
 
SNOWFALL..SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 3 FEET ARE EXPECTED IN THE
MOUNTAINS OF WEST VIRGINIA WITH LOCALLY HIGHER TOTALS TODAY THROUGH
WEDNESDAY. SNOWFALL OF 1 TO 2 FEET IS EXPECTED IN THE MOUNTAINS OF
SOUTHWESTERN VIRGINIA TO THE KENTUCKY BORDER...WITH 12 TO 18 INCHES
OF SNOW EXPECTED IN THE MOUNTAINS NEAR THE NORTH CAROLINA/TENNESSEE
BORDER AND IN THE MOUNTAINS OF WESTERN MARYLAND.
 
SURF...DANGEROUS SURF CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE FROM FLORIDA THROUGH
NEW ENGLAND FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS.

 
HISTORICAL DATA:      Storm Archive         Graphics Archive 
 
1100 AM EDT MON OCT 22 2012
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS OVER THE SOUTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA...
...TROPICAL STORM WATCH ISSUED FOR JAMAICA... 
 
500 PM EDT MON OCT 22 2012
...DEPRESSION STRENGTHENS INTO TROPICAL STORM SANDY...
 
1100 PM EDT MON OCT 22 2012
...SANDY MOVING LITTLE OVER THE SOUTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN SEA...
...EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE BY WEDNESDAY...
 
1100 AM EDT TUE OCT 23 2012
...SANDY A LITTLE STRONGER...
...HURRICANE WARNING ISSUED FOR JAMAICA...
 
200 PM EDT TUE OCT 23 2012
...SANDY CONTINUES MOVING NORTH-NORTHEASTWARD...
...TROPICAL STORM WARNING ISSUED FOR HAITI... 
 
500 PM EDT TUE OCT 23 2012
...HURRICANE WARNING ISSUED FOR EASTERN CUBA...
 
500 AM EDT WED OCT 24 2012
...SANDY CONTINUES TO STRENGTHEN AS IT MOVES A LITTLE FASTER
TOWARD JAMAICA...
...TROPICAL STORM WATCH ISSUED FOR SOUTHEAST FLORIDA. AND THE
UPPER KEYS... 

1100 AM EDT WED OCT 24 2012
...SANDY REACHES HURRICANE STRENGTH...
...CONDITIONS DETERIORATING IN JAMAICA...
 
320 PM EDT WED OCT 24 2012
...SANDY MAKES LANDFALL IN SOUTHEASTERN JAMAICA... 

500 PM EDT WED OCT 24 2012
...SANDY EMERGING OFF THE NORTHEAST COAST OF JAMAICA...
 
800 PM EDT WED OCT 24 2012
...EYE OF SANDY NOW BETWEEN JAMAICA AND CUBA... 

1100 PM EDT WED OCT 24 2012
...EYE OF SANDY APPROACHING THE COAST OF SOUTHEASTERN CUBA...
...COULD BECOME A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE BEFORE LANDFALL...

130 AM EDT THU OCT 25 2012
...SANDY MAKES LANDFALL JUST WEST OF SANTIAGO DE CUBA...
 
200 AM EDT THU OCT 25 2012
...CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE SANDY LOCATED JUST INLAND OVER
SOUTHEASTERN CUBA...
...WIND GUST TO 114 MPH REPORTED IN SANTIAGO DE CUBA... 

800 AM EDT THU OCT 25 2012
...SANDY MOVING BETWEEN THE NORTHEAST COAST OF CUBA AND THE CENTRAL
BAHAMAS...
 
500 PM EDT THU OCT 25 2012
...SANDY NEAR CAT ISLAND IN THE CENTRAL BAHAMAS...
...WIND FIELD EXPANDING...
  
1100 PM EDT THU OCT 25 2012
...CENTER OF SANDY PASSING NEAR ELEUTHERA ISLAND IN THE NORTHWESTERN
BAHAMAS...
 
800 AM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012
...SANDY NEAR GREAT ABACO ISLAND...
 
1115 AM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012
THE BERMUDA WEATHER SERVICE HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR
BERMUDA.
 
1100 PM EDT FRI OCT 26 2012
...SANDY REMAINS A HURRICANE AS IT MOVES SLOWLY NORTHWARD AWAY FROM
THE BAHAMAS... 

500 AM EDT SAT OCT 27 2012
...SANDY WEAKENS BUT IS EXPECTED TO REMAIN A LARGE STORM WITH
WIDESPREAD IMPACTS INTO EARLY NEXT WEEK...
 
PREVIOUSLY REPORTED CRUISES IMPACTED
HOLLAND AMERICA LINE:

Holland America's Eurodam, Currently finishing up a 12-night Atlantic Coast cruise
Will arrive in Port Canaveral October 26 and will terminate there on October 27, rather than go on to Fort Lauderdale as scheduled. Complimentary motorcoach transportation will be provided to guests with flights out of the Fort Lauderdale airport or Miami International airport. All others will be transferred to Pier 29 at the Port Everglades cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale. Motorcoach transfer between Port Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale will take approximately four hours. Those guests wishing to disembark the ship on October 26 were able to do so between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., per U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Eurodam's next cruise, scheduled to depart on October 27 from Fort Lauderdale, will leave from Port Canaveral instead and the departure time has been pushed back until 10:00 p.m.
Embarking guests will be met at Pier 29 at the Port Everglades cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale for motorcoach transfer to Port Canaveral. The first coach will leave at 11:00 a.m. and the last coach will depart at 3:00 p.m. Guests who arrive at the Fort Lauderdale or Miami airports will be directed to transportation to the pier for transfer to Cape Canaveral. Guests are encouraged to arrive at the pier between 11:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The cruise will end November 3 in Fort Lauderdale as originally scheduled.

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINE:

CARNIVAL DREAM – 10/27/12 DEPARTURE:
The Carnival Dream is now scheduled to dock in Port Canaveral on Sunday, October 28.  Our scheduled 7 day cruise will be shortened to a 6 day cruise visiting Cozumel, Belize and Costa Maya.  Unfortunately, this means we will cancel our call in Isla Roatan.  Check-in for your cruise is now scheduled on Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 1:30PM to 3:30PM, and sailing is set for 4:00PM at Terminal 6.  For updates, text CCL2 to CRUISE (278473).

As a result of this change, guests will receive:
• One day pro-rated cruise fare refund
• Refund of the government fees and taxes for Isla Roatan
• Pre-paid shore excursions purchased for Isla Roatan will be automatically refunded
• Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened voyage


CARNIVAL ECSTASY – 10/27/12 DEPARTURE:
The Carnival Ecstasy is now scheduled to dock in Port Canaveral on Sunday, October 28.  Our scheduled 5 day cruise will be shortened to a 4 day cruise visiting Nassau and Freeport.  Unfortunately, this means we will cancel our call in Key West.  Check-in for your cruise is now scheduled on Sunday, October 28, 2012 from 11:00AM to 3:00PM, and sailing is set for 4:00PM at Terminal 3.  For updates, text CCL3 to CRUISE (278473).

As a result of this change, guests will receive:
• One day pro-rated cruise fare refund
• Refund of government fees and taxes for Key West
• Pre-paid shore excursions purchased for Key West will be automatically refunded
• Gratuities will also be adjusted to reflect the shortened voyage

Carnival Miracle sailing an eight-night itinerary from New York 
Called on San Juan (October 24) but will skip the remaining two ports, remaining at sea until it returns to New York on October 29.

Carnival Valor six-night sailing
Swapped out two Caribbean island stops (Grand Cayman and Montego Bay) replacing them with Costa Maya (October 24) and Cozumel (October 25) in Mexico.

Carnival Fantasy 
Will remain at sea on October 25, rather than stop in Freeport, Bahamas as originally scheduled.

Carnival Sensation, which departs October 25 from Port Canaveral, 

will remain at sea on October 26 and stop in Key West on October 27, rather than stop for two days in Nassau, Bahamas as originally scheduled.

Carnival Valor six-night sailing

Swapped out two Caribbean island stops (Grand Cayman and Montego Bay)  replacing them with Costa Maya (October 24) and Cozumel (October 25) in Mexico.

Carnival Pride
also will forgo two stops, both in the Bahamas (Half Moon Cay and Freeport) in favor of a day at sea (October 25) and Port Canaveral (October 26).

Carnival Glory
called on Nassau (October 24) as scheduled but did not overnight or spend a second day in port, instead departing the Bahamas and spending a day at sea (October 25). Glory will then visit Port Canaveral (October 26) instead of Freeport.

Carnival Magic (week-long sailing out of Galveston)

Swapped from its scheduled Montego Bay, Jamaica, to Grand Cayman to Cozumel, Mexico route.  The ship called at Key West (October 23) spent the day at sea (October 24), Costa Maya (October 25), then on to Cozumel.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINE:


Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas 
Replaced a call on Falmouth, Jamaica (October 24) with a day at sea.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE:

Norwegian Jewel will embark guests in New York and depart as scheduled today.

Norwegian Gem (October 29 sailing)
The US Coast Guard has advised that it will close the Port of New York as of 6 pm today, Sunday, October 28. Therefore, Norwegian Gem’s arrival in New York on Monday, October 29 will be delayed and the ship will remain at sea. The Coast Guard has not yet determined when it will re-open the Port of New York. Therefore, guests scheduled to sail on Norwegian Gem’s October 29 sailing are asked to continue to check ncl.com for the latest updates and information. We expect an update on the ship’s arrival and departure times on Sunday evening.

Norwegian Dawn will cancel its call to Portland, Maine on Tuesday, October 30 and instead stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Monday, October 29 from 10 am to 8 pm.

Guests on board these vessels will be kept up to date by the ship’s Captain.
We appreciate our guests’ understanding.


Norwegian Gem will cancel its call in Samana, Dominican Republic, on Friday, and will proceed to New York to arrive as scheduled on Monday. 

Norwegian Pearl 
Changed to Cozumel (October 24) and Costa Maya (October 25) rather than Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman.

Norwegian Jewel 

Rescheduled stops at Freeport, Bahamas (October 24) instead of Great Stirrup Cay, and Charleston, South Carolina (October 26) instead of Nassau, Bahamas.

UPDATE: Norwegian Jewel will now call in Norfolk, Virginia on Friday (instead of Charleston, South Carolina), returning to New York as scheduled on Sunday.

Norwegian Sky
Skipping its stop at Great Stirrup Cay (October 25) and will instead spend an extra day at sea.
UPDATE: Norwegian Sky is spending the day at sea today and is expected to have a delayed arrival into Miami on Friday, October 26 at approximately 9 am. 

Embarkation for the ship’s three-day cruise will now begin at 2 pm. We ask all embarking guests to please arrive at the terminal no earlier than 2 pm. The ship’s departure is now scheduled for 7 pm.

PRINCESS CRUISES:



Caribbean Princess Voyage B237 4-day cruise
Skipping scheduled visit to Bermuda (October 29). The line is currently looking for a port to the North as a replacement.



DISNEY CRUISE LINE:

Disney Dream (October 25 sailing)
Will depart Port Canaveral as scheduled,  but will spend October 26 at sea, rather than stop at Castaway Cay.  If weather permits the ship will call on Nassau(October 26) as scheduled.

Disney Fantasy sailing a seven-night cruise 

Will replace its Castaway Cay visit (October 25) with a day at sea.
 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Welcome Reception at Epcot


Disney Welcomes Us in Style

Our 2012 Creating Magical Memories National Conference kickoff was a Welcome Reception at Disney's Epcot Center.  Disney Cruise Line buses picked up the 700 conference attendees at Coronado Springs and whisked us away the back way into Epcot.

We had a fantastic buffet meal and then were greeted by executives of various Disney Destinations organizations including Disney Cruise Line of course.

Wandering around the room, we wondered where they dessert was hidden.   We soon learned that we would have dessert outside in a private area of Epcot that had an excellent view of the spectacular nighttime highlight IllumiNations.

We had a short walk from the banquet room to the dessert stations.  The first table had various pastries such as eclairs.  Walking a little further we found two Epcot employees making fresh churros, sometimes referred to as a Spanish doughnuts.  Complementing the fried-dough pastries there was brown sugar coating and vanilla ice cream.  These soon became the hit of the party as more and more agents discovered them.

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth


Seen from anywhere in Epcot with a view of the World Showcase Lagoon, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is a spectacular 14-minute, live pyrotechnic show that brings together the past, present and future of our planet and its colorful nations.

The show features breathtaking fireworks, brilliant bursts of fire, laserlight effects, dramatic fountain barges, a stirring musical score, first introduced in 1999 for the Millennium Celebration, and the world's first spherical video display system—the 350,000-pound Earth Globe.  The show can be intense for young audiences, so be sure to select a viewing location with that in mind.

It wasn't long before the announcements began, warning that the lighting would be dim during the show and encouraging everyone to find a location and plan on staying there for the duration of the entire show.

We've seen the show before, but never from this private vantage point.  This is a show that you never grow tired of seeing.


When planning your day at Epcot Center, we'd suggest that you conclude your visit in World Showcase, perhaps with dinner in one of the authentic restaurants of a country that you'd like to visit.  After dinner complete your visit to the other countries and head over to the lagoon to select your spot for the show.

Behind the Scenes

Have you ever wondered what it is like behind the scenes at Epcot Center?  Check out our album on Facebook to get a glimpse behind World Showcase as well as some images from the show.

Epcot IllumiNations Fireworks (Click to view Video)

Become a fan on Facebook

Creating Magical Memories 2012

2012 National Conference
 Let The Memories Begin!

Each October, we attend our National Conference which is typically hosted by one of our partner cruise lines.  This year, Disney Destinations was our host.   Our conference began in Walt Disney World Resort and continued on Disney Dream.

As with any conference, there were general sessions, breakout meetings, opportunities to network, special events, and of course, opportunities to enjoy all the venue itself had to offer.   In the case of Disney Destinations, that is quite a lot.

Come along with us on a Magical Journey through Walt Disney World parks and then sail away with us to the Bahamas on Disney Dream.

Arriving for Conference

The closest airport to Walt Disney Worlds Resort is Orlando International Airport (MCO).  The airport is about 40 miles from the Disney resort.  Guests staying at Walt Disney Resort hotels can utilize Disney's Magical Express bus transportation from the airport to the hotel.   We didn't use their transportation because our son had driven to Florida and picked us up at the airport.

Coronado Springs Hotel & Conference Center

Coronado Springs Hotel - Disney World
Once on Disney property, we headed towards our hotel to check in.  The conference headquarters hotel was Coronado Springs which also has conference facilities like many of the other hotels on Disney property.

Check in went smoothly as Disney is very organized.   The package we received at check in also included our cruise documents and baggage tags.   Next we stopped at the conference registration tables to get our badges, conference shirts, and other information before heading to our room.  (View more photos)

Flippers Pizza - Downtown Disney
The first event for the conference would be in the evening.  Bus transportation was arranged to take us to Epcot Center for our private function (more on that in another article).

Meanwhile, we decided to get something to eat, so we headed to Downtown Disney to check out the restaurants there.  We selected one of their specialty pizzas with all the toppings.   We all enjoyed the pizza very much.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Misconceptions and Myths About Cruising (Part 2)

In this post, I'll continue with some myths.

Myth #3 – I’ll Get Seasick or Norwalk Virus
There are some people in this world that suffer from motion sickness. A good friend of mine gets motion sickness in a car and on an airplane. That doesn’t mean that she never gets in a car (she does every day) nor take an airplane ride (she takes several trips each year). What it does mean, is that she takes preventive measures that help counteract the balance problems. By the way, she has been on several cruises and once again took precautions and was able to enjoy the vacation.

Modern ships are very stable thanks to the stabilizers which prevent side to side and up and down motion. Except in the roughest of seas, someone that is susceptible to motion sickness will be fine as long as they utilize one of the preventive measures that are available. Consult your doctor before your cruise if you have any concerns – they can make a recommendation for a remedy that will work for you. You can also check with guest relations onboard the ship should you start feeling the motion.

I’ve been cruising for over 20 years and haven’t personally had motion sickness, even in the roughest seas. A secret that I’ve used is to be sure to drink plenty of water and eat regular meals.

There’s been lots of press over recent years about Norwalk Virus. A ship isn’t the only place where this illness can strike, but cruise ships often make big news when the virus occurs. Cruise lines take as many precautions to prevent this disease as possible, the rest is up to the passengers. When you board the ship don’t be surprised if you are asked to complete a medical declaration. 
 
You’ll also find sanitizers (as shown in this picture) spread throughout the ship. On my most recent cruise, aboard NCL Pearl, the crew took this very seriously and had someone stationed by the gangway every time we boarded. Also, there were sanitizers by all dining venues and a crew member manning the door to make sure everyone used the sanitizer. The secret to avoiding this illness is to be sure to wash you hands often during the cruise.

One thing to note – should you become ill, you need to report it to the doctor onboard. Failing to do so could put the whole ship at risk. Often people get upset that the doctor confined them to their quarters when they were sick, but the alternative would be to have hundreds or thousands of people sick. It’s no different than children passing various illnesses at school. A little prevention goes a long way.

So, don’t worry about these possible problems ahead of time. Simply take the necessary preventive measures and odds are you will not have any problem.

Myth #4 – All There is to do is Eat – I’ll Gain Weight
Granted food of all varieties is available onboard the ship, but that doesn’t mean you need to gain weight on your cruise any more than it would if you were at home. Cruise lines offer a variety of menu options and can also assist with special diets. If you have special dietary requirements, be sure to let your Cruise Specialist know when you book your cruise so that they can inform the cruise line.

Even if you find yourself eating too much there are very simple measures you can take to combat gaining weight. A simple step I take is to use the stairs instead of the elevator as often as I can. When booking your cruise you may even consider location on the ship to optimize the chances of you using stairs or walking to get to public areas.

If you want something more formal, than simply walking the stairs, there are several options including fully equipped gyms, jogging/ walking tracks, basketball courts, swimming pools, rock climbing walls, and various formal classes (such as aerobics). Of course, that’s just onboard the ship. You can plan your shore excursions so that you get some exercise doing one of your favorite activities.

So as you can see, by eating sensibly and adding some exercise during your cruise, odds are you won’t gain weight. I’ve actually had several cruises where I’ve lost weight and believe me, it wasn’t from skipping meals. Your Cruise Specialist can recommend a ship that has the activities that you will enjoy and be more likely to participate for a healthy cruise.

Myth #5 – Cruises are Too Expensive
Too expensive as compared to what? Unless you are a hermit I’m sure you’ve noticed that the US dollar is not very strong in Europe at the moment. If you were to plan a land-based trip to Europe, I can easily bet you’d spend more than you will on a cruise visiting the same locations. There are several reasons why this is the case. First, if you book early, you lock in the price for your trip regardless of any price increases by the time you leave for your vacation. Secondly, your room and board, all meals, and lots of entertainment onboard the ship are included in the price of your cruise price.

The money you save on meals alone will give you extra money to spend in ports on shopping or other activities. On a recent cruise to Norway earlier this year we had two BLT sandwiches and Cokes for approximately $50 US. That was our option and there were less expensive meals that we could have eaten. We had a choice in this case, but if you were on a land-based trip, you might not have options.

With the value of the dollar declining, do you avoid going to Europe? I hope the answer is no because it is a wonderful place to go to experience your family roots, culture, history, scenery, etc. What better location to take your children, as they study world history, then to the site where history was made. I’ve traveled to many European destinations that I would never have seen if it had not been by ship. Here’s a secret: look at a Repositioning Cruise (sometimes called Trans-Atlantic) since these are often a very good value.

To get the best value for your travel budget, I encourage you to work with your Cruise Specialist. We can provide you with advice that you can’t get from any internet price list. The biggest secret to saving money on your cruise vacation is to plan ahead and be flexible if possible. Prices can vary from week to week even on the same cruise. If money is a concern, a little homework will go a long way.

Summary
I’ve covered a few of the more popular myths that I’ve heard over the years. This is not an exhaustive list. If you have others that you’ve heard and would like me to comment, either comment here or contact me via email and I’ll be happy to do so.

Tropical Storm Paul Forms in East Pacific


Click (here) for Interactive Map
Tropical Storm Paul
South of Baja California
800 PM PDT SAT OCT 13 2012

...TROPICAL STORM PAUL INTENSIFYING SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF BAJA
CALIFORNIA MEXICO... 


Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here

See where ships are relative to tropical storms
Interactive tracking map (real-time ship tracking)

Tropical Storm Paul is south of Baja California and growing in strength.  It is expected to become a hurricane on Sunday and make landfall mid-week.  If you will be in this area, you should monitor its progress.

 
SUMMARY OF 800 PM PDT...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...14.2N 114.1W
ABOUT 660 MI...1065 KM SSW OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...50 MPH...85 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 270 DEGREES AT 13 MPH...20 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1001 MB...29.56 INCHES


WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------
THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT. 
 
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 50 MPH...85 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS...AND
PAUL IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A HURRICANE BY SUNDAY. 
 
 
 
 
HISTORICAL DATA:    Storm Archive     Graphics Archive      

800 PM PDT SAT OCT 13 2012

...TROPICAL STORM PAUL INTENSIFYING SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF BAJA
CALIFORNIA MEXICO... 
 
 
200 PM PDT SAT OCT 13 2012
 
...TROPICAL STORM PAUL FORMS WELL SOUTH-SOUTHWEST OF BAJA
CALIFORNIA...




Friday, October 12, 2012

Tropical Storm Rafael Aims for Lesser Antilles

TS Rafael Lesser Antilles 2012
Click (here) for Interactive Map
Tropical Storm Rafael
Forms in Atlantic
U.S. Warnings Posted
1100 PM AST SAT OCT 13 2012

...CENTER OF RAFAEL PASSES WEST OF ST. MARTIN...

Tropical Storm Rafael, which formed earlier this evening near the Lesser Antilles, is dumping heavy rain on the region, prompting the United States to issue Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings.

Cruise Ship Impact    Current Watches & Warnings

 
SUMMARY OF 1100 PM AST...0300 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...18.4N 63.6W
ABOUT 40 MI...60 KM WNW OF ST. MARTIN
ABOUT 95 MI...150 KM ENE OF ST. CROIX
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...50 MPH...85 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 355 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1004 MB...29.65 INCHES


Cruise Impact 

Carnival swapped out two Caribbean island stops (Grand Cayman and Montego Bay) from Valor's six-night sailing, replacing them with Costa Maya (October 24) and Cozumel (October 25) in Mexico.

Carnival Pride also will forgo two stops, both in the Bahamas (Half Moon Cay and Freeport) in favor of a day at sea (October 25) and Port Canaveral (October 26).

Carnival Glory will call on Nassau (October 24) as scheduled but will not overnight or spend a second day in port, instead departing the Bahamas and spending a day at sea (October 25). Glory will then visit Port Canaveral (October 26) instead of Freeport.

Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas will replace a call on Falmouth, Jamaica (October 24) with a day at sea.

Norwegian Cruise Line also is making changes to some of its itineraries, with Norwegian Pearl visiting Cozumel (October 24) and Costa Maya (October 25) rather than Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman.

Norwegian Jewel is stopping at Freeport in the Bahamas (October 24) instead of Great Stirrup Cay, and Charleston, South Carolina (October 26) instead of Nassau in the Bahamas.
Norwegian Sky will skip its stop at Great Stirrup Cay (October 25) and will instead spend an extra day at sea.

Disney Dream will depart Port Canaveral as scheduled on October 25 but will spend October 26 at sea, rather than stop at Castaway Cay. If weather permits the ship will call on Nassau on October 26 as scheduled.

Disney Fantasy, which is currently sailing a seven-night cruise will replace its Castaway Cay visit (October 25) with a day at sea.


 



WATCHES AND WARNINGS
--------------------

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

NONE.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* CULEBRA AND VIEQUES
* U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS
* BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
* ANGUILLA...BARBUDA...ST. KITTS... NEVIS...ANTIGUA...AND MONTSERRAT
* SABA...ST. EUSTATIUS...AND ST. MAARTIN
* ST. MARTIN
* GUADELOUPE...DESIRADE...LES SAINTES...MARIE GALANTE

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* PUERTO RICO

A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA...IN THIS CASE WITHIN THE
NEXT 12 TO 24 HOURS.

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA.

INTERESTS IN BERMUDA SHOULD MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF RAFAEL.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 50 MPH...85 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  SOME STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS...
AND RAFAEL COULD BECOME A HURRICANE BY MONDAY.
 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
RAINFALL...RAFAEL IS EXPECTED TO PRODUCE TOTAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF 3
TO 5 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 10 INCHES...OVER THE
LESSER ANTILLES AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS.  THESE RAINS COULD CAUSE
LIFE-THREATENING FLASH FLOODS AND MUDSLIDES...ESPECIALLY IN AREAS
OF MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN.  1 TO 3 INCHES OF RAIN IS EXPECTED IN
CULEBRA AND VIEQUES.

WIND...TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS WILL CONTINUE TO SPREAD ACROSS THE
WARNING AREA TONIGHT. TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE OVER
PUERTO RICO TONIGHT AND SUNDAY.

SURF...DANGEROUS SURF CONDITIONS ARE POSSIBLE IN THE LESSER ANTILLES
AND THE VIRGIN ISLANDS THROUGH SUNDAY.

STORM SURGE...A STORM SURGE OF 1 TO 2 FEET ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS
IS POSSIBLE IN AREAS OF ONSHORE FLOW IN THE WARNING AREA. 
 
HISTORICAL DATA:      Storm Archive         Graphics Archive                       
730 PM AST FRI OCT 12 2012
 
...LOW PRESSURE AREA OVER THE EASTERN CARIBBEAN SEA BECOMES TROPICAL
STORM RAFAEL...

Misconceptions and Myths About Cruising (Part 1)

Current statistics shows that only 15% of the population has taken a cruise before.
Of those that have cruised, 90% cruise again. I suspect that some of the myths and misconceptions may be influencing people that have never tried cruising before. In this post I’ll take a look at some of the more popular myths and misconceptions.

Myth #1: A cruise is for old people and newly weds

The destination and cruise line, among other things, contribute to the demographics of your fellow cruisers. Several factors influence the passenger mix on a given voyage. Most passengers on a world cruise will be senior citizens, since there aren’t many younger people that are able to get away from work for three months or more.

Certain destinations, such as Polynesia and the Bahamas, may have a number of newly wed couples onboard. The Caribbean will most likely have the largest demographic mixture, although the time of year may also influence the mix of passengers. When school is in session, there will be far less children onboard than during summer vacation for example.
Historically, certain cruise lines have catered to a particular age segment. For the most part, that is changing since the industry is seeing an increase in families (consisting of multiple generations) traveling together. The major cruise lines have added children’s programs, spa and fitness programs, internet cafes, sports and recreational facilities, and other amenities which appeal to all age groups.

This doesn’t cover all the possibilities, but I hope you get the idea that regardless of your age requirements, there is a cruise out there that will satisfy your needs. I strongly encourage you to work with a Cruise Specialist who can help you select the cruise that is right for you and your companions.


Myth #2: I will be bored on a cruise

When you arrive at your cabin after embarking the vessel, you’ll find the daily program of ship’s activities. Every day, your cabin steward will provide you with the program for the next day in addition to any other important information (such as reminders about time changes, invites to special events, etc). While many people, that haven’t cruised before, feel they will be bored, a quick examination of the daily program will reveal that there are many activity choices that you can make each day. The great news is you can be as active or inactive as you want both onboard the ship and in ports that are visited during the cruise. The ship has an entire staff devoted to activities and entertainment. There should be no reason to be bored during your cruise.

I would highly encourage you to discuss your interests with your Cruise Specialist while planning your cruise vacation. While you’ll find many of the same amenities and activities on most ships, there are certain ships that have added some unique features that might be of interest to you.

Here's just a sampling of what you can expect during your cruise:

SPORTS, FITNESS, RELAXATION
Spa / Fitness Center (workout, have a massage, relax, take a course), swim or relax in one of the pools / hot tubs, jog or walk around the jogging track, play your favorite sport (basketball, table tennis, golf, miniature golf, etc). Some ships even have rock climbing, ice skating, bowling, and even billiards on self-leveling tables. Relax - curl up with a good book (in your cabin, in the library, poolside, or any quiet spot) or simply find an empty lounge chair on one of the decks.

ENTERTAINMENT
Take in a show in one of the lounges or main theater (range from individual performers to high-energy Vegas-style shows), watch a movie (in your cabin, at a movie theater, or on some ships - under the stars), try your luck in the casino or at bingo (extra cost of course), attend karaoke or various events planned by the activities staff

ENRICHMENT
Attend a talk or learn a new skill (destination talks, computer skills, learn to dance, scrapbooking or other arts & crafts). Attend an art auction, wine-tasting or other scheduled events. The shore excursion desk can help you plan enrichment and other activities for your ports of call. Spend some time surfing the net in the internet cafe (or on many ships from your own PC).

SHOPPING
Shops onboard are duty free just like they are in ports of call. Typically there will be daily specials throughout the cruise, so you'll want to check your daily program to avoid missing your favorite items. These items, if taken home, will count towards your customs allowances, so be sure to keep that in mind while shopping. There usually are shopping talks and/or shopping guides so you can plan your port shopping trips.

THEME CRUISES -- another possibility, if the only thing that keeps your interest is some specialty or theme. Theme cruises are very popular these days. I have helped clients find a theme cruise that interested them. It's also possible to start your own group with others that share your interests. Besides, there are benefits for traveling in your own affinity group.

STILL THINK YOU'LL BE BORED .... what would interest you - let me hear from you
NEXT TIME: we'll look at a few more myths. Also, email me if there's a topic that you'd like me to discuss. I'd like to make this blog a vehicle for sharing ideas and helping you enjoy cruising more.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Stop Losing Sleep - Seek Advice of Specialist



STOP LOSING SLEEP!
Seek the advice of a trusted cruise specialist to select a cruise line

Every day we make choices.  Coke or Pepsi?  Coffee or Tea?  Chips or Fries?  The list goes on. Sometimes making these decisions introduces stress into our lives.  One of the benefits of taking a vacation is to get away from daily stress.  We'll guide you through the selection process.


 Look Under the Covers to Narrow Selection



You've seen their commercials; you've heard their slogans.   Even though you've never sailed before, I bet you can name these top selling cruise lines.

In case you can't, they are Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line (top to bottom).

Each cruise line has a different personality and appeals to different demographics.  In most cases, any of these three lines would be an excellent choice for your first cruise.

However, you will definitely need to know differences to set proper expectations.
CLIA has 26 member cruise lines with over 260 ships  [Tweet this]
Determine What is Important to You

As a cruise specialist, the majority of my time is spent asking questions and listening to your responses.  Those answers in turn help to narrow the field of cruise sailings to a manageable short list.  Example:  If you don't want to go on a cruise where there are children, you probably won't want to book a cruise on Carnival during Spring Break.

From there, factors outside our control may further narrow the selection (for example, a particular cabin type could be sold out).

Homework Assignment:  
Read about these three cruise lines - "All Cruise Lines" page.     




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