Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 in Review

As the year draws to a close, we'll take a look at some of the headlines from the past year.  2016 was a relatively quiet year in the news media, at least for the major cruise lines.  There were some bumps and incidents aboard ships, but nothing compared to some of the recent years.

The cruise lines added capacity, but at the same time explored new markets, like China, which helped to stabilize pricing, which was a goal for the industry.   Now more than ever it is important for passengers to plan ahead so that they can take advantage of lead-in pricing.   The lines have vowed not to do "fire sale" pricing close in to the sailing date.  

Anthem of the Seas
Learn More about ms Koningsdam (Click Image)
 "First New Cruise Ship
for 2016"

Honors went to Holland America Line as it took delivery of ms Koningsdam, on March 31, 2016, officially making it the first Pinnacle-Class ship in the fleet. The signing ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy. Following the signing, the Dutch flag was raised on the ship for the first time.

ms Koningsdam features a mix of time-tested Holland America favorites with some new features including the following.  The World Stage features a 270 degree LED screen surrounded by plenty of stadium style seating.  There's BLEND for the wine lovers where they can experience the art of wine-making. In the Culinary Arts Center, passengers can gather for cooking demonstrations, wine tasting and more throughout the voyage.

There are plenty of stateroom options to suit your needs.  Standard staterooms include USB ports, plenty of electrical outlets, inventive storage space and more.  Balcony cabins are double the depth of most major cruise lines providing plenty of space to enjoy on those sea days.

"Most Anticipated New Ship for 2016"

Carnival Corporation Granted U.S. Approval for Travel to Cuba (July, 2015)

World’s largest travel and leisure company granted U.S. licenses to operate direct U.S.-to-Cuba travel for the purpose of providing cultural exchange. Company intends for fathom, its new purpose-travel brand, to begin full-week sailings to Cuba, beginning in May 2016, in addition to fathom’s full-week sailings to the Dominican Republic.
Travel With a Purpose 
“We know there is strong demand from travelers who want to immerse themselves in Cuban culture, so this is a historic opportunity for us to enable more people to experience Cuban society. It is also an important opportunity for our new fathom brand to expand its positive influence in the world with this potential to add full-week immersion sailings to Cuba to its already planned full-week social-impact itineraries to the Dominican Republic beginning in the spring of 2016.” said Arnold Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Corporation.

Seven Days from Fathom Travel on Vimeo.

Introducing  Fathom™  Impact Travel 

Pioneered by Fathom™, impact travel is a whole new category of travel: it’s travel with purpose. It combines your love of cruising with your desire to make a difference. During every Fathom™ journey passengers become immersed in another culture, and work alongside its people to create enduring social impact.

With those words above, a new vision was revealed along with the birth of a new cruise line,
Carnival Corporation sailed into Havana the morning of May 2, 2016, completing the first leg of its historic inaugural voyage to Cuba that began on May 1, 2016, from Miami, the company said in a statement. It marked the first time in over 50 years that a U.S. cruise line has sailed from the U.S. to Cuba. It is also the first time in decades that Cuban-born individuals have been able to travel by sea to or from Cuba.

Introducing Carnival Vista

Carnival Cruise Line introduced a new class of ships to their fleet with the introduction of Carnival Vista.  Carnival is known for their fun innovationa and the new Carnival Vista, which debuted in May is no exception. 

Vista features the cruise industry's first IMAX theater, which shows first-run movies, as well as recent hits and short films. Other wow-worthy features include a water tube slide that's more than 450 feet long (the longest for the line) and SkyRide, a suspended ride along an open-air track atop the ship.

The first cruise ship brewery also debuted on Vista at the ship's RedFrog Pub, where passengers can drink indoors or out, sipping on mass-market beers, craft-style beverages or one of three beers brewed right onboard. Carnival staples, including Guy's Burger Joint along with Pig & Anchor BBQ (in partnership with celebrity chef Guy Fieri) and the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican restaurant, are joined by a New England-inspired eatery, dubbed Seafood Shack.n open-air track atop the ship.

Our 2016 National Conference took place on Carnival Vista's December 2nd sailing from Miami.  We stopped in the Dominican Republic, Aruba, Curacao, and Turks & Caicos.   We'll feature the ship and ports in upcoming articles on our blog.

If you have specific questions about the ship, the itinerary, or cruising in general, we'd love to hear from you.

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Industry Changes

Probably the biggest news is in response to passenger demand for improved communications at sea.   Carnival Corporation introduced new flat-fee offerings and improved bandwidth fleet-wide to meet passenger desires to stay connected to social media while at sea.   Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean were among other lines increasing speed and bandwidth.   These changes have been well received by passengers and will continue into the future as all lines upgrade their offerings.

As cruise prices stabilized, many lines have been looking to onboard expenditures as a means to increase revenue.   Items that had once been included, like room service, have started to see additional charges for example.   Some passengers aren't happy with the new trend to "nickle-and-dime" them and may look to cruise lines that have less optional charges.   Luxury lines are becoming an even better value since you know your cost of the entire trip up front.

It will be interesting to see how new players, such as Viking Oceans, impacts the industry as they grow their fleets.  They are bucking the tide to go big and instead opting for smaller ships and more emphasis on the destinations.  Of course, the river cruise industry is booming as the demand soars for this method of exploring the globe. Crystal is entering the market as well, with steel being cut for four river cruise ships during 2016.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas

Holidays are about families, and what better example of a happy family then spending time together on a Carnival Fun Ship.

One highlight for us this year was sailing on the brand new Carnival Vista for our National Conference.   The cruise began December 3rd in Miami, Florida.   Carnival Vista was decorated for the holiday season.

The first thing we noticed when boarding the ship was the beautiful atrium decorated with garland, a Christmas tree and a mailbox for letters to Santa.  Throughout the ship there were more decorations to enjoy.   

Holiday time is a great time to sail on a cruise ship.  You do need to plan in advance if you want to sail on the holiday itself as those cabins sell out quickly.

Carnival has a partnership with Dr. Seuss.  Shown here is one of the youth program rooms decorated for Christmas.  The age appropriate programs have something for each of your children and best of all, it's included in your cruise price.

They'll have fun playing with other children of the same age if you decide to have them included in the program.  We toured the facility during "family time".

Most importantly, spend some time together as a family enjoying all the entertainment that the cruise staff has in store for you from the time you arrive on board the ship.

We'll post some more details about the children programs in future articles.

We hope that your Christmas tree is filled with many special gifts this year.   Perhaps one of them contains a gift certificate for a cruise or resort stay on Carnival Cruise Line or any of our other travel partners.

Even if you didn't have a cruise vacation wrapped up in a box under your tree, there's still plenty of opportunity for you to surprise your family in the New Year with a trip that they will remember for years to come.

Make some memories in 2017 with your family and friends.

Thank you for letting us be a part of your lives this holiday season and throughout the yea.  We hope that you've enjoyed our gift of stories and photos from our cruise and land trips.

We would be happy to help you plan for your next vacation.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What's Your Favorite Travel Brunch


This Wednesday, #FoodTravelChat, the weekly Twitter chat about Food & Travel, will be featuring "Brunch Around the World" as the topic for the hour long chat that starts at 8 PM ET.

In preparation for the chat, we searched our photo archives and found one of our favorite brunches which was onboard Azamara Journey in the West Indies.  They had quite and extensive menu with many items not found on your typical brunch buffet.

click images to enlarge

Creamy Tomato Basil soup & Spicy Thai Chicken Soup

Carving Station
Steamship Round of Beef

Cold Buffet
Veal Galantine with wild mushroom & Shrimp Tower
Assorted Smoked Fish Platter & Assorted Cheese Platter

Omelette Station
Bell peppers, Onions, Mushrooms, Ham, Bacon, Tomatoes, Spinach
Cheddar Cheese, Swiss Cheese, Jalapenos,
Egg White & Egg Beater Omelette

Salad Stations
Chilled Salmon Pasta Salad with Lemon Zest, Fruit Salad
Tomato Panzanella Salad, Spinach and mushroom Salad with Bacon
Mixed Greens with Balsamic Dressing

Hot Buffet
Roasted Chicken & Mizo Glazed Halibut with Stir fried Vegetables
Crispy Duck with Juniper Berry Sauce & Lamb Chops with Rosemary Potatoes
Bacon & Sausage, Eggs Benedict, & Eggs Florentine
Hash Brown Potatoes ,  Haricot Verts, & Asparagus

Apple Pie, Pecan Pie, & Fruit Tartlet
Chocolate Opera Cake & Napoleon Cake

Don’t want to miss a minute of "#foodtravelchat? 

Tweet “remind me” to @FoodTravelChat and we’ll remind you every week.

Thanks to our #foodtravelchat moderators @ant_kneee @ourtastytravels @s_poet82 @ChrisPappinMCC @always5star @BackpackBritts @The_Jenius

 And thanks as always to #Foodtravelchat hosts @FoodTravelist @shreddel @dlaskaris @PoshPorts @FoodTravelChat

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Where have you explored? 

Gather your travel and food pics and join us Wednesday night for the latest installment of #FoodTravelChat

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

Thankful for ... 
 Seeing Northern Lights & Experiencing New Adventures

Hurtigruten Vesteralen Northern Lights Norway
See our work in progress diary of this very unique winter cruise experience.
Diary Hurtigruten Classic Voyage Bergen

We love Norway, and there isn't a better time to see it than when it is blanketed in snow with Northern Lights casting a glow on us during a crisp winter night. 


Guy Fieri's Pig & Anchor Carnival Magic

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is here already. Where did 2016 go? As has become my tradition, I'd like to share with you some of the things that I'm thankful for and highlight some of my adventures this year.

I hope that you, your family, and friends have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season. I know that I have plenty of things to be thankful for, including my health, family, and friends and the ability to share my love of cruising with all of you. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to explore new worlds with family and friends again this year.

The cruise industry is strong as ever with new ships and added capacity helping to keep prices reasonable for those that plan ahead.
The value of cruising has never been stronger. Even in these tough times, more and more families have taken to the seas.  Indications are that the record discounts offered the past two years will be coming to an end.  In the meantime those discounts have made cruising an even better value, and consequently we have seen a surge in first-time cruisers.

Thankful for ... 
Sailing on Brand New Ships

Cruises Inc., Cruise One, and Dream Vacations will hold the 2016 National Conference on Carnival Vista which just started its inaugural season sailing to Europe and next month will be sailing in the  Caribbean from Miami. Check out this video to see what's in store for us next month.

We wonder what the Pilgrims, who came to the New World in Tall Ships, would think about the Carnival Vista.Their ships measured 110 feet, held 150 passengers at most, and took months to cross the Atlantic.  The Vista is about 10 times that length (1062 feet), holds 3936 passengers (double occupancy) and 1450 crew, and took just a couple weeks to cross the Atlantic.

Thank you for making our blog column a part of your lives in 2016.   I hope that the information we share helps you to dream about future cruises of your own. I'd be honored to help you plan those trips. I have the best job in the world - helping make dreams come true. For that, I'm truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Stops in Molde and Kristiansund


Unlike a traditional cruise where each port of call results in a lengthy stay, MS Vesteralen made several short stops, mainly for passengers and cargo.  Right before dinner we made a brief stop in Molde. We took a few pictures from the open balcony and then went to dinner.  Molde is known as the town of the roses and jazz.


The last stop for the evening was a one hour stop in Kristiansund around 10 PM.  Once again, we just captured some of the lights of the city reflecting in the water without disembarking from the ship.  It was possible to take a short walk guided by the tour leader.   We'd stop in Kristiansund again on our return southbound.

This concludes our first full day at sea on Hurtigruten Ms Vesteralen
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Kristiansund Night

Click on the image to the right for more Blog posts about this trip.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Sailing To Alesund

Hurtigruten Vesteralen - Day 2

Day 2 of our Norwegian Coastal Voyage began with open seating breakfast from 7 - 10 AM.

Each morning the buffet would feature several hot dishes, fruits, meats, and pastries.  One of the featured items on day 2 were crepes.

Sailing to

The rest of the morning we were sailing to Alesund which would be our first port of call.  It was raining, so it was good that our excursion in Alesund was indoors at the aquarium.

On this day we ventured into open ocean as we sailed past the West Cape, where the Norwegian Sea opens up to the North Atlantic Ocean. We then set course toward what is often considered to be Norway’s jewel in the crown, Geirangerfjord.

Lunch Buffet

Potatoes was one of the main staples on breakfast and lunch buffets.  Click on any of these pictures to enlarge.
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Norway's Coastal Kitchen
Sailing to Alesund

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3 Edible Wonders of Norwegian Fjords

On day 2 we explored the Norwegian Fjords from Alesund to Molde.  Here people live on small farms clinging to the hillside.  Today's dinner menu is a celebration of the edible wonders of the fjords, the fish, the lamb, and the apples from the northernmost commercial apple production in the world.  It is often described as he "Champagne of Apples".

Wonders of Fjords

Bacalao is the Spanish term for codfish but has come to mean the salted and dried cod that is wildly popular on the Iberian Peninsula. The area around Alesund has been a major expoter since the early 17th century but it is only the last century the fish has been prepared and eaten in Norwegian homes, and then often with Spanish or Portuguese inspired recipes.

The main course was Leg of Lamb from Hellesylt, a town near the picturesque Geirangerfjord, with baked vegetables and parsnip puree.

Dessert was "Veiled Farm Girls" which is baked apples served with ice cream.
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Norway's Coastal Kitchen
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Norway's Coastal Kitchen

Treat your taste buds as you sail through one of the most fantastic 'pantries' in the world


On a Hurtigruten Classic Coastal Voyage through Norway, food is an integral part of the entire experience.

The 12 night voyage stops at about 34 ports of call along Norway's coast. In each port, there is an opportunity to replenish the ship's pantries from local fisherman, farmers, and other suppliers' fresh food supplies.

Utilizing the season’s best ingredients, chefs create either three-course dinners or lavish buffets.

Being a coastal voyage, seafood often dominates the menu, accompanied with fresh vegetables and delicately flavoured sauces. Each dinner ends with traditional desserts, like homemade cakes, puddings, berries, or sorbet. Breakfast and lunch are served buffet style.

While you are sleeping in your cabin, after a full day of exploring Norway,local fishermen in Sigerfjord, Vesterålen are about to go get their catch of the day - Arctic char. The deep, salty, cold Arctic Ocean, close to river estuaries with fresh water offers perfect conditions for fishing. Later that afternoon, the fresh catch lies before you, prepared with love by the chefs onboard. It just doesn't get much better than this. As we continue describing our voyage, we'll feature articles about each port of call, including a focus on Norway's Coastal Kitchen.
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Norway's Coastal Kitchen

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Atlantic Sea Park Alesund

Atlanterhavsparken - Ålesund Aquarium

 Atlanterhavsparken is one of northern Europe’s largest saltwater aquariums, an architectural gem integrated into the shoreline. We enjoyed close encounters with some of the rich marine life found in and around the coastal waters of Norway. 

The visit included a spectacular diving show in Norway’s largest aquarium tank, where the fish can be seen being hand-fed by the divers, and a visit to the open-air pool where we saw my favorite exhibit, the resident penguins.

Ålesund Norway 

Our first port of call on our Norway coastal voyage was to this beautiful city, rebuilt in Art Nouveau, after the city fire of 1904. After the visit to Atlanterhavsparken, the tour continued to Mount Aksla, where we admired the view of Ålesund before returning to the quayside.
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Click on the image to the right for more Blog posts about this trip.

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Cruise Lines Salute Veterans


Veterans Day 2016

First and foremost, today is the annual observance of Veteran's Day, a day set aside to honor the nation's veterans.   The image in this article was taken at the American Cemetery in Normandy, France, on one of our cruises several years ago.    The image of row after row of crosses will never leave me.

Every day we go about our business, and I suspect most of us take our freedom for granted.   It isn't because we aren't caring people, but instead perhaps because we just don't think about it.  So I ask you today to take a moment to reflect on the veterans, living and deceased, for without whose service we wouldn't be the free nation we are today.

We could never thank our military men and women enough for their courageous service and sacrifice to our country and its people. Yet today we lift up our voices to express gratefulness and honor to these military troops both from the past and present.



Many cruise lines recognize our troops with special rates.  We've listed a couple offers which you might not be aware of.   Be sure to mention your military service when contacting us so that we can see if there are any rates that you qualify for.  We would be honored to help you plan some R & R.

Cruise Line Veterans Day Offer
Carnival Cruise Line
Saluting our soldiers with exclusive rates on select sailings through 2017! Plus, share your deal with two additional rooms.
Destinations include: Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Europe, Alaska
Royal Caribbean
Ongoing promotion allows Military, Police  & Fire personnel special discounts on select sailings

Monday, November 7, 2016

Vote Travel Today

Election Day is Finally Here 

According to Power of Travel Coalition
" Everyone loves travel - vacationing, reconnecting with family, attending a productive business meeting or event - but not everyone realizes travel’s significant economic impact. In 2015, travel generated $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy, supporting 15.1 million American jobs that cannot be outsourced, which is why we need policies that allow the travel industry to thrive.

Travel is a bipartisan industry. In fact, passage of the Travel Promotion Act was among only a few items that both Democrats and Republicans supported. Vote Travel is not an endorsement of any political candidate or a political party; it’s a vote to get America moving."

Personal Benefits of Travel

What would you think if we told you that vacation travel could have a positive impact on your life?  Would you be more apt to take an annual vacation?

U.S. News & World Report has published an article, Why Travel Is Good For Your Health,which among other benefits, shows how your health can be positively impacted by a vacation.

Think about the last time you took a vacation...  

Before you left for vacation were you stressed over things going on at work, at home, or with the family?   After a couple days of rest and relaxation on the trip, did your stress level decrease?

Do you find yourself eating at irregular times at home because you have other commitments pulling you in different directions?   On your vacation, did you eat on a regular schedule?

Do you mean to exercise while at home, but just don't find the time?   Or are you a couch potato not getting any exercise at all simply because you are too tired to do anything when you get home from the office?   Did you get more exercise, on your trip - while having a good time exploring?

These are just a few items that are covered in this report.   We suggest you read the report to learn more about the personal benefits of vacation travel.

We have been a firm believer of taking time off every year for vacation.   While our son was growing up, we would take a vacation together with him and another one by ourselves each year.   This formula has worked well for us and perhaps it could work for you as well.

As We Head to the Polls Today

There may be local and national candidates that have a positive or negative view on the travel industry.  We encourage you to visit the  Congressional Scorecard  to learn more about the coalition's efforts to expand this industry which will help to Get America Moving again.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween Great Time to Vacation

Plan a Vacation for Halloween

October is Halloween Time at Disney Parks

Halloween can come early for you if you visit Disney Magic Kingdom during the month of October.  The park is decked out for this magical time of year and there's even a private party that you can attend.

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.

Become a fan on Facebook

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Top 5 Packing Tips for the Perfect Escape

As airline baggage fees continue to rise with no end in sight, creative packing strategies have become the budget-savvy traveler's best friend. With airlines charging upwards of $75 dollars for a second bag and some even charging for the first, packing lightly is now a must.

October 30th is Checklists Day

As a local Cruises Inc. independent vacation specialist, we frequently consult with our clients on the best way to pack for their travels. The Top 5 tips to save space and money include:

1. Make a list. Before packing anything, create a list with each day of your vacation and what you will need. Having a list saves time, creates less hassle and even more excitement about your upcoming trip. Plus, having a list can save you from realizing you've included ten pairs of underwear for your 3-night cruise!

2. Always pack full outfits. It is easy to throw items randomly into a suitcase that you `might need, but it is more efficient to include outfits for your respective days on the road or at sea. Remember your accessories, shoes, hats and more.

3. Keep it simple! If your vacation includes sun and sand, don't over pack sweaters and pants. Most likely, you will end up in a bathing suit and flip flops with a suitcase of heavy (and costly - remember the airline fees!) clothes you never use.

4. Don't overdo toiletries. Sure, you may love your uber-concentrated overnight moisturizer, but if it's not a must, leave it at home. Packing only the essentials will save space. And remember, most resorts and cruise ships today offer blow dryers and complimentary amenities (even some created just for them by your favorite cosmetic companies). Don't forget airport security policies limit your carry-on liquids (this includes lotions, creams and sprays) to 3.4 oz. If you don't want it confiscated, don't bring it.

5. Finally, don't stress. Preparing for a trip can be overwhelming, needing to pack for your entire family, cleaning the house, remembering your important documents, finding a pet-sitter and more. The ultimate goal is to relax and unwind with your kids, significant other and friends. If you're organized about your packing, you can save time and money.

Travel agents are trained experts in every aspect of travel - from packing to specific airline or cruise line rules/regulations and more - so don't feel like you're alone in the vacation planning process. For help with your next trip, Contact Us.

National Plan a Cruise Month Continues
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National Plan A Cruise Month Promotions 

Cruise lines are offering special promotions and pricing on popular cruises to encourage consumers to plan their next cruise vacation now.

We'll be featuring promotions on our website and social media.  Click here to see current offers

International Internet Day 2016

International Internet Day is celebrated worldwide, every year on 29th of October.

Since the year 2005, the International Internet Day has been famously celebrated to commemorate a momentous day, in 1969, in the history of telecommunications and technology.

This was the event of the sending of the first electronic message which was transferred from one computer to another on October 29th that year. 

How to Celebrate Internet Day 

Why don’t you start your celebration of Internet Day by visiting the original website, which just so happens to still be online.  Contrast that to websites today.

Internet Today

The Internet is everywhere these days, being accessed on phones and tablets, tied into our cameras and our TV’s. Wi-Fi is accessible from everywhere these days, from city buses to your neighborhood restaurant, and even at sea on cruise ships.  The world grows smaller every day as a result. Internet Day is a celebration of this culmination of computing and communication technology, and they way it has brought all our lives together.

 Keeping in Touch

Perhaps the biggest challenge for Cruise Lines today is meeting the demands for passenger and crew on existing internet resources. Passengers are looking for faster and less expensive ways to stay in contact with friends and family while on vacation. Several Cruise Lines have announced or adopted changes to address the growing demand of their customers and staff.

Luxury Cruise Lines such as Regent, Crystal, and Oceania, have introduced Free Internet Access to a select group of passengers (such as certain suite guests).  Other lines, like Royal Caribbean are looking to increase speeds and offer multiple programs which can be purchased depending on your needs. At Fun Hub on Carnival Cruises, you can select the plan that meets your internet needs and use their computers or your own devices throughout the cruise.

So, if you are planning a cruise vacation, don't leave your electronic gadgets at home.  Whether on the ship or at a local internet cafe while in port, you'll have plenty of opportunity to stay connected with friends and family if you want to.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Love That New Ship Smell

Remember when you bought your first brand-new car?  You opened the door and were greeted by that amazing new car smell.   How would you like to experience that same sense of smell on a brand-new cruise ship?

What's It Like Sailing on a Brand-New Ship

We can't share that new-ship smell with you here, but we can share some of the sights and sounds from onboard Carnival Cruise Line's newest ship, Carnival Vista.  Watch this video to experience this brand-new ship, which is currently in Europe, but soon will be sailing to the Caribbean out of the port of Miami.   We will be onboard in December for it's first Caribbean sailing during our National Conference.

When sailing on a brand-new ship, you are among the first to experience the latest innovations.  As you've seen in this video, Carnival takes things to new heights - literally in their latest fleet addition.  
If you've ever thought you'd be bored on a ship, guess again.  When we started cruising over 30 years ago, we would never had imagined the types of activities that are now commonplace on most cruise lines.   What do you like to do on vacation?  Odds are you can find it onboard a brand-new ship.
National Plan a Cruise Month Continues
Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc for more ideas.  Sign up for our eNewsletter to get updates.

National Plan A Cruise Month Promotions 

Cruise lines are offering special promotions and pricing on popular cruises to encourage consumers to plan their next cruise vacation now.

We'll be featuring promotions on our website and social media.  Click here to see current offers

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Wash Your Hands Tis the Season

October 15, Global Handwashing Day

The 2016 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Make Handwashing a Habit!”  

Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

Source:  Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing
Cruise Ships & Norovirus ...Tis the Season
You've heard the stories in the news about cruise ships delayed due to the need to have a deep clean following an up tick in the gastrointestinal illness, known as Norovirus.  Perhaps news stories like that are preventing you from enjoying a cruise vacation.

Who is to Blame When Norovirus Hits?

The first inclination when you hear about an outbreak would be to blame the cruise line. Clearly, they have let you down - you expected a healthy cruise, and you got sick.   In fact there's a group of passengers that were on sister cruise line's Independence of the Seas that are suing Royal Caribbean International for £500,000 after contracting norovirus while onboard the ship.

The cruise line is responsible - right?

The cruise line IS responsible  for cleaning the ship and providing the facilities for passengers and crew to maintain proper hygiene onboard the ship.   They do that - you'll notice signs posted in all the rest rooms and crew members pointing out sanitation machines, such as the one in the picture above posted outside the restaurant entrance.  

But, ladies and gentleman - I suspect that YOU are to BLAME.   Did you stop to wash your hands after using the bathroom?   Did you sanitize your hands every time you entered a restaurant onboard the ship.   Did you do so all but one time?   That one time would be enough to kick off this sort of outbreak.

During recent cruises on Disney Dream and Carnival Sensation, we noticed the sanitizing materials and signs.  Sadly, we also noticed many passengers disregarding the signs and avoiding the sanitizing of their hands before entering the restaurant.

Working together, the cruise lines and passengers could Prevent Norovirus!


Facts About Noroviruses on Cruise Ships  -  gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses can be prevented

Wash hands often. Wash hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before eating or preparing food.  Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer along with hand washing.

Norovirus outbreaks, when they occur on a cruise ship, always make the news.  The truth is these outbreaks can occur anywhere there are groups of people in a small area such as nursing homes, restaurants, catered events, hotels, and cruise ships.

Vessel Sanitation Program - prevention and control of spread of gastrointestinal (GI) illnesses on cruise ships  

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National Plan A Cruise Month Promotions 

Cruise lines are offering special promotions and pricing on popular cruises to encourage consumers to plan their next cruise vacation now.

We'll be featuring promotions on our website and social media.  Click here to see current offers.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Should My First Cruise be 109 Days or Less

What's The Right Cruise Length for 
First Time Cruiser
Most people start with a short cruise

We can safely assume that your first cruise will be substantially shorter than 109 days, unless you have your heart set on seeing the entire World on your first cruise. Typically, a first time cruiser wants to see if they like cruising before booking a longer cruise.  That is a wise decision.

Let's explore some possibilities.

You Don't Need to Figure This Out Alone
The typical first cruise is 3 to 5 nights in length.  This is long enough to give you a taste of sea days as well as days in port. From the image above, you can see that there are still many choices in that range.

Itineraries include The Bahamas, Eastern and Western Caribbean from the east coast, with west coast destinations including Baja California and Pacific coastal cruises.

The length of cruise will impact the departure city and the destinations that can be reached from there. You'll find that most of the 3-night  East Coast cruises will depart from Florida and go to the Bahamas.   As you increase the number of days, you'll open up more possible destinations and also departure ports.

Don't feel that you are restricted to 3-5 days in length.  When we began cruising 30 years ago, our first big ship cruise was 7 nights in length.

FACT - Cruises have a higher percentage of satisfied customers than any other vacation experience. Ask your CLIA-affiliated travel agent about cruising. Chances are, he or she will recommend a cruise vacation from personal experience.   SUGGESTION - Take their advice!

We Love Helping First Timers - Ask Us

So far we have talked about several decisions that narrow the cruise sailing selection:  type of cabin, departure ports, destinations, and length of the cruise.  There are still more questions to be answered in order to determine the Best Cruise for You.

We cannot emphasize enough that planning the first cruise properly will determine if this is your first and only cruise, or if you'll fall in love with the best vacation around and continue to plan many more cruises in the years to come.

Click This Link to See a Sample of 3-5 Night Cruises

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