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
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

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  

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.

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

If you found this information helpful, spread the word and subscribe to our blog. 
We are writing a complete series of articles for
You may also be interested in our eSavers Newsletter 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

5 Ways to Enhance Your Cruise Ship Dining Experience

click on images to enlarge
Cruise Dining Tips

We've just returned from a fabulous 7 Night Eastern Caribbean cruise on Carnival Magic.   We employed these tips during our cruise and thought we'd share them with our readers.   Even though we'll use the Carnival Magic for examples, the principles can be applied to most contemporary cruise lines.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a good start to enhancing your cruise dining.

Navigating the Buffet

Entering the ship's buffet restaurant you may be thinking that you just died and went to heaven or perhaps you are just overwhelmed by the scene in front of you.  

Tip:   Don't just Dive In

One of the main entrances to the buffet is often from the Lido (pool) deck on your ship.  You will notice that shortly after entering, there's a serving station which has a long line.   Do not stop here, but continue further into the restaurant.   On most ships, there are several identical serving lines, many of which may have shorter lines.

Besides the identical lines, take notice of the unique stations.  For example at breakfast, there is usually an omelet station where you can get made to order eggs & omelets.   This line may be long, so be ready to wait.   Check out the signs overhead to help navigate through the maze of stations.
Walk around the buffet to decide on the options that interest you for this meal, and take note for later in the week, when you may want something different.

Instead of waiting in the long serving line one morning, we opted for the much shorter continental breakfast line and then added some bacon from the omelet station (there was a waiter serving bacon and ham - you didn't need to wait in the omelet line).

Poolside Dining

Getting some sun or shade on loungers is one of our favorite relaxing things to do during a cruise.  We typically have breakfast in the buffet and then search out a good spot to camp out for a few hours.    Since prime locations (such as those right by the pool or in a shady location) get taken first, another option is to divide your group and eat in shifts.  (Most lines frown on you just leaving something on the lounger to reserve the chair and they may remove the items if you aren't back within a stated period of time - so be aware of the rules on your ship).

Tip:  Dine by the Pool

Lunch is a great time to eat poolside.  On Carnival cruises you can dine at Guy's Burger Joint or Blue Iguana right by the pool.  While there may be a line, it usually moves quickly, and you can get back to relaxing by the pool in no time.   There is also a 24 hour pizza station by the aft pool.  Most cruise lines have similar options. 

Sea Day Only Options

The reason we selected Carnival Magic for our latest cruise was to try Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse which is only open for limited hours on sea days.  Many cruise lines have similar restaurant venues, so be sure to plan your dining schedule ahead of time.

Tip:  Try the Unique Dining Options

Due to the limited serving hours, you can expect dining venues like these to be busy.  Plan to arrive when they open, or even shortly before that.   In order to keep our poolside loungers,  one person went on a food run for the two of us.   Check out the menu ahead of time so that you know what you want to order.

Anytime Dining

We've been cruising for over 30 years and grew up on traditional dining where you were assigned a dining time and table in the main dining room.  Every night you went to dinner at the same time with the same people.   Nowadays there are many more dining options and we encourage you to select an option that has some flexibility.

Tip:  Select Flexible Dining

Some people prefer to eat early and others late.  That is why traditional dining over the years had two choices.   There are others, that for health reasons, must eat at a certain time each day.   The good news is that even with flexible dining plans of today's cruises, any of the above schedules can be accommodated.

One big advantage of flexible dining is that you can select your dining time based on evening activities that you want to do.   Some days, after touring, you might be tired and don't want to rush to dinner. The choice is completely up to you each evening during your cruise.

We still enjoy the traditional dining experience because the wait staff gets to know you, making for an enjoyable experience.   On our Carnival Magic cruise, we had the best of both worlds.   The first couple of evenings we arrived for dinner, signed in, and took whatever table they escorted us to.  Then we found the wait staff of Singsoong and Posy.   We really enjoyed them, their service, the hot food, etc., so every night after that, we asked for a table in their section.  They would greet us by name and take care of all our needs very efficiently.

Specialty Dining

One big draw for cruise vacations is the inclusive dining options.  When we think about dining on a cruise ship we compare it to dining at home.  Some days you opt for fast food while others you want a more relaxing dinner.   For special occasions, you may opt for your favorite steak or seafood restaurant which usually comes with a higher price tag as well.   On a cruise, you can enjoy any or all of the above choices throughout the voyage.   The choice is up to you.

Tip:  Specialty Dining for Lunch

Are you celebrating a special occasion during your cruise?   Why not make at least one night a little extra special by dining in one of the many specialty dining venues on your ship?

Sometimes you can dine at a specialty restaurant at lunch for a reduced price or even complimentary.   The menu might be simpler than in the evening, but you still get to experience that extra ambiance.  On Carnival cruise ships that have Cucina del Capitano, there is a pasta bar option for lunch which allows you to taste their Italian specialties for no cost.


Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

How Have You Enhanced Your Cruise Ship Dining? 

Hopefully this article gives you some ideas about options you have when on your cruise vacation.  We'd love to hear from you about your best experiences.   Feel free to contact us via social media or our contact information if you have questions.


Join us every Wednesday evening at 8pm EST for lively conversation about food travel brought to you by It's a tasty world & we're dishing it up!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Your Cruise is Departing From a Nearby Port

Shorter Flights - or None Needed - to the Cruise Terminal

Your dream vacation starts as soon as you walk out the door! No longer do you have to dread the hustle and bustle of the arduous airline experience when planning your next cruise vacation. Now more than ever can you visit some of the world’s most fascinating destinations at the lowest prices and without venturing too far to get there.

Cruises From Nearby Ports
Click Map for Options
 No Need to Fly to Your Next Cruise - Ask Us How
With major cruise lines departing from more and more popular port cities like Miami, FL; New York City, NY; Galveston, TX and even San Francisco, CA, you will undoubtedly find an incredible ship that’s the perfect fit.
There are 21 US Cruise Ports Nearby  [Tweet this]
Sail from a Port Near You

To Find a Cruise Nearby simply Click on the Map above or click here to get started.

Next, Select a Departure Port by Clicking on a City or scrolling down on the page to find the region of the country that you wish to depart from.

Finally, Select From Amongst the Fascinating Destinations to look at the various cruise itineraries that you can pick from.

EASY as 1 - 2 - 3

If you found this information helpful, spread the word and subscribe to our blog. 
We are writing a complete series of articles for
You may also be interested in our eSavers Newsletter 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

What Would Christopher Columbus Think

Columbus First Transatlantic

La Pinta (Spanish for The Painted One or The Spotted One) was the fastest of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus in his first transatlantic voyage in 1492

The Pinta was square rigged and smaller than the Santa María. the ship weighed approximately 60 tons with an estimated deck length of 17 meters (56 ft) and a width of 5.36 meters (17.6 ft). The crew size was 26 men under Captain Martín Alonso Pinzón.

On the evening of 3 August 1492, Columbus departed from Spain with three ships, including the Pinta.  He first sailed to the Canary Islands where he stopped for repairs and provisions, staying there until 6 September 1492.

First Person to Sight Land

In the wee hours of 12 October 1492, Columbus claims to have seen the light of land. Columbus called the island (in what is now The Bahamas) San Salvador.  He claimed the lifetime pension promised by Ferdinand and Isabella in connection with the sighting.

How Does Pinta  Compare to Today's Cruise Ships

Oasis of the Seas is 47 meters wide and 360 meters long, i.e. 40 m longer than the height of the Eiffel tower! Height over the water line is 65 m. Building the vessel has been compared to a huge 3-dimensional puzzle. The vessel consists of 180 grand blocks, the biggest with a size of length 22 m, width 30 m and weight 600 tons! The vessel´s weight is 12 times the weight of the Eiffel tower. 

 Pinta Definitely Out-Sized

Here you see just one of the 180 grand blocks that comprised the Oasis of the Seas.  Let's assume that it's the largest block.  That would mean that the Pinta was 5m shorter and 1/10th the weight of just that one building block.

Oasis of the Seas First Transatlantic

Just like the Pinta, the Captain of the Oasis of the Seas set sail from Europe destined for Bahamas and points beyond.   The Oasis made the journey from 31 October 2009 until 13 November 2009, arriving two days later than planned due to a tropical storm it encountered during the crossing.   Columbus too had encountered tropical weather during his crossing.

Columbus would probably be amazed if he sailed his ship alongside the Oasis of the Seas.   We'll take a look at more ships as we continue our special series for National Plan a CruiseMonth

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hurricane Matthew Impacts WDW & More

Hurricane Matthew     courtesy NOAA NHC



Hurricane Matthew
1200 PM EDT FRI OCT 07 2016



A Hurricane Warning is in effect for...
* Cocoa Beach to Surf City

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* North of Surf City to Cape Lookout

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Sebastian Inlet to Cocoa Beach
* North of Surf City to Duck
* Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds

Interests elsewhere in the Florida Peninsula, the Florida Keys, and
in the Carolinas should monitor the progress of Matthew.
Storm Archive       Graphics Archive




We just returned from Disney's Walt Disney World which celebrated it's 45th Anniversary on October 1, 2016.   Since opening it's doors in 1971, the park has only been closed three times in anticipation of hurricanes:   Hurricane Floyd (September, 1999), Hurricane Frances (September, 2004) and Hurricane Jeanne (September, 2005).

A spokeswoman for Walt Disney World said, "Based on the most recent forecasts for Hurricane Matthew, Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, miniature golf courses and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex will all be closed today (Thursday October 6th) by 5 PM., and will remain closed through Friday, October 7."

Starting October 5th, WDW started warning its guests of possible disruptions due to the approaching hurricane. They also moved guests staying at Fort Wilderness campgrounds.

Here is the latest list of closures / cancellations in the Orlando area:

Thursday - Blizzard Beach, Fort Wilderness campground closed. SeaWorld closes at 2pm. Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando close at 5pm. Halloween Horror Nights, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Spirit of Aloha dinner show canceled.

Friday - Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld, Legoland, Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon and Fort Wilderness closed. Halloween Horror Nights, Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and Spirit of Aloha dinner show canceled.

Useful Links


Hurricane Matthew Precautions | FAQ | Walt Disney World Resort

Hurricane Matthew to bring severe storm to Walt Disney World | The Disney Blog

Hurricane Matthew Prompts Cruise Itinerary Changes

NHC issuing advisories for the Atlantic on Hurricane MATTHEW and Hurricane NICOLE

Audio podcasts regarding Matthew now available

#HurricanePrep Mini-Series

#HurricanePrep Mini-Series
WIND:  Hurricane and tropical storm conditions are expected to
continue over the warning area in Florida today, and spread
northward within the warning area through Saturday.

Residents in high-rise buildings should be aware that the winds at
the top of a 30-story building will be, on average, about one
Saffir-Simpson category higher than the winds near the surface.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the
tropical storm warning area in North Carolina on Saturday morning.

STORM SURGE:  The combination of a dangerous storm surge, the tide,
and large and destructive waves will cause normally dry areas near
the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the
shoreline.  The water could reach the following heights above ground
if the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...

Flagler Beach, Florida, to Edisto Beach, South Carolina, including
portions of the St. Johns River...6 to 9 ft
Cocoa Beach to Flagler Beach, Florida...4 to 6 ft
Edisto Beach, South Carolina to Cape Fear, North Carolina...
4 to 6 ft
Sebastian Inlet to Cocoa Beach, Florida...2 to 4 ft
Cape Fear to Salvo, North Carolina, including portions of the
Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds...2 to 4 ft

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast in areas of
onshore winds.  Surge-related flooding depends on the relative
timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary greatly over
short distances.  Large waves generated by Matthew will cause water
rises to occur well in advance of and well away from the track of
the center.  For information specific to your area, please see
products issued by your local National Weather Service forecast

There is a danger of life-threatening inundation during the next 36
hours along the Florida northeast coast, the Georgia coast, the
South Carolina coast, and the North Carolina coast from Sebastian
Inlet, Florida, to Cape Fear, North Carolina.  There is the
possibility of life-threatening inundation during the next 48 hours
from north of Cape Fear to Salvo, North Carolina. For a depiction of
areas at risk, please see the Prototype National Weather Service
Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic. For information specific to your
area, please see products issued by your local National Weather
Service forecast office.

The Prototype Storm Surge Watch/Warning Graphic is a depiction of
areas that would qualify for inclusion under a storm surge watch or
warning currently under development by the National Weather Service
and planned for operational use in 2017.  The Prototype Graphic is
available at

RAINFALL: Matthew is expected to produce total rain accumulations of
8 to 12 inches over the Atlantic coast of the United States from
central Florida to eastern North Carolina...with possible isolated
maximum amounts of 15 inches. This rainfall may result in flooding
and flash flooding.

TORNADOES:  An isolated tornado or two is possible along the South
Carolina, Georgia, and northeast Florida coasts today.

SURF:  Swells generated by Matthew will continue to affect portions
of the Bahamas and the east coast of Florida during the next few
days, and will spread northward along the southeast U.S. coast
through the weekend.  These swells will likely cause
life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult
products from your local weather office.

Size Does Matter - They Come in Many Sizes

Grandeur of the Seas Next to Oasis of the Seas
We've taken many pictures of cruise ships over the years and perhaps none was as striking as this image we captured in Cozumel, Mexico, during our National Conference aboard Norwegian Epic.  Shown here are two Royal Caribbean ships:  Grandeur of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.

It should come as no surprise that the Oasis of the Seas would definitely stand out in a crowd of ships since it was (until the Allure of the Seas) the largest ship afloat.   Allure of the Seas, its sister ship, beats it out by 2 inches in length technically making the Allure larger.     Is that taking things to the extreme?  Well, maybe, but
Captains Zini and Wright had something to say about it amongst themselves.   That story was picked up by the media and has become one of the talking points about the two ships.

Watch the video of the two captains: Allure of the Seas Arrives in Fort Lauderdale

Well, back to the story about different size cruise ships.   Here are the facts about these two vessels:

Grandeur of the Seas

Passenger Capacity: 2,446
Gross Tonnage: 74,000
Length: 916'
Beam: 106'
Draft: 25'
Cruising Speed: 22 knots
Oasis of the Seas

Guest Capacity: 5,400 double occupancy
Gross Tonnage: 220,000
Length: 1,187'
Max Beam: 184.40'
Draft: 30'
Cruising Speed: 22 knots

We published this picture and details before, but it is worth repeating.   Click on the image to really get an idea of scale of both Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas.

Oasis of the Seas is 47 metres wide and 360 metres long, i.e. 40 m longer than the height of the Eiffel tower! Height over the water line is 65 m. Building the vessel has been compared to a huge 3-dimensional puzzle.
The vessel consists of 180 grand blocks, the biggest with a size of length 22 m, width 30 m and weight 600 tons! The vessel´s weight is 12 times the weight of the Eiffel tower.  The Statue of Liberty does tower over the ship but you could put several Boeing 747s, London Double Decker buses and Mercedes Benz autos end to end and have room to spare.

Size Does Matter

Just to give you an additional sense of scale,  the first cruise ship we went on in the 80s was Carnival Celebration which  weighed in around 37,500 tons.   At the time, that was one of the largest vessels in Carnival Cruise Line's fleet.   The Oasis and Allure are almost 6 times heavier than the Celebration.

If you have been following our blog, you are well aware of all the activities on Oasis, Allure and their latest sister, Harmony.   Size is obviously an advantage to ship builders - they have more canvas on which to create.  So with the introduction of these ships, we have some of the most amazing innovations at sea.  Carnival Corporation has announced new ship builds in this large category.

Of course, size costs more. The price tag of these state of the art vessels means someone has to pay for the ship.   The good news is there are more cabins on a large ship which means more passengers to share the weekly costs.    It does however mean that, at least for the foreseeable future, guests will pay a premium over smaller ships owned by the same companies.

More passengers can mean more wait time, but Royal Caribbean has taken that to heart in planning these ships, and you might not experience long wait times.   There are so many different attractions onboard, passengers will be scattered over the entire vessel, so it shouldn't appear crowded most of the time.  Loading and unloading the ship will be one time where you'll see most of your fellow passengers, but Royal Caribbean has taken steps to make that run smoothly.

We have focused on Royal Caribbean in this article, but there are other examples within the remaining cruise lines.   One important take away is that size is just one factor when planning your cruise vacation, but it is an important one.   Take advantage of the expertise among cruise specialists in deciding the right ship for you and your traveling partners.   The last thing you'd want would be to be expecting a ship the size of Grandeur of the Seas and step out of your cab to find Oasis of the Seas in front of you at the pier.

No matter what size you are looking for, you'll find a ship in one of the cruise line's fleets that meets your needs.   They come in many sizes, shapes, and with many different attractions.   Personally, the fun is in selecting the ship you want to try next and enjoying everything it has to offer once you start your cruise vacation.

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.

Follow Us On

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Dining at Sea - What's Your Favorite Food

National Plan a Cruise Month

In honor of National Plan a Cruise Month let's take a look at dining at sea.  Depending on your food requirements, you may select one cruise line or itinerary over another.
What's Your 
Favorite Food 
on a Cruise

Whether you have cruised before or not, I'm sure you are aware that there's plenty of great food to be had on a cruise ship.  The first thing you'll find when you get onboard is that your cabin is not ready, but don't worry, the buffet is open and ready to serve you.  But that is just the beginning of what lies ahead.   We'll take you on a culinary journey onboard several cruise ships over several posts.  If you can't wait, we've posted some similar stories previously as well.

Myth #4 – All There is to do is Eat – I’ll Gain Weight

While it is true that there are several dining options on every cruise, we've examined this myth about nothing to do but eat previously.  Now, let's focus on the second part of that myth - that you'll gain weight.

It is possible that you could gain weight on a cruise, but if so, that will not be the cruise line's fault. There are healthy menu options on the main dining menus and while not every venue serves food for the health conscious, there are plenty of options for you to chose from.  In addition, there are full service health and fitness facilities on each ship so that you can continue your exercise routine.

One of the things the cruise line pays close attention to are any dietary requirements of their passengers. 

We took this picture during a galley tour on Azamara Journey.  The special requests consist of some religious requests, because it was during Jewish holidays, and also some specific ingredients that needed to be avoided for another passenger.

Be sure to let you cruise specialist know if you do have any special requirements so that it can be noted on your reservation and advance preparations can be made if necessary.

What's for Dinner 

You might want to start with our previous What's for Dinner article  In addition, visit our Pinterest Board where we'll be sampling some of the food and venues that we've had the pleasure of dining at in the past.