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Latest New to cruising articles

Samantha Brown - Cruising: Why I Love It

November 30, 2016

From via

“If I can do it, you can do it.”  That’s been my motto since I began traveling as a career and passion 15 years ago.  I’ve experienced all kinds of travel from Luxury 5 star resorts to hiking to remote villages in Vietnam to spending the night on a frozen lake with no tent just a sleeping bag.

I like luxury travel. Who wouldn’t?  What I don’t like is that most travelers can’t afford it.  But there are travel companies that make luxury accessible and that’s what brought me to Carnival Cruise Lines

Luxury is not just champagne service and 5 to 800 count sheets.  For me luxury is time.  Being able to spend time with your children, grandchildren, best friends since high school-you name it.  That’s why I love a cruise.  It gets many over-scheduled and under-rested people together and allows them to simply focus on being in the moment with the ones they love (and possibly finishing that novel that’s been sitting on your bedside table for 6 months).  You don’t have to worry about where you are going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner or how you are going to get from point A to B..

Walter Christen's insight:

Like Samantha Brown, I also love cruising. I find it a great way to unwind from the work a day world and I do get into relax mode much faster on a cruise than any other type of vacation.

Just not having to decide where to drive a car to have my meals and entertainment makes it all worth while.

Head to the AquaTheater on Symphony of the Seas for innovative entertainment.

My First Cruise Ship Experience - Royal Caribbean #RoyalOasis - What the Redhead said

November 30, 2016

From via

I had never been on a cruise ship before and had never expected to go on one either, until Royal Caribbean gave myself and a handful of other bloggers the chance to experience a day on their current largest ship, Oasis of the Seas, when it came to...
JD Lasica's insight:

I always love hearing insights from first-timer cruisers: the kind of questions they ask, the kind of experiences that really animated them.


It's a good reminder that, last stats I checked, 77% of Americans have still never taken a cruise of any kind. But once you do, the vast majority opt for another.


Take spinning to new heights: MSC Divina is the first ship to offer Aqua Cycling at sea.

MSC Divina AquaCycle class is a cool cruise fitness challenge

October 31, 2016

From via

We all love our pool time when on a cruise. Some of us even enjoy getting in a daily workout while sailing -- all the better to warrant my massive increase in calorie consumption when I'm on vacation, I rationalize.

 How about being able to do both at the same time? I'm talking about starting your day with a challenging workout while in the pool. On a cruise ship!

 I know, it sounds crazy. Well, you do a get a few odd looks of interest when taking part in the AquaCycle class on MSC Divina. MSC Cruises' signature U.S.-based ship sails out of Miami on weeklong cruises to the Caribbean and offers AquaCycle classes, which are fun 45-minute sessions that replicate the shore side spin classes that you know from your health club back home. 

Except on MSC Divina, the spin studio is the aft adults-only Garden Pool. Special spin bikes are dropped into the pool by the instructor, who must artfully negotiate the sensitive and potentially explosive task of telling morning swimmers that they must leave the pool because a AquaCycle class will soon be starting.

Walter Christen's insight:

This looks like this would be a lot of fun and a great way to get in a little exercise while cruising.  I recently booked my very first MSC cruise for early next year on the MSC Divina. My wife and I are going to give this a try. 


 Harmony of the Seas at its debut in Southampton, England, in May 2016.

Why do cruise ships float?

October 30, 2016

From via

Not everything that's heavy sinks right to the bottom of the ocean floor, and there's no greater proof than Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas—which happens to be the biggest cruise ship on Earth.

The world's largest cruise ship boasts an ice-skating rink, a movie theater, 10-story dry slide, and weighs no less than 227,000 tons. And that's without any of its 6,780 passengers.

We know that giant ocean liners don't sink, even with their rock climbing walls and nightclubs. But have you ever wondered why?It's not magic or flying unicorns that keep the Harmony of the Seas plying the open waters. It's all about buoyancy: the power of a liquid to keep things afloat.

Colossal vessels stay above water by displacing an amount of water equal to their mass (the wide, U-shaped hull helps with this). As the ship moves forward and pushes water away, the water is ceaselessly trying to return to fill the space, with an energy that forces the ship upward.

Walter Christen's insight:

I must admit, but I am love watching documentaries where the show how cruise ships are built and operated.  Many of these shows are on the Smithsonian channel.

I never really gave it much thought in the 25+ cruise I have been on how something so massive could stay afloat. Now I know.


Serenade of the Seas sails the Caribbean. Itineraries include ports in St. Kitts, Martinique and Antigua.

A decade on, Royal Caribbean’s Radiance-class ships still dazzle

October 17, 2016

From via

On my last cruise, I met a couple who said they didn’t really want to sail with Royal Caribbean because the company’s ships were “too big.” And while Royal Caribbean certainly has some of the largest ships around, four of their smaller vessels are among my absolute favorites to cruise aboard.

Launched between 2001 and 2004, Royal Caribbean’s four Radiance-class cruise ships (Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas), carry just over 2,000 guests apiece. At 90,090 GRT (gross register tonnage), they’re almost mid-size by modern cruise-ship standards, yet they’re still plenty big, with a length of 293 meters and 12 passenger decks, most of which, are adorned with wall-to-wall glass windows.

These ships are so roomy and uncrowded that, for the most part, you’ll wonder where everyone is. You’ll still find that same amazing sense of grandeur that Royal Caribbean is known for when you walk into the multi-story atrium that soars all the way up to the pool deck, but throughout the ship, public spaces take on a more clubby, intimate tone.


Walter Christen's insight:

Royal Caribbean'sRadiance class ships are some of my favorites of their smaller ships. I have been on both the Jewel of the Seas (Western Caribbean)  and the Serenade of the Seas (Alaska).

I was always impressed on how even though these are medium sized ships by todays standards, they always felt roomy. I loved the glass elevators that looked out over the water and the grandeur of the central atrium. 


Ocean Cruise Basics: Controlling Expenses Made Easy

September 28, 2016

From via

Cruise vacations while inclusive by nature, have their share of opportunities to spend more. Here are some tips for controlling expenses.
Walter Christen's insight:

Cruising need not be expensive.  Plan what you will spend your money on and when onboard, track your bill.  I know I am a sucker for the t-shirts onboard and plan accordingly.  I usually end up with 2-4 new shirts per cruise.  Almost every t-shirt I own is from one of the Cruise lines.

All-in-one Cruising 101 guide (infographic)

September 15, 2016

Our friends over at Onboard just published this nifty infographic that contains a lot of useful information for first-time cruisers and explains the basics of cruising in one easy-to-read graphic.

They invited us to share it — click the infographic to enlarge it on your screen.

(Click to enlarge)
Courtesy of to enlarge)

Both Independence of the Seas and her larger cousin, Oasis of the Seas, sail for the Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Cruising 101: Choosing an ocean cruise line

September 12, 2016

From via

For cruising veterans, it may seem obvious how to choose the best cruise line for your vacation, but for newbies, it’s the crucial first step and begins by asking the right questions.

To start, ask: What is my budget and what is my traveling personality?

There are four main categories of cruise line quality increasing in cost in order of standard ones, premium ones, upscale ones and luxury ones, and in each category, there are a number of different lifestyles to be expected onboard each individual line.

Walter Christen's insight:

There is definitely a cruise line for any type of travel personality. Understanding what you are looking for in a cruise vacation is the first step. Other articles for newcomers to cruising:

As a cruise veteran (first cruise in 1990 and 30 cruise to my credit) my style may be different from yours.  I like the large ships like the Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, where the ship is as much a destination as the ports the ship goes to but this does not stop me from taking cruises on smaller ships. Living in Florida, much of my cruising has been to the Caribbean as I have quite a few ports within driving distance and I love the beach and snorkeling.

Using Cruiseable is a great way to find out what the different cruise lines offer and what may be important to you on a cruise. See Cruiseable's Bliss Filters, there at the top right of the page, to research the cruise lines and ports of call to find your perfect vacation.


Freedom to slide: A girl takes off from the top of the wickedly fun slide on the Lido deck of Carnival Freedom.

Maritime makeover: 5 cruise ship refurbishment trends

August 29, 2016

From via

In an effort to sustain interest in their existing fleets, cruise lines are pouring millions of dollars into their older ships to have them stay on par with their newer ones. That means far more options for travelers across the board. Besides the usual basic maintenance and sprucing up, here are a few of the trending improvements rolling back onto the classic vessels.

Additional Dining Options

More Staterooms

Extra Cabin Comfort

New Water Slides

Better Entertainment


Walter Christen's insight:

Seems that every few years all of the cruise lines revamp their existing cruise ships to appeal to a broader audience. It is normal now to have more dining options on even older ships.  I have also sailed 3 times on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas. Twice before they modified the ship and the last time after they made the ship longer (cut it in half and added a section) to increase the number of cabins, larger pool deck area and provide a grand atrium.  I found it fascinating on how they accomplished this.




Hotel Director Gary Davies looks after details that impact the guest experience on board.

A day in the life of a Royal Caribbean hotel director

August 9, 2016

A little while back I gave readers a behind-the-scenes look a what goes into the hotel director's job on Celebrity Infinity in this video interview.

The folks over at Royal Caribbean's Press Center spotted that and passed along word of a new short video with Royal Caribbean Hotel Director Gary Davies, who oversees 13 departments and attends to every detail that affects the guest experience. 

Davies provides a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into managing the day-to-day operations on board Anthem of the Seas to ensure a memorable vacation for guests.

Room with a view: Guests get a private veranda to take in the passing parade of eye candy when they book a balcony stateroom aboard Princess Cruises.

Read this before you book a cruise ship balcony room

July 28, 2016

From via

Deciding whether a balcony fits in your budget depends on how you value your time on the ship.

It’s hard to imagine a hotel charging extra for a room with windows, but when it comes to cruising, fresh ocean air comes at a premium: Typically, the coveted outdoor balcony space on a cruise costs at least $100 per person, per voyage more than an interior or porthole stateroom. But with budget and savings in mind, are cruise balconies actually worth the extra fee? We explore.

Walter Christen's insight:

My wife and I prefer a balcony room on the cruises we take but we have also opted for porthole/window staterooms when either the balcony was cost prohibitive or not available. Having a balcony for us is like having a second room where if the other is sleeping, there was a nice place to sit and read.

I have noticed that on some older ships that do not have as many balcony rooms, they either book up fast or command much higher prices.

I have not had a interior stateroom on any of the cruise I have been on but may consider one on a Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class ship with the high-definition TV walls with a live feed of the ocean and ship’s ports.

My general rule is that the actual stateroom type does not matter as much to me as long as I get to go on a cruise


MSC Divina guests can look forward to attentive service, a large variety of leisure facilities and world-class entertainment to ensure that you have a memorable vacation aboard.

The cruise ships with the best Wi-Fi

July 7, 2016

From via

What happened on cruise ships used to stay on cruise ships -- at least until the boat reached the next port.

One of the remaining Internet-free places on the planet, passengers could spend days wallowing in isolation unless they spent serious cash on a telegram or ship-to-shore call.

Then, in 1999 Norwegian Cruise Lines introduced the first on-board Internet café.

And nothing much changed.

Because, even though cruise lines have been rolling out connectivity at sea ever since, coverage has been frustratingly patchy, slow and expensive.

It's changing now though.

Over the last few years, cruise lines have been improving their satellite technology to boost connection speeds and working out ways to accommodate different budgets.

Walter Christen's insight:

Year ago when I started cruising, one of the attractions was that I was able to disconnect and my job could not get hold of me on the ship. I still remember calling home to check in using the telephone in the cabin and the $19 charge for the three minute call.

In this day and age, it is almost impossible to disconnect entirely (and most people do not want to).  The speeds are getting much better on board and also more reliable. Cost is still a factor and for some the internet packages are still costly.  If you belong to a cruise line loyalty program, check to see if there is a discount available. I also like what Carnival Cruise Lines and MSC Cruises have done for people who basically want social media access. The costs for these plans are very attractive and cover quite a few of the most popular social media applications.