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Latest Cruise news articles

5 reasons to buy travel insurance for a cruise vacation

November 30, 2016

From patch.com via Scoop.it:

We stress the importance of buying travel insurance, and you should not buy it from the cruise line or tour company you are dealing with. If they should go bankrupt, you have lost your insurance. This might sound unlikely, but we did have 21 companies declare bankruptcy the same day so it does happen. Use a third-party company.

Your cruise holiday is a voyage of a lifetime and we can help you protect your valuable investment.

Walter Christen's insight:

For all of the cruises I have been on with my family, We have always taken travel insurance.  It is relatively inexpensive and gives peace of mind when travelling.  That being said, I will also say that I have not had to use the travel insurance purchased but do know some people that had to.

One word of warning it to understand what is covered and what is not. There are different levels of policies that can be purchased and the cost depends upon what you want to have covered.


What to Do If Your Cruise Encounters Bad Weather

November 30, 2016

From www.cntraveler.com via Scoop.it:

Keep your river cruise from turning into a bus tour. Get cancel-for-any-reason travel protection and research weather forecasts and water levels before you depart.

__Q: Last November, my wife and I and another couple took a Viking cruise, Portraits of Southern France, on the Saône and Rhone rivers. Of the seven nights of the cruise, we spent six tied to a dock because of high water caused by abnormally heavy rain the week before. We were bused to most of the places we were supposed to visit.

I looked online and discovered this was a frequent problem, and this ship often did not cruise for the seven promised days. I also spoke to a crew member, who admitted, quietly, that it happened at least 50 percent of the time.

When I contacted Viking after returning home, they offered us about $240 each toward another cruise. After paying almost $7,000, that is unacceptable. We booked a Viking cruise because we believed it would offer us an exceptional journey through southern France. Instead, we spent six days tied to a dock and had two-hour rides on a bus. Could you help us secure more substantial compensation? —Paul B., Vero Beach, Florida__

A: As I said to Paul in our initial reply, we don’t usually pursue river-cruise cases that are affected by high or low water levels. This is true even when they become, in many ways, bus tours. We know cruise lines are not obligated to offer compensation when they must change itineraries for reasons outside their control.

Walter Christen's insight:

Very interesting article on river cruise itinerary changes and travel insurance.  This year, there have been some river cruises in Europe cancelled due to unusually low water levels in some rivers used.

This article could have been related to any cruise. My wife and I usually take trip insurance, although I have never had to use it.  Also since we live in Florida, we do many cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean.  Only once, about 6-7 years ago, did we have a change of Itinerary on a cruise due to many hurricanes in the Caribbean.  We were handed a piece of paper while in the security line before boarding stating that there was a good possibility that we would not be going to the ports scheduled. Worked out well though and we went to ports of call we had not been to before. 

Last year on a cruise to the southern Caribbean the order of the ports of call was changed so the cruise ship could get out of the way of a storm.

If you decide to take out trip insurance, make sure you know what is covered and what is not.  For the most part, weather related issues are not covered.


Samantha Brown - Cruising: Why I Love It

November 30, 2016

From samantha-brown.com via Scoop.it:

“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.


12 reasons why family reunion cruises rule

November 30, 2016

From blog.arrivechic.com via Scoop.it:

Over the holidays, 30 members of my family and I were lucky enough to have a family reunion on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas for 5 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Cozumel, Mexico and back. We had a fabulous time. Here are 12 reasons why family reunion cruises rule:

Walter Christen's insight:

I have been on many cruises over the years and do not think I have ever not seen a large family reunion group. On the last Royal Caribbean cruise we were on this past may, there was a group that had matching baseball jerseys and instead of their names on the back, they had their nicknames.  Some of them were very funny.

We have cruised with my in-laws and even had my niece join once.  The ability to get together was wonderful, but also being able to "get lost" on the ship if you needed some away time was good.


5 Thanksgiving cruises that are perfect for families

November 30, 2016

From www.fodors.com via Scoop.it:

This Thanksgiving, forget the cooking and cleaning and instead focus on spending quality time with your loved ones onboard one of the five best holiday cruises for families. With sailings throughout the holiday week, these cruises keep all the traditions intact, while adding fun and inventive ways to celebrate the feast. From pumpkin-pie cocktails to post-dinner NFL games shows on jumbo screens, the comforts of home have never been more buoyant.

Walter Christen's insight:

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take that multigenerational family cruise or a group cruise with friends and family.  Imaging not having to cook and clean for the holiday and also not worrying about fitting all the leftovers in the refrigerator. Missing the black Friday craziness is also a plus. 


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 whattheredheadsaid.com via Scoop.it:

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.

 

Disney Wonder visits the Port of San Diego.

Five things to love about the revamped Disney Wonder

November 28, 2016

From www.usatoday.com via Scoop.it:

Aboard the Disney Wonder -- It was another makeover for the record books.

As can be seen in the photo tour above, the six-week overhaul this fall of the 1,754-passenger Disney Wonder, one of Disney Cruise Line's two original ships, brought major changes to wide swaths of the vessel including eateries, lounges and cabins. The grand Lobby Atrium, a signature feature, was completely reworked. The Mickey-shaped kiddie pool, an icon of the ship since its debut in 1999, was replaced by a new watery fun zone.

USA TODAY got a peek at the revamped vessel in recent days as it resumed sailings out of Galveston, Texas, and here we highlight five things we love about it.

 

Frozen, a Musical SpectacularTiana’s Place RestaurantAquaLabCrown & Fin PubMarvel Super Hero Academy

 

Walter Christen's insight:

My family cruised on the Disney Wonder in 2003. it was a great cruise for the whole family.  It is still one of my children's most talked about cruises even though they are older now.  The changes that Disney has done on this latest revamp look like they are hitting the mark with both children and adults alike.

 

MSC Seaside debuts with Caribbean sailings starting in December 2017.

A look at the 2017 debut of MSC Seaside

November 28, 2016

Switzerland-based cruise line MSC Cruises has just floated out its next megaship, MSC Seaside — one of two new groundbreaking vessels it's debuting between June and December 2017 (the other is MSC Meraviglia in June) — in a gala ceremony that took place Thanksgiving weekend at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, where the ship is being built. (See Cruiseable's preview of MSC Seaside.)

The float-out is an important milestone in the construction of a cruise ship as it is the moment where the ship first floats on water when the dry dock is flooded and the ship is moved to a wet dock for the final phase of her construction. The exterior of the ship is complete and work moves to complete interiors, fixtures and fittings.


Princess Cays is a tourist resort at the southern end of the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas.

Princess brings back summer itineraries in Caribbean

November 23, 2016

Princess Cruises is bringing back Summer Caribbean voyages, including Panama Canal transits, in 2018. The line hasn’t sailed during that season in four years. The Santa Clarita, California-based cruise line is will offer seven-day Eastern and Western itineraries and 20-day Caribbean/Panama Canal voyage on the 3,192-guest Caribbean Princess. All Summer Caribbean cruises are open for sale Dec. 1.

The 2018 season runs from April to October and features 47 departures, roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, including eight unique itineraries visiting 23 destinations in 22 countries. In addition, four ports offer late night stays so guests have more time to explore the evening offerings these destinations have to offer. New for 2018, 20-day Caribbean and Panama Explorer voyages combine a 10-day Panama cruise and a 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley or Eastern Caribbean Voyager cruise. Princess Cruises takes more guests through this engineering marvel than any other cruise line.

“Summertime is the prime vacation season for most Americans and we’re happy to offer the Caribbean in 2018,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president. “We have award-winning itineraries of various lengths so families, honeymooners, couples, friends and travelers alike can get away to explore new places, reconnect with one another and ultimately ‘come back new’ with Princess.”

Coral Princess is one two Princess ships specially built to sail through the Panama Canal to Alaska.
Courtesy of Princess CruisesCoral Princess sails through the Panama Canal. Princess offers more cruises through the canal than any other cruise line.

2018 Caribbean & regional cruise highlights

2018 Caribbean cruise highlights include:

Eastern Caribbean (7 days) – an adventurous week with calls at the ports of Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Grand Turk or Amber Cove with a multitude of water activities to choose from. Sailings depart May 26; June 9, 23; July 7, 21; August 4,18; and September 1, 2018. 

Western Caribbean (7 days) – Alternating with the Eastern Caribbean voyages, this itinerary features calls at Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Roatan and Belize highlighting the Mayan culture and history of the region. Caribbean Princess sets sail on this route on May 19; June 2, 16, 30; July 14, 28; and August 11, 25, 2018.

Passengers can combine the popular seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean voyages, for a 14-day Caribbean East/West Adventure. (Which I highly recommend as you barely get your sea legs in a week). Southern Caribbean (8 days). For a more in-depth experience, one Southern Caribbean cruise will be offered with stops in Curacao, Aruba, Bonaire; departs May 11, 2018.

Eastern Caribbean Voyager (10 days) – just the right amount of time to relax and get oriented, tjhis one visits Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Barbados, St.Kitts. Cruises depart May1 and September 28. Southern Caribbean Medley (10 days) – dive deep into beautiful beaches of the Southern Caribbean, including Princess Cays, St. Thomas, Dominica, Grenada, Bonaire and Curacao. Departures on April 11; September 8 and October 18, 2018.

Panama Canal with Costa Rica (10 days) – I’ve made this trip more than a dozen times and it never gets old, it’s a must-do as you transit the new Agua Clara Locks with a Panama Canal partial transit, including a day of scenic cruising through Gatun Lake, guests will also visit Grand Cayman, Cartagena, Colon, Costa Rica (Límon) and Falmouth (Jamaica). Sailings depart April 1, 21; Sept. 18; and Oct. 8. Guests can combine the cruise line’s signature 10-day Panama Canal voyage with the 10-day Southern Caribbean Medley or Eastern Caribbean Voyager for the ultimate 20-day cruise vacation, 2018. 

Captain’s Circle Savings

Captain’s Circle members booking a seven- to 10-day cruise, will receive a savings of $50 per person and those booking a 14- or 20-day cruise will save $100 per guest (does apply to third and fourth berth guests).

The Mayan ruins of Tulum, south of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Ricardo Espinosa / Courtesy of Mexico Tourism BoardYou can see the Mayan ruins of Tulum, Mexico, on a new Princess cruise itinerary.

More Ashore and Top-Ranked Shore Excursions

Offering guests more time to explore local cultures and culinary offerings, select itineraries in the Caribbean offer extended stays in Aruba, Curacao, Cozumel and St. Maarten with departures of 9 pm or later.

Through the cruise line’s exclusive partnership with Discovery and Animal Planet, guests can choose from immersive excursions for the whole family, including:

  • America’s Cup Yacht Race (St. Maarten) – Discovery Recommended
  • Antilla Shipwreck Snorkel (Aruba) – Discovery Recommended
  • Mayan Ruins at Tulum (Cozumel) – Discovery Recommended
  • Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica (Límon) – Animal Planet Exclusive

Locally Inspired Onboard Events

While guests sail aboard Caribbean Princess they will continue to enjoy the destinations they visit with the following offerings:

  • Locally inspired cuisine, such as Caribbean island-spiced chicken
  • Festivals of the World – live entertainment celebrating Mardi Gras and Festival de Panama (Panama Canal cruises)
  • Steel Drum Lessons, Local Crafts, Talk Like a Pirate Day, Rum Tastings
  • · Live narratives while sailing through the Gatun Locks (Panama Canal)
  • Discovery Encounters – local guest speakers sharing authentic stories and passion for their homelands

New Club Class Mini-Suites

Recently added premium staterooms come with VIP amenities and exclusive dining with the new Club Class Mini-Suite. The elevated mini-suite category provides perks such as a reserved dining area with expedited seating and expanded menu options; priority embarkation and disembarkation; complimentary wine and luxurious bathrobes.


Silver Cloud passes under London's Tower Bridge at dusk.

Silver Cloud prepares for transition to expedition cruises

November 16, 2016

While the debut of Silversea's Silver Muse in March 2017 is garnering all the attention, the luxury cruise line is also busy with the transition of Silver Cloud from a globe-trotting luxury ship into an ice-class expedition ship. Her inaugural voyage is one year away. 

Super-luxe, all-inclusicve Silversea Cruises, one of the world’s leading luxury cruise lines, is celebrating one year to go until the inaugural voyage of the Silver Cloud as an ice-class expedition ship by releasing detailed renderings of the ship’s refurbishment. The ship, which was long one of the company's original small luxury vessels, is being been totally refurbished for a November 2017 launch, which will be an industry defining moment as Silversea will once again redefine luxury and comfort in expedition cruising.

The inaugural voyage will be to Antarctica and will provide the highest space-to-guest and crew-to-guest ratios in expedition cruising. The ship's guest capacity of 260 in non-polar regions and just 200 in polar regions means that guests will enjoy the highest levels of personalized and attentive service on board.

A Veranda Suite on Silver Cloud after it transitions into an expedition ship.
Courtesy of SilverseaA Veranda Suite on Silver Cloud after it transitions into an expedition ship.

Silver Cloud’s transition to the expedition fleet will bring expedition guests the luxury, style and comfort synonymous with Silversea’s classic fleet. The renderings (see right) clearly showcase the luxurious, all-ocean view suites that will be elegantly decorated with new furnishings and upholstery in a refined color palette. Silver Cloud will have the largest suites in expedition cruising, and over 80 percent of the suites have a private veranda.

You can find details  at the newly posted Silver Cloud 2018 digital brochure, which highlights the ship’s itineraries following her transition into the expedition fleet. During this time period, she will travel more than 70,500 nautical miles, visit almost 190 destinations, with over 380 ports of call, and make more than 30 maiden visits. She will embark on 11 Antarctic and eight Arctic voyages; sail under London’s Tower Bridge; discover the history and culture of the British Isles; explore the Norwegian Fjords; transit the Panama Canal; provide culinary discoveries in Europe and South America and spend Christmas in the Falkland Islands.

The ship will feature 18 new Zodiacs, enabling shipwide simultaneous explorations in groups of no more than 14 people. Silver Cloud will also have a team of up to 19 dedicated experts on hand to ensure guests leave with the best experiences from their voyages, whether they be the sights, the sounds, the history or the stories. Daily presentations and lectures by experts in the state-of-the-art theater will also be streamed live to all suites.

To watch a video that showcases the ship. click here.  For more information on Silver Cloud and her 2018 itineraries visit here.

Silversea is well known for its seamless onboard service with butlers in all staterooms, fine food and tasteful experiences.  Fares include gratuities, all beverages from Champagne to spirits and beyond, and guests find a chic but casual and welcoming ambience.

As always, contact the Cruiseable Business Department at 1-877-322-3773 if you're interested in a cruise on Silver Cloud.


The Christmas market begins to ramp up in Stuttgart, Germany.

Magical cruises to Europe's best Christmas markets

November 10, 2016

From www.telegraph.co.uk via Scoop.it:

Whether you go to buy gifts, replenish your Yuletide larder or simply to soak up the atmosphere, Europe’s Christmas markets weave a captivating spell.

While snowfall cannot be guaranteed, it is more likely. At the very least you can expect a Christmas-card setting with traditional handmade decorations, along with daytime and evening markets packed with festive flavors and, if you’re lucky, local choirs providing the requisite soundtrack.

It is possible to cruise by river or sea to enjoy Europe’s markets. The advantage with river cruising is the opportunity to visit not just one but several Christmas markets and, as you sail, to see towns and villages decorated for the festive season. The biggest concentration of Christmas markets lies along the banks of the Rhine and the Danube; there are also some on the Main and the Seine – many in Paris itself.

There are still some cruises to choose from, but you’ll have to be quick.

Walter Christen's insight:

I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the holidays than taking a river cruise to Europe's Christmas markets. Looks like a great way to really get into the Christmas spirit. 

 

The northern lights dance over a hillside village in Norway as seen from a cruise ship on the coast.

The best northern lights cruises

November 9, 2016

From www.telegraph.co.uk via Scoop.it:

Our fascination with nature’s grand illuminations never wavers. An Arctic Circle cruise not only brings the Northern Lights within reach, but also offers a holiday that’s enjoyable in so many other ways, not least through participation in some truly out-of-the-ordinary excursions and activities.

The phenomenon

The Northern Lights can be seen from anywhere in the far northern hemisphere. Only last week, displays were visible in Scotland and northern England. Although present year-round, they can only really be seen when the sky is dark at night – from mid-September to early April.

Much has been said about the intensity and regularity of the Lights – or the aurora borealis. The phenomenon is caused by particles on the solar wind interacting with those in the Earth’s atmosphere, but the extent of the display depends on activity on the surface of the Sun, measured over an 11-year cycle. Solar activity has been at its maximum over the past two winters, resulting in some spectacular displays.

 So is it still worth going? Although the Sun’s cycle may have peaked, its descent into a quieter phase is long and gradual and there’s no reason why dynamic displays should not be seen for at least a couple of years to come. Sightings are not unknown even at times of a solar minimum; conversely, when there is a lot of cloud cover, say, you may not see the aurora during a solar max.

Walter Christen's insight:

Seeing the northern lights is definitely on my bucket list. In fact both Norway and Iceland are also on my list so one of these cruises could let me tick off more than one bucket list place.

Cruise lines mentioned that have cruises dedicated to the northern lights are P&O Cruises, Cruise & Maritime Voyages, Saga, Hurtigruten, Quark Expeditions.