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Showing posts with label Carnival Cruise Line. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Carnival Cruise Line. Show all posts

Friday, May 21, 2021

BIG NEWS!! Alaska Cruises Will Resume in 2021 with an Abbreviated Season

The good news about travel resuming continues! 

Yesterday the US House of Representatives approved a bill that the US Senate had already approved regarding a revision to the long-standing PSVA which will effectively allow for an abbreviated Alaska cruise season to happen in 2021!  This is huge news for the people of Alaska who are very dependent on travel and tourism and were affected greatly in 2020 with the complete shutdown of the industry.  The PSVA controls the movement of foreign-flagged ships within US ports and a big hurdle for the Alaska cruise market is the fact that ships must dock in Canadian ports per the PSVA, but very early this year the Canadian government banned any ships from their ports until at least February 2022. This bill from the US Congress will effectively modify the PSVA making the stop in Canada, not a requirement, so there can be roundtrip sailings from Seattle up into Alaska!  Following the passage in the House, three of the Carnival Corporation brands - Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Carnival Cruise Line - announced that they will be resuming sailing this summer, beginning in early July for 10 departures each.  Each line will have one ship sailing these itineraries, and all guests must be fully vaccinated.  

This is great news for the industry!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Tips onThursday - Bringing Baby Along

As recent as just five years ago, the cruise industry varied greatly by line whether or not they would support people who wanted to bring their very young children along with them – including children as young as six months old.  The vast majority of cruise lines limited access for babies to at least a year old, but if you brought your infant along, you were pretty much on your own throughout your cruise vacation.  Beginning in 2010 though, the cruise industry began to standardize around a common set of recommendations from CLIA (the Cruise Line International
 Association) which not only encouraged the lines to allow children as young as six months old, but to also provide amenities such as high chairs, strollers, cribs, cots, and bottle warmers.  But it didn’t stop there either, as CLIA strongly recommended organized care programs for the children so that parents might be able to take a much-needed break from the constant care of their youngest children.  Certainly, all of the clines have had programs for older children, from three to 17 for many years now, some for decades, but not for the care of the youngest cruisers out there.  That was an industry revolution.

Today most of the major, mainstream cruise lines will provide for children as young as six months old.  These cruise lines include Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess Cruise Line. Furthermore, the Euro-centric MSC Cruises allows babies as young as just three months old.  However just because these cruise lines accommodate young children, do not assume that all cruise lines do, as many of the more “up-scale” or “luxury” lines do not, having no children’s programs on board any of their ships, and simply do not recommend bringing children of any age onboard.   

Truly the pioneer within the industry for accommodating children of all ages is Disney Cruise Line, being the first cruise line to be designed specifically for the entire family from the line’s introduction back in 1991.  From supervised children’s activities to Disney characters on board ship, to family-friendly dance parties and deck parties, and more, Disney just excels at making sure all ages in the family have a great time.  They’ll even cater specifically to the infant set, but delivering diapers and warm baby formula to the stateroom. 

So you might be asking, what is provided for these kids onboard?  Each line varies, and we’ll get into that below. 

All of the cruise lines above have a minimum age of six months for most cruises, but raise the limit to one year from the rare trans-oceanic cruises, trips to South America, and cruises to Hawaii.  While most do not sell diapers, a few of the lines have diapers available for sale in their onboard shops, including Holland America (must be pre-ordered), Norwegian, and Disney.  Baby formula is not available onboard, so you will need to bring your own. 

High Chairs, strollers, and cots are available at no extra cost on all the cruise lines mentioned above with the exception of Carnival which charges $6/day or $25/week for strollers and/or bouncy chairs.

Onboard activities and babysitting services are available on all of the lines mentioned above.  Most will provide organized group activities with a good number of trained and supervised caretakers. Generally, there is no charge for these group activities, you just need to go and check your child in. These services are offered during most days from breakfast through about noon. Often they take a break in the afternoon but re-open well before dinner, continuing to provide services throughout the dinner hour. After dinner parents have the option of taking advantage of organized babysitting services which have an added cost for most lines, except Disney, where it is included and available the vast majority of the day, even into the nighttime hours. 

Here’s a rundown of the latest offerings and charges, as of this post.  Know that the cruise lines reserve the right to change provided services and fees at any time.  So be sure to inquire about the current information when booking your next family cruise:

Carnival: Camp Carnival offers finger painting to cartoon time, arts and crafts to puppet shows. Toddlers do not have to be potty-trained. Group babysitting is offered from 10pm -3am - Charge: $6/hour.

Celebrity: Babies/tots have access to crafts, games & toys in the Fun Factory. Children under the age of 3 must be accompanied. Group Babysitting is available for $8 per hour, as well as private babysitting, also for $8/hour.

Cunard Line: Onboard nurseries are outfitted with Fisher-Price Little People as well as toys made by Little Tikes and Lamaze. The Queen Mary 2 liner has a "Minnows" pool for families, plus a splash pool for smaller children. Group babysitting is staffed by "British Nannies" and available from 6:00pm-midnight at no cost.

Disney:  Disney has a special area called "Flounder's Reef Nursery" which will accommodate babies as young as three months old (12 weeks). Within this area, they provide meals and cribs for nap-taking. The area is supervised by trained "nannies" so parents are free to go their own way. Parents are required to supply their own diapers and formula, but they can buy these onboard or have them delivered to their staterooms. Nannies will change the children.  The cost for the nursery is nominal, at just $6 per hour.  

Holland America Line: The line offers "Toddler Times" sessions for kids under the age of three to play in the children's facilities, but there are no trained caretakers so parents must stay with their children at all times. Babysitting is offered to children under three on a limited basis by voluntary staff - price negotiable.

MSC Cruises: One of only two lines to allow kids as young as just three months old onboard. However, there are no baby-sitting services, and any kids less than 36-months old must be accompanied by the parents when they are in the children's play area.

Norwegian Cruise Line: while this is one of the few cruise lines that sell diapers and baby wipe onboard, the line does not have any supervised activities for tots 36-months or younger nor does it offer any baby-sitting services.

Princess Cruises: children from six to 36 months are welcome in the youth playroom as long with supervision by a parent or guardian. Princess Youth counselors will not change diapers. Group babysitting is offered from 10 pm-1:00 am but only for kids three years or older. The charge is $5 per hour.

Royal Caribbean: the line offers 45-minute Interactive playgroup sessions developed by Fisher-Price, held in an onboard lounge. Moms can keep fit with the "Stroller Mates" workout sessions. Group babysitting is offered from 8 am to 2 am. The Charge is $10/hour. Private babysitting is also available.

While we all want to have a great time on our vacation, please do keep in mind that while some people will enjoy seeing your baby on board, not everyone appreciates loud kids or crying babies, especially in the dining rooms. So if you bring your youngest children, be aware of the close proximity of other cruisers and be prepared for the looks you’ll get from some passengers, and the comments you might receive from others. If you do not want to risk this particular social stigma it is best to stick to Disney Cruise Line, or the larger, newer ships from Carnival, Norwegian or Royal Caribbean.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Building Memories Together!

A family that vacations together builds memories together!

A family vacation takes on a completely different meaning when it’s aboard a Carnival® “Fun Ship®” cruise. Everything you need to fulfill your child’s wishes is just a deck or two away – from sports to waterslides to outdoor movies. And when you and your spouse are ready for some alone time, “Fun Ship®” cruises cater to you too. Many ships offer Serenity SM, an adults-only retreat with relaxation whirlpools, soothing music, comfy lounge chairs and oversized umbrellas. Even late-night babysitting service is available from 10 pm to 3 am. A Carnival vacation is “Fun for all. All for fun.SM

Family Travel Tip
Here is a great way for kids to make their own vacation memories. Before your vacation, purchase disposable cameras for each child. Ask them to take as many photos as they want, of whatever they want. It’s a fairly inexpensive way to have them feel like they’re contributing to the family trip. Once you return home, view the photos together and relive the adventure. Then, create a scrapbook for each child featuring their favorite photos.

For more information and to reserve your next vacation, contact me at 317.776.1733 or simply visit my website.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Entertainment & Enrichment at Sea

From Blue-Faced Men to Rainbow-Colored Carousels

Remember when shipboard entertainment was simply a poolside game led by the cruise director and perhaps the occasional ice carving contest? These days it’s more like surfing on Royal Caribbean’s FlowRider and splashing in Disney Dream’s AquaDuck, the first water coaster at sea. When cruise lines proclaim that a vessel has more activities onboard than most resorts, they’re not kidding. Here’s a sampling of what modern ships have to offer in the arena of entertainment and enrichment.

Ice Bar aboard Norwegian Epic
Not just the vodka is chilled. The bar, tables, stools, and even the walls are made of ice and kept at an arctic 17 degrees.

Cunard Insights aboard Queen Mary 2
Imagine attending a lecture series headlined by such well-known personalities as John Cleese, star of the Monty Python films, or Dr. Ruth Westheimer, television’s famous therapist.

Carousel aboard Oasis of the Seas
Hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind, the Carousel found onboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas is the whimsical centerpiece of the Boardwalk, inspired by Coney Island for the young and young at heart.

Bon App├ętit Culinary Center aboard Marina
If you are not satisfied with just feasting on edible indulgences but want to learn to craft culinary excellence as well, try the hands-on instruction provided by Oceania Cruises’ master chefs.

Blue Man Group aboard Norwegian Epic
This award-winning show and concert, once found only in Vegas, will combine music, comedy and multimedia theatrics.

Digital Workshop aboard Holland America Line's Nieuw Amsterdam
Powered by Windows, this interactive design studio offers free classes on images, blogs, movies, scrapbooks, and more.

WaterWorks aboard Carnival Dream
With 19,000 square feet catering to kids and families, Carnival Dream ship features an aqua park with the longest water slide at sea. Don’t miss the comedy club and outdoor laser shows.

For more information and to reserve your next vacation, contact me at 317.776.1733 or simply visit my website. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Cruising with Kids

Week after week your days are filled with work and school days. Family time is limited to being together for dinner, if that, and the calendar never seems to stop being filled up with some sort of “must-do” activity.  Are you tired of this typical routine, shuttling the kids around to this activity and the next, all while you yourself are off to this club or board meeting, volunteer activities and so much more?  You want a vacation, but the thought of a “family destination” that will only keep you in long boring lines of cranky tourists, waiting to board a 3 minute-or-less attraction only makes you cringe. Then it’s time to make a change in your vacation thinking.

Why not make the whole family happy, from the kids to the grandparents? It’s time to look at cruising – not only is it the best vacation value around, but everyone in the family has a great time. Cruise lines know that kids need to be occupied, and they also know that parents need a break. So how can one vacation accomplish both needs?

The new megaships are built for families in mind. Parents can sit by the pool while their kids are enjoying the water slides and fun activities, and the best part is there is no extra charge for the fun. If your kids are more adventurous, why not check out the many other activities available onboard. How about rock climbing, surfing, zip lining, basketball, putt-putt golf, bungee jumping, ice skating, game rooms, bowling and more! Yes, you can do all these activities on a ship!

But wait, there’s more! Are you looking for a few hours to chill by the pool, get a massage or simply want to take a spin class? While you do that, your children will be occupied with learning and enriching activities. There is a program for children of all ages. Examples of some of the fun in store at the kids’ camps include:

  • Toddlers (ages 2-5) – splash pool, fun family games, cartoon time, toys, learn your colors, counting games, sponge painting, indoor beach parties, pizza pig out, drawing contests, sing-alongs, bingo, face painting, arts and crafts, cookie decorating

  • Juniors (ages 6-8) – talent show, face painting, cartoon time, indoor fair, sea animals, trivia, ice cream sundaes, cookie decorating, button making, puppet show, beach party, outdoor fun and games

  • Intermediate (ages 9-12) – t-shirt painting, photography, jewelry making, board games, dance class, video game tournament, ping pong, talent show, volleyball, show time, scavenger hunts, meet the entertainers back stage, breakfast fun

  • Teens (ages 13-15) – ping pong, pool party, teen dance, dance class, talent show, pizza party, indoor beach party, skin care and hair-dressing demonstration, photography

There are plenty of cruise lines that provide the right experiences and environment where the kids are more than welcome aboard, with exciting destinations in 3, 4, 5, 7 night or more itineraries. Just to name a few, check out Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian and of course Disney to see all of the great family-friendly activities.

Cruising is not just for adults anymore – it’s the vacation where EVERYONE gets to have fun.  

Thursday, March 1, 2012

It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Cruise Anymore!

Cruising has come a long way since the “Love Boat” days. The regimented schedule a passenger followed left much to be desired. In today’s cruising, the choices are endless!

The Evolution of Dining
In the past, passengers had two choices to dine – early seating at around 6:00 pm or late seating at about 8:00 pm. And if you didn’t book early enough, most likely you could not get the choice you wanted. Can you imagine going on vacation and being told when to eat? Well, not on today’s cruise ships! Sure, if you want traditional dining it is available, but today there are a multitude of options to choose from. Most cruise ships even have specialty restaurants with a nominal cover charge averaging $20 per person; this dining experience equates to any five-star, land-based restaurant that costs hundreds of dollars to dine at per couple. Then there’s Lido dining – more like a smorgasbord for anytime casual or buffet dining. Royal Caribbean ships even have hangouts like Johnny Rockets – the famous hamburger joint. Norwegian Cruise Line touts “Freestyle Dining” where you have upwards of 17 different restaurants to choose from, and you can dine anytime and with whomever you want. Dining on today’s cruise ships is a phenomenal experience.

Top-Notch Entertainment
On the cruises of yesteryear, you could take in an early show or a late show, depending on your dining time. Year after year, the variety show lived on. Now fast forward to today – Royal Caribbean has shows like the Broadway hit “Hairspray”, and they built an AquaTheater on their newer ships where a full aquatic show is performed with high divers and synchronized swimmers. Comedy and jazz clubs are also in full swing such as Fat Cats on NCL’s Epic. Love Karaoke? There’s always a lounge onboard where you can sing to your heart’s content each night. NCL’s Epic also features the famous “Blue Man Group”, a Cirque dinner show, and “Legends in Concert”. Want to bowl or play a supersized Wii? Just jump on an NCL ship and the family is sure to have fun.

Days at Sea are Never Boring
During days at sea, gone are the beer drinking and men’s hairy chest contests! They have been replaced on Royal Caribbean ships with FlowRider, a surfing simulator, or hang loose during your ride on the zip line. Want to play putt-putt golf, basketball, ping pong, or climb a rock wall – it’s all happening onboard. Celebrity Cruises has glass blowing at sea: watch a Corning Museum of Glass gaffer present a live demonstration on glass blowing, or play a game of bocce on their beautifully manicured lawn on the top deck. Carnival’s fun is by the pool at Waterworks; take a plunge down their 104-foot-long slide. It’s a real rush!

Wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, lectures, computer classes, spa treatments, and state-of-the-art workout facilities can also keep you busy during your days at sea. Or grab a book from the library and enjoy sitting by the pool, relaxing while the ship takes you to your next exciting port of call.

Interior and ocean view cabins were the typical choices in years past, and if you were one of the lucky few to enjoy a balcony, you paid a huge premium. Most new ships now offer primarily balcony cabins – and even some inside staterooms now have views overlooking promenades with natural lighting. And the cruise lines continue to be innovative. Now on the new Royal Caribbean ships, Loft cabins are available, featuring two-story, floor-to-ceiling windows, two bathrooms, a living room, and a second-floor master bedroom. Private villa guests aboard NCL’s Epic have exclusive access to their own pool, lounges, and restaurant; it’s a ship within a ship.

If you haven’t cruised in a while or just thought cruising was for old people, think again! For more information and to reserve your next cruise vacation, contact me at 317.776.1733 or simply visit my website.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Five Great Winter Events

Sure it’s gotten cold outside but the following five events will get you going!  Why stay cooped up inside when there’s so much out there!  Once you're done reading about them, give me a call at 855.776.1733 and let's start planning one!

Superbowl XLVI
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium,
Indianapolis, Indiana
February 5th 2012 is the date of the 2012 NFL Superbowl. Lucas Oil Stadium is the home of the Indianapolis Colts and one of the game’s greatest players, Peyton Manning. The Superbowl is the final game of the NFL season and one of the most, if not the most, important sporting event in the United States. However, this is not a vacation opportunity simply for one day or for the fans of the two teams playing. There will be events for the ten days leading up to the Superbowl in downtown Indianapolis for fans of all 32 teams. This is an event for the avid sports fan or a family looking for a fun week of sports and other great festivities.

Mardi Gras
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
The weekend beginning February 18th and leading into Tuesday February 21st 2012 is the best time to visit the city of New Orleans. Let us make your travel plans now because finding a place to stay is not as simple as the “Big Easy” nickname would have you believe. Mardi Gras is a celebration which comes right before Lent and culminates on Fat Tuesday. It is one of the most fun events a person can attend because it includes floats, costumes, parades, and so much more. Be prepared while in the crowd and try and catch a “throw” which could be anything from beads to stuffed animals.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Although Carnival is celebrated throughout the world, the widely accepted Carnival Capital of the World is Rio. In the peak of the warm and gorgeous Rio summer, you can enjoy the celebration that is Carnival. The same time as Mardi Gras, running the weekend of February 18th and finishing up on Tuesday February 21st, Carnival provides a South American experience in the final days before Lent. Carnival attracts upwards of 500,000 foreigners alone to this spectacular event. The main attraction of the parade is the Samba Parade, also known as the Rio Central Parade, which is filled with wonderful costumes and put all together with the beautiful Brazilian Samba music.

Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival
Miami, Florida
This four day wine and food showcase begins on February 23rd and ends on February 26th. The event is hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida and Florida International University (FIU). In 2011 there were over 55,000 guests and they were able to raise $2.4 million for FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. This is the perfect place for any wine or food lover because not only is it located at beautiful South Beach but it also boasts some of the biggest names in the food industry such as Rachael Ray, Emeril Lagasse, and Bobby Flay.

New Year’s Eve in Times Square
Location: New York, New York
On December 31st there is no better place to be than Times Square. Over a million people come to Times Square to watch the ball drop and celebrate the end of one year and the start of the next one while billions of people nationwide watch their televisions closely to watch that exact moment when the ball drops and the clock strikes midnight. Filled with stars from all over the world this confetti filled event is a must visit at some point in a person’s life. People from all over the world flock to New York City and wait days in advance to get the best possible spot to watch the festivities take place. I realize that we just celebrated New Year's Eve a few nights ago... but honestly, hotels in NYC fill up early, so let’s start planning now for next New Year's Eve!

At Cruise Planners ~ Neverland Adventures Travel...  we're not just about cruises!