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

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Norwegian Cruise Line returns to service from US ports this year!!

Norwegian Cruise Line is getting ready to set sail from US ports once again! They have now announced departures from FLORIDA to the Caribbean and The Bahamas; departures from WASHINGTON for roundtrip Alaska sailings; departures from CALIFORNIA for the Mexican Riviera; and HAWAII's inter-island sailings resume this November from Honolulu! All available to book now.

• Norwegian Encore will operate 7-day cruises to ALASKA from SEATTLE sailing every Saturday from Aug 7, 2021, through Oct 16, 2021.
• Norwegian Gem will operate 7-day cruises to the Western Caribbean FROM MIAMI sailing every Sunday from Aug 15 through Aug 29, 2021, and a 4-day Bahamas sailing Oct 17, 2021.
• Norwegian Escape will operate a 7-day cruise to the Eastern Caribbean FROM PORT CANAVERAL sailing on Nov 13, 2021.
• Norwegian Breakaway will operate 7-day cruises to Bermuda FROM NEW YORK CITY sailing every Sunday from Sept 26, 2021, through Oct 17, 2021.
• Norwegian Bliss will operate a 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera FROM LOS ANGELES sailing on Oct 24, 2021.
• Pride of America will operate a 7-day inter-island cruise of the Hawaiian islands round-trip from HONOLULU sailing on Nov 6, 2021.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Saturday, April 10, 2021

STILL MORE Opportunities to Cruise in Summer 2021!! NEWLY ADDED ITINERARIES!


Today I'm adding to the list of information previously shared about assorted Cruise Lines that have announced that they will be sailing soon from assorted international ports (note that all are from international ports as the US still will not allow cruise departures from US ports). 
On March 19, I shared that Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Crystal Cruises would begin sailing from The Bahamas and St. Maarten.  
Then on March 25, I shared that Royal Caribbean was adding departures from Bermuda and Cyprus
TODAY I'm pleased to add to the list!!
Norwegian Cruise Line just announced that it will begin seven-night sailings from Athens, Greece to the Greek Islands on July 25 and from Montego Bay, Jamacia, AND Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic to Caribbean destinations on August 7 and 15, respectively.
• Norwegian Jade will operate 7-day cruises to the Greek Isles from Athens (Piraeus), Greece from Jul 25, 2021, through Nov 7, 2021.
• Norwegian Joy will operate 7-day cruises to the Western Caribbean from Montego Bay, Jamaica from Aug 7, 2021, through Oct 9, 2021.
• Norwegian Gem will operate 7-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean from Punta Cana (La Romana), the Dominican Republic from Aug 15, 2021, through Oct 10, 2021.
Viking Cruises just announced their ocean sailings in JUNE and JULY 2021. Two distinct sailing itineraries include Iceland and also Bermuda. These will sell out fast!  Check these out below. 

The demand to cruise is high, and the available supply is still quite low with only a few ships from each line committed, so contact me quickly for any of these sailing opportunities!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Where2Next: Europe

Our Next Virtual Vacation Presentation is coming up! 

It's time for an adventure that the whole family can embark on! Join Cruise Planners with our partners, Tauck, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Globus for a virtual trip to Europe, family-style. From stunning gardens and parks to exciting museums and zoos, there's plenty of fun, culture, and history for the whole crew to enjoy together. Indulge your travel passions and ignite new memories as a family in some of the most unique places in the world.

Register today and then tune in on January 20th at 5 pm EST/2 pm PST or a Cruise Planners® Exclusive booking offer, giveaways, and the grand prize announcement!

Friday, May 8, 2020

I Miss Traveling

This popped up in my Facebook memories today. That trip to New York, being with many CP friends, being on TV, and sailing on the inaugural of Norwegian Breakaway was such a blast. I miss traveling.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Say Hola to Cuba in 2017

Who's ready to cruise to Cuba? In 2017 you can cruise into Havana on Norwegian Sky with an overnight stay....oh, and did I mention Open Bar is included??
Currently, only May sailings are open for booking, but more will come. Don't delay - book today before the prices start to increase. Call me at 317.776.1733 to get YOUR sailing booked.

Monday, May 6, 2013

stopher's stuff - It's Time to Breakaway... Let's Go!

I’m so excited!  It’s time. Finally, I can say, this is the week.  Cruise Planners is hitting the big apple for the inaugural sailing of Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Breakaway – and I’ll be onboard! What a thrill it will be to step aboard a brand-new ship, and to be there for the christening ceremony. To just experience it all for myself, and then to be able to share what I learn and experience with others, especially those who love to cruise or enjoy fantastic family vacations. 

So yes, the posting this week will be sporadic, as bright and early this morning I boarded a plane to head to the Big Apple.  We’ll have a couple of days of Cruise Planners excitement around town, as over 400 of us will be there.  On Tuesday morning you might even see some of us (perhaps even me?!?)  if you watch either morning program – Good Morning America – or The Today Show, as we’ll be flooding the streets in order to be a part of it all.  Later on we’ll be heading out into the city for excursions – some to the great white way to enjoy a Broadway show or two, while others might venture out to see the Mets take on the White Sox. Or so many other options – the city has so many wonderful possibilities including museums, theatres, bistros, restaurants, off-Broadway plays and so much more.  I love going to the city, and seeing something new each time I visit. Uptown, downtown, many great neighborhoods and sub-cultures to enjoy. 

So for now – let’s go!  Come along with me to New York and see what kind of fun we’ll have.  Learn about the beautiful new ship, and all that it has to offer.  She’ll be home-based year-round in New York, sailing from April to October to Bermuda, and then from November to March to Florida & the Bahamas.  I’ll be posting lots of great information here, on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.  Hopefully enough to inspire at least one of you, if not more, to come and see for yourself why we’re all so excited to sail on Breakaway.  The sports deck alone is reason enough for repeat cruisers to give it a try – and certainly only part of the reason why first-time cruisers too should consider Breakaway for their next family vacation. 

So until I land and can start posting some more…  as always thanks for checking in and following along.  

See you soon!

Monday, April 22, 2013

stopher's stuff - Typhoid, Hepatitis and Yellow Fever, Oh My!

And so another week begins.  The calendar is already quite full with things to get accomplished – both new and in follow-up from last week.  The “to do” list never seems to dwindle, that’s for certain.  Whether for business, home, family or planning for personal enrichment, there’s just always something begging for my time. 

There's a lot to read up on, in preparation for this trip!
This past week one of those time concerns was getting my immunizations and updating shots for my trip to Africa this fall.  Thus the title of this entry – Typhoid, Hepatitis and Yellow Fever, oh my!   Five shots and 3 band-aids later, my arms were sore, but hopefully, I’ll be protected now from those various diseases (and others) that the nasty little mosquitos tend to carry.  My week has been filled with reading a whole host of literature provided to me by the nurse.  It has been a lot to digest mentally, but at the same time, it’s been good to know what kind of possibilities exist in the months to come. 

Then this weekend was our first “team-building” meeting. Sadly not all of our team were able to be present (we’re up to 30 people now), but it was a great time of “getting to know” each other, as well as more about Kenya, and what to expect while on this mission trip.  Things that we’ll be doing, as well as everywhere we will be going. 

We also learned who has supported us financially so far.  That was awesome to learn, as I had no idea yet how much I had been able to raise in support gifts, nor who had contributed.  I’m a third of the way to the total trip cost now.  That’s great news and a very solid beginning for only a month of fund-raising.  I have another couple of months of activity to go and pray that the funds will continue to come in.  I’m very grateful for those who have contributed financially already and pray that still, more will step up to help in the days and weeks to come.   It’s a big undertaking to do all by yourself, but as we have mentioned to all of those asked to consider a financial gift, it’s light work when shared by many.  Personally, I’m paying 25% of the trip’s $3,200 cost, which is nothing to sneeze at either.

And then still another cool thing happened this week;  this time within the framework of my travel business.  I had applied to be considered , and found out this week that I have been accepted, to attend a FAM (familiarization) trip to Sandals Royal Bahamian resort the first week of June.  I’m so excited.  I’ve been working hard to get into the wedding/honeymoon segment, and this training will definitely help solidify it.  So now I have back-to-back months of great new experiences to continue to expand my personal knowledge of destinations and suppliers.  I’ll be sailing on Norwegian’s newest ship, BREAKAWAY for her inaugural sailing in early May out of New York City, and then in early June headed to the Bahamas to experience the Luxury Included vacation experience known as Sandals.  I would LOVE to be accepted for the Holy Land FAM next January too… but only time will tell about that one. 

What new and exciting things have been going on in your world this past week? I’d love to read your comments with your news.

Until next time,


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, January 10, 2013

Another Cruise Line to Offer Fireworks at Sea!!

Soon Disney will no longer be the only cruise line offering fireworks at sea!  Norwegian Breakaway, which debuts in May in New York City, will feature a fireworks show on every cruise!

Norwegian Breakaway will be sailing its' inaugural cruise this May, and will be based in New York City year-round.  From spring to fall it will be sailing to Bermuda on 7-night sailings, and then from fall to spring it will be sailing to Florida and the Bahamas on 7-night sailings.  This beautiful new ship includes many innovations and will include the largest sports deck at sea, covering more than three levels, with some of the longest and tallest water slides in the industry.  Now YOU can cruise like a Norwegian, from New York City!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Solo Travelers

Singles Want Terrific Cruises Too

Cruising is the most enjoyable and convenient way to see the world, and every year, yet most cruise lines are not in the single traveler business.   Cruise lines generally charge a "single supplement" to passengers traveling solo. From the cruise line's perspective, what they are selling is space on the ship. If there are two or more people in a cabin, they split the cost of that space.  People traveling alone pay for all the space by themselves. 

Typically, the cruise line starts with the per-person rate based on double occupancy and adds 50-100% to the price for a single. That means that a cabin that sells for $1,000 per person based on double occupancy would be sold to a single for $1,500 to $2,000.

Norwegian Cruise Line has developed a terrific program for single travelers, offering single space (and rates without the single supplement) in single rooms with a shared common area “living room” where single travelers can mix and mingle when not in their individual sleeping quarters.  Be sure to check it out on the Norwegian Epic and Breakaway. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time to Reflect

The Christmas season is definitely upon us.  From all of the in-store decorations that have been in many places since before Halloween, to the radio stations interspersing holiday tunes between their regular playlists, and the sights and smells around town.  It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and my favorite season of all.  It also reminds me that I’ve now been in business for myself for well over a full year.  While it has been a year filled with challenges, it has been a very rewarding year; a transformative year; a fun year. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve sighed a lot (often at my own dumb mistakes), and I’ve drawn a great deal on skills and experiences culled from more than 20 years working within corporate America – often in roles that I held more than a dozen years ago.

As a sales guy the past year and a half, I’ve had to take a different view of the various seasons of the year than I ever did before when I worked in an office simply crunching numbers for the various commercial loan packages that I put together for years.  It’s been a fun ride getting to know what to “push” and what not to push, learning the ins and outs and realizing that oftentimes what might be a “sure thing” doesn’t always prove to be so.  My opinion of a sure thing doesn’t really matter, as I’m working to provide a broader base of appeal.  What really floats one person’s boat might fall flat with someone else.  That is really one of the main reasons why I expanded beyond just offering Disney products and services last fall.  While I still personally LOVE the Disney brand and all of its parks and resorts – the reality is – despite there being such a huge market for Disney vacations, Disney does not comprise the largest share of my business.  It was a sad realization for a Disneyphile like me, that while my personal sphere of influence includes a great number of fellow Disneyphiles… my market share for Disney products is relatively small compared to the other travel products that I can sell.  So while I maintain my Disney Specialist hat, ready to talk to anyone who’ll listen about Disney parks and resorts, I have to provide opportunities to a much broader spectrum. 

So with that in mind, I’d love to invite you back to my website.  I’ve expanded & revamped it once again recently, and have a wide array of products and services that just might appeal to you and your individual travel needs.  Whether you’re looking for Group Travel for your crafting group, church or other social group that you belong to – a golf getaway – a skiing vacation – sporting event travel – faith-based travel – Destination Weddings or Honeymoons – and so much more… I can help.  Through my relationship as a franchisee of Cruise Planners, I have affiliations and relationships with properties and destinations around the globe, for just about any experience you’re looking for.  I’d love to help you plan your next vacation, and help you create memories that will last a lifetime. 
Use this link:

And finally, not to be without a little plug for some cool, limited time offers… Here’s a present that’s hard to resist – Norwegian’s 12 Days of Holiday Savings with different deals every day for 12 days.  I’ve got different deals every day for 12 days.  Be sure to check them out each day.  As I tell people so many times – you never know what deal will appeal to you and your needs. 

Until next time... Happy December!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tips on Thursday - It's All About the Food

It’s All About the Food!

Choices abound!  Choices galore!  Choices, choices, choices!  With newer cruise ships, it's all about choices! One evening you might enjoy the elegant atmosphere of the main dining room while another you opt for your ship's casual dining restaurant or one of the ship's specialty restaurants; and yet another you might enjoy the choices inside your own stateroom thanks to 24 hour room service. 

Regardless of how or where you choose to dine, you're sure to a seemingly endless selection of entrees, appetizers, salad, soups, sides and desserts every time you sit down.  Did you also realize that here's virtually no limit on what or how much you order?  But just because your cruise ship offers plenty of delicious food doesn't mean you'll come home out of shape; as more and more ships offer low-calorie, spa or fitness menu selections that are just as tempting as those on the regular menu.  Watching what you eat has never so much fun!

Not only do you have choices in where you eat within the variety of fabulous food and restaurants, a growing number of cruise lines are now allowing guests to choose their own dining time. Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept with their “Freestyle Dining”, which has been well-received by guests loving the freedom to dine whenever and wherever they like.  Six-star lines such as Regent and Silversea also leave the option of dining time up to guests.  Princess' “Personal Choice Dining”, Holland America's “As You Wish Dining” and Royal Caribbean's “My Time Dining” are now available in addition to their traditional dinner seating.  

Traditional dinner seating, however, with the same wait staff and table companions each evening, has not gone the way of the dinosaur, and is still available on most cruises, and remains a favorite among new and past cruisers alike.

No matter what line or itinerary you choose, you’re bound to find the dining choices to be an amazing part of your cruise vacation. 

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 19, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Riding the Wave

Welcome to wave season - the best time to book your next cruise vacation. It happens every year. Between January through the end of March, all the cruise lines offer their very best deals of the year on cruises to just about every corner of the globe. There are some outstanding early booking incentives and extras that can vary from cruise line to cruise line. Some of the most common of the incentives include:
  • Special Pricing
  • Extra Value Offers
  • On-Board Credits
  • Cabin Upgrades (usually within the same category)
  • Reduced Deposits
  • On-Board Coupon Booklets
Family summer vacation to the Caribbean on Royal Caribbean, sure why not? River cruise through Paris and Normandy, no problem. Cruise through the Mediterranean on the coolest ship ever, Norwegian Epic we’ve got it! Anniversary trip to a long dreamed about trek down under to Australia or New Zealand on Princess Cruises? OK! Taking a trek to the great northern wonderland of Alaska with Disney? No problem. 

If you haven't already received the January issue of the Cruise Planner Magazine, visit my website today to be sure and sign up for the next issue coming out in July. It's packed full of Wave Season specials that will get you thinking about your next vacation. And until then, why not sign-up for my weekly ePostcard, using the special "Travel Deals" green box here, which will provide 4-6 exclusive offers and discounts directly to your email's inbox each week. You never know when inspiration will strike and the sea calls you. Why not be ready to answer the call and this question:

Where would you like to go?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tips on Thursday - A Few Cruise Line Updates

For years I have followed Disney and a few other travel industry leaders in the news, on websites and lately in blogs.  Checking various Disney sites daily has been a practice of mine for the last 13 years.  And now here I am picking some items from time to time to share myself.  I’ve been doing a lot of it on Facebook, but today I choose to do so here.  Since I am a Cruise Planner, I decided to share these items with you regarding the cruise industry:
  • Princess Cruises has announced that they will be offering 10 itineraries to Hawaii, Tahiti and the South Pacific between fall 2012 and spring 2013. Princess will offer four ships sailing roundtrip to the Hawaii islands from Los Angeles and San Francisco. In addition, the renovated Grand Princess will make debut voyages to Hawaii as part of its first West Coast season. In total, eight ships will sail on 56 voyages throughout the Pacific, including itineraries such as the 10-day “Tahiti & Polynesia” route that sails roundtrip from Papeete, Tahiti. An 11-day “Hawaii & Tahiti” itinerary offers the Hawaiian Islands and French Polynesia. And the 28-day “Hawaii, Tahiti and Samoa” itinerary that debuted last season returns with two roundtrips from Los Angeles to American Samoa, visiting Hawaii and Tahiti along the way.
  • Crystal Cruises will be remodeling their ship, Symphony, during a $15 million dry dock scheduled for June 1 to 16. In just days at Germany’s Blohm + Voss shipyard, Crystal Cruises is redesigning the ship’s Avenue Saloon, Palm Court lounge, Galaxy showroom, Hollywood Theatre, Bridge Lounge, and Fantasia and Waves “junior cruisers” areas.
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines announced the plans to return to the Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles Port, sailing seven-day cruises. The dates released are limited and expected to to be in great demand:  Dec 22 & 29, 2013 and Mar 2 – Apr 13 2014.  

Be sure to check my Facebook page often for updates on specials, itineraries and other cool travel news.  Also, if you haven't already signed up to receive "The Cruise Planner Magazine", which is chock-full of specials, exclusives and free stuff.  The January issue includes a contest for a FREE 7 night cruise, and a FREE iPad - and yes, both items will be given away to some lucky individuals who register online at the published website address inside the magazine. Be sure to do so here.  The next issue will be sent out in July.