Showing posts with label Royal Caribbean. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Royal Caribbean. Show all posts

Friday, June 4, 2021

Cruising from the U.S. is BACK! The Wait is Over!

ROYAL CARIBBEAN ANNOUNCEMENT!! The wait is over as cruising from the U.S. is just around the corner!



3-5 NIGHT CRUISES:
** FREEDOM OF THE SEAS® -- from Miami, Florida, starting July 2, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

** MARINER OF THE SEAS® -- from Port Canaveral, Florida, starting August 23, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

7-NIGHT CRUISES:
NEW! ODYSSEY OF THE SEAS®-- from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, debuting July 3, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

ALLURE OF THE SEAS® -- from Port Canaveral, Florida, starting August 8, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

SYMPHONY OF THE SEAS® -- from Miami, Florida, starting August 14, 2021 (NOW OPEN FOR SALE)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Thursday, March 25, 2021

MORE OPPORTUNITIES TO CRUISE THIS SUMMER!

For all Cruisers Anxious to Get Back to Sailing...there are now MORE Opportunities for 2021!

 
Royal Caribbean has announced more opportunities to cruise this summer. While the US government may not yet allow cruising from US ports, other countries are open or about to re-open and are allowing them to sail.
 
 
 
 
ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS from The Bahamas
>> Offering weeklong getaways, vacationers can enjoy a day in Cozumel, Mexico, as well as an island-hopping sampler of popular Bahamian ports — including Grand Bahama Island and two consecutive days at our very own private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay.
 
 
VISION OF THE SEAS from Bermuda:
>> Vision of the Seas® will set sail from Bermuda! Beginning June 26, 2021, you can enjoy a much-needed 7-night getaway soaking up the sun on Bermuda's pink-sand beaches and keep the vacation going after dark, as well as an adventure-packed day at our private destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay in The Bahamas.
 
and now...
 
JEWEL OF THE SEAS has been announced from CYPRUS featuring GREECE as well.
>> All-new 7-night cruises departing from Limassol, Cyprus onboard Jewel of the Seas®! Beginning July 10, 2021, Jewel will call Cyprus home for the first time and sail to the picturesque shores of Cyprus and Greece through October 23, 2021. You can explore a combination of culture-rich cities and idyllic islands, including Limassol; Athens, Greece, and the Greek islands of Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos, and Santorini.
Interested in any of these opportunities, reach out! Each ship has limited capacity, adults over 18 must be vaccinated, and negative test results before boarding for all guests.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sail Away With Us 2014


Join me next January in escaping the winter cold & snowy doldrums by exploring the wonders of the Western Caribbean!  Enjoy a nearly all-inclusive vacation onboard Royal Caribbean's enchanting ship, the Oasis of the Seas!  Book with us and receive an amazing onboard savings coupon booklet, plus $75 Onboard Credit plus a complimentary bottle of wine in your stateroom.  Starting at just $879 per person, you too could enjoy an amazing week in the sunny, warm waters of the Caribbean visiting Cozumel, Falmouth & Labadee.  Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, this is one winter vacation you won't forget!  For more information or to register, visit the link below.  Space is limited.

http://www.neverlandadventurescruises.com/rw/view/2286


Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Spotlight - Oasis of the Seas


Royal Caribbean International® boasts 22 majestic ships in its’ fleet, including six different classifications of ships, based on size, amenities and overall design features.  These classes include:  Oasis Class, Freedom Class, Voyager Class, Radiance Class, Vision Class and Sovereign Class – and an entirely new class – the Quantum Class - just introduced to the world with construction beginning on two new ships for the class to set sail some time in 2015 and 2016.  Today we’ll be looking at the signature ship in the Oasis Class, the Oasis of the Seas® which set sail on her maiden voyage in December 2009, and is considered the ship that revolutionized cruising through its groundbreaking design introducing seven distinct neighborhoods built for ultimate enjoyment in family-friendly cruising. The Oasis of the Seas provides wonderful experiences for multi-generational family travel as well, with a wide array of onboard experiences for all ages. 

Onboard guests can delight to a wide array of relaxation, dining and entertainment options, including, hopping on a classic carousel on the Boardwalk®, then watch acrobats splash down in the AquaTheater, the first amphitheater at sea.  Let imaginations soar in the Youth Zone—the largest kids' area at sea—or at the Pool & Sports Zone, where you'll find FlowRider® surf simulators and zip line views.  Unwind with a stroll in Central Park®—a meandering garden lined with shops and fine restaurants—the first time actual trees have been planted onboard a ship!  Melt away stress at VitalitySM Spa.  Jazz up your evening with Broadway hit Hairspray, or hit the Royal Promenade for memorable moments with DreamWorks® Experience characters.  Join us onboard the ship that changed cruising – a world where innovation rules. 

VitalitySM. © Royal Caribbean International®
Rest & Relaxation:  Full-service VitalitySM Spa with thermal suite and an extensive treatment menu. State-of-the-art Fitness Center. Central Park® outdoor garden with galleries, restaurants and a Coach® store. Four pools including the Solarium, an adults-only retreat. Ten whirlpools, two of them cantilevered whirlpools overlooking the ocean. Concierge Club and Diamond Lounge. 



Dining Options:  Main Dining Room, 14 more complimentary options including Park Cafe, Windjammer Cafe, Solarium Bristo and room service, Casual dining and snacks at Johnny Rockets®, Cupcake Cupboard and Seafood Shack and more.   Specialty restaurants are also available for one low cover charge: 150 Central Park, Chops Grille steakhouse, and Giovanni's Table Italian restaurant.  Starbucks, Izumi Asian cuisine, and Vintages wine bar for an array of tempting tapas.  Central Park dining package at $65 per guest, includes Giovanni's Table Italian Trattoria, 150 Central Park fine-dining restaurant and Chops Grille steakhouse.  Chef's Dining Package, at $120 per guest, includes the five-course, gourmet Chef's Table and wine pairing, 150 Central Park.  Chops Grille, Choice of Dining Package, at $50 per guest, includes Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table and a choice of Izumi Asian Cuisine or Solarium Cafe.  

©Royal Caribbean International®, Casino Royale®
Entertainment & Shopping:  Complimentary Broadway hit Hairspray, Complimentary AquaTheater shows, ice shows and other live entertainment.  Casino Royale® with 464 slots and 27 tables, Bars, lounges, and nightclubs that never have a cover, including live jazz club, karaoke bar, and comedy club.  Parties and parades on the Royal Promenade.  Surf's Up Party, a reservation-only themed party in the Seafood Shack with the restaurant’s most popular dishes and 3 non-alcoholic beverages for a cover charge of $15 per guest or 3 alcoholic beverages for a cover charge of $25 per guest.  Variety of name-brand, duty-free shopping in Central Park® and the Royal Promenade.

©Royal Caribbean International® , FlowRider® 
©Royal Caribbean International® DreamWorks® Experience
Kids and Families:  Complimentary DreamWorks® Experience - memorable moments including character dining, parades, and meet & greets with favorite characters from Shrek®, Madagascar®, Kung Fu Panda® and more.  Complimentary Adventure Ocean® Youth Program. Royal Babies® and Royal Tots® programming.  Teen lounge areas and disco.  H2O Zone kids' water park.  3D movie theater.  Two FlowRider® surf simulators.  Two rock-climbing walls, Zip line, full-sized basketball court.  Ice-skating rink, Mini-golf course and Hand-carved carousel. 




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 31, 2013

Tips on Thursday - New Family-Friendly Options from Royal Caribbean


First, they had the “DreamWorks Experience”, now Royal Caribbean is prepping to further expand their family-friendly offerings - especially for young girls who love all things Barbie – by introducing the all-new "Premium Barbie Cruise Experience”. 

The new experience debuted in January on select ships and will be introduced fleetwide by March.  This newest offering will give Barbie fans, both young and young-at-heart, the opportunity to delight in all things Barbie.  For a cost of $349 per person, you can enjoy a wildly pink-decorated stateroom containing a souvenir tote bag, tiaras and teacups, toothbrush and toiletries, pillowcases, a Barbie blanket, and specially designed nautical outfits for your very own Barbie. (Don’t forget to pack your own Barbie, as the doll itself is not included).

Barbie, first introduced in 1959.  © Mattel, Inc
Continuing the experience, guests will be relieved to know that yes, there’s more!  Each Barbie Experience also includes Barbie related activities on board ship, including the Barbie Design Workshop where you can  create your own outfits for your Barbie doll, and show them off on the "pink carpet" in the Barbie Fashion Show.  And of course the experience would not be complete without a Barbie-themed tea party - the "Tiaras and Teacups Party", which is an invitation-only affair with a palate of pink pastries and pink lemonade to round out the fun.  But wait, there’s more, following the tea party, guests will then join in a Barbie “Mermaid Dance Class" to learn the various from the movie, Barbie in Mermaid Tale 2.

Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Royal Caribbean, Vickie Freed, who admits to owning over 200 Barbie dolls, took a major part in the planning and negotiations for this new cruise experience together with the folks at Mattel, who market and sell the Barbie collections, including the Barbie Cruise Vacation Doll, which was already part of their collection prior to this new partnership, but will be sold on board all Royal Caribbean ships hereafter.  Barbie was created by Ruth Handler in 1959 and she modeled and named the doll after a German adult toy doll called Bild Lilli.

To book your Premium Barbie Cruise Experience or to learn more about Royal Caribbean, or cruising in general, be sure to visit my website or simply call 317.776.1733.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tips on Thursday - Bring Your Own Wine


Recently Royal Caribbean International changed a long-standing policy which prevented guests from bringing their own beverages, including alcoholic beverages onboard any Royal Caribbean cruise.  Sure guests could purchase alcohol while in port, but once back on board the purchases had to be secured in the ship’s storage until the end of the voyage. Additionally, any alcoholic beverages seized on embarkation day were not returned to guests. Period.  

Royal’s new policy allows for two 750-milliliter bottles of wine per cabin to be brought onboard ship, that may be consumed in the guest’s cabin or on a balcony without charge. If the wine is consumed in a public space, there will be a $25 corkage fee.  Further the policy requires that the wine bottles must retain the original manufacturer’s seals and exhibit no signs of tampering.  If a guest brings more than two bottles, the additional bottles will be secured by ship personnel and returned just prior to the end of the cruise.   

According to Royal Caribbean, the change of heart comes from the recognition that "vacationers may have a particular bottle of wine or champagne that they would like bring on board to commemorate a special day or event while on their cruise."  It has been well received by many cruisers, and provides a slight edge for those considering a cruise vacation, looking to enjoy some wine while onboard.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tips on Thursday - Discounts for Past-Guests


Discounts for Past-Guests

Like any business, cruise lines appreciate the loyalty of customers who sail with them again and again.  You’ll find that some of the lines offer special discounts or shipboard credits to their past guests on select sailings, while other lines will offer their best past guest discounts to members of their respective “frequent sailer” clubs (such as Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society or Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Club).  When booking your cruise vacation, always be sure to mention if you are past guest of any particular line so that the best possible pricing might be applied to your upcoming reservation. 

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.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

It's the 2-Day WOW Sale! March 27 & 28 ONLY!

 

The 2-day WOW Sale is on now with up to $200 onboard credit, plus 50% reduced deposit. TODAY & TOMORROW ONLY you can take advantage of these amazing savings by booking any sailing that departs on or after June 1, 2012. The 2-Day WOW Sale includes cruisetours and sailings on our entire fleet!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Night & Bermuda is Calling! It's Time to Plan Your Next Adventure

The Sea is Calling.  Answer it royally.  It whispers your name, inviting you to a place more beautiful than anything you've seen. Why not come sail with us and create memories that will remain for years to come? Book with us on our Royal Caribbean 7-night Bermuda itinerary on the Explorer of the Seas, October 14-21, 2012, and get ready to have a great time at sea!


Join us and enjoy, per stateroom, $25 in Onboard Credit so spend as you choose + 1 Bottle of Wine + 1 Commemorative Beach Towel.  So get on it... space is limited... Come Sail Away With Us today as we Go to Bermuda! And tell your family and friends to join us too!  Learn more about this exciting cruise here.  

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.

Accommodations
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?