Archive for the Cruises Category

A Cruise Review To Envision The Cruise Ship Experience

There are many vacation choices but for one with great options why not consider cruise travel. Read this cruise review to envision the cruise ship experience.

If you want to go on a vacation with great options, you might consider taking a cruise. If you have never been a cruise ship before and you are not sure whether it would be perfect for you, read on. The cruise ship experience will be much clearer after you read this cruise review.

This article will not be endorsing or promoting a particular cruise line, but will just give you some glimpses of what cruise lines are offering to cruise passengers. This includes cruise destinations, various ranges of prices and amenities available.

In some cases cruise lines will proved an option of a pre or post-cruise stay at a hotel in the town where you embark or disembark. This is especially beneficial when you travel great distances to board your cruise ship. By using this option it actually affords you the ability to add on an extra port to explore before your cruise ship experience is over.

For instance, if your departure point is at Los Angeles, and you choose this option you will have time to visit famous places there such as Hollywood (the famous walk of stars) or Venice Beach (a funky hip beach town).

On the day of the cruise departure, you will be brought to the pier where your cruise ship is waiting for you. It will take about 45 minutes to an hour to check in your luggage, get your boarding pass and board the ship. Your room steward will meet you and this is when you should tell the steward if you have any special needs or requests. For instance, I like two bath towels and a bucket of ice each afternoon. They want to make you happy so don’t be shy.

It may take a couple of hours for your luggage to arrive so grab some lunch and then tour your cruise ship. Make any beauty and spa appointments now, on some days, like formal nights appointments sell out. Consider making these appointments on port days, especially if you have been to that port before. The salon/spa offer discounts if you book on those days. Roam around the first afternoon to see what delights are in store for you during your cruise ship experience.

You can enjoy several relaxing moments in the spa. Celebrity has what they call a Thalassotherapy pool, Princess has a swim against the current pool and Carnival has the giant slide into the outside pool. If you feel that you want to burn up some calories after all the wonderful meals, go to the fitness center which is equipped with modern state of the art equipment. Or you may feel like strolling around the promenade in that fresh salt air.

There are swimming pools aboard, both for adults and kids. Deck chairs and benches are also provided if you just want to watch your children enjoying the water in the pool.

Entertainment is also present in your cruising vacation. A state-of-the-art theater is provided for on-board entertainment. There will be Broadway like productions and children-oriented programs that are new and different everyday..

In case you are looking for a different entertainment, you can go to several theme bars or disco with live music open until the wee hours of the morning.

If you want to try your luck during your cruise travel, then there is an on-board casino where it features different games similar to what you see in Las Vegas.

There is a shopping center where you can find personal items and other things that you need while you are on-board. Here’s one cruise tip, try to pack things like Rolaids, bandages and toothpaste from home; they are expensive on the cruise ship

Library and recreation centers are also found on the cruise ship. Almost all cruise ships have a lending library and most have a room for playing bridge.

Food is one of the vital services offered by cruise lines. The best chefs from around the world are hired to prepare and cook excellent meals to ensure that your on-board dining experience will be truly memorable.

There are formal dining areas, which have a formal dress code on certain nights.
If you are looking for more informal style of dining, there are snack bars, cafeteria, and a pizza parlor on-board, which generally are opened for meals on extended hours. Many times the cruise lines close down one half of their Lido café (this is where they have the buffet lunch and dinner) to offer a casual place to dine but they still use a menu and servers. All of the food, no matter which style you choose are covered in the cruise prices.

Cruise itineraries generally include stops at different ports each or every other day, depending on the schedule of the cruise ship you chose. You have the option of either staying aboard the ship or you may disembark to join other passengers on a guided tour. You are also free to explore on your own at each stop, but make sure you know the departure time of the ship.

Booking a cruise is simple. To get the best advice on cruise ships use the services of a travel agency. Read cruise reviews that you can find online to familiarize yourself on what each cruise line offers. Or, if you are already savvy to cruising, log on to the official site of a particular cruise line to check on itineraries and prices.

You will be provided information about destinations and cruise packages that are affordable. Discounts and special offers are also available for passengers.

Hopefully, this cruise review will give you some insight into what delights you will find during your cruise ship experience.

Happy Cruising!

6 Reasons why a cruise is such a fine budget vacation

A cruise ship provides a great, one price, vacation, and one of the main attractions to booking a cruise ship is that just about everything is included in the price.

When many people think about a budget vacation, they picture an intrepid traveler in a roach infested hotel room eating stale sandwiches and riding around on the city bus. However, one of the best ways to save money on a vacation is also one of the most luxurious and most thrilling – the cruise vacation.

Cheap Accommodation
In addition to a cheap place to stay, a cruise also offers unlimited food, including many amazing buffets that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, the food on cruise vacation ships are often better-quality to those in all but the best land locked restaurants, and once again, the food is included in the price.

Traveling Off-season
Of course, it is possible to save money by traveling in the off-season, and this can often be a great plan. For instance, even though it is the middle of the winter and most people are not thinking about vacations where you are, it may be warm and tempting in many tropical cruise ship destinations.

It is important, however to check out the local weather, and to avoid the rainy season in the destinations you are considering. Steering clear of hurricanes, tropical downpours and other weather problems can help you get the most out of your cruise ship.

If you have never taken a cruise ship before, it is a good idea to get advice from those who have experienced cruising. These people can give valuable insight on the best balance of cost and comfort for your first cruise ship experience.

The location of the cabin is another important consideration when booking a cruise ship. The interior cabins on the lower parts of the ship are generally the least costly, while the higher, larger cabins with ocean views are the most expensive.

Discounts and Cheap Cruise ship Deals
It is not always necessary to shop early, of course. Cruise ship lines have been known to offer some fantastic discounts at the last minute in order to move unsold cabins or avoid leaving with a less than full passenger load.

There are many last minute travel newsletters that provide details on these types of cruise ship deals, and these last minute travel deals are a big hit with retirees and others with the time to see the world.

Food and Gym
After eating all that food, you will probably feel the need to work out, and the cost of the cruise vacation also typically includes unlimited use of the gym, the weight room and the sports locations. While many hotels tack on a surcharge for the use of the hotel gym, with a cruise vacation it is generally included.

Shipboard Entertainment
The cost of a cruise vacation also includes all shipboard entertainment and classes. The entertainment options of a cruise vacation are often one of the best parts of the experience, and many cruises offer such things as movie nights, theatres, spas, nightclubs, discos, and even casinos.

There are also some great classes offered by cruise lines, in everything from origami to bridge to ballroom dancing. And again, these classes and entertainment options are included in the price you pay for the cruise.

Among the only things that are not included in the typical cruise vacation are alcoholic beverages and shore excursions. Many of the higher priced cruises even include these extras. If the shore excursions and drinks are not included, be sure to get a price list for shore excursions and drinks.

It is often possible to save money on shore excursions while on a cruise vacation by booking the tours locally at portside instead of going with the cruise line. Just be sure, however that the book it yourself excursion will get you back to the ship on time.

For all these reasons, cruise vacation can be among the best, and most economical, of all vacation opportunities. The ability to enjoy a week or two week cruise vacation at one low price is one more reason to love cruising.

“Spectacular 5 Country Scandinavian Cruise" on Costas Atlantica

I’ve cruised dozens of ships on various lines and in my opinion this is as good as it gets on a mega-liner of 2200+ passengers with 920 crew. Costa’s Atlantica was a floating palace of art deco furnishings, marble inlaid floors and millions of dollars invested in original works of art. It exceeded my expectations. Also I normally loose weight on cruises shunning the ships artificial fare. This time I over indulged on varied menus of fresh food. I ate enough prosciutto and ice cream to last a decade. The Italian accented cuisine was prepared by Euro-chefs and culinary graduates of the world famous Chaine des Rotisseurs.

We had an awesome group of 60 who blended harmoniously. No love connections occurred (that I know of), but friendships developed as we bonded on our AFS private shore excursions and parties onboard. This group was blessed throughout with the best weather the Baltic region could ever provide 68º daily and no rain. The First Officer said “this was the best weather of the summer.”

Each country visited was a lesson in culture and history. We saw an eyeful along our 1987 nautical miles. In Copenhagen Denmark with it’s Mermaid, Stockholm Sweden – the archipelago referred to as “Venice of the North”, Helsinki Finland – so friendly, modern and clean, Grand St. Petersburg Russia where we squeezed in a full power tour of the Hermitage, palaces, onion domed churches, canals and an evening ballet. Our final port was charming Tallinn Estonia where the entire walled Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was like walking through a fairytale.

For our days at sea there was never a dull moment with 3 pools, shops, casino, luxurious spa and contests with the crew. The 2 story gym was so high tech that I didn’t know how to turn on the equipment, so the only exercise I got was jumping to conclusions. The midnight buffets were the most magnificent I’ve ever witnessed with countless ice sculptures. There was a house baked out of bread and piano shaped from white chocolate.

On our last night we attempted to pack all our trinkets collected: faberge egg, Russian nesting dolls, Swedish crystal, Finish glassware, Nordic pewter, lingonberry jams, amber jewelry, hand knit sweaters and a million T-shirts. Many things such as our fur hats may end up in a garage sale some day, but the bargaining sure was fun.

We tasted just an appetizer of this 5 country smorgasbord but leave perfectly satisfied. As I say Bon Voyage to this unique part of this world, I am able to remiss another journey well done.

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