Archive for October, 2010

Cruise Packing 101

Packing for a cruise for me usually starts around the time I book a cruise or after returning from a cruise, whichever is later.  I know, it sounds obsessive, but there are some things that you don’t need on a regular basis that’s only used on a cruise.  Those things can be set aside as soon as I know we’re going.  Each time we cruise though, it seems easier and easier.

We travel a fair amount so I have set up a toiletries bag for travel.  When we return from a trip, I refill or replace things that need refilling/replacing.  I also have a second bag that has medicines/first aid stuff.  This again is specific for traveling and the cruise so I don’t have to pull this together every time I travel.  When you are on a trip to a hotel, if something comes up you can go to a drug store.  When you are on a ship though, you are limited by what they have in the gift shop, which usually isn’t much and usually is overpriced.  I bring Bandaids, ibuprofen, Dramamine, Imodium, Pepto Bismal, antibacterial cream, hydrocortizone, ear dryer, eye drops and Maalox.  I also carry tweezers and finger nail clippers.  Believe it or not, I have used everything that I have brought on one cruise or another and this doesn’t take up much space in packing.

There are other things that I pack only for a cruise, that are rarely used at other times.  This includes our snorkel gear, laundry hamper and over-the-door shoe holder.  No, the over-the-door shoe holder is not for shoes, it’s for other things.  I have a material one that has plastic holders for the shoes.  This works great for putting up on the bathroom door in the cabin and putting your toiletries, medicines, sunscreen, etc. in.  Cabins on the cruises don’t have a lot of storage space so every little bit helps.

We bring a power strip as there are usually limited outlets in the cabins.  This can be a real problem if you have power adapters that are large or odd shaped.  When I am cruising on a new itinerary or new cruise line, I bring an expandable folder to put all the papers that we receive in to keep them organized.

I also have a cruise kit of things just for cruising.  This includes a corkscrew, highlighters (to mark on the schedule what we want to do), sewing kit, eyeglass repair kit, battery operated night light, personal battery fan, post-it notes, Ziploc bags (in various sizes), air freshener, travel alarm clock, gaffers tape (like duct tape but easier to remove), flashlight and a pocket knife.

This will be a different cruise experience for us.  We are going on Norwegian Cruise Line.  NCL is known for its Freestyle Cruising.  This means that we don’t have to worry about the formal wear for formal and semi-formal nights.

We’re all packed now and just about ready to go!  Next blog…  live from Miami!

Celebrity Cruises – Theme Cruise Line Up

Adding flavor to an already robust onboard experience are new special interest cruises, geared to those with a fine appreciation of art, food and wine. A renowned guest chef, artist, or wine maker will be invited aboard select cruises to celebrate all we love about good food, wine and art.

Celebrity Cruises is expanding its line-up of theme cruises in 2011 to offer a total of 61 cruises that will feature immersive onboard art, food and wine based experiences.
“Celebrity Cruises strives to offer an array of enriching and fun experiences through our Celebrity Life onboard activities program,” said Celebrity’s Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations Lisa Lutoff-Perlo. “Our theme cruises are led by guest experts and combined with interactive activities and unique experiences for our guests’ special interests: fine dining with exceptional cuisine and service to enjoy, exquisite art to view and extraordinary wines to taste.”

Partnering with The Corning Museum of Glass, Celebrity will offer “Guest Glass Artist” theme cruises, each featuring an artisan glassblower. Five “Guest Glass Artist” cruises will be offered, on Caribbean sailings on the brand-new Celebrity Eclipse, which sets sail for the first time from Miami in November, and on Celebrity Solstice.

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Disney Dream Entertainment

In January, 2011, Disney Cruise Line will launch the first of its two new ships – Disney Dream. Many have wondered about the nightly entertainment that Disney will offer on this new vessel.

We have heard that “The Golden Mickeys” will continue on the Disney Dream with some new musical numbers, more special effects and technology. “Villains Tonight”, which debuted on the Disney Magic earlier this year, will also be shown on the Disney Dream. This show focuses on the Disney villains with a comical twist with Hades as the lead.

There will also be a new show called “Disney’s Believe”, a story about botanist Dr. Cornelius Greenaway who is so focused on his plants that he misses his daughter, Sophia’s, birthday. Sophia makes a special birthday wish and is greeted by the Genie from “Aladdin” to make her wish come true. The Genie takes Dr. Greenaway on a trip into Disney stories with characters including Princess Tiana, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Belle and Rafiki.

Disney Cruise Line will also have “Sailing Away”, a deck show with the famous Disney characters.

Lots of questions have been asked about the Pirate’s in the Caribbean deck party. This will continue on the Disney Dream, but in a much grander style! The entire Disney Dream will be transformed into a pirate ship one night during each sailing. You will still see Mickey’s Pirates in the Caribbean show at the Donald Pool stage. This party will be followed by “Club Pirate”, with a special appearance from Captain Jack Sparrow. This is a high tech dance party. Both of these parties are followed by “Buccaneer Blast”, a fireworks display over the Disney Dream, choreographed to songs from the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction, Peter Pan and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Are you sailing on the Disney Dream in 2011? If not, we can get you on this newest Disney Cruise!

Time for a Private Island Getaway

If you have been on a Disney Cruise before, you know what I’m about to say. Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay is a Bahamian island paradise! Situated in the northern part of the Islands of Bahama, just off the shore of Great Abaco, this island to many “makes or breaks” their Disney Cruise.

Once called “Gorda Cay”, this beautiful island was once used by drug runners. There is an airstrip on the island which is now used to carry guests from the family beach area to the adult exclusive areas at Serenity Bay. This island was also used for filming part of the movie Splash.
This is one of the only private islands that cruise ships call on where guests do not need to tender to the island. Instead, the ship docks right at the pier on one side of the island, offering guests a way to easily go back and forth from the ship if they desire. There is so much to do on Castaway Cay though, you don’t need to go back to the ship until the ship’s whistle sounds at the end of the day.
In addition to swimming, guests can snorkel, ride bikes, rent personal watercraft, stingray interaction, hiking, parasail, get a open air massage or just relax among other things. Castaway Cay has just completed an extensive renovation to include new things such as private cabanas, Pelican Plunge and Spring-a-Leak.

Disney’s current schedule of Bahamian and Caribbean sailings all include a stop at this private island paradise.

Check out this interactive website from Disney here.

No Tricks – Just Treats at WDW Swan

The Walt Disney World Swan is please to offer a sale for Halloween fans that is spooktacular! From 7am to 7pm Eastern on Sunday, October 31 only, you can book your reservation and mention “TRICK OR TREAT” to the reservation agent. You’ll instantly receive a surprise treat applied to your reservation, including, but not limited to:

• Complimentary upgrades
• Free breakfast for two
• Milk & cookie turndown amenity
• $100 credit towards dinner for two
• Additional 10% percent off your room rate
• And much more!

This is only valid on Halloween from 7 am to 7pm for stays from October 31 through December 23, 2010 only. Contact us today to make arrangements and our agents will set this up for you while you are getting ready for the Halloween festivities! Email today!

We Want To Hear From You

We’d love to get your input on what you would like to see in our blog! Please answer our poll and add comments for anything else you’d like to see!

Coming soon… Live reports from the Norwegian Dawn!

Regent Seven Seas Even More Inclusive

In additional to its all-suite accommodations, open bars, excursions, airfare, gratuities and all taxes being included in its fares, starting in 2011 Regent Seven Seas will also include a pre-night luxury hotel package to include breakfast, all transfers and porterage at no additional cost.

“To be the best of the best, we believe that exclusivity means inclusivity,” said Mark Conroy, Regent Seven Seas’ president. “As travel to a destination can often be tiring, we decided to up the luxury ante by including a deluxe hotel stay so our guests can relax and explore a world-class city before beginning their Regent Seven Seas cruise.”

Contact us today to book this ultimate cruise experience!

Disney in 2012 – Will You Be Cruising?

Today, Disney Cruise Line opened it’s bookings for part of 2012, including the maiden voyage of the Disney Fantasy (well yesterday for Platinum and Gold Castaway Club members). I heard a lot of disappointment that there was less than 24 hours between the announcement and the prebooking date for Platinum/Gold members and less than 2 days for the pricing to be released to the public. There were minimal changes to the itineraries. Key West was eliminated as a port and Costa Maya added on the Western Caribbean itineraries. More 5 night sailings were added in March, April and late August. Other than this, nothing was new.

We don’t know what Disney has planned for the rest of 2012 or when they plan to announce it. DCL has not followed a pattern of releasing dates for as long as I have been cruising with them. I have seen releases anywhere from September until May! Yes, May! Let’s hope we hear about the rest of 2012 before then. They released the first Panama Canal transits in May 2004, one year before the sailings. They also made the announcement on the same day that reservations opened.

We have heard many speculations of what the rest of 2012 will hold. We have already indicated our prediction for the summer of 2012, but I’ll repost it here with a prediction for the rest of 2012. We think that the Disney Magic will either go to Europe again (less likely) or will go once again through the Panama Canal to Los Angeles. From Los Angeles, we believe she will go to Hawaii and then on to Asia for the summer, making the return trip in September to early October. Once she returns, we believe she will be berthed in Galveston, Texas and have 7 night sailings to the Western Caribbean, alternating itineraries each week (going to Grand Cayman alternating weeks from the Disney Fantasy). Personally, I think we will see Belize on one of these itineraries.

So have you booked already for 2012? What do you think we will see in 2012? What do you want to see in 2012?

Holland America Upgrade Sale

Until October 31, 2010, you can book an ocean-view stateroom on Holland America Line and get a free upgrade to a verandah room on select Caribbean sailings! Pricing for verandah staterooms start at $699 per person on these seven day sailings. Contact us today for this great promotion!

Disney Fantasy Maiden Voyage Announced

The Disney Fantasy will make her debut on April 7, 2012 with a sailing to the Western Caribbean with stops in Grand Cayman, Costa Maya and Cozumel. This Maiden voyage will be followed by another Western Caribbean sailing and then alternate with an Eastern Caribbean sailing to St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Both itineraries will stop at Disney’s private island paradise, Castaway Cay. Rates start at $959 per person for a standard inside room, based on double occupancy.

The Disney Dream will continue it’s schedule of 3, 4 and 5 night Bahamian sailings, stopping at Nassau and Castaway Cay. Rates for this ship will start at $333 per person for a standard inside room, based on double occupancy.

The Disney Wonder will sail the Mexican Riviera cruises from the Port of Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas from January through April. Prices for this itinerary start at $658 per person for a standard inside room, based on double occupancy.

The Disney Magic will sail out of Port Canaveral alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings until the Disney Fantasy arrives. These sailings start at $707 per person for a standard inside room, based on double occupancy.

The schedules for the Disney Magic and Wonder after April 2012 will be released at a later date as will the schedules for the Disney Fantasy and Dream after August 2012.

Bookings are set to being tomorrow, October 19 for Platinum and Gold Castaway Club members and on Wednesday, October 20 for everyone else. Contact us today to book your 2012 sailing!

Pricing does not include government taxes and fees.

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