It's over! Hurricane season, that is.
The Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season officially ends on November30, which was yesterday. So, as of 12:01am today, it's no longer hurricane season. Today, I'll be removing the tracking maps from the sidebars of Cruising Musings, and feeling grateful that 2009 was NOT a repeat of some of our recent years, in which the tropics seemed to be a constant menace.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
It's over! Hurricane season, that is.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Tomorrow's sailing of the Norwegian Dawn has been cancelled. The following notice appears on the NCL website:
Miami - Nov 28, 2009 --- Important Travel Update: Please be advised that Norwegian Dawn's 5-Day Western Caribbean sailing from Miami, Florida on Sunday, November 29, 2009 is cancelled. Guests can call Norwegian at 800-327-7030 Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 9pm Eastern Time and Monday to Friday from 8am to midnight Eastern Time and a Norwegian Cruise Line representative will be available to assist in answering questions.
Word is that the Dawn has 'lost power' not once, but twice , and was eventually escorted to San Juan, Puerto Rico, by a Coast Guard vessel. NCL arranged for special flights back to Miami, where passengers are being given sleeping accomodations tonight, and transportation to airport or parking lot tomorrow.
Sources also say Norwegian Cruise Line is offering those passengers whose cruise ended in San Juan compensation in the form of a 75% refund of their cruise fare, and a future cruise at a 50% discount. Those who were booked on the Dawn's cancelled cruise will get a full refund, and a 50% discount on a future cruise.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Here's another opportunity to win a free cruise...I found this one on Frommer's, where you can enter - or just use the link at the bottom of this post. It's sponsored by Travel Themes and Dreams , and you can enter once each day, through this coming Monday.
The PRIZE is a Norwegian Cruise Line seven day cruise for two, in an ocean view cabin to the Caribbean (departing from Miami or New Orleans) or the Mexican Riveria (departing from Los Angeles.) You also get a $750 airfare credit to get to and from the port of embarkation.
YOU CAN ENTER ONCE EACH DAY, so, counting today, you can still submit six entries.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Today's the day that the Port Canaveral Dream Sail-A-Bration that will take place! The big ship from Carnival Cruise Lines is making a port call here today, prior to making a berth at the port home, beginning next month.
EVENT: Dream Sail-A-Bration
DATE: Wednesday, November 18, 2009
TIME: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
PARKING: (free) at Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal 4
REQUESTED DONATION: A non-perishable food item
The festivities will include a 'spectacular laser light show, ' live broadcast from a local radio station, Lite Rock 99.3 FM, and plenty of photo opportunities, as local area residents wish the passengers and crew of OUR new ship bon voyage while she moves along the channel on her way out to sea. Guests can also enter a drawing for a free cruise for four - in a penthouse suite!
Sunday, November 15, 2009
As of today, we are twenty days away from the day when the Carnival Dream will call Port Canaveral her home port. After a 9 night Caribbean cruise, visiting Antigua, Tortola, S Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk, she'll begin sailing 7 night alternating eastern and western Caribbean itineraries.
The Dream's Eastern Caribbean itinerary will appeal to those who love to relax on board, with three Sea Days and three ports - St Maarten, St Thomas, and Nassau.
Her Western Caribean itinerary is a bit more port intensive, as she calls at four ports in a row - Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, and Costa Maya - with a Sea Day on each end.
So, it looks ike the huge new Dream will have something for just about everyone, with all lher new bells and whistles, and two very different itineraries.
The Dream Sail-A-Bration is this Wednesday at Port Canaveral.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Ida left some very sad marks on Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Reports are that over 100 lives were lost and more than 500 homes were destroyed. Americans, please remember our southern neighbors in your prayers
Now weakened again to a Tropical Storm - after becoming a Category 2 hurricane, Ida is now poised to make her presence known to the upper Gulf Coast of the United States.
Cruise itineraries have been affected - some more, some less.
A few ships substituted another port for Cozumel, spent an unscheduled day, or re-ordered their port stops. These included Carnival's Liberty, Inspiration, and Conquest, as well as the Crown Princess. NCL's Spirit found it necessary to leave from New Orleans about an hour and a half early for her current cruise. Hopefully, all the cruisers on these ships were equipped with their favorite cure for motion sickness , such as Cruise Ready Store's best-selling natural motion sickness remedy, Gin-gins double strength hard ginger candy
Passengers on two other ships will experience more drastic changes to their cruise vacations.
CARIVAL FANTASY's November 10 six day cruise will be shortened to five days, departing on November 11, with the visit to Progresso being eliminated. These passengers willl will receive a one day pro-rated refund of the cruise fare paid for the 6 day cruise.
CARNIVAL TRIUMPH's November 10 four day cruise will be shortened to a three day cruise, departing on November 11 instead. The ship will not visit Cozumel, and passengrs will receive a 50% refund of their cruise fare.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
First things first - there has been no reported loss of life in either Nicaragua or Honduras from Ida. This may be due to the fact that she took a more northerly than first expected route across the two countries, and spent less time than projected getting herself back out into open water.
She emerged earlier than forecast into the NW Caribbean Sea, as a Tropical Depression, but has quickly ramped back up, and now, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, is once again nearing hurricane status.
The northeastern coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula (including Cozumel) is under a Hurricane Watch, while other areas of the Caribbean are under Tropical Storm Warnings and Watches, including western Cuba, Grand Cayman, and the Isle of Youth. Cozumel is probably in for some real weather
ITINERARY CHANGES - IDA
The Carnival Liberty will alter her itinerary, postponing the schduled port of call at Cozumel, and calling instead at Ocho Rios on Monday. Other changes may also be needed with other ships. I will post any that I am made aware of. Now is the time for everyone who is about to cruise to keep a wary eye on Ida. If at all possible, it would be wise to arrive at your port of embarkation a day early, just to be on the safe side.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
After dilly-dallying off the coast all night, and strenthening to a Category 1 Hurriane, Ida made landfall this morning north of bluefields, Nicaragua. She is currently posing a major flooding threat to northeastern Nicaragua (and possibly also Honduras), dumping enough rainfall to cause flash flooding and possible deadly mudslides.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Tropical Depression Number 11, which formed earlier today in the southwstern Caribbean Sea, not far from the coastline of Nicaragua, has intensified to tropical storm strength, and is named Ida. Ida is the 9th named storm of the 2009 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season. Within the last hour, an Air Force Rconnaissance plane found sustained winds of nearly 60 MPH, with a minimum central pressure of 996 mb.
The system is moving slowly toward the WNW, but is expected to slow more, turn NW, and make landfall on Nicaragua's east coast sometime tonight, possibly producng very dangerous flash flooding and mud-slides. Ida's 'long term' future will be determined by where she hits, and what path she takes over Nicaragua. Meanwhile, the short term future of many Nicaraguans will be determined by Ida. I'll worry about what might happen to Ida down the line after her initial encounter with land. For now, let's hope the people of Nicaragua escape any major effects from this late season storm.
Here are the details of the Port Canaveral Dream Sail-A-Bration that will take place two weeks from today. That's when the big ship from Carnival Cruise Line will pay us a port prior to making a berth here home next month.
- EVENT: Dream Sal-A-Bration
- DATE: Wednesday, November 18, 2009
- TIME: 5:30 to 7:30 PM
- PARKING: (free) at Port Canaveral Cruise Terminal 4
- REQUESTED DONATION: A non-perishablel food item
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
While the Carnival Dream won't oficiallly call Port Canaveral Home until December 3, something special is happening ahead of that day. To be specific, the Dream will make a call at Port Canaveral on Wednesday, November 18, and the Port Authority will host a special Sail-A-Bration at the end of her one day visit here. They have quite the event planned to wish the passengers and crew 'Bon voyage' when the Dream sails away from Port Canaveral for the first time ever. So, if you're interested, reserve the hours of 5:30 to 7:30 on Nov 18.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
I couldn't help feeling quite a few twinges as I listed for sale a piece of ocean liner memorabilia that is alot more than just a cruise memory. It's an old post card picturing the venerable r.m.s. Queen Elizabeth on war service.
I had actually purchased this card for my personal collection. But, as I thought about it, I realized that it's too special for me to keep. Born the year after the Queen completed her war service, I have no personal connection with her greatness or that of the men she carried. But, others DO. I hope one of them will find it among the Cunard Mementos on my site... Maybe it will end up as a small Christmas or Hannukah gift to someone who rode aboard her - or was close to someone who did.
I wonder what it must have been like for the brave souls who sailed off during the early 1940's aboard the famous ship repainted in battleship gray. And, though I don't even know their names, I'm indebted to them.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
A big THANK YOU to Debi, who last night featured Cruise Ready Store's Tips for New Cruisers in the TSL Blog.
If you sell on the internet, you'll find sellers helping sellers at the Selling Lounge, where there is a great deal of information on a wide range of ecommerce related topics - and lots of peer support, too!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Today is Grand Turk, the government seat of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Last year when we arrived, this beautifiul spot was in the throes of recovering from a devistating hurricane, and the evidence abounded... but the people of Grand Turk were doing a marvelous job of
rebounding. Their spirits were hopeful as they welcomed the cruise ship visitors, and we had a wonderful time on a snorkeling excursion, led by a great guide. I had wanted to do my part to help, since we were one of the first ships to arrive, after an extended port colsure, so I saved all my souvenir shopping for that day. I was glad I did, as each vendor seemed to be extra apprecitive of each and every sale.
I am anxious to see this port again...
Cruising tip: Your Sign and Sail card is your onboard lifeline. It unlocks your cabin door, records your exit from the ship in port, and admits you back on board to sail away. It is also you on board money... you pay for everything with it. So it is of utmost importance to keep it both secure and handy at all times. I'm using a embellished yellow lanyard - which is just one of many choices for card holders that you'll find at Cruise Ready Store.
Please feel free to browse through all of them while I'm sailing. And, if you find one you like, your decision will be made, and you can complete your purchase after I return on Sunday.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
This photo was taken from the hilltop at the top end of the sky lift, several years ago, when we visited there on the Mariner of the Seas. (Center ship in the photo) I hear the recent fire severaly damaged the tourist area at the Hilltop. I am thinking of once again snorkeling at Trunk Bay, so, I probably won't make it up there to see for myself. But I will try to gather some first hand intelligence from some of my shipmates, and report back on my return.
EDIT: We docked at the new cruise pier at CrownBay, rather than at Havesheight, so we were not near the sky ride to Paradise Point, where the fire was.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Today, the ship is scheduled to dock in St Maartin. Although some people love it, this is not one of my all time favorite ports, so I'll probably stay on the ship, treating this as a bonus Sea Day, hanging by the aft pool, and spending some quality time with my good friends Sue and Dickie.
Last year, on the Crown Princess, I stayed on the ship during our stop in Jamaica, which I really do like, but just felt like staying aboard. I wore my All Ashore T shirt from Cruise Ready Store, and got quite a few smiles and a couple of comments. It's a nice conversation starter. The bartender got quite a kick out of this shirt last year ... I think I'll try for an encore.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Today is the first of our two scheduled Sea Days, and I plan to spend the entire day relaxing by the aft pool, sipping cold Diet Coke - and maybe an occassional foo foo drink, and doing a lot of visiting and laughing with my dear cruising friends from Cape Coral.
I just LOVE Sea Days, which inspired me to design this little magnet. It reads "May all your days at sea begin and end just perfectly."
And, with Christmas coming, it would be a nice time to surprise the gentleman cruiser in your life with a nautical tie clip or cuff links. I have several styles for you to choose from, including this anchor tie clip, which also has matching cuff links. While any of these men's formal accessories are great for cruise formal night, they would also make a nice addition to your guy's suit or tux for any gala evening during the holidays.
Monday, October 12, 2009
This 'day at the beach' brought to you by
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
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- Roundtrip coach flights for two.
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Good luck, and happy cruising
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Friday, October 2, 2009
Collision in Cozumel
Night before last, the Carnival Legend (homeport Ft Lauderdale) collided with Royal Caribean's Enchantment of theSeas (home port Tampa) in Cozumel. The guilty party was apparently a strog gust of wind, which pushed the Legend into the stern of the Enchantment, despite the efforts of a harbor tug to prevent the incident. Both ships sustained minor damage, and both cruise lines say repairs will be carried out with no disruptions to current or future itineraries. A passenger on the Enchantment filed a short joural entry about the event.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
UPDATE: It now appears that this information applies to the Carnival Victory only, and not other CCL ships that call at Antigua, such as the Carnival Freedom.
Starting the first of the year, if you want to cruise to Antigua, it will have to be on a cruise line other than Carnival, as the fun ships are dicontinuing their calls at that southern Caribbean port, effective January 2010. They'll be visiting St. Maarten instead.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
If you are flying to or from your cruise on certain dates,be prepared to pony up an extra $10 per ticket. On Thanksgiving Sunday (Nov 29), and the two days following New Years Day (Jan 2 and 3), at least five airlines will charge the 'busy day' fee. Those airlines who have (so far) added the new fee are: American, Delta. Northwest, United. and U.S. Air. Of course, it's not out of the question that at least some of the others will follow suit.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I am very excited to report that we have signed up through our travel agent to go on a tour of the Monarch of the Seas when she is in port for her turn-around on the 25th of this month. We'll be aboard several hours, AND get to have lunch. They will kick us off before she sails ... without us. (sob)
I'll take my camera along and try to get a photo of her to post.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Sunday, September 6, 2009
US and Canadian residents can win a Caribbean cruise for two aboard the new MSC Poesia in the MSC Cruises Poetry in Motion Sweepstakes .
Kids ages 7 to 12- Carnival Cruise Line Book of Dreams contest . The winner will christen and be the Carnival Dream cruise ship water slide Godchild, and win a 2 night cruise for their family.
Royal Caribbean Give Us Your Best Shot contest (Crown & Anchor members) - submit a photo taken on a Royal Caribbean cruise to win one of three cruises on RCCL. Go to http://www.rccl.com/, and click on Crown & Anchor Society, then on Member Forum.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
It happened last night, off the coast of Port St Lucie, Florida - about 30 miles out to sea !
A cruiser on the Carnival Sensation fell overboard as the ship was returning to Port Canaveral
About an hour later, the man's cries for help were heard by someone aboard the Wonder, also enroute to a Port Canaveral turnaround. After the ship's captain requested silence on board, they were able to hear the man's screams more clearly, and locate him in the darkness. A rescue boat was then sent out to pick him up and bring him aboard the Disney ship.
The man is reportedly in good condition this morning.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Hurricane Jimena has weakened considerably since yesterday and is near land in the Cabo San Lazaro area. Winds are down to 105 mph, and the storm also brings a very real threat of life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
Tropical Storm Erika formed last night east of the Leeward Islands, and now appears headed directly for Guadeloupe. From there, several scenarios could play out, ONE of which would bring the storm through The Bahamas and towards the Southeastern United States. She could also recurve out to Sea, or miss Florida to the south. So far, the NHC is drawing a track that includes a recurve east of the Bahamas. Things can and do change in the tropics, so stay tuned.
Cruise ships are still being diverted away from the area of danger from Jimena. Stay on the lookout, cruisers, for any itinerary changes as a result of TS Ericka, as well.
PS - The blue hats (see my previous blog entry) are now once again available at Cruise Ready Store.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Hurricane Jimena has apparently set her sights on the Baja peninsula, with winds presently just a mile shy of Category Five status, at 155 mph.
FIRST, and most importantly, the people of the Baja need our thoughts and prayers right now. Let's remember them!
Secondly, cruise itineraries have necessarily been affected, namely those of the following four ships:
Mariner of the Seas will reverse her itinerary as follows: Mon, Tue, Sat- Sea Days; Wed- Puerto Vallarta; Thur- Mazatlan; Fri- Cabo San Lucas
Carnival Splendor: Mon- Catalina; Tues and Sat- Ensenada; Wed, Thurs- Sea Days; Fri - Cabo San Lucas.
Carnival Paradise: Tue- Sea Day; Wed- Catalina; Thurs- Ensenada.
Carnival Elation: Mon- Sea Day; Tues- Catalina; Wed- Ensenada
This is the latest information available on itinerary changes, which, of course, are subject to further change as warranted by sea and port conditions.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This morning, Tropical Storm Danny formed about 445 miles East of Nassau, The Bahamas.
The system is not terribly well organized right now, but will soon encounter more favorable conditions for development, as it continues to move WNW. It does not apper that Danny will pose a threat to The Bahamas or Florida. Those from North Carolina to Maine and the Maritimes are currently within the NHC's 5 day cone, and should remain watchful.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Hurricane Bill is now a Category 2, and has passed Bermuda without a direct hit. They are not escaping completely, but it could be worse. Here is a link to some news from Bermuda.
The coast of Massachusetts is now under a Tropical Storm Warning.
ITINERARY CHANGES **
Carnival Triumph: The cruise that departed from New York on August 20 will cancel the scheduled call in Saint John. The ship will now navigate a safe course away from the storm and return to New York on Monday as scheduled.
Explorer of the Seas: Thursday, August 20, departure - Revised itinerary reorders ports. The ship will visit San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sunday; Philipsburg, St. Maarten, Monday; Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, Tuesday; and Kings Wharf, Bermuda, Thursday
Norwegian Spirit: Friday, August 21 departure - Depending on the path of the storm, the ship may arrive later than scheduled into Bermuda. The ship's Captain will update the guests on board as to the specific arrival time in Bermuda once it has been determined.
** Always check with your cruiseline for the most recent and authoritative information.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Hurriane Bill has been upgraded to a Category 3, with winds of 125 mph, becoming the first major hurricane of the Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season. Many fingers are crossed for a predicted recurve out to sea...
Edit on 08/19: Bill upgraded at 5 AM to a dangerous Category 4 Hurricane.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Princess Cruise Lines:
Caribbean Princess - Cancelled: San Juan, St Thomas, Grand Turk. Substituted: Port Canaveral and Nassau.
If you are concrned about possible high seas when you cruise, don't forget that Cruise Ready Store has some things that you might find helpful: anti nausea wristbands and several types of ginger candies for motion sickness
I watched the radar with fascination yesterday evening as Tropical Depression Four rapidaly organized in the Gulf of Mexico. It was amazing! We even experieenced some small bands of tropical like weather here on the east coast. Today, TD #4 is Tropical Storm Claudette, and is headed for landfall on Florida's western panhandle. After a slow start in June, July, and earlyAugust, the tropics are making up for lost time! Let's hope that some of the dry regions of the Southeast get some much needed rain from this surprising little system, but no wind damage.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
As of the 5:00pm advisory, we now have TWo active named storms in the Atlantic: Ana and Bill. tropical Storm watches have been issued for the northernmost Lesser Antillies, and we are keeping a wary eye on both storms for a possible turn towards the US after a few days.
Meanwhile, the cruise lines will need to alter itineraries to avoid the storms. I'll post any itinerary changes that are made public, but those cruising during the next two weeks should 1) check with their travel agent of cruise line;and 2) plan to arrive at their port of embarkation well
in advance of the scheuled sailing time.
I'll monitor websites, and pass on any news I find of itinerary changes.
Ana, the first tropical storm of the 2009 Atlantic Basin hurriane season has just formed 1000 miles east of the Leeward Islands. See tracking widget, right, for projected track.
Friday, August 14, 2009
This morning we have another hurricane in the Eastern Pacific. Hurricane Guillermo is a Catehory 1, and, at this point, is expected to track well north of Hawaii.
Right now, there's not even a Tropical Depression in the Atlantic, much less Ana. That could change if the large area of disturbed weather SSW of the Cape Verde Islands continues to develop, which the NHC says is likely.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Holy Cow! The tropical alarm clock is ringing, calling the season awake!
- Welcome rain is coming to Hawaii courtesy of the remnants of Felicia.
- China and Japan are reeling from a hard hit byTyphoon Morakot.
- Two Tropical Depressions (9E and 10E) have shown up in the Eastern Pacific.
- Tropical Depression Two is workng its way across the Atlantic, and may become our first named storm of the season.
- And, there are three other suspect areas spread out between the coast of Africa and the southeastern Caribbean.
There's plenty for tropical weather watchers to watch . . . and plenty of reason for those of us in coastal areas, and who love to set out on sea voyages, to keep an eye peeled on tropical activity starting now!
Check your hurricane preparations, everyone!
Monday, August 10, 2009
Once powerful Felicia, now a Tropical Storm with 45 mph winds, is expecetd to arrive Hawaii tomorrow, with outer rain bands coming before morning. Even a Tropical Storm can cause flash flooding and plenty of damage. . .
On the other side of the globe ... in an all out assault by water, Typhoon Morakot dumped 80 inches of rain, causing mudslides, toppling entire apartment buildings. "Hundreds" are reported missing in Tiwan and China.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
As Felicia continues to head west, most of Hawaii is under a Tropical Storm Watch. We talked to our son there yesterday. While their hopes are that she will weaken to a Tropical Depression before arriving at the shores of the Aloha State, indications are that at least the eastern most islands may be facing a Tropical Storm in a day or two. Our hopes are with theirs for rapid weakening of this system. We will certainly continue to watch!
Meanwhile, the Atlantic Basin has not yet seen a named storm this season. A disturbance off the coast of Africa is being monitored for slow development, but the NHC (at this point) pegs the chance of that at 50% or less. Things can change quickly in the tropics, so we'll watch this one, too.
Now, just because we've passed the first week of August with no tropical threats is no reason to breathe easy. RECALL 1992. That year, our first storm came on August 17th. It's name? Andrew. 'Nuff said?
Sunday, August 2, 2009
It's always nice to be recognized, and today, I want to thank Mary, who writes the KreatesKards blog, and point my readers back in her direction.
Mary very kindly mentioned Cruising Musings on her blog. Finding a notification of her Circle of Friends Award in my mailbox this morning was a wonderful way to start my day!
The cards this talented lady creates are absolutely amazing... Please take a moment to visit her KreatesKards blog, You'll see some photos of her amazing handiwork, and even some tutorials. You'll be glad you did. She also makes cards to send to our soldiers in combat zones, for which SHE deserves a big thank you from all of us!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Important travel update: Cruising or traaveling to Canada? If you are a citizen of Mexico or the Czech Republic, you will need a visa to visit the US's northern neighbor. According the the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration website, Mexicans with US Green cards will be allowed entry. Please see that website for official details.
For the rest of us, this is a good reminder that any country may, at any time, revise its list of who is required to have a visa for entry, so it's wise to check official sources well in advance of a trip or cruise to other countries.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
It only happens every 10 years. . . the next time will be in 2010. . . . And Princess can take you!
What's that, you say? It's the famed Oberammergau Passion Play, presented by the residents of the village of Oberammergau, Bavaria, Germany. Not just a play, this is a monumental once a decade event. It's seven hours long, with a dinner served at intermission, and the audience comes from around the world to see it every 10 years. It's been happening this way for centuries - since the 1600's, in fact. In order to be one of the play's 2,000 participants- actor, singer, stage hand, etc - one must have been a resident of the village in good standing for at least 20 years. All the costumes are also made by villagers. (Public domain image, right, from the 1900 play, taken from Wikipedia ) Why? See below.
The NEXT PRODUCTION DATES are May 15 to October 3, 2010, and Princess Cruisetours can take you there. There are just two dates for this special 18 day cruisetour: August 2 and 12, 2010. Included are an 8 day land tour, featuring two nights in Oberammergau with tickets to the Passion Play, and a 10 day cruise to Scandanavian and Russian ports aboard the Star Princess. (Photo credit: Princess Cruises)
WHY do the people of Oberammergau do this once every 10 years?
Because, in 1633, they promised God they would present a play about the life of Jesus if He delived their town from the plague. He delivered, and so did they. ... And nearly 400 years later, they still do. Now, that's keeping a promise!
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Half of July is behind us, and the EPAC is on the FOURTH named storm ... with two (Carlos and Dolores) churning in that basin as of last night! Luckily, it appears that neither will affect land. However, in the Atlantic, we haven't seen Ana yet. But, it's approaching the time when weather exiting off the west coast of Africa wants to try to get its act together and make the trek across the ocean, sometimes ending up in our neck of the woods.
Reminder to residents of hurricane country: Things may be quiet now, but that can change quickly, so please make it a point to check your level of emergency preparation.
And, for my cruising friends . . . Cruise Ready Store now has Anti-Nausea Bands, sometimes referred to as motion sickness bands. Here's a picture and link:
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Anyone who has cruised out of the Port of Miami knows that just getting yourself onto the ship can be quite an undertaking. In an effort to streamline the boarding process, Carnival is piloting kiosk self check-in at their terminal there. If succrssful at that very busy port, the cruise line says they will expand the program to other ports.
Some details from Carnival's press release:
". . . guests must have pre-registered online and be a U.S. or Canadian citizen, or from a Visa waiver country. To access their booking information and check in via the kiosk, guests simply swipe their passport or the credit card used to pre-register . . ."
A cash deposit can even be made at the kiosk to initialize your shipboard account if you aren't charging it to your credit card. After completing kiosk check-in, you go to a desk to pick up your cruise card. For those who don't know, a cruise card is an all-in-one room key, ID, ship entry /exit card, and on board charge card.
Will kiosks prove to be a solution - or partial solution - to long check-in lines for cruise ship embarkation? Will cruisers take to them, or find them a bit too impersonal?
What do you think? Leave a comment here, or follow a poll on the subject that has been set up on the CruiseLineFans forum. Here's a direct link to the polling thread, where you can vote and weigh in with your opinion. Of course, you have to be a member of CLF to do that, but it's free to join.
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Posted by Sheila Herrington at 4:12 AM
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Many thanks to Bays, at The Selling Lounge, who posted this yesterday on the TSL Blog:
Have you cruised to Barbados? (Or been there)
Princess Cruises RED BARBADOS Cruise T Shirt Available sizes: Small. Medium. Large. eXtraLarge . . . and there's only ONE left in each size! Great cruise wear for your next cruise . . . to let your shipmates know you've "been there, done that."
If you just can't wait for your next cruise... or smile wistfully at memories of happy times spent onboard your favorite cruise ship, then you just might like Cruise Ready Store , a store especiallly for folks who love to cruise!
By the way - if you're an internet retailer, and don't know about The Selling Lounge, do yourself a favor and check it out! You'll find lots of helpful information that is well organized!
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Andres has weakened and has been downgraded to a Tropical Drpression.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Andres has become the first Hurricane of the EPAC Hurricane Season.
As of 8 PM, eastern time -
Location: About 70 Miles W of Manzanillo,MX, and heading NW at 13 mph
Maximum Sustained Winds: 75 mph, with higher gusts. CATEGORY 1
Minimum Central Pressure: 988 mb
Monday, June 22, 2009
Overnight, the first named storm of the Eastern Pacific (EPAC) Hurricane Season made its debut south-southeast of Manzanillo, Mexico. As of 5:00 this morining, Tropical Storm Andres had maximum sustained winds near 50 mph, and was tracking to the west-northwest, away from land, but is expected to turn towards the Baja peninsua.
The Carnival Splendor, and Royal Caribean's Mariner of the Seas normally call at the ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta on Tuesdays through Fridays of their week long Mexican Riviera itineraries. As of now, it looks as though Andres' itinerary may include those same ports this week. Passengers aboard those two ships may be in for some rough seas and / or possible itinerary changes.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Yesterday, we paid a short visit to Jetty Park to see an Atlas V rocket leave earth on its mission to the moon. Because of the heavy cloud cover, we didn't SEE the rocket launch so much as we HEARD it. But, since the launch was scheduled for within the 5:00 hour, we also got to see two ships sail down Port Canaveral's ship channel as they set out on their weekly Thursday sailings. First, the Disney Wonder (aove) sailed past us, in a bit of a hurry to get out to sea before the rocket blasted off.
We headed for home, impressed once again with the intellectual might that is NASA, proud to be citrizens of a country that accomplishes such great things, and silently wishing the cruisers on the two ships a hearty "Bon Voyage."
Thursday, June 18, 2009
If you are sailing on the Disney Wonder or the Carnival Sensation, out of Port Canaveral today, you may be in for an extra treat.
NASA's unmanned Atlas V rocket, bound for the moon, may be lifting off right around sailing time this afternoon.
There are three possible very brief launch windows between 5:00 and 6 PM this today. The first is at 5:12 PM, and the last is at 5:32 PM. At this hour, there is a forecast 60% chance of weather conditions being favorable for launch. The powerful rocket is positioned on the pad at launch complex 41, which is about 8 miles north of the seaward end of the ship channel.
NOTE TO JUNE 18 Port Canaveral Cruisers:
Keep your eyes peeled for a spectacular event, courtesy of the fabulous folks at Kennedy Space Center!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Looks like Norwegian Cruise Line will be ditching Coke and switching to Pepsi as their on board soda. Although the cruise line's website still lists Coke products as being the available beverages for the all you can drink soda package, that is apparently slated to change to read Pepsi products instead. I have been unable to find out exactly when this change will actually take place, but it seems pretty certain that it WILL take place, in light of a couple of special promotions that are already underway:
1. FREE ON BOARD SODA PACKAGES. Use promo code PGPOP when booking an NCL Cruise from now through October 15, 2009. Valid on sailings through 2010.
2. Sip - Save- Refresh Sweepstakes. WIN A FREE CRUISE for two to Alaska or Europe, including airfare. Details available on a dedicated website: http://www.pepsisipsaverefresh.com/
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Three days of Sea Trials began on Monday for Royal Caribbean's 220,000 gt new build, the Oasis of the Seas.
The Sea Trials: During these three days, the ship, due for her inaugural sailing in early December, will undergo tests of speed, handling, maneuverabioity, endurance, stopping, and something known as 'seakeeping.' Seakeeping is intended to take a measure of the level of probable passenger comfort due to the ship's handling of the 'motion of the ocean' in various sea conditions.
The "Passenger:" No small amount of speculatoin has been generated by the fact that the Oasis has an unusual 'passenger' on her sea trials. It's a blimp shaped balloon tied to her stern. From what Richard Fain (RC'i's chairman) has said, the balloon is, tself, undergoing a sea trial of sorts. It may or may not come along with the big ship when she goes intoi actual service, but it's an idea being tested.
Fain has given the idea a less than 50% chance of making it through the final cut. If it does, and if an optoin for a 'ride' in the balloon (as speculation has it) becomes a reality, it could be quite a draw for thrill seekers.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Cruising Musings would like to take this opportunity to wish a Very Happy Birthday to Harry Cottreil, our young British friend. Why? Because he's a very nice fellow, and he turns 15 today.
What does Harry's birthday have to do with cruising? I'll explain THAT in a short article about him next week, complete with a photo that he was kind enough to send me this morning. BUT, FOR NOW -
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
A few days ago, I promised a slightly expanded version of a few very basic tips for cruising during hurricane season found on my Tips for New Cruisers page.
As promised, here they are:
1 - KNOW that there are for possible trade-offs for those cheaper fares, so be prepared for them.
2 - ARRIVE at your port city EARLY (at least a day early.) When there’s an active storm, the port authority could close down the port and order all ships to sea hours early. You don't want to be left at the dock in a strange city with a mean storm approaching... you might even find that you're stuck there, and that hotel rooms are scarce, due to local evacuation orders.
3 - ALWAYS buy travel insurance. Don't even think about going without it.
4 - Cruise flexibily. ACCEPT the fact that the captain WILL divert the ship’s course to keep you safe. This may include substituting an alternate port, or missing one or more ports entirely. So, if you have your heart set on a certain port,don't count on getting there with absolute ceertainty via cruise ship during hurricane season. If you feel your vacation will be a disaster because you couldn't go to X place while it was under siege by hurricane or tropical Storm Whomever, you aare setting yourself up for possible disappointment.
5 - BE PREPARED prepared for your cruise to end a day earlier or later than scheduled - or to end up at a different place than you originally sailed from – and make travel arrangements to your home that can be adjusted accordingly. Again be flexible. It may not happen at all, but it could, so make travel plans that can be changed fairly easiy if it should become necessary.
6 - Take along plenty of your favoirte remedy for the ill effects of the motion of the ocean. There's a chance you'll experience more of that during the season than at other times. I usually tuck a couple of packs of a natural remedy, like ginger candies in my suitcase. Eventhough I don't normally need them, someone I'm sailing with might.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Today, June 1, is the official start of the Atantic Basin Hurricane Season. It runs through November 30. Let's all make of official good wish for today one for a safe hurricane season, with a fewer than average number of storms, and no landfalling major hurricanes.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
As hurricane season starts tomorrow, I am reminded that I'm often asked about cruising during hurricane season. Frequent questions include: 1) Is is SAFE to be at sea when a tropical system is, or might b, around? 2) WHY would anyone want to cruise then, anyway? and 3) What about seasickness?
Is it safe? Pretty much! If you think about it, NO PLACE is absolutely safe in a major hurricane. But, I'd rather ride one out at sea, where the ship can move out of the way of the storm, than cooped up in a stationary hotel room with no power and only emergency food rations.
Yes - there may be minor inconveniences, as the ship moves through rough seas, seeking safe harbor, or sunny skies. The outside decks may logically be off limits. Even when they aren't, taking a dip in the pool may be out of the question. But, rest assured the captain of the ship WILL use all the skill and navigational equipment at his disposal to get his (or her!) vessel fillled with human cargo to a safe location.
Why cruise then? There are often some awfully good deals to be had during hurricane season (June 1 - Nov 30), but particularly during the peak part season, when most storms tend to occur. Peak season is roughly from mid August through late October. Personally, if a system is heading my way, and my area is under orders to evacuate, I'd prefer to hop on a ship and set out to sea than evauate inland. But, that's just me.
What about the motion of the ocean? It happens! Be prepared. Different people are more or less subject to sea sickness. And different remedies work well for some, but not others. I HATE the pills. Took 'em once, as a precaution, sailing during Hurricane Jeanne. I slept - a LOT. Many folks who ARE subject to motion sickness, and don't like a drug-based solution use products containing real ginger, including ginger candy, like these, available at Cruise Ready Store.
There are also some special considerations that should be taken by anyone considering a Caribbean or Bahamas cruise during the season. Some that I believe to be quite important are listed on my Tips for New Cruisers page. I'll post them here in more detail later this week.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
One of my favorite things about cruising is visiting the private islands that belong to the cruise lines. Well, at least the two I've visited so far. One of the items on my 'bucket list' is to visit all of them. If the others are as nice as the two I've gotten to, visiting each and every one of them is, indeed, an bucket list worthy item.
I've been to Royal Caribbean's CocoCay at least a dozen times, and so far, it's one of my all time favorite places on earth. If you like water, sun, or natural beauty, you can find it on CocoCay. You won't find automobiles, skyscrapers, telephones, or any other of those annoying modern "conveniences."
What you can do there:
Sunbathe, swim, jet-ski, mingle with the crowds, find (semi) solitude, kayak, parasail, snorkel, shop for souvenirs, play beach volleyball, and eat, drink, and be merry, for starters. In short, you can make your own perfect day at CocoCay. (About the drinking part: a must have is a Coco Loco, the official drink of CocoCay.) Did I mentioin snorkeling? Oh, yeah!
This fall, I have a return trip scheduled to Princess Cays, and it ain't half bad, either.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Tropical Depression Number One has formed 300 miles south of the coat of Rhode Isand. TD One is forecast to become a minimal Tropical Storm, probably briefly, at which time, it will be named Ana. The system is expected to be a 'fish,' meaning, it is forecast to stay over water its entire life, not threatening land at any time.
Ana should pose no insurmountable probleme for the Norwegian Majesty which leaves Bermuda to return to Baltimore tomorrow.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Here's another cruise give-away contest by a cruise line. This one is from Celebration Cruise Line, a new single-ship line that runs short cruises to the Bahamas from Ft. Lauderdale.
The link to the contest page is: http://www.bahamascelebration.com/register.php
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Visit this link to enter to win a cruise on Holland America Line.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
GETTING THERE: From the Cruise Terminals, go South on A1A. When you see the Holiday Inn Express on your right, and Perkins on your left, take the next left, and go two blocks. PARKING: When the lot attendant is there, you'll pay $5 to park for the day. But, if you're just going for an hour or so, find an emply meter on one of the two streets bordering the property to the north and south, and pop in several quarters.
LOTS OF CHOICES IN ONE PLACE
Before you set foot on the actual pier, you'll find: To your left - OH SHUCKS, a right-on-on-the beach (literally) seafood bar. Oysters in season are good here. To your far left (across the side street, actually), there's RiCKY'S ARCHADE AND ICE CREAM PARLOR, which the kids will love.
As you stroll out onto the pier, you'll notice a couple of SHOPS on your left, and THE BOARDWALK on your right. The boardwalk is a fabulous place to sip a cold one and watch the beach activity below.
Next, you'll encounter the entrance to the ATLANTIC OCEAN GRILLE (on your left) and MARLIN'S (straight ahead.) The Grille is open evenings for full dinners,. What a spectacular view looking over the ocean toward the Cape! Marlins is open during the day and evening for lighter fare. For a nice interlude, ask for a window table at Marlin's, and enjoy one of their fish sandwiches while you watch the surfers directly below you and feel the Atlantic Ocean waves lap against the pilings of the pier.
After your meal, walk out onto the end of the pier, where you can watch the fishermen, view the cape and launch pads to the north through binocular stands, or feed the pelicans.
All in all, you'll find a lot to help you pass a pleasant afternoon on and around the Cocoa Beach Pier.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Announcements have been made by the two largest cruise lines that they will be resuming calls at ports in Mexico.
Royal Caribbean will once again be making calls at Mexican ports, beginning with cruises that leave on May 24 or thereafter. Carnival ships will return to Mexican ports in mid June.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
In most years, we see fewer storms early in the season. However, now is still a good time to remind everyone that the official beginning of the 2009 hurricane season is upon us. For those of us living in hurricane country, and for anyone who cruises, it's time to start watching the tropics for signs of possible developmnet.
Most of the major forecast organizations are predicting a near average season. Drs. Gray and Klotzbach's April forecast was for 12 named storms, 6 hurricanes, and 2 major hurricanes. (The average: 9.6, 5.9, and 2.3)
I'll be watching the tropics, and blogging on storm development, landfall threats, and effects on cruising.
If you're planning on cruising between June 1 and Nov 30, look for tips on cruising during hurricane season on many cruise sites around the web, including what I consider to be the four most basic (and important) ones, which you'll find near the bottom of my Cruising Tips for New Cruisers page.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
One crew member on Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas is sick, possibly with Swine Flu, and is in quarantine. The Serenade is currently sailing an Alaskan itinerary.
Advice for cruisers is the same as for landlubbers, only MORE SO, because you're in a confined setting with lots of others: wash hands frequently, use hand sanitizer, and if you have to sneeze or cough, do so into the crook of your arm, rather than your hand. If you have ANY symptoms, see the ship's doctor.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Today is Grand Cayman Day. What a beautiful place! There are actually three islands in the Cayman Islands: Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac. These three tiny spces in the Caribbean Sea, South of Cuba, are the most hurricane-prone areas in the Atlantic Basin. We could take lessons from them. They know how to rebuild!
Grand Cayman is a prosperous little spec of land, too. It appears that most everyone there is employed in one of two endeavors: tourism or banking. You can't go a half a block in George Town without seeing a bank. Banks are big business there. But, that's a story for another day, and, just maybe, someone else's blog.
Tourism is big business there, too. And with good reason. It's an astonishingly beautiful place, with a high standard of living, and much to offer. The weather is fabulous, the diving and snorkeling excellent, the atmosphere friendly, and the pace laid back.
Two most fascinating creatures are to be found there... and one of those two ONLY there.
More people have probably interacted with the southern sting ray at Grand Cayman's Stingray City than just about anywhere else on the planet. The gentle, graceful creatures are so accustomed to humans visiting the sandbar named for them that they flock there at the sound of approaching boat motors.
And then, there's the Blue Iguana. Oh, my. Yes, they really are blue, they grow very large, and live very long... and are very endangered. Hurry to the Caymans if you want to see them, because you can't see them anyplace else on earth.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Today is a BIG day for Port Canaveral, because the BIGGEST cruise ship ever to home port here - Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas - makes her Central Florida debut today. The first of the Freedom Class ships, she's moving here from South Florida, complete with her Cantilevered whirlpools, Ice-skating rink, Royal Promenade, and other innovations that were created just for this class of ship.
Ths local port authority has but together a welcome and bon voyage to-do for her first sailing out of our port. It's dubbed the 'Sail-A-Bration,' and takes place today from 4:00- 6:00pm at Jetty Park.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) I'll miss the event. I'm currently cruising on another ship... and today's port of call is Key West, where my snorkel buddy and I plan to plunge in and explore the reef off the soutnern tip of the Sunshine State. Hopefully, there will be pics of what we find when we come back!
Over my swim suit, I may just wear a pair of quick-drying Mesh Swim Cover up shorts from Cruise Ready Store. They take up almost no room at all in your suitcase!
Available (while supplies last) in three colors at $2.00 off retail
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Today, I can legitimately wear one of the very first Shirts for Cruising that ever went on sale at Cruise Ready Store. That's right, the Bon Voyage to Me T Shirt. Sure does feel good to be getting ready to spend a few nights on board one of those big beauties again!
Saturday, May 2, 2009
All packed and ready for an O Dark Thirty departure in the morning... It's time to cruise!
My original plans were to drive to the port, but found an air special for $9 more that what port parking alone would cost. So, a one hour flight it is.
I am SO ready to see my good friend and cruising buddy again. And, we're both ready to hit that beautiful turquoise water for some quality snorkel time.
The store is closed, but the blog will continue through the cruise. Stay tuned . . .
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
With governments advising against non-essential travel to Mexico, the cruise lines have scrambled to find alternate ports for their many ships scheduled at Mexican ports of call.
As of now, NO ships will be calling at Mexican ports through at least the 11th. Mostly, this poses no inconvenience for cruise passengers. It does, of course take money out of the pockets of the locals at the cancelled ports.
The changes began a couple of days ago, and today, it really cranked up, with one line, in particular making drastic changes for a couple of its ships.
For Carnival's Ecstacy, sailing out of Galveston, and the New Orleans-based Fantasy, entire sailings have been cancelled, and replaced with new ones of different lengths, sailing sailing on different dates. This will, no doubt, prove difficult for those who had pre-approved vacation dates, or who are flying to reach their cruise.
However, it is well to remember that, in an emergency, convenience must sometimes take a back seat to safety and public welfare.
If you are sailing on any ship - with any line - during this flu emergency, PLEASE check your cruise line's website frequently. Most are updated at least daily, and are easy enough to access.
If you are scheduled to sail on the Fantasy or the Ecstacy, do yourself a favor, and check Carnival's website NOW.