Wednesday, June 30, 2010

UPDATE on Carnival Ecstasy

Just received news that the Port of Galveston DID, indeed, close during the night... there are 5 ships that are waiting for the harbor to open so that they can enter. Presumably, the Carnival Ecstasy would be one of those five.

Hurricane Alex

Tiki bar at Cozumel on a beautiful day.
Some cruisers encountered less than ideal weather in Cozumel last week, courtesy of then Tropical Storm Alex.

Well the 2010 Hurricane Season is off to a rip-roaring start in the Atlantic Basin.  Alex was upgraded to a hurricane last night, and, while he's still a Category 1, he's a big boy in terms of size.  He also has a very low minimum central pressure, so additional strengthening is certainly possible before landfall on the western gulf coast.  He's slowed down, and that can make him even more dangerous for wherever he strikes... and for a wide surrounding area, given his size.
There was minimal disruption in cruise itineraries as TS Alex came near Cozumel. Just one ship headed east to Nasau in leiu of Cozumel, and two others simply  reversed their scheduled port calls. 

Today's  turn-around for the Ecstasy could have been be affected, but the storm was considerate enough to move in time for the port of Galveston to be out of the danger area for the ship to return.  (Passengers may well have experienced the effects of some higher than normal seas, though.)  Let's hope he's equally considerate to the residents of northern Mexico and lower Texas.

June hurricanes aren't common, but aren't unheard of, either.  The season has just begun, so aware that your cruise between now and late November  could be affected this year, which is predicted to be unusually active.    Check my previous blog entry, Cruising During Hurricane Season for some basic tips.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Alex Forces a Few Itinerary Changes

Belize, The Bay Islands of Honduras, and much of the Yucatan Peninsula's east coast are under tropical storm warnnings as Alex approaches landfall in (probably) northern Belize.  Several cruise itineraries have been adjusted to keep ships and their passengers out of harm's way. Here are the ones we know about:

CARNIVAL Cruise Line
Carnival Triumph:  Monday - Cozumel instead of Progresso;  Tuesday - Progresso instead of Cozumel
Carnival Ecstacy:  Monday - Cozumel instead of Progresso;  Tuesday - Progresso instead of Cozumel

Grandeur of the Seas:  Sunday - Nassau, The Bahamas, instead of Cozumel. 

Be aware that there are several Gulf of Mexico home ports.  With an active system, there is always the possibility that a ship's next arrival at, or departure from, the home port could be affected.
NOTE - This information in this blog  is meant as a 'heads-up' only.    Check with your Cruise Line or Travel Agent for the most authoritative information.

Good Morning, Alex

As of 5 am, we have the first named storm of the 2010 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season.

Tropical Storm Alex is storming through the Western Caribbean on his way to the Yucatan Peninsula, where he is expected to arrive tomorrow. A Hurricane Hunter aircraft is enroute to the system now, and everyone is hoping they WON'T find a strengthing system, but those hopes will likely be dashed, given the conditions in the vacinity...

How about playing nice with those favorite cruise ports of mine whilel you'rein the area. Those folks don't need any of your grief. But, even more importantly, keep it down, will ya! Easy on the intensification... especially after you get across the Yucatan and into the GoM. We surely don't need you messing with that oil.
So, please play nice, and play out, won't you?
Just thought it wouldn't hurt to ask nicely...

This plea brought to you by the word AHOY

Friday, June 25, 2010

The SEASON Has Started!

Within the last hour the National Hurricane Center announced the formation the first Tropical Depression of the 2010 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season. TD 01 is on the move in the Western Caribbean, and is expected to become Tropical Storm Alex before assaulting the east coast of the Yucatan late tomorrow.

After crossing the penninsula, it is forecast to emerge into the western Gulf of Mexico as a weaker system. However, the contidions there will be favorable for restrengthening. The water is warm, warm, warm in the GOM, and tropical systems just LOVE warm water.

In the Pacific, not one but TWO hurricanes currently churn well away from land. Celia has alreaady reached Category Five status, and is backing off, while Darby is also now a major 'cane at Categoroy Three. I hadn't blogged about this activity before, since neither has been a threat to land... but they certainly deserve a mention now.

Stay safe,, everyone, and keep your eyes on the Caribbean, as things have certainly cranked up early - just 25 days into the 2010 season.

More on the tropics later.
This tropical weather watch brought to you by

Friday, June 11, 2010

Cruising during Hurricane Season

Well, here we are, with 10 days of this year's Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season already gone, and not a storm in sight. That's typical, actually. The most active period is usually from about the second week of August through Octoer.

With virtually all of the major prediction centers and experts forecasting an extremely active season, we should be prepared for just about anything this year. Check your emergency plans, and get your 'go bag' ready if you live in a vunerable area. SOONER is better than later!

If you choose to cruise this time of year, here are some 'starter' tips for cruising during hurricane season from my Cruising Tips for New Cruisers page at Cruise Ready Store.
You may even find rough seas in the ship's pool during hurricane season.
Special Notes on Cruising during Hurricane Season
Hurricane season: June 1 – November 30

There are deals to be had during ‘the season,’ most especially during the peak months of August, September, and October. However, be prepared for possible trade-offs for those cheaper fares.

First – Plan to arrive at your port city at least a day early. If there’s an active ‘cane, the port authority could close down the port and order all ships to sea hours early. The captain has no choice... the ship MUST leave - with you or without you.

Second – Always buy travel insurance.

Third – Never cruise the Caribbean during hurricane season with your heart set on seeing a particular port. 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.

Fourth – Be prepared to end your cruise a day earlier or later than scheduled, or even in a different port than originally planned. Make return travel arrangements to your home that can be adjusted accordingly.

Fifth – If you are prone to motioin sickness, take along plenty of your favoirte remedy. Our favorites are of the natural variety, like these ginger candies.

Yes, all of the things mentioned above can happen. Not often, but they do. We cruise during hurricane season. We have even cruised in the rough seas generated by a Category 3 hurricane. And yes, we've been on a ship that was ordered out of port a few hours early, and arrived back a day late - at a port 200 miles from the one we left from. And yes, we had a wonderful time. Just wish we'd come home to a house with electrical power, and a neighborhood with gas stations and grocery stores that were open and stocked with inventory. But, we were well able to deal with it all, having just enjoyed some time on board our favorite cruise ship.

So, if you are cruising during hurricane season, be sure your home will be ready, and then get ready to cruise... Be sure to visit and Cruise Ready on Zazzle to find some great cruise gear. You'll also find more tips and discussions about cruising during the season at

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Some Ideas for Father's Day Gifts

If your father is osmeone who loves to cruise, you'll find several interesting things to choose from for him at CruiseReady on Zazzle Here are a few of them:

First, how about a embroidered with an "Official Cruiser" polo shirt, complete with a little embroidered cruise ship, and personalized with his name? Shown here in white, it also comes in red or blue.
Or, you can choose from other styles of shirts, inclding t shirts, long sleeves, or hooies and jackets in various colors.

Matching embriodered caps are also available.


Here's something a little different for the cruising Dad (or GrandDad) who also happens to be a grillmaster. He'll love barbequeing in this "I'd Rather Be Cruising" apron. Available in long or short lengths.

For a really special 'combination' gift, you might consier pairing his apron with a matching kid's apron for the kiddo in his life who is his little barbeque helper.

Even if Dad's not much of a back yard chef, there are a number of other items in the "I'd Rather Be Cruising" design that he might enjoy, incuding t shirts, hats, bumber stickers, a mousepad, even a frosted mug for his iced tea or adult everage.


So, lastly, I should mention one of the most popular designs at Cruise Ready on Zazzle: "I cruise. . . therefore, I work." One of these magnets, or perhaps the matching mousepad or mug would be a gift with a sentiment that many can easily relate to.

As you search for the perfect gift for that important man in your life, please accept my invitation to browse through the selection, not only at Cruise Ready on Zazzle, but also at my other two Zazzle Galleries -TropiCards and WePeople- as well as at Cruise Ready Store, my on line store offering cruise gear, travel accessories, and cruise mementos.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cruise Ties for Father's Day - why not?

Sale Notice - Today (June 5) Only -  40% OFF Ties on Zazzle.
40% of the tie net sale price will be deducted when one or more ties are purchased and the coupon code DADDYTIEDEAL is applied at checkout. The net sale price is the price of the product (excluding shipping and taxes). Offer is valid through June 5, 2010 at 11:59pm PT

Maybe Dad really would like a  Father's Day tie... especially one designed by YOU! Or, if he's an avid cruiser, one by Cruise Ready, like the one shown above (which is a tribute to the beautiful Sovereign of the Seas) just might become his new most favorite tie.  If he does cruise, he really should have a new tie to wear to dinner on his next cruise, shouldn't he?