Saturday, August 28, 2010

Danielle, Earl Force Itinerary Changes for Cruises

Graphic from NOAA / NHC

Bermuda, and most of the Northern Leeward Islands are under Tropical Storm Watches, which means the closing of cruise ports in those areas. Cruise itineraries are being affected, and the first announcment of changes has come - from Norwegian Cruise Line.

NCL has posted that he Norwegian SPIRIT will tentatively arrive at Bermuda a day late; the Norwegian EPIC will sail to the western rather than the eastern Caribbean; and the cruise line is considering a possible itinerary change for the Norwegian DAWN, as well.

Announcements of changes by other lines are likely forthcoming. Check with the cruise line websites for subserquent news, or log on to , and check the forums for individual cruise line, or see the DANIELLE, EARL- Cruise Line Updates thread on the Hurricane Watch forum.

While a delayed arrival at, or the missing of a port, on a cruise can be a bit disappointing, Cruising Musings is mindful that having your HOME affected by a tropical system can be a lot more than a minor disappointment. Please keep those in Bermuda, and especially the Antilles in your thoughts over the next couple of days.

This update brought to you by

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Tropics Are Heating Up!

Peak hurricane season is here, and the tropics are letting us know it.

Tropical Storm Danielle- 08/23/10 - photo by NOAA

Tropical Storm Danielle is strengthening in the Tropical Atlantic, and may be a hurricane before she makes a predicted turn to the Northwest in the next couple of days. If she turns sooner, rather than later, she'll be "going fishing," missing land completely. If the turn comes later than expected, Bermuda will need to batten down the hatches, something they are very good at doing.. UPDATE 8/23/10 : Danielle became a hurricane at 5 PM today

In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Frank is making his way along the coastline of Mexico, and the Mexican government has issued tropical storm warnings from Lagunas de Chacahua to Zihuatanejo. The coastal area from Zihuatanejo to Pumta San Telmo is under a Tropical Store Watch. Itineries for Mexican Rivera cruises are likely to be affected.
Meanwhile, in the far eastern Atlantic, a new weather system has just moved off the coast of Africa, and the NHC has already upped the chances for its development to 40%.

If you're cruising this hurricane season, be prepared! Arrive a day early at your port of departure, take along your favorite motion sickness remedy, be prepared for possible changes in your cruise itinerary, and make sure your plans for post-cruise travel are flexible enough to allow changes in time, date, or point of departure. For more detailed tips on cruising during hurricane season, see Special Notes on Cruising During Hurricane Season near the bottom of the New Cruiser Tips page at Cruise Ready Store.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tea Party at Sea

Tie for formal night on the Tea Party at Sea Cruise

You can find a theme cruise for just about anything these days... from Neil Diamond to scrapbooking to Nascar to Ancient Civilizations to Baseball to the Tea Party. Tea Party? Yep. You read it right.

There was a blog entry recently on the Ship Critic blog about a criuse coming up in on the Liberty olf th Seas, called the "Tea Party at Sea," and hosted by World Net Daily. It features a "special on-board program devoted to covering a broad range of conservative topics" If you want to get in on the Tea Party at Sea, and hear and hob-nob with such conservative notables as Alan Keys, Dr. Jerome Corsi, Joseph Farah, Aaron Klien, and Anm Colter, check out Tea Party at Sea for more details.

If you're tea party-ing at sea, or even if you won't be at sea, but might be sipping a little tea, you might be in need of some special cruise gear. like a hat, shirt, or button sporting an approriate slogan. , I guess it won't surprise you to find I know a placr to find a few of those items, will it? The place is WePeople, where there's a growing selection of patriotic and conservative themed products ...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Swimming with Stingrays Excursions

Stingrays are magnificent creatures... gracefully gliding through the sea much like huge birds glide aloft on air currents. Oh, they are truly are fascinating! As are Eeagle Rays and Manta Rays.

So far, I've been fortunate to "swin with rays" in at least five different locations. If you've never done it, it's a real thrill, and I hope I can help you decide where's the best location for you.

First- Grand Turk. I'd recommend this one for the faint of heart - those who are not really sure they want to actually swim with the creatures, but would like to see and touch them in a fairly safe environment. The stingray encounter portion of the excursion was just that. The group stood shallow water at a beach on Gibb's Cay, while theh guide 'summomed' rays. He then held one, and allowed each participant who desired to do so to touch, feed, and kiss it. A very tame time was had by all.

At Grand Cayman, the experience is a bit more intreactive, but still closely supervised. A really GOOD one for first-timers! I recommend Native Way excursions. On a sandbar, the water depth varies, but is shallow enough for an adult to stand. Activities include supervised feeding, holding and kissing the rays, as well as a group 'back massage' from a ray, quite a tactile experience. There is a little opportunity to swim around, if you take the initiative on your own. This "Swim" is the best known. It's been going on for so long that rays there associate the 'sound' of boat motors with food, flocking to the sandbar when a boat approaches.

In Antigua, there's a very diferent swim... way out in the water, but in a very large area contained by a fence. As in Grand Cayman, you are taken there by boat,and you can also participate in a supervised encounter, but there is also ample opportunity for you to freely swim and snorkel within the large, fenced area. this was the location wher I first watched rays go through the process of burying themselves in the sand... fascinating!

Head to Nassau, in The Bahamas for the best of all worlds. (my humble opinion) There, you'll also find an extremely large enclosed area at the edge of an island. Water depth starts off very shallow, and graduate to maybe 15 feet. The rays, which are captive and de-barbed, get the whole area, but the humans are given 'markers' beyond which they may NOT swim. You can freely swim and snorkel up to the markers. The rays will go beyond those markers when they are tired of you! There's also opportunity for (very) shallow water touching and feeding, which is supervissd.

On your own with Rays in the Wild.... OH! this one is a true thrill. If you are adventurouus to snorkel in the right places on your own, you might just encounter Stingrays, Manta Rays, and EagleRays. Really the best if you are an excerinced snorkeler, a strong swimmer, and love adventure. At the top of this post is a photo of an Eagle Ray that I encountered while solo snorkling off Royal Caribbean's CocoCay. Boy, was she beautiful... and FAST.

Where was YOUR most enjoyable Stingray swim? Or are you still looking forward to your first? If you are, this is something you really MUST make sure is on your official LIST, in my opinion!

NOTE: The "Swimming with Stingrays" products pictured in this post (and other stingray products) are available at CruiseReady on Zazzle.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tropical Storm Colin Regenerates, Heads for Bermuda

TROPICAL STORM COLIN has regenerated, with sustained winds of 45 mph, gusting to 55 mph. It is now several hundred miles south of Bermuda, moving NW at about 19 mph.

The Goverenment of Bermuda has issued TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS for all of BERMUDA. The storm will begin affecting Bermuda soon, and some ships' itineraries may be altered slightly. Lines currently sailing to Bermuda include NCL, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, and Celebrity.
The storm is predicted to be passing over or near Bermuda sometime Saturday, but the island will begin feling Colin's effects before then, and could begin closing its ports by Friday.

This Tropical Weather Watch brougt to you by

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tropical Storm Colin Debuts

Tropical Storm Colin, the third named storm of the 2010 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season, has formed in the tropical Atlantic.

As of 5 am, when Colin was named, he was about about 945 miles east of the lesser antilles, and barreling WNW at  23 mph.  The current forecast track calls for the storm's intnsity to increase from its current 40 mph maximum sustained winds to about  60 mph, and make a right turn in a couple of days.  This turn would be good news for the Lesser Antillies and Puerto Rico, both of which are just out of the NHC's famous cone at this time.  Those living inu th islands are cautioned to monitor the system carefully for changs in the track.  A shift to the left could put them in the cone, and we all kow that shifts can and do occur.

As for cruising intrests . . . at the very least, take along your favorite sea sickness remedy if you are cruising soon.  (This is always true durig hurricane season.)  And keep an eye out for possible port closings in the next week or so.    Nothing is certain yet, but I'm posting the NHC's chart of Tropical Storm Force Wind speed Probabilities. It shows that as of this morning, anything from the Antillies to Bermuda, and surrounding seas could feel the affects Colin in th coming days.