Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nautical pin board

If, like me, you are a lover of ships, the sea, and sea creatures, you might like my All Things Nautical pin board on Pinterest ... just wanted to share, in case anyone is interested. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cruise Ships Board on Pinterest

Just a quick note to share my Cruise Ships pin board on Pinterest with my cruising friends.  Enjoy!

Do you have a cruise related pin board?  If so, please feel free to leave a comment so everyone can find you!

Friday, August 10, 2012

I'd Rather Be Cruising

Wouldn't you rather be cruising right now?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pool Deck Chair Police

Photo courtesy of natureworks, via morguefile
Don't you just hate it when you saunter up to the Lido Deck for a little sun, or a quick dip in the pool, only to find nearly every chair empty, save a personal item 'reserving' it for someone  who is nowhere to be seen?

Well, it seems that one of the cruise lines plans to do something about that.

Carnival Cruise Line will begin a test period of enforcement of a 40 minute pool chair saving rule, beginning with the Carnival Breeze.

Crew members on the Carnival Breeze will soon be patrolling the pool areas, searching for 'saved' lounge chairs. The employees will be equipped with stickers which they'll place on chairs containing shirts, towels, books, shoes, or other items being used to save them.   They'll write the time on the stickers before affixing them to said chairs.

 If the passenger owning the items neither begins occupying the chair nor removes the item or items in 40 minutes time, the items will be removed.  They'll be taken to either the towel exchange or to  lost and found desk, where the guest will need to reclaim them.

 The plan is to implement the 'pool chair police' system fleetwide after the test period on the Breeze.

Another article you might enjoy is Cruise Ship Swimming Pools.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Happy 50th Birthday, Jamaica!

Happy Birthday, Jamaica!

Ocho Rios, as seen from the
Aft Pool Deck of the
Crown Princess

Have you cruised to Jamaica? If so, you know it's a beautiful place! I have   enjoyed visiting there several times, and would go back in a heartbeat.  If you haven't, you might enjoy a selection of pictures of Jamaica that I've put together on Squidoo.  Join me in saying "Happy Birthday, Jamaica!"
There are a few facts about Jamaica included in the article that you might enjoy learning, too.  It really is a cool place!

The images are mostly from folks who display their art, photos, and designs on Zazzle, and they are worth a look... 

My biggest piece of advice if you take a cruise that calls at Jamaica is to use a guide!  I am usually happy to 'go it on my own' at most ports of call in the Caribbean, but Jamaica is an exception to that rule.  IMO, a good guide is a MUST there.  Just a word to the wise.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ernesto and Florence Heat Up the Tropics

The Tropics Come Alive - Two Storms at Once

Tropical Storm Ernesto (Image courtesy NOAA)
The tropics have been quiet for weeks, ever since Tropical Storm Debby made her exit, but this week, things changed.

Tropical Storm Ernesto is stirring up the Caribbean, while Tropical Storm Florence has begun the trek across the Atlantic.

The Windward Islands have already gotten a taste of the 2012 Hurricane Season.  Ernesto passed just north of Barbados, then collided with the southern tip of St. Lucia as he crossed over from the tropical Atlantic into the Caribbean.  Jamaica is under a tropical storm warning today, as that nation prepares to celebrate its 50th birthday on Monday.

Tropical Storm Ernesto is forecast to continue westward for now, and become a hurricane as early as tomorrow.  

Meanwhile, out in the eastern Atlantic, Tropical Storm Florence is starting to make her westbound crossing.  Will she make it all the way across intact?  And, if so, how strong will she be?  Time will tell.

Our thoughts are always with those in the path of a tropical system, whatever its name may be.   Today, it's Ernesto.  Next week, it may be Florence, and then Gordon, who has yet to make an appearance.  Stay safe, everyone! 


TS Bremen life ring with stormy wavesWe could well see some ships change course and alter itineraries in the coming days to avoid the nastiness - and danger -  of a tropical system.  No changes have been announced yet, but you can bet the cruise lines are monitoring these storms closely!  See my 10 Tips for Cruising in Hurricane Season for more on this topic.

More articles about hurricane weather:

Know the Cone  - This is an important one.  Many people who think they know exactly what the Cone of Uncertainty means actually don't.  I've frequently heard the cone being mis-characterized!

2012 Hurricane Season Names - Just what the title says.

Weather Alert Radios -  Another important one.  Yes, you DO need one of these if you live anywhere in the US where severe weather is possible.

2012 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Journal - Here's where I'm keeping track of this years tropical weather activity.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cruise Luggage Tags and Luggage Spotters

Cruise Luggage Tags and Luggage Spotters

If you cruise from time to time, you might appreciate these cruising themed luggage tags and luggage spotters.

Luggage tags are one of Zazzle's newer offerings, and there are already thousands of designs by the independent artists and designers who show their work there.  There's even a  nice - and growing - selection of tags with cruise themes, like the luggage spotter at left.

What do I mean by 'luggage spotter,' as opposed to luggage tag?  A luggage spotter is something you can attach to your bag to help you spot it easily in a crowded luggage pick-up area.  Luggage spotters usually do not have your identifying information on them, like the examples below:

Now, there are some that can be personalized with your full name, address, and phone number. (The one on the left has an area for full personalization on the back.) But personally, I prefer to have only my last name and cell phone number showing, for security reasons. Or even just a cell number, like the one on the right.

A couple more luggage spotters:

Want to see a few more?  Here's a link:  More Cruise Luggage Tags

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hurricane Chris - The First Hurricane of the 2012 Hurricane Season

Chris has intensified to become the first hurricane of the Season.

Hurricane Chris, 2012
He was Tropical Storm Chris Yesterday.  Today, He's Hurricane Chris, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph.

(An FYI - Again this year, I'm keeping track of the season in a seasonal hurricane journal.  You can find it at Atlantic Basin 2012 Hurricane Season Journal.)

Not to worry - Hurricane Chris is way out to sea, and forecast to stay that way.  Currently around 600 miles to the southeast of Newfoundland's Cape Race, he's moving northeast right now, but is expected to loop around over the next day or two.  By then, he will have spent time over some pretty cool water, so is expected to transition into a post tropical cyclone before petering out.

The track from the NHC shows all this happening out at sea.  Thank you, Chris.  May you show the way for those who might follow, and may all our 2012 hurricanes avoid any encounters with land!

PS - Bone up on all the 2012 Hurricane Names here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CruiseReady on Tumblr

Are you following CruiseReady on Tumblr?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Flag Day Picture of Freedom for You

Sailaway Poster
Sailaway Poster by CruiseReady

A Flag Day picture for my cruising friends -
The Freedom of the Seas makes her way to the open Atlantic as our country's beautiful symbol of freedom appears to be giving her a bon voyage wave.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The RMS Queen Mary

RMS Queen Mary Vintage Passenger Ship print

The RMS Queen Mary left Southampton on her maiden transatlantic voyage 76 years ago today.  She was one of Cunard White Star's elegant Queens of the Ocean, and won the hearts of people around the world.  She also earned an honored place in history, serving the cause of freedom in World War II. Read more about the Queen Mary, and two other famous ships whose collective carreers spanned generations, in Queens of the Ocean Past.

Maiden voyage of the RMS Queen Mary:  May 27, 1936 - Southampton to New York.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hurricane Season Begins Soon

Hurricane Season is Nearly Here

Hurricane from Space Mousepad
by Modest_Mouse

The 2012 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season begins two weeks from today. 

Are you ready?

Hurricane season each year is from June 1 through November 30 for the Atlantic Basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico.

If you haven't done so already, it's time to check your hurricane supplies.  Make sure you have enough batteries and other items to last for an absolute minimum of three days, and that you have a go bag ready in case you need to evacuate.  Don't forget about a supply of prescription medicines, copies of important papers, and evacuation provisions for pets.

Here are a couple of things to look at as the season approaches, if you don't have them already.  One is an absolute necessity and the other is something I've found really useful.  Here are links to reviews I've written about each of them:

Weather Alert Radio - a Necessity
If you live in an area that could be threatened by a hurricane, a NOAA weather radio is something you absolutely should have. These radios pick up special alerts from the National Weather Service, and will wake you with a warning of an incoming emergency.
Battery Organizer and Tester - Nice to Have
This isn't a real must have, but it sure is nice for keeping your battery supply both organized and handy, something that will make things just a little easier in the event of a prolonged power outage.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

St. Kitts and Nevis - Third Best Island in the World

St. Kitts and Nevis - Third Best Island in the World

Arch at Brimstone Hill Fortress Postcard

According to a post at Cruise Line Fans, St. Kitts and Nevis has rung in at #3** on a recent list of the 10 Best Islands in the World.

Now, though I've cruised to a bunch of the islands in the Caribbean, I have not yet had the good fortune to be on board a ship that made a call at St.  Kitts.  It's something I'm still looking forward to.  Have you been there yet?

One of the interesting facts I learned while doing research for a page I did titled Pictures of St. Kitts and Nevis, is that one of America's own, Alexander Hamilton was actually born on Nevis.  Hamilton, was one of our country's founding fathers, and served as our very first Secretary of the Treasury.  It's his picture on the United States Ten Dollar Bill.

** The Maldives and Bora Bora captured the number one and two spots.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Cruise Destinations Board on Pinterest

Are you using Pinterest?  Lots of folks with an interest in travel in general, and cruising in particular are there.  If you are one of them, please feel free  to follow my Cruise Destinations pin board on Pinterest

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mothers Day Gift Ideas

Mother's Day is Three Weeks Away

Portside View No.2 Poster zazzle_print

Mother's Day is three weeks from today.  Right now, there's still plenty of time to shop Zazzle for Mothers Day Cards and Gifts.  You'll find some outstanding unique gifts for Mom there.  Here are a couple of samples:

For a Crusing Mom:
Portside View No. 2 Mothers Day Card zazzle_card Portside View No.2 Personalized Electronics Sleeve fuji_electronicsbag
Portside View No. 2 Mothers Day Card and Portside View No.2 Personalized Electronics Sleeve by CruiseReady

World's Best Mom:
World's Best MOM zazzle_card World's Best Mom zazzle_mug
World's Best MOM and World's Best Mom Mug by Vilizard

BONUS -  Free Shipping!
FREE STANDARD SHIPPING on orders of $50.00 or more.  Use coupon code FREESHIPFORU at checkout.  Valid through June 30 for  orders shipped within the U.S. 


Other places to find Nautical and Sea-inspired Mother's Day gift ideas:

Lighthouse Trinket Boxes
These lovely lighthouse trinket boxes make wonderful, unique gifts.
Jigsaw Puzzles - Ships and the Sea
Jigsaw puzzles of ships and the sea are enjoyable to work and beautiful when done. Everyone loves to work a good jigsaw puzzle, and there are nautical puzzles here for all skill levels.
Nautical Jewelry and Sea Life Jewelry
Gathered from several sources on the web, here's a nice variety of nautical jewelry for you to consider. You'll find boats, anchors, and ship's wheels, along with dolphins, sea shells, star fish, and other symbols of the sea. are always popular.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18, 1912: Titanic Survivors Arrive in NYC

RMS Carpathia in New York, following the Rescue (pd) 

April 18, 1912
It was another momentous day in the tragic saga of the Titanic.  It was the day that those who had survived the horrific events of the night of April 14-15 finally set foot on land again.

It was due to the heroic efforts of Arthur H. Rostron, Captain of the Carpathia, and the crew of the Cunard liner, that the souls who had been helplessly adrift in lifeboats in the icy North Atlantic survived at all.    Reaching the site of the sinking in record time had taken quite an effort, with the ship being pushed to sail beyond her rated speed.

The story of the remarkable voyage of mercy by the RMS Carpathia is well worth reading.  You can do so by following the above link - or this one.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Specialty Cards for Cruisers

You can find specialty cards for cruisers at CruiseReady on Zazzle.  Choose from Bon Voyage Cards, note cards, Thank You cards for crew members, or mailers for travel agents and group cruise leaders.

Many of the cards you'll find have customizable text messages that you can change to your own words. 

There's cruise themed postage and return address labels, too!

Stop by any time and browse all the gifts for cruisers  and custom cruise gear at CruiseReady on Zazzle.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Eight Weeks Until . . .

It's just eight weeks until the start of the 2012 Atlantic Basin Hurricane Season. 

Officially, hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov 30, though storms can (and have) occurred outside that date range.  The most active part of the season is typically from about the second week of August through October. 

The alphabetical list of  hurricane names for 2012 starts with Alberto, and goes through William.  

Here's hoping they don't get all the way through the list this year!

With just a couple of months until the season begins, it's a good time to be thinking about things like your evacuation plans, checking the batteries in your NOAA Weather Radio, updating your hurricane supplies, and seeing to hurricane preparedness for your roof.

Monday, April 2, 2012

One Hundred Years Ago Today

Titanic's Sea Trials

Titanic's Sea Trials by spfino

 - Monday, April 2, 1912 -

 A century ago today, early in the morning, the RMS Titanic put out from Belfast for her Sea Trials.  After 12 hours of being put through her paces, she was pronounced sea worthy.
She sailed the same evening for Southampton, from which she would begin her maiden voyage just eight days later.  For that fateful maiden voyage, command was assumed by one of the most respected sea captains of the day,  Captain Edward John Smith.

Surely any of those involved had no suspicions of what lay ahead, or that, a century later, people the world over would still be fascinated with any and every little detail about the ship, her passengers, and her crew.

Kind of makes you wonder what events in our lifetimes will be so haunting to our descendents a century from now, doesn't it?  Of course, September 11th comes to mind.  But will there be anything else?  That's plenty, in my opinion. 

Related Articles:  Pictures of Titanic -  Books About Titanic for Kids

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ships Come and Go at the Port

Monarch of the Seas at Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral is gaining a new home ported ship next weekend, and will be losing one next year.

First, Saturday's gain
The New Disney Fantasy will be officially welcomed to Port Canaveral with a Sail-a-bration at Jetty Park next Saturday.  The Sail-a-bration is timed to see the Fantasy off on her 'maiden' boyage from the port, and will include prizes and entertainment.

I'm sure a good time will be had by all.  We've attended these Sail-a-brations in the past, and they're fun. 


Saturday, March 31, 4:00pm to 6:00 pm
Jetty Park
Admission: Non-perishable food item for the Central Brevard Sharing Center

Now, the Sadder News
Royal Caribbean has announced that they will be transferring the Monarch of the Seas to the Pullmantur fleet next year.  So, Port Canaveral will be losing their Sovereign Class ship.    

Her final sailing as a Royal Caribbean ship will be on March 29, 2013.

Even sadder is that no replacement ship for the Monarch has been announced.  However, the Port and Royal Caribbean are reportedly "in discussions" regarding the line "retaining a two-ship presence" here.

Oh, yes, please!
And can we have a Vision or Radiance class ship?  Or, maybe even a Celebrity ship?  OR BOTH?

Cruise Line Fans - Forum for Cruisers

If you're an avid cruiser, and enjoy interacting with like-minded souls, you should check out Cruise Line Fans, a friendly forum for cruisers.

And if you're new to cruising, or just considering taking your first one, you're sure to find lots of helpful advice there, too.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

One Month and Counting

"Titanic Sinking," (PD-US, PD-1923)
by German maritime artist, Willie Stower

A month from now, we'll be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.  You'll be hearing plenty about the fateful voyage of the luxury ocean liner between now and then. 

Chances are, you'll be party to some conversation, somewhere, during which the subject may come up.  It's timely, and it's an historical event with which many people are utterly fascinated.  If you'd like to familiarize yourself with some of the details, you might want to browse through several easy to read articles about several different aspects of what happened during and as a result of the events of the night of April 14 - 15, 1912, beginning with Pictures of the Titanic

For example - is it just a myth that the band went down with the ship, and played until the end?  No, not really!  They did go down with the ship, and played until they could no longer.   Wallace Hartley and the Titanic Band were hailed as heroes.

Do you know the name of the ship that came to the rescue of the 700+ passengers who survived the sinking of the Titanic?  Captain Rostron of the RMS Carpathia pushed his ship to her limits to get her swiftly to the site of the tragedy.

Related Stories:

Who Was the Captain of the Titanic?
Captain Edward John Smith, 62, was Master of RMS Titanic. He was not only highly respected within the maritime community, but admired by passengers who had s...
Sister Ships of the Titanic
Everyone knows the story of the sinking of the Titanic, but not everyone knows that the RMS Titanic was one of a trio of sister ships that also included the ...
Books About Titanic for Kids - New Releases
Why books about Titanic for kids? Everyone is interested in learning more about Titanic these days, and that includes kids. It's been 100 years since Titani...

Friday, March 9, 2012

Farewell, Pacific Princess

Star of The Love Boat Sold for Scrap

The Pacific Princess in 1987 (public domain photo)
Pacific Princess, star of the Love Boat TV series, has been sold for scrap, according to news sources. 
It's a sad day for fans of the Love Boat, and for anyone who cruised on Pacific Princess, or the other ship that was occasionaly used in filming, the Island Princess.
It happens...  We'd like to think that our favorite ships will go on forever, but that simply cannot be. 

She was reportedly sold for scrap for about $3.3 million, to an unnamed demolition company, based in Turkey.

Farewell, Princess.  You were well loved, and will be long and fondly remembered. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Side by Side

Radiance of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas,
docked side by side

I am SO ready to cruise! 
It will be a while, though . . .

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Sometimes, in the Wake of a Tragedy

Tragedies at sea cause us to take a closer look at some of the factors involved, and to make changes.   Admitted, it's a reactive process, but that's reality.

So far, two changes - regarding mustering and saluting -  have been made following the sinking of the Costa Concordia.

There had been a muster drill scheduled for the morning of January 14, 2012.  But, the emergency occurred on the evening of the 13th.  Passengers who had not yet been required to assemble at their assigned muster stations to recieve their safety briefing lacked crucial information.  Yet,  Concordia was in compliance with regulations requiring that muster be held in the first 24 hours.  

It's now required that Muster Drill be performed before departure. This new rule was put into place by  Cruise Lines International Association, the European Cruise Council and the Passenger Shipping Association.

As you can read in a story in the New York Times, last week the government of  Italy passed a law banning cruise ship salutes of islands and coastal towns.  Captain Schettino was performing a close sail by or salute to the island of Giglio when the Costa Concordia got too close, and tragedy ensued.  In a salute, the officer at the helm is basically deviating from the planned course, and coming close to land.  This had been being done, on occasion, apparently in order for the ship to 'wave' to those on shore, to give the passengers a closer view, and to generate a little publicity.

Remind you of anything?  Yep.  Titanic immediately springs to mind.

A century ago, the world became accutely and painfully aware that, even though RMS Titanic carried more lifeboat 'seats' than required by law, she still had  enough to accomodate only about 1/3 of her possible passengers + crew.  Though slightly over 700 Titanic survivors were rescued by RMS Carpathia, the lifeboats weren't even filled to capacity.   Following the convention of women and children first, many men stood by while seats went unfilled.  After Titanic, the lifeboat laws were changed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Costa Allegra Drifting in Indian Ocean following Electrical Fire

More Woes for Costa...  Allegra adrift following fire!

Costa Allegra, photo by Yerpo, CC

The Costa Allegra is adrift in the Indian Ocean, with no power, save, apparently, emergency lighting.  There are approximately 1,000 passengers and crew on board, none of whom were injured during the electrical fire that resulted in the power outage.

Now, in case you haven't been following the pirate stories, the Indian Ocean is an area in which pirates do, indeed, operate.  Thankfully, there IS protection on board, in the person of armed Italian Marines, according to a story in The Guardian.   Still, I'm saying a prayer for the safety of all aboard the Allegra.

Updates are being posted on the Costa Cruises website.   According to the latest:

 - A 295 ft French fishing boat is expected to reach the Allegra within a few hours.
- Several other vessels, and two tugs are also steaming towards her position.
- The tugs will presumably tow the cruise ship to safe harbor in the Seychelles

Please hold the ship and all those aboard in your thoughts. 

Cruising to Mexico? Be careful!

Once again, cruise passengers have had a nasty experience in Mexico. 
According to news reports, 22 passengers from the Carnival Splendor were robbed at gunpoint while on an excursion in Puerto Vallarta.  

The story in the Los Angeles Times says "hooded gunmen"  intercepted a tour bus, taking money, jewelry, cameras, and other valuables from the cruisers.

Apparently, even passports were taken, which is particularly troubling.

Cruiselines have recently cancelled port calls in Mazatlan, another previously popular port on the so-called "Mexican Riviera" cruises.  Will  Puerto Villarta be next?

NOTE:  The U.S. State Department expanded its warnings for travel to Mexico earlier this month. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

An Invader in the Carribean Reef

Red Lionfish, CC
Do you swim or snorkel when you cruise?  If so, you should know about a beautiful, yet dangerous species that has invaded the waters off Florida, in The Bahamas, and the Caribbean Sea.  It's the Red Lionfish.

Actually, two of the nine species of lionfish are spreading through these waters, but the red lionfist - or  Pterois volitans -  seems to be reproducing the most prolifically.

PROBLEMS associated with this species include the fact that they are venomous to humans, and that they pose an imminent threat to indigenous marine populations.  

Browse some beautiful Pictures of Tropical Fish - including the lionfish - and pick up a few tidbits of information in this article I recently wrote about fish you can see while snorkeling in the Caribbean.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

St. Lucia Independence Day

On Wednesday of this week, they'll be celebrating Independence Day in the popular southern Caribbean cruise destination of St. Lucia.
St. Lucia became an independent state of the Commonwealth of Nations on February 22, 1979.
It's an uncommonly beautiful place, with a tropical climate, and more mountainous than some other Caribbean nations. Here's a picture of the famous twin peaks of the Pitons there:

MORE about St. Lucia:
To see more views of the island nation, visit Pictures of St. Lucia.
For something really cool, find out about St. Lucia's Drive In Volcano.