Friday, December 7, 2007

Disney adds new ports!

Disney -- an OSSN supplier member! – reports that Disney Cruise Line has unveiled two new routes in the eastern Caribbean for 2009, adding St. Croix and Tortola as new stops. The line will keep its existing western and eastern Caribbean itineraries. Next summer, its four-night itinerary will now include two stops at Castaway Cay (its private island in the Bahamas) between May 11 and Aug. 24. And, the line will now the option of adding a meal plan to your seven-night land-sea Walt Disney World trips.

RCCL Genesis Class Update!

12/5/2007 -
Royal Caribbean – will use Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) as the homeport for two of its new Genesis-class ships. The first vessel will arrive in the fall of 2009, with the second ship coming a year later. The line has agreed to invest more than $37 million to expand and update the port’s Terminal 18.

Additional Passport requirements added

Effective Jan. 31, 2008, New Requirements for Entry at Land and Sea Ports from Canada
Effective Jan. 31, 2008, U.S. and Canadian citizens (19 and older) will be required to present proof of citizenship, such as 1) a passport or 2) a birth certificate or naturalization certificate supported by a government issued photo ID, when entering the United States through land and sea ports of entry from Canada. Children ages 18 and under are only required to present proof of citizenship (without ID), such as a birth certificate, naturalization certificate or passport. If a birth certificate is presented, it must be a certified birth certificate issued by the city, county or state. A photocopy of a birth certificate will only be accepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) if the original has been sent to the Department of State in support of a passport application. In such case, the traveler must obtain and provide proof of passport application . These changes are significant as compared to the current and long-standing policy that allows CBP officers to accept oral declarations of citizenship from U.S. and Canadian citizens seeking entry into the United States through a land or sea border. Effective Jan. 31, 2008, oral declarations will not be accepted. All customers traveling by land or sea to Canada to take either a valid passport or a government issued birth certificate and photo ID beginning Jan. 31, 2008. All travelers by air should be reminded to bring a passport. The passport requirement for air travelers entering the U.S. from Canada has been on the books since Jan. 8, 2007. Please note that travelers holding NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST cards will continue to be accepted for cross-border travel. Eventually, at an unspecified date in mid-2008, the Department of State will require passports, or soon-to-be announced passport alternatives, from ALL travelers at ALL points rt. The current turnaround time for a passport is four to six weeks. For information on obtaining a U.S. Passport visit or call 1-877-487-2778. Specific documentation requirements for land, sea and air travel may be found at .

Are you prepared for a personal emergency that may require you to leave the ship and fly back to the Untied Sates? This week we where asked this question by a cruiser who's mother had become deathly ill and she and her husband where scheduled to be on a 7 day cruise within a few days. They had purchased travel insurance (smart decision) but they did not have passports. They're concern: If something should happen to her mother could they depart the ship and fly back into the United States from another country? The answer: You must have a passport to fly in or out of the United States from another country! So if you are planning a cruise and think you don't need that passport, think again. If an emergency happens in which you may find yourself flying into the United States from another country you will likely be denied entry and even travel insurance won't help. I am not exactly sure what the process is for getting approval but from what I have heard it will likely include going before a judge. This process could take several days and perhaps even long enough that you would have been better to finish your cruise. Soon you will need a passport for taking cruises in and out of the Unites States ports as well so your best bet, get your passport now! This way you can enjoy your cruise knowing that you will always be welcomed home.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pregnancy/Infant restrictions and guide lines

Restrictions for Pregnant Women and Infants
Cruise lines requesting a physician's letter (faxed in advance or hand delivered at time of check- in) will require this letter to state that woman and baby are in good health, fit to travel, and that the pregnancy is not high-risk. The letter must also include the expected date of the child's birth.
American West Steamboat Company (Majestic America)
Pregnant Women: There are no written guidelines. Each case is considered individually. It is recommended that the passenger consult her doctor. Please contact reservations for details. Infants: No minimum age requirements.
Azamara Cruises
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 26 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. A physician's letter must be faxed to the Access Department (800-882-8292) for women in any stage of pregnancy. Infants: No minimum age requirement.
Carnival Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 26 weeks or less on day of embarkation. Physician's letter is recommended at time of check in. Infants: Minimum age is 4 months.
Celebrity Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 26 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. A physician's letter must be faxed to the Access Department (800-882-8292) for women in any stage of pregnancy. Infants: No minimum age requirement.
Clipper Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: There are no written guidelines. Each case is considered individually. Please contact reservations for details. Infants: Minimum age is 4 years.
Costa Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 26 weeks or less on day of embarkation. Women past 6 months will need to have a Special Requirements form filled out by their physician and faxed to Costa at 954-266-5854. Infants: Minimum age is 3 months.
Cruise West Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: There are no written guidelines. Each case is considered individually. Please contact reservations for details. Infant: Minimum age is 12 months for cruises over 15 days in the Orient, Indian Ocean, and for long-range Asia/Far East and Transatlantic cruises. Minimum age for all other cruise regions is 3 months.
Crystal Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. Infants: Minimum age is 6 months. Crystal reserves the right to limit all children under the age of 3 years.
Cunard Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. A physician's letter must be faxed to Fleet Medical (661-753-0122) for women in any stage of pregnancy. Infants: Minimum age is 6 months for Alaska, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico, Transcanal and Australia/New Zealand cruises. Minimum age for all other sailings is 6 months.
Delta Queen Cruise Line (Majestic America)
Pregnant Women: There are no written guidelines. Each case is considered individually. It is recommended that the passenger consult her doctor. Please contact reservations for details. Infants: No minimum age requirements.
Voyages of Discovery
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on the day of embarkation. Infants: No minimum age requirements but reservations for children under the age of 11 are discouraged.
Disney Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 23 weeks or less on day of embarkation. A Medical Information Form must be filled out by physician and faxed to Inventory Control (407-566-7739) for women in any stage of pregnancy. Infants: Minimum age is 12 weeks.
GAP Adventures
Pregnant Women: There are no written guidelines. Each case is considered individually. It is recommended that the passenger consult her doctor. Please contact reservations for details. Infants: No children permitted. Minimum age is 18 years.
Holland America Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 23 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. A physician's letter must be faxed to Access and Compliance (800-577-1731) for women in any stage of pregnancy. Infants: Minimum age is 13 weeks.
MSC Cruises
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if 27 weeks or less on day of embarkation. A medical certificate establishing fitness is required. Infants: No minimum age requirement.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. A physician's letter must be faxed to Passenger Courtesy (305-436-4147) for women in any stage of pregnancy. Doctor's note required. Infants: Minimum age is 6 months.
Oceania Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. Doctor's note required. Infants: No minimum age requirement but infant facilities are not available.
Orient Cruise Line
Please see Norwegian Cruise Line's guidelines.
P&O Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. Infants: Minimum age is 1 year.
Peter Deilmann
Pregnant Women: No restrictions. Pregnant women in any phase of pregnancy will be allowed. Infants: No minimum age requirement.
Princess Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. A physician's letter must be faxed to Fleet Medical Dept (661-753-0121) for women in any stage of pregnancy. Infants: Minimum age is 6 months on most itineraries. Certain exotic and lengthy itineraries may require the child to be 1 year old. Please check with Princess Reservation Dept. to confirm.
Regent (Radisson) Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. A physician's letter will be required. Infants: Minimum age is 1 year old.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 26 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. A physician's letter must be faxed to the Access Department (305-539-6666) for women in any stage of pregnancy. Infants: No minimum age requirement.
Seabourn Cruise Line
Please see Cunard Cruise Line's guidelines.
Seadream Yacht Club
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of embarkation. A physician's letter needs to be faxed to 305-856-7599 for women in any stage of pregnancy. Infants: Minimum age is 1 year. Children under 1 year will be allowed to board with a physician's approval. Fax to above listed phone #.
Silversea Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of embarkation. A medical certificate establishing fitness is required. Infants: Minimum age is 6-11 months, parents must sign a waiver. Silversea reserves the right to limit all children under 3 years old.
Star Clipper Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 27 weeks or less on day of disembarkation. A medical certificate establishing fitness is required. Star Clipper reserves the right to refuse passage to pregnant women due to travel risks. Infants: Minimum age is 2 years.
Pregnant Women: Permitted to board if pregnant for 24 weeks or less on day of embarkation. A letter of medical fitness is required. No doctor on board. Infants: Minimum age is 6 months. Uniworld reserves the right to limit all children under the age of 3 years.
Viking Cruise Line
Pregnant Women: No restrictions. Pregnant women in any phase of pregnancy will be allowed. Infants: Minimum age is 12 years.

Cruise line age requirements

Families with Children
Most cruise lines welcome children to travel on their ships, though infants and pregnant women are subject to some restrictions(see next post)
Families booking more than one cabin may be subject to minimum age requirements for kids staying in a separate cabin. I can check these requirements for you, once you have found a cruise you are interested in.
Guests Under 25 Years of Age:
All cruise lines require that at least one person in each cabin meets a minimum age requirement. The information that follows was provided by the cruise lines at the time of this writing, is subject to change.
The lowest minimum age requirement for any cruise line is 18. The following cruise lines require that at least one person in each cabin is 18 or older: American West Steamboat Company (Majestic America), Cruise West, Cunard, Delta Queen (Majestic America), Fred. Olsen Cruise Line, Oceania, Orient Lines, P&O Cruises, Peter Deilmann, Regent (Radisson) Seven Seas Cruises, SeaDream, Star Clippers, and Uniworld.
The following cruise lines require that either 1) All passengers in a cabin must be 18 or older, or 2) If anyone in the cabin is younger than 18 years old, someone in the cabin must be 21 or older: Clipper, Disney Cruise Line, GAP Adventures, Silversea and Viking River Cruises.
The following cruise lines require that at least one person in each cabin is 21 or older: Azamara, Celebrity, Costa (25 for March and April sailings), Crystal Cruises, Voyages of Discovery, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Seabourn Cruise Line.
The following cruise lines require that either 1) All passengers in a cabin must be 21 or older, or 2) If anyone in the cabin is younger than 21 years old, someone in the cabin must be 25 or older: Carnival, Holland America and Windstar Cruises.
One exception to these age requirements is made for underage married couples, who as long as they are both 18 are allowed to board unaccompanied. These couples may be asked to show proof of their marriage.
Your age on the date of sailing is generally considered your age for the length of the cruise.
Consumption of Alcohol:
Once you've left port, the minimum age for the consumption of alcohol varies by cruise line.
Fred. Olsen Cruise Line, GAP Adventures, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas allow all passengers 18 and older to consume any type of alcoholic beverage they choose.
The minimum drinking age for all alcoholic beverages on all Azamara, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships is 21. However, on cruises departing from European and South American countries, where the legal drinking age is typically lower than 21, a parent who is sailing with his or her son(s) and/or daughter(s) who is between the ages of 18 to 20, may sign a waiver allowing the 18 to 20 year old to consume alcoholic beverages.
American West Steamboat Company (Majestic America), Carnival, Clipper, Costa, Cruise West, Crystal, Cunard, Delta Queen (Majestic America), Voyages of Discovery, Disney, Great American River Journeys, Holland America, MSC Cruises, Norwegian, Orient, Peter Deilmann, Princess, Seabourn, SeaDream, Silversea, Star Clippers, Uniworld, Viking River Cruises and Windstar require passengers to be at least 21 to consume any type of alcohol.
Gambling Onboard:
Gambling, a popular form of entertainment on cruise ships, also has age restrictions which differ between cruise lines. Carnival, Fred. Olsen Cruise Line, Holland America, Norwegian, Oceania, Orient, Regent Seven Seas and SeaDream require passengers to be 18 or older to play in the shipboard casinos. Celebrity and Royal Caribbean require passengers to be 18 or older to play in casinos, except for Alaska cruises (passengers must be 21 or older). Crystal, Cunard, Voyages of Discovery, MSC Cruises, Princess, Seabourn, Silversea and Windstar restrict the casinos to travelers 21 and older. Costa requires those gambling in the casinos to be 25 or older.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Royal Caribbean Brands Add Fuel Surcharge

11/16/2007 - Royal Caribbean – announced a fuel surcharge this morning of $5 per person, per day, for sailings that depart on or after Feb. 1, 2008. This new charge will apply to RCCL’s three brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Cruises. The maximum charge will be $70 per person per sailing, and it will not apply to any booking where the passenger has already paid in full.


NCL Corp. has become the latest cruise line to assess a fuel supplement in response to record high crude oil prices. It announced today that effective on all new NCL and NCL America bookings made on or after Dec. 1, the supplement will be $7 per person/per day for the first and second guests in a stateroom and $3 per person/per day for any additional guests in the same stateroom.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Costa Lays Keel for New Luminosa in Italy

Costa Cruises laid the keel for the 13th ship in its fleet last week in Italy, at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera. Due for delivery in spring 2009, the Costa Luminosa will measure 92,700 tons and offer a double-occupancy capacity of 2,260. The ship will feature the highest number of veranda accommodations (68 percent) in the Costa fleet. The ship will feature the Samsara Spa and accommodations with direct access to the spa. It will also feature a pool deck with a retractable magrodome extending over two pools and a Grand Prix race car driving simulator. In addition, the Costa Luminosa will feature an 18-hole championship golf course simulator.
Costa will also build a sister ship to the Costa Luminosa, scheduled to enter service in March 2010. Both ships will be created at a total cost of over 800 million euros. Costa's fleet expansion program includes the addition of a third ship, the Costa Pacifica, which will leave the Genoa-Sestri Ponente yard in spring 2009 along with the Costa Luminosa. By 2010, the Costa fleet will have 15 ships, all flying the Italian flag. In 2007, Costa ships have been making regular stopovers in Venice and Trieste, with more than 280,000 guest visits and generating income of 12 million euros.
In 2007, Costa ships will make a total of 58 calls in Venice, the homeport for the Costa Mediterranea and Costa Serena, with 260,000 passenger movements (a 4 percent increase over 2006), and equivalent to approximately 23 percent of all cruisers in the port of Venice. The estimated local revenue generated by Costa's guests visiting Venice totals 11 million euros. Next summer season will see the return of the Costa Serena's seven-night cruises to Greece and Turkey, while the Costa Mediterranea will be replaced by an even larger ship, the Costa Fortuna (102,600 tons with a double occupancy of 2,720). The number of calls will increase to 66 with a 27 percent increase in total guests to 330,000.
The Costa Marina called at Trieste 19 times this year (an increase of 26 percent over 2006), with a total of 23,000 passenger movements, generating income in excess of 1 million euros for the city. A further increase is expected in 2008 as Trieste will become the homeport for the Costa Classica (53,000 tons with a double occupancy capacity of 1,308), bringing 37,000 guests, a 60 percent increase.

MSC Cruises Schedules Food & Wine Cruises

MSC Cruises will host five food and wine cruises on MSC Lirica, MSC Poesia and MSC Orchestra. These cruises will feature cooking demonstrations on how to prepare regional dishes from the countries visited on the itinerary. There will also be tips on selecting and preserving the best ingredients. A sommelier will also offer advice during wine-tastings, and barmen will offer advice on mixing cocktails. Guests will also receive a wine dictionary to increase their knowledge of wines produced around the globe. Lessons will be offered on how to set a table, including the center piece and place cards. There will also be games and contests with a culinary theme, and aspiring chefs can compete against one another.
Food and wine themes are scheduled for the MSC Poesia's the April 19 and Sept. 13 cruises departing from Venice. The seven-night Eastern Mediterranean cruises will call at Bari, Olympia (Katakolon) in Greece, Izmir and Istanbul in Turkey and Dubrovnik in Croatia. The MSC Orchestra's culinary cruise will depart May 9 from Barcelona on a seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise. The ship will visit Marseille in France, Genoa and Naples in Italy, Palermo in Sicily and Palma de Mallorca in Spain. The MSC Lirica will depart Rome Oct. 4 on a seven-night Western Mediterranean cruise to Genoa, Marseille, Valencia, Tangier and Malaga. The MSC Poesia will depart Nov. 15 from Venice on a 10-night Eastern Mediterranean cruise concluding in Genoa. Ports of call include Bari, Corfu, Piraeus and Rhodes in Greece, Antalia in Turkey, Heraklion on Crete, Tripoli in Libya, and Valletta on the island of Malta.

Royal Caribbean Returns to Australia in Winter 2008-09

Royal Caribbean Returns to Australia in Winter 2008-09
Royal Caribbean International will operate 14 Australia cruises and two transpacific voyages aboard Rhapsody of the Seas for winter 2008-09. The cruises range from seven to 15 nights. Five roundtrip voyages from Sydney to the Coral Sea will visit New Caledonia, Vanuatu Islands, and Society Islands. A 13-night itinerary, departing Oct. 19, 2008, includes calls at Noumea, Poum, and the Isle of Pines in New Caledonia; Luganville and Vila, Vanuatu; and Ouvea (Wadrilla) and Lifou in the Loyalty Islands. A 10-night itinerary, departing Nov. 1, Nov. 22 and Dec. 13, 2008, includes calls in New Caledonia and at Vila, while an 11-night sailing on April 2, 2009, includes Luganville. Rhapsody also will offer two Great Barrier Reef adventures departing Nov. 11 and Dec. 2, 2008.
The 11-night roundtrips from Sydney will cruise by Willis Island and call at Cairns (Yorkey's Knob), Port Douglas, Cooktown, Brisbane, and Hamilton Island (among the Whitsunday Islands) in Australia. Additionally, a seven-night Tasmania voyage departing on Jan. 6, 2009, will sail roundtrip from Sydney, and visit Burnie, Port Arthur and Hobart in Tasmania; and Melbourne. The company is also offering four 14-night New Zealand cruises sailing roundtrip from Sydney. These cruises will visit Bay of Islands, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, as well as cruise through Dusky, Doubtful and Milford sounds in Fjordland National Park. On voyages departing Dec. 23, 2008, and Jan. 27, 2009, guests will also visit Napier, while the Jan. 13 and Feb. 10, 2009, sailings will include a scenic cruise past volcanic White Island. Two cruises can be combined for a 35-night "Down Under" exploration cruise. On the 17-night voyage, sailing on Feb. 24, 2009, from Sydney, guests cruise the Coral Sea to Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea, and sail to cities along the northern Australian coast to Perth (Fremantle). The following 18-night voyage, sailing March 13 from Perth to Sydney, calls at cities on the southern Australian coast and the Island of Tasmania, and cruise the Tasman Sea to New Zealand and its fjordlands.
The Rhapsody offers two segments on its eastward transpacific crossing. The 16-night cruise departs Sydney on April 13 and sails to Honolulu, on the way calling at ports in the Society Islands and Maui. The following 10-night sailing, departing April 28, will cruise five days among the Hawaiian Islands before continuing on to Vancouver. Royal Caribbean also offers land tours that can be combined with a cruise. Cruise-tours include hotel stays, transfers, most meals, and scheduled tours and activities. On most sailings, guests can choose a five-night pre-cruise tour to Sydney, Ayers Rock, Port Douglas and the Great Barrier Reef. For sailings departing Nov. 11, Dec. 2, 2008, and Feb. 24, 2009, guests can choose a six-night pre-cruise New Zealand from Auckland, visiting a sheep farm and a Rotorua winery, cruising through the fjords of Milford Sound, and flying to Sydney before boarding Rhapsody.

Celebrity Releases First Details of Solstice Class Ships

Celebrity Cruises has unveiled details of its new Solstice class ships, the first of which, the Celebrity Solstice, will make its maiden voyage in the Caribbean in December 2008. Last night in New York, Celebrity made the first of a half-dozen announcements about the plans about the new class of ships; the event focused specifically on the ship's staterooms. Dan Hanrahan, Celebrity's president and CEO, said research for the stateroom design began even before the cruise line cut steel for the ships. Recognizing that women are the decision-makers when it comes to cruising, Celebrity put together a panel of five women -- a frequent cruiser, a travel agent, a non-cruiser, a hotelier and a travel writer-to get their input on staterooms -- they spent four months helping Celebrity design the staterooms. The result: staterooms that are 15 percent larger than those in Celebrity's Millennium ships, and bathrooms that are 24 percent larger and have touches such as fog free mirrors and bars for women to rest their feet upon while shaving their legs. "The showers are the biggest you'll find at sea," said Hanrahan.
To better accommodate luggage, beds are higher, so bags fit underneath, and there are additional nooks and crannies for storage. The ships have interconnecting staterooms, but since space that connects also conducts sound, each has a vestibule with a double set of doors to muffle sound. Triple and quad rooms all have trundle beds that extend from couches as well as Pullman beds, meaning parents can put smaller children in the lower trundles. Staterooms are roughly 295 to 300 square feet, not including balconies. The ship has WiFi, staterooms have 32-inch flat screen TVs, while suites have larger flat-screen TVs. There is also the new AquaClass, which is tied into the ship's spa. It includes 130 of the ship's 1,425 staterooms. Celebrity Solstice is the line's first in a class for four 2,850-passenger vessels. German shipbuilder Meyer Werft, which constructed the line's Century-class fleet, is building the 122,000-GRT ship.

Carnival's New Splendor Offers One-Time Europe Cruise

Carnival Cruise Lines' new 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor -- the largest "Fun Ship" ever constructed -- will operate a one-time European cruise in July 2008. The eight-day voyage, which departs Genoa on July 2 and arrives in London (Dover) on July 10, will visit Cannes, France; Barcelona, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Le Havre (Paris), France. Following this voyage, the 3,006-passenger ship will launch Carnival's first 12-day Northern Europe cruise schedule from London on July 13 -- the first of five voyages in the program, which continues through Aug. 30. Ports include Copenhagen; Warnemunde (Berlin); Helsinki; St. Petersburg; Tallin, Estonia; and Amsterdam. Carnival Splendor will also sail a 12-day Mediterranean cruise from London to Rome (Civitavecchia) on Sept. 11, 2008, then operate "Grand Mediterranean" and "Mediterranean and Greek Isles" cruises on Sept. 23, Oct. 5 and Oct. 17, 2008.
Upon completion of its European season, Carnival Splendor will sail a 16-day transatlantic crossing from Rome to Fort Lauderdale, from where it will sail a series of seven-day Caribbean voyages from Port Everglades. Following Carnival's first program of South American cruises January to March 2009, Carnival Splendor will launch year-round, seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises from Long Beach, Calif., March 29, 2009, continuing the line's West Coast expansion. Representing a new class of Fun Ships, Carnival Splendor will feature a two-deck-high Cloud 9 Spa featuring a thalassotherapy pool and a thermal suite. Adjacent to the facility will be 68 exclusive spa staterooms and suites - another first for the line - with private access to the facility, special amenities and priority spa reservations.
The vessel's family-friendly amenities include a 5,500-square-foot children's play area along with a water spray park and a Club O2 teen center with a DJ, dance floor and high-tech sound and lighting system. Also featured will be four swimming pools, one covered by a retractable dome.


Princess Cruises has created four segments of 22 to 35 days for its two 2009 World Cruises along with "Liner Voyages" of 45 to 80 days. The segments and "Liner Voyages" offer 25 ways to take part in Princess' 107-day world cruises aboard Tahitian Princess and Royal Princess. Both set sail on Jan. 14 and Jan. 20, 2009, respectively. Each full world cruise travels to more than 40 destinations on six continents. Special benefits have been announced for passengers on the full 107-day world cruise. Airfare to Fort Lauderdale and home from Rome, Dover or Stockholm is included for World Cruise passengers booking a balcony stateroom or above. All World Cruise passengers will also receive complimentary hotel and dining charges, and suite passengers will have their mini-bar setups replenished weekly. Onboard cruise credits of up to $1,000 per person will be issued to full world cruise passengers who book before Jan. 31, 2008, while those booking "Liner Voyages" of at least two segments will receive an onboard credit of up to $500 per person for early bookings.
Available segments include 35 days from Fort Lauderdale to Sydney through the Panama Canal to Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands, the South Pacific and other ports in Australia. A 23-day segment from Sydney to Hong Kong includes the Great Barrier Reef and Brisbane; Rabaul (Papua/New Guinea); Guam; Osaka (for Kyoto); Hiroshima, Seoul (Inchon); and Shanghai. The 22-day Hong Kong-to-Dubai segment visits Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Bangkok; Singapore; Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang), Malaysia; Port Blair, Andaman Islands; and Mumbai, India. The final 27-day segments go from Dubai to Rome or Dover. Ports of call include Salalah, Oman, and Safaga (for Luxor/Karnak) and Port Said (for Cairo/Giza), Egypt. From there, Tahitian Princess heads for Athens; Sorrento/Capri; Rome (Civitavecchia); Cannes; Barcelona; Gibraltar; Lisbon; Cork (Cobh for Blarney Castle), Ireland; and Paris/Normandy (Le Havre), before arriving in Dover (for London). Meanwhile, Royal Princess will visit Jerusalem (Ashdod); Istanbul; Athens; Sicily (Messina); Barcelona; Cannes; and Florence/Pisa (Livorno), before the final stop in Rome.
These segments are available in a variety of "Liner Voyage" combinations. In addition, Tahitian Princess passengers can extend their voyage with a 10-day Scandinavia and Russia sailing including a call in St. Petersburg and ending in Stockholm. Or they can combine their World Cruise with a six-day transatlantic crossing from Southampton to New York aboard the Queen Mary 2. Full world cruise passengers receive a discount on the QM2 sailing.


Holland America Line will open its onboard kitchens to more than 70 guest chefs from around the country throughout its 2008 cruise season. Guests will be able to sample the culinary creations of Cornelius Gallagher, former chef at Oceana in New York and currently with Sonnier and Castle private events; Pichet Ong, chef at P*ong Restaurant; Bobby Stucky, master sommelier at Frasca Food and Wine; Eric Lee, executive chef at Simi Winery; Tenney Flynn, executive chef at GW Fins; Joël Antunes, chef of Joël Restaurant; Max McCalman, Artisinal Cheese; Susan Goss, owner and chef of the West Town Tavern in Chicago; and dozens more.
Augmenting the chefs will be cookbook authors as well as wine and spirits experts including Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, authors of the "Ultimate" cookbook series, and master mixologists Christy Pope and Chad Solomon. Holland America launched its culinary program in 2005 with the installation of state-of-the-art Culinary Arts Centers aboard each of its 13 premium cruise ships offering culinary demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes aboard every sailing. Christopher Lee, executive chef of New York's Gilt, is scheduled to sail aboard the Rotterdam in March. Plus, the line just released a new cookbook, "A Taste of Excellence."


Norwegian Cruise Line and the Bermuda Government reached a long-term agreement that calls for two of NCL's newest and largest ships to be deployed to Bermuda for the next 10 years, from 2009 through 2018. These ships will predominantly depart from New York and Boston and will each sail at least 22 cruises per season, making extended calls in Bermuda. Currently, NCL offers 26 cruises from Boston to Bermuda on a smaller ship. The line will "move away from Boston for a few weeks when weather is not so good," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO.
The combined itineraries of the two vessels will provide for overnights in Bermuda from Sunday through Friday. The agreement also calls for NCL to continue its tradition of being the exclusive line to sail from Boston to Bermuda through the 10-year term. In 2009, the Norwegian Spirit, with a double occupancy capacity of 2,000, will sail from Boston to Bermuda, departing on Fridays and calling at Bermuda from Sunday through Wednesday. The Norwegian Dawn, with a capacity of more than 2,200 guests, will sail from New York on Sundays, calling at Bermuda from Wednesday through Friday. Also in 2009, the Norwegian Majesty (which has served NCL's Boston-Bermuda business for 15 years) will sail to St. George's, Bermuda, from Charleston, Philadelphia and Baltimore.
As part of the agreement, NCL will partner with Bermuda's Department of Tourism and Chamber of Commerce to be a sponsor for the annual Bermuda Music Festival, supporting the St. George's Foundation and the Bermudian Heritage Association with a contribution of $275,000, according to Bermuda's Premier, Dr. Ewart Brown. NCL also will develop a new program to encourage passengers to dine in restaurants ashore. According to Veitch, the 2009 fleet commitment to Bermuda will represent one fifth of NCL's summer deployment. The new Bermuda deployments will offer a capacity of 139,000 per season, compared with 116,000 in 2007, according to NCL.

Regent adds fuel surchages

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL, November 6, 2007 – Due to the continued rise of fuel costs around that world – to a degree that could not have been anticipated when pricing was set by the line – Regent Seven Seas Cruises will implement a cruise fuel surcharge of $7.50 per person per day for all 2008 bookings that are not paid in full by December 1, 2007. Original pricing for 2008 cruises allowed for an increase in fuel prices, but not nearly to the extent of current levels. The new surcharge will help offset some of the difference.
Regent Seven Seas will continue to monitor the fuel price situation, and will make adjustments to these fuel surcharges as required.
Any questions or concerns will be handled by the line’s reservations line: (800) 285-1835.
About Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Regent Seven Seas CruisesSM (RSSC) is part of Carlson Companies, a global leader in the hotel, restaurant, business and leisure travel, and marketing industries. The Regent brand encompasses luxury hotels, resorts, residences and cruises throughout the world, offering discerning travelers The Regent ExperienceSM with unique and personalized luxury. Regent Seven Seas (formerly Radisson Seven Seas) operates a fleet of medium-sized luxury cruise ships that visit over 300 ports on all seven continents, including Antarctica. RSSC is consistently rated among the world’s top three cruise lines by readers of luxury travel magazines. Travel professionals worldwide voted RSSC the “World’s Best Luxury Cruise Line” for the third consecutive year as part of the 2006 Travel Weekly Awards and readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine voted RSSC “World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Line” in 2007.

We expect all cruise lines to follow....


After finally catching up on laundry, cruise news, emails and phone messages; I can sit and tell you all about my most recent cruise onboard IMHO the greatest ship in the world! Im talking about my annual family cruise with my husband and my four sons. Last year we chose the Freedom of the Seas and this year the newer sister ship, the Liberty of the Seas! WOW! What a great ship! We visited the western caribbean ports of Montego bay Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Royal Caribbean's private island of Labadee. I have always called the Voyager class of ships my favorite, and still love them, however the Freedom class is in a class of their own! They share a lot of the same design, but only bigger and also have some things that the voyager class do not; like the FLOWRIDER! Oh my! Whats it must be like to body surf on top of the biggest ship in the world! Of course I only watched, but from the looks of those who chose to surf, its unbelievable!!! There is so much to do and see onboard, that if I hadnt done the Freedom and then the Liberty, Im not sure I could have seen it all!
In addition to my husband and children I also cruised with my Dad and his wife and two children, my sister and her two children and some friends. I also had a group I was cruising with that was actually two groups in one. From the conversations I had with them all, there was not one who was disapointed! Also, I got to meet a family celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary who were in the cabins surrounding mine! I was suprised to find out that some were right from my surrounding town! Yes, on a ship that holds up to 5000 people I did manage to find new friends/neighbors!
I stayed in a Junior Suite, stateroom #1406 on the AFT of the ship deck 10. If you know me you know I absolutely love and swear by the AFT balcony cabins! First, the obvious... the larger balcony! Why not get a bigger balcony for the same price of a JS with a smaller balcony? Besides the long walk to the back of the ship gives you a chance to walk off all the food! I am truly amazed at the view of the wake on all my cruises take a glass of wine out there with your honey and its sooo romantic! me there is nothing like it! I absolutely am mezmerized by the moon light view from the aft, where there is nothing but water....ahhh! There is even a lounge chair or two for a quiet time sunbathing or perhaps a good book or nap! My boys as usual complained that they always have to have an inside cabin! With my group I had a chance to book various staterooms onboard, I had a Royal Family Suite booked by one family of 7. They loved the cabin and were very comfortable in it. I also had several E1 balconies booked on deck 8, D1's on deck nine and 10 and atrium view cabins as well as a few insides. I had a total of 4 JS booked and all were a little bit different. It was a lot of fun traveling with old as well as new clients/friends! Many in my group took the opportunity to book a future cruise while onboard. I highly recommended it. You can book a "NEXT CRUISE" with only a $100. deposit and recieve up to $200 onboard credit once you choose your cruise! Its a no brainer, when I got home I had 7 faxes waiting for me! The time frame is decide when you are ready! Also another perk...if you do decide within 30 days and confirm the booking, you get to give the same onboard credit to one or two family or friends if they choose the same sailing with you! Thanks Royal Caribbean for that deal!
You would think that a ship as large as the Liberty carrying up to 5000 people would be terribly crowded....Im telling you that at no time did I find a single line longer than a 3 minute wait! I did hear of lines and trouble finding a table in the Windjammer for breakfast, but nothing that would stop me or any of mine onboard from cruising her again! It is to be expected that during the peak breakfast run there will always be a little frustration finding a table, or a lounge chair by the pool on a sea day, in my experience that can be on any cruise ship. All in all, one of, if not the best cruise I have EVER been on! The crew worked non stop to make sure we were all happy and satisfied. My room steward, Alex and waiter, Randy assistant waiter GiGi were the best I have ever had! Every night Randy would suprise our table with a new trick or two, he was the greatest!
Well, I dont want to make you feel any worse than you do already if you werent onboard with us! I already have a group started on the Freedom for next year, same week. The NJ teacher's convention week of 11/2 will be the perfect time to take the kids away as they will only miss 2 days of school with the added Election day off! The rates are great and the ship will visit the eastern caribbean this time.....Hurry, pick up the phone right now and call me! The required deposit is only $500 for the whole cabin, and nothing more due until Aug 08!
check out the website:



MIAMI (November 7, 2007) As a result of the continued rapid escalation of fuel prices, the North American brands of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK) have announced they will implement a fuel supplement of $5 per person per day.
The fuel supplement, which only applies to the first and second guests in a stateroom and will not exceed $70 per person per voyage, is effective on all bookings for voyages departing on or after Feb. 1, 2008 on the following Carnival Corporation & plc brands Carnival Cruise Lines, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and The Yachts of Seabourn.
According to Carnival Corporation & plc Chairman and CEO Micky Arison, the recent spike in fuel prices has dramatically impacted the companys operating costs, thus necessitating the supplement. The price the company pays for fuel has increased 140 percent over the last three years, with a 50 percent increase occurring in just the last seven months.
Earlier this year, we implemented a supplement for our European brands. We had hoped to avoid a similar supplement for our North American brands but with the price of oil approaching $100 a barrel this is no longer possible. The implementation of the fuel supplement beginning February 1 for our North American brands will result in consumers paying approximately one-third of our year-over-year fuel cost increases over the first six months of the fiscal year, he said.
Arison added that the company had been considering a supplement for some time but held off as long as it could. We are hopeful fuel prices will someday return to a level that will enable us to eliminate this supplement. Until then, we believe that guests sailing on our North American brands will understand the dilemma that soaring fuel prices has caused for our company and industry and that a fuel supplement was needed to enable us to continue offering the high quality cruises our guests have come to expect,Arison explained.
The fuel supplement of $5 per person per day will be applied to all new and existing bookings for cruises on or after February 1, 2008. For existing reservations, travel agents will receive $10 per booking in administrative compensation for notifying their clients of the new fuel supplement and collecting the additional funds. Carnival Corporation & plc brands will provide additional information on the fuel supplement via their respective Web sites, as well as through various marketing and collateral materials.
Carnival Corporation & plc is the largest cruise vacation group in the world, with a portfolio of cruise brands in North America, Europe and Australia, comprised of Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, Iberocruceros, Ocean Village, P&O Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia.
Together, these brands operate 84 ships totaling 156,000 lower berths with 21 new ships scheduled to enter service between December 2007 and June 2012. Carnival Corporation & plc also operates Holland America Tours and Princess Tours, the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only group in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Do I need insurance?

Yes, You Do Need Travel Insurance "Does your health insurance cover you in Liberia?" I was asked by a doctor aboard Celebrity Cruises' Galaxy. "Well, you're in Liberia right now," he pointed out. Like the vast majority of cruise ships, Galaxy is a foreign flag ship. But most Americans don't realize their regular health insurance may not cover them outside the U.S.When your sights are set on an exciting cruise and sun-filled beaches, it's a drag to consider options to protect oneself against unforeseen events that may mar your expensive vacation-not to mention the additional cost.BUT IT'S TIME FOR A REALITY CHECK.In addition to illness or accidents, here are other scenarios you may face:
You've paid for your cruise six months out and a crisis hits: you're downsized out of a job, there's a death in the family or some other catastrophe hits so can't take that cruise. While the deadline for a "free" cancellation has passed, you may think that the cruise line will surely have a heart and waive the penalty. Wrong!
Cruise lines do not waive penalties for cancelling passengers without insurance. You must expect they will strictly enforce their cancellation policies no matter how dire the circumstances. And your travel agent can do nothing.
A big snowstorm hits the day you're scheduled to join a cruise, and your flight is cancelled. Finally you make it for part of the cruise, but you've missed several days you paid for. Is the cruise line or airline responsible? Neither--read the small print on your tickets. Only the right cruise insurance will make up for this loss. It's important to know that if a health issue arises on the cruise, you're unlikely to find medical conditions comparable to those in the U.S.: Cruise ships aren't required to conform to American medical standards. Conditions at foreign hospitals are sometimes relatively primitive by American standards. A doctor aboard Radisson Diamond recounted the story of a passenger whose life was saved because he had insurance. After he suffered a stroke, he was airlifted to a hospital in Houston with advanced technology. Otherwise, the ship would have had to put him in the nearest hospital: Bogota, Columbia, which lacks much life-saving medical care.Cruise agent Gloria Price of the Travel Company says, "people shut down when they hear the word "insurance"--but you may get ripped off if you don't get it. Travel insurance is expensive, but invaluable if you have a problem. Then, it really gets expensive," she says.Without insurance, you're putting money on the table for the weather and the airlines' labor problems. All cruise lines impose penalties for cancellation, and it's your responsibility to know what they are."But it's your responsibility to ask. Travel agents are sometimes trained to avoid talking about cancellation, period. That's a big disservice. If you have to cancel, travel insurance will protect you," Price says."If you have a medical condition, are under treatment or pregnant, you owe it to yourself to tell the travel agent," Gloria Price says. "Pre-existing medical conditions aren't covered by cruise line travel insurance, but your agent can recommend a policy that does cover them, such as Travel Guard or Travel Access insurance."Cruise lines and airlines claim no responsibility for anything outside their control. If you miss your plane because of a storm, there's no reimbursement for missed days aboard ship. Insurance would give you some recourse.In the event of a weather or carrier-caused delay, no airline is obligated to connect you with the ship--only to get you to your ticketed destination. And the cruise line isn't obligated to pay any extra costs involved in connecting you with the ship.In addition, there's the added security of knowing that travel insurance can offer partial or full compensation if you can't travel. "Buy a comprehensive trip cancellation-interruption policy," which offers reimbursement for cancellation penalty prior to leaving home, plus out of pocket compensation, Gloria Price cautions. Otherwise, "Whenever there is a problem, the traveler always loses. They loose either time, or money, but most often both."INSURANCE OPTIONS AND COSTS:The price of travel insurance is based on the price of your vacation. For example, insurance coverage for a $1,500 to $2,000 vacation is approximately $175.You generally have two options when it comes to travel insurance: the cruise line's own insurance or third-party programs. The downside to buying the cruise lines' travel insurance is that they normally don't pay for medical costs incurred because of pre-existing medical conditions. And, should the cruise line go bankrupt-unlikely, but you never know--you're also not covered.Consumer Reports' highest-rated travel insurance companies in terms of items covered are Travel Guard and Access America. Both can be purchased directly or through your travel agent. To explore the items they cover and tally up the cost, go to their web sites: Access America and Travel Guard.Buying insurance doesn't guarantee your trip will be worry free, but it does alleviate enormous problems that may arise when Murphy (as in Murphy's Law) is also booked to sail on your voyage. For me, it's a small price to pay for piece of mind.NOW, PASS THE PINA COLADA!

Thanks to Anne Campbell for her contribution of this article

5 cruises in 9 weeks!

Ok, its been a very busy time for me....
On Sept 8, I cruised the one night sailing of the NCL Spirit out of NY. We had a lot of fun. Saw lots of bachelorette and bachelor parties going on, also birthday and anniversary celebrations. A perfect way to spend the night. Lots of gambling, a show and of course food and drink! ;-)
My next cruise left on Sept 23, on board the RCCL Explorer of the Seas from Bayonne! I was invited by my sales rep. Tom Cherry to attend a Seminar at sea. It was a 5 night Bermuda cruise and it was on board my very first ship which I loved, so it was a no brainer! I had booked alot of clients on board this particular cruise and always felt that it was too short giving you only two full days in port. However, after sailing it myself, I will NOT hesitate to book anyone. We had a great time! Tom did two wonderful presentations, he was great! I learned alot. This was the 2nd seminar I had attended with him, the first being the Adventure of the Seas last March, and still today is my "favorite" overall cruise! He also invited me last summer to attend a SAS in Europe, unfortunately I had to miss that one.... aahh, someday.....
Then on Oct 12th I left for our 12th annual Cruises Inc/CruiseOne company conference. This time we stayed at the Mariott on Biscayne Blvd in Miami for two nights. We had a trade show and a few workshops. The festivities ended with our award banquet. I did receive and award, however last year it was at a higher level, but I am happy and proud non the less. Then off to the pier on Sunday the 14th to cruise 5 days on the brand new NCL Pearl. Stops included Cozumel where we all went to Playa Mia for some fun and yes food and drink! The next stop was Grand Cayman, RCCL treated us to a day at Hard Rock , yes.....DRINK and food!
On board during sea days we had the opportunity to attend many workshops and meet some of the big wigs from several cruise lines! I find it amazing how the biggest in the biz take the time to come to our conferences each year! It makes me proud to be working for Cruises Inc! Every night Artie and I attended the Cocktail party where on several occasions a "free cruise" was given out and lots of very nice gifts, of course no free one for me :-(
The NCL Pearl is very nice, I truly enjoyed the ship layout and decor. The ship is the first at sea with a BOWLING ALLEY! So cool! Anyway every year we choose a theme for conference, and this year was perfect! "A LEAGUE OF OUR OWN"! Cruises Inc/Cruise One is really in a league of our own when it comes to the cruise lines, they thanked us over and over for all the sales and mostly for the way we treat our clients. Again, glad that I am here.
Ok, after flying back to EWR, I unpacked and packed again for my 2 nighter on the NCL Dawn NY sailing. The ship departed 10/26, my son Tyler's 17th birthday and my husband and I took him along with my Mom and her husband, and our best friends Harold and Aida. I had never been on the Dawn, but had booked many clients on board her. I couldn't wait to see the ship. I was not disappointed at all. I again really liked the ship and the flow. However the crew seemed to be understaffed and the food was not the best. I will make it my business to call my contact at NCL and let her know that there is a slight lack in services on board the Dawn this past weekend. Again the cruise was very popular with the same type of clientele as the one nighter. I did see a few more kids(teens) then I did on the one nighter. The New York NJ cruises are so convenient for me, I can be on board the ship in less than 2 hours from my house!
Finally, this Sat, Nov 3rd I fly off to Miami again to cruise RCCL Liberty of the Seas! Ive had this group booked for over a year! I have some past clients and their friends and family, I have some of my son Evan's baseball team players and family and then some of my family and friends! Its going to be great! The Liberty is the second build of the worlds largest cruise ship the Freedom Class, and also my FAVORITE class of ship, the third and final ship; the Independence will sail out of FT Lauderdale alternating a 6 and 8 night cruise. While on the Liberty we will visit 4 ports: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego bay and Labadee(RCCL private island paradise). Even though we have visited these and some of the other ports several times I can still find something new and wonderful to do in all of them. Sometimes I choose to just stay on board while all the other guests get off. Its great to have the ship to yourself, no problem getting the best lounge chair by the pool! We return on 11/10. After that, The next cruise I have booked is a three nighter on Holland America's newest ship, the Eurodam. She is doing a one time only, 3 nighter RT NYC on labor day weekend! I then have one other cruise booked 9/20/08. Which is another one nighter, this time its my brother and sister in laws wedding anniversary cruise.
Phew.... My 25th wedding anniversary is coming up this February 26th, I could have booked Hawaii or perhaps my dream cruise.....Italy, but I think we may try a land trip this time. Artie has always wanted to do an all inclusive hotel package so I guess I will consider someplace grand!
I'm sure before 08 is over, I will have a few more added to this list, however, for now....I think I may be a bit "cruised out"!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Group Cruise Travel Services
Offered by
Cheri Diekhaus
Phone: (732)409-3417 or Toll Free (800) 215-6964
Fax: (732)409-3418
Welcome to the fun, quality, and value of group cruising. While we realize that each group will have it’s own special needs, the following are our general guidelines for group cruises. We have made it our goal to offer the absolute best group cruise services you will find anywhere. The Gang’s All Here! Why should your group choose to cruise? Simply because cruising offers the best value and the most fun and excitement for your club, organization, family/class reunion, or special interest group. With one set price, all details are taken care of - transportation, accommodations, meals, entertainment and activities. And best of all, cruising offers a wide variety of options that appeal to all age groups, backgrounds, and activity levels. Everyone can "do their own thing" whether its mountain biking down a summit, snorkeling along the coral in the amazingly clear water, shopping, or just relaxing by the pool with the latest bestseller. From casinos and discos for the adults to the play areas and program for kids, Cruising offers something for everyone in your group like no other vacation option can. Plus, the group benefits from the lowest group rates and FREE cruises!What’s Expected of You As you will soon see, we are going to go all out to make sure your group cruise is a complete success. However, as you might expect, before we put a lot of time and effort into our partnership, we will need to know that certain conditions are met.
Make sure you have at least 8 couples ready to go! (a few cruise lines require only 5 couples) It is very important that you have a pre-formed group that’s ready to cruise. We will need some assurances that you have an expressed interest from the group that they want to cruise or a history of group travel.Make sure you know the type of cruise your group wants. This includes budget and opulence parameters, sailing dates, length of cruise and destinations. Poll some of your key group members in advance. You will be responsible for any expenses incurred if it becomes necessary to change ships, sailing dates, or itineraries once we block space and begin promoting the cruise. See also "Consultation" below.Promote, promote, promote! Just because we’ll be doing a lot of the work for you, doesn’t mean that you can sit back and take it easy. Make it a point to personally contact the group members, follow up and keep the enthusiasm going. You may want to look for other groups or individuals to join your group. We’ll give you all the support and materials you need, so get out there and keep the group excited about their trip!At the time we block space for your group, we will need the deposit for at least one cabin. We’ll look at deposits in more detail below. Just keep in mind that this is a partnership where everyone wins! If you’re serious about your group’s cruise, then so are we. And we are willing to give it our all. Ready? Let’s get started!Consultation I will gladly make an appointment to meet with you or your group planning committee to determine the best cruise for your group. (if possible) It has been our experience that presenting of more than one cruise line for an entire group (to let the group vote on which cruise they want) too often results in confusion and a divided group. Those who are outvoted are not as enthusiastic about the trip. It is much more effective to present one cruise sailing to the group. This way, everyone is "on the same page" and excited about the cruise.Promotion You can count on me to be there to give you the support and materials you need for fun and successful cruise promotions.If your group is local, schedule a meeting or plan a cruise night and I’ll be there to conduct a presentation with a cruise video and signup forms that make booking your cruisers a breeze. We’ll have a Q&A session so that everyone is fully informed.If your group is not local, I’ll work with you and put together an impressive presentation by mail. If your group qualifies, we will foot the bill for all printing expenses. Give me a copy of your group’s names and addresses on computer disk, and I’ll take care of mailing them for you. I’ll even pay the postage!FREE CRUISES!! Here’s the part where you or your group really benefit! In most cases, I will give your group one free cruise (called a "Tour Conductor" or "TC") for every eight cabins booked. Sixteen booked cabins earns one free cabin (2 TC’s) and so on. All the TC pays is port charge, taxes and transportation to the ship. The TC spot is usually given in the same category as the majority of booked cabins. The TC policy may vary by cruise line.The group may use the earned TC’s several different ways:
Free cruise for the group leader and/or whomever group leader chooses.A Fundraiser for the group. We will refund the value of all TC’s within 30 days after the cruise. Or, use the free spots as a raffle or door prize.Group Amenities - Trade the TC’s for private onboard cocktail parties, group photos, champagne, T-shirts or any number of other extras that benefit the entire group. Agency Escort - If your group qualifies, you can trade one TC for an agency escort. See "Agency Escort" below for details of the benefits of an agency escort.Due to the possibility of cancellations that may affect the number of TC’s earned, we can not offer a per cabin discount to the group in exchange for the TC’s.Cruise Rates and Early Booking Be advised that the earlier you book your group, the lower you can expect the rates to be and the better the selection of available cabins. Early booking also allows more time for your group members to save up for their cruise payments and allows our promotional efforts to spread by word of mouth to more potential cruisers.Deposits and Group Space Deposits and group space requirements vary from cruise line to cruise line. Most lines will allow us to block and hold group space undeposited for 30 days. At any point after this time, the cruise line can take away any undeposited cabins that we have in our group block. If it becomes necessary to add cabins to a group, we will have to add them at the current group rate (which is most often at a higher rate than the cabins booked earlier). Most cruise lines require an initial deposit of $250 per person to hold a cabin. Deposits vary with length of cruise. The remainder is due about 75 days prior to sailing.Payments and Tickets We will handle all the paperwork and invoicing for your group unless you would prefer to collect the payments and booking information yourself. We will mail payment confirmations to your group members every time we receive a payment. Please note that we can send only one confirmation per cabin, so anyone sharing a cabin will need to decide who the contact person will be. Your group members will have the option of purchasing trip protection insurance that will protect them from cancellation fees as well as offering other benefits. This information will be sent along with their deposit confirmation.When tickets arrive, we will give them to you or they will be mailed.Agency Escort As mentioned above, you may opt to exchange one TC for an agency escort. I am your agency escort and would accompany the group to take care of any and all details and add special touches so that you can concentrate on enjoying your vacation with the rest of the group. Such details would include items such as confirm that private parties are properly set up, personally notify or remind guests about upcoming events, schedule group photos with the ships photographer, be "on call" to handle any problems a guest might encounter and offer advice to first-time cruisers.Additional Services and Benefits In addition to assisting you with your group, we will also extend our superior service to your group members. All the promotional materials will have our telephone numbers (local & toll free) on them so your members can call me anytime day or night with any questions. Depending on the size of your group and the length of the cruise, we may also include a bon voyage gift. As we said, our goal is offer the best group policy around, so feel free to make suggestions on how we make our services even better!

Monday, October 22, 2007


Directory For First Time Cruisers

Every day, more and more people are discovering the all-inclusive pleasures of a cruise vacation. More singles, families, couples, honeymooners, and groups of friends are sailing away on the vacation of their lives. Last year alone over five million people enjoyed a cruise vacation. When you add it all up, it's easy to see why.
The price of your cruise ticket includes all of your meals and in-between snacks on-board; your stateroom, activities, parties and entertainment; plus, an exciting voyage to some of the most provocative and culturally-enriching places in the world.
But before you set sail on the Vacation of a Lifetime, it's important to choose the right cruise at the right price. For First Time Cruisers, this can be quite a task. That's why we developed the "Directory to First Time Cruising". You can find almost everything you need to help you plan your cruise vacation.
If you need more help or can't find what you're looking for here, please contact us at the number above. We'll be happy to help you.

Directory for First Time Cruisers
Helpful Guides for First Time Cruisers
First Timer's Guide to Cruising
21 Ways to Find the Best Rate on Your Cruise
Cruise Destination Guide
Guide to Honeymoon Cruising
Guide to Family Cruising
Guide to Luxury Cruising
Senior Citizen's Guide to Cruising
Singles Cruise Guide
Find Your Cruise Your Way
Cruise Search by Destination
Cruise Search by Departure Date
Cruise Search by Cruise Line
Cruise Search by Cruise Ship
Cruise Search by Cruise Length
Cruise Search by Departure Port
First Timer's Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about Cruising in General
Questions about Booking and Finding a Cruise
Questions about Air/Sea Cruise Packages and Getting to the Pier
Questions about your Cabin or Accommodations
Questions about Dining Onboard a Cruise Ship
Questions about Shipboard Amenities and Activities
Questions about Shore Excursions and Land Tours
How to find the right Cruise Line for You
Directory of All Cruise Lines
Contemporary and Mass Market Cruise Lines
Luxury Cruise Lines for the Discriminating Traveler
High Adventure and Specialty Cruise Lines
Helpful Tools and Resources for the First Time Cruiser
360-Degree Virtual Tours of over 60 Cruise Ships
Comprehensive Cruise Reviews from Actual Passengers
Cruise Ship Dinner Menus and Dining & Tipping Policies
Cruise Ship Wine Lists
Travel Insurance: Is it worth it? What does it cover?
Directory of Activities On and Off a Cruise Ship
Activities Onboard a Cruise Ship
Activities Ashore
Guide to Cruise Ship Spas
Shore Excursions while in Port


Cruises are perfect for multi-generational family vacations! Kids seem to love cruises, and many cruise lines have recognized the previously untapped market for families with children. Since cruises offer something for all ages, families can have fun together or have fun with others of their peer group, all in one vacation spot. In addition, since almost all of the major costs of a cruise are included in the base price, it makes budgeting for a family easier. Your teenagers (or teen wanna-bes) can scan the menu looking for "the most expensive items" and be disappointed. There are no prices! They can eat what they want (and as much as they want) without a corresponding shrinkage of your wallet. Cruises are like a big "all-inclusive resort", except they move across the water, providing new vistas each day for the entire family.
Finding a cruise for adults is difficult enough, but finding a good match in a cruise for adults and children or teens involves some research and hard work. Most cruise lines allow children on board, but not all design activities specifically for kids.
Following are some basic questions you should ask your travel agent and/or find out from the cruise line when selecting a cruise for a family with children. In "More of this Feature", you'll find overviews of the kids' and teens' programs on some of the cruise lines. Be sure to check with your travel agent before booking to get the specifics on each cruise ship. Some ships have different age categories, and others don't offer their kids programs year-round.


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Welcome to my cruise travel blog!

Hello, my name is Cheri and I am a travel agent who specializes in Cruises! I have been an agent with Cruises Inc for just over 4 years now. Cruises Inc is the worlds largest cruise only agency that is owned by WTH. With over 450 independent and 400 franchise owners we are offer our clients not only the best rates available but unpresidented customer service! I truley take my personal service very seriously. Whether you are booking a 3 night Bahamas cruise or a world cruise, whether you are a first timer or have cruised hundreds of times; I give my clients first class service each and everytime!
I was born and raised in New Jersey(exit 18,PKWY) in a town just miles past the GWB, called Cliffside Park. On February 26, 1983 I married Artie, just after that we moved to Key West Florida to run my Dad's hotel business. Then after 7 years and 3 sons later, we decided it was time to move back to NJ to be closer to our family and friends. Our fourth son was born and we raised our children in the same town I grew up in until 2004. My oldest son, Patrick graduated and attended his freshman year at East Stroudsburg University. This is when we decided to make a major move and found ourselves a wonderful community about an hour away in Freehold Township. The people are very nice and the schools are fantastic. Of course my #2 son, Ryan was not happy about our timing. Being a Jr in HS and having to move was not the greatest thing for him. However, #3, Tyler was to be a freshman and #4, Evan was to start middle school, 7th grade. I felt bad, but it was time to move, CP was not what it used to be and I could see a lot of changes happening that I wasnt particularly crazy about. Anyway, back in 2001, Artie and I took in to live with us my grandfather; Stephen. He lived with us until the day he died; this past January 22. We all learned a lot about him and ourselves, it was often difficult and trying at times, but I wouldnt change a minute of it. I miss him. That is how I partially come to tell you how I came into the cruise biz.
Artie and I took the boys on our first cruise in February of 2001. It was RCCL Explorer of the Seas! Of my! What a beauty she is! We sailed the Eastern Caribbean out of Miami and had a glorious time! I had always wanted to take a cruise, and for the same reasons I still hear today, I thought it was too expensive, too boring, too many people, not enough time on land... I learned very quickly on that cruise, that it was none of that! Shortly after returning home I started thinking about the next one!!!
Well, long story short, I did two more cruises, and found this company Cruises Inc and made a call. The rest is history. I flew to Florida several months later and attended my training and certifications. This was the perfect fit for me, with Grandpa needing constant attention, raising four sons and keeping my husband happy, this was perfect as I was able to do this and book dream cruises all from the comfort of my own home! It was a match made in heaven!
The first year was truley a learning experience and juggling all the things that needed juggling it wasnt as easy as it seemed it would be. There was so much to know about cruises, still today almost 5 years later I still spend most of my day reading and keeping up with the constant itinerary changes, new ship deployments, becoming an expert and keeping up with the certifications of each cruise line, also the constant changes to the cruise industry as a whole. It is not as easy as I thought it would be, however, it certainly fulfills my desire to stay involved with all that is "cruising"!
I start this blog by giving you a little background about myself and tell you that my plan is to give you important cruise info and updates. I hope to add pictures and links to websites that will help you stay on top of this ever changing world of cruising. The best tid bit I can share as a final closing is to tell you that 83% of the world has still not taken a cruise; I intend to grab a small portion of that business, and keep them coming back to me year after year!!!