Category Archives: Cruising

“Jamaica: One island…one love…one heart” comin’ soon mon!

Totally immersed by nature and romance, Jamaica is the premier destination for young adults and families.

The Western Caribbean is regarded as the most visited region during the winter and summer months. The Western Caribbean is home to glistening water, pristine beaches, and gentle breezes. The Western Caribbean has it all. The Western Caribbean is home to great destinations including Panama, Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, and Cozumel. The Western Caribbean is home to one of the greatest island treasures, Jamaica. Jamaica is home to reggae beats, adult fun, and cultural roots that extend as far back as the time of Christopher Columbus. All of these great attributes are coming together in a new travel lecture entitled “Jamaica: One island…one love…one heart”. It will be a lecture which will make everyone “feel alright”.

Jamaica is regarded as a bilingual country, with two major languages. The official language is Jamaican Standard English (JSE) or Standard Jamaican English (SJE), which is used in all domains of public life, including government, the legal system, the media, and education.However, the primary spoken language is an English-based creole called Jamaican Patois (Patwa).

The city of Ocho Rios, on the northwestern end of the island, welcomes cruise passengers by the millions.

Of all the great cities on Jamaica, Ocho Rios is the most bustling. It is teaming with tourism. Ocho Rios, Spanish for “Eight Rivers”, is a town in the parish of Saint Ann on the north coast of Jamaica. Just outside the city, travelers and residents can visit Columbus Park, where  Christopher Columbus supposedly first came on land, and see maritime artifacts and Spanish colonial buildings. It was once a fishing village but now caters to tourists. It is well known for the filming of “Dr. No”, the very first James Bond film. Ocho Rios was also the primary filming location for the horror sequel “Piranha II: The Spawning”.

For the young at heart, Negril is the perfect place to enjoy a day in the sun and surf. Negril is a small but widely dispersed beach resort town located across two Jamaican parishes, Westmoreland and Hanover. Like Ocho Rios, Negril is located on the northwestern shore of Jamaica. It is among the most visited resort towns in the Western Caribbean. For years, the beach in Negril has been rated as one of the best in the world by many travel magazines. The beach’s length is the stuff of legends; the two bays (Bloody Bay to the north, and Long Bay to the south) comprise the Seven Mile Beach.  The beach is less than seven miles in length, with Bloody Bay being around two miles, and Long Bay being just under five miles. Bloody Bay is home to the large, all-inclusive resorts, and Long Bay has all-inclusives and smaller, family-run hotels. Negril is the primary hot spot for young adult fun seekers. Amidst the family-fun hotels and all-inclusive adult resorts is famous Rick’s Cafe. Here, young visitors love to jump the cliff and enjoy the crystal blue waters of the Caribbean. Rick’s Cafe is a well-known attraction for college kids on spring break. Oh does that get interesting! A friendly note for those who wish to go cliff jumping, swim wear is encouraged!

For the young at heart, and for the utmost adventurous, cliff jumping at Rick’s Cafe in Negril is the perfect way to take in the crystal blue water.

Jamaica has inspired great movies in years past. Among the legendary films was “The Harder They Come” (circa 1970s) starring the Jamaican music legend Jimmy Cliff. In 1988, Tom Cruise starred in the hit movie “Cocktail”, co-starring Elizabeth Shue. In 1993, the Disney comedy “Cool Runnings” captured the hearts of Jamaicans and sports fans alike. The film is  based on the true story of Jamaica’s first bobsled team trying to make it in the Winter Olympics. 

If anyone wants to know which musician is best associated with Jamaica, it’s the legendary late Bob Marley. Born Robert Nesta Marley on February 6th, 1945, he was a Jamaican singer, songwriter and musician who became an international icon. Starting out in 1963 with the group “The Wailers”, he forged a distinctive songwriting and vocal style that would later resonate with audiences worldwide.

Known for his hit songs “The harder they come” and “I can see clearly now”, Jimmy Cliff is among Jamaica’s great musical legends.

With the sun, surf, and rich history, Jamaica is an island with everything to offer. Jamaica is among the most vibrant of all Western Caribbean destinations. The music of Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff still keep the reggae beats pumping. If adult couples wish to enjoy the peace and tranquility with the caressing ocean breeze, Jamaica surrounds them with the romance and luscious island flavors. Feeling adventurous? Cliff jumping at Rick’s Cafe in Negril is the perfect activity to let the mind and body go. Ocho Rios, the tourism capital of Jamaica, welcomes all visitors from all over. Jamaica is the island that keeps the Western Caribbean beat in tune. On the island of Jamaica, there are no problems…just situations. “Jamaica: One island…one love…one heart” is will be complete by December 31st.

Hurricane strong: No doubting Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten/Martin

Puerto Rico is one of the Caribbean’s most legendary destinations. In Old San Juan, Castillo Felipe del Morro sits proudly at harbor entrance.

Fall 2017 has been one of the most active hurricane seasons in recent memory. Three destructive hurricanes hit the Caribbean in one month. Each of these three hurricanes reeked havoc on the Caribbean. Hurricanes Irma and  Maria did the most damage. Both hurricanes registered at category 5. The U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and St. Maarten/Martin sustained heavy damage. On Puerto Rico and St. Maarten/Martin, the hurricane damage was extremely heavy. The damage was heavy enough that both islands looked unrecognizable. St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. also sustained significant damage. The level of damage put doubt in the minds of travelers, suggesting that these island destinations won’t see tourist traffic for a long period of time. Surprising news has arisen that these islands will be ready for tourism again by year’s end. When they say “Count your blessings”, it’s not a joke. It’s the truth.

Puerto Rico hasn’t been hit by a hurricane in nearly a century. It is desperately in need of tourism traffic of all types. The island’s infrastructure is merely in ruins. Almost everywhere anyone can look, there is debris lying around. Left and right, there are houses and businesses torn apart. It rips at anyone’s heart to see island residents seeking out shelter and supplies. The port of San Juan, in Old San Juan, is showing signs of improvement. San Juan is a very popular embarkation port as well as being a port-of-call. The three most popular attractions on Puerto Rico are El Yunche Rainforest, the Bacardi Rum Factory, and Castillo Felipe del Morro. Castillo Felipe del Morro is located on the mouth of the San Juan harbor channel. It is visited by millions. The Bacardi Rum Factory is the second most visited attraction on Puerto Rico. Luis Munoz Marin referred to the factory as the “Cathedral of Rum”. Puerto Rico in Spanish means “rich port”. Puerto Rico is without a doubt an island rich in beauty, rich in color, and rich in culture. “Rich” is embedded in the island’s name. No hurricane can change that.

The Marriott Frenchman’s Reef sits on the mouth of St. Thomas Harbor. The view arriving cruise ships is a picture worth a thousand words.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are located thirty miles southeast of Puerto Rico. The islands of St. Thomas and St. John took the most damage from both Hurricanes Irma and Maria. St. Croix, the largest of the three islands, sustained moderate damage. St. Thomas sees the most tourist traffic. Anyone visiting St. John must take a ferry from St. Thomas. The cruise lines offer shore excursions to St. John from St. Thomas. St. Thomas has two cruise piers, Havensight and Crown Bay. Havensight is the largest of the two. Crown Bay is on the west side of Hassel Island, which forms a border between St. Thomas Harbor and Crown Bay. It handles Princess, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships. Magen’s Bay is the most popular beach on St. Thomas. It is located on the island’s north shore. Hurricanes can disrupt the hustle and bustle, but they don’t disrupt the foundation of the island’s resolve. St. Thomas is an island of resilience. The waters will be bluer. The island will be welcoming cruise passengers and tourists sooner than expected.

Remarkably, the infamous sign for Orient Bay’s nude beach survived Hurricane Irma. The beach will be looking “presentable” again soon.

St. Maarten/Martin is located east of the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Maarten/Martin is nicknamed “The Friendly Island”. St. Maarten/Martin is the only island shared by two European countries. It is part Dutch and part French. There is almost no distinction which side receives the most tourist attention. Phillipsburg is home to the St. Maarten/Martin cruise ship pier. The two long concrete piers can accommodate up to nine cruise ships at one time. The town of Marigot, on the French side, is ideal for shopping. Maho Bay, on the Dutch Side, is home to Princess Julianna International Airport. There, the runway is just one hundred feet from the beach. The jets are just one hundred feet above the water as they make their final approach to the runway. On the northeast shore, on the French side, is famous Orient Bay. Orient Beach is the largest clothing-optional beach in the Caribbean. The clothing-optional side of the beach is shared with the nudist resort, Club Orient. It has been rated with five stars by Trip Advisor. The resort was completely torn apart by Hurricane Irma. Orient Bay visitors can rest assured. Orient Bay will be “presentable” in no time.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of The Seas is one of the three largest cruise ships in the world, carrying over six thousand guests. St. Thomas and St. Maarten are ports-of-call for all three ships.

The Caribbean is the go-to region for all winter travelers. Whether by plane or cruise ship, it is a region that is always pulsing with tourism. The Caribbean is a region which no hurricane can shake. The islands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten/Martin were merely paralyzed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In just hours, they became “Paradise Lost”. With a pleasant breeze and the sun shining brightly, the recovery process is well underway. By year’s end, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten/Martin will once again be back in action. The duty-free shops will be overflowing with shoppers. The beaches will be crowded with sun worshipers. Further, the cruise piers will be teaming with cruise ship activity. Hurricanes can rev up to whatever speed Mother Nature dictates, but they can never shake the spirits of these three great island destinations. These islands are hurricane strong. These three islands were built with resurrection power. No storm can shake these islands’ calm.

 

Sailing day pitfalls: The top 5 avoidable mistakes

There is nothing worse than missing the ship. Guests must always arrive at the cruise terminal on time.

Cruising is the greatest vacation experience anyone can have. Every cruise line provides a unique on board atmosphere, ranging from dining, to entertainment, to shore excursions, and staterooms with all the comforts of home. Whether it is a seven, ten, or fourteen-day adventure, the fun is non-stop. Every cruise kicks off on sailing day. Sailing day is day one. Sure, it’s great to be excited about sailing day. However, it’s vital for guests to make sure they have all of their ducks in order. Amidst the excitement, guests tend to make a handful of mistakes. They can be mistakes that could greatly affect the outcome of their cruise. Here are the top five sailing day pitfalls which guests must avoid:

5) Misjudging sailing time: When it comes to sailing day, it is paramount for guests to arrive at the cruise terminal on time. Guests should not want to miss all the great activities that await once they’re on board (buffet lunch, having drinks poolside, etc.). Boarding normally begins at 11 am. Once on board, guests have all the time to unwind. What are the pitfalls? Often, guests push their arrival to the very last hour of the day. It is one of the most avoidable pitfalls. Pier security is directed to shut the terminal doors within an hour prior to the ship’s departure. If the ship’s departure is at 4 pm, guests should arrive no later than 3 pm. Guests have been turned away for arriving too late. Guests leave their homes for the pier and then get caught in traffic along the way. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help their chances. It doesn’t matter how much money they spent on such a long-awaited vacation. Guests should never wait til the final hour. The ship will sail without them, regardless of circumstances. Of all sailing pitfalls, it is one not worth facing. On-time is the best time!

Cruise passengers worry excessively about packing the right items on a cruise. Travel documents should be packed in carry-on baggage.

4) Luggage concerns: Of all the things guests worry about on a cruise, it’s their luggage. Honestly, it is the one element they worry too much about. Guests should pack in their luggage all of the key essentials, excluding their travel documents. Packing travel documents in luggage is a no-no. That’s true! If the weather forecast is supposed to be hot and humid, guests should be prepared for it. Guests should not show up in a sports jacket and tie, or some outfit that’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. Guests should always have a change of clothing in their carry-on baggage. That way, in case their luggage hasn’t yet arrived at their stateroom, they should not feel forced to bow out of the sailing day excitement. None of these matters should get in the way on sailing day. Worrying about luggage should be immaterial. Being prepared for the weather is always #1.

3) Gratuities: Gratuities always come to question when booking a cruise. Guests are always concerned about tipping on board. Gratuities should not have to be a monster issue. They should not be. Not prepaying gratuities is among the unexpected pitfalls faced by cruisers. When booking a cruise, guests should always ask the cruise line reservations agent or their travel agent if they can prepay their gratuities. If yes, it’s the right call. Cruise lines normally charge $12.00 per day for gratuities and $16.00 for guests in suites. Once the gratuities are prepaid, there’s no need to add a tip when signing room charge receipts. Plus, it saves the guests money on their on board charge account. The best way is to prepay!

Gratuities should be the least of all guests’ worries. Prepaying gratuities makes life a whole lot easier.

2) Repositioning cruises: Repositioning cruises are a lot of fun. They are actually the cheapest of all cruises. What are repositioning cruises? They’re one-way sailings from one major port concluding at another. They take place particularly when the seasons change. There is one major pitfall that guests face when going on repositioning cruises. On repositioning cruises, guests mistakenly drive to the cruise port, thinking they’re on a round-trip voyage. It makes anyone wonder “What in the world are they thinking?”. It happens often. It creates a hardship for the guests trying to retrieve their car. Further, this pitfall results in the guests trying to devise a grandiose plan on when and how they’ll be able to pick up their car. When booking a cruise, guests should make the effort of researching the cruise itinerary first before committing, A repositioning cruise is just as fun as any other cruise. Doing proper research makes a big difference. It is the key difference between a memorable sailing day and a vacation hardship in the making. A repositioning cruise should be the ship’s transition from one port to another, not one obstacle on top of another.

Repositioning cruises are fun and offer plenty of fun. Warning: guests MUST NOT drive to the cruise terminal.

1) Documentation: To this very point in time, guests still encounter multiple pitfalls regarding documentation. Documentation is the #1 step to a successful sailing day. Documentation is the bread and butter of a cruise. It is needed for not just embarkation, but also for re-entry into the country. What pitfalls have guests faced regarding documentation? The pitfalls range from simple faults like leaving passports at home. The middle-of-the-road faults include packing travel documents in their luggage. The most serious matters include failing to obtain the more important documents, including visas, parental consent letters, and medical letters. Medical letters mainly pertain to pregnant guests. Once guests book their cruise, they get too comfortable with looking forward to their trip. Guests MUST research what documentation they’ll need for their cruise, especially concerning minors, visas, and medical issues. Failure to have the proper documentation will result in their denial of boarding.

Inadequate documentation is the #1 of all sailing day pitfalls. All guests are responsible for having the proper documentation for sailing day.

A cruise: it’s the ultimate vacation experience. Cruises offer merely everything under the sun, including good times had by all. Before going on a cruise, guests must be aware of the pitfalls. Multiple mistakes are made. One day, there will be a cruise which all guests will do everything properly prior to sailing day. Wishful thinking, right? It is imperative that guests pay attention to the pitfalls and make the right choices before suffering the consequences. Guests must arrive at the cruise terminal on time. They should allow themselves the opportunity to unwind. Guests must exercise caution when packing their luggage for the reasons previously mentioned. They should prepay their gratuities. When going on repositioning cruises, they SHOULD NOT drive to the pier. All guests must bring along the appropriate documentation for boarding. Failing to avoid sailing day pitfalls results in the hopes of a long-anticipated cruise being dashed. Avoiding frequent pitfalls does more than assuring guests a pleasurable cruise experience. Avoiding pitfalls assures guests a memorable sailing day.

“Boston: History beyond freedom’s trail” is complete!

There are than a dozen U.S. cities well rooted in history. There are cities well known for sailing, contemporary architecture, cultural diversity, and their sports traditions. We must not forget that there are cities well known for their distinctive accents. The one city that captures the traveler’s imagination in all of these categories is Boston. Boston was one of a handful of cities that shaped our country’s history. We can be sure of that. Boston is known for much more than massacres, tea parties, and witchcraft trials. This new lecture, set to debut in August 2017, will take would-be travelers “beyond freedom’s trail”.

Costing the city a record 14.6 billion dollars. the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (a.k.a The Big Big), was the most expensive engineering project in United States history.

When traveling to Boston, it’s easy to take the train or simply drive. Boston is also a popular port-of-call for cruise ships during the Summer and Fall months. Boston is a city home to thousands upon thousands of commuters. By bus, trolley, train, or subway, Bostonians use them all. The one event in Boston’s history, which Bostonians are happy for its completion, is the Central Artery/Tunnel Project. Bostonians referred to it as “The Big Dig”.

“The Big Dig” was the most complex and most costly engineering project in United States history. “The Big Dig” began in the year 1982. The plan was to alleviate the traffic headaches caused by the elevated highways knifing through the city’s central area. “The Big Dig” included tunnels under Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor leading into South Station. Also included was the construction of the Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge over the Charles River. Lastly, “The Big Dig” dictated the relocation of commuter trolley lines. “The Big Dig” cost a record-shattering 14.6 billion dollars. For the worst part, “The Big Dig” caused Bostonians and commuters alike, hours of construction traffic. “The Big Dig” was complete by late 2006. It’ is a pleasure to see Bostonians sleeping easy these days.

Built in 1928, the legendary Boston Garden was the home of the Celtics and Bruins.

Boston is well-known for its sports history. New York is referred to as the mecca of the sports world. Boston’s sports history is rooted much deeper than New York. Two of the most iconic sports facilities in Boston’s history are Boston Garden and Fenway Park. The Boston Celtics started playing at Boston Garden in 1957, and won 16 NBA championships during the Garden’s era. The Boston Garden, completed in 1928, had a few home disadvantages. The Boston Bruins’ hockey rink was undersized as opposed to the standard dimensions. The Boston Garden was also built without air conditioning, making every basketball and hockey match-up an uphill challenge. Boston Garden closed its doors for the final time in the Spring of 1995, making way for a new era in Celtics and Bruins history. The TD Garden (f.k.a Fleet Center), became the new home. Boston Garden was demolished in the Spring of 1998.

Fenway Park has been historic home of the Boston Red Sox since April 1912.

Fenway Park was built in April 1912. Home to the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park was the site of only one World Series Championship celebration. It was the 2013 World Series Championship over the St. Louis Cardinals. It was once the home of the New England Patriots. When Fenway Park was completed, the stadium never made headlines as opposed to an ocean liner that sank that same month.

Boston’s historic South Station is Amtrak’s terminal, home to more than 40 trains arriving and departing on a daily basis.

Boston still has the most intriguing transportation system. Aside from having the oldest subway system in the United States (the T), Boston’s two railroad stations have their own stories to tell. Boston’s South Station is the most breathtaking. North Station was torn down in 1927, to make room for Boston Garden. South Station is Amtrak’s terminal, and serves the MBTA. In its hay day, South Station was the busiest railroad station in the country, handling up to three hundred trains a day. Today it is still busy, handling Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains, Acela Express, and the Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston-Chicago). Circa 1940, the station had a shed, covering the station platforms. The shed was later destroyed by fire. The whole terminal was feared to be completely demolished. The famous front facade of South Station was saved. South Station today serves as Boston’s railroad gateway. Today, South Station is a historic city landmark.

Held every April, the Boston Marathon welcomes runners from all over the world.

Every November, all eyes are on New York City for the New York City Marathon. Every April, the Boston Athletics Association hosts the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon begins in Boston suburb of Ashland, MA. The route cuts eastward through the suburbs of Natick, Wellesley, Brookline, Newton, and concluding in downtown Boston on Boylston Street. Ever since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the race’s popularity has grown tremendously. No city’s marathon has welcomed more runners than Boston. The Boston Marathon has welcomed runners from all over the world, including those with disabilities. With regards to sports, Boston is among the candidate cities for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

A treat for all travelers alike, Boston is at the very “heaht” of New England.

Boston is more than just a popular city for travelers from all around the world. It is a city that is constantly evolving. Boston is the city that welcomes ideas, traditions, cultures, and leaders from all over the world. Ever since the Boston Marathon bombing, Boston has been a city for the strong and courageous. Ultimately, Boston is a city that stands at the heart or “haht” of New England. Boston is where our country’s history “stahted” and it is where history “chahges” on.

Lost treasures: The 3 well-missed cruise ship events

Every cruise vacation comes with forever cherished memories. Here, travel writer David Kriso enjoys his time on the flow rider on board the Oasis of The Seas.

No one can say that cruising is no fun. Everyone who comes home from their cruise vacation always have plenty to share. They brag about who stuffed themselves, who won the jackpot in bingo, who won big in the casino, and who spent the most in duty-free shopping. The list goes on and on. In the years past, things have changed. Cruise ships have evolved. New on board experiences have been added. Unfortunately, there are some on board experiences which have long disappeared. It’s these kinds of events which longtime cruisers remember to this very day. Many avid cruisers speak highly of them, and reminisce about the level of excitement drawn by them. Here’s the top three missed cruise ship events. They’re gone, but not forgotten.

Paired with the belly-flop competition, the Mr. Sexy Legs competition was a favorite poolside event for all ladies on board.

3. Mr. Sexy Legs Competition: Everyone’s heard the expression, “What happens on board, stays on board!”. There are so many fun poolside events held on board cruise ships. There’s bar games, swimming pool volleyball tournaments, and the belly-flop competition. The Mr. Sexy Legs competition is the one event which many young cruisers miss very much. The Mr. Sexy Legs competition was one of the most anticipated events on board ship. It was the second most favorite to the belly-flop competition. It was one competition which signaled to all ladies on board to get their cameras rolling. How did the competition go? Eight contestants danced before a panel of female judges (who are guests). They were allowed to make body contact, make crazy gestures, and so on. There was never any nudity. Third place was awarded to Mr. Chicken Legs. Second place was awarded to Mr. Hairy Legs. Then, there was first place-self-explanatory. To all men on board, anyone being crowned Mr. Sexy Legs was a happening. Not long ago, the event was done away with. Well, so we think! On most cruise lines, it’s been combined with “The World’s Sexiest Man” competition. If anyone’s ever participated in this competition, they should without-a-doubt savor the moment.

Without the cruise director and the staff, no cruise vacation would be possible. Here, the cruise staff performs the legendary show, “Fountains”.

2. Fountains: On every cruise, guests love a good show. Who doesn’t? There are headliner shows, special guest comedians, and Broadway musicals. There was one show which guests got a huge laugh out of. It was the show that starred the cruise director and his/her staff. It was called “Fountains”. How did “Fountains” go? “Fountains” would to start out very quiet, with the music starting. Depending which cruise line “Fountains” was featured on, the stage effects were always unpredictable, and gave the show that guessing feeling. Then, the performers processed on to the stage, wearing togas and laurel wreathes. Each performer carried a metal jug of water. Often times, the show was set to the music of Enya. How appropriate, no?

In “Fountains”, there was never enough anticipation. The guests laughed non-stop.

In “Fountains” the action would continue to build. The audience’s anticipation also began to build. Each of the performers would start drinking the water and filling up their mouths. Like fountains, they started squirting each other and the cruise director. Each and every time, the performers would get into different formations on stage. Just like those fancy fountains in a city park, they drank more water and squirted each other on cue. It was too funny. No one knew who was going to squirt who next, and how, and in what manner? “Fountains” was like a fountain in a European city impersonated by circus clowns. This iconic show sadly disappeared from the cruise ship stage. It wasn’t disliked by anyone. Unfortunately, it was discontinued for sanitary reasons. If anyone has seen this show before, let the memory live on forever.

Surrounded by so much mouth-watering food at all angles, the midnight buffet was the holiest of events on board.

1. The midnight buffet: Everyone has been on a cruise and heard the funny question, “What time is the midnight buffet”? That question still lives on to this day. The midnight buffet was once the most anticipated event on any cruise ship. Everyone looked forward to it. Dinner in the main dining room was never enough. The midnight buffet was looked to by guests as being the holiest of holidays on board. There were dazzling ice sculptures, handcrafted fruit platters, all-you-can-eat shrimp, all-you-can-eat crab legs, all-you-can-eat cold cuts, all-you-can-eat grilled meats, and best of all…all-you-can-eat dessert. One can imagine how much food anyone can consume in one night. One can imagine why they would hold a belly-flop competition on board. Unfortunately, the midnight buffet was done away with. Any food not consumed (meat, fruits, vegetables, etc), had to be disposed of. Nothing is saved on board a cruise ship. If a major buffet event is held, it would be some major event such as a wedding or a ship’s inaugural celebration. If anyone’s ever been to the midnight buffet before, he/she should savor the memory, and the mouth-watering aftertaste. Long live the taste buds!

Despite the popularity of the “Mr. Sexy Legs” competition, it was no match for the belly-flop competition.

Every cruise vacation has plenty to talk and brag about. Every cruise vacation features great shows, fun contests on the open decks, and exciting evening events. Everyone has something fun and amazing to talk about when they return home from their cruise. However, there are a handful of great on board events which avid cruisers will truly miss. They were events which they often looked forward to, and events they were always anticipating the moment they stepped on board. Guests would even ask the cruise staff when those events will be taking place. “Mr. Sexy Legs”, “Fountains”, and the midnight buffet will be sorely missed. They were the events that got the crowd going. As we all know, times do change. Things happen for a reason. “Mr. Sexy Legs”, “Fountains”, and the midnight buffet are gone, but will never be forgotten. If any cruisers out there have footage of these events on their cruise DVD, they should play them on repeat. It’s too easy to believe when they say “Great moments last forever”.

Sailing day: The passengers’ countdown checklist

David Kriso, in front of the Carnival Vista during her inaugural debut in New York City.

David Kriso, in front of the Carnival Vista during her inaugural debut in New York City.

There is simply no news more exciting than hearing that a someone had booked a cruise. Regardless of cruise line, the energy is at a high level. The on board activities, the entertainment, the shore excursions, and the memories all lay head. It’s all good. From beginning to end, cruises are full of good times to be treasured. Prior to sailing day, there is a cheat sheet, a checklist which cruise passengers must adhere to. There is homework to be done, of course. There are things to remember, things to pack, and reminders which the cruise line send out to all passengers in the weeks leading up to sailing day. To have a successful sailing day, cruise passengers should follow a sailing day checklist. It should go as follows.

Before the online check-in process can begin, cruise passengers must make sure that they have made their final payment to the cruise line.

Before the online check-in process can begin, cruise passengers must make sure that they have made their final payment to the cruise line.

5) Final payment: To begin the checklist, the final payment must be made. Before the excitement can build, cruise passengers MUST remember to make their final payment to the cruise line. Normally, the original payments are made out to the travel agency. The final payment is always made out to the cruise line. Cruise passengers have shown up at the check-in counter, and never realized they never submitted their final payment. They end up wondering why their reservation doesn’t exist. Making the final payment is paramount, in order to begin the online check-in process.

Prior to sailing day, cruise passengers must complete the online check-in process. Online check-in is the way of the world in the cruising industry.

Prior to sailing day, cruise passengers must complete the online check-in process. Online check-in is the way of the world in the cruising industry.

4) Online check-in: This is a key component of the sailing day checklist. Having submitted their final payment, the online check-in process can begin. Online check-in is the way of the world in the cruising industry. Only then if cruise passengers have made their final payment, they will receive their booking number. Having done so, they can begin the online check-in process. To ensure a timely embarkation experience, cruise passengers MUST complete this step. It saves a significant amount of time at the check-in counter. Cruise passengers MUST log in to their reservation with the booking code. The online check-in process is laid out like a “yellow brick road”. Cruise passengers need to enter their personal information, passport information, on-board charge information, and accept the terms of the ticket contract. Once completed, they can print out their cruise tickets. If sailing on board Royal Caribbean’s Anthem or Harmony of The Seas, passengers need to upload their security photos. The photo guidelines are provided at that stage of the online check-in process.

Before checking luggage in at the terminal, cruise passengers must attached their provided luggage tags. Shown here are the luggage tags for the Disney Wonder.

Before checking luggage in at the terminal, cruise passengers must attached their provided luggage tags. Shown here are the luggage tags for the Disney Wonder.

3) Luggage tags: Before leaving their home, cruise passengers must make sure that they scratch this part off their checklist. Most cruise lines mail luggage tags to their passengers. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian, provide their luggage tags at the conclusion of the online check-in process. They must be printed out. Passengers then attach them according the the instructions given. The luggage tags will have the stateroom number, the passengers’ last names, and their guest loyalty level (if applicable). Cruise passengers MUST attach their luggage tags to their bags. Carry-on luggage MUST also have luggage tags attached in case they should go astray.

All cruise passengers are responsible for having the appropriate documentation, including passports.

All cruise passengers are responsible for having the appropriate documentation, including passports.

2) Documentation: This is the second most important part of the sailing day checklist. Documentation is the bread and butter of the embarkation process. All cruise passengers are responsible for having the appropriate documentation to sail. Documentation includes passports, passport cards, birth certificates with a photo ID (for passengers age sixteen and older), and valid visas (if applicable). Valid visas are required to complete the check-in process, depending on the country. Other forms of documentation include parental consent letters and medical letters. Cruise passengers traveling with minors MUST provide a parental consent letter. The purpose of letter isn’t just for granting permission to take the child out of the country. The letter also must include a clause granting permission to make medical decisions in case of an emergency. The parental consent letter must also be notarized. Another key form of documentation would be custody paperwork, in case a child is traveling with his/her legal guardian(s). Pregnant passengers MUST provide a letter from the doctor stating they’re in healthy condition to sail. Expectant passengers at six months pregnancy or less are allowed to sail.

To ensure a safe and sound boarding experience, cruise passengers must arrive at the terminal on time.

To ensure a safe and sound boarding experience, cruise passengers must arrive at the terminal on time.

1) BE ON TIME!: Going on vacation is always a ton of fun. It’s simply a no-brainer. The very last step, the ultimate step, is to be on time. Cruise passengers drive, take the bus, take the train, or fly to their cruise port city. Whichever way they do so, it is paramount that they arrive at the cruise terminal on time. The boarding process begins approximately at eleven o’clock. There are three reasons why cruise passengers must arrive on time: 1) They can relax and enjoy explore the ship, 2) They have ample time to sign up for shore excursions and youth activities, 3) They are well-situated in their staterooms and ready for the lifeboat muster drill. The lifeboat muster drill is mandatory and all passengers must attend. Being on time guarantees endless fun on sailing day. Being on time guarantees a successful start to any cruise. Checklist complete!

Having boarded the ship, cruise passengers can enjoy the never-ending array of food choices. Here, cruise passengers enjoy lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace aboard the Anthem of The Seas.

Having boarded the ship, cruise passengers can enjoy the never-ending array of food choices. Here, cruise passengers enjoy lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace aboard the Anthem of The Seas.

GRAND PRIZE…FOOD!: On any cruise, there can never be enough food. Once cruise passengers have been successfully checked in and received their stateroom key cards, they are ready to board the ship. The staterooms may not be ready for the passengers’ enjoyment until one o’clock at the latest. Until then, passengers are welcome to proceed to the buffet on the upper deck. Food is the name of the game. Food is everywhere. All of the passengers’ favorites are available. Hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta, sandwiches, the salad bar, and ice cream are all waiting for them. Cruise ship food is undeniably sinful. Cruise ship food is indeed so sinful, the culinary staff prepares more than twenty thousand meals per day. Every day, plenty of food keeps cruise passengers happy. In case passengers wish to purchase specialty drinks or beverage packages, all they need to have on hand is their stateroom key cards.

Not only is having a sailing day checklist a must-do, but a routine followed by every seasoned cruise passenger.

Not only is having a sailing day checklist a must-do, but a routine followed by every seasoned cruise passenger.

A cruise: the vacation of a lifetime. Whether it’s the first time on a certain cruise line, the first time out of a certain port city, or the first time period, cruise passengers indeed feel a bit overwhelmed. Seasoned cruisers are highly familiar with the sailing day procedure. They know what to do, where to go, what to do when, and how. For first timers under any circumstance, there is a simple checklist to be followed. Cruise passengers must be sure that they made their final payment to the cruise line. They must also complete the online check-in process. Afterward, it gets easier. Cruise passengers must obtain their cruise tickets and luggage tags. The final steps are taking along the proper documentation and arriving at the cruise terminal on time. Having crossed the finish line, they can enjoy all the food they’ve been longing for.

This checklist is to be repeated each and every time. Having developed this routine, cruising will be more than just a vacation. Cruise passengers, regardless of how often they travel, all share their theories to having a good time. When consistently following the routine, sailing day is no longer a method to the madness. Cruising is certainly without a doubt, a science enjoyed by all.

 

Theme cruises: Five floating, unmissable extravaganzas

David Kriso has been an avid cruiser since age sixteen. Aside from being an aspiring travel writer, he's a veteran cruise line shore agent in the New York area.

David Kriso has been cruising since age sixteen. Aside from being an aspiring travel writer, he’s a veteran cruise line shore agent in the New York area.

A cruise: a pleasure voyage on a ship, usually with stops at various ports. That’s one definition. The more appropriate definition is “a never-ending floating party on the move”. Cruises offer so much to do, so much to experience, and so many new things to try. Cruises enable people of all ages to break outside their comfort zones and discover a whole new meaning of the term “vacation”. Whether sailing on a seven or ten day adventure, cruises provide never-ending excitement. Group cruises feature occasions of all types. Theme cruises tell a whole other story. From special interests, to musical tastes, to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, guests get to explore the world in the most unique ways. Theme cruises are vacation experiences not to miss. If anyone wants to explore the world outside the box, here are five best theme cruise experiences worth raving about.

 

Acclaimed for his dry sense of humor, Star Trek icon George Takei will be joining the excitement on Star Trek The Cruise.

Acclaimed for his dry sense of humor, Star Trek icon George Takei will be joining the excitement on Star Trek The Cruise.

5) Star Trek-The Cruise: Long live the greatest sci-fi television and film series ever created! Star Trek first aired in 1966. Followed by millions of sci-fi fans from around the world, this is an adventure that takes guests “where no man has gone before”. Star Trek has been a part of our TV and movie culture for more than fifty years. Everyone remembers turning on their television sets and tuning in to this legendary show. Who can’t remember the iconic Star Trek musical score?! Movie goers still can’t get enough of the Star Trek fever. On January 5th and January 11th, 2018, the magnificent Norwegian Jade will be the hosting vessel. Well-known Star Trek stars including Geroge Takei will be on hand for autograph signings and a smorgasbord of special events. The Norwegian Jade will be sailing from Miami to the Caribbean and Norwegian’s Harvest Caye in Belize. Adventure begins at www.startrekthecruise.com. 

With its up close and personal on board service, the beautiful Celebrity Summit will be hosting the Flower Power Cruise and The 80s Cruise.

With its up close and personal on board service, the beautiful Celebrity Summit will be hosting the Flower Power Cruise and The 80s Cruise.

4) Flower Power Cruise: Any 60s music fans out there? This is of the best theme cruises not to pass up. February 24th, 2018, the magnificent Celebrity Summit will be hosting the grooviest trip at sea. The Flower Power Cruise takes guests back in time to when the most famous bands rocked the stage and the radio waves. Hosted by The Monkees’ Mickey Dolenz, the Flower Power Cruise will feature performers including The Hollies, Herman’s Hermits, The Guess Who, and The Grass Roots. Among the on-board activities will be a special wedding vow renewal ceremony, trivia contests, dance contests, and pool parties. The Flower Power Cruise is a cruise experience like no other. The Flower Power Cruise is one of the most highly anticipated and love-filled travel experiences on the high seas. The Celebrity Summit will be the grooviest ship afloat. The grooviest cruise vacation in the world begins at www.flowerpowercruise.com.

Grammy Award winning jazz piano artist Chick Corea will be among the headline performers on the Blue Note At Sea cruise.

Grammy Award winning jazz piano artist Chick Corea will be among the headline performers on the Blue Note At Sea cruise.

3) Blue Note At Sea: A full week of jazz on a cruise ship? Why not?! Jazz fans should mark their calendars and pack their bags. Blue Note At Sea is stealing the show once again. Blue Note At Sea defines what is now and hip in the world of jazz while retaining and respecting those elements which make jazz a leading music genre throughout the world. The hosting ship will be the magnificent Celebrity Summit. The Celebrity Summit will be departing from Ft. Lauderdale to the ports of Labadee, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Coco Cay. Labadee and Coco Cay are Royal Caribbean’s private ports-of-call. The cruise will feature a lineup of performers which guests will not experience anywhere else. The Blue Note At Sea cruise will feature jazz performers including Leslie Odom, Jr., Chick Corea, Marcus Miller, Dee Dee Bridgewater, David Sandborn, and Charles Lloyd & The Marvels. The Blue Note At Sea cruise emcee will be Don Was. Blue Note At Sea is calling all jazz fans to step aboard the Celebrity Summit be a part of a seven-day extravaganza they’ll never forget. It will be the smoothest and coolest cruise of 2018. Jazz fans can book at www.bluenoteatsea.com.

The Bare-Necessities Tour & Travel Company has been hosting nude cruises since 1990. Here, two young ladies enjoy a dip in the ship's pool.

The Bare-Necessities Tour & Travel Company has been hosting nude cruises since 1990. Here, two young ladies happily enjoy a dip in the ship’s pool.

2) Bare-Necessities “The Big Nude Boat”: With its popularity rapidly increasing over the past ten years, nude cruising is an traveling adventure unlike anything in the world. Nude recreation has rapidly increased in popularity among young adults. There is simply no better way to soak up the ocean breeze, the sun’s rays, and a ship’s main pool than in the nude. No travel company does nude cruises like Bare-Necessities Tour & Travel. Bare-Necessities Tour & Travel is based in Austin, TX. Bare-Necessities Tour & Travel, has been known for its warm hospitality and fond cruising memories since 1990. On February 2nd, 2018, the beautiful Carnival Victory will sail on a memorable ten-day voyage to the ports of Half Moon Cay, Amber Cove, Curacao, Bonaire, and Aruba. From lounging on the sun deck in the nude, to soaking up the sand and surf in the nude, and enjoying the friendly company of others in the nude, a Bare-Necessities nude cruise is the perfect cruise experience for ages eighteen and up. The Bare-Necessities nude cruise is set to “take off” on February 2nd, 2018. The fun starts at www.cruisebare.com.

Known for their mega-hit, "In The Living Years", Mike & The Mechanics will be among the star-studded lineup on The 80s Cruise.

Known for their mega-hit, “In The Living Years”, Mike & The Mechanics will be among the star-studded lineup on The 80s Cruise.

1) The 80s Cruise: The 80s were a decade that undeniably defined music. Those who grew up in the 80s were exposed to the most unique terminology. The 80s were a decade filled with words such as “bogart”, “ditz”, and “amped”, and expressions including “Gag me with a spoon!”, “Get real!”, and “What’s crackalackin?”. The 80s Cruise is the cruise which these terms will come flying back. The 80s Cruise will once again be sailing from Ft. Lauderdale to the Caribbean aboard the magnificent Celebrity Summit. The Celebrity Summit will be sailing round-trip to the ports of Nassau, St. Thomas, Tortola, and Coco Cay. The 80s Cruise will feature a lineup of the finest 80s performers. The linup will include Mike & The Mechanics (In The Living Years), Loverboy (Everybody’s Working For The Weekend), The Tubes (She’s A Beauty), Katrina (Walking On Sunshine), and Tommy Tutone (Jenny I’ve Got Your Number). The 80s Cruise will be feature Sirius XM’s “80s on 8” DJ’s Nina Blackwood, Alan Hunter, and Mark Goodman. The 80s Cruise can’t have a better emcee for 2018, other than 80s rock legend Rick Springfield. Does everyone “got the 411”? The 80s Cruise is the “bomb”. The party starts by booking at www.the80scruise.com.

It is without a doubt that cruising is the greatest way to explore the world in one week or more. The entertainment is simply non-stop. With theme cruises, the entertainment is guaranteed to be non-stop. Theme cruises give guests the opportunity to vacation with an exclamation point. Star Trek stars and fans will be taking over the Norwegian Jade. The Celebrity Summit will again be hosting the Flower Power Cruise, The 80s Cruise, and the Blue Note At Sea cruise. The Fun Ship, Carnival Victory, will be hosting more than twenty-eight hundred guests on an adventure which only mother nature can reward them with. There are a multitude of ways to enjoy cruising. Regardless of how avid cruisers take to the waves, the fun is non-stop. The top five theme cruises are as packed with excitement as promised. Theme cruises, no matter what the tone or dress code, legitimately define how cruising was meant to be.

On-board charge accounts: Paper vs. plastic

Besides taking in the warm weather, the guests' stateroom key cards are too warming up.

Besides taking in the warm weather, the guests’ stateroom key cards are too warming up.

Cruising can’t be a more rewarding away to explore the world. There is simply no better way to leave the real world behind. Guests enjoy refreshing alcoholic drinks by the pool, treat themselves to specialty dining, indulge in duty-free shopping, and go on exciting shore excursions. Without a doubt, guests are just glowing. Did someone say “glowing”? The things that are really glowing are the guests stateroom key cards.  By the end of day one, their stateroom key cards are significantly warm having made a mountain of purchases. This is typical cruise behavior. The question asked by millions of guests is “What is the most preferred method of payment?” From least popular to best, here are the three forms of payment used for on-board charge accounts.

On cruises, cash accounts have mixed reactions. Guests should monitor their balance at all times.

On cruises, cash accounts have mixed reactions. Guests should monitor their balance at all times.

3) Cash: All cruise lines allow guests to set up cash accounts on board. There are pros and cons to cash accounts. The first pro is that it’s beneficial for guests who aren’t prone to spending a whole lot of money. There’s nothing wrong with being frugal. The second pro is that guests can replenish their cash accounts at any time during the cruise. Guests, however, need to be aware of the cons.  The only con with cash accounts is a big one. Guests are often guilty of being overdrawn. This happens often at the end of the cruise. Guests must make sure that they pay all outstanding charges before disembarking. Guests who set up cash accounts should form a habit of logging into their on-board charge accounts via their stateroom TV set. There, they can view their account activity. Cash accounts are ok, but it is paramount for guests to be aware of their balance at all times.

Debit cards and credit cards are two better choices of payment. Most cruise lines place a hold on debit card accounts.

Debit cards and credit cards are two better choices of payment. Most cruise lines place a hold on debit card accounts.

2) Debit card: Using a debit card is a more preferred payment method versus a cash account. At the check-in counter, or during the online check-in process, guests can register a debit card for their on-board charge accounts. It works the same way as the credit card. The guests’ total balance is automatically routed to their debit card accounts upon the conclusion of the cruise. There is a con to using a debit card. When guests register a debit card on their on board charge accounts, the cruise line will place a hold of “x” amount of dollars on their accounts. Whatever amount isn’t spent will be refunded back to the guests at the end of the cruise. Cruise lines differ in how much of a hold they place on debit card accounts. For instance, Carnival places a hold of $200.00 on debit card accounts. Norwegian places a hold of $150.00 for cruises less than five days. For cruises five days or longer, Norwegian places a hold of $300.00. At the check-in counter, guests sign a form authorizing the hold.

Credit cards are the best choice for on board charge accounts. Having no hassles goes a long way.

Credit cards are the best choice for on board charge accounts. Having no hassles goes a long way.

1) Credit card: Of all three forms of payment, a credit card is the guests’ most popular method. During the online check-in process or at the check-in counter, guests regularly register a credit card to be used for their on- board charge accounts. Guests can use their stateroom key cards to charge anything to their accounts, including alcoholic drinks, duty-free souvenirs, shore excursions, and photo gallery packages. They are all charged to their on-board charge accounts. Upon disembarkation, the total balance is automatically routed to the guests’ credit card accounts. Cruise lines place no holds on credit card accounts.

Besides debit cards and credit cards, gift cards are also accepted. On Carnival cruises, only Carnival gift cards are accepted at the check-in counter.

Besides debit cards and credit cards, gift cards are also accepted. On Carnival cruises, only Carnival gift cards are accepted at the check-in counter.

What about gift cards? Gift cards, regardless of whenever or wherever used, are sophisticated. Pre-paid gift cards (ex. Visa gift cards) can be registered at the guest services desk on board ship. On board Disney ships, Disney gift cards can also be registered at the guest services desk. Carnival makes using gift cards easier. Carnival gift cards are accepted at the check-in counter.

 

On any cruise, guests are have the time of their lives. There is so much to do, so much to experience, and so many ways to be entertained. The possibilities are endless. The dilemma often faced is deciding which form of payment should be used for their on-board charge accounts. Their choices are a cash account, a debit card, or a credit card. There are pros and cons to using cash accounts and debit cards. Credit cards, on the contrary, pose little to no hassle. Little to no inconvenience goes a long way. They are the indeed the most preferred type of payment for on-board charge accounts. The next time the question “Paper or plastic?” is brought up, the answer is decidedly clear.

A group cruise: Uncovering the formula to a successful voyage

A group cruise is more than just a vacation, it's an experience shared by all.

A group cruise is more than just a vacation, it’s an experience shared by all.

Cruises are the best way to explore the world in one week or more. The entertainment is non-stop, the on board service is over-the-top masterful, and the memories last a lifetime. Week-in and week-out, cruise passengers have high expectations for the trip they have been looking forward to for many months. It is a much needed getaway from work and from the stresses of everyday life. A group cruise is an even more exciting experience. Sharing a traveling experience with a large group of people is truly rewarding. For a group cruise to be successful, there are a handful of important points to consider. The not only pertain to the group leader, but to the entire group as a whole.

A group cruise starting and ending on a high note solely depends on group effort. How so? There is much responsibility on both the group leader’s behalf. Likewise, there is hint of responsibility on the group’s behalf. The five key points to a successful group cruise vacation are as follows:

The list of group themes and occasions is endless. This is an example of a retirement cruise.

The list of group themes and occasions is endless. This is an example of a retirement cruise.

5) The theme team: Before a group cruise can be organized, the group leader(s) must come up with the theme or occasion for the cruise. The list of themes and occasions for a group cruise is endless. The cruise could be a family reunion, someone’s retirement, a birthday, a sweet sixteen, a graduation, or an occasion pertaining to an organization. In addition, the group leader occasionally prepares special apparel for the group to wear on sailing day (See photo.). This being said, the energy and excitement on a group cruise is undoubtedly tremendous.

Depending on the occasion, a group cruise is for not just for the elderly, but the younger crowd too.

Depending on the occasion, a group cruise is for not just for the elderly, but the young crowd too.

4) The rule of sixteen: A group cruise cannot be made possible without the magic number. In order to be considered a group, the group leader must have a minimum of sixteen (16) guests (including the group leader). For every fifteen guests booked, the sixteenth guest travels free. To ensure the a count of sixteen or more guests, the group leader must widely market the cruise to the age range and the demographic that would best fit the theme of the cruise. Sounds like a daunting task, doesn’t it?! It’s all true. Adequate marketing, proper use of social media, and continuous communication are vital to a group cruise becoming a reality. Further, they’re important keys to reaching the desired magic number.

When a group cruise reaches its preparation phase, communication must be crisp and all members of the group must be attentive.

When a group cruise reaches its preparation phase, communication must be crisp. All members of the group must be attentive.

3) Crisp communication: Once the theme has been decided on and the magic number of sixteen or more guests has been achieved, it’s crunch time for the group leader(s). From the time of booking, to the preparation phase, to sailing day, the group leader must maintain solid communication with everyone in the group. The communication must be CRISP. As time winds down towards sailing day, the group leader must relay all pertinent information to the group. Important announcements, revisions, etc. are to be immediately relayed to the group. No one in the group, for any rhyme or reason, should be left out in the cold.

In the main dining room, a group occasion jumps into high gear, with memories shared on a nightly basis.

In the main dining room, a group occasion jumps into high gear, with memories shared on a nightly basis.

2) At-ten-tive-ness: A successful group cruise doesn’t always rest solely on the shoulders of the group leader. The group MUST also be attentive. As the group leader carries out communication, everyone in the group MUST acknowledge the group leader. Whichever ways the group leader reaches out to the group, whether via telephone, email, or written letter, members of the group MUST respond. It is paramount that everyone in the whole group including the group leader communicate consistently, so that they are on the exact same page. When on the same page, the cruise will be go successfully as planned.

The group coordinator is the "go-to" officer on board ship. He/She is responsible for handling all special group events and requests.

The group coordinator is the “go-to” officer on board ship. He/She is responsible for handling all special group events and requests.

1) Contacting the group coordinator: Upon boarding the ship, the group leader has one more task on his/her list to accomplish. In order for a group’s sailing needs to be well-addressed, the group leader MUST search out the ship’s group coordinator. The group coordinator is the most important officers on board. If the group leader booked any special group excursions or arranged special events on board, the group coordinator is the person to be addressed. Any special requests are relayed via the group coordinator. Constant communication with the group coordinator is key. The group coordinator is the liaison between the group leader and the ship’s staff. When it comes to groups, the group coordinator is the “go-to” officer.

A group cruise is a vacation experience to be remembered for as long as the good times themselves. The memories are endless. Unlike a regular cruise with a friend, significant other, or loved one, a group cruise is an experience filled with memories shared by all. From sailing day, to the on board activities, special on board events, to unforgettable dining experiences, group cruises have it all. For any group cruise to be successful, five key points MUST be adhered to. Not only the group occasion MUST have a fun theme, but the group MUST comprise of sixteen guests or more. The communication MUST be crisp. Simultaneously, all guests in the group MUST be attentive. Lastly, reaching out to the ship’s group coordinator helps assure a grand experience for everyone. Without a doubt, it pays to understand that every group cruise requires a group effort.

Cruise transportation: A matter of time vs. cost

Transportation often raises concern when reaching a cruise terminal. Newark International Airport is twenty minutes from Bayonne's Cape Liberty Cruise Port and approximately forty-five minutes from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.

Transportation often raises concern when reaching a cruise terminal. Newark International Airport is twenty minutes from Bayonne’s Cape Liberty Cruise Port and approximately forty-five minutes from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.

Cruising can’t be a more enjoyable vacation experience. The on board entertainment and on board activities are non-stop. There is something fun for everyone to do. Before all of the fun can begin, cruise passengers have to deal with the grueling process of getting transportation to and from the cruise terminal. Whether cruising locally or from a port city requiring a plane or train, finding the proper transportation always raises concern. The cost of taking a taxi, bus, or a limousine can be unimaginable. Time is also critical. Here are three helpful hints to take into consideration regarding cruise transportation.

1) Use mass transit!: When it comes to cruising from a short distance, it is best to use mass transit. If mass transit is available, use it. For example, New York City’s Manhattan Cruise Terminal and Boston’s Black Falcon Cruise Terminal are the two easiest ports to reach via mass transit. In Manhattan, the New York City Subway C and E lines stop at 50th Street. After getting off the bus at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, or the train at Penn Station, cruise passengers can easily take the C or E train to 50th Street. From 50th Street, cruise passengers can walk four blocks west to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal. With an MTA Metro Card, the cost each direction is $2.75.

Mass transit is among the best modes of transportation when traveling to and from a cruise terminal. New York Penn Station serves Amtrak, Long Island Railroad, and New Jersey Transit, and is located along the A, C, E, 1, 2, and 3 subway lines.

Mass transit is among the best modes of transportation when traveling to and from a cruise terminal. New York Penn Station serves Amtrak, Long Island Railroad, and New Jersey Transit, and is located along the A, C, E, 1, 2, and 3 subway lines.

In Boston, cruise passengers can take the T’s silver line bus to the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal. Boston’s South Station is Amtrak’s terminal. South Station is on the silver line route. On the T subway system, South Station is on the red line. The ride to the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal is fifteen minutes. From Boston’s Logan International Airport, cruise passengers can take the blue line south to State Station. At State Station, it’s a short ride to Downtown Crossing, where cruise passengers can change over to the red line. South Station is the very next stop. The MBTA’s Charlie Card is $2.25 per passenger. Regardless of what city cruise passengers use mass transit, it is paramount to PACK LIGHT.

When time is on the tight side, taxis are the proper way to reach the airport or train station.

When time is on the tight side, taxis are the proper way to reach the airport or train station.

2) If time is critical, take a taxi.: This is not to be confused with hint #1. Very often, cruise passengers will book their returning flights or trains very close to disembarkation. At many times, they book their trains and flights too close. Frequently, cruise passengers book their flights and trains too early, along with misjudging their time of disembarkation. In these situations, cruise passengers miss their bus transfer. In the worst case scenario, they miss their flights. To avoid this inconvenience, it is best to take a taxi to the airport or train station. Disembarkation can be hectic at times. Each and every week is different, predicated upon how quickly passengers clear through customs. Cruise lines such as Disney Cruise Line have disembarkation down to a science. Disney Cruise Line is known to for finishing disembarkation by as early as 9:30 am. If time is of the essence, taking taxi is the way to go.

3) Know before you go!: Some cruise passengers have tight budgets. Some cruise passengers plainly like to do things in an efficient manner. Further, there are cruise passengers who research every detail and option concerning their cruise transportation. It pays to know the drill. The cruise lines’ bus transfers can be pricey. It is often predicated upon on the cruise line and/or cruise port. Some cruise line bus transfers cost as much as $40.00 per person. A limousine ride may cost more than the bus transfer. A taxi ride may cost less than both the limousine and the bus transfer. Obtaining the contact information of taxi and limousine companies in the port area is a huge plus. It’s an even bigger plus to obtain fare quotes from each of them. It can be the difference maker. Doing ample research on the port city and transportation costs will greatly reduce cruise passengers’ worries.

Prior to sailing day, cruise passengers should research taxi, limousine, and cruise transfer fares. Being aware of fares ahead of time makes a significant difference.

Prior to sailing day, cruise passengers should research taxi, limousine, and cruise transfer fares. Being aware of fares ahead of time makes a significant difference.

A cruise vacation cannot be a more rewarding way of getting away from the real world. The entertainment, the unforgettable dining experience, and the welcoming atmosphere are all a part of what makes a cruise the perfect escape from the stresses of life. When it comes to cruise transportation, cruise passengers dislike putting up with the frustration. It comes with the territory. Cruise passengers shouldn’t have to stress at all. Cruise passengers should use mass transit to and from the port, if available. It saves a significant amount of time and money. If time is tight, cruise passengers should take a taxi to the airport or train station. Cruise passengers should not have to miss their trains or flights due to misjudging their disembarkation. This pin-points the vitality of hint #3. Cruise passengers should know before they go. Voluminous research and proper planning are the name of the game.