Princess Cruises Won’t Miss Out on the Total Eclipse

Princess Cruises Total Eclipse
Photo By: Princess Cruises

For the first time in 99 years, a total eclipse of the sun will pass over the continental United States on August 21, and Princess Cruises guests sailing on six cruise ships in Alaska will be invited to special viewing parties as part of the cruise line’s exclusive Stargazing with Discovery at Sea program.

From the top decks in Alaska, nearly 18,000 guests aboard Coral Princess, Emerald Princess, Grand Princess, Island Princess, Ruby Princess and Star Princess will be invited to enjoy an approximately 54 percent view of the eclipse. Guests will be provided specially-branded Science Channel™/Discovery at Sea eclipse glasses for ultimate viewing, paired with educational background on what causes an eclipse from the exclusive Stargazing with Discovery at Sea staff as they provide a “tour” of three intervals the morning of August 21.

Denise Saviss, Princess Cruises vice president, entertainment experiences, said:

“Through our exclusive partnership with Discovery Communications, we’re able to offer expert tips and background from Science Channel experts that provide intriguing commentary around this rare phenomenon and for the ultimate viewing party onboard.”

The Great American Eclipse onboard event is part of the Stargazing with Discovery at Sea program which is led by Discovery at Sea Science Channel Ambassador and astrophysicist Dr. Hakeem Oluseyiwho has created entertaining family stargazing programming enabling the crew to lead cosmic voyages from the ship’s top deck.

Branded posters, Camp Discovery Youth & Teen Center solar projector building projects and even specialty Eclipse Cookies also will be offered to celebrate this rare occasion.

Allure of the Seas Forced to Change Itinerary Due to Propulsion Issue

Allure of the Seas
Photo By: Brian Summers (Creative Commons)

Allure of the Seas which is one of the largest cruise ships in the world has been forced to alter its Eastern Caribbean itinerary due to propulsion issues.

Allure of the Seas which is an oasis-class vessel for Royal Caribbean is suffering from a propulsion issue and the itinerary has been altered. A letter was sent out to guests booked on upcoming sailings and a reader of the well known Royal Caribbean Blog site sent in a letter which stated the following:

“Allure of the Seas currently has a speed restriction which will result in slight adjustments to your itinerary. For your convenience, the updates are noted below. The new port of San Juan, Purto Rico offers the opportunity to visit the culturally rich city of Old Suan Juan and the lush rain forest El Yunque. We apologize for this change, but have no doubt that your vacation will be nothing short of amazing. We can’t wait to welcome you onboard.”

It is not known how many itineraries are being changed and when the propulsion issue will be fixed. With the letter going out to people booked on upcoming sailings then most likely it could take some time.

If you are booked for Allure of the Seas on Eastern Caribbean sailing would be best to keep in touch with the cruise line regarding the ports so you can plan and be prepared for your cruise vacation.

Allure of the Seas is 225,282 gross tons and is the second Oasis-class vessel. The ship can carry 5,400 guests at double occupancy.

More Cuba Cruises Being Added for Carnival Paradise

Carnival Paradise, Havana
Photo By: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line is adding extra cruises to Cuba for the Carnival Paradise due to popular demand.

The cruise line has added more sailings to Cuba which includes extended calls in Havana in 2018. The added itineraries are in addition to the already announced Cuba sailings earlier this year.

Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, said:

“Our cruises to Cuba have been very well received and we’re delighted to provide our guests with additional opportunities to experience and explore this fascinating and sought-after destination.”

The new sailings include three 5-day cruises, one 6-day cruise, and one 8-day cruise. Carnival has detailed the new itineraries which are:

Three five-day cruises to Havana and Cozumel or Key West departing Feb. 17, July 2 and Sept. 5, 2018; a six-day sailing featuring Havana and Grand Cayman departing Aug. 26, 2018; and an eight-day voyage with stops at Havana, Grand Cayman and Cozumel departing Aug. 18, 2018.

Cruises to Cuba began in June 2017 and the Carnival paradise was the first ever ship in the fleet to call in Cuba.

5 Cruise Ships With Really Cool Features

Cruise Ships Docked
Photo By: Chris Favero (Creative Commons)

The accommodation and cruising industries have constantly developed and evolved in the last decades, reaching almost unbelievable levels and results nowadays. Modern cruise ships have considerably improved and exceeded the high level set by the most famous example in the world, the Titanic.

Let’s Discover The Cruise Ships:

Each of the most popular and acclaimed cruise ships today thrives for perfection offering their passengers a unique and unforgettable experience. If you do not have a favorite cruise ship by now, we will help you decide, presenting the most incredible innovations of the top leaders in the industry.

1. Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas

The third installment coming from Royal Caribbean exquisite school of sail, the Ovation of the Seas features a wide range of hi-tech innovations that will most likely leave its guests mesmerized. From a “virtual balcony”, reflecting the look of an actual veranda through an HD flat screen TV, to the FlowRider simulator for surf, as well as the sky diving simulator from RipCord which guarantees a great time on a board, this ship promises to deliver one of the most fun cruising adventures ever. Its “coupe du grace” will consist in the North Star gondola, which will propel guests over 300 feet in a capsule made of glass.

2. Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas

One of the largest sailing ships on Earth, the Harmony of the Seas has a capacity of 5,479 passengers adults and children and just as many means of entertaining its guests. Besides ice-skating rinks, climbing walls and a jungle gym hall on multiple platforms, its main and most innovative attraction has to be the Ultimate Abyss, the largest and darkest water slide ever created.

3. Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer

Possibly the most luxurious cruise ship ever, the Seven Seas Explorer can hold an exclusive maximum of 750 passengers. “Baptized” by Princess Charlene of Monaco, this has to be the most stylish and exquisite cruise ever. From personal butlers to individual iPhone docking stations, all-suite accommodations and even impressive Broadway-style performances, Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer manages to surprise and mesmerize in everything. By far the most acclaimed and desired facility has to be the world renowned Canyon Ranch Spa Club.

4. Holland America’s MS Koningsdam

5 Cruise Ships With Really Cool Features
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Apart from a capacity of 2,650 guests and numerous possible suite choices, exquisite cuisine and an amazing swimming pool connected to three whirlpools, ms Koningsdam is most likely the most musical sailing experience you can find out there. The feature is called “Music Walk” and will have guests experiencing famous musicians of the Lincoln Center Stage performing streaming each night, live musicians and live performances on a daily basis, plus the incredibly soulful B.B.Kings’ The Blues Club.

5. Carnival Vista

The first release of Vista, the Carnival, much like its name, promises a whirlwind of highly entertaining variations, which can definitely please all tastes. The ship features mini golf courses, exquisite outdoor spots such as the Havana Bar & Pool, mini-bowling, volleyball, table tennis and soccer, plus many more. Nevertheless, its greatest attraction has to be the infamous SkyRide. Sustained by a monorail, guests can pedal their way around an 800-foot area, at impressive heights varying from 20 to 40 feet over the highest deck of the ship. This incredible and highly engaging feature is guaranteed to fill any guest with unexpected dosages of adrenaline and excitement.

All in all, modern day cruise ships have exceeded all accommodation standards and expectations, thus, in the end, choosing the most suitable one for your well-deserved vacation can only be based on the mood and the range of activities you incline more towards to. So no need to beware of the pirates, just enjoy the amazing cruises the world has to offer.

Carnival Cruise Line Offers Free Room Upgrades and Onboard Credit

Carnival Cruise Line
Photo By: Russell Otway

Carnival Cruise Line has just started an end of summer promotion with free room upgrades and onboard credit.

if you’ve been thinking about booking a Carnival cruise all summer long then this could be your last chance to save big. Starting today the cruise line begins its “Celebrate Summer Before It’s Gone” where cruisers can take advantage of some enticing incentives.

The summer sale includes low rates starting from as low as $329 for 3-day to 5-day voyages and from $579 for 6-day and more cruises. If the low rates don’t grab your attention then how about the free room upgrades and $50 of onboard spending money!

The sale is only on select sailings through fall 2017 so cruisers need to be fast before the best ones are taken. Many ships in the fleet are in the sale which also includes some of the best destinations in the Caribbean and beyond.

As usual, when we inform you of a great sale always check the terms and conditions before booking. The sale starts today through August 22, 2017.

Construction Begins On Spectrum of the Seas Cruise Ship

Spectrum of the Seas Steel Cutting
All Photos By: Royal Caribbean

Construction has started on Spectrum of the Seas, the first Quantum Ultra class ship which will arrive in 2019 for Royal Caribbean.

So it has now been confirmed that the same of the first next generation Quantum class ship will be Spectrum of the Seas. The name has been rumored for some time along with other names including Melody of the Seas.

Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International, said:

“Today is a very special day in the development of our new Quantum Ultra ship, Spectrum of the Seas. We are now one step closer to delighting our guests in Asia Pacific with this remarkable ship.”

“Spectrum will be another giant leap forward in vessel design and guest experiences that will provide travelers with ample opportunities to create unforgettable memories.”

Construction has now officially started on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. A ceremony was held at the shipyard where the first piece of steel was cut. The steel will make up the large blocks which will come together over time to make the ship whole.

Spectrum of the Seas First Steel Cutting:

Spectrum of the Seas will be the next evolution of the hugely popular Quantum class ships. The future vessel will expand on the design and known as the Quantum Ultra-class. Royal Caribbean has not yet released any renderings or specific details on the ship so we’ll just have to hold on for now.

Spectrum of the Seas will be at least 167,000 gross tons and carry over 4,100 guests at double occupancy.

8 Essential Items for Your Cruise Packing List

Cruise Packing List Passengers
Photo By: Russell Otway

Are you getting ready for a cruise? If so, you’re not alone. Each year more than 20 million passengers embark on a cruise, and that number continues to rise.

Whether you’re touring the Mediterranean or sunbathing in the Caribbean, packing for a cruise is always daunting. This applies whether it’s your first cruise – or your twentieth.

Don’t worry. With our essential cruise packing list, we’ll make sure you have everything you need. Read on for the ultimate cruise packing list and other helpful tips to make your cruise a success.

The Essential Cruise Packing List

1. Clothes for Days at Sea

The first and most obvious items on your checklist are your clothes to wear onboard. No matter where you’re heading, this will likely include swimwear, flip flops, and plenty of casual clothing. Depending on which company you’re cruising with, you may also need to pack some dressier attire.

Does your cruise feature formal nights? If so, do you want to go all-out in tuxedos and evening gowns? Or would a regular suit and little black dress be sufficient?

2. Clothes for Ports of Call

This part is a little trickier. Packing for an Alaskan cruise will require different attire than island-hopping in the Caribbean. And if you’re headed for the Mediterranean, you could encounter heat, cold, and rain in the same week.

To successfully pack for your ports of call, you need to consider not only the climate but also the activities you’ll be doing.

Will you be trekking through the jungle or climbing glaciers? Don’t forget a sturdy pair of hiking shoes. If you’re touring port cities, sneakers may be all you need.

You should also consider how casual or conservative your destinations are. Shorts and flip-flops may be fine in Hawaii, but you’ll want more resort-casual wear in Bermuda.

If your itinerary includes the Middle East or any religious sites, make sure to pack modest clothing that covers your knees and shoulders.

3. Passport and/or Birth Certificate

Before you depart, make sure you have the proper identification required for your itinerary. If your cruise begins and ends at the same port of call, it’s known as a “closed loop” cruise. An example would be a cruise that leaves from Miami, visits a few Caribbean islands, and returns to Miami.

In this instance, your driver’s license and birth certificate are sufficient. On the other hand, let’s say your cruise departs from Miami, sails through the Panama Canal, and finishes in Los Angeles. Since this itinerary is not “closed loop,” you’ll need a valid passport.

If you have any questions about what identification you need, you can always consult the CBP Information Center.

4. Power Strip and Adapters

Once upon a time, cruises were a great way to unplug and get away from it all. These days, though, cruise ships come equipped with WiFi or another type of internet connectivity.

To keep your cameras, phones, and other gadgets charged, be sure to bring a power strip and the appropriate adapters for your destination.

Packing Tips
Photo By: Yasmina Haryono (Creative Commons)

5. Your “Cruise Carry-On”

It’s always a good idea to pack essential items in your carry-on, just in case your checked luggage doesn’t arrive at the same time you do.

Even if you do arrive at port with all your baggage, it could be hours before your suitcases arrive at your room. Rather than waste that time sitting in your cabin, pack what you’ll need for the day in your cruise carry-on.

8 Essential Items for Your Cruise Packing List
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This might include:

  • Your swimsuit and cover-up
  • Sunscreen
  • Basic toiletries
  • Clothes for dinner

This way you can go out and explore the ship instead of waiting for your luggage to show up.

6. Small Items

There are a lot of little items you’ll want to pack that may not readily come to mind.

Some examples are:

  • Portable alarm clock
  • Earplugs/eye mask
  • Batteries
  • Over-the-counter medicines
  • Sunscreen
  • Memory cards
  • Highlighter for cruise schedule
  • Small bills for gratuities

While you may be able to buy some of these things onboard, you’ll pay a premium for them. It’s much better to come prepared.

7. Wrinkle Release Spray

First-time passengers are often surprised to discover that irons aren’t allowed in staterooms. Irons are one of many heat-producing items banned on cruise ships, along with candles, coffee makers, and hot plates.

To keep your clothes looking fresh all week, pack a small bottle of wrinkle release spray. Bonus tip: You can also hang your lightweight clothing in the bathroom while you shower and let the steam release those wrinkles for you!

8. Binoculars

Binoculars are another item that may not initially come to mind, but consider the advantage of having them.

Your cruise ship is going to pass some awe-inspiring sights. How else will you get a close-up view of a Hawaiian lava flow or Santorini’s beautiful coastline?

Cruise Luggage
Photo By: Russell Otway

More Cruise Packing Tips

Here are a few more handy tips to go along with your cruise packing list.

Know the Dress Code

Are formal nights optional or required on your ship? How many formal nights are there in total? If you’re under-dressed, you could find yourself denied access to certain parts of the ship.

Laundry Service

Many ships offer laundry and dry-cleaning services, although these will be expensive. Some also offer self-serve machines. Find out what’s available on your ship, as it may reduce the amount of clothing you need to pack.

Cruising with Kids

Are daycare facilities available on your ship? You may want to book their services in advance, even if you don’t end up using it every day. Two-way radios are a terrific way to keep in touch with older kids.

Save Room in Your Luggage

You’re going to want some souvenirs from your vacation. Don’t overstuff your suitcase when you leave for your cruise, or you won’t have room for all the goodies you’re going to buy.

Final Thoughts

Getting ready for a cruise can feel overwhelming. Now that you have this handy cruise packing list, your task just got a whole lot easier.

Looking for more great packing tips? Check out our recent blog posts for more suggestions on what to bring on your upcoming cruise.

Cunard Prepares to Celebrate Iconic Cruise Ship

QE2 Final World Cruise

Cunard Line is preparing to celebrate the iconic QE2 for its 50th anniversary.

The 50th anniversary of this much-loved ship will be remembered as Queen Elizabeth sets sail from Southampton on Friday 8 September for a 17-night voyage. Departing guests will enjoy Venice’s iconic canals, mythical Mount Etna in Sicily and Corfu’s leafy beauty.

Angus Struthers, Vice President, Cunard said:

“This Mediterranean cruise is perfectly timed to pay tribute to QE2’s launch and naming by HM Queen Elizabeth II 50 years ago. When QE2 came into service in the 1960s, many critics said she wouldn’t last a decade in the age of the jet but her unique design as a dual-purpose ship meant that she was versatile enough to operate both as a transatlantic liner and a cruise ship.”

Celebrations focus on five special theme days, each of which will be accompanied by QE2 inspired menus, talks from special guests, historical snippets in the daily programme, past-passenger gatherings and QE2 quizzes.

Angus Struthers added:

“Given how famous and loved she was, we felt this was a great opportunity to pay tribute to this Cunarder’s remarkable life onboard our newest ship, Queen Elizabeth; herself designed to offer a perfect luxury cruise holiday.”

Themes include Moving in Royal Circles which looks back at the unique and special bond between QE2 and the Royal Family; The Falklands which acknowledges the ship’s service as a troop ship in the 1982 conflict; Triumph of a Great Tradition examining the QE2’s remarkable career achievements and the long history of Cunard ‘firsts’, and World Flagship in tribute to QE2’s 26 world cruises that made her an icon in cities across the globe.

Celebrations culminate on QE2 Day – 20 September 2017 – exactly 50 years since the ship was launched by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Events will include a QE2 ball, and a historical retrospective of the ship’s service life to be hosted in Queen Elizabeth’s 850 seat Royal Court Theatre.

QE2 In Sydney
Photo By: Cunard Line

As part of Cunard’s renowned and award winning Insights Speaker programme, a number of special guests connected to QE2 will be sailing onboard. One such guest is Captain Ian McNaught, QE2’s last Master, who said: “This voyage is a significant and timely tribute to the world’s best loved ship. QE2 remains the longest serving express liner in history. She carried 2.5 million passengers over 5.6 million miles; that’s further than any passenger ship – ever! This remarkable ship sailed alone on the North Atlantic for most of her career. She carried the Cunard tradition from the bygone era of the ocean liner and sustained it into the 21st century. The QE2 carried Royalty, celebrities and served in the Falklands War.”

Other guests include Commodore R. W. Warwick who served as QE2’s Captain for 13 years; QE2 social hostess Maureen Ryan who served onboard the original Cunard Queens as well as Queen Mary 2; and maritime historian Chris Frame, author of a series of books about QE2 and Cunard.

The voyage departs 8 September and returns 25 September.

Carnival Cruise Line Features Total Eclipse Activities Across Fleet

Carnival Cruise Line Total Eclipse
Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line passengers won’t miss out on the Total Eclipse thanks to special activities being held across the entire fleet.

The Total Eclipse is going to be a huge event and Carnival cruise ships will be there at sea keeping an eye on the skies. The cruise line is offering a number of activities onboard its ships to celebrate the Eclipse on August 21 at 2 PM EDT.

Ships will host specially themed viewing events and parties on the open deck. There will be sail-away parties dedicated to the unique event and a Sun Dance competition where guests participate on deck. Special on Blue Moon beer will also be available during the Eclipse event.

If you are booked for a Carnival cruise for the Total Eclipse check the Carnival Capers for actual event times so you don’t miss out.

Total Eclipse will be breath taking and will hit most of North America. The moon will cover the disk of the sun and provide darkness across the continent and on many cruise ships at sea. Just remember to use eye protection when the sun appears.

Royal Caribbean will also be hosting a Total Eclipse event which we posted about in June.