Category: Cruising

Info of Alaskan Cruise

In the last few years, Alaskan cruises have become a popular way for people to visit Alaska and enjoy its natural beauty. The cruises provide a combined ability for travelers to enjoy the beauty of Alaskan lands and take part of many entertainment activities that are available on cruise ships.

The two most popular routes for Alaska cruises are the Vancouver roundtrip and Seattle roundtrip. Cruises with those two routes generally take 7 days and have various stop points in Alaska depending on cruise lines, ships, and itineraries. However, there are many other routes for Alaska cruises. Some of the other popular routes are San Francisco roundtrip, Whittier to Vancouver, Vancouver to Whittier, Seward to Vancouver, and Vancouver to Seward.

There are many cruise lines that offer Alaska cruises ranging from some of the biggest cruise lines in the world to small cruise companies with 1 or 2 ships that offer custom Alaska cruises. Princess Cruises and Holland America Cruise Line have the most comprehensive Alaskan cruise offerings. Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises are also fairly well represented in the Alaska cruise market.

Generally, Alaskan cruise season runs from May to September of each year. In other months, the weather in Alaska and surrounding region is too cold for a fun cruise vacation. Most of the rooms on cruise ships are usually booked by the end of March. Thus, the earlier one decides and buys a cruise, the more opportunities there would be for room choice. Also, travel agencies sometimes offer promotions or discounts for early birds.

Rough Night

Out of the cockpit a solid wall of wind and spray, the standing rigging screaming. The boat is veering round quickly, the wind on her port beam laying her over. Going to starboard! It has gone! Struggling forward, coachroof, foredeck, the bollard. Still chain round it, over the gypsy. Realisation, the chain has jumped off the stemhead roller and is now over the toerail against a pulpit stanchion. “OK, take it easy” he thought, “panic’s over, she’s still moored.” Now the boat is coming back through the wind, turning to port. Pitching as the seas come under the bow, diving with the stemhead nearly under.

“And this on a sheltered mooring in a sheltered loch, thirty miles from the open sea, the mountains all around. God help anyone outside tonight”. His head torch showed the surface of the sea being torn to shreds, spray filling the air. The wind had veered and was now coming round the headland which should provide shelter. He waited, feeling the boat pitching and tugging at the chain, waiting for a chance to lift it back onto the roller. “Hell, I could loose my fingers here” he thought, “some rope needed.” He didn’t want to go aft then forward again but — yes, it’s still there, a small coil of six millimetre behind the liferaft.

Sitting on the liferaft he uncoiled it and kneeled on the foredeck to feed a bight under the chain. “Now, wait your chance boy, when she dives her head down.”

Another gust slammed the boat on her starboard side and she started to swing, pushed hard over to port, then bows up, now down. Heaving up and back on the line as the head went down, the chain went back on the roller.

“OK, Job done back indoors”. He secured the line trying to seize the chain over the stemhead fitting, and worked his way aft.
Another giant gust, spray and perhaps rain, he couldn’t tell, a banshee wail, a strange noise like gravel being poured. What—? The wind generator, backed, confused by the violent rotating gusts was grinding to a halt, sea spray crashing through the blades. Stepping back into the cockpit the horror struck him. “If something solid, a twig, sea weed, a bird,- God forbid, a rope’s end – went into those blades, at the speed they’re going there’ll be hundred mile an hour plastic all over the cockpit”.

There was nothing to be done then, wind gusting to eighty or ninety knots it would be madness to go anywhere near the windmill but he resolved to find a way of tying it to make it safe in a gale in future.

Now, in the grim, grey, begrudging daylight, thinking back on the night, tired but not sleepy, I realise it was me who lived through that night, and wonder, philosophically, if I am better for it. Huh!

Honeymoon on a Cruise Ship

Honeymoon on the ship itself and not just at any destination. Most soon to be couples
may have seen a cruise ship as just a means of transport. Something that gets you from point A to point B while you enjoy all the amenities on board. Many may somehow believe that most of the fun is to be had at the destinations and not on the ship itself …

But does that have to be that way? Modern cruise ships are floating miracles. They are overflowing with every conceivable amenity that can delight you. And to say that they provide cozy and comfortable accommodation is an understatement. And the food on board may be better than what you can get at many restaurants on shore.

Another thing that may have deterred potential honeymooners from considering a cruise may be the cost. If so, you might want to take into account the length of the cruise while comparing costs. If a two week cruise sounds very expensive, what would it cost you to go on a two week vacation on land? And considering all the attractions on board a cruise ship and also at the destinations, would you have a similar experience on a more conventional vacation ?

That said, while going on a cruise vacation to celebrate your honeymoon may be a good idea, you might not want to board just about any cruise ship and sail away in the direction of the rising ( or setting ) sun … you see, some cruise ships target certain types of people only – families, seniors, adventure lovers and so on.

What you really require on a honeymoon is at atmosphere that gives you plenty of room to be amorous … an atmosphere that allows romance to flourish. And if there are kids running all over the place or people partying till early morning, then you possibly might find the experience a bit off-putting …

Which is why you will want to do some research on the vessel that you plan to be sailing on. What type of people seem to choose it most ? What is their age group? What will the atmosphere be like on the cruise ship? and so on. All you would have to do may be visit several forums and see what people who have already been on the ship are saying about the experience. You might also want to consult a travel agent who has been in the business for a while and knows about the ship and the destinations.

Formal Cruise Wear Night

For some men, it’s the agony of picking out your finest formal cruise wear, carefully packing them in your suitcase, unpacking and un-wrinkling them, and then, worst of all….. having to put the threads on. For other men, it’s the romantic ecstasy of seeing your dazzling beauty dressed in her finest, and walking arm-in-arm through the elegant dining room.

For some women, it’s the agony of deciding what to pack for the formal cruise wear night. Should it be black or brightly colored? Long or short? Or should it be slacks or a gown? For other women it’s the ecstasy of a wonderful romantic night of elegance.

Formal wear is somewhat subjective when it comes to cruises. Most often for men, it will mean wearing a dark suit or jacket and a tie. Tuxedos on some cruises are more common. In fact, many cruise ships will have tuxedos and formal cruise wear available for rent – in advance from the cruise line. You will however want to pre-plan and book your rental as soon as possible before you sail so you won’t be disappointed.

That was easy for the men. There is formal cruise wear available for rent for women as well. The same early planning and booking applies as for men. However…

For many women the task of preparing formal cruise wear can be much more exciting or much more daunting. Formal evening gowns are elegant and can be show-stoppers. But pant suits and slacks or skirts and tops can be glamorous as well! In fact a very practical article for any woman to pack is a pair of black silky “cocktail” type slacks. They take up very little room in the luggage and resist wrinkling! Matched them with a couple of tops, and you have formal cruise wear ensembles with very little fuss. And, most have stretchy waistbands so you can enjoy the wonderful culinary masterpieces in comfort! Flat or low heeled shoes make navigating onboard much easier and more comfortable.

These formal nights can make your cruise a wonderful romantic getaway! Exquisite cuisine, elegant dining rooms, intimate lounges, stage shows and reviews all lend themselves to enhance romance on board. Imagine a nightclub filled with tuxedoed men and sequin covered dresses on women. And everyone is basking in the radiant delight of the evening.

Some of the cruise lines request that you remain in your formal cruise wear for the entire evening. Others are more relaxed about the attire. And some, like Norwegian cruise lines operate on a relaxed “Freestyle” cruising atmosphere.

For those of you who absolutely despise getting all gussied up, most cruise ships have dining areas that always allow casual cruise wear. Remember however that most reservation only dining restaurants require formal or informal dress attire.

It’s always best, if you have any concerns about what constitutes formal cruise wear on your chosen ship, to check with the cruise line in advance.

Cruise Discounts

Early Booking Discounts

This type of discount is available from most cruise lines and for most itineraries. If you book before a certain date, the cruise line offers a special discount price for your vacation. Now these discounts may not be the ‘best prices’ you can get but by booking early you will most often get the cruise you want, on the cruise ship you desire, and the itinerary of interest, in the stateroom or suite of your choice. All of these items combined can make this type of vacation discount the very best value for your cruise. You may say that if you wait, with the cruise ships being so large these days, you can get exactly what you want. Be forewarned! Cruises do sell out.

Last Minute Discounts

This is by far the riskiest discount to plan on. If your preferred cruise sells out, you’re stuck without that cruise vacation. If you would prefer a balcony stateroom, all that may be available at the time could be inside rooms. However, having said all of that, these discounts can at times provide the very best pricing. So if you are flexible in itinerary, cruise ship, vacation date, and stateroom preference, perhaps this is your best bet.

Group Booking Discounts

If you can generate some interest in your planned cruise vacation with others, you could qualify for a ‘group rate’. Not all cruise lines would offer this – or any other – discount but it is certainly worth pursuing. The rates again may not be as low as for a last minute cruise discount but you can get in early enough to ensure that you get the preferences listed above.

Low Season Discounts

Should your vacation schedule fall into one of the ‘low seasons’ for cruise vacations, you would be in luck. In the Caribbean for example, the so-called ‘Hurricane season’ provides many great cruise rates for potential passengers. Now I know that ‘summer season’ is a better name for it from a marketing standpoint but we may as well call it like it is. Keep in mind that on a cruise, should a major storm happen, cruise ships can divert to calmer waters. Today’s cruise ships can out-run storms as well. If you were to be in a resort on a land-based vacation, you would have no choice but to flee or take cover.

Value Added Cruise Pricing

This type of ‘discount’ does not change the price of the cruise itself. It does however give guests specials additions and ‘perks’. One such added value could be stateroom upgrades – you pay for a certain category of stateroom and the cruise line automatically bumps you up into the next category. Another common value-added feature is an on-board credit. In this case, the cruise line adds a credit to your stateroom account that can be used while on your vacation. Other perks can include free logo-wear or a bottle of wine in your stateroom.

Previous Cruisers Discounts

For first-time cruisers, this type of discount will be un-attainable. But next cruise on the same cruise line, you may be offered many different specials that you may find attractive. These could include free upgrades and on-board credits as detailed above.

Whether you take advantage of any of the possible discounts available for cruise vacations, one thing is certain. A cruise aboard one of the magnificent cruise ships will be an experience to cherish!

Caribbean Luxury Travel

Out of all the Bahamian islands in the Caribbean region, Andros is one of the less well-known. And yet, its subdued allure is what makes it even more appealing as a Caribbean luxury travel destination. With an area of 2,300 square miles and home to only 8,000 people, it is one of the least explored places in the western hemisphere.

However, don’t even for a second think that Andros is just one of those dime-a-dozen island destinations which the Caribbean is full of. Andros is the largest island in the country so you have plenty of grounds to have fun and enjoy the warm Caribbean sun. And because the island is yet undeveloped, there are few phones, few bus lines, and other facilities that could distract you from your relaxing vacation.

In truth, the island is not just one island but a group of islands tightly meshed into one archipelago. With its rocky shores and a web of creeks, this Caribbean luxury travel destination has never offered the kind of obvious harbor found on other Bahamian islands so, apart from the odd fishing lodge and Caribbean luxury travel retreats, development has largely bypassed it. However, what has made the island unsuitable for urban evolution makes it perfect for eco-tourism.

The Caribbean luxury travel resort of Tiamo is remote, even by Andros’ standards. Set three, road-less miles from the nearest village and surrounded by palm trees, banana plants, orchids, herons, tiny tree frogs, and some vicious mosquitoes, Tiamo is only accessible to guests by boat. Relying on its solar power system and solar-heated rainwater showers, the resort stays true to its ecological philosophy but at the same time offers you with an idyllic retreat is incomparable anywhere else.

Tiamo’s wooden cottages come with massive beds, hand-painted “do not disturb” signs, brightly tiled mirrors and showers lean towards safari-chic, especially when taken in with their painted, corrugated-iron walls. And in a clever twist on recycling, even the wood left over from building the cottages were used to build this Caribbean luxury travel resort’s funky outdoor furniture.

But while the interiors are outstanding, the main features of all the cottages though are their open porches. They have fans rather than air conditioning, but you don’t need to worry about the heat. The open sides of the cottages are designed to help keep temperatures down. Climate control aside, the real beauty of these porches is that they offer you panoramic views of the forest and the beach.

Lagoon Catamarans

THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN LAGOON MULTIHULL

In April 1988, The Lagoon 55 was unleashed to the world during Océanides, at Brest, winning immediate accolades and sparking an international demand for high-tech cruising catamarans that continues to this day.

The JTA staff moved seamlessly between construction of the Lagoon 55 and other competition boats, thus fusing competition technology breakthroughs with commercial cruising catamaran design.

VARIOUS VICTORIES; NEW MODELS INTRODUCED

The advances were significant: In 1990 JTA trimarans won all the top places in the Route De Rhum and group opened up a new shipyard in Nantes to organize the production of the Lagoon 55, Lagoon 57, and Lagoon 47. At the same time it continued to push the envelope in racing multihull construction.

While JTA continued to amass sailing victories and break records in the Pacific, it also started to produce ever more complex prototypes, continually testing and improving the technology and the underlying materials.

The result of all this activity and progress was the request for two new models, The Lagoon37 and Lagoon 42, which found their way into the North American charter market.

BENETEAU ACQUIRES JTA AND THE LAGOON RANGE

While market conditions deteriorated between 1993 and 1994 and dampened production levels, 1995 was another turning point when Jeanneau was acquired by Beneteau and the link was established between Construction Navale Bordeaux (CNB) and Lagoon.

TECHNOLOGY RE-APPRAISAL

JTA-LAGOON made good use of those two years of transition to make an in-depth appraisal of the technologies available for constructing their boats. High-level competition resulted in more and more boats being built using ultra specific technology (pre-preg vacuum at over 200°F, even autoclave).

SECRET RESEARCHS LEADS TO INFUSION TECHNOLOGY

To the staff at JTA, this seemed too costly to adapt to cruising sailboats as the ratio of price to technology needed to remain reasonable. It was during this period that the choice turned toward infusion, which was developed after thousands of hours of research in secret to make it a viable and efficient technology.

HOLLYWOOD COURTS JTA-LAGOON

At the same time, JTA’s notoriety enabled them to sign a contract with Universal Pictures for two 60′ trimarans to be used in the filming of Waterworld.

TECHNOLOGY VALIDATED IN REAL WORLD

Infusion technology was officially validated when a JTA prototype – small and nimble – won the Mini Transcat 97 and 99 and allowed JTA-LAGOON (Lagoon) to launch into infusion construction on a larger scale that is now the benchmark for the multihull industry and being successfully used to build the Lagoon 500, Lagoon 570 and Lagoon 420.

Presently, Lagoon remains intimately connected to CNB and has ceased to build racing boats. However, the team retains the historical legacy of cutting edge research and development in new prototypes including a sixth sense when it comes to understanding what the traditional sailor requires in terms of comfort, speed and performance.

Stay Slim On Your Carnival Cruise

The Carnival Sensation has an outdoor 9 hole mini golf course located on the sports deck. There is no extra charge for the use of the clubs and golf balls. There is also a gold pro on board who can assist you with golf lessons and arranging tee times in various ports.

The gym and spa together are over 12,000 square feet. The gym is equipped with free weights and treadmills. There are also stationary bikes and elliptical machines. Classes are offered in aerobics, yoga, kick boxing cycling and Pilate’s for a small fee. The spa is an oasis of relaxation offering the usual manicure or pedicure and hair salon. They also offer a dreamy hot stone massage. The lime and ginger massage is an exfoliating treatment with massage. The ultimate is the Swedish massage for two. Those under 16 aren’t allowed in the gym or spa. Passengers between 16 and 18 years old can go in but only with an adult accompanying them.

There is an outdoor jogging track that loops around the sun deck. Eight laps around equals one mile.

There are three swimming pools, one just for children. The main pool has a 114 ft water slide. Pool games and scavenger hunts are held in the afternoons. Six whirlpools are available for your use, several do not allow children. The main pool area does get congested in the middle of the day so if you don’t intend to dip in get a chair one deck up and enjoy the sun and peacefulness of no crowds.

Afternoon activities are concentrated around the main pool on Lido deck. There is usually a steel drum band or reggae singers performing island music to put you into the vacation mood. By the main pool is where many games take place like the ever popular hairy chest contest which is less about hair than how to work the crowd.

There are wine tasting and art auctions. If you go to the art auction and see something you like you don’t have to bid, just wait until someone else wins and ask later if you can have the same picture for the same price.

If you find you have too much money on hand the Casablanca Casino can help you out in a matter of minutes. The casino has slots, blackjack, And Caribbean Stud Poker. There are Mega cash slots that are linked with all Carnival cruise ships where the jackpot has been as high as a million dollars. There are 2 cent slots where you can win a car. You can use old fashioned cash or your ship account card in the casino. If you need to you can also get a cash advance in the casino on your credit card.

On all Carnival ships a daily events newspaper is distributed to each cabin. This is called the Carnival Capers. The Capers lists all activities for the day. This will help you to schedule non food related events. The list of scheduled activities such as Bingo and slots tournaments is listed in the Capers. You will also see and perhaps be puzzled by other listings.

On every Carnival ship there is a meeting for friends of Bill W meeting. Now, you may wonder about this, as I did after several cruises. Who the heck is Bill W and how many friends does he have that he gets his own meeting place on board? This is a euphemism for an alcoholic’s anonymous meeting. Bill W is the founder of alcoholic’s anonymous. You will also see in the Capers a friend’s of Dorothy meeting scheduled. This is a quiet way of announcing a meeting for those who are gay or lesbian or their friends.

In the Fantasia lounge that seats over 1300 people you can see a comedy show at night. An early kid friendly show is scheduled along with a late night R rated version. Austin Powers dance classes take place in the same lounge. Also in the Fantasia lounge is Game Show mania for passengers to play on stage.

In the Touch of Class disco there is an evening piano sing a long if that’s your thing. If you really want to sing by yourself the dance club has a karaoke night. Popular dance music plays every night at Michelangelo’s disco. You can dance any extra calories away.

Types of Cruise Ship Cabins

Some cruise cabins have VCRs or DVD players, and some televisions also have radio/music channels. The cabins also usually have a night table, reading lamps, and a chair. Most modern cruise ships come with a hairdryer, so you won’t have to bring one from home. Some standard staterooms feature personal safes, table, desk with chair, convertible loveseat, mini-refrigerator, and even Internet access, although it is often much more costly than in the common Internet lounge. The cruise line brochure or Web site usually specifies what amenities are in each cabin.

The standard cruise cabin bathrooms are usually tiny and most only have a shower (no tub). The shower usually has good water pressure, with the only complaint being the small size. Don’t be surprised if the shower curtain keeps trying to attack you! The bathroom also has a sink, toiletry shelves, and a noisy vacuum toilet like on an airplane. Often there is a small step up between the bedroom and bathroom, perfect for stubbing your toe. The bathrooms also usually have a retractable clothesline for drying your swimsuit or hand laundry.

The next step above an outside cabin is one with a balcony (verandah). These cruise cabins have sliding glass doors, giving you access to the outside. The sliding doors also mean you can see outside from anywhere in the cabin, i.e. lie on the bed and still see the ocean outside. Usually the cruise balcony cabins are also larger than the standard cabins, and some qualify as mini-suites. Which means they have a small sitting area with a loveseat or convertible sofa. The cruise mini-suites also usually have a curtain that can be drawn to separate the sleeping and sitting areas. This feature is ideal for couples (or friends) that have different sleeping habits.

Avoid Sea Sickness On A Cruise

I have been sick to my stomach on a small fishing vessel that I paid a fortune to charter so when my brother suggested a cruise years ago I thought to myself that I may have more fun jumping off the Eiffel tower. At least it would end. I have since traveled on many cruises without the troublesome problem of sea sickness. I want to share what I have learned so that you too can enjoying cruising as much I do.

The easiest and most economical way to stop sea sickness is to walk. This is what is meant by getting your sea legs. When you walk around a moving ship the fluid in your inner ear learns the motion of the ship in a controlled way. When you feel sea sickness coming on walk,walk,walk. The worst thing you can do is take to your bed. Lying down will make your nausea worse. Once your body becomes accustomed to the motion you will no longer feel ill and will be able to sit and lie down when you want to.

Another drug free way to curb your motion sickness is by wearing a Sea Bands bracelet. The bracelet has a small bead on the inside that puts pressure on the inside of your wrist. This is a pressure point that will reduce nausea. Children and pregnant women can use Sea Bands as there are no side effects to this method. They are available at most drug stores. Buy these before you leave home and put it on before boarding the ship to be safe.

The use of ginger can help to reduce the nausea part of sea sickness but not the dizziness. Other herbal remedies have been tried but not scientifically proven to work. Staying above deck and getting fresh air will go a long way to normalizing your inner ear.

Cabin location can also be a factor in how much motion you feel while trying to sleep. Select a cabin that is in the middle of the ship both horizontally and vertically. If you pick a middle deck you will feel less motion from the sea and if you are close to the center of that deck you will feel less vibration from the engines and under workings of the ship.

Sail on a ship that has stabilizers. All of the newest mega liners have stabilizers that help minimize the rolling of the ship back and forth. Consider sailing on a ship that uses the Azipod propulsion system. All of the Carnival Cruise Lines ships have them. This system pushes rather than pulls the ship through the water which reduces motion and creates much less vibration. It also has the added benefit of allowing sharper turns for the ship without causing a lean.

Medications such as Dramamine or Gravol decrease nausea. You don’t have to buy these at home as they are available on the ship at the pursers desk where they are usually given out free of charge. Unfortunately these drugs can make some people drowsy which does not make for an exciting cruise experience.

Ear patches work wonders to get rid of sea sickness. The trans dermal scopolamine patch is about the size of a dime and is worn behind the ear. It’s effects last about 72 hours. This patch must be applied 8 hours before boarding the ship or you’ll be playing catch up later. The trans dermal patch does have side effects ranging from drowsiness to dry mouth.

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