Category: Cruising

Celebrity Cruises

If you think about it, it’s an extremely cost-effective and time-efficient way to take a holiday. Consider all the time you’d spend driving yourself to several different destinations, packing and unpacking at each hotel, and searching for restaurants and other services. On a cruise you don’t drive anywhere for seven, ten, fourteen days or even even more. Even if you were on a bus tour with no driving yourself, you haul your luggage or at least one package and unpack it at every new stop. On a cruise, you check your luggage when you check in and it magically appears in your cabin, stateroom, or even suite. You’re at home for the duration of the cruise. And the food! Every ship has several restuarants staffed by world-class chefs, and the cost of the food is included as part of the cruise. At each port, guided tours are available so you won’t miss any local attractions. Supervised activities such as snorkeling are available to keep the children occupied. And at the end of your holidy staff will pick up your luggage and place it on shore at the intended pick-up point. Taking a cruise vacation frees you from so many of the hassles of traveling, and leaves you with more time to relax and enjoy your destination.

Celebrity Cruise Lines offer some of the best deals in the business. Conde Nast Traveler consistently rates
Celebrity Cruises as one of the world’s best cruise lines. Services include informative lectures about your location, upscale boutiques, and Las Vegas style entertainment created for Celebrity by Cirque du Soleil.
Try your luck in the Casino or collect fine art during an onboad auction. The nightlife spectacular at The Bar At The Edge of the Earth.

There’s a whole world of pampering waiting for you at the world-famous Aqua-Spa by Elemis. Try a deluxe manicure, a luxurious facial or a relaxing massage. There is even acupuncture by a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese medicine as well. You’ll feel renewed and invigorated.

Children feel right at home on a Celebrity Cruise. The Celebrity X-Club Youth Program has age-specific activities and entertainment for every child. Science and nature exploration, talent shows, treasure hunts, children’s dinner parties, slumber parties and more are all arranged by professional staff. Special areas of the ship are set aside for children only, such as the Shipmates Fun Factory, teen center and pools. When the ship is docked, adults have the option of going on tours by themselves while the children are supervised onboard. What could be more enjoyable or safer?

Age or disability are no impediment to cruising. Ships are designed for mobility-impaired passengers, and staff is always ready to assist. Celebrity accommodates those who need dialysis or oxygen, and other medical services can be arranged if requested beforehand. Emergency care is always available on board, saving you the trouble of finding a doctor who speaks your language in a foreign country.

Dinner is a vital event in itself on a cruise ship, a tradition dating back to the late 1800’s when cruises were for royalty and the wealthy who expected elegant formal dinners. Again, in today’s lifestyle the elegant dinner is optional, and for those who like to dine casually, food is available around the clock . However, for those who like a ritzy event where they can show off their best attire and jewelry, there are optional formal dinners where ladies wear long formal gowns or evening dresses and gentlemen have on tuxedos.

Did I forget to mention the cruise destination itself? Celebrity Cruises dock at a different port of call every day or two, depending upon distances and sailing time between points of interest. You can stay aboard the ship all day or disembark. You are free to explore every destination on your itinerary as long as you return to the ship before departure time.

Trip to Black Sea

There are many reasons for that. The main reason for those who come from former Soviet countries is the simple habit, because they were grown up on this seaside. Almost each working person in the past Soviet Union could get in summer a trip to Black Sea rest-places half-paid or completely paid by the government. Another reason is that this sea is the most southern located from all the seas that are bordering direct the former Soviet Union countries and is of course most accessible.

There are 5 countries that have claimed a piece of coastline at Black Sea. These are Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria.

The Turkish part of the coastline is the longest one and is generally preferred by European travelers mostly because of the good marketing campaigns of the travel agencies and is actually, the cheapest possibility. In the last time the prices are quite high there and the quality of service should be double checked and the place of stay should be selected with great carefulness. Though, for a little higher amount of money, one can get quite a good service there. The most frequent visitors are travelers from Germany.

The Georgian coastline is very special with its rocky parts. Imagine the huge rocks coming out of the sea, a short, about 20 meters rocky beach and mountains beginning right after the beach. You could find a cave there, make a camp, place some tents and spend a week or two diving, climbing on the mountains, hunting fish and crabs, gathering starfishes. The sea water is perfectly clear here even if it is 25-30 centigrade warm. Such a week would be an unforgettable one and I would really spend some more weeks there.

The Russian coastline is rich with pensions and holiday homes built in soviet time for the collaborates of the Soviet Party. Some of them are already ruined with the time, and some of the were sold to private persons and companies and are held in quite a good state to have a rest in them.

The Ukrainian part has two different types of places. The first of them is the usual coastline of Odessa region and the neighboring, which is characterized with high temperatures, burning sun, sandy beaches and quite inexpensive possibilities for a traveler. The second one is Crimea semi island, which is characterized by separate climatic conditions and even separate flora and fauna. There you can find rocky beaches along with the sandy ones, lots of pensions left from soviet time, which are held in a very good state. It was actually one of the most beloved and privilege seasides of the Soviet Union and till now it is quite a good one to travel to.

The Bulgarian and Romanian parts of the coast are targeted mostly on the European market and in the last times the prices are much higher than quality, at lest in Bulgaria, but if not to consider the prices, Bulgarian coastline is quite well equipped and served and the time spent there won’t be appreciated as lost, so it’s worth traveling.

Sail the 7 Seas

The most important decision you will face after you decide to go on a cruise is where you want to go. When people think of cruises they usually think of the big cruise ships in the Caribbean. Just imagine all that deep blue water and the sun shining down while you sit on the deck and enjoy cocktails. Ahhhh nice, and while that can be a lot of fun, you should keep in mind that you can go on cruises to almost any part of the world. Take a cruise through the Panama Canal, around the Indian Ocean, or follow the western coast of Africa into the Mediterranean.

Keep in mind that you are not just picking which part of the ocean you’d like to see. Almost all cruises will allow you to make side trips inland when the ship stops at a port of call. This can be either on your own or as part of an organized tour group. If you have always wanted to visit Australia try combining a trip to Australia with a cruise around the Pacific Ocean.

You should also make sure that you can find a cruise that will give you the experience you want. Obviously, a small cruise ship touring around the coast of Alaska will result in a very different experience from a large cruise ship meandering leisurely around the Mediterranean. While there are major differences in the cruising experience, this is not just about picking the right kind of climate for your trip. If you are looking for all night parties and poolside drinks, go on the Mediterranean cruise. If you want a more relaxed trip, curled up under blankets and whale watching, go on the Alaskan cruise.

You should also remember that certain cruise lines focus on different types of customers. There are cruise ships that will cater to those who want to spend all night drinking and dancing, there are cruise ships that focus on retirees and there are cruise ships that cater to a variety of tastes. Families should look for family-friendly cruises. These family-friendly cruises will have children’s activities and places for teenagers to hang out. The Disney Cruise line specializes in family style cruising.

The level of service you will receive is the biggest factor in your final price. If you are on a tight budget, avoid the high end luxury cruise. Instead go with a premium or even mainstream cruise. The location and size of your cabin will also make a difference. If you are really tight for cash, take a small cabin on the inside of the ship. While your food and cabin may not be as grand as fellow passengers on the exclusive decks, you will at least still be able to afford the airfare home. And you will have the same experiences as the higher paying passengers.

If you can afford it feel free to treat yourself with a luxury cruise and enjoy all the amenities that come along with staying at a fancy hotel. Except this hotel goes to many different and exotic places!!

While cruises are often all-inclusive, there are a number of things you should confirm before leaving home. First make sure that the cruise ship is aware of any special dietary or smoking restrictions. If your cruise ship will be coming into port, inquire if you need to book any shore excursions in advance. And most importantly, ensure that you have a way to get to the starting point and back again when the cruise is over. Some cruises do not end at the same port that they departed from. Ending a wonderful cruise by being stranded at the ships last port of call is not the best way to enjoy your holiday! Spending a few days in the last port of call before returning home will top off the perfect end to the perfect vacation. Happy cruising!

Discount European Cruises

One can experience the splendors of Europe from the comforts of a cruise ship, since most of the major cities are situated along the ports. The luxury of a European cruise can be enjoyed by the average American thanks to ‘discount European cruises’ advertised by travel agencies. Browsing through any travel magazine or website, you can find the highlighted caption ‘Discount European Cruises’ on the main pages. The reduced ticket rates are offered along with a range of services that were considered a luxury in yesteryears. The varied cultures, landscape, food and wine can be enjoyed thanks to discounted European cruises.

Discounted European cruises brings sailing luxuries to the budget traveler. Rather than air or road travel, more people are now choosing travel by ship. A major reason for this shift is the added convenience of not carrying the luggage form hotel. When docking a port, you just jump on a smaller boat and head for shore.

Discount European cruises are available on all major itineraries, such as the Baltic States, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe; cities like London, Paris, Lisbon and Dublin in Western Europe, and the Mediterranean region. The European trips are usually offered in packages of 7 to 15 days. These cruises are cheaper during the spring and fall, which are repositioning periods for ships.

Sea Kayaking

One of the simpler rules to follow is this: make sure it floats. Yes, the most obvious would be making sure the kayak floats and has no holes or gashes that would cause it to sink in the middle of the lake. However, most people don’t think of all of the other gear in their kayak. If your kayak rolls, most likely, all of your gear will be floating down the river, which is bad enough, but imagine if it the gear were to sink! You should put gear that isn’t waterproof into waterproof containers that will float. You have to remember that if your kayak rolls, even the waterproof areas in your kayak will get water in them.

One thing you should consider carrying in your kayak at all times is a PFD. A PFD is a Personal Flotation Device. A PFD is the single most important piece of equipment you could carry with you in a kayak. Some parts of the world don’t require you to bring one with you, but you should take one with you, if not wear it, anyway. They now make them to look good ad feel comfortable, while with storage pockets to hold your gear. There is no reason why you shouldn’t wear a PFD for it will not only help you save your gear in a roll over, but could also save your life.

When kayaking it is good to use the buddy system. You should never paddle alone. The weather conditions could change rapidly, and things could happen that you can not handle by yourself. A buddy can help you in these situations, and could save your life.

You can also increase your safety with the gear that you carry. You should carry a compass, map, food, water, matches, flare gun, cell phone and anything else you think you might need. It will all fit into one small bag or even into the storage pockets of the PFD you should be wearing. Also, a pump is a necessity because if your kayak is full of water after rolling or capsizing you are either going to get hypothermia or you aren’t going to be able to make it back to shore. Please make sure it floats because if you roll you won’t be thinking of is catching your pump.

Monaco Yachts

There is a restraint, exclusivist rich group that has a thing for yachting, mainly because they can afford to! You and I, we both know that we’d like to own even a small, “unpretentious” sailboat, don’t we? And have at least once dreamed to relax on the deck of a luxury yacht in Monaco. But, hey, who needs a yacht in a so busy world? Do we wake up in the morning with nothing better to do than dress in white completely (maybe some blue too), have our cafe au lait (maybe a croissant also if not on diet) and go to the quay ordering around the employees to rub up better that side? We certainly don’t! If you say you do, that’s another story!

What better place (and object) for a competition: who has the bigger, more expensive model, envies arise, disputes start… Shirley Bassey reportedly complained of the big size of “Le Grand Bleu” belonging to the Russian billionaire Abramovich. The yacht apparently spoiled the view on the port of her uphill apartment. Well, what else would you like rich people to do?…

Beside occasional cruises and constant care some rich people find a practical use to their yachts: some rent them, others live there. Owning a yacht can be extremely useful if you are a tax exile, especially UK citizens who live in Monaco but work in the UK. Renting is very profitable, especially during holidays season or when big events happen in Monaco: prices go from 25,000EUR per week to 365,000EUR per week, depending on the size and facilities.

Some of world’s famous yachts rest in the waters of the bay. Some of them are so big that they have helicopters on their top decks. Among worlds’ 100 largest yachts are:

  • Octopus – owned by Paul Allen, the Microsoft cofounder;
  • Tatoosh – owned also by Paul Allen;
  • Atlantis II – owned by the Niarchos family, descendants of Onassis’ rival Stavros;
  • Le Grand Bleu – owned by the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich;
  • Delphine – owned by the American car magnate Horace Dodge;
  • Montkaj – owned by Prince Mohammed bin Fahd, son of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd.

Following its policy of capitalization of all (though scarce) natural resource, the Principality quickly became aware of the potential of the Hercules Bay and started a yachting tradition. There is a Yacht Club founded in 1953 by Prince Rainier and it was all along supported by him and his son Albert, who is also its President. The Yacht Club de Monaco gained international fame attracting worlds’ greatest names in sailing to come and battle on the Monegasque waters.

Naturally, there are also prestigious yachting events of international interest, excellent opportunities for yacht owners all over the world to show off.

  • Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse
  • Challenge Inter-Banques
  • Monaco Classic Week
  • Fête de la Mer
  • Régates Corporatives
  • Monaco Yacht Show

The events are organized with the support of H.S.H. Prince Albert I and of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III. All these events have display and competitions parts, except for Monaco Yacht Show, which is the greatest in-water yacht exhibition in Europe, without competition show.

Types Charter Yachts

Bareboat charter is for the more experienced person who has been sailing before. In fact the boat owner will insist on some type of qualification from a national authority before agreeing on the charter. This qualification will be something like an Offshore Skipper Certificate, depending where you are from. On a bareboat charter you are your own skipper, mate, mechanic, deckhand, chef and dinghy driver. Whilst on charter it is up to you to arrange all the watch keeping, safety, daily routine etc. To be able to take on a bareboat charter you will be familiar with a yacht routine and know what to do. If you are a little rusty or not familiar with the type of yacht then you may wish to employ a skipper for the whole charter or for just a few days. You will quickly learn from the skipper before taking over on your own but you must realize that the skipper will require a cabin for his time on board so allow for that when planning your vacation.

Yachts offered for bareboat charter are more than likely to be older yachts that have been used as instructional yachts as well as hired by less than accomplished sailors. They are unlikely to be in pristine condition as they have been used and have acquired bumps and scratches from contact with jetties and inside galley spills leaving their mark. However you will still have lots of fun with good value for money a the charter rate will be lower for this type of yacht.

The size of the yacht could be anything up to 60 feet and will be comfortable and easy to handle for you and your party. Single hull sailing yachts, catamarans and power yachts are all available for the same cost or less than the cost per person on a mid range cruise ship. If you wish to employ a skipper or a chef/deckhand then obviously the cost will increase to pay their wages, possibly up to $300 per day for the skipper, who will do most of the work on board and make life easier for you.

If you are lacking the experience or would feel happy with company nearby then you might choose to take a flotilla charter instead. This allows you to sail your own yacht but have the support of a professional skipper and crew member leading the flotilla on their own yacht. You sail in company with other yachts and the agenda is arranged by the flotilla skipper who has all the local knowledge to make your vacation pleasurable. As you acquire knowledge and become more confident you may wish to sail independently of the flotilla but arrange to meet up with them at the next harbor or anchorage. You will still be able to stay in contact with the flotilla by radio in case you need help.

The other category is that of a crewed yacht. This can be any amount of crew from just a skipper/owner through to a large yacht with captain, mate and full crew. A husband and wife crew on their own yacht is quite common where the wife will do all the cooking and domestic chores and lend a hand crewing as well. You will not be asked to do too much work but of course you can be involved as much as you want. So what is the difference here to the skippered bareboat, it is the fact that the yacht is owned by the husband and wife team and will be in better condition and well maintained. They will take greater pride in their yacht and will see themselves as hosts rather than paid crew.

Nile Cruise Holidays

A Nile Cruise is so much more than a conventional holiday. From the magical Temples of Karnak and Luxor to the stunning Valley of The Kings, the burial place of The Pharaohs, you will lazily follow the Nile visiting some of the most spectacular ancient sites in the world.

Every day you will visit new sites and learn more about The Nile, Egypt’s lifeline since ancient times. In the afteroons you will cruise down The Nile aboard your chosen cruise vessel and relax whilst witnessing the life of those who live on the banks of one of the worlds’ most mighty rivers.

Almost all Nile Cruise Holidays either include a full program of 10 or 12 excursions and the accompaniment of an experienced Egyptologist in the basic cost or offer you them at an additional cost.

You should look for an operator that offers you these extras as part of the overall price.

Normally, you will visit the archealogical sites and temples first thing in the morning to avoid the intense heat of the mid-day sun. This then leaves you free in the afternoon to relax and enjoy watching life as it takes place before you as you cruise gently down The Nile.

You will find that you will also see a wide variety of wildlife and birds along the edges of the Nile and you will be able to take lots of wonderful and evocative photographs to enjoy on your return.

Your Nile Cruise operator should also be able to offer you a “Cruise and Stay” arrangement where you enjoy a 7 day Nile Cruise and then a further choice of extra days of relaxation in a hotel in Luxor, Cairo, Hurghada, Sharm-El-Sheikh or other Egyptian city or Red Sea resort.

To give you an insight into what your Nile Cruise experience might be like you can purchase a number of books on the subject from Amazon.com.

Alaska Cruise Packages

Humpback whales. Sailing fjords. Gazing at glaciers. These are the key attractions of booking an Alaska cruise package. The magic of Alaska is the mystery of the ice and wildlife. Where else can you go sailing and come face to face with a huge wall of ice, not many cruise packages offer such an amazing view from sea!

The two most popular Alaskan cruises are the “Inside Passage” cruise and the “Gulf of Alaska” cruise also known as the glacier cruise. With the Inside Passage cruise of Alaska, you will visit several ports of call like Juneau, Glacier Bay and Skagway. With the Gulf of Alaska cruise, you will see more glaciers, sail more fjords and have opportunities of side trips to places like Denali National Park.

The typical Alaskan cruise is 7 days, although there are options of an extended stay of eleven to fourteen days. Once you decide between the Inside Passage or Gulf of Alaska cruise, you have to consider the size of ship that you would be most comfortable with. Smaller excursion ships usually carry up to 140-160 passengers and tend to offer a little more adventure and can often sail closer to a glacier than would a larger cruise ship that sails with a few hundred to thousands of people on board ( This is a key advantage for many selecting an Alaska Cruise package ).

If an adrenaline rush is more your speed, look into the smaller ships. If you prefer a more luxurious way to travel with every amenity possible, stick with the larger ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line

A particular cruise feature that Norwegian Cruise Lines introduced is free-style dining. Historically, shipboard dining has been a structured affair, with meals served at preset hours, usually with assigned seating in the dining room and a dress code. Free-style dining changes all of that to match the contemporary American lifestyle. Passengers may choose from eight to a dozen dining areas on board and eat when they wish. Some dining areas serve cafeteria-style, with food already prepared and jean-clad passengers taking a tray and selecting their food items. The main dining areas serve menu-based meals with full service wait staff and where jeans and shorts are prohibited at the evening meal. All food in the dining rooms and cafeteria is included in the price of the cruise.

And you get more than your money’s worth in the quality and presentation of all food items. The average passenger gains seven pounds on a week-long cruise! In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line offers a selection of specialty or upscale restaurants on each ship and meals in these restaurants are offered at additional cost. For example, Asian, French, Japanese or Italian cuisine may be featured in a suitably decorated small restaurant. But know full well, the upscale restaurants excel in service and cuisine and provide value for the dollar for the more discriminating.

Food service is a major attraction on any cruise, but Norwegian Cruise Line also provides a full range of on-board activities 24 hours a day. A fully equipped fitness center attracts those who want to stay in shape on their vacation. The pool area is the hub of live entertainment day and evening. Ships have a number of bar, lounge and disco areas that come to life with talented performers every night. Also included in the price of the cruise is theatre entertainment that ranges from stand-up comedy to full show revues that rival those found in Las Vegas. And speaking of Las Vegas, while in international waters, passengers can enjoy all the amenities of a sparkling casino, including slots and gaming.

Norwegian Cruise Line, a premier cruise line, currently has ten large and modern ships in its fleet. The most luxurious ship in the fleet, the Norwegian Star, seasonally alternates on trips to Alaska during the summer season and cruises to the Mexican Riviera in the colder months. One of the newest ships, Norwegian Spirit, also sails to Alaska in the summer but crosses the Panama Canal to sail the Caribbean in the winter. The Norwegian Wind follows the whim of the wind and sails to many major destinations: Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, and the Caribbean while Norwegian Sun and Dream quietly cruise the Caribbean.

The brand new Pride of Aloha, as its name implies, is dedicated to custom cruises hopping between the islands of Hawaii. There is no better way to thoroughly tour Hawaii than on a cruise ship. Also brand new, Norwegian Dawn is dedicated to sailing from New York to ports in Florida and the Caribbean.

The newly renovated Norwegian Sea routinely sails from Houston, Texas through the Caribbean. A ship fit for royalty, the Norwegian Majesty, also sails through the Caribbean to ports of call in Mexico and the Bahamas.

The Norwegian Crown is nearly 20 years old but, with only 527 staterooms, provides a much more intimate atmosphere than the newer ships that accommodate nearly 2,000 passengers. Two more luxury ships will be added to the ever-expanding fleet in 2005. The soon to be introduced Norwegian Jewel will expand ports of call to Scandinavia, the French Riviera, and Italy.

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