Category: Cruising

How to Pack For a Cruise

How to pack for your travel to the cruise port

Whether you are driving or flying to the cruise port, there are a few items you should have. First and foremost – keep all medications with you as carry-ons. Even if you will not require them until the next day, it’s important that you have them with you. Remember, “Stuff Happens”. Luggage has been known to go astray and it could be days before you see it again. With long waits at the airport, you may wish to have some reading materials or other activities to help the time pass. Make sure that you identify what you can and can’t carry on to an airplane. No nail files or other sharp objects etc. These can be placed in your checked luggage. Make sure that you have your transfer voucher from the airport to the ship with you as well so you won’t be scrambling to find them at the last minute. Also have your cruise tickets readily available. You wouldn’t want to have to tear apart your luggage in the cruise terminal to find your tickets.

How to pack for Embarkation

Again, all meds should be carried on – not in checked luggage. Make sure that you have a change of clothes with you as carry-ons. This may seem strange. Cruise passengers may not receive their luggage until late in the day of embarkation. Your checked luggage is delivered right to your stateroom. With as many as three thousand passengers all having one or two bags, that’s a lot of luggage to deliver! ( On one cruise, we went on board around 1:00 and didn’t receive the last of our luggage until about 7:00 that evening.) So, if you have left a cold climate to arrive at the airport and then directly to the cruise ship, you may want to put on some lighter clothing when you get on board.

How to pack for morning exercise

Only you can suggest what you might like here. Perhaps work-out shoes and clothing, weight lifting gloves, etc. The trick here is to make it light. If you are a walker or jogger, you may wish to have some cool clothing for the track on deck. Some cruise ships have athletic activities like basketball, volleyball and golf. Some consideration for these activities is recommended as well.

How to pack for the cruise afternoons on board ship

Sunbathing is one of the main activities in the sun on board cruise ships. Ample deck chairs are available on various decks and around the pools. You will want your bathing suits and cover-ups or other tanning attire. Suntan lotion is a must – the last thing you want is a painful sunburn to hamper your fun-in-the-sun cruise! A sun hat is advisable as well. A general requirement for your cruise vacation is a couple of pairs of comfortable shoes. You will do a good deal of walking while on board ship so you won’t want to be breaking in any fancy new shoes here! There are some special activities available on some cruise ships – ice skating, rock climbing etc. Check out your specific cruise ship to see if there are activities that you would like to plan for. For the most part, cruising attire is casual during the day. That means COMFORTABLE! After all, you are on vacation!

How to pack for evening dining and entertainment

Evenings on board ship have an atmosphere of casual elegance. Dress casual should be the attire of choice. The main dining rooms on board most cruise ships exude elegance after dark (or at dusk depending on your seating time). Scrumptious culinary fare will tempt you at every seating so add comfortable to the dress casual. You will be thankful for clothing that is not too tight. (You can work off the calories when you get home!) Many cruise ships offer fantastic evening entertainment. Las Vegas-style shows, Broadway-style skits, karaoke, piano bars, discos, and dancing will all add to your cruise ship experience. And of course the Casinos! Excitement on the high seas! Keep these activities all in mind when planning your packing list.

How to pack for shore excursions

Shore excursions are sometimes forgotten about when planning your packing list. This could be tragic. Forgetting the camera and missing the once in a lifetime shot of swimming with the dolphins. What about the binoculars if you are going to be sightseeing from high places or along the coast? Good walking shoes are a must here as well because many shore excursions will include some or a lot of walking. Think shopping. What would you need to be wearing if you are going power-shopping for a few hours? Shore time also means beach time. Many excursions offer snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, para-sailing and many other types of water activities. Make sure you plan for these on your packing list.

How to pack for Formal Night

I know guys – the dreaded Formal Night! The agony and the ecstasy. Agony for men and ecstasy for women! Formal nights on the cruise ship truly are elegant. Ladies in long flowing gowns and men in their best tuxedos. All right, not all are dressed-to-the-nines like that. However, jackets and ties for men are the norm. Dresses and pantsuits are common for the ladies. Ladies, keep in mind that you are on a moving ship so be careful about high and spike heels. If you choose casual dining on formal nights, there are casual dining alternates for you.

How to pack for disembarkation and travel home

Your cruise is over and you have been called to disembark the ship. Some will be ready to leave and get to work for a rest while others will be reluctant to leave. Again, it’s always wise to keep your medications with you. And don’t forget to put all sharp items is checked luggage so there is no hassle at the airport. Short of that, it’s a matter of throwing everything into the bags and zipping them up.

That’s it for another fabulous cruise vacation. And in case you wanted to know… I don’t do unpacking tips! There are obviously other ways to plan for your cruise trip packing and there are numerous other items that you may wish to have with you. The key is to have a plan and work through that plan step by step. Seem like a lot of work? Not at all! Planning for your cruise vacation is as exciting and pleasurable (almost) as the cruise itself. If nothing else, planning and packing for a cruise gets you definitely in the mood!

Fun and Fat Free Cruising

Eating

Enjoy the fabulous food – that is one of the main reasons we all go on cruises. The cruise lines go to great lengths nowadays to make sure that there are plenty of healthy options and portions sizes are large enough to fill you up without adding unnecessary calories. My wife and I cruised on the Carnival Glory and the food -and service – was fantastic. However, if like us, you do overindulge every now and then go to step 2.

Exercise

Get into the gym and get on a treadmill – even if it’s only for 15 minutes (although 30 minutes is better!). It will speed up your metabolism and help burn off unwanted calories. The first full day at sea the gym is normally packed with people with good intentions. You may even have to wait to get on an exercise machine. The second day the lines are not so long and after a couple of days you can usually take your pick of machines. Exercising after breakfast is a great idea as it allows you to burn off those eggs, bacon and pancakes with the bonus that your elevated metabolic rate will continue to burn off additional calories for another two or thee hours as you bask in the sun.

Spa

Pamper yourself. Enjoy a relaxing massage and then dive into the steam room or sauna. You’ll feel great and you’ll lose a few more unwanted pounds.

Walking

Going for a walk may seem a strange idea on a cruise ship but you have miles of decks to saunter along. Wear a hat and sunscreen and carry a bottle of water and after a couple of circuits you’ll know the layout of the ship, have checked out the best places to sunbathe and burned off enough calories in time for your next meal.

Swimming

Swimming is great exercise and even if you can’t actually do laps because of all the other people in the pool, you can tread water for a few minutes each day which is great exercise both for burning off calories and strengthening and toning muscles.

Stairs

You can often wait several minutes waiting for elevators on a crowded cruise ship. Take the stairs instead – it is often quicker and it will do you more good. If you are on a large cruise ship with 12 or more decks, take the elevator up three or four decks and then walk up the rest. Don’t overdo it, but if you use the stairs regularly you will get great aerobic exercise and by the end of the cruise you will notice the difference in your leg muscles.

Shore Excursions

Take advantage of shore excursions because you’ll get to see some really interesting places and you’ll probably get the opportunity to do some more walking – around shops, around ancient monuments, or go snorkeling, swimming and so on.

Dancing

It doesn’t matter how old you are, find a bar or nightclub aboard that is playing your kind of music and get up and dance. It doesn’t matter if no one else is dancing or how well you can dance – the chances are you will never see any of your fellow cruisers ever again!

Romancing

You’ve dined, wined and danced now it is time to take a moonlight stroll along the deck with your partner. While burning off calories may be the last thing on your mind that is what you’ll be doing – and what better way to end the day!

About Mega Yacht Charters

Mega yacht charter accommodations and hospitality areas are ideal for important celebrations such as weddings, birthday parties or special anniversaries. Large staterooms and quiet conversation areas offer charter guests appropriate privacy when aboard.

A well-planned mega yacht charter provides all the toys for your guests to use and enjoy. The abundance of space onboard most mega yachts allow for kayaks, jet skis, sailing dingys, water-skis and jet boats for guests with a thirst for adventure. Scuba diving equipment and a certified diving crew will take family and friends for an underwater experience of a lifetime.

Chartering your own private luxury yacht ensures privacy for you and your family and friends. It provides for luxurious living on a comfortable modern yacht, with a crew eager to pamper you and your company. It gives you the freedom to select your own itinerary, visit the sites you want to see, or simply to follow the wind wherever it leads.

A mega yacht is a vessel of over 90 feet in length that can accommodate a small number of guests in luxury. Prices start around $4,000 per person, plus expenses, for 6 guests, for a week. For a 160-foot yacht, expect to pay $14-18,000 per person for 10, plus expenses. Larger yachts can cost considerably more.

Sail the Cheap Cruise

The best thing about a cruise ship vacation is that you get something completely different. While a lot of vacations turn into nothing but shopping in a different country, cruise lines offer something unique. Travelers get to be trapped in a fun filled environment they’ll never want to leave. It’s true. If you get on a ship that offers the activities you enjoy or would like to try, you end up in a very social environment that offers you a chance to lay back and relax or spend your day playing games, watching shows and hanging out with energetic crowds.

For the inexperienced vacationer this all sounds expensive. The happy fact is that an average cruise can cost the same or less then equal time in a hotel. The better news is that a cheap cruise is by no means a bad cruise. Really, offers of cheap cruises are most often just better prices on the exact same trip everyone else spent a fortune on.

Getting the good deals isn’t at all hard. It does, however, require a less then picky taste. Also, like any other vacation, it leaves you traveling in the off season.

The first thing you can do to get a cheap cruise vacation is worry less about where the ship goes. If, for instance, you like the events, layout, and activities offered by a certain cruise line and you aren’t picky about which destination you wind up on, then you can get away with not planning ahead. Much like people who get cheap airfare by buying last minute tickets, you can get deals on a cruise the same way. Like any other transportation these cruises want to be full. When the ship is scheduled to leave no matter what, then selling a cheap ticket is better then selling no ticket at all. Further, the enjoyment of their guests depends on a populated boat.

This is the same reason why traveling in non-peak seasons can get you cheap cruise tickets. It also comes down to simple supply and demand. A holiday season brings with it millions of people fighting for tickets to any given place. In turn, the price goes up because it can. Going on vacation at a time when most other people are staying home can mean the difference between a five hundred dollar cruise and a fifteen hundred dollar cruise.

Caribbean Yacht Charters

The Bahamas contain 700 islands covering 150,000 square miles of tropical sea with approximately 5,000 square miles of land. The islands have flat coral formations and some low rounded hills.

Each island of The Bahamas has a unique personality. The cosmopolitan Nassau city has duty free shops, golf, museums and restaurants. There are bright, white sand beaches on the island.

If you love sea diving, the coast of San Salvador offers challenging and exciting adventure. The Inagua National Park offers the spectacle of nesting flamingos and other exotic wildlife. The Exumas offers a 100-mile-long cruise along a string of pristine cays.

The main cruising islands in The Bahamas are: The Abacos Islands, Bimini and the Gulf Stream Islands, the Berry Islands, the Exuma Cays chain, Harbour Island, Eleuthera and Cat Island, the Out-Islands, Grand Bahama, Freeport and Port Lucaya, Nassau and Paradise Island.

With more than 40 islands and cays, the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean archipelago are ideal cruising ground, particularly for the honeymooners. They are ideal for yachting and water sports as well.

To 60 miles east of Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands comprise of rugged mountain peaks silhouetted against blue Caribbean Sea. The islands have such unusual names as Prickly Pear, Fallen Jerusalem, Great Dog and Pelican Island.

Many of these islands are uninhabited and reachable only by boat, idyllic exploration grounds for those who seek solitude.

Christopher Columbus discovered the Caribbean islands in 1493, who named them after St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgins slain by the Huns in the 13th century.

Honeymooners prefer the Virgin Islands mainly because of their quiet, pristine beaches. The yachts chartered by the honeymooners offer personalized and discreet service, magnificent accommodations and excellent dining.

Some couples even prefer to have their weddings aboard the yacht or on the Virgin Islands.

Cruise Line Ratings

Six stars is the highest rating. These cruise lines have everything of the finest possible quality. Interiors are lavish and made of high quality wood, leather, fabric. The crockery used is expensive. Food served is exotic and tasteful. The cabins are very large. The staff is quite large and they try to provide personal attention to all passengers. These are meant for very high income groups. The atmosphere is quiet and social with few activities and few passengers. 5 Star cruise lines are also of very good quality. They have more activities as compared to 6 stars. These are more suitable for upper middle class. 4 star cruises are quite affordable with good quality service and food. These are more suitable for family vacations and first timers. 3 star cruises are very popular and find customers coming back again and again. These are full of activity and good for any age group and budget. They exist in large numbers and cover many locations. 2 and 1 star cruises are very pocket friendly but lack the spic and span glamour of new ones. Services are not bad and provide a good experience of cruising at a very reasonable price. The number of passengers is also quite high. The mood is more festive and carnival like.

Cruise lines vary in their mood, atmosphere, activities, facilities and comfort. They can give you a life time of an experience if chosen well. Brochures and websites provide detailed ratings of various cruise lines. To decide, one can read them in detail to look at destination options, travel time, affordability and whatever caters to individual interests. Whatever the rating, any cruise line experience is, overall, enjoyable.

About Viking Ships

The Viking ships basically fall in three categories, large transport vessels (Knarr), Longships, for military use, and small coastal sailing and exploration vessels (Karv). Although as often depicted, all Viking ships did not carry the ?dragonhead? or ?serpent? figures. They were used mainly on warships or ships owned by high-ranked people. The Knarr were known for their maneuverability and loading capacity. The other designs included Byrdling, Skute and Ferje. The longships also had a number of variations, the Busse, the Skeide, the Snekke, the Sud, and Drakkar. The Busse were reportedly large capacity Viking ships with cargo capability, such as the “Ormen Lange” of King Olav Tryggvason, and they could have as many as 35 pair of oars. The Skeide was a Busse variation with smaller size and capacity. The Snekke were the most common ships, used by
Canute the Great, and William the Conqueror, renowned for their speed and durability. The Suds evolved near the end of the Viking era and are said to be the biggest Longships. The Drakkar are the most easily recognizable Viking ships due to their distinct dragon or serpent design that symbolized the superior rank of the commanding warrior.

The basic characteristic of Viking ships can be summed up as having a single mast, exceptionally long parallel oars, and the clinker design used for construction, which involved overlapping thick wooden boards.

Inclusive Caribbean Cruises

It is always good to gather some general information about a proposed vacation destination. Cruise liners offer their best rates during the months of January, May, September, October, November and first two weeks of December. If you want a smooth sailing experience, then June is the month to plan your vacation in as the Caribbean sees the smoothest seas in June. February is the month for the roughest seas and is best avoided. The general forecast for the Caribbean is that the most likely time for hurricanes is in the month of September.

All inclusive Caribbean cruises are a wonderful way to unwind and relax. All inclusive is a concept that refers to all the expenses of the vacation paid in a lump sum usually upfront. Once this is done one can just sit back and relax, without having to worry about paying for each and every thing.

Your all inclusive Caribbean cruises could be a Western Caribbean cruise starting from Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa, or Port Canaveral and going on to New Orleans or Galveston, and sometimes Baltimore and Charleston. Typical ports of call on this route are Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Cozumel, Costa Maya, Cancun (Calica), Belize, and Key West.

The other route is an Eastern Caribbean route where the ports of call would include San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maartin, Nassau, or Labadee. Many cruise lines have access to private islands. These islands are used for barbecues and water activities. An all inclusive cruise would entitle you to the use of all on-board amenities.

If the cruise is along a Southern Caribbean route then the ports of call would include Aruba, Curacao, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Johns (Antigua), St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Martinique, Caracas (Venezuela), Dominica, Guadeloupe, Catalina Island (Dominican Republic), Grenada, St. Croix, St. Barts, Tortola, and Virgin Gorda.

Hurricane Season Cruises

Statistically speaking the chances that your particular cruise is going to be affected by a hurricane are slim. However, it does happen. Cruising during these months requires you to be flexible. Itineraries can be disrupted by even the mere threat of a storm. Usually the cruise lines whose Eastern Caribbean itinerary appears to be in the path of the storm will simply switch over to the Western Caribbean schedule and vice versa. If the cruise line can’t find a port then the ship spends those days at sea. You will not get a refund for the missed ports of call as the cruise lines reserve the right to change the itinerary. The cruise lines strategy has always been to avoid a storm and they have specific hurricane storm emergency response plans to help them do this.

Best thing to do if your cruising during this time is to plan ahead. Arrive at the port of embarkation at least one day prior to departure in case difficulties arise, especially if your cruising out of Florida. Also prepare for the possibility that you might arrive home a day or two late. The ship will wait out at sea if the hurricane is threatening Florida.

Buy insurance, whether through the cruise line or an independent provider and make sure the policy covers disruption in case of weather-related events.

If the cruise is actually canceled you will get a refund. However, it’s very rare for the cruise lines to cancel a cruise.

Cruise and Travel expert specializing in Honeymoon Vacations.

European Cruise

There are many ways of getting to know Europe. You can go on your own, stay at a Bed & Breakfast, rent a car, have lunch at diners, and really spend serious money on overpriced European goods. Traveling on your own apparently seems less expensive, but if you write down everything you spend, you might be alarmed at the expenses. Let’s say you’re walking around London and you feel thirsty, wouldn’t it be terrible to pay for bottled water at a price three times what you pay at home? Paying a local tour guide is almost always more expensive and not always do they have understandable English. The best option for land traveling is going on a package deal if you want to save on a travel guide but that is about it. If you are going on a package deal you might as well go on a cruise!

Think about the advantages of a European cruise. All your food and drink is already paid for, so you won’t pay European prices on food and drink, you will pay what you would pay at home. When the cruise arrives at a city, you have a tour guide with good English. The only downside to cruises is the time limit for exploring the cities ashore, but the advantages totally overshadow this. If you take the total expense for cruising and divide it by the total number of days you will be traveling, the outcome might be much less expensive than land traveling.

So you should stop thinking that cruises are just for rich people because they are not. It is just a question of class and self-allowance. If you believe you can go on a cruise, you will because it turns out less expensive than land traveling.

There are two main routes on European cruises. You can take the cold Northern route, which is the Baltic Sea (Scandinavia and Russia), Norwegian fjords, the Arctic Circle, and British Isles. Make sure you take plenty of winter clothes, because out at sea is much colder than on land. It is a beautiful cruise, although it is more indoors. You can also take the Mediterranean course, which is probably more appealing. You get to know Barcelona, Southern France, Italy, and Greece. It is warm and pleasant there and you can go to the pool on the cruise ship and enjoy the outdoors. There are also possibilities of making a connection between both courses and get to know the entire European coastline.

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