Monthly Archives: December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Cardinal Cruise and Travel

Merry Christmas from Cardinal Cruise and Travel

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Ketchikan Activities? Here’s Some Ideas.

Last post I tough briefly on the city of Ketchikan, Alaska the first port of call on our Alaska Cruise Tour 2013. This time I will highlight some of the activities you can participate in while you are in port. Most of what I will tell you is shore excursions offered by either the cruise line or a separate shore excursion company, but you can also go of and explore the town on your own. You can visit Creek Street and see the unique shops that now occupy the bars and brothels that were there during the gold rush days. There is a free shuttle taking cruise passengers downtown from berth 4.


Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

If you like the more organized tours of your port of call, you can check out the many shore excursions offered in Ketchikan.  The cruise lines offer you the ability to pre book your excursions online or even book them while on board the ship.  They offer you the assurance that you will make it back to the ship in time for departure.  There are a few shore excursion providers not affiliated with the cruise lines that now offer the assurance that they will get you back to port.


Some excursions are designed for people who are active while others are designed for those who like a challenge.  One of the easier excursions is to take a Lighthouse, Totems, and Eagles boat tour.  After a short bus rides from the dock you will board a vessel and see Tongass National Forest, historic Ward Cove Cannery, Guard Island Lighthouse, and Totem Bight State Park. You can enjoy the sights from either the heated cabin or from the observation deck.


Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International


Another one of the easier options is to experience what crab fishermen do. You will board the Allutian Ballad, a crab-fishing vessel that was featured in season two of the “Deadliest Catch”, where you will watch the crew pull a crab pot filled with crab. They will also pull other types of traps and pots used to catch other species.


photo courtesy of Princess Cruise Line

photo courtesy of Princess Cruise Line


If you Like fishing you can go on an Alaskan Fishing and Wilderness dining Expedition. You will be outfitted and take out to experience bottom fishing. Then you will enjoy a meal of freshly caught fish before returning to your ship.


The Alaskan Bear and Adventure flight excursion takes you by float plane into the Tongass National Forest and after a ¼ mile walk you will be able to spend time watching Bear fish for salmon. You will also get the opportunity to see eagles waiting for scraps left by the bears or even catching their own fish dinner.  When doing an excursion dealing with wildlife you need to keep in mind that seeing wildlife is not guaranteed but they do all they can to make it happen.

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International

Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International


With all these activities there is plenty to look forward to at our first stop on our Alaska Cruise Tour 2013. You can learn more about our cruise tour at:

Author:  Nathan Nehmer –


Categories: Alaska, Cruise, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Welcome to Alaska – Ketchikan

Map from

Map from

On our Alaska Cruise Tour 2013, after we Vancouver and spending a day at sea, we will spend the day in Ketchikan, Alaska. The town of Ketchikan is the southeastern most town in Alaska and has a population of around 14,000.  Ketchikan is known as Alaska’s “First City,” because it is the initial port for cruise ships coming up from the south. For most visitors stepping ashore, this is their first view of Alaska. The economy for Ketchikan relies heavily on tourism with the cruise industry gracing its harbors during the summer months. On certain days, there could even be 6 cruise ships in Ketchikan at the same time.


Ketchikan is also well known as the salmon capital of the world. Fishing is king here. In fact the city of Ketchikan was founded as a fishing outpost. Later the mining industry exploded and so did the population of Ketchikan.  With the mining boom came a new industry for Ketchikan that since has disappeared with mining history. Creek Street was bustling with bars and brothels that miners frequented when they came into town.

Ketchikan, Alaska, Creek Street

Creek Street; Photo courtesy of Princess Cruise Line

Ketchikan’s weather is affected by the being on the cost. While it is pretty far north, the Low temperatures do not dip as far as you would think. January has the lowest average low temperature at almost 29 0F .  When talking about the cruising season, the average high temperatures range from 50 0F – 65 0F with July being the warmest.  June and July are also the driest averaging about 7.5 inches of rain per month.

Ketchikan, Alaska's "Liquid Sunshine Gauge." * Photograph by Robert A. Estremo, copyright 2002.

Ketchikan, Alaska’s “Liquid Sunshine Gauge.” * Photograph by Robert A. Estremo, copyright 2002.

My next post will dive into the activities to do when you arrive in Ketchikan. There are many of them ranging from easy to more adventurous. We will talk more about Creek Street and Totem Bight State Park.

By Jim Nista (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Jim Nista (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Categories: Alaska, Cruise, Princess Cruise Line, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alaska Wilderness by Sea

I wanted make time to write a series of blogs talking about the spectacular region of the Alaska Inside Passage. Taking in the Alaska wilderness is something that is best done by a cruise. Many areas along the coast can only be seen from the water or by air.


The Denali Explorer cruisetour starts off with a 7 day Voyage of the Glaciers cruise on the Coral Princess. This is a northbound cruise leaving from Vancouver and visits the towns of Ketchikan, AK; Juneau, AK; and Skagway, AK before arriving in Whittier, AK. The cruise will also visit Glacier Bay National park and College Fjord where you will get an up close look at some of the most breathtaking sights in the world. After arriving in Whittier and disembark the ship, we will be whisked away by rail to explore the amazing wilderness of Denali National Park.


I am going to go into more details of this unspoiled land in my next few blogs in this series but for this post I want to talk about the Inside Passage. The Inside Passage is a network of passages, used by ocean going vessels, which weave through the islands of the Pacific coast of northwest North America. Some of the passages get pretty narrow so this is the chance for you to see natures best right up close. Bears coming down to catch fish, moose getting a dink on the shore, and not to mention the whales that spend the summer in the Alaskan waters.

Map from

Map from

This is one destination that you would want to upgrade to a balcony. Imagine sitting on your private balcony enjoying your coffee in the morning and seeing a bear catching a fish at the edge of the water. Or eating a private lobster dinner while a pod of whales play just off the ship. The balcony really adds to what already is your trip of a lifetime.

Mt. McKinley, Alaska


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A Look at The Haven on the New Norwegian Breakaway

The Norwegian Breakaway will be making her New York inaugural voyage on April 30, 2013 from London to her year round homeport New York City.  She will be making sailings to the Bahamas & Florida and the Caribbean during her inaugural winter season.

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway

I wanted to take you on a trip to her exclusive area, The Haven. Guests who booked themselves into some of the most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations on board the Breakaway; will enjoy an experience of a lifetime. Some of these experiences that guest will enjoy are:


  • The Haven Courtyard – A private pool, sundeck, hot tub, fitness area, as well as the The Haven Restaurant and The Haven Lounge that is exclusive to The Haven guests

    The Haven Courtyard

    The Haven Courtyard

  • The Courtyard Valet – The Haven guests will experience dedicated Valet in The Haven Courtyard to provide personalized service, whether it’s taking a guest’s drink order or providing an extra towel
  • 24 Hour Certified Butler – All of The Haven’s butlers receive formal training by the International Institute of Modern Butlers and are available to our guests day and night
  • White Tablecloth En-suite Dining – If guests of The Haven want, they can have their butler serve a gourmet meal in their suite, complete with white tablecloth for an upscale, fine-dining experience (perfect for the newlyweds on their honeymoon)
  • Platinum Colored Keycards – These special babies will get you enhanced recognition throughout the ship.
  • Priority Reservations Throughout the Norwegian Breakaway – A dedicated concierge can secure reservations for The Haven’s guests at specialty restaurants, the spa, entertainment and invitations to private events

    The Haven Restaurant

    The Haven Restaurant

The Norwegian Breakaway features 7 stateroom categories within The Haven.


These Suites are located in The Haven and offer amazing ocean views, a wet bar and an extra-spacious wraparound balcony. They include a king-size bed; additional bedding that accommodates two, and one and a half bathrooms. This stateroom can sleep up to four people.


These beautiful Suites are located in The Haven and offer amazing ocean views and an extra-spacious balcony. They include a king-size bed; additional bedding that accommodates two, and one and a half bathrooms. This stateroom can sleep up to four guests.


These Villas are located in The Haven and are perfect for the family. They feature an extra-spacious balcony, two bedrooms, one with a king-size bed, the other with a double sofa bed and two bathrooms. Can sleep up to six guests.


These Penthouses are located in The Haven and include a king-size bed and private balcony with a fantastic view. (Sleeps up to three)


These Penthouses have access to The Haven and feature a king-size bed plus dining and sitting areas. They offer an unforgettable view from the aft-facing, private balcony. (Sleeps up to four)


These Penthouses have access to The Haven and feature a king-size bed plus dining and sitting areas. They offer amazing views from the forward-facing, private balcony. (Sleeps up to four)


These Suites have access to The Haven and are the perfect way to experience a total spa vacation. They include a king-size bed, hot tub, oversized waterfall shower and multiple body spray jets, spa décor, easy access to the adjacent Mandara Spa and fitness center, as well as complimentary access to the Thermal Spa Suites during regular Spa hours. (Sleeps up to two)



Now you may be asking yourself; if you book a cabin in The Haven, does this mean you can’t explore everything else the Norwegian Breakaway has to offer. The answer is: by all means no! In fact, I encourage you to explore the rest of the ship. She has so much to offer you, it would be a great disservice to yourself not to see the rest of the ship. The hard part would be to want to leave The Haven.


Click on the image to contact us for more information.

The Haven is truly a great way to relax and feel pampered as you enjoy everything that Free-Style cruising with Norwegian Cruise Line has to offer. Why not make your plans to check out everything The Haven has to offer?

Stateroom descriptions and photos are courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Categories: Cruise, New York, Norwegian Cruise Line, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Carnival Breeze Officially Named

The Carnival Breeze had its official naming ceremony yesterday and was officially christened.  Yes you are right, she has been sailing since June but now she is officially christened.  It was hard to find if any other cruise ships waited for six months before getting their naming ceremony but Carnival wanted to wait till she was home.  Doug Parker of Cruise Radio tweeted his summary of what Gerry Cahill said about waiting:

‏@CruiseRadio :Gerry Cahill says naming ceremony waited on naming of Carnival Breeze cause they waited til came to @portMiami#BreezeNaming


Photo tweeted by @CarnivalPR

Tracy Wilson Mourning, the ships godmother, broke the bottle of champagne over the hull after naming the ship. Tracy then spoke of her Honey Shine Mentoring Program where girls learn about health, nutrition and, character development. Shannon Hurst Lane tweeted a moving quote from Tracy Wilson Mourning:

‏@CajunMama: “Anything is possible. You just have to believe in yourself.” ~ Tracy Wilson Mourning, Godmother Carnival Breeze #BreezeNaming

Carnival then presented a check for $25,000 to the Honey Shine Program.



Photo tweeted by @CajunMama


The ceremony continued with a playing a game of connect4, part of the popular Hasbro, The Game Show played on the Carnival Breeze and coming soon to other Carnival ships.



The Carnival Breeze is the 24th Fun Ship and is sailing year round 6 and 8-day Caribbean itineraries from Miami.



Thanks to Carnival, Shannon Hurst Lane, and Doug Parker for tweeting photos and videos from the Carnival Breeze Naming Ceremony.


Categories: Carnival Breeze, Carnival Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line News, Cruise, cruise news, Miami, news, Port of Miami, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

DreamWorks and Royal Caribbean

I think everyone with kids have seen these and has seen the kids love them. I’m also ready to bet that the parents and even the adults without kids love them too. I am talking about the DreamWorks movies and characters. With 24 animated feature films, including the franchise properties of Shrek, Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon; you can say that DreamWorks is on the top of their game.


Sail away party on the Liberty of the Seas

This past week, Royal Caribbean International announced they are expanding their partnership with DreamWorks Animation. They will be adding the DreamWorks Experience to a sixth ship, Mariner of the Seas when she arrives in the Far East this coming May. This partnership began when Princess Fiona, from the Shrek movies, inaugurated the Allure of the Seas as her godmother. It has since been expanded to the Oasis of the Seas, sailing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Freedom of the Seas from Port Canaveral on Florida’s Space Coast; Liberty of the Seas, which splits her year between Port Everglades and Barcelona, Spain; and recently, Voyager of the Seas in the Far East and Australia and New Zealand.


Character Parade on the Allure of the Seas

“Royal Caribbean continues to be the perfect host for the DreamWorks Experience and this expansion agreement ensures that more and more fans will have the opportunity to interact with our characters and properties,” said Kerry Phelan, Head of Worldwide Licensing for DreamWorks Animation.

“Royal Caribbean is the only cruise line to offer the DreamWorks Experience to vacationers throughout the world and we are delighted to expand our partnership with DreamWorks,” said Lisa Bauer, executive vice president of Global Sales and Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “The DreamWorks Experience really resonates with our guests since we launched it aboard Allure of the Seas. We worked with DreamWorks Animation to create an incomparable entertainment experience for our guests, no matter what their age, and their feedback has been nothing short of stellar.”

The ships that have the DreamWorks Experience feature parades, themed activities and events involving the beloved characters from the DreamWorks films. The ships are also equipped with a 3-D theater showing the latest DreamWorks animated films. They also feature the popular DreamWorks Character breakfast in the main dining room, where you can meet with the characters while you are served breakfast, as well as plenty of photo opportunities throughout the day. Fellow travel agent and friend, Monica Tillotson, and I were able to stop for a photo opportunity with Puss In Boots on a recent ship inspection of the Oasis of the Seas.

Monica and I with Puss In Boots

Monica and I with Puss In Boots

This is just one of the reasons Royal Caribbean is a leading cruise line for families of all ages.



Press Release, video and most photos courtesy of Royal Caribbean International. I took some photos on the Oasis of the Seas.

Categories: Cruise, cruise news, DreamWorks Animation, news, Royal Caribbean, Royal Caribbean News, travel, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Norwegian Getaway Hull Artwork Announced

While I prefer a nice “clean” look of a white bow on cruise ships, the artwork on the bows of Norwegian Cruise Line’s (NCL) ships serves it purpose. You can pick out a NCL ship from a long ways away and can definitely say that it is NCL. If you are really into them, like me, you can even tell which ship it is because each one has a different mural on them.

The artist and hull artwork were released for the Norwegian Getaway yesterday. Well-known Miami artist, David “LEBO” Le Batard, was introduced at an event held at his art studio.  Here they introduced the design to be featured on the hull of the Getaway when she launches in January of 2014. The artwork features a whimsical tropical ocean theme complete with a mermaid holding the sun, pelicans and palm trees. This artwork reflects her home port city of Miami where she will sail year round seven-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean beginning on February 1, 2014, with ports of call including Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas.


Norwegian Getaway Hull Design


“Norwegian Getaway will be Miami’s ship and, therefore, we wanted to ensure that her hull was designed by an artist with strong ties to Miami and the Latin community,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “Having begun his career in South Florida, Dave is an artist that is entrenched here. His work adorns the city and I’ve learned that he is also a genuinely nice guy. He is a shining star in Miami, as well as the global art community.”


David “LEBO” Le Batard

“LEBO’s incredible design reflects all of the elements that Miami is known for sea, sun and paradise,” said Sheehan. “This artwork will surely make Norwegian Getaway an iconic part of the Miami skyline when she arrives as Miami’s largest year-round ship in 2014.”

The Norwegian Getaway, which is currently being built at Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, will be 146,600 gross tons and offer a wide range of accommodations. She will offer an opportunity for guest to “get away” from the same old routine and find a true respite at sea that reflects the energy and culture that Miami is known for worldwide.

What do you think of the mural that will be featured on her hull?


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Photos and press release courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line.

Categories: Cruise, cruise news, Miami, news, Norwegian Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line News, Port of Miami, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Celebrity Reflection Arrives in Miami


Photo from @passiocrociere

The Celebrity Reflection arrived in Miami, her homeport for the winter months, yesterday.  She will begin sailing her 7-day Caribbean sailing on Saturday December 8, 2012 after a couple shorter sailings.

The Celebrity Reflection is the 5th and final planned ship in the Celebrity Solstice Class. The Reflection will accommodate up to 3,046 guests and will have one more deck that the other Solstice-class ships. The Reflection will also be the first Celebrity ship with Aqua-class suites.

The naming ceremony took place yesterday in the Reflection Theater before she sets sail on her first cruise from Miami.  During the ceremony, all the typical pageantry took place including the blessing of the ship and the breaking of the bottle against her funnel. The four godmothers of the Reflection were also introduced. The godmothers are employees of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the parent company of Celebrity Cruises, who have been touched by breast cancer in their lives.  The names of the godmothers are: Jovanka Goronjic, Megan Mathie, Helen O’Connell and Rosey Rodriguez.

Many people were tweeting from on board the Celebrity Reflection yesterday. I will share some of the tweets now with you.

@meghgrace: View from #celebrityreflection. #nofilter #maulatsea


Photo from @meghgrace

@NickMcKetaPhoto: #celebrityreflection has an apple store on the ship!!!

@juanguibeme: #CelebrityReflection you are gorgeous!

@midtownchica: @USATODAY @CelebrityCruise @nancytrejos I’m here too! It’s a gorgeous ship! Paired w/ perfect miami weather of course #celebrityreflection

@ExpertCruiser: #CelebrityReflection is decked out for the holidays


Photo from @ExpertCruiser

@Steph_MH: Yeah, to wake up to this is just surreal. #celebrityreflection


Photo from @Steph_MH

We look forward to seeing more of this ship many times in the next few years.

Categories: Celebrity, Celebrity Cruise Line News, Cruise, cruise news, news, travel, Uncategorized, vacation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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