Posts Tagged With: Royal Caribbean

March Cruise Ship Madness Week 2

Last week I introduced to you the March Cruise Ship Madness where we matchup cruise ships in NCAA basketball tournament style to see which ship comes out as the champion. The first week of matchups are in the books and we are on to week two. Each week your vote enters you into a drawing for a $200 gift certificate. Vote every week for the best chance to win. Also, if you share the contest with your friends, you will get an extra entry for every friend that enters.

Week one was a success! The Norwegian Getaway defeated the Carnival Fantasy with 85% of the votes. The big winner of the week was the Ruby Princess who took all 100% of the votes in the matchup against the MS Noordam. Also winning in week one was the Celebrity Solstice and the Norwegian Sun. Each of these ships took 57% of the votes and defeated the Oasis of the Seas and the MS Nieuw Amsterdam respectively.

Update March Cruise Ship Madness Bracket

Update March Cruise Ship Madness Bracket

Here are this weeks Matchups:

1. Royal Princess vs. Majesty of the Seas

2. Norwegian Gem vs. Carnival Breeze

3. MSC Divina vs. Celebrity Infinity

4. Carnival Dream vs. Independence of the Seas

You can vote for your favorites through the tab on my Facebook page or you can get to the promotion directly by clicking here. You have until Saturday to vote for this weeks matchups. Have fun and good luck. the official rules for the contest can be found by clicking here Contest rules.

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March Cruise Ship Madness – Week 1 Matchups

Ok, this post is going to be a little different. I am not going to show you around a ship, tell you about someplace I just visited, or even tell you about some interesting travel related news. Today’s post is all about giving something away FREE and having a little fun while doing it.

To play off the excitement of the NCAA basketball tournament I would like to introduce the first March Cruise Ship Madness. Each week we will have a group of matchups for you to vote on your favorite ship. The winning ship will move on to the next round until we get our champion. Take a quick look at the whole bracket below.

March Cruise Ship Madness real

Well, that is the fun part but didn’t I say something about this being about giving something away FREE? Ah yes, by voting each week you earn one entry into a drawing for a $200 certificate good when you book your next trip through Cardinal Cruise and Travel. Thats right all you have to do is vote each week for your favorite ships. You also get an extra entry for every friend who enters when you share the fun. Of course, as with every contest there are official rules and you can read them Contest rules. The promotion is running on my Facebook page and you can get to the promotion directly by clicking here. You have until Saturday to vote for this weeks matchups. Have fun and good luck.

This weeks matchups

Norwegian Getaway vs. Carnival Fantasy

Holland America’s MS Noordam vs. Ruby Princess

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas vs. Celebrity Solstice

Norwegian Sun vs. Holland America’s MS Nieuw Amsterdam

Oh, by the way, does anyone have predictions on what

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Cat in the Hat Goes Cruising

Carnival Cruise Line announced a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises to bring to life the beloved children’s books to the lines 24 ships. In what they claim as an industry first, the Carnival Seuss at Sea program will give kids plenty of activities, entertainment, and dinning fun while onboard. Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line already has partnerships with DreamWorks Animation and Nickelodeon, respectively, bring their characters to life on their ships. Not to mention Disney Cruise Line, who doesn’t need a partnership to bring characters children love on their ships.

Carnival-Seuss-at-Sea-Logo-_JPEG_FINAL-229x300

Like Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival will offer The Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast in the main dinning room on the first sea day. For five dollars per guest, attendees will have the wait staff serve them foods inspired by Dr. Seuss books. Characters from the books will also join them at their tables for even more fun and photo opportunities.


There will also be Seuss story time help on sea day on each voyage, which will include some of your favorite Dr. Seuss characters. There will be opportunities for guest to meet and get their pictures taken with the characters. A Seuss-a-palooza Character parade will also take place, much like the DreamWorks Character parades on Royal Caribbean.

The Carnival Freedom, which will get refurbished in May, along with the Carnival Vista, set to debut in 2016, will feature the Dr. Seuss Bookville. This will be a fun play space inspired by the world of Dr. Seuss.

The Seuss at Sea program will debut on the Carnival Splendor in February and will be on all 24 Carnival ships by 2015.

While this may not be totally an industry first, it sure promises to be fun for people of all ages who love the rhymes of Dr. Seuss.

Information and logo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

Nathan Nehmer: nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

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Travel Insurance, Foolish Not To?

While watching my Twitter timeline today, I came across a conversation discussing if it is a good time to book a cruise vacation. This conversation started in response to the fire onboard the Grandeur of the Seas yesterday morning. Everyone onboard was accounted for and the Royal Caribbean PR team did an excellent job keeping everyone informed and accommodating all of their guests.
As the conversation carried on, the topic of travel insurance up. The question was, “Do you believe it’s good to buy travel insurance when you book a cruise?” I jumped in and tweeted this comment, “@scottlara1961 @CruiseGuy @elliottdotorg I believe when you save money to buy a vacation, it’s foolish not to buy travel ins. #traveltuesday”. I’d like to take a little bit to explain my answer some.
For the fear of going on and on about the details of different plans and coverages, I will keep this in the simplest of terms. Most of us don’t have the money sitting around to get up and go on a vacation whenever we want. We save up our money, and time, to take a vacation from our everyday life and enjoy ourselves. We go through the time to research and book our vacation. Why would you not want to protect that investment you saved so hard for and are looking forward to?
With the possibility of hurricanes in the summer months to winter storms, flight delays and cancelations could put a damper on your much needed time off. Having travel insurance can give you the peace of mind and keep you calm when the unexpected happens.
While weather is the biggest concern with most travelers, there are many other reasons to consider travel insurance. Illness or, heaven forbid, death in your family; can affect your travel plans. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the peace of mind that, when you are going through these tough times, you won’t loose out on the money you saved for your vacation?
Another reason to think about purchasing travel insurance is, what if something happens to you requiring medical care. Most health insurance plans will not cover medical care while you are traveling outside of the country. Travel insurance plans can cover your medical expenses and even transport back if needed in most cases. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you wouldn’t be stuck with huge medical bills if that need arises?
These are the reasons I said I believe it’s foolish not to purchase travel insurance for your vacation both cruise or land based.

Author: Nathan Nehmer, nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

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Royal Caribbean Releases Itineraries for Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean introduced the 18 Caribbean sailings for the Quantum of the seas. These sailings range from seven to twelve nights, and the official inaugural voyage is set for November 23, 2014. These itineraries are open for sale on June 4, 2013 but if you a Crown & Anchor Society member you will get a head start on May 28.

Quantum of the Seas

Quantum of the Seas

Vacationers in the New York-metropolitan area and around the world can choose among seven- and eight-night Bahamas, eight- to 11-night Eastern Caribbean, and 11- and 12-night Southern Caribbean itineraries aboard Quantum of the Seas. She will sail round-trip from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J. to the most popular Caribbean destinations through April 2015, with many “firsts at sea”, such as a skydiving experience; a thrilling adventure that transports guests more than 300 feet in the air on a breathtaking journey; cutting-edge transformative venues including the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever. To learn more about the Quantum of the Seas’ innovative at-sea “firsts,” please see click here

Bahamas seven and eight night cruises

  • Port Canaveral, Florida (Orlando)
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • CocoCay, Bahamas (Royal Caribbean’s Private island)

Eastern Caribbean eight to eleven night cruises

  • San Juan, Puerto Rico,
  • Samana, Dominican Republic
  • St. Thomas
  • St. Kitts
  • St. Maarten

Southern Caribbean eleven and twelve night cruises

  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • St. Maarten
  • Martinique
  • Barbados
  • St. Kitts

On most Caribbean sailings, Quantum of the Seas also will visit Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise on the north coast of Haiti.

 “Royal Caribbean is proud to partner with some of the Caribbean’s premier destinations for the inaugural season of Quantum of the Seas,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The Quantum class of ships will combine a new set of truly exciting and first-at-sea innovations that can only be found on Royal Caribbean, with some of the most incredible destinations in the region. We can’t wait to WOW vacationers with Quantum cruising.”

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Cruising is Loving New York

The cruise industry is showing the Big Apple some lover these days. Well maybe it not just New York City but the area surrounding it. Two new ships will be calling this area home in the near future. Both of these ships sound spectacular and innovative as well. And both of these ships are causing the whole cruise world to talk.

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway

Norwegian Breakaway

The first one to arrive is actually on her way here as I type this. The Norwegian Breakaway, from Norwegian Cruise line, will arrive in New York on May 7, 2013. She will be sailing year-round from Manhattan Harbor with itineraries to Bermuda, Florida and the Bahamas, and the Southern Caribbean.

ncl_Brkwy_Waterfront_Boardwalk ncl_Brkwy_OceanPlace_Atrium

There are so many exciting features on this ship. From areas like the Aqua Park & Sports deck, 678 Oceanplace, and The Waterfront (a boardwalk community right on the ship). Entertainment on the Breakaway will include three Broadway shows: five-time Tony nominated ROCK OF AGES; the dance sensation BURN THE FLOOR; and CIRQUE DREAMS & DINNER JUNGLE FANTASY. If you want to be pampered in an exclusive “ship with-in a ship”, maybe The Haven is for you. You can read more about the haven in an earlier post: A Look at The Haven on the New Norwegian Breakaway

Quantum of the Seas

Quantum of the Seas

Quantum of the Seas

The second ship to call the New York area home will be the Quantum of the Seas from Royal Caribbean. Launching in 2014 She will sail out of the New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty on 7- to 12-night itineraries during the winter 2014/15 season. The Quantum of the Seas is currently being built Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. Knowing Royal Caribbean’s style and history, with the Oasis class ships, we will be talking about this ship a lot more before it launches.

RipCord by iFly

RipCord by iFly

A few weeks ago, Royal Caribbean released some of the innovated features that will grace this ship. We are talking about skydiving at sea, hanging out over the edge of thee boat in a glass pod, and inside cabins with a view of the ocean. I wrote about these features in an earlier blog post: Quantum of the Seas Dazzles.

Virtual Balcony

Virtual Balcony

Northstar

Northstar

Bumper Cars SeaPlex

Bumper Cars SeaPlex

There will be more information coming on the Quantum of the Seas to build excitement for her launch.

To learn more about the Quantum of the Seas click here.

It is clear that the cruise industry is excited about the New York area market, and why not? It is a large market with many people who wouldn’t have to travel to catch their ship. For those who are from a “non-cruising” market, like me, New York provides a great place for a pre or post cruise stay. Either way I say, “Keep them new ships coming!”

Author: Nathan Nehmer nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

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Quantum of the Seas Dazzles

Royal Caribbean International is at it again. The cruise line on April 16th released some of the new innovative feature of their new ship, Quantum of the Seas, set to launch in November of 2014. She will sail out of the New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty on 7- to 12-night itineraries during the winter 2014/15 season. If some of these new features don’t make you say wow, then it must take a lot to impress you.

Quantum of the Seas

Quantum of the Seas

“This new generation of ships gave us an opportunity to make another leap in vessel design.  Innovation has always been part of our DNA and we have taken advantage of all that creativity to design Quantum cruising,” stated Richard D. Fain, chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd. Innovations were plentiful on the company’s Oasis class ships. From balcony stateroom on the inside of the ship, to the 7 different “neighborhoods”, to the zip line on board the ship, they had their work cut out for them to make a splash with their new class of ships.

Industry first on the Quantum of the Seas include:

  • RipCord by iFly, the first skydiving experience at sea which allows everyone from first-time flyers to seasoned skydivers to enjoy the sheer thrill and exhilaration of skydiving in a safe, controlled, and simulated environment.

    RipCord by iFly

    RipCord by iFly

  • North Star, an engineering marvel, takes guests to new heights – literally – with a jewel-shaped, glass capsule, transporting them on a spectacular journey more than 300 feet above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver awe-inspiring 360-degree views.

    NorthStar

    NorthStar

  • The largest indoor active space at sea, SeaPlex has new features that will impress guests of all ages.  You can experience a circus school with flying trapeze, or play basketball on a full-size regulation basketball court.  By night, the first-ever bumper car and roller skating offerings deliver fun and excitement.  Guest can dance the night away to music provide by a DJ in a floating booth.

 

Bumper Cars SeaPlex

Bumper Cars SeaPlex

They didn’t stop here! They also gave the staterooms some of their innovating touches as well. These are just as exciting as the public space features.

  • Virtual Balcony staterooms virtual balconies to interior staterooms offering expansive real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations.

    Virtual Balcony

    Virtual Balcony

  • Family-Connected staterooms deliver more flexibility, using three different stateroom categories that connect to form a special layout that provides separate bedrooms and bathrooms for all.  These accommodations allow families and groups of friends traveling together to enjoy the best of both worlds when it comes to together and alone time.
  • With Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean introduces the largest variety of stateroom categories, including new Studio staterooms, some with balconies for single travelers, three Junior Suite categories and larger Loft Suites.

Don’t worry they are not getting rid of the popular thing you already see on their ships. Their venues and experiences popular with families such as the Rock Climbing Wall; FlowRider surf simulator; the award-winning Adventure Ocean children’s program; the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery; and the DreamWorks entertainment and events featuring the characters from animated movies: Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar; will all be back on Quantum class. They have also promised to keep the information on new and exciting features on the Quantum of the Seas coming. It’s going to be a fun few months.

 

To learn more about the Quantum of the Seas click here.

 

 

Author: Nathan Nehmer

Pictures and information courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

 

Categories: Cruise, Royal Caribbean, Royal Caribbean News, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Deflating the 10 Reasons to Never Cruise Part 1

I recently read an a blog post entitled 10 Reasons To Never Cruise Again in which the authors gave their reasons why a cruise is not for them. There is always talk from people on why cruising is not for them. Some people have never been on a cruise while others have and were probably on the wrong cruise line. The couple that wrote this post has said they were on two different cruise lines and I could probably guess which ones they were. I tend to think that if someone does enough research, or talks to a cruise consultant, they can find a cruise that is right for them.

 

MS Eurodam from the Port Everglades webcam

MS Eurodam from the Port Everglades webcam

I will take a look at the 10 reasons they gave for why to NEVER cruise again and give a few reasons why I think a little extra time in the planning stage could have made for a better experience.

1) The only place you can be alone is your room.

For the most part, unless you are camping or hiking through some remote area, it is hard to really be by yourself while on any vacation. Many of the new ships being built are building in ways to allow people to have some “alone” time while on the ship. Take for instance; on the new Royal Princess there will be cabanas in the Sanctuary and around the Retreat pool that you can reserve.

MSC Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line have the Yacht Club and The Haven, respectively. These are like a ship within a ship where there are fewer passengers and special amenities to those booked in those cabins.

The Haven Courtyard on the Norwegian Breakaway

The Haven Courtyard on the Norwegian Breakaway

2) You’re less likely to experience any authentic dining.

Most of the time you are in port for a full day. You can have plenty of time to find some authentic food while in port. Yes, I know, the food on board is included in your fare; but how can you turn down a chance to try some street food in port?

3) Your destinations are manufactured.

This is where they complained about the ports being built for the cruise ships. I need to say, of course the built the ports especially for the cruise ships. People like to be docked more than they like to be tendered to port. There is more to the port of call than just the actual port. Get out and explore.

4) The alcohol on the boat is expensive, man!

Have you ever when to a hotel lounge? Any nice restaurant in a larger city?  The last time is went to a hotel lounge my drink was $14; I don’t think the drinks on board that far out of line.

5) The on-board structured group activities are lame.

No one say you have to participate in the activities. There are other things you can want to do. Some cruise lines bring experts on board to give seminars about the culture your port of call. Princess does this in Alaska and Norwegian Cruise Line does this in Hawaii. Almost all cruise lines do this in Europe.

Dreamworks Character parade on the Allure of the Seas

Dreamworks Character parade on the Allure of the Seas

I will continue with reason 6 – 10 in a later blog but for now, what are your ideas? Do you consider any of these points when thinking about taking a cruise? What are your pros and cons of cruising? I would love to hear them. Please comment on this blog and lets have a discussion.

Author Nate: nate@cardinalcruiseandtravel.com

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Cruising, A Good Way to Stay Friends While Traveling?

In my previous post –Traveling with Friends – I took a look at the things that I have learned about traveling with another couple. I mentioned how sometimes you may want to do different things than the others you are with want to do. I briefly mentioned my next trip which will be with a larger group of friends who I met through twitter and being in the cruise/travel industry. This trip, the Cruise Family Reunion, will be a group cruise hosted by a group of cruise experts and bloggers that call themselves the Cruise Family. The Cruise Family is extending an invitation out to anyone who wants to travel with them.

Since I am going on this cruise I thought I would share with you some of the reasons that make cruising a good choice when you want to travel with friends.

There is a full range of choices in stateroom categories.

Everything from inside to multi room suites that can sleep 5 or more people so everyone in your group can find the type of accommodation they need. For larger families there is in most cases the option of getting connecting staterooms. This way you can have enough room and still have the family together but you need to book early to make sure you can get the connecting rooms.

Plenty of activities on board so everyone in your group can find something they want to do!   

Cruise ships have so much to do onboard. Many have kids programs to keep the kids busy so the parents can have some time to themselves. The programs are divided into age groups and provide the kids with fun activities.

Camp Carnival on the Carnival Miracle

Camp Carnival on the Carnival Miracle

Adults can spend there time in the spa, casino, or hanging out in the lounges. Many cruise lines offer an adults-only retreat to escape the bustle in other areas of the ship.

Rendering of The Sanctuary on the new Royal Princess

Rendering of The Sanctuary on the new Royal Princess

Everyone can enjoy the pools and everything in the sports complexes. Many new ships feature waterslides and other expanded water activities. There are also the theaters and some with game rooms. If you’re into a quiet atmosphere you can check out the library area and find a book to read. And in this digital age most now have Internet cafes, but you need to pay for the Internet usage.

ncl_Olympics_Family_Ball

Royal Caribbean's FlowRider

Royal Caribbean’s FlowRiderMany options of places to eat means you all don’t have to eat together.

Many options of places to eat means you all don’t have to eat together.

Cruise lines are adding alternative dinning venues on virtually every ship. For the most part, gone are the days when you and whole group have to pick a time to eat in the Main Dinning Room. Now everyone can eat at places they want when they want. Most major lines also offer a version of “my time” dinning in one of the dinning rooms.

These are just 3 reasons why a cruise works well for traveling with other people. In another post I will continue with some more. As a reminder you can join the Cruise Family on the Cruise Family Reunion this July. This is sure to be one of the social events of the year.

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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.

LibertyOTSsailaway

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.

AllureOTSCharacterparade

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.

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