Posts from ‘April, 2012’

Tips and Tricks for Your Tours OnShore

The idea of stopping at many different islands and countries can seem a bit overwhelming, especially on your first cruise vacation.

I wanted to give you a couple of tips and tricks to try and help you plan ahead, so everything is smooth sailing once you actually head out to sea.

A big worry can be which shore excursions to take. The best source if you have questions, you got it, your cruise guide! They have the information and advice you need.

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5 Top Tips for First-Time Cruisers

As a Customer Care Guide, I speak with many clients who are first-time cruisers.

They often call because they just found out at the last minute they’ve missed a step and are now racing to make sure everything is in order. I’m always happy to help, but I feel bad knowing the issue could have been avoided if they had the proper information.

Cruising is a unique and exciting way to vacation, but it’s a bit different from just making hotel and flight reservations and never thinking about it again until the day you leave home.

So, to help out all these first-time cruisers, I’ve come up with 5 tips about booking and preparing for your cruise vacation.

First-Time Cruiser Tip #1 – Call a Personal Cruise Guide vs. Booking Online

Now there is nothing wrong with booking your cruise online if that is what you want to do. But for first-time cruisers, you may want to consider having some professional guidance.

  • A Personal Cruise Guide is a wonderful source for insight and suggestions to make your cruise a dream vacation. For instance, she can tell if you’ve chosen the right ship or cruise line for your family’s needs, and tell you what shore excursions are the most popular and therefore need to be reserved in advance.
  • Your Personal Cruise Guide will tell you all the reasons why a balcony cabin is so much better than an ocean view cabin and why it’s totally worth the extra money.
  • They will also tell you how important it is to purchase travel insurance (this may be one of the most important, and often overlooked, factors in having peace of mind and a restful vacation).
  • She will pay attention to the details you may not be thinking about, such as if you’re celebrating a special occasion, or if you have any medical needs or dietary restrictions.
  • Your Personal Cruise Guide will do all these things and more, and it’s a FREE service! They have the answers to all your questions, and advice for things you didn’t even realize you needed!
  • Most importantly, your CruiseNow.com Personal Cruise Guide cares about you and will do everything she can to make sure everything runs smoothly for you. Can you honestly say that about your computer?

Call a Personal Cruise Guide; you won’t regret it.

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Splish and Splash it Up on Royal Caribbean

What is your favorite thing to do when on a cruise? For me, I like to stay busy. I’m not one that will sit by the pool for hours.

That’s why I love sailing on Royal Caribbean.

They offer something poolside for people like myself, a busy-body, or for those that like to lounge with a good book (or now-a-days an electronic book!).

Royal Caribbean has six classes of ships, each offering the same simultaneous energetic and relaxing aqua-ambiance.

Sovereign Class –

  • Majesty and Monarch of the Seas are the 2 smallest ships in the fleet, weighing in at about 74,000 gross tonnage each.
  • There are 2 pools on each ship for you to swim your daily laps or just hang out with friends poolside.
  • There are also 2 whirlpools to soak your worries away.

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Part 2 of What Is Included vs. What Isn’t : Now, What You Paid For

Last week I wrote about what was included in the bottom line advertised cruise price.  This week I wanted to follow that up with what you receive for that price you paid.

People often ask me what exactly is included in the price of a cruise.  While the answer to that can vary a little among cruise lines, there are some consistencies between them you can count on.

The cruise fare will include :

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Epic Excursions: 5 Things to Know Before you Brave the Zipline

Zip-lining is a popular shore excursion for the more adventurous cruise passenger. I mean, who wouldn’t want to soar high above the ground with only a rope between you and the ground and…well you know the rest.

I am juuust kidding, it is really a rewarding experience and I think almost everyone should try it, however, there are a few things to know before you go.

  1. There is usually a weight limit of 240 to 250 pounds. If you are above this weight you will not be allowed to participate.
  2. There is a minimum age, usually 8 years old. Maybe this would be a good time to have someone in your party stay back with the younger children so you can fully enjoy the experience.
  3. Pregnant women and guests with heart problems, knee problems, back/neck/shoulder injuries will not be allowed to join in the fun.
  4. Make sure you wear closed-toed shoes. You also might want to consider pants, and definitely bring some bug spray.
  5. There is some walking involved. You will have to walk between the different zip lines, and this does include walking up-hill which can be strenuous. Make sure you research the area to pick the best port of call for you to zip-line.

This is a thrilling excursion that will definitely be an adrenaline-filled memory. Be safe, have fun and zip-zip away!

If sailing down a zip-line through the trees sounds a bit daunting, maybe you could try it onboard your cruise ship? Yes, on Royal Caribbean’s revolutionary Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas you can actually zip-line through the Boardwalk Neighborhood…now that is WOW. Check out more here.

Don’t Miss:

Are Cruise Line Transfers Worth the Money?

Photo by Gillfoto

Usually the first thing you think of after, or possibly before, purchasing your amazing cruise vacation is how you are going to get to the cruise departure port.

Some people will fly and others will drive to the cruise terminal.

If you decide to fly to your departure city, after you book your flights, you will need to think about transfers from the airport to the cruise terminal.

You do have options, so you can figure out which will work best for you:

  • Cruise Line Transfers– Cruise line transfers are usually competitive with independent transfer services. They offer a round trip price that you can pre-purchase or sign up for in the airport upon arrival and charge it to your onboard account.
    • The distance to the cruise terminal is a huge factor. If further away (45-60 minutes) we suggest using the cruise line transfers as the ship will have information on your whereabouts prior to boarding. If a shorter distance, say 5-30 minutes, a cab or independent shuttle could cost less and there is less risk of missing the ship.
    • If you choose to utilize the offered cruise line transfers, a representative from that cruise line will be located in the baggage claim area of the airport. They are usually holding a sign, or wearing a lanyard, with the name of the cruise line. All you need to do is walk up and tell them your name. They will then tell you exactly what to do.
  • Taxi– Most airports come with a line of taxis waiting to take you to your destination, right outside of baggage claim. In several popular cruise departure cities, like Ft. Lauderdale or Miami, there is even a set, flat rate to take you to the cruise terminal.  You do not need to share the taxi, or wait for it to fill up.
    • KEEP IN MIND: If you are in a city in which the distance from the airport to cruise terminal is longer, this could be a pricey option. For departure ports such as Rome and Alaska, consider a shared shuttle or the cruise line transfers.
  • Transfer Companies — Many times times independent transfer companies unassociated with the cruise linecan be less expensive. Even reserve beforehand and they will be waiting for you at the airport upon arrival.
    • KEEP IN MIND: Make sure to do your homework and use a reputable company, always check with your cruise guide if unsure.

So which way is best way to get to your ship? I guess it depends on what you are comfortable with.

My suggestion,  try to have a plan in place prior to your departure. This way, whether you are taking a taxi or a transfer company, you won’t encounter unexpected surprises and potentially miss your sailing and that bon voyage drink!

 

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Last Minute Bahamas Cruise Deal : Getaway with Royal Caribbean April 30th, 2012

3 Reasons this Cruise is Awesome:

1. It’s last minute — book and sail!

2.It’s only $50 a day, sun & sand included

3. 4 nights + 3 stops = non-stop fun to be had

Okay, summer is knocking on the door. We all love summer, but this sunny season also brings along higher prices. As more travel, the prices soar.

This is your chance to take advantage of what is sure to be the lowest rates for a Bahamas cruise getaway until the fall.

Wave bon voyage from Miami on Monday, April 30th. Enjoy your sail away cocktail onboard the Majesty of the Seas as you cruise to Nassau, Bahamas;  Cococay (Royal Caribbean’s private island), Bahamas; and Key West, FL.

No cleaning, no cooking, no laundry, no carpool, no washing the pollen off your car.

Spring into summer with a 4 night pampering from Royal Caribbean starting at just $189 per person!

Get all the details, availability and pricing here. Or give us a call at 800.243.1959 and let us help you get away from it all!

Hop aboard the Majesty of the Seas with John and CruiseNow.com!

What is a Cruise Line Private Island?

So what exactly is a cruise line private island?

A private island is a section of an island in the Caribbean or Bahamas that is designated and operated by one particular cruise line.  It is not available to the public or local population. When you are at a private island you are the only ship in port.

The island will have plenty of beaches to bum on with chairs and loungers available to use for your entire visit, and they are free.  You don’t have to worry about heading back to the ship for lunch as there is usually a barbecue provided by the cruise line. Don’t forget to sip on your favorite umbrella drink either at your lounger or sitting at the beach bar! One thing you will NOT see on a private island is someone asking if you would like your hair braided or nice purse.

If you are like me and can’t sit still, there is plenty to do on the islands. You rent snorkeling equipment (or bring your own like I do). You can sign up to take a wild banana boat ride (you’ve got to try it…you will laugh so hard!).  Or rent a three-wheel aqua bike. If you like to sail, rent a boat or kayak.  Some islands have wave runners for those that like speed.

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Part 1 of What Is Included vs. What Isn't : ONLINE CRUISE PRICE

So you have finally talked your traveling companion into going on a cruise with you, providing you can find one for a reasonable bottom line price.  You’re very excited and start surfing the net to find the perfect cruise at the right price, but with so many websites listing different rates it is hard to know what is included in the advertised rate!

Here is what should be included and what to ask about so you aren’t blindsided when you get the bill!

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A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes–Your Disney Cruise Line Honeymoon

When I think of a honeymoon cruise, taking a Disney cruise wouldn’t necessarily come to mind at first.

But did you know that Disney cruise ships are very popular with newlyweds?

And there are oh-so-many reasons why.  In fact, if I were to do it again, I would certainly consider taking a Disney cruise for my honeymoon.

Who doesn’t want to re-live their childhood with the person they want to spend the rest of time with?  And Disney Cruise Line definitely knows how create those once in a life time experiences.

So what is there to do on a Disney cruise that are ‘adults only’? The answer, a lot lot lot.

Experience Senses, the unbelievable onboard spa and fitness center–

  • Relax in one of the private villas and get a couples massage.  Now that is my idea of a honeymoon activity!
  • Other treatments available include body wraps, facials, aromatherapy, and salon services that include manicures, pedicures, hairstyling and blowouts, plus teeth whitening at the Smile Spa, and a barber shop for traditional men’s grooming services.
  • The interior of the Senses Spa & Salon is a calming palate of green, brown and blue hues accented with a tropical flower motif and rich wood finishes. Slip into a state of bliss in the rainforest-themed aromatherapy steam room and sauna. Before and after treatments, you are able to relax and linger in the Relax Room, as well as enjoy the rainforest-themed aromatherapy steam room.

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