Apr 12

Titanic 100 Year Anniversary

On April 15th, 100 years ago, the RMS Titanic met its fate when she hit an iceberg and sank in the icy Atlantic waters just 350 miles from her destination and only five days into her maiden voyage from Southampton England to New York. Saturday April 15, 2012 marks that 100-year anniversary as millions of people worldwide honor the “unsinkable” ship, the approximately 1,500 souls who perished and the 705 who survived. For those wishing to visit Titanic sites, there will be several tours to choose from including two-week tour of St. John’s Newfoundland, where she sank, and a walking tour in Belfast, Ireland and in Manhattan where the survivors were taken.Titanic anniversary

Not only will there be tours of Titanic sites but also, the entire first two weeks of April 2012 will see a re-release of the James Cameron film “Titanic” starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet only this time, in 3-D. Also included in the festivities an auction in Manhattan on April 11th of some 5000 items which were recovered from the ill-fated ship as well as the Smithsonian Channel will also be airing a special entitled “Titanic’s Final Mystery”. No doubt there will be millions of people the world over honoring the victims and survivors during this time.

The Titanic designed and built by a firm in Belfast, Ireland called Harland and Wolff was, at the time, considered the largest and most expensive at a cost of 7.5 million, ship of her time. Titanic was also considered the most luxurious and was boarded, by some of the most elite and well-known people of the time; status in society did not make any difference however to the icy waters of the Atlantic that fateful day in 1912. MA. Democrat John Kerry introduced legislation to amend the “R.M.S. Titanic Maritime Memorial Act of 1986 to protect the site.”
Sen. Kerry is quoted as saying, “I think it’s important to remember that this site on the floor of the Atlantic is a place where so many went to their deaths,” Kerry goes on to say “It’s hallowed ground, not just some underwater area to be poked at or damaged for commercial reasons.” In 1985 Dr. Robert Ballard who is a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, discovered the Titanic’s resting place some two miles down on the bottom of the Atlantic floor. Dr. Ballard, age 69 is quoted as saying, “the ship is in grave danger from overeager visitors, you don’t go to Gettysburg with a shovel,” he goes on to say, “You don’t go to the Louvre and touch the Mona Lisa.”
If you are among the thousands of people who either have a fascination with the Titanic, are a descendant of one of the survivors and you are going on one of the cruises to the resting place, consider this place as hallowed and should not be disturbed in any way. Be respectful and honor the dead in a way they would be proud and thankful.

Mar 06

Cruise Ships Sell Condos On Board

Cruise Ship Condos

Have you ever sailed on a cruise ship and didn’t want to get off when your vacation was over? Well, now you can live on a cruise ship if you purchase a “cruise ship condo” from one of the many developers. Most cruise lines already do full world voyages, but you usually only port for a day or two at most, leaving you very little time to explore the area to the fullest. Also for the most part you are unable to catch up with the ship whenever you want, but with these cruise ship condos you can come and go as you please at all times of the year. You can catch up with your cruise condo in various ports at different times of the year around the world. They seem to be a thing of the future for people who want to travel the world with a lot of luxury and also for retired people looking to get away for awhile. The ships vary with different needs for different types of travelers. You could cruise the world for significant events or you can cruise the Mississippi River all year. Below is an overview of the ships that you can purchase a “cruise ship condo” on now or fairly soon.

The World

cruise ship condo

The World

Currently one of cruise ships to offer condos for sale is The World only has room for 200 special guests. The World continually travels full-time giving the residents a very unique and personalized journey to all the different ports, allowing them 2-5 days to explore each destination. Each year there is a specific itinerary that the owners have, giving them the freedom to leave the ship from any port and join it again in a few months when it has docked somewhere else. Like most cruise lines, The World gives you the small conveniences of home, along with daily massages, meals form one of the 5 restaurants, a grocery store, a movie theater, fitness options and other amenities to help pass the time at sea. The World has anywhere from a studio sized condo, up to a 3 bedroom apartment available and one 6 bedroom penthouse. Prices start at $2,000,000 and there is a separate yearly maintenance fee ranging from $60,000 to $270,000.

Ocean Residences

The Ocean Residences Common Area

This cruise ship condo project is the creation of the Four Seasons hotel chain. This is the first time a luxury hotel chain is getting into the cruise business. Expect this 719 foot, 13 deck premium luxury ship will have 112 residences on board. The cabins that are being sold are from 1 to 4 bedrooms with walk in closets that range in size from 800 to over 7,000 square feet. They will also have full-length windows, terraces and full size kitchens. Each owner will be credited $12,000 a year in drinks, food and spa treatments. To give any convenience at your finger tips also included is a fitness center, a pool, shopping boutiques, four restaurants, wine cellar, putting greens, driving range, business center and a specialty grocery store. The itinerary is focused on key events in the world like the America’s Cup and Rio’s Carnival. These cruise ship condos start at $3.8 million all the way up to $40 million.



Utopia

cruise ship condo

Utopia

The Utopia is a planned luxury cruise ship with ownership rights to the cabins for the 199 residents. The ship is expected to be completed in 2014 and will focus its travels on world wide events like the Ocean Residences. The cabins will range in size from 1,400 square feet to 6,600 square feet. The cruise ship will have a casino, private cabanas on the deck, outdoor movie theater, golf simulators, 235 seat observation lounge, grocery store, three signature restaurants, demonstration kitchen and a marina. The cruise ship condos will start at $3.9 million up to $28 million.

The Marquette

Next we have a different kind of cruise ship condo available for purchase. The Marquette is large river barge that will stick strictly to the rivers in the U.S. Still in the development stage, the Marquette will cruise the northern rivers during the summer and then the southern rivers and inter-coastal waterways during the winter months to make it more comfortable for the owners. The Marquette will do things a little differently than the other cruise ship condos and won’t be all-inclusive. The ship will have your usual amenities like a movie theater, concierge service, fitness equipment, fishing, mail service to name name a few. If you want other special perks like an arranged golf event, restaurants, storage space, water craft rental, phone, internet and TV, you will have to pay extra for those.

cruise ship condo

The Marquette

The Marquette will feature between 185-200 condos on board. The cabins will range in size from 528-924 square feet. Don’t worry about furnishings, they will be provided except for linens. These condos have an interesting purchasing plan. You have three options to select from. You may purchase 2 months, half a year or a full year. The 2 month purchase rate ranges from $54,600 to $84,900, the half year purchase rate is $161,000 to $264,000 and the full year purchase rate is from $299,000 to $499,000. The are additional monthly HOA dues that range from $1,166 to $2,040. The ship won’t start construction until the units have been purchased. If you do call to purchase one, then you can request certain layouts and cabin placement is on a first come first served basis.

cruise ship condo

America World City

America World City

This city at sea is still in the dreamer phase, but America World City will be reality someday. The ship will be so large that it won’t fit into regular ports and will have to ferry people in at all times. With that kind of size, It will be able to hold 2,800 guest rooms and suites. It going to be on a very high luxury end cruise city giving you the best benefits possible like a sports complex, six swimming pools, seventeen restaurants, thirty shops and boutiques, a library, a museum, an art gallery 2,000 seat theatre, several nightclubs, casino and a complex wellness center. While construction hasn’t started on this vessel yet, it will surely be a goal of the future. Prices have not yet been set for the cruise ship condos.

The Orphalese

cruise ship condo

The Orphalese

Another cruise ship condo operation that is being planned is the Orphalese. This ship will have 200 permanent residences living in two to four bedroom condos ranging in size from 1,000 to 4,000 square feet.. There will also be an additional 265 suites for guests wanting to take a short cruise on the ship. This ship will focus its itinerary on events throughout the world like the Ocean Residence. The cruise ship condos will start at $10 million and increase depending on unit size.

While most of these ships are still in the developmental states, it looks like these condo cruise ships will be a thing of the future. If you are looking for a new way to retire then this should be right up your ally. Have fun following their development and maybe you will be lucky enough to own one some day.

Feb 29

Royal Caribbean’s Sunshine Class Adds New Cruise Ship

A new ship for Royal Caribbean will be available in the spring of 2015. Royal Caribbean announced this news for the new ship Feb 29, 2012. They had exercised the option to build the 4,100 passenger vessel, which will be in the Sunshine class. The ship’s tonnage will be 158,000, like the current ship that is being built. The cost of the new ship is roughly $938 million at the current exchange rate. The first Sunshine class ship will be delivered in the fall of 2014 by the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany, who will also be building the second vessel as well.

This is great news for Royal Caribbean and the cruise industry as it seems the past few months have been riddled with negative news, leaving a black eye on the cruising world. Royal Caribbean feels confident enough to move ahead with this project, which puts some pressure on other cruise lines to either look into building new ships or renovating the ones that they currently have. This will be nothing but good things for avid or fist time cruisers who have been reading the news and seeing nothing but negative news in the past few months. This will surely put there minds at ease, that the cruise industry is stronger than ever and growing everyday.

Sunshine Class

Expect more like this from Royal Caribbean with the new Sunshine class coming in 2014 and 2015.

These will be the newest ships for Royal Caribbean since the creation of the 5,400 passenger Allure of the Seas back in 2010. This shows that the company is in a good position to make an impact on the cruise line market again, as they also could be adding 2 more additional ships to the Sunshine class, totaling 4 in all. Chairman Richard Fain of Royal Caribbean commented on the decision to build the second Sunshine class ship, “This confirms our continued confidence in the success of this new generation of ships and our strong conviction about the Royal Caribbean International brand.”

Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenberg, Germany has been busy lately with the recent construction of the new Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream. They had also built all of the the recent Celebrity Solstice class ships, which have been getting rave reviews. It has been many years since the last time Royal Caribbean has built a ship in Germany and we will be eagerly awaiting these new vessels.

It will be interesting to see what features and amenities Royal Caribbean will add to the Sunshine class that will set it apart from the other vessels they have, but it should be something spectacular. Since the Allure and Oasis of the Seas were built, Royal Caribbean has always had something up their sleeve to help bring on the first time cruisers or even experienced cruisers, as everyone will want to get a look at the new Sunshine class ships first hand.

While the Sunshine class will hold only 4,100 guest compared to the Allure and Oasis at 5,400 it will surely get a massive amount of attention from cruisers whenever it is ready for the maiden voyage. I know I will be trying to get a cabin for what is shaping up to be a good few years in the “new ship” category for Royal Caribbean.

Feb 16

Top 4 Reasons to Cruise Hurricane Season

To cruise hurricane season, or not seems to be a hot topic when summer is right around the corner. With hurricane season starting in June and running through November, people are always asking certain questions, like is it safe to cruise hurricane season? My answer to that is yes it is. Here are the top 4 reasons to cruise hurricane season this year.

1. Reduced Pricing – Cruise lines will reduce pricing during this time to entice people to fill the ships and go on vacation. Prices can hit all-time lows with up to 20 or 30 percent off. You will want to watch these prices very carefully on the cruise line you are interested in, as cabins will get booked quickly.

2. Special Amenities – Cruise lines will try to coax people to buy with an extra amenity while they are on the ship. This could be a shipboard credit, free dinner or coupon booklet to use at restaurants and shops on the ship. A lot of times these special amenities will be better acquired through a travel agency, since the cruise companies will work directly with them on special promotions.

cruise hurricane

Great discounts can be found if you cruise hurricane season.

3. Cruise Ship is Always Moving– If you book a land vacation down in the Caribbean and a hurricane hits, you will probably have to cancel the trip. If you do cruise hurricane season the ship is moving everyday to keep you out of reach of the hurricane. The Captain does not want to put in you harms way, so they will navigate the ship to safe areas. You probably won’t even realize that there is a hurricane going on while you are down there.

4. Fewer Crowds – For some reason certain people won’t cruise hurricane season. This is excellent for you! There will be fewer crowds in the ports that you visit. If you have ever been on a cruise before, then you know this can be a good thing. You will have quicker trips into town and entering/exiting the ship will be much easier too.

These are just a few things to keep in mind if you want to cruise hurricane season. They can be extremely beneficial for you, if you are looking for an affordable getaway to the Caribbean.

Here is a list of other important things to remember if you cruise hurricane season:

  • Never under estimate travel flight times or potential delays. Get to your embarkation port a day early. This will ensure that you are there and ready to board when you need to.
  • If your cruise schedule is altered and you have to stay an extra day at sea instead of going into port, most of the time you will receive the port fees refunded to you. This usually occurs in a shipboard credit to spend how you want.
  • Always have your passport and a photo of it. This will allow you to board the ship and the picture will be a useful backup in some of the ports you visit.
  • Travel insurance is key to have, especially if you cruise hurricane season. In case there is a cancellation or injury on board, it is easier to deal with the insurance company then the cruise line directly.
  • You should be flexible with your cruise vacation during this time. If the storm changes direction, the ship will adjust accordingly possibly missing a port or exchanging one out for another.

Feb 10

Sapphire Princess Returns With Upgrades

Sapphire Princess recently had an intense three-week renovation. This makeover will bring a well-needed face-lift to the Sapphire Princess adding some new sensational features and amenities.

Passengers can enjoy a brand new Piazza atrium with an International Café and Vines Wine bar, along with the new Alfredo’s Pizzeria during its current sailing to Hawaii.  If you are looking for more fun aboard the vessel, look no further than the large Movies Under the Stars screen. If you are looking for something more in the “adult” category, then venture down to the Pocket of Tranquility, which is an adult-only Sanctuary.

Sapphire Princess

Sapphire Princess

Princess Cruises Executive Vice President, Jan Swartz was interviewed about the new improvements to the Sapphire Princess. “Making these changes to Sapphire Princess was an important step to ensure that our signature shipboard features can be found wherever our passengers want to sail.”

Want to see more in depth views of the renovation process? Look no further than Princess Cruises Flickr page. You will be able to see the transformation single handedly.

When you venture onto the Sapphire Princess next time, be sure to look at the many changes that took place. For reference here are the changes that took place:

Piazza Atrium – The atrium on board the ship was redesigned to encapsulate the full essence of a Princess cruise. The European-inspired section of the vessel has many light meals and quick delectable bites of food to satisfy any hunger you might have. On top of food and beverages, shopping, entertainment and guest services are available. Inside the Piazza is the International Café. You can get fresh salads, Panini sandwiches, cookies freshly baked or a multitude of drinks at any moments notice. The new Vines wine bar is also featured in this area and should not be taken lightly with their selection of spirits. There is a selection of 30 wines by the glass along with sushi and tapas. If you do find the wine of your dreams, then you may purchase it from the wine shop and enjoy it later in your cabin.

Princess CruisesAlfredo’s Pizzeria – Expanding from its first location aboard Grand Princess, Alfredo’s has found a perfect fit on board Sapphire Princess to serve a mouthwatering meal while at sea. The menu can’t be described with its over abundance of options of individual-sized pizza that are hand stretched and freshly prepared just for you! Alfredo’s Pizzeria, named after the cruise lines master executive chef, Alfredo Marzi dose more than just feed you. It also has features an open kitchen where you see all the action in making a fresh pizza-pie with your own eyes.

Sapphire PrincessMovies Under the Stars – Looking for a nice enjoyable evening with family or friends? Then take in a film poolside aboard Sapphire Princess. The giant movie screen sits poolside and showcases the finest entertainment in feature films, awards shows, sports events and concerts. Enjoy this memorable moment while comfortably laying on one of the ship’s many padded loungers wrapped up in a cozy, fleece blanket. On top of these amazing shows are complimentary treats and popcorn.

The Sanctuary – A tranquil retreat for adults is exactly what Sapphire Princess needed to secure its place in cruising comfort. One of the most peaceful locations on board, many enthusiastic passengers can’t resist to try it for themselves. With Serenity Stewards attending to the passengers every need, giving them the most enhanced and enjoyable comfort with refreshing snacks and beverages. Along with a pre-loaded MP3 player and an Evian atomizer emitting a cooling mist, passengers are sure to see the hours melt by day after day.

Princess Cruises

The Sanctuary

Other areas aboard the vessel that were renovated included the Internet Café, Library, Art Gallery and the Photo-Video Gallery. Along with that new carpet, upholstery and tile work were added all around the ship. Also, all staterooms now feature a new flat-screen television to help you unwind after a long day of shore excursions.

Sapphire Princess is re-releasing itself to the public with an exotic 14-day Hawaiian Island cruise, sailing February 4th roundtrip from Los Angeles. This will be only the first of many more comfortable journeys the Sapphire Princess will take with her new accommodations.

Sep 08

Why Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Why do I need travel insurance?

Why do I need travel insurance is something that is asked a lot when going on a cruise.  There are so many different elements that can come into play before you leave for vacation, or while on it.

People like to have the assurance that if something does go wrong they will have that support from the travel insurance provider that they have picked.

While it is your option to get travel insurance, just remember that you are spending a lot of money on a cruise and it might be better to have the coverage than not to have it.

What does travel insurance cover?Why Do I Need Travel Insurance

Before making your decision on whether or not to get travel insurance, below are some areas that it will cover while on your cruise vacation.

Medical Expenses – When you least expect it you could injure yourself on board the cruise line or while exploring the ports.  This is the perfect situation for travel insurance.  You will receive treatment with little to no costs to you.  If you are in a country where you have to pay upfront at the hospital, your travel insurance provider will reimburse you for it.

Trip Cancellation – If anything happens to you or your cruising companion before the cruise sails, you will be able to cancel the cruise without an excessive penalty from the cruise line.  This will insure that you won’t lose out on the value of your trip, since nobody wants to pay for a vacation and not be able to go on it.

Why Do I Need Travel Insurance
Lost Luggage, Don’t Worry

Baggage Delay/Baggage Loss– If you get off the plane and your bags aren’t there, don’t fear.  With travel insurance they will have your bags to you by the next port or two.  If the bags are totally lost, the insurance policy will cover the loss in full so go buy some new clothes.

Trip Delay/Missed Flight Connection – If anything happens while on the way to the airport or some sort of flight delay causing you to miss embarkation, travel insurance will assist you with getting on board your cruise at the next port.

Trip Interruption – If you are on your cruise vacation and the captain informs you that there are mechanical issues and the cruise can not continue, you along with the other hundreds of passengers will need to disembark at the next port.  This part of the travel policy will reimburse you for the hotel or any other out of pocket costs that you might have while arranging your flight back home.

Emergency Evacuation – If something drastic happens like a heart attack and you need to be taking by a helicopter to the hospital due to being too far out at sea, travel insurance would cover the costs of this.

Terrorism – If there are terrorist acts while you are on your trip, almost often than not you will be covered.  Read this portion closely as it might pertain to certain areas or a time length from embarkation.

What is not covered by travel insurance?

Weather – If the weather during your trip is storming the whole time you are unable to file a claim for this.  If your trip were impacted by a hurricane, this would fall under trip cancellation or trip delay.

Itinerary Changes – You are not able to file a claim if the itinerary is changed.  This happens sometimes during inclement weather to keep everyone safe.

Why Do I Need Travel Insurance
Inspect Your Travel Insurance Policy

Are there any travel insurance add-ons?

Yes there are additional add-ons for your travel policy, but research them well and determine if you will need them.

Car Rental Collision Coverage – This can be added on to your policy for $10 or less per day if you know you are renting a car while in port.

Cancel For Any Reason – Read the fine print if you get this add-on.  Some travel insurance providers will give you the full 100% reimbursement or 50% reimbursement.  These policies are usually on the more expensive side and should be looked at closely if you will need it or not.

Airline Accident Coverage – This add-on can be bought in increments of dollar coverage in case of an accident.

So to answer the question of why do I need travel insurance, the answer is simple.  To protect you in any instance that could interrupt your cruise vacation.  If you do decide to get travel insurance read over the policy very carefully to make sure what is exactly covered.

Aug 31

Top 10 Cruise Message Boards

Top 10 Cruise Message Boards

Cruise message boards or cruise discussion boards are found all over the Internet trying to help a first time cruiser or an experienced cruiser with any of their questions or concerns.  This brought on some curiosity as to what cruise message boards were best out there. (Click the header of each section to view website)

10. Cruise Talk

This site rounds out our top 10 cruise message boards list with its informative topics for someone looking for an answer to their question.  Cruise Talk shows you 14 different topics that you can chose from to dive into further.  Some of the cruise forum topics are; Cruise Line, Cruise Videos, Young Cruisers and Ports of Call & Destinations.  It gives you a brief description of each topic and what to expect when you enter each forum.

When you are in a cruise forum it just gives you each topic that people have started.  There is no way to search for terms or questions you are looking for, so it can be a little frustrating trying to find the info you want.  It is pretty active as you can see that there are a lot of people in the forums posting on a recent basis.

9. Cruise Buggiecruise discussion boards

This is a very clean looking site with a lot of different cruise forums to choose from.  Cruise Buggie has its main forums at the top of the page.  Underneath the main forum, there is another section for each individual cruise line, past and present.  Once you scroll past that, there is another forum for Ports of Call around the world and then a separate forum for ports in the United States.

You are able to search the cruise forum, which is a great tool to use.  There currently are only 2,735 registered users, so response time is a little sluggish and some topics have not been answered in months or even years.  There are a lot of topics in this forum, so you are able to find almost everything you need.

8. SinglesCruise.com

If you are single and looking for some cruise info, then this could be the site for you.  It is strictly for single cruisers with one forum open to people asking questions.  There is a separate singles cruise message board that they offer if you purchase one of their “singles only” cruises.  They will then also give you your own forum for everyone that is going to be on the cruise so that you can pre-mingle.

The cruise forum that is open to everyone doesn’t have any indexing of the topics or questions that people were asking, so it is a little overwhelming to look at.  There is a search option to use, but to post you need to be signed in.  There aren’t a lot of users for this forum, but the questions seemed to get answered within a few days of posting.

7. DISboards.com

This site is strictly for Disney Cruises.  With Disney being one of the most used “family” cruise lines around, this site holds a great amount of info to answer certain questions.  The Disney cruise message boards have a main forum with questions in no particular order.  It also gives you two separate sub-forums, Disney Cruise Meets, where you can meet up with other people going on the same cruise as you and a Trip Report section to give proper feedback on recent Disney cruises.

The forum doesn’t break it down into separate topics, so the information is a little jumbled around.  You are better off using the search button located in one of the menu bars.  This site is very active with a lot of quick replies to questions asked.  If you are cruising on Disney, then you should have your question answered here.

6. Cruise Line Fans

One of the cleanest looking cruise message boards around, Cruise Line Fans is extremely informative.  Each forum is listed out with a small description about the area.  It also shows the sub-forums that are in each main forum.  For instance the forum Cruise Places gives you a description of it, then shows multiple links for the sub-forums to different destinations.  This is great so that you can skip a step or two and go directly to the area you need.

This is one of the better cruise message boards around with almost around 30,000 members.  They are very active on the site ad helpful.  With all of the info it is easy to find your answer and more for your cruise.

5. Cruise Reviews

Like most other cruise message boards, Cruise Reviews holds a lot of info with around 30,000 registered users.  The forum is broken up into different topics like Cruise Lines, Port Chat and General Questions.  It is easy to manage and get around on.

The cruise forum sections need to be broken down a little further.  For instance under Cruise Lines it lists some ships individually for their own forum, but then clumps some other major cruise lines that should have their own forum into an “All Other Cruise Lines” forum.  Questions do get answered, but it seems that most are a one or two day turn around before something comes up.

4. Cruise @ddicts

With one of the higher registered users, just under 50,000, Cruise Addicts has the answer to most questions.  It seems to be a place where a lot of cruise enthusiasts go to talk about cruise lines or get the most up to date info on the ships and feedback from passengers.

The site is easy to navigate and has a lot of replies to the questions or comments posted.  It feels like a true community on this cruise message board.  They break down the forums pretty well, but leave out some areas like in the “Cruise Lines” section they only have 6 different cruise lines listed.  To find questions on the other ships you will need to search for them.

3. Cruising Talk

One of the better cruise message boards around the web.  Forums come first on this site, making it a direct resource for people that want to talk about cruising.  The site is extremely easy to navigate.  The forums are all broken down very well with a lot of sub domains to make searching for your question even easier.

Cruising Talk does want you to register for full access to their site, which would be beneficial if you are an avid cruiser.  The site only has around 15,000 users and questions get answered within about a day at the latest.  Everyone on the site really knows their stuff as well and will give you the answer or point you in the right direction.

2. Cruisemates

A very clean-cut cruise forum that has many main categories, starting with every cruise line available, Cruisemates has a vast amount of information.  It then breaks it down into a practical advice section where a first time cruiser or experienced cruiser can get the answers they need.

Cruisemates has just fewer than 60,000 registered users that are very knowledgeable.  The site has a lot of updating and answering of post daily, so questions won’t go unanswered making this cruise discussion board one of the better cruise forums out there.

1. Cruise Critic

If you are looking for the best of all the cruise message boards, look no further than Cruise Critic.  With its easy to read, non-confusing website development, you are sure to find anything you are looking for here.  Each cruise forum is laid out perfectly with multiple sub-forums underneath them.

With the unbelievable registered member count at 745,000 and growing, CruiseCritic really does have the answer to any question asked.  The turn around time for a reply to a post is literally hours.  You can come on here to look at dress codes for the cruise line you will be on and end up getting all of the things you should do and not do while on the cruise.  This should be your only stop for any cruise questions.

Hopefully this insight into the Top 10 Cruise Message Boards was insightful and will help you in your task of finding that perfect answer to your question.

Aug 15

Norwegian Cruise Line Alters Smoking Policy

Norwegian Cruise Line Alters Smoking Policy

It was announced today by Norwegian Cruise Line, that they will be altering the smoking policy for its entire fleet of ships.  This is due to the changing guest preferences for smoking on board cruise ships.

Changes are to officially take place January 2012 aboard all vessels.  The Norwegian Cruise Line smoking policy will no longer allow guest to smoke inside their stateroom.  If you have a stateroom with a balcony, you will be allowed to smoke cigarettes on it, but not cigars or pipes.  Ashtrays are available for your balconies and are available upon

Norwegian Cruise Line Review

Norwegian Cruise Line has restricted smoking aboard their fleet of ships.

request form the housekeeping staff.

Smoking will still be allowed in the casino and ashtrays with signage will be in place.  It will not be permitted in the more general areas including conference room, bars, restaurants, staircases or corridors.  Guests are allowed to smoke in the cigar bars, which are only on a handful of ships in their fleet.

Guests are allowed to smoke cigarettes, cigars and pipes in all of the outdoor locations, unless it is next to areas serving food, children’s pool, jogging track, sport complex or in The Haven outdoor areas.

Aug 03

Oceania Cruises Delays Maiden Voyage of Riviera

Oceania Cruises Delays Maiden Voyage of Riviera

Oceania Cruises announced today that their newest vessel, Riviera, would be sailing her maiden voyage 10 days later than originally scheduled.  The 1,258 passenger ship is currently under construction and will match its sister ship, Marina with all of the same bells and whistles.

Riviera’s first revenue-cruise will now be embarking April 24, 2012 from Athens, Greece.  The 12-day Middle East voyage will feature Alexandria, Port Said, Kusadasi and an overnight stay in Istanbul as just some of the stops for guest aboard the ship.

Oceania Cruise Line

Riviera will now have its first revenue cruise April 24, 2012.

Oceania Cruises decided to delay the cruise to allow the new staff to familiarize itself with the newest ship in its

fleet.  Guests who booked the original 10-day maiden voyage will be moved to the new 12-day sailing at no additional charge.  They will also be automatically credited a $250 shipboard credit per guest for the delayed sailing.

If passengers that booked the original 10-day sailing decide to book another departure, Oceania Cruises will give them a $250 per guest future cruise credit that they may use towards the new booking.  If they wish to cancel the trip, they will receive a full refund.

Jul 30

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Passes Sanitation Re-Inspection

Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Passes Sanitation Re-Inspection

Recently in June, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 failed a sanitation inspection.  During the inspection human hair was found in the ice machine, chemicals stored in non-safe areas and the pool had unsanitary water in it.

The vessel needed an 86 to pass, but failed with a score of 84 and was given a “not satisfactory” review.  This was big news in the cruise line industry, as most larger ships do not fail the sanitation inspection.

Since then Cunard has done an overhaul to the ship and had the sanitation inspectors back on to re-test it.  During the July 27th re-inspection, the Queen

Cunard Cruise Line

Queen Mary 2 in Geiranger Fjord

Mary 2 received a quality score of 92 in New York.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Vessel Sanitation Program examine all cruise lines twice a year with surprise inspections.  This is to ensure that guests aboard these vessels are given suitable conditions while on their vacations.

Cunard will continue to strive to meet and exceed the scores needed to pass the inspections.  It is very rare for larger vessels to fail, but the quick actions taken by the QM2 to resolve the issue seems to have not had a negative impact with their current or future clientele.

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