Hurricanes- Everyone is talking about the hurricane these days, and while I certainly do not blame them, I have little to no interest in discussing the weather. (Although I did ace meteorology in college ;) ) If you have a cruise coming up in the near future, you can putz around on the internet trying to find out what is happening OR (suggested) you can call your travel agent! What, Obama? Travel agents are irrelevent? Well, who booked all those trips to Spain for your family? But, I digress.... Call your travel agent or the cruise line directly. You may be thinking "why would anyone cruise during hurricane season anyway? Aren't your plans very likely to be disrupted?" And you would be wrong. (Well, about it not being a good time to cruise) Chris Owen wrote a great article about the pluses of cruising during hurricane season. Find it on his website here: Chris Cruises Although this is still a great time to cruise, it might not be the best time to book private excursions ahead of time, which might require a deposit, and you might not be able to show up. Hurricane season might be a better time to cruise, purely for relaxation on the beach, or to (dare I say it?) book shore excursions.
Stranded in San Juan- On first reading of this article, I thought that the cruise line had left a port day early and I was aghast. I mean, how in the world could you know if a ship's Captain had suddenly decided to leave 3 hours early? Royal Caribbean bat signal? But, no. San Juan was an embarkation port and left a few hours early, around 5, instead of hanging out until 8:30. Yes, it is still a big deal and people did get stranded in San Juan, but who in the world hasn't checked in by 5:00 pm? I mean, the mandatory boat drill is almost always around 4:00. If you are anything like most avid cruise passengers, you are knocking over your fellow cruisers when the terminal opens in the morning to be the first in line for the buffet. An interesting aspect to this story was that the cruise line did contact people who had booked airline travel through them as well, just not "independent" passengers. Just another great reason to have travel insurance. Find this story and every single story pertaining to Royal Caribbean on royalcaribbeanblog.com. Seriously, this guy is thorough.
The Carnival Breeze Life - Really? As much as I love the Carnival Magic, and am excited about the Carnival Breeze, this new advertising campaign makes me roll my eyes. I understand that they are attempting to convey that a cruise can help you relax more in your day to day life, but I think Princess is doing a much better job with the same theme. (This one is my favorite, but all of them make me sigh Coffee Moment) See Carnival, that is how it is done. Having folks claim that they are going to "live their life at the buffet" or "wear flip flops all the time" or "only ride waterslides and play minigolf" is silly. And the whole Mr. Breeze thing? Okay, I'll admit that so far, those commercials are cuter than The Carnival Breeze Life. I might can get onboard with him. But, most of all, Carnival should be showing the world how great these new ships are, and what a departure they are from what most people think of as "Carnival". The staterooms are gorgeous, the Red Frog Pub really IS a great, relaxing hangout, and the features like a whole fleet of hot tubs, great waterslides, ropes course etc. would really appeal to a large segment of the population. If you haven't checked out the new campaign, SeaTrade Insider has links here.
Royal Caribbean and Universal Packages- After several years of Disney building much of their cruise success on combining their cruise vacations with park days in a package, another cruise line has finally wisened up to what a good idea this is. Royal Caribbean will have packages with Universal for their shorter cruises out of Tampa. I think this is really smart, and can introduce a whole demographic to cruising AND, I think it will be successful for Royal Caribbean especially because their rates are so much lower than Disney's. Imagine you are planning a trip down to Orlando and learn that you can add on a relaxing cruise out of Tampa for a few extra days for only a few hundred dollars a piece. As it is, Universal is somewhat difficult to push as a destination park within itself, but combined with a cruise, well, you have a really complete vacation. Honestly, to me, this makes more sense than Disney because Disney really IS a complete destination to itself. You can easily spend a week there, and if you only have 3 or 4 days, you would miss a lot. Universal, not so much. Gene Sloan has more on that story here.
Well, that is it for today. As always, we love to hear your feedback.