Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Stop Teasing ME Celebrity Cruise Lines!

My husband, Mike, serves in Prison Ministry as do I.

He came home on Sunday and said that good friends of ours want us to come with them on an Alaskan cruise.  Well, that's all I had to hear...let's GO!!!

But, I thought I'd take a different tack.  Instead of being the crazed cruise addicted person I am I said, "Well, if you think we can afford it honey."  Hahahah...well played.

I looked up prices and am especially loving a deal on the Celebrity Solstice for a lower end balcony for $1399 per person.  The cruise would hit the major ports in Alaska and would sail from Seattle, which is a place I've always wanted to visit.

Right now Celebrity has a deal where you can choose from 4 free items.  Free drinks, (Yes please!) free gratuity, onboard credit of $300 or money off your cruise depending on the length.  A 7 day cruise would net you $400 off your trip, pretty significant.

It's a pretty enticing offer certainly. Can I talk hubby into it?  I will try my best, it's where he has wanted to cruise for ages.  

Hoping to hit Alaska next August!

Happy sailing,
Mary
 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

To Pay or Not To Pay?

I remember when I first cruised and pretty much everything was included.  (Not alcohol I don't believe.)  Cruising these days brings a myriad of options.  In the past you chose the itinerary and the ship.  You chose what type of cabin you wanted.  Now, the options on the cruise itself is stupefying.

Do you want to save money and eat in the included restaurants like the buffet or the main dining room or do you want to pay a stipend for a more intimate dining experience with attentive service?  (Although, I love the servers in the main dining room, they have been more than attentive to me in the past.) You can choose from Teppanyaki on NCL where they chop and serve you at your table from the built-in grill.  Or Chops on RCCL cruise line where you get melt in your mouth steaks.  There is the Bayou Cafe & Steakhouse on Princess that gives you true "N'orleans" cuisine. See what I mean?

Perhaps you want to buy a drink package prior to your cruise?  There are many offered, so what would you choose?

Photo packages are now offered as well as WiFi packages. Many options available.

The spa...oh the spa.  Would you like to whiten your teeth, or a touch of botox or a massage or facial?  

Do you want to order the Barbie package for a young lady in your party or champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries for your significant other. 

What about the dolphin adventure or Dunn's River Falls?  Shore excursions can cost a few dollars but are so often worth it.  If you think otherwise, enjoy a stroll through the town or take a low fee walking tour.  

No matter what, you have so many choices it can make your head swim.  My advice?  Start small.  Do you want to save money to spend elsewhere?  Dine in the included restaurants on the ship.  Want to splurge? Choose a dining package where you can try all the (for a fee) restaurants on the ship.

Are you someone who has a mimosa or bloody mary at breakfast, a beer or two at lunch, three or four drinks by the pool, one at dinner and then more at night?  Buy the drink package for goodness sake! You will save in the long run.

Remember, if it is something you would enjoy and you can afford, then book that spa visit, eat at a specialty restaurant, book a shore excursion and enjoy every minute.  I know I do!

Happy sailing,
Mary 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Alaskan Cruise - Take a Break from the Sand and Sun!

I admit, I love the sand and sun.  I love cruising to the Caribbean.  It is vacation speak for relaxed.  There is nothing better than flying to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami and walking off the plane to sunshine and balmy breezes.

So why do my thoughts turn to Alaska?  It's on my hubby's bucket list.  No doubt I would love it as much because the ship is my true destination.  (Anyone else feel that way?)  

Cruising from Seattle would be great as I've always wanted to spend a few day there anyway.  Knowing I'd have to bring socks and shoes and a sweater or light jacket?  Not so much.  I live in the north woods of Michigan.  I know cold better than most.  We are here: 
 However, this is a cruise that would make my hubby smile and I know the views would be worth every penny.  Alaska is more expensive that the Caribbean so this would have to be planned in advance and saved for.

My aunt took this cruise last week on Princess Cruise Line and although it was her first cruise...ever...she absolutely loved it.  Of course, she hasn't been to the Caribbean yet. (cough...my favorite...)  

So - it has to be said that this is a viable location to cruise and therefore I will try it out.  If you have already cruised to Alaska, what did you love about it?

Happy Cruising!
Mary

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Welcome to Quantum of the Seas!


Welcome to the newest and most innovative ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet!  Quantum of the Seas recently had her float out of the Meyer Werft ship builders in Papenberg, Germany.  Let me tell you - she is a BEAUTY!

Her hull is a lovely light blue, a change for Royal Caribbean.  (RCCL)  She's just stunning but what's amazing is what's inside.  

RCCL is always known for their cutting edge ships with the most innovative range of ships.  They were the first for the Royal Promenade, the FlowRider, ice skating at sea, etc.  With the Quantum you'll enjoy true smart technology. 


Isn't it amazing?  It's certainly different and truly new.  I really, really, REALLY want to sail on her.  I love the Rip Cord by iFly - being able to sky dive on the ship...and safely.  I mean! Don't forget the North Star.  Want to ride high in the sky and over the edge of the ship.  I know what some of you are thinking.  NO WAY.  Not this kid - YES please!  Then there is Two70°. It's a revolutionary space to gather and enjoy with expansive views in the daytime and at night is transformed into greatness.  This new technology will change the background to match the entertainment that is shown.  Really breathtaking.  

I know - this sounds like a commercial for Royal Caribbean.  It does except that I am just so excited for this ship.  I'm a complete cruise addict but there is something about this ship I just love.  I really enjoyed the float out video.
  


In 82 days you can sail on her.  (I wish I was...meh.) Check out the video's and if you are very lucky, you'll experience this grand lady yourself.

Happy cruising,
Mary



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Norwegian Cruise Line - All Inclusive?

I received a mailer last week from NCL about an all inclusive deal.  WOW.  I looked at their website and found this:


Sailing with Norwegian is easier than ever. Purchase one of our 2015 all-inclusive packages as an add-on to your next cruise and save up to $600 on a complete vacation experience that includes unlimited dining and beverage packages, shore excursions, gratuities and more. That's over $2400 in value!

Discover What's

INCLUDED


Each All-Inclusive Package add-on comes with:


  • Ultimate Dining Package
  • Ultimate Beverage Package
  • Bottles of water for your vacation
  • Gratuities associates with package and Service Charges
  • Shore excursion credit of $200 per person on 6+ day cruises (or $100 per person on 3-5 day cruises)
  • 250 Minute internet package
  • 10% off cruise fare
  • 1 Bottle of wine
  • Bingo session (3 games)
  • 20 Photos, any size
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
 Now you will pay a little bit more for this package but it's a lot of freebies...er..sort of freebies.  It's worth the money.  Here's an example-a 7 day Caribbean cruise on it's new ship, Lady Getaway.  (I call all ships by their feminine moniker of "Lady".)

I searched for a third week of March in  2015 on Getaway. It's an eastern itinerary, 7 day cruise in a mid-ship balcony for two.  ALL inclusive as above.  $2389.  Yes it's a little pricey but remember, it's a BRAND NEW ship and you get all of the above freebies.

IF i could, I'd book it in a minute...but as I'm saving for our February 2016 cruise, that is unlikely.  

Happy cruising, Mary

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I have all the money in the world but don't want to take a cruise...said no one EVER!

Hi Fellow Cruisers!  

Do you have the ability to cruise on a moment's notice?  Why am I asking?  Because there are a wide range of deals on many cruises in late August, September and October.  I know because I've been dreaming of a last minute cruise although I don't have the funds to take it.   (Hence my title.)

I've been to sites on Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Carnival and Holland America.  So many great cruises, so little money.  <---- be="" font="" me.="" that="" would="">

Want an example?  If you're not fussy about the room, and want to cruise in a  interior/inside room for 4 nights to the Bahamas, here is what your money will get you in August.  Port charges and taxes are not included in these quotes. This is based on per person, double occupancy:

RCCL: $129
NCL: $229
Princess: $309
Carnival: $309
Disney: $760
Holland: No 3-4 day Bahamas cruise.

So you see there is a wide variety of prices for a 4 day Bahamas cruise.  BUT, if you have the time and could sail next week, you could take advantage and sail for almost nothing.

I'm always looking, I mean ALWAYS looking for deals.  I'm not a travel agent but I hope that will be my career after retirement from my real job.  

I work to cruise!
Mary

Monday, August 4, 2014

The dog days of Summer

As the summer wanes, my thoughts turn to fall, and naturally, cruising.

August sales bring a deep discount to the Alaskan cruise itinerary. Late August and September are the least expensive times to cruise the Alaskan waters.

September/October means repositioning cruises. When the cruise lines move ships from their summer itinerary to its 
winter one, you can get a great deal to ride from the old to the new location. 
A great example would be from Barcelona (summer season Mediterranean cruise) with a couple stops then to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. Many sea days which is heaven to me!!

Another fun itinerary would be a Halloween cruise. Let your imagination run wild. Love a masquerade? This is the cruise for you ! ( I would love it!)

No matter your cruising wish, talk to those who are knowledgeable about cruising. Knowing what you're looking for and what time of the year is the best, can save you a lot of money. Maybe enough for a Halloween  short cruise!

Happy Cruising, 
Mary