Tag: Cruise Travel

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New Technology Means Cruise Ships Finally Offer Affordable Onboard WiFi

December 10, 2014 at 12:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

So maybe you've heard that there's a new WiFi scene on the high seas. Updated technology is finally allowing cruisers to log on from the Lido deck, and Royal Caribbean is the first big line to unleash the action.

Royal Caribbean's CEO insisted that the WiFi be available for free to everyone onboard the November pre-inaugural cruises of their newest ship, Quantum of the Seas, but RCCL has now nailed down solid numbers on how much they'll charge for the service.

The RoyalCaribbeanBlog noted WiFi rates and packages from the ship's frequent 8-day Caribbean sailings out of New York City and although the rates do hit three digits for the larger unlimited packages, they still represent massive savings over the exorbitant standard pricing of older systems.

The majority of cruise ships still utilize older systems, charging $0.75 per minute or offering packages like 8 hours for $168. These prices now decrease to as low as $65 for an entire day, and gone is that medieval by-minute option.

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Cruise Ship WiFi Sails Out of the Dark Ages: An Interview with Royal Caribbean's CIO

December 9, 2014 at 1:01 PM | by | Comments (0)

"This changes everything."

That's the boasty slogan of ads on TV commercials and even plastered on bus shelters around NYC, referring to the newest cruise ship now sailing: Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas.

The Quantum calls itself a "Smartship," deploying fresh technology from bow to stern—in some cases, technology that's never before been seen on a cruise ship, including at-sea WiFi faster than the usual slower-than-stalagmites connection and dedicated apps to help plan your cruise time in real-time.

Between riding the North Star and peeking into multi-level suites, we managed a moment with Bill Martin, Chief Information Officer for Royal Caribbean to discuss faster speeds, better satellites, and what all this means for the bottom line of your cruise folio:

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Cue the Nautical Puns. Virgin Cruises is Happening!

December 5, 2014 at 11:37 AM | by | Comments (0)


Branson with a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant in the Bellagio fountain, Las Vegas

As the new year approaches, so does what the cruise industry calls "wave season." This means a slew of great promotions are offered at the beginning of the year, every year. It's perfect timing as most of the country is in a deep freeze. Before the deals, however, comes news of what to expect with cruise ships in 2015 and 2016. Here's the latest:

· Airplanes and spaceships and cruise ships, oh my?

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group confirmed today that Virgin Cruises is a GO, with two planned ships. While itineraries, sail dates, and ship specifics are hush-hush for now, Branson has dropped some hints:

We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love.

They’ll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service.

How will the Virgin Cruise experience really compare to or include(?) their other travel offerings, like the airlines and Virgin Hotels? Are we bracing ourselves for another megaship or something more intimate? Where will the itineraries travel to? Will it be the saturated Caribbean, hot spot China, easy Europe? Whatever the decision, we'll be booking that inaugural for sure.

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Why Adults Take Disney Cruises..Even If They Don't Have Kids

December 3, 2014 at 2:41 PM | by | Comment (1)

Thinking about cruising in 2015? Then say hello to our new cruise specialist, MaidenVoyage. As a travel agent who spends day in and day out booking cruises for curious travelers, she knows cruise lines and ships like the back of a muster drill script. Got a question about cruises? Even a stupid one? MaidenVoyage has heard and seen it all, so don't be shy. Send your cruise question to her!

The one question that newbie cruisers and fellow members of the travel community ask me frequently is, "What's your favorite cruise line?" When I say that Disney Cruise Line is one on my list, I am most often met with the "But all of those kids...ugh." Then when I mention that I don't have kids, I get the "...are you crazy?!” No I am not, but thanks for asking. And since you wanted my opinion, I'm going to tell it like it is.

There are four ships in the fleet-- Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. And all are great for families. Obviously. But, Disney Cruise Line is equally as great for ADULTS without children, and here are some reasons why:

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A First Look at the First 'Smartship': 210 Original Photos of the Quantum of the Seas

November 18, 2014 at 11:44 AM | by | Comments (0)

What's longer than five 747s and yet can turn on a dime in NYC's Hudson River?

The Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship and the first to be branded a "smartship," is officially out on the ocean. Godmother Kristin Chenoweth christened her at Cape Liberty, New Jersey on November 14 and, with that crash of a massive bottle of Perrier-Jouët champagne, she begins a year of sailings out of New York Harbor to the Bahamas and Caribbean.

We spent the weekend onboard the Quantum, pushing buttons and opening doors to discover her secrets and put the much boasted about technology to the test. But first, let's take a long look at the ship—all 168,000 tonnes of fun—with completely original photos:

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Missoni Hotels May Be Done, but There's Always Cruise Cabins

November 12, 2014 at 12:40 PM | by | Comments (0)

Don your darkest sunglasses. Grab a front row seat between Anna Wintour and the Olsen twins. It’s time to appraise a fashion-forward new line of cruise ships.

CroisiEurope, the continent’s largest river cruise line, has announced that its 2015 season will debut three new ships with interiors outfitted by none other than MissoniHome, the fabrics and furnishings-focused offshoot of famed Italian fashion house Missoni. CroisiEurope began rolling out the Missoni wares earlier this year, introducing pillows, curtains, and contemporary furniture in the staterooms and common areas of several barge ships.

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Cruise Ship Food on the Upswing, Says The New Yorker

November 5, 2014 at 10:43 AM | by | Comment (1)

Cruise ship food: It’s not just for fanny pack-wearing Middle Americans anymore.

Okay, that was harsh; not all Middle Americans wear fanny packs. (Some of my best friends are Nebraskan.) But cruise ships have not often had a reputation for culinary greatness. Or even adequateness.

That reputation deserves revisiting, says David Owen in the new Food Issue of The New Yorker. Owen hopped aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, the second largest cruise ship in the world, and did a little kitchen reconnaissance: How does the food taste, and how do these floating Mall of Americas manage to prepare it? The answers, we surmise, are "pretty darn good” and “with great difficulty and ingenuity.”

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Trade Your Pina Colada for Push-Ups in the 'Fitness Garden' Onboard Crystal Cruises

October 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM | by | Comments (0)

Just in time for the busy cruise season, Crystal Cruises is making it a whole lot easier to balance out buffet time with some huffy-puffy in a fully renovated fitness center. Working with Italian fitness equipment manufacturer, Technogym, the cruise line redesigned their onboard gyms and added an outdoor fitness garden to tempt cruisers into more exercises than lifting fork to mouth.

Within the next few weeks, the overhauled gym of Crystal Symphony will feature Technogym’s fitness equipment and customized circuit training program for all levels of fitness. If you're in for sweating on the high seas, the cardio section will sport the newest equipment line called ARTIS, a high-design (obviously Italian), super-techy (iPhone connectivity) range of treadmills and cross-trainers.

If showing off by the pool is your goal, the resistance training offering will be an expanded Kinesis line of equipment to allow for better range of movement and more versatility.

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How to Go Yacht-Spotting on Fort Lauderdale's Intracoastal Waterway

October 23, 2014 at 2:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

The mere mention of Fort Lauderdale conjures up thoughts of sand between toes, endless beaches, and spending most of the day simply relaxing. While the city does offer some of the best spot to work on your tan, the ballers head a bit more inland, to the Intracoastal.

Starting from the impressive beach-side marina of Bahia Mar Yachting Center, we hitched a ride with the Gondolas West boat canal tour for some yacht-spotting. Our gondola boat was humble, but could be packed with any light nibble or libations for floating by all those yachts and waterfront mansions.

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This Norway Voyage Has a Brilliant Northern Lights Guarantee

Where: Norway
October 20, 2014 at 8:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last year, we ran a week-long special on the Northern Lights, publishing stories on what they are and how to take photos of them. We also, in spite of those photography tips, wrote a controversial piece about why we recommend keeping your camera at home when you go out hunting for the Lights.

Above all, though, we laid out a plan for what to eat and drink while you wait, because the Northern Lights are fickle at best, and have a knack for being extremely elusive. That is why, despite being one of the most amazing spectacles on the planet, many people are hesitant about committing their limited time and money to go in search of them.

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Bermuda Rebounds, Airport Reopens After Hurricane Gonzalo

Where: Bermuda
October 19, 2014 at 1:15 PM | by | Comments (0)

The typical image of pink sand paradise was disrupted on Friday, October 17, as Hurricane Gonzalo roared over Bermuda. Luckily the storm, which battered the island with winds of 110mph, didn't take the vacation destination by surprise; airlines ad issued travel waivers a week in advance and cruise ships had canceled their calls in advance.

Palm tree were shredded and some smaller boats sunk in harbor, but no lives were lost in the storm and Bermuda is extremely anxious to return to tourism business as usual.

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Crazy Cruise Fees That Should Be Thrown Overboard

October 16, 2014 at 8:15 PM | by | Comments (2)

CruiseCritic yesterday reported the delightful, wholly unexpected news that Royal Caribbean is dropping the $25 corkage fee on BYO-bottles of wine at their onboard restaurants.

Now, for example, if you board with a special bottle you're intending to drink in celebration on your cruise, you're welcome to do so without finding a hidden fee later. The policy is thus:

"Passengers are allowed to bring two bottles of wine or Champagne (up to 750 ml each) onboard at embarkation. Previously, they could drink the contents free of charge only in their staterooms. Additional bottles brought onboard or purchased in port are confiscated and returned to the passengers on the last day of the cruise."

The old corkage fee is hardly the only ridiculous extra onboard. Here are a few other exorbitant cruise ship fees we'd like to see eliminated:

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