Hurricane Season Cruising…..Is it for you?

Hurricane Season Cruising…..Is it for you? [republished/revisited]

Do you have the right mojo for a cruise during hurricane season? Historically speaking, your cruise most likely will not encounter hurricane conditions. But, are you ready? In the words of NY’s Mr. Bloomberg regarding the most recent hurricane, Irene, “prepare for the worst, hope for the best”.

Pre-Cruise Prep during hurricane season- 

This means travel insurance really should be top priority on your vacation list, #1. Be aware (or beware) that the itinerary that you booked could possibly be subject to change due to weather conditions. It is a reality that you should be aware of when you cruise during hurricane season.  You will not be compensated for missed ports. *Read your cruise contracts.

Transportation-

If you are booking air or train transportation to a port of embarkation (ie; Florida or Puerto Rico), do NOT travel the day of your cruise.  Book your travel for the day before your cruise embarks.  This limits stress and any questionable and unpredictable weather conditions. And secures that you will not miss the ship. Again, we strongly encourage you to take out Travel Protection Insurance.

Up On the Bridge-

The Master of the Ship will, at all costs avoid going into a hurricane or tropical storm. Modern ships are all equipped with the latest technology that monitors weather.  Since a ship moves faster than a storm, a ship can veer off into different directions or, outwit and move faster than the storm to keep in front of it.  Armed with this information can help you decide if you have the MOJO to cruise during Hurricane season (June-November, respectively)

In Transit-

If you are cruising during hurricane season, even the most well seasoned cruisers should contemplate packing an anti-seasickness remedy. They range from Bonnine to the pressure point sea bands you wear on your wrist to natural remedy- Ginger pills. We have found ginger pills to be a miracle. Even if the Captain changes the direction of your ship, you can still experience rough seas.

Be Vigilant-

Take control and monitor the weather and your cruiseline announcements. You should telephone your cruiseline and question them.  Most Important, BE PREPARED.

The Top WHY’S to Book a Cruise

Is Cruising For YOU?

Cruising is for everyone. The old-world charm and grandeur of ocean liners lead many to have a skewed view of what a modern cruise will be. Cruising the vast ocean in high style when ladies wore their finest still exists, but as soon as you step foot onto a cruise ship these days, the choice is yours. Whether you go high style and formal and relive the bygone era that my Grand Parents lived or you toss the gowns and baubles overboard for the duration of your vacation. Cruise lines offer passengers everything. If you’re not feeling the main dining room, check out the buffets and room service for a casual evening at your own pace.

Here I tell you the Top “WHY’S”;

Why a Cruise is the best choice of travel.

Unpack once. We classify this under “Luxury”. You might not realize it until you experience it but there is nothing more appreciated when travelling from place to place to only have to unpack one time! Ahhh, “Luxury”, even for the un-spoiled.

  • Lose the hassle of living out of your tiny 24×15 case and hailing taxi transportation as you effort to go from place to place- city to city or plane hop island to Caribbean Island. Sounds tiring, doesn’t it? It is tiring and you often wonder why you need a vacation from your vacation. Cruising allows you a wonderful nightlife on board as your cruise ship takes you to your next port of call. The simplicity of cruising allows the passenger to visit multiple places without the hassles or arranging transportation to and from each place you visit.
  •  Cruising is a wonderful value for your dollar. Both the budget-minded and luxury traveler have ample choices of stateroom. Inside staterooms suit some, where suites and staterooms with balconies suit others. Cruise lines are even getting savvy to the SOLO Traveler and single accommodations are emerging. Included in your Cruise Fare- deliciously prepared Food, Top notch Entertainment you might not be able to afford at home, and transportation to each island. Alcohol, soda packages, Internet, professional pictures, specialty restaurants and excursions are an additional cost if you have interest there. Then, of course there are Luxury Cruise Lines that offer all-inclusive which typically will include your Lattes, alcohol and even sparkling water.
  • Ports of Call, Yeah! Where can you go to sleep in one country and wake up in another? ‘Nuff said! Imagine yourself trekking around and visiting ancient ruins like El Morro one day and the next waking up to a NEW port of call to go snorkeling while visiting the perfect white sand beach and top reef’s! It just can’t be done at a land based resort or all inclusive. Cruising…..there is a mystique about it, AI’s cannot compete.
  • Downtime. You create your holiday away on a Cruise. Do as much or as little as you want. Bingo, no bingo. Learn how to napkin fold, or not. There is usually a  fun Scavenger hunt, is this for you? Or, as CruiseDivaNJ likes to do, find the perfect lounge chair for your day at Sea and R E L A X, before that SPA appointment.
  • Kids Clubs & activities– and don’t forget the kids! Not only are there kids clubs, but that Rock Wall is not just for the adults.

How many more WHY’S do you need to book your Cruise holiday?

Cruising & Travelling With Little Ones

Travelling with little ones? 

When do you travel abroad with babies and toddlers?  Is seeing London and seeing France, going to Castles in Ireland and ruins in Greece memorable for little ones? Is packing and unpacking (diapers come to mind, as well as stuff to occupy baby/toddler) on your journey tiresome?

I have two feelings; the first is that any time spent showing your little ones knew things is awesome, but when do children have a genuine understanding and appreciation for history, culture, architecture and travelling the world? When does it make sense, for you?

I also have the belief that true desire to travel to these places should be from within, from things learned and books read and with heightening excitement, so it will be a learning experience and be enjoyed and remembered.  A time only you as a parent will know, a time when your child can help “plan” the journey with you and be an integral part- when they can read some things about your destination, understand them and show excitement.  Can they appreciate Mondsee, Austria where the cloister church was used for the site of the wedding in The Sound of Music? [at the very least, can they watch a movie like the Sound of Music and “relate” to it on your journey?] Maybe for your child it is 6 or 8 years old, maybe for others it is much older.
We didn’t travel to far off exotic places when my children were young but we took this time in their young lives to take trips that would appeal more to what their age was at the time.  A weekend at Sesame Place in Pennsylvania seemed apropos at a year and two years old. Being from the northeast, longer trips included places like Montauk and the Hamptons, Virginia/Washington, DC, Upstate NY,  the Pennsylvania Dutch area, Disney World and Florida beaches, and Myrtle Beach just to name a few.  By the time my children were in their teens they had also been to at least 15 Caribbean islands, Bermuda a few times and Puerto Rico. Needless to say they love to Cruise and love learning about the culture on the different islands- through the people on the islands.

When older children are asked about their family vacations from when they were under 5 years old they recall and reply from pictures and stories they have seen and heard through their developing years. When asked specifics about a particular holiday away they can reply with events that impacted them; like they remembered “being sick” or they remember the “big airplane” or the lady who gave them a “sweet treat”.

Cruising is a wonderful Holiday away for every age.  A huge Ship will never be just a memory from stories and pictures. The kids clubs on board most cruise lines offer activities to delight every age.  Excursions tailored and can be age appropriate.  Ask us for the deets on a specific cruiseline kids club and we’ll get the info back atcha’! For you it might be DISNEY Cruise Line, or maybe Royal Caribbean Oasis/Allure with 28,000 square feet dedicated to children and teens (ages 6 months to 11) and a Teen club up to 17. Whatever your needs, Windsor Crown Travel will find you a cruise to fit all your expectations!

A Cruise Holiday will be the greatest holiday away memory for your entire family!

Planning is half the fun! Contact us today!

Upgrades to Radiance of the Seas

Dining Spiced Up!

Dining on board Royal Caribbeans Radiance of the Seas affords the cruise passenger a lot more variety & options. Now more like Oasis and Allure in a mini version.

Options on board Radiance of the Seas, include, Asian Izumi; expect sashimi sushi and for those that prefer their food “cooked” there is a nice array of hot rocks…

Ritas…mexican. A happy place…

Dog House on Deck 11, popular w. families.

Chefs table…gives the passenger an opportunity to interact with the chefs table mgr…

Samba is most popular being on deck 12 with excellent scenery…

Giovannis Table… described as an Italian Trattoria, sure to be a hit with all.

Check out this video:

http://www.oasisoftheseas.com/video.php?embed=IzMGd0Mjq4mVAhULsrKRFN1TmPLEPy2U

NCL Sky – You Need Sushi Too

 

I love Sushi and Sashimi, there is NO denying it. I am a happily admitted Sushi-Snob.  I eat Sushi at least once a week at our local Sushi restaurant, they obviously greet us by name and customize our orders.

Highlights of the making of a Sushi Snob.  

I started off slow. I would meet my husband for lunch here in Princeton and we would get take out. Something like typical and plain California rolls. And, it grew into an obsession. So long ago,probably a decade back.  Sometimes I would look at the specialty area in the local supermarket and I would watch the sushi rolls being rolled, I knew this was not for me. I must have my white seaweed or soy paper.  I must be confident in the chef that handles my fish. We must become good friends.  I will learn where he was trained and where they obtain their fish from. Very shortly thereafter we noticed a small place open locally. We investigated. We interviewed. We took a leap. A decade later I call them my “sushi-family”.

The wait for some real, quality, GOOD “On-Board” Sushi for us was long. We would NEED to have a special sushi-dinner the night before we embarked on every Cruise, as we knew there would not be acceptable sushi [only buffet] on board. For us, although it might have been available on cruise lines we didn’t sail on, but I would doubt that 10 years ago other lines offered quality sashimi, it then it turned up on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager-Class ships.  We just could not bring ourselves to eating Buffet Sushi, although I admit to sending my husband to get some for an appetizer while I was in our stateroom getting ready for dinner so we could try it.  Okay, so we tried it and declined to do it ever again. For us, there were much better calories to be had on board. We did find that Carnival Miracle provided a fairly decent array, rolled as you waited- but this barely sufficed in holding us over until we returned home either.  I would pick at it and although visually appealing, that is all it was. A trick to the palette through ones eye.

When we booked RCI’s Oasis of the Seas, I was very happy to read such wonderful reviews on IZUMI, Royal Caribbeans first Japanese Specialty Restaurant (w/ sashimi).  Not a “kiosk” called “Jade” in the middle of a buffet, or a Japanese restaurant sans the Sushi, but a Japanese that will have and serve appropriately, “RAW FISH”. I couldn’t wait.

This excited me more than the Zip Line on Oasis or the Carousel or COACH™.  Once we boarded we headed straight to Izumi to speak to the Maitre D. We confirmed our reservation and we asked if they had either white seaweed or soy paper to make our Sushi rolls with.  They were quick and eager to accommodate our request and we were assured our Sushi would be prepared the way we asked.  SCORE! I would quickly recommend Izumi on Oasis of the Seas.

Norwegian Cruiseline just announced that September 16th through October 5th, 2011 a newer Sushi menu [almost] Fleetwide, excluding NCL Sky will be rolled out.  [already realeased on EPIC]

Ten NCL ships will have a new option- “Ala carte sushi”- averaging $4.00/item.  More FREESTYLE Benefits allowing you to customize your meal.  Appetizers like edamame, miso and seaweed salad will be options. Additionally, on sea days and embarkations days Lunch will now be offerred.  Yellow fin and Blue fin are a favorite of mine as well as white tuna.  I hope they offer these! Other members of my family like salmon. I do hope when we sail on NCL that they can accommodate our sushi snobbery and offer white seaweed or soy paper!  I will be there EVERY day they are opened. 

Travel Tips for Cruise Packing

If you are flying and have weight restrictions, here are some tips to make your journey a little less stressful.

If you are travelling with your spouse, pack in each others suitcase.  You most likely need 2 suit cases, but if one suit case is lost then you both still have clothing to wear.  In this event, either self-service laundry or very reasonable laundry services are available on all ships.  I find rolling your clothing eliminates wrinkles in most fabrics, but not all. Wrap those garments in dry cleaner plastic, and then roll. Lastly, you can pack a travel size of wrinkle releaser.

I am an admitted over-packer.  Truthfully, no one but you will notice if you wear 2 bathing suits all cruise, or a different one each day.  If you’re aiming to pack light, 2 swim suits for a 7 day cruise is sufficient.  When I must fly, I pack my shoes in my carry on as they are the heaviest items to pack in your checked luggage.  Yes, I need to pack a different pair of shoes for each evening outfit.  Pack your small items around the perimeter of the suit case. Make sure you pack anything sharp (scissor, knitting needles, nail clipper- you get the picture) in your luggage and not your carry on.

On sea days on Caribbean itineraries, if you enjoy the Pool Deck, you will be in a bathing suit or shorts and tee shirts, sandals/ flip flops, a cover-up.  On Port Days, if you sightsee, the most important item is a good pair of walking shoes (hats, sun glasses, water, sun screen).  Evenings for men mean long pants and collared shirts and dressy casual/casual for the ladies.  Typically Formal or Cruise Elegant evenings on board mean a suit or tuxedo for the man and cocktail dresses, gowns or fancy outfits for women.  Nice slacks and a button down and tie will work for some men for formal night, but the description truly describes casual.

Carry ons should contain all medical needs and documentation (passports). Some like to tak advantage of the open pools on deck and pack a swim suit. My family is way too busy the first day to be bothered, but it is a great tradition for many.

Do NOT forget to pack sun screen protection, a hat or sun visor, and a remedy “just in case”! I also suggest packing other remedies like for Sea Sickness, also- “just in case”. We have found natural ginger pills to work the best, but there are many available; sea bands work on pressure points and bonnie can be purchased in any major drug store. Don’t wait to find out the cruise ship medical is already out of sea sickness remedy.  Stomach remedies are smart to pack as well. And, DO NOT forget a good pair of sun glasses, for you and your children.

Lastly, If you take your Smart Phone, download a flashlight first, it could come in handy in the middle of the night.   No need to pack that extra weight of a flashlight anymore!

With 1,000s of items you can pack and different methods, consider this a snippet of information today! 

Royal Caribbean to Compensate Stranded San Juan Passengers

 

August 21, 2011 will be a day many hopeful Royal Caribbean International Serenade of the Seas passengers will not forget. Over 100 passengers were left stranded in San Juan, when port officials deemed it necessary for Serenade to leave the port 3 hours earlier then scheduled. The threat of Hurricane Irene was a serious safety issue.

After mayhem broke out online about the stranded passengers not being compensated, RCI announced today that they will compensate the passengers that did arrive to the first port of call 30% of a cruise fare as a “gesture of goodwill” and will offer a separate compensation for those that missed the cruise in its entirety. [to be announced after RCI contacts the passengers]

 

UPDATE from RCCL.com :

Enchantment of the Seas – September 3 Sailing
Enchantment of the Seas is scheduled to sail out of Baltimore, Maryland, on Saturday, September 3. Labor Day Weekend, the City of Baltimore is hosting an inaugural Grand Prix event on a 2.4-mile temporary street circuit that incorporates the scenic Inner Harbor area and Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Because of this event, increased traffic volume is anticipated and street closures in the downtown area are scheduled. However, the Cruise Maryland Terminal does not anticipate any impact to the cruise operation.

We ask that guests who are scheduled to sail on Enchantment of the Seas on September 3, provide ample time to arrive at the port for boarding. The ship’s 4:00 p.m. departure will not be delayed due to the event traffic. As a reminder, all guests must be checked in and onboard the ship 60 minutes prior to sail time.

http://www.royalcaribbean.com/contentPage.do?pagename=important_updates