There is a New Ship Arriving!

Oceania Cruise Lines’ philosophy is all about casual elegance in a relaxed atmosphere. There are no tuxedos or evening gowns required on their ships at any time. The staff on board prides itself on learning passengers names, preferences and wishes, all in the interest of making the vacation experience special.

Because of the size of their ships, there is great opportunity to make new acquaintances and create friendships that last a lifetime. Additionally, arriving at a port of call is a pleasant experience with so few passengers disembarking there are no long lines.

An integral aspect of a cruise is the dining experience. Oceania Cruises features a cuisine designed by legendary Master Chef Jacques Pepin, who serves as the Executive Culinary Director for the cruise line. All ships feature an open-seating experience in their four dining rooms allowing passengers to dine when and with whom they choose each evening. If you wish a quiet lingering dinner for two, this is available to you. If you wish to dine with new friends let the party begin, Oceania staff will accommodate your group.

Oceania has enhanced their cuisine by offering selections from the fabled Canyon Ranch spa with innovative ingredients and flavors creating a true sensory experience. Healthy living is featured though many of their dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Menus are creatively designed to reflect the region and ports visited on each cruise.

Oceania’s Canyon Ranch spa experience is one of the best on the high seas. Through fitness opportunities including aerobics, Pilates or yoga, a wide selection of massages, relaxing treatments, lectures and cooking demonstrations, your quality of life will be renewed.

Oceania’s newest ship, the “Marina” is scheduled to debut in January 2011 with a guest capacity of 1258. On January 22nd her first journey will sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean waters, through the Panama Canal, up the Pacific coast of Mexico.

The ship will have stylish bars and lounges named Martinis, The Patio, and Horizons. There will be 10 dining venues, one will be Jacques, the first restaurant at sea for world-renowned Master Chef Jacques Pepin in addition to the Polo Grill, Toscana and Terrace Café and the Grand Dining Room.

The “Marina” will feature a Bon Appetite Culinary Center, Owner’s Suites furnished exclusively in Ralph Lauren Home and Tocar Interior Designs, and a grand stairway custom-crafted by French glass master, Lalique.

The Veranda Staterooms are 282 square feet and include expansive granite-clad bathrooms. The Penthouse Suites are 429 square feet featuring a separate living area and dedicated dining area. The lavish Vista Suites and Oceania Suites will have large private teak verandas with Jacuzzi tubs and en-suite Media Room.

The exclusive offer for past-passengers to book on the new “Marina” was a huge success, nearly 50% of the cabins released for sale for the first five sailings sold in less than 12 hours. This is a remarkable tribute to the experience passengers enjoyed on previous cruises. For people who plan in advance for their vacations, Oceania Cruises offers the best travel value. Many of their cruises offer two for the price of one (from the brochure price) and free airfare. This offer goes away as the ship cabins are reserved, so planning early is a great incentive.

There are many ships available for a wonderful vacation experience each with their own personality and allure. If you are looking for casual elegance with a small ship feel and enjoy more exotic destinations, Oceania Cruises may be your best fit.

Disadvantages to Cruise Ship Travel

Cruise ship travel is not for everybody. Although many enjoy cruises, some travelers prefer other types of vacations. Before going on a cruise, take time to consider whether or not this is the best method of travel for you. Be sure to research information about the specific companies you are considering as well as read reviews from other customers. Also consider talking to those you know who have traveled on cruises before and see if it sounds like something you would enjoy. It is important to get more information than just a recommendation from someone. What one person finds fun, you may not, so it is important to find out why a person did or did not enjoy a cruise ship experience.

Some do not enjoy cruises simply because of the nature of traveling on a boat. Those who are prone to motion sickness may not enjoy being on a boat because of the high likelihood of experiencing sea sickness. Severity differs for everybody, and sea sickness usually is not serious, but it can still be an unpleasant experience and can ruin a vacation. Consider whether or not this is something that concerns you. Medications and wrist bands help some who suffer from sea sickness, but they are not effective for everyone. For some people, sea sickness runs its course relatively quickly, but only you can decide whether or not this is a possibility you are willing to face.

Others are afraid to cruise because of the possibility of the boat sinking. Only you can decide whether or not you are a person who worries about this possibility. It may help to do some research. Any type of travel has inherent risks, of course. Some are terrified of airplane travel but sill travel on cruises. Others travel frequently on airplanes but would not consider going on a cruise. It is true that being on a boat is a different kind of experience than any other form of travel. Some are not so worried about the boat sinking but are afraid of being out in open water, unable to see the shoreline. Only you can decide whether or not being on the ocean bothers you.

Perhaps the most common fear of cruises in the last decade has been based on the media coverage of viral outbreaks on cruise ships. In the last couple years, this problem has improved, but most travelers are familiar with outbreaks of viruses such as the Norwalk virus. These viruses run rampant on cruise ships because of the large number of people in close proximity to one another for extended periods of time. Although general precautions can certainly decrease a persons’ chances of catching a virus on a cruise ship, it is true that illnesses are more difficult to avoid on a boat.

Along with viruses, crime on cruise ships has also been widely publicized. It is important to research each cruise line and get accurate statistics. Also, read reviews and information to learn how incidents are handled, and make sure you understand the level of security that will be present on the ship. Fortunately, most crime committed on cruise ships is property crime rather than violent crime, and this is relatively common with any type of travel.

Cruise Review NCL Jade Norway Cruise

I sailed on NCL’s Jade, cruising Norway from Southampton to the North Cape June 29-July 11, 2008. Here is my day by day diary.

Note: At the time of travel 1.00 USD = 5.09180 NOK

United States Dollars = Norway Kroner.

There are a lot of sightseeing ideas on the official tourism site: visitnorway.com

Day 0 We took Delta to London Heathrow. A very smooth on time flight.

Day 1 When we arrived at Heathrow, we looked for the coach terminal to take our pre-booked bus to Southampton (National Express) at 1150. Since we arrived at 9AM, this was plenty of time to get our luggage and walk to the terminal. The directional signs were not quite the overly precise way you an expect in Britain, so we wound up in Terminal 5, where we waited. Unfortunately, the coach terminal is nowhere near Terminal 5, something we did not find out until 1145, when we asked the bus dispatcher.

We missed out 1150 bus, despite the best efforts of the bus dispatcher from terminal 5, who called ahead to stop of bus from departing. She arranged another bus to take us to the proper coach terminal, where we waited for the 1250 bus, which would have brought us to Southampton just an hour before the scheduled departure time of 4PM for the Jade. We were wait listed for the 1250 and told to come back just before departure. Fortunately, an understanding bus driver allowed us on board, with the wrong tickets. He was masterful at avoiding the traffic pile up on the motorway, and by taking side roads through pretty towns, we were able to get into Southampton early! A taxi, readily available at the coach station took us to the ship in 5 minutes. One advantage of arriving so late was that there were no lines to board, and we were soon on the ship, just in time for the muster call. Before we knew it, we were on our way. The cruise left from City Cruise Terminal

A good long nap (we had been up for what seemed like days) meant we had a very late dinner, and missed the shows. Oh well!

Day 2: A day at sea with so many activities in the daily that we had trouble accommodating what we wanted to do in one day. Breakfast, a stretch class, learning to play bridge, entertainment, and more. I am so confused by bridge. I had always thought it was a game played by ladies with too much time on their hands. I have since discovered that it takes a lot of brain power to know all of the tricks.

Day 3: Alesund, a lovely small port with Art Noveau architecture and shops. A walking tour on our own included the stone church, and many nicely decorated shops and houses around the harbor. Very manageable on foot. Trolls are important here, and every one of them appears in the carved ornamentation of the buildings. Spend some time finding the trolls hidden in the buildings around Ålesund.

Day 4: Kristiansund – another nice small harbour. We strolled the area, although there was quite a bit to do in the vicinity if you wanted a shore excursion. Close to Kristiansund, you’ll find the island of Averoy, a fishing and farming society for generations. You may choose to visit the Milnbrygga – Norway’s National Klippfish Museum. Klippfish is salted and dried cod, which, exported to the Mediterranean countries, laid the foundation of Kristiansund’s growth.

Day 4 Svartsien Glacier – our first glacier was spectacular! Clear skies and clear blue waters. There was very little snow on the mountaintops – quite a bit less than in Alaska.

Day 5 Honningsvag is the stop for Nordkapp (North Cape) most northerly point of Europe. It was cold, even in July. The Arctic Ice Bar – made completely of ice – is a short walk from the cruise ship dock. Sjogata 1A (by the sea, alongside the taxi station). A modern design made by Laila Kolostyák, it can be visited in summer. All you will see in the inside is made on natural ice from the lakes of Lapland. Bar, walls, seats, tables, ramp with sledge, a map of the Artic, a life-size igloo where you can get in. In the shops in Honningsvag, you meet the local Sami people and their reindeer. If you go to the North Cape by bus, There is a huge hall here where you can see a film about the area have something to eat and drink and buy your souvenirs, and see a film. Another warning it was around this northern part of Norway that we had the roughest seas, although they were not bad.

Day 6 Cruise The Barents Sea

Day 7 Trondheim

Trondheim was the old capital of Norway, and the cathedral is where all the monarchs are crowned and if you go to Kristiansten Fort you get one of the best views across the city. After a catastrophic fire in 1681 destroyed most of the houses in the city, a new city was planned in the Baroque style. The streets were made wide to prevent fires from spreading. Some of the narrow alleys and narrow streets, many from the Middle Ages, nevertheless still. Even today Trondheim is spoken of as one of the typical wooden cities of Europe, and the city center has many special wooden buildings, some built as far back as the 1700s. Trondheim is filled with historical sights, museums, and art galleries.

Some highlights:

Crossing the Blomsterbrua (Flower Bridge) over the River

You can walk along the salmon river Nidelven in the city’s downtown district and the old wharves along the mouth of the river

The majestic Nidaros cathedral, the largest in Scandinavia. The Viking King, Olav Trygvason,was buried here in 997. The King was known as St. Olav, the holy king and the Patron Saint of Norway. Pilgrimages to the shrine of St. Olav started soon after his death and grew to great dimensions in the Middle Ages. Work on what was to become the Nidaros cathedral started in 1070 over the grave of St. Olav.

-The bright red old town bridge (“Gamle Bybro”) with its carved gate – The Gate of Fortune

– The picturesque, wooden houses painted in vivid colors in the downtown and old part of the city – Bakklandet districts

If you want an organized tour, take a sightseeing tour of Trondheim and its outskirts by bus. Daily departures at 11am.You will visit the Haltdalen Stave church at the Trøndelag Folk Museum, pass the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Kristiansten Fortress, the Royal Residence and the Cathedral. Duration 2 hours. Departure from McDonald’s next to the shopping centre Trondheim Torg. (Crossing Market Square with its colourful stalls, the statue of the Viking king who founded the city looks down on you from a great height. ) Tickets are sold by the guide and at the Tourist Information Office.

Day 8 Hellesylt A 3 hour stop was made here to let passengers take the overland tour to Geiranger, but we sailed instead to Geiranger, passing magnificent waterfalls.

Geiranger

Geiranger Fjord is known as “the most beautiful fjord in the world.”. From the village of Geiranger, your first visit is the Norwegian Fjord Centre, describing the daily life in Geiranger from the past and present. From here, you can see the winding, switchback roads to the top of the mountains. Sod roofed houses, and souvenir shops and beautiful views of the hills are the main draw if you do not take an organized tour.

Day 9 Bergen 8:00 AM 7:00 PM

Bergen is the second largest city in Norway, yet it’s got a great small-town feel. It is easily walkable, but we also took the tourist train for a 1 hour ride through the area and up over the city, Bergen of course is famous for its fish market, with UNESCO world heritage status The Wharf / Bryggen is characterized by its wooden buildings with pointed gables facing the harbor You can also take a trip on the Floibanen (funicular) for amazing views over the whole of Bergen and the surrounding hills.

Edvard Hagerup Grieg is from Bergen. (15 June 1843 – 4 September 1907) He was a Norwegian composer and pianist who composed in the romantic period. He is best known for his Piano Concerto in A minor, for his incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt (which includes In the Hall of the Mountain King), and for his collection of piano miniatures Lyric Pieces.

Day 10 Stavanger European Capital of Culture in 2008.

Your exploration begins in ‘Old Stavanger’, a lively area that consisting of more than 150 houses – well-preserved 18th and 19th century wooden houses, mostly built for seafarers, craftsmen and traders. An important rehabilitation project has meant that this is now northern Europe’s largest and best-preserved ‘wooden house’ settlement. Your stroll through Stavanger continues to the market square at the head of the harbour bay. A colourful scene greets you where fruit and vegetables, flowers and seafood are laid out on sale. There are lots of shops to explore, too. The impressive Cathedral forms a backdrop; built in 1125.

Day 11Thu Cruise The North Sea – –

Day 12 Fri London (Southampton)

The Ship: NCL Jade – Beautifully designed and maintained. Built in 2006

Crew: Unfortunately, this ship was just recently repositioned to Europe. It had been in Hawaii, with an all American crew, as required by law. When it was deployed to Europe, a mostly new crew boarded, although some are from other NCL ships. The lack or coordination and absence of team spirit was clear. I hope they will get better.

The daily newsletter was often wrong, even telling us to turn our clocks back on the wrong day. The activities were mis-timed. The announcements from the activities director ranged from silly to stupid young girl musings.

Our cabin was not made up on the first night, but things improved after that.

The Food: The Buffet had generous, always varied offerings and was nearly always open. The main dining room had slow service when we sampled it. Teppenyaki, one of the premium restaurants was good. The Italian Kitchen, though was inconsistent, being unable to reproduce the same dish on two successive nights. Different chef, different recipe perhaps.

Entertainment: The shows were aimed at the mainly English passengers on this cruise, which left from Southampton. I missed most of the jokes of the famous comedian, and could not understand why he made fun of anyone who walked in late. The dancers were just okay. The singers were mainly good, particularly the gospel singers. The crew show was foolish and required not a bit of talent.

Shore Excursions: We did not take any ship sponsored shore excursions. Since this was the Jade’s first visit to Norway, it seemed that no one bothered to do any shore excursion research in advance, and I found more information on the internet than at the shore excursion desk.

What to wear: Layers, including a fleece of some sort. It was not warm enough for summer shorts, although we sailed in July. It was sunny, and we never needed raingear or umbrellas.

Overall: We did have a good time, and I attribute the problems listed above to the inexperienced staff. I would try the Jade again, but at a much later date. after the staff has time to assimilate into a team.

Learn More About the Carnival Fascination Ports of Call – Half Moon Cay, Key West and Grand Turk

When you sail aboard the newly renovated Carnival Fascination, you will have the trip of a lifetime! This “fascinating” ship sails out of Jacksonville, FL and offers 4-5 day Bahamas cruises which include Freeport, Nassau, Half Moon Cay, and Key West. You could also choose a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise, which includes many of the same ports as well as Grand Turk. This article will discuss some of the many options available for you at the breathtaking ports of Half Moon Cay, Key West and Grand Turk.

Half Moon Cay is quite often referred to as cruisers “favorite” port. As the sign on the beach says, you will “never want to leave here!” It is spectacularly beautiful and offers a perfect beach day with rich greenery, cornstarch sand and warm, turquoise waters. This island has been rated “best private island” by porthole magazine for the last four years. It is a private island used by the cruise lines and includes a breathtaking beach, restaurant, shops, excursion activities, playground and a open air area for lunch. Take a walk around the paths on the island for great views and discover a playground, shops and stingray habitat.

At Half Moon Cay, most people choose this amazing stop as a beach day, but others choose to take one of the many excursions that Carnival offers. One of the best is the private cabanas. One of the best benefits of this “excursion” is that you get to be one of the first off the ship. As unloading takes hours and this is a world-class stop, you will want as much time there as possible. The cabanas offer shade, misters, some snacks and drinks, snorkel equipment, comfy chairs and some floaties. Other excursions offered by Carnival include horseback riding, nature walks, eco lagoon tours, glass bottom boats, sting ray encounters and deep sea fishing.

Key West, the southernmost city in the continental U.S., is the largest and most vibrant of a chain of tiny islands called the Florida Keys. Closer to Cuba than to Miami, Key West, dubbed the “Conch Republic,” is a very popular destination on Western Caribbean itineraries — and is easily one of the funkiest and wackiest ports of call in all of cruising. Key West is famously appealing for all types of folks — and especially is a magnet for artists and hippies as well as cruise ships. It’s a colorful and magical visit any time of year. Duval Street is considered the main thoroughfare and is a must-see. Most of the most popular bars, shops and art galleries can be found here, as well as restaurants and museums. This street has all the magic and color that is Key West…make sure to try some key-lime pie! You can easily walk here, but may choose to rent bikes or mopeds, which are the most popular modes of transportation. Your best bet for a great island overview is hopping on and off the open-air Conch Tour Train. Buy the tickets onboard or at Mallory Square, where it departs. If the weather is poor, take the covered Old Town Trolley which also departs from Mallory Square. The trains often provide you with a tour of the city as well, which usually includes a view of Earnest Hemingway’s house.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum is a great stop. A tour will take you inside his writing studio filled with tons of books, past the old typewriter where he wrote “Farewell to Arms” and out to the swimming pool (the first one in Key West). You’ll also see some 60 well-cared-for felines, descendants of the many cats that lazed on Hemingway’s lap while he wrote, that now roam throughout the property. You can also cross the street and climb the nearly 90 steps to the top of the Lighthouse Museum for jaw-dropping views or go and get your picture taken at the marker that is the southernmost in the United States. If you are lucky enough to see a sunset, they are especially spectacular here and are often a beautiful red color. Carnival offers excursions in Key West such as glass bottom boat, catamaran sail, snorkeling, historic homes and garden tours, conch train, city tours, snorkeling, kayak tour, parasailing, and even a pub crawl!

Grand Turk is a Caribbean port of call, that is perfect for lazy days on the beach. This is where you can enjoy a slow pace of life, and it is the capital of the Turks and Caicos. It is a small Island with no fast food restaurants or chain hotels. You can visit the narrow alleys in historic Cockburn town, but most choose to stay at the brand-new cruise terminal that is a destination in its own right, with retail shops, a recreation area right on the beach and a huge pool. The beach chairs are lined up and waiting for you on the white sands as you walk off the ship. Carnival’s Grand Turk Cruise Center also has a FlowRider where you can practice the perfect curl, or you can relax poolside with a cold drink from Margaritaville. Grand Turk became famous for its exceptionally bright-white beaches and tourmaline waters. One of the biggest draws here is diving, with the islands lying along the third largest barrier reef in the world. Carnival excursions offered in Grand Turk include a 4×4 safari, bike & snorkel, fishing, out-island and snorkeling, catamaran, kayaking, conch world, Governor’s beach, scuba diving and much more!

Whether you choose to swim with stingrays in Half Moon Cay, ride the conch train in Key West, or go flow riding in Grand Turk, you will have the time of your life aboard the Carnival Fascination. The ship and it’s ports offer you such a variety of activities that you are bound to find the right day plan to suit your needs. Once back aboard your ship, you can enjoy all of the luxury, amazing service and relaxation that the Carnival Fascination Cruise provides. Enjoy your cruise!

World Cruise Industry Review

As per the world cruise industry review for cruise operators, 2009 was a challenging year. However, the industry worked well despite the economic slowdown bringing in business, keeping costs low, and finding new market areas. The number of ships and passengers grew despite the customers being affected with the economic downturn.

U.S accounts for roughly three quarters of the global shipping industry. Here, the cruise industry more than held its own during the worst of the downturn. 11% of travel agents polled by CLIA expect this year to be better for the global cruise business, as cruising continues to rank number one on many counts, with the value for money.

World cruise industry review indicates that for 2010 there are confirming signs of increase in demand although it is too early to say if we are returning to total wellness. While consumers are starting to show more assurance, they are still holding up their decision to book.

The cruise sector is a significant part of the European marine industry and has made an important contribution to the European economy: 21.7 million passengers called in the European ports during 2008, with the industry bringing in 311,512 jobs, a 66% increase compared with 2005. The entire value of goods and services generated has increased by an astounding 69% in the last three years to more than €32bn.

Europe has been drawing in cruise ships from the U.S., which, conjointly with European fleets, led to a commendable increase in the number of passengers – 4.7 million – joining their cruises in 2008 from a European port, a 68% growth on 2005. The European cruise industry has added €14.2bn in direct expenditure, with cruise lines expending €5.1bn on services, supplies and equipment.

The projection is that the overall cruise passengers are to rise by 6.4% to 14.3 million in 2010. Nevertheless, passenger growth hinges on locations other than the North America or Canada should be threefold to what CLIA expects in North America, at 14.3% against 7%. International passengers will include one third of the global cruise business, from one quarter last year, and less than one tenth in 2000.

Considering the present scenario, it is clear that Europe’s entire potential has not been attained: it has a population of around 500 million likened with 300 million in the US, and most Europeans have more holiday time than their US holidayers. There are also fantabulous and easily reachable cruise destinations.

According to world cruise industry review Asia and Latin America are the future markets which offer excellent long-term business possibilities and it’s impressive to witness the rising economies and individual wealth being generated there. As investments in infrastructure are brought in, these markets will become important world cruise destinations in the times to come.