Track Your Friends and Family Onboard Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas offers
Latest Cruise News Update
We are in the midst of cruise "wave season" during a record winter season for the East Coast, which tends to mean good business for the cruise lines. Certainly enough, Carnival just gave us notice yesterday that bookings for this season have broken previous records, and that they will be implementing a general across the board 5% price increase effective March 22 for all summer sailings in June, July and August.
A few times every year we give our readers a "heads up" about cruise prices by saying "We recommend you buy your cruises now." We gave such a notice about summer cruises just after January 1st. We are now telling you about the Carnival price increase coming March 22nd. Expect other cruise lines to follow suit, but they don't generally announce price increases. That is just over three weeks from now, so here is another heads up - book your summer cruises now!
Since the first day of the year, 2010, bookings have been booming at Carnival. CEO Gerry Cahill says, "We're seeing significantly increased volume as consumers are taking advantage of the incredible value that a Carnival cruise provides. And while pricing hasn't fully recovered to 2008 levels, we are increasing prices and will implement an across-the-board increase effective March 22." Carnival Cruise Lines stocks opened significantly higher yesterday morning on the news.
In other cruise news, NCL will sail out of Rome and stop in Israel for the first time starting in 2011. The itinerary includes a stop in Alanya Turkey, Cypress, a full day in Haifa followed by Ashdod (both in Israel) from 9:00 to 6:00 PM. The next day includes arriving in Alexandria, Egypt at 10:00 pm and staying until 6:00 pm the next day. Featured shore excursions include overnight tours in Israel to Jerusalem, Galilee, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, the Dead Sea and Masada, as well as in Egypt to Cairo's pyramids and tombs, and the Sphinx.
In his blog, Kuki ruminates on the ways in which the cruise industry has diversified in the last 10 years. He notes that ships have more activities onboard than ever before, and while they have become even more family friendly, they also have more features of appeal to certain people, such as comedy clubs and specialty dining for adults, and zip lines and Flo-Riders for kids. Even Kuki admits there are certain advantages to larger ships - room for more onboard attractions.
This week we compare all of the ships sailing to Bermuda this summer season. From the largest; Explorer of the Seas to the smallest; Holland America Veendam, you have a variety of ships for every taste. For families with kids, we recommend Explorer of the Seas, a 139,000-ton Voyager-class ship with a large Royal Promenade, rock climbing, inline skating, mini-golf, a huge video arcade and an ice-rink with great shows by professional skaters. The ship sails two different itineraries from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, a five day that spends two days in Bermuda and then returns; or a nine-day itinerary which also sails to Nassau.
For a nine-day itinerary with Bermuda we prefer the itinerary of Caribbean Princess out of New York. It goes to Bermuda, but also sails to San Juan, St Thomas and Grand Turk.
The Veendam is an older and smaller ship for the classic style of cruising. You sail from New York and spend a full fives days in Bermuda. It sails from New York City on Sundays on seven-day cruises from April through October. A day at sea is followed by a day and a half in St George and two and a half days in Hamilton before a day at sea to return home. Veendam is the best option if you want to spend as much time seeing Bermuda as possible, but this ship is recommended for adults - there are not many activities for kids of any age onboard.
Other ships sailing to Bermuda: two NCL ships, Norwegian Dawn from New York and Norwegian Spirit from Boston. Celebrity Summit sails from New York April 25 through August, 2010. These three ships are on seven-day itineraries with three days in Bermuda. See more details in our article Bermuda Cruises for 2010
In our article Tracking Friends & Family On Oasis we describe Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas new iPhone "app" to help friends and family keep track of one another throughout the ship, even allowing you to communicate by text or voice. The phones do not run on the cell-phone or the ship's Internet networks, they run on a separate Wi-fi network on the ship dedicated to voice and data communication. These are specially programmed iPhones you rent from Royal Caribbean for $17.50/week, on a limited basis for as long as they last. They even allow you to put a wristband with an embedded tracking chip on your child track his or her shipboard whereabouts throughout the entire cruise.
Princess Brings Back the Bon Voyage Experience with a new program where passengers and their guests can board their ship early on embarkation day and get treated to a ship tour, lunch with wine included and then a few hours of free time to celebrate with a bon voyage party in the sailing guest's stateroom until 3:30 pm. Guests are issued keycards that allow them to purchase drinks onboard during the visit. The cost is $39 per person, but the cost is fully applicable to a future cruise - making it virtually free for regular Princess cruise passengers.
new feature articles
There's an APP For That; There's Also a Cruise For That
Just as in the world of communications and technology the world of cruising has advanced in many ways over the last several years.
Bermuda Cruises for 2010
2010 offers Bermuda cruises leaving from Boston, New Jersey, Baltimore and Norfolk, Virginia from April through October.
Princess Brings Back the Bon Voyage Experience
Full details on the Princess bon voyage celebrations for guests and their sailing friends and family.
Tracking Friends & Family On Oasis
Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas rolls out new service for friends and family to track and talk to each other.
Silversea to Host World Leader Summit
Join Condoleezza Rice, Mikhail Gorbachev and former Secretary of Defense William Perry on a Black Sea cruise.
Chef Matt Sigel Survives Hell's Kitchen
An updated look at our NCL Epic guest chef, Matt Sigel
Common Cruise Ship Courtesy
Cruise ships are some of the best and last representative bastions of the finest in human courtesy and culture. Our readers give us their list of common courtesy suggestions for guests on cruise ships.
Read about CruiseMates
NEW YORK TIMES:
"Many sites that offer reviews are selling cruises, which raises questions about impartiality. An exceptions is CruiseMates."
"The Web's best site for articles, advice, or chatting with Cruise People. Self-financed and run independently of the industry, so their opinions are impartial"
NEW CRUISEMATES CRUISES!
Chef Matt Sigel's Cruise with CruiseMates
Join Chef Matt Sigel's on Norwegian Epic, Halloween Cruise, Oct 30, 2010
Travel from Miami to Costa Maya, Roatan Honduras and Cozumel - 7-days
Let's Get Lei'd 5.0
We're doing yet again - for the fifth time (because these cruises do so well) - We are going to Hawaii on a Princess ship, this time the mega-Sapphire Princess. We sail from Los Angeles and return to the same. Eight days at sea and five beautiful ports of call - four of them in Hawaii, plus Ensenada. February 26, 2011.
Allure of the Seas
Join your CruiseMates on the newest world's biggest cruise ship on January 23rd, 2011, on the sister ship to Oasis of the Seas slated to debut in early December of 2010. We have great prices and plenty of onboard fun in store for you!