Important Tips to Remember When Planning Your First Cruise

A little extra planning can go a long way when preparing to go on a cruise vacation. It can be hard to know where to start, what to pack and even what to expect while at sea. The following tips can help you prepare before going on a cruise. Shop Around When Booking Your Cruise. Many people are tempted to base their decisions on which cruise to take based on price alone. While price may play a factor in selection, it can be a big mistake if you look only at the base cost offered for the cruise. It is also important to look at other factors, such as the time of year when the cruise is planned, what amenities are offered on the ship, whether the cruise vacation is tailored more towards adults or families, among other features. For example, many cruises will lower their fares during their “shoulder season” or times of the year when cruise vacations are not as popular due to choppier waters or lower temperatures. Other cruises may cost more but may also include extras, such as alcohol, shore excursions, or gratuities, into their prices whereas other cruises will charge those on top of the regular fare. Plan Ahead. While a cruise may include several special amenities, it is important to know many of the specials included on a cruise fill up quickly. When booking a cruise, be sure to also see which add-ons the cruise allows passengers to book in advance. Plan out what types of special activities you would like to do on the ship and book them before boarding. That way,...

Carnival Fantasy, the Latest Cruise Ship to Fail Health Inspection

Carnival Cruise Line’s Fantasy received a failing grade following its most recent inspection in July. The detailed July 18 report issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) gave Fantasy a score of 77 out of 100. This report marks the worst inspection in Fantasy’s history, with a previous low of 78 being issued in 1990. The CDC conducts these inspections as part of its Vessel Sanitation Program. Ships must receive at least an 85 to pass their inspection. Two other Carnival ships, Inspiration and Imagination were also inspected in July, with these ships receiving scores of 97 and 94 respectively. The failing report cited brown shower water, film on pool water, and flies on bagels as reasons why the ship failed its inspection. Although the medical crew reported that the two shower hoses where the brown water was reported are ‘not used often,’ it is no excuse.  There was not a reason given as to why the water was brown. Other water issues that were reported included issues with chlorine levels on two of the water slides on the ship, as well as film on the water in the pools. The pools also had excessive visible debris floating on the water. The CDC reported that a crew member was using a net to manually skim the pool, which is not a thorough way to fix the problem. The CDC also reported issues with Fantasy’s food service, including food displays not having adequate sneeze shields, flies around the food, and food temperature being too warm for safe consumption. The inspector also spotted soiled cutlery and reported that staff took...

Virgin Set to Debut Adults Only Cruise in April 2020

Billionaire Richard Branson launched Virgin Voyages, an adults-only cruise line for a specific genre: individuals who never saw themselves ever going on a cruise, which included himself.  So he set out to create a cruise experience like no other,  he promises passengers the cruise of a lifetime! Virgin Voyages is the ultimate luxury cruise line for adults-only and set to debut in April 2020 with the launch of its first cruise ship, Scarlet Lady. This ship will be the first of four Virgin cruise ships set to sail from Port Miami, offering four to five-night cruises to the Caribbean and Bahamas. No Extra Costs and Fees One feature that many passengers may enjoy is the fact that cruise fares will include many of the extras that other cruise lines charge passengers to utilize. Any gratuities or tips will be included into the price of the trip, which means passengers should not expect to see a daily service fee on their bills. Passengers will also receive free unlimited Wi-Fi. Fitness classes are also complimentary. Meal Options The Scarlet Lady and other Virgin ships will not include formal nights, buffets, or main dining areas. Instead, passengers can choose from one of approximately 20 restaurants to eat on the ship. The cost for eating will be included in the cruise fare, which includes basic beverages. The options include steak and seafood, upscale Mexican, a cooking lab and restaurant, food hall, Italian, and Korean BBQ. Some of these locations will be open 24 hours daily. Cabins and Suites The Scarlet Lady will feature one of a kind transformational cabin beds at sea, as...

Celebrity Cruises Debuts Billion Dollar Ship

Celebrity Cruises is debuting a brand-new, billion-dollar ship named the Edge, a ship that is offering some rather unique and innovative experiences. Celebrity is a subsidiary of parent company, Royal Caribbean, the current owner of the world’s largest cruise ship currently with the capacity to carry over 6,600 passengers and 2, 200 crew members. This new cruise ship will include new state-of-the-art amenities that will offer a competitive edge over some of the other cruise ships on the water. The billion-dollar price tag may seem extreme, but considering how big the cruise industry is, the cost is understandable. It is estimated that 30 million people will be going on cruises in 2019 alone, according to numbers from the Cruise Lines International Association. To keep up with demand, cruise companies are continually updating their current fleet of ships and debuting newer ones with attractions and amenities for their passengers. At one time, the Titanic was said to be the largest ship of its kind and was considered state of the art. To put size into comparison, however, the Symphony of the Seas, the largest ship currently out there, is five times the size of the Titanic. Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian cruise companies carry approximately 80 percent of the world’s cruise passengers. They are in constant competition with one another in releasing the biggest ships and best amenities in the cruise line industry. One of the biggest attractions on the Edge is a Magic Carpet, which is a 90-ton platform that levitates up and down the side of the ship, allowing passengers and full and thorough view of the ocean...

Carnival Corporation Issues Pledge to Reduce Ocean Pollution

Executives with Carnival Corporation issued a pledge this week to take active steps toward reducing ocean pollution caused by their ships. The statement was made during a federal hearing in connection with environmental violations the company has been accused of committing. Carnival has been embroiled in legal battle regarding these environmental violations and has recently been issued a $20 million penalty as a result of their conduct. Executives, including the company’s CEO Arnold Donald, faced a federal panel in Miami this week where they issued a statement, pledging to change their corporate policy when it comes to complying with all environmental regulations. They stated that this change would start from the top down, will be immediate, and will be implemented over the course of the next three years. The federal legal battle stems from probation violations the company admitted to committing in 2016. The original case that brought on this probation involved a separate $40 million fine. Despite the monetary loss and legal ramifications, the company did not fix its policies when it came to the environmental impact of its ships and continued to cause damage. Carnival was accused of dumping “gray water” from its ships in such locations as the Alaskan Glacier Bay National Park and discharging food waste into the waters off the Bahamas. Since Carnival has more than 100 ships around the world that sail to over 700 destinations, the environmental impact the company has caused with their actions is significant. As part of the case, Carnival also admitted to falsifying compliance documents in connection to ordered probation.  They also admitted to having cleaning professionals visit...

Royal Caribbean Cancels Stop in Puerto Rico Due to Area Protests

Royal Caribbean has cancelled a planned stop this week to San Juan, Puerto Rico due to a series of protests occurring in the area against Puerto Rico’s governor. These protests began last weekend after the Center for Investigative Journalism released 900 pages from the Puerto Rican governor’s private group chat. In the chats, the governor disparaged various journalists, made threats to turn political opponents over to authorities, and made a series of homophobic, profane and sexist statements. The timing of this release of information came the same week as two former officials from the governor’s administration were arrested by the FBI as part of a federal corruption investigation. Puerto Ricans took to the streets, protesting the administration and calling for his immediate resignation. In response to this political activity and out of concern for the safety of their passengers, Royal Caribbean canceled a planned stop this week for the Empress of the Seas. The ship was expected to dock in San Juan Tuesday but has been instead rerouted to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Any guests who prepaid for shore excursions in San Juan will be refunded their money. Since Tortola was already a planned stop on the ship’s itinerary, this change only means the stop will be made one day earlier than previously planned. The Empress left Miami on Saturday, setting sail for an eight-day cruise through the Caribbean. San Juan was just one of many stops listed on the ship’s itinerary. Many have questioned whether any future stops in San Juan will be cancelled. At this time, Royal Caribbean has only canceled this one planned stop...
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