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Your Questions About Cruises to Mexico

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Betty asks…

Do cruise ships in the Gulf of Mexico get cell phone reception?   If not do they have pay phones on the ship?

My best friend is going on a cruise ship from Texas to Mexico in the Gulf of Mexico.  We talk every day for at least two hours she has bipolar disorder and she talks with me to cope.  Do you have any information?  Please help me, I will greatly appreciate it.
Thanks soooo much.

John answers:

Well, Nancy, be prepared for high costs.  Your friend will have to check with her cruise line, but most offer in cabin direct dial phones, and cell phone service via satellite.  The costs, however, will be quite high, in the neighborhood of $4 to $5 per minute for cell service and $8 per minute or higher for the phone in her cabin.

Internet service, when purchased as a package, can be as low as 40 cents per minute.  The service is usually slower than you’re used to, but perhaps emailing you will be an acceptable alternative.

Chris asks…

Do large cruise ships that go in Gulf of Mexico sway a lot and do a lot of people get motion sickness?

My mom and I want to go on a cruise but we both get sea sick kinda easily. Will we get sick on a big cruise line in the Gulf of Mexico?

John answers:

Cruise ships these days are basically floating cities, but this does not mean you cannot tell you are on the water.  People who say you can never tell you’re on water are those few that cruised during absolutely perfect weather, which does not happen often.

There are areas of the ship where the motion is stronger than others, particularly the front of the ship. Since you and your mother get seasick easily, I recommend purchasing a cabin in the middle of the ship and without a balcony.  A lower deck is preferable to a higher deck.

Also, as an extra precaution, you may want to take anti-seasick pills or wear anti-seasick patches, which are worn behind your ears and not very noticeable.

Donald asks…

Best cruise line or ship to Mexico for young adults?

I’m 23 years old and looking for a fun cruise that would be great for young adults. Ideally, I’d like to be on a cruise with mostly people my age, fun nightlife, active lifestyle amenities.

Are there any cruise ships that go to Mexico and have these features?

Thanks!

John answers:

Donald, I don’t think you’ll find a cruise where your fellow passengers are mostly in their mid-twenties.  That being said, there are some cruise lines which draw a demographic that skews younger than others.  You don’t say where in Mexico you’re sailing.  I’d suggest taking a look at what Carnival Cruise Lines has to offer for the time frame and destination you’re seeking.

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Technorati Tags: Carnival Cruise Lines, cell phones on cruises, Cruise lines, cruise ships, cruises to Mexico, cruises to the Gulf of Mexico, Gulf of Mexico

Your Questions About Cruises Out Of New Orleans

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Sandra asks…

where to go on our cruise?

my husband and i are planning a cruise for next year…a few questions…when is the best and/or cheapest time to go, what cruise line do you suggest, and where should we go?  we’re leaving out of either mobile al or new orleans la they’re both an hour away from us.  one to the east and one to the west lol thanks in advance!

John answers:

Sandra, as of October 22nd of this year, no major cruise line will be sailing from Mobile.  City officials are working very hard to attract another line to fill the void left by the departure of Carnival Elation, but nothing has come of their efforts to date.  Watch this closely, however.  If another line does opt to home port one of their ships in Mobile, they may offer some nice discounts to generate interest.

Realistically, however, you should proceed on the assumption that you will sail from New Orleans.  Given that, it’s obvious where you’ll go – the Gulf and the Caribbean.  The cheapest time to go is the off season.  You probably know better than most that off season is the period from mid-August through October.

The best time is probably the winter, when heat and humidity are most tolerable.

Sit down with an experienced travel agent and discuss your options.  You’ll need to look at several itineraries to see which most appeals to you and discuss the relative cost differences between lines and between cabin types.  Are you looking for something a bit more upscale, or is casual the only way to go?  Are you perfectly fine in an inside cabin, or is a balcony an absolute must?

These sorts of questions can be addressed by your agent, helping you narrow down the choices and ultimately find the cruise that is perfect for you.  Whichever one you choose, you’ll have a great time.

Charles asks…

Whats the best cruise line for some 24 year old?

Me and three buddies want to go on a cruise during the first week of March 2012.  I was just wondering what you thought were the best cruise lines for guys in their early 20’s.  We obviously want to party and hang out with others that are around our age.

Specifically, what do you think about NCL?  We like the one that goes out of New Orleans, because we can party there for a night or two before the cruise.

I took a cruise with RoyalCar in college and had a great time.

Any feedback would be great.
Everyone keeps saying that Carnival has cheaper cruises, but every cruise I have looked at by them has been $650 for an interior room. And a comparable cruise on NCL was 450. Royal was 650 as well. Maybe they are trying to get away from the college kid crowed.

Thanks for the help.

Other feedback is welcome…

John answers:

Carnival Conquest, Norwegian Spirit, and Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas will all sail from New Orleans next March.

It’s true that Carnival does have a reputation for drawing a younger crowd, and on their sailings to the Caribbean, that is by and large still the case.

You should check the rates again.  The least expensive inside cabin on Norwegian Spirit is $499 per person.  Both Carnival and Royal Caribbean are offering at least one or two departure dates with inner cabins at rates very close to those of Norwegian.  So price shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

You’ve already experienced a cruise on Royal Caribbean and had fun.  So you need to decide if you want to repeat a known quantity, or take a chance on Carnival’s reputation.  NCL welcomes young adults as well.

You’ll find 20 somethings on any one of these cruises, so I don’t think you’ll go wrong whichever one you choose.

Richard asks…

cruise information?

My wife and I have decided to book a cruise for next year.  We were told that it’s better to book a cruise a year or so in advance, which enables the possibility of move up to a better package as the cruise date gets closer, and still paying for a lower rated package.  I’m looking for recommendations now as to what cruise line is preferred by yahoo folks.  We’re in South Louisiana, and would probably prefer leaving out of New Orleans or Houston. We’re in our mid 40’s.  Thanks for your help.

John answers:

I suggest you book a cruise as early as you can, but not in hopes of some price reduction or upgrade as time goes on.  That may happen, but it might not.  The advantage to booking early is the opportunity to get exactly what you want.  If you want a balcony cabin, top deck, midship, port side (or whatever), you’re more likely to get it a year out than a month out.

See my answer to Charles above for the ships that will be sailing from New Orleans next Spring.  All of these choices are within the same category and will provide a very enjoyable cruise.  There will be many couples your age and possibly a good many children, depending on your dates.

Carnival Magic will be sailing from Galveston next year.  This is Carnival’s newest ship, coming on line next month.  This ship has already created quite a buzz, and might be the one to put at the top of your list.  Sit down with an experienced travel agent and discuss you options.

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Technorati Tags: Carnival Conquest, Carnival Cruise Lines, Carnival Elation, Carnival Magic, Cruise lines, cruise ships, Galveston, Mobile, NCL, New Orleans, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Norwegian Spirit, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Voyager of the Seas

Your Questions About Cruises From Miami

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William asks…

Are there any cruises from miami to bahamas and stay on the island for one night and cruise back?

We want to go to the Bahamas for just one day.  We want to cruise there and get a hotel on the island.  We want to then cruise back another day.  Is there anything like that being offered?

John answers:

There are a couple options, but not out of Miami.  Discovery Cruise Lines offers a two day sailing out of Ft. Lauderdale to Grand Bahama Island, with a choice of hotel options.  Price will vary with the hotel chosen.

Celebration Cruise Lines offers a two-night sailing from Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island.  The ship sails overnight to the island, stays the day, and then sails overnight back to Florida.  You don’t overnight at a hotel.

Two caveats:  these ships do not sail to Nassau, and they are not in the same category as Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, etc.

Lizzie asks…

What cruises from Miami (Fort Lauderdale), the most interesting (Caribbean,Bahamas,Bermudas)?

(mexican island)

John answers:

All of these are sun, surf and sand destinations.  If this is what you are looking for, I’m not sure you can say that any one destination is more interesting than the other.  Each of these destinations will have their champions, but you won’t miss out by choosing one over the other.

Now, if you’re looking for something a bit different, Mexico has some very important archaeological sites that you might find very interesting.  If this is something that resonates with you, then Mexico should be your focus.

Steven asks…

What are the best cruise lines from Miami?

My grandparents ( 63 and 67) and my cousin (12) and I (13) want to go on a 7-10 day cruise from Miami around the Caribbean ( anywhere really). What cruise lines are the best and funnest.  We also don’t care about price, but just want to have a good time.  We are going during the February school break next year.

John answers:

I don’t think you can say that any one cruise line is the best.  Each has its own personality and focus.  In general, some lines may appeal more to older people and some more to younger people, but this is not universally so.

Royal Caribbean might be a good middle ground.  Their ships have features your grandpaerents would enjoy, while also having an excellent teen program and great activities.  Princess and Celebrity would also be worth checking out.

My suggestion is that you all sit down with a travel agent and discuss what you hope to get out of the cruise.  The agent will be able to tell you what is available for your dates and help you make a choice that is acceptable to everyone.

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Technorati Tags: Bahamas, Carnival Cruise Lines, Celebration Cruise Lines, Celebrity Cruises, Cruise lines, cruise ships, Discovery Cruise Lines, Grand Bahama Island, Miami, Princess Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines

Princess Marks Veterans Day

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Bald Eagle and the American Flag

I wrote a post last week about Carnival Cruise Lines’ sale in honor of Veterans Day.  Today Princess Cruise Lines is promoting their on board military credit program.  Available to active and retired members of the armed forces of the United States and Canada, the on board credit ranges from $50 to $250 per stateroom, dependent upon length of cruise.

“As I discovered when I recently wrote about my own military experience on our company blog, we have a large number of veterans among our passengers,” said Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises president and CEO. “We want to honor all military personnel this Veterans Day and thank them for their service.”

Eligible passengers should apply for the on board credit no later than one week prior to the departure date of their cruise.  Proof of eligibility will be required.  The on board credit will be $50 for cruises 6 days or less, $100 for cruises from 7 to 13 days, and $250 for cruises of 14 days or longer.  The credit is offered on a per stateroom basis.

I think this is commendable.  It’s a small token of appreciation for those men and women who were willing to risk their lives to do their duty as they saw it as well as for those who currently shoulder that burden.

Technorati Tags: Carnival Cruise Lines, Cruise line, cruise ship, military personnel, on board credit, Princess Cruise Lines, Veteran's Day

There’s Got To Be A Morning After

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Carnival Splendor

You undoubtedly have heard the news reports.  Carnival Splendor, with 3299 passengers on board, is adrift at sea after a fire early Monday morning in one of the engine rooms. Fortunately, no one was hurt, but it left the ship dead in the water.  The crew was able to restore power to some critical systems, but basic hotel functions remain inoperative.  Passengers are without air conditioning, hot water, hot food, or working toilets.

The US Navy has delivered 70,000 pound of food to the ship and it is being reported that the first tug boat has reached the ship’s position.  Current plans call for Carnival Splendor to proceed under tow to San Diego, with an anticpated arrival by late Thursday.  If sufficient speed cannot be maintained, Carival may revert to the original plan and have the ship towed to Ensenada.  The November 14th cruise from Long Beach has been cancelled.

Early reports indicated that Carnival Cruise Lines was going to refund the cost of the cruise plus transportation costs to its unlucky passengers.  When first reading these reports, an old Peggy Lee song played in my mind – “Is that all there is?”  Subsequent reports have amended Carnival’s response to include credit for a future cruise of equal value.  That’s more like it.

Late last year, I expressed my views on the importance of a company’s response to the unexpected.  Mr. Murphy knew whereof he spoke.  It will be interesting to hear what the passengers have to say, not only about the situation on board Carnival Splendor, but also about the process of getting them home.  Carnival has some choppy days ahead.

As an aside, I was amused by a headline I read in The Independent:

“British passengers survive cruise ship fire”

Well, true enough, I guess.  There was a fire and they did survive.  But, seriously, doesn’t it strike you as just a teensy bit overwrought?

Technorati Tags: Carnival Cruise Lines, Carnival Splendor, Cruise line, cruise ship, engine room fire

Carnival Cruises Announces New Sale

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Carnival Cruise Line published details of their new sale in a press release today:

Press Release Source: Carnival Cruise Lines On Monday July 12, 2010, 11:07 am EDT

Carnival Dream

” Carnival Cruise Lines is hosting its first-ever “1-2-3 Go! Sale” which combines three of the line’s most popular sales incentives – Cash Back of up to $160 per stateroom, best available upgrades and attractive “Fun Select” rates – to provide unprecedented value to consumers.

The promotion is available on a wide variety of three- to eight-day “Fun Ship” cruises departing from August 2010 through February 2011, including voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii.  Bookings must be made between July 12-30, 2010, to qualify.

The “1-2-3 Go! Sale’s” cash back option is provided in the form of a shipboard credit that can be redeemed once on board.  Guests will receive a shipboard credit of up to $80 per stateroom on three- to five-day cruises and up to $160 per stateroom on voyages of six days or longer.  The shipboard credit is automatically applied to guests’ on-board accounts when they board their cruise and can be redeemed toward a wide range of shipboard purchases.  Any unused funds at the end of the cruise will be returned to guests on debarkation day in the form of a check.

The best available upgrade feature applies to new individual bookings for categories 4A and higher. Upgrades are available within specific stateroom accommodation types (i.e., interior to interior, ocean view to ocean view, balcony to balcony). Guests are encouraged to book now to secure the best possible choice of staterooms.

The cash back and best available upgrade features must be combined with the line’s “Fun Select” rates to be eligible for this promotion.  With “Fun Select” rates, guests can select the stateroom of their choice based on deck, location and accommodation category.”‘

Technorati Tags: Carnival Cruise Lines, Carnival Dream, cruise sale, cruise ships