Focus On Cruising

Exploring the Wonderful World of Cruise Ships

A New Beginning

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Working From Home

Today is the beginning of a new adventure for me.  I am now officially self-employed with all the opportunities and pitfalls that implies.   It is both exciting and daunting at the same time.

This is a long-held dream brought to fruition, with lots of planning and hard work along the way.  I’ve prepared for this move as best I could, but there is still an element of risk involved.

I gave up a lucrative position at one of the country’s leading travel agencies to fulfill this dream of being an independent cruise specialist.  No longer will my paycheck come with unquestioned regularity.  In addition, I’m working from home and will have to discipline myself to stay focused and work diligently.

Frightening?  A bit.

Exciting?  A lot.

Risky?  To be sure.

As I expand my business and meet new clients, the potential is there to exceed what I traded away.  Perhaps it will prove to be the best decision I ever made.  Perhaps it will end up unsuccessful.  It will, nevertheless, not be a failure.  I’ve taken the chance and grasped for the brass ring.

If, at the end of the year I’ve given myself, I conclude that I haven’t achieved the level I had hoped for, what is the worst that can happen?  I go back to work for someone else, my head held high because I was willing to take the risk.

Technorati Tags: Cruise lines, cruise ships, independent cruise specialist, travel agent, work at home

Small Ship Cruising In Alaska

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Spirit of Alaska/Baranof Dream

The gap in Alaskan small ship cruising created by the demise of Cruise West last month has been filled.  Allen Marine Tours, based in Sitka, Alaska, has announced the launch of Alaskan Dream Cruises, operating two of Cruise West’s 78 passenger vessels, the Spirit of Columbia and tne Spirit of Alaska. renamed the Admiralty Dream and the Baranof Dream.  The new line will also operate a third vessel, the Alaska Dream, a 49 passenger catamaran.

Allen Marine Tours has operated day cruises since the 1970s, as well as a shipbuilding business.  All three vessels of tne new line will be refurbished in the parent company’s own shipyard.

Alaska Dream Cruises will be based in Sitka as well, offering 7 night trips to the most popular destinations in Southeast Alaska, such as Tracy Arm and Glacier National Park.  The first cruise is scheduled to depart Sitka on May 14th.

American Safari Cruises also has plans to enter the Alaskan small ship market,

Wilderness Adventurer

via their newly formed division InnerSea Discoveries.  The company plans to begin Cruises in May as well, on board the 49 passenger Wilderness Discoverer and the Wilderness Adventurer.

I think this is very welcome news.  While I absolutely recommend that you take whatever opportunity presents itself  to visit Alaska, sailing on a small vessel is an ideal way to see more and experience more of what Alaska has to offer, far away from the towns and hordes of other tourists.  I wish both operators well.

Technorati Tags: Alaskan Dream Cruises, American Safari Cruises, Cruise lines, cruise ships, Cruise West, Glacier Bay, InnerSea Discoveries, Sitka, small cruise ships, Southeast Alaska, Tracy Arm

Mexican Riviera Cruises In Decline

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Royal Caribbean recently announced that the 3835 passenger Mariner of the Seas will leave the Port of Los Angeles in January for its new home port of Galveston, thus ending its weekly cruises to the Mexican Riviera.  Norwegian Cruise Line had already announced last year that it will no longer offer Mexican Riviera cruises after May 2011, when the Norwegian Star is relocated to Tampa. A bit further south, Carnival moved the Elation, the only major cruise ship based in San Diego, to Mobile.

Bookings on Mexican Riviera cruises have declined 21% in the past two years.  Industry observers believe this is the result of the ongoing war between the Mexican government and the drug cartels.  Widespread coverage of the terrible violence throughout the country has made the potential passengers cautious.  Not only having bookings declined, but those who do sail have become less inclined to go on shore excursions, further reducing the ships’ revenues.

It becomes a question of economics.  Moving the ships from a port with declining revenue to one with greater potential is an obvious decision.  The cruise companies can hardly be faulted for taking these steps.

It is, however, very sad.  There are perhaps thousands of Mexican citizens in the major ports of call who rely on the cruise industry for their livelihood.  They live and work in cities which have barely been touched by the violence so prevalent in other areas.  They will, nevertheless, become indirect victims of the rampant crime.

The cruise industry won’t vanish completely from Mexican waters.  Princess Cruises has not announced a reduction in their schedule, and Disney Cruise Line is bringing a ship to California early next year.  The industry’s presence, however, will be significantly reduced.  With a reduction in ships and passengers comes a reduction in tourist dollars, and a blow to a precarious standard of living.

Technorati Tags: Carnival Cruise Line, Cruise lines, NCL, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

A Bargain for Singles

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Azamara Club Cruises is offering a great promotion for single travelers.  Singles pay just 125% of the total cabin fare on select 2010 European voyages.  On select sail dates, a single guest wishing to book a stateroom will be charged 125% of the total cabin fare. This price will include all taxes, fees and onboard gratuities. This offer is valid for new bookings only unless sold out. Sail dates applicable for this offer are subject to inventory control and may be closed at any time without notice.

This promotion is being offered on Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest.  Sail dates in 2010 are:

Azamara Journey
30 Jun, 24 Jul, 29 Aug,22 Oct, 3 Nov

Azamara Quest
2 Jul, 12 Jul, 24 Jul,3 Aug, 15 Aug,27 Aug, 2 Oct, 16 Oct,23 Oct, 30 Oct, 6 Nov,
13 Nov, 20 Nov

I think this is a great opportunity for single travelers to experience Azamara without having to pay twice as much as their partnered fellow passengers.  I hope we see more of this in the future on other lines.

Technorati Tags: Azamara Club Cruises, Cruise lines, discounted single fares