A steel cutting ceremony for the Celebrity Reflection was held at the Meyer-Werft Shipyard last week, when the first steel plate was cut for the new vessel. The ship will be the fifth and last of Celebrity’s very popular Solstice class, scheduled for delivery in November 2012.
Celebrity Reflection represents the culmination of the Solstice class, incorporating and expanding on the features that have been so well received by passengers. The ship, at 126,000 gross tons, will be the largest of the class. She’ll have an additional deck and 72 additional cabins, accommodating 3030 passengers at double occupancy. More than 90% of the cabins are outside, and approximately 90% of those will have balconies.
Among the highlights, the ship will feature 34 AquaClass Suites, measuring 251 square feet with a 57 square foot balcony. Michael’s Pub will be enhanced with the addition of up to 50 international craft beers, and outdoor grilling will be offered in the new Lawn Club Grill.
Do you get good deals for booking a vacation/ cruise last minute?
Is it possible to get a last minute deal? I am looking to go in the end of June, but I want a good deal and I don’t mind taking a chance for the last minute.
There’s always the possibility. Is it likely? No. The more likely outcome is you’ll wind up paying more and settling for whatever is still available. You’ll have a better chance of getting just the right cabin on the cruise you want by booking in advance.
What are the best deals or places for a cruise and stay vacation?
My girlfriend and I are looking to take a week vacation in the Bahamas or Caribbean and we want the experence of both a cruise and an island stay. We plan on going in a year from now but that may change based on when the best time to go is. We will both be 23 at the time of our trip. Any information or help is appreciated.
Because of your age, don’t bother looking at Carnival as their rules state that one person must be 25 or older in your cabin. The best weather, but the highest prices, occur during the winter months. Summer is less costly but very hot and humid. Avoid mid-August through the end of October, if you can.
Now, combining a hotel stay with a cruise is certainly possible, but the options are limited. Cruises to the Bahamas are roundtrip, beginning in the US. You can’t just get off the ship and stay. So if you have your heart set on the Bahamas, you should just do a land package and save the cruise for another time.
If you opt for the Caribbean instead, look for cruises that either begin or end in San Juan, or offer San Juan roundtrip. Princess Cruises offers regular sailings from San Juan, as do other lines. You could then combine a pre- or post-cruise hotel stay with the cruise itself. You could stay in Puerto Rico or the nearby Virgin Islands, or even go a bit further afield.
Depending on what you’re looking for in a cruise, you should also look into Windstar Cruises which offers roundtrip sailings out of Barbados and St Martin.
When you’re thinking of going on a land vacation (not a cruise) how do you go about finding deals?
I want an all inclusive vacation.. do I have to go to a travel agent or can you actually get it online… help
Well, Donald, although this column is focused on cruises, I’ll take a shot at the answer. You can find packages on line, many people do it. Try Travelocity or Orbitz. You can also go to tour operators’ websites, such as GoGo or Travel Impressions.
You might find, however, that the abundance of information and choices is a bit overwhelming. It’s always best, I think, to use a good travel agent.
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How long does it take for a cruise ship to pick up speed once it leaves port?
I will be sailing on the Ruby Princess but it doesn’t have to be specific for this ship. Overall reviews would be lovely. Also, how many kids generally sail on the Ruby Princess or Princess Cruises and will a staff member tell a parent to control their child if they are misbehaving/being obnoxious/rude/enjoying. I have nothing against kids, I am 15, I just want to relax.
It doesn’t take long for a cruise ship to get up to speed. Normal cruising speed isn’t fast compared to cars, about 25 miles per hour, more or less.
No, a staff member will not tell a parent to control their child if they are misbehaving, rude, or obnoxious. The kind of people who won’t discipline their children are the kind who will either bite the staff member’s head off verbally on the spot, or go file a report about them.
As for the number of kids on board, the average number is not really meaningful. The number can vary significantly depending on a number of factors. The most important, perhaps, is the school calendar. You can expect more kids during holidays and the summer, and fewer when schools are in session.
Norwegian Jewel cruise ship review, please?
-please give me a list of things to do for free
-please let me know if the Nickelodeon is a big part of the ship, and if its bad
-please tell me a short review if you want
-is it age appropriate for,, 13 16 19 21 and parents
-rate a couple things you have in mind
Hi Ruth. For reviews, I’d suggest you go to Cruise Critic. They have hundreds of reviews of NCL cruises., and Norwegian Jewel in particular.
Unless you go on one of the infrequent “all access” sailings, where the emphasis on Nickelodeon is quite pronounced, you can avoid most encounters of the third kind with the characters.
The Jewel is certainly appropriate for you and your family. Finally, most of the on board activities are included in the cruise fare and, therefore, free to the extent that you pay nothing additional to enjoy them – dining in many of the restaurants, nightly entertainment in the theater, additional entertainment in the lounges, the disco, the pool, movies, trivia games and activities around the pool, and on and on.
Advice/information about working on a cruise ship?
I’m 20 years old and looking for a job where I can travel and save money at the same time. I’ve heard mixed reviews about working on a cruise ships. What are the hours, pay and accommodations like? Do you have time off the boat while docked? What are the requirements for an entry level position in the kitchen or housekeeping department? Which cruise lines offer the best pay for entry level positions? Any help or advice on the subject would be great.
The questions you have are best answered by the cruise lines. But I have been on many cruises and also talked with the staff about their jobs. I know that you must sign a contract that lasts about 6 to 9 months. During that time you work every day and in many cases a split shift where you go on duty in the early morning and then have some time off during the day before returning to work in the afternoon or evening. After you complete your initial 6 to 9 month contract you get 2 or 3 months or so off. If your work has been satisfactory, you’ll be invited to sign a new contract.
The ship’s crew does have the opportunity to get off ship in some ports some of the time. But you can’t automatically get off at any port you choose. It depends in part on your work schedule. You may have to wait for a couple visits to a port before you have the free time to go ashore.
The pay on ships is very low, well below US minimum wage, but you get free room and board and share a cabin with two or three others, depending upon the ship.
You need to contact the cruise lines directly. On their web sites you will find a link to jobs, employment, human resources or some such link that will give you information about their positions. Some sites even have current vacancies they are recruiting for. Please be aware that the majority of the staff does not have deck privileges, meaning that you cannot relax in the passenger areas during your down time. To compensate, most of the cruise lines have dedicated crew areas, including dining room, bar, and in some cases a disco and a pool.
Don’t go to the web sites that advertise “cruise line jobs” because they charge a fee. The cruise lines give you all you need without charging a fee.
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Where can I find the best Cruise Deals online?
I have found that the best way to find the cruise that you want at the best price is to simply go to the cruise line web sites and click on the links for “deals” and/or “specials”. Most of the cruise lines have such a link but they are most easily found on the web sites for Carnival and Royal Caribbean. On some other sites they are there but you have to look through a lot of stuff on the web/home page to find the link for specials.
Carnival has very low prices on occasion, but other lines like Royal Caribbean, NCL, and Princess are close. You will also find that you get a much better price if you book well in advance and by that I mean 9 months to a year or more in advance. And also, be flexible with your travel date and go when the cruise is offered at the lowest price. The other thing that you can do is to sign up to receive their specials by email. I get those all of the time too.
You should also consider enlisting the aid of a good travel agent. Most don’t charge to book cruises, and they can help narrow down the options very quickly.
From experience, what cruise website has the best deals and is the most reliable?
Hey, my wife and I want to plan a cruise for next summer. We want something fun with good ratings but want a good deal (of course!) Do you have experience getting stellar cruise deals? We’ve both cruised before and I am a AAA member.
Hi William, see my answer to Daniel above. That will give you some direction in researching cruise bargains on line.
My bottom line advice to you, however, is to do some research, narrow down your choices, get an idea of what you get for your money – and then go to a travel agent. A good agent’s help can be invaluable, and if something should go wrong while traveling, you will be very grateful tomhave someone you can all upon.
Do you know where to find good cruise deals?
I am looking for some good cruise deals. I don’t care what cruise line. I just want some good links. Thanks a lot!
All the major cruise lines have websites – www.princess.com, www.carnival.com, etc. You might also go to the large on line travel sites, like Expedia or Travelocity. Browse around, use them to discover what’s available and what the costs will be for various itineraries.
If you find something you really like, book it if you want. My advice – see a travel agent and have them book it for you.
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cruise travel insurance info?
I am a NY res. traveling to Bermuda in July on RC cruise line out of NJ for my daughters sweet 16, taking a few friends of hers as well. My travel agent suggested travel insurance. does anyone have any ideas on where to get Insurance. without getting hit over the head. It seems to be a bit high through the agent.
The insurance you get through the TA may be more costly than what you can get on your own. Do an internet search for price comparisons for travel insurance. There are sites that give you bids from multiple companies. Make sure you get a policy that includes emergency evacuation back to the states in case of a medical emergency. In some cases, that may be a better option than being treated in a local hospital. Please be certain to read the whole policy, so you know the extent of the coverage it provides. Most companies have toll free numbers staffed by knowledgeable representatives. Don’t be shy about asking questions. And an early “Happy Birthday!” to your daughter.
Cruise Travel Insurance Refund?
I booked a cruise a few months ago and purchased travel insurance. I have a pre-existing back and neck problem. I have decided that due to my medical situation and possibility of surgery later it may be best that I cancel. I have notified Carnival and they refer me to contact claims to file a claim. Has anyone ever filed a claim? Will I be able to get a refund or will they give me some excuse to keep my money? I am well within the 60 days of a full refund minus the money I paid for the protection plan. Does it matter if I had a pre-existing condition?
“Will I be able to get a refund or will they give me some excuse to keep my money?”
They will abide by the contract they made with you. That doesn’t mean your particular situation is covered. You’ll have to check the terms of the contract. You need to inform yourself as to what that contract covers before you call them up and try to file a claim.
From your statement, it sounds like your decision not to travel is based on your changing your mind, not your medical situation changing. If that’s the case, I think you will have problems getting a refund. Carnival’s travel insurance site refers to becoming “unexpectedly ill or injured”. If the medical condition existed at the time of booking it’s not unexpected. Of course, if your medical condition suddenly deteriorated or you had to schedule surgery on your back, you would have a better argument for the “unexpected”. The devil is in the details.
I’m unclear on whether you are more than 60 days out from sailing, or less. If you have not yet reached your final payment date, you can probably cancel regardless. That would be the safest option, if it is available to you.
The Carnival insurance also covers other events, such as unexpected illness of a family member, loss of a job, or a severe weather watch/warning on your route to the port. I don’t know about your area, but we have some sort of severe weather watch nearly every day. So you might be able to qualify on a different basis. Find out what policy you have, what the conditions are, then go in with your strongest claim the first time.
Annual multi-trip travel insurance with cruise cover?
I need to get travel insurance that will cover me across Europe for the year but will also specifically cover a 2 week cruise holiday – in Europe, most policies that I have looked at don’t include this.
Any sugestions ?
Every travel policy is slightly different. They all cover cancellation, medical costs and emergencies, accidental death or injury, personal liability, theft and loss of personal possessions, luggage and passport. I don’t know what additional coverage you’re looking for to cover a cruise holiday.
You can certainly shop around for insurance to cover your cruise. Start with the insurance offered by the cruise line, and then widen your research (see the answer to Maria’s question above). The balance of your trip is a bit ambiguous. Call some of the insurance providers and ask questions. If your plans are “up in the air” for the balance of the year, you may find it difficult to get insurance without being more specific.
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Bolongo Beach Hotel in St. Thomas USVI?
Are you familiar with this hotel (not sure if I would call it a resort)?? I’m doing my wedding through Royal Caribbean cruise lines and chose St. Thomas for the wedding location, and this is where they do it. I have read some horrible reviews about this place, but Royal Romance assures me that this is “a beautiful property”. PLEASE give me an honest review.
Bolongo does a lot of weddings so they have it down pat; the beach is great, there’s surf rolling in……
Be prepared, however, because there is almost always a brisk breeze blowing. 10-15 mph is not uncommon, so you should expect veils blowing and hair flying. The ceremony is generally held on the soft sand, so you’ll probably be barefoot.
Bolongo is not at all glitzy. It’s an older property, a bit worn around the edges, more authentic in its way than the high profile resorts. If that meets you expectations, then you’ll be fine. If, however, you’re looking for something more elegant and upscale, you should look into the Ritz Carlton or Frenchman’s Reef.
What are the best shore excursions on a South Caribbean Cruise?
I’m going on a South Caribbean Cruise in 2 weeks, and have noticed that numerous places where we are stopping do the activities that we would like to do. We are stopping at:
We would like to go zip lining and snorkeling. We are already signed up to go canyoning in Dominica, and are going to the Malibu factory and on a cave tour in Barbados. Where are the best places for zip lining and snorkeling? I’ve seen mixed reviews on the snorkeling conditions and stuff you see zip lining on the other stops.
I did the canopy tour/zip lines in Dominica and had a great time. I booked it independently through WackyRollers.
St. Lucia is the place to do an island tour. There are several very reputable companies you can book with. The tour is long and is over winding, narrow roads, however, but it is quite beautiful.
In Barbados, I did the cave tour as well, and enjoyed it very much. We hired a taxi and negotiated an island tour with a stop at the caves included. Another popular excursion is snorkeling with the turtles. If your cruise doesn’t offer this as an excursion, there are private companies that will. This can be crowded.
If you’re in St. Thomas long enough, you can go over to St. John on your own, although this is a bit involved to do. It’s time consuming, since you have to take a ferry to and fro. Quite beautiful, however. The Linde Point Trail leads to two beautiful beaches, Salamon Bay Beach and Honeymoon Bay Beach, both of which are relatively uncrowded. There aren’t any facilities, however. If you go to St. John’s, watch the time carefully, and pay attention to the ferry schedule.
In St. Maarten, we decided to break away from the pack headed to Orient Bay, and took a taxi to a small beach near tye butterfly farm. We did try snorkeling there, but it wasn’t exceptional.
Hope that helps.
The special upcharge restaurants- please answer if you’ve eaten in one?
My sister’s wedding cruise is coming up soon.
We’re going on the Eurodam. It has several specialty restaurants that people mentioned on cruise critic. Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind and Canaletto (which had crappy reviews). She was interested in eating at one of those first 2 on the night of her wedding.
I have never eaten at a specialty restaurant b/c I’ve liked the food in the dining room and my interesting tablemates–plus having already paid for the meals, I don’t see the reason to pay extra for a meal.
So my questions are:
1- have you eaten at a specialty restaurant?
2- which ship were you on?
3- would you recommend it?
Yes, I’ve eaten at the specialty restaurants on Princess, Celebrity, NCL, Royal Caribbean and Azamara.
As you can probably guess, I’m a fan. There is a an additional fee involved, of course, but I find the overall experience worth it. The dining room is much smaller than the main dining room and the staff is chosen from the most seasoned and skilled of the crew. Both of these factors contribute to a much better service level than one finds in the rather frenzied atmosphere of the 1000 seat main room. The food is also better, with the kitchen offering selections that are not available in the main room.
Now, I don’t go to a specialty restaurant every evening. I usually limit it to once per restaurant during a cruise. I like treating myself and I think of it as experiencing as much of the ship as I can.
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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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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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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!
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.
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…
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.
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.
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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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?
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.
What cruises from Miami (Fort Lauderdale), the most interesting (Caribbean,Bahamas,Bermudas)?
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.
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.
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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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.