Steal of the Week: Snag a Balcony/OBC on Princess

March 5, 2015 | By | No Comments

piggy bank sailing worldwide
Everyone is looking for the deal of the century. So how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Check the Lido Deck each week to get the scoop on our favorite deals — then grab the phone and pack your bags.
THE DEAL: Princess Cruises is hosting a balcony and onboard credit promotion, offering complimentary balcony upgrades from outside cabins or up to $300 in onboard credit per cabin when you book a suite or mini suite.
WHAT WE LOVE: With so many scenic destinations, it’s a shame to forgo a balcony. That’s why these upgrades are perfect for encouraging a little splurge on that suite cabin or getting upgraded to a balcony on a number of itineraries from Mexico to Hawaii. When you book by March 19, sail in a standard balcony cabin for the price of an outside, or a deluxe balcony for the price of a standard balcony. Springing for a suite or mini suite? Earn up to $150 per person on sailings 11 days or longer ($75 per person for weeklong to 10-night sailings).
WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: The deal is slightly better for those looking for that bump to a balcony rather than spending for a suite and getting just $75 per person back in return. Many of the itineraries keep to the U.S. — California and New England coasts — along with Hawaii. Mexico and the Caribbean are also close. If you’re looking for an exotic itinerary or a cruise in Europe, this promotion does not include these destinations. Oceanview cabins are already selling out, so make sure the sailing you’re looking at is even available for the upgrade.
HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here.
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    Wanderlust Wednesday: Radiant Reflections

    March 4, 2015 | By | No Comments

    Canal Streets of Amsterdam - photo courtesy of gymnast46/Cruise Critic Forums

    Destination: Amsterdam

    Why Go?: Amsterdam’s tree-lined canal streets, colorful old buildings and artsy, laid-back vibe make it a favorite for cruisers on both ocean-going and river vessels. Almost everything can be explored by foot. So stop by the tourist office (opposite of Central Station), grab some maps and savor the day. Don’t miss the Van Gogh museum or shopping in the Nine Little Streets, and try to hop on a canal boat cruise.

    Member: gymnast46

    Every Wednesday, we’ll be taking you on a journey around the world to some of the most interesting places our members have trekked, swum or merely witnessed from afar while cruising.

    Whether these photos inspire you to plan a relaxing escape or walk on the wild side, we hope they ignite your senses and give you ideas for your next cruising adventure. If you have a photo you’d love to share, send it to us at photos@cruisecritic.com or post it in our member photo gallery. Feel free to send us your Twitter or Instagram handle. Maybe you’ll get a shout-out next #WanderlustWednesday!

    Find interesting places to visit based on region.

     

    Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.

     

    Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

      Q & A: Edie Rodriguez, Crystal Cruises President

      March 4, 2015 | By | 3 Comments

      edie

      Cruise Critic’s Australia Editor Louise Goldsbury obtained an exclusive interview with the president of Crystal Cruises, Edie Rodriguez (pictured in center, above) after news broke yesterday that the luxury line had been sold to Genting Hong Kong. Here’s how the interview unfolded…

      Big news for Crystal! Can you tell us how the acquisition may change the onboard experience of your two ships, or the proposed third ship?

      Edie Rodriguez: It won’t affect our two gorgeous ships, Symphony and Serenity, which are stunning the way they are. We also don’t envisage anything changing with our published itineraries until 2017, many of which have sold out, and our 2018 World Cruise, which we will be announcing very soon. And of course, the excitement of another ship is just fabulous!

      Has the third ship been ordered?

      Read on for the answer

        A Military Family Sets Sail on Carnival

        March 3, 2015 | By | No Comments

        The Johnson's onboard Carnival Freedom

        Quality family time takes on an entirely different meaning when one part of the family is an active member of the Army, twice deployed to the Middle East.

        For Staff Sergeant Kevin Johnson, his wife Ashley, and their daughters, 4-year-old Natalee and 1-year-old Michaela, getting away from the San Antonio army base and enjoying the day and night on a Carnival Cruise Line cruise ship was a much-appreciated escape from everyday life.

        “It’s so nice to be able to spend time together,” Ashley told me on Valentine’s Day onboard Carnival Freedom. She and her family were just one of more than 1,000 military members and their families invited onboard by Carnival to celebrate the ship’s arrival in Galveston.

        Carnival, in partnership with Operation Homefront — a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to the families of service members as well as wounded veterans — hosted the families overnight, opening up the ship’s facilities to them and putting on an outdoor Martina McBride concert. The company also donated $100,000 to Operation Homefront.

        Want a behind-the-scenes look into Carnival Corporation? Join us!

        Cruise Critic Live! Meet Carnival President Arnold Donald
        March 4, 2015, 1:00 PM ET
        Join us as we chat with Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald, who has been head of the company for just over a year but already has made a big mark. Add to calendar

        Read on for the full story

          Member Review of the Week: The Rest is History

          March 3, 2015 | By | No Comments

          Coral Princess - photo courtesy of Princess Cruises

          Cruise Ship: Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess

          Itinerary: Panama Canal and Central America

          Member: crcaldwell

          Background: Crcaldwell thought he’d found a cruise line for the long haul, until a recent sailing aboard Coral Princess changed everything. The ship’s timeless decor, attentive staff and simple surprises like champagne service on the balcony were a perfect match for his style. Upon disembarkation, he canceled a previously booked cruise, and the rest is history.

          Onboard Highlight: The ship’s relaxed, traditional ambiance and myriad of classy touches, from doilies on serving plates to a cool towel and glass of ice water awaiting cruisers returning from shore excursions.

          Port Highlight: Cartagena, Columbia, and the Panama Canal were tied for favorite.

          Don’t Miss: Dinner in the buffet, which offered pleasantly surprising options.

          Watch Out For: Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale; it’s a huge terminal, so make sure you give yourself extra time on embarkation day.

          More: Read crcaldwell’s full review to get a better feel for Coral Princess.

          For their efforts, crcaldwell, OceanDevotion55, Still Dreaming attilamom1217 and nalakitty receive Cruise Critic logo items.

          Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week.

          Read more reviews or write your own cruise review.

            Winter Slushy Waves

            March 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

            Slushy Waves - photo by Jonathan Nimerfroh

            Llamas, #TheDress, House of Cards – the Internet has been full of so many memes, it’s hard to keep track (Team WhiteGold for-eva). But the viral photos that have kept me mesmerized are the “slushy waves” released by Nantucket photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh.

            Appearing on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and published in Stay Wild magazine, Jonathan’s photos show half-frozen waves curling into the surf, stand-still maritime moments. According to the New York Times, the phenomenon defied explanation, even from glaciologists.

            Within the cruise world, there are winter sailing aficionados who solely seek out chilly climes. On the Cruise Critic forums, Cunarders – fans of the veddy British Cunard Line – speak fondly of the Winter Crossing Club, composed of people who booked transatlantic voyages on the now mothballed liner QE2 (their spirit lives on, member Ab_Ovo proclaims, with anyone who enjoys Cunard’s December and January crossings).

            I understand their love of a raging sea. There’s something about crashing waves in winter that speaks to a wilder place inside your soul, an unpredictability that elevates an ordinary cruise into an adventure. It’s the beauty of the unknown, the draw of the unknowable. And for those of us frozen in the midst of this winter’s polar vortex, it’s a reminder that this season of snow days and inconvenient ice has something special to offer as well.

            Would you ever sail the Atlantic in the middle of winter? Tell us in the comments!

              March 2015 Desktop Wallpaper: Sunset Sailaway

              February 27, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

              Sunset Sailaway

              Get your March 2015 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! We love the sight of a brightly lit cruise ship slipping through the dusk (especially after a particularly impressive ocean sunset). Here’s hoping that this desktop calendar inspires you to think back on your last cruise – and dream about the next one.

              Here’s how to put this photo on your computer, tablet or cell phone:

              1. Click on the following links to get the size that you want. Each link will open a new window (or tab) displaying the wallpaper, in the appropriate format for your screen size.

              2. For the desktop versions, right-click on the image, and choose the option that says, “Set as Desktop Background”, “Use as Desktop Picture,” or something similar. The wording depends on your browser. Mac users should ctrl-click and save the photo on their computer in the “Pictures” folder.

              3. If the image does not fit your desktop background neatly, you may have to go to your preference panel (on a Mac: System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop; on Windows: Control Panel > Display > Desktop) and choose”Fit to screen” as the display mode of your background image.

              4. For phone and tablet, open the link and center the photo on your phone so it fills the screen. Take a photo and save it on your device. Then go to your Settings and find your Wallpaper (on an iPhone, this is under “Wallpapers & Brightness.” Set the saved calendar photo as your wallpaper.

              2560 x 1440 | 1280 x 800 | Tablet | Mobile

              Check back on March 31 for the April 2015 calendar.

                Hot on the Forums: Will the Queen of England Add Godmother to Her Titles?

                February 27, 2015 | By | No Comments

                HM Queen Elizabeth II - Shaun Jeffers/Shutterstock

                The newest ship to hit the UK might have its most famous resident as a Godmother – HM Queen Elizabeth II.

                At least that’s the speculation on the Cruise Critic message boards, where fans of P&O Cruises are awaiting the March launch of the Carnival Corp. line’s largest and newest ship, Britannia.

                On this thread, eagle-eyed A FLOATING VOTER posted a link to the Royal Diary, noting: “HM, accompanied by Prince Phillip, are to visit Hampshire on March 10th, this is shown on the Royal Diary dates. Britannia’s maiden voyage leaves Southampton on 14th March, — I’m on it!!! The dates may simply be coincidental but a naming ceremony just 4 days before the maiden voyage could be spot on.”

                THIS JUST IN, from Cruise Critic UK. The Queen is, indeed, serving as Godmother for Britannia! Are our members clairvoyant or what?

                Read our follow up on this lead

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