Member Review of the Week: Norwegian Getaway

July 28, 2015 | By | No Comments

Moderno Churrascaria

Cruise Ship: Norwegian Getaway

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

Member: jeria

Background: Curious what a luxury small-ship cruiser thought about the 4,028-passenger Norwegian Getaway? Cruise Critic member jeria and her husband, both active 50- and 60-somethings who favor Windstar, couldn’t pass up a deal to experience something new. Between the variety of dining and evening entertainment, the two were pleasantly surprised. Read on for their highlights.

Onboard Highlight: The endless dining options — especially Getaway’s Brazilian steakhouse, Moderno Churrascaria, and dining outside on cool nights.

Port Highlight: A tie between the zip-lining tour in St. Thomas and trip to Jost Van Dyke beach from Tortola.

Don’t Miss: The little dining area outside Flamingo Cafe, next to the rock-climbing wall. It’s quiet, shaded, and never crowded.

Watch Out For: Smoke in the casino and surrounding area, if you’re sensitive to the smell.

More: Read jeria’s full review, browse future cruises on Norwegian Getaway, and see what sets Norwegian Getaway apart from its sister ship, Norwegian Breakaway.

For their efforts, jeria, Bounce, sophbro, hockeymike and steph05257 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.

Check out more cruise reviews or write your own. Who knows; yours may be featured next!

    My First Cruise: Ruby Princess

    July 27, 2015 | By | No Comments

    Alison Rubin and husband onboard Princess Cruises' Ruby Princess

    With the My First Cruise series, Cruise Critic speaks with first time cruisers who recently returned from their very first cruise to find out about their expectations and how they liked it.

    Planning your first cruise? Check out our First Time Cruisers section, geared just for you!

    Want to be featured? Contact dsaltzman@cruisecritic.com.

    Name: Alison Rubin

    Age: 66

    Cruised with: Husband

    Ship & itinerary: Seven-day Alaska Inside Passage on Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess

    Q: Why did you decide to take a cruise?

    A. My husband and I are in our mid-sixties. We had not traveled in decades, so I figured now was the time to do it while we are still quite active and healthy. I wanted to go on a cruise because I wanted to experience a vacation that was different for us. I wanted the glamour and the glitz that these “floating hotels” say they offer. I wanted to be pampered and entertained, and I wanted all of that experience while traveling at sea.

    Q: Did you have any preconceptions of what to expect from a cruise?

    A. I fully expected to eat from morning through night. We didn’t. While food was good, plentiful and always available, we were so busy that food was the last thing on our minds.

    Read on for more

      Dispatch from Greece: Recession in the Background

      July 24, 2015 | By | No Comments

      Greek flag flying over port stop

      The caravan of cruise line coaches, chartered by Azamara Club Cruises and Silversea, snaked its way up the Greek mountains to the famed monasteries of Meteora. Here, certainly, tourism seemed as healthy as ever.

      Penny Gripeou, a licensed guide who drove five hours from Athens to Volos to lead our tour with Azamara, nodded. “The cruise ships keep coming, so I keep working,” she said.

      The hotel and services that deal mostly with local people are most affected within the Greek tourism industry, she said. August is Greece’s main vacation month, but most folks are staying home this year. “It is tough to plan a holiday when you don’t know what is going to happen.”

      Volos is only the first Greek stop on my cruise with Azamara Journey; we’ll also be stopping at the islands of Skiathos, Mykonos, Santorini and Hydra before debarking in Athens. Scenes of the riots in Athens seem far away from these much smaller towns; tavernas are full of visitors and shopkeepers are busy ringing up purchases.

      But the current financial crisis, part of a recession that has been ongoing in Greece for years, lies beneath the surface. Just a week ago, when Greeks were limited to a daily 60 euro bank withdrawal, shops along the road to Meteora were loathe to take credit cards, Penny said. Cash is king — and still preferred (although plenty of merchants were accepting plastic).

      Read on for more

        Hot on the Forums: Do Costume Parties Make You Want to Jump Overboard?

        July 24, 2015 | By | No Comments

        Pirate costume party

        Mention the words costume party, and you’re guaranteed to get one of two reactions — each at one of the furthest ends of the barometer.

        Now, I’ve been known to dabble in a bit of light sartorial swashbuckling on pirate night, but for other cruisers, even formal night is perceived as going too far. The love/hate reaction people have to costume parties has been highlighted in two threads on the Cruise Critic forums.

        First up is young-at-heart granny WanderLit, who has booked her first Disney cruise for herself, her daughter and her granddaughter. She took to the forums to find out if it’s only the youngsters who get to unleash their inner princess or cartoon character.

        “While I’m sure there are little girls going around in princess attire all day long, what about the adults?” she asks. “We would like to all three wear Minnie Mouse dresses to board. Me, like a 1928 black and white polka dot skirt. My daughter in a 1965 red and white polka dot dress and my granddaughter in the pink and white polka dots of today’s Mickey’s Club House style Minnie.”

        It doesn’t stop there, as she continues: “For formal night, I’d like to wear my long flowing black dress and maleficent horns, my daughter, a flaming red-head, wants to wear her best Merida green gown. So how often, if at all, do adults play princess and villain dress up on a Disney cruise?”

        Read on for more

          Cruise Deal of the Week: 14-Night S. America from $1,299

          July 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

          traveling piggy bank
          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: CruiseCheap.com is offering a 14-night South America cruise onboard Celebrity Infinity, sailing from Buenos Aires to Valparaiso on January 3, 2016. Prices start from $1,299 per person for an inside cabin, but offers may include onboard credit, prepaid gratuities, a drinks package and more. Discounts are offered to seniors, past passengers and military personnel.
          WHAT WE LIKE: From less than $95 per person, per night, you are exploring the scenic ports and stunning waterways of South America, with meals, entertainment, and the ship’s signature Solarium (an adults-only thalassotherapy pool with roof in bad weather) included in your fare. Start the new year spotting wildlife in the Falkland Islands, cruising the spectacular Chilean fjords and stopping at Ushuaia, Argentina — known as “the end of the world.” Get up to $75 in onboard spending money through CruiseCheap.com, and check to see if you qualify for an additional perk, like free Internet, through Celebrity’s latest promotion, Choose Your Perk.
          WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: With at least three solid days of scenic cruising, it might be tough to trade in a private balcony — they start at $3,249 — for the general crowds on the outer decks you will have to join sailing in an inside or even outside cabin. You’ll find that Infinity offers a nice variety of dining options to fill your two weeks onboard, but many tack on an additional fee. Another budgeting factor to always consider is flights, and South America is notoriously not cheap to fly to. Look for deals using TripAdvisor’s search tool.
          Check out our professional photo galleries of Celebrity Reflection and Celebrity Eclipse.
          HOW TO BOOK IT For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here.
          Looking for cruises for under $75 or even $50 a day? We’ve got ’em listed on our Cheap Cruises page.
          Get great cruise deals — and exclusive member offers — delivered weekly to your inbox.

            Cruise Tip of the Week: Visit the Spa on a Port Day

            July 22, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

            Spa essentials

            Tip: Cruise ship spas charge more than what you’d pay at a typical day spa. And while any massage you get on vacation is a splurge, there are ways to save. If your muscles are aching for hot stones and lavender oils, book a spa treatment on a port day. When it’s slow, spas often discount services and packages.

            Full Article: Read 9 more tips for stretching your cruise dollars onboard.

            Want More? Check out our related links below for more info, tips and advice.

            – Check out our latest cruise deals

            – Sign up for Cruise Critic’s Price Drop. We’ll let you know when fares are dramatically reduced so you can get the best price for your sailing.

            6 Best Cruise Ship Spas

            Understanding Cruise Ship Spa Services

            Stay tuned for more Cruise Tips of the Week — revealed every Wednesday!

              Member Review of the Week: Regent Seven Seas Mariner

              July 21, 2015 | By | No Comments

              Saint Tropez old red tile roofs

              Cruise Ship: Regent Seven Seas Mariner

              Itinerary: Western Mediterranean

              Member: halobill

              Background: Between premium steaks and refreshing cocktails by the pool, halobill felt wined and dined on his second Regent sailing thanks to a solo traveler deal he couldn’t pass up. The ship — which made its way from Venice to Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, France and Monaco — had a friendly, attentive staff and relaxing vibe with lively nights. Read on for his highlights.

              Onboard Highlight: His balcony suite. Halobill also tipped his stewards on the first day and felt very well taken care of.

              Port Highlight: Wine tastings in Monte Carlo, Cannes, Nice and Saint Tropez. (Keep in mind: Regent’s shore excursions are included in the cruise fare.)

              Don’t Miss: Poolside barbecue nights, one of which featured a band that led to singing and dancing throughout the night.

              Watch Out For: Certain ports are prone to rougher seas, so don’t be surprised if your captain skips a port for safety reasons. (Halobill missed out on Sicily.)

              More: Read halobill’s full review, and browse future cruises on Seven Seas Mariner.

              For their efforts, halobill, Norguy, CruisingMommyT, Bowman1 and ryndam 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.

              Check out more cruise reviews or write your own. Who knows; yours may be featured next!

                10 Dos and Don’ts for Throwing a Nautical Theme Party

                July 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

                nautical theme party

                Summertime. It’s enough of an excuse to host a nautical theme party for you and your fellow cruise-lovers, but throwing a great soiree requires work. Sure, you can Google a “how to” list that tells you the basics, like setting a date and knowing how much food to order, but it most likely won’t remind you to get ice so your punch doesn’t taste like bath water or to shower before your guests start showing up.

                Here at Cruise Critic HQ, we put our nautical theme party-throwing skills to the test.

                Determining the nautical theme for the party was a no-brainer. As for the time and location, one of our staffers gladly volunteered her home, which even came with a mascot (more on that later). Online shopping for decorations was the fun part. And while the party was a success, we hit some rough seas along the way.

                If you want to plan your own nautical theme party, read our 10 dos and don’ts to avoid losing your mind — and blowing your budget.

                Nautical Theme Decor

                Do: Reflect on past cruises for ideas. The anchor theme never fails for tableware and accessories, but mix it up. We found an easy-to-hang ocean wall print ($18) that was both a fun design and backdrop for pictures.

                Don’t: Overlook product details like size and quantity. We learned the hard way when the life ring we thought was full size looked like something out of an American Girl doll catalog.

                Read on for more

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                • About the Lido Deck


                  The Lido Deck is written by Cruise Critic's editorial staff, reporting from ships and ports around the world. The daily blog covers cruise news, reviews, advice, and hot topics from the Cruise Critic message boards. Please note: When commenting, Cruise Critic's community guidelines apply.

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