Destination Spotlight: Five Things Cruisers Should Know About Visiting Quebec

October 16, 2014 | By | 3 Comments

Fall Foliage in Quebec - photo courtesy of Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock

With fall foliage at its height, Quebec is experiencing its busy season as cruise ships large and small visit ports ranging from cosmopolitan Montreal to woodsy Gaspe. Looking to experience the savoir faire of the French-speaking Quebecoise? Here are a few things we learned on our recent ten-night cruise to the Canadian Maritimes aboard the Seabourn Quest that will help make your voyage a tad more bon.

#1: To us, it’s cold. To Canadians, it’s normal. We recently set out to explore Saguenay in Quebec dressed in ski jackets, hats, and gloves…in early October. We were not overdressed. “Should’ve been here last year at this time! We had four feet of snow!” a port official gleefully told us.  So when your cruise company advises you to bring layers—”sweaters, or a light jacket”—do not believe them. You’ll need a coat, not a wimpy jacket, at some point during your sail, especially if you’re on the foliage circuit.

Also Quebec looks this gloriously green for a reason. Bring a waterproof shell—one that fits over a layer of fleece, all the better (see above.)

Read on for more

    Steal of the Week: Save Hundreds on Un-Cruise Adventures

    October 16, 2014 | By | No Comments

    piggy bank cruising
    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: Un-Cruise Adventures is offering savings of up to $500 per couple on select expedition voyages when you book by December 30, 2014.
    WHAT WE LOVE: A small expedition line, Un-Cruise provides unique small-ship itineraries and experiences such as whale-watching in Baja, Mexico or extended time in Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia. It’s a more destination-focused and immersive cruise than your mainstream mega-ship, and the discount helps make these sailings a reality. Book a select voyage by December 30 and save up to $500 per couple on your cruise. Other itineraries include the increasingly popular American river sailing along the Columbia and Snake rivers.
    WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: These smaller expedition lines are typically pricey and don’t offer anything close to the accommodations or entertainment of the much larger lines you may be accustomed to cruising. Not every itinerary on sale offers savings of $500 — some sailings start at $300 off ($150 per person). You also have to choose from six very specific itineraries, so if the ports and destination don’t completely fascinate you, it may be worth waiting (or saving up) for that bucket list expedition trip.
    HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on this deal (including that pesky fine print), click here.
    Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
    * 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.

      Countdown to Quantum: Not Your Usual Cabins

      October 15, 2014 | By | 6 Comments

      Quantum of the Seas - Virtual Balconies - photo courtesy of Colleen McDaniel, Managing Editor

      Cruise lines are quick to point to their onboard entertainment and dining options as proof they’re keeping up with the times. It’s much rarer to see a cruise line modernize its cabin offerings. And while it’s been done on a small scale here and there (Disney introduced virtual port holes, Norwegian debuted solo inside cabins), Royal Caribbean is going way beyond small scale with Quantum of the Seas’ innovative cabin designs.

      At first glance it may appear the ship has all the usual suspects: inside, oceanview, balconies and suites. But a closer look reveals some startling changes.

      Read more about the Quantum cabin experience.

        Wanderlust Wednesday: Inside the Panama Canal

        October 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

        Inside the Panama Canal - photo courtesy of USTWORCREW/Cruise Critic Forums

        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 or post it in our member photo gallery.

        The Panama Canal is a popular bucket list cruise for many. While the locks are one of its more distinctive features, there are a number of other reasons to awe — like this shot of Gatun Lake taken by Cruise Critic member USTWORCREW. The artificial lake spans 166 square miles, making up a significant portion of the canal. Craving more? Read on for Panama Canal tips, cruises, member reviews and more.


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          Prost! Celebrate Oktoberfest by Booking A Beer Cruise

          October 14, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

          Beer on Deck - photo courtesy of KRS/Shutterstock

          For beer lovers, there’s never been a better time to tap into a brews-infused booze cruise, thanks to a slate of new hops-inspired sailings, well worth raising a (pint) glass to. With cruise lines taking landlubbing craft brew trend to sea, cruisers can now tipple the days away on itineraries overflowing with brewery visits, beer tastings, and more.

          1. Posh Pints: Luxe Crystal Cruises’ first-ever microbrew-themed sailing embarks this November, on a 14-day East Coast/Caribbean voyage from NYC to Miami. Expect shore excursions to area micro- and nano-breweries; onboard beer tastings and lectures, helmed by guest brewing experts; and a robust beer menu highlighting rare artisanal brews (bacon-flavored beer, anyone?!).

          2. Rivers of Beer: Lined by ancient beer-producing monasteries and centuries-old beer gardens, European waterways offer up fertile ground to wet your whistle with beer. Try Avalon Waterways’ two beer-themed river cruise options in 2015: a round-trip voyage from Amsterdam in April, or a sailing from Vienna to Munich in October (which, sadly, just misses Oktoberfest). Activities include onboard tastings, talks on topics like European beer-brewing techniques, and stops at historic breweries.

          AmaWaterways also offers new beer-themed itineraries in 2015, packed with beer pairing dinners and tastings, brewery tours, discussions with beer experts, and more. Combine Dutch and Belgian ports with beer drinking and tulip time in spring, or try a holiday-themed beer voyage along the Danube in December.

          Read on for the full list.

            Member Review of the Week: A Cruise Back in Time

            October 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

            Cruise ship sailing in open ocean alongside island

            Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week. In the spotlight this week is Cruise Critic member Magnum60‘s recent cruise to the Mediterranean on Windstar Cruises’ Star Pride.

            Overall Impression: Seabourn Pride was one of the many ships Magnum60 had fallen in love with during his heydays on the high seas. So when he and his wife decided to revisit the ship as — now part of Windstar’s fleet — the expectations were high…. And the ship did not disappoint.

            Onboard Highlight: The crew’s attention to detail stood out most to him.

            Port Highlight: While Magnum60 didn’t mention any highlights in port, Windstar’s 212-passenger ship makes for an intimate experience both on and off the ship.

            Don’t Miss: Revisiting the ship if you sailed on it as Seabourn Pride. The revitalization is a breath of fresh air.

            Watch Out For: Magnum60 felt the only downfall of their cruise was not enough time!

            More: Read Magnum60’s full review for more details about his past cruising experience compared to the newly revitalized Star Pride.

            For their efforts, Magnum60, New2Fun, Bell Range, haggisandchips and kitkat343 receive Cruise Critic logo items.

            Read more reviews or write your own cruise review

              Where in the World is Cruise Critic?

              October 13, 2014 | By | No Comments

              Jamey Bergman on map

              Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, travelling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.

              (Got questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)

              Ship: Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas

              Where: Departing from Rotterdam, The Netherlands, sailing to Southampton, UK

              Who: Jamey Bergman, Production Editor

              Why There? Oasis of the Seas is coming out of a two-week dry dock, and we can’t wait to see what’s new onboard!

              We Can’t Wait: Specifically, I’m looking to try out the Dynamic Dining experience first hand, but it’s also my first time onboard the cruise world’s best-known behemoth, and I’m preparing myself to be overawed by everything. I doubt 24 hours is anywhere near enough time to experience everything on Oasis, but I’ll do my best, and will be reporting back about all the new additions onboard next week.

              Get your very own blog subscription.

                Hold that Door! The 6 Rules of Cruise Ship Elevator Etiquette

                October 10, 2014 | By | 29 Comments

                Crowded Elevator - photo courtesy of Everett Collection/Shutterstock

                It seems that common courtesy has been declining since the Love Boat days of cruising — and nowhere is the death of chivalry and benevolence more apparent than cruise ship elevators.

                Naturally, people are more impatient in today’s faster paced society. We get that stopping on every floor might prevent you from reaching the buffet before it closes. But that’s no excuse for innocent cruisers to have to suffer when other passengers neglect proper ship elevator etiquette.

                To make sure all of us cruisers are on the same page, we’ve come up with a list of 6 simple rules to follow when using elevators onboard (stair takers, rejoice).

                1. Allow passengers to exit before you enter.

                This “golden rule” of cruise ship elevator etiquette should be a given, but you’d be surprised. According to universally accepted standards of common courtesy, people entering an elevator should stand clear of the doors and wait until everyone is out before making a move. Period.

                Read on for the full list.

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