September 2015 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper: Cruising the Danube River Gorge

August 31, 2015 | By | 5 Comments

September Cruise Calendar

Get your September 2015 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! So many places in the world can be accessed through cruising, including some countries that you might not consider as a typical vacation. Case in point? The Danube River, between Serbia and Romania. River ships here float by some stunning scenery, including the Danube River Gorge pictured here (For more, read Cruising Eastern Europe on the Danube River).

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 | 1200 x 800 | Tablet | Mobile

Check back on September 30 for the October 2015 calendar.

    Hot on the Forums: Playing Pranks with Room Service Breakfast

    August 28, 2015 | By | 4 Comments

    Room service tags

    The old adage goes that you should breakfast like a king, and nutrition experts always say it’s the most important meal of the day. However, it seems quite a few members are getting bigger breakfasts than they bargained for.

    Apparently, it’s not unheard of for nocturnal practical jokers to go around and alter room service breakfast tags. And while some members see it as a harmless prank, others wonder what can be done to stop the culprits in their tracks.

    Members Pete and Judy started a thread on the forums following an unexpected breakfast banquet on Holland America Line’s Oosterdam.

    One of them reports: “Someone tampered with our order by marking three extra omelets, bananas, yogurt and extra juices. I was surprised when I opened the door and saw the room service waiter struggling with this giant tray. He showed me the tag and I could see where someone ordered me extra stuff. The waiter said it happened five times the previous week. In the future I am considering using a red pen or something to mark my stuff. But, it has only happened once to me in over 100 days cruising. Any thoughts or ideas? Has anyone else had this happen?”

    Fellow member family man 57 says: “How spooky! Just thought I’d check in the Holland America message boards having just returned from a week-long trip on the Ryndam (fabulous BTW), where on the morning of disembarkation eight omelets with bacon and sausage were delivered to our room. Upon phoning room service in case another family was waiting for their order, the waiter came along with the room card which had clearly been altered. I hate waste, and to see the mound of food being discarded made me very annoyed.”

    Read on for more

      Cruise Deal of the Week: Celebrity Vacation Packages for Fall

      August 27, 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: Celebrity Cruises is offering free airfare on select vacation packages this October. Book a sailing to London and the Canary Islands on Eclipse or Rome and Israel on Silhouette, and airfare, cruise fare, a pre-cruise hotel stay, along with all transfers are included under one price.
      WHAT WE LIKE: As predicted in our trends forecast for 2015, cruise lines are bundling airfare, hotel stays and transfers as part of a greater cruise vacation package. While airfare to Europe is typically cheaper in the fall, the package model eliminates the hassle of booking separate elements and allows the cruiser to pay everything up front. From $185 per night (with sample airfare from Washington, D.C.), spend two nights in Rome before departing on a two-week cruise through Israel and the Mediterranean including Greece. Or, spend $425 per night and fly from JFK to London where you will stay two nights before an 11-night Spain/Canary Islands cruise. All packages include transfers from your hotel, the airport and cruise port.
      WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: Already dates are yielding no available cabins for select departures including September 27. The rest of the valid departures are throughout October, so even though the airfare and other details are bundled into the price, it’s a last minute vacation being slightly over one month away. Because the last possible sailing is no more than 55 days from now, the cancellation policies are strict and you will be required to pay at least half of your cruise fare if you cancel. While budgeting for flights and hotel stays is included, factor in the additional taxes and fees totaling $100 to $200 per person.
      HOW TO BOOK IT For all the nitty-gritty on this deal (including that pesky fine print), click here.
      It’s a great time to cruise to Europe. Learn more from our Shoulder Season Deals Tips.
      Looking for cruises 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: Cruising with Kids

        August 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

        Family cruise

        Tip: Cruising with little ones? Sign them up for the youth clubs on the first day. Most ships, especially newer ones, have dedicated areas for various age groups. Kids can enjoy games, activities and more with experienced counselors — and it’s better to reserve your spot early, even though there’s no requirement to attend. Find out which cruise lines are the best for families.

        Full Article: Read more dos and don’ts for your first day onboard.

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

        15 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Embarkation Day

        What to Expect on a Cruise: First Day Onboard

        – 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.

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

          Member Review of the Week: Island Princess

          August 25, 2015 | By | No Comments

          Island Princess

          Cruise Ship: Island Princess

          Itinerary: Mediterranean

          Member: 4hends

          Background: After two cruises on newer Princess ships, 4hends’ third time was a charm. It all started with an upgrade from a mini-suite to a suite, only six weeks before disembarkation. With a large ensuite hot tub, spacious balcony and more unexpected perks, he and his wife reveled in the ship’s freshly refurbished spaces and familiar new-ship feel. Read on to see what he loved most.

          Onboard Highlight: The adults-only Sanctuary, a favorite on all of their Princess cruises.

          Port Highlight: Santorini, which wasn’t even on the original itinerary.

          Don’t Miss: The port lectures, especially if you’re unfamiliar with a destination. 4hends found the tips for getting on and off the ship particularly helpful.

          Watch Out For: Room service. 4hends thought it was a bit disorganized.

          More: Read 4hends’ full review, and browse future cruises on Island Princess.

          For their efforts 4hends, scotto119, ccoyne, jonrob and mdh715 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!

            Live from Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner: First Impressions

            August 24, 2015 | By | No Comments

            Pool on Regent

            I’m onboard Seven Seas Mariner for a cruise that takes us from Lisbon, Portugal, through southern Spain, southern France and northern Italy, before we disembark in Civitavecchia (Rome). The itinerary, which Regent Seven Seas calls “Celestial Sojourn,” is a pretty typical one for the cruise line, which specializes in luxury experiences in small ports.

            Check out my first impressions from my first Regent Seven Seas cruise.

            Regent cabin

            Cabins. Talk about space! Even the smallest cabins (Regent calls all of its cabins “suites”) are large by industry standards, at 252 square feet with a 49-square-foot balcony. So you have plenty of room to spread out without getting in the way of your traveling companion. All cabins include spacious walk-in closets, with more than enough room for hanging anything you packed, and then some.

            Read on for more

              Hot on the Forums: Family Cruising… Beyond the Grave

              August 21, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

              Grandparents cruise

              Property, jewelery, heirlooms and personal bequests are among the many legacies people leave in wills to their loved ones, but how about an inheritance where a family gets to cruise every year on a specified line?

              It’s certainly a new one to me, and although I always reckon you should never look a gift horse in the mouth, it has sparked an interesting debate on the Cruise Critic forums.

              The thread was started by member cruisr who spotted an article in the travel trade publication Travel Weekly where Crystal CEO Edie Rodriguez talked about a passenger who had taken four generations of her family on Crystal sailings over the last eight years.

              “Edie was quoted as saying there is a very loyal guest that has put it in her will that her heirs must continue to sail on Crystal once per year on the line,” writes cruisr. “That is brand loyalty at its finest.”

              This prompted some members to question if it was a step too far in imposing your will –, quite literally in this case –, on others.

              Read on for more

                Cruise Deal of the Week: Book an Inside Cabin, Get a Balcony

                August 20, 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: MSC Cruises is offering a promotion from now through August 31 (or until the inventory sells out) on balcony upgrades from interior cabin bookings. This deal also includes $100 in onboard credit, plus kids 11 and under sail free. Mention the “All In Balcony Blitz” at booking.
                WHAT WE LIKE: The value of a balcony cabin is more than just the space to many — it’s the fresh air and the privacy of having your own verandah. That’s why balcony upgrades on cruises starting from $579 per person for a weeklong sailing, is worth checking out. Sail on Divina, one of the line’s newest ships, when it makes its way back to homeport in Miami. These select cruises sail a Caribbean itinerary, including Bahamas, St. Maarten and Puerto Rico, or Jamaica, Cayman Islands, Mexico and the Bahamas. We love that the cruises featured sail during prime season: April through June 2016.
                Your balcony cabin will be greatly enjoyed on such a warm-weather itinerary by you and your significant other, or the family if you choose to bring them (dates fall near Memorial Day and summer vacation) — kids sail free and children 12 all the way up to 17 years old receive a discount on their cruise fare. The $100 in onboard credit certainly sweetens the deal and can be used towards a dinner out at one of the ship’s alternative restaurants, like the Eataly Steakhouse, or towards a treatment at the Balinese-inspired Aurea Spa.
                WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: According to MSC’s site at the time of publication, there are only 285 balcony upgrades left of the first 500 they promise to passengers during this promotion. Even though the deal extends through the end of August, it might sell out before that. Taxes and fees total more than $100 per person and are not factored into the cruise fare, so the onboard credit cancels out the value there. The new MSC Cruises cabin structure is based on experience and inclusions — because you are being upgraded to a balcony cabin from a Bella (lowest end) experience, you might not receive every perk that comes with a higher level. For breakfast in bed or enhanced children’s offerings like cooking and language classes, you might end up paying more.
                HOW TO BOOK IT For all the nitty-gritty on this deal (including that pesky fine print), click here.
                Comparing cabin categories? Find out the difference between an inside and balcony cabin.
                Looking for cruises 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.
                Look for air deals using TripAdvisor’s search tool.
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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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