Cruise Critic Live!: Choose Your Perfect River Cruise

March 13, 2015 | By | No Comments

Considering a river cruise? Then you won’t wan to miss our next Cruise Critic Live! chat, Choosing Your Perfect River, on Wednesday, March 18 at 12 p.m. EDT.

During the chat, we’ll be talking with two of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s top brass — President and CEO Guy Young and UK Managing Director Kathryn Beadle – about new ships, new destinations and new experiences that river cruising will offer in 2015 and beyond.

It’s your chance to learn about river cruising from industry experts, so make sure to ask your questions now!

Cruise Critic Live! Choose Your Perfect River

March 18, 12:00 PM EDT

We’re joined this week by one of the world’s leading river cruise lines to chat about the bevy of new river ships and where river cruise vacations will take you in 2015 and beyond.
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We caught up with Guy to get some of his thoughts before our chat, and here’s what he had to say:

Guy Young and Kathryn Beadle speak on river cruising.

    Hot on the Forums: Would You Jump Ship if Your Favorite Ship Bar Closed?

    March 13, 2015 | By | 4 Comments

    Molecular Bar Cocktails

    You only have to look at the message boards to see that cruisers are a pretty loyal bunch. Many Cruise Critic members set sail with one line year in, year out; some sticking to a particular ship and others even booking the same cabin.

    So it’s no wonder that Celebrity Cruises decision to close its cutting-edge Molecular Bars is making members choke, metaphorically speaking, on their cocktails.

    An eight-page thread on the forums emerged since word leaked out the Solstice-class watering hole, which hand-crafted drinks such as Coming Up Roses, Watermelon Felon and Berry Patch, is closing. The bar’s “liquid chef,” Junior Merino is not having his contract renewed, a Celebrity representative explained.

    Reactions from the Boards

      Steal of the Week: Save on Summer Cruises to Greenland

      March 12, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

      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: Hurtigruten is offering three choices in savings from cabin upgrades and air credit to up to 38 percent off of fares.
      WHAT WE LOVE: As expedition-style cruising increases in popularity, the demand for far-flung destinations (and deals) increases as well. Hurtigruten has had a presence in Norway for 122 years — first serving as something of a local ferry (which it’s still used for today), but also expanding into adventurous cruises for travelers not familiar with the region. Save on summer sailings to Greenland with a variety of offers from a free cabin upgrade to an outside stateroom category, a $250 air credit per person, or choose a guaranteed cabin for up to 38 percent off regular fares. Take an extended cruise vacation (12 nights) this June or July and explore the arctic with itineraries focused around national park expeditions or photography.
      WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: Even with the deals, cruises onboard Hurtigruten are pricey, and the region is also expensive to experience in port. Expect to budget nearly $9,000 per person for cruise, spending money and flight. However, to explore this region of Greenland so thoroughly, you won’t find a much better cruise line, or price. Many consider these trips bucket-list adventures, so don’t fret if it’s not exactly in the cards for your next casual family vacation.
      HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (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.

        5 Tips for Saving Your Spring Break Cruise

        March 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

        young happy cruisers

        1. Book the right cruise line.

        Spring break with the family and spring break with your friends are two entirely different vacations; in most cases, they warrant entirely different cruise lines. It may not seem like picking the right cruise line or ship is that important when you’re just looking to get away on a quick trip, but doing a little research before you book may save partygoers unwanted screaming children, and parents, unwanted screaming partygoers. There’s likely to be a mix of families, couples and revel-rousers on any spring break cruise, but the ratio on a short Carnival sailing versus a week on Disney, may make a significant difference. A travel agent specializing in cruise can help you choose what sailing might be the best fit.

        4 more tips for Spring Break cruising

          Wanderlust Wednesday: Chowing Down in Princess Cays

          March 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

          Island BBQ at Princess Cays - photo courtesy of Bimmer09/Cruise Critic Forums

          Destination: Princess Cays

          Why Go?: If you cruise the Eastern or Western Caribbean with Princess Cruises, chances are you’ll visit the line’s private island and experience a quieter side of The Bahamas. Chow down on island barbecue in a private bungalow (available for rent), unwind in a beachside hammock or go deep-sea fishing off the coast.

          Member: Bimmer09

          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. 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.

            Towel Animals That Can’t Even

            March 10, 2015 | By | No Comments

            And you think YOU’RE having a bad day. Check out our gallery of towel animals who are over it.
            towel animal

            This towel animal is having an identity crisis with its clashing-color body. (unknown)

            towel animal

            This towel animal is not okay with being choked by its own legs. (Photo: HOTELCURLY)

            More towel animals that can’t even

              Member Review of the Week: Stepping Out of Your “Ship Size” Comfort Zone

              March 10, 2015 | By | No Comments


              Cruise Ship: Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway

              Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

              Member: Still Dreaming

              Background: Big cruise ships can be intimidating, no matter how many times you’ve been on one. Like Cruise Critic member Still Dreaming, you can study deck plans and watch countless tour videos, but there’s nothing like exploring the ship on your own. Still Dreaming realized this on her recent cruise aboard the 4,028-passenger Norwegian Getaway. What began as nerves slowly turned into relief, and she realized size does matter, after falling in love with everything the ship had to offer.

              Onboard Highlight: Dinner at the Illusionarium, a for-fee restaurant inspired by an old-style magic show.

              Port Highlight: The Golden Eagle Sailaway and Swim in St. Maarten — an excursion offered by the cruise line.

              Don’t Miss: Martini tasting at Sugarcane Mojito Bar, which Still Dreaming felt was well worth the $15.

              Watch Out For: Smoking is allowed in the casino, so be mindful of it when playing or passing through.

              More: Read Still Dreaming’s full review to get a better feel for Norwegian Getaway.

              For their efforts, Still Dreaming, OceanDevotion55, crcaldwellattilamom1217 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.

                Cruising Q & A with Samantha Brown

                March 9, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

                Samantha Brown

                Samantha Brown’s enthusiasm for travel is contagious. It’s no doubt a big reason the noted expert has enjoyed a long career inspiring viewers of the Travel Channel. Fans of her shows are familiar with her positive personality and willingness to try just about anything — traits that could spark wanderlust in anyone.

                Brown, who said she believes travel should be accessible to anyone who chooses to do so, recently joined forces with Carnival Cruise Line. A long-time fan of cruising, Brown is hosting a video series, called “How to Cruise With Travel Pro Samantha Brown” on the line’s YouTube channel.

                The first series takes a “cruise 101″ approach, tackling topics like, “What will I eat” and “What’s there to do?” All videos are short — around 1 minute — and are designed to educate new cruisers and debunk common myths. Brown said the project will take place over a two-year period. Up next? Cruise excursions.

                We caught up with Brown on March 7 at the Washington, D.C., Travel and Adventure Show to talk about our favorite topic — cruising.  Here are her thoughts:

                On Carnival Cruise Line…

                “Probably five years ago, I went on my first Carnival Cruise, and like many people I had a little trepidation. It had the reputation, probably six or seven years ago, of being the party line, being the booze cruise. … I was so pleasantly surprised by the level of service that you got, especially from the crewmembers, who were outstanding, the families that were having a wonderful time, and this was all being done at the most affordable level. And for me, my goal, has always been to show how accessible travel is.

                Full interview with Samantha Brown

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