January 12, 2015 | By Ashley Kosciolek | No Comments
We all know that YouTube can be a rabbit hole: Once you fall in, it’s hard to climb out. For cruise lovers, there are thousands of videos you could watch, everything from pier runners to flash mobs to wild crew parties. (And if you can resist those related videos, I’d like to shake your hand.)
Grab some popcorn, and have a peek at what’s below. (Warning: Some of it may be graphic or contain offensive language.)
Dancing Behind People on a Cruise Ship
One random cruise passenger decides to have some fun by dancing behind people, unbeknownst to them. In this video, by MediocreFilms, his gleeful behavior and ability to act calm and collected at the flip of a switch will leave you with an infectious case of the giggles.
When Two Disney Ships Meet
It’s always fun when cruise ships meet and engage in a friendly horn battle, but Disney ships take it to a whole new level. Check out the antics of Disney Magic and Disney Wonder in Port Canaveral, posted by dcartwr.
More cruise videos
January 9, 2015 | By Adam Coulter | No Comments
Tired of the same-old, same-old port tours? So are we! Luckily, cruise lines have been shaking things up during shore stops, offering overnight stays, bucket list experiences and immersion into local culture.
No company has led this trend more than Azamara Club Cruises. So we’re excited that Richard Twyman, who leads the line in the U.K. and Ireland, will be talking to us about How to Get More on Shore
next week (10 a.m. Thursday, January 15) on Cruise Critic Live!
During the chat, Twyman will be answering questions about how to plan a cruise with outstanding shore experiences. This is also your chance to ask any Azamara-related questions you may have, with a particular emphasis on what the line is famous for — unique, one-of-a-kind experiences. If you’ve got a question that you’d like to ask, leave it in the comments – you might win a Cruise Critic prize!
We caught up with Richard ahead of the chat to quiz him about his first year in the job — and what’s in store for 2015. Here’s what he had to say:
Cruise Critic: You’ve said that you’d like to move away from price and focus more on “experiences”. How successful have you been with that in the year since you became U.K. director at Azamara?
Richard Twynam: Since August, we’ve (Azamara) spent more time telling a richer deeper story of Destination Immersion. Price is always factor, but if we do a better job of explaining the (included) Azamazing Evening at the Monaco Yacht Club, or (spending) New Years Eve on the Copacabana that inspires people more. The new 2016 brochure is out now, and I’m really proud of how we’ve done that.
CC: And is this – as you have suggested – leading to passengers booking earlier?
RT: Our advance bookings in the U.K. are at an all-time high. 2016 sales in particular have proved very popular, and the U.K. sold 70 percent of the ship on the Southampton to Montreal sailing in September 2016. 2017 went on sale in December and we are seeing big demand, with the Seychelles and Maldives itinerary proving very popular with our repeat guests.
CC: Azamara is all about bespoke, one-off experiences. Can you tell us what you’d most like to see for guests this year/next (what’s on your wish list)?
RT: My wish is that our guests share their experience of our Azamazing Evenings, Insider Access and Nights and Cool Places to inspire their friends. We’ve started giving some of our most regular guests Go Pro cameras to help them capture the content to share with others!
CC: Tell us more about Azamara’s ‘Cruise Global, Eat Local’ initiative.
RT: ‘Cruise Global, Eat Local’ will launch in the spring of 2015. I can’t say too much, but in each port of call there will be restaurants that we recommend for a true local dining experience, and as an Azamara guest you will be able to go and enjoy a tailored prix fixe lunch. More details very soon on this.
CC: The question about whether you are going to get a new ship has been going on for years. You recently said there would be an announcement at the end of last year. That clearly hasn’t happened. When can we expect an announcement?
2014 turned out to be the best year in the brand’s history despite the Journey incident
and Black Sea [cancellations, due to the unrest], which in a two-ship operation is staggering. Naturally I can’t share everything, other than to say, we have a very strong vision for the brand and it’s an incredibly exciting time for us. Watch this space.
Richard will be answering your questions about how to get “More on Shore
” LIVE on Thursday, January 15 at 10 a.m. Eastern. You can post also questions now in the Comments below and we’ll be sure to get them answered.
January 9, 2015 | By Jasmine Shaddock | 11 Comments
To bare or not to bare?
Dressing in your bathrobe to and from the pool is a quandary that has sparked much debate on our forums, but just what is the correct etiquette?
This debate began when member PreferWarmWeather wrote, “What’s the consensus of wearing the RCCL robes to and from the pool area? Personally I don’t see why some get upset. It’s a nice cover for swim wear.”
Read on for more
January 8, 2015 | By Louise Goldsbury | No Comments
With cruising an international pastime, we at Cruise Critic love hearing about the ways our friends around the world like to sail. With our crackerjack Australia Editor Louise Goldsbury now on staff, you’ll now see periodic dispatches from Down Under, as we explore what’s up in the land of Oz. Today’s topic: Sailaway subtleties. Take it away, Lou!
1. “Happy” by Pharrell WIlliams
2. “Live Louder” by Nathaniel
3. “Summer of 69″ by Bryan Adams
Read on for the full list
January 8, 2015 | By Brittany Chrusciel | No Comments
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 low cruise fares, onboard credit, a free beverage package (when you book the Fantastica experience or higher) and kids under 11 sail free with their wave season deal.
WHAT WE LOVE: MSC always offers some of the cheapest cruise fares around, but the combination of onboard credit and beverage package availability, mixed their with kids-sail-free offer, a range of itineraries and a booking window through mid-February, makes this a great opportunity to consider a sailing on the line. Boasting Mediterranean hospitality onboard and cruises to Europe, the Canary Islands, across the Caribbean and a number of grand voyages (ranging two to three weeks), MSC is vying to be a discounted line with flair, and this combo makes planning a family vacation for this year slightly easier to arrange.
WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: MSC’s new package system (Bella, Fantastica and Aurea) are based on levels of inclusion, and determine which bonuses you’re eligible for. Much like cabin categories determine credit levels or amenities on other lines, you must not only book an outside or balcony cabin or higher, but your package level also affects your bonuses. Bella passengers receive about $50 in onboard credit and that’s it. If you’re looking to qualify for all the bonuses, you’ll need to book at the Fantastica level, at least, which will cost you slightly more in cruise fare ($479 for a weeklong Caribbean sailing in an outside cabin).
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
January 7, 2015 | By Gayle Keck | 5 Comments
Mama mia! I’ve just polished off homemade gnocchi and some wicked profiteroles in the main dining room, and what do I hear? The chorus of Funiculi, Funicula wafting from a nearby lounge.
I have to investigate. I discover an impromptu chorus line of 20-something female travelers kicking up their heels to the tune. It’s a typical night aboard Italian-flagged Costa Mediterranea—except we’re not in Italy. Far from it. We’re sailing the Eastern Caribbean.
This is the cannoli of cruises. Instead of a crisp pastry shell, wrapped around creamy ricotta filling, it’s Caribbean beaches and turquoise waters, wrapped around a thoroughly Italian ship. Or maybe jerk chicken cacciatore. Well, you get the idea.
Am I experiencing cultural whiplash? Not really. In fact, I feel like I’ve gotten a bonus destination. By day, I can swim with stingrays, shop the straw markets and swig rum punch. By night, I can order up a Negroni (no need to tell the bartender how to make it!) and dance to Euro-pop that has me shouting unknown things in various languages along with the arm-waving crowd.
On this sailing, about two-thirds of the passengers are Italian, French or Spanish, so there are plenty of turned-up collars on polo shirts, really cool eyeglasses, dangerously high heels and men without socks. Wine for lunch? Sure!
Read on for more
January 7, 2015 | By Cruise Critic | No Comments
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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!
Feeling romantic? We love the idea of fleeing the tourist crowds to dine at a quaint, charming restaurant among the locals. Thanks to Cruise Critic member SWACK for this photo taken in Copala, Sinaloa, Mexico during a cruise excursion. The old silver-mining town is an easy trek from Mazatlan, beckoning travelers with its mountain views, rich history and artsy cobblestone streets.
January 6, 2015 | By Roderick Eime | No Comments
The 102-passenger expedition vessel Orion, once known for offering “champagne adventure” through Orion Expedition Cruises, is now in the hands of stalwart small ship operator, Lindblad Expeditions. Affiliated with National Geographic, the ship’s onboard experience has certainly changed, with caviar more likely to be looked at under a microscope than scooped up with a water cracker.
Here are some of the changes that have taken place since Lindblad took over the ship:
1. Emphasis on Enrichment
While the lecture theatre is currently closed for renovation, Lindblad’s trademark ‘recaps’ and briefings take place in a converted main saloon, which has had large flatscreen TVs installed and a central ‘pulpit’ added for the presenter.
Read on for more
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