Member Review of the Week: Celebrity Reflection

July 14, 2015 | By | No Comments


Cruise Ship: Celebrity Reflection

Itinerary: Eastern Mediterranean

Member: LA_Girl

Background: One night at a little boutique hotel in Rome was the perfect start to LA_Girl’s 11-night cruise through Italy, Greece and Turkey. She and her other half stayed in an Aqua Class cabin, enjoying perks like exclusive access to her favorite restaurant, while gravitating toward a few other restaurants and bars. Read on to see where she spent most of her time.

Onboard Highlight: The Martini Bar. LA_Girl only wishes it was double the size!

Port Highlight: Santorini. (Heading to Greece? Read our 8 tips for cruising during the financial crisis.)

Don’t Miss: Mojitos at the Passport Bar.

Watch Out For: If you’re the active type, bear in mind there are no rock-climbing walls or mini-golf. So be prepared for a more relaxed vibe on sea days.

More: Read LA_Girl’s full review, browse future cruises on Celebrity Reflection or take a photo tour of the ship.

For their efforts, LA_Girl, ccrain, BellaStella, kicker and KellyGA 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.

    Q&A With Warren Moon on a Seattle Seahawks Football Cruise

    July 13, 2015 | By | No Comments

    Former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Warren Moon

    Warren Moon – the first black quarterback elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame – was undoubtedly the highlight of the Seattle Seahawks football cruise, sponsored by Princess Cruises last month. And while many considered it “a dream” to meet this legendary quarterback — who played for the Houston Oilers, Minnesota Vikings, and Kansas City Chiefs, in addition to the Seahawks — Warren Moon saw nothing but polite behavior from “the 12s,” as the NFL team’s notoriously loud and passionate fans are called.

    The seven-night itinerary on Crown Princess sailed from Seattle and touched down in Southeast Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia. About a third of the 3,080 passengers sported the Seahawk colors — lime, navy and wolf gray — and a lucky 24 of them scored tickets to Warren Moon’s passing clinic on the open-air Sports Deck.

    “Everything has just been really first class,” noted Moon, who now does commentary for the Seahawks radio network.

    Here Warren Moon shares 12 more insights into cruising, sports travel and what to name an ocean liner.

    Have you cruised before? If so, where?

    I’ve probably been on five different cruises. Most of them have been either in Mexico or the Caribbean. This is my second one with Princess. I went to a private island for a whole day in… I want to say the Bahamas.

    How are the 12s as cruise companions?

    There’s lots of enthusiasm on this cruise. I expected that because I know how these Seahawks fans are. I’ve worked with the organization for 11 years now. I’ve seen it grow and grow and grow.

    People here are just really loving being around each other. Even though they don’t all know each other, they have the Seahawks in common.

    Read on for more

      Pioneering Cruise Historian Dies

      July 10, 2015 | By | No Comments

      John Maxtone-Graham

      When Andrew Haze, Cruise Critic’s newest editorial staffer and a not-yet-a-cruiser joined our team last year, he asked for a reading list that would help him learn more about the industry. I put John Maxtone-Graham’s; The Only Way to Cross, a book that celebrates the ocean liners that crossed the sea well before the Fun Ship era, right at the top of Haze’s queue. In doing so, I was paying forward a tradition when, some 17 years ago as a neophyte cruise traveler and writer, my own mentor sent me scuttling for the very same book (and suggested I continue on to his other classics, like Liners to the Sun and Crossing and Cruising.)

      If you’re lucky enough to have known Maxtone-Graham’s work, whether through his pictorial and historic tomes (including his most recent, S.S. United States: Red, White, and Blue Riband, Forever) or via hugely popular lectures onboard the ships of Cunard Line, Princess Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, among others, this will be sad news. The 85-year old Maxtone-Graham died Monday.

      The collective outpouring of condolences on Cruise Critic and throughout the cruise industry is tempered only by the sharing of anecdotes that paint Maxtone-Graham as a real character. His history was anything but dull. “There’s nobody else like him,” Ted Scull, an also-acclaimed author and lecturer (and occasional Cruise Critic contributor), told me today as we shared Maxtone-Graham anecdotes.

      “His enthusiasm, his way of speaking and his presence were magic. He was a true performer but with real substance. There was a lot of meat in what he had to say, as well as drama.”

      Clearly, the pioneering maritime history expert who made facts fun, who cruised more than 500 times including the record year (2005) in which he took 16 sea voyages, who spent an average of seven months a year on ships with his wife, Mary, and who rued the demise of the onboard profession characterized as “bath butler,” will be missed.

      Read on for more

        Hot on the Forums: Is Topless Sunbathing OK on a Cruise Ship?

        July 10, 2015 | By | 4 Comments

        topless sunbathing

        Legendary actress Brigitte Bardot started the trend for topless sunbathing in St. Tropez in the ’60s. But what’s permissible on beaches is considered, by some, distasteful on deck.

        At one point, topless sunbathing was fairly common on cruise ships, and not just those in Europe. On Carnival ships, the top deck around the funnel was well known as place where women could work on their tans, sans lines; that designation seemed to disappear sometime in this recent millennium.

        Seasoned forum contributor seapals2 asked for other members’ opinions on topless sunbathing following her cruise on P&O’s Azura. (There’s another thread started over on the Cunard forum, too.) She says there is a handful of women seeking an almost all-over tan and predicts:

        “We think it’s acceptable on beaches, but on a family ship where sunbeds are so tightly packed, it’s not appropriate. The Retreat had the expensive boobs on show. Suppose if you had spent a fortune getting them you would want them on display. Thanks, but no thanks. Just embarrassing in our opinion. Interested to see what others think.”

        Needless to say, her inquiry provoked a mix of responses, with many cruisers assuming that the top deck on any ship is the accepted, if not official, area for baring (almost) all, with daiB reporting that it has been going on for at least 14 years.

        Read on for more

          Steal of the Week: Holiday Sailing Bonuses on Norwegian

          July 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

          holiday-themed 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: Book a holiday sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line and benefit from onboard credit, along with their Freestyle Choice promotion which offers a choice of one promo for outside cabins and above, and all promotions to passengers booked in a suite (or The Haven).
          WHAT WE LOVE: It’s Christmas in July! While it may seem strange seeing late fall and winter holiday sailings during your summer vacation, it’s the perfect time to book and earn a little extra onboard spending money during the holidays. And whatever holiday you celebrate (there’s Festivus sailings, we’re not kidding), Norwegian has you covered with themed menus, onboard activities and celebrations for anyone to enjoy. Get cozy with the family in one cabin (or even better, a suite); third and fourth berths are free on select sailings.
          WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: While the Freestyle Choice promotion has been around for ages, the offers and conditions are constantly being tweaked. For that reason, there’s no explicit expiration dates, making it difficult to know when to book. If you book today, the offer could be totally different tomorrow. If you like the dining, drinking, Wi-Fi and shore excursion options set forth now, be sure to book now. Know what bonuses you consider to be the highest value, and pounce when they appear. Holiday sailings tend to book quickly, so if you’re holding out, be aware that pricing and availability can shift significantly.
          Check out our professional photo galleries with thousands of photos for Norwegian Sky, Pride of America and Getaway.
          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.
          Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
          Get great cruise deals — and exclusive member offers — delivered weekly to your inbox.

            Cruise Tip of the Week: How to Get a Cheap Cruise Using Social Media

            July 8, 2015 | By | No Comments

            Young woman using cellphone

            Tip: Social media savvy? Twitter is like a shopping mall for cruise deals. Just about every agent and agency tweets its best offers. A few accounts to follow are (@cruisedeals), (@cruisecom) and Best Travel Deals (@cruisedealsbtd). Cruise lines have jumped on the trend as well, so be sure to follow the ones that interest you. You can even use Twitter’s list function to customize a list of your favorite deal tweeters.

            Full Article: Read 13 more ways to find cheap cruise deals.

            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, which will let you know when fares are dramatically reduced so you can get the best price for your sailing.

            Last Minute Cruising: 9 Tips for Getting a Deal

            How to Find the Best Cruise Bargains in 2015

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

              Member Review of the Week: Ruby Princess

              July 7, 2015 | By | No Comments

              Mendenhall Glacier

              Cruise Ship: Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess

              Itinerary: Alaska

              Member: dihays

              Background: Would you ever have your wedding or honeymoon on a cruise? Dihays and her husband combined both on their recent trip to Alaska. It was their first cruise, so while the extra special treatment may be hard to compare to a regular sailing, they had favorites and not-so-favorites they felt were worth sharing.

              Onboard Highlight: The wedding, of course! Princess’ staff organized the perfect day for dihays and her husband, and dihays felt like a Princess herself. Her only concern was that the ship’s photographers were too good; she ended up spending almost as much on pictures as she did on the wedding!

              Port Highlight: Juneau, where the enjoyed sightseeing and beers at Red Dog Saloon.

              Don’t Miss: The Chef’s Table, an exclusive dining experience in which you can sample hors d’oeuvres and sip Champagne with the head chef. Dihays says it’s worth the $95 splurge.

              Watch Out For: The food, if you’re a foodie. It wasn’t a deal breaker for dihays, but she also wasn’t impressed.

              More: Read dihays’ full review, and browse future cruises on Ruby Princess.

              For their efforts, dihays, Tump02, 5 in OK, drytoastfan and Lisafit 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.

                8 Tips for Cruising To Greece During the Greek Financial Crisis

                July 6, 2015 | By | 6 Comments

                Greek flag in Euros

                With Greek voters giving European austerity measures a resounding no this weekend, cruisers with upcoming Greek sailings have been wondering: How should we prepare for a trip to Athens and the islands during the Greek financial crisis?

                Here at Cruise Critic, we’re going ahead with a planned sailing on Azamara Journey later this month that centers on Turkey and Greece, including port stops in Volos, Hydra, Skiathos, Mykonos, Santorini and Athens. Unless we hear otherwise from the line, we will hedge our bets against the currency upheaval by doing the following:

                Bring Euros. Usually we rely on ATMs overseas when we travel, as our bank doesn’t charge us foreign transaction fees. But with news reports noting some ATMs are out of money, we’ll be prudent and come prepared.

                Read on for more

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                  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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