Wanderlust Wednesday: Gone Fishin’

July 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Abandoned boats found during a cruise ship excursion in Costa Rica
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 photos@cruisecritic.com or post it in our member photo gallery.
Have you ever discovered a hidden treasure while cruising? Cruise Critic member coappleby1 stumbled upon these two abandoned boats during an excursion in Costa Rica. (We wish we could take a peek inside.) If you’ve got a story, share it in the comments below!
Find interesting places to visit based on region.
Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.
Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

    You Tell Us: 5 Refreshing Ways to Cool Off on a Cruise Ship

    July 8, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

    Father and son eating ice cream on vacation
    With summer officially here, the heat is on, particularly in the Caribbean where humidity can get overwhelming in July and August. So we asked our faithful Cruise Critic Facebook fans what onboard treats brought their temperatures back down to acceptable levels.
    Soft-serve ice cream. Who doesn’t enjoy a cone or cup of this summer-time favorite, available on almost every cruise line for no extra charge? As Herb Meade put it, “The soft serve is the oft forgotten but one of the most amazing little perks to cruise life.” We agree.
    Read on for more.

      Member Review of the Week: Keepin’ it Classy

      July 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

      hamilton bermuda cruise
      Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, one of which is showcased as the Member Review of the Week. In the spotlight this week is Cruise Critic member Viva_la_Vida‘s recent cruise to Bermuda aboard Celebrity Summit.

      Overall Impression: Going from a Solstice-class ship to a Millennium-class ship for her recent Celebrity cruise was a smooth transition for Viva_la_Vida, who had prepped herself with knowledge and was wary of the differences in each. Thus, instead of unexpected surprises, she and her husband were able to enjoy and appreciate what distinguished each.

      Read on for highlights, tips and more.

        Cruise Critic Live! We Chat About Best Places to Snorkel and Dive

        July 7, 2014 | By | 3 Comments

        Girl snorkeling in the water with fish
        Every Thursday — this week at 11 a.m. (Eastern) — Cruise Critic Live! takes a look at all the things to love about cruising, from favorite destinations to amazing dining experiences to the latest and greatest new ships on the oceans and rivers. We also welcome outside experts including cruise line CEOs and newsmakers.
        This week, we’re chatting about snorkeling and scuba diving. For many people, cruising includes a dip into the deep blue sea. The Caribbean, for example, is a great spot for first-timers looking to dip the proverbial toe in the water, while cruises to Australia can provide some breathtaking scenery that will blow away even the most veteran divers. Our water-loving editors will take your questions, give our favorite tips for snorkel and scuba excursions and help you pick the destinations that will create lasting memories.
        Not around on July 10? Ask a question here, and we’ll make sure we answer it. The chat will be archived, and available, after it winds up so don’t forget to bookmark the page.
        *Follow along on Twitter at #CruiseCriticLive.
        *Read the transcripts from previous Cruise Critic Live! chats.

          Contest: How Well Do You Know Your Cruise Ships?

          July 7, 2014 | By | 11 Comments

          keep calm and cruise on
          Perhaps you’ve sailed with a number of different cruise lines. Or maybe you’re a professional ship-spotter, always checking to see who is docked in port. Or perhaps you just have really good photographic memory. Either way, we’re testing your knowledge. See if you can identify and name the 10 cruise ships below. (It might seem easy at first, but don’t worry, it gets harder!)
          Submit your answers in the comments below. The first person who comes closest to having all correct will receive some snazzy Cruise Critic swag!
          Good luck, and happy guessing!
          Contest open to U.S. residents only.
          Read on to reveal the 10 images.

            Guest Post: Cruise Industry Hails CDC Norovirus Report

            July 3, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

            Green health cross on a cruise ship
            Occasionally here at Cruise Critic, we take guest posts from industry leaders. This post, written by Christine Duffy, president of the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), is a response to a norovirus report released by the Centers for Disease Control in June that found that an extremely small percentage of the gastric cases actually take place on cruise ships. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the report in the comments.
            The recent release of a report on norovirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscores what the cruise industry has known and communicated for a long time:  The occurrence of norovirus on cruise ships is rare and it is dramatically lower than the number of incidents of this common illness on land.
            Norovirus is often referred to as a “stomach bug” and the symptoms typically last between 24 and 48 hours.  It is second only to the common cold in terms of its prevalence and is generally not  considered a serious illness.
            According to the CDC, there are about 20 million cases of norovirus annually on land in the U.S. Americans have about a 1 in 15 chance of getting norovirus even if they never step foot on a cruise ship.
            Read on for more.

              Steal of the Week: 7-Night Europe River Cruise from $1,756

              July 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

              piggy bank cruising river
              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: Viking River Cruises is offering a seven-night European river cruise onboard Viking Baldur, sailing from Passau to Budapest on November 23, 2014. Prices start from $1,756 per person, for an inside cabin.
              WHAT WE LOVE: Viking’s longships are a fantastic way to see Europe, and can be slightly more affordable than other river lines. Spend the week of Thanksgiving with family and friends, cruising the Danube and marking the beginning of the holiday season in cities such as Vienna and Salzburg. From $251 per person, per night, daily sightseeing tours as well as most drinks (regional wine or beer with dinner) are included. River cruising is a relaxing and intimate way to travel, and you only have to unpack once! See Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary during this charming time of year.
              WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: Two-for-one pricing ends July 31, so you must book and pay by in full by the end of the month to receive the discounted price. Pricing does not include airfare to and from your overseas ports, so budget accordingly. You can compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
              If you’re very attached to turkey and all the fixings, don’t hold your breath for a traditional Thanksgiving meal onboard. While the spread is appetizing and marks a special occasion, your ship may not choose to prepare what you would expect for dinner — you’re in Europe, after all.
              HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on this deal (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.
              Get great cruise deals — and exclusive member offers — delivered weekly to your inbox.

                A Closer Look: Chikungunya Concerns in the Caribbean

                July 2, 2014 | By | No Comments

                Traffic sign warning of mosquitoes ahead
                It makes us itch just thinking about it. But there’s no denying that Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that cropped up in the Caribbean last December, has blossomed from a few isolated incidents into a serious concern among the islands – and cruisers.
                In the St. Martin/St. Maarten forum, liltellurr asks, “Are there areas to avoid, certain things I shouldn’t be doing, etc? I nearly get eaten alive whenever they (mosquitoes) are around, so I’m trying to be careful.” Member KBRADFORD79 reported having symptoms similar to Chikungunya after a Western Caribbean cruise on Allure of the Seas.
                In response, Cruise Critic has put together a Chikungunya FAQ about the illness, how it spreads and what you can do to treat it, as well as prevention tips. There is currently no cure or vaccine; however, most people who come down with Chikungunya feel better within a week.
                Our staffers have noticed warnings for the virus on recent trips to affected islands. On a land trip to Martinique in late May, Ports Editor Ashley Koscielek noticed large signs warning of Chikungunya as soon as she stepped off the plane. Further, two journalists in her group came down with the illness and were in bed for a couple of days with flulike symptoms that included fevers and sore muscles.
                And in Grand Turk last week, Cruise Critic Editorial Assistant Brittany Chrusciel overheard several public service announcement about Chikungunya broadcast on a local radio station. The segments stressed preventative measures that the island residents should take, such as wearing insect repellent, and to be aware of the illness’ symptoms.
                Back on Carnival Freedom, Chrusciel checked the CDC website and discovered the virus was also in her next port stop, La Romana in the Dominican Republic (Carnival had a health safety message on the FunTimes for both ports, warning people to protect against mosquitoes, although Chikungunya was not mentioned by name). “We had a serious session of bathing in bug spray as a precaution.”
                Our best advice? Keep up to date with the Travelers Health section of the Centers for Disease Control, and follow their guidelines for mosquito protection, if you’re traveling to an affected area. This will help you keep abreast of warnings for chikungunya, as well as other mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue, malaria and Yellow Fever. And if you do suffer symptoms, be sure to visit a doctor immediately for testing.
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