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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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!
This towel animal is having an identity crisis with its clashing-color body. (unknown)
This towel animal is not okay with being choked by its own legs. (Photo: HOTELCURLY)
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.
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.
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.
When you think of Italy do you picture strolling along the Italian Riviera? Perhaps you’re in a seaside bar sipping a bubbly Prosecco or — only if it’s breakfast time — a cappuccino.
It’s that kind of Italian style that Costa Cruises works to capture in the line’s new flagship, Costa Diadema. The idea behind the 3,724-passenger ship, launched in October 2014, is to showcase the best of Italy with an array of new features.
How does the ship shape up? After a late February Mediterranean cruise, here are the Hits, Misses and Mehs among the international innovations to mix it up.
Country Rock Club. Of Costa Diadema’s new theme bars, this one pulls it off best. The decor has a vinyl record (the carpet) and guitar (tabletops and ceiling) motif. The live rock and country music is a hit with passengers of all ages. In true Italian style, families bring their kids to the bars — even at midnight! Bumping into toddlers on the dance floor may or may not be your idea of a grand night out.
One of the many joys of cruising is taking time out for an afternoon nap, being rocked to sleep with the motion of the ocean and waking up somewhere new. And although I’ve never gone down the route of breakfast in bed (too many crumbs for my liking), I know that for many it’s a special treat.
But what about the bed, or to be precise the bed linen? A thread (or should that be thread count?) on ship sheets caught my eye on the Cruise Critic forums, and revealed quite a hotbed of contention.
Member ICANTWAITTOCRUISE wants to know if is acceptable to request clean sheets every day on a seven-day cruise. ” I don’t believe that the stewards change the sheets daily, but am not sure? I personally ask every couple of days because I love brand new clean sheets. However, I feel sort of bad when I do this because I worry it is taking up their time. Maybe relevant, maybe not, but we do compensate our room steward more than the required amount.”« go back — keep looking »