Call me a party pooper, but I dread having a birthday while I’m on a cruise. The dining room lights dim to cue the arrival of a cake with a sparkler or candles (depending which line you’re on) while waiters circle the table and erupt into a rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Strangers at surrounding tables join in, only to mumble or go silent through the part where your name crops up.
It makes me cringe. And even if you’re not the recipient, you still have to suffer through it. On a large ship, there seems to be a birthday or honeymoon/anniversary rendition of “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” — even worse as the tune goes on for longer — virtually every night.
So I was relieved to find I’m not the only killjoy. Cruise Critic member balf took to the forums to express his distaste for surprise serenades.
Voted Cruise Critic’s Best New River Ships of 2014, Emerald Waterways launched in 2014 with twin vessels: 182-passenger Sky and Star. This year, it unveils another dynamic duo, Sun and Dawn. With bold and modern designs, Emerald appeals to young cruisers and travelers looking for moderately priced, all-inclusive journeys along the Rhine, Danube and other European rivers.
Emerald will float your boat if you like …
… Mod design: Impeccably maintained, Emerald’s airy decor glitters with glass, mirrors and mid-century, modernist chic.
I’ve stumbled across a post on the Fred. Olsen section of the Cruise Critic forums in which American cruiser cruiseXlife asks, in a very positive and enthusiastic manner, whether he would be welcome on the traditionally British line.
“Have you ever found a cruise that you really liked, that went to places you wanted to see, left from a convenient port, and was on a ship that had everything you needed? Well, I am in that position right now with Fred. Olsen.”
“How will the cruise contrast with my usual style of cruising? I know I have mostly sailed Carnival cruises, but I do not cruise for line or ship, solely for the destination. What will be different onboard? Will I be welcomed well?”
Tip: Every cruiser has his or own tricks for saving money — whether it’s vowing not to spend extra on specialty restaurants or purchasing a beverage package. But there are quite a few “secrets” to stretching your budget that the cruise lines don’t advertise. If beverage packages aren’t your thing, consider this:
Beer-drinkers: Ordering a souvenir bucket of beer will get you four or five bottles at a slightly cheaper cost than if you were to buy them individually.
Wine-lovers: It’s usually cheaper to buy a bottle than a few glasses. Plus if you don’t finish it, you can always save it for another night.
Full Article: Read more secrets the cruise lines don’t tell you.
Want More?: Check out our related links below for more info, tips and advice.
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It’s an oft-repeated truth: Don’t drag young kids round Rome — or any European city — during a high-season cruise. It’s not worth it, as this sorry tale will prove.
It all started off so well. Rewind a few months when I announced the trip to my two boys, ages 4 and 8:
Me: Guess what guys — we’re going on a cruise!
Them (not looking up from iPads): Ennh.
Me: And what’s more — we’re going to Rome!
Them: (no response)
Me: And … you can dress up as a gladiator!
Them (finally making eye contact): Yay!
Cruise Ship: Azamara Journey
Itinerary: Western Mediterranean
Background: After 10 cruises, Arling2nGal and her hubby’s second taste of Azamara was enough for her to dub themselves loyal fans. Between the amazing service, breakfast on their balcony and independent shore tours on their recent Azamara Journey cruise, the two were inspired to book another for next year.
Onboard Highlight: The service — seeing the captain was a highlight.
Port Highlight: Monaco, during the Formula 1. Arling2nGal also loved traveling to a new port each day.
Don’t Miss: Breakfast on the balcony if you have an outside cabin.
Watch Out For: Hair dryers supplied in the cabins. Arling2nGal wished she’d brought her own from home.
More: Read Arling2nGal’s full review for more details about the service, food and entertainment onboard, as well as the ports of call.
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.