Live from… Regal Princess: Reliving “Love Boat” Memories

November 7, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

Love Boat cast signed photograph - photo by Chris Gray Faust

Saturday nights followed a specific routine back in 1981.  Too young for a real job, too young to date, I spent most weekend nights babysitting at the Andersons’ house, earning pocket money so I could buy the oh-so-trendy designer jeans my parents refused to purchase.

Once the kids went to bed, I, like many other Americans at the time, turned on ABC to watch two shows that took me far away from cold Minnesota suburbia: “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island.”  Both set in tropical locales, the shows featured themes and romances that were just titillating enough for a 12-year-old to enjoy, without full comprehension.

Cruising, in particular, carried a glamour reinforced at home. Every other year or so, my parents would pull out colorful caftans and sports jackets to go on a voyage by themselves, returning with shell souvenirs, new jewelry and perfume. A cruise ship seemed like a very adult place to me, at a time when I wanted nothing more than to become an adult — and the ever-changing roster of fabulous Love Boat guest stars solidified that image.

Flash forward to 2014. I had already been scheduled to attend the Regal Princess christening when Princess Cruises announced that the original cast of “The Love Boat” would serve as godparents. My inner adolescent rejoiced. And when the line later announced that a cavalcade of former guest stars would also be at the ceremony, my fandom grew into a frenzy. Kristy McNichol, Lorenzo Lamas, Adrian Zmed — I felt like the pages of my Dyn-O-Mite magazines had come to life.

A nostaglia cruise back in time

    Hot on the Forums: How Much Money Did You Spend Onboard During Your Last Cruise?

    November 7, 2014 | By | 15 Comments

    raining money - image courtesy of Jean Lee/Shutterstock

    You’ve paid for your cruise, booked your excursions up front and perhaps opted for a soda, alcohol package or both. So how much more do you expect to spend, once you board?

    About to leave for a four-day trip with her husband, Cruise Critic member CruizinMama1026, asked others on the Carnival Cruise Lines forum about that final tab, “I’m just curious what past cruisers experienced with their final Sign & Sail bill?”

    See how your Sign & Sail bill compares to fellow cruisers

      No Question Too Small: Cruise Critic Members are On the Case!

      November 6, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

      woman with binoculars - photo courtesy of Chubykin Arkady/Shutterstock

      Here at Cruise Critic, we pride ourselves on our detailed ship reviews, which encompass everything from deck plans to the type of tread on the jogging track. We supplement these reports with Cruise Critic Live! chats and Facebook photo albums, so our readers are the first to hear the latest and greatest about all things ship.

      But our secret weapon has to be our forums, where no cruising question is too small for our cruising members to answer, often live from their ships. And nowhere has the power of crowdsourcing been more apparent than on the inaugural voyage of Quantum of the Seas.

      Read on for more

        Steal of the Week: MSC Holiday Sailings from $33/Night

        November 6, 2014 | By | No Comments

        piggy bank cruising
        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 a variety of holiday sailings onboard MSC Divina that start from just $299 per person for a weeklong cruise.
        WHAT WE LOVE: It’s rare to find cruise deals for sailings during holidays, and close to a miracle to find rates under $50 per night — let alone $33. (We testify to that here in our Winter Deals feature.) Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas sailings to the Caribbean all come in at budget prices onboard MSC’s newest ship. The line is encouraging cruisers to make the holidays about having a good time with family and friends and not the planning, preparing and clean-up. Traditional meals including a Thanksgiving feast, menorah lighting with Hanukkah foods, a host of Christmas decorations, classes and events (even a visit from Santa with a gift for each child onboard). Considering the busy travel season and the added amenities, the value of these sailings is tremendous.
        WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: The pricing structure is based on MSC’s new package experiences, which may be slightly confusing to book. You’re paying for an experience rather than a stateroom, so be sure to read over all of the inclusions before booking. Also, the holidays are right around the corner (stores and commercials are already celebrating) so if you already have plans and want to break them, there’s very little time to do so: these deals are last minute.
        HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on this deal (including that pesky fine print), click here.
        Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
        * 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.

          Destination Spotlight: Spending a Port Day in Grenada

          November 5, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

          Petite Anse, Grenada - photo by Brittany Chrusciel

          Caribbean itineraries dominate the seas, but not all Caribbean islands are the same mix of sun, sand and souvenirs. On my recent vacation to Grenada, located far south in the Windward Islands within the West Indies, I found the popular cruise port a bit of a palimpsest, with traces of British and French roots visible in rusted fleur-de-lis fencing and cannons from another era. It’s a place where you can hike to a remote waterfall, and then bask on a busy beach.

          Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, Silversea and recently, Disney, are just some of the lines that call on St. Georges, Grenada. If you find yourself on a port day in the Spice Isle, here’s a few things you can do, depending on your travel style.

          History Junkies

          A walking tour of Grenada’s capital, St. Georges, will provide plenty of rich history to fill your afternoon. Learn the real story behind the American invasion of Grenada with a visit to Fort George (nominal entrance fee). The fort is the chilling location where Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, along with members of his cabinet, were assassinated (bullet holes can still be seen), and it serves as a memorial, while also providing some of the best views to the city below. Just outside of the port facilities, see the ruins of gorgeous cathedrals still devastated by Hurricane Ivan, ten years later (the only bay tree to grow in the city is nearby, and so is the city’s only monkey). If you venture out of the city, more than an hour away from St. Georges is Sateurs, location of the tragic Leaper’s Hill, where indigenous Arawarks died in 1651 rather than be captured by French colonists. The historic cemetery includes the final resting place of the first known patient of sickle cell anemia. Just outside is a coffee shop run by a woman who makes homemade ice cream, using almonds from the tree in front.

          More reasons to see Grenada

            Wanderlust Wednesday: A Taste of Tunisia

            November 5, 2014 | By | No Comments

            British Virgin Islands - photo courtesy of Aplmac/Cruise Critic Forums

            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 or post it in our member photo gallery. Feel free to send us your Twitter handle. Maybe you’ll get a shoutout next #WanderlustWednesday!

            Tunisia — which is accessed by cruise ship through the port of La Goulette — is continuing to grow as a popular Mediterranean destination. If your itinerary includes a call here, make sure you take advantage of the easy access to popular surrounding areas like downtown Tunis, the Medina (Old City), ancient Carthage and the artsy village of Sidi Bou Said, where this gorgeous shot of typical blue and white buildings — some which offer some of the most breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea — was taken by Cruise Critic member Aplmac.

            Find interesting places to visit based on region.
            Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.
            Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

              We’re Onboard: Quantum of the Seas Meet & Mingle is One For the Ages

              November 4, 2014 | By | 5 Comments

              Royal Caribbean Executive Vice President of Operations Lisa Lutoff-Perlo

              We admit it. One of our absolute favorite things is reading stories of people who have become lifelong friends through Cruise Critic. It’s one of the reasons we think our Roll Calls are wonderful: They’re a terrific way to meet your fellow cruisers virtually before actually meeting them on the ship at a Meet & Mingle.

              Yes, we knew our Meet & Mingle on Quantum of the Seas on Monday was going to be big, Our Roll Call thread had so much interaction, it had to be split into two parts, reached 363 pages and has more than 7,200 posts.

              So Monday, in one of the most momentous Cruise Critic onboard gatherings in our 21-year history, more than 500 passengers onboard Royal Caribbean’s new ship gathered to meet up, win raffle prizes and chat with top cruise line executives.

              More highlights from the Quantum Meet and Mingle

                Member Review of the Week: A Blessing in Disguise

                November 4, 2014 | By | No Comments

                Blue Mosque, Istanbul - photo Courtesy of Anna Bogush/Shutterstock

                Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week. In the spotlight this week is Cruise Critic member WisRiver‘s recent cruise to Greece and Turkey on Holland America’s Prinsendam.

                Overall Impression: Unforeseen itinerary changes turned into a blessing in disguise for WisRiver and their group, who had originally planned the cruise around bucket list ports in the Black Sea. When Turkey was added to the lineup, the group embraced it — not knowing it would end up being the highlight of their cruise.

                Onboard Highlight: A cabin upgrade, which granted the group of six more space and an unbeatable view.

                Port Highlight: Spending two nights in Istanbul, where the group explored local eateries, spiritual landmarks and more, on their own time.

                Don’t Miss: The other side of the Lido buffet (there are two). The layout can be a little confusing; use the public hallway to get from one end to the other, so you don’t miss out on all the offerings!

                Watch Out For: The Lido pool, which does not have a retractable roof allowing passengers to lay out on cooler days.

                More: Read WisRiver’s full review for more details about the overall vibe onboard Holland America’s smallest ship.

                For their efforts, WisRiver, sherrifc1, Hogladyrider, Howard_AZ and dln929 receive Cruise Critic logo items.

                Read more reviews or write your own cruise review

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