Combine Lines to Create Your Perfect Cruise Ship!

February 5, 2015 | By | 7 Comments

Cruise ships in port - image courtesy of John Panella/Shutterstock

Imagine you’re a cruise ship designer. You have a blank check, and you’ve been given free reign to create your ideal cruise ship. The only constraint? You have to select features from existing cruise lines.

This brilliant topic for what could be endless debate was, of course, posed on the Cruise Critic forums and has generated some fantastic responses in the two days since it went live.

The original poster delirious9876 kicked things off by saying Princess and Royal Caribbean would create the most beautiful cruise ship love child.

“I’ve just been on a Royal Caribbean, Caribbean cruise and a Princess Cruises Caribbean cruise (back to back) and I’m usually very loyal to RCCL, but I now think I’m a bit of a Princess [convert] as well.”

Delirious said he’d include Royal Caribbean’s ship design and entertainment in the mash-up, while “food, friendliness, general day to day quality and service” would be imported from Princess.

Read on for more

    Steal of the Week: Save Up to 78% on Windstar

    February 5, 2015 | By | No Comments

    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: Windstar Cruises is offering savings of up to 78 percent on their yacht sailings when you book by Tuesday, February 10.
    WHAT WE LOVE: Booking in advance is key this year. While last minute fares will exist, more and more cruisers are looking to lock in the itinerary, ship and dates they want, ahead of time. With this sale from Windstar, book low pricing on a number of different sailings from the waters of the Mediterranean to the South Pacific — savings are nearly 80 percent off of base fares during this wave season promotion, and ships available include the all-new Star Pride.
    WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: It’s a one-week promotion, which gives you little time to consider the line if you haven’t in the past. As with any short booking turnaround, make sure the right dates and itineraries are available in your price range. Discount fares for a higher-priced line may still be more than you are willing to spend.
    HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (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.

      A Eulogy for SkyMall

      February 4, 2015 | By | No Comments

      Rest in Peace SkyMall - original from Karen Shell Photography via makeupaz.com

      SkyMall — the catalog of quirky, useless and overpriced items for purchase at 35,000 feet declared bankruptcy and halted its print publication on Jan. 16. Below, I pay tribute to my best source of humorous blog fodder.

      Our hearts are heavy today as we mourn the loss of an old friend. A stalwart travel companion on many a flight, SkyMall kept us sane when screaming babies and snoring rowmates were just too much to bear. When our hard-earned paychecks were burning holes in our pockets. When the lack of cabin pressure convinced us we absolutely needed a life-size Sasquatch garden statue. (Seriously, if nobody’s ever gotten a good look at Sasquatch, how do they know what size to make the statue, anyway?)

      Rest in Peace SkyMall

        Wanderlust Wednesday: A Sparkling Sailaway

        February 4, 2015 | By | No Comments

        Port of Charlotte Amalie - photo courtesy of Victor Jackson/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 photos@cruisecritic.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!

        It’s high season in St. Thomas, so if you’re onboard one of the many cruise ships visiting the Eastern Caribbean port of Charlotte Amalie, we hope you take a moment to soak up the view. Need some respite from the crowds while docked? Head to award-winning Magens Bay or historic Frenchtown, a lovely hub of restaurants to the west.

        Find interesting places to visit based on region.

        Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.

        Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

          Is Carnival Vista the Ship for You?

          February 3, 2015 | By | 21 Comments

          Carnival Vista - photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

          With so many new cruise ships coming out in the next two to three years, it can be hard to decide which one is worth spending your hard-earned dollars. Although it’s still more than a year away from its May 2016 debut, we’ve compiled 10 reasons why the 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista appeals to people who want lots of “fun” choices on their next vacation, even if you’ve never cruised before.

          Carnival Vista may just be the right ship for you if:

          You crave adrenaline when you travel. Vista will feature SkyRide, an open-air, pedal-powered aerial ride in which you’ll have to “bike” your way around an 800-foot track suspended 150 feet above sea level. And, 20 rope bridges of varying degrees of difficulty comprise the SkyCourse ropes circuit.

          Carnival Vista - top deck - photo courtesy of Carnival Cruise Line

          You enjoy water parks. Carnival Vista will be home to Carnival’s largest WaterWorks water park. It’ll have two waterslides including the Kaleid-O-Slide, on which riders twist and turn their way through a 455-foot-long enclosed tube on one- and two-person rafts while kaleidoscopic special effects trip the light fantastic.

          Continue our Carnival Vista Litmus test

            Member Review of the Week: Give It a Whirl

            February 3, 2015 | By | No Comments

            The Azura Main Dining Room - photo courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

            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 dafuser’s recent Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard Norwegian Jewel.

            Overall Impression: Norwegian’s Freestyle cruising style seemed like a fun way for Carnival regulars, dafuser and his wife, to spice up their routine. More dining options and the flexibility to create your own experience — what’s not to love? While the ship fared to be a good time, there was something missing. Read on to get a better taste.

            Onboard Highlight: The Azura Main Dining Room, where dafuser and his wife ate multiple nights for its scrumptious bites and flexible evening dress code.

            Port Highlight: Honduras’ Banana Coast (Trujillo) — Norwegian’s new port of call.

            Don’t Miss: The amazing views at Spinnaker Lounge.

            Watch Out For: The Freestyle dining concept, if meeting people at set dining times is your ‘thing.’

            More: Read dafuser’s full review to learn more about their likes and dislikes pertaining to the new dining experience.

            For their efforts, dafuser, ColdinOH, barrycruiser, HappyPlace and AquaAdventurer receive Cruise Critic logo items.

            Read more reviews or write your own cruise review.

              As Seen on TV: Cruise Ship Singer Carly Waddell on The Bachelor

              February 2, 2015 | By | 4 Comments

              Carly Waddell, contestant on The Bachelor

              Norwegians get roses….or at least one of them has been.

              Carly Waddell, a former cruise ship singer on Norwegian Jade, is a contestant on The Bachelor this season. So far the 29-year-old Texas blonde has made it through four rounds, with the goal of winning the heart of hunky farmer Chris Soules.

              In her official ABC bio, Waddell says she can’t live without “God, family, mascara, curling iron, and cut-off denim shorts” – in that order. In a nod to her cruising background, she notes that she spent time on her last ship looking for pirates in the Red Sea on the overnight shift.

              Apparently Waddell is no stranger to the long-running reality show franchise. Her brother, Zak Waddell, appeared as a contestant on The Bachelorette, wooing Desiree Hartsock. Avid Bachelor/ette watchers (not this writer!) note that she was seen in a home visit during the season, grilling her would-be sister-in-law about her intentions.

              (Cruise ship singers have popped up on other reality shows. Last year, Holland American vocalist Stephanie Anne Johnson wowed the judges on the singing show The Voice. Alas, she was eliminated during the live rounds).

              Carly Waddell, contestant on The Bachelor with karaoke machine

              So far this season, the singer has stood out with her voice (she serenaded Soules upon first meeting him with a Barbie karaoke machine) and her love of the color pink (see afore-mentioned karaoke machine, as well as her pink poofy princess dress). Spoiler alerts for tonight suggest that she has a steamy one-on-one date with the Iowa cutie, which might put her ahead of the pack (or at least get her a shot at becoming the next Bachelorette).

              Have you seen Carly sing on a Norwegian ship – and will you be rooting for her to win love? Tell us in the comments!

                Love It or Hate It? Carnival Corporation’s Super Bowl Ad

                February 2, 2015 | By | 50 Comments

                For a cruise company looking for buzz, there’s no better time to seize the national spotlight than during the Super Bowl. And that’s just what Carnival Corporation & plc did with its “Come Back to the Sea” ad last night.

                The ad represented the culmination of a new marketing push by Carnival Corp., the parent company of nine cruise lines including Princess, Holland America, Seabourn, Carnival, Costa and P&O (Australia and U.K.), among others. The campaign crowd-sourced the final call out of four (very different) advertising spots debuted in mid-December, and asked fans to vote for their favorite. These included “Message in a Bottle,” “Getaway” “Cruise Virgins” and one titled “Mystery.”

                What won? Read on to find out

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