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.

    Wanderlust Wednesday: Art Around Every Corner

    July 2, 2014 | By | No Comments

    buenos aires argentina cruise
    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.
    You never know what — or who — you’ll run into when it comes to art in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This dapper gentleman is one of the many Pop Art figures in the city’s La Boca district. Thanks to Cruise Critic member Downwind for the photo.
    Find interesting places to visit based on region.
    Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.
    Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

      Just Back From…. S.S Legacy, a “Softer” Small Ship Adventure

      July 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

      Un-Cruise SS Legacy cruising in Alaska
      Durable hiking shoes: Check. Water-resistant clothing: Check. Adventurous spirit: Check. These are only a few requirements for an expedition cruise. Sounds pretty intense, huh? You might be surprised.
      Many cruisers (including first-timers) are under the impression that expedition cruising is solely a whirlwind of an adventure, trekking up steep terrains, kayaking through narrow waterways and getting up close and personal with nature in goggles and an oxygen tank.
      While these cruises do exist for adrenaline junkies, there are also options for those who crave a small-ship experience and wildlife immersion without the extreme recreation. Un-Cruise Adventures‘ 88-passenger S.S. Legacy is one of them.
      Onboard the ship’s “Heritage,” history-oriented tour of Alaska’s Inside Passage, I found myself amongst a group of passengers who fit the aforementioned description of those who want an intimate, ‘relaxed adventure.’
      Here are some of the things that have stood out about this style of cruising:
      Read on for the highlights.

        Member Review of the Week: A Magical Surprise

        July 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

        Disney Magic cruise ship in Castaway Cay
        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 sunnyinchagrin‘s recent transatlantic cruise aboard Disney Magic.

        Overall Impression: Slightly skeptical about spending so much time at sea, sunnyinchagrin was proven wrong after a recent transatlantic cruise aboard Disney Magic. It was a far cry from the tedious, boring voyage they feared when planning to try something new.

        Read on for highlights, tips and more.

          July 2014 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper: Sailing Norwegian Fjords

          June 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

          July 2014 Desktop Calendar of Cruise Ship in Norwegian Fjords
          Get your July 2014 Desktop Calendar Wallpaper! We hope that this photo of a cruise ship sailing through the Norwegian Fjords will get you excited about those summer cruises that you have planned.
          Here’s how to put this photo on your computer, tablet or cell phone:
          1.  Click on the following links to get the size that you want. Each link will open a new window (or tab) displaying the wallpaper, in the appropriate format for your screen size.
          2.  For the desktop versions, right-click on the image, and choose the option that says, “Set as Desktop Background”, “Use as Desktop Picture,” or something similar. The wording depends on your browser. Mac users should ctrl-click and save the photo on their computer in the “Pictures” folder.
          3. If the image does not fit your desktop background neatly, you may have to go to your preference panel (on a Mac: System Preferences > Desktop & Screen Saver > Desktop; on Windows: Control Panel > Display > Desktop) and choose“Fit to screen” as the display mode of your background image.
          4. For phone and tablet, open the link and center the photo on your phone so it fills the screen. Take a photo and save it on your device. Then go to your Settings and find your Wallpaper (on an iPhone, this is under “Wallpapers & Brightness.” Set the saved calendar photo as your wallpaper.
          2560 x 1440 | 1280 x 800 | Tablet | Mobile
          Check back on July 31 for the August 2014 calendar. 

            Live from Carnival Freedom: Dr. Seuss is on the Loose

            June 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

            Children on stage with Cat in the Hat hats, taking part in Carnival Cruise Line's Seuss at Sea StoryTime
            Green eggs and ham is just the beginning,
            Of a concept on Carnival that seems to be winning,
            It’s a kids’ program that Carnival has just let loose,
            Experiences at sea with Dr. Seuss.
            Seuss-a-Palooza is the big parade
            Where banners are held and noises are made.
            Noisemakers held by boys and by girlies
            But if the kids want a prop, be sure to get there early.
            The parade is led by your cruise director
            He serves as a host, he serves as a lector
            Thing 1, Thing 2, Sam and Cat in the Hat
            Help lead you to where Story Time is at.
            Read on for more (it’s not a chore)

              Hot on the Forums: Frugal? Or Stingy?

              June 27, 2014 | By | 3 Comments

              Man holding a stack of $20 bills
              You’ve seen them onboard: The sneaky people who sidle up to the photographers’ gallery, locate their own mugshot and take a cheeky snap on their iPhone. Tightwads? Or just travelers who feel that cruise lines deserve as good as they get when it comes to money-making opportunities?
              The difference between being frugal and being downright stingy is highly subjective, as this very long thread on Cruise Critic demonstrates, but some of the money-saving tips from members are highly entertaining.
              Read on to find out more money saving tips!

                Steal of the Week: 7-Night Med Cruise from $469

                June 26, 2014 | By | No Comments

                piggy bank cruising greece
                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 seven-night Mediterranean cruise onboard MSC Lirica, sailing roundtrip from Venice on April 18, 2015. Prices start from $469 per person, for an inside cabin.
                WHAT WE LOVE: For the price — $67 per person, per night — see a number of stunning Mediterranean ports including Venice, Santorini, Mykonos, Dubrovnik, and lesser-known Ancona, in Italy. Don’t forget, on most MSC cruises, kids sail free. April is a choice time of year with less crowds and mild, pleasant weather. Greece can be downright hot in the summer months, so this is a primte time to escape the humidity. Spring holidays fall in the earlier weeks of April in 2015, so spring break travel should be coming to a close by embarkation. MSC is an Italian line so it knows this region well — your experience will be authentic onboard and off.
                WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: Flights abroad are always a concern for the money-minded traveler, so roundtrip from Venice will require more vacation funds. As mentioned, the line is Italian and certain things differ from your average mainstream cruise line — no freestyle dining is offered, and entertainment sticks to variety shows that cater to a multicultural audience.
                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.
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