Wanderlust Wednesday: Call this Bluff

June 25, 2014 | By | No Comments

hraunfoss iceland 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.
The only thing this dramatic landscape has to prove is that its worth the visit. Known as the “Lava Falls,” these tiny waterfalls in Hraunfoss, Iceland, are the result of subterranean water seeping through lava and make for one of the country’s most iconic landmarks. We thank Cruise Critic member BORDER REIVER for submitting this photo, taken during a cruise excursion from Reykjavik.
Find interesting places to visit based on region.
Everything you need to know about planning a cruise.
Explore Trip Reports of unique itineraries.

    A Change of Plans Becomes a Blessing in Disguise

    June 24, 2014 | By | No Comments

    cruise tracy arm alaska
    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 akacake‘ recent cruise to Alaska aboard Holland America’s Zaandam.

    Overall Impression: Pacific Northwest natives akacake and her husband were excited to escape the chill for palm trees, umbrella drinks and sand between their toes. But a change of plans with cruise companions landed them on an Alaskan itinerary with Holland America — both firsts, which naturally, prompted a bit of skepticism.

    Once onboard, their doubts were completely overturned.
    Read on for highlights, tips and more.

      A Closer Look: What Song is Best for Sailaway?

      June 23, 2014 | By | 32 Comments

      Sailaway party on Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas
      What feelings would “My Heart Will Go On” – the Titanic theme tune – evoke if you heard it as you sailed out of port: Happy, excited – or extremely nervous?
      Apparently, there are quite a few of you who would like to listen to that particular soundtrack during the sailaway party, at least according to the Cruise Critic forums. We’re comfortable with the stirring sounds of “Conquest of Paradise” by Vangelis, beloved by Star Clippers, or “Amazing Grace,” played by Island Windjammers.
      So what’s music to your ears? It’s a cruising question posed by member asdf12 that elicited interesting suggestions on the forums.
      What rocks your boat? Read on.

        Where in the World is Cruise Critic?

        June 23, 2014 | By | No Comments

        Cruise Critic staffers set sail every week, traveling the globe to bring you the latest cruise ship trends, port sneak peeks and onboard observations. Here’s where we are this week.
        (Got questions about any of the ships we’re boarding or ports we are visiting? Ask us in the comments!)
        Ship: Carnival Freedom
        Where: Southern Caribbean (Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Curacao, Aruba)
        Who: Brittany Chrusciel, Editorial Assistant
        Why There? Freedom has recently emerged from a multi-million-dollar dry dock with exciting new family features including Carnival’s first Bookville at sea — part of the line’s Seuss at Sea program — as well as Camp Ocean, which will replace Camp Carnival as the line’s onboard kids’ program. In addition, a number of Fun Ship 2.0 amenities will debut on the ship, including Guy’s Burger Joint, EA Sports Bar, Hasbro Game Show and more.
        We Can’t Wait: The new kid-friendly ship spaces look as appealing to the eye as they are fun (and who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?) A longer itinerary to the southern portion of the Caribbean islands is atypical for Carnival, which usually can be found sailing shorter stints to the Eastern or Western Caribbean; I’m looking forward to strolling by the famed pastel facades of Willemstad, Curacao. I also have to admit I’m dying to order a drink on a prescription pad at Alchemy Bar!

        Read on for more.

          Cruise Critic Live! We Chat About Homeports

          June 20, 2014 | By | 6 Comments

          Every Thursday at 3 p.m. (Eastern), Cruise Critic Live! takes a look at all the things to love about cruising, from favorite destinations to amazing dining experiences to the latest and greatest new ships on the oceans and rivers. We also welcome outside experts including cruise line CEOs and newsmakers.
          Next week, we’re chatting about cruise ship homeports. When it comes to homeports, many of the biggest are trying to persuade cruisers to spend more time in town before (or after) setting sail. You can camp in Cape Canaveral or bag some great bargains in Galveston. Our globe-trotting editors will take your questions and give our favorite tips for finding the best deals in homeports and tell you which ones are worth spending a little extra time visiting.
          Not around on June 26? Ask a question here, and we’ll make sure we answer it. The chat will be archived, and available, after it winds up so don’t forget to bookmark the page.
          *Follow along on Twitter at #CruiseCriticLive.
          *Read the transcripts from previous Cruise Critic Live! chats.

            Hot on the Forums: Stupid Passenger Tricks

            June 20, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

            Cruise passengers doing stupid things
            A new trend in cruise passenger behavior has come to light recently: Doing Really Stupid Things.
            A week ago, the website cruisefever.net posted a picture of a man sitting on his balcony railing onboard Norwegian Getaway as the ship left St Maarten. Now, a woman has been photographed on Carnival Legend, climbing over her balcony railing and on top of a lifeboat, where other guests report that she wandered around taking photographs as the ship cruised the open sea.
            Maybe these things happen all the time and we just don’t see them, but these two photos in the space of a week are an eye-opener.
            Any experienced cruiser (or person of moderate sense) would know that a sudden lurch of the ship could have sent Lifeboat Lady plummeting into the sea or Balcony Man splatting across the metal ledge beneath his feet (which we assume he thought would protect him) and onto the promenade deck below.
            Read on for more.

              Destination Spotlight: Icy Strait Point, Alaska

              June 19, 2014 | By | 1 Comment

              Icy Strait Point Alaska
              Icy Strait Point, one of Alaska’s newest ports of call, celebrates its 10th anniversary this year and that may not mean much. Certainly, more established tourist stops, like circa-19th-century Skagway and Juneau, would seem to have the historic advantage.
              But to our surprise, our first-ever visit to Icy Strait last week felt more historically layered and genuine than any other port on our Alaska cruise itinerary.
              Located on Chichagof Island, Icy Strait centers around the historic structures that remain from one of Alaska’s abandoned salmon canneries. The Hoonah Cannery operated from 1912 to the 1950s, providing the people of Hoonah — Alaska’s largest Huna Tlingit village — with jobs and support for their fishing boats. When the business moved elsewhere, Icy Strait and Hoonah languished.
              Fast forward a few decades: In 2004, the still-standing structures were given new life by the Tlingit-owned Huna Totem Corporation, which wanted to create a cruise destination that combined recreational activities with museum-style attractions. The result is a port that — while man-made — is a far cry from the manufactured fun-and-sun private islands and ports you might find in the Caribbean.
              My visit to Icy Strait proved to be the hit of my Alaska itinerary last week on Oceania’s Regatta (which also included stops at Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Sitka, and British Columbia’s Victoria) for a number of reasons.
              Read on for more.

                Steal of the Week: Sail Norway from $129/Night

                June 19, 2014 | By | No Comments

                piggy bank cruising fjords
                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: Norwegian Cruise Line is offering a seven-night Norway cruise onboard Norwegian Star, sailing roundtrip from Copenhagen on May 20, 2015. Prices start from $899 per person, for an inside cabin. Onboard credit bonuses are available.
                WHAT WE LOVE: According to Norway’s official tourism website, “May to mid-June is when the scenery in Norway is at its most spectacular.” An efficient way to see the country in bloom is on this weeklong spring sailing with four port stops in Norway, from $129 per person, per night. Escape the hustle and bustle of Memorial Day weekend as you sail among popular Norwegian ports onboard none other than Norwegian Cruise Line. Onboard credit is available for all cabin classes, and a special $300 bonus is offered when you book a Haven or suite cabin. Copenhagen is a charming city to spend a pre- or post-cruise extension if you desire a longer vacation.
                WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: Flights to Copenhagen will cost you extra and Norway is known for being a bit pricey so budget accordingly if you’re seeking souvenirs from port. The scenery may be stunning, but Norwegian springs can have unpredictable weather, and are more damp and cool than warm. Pack layers. Norwegian Star has been upgraded with many of the line’s signature amenities, but it is an older ship and lacks some of the spaces of its younger brethren — you’ll have Carlo’s baked goods but no waterfront and no Broadway-inspired performances.
                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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