Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cruise Needs' Instagrams of the Week

That tongue 😋😋 #tongue #towelanimal #royalcaribbean #takemeback #cruiselife

A photo posted by Georgi (@georginafos) on

@disneycruiseline - This is what we call riding the wave.#DisneyCruise #disneydream

A photo posted by Kreuzfahrt2.0 (@kreuzfahrt2.0) on

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Royal Caribbean leading way on sexual assault safety; is it enough?

Royal Caribbean earned the first-ever best practices certification from the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network (RAINN). They are the only cruise line to go this far in ensuring safe and appropriate responses to sexual assaults at sea. The company deserves commendation for their progressive stance on the issue. However, is certification enough? Can Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines do more to prevent the crimes and keep their passengers safe?

According to Skift, the RAINN certification involves 11 key areas. Some focus on prevention and training, while others deal with post-assault victim support. Even prior to the certification, Royal Caribbean reported better sexual assault statistics than other cruise lines. But there are two areas where all cruise lines seem exposed. The first is alcohol consumption. Alcohol is a significant factor in many cruise-related injuries and crimes. Even with stricter policies and better awareness from servers and bartenders, there will be plenty of men and women impaired onboard. Some of these people will inevitably be involved in sexual assaults.

The other factor overlooked, but that has been a hot button on Cruise Law News, is screening and punishing crew. Many of the assaults are crew on passenger. Training is obviously important with this as is enhanced security and key access. But the background screening can be an issue. The criminal record systems in some of the countries from which the crews are hired are not always as thorough as in they are in the United States. Plenty of offenders have and will continue to slip through the cracks until better hiring practices are in place. If the cruise lines really want to address sexual assault, it will need to improve their hiring background checks.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Ship Mate's infographic on the Royal Caribbean fleet

Ship Mate is back with another helpful infographic. Above is their age list of all of Royal Caribbean's ships. They also added a useful column on when the ships were last renovated. (Renovations can often breathe new life into a tired ship.) 

Read the Ship Mate blog for more details on the age of the Royal Caribbean fleet. 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cruise Capital's Royal Princess review and tour

While not a slick as some video reviews, this tour and review of the Royal Princess is very worthwhile. In addition to the usual stops in dining and activities, Cruise Capital also includes some action shots of the staff and celebration from the actual cruise. As you are researching a potential trip on the Royal Princess, certainly watch the video above.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Royal Caribbean deserves accolades for saving the 'miracle cruise baby'

August 31 was the typical early morning on the Independence of the Seas. In the middle of the night, passenger Emily Morgan went into labor. Only 23 weeks pregnant, Morgan knew she needed the help of the crew medical staff. Although they handle various emergencies at sea, crew medical staffs are not equipped to deal with emergency labor nor premature babies. Pregnancy policies are specifically designed to avoid emergency births onboard. But baby Haiden came at 1:56 a.m.

Weighing on 1.5 pounds and having breathing issues, Haiden's life was in danger. Lacking an incubator, the ship's staff did their best to keep him warm and the captain pushed the ship into San Juan two hours early. The Royal Caribbean team ultimately saved the newborn's life, as Haiden was able to get the necessary specialized medical care in San Juan.

While still struggling with various complications, Haiden is still alive and has been transferred to Miami. The Morgans are sharing their story and the challenges Haiden and they are facing. However, overlooked in the story is how much Royal Caribbean did in such an unusual circumstance. From the Captain to the crew they did what they could to help the Morgans and the mother and baby are alive because of the Royal Caribbean team.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Cruise Needs' Tweets of the Week

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lifehacker's handy guide to cruise line alcohol policies

Bringing alcohol on board to a ship is a seemingly simple issue, yet no two cruise companies handle it the same way. Fortunately Lifehacker put together a useful chart on the basics of each cruise line's policy with regards to bringing booze on board and what you can do with the duty free alcohol you buy on your trip. 

Lifehacker regards MSC as the most strict and Regents the most accommodating. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cruise Needs' Instagrams of the Week

A photo posted by Manu X360 (@manu_x360) on
A photo posted by Disney Roy (@memoriesofdisneydotcom) on

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

CruiseTipsTV's review of Alaska

Cruise Tips TV has many helpful reviews from her various ships and trips. In this series, Sheri shifts focus to some of Alaska's most popular stops. As always, it is well worth your time if when you research your next Alaska cruise.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Celebrity Captain Kate McCue talks to CBS

Celebrity's first female captain is becoming a bit of a celebrity herself. With her first voyage underway, Kate McCue sat down for an interview with Peter Greenberg. We wish her the best and a long career ahead.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Popular Cruising's Norwegian Pearl Tour

Popular Cruising doesn't just post video reviews. They also put together unique video tours, like the one above for the Norwegian Pearl. The tours are a nice change of pace from the typical reviews in that they offer a good feel for the ship, but don't bias you with the reviewer's direct thoughts. Look for more unique video content from Popular Cruising.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Carnival's Behind the Scenes video Episode 3

The Carnival Vista will have many unique features all over the ship. But what really stands out is their new brewery. In Episode 3 of Carnnival's YouTube series Behind the Scenes: Carnival Vista, the company shows how they are building the brewery and explain how sourcing won't be an issue.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Cruise Needs' Tweets of the Week

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Report: fire on Carnival Pride

Cruise Law News is reporting that a fire took place Wednesday night on the Carnival Pride. According to their report, the fire was in the engine room and contained. The ship made its scheduled stop in Half Moon Cay Thursday, although it did arrive late. Surprisingly there is no mention of the fire from passengers on social media. Other recent ship fires provided lots of social media chatter and pictures from their respective passengers. There is also no official statement from Carnival. [UPDATE: Carnival is saying it was just smoke and not a fire.]

Unless pressed, Carnival should avoid any mention of the Carnival Pride fire. Coming on the heels of the Liberty's fire, this would amplify any worry from current and future customers. Carnival deserved commendation for handling the blaze, however, they need to discover why these fires keep breaking out.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cruise Needs' Instagrams of the Week

#NeverForget. Credit: @carnival

A photo posted by Dougie Parker (@cruiseradio) on

Good morning☀️. #disneycruise #sunrise #dcl #disneydream #vacation #halloweenonthehighseas

A photo posted by Storybook Destinations (@storybookdestinations) on

Jazz music is on, the cocktails are refreshing and the night onboard is just beginning. #MSCPreziosa #bar #cocktail #jazzmusic #nightlife

A photo posted by MSC Cruises Official (@msccruisesofficial) on

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Inside the Magic gives preview of the Disney Magic's Tangled: The Musical

One of Disney Cruise Line's hallmarks is great entertainment. Their live performances are crowd pleasers and incorporate many classic Disney moments and songs. For their new production of Tangled: The Musical, DCL is turning the movie into a live show, plus adding new songs and puppetry. In the above video, Inside the Magic has all the details as well as interviews with the show's key performers and choreographers. The show is set to premiere aboard the Disney Magic this November.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Good news, bad news for Florida's cruise growth

Tourism is booming in Florida and cruising is leading the way. That's great for the cruise companies, the state and cruise fans. The only question is can the infrastructure keep up with demand? As Skift reports, even now there are many long waits boarding cruises out of Miami. As more ships and bigger ships start sailing from Florida's most popular cruise port, things will only get worse.

Fortunately Florida understands tourism. New cruise terminals have opened in Canaveral and Everglades. Miami will also improve embarkation needs. Tampa is turning their cruise area into a hospitality and entertainment complex.

While the current ports continue to grow, Florida leaders should be asking themselves what other cities can support the cruise boom. Jacksonville's cruise activity has not reached its prerecession peak. It could certainly support more activity. Palm Beach's future dredging could open up more cruise access and has good air access. But wherever the growth goes, the cruise companies should feel good that the state is committed to its growth.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Corpus Christi wants to be a cruise port too

Seeing the boost smaller cities like Mobile or Charleston get from the cruise industry has local leaders in Corpus Christi thinking big. Texas Lawmakers are meeting with cruise industry representatives to explore the possibility of the south Texas city becoming a regular port. But even with local support, does Corpus Christi really make sense for any cruise company?

The best thing about Corpus Christi is its proximity to the typical Western Caribbean stops. A shorter trip saves ships fuel money and gives the cruise companies a little more flexibility in scheduling. However, the city's location is also a hindrance. The airport is small and without many direct flights. The local population is not large enough to support a big cruise customer base. More densely populated areas nearby also have closer cruise ports (Galveston, New Orleans, etc.).

We doubt Corpus Christi will get much traction as a home port. The city might invest in some infrastructure to lure a company for a trial run, but that has huge risks. Mobile's cruise terminal sat unused for many years until Carnival agreed to return.

Saturday, September 12, 2015 the benefits of a balcony

A common question from would be cruisers is: should I spend the extra money for a balcony? The folks at clearly think it is. In the well-made video above, goes through all the benefits of booking a balcony.

We love balconies but don't view it as a requirement for a good cruise. But we also love cruises under nearly any circumstance.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cruise Needs' Tweets of the Week

Thursday, September 10, 2015

TravelPulse offers Fall cruise suggestions

Because of the weather and kids going back to school, Fall can be a slow cruise time. Many cruise companies use this time of year to refurbish their older ships. However, the changing seasons and the need to move ships around creates some unique cruise opportunities. TravelPulse put together a list of six fall cruises that are worth taking.

Of their list, the Coastal California sounds very enticing. We've visited all those cities but never from a ship. And unlike some of the other itineraries suggested, this one is a little more rare. Which unique Fall cruise sounds most exciting to you?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cruise Needs' Instagrams of the Week

Today we're shooting the next episode of "Behind the scenes:Carnival Vista" and this was my view this morning. #LivingBold @carnival

A photo posted by The Bold Man and the Sea (@boldmanandthesea) on

This is the spectacular Supernova Atrium that ascends 10 decks high! @costacruisesofficial #CostaLuminosa #CConboard

A photo posted by Cruise Capital (@cruisecapital) on

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Carnival Liberty returning to San Juan

After initially implying the ship would sail Monday night, Carnival announced the Carnival Liberty will not complete its current cruise. Still dealing with the after effects of Monday's engine room fire, the ship is awaiting permission to sail from St. Thomas to San Juan. From there, passengers will have the option of staying onboard and exploring Puerto Rico or of returning home. The company also said that passengers will get a refund and a 50% discount on a future cruise.

While the good news is that no one was injured, the massive disappointment and inconvenience for the passengers remains a black eye for Carnival. One bad news story and one boat load of frustrated passengers can undo much of the goodwill the company built up since the Triumph. We hope the passengers make the most of their time in San Juan and we hope this is the last issue to impact a Carnival ship.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Carnival updates Carnival Liberty status after fire

Earlier Monday a fire broke out on the Carnival Liberty. The fire started in the engine room and was contained. The company reported no passenger injuries, though they did evacuate the ship on St. Thomas. According to Carnival the ship will sail again on Monday night. This was the second day of a cruise that left San Juan on Sunday.

It seems like there has been an increase of ship fires of late. Fortunately they've been handled well by the various crews. But this is another reminder to take all ship fire drills seriously.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Porthole Magazine's mixes football and cruising

Football is back and just in time for those who miss the action and passion of the gridiron. But the long offseason doesn't have to be so long. As Porthole Magazine points out, there are plenty of opportunities for football fanatics to take their passion to the seas. 

Their list includes theme cruises or trips that emphasize the sport. And unlike 15 or 20 years ago, now during the football season you can still catch the big game onboard. The bigger and newer ships have sports bars where all the best NFL games are available. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

PassPorterGuides looks at the Disney's Magic Porthole

One of Disney's nice touches is their Magic Porthole. In the video above PassPorterGuides gives example of how the "windows" work and what you can expect.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Cruise Needs' Tweets of the Week

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Carnival returning to Mobile

The Mayor of Mobile, Alabama announced an agreement for Carnival to return to the southern port. Specifics of the deal (when the sailings begin, what type of ship, etc.) will be announced later this month. But any news is good news as the Mobile Cruise Terminal has been mostly empty since Carnival left the city in 2011.

Mobile's roller-coaster history with the cruise industry is very similar to the travails of other non-traditional cruise ports. Cities all want year-round traffic, invest in facilities and tax breaks for cruise companies, do everything they can to get a ship and then worry about it leaving at the first sign of trouble. Regardless of little victories, the cities will always be at the whim of the cruise lines. Markets get bored or saturated. (How many times can cruise fans in the Gulf area sail the western Caribbean itinerary?) Very few secondary ports have the airports to support flights from around the country to feed the ships. And the drive markets tend to overlap. Mobile will probably get a multi-year run out of Carnival, but it won't last forever.

Mobile is a great city, so this boost is welcome. It will bring in more people to the downtown and will introduce the city to others. Let's hope this works and other cities have success with cruise too. It would be a win-win for civic and cruise leaders.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Cunard's Queen Victoria to sail the Amazon

As the lines continue to blur between river and ocean cruises, Cunard announced a unique itinerary for 2017. As part of a global cruise, the Queen Victoria will cruise down the Amazon River. It will become the largest ship to ever transit the river.

As interesting as this might sound, it probably won't spark a rush of ocean ships heading down the Amazon. The remoteness of the river is one challenge. And the size of other companies' ships is another. But for those lucky few that will be on the Victoria, this represents a once in a lifetime opportunity.