Thursday, January 28, 2016

Virgin settles lawsuit over cruise idea

One of the remaining hurdles for Virgin Cruises is gone. The company settled its lawsuit with former NCL CEO Colin Veitch. He accused the new cruise line of using his ideas and then forcing him out. Virgin is on track to launch their first ship in 2020.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Cruise Needs' Instagrams of the Week

Unsere Kussmundschönheit AIDAstella. Welche Kussmundschönheit haben Sie zum küssen gern? #aida #cruise #orient

A photo posted by AIDA Kreuzfahrten (@aida_cruises) on

Today's forecast above: Perfect. #CruiseNorwegian

A photo posted by Norwegian Cruise Line (@norwegiancruiseline) on

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Royal Caribbean returns to Haiti

Royal Caribbean returned to its private beach at Labadee, Haiti on Tuesday. Other Royal Caribbean ships had bypassed the island after local protests on January 19. The beach and its amenities have been a popular stop for Royal Caribbean ships for years. Despite restricting passengers from leaving the fenced in areas, Royal Caribbean has also been a huge revenue source for Haiti.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Do Celebrity Chefs make a difference for cruisers?

Curtis Stone is the latest celebrity chef to make news with a cruise line. The Australian recently opened two restaurants called Share on Princess Cruises. With the move, he joins his colleagues Geoffrey Zakarian, Guy Fieri, and Jacques Pepi as cruise innovators. But do any of them actually move the needle with passengers?

Food and dining is a huge aspect of cruises. The variety in tastes, styles, flavors and service make cruise vacations unique. With food such a factor, it makes sense to get famous chefs involved. But the challenge is that unless you are on a special ship, you are not really getting the Chef's meal. A cruise kitchen is preparing their recipes. It probably still tastes great, but it is not the same. So what are you paying for if the same people are preparing food in other, non-celeb parts of the ship? Plus, how sensitive are the passenger pallets. Cruise companies have had great chefs and unique recipes for years. If you take the best dish on one of those Princess ships, would it compare to the food at Stone's bistro? Probably.

We encourage cruise companies to keep investing in great dining. But don't waste money on celebrity chefs. The companies are already making great food. Just make it that much better!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Popular Cruising's Anthem of the Seas Review

Popular Cruising posted another one of their thorough reviews. This time it is Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas. While they cover a lot of the high-end spaces and accommodations, you still get a feel for all the options. Of course you also get a glimpse at all the ship's amenities and attractions.

(If you're like us, at this point you can probably hum the background music Popular Cruising uses in their videos.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Will Ovation of the Seas ever regularly sail in North America?

The Ovation of the Seas is Royal Caribbean's latest Quantum class ship and nearing its debut. It has all the major features of the other Quantum ships and is nearing its debut in April. But excitement is somewhat muted in North American and European markets because this ships is headed to China.

Basing the ship in the growing Chinese market is a very smart move for Royal Caribbean. However, that doesn't make it any easier on the cruise nuts based in this continent. The demand remains high for the Quantum experience and right now there is only serving the U.S. The next one won't debut until 2019.

Perhaps once the Quantums are not state of the art, the Ovation will transfer to the West. Until then though, you'll have to wait...or decide to sail out of China.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Another baby born on a cruise ship

Last year a premature birth on a cruise became a rescue mission and a medical miracle. Fortunately for the baby born Sunday on the Queen Mary 2, things were more normal. The mother carried to 37 weeks and the baby is now resting comfortably in a Brooklyn hospital. The happy ending is nice, but you still have to question why the pregnant woman was on board. How did Cunard not stop her? They are not equipped to handle pregnancy emergencies, so everyone is lucky there were no complications.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Cruise Needs' Tweets of the Week

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Cruise illnesses down?

According to a report in by the CDC, the number of cruise illnesses declined nearly 30% since 1990. Better cleanliness, awareness and quick reactions by the cruise companies all contributed to the decline.

But this doesn't mean the issue is going away. As the ships get bigger, containment becomes an issue as well. One outbreak on one mega ship has the potential to impact thousands instead of hundreds.

As with all vacations, make smart eating and cleaning decisions and you will avoid many of the problems. And if you do come down with something on board, go to the medical clinic. It is important that the ship 's staff knows of all the issues on board.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Cruise Needs' Instagrams of the Week

The icon of super fun #cruising #carnival Miracle

A photo posted by Diane McDougall Tierney (@cruiseguru) on

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Good cruise booking tips from the Royal Caribbean Blog

Everyone's got a tip on how to save when booking a cruise. Some are obvious and rehashed over and over. Others are less known and could be of good use to you, the next time you book. The Royal Caribbean Blog posted their five booking tips and we found the list insightful. They start with the common suggestions of booking early and using a travel agent, but then suggest some less common advice, like:

-- Sail from alternate ports.  You might not have the same variety or frequency that you get out of Miami, but alternative ports can provide a little bit of a price break.

-- Sail on older ships. Bigger and newer are not always better for your wallet. The older ships still have outstanding amenities and the same levels of service. None of the major cruise lines use really old ships, so even the "older" portion of their fleet are still huge and provide a great experience. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Porthole has some unique predictions for new fees

Cruise fees are here to stay. Room service, activities, and more to come. For people who love to cruise it is a serious issue. But that doesn't mean you also can't laugh at some of the ridiculousness. Porthole Magazine's blog posted a facetious list of future fees. It's funny and on the nose. Porthole sees a day where you pay for a tender or even a squirt of hand sanitizer. Let's hope no one from a cruise company reads their list...they might get new ideas.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Popular Cruising's Disney Dream review

Popular Cruising is back with another solid and thorough review of the Disney Dream. Watch it to learn more about Disney's latest enhancements.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Carnival expands room service fee programs

Back in April we predicted the Carnival's room service fee charges were just the beginning. On Tuesday, the world's most popular cruise line announced that their room service fee structure will now apply to all Carnival ships. The test on three ships last spring was clearly a success.

Our advice is to just skip room service. We have yet to find a cruise ship where food is not plentiful and readily available. Even if you have a great room and great view, there are sure to be other great places to eat on board.

Now that the charge has been rolled out to all Carnival ships, it is only a matter of time before it spreads to more ships within the Carnival Companies. It is also just a matter of time before other formerly included services get fees attached to them.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Why doesn't Holland America have better Youtube content?

Holland America has beautiful ships, excellent crews and a wonderful reputation. They are remaking their logo. They have new ships coming online. Yet it still feels like some of their marketing is an afterthought. Take their Youtube content for example. They put up this video above about the custom chocolates made for their ships. It is interesting enough, but doesn't have the purpose or production value of many of the shorts produced by other cruise lines. HAL doesn't even have the same sort of variety and quality that their sister Carnival brands do.

We hope that HAL invest a little more in their online videos in 2016. They have a very loyal fan/customer base who would embrace the medium, plus it might get a few more customers to try their ships.

Friday, January 1, 2016