Cruise Ships – A Luxury City Floating On Water

If you are looking for a vacation like no other, then you definitely will want to consider taking a cruise. The choices are endless. You can choose a shorter cruise, such as a three day cruise or if you like you can choose a much longer cruise contracting of ten or more days. Cruise ships offer all inclusive, luxury vacations that are sure to please people of all ages.

In fact the fact that they are all inclusive is one of the most appealing features of a cruise. You simply pay one price and everything else is included. However, if you choose to do an excursion while on land, you will need to pay an additional charge. The only other thing you will probably have to pay for is any alcohol should you want to drink. But your meals, rooms and Broadway style shows are all included in the price you pay upfront. Guests like knowing that if they do not want to spend another penny once onboard, they do not have to.

Once you step onto a cruise, you will quickly realize just how spectacular this vacation really is. You will be surrounded by scenery that you will not find anywhere else. Each ship caters to specific needs. There are some cruise lines that cater more to the youngger crowds or families with young kids. On the flipside, there are cruise lines that cater more to the refined crowd who are looking for a peaceful getaway.

Some of the larger cruises offer several different pools for you to sit back and relax in. They also offer rock wall climbing, ice skating, shuffleboard and much more. The ships also generally include spectacular scenes and first class dining. On most ships you will find a health spa where you can book a relaxing massage or plan to have your hair done for that special formal dinner. You can find something to eat just about 24 hours a day.

If you are traveling with kids, amenities that fit their needs are very important. Some cruise lines will offer camps that the kids can attend. The camps are run by trained counselors. If you are traveling with infants, there are often babysitting services or nurseries where the young children can be placed so that Mom and Dad can have some adult time. Often there are events for teens also. Many of the ships will have hip teen clubs where the teenagers can get a break from their parents, while hanging out with friends.

The onboard cabins range very much in size. The smaller your room, the less expensive it will be. Also, if you are looking to save money while cruising, you may want to consider booking and interior room. However, if you are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, consider booking a room with a balcony that has breathtaking views.

Cruise ships are very popular among people of all ages. The ships cater to the needs of everyone on the ship. So no matter what type of vacation you are looking for, whether it is an adventurous vacation or one that is calm and relaxing, you are sure to find it amongst one of the many cruise lines.

UK Cruises Set to Keep Growing in Popularity

UK cruise departures saw an increase of 10 percent in 2010 – and are set to grow even more in popularity. In fact, it’s been predicted that 2012 is going to be the best year yet, as more and more people choose to sail from the convenience and ease of a UK cruise port.

According to the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA), a staggering 835,000 people will set sail from a UK port in 2012. This makes an increase of an impressive 28 per cent – and that’s just over the last two years! And, if this increase wasn’t enough, it’s thought that UK cruises’ popularity is set to grow even more.

With 20 departure ports in the United Kingdom, cruise popularity certainly comes as no surprise. Rather than catching a ship abroad, you simply sail directly from the UK – no airport involved. There’s none of that hassle of having to lug heavy luggage around, no worry that your flight might be cancelled or delayed nor is there the threat of the airline deciding to go on strike. Sailing to destinations like Russia, Scandinavia, the Norwegian Fjords, Iceland, the Mediterranean, America, Ireland and the coast of Britain, cruising from the UK offers a smooth sailing experience from start to finish.

The major cruise lines are well aware of the demand for UK cruises – and with many having launched large ships in the UK in the last few years; they all want a slice of this flourishing market. In April 2010, P&O launched the Azura – which has a guest capacity of 3,000 – in Southampton, the UK’s largest cruise port. Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse are also based in Southampton. Dover, the UK’s second largest cruise port, has its fair share of cruise liners too, including Fred Olsen’s Black Watch, Holland America’s Eurodam and Saga’s Saga pearl II.

The Cruise lines are more than confident that this popularity in UK departures will continue for the foreseeable future, with even more cruise ships set to be launched over the next couple of years. P&O Cruises will be launching the 3,611-passenger vessel – the largest in their fleet – from the UK in early 2012. The future’s looking very bright indeed for UK cruises.

As well as sailings from the UK being sought after, cruises in general are a popular holiday choice with many. With all-inclusive fees, accommodation, entertainment and food all thrown in, a cruise holiday really does offer value for money. And, not forgetting the main selling point, the fact that you get to see a number of different places and attractions – all in one single trip. That’s another great thing about UK cruises; you get to visit incredible destinations around the world – without the need to fly. It’s an adventure of a lifetime – made easy.

With a great choice of ships and a selection of delightful destinations, is there any longer such a need to sail from anywhere else?

Cruise Ship Gambling – Things You Should Know!

Apart from some of the various gambling facilities offered on land, cruise ship casinos are by far the most well known casinos in the United States. So if you feel like gambling at sea you most surely can, and at the same time enjoy a vacation as well. That is if you sights are set on a long cruise, which will in most cases go for longer than three days. Aside from those great-extended cruises you’re able to check out the casino vessels along the coast.

When it comes to cruise ship gambling, most people are nervous about the legal side of things and yes, it’s true -gambling is actually not legal in most of the United States, but various rules apply when you pass into international waters. As soon as your ship leaves port the casino will most likely open but to stay safe many ships wait until they are a few miles away from US soil. Gambling on the ship casino is similar to gambling on dry land and usual casino rules should apply however if the vessel’s gambling rules differ, you will likely see signs or if you’re lucky, the rules on the walls somewhere.

Additionally to getting help or illumination from the employees it’s not likely that they can train you how to play a certain game. Not like dance lessons you could easily be well informed in how to play a number of various games with a bit of help of a skilled gambler. Most of these on board casino game lessons are free, but then, not all of them are and aboard some ships it might be a condition to pay a small price to involve you in a gambling lesson.

The casino games accessible aboard a cruise ship will be various though many of the more well known games including blackjack, roulette, poker, and slot machines will most likely be general on all ships. The casinos games found will all depend on the vessel so if you are attracted in playing a particular casino game, you should look ahead of time to make sure the game is hosted on that ship before making your reservation.

As above mentioned casinos are usually found on those extended cruises and those have the classification as cruises that stay at sea for a period of time. These mostly will also go from one place to another but extended cruise ships typically have most activities, other than gambling. The reservations along with the cabin rentals are regularly compared to the hotel rooms at most casino resorts and when compared, a long cruise is usually a better value.

Although they’re very well known it’s not everyone that to opt for an extended cruise so if you’d like to experience gambling on board a luxury liner, but don’t have time to stay the night you have the choice of going to a inshore, or a river casino. Along the United States coast and numerous riverbanks casinos tend to be legal often legalized by the local government. These casinos are much like the land casinos that have been legalized and the major difference between the two is that they’re situated on the water. If you want to take a vacation in a cruise ship’s casino you will have to book your passage.

A Brief Guide to Mediterranean Cruises

Mediterranean cruises offer more than one hundred and twenty seaports around its coastline, making the cruises are the most varied type of cruise available. You can choose a long trip of one month or more, two weeks, one week, or even shorter trip of three days. You can enjoy a huge clash of cultures offered by the Mediterranean countries and seas. The countries you can visit include Egypt, Greece, Italy and Spain among others.

Around its calm blue sea, you will enjoy each countries’ unique attractions. Varied routes to cruise the Mediterranean countries and sea are offered by more than fifty companies.

If you want to concentrate exploring the countries of Morocco, Italy, France, Spain and Portugal, you can take the Western Mediterranean cruises. While ports of call around the countries in the Middle East, Turkey, Greece and Croatia will be visited by the Eastern Mediterranean cruises. Cruises around the Greek Islands, an island cruise that visits the island of Malta and Cyprus, and a tour to the North African nations are among the most popular cruises.

In the trip of western part, before traveling onwards to the French Riviera, you will visit the cultural hub of Europe in the shape of Barcelona. You will also find sample of the world famous Manzanilla sherry in Cadiz and the traditional white Andalucian villages of Southern Spain. The stunning city of Rome, ancient Pompeii and the dormant volcano of Mt Vesuvius yields such treasures when you cruise around the wonderful coastline of Italy. The Western Mediterranean also offers the delight views of Sardinia and Sicily.

Diving southeastwards in the eastern part, you can enjoy the sultry islands and classical Greece. It is also worth to visit the historical Knossos Palace which can be found in the Crete Island. An Eastern Mediterranean cruise of the Middle east offer a visit to Jerusalem, a holy city, from its ports of Ashdod and Haifa. You will also find the world famous Suez Canal when cruising the Egypt.

The islands offer breathtaking views, romantic islands, ancient monuments, grand cities, culture and history. You can have a cruise vacation that takes you around most or all of the Mediterranean nations if you want to take a longer trip. Just arrange the itinerary with your travel agent and deliberate the nations you want to visit.

Cruise Ship Photos You Can Buy From The Cruise Line

Your cruise will have a photographer on board taking cruise ship photos if it is a major cruise line. It seems that these photographers never run out of film, snapping pictures at all hours of the day, at every activity imaginable. There are several types of photos these professionals take.

Formal Photographs

Any time your ship has a formal night, you can expect the photographer to be set up with his or her camera equipment and backdrops. This is one of the best times to have a professional picture taken. You are wearing your best clothing, your makeup is done, and every hair is in place.

The cruise newsletter will announce this kind of photography sessions. The photographer will generally catch you on your way into the formal dining or some other formal event. You will be posed either alone, as a couple, or in a group. The photographer will tell you when and where your cruise ship photos will be available for viewing. You will have several choices of photos you might want to buy.

Casual Photos

Some pictures are taken candidly as you enjoy your time on the ship. The photographer will try to capture those moments when you are most pleased with your voyage. Days at sea are popular times for photographers to take these casual photos, since you are at your most relaxed.

You may also have casual photos taken that are not exactly candid. In this case, you might be asked to pose with a prop such as your snorkeling equipment. You might be posed next one of the ship's performers, or with your significant other.

When you go on shore excursions, some ship photographers will go along and take pictures for you to bring home with you. You will have a record of all the fun you had and some of the sights you saw. Some specialty pictures may be underwater photos of you snorkeling near a reef, for example.

Embarking and Debarkation Pictures

Every different cruise line has a different theme to their photos of you arriving on the ship. For example, Norwegian has had a pair of extra-tall Scandinavian showgirls who greet you and stand on each side of you as your picture is snapped. Every cruise line has a different way of greeting you, but they are usually registered with a picture.

When you leave the cruise ship, photos will also be taken as you depart. These pictures are not as easy to view ahead of time, like the photos taken earlier. However, your cruise line may make them available to be viewed online before you purchase them.

Cruise ship photos offer a different perspective from the pictures you take yourself. Unless you are a professional photographer, they are likely to be better quality pictures as well. If you are not sure about buying the pictures, visit the onboard gallery after a couple of days, and you will see how well most of the pictures come out.

Romance And Travel On Land And High Seas

Happy Valentine’s Day! As a travel consultant, I make recommendations for unforgettable getaways for all my clients, including cruises, all-inclusives and quick weekend getaways.

Some ideas for romance and travel on the high seas include a romantic evening onboard your cruise ship. Book a side-by-side couples massage at the onboard Spa, a wonderful way to begin your journey towards relaxation and romance. Follow that with a candlelight dinner at one of many specialty restaurants. Enjoy your favorite savory cuisine, soft music playing, your waiter serving delectable meals and wine.

If dining out doesn’t appeal to you, room service will deliver a lovely meal for two, giving you a chance to dine on your balcony. You can watch the sun set with your loved one while enjoying the comforts of your own private space. I’ve had the pleasure of working with many couples celebrating special anniversaries onboard cruise ships, arranging for their room to be decorated, an anniversary cake at dinner, and wine delivered to their room.

I had the pleasure of working with one local couple who renewed their wedding vows for their 30th wedding anniversary. I was able to plan a wonderful trip to Jamaica for them, with a stay at Breezes Runaway Bay, a fantastic all-inclusive resort. They stayed in a balcony suite with a plunge pool. I worked closely with the wedding coordinator at the resort, arranging a sunset ceremony on the beach for them. I had their room decorated in rose petals, candles, and a bottle of champagne awaited them after their renewal ceremony. It was an unforgettable experience for them, and one I enjoyed working with them to make happen.

Top Honeymoon Destinations for 2007

One of the most exciting parts of planning a wedding is planning your dream honeymoon. Honeymoon destinations vary greatly and couples can really choose a destination that fits their interests and lifestyle. From tropical beaches to the ski slopes, a honeymoon can be tailored to fulfill each couple’s desires.

Warm locations have always been a favorite among newlyweds. Tropical locations are romantic and sexy and make the ideal location to start a life together. It can also be a welcome change for those who marry during the cold winter months. Hawaii has always been a popular destination for honeymooners. Much of Hawaii caters to tourists and couples on their honeymoon will find a wide variety of activities to engage in.

For the couple who wants to hit the beach but wants something more unusual, a Panama vacation can be a perfect choice. The beaches in Panama are gorgeous. They have smooth white sand and breathtaking emerald colored water. Panama’s beaches are considered some of the most beautiful in the world. You do not have to stick to the water in order to enjoy a Panama beach vacation, however. The area is filled with attractions, fine restaurants and quality hotels. There is something for everyone. It is a great place to celebrate the start of your life together and areas such as Bocas del toro are ideal for honeymooners.

Las Vegas is another popular destination for a honeymoon. Many couples combine their wedding and honeymoon together in Vegas. While gambling and shows are always available, there is quite a few other things to do while in Vegas You can take helicopter and hot air balloon tours as well as enjoy fine dining and shopping. On the Eastern side of the United States, Niagara Falls has always been one of the top honeymoon destinations. It truly caters to new couples in love with its breathtaking views and excellent lodging.

If you are unsure where to head on your honeymoon, you might consider taking a cruise. Cruises are a cost effective way to see multiple locations. They also are good for those on a budget, as you can often find good deals that are all inclusive. Cruises are available to tropical locations as well as Alaska and Europe. Many have honeymoon packages which come with extra perks such as champagne or photographs of the two of you onboard the ship.

A honeymoon can be extravagant or simple. You can relax on Panama’s beautiful beaches or cuddle up by the fireplace in a ski cabin. It is all about what you and your new spouse will enjoy. Choosing a location might be difficult, but having the time of your life should be easy once you arrive at any of these top honeymoon destinations.

4 Tips To Rent A Yacht That Will Make Your Cruise The Most Enjoyable And Memorable

Yachts have for the longest time being considered as open only to those who can afford their luxurious nature. It is however very possible for you to enjoy a luxury yacht even if for only a few days of your holiday. With so many boat rentals available, you will definitely find a yacht that you can afford for your private or group cruise needs. There is really no better way of enjoying the waterways than in yacht and with a few helpful tips, you will be able to rent a yacht that makes all your dreams come true.

Tip 1 – Choose the right type of boat

There are different yacht charters to choose from to match your activity levels, budget and taste. You can go for a small sailing yacht or a motor yacht if you are looking for a romantic getaway for you and your partner. The same can also be suitable for a small family looking to spend an intimate time together. If you are a larger group, then a catamaran that is crewed makes a very suitable option, whereas a mega yacht is best for even larger groups made up of more than ten people. Remember yachts can also be rented for corporate getaways of the parties; whatever your needs, you will find one that works best for you.

Tip 2 – Get a fully crewed yacht

Most private and luxury yacht charters are fully-crewed meaning that you will have a captain and chef and other crew members to ensure that all your needs are met. Of course, there are people who would want to have the yacht all to themselves and hence choose to skipper themselves. But with a crewed yacht, you have all the time to sit back and relax or engage in other exciting activities on board without worrying about the boat at all.

Tip 3 – Go for a non-fixed itinerary

This can be a wonderful alternative compared to a fixed one where everything you do on the cruise is timed. When you choose a private charter yacht, you can make a loose itinerary such that you can stop whenever you want or stay longer in areas that interest you the most before moving to the next point. It is also a great way to deal with unpredictable weather because you can easily move to better places if the weather starts misbehaving. This kind of itinerary gives you flexibility that would otherwise be hard to enjoy. You will only be required to be back at the agreed time, but what you do in between is up to your preferences and agreement with your captain.

Tip 4 – Enjoy the cruise in your own style

When you charter a boat, you can choose to have an adrenaline filled adventure or a more relaxed kind of cruise for you and your partner. Most rental yachts come equipped with equipment for watersports meaning you can indulge as much as you wish if such adventure is what you are looking for. If relaxation is your thing, then find a vessel that has a therapist as part of its crew so you can enjoy a massage on the go. Some luxury yachts come with spa facilities so you can choose accordingly.

Ketchikan Fishing For Cruise Ship Passengers

Ketchikan is located in Southeast Alaska on Revillagegedo Island.

Revilla is accessible only by air and sea. Ketchikan is also part of

the Tongass National Rainforest. Yes, we get a lot of rain, but it’s good for our trees and all the critters on land and sea.

Many of you have probably seen documentaries about Alaska and if your

planning a trip your envisioning what it will be like. I have met many

people throughout the years and have heard them comment that Alaska is

just as they had imagined. This area is teeming with bald eagles, black

bears, deer, whales, and sea lions just to name a few. It never gets old

seeing these animals in such a pristine environment. It is true however

that our weather is sometimes not the best, but that is the price we pay

to live here.

If your planning a fishing excursion in Alaska you may want to consider

Ketchikan as a good place to exercise that option. Ketchikan is touted as the salmon capitol of the world. Others may argue, but there is no doubt that we sometimes have dynamite fishing. What do you want to catch?

King salmon start showing up in early May and things start to get hot

around the third weekend in May. Coincidentally, our King salmon derby

kicks off at that same time. There are many prizes including cash to be

won. King salmon peek around June 15 and tail off around July 10 or so.

The last week in June is when pinks, chums, and a smaller run of cohos

start to show up. These fish last into August until they tail off and the last run of larger coho salmon show up run until the end of September. Halibut and other bottom fish such as Red snapper and lingcod can be caught with pretty good success starting around June 1st. Depending on your captain, most bottom fishing is further out of town and you may not have enough time. Salmon fishing is literally 20 minutes from town.

There are many hotels, lodges, and B&B’s in town if you decide to fly

in on Alaska airlines. For those of you coming to town via a cruise

ship don’t be bullied or scared into purchasing your fishing charter

on board the ship. You’ll save hundreds and at the same time supporting

the local economy.

Traveling With Special Circumstances

In the National Lampoon Vacation movies anything that can go wrong to Chevy Chase does. The hotel isn’t as described in the brochure, the car is too small and the amusement park is closed; the list could go on. With the introduction of the Internet into the average American home, planning vacations has become easier than ever. Incidentally, when vacationing we all have special circumstances, including children, pets, disabilities or medical requirements. And sometimes your destination makes all the difference.

These are the answers to a few frequently asked travel questions, and tips to remember when traveling with special circumstances.

Flying. Flying has become one of the most common forms of travel, but as airlines get bigger they need to accommodate a larger number of people and their demands.

Flying With Children. Always inform the airline you are traveling with children when you by your tickets. Reservations for infants and children under 2 cannot be made on most online travel sites. You must contact the airline directly.

    • Newborns. Most airlines will not allow a child under seven-days old to travel on any plane. Often if the child is that young they will also require a doctor’s permission slip.
    • Small Children. There is usually two options when traveling with small children, lap or buy a seat. If the child is less than 2-years old they can sit in your lap for domestic flights. Most airlines do not charge for lap children. However, if you feel more comfortable, you can buy a seat and place the child in an FAA approved restraint. Buying a ticket for these children is usually discounted substantially and most car seats are approved. Double-check the airline for FAA requirements. All international flights require children to be in restraints.

Unaccompanied Minors. It’s not uncommon for children to fly alone. Many are seasoned travelers bouncing between parents, friends or relatives. Most airlines will take responsibly of minors for a fee. The cost is usually between $50 and $100 depending on the airline. Additionally, the age requirements may differ. For most, children between the ages of 5 and 7 are only allowed on direct flights. Children between 8 and 14 can fly on connecting flights. The age when children are not required an escort depends on the airline. For example, Delta requires all children under the age of 14 to have an escort whereas with United, children over 12 it’s optional.

Pets. Many airlines accommodate animals of different sizes. You can take them as carry-on, checked as baggage or shipped. Some states require a health certificate. It is suggested to have all veterinary paper work available including shots. Always call the airline or check their website before booking your ticket. Some are more restrictive than others.

Most animals must be 8 to 12-weeks old to fly. The American Veterinary Medical Association suggest not to sedate cats and dogs. This may effect their natural equilibrium and cause injury. Many of these tips and suggestions are for domestic flights in the 48 continental United States. International restrictions and fares may vary.

    • Carry-on. Carry on pets must be small enough to fit into a kennel under the seat in front of you. There is usually a fee of about $50 to $100 per animal. Most airlines only accept cats and dogs. Delta will also accept, birds, ferrets, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs, whereas, SouthWest doesn’t accept pets of any kind.
    • Checked Baggage. Larger warm-blooded mammals and birds are usually checked as baggage. Animals must be in comfortable kennels and are taken at the check-in counter and retrieved in baggage claim. They are safely placed under the plane in a pressurized and heated compartment. There is usually a $100 charge for checking your animal. Sometimes it is more difficult for baggage handlers to get your pet to your connecting flight. When booking your flight remember to give yourself between a one and three hour layover.
    • Air Cargo. Many airlines have cargo services. This is for those shipping pets to friends or family without their owner. Rates depend on size and destination of the animal. Check your carrier’s website for further details. Always include identification tags with your address and phone number as well as the address and phone number of the person receiving the animal. Additionally, do not put a leash or muzzle on the animal, this may cause a choking hazard.

Disabilities. All airlines are dedicated to making everyone’s travel comfortable. Most airlines are wheelchair accessible and willing to work with people with all kinds of disabilities. Always inform the airline if you or a loved one has special needs prior to departure. This allows the staff to prepare for your accommodations.

Many airlines can provide Braille safety cards, captioned safety videos, individual safety briefings, onboard wheelchairs and more. Guide dogs are usually accepted as checked baggage and don’t require a fee. Many airlines will also accommodate those with food allergies or related illnesses like diabetes.

Hotels and Cars. Always contact your hotel or rental company to make special arrangement regarding lodging and transportation. Most hotels and car companies will try to accommodate you in all ways. When traveling with special circumstances like children, pets or disabilities, always take your hotel and on-ground travel arrangements into account.

If you plan to take the family dog on vacation with you, keep a few things in mind when booking your lodging. Although the hotel may accept pets, ask where they stay, in the room or in a hotel kennel. Furthermore, find out if the hotel offers walking services. If you are sightseeing all day, you don’t want your poor pup stuck in the room needing to visit the grassy knoll across the street.

For small children, most hotels can provide a playpen or crib for them to sleep in. Many car rental companies can also provide car seats and additional child restraints.

Cruises. Pets are not aloud on most cruise liners; however, children are. Most cruises provide several forms of entertainment for children while at sea. If you decide to cruise with children always look into the liner’s child services prior to booking a room.

    • Children and Young Adults. There are usually several free, child-friendly activities previously planned by the cruise liner to keep kids and young adults busy. Activities include arts and crafts, movies, games and child friendly pools. Sometimes the cruise liner will have teen dances and teen specialized activities.
    • Children under Two. Children under 2-years old are not usually eligible for activities. However, most liners offer babysitting services from about $6 to $10 an hour.
    • Disabilities. Many cruise liners try to accommodate those with disabilities to the best of their ability. All floors have elevators and are wheelchair accessible. Those in wheelchairs, requiring oxygen tanks or health requirements usually board and disembark before the general public. Those with sight or hearing disabilities may need to make extra special arrangement with the liner prior to purchasing tickets.

Traveling in today’s day and age can be a tricky business. There are so many circumstances to take into account. Always remember airlines, hotels, car rentals and cruises are ultimately in the hospitality business. They understand there are special circumstances and all are fully trained to accommodate you and your loved ones.