by Don McCann
“Back in the day”, I used to tell a potential cruise client that when the ship slipped away from the pier and you began to sail away from the shore that you could feel a sense of relaxation washing over you by leaving “the real world” behind (meaning that you did not have your phone, pager, TV, or daily communication options with you and it was freeing & relaxing). Well today we all have our cell phones with us when we travel, along with maybe a laptop, tablet, or whatever it takes to by golly keep in touch at all times. That may be the case, but as we left the pier Sunday night it seemed perfectly obvious to me that this is a magical time, as the shore becomes more and more distant from the deck of your ship. It is like no other and even the presence of all those electronic devices cannot spoil it after all! There is nothing like the wonderful experience of being on a cruise ship, at the very beginning of your voyage, even when (like us) you are going nowhere, but out to sea for a test drive!
A look down from the SeaWalk on Deck 16
The Royal Princess is a stunning and beautiful ship and I’m excited to share some photos with you. However the wi-fi connection onboard was sporadic and too slow for that to be possible. This brief post will have to do for now, but look for more on my feedback and photos later this week!
by Don McCann
On Sunday I’ll be boarding the Royal Princess for a 2-night agent preview cruise. Although it began sailings in June of this year, next week will mark the ship’s U.S. debut and (just like a car) I think it will still have a bit of ‘that new ship smell’ which is so exciting!
Provided the onboard wi-fi cooperates, I hope to post some photos and thoughts as I explore this innovative new ship. Some of the points of particular interest will be the Sea Walk (not for those with height issues!), the Bellagio-style pool fountains on the top deck, and the expanded Piazza. I’m also hoping to see the new ‘Deluxe Balcony’ category as this is a first for Princess.
So stayed tuned for more on Royal Princess next week, the largest Princess ship ever!
by Don McCann
What is it about seeing your name in print that kind of gives you maybe just a little tingle?! Come on, admit it, you know what I mean. Well, leading Dallas wedding blogger, Emilie DesJardins, recently published an interview with me about honeymoon cruises. It’s always great to share expertise on our favorite topic, cruises, and it was flattering to be asked; we appreciate the opportunity. Take a look: Honeymoon cruises: An option with many possibilities
One of the things that I love most about being on a cruise is sitting out on my veranda. Whether it be eating breakfast or just sitting out there at any time of day or night just watching the world go by–I love it! What does bother me is when I am enjoying the peace and quiet of my veranda and my neighbor decides to enjoy their veranda too and lights up a cigarette. The smoke immediately clogs the air and the entire atmosphere is changed by the smell of their smoke. My normal reaction is to leave the peace and quiet of my seaside sanctuary and retreat inside to my cabin. Why should someone else’s actions determine how I use my cabin? Well, more and more cruise lines are curtailing smoking on verandas too! What’s your opinion of on board smoking? Should it be limited to a few outdoor spaces on the upper decks and keep all cabins and verandas smoke free? Let me know!
by Don McCann
My wife recently received a gift card for Godiva, so we set out for a trip to the mall to make our selections. Talk about a kid in a candy store, how fun is it to gaze over all of those chocolate pieces of heaven and get to select some for ‘free’?! Anyway, after some careful consideration, we made our selections (she allowed me to share in the decision making process). As we exited the store, it occurred to me that any chocolate is a treat, but somehow they seem ‘rated’ and this reminded me of my own profession in the cruise business.
We’re frequently asked to ‘rate’ the different cruise lines and it occurs to me that one parent company embodies a similar rating scenario as some chocolates! Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited is the parent to three familiar cruise lines. First, you have the Hershey’s of the cruise industry – Royal Caribbean International; very popular, available to literally everyone, and always a treat. Then there is the sister line, Celebrity Cruises, or I’d say the Dove of this group; widely available, well known, but just a bit more special and a ‘step up’. Lastly, the boutique segment – Azamara Club Cruises or the Godiva of this family; definitely a special treat, a little more expensive, but well worth it, and something to savor!
OK, so maybe it’s a bit odd to make such analogies, but such enjoyable delights being compared make perfect sense to me; what do YOU think?!
By John Lane
Once it was announced that Guy Fieri (of Food Network fame) would introduce Guy’s Burger Joint on Carnival ships I was excited. I had the chance to enjoy several of his great burgers on my Carnival Triumph cruise and I declare them the “best burgers at sea”. Yes, you heard me right. They are hands down the best burgers at sea. The rest of my family voted them tops too along with other fellow passengers who raved about them.
It all starts with the “Plain Jane”, 80/20 ground chuck on a tasty buttered grilled roll with or without S.M.C. (Super Melty Cheese). His hand cut fries with signature seasoning accompany every burger. The soft buttery roll and the tasty fries make this a great combination. There are five signature burgers you can request or create your own at the toppings bar. Lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion along with grilled mushrooms, bacon and onions are available to make your heavenly creation.
Once you board a Carnival ship head straight to Guy’s Burger Joint and you will not be disappointed and guess what they are complimentary!
By John Lane
Many people have wondered what the Carnival Triumph was like since it returned to sailing after the mishap earlier in the year. Well, I can tell you from first hand experience.
On August 3, I took my family of four on the Triumph for a five night cruise to Progresso and Cozumel. I was pleased to find that all was back to normal on the Triumph. Food and entertainment were at its best and the ship looked great. I went looking to find something wrong but, I really could not find it. All new carpeting, mattresses and linens and several new venues were added to the ship for the enjoyment of the passengers.
For a four or five night cruise this ship is great. There are lots of people (2750+) which is one thing that I really don’t like but, the cruise experience was a good one and you can’t go wrong with the price, the ship or destination. I will go into more detail on the new venues in future blogs. So the Carnival Triumph is back and better than ever sailing from Galveston. Give it a try.