Straight From the Mouth of Poseidon
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Situated 55 miles (88.51 km) north of Nassau in the idyllic Berry Islands, Coco Cay offers guests a highly personalized experience. Because Royal Caribbean assumed the lease on the island in 2018, exclusive access is granted to their cruise ship passengers. This means you’ll enjoy a custom-crafted island experience without having to struggle through large crowds. Whether you’re traveling solo, with a romantic partner, or as a part of a group of family or friends, Coco Cay is an excellent private destination choice because it features activities and amenities for a variety of ages and personal preferences.
Most Bahamas cruises depart from ports located in Florida, and these are vacation destinations in their own right, so consider arriving a day or so before your cruise is scheduled to set sail to enjoy a slice of what these cities have to offer.
Officially known as Port Everglades, this port situated in the heart of Florida’s Fort Lauderdaleis one of the busiest in the world. Along with cruise ships, the port serves as a domestic cargo port as well as a foreign trade zone, so you’ll enjoy an international flavor during your time in the city. The port is within easy distance of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Despite its name, the port isn’t located on or near the Florida Everglades — it’s on the southeastern panhandle 23 miles (37.01 km) north of Miami.
Famous for its nightlife scene and sun-soaked beaches, Miami is also the home of America’s busiest port. PortMiami features a modern design that puts a premium on the kind of streamlined efficiency that keeps lines moving smoothly as passengers board and leave the ships. This port also serves as the home port for some of the largest ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet. Passengers on Florida cruises cite the view of Miami when leaving port to be among the most breathtaking sights of their voyage. Miami is served by Miami International Airport, which is conveniently located near Miami’s downtown district.
Informally known as the gateway to Central Florida, Port Canaveralis 45 miles (72.42 km) east of Orlando and 20 miles (32.19 km) north of Palm Beach. It’s one of the busiest cruise port ships in the world, Fort Canaveral also serves international and domestic commercial shippers as well as the U.S. military. Travelers have a choice of four airports when flying in and out of the Port Canaveral area — Orlando International Airport, Orlando Melbourne International Airport, Daytona Beach International Airport, and Orlando Sanford International Airport.
Coco Cay is less than one mile (1.61 km) long and 200 yards (0.18 km). Depending on the size of your ship, you’ll be sharing the island with somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 guests, but you’ll still have plenty of opportunity for some quiet, reflective time in an environment steeped in stunning natural beauty at one of the four beach areas. Well-designed pathways wind among the island’s many attractions. Here’s just some of what guests experience:
Guests of the Coco Beach Club enjoy a seaside infinity pool, beachside lounging, and elegant cuisine and beverage selections served with impeccable style, but the real stars of their particular show are the floating cabanas.
The first floating cabanas anywhere in the Caribbean, these feature luxurious overwater hammocks, freshwater showers, a private slide leading to the crystalline waters of the bay. Private cabanas on the sand with all the amenities are available in various locations on the island.
Thrill Waterpark features the largest wave pool in the Caribbean, towering water slides as well as the highest water slide on the North American continent.
You’ll be able to rent basic equipment for snorkeling at the Snorkel Shack and spend an hour or several hours enjoying brightly colored tropical fish and vibrant coral reefs in crystal clear waters.
Captain Jill’s Galleon delights little hearts with interactive water cannons, slides, and a splash pad.
This relaxing beach getaway is ideal for picnicking under the palms, enjoying an al fresco snack or meal, or simply resting up from a visit to one of the water parks. For a super-relaxing experience, rent one of the cabanas on the sand — they accommodate up to eight people and include an attendant.
Captain Jack’s serves up some of the best barbecue in the Caribbean. Specialties include chicken wings with mango-habanero sauce. Menu selections are ala carte, there is a full bar, and live performers provide island music.
You’ll soar 450 feet (0.14 km) in the air in a helium balloon overlooking Coco Cay and the surrounding waters.
Oasis Lagoon features secluded coves, a swim-up bar, and the biggest freshwater pool in the Caribbean. An underwater surround-sound system treats guests to music every time they dive beneath the surface of the water. Beach cabanas are also available here.
South Beach features comfortable beachside lounging, beverage stations, a Snack Shack serving up casual fare such as burgers and salads, and three bars. Its white sand beaches are perfect for beach volleyball or basketball or building sandcastles.
Five water slides, assorted fountains, and two gigantic drench buckets provide hours of watery fun for little ones.
As you can see, a visit to Coco Cay has something to create a memorable experience for every member of the family.
Traditional cruises operate on a roundtrip basis, a growing number of passengers are opting for one-way trips instead. Otherwise known as repositioning cruises, one-way cruises offer several unique advantages over their roundtrip counterparts. For those who want a multilayered vacation experience, one-way cruises provide the opportunity to explore the final land destination at their own leisure, giving themselves what many believe to be the best of both worlds.
Embarking on long cruises may be tempted to pack as many items as possible, but keep in mind that you’ll probably be returning home via jet, and airlines charge mercilessly for bags that are overweight or if you have more than their stated limit. At the same time, not all cruise ships offer laundry services, so you may have to bring enough clothing to see you through until reaching your destination. You can fit more items into your bag if you roll them rather than folding them. A 27-inch suitcase should be large enough to fit two weeks worth of clothing and shoes into but won’t be large enough so that airlines will charge extra for it.
Cruise ships have either U.S. two-pin sockets, continental European sockets, or British sockets. You’ll need to pack a power plug even if your cruise ship is equipped with U.S. two-pin sockets because you’ll need it once you reach your destination.
Average price-per-day of long cruises is actually pretty reasonable, but transportation costs back to your departure point as well as those of sightseeing and exploring once you reach the final destination can add up quickly. Fortunately, March and April are among the least expensive months to book a transatlantic airline ticket, which is during the same time frame that many repositioning cruises leave Florida ports to sail to Europe. It’s also considered the shoulder season in many European locations, which means you should be able to find some good deals on lodging and other travel-related expenses. However, if you’re going to be flying into Florida, avoid traveling during Spring Break if you don’t want to pay inflated airline and lodging prices.
Repositioning cruises are those that occur when a ship is leaving one region at the end of the season and sailing to another place where the cruise season is just beginning. For instance, you may be able to leave from the port in Fort Lauderdale on the of the last cruise ships of the season and end up in Rome or Venice at the end of your trip. These cruises don’t solely travel in a straight line from the departure point to the final destination — passengers have the opportunity to visit ports of call such as New York City, Bermuda, London, Paris, Marseilles, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Valencia, and San Juan, just to name a few. Westbound repositioning cruises usually end in San Diego or Los Angeles and visit various ports in Latin America and go through the Panama Canal before heading north.
Repositioning cruises depart from several Florida ports, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Port Canaveral, and Jacksonville. Accessible airports include the Fort Lauderdale International Airport, the Miami International Airport, and the Jacksonville International Airport. Each airport offers convenient shuttles to the cruise ship docks.
Because travel mishaps can completely ruin a long-planned-for leisure experience, it’s important to recheck your itinerary after booking your cruise just to solidify your expectations. The term repositioning cruise may be confusing for some, and there has been at least one case of a passenger apparently not realizing that he hadn’t booked a closed-loop cruise. Steven Weiner found himself stranded in Puerto Rico and was highly upset when he discovered that the ship wouldn’t be turning around at San Juan and returning to its port of origin. However, evidence exists that the cruise had been advertised as a repositioning cruise, so his request that the cruise line pay for his airline ticket home was denied.
One-way cruises definitely have the potential to provide a quality vacation experience, but you’ve got to be sure to work out the details so you don’t encounter any surprises.
Glacier Bay National Park serves as a stunning grand finale to northbound cruises through the Alaskan panhandle's Inside Passage. Silent and austere, Glacier Bay is a powerful example of the natural world's capacity to amaze and inspire. Fairweather Mountain Range rings the pristine waters of the bay, where you'll step back in time straight into an enthralling scene from Planet Earth's last Ice Age. Crystalize waters hold towering glaciers that make it easy to see why Glacier Bay plays the role of a long-lost land of magic in the cultural narrative of the Huna Tlingit. According to the Natives, Glacier Bay was an important part of their ancestral homelands at one time, but they were forced out of the area by the last advancing glaciers of the Ice Age.
Many travelers don't consider an Alaska cruise to be complete without a visit to Glacier Bay, and for this reason, cruise lines compete to get a coveted spot in the National Park Service's concession plan that regulates cruise ship traffic in the area. Only two cruise ships are allowed in the park at one time, which minimizes both air and water pollution and provides passengers with a superior appearance. Each cruise line must submit a proposal for consideration by National Park Service authorities, and cruise lines are awarded a certain number of trips. Concession contracts run for 10 years, and the newest one was finalized in October of 2019.
Seven cruise companies were awarded contracts to visit Glacier Bay. Cruise companies were chosen based on environmental standards and the visitor experience they provide. Princess Cruise Line, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean, Viking, Carnival, and Seaborne Cruises were the winners in this very competitive competition. Each company's contract will last through the cruise season of 2029. However, every ship is allotted a specific number of visits, so not every west coast cruise will go to Glacier Bay.
Glacier Bay cruise ship excursions don't involve going on land at all — you'll be on the ship the entire time. A Park Ranger will provide an informative narrative about the natural history of Glacier Bay and answer any questions passengers may have. You'll also receive a map of the bay with an insider's guide the evening prior to the ship's arrival there. Cruise ships generally stay in Glacier Bay for about 10 hours.
Glacier Bay is a completely protected area where an abundance of wildlife species thrive. Humpback whales spend their summers in the bay's pristine waters and routinely stun visitors with their aquatic acrobatics. You'll also see harbor seals, sea otters, Steller sea lions, orcas, and harbor porpoises. Land mammals include mountain goats, moose, black and brown bears, red squirrels, and porcupines. Bald eagles, ravens, and a variety of seabirds are seen overhead.
Most travelers to Glacier Bay report feeling hard-pressed to describe the high point of their visit, but many say if they absolutely had to choose, it would be the sight of calving glaciers. It's commonly called calving when smaller chunks of glaciers fall off the sides of large ones. it's a fairly common sight in Glacier Bay, and those who've seen it say that it provides a raw look at the powerful force of nature.
You can enjoy a cruise to Glacier Bay at any time between the first week or so in May until the last week in September. There is no bad time to visit, but if seeing humpback whales is important to you, the best time to go is from June until early September. If you want to see the glaciers calving, go from mid-June throughout the rest of the season — it may be too cold in May to see much of this activity. Although June and July are considered the best months to cruise Alaska, there's never a bad time to see Glacier Bay. Deciduous trees begin their annual fall foliage show in September, and the golden aspen trees reflected in the clear waters of the bay is definitely a sight worth seeing.
Although not part of Glacier Bay National Park, the twin Sawyer Glaciers offer an exciting prelude to what you can expect to see in the park, but it also has a particular beauty of its own. Located about 50 miles south of Juneau at the end of a fjord known as Tracy Arm, the twin Sawyer Glaciers feature an almost unearthly shade of blue due to their deep underwater settings. Ships can only get within about a half a mile from the glaciers, but if you look closely with a pair of binoculars, you may be able to see mountain goats on the base of South Sawyer Glacier.
Glacier Bay consistently tops the list of favorite sights by those who've cruised Alaska's Inside Passage. Don't miss your chance to see it this summer — keep in mind that sailings are limited and spots fill up quickly.
The number one enemy of productivity is distractions, either in the form of entertainment or things like chores and phone calls which feel productive but break up the day. Cruise ships are a remarkable way to eliminate all of those things. Efficiency can be so high on a cruise ship that you can schedule big projects, many small writing gigs or even the writing of a brand new book during the two-week cruise.
On a cruise ship, everything is taken care of for you. No time at all has to be allocated to cooking, choosing your meal, or to cleaning. You show up at the restaurant, in which all of the food is included, order whatever you want from the rotating menu, eat, and then immediately get up and get back to work. When you get back to your stateroom, it has been cleaned and the bed has been made. Today there appeared, with no explanation, a big platter of fruit, which will make a great snack while working.
Wifi is present everywhere, and has become much more affordable over the last few years. Some cruise lines have better and more affordable wifi options than others so do some research ahead of time and factor that into your cruise options.
If you get a stateroom with a window, it's quite comfortable to work from your room. If you need a snack, you can order room service, which is either free or carries a flat rate of $2 per order. Again, no cooking or cleaning up. If you prefer to work outside your room, there are always plenty of decent places to work around the cruise ship. Good options are the library, cardroom, or one of the nightclubs that are empty but unlocked during the day. Modern cruise ships are starting to be smarter about areas for guests to work, with power, USB ports and even in some cases, printers.
Despite working for most of the day, it's nice to have high-quality breaks. Meals on cruises can be quite long, and they seat you with random people. Most of the random people are probably not like the people you normally associate with, which can be a mixed bag, but allows for some shifts in perspective. If you go with a friend, you can debrief with him on your workday.
And, of course, you get to visit a bunch of new places. To really understand a city you may have to spend weeks or months there, but that doesn't mean that a day or two is completely useless. You can use the port stops to visit specific places, like the Fundacio Miro in Barcelona or the Hassan Mosque in Casablanca, or to just wander around and get a sneak preview of a new place. This is especially valuable for places like the Azores or Canary Islands, where you probably wouldn't otherwise find yourself.
If you're visiting a port that doesn't have anything you're excited about, you can also just find an internet cafe and handle phone calls and downloads that you weren't able to do on the ship. When you visit these ports, the process is incredibly efficient. The ship takes care of all of the immigration paperwork behind the scenes, so you get off the ship without having to go through customs. You're generally very close to downtown, versus airports which require trains or taxis, so you can immediately go do what you want to do. And unlike flights, you can get to the ship just a few minutes before the scheduled departure time and get on.
After returning to the ship, it's easy to immediately get back to work because there's no unpacking or settling in to be done. You just pick up your computer, head to your favorite workspace, and get rolling.
Cruising days are the best which is why you may want to choose the transatlantic cruises, which have five to seven days in the middle with no stops. The amount of work you can do during those days, completely free of distraction, is incredible. Doing the work feels easy because there's no friction or drain on willpower avoiding distraction. Frankly, if you're not into bingo and ballroom dancing, you may find there's not much for you to do on the ship other than work or read.
For most types of work, a cruise ship is a near-ideal environment. However, if you need to make a lot of phone calls or be connected to the internet all the time, it wouldn't make any sense to do. There's also a benefit to being around other people in your industry, and that generally isn't going to happen on a cruise ship, although you may not find it to be a problem for short term trips.
Take a look at transatlantic cruises, repositioning cruises or other long trips. They are the best ones to choose for a couple reasons. First, they have the highest ratio of sea day to port days, which gives you plenty of long blocks of time in which to work. Second, they're among the cheapest cruises available. If cruises were expensive, the added productivity boost may not be worth it, but at $30-50 per day, the cost is almost negligible. On the flip side, don't forget you've got to get home. You need to factor in the cost of a flight overseas and that be a big factor in your decisions.
Overall, just enjoy yourselves. Work for some is therapeutic. It can be a great "reset" and a way to get a big project completed with no pressures and distractions.
If you're considering taking a cruise through the sunlit waters of Southern California down through the idyllic Mexican Riviera, you're probably seeking a vacation experience that's relaxing and rejuvenating at the same time — but you may have doubts about whether a cruise on a large ship is the vacation experience you want. Perhaps you feel that cruising doesn't offer the level of privacy that you prefer, or maybe you're seeking a more serene sojourn that doesn't involve spending time around families with young children. Fortunately, you don't have to sacrifice your desire for a more intimate leisure experience if you book a Havana Cabin on Carnival Panorama.
Havana Cabins were designed and constructed to offer discriminating passengers a cruising adventure and mimics a stay in an exclusive resort. Following are just five of the many advantages of booking a Havana Cabin.
A Child-Free Experience
Havana Cabana staterooms and suites are not available for those traveling with children under the age of 12. That means you'll be able to relax poolside, on the deck, or in one of the two Jacuzzis without the noise and activity that energetic children bring to the picture. Children also won't be able to access the area at any time during the cruise.
Those who have purchased Havana Cabanas are provided with a private infinity pool, two Jacuzzis, and a comfortable deckside lounging area that other passengers do not have access to. These areas are uncrowded and serene instead of busy and noisy, and you'll be able to sink into that good book you've been wishing you had time to read or enjoy a quiet chat with your traveling companion without being constant distractions.
A Heated Infinity Pool
Pools on cruise ships headed for tropical waters are rarely heated at all, and some people find them a little too chilly at first even when outdoor temperatures are high. The infinity pool available exclusively to Havana Cabana passengers is kept at a very comfortable 85 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 29 °C) for the entire cruise. You'll also enjoy exclusive access to two private Jacuzzis.
Spacious Outdoor Relaxation Areas
You'll find plenty of seating in the poolside and Jacuzzi area, and most Havana Cabins feature larger-than-usual patios. The patios are fenced in and include a chair swing and two chairs.
Havana Cabana Suites
For an ultimate luxury vacation experience, consider booking a Havana Cabana Suite. These average 360 square feet (ca. 33 m²) and feature a separate living space and roomy bedroom, close proximity to the Havana Bar and the poolside area, and an extra-large outdoor lounging space equipped with a hammock. The shower is more than twice the size of an average cruise ship shower, making it ideal for those who enjoy sharing their shower with an intimate partner. Perhaps best of all, the shower is equipped with a luxurious rainfall showerhead.
You don't necessarily have to do without the Havana Cabana experience if you're sticking to a specific travel budget. Havana Cabana interior cabins are also available, and you'll still enjoy all the perks provided to any Havana Cabana passenger.
Even those who don't book a Havana Cabana nonetheless enjoy the stellar service and amenities that make Carnival Cruises stand out. However, the Havana Cabana option makes 7-day cruises an excellent choice for those desiring to take a tropical cruise but want to relax in an uncrowded, child-free atmosphere.
Most people think of cruising as an expensive travel option that's too far out of the reach of the average person's pocketbook, and therefore never get much farther than simply daydreaming about going on a cruise vacation. However, a cruise doesn't have to break the bank, and strategies exist designed to help consumers save significant sums while still enjoying the vacation of their dreams. The following are just six of the many ways that you can find cheap cruises.
Great last-minute deals can sometimes be found on cruises by those who have the ability to embark on a moment's notice. However, this isn't a one-size-fits-all answer, especially since some major cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean, have eliminated last-minute discounts. However, sometimes the stars align and passengers end up with a deeply discounted cruise simply be paying attention to available deals, so keep your eyes open and see what comes along.
One thing you should never do, though, is to plan on a certain cruise decide to wait until the last minute to book it. There's no guarantee of a last-minute discount, and if the ship is booked, you'll be left behind with a bunch of empty vacation days to fill. Keep in mind that last-minute cruises only work for a very small portion of travelers.
Choose the "Cabin Guarantee" Option
Some cruise lines offer discounts of up to $100 per person for those choosing the "cabin guarantee" option. This basically means that you're guaranteed a cabin in the category of your choosing and may even get an upgrade to a more desirable category. The downside of this is that you don't get to select the exact location of the cabin, so it may not be an option for those with very specific requirements.
If you aren't particular about your cabin, consider booking a smaller one on the inside. These generally come with the lowest price.
Book a Cruise on an Older Ship
Virtually all of the newer ships are equipped with amazing amenities such as ice rinks, giant water slides, onboard zip-lining, skydiving simulators, planetariums, interactive 4-theaters, and surf simulators...the list goes on. Ask yourself whether these amusement-park style features will make or break your vacation. If not, check out the fares on older vessels. These ships still offer a luxurious travel experience without the sometimes over-the-top bells and whistles found on their state-of-the-art counterparts.
Cruising during the shoulder season also offers significant cruise deals. For instance, if your dream cruise involves gliding through the azure waters of the Caribbean while sunning yourself on the ship's deck, check out prices for the month of October or in late spring instead of during the height of the peak season. The major drawback of cruising during the shoulder season is that the weather may not be as idyllic as in the peak season. However, you'll also experience smaller crowds, and if you travel at the end of the season, you'll find fabulous bargains in port city shops.
You may also save money on peak season fares by avoiding popular travel times such as Christmas and Spring Break.
Travel With a Group
If you've got a big family or a group of friends who enjoy traveling together, shop around for bulk discounts on cruises. The majority of cruise lines offer perks such as free berths depending on how many are in the party. Some lines also toss in extras such as increased onboard credit for drinks, prepaid gratuities, and reduced prices on select offshore excursions.
Monitor Cruise Prices on a Regular Basis
Keeping current with cruise prices is easier than ever thanks to the Internet. Be sure to comparison shop among the different cruise lines, and monitor fares daily to check for any changes.
When you find a cruise at a price you like at a time that's convenient for you, book it instead of waiting around hoping a better deal will come along. However, only put down the smallest allowable deposit, and keep monitoring prices even after you've booked your cruise. If you notice a price drop, contact the cruise line right away and ask them if they'll meet the discounted fare.
Most people think of cruises as being filled with senior citizens enjoying a leisurely sojourn rather than family-friendly travel venues with plenty of amenities for active children, but modern cruises offer something for everyone. The number of family-friendly cruises has grown significantly in recent years. However, it's important for those cruises with kids to do their research prior to setting sale. Choosing the right cruise is the easy part — simply look for a cruise line with an emphasis on family cruises and take it from there.
Family-friendly cruises offer a wide variety of activities and amenities designed to keep kids happy and engaged, but it's up to the adults in the party to identify and plan for shore excursions. Although free-ranging departure and port cities can be a fun approach when everyone in the party is an adult, having a plan works better when there are young minds to entertain. Here's what you need to know about opportunities for family fun for those taking cruises from Miami.
The Miami Children's Museum
Conveniently situated close to the cruise ship port and brimming with activities and exhibits designed to delight little hearts and minds, The Miami Children's Museum is an excellent choice for spending a few quality hours with your children on either end of your cruise. The 56,500 square foot facility is one of the largest children's museums in the country and has won numerous awards. Examples of exhibits include Glass Lab, where children can gain an introduction to the fine art of glassworking to produce decorative and functional objects, Castle of Dreams, which is a two-story sand castle, and Cruise Ship, which provides an interactive experience designed to introduce them life on a cruise ship, making it an excellent choice for children who will soon be departing on their first cruise.
The largest zoo in Florida and the only sub-tropical zoo in the United States outside of Hawaii, Miami Zoo provides habitat for a wide variety of animals and plants from all over the world. Activities include wildlife presentations, safari tram tours, a wildlife carousel, pedal boats, monorail rides, a playground, a splash pad, and a waterplay area. There are also opportunities to feed rhinos, giraffes, camels, and parrots.
Dylan's Candy Bar
Dylan's Candy Bar is a boutique shop that carries confectionary delights from all across the globe. A child's dream, Dylan's offers more than 7,000 different kinds of candy and makes a very pleasant interlude during the course of exploring Miami's South Beach. Dylan's also has an ice cream bin for who like their sweets cold to take the edge off a warm Miami afternoon.
Situated in the heart of South Beach, 35-acre Flamingo Park provides an excellent opportunity for families to get some fresh air and exercise after they arrive in Miami. The playground features a large, covered Jungle Jim and other modern, well-kept play equipment such as a choo-choo train as well as plenty of grassy areas for relaxing and enjoying a picnic.
No visit to Miami should be without a trip to the beach. Whether you spend an hour, a half-day, or all day at Miami's iconic beach, your kids will have plenty of room to run and play in the sun. Cabana rentals are available for optimal convenience and relaxation, and you won't even have to leave the beach when the time comes to enjoy a meal — there are numerous food cars in the immediate area designed to delight a wide variety of discriminating palettes.
Please feel free to contact us for more information on enjoying your time in Miami.
Before the Panama Canal was officially opened to oceangoing traffic in the year 1914, seafaring vessels wishing to sail around the world had to go nearly to the bottom of the Earth to Cape Horn. Although that area possesses a stark beauty, wind and stormy seas were the norm, making it less than desirable for trade routes. The canal came into existence to shorten global commerce routes and to minimize the amount of time the ships spent navigating through rough waters. The French first attempted to create the canal in the late 19th century, but that project was unsuccessful. The United States took on the job in 1904, and 10 years later, a new world trade route that cut over 8,000 miles from the former option was born.
At the time that the canal was finished, however, no one realized the potential it had or cruise ship traffic. It wasn't until the year 1967 that a Princess cruise ship made the 50-mile trek down the length of the canal, and it wasn't long afterward that many others followed suit thanks to the firsthand accounts of the awed passengers on that first ship.
Why Choose a Panama Cruise?
The Panama Canal is one of the most amazing engineering feats ever constructed on Planet Earth. The region also provides an unforgettable cultural experience and abundant natural beauty. Your cruise ship will also share the waters of the canal with big commercial cargo vessels, pleasure boats, and other cruise ships from all over the world, providing a unique international flavor. The region also offers almost unprecedented biodiversity, making it a must-see for avid birdwatchers, botany enthusiasts, and those who simply love to be in nature. And then there's the thrill of simply being in the area that connects two of the world's great oceans.
When is the Best Time of the Year to Enjoy a Panama Cruise?
The rainy season in Panama runs from March until December, so those seeking optimal weather opt to cruise from December until March. Visitors enjoy balmy weather in the 70s and 80s during these months, and precipitation is rare. A Panama cruise provides an ideal mid-winter getaway for those who need to feel the warm sun on their faces.
How Long Does a Panama Canal Cruise Take?
Panama cruises are also typically longer than many of their counterparts, with some lasting as long as 16 days. Most start from Florida or California ports, but some originate from points of departure as far north as New York City and Vancouver, BC. The shortest cruises to this area last for seven days.
There are two types of Panama cruises. Traditional crossings involve going from ocean to ocean all the way through the canal, which takes about a day. Partial crossing cruises go as far into the canal as Gamboa or Colón, where the stop so guests can enjoy some land activities.
What Are Some Top Excursions During a Panama Cruise?
Top excursions during a Panama Canal cruise include ziplining through a verdant rainforest vista, taking a catamaran mini-cruise or kayaking trip on Gatun Lake, History buffs can step back in time with a visit to the Embera Indian Village or the Panama Canal Railway, while those who want a taste of modern Panamanian culture can visit the museums, shops, and restaurants of Panama City.
What Are the Top Cruise Lines for Panama Canal Cruises
The majority of the major cruise lines offer cruises through Panama's iconic canal. Princess currently has two ships designated for this region, Island Princess Coral Princess. Cruise giants Norwegian Cruise Lines, Carnival Cruise Lines, Windstar Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity, Crystal, and Holland America also offer trips to the Panama Canal. If smaller ships are more your style, you'll be glad to know that Lindblad Expeditions and Silver Sea Cruises also make the trek.
What Are Some of the Best Stops on a Panama Canal Cruise Itinerary?
Besides the canal itself, highlights of Panama cruises include Puntarenas, Costa Rica, Puerto Limon, Costa Rica, the western coast of Guatemala, Colón, Panama, and Panama City, Panama. Depending on the point of departure, Panama cruises also stop in various points in the Caribbean and in Mexico. Be sure to research cruise options thoroughly to find the one that best suits your individual needs and preferences.
Please don't hesitate to reach out to us for more information on choosing the right Panama Canal cruise itinerary.
Transatlantic cruises are considered the ultimate in luxury vacations. Traditionally, these cruises begin in New York City and end in London, mimicking the route taken by immigrants to the New World several centuries ago. The historic aspect is one of the main attractions for a transatlantic cruise, particular for those whose ancestors made the journey from the London docks to Ellis Island. However, not all transatlantic cruises follow this iconic route. Some take side trips through the Caribbean islands
Traditional trans-atlantic cruises typically take between six and seven days to complete the crossing. Because there are no ports of call available along this particular route, this type of cruise is best for those who enjoy relaxing onboard and enjoying the amenities of the cruise ship — which isn't hard to do, since the only ship that routinely makes this type of Atlantic crossing large and luxurious. The ship was built in 2004 and is called The Queen Mary II.
The Queen Mary II
At the time it was built, The Queen Mary II was the largest passenger ship on the planet. Its size has since been eclipsed by behemoths such as Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships Symphony of the Seas, the Allure of the Seas, and the Oasis of the Seas. These are basically floating cities providing such a dazzling array of amenities and activities that there's something on these ships for everyone. However, these ships weren't designed for open ocean travel — they're meant to stick close enough to land to be able to visit ports of call on a regular basis.
The Queen Mary II was specifically designed and built for long cruises involving open ocean travel. Because it doesn't involve ports of call on a daily basis, the ship itself is the focus of the trip. Not only does The Queen Mary II offer optimal luxury, it retains something of its utilitarian heritage when these crossings were for purposes of relocation rather than pleasure. For instance, The Queen Mary II is one of the few ships in service that provides kennels for the canine companions of the passengers.
The best way to enjoy a cruise on The Queen Mary II is to pair it with time in both New York City and London. Arrive in New York in time to savor the sights and sounds of the city, and plan to stay in London for a few days as well.
Alternatives to The Queen Mary II for Transatlantic Cruises
The Queen Mary II isn't the only game in town when it comes to enjoying a transatlantic cruise, however. Cunard Line, which operates The Queen Mary II, also offers transatlantic cruises on The Queen Victoria. Other cruise ship companies, such as Royal Caribbean International, Windstar Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. However, unlike The Queen Mary II, these cruises don't follow the trail blazed in past centuries by immigrants seeking a better life in the New World. Their points of departure and final destinations range from Germany south to Puerto Rico, with all manner of interesting and exciting ports of call along the way. The Queen Victoria even offers a 28-day transatlantic cruise that departs from Santiago, Chile and sails through South American waters before heading north to Florida and across the sea to Southampton.
The best trans-atlantic cruise itinerary varies by traveler. Those seeking a historic experience that mirrors the voyage of their ancestors may want to choose The Queen Mary, especially if they'd prefer a more leisurely cruise experience instead of pursuing activities in various ports of call. Those desiring to combine their transatlantic cruise with a tropical side trip should consider taking The Queen Victoria from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale with port of call stops in Bermuda and The Everglades.
As you can see, there's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing the right transatlantic cruise. With itineraries ranging from one week at sea to nearly a month exploring Caribbean and South American port cities before turning for England, there's a transatlantic cruise to suit anyone's needs and preferences. Please feel free to reach out to us at your convenience for more information on choosing a cruise itinerary.
A visit to the Last Frontier is an experience every nature lover should have at least once during their lifetime. Alaskan cruises offer a unique combination of wilderness and luxury, making them an ideal way to see the state -- and for much of Alaska, the only way. Alaska's Inside Passage is a magical string of pristine emerald islands that can't be accessed by road. You'll glide through still waters teeming with aquatic life while Alaska's cruise season starts in May and lasts through September. Although peak season is during the months of June and July, the months before and after peak season also have their benefits.
So what's the best time to cruise Alaska? The answer isn't going to be the same for everyone.Here's what you can expect during different parts of the cruise season.
The Month of May
May is when cruise ships return to Alaskan after an absence of seven months. The weather in May is a little colder than in June and July, and the ships won't be as full of passengers as they are during peak season, making May a good choice for those seeking a less crowded cruise experience. Whale watchers in particular are rewarded by deciding to cruise in May because this is when the pods of orcas are migrating and it's easy to spot them jumping through the waves from the deck of a cruise ship.
However, May is not a good choice for those who are planning on combining their with a land tour to Alaska's interior because Denali National Park doesn't open until June.
Peak Season: June and July
Good weather is never really guaranteed during any time of the year in Alaska, but June and July generally have the warmest temperatures of the year. June and July both have incredibly long, vibrant sunsets that literally linger for hours due to the angle of the sun. This time frame also offers longer overall days than the other options. It's also a prime time for shore excursions such as fishing for Alaska salmon or paying a visit to a bear-watching platform.
Autumn in Alaska
Autumn in Alaska starts as early as the first week of August. This is generally when the seasonal rains start to fall, and although most people prefer to see Alaska under a bright, sunny sky if at all possible, storm watchers may be particularly enthralled by visiting the Last Frontier during this time of year. However, it's important to keep in mind that Alaska has also experienced autumns with plenty of beautiful balmy days. Another advantage of visiting Alaska in autumn is that the nighttime skies are dark enough in September to see the Northern Lights. Bargain seekers love cruising Alaska in autumn because the retail stores in the port cities put everything on sale, so you can get everything from Alaska Native ivory and soapstone carvings to Alaska-themed clothing at extremely cut-rate prices. Just like during May, cruising in September involves smaller crowds.
No matter when you decide to take your Alaskan cruise, you'll return with memories that will last the rest of your life.
You may have encountered our new way of sorting cruises, which we call "Magic". This is a change from our previous default sort "Lowest Cost Per Day", which is still available, so I wanted to explain how it's different and why we switched.
I originally built CruiseSheet only for myself. Before it was a cruise agency, it was just a list of all of the best cruise deals. I found that most companies would hide the true cost of the cruise by not including taxes or fees, and that they didn't make it easy to search by the best prices per day.
While the primary purpose of CruiseSheet is now to help people find the best cruise deals on the internet, I still use it almost every day to find cruises for myself, my friends, and my family.
I recently analyzed the cruises that people actually end up booking through CruiseSheet and realized that despite constantly promoting them, very few people were booking the cruises that were the cheapest per day. Most people would book great deals on more high-end ships, but they had to dig through search results to find them. When I booked my cruises for the year, I noticed that I had to do the same.
Magic is our attempt to highlight the types of cruises we all actually book and are looking for. We are still tweaking the formula, but we take into account over a dozen different factors to score each cruise and rank it. Rather than look at each cruise as one unit, we individually rank each cabin type. So, for example, if it only costs $10 more to upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony cabin, we will show that balcony cabin in the results. Other factors we consider are the route, the age of the ship, the amenities onboard, line popularity, and many more.
The most highly weighted factor is still the price per day after tax. We are excited to feature higher-end cruises that reflect what our customers are after, but only when they represent an excellent value.
What is included in your cruise purchase price? Because cruising is so different from other forms of travel, most new cruisers are surprised with how much is included. Each cruise line is slightly different, but there are some things that are always free on every cruise line.
Most important, most food is free. At the very least there will be a formal dining room that is completely free for all three meals, a buffet that serves all three meals and usually some snacks, and usually some sort of free food that's available twenty-four hours a day, but is probably not as good as the other food. Some ships, especially larger ones, will have additional free options like pizzerias and poolside burger restaurants. Most ships will also have specialty restaurants that you pay a fixed cover charge for, ranging from $10-40 or so. These are 100% optional and many cruisers never eat at them. Room service is also free but sometimes has a small flat delivery fee, which is usually waived for basic breakfasts.
The dining room will have a selection of 4-5 entrees that rotate every day, a similar number of appetizers, at least one soup and salad, as well as standards that are always available (salmon, chicken, steak, etc). You can order as many things from the menu as you like. It's not uncommon for people to have 2-3 appetizers as well as 2 entrees. The buffet will have a huge variety of options, usually including some Indian food as well as Chinese food. You do not tip at any of these restaraunts — service is included in the daily $10-13 flat gratuity that covers your cabin steward as well.
Beverages such as water, tea, coffee, and juice are free. Alcohol and soda cost extra and can be purchased individually or in packages, and are tipped either per-drink or flat rate if you buy a package.
In short, you will have access to more high-quality free food than you could possibly eat, but can also spend more money on food if you want to splurge.
Use of most facilities and entertainment is also included. This includes pools, decks, shows in the theater, the library, many events like karaoke and musical performances, dancing, the gym, and a lot more. Most ships have other activities that come with an upcharge like special fitness classes, go-karts, or spa services. Activities like rock climbing, ice skating, and mini golf tend to be free, but it varies from ship to ship. In general Royal Caribbean and Carnival don't charge for these activities as often as other cruise lines. All shows, including high-quality broadway shows are free.
Internet always costs money, but is fast and available for (relatively high) flat rates as well as per minute. Alcohol almost always costs money, but some Norwegian cruises include it for free. Shore excursions always cost money, though you can find your own fun on shore for free.
Most new cruisers are surprised at just how much is included on a cruise ship. If you don't drink or pay for shore excursions, it's quite possible to cruise for weeks without paying anything other than the flat-rate tips.
One question I get a lot is: "When is the best time to book a cruise?". Luckily I have the historic pricing data handy, so I don't have to guess.
But before we get into that, let's talk about cancellation fees.
Unlike flights, there is a big window of time where you can cancel a cruise and get your entire deposit back. For most cruises, this window is about three or four months before the cruise departs.
Many cruise agencies charge an additional cancellation fee. We think that's unfair and gets in the way of you maximizing your cruise budget, so we never charge any fees.
If you know which cruise you want to go on, take a look at its price graph on CruiseSheet. If it's at or near its minimum, and you're within the 100% cancellation period, book immediately. If the price goes down, just send me an email and we will rebook you at the lower price. That way you'll lock in the lowest price the cruise hits before the cancellation fees start.
On the other hand, cruises trend towards two points as the sailing date approaches: either very inexpensive or very expensive. If there's excess capacity on the ship, the line would rather sell a room for cost and hope to upsell you once you're aboard, but if there are few cabins left, they go for a premium price.
You can use this to your advantage if you don't care which ship you go on. For example, many ships make the transatlantic crossing from Europe to the United States in the fall. If you wait until the October to book, some of those ships will be sold out, but a few will have fares below $40 a day, including taxes.
So when should you book a cruise? If there's a specific cruise you have your heart set on, book it as soon as you can, and monitor the price. You can easily set a price alert with CruiseSheet to get notifications when the price drops. If you're less particular about the ship and itinerary, check out the last minute deals from your area. You may find the deal of a lifetime.
If you're still not sure when to book your cruise, email me and let me know what you're looking for. I get a lot of satisfaction out of helping people find their perfect cruise, and I'd love for you to be the next success story.
I initially created CruiseSheet as a tool for my own use—I wanted to find the best cruises at the best prices. Since then it's evolved into the easiest to use cruise search engine, used by thousands of people every week. I recently asked a few customers how their experience was using CruiseSheet, and here's what they said:
"I used CruiseSheet to book a cruise for a group of 8 friends. We found a repositioning trip from New York to Puerto Rico that I would NEVER have found using any other website. It was easy to know all the prices involved, too (no hidden fees). We signed up and it was a great trip. The funny thing is that I was telling everyone about the site the whole time on the cruise!!"
—Nick Gray, Founder at MuseumHack.com
"I've used CruiseSheet for my travel planning and recommended it to friends and family alike. I like that the site doesn't hide taxes or fees— it's all upfront in the pricing— and that it's intuitive to use for searching by price or by destination."
—Jodi Ettenburg, Author at LegalNomads.com
"If you wanna cruise but don't want to fall for the cruise ship pricing tricks or spend hours researching, just use CruiseSheet.
There's no other way to book a cruise as easily as CruiseSheet."
—Amit Gupta, Founder at PhotoJojo.com
"Before CruiseSheet, there were two fundamental truths about the world: 1. Taking a cruise is like heaven on earth, and 2. Booking a cruise is like the seventh circle of hell.
I still remember the first time I tried to book a cruise. I must have called ten different agents, gone to twenty different websites, and filled out my personal information three-hundred and sixty-two times. The trouble is - just everyone out there is trying to screw you over, hiding taxes and fees until the last moment, obscuring the price per day, trying to upgrade you when you don't need an upgrade...the list goes on.
CruiseSheet's turned that all on its head. I can finally find a cruise exactly the way I want - by destination and price. I just choose where I want to go, and boom: immediately the best deals pop out at me. CruiseSheet sorts them all however I want (personally, I prefer 'cheapest by day'), and I know instantly that the prices are both the best I'll ever find and all-inclusive of taxes and fees."
—Benjamin Yu, Founder at Sprayable.co
We get a lot of skepticism at CruiseSheet, mainly because our prices are so low. And I don't blame people— there are a lot of fly-by-night cruise agencies that are run as part-time hobby businesses. CruiseSheet is different. We work every day both to help people find and book their dream cruises, and to create a better platform for finding those cruises.
One of the dangers of advertising amazing cruise deals is that people often don't believe that they're legitimate. People have posted on our Facebook page trying to warn others of our "fake" prices, and I've answered dozens of emails from customers who are convinced that there must be fees we're hiding from them.
The truth is that we are the only cruise agency I'm aware of that shows the actual price in the same way that all airlines do. Every other cruise agency shows the pre-tax price, and then tacks on the port fees and taxes at the end.
The prices you see on CruiseSheet are always the entire price, no gimmicks or tricks. The reason our prices seem so low is because we show you the best deals we have, and we order searches by the cost per day. It could be argued that that's not the best idea for our business, but we figure that we'll build loyalty by finding people the best cruise for them and treating them fairly, not by hustling them into a more expensive cruise.
While there are no mandatory charges once you're onboard, tipping is just about mandatory. You'll be charged a flat fee of somewhere between $10 and $14 per day, which covers tips for all of the stateroom attendants, buffet attendants, and dining room waiters. You could opt out of paying those tips, but it's highly discouraged as it's how those employees make the bulk of their money.
On board all meals are free, both in the buffet and the main dining room. Room service is usually free as well, but sometimes carries a small delivery charge. Access to the pools, gym, library, nightclubs, music venues, theater, and other facilities is also free.
Most alcoholic beverages cost money, as do some optional dinners at specialty restaurants, coffee at coffeeshops, photos, shore excursions and internet access.
Cruisers generally love cruising because so much is included. You can easily go without spending any money besides tips, or you can indulge and take advantage of the premium services offered on modern ships.
To sum it up, our prices are all authentic and include all taxes and fees. We don't include tips or discretionary spending. If you've never cruised before, you'll probably be amazed at what a great value cruising is, and even if you're an experienced cruiser, you might be surprised at just how inexpensively we can book you on an incredible voyage.
For years I tried to gain muscle. I weighed 145 pounds and no workout plan I tried, even when I stuck to it perfectly, seemed to work. That all changed when my friend and coach, Dick Talens, put me on his diet and workout plan. The missing component was an enormous quantity of food. I always thought I ate a lot, but while following his program to the gram I realized that I ate inconsistently. One big meal here, then a small meal for the next one.
Following his program I gained about 15 pounds, getting up to 160 total with the same body fat percentage.
But then I began to travel, which made it hard for me to keep up the program. Gyms aren't always easy to find and protein is expensive when you buy it all at restaurants.
When I booked a 24 day cruise from Sydney to Seattle, however, I came up with a plan. I would try to gain as much lean mass as possible, taking advantage of the convenient gym on the ship as well as the unlimited quantity of well-prepared food.
Over twenty-four days I gained 10 pounds of muscle and 2 of fat. Since then I have cut all of the fat as well as a three pounds of muscle, giving myself a noticeable seven pounds of muscle gained.
First, the gym schedule. I decided, since weekdays are irrelevant on cruises, to work out every other day, for a total of twelve workouts. Each workout was only 35-40 minutes.
Workout A - 8-10 reps deadlift, x2; max pullups x3; cable rows 8-12 x2
Workout B - 8-12 dumbell bench press x3; 8-12 dumbell incline press x2; dumbbell curl 8-12 x2
Workout C - 8-12 leg press x3; 4-6 straight leg deadlift x2; crunch machine 20 x2
This was a workout similar to the one Dick prescribed to me, modified to use dumbbells. The deadlifts were much lighter than I'd usually do, since the ship only had 70lb dumbbells and no olympic bar, so I increased reps a bit.
For breakfast I ate either 3x 2 egg omelets with veggies, bacon, and cheese, or 8-10 eggs over easy. On workout days I also ate some muesli and pastries or potatoes.
For lunch I typically went to the buffet and made huge plates of vegetables and meat. This was my smallest meal, but would usually consist of a very large salad full of vegetables as well as a pound to a pound and a half of meat. On workout days I would also sometimes eat dessert or carbs like bread.
For dinner I ate whatever I wanted in as large quantities as I could handle. That would consist of 4 to 9 appetizers, one or two salads and soups, and three or four entrees. On workout days I would eat some rolls as well as some of the potatoes that came with the meals. On rest days I might eat one roll and one dessert, but would skip all of the potatoes served with the entrees.
I didn't count my macros, but rather tried to eat as much as I possibly could at all times, focusing on protein first and then on vegetables.
The weight came on very quickly, as I averaged just under a pound a day for the first ten days. At that point I found my appetite decreasing and really had to force myself to keep up the same level of consumption. Over the final two weeks I gained only four pounds.
Eating that much food did feel like a bit of a chore sometimes, but it's only so much of a burden to eat free steaks, fish, and chicken every day. The workouts were sometimes intense, but short enough that they didn't really take a big chunk out of my day. I particularly liked that I could just take the elevator upstairs and be working out immediately, rather than having to interrupt my day for the gym.
If you are looking to make some gains in a short focused time, consider using a cruise to do it. It's a perfect combination of free time, easy access to a gym, and unlimited free food. The larger ships tend to have much better gyms with enough headroom for pullups and heavier dumbbells. In my experience Costa has the most crowded gyms by far, suggesting that maybe Europeans are more diligent about going to the gym.
I went on my first cruise when I was around twenty years old. A girl I had a crush on found a good cruise deal and asked if I wanted to go. All I really knew about cruises were that they were a prize on the back of Cornflakes boxes, and that the idea of being stuck on one with this girl sounded like a pretty good idea.
On that cruise I fell in love... with cruising. Since then I've been on dozens of cruises all around the world. I've traveled by plane, train, automobile, horse, camel, foot, and bicycle, but cruise ship is my favorite method.
As someone in his mid-thirties, people often find it surprising that I go on cruises. Even when I'm on the ship, people assume that I'm crew. I've helped folks in the computer lab who assumed I must be the tech there, and I've been complimented many times for my role in the production shows.
Confusion aside, cruising has a lot to offer the younger passenger. It's sometimes an uphill battle convincing my friends to come on cruises with me, but once they do they're almost always hooked. And I love meeting other young cruisers on the ship, because we all feel like we've discovered a big secret.
So what makes cruising so great for young people? Here are a few of my favorite things:
The old people. I don't really interact with older people very frequently in my normal life. I spend time with olders generations of my family, but that's not the same. I love meeting seniors, especially the ones who are adventurous enough to spend weeks at sea traveling the world. From them I hear stories I don't hear anywhere else, and I get to immerse myself in a perspective steeped in experience.
Most of the things we like to do aren't crowded. Bingo may be packed, but the attractions that appeal to a younger crowd are often abandoned. On my last cruise with Royal Caribbean I got to spend ninety minutes on the Flowrider surf wave with just my friend I was cruising with. That would have cost hundreds or tohusands of dollars back in my home of Las Vegas, but it was totally free on the cruise.
It's a great opportunity to get away. I'll reluctantly admit that having limited internet access is one of my favorite parts of cruising. I'm on the internet for my work and social life all day, but I love to decompress and not have internet during sea days. It's especially great during the long five-course dinners I have with my friends. No one is checking their phones.
Food and the gym. Lots of us younger folks like to work out and eat healthy, which can be difficult during travel. But a gym is never more convenient than it is on a cruise ship. Just ride the elevator up a few floors and you're in the gym. Need post-workout protein? Walk across the deck and have a steak (or five).
You get to see a lot of places. While my favorite days are the sea days, mainly because I love working while at sea, the format of port days are also amazing. Although there are sometimes immigrations and a shuttle to downtown, very often you just step off the boat right into the downtown area. You can wake up, have a big breakfast, and immediately be in a foreign country with no hassle. Fill the day exploring a new place and then return back to the ship for dinner and a good night's sleep.
Even though you're only in any place for a day or two, having no overhead or hassles means that you can really make the most of that day. Some cities can be seen in a day, but for the others you can decide whether or not it's a place you'd like to come back for more time in the future.
Don't be scared away from cruises just because your grandparents love them too. While they're definitely designed for an older crowd, younger people are routinely surprised when cruising becomes their favorite way to travel. If you're new to cruising, take a look at Royal Caribbean ships. They tend to have things like mini-golf, rock climbing, and flowrider surf waves.
Despite the amazing amenities provided by today's cruise ships, there's always something to spend onboard credit on. Maybe it's dinner at a specialty restaurant, drinks, or internet to make your friends and family back home jealous.
If you don't know what onboard credit is, it's free money in your onboard account that will cover discretionary expenses.
The good news is that there's a really easy way to get onboard credit on every cruise you go on, and it works every time. Many hardcore cruisers already know this trick, but some passengers who have gone on dozens of cruises haven't stumbled upon it yet.
As your go-to destination for the best cruise deals on the internet, I feel like it's my duty to share the trick with you. I want to sell you a cruise, but I want to make sure that you get a great value on it and get as much as possible out of your vacation.
Every major cruise line has what's called a Shareholder Benefit Program. If you're a shareholder of the parent company's stock, you get on board credit on every single sailing you go on. There are only three major cruise lines (Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival), and they own all of the other ones like Cunard, Costa, and Princess.
You need to buy 100 shares, so with share prices running between $35 and $95, that means that you'd have to invest $3500 to $7000 (of course, prices change frequently so double check this).
The amount of credit you receive is based on how many days you sail for. Each line gives a minimum of $50 for a short cruise and up to $250 for cruises around two weeks or longer.
Only one person per cabin can do this, but you can do it for as many cruises as you want. I personally do it for every single cruise I go on and have received thousands of dollars of free on board credit.
To redeem the credit you e-mail or fax proof of ownership to the cruise line. They almost never write back to confirm that you have the credit, but it always shows up when you get in the ship. If there's a problem, they'll let you know about it.
The one catch is that you can only get one promotional onboard credit per cruise. So if the line is offering $50 OBC and you also do this, it will replace the $50, not add to it (even though they say that, it does sometimes add to it).
You're also supposed to do this a few weeks in advance, but I've done it as late as a few days before the cruise and still gotten the credit.
Technically you could buy 100 shares of the stock, send proof, and then sell it immediately, or right after your cruise. They have no way of knowing how long you hold the stock for. If you cruise a lot like I do, you may want to just hang on to the stock-- after all, cruises are the fastest growing travel segment (which is one of a few reasons I'm in the business).
If you book a cruise through CruiseSheet and need help with this, just shoot me an e-mail. I'll walk you through the whole process and make sure that you get your credit.
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