Category Archives: Caribbean

Will Oil Spill give boost to Summer Cruise Sales?

Who would have ever thought that we could have a maor oil leak this close to the US Shoreline going on two months? Thanks to the unthinkable, the BP Oil Spill will have a devasting impact on some of the most beautiful beaches that we have to offer in the US. This Summer there are millions of travellers who may be cancelling their current vacation plans and looking for other vacation options. With Caribbean cruises departing from New Orleans, Mobile, and Tampa those who were going to drive to the Gulf Coast region can still drive to a Gulf Coast port to catch a cruise ship. From the Gulf Coast this summer cruise ship passengers will be getting away from the spill by cruising to Mexico, Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Bahamas, Key West & more.

Gulf Shores Alabama by Faungg

There were reports from Key West about Tar Balls from the spill, this is from Reuters FactBox on the Oil Spill:

Amidst a scare involving tar balls found on Florida Keys beaches — later declared not to have come from the BP oil spill,

Currently cruise itineraries have not been impacted by the oil spill and it is very important to keep shipping channels operating as usual:

U.S. authorities are anxious to keep Gulf shipping operating to maintain vital U.S. exports and imports. NOAA says the Lower Mississippi River ports export over 50 million metric metric tones of corn, soybeans and wheat each year, more than 55 percent of all U.S. grains inspected for shipment.

I’m curious about your thoughts, do you think people who have planned vacations to the gulf coast region will look at cruise vacations as an alternative? Or do you think the will head east toward the Carolina Beaches? Or to the Mountains?

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Oil Spill, Cruise Line Impacts

As the situation with the gulf coast oil spill continues to worsen, my initial concerns are about the massive damage to the wildlife & environment as well as the impact to the gulf coast fishermen and their families.  Being a Cruise Industry blogger, I also quickly wondered if this would impact the Carnival Cruise ships that sail roundtrip from Mobile, AL and New Orleans.  

Just as CruiseSource.us has always kept you informed about the potential impacts to your cruise vacations from natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, we will keep you up-to-date with potential impacts from the oil spill.  As of 9 PM ET, this is the latest statement from Carnival Cruise lines:

We are closely monitoring the situation with the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the potential impact to our operation in the Port of Mobile.

Based on the information we have received from the local port officials and the U.S. Coast Guard in Mobile, we do not anticipate any disruption to the Carnival Fantasy cruise departing on Monday, May 3, 2010. We are expecting the Port of Mobile to remain open and the cruise to operate as scheduled.

We are looking forward to welcoming our guests aboard the Carnival Fantasy on Monday. The Captain, officers, staff and crew are dedicated to providing our guests with fun and memorable cruise vacations.

~ Subscribe to get the latest Cruise News.   Unfortunately, the only good news about the oil spill that I’ve seen today is that the Carnival Fantasy will sail out as scheduled… which seems pretty insignificant compared to all the bad news.  But I know that if you are scheduled to be on the Fantasy tomorrow getting to go on your planned vacation is important to you and I wish you happy sailing!  ~ Rich Tucker

Related Post: Will Oil Spill Boost Summer Cruise Sales?

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Celebrity Solstice Cruise, Last Day

On our last day at Sea, I’m thinking back to everything that has made this Celebrity Solstice Cruise vacation so special. 5 years ago, I fell in love with cruising because it is the most social form of vacationing. We make new friends on every cruise vacation. As always, our fellow passengers helped make this cruise special. With the introduction of the Solstice Class of ships, Celebrity has had to have knocked 10 years off of their passenger’s average age. This cruise offered a diverse mix of age ranges, but no matter the age of the passengers we met they were all the type of people who strive for the finer things in life. They had a good understanding of the quality of food, drinks, and service that distinguished this cruise ship from most of the others. I talked to several passengers travelling in the Aqua Class Suites. After a few days on board, they were all sold on the value of the cost to upgrade to the Aqua Class. The cabin size of the Aqua Class Suites are similar to a balcony cabin, but the exclusive access to the Specialty Restaurant, Blu, the Persian Garden, and the Concierge Service were well worth the extra money according to passengers with whom I spoke. One passenger, Sam, even stated that the upgraded shower in the Aqua Class Suite was enough for her to book an Aqua Class suite again.

The Celebrity Solstice is the perfect example of a large vessel offering a noticeably higher level of service, food, and style. The diverse entertainment onboard from the Hot Glass Show to the Circus style show offers something for cruisers of all ages. Earlier this week, I met a family in which the grandparents typically cruised on Oceania. For a large family vacation consisting of ages ranging from 11 months old – 75 years old, they compromised and chose the Celebrity Solstice. The grandparents were very impressed by the food and service on the Solstice and the kids were having a blast in the kids club. For all that the Celebrity Solstice is offering, the Solstice has been selling for rates that are close to the less premium cruise ships making it the best value in the Caribbean.

Celebrity Solstice, Circus style Show

The onboard experience on the Celebrity Solstice has been unmatched. The feedback I’ve received from our new friends onboard has been consistent with our feelings about the Celebrity Solstice. So if you are a travel agent, your clients will love you for recommending a Solstice Class ship and if you are a cruiser looking for the perfect combo of amenities, entertainment options, style, service and food, I fully recommend the Celebrity Solstice.

Jess & Dylan with the Celebrity Solstice

Full Disclosure, I did not pay for my Cabin. I did pay for Airline tickets, Gratuities, Excursions, Bar Bill, etc…. I’ve been on about 15 cruise ships in 3 years. They’ve all been wonderful, but the Solstice Class is special. My 8 year old would probably like the Liberty of the Seas and the Oasis of the Seas better (he enjoyed the Fun Factory, but was upset that there was not a waterslide on the Solstice)… I’m a big fan of the style and service that is the Solstice. I have loads of photos and video that I will be uploading from home so you can see the Celebrity Solstice experience for yourself.

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Filed under Caribbean, Celebrity, Family, First Cruise, Ship Reviews, Travel Reviews

Celebrity Solstice: St. Maarten & St. Kitts

Celebrity Solstice, St. Maarten:

A few hours ago we set sail from St. Maarten headed back to Ft. Lauderdale. Luckily, we were the only ship calling on St. Maarten today. Yesterday they were 4 cruise ships docked in St. Maarten. St. Maarten a great inexpensive port for beach lovers and window shoppers. A $6 per person water taxi transported us from the ship to the beach and the Phillipsburg downtown shopping area. For $10 we got 2 lounge chairs, an umbrella, and 2 beers. Dylan got to play on his first white sand beach and splash around in the clear blue ocean. After a few hours on the beach, we hit the shops.
Today, the beach, the taxis and the shopping was not crowded at all. It is probably the complete opposite when there are 4 ships docked in St. Martin at the same time. If you are booking a cruise going to St. Martin, ask your agent to check out how many ships are in St. Martin when you will be there… just something to consider when looking at different options for your next cruise.

Water Trampoline St. Maarten

St. Kitts

Yesterday we visited the Island of St. Kitts. The people of St. Kitts were some of the friendliest I have met in the Caribbean. Not once were we asked to get our hair braided or asked to buy something while we were relaxing on the beach. One of the local guys who rented beach chairs played soccer and cricket on the beach with the tourist kids. We chose to go to Frigate Bay because it was on the Caribbean side of the Island which means that the seas are calm and the water crystal clear. Frigate Bay was not crowded or touristy. There were several bar shacks on the beach. The sand at Frigate Bay was not the pretty white sand and according to one local bartender was the reason that the beach did not get over crowded.
One of the Solstice Black Jack Dealers did recommend the Marriot Resort beach. The Marriot on St. Kitts is a huge property with Golf Course, Casino, impressive pools, and public beaches. The only reason we did not go was because the Marriot resort is on the Atlantic side of the Island. Both the Marriot Beach and Frigate Bay Beach are only a $4 per person taxi ride. Many more pictures and video coming when we get back home!

Apologize about the quality of the video, we only had our Sony Cybershot camera at the beach with us:

Soccer on the Beach with a St. Kitts Local

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Champagne Living on a Budget? Checkout the Celebrity Solstice

My Good Twitter Friend @zipporahs, the blogger at ChampagneLiving.net sent me a quick tweet asking if I knew of any hot deal for her readers. Her readers are looking for ways to live the high-life on the cheap. I’m sure there are plenty of people who are used to living the Champagne Lifestyle but due to the great recession they are unable or choose not too. Thanks to Celebrity Cruise Line increasing their capacity in the Caribbean by 71% with the addition of the brand new Celebrity Solstice… getting pampered and enjoying some of the most delicious food and drinks at sea is very affordable (dare I say Cheap) on the Celebrity Solstice. The Celebrity Solstice was the perfect match for the Champagne Living Blog, so I sent @zipporahs a tweet with a link to the deal. She loved it! Check out Zippy’s blog post describing the awesome value of the current Celebrity Solstice Balcony Deal that ends on April 11th, 2010. The Deal Basics: $799 Balcony Cabins with $100 Spending Money plus FREE Gratuities ($150 Value).

Full Disclosure, I am sailing on the Celebrity Solstice on 4/4. I did not pay for the cabin, but I am paying for everything else.. I truly believe the Balcony Deal is the best deal in cruising today… if you disagree, please leave a comment… My readers would love to be turned on to a better deal!

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Oasis of the Seas, drops below $900

Announcement: The Oasis of the Seas is now selling for under $900 on multiple dates in May 2010. All cruise vacations between April 11 – May 22 have been selling for quite a discount. The Cruise Lines can’t wait to get beyond Spring and into this Summer. Cruise Rates in the Summer have been continuously increasing while the Spring has been difficult especially in the Caribbean.

I was not expecting the Oasis of the Seas to be reduced below $900 until the Winter of 2010/2011 when the Allure of the Seas will be competing for passengers. If you are looking for an Oasis of the Seas deal over the Summer, the rates are increasing steadily with rates starting at $1299 per person.

If you are looking for one of the larger Suites on the Oasis of the Seas, you will need to start your search for after the 1st week in August 2010. Click here to see all of the 2010 Oasis of the Pricing. ~ Happy Sailing ~ Rich Tucker

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Filed under Caribbean, Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean, Spring Break

Next Cruise: Celebrity Solstice

I’m getting excited as our next cruise is just around the corner. Last December, I experienced the Celebrity Treatment for the first time. On the Celebrity Century, I seriously felt the Celebrity difference in the high quality of their food & service. The Celebrity Century is an older, medium sized ship in the Celebrity fleet. Celebrity Century had recently undergone a refurbishment and I was very pleased with all aspects of the onboard experience.

Celebrity Century in Jamaica, 12.14.09

Celebrity Century in Jamaica, 12.14.09

We’re taking the Celebrity Experience to the next level. The first week in April, Jess and I are taking our 8 year old son on his first cruise. We will be Cruising 7-nights to St. Kitts, San Juan, and St. Maarten on the Brand New Celebrity Solstice. The Solstice Class of ship is much larger than the other ships in the Celebrity Fleet. The Solstice has many innovative design features including the first grass lawn at sea. The Solstice has been describe to me as a floating W Hotel. Although the Celebrity Solstice is a Premium Cruise Ship, thanks to the recession the Solstice is not fetching a premium price tag. In April and May you can sail 7-nights from Ft. Lauderdale on the Celebrity Solstice starting at only $599! The best value is actually on the Balcony Cabins thanks to freebies.

Balcony Cabins start at $799 with a $50 Onboard Credit and CruiseDeals.com is paying for your Gratuities ($150 value) must book by February 28th, 2010.

Let me know in the comments if you will be joining us on the April 4th, Celebrity Solstice. I’ll buy your first Fruity Adult Beverage! ~ Happy Sailing Rich Tucker

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