Category Archives: Carnival

Elevate Lifestyle Magazine joins Carolina Singles Cruise

We’re excited to announce that Elevate Lifestyle Magazine is joining the Carolina Singles Cruise as the lead promotional partner. Elevate Lifestyle is a very recognized brand known for promoting the hottest events in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Carolina Singles Cruise is being hosted by Heart&Soul Matchmaking and booked by CruiseDeals.com.

The Carolina Singles Cruise is a 5-night Bahamas Cruise vacation departing on 11.13.10 on the newly refurbished Carnival Fascination. Carolina Singles Cruise is the first singles cruise dedicated to singles in North and South Carolina. If you’re going to meet someone new on a cruise vacation, wouldn’t be nice if they lived near you? And by living in the same area you are bound to have things in common with all of the singles in the group.

Rates start at only $334 per person including all taxes and fees! Hurry to reserve your spot today, space is limited and this group cruise will sell out!

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Filed under Carnival, Singles Cruise

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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Filed under Caribbean, Carnival, Uncategorized

Now Booking: Carolina Singles Cruise

We’ve Teamed up with Certified Relationship Coach & Matchmaker Sheryl Spangler of Heart&Soul Matchmaking, Inc based out of Charlotte, NC to bring you the first annual Carolina Singles Cruise. Sheryl’s recently been featured on Fox News and is a regular guest on WCNC’s Charlotte Today!

The Carolina Singles Cruise will depart out of Jacksonville Fl on the newly refurbished Carnival Fascination. This is the first Singles Cruise dedicated to residents of North Carolina and South Carolina. For those of you have never cruised before, cruising is the most social form of vacationing. Cruising with a group of Singles from your area is a great way to expand your network and possibly meet Mr./Mrs. Right. We will have dedicated social events & dinner seating for our group of singles. Sheryl will also be leading dating and relationship discussions such as the 14 Dating Traps, Conscious Dating for Relationship Success, and How to Master Online Dating!

For more information call David at 800.668.6414 ext. 149 or Join the Carolina Singles Cruise Facebook Group. To reserve your spot on the Carolina Singles Cruise Click here.

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Filed under Carnival, Singles Cruise

8 tips to Avoid Online Cruise Booking Errors

Booking Cruises online is growing in popularity thanks to many of the sites being extremely user-friendly, people are becoming more comfortable making online purchases, the convenience, and they are finding the best deals online.  Here are 8 tips to help you avoid some common errors when booking your cruise online without the assistance of a Travel Agent.  If you are ever confused about what you are booking, call the agency’s 800 number and talk to an agent. 

#1 Booking a Category 1A cabin on a Carnival Cruise and not realizing that a Category 1A is one twin bed on the floor and a twin bed that comes out of the wall.  Basically, it is bunk beds.  The least expensive inside cabin on a Carnival Cruise is a Category 1A and when you see “rates starting at $199 on a Carnival Ship” it is for 1A.

# 2 Booking an Obstructed Ocean View Cabin thinking that they were getting a full view.  The least expensive Ocean View Cabin on most ships with all of the cruise lines are obstructed by life boats.  The cruise industry considers cabins on the outside of the ship to be Ocean View.  First time cruisers get very upset when they book an Ocean View cabin online and then they get to the cruise ship there is a life boat in front of their window.   The best way to prevent this from occurring is to printout a Deck Plan of the ship that you are booking onto and see where your cabin is located.  There is usually a pretty steep jump in price from Obstructed Ocean View to the full Ocean View. 

# 3 Not understanding Cruise Line Cancellation Penalties.  If you book a cruise and the full payment is required at the time of booking, then you are already within the timeframe in which cancellations are penalized.  When you book online, you are fully responsible for knowing the cancellation policy of the cruise line and of the agency you are booking through.   Cruisedeals.com does not charge any admin fees for cancellations, but we required to follow the cruise lines policies.   Some other agencies charge booking and cancellation fees on top of the cruise lines policies, so you need to be aware of those as well.   Cruise line penalties usually start around 80 days prior to the sail date.  Adding Travel Insurance is the best way to reduce the risk of being penalized for last minute cancellations.

#4 Not Understanding what it means to book a Guarantee.  When people book a cruise online and do not get a cabin assignment at the time of booking or they book an Inside or Ocean View Guarantee they sometimes do not understand what they are booking.  A Guarantee means that you are Guaranteed at least that category of cabin depending on availability.  So it leaves you opened to getting upgraded, but because you are giving the cruise line the ability to assign your cabin that once it is assigned the cruise line will not move it for you.  This is usually the way to get the best deal, but you give up control of location for the low price and the hopes for a “free” upgrade. 

#5 Not giving themselves enough time to get to the pier when they book their flights.  Every port and airport is different so you need to find out what are the recommended arrival and departure times for flights for that sailing prior to arranging your flights.  You have to be to the pier 2.5 hours prior to the cruise ship departing. 

#6 Bonus Offers: A growing online trend is great bonuses like Onboard Credits and Free Gratuities being offered by Online Travel Agencies.  These bonus offers set online agency’s deals apart from the cruise lines offers.  These offers can lower the total price of your cruise when booking online, but these bonus offers can also be confusing.   Many of these bonus offers only apply to certain cabin categories like only applying to balcony and suite.  When booking online, make sure that the cabin you are booking gets the bonus offer.  If it is confusing, call in to speak with an agent.  If you feel the site was misleading, then move on to another online cruise agency.

#7 Coupon Books: Coupon Books vs. OnBoard Credits –  The Coupon Books are advertised as savings up to $400…  if you are choosing between coupon books and onboard credits which is actually cash to spend on board… then take the deal with On Board Credits. 

#8 Early Booking Savers – If you are booking Carnival Cruises a few months prior to the cruise, the lowest rate offered is a rate that requires a non-refundable deposit.  The early saver rate is about 20% less than the other rates and gives the consumer the guarantee that if the rate drops.   I think the rate and guarantee is worth the non-refundable deposit.  As with any booking, I recommend buying travel insurance at time of deposit to protect your investment and yourself

 Happy Sailing ~ Rich Tucker

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Filed under Carnival, How to Find Cruise Deals, Royal Caribbean

Costa Deliziosa – Inaugural Event Update

It is 4:30 AM on the brand new Costa Deliziosa. I woke up wide awake…feeling guilty for neglecting CruiseSource.us by not writing a blog post in two days. I’ve been uploading photos to Flickr from Italy and the Costa Deliziosa. I swear, We have been constantly on the go and I have the pics and videos to prove it! Unfortunately haven’t had the time to get them all up on the internet. On these inaugural events, we try to experience the entire ship in a short period of time. Since this is our first time to Italy, we are also trying to experience as much of the destination as possible. So far we have toured Venice and Naples. This morning we will be exploring Florence and Pisa. What makes Costa different is that when get back on the ship, you feel like you are still in Italy. Most Americans have not heard of Costa, although in the last 9 months they have launched 3 brand new ships, the Pacifica, Luminousa, and now the Deliziosa. I’ve heard that this a record. The Deliziosa is a Joe Farcus designed vessel with lot of Marble, Wood, and a very sensual undertone. It is the Italian Premium FUN Ships. The size and layout of the ship is similar to the Carnival Spirit class of ships. This Italian Itinerary is an opportunity for as much of the country to get to see and visit the ship before she leaves for Dubai. The Deliziosa will be completing 7-night Middle Eastern runs roundtrip Dubai for several months and then she will settle in on a 7-night northern European Itinerary.

Back to bed for me, hopefully I can get an hour more of sleep before we disembark in Livorno.

Jess & Rich with Joe & Jean Farcus on the Costa Deliziosa

Sax Player in the Multi-Level Disco Bar

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Filed under Carnival, Costa, Shore Excursions, Travel Reviews

2009 – Year of the Tweet

2009 was my best year ever, and I owe most of it to the incredible relationships I’ve made on the Social Media platform Twitter.

2009 started with me winning a Shorty Award for providing the best travel content on Twitter with the Twitter ID @CruiseSource. On February 11th, 2009, I accepted the award in NYC, and in my 140 character acceptance speech I announced that we would be planning the premier cruise for social media professionals — the Social Fresh Cruise (hashtag #SoCruise). The Wall Street Journal got a real kick out of me using my acceptance speech to promote the Social Fresh Cruise.

Shorty Awards with @MCHammer @misskatiemo & @kitmueller

At the Shorty Awards Gala in NYC I got to meet and connect with tons of amazing people including @MCHammer, @GaryVee, @WaltRibeiro, @AlohaArleen, @KitMueller, @girlwithnoname, @pawluxury, @danzarrella, my NYC Tour Guide @misskatiemo and many more. Vote now for 2010 Shorty Awards.

A couple of weeks before my trip to NYC, I volunteered to be the lead planner for Charlotte Twestival, the local event of the Global Charity event organized and promoted via Twitter scheduled for February 12th, 2009. Thanks to Twitter we were able to quickly assemble a team of amazing volunteers who organized a very successful event in barely 2 weeks. It was a powerful display of the power of Twitter and the strength of the Charlotte, NC, Twitter community. The awesome team included some of the earliest adopters of Twitter in Charlotte who’ve helped the local social media community flourish. The team included @jakrose, @NathanRichie, @jruckman, @kateydietz, @jarodhillerman, @CLTNightLife, @crystaldempsey, @DavidKyle, @mtyndal and others.

@NathanRichie and I at the #CLTwesitval

In July, I live-tweeted and videoed 4 different Carnival cruise ships including the Carnival Freedom and the Carnival Liberty.

In August I live-tweeted during a 7 night Hawaii cruise aboard NCL’s Pride of America. This was an incredible cruise vacation that I was able to share with my wife — a great chance for us to reconnect as she was beginning to feel like a “Social Media Widow.”

Jess and I on Hawaii ATV Tour

As soon as I announced plans for the Social Fresh Cruise at the Shorty Awards, I teamed up with @ChrisBrogan, @93octane, @jakrose, @CruiseDeals, and @GregCangialosi to plan and promote this unprecendented conference. It was an invitation-only social media conference at sea for leaders and influencers in the industry who wanted to get away, unplug and focus on creating some of their strongest relationship with their peers. So the 1st Annual Social Fresh Cruise departed Miami November 12th, 2009, with 50+ Twitter Rockstars on board, was a huge success and plans for a 2010 repeat about to be released.

The Social Fresh Crew at Carlos & Charlies

But what would a social media cruise be without a huge Bon Voyage Tweetup the night before? I co-hosted the largest tweetup in Miami history with help from the local social media luminaries including @yvetteferry, @miamiandbeaches, @alexdc, @refreshmiami, @smcsf and many more! While at the tweetup I enjoyed meeting and hanging out with online friends @CouchSurfingOri, @ViceQueenMaria, @steph_rose and so many more.

I was also fortunate to be invited on the inaugural cruise of the Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship. Prior to the inaugural the Miami Herald wrote an article about the cruise industry’s use of social media, and in the article the Miami Herald instructed their readers to follow @CruiseSource for live tweets from the Oasis during the inaugural. My quote from earlier in the year that “Social Media and Cruising are like Chocolate and Peanut Butter, two tastes that taste great together” made it into the article.

I also live-tweeted from the Celebrity Century that sailed to Jamaica and Grand Cayman. I was on board to teach other travel agents “Social Media 101,” which of course included a heavy dose of Twitter training.

Of course throughout the year on Twitter I posted the best cruise deals on the Internets! — and we were recognized by AARP Magazine, CRM Magazine and other publications for providing the Best Travel Deal Tweets.

2009 was a success because I was able to use Twitter to team up with smart, energetic people to accomplish BIG goals. @93octane was the only friend mentioned above that I knew prior to Twitter…he was the evangelist who introduced me to Twitter… Thanks, Lyell!

2010 is looking like it will be bigger and better, and none of it would be possible without my friends, my community of readers, Twitter, my followers and the CruiseSource.us blog. The Best part is that I have a ever growing list of online friends who I can’t wait to meet Face to Face. Traveling with online friends, sharing a once in a lifetime experience creates life long friendships and I hope to share that gift with many more people in 2010!

You can nominate @CruiseSource for this year’s Shorty Award in the Travel Category by Tweeting the following message (click on it for a quick two click process):

I nominate @CruiseSource for a Shorty Award in #travel because [your reason here] http://bit.ly/CShorty

My Office At Sea - Celebrity Century

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Filed under Carnival, Miami, Norwegian Cruise Line, Social Media, Travel Reviews

Hurricane Ida, Cruise Impacts

As of 6PM ET, the Cruise Lines do not have any official announcements for impacts to itineraries due to Hurricane Ida. Timing is pretty good because alot of the Ships departed this weekend ahead of the Storm. I’ve heard stories of some rocky seas on Twitter. If you are cruising this week, pick up some Bonine for motion-sickness just in case. I am watching this one very closely, as I am scheduled to depart on the Carnival Destiny out of Miami for the Social Fresh Cruise on Thursday 11.12.09. This has been one of the calmest hurricane seasons ever for the Caribbean and Gulf Coast. Just my luck that a rare late season hurricane is churning in the Gulf of Mexico right before the Social Fresh Cruise.

Monday Morning, I will aggregate all the Cruise Line Hurricane announcements into one post. Hopefully, Ida is another non-event for the Cruise Industry and for the Social Fresh Cruise.

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Filed under Carnival, Miami