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Archive for July, 2010

I recently sailed on the newly renovated Carnival Ecstasy that sails out of Galveston, Texas.  She sails on 4 or 5 night cruises to the Western Caribbean.  If you live in Texas that’s great because it saves you lots of time and money not having to fly.

We love the shopping on board and the nightly entertainment is always great with comedians, magicians, singing and or dancing.  Somehow we usually end up in the Karaoke lounge listening but not singing! 

After a fantastic dinner one evening, my husband and I took his camera for some video of the cool, romantic evening on-board.   

Early Saver is a new booking item giving you the absolute lowest rate available.  It has a non refundable deposit but you can change ship and sail dates with a $50 fee.  With Early Saver, for a 5 night sailing you need to book at least 3 months out and for a 7 night cruise you would need to book at least 5 months out.  However, as your travel agent and representative I keep an eye on those prices and if I find the rate going lower than the one you booked that you are eligible for, I send in the form to get your final payment lowered.  That’s fantastic and it happens frequently.

Check out the video and contact me - let’s get you booked on a fantastic, dream voyage of your own!

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July 28, 2010 - Posted by princess

WANNA CRUISE? 

If you’re thinking of a vacation with exciting destinations, beaches, pools, waterslides and around-the-clock activities- it’s cruising. Nothing gets you away from the ordinary better than a Carnival cruise

Check out this great video below  then contact me – the B E S T Cruise-Only travel agent ever!

July 25, 2010 - Posted by princess

From dining with the chefs to design-your-own cupcakes and Indonesian tea time, there are many new and unique offerings at sea when it comes to cuisine.“There’s so much happening in food and beverage,” Frank Weber, Royal Caribbean’s vice president of food and beverage operations, said quite aptly.Over the past decade, celebrity chefs at sea have been the rage. These chefs, who are well-known for their restaurant(s) on land, generally influence key menu selections aboard ship and sail periodically with the cruise lines they represent. However, this trend has recently evolved into up-close-and-personal encounters with cruise lines’ top in-house chefs. Many cruise lines now offer variations of these “dine with the chef” dinner experiences. These exclusive dinners are offered each cruise, impose a surcharge greater than alternative restaurants at sea, and generally couple wines with sumptuous food. 

Lido Deck Mongolian Grill Dining

Aboard Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Lines, Dine with the Chefs is a six course dinner that pairs wine with the meal and is only offered once per cruise. According to Holland America Line’s Steve Kirsch, director of culinary operations, passengers especially like the interactive nature of this program since chefs prepare the food right in front of the guests. 

“Choice” still is a very prevalent buzz word when it comes to cruise cuisine. This especially applies to options of “when” to eat dinner. This past year, Carnival Cruise Lines began rolling out the trendy new option of “Your Choice Dining” which offers open dinner seating in addition to assigned seating. According to Cyrus Marfatia, vice president of food and beverage for Carnival, generally 300 to 400 passengers choose this option per cruise but that number is growing.  

There is no shortage of choice for dinner options on Royal Caribbean’s 5,400-passenger Oasis of the Seas. The ship boasts 24 different places to eat and according to Weber, “the Oasis offers the most variety of any ship in the industry.” 

There’ll also be plenty new dining venues on the Disney Dream when it debuts in January.  This includes the Royal Palace, the ship’s formal restaurant. Taking off on the many classic Disney movies about princesses and princes, the restaurant “brings a royal feast to our guests,” said Ozer Balli, vice president of hotel operations. 

What a special honor to have dinner at the Captain's table

Another trend is that passengers want to know more about their food. According to Tracy Jessop, product director for Cunard Line: “Sourcing information is growing in importance with travelers being more interested in ingredients, processes and inspirations behind the culinary and spirits offered on board.” 

All cruise lines face the challenges of how to keep food consistent and made to order as the number of passengers increases due to the ever larger cruise ships being built. Cunard Line’s Chef Zimmermann said his goal is to cook for hundreds of onboard guests just as he would for a family of eight. He said he accomplishes this by “attention to detail, organization, and techniques that combine tradition and modernity.” 

Chef executives, voiced that the guest experience is number one priority even when faced with economic pressures. He pointed out ways that Carnival manages food purchasing which include: “smart menu” management; team work shore side; and seeking value in the market. 

Royal Caribbean also takes another niche seriously: healthy lifestyles. “One of my main efforts is to change the perception that you will gain weight on a ship,” said Weber. “Actually, the level of fresh, light preparation is very high,” he added. All meals are under 500 calories in Oasis’ Solarium bistro. All Royal Caribbean ships offer a three-course menu nightly in the main dining room that is 800 calories or less. 

Excerpted from the Summer 2010 Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine. 
July 17, 2010 - Posted by princess
 Wanna have a B L A S T?  Do you like to travel with others and share the fun?

Whether it’s a girlfriend group, a church group, a family group or just a bunch of good friends – group cruising is the way to go!

-Everyone gets a great rate; your prices are locked in and won’t increase

-Eating, playing and relaxing together is the B E S T

-You can make monthly payments

-Practically everything’s included food, fun, activities, nightly entertainment, beverages (alcohol, soft drinks extra)

-It’s CHEAPER than you think – averages about $80-100 per person/per day depending on the time of year & cabin selected

Join in or create a group cruise!

-You’re not “stuck on a ship all day” you visit exotic islands, doing as little or many activities as you like

-You able to shop, snorkel, parasail, beach hop, explore or just relax and enjoy – it’s up to you

-Eight cabins is all you need to make a group

Call me to check rates and pricing

Jae Nelson, ACC
Accredited Cruise Counselor & Specialist
The Cruise Princess

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July 13, 2010 - Posted by princess

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