New Cruise Ships for “Baby Boomers”

Okay, the official word is out from the recent Seatrade convention, the annual expo of the cruise ship industry.  Baby Boomers are talking (and buying), and cruise lines are listneing. As reported in the Cruise Ship Report,

By the time a session on luxury cruising was over, Silversea had announced plans for at least one new ship, Oceania said it had just placed a multiship order, Seabourn talked about two ships on the way, and American Cruise Lines said it was building two more.

“The luxury sector is booming,” said Frank Del Rio, CEO of Oceania Cruises. “The pentup demand for upscale cruising is staggering.”

The upbeat atmosphere at this year’s Seatrade was in dramatic contrast to the early part of this decade, and reflected a new confidence by small luxury cruise lines — based on the past couple of years — that “Baby Boomers” will be taking to the seas in style.

So all you fellow “Baby Boomers”, where are we going on our next cruise???


Cruise Ships Boost Alaska Park Traffic

A 5% increase in visitors to Alaska’s National Parks was driven almost completely by cruise ship traffic, according to Kurt at National Park Traveler.

Most of the cruise ship passenger volume was felt at three parks: Glacier Bay National Park, Sitka National Historical Park and Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Once again, this shows the impact that cruise ships can have on cruise ports and land-based attractions.

Cruise Ships Boost Galveston

About a month ago I wrote a post about ports missing the boat.  Cities that could/should think about developing ports for cruise ships to depart from.  Interested mayors and city officials should take note of an article in The Daily News of Galveston County, written by Laura Elder.  Perhaps they’ll change their minds and give us cruisers more port options to choose from. 

GALVESTON — Five years ago, not a lot of island residents were praising the Port of Galveston.But on Wednesday, the tide had turned for the prospering deep-water port…

“The Port of Galveston is the lifeblood of this community,” Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas… In 2000, Carnival Cruise Lines’ ship Celebration began sailing from the island. Since then, the port — through public-private partnerships – has invested $46 million in cruise-ship terminals to become the top cruise port on the Gulf of Mexico. Last year, was a banner year for the port. For the first time since the late 1980s, when it began operating as a landlord port — meaning it generates revenues from leasing its facilities to other businesses — its operating income exceeded $20 million… 

Cruise lines, their passengers and crews spend about $934 million on direct purchases yearly. About 84 percent of that amount is generated by the port of Galveston, according to industry statistics. The industry supports 15,807 jobs in the state. Port businesses employ about 1,300 people along the waterfront.

This certainly sounds like a win-win situation for all involved, the city of Galveston, (not to mention the 15,807 extra jobs for the State of Texas), and for the Cruise Lines and passengers as well. 

More Royal Caribbean Cruise Ships in Europe, Summer of 2008


A news release by Royal Caribbean today announced that they will have a record seven cruise ships heading to Europe in the summer of 2008.  Leaving from South Hampton and Harwich, England; Amsterdam, Holland; Oslo, Norway; Hamburg, Germany; Barcelona, Spain; Rome, and Venice, Italy… you’ll be able to choose from a four to fourteen day cruise.  These ships will include Royal Caribbean’s signature amentities:

Independence of the Seas will feature the revolutionary FlowRider surf simulator and regulation-size boxing ring. Navigator and Voyager belong to the first class of ships in the world to offer guests an ice-skating rink and the Royal Promenade – the ship’s entertainment hub. Jewel and Brilliance boast self-leveling pool tables and golf simulators and allow guests to relax in expansive, themed solariums while kids play in the ships’ Adventure Beach water park. Legend and Splendour feature a 12-hole mini-golf course for families and a retractable glass roof. All ships offer an extensive range of spa services, fitness and wellness classes, engaging Adventure Ocean kids and teen programs, top-rated Broadway-style theater productions, and multiple restaurants and lounges from which to choose.

Bookings for Royal Caribbean’s 2008 Europe cruises will open on March 14, 2007.  Wow, so many choices, so little vacation time!

Cruise Ships and Norovirus:Fact and Fiction

We’ve all heard horror stories about tourists getting sick aboard cruise ships.  Perhaps this article written by Kate Appleton, Budget Travel, at, will answer some of your questions and let you enjoy your next cruise even more.

Jaret Ames, acting chief of the vessel sanitation program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sheds light on norovirus facts — and fictions — and ways that cruise passengers can avoid getting sick…

Q: What are some of the ways that people can stay healthy while on a cruise?

A: If you’re a person who’s on a ship and you’re trying to prevent transmission, hand-washing is the primary way to do that, and that means a good 30 seconds. It needs to happen quite often throughout the day even if you just have a snack, especially if from a self-service source. If you’re a smoker, you should certainly do a hand-washing before that hand-to-mouth activity. Products like Purell can be of some use, but they don’t replace hand-washing. Even if you do carry something like that, you should make sure that you still wash your hands often.

And that’s only one of the many questions and answers – read the whole article to find out how to avoid norovirus on your next cruise, and what to do if you are unlucky enough to become infected.  So wash your hands, use the hand sanitizer on the cruise ship often, and go book that cruise!

Cruise Ship History and Trivia


I’ve enjoyed cruising for about 14 years now, but until I came across this interesting article written by Ken Brooks, I’d never given a thought as to how or when the cruisng industry started.  I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

This year, more than nine million Americans will choose a cruise for a vacation. It’s not a new idea. In the 1920s, a vessel was built to cater to the rich; its name was Stella Polaris. This was much like a private club, holding some 170 passengers in luxury. It sailed through Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, around Africa and even the world. The idea caught on and a vacation at sea began to grow. In fact, several steamship companies sent their trans-Atlantic liners cruising during the winter months…

The company that most changed the cruise business was Carnival Cruise Line. They began with older trans-Atlantic liners, slightly changing them for warm weather cruising and catering to an “everyman market.” Entertainment was geared to the younger and middle-aged set and since the ships were not luxurious, they dubbed them the “fun ships.” They offered many onboard activities including conga lines moving through passageways and public rooms. The Line made much extra profit with the bars, casinos and shore excursions.

 Cruising has sure come a long way!

Newest Carnival Cruise Ship “Freedom”

Having just completed a Mediterranean cruise, I did a bit of daydreaming as I saw this story and photo, by Jennifer Grech of the Times of Malta, telling of the newest Carnival Ship, “Freedom”, with St. Mark’s Square in the background.

There is a “reasonable possibility” that Carnival Freedom, the biggest North American cruise liner operating in Europe, will start calling at Malta.

The official naming of the 110,000-tonne vessel took place in Venice yesterday, presided over by “godmother” Kathy Ireland. Carnival Freedom will sail on her inaugural voyage, a nine-day Mediterranean cruise from Venice, this afternoon. She will then launch a schedule of 12-day Mediterranean and Mediterranean and Greek Isles cruises beginning on March 14.

Okay, I’m ready to book my next cruise! 

Afford Your Dream Cruise

So you have dreams of getting on a cruise ship but think you can’t afford it.   A recent article in the Los Angeles Times gives you 10 tips to get you closer to that dream. 

You have to pay the mortgage, taxes and car payments, and that can leave little for a grand tour of Europe or a fancy cruise. But with discipline and diligence, families can save for that trip of their dreams.

It takes a plan, and the sooner you get started, the sooner you will be on that trip, financial advisers say.

So what are you waiting for?  Let’s get started working on that dream!

“Free” Wine on Cruise Ships

So. you’ve finally gotten aboard the ship.  You’re in your (balcony) stateroom perusing the various envelopes left by your cabin steward (who has already introduced himself/herself with a great big smile).  Ah, a gift from your travel agent.  A “free” bottle of wine.  All you need to do to get your “free” bottle of wine is present the enclosed card to your waiter at dinner.  Seasoned cruisers know that you must pay a corkage fee for this “free” wine, but new cruisers may be a bit surprised.   For a very interesting article on corkage fees, and liquor aboard cruise ships in general check out the followng article on the Cruise Critic web site.

The Question of the Corkage Fee

Should there — or shouldn’t there — be a corkage fee? Over 50 percent felt it’s fair, when bringing your own wine to dinner, to pay a corkage fee.

And for the 120 voters (1.5 percent) who chose, “What’s a corkage fee?” a corkage fee is an additional surcharge, from $10 to $25, that you must pay if you’d like to drink your own wine onboard during dinner, instead of a selection from the restaurant’s wine list.

And as far as price for corkage, that vast majority of voters, 77.9 percent (5,486 members), felt that $5 was a fair surcharge for drinking your own red or white.

So, what do you think?  Is the (usually) small corkage fee reasonable?  Any personal experiences?

Cruising Baby Boomers Gone Wild

Baby Boomers, now is your chance to do all those things you’ve dreamed of, get behind the wheel of a Formula One race car in Monoco. study Shakespearean acting with alumni of London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, learn French cooking with visiting Le Cordon Bleu chefs.  These are just some of the things you can find to do on your next cruise.  Baby Boomers are looking for active and adventure vacations and the cruise lines are responding to these needs. Check out the recent article found on the CLIA website. 

As the cruise industry matures, so too do baby boomers. They are a formidable swath of the population that grew up on rock ‘n roll, who, although aging chronologically, remain forever “young at heart.” In travel terms, baby boomers seek vacations that incorporate active and adventurous elements but are unwilling to sacrifice creature comforts.

So fellow boomers, what will you be doing on your next cruise?  Of perhaps you’ve already found the perfect cruise and would like to share it here with others.  Drop us a line and tell us about it.