5 Day Cruises

My Cruising Adventures

Cruising with The kids

January 18th, 2016

Cruise vacations are a perfect choice for families. There have extensive children programs for kids in all age brackets that ensure that they are well supervised and entertained with fun activities giving adults a chance to enjoy themselves without paying extra for day care. Just like many hotel rooms, the cruise cabin can accommodate a family of about five. Most of the cruise ships also give cruising with kidsadjoining cabins to their guests who have larger families. When it comes to eating, the children are not left out. The main dining rooms also have children menus to cater for them.

One of the major benefits of taking your family to a cruise vacation is the fact that they will be staying in a closed environment. This gives you peace of mind because if you have teens who would want to roam the decks at night or go clubbing, you do not have to worry about them ending up in unsafe neighborhoods where they could become victims of crime. You also do not have to worry about your children getting lost because if they go exploring the ship and fail to find their way back, they will get assistance from the crew to get back to your cabin.

Cruise ships are intrinsically safe environments and passengers are keenly tracked and so unauthorized persons are not allowed on board.
Cruising with kids does not have to be filled with anxiety and discomfort. Here are some tips that will help you to plan a cruise for your family and to make it a pleasurable experience for all:Plan with your children. This being a family cruise it is important to include your kids in the planning. You can go shopping for some cruise guides together or ask them to help you in doing some research on the internet. When you have found all the information you need sit together and finalize your plans.

Before leaving it is important to so research on the ports you will be stopping. Some ports have a high prevalence of crime against tourists. The internet is a good source for useful information.During the cruise try to be as patient as you can be with the kids. The environment is new to them and they may not adjust immediately. Enjoy the time you spend together and just concentrate on enjoying the vacation.Be flexible when it comes to routine. You may want to maintain the same routine you use at home such as bedtime but it can be a little difficult. Try to be flexible to avoid arguments that might ruin your cruise. You should also be flexible so that if shore excursions become sold out or if ports of call are cancelled you can be able to handle it well.

To enjoy some alone time, sign up your kids to a supervised center for a few hours every day. In these supervised centers there are a lot of fun activities that the kids will love. Use the time you have to yourselves to go dancing, dinner, have a massage or to go for a bike ride on the island. When your kids are not in supervised centers, play with them. Participate as a family in some of the activities offered on board such as rock wall climbing.The incidence of disease outbreaks on cruise ships is low, but germs can spread quickly. For this reason, pack some hand sanitizer and use it regularly.

Remind your kids to wash your hands regularly too. It is also advisable to pack a bottle of Tylenol in case one of your kids gets sick.In as much as the cruise ship is safe it is important to take precautions to ensure that you stay safe at all times. You can do that by observing the same safety precautions you follow at home.Go for a cabin that has a view. The inside cabins may cost lower than those that have a balcony but a cabin with a view is worth the cost. You not only enjoy the view but also have a quiet place to relax and catch up with your spouse when the kids have gone to bed. However, if have a kid who you think will not observe balcony safety rules, you can go for a stateroom that has a window.

Cruising with kids is a great way to enjoy a family vacation and with these tips, it will be a pleasurable experience that you will always look forward to.

Where do you buy your cruise?

January 12th, 2016

So you have finally decided to take a scenic ocean cruise, but do you
know where to buy your cruise? There are many places to buy cruises from; you can either buy your cruise directly from the cruise lines or use your local travel agent or even book it online without any human interaction. The question is which method better than the others? Well, that depends. However, the best method is one that gives you the best results but if it doesn’t, it would not hurt to try other options and see what happens. If you are a first time cruiser, it is best do research first and then consult a cruise professional to help you buy your first cruise. However, if you have cruised before you can be able to decide on your own. Through out this article we shall be looking at some of the places/ways you can buy your cruises.

Travel agent
In order to decide whether to buy your cruise from a cruise line or travel agent, it is important for you to understand the relationship that exists between the two entities. The cruse line pay a commission to a travel agent which is why you do not pay anything extra if you use one or even pay the agent himself. However, there are a few individuals who work as travel agents who may try to charge you a surcharge or a premium above what the cruise line charges for fare. Other than that trained cruise agents are a good option to get your cruise tickets. This is because they have been trained and they can be able to get you the best price and the best quality service available.

Departure port
A departure port is one of the places where you can buy your cruise directly from the cruise line. Buying tickets for your cruise at a departure port may save you a significant amount of money especially if your buy them a few days prior to the time the ship sets sail. This is because the operators of the cruise line do not want to set sail with vacant cabins because it costs as much fuel to set sail as with 300 passengers on board as it would cost to sail with 400 passengers. For this reason, the cruise lines sell the tickets at a reduced price to attract customers. However, the ease of finding these deals is mainly determined by the cruise line that you are using.

Online cruise agencies
If you decide to use this method it is worth noting that the biggest travel agencies for hotels air tickets are not necessarily the best when it comes to cruises. This is because only a few of their daily transactions are cruises. Most of the online cruise agencies are handled electronically. Therefore; if a problem occurs during the cruise there is not much that they can do to help unless you had established a relationship with a one of the company representatives before sailing. Establishing a relationship with the people who work in these agencies is very important so that if you ever encounter a problem on your cruise you know who to call. Also when using this method it is advisable to first find an online cruise travel agent before you can go to their booking engine. Check through their different ships and cruises to pick the best date. The price of cruises is greatly determined by the sail date. That means that you can find identical cruises that charge very differently.

Before buying cruise tickets you have to do extensive research compare destination, prices, sail dates and cabin categories. When you find a cruise of your choice, call up the cruise agency. Making that call is very important because you get to talk to experts and you can even negotiate the prices. After making your booking online it is important to do some follow up on your booking. Make sure that you get a confirmation number and that the amounts charged on your credit card are accurate. A confirmation number is very important because it gives you access to your booking information.

Any of these options can be the answer to where do you buy your cruise? The trick to saving money when buying your cruise on your own is to know exactly what you want. You should also be very careful when dealing with travel agents to avoid being defrauded by the fake ones.

Crusing Basics

January 10th, 2016

Cruise vacations rank highest in terms of vacation value and satisfaction. Cruising not only offers adventure but also relaxation on the sea that lives you with enough memories to last a lifetime. Cruise ships have accommodation, entertainment, adventure, dining and so much more without leaving the ship. Cruising for the fist time is exciting but it can also be scary for some people. Much of this anxiety can be alleviated if you understand some of the cruising basics.

Choosing the ship
Before you can begin booking, it is important to know that there is a prefect ship for every person. You can cruise on a small ship, a big ship or even a mega ship. Some are good for families with kids and others are for retirees who just want some peace and quiet. There are 4 categories in which the ships are classified. They are contemporary, premium, deluxe and luxury. The contemporary ships are the largest and they carry a lot of passengers. They are also the biggest brand names. They are also known as mainstream cruise lines.

The premium cruise ships are a bit smaller carrying about 2400 passengers and they sail to rare and exotic destinations. They offer a quiet and add a more personal touch to the cruise experience. The deluxe cruise lines are much smaller than premium and they carry a maximum of 700 passengers. These have topnotch restaurants and comfortable state rooms. These travel to a different port every day and even offer overnight stays in some ports. These ships have no children programs and there is not much entertainment on board. The luxury cruise lines are the fourth and last category. In these cruise lines, passengers are offered the best cuisines. The have spacious staterooms at sea and they are very comfortable. They also have a butler on board and also open seating restaurants to allow guests to dine whenever they want every night.

Cruise port
This is the starting point of every wonderful cruise vacation. The first problem that cruise travelers have to deal with is finding the port. The port can be located in a downtown area with a lot of congestion which is why it is important to find the port a day prior to sailing. At the port there is parking, timing and luggage issues that you have deal with while checking in to the cruise port. In order to give your cruise vacation an easy start, it is advisable to know the procedures that are in place beforehand. Once you enter the cruise terminal you need to check in to confirm your arrival. In order to speed up the process it is good to have all the required documentation within reach. Some of the documentation required at the terminal is a photo ID, a birth certificate and a cruise certificate. If you are a couple going for your honey moon you may carry a copy of your marriage certificate. Some cruise ports may require some custom forms as well therefore inquire beforehand.

Cruise pricing
The price of your ticket covers your cabin, food and on board entertainment. Except in luxury cruise lines you must pay for all your alcoholic beverages and soda on board. There are many gift shops on board in all ships and if you submit a credit card upon boarding your entire shipboard charges including tips will be posted to your stateroom account. The other charges that can be put on your credit card are shore tours provided by the cruise line, dinner reservations, massages, spa treatments, photographs taken by the ship photographer, purchases made on the ship and special dining rooms.

Other than basic luggage what else should you carry?
Cruise ships are different from hotels. All the passengers check in to the ship at once and thus thousands of luggage pieces are received at the same time. For this reason, you may not receive your bags in your state room immediately after boarding making carryons important. If you are with your family pack all the things you need to get you through dinner time. Some of the things to pack include bathing suits, toiletries, a change of clothes, diapers and baby wipes if you have a small child, sunscreen, sunglasses and medications. It is also worth noting that each and every cruise line has a certain dress code for evenings which can vary daily. To help you pack the right attire, check your travel documents.These are the cruising basics in a nutshell.

Tips on Overcoming Seasickness

January 8th, 2016

Your cruise will not be as pleasurable and relaxing if you are so seasick. Sea sickness makes you feel like you want to jump overboard. Seasickness is a kind of motion sickness. It occurs because when you are on sea, your brain can sense the movement of the ship and the water. But, your eyes perceive a very different seasicknesskind of motion. It is this disparity that gives you that nauseating sensation in your stomach that may be accompanied by dizziness or light headedness. Not everyone gets seasick on a cruise but if you get sick, you can overcome this problem by preventing it beforehand or by dealing with symptoms as they come.

Here are some tips on overcoming seasickness that would be very useful:Prepare in advance by getting adequate sleep the night before you set sail. If you don not get a good night sleep, your body will be worn out making you highly susceptible to experiencing the effects that result in seasickness. Do not take alcoholic beverages excessively the night before your departure. You should also eat a small meal to make you full and not bloated or overly full once you get on board. Avoid greasy foods acidic fruits such as bananas or apples and juices too.

Try to avoid muffins, milk or cereal and coffee too. Such foods and drinks can cause you to have a stomach upset and aggravate seasickness.Have some on peppermint candy on you to suck on as soon as the ship begins to move. Sucking on the candy restores your balance and the peppermint can calm down an upset stomach.Take some seasickness medication like Bonine or Dramamine before you leave. This medication works only before the feeling of nausea sets in. If you are already feeling nauseated, eat some ginger in either its raw form, in crackers, ginger ale or cookies.

Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea but if you feel like you really have to vomit, do not suppress it. You will feel much better immediately after.Drink plenty of water through out the cruise to remain well hydrated whether you are experiencing sea sickness or not. Dehydration is one of the things that cause the symptoms of seasickness. By all means avoid alcoholic drinks because they can dehydrate you body and cause you to become disoriented thereby resulting in seasickness.

Stay busy on deck with activities such as board games or swimming. By keeping your mind occupied on anything else other than the motion of the vessel, the distraction will reduce the effects of seasickness. Staring at an object for a long time or reading will only exacerbate the effects of seasickness.Find a spot on the ship that has lots of fresh air and remain there until the symptoms subside. Cool fresh air will relax your body and help you to overcome the effects of seasickness.

Focusing on the horizon or a steady point at a distance is also among the tips on overcoming seasickness. A steady point enables you to focus your eyes and adjust your brain to the surrounding. It is also better to stand and move around instead of lying down when you start felling nauseated and dizzy.If you have a record of motion seasickness, avoid booking the inside cabins. Instead book a cabin that is near the center of the vessel instead of at the front to reduce your overnight sway.

While sleeping, sleep on your back to calm your body. During the day avoid staying in a stuffy cabin and instead move around taking deep breaths of fresh air or relax in the large public lounges that have windows and distractions to help you overcome the feelings of nausea.Drink a soda such as Coke or Pepsi.such drinks minimize the chances of getting sea sick because they contain phosphoric acid which controls vomiting.

Plain crackers such as saltines are also effective in reducing the stomach acid that is churned up by nausea. If the indigestion persists take some antacid.Wear a pressure band around your wrist to give stable and light impact on your pressure points. There are also some trans-dermal patches (Scopolamine patches) that are placed behind the ear which also minimize the side effects of seasickness. These are some of the common medical treatments that can help you to overcome seasickness. It is advisable to cosider all the possible side effects of these medical options before commencing treatment.

How to book a cruise

January 5th, 2016

The first step to a cruise vacation is booking your cruise. You can either let a travel agent do it for you or can do it yourself online. Based on where you are coming from when traveling there are several advantages in regards to cost and convenience with either of the options.
Booking your cruise direct
this method of booking is best for seasoned cruisers who know exactly what they want or for people who have enough time to do thorough research. Most cruise lines have a direct booking option on their websites or by contacting their reservation center. Should you decide to try this option begin by reading as many cruise line reviews, ratings, rankings and destination port comments as you can get. There are many resources written by professional travel writers and savvy cruisers that are unbiased and unedited that will be helpful. Having read the reviews contact the company with the best reviews and plan for your cruise vacation. Direct booking has a number of advantages including:

• Unless you reside within a few hours drive to a major port you will be forced to fly to the nearest city to get to the cruise port. Booking your flights to the port through the cruise line gives you peace of mind because in case there is a flight cancellation or delay, the cruise line will ensure that you get to the ship on time.

• Your transfers and luggage handling from the airport to the ship are included in the price.

• It saves you money. If you are taking your vacation over the holidays or on schedules that include flights from one city to the other, you can save some cash through this method of booking. This is because the transfers are included in the price saving you money that you could have spent on transfer services, taxi or bus fares.

• If you have travel insurance and you have to cancel you cruise, your tickets are covered and thus you will not end up with useless non-refundable tickets.

Using a travel agent
This is the method that most people use to book their cruise especially first time cruisers. However, finding a reliable cruise travel agent can be an uphill task. To find one, you should ask for referrals from people who have had a good experience with them. Another way to find a good agent is to look for their affiliations. Competent travel agents have accreditation certificates from CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association). To find certified agents you can visit cruising.org, go to the cruise expert locator and enter your zip code. Just as with direct booking, using a travel agent has its fair share of advantages which include:

• Travel agents have the experience and expertise to book you the right cruise. They match your personality with the most suitable cruise product for your needs. For instance if you want to have a romantic getaway they will steer you away from booking a cruise full of during break college students.

• Most cruise travel agents do not charge for their services because they are given a commission by the cruise line.

• In case your flight or cruise ports is delayed or cancelled and you are anxious about missing the ship, the travel agent can make alternate arrangements to fix the problem. The travel agent acts as your advocate.

• They have access to special deals that could save you money and that give their guest perks and extras in form of on board credit , complimentary meals, prepaid gratuities or free transfers from the airport.

• They will also educate you on the different cabin types that some cruise lines have.

• In the event that something does not go as planned, you can call the agent to help you to come out of a difficult situations. They can also help you to change a ticket if they see a snowstorm approaching.

Before deciding the method to use, it is important to start researching early so that you can book the cruise at least 2-4 months prior to your departure. You should not also overlook last minute values because they can save you lots of cash. Whichever method you choose, you should be very careful. Only make bookings with reputable travel agents or cruise lines to avoid getting duped. It is my hope that this information will help you in deciding whether to book your cruise direct or use a travel agent.

First-time Cruisers- How do you Prepare?

January 3rd, 2016

For most people a cruise vacation is just the ultimate dream vacation; the sparkling sea, sunlight, entertainment, fine dining and all the luxurious surroundings. These vacations allow you to travel to different places that you might have never been to in just one trip. Cruise vacations are very relaxing and pleasurable but without proper planning they can be a stressful event especially for first-time cruisers.

Here are some tips to help first time cruisers who might be anxious about what to expect and how to prepare for their first cruise experience.Since it is your first cruise, you might not like the idea of being within the confines of a ship for the better part of your vacation. Therefore, it is better for you to take a short cruise first maybe a 3-5 day cruise to test the waters before going for a longer cruise.Schedule your shore excursions and pre-book on the cruise line website months ahead of your cruise. This will save you a lot of time standing in line once you get on board and peace of mind because you do not have to worry about the tours getting sold out later.

Some of the shore excursions that fill up fast are swimming with dolphins. You should also pre-book your spa treatment appointments on days at sea so that you can have ample free time while at ports of call.Prepare and pack all required cruise documentation. Fill out all the required boarding paperwork and attach the tags that are provided to your luggage. Pack some essentials in a carry-on bag. The carry on bag comes in handy because it takes a lot of time for your luggage to arrive in your cabin.

The contents of the carry-on bag should be all the items you think you will require that will get you through dinnertime. They could be bathing suits, cameras, first aid medication such as Tylenol and antacids, prescription medication, toiletries, sunblock, diapers if you have kids, a pair of flip flops and a change of clothes. Read the travel documents to know the cruises dress codes.

The dress codes may change on a daily basis so check and pack accordingly.Obtain your passport as soon as you can to avoid complications and do not forget to carry it. Passports may take time to receive once ordered, so starting the application process in advance is better.Carry an extra credit card. Once you get on board, the cruise line will ask for your credit card to cover the on board purchases. The cruise line runs a credit card authorization for certain daily amounts according to the accommodation chosen. Running a credit card authorization freezes the credit available on your card. This is done to ensure that the cruise line receives it money. Carrying an extra credit card on the cruise ensures that you have enough credit to buy additional things at ports of call.

Cruises have a lot of food. Some cruise lines assign people to a specific table and dinner time in the main restaurant while others have an open restaurant. You should be aware that in some cruises there is a surcharge for dining in specific premium restaurants. Cruise restaurants also have buffets, coffee shops and grills so if you are a picky eater you can be sure to find something you like. For most cruises alcoholic drinks are extras. A $10 tip is usually automatically added for bar service to your bill.Checking in for your cruise may take up to 30 minutes. It is advisable to have all your travel documents within reach to present at check in. You will also be issued with a key card which also acts as a charge card for any extra charges you incur in board the vessel. Do not lose the key card.

When boarding the vessel the ship photographer will take your picture which will be included on your bill. To enable you to locate your cabin, the spa and the other recreational facilities with ease ask for a map of the ship.Since it is your first time going on a cruise vacation, it is best to use a travel agent to book it for you. Also if you flight is delayed or cancelled, inform the airline personnel that you are a cruise passenger immediately so that they can try to fix you on another flight. Call your cruise line immediately and let them know about the hitch.

Proper planning and preparation is the key to a successful first time cruise so take your time when doing so.this article is aimed at arming first-time cruisers with some helpful information to make their first cruise unforgettable.

The Advantages of 5 Day Cruises

December 12th, 2015

There are advantages and disadvantages of any kind of vacation. There are people who absolutely love cruise vacations and those who do not like them at all. Most people prefer adventure travel or independent travel to being stuck in a boat with strangers. But even for those who would never be caught dead in a cruise ship, there are several advantages of 5 day cruises or mini cruises as they are commonly referred to that would make them change their mind.

These cruises are the perfect choice for people who want to fit a long weekend cruise to break from their busy schedules, or for first time cruisers who want to get a feel of what cruising is all about. Other than that there are several advantages of 5 day cruises including:They are cost effective. The cost of taking these cruises is lower than conventional trips. The prices are especially lower during winter or in the fall which are off peak cruising seasons.They provide you with a chance to get away from all the hassles and strains of every day life. Also you do not have to worry about your batteries dying because the boats make stops at ports thus, providing you with an opportunity recharge your phone and camera batteries when you get there to ensure that you capture all the memories and stay in touch with family and friends all the time.

5 day cruises give you an opportunity to travel to different places in one trip without worrying about packing and unpacking and moving with your luggage from one place to the other or observing a certain time schedule for your flights. This benefit can not be emphasized enough. The logistics of moving from one place to the next and carrying your belongings with you can take up half of your travel time robbing you your travel pleasure. Also when you take a cruise as opposed to vacationing at a resort on land, the scenery changes constantly and everything that you may need is right there.

Usually dining, gambling,entertainment and lodging activities are included in the same price although there may be some additional charges based on the cruising company you are using.Regardless of the fact that the cruise lasts only a few days, you get equal thrill when the engines start at the sail way just as if you were going for a longer cruise. Also you get to enjoy all the benefits offered by this kind of vacation where you get three or more meals per day which have been prepared by someone else and you do not have to clean up thereafter.

In the evening you can enjoy a night out either listening to a live band, making new friends, singing, dancing or unwind watching a show as you sip on your favorite drink.Even though the cruises are short you can enjoy a midnight stroll with your partner up on the deck , enjoy some cocktail together, go for dinner and dance thereafter or just spend some quality time in your cabin. In addition to that, depending on the area where you are cruising, there are beautiful sunrises and sunsets from the deck, breathtaking views, whale watching and beautiful cities drifting.

Most cruise liners also have the state of the art health and fitness facilities where you can for you to work out. Ladies can also spend some time getting pampered and enjoying the best health and beauty treatments to relax that they would not usually get whilst at home.In the event that you forget something, you do not have to panic; most cruise ships have duty free shops that have almost all the things that you could possibly need. You can buy clothes there or a pair of pajamas if you forgot to pack one.

The shops also have stuff to eat and drink. Some cruise hips also have a medical center to cater for emergencies and if you run out of prescription medicine you can always replenish.5 day cruises are also perfect for you to catch up with your reading as you breathe in the salt air and on a deck. You can also meet new interesting people and also learn some history based on the area you are cruising. If you have an active lifestyle you can enjoy some of the activities offered on board such as rock wall climbing, golfing and tennis.
These are some of the advantages of 5 day cruises that have made it the fastest growing division of the cruise industry.

What Are 5 Day Cruises?

December 12th, 2015

Cruising is a type of lifestyle whereby people live on a boat for a long time while traveling from one place to the other for leisure. Cruises are a good way to visit several places in just one trip. They can take a few days or more and in some cases they can extend to round the globe voyages. However, in this article we shall focus on 5 day cruises. The Eastern Caribbean is one of the popular areas for 5 day cruises. These cruises include visits to some of the popular islands such as the Bahamas, Caicos and Turks among others. A five day cruise is a good ocean cruise if you only have a few days for vacations or if you do not want to spend much. This type of cruise is not very different from cruises that last longer. Here area few tips to bear in mind when preparing to go for a five day/mini cruise:

Pick a cruise type
It is very important to pick your cruise wisely. If you want to spend more time at sea rather than at port, pick a cruise that spends, more time at sea. Similarly, if you feel that spending most time at sea will be boring, pick one that features more time at port. Most 5 day cruises do not have many stops at ports which is often the case with longer cruises.

Plan ahead of time
It is very important for you to make plans in advance for 5 day cruises. 5 days is not such a long time and so you will want to make the most of it. Take some time to plan shore excursions, on-board activities and dining choices. Just as with longer cruises on and off shore activities have a tendency to book up quickly therefore, ensure that you have secured a spot as early as possible. The Cruise Company or travel agent can be of great help with such planning by advising you and giving you literature to read in regards to on-board port of call activities, and how to book them ahead of time.

Prepare in advance
You should start preparing for your cruise as early as one month ahead. When preparing, make a checklist of all the items you will need. A checklist is very handy because it prevents you from forgetting things that you will need on your cruise. Sunscreen is one of the things that you must include in your checklist especially if the cruise is tropical. You must also carry a hat or something with a brim to protect your ears from the sun and also a pair of sunglasses. An insect repellant cream is also a must have especially if you are going to Central America to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

When packing clothes, pack one or two outfits for each day. If you will be taking excursions, you may need more clothes. It is also a good idea to check with your cruise line for more information about the dress code on your 5 day cruise to avoid packing unnecessary clothes. You should also include clothes for formal nights in the dining room. Also ensure that you have all that you require for your camera. You might also include a pair of binoculars if you wish. Another thing that must be on the checklist is your ticket booklets and a driver’s license or any other picture ID. Ticket booklets may a list of some of the items that you need to add to your checklist. You must also ensure that you carry the right shoes. If you will be having formal nights in the dining room carry some dress shoes and another pair of comfortable shoes to wear the other times. A pair of water shoes is also good if you are planning to be in water. Some cruises also require that you get vaccination for certain itineraries, please make inquiries before time to make the necessary arrangements.

Carry your checkbook and at least one credit card. If a passport will be required for the trip, you should begin the acquisition process about three months prior to your cruise. On the last day go over each and every item on your list and ensure that it is packed. Put your luggage near your front door or somewhere obvious, that way you will not forget to load anything into the car when leaving.

I hope this information will be helpful to fist time and seasoned cruisers with their cruise preparations and packing.