Monday, August 28, 2017

Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cancel Cruises from Galveston dues to Hurricane Harvey

As Tropical Storm Harvey has stalled over the Texas coastline, creating unprecedented flooding in coastal Texas, the Port of Galveston remains closed. Royal Caribbean International has cancelled Liberty of the Seas sailing for August 27, and the ship is heading for Miami.
Carnival Cruise Line has cancelled Carnival Valor's cruise planned for August 27 from Galveston, but still plans to possibly offer shortened voyages on two other ships. Guests on Carnival Valor will receive a full refund It  also cancelled this past weekend's Carnival Valor sailing. Guests on the cancelled cruises will receive full refunds. Carnival is also still planning to possibly operate two shortened voyages from Galveston this week on other ships.

Royal Caribbean International told guests who were slated to board Liberty of the Seas at Galveston last weekend the following: "Due to the severe impact of Hurricane Harvey and Galveston port closure, we unfortunately have to cancel the cruise scheduled for Sunday, August 27. We are sorry for the impact that this storm has had on your vacation and appreciate your patience as we worked through this. Please know that this decision was made with your safety in mind. "Your cruise fare and fees will be 100 percent refunded to the original form of payment. It may take four to five business days to reflect on your account. We are looking forward to welcoming you back, so we are offering a 25 percent future cruise credit, based on your cruise fare, if you choose to book another cruise in the next 30 days.  Liberty of the Seas is expected to return to Galveston on Friday, Sept 1 providing the port is open at that time."

Carnival Cruise Line said on Sunday, Aug 27 "While Hurricane Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm yesterday, the storm continues to generate significant rainfall in Galveston and Houston, which has caused severe flooding. The heavy rains are impacting the roads leading in and out of Galveston.  "The port announced it will be closed for at least the next 24 hours, so our earliest potential opportunity to debark current guests is on Tuesday, Aug 29, this is a fluid situation and we have no way of knowing if the port opening could be delayed further.  "We will continue to maintain close contact with port officials in Galveston monitoring conditions on Galveston Island, and within neighboring areas including Houston, and will provide ongoing updates as we receive additional information."  They discussed Carnival Valor's planned sailing this past weekend: "Unfortunately, as a result of the delay caused by the weather and considering  this five-day cruise, it will now be necessary to cancel this voyage. A full refund will be automatically processed, ."The refund will be processed to the original form of payment within three weeks. We welcome passengers on a future Carnival cruise where we will apply a 25 percent future cruise credit."  They said in its statement that it still plans to operate short cruises on two other vessels:  "At present, we intend to operate shortened itineraries on Carnival Freedom and Carnival Breeze once we are able to dock in Galveston, weather and local conditions permitting. Carnival Freedom is currently in position to enter the Port of Galveston as soon as the port reopens. Carnival Breeze is on its way to New Orleans to make a short technical stop to replenish water and provisions on Monday. She will then resume her course to Galveston.
"Guests who opt to sail on the shortened itineraries will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare as well as an onboard credit. Specific details on the itinerary and onboard credit amount will be determined  "Please do not proceed to the cruise terminal until you have received notification from us with additional details. Those who wish to cancel will receive a future cruise credit.

Port of Galveston Parking
Many cruise guests on the ships  parked their personal vehicle at the Port of Galveston's parking lots have been a  concerned. The port assured that the port parking was not flooded .

For more information on ships sailing from Galveston and the impact of Hurrican Harvey or to plan a cruise vacation,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: .

Friday, August 25, 2017

Celebrity's sleep-focused spa treatments

Anyone who isn't sleeping well, or sleeping at all, knows that there's nothing more important than a good night's rest. And who hasn't had problems getting to sleep at some point, or suffered along with a partner who couldn't sleep?  
So the new Celebrity Cruises wellness program that focuses on sleep is a fantastic idea and long overdue in the cruise industry. Celebrity launched its "Mindful Dreams" program on the Celebrity Equinox and the Celebrity Summit this month, with the rest of the fleet to follow in September.
The program was developed in partnership with Canyon Ranch, which has been Celebrity's spa concessionaire since 2014.  How many spa treatments have the potential to change your life more than one that improves the amount and quality of sleep you get? How many would affect so many people?
According to the American Sleep Association, 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder of some kind. About 10% of adults report chronic insomnia. Nearly half the population has problems with snoring.
When unable to sleep, far too many people turn to pharmaceutical solutions as a first option, rather than a last. A 2013 study from the National Institutes of Health found that 4.1% of Americans use a prescription sleep aid, with the number rising to at least 5.5% for those aged 50 and over.
"Mindful Dreams" instead offers a combination of a relaxation treatment, massage and meditation, and access to expert lectures and classes on a "holistic approach to mindful sleep both on land and at sea." There is also a nutrition component.  While many cruise lines promote the relaxing quality of the mattresses and beds onboard, that relaxation lasts only as long as the cruise. This program could have an impact long after the cruise is over.

For more information and to make reservations on any Celebrity Cruise,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: .

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

US citizens warned about traveling to Mexico's Cancun and Los Cabos

On Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, the U.S. State Department warned its citizens about traveling to Cancun and Los Cabos,_ The U.S. State Department has warned its citizens about traveling to Cancun and Los Cabos, two of Mexico's most popular tourist destinations, after a spike in violence in those regions.   A travel advisory issued Tuesday upgraded the warnings for two states, Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur, saying turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in shootings in which innocent bystanders have been killed.  For years, both regions were largely spared the drug war violence that has engulfed other parts of Mexico, but this year they have seen a major uptick in killings.  There have been deadly gun battles in downtown Cancun, and in January, five people were killed at a nightclub in nearby Playa del Carmen. In Los Cabos, three people were shot to death this month at the entrance to a popular beach.
Mexican tourism authorities have gone to lengths to portray the beach resorts as family friendly and safe. Each year 10 million tourists visit Quintana Roo, the state where Cancun is located.  But 10 years into the country's military-led drug war, violence is surging across the nation. This year, Mexico is on track to record more homicides than in any year in the last two decades.  Rising demand for heroin in the U.S. and power struggles among the country's top drug cartels, authorities say, have led to an increase in killings in 27 of Mexico's 32 states.

For more information,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Royal Caribbean Cancels some Allure sailings and changes itinerary because of Propulsion Issues

Aug 21, 2017 9:10am 

Royal Caribbean International has adjusted several of Allure of the Seas' Caribbean itineraries because of a propulsion issue that's forced the massive vessel to slow down. Given its reduced speed, the ship, which sails from Port Everglades, FL, will now call at San Juan, Puerto Rico rather than St. Thomas, USVI, on these departures: September 20, October 18, November 15, December 13 and January 12.  In addition, the January 21, 2018 sailing has been cancelled, so the ship can enter drydock for a week to fix the propulsion problem. 
"Royal Caribbean International has scheduled a seven-day drydock for Allure of the Seas at the Grand Bahamas shipyard in The Bahamas beginning January 21, 2018. The dry dock will allow for the cruise line to conduct standard maintenance work. As a result of this, the sailing scheduled to depart Fort Lauderdale, FL on January 21, 2018 will be cancelled. "We understand that our guests vacation time is precious and the inconvenience this may cause. Those affected by the cancelled sailing will be provided with alternative options to make the most of their vacation time. We pride ourselves in always delivering the highest standards of quality and service and look forward to welcoming our guests when the ship has emerged from her drydock on January 28, 2018."
For more information, and to receive exclusive amenities and special rates or to make reservations on any Royal Caribbean  Ship,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Dubrovnik seeks to sharply curtail cruise tourism

The new mayor of Dubrovnik said he is in favor of halving the number of cruise passengers arriving daily at the Adriatic port city in Croatia. 
Mayor Mato Frankovic, elected in June, told London's Telegraph newspaper that the current soft ceiling of 8,000 passengers a day should be reduced to 4,000.
He also called for limits on tour operators running day trips to the walled medieval city, which has been a Unesco world heritage site since 1979.
A 2015 Uneco mission recommended that a cap on cruise tourism be developed, and that it should not exceed 8,000 passengers per day.
The Dubrovnik Port Authority said on its website that the cap was exceeded 18 times in 2016 out of the 243 days when cruise ships called. It also said it refused 40 cruise call requests for this year.
Dubrovnik has become one of the most popular stops on an itinerary from Venice to the Eastern Mediterranean, or the reverse route. Last year Dubrovnik had 639 ship calls and handled 831,730 passengers, up 0.1% from the year before, according to Med Cruise, an association of Mediterranean cruise ports. Of those, 763,561 were transit passengers, ranking Dubrovnik behind only six other ports of call in the Mediterranean region.
Frankovic said he would like to see a "reset" for tourism, and that ship calls need to be spaced more evenly so the weekend crush is reduced.
The Unesco report said 90% of cruise calls to Dubrovnik come between May and October. And although cruise visitors accounted for only 2.5% of all visitors in 2013, "they have a disproportionate impact on the World Heritage property due to their concentration in time and space," the report said. 

For more information about this in Croatia  and to make a reservations on any cruise line,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: .

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Pleasures of Adult-Only Viking Cruises

Not that theres anything wrong cruising with children, but the absence of kids on Viking Ocean Cruises is sure pleasant nonetheless.  Other cruise lines may have their selective adults-only retreats, but Viking's entire ship is exclusive to those of age. (Technically, minors are not outright prohibited onboard, but they are not encouraged either.)  Viking Cruises Terms & Conditions read, Due to the nature of our cruise and travel itineraries, the Carrier does not maintain facilities or services for children aboard cruise vessels or otherwise during the trip. On all cruises and cruise journeys, minors under the age of 18 must be accompanied and share a stateroom with a parent, legal guardian or other responsible adult over the age of 21. We reserve the right to limit the number of minors under the age of 18 years on board and on land excursions booked through us.”  Viking touts what it is not, saying on its website, You will not find casinos, kids, umbrella drinks or needless distractions.
I have never once seen a child onboard five sailingsin large part because staterooms do not accommodate thirds.  Per its policy, a couple traveling with a minor would have to split between two cabins with a guardian and a child in one of them. In other words, youd have to really want to travel with Viking as a young family to make it work, pending approval at that.  For the adults left onboard, the child-free environment is sublime. Many of us have likely flown plenty of hours on a plane with aforementioned bawling kids in close proximity to get onboard. The peace and quiet is a mighty welcome change of pace. Viking is all about the destination, learning and reflection, That leaves solitude to those who wish it or social interactions for like-minded discoverers to bond. Even the double-decker Explorers Lounge observation venue is a perfect blend of the two cruising styles. The first floor is more open and ideal for gatherings, while the second-story loft is a cozier escape.
Free to find new knowledge, adults enjoy a collection of ship-wide volumes spread out among other wonderfully curated artifacts, knick-knacks and professional pieces of art never fearfully in reach of children. A great mobile app is available to download and guides guests among the artwork.
All activities are simply more quiet and refined. For example, restaurants are never noisy, nor are there crayon marks in the menus. Plus, there are never kids running up and down the halls at all hours of the days.
While there is a time and a place for children and certainly family-friendly cruise travel should be fostered in other segments Viking Ocean Cruises offers an oasis for those seeking a refreshing alternative.
For more information and to make reservations on any Viking Ocean ship,   contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: .

Thursday, August 10, 2017

American Cruise Lines to launch new American Revolution itinerary from Baltimore

American Cruise Lines, announced it will be adding a new itinerary to its 2018 cruise schedule. The 11-night American Revolution Cruise visits the most historically significant ports along the Chesapeake Bay.

The itinerary features several new ports: Washington D.C., Chestertown, MD, and Mt. Vernon, VA. In the nation’s capital, guests can enjoy a guided tour of the National Mall or private tours of any of the Smithsonian Museums. In Chestertown, guests can visit the Schooner Sultana, a replica of the Royal Naval Frigate Sultana that served in the British Navy from 1768 to 1772. At Mt. Vernon the line’s experts guide visitors through George Washingtons Estate. Guests will also travel to the last battlefield of the Revolutionary War in Yorktown and the first English settlement in Jamestown. The Chesapeake Bay has an incredibly rich history and we are excited to offer an itinerary that showcases these great cities that shaped our nation. In addition to the onshore enrichment,  Dr. Harold Cones, a distinguished Professor at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA, The new cruise will sail round-trip from Baltimore. Cruises will begin in the spring of 2018 aboard the brand new American Constitution. Available dates are April 28, May 8, October 29, and November 8, 2018 and reservations are now being accepted by by calling 202-188-1884 or email:

Monday, August 7, 2017

Holland America adds Chocolate Surprises on Last Night of Cruise

To relieve guests of having to wait in line to get treats from a traditional dessert buffet, Holland America Line has unveiled a new Chocolate Surprise. On the last gala evening of every cruise, the Chocolate Surprise brings chocolate confections to guests throughout the ship’s main public areas as they enjoy evening entertainment. Waiters will “parade” through the Promenade decks with silver trays of chocolate desserts, making stops at every bar and lounge to pass out treats for guests to eat as they drink cocktails, listen to live music or otherwise enjoy the ship’s entertaining and social spaces. The parade lasts for an hour, and marks the newest addition to Holland America Line’s culinary events that put an unconventional twist on traditional dining formats. Guests can select from the silver trays a variety of bite-sized desserts, including chocolate cones with lemon curd, bittersweet chocolate and butter cream, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate hazelnut pops, milk chocolate raspberry tarts, chocolate macaroons with Grand Marnier, chocolate-dipped marshmallows and caramel puffed rice treats with chocolate sauce.  The Chocolate Surprise is beginning across all of Holland America Line 14 ship fleet
For more information on this program and to make reservations on any HAL cruise,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: .

RCCL “Price integrity" policy adopted in 2015 increasing Profits

RCCL reported increase in revenue and profits as their 3 cruise lines are riding the crest of a 2017 wave. "Part of it appears to be industry-wide," RCCL benefitted from a host of positives in the second quarter, "All of our brands are performing at a level we've simply never seen,"
One program Fain cited as responsible for RCCL's momentum was the "price integrity" policy adopted in early 2015, which put curbs on discounts late in the sales cycle. One idea behind the program was to reinforce the pledge that bookings far in advance of sailing would carry the lowest prices.  Fain said the policy, as expected, cost revenue in 2015 and 2016, but as consumer behavior shifted it has now contributed to the robust 10% increase in revenue yields that RCCL recorded in the second quarter. 
"Once we established our consistency and credibility with the travel agents with the public the benefits started flowing in,"  Parallel to the price integrity program, RCCL has been pushing out the booking window by getting passengers to commit a longer number of days before departure when purchasing their cruise. 
With less inventory to sell, the remaining cabins are in shorter supply, leading to higher close-in pricing, prompting more early booking, a virtuous cycle. Fain said RCCL's booking curve is at record levels, and that rather than try to ratchet it out further, the company will now be spending more time trying to bring up prices.
RCCL CFO Jason Liberty said that while most itineraries have benefited from strong consumer confidence in North America, it has been particularly evident on European sailings. "Fewer geopolitical events and stable air pricing have contributed to a surge in demand from our higher-paying North American guests," Liberty said. "As a result, North American guests will account for a larger percentage of Europe itinerary sourcing than in any other recent year."
For more information and to make reservations for a Cruise on a Royal Caribbean, Celebrity or Azamara ship,  contact The Cruise Professionals at at 203-288-1884 or email: .