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Jason

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Everything posted by Jason

  1. Welcome, Steven!  See you around!

  2. Hey Steven, Welcome to CruiseCrazies! I encourage you to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the many features and friendly faces you'll be seeing around. Some basics on getting started: View & customize your profile here: View Member Introduce yourself in our "New Member Introductions" forum Submit your first cruise post in our "Lets Talk Cruise" forum Share recent onboard experiences: Post a Cruise Review Customize your cover photo, profile and settings here The complete guide to "Getting Started" is available here. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! See you around! ?
  3. Welcome, Marym!  See you around!

  4. Hey Marym, Welcome to CruiseCrazies! I encourage you to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the many features and friendly faces you'll be seeing around. Some basics on getting started: View & customize your profile here: View Member Introduce yourself in our "New Member Introductions" forum Submit your first cruise post in our "Lets Talk Cruise" forum Share recent onboard experiences: Post a Cruise Review Customize your cover photo, profile and settings here The complete guide to "Getting Started" is available here. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! See you around! ?
  5. Hey JamieAppling, Welcome to CruiseCrazies! I encourage you to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the many features and friendly faces you'll be seeing around. Some basics on getting started: View & customize your profile here: View Member Introduce yourself in our "New Member Introductions" forum Submit your first cruise post in our "Lets Talk Cruise" forum Share recent onboard experiences: Post a Cruise Review Customize your cover photo, profile and settings here The complete guide to "Getting Started" is available here. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! See you around! ?
  6. Welcome, hrenenrt!  See you around!

  7. Hey hrenenrt, Welcome to CruiseCrazies! I encourage you to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the many features and friendly faces you'll be seeing around. Some basics on getting started: View & customize your profile here: View Member Introduce yourself in our "New Member Introductions" forum Submit your first cruise post in our "Lets Talk Cruise" forum Share recent onboard experiences: Post a Cruise Review Customize your cover photo, profile and settings here The complete guide to "Getting Started" is available here. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! See you around! ?
  8. Florida has its first brand spanking new cruise ship of the season as Norwegian Encore arrived to PortMiami on Friday. The fourth Breakaway Plus-class ship from Norwegian Cruise Line was delivered to the company a little more than two weeks ago and sailed into South Florida for the first time as it preps for its inaugural season. The 1,100-foot-long, 169,000-gross-ton ship will have a christening ceremony with godmother Kelly Clarkson on Nov. 21. The ship has a guest capacity of 3,998 based on double occupancy and will begin seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries three days later on Nov. 24. Next April, the ship will head to New York, then tackle the Western Caribbean from Miami in fall 2020. In the spring, NCL will send Encore to Alaska for the first time. Encore is the sister ship to Norwegian Escape, Joy and Bliss, all built at Meyer-Werft shipyard in Germany. All Breakaway Plus class ships accommodate around 4,000 guests and are the fleet’s largest. All feature more than 20 dining options, several with waterfront seating. Unique to Encore is the elevated Italian dining experience, Onda by Scarpetta. The ship’s signature stage show is Tony-award winning “Kinky Boots,” which features original songs by Cyndi Lauper. Also on board are “The Choir of Man,” a show that also appears on Norwegian Escape and features music, dance and foot-stomping percussion plus “Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical,” a cocktail and theater show that debuted on Bliss. And fans of The Beatles can enjoy the The Cavern Club, which features a live cover band of the Fab Four. The standout visible feature of the ship is its go-kart track. This is the third ship behind Joy and Bliss to feature one, and Encore’s is the largest with nearly 1,100 feet of track across a 10-turn course that has four sections that extend up to 13 feet beyond the side of the ship. Encore’s version is the first to feature a covered spectator area with an interactive feature that allows viewers to target racers with a laser and allow them a bump of speed. Encore also follows Bliss’ lead with another open-air laser tag course at the top of the deck, but Encore’s is themed to Atlantis and has augmented reality options during game play with the use of a headset. Also on the top deck is Encore’s aqua park with two water slides. One of them is a speedy, figure-eight drop slide that sends riders 11 feet over the side of the ship with acrylic tubes that let riders see the water below. Another borrowed feature from a sister ship, but new to Florida, is the Galaxy Pavilion, which debuted on Norwegian Joy, a ship that has spent most of its life in Asia. The venue is a 10,000-square-foot interactive entertainment option with virtual reality, an escape room and other technology-based features. Encore will be the third of that class to call Miami home, taking over for Norwegian Bliss. Florida has already seen the arrival of a couple of sort-of-new ships: One was the renovated Carnival Sunrise, which was Carnival Triumph, but underwent a $200 million makeover that included a new name, and already sailing from Port Everglades. Also new to Florida, but having debuted in 2017, is the seventh largest ship in the world, the MSC Meraviglia, already sailing from PortMiami. Only one other brand new ship will arrive this year when Sky Princess from Princess Cruises comes to Port Everglades next month while a revamped Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas with a $165 million makeover will also soon arrive to PortMiami. By Richard Tribou, USA Today Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com View full article
  9. Florida has its first brand spanking new cruise ship of the season as Norwegian Encore arrived to PortMiami on Friday. The fourth Breakaway Plus-class ship from Norwegian Cruise Line was delivered to the company a little more than two weeks ago and sailed into South Florida for the first time as it preps for its inaugural season. The 1,100-foot-long, 169,000-gross-ton ship will have a christening ceremony with godmother Kelly Clarkson on Nov. 21. The ship has a guest capacity of 3,998 based on double occupancy and will begin seven-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries three days later on Nov. 24. Next April, the ship will head to New York, then tackle the Western Caribbean from Miami in fall 2020. In the spring, NCL will send Encore to Alaska for the first time. Encore is the sister ship to Norwegian Escape, Joy and Bliss, all built at Meyer-Werft shipyard in Germany. All Breakaway Plus class ships accommodate around 4,000 guests and are the fleet’s largest. All feature more than 20 dining options, several with waterfront seating. Unique to Encore is the elevated Italian dining experience, Onda by Scarpetta. The ship’s signature stage show is Tony-award winning “Kinky Boots,” which features original songs by Cyndi Lauper. Also on board are “The Choir of Man,” a show that also appears on Norwegian Escape and features music, dance and foot-stomping percussion plus “Happy Hour Prohibition: The Musical,” a cocktail and theater show that debuted on Bliss. And fans of The Beatles can enjoy the The Cavern Club, which features a live cover band of the Fab Four. The standout visible feature of the ship is its go-kart track. This is the third ship behind Joy and Bliss to feature one, and Encore’s is the largest with nearly 1,100 feet of track across a 10-turn course that has four sections that extend up to 13 feet beyond the side of the ship. Encore’s version is the first to feature a covered spectator area with an interactive feature that allows viewers to target racers with a laser and allow them a bump of speed. Encore also follows Bliss’ lead with another open-air laser tag course at the top of the deck, but Encore’s is themed to Atlantis and has augmented reality options during game play with the use of a headset. Also on the top deck is Encore’s aqua park with two water slides. One of them is a speedy, figure-eight drop slide that sends riders 11 feet over the side of the ship with acrylic tubes that let riders see the water below. Another borrowed feature from a sister ship, but new to Florida, is the Galaxy Pavilion, which debuted on Norwegian Joy, a ship that has spent most of its life in Asia. The venue is a 10,000-square-foot interactive entertainment option with virtual reality, an escape room and other technology-based features. Encore will be the third of that class to call Miami home, taking over for Norwegian Bliss. Florida has already seen the arrival of a couple of sort-of-new ships: One was the renovated Carnival Sunrise, which was Carnival Triumph, but underwent a $200 million makeover that included a new name, and already sailing from Port Everglades. Also new to Florida, but having debuted in 2017, is the seventh largest ship in the world, the MSC Meraviglia, already sailing from PortMiami. Only one other brand new ship will arrive this year when Sky Princess from Princess Cruises comes to Port Everglades next month while a revamped Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas with a $165 million makeover will also soon arrive to PortMiami. By Richard Tribou, USA Today Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com
  10. Hey Florida, Welcome to CruiseCrazies! I encourage you to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the many features and friendly faces you'll be seeing around. Some basics on getting started: View & customize your profile here: View Member Introduce yourself in our "New Member Introductions" forum Submit your first cruise post in our "Lets Talk Cruise" forum Share recent onboard experiences: Post a Cruise Review Customize your cover photo, profile and settings here The complete guide to "Getting Started" is available here. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! See you around! ?
  11. Welcome, Florida!  See you around!

  12. Hey muldecy, Welcome to CruiseCrazies! I encourage you to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the many features and friendly faces you'll be seeing around. Some basics on getting started: View & customize your profile here: View Member Introduce yourself in our "New Member Introductions" forum Submit your first cruise post in our "Lets Talk Cruise" forum Share recent onboard experiences: Post a Cruise Review Customize your cover photo, profile and settings here The complete guide to "Getting Started" is available here. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! See you around! ?
  13. Welcome, muldecy!  See you around!

  14. Hey Eddiesgal247, Welcome to CruiseCrazies! I encourage you to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the many features and friendly faces you'll be seeing around. Some basics on getting started: View & customize your profile here: View Member Introduce yourself in our "New Member Introductions" forum Submit your first cruise post in our "Lets Talk Cruise" forum Share recent onboard experiences: Post a Cruise Review Customize your cover photo, profile and settings here The complete guide to "Getting Started" is available here. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! See you around! ?
  15. Welcome, Eddiesgal247!  See you around!

  16. Welcome, Stephm711!  See you around!

  17. Hey Stephm711, Welcome to CruiseCrazies! I encourage you to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the many features and friendly faces you'll be seeing around. Some basics on getting started: View & customize your profile here: View Member Introduce yourself in our "New Member Introductions" forum Submit your first cruise post in our "Lets Talk Cruise" forum Share recent onboard experiences: Post a Cruise Review Customize your cover photo, profile and settings here The complete guide to "Getting Started" is available here. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! See you around! ?
  18. People tend to land one of two ways in the Pepsi vs. Coke debate: They can't taste the difference and could not care less or they are HUGELY passionate about one over the other. If you fall into the latter category, or are a regular cruise-goer, you might be interested to know as of January 2020, Carnival Cruise Lines will be #TeamPepsi. The cruise line announced the switch (they had previously carried Coca-Cola products, per Cruise Critic) November 13, with Carnival President Christine Duffy saying this of the collab: At Carnival Cruise Line, we invite our guests to Choose Fun, and now with PepsiCo's extensive portfolio of brands, we're able to give them more ways to choose a beverage that suits their taste, mood and preference...We're also excited to work with PepsiCo on our shared commitment to sustainability, including a reduced reliance on plastics, and alternative ways to deliver and serve water and other beverages. It's easy to forget, but PepsiCo includes a whole host of drinks beyond soda. Per a press release, this partnership will add new iced teas, sparkling water, coffee drinks, sports drinks, juices, and soft drinks to Carnival's 25+ ships (including the forthcoming Mardi Gras ship!). That means passengers will be able to enjoy Starbucks ready-to-drink coffee—yep, bottled Frapps for all!—Pure Leaf tea, Naked Juice, Gatorade, bubly seltzer, and sodas like Pepsi, Pepsi Zero Sugar, Sierra Mist, Sierra Mist Zero Sugar, and MTN DEW on board. A hangover Gatorade is now in your future. As for the cost, Carnival offers drink packages with unlimited soda and juice for $5.95 per day for kids and $8.50 per day for adults; the more expansive Cheers! package costs $51.95 a day and includes unlimited soda, juice, specialty coffee, wine, beer, frozen cocktails, hot tea, bottled water, and energy drinks. By Madison Flagler, Delish.com Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com View full article
  19. People tend to land one of two ways in the Pepsi vs. Coke debate: They can't taste the difference and could not care less or they are HUGELY passionate about one over the other. If you fall into the latter category, or are a regular cruise-goer, you might be interested to know as of January 2020, Carnival Cruise Lines will be #TeamPepsi. The cruise line announced the switch (they had previously carried Coca-Cola products, per Cruise Critic) November 13, with Carnival President Christine Duffy saying this of the collab: At Carnival Cruise Line, we invite our guests to Choose Fun, and now with PepsiCo's extensive portfolio of brands, we're able to give them more ways to choose a beverage that suits their taste, mood and preference...We're also excited to work with PepsiCo on our shared commitment to sustainability, including a reduced reliance on plastics, and alternative ways to deliver and serve water and other beverages. It's easy to forget, but PepsiCo includes a whole host of drinks beyond soda. Per a press release, this partnership will add new iced teas, sparkling water, coffee drinks, sports drinks, juices, and soft drinks to Carnival's 25+ ships (including the forthcoming Mardi Gras ship!). That means passengers will be able to enjoy Starbucks ready-to-drink coffee—yep, bottled Frapps for all!—Pure Leaf tea, Naked Juice, Gatorade, bubly seltzer, and sodas like Pepsi, Pepsi Zero Sugar, Sierra Mist, Sierra Mist Zero Sugar, and MTN DEW on board. A hangover Gatorade is now in your future. As for the cost, Carnival offers drink packages with unlimited soda and juice for $5.95 per day for kids and $8.50 per day for adults; the more expansive Cheers! package costs $51.95 a day and includes unlimited soda, juice, specialty coffee, wine, beer, frozen cocktails, hot tea, bottled water, and energy drinks. By Madison Flagler, Delish.com Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com
  20. In a 12-hour evolution several months back, the Boskalis semi-submersible heavy lift ship BOKA Vanguard successfully floated the cruise ship Carnival Vista aboard in order to facilitate repairs at a shipyard in the Bahamas. The BOKA Vanguard is the largest vessel of her type, and she has enough capacity to lift and carry the 4,000 passenger Carnival Vista. The Vista is experiencing technical difficulties with her azipods, and she needs to be drydocked in order to carry out the repairs. After the loss of Grand Bahama Shipyard's largest floating drydock in April, the nearest conventional solution for drydocking a vessel of Vista's size would be overseas - but the Vanguard could come right to the site. She will serve as a temporary drydock while repairs are carried out, and the Vista will only be out of service for 17 days and three sailings. The cruise ship is expected to resume her normal schedule later in the month. Watch the video to see a time-lapse summary from beginning to end. It's INCREDIBLE! By The Maritime Executive Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com View full article
  21. In a 12-hour evolution several months back, the Boskalis semi-submersible heavy lift ship BOKA Vanguard successfully floated the cruise ship Carnival Vista aboard in order to facilitate repairs at a shipyard in the Bahamas. The BOKA Vanguard is the largest vessel of her type, and she has enough capacity to lift and carry the 4,000 passenger Carnival Vista. The Vista is experiencing technical difficulties with her azipods, and she needs to be drydocked in order to carry out the repairs. After the loss of Grand Bahama Shipyard's largest floating drydock in April, the nearest conventional solution for drydocking a vessel of Vista's size would be overseas - but the Vanguard could come right to the site. She will serve as a temporary drydock while repairs are carried out, and the Vista will only be out of service for 17 days and three sailings. The cruise ship is expected to resume her normal schedule later in the month. Watch the video to see a time-lapse summary from beginning to end. It's INCREDIBLE! By The Maritime Executive Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com
  22. Hey allisonz, Welcome to CruiseCrazies! I encourage you to take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the many features and friendly faces you'll be seeing around. Some basics on getting started: View & customize your profile here: View Member Introduce yourself in our "New Member Introductions" forum Submit your first cruise post in our "Lets Talk Cruise" forum Share recent onboard experiences: Post a Cruise Review Customize your cover photo, profile and settings here The complete guide to "Getting Started" is available here. If you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! See you around! ?
  23. Welcome, allisonz!  See you around!

  24. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of being on the maiden voyage of a new cruise ship. The crew is excited. Passengers are excited. It’s almost always a festive affair, often with lots of extra pizazz like fireworks over the ship and deck-top parties with free-flowing Champagne. Plus, you might spot a celebrity or two — or at least the top executives of the line. Among hard-core cruise fans, it also can bring the ultimate in bragging rights, even years later. Still, booking a maiden voyage (or any of the first few sailings of a brand-new ship really), isn’t without risks. Cruise ships are just hotels that happen to float and, just like hotels, they’re not always ready for prime time when they first go into operation. Sometimes, they’re not ready at all, as early bookers of the new Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection’s first vessel learned the hard way just a few weeks ago. The line canceled not just the maiden voyage of the 298-passenger Evrima, but 13 more early sailings with just a few months’ notice, citing delays in the ship’s construction. Passengers were left scrambling to make alternative plans. So, before you sign up for an early sailing on the next hot new vessel, here are a few things to consider: 1. The sailing might be canceled The good news is that shipyard delays of the sort that pushed back the debut of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection vessel (originally due in February, now coming in June) are relatively rare. The first new Princess Cruises ship in nearly three years, Sky Princess, emerged from the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, right on time in October. New vessels from Norwegian Cruise Line and Carnival Cruise Line scheduled to debut in November and December, respectively, also are on track for on-time arrivals. Major new ships over the past year from Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Holland America and MSC Cruises also debuted as scheduled. Still, delays do happen, and they’ve been happening a bit more in the last couple years as the rapid growth of the cruise industry results in backups at some shipyards. Perhaps the most striking example is the postponed arrival of the 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse, the first oceangoing vessel from luxury purveyor Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours. It originally was scheduled to debut in August 2018 but was delayed three times: first to this past January, then April, then August. Also massively-delayed over the past year was Hurtigruten’s Roald Amundsen, a groundbreaking new expedition-style vessel designed to operate on battery power for short periods while in sensitive parts of the Arctic and Antarctica. As in the above cases, it’s often first-of-a-kind “prototype” ships that hit snags during construction — something to keep in mind if you’re thinking of booking a vessel that’s being touted as particularly groundbreaking. It also seems to happen more often with the ships of new entrants into cruising, such as Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Not that it never happens to the major players of the cruise industry. In 2016, Holland America postponed the debut of a new ship, Koningsdam, by six weeks to make last-minute changes to its design. 2. If it’s canceled, it can be tough to reschedule If you’re unfortunate enough to be on an early sailing of a vessel that’s canceled due to shipyard delays, you’ll usually be offered a full refund plus some sort of “we’re so sorry” bonus. In the case of the Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection cancellations, passengers were offered a 30% discount on booking a future cruise if booked before Oct. 31. Passengers who rebook after that date will receive a lesser discount. Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection also has promised to reimburse airfare and hotel change fees that passengers rack up as they rearrange their travel dates. That all sounds great. But it isn’t always easy using future cruise credits. Finding space on a later sailing that works with your schedule, assuming you want a similar itinerary and a similar type of cabin, is often a challenge. This is particularly true with a startup line like Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which only has one small vessel in its reservation system for now (and thus not a lot of inventory). 3. Not everything will work right It’s not uncommon for some lines to take delivery of a ship on a Thursday and put it into regular revenue service on a Friday. Other lines will build in a few days for a nonrevenue “shakedown cruise” with employees and invited guests — a sort of test sailing designed to work out the kinks before paying customers arrive. Either way, you can’t always expect everything to be running smoothly on the first few voyages of a vessel. Often, restaurants will seem a bit disorganized on early sailings, since the kitchen staff and servers are just becoming familiar with their new spaces. Or the performances in the showrooms will seem a bit off. The cast of big showroom productions will rehearse as a group for weeks on land before joining a new ship. But they can’t really get into a groove until they’ve had a few weeks on board. In addition, every ship emerges from the shipyard with a punch list of hundreds or even thousands of little things that need to be fixed. As a longtime cruise writer, I’ve sailed on dozens of maiden voyages over the years, and I’ve encountered everything from cabin phones and televisions that don’t work to sinks that have their hot and cold water piping reversed. You also may find that technology-based features such as shipboard internet are still being fine-tuned. Ditto for shipboard provisioning. I have been on early sailings of two new ships this year where the onboard sushi bar ran out of edamame, of all things, by the midpoint of the voyage. It’s not the end of the world, but it’s typical of the sort of little errors that happen on new ships. The good news is, passenger ships generally no longer need a “breaking in” period to work out stability issues like they did years ago. Ship historians will regale you with tales of not-so-stable, turn-of-the-20th-century vessels such as Germany’s 1913-built SS Imperator, which had so much heavy marble on board that it rolled mercilessly in rough seas. The marble eventually was stripped away to make for a smoother ride. But computer-assisted design and improvements in stabilization technology means that today’s ships usually don’t suffer from such snafus. (Don’t worry, there will have been plenty of sea trials before any passengers ever get on board.) Still, new ships often will sail with at least a few workers from the shipyard on board for the first few days or weeks to knock out the punch lists. On the positive side, most items are quickly resolved. 4. Some venues may not be open Sometimes the punch list items are biggies. Like entire areas of the ship that aren’t quite done. When I sailed on the long-delayed Scenic Eclipse in September — more than two weeks after the first paying passengers boarded — the main outdoor lounge area still was under construction. The ship’s casual buffet, the Yacht Club, had just opened the day before I arrived, and the main pool wasn’t open. Despite a year of delays, the vessel still wasn’t 100% ready. By contrast, the new Sky Princess, which departed in October on its maiden voyage, looked about as finished as I’ve ever seen a new ship when I saw it in advance of the sailing. But even Sky Princess has one area (a top-of-the-ship escape room called Phantom Bridge), that isn’t ready. The line says it’ll debut in December. 5. Some of the crew is still learning The biggest cruise lines typically have a core team of managers and staff that open every new vessel, bringing an expertise to the process that makes for a relatively smooth startup. At brands as diverse as Norwegian Cruise Line and Viking Cruises, I often see the same bartenders, restaurant servers and room stewards at the unveiling of each new ship. They just jump from one new vessel to the next. Still, even the most experienced crew will have a learning curve with a new vessel, particularly if it’s a first-of-a-kind prototype where restaurants, bars, lounges and related back-of-the-house areas aren’t in the same place as they were on the last new ship. Service sometimes can be spotty while they get up to speed. In my experience, deficiencies in service often are most noticeable on new ships operated by smaller and startup lines that don’t have a large fleet of existing ships from which they can pull seasoned staff. On the positive side, cruise lines sometimes purposely undersell early voyages of a new vessel to make it a little easier on the crew while they find their footing. This can mean you’ll find more space around the pool deck and have an easier time getting a seat at the shows on a just-out-of-the-yard ship. By Gene Sloan, USA Today Re-posted on CruiseCrazies.com - Cruise News, Articles, Forums, Packing List, Ship Tracker, and more For more cruise news and articles go to https://www.cruisecrazies.com View full article
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