As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, New York is a sought after vacation spot in its own right. In recent years, however, cruise lines have discovered the benefits - for their guests and themselves - of calling New York home.Norwegian Cruise Line was one of the first "cruise lines" to temporarily homeport a ship (the Norwegian Dawn) in New York during winter. According to Andy Stuart, Norwegian Cruise Line's Executive Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Passenger Services, docking in New York started as a result of travel agent requests. What was then considered a wild card location soon became the permanent residence of the Dawn in 2003. What has resulted is a small fleet of ships from varying cruise lines that have chosen to move several of their vessels further up the Eastern Seaboard. The Queen Mary 2 followed suit when it named New York as homeport on April 22, 2004. This distinctive vessel was received amid a huge fanfare including a Mayoral welcome complete with a U.S. Coastguard and Fire Department of New York escort. Bands, dignitaries and hordes of people attended the festivities. Holland America has announced New York to be the homeport of its cruise ship, the Noordam, which will take up residence February 22, 2006. Norwegian moved the Spirit from Florida to her new home in New York, making a total of two year-round vessels in that port. Most recently, however, Princess Cruise Line joined the lineup with the positioning of their newest fleet member, Crown Princess, in New York starting June 14, 2006. But why move? And why to New York?Ports in Florida have become almost full while cruise lines are continuing to build ships to add to their fleets. This supply and demand dilemma has all but forced cruise lines to look for alternative avenues of serving guests while maintaining costs. At the same time, cruise lines need to be able to continue providing viable access for vacationers to the most popular ports of call. Because of New York's central location and popularity, it offers local attractions equal to or better than those of Florida. With three airports - JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty International - New York also provides more accessible travel accommodations for those flying in to meet their ship.Vacationers benefit with exciting pre- or post-cruise holidays in a town that literally offers everything imaginable. From five-star, celebrity-owned restaurants to entertainment that sets a worldwide standard to a shopping experience unmatched in any other city, New York has a heavy draw with cruisers. Plus the presence of nearby hotels that fit every budget makes finding and booking accommodations simple.Cruise lines appreciate the fact that they can now offer departures from a second desirable location. Plus, because of New York's proximity, cruise lines are still able to offer competitively priced packages to the most popular destinations including the Caribbean and Mexico while, at the same time, offering added flexibility for their guests.
Cruise vacations are one of the most exciting and fun vacations you and your family will ever have. Planning your cruise vacation is the key to making the most of the cruise experience.Cruise ships are floating hotels that sail through ocean while you enjoy all the hotels amenities provided. They have casinos, swimming pools, theaters, restaurants, shopping centers or boutiques, spas, gyms and more.As great as taking a vacation on cruise ships may seem, you still need to know how to plan a cruise ship vacation properly so you have the perfect "cruise experience" . You need to know about the different types of packages the cruise lines offer.When planning a "cruise ship vacation" you need to know how to choose one that will meet your expectation or tailor to your needs. Here are some guidelines that you can follow to plan your cruise travel and enjoy the perfect cruise experience:Think of who you want to take with you on your cruise vacation. There are many different packages offered by "cruise lines" . There are packages for the whole family and there are packages for single travelers. Will you be taking the cruise vacation with children? Maybe you will take your significant other for a romantic getaway. There are "cruise ships" that are tailored for children and there are cruise lines that cater to single cruisers and honeymooners. There are even some ships that offer wedding services. What could be better than to get married on the ship and have your honeymoon built in?Decide how long you want to cruise. If you just want to try it out, opt for a three day cruise. Normally, cruises start at three nights and can go anywhere from seven to fourteen days. But there are also world cruises that can last as long as three months. My advice is if you are going to cruise in Europe you should pick a fourteen day cruise because of the expense and long plane rides to get to your port of embarkation. If you live near a port and you just want to take a long weekend choose of three or four day cruise. Decide what "cruise travel" is best for you.Choose the perfect destination for you and your family. Alaska is beautiful but can only be cruised in the summer months. If you live in the colder climes you may want to take a mid winter cruise to the Caribbean or even South America. If you want your cruise travel to be in the Caribbean and you want to spend two weeks on your cruise vacation, choose a line that alternates between the Eastern and Western Caribbean. This cruise vacation takes you to many different islands.The cruise lines have a variety of destinations to choose from. Visit your cruise travel agent to go over the different itineraries or check out the individual websites of the cruise lines.Consider the port of departure. Since 9/11 cruises have been emphasizing home port cruising. Now there are many cruises that depart from Bayonne, New Jersey, Galveston, Texas, or Seattle, Washington, not just Miami and Fort Lauderdale.. Depart from the one closest to you and you will save money on expensive airfare.Speak to a knowledgeable cruise travel agent. Make sure they have personally sailed on many different cruise ships so they can give you an honest opinion on what each cruise line has to offer and which would give you the perfect cruise experience. A cruise travel agent will also be able to supply you with cruise tips. Scour the cruise reviews for additional "cruise tips" .Large cruise lines have a variety of activities and facilities that you can use on the ship. If you like to gamble then choosing a cruise ship with casinos is probably right for you. Or if you are taking your kids with you, a cruise ship that offers activities and facilities for children would be the best choice for your cruise travel. For instance, Disney is, of course, geared toward children but they do not have casinos. So if you are taking the family but you want to gamble steer away from Disney and choose one of the other major cruise lines. Almost all of them have childrens programs. If you dont want to be on a ship with children sail on one of the fancier lines that dont cater to children. Here, again, it pays to read as many "cruise reviews" as you can to pick up additional cruise tips. "Cruise vacation" s do not necessarily mean that you have to spend all your vacation time onboard. All the cruise ships offer land and shore excursions. The cruise lines offer pre and post cruise land vacations usually for two or three days. Land excursions are a great way to explore different cultures and destinations when taking a cruise vacation. You can choose from many activities once you reach a port of call. You can go kayaking, scuba diving or go shopping in the markets of the ports of call.Following these guidelines will give you some ideas on planning your cruise vacation properly. Proper planning will give you a more exciting cruise experience.Happy Cruising!Copyright Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved.This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.
If you are a veteran cruiser or just curious about cruising, the year 2006 will be introducing many new cruise ships for you to consider when planning a cruise vacation. Call your travel agent and ask about the cruise lines and their new "cruise ships" and then book a cruise vacation. Here is a cruise review of the new " "cruise line" " additions.Holland America is introducing the Noordam. This new cruise ship was launched on February 22 and has been getting very good cruise reviews. It will be the last cruise ship of Holland Americas Vista-class series. However, it is the first to be designed for the cruise lines Signature of Excellence program.The Noordam can accommodate 1,848 passengers. For this "new cruise ship" , there have been some design changes to enhance the cruise vacation. The new designs were focused mainly on the public areas and staterooms, the meeting point of many cruise travelers. They have made additions to the very popular Explorations Cafe. As veteran cruise travelers are well aware, it is a coffee bar/Internet cafe, game room, and library. NCL Americas Pride of Hawaii is the newest cruise ship for 2006 by NCL America. It is the sister vessel of the Norwegian Jewel and offers an excellent cruise vacation.For the cruise line, Pride of Hawaii marks the first new build from the hull up. It launched was in June. This cruise ship will accommodate 2,224 passengers. It will be another cruise ship in NCL Americas Freestyle Cruising concept being offered for your cruise vacation. The Pride of Hawaiis interior decor will be, of course, Hawaiian. This cruise ship will be departing weekly on Mondays for your cruise vacation and travel the islands, calling Honolulu home.In December the Norwegian Pearl is set to sail in the Caribbean in the winter months and Alaska in the summer months for your cruise vacations. One of their innovations is the Bar Central concept. It features a martini bar, a champagne bar, wine bar, and a beer and whiskey pub all connected.The Royal Caribbeans Freedom of the Seas was launched in May in time for summer cruise vacations. Cruise reviews call it the most innovative cruise ship for RCCL so far.This 158,000-ton cruise ship has a capacity of 3,600 passengers. It will actually be 10,000 tons larger than Cunards Queen Mary 2. It will be the largest cruise ship to be built so far. The Freedom of the Seas has an added feature that other cruise ships do not. It actually has a place to surf on the top cruise deck. This is a new and unique amenity for RCCLs Freedom of the Seas cruise ship. Other cruise lines have virtual golf or movies under the stars but no one has a surf park. The cruise line has built the largest rock climbing wall ever.Following its launching, the Freedom of the Seas will sail seven-day cruise vacations to the Caribbean from Miami.The Crown Princess, Princess Cruises christened in June. The Crown Princess is expected to accommodate 3,110 cruise travel passengers with 1200 crew. Princess Cruises lines redesigned the Skywalkers Disco, which gained popularity from cruise passengers on their cruise vacations. They also have the Lotus Spa which has been expanded on the Crown Princess.New pastries and snacks will adorn the International Cafe. Crown Princess will have the first ever wine and seafood bar of the entire cruise line. Expansions were made to other popular features like the Wheelhouse Bar, Sabatinis Trattoria, and the Sterling Steakhouse. Crown Princess cruise vacations will sail roundtrip from the Red Hook terminal in New York. This cruise vacation will make stops in the Eastern Caribbean, Bermuda and Turks and Caicos.MSC will launched their new cruise ship MSC Musica on July 01. Musica is an Italian ship that will bring MSC into the ranks of big cruise ships. It is expected to accommodate 2,550 passengers. One of its outstanding features will be that a full 80% of its 1,275 staterooms will be outside rooms. In addition, 65% of these staterooms will have verandas. It will also feature a large spa area. The Musicas cruise passengers will also have several dining options. They will enjoy a three deck high waterfall and many different entertainment venues.Musica will sail the eastern Mediterranean from Venice.The Costa Cruises new ship the Costa Concordia is owned by Carnival Corporation based in Miami, while Costa cruise lines is based in Italy. This will be the largest cruise ship to join the Costa Cruises fleet. It will be launched late this year on July 14. It is expected to accommodate 3,000 passengers. The Costa Concordia will have an European theme for its interior decor. All the rooms names will be European inspired. They will have the Grand Bar Berlin, Cafeteria Helsinki, and the Milan and Rome dining rooms. A unique amenity to the Costa Concordia is a Formula 1 driving simulator for cruise passengers to enjoy on their cruise vacation. This new cruise ship will sail year round in the Western Mediterranean. For those taking their cruise vacation on this ship, they will make ports of call in Spain, France, Italy, Gibraltar, and Malta.So much to choose from! Check out other cruise reviews of these new cruise ships to find out on which cruise ship you will spend your 2006 cruise vacation.Happy Cruising!Copyright Mary Hanna, All Rights Reserved.This article may be distributed freely on your website and in your ezines, as long as this entire article, copyright notice, links and the resource box are unchanged.
For many of us personal computers and laptops have an important role in work and life. We all know that, and apparently cruise lines know that too. That is the reason why they put a lot of effort into facilities and services that will cover information technology needs of passengers.For many people it is enough just to exchange few emails with their families or friends during vacation and they can do that from internet caf located either on the ship or in the port.However, there are a certain number of cruisers that dont want to separate from their laptops even during their precious vacation time on ship. This could be for various reasons: catching-up their work if needed, keeping on internet activities or games or having access to personal files such are photos or videos,etc... There are some things to keep in mind when you decide to bring laptop to cruise:Before booking check with cruise line or travel agent is there and what kind of internet access is available on ship. That really depends from one ship to another. Few scenarios are possible: No internet access at all, in this case you can use your laptop in your cabin or anywhere else but only offline Internet access trough ship's local area network, you will need network cable to connect and probably ships IT personnel to help you with setup WI-FI access is best and most comfortable solution, available mostly on new, modern ships. You can use your laptop wherever you want, in your cabin or in any public area where WI-FI signal is present. Of course, your model needs to have wireless access antenna to use this feature.Note that lines charge internet access and it's usually not included in fare. Prices may vary and you better check them in advanced.Another important issue to consider is security. You cannot carry your laptop with you all the time and it's good to know few things on how to avoid headache caused by loosing valuable data or such-like ... First make a good backup of all of your data on some media like CD or memory stick and keep it on safe at home. If you do that, whatever happens to the laptop you will have your data and be able to recover from loss. Remove your business data from laptop before trip if they are not absolutely necessary. In case its stolen, for sure the last thing you want is that potential thief has a top classified data from your company. This happens more often than you would think and in some cases consequences can be disastrous. So remove your business data on CD mentioned above, keep it on safe place and put them back on after vacation. If it is really necessary to have business data on it even on a cruise you may consider using software encryption to secure them. Secure access to your laptop with password. Most basic password protection is the one implemented in your operating system (Microsoft Windows mostly).In most cases this will protect you from non welcomed users. For extra protection it is also possible to use BIOS password. BIOS is basic computer setup menu which can be accessed if you press DEL (or some other key depending of manufacturer) key during machine startup. This function is usually being displayed as press DEL to enter setup on most laptops. Three kind of passwords are possible to enable that: 1. Boot password - to allow only authorized booting up of operating system. 2. Hard disk lock password - to secure your hard disk with password in case it has been removed from your laptop and used in some other machine.3. BIOS access password - is to secure entering BIOS settings where first two passwords can be turned off. Those advanced measures are not recommended to be handled by inexperienced users. If you decide to use BIOS passwords it is highly recommended to ask for a professional assistance. If your cabin has a safe and laptop can fit in use it. Since this is not the case on most of the ships, another option is to check if your machine has a security lock slot. If it does, you can purchase a security cable which enables you to lock laptop to some non movable object and prevent theft. Recently on market can be found another type of security cables that use VGA port if your model does not have security slot. Avoid making naive mistakes like having a sheet of paper with passwords in carrying case or such-like Do not leave your laptop on public places like hotel lobbies or airports without keeping an eye on itOf course, not all measures mentioned above should be necessary but thats all up to you to make the best judgment on how to protect your assets. Taking a few simple precaution measures can spare you of trouble and definitely can prevent ruining your vacation.
Alaska has been a cruise lovers' favourite for many years. Many cities and sites are inaccessible by road, and a cruise ship provides passengers with a view of many natural wonders that cannot be seen from land. Over 750,000 cruise passengers will sail Alaskan waters during the short 5 month cruise season, attracted by the prospects of seeing towering glaciers, charming small towns, and all manner of wildlife. The sheer ease of cruise travel is one reason for its popularity. You take in the scenery from your ship, disembarking to visit ports of call or to engage in sports activities. This compares to less than 40,000 who visit Antarctica during its short cruise season. Sixteen major cruise lines will send more than 40 diverse ships to Alaska, ranging in size from 12 passengers to over 2600! Ships sail roundtrip from Vancouver or Seattle to the southeast panhandle of Alaska. Cruises usually include famous Glacier Bay National Park, home of 16 magnificent glaciers. More cruise ships than ever are sailing Alaskan waters. Alaska is one cruise destination that is very high on most cruise lovers' list. Alaska's cruise season generally runs from May through September, although some smaller ships start up in April. May and September are considered the shoulder seasons, when lower rates and more aggressive discounts are offered. Summer is the big vacation season in the northwest, and many non-cruisers also choose to head to this beautiful part of the world. Cruisers go to Alaska to see the magnificent mountains, beautiful bays, and wonderful wildlife.Many cruisers realise that if you love nature, you might be able to appreciate it more on a small ship. There is a wonderful variety of small ships sailing to Alaska, and each has something special to offer cruise lovers. Small or alternative ships are best suited for people who prefer a casual, crowd-free experience that offers passengers a chance to get up close and personal with Alaska's natural surroundings and wildlife.On the other hand, the megaships look and feel like floating resorts. Big on glitz, they offer loads of activities, attract many families and seniors, offer fancy casinos and fully equipped gyms, and provide a wide variety of meal and entertainment options.Over the last few years, the number of Alaska shore excursions and activities available for cruise passengers has doubled. Today, shore options are focusing more than ever on adventure and outdoors activities: Kayaking, bicycling, dog sledding, river rafting and sport fishing are possible in the scenic wilderness of this great state, alongside more traditional tours focusing on culture and history.Juneau, the capital of Alaska, has a great variety of things to see and do. A number of memorials are situated along the waterfront and boardwalk and the famous Red Dog Saloon is nearby; state and city museums and government buildings are a short walk, with shops all along the way. Mendenhall Glacier, a 20 minute drive from downtown, is the most accessible glacier to any town on the Inside Passage. Active adventures abound in Juneau. This is an excellent spot for whale watching, wildlife viewing, kayaking and river rafting. Some whale watching companies actually offer cash refund if you don't see a humpback or orca whale during your tour.Sitka, on Baranof Island, has one of the most picturesque settings of any Alaskan port. Sitka is the former Russian capital of Alaska, which combines native culture, Russian history and Alaskan wilderness.Famous for the Klondike Gold Rush, Skagway is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Skagway is known as the "Garden City of Alaska". Garden enthusiasts should visit Jewell Gardens, which includes a miniature town site and train within the gardens. The gold rush cemetery is a fascinating spot just a short walk from town.Every spring and summer, a spectacle blooms unlike anything else on Earth - Alaska cruising means thundering glaciers, temperate rainforests, rugged coastlines, majestic peaks, untamed wildlife, and so much more.