Super Size It
If you like Las Vegas with its multitude of restaurants and entertainment venues, you may enjoy mega ships such as Royal Caribbean’s new Allure of the Seas launched in Dec 2010, now the largest ship in the world, sister ship to the Oasis of the Seas. Each carries 5,400 passengers every week from Fort Lauderdale on alternating Caribbean itineraries. The ports they visit are often secondary. These massive ships are destinations in themselves. With 16 decks and public space divided into 7 neighborhoods, it takes a week just to explore them. However, these are not for everyone.
Mega Ships Oasis & Allure of the Seas
Bigger isn’t necessarily better.
For serious world travelers, I still recommend a more upscale and intimate boutique experience on smaller ships with destination-focused itineraries that are sometimes inaccessible to larger ships. Medium ships like Azamara Club Cruises carry approx 700, the luxurious small Silversea vessels only 300 passengers, and even smaller river boats only 100-150 privileged guests.
Consider not just quantity but also the quality of the overall experience.
A: For many people, their only association with cruising may be the popular 70′s TV show The Love Boat. In the decades since the show aired, there have been dramatic developments in the world of cruising! The actual experience of cruising today is quite varied with a multitude of choices.
First a look back, then a leap forward. In this 2008 interview, Gavin McLeod (the Captain) and Lauren Tewes (Cruise Director) discuss cruising and the show.
The Princess Fleet now consists of 14 large contemporary ships and 3 smaller ships that sail worldwide itineraries year-round.
Q: What do the letters ACC & MCC after your name mean?
A: In short, that I am a qualified matchmaker, but not in a romantic sense.
The Sea Goddess knows her ships and her worldwide itineraries!
The letters refer to specialist credentials:
The ACC or Accredited Cruise Counsellor certification requires 100 units of study including coursework, ship inspections and personal cruise experience.
The more advanced MCC orMaster Cruise counsellor certification requires an additional 100 units of study including more coursework, ship inspections and personal cruise experience as well as case studies.
I earned my ACC in 1999 and my MCC in 2002. Both programs are administered by CLIA, the Cruise Lines International Association and continuing education is an annual requirement to stay current with rapid developments in the cruise industry.
Mariner Society Copper Medallion awarded by the Captain & Hotel Director of the Zaandam
In my lifetime, I have sailed on several different lines and cruised all over the world. I am a Holland America Mariner Society member and Copper Medallion recipient signifying that I have sailed over 100 days with that line.
This all means that my clients benefit from my years of training, expertise and experience.
Q: We went on a cruise & hated it. What went wrong?
A: From our discussion, it sounds like a classic mismatch. If you selected a cruise based on a tv commercial or a low advertised price or someone else’s opinion, it simply may not have been the right one for YOUR travel style. Each cruise line has its own “personality” so it is very important to be well matched with the one(s) that best suit your tastes.
The Paul Gauguin sails the South Pacific with only 300 passengers.
In this blog series, I will be discussing the entire range of products available from mega ships to ocean liners , river boats, yachts, expedition vessels and even freighter travel. I know there is something for almost everyone. The key is to be properly matched.
A: In short, for the PURE PLEASURE of it! You can literally sail the seven seas and so much more.
Cruise lines have had a renaissance in the last 20 years and there is a wide range of products available and expanding every year. They can be active, fun vacations or relaxing, enriching travel experiences depending on the line, ship and itinerary.
Cruise vacations still remain the very best TRAVEL VALUE today. They are a seamless & cost-effective way to travel to several places in one trip with the major components (of transportation, accommodations, meals, shipboard activities & entertainment ) all prepaid in U.S. dollars at one low rate.