Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Kids get due recognition onboard Royal Caribbean’s cruises

If you have a family, with kids between 6months to 11 years old, you will sure be surprised by the great level of recognition showered on them by Royal Caribbean cruises. I was pretty much touched by my experience onboard Independence of the Seas. To begin with, I liked the in-stateroom babysitting that is available for children from 1 year.

The cost is affordable and it is as low as $10 per hour for one or two children, $15 for three or more from one family. My friends complained that, the charges for babysitting are more than those prevailing on other cruises. But considering the quality and promptness of service, the charges for babysitting on Independence of Seas are affordable.

There is a provision on Royal Caribbean cruises that children younger than six months are not permitted to cruise. I know not the reason for this stipulation; well I consider this as providing rest time for lactating mothers. Considering 6 months to 3 years as Royal Babies and Royal Tots is what I liked most. I really appreciate the cruise company for providing tiny tots their due share of recognition onboard. There are demands on parents to accompany their little ones with participating in onboard activities.

Independence of the Seas offers My Family Time Dining. Kids aged 3 to 11 can accompany their families to partake in the traditional dining option.
Kids are provided special and expedited service; after 40 minutes the Adventure Ocean counsellors pick children up, and taken to the age-appropriate facility. This is to allow parents to finish their meals at leisure.

Kids programmes on Royal Caribbean's Independence of Oceans

Royal Caribbean's far-reaching Adventure Ocean youth program caters to all age groups - 3 to 17 years old. It was an overwhelming feeling, for me when thousands of kids partook in the specially conducted activities onboard the Royal Caribbean's Independence of the Oceans. It was fun all-around, and my kids loved to be on the cruise during the festival season.

Activities onboard were grouped as per the age of the kids. The 3 to 5 year olds known as Aquanauts had a number of beach games and hula-hoop contests to enjoy. Special story time sessions were arranged, with creation of fish kites via the ship's partnership with Crayola. There was also arrangement for adventure science with lots of hands-on science experiments. Kids were really amazed by the photo-shoot with the captain.

The 6- to 8-year-olds called as
Explorers had adequate opportunity for exploration in the Explorer room. Kids also participated in cartoon drawing, colouring, and board games. I found the group meal sessions to be most fascinating, held at either Windjammer or Johnny Rocket's. The dance classes held by the Royal Caribbean dancers were quite beneficial for the kids.

There is a provision on Royal Caribbean cruises that children younger than six months are not permitted to cruise. I know not the reason for this stipulation; well I consider this as providing rest time for lactating mothers. Considering 6 months to 3 years as Royal Babies and Royal Tots is what I liked most. I really appreciate the cruise company for providing tiny tots their due share of recognition onboard. There are demands on parents to accompany their little ones with participating in onboard activities.

Activities for teenagers on Ocean Village

At last, I could find a cruise that could make teenagers really happy. I am referring to the Ocean Village's Base Camp. Equipped with the latest computer games and the state-of-art games facilities will sure make your kids time, interesting and exciting. The Base Camp is open until midnight for children aged 9 and over. Available are art and crafts, sports, game shows, pool games, workshops, quizzes, movies, Play stations and a club dinner.

It appeared to me that the cruise people have decided to keep the kids engaged, so they have lined-up activities that will include circus workshops, karaoke, scavenger hunts, dance workshops, vocal workshops, pool games, water volleyball, twister fun, table tennis tournaments, quick fire bingo, hiant pictionary, hive me a clue, discos, late night munchies, and play station challenge.

Other than the above
fun-filled activities, I found there is enormous scope for socializing, needful for kids. When I and my kids were there on Ocean Village, we had the privilege to meet Fat Friends TV sitcom writer and star Kay Mellor and Gaynor Faye. As they were accompanied by their kids, it was really memorable to meet celebrities and equally their kids, who have shared some of their fascinating experiences with us.

Kay shared the excitement, that the kids loved Base Camp the swimming pools and the children's entertainment. And Gaynor adding that kids loved Base Camp as it was perfectly safe and well managed by staff. Both accepted that the children's tea party, the football court and the pizzas at La Luna were equally interesting.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Booking your Panama cruise holidays with P & O Cruises

I have a mixed feeling about my Panama cruise holidays onboard P & O's cruise. Overall it was fun-filled and enjoyable. Our itinerary included visit to

• Zihautanejo - A pretty little resort
• Huatulco - The beach, and the 2 bars were lovely
• San Juan del Sur - that includes trip to Granada
• Panama - It was lovely walking around the old town
• Panama Canal - the most fabulous endeavour that brings together human pursuit for innovation and the use of technology at its best
• Limon - ride by rainforest tram was really memorable
• Aruba - though very much Americanised, really proved to be different in its own way
• Port of Spain - the port resounded history
• Barbados - too memorable to forget

Personally, I consider that, the route of our cruise could have been different. It could have started at Los Angeles, for this would enable travellers to get scheduled flights easily. But the most important thing about our Panama cruise holidays was the weather, which was awesome, to evoke pleasant feeling in anybody. Though the region was hot it was better and more predictable on the pacific side than the Caribbean. So, my genuine advice to all visiting Panama by cruise, you needn't pack anything warm you, for you may not need it.

Food in the P&O's main restaurant is good and comes for a pretty standard P&O fare. I really liked the buffet that had a good selection, if a little uninspired, but the Formica top tables and gross carpet made you feel you were eating in a transport cafe. The hospitality was warm and affectionate. I also liked the
Cirque de Arcadia show. The cabarets were OK, if you ask.

What really interested me is the option to tour
Central America, and enjoy our short but well guided land-trips there. The child-free ship from P&O cruises that I travelled is the best that I can suggest to any couple. You could sure opt for P&O cruises, as the cruise line company has been imparting new features to its cruises. There are greater provisions for activities and events onboard now, than it was earlier.

Alaska cruise holidays by Infinity - A splendid experience!!!

I believe that there is no cruise like Celebrity's Infinity. Being part of its voyage to Alaska is immensely memorable. I usually travel with my friends, but this time it was with my parents, aged 65 and 68, and also joining us were our distant relatives. My friend Julie, though reluctant, joined the band at the last moment. It was really memorable, for the summer season coinciding with the wonderful Alaska cruise holiday trip onboard a cruise, made us all elated, equally.

I wanted the Infinity's Alaska experience happy and comfortable for my parents. The cruise staff was very good, and arranged for wheel chairs. It is not that my parents cannot walk, but it is that on that large cruise, moving around on a wheel chair would be easy for the aged. Celebrity's Infinity cabins were very spacious. What really mattered for our parents was that, the wheel chairs could be taken off the ship for shore tours, which was really beneficial.

We were provided with balcony cabins, as we opted. We all were placed in cabins with one to two doors away. My parents were earlier on cruise, a decade ago. They could still recall their cruise experience onboard Celebrity cruise. Now, my parents are more excited to join us to Alaska for a cruise experience. They have expressed their interest to join us on cruise to Mexico.

Alaska cruise trip was exciting and enjoyable. The staff was very helpful and prompt. Dining rooms were fabulous, and the food was delicious. We really enjoyed the movies, and shows that were presented
Vegas-style were equally enjoyable. I am sure; I will be back on Infinity, again. Celebrity, I believe is a cruise line company that will never let down its guests, offering something new, on each visit.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Does price protection mean anything for travellers booking cruise holiday packages?

It is a usual process that travellers booking cruise holiday packages will wait for the prices to drop. But, this is often considered as a wrong strategy. For, the waiting for the price to drop often costs you money when the ship sells out or the price increases. So, it is always better to book your cruise holiday packages and wait for the prices to drop. You will gain if the price drops, and the additional cost you are paying will be adjusted for other on board services. In the incidence of price hype, you will also gain by not paying the additional amount.

Royal Caribbean introduced price protection under the name of “Lowest Price Guarantee" program. Accordingly, if the price dropped on their cruise before the ship sailed, the cruise fare will not be lowered nor partial refund will be given. The additional amounts will be adjusted as onboard credit. In the state of things, the travel agents were to lose, as "Commissions will not be price protected." To claim refund the cruise travellers must notify the cruise line company at least 72 hours prior to the ship sailing.

Before Royal Caribbean made its stance clear, the travel agents supported onboard credits. Both, the traveller booking cruises and travel agents got the benefit. The customer could book a cruise and save money, and the commission received by the travel agent stayed the same. But Royal Caribbean's price protection will for sure effect the travel agents' with lower margins to take.

Cruise Holiday Packages - Saving on travel insurance.

Travel insurance definitely goes with any Cruise Holiday package. It must cover contingencies like lost baggage, trip interruption, medical evacuation and more. Travel insurance also protects the insured in the event of airline or cruise company going bankrupt.

Travel insurance may be mandatory or based on the travel circumstances. Cruise lines require you to have adequate travel insurance. You may be asked to furnish your travel insurance coverage. It is usual for many people to purchase travel insurance or trip protection insurance if they have a particularly expensive or a once in a lifetime trip, such as a
honeymoon. When going far away from home, people also tend to take out more travel insurance.

The cost of
travel insurance is based on the amount of coverage you need, the length of your trip and even whether you plan to participate in what the travel industry describes as hazardous sports, such as diving, skiing and skydiving for example. Quite recently, travel insurance has witnessed some changes. Those who travel frequently throughout the year can generally take out a policy that will cover multiple trips. However, I can suggest that, if you are travelling as part of a group or as a family, group coverage will be less expensive.

Most comprehensive travel insurance packages that cover everything that a traveller might realistically need tend to cost between 4% and 8% of the overall cost of the trip itself. It will cost you more, if you need insurance to cover extras such as emergency
medical evacuation, hazardous sports coverage, or emergency reunion services (which covers the costs of flying family members to you if you are hospitalized).