Cruising...set your own agenda, destination and match lifestyle preferences by choosing the ship that is right for you. Some travelers prefer to contact a familiar travel agent who already knows their particular tastes while others wade through all the choices like we enjoy doing. The ship will have a roster of daily activities (more or less) keeping their typical clientele in mind.
Of course there are numerous port excursions available as alternative activities while the more adventurous disembark at each port and simply explore. Some have done their homework on the internet and know what they want to see and do, whether it is strolling through cluttered streets or viewing a cascading waterfall...more
The Norwegian Jade in San Marcos Basin, Venice
Thinking about cruising? This article is for those persons that are considering taking to the seas but have never done so. The experienced cruiser is welcome to make comments at the conclusion but for newcomers there are a number of criteria to consider. Remember, all cruise lines and their cruise ships are not created equal.
First, decide where you want to go when you start thinking about cruising.
Stateroom Footage is something I always check prior to booking a cruise so it seemed like a good idea to share the data I've compiled over time on an excel spreadsheet. I have found it handy to have and have revised it as needed.
The above photo is the Norwegian Jade. You will see numerous photos of the Jade on this site because the Norwegian Jade is one of my favorite ships. There are newer and bigger ships, ships with more stateroom footage, ships with more and larger balconies, and ships with more exciting sports challenges or more varied entertainment calendars, but........
...... the Norwegian Jade is our lucky ship. Yes, our first cruise on the Jade we won several bingo games that covered the cost of all of our excursions...on our third trip on the Jade we won a free cruise for two to the Caribbean. We traded that up to a Mediterranean cruise that returned us to Venice and Rome, two of our favorite ports. So, we will continue to watch for the Jade's itinerary to change to locations that we haven't already visited...then we'll enjoy being aboard again...more
The Norwegian Jade, seen here leaving Venice, is a medium sized ship.
Picking a cruise for your first voyage can be a little intimidating. You might feel a little overwhelmed at all the choices bombarding you but relax and consider this quest to be an adventure. After a couple of cruises, we have discovered that we enjoyed having a floating hotel which encompasses fine meals in chandelier lit dining rooms, fast foods (such as a hamburger or a pizza) available 24/7 and just unpacking your bags once for the voyage.
Familiarize yourself with the ports of call and how many days you will be at sea. We’ve found that a different port everyday can be hectic so we look for a day at sea in between a few ports of call. It all depends on your energy level and how many places you want to explore...more
Above: Seven Seas Mariner in Venice
There are different classifications of cruise lines ranging from bare bones to the ultimate in luxury and services. The high end cruise lines offer different packages. Some offer round-trip air fare included in the price, some offer all (or partial) alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages included in their fares, and some offer some or all excursions included in their fares. These cruise lines tend to have more staff per guest in order to combine the premium accommodations with superb, attentive service to enhance the cruising experience.
These cruise lines are out of our budget but are on our wish list. If you have the funds then by all means experience the luxury of being pampered on your cruise...more
Cruising to Panama delivered a bonus. One of the terrific experiences of cruising is that you get to meet other travelers and oftentimes strike up a friendship. Most of the time once the trip is over, you keep in touch for a few months, perhaps a year…then life just continues as you both drift on to new memories.
However, when cruising to Panama, we made friends with a couple that were close to the same age as us. Yvonne and Jim were from the U.K. with a marvelous British sense of humor. Yvonne had that quiet elegance that reminded me of my mother although she is much younger. This duo had so many adventures during their travels that we thought of them as the “intrepid British twosome”.
We were thrilled they were cruising to Panama with us. They spend a couple of months in Mexico each year as well as enjoyed travel to a myriad of other destinations. We hope to join up with them again on one of their Mexican jaunts. The wonderful thing about new found friends that live long distances away and remain your friends is that over time they are like the stars…not always seen, but always there...more
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