An Atlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2

In late April, I took an Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2. It was a round trip, and I was at sea for a total of 14 days. This was my third time on the Queen Mary 2. While I have taken a number of transatlantic cruises, this was my first Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossing where the ship is the destination.

The Queen Mary 2 has a long history of transporting passengers from New York City to Southampton, and  Southampton to New York. An elegant ship, it offers excellent live theater, newly released movies, and several music venues.  In addition, passengers have access to services not found on any other ships. There are kennels for pets, a planetarium, and the best ocean-going ship stabilizers. Most of the time it felt as if we were not moving at all! When we hit a few patches of rough weather the stabilizers enabled passengers to enjoy their meals, and the many ship activities with a minimum of movement.

An Atlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2 out of NYC

An Atlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2 out of NYC

I enjoyed many of the on-board activities. But what made the trip for me were the people I got to know during our hours of conversation each day. There are a lot of hours to fill when you are at sea for 7 days.  An Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 really sharpens one’s social and conversational skills!

Breakfast and lunch gave me the chance to share a table with new people each day. Dinner was a designated table with the same dinner companions. Going over, many of the passengers were British, returning home after spending the winter in the U.S. southern states. Others were from the U.S., throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Dutch South Africa. There were 430 American passengers making the round trip crossing!

 Why An Atlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2?

Despite where they came from, when asked, passengers would share that they preferred an Atlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 to flying. American passengers were taking the Queen Mary 2 to vacation in other parts of Europe.

On the way back from Southampton to New York City, a number of passengers joined the cruise from the Queen Victoria. They had just completed a 97 day world tour, and were taking the Queen Mary 2 home to the states. Others were spending a few days in NYC then catching a plane back to other parts of the U.S., Australia, or New Zealand.

Cunard Ships Are a Favorite of Single Men and Women

While many of the passengers were 65+ couples, there were a significant number of solo travelers and singles traveling in groups. They ranged in age from 40+ to 80+ years.

The Queen Mary 2 holds a 10 AM social gathering each day for solo travelers and group singles travelers. The Queen Victoria holds similar gatherings. One lady, from Australia, who was our breakfast companion, has taken world cruises every year, for the past 20 years. She is part of a group of women who have met one another through world cruising. Her cruise agent travels with the group, and hosts meet ups each day for members of the group. Queen Mary’s staff make it their business to watch out for solo travelers. If they don’t show up for a meal, someone checks in on them to see if they are well.

The dining room managers seat solo passengers with other guests for open seating at breakfast, and lunch. At the dancing sessions there are dance partners for women and men who are solo travelers.

I was so impressed with the solo travelers, of all ages, who were either coming from or going on land tours throughout Europe, Asia and Africa. One lady was traveling to the U S. to spend four months walking the Appalachian Trail.

Services on An Atlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2

The Queen Mary 2 is a safe, comfortable environment for all passengers. It has a large medical department capable of caring for everything from motion sickness to those needing to be airlifted for life saving care.

 The Atrium, An Atlantic Crossing on the Queen Mary 2ssing o

Atrium of the Queen Mary 2

The ship is fully accessible for persons with disabilities. Passengers with food allergies can review the menus for the following day’s lunch and dinner. They then can make selections that are safe for their dietary restrictions.

Conversations at meal time were never boring. I came away with a greater understanding of the life styles, customs and cultures of other countries. I met unassuming people who had led, or currently lead fascinating lives.

The Queen Mary 2 is a relaxed, fun, social and interesting way to travel, especially across the North Atlantic. The Queen Mary 2 is a resort at sea!

Coming Soon!

On June 10th, I will publish the Inaugural issue of , “Cruise Along with Jean”. It will be available via email subscription.

The newsletter will cover such topics as:

  • Our monthly Cruise for Your Charity luncheon schedule
  • Jean’s hosted annual cruise schedule
  • Value, price and quality tips for planning your custom cruise
  • Cruising amenities for singles, and those cruising with a partner, spouse or family
  • Reader Q&A

Thanks for visiting,

Jean

Fall Foliage Cruises from the U.S. to Canada

Canada is a beautiful country, but never more beautiful than during the fall foliage season. Each year, fall foliage cruises make their way from the U. S., stopping in New England ports, then on to Eastern Canada.

fall foliage cruises in Prince Edward Island

Rural area of Prince Edward Island in Autumn

These fall foliage cruises give cruisers access to the colors of autumn in rustic settings such as Prince Edward Island, and St. John’s, New Brunswick. Fall foliage adds to the charm of Halifax and the historic beauty of Old Quebec City. Each port of call gives cruisers the opportunity to appreciate the varied colorful landscape as they approach the harbor.  Land excursions expand on the fall foliage experience by visiting sites known for varied colorful foliage.

Some fall foliage cruises take the St. Lawrence Seaway to Montreal, where passengers disembark for  rail or air transport home.  Other cruises continue their exploration of Nova Scotia and return to their U S. ports.

Fall Foliage Cruises From the U. S. to Canada in 2019

Several premium and luxury class ships will cruise to Canada during mid-September to the end of October.  Seabourn, Oceania, Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and Cunard, which are classified as luxury cruise lines, all have fall foliage cruises. Many of their cruises are 10-12 days in length. Premium cruise lines, such as Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Princess Cruises are also offering foliage cruises this year. These cruise lines are offering trips of various lengths from 7 to 14 days.

Cruise ships depart from various U.S. ports including Baltimore, New York and Boston. A number of the cruises are round trip. Others end in their last port of call, which gives cruisers the opportunity to spend a few days touring such locations as Montreal and Quebec before heading home.

Image of Montreal Fall Foliage

Montreal foliage

I’ve taken foliage cruises on the Queen Mary 2, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Holland America’s Rotterdam in 2018. Each was a unique cruise experience with varied excursion offerings. Food and service were excellent, as was entertainment. When I disembarked in Montreal, I took a tour of the city.  Afterwards I caught the Amtrak train to NYC.

My vacation continued while traveling through Canadian and U.S. farmland and the mountains and villages of upper New York State. By the time I reached Penn Station, I’d finished the picnic foods I purchased in the Montreal train terminal. I hopped a cab and was home in 10 minutes.

If you are interested taking a fall foliage cruise, call me at 800-388-8781. I can help you plan a custom cruise that meets your interests and needs. Please visit my website, www.cruiseforyourcharity.com, and learn how you can receive a tax deductible donation for your favorite charity when you take a cruise through Cruise for Your Charity.

Best,

Jean

Cruise for Your Charity: A Custom Cruise and Tax Deduction

Cruise for Your Charity Log on Custom Cruise and Tax Deduction When you take a custom designed cruise with Cruise for your Charity; I will make a donation, in your name, to your favorite charity. You will get the tax deduction for this charitable gift.

The donation, made in your name, can range from $150 to $1,300 and even higher. The amount of the donation is based  upon the length and  destination of the cruise.

It also takes into consideration the price of the cruise, the cruise line, and the stateroom you choose.  Amenities are also factored into the donation. There is one donation per stateroom. There is no preset donation schedule.

How Does the Custom Design Feature Work?

Each cruise booking is custom designed based upon your responses to our cruise questionnaire and follow-up conversations. A Sample Custom Cruise Package, is on the website. It is an example of a cruise package price with a donation.

The Program is open to residents of the United States wanting to cruise anywhere in the world. Cruise for Your Charity can develop value packages with most cruise lines. Cruise ships can vary in size from small, luxury ships to Mega ships that offer something for every age group.

You can assign your donation to a favorite charity when booking a cruise. To qualify for a donation a charity must be a nonsectarian and nonpolitical  501(C)3 organization.

A check is issued to a charity, in your name, one month following the cruise. You receive the tax deduction for the donation.

Your donation will come from my commissions as a Cruise Planners Travel Advisor and Franchise Owner.

charity banner for Cruise for you Charity

Cruise for Your Charity gives me the opportunity to continue my practice of donating 10% of my annual income to charity. Making the donation to your charity, in your name, is my thank you for choosing Cruise for Your Charity.

If you want to discuss the Cruise for You Charity Program further, please call me at 212-710-2672. I am happy to answer any questions about how Cruise for Your Charity works. When you choose to move ahead with planning a cruise, complete and submit the cruise questionnaire on our website. I will call you to begin the planning process of designing a custom cruise for you. I will request a planning fee of $100, which will be deducted from the cost of your cruise at the time of your booking.

I look forward to helping you enjoy a cruise, of you choice, generating a donation for your favorite charity, and receiving the tax deduction for the donation.

Please visit my cruise website, www.cruiseforyourcharity.com and begin to check out your cruise options in 2019 and 2020.

Thanks for visiting!

Jean

Medical Care on a Cruise Ship

Most of us don’t think to ask about medical care on a cruise ship until we are on a cruise and need medical care. My first experience of medical services at sea occurred during my first cruise. The second day out from New York City, on the way to Bermuda, sea sickness got the best of me. The medical facilities physician checked me out, and gave me the medication I needed to eliminate my nausea. I’ve taken 50+ cruises since then, and have not needed medical attention.

Standards for Medical Care on a Cruise Ship

All oceangoing cruise ships that are members of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) must comply with guidelines that identify the standards of medical care on a cruise ship. The following guidelines are the collaborative efforts of CLIA members and the American College of Emergency Physicians:

  • Each ship must have at least one qualified medical professional available 24/7 to care for persons coming into the on-board medical facility, or needing to be seen in his or her cabin. Larger ships usually have two physicians and three to four nurses.
  • Physicians and registered nurses must have at least three years of postgraduate experience in general and emergency medicine or board certification in emergency medicine, family medicine or internal medicine.
  • Doctors and nurses must be fluent speakers of the predominant language spoken on the ship.

senior lady beig examined , Medical Care on a Cruise Ship

Cruise Ship Medical Facilities

Medical facilities on a cruise ship handle non emergency conditions.

Facilities usually include a number of beds, an exam room, and an intensive care room. They have equipment for processing labs, monitoring vital signs and administering medications. Equipment also includes wheelchairs, a backboard to immobilize the spine, oxygen, EKG equipment, and a minimum of two defibrillators.

Medical facility physicians and nurses care for the ship’s crew as well as cruisers. They see cruisers with a variety of non life-threatening health issues. They routinely treat respiratory problems, urinary tract infections, motion sickness and injuries.

When someone presents for care with a life-threatening illness the medical staff will stabilize the patient. They will make arrangements to have the patient transferred to a medical facility in the nearest port. If the patient needs immediate attention, arrangements will be made to air lift the patient to a medical facility.

Cruise ship medical facilities are not emergency rooms at sea. The vary in size given the size of the ship.

Cruise Ship Pharmacy Stock

While the ship’s medical facility will have a basic supply of most used medications, inventory will vary by ship. You will be able to get antibiotics, aspirin, seasick medications and other, most often prescribed, medications. They will also have those medications necessary to treat more serious conditions .

Who Pays for Medical Care on a Cruise Ship?

If you require medical care while on a cruise you are responsible for the cost. The cost of your treatment and medication will be billed to your ship account. Trip insurance will reimburse what you have to pay out of pocket. You will need a copy of the billing statement from the ship to submit to the insurance company.

On-board medical care can be costly.  However,  cost for care if you need to be moved to a hospital for treatment can be many thousands of dollars. Trip insurance isn’t a luxury it’s a necessity, and for the price, it’s a wise and inexpensive decision.

Medical Care on a Cruise Ship Tips

Carry a list of your medications and your medical history with you when cruising. It will make it that much easier for you and for the medical staff should you need medical attention.

Carry all the medications you will need on the cruise. Don’t assume that the ship’s medical facility will have your medication in stock.

Chances are you will not need medical care when cruising. But it is good to know that care is available.

If you have questions about Cruise for Your Charity please call me at 800 388 8781

Thanks for visiting!

Jean

Know Your Laundry Options When Cruising

Why do you need to know your laundry options when cruising? To begin with, you want to know if you  can do your own laundry, or must you use the ship’s laundry service. This can help you decide how much clothing you want to pack. If you are taking a seven to 14 day cruise you may not want to pack clothing for each day. You may want to pack light and wash what you have a few times during your cruise. So, what laundry services are available on shipboard and what do they cost?

Many of the cruise ships have self-service launderettes enabling cruisers to do their own washing and ironing. Costs are similar to doing clothes in a neighborhood laundromat. Launderettes are located on each cruise cabin floor, which gives passengers easy access from early morning to late evening.

Launderettes are equipped with 4-6 washers and the same number of dryers. They also have 2-4 ironing boards and irons. Some have a large sink for hand washing. You can purchase detergents and fabric softeners from dispensers. Tokens or key cards enable you to operate the machines.

Laundry options when cruising, image of washing machines

Ships That Offer Laundry Service in Lieu of Launderettes

Not all cruise ships have launderettes. Others offer a fee per garment laundry service. It is very convenient. In your cabin closet are paper laundry bags containing a check form listing items to be laundered and pressed and the cost associated with each item. After you fill out the cabin information you place it outside your cabin door, in the early evening. It will be picked up by your room steward,  and returned to your cabin within 1 to 2 days. Some cruise ships also offer dry cleaning services.

While having your laundry done for you seems like the way to go when you are cruising, there are drawbacks:

  • This can be costly when you are traveling with children who may require more than one change a day.
  • Extended trips, such as 14+ days can get expensive for anyone, even when taking advantage of laundry service discounts or special  laundry packages.

What Does Laundry Service Cost?

Here is a sample of the pricing for basic items of clothing. Most ships will not launder or dry clean specialty items such as wedding dresses or other formal wear.

Laundry options when cruising, a laundry service price list

Tips on Laundry Options When Cruising

  • Ask your travel agent about what laundry accommodations are available on your cruise ship.
  • Plan your clothes packing based on whether you will have self-service or ship laundry service.
  • If traveling on a luxury category cruise ship, your ship laundry service may be complementary.
  •  On a premium ship, there maybe discounted ship laundry packages that will reduce your costs.
  • Eliminate the cost of ship laundry service by booking a cruise offering a package, which that includes free laundry service.
  • Use on-board credit to reduce or eliminate the expense of ship laundry service.

Thank you for you for visiting!

Jean

Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape

I spent Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape this past December. Our destination was the Eastern Caribbean. We visited Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas, as well as Nassau.

Over 1, 500 of the passengers were youth ranging in age from infants through 18 years. On board activities in the Splash Academy for children and Entourage for teens gave participants the option of participate in programs throughout the day and evening hours.

The Norwegian Escape’s Kids’ Aqua Park was a big draw for many young cruisers especially the enclosed tube slide. Another favorite, which was always busy, was the two-story climbing structure.

Families could be seen on the Sports Deck playing miniature golf together, shooting hoops, or playing bocce ball. Additionally, there were the many video games to share. Of course, there were also all the Christmas activities to enjoy.

Getting into the Christmas Spirit

The Christmas holiday began as soon we boarded the ship. Brightly decorated Christmas trees lit up the public areas. Holiday favorites and carols played softly in the background.

The dining rooms and buffet areas featured displays of creative winter scenes made of foodstuffs. Each of the specialty dining restaurants also had their own unique decorations that added to the spirit of the season.

Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape decorations

Besides the dining room decorations, staff and crew created a village display in the small atrium. A set of trains chugged their way around the display. The train whistle would blow every few minutes and small puffs of white smoke would come out of the steam engine’s smoke stack. This display put many a fussy member of the under five set in a good mood almost immediately.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day there were traditional holiday meals including prime rib of beef and turkey. Dessert offerings included pies, puddings and Christmas cookies.

Holiday Activities

Christmas Eve was our first port of call day. Guests going ashore boarded tenders for the trip from the Escape to Great Stirrup Bay. Besides enjoying beach activities, guests had five excursion options:

  • Parasailing
  • Marine Life Encounter Eco Boat Tour
  • Kayak Tour
  • Stingray City Bahamas
  • Wave Runner Tour

For guests staying on the ship on Christmas Eve, holiday activities began in the AM.  Christmas trivia was followed by Christmas crafts. In the afternoon, Christmas movies trivia drew a huge crowd!

The Escape choir and crew led guests in singing Christmas carols in the Atrium at 9 PM. At midnight, there was an Interdenominational Christmas service in the Theater.

Christmas Day dawned early with Santa’s arrival in the Atrium. He didn’t come alone. Mrs. Claus made a rare appearance, as did some of his elves. Santa didn’t come empty handed either. He brought gifts and invited the children to have their photographs taken with him.

View of Nassau from Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape

View of Nassau from Christmas at Sea on the Norwegian Escape

Guests spending the day in Nassau, our second port of call, had a choice of five shore excursions:

  • Atlantis Aquaventure
  • Discover Atlantis
  • Discover Nassau by Land and Sea
  • Blue Lagoon Beach Day
  • Charm and Beauty of the Bahamas

Ship Christmas activities included a viewing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”  on the large screen in the Atrium. A family holiday glow party was well attended.

Evening activities included a performance by four time Grammy winner, Melba Moore, in the Escape Supper Club. Overflow crowds attended the Escape Holiday Spectacular, in the theater at both the 7 PM and 10 PM performances.

Many families chose to celebrate Christmas at sea on the Norwegian Escape. As a result, they got to enjoy being together at Christmas without all the work of holiday preparations.

 

 

Family Friendly Cruising on The NCL Escape

In December 2018, I had the opportunity to experience family friendly cruising on the NCL Escape. The Escape calls NYC its home port and cruises to destinations in the Eastern and Western Caribbean, and Bermuda. After spending three weeks on this ship, I can say that the NCL Escape is a family resort at sea!

Picture of Family Friendly cruising on the NCL Escape

Norwegian Escape Nassau

Accommodations

When it comes to making family members comfortable, from the youngest child to grandparents, Norwegian has thought of it all. Beginning with the staterooms, the Escape has accommodations that include family mini-suites, balconies, oceanviews and inside staterooms. Multi-room suites and interconnecting staterooms offer additional options for families. The Haven by Norwegian™, the line’s exclusive ship-within-a-ship concept, offers stateroom categories perfect for the multi-generational family. Families staying in The Haven have access to their own private lounge, restaurant, courtyard and pool. Each suite has a 24-hour butler.

Aqua Parks

The Escape features one of the largest Aqua Parks at sea. It includes four multi-story water slides, a dedicated Kids’ Aqua Park, two pools and four hot tubs. Slides include the Aqua Racer, Norwegian’s first tandem water slide at sea, Additionally, it has the Free Fall, the fastest water slide at sea. For those who prefer a more relaxing ride, there is a family-friendly open-flume body slide. Norwegian Escape’s Kids’ Aqua Park features a multitude of splashing fun including an enclosed tube slide.  There is also a two-story climbing structure for kids to explore. Family members looking for adventure, can conquer the three-story Ropes Course with two planks and five sky rails. There is also a Kids Ropes Course for young children who don’t meet the Ropes Courses’ height requirement. Members of the family who like to take it easy can play mini-golf while enjoying the ocean views.

The parents I spoke with, that had young children, had high praise for the kids water park. They shared that, weather permitting, their children spent hours a day in the water park. While their children made new playmates, parents got to socialize while supervising their children’s activities in the water park.

Water park on Family Friendly Cruising on the NCL Escape

Norwegian Escape Tortola

Splash Academy

Splash academy is a complementary youth  program offered on all Norwegian ships. Splash Academy hours begin in the AM and continue throughout the day and evening, usually until 10:30 PM. Programs break for lunch and dinner so children can join their families for meals. Splash Academy is split into four categories for ages 3-12 and Entourage for ages 13-17.

The Norwegian Escape is the only ship in Norwegian’s fleet to offer childcare services for children ages six months to three years. It is part of the Guppies program. Before spending time by the pool or enjoying the many on- board activities, parents  head to Guppies Program. Here they can drop off their children with an early years coordinator at the nursery.  The nursery includes an active area for play time, and a separate space for napping. In addition to the nursery services, the Guppies program offers a dedicated open play area for parents and babies to play together. The play area features  sensory-based games, interactive media and themed activities.

Splash Academy Space

The Splash Academy areas are colorful, inviting, immaculate and attractively furnished. Staff are educated and experienced working with children. I had the opportunity to see teens enjoying their evening activities around the ship.  It was also great to overhear kids at breakfast hurrying their parents to finish so they could get to their Splash activities.

While kids had fun in the youth programs, during the day, parents enjoyed a variety of day time activities. When kids participated in the evening Splash Academy, some parents had a romantic diner in one of the specialty restaurants.  Others attended award-winning entertainment in the theater, many enjoyed the comedy club, visited the casino,  or had drinks with new friends.

Guppies program, Family friendly Cruising on NCL Escape

 

Dining

The complementary dining rooms and the buffet restaurant offered kid friendly foods at every meal. Menus were varied, foods well prepared, and had eye appeal which is so important to young diners. Even fussy eaters found something  they liked.  Dining wait staff asked about any food allergies and other food restrictions at every meal. Every dessert menu included one or more no sugar added desserts, including ice cream.

Each day, following lunch and dinner in the buffet area, you could watch children headed to the soft serve ice cream machines. They would take their cones and fill them with as much ice cream as their cones could hold!

Family friendly cruising on the NCL Escape is the perfect family vacation any time of the year!

To Be Continued on February 7th-Christmas at Sea on the NCL Escape

Thanks for visiting!

Best,

Jean

Cruise Promotions and On-board Credit

Cruise promotions and on-board credit, are incentives that make one cruise, to a specific location, more attractive than another. They are what adds value to a cruise package. In some cases, they make a value packed cruise more cost effective than buying a bare bones cruise selling at a lesser price.

Picture of cruise promotions and On-board credit for NCL cruises

Cruise Promotions

The Norwegian advertisement featured above is all about NCL promotions for the new year. It offers six free incentives that will enhance enjoyment and savings when choosing an NCL cruise.  These promotions apply only to first and second passengers in a stateroom. This promotion, like all promotions on most cruise lines, can be seasonal or have certain limitations. Promotions do not apply to X cabins as they are no frills cabins.

Unlimited Open Bar

Enjoying drinks over a several day cruise can add quite a bit to the final bill for your cruise. Having wine with dinner, enjoying umbrella drinks poolside, and evening cocktails adds up. Guests 1 and 2 in a stateroom  can enjoy spirits and cocktails, wines, draft beer, juice and soda at no cost when they have an open bar promotion. However, there is a gratuity charge for an open bar, which is charged to your account in advance of the cruise, usually at booking.

All cruise ships have complimentary dining for passengers. The also have specialty restaurants that charge a modest supplement. Being able to enjoy a steakhouse, a seafood restaurant, Asian cuisine, a French Bistro and other specialty venues, at no extra cost, adds to the enjoyment of the cruise.

Shore Excursions

Shore Excursions are expensive. As such, many cruisers opt not to take an excursion in every port they visit. Free shore excursions for 2 people can be a savings of several hundred dollars or more on a seven day cruise.

WiFi

Keeping in touch with family back home, or keeping up with your business isn’t cheap while you are at sea. Many of the ships bill Internet use in minutes. Given the frequent slowness of Internet access at sea, passengers find they are using minutes far faster than they anticipated. WiFi use can add substantially to your final cruise bill. Free WIFI is a significant money saver for those who need or want to be connected via the Internet.

Friends and Family Sail Free

On selected cruises. passengers 3 and 4 sail free when sharing a stateroom with passengers 1 and 2. This is an excellent savings for parents with small children. It is also a cost effective way for 4 family members or a group of friends to travel together. However, adults need to consider that they will be sharing a stateroom designed for 2 adults and having one bathroom, and limited closet space.  Additional sleep areas will be either sofa beds or bunk bed accommodations. However, tight quarters maybe a small price to pay for this significant savings.

Free Air Fare

NCL Cruisers 1 and 2 get free air fare or reduced round trip airfare on some cruises with Free Air Available.

On-Board Credit

On-board credit can also be part of a cruise promotion. It is the gift of free cash that is added to your on-board account, which  you can use to purchase goods and services during your cruise. It can be used for:

Spa Services

The Casino

Shopping in Ship Boutiques

WIFI

Professional Photos

Excursions

Specialty Dining

Laundry Services

Paying Gratuities

Cruise Promotions and On-board Credit

Sometimes, cruise lines will offer a value package that includes free services as well as on-board credit. Credits can and do come from the cruise line, as well as your travel agent. If you book a cruise in advance, while on a cruise, the cruise company will often include a generous on-board credit for that next cruise. Cruise lines value returning passengers. Most recognize and reward passenger loyalty by giving on-board credit to those who continue to sail on their ships.

If you are planning a cruise promotions, including on-board credit, will increase your enjoyment while cruising and give you a significant savings. If I can be of help in planning and booking your next cruise, please call me at 800-388-8781.

Please check out my travel website at www.candocruises.com

Thanks for visiting!

Best,

Jean

 

Cruise Travel Insurance-What Does it Cover?

When you book a cruise, you will be encouraged to take cruise travel insurance. It doesn’t matter whether you book your cruise through a travel agent or the cruise line. The agent or the cruise line’s representative will share what the insurance will cover and coverage rates.

Why is it so important to have comprehensive cruise travel insurance?  Insurance is the only way to prevent you losing money due to a travel emergency or a personal circumstance.

Image of cruise travel insurance

 

What Does Cruise Travel Insurance Cover?

All cruise travel insurance is not same. Some cover more than others. Most cover the following circumstances:

  • You Have to Cancel Your Cruise Because of a Medical Emergency: You become seriously ill or need emergency surgery a week before your cruise. If you did not take cruise travel insurance and must cancel your trip, you will be facing a sizable financial penalty. If you have insurance, you will be reimbursed for the monies that you paid for the trip that are not refundable.
  • Plane Delayed/You Miss Your Cruise: Your plane is delayed by bad weather, and you miss your cruise departure. If you have travel insurance, you are covered for flight and other transport delays that resulted in your missing your cruise.
  • Your Luggage is Delayed or Lost: While you arrive at your cruise port in plenty of time to board, your luggage does not. You board the boat with only the clothes you are wearing and carry on bag that has important papers, medicines, your wallet and phone. Your policy will state what you will be reimbursed for based on the amount of hours your luggage is delayed. Usually this will include replacing a new outfit and personal toiletries to use until you receive your luggage. Should you luggage be permanently lost, you can submit a claim for the luggage and its content. Your policy will state what you will be reimbursed for, and identify a cap amount for your claim.
  •  Medical Expenses on the Cruise and In Ports of Call: Medical services are available on most cruise ships. If you have insurance, payment for these services are covered. If you do not have insurance, you will be billed for your care. You want an insurance policy that covers you, not only if you need care on-board, but in ports of call. Out of pocket costs for doctors and hospital care outside the U.S. can be high. It is important to choose a policy that will cover your immediate care while in a port outside the U.S.
  • Medical Emergency Evacuation: If you or a member of your family have a medical emergency, medevac may be a life-saving necessity. Emergency evacuation from a cruise ships to a medical facility is very expensive. However, it’s covered in a number of cruise travel insurance policies.  If you choose to buy insurance through a cruise line, confirm that they include emergency medical or evacuation benefits.
  • Your Cruise is Interrupted and All Passengers Must Disembark: If your cruise ship experiences a mechanical failure, or other damage, you will have to disembark at the next port. Usually the cruise line will help guests in these circumstances But, having cruise travel insurance will insure that you will be reimbursed for such things as  lodging and food while you wait to catch a flight home.

What is Usually Not Covered by Cruise Travel Insurance?

  • Weather–Inclement weather is not a legitimate claim. However, severe storms can interrupt, delay or cancel a trip. In which case, you would be eligible for trip cancellation or interruption insurance claim.
  • Changes to Itinerary- Sometimes high winds, or other circumstances, make it hard to dock safely in a port of call. In this case the Captain will decide if  skipping a port is the best choice.
  • Car-rental Collision Coverage is usually not included, but can be purchased at a minimal day rate.

How  Do I Purchase Cruise Travel Insurance?

Many people prefer to purchase travel insurance at the time they book their cruise. This is especially true when they are booking on the Internet through a cruise line. While this is convenient, it isn’t always the most cost effective. Also, it may not result in getting the most comprehensive insurance plan. You travel agent can identify the best policy to meet your needs. It is wise to comparison shop.

Be sure that whatever policy you select, it is underwritten by a reputable and licensed insurer. You can check out licensed insurers at the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.

 

Why I Purchase Insurance for Every Cruise I Take

Before my first cruise, 30 years ago, I debated buying insurance since I was in good health. But, I wanted the peace of mind of knowing I would be covered if anything unexpected happened. The travel agency I booked with declared bankruptcy two weeks before my cruise. The travel policy I had purchased reimbursed me, in full, for the cost of my cruise.

Years later, I was scheduled to take an extended transatlantic cruise. I chose to cancel my cruise when an immediate family member was diagnosed with a serious illness and I needed to be of support. My travel insurance policy reimbursed me for all the payments I had made to the cruise line.

Cruising is my primary means of travel. I take 3 cruises a year and have for years. I never cruise without insurance. I’ve learned, through experience, that the unexpected does happen.

 

Differences in the Cost of Cruise Travel Insurance

Most cruise travel insurance can be purchased at a nominal cost, which is a small price to pay for the coverage it affords. You need to be aware that there are differences in price for the same coverage.

Some of the factors that influence the price variations include:

  • Coverage based upon age which tends to be more expensive for senior travelers
  • Coverage based upon the price of a cruise which may or may not include taxes and fees. If you do not take the cruise, there are no taxes.
  • Coverage based upon a time period whether for the cruise only; the travel period from when you leave to when you return; a specific 30 day period or a per cruise basis.

Here are two coverage examples for the same price of $268:

  1. The fist coverage is for a transatlantic cruise for 2 traveling from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl to Southampton, UK with a trip to Toulouse, FR.  The trip included air fare from NYC to Ft. Lauderdale, round trip air fare from Gatwick Airport to Toulouse, and return air fare from Gatwick to NYC. The total price of the trip was $3,000.
  2. This December, I booked 2 cruises for 2 people.  The first cruise is for 12 days, and the second is for 7 days. Since the total cost for both cruises is  under $3,000 and within a 30 day period, the insurance on the 12 day cruise covered both cruises.

 

America’s Test Kitchen on the Rotterdam

I was surprised and delighted to find America’s Test Kitchen on the Rotterdam. During the week I was on my cruise, I participated in a pastry workshop and attended two demonstrations.

In the following post  Fleet manager Barbara Mills-Schuchardt shares about America’s Test Kitchen and its popularity. We met her on the Rotterdam, while she was installing a new host; Chef Odette Oliver from South Africa. Oliver, a gifted chef, left a position as head chef at Cape Point Nature Preserve to join this unique group of Test Kitchen chefs at sea.

America's Test Kitchen on the Rotterdam company logo

For more than 25 years Cooks Illustrated magazine has been a culinary cornerstone for its subscribers.
This successful business model provides its readers with unbiased reviews of culinary equipment, ingredients and fool-proof recipes that have been tasted to be the best. America’s Test Kitchen and Cooks Country are the delicious offspring of this culinary publishing powerhouse.

America’s Test Kitchen is the most watched instructional cooking show on television. This iconic cooking show along with its sister show Cooks Country delivers the science of good cooking to avid fans all over the United States.

Holland America Line, a decidedly different cruise line, has been making waves for more than 145 years with its elegant medium-sized ships, scrumptious food and incredible itineraries. In 2016, looking to re-imagine its on-board entertainment, Holland America Line and America’s Test Kitchen whipped up a brand new culinary adventure at sea. Take a cruise on any of Holland America Line’s 15 ships and you can enjoy a live America’s Test Kitchen cooking show on board.  The shows are engaging, informative, and just plain fun.  The hosts of these shows are talented chefs from all over the globe, trained at the Test Kitchen, and on board, to bring you an array of delicious recipes that will inform your cooking with the science of why a recipe works. There are several shows: 20 in all have the look and feel of a live America’s Test Kitchen broadcast production.

You can take a deep dive into chocolate, learn to create perfect buttermilk biscuits with pimento cheese spread, prepare perfectly poached salmon or take home a recipe for the best black bean burger you have ever tucked into a brioche bun.

America's Test Kitchen on the Rotterdam image of their Black Bean Burger

The shows have been standing-room only and guests are willing to sit on the floor to just to get of whiff of this terrific program. The shows open with an intro that takes you inside the Test Kitchen and then segues into an interstitial video hosted by the talent in Boston explaining the science inside the recipes. At the close of each show, guests get a glimpse of a website created just for them which includes all the recipe for all the shows, links to cookbooks, equipment and additional recipes.  Episodes of Cooks Country and America’s Test Kitchen also are available for viewing from your stateroom. But the real culinary collateral for the guests are the complimentary magazines and glossy over sized recipe cards featuring decidedly organic photos of these amazing recipes. The cards sail out of the Test Kitchen to be packed away for friends and family and the next great party at home.

A cadre of 20 chefs overseen by Fleet manager Barbara Mills-Schuchardt expertly deliver the voice of this tasty brand. Mills- Schuchardt, a classically trained chef, has been a culinary instructor for more than 25 years.  She cooked up a career that included artisan bread baking at King Arthur flour, cheese making in Vermont, lead instructor for several cooking schools and owner of her cooking school, television show and cooks store. She is uniquely qualified to provide support and brand integrity to the chefs on-board.

The relationship between Holland America Line and America’s Test Kitchen is so intuitive, that three of Holland America Lines’ ships call Black Falcon terminal in Boston their home port. The ships dock in the shadow of the Test Kitchen, located at 21 Dry Dock avenue.  I can only describe this relationship as a perfect culinary paring taking the science of good cooking to avid home cooks world-wide.  What a well-seasoned culinary adventure.