Friday, August 20, 2010

What’s the Difference Between Cruise Lines?

Which fleet is the best? What is the best ship? These are questions that cruisers ask, and they are almost impossible to answer since everyone’s tastes and priorities are so different. With that said, we can help you pick your ideal cruise vacation by explaining some of the main features of the major cruise lines. Here are nine of the top 20 fleets, alphabetically listed. Please keep in mind … cruise lines attempt to please a wide range of people and all provide some common amenities. However, with a little research, you should be able to narrow down your choices to a couple of cruise lines depending on your lifestyle, interests and budget.

Azamara Club Cruises
While they may only enlist two ships, their itineraries reach far across Europe, Asia and South America. You will find a country club atmosphere on these medium sized, ultra premium ships, in part due to the more casual dress policy and wood paneled lounges. You can expect exceptional cuisine and service, outstanding itineraries that include an overnight stay in a port on every cruise and upscale accommodations.

Carnival Cruise Lines
Not only are they the world’s largest cruise line, but they are also the most popular. Hallmarks of this fleet include the cruise industry’s most vibrant nightlife, above average food and large staterooms. If you love Las Vegas, these ships will certainly fit the bill. The entertainment is dazzling and the casino is lively throughout the day and night. Families also flock to the “Fun Ships” because of Camp Carnival’s supervised activities, the spiral waterslides and the other kids’ facilities. Best of all, the super low prices on Carnival make the fleet a big hit with families, singles, couples, groups … just about everyone!

Celebrity Cruises
Celebrity offers an upscale cruise experience with a focus on food and service. These award winning ships have a casual European atmosphere, with a great selection of modern art and contemporary design. You will find more newlyweds, couples celebrating anniversaries and families with older children on board. The fleet’s newest vessels offer plenty of balcony staterooms, gourmet restaurants, posh spas, glass blowing demonstrations and a real lawn for picnics, putting, croquet or bocce ball.

Holland America Line
Here you will find a sophisticated style of cruising aboard medium sized ships with larger than average staterooms and a rich history of premium service. These classically designed ships cater to cruisers who like a more tranquil cruise experience with refined entertainment, fine art auctions and immersive enrichment classes. Holland America is a natural choice for many multi-generational families, travelers over the age of 55 and couples marking special occasions.

Norwegian Cruise Line
NCL is best known for “Freestyle Cruising,” which is a big hit for those seeking an unstructured seagoing vacation. You can eat whenever you want, with whomever you want. No dress code to follow in the main dining rooms. Small surcharges expand your options to seemingly countless specialty restaurants. Highlights on the newest ships include an ultra chic lounge with plush beds and bowling lanes, a lounge made of ice, Blue Man Group performances, Second City comedy shows and a Cirque du Soleil dinner theater. With all of this for some of the most affordable fares at sea, the industry’s youngest fleet is popular with families, singles and couples.

Oceania Cruises
While they say they are not a luxury cruise line, the experience certainly is close to it. The food is overseen by Jacques Pepin, and it is among the best in the cruise industry. The 640 passenger ships fill up quickly with loyal guests (many of them retired) and who enjoy single seating dining in four restaurants, very polished service and staterooms boasting down comforters, high thread European sheets and, if you are in a suite, personal butlers.

Princess Cruises
Princess has a loyal following of travelers who love the ships; dining program where you may choose assigned seating or dining whenever and with whomever you please. The fleet has come a very long way since earning fame on the 1970’s “Love Boat” TV show. Today, Princess’ ships feature contemporary design and stylish amenities alongside very good food, nice staterooms, friendly service and superior shore excursions. While there are families aboard every cruise, these floating resorts primarily attract couples of all ages.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent provides a true luxury cruise experience with large staterooms, superb dining, exceptional service, onboard experts and worldwide itineraries. Both ships host less than 700 guests, showcase Scandinavian d├ęcor, and offer extraordinary spas operated by Carita of Paris. Fares include opulent accommodations, roundtrip airfare, gratuities, all beverages and unforgettable shore excursions.

Royal Caribbean International
They are among the most innovative fleets in the industry, boasting the world’s largest cruise ships and arguably the most with a real “wow” factor. Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas each offer an unprecedented set of onboard experiences: 2 surfing wave pools, high diving shows at an outdoor amphitheater, scuba lessons in a pool, zip line rides, a boardwalk carousel, street performers, loft suites, and outdoor grass park with sidewalk cafes and much more. Previous ships in the fleet introduced the first rock climbing walls, ice skating rinks, mall sized promenades and other onboard thrills. Endless options for dining, accommodations and activities, plus amazing values make Royal Caribbean a favorite for families with kids, couples, singes, groups and cruisers of every kind.

CruiseOne offers a variety of insurance plans to accommodate all of your needs plus we offer all the major cruise lines, the very best direct prices along with excellent personal service. Contact Kathy & Eric Freer, your Local Independent Cruise Specialists at 321-735-0202 or toll free at 888-882-5793, or via the web at www.cruiseone.com/kfreer for more information.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Set your Sights on South America




Often described as exotic, mysterious and magical, South America is a place of extremes.
Where else can you discover the world's highest waterfall, longest mountain range, driest desert and largest rainforest?

Onboard a South American cruise you’ll explore some of the world's most exotic and exciting ports. By night the ship will sail the open seas and by day you’ll experience dazzling cities, ancient ruins, lush jungles and more.

Stroll the cobbled streets of Buenos Aires and take in the cities European flair. You’ll find first rate opera houses, museums and cathedrals on par with any in Europe. Yet this city has one thing Europe does not; the tango. There is no better place in the world to experience this sensuous dance.

Another exciting port of call is Callao/Lima, Peru. Discover the mysterious lost city of Machu Picchu, perched high above the Urubamba River and surrounded by lush vegetation and concealed by awe inspiring mountain peaks. The “Lost City” is more impressive than words and truly a once in a lifetime experience.

As your ship sails to the deep south, several mighty glaciers will start to come into view. You’ve arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, home to beautiful landscapes including sparkling glaciers, majestic fjords and towering waterfalls. This mystical place is filled with colonies of sea lions and Magellanic penguins, and offers breathtaking views of the Straits of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego.

From here you will continue south to Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America. This beautiful, untamed Antarctic strait connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. As you pass from one ocean to the next keep your eyes open as it is common to see giant blocks of ice break off and crash in a dramatic manner. You'll also find a large number of sea birds, penguins and seals playfully meandering about.

Heading north you’ll find beautiful beaches set against a mountainous backdrop offering an ideal place for rest and relaxation. Rio de Janerio is known for her famous beaches, Ipanema and Copacabana, as well as Carnaval, the famous five-day celebration. But there is more to see and do in Rio. By day you can take the cable car up to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain for the view of a lifetime, head to the Amazon rainforest for a wild adventure or witness the famous art-deco statue of Christ the Redeemer. Then, when the sun sets the streets begin to pulsate with the sounds of samba and things really begin to heat up.

If you are looking for a vacation like no other and an opportunity to see more than your hotel room and its surroundings, then hop on board a South American cruise. The best way to see it all is on a cruise.

CruiseOne is the only thing you’ll need to plan your South American cruise vacation; offering most major cruise lines, the very best direct prices along with excellent personal service, all at no additional cost to the traveler. Contact Kathy & Eric Freer, your Local Independent Cruise Specialists at 321-735-0202 or toll free at 888-882-5793, or via the web at www.cruiseone.com/kfreer for more information.