Tag-Archive for » Carnival Freedom «

Friday File: Food More Than A Thought

Food is such a focal point of cruising, for at least two reasons. One is that the quality and/or amount of food consumed justifies the cost of the cruise. The other is that cruise lines traditionally have special events for food lovers — sometimes at an extra cost (specialty restaurants) and sometimes free. The photos today give you a taste (ahem) of a little of both those options from our cruises…

1-Millenium-Andrew Harris

Staff often gets personally involved — as Celebrity Hotel Director Andrew Harris did here on the Millennium,

2-Freedom-Seuss-1

Kids love all things Seuss, including the most unusual ice sculpture we’ve seen, on Carnival Freedom's Seuss at Sea.

3-Riviera-Kathryn K

Cookin’ with Chef Kathryn Kelly on Oceania ships is an experience worth the modest cost.

Crown-chef's table

Radishes never looked so appetizing as during this Chef’s Table experience on the Crown Princess.

5-Epic-Teppenyaki Michael-1

At Teppanyaki on the Norwegian Epic, Michael from the Philippines was so quick his hands were a blur.

6-Eclipse-elegant tea

What’s ‘elegant tea at sea?’ This is what it looks like on the Celebrity Eclipse — and it tastes better.

In the news…

• Carnival's 'fathom' designed for cruisers who wish to participate in 'social impact travel'
• Celebrity Infinity returns to Nanaino (Vancouver Island) for first time in four years
• Vietnam's six-day 'cruise of a lifetime' to visit disputed reefs and islands

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival unveils its '10th brand'
 

Royal Caribbean Splendour of the Seas
3 nights
November 14, 2015
Port Canaveral (return): Nassau, CocoCay
Inside: $381.50
Cost per day: $127
www.royalcaribbean.com

Friday File: Picture These Cruise Ships

For anybody who likes cruising, and we assume you do, ships make great photo ops. Why else do we see passengers standing on the shore taking photos of the ships they’re traveling on, over and over. In fact, we do it ourselves. What follows this week are some of our favorite ship shots, mostly because of how much we liked the picture, or the situation…

Sky-GSKThis is the Norwegian Sky, from the beach at Great Stirrup Cay, the island the cruise line owns. This is our ship-on-the-rocks picture. The Sky is anchored offshore because, at least when we snapped this, the channel wasn’t deep enough and passengers were tendered ashore.

InfinityThe Celebrity Infinity was heading east in the Panama Canal, passing its sister ship, the Millennium. We knew it was coming so our camera was poised to catch this sail-by in one of the narrowest parts of the Canal, and we think it will still be this narrow when the Canal expansion is finished next year…or the year after…

Freedom-2We spotted the Carnival Freedom “almost on the rocks” during the day and liked the photo so much we came back and took it again at night. The reality is we were in Willemstad, Curacao long enough that we disembarked in the afternoon and, after having dinner 20 miles away, it was dark when we returned. 

Coral-KetchikanThe juxtaposition was irresistible. In the background, the Coral Princess. In the foreground, the statue of a carved eagle that welcomes visitors to Ketchikan, Alaska. This is eagle country and while you won’t find one this large, the real thing is often available to visiting photographers. Still, not a bad substitute.

AllureWhen we took this picture, we hadn’t yet been on Allure of the Seas, not surprising since this was the final waves of its initial Transatlantic crossing from Europe to Fort Lauderdale in 2010. The event was impressive…helicopters, streamers, tugboats spraying water and a plane overhead welcoming the ship to Florida.

Sun-Guat
If we needed a photo to sell friends on taking a cruise, not that we do, this shot of the Norwegian Sun in Guatemala might do the trick. Nobody thinks of this Central American country as a scenic place to visit, until you’ve been there. This was not quite halfway of a cruise to South America and was, frankly, a surprise.
Two shipsPhotographers would never pick this one as a great photo of cruise ships for sure. However, its significance to us disembarking in Port Everglades from Allure of the Seas on the left and boarding the Carnival Freedom on the right. While the ships are nose to nose, the walk was a little longer than it looks — about 15 minutes.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Carnival Liberty
7 nights
June 7, 2015
San Juan (return): St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten 
Inside: $569
Cost per day: $81
www.carnival.com

Carnival’s Voices Of Freedom

In quasi-military vernacular, what happened in Galveston on the weekend might be called the “perfect storm.”

Operation Homefront, recognizing the troops. A country singer, because country singers are the most prominent pro-military entertainers. And a ship called “Freedom.”

This was Carnival’s Freedom, of course, and it was in Galveston to begin operations from its new home-port. It was also Carnival’s Martina McBride, the country superstar who has Freedom-Galvestonbeen performing in the cruise line’s wildly popular entertainment series called Carnival Live.

And both of them were there to pay tribute to troops.

A check for $100,000 was cut for Operation Homefront, the nonprofit that supports military families, some of whom were the audience for what was called an exclusive Carnival Live concert by the winner of 14 Grammy Awards. She sang from the upper deck of a ship that last year underwent a $70-million refurbishing that enhanced its family features, such as Seuss At Sea and Camp Ocean, where kids enjoy 200 marine-themed activities.

The consensus was that McBride gave a show-stopping performance. For those of us who have seen her (twice now), this is not a surprise. She was the consummate professional the first time we saw her, in 1996, and again in 2013. All the succeeding years did was make her even better.

“Performing for these military families was an incredible honor,” she said in Galveston. “I’m so glad I was asked to be part of it.”

Carnival now has three ships based in Galveston — the Triumph, the Magic and the Freedom. While it may not be a stretch to make a military connection to the names of all three, nothing speaks to the troops like the Freedom does.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas
14 nights
May 4, 2015
Tampa, Norfolk, Cork, Cherbourg, Brussels, London
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $57
www.royalcaribbean.com

Friday File: Memorable Crew Members

The theory is that everyone has a story, or at least a smile, and we've found plenty of both on cruises. These are some of the memorable crew members we have encountered…

CoralThis kitchen worker on the Coral Princess had a whopper of a story — along with a fish big enough to be dinner for passengers on an entire deck of the ship.

Freedom-NaiduHis name is Naidu and did he love to dance, especially when they struck up the band (okay, CD) for the crew in the Carnival Freedom dining room on the final night.

RivieraOn the Oceania Riviera the queen of cooking, Kathryn Kelly, left the corporate world (she started three big companies) behind to conduct classes for chefs-to-be at sea.

Isagani-SaravanIsagani Natividad and Saravan Radhakrishnan, both sommeliers on Celebrity's Millennium, were kind enough to taste a wine we'd brought from home (it's okay, they spit!). 

ExplorerOn Explorer of the Seas, servers Tankica Gogova and Vivek Gonsalves were such a dynamic duo that we requested their section of the same dining room table every night.

Dollerage and friendAfter two weeks on the Norwegian Sun, we'd spent so much time with Dollerage Soares (left) that he suggested fellow waiter Lester Anthony join him for a "family photo"…and guess what: He was right!

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival Vista to Miami

Carnival Fascination
5 nights
November 30, 2015
Jacksonville (return): Nassau, Freeport
Inside: $239
Cost per day: $47
www.carnival.com

Carnival Sale On Internet Overload

If ever a cruise line needs to fill up a ship quickly, or a bunch of them, Carnival just did it. The premise is simple: Everybody loves a deal.

So on Tuesday, Carnival announced a “35-hour sale.” It was actually a 35-35 sale…35 hours to buy a cruise for $35 a day (starting prices).

How much did the people like it?

In the first six hours, so anxious were consumers to break the bank that they broke the website.

The demand crashed carnival.com. Within a couple of hours, it was fixed and the sale of select cruises from December through March resumed. It runs through midnight tonight Carnival Freedomand this is not a big deal for one ship, or one port. For example, here’s a few of the per-day, per-passenger prices (some even better) that we found once the website was re-started:

$25Los Angeles (return) to Catalina and Ensenada, four nights (December 1-5) on the Inspiration

$28Fort Lauderdale (return) to Key West, Grand Cayman and Cozumel (December 7-13) on the Freedom

$34Miami (return) to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, San Juan and St. Thomas, seven nights (January 10-17) on the Glory

$35Galveston (return) to Progreso and Cozumel, five nights (December 15-20) on the Triumph

$43Miami (return) to Ocho Rios, Grand Turk and Nassau, six nights (February 22-28, on the Breeze

Clearly, Carnival wants to fill empty beds. Chances are the cruise line can still make a profit at these prices, because passengers do spend money once they’re on the ship.

But with this sale, getting there is a bargain.

Today at portsandbows.com: Holland America's new look

Caribbean Princess
4 nights
January 22, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Princess Cays 
Inside: $289
Cost per day: $72
www.princess.com

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