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Friday File: Carnival’s Hit Seuss At Sea

At last count, Seuss at Sea was on 20 (and soon to be 22) of Carnival’s 24 ships, so it’s safe to assume the cruise line wouldn’t make that big an investment unless it knew what a hit it would be. And so it is, among the kids who participate and the parents who can drop them off. The concept, a part of Carnival’s Camp Ocean, is also part of the phenomenon that keeps Doc Seuss alive, almost a quarter-century after the death of the author who created it, Theodor Geisel. Seuss at Sea surfaced while we were on the Carnival Freedom last year. This will give you an idea what it’s like…

1-Thing 1&2

Thing 1 and Thing 2 wreaked havoc in the Seuss books but are under control at sea.

2-Bookville-2

Dr. Seuss Bookville, a brightly colored room to inspire parents to read and kids to listen.

3-Sam

The well-known Seuss character Sam, I Am, who likes his eggs done a certain way.

4-Penguins

You might say this is one cool place for the littlest passengers, Penguins, ages 2 to 5.

5-Green eggs

The Seuss at Sea Breakfast, once a cruise, includes the inevitable “green eggs and ham.”

6-Playroom

The room with no name, just a place where kids can bounce off the walls and talk about it.

7-Cat

The Cat In The Hat, arguably the most famous Seuss character, with a book in his name.

In the news…

• Golden Princess, Costa Fortuna going to join Chinese fleet of cruise ships
• First Canadian port to use shore power for cruise ships now powering cargo ships
• Silversea moving its American office from Fort Lauderdale to Miami this year

Today at portsandbows.com: The problem with high/low water in Europe

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
December 12, 2015
San Juan (return): Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, St. Thomas
Inside: $459
Cost per day: $65
www.celebritycruises.com

 

Lego Latest Lure To Go Cruising

It was just a few years ago that we bought Lego for our eldest child for Christmas. So it’s “just a few years” later that we’re buying Lego for our granddaughter for her birthday this month (but don’t tell her).

Is there anything in life that’s more permanent and more durable than Lego?

That’s what makes it such a safe bet for MSC Cruises. And that’s why all 12 MSC ships (plus two more by 2017) are being out-fitted with Lego play areas in this cruise line’s Sailor Walkaboutrather clever attempt to attract families. The play areas are ostensibly for kids, but how many adults do you know who still enjoy building things with Lego?

The refurbished MSC Armonia will be the first ship to acquire what MSC calls its Renaissance Program when it emerges with the first Lego stations after a couple of weeks in dry dock this month. Children of ALL ages will compete in Lego-themed competitions on a designated day during each cruise. They’ll earn “junior master builder diplomas”…even if they’re seniors. They’ll meet the resident mascot, whose name — Sailor Walkabout — is sure to become better known, especially since it’s barely known right now.

There’s no charge to play Lego on MSC ships, and areas will be designated for kids under three, and for kids six to 11. No mention of where kids far into the double digits will be allowed to ply their Lego skills.

Now, MSC is an Italian cruise line that dabbles in waters all over the world, including North America. Invented 65 years ago in Denmark by Ole Kirk Christiansen, Lego is played all over the world, as testified by the 600 billion pieces of it currently in circulation. It’s been known to be passed down the generations like heirlooms and jewelry.

And yes, cruise passengers will be able to buy it at the Lego Corner at the ships’ shops.

It’s only a matter of time until there’s a Lego cruise ship toy — bearing the MSC logo, of Armoniacourse — created by a privately-owned company that has morphed its plastic blocks into movies, games and theme parks. MSC hopes the participants in this new venture will build more than toys and skyscrapers and animals.

The cruise line would like its customers, young and old, to build memories, because anybody who doesn’t already have a Lego memory should.

Today at portsandbows.com: Something new at Silversea?

Celebrity Millennium
15 nights
September 11, 2015
Vancouver, Dutch Harbor, Tokyo, Kobe, Shanghai
Inside: $849
Cost per day: $56
www.celebritycruises.com

Dr. Seuss and Friends Carnival Specialty

1-Camp Ocean-BookvilleBookville, the first thing you see upon entering Carnival's Camp Ocean. All the Seuss books are there but don't try to remove any…a friendly alarm lets you know!

2-Camp OceanSomewhere near that Hat, there's a Cat…and a place to cuddle up with a good book.

3-ParadeThat famous Cat In The Hat leads the parade down the promenade to the theater.

4-ShowThe stage is set for a show in which kids from the audience join the cast…

5-Show…which includes characters that need no introduction to anybody who knows Seuss!

6-ShowEven the two that have no names, other than "Thing"…the appropriate number.

7-BreakfastSunday breakfast for the Seuss crowd, on tables set for all who sign up.

9-BreakfastAnd the room is suitably decorated…guess who was in charge?

8-BreakfastOn the menu…Green Eggs and Ham…now that's a surprise!

10-CatThe maitre d' is everywhere there's a hint of Seuss-dom.

11-GrandparentsEven grandparents are allowed to act silly on this cruise ship!

Today at portsandbows.com: A cruise from 75 years ago rises again

Carnival Glory
7 nights
October 11, 2014
Miami (return): CozumelBelizeRoatanCosta Maya
Inside: $359
Cost per day: $51
www.carnival.com

Cruising With Teenagers — What a Trip!

In the never-ending pursuit of attracting families to ships, cruise lines are always searching for ways to appease the teenagers because, really, that's where the problem lies. Anybody who doesn't think so hash't parented a teenager.

We love teens, of course. What parents today have to tolerate is what our own parents tolerated: that the transition from being a kid to being an adult, and all that comes with it. Rebelliousness and rejecting authority are part of developing your own voice and your own beliefs, and part of growing up, aren't they? To parents, that sometimes is a black and white issue…you say black, your teen says white. Or vice-versa.

To assist families in the midst of bridging that growth to adulthood, cruise lines have developed a long list of activities. Rock climbing. Surf-riding. Zip-lining. Video gaming. Simulated sky diving. Private "lounges" without the alcohol. Water slides. If there is something the wise people at cruise lines haven't thought of yet, they will.

It's all designed to give families with teenagers the perfect vacation together by having something for everyone, so that every family member goes home saying what a great trip it was…even the teenagers.

Let us know how that works out…

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Surprise refurbishing for Carnival Magic

Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
12 nights
November 1, 2014
Cape LibertySan JuanSt. ThomasSt. MaartenCuracaoGrand CaymanGalveston
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $74
www.royalcaribbean.com

Norwegian's Pool for Guppies, Too

News item: Norwegian is implementing a "Guppies" program for kids ages six months to three years…

We have just returned from spending 10 days with our youngest grandchild. She is 16 months old, and now that she can walk she seems to be everywhere. That's wonderful but it also means somebody — anybody — has to be everywhere with her. 

There were two of us. Throw in her parents, and the ratio was 4 to 1. Add a couple of her visiting cousins…6 to 1. And that darling little "Guppy" had everybody on the run.

Norwegian should have been watching.

On all 11 of its ships — 12 when the Breakaway arrives in May — the children's program is cleverly called Splash Academy. At the low (okay, small) end are the Guppies, the youngest "Norwegians" at sea. Like kindergarten and pre-kindergarten and before pre-kindergarten, this program recognizes the need for taking care of little ones.

To do that, Norwegian has created programs for the program. They're called Baby Art, Baby Rhyme Time and Motion in the Ocean, which now that you ask is a parent and baby mini-workout. Talk about redundancy!

And just in case any parents with little sailors don't find all of this inviting enough, Norwegian is offering to give the kids a free trip, as long as they're traveling with two adults…and it does take two, at least. The condition is the cruises have to be booked by the end of this week, and the noise you hear is the parents, scrambling to get to the phone or their computer.

The "sail free" and the kids' programs aren't just for little ones, they're for all "kids" 17 and under. Norwegian's people have a long history of doing their homework, so to speak, and that means they know what they're doing, even for the six-months-to-three-years crowd.

We just hope they did the math on ratios.


Carnival Imagination
4 nights
April 22, 2013
Miami (return): Key West, Cozumel
Inside: $199
Cost per day: $49
www.carnival.com

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