Tag-Archive for » Maasdam «

Friday File: Caribbean Calling In Winter

In case the resident weather systems haven’t prompted you to look south — or anywhere — for a break from mid-winter, this is a good time to drool over some of the luscious, hot, picturesque, sandy, enticing places you can visit when you take a Caribbean cruise. And if that doesn’t tempt you to book one…well, maybe you’re just content to stay home and shovel!

Before departureIs there a more photographic rock formation than at Cabo San Lucas?

St. MaartenIt seems everybody has a boat in the popular port of St. Maarten

TulumGazing at the Gulf of Mexico from the Maya ruins of Tulum, Mexico

Cayman IslandsA watering hole called Paradise in the Grand Cayman Islands

Mahogany BayPrivacy is available at beautiful Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras

CozumelThis pretty part of Cozumel is worth taking a drive to the north shore

In the news…

• Norwegian Edge: 2-year, $400-million refurbishing program for 9 ships
• Holland America’s new brand campaign called ‘Savour The Journey’
• Sea trials complete for Holland America’s new 2,650-passenger Koningsdam

Today at portsandbows.comRefurbishing the Carnival Inspiration

Holland America Maasdam
7 nights
April 19, 2016
Fort Lauderdale (return): Half Moon Cay, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78

Vancouver Reducing Boarding Time


Since 9-11, “clearing customs” has run the gamut of being everything from a nightmare to a piece of cake for international travelers…more often a bad dream than a sweet treat.

Among other things, and in the interests of making it easier for the masses to navigate their way in and out of the U.S., the complications have spawned trusted traveler programs and, more recently, automated terminals for airline passengers in many airports.

Port of VancouverVancouver’s cruise terminal has 10 machines. It’s the first time U.S.-bound cruise passengers have been able to utilize automated passport technology.

Translation: quicker embarkation.

It’s called BorderXpress, and if you’re taking an Alaska cruise from Vancouver this year, you should make note of it so that you’re prepared. If you’re new to Automated Passport Control (as it’s called), you simply scan your passport, answer questions on the screen, pick up your receipt and then meet a customs officer.

It’s supposed to allow customs officer to process four times as many passengersm — or the same number of passengers four times faster. In theory, if it has taken you an hour to board a ship in Vancouver, you should now be able to embark in 15 minutes…or so.

In a statement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Deputy Director Kurry Pastilong said this:

“The recent evolution of APC for cruise ship passengers is just one more way that the agency is striving to ease the flow of passengers without sacrificing core mission requirements.”

From our experience, it works well in airports. There is every reason to think it will at the Port of Vancouver…and hopefully many other cruise terminals.

In the news…

• Celebrity's Bistro On Five to cost $10, increase of 42%
• Carnival's 'big' news conference set for June 4 in New York 

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival Corp. may add 10th cruise line

Holland America Maasdam
7 nights
June 20, 2015
Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Sydney, Charlottetown, Quebec City, Montreal
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $99

The Changing World Of Godmothers

Remember when being the godmother of a cruise ship was an honor reserved for celebrities, royalty or others who were already enjoying some measure of fame?

Times have changed.

Today is a “reality world.”

Acknowledging that, and in partnership with Travel Weekly, Royal Caribbean is going to have what might be called the cruise world’s first “reality godmother” when Anthem of the Seas is launched in April. This ship’s godmother will be a singing travel agent.


Really. Also, reality.

Here’s how it will work:

Travel agents (women only) can apply by submitting a short video clip of their singing ability. They’ll choose from a list of 19 songs. The list of potential godmothers will be trimmed to five by a panel of three judges who will watch the videos. The five finalists will sing for the judges and the winner will — after a little voice coaching — appear at the ships’ christening where she will sing the anthem.

Anthem, get it?

The winner will also sing at Travel Weekly’s Agent Achievement Awards and win a cruise-for-two on Anthem of the Seas. The winner will also enjoy at least 15 minutes of fame, or royalty, or celebrity, or all of the above.

So far, nobody’s saying that this will turn into an award-winning, long-running TV show that they’ll call Cruising Idol.

Today at portsandbows.com: Foodie new for Oceania fans

Holland American Maasdam
25 nights
March 13, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): St. Thomas, St. Barts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, Half Moon Cay, Fort Lauderdale, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Barbados, Fort-de-France, St. Croix, Half Moon Cay
Inside: $1,349
Cost per day: $53

Long and Round…and No Flights

Flying is (or can be) a pain, right? When's the last time you took a long flight that was flawless? Impeccable, aggravation-free experience from check-in at one airport to check-out of another? No delays, either on the way to the plane or on the tarmac? Free of cramped quarters, free to eat what you want when you want? Smiles all around, especially on your face?

Maybe it's just us, but there seems to be a trend towards more "long" round trips on cruises these days, to take the flight and all that comes with it right out of the equation, not to mention out of your holiday.

You can find lots of examples of this, but one that really caught our attention was identified by our pal at Ports and Bows, Phil Reimer, who mentioned it in his blog yesterday.

A Transatlantic round trip?

It's in October, on Holland America. The Maasdam leaves Fort Lauderdale for Italy (and assorted other countries on the way there and back), returning to Florida six weeks later (yes, 42 days). It goes for less than $100 a day if you can get by without a balcony, and you visit 20 ports. Next summer, the Veendam will cross the Atlantic from Boston and come back. This journey is 35 days, round trip, and is billed as the Voyage of the Vikings. These are both one-time experiences. 

Trial runs, maybe?

Now if you don't live in Fort Lauderdale or Boston, or close enough to drive, you may still have to fly. However, you can travel around for five to six weeks and escape almost all of the aggravations, big or small, that come with getting on a plane.

If nothing else, it's an interesting concept.

Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas
13 nights
October 27, 2013
BostonSt. KittsSt. LuciaBarbadosCuracaoArubaTampa
Inside: $725
Cost per day: $55

  • Categories

  • Archives