Cruising's Nautical Notebook

This just in…

IS THE PRICE RIGHT?…………….$479 (oceanview $587)

October 3-24-31, December 12; Los Angeles to Mexico (return), 7 nights, Mariner of the Seas, Royal Caribbean.

Bonus: onboard credit. Contact: travelocity

OFFER ENDS MIDNIGHT TONIGHT

All prices are per person based on double occupancy and available at time of posting.

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There was a changing of the guard a few days ago at the Alabama Cruise Terminal in Mobile, when one Carnival ship was replaced by another. The Fantasy was pulling out for the last time (to be re-located in Charleston, SC) just about as the Elation was sailing in to take her place.

The Mobile Press Register had a great picture of the ships passing in the night…oops, it was 12 noon not midnight. Mobile Mayor Sam Jones, who has been stumping for Carnival to make his city a two-ship port, told the paper: “See, we can handle two ships very, very easily.”

The Fantasy had been in Mobile since November and was now being positioned for year-round cruises in Charleston, the first time a cruise line has made that city a permanent port. The Elation came east from San Diego to make 74 departures a year from Mobile to Mexico.

Last week, Carnival made another city its port for the first time — Seattle — when the Carnival Spirit embarked on its first of 17 cruises to Alaska.

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Since its introduction of Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian has adopted “innovative” as an adjective unto itself. The latest claim to changing the face of cruising is enabling passengers to book onboard entertainment online, before they even board the ship.

Going on the Epic, still more than a month away from hitting the water? If so, you can pre-book some of their shows up to 45 days prior to embarkation. Shows eligible for pre-booking include Blue Man Group, Cirque Dreams & Dinner, Legends in Concert and the Second City Comedy Troupe. Details are on NCL’s website.

Still undisclosed is which shows require a cover charge.

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Did you know…

That cruise lines provide Homeland Security with a passenger and crew manifest for every ship in a U.S. port, to be compared with a terrorist watch list?

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When the Enchantment of the Seas ports in Portland, Maine, on its way to Halifax, NS, on June 20, it will be the first large cruise ship to visit the Forest City. By the end of October, Portland will have been visited by 69 smaller ships and more than 75,000 tourists.

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More news is emerging on the soon-to-be newest member of Royal Caribbean’s family, Allure of the Seas, scheduled to make its grand entrance December 4. There are even small changes — could there be improvements? — from the biggest cruise ship in the world, Oasis of the Seas, thanks to feedback from passengers.

For those of us who have grown up in the Mac world, the most appealing might be iPod docks in all the staterooms!

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