Tag-Archive for » Christmas cruises «

The Grinch Now A Cruise Character

The Grinch is going to have ample time to steal Christmas on Carnival ships next month, and guess what? It won’t happen, because it never has.

The Dr. Seuss villain will appear on all Carnival cruises in December. He’ll be trying to keep Christmas from happening, and stealing Christmas items from crew members on all the Grinch Bookships because, well, that’s how The Grinch made his name.

What started out as a moral attack on the commercialization of Christmas in a kids’ book that was written 58 years ago became two movies (1966 and 2000), and one of the most famous of many famous books written by Theodor Geisel, or Dr. Seuss.

In the original story, The Grinch took Christmas-themed items from the people of the fictional Whoville. On the ships, he’ll pop up here and there in Seussville (among other places), wearing his green “Santy Claus” costume and trying to be “cuddly as a cactus” and “charming as an eel.”

He’ll be playfully disruptive, in the words of Carnival’s people, and the kids on board will try to drive him crazy by making Grinch-themed Christmas ornaments and painting Grinch-like faces. In short, they’ll be trying to turn him into a Christmas figure, which is what happened in print in 1958.

In this age of political correctness and destroying traditions that offend the vocal minority, Carnival is turning Christmas on board into what Christmas has always been on shore.

A celebration…and a time to change — as The Grinch did when he became the guest of honor at Christmas dinner in Whoville.

In the news…

• CDC awards ninth straight perfect score for Holland America Eurodam
• Crystal Cruises purchases Boeing 777 to join Dreamliner in Crystal Air
• Not a single ship exceeded emission standard in Victoria during 2015

Today at portsandbows.com: River cruising in Burgundy

Carnival Sensation
3 nights
January 14, 2016
Port Canaveral (return): Nassau
Inside: $179
Cost per day: $59

On The First Day After Christmas…

If you're on a cruise ship today — or if you've ever been on a cruise ship the day after Christmas — chances are you're happy not to be surrounded by white stuff (unless it's wakes or sand) and chances are that's part of the motivation for being on a ship. Chances are, too, that you're in the Caribbean and, if that's the case, you have an opportunity to see how locals decorate for Christmas with snow.

Here's a selection of pictures we've taken from some of the warm-weather places we've been on the last week of the year…and one from Royal Caribbean's horticulturists:

St. Maarten-2


Punta Gorda


FrostyCentral Park

Today at portsandbows.com: New adventures for Un-Cruisers

Norwegian Dawn
7 nights
February 1, 2015
New Orleans (return): CozumelBelizeRoatanCosta Maya
Inside: $359
Cost per day: $51

Christmas Cruises Can Pose a Dilemma…

It started with the prospect of spending our first Christmas in 40 away from our children…or any family members. We would be warm. No shovelling snow or freezing temperatures. No slaloming down an icy hill in the car. No jackets or toques or mitts. Pass the sunscreen, please.

"At what price are you interested in flying to family for Christmas?" one of us asked Xmas-Teagan-2as he scanned the exorbitant airfares that come with traveling near Christmas.

"No price," she replied.

In the end, the other "no" ruled. No family. In the end, terminating 40 years of being with offspring — even just one — was not acceptable. In the end, a radio commentary reminding her that Christmas was ALL about family was the deal-maker. In the end, we boarded a plane to take us higher from the ground to lower temperatures.

That raises the question about cruising at Christmas.

Do you or don't you? Obviously, we never have. Just as obviously, many people do. We have a friend on a cruise ship this week and when we told him of our change of plans his response was: "Lucky you. Wish I was at home."

The radio commentator was right. It is all about family.

Norwegian Spirit
9 nights
February 20, 2014
Barcelona (return): CasablancaSanta CruzArrecifeGranada
Inside: $429
Cost per day: $47

Christmas Cruising — Is It Time Yet?

Once upon a time (this is not a fairy tale), people marked their calendars by counting the number of shopping days until Christmas. There were days when you couldn’t shop then. Honest.

No more, and now that Labor Day is over, the Christmas shopper in our house is beginning to get the itch. Including today there are, after all, only 109 shopping days — or just days that end in “y” — until Christmas. I got that number from her.

That brings up Christmas cruises, although in our politically correct society everyone seems afraid to call them that. All cruise lines have “holiday” cruises designed not to offend potential passengers from any denomination. If you’re not committed to a traditional turkey-at-someone’s-house-every-year Christmas, being pampered on a cruise ship may sound as appealing as the annual dinner.

Especially for the person cooking the turkey.

What should you expect?

From poking around a variety of websites where blogs and comments on blogs are posted by people who have cruised at this time of year, here are some of the things you can find on a Christmas cruise…

• Christmas decorations, often starting in late November or early December (just like at our house!)
• Christmas celebrations, as much to ease the homesick feelings of staff as to cater to the passengers who celebrate the occasion
• Songs (once called carols) and activities and religious services…even Santa coming down the smokestack (Holland America)
• Themed theater productions, elaborate buffets and anything to appeal to kids who might wish they were home digging under the tree
• If it happened to be a river cruise in Europe, Christmas the way it’s celebrated in Germany

Oh yes, also warmer weather than you’ll likely find at home.

Notes on the Boats

November 2, 2010:
Fort Lauderdale (return) to Eastern Caribbean, 10 days
Bonus: $150 shipboard credit
Ship: Holland America Maasdam
Contact: cruise.com
* * *
Have you ever wondered how much cruisers pay for the “theme” in theme cruise?

The researchers at Cruise Critic came up with an interesting item this week about the two “Nickelodeon All-Access” theme cruises that Norwegian is promoting for next year. Identical cruises on the same ship are much cheaper.

How much?

Just by visiting this page on NCL’s website, Cruise Critic discovered that the theme cruise on the Norwegian Jewel that costs $899 from New York on February 20, 2011, is advertised for $549 on any other date from February through May.

Similarly, when we checked this page on NCL’s site for the same theme cruise on the Epic, next July 24 from Barcelona, the starting price was $1,349 (inside, per-person).  The identical cruise on the Epic any other week but July 24 next summer was $749.

So, what price theme?
* * *

One of our favorite authors is the renowned storyteller John Grisham. Like most people, we enjoyed his legal thrillers most but, when he deviated from his formula and wrote Skipping Christmas (which later became a movie), we liked that, too. So when we heard about the opportunity for cruisers to “skip Christmas” by going on a ship, it became a natural way for us to introduce the subject.

All the cruise lines have holiday itineraries at that time of year, and Royal Caribbean’s looks a little different than anything we’ve seen. Not only does it have holiday cruises — it’s politically incorrect to call them Christmas cruises even though that’s what they are — departing from eight U.S. ports (check here to find a list), but all its ships will be, err…decked out…with decorations.

A Catholic priest will say mass at midnight, a rabbi will do what rabbis do for Hanukkah, holiday movies will be shown in the theaters, crew members will sing carols, and passengers can decorate cookies, watch holiday skate shows or send kids for special programs.

So really, it’s not “skipping Christmas”…it’s just celebrating it in an unusual way.
* * *
It seems cruise passengers like being organized. In response to consumers inquiries (or demands), Celebrity now makes it possible to book just about everything before boarding its ships. The latest additions to the list are spa, salon and personal fitness appointments.

The process is gradually being rolled out over the Celebrity fleet. Last week, it was available on the Solstice. This week, the Eclipse (right). Next week, appointments can be booked on Equinox sailings. And next year, naturally, the new Silhouette. In fact, it will happen on six of the nine Celebrity ships by mid-November.

Cruisers can already book online not just shore excursions but also drink packages, specialty dining reservations and Select Dining reservations.

What’s left?
* * *
Our colleague Phil Reimer had a particularly interesting Ports & Bows blog yesterday (they’re ALL interesting), assembling some facts that support the belief that cruise ships are shifting more and more to the European. One is that cruise lines increased the number of “beds” they put in Europe by 8% over the last two years while the number of ships embarking from U.S. ports fell to 66% from a high of 77% six years ago.

Phil’s theory is cruisers who have been to Mexico, the Caribbean and Hawaii want a change of scenery and, down the road, Asia will become a favored destination.

What say you?
* * *
That’s it, we’re done.

  • Categories

  • Archives