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The Hotel That's A Cruise Ship


One of our daughters-in-law, who knows something about the hotel business, tipped us off about a rather unique place to stay. Lots of cruise ships are called hotels…this is a hotel that’s a cruise ship and, yes, there is a difference.

It’s in South Korea. Our daughter-in-law (Kim) found the “Sun Cruise Resort & Yacht” while surfing…the web, that is. She found a site named SlipTalk on which there are posted some fabulous, amazing pictures of this resort. It’s worth checking out.

Back to the hotel-ship.

It’s in a city called Gangneung (or Jeongdongjin), on the coast of South Korea, due east of Seoul. Make that, above a city, because this cruise ship sits on the top of a cliff where you can reputedly have “the best view of the sunrise/sunset in Korea.” The hotel is surely the best-kept secret in the cruise community — maybe because it’s outside competition.

It’s been around for 12 years. Accommodation in its 211 rooms is “luxurious.” It has both condominiums and hotel-style rooms. The “ship” is 165 meters long and 45 meters high, and weighs 30,000 tons. For comparison, it would be slightly smaller than a ship like the Ocean Princess.

And here’s the best part: If our research is accurate, the price of accommodation starts at 80,000 wan, which sounds like a lot until you convert it and discover that’s about $75.

The next-best part: You can’t get seasick.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons: parhessiastest

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Caribbean Princess
5 nights
December 13, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Cozumel, Costa Maya
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $59

Florida Hotel That Doesn't Live Up To Its Name

Okay, maybe it is better to arrive in your port of departure the DAY before your ship leaves. That's our mantra, but sometimes we deviate from it — all for good reason — as we did this month en route to boarding the Allure of the Seas.

We paid for our deviation, big-time.

Flying from the west, and facing excessive air fares, we took the old red-eye and landed in Fort Lauderdale just after 5 a.m. With the time change, that's 2 a.m. body time, and we had decided to give our bods the endurance test of surviving until we boarded the ship about 12 hours later.

However, after landing and feeling the way we were, a better option seemed to find a bed reasonably close to both the airport and the cruise terminal. In Fort Lauderdale, that's relatively easy to do because they're almost in the same neighborhood.

We found a hotel called Sleep Inn that had shuttles to both. The room price was good: $70 plus tax — hey, we only needed the room for six hours. The shuttle was late, the hotel wasn't exactly close to either the airport or the cruise terminal, and by the time we peeled back the covers  it was 7 a.m.

Okay, five hours' sleep.

At 8:30, the maid was banging on the door, wanting in to clean the room. We told her, approximately, to go away. At 9:15, we were awakened by the key rapping sharply against the door. We decided to call the front desk to complain, or at least interrupt her routine, which would be infinitely better than having her interrupt ours. Oh, did we mention that the room phone was dead?

Back to sleep. Again.

Until 10:25, when the return of the maid was greeted with an even angrier response from within. Then again, at 11:55…since it was almost time to get up and dressed, this time we did.

You may have noticed the name of the hotel: Sleep Inn.

Bad name, because "sleeping in" isn't allowed.

Next time, we'll book a room in advance, without "maid service." 

Or arrive a day early.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Space-Ships picture more Scenic than ever

Carnival Imagination
4 nights
September 7, 2014
Long Beach (return): Catalina IslandEnsenada
Inside: $269
Cost per day: $67

Recognizing Cruise Ship Impact

The last time we cruised out of Galveston, we were impressed that the hotel we booked for the night before the cruise allowed us to leave our rental car in the hotel lot for five days, until our return.

Just a little extra.

There’s a hotel in Seattle that is also catering to people who cruise. It’s called the “Seattle Cruise Transportation Package” and it includes an oversized studio suite, hot breakfast buffet, Internet and transportation for two from the downtown hotel to the cruise terminal.

It’s a Marriott hotel — called the SpringHill Suites Seattle Downtown/South Lake Union — and it’s a sign that hotels in particular are directing marketing more and more at cruise passengers. That tells you how much cruising means to an economy when a ship is home-ported in a city. How many of us want to go early or stay late in a city that’s home to the cruise ship you’re taking?

It’s not just a few more heads in a few more beds…it’s meals in the restaurants, gifts from the gift shop, parking where applicable (and where isn’t it applicable these days?).

The only flaw with the Seattle hotel’s pitch was there was no indication that there was any kind of bargain on the rack rate…in fact, there wasn’t even price. Lots of hotels these days have breakfast and Internet included, so discriminating cruisers are just going to do the math — room plus a cab versus room that includes a shuttle.

Hey, we’re not stupid!

Norwegian Epic
7 nights
May 27, 2012
Barcelona (return): Naples, Rome, Florence, Cannes, Marseille
Inside  $699

Travel Tips for Southampton

Two quick ones for anybody planning a journey like ours on the Celebrity Eclipse, a Transatlantic re-positioning cruise…

1. Assuming Southampton is your destination, don’t assume that a 5 a.m. arrival ensures you can catch a flight back the same day, if you’re not planning to stay in Europe. Some airlines (American) fly only early in the morning and you need at least two hours to get from the ship to the airport, and you have to be there two hours before your flight leaves.

2. If you are looking for transportation from Southampton to Heathrow, for example, there are several options and none of them is cheap. The cruise-ship bus (coach) is $100 per person. A “shore excursion” is between $120, per person. Thanks to the Internet, we lucked out with Apex Executive Cars. The driver, Gary Lee, was prompt and exemplary, and the cost was 73 pounds ($140), plus tip.

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