Tag-Archive for » Jamaica «

Reading The Writings Of Cruising 

Like you, we’re always on the prowl to read something interesting…especially if it’s about cruising. To that end, when we find the writings of others who we think might appeal to you, we pass it along.

Today is one of those days.

During our most recent cruise, we spent a few evenings enjoying the company of Tom Stieghorst, who writes regularly for Travel Weekly and — more importantly — is the father of two teenage daughters. They’re the subject of a clever column he wrote about taking his family on a cruise, and you can find it at www.travelweekly.com.

On our previous cruise, we visited Falmouth, Jamaica for the first time and a column in the Jamaica Observer by Michael Burke caught our eye this week. It’s worth reading even if you’re not interested in cruising, at www.jamaicaobserver.com.

Hopefully you’ll find them as interesting and/or entertaining as we did.

Today at portsandbows.com: The Norwegian purchase

Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas
5 nights
October 27, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Nassau, Cozumel
Balcony: $554
Cost per day: $110

Dunn's River Falls: Been There… 


FALMOUTH, Jamaica — We knew that if we went to the most famous place in Jamaica bearing our name, and did what most people who go there do, that we’d be able to say triumphantly (yet one more time): “Been there, Dunn that.”

Dunns-signWe knew that if we did, indeed, climb Dunn’s River Falls (three and a half football fields long) it was entirely possible we’d spend the next three days in a horizontal position on Allure of the Seas, which isn’t a bad place to spend three days horizontally, or even vertically.

And we knew that skipping the journey up the Falls would bring into question our age, or at least our courage.

Everybody on our tour bus was going to cool off at this Jamaican hotspot because it’s the No. 1 tourist attraction in the country, or because it looked like fun, or because maybe they’d had a little too much rum, mon, and weren’t thinking straight.

We went because of our heritage.

Dunns-guideHow could somebody named Dunn go to Jamaica for the first time and not visit Dunn’s River Falls, a short bus ride from the port of Falmouth? Maybe we’d find a distance relative or, better yet, that we were entitled to some royalties that had accrued over the years in our name. Or at least a free drink.

All that really happened was that we spent a couple of pleasant, humid hours watching other people as they tried to make their way on the slippery rocks, wearing water-friendly shoes and holding hands with strangers who may or may not have been on their bus. It occurred to us that it might have been interesting, and certainly prettier, to observe the Falls if the rocks were not dripping with humanity but this, folks, is a tourist attraction in every sense of the word.

There are line-ups to pay $20 to get in, unless you’re on a shore excursion from a cruise ship, in which case your guide (thank you, Carsha Haye) knows how to get around the lines. There are places to eat and rink, there are the inevitable souvenir shops and there’s even a young Jamaican making a buck by using your camera Dunns-Dunnsto take your picture with the Falls as a back-drop (thank you, mon). And if you’re traversing the pools of water and not just watching, videos of your experience are recorded for sale (about $40).

Conservatively, this place handles thousands of tourists a day, every day, as long as there are no monsoons or hurricanes in the neighborhood. It’s a money machine for Jamaica and treated with the respect that all such money machines are treated. That means it’s clean, friendly and a happy place to visit.

Always by people who hope that when they reach the top of Dunn’s River Falls, they’d be able to raise their hands and say…

“Done that!”

Take it from us…saying “Dunn that” gets old after a while.

Today at portsandbows.com: River ship explosion continues

Celebrity Millennium
14 nights
September 28, 201
Tokyo, Mount Fuji, Kyoto, Jeju Island, Seoul, Tianjin, Shanghai
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $64


'Unusual' Remark From Florida Cruise

On one of our latest cruises, to the Caribbean, we met a friendly young couple from California. They'd flown to Florida on the dreaded "red-eye" and were in the process of enjoying their first Royal Caribbean cruise, on Allure of the Seas.

During a shore excursion in Jamaica, being friendly, they'd met some other passengers. After parting, they overheard a woman they'd just met say this:

"Why would they come all the way here from California? Don't they have their own cruises?"

No further comment.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Royal Caribbean's video innovation 

Celebrity Constellation
11 nights
October 14, 2014
Istanbul (return): BourgasVarnaSochiTrabzonSinop
Inside $799
Cost per day: $72

Cruise Ship To Rehab Not A Happy Trip

We have friends who belong to AA. That's not American Airlines, it's Alcoholics Anonymous. So we are aware of how tough it can be to struggle with this disease, and to beat it, and to think you've beaten it and then discover you haven't.

Trace AdkinsOne of the unspoken fears of cruise lines is, because of the party atmosphere that comes on every ship, that they contribute to alcoholism. Don't ask, don't tell can certainly come into play. So can the Ostrich Theory: head in the sand.

On most ships, there are opportunities for alcoholics to meet. It's called Friends of Bill W and there is an area set aside daily, usually a library or small meeting room.

Why this? Why now?

Last week, country singer Trace Adkins entered rehab after 12 years of sobriety. It appears his fall from the wagon came while he was on the Norwegian Pearl, during a seven-day Country Cruising trip — he was one of the performers. he was celebrating his 52nd birthday and, unfortunately, he stopped celebrating his sobriety.

When the Pearl stopped in Ocho Rios, Jamaica — the first stop — Adkins left and went home. His manager later confirmed he had checked into rehab. It was not the first time Adkins has fallen off the wagon.

For people who enjoy his music, and most of all for him, hopefully it will be the last time.

Norwegian Jewel
7 nights
February 2, 2014
New Orleans (return): CozumelBelize CityRoatanCosta Maya
Oceanview: $429
Cost per day: $61

Cruise Awards from the UK

There are so many cruise lines, passengers, critics and assorted opinions in North America that it's easy to forget about what the rest of the world thinks about cruise lines.

Today, we bring you a sampling.

It comes from the United Kingdom, where readers of Cruise International Magazine cast 20,000 ballots to pick the best of everything…everything from cruise agent to learning to well-being to — of course — cruise line.

You might be surprised by some of the results.

Instead of saving the best for last, let's reveal right off the top that the best cruise line is…Carnival. It's not exactly like winning Best Picture at the Oscars, but it's a feather in the cap of a cruise line that doesn't do much more than put its toe in the water in Europe. That makes it a curious choice.

Either Brits like to cross the ocean and sail on Carnival ships, or they're enamored with the British humor in the world according to John Heald, Carnival's blogger-in-chief. If you don't think that's possible, you should know that Best Cruise Blogger was one of the magazine awards, and Heald won it.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the red carpet…

Best FoodCunard, with an honorable mention to Holland America

Best for ActivitiesRoyal Caribbean, followed by Celebrity

Best Innovation — Carnival's 5D Cinema, ahead of Norwegian's Ice Bar on the Epic

Best for LearningFred.Olsen first, Cunard second

Best Luxury Cruise LineSeabourn number one, Oceania second

Best EntertainmentPrincess, followed by Carnival, with nary a mention of Norwegian

Best Shore ExcursionsUniworld, and honorable mention for Fred.Olsen

Best for KidsDisney, with Carnival best of the others

Best Destination (Europe) — Norway, then Stockholm, even though one is a country and the other a city

Best Destination (Rest of World)Alaska, then Jamaica

And in the event you think any of those are strange choices, this has to be the strangest…

Best River Cruise LineViking first, Uniworld second

Best Luxury River Cruise Line — Uniworld first, Viking second

Carnival Breeze
15 nights
November 6, 2012
Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, Las Palmas, Antigua, St. Maarten, Miami
Inside: $799
Cost per day: $53

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