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Disney Dolls In Demand — Five's Your Limit

Did you know you can only buy five singing Olafs? You don’t know what a singing Olaf is, or why you would want to buy…one…him?

Then you don’t know Frozen.

If Anna is the apple of your eye, no matter how many granddaughters you have, five is mBwt0fnYk5chKKq4-bgv9Jwyour limit. The same goes for Elsa — she’s the other Sparkle Princess. And Sven’s the same, not because he talks.

These are the characters from Frozen, the hit movie from Disney, and it has everything to do with cruising because Disney has cruise ships that Moms and Dads and Grandmas and Grandpas go on and buy these toys. For the grandchildren, you understand.

The demand has been so great (think Cabbage Patch Dolls) that Disney has had to restrict purchases. Imagine…restricting how much Disney anything you m-gZvB3H0TuB1eHPzkG2DQgcan buy! And because Olaf and Anna and friends are so hot, they’ve become an industry for speculators.

Yesterday, we checked ebay. There were 1,692 Olafs available for sale. And 8,058 Elsas and Annas. As a duo, the girls were being offered by one seller for $18.99 and there were 206 “watchers.” Any one for them could have bought the dolls for $19 on the spot but they are watching because they want to see if they can make a buck on sales of their own.

Meanwhile, back at Disney — which also likes to make a buck — the limit on Frozen purchases also applies at all theme parks and Disney Vacation Club locations.

There’s no indication when the Frozen mania will thaw.

Today at Phil Reimer’s portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Holland America Ryndam
7 nights
June 7, 2014
London (return): OsloKristianstadStavangerUlvik
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $99

Man The Cannons For Two-Ship Standoff

The die is cast. The combatants have been chosen. The dates have been more or less chosen. Mano-a-mano…or shipo-a-shipo.

The Norwegian Breakaway vs the Anthem of the Seas.

The Battle of The Apple.

That would be the big one, as in New York. Now that Royal Caribbean has made it official that Anthem of the Seas — a sister to Quantum of the Seas (below) — will be based year-round in New York (okay, across the Hudson in New Jersey), both are proclaiming to be "New York's [fill in the adjective] ship."

Breakaway was first and Norwegian bills it as "the newest and largest ship embarking from NYC."

Anthem will arrive next April and is currently being touted as "the newest, largest and Quantum of the Seasmost innovative ship ever to homeport in the New York region."

Technically, both are correct enough to maintain the sell lines. Anthem isn't going to sail from NYC, like Breakaway, but from Bayonne, New Jersey. So Breakaway will continue to be the "newest and largest" in NYC while Anthem will be the "newest, largest…" from the New York "region."

A little research followed to compare cruises on the two New York ships. This is often an apples-oranges comparison because ships go to different places, on cruises of different lengths and with different features.

Plunging on, here are some apples and oranges to chew on for price comparison:

• A 7-day Bermuda cruise runs from $64 a night ($449) next month to $165 a night ($1,159) in August.
• A 7-day Bahamas cruise runs  from $86 a night ($599) in November to $164 a night  ($1,149) over the Christmas holidays.

Anthem of the Seas
• Cruises that are generally longer than a week average between $131 to $140 a night.

The difference between the two is that Anthem will be the "newest…most innovative."

In New York, and everywhere else.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: Carnival's singing "Galveston, oh Galveston…"

Holland America Prinsendam
16 nights
June 7, 2014
Amsterdam (return): AalborgCopenhagenBerlinTallinnSt. PetersburgHelsinkiStockholmVisbyYstadHamburg
Inside: $1,449
Cost per day: $90

Sampler Cruises in Faraway Places


Last week, we wrote about "sampler" cruises on the West Coast of North America. It also applies on other coasts.

If you happen to be going to London after the Olympics are done and you're not sure how you feel about cruising, or you want to take somebody who is a reluctant cruiser, here's one way to find out…

You can take the Grand Princess (above) on a three-day, round-trip cruise from Southampton. The ship makes stops in Guernsey (England) and Paris. Departure is September 1 and fares start at $499 per person.

Think of it as a weekend in Paris (even if you don't get to Paris until Monday).

If you happen to be going to Australia next year, P&O has all kinds of sampler cruises to introduce you (or your companion) to cruising.

The most attractive one we found — at a reseller called cruisesalefinder.com.au — was Sydney return, three nights sailing off the east coast of Australia for $398 on the Pacific Jewel. Besides the attractive pricing, it's a food and wine cruise, leaving March 28 — like late August in North America.

Think of it as a weekend picking grapes in an Australian vineyard.

Norwegian Sun
9 nights
August 2, 2012
Copenhagen (return): Berlin, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $77

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