Insider Cruise Ship Deals Ebook

Ex-cruise Ship Officer Reveals Insider Secrets Of The Cruise Industry

With this Cruise Savings Guide created by David Kirkland every cruise passenger will save money with these insider secrets. With so much powerful information including the secrets of how to cruise for free and how to fly for free you are guaranteed to see immediate results. And it doesnt matter if youre planning to cruise on a ship with 3000 passengers or one with 500 this information will save you money right away. The information in this guide works with any cruise line and any itinerary in the world. As an Intelligent Cruiser, you will join the thousands of others who now know all the secrets and who are saving thousands of dollars every time they cruise. Its really that easy! You can cruise over and over again and the benefits of this insider information will never end. This guide will work for you every single time you take a cruise vacation. Did you know that certain crew members on board every ship have the authority to provide guests with benefits that usually cost hundreds of dollars? Read more here...

Excruise Ship Officer Reveals Insider Secrets Of The Cruise Industry Summary


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My Excruise Ship Officer Reveals Insider Secrets Of The Cruise Industry Review

Highly Recommended

I started using this ebook straight away after buying it. This is a guide like no other; it is friendly, direct and full of proven practical tips to develop your skills.

Purchasing this e-book was one of the best decisions I have made, since it is worth every penny I invested on it. I highly recommend this to everyone out there.

Carnival Cruise Lines

The world's largest cruise line has played a major role in making cruising affordable. While Princess' Love Boats caught the imagination of the public on television back in the 1960s, it was the newly established Carnival line that introduced more new ships and more ideas back then. Then and now they offer excellent value and a casual, mostly informal experience on their self-proclaimed fun ships. The entire Carnival fleet features a striking all-white exterior, except for the mostly red-and-blue Carnival logo and their distinctive funnel - which is shaped like the tail of a jet airplane. This feature adds a graceful flair to all of their ships. One of the most notable features of any Carnival cruise ship is its large main showroom, which puts an emphasis on lavish Vegas-style entertainment. Glitz is evident in more than just the production shows. Interior d cor places an emphasis on eye-popping features and tries to dazzle you with the wow factor. This is especially true in...

Cruise Lines with Baja Mexican Riviera Itineraries

Ft he primary cruise lines operating in Baja and the T Mexican Riviera are Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean. This list includes the biggest cruise lines in the industry, names almost all American travelers are familiar with. Carnival and Royal Caribbean are the only lines that offer three-and four-night Baja cruises year-round. They, along with the four other lines, also offer itineraries covering the Mexican Riviera from the fall through the spring and lasting a minimum of one week. All six lines have trans-Panama Canal cruises. Sometimes these are offered on a regular basis, but in many cases they are repositioning cruises, with one departure per ship in each direction an nually. Complete details on these lines and their ships, along with some information on other operators, is given in the section that follows. For other cruise lines serving Mexico, see page 66. The term mass market isn't meant to be derogatory in any sense. It simply...

Norwegian Cruise Line

Depending upon the ship, there can be up to 10 restaurants representing a wide variety of cuisines and styles. There is a fee for some of the specialty restaurants. Dining times and seating arrangements are completely flexible (open seating from about 5 30 pm to as late as 10 pm). This even applies in the more traditional main dining room. Regardless of where you eat, you can dress as you wish (within reason - beachwear, for example, is taboo in dining establishments). Even in the most formal restaurant you can go casual if you wish. Of course, you can dress up as much as you want and many people still do. Formal nights are designated in various restaurants, but that just means it's dress-up time if you want it to be. Freestyle is also applied to activities, although every cruise line allows you a big choice in this area. NCL also has flexible disembarkation procedures that allow you to spend more time on board. But be warned that this feature might cost you some extra money.

The Cruise Line

Public areas or is glitz more your style Is this a romantic getaway for two or a family affair Formal or informal More or fewer dining choices These and many other questions can help narrow down which cruise lines are in the running for your dollars. To a large degree, your available budget will also help determine what line or lines to consider. Crystal is, for example, a lot more expensive than Carnival. You have to judge how much certain features of a cruise line (and the ship) are worth to you.

Efectricaf Appfiances Other Technicaf Tidbits

Virtually all cruise ships serving the Mexican Riviera have the same 110-volt system found in the United States and their outlets accept the two-pin plug (including those with a third grounding prong) found on all of your appliances. Some European lines have 220-volt electrical systems and use the two-round-pin plug that is found throughout most of Europe, but even they may have dual voltage systems. Find out before you leave if the ship you're traveling on has only a 220-volt system, which means that you will need a transformer and, probably, an adapter for the plug. Although they may have some of the latter on board, it is best to bring your own. You should also be aware that some electrical appliances are not permitted on board the ship. These are usually appliances that heat, such as irons and hair dryers, because of the risk of fire. Many cruise ship staterooms supply these items because their safety condition is frequently monitored. If you are the type of traveler who always...

Man Of War Bay An D Charlotteville

One or two adventure cruise ships now visit Charlotteville. The government has plans for a big Cruise Ship facility here, which may run against the feelings of the local residents who have not been consulted. Many of us hope the beauty and ambience of Charlotteville will not be

Accommodations on Land

Certainly one of the best parts of cruising is that, once you unpack your bags in your stateroom, there is no living out of a suitcase. The ship is your hotel, whether it's a three-night mini-cruise to Ensenada or a two-week or longer extravaganza through the Panama Canal. In some cruise markets (most notably Europe and Alaska) many passengers decide to spend extra time on land either before or after the cruise. This is not generally the case with Mexican cruises. For the most part, the only hotel night you are likely to need is in the embarkation city and perhaps the disembarkation city if that is different from your point of origination and you want to spend more time there. If you are arriving at your embarkation point via air, then it is very possible that it would be difficult to arrive early enough on the day your cruise starts. In such cases the cruise lines will often arrange a hotel night for you as part of your transportation option. Or they may offer multi-night stays...

Zo Its Your First Time Cruising

So I stretched the A to Z promise a bit I don't think I broke any laws in doing that. Getting more serious for a moment, newcomers to cruising will certainly have additional questions compared to experienced travelers, but being a rookie cruiser is no cause for concern. You've probably got the impression by now that vacationing on a cruise ship is really like staying at a full-service resort that's on the move. Most things are done for you, including the handling of your baggage to and from your stateroom upon embarkation and disembarkation. You'll find that cruises are well-organized and efficiently managed, especially given the large number of passengers on today's larger ships.

Other Ports ofEmbarkati

There are a couple of other cities from which a smaller number of Baja and Mexican Riviera cruises embark. These are Seattle and Vancouver and both are solely for repositioning cruises toward Mexico after the summer Alaskan season ends. At the other end of the Mexican season they would often embark at Acapulco and wind up in either of those two northern cities. Because of the relatively few cruises of this type, port details for those cities won't be provided except to say that each location has an excellent cruise ship terminal in the heart of downtown. There are many websites on Mexico, including the areas covered in this book. However, most are geared more to individual travelers coming into the country via plane or car. They aren't that useful for cruise ship visitors. On the other hand, browsing the web is always an interesting way to come up with little bits of information that you might be looking for. Some of the Mexican state govern

Payments Cancelations Cruise Documents

Although payment procedures for your cruise and the process of issuing cruise documents do differ somewhat from one cruise line to another, there are so many similarities that some general guidelines are possible. All cruise lines have a schedule of refunds should you be unable to take the cruise. This also varies according to cruise length but a typical penalty schedule will look something like this So, if you think there is any possibility that you may have to cancel, or you just don't like to take chances, consider purchasing trip cancellation insurance. This can be done through the cruise line but your travel agent or independent travel insurance companies can often give you the same or better coverage for less money. Cruise documents is a fancy name for your tickets and other little bits and pieces of information that the cruise line will send to you (or to your travel agent). The date when documents are sent varies from one line to another but is, more often than not, anywhere...

Organized Shore Excursions

The list of available excursions in each port will be almost identical regardless of which cruise line you take. The only exception of note is that some very long excursions may be omitted for those ships spending a limited time in a given port. The reason for the sameness is that the cruise lines aren't running the tours. All the lines make arrangements with local tour operators and these are usually the same for all the lines coming to a particular port. Although the cruise lines obviously get group rates and claim that they don't get anything out of the independently run excursions, I have some difficulty swallowing that as the cost of just about every excursion I've examined is virtually identical to the price you would pay if you

Sports Recreation While in Port

The possibilities for outdoor recreation along the Mexican Riviera and in Baja are almost endless, although the most popular activities with cruse ship passengers are, naturally, connected with the sea. In most cases you will have the option of seeking out one or more of these activities on your own. However, many of the cruise lines' shore excursions are simply organized ways to take part in popular outdoor activities. This usually means providing transportation to a popular beach or a fully escorted adventure experience. Here's a very brief rundown on the more popular recreational activities. Specific port-related information will be provided in the chapter on the individual ports of call.

Booking Shore Excursions

You can find out about available shore excursions for whatever cruise itinerary you've selected in advance. Sometimes, the cruise line will send you a brochure on the excursion options with your sailing documents. However, the increasingly widespread use of the Internet has had a huge impact on the process. Every cruise line will have detailed information about all of their available excursions on their website. All of the major lines have now implemented a system where you can book your shore excursions on-line prior to your cruise. If you don't have access to the Internet, then you'll have to wait until you board the ship to make reservations. Do so as soon as possible after boarding so that you won't be closed out of an excursion you really want to take. This can be done either at the shore excursion desk or, in most cases, via the ship's interactive closed-circuit TV system. Regardless of whether you book on-line or onboard the ship, tickets will be delivered to your stateroom....

Another Touring Option

The cruise lines are always looking for ways to enhance their passengers' experiences in the ports of call. Holland America has come up with an interesting concept. They realize that a car provides the greatest flexibility but that many people are hesitant about driving in foreign countries. HAL's answer is the Signature Collection of shore excursions. It's a fancy name but a simple program - you sightsee in a private car with your own personal driver, along with an English-speaking guide. The program was first introduced in Europe but Holland America has announced that they will be expanding it to cover all foreign ports of call. The major Tours can accommodate two to eight people and are for either four or eight hours. This will be tailored to fit various ports. Although there is a standard itinerary for each port, if it's only your party in the car you can ask that they change the itinerary a little or a lot. Similar private touring is sometimes available in various ports from...

Cruise Fanatics Ultimate Website

For people who just can't learn enough and read enough about what's going on in the world of cruising, there's Cruise News Daily, which can be accessed on the Internet at It is written in newspaper fashion with timely reports on everything from new ships to itineraries that are being altered because of current weather conditions. Their staff has inside access to what is going on at the cruise lines and you can often find out things at Cruise News Daily well before they become generally known. I look at it every day. That's the good part. The bad part

Liveaboard Dive Boats

The newest option for live-aboard dive options is with the Ocean Spirit, a 457-foot dive cruise ship operated by Ocean Quest International, based at St. Petersburg, Florida. This floating watersports resort has all of the amenities of a first class cruise ship including 160 cabins, casino, disco, cinema, athletic room, and swimming pool. State of the art diving services include ten 26-foot custom dive boats, photo video and gear rental, three-man hyperbaric chamber, sailboards, kayaks, jet and waterskis. Complete PADI, NAUI, and SSI scuba certification courses are offered. The Ocean Spirit departs from St, Petersburg, Florida every Sunday, arrives in Guanaja, Bay Islands, Honduras on Tuesday, dives Roatan on Wednesday, dives Lighthouse Reef, Belize all day Thursday, and dives Cozumel on Friday.

1955 Cowes Week Race Winners

Sailboat Race Winner

When I first went to Cowes, all the racing marks used were government buoys, but now with the commercial traffic of large container ships, tankers, and cruise ships, they try to use special racing marks instead of the navigational buoys. This is a mixed blessing as there are now about 100 racing buoys in the Solent and about 40 of these are in use during Cowes Week. At times, trying to ascertain which is the correct buoy for your class is difficult. The smart visiting skipper always finds a local rock, tide, and wind pilot without a local on board, trying to win in Cowes is like trying to roll a stone up a hill with your nose.

Whos Who In The Cruise Business

There are literally dozens of cruise lines throughout the world, many of them completely unknown to the American traveler because they don't cater to this market. But even if you limit yourself to North America there are more than a dozen major lines. At least in name. Consolidation, so common in every industry, is also a trend in this business. There are relatively few cruise companies if you consolidate brands by their corporate banner. Here's the lineup Carnival Besides Carnival, this industry behemoth owns Holland America and Princess, as well as world-famous Cunard, Costa Cruises, Windstar and Seabourn. Royal Caribbean The Royal Caribbean brand is, by itself, the second-largest cruise line after Carnival. That goes for the group as well because RC also owns Celebrity Cruises. It is the practice of Carnival and Royal Caribbean to let each line operate independently, thereby allowing for more variation in cruise style. Despite the consolidation there has yet to be any upward trend...

Diamond Princess Sapphire Princess

This is the second-biggest cruise line in terms of the number of ships, trailing only Carnival by a small margin. That gives you an idea of how successful they are and what a good product they deliver at affordable prices. Although Royal Caribbean has a good number of ships serving Pacific Mexico in one way or another, the selection is not as great as it could be considering what they have in their inventory. The Radiance-class ships (the first two listed below) are just dandy and are among the stars of the The layout is simple and the ship doesn't feel crowded despite the relatively large number of passengers for its size. Some decks are devoted solely to accommodations, or nearly so. Legend avoids having a seemingly endless maze of corridors with inside rooms tucked into every nook and cranny, a somewhat unpleasant reality on some of this line's ships built before the new millennium. Stateroom sizes are generally adequate, although beneath the junior suite level you won't find...

Financiaf Matters

Cruise line-issued card won't be recognized on land Most major credit cards (with the exception of Discover) are accepted at the more heavily visited tourist shops and attractions, while small privately owned stores may not accept them. This is especially true once you get away from the main visitor pathways. The same rules apply to travelers checks. When in port, you should carry with you only the amount of cash that you think you might need for the day. Leave the rest on board in your stateroom safe if there is one, or in the safe deposit facilities provided by the purser's office. Foreign exchange facilities on cruise ships are either limited or non-existent. Although you can exchange dollars for pesos in the United States, a better idea is to wait until you get to Mexico and then use your ATM card to make cash withdrawals in pesos. Even though you will pay fees for using an ATM that is not part of your bank, the exchange rate on ATM use is far better than you will get anywhere...

Information Sources

Ft here are many sources for general information on the cruise lines and on cruising itself. The cruise line brochures are a necessary piece of literature before you make any decision, but I cannot emphasize enough that these are marketing tools for the cruise lines. As a result, they're often far from objective. The same, of course, can be said about the extensive websites that each and every cruise line has. There are also more general sites about cruise ships but, here too, many are run by travel agencies looking for business or feature only certain cruise lines. The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is an industry organization composed of all the major cruise lines and many smaller ones. Their website,, also paints the experience in a purely positive light, as you might expect. Despite this, it is a useful site because it contains a wealth of information, both statistical and otherwise. You can also call CLIA at s (212) 921-0066. The primary feature of...

San Francisco

Until recently the only cruises to or from Mexico from San Francisco were repositioning cruises at the beginning and end of the summer season when ships were making their way to or from Alaska. While this is still the case with the majority of cruise lines, there are a couple of major lines that now have regularly scheduled itineraries from San Francisco. This is probably somewhat overdue considering that San Francisco, in addition to being a major population center, is a natural for cruising with its location and own attractions. The San Francisco cruise ship terminal is conveniently located near downtown along the famous Embarcadero at Pier 35 between the Fisherman's Wharf area and the foot of Market Street. If you are driving into San Francisco there is parking available at the cruise ship terminal. Costs run from about 15 per day. For those arriving at San Francisco International Airport without transfers arranged through the cruise line, a taxi ride to the ship will set you back...

Safety on the Ship

While it is impossible to be totally safe from crime in any environment, there is little doubt that cruise ships are one of the safest places to be. Few things are as rare as a person being mugged while on board a cruise ship. On the other hand, you never know who is traveling on the ship with you, so a few simple common sense precautions are still advisable. Women traveling alone or with another female friend should be especially wary (as they always should be) about the intentions of men. There are, no doubt, some men out there who figure that a woman on a cruise without a male companion is looking for some action. Behave as you would in your home city and you should not have any problems. When it comes to safeguarding your possessions, don't leave cash or other valuables on display in your room. Always use the in-room safe that most ships provide or check it with the purser's office for safekeeping. Also, always be sure that your room is locked upon leaving. What more people are...

Time Zones

The state of Baja California is on Pacific Time. The only port in this time zone is Ensenada. Mountain Time covers Baja California Sur and several mainland states in the northern portion of the Mexican Riviera. Ports on Mountain Time are Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, Loreto, Santa Rosalia and Mazatlan. Central Time is applicable to all ports on the Riviera in the state of Jalisco and points south. This includes Puerto Vallarta (right on the time zone border), Manzanillo, Acapulco and the Bahias de Huatulco. Because Puerto Vallarta is on the border it is the practice of some cruise lines not to change the time just for this port of call. Again, you will be kept informed of the proper time. It is important to know the correct Although children are much more commonly seen on cruises these days than in the past, this is still the type of vacation that appeals more to adults than to the little ones. This is not meant to discourage you from bringing your children along. In fact, most of the mass...


Despite big-time press attention to outbreaks of minor viruses on cruise ships that occur from time to time, cruising is a healthy way to travel. As with any place that serves food, there can be occasional instances of food poisoning, but they are usually mild. A greater risk are the annoyances of over-indulging in food and alcohol. This doesn't mean that you won't or shouldn't eat more than you normally would at home or even take an extra drink or two. But don't overdo it. Know your limits.

San Diego

While the San Diego area has two major factors working to its benefit (it is even closer to Mexico than Los Angeles, and there are also a multitude of things to do in the area), the port facilities in aren't as extensive as those at its neighbor to the north. The cruise ship terminal is conveniently located at the edge of downtown San Diego on the Pacific Highway at the intersection of B Street (one block north of Broadway). This makes it easy to do some exploring in the city before you get on the ship. It is also quite convenient to the San Diego airport a taxi ride to the cruise ship terminal will take only about 15 minutes and the fare should run less than 30, excluding a tip. There are two piers (the B Street Pier and the Broadway Pier). Drive-in passengers coming from I-5 should use the Washington Street exit and then proceed to Pacific Highway. Turn left and then right on Hawthorn and left on Harbor. It is about 2 miles from the Interstate exit to the terminal. The terminal does...

Getting Around

Acapulco can, for visitor purposes, be divided into three main sections. These are (from west to east around the bay) the old town, downtown and the main resort zone. The old town comprises a small peninsula called the Peninsula de las Playas (Peninsula of Beaches). Downtown starts along the waterfront and heads inland, beginning just to the west of the peninsula, and extends to the cruise ship dock. Everything east and southeast of that point is the resort zone. The main thoroughfare that you need to be familiar with is the Costera Miguel Alem n, which runs from the peninsula into the hotel The local bus service is good (although often very crowded) and routes run along the entire length of the Costera all the way to the resort zone. Good maps showing routes and destinations are posted at the bus stops. The fare is inexpensive, being the US equivalent of less than 50 . Do be aware that many of the older buses are not air conditioned, which can make things a bit uncomfortable. The...

Now Thats A Big Ship

When Cunard's Queen Mary II made its maiden voyage in early 2004 it created a stir in the cruise world that I've never seen. Certainly a part of this was because it was the world's largest cruise ship in terms of length, height and some other measures. Yet, it isn't that much bigger than Royal Caribbean's Voyager-class vessels, which were first introduced in 1999 and now number five sisters, with the final ship in the class having been delivered in 2004. In fact, they each hold more passengers than the Queen Mary II and are the biggest ships in the world in that regard.

Nautical Primer

Those who live and work on the sea have always had a language of their own. This continues today whether it applies to the navy, commercial shipping or the cruise industry. Although the staff of most cruise ships will usually speak in terms that land-lubbers understand, nautical terms will be heard frequently during the course of your journey. Here's a quick rundown on some of the ones you'll be most likely to encounter either during the planning of your trip or while onboard. Class A grouping of ships of the same type. Two or more ships in the same class can also be said to be sister ships. It is customary in the cruise industry to name the class after the first ship built of a particular type. The only major line not following this practice is Holland America. They make up a name for each class of ship in their fleet. Ships in the same class have identical or nearly identical deck plans and facilities. However, the d cor can be and usually is quite different. Sometimes ships of a...

The Ports of Caff

Has some of the great cities of the world as a draw in addition to the cruise experience. Mexican cruises have much similarity to Caribbean cruises. While the ports undoubtedly have their own unique charms and have plenty that is worth seeing, a large percentage of cruise ship visitors come for the cruising experience itself. Therefore, when choosing a Mexican Riviera cruise, the ship itself will be a more important factor.


Lamplugh Glacier's snout drops vertically into such deep water that the cruise ship following us could almost bring its bow against the ice. The sharp skyline of the glacier, 150 feet high, looks straight onto the ship's bridge. We shiver in the cold wind spilling off the ice field behind the front of jagged ice spires, blue and turquoise with white and charcoal streaks. A gushing river of brown water pushes loose ice chunks away. As the cruise ship powers away to Tarr Inlet's Margerie Glacier, the only other glacier open to these behemoths, we work our way through fields of loose ice floes. Hundreds of harbor seals stretch on them. Ahead, above everything else, stands the fresh-

Cha Rtering

A frequent cruise-ship, honeymooning, and tourist destination, St. Lucia is well-known to westbound European sailors as the finish line for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers and as a convenient jumping-off point for the Caribbean islands to the north. It's also a waypoint along the route to St. Vincent, Trinidad, and the Panama Canal to the south and west.


Straight cash discount, which may begin at around 400 for lower-priced staterooms and rise to well over 1,000 for more expensive accommodations. A smaller number of lines give a percentage off the regular fare, as much as 40 in some instances but typically more in the range of 10 to 20 . Additionally, your discount will vary within the same cruise line, depending upon how far in advance you book. In general, the earlier you do it, the greater the discount. Refer to the individual cruise line brochures or your travel agent for specific cruise line-sponsored discounts. If there's room available, you can also sometimes get aboard at a greatly reduced rate if you wait until the last minute. Cruise lines hate to sail with less than a full ship and they will offer ridiculously low prices if space is available. However, I don't recommend this as a regular practice if your heart is set on a particular cruise. If sales are brisk, a last-minute discount may never be offered and you might not...

Celebrity Cruises

Celebrity's ships, like most other cruise line fleets, have certain distinguishing exterior characteristics that make them easily recognizable. Their vessels feature a mostly white upper superstructure with large broad bands of dark blue across the bottom section of the hull and additional blue trim on the superstructure. Their hallmark funnels are marked with a slanted huge white letter X. The overall effect may not be as beautiful as the more common all-white exterior, but there is no denying that Celebrity vessels are both striking and sleek. Celebrity is perhaps best known for its outstanding level of service. It is consistently rated as one of the best cruise lines in the world by experienced cruisers. This shouldn't come as a surprise when you consider that Celebrity ships have 300 to 600 fewer passengers than ships of equal size on many other mass market lines. The cruise experience on Celebrity is refined. There are sommeliers to help you choose the right wine, wine classes,...

The Ship

Many ship features are determined by the line that owns them. However, even within specific cruise lines, there can be a great variation in the age, size, and facilities of different ships. The newer and larger ships are likely to have the most diverse facilities, dining choices and activities. But larger doesn't always mean better since a lot of experienced travelers prefer a somewhat smaller vessel. Within the major lines there is often a big difference in the size of their largest ship compared to their smallest. Even when limiting the list just to ships with Mexican itineraries, as I did in the preceding section, the choices still reveal many differing types of ships.

Ryndam Veendam

Although these are identical vessels from a deck-plan point of view and are quite similar as to the interior details, this description applies to the Ryndam since the Veendam visits Mexico only as part of its trans-Panama Canal itineraries. One of HAL's smaller S -class ships, the Ryndam definitely fits the more typical description of what most people expect from this line. As one of the finest cruise lines in the world, with a well deserved reputation for excellence in all categories, you can't say that the Ryndam is bad in any important way. However, if you're looking for a mega-ship, this one isn't it. It offers a distinguished and refined cruising experience in keeping with the older traditions of this line. The Ryndam is exclusively sailing Holland America's Sea of Cort s itinerary (round the tip of Baja and then north to La Paz, Loreto and Santa Rosalia) so it provides quite a different experience than most other ships that visit Baja. In fact, HAL is the only major cruise line...

Options in Port

There are two basic choices either you use the cruise line's shore excursion program of guided or escorted tours, or you head out on your own. As with everything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach depending upon your interests, planning capabilities and spirit of adventure to go it alone. Of course, you might want to take an organized shore excursion in one port and to go on your own in the next port. Some places are more suited to individual exploration than others.

On the Water

Almost everyone likes to stay in touch with family or maybe even their place of work (for those unfortunate souls who can't separate themselves from their work). Being on a cruise doesn't prevent you from doing that. In the old days it was a complicated and very expensive procedure to contact someone on land. Today there are a number of ways to reach friends and family back home or for them to contact you. It's still rather expensive but not as bad as in the past. The expense isn't because of technology limitations but because the cruise lines make some extra money on the deal.

Holland America Line

With almost 140 years of sailing experience, it's little wonder that traditions are very important at Holland America. Although they've adapted to the modern world of cruising, HAL is still, in many ways, an old-fashioned and traditional cruise line that appeals to a large segment of the sailing public. It starts with the basic exterior design and features such as their conservative midnight blue hull, as well as the color trim on the white superstructure. All of the public areas (including those ships with atriums) tend toward a classy styling that features understated elegance rather than a deliberate attempt to wow you. The result is a fine setting for a sophisticated cruise experience. A few final notes about Holland America. Note that tipping is no longer included in the basic cruise fare. Social hosts, that is dancing or dining partners for unescorted female guests, are available. This is something that used to be a common practice in the cruise industry. HAL and Celebrity are...

Cruise Popularity

There are many reasons why cruising has become so popular. Certainly one of the biggest factors is that today's ships offer excellent value for whatever level of luxury your budget will bear. Cost factors will be explored in more detail later, but suffice it to say that a typical week-long cruise to Mexico will cost you considerably less than the same period of time at a good resort hotel, when all of the expenses are calculated. Other things that attract people to cruising are the variety of activities available on these floating resorts, the fact that it is a comprehensive all-in-one vacation, and the romance and luxury associated with the cruising experience. The ability to see several different and often exotic ports of call in a single vacation is also, no doubt, a draw. And, if you let the cruise line handle your shore activities, they present little of the hassle and uncertainty that can often accompany foreign travel.


Ship but are simple and well-documented in the information guide that will be provided in your room. If you have questions, just ask for assistance from the ship's operator. Prior to your sailing date (usually when you receive your documents) you will be given a toll-free telephone number that people in the United States can dial to reach your cruise line's overseas telephone operator. All they then have to do is inform the operator which ship you're on and then the call can be completed. Note that it is the recipient (you) who will be charged for all incoming calls and this may not be any less than if you made the call in the first place. In general, rates for either in- or outbound calls on the ship range from 7 to 10 per minute.


N some of my previous cruising guides I listed the ac-Itual itineraries for each ship and evaluated them on a case-by-case basis. I find that I can no longer do that because the cruise lines seem to change itineraries so often that it's impossible to keep the information timely in a book that comes out only occasionally. Moreover, Mexican itineraries tend to be much more similar in nature than in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean where the number of ports is much higher and the combination of possible ports of call is almost endless. The greater similarities in Mexican cruising do make things easier to discuss in general terms. You should always check itineraries in the most current cruise line brochures. However, in the last year or so I've seen an increasing number of instances where the cruise lines will change itineraries (or ships) prior to the printed expiration date of the brochure. Often you can find more up-to-date itineraries on the cruise

Playa Del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has long been the landing point for the Cozumel passenger ferry. Because of this and its wonderfully broad beach, the once small fishing village has now become a tourist-oriented beach community. Cruise ships, small planes, and tour buses arrive regularly. A 46-foot metal frame light tower stands on a hill behind the main pier. Four radio antennas with blinking red lights are good landmarks from sea. There is no protection from the steady trade winds.

Rete Cruise Tours

Cruise tours are package plans that combine land travel either before or after the cruise - or perhaps both. These types of packages are popular in Alaska and in Europe and are offered in an amazing variety. The nature of cruising Mexico's Pacific coast, however, with its common round-trips to California ports, doesn't lend itself nearly as much to complete packages. Extended stays in your embarkation or debarkation city are available from the cruse lines and these are usually the closest thing you'll find to cruise tours when it comes to Mexico. But check those brochures because you just never know when one or more cruise lines will put such a package together. Remember to always compare the cost of extended stays and cruise packages with the cost of doing it on your own. In general, you will find that the cruise lines aren't offering any bargains. In fact, they are most often overpriced, especially when you compare the charges for

Life Boat Plans

Steve Rigby was the last to hear about Hurricane Lenny, and in his 21-foot Transat 650, he was the most vulnerable. With the then-still-distant hurricane sucking the wind away like a giant vacuum, he'd made slow progress from Guadeloupe. With a woman's intuition and the natural foreboding of one who hasn't spent much time at sea, Julia, Steve's wife, sensed that Lenny was on a track to intersect English Braids. Her husband was overdue in Tortola, so she called the U.S. Coast Guard in Puerto Rico on November 16. The Coast Guard tried to reach Steve by radio but was unsuccessful. However, crew aboard the Nordic Empress cruise ship heard the Coast Guard broadcast and relayed the news to Steve when they came across his small boat that afternoon. The radio officer told him conditions were deteriorating fast and that Lenny was heading his way. Steve replied that he was just 40 miles southeast of Tortola, he was doing OK, and he'd continue to sail. According to a report in Multihulls...

By John Kretschmer

Hurricane Lenny reaches maximum strength on November 17, 1999, in the Leeward Islands, and goes head-to-head with three boats Carl Wake, skipper of La Vie en Rose, was heading southeast down Anegada Passage, between the Virgin Islands and St. Martin. Captain Guillaume Llobregat and Jacques Santos, aboard Frederic-Anne, had steered southwest away from St. Martin, then tacked back toward the island. Steve Rigby, aboard English Braids about 40 miles southeast of Tortola, B.V.I., was informed by a passing cruise ship that the weather was worsening and that Lenny was headed his way, but he declined to abandon ship.

Los Angeles

There are two different ports from which Mexican cruises depart and or return to Los Angeles, although neither one is actually in Los Angeles itself. The Port of Los Angeles World Cruise Center in San Pedro is the larger of the two ports and holds the status as L.A.'s official port. San Pedro currently serves all lines leaving from Los Angeles except for Carnival and Princess. The cruise ship terminal facility covers Piers 91, 92, 93A and 93B. It can be reached via the Harbor Freeway (I-110) to the Terminal Island exit and then merging right to Harbor Blvd. The Harbor Freeway intersects both I-5 and I-10 in Los Angeles, along with most of the major east-to-west arterial highways in the greater Los Angeles area. The San Pedro port is 19 miles from Los Angeles International (LAX) airport, but allow at least 45 minutes for the transfer because of traffic. Downtown L.A. is equally distant. If you don't have transfers arranged with the cruise line, this is one place where it might well pay...

Fractional Sailing

True enough, everybody's heard of Tortola by now. Cruise ships visit. Bomba's Shack in Capoon's Bay doesn't throw the only full-moon parties not by a long shot. Sailors equipped with laptops swap tips on good waterfront WiFi spots like they're exchanging painkiller recipes. There's even drive-through banking, but who cares

Relative Bearings

Then, with a jolt, he realizes the lights aren't a tug and tow at all but a single giant cruise ship. The massive deck illumination has hidden the running lights. Without bothering to pick the steaming lights and positively discern the liner's course, he throws the autopilot off, puts the yacht about, and then turns on the engine to assist. But the ship seems still to be bearing down on him.

Getting to Your Ship

I've already touched on the subject of transfers from the airport to your ship. It's easy if the cruise line will be providing the transfers (that is, you book through their air program). Otherwise, the best bet in most places is to take a taxi, which can cost a considerable amount. Public transportation between the airport and cruise ship terminal in all of the gateway cities for Mexican Riviera and Baja cruises is-to put it mildly-very limited and can't be considered as a practical solution. In other words, do you really want to lug around four pieces of luggage on a train or bus hotel that is relatively close to the cruise ship terminal. Some hotels in these locations will provide complimentary shuttle service. Alternatively, if you had been renting a car in the gateway city you should be able to return it close to the cruise ship terminal. Many cruise lines offer passengers who make their own flight arrangements the option to add ground transfers to and from the ship. The fee for...

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