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Best of – Tips for the First Time Cruiser


I am on vacation this week. Throughout the week, I will be posting “Best of” content which is picked based on total views received and known areas of reader interest. While I’m away, my internet time will be very limited, and I will be unable to respond to emails, comments, etc. This Best of MJ series originally appeared in February 2013. Cruising with MJ – The Series Cruising with MJ – Setting Sail on Your Own the MJ Way Cruising with MJ – A Word on Picking the Right Cruise Line for You Cruising with MJ – You’ve Booked Your Cruise So Now What? Cruising with MJ – Let’s Get Packed Cruising with MJ – It’s Almost Time to Cruise! What Do…

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Best of – Cruise Line Drink Packages

I am currently on vacation, ironically on another cruise where I again purchased the drink package. I will keep records on this cruise for a future blog post on breakeven points at current package vs. a la carte prices. This blog post originally appeared in November 2014. If you read the blog often, you know that I have a cruise coming up. Specifically, Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. It’s a pretty lengthy 11-night cruise to the Caribbean from New York. Sailing from the New York area in December means a couple of things. First, it’s going to be chilly at the beginning and the end of the cruise, and warm in the middle. Second, we are going to have a string of…

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Carnival Goes Social With New Internet Options

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Carnival Cruise Line has begun offering social media internet packages for $5 per day. The packages are available now on over half of the company’s ships, with the remainder coming online by the first quarter of 2016. Carnival’s enhanced internet offerings offer increased bandwidth  and the new social media package option offers access to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other popular sites. According to the company, the new social media offering “is unique in that it allows guests a convenient, flexible and highly affordable option for updating their favorite social media channels during their cruise at one low price.” In other “e-news” Carnival is introducing a new app, Carnival HUB, aboard Carnival Breeze which offers a chat feature, as…

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Status Match Success with MSC Cruises

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Earlier this week I wrote about a new status match offer from MSC Cruises. If you hold elite status with another cruise line or hotel/tour company, they’ll match you to an equivalent status in their MSC Voyagers Club. Voyagers Club is a 5-tier program with benefits that increase in value as you climb up the status ladder. The best benefit of all is a 5% discount off your cruise fare, with bigger discounts and even onboard credits available for select voyages. The perks for elite status are pretty typical, ranging from priority boarding to welcome back cocktails and onboard parties and late check-out/disembarkation. You can view the complete list of benefits here. The Status Match I decided to go ahead…

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Status Matching Sets Sail with MSC Cruises

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HT: FlyerTalk MSC Cruises has introduced a status match option for its loyalty program. I’ve called elite status reciprocity, which is practiced among Azamara, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean the closest thing to status matching in cruising. Now, MSC has for the first time introduced the first true “status match” by a cruise line and is offering equivalent status in their MSC Voyager’s Club to members of other cruise line loyalty programs (hotels too). (Image courtesy of MSC Cruises) Here are the terms and conditions of the offer as listed. MSC Cruises will only consider benefit cards from other Cruising companies, Hotels and/or Tour Operators. Airline Company benefit cards are excluded. Matching is carried out by comparing as much as reasonably possible the level of…

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China Rising – 6th Carnival Ship to China

Carnival Corporation announced today that it will add two ships to its China fleet in 2016, making it the first global cruise company with six total ships based in China. The move will increase Carnival Corporation’s total capacity in China by an additional 58 percent in 2016, further accelerating the company’s leadership position in the growing Chinese market. Clearly, the Chinese market is well on its way to being the largest global cruise market. Carnival Corporation’s China based ships will include expanded offerings from its two leading brands in the market – Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises. Across the two brands, Carnival Corporation will have three year-round ships and three seasonal ships in the market, representing the largest cruise presence in China in 2016. According to Carnival Corporation, Golden…

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Celebrity Cruises Appoints First American Female Captain

Celebrity Cruises announced today that it has appointed Kate McCue as Captain of Celebrity Summit. Captain McCue will join Celebrity from their sister line, Royal Caribbean International. Captain McCue will sign on to Celebrity Summit in August 2015. According to Celebrity, the company “has elevated McCue to the position of Captain based on her 15 years of successful experience and leadership in the maritime industry. During her tenure, McCue has managed ship logistics while sailing worldwide itineraries, including Europe, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and along the Panama Canal. Captain McCue has also served as a maritime leader while sailing several transatlantic and repositioning cruises, and played a notable role in the revitalization of ships in Singapore. Congratulations to cruising’s newest captain! -MJ,…

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Why Carnival Corporation Is Uniquely Positioned to Be First in Cuba

I posted the news on the blog this morning that Carnival Corporation has received approval to operate cruises between the USA and Cuba. Carnival plans to enter the market with its new Fathom Travel brand in May 2016. In June Carnival announced that it is launching its 10th cruise brand, Fathom, with a very unique focus – social impact travel. As I noted when I covered the brand launch, Fathom is focused on making a lasting social impact, not just taking a typical cruise. Carnival is uniquely positioned to be first in Cuba specifically because of the Fathom brand and it’s focus on impact travel. The community development and social impact projects that Fathom and its guests are dedicated to dovetail nicely with the…

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Unlimited Internet Packages From Royal Caribbean

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Royal Caribbean International is now offering unlimited internet packages for purchase before you board your cruise. I was just shopping for some other amenities for our upcoming Enchantment of the Seas cruise when this caught my eye. Just for grins, I decided to run through the purchase process. It’s very easy, and the pricing is somewhat reasonable at $20 per day for one device. A two-device package is $30 per day. I’m assuming for the time being that the packages work somewhat like those available on Quantum of the Seas in that I can log off one device and onto another device as needed. In other words, I can keep my smartphone connected part of the time, and when I…

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