The Cruise Cafe

Welcome to Cruise Cafe. The great new place to find out the latest in the cruise business. Whether it be the latest specials, great new itineraries or information on cruise ships or cruise lines. Feel free to add comments on your experiences too. You can always find out more at or by calling us at 1-800-788-2545. For the latest specials, follow us on Twitter at

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Historic Delta Queen Steamboat To Become Floating Hotel

The historic Delta Queen steamboat is heading to Chattanooga, Tennessee to become a floating hotel -- at least for now.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the famed paddlewheeler has been leased to a hotel operator in the city and soon will be moved from its current home in New Orleans. It could open as a hotel along the city's waterfront as soon as April, the paper says.

Long beloved by riverboat fans, the 82-year-old Delta Queen was forced to stop cruising America's waterways in November after its 40-year Congressional exemption from a fire safety rule expired. Still, the legendary vessel's days traveling America's rivers are not necessarily over for good.

Fans of the Delta Queen have been lobbying Congress to extend the exemption, allowing the boat to resume operations on the nation's rivers. The Enquirer says the Delta Queen's owner, Ambassadors International, is looking for a buyer who is committed to returning it to the water.

The lease Ambassadors signed with a Chattanooga entrepreneur to operate the Delta Queen as a hotel requires the ship's priceless wooden and brass interior as well as its machinery to be left intact so the vessel can someday return to cruising.

The entrepreneur, Harry Phillips, who also is a licensed boat captain and preservationist, tells the Enquirer the vessel's move to Chattanooga is a win for everyone involved. "The boat gets saved, people still get to appreciate it and can still sleep on it overnight, and Chattanooga gets a unique hotel," he says.

Built in 1926, the 174-passenger Delta Queen was the last traditional steamboat carrying overnight passengers on America's inland waterways, and it hearkened back to a bygone era with stately wooden cabins and hardwood-paneled public rooms.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Norwegian Epic Is The Name of NCL's F3 Project

Norwegian Cruise Line yesterday announced that it has selected the name for its new F3 ship: Norwegian Epic. Just as the name implies, the ship will be the largest and most innovative Freestyle Cruising ship to date.

The 4,200-passenger Norwegian Epic is scheduled to sail year-round to the Caribbean from Miami, beginning in summer 2010. Following a series of inaugural events in Europe and the U.S., the ship will homeport in Miami and will sail year-round to the Caribbean offering alternating seven-day Western and Eastern Caribbean voyages through April 2011. These cruises are scheduled to go on sale later this spring.

"The F3 experience will take our already successful Freestyle Cruising to the next level, affording our guests the ultimate freedom and flexibility. Norwegian Epic, denoting a ship that is very impressive on a grand scale, is the most fitting name," said Kevin Sheehan, NCL's president and CEO. "The combination of the ship's exciting new features, along with the tropical allure of these Caribbean destinations, will provide an extraordinary cruise vacation for our guests."

The ship's Western Caribbean itinerary includes stops in Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatán, Bay Islands, Honduras; and Cozumel, Mexico. Norwegian Epic's Eastern Caribbean itinerary includes stops in Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas.

Norwegian Epic represents the next generation of Freestyle Cruising – a ship that incorporates a wide range of new features and amenities, including curved New Wave staterooms and unique nightlife options. To date, the company has revealed five unique nightlife venues that rival the experiences of Las Vegas, Ibiza, the Riviera and South Beach. The five venues include the industry's first true Ice Bar; POSH Beach Club, a first of its kind beach club at sea that offers an exclusive, adults-only setting at the top of the ship; Halo, the Über Bar, a private bar and lounge in the ship-within-a-ship villa complex; Bliss Ultra Lounge, NCL's all-day entertainment and nightclub complex with four-lane bowling alley; and Spice H20, an adults-only aft pool deck experience.

In addition, the ship will feature the New Wave standard, New Wave balcony and New Wave deluxe staterooms that represent a giant leap forward in cruise ship accommodations with a completely fresh take on bathroom design, contemporary curved architecture and open living space. The New Wave stateroom's most distinctive design element is its curved walls and lines creating a modern and chic experience. NCL has maximized the living space with a bathroom that is completely unique with a separate shower stall, separate water closet and a modern vanity top sink. The staterooms feature a sophisticated earth-tone palette accented with a splash of color and rich, dark wood. Concealed contour LED lighting and back-lit domed ceilings set a relaxing vibe.

NCL plans to unveil additional details about Norwegian Epic in the near future.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Carnival Now Allowing Spa Treatments To Be Booked In Advance

Add spa treatments to the list of things you can book in advance at Carnival.

The world's largest cruise line says it has finished rolling out an on-line advance purchase system for the spas on all 22 ships in its fleet. Carnival customers who are fully deposited for an upcoming cruise will have access to the system, located at

Carnival says more than 30 treatments are available for advance booking, including acupuncture, massages, facials, wraps and even tooth whitening. Pricing and available dates and times for each treatment on each cruise are listed online.

To book treatments, customers must be registered on and access their reservation through the “My Reservation” link on the site. Click on “Plan Activities” and then “Spa Appointments.”

A caveat: Customers pre-booking treatments will have to pay in advance online by credit card. Still, Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen says they can cancel at a later date for a refund.

Gulliksen says Carnival began rolling out the system ship-by-ship late last year.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Norwegian Cruise Line Partners With Port Of Miami For Next 10 Years

Apparently Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) isn’t doing as badly as some folks in the industry may think. People are coming to sail NCL more than ever now, and as a result, NCL recently announced a new partnership with the Port of Miami in the form of a 10-year berthing agreement. The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners said that this represents the first long-term agreement between the Port of Miami and NCL since the company began operating from the Port as the first Caribbean cruise line 42 years ago. This is a strong sign that NCL expects to be around for many years to come.

The agreement gives NCL priority access to two large-ship berths at Terminals B and C. In return, NCL will guarantee a minimum of $98 million in port fees over the term of the agreement. In addition, the Port is making a $10 million investment in upgrades to the terminals, including a new gangway and general improvements to make the guest experience more enjoyable and efficient. The agreement takes effect immediately and renovations to Terminals B and C are expected to continue throughout the next 12-18 months.

“With berthing space becoming increasingly scarce and our recent extension of Norwegian Sky’s deployment in Miami year-round, we are pleased to have reached this agreement with the Port of Miami to guarantee NCL access to some of the last remaining large ship berths,” said Kevin Sheehan, NCL’s president and CEO. “The Port of Miami has been a long-term partner of ours and we see the Port as a vital part of our future.”

Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Spirit Sailing To Alaska In 2009

Carnival Cruise Line is gearing up for another successful Alaska season in 2009. Alaska offers breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, and an opportunity to stay close to home for vacation. A wide assortment of shore excursions will enable you to get up close and personal with our 49th state. Once again, the 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit will be the ship in Alaska, with its first voyage scheduled for May 13. Carnival Spirit’s 2009 Alaska program will consist of 19 seven-day voyages,16 Glacier Route and three Glacier Bay cruises, through Sept. 9. Past guests of Carnival will receive reduced rates and free upgrades.

The week-long Glacier Route voyages operate either northbound from Vancouver to Whittier/Anchorage or southbound Whittier/Anchorage to Vancouver calling at Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka and cruising Prince William Sound, College Fjord and the Inside Passage. The three Glacier Bay cruises operate round-trip from Vancouver May 6 and Sept. 2 and 9 and feature Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, along with two full days cruising the Inside Passage.

In addition to the opportunity to view magnificent Alaskan scenery – calving glaciers, massive snow-covered mountains and rugged fjords – guests sailing on the Carnival Spirit can enjoy all that this exciting “Fun Ship” has to offer. From fun-filled activities for adults and kids alike to captivating entertainment and delicious cuisine — including special menus featuring local Alaskan delicacies — the Carnival Spirit is truly the ideal way to explore the 49th state.

Book by February 2nd and get pricing as low as $499 per person. To see more information on these cruises, please visit or call us at 1-800-788-2545.

Message In A Bottle From Cruise Ship Found On Other Side Of The World

A small paper in Canada today has the amazing story of a "message in a bottle" from a cruise ship that apparently traveled half way around the world before landing in Mexico.

The Flamborough Review of Waterdown, Canada says local resident Brian Harding threw the champagne bottle off a ship in November as it steamed through the Straits of Gibraltar on the way to Portugal.

Harding figured that was that, until a few days ago, when he got a call from Mexico. Jane Nelson of Detroit Lakes, Minn., had found the bottle while walking the shoreline near her winter home on the Yucatan Peninsula, the Review says.

The news outlet notes Harding had written "I’m stranded on a desert island" on a note placed in the bottle, along with his name and phone number.

“It was just a joke,” Harding tells the paper, adding that he never expected to get a response to the message. “I completely forgot about it until . . . I got the phone call."

It isn't the first time a message in a bottle has weathered an improbable journey. In October, a bottle from a Holland America ship was found on a Caribbean island beach after surviving 35 years at sea.

Norwegian Cruise Line Plans More Voyages Out Of New York City

Norwegian Cruise Line is expanding its offerings again out of New York City.

The mass-market line announced it will place a second ship, the 2,376-passenger Norwegian Jewel, in the Big Apple during the winter of 2010-2011, doubling its winter capacity out of the growing cruise hub. The Jewel will join the 2,380-passenger Norwegian Gem, which already sails out of New York during winters.

NCL says both ships will sail a series of 10-day Eastern Caribbean cruises from New York that will call in San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; Philipsburg, St. Maarten and Tortola, British Virgin Islands.

The ships also will sail seven-day Bahamas & Florida cruises with stops in Orlando (Port Canaveral), Florida; Great Stirrup Cay (NCL’s private island) and Nassau, Bahamas.

The last time NCL had two ships in New York for a winter was in 2006, when the Norwegian Spirit and Norwegian Dawn sailed 10- and 11-day voyages to the Caribbean.

NCL today also announced plans to keep the 2,402-passenger Norwegian Jade in Europe through the winter of 2010-2011. The line says the ship will spend the winter of 2010 sailing alternating 12- and nine-day cruises from its homeport of Barcelona.

The Jade's 12-day Eastern Mediterranean sailings include the following ports of call: Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; Ephesus (Izmir), Turkey; an overnight in Alexandria, Egypt; and Valletta, Malta. The nine-day Canary Islands & Morocco sailings include stops in Casablanca and Agadir, Morocco; Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands; Funchal, Madeira; and Granada (Málaga), Spain. The line notes there is no port repetition between the two itineraries and they can be booked as a combined 21-day sailing.

Quieter Cruise Ship Toilets In The Near Future

Comedians on cruise ships love to joke about them. Light sleepers frequently gripe about them. And for years they've been a mainstay of the cruise experience. But the explosively loud vacuum toilets found on cruise ships may soon be a thing of the past.

Finland-based Evac has unveiled what it's calling the "most silent vacuum toilet on the world market" -- one specifically designed for cruise ships. The Evac 910, it's called.

"We have put a lot of research and development effort into reducing the sound pressure level," Evac sales executive Markus Peltola tells industry watcher Seatrade Insider this week. "With this toilet a major source of annoyance to passengers has been eliminated."

Indeed, Peltola tells Seatrade Insider the Evac 910 is no louder than comparable gravity toilets found on land (A statement posted on the Evac website says the sound created by the model is about five to eight decibels lower than that of other cruise ship toilets).

Seatrade Insider also quotes Peltola as saying more than 4,000 of the toilets already are on order for Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, to be delivered in 2010.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sign Of The Times: Royal Caribbean Cuts Cruise Ship Fitness Program

Another day, another cutback at Royal Caribbean.

Industry watchers report the mass-market line is discontinuing the Vitality at Sea fitness rewards program, effective immediately.

Designed to motivate passengers to take part in healthy activities, the rewards program offered cruisers who signed up for fitness classes, rigorous shore excursions and other healthy offerings points that they could redeem for free Royal Caribbean merchandise.

The line will refine the entire Vitality at Sea program (sans rewards) over the coming quarter.

Royal Caribbean won't say why it's cutting the rewards program, but the move comes as the line looks for ways to slash costs and boost on-board revenue. Royal Caribbean also recently began charging for late-night room service and is experimenting with extra charges for steaks in its normally free dining rooms.

Holland America Line Pinnacle Grill Named By Porthole Magazine Best Alternative Restaurant

Holland America Line’s Pinnacle Grill restaurant was recently chosen best alternative restaurant in the cruise industry in Porthole Magazine’s 2009 Editor-in-Chief Awards. Porthole Magazine enjoys an industry reputation for recognizing fine cruise products, and this one is no exception. “The Pinnacle Grill offers a level of elegant sophistication unmatched anywhere on the seven seas,” says Bill Panoff, Porthole Magazine’s Editor-In-Chief.

Available on all 14 ships in Holland America’s premium fleet, the intimate, reservations-only Pinnacle Grill is an upscale alternative restaurant featuring distinctive Bvlgari china, Frette linens and elegant Riedel stemware.

The menu highlights Pacific Northwest cuisine and features Sterling Silver beef and seafood prepared in innovative ways. In fall 2008, Master Chef Rudi Sodamin expanded the menu with creations ranging from “Lobster Macaroni and Cheese” to “Colorado Lamb Chops”. Dishes include broiled, troll-caught salmon, broiled or poached lobster tail, cedar-planked black cod with shrimp scampi and the Master Chef’s interpretation of surf-and-turf: filet mignon and jumbo prawns on whipped potatoes with garlic rosemary beurre blanc.

The Pinnacle Grill’s wine list features an extensive selection of premium Pacific Northwest wines, French champagnes, port and dessert wines. It also offers Wine Flights, which let guests sample four selected wines during their meal. Ideal for a romantic dinner for two or elegant dining for a group celebration, guests need to make reservations and pay a modest surcharge of $20 per person for dinner and $10 for lunch.

A Nuclear-Powered Cruise Ship? It's Not Out Of The Question, Says Royal Caribbean CEO

Would you sail on a cruise ship powered by nuclear energy? Royal Caribbean President and CEO Adam Goldstein says the line hasn't ruled out the idea, although it remains highly unlikely anytime soon.

"I don't want to use the word never on any energy source," says Goldstein, who talked on the topic of new energy sources at a Miami conference. "The future looms, and we need to consider all our options."

Goldstein, who has played an active role in guiding the nation's energy policy as a member of the Energy Security Leadership Council, notes that nuclear powered ships face several hurdles.

"My council has wrestled with this, but there is so much bureaucratic process involved to building even one nuclear plant on the land, never mind at sea, that we're afraid that nuclear power is not going to be able to provide a very meaningful role," he says. In addition, "there is the question of consumer acceptance that would have to be explored very carefully."

That said, Goldstein says cruise lines need to look at every possibility to use less oil, which now provides the bulk of energy on ships -- not just because it's the right thing to do for the environment but because it makes good business sense.

Goldstein says the sharp drop in oil prices from a peak of nearly $150 a barrel last summer hasn't lessened the company's determination to cut its oil use. Indeed, the company recently created a new Vice President of Energy Management position so it has someone looking full time at "big picture" energy solutions, Goldstein says.

"While these gyrations (in oil prices) both up and down have been unprecedented, our expectation is that we can expect (more) price volatility going forward," he says.

Just don't expect any big announcements anytime soon. What's more, he says, the line continues to look for less revolutionary ways to cut energy use. Goldstein notes the line is experimenting with everything from more efficient propulsion systems to energy-saving hull paints and light bulbs to changes in deployments and ship operating speeds that cut energy use. The line's newest classes of ships are 25% to 30% more energy efficient than older models.

"It's incremental progress, but it's real progress," he says.

Down the road, he says, "if we can find a solution that gets us out of the fossil fuel business altogether, that would be terrific."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Princess Cruises Has Biggest Booking Day In Company’s History

Princess had the biggest booking day in its history on Monday, January 12, with volume up 17 percent over the best previous day.

“Travel agents have been working hard to deliver the value message in these challenging times, and there’s no more exciting outcome of their efforts than to have a record-breaking reservations day,” said Jan Swartz, Princess executive vice president of sales, marketing and customer service for the line. “The volume of bookings we received on Monday is a testament to the strength of our brand, and also to the success of our many promotional efforts during wave period, most notably our ‘Balcony Bonanza’ program.”

The Balcony Bonanza enables agents to provide a free upgrade to a balcony stateroom for the price of a standard oceanview stateroom, representing a savings of up to $1,200 per cabin. It applies to most 2009 summer sailings to Alaska, Europe and the Caribbean.

Additional information about this program is available through or by calling us at 1-800-788-2545.

MSC Cruises Expanding Into New England And Canada

European line MSC Cruises' expansion into the North American market will continue in 2010 with its first voyages to Canada and New England.

MSC Cruises USA president and CEO Rick Sasso says the MSC Magnifica, a new vessel scheduled to debut in early 2010, will sail to New York in the fall of 2010 for a series of cruises to and from Quebec City in Canada. The 2,550-passenger ship then will head to Fort Lauderdale to join another MSC ship, the Lirica, for the 2010-11 Caribbean season.

Sasso says the company sees the heavily populated Northeast as a lucrative marketplace for its Italian-run ships. And it's eyeing the region's Italian-American market, in particular, he says.

"There are a lot of Italians in the Northeast," notes Sasso, who spoke this weekend during the U.S. debut of the MSC Orchestra. "We think our Italian heritage will bold well for us."

The Magnifica will be one of the first MSC ships with a magrodome -- a retractable roof over the swimming pool that should appeal to cruisers heading to sometimes chilly Canada. The ship also boasts balconies with 80% of cabins, a strong selling point for leaf peepers on fall New England cruises.

Sasso says the Magnifica will set sail for the USA on Sept. 4, 2010 from Venice. After an 18-night trans-Atlantic journey to New York City that includes a call in Bermuda, it will depart Sept. 22 on its first New England and Canada cruise: A 10-night roundtrip voyage that calls in Sydney, Charlottetown, Quebec, Halifax and Newport.

The Magnifica then will sail a series of seven-night, one-way voyages in October between New York City and Quebec City that include stops in Halifax, Charlottetown and other coastal towns in Canada and New England. The series ends with a nine-night voyage from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale departing Oct. 23 and calling in Sydney, Boston, Newport and New York City.

The one-way itineraries can be combined to become longer, 14- or 16-night voyages.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Celebrity Shortens Summit Cruise - Ship Headed To Dry Dock Early

Celebrity Cruises has confirmed that Celebrity Summit's January 31 cruise, originally a seven-night Southern Caribbean cruise out of San Juan, has been shortened by a day. The cruise will now end on Friday, February 6 (instead of the 7th). The ship will then immediately head into dry dock to undergo repairs for what the line describes as "an electrical problem."

A spokesman from Celebrity says that the dry dock was expected to last four days. The next cruise aboard Celebrity Summit is on scheduled to depart from San Juan on February 14. Celebrity Summit was chartered -- and therefore not open to the public for booking -- for its February 7 departure; that cruise has been canceled.

According to the line, the cruise departing January 31 will now sail an altered itinerary. A previously scheduled visit to Scarborough, Tobago on Wednesday has been canceled. The new six-night itinerary is as follows: St. Maarten on Monday; Roseau, Dominica on Tuesday; St. George's, Grenada on Wednesday; Barbados on Thursday; at sea on Friday; return to San Juan on Saturday.

Caribbean Island To Cruisers: Dress Right Or We'll Send You Packing

A warning to vacationers planning a cruise to Grenada: Be careful how you dress for the visit or you just might be kicked off the island.

That's the word from the Jamaica Gleaner, which reports police in Grenada recently ordered a group of cruisers back to their ship because of the way they were dressed.

The news outlet doesn't say from which ship the vacationers were visiting or what, specifically, they were wearing, but it says the move was part of a larger campaign targeting youth who show their underwear in public by wearing their pants below their waistlines.

The Gleaner quotes Grenada's new police commissioner, James Clarkson, griping about people who "forgot at this point where their waist in their body is. They think their waist is by their knees . . . it's not just a question of legality, it's a question of morality."

The New York police force veteran has vowed to crack down on sloppy dressing on the island, among other things, the Gleaner says.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Silversea Cruises Calls All Wine Lovers To Sea

Ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises is calling all wine lovers to cruise on one of their theme cruises as part of the 2009 Wine Series. Have you ever wanted to learn about the four stages of wine tasting, or maybe develop the ability to recognize the major properties of a wine? On each of the eleven wine-themed cruises, anyone with a love of wine, including sommeliers and buyers, who share passion for fine wines can engage in sampling great vintages as well as learn about the tradition and art of winemaking. The Wine Series highlights include special tastings and lectures conducted by wine professionals, vineyard owners, winemakers and other epicurean specialists from renowned establishments, including California’s Justin and Wente wineries, Italy’s Castello Banfi and Chile’s Santa Alicia Winery, to name a few. On many voyages, guests will also have the chance to explore some of the world’s most celebrated wine regions on guided shore excursions. If a wine collection is in your future, or if you wish to simply expand your knowledge of wines, these cruises promise to enlighten even the most experienced wine connoisseurs.

“Our Wine Series cruises are a great way for guests to broaden their understanding and appreciation for one of life’s most cherished luxuries – fine wine,” said David Morris, Silversea’s executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing. “We’ve invited top experts from some of the world’s most acclaimed vineyards and wineries to visit and interact with our guests, guiding them through entertaining tastings and lectures that add a unique and enriching dimension to their cruise experience.”

Silversea Cruises is recognized as an innovator in the luxury segment, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard four intimate vessels, Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, and Silver Whisper, all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the addition of the regal expedition ship Prince Albert II, the company’s itineraries encompass all seven continents.

For more information regarding Silversea Cruises or their wine series, please visit or call us at 1-800-788-2545.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Carnival Schedules More Seven-Day Cruises From Mobile

News for folks looking for close-to-home cruises from Mobile: Carnival has confirmed there will be a series of seven-day cruises in 2010 from that city on the Carnival Fantasy. The cruises are not yet available at the Carnival website, but they are included in a new sales brochure.

The voyages will embark on May 8 and 15, July 3 and 10, and Oct. 23 and 30, 2010. Ports of call are Montego Bay (Jamaica), Grand Cayman and Cozumel (Mexico).

The seven-day sailings complement Carnival's four- and five-day western Caribbean departures from Mobile. The 2,056-passenger Fantasy, currently in New Orleans, moves to Mobile next November, replacing the 1,452-passenger Holiday – and representing a 41 percent capacity increase in the Mobile market.

A Carnival spokesman said reservations for the seven-day Mobile sailings will open late next month (you can book the shorter cruises now).

Disney Cruise Line Offers Adult Enrichment Programs

In an effort to make it a complete family cruise vacation, Disney cruise Line has added an adult enrichment program called Disney Innovations. The program will be onboard the Disney Magic, and will give parents a chance to entertain and educate themselves while the children are involved in the Disney “magic”.

The new seminar features a series of multi-media presentations showcasing the greatest innovations that The Walt Disney Company has brought to animation and themed entertainment experiences.

Presented in the widely popular “countdown” format, the program features the Top Ten breakthroughs as determined by an esteemed panel of “Disney Experts” composed of Imagineers, Animators and Disney Historians. A notable member of this panel is Roy E. Disney, Director Emeritus, The Walt Disney Company and Walt Disney’s nephew. Disney was instrumental in the development of the series, providing personal commentary and a unique perspective on many of the innovations featured in the program.

Guests will learn how Disney’s addition of a synchronized soundtrack to Steamboat Willie led to improvements in the entire field of motion picture sound, how the creation of the world’s first theme park changed the presentation of every park thereafter and how audioanimatronics technology opened the doors to a whole new way to tell stories.

At the conclusion of the program, guests will discover that they’ve been part of another Disney innovation: the series format is designed so participants can continue their own “innovation conversation.” As they gather in shipboard cafes and at quiet meeting spots, they can conduct their own self-guided sessions to discuss their own Top Ten selections.

Disney Innovations is the newest addition to the adult enrichment series presented onboard Disney Cruise Line. The sophisticated series also features programs like The Art of Entertaining, Disney’s Behind-the-Scenes and Disney’s Navigator Series.

A leader in the family cruise segment, Disney Cruise Line delivers a cruise experience that every member of the family feels was created for their own individual vacation wants and needs.

Departing from Port Canaveral, Fla., Disney Cruise Line offers three-, four- and seven-night itineraries to The Bahamas and the Caribbean. Land/sea vacation packages that include a stay at Walt Disney World Resort are also available.

For more information or to book a Disney Cruise vacation, visit us at or call us at 1-800-788-2545.

Royal Caribbean Adds Surcharge for Late-Night Room Service

Ever order room service on a cruise ship after midnight when a late-night case of the munchies strikes? Would you think twice about ordering cookies and milk at 2 a.m. if you'd be charged a delivery fee?

Royal Caribbean cruisers will have to ponder that question on their next vacations. According to various reports, Royal Caribbean will charge $3.95 per room service order delivered between midnight and 5 a.m. The new policy will be rolled out, fleetwide, on all cruises departing on or after January 1, 2009.

Royal Caribbean could not be reached for comment or confirmation, but its Web site does reflect the change. Its FAQ on room service states, "Room service is available onboard any time of the day or night -- simply order from the room service menu located in your stateroom/suite (late night service charge applies)."

Cruising -- long considered a mostly inclusive vacation, with many services included in the base price -- has been seeing more and more instances of extra fees in recent months. Passengers had to pay additional fuel surcharges on most 2008 cruises, and in September, Royal Caribbean riled many with a $14.95 surcharge on a steak served in the main dining room.

This may becoming more of what the future holds for mass-market cruising -- almost going to an a la carte type of experience. You pay one price for your accommodations and then extra for everything else onboard. Stay tuned.