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

Monday, June 29, 2009

Carnival Corporation's CEO Warns Alaska To Expect Lawsuit Soon

The cruise industry is on the verge of filing a lawsuit against the state of Alaska over the $50 per passenger cruise tax Alaska's voters approved three years ago.

"Our intention is to file the litigation relatively soon," Micky Arison, Carnival's chairman and CEO said this week. "I think we've pretty much exhausted all other outlets."

Arison said the industry always has maintained the tax is "illegal and unconstitutional" but has held off filing suit while it tried to reason with Alaskan officials. The days of trying to talk it out peacefully, however, are coming to an end, he says.

"We tried over several legislative sessions to convince the powers that be (it was illegal) and that it also was not in the interest of Alaska economically, (but) we have not been successful," Arison noted.

Arison had some harsh words for Alaska governor Sarah Palin, noting "she doesn't seem to want to focus, (nor does) anyone else in Alaska . . . (Palin) needs to concentrate on Alaska and stop running for president."

Arison added that this month's U.S. Supreme Court decision striking down a tax on oil tankers in Valdez, Alaska, supports the company's position that the cruise tax violates the "tonnage clause" of the U.S. Constitution.

"It came down exactly the way we anticipated, (saying) that states do not have the right to charge taxes on ships in that manner," he says.

Carnival and other cruise operators say that the $50-per-passenger tax is partly responsible for a drop in demand for Alaska cruises over the past year. Citing the falling demand, many lines in recent months have announced plans to reduce cruise capacity in Alaska for 2010.

Oasis of the Seas Will Set New Record For Dining Options

Launching in December 2009, Oasis of the Seas will set the stage for Royal Caribbean International’s culinary innovations. The world’s most revolutionary cruise ship will offer guests more variety and flexibility than ever before, thanks to 24 distinct dining experiences, ranging from an exclusive signature restaurant, to neighborhood-specific themed venues and new twists on the global brand’s traditions.

“Oasis of the Seas showcases the evolution of Royal Caribbean dining,” said Adam Goldstein, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “Both the new concepts and the established Royal Caribbean offerings found throughout the neighborhoods are designed to meet contemporary dining standards, cater to individual preferences and schedules and foster epicurean curiosity. With so many options, guests could choose a new place to dine for every meal.”

Fleetwide, Royal Caribbean strives to deliver the best dining experience possible by continuously developing innovative programs and upholding the highest culinary standards. As guests expectations continue to rise, the global cruise line introduces new elements of variety and flexibility, such as My Time Dining and My Family Time Dining. In addition, Royal Caribbean trains and certifies all culinary chefs through the American Culinary Federation’s accredited education program and implements U.S. training standards of safe alcohol service.

From breakfast to late night snacks, guest’s onboard Oasis of the Seas can find an extensive variety of food and beverage offerings, available at no extra charge, that will satisfy any craving, providing more options for breakfast, lunch and dinner than Royal Caribbean guests have ever had before.

For additional convenience, dinner reservations can be made in advance through new features on Royal Caribbean's web site starting July 7, 2009. For more information on the Oasis of the Seas and the available dining options, visit or call us at 1-800-788-2545.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cruise Pricing May Finally Have Reached Its Low

Better book soon if you're hoping to lock in one of the super deals on cruises that have been floating around the marketplace in recent months. Executives at industry giant Carnival say prices may finally have bottomed.

"We have started tweaking pricing on a variety of brands," Carnival Corp. CEO Micky Arison told Wall Street analysts today during a conference call to discuss second quarter earnings. "Pricing is being taken up."

Cruise lines began dropping prices drastically late last year in reaction to a sharp slowdown in bookings brought on by the economic crisis, and fares for many itineraries remained unusually low through the winter and into the spring.

Carnival -- the parent company of more than half a dozen brands including Carnival, Holland America, Princess Cruises and Cunard -- says the prices it's getting for cruises in the third quarter still are substantially below the level of a year ago. Prices for fourth quarter cruises are down year-over-year, too. But in recent weeks there's been an improvement in pricing off the lows as demand for cruises returns.

MSC Cruises To Sail To New England In 2010

MSC Cruises will be sailing through New England for the 2010 season. The MSC Magnifica, MSC’s newest cruise ship still being built, and scheduled for its inaugural in March of 2010, recently announced the newly-added Canada/New England itineraries to its first year of cruises. MSC Magnifica will be sailing a series of Fall Foliage cruises from both New York and Quebec in 2010 before joining MSC Lirica for the 2010-11 Caribbean season in Fort Lauderdale.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for residents of the Northeastern United States and Canada to experience MSC Cruises on one of the line’s newest and most elegant ships while saving them both time and money as they won’t incur additional costs for airfare,” says Richard E. Sasso, president and CEO of MSC Cruises (USA), Inc.

He adds, “MSC Magnifica is ideal for Fall Foliage cruises. With nearly 80 percent outside staterooms and a magrodome or retractable roof over the swimming pool, guests can appreciate the splendor and majesty of the outdoors throughout the cruise.”

For more information on these Fall Foliage cruises, come visit us at or call us at 1-800-788-2545.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Norwegian Cruise Line To Offer Complimentary Sodas On All 7-Night Or Longer Cruises

Norwegian Cruise Line and Pepsi have teamed up for an unusual summer promotion that will bring free soda to passengers.

In an announcement Monday, the line said customers who book a seven-night or longer cruise before Oct. 15 for sailings through 2010 are eligible for the offer. The cruisers (up to two per cabin) must sign up for the Pepsi Summer Cup promotion at the time of booking by referencing promotion code PGPOP.

Once on board, passengers who have signed up for the offer will get a special Norwegian and Pepsi branded souvenir cup that gives them access to unlimited fountain soda refills at any bar, lounge or restaurant throughout their cruise. Soda options include Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew and Sierra Mist.

For more information on this limited time promotion, visit or call us at 1-800-788-2545.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Carnival Goes Electronic - No More Paper Cruise Documents

Based on the popularity of Carnival’s electronic documents, beginning with cruise departures of August 25, 2009 and beyond, Carnival will discontinue the paper version of the cruise travel documents. All guests on sailings from this date forward will need to use Carnival’s MyDocuments portal to print electronic cruise documents.

This “paperless” system provides guests with many conveniences and offers the same travel documentation and information typically available with traditional cruise documents. Housed within a secure, easy-to-navigate Internet portal accessible on a “24/7” basis, the electronic document system operates in “real time” which ensures that all last-minute changes are reflected. In addition to the peace-of-mind created by eliminating the wait for cruise documents to be delivered by mail, this initiative has a positive impact on the environment.

Although having printed e-documents will expedite the check-in process during embarkation, guests may check in at the pier without documents as their information is contained within Carnival’s reservation system. Electronic documents include printable luggage tags that may be printed in black and white. If they are not printed, luggage tags are available at the pier. This change will provide a more efficient way for guests to prepare for their cruise vacation and help continued efforts to be more environmentally friendly.

Oasis of the Seas Maybe To Offer Hot Air Balloon Rides

The tethered balloon flying above Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, now on its first sea trials, has spurred much debate about its purpose. Speculation has ranged from spa capsule to Hindenburg memorial to a blimp ride. But Royal Caribbean’s been mum about the balloon’s real purpose. Until now that is.

According to Turun Sanomat, the Turku, Finland-based newspaper, the curiosity is indeed a hot air balloon-style ride for Oasis of the Sea’s passengers. The hot air balloon is connected with a cable to the aft of the Oasis. It flies over 160 feet above the vessel. With the cable it can be lowered to its “docking station” on the deck of the ship. A gondola (or basket) will have space for a few passengers.

In his blog, Royal Caribbean’s Chairman and CEO Richard Fain teased about the balloon concept. “This idea is to put an aerostat onboard tethered to the ship. The idea is interesting, but it has such a cornucopia of practical issues that I give it less than a 50% chance of being used on Oasis. If we don’t use it on the ship, I will consider it just another of the many ideas our people develop that didn’t work. On the other hand, if it is successful and we do decide to use it on the ship, I will consider it another of my better ideas. Remember, this is just one of many experiments we undertake and, unless we actually decide to go forward with it, one that you will never hear about again.”

Samantha Brown's Great Cruises Featuring The Carnival Freedom

Sam's taking a cruise through the Caribbean on Carnival Cruise Line -- and she's not alone. She's bringing her mom and four of her best friends aboard the Carnival Freedom for a fun-filled week at sea. Sam and her group make the most of their time together, with good times on board and on the islands of St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola/Virgin Gorda and the Bahamas.

Tune in on Saturday, June 13th at 10pm for the premiere of Samantha Brown's Great Cruises featuring Sam, her mom and friends on a week-long Carnival cruise on The Travel Channel.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Royal Caribbean Modifies 16 Oasis Of The Seas Western Caribbean Sailings

Royal Caribbean International today announced an itinerary change to 16 Western Caribbean sailings of Oasis of the Seas, the cruise line’s highly anticipated cruise ship to begin service in December 2009. From May through November 2010, Oasis of the Seas will call at Mexico’s port of Costa Maya, instead of the originally planned call at Falmouth, Jamaica. Oasis of the Seas’ Western Caribbean itinerary also will include calls at Cozumel, Mexico, and Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private beach paradise on the northern coast of Haiti.

“We look forward to bringing Oasis of the Seas to the well-established destination of Costa Maya in 2010,” said Craig Milan, senior vice president of Land Operations, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. “We continue to look forward to calling at Falmouth on a regular basis with Oasis of the Seas and her sister ship Allure of the Seas. The completion of the port is going to take longer than we had hoped, but Falmouth will be outstanding when it is completed.”

On the modified itineraries, Oasis of the Seas’ will dock at Costa Maya’s recently restored pier, providing guests easy access to shore without tendering. In Costa Maya, guests have a wide varietyof shore excursion options, which can help make a memorable day in port. For example, guests can choose a sailing along the virgin coast of Costa Maya before diving in search of undersea life on Catamaran Sail & Snorkel; enjoy the natural beauty and magic of hidden Mexico atop an all terrain vehicle before stopping to relax on a secluded beach on ATV Jungle & Beach Adventure; or explore the virtually unexcavated Chacchoben Mayan ruins in the jungle near the Belizean border on the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins.

For more information on Oasis of the Seas, please visit or call us at 1-800-788-2545.