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, August 31, 2009

Disney Cruise Line Creating More Magic at Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island paradise in the tropical waters of the Bahamas, is getting an extra dose of pixie dust. Enhancements will provide guests with more water-based family-fun, additional conveniences and a slice of beachside luxury all designed to complement the idyllic island setting.

The additional island amenities are scheduled to be complete by summer 2010, in time for special five-night cruises aboard the Disney Wonder with two stops at Castaway Cay, and the Disney Dream cruise ship which starts sailing in early 2011.

Castaway Cay is consistently rated by Disney Cruise Line guests as their favorite port of call – the ultimate private island escape for adventure, relaxation and quality time with the family.

“The numerous enhancements and additions planned for Castaway Cay will take the already extraordinary guest experiences on our private island to the next level,” said Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz. “Whether our guests are seeking recreation or leisure – or a combination of both – they will find it at Castaway Cay, all complemented by unparalleled Disney service.”

Walt Disney Imagineers designed Castaway Cay with one-of-a-kind areas and activities for every member of the family, while celebrating the natural beauty of the 1,000-acre island. Among the crystal-clear turquoise waters, powdery white sand beaches, swaying palm trees and lush landscapes, guests soon will find the following transformations.

View the video below to find out all the exciting changes or visit us at or call us at 1-800-788-2545 for further information.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Celebrity Century To Return To Mediterranean In 2010

The endless allure of Europe paired with the popularity of cruise vacations on Celebrity Century in the region have led Celebrity Cruises to redeploy the ship to the Mediterranean next summer. The new sailings replace the previously announced series of 4- and 5-night cruises from Miami between May and October 2010.

"Celebrity Century’s 4- and 5-night Caribbean vacations are very popular, but our dialogue with our travel partners and guests in North America and Europe indicated even stronger demand for the ship in Europe next summer," said Celebrity’s President & CEO Dan Hanrahan. "And, with our new, widely-heralded Celebrity Solstice scheduled to sail in the Caribbean year-round, our guests can enjoy the best 7-night Caribbean cruise experience on the market, whenever they’re ready to go."

Celebrity Century will continue to present 4- and 5-night Caribbean cruises from November 2009 through early May 2010.

As a prelude to its European season, the ship will depart Miami May 20, 2010, on a 14-night transatlantic voyage visiting Ponta Delgada, Azores; Lisbon, Portugal; and Seville and Malaga, Spain, ending in Barcelona. There, on June 3, Celebrity Century will begin a series of 12-night, roundtrip Mediterranean cruises, with a host of enticing ports of call that vary depending on departure date.

Among the destinations on Celebrity Century’s new Mediterranean sailings include the French Riviera’s luxurious Cannes and Monte Carlo, exceptionally "nice" Nice, and Provence, known for its aromatic fields of lavender; the stunning seaside communities of Sicily and Salerno on Italy’s Amalfi Coast; historic Florence/Pisa and Rome; endlessly romantic Venice, complete with overnight stays in port; Ephesus, Turkey, with its fascinating ancient ruins; Greece’s classic and enriching Athens, and festive Mykonos; and the enchanting, Adriatic seaside communities of Dubrovnik and Split, Croatia.

Celebrity Century’s 2010 Europe season will be capped with a 14-night transatlantic voyage departing Barcelona October 25, with calls on Malaga, Spain; Madeira, Portugal; and Tenerife and La Palma, Canary Islands, ending November 8, 2010, in Miami, Fla., where the ship will resume its popular 4- and 5-night Celebrity Caribbean getaways.

Bookings for Celebrity Century’s new Europe sailings in 2010 open today.

All guests with confirmed bookings on Celebrity Century’s 4- and 5-night Caribbean sailings between May 20 through November 4, 2010, are being contacted with an exceptional option: To be reaccommodated from their 4- or 5-night cruise on Celebrity Century to a 7-night sailing on the new Celebrity Solstice, subject to availability, in a like category at the same fare paid.
For more information on this itinerary change, call us at 1-800-788-2545 or visit

Disney Dream Takes Shape

Disney Cruise Line celebrated the keel laying of the Disney Dream, the first of two newly-designed ships destined to expand family cruise options to more people in more places around the world.

“Since our inception, families have come to know and love Disney Cruise Line, and they are looking for additional ways to enjoy all that we have to offer,” Disney Cruise Line President Karl Holz said during the ceremony at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. “Our fleet expansion will allow us to satisfy demand on both the East and West coasts of the United States while also giving us the flexibility to explore additional global destinations for our Guests.”

The keel laying ceremony is the first time the Disney Dream will begin to take shape after many years of design work. In the maritime industry, the ceremony marks a momentous occasion when the first block – or section – of the ship is lowered into the building dock and a coin is placed under the keel for good fortune.

Doing the honors of placing the coin was Captain Tom Forberg. With a distinguished maritime career aboard Disney Cruise Line, Forberg was the first crew member hired and the captain who launched the Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder. Recently, Forberg was named as the future Master of the Disney Dream.

The ship will continue to take its form through a block construction process in which pre-fabricated complete hull sections are joined together in block units and are then brought together to form the ship. The Disney Dream will be made up of 80 blocks, with the first block weighing in at approximately 380 tons.

Comedy Club Concept To Debut On New 130,000-Ton Carnival Dream

Building upon its reputation for offering the most diverse entertainment choices at sea, Carnival Cruise Lines will introduce the line’s first comedy club on its new 130,000-ton Carnival Dream. The club will feature six comedy shows on four different nights during each voyage.

The new 3,646-passenger Carnival Dream – the line’s largest ship – is set to debut Sept. 21, 2009.

Presented in the 425-seat Burgundy Lounge, Carnival Dream’s comedy club will highlight a wide variety of comedians offering both family-friendly and adult-only performances each night.

Six 35-minute shows will be presented nightly, with show times at 6, 7:15, 8:30, 9:45 and 11 p.m., and 12:15 a.m. The last two performances will be R-rated adult-only shows.

Carnival Dream’s comedy club will showcase the talents of both the line’s established comedians and up-and-coming performers, many of whom have appeared on television specials and in comedy venues throughout the country.

"Guests choose a Carnival vacation to relax, laugh and have a great time, and comedy shows are one of our most popular entertainment offerings," said Roger Blum, Carnival’s vice president of cruise programming. "On the Carnival Dream there will be 24 performances during each voyage, providing guests multiple opportunities to enjoy a highly talented roster of comics providing endless laughs in a fun and entertaining environment."

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Guadeloupe Offers New Programs For Cruise Passengers

Guadeloupe is introducing new hospitality programs for cruise passengers for the 2009/2010 season, according to Destination Guadeloupe Islands. For passengers disembarking in Pointe-a-Pitre guides known as “Ameritouristes” will be positioned throughout the town offering assistance; there will also be a new city map marked with recommended stores; and also offered will be tours in carts pulled by oxen.

Ameritouristes - Thirty bilingual young men and women will be recruited and stationed in groups of three at posts throughout Pointe-a-Pitre. Their function will be to offer information, directions and in general be helpful to passengers. The guides will be able to communicate via walkie talkies and will wear yellow polo shirts so they will be easily recognizable. Starting in November, the Ameritouristes will work from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the duration of the season.

Map of the town - In October, a new map of Pointe-a-Pitre will be introduced that is not only useful, but also fun, according to Guadeloupe. The fun theme is based on pirates and a treasure hunt. There will also be a partnership with selected stores that will carry a sign offering 10 percent discounts and be marked on the map. The objective is to improve the quality of shopping in Pointe-a-Pitre. Other shopping projects are being studied

Visiting Pointe-a-Pointe in an oxen- drawn cart - Starting in December will be tours of the town in carts pulled by oxen. According to Guadeloupe, having passengers visit the town will be its first priority, so that passengers will be able to taste local specialties, such as sugar cane juice, coconut milk, rum, coffee, ice cream, and more. This type of transportation is said to be symbolic of the sugar cane industry and will create a link between the islands’ past and the present. The cruise passengers will be able to get onboard the carts as they disembark their ship. The tours will terminate in the middle of town.

For more information on ships that visit Guadeloupe, call us at 1-800-788-2545 or visit

Norwegian Launches Freestyle Voices For Guests

Norwegian Cruise Line has launched Freestyle Voices,, an online social media forum enabling guests to post their own experiences and opinions to Norwegian’s web site. The company is the first cruise line to directly post user-generated content, including reviews, on its main corporate web site. Freestyle Voices gives guests the ability to interact with each other by sharing their personal Freestyle Cruising stories, posting shore excursion reviews, along with asking and answering questions about the cruise line’s 11 ships and worldwide destinations.

Freestyle Voices showcases customer stories where guests can share their Freestyle Cruising experiences, post photos from their cruise vacation, and also link their story to their Facebook page to share with their friends. With the rate and review function, users can rate shore excursions and share their opinions with others by posting a full review including the ability to post photos and videos. In the ask and answer section, users can answer each other’s questions, rate the helpfulness of an answer or post new questions to be answered by the online community or in some instances by the cruise line itself.

To date, Freestyle Voices is engaging cruisers with more than 3,500 guest questions submitted via the ask and answer platform and approximately 200 past guests have shared their Freestyle Cruising stories. In addition, guests have given high marks to a number of shore excursions with more than 770 submitted reviews.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Once Again Carnival Says No Go For Quebec City

Carnival has decided for a second time not to operate 9-day "After the Glaciers" cruises from New York, which were to visit Quebec City. The line had first announced the summertime cruises for the Carnival Triumph for 2009, then decided to postpone the itinerary until 2010, with the Carnival Glory.

A Carnival spokesman said the 2010 cruises, which were also to include the St. Lawrence River ports of Baie-Comeau and Havre-Saint-Pierre, have now been scrapped. He said the line instead wants to concentrate its efforts on its 4-, 5-, and 7-day New England/Canada sailings from New York; cruises that include port calls at Halifax (Nova Scotia) and St. John (New Brunswick).

Passengers with bookings on the "After the Glaciers" cruises will be given the option of rebooking, the spokesman added.

For more information on Carnival's New England and Canada itineraries, contact us at 1-800-788-2545 or visit

Alaskan Port Takes Steps to Discourage Vendor Peddling

Tired of overly aggressive tour vendors? So is the town of Sitka, Alaska.

Last week, the popular cruise ship destination implemented tough new rules to keep vendors from hassling cruisers as they pour off ships during the summer.

The rules force vendors of everything from fishing trips to floatplane rides to remain within small assigned spaces in the staging areas that visitors pass after they arrive by tender from ships.

The spaces, marked with yellow lines, are less than five feet wide.

Sitka officials tell the Associated Press they've been fielding growing complaints from cruisers and cruise lines about increasingly ugly tactics used by vendors selling tours. Cruisers also complained about having to walk a gauntlet of competing shore-side businesses within moments of leaving their ships, and officials believed it was creating a bad first impression of the town.

"The problem has escalated to the point we had to do something right now," Sitka's Don Kluting tells the Associated Press. "It didn't develop overnight. It's been going on over the years."