Archive for December, 2013

Scott’s 2013 Cruise Year in Review

December 23, 2013

Wow, 2013 is almost over.

For some strange reason, I wanted to share some personal thoughts.

2013 started off a little bit rocky with the February fire on board the Carnival Triumph. What made me upset was the biased media coverage of the event.

Watching CNN as the passengers debarked, I saw reporters actively looking for people who were upset.

Those passengers that said it was like a camping trip, or that they had Bible studies on board were basically pushed to the side, while at the same time those passengers kissing the ground wearing Carnival bathrobes were embraced by reporters.

I have to admit that Saturday Night Live had a great sketch about the Triumph incident!

You can watch the video here:

http://www.metatube.com/en/videos/172205/Saturday-Night-Live-Carnival-Cruise-Ship-Stranded-At-Sea-Mocked-16-2-2013/

I was happy to appear on the local Jacksonville Fox Sunday show to put the incident in perspective.

You can search for the Feb 24th episode here:

http://www.actionnewsjax.com/content/actionnewssunday/default.aspx

Thanks to anchor Tera Barz for interviewing me.

Marty’s and my first cruise of 2013 was in March on one of our favorite ships, the Holland America Line MS Eurodam.

We have enjoyed the 7 day Eastern Caribbean many times and this time was no exception!

Marty enjoyed the Digital Workshop powered by Windows and we both enjoyed seeing crew members from past voyages including incredible Cruise Director J.T. Watters, Hotel Manager Stan Kuppens and our friend Glynda. You can see those pics and many more of our Holland America pics on my HAL Pinterest board here:

http://www.pinterest.com/scottlara1961/holland-america-line/

In addition, I was honored to be named the Travel Agent in the Spotlight in the Carnival Newsletter. You can see the article here:

http://tiny.cc/jfd13w

I was also interviewed for the Holland America Mariner Magazine.

You can see that article here:

http://scottlara1961.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/mariner2.pdf

My next cruise of 2013 was on the Carnival Fascination in September.

As you may know, Marty and I live in Jacksonville, Florida and we live literally 15 minutes away from the cruise port.

I sailed on the Carnival Fascination with several friends of mine including the owner of Air Sea Travel Mr. Dwight Cenac and several men and young men from our church.

We had a great time and especially enjoyed stopping at Little Stirrup Cay (aka Coco Cay).

We were honored to be given the Captain’s table for dinner. We had a large group of guys and it was great to be seated together.

The last cruise of 2013 was on board the incredible Carnival Dream on Nov 30th.

The Carnival Dream is an incredible ship with lots to do for kids and adults.

Be sure to experience Chef’s Art Steakhouse!

The Serenity Adults Only Retreat is a true Sanctuary in every sense of the word!

Marty and I are looking forward to cruising again in 2014 as we will be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary on January 7th.

I want to thank everyone who booked a cruise with me in 2013.

I also want to especially thank Dwight Cenac, owner of Air Sea Travel who introduced me to cruising many years ago and has allowed me to be the manager of Air Sea Travel in Jacksonville.

I also want to thank everyone at Holland America Line and Carnival Cruise Lines for being like family to me every time Marty and I sail with them.

Special shouts and many thanks to my good friend Doug Parker of Cruise Radio and everyone on #cruisechat.

Be sure to check out my YouTube videos on the link to the right.

Merry Christmas and a VERY Happy New Year!

PEACE!

Scott

#Winning

Review of the Carnival Dream

December 8, 2013

Wow!

My wife Marty and I just returned from a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Dream. We had a great time.

Boarding
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We enjoyed a pre cruise park, sleep and cruise at the beautiful Radisson Resort at the Port and enjoyed the prompt shuttle service to the terminal.

We arrived at Terminal 6 around 1 p.m. In Port Canaveral and it was crowded!

Once we went through security, it took about 20 minutes to reach the check in desk where you present your credit card for your on board purchases.

We then went upstairs and sat for about 15 minutes before we took the LONG walk to the Carnival Dream.

Once on board I couldn’t believe the Atrium area!

Very colorful and exciting.

Our Cabin
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Our cabin was 9125 on the Visa deck. It’s only 3 cabins aft of the bridge on the starboard side of the ship. This was the first time my wife Marty and I had a balcony cabin together and we both loved it. Marty is a lung cancer survivor and she was concerned she would inhale smoke from the other balcony cabins, but fortunately we didn’t smell cigarette smoke.

The Food
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We then went to the Lido deck. Be sure to check out the entire “The Gathering” because so many people stop at the first food station and not walk further aft to see the other stations! Be sure to get a deli sandwich near the aft pool!

You also have to check out the specialty restaurant “Chef’s Art Steakhouse”. For only $35.00 per person, you will have the meal of a lifetime in a romantic atmosphere!

The Ship
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Considering the Carnival Dream holds over 3600 guests, there is something to do for everyone. One of my favorite places is the 2 story Serenity Adults Only Retreat at the front of the ship. They have hot tubs and even hammocks!

The Carnival Waterworks is incredible. Lots of fun water slides for both adults and kids.

The Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez is another great venue. They have both family and adult shows.

Speaking of shows, don’t miss the entertainment in the Encore Showroom! My favorite is the Fun Force! These guys are off the chain.

For more about the 7 day Carnival Dream cruise, check out my YouTube videos at the link on the right and stay tuned to Cruise Radio for my review.

Special thanks to everyone at Carnival CruiseLine, The Radisson Resort at the Port in Port Canaveral and Senior Cruise Director John Heald for a GREAT cruise vacation!

PEACE!

Keeping your sanity at sea!

December 5, 2013

You’ve been waiting months or longer for your cruise vacation.

The day has finally arrived and you, your spouse and even maybe your kids are about to board your home away from home for the next several days.

How do you stay sane?

Interesting question isn’t it?

My wife and I have been cruising for years. We sail primarily on Holland America Line, but we have also sailed frequently on the Carnival Fascination which is home ported only 15 minutes from our home in Jacksonville, Florida. Marty and I are currently sailing on the incredible Carnival Dream.

We’ve also sailed on Royal Caribbean, NCL and on Celebrity Solstice.

The fact of the matter is that for the most part, dad is working 40 plus hours a week. Mom is probably working either in or outside of the home. Little Timmy and Brittany probably are going to school most of the year.

When you take 2, 4 or more people and suddenly put them in the same cabin, or even in two or more cabins, the family dynamic changes and I hope my super secret tips help you during your next cruise vacation.

1. Have a family meeting and set expectations.
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Let the kids know they can have LOTS of free time, but that you expect them to join you for a family dinner at least once during the cruise. Yeah, I know “Leave it to Beaver” and “The Brady Bunch” are from the days gone by, but moms LOVE it when “the family” can all eat together, look into each other’s eyes, pick up the forks at the same time, ensure the kids eat their broccoli and cauliflower etc.

2. For the husband and wife.
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Here’s the deal. Men spend more time at work than with their wives. When we men are suddenly thrust into 24/7 with the Mrs, this is a recipe for disaster.

I’ve been married for 30 years and I’ve found when I’m on a cruise with my wife that she wants ALL my attention! Guys, under no circumstances try to steal a glance at the girl on the pool deck who is wearing a skimpy bikini and looks like Jennifer Aniston. You will regret it for years to come!

Wives. Please understand that Mr. Man wants to go to the casino, have a rum and coke at the bar and wants to RELAX. Trust me. He doesn’t want to hear you talk 24/7.

One of my favorite movies is “Vegas Vacation”. Do you remember the scene when Chevy Chase and his family were sitting in the casino restaurant and he said that everyone could have their own day! Granted, Ellen Griswald spent the day at Wayne Newton’s estate, but you get the point! Too much together time isn’t good.

3. Dealing with other passengers on the ship
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You’re way ahead of me on this aren’t you? You sit near Grandma Moses and she introduces herself. Next thing you know she’s pulling out her 100 page photo album with pictures of her 13 kids, 27 grandchildren and 323 great grand children. All of them are either doctors, lawyers or astronauts. They all graduated with honors, drive Porsche’s and have flawless skin. The best way to deal with Grandma is to smile and say excuse me, I’m recovering from being quarantined with the norovirus. That should do the trick, but don’t say that too loud. Someone may overhear you!

Ok, there ya go! I wrote this off the top of my head sitting on the balcony of cabin 9215 on the Carnival Dream. Agree or disagree with me? Please leave your comments. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @scottlara1961 and stayed tuned to Cruise Radio as Doug will be interviewing me soon about my experience on the amazing Carnival Dream.

PEACE!

Carnival Dream Cruise Nov 30 – Dec 7, 2013

December 3, 2013

We started with our pre-cruise stay at the Radisson Resort at the Port in Port Canaveral. They have a great sleep, park and cruise special.

 My first impressions of the Radisson were great customer service, very clean room and an incredible full breakfast!
 
The free shuttle service ran like clockwork.
 
Day One on the Carnival Dream.
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Well, keep in mind the ship holds a little over 3600 passengers.
 
My wife Marty and I arrived at the cruise port around 1:00 p.m.
 
There was a very long line for passengers to board.
 
If you are a Priority or “Faster to the Fun” guest, you need to basically elbow your way through the line to get to the Priority boarding area at the front of the building.
 
Going through security was pretty fast.
 
It constantly amazes me how many people don’t prepare for going through security.
 
People don’t put their cell phones, iPads or other electronics in their carry on bags. This really slows the security process!
 
Once Marty and I went through security, we waited in line about 20 minutes to check in.
 
Next we went upstairs and waited about 20 more minutes to take the long walk to the ship.
 
You better have comfortable shoes and not lugging 30 pieces of carry on luggage!
The walk to the ship is not for the faint of heart!
 
We stepped on board the Carnival Dream about 1:30 p.m.
 
We went straight to our balcony cabin (9215) up on deck 9 (Vista deck).
 
I really like the location of this cabin!
 
The lido deck is only one deck up from us and the Serenity Adult Only Retreat is only a couple decks up!
 
Speaking of Serenity, hats off to Carnival for expanding this area!
 
Granted, it’s a little forward of the Carnival Waterworks, but it is truly an oasis from the pressures of everyday life!
 
Plenty of comfortable seating, lots of shaded areas and even two hammocks! There are two hot tubs and most importantly, no kids allowed!
 
Truly family friendly.
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The Carnival Dream is the perfect destination for families.
 
There’s so much to do for all ages, families will return to the Carnival Dream time after time.
 
Marty and I are about to get off the ship in beautiful St Thomas. More updates to come and special thanks to everyone at the Radisson and Carnival for some incredible memories!
 

Be sure to follow along on Twitter @scottlara1961 with hashtag #carnivaldream