Tuesday, September 4, 2012


We just saw an offer from Disney Cruise Lines for 7 nights from Galveston for $599/person.  Email or call us for info.  Go Disney!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What happens on a cruise ship during a hurricane?

What happens when hurricanes interrupt a cruise?  Well, it happened to us.  We call it the cruise to nowhere.  We left Galveston headed for Cozumel et al.  The storm turned toward Cozumel so we were redirected to the inner eastern coast of Mexico in the Gulf.  Then the storm headed there and we turned to go to New Orleans.  After a loooong trip up the canal/approach we docked and headed out to shop.  We were there only an hour or so when we were called back to the ship because THE STORM WAS HEADED TO NEW ORLEANS!  The trip back out to sea was very rough.

So, here's what happened.  We were redirected obviously; but the trip was affected in other ways.  Everywhere we sailed the seas were rough and the likelihood of sliding dishes was high.  But, we were safe and activities continued on board.

By sliding dishes, I mean all the dishes from all the tables on the Lido sliding off the tables, across the floor, and into the windows on the downhill side.  We WERE safe but there were some seasick folks.

Some people were very agitated and caused a lot of drama at the guest services desk.  We just went about our cruising business and made the best of it.  The cruise line will probably give some concessions or bonuses due to the storm.  They will help people get back home as needed.  Sadly, those who through a fit fared better than those of us who didn't when it came to concessions from the cruise line.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


A quick note on food on the Carnival Magic -

The food was very good.   Food on Carnival always is.  This cruise, though, we did not find it OUTSTANDING.  The selection was not as wide nor the items as unusual as we are accustomed to on Carnival and the taste was just good. 

Warm Chocolate Melting Cake
 My favorite dessert, Bitter and Blanc, was not the same fabulous treat.  The Warm Chocolate Melting Cake, however; was better than ever!  Overall, the starters and desserts were the best - to me...

My favorites this trip - Gazpacho, WCM Cake, Beef and Barley Soup, and Chateau Briand.  Oh, and the Escargot was very good.

Some ordered multiples of one or more courses.  One, who shall remain unnamed, ordered one of each starter and entree the last night.  Wowee!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New Year's Cruise - Western Caribbean

Approaching the port at Cozumel
  This is the first of a number of posts about our recent Friends and Family New Year's Cruise. 

To start with, we had a wonderful time on the Carnival Magic.  This is a very new and very large Carnival ship.  All our staterooms were very nice and a bit larger than on other ships we have traveled on.  I mean "on which we have travelled" - sorry Mom!

We left from Galveston and spent two days at sea, arriving in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  Here we chose to hire a van driver to show us the area and tell us about current conditions and  events, history, and politics.   The farmers market was very interesting, but I don't think I would walk through it.  It is very crowded and some people objected to us taking pictures through the windows of the van.

Sunset at Sea

We saw homes from shambles to estates.  I was frustrated as a  photographer of rustic structures that I didn't feel comfortable/safe strolling to catch images.  If, or when I return, I will hire a guide to walk me through the market and surrounding neighborhoods.  I really like the look of history and time in structures and tools.

Next we visited Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands.  This port city is cleaner and more developed than Montego Bay.  The Cayman Islands chose to remain the the British Empire; Jamaica did not;  and it shows.

Here 17 of us sailed on a catamaran to  Stingray City to snorkel with sting rays.  They are wild in habitat, but tame in behavior.  The captain and crew of the catamaran feed them regularly and helped us feed and hold them.  They don't bite, but they do suck, literally.  See photo below.  I was feeding one and a wave pushed us together, moving my hand.  The ray thought I was a squid...  Yes, it hurt.

Sting Ray "suck"
 Our last stop was Cozumel.  Here, of course is civilization almost as we know it.  There is lots of shopping, all new and clean.  We are very experienced here and we strolled to stores, restaurants, and snorkeling.  We took a van and taxi to Chakanaab Park where there are many activities including snorkeling, food and drink, sea lion show, dolphin encounters, botancal garden, and a pretty lagoon.  There is beach access and seating along the shore and a small cove safe for small children.

Our return was marred by dense and long lasting fog.  Carnival did a very good job of keeping us entertained, fed, and apprised of the weather and departure progress.  We were about 5 hours late.

Postings to come:  Accessible Cruising, Spa Cruising, Food on the Magic, and who knows?  We had a great time!

Change Mediterranean Date

The planned date for our Mediterranean Group Cruise is now May or June 2013.  When we can book that far out, we'll let everyone we know know.  This is a great opportunity for seeing the eastern Mediterranean countries without packing or paying extra travel.

Greg and I will be taking our boys (almost 10 at that time). 

We will start in Spain or Italy and finish in the other.  There will be a payment plan.

Buen viaje!
Buon viaggio!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cruise the Mediterranean - 2

We (Recreation Cruise and Travel) have created a group rate to cruise the Mediterranean in the summer of 2012.  By making it a "group", we are able to make the rate lower than one can get as an individual.  I will post the details here in a day or so, so, WATCH THIS SPACE!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cruise the Mediteranean

I'm doing some research for a customer's potential cruise vacation and want to share some of what I'm seeing.  All the common cruise lines in the US have European cruises.  Looking at summer cruises, there are more in June and July than April and May and more in May than April.

Assuming more than a week, which would be needed to do The Med justice, one can cruise for 10 to 14 days in a range of about $1500 to about $3400 for an oceanview stateroom.  Oceanview obstructed is a bit less, balconies and suites are more.  There are few if any inside rooms listed.  It would be a crime to sail the Mediterranean without a view of one's own.  On cruises to anywhere, for me, it is well worth the money to have a balcony.  I like to sit out early and late and enjoy the ocean.  So, I would investigate the balcony for a med trip.

Once the selection has been narrowed down, we travel agents, I'm a travel agent, can find savings from state of residence, age, date, specials, etc.  We must double check the advertised specials as they are sometimes offset completely by a higher price or restrictions - same with everything... (Did you catch the My Cousin Vinny reference?)

Note that using a travel agent does not increase the travel or accomodation price.  Travel agents are paid a commission by the seller at no increase in price.  That is because otherwise the seller's employees would be doing that same research and management work.

Oh, back to the Mediterranean - itineraries mostly embark, debark, at Venice, Rome, or Barcelona.  There are some roundtrip from the UK and of course there are trans-atlantic cruises.  These are quite long and include as many as 10 days at sea.  I love to cruise, really love it, but 10 days on the water would be too much for me.  I'd like to hear your experiences and preferences!