Most of my trips have been by ship, but to get to most of my cruises,
I had to first take a plane.
My first cruise was in 1979. I became hooked! I have been on many cruises
since then, as you can see by the many pages above. My first cruise was out of
San Juan. I have also sailed out of Fort Lauderdale, Miami, New York and Tahiti.
My first cruise out of New York City was on the Norwegian Dawn (Norwegian
Cruise Line) out of New York City. We left March 26, 2006 and returned April 6th.
We visited Ocho Rios (Jamaica), Grand Cayman (Cayman Islands), Roatan (Bay
Islands, Honduras), Belize (Central America), Cozumel (Mexico), and Great
Stirrup Cay (Bahamas, NCL's private island). My friend Elton, who had never
cruised before, enjoyed the cruise very much.
The second cruise out of New York City was on the Carnival Miracle. We first
attended a wedding then cruised to San Juan, St. Thomas and Tortola. The cruise
was from October 2, 2007 to the 10th. Though I had never cruised with Carnival
before, and had heard many negatives things said about Carnival, I must say that
Elton and I enjoyed ourselves very much! The food was not that great but there
was a lot to choose from. The casual dining room was ideal for anyone not willing
to dress up to dine in the main dining room. The staff was extremely friendly
and the entertainment was superb!
On June 29, 2008, family and friends sailed on the Carnival Destiny
(now the Sunshine after an overhaul in 2013) from San Juan to St. Thomas,
Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua and St. Kitts. The photos are posted on
pages 2008 A to G. My comments about the cruise can be found on page 2008 G.
When will my next cruise be? Don't know. Will there be another cruise?
I hope so! Would I be willing to visit some of the ports just visited? Definitely.
And before you knew it, I was on another cruise ship. On April 17th, Elton and I
began our 7 day cruise on the Adventures of the Seas, Royal Caribbean
International. The first day was a day at sea then we visited Barbados, St. Lucia,
Antigua, St. Maarten (hadn't been here in a few years) and St. Croix (here for my
60th Birthday). But Jorge, you've been to those islands already. True, but Elton
had never visited them! And loving cruising as I do, I did not mind visiting the
same islands again. You will be able to view the photos of this cruise by going
to the 2011 pages.
I traveled to a few islands of the South Pacific (Tahiti, Bora Bora, Moorea, Fiji,
Pago Pago (on island of Tutuila), New Caledonia), and visited Australia (Sydney)
after the cruise. On the cruise to Brazil I visited Fortaleza, Salvador da Bahia,
and Rio de Janeiro and experienced Carnival in Rio. The Caribbean islands I have
cruised to are - Cozumel, Roatan, Grand Cayman, St. Thomas/St. John, Tortola,
St. Maarten/St. Martin, Antigua, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia, Martinique, Grenada,
Barbados, Tobago, Aruba, Curaçao, St. Kitts, and Dominica. I did a partial transit
of the Panama Canal (to Gatún Lake) that included a visit to the San Blas Islands,
Colombia (Cartagena), and Venezuela (La Guiara/Caracas).
I have also visited Belize.
My favorite Caribbean island, other than the USVI? St. Lucia, which I visited on
one or more cruises. When I visited the island it was very natural and not
too developed! My favorite islands in the South Pacific? Moorea and
Pago Pago. Did I live on these two islands in another life?
[Update, 2008: St. Lucia is still as beautiful as ever, though now a little more developed
than my first visit. However, the development appears to blend in with the environment
rather than overpower it. One can no longer walk into the volcano area in Soufrière.
Dominica is as green, if not greener, than St. Lucia. I must say that Dominica impressed
me very much during my recent visit. It is said that if Columbus were to return to the
Caribbean now the only island he'd recognize is Dominica.]
A few of the ships I sailed on no longer exist. They include Amerikanis,
Song of Norway, Fair Princess, Carla C, Stella Solaris, and Meridian.
The Nordic Empress recently became the Empress of the Seas
(Royal Caribbean Cruises). [Update: Empress of the Seas will be making its final
sailing as a member of the Royal Caribbean fleet in 2008. The vessel is scheduled to be
transferred to Pullmantur, the Spain-based cruise and tour operator RCI acquired in 2006
in an effort to expand its operations into Europe . January 2016, Update: The Empress is
returning to USA in Spring 2016 after "extensive refurbishment". She will be called, again,
Empress of the Seas.]
Today, Carnival is the largest cruise line. Under Carnival Corporation you have
such lines as Costa, Cunard, Seabourn, Holland America, Princess, and a few
others. The parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line is Star Cruises and they
also own Orient Cruises. Royal Caribbean Cruises consist of RC International
and Celebrity Cruises. For more information, you can click here.
Ships and companies come and go. The most informative magazine is
Cruise Travel, which is published every other month. For more information,
click here. You can also click here for more interesting information.
The cruise ships of the past were fewer, older, slower and/or smaller, but they
were more enjoyable. Most ships usually had one restaurant that
accommodated the passengers in two seatings. The food served in the dining
room was superb. The passengers were more into "dressing up" than they
are today. In the past, the cruise lines were more interested in the satisfaction
of the passengers than the constant need to make money. The announcements
made over the public address system were less intrusive. Local entertainers
were brought on board at some of the ports to entertain the passengers.
The ships today are bigger, faster, newer, but appear to cater more to the share
holders than the passengers. Cruise ships were once dubbed "floating cities".
Today one can call them "floating money machines". Dressing up has become
optional. The great food that was once served in the restaurants has been
moved to the "speciality restaurants" where one has to pay a cover charge
and make reservations. These so called "specialty restaurants" have created
a two class system. Cruises of the 60s and earlier were structured by class,
with each class having different amenities, restaurants, etc. In the past, sodas
were free, today they are not. On the last day, certain members of the staff were
tipped based on recommended amounts. Today, this tip is added automatically
to one's account. Modern ships have more than one dining room, a few specialty
dining rooms, buffet dining for a casual experience, incredible atriums,
multi-decked theaters, cabins with balconies, Broadway-type shows, rock
climbing, mini-golf courses, bowling alleys (NCL), etc., but if I had a choice, I
would go back to the cruises of the past - cruises of the 70s, 80s and 90s! Don't
get me wrong, I still enjoy cruises and will continue cruising for as long as I can!
Remember the TV series "Love Boat"? Many say the program helped give
cruising appeal to the masses. You can hear the "Love Boat" theme
by clicking here.
May 24, 2020: The cruise industry has been affected immensely by Covid-19
(Corona virus). Ships have been docked. Some lines feel they will begin cruising
in July or August. Let's see what happens. The "new" cruises will change to
protect passengers. There will be a "new normal", a new way of cruising.
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