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Archive for the ‘Panama Canal’ Category

Royal Caribbean Updates Crown & Anchor Loyalty Program

Posted by thetraveldoctor on January 28, 2011


Royal Caribbean Ship at Anchor

Royal Caribbean Ship at Anchor at Labadee

On January 21, 2011, Royal Caribbean updated and enhanced it cruise Loyalty program. The program called the Crown & Anchor Society gives frequent cruisers the ability to earn point and special benefits on current and future cruises.

The old program counted how many past cruises you sailed on to figure your benefits. The new program now counts how many days you sail. So if you are on a 3 night cruise, you will receive 3 points. If you are on a 10 night cruise, you will receive 10 points. So you now are rewarded based on the number of days you have sailed with Royal Caribbean and not just the number of cruises. Now if you purchase a suite, you get double the points. So if you sail in a suite for 10 nights, you receive 20 points. So you now have an incentive to book a suite as you double your point total on that cruise.

The new program also added two new levels of recognition. Under the old program the levels were Gold, Platinum, Diamond & Diamond Plus. The new program adds the Emerald Level and the Pinnacle Club Level. So the new program is now Gold, Platinum, Emerald, Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle Club. The number of points needed for each level is as follows

Gold – 3 points   Platinum – 30 points  Emerald – 55 points  Diamond – 80 points  Diamond Plus – 175 points  Pinnacle Club – 700 points

Under the Pinnacle Club they have added a free 7 night cruise when you reach a certain level. This is a great incentive to sail with Royal Caribbean as often as possible.

I am looking forward to checking out the new Crown & Anchor program on my next cruise which is coming up quickly. I will let you know how it was when I return.

Check out the program here http://www.royalcaribbean.com/cas/benefitsLoggedout.do;jsessionid=00009y8VJBAow9ZtIhLR3VFmCjo:15lbbpnkd

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Posted in Allure Of The Seas, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, food, Haiti, islands, Oasis of the Seas, Panama Canal, restaurant, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

US Passport Fees Are Going UP!

Posted by thetraveldoctor on July 10, 2010


The US Passport office will officially increase the price of a United States Passport on Tuesday July 13, 2010. The new fees will raise the price of a passport by approximatly $35. The chart below outlines the new fees.

Remember, you need a passport to leave the United States. You cannot travel to a foreign country on your drivers licenses. It amazes me that people in the US think that they don’t need a passport to travel around the world.

But get you passport before July 13 and you will save $35!

Passport Fee Chart

Passport Fee Chart

Posted in airlines, airplane, airports, cruise line, cruises, Europe, first class, Government, islands, Mexico, Oasis of the Seas, Panama Canal, politics, royal caribbean, ships, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Is the Allure of The Seas A Clone of Oasis of The Seas?

Posted by thetraveldoctor on June 19, 2010


Central Park on Allure Of The Seas

Central Park on Allure Of The Seas from the interior Staterooms

The Allure of The Seas is due to set sail on its maiden voyage on December 1, 2010. This inaugural cruise is billed as a “4 Night Labadee Extravaganza” cruise. This cruise will include 2 days at sea and a day at Labadee Haiti, Royal Caribbean’s beach port.

The Allure of The Seas will make Fort Lauderdale Florida at Port Everglades its home. But the question on everyones mind is this. Is the Allure a carbon copy of the Oasis Of The Seas? Well, looking at the two ships brochures, you find that the layout of both ships are identical. But the Allure will be different in its Boardwalk neighborhood. Instead of the Seafood Shack, the Allure’s Boardwalk will have a Mexican restaurant, Rita’s Cantina. A specialty hot dog counter called the Boardwalk Dog House, will be located where the doughnut shop is on the Oasis. So where is the popular doughnut shop on the Allure going to be? Well, it is next to the premium ice cream shop. I have no idea where the ice cream shop is, but that’s ok. I am getting confused now.

There is going to be a first in shopping on the Allure as “Guess” clothing opens up it’s first Clothing Store at Sea! Guess will be located on the Royal Promenade, where the Focus photo store is on the Oasis and the Focus Photo Store will move to the new photo gallery area on the Allure. Are you throughly confused now? Don’t be. If you have sailed on the Oasis then you will be able to navigate your way around the Allure without much trouble.

So is the Allure Of The Seas a Clone of the Oasis Of The Seas? I will leave that up to you, the passengers to tell me.

Posted in Allure Of The Seas, art, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, economy, Europe, first class, food, free, Haiti, Hotels, islands, luggage, Mexico, Oasis of the Seas, Panama Canal, restaurant, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Oasis of The Seas makes some last minute changes

Posted by thetraveldoctor on December 2, 2009


The Oasis of the Seas Boardwalk area

The Oasis of the Seas Boardwalk area

Royal Caribbean new ship Oasis of The Seas is now sailing as the World’s Largest Cruise Ship. But there were a few last minute changes that were made to the ship before it arrived for it’s first cruise.

The original design of the Boardwalk “Neighborhood” was to have a tattoo parlor offering temporary tattoos and a tarot card reader store. But the tattoo idea was nixed and was replaced with a Pets at Seas store where passengers can make their own stuffed animals. The Tarot Card Reader Store, well let’s just say it was not “In The Cards.”

This is a great ship and if you have never cruised before, this would be a great ship to take your first cruise. Also Oasis has really out done itself with on the Entertainment offerings. Try it You will LOVE IT!

Posted in airlines, airplane, Allure Of The Seas, art, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, Credit Cards, cruise line, cruises, food, islands, luggage, Mexico, Oasis of the Seas, Panama Canal, restaurant, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Voyager of The Seas, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

My Cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of The Seas

Posted by thetraveldoctor on August 11, 2009


Alan & Lil on The Tender with the Mariner in the background

Alan & Lil on The Tender with the Mariner in the background

This is my second time on The Mariner of The Seas and my 87th cruise over all. With all these cruises under my belt, I feel that I have a good Idea of what makes a great cruise vacation.

My wife and I departed on July 12, 2009 from the Port of Los Angeles on Royal Caribbean’s  Mariner of The Seas. We were very excited to be on the Mariner again and were looking forward to a great vacation at sea. We sailed away from the dock at 5:45 PM and headed south from LA to Mexico in the crystal blue Pacific Ocean.

We Unpacked and settled into our stateroom.  We headed to the dinning room at 555PM, as we had first seating dinning. Royal Caribbean has instituted a “As You Like it Dinning” as an option for people that don’t like  early or late set dinning times. This option gives you the choice to come to the main dinning room at anytime between 6PM and 8:30PM and you are seated as if you were at a restaurant. I personally like the fixed seating at the same table, waiters and people at my table all week. We were seated at a table for 6 with two other couples. One couple was from the Chicago area and was also in the cabin next to us we discovered. The other couple was from Big Bear California. Really very nice people and we had a great conversation at dinner. But that’s what dinner on a cruise ship is really all about. Meeting new people, great food and great conversation. The food was excellent, which was nice to see that Royal Caribbean had not cutback on the quality of the food during these trying economic times.

After dinner it was off to the Savoy Theater for the welcome aboard show. We met our Cruise

The Parade on the Mariner of The Seas

The Parade on the Mariner of The Seas

Director Abe who gave us a rundown of what to expect during the upcoming week. Then we were entertained by a juggler and a comic, who were both very good. The evening ended with a great “Welcome Parade” on the Royal Promenade. So for the first day, things looked pretty good.

Since we had travelled with Royal Caribbean on more than 24 cruises, we are considered Diamond Plus members in their Loyalty program, which is the top tier of the program. Along with being in the top tier brings some perks, such as a special on board coupon book. Now it’s been 18 months since our last Royal Caribbean cruise and we were expecting the same perks in the coupon book we received in February of 2008. Well they have decided to change the coupon book and take away a lot of the “Perks” that they gave to their best customers. This did not make much sense to me. Why would you take away perks to your best customers. Things such as a free 8” X 10” photo is now gone and replaced by a 20% off coupon on a special type of 8” x 10” photo. Gone also is a free 30 minutes of internet usage, replaced by a $10 off coupon for internet usage. At a ridiculous $0.55 per minute (OUCH!) you will use that $10 credit up real quick, as the internet connection on this ship is so slow, you could finish the novel War and Peace before you could send your email.

Gone is the “Ship Shape” program. This program got people involved in the fitness activities aboard the ship. You would earn Ship Shape dollars for participating in the activities and you would then be able to redeem them for “Ship Shape” gifts at the end of the cruise. A really great program that I really was sorry to see it eliminated as I was on the ship that they started the ship shape program back in the 1980’s. I guess the one thing that Royal Caribbean eliminated that I was really sad to see go was the Mint and Saying on the Pillow at night. Did I eat the mint every night, no, but It was like a warm fuzzy that I had come to expect on Royal Caribbean ever since we sailed on our first cruise on the Song of Norway in 1978.

To be continued……..

Posted in airlines, airports, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, Coach, cruise line, cruises, disabilities, economy, Europe, food, gas, islands, luggage, lunch, Mexico, Panama Canal, pillows, restaurant, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Disney Names New Ships

Posted by thetraveldoctor on April 6, 2009


 

Disney Ship in Port

Disney Ship in Port

Disney Cruise Line has named it’s two new ships. The cruise line began construction on the two new ships in March. The ships are being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. The delivery dates for the ships are 2011 and 20012. The new ships will weigh in at 128,000 GRT’s and will have 1,250 staterooms. The new ships will be named The Disney Dream and The Disney Fantasy. A Disney spokesperson called the names “a natural choice for our ships.”

Posted in airlines, Art Auctions at Sea, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, disabilities, economy, food, Hotels, investments, islands, luggage, Med, Mexico, news, Panama Canal, restaurant, sailing, ships, tickets, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Orient Lines may not be returning after all.

Posted by thetraveldoctor on December 14, 2008


 

The New Marco Polo II

The New Marco Polo II

Orient Lines has release a statement that its inaugural season, set to start in April of 09 is being delayed. The line is refunding all bookings on the Marco Polo II, the former Maxim Gorkiy. The line has furloughed ten full time employees and most of the sales force was let go.

Wayne Heller, the lines founder said, “We are exploring possible options to relaunch our cruise program at a more favorable time. This sound like the end of the line for Orient again. Too bad, I really thought it was going to make a go of it. I will keep you abreast of any future developments.

Stay Tune!

Posted in caribbean, cruise line, cruises, economy, first class, Med, Mexico, Panama Canal, pillows, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Royal Caribbean New Ad Campaign A Real “Dud”

Posted by thetraveldoctor on December 13, 2008


 

At Sea on Royal Caribbean

At Sea on Royal Caribbean

You have probably seen the new Royal Caribbean commercial called the “Nation of Why Not?”  This is the new ad campaign for Royal Caribbean. I cannot tell you that who ever came up with this campaign should be FIRED! What a DUD! It is so bad that I have to change the channel every time it comes up on my TV. It looks like a really bad Magic Kingdom commercial. If this what Royal Caribbean thinks will get people to sail on their ships, well they have another thing coming. 

The past campaign was “Get Out There!” Now that was a great campaign as it showed that you could do anything on a cruise vacation. A real upbeat campaign. It made you say “That looks like FUN!” 

But now the powers that be have come up with this terrible campaign that is driving people away from the brand. My advise to Royal Caribbean, dump this campaign and regroup and come up with something GOOD! After 37 years in the travel industry, I think I know what I am talking about.

Posted in airplane, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, disabilities, Europe, first class, investments, luggage, Med, Mexico, news, Panama Canal, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations, Wifi | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Royal Caribbean Creates “Youth Zone” On Oasis

Posted by thetraveldoctor on November 8, 2008


 

Oasis of The Sea

Oasis of The Sea

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line will introduce the “Youth Zone” on it newest ship, The Oasis Of The Sea debuting December 12, 2009. The Youth Zone will be one of the 7 “Neighborhoods” on the ship. The Youth Zone will include, Kids Avenue and Central Boulvard which will connect various themed play areas. And Adventure Ocean Theater, a theater just for kids. Plus a first for Royal Caribbean a Nursery for infants at least 6 months old and toddlers.

The Oasis of The Seas is going to be the World’s Largest Cruise Ship at 220,000 GRT and will carry 5400 passengers.

Posted in airlines, airplane, Art Auctions at Sea, Brilliance of The Seas, Business Class, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, disabilities, Europe, islands, luggage, Med, Mexico, news, Panama Canal, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, Transportation, Travel, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Royal Caribbean Brilliance of The Seas – A day at The Panama Canal

Posted by thetraveldoctor on October 8, 2008


 

One of the Mules that Pulls the ship through the Locks

One of the Mules that Pulls the ship through the Locks

Alan at the Midpoint at the Gatun Locks

Alan at the Midpoint at the Gatun Locks

The Brilliance of The Seas exiting the Gatun Locks

The Brilliance of The Seas exiting the Gatun Locks

The Brilliance of The Seas at anchor in Lake Gatun

The Brilliance of The Seas at anchor in Lake Gatun

Approach to the Gatun Locks

Approach to the Gatun Locks

 This past January my wife and I took a fascinating cruise thru the Panama Canal on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of The Seas. This is a wonderful ship and a great cruise for anyone that loves cruising. The day we began to  transit the canal started early in the morning just before sunrise. Our pilot arrived at our ship as the sun broke the horizon. We then picked up our two tug boats that would help our ship into the locks.  The total transit took about 3 hours. The pictures below are my “Photo Blog” of our experience through the Gatun Locks on the Caribbean side of the canal.

If you have never been on a Panama Canal cruise then you have never experienced the excitement that you feel as you approach and then transit the canal. It does get hot during the day, so take a lot of sunscreen along so you don’t get burned.

If you have never been on a Panama Canal cruise then you have never experienced the excitement that you feel as you approach and then transit the canal. It does get hot during the day, so take a lot of sunscreen along so you don’t get burned.If you have never been on a Panama Canal cruise then you have never experienced the excitement that you feel as you approach and then transit the canal. It does get hot during the day, so take a lot of sunscreen along so you don’t get burned.

Posted in Brilliance of The Seas, cancun, caribbean, cruise line, cruises, disabilities, Europe, gas, islands, luggage, Mexico, news, Panama Canal, pillows, royal caribbean, sailing, seniors, ships, tickets, tours, Transportation, Travel, travel agents, Uncategorized, Vacations | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »