A Cruise Ship Directory

Information On Most Cruise Ships In Service

As the travel industry entered the twenty-first century an amazing thing happened. The popularity of cruising was growing rapidly and cruise line companies reacted by launching a whole new generation of mega-ships. To attract passengers they added amusement parks, dozens of gourmet  restaurants, water features, nightclubs, sports facilities, spas and more. They are marvels of engineering and have become actual floating cities.

In the last century the aircraft carrier was the unchallenged behemoth of the seas but now in comparison they are shorter and while still wider, the new class of cruise ships have significantly more length, mass, and total displacement.

Not only are these wonders a total, all inclusive resort experience that put most land based resorts to shame. They also take their guests on an adventure, visiting countries and wonders all around the world. I don’t know any other experience that comes close.

Not sure what cruise line to explore and ships to consider? Her we offer the most complete list of current cruise ships anywhere. Each ship listing includes date launched, size, number of passengers and most recent refurbishment. Each ship listing is also a link to its cruise line description page for additional information. Our plan is to add to and update this list every three to four months.

The following listings include key information for understanding what the cruise ship offers including:

Date the Ship Entered Service– How old a ship is matters. Each new generation incorporates new features that older ships normally didn’t include.

GT or Gross Tons – Just like age, size matters too and GT is a good indication of how big the ship is. The bigger the ship the more things are included onboard.

Number of Passengers – Like gross tons the number of passengers is something to consider. Consider your taste. Small and intimate or big and bold.

Refurb (refurbishment) – At the least that means new furniture and upgraded decor but major refurbishments can add major redesigns adding features like more restaurants and lounges.

Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line is a The Walt Disney Company. The company was incorporated in 1996 as Magical Cruise Company Limited

Disney Magic 1998 • 83,000 GT  •  2,713 passengers

Disney Wonder 1999 • 83,000 GT  • 2,713 passengers • Refurb September 2019

Disney Dream 2011 • 130,000 GT  •  3,500 passengers

Disney Fantasy 2012  •  130,000 GT  •  3,500 passengers

Princess Cruise Line

Princess Cruises is owned by Carnival Corporation and is incorporated in Bermuda with headquarters are in Santa Clarita, California. It is the second largest cruise line by revenue.  It was previously a subsidiary of P&O Princess Cruises, and is managed by Holland America Group, which controls the Princess Cruise brand.

Royal Class 3,600 passengers

Royal Princess 2013  •  141,000 GT

Regal Princess 2014 • 141,000 GT  – Featuring more than 1,400 balconies and the SeaWalk®, a glass-floor walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship! From the tranquil Sanctuary, a retreat reserved for adults, to the dazzling Princess WaterColor Fantasy light and water show and more, you’ll find something for everyone on the Regal Princess.

Majestic Princess 2017 • 143,000 •  GT

Grand Class 2,600 passengers and 1,150 crew

Grand Princess 1998 • 107,517 GT • refurb in December 2016

Golden Princess 2001 • 108,865 GT •  refurb in 2015

Star Princess 2002 • 108,977 GT • refurb in 2017

Diamond Princess 2004 • 115,875 GT

Sapphire Princess 2004 • 115,875 GT

Caribbean Princess 2004 • 112,894 GT •  Last refurb in 2017

Crown Princess 2006 • 113,561 GT

Emerald Princess 2007 • 113,561 GT

Ruby Princess 2008 • 113,561 GT •  Last refurb October 2018

Panamax-Class 1,970 passengers and 895 crew

Coral Princess 2003 • 91,627 GT

Island Princess 2003 • 91,627 GT

Sun Class 1,990 passengers and 924 crew

Sun Princess 1995 • 77,499 GT •  Last refurbished in April, 2016

Sea Princess 1998–2003 and 2005–present • 77,690 GT •  Sailed as P&O Adonia from 2003 to 2005

R Class    680 passengers and 373 crew

Pacific Princess 1999 • Princess ship 2003–Present • 30,277 GT

Future Fleet

Sky Princess Royal class 2019 143,700 GT

Enchanted Princess Royal class 2020 143,700 GT

TBA Royal class 2022 143,700 GT

TBA 2023 175,000 GT

TBA 2025 175,000 GT ship to be powered by liquefied natural gas

Holland America Line

Holland America Line is a British/American-owned line, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Holland America Line was founded in the Netherlands and from 1873 to 1989, it operated as a Dutch shipping line, a passenger line, a cargo line and a cruise line, operating mostly between the Netherlands and North America.

MS Maasdam 1993 • 55,575 GT •  1,258 passengers

MS Veendam 1996 • 57,092 GT •  1,350 passengers

MS Rotterdam 1997 • 61,849 GT • 1,404 passengers

MS Volendam 1999 • 61,214 GT • 1,432 passengers

MS Zaandam 2000 • 61,396 GT •  1,432 passengers

MS Amsterdam 2000 • 62,735 GT •  1,380 passengers

Vista Class

MS Zuiderdam 2002 •  82,305 GT • 1,916 passengers

MS Oosterdam 2003 • 82,305 GT • 1,916 passengers

MS Westerdam 2004 • 82,305 GT • 1,916 passengers

MS Noordam 2006 • 82,318 GT • 1,924 passengers • Refurb September 2019

Signature Class

MS Eurodam 2008 • 86,273 •  2,104 passengers – The Eurodam recently received many exciting updates. Guests on this graceful ship can enjoy the full Music Walk™ experience, including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Billboard Onboard. Explore onboard at a cooking class or hands-on workshop with America’s Test Kitchen, BBC Earth Experiences and a Digital Workshop Powered by Windows®. Dine in your choice of specialty restaurants.

MS Nieuw Amsterdam 2010 • 86,700 GT • 2,106 passengers

Pinnacle Class

MS Koningsdam  2016 • 99,863 • 2,650 passengers – at 975 ft. long and a width of 114.8 ft. The first of Holland America Line’s Pinnacle-class ships, Koningsdam inspired by music, her design features innovative, new dining and entertainment venues, with the dazzling, two-story World Stage to Music Walk™, Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club and Billboard Onboard.

MS Nieuw Statendam Nov 2018 • 99,863 GT • 2,650 passengers

MS Nieuw Amsterdam  Nov 2018 • 99,863 GT • 2,650 passengers

Future Fleet

MS Ryndam May 2021 • 99,863 GT • 2,650 passengers

Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line is an international cruise company with headquarters in Doral, Florida. Its logo is the funnel found on their ships, with red, white and blue colors. The funnels are shaped like a whale’s tail. Currently, Carnival is the largest cruise line in the world, based on passengers carried annually, and total number of ships in fleet. Carnival is one of ten cruise line brands owned by the world’s largest cruise ship operator, the American-British Carnival Corporation.

Vista Class

Carnival Horizon 2018 • 133,500 GT • 3,960 passengers – Horizon features lots of fabulous restaurants, a popular pub and brewery, a thrilling bike-ride-in-the-sky attraction, an IMAX movie theatre and a huge water park with an exhilarating 455-foot-long water tube slide.

Carnival Vista 2016 • 133,500 GT • 3,934 passengers

Dream Class

Carnival Breeze 2012 • 128,000 GT • 3,690 passengers

Carnival Magic 2011 • 128,000 GT • 3,690 passengers

Carnival Dream 2009 • 128,000 GT • 3,646 passengers

Splendor Class

Carnival Splendor 2008 • 113,300 GT • 3,012 passengers

Conquest Class

Carnival Freedom 2007 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 passengers

Carnival Liberty 2005 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 passengers

Carnival Valor 2004 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 Passengers – Onboard are food spots like Blue Iguana Cantina and Guy’s Burger Joint, Scarlett’s Steakhouse. Let yourself be swept away to RedFrog Pub or Alchemy Bar, or get a little carried away in SkyBox Sports Bar. Kids get caught up in the excitement of being kids, hanging with others their age at Carnival Valor’s three supervised youth venues.

Carnival Glory 2003 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 passengers

Carnival Conquest 2002 • 110,000 GT • 2,980 passengers

Spirit Class

Carnival Miracle 2004 • 88,500 GT • 2,124 passengers

Carnival Legend 2002 • 88,500 GT • 2,124 passengers

Carnival Pride 2002 • 88,500 GT • 2,124 passengers

Carnival Spirit 2001 • 88,500 GT •  2,124 passengers

Destiny/Sunshine Class

Carnival Victory 2000 • 101,509 GT • 2,754 passengers

Carnival Sunrise 1999–2019 as Carnival Triumph • 101,509 GT • 2,754 passengers

Carnival Sunshine 1996-2013 as Carnival Destiny • 102,853 GT • 3,002 passengers

Fantasy Class

Carnival Paradise 1998 • 71,909 GT •  2,124 passengers

Carnival Elation 1998 • 71,909 GT •  2,130 passengers

Carnival Inspiration 1996 •  70,367 GT •  2,056 passengers

Carnival Imagination 1995 •  70,367 GT •  2,056 passengers

Carnival Fascination 1994 • 70,367 GT • 2,056 passengers

Carnival Sensation 1993 • 70,367 GT •  2,056 passengers

Carnival Ecstasy 1991 • 70,367 GT • 2,056 passengers

Carnival Fantasy 1990 • 70,367 GT • 2,056 passengers

Future Ships

Carnival Panorama 2019 135,500 GT

Mardi Gras 2020 185,000 GT

Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean International (RCI), also known by its former name Royal Caribbean Cruise Line (RCCL), is a cruise line brand founded in 1968 in Norway and organized as a wholly owned subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. since 1997. Based in Miami, Florida, United States, it is the largest cruise line by revenue and second largest by passengers counts.

Empress of the Seas     1990 • 48,563 GT • 1,840 passengers

Majesty of the Seas       1992 • 74,007 GT • 2,350 passengers

Vision Class

Grandeur of the Seas 1996 • 73,817 GT • 2,440 passengers

Rhapsody of the Seas 1997 • 78,491 GT • 2,416 passengers

Enchantment of the Seas 1997 • 82,910 GT • 2,730 passengers

Vision of the Seas   1998 • 78,340 GT • 2,514 passengers

Voyager Class

Voyager of the Seas 1999 • 137,276 GT • 3,840 passengers •   Refurb October 2019

Explorer of the Seas 2000 • 137,308 GT • 3,840 passengers • Refurb April 2020

Adventure of the Seas 2001 • 137,276 GT •  3,807 passengers

Navigator of the Seas 2002 • 139,999 GT •  4,000 passengers

Mariner of the Seas 2003 • 138,279 GT • 3,807 passengers

Radiance Class

Radiance of the Seas 2001 • 90,090 GT • 2,466 passengers

Brilliance of the Seas 2002 • 90,090 GT • 2,543 passengers

Serenade of the Seas 2003 • 90,090 GT • 2,476 passengers

Jewel of the Seas 2004 • 90,090 GT • 2,502 passengers

Freedom Class

Freedom of the Seas 2006 • 154,407 GT • 4,515 passengers • Refurb March 2020- To be refurbished in 2020 – Freedom Class features an interior promenade with food and drink venues, dual racer water slides the Typhoon℠ and Cyclone℠, 40-foot-long FlowRider® surf simulator and completely reimagined restaurants, onboard games for all ages and Broadway quality stage shows.

Liberty of the Seas 2007 • 155,889 GT • 4,960 passengers

Independence of the Seas 2008 • 154,407 GT • 4,375 passengers

Oasis Class

Oasis of the Seas 2009 • 225,282 GT • 6,360 passengers • Refurb December 2019

Allure of the Seas 2010 • 225,282 GT • 6,410 passengers • Refurb April 2020

Harmony of the Seas 2016 • 226,963 GT • 6,687 passengers

Symphony of the Seas 2018 • 228,081 GT • 6,680 passengers

Quantum Class

Quantum of the Seas 2014 • 168,666 GT • 4,905 passengers Features the “Sports Court” on deck 15 with the Wave Loch Flowrider surf simulator a rock-climbing wall and new a feature on the Quantum class the “RipCord by iFLY”, a skydiving simulator. The “North Star” observation tower a glass-walled capsule on the end of a 41-meter-long crane arm lifts groups of up to 14 guests over the edge of the ship, reaching heights of up to 91 meters above sea level.

Anthem of the Seas 2015 • 168,666 GT • 4,905 passengers

Ovation of the Seas 2016 • 168,666 GT • 4,905 passengers

Spectrum of the Seas 2019 • 169,379 GT • 4,246 passengers

Future Ships

Odyssey of the Seas 2020 •  169,379 GT • 4,200 passengers Quantum Ultra-class cruise ship

TBA Oasis class 2 021 230,000 GT Under construction


Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL), also known in short as Norwegian, is a cruise line founded in 1966 and based in the United States. It is the third-largest cruise line in the world by passengers.

Norwegian Spirit Launched 1998 Joined Norwegian in 2004  • 75,904 GT • Refurb February 2020

Norwegian Sky 1999 • refurb in 2019

Norwegian Sun 2001 • 77,104 GT • refurb in 2018

Norwegian Star 2001• 91,740 GT • refurb in 2018

Norwegian Dawn 2002• 92,250 GT• refurb in 2016

Pride of America 2005 •80,439 GT • refurb in 2016

Jewel Class

Norwegian Jewel 2005 •93,502 GT • refurb in 2018

Norwegian Jade 2006 •93,558 GT • refurb in 2017

Norwegian Pearl 2006 • 93,530 GT • refurb in 2017

Norwegian Gem 2007 • 93,530 GT •  refurb in 2015

Epic Class

Norwegian Epic 2010 • 155,873 GT • refurb in 2015

Breakaway class

Norwegian Breakaway 2013• 145,655 GT • refurb in 2018

Norwegian Getaway 2014 • 145,655 GT • refurb scheduled in 2019  – Stroll The Waterfront, an innovative, industry-first open-air promenade designed to connect guests with the ocean like no other cruise line. Explore more than 28 dining options, experience the thrill of five water slides, and three levels of action-packed activities in the sports complex. The excitement and entertainment continues with Broadway musical Million Dollar Quartet.

Breakaway Plus class

Norwegian Escape 2015• 164,600 GT

Norwegian Joy 2017• 167,725 GT • refurb in 2019

Norwegian Bliss 2018 •168,028 GT

Norwegian Encore 2019 •169,145 GT


Celebrity Cruise Line

Celebrity Cruises is a cruise line which was founded in 1988 by the Greece-based Chandris Group. In 1997, Celebrity Cruises Ltd. merged with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line to form Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and has been a wholly owned subsidiary of the latter since then. The company has its headquarters in Miami, Florida. Celebrity’s signature logo is an “Χ” displayed on the funnel of Celebrity ships, and is the Greek letter chi, for “Chandris”.

Celebrity Millennium 2000 •91,000 GT •2,137 passengers • refurb in 2019

Celebrity Infinity 2001 • 91,000 GT 2,170 • passengers • Refurb November 2020

Celebrity Summit 2001 • 91,000 GT • 2,158 passengers • refurb in 2019

Celebrity Constellation 2002 • 91,000 GT •  2,170 passengers • Refurb April 2020

Solstice Class

Celebrity Solstice 2008 • 121,878 • GT 2,850 passengers • Refurb October 2021 – Celebrity Solstice is one of our most decorated ships at sea with a world of innovations. The first Lawn Club at sea. The first cruise line to have five women redesign its staterooms. Outstanding cuisine takes dining to a whole new level. Celebrity Solstice® also features Canyon Ranch Spa® and fitness center. Pamper yourself with spa treatments.

Celebrity Equinox 2009 •121,878 GT •2,850 passengers• refurb in 2019

Celebrity Eclipse 2010 •121,878 GT• 2,850 passengers• Refurb November 2020

Celebrity Silhouette 2011 • 122,210 GT• 2,886 passengers • Refurb January 2020

Celebrity Reflection 2012 •125,366 GT •3,046 passengers • Refurb February 2023

Edge Class

Celebrity Edge 2018 •130,818 GT • 2,918 passengers – The Edge Class of ships was designed to shatter expectations. Featuring luxuriously designed rooms that erase the boundary between indoors and out, a cantilevered Magic Carpet SM soaring above the sea, and a collection of 29 world-class restaurants, bars, and lounges, Celebrity Edge has been voted Best New Ship by the editors of Cruise Critic.

Galapagos Expeditions Ships

Celebrity Xpedition 2001 •2,842 GT •96 passengers • refurb in 2015

Celebrity Xperience 2017 • 1,610 GT • 48 passengers

Celebrity Xploration 2017 • 319.5 GT

Celebrity Flora 2019 •5,739 GT •  100 passengers

Future Ships

Celebrity Apex (Edge class) 2020 129,500 GT 2,918 passengers

Cunard Line

Cunard Line is a British–American cruise line based at Carnival House in Southampton, England, operated by Carnival UK and owned by Carnival Corporation. Since 2011, Cunard and its ships have been registered in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Queen Mary 2 2004 • 149,215 GT

Queen Victoria 2007 • 90,049 GT

Queen Elizabeth 2010 • 90,901 GT

In addition to the major lines listed above there are a number of smaller and often luxury cruise companies in the marketplace. They include:

Click a line to find our more.

There are also Azamara Cruises,  P&O Cruises (America)  and Costa Cruise Line  that are European based cruise lines.

P&O is based in England and is owned by Carnival Corp. Founded in 1977 as a subsidiary of a shipping line  which was founded in 1837 and first operated a cruise ship in 1844 making P&O Cruises, along with its sister company in Australia the oldest cruise line in the world.

Azamara is part of the Royal Caribbean family and Costa is also owned by Carnival Corp.

MSC Cruise Line 

Founded in 1970 MSC the Mediterranean Shipping Company, is now the 2nd largest ocean container carrier in the world. A European based company MSC Cruises launched in 1988 and has become one of the fastest growing cruise companies in the world, with a fleet of 16 ships currently in service. More and more MSC cruises are being offered out of U.S. ports primarily for trips to the Caribbean

 

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Thoughts On Selecting A Cruise

New To Cruising?

Anchored at Santorini

If you are new to cruising and are thinking about what you should book next you should first decide what you are looking for in that cruise.

Everybody seems to be cruising. It’s actually gaining in popularity every year, but all cruises are not alike and it’s important to understand what to expect. Consider, you’re looking for a calm, relaxing, short ocean cruise and you don’t want to find yourself surrounded by a noisy party crowd that celebrates way into the early hours. Be careful or you could select the wrong itinerary.

Anchored at Akaroa, New Zealand

Often the character of a cruise comes less from the cruise line or a particular ship and more from the passengers a particular cruise attracts. With many cruises, the passenger character changes with the seasons. Summer is school vacation season so if you would prefer to avoid children on your cruise, summer Caribbean and Alaska cruises probably aren’t your best choice. Not sure you would be happy with a wild, party crowd on your cruise? The shorter winter time Caribbean Carnival cruises are probably not the best fit. Also, if you have children and you would like a cruise with an active children’s program avoid those wintertime longer cruises. They tend to attract a more mature passenger and less families. On a number of the longer cruises that we’ve taken, if there were any children onboard they actually belonged to the crew.

Next to the Sydney Opera House
A Grand Lobby Onboard Carnival

If you are thinking of booking a cruise from a distant port, which is becoming much more popular lately, you need to also consider some additional possibilities. In the case of Royal Caribbean they are working at opening up new international markets by stationing some of their ships in Asia and South America for extended seasons. While you will always find a passenger compliment that represents a good number of countries some of these sailings can have very few English speaking passengers. We had friends that sailed out of Japan with Royal Caribbean and there was only one other English speaking couple on board. The good news for them was that most of the crew spoke English and they ate dinner with the Captain almost every night. It seemed he also didn’t speak Japanese.

Surfing the Royal Caribbean FloRider

Cruises out of New Zealand and Australia are growing in popularity and also very popular with the locals so you will have an opportunity to make a bunch of Australian or Kiwi friends if you choose those itineraries. Cruises out of

Royal Caribbean Ice shows

Southampton naturally attract a large number of Brits and Canadians are frequent Alaska cruisers out of Vancouver, so there are opportunities to make some new international pen pals.

We have friends that are frequent Disney cruisers and they claim that while there are a lot of children on board, Disney is very good at providing and enforcing adult only areas. Much better, in our experience, than other cruise lines.

While Carnival is famous for its Caribbean party cruise atmosphere, its Alaska cruises aren’t usually anything like that. Royal Caribbean is very good for families with an excellent kids program. Early in our cruising we had trouble getting our youngest to leave the kids program. The teen also had a great time in the teen hangout. One thing that we find we really enjoy about Celebrity is their lecture series. We’ve listened to lectures by the director (retired) of the Kennedy Space Center, a government official (retired) that spent decades in Asia and professors on dozens of subjects.

There is also a world of cruise lines out there and while a number base their operations on serving American cruisers there are lines that have been focused on Europe, Asia and other regions. For examples, with Carnival, almost all your fellow passengers will be American, giving Carnival cruises a real American feel. On Costa and Azamara, passengers are usually from a number of different, mostly European countries. MSC historically has been another line focused on the European market but is now reaching for a share of the American market. It is based in Italy, but now with a U.S. office in Florida and a number of Caribbean itineraries.

Carnival with packed Pools & Hot tubs

Cruising is a truly international business, Ownership and managed can be headquartered in one country, with a crew from dozens of countries and passengers from all over the world. It is recognized that Cunard is a British company and it was founded in the UK and still has its headquarters there, but its ships are registered in Bermuda. It’s owned by a Panamanian corporation (with headquarters in Miami), and while officers onboard are still mostly British, crew members come from around the world.

A Celebrity Christmas

Most travel agents that specialize in cruising are a good source for recommendations about what to expect on various cruise lines and itineraries. We strongly recommend you select a travel agent and develop a relationship. It won’t cost you anything additional and can help to save you money and grief.

Disclaimer – While we have now taken over fifty cruises, as far as firsthand information is concerned we can only speak about cruise lines and ships we have sailed. These include Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival and Viking River Cruises. Loyalty programs have rewarded us enough benefits that we return often attracted to that extra value. We have booked an NCL cruise next year primarily because it offered an itinerary we couldn’t get through our preferred cruise lines which provides some insight into why these companies are doing the things they are.

The Port of Venice, Italy

Port of Call Venice

One of the most popular ports of call on Mediterranean cruises, Venice (in Italian Venezia) is also regularly an over-night stay for many cruise itineraries and a port of departure for some cruises. It is an island city criss-crossed with a number of canals and is home to the iconic gondola. If you are planning your first Mediterranean cruise we would strongly recommend you selecting an itinerary that includes this marvelous city.

Where You Dock

The cruise ships dock primarily at the cruise terminal of Venice called Venezia Terminali Passeggeri. Large cruise ships tie up in the Marittima basin (Bacino Stazione Marittima), smaller ships tie up at the nearby San Basilio pier and Santa Marta pier. The piers are located just to the southwest of the northern entrance to The Grand Canal and to the west of Piazzale Roma. The larger piers are equiped with terminals that offer facilities and some shops.you can take

Transportation

The main city island is cut in half by The Grand Canal which acts as a sort of waterway main street. The heart of the city is centered around St. Marks Square (Piasa San Marco) which is the most popular first destination for visitors.

Most cruise ships usually operate shuttle boats from the pier to docks along Riva degli Schiavoni which are just east of St. Marks Square in front of the Doge’s Palace. Cost has ranged from free to $12 round trip. Some cruise ships also provide a shuttle bus service to Piazzale Roma near the port or take a land taxi or the People Mover located near the front of  the first

pier. From Piazzale Roma, youcan than  catch a water bus (vaporetto) on either Line 1 or Line 2 along the length of the Grand Canal to St Mark’s.

Venice is a very walkable city as well and while the streets seem to zigzag throughout the city it is isn’t difficult to keep your bearings. Numerous directional signs will point the way to the Rialto Bridge, which is one of two bridges across the The Grand Canal with additional markers pointing to St. Marks Square. The other bridge across The Grand Canal is a footbridge called the Ponte dell’Accademia located farther south than the Rialto.

Glass shop St. Marks Square

Currency

Italy uses the Euro with an exchange rate usually under $1.50. US Dollars are not readily accepted but most major credit cards are.

Glass factory on Murano

Attractions

Just strolling thru this remarkable city is the main attraction with its interesting neighborhoods, historic architecture, famous upscale shopping streets, open-air marketplaces and an endless assortment of restaurants and cafes. Venice is noted for art and architecture, the canals separating the 118 small islands on which it was built in the 5th century, its mask making, art glass , and of course Carnival.

A few of the more notable mask shops are Atelier Marega, Calle del Scaleter, 2940/B, Tragicomica, Calle dei Nomboli, 2800, Carta Alta Venetian Masks, Sestiere Giudecca, 796, Venice Masks by Alberto Sarria, San Polo 777, and Atelier Flavia, Sestiere Castello, 6010.

The glass factories of Venice of which the most famous is Murano Glass Works are located on Murano which is a series of islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon which can be reached by ferry.

 

Cruise Port Grand Turk

Port of Call Grand Turk

The Turks and Caicos are a group of small islands stretching out into the Atlantic on the southeast edge of the Bahamas chain. They are part of the British West Indies and a British Territory. Most cruise lines have over the years developed “private islands” where their ships usually anchor for a day of beach activities for their passengers. Grand Turk is a twofer. It has good docking facilities right in the middle of great expanses of beautiful beach.

 

Where the Ship Docks

Grand Turk is equipped with a modern new dock right next to a nice shopping village with all the usual outlets. A short walk down the pier are also restrooms, food venues and and tour options.

 

Currency

The official currency of these islands is the U.S. Dollar and credit cards are usually accepted.

Transportation

This is a small island and there are a few taxis that offer an opportunity to tour the island. There is also a tour “tram” that travels around the island for about $30.

Attractions

Grand Turk is a very small island and the real attractions are the beaches and water sports. It wouldn’t be inaccurate to characterize virtually the entire island as a beach with the highest point being only about twenty feet above sea level. There are a number of snorkeling and scuba diving options as well as other water sports.

The salt ponds around the island provided a living in the past harvesting salt for export but are now more valuable as home to a number of birds with the most famous being the endangered pink flamingo. There are tours that provide an opportunity to visit ponds for bird watching with one being the Tram.

Good Web Sites for More Information

Carnival Cruise Grand Turk Tours

Getting To Florida Ports For That Caribbean Cruise

With Caribbean Cruising season fast approaching here is a guide to how to get to those Florida ports. Regardless if your coming by train, plane or automobile there are ways to save money making that final connection to your cruise ship.

Florida Cruises – Getting To The Port…

Florida has become one of the largest destinations in the U.S. for people taking cruises. While passengers come from all over the U.S. and even the world a large number come from the Southeast and especially Florida. The close proximity to the Florida ports offers a number of advantages to cruisers from the region but it also presents some interesting challenges. The following is as complete a rundown on how to get to your cruise ship regardless if you come by planes, trains or automobiles. Okay, maybe not trains.

Miami from the Port

Florida has four major cruise ports; The Port of Miami, Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale, Port Canaveral at Merritt Island (sometimes called the Orlando port) and Tampa. Each one has its own environment that makes getting to your cruise ship different for each port.

 

Flying In

Tampa

The port is some distance from the airport but there is generally a fixed taxi fare for the trip of about $25 (plus luggage fees and tip). There are also a number of shuttles as well but expect to pay between $15 and $20 per person for these. A cruise ship transfer at last check was over $15 per person.

Disney Cruise Shuttle

Orlando

The nearest major airport to Port Canaveral. Expect to pay over $100 for a taxi to the port which is a 47 mile trip. There are a number of shuttles that charge as little as $15 per person. Booking a transfer thru your cruise line can cost above $35 per person. At last check Disney offers a bus service from Orlando airport and hotels at Disney World to their cruises at $35 per guest.

Ft. Lauderdale

Port Everglades is only about 2 miles from the airport and while the airport taxi stand will usually quote a flat fare of $20 to the cruise ship if you go with the meter on, it should cost less and if you are going from the ship to the airport it should cost about $15 with tip (no delay exiting the port because of security). The cruise ships also offer transfers but they average $16 per person, which for two people makes a taxi the better choice.

Miami

If you are going from the Miami airport to the cruise terminal, current taxi charges are a $27 flat-rate fee. That’s not per person. So if you are traveling with a family of four, that’s just $7 per person (or $14 round-trip) — not a bad deal. Buying a transfer from your cruise line will cast around $17 per person though or $68 for four.

Rental Cars (In City)

Often people will fly into the port city a day or two early and if that is the case it is a good idea to rent a car. Depending on the city rentals can be very inexpensive and give more flexibility on how you get around. Be sure you check with the agency and make sure you can drop the car off near the port.

Miami

It is common in Miami for rental car agencies to allow a rental to be picked up at the airport and dropped off somewhere else in Miami. At between $25 and $40 a day this is a very economical way to get to the cruise port with the advantage of seeing some of Miami in the process. In the case of Avis and Budget*1 they both have drop-offs near the port with free shuttle service to your ship, which saves the cost of a short taxi ride.

Tampa

While it is possible to also pick up a rental car at the airport in Tampa and drop it in the city, there are no drop offs really near the port. When we come in to Tampa on a cruise it usually costs between $10 and $20 to get a taxi to the nearest rental car location.

Port Everglades

Ft. Lauderdale

Because the port and airport are so near each other, unless you plan on spending some time in the area before your cruise, there is little reason to rent a car. It is also worth noting that Avis and Alamo have free shuttles from their airport locations to Port Everglades and back (you must have a copy of the rental car reservation to board the shuttle though).

Orlando

It has become popular to rent a car for the one-way trips between Orlando or airport and Port Canaveral and the rental agencies have been very accommodating in recent years. A recent check showed three agencies (Avis, Budget and Alamo) offering cars between $50 and $75 per day for the one-way trip including free shuttles to the ships in Port Canaveral.

One Way Car Rentals

Even if you live within convenient driving distance to a port, sometimes port parking can become an expensive proposition. This is especially true if the cruise is longer than seven days. Except for the Orlando – Port Canaveral connection, one-way drop-off fees can make renting a car very expensive. The one notable exception to that is if you live near Orlando. Because Orlando is the number one destination in Florida the rental car companies are always trying to balance their inventories and are usually not charging drop-off fees between Orlando and major Florida cities. Renting a one-way car is our normal method of getting to and from Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando. We have rented cars for as little as $29 from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale. One trick is to make reservations way in advance and check the rate a few more times before the cruise.

Port Canaveral

Buses Etcetera

Back in the day buses were good, inexpensive transportation between cities and there still is a number of options for economical fares. MegaBus offers a one-way ticket from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale for $26. The problem with them as with most bus service is that you have to get to their terminal and to your destination at the other end. This can be a major additional expense impacting the economy of bus transportation. We should also note that some people live in communities with active travel groups that normally arrange charter buses as part of a cruise package

Parking Near the Ports

Most parking structures inside the various ports are owned and operated by the ports and, on average, are fifty percent higher than private services near the port. Over the years there have been some interesting fights between these venues. Mostly it has been the ports trying to make it difficult for the private lots to compete and survive. Generally private enterprise finds a way.

Port Canaveral

Parking at the port garage inside the port is currently $17 per day and they charge for each portion of a day (that means full fare for the day you arrive and the day you leave). There are at least four dedicated private lots with shuttles near the port that average under $10 a day based on 24 hour days. There are also companies that contract with some local hotels for parking spaces and provide van service to and from the port.

Miami

Parking at the Port of Miami currently is $20 per 24 hour day with a daytime rate of $7. Because the port is located right in the heart of downtown Miami it is difficult to find reasonable rates nearby. There are a number of companies offering reduced rates but it would be recommended that you investigate where these lots are and how much security they provide.

Ft. Lauderdale

Parking inside Port Everglades currently is $15 per day but offers a location right next to the ships. Because the port is located near the airport there is a great deal of parking available in the area. There are official remote lots associated with the airport with shuttle service to the terminals as well as more than a few private lots not far away. Again it would be recommended that you investigate where these lots are and how much security they provide before reserving.

Notes & Links:

*1 Avis at Port of Miami with Shuttle to Cruise Ships. Address: 99 Southeast 2nd Street, (Cruise Ship Passengers Only), Miami, FL,33131. Phone: (1) 305-379-1317. Hours of Operation: Sun 8:00 AM – 2:00 PM; Mon – Fri 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM; Sat 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Miami Budget location with a free shuttle to the port. Since this option is becoming very popular and there are a number of ships sailing, especially on weekends, dropping off cars can become very congested at these locations. Patience is a virtue…                                                    89 SE 2nd St, Miami, Florida.

A Parking option at Port Canaveral

Shuttle from MCO to Canaveral 

Alamo Port Canaveral 

Cruise Line Loyalty Programs

Five cruise ships docked in Nassau

If your future plans include more then an occasional cruise, you might want to consider focusing your bookings on a particular cruise line because of the loyalty programs they offer. Benefits can include discounts on or even free internet, laundry, photos, cocktail parties and fancy coffees. Some lines also offer cabin upgrades and priority treatment with boarding and tender usage.

Owners Suite Vision of the Seas

Picking Your Cruise Line – There are a lot of similarities between the major cruise lines but there are also differences that make some more suitable to your particular needs. They all feature good dining options from main dining room dinners to buffets to specialty restaurants and good entertainment and shows, but the things that set them apart is often related to the passengers they try and attract.

Most lines cater to families but a few are stand outs because of their children’s programs. Two of the best are Disney and Royal Caribbean. There is also the price range that varies from one cruise company to another. At the economy end of the price range are Carnival and Norwegian. Stepping up a bit in price are Royal Caribbean, MSC, and Princess followed by Holland America and Celebrity, which are a bit higher still. At the other end of pricing you will find Cunard, Disney and Oceania with Silver Seas and Seabourn being the ultra exclusive lines.

Besides simply price, there are a number of other things to consider when picking a line. Following are some observations we have made regarding a couple of cruise lines:

Carnival – Besides being the price leader, we have found Carnival to be a favorite with young adults. Especially in the Caribbean, these ships have a non-stop party atmosphere. We have not cruised with Carnival outside of the Caribbean so other itineraries may be less that way. The food and service have generally been good and the cabins a bit roomier then many.

Royal Caribbean – Good value in a cruise line and really focused on families. It has one of the best kids’ programs at sea with great entertainment options. Many of the ships have basketball courts and climbing walls and a couple have ice skating rinks and Flo-Rider surfing. Some of their newest ships have simulated sky diving and an amusement park style area.

Celebrity – Features a step up in service and appeals to a more mature cruiser. We like this line because of the enrichment programs, which include lectures and classes. Celebrity also offers a number of longer itineraries and more exotic destinations than some of the other lines.

MSC Cruises – Has been trying to “break into” the U.S. Caribbean market with true two-for-one pricing and has also offered to match your frequent cruising status from another cruise line. We have not, as yet, cruised with them.

Disney – The name alone says kids & family and you won’t be disappointed. From movie themed areas to Disney characters the whole ship is a Disney experience. One feature that really appeals is an evening dinner rotation that moves your group to a different style restaurant each night and your table staff goes with you. Oddly Disney is also really good at providing adult only areas that are more strictly enforced than other lines.

Plans and Perks – If you plan on cruising on a regular basis, even as infrequently as once every year or two, you should still join a cruise line loyalty program. Royal Caribbean’s is The Crown & Anchor Society and it’s free to join. If you don’t join you won’t earn the points. In their case, once you reach Diamond status you get a dedicated lounge on board with specialty coffee, some free internet, a free photograph, a special gift and a free cocktail party each evening. Priority boarding and other perks are also offered.

 

CruiseLife8
Royal Caribbean Flo-Rider

Carnival Cruise Line has their VIFP Club with members-only promotions, invites to cocktail receptions while you sail, priority boarding & more. Like most programs, the more you cruise the more you get.

Celebrity has the Captain’s Club  and when you reach Elite status you get access to the Captain’s Club Lounge for daily coffee house style breakfast and evening Cocktail hour. Other features are complimentary 90-minute Internet package, some complimentary dry cleaning and laundry on every sailing, a private shipboard departure lounge serving continental breakfast, priority tender service in tender ports of call and more…

If you’re going to cruise anyway, you would be wise to commit your loyalty and begin accumulating some perks.

One additional note, Celebrity is part of the Royal Caribbean family along with Azamara and frequent cruise status can be extended in a one-time transfer between these cruise lines.

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