Insider Cruise Ship Deals Ebook

Ex-cruise Ship Officer Reveals Insider Secrets Of The Cruise Industry

With this Cruise Savings Guide created by David Kirkland every cruise passenger will save money with these insider secrets. With so much powerful information including the secrets of how to cruise for free and how to fly for free you are guaranteed to see immediate results. And it doesnt matter if youre planning to cruise on a ship with 3000 passengers or one with 500 this information will save you money right away. The information in this guide works with any cruise line and any itinerary in the world. As an Intelligent Cruiser, you will join the thousands of others who now know all the secrets and who are saving thousands of dollars every time they cruise. Its really that easy! You can cruise over and over again and the benefits of this insider information will never end. This guide will work for you every single time you take a cruise vacation. Did you know that certain crew members on board every ship have the authority to provide guests with benefits that usually cost hundreds of dollars? Read more here...

Excruise Ship Officer Reveals Insider Secrets Of The Cruise Industry Overview

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Author: David Kirkland
Official Website: www.intelligentcruiser.com
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Complete Intelligent Cruiser Package Review

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I've really worked on the chapters in this ebook and can only say that if you put in the time you will never revert back to your old methods.

In addition to being effective and its great ease of use, this eBook makes worth every penny of its price.

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Cruise Lines Serving the Southern Western Caribbean

Ff the majority of the major cruise lines have extensive Caribbean itineraries to choose from, but don't assume that they will always have something to suit your interests. The following list of cruise Mass-market isn't used in a derogatory way here. It simply means that these cruise lines appeal to the broadest section of the traveling public. They generally have the most ships in service on Caribbean routes and also feature the newest and often largest of today's ships. The cruise line profiles that follow are meant only to introduce you to the main choices and to categorize their styles. Further details are provided in the individual ship descriptions that follow in The Ships section, page 18. Carnival Cruise Linea, n (800) 327-9501, www.carnival.com. The world's largest cruise line now has a fleet of 19 self-proclaimed fun ships and 18 of them are on various Caribbean routes either all or part of the year, covering a wide spectrum of ports in all regions. They are at the top of...

Tips Where Do You Get Off Disembarking from the Cruise Ships

Cruise-ship passengers disembark in Juneau's attractive Marine Park waterfront area, where a kiosk dispenses information and tour operators sell their services. Downtown shops and attractions are close by. Among the most popular sights is one right at the dock, the statue of a small dog facing the ships as they come in. This is Patsy Ann, a bull terrier that, in the 1930s, always seemed to know when a steamer was arriving and faithfully stationed herself on the dock to meet the disembarking passengers. For a quiet break, visit the beautiful library at the top of the parking garage at the south end of the dock. 490 S. Franklin St., at the waterfront near the cruise-ship dock. & 888 461-8726 or 907 463-3412. www.goldbelttours.com. Full-day pass 22 adults, 13 children 12 and under, tax included. Mar-Nov daily 9am-9pm. Closed Oct-Apr.

One of Europes biggest cruise ship harbours

The fjords are Scandinavia's tourist attraction Number One - and Bergen opens the door to a virtual kingdom of ij'ords. It is one of the reasons why Bergen is one of Europe's most visited cruise ship harbours. The sea has carved itself through and across Norway's long coastline and has given us nature in many facets. Here waterfalls tumble down the mountainsides, here eternal snows glitter on the mountain tops, here bright grass softens the fjord edges. In spring, blossoming fruit trees throw a lacy carpet over the landscape.

Booking Air Travel Through The Cruise Line

Except during special promotions, airfare to the port of embarkation is rarely included in the cruise rates, so you'll have to purchase airfare on your own or buy it as a package with your cruise through your travel agent or online cruise site. You can usually find information on these air sea programs in the back of cruise line brochures, along with prices. The benefits of booking through the cruise line is that round-trip transfers between the airport and the ship are usually included, and as big customers of the airlines, the cruise lines tend to get decent (if not the best) discounted airfare rates. Also, the cruise line will know your airline schedule, and in the event of delayed flights and other unavoidable snafus, will be able to do more to make sure you and the other people on your flight get on the ship if you've booked your air transportation separately, you're on your own. The only time it may pay to book your own air transportation is if you are using frequent-flier miles...

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) offers affordable, down-to-earth cruises that attract seasoned travelers and first-timers alike. In Europe, the line's alternative dining and sports offerings set it apart. The company's performance has improved in both service and in the quality of its ships under the ownership of Star Cruises of Malaysia, which bought NCL in 2000.

The Scoop On Cruise Fares

Or, if you like your European cruise so much you decide to do it again next year, consider booking another cruise while you are on the ship. Cruise lines, making the most of their captive audiences, may pitch you to make future vacation plans while still on board, with discounts usually 5 . Before you sign on the dotted line, though, make sure the on-the-spot discount can be combined with other offers you might find later. Also, be aware, if you do choose to book on board, you can still do the reconfirmation and ticketing through your travel agent by giving the cruise line his or her name.

The Cruise Lines Part The Big Ships

The ships in Alaska are bigger than ever, and Princess holds the title of heavyweight champ. The company's Diamond Princess and Sapphire Princess, which both debuted in 2004, will again be plying Alaska's waters from Seattle this year. The ships weigh in at 116,000 tons and carry 2,670 passengers. Another impressive statistic Among the seven Princess ships in the Alaska fleet this year, there will be about 15,000 berths available each week And there are other megaships that don't sport the Princess colors Celebrity Cruises' returning Summit and Infinity each weigh 91,000 tons and carry 1,950 passengers. In addition, Royal Caribbean's 90,000-ton Radiance of the Seas, spending a third year in Alaska and offering 2,100 berths, is joined for the second successive year by a newer sister ship, the similarly dimensioned Serenade of the Seas. Carnival Cruise Lines' returning Carnival Spirit weighs 86,000 tons and carries 2,124 passengers. The list of massive vessels is a long one. (If you're...

Cruise Ship

Bermuda has made a big splash on the cruise ship map. More than 200,000 passengers sail to the island each year during the cruise ship season, which runs from April to mid-November. The typical cruise ship holiday is the ultimate package tour. Other than the effort involved in selecting a cruise, such a trip requires minimal planning - just pay and show up - and for many people that is a large part of the appeal. Keep in mind that much of your time will obviously be spent at sea, so you'll have notably less time on the island than someone with a vacation of comparable length who takes a flight. Cruises, which are typically one week in length, spend only about half of that time in Bermuda. The conventional cruise ship is indeed a floating resort those sailing to Bermuda hold between 650 and 2000 passengers and have swimming pools, dinner shows, casinos, multiple restaurants and lounges. In addition to the cruise lines' websites given below, also take a look at Cruise Lines...

Cruise Ships

If you just want a short taste of the Bahamas, consider visiting by cruise ship. The Bahamas is by far the most popular port of call in the Caribbean region. Cruise experiences vary vastly according to the cruise company and individual ship you choose. One person's sugar may be another's poison. For example, some passengers may wish to avoid the cruise liners now trotting out old rock bands such as REO Speedwagon or Foreigner for 'rock-nights,' while other travelers may whip out their snakeskin boots and shoulder pads, do a combover, and just get on down. Caveat emptor Cruise Line International Association (www.cruis ing.org) is a handy resource. Most cruises that call in the Bahamas depart from Florida and, less frequently, from New York. Some major cruise lines include the following Cape Canaveral Cruise Line (0 321-783-4052,800-910-7447 www.capecanaveral.com) Carnival Cruise Lines (0 305-599-2200,800-327-9501 www.carnival.com) Discovery Cruise Line (0 800-866-8687,800-937- Disney...

By Cruise Ship

Santo Domingo recently upgraded its port facilities to accommodate larger cruise ships, including ships that will now make the DR capital their home port. Royal Caribbean (s 866-562-7625, www.royalcaribbean.com) has announced that its Legend of the Seas liner will be based in Santo Domingo, for instance. Other lines that call in Santo Domingo during Caribbean cruises are Celebrity (s 800-647-2251, www.celebritycruises.com) and Costa (info us.costa.it).

Cruise Ships Boats

Kitts' new 16.25 million cruise ship terminal is in Basseterre. Visitors arrive just off Pelican Mall, a new establishment with 26 shops that feature tropical clothing, locally made goods and tourist items. Kittitian architecture sets it apart from the typical mall you might see back home.

Costa Cruise Lines

This Italian line traces its origins back to 1860 and the Italian olive-oil business. Today, Carnival Corporation, parent of Carnival Cruise Lines, is the owner. Onboard, Italy shows through in nearly everything Costa offers, from the food (which can be disappointing) to the Italian design of the vessels to the Italian-speaking crew (although they are not all from Italy) to the mostly Italian entertainers. The Italian experience is presented in a casual, warm and humorous manner. You'll feel like you're a part of one big Italian family.

For the Cruise Ship Traveler

A summary of cruise lines that offer diversions in The Bahamas is outlined below, but for much more detailed information, and reviews of each of the ships spending significant time in either the Caribbean or The Bahamas, consider picking up a copy of Frommer's Caribbean Cruises & Ports of Call2004. Regardless of the ship you choose, there's a strong possibility that your cruise will depart from the cruise capital of the world, Miami. A handful of vessels also depart for Bahamian waters from Port Everglades (adjacent to Fort Lauderdale), Port Canaveral, and, in very rare instances, from New York. Many cruise-ship passengers combine a 3- or 4-day cruise with visits to Orlando's theme parks, Miami's South Beach, the Florida Everglades, or the Florida Keys and Key West. Because they buy in such bulk, cruise lines typically offer some of the best deals on airfare to your port of embarkation, and also typically offer extension packages that allow pre- or post-cruise stays at a hotel or...

Ports For Nature Buffs

On the big ships, excursions can sell out quickly, so don't dawdle if you know what you want sign up before the trip (if the cruise line allows you to do so), or on the first or second day of the cruise. Because of the large numbers of passengers on large ships, be prepared for some waiting around as each jumbo-size tour group is herded from the ship to the waiting fleet of buses or minivans. On smaller ships, there's usually room on the excursions to accommodate all passengers on board, and the excursions may even be included in your cruise fare (in which case 100 attendance is not uncommon). The whole process is saner, and group sizes are most likely smaller. Cruise lines are always looking for more ways to attract passengers with unique onboard activities, and hence, the creation of theme cruises. Crystal, for instance, features an annual series of food and wine cruises where well-known chefs and sommeliers conduct demonstrations and tastings on board. Holland America does an...

Quiz Time Questions to Ask When Choosing Your Cruise

After you've decided which itinerary and what kind of ship appeal to you, we suggest you ask yourself some questions about the kind of experience you want, then read through the cruise-line and ship reviews in chapters 5 and 6 to see which ones match your vision of the perfect Alaska cruise vessel. Also ask yourself whether you require resortlike amenities, such as a heated swimming pool, spa, casino, aerobics classes, and state-of-the-art gym. Or do you care more about having an adventure or an educational experience If you want the former, choose a large cruise ship if you prefer the latter, a small ship may be more your speed. Cruise fares cover onboard accommodations, meals, entertainment, and activities. There are, however, a number of expenses not covered in the typical cruise package, and you should factor these in when planning your vacation budget. Airfare to and from your port of embarkation and debarkation is usually extra (though cruise lines sometimes offer reduced...

Zo Its Your First Time Cruising

Ha Thought you caught our intrepid editor with a typo Not Hquite. I did say this chapter was going to cover practical information from Ato Z, didn't I Seriously, being a rookie cruiser is no cause for concern, although newcomers will certainly have some additional questions. Vacationing on a cruise ship is really like staying at a full-service resort that's on the move. Most things are done for you, including the handling of your baggage to and from your stateroom upon embarkation and disembarkation. You'll find that cruises are well-organized and efficiently managed, especially given the large number of passengers. If you have any questions or concerns, just ask a crew member - they're always happy to help. Here are a few things that first-time cruisers should be aware of Documents It is the general policy of all cruise lines not to issue your documents (i.e., cruise tickets) until about three to four weeks prior to your embarkation. Consult the brochure of the line you select to be...

Getting The News Keeping In Touch

Newshounds don't have to feel out of touch on a cruise ship. Most newer cruise ships offer CNN on in-room TVs, and nearly every ship will post the latest news from the wire services outside the purser's office. Some lines excerpt information from leading newspapers each day and deliver the news to your room.

Large Package Tour Companies

Two major tour and cruise-ship companies dominate the Alaska package-tour market with vertically integrated operations that allow them to take care of everything you'll experience in Alaska with tight quality control. Each of the companies also offers tours as short as a couple of hours to independent travelers who want to combine their own exploring with a more structured experience. All can be booked through any travel agent. Other cruise lines also offer land tours, but typically only for their own passengers. If you will cruise to Alaska and want an escorted land tour, check for deals with your cruise line first. Holland America Tours The Holland America cruise line is the giant of Alaska tourism. Holland America purchased other services to help build Princess Cruises and Tours Princess Cruises recently sold out to Carnival Corp., the owner of Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess' primary competition, Holland America (see above). The new owners promised to continue to operate the...

Wont You Let Me Take You on a Sea Cruise

In 2003, Seattle hit the big time in the world of cruise ships. Three different cruise lines sailed from Seattle to Alaska. Norwegian Cruise Line (& 800 327-7030 www.ncl.com), known for its freestyle cruising, which frees passengers up to eat when and where they want aboard ship, leaves from the Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66. Two different 7-day cruises are offered aboard the Norwegian Sky and the Norwegian Sun. One goes to Glacier Bay and the other goes to Sawyer Glacier.

Organized Shore Excursions

The list of available excursions in each port will be almost identical regardless of which cruise line you take. The only exception of note is that some very long excursions may be omitted for those ships spending a limited time in a given port. The reason for the sameness is that it isn't the cruise lines that are operating the tours. All the lines make arrangements with local tour operators. Although the cruise lines obviously get group rates and claim that they don't get anything out of the independently run excursions, I have some difficulty in swallowing that. The reason is that the cost of just about every excursion I've examined is virtually identical to the price you will find by going to a local tour operator and taking the same trip Now, I'm not saying you should do that because then you lose the convenience of the shore excursion, but doing the math shows that the cruise line is getting something out of it. ation-related. These essentially provide transportation to a site...

On Water Casino Cruise

Golden Isles Cruise Lines, Inc., s 800-842-0115 (for tickets and reservations), based at Brunswick Landing Marina, Newcastle and K Streets, in Downtown Brunswick, operates the nearly 200-foot Emerald Princess as a casino and dinner cruise ship. She sails Tuesday to Saturday between 7 pm and 1 am ( 35), on Saturday from 11 am-4 pm ( 19.98) and on Sunday from 1-6 ( 35). Prices are per couple with daytime cruises including a brunch buffet and evening cruises offering a dinner buffet. All cruises include at no additional charge shipboard entertainment music and dancing access to casino gambling games such as roulette, blackjack, Caribbean poker, craps, live poker and slot machines and a return-to-port appetizer. Advance reservations are required, boarding begins one-hour prior to departure time and any tickets not claimed 45 minutes before sailing will be subject to forfeiture.

Efectricaf Appfiances Other Tecfnicaf Tidbits

Ft'or the most part, cruise ships have the same 110-volt system found in the United States and their outlets accept the two-pin plug (including those with third grounding prong) found on all of your appliances. However, some of the European lines have 220-volt electrical systems and use the two-round-pin plug that is found throughout most of Europe. Even these ships may have dual voltage systems. If the ship you're traveling on has only a 220-volt system, you will need a transformer and, probably, an adapter for the plug. Although they may have some of the latter on board, it is best to bring your own. To ensure that you're properly equipped, ask in advance what kind of system is in use on the ship you have selected. The cruise line brochures usually have this information. If not, contact the cruise line directly. You should also be aware that some electrical appliances are not permitted on board. These are usually appliances that heat such as irons. If you are the type of traveler...

Passports Customs Other Considerations

R youwill have to present proper identification papers to the cruise line before you embark. It is your responsibility to make sure that everything is in order, not only for getting into each port but for returning home. All of the Caribbean island ports covered in this book have very easy documentation requirements for Americans. Although a valid passport is always the best form of identification (most of the island nations will even accept an expired passport), if you don't have a current passport then you should carry an original or certified copy of your birth certificate (with raised seal) and a government-issued photo identification card such as a driver's license. These same documents will be sufficient to get you back into the United States if the places you visited didn't require passports. For Belize and other Central or South American nations, a passport is required. At the present time visas aren't required. However, since requirements can change, it is a good idea to...

Tips Shopping for Shore Tours

Most cruise-ship passengers sign up for onshore activities and excursions that leave from the dock when they arrive on board. It's easy and convenient, and you can be sure the outing will be timed to your port of call. On the down side, these tend to be the most superficial and highest-priced choices in town and almost always involve large groups. For outdoor activities, trooping down a trail or paddling a sea kayak in a big mob can spoil the experience. There is an alternative, however. A large part of the high shipboard price for shore tours is the cut taken by the cruise line. You can get a much better deal (as much as half off) by arranging your own activities in advance. Most guides will be happy to tailor an outing to your limited time, and you'll probably have a far more intimate experience in the bargain. And it only takes a little advance prepwork Study your ports of call, the activities and operators there (for which this book will be an invaluable guide), and the time you...

Digging Out After Dean The Big Picture

Hurricane Dean, the ninth-largest Atlantic hurricane on record, slashed his way into the region on August 21, 2007. The Category 5 plowed straight through the small coastal town of Mahahual, destroying nearly 80 of the town's buildings as well as the cruise-ship dock, the town's main economic driver. Word on the street is that the Mexican tourism authorities are going to use this as a chance to begin some major development projects in the region. Best to get there now before the cruise ships return

Arriving by Other Means

I Ship and Ferry Arriving by boat has not lost any of its charm in our frantic modern world, and if you have the time to visit Europe by cruise ship, we recommend the experience. Two harbors, Fiumicino and Civitavecchia, serve Rome. Most cruise ships and many ferries from destinations around the Mediterranean arrive in Civitavecchia, about one hour north of Rome and easy to reach by frequent train and bus service, as well as car service. A number of ferry companies (such as the lines to Sardinia) serve Fiumicino, a 35-minute ride from Rome by metropolitan train or car service.

St Thomas Charlotte Amafie

Thomas has an east-to-west dimension of about 14 miles and is only four miles wide. Just about everyone (including the cruise lines) calls the port St. Thomas but the true name of the port is Charlotte Amalie. This is both the capital and largest city of the island of St. Thomas and of the US Virgin Islands as a whole. St. Thomas, and especially Charlotte Amalie, has the distinction of being exotic, without taking it to an extreme. Everyone speaks English and things that are familiar to you at home will also be easily found in Charlotte Amalie. On the other hand, there is a distinctively foreign atmosphere that begins with the many Danish architectural influences going back to the late 17th century and extending to the way of life found in the Caribbean islands. St. Thomas has an excellent port called Havensight. Although it is more than a mile from the center of town, there's plenty of transportation available if you don't want to walk. In addition, there are...

Accommodations on Land

Certainly one of the best parts of cruising is that, once you unpack Cyour bags in your stateroom, there is no living out of a suitcase. The ship is your hotel, whether it's a three-night mini-cruise or a two-week extravaganza. In some places (such as Europe), many cruise passengers decide to spend extra time on land either before or after the cruise. That is not the case with most Caribbean cruisers. Of course, that option is available should you want more time in a particular place. For the most part, however, the only hotel night you are likely to need for your cruise is in the embarkation city. It maybe difficult to arrive in time for your cruise if you plan on flying in the same day. In that case, the cruise lines will often arrange a hotel night for you as part of your transportation option. They usually pick out fancy places with fancy prices, so find out how much this might cost versus choosing a hotel on your own. The cities where you are most likely to need accommodations...

Getting Theregetting Around

Cruise ships regularly dock at George Town on Grand Cayman and at Creek on Cayman Brae. Traffic and parking in downtown George Town can be very bad - especially when the cruise ships are depositing people. The beach road changes names frequently, but is the same strip of asphalt and runs along the beach and shoreline as South Church Street, Harbour Drive, North Church Street, West Bay Road and Northwest Point Road. There is a new central road that bypasses much of the Seven Mile Beach strip road and also connects to many through streets that run off the beach road. Take this highway to get to the East End access and central shopping areas quickly. available from all resorts and from the taxi stand at the cruise ship dock in George Town. A sign with current rates is posted at the dock.

Exploring Wrangell Environs

Styles, this house is an exact, scaled-down copy of the 1834 house in which Chief Shakes VI lay in state in 1916. The inside of the clan house is fascinating, both in the sense it gives of the people's ways, and for some extraordinary artifacts. Unfortunately, it takes some effort to get inside, as it is open mostly only when the cruise ships are in town, a few times a week in the summer. These times are posted around town or at the clan house. At those times, admission is 2.50. Otherwise, you can pay a 25 minimum to have someone come down and show you around. Call Nora Rinehart at & 907 874-2023 (e-mail norarinehart yahoo.com), or, if you can't reach Nora, Margret Sturdevant at & 907 8743747. Nora can give you the cruise ship schedule before you come, too. Even if you can't manage that, visit the island to see the rotting totem poles and the charming setting (and, with extra time, visit the overgrown grave of Chief Shakes V, on Case Ave. just across the harbor). There's a...

Sports Recreation

The beaches along the Costa Maya, including those immediately to the north and south of the cruise ship terminal, are excellent-clean, relatively uncrowded and beautiful. Swimming conditions can sometimes be on the rough side, so exercise caution, especially if you are not an experienced swimmer. Snorkeling and scuba are becoming increasingly popular in this area because of the Great Mayan Reef, which is only 400 yards offshore. Because of the still relatively undeveloped tourist industry in this region, it is wisest to arrange all of these activities through your cruise ship's shore excursion office. Other possibilities include horseback riding and kayaking.

Orientation Information

Santorini's capital, Fira, perches on top of the caldera on the west coast, with the new port of Athinios, where most ferries dock, 10km south by road. The old port of Fira Skala, used by cruise ships and excursion boats, is direcdy below Fira and accessed by cable-car (adult child 3 1.50 one way), donkey ( 3 up only) or by foot (588 steps).

Ships In Europe Sea Dream I Sea Dream II

Exceptionally small and intimate by today's cruise ship standards, the two ships that make up the SeaDream Yacht Club fleet offer exceptional luxury and privacy. The atmosphere is akin to being aboard a private yacht assuming that yacht could carry upwards of 100 people. In addition, the ships deliver outstanding personalized service, with a staff large enough to see to virtually every need, especially when it comes to dining and wining. Although this is a very upscale way of cruising, it does not insist on all the tuxedo-and-gown formality of some of the other ultra-luxury lines.

Formalities for Yachts

In addition to presenting the certificate of ownership of the vessel, sailors are subject to the same passport and visa requirements as travellers arriving by air or by cruise ship. Unless you have a return air ticket, you are required to provide a banking guarantee of repatriation equivalent to the price of an airline ticket to your country of origin.

On Your Own Within Walking Distance

Alaska Indian Arts Cultural Center Located in the old fort hospital on the south side of the parade grounds, the center has a small gallery and a carvers' workshop where you may be able to see totem carving in progress. On the south side of the parade grounds. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and evenings when cruise ships are in town. At Second Ave. and Haines Hwy. & 907 766-3094. Admission 3 adults, 1 kids 8-12, free for kids under 8. Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and evenings when cruise ships are in town. Fort William Seward The central feature of the town, rising right above the docks, Fort Seward was retired after World War II and redone by a group of returning veterans. It's not the kind of place one thinks of when envisioning a fort. It has no parapets, no walls, no nothing just an open parade ground surrounded by large, wood-frame former barracks and officers' quarters that have today been converted into private homes, the Halsingsland Hotel, a gallery and studio, and the Alaska Indian Arts Cultural...

Piraeus A Jumping Off Point to the Islands

Piraeus has been the port of Athens since antiquity, and is still where you catch most island boats and cruise ships. What's confusing is that Piraeus has three harbors the main harbor (Megas Limani), where you'll see everything from tankers to cruise ships Zea Marina (Zea Limani), the port for most of the swift hydrofoils that dart to the islands and Mikrolimano (Little Harbor, also called Turkolimano, or Turkish Harbor), with a yacht harbor and a number of fish restaurants. As if that weren't confusing enough, the absence of helpful signs at both the main harbor and Zea Limani and the constant hustle and bustle here mean that this is not an easy place to navigate. To be on the safe side, even if you have your tickets, try to get here an hour before your ship is scheduled to sail and then don't be surprised if you curse this advice because your ship sails later than announced.

Tourist Information

The tourism infrastructure of the Cayman Islands is second to none, with the entire country geared toward visitors. There is a very helpful desk at Owen Roberts International Airport where you can stock up on maps, as well as a booth in George Town that's open whenever cruise ships are visiting see p197 for details. There is also a tourist office (p206) on Cayman Brac. The website for the Department of Tourism (www.cay manislands.ky) is a very useful place to start.

Petersburg Unvarnished Threshold to the Outdoors

Petersburg is the perfect small town, the sort of prosperous, picturesque, quirky place that used to be mythologized in Disney films. Except that Petersburg would never let Disney in the door. People here are too smart for that, and too protective of a place they know would be spoiled by too much attention. For the same reason, Petersburg is glad that big cruise ships can't enter their narrow harbor. The town is unspoiled by the ships' throngs of tourists and seasonal gift shops. Instead, locals spend the money that keeps Nordic Drive, the main street, thriving with family-owned grocery and hardware stores, restaurants, a fish market, and other businesses. Wooden streets over Hammer Slough still serve utilitarian purposes, making them far more appealing than if they were prettied up

Day Trip to Tracy

Readers gush to me about the boat tours to Tracy Arm, south of Juneau. One reason, I suspect, is that the fjords of the Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness (part of Tongass National Forest) are relatively unknown outside the area, but the scenery and wildlife viewing easily rival those of Glacier Bay National Park, which was rated the best national park to visit by the readers of Consumer Reports. For those not riding a cruise ship, Tracy Arm has a significant advantage over Glacier Bay It costs less than half as much and is easier to get to. You can get to Tracy Arm in about 8 hours going to Glacier Bay from Juneau is an exhausting day trip it's wiser to overnight there, though that adds more to the cost.

Cruising For A Bruising

Assuming you are not coming off a cruise yourself, you would be wise to avoid the Caves Branch Reserve and Jaguar Paw resort in the middle of the week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the days that cruise ship passengers descend on Belize by the boatload many of them squeeze into river-tubes and harnesses, in the hope of getting some action. Hundreds of people get herded through the caves and along the zip-line on these days worse, prices are higher due to the increase in demand.

Tickets For The Palaces

There's no avoiding the mammoth summertime queues to enter the main imperial palaces at Petrodvorets and Tsarskoe Selo. It's not unusual to stand in line for hours and in some cases not get in at all (for example when huge cruise ship tour groups are in town). Fights have even broken out in the queues Avoiding some of this hassle is possible - at a price, of course. The simplest solution is to book yourself on a guided tour of either palace with a travel agency and make sure that they prebook your entry ticket Peter's Walking Tours (p272) can do this for you. At Tsarskoe Selo it's also possible to buy a VIP ticket ( 33) which gains you express entry.

Other Attractions

Shaw Park Botanical Gardens The gardens are lovely and are more popular than either the Enchanted or Coyaba Gardens, but only because most of the cruise ship-sponsored excursions go here. I prefer the others and suggest that they be a bigger priority if you are on your own. Located 3 4-mile south of town on Route A3 and then one mile west via signs. . Allow at least 45 minutes. Island Village One of Ocho Rios' newest attractions (it opened in the spring of 2002), this can almost be termed a Jamaican theme park. The creation of Chris Blackwell (one-time manager of Bob Marley), it features a restaurant (a branch of the popular Margaritaville), shops, fine arts gallery, an amphitheater for live music performances, and even a beach. However, the centerpiece is definitely the colorfully entertaining Reggae Explosion Museum. It is probably the best facility of its kind devoted to this art form. Those who like reggae or who have an interest in learning more about it might do well to make...

Cruise to the Greek Islands

Greece, which is in an excellent position today in the international shipping community, has a very large number of tourist vessels either registered under the Greek flag or belonging to Greek owners, and these offer a large gamut of marine tours. Thanks to the tremendous variations in the geography of the country, travellers have the opportunity to undertake various different itineraries that can be combined with all the enjoyment and luxuries available on the cruise ships cruising the Greek islands. A cruise has the advantage that it offers a combination of transport, accommodation, and touring, while at the same time providing an opportunity to come into contact with, get to know, and explore the rich culture of classical and modern Greece in every port of call. With a coastline of 15,021 km 9,388 miles and rather more than three thousand islands and islets, it is anything but easy to make one's choice. So the question that is most frequently asked is, Which enormous increase in...

Stroll Through The City

In Aarhus, take a sightseeing bus to Den Gamle By museum, the cathedral, university, harbour and the queen's summer home, Marselisborg Palace. Cruise ships dock within walking distance of the city centre, and a shopping trip can start on the pedestrian street Str0get (yes, Aarhus also has a Str0get). Behind Store Torv and the Aarhus Cathedral, you'll find the so-called Latin quarter with narrow, cobble stoned streets and many, cosy caf s. The Music House and the impressive new art museum ARoS are both close to the town hall. Cruise ships dock almost in the middle of Aalborg, so you can pretty much just walk from the ship to experience the old Aalborg or go shopping. Guided tours are available both in Aalborg city and to castles and churches in the area. You can also take a day excursion to the old fishing village at Skagen, at the northern tip of Jutland.

Getting To Vancouver The Port

Most cruise ships dock at Canada Place (& 604 666-7200) at the end of Bur-rard Street. A landmark in the city, the pier terminal is noted for its five-sail structure, which reaches into the harbor. It's located at the edge of the downtown district and is just a quick stroll from the Gastown area (see below), with its cafes, art and souvenir shops, and Robson Street, where trendy fashions can be found. Right near the pier are hotels, restaurants, and shops, as well as the Tourism Vancouver Infocentre. Ships also sometimes dock at the Ballantyne cruise terminal, a 5-minute cab ride away from Canada Place. BY PLANE Vancouver International Airport is located 13km (8 miles) south of downtown Vancouver. The average taxi fare from the airport to downtown is

Tips Prepare to Be Fingerprinted

Starting in January 2004, most international visitors traveling on visas to the United States will be photographed and fingerprinted at Customs in a new program created by the Department of Homeland Security called US-VISIT. Non-U.S. citizens arriving at airports and on cruise ships must undergo an instant background check as part of the government's ongoing efforts to deter terrorism by verifying the identity of incoming and outgoing visitors. For more information, go to the Homeland Security website at www.dhs.gov dhspublic.

Environmental Issues

As a visitor, lead by example put your garbage in a bin and avoid taking shells, or damaging coral when you are snorkeling. Fresh water is also a major concern, with a combination of runoff, wells and desalination plants supplying the hydration for the islands. Demand outstrips supply when cruise ships roll up and refill their tanks and this continues to be a divisive issue for locals, depending on which side of the economic equation they sit.

Getting There Around

Trains run regularly between the Volga towns. In summer months, another, more romantic, option is available. From May to September cruise ships ply the Volga River from Moscow to Astrakhan or Rostov-on-Don. If you wish to follow in the wake of the merchants, the Cossacks and Donald Tyson (right), you have several options.

Passenger Profile

These two ships certainly attract an upscale crowd, one that would be at home in the finest of hotels, country clubs, and posh resorts the world over. But they don't come across as snooty or stand-offish. Rather they are comfortable about themselves and seem to enjoy the relaxing, casual nature of the large yacht small cruise ship experience.

Juneau Forest Capital

Juneau (June-oh) hustles and bustles like no other city in Alaska. The steep downtown streets echo with the mad shopping sprees of cruise-ship passengers in the summer tourist season and the whispered intrigues of politicians during the winter legislative session. Miners, loggers, and eco-tourism operators come to lobby for their share of Southeast's forest. Lunch hour arrives, and well-to-do state and federal bureaucrats burst from the office buildings to try the latest restaurant or brown-bag on one of the waterfront wharves, with the sparkling water before them and gift store malls behind. The center of town becomes an ad hoc pedestrian mall as the crush of people forces cars to creep. Downtown, the crush of visitors can be overwhelming when many cruise ships are in port at once and the streets around the docks have been entirely taken over by shops and other touristy businesses. Many of these are owned by people from outside of Alaska who come to the state for the summer to sell...

Between Belize District Belmopan

West of the Belize District, the Western Hwy speeds along for about 50 miles on smooth, unbroken pavement. This is probably the country's most heavily trafficked road. It leads to the capital, of course, but even more significantly, it carries busloads of island-based tourists and cruise ship passengers to inland adventures such as cave-tubing, zip-lining and horseback riding.

Safari Boat Operators

Safari boats often change ownership, or get refitted or acquire a new name or both. The skipper, cook and divemaster can change too, so it's hard to make firm recommendations. The following boats have a good reputation, but there are many others offering good facilities and services. The boats listed here all have a bar on board, oxygen for emergencies, and some diving equipment for rent. Universal's Atoll Explorer is like a mini-cruise ship with a swimming pool on deck, and the Four Seasons Island Explorer is the most luxurious and the most expensive of all. The websites are those of the boat operators. Many of these operators have other boats as well, which may also be very good. If the website does not give booking information (or it's not in your language), most of these boats can be booked through the bigger tour operators in Male' (see p91), or by overseas travel agents. The official tourism website (www.visitmaldives.com) has reasonably up-to-date details on almost every safari...

Tips Avoiding the Crowds

Ketchikan is overrun with as many as 8,000 cruise-ship passengers every day May through September, far more than the small visitor attractions or even the streets can comfortably handle. Independent travelers can avoid the crush by planning to visit popular spots in the afternoon. Spend the morning on an outdoors activity instead. At the Deer Mountain Tribal Hatchery and Eagle Center (see p. 100) the buses all come through before noon. At Totem Bight State Park (see p. 99) the trails quiet down by midafternoon. Ships usually leave the town in early evening. the poles without joining a tour, using a pamphlet that costs 1.50, but interpretive materials are scant compared to those at Totem Bight. Cape Fox Corp., the owner of the park, caters mainly to cruise-ship passengers with its 2-hour tour, which includes entry to the clan house, a short performance of a Tlingit legend, and a demonstration of traditional dance and song by the Cape Fox Dancers. The tour schedule is different each...

Traveling Responsibly

To date, the single biggest environment-related issue of the 21st century for Belize is cruise-ship tourism. Every year, cruise liners anchoring off Belize City bring more than 600,000 passengers into the country (that's two times the population of the country itself). Although the excursions made by these visitors are highly lucrative, many small-scale tour operators and officials fear that the cruisers could potentially be a threat to Belizean tourism. Most cruise-ship passengers are in the country for less than a day, making it next to impossible for them to experience the country in any substantive way. Furthermore, such massive numbers are likely to inflict environmental damage, whether it's by harming the reef, trampling through the rainforest or simply overtaxing the infrastructure. Finally, many ecologically aware travelers - who would normally spend lots of time (and money) in Belize - may not want to come if they know they will be sharing space with a shipload of...

What Kids Like to See Do in Walt Disney World

The Walt Disney World stable has resorts, restaurants, nightclub venues, smaller attractions, cruise ships, and four theme parks the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, and Animal Kingdom. Even in a sour economy, they attract some 38 million paying customers annually, according to estimates by Amusement Business magazine. All four make the country's top five in attendance (the other is Disneyland in California).

Getting To Anchorage The Port

Cruise ships dock in Seward or Whittier on the east coast of the Kenai Peninsula, so as to avoid the extra day that cruising all the way around the peninsula to Anchorage adds to Gulf of Alaska itineraries. It's quicker to transport passengers between the towns in motorcoaches or by train than it is to sail all the way around the peninsula. Most visitors will use Anchorage as a hub because, thanks to the international airport, it's where Alaska links with the rest of the world. You can spend a day or two in Anchorage before heading off on a cruise. BY PLANE If you're arriving or leaving by plane before or after your cruise, you'll land at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (how come they always name airports after politicians ). The facility is located within the city limits, a 15-minute drive from downtown. Taxis run about 19 for the trip downtown, and the Borealis Shuttle (& 907 276-3600) and Mom's Shuttle (& 907 344-6667) each charge 12 per couple.

Safari Escape Safari Quest

THE SHIPS IN GENERAL More private yachts than cruise ships, American Safari Cruises' vessels are an oddity in the cruise community One old tar we met called them Tupperware ships, a pretty accurate description for their exceedingly sleek, contoured, Ferrari-looking exteriors. Inside, there are very few areas out of bounds, lending to the feel that you're vacationing on an impossibly rich friend's space-age yacht.

Trimming Costs On The Road

The Conch Train and Trolley tours are cute, and ideal for day-trippers off the cruise ships, but you can cover the same territory by bicycle (rentals are easy to find if you're not carrying your own) or even on foot with free walking-tour brochures from the tourist information office in Mallory Square. Since the open-air trolleys use amplified narration, you could tag along behind one on your bike and hear the same information and corny jokes the cruisers pay 20 for.

Travelers With Disabilities

For adventures, we recommend the following excursions El Yunque, which has a wheelchair-accessible visitor center, with best-of examples from the rain forest, and wheelchair-friendly bus tours and Luquillo Beach, which has wide concrete paths through groves of seaside palm trees. In San Juan, Wheelchair Getaway, s 800-868-8028, cell 787-3789192, takes vans with space for two wheelchairs each on excellent tours of the old city and the Bacardi rum factory, as well as to the rain forest. Full transport is available between the airport, hotels and cruise ships.

Grand Cayman For Children

Bars and shopping, there's something terribly unassuming about the place as well -it's tiny, tidy and easy to walk around, and there's often little going on, especially at weekends when much of the worker population stays at home outside the town. The obvious flip side to this is when the cruise ships come into port and thousands of passengers descend en masse to buy anything in sight.

Central Pacific Coast

One of the world's top tourist destinations, the coast is also a land of mega-resorts, cruise ships, camera-toting tourists and rowdy spring-breakers on weekend drinking binges. Join in, or ignore them completely. You can snorkel, surf, sail, ride horses, scuba dive, explore lagoons by boat, mountain bike along ocean cliffs and drink yourself silly. Spend a week in a fabulous beachfront guesthouse, where food and drink are prepared fresh daily, or enjoy considerable luxury in a world-class hotel, where you can soak up the sun and read a book before indulging in the best spa treatment or full-body massage of your life. The good life here means finding your own rhythm.

Explore new horizons as you journey through a land of mystery

In this southernmost part of the country, make sure you visit the magnificent temple at Abu Simbel, relocated in its entirety after the High Dam was built at Aswan. Aboard a cruise ship, you can sail across impressive Lake Nasser as far as Aswan, stopping off at Kalabsha or Philae islands, jewels of the sacred river

On Your Own Beyond Walking Distance

Artists at work on new poles) and a theater that showcases Native dance, and the 2-hour tours are timed to coincide with cruise ship arrivals. South of town on the S. Tongass Hwy. & 907 225-4846. Tour admission 38 adults, 18 children 12 and under unguided visits free.The village is mostly sold as a shore excursion for cruise passengers, at about 48 a head. If you want to do it independently (frankly, we don't advise it), you can take a cab from the ship for about 12 or 13. Closed Oct-Apr.

Nassau New Providence Island

I lands and a bustling sea port, is a microcosm of Bahamian cultures. It's the largest city on the islands, with a population of more than 150,000, and has long been a center, not only for tourism, but for much of the world's banking. There are more than 400 banks in the city, offering tax shelters to one and all. But Nassau is more than the Bahamas' commercial center. Each year, some two million tourists enter the country through its international airport and a million more arrive by cruise ship and private boat. Most of them stay for at least a day or two.

Whats Special About It

This is not the destination of budget charters or cruise ships. It's an island secret that's guarded by a precious few, protected by a hefty price tag. The island aims for the upper market traveler, who is not shocked by three-figure dinner tabs and per-night accommodation rates equal to those found in three- or four-night budget packages on some other islands.

Tps Prepare to Be Fingerprinted

Since January 2004, many international visitors traveling on visas to the United States are now photographed and fingerprinted at Customs in a new program created by the Department of Homeland Security called US-VISIT. Non-U.S. citizens arriving at airports and on cruise ships must undergo an instant background check as part of the government's ongoing efforts to deter terrorism by verifying the identity of incoming and outgoing visitors. Exempt from the extra scrutiny are visitors entering by land or those from 28 countries (mostly in Europe) that don't require a visa for short-term visits. For more information, go to the Homeland Security website at www.dhs.gov dhspublic.

Urban Planning Development

The new deep-water container port at Yangshan, linked to the mainland by a 32.5km bridge, has made Shanghai the world's busiest port city in terms of cargo volume. Completed in 2007, the colossal 36km-long Hangzhou Bay Bridge links Ningbo in Zhejiang province with Jiaxing, south of Shanghai. It is the world's longest cross-bay bridge. Taking shape in the North Bund area north of Suzhou Creek, the new 130,000-sq-metre Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal is a major new undertaking, due for completion in 2008. The project - with its standout glass-hemisphere terminal building and tower - will be capable of accommodating a large range of international cruise ships and will contain hotels, restaurants and other facilities.

Around Northern St Kitts

Passengers ride in custom double-decker cars. You can sightsee from the open-sided upper deck or kick back with rum punch on the air-con lower deck. The tour takes three hours in total and schedules vary depending on when cruise ships are due. The station is a three-minute walk south of the airport.

Grand Etang National Park

Half a mile past the road sign, the visitor center sits to the side of the road overlooking Grand Etang Lake - a crater lake that forms the centerpiece of the park. The Grand Etang visitors center ( 440-6160 S8 30am-4pm Mon-Fri, Sat & Sun if cruise ships are in) has a few displays explaining the local foliage, fauna and history. Outside the center there are a series of independent booths hawking souvenirs, spices and cold drinks.

Getting To Seattle The Port

BY CAR The major freeway running through Seattle is Interstate 5. Follow it south from downtown to Sea-Tac. Interstate 5 runs north to the Canadian border, which leads, ultimately, to the road to Vancouver. Alaskan Way, a busy street, runs along the waterfront and past the cruise ship terminal. It's only a very

Port Antonio Northeast Coast

The beauty of Portland cannot be overstated. But the parish, long considered 'the next big thing' in Jamaican tourism, struggles to attract its rightful share of tourists. Several of the area's attractions have closed for want of visitors others have been put on hold, awaiting 'redevelopment.' A new cruise-ship marina is underused. However, Portland remains a forward-thinking place. It's the first parish in Jamaica to adopt the Green Globe 21 program (www.greenglobe21.com) principles, which mandate sustainable environmental and social practices. The parish council will be first to tell you that, in Portland, the future is green.

Ocho Rios North Coast

Five hundred years after Christopher Columbus dropped anchor on the north-central coast, the region is booming with tourists. Ocho Rios, the main town in the area, is the island's second-busiest cruise-ship berth, disgorging almost half a million visitors each year to shop and catch glimpses of Dunn's River Falls (Jamaica's highest-grossing tourist attraction) and Dolphin Cove.

Misty Fjords National Monument

BY BOAT The most affordable way to see the fjords is to go on one of the tour-boat excursions offered by Ketchikan operators. The largest and most experienced of these is Alaska Cruises, owned by Juneau's Goldbelt Native corporation, 29 Main St., Suite 205, Ketchikan (& 800 228-1905 or 907 225-6044 www.goldbelttours.com). They run a high-speed, 92-passenger catamaran on daily 6' 2-hour trips out to Rudyerd Bay and back. The tour travels up the Behm Canal, passes New Eddystone Rock, then drifts through Punchbowl Cove before finally coming to a floating dock at the head of Rudyerd Bay, where passengers from cruise ships board floatplanes for the return trip. The fare is 150 adults, 125 children. They serve a continental breakfast on the outbound trip, and snacks and chowder on the way back. If you're susceptible to seasickness, consider seeing the fjords by air, instead the water is smooth in the fjords but can be rough on the way there. (Take Dramamine before you set out once you're...

Where To Dine Expensive

The Summit Restaurant STEAK SEAFOOD This is a great place for a romantic meal. The dining room, with only 10 tables, looks out over the cruise-ship dock from big windows. The formal service adds to an easy, world-weary elegance that is not easily faked, and the Summit is the only restaurant in Alaska that really has it. If you're lucky enough to get a reservation during the summer season, you'll find the seafood and vegetables from the constantly changing, sometimes creative menu well prepared and occasionally truly inspired, such as the halibut with spinach and Grand Marnier sauce on mashed potatoes. A little European-style hotel, the Inn at the Waterfront, is upstairs. 455 S. Franklin St. & 907 586-2050. Reservations recommended. Main courses 15- 28.AE, DC, DISC, MC, V. Summer daily 5-11pm. Winter hours vary call ahead. Closed Oct.

Diving Snorkeling

Among them are Cien-fuegos, a cruise ship, and the Potato & Onion, a massive 19th-century wreck just 15ft down. Dive operators also head for the Arch, where sharks, rays and schools of jacks swim through a coral archway which begins at 75ft, and Current Cut, where you're whipped along at speeds of up to 10 knots, in depths down to 65ft. Here coral walls encourage voluminous sea life.

Behind The Carnival Scene

Today it's a transportation hub, the terminus for all buses and maxi-taxis. West of City Gate is King's Wharf, the landing point for anyone arriving by boat. It's also where you catch the ferry to Tobago. Nearby is the Cruise Ship Complex, with overpriced souvenir stalls pandering to tourists exhaled by giant ships.

Glacier Bay National Park Preserve

Glacier Bay is the world's largest protected marine sanctuary. The bay is so vast that the water contained within its boundaries would cover the state of Connecticut, the third smallest in the U.S. (Don't even think about what it would do to Rhode Island or Delaware ) The ecological sensitivity of the bay is a source of concern for environmentalists, who would like to see cruise ships banned from entering, or at least have their access severely curtailed. The ship operators, on the other hand, argue that no evidence shows that their vessels have any negative impact on the wildlife of the bay. In fact, they note that they provide an excellent opportunity for the maximum number of people to enjoy the natural wonders of the park at one time with the minimum of damage to the water's denizens. glaciers meet Margerie and Grand Pacific. Margerie, on the Alaskan side, is pristine white and very active, calving frequently Grand Pacific, on the Canadian side of the line, is black, gritty, and...

The Top Attractions

The Little Mermaid (Den Lille Havfrue) Every visitor to Copenhagen wants to see the life-size bronze statue of the character from Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of the same name. Unveiled in 1913, it has been attacked several times over the years, losing an arm in one misadventure, and getting beheaded in another. The statue is located no more than a 10-minute walk from the cruise ship docks, set on rocks right offshore. Langelinie, on the harbor.

Underwater Photography

The main camera store in town is The Camera Store in the Waterfront Centre on the main drive across from the new cruise ship terminal in George Town. It offers a large selection of digital cameras, lenses, print film processing and printing, camcorders and lots of accessories and digital media. Cathy Church's Underwater Photo Centre at the Sunset House Hotel also offers a nice array of gear and housings, plus instruction from Cathy or Herb Rafael.

Moments The Coolest Flights

Terrain unfold below when you stand on the ground, you get your first sense of scale, and everything you've seen is suddenly magnified (and at the same time you shrink). Go in the late afternoon when the light is pretty and the swarms of planes carrying cruise-ship passengers are gone. Several air-taxi operators in Ketchikan take flightseeing day trips or drop clients at remote cabins. The largest is Promech Air (& 800 860-3845 or 907 225-3845 www.pro mechair.com), which charges 185 for a 50-minute flight, with 10 minutes on the ground. My favorite is under The Coolest Flights, above. BY KAYAK There are few more spectacular places for overnight kayak expeditions. If you have only a few days, concentrate on Rudyerd Bay. Don't miss Punchbowl Cove or the waterfall trail to Punchbowl Lake, where there is a shelter and good camping. There is also a trail and shelter at Nooya Lake. Both lakes have public rowing skiffs.

Getting Outside On The Water

The Sitka Wildlife Quest, operated by Allen Marine Tours (& 888 7478101 or 907 747-8100 www.allenmarinetours.com), runs a terrific charter of the waters in the area, with well-trained naturalists to explain the wildlife. You have a good chance of encountering humpback whales and sea otters on this 2-hour cruise, which costs 49 for adults and 30 for children. The tour leaves from the Crescent Harbor Visitors Dock Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm and Saturday and Sunday at 9am from late May to the end of August. The boats will visit St. Lazaria Island when sea conditions permit. Buy tickets on board. These are different excursions from the ones offered to cruise-ship passengers. Allen Marine is a remarkable homegrown success story, a Sitka boat building company that has grown to the point that they are now building new passenger ferries for use in New York Harbor.

The Islands Their People

The second method is to travel by air. There are numerous flights between the various islands, as well as reasonably convenient connections to most American cities. However, this can become a very expensive propositionwas, with a lot of time wasted getting to and from the airports and waiting for flights. Don't forget that cruise ships do much of their traveling overnight while you are sleeping. If you are going to one place for several days or are visiting only one or two ports, flying is a good choice. But air-hopping between islands can become rather tiresome if you plan on seeing three or four islands, which is what most cruises will do.

Sights Activities

Tulum is a prime destination for tour groups from Cancun or off the cruise ships docked in the area. To best enjoy the ruins without feeling like part of the herd, you should visit them either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Parking costs US 4 for cars and US 8 for vans and pickups. The optional shuttle from the parking lot to the ticket booth (about a seven-minute walk) is US 1.50 round-trip. Taxi cabs from town charge US 3.50 and can drop you off at the old entrance road, about an 800m walk from the ticket booth.

Special Dietary Or Menu Requests

Though many cruise lines these days offer vegetarian and low-fat meals as a standard feature, you should still arrange any special dietary needs through your travel agent at the time you make your reservation. Some lines offer kosher menus, and all will have vegetarian, low-fat, low-salt, and sugar-free options available. Also have your agent let the cruise line know of any birthday or anniversary that will occur during the cruise so they can plan to help you celebrate accordingly.

Airfares Pre PostCruise Hotel Offerings

Unless you live within driving distance of your port of embarkation, you'll probably be flying to Vancouver, Anchorage, Seattle, or one of the other ports to join your ship. Your cruise package may include airfare, but if not, you'll have to make other arrangements. You can book air travel separately, but remember that those attractive discount fares you see in the newspapers may not apply, especially if your cruise departs on the peak travel days of Friday or Saturday. A better option is usually to take advantage of the cruise lines' air add-ons. Why First of all, as frequent customers of the airlines, cruise lines tend to get decent (if not the best) discounts on airfare, which they pass on to their customers. Second, booking air with the cruise line also allows the line to keep track of you. If your plane is late, for instance, they may hold the boat, though not always. When you book air travel with your cruise line, most lines will include transfers from the airport to the ship,...

Cruisetours The Best of Land

Most folks who go to the trouble of getting to a place as far off the beaten path as Alaska try to stick around for a while once they're there rather than jetting home as soon as they hop off the boat. Knowing this, the cruise lines have set themselves up in the land-tour business as well, offering a number of great land-based excursions that can be tacked on to your cruise experience. We're not just talking about an overnight stay in Anchorage or Juneau before or after your cruise. Almost any cruise line will arrange an extra night's hotel accommodation for you, but, enjoyable as that may be, it doesn't begin to hint at the real opportunities available in Alaska. No, the subject here is cruisetours, a total package with a cruise and a structured, prearranged, multiple-day land itinerary already programmed in for instance, a 7-day cruise with a 5-day land package. There are any number of combinations between 9 and 21 days in length. Because of the distances that must be covered on...

Deposits Cancellation Policies

You'll be asked by your travel agent to make a deposit, either of a fixed amount or of some percentage of your total cruise cost. You'll then receive a receipt in the mail from the cruise line. You'll be asked to pay the remaining fare usually no later than 2 months before your departure date. Cruise lines have varying policies regarding cancellations, and it's important to look at the fine print in the line's brochure to make sure you understand the policy. Most lines allow you to cancel for a full refund on your deposit and payment anytime up to 76 days before the sailing, after which you have to pay a penalty. If you cancel at the last minute, you will typically be refunded only 75 of what you've paid (although post-9 11, some lines have introduced more lenient policies).

Cruises For Travelers With Disabilities

Cruise lines, due in no small part to public pressure, have made an effort in recent years to make their ships more accessible to travelers with disabilities. It is not uncommon on the newest ships to find two dozen or more wheelchair-accessible cabins with such features as wide doors, handrails, and low sinks. Other additions include Braille on handrails and in elevators, and cabin alarms designed for the hearing impaired. If you are a traveler with a disability, it is important to let the cruise line know your special needs when you make your booking. If you use a wheelchair, you'll need to know if wheelchair-accessible cabins are available (and how they're equipped), as well as whether public rooms are accessible and can be reached by elevator I've noted this information in the cabin sections of the ship reviews in chapters 5 to 9. Be aware that the cruise line may also have special policies regarding travelers with disabilities for instance, some require that you be accompanied by...

Rounding Up Additional Information

The glossy brochures produced by all the cruise lines are basically advertisements, but they do contain valuable information such as deck layouts and schematics (and sometimes photos) of the different cabin categories that'll help you when selecting and booking your cruise. Of course, the verbiage in these brochures may not be all that straightforward. For instance, comfortable cabins can be another way of saying small. The lines put a lot of money into these brochures, and they all show off their ships in a beautiful light. Rarely are lower-end cabins shown, for instance.

Deposits Cancellations Extras

Cruise lines have varying policies regarding cancellations, and it's important to look at the fine print in the line's brochure to make sure you understand the policy. Traditionally, most lines allow you to cancel for a full refund on your deposit and payment any time up to about 70 days before the sailing, after which you have to pay a penalty. If you cancel at the last minute, you would traditionally lose the entire fare paid. However, the volatile state of world events at press time in spring of 2003, especially in the Middle East, prompted many lines to temporarily offer enhanced cancellation and optional insurance policies to encourage bookings. Lines including SeaDream Yacht Club, for instance, were allowing you to cancel for any reason (whether you bought travel insurance or not) up until the day before departure and get full credit for a future cruise for what you paid. Many optional insurance policies sold by the cruise lines were also offering cash refunds and or cruise...

Finding The Best Fare

If cabins are still not filled up as the season begins, the cruise lines will start marketing last-minute deals, usually through their top-producing travel agents. One couple we heard about booked a last-minute 12-day Princess Mediterranean cruise for 599 per person last year. Keep in mind, though, that lastminute deals require a certain amount of flexibility. Your desired sailing date may sell out, and even if it doesn't, you will have to take whatever cabin is still available. Also, you may have trouble getting a good last-minute deal on your airfare (our friends ended up adding on 800 each for air). And most lastminute deals are non-refundable. You can also save by booking a cruise in the shoulder months of April, early May, and November or early December, when It's a little-known fact that if the price of your cabin category goes down after you've booked it, some cruise lines will make up the difference, in effect giving you the lowest rates. The cruise lines won't call you with...

The Best Cruise Experiences in Alaska

Cruise lines are in the business of giving their guests a good time, so they've all got something going for them. Here's my pick of Alaska's best, though, in a few different categories. The Best of the Small Ships Clipper Cruise Line's newest vessel, the Clipper Odyssey, is a really stunning little ship, offering a higher level of comfort The Best Ships for Families All the major lines have well-established kids' programs. Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Line win points in Alaska for their special shore excursions for kids and teens, and Carnival offers special shore excursions for teens.

Getting Extraspecial Deals Through Agents

Agents, especially those who specialize in cruises, are in frequent contact with the cruise lines, and are alerted by the lines, either by e-mail or fax, about the latest and greatest deals and special offers. The cruise lines tend to communicate such deals and offers to their top agents first, before the general public, and some of these discounts will never appear in your local newspaper. Rebates and Incentives Some agencies are willing to give back to the client a portion of their commissions from the cruise line in order to close a sale, in what is known as rebates or incentives. This percentage may be monetary, or it may take the form of a perk such as a free bottle of champagne or a cabin upgrade.

Getting to the Ship Checking In

Before you leave for the airport, put one of the luggage tags sent by the cruise line on each of your bags. Make sure that you correctly fill in the tags with your departure date, port, cabin number, and so forth. You can find all this information in your cruise documents. Put a luggage tag on your carry-on as well. If you booked your air travel and or transfers with the cruise line, you should see a cruise-line representative holding a card with the name of the line, either when you get off the plane or at the baggage area. (If you're arriving on a flight from the United States to Vancouver, you will need to clear Customs and Immigration. Follow the appropriate signs. The cruise-line rep will be waiting to greet you after you've cleared.) Check in with this person. If you are on a pre-cruise package, the details of what to do at the airport will be described in the cruise line's brochure. When you arrive at your gateway airport, you will be asked by a cruise-line representative to...

Safety at Sea in the New World Dis Order

Traditionally, safety-at-sea issues have included the occasional hurricane, fire, gastrointestinal bug, petty theft, and rogue iceberg. But in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the threat of terrorism immediately assumed a high place on that list, prompting the cruise lines, port authorities, and the U.S. Coast Guard to implement a number of new security measures throughout their destination areas including Alaska. Logistically, ships are more difficult to protect than planes because of their larger passenger loads their numerous labyrinthine public and crew only areas their regular presence at public port facilities the access they offer to the numerous contractors who come aboard on turnaround days to refresh flowers, service machinery, and perform other needed functions and their multicountry itineraries Alaska cruises usually include Canadian ports as well. For these reasons, all the major cruise lines have their own dedicated onboard security forces, and...

What To Do If Your Flight Is Delayed

If your flight is delayed, and you are sailing that day, tell airline personnel. They may be able to get you onto another flight. Also call the cruise line to advise the ship of your delay (there should be an emergency number in your cruise documents). Keep in mind that you may not be the only passenger delayed, and the line might just hold the ship until you arrive. If your ship does leave without you, you'll be flown or driven to the next port. If you booked your air through the cruise line, you will not be charged for this service, but if you booked air on your own you may have to pay.

La Romana Casa de Campo

The city of La Romana (population 175,000) is dominated by the sugar industry. However, it is becoming increasingly important as a resort destination because of the fine facilities at Casa de Campo. In fact, because there is little to see in La Romana itself, some cruise lines list the port of call as Casa de Campo. The nearby beaches and reef of Catalina Island are also a reason to visit this area in the southeastern portion of the Dominican Republic. The main part of town is located along the R o Salado.

The Luxury Ultra Luxury Lines

These cruise lines are the top shelf, the best (and most expensive) of the best, catering to discerning travelers who want to be pampered with gourmet cuisine and fine wines and ensconced in spacious suites with marble bathrooms, down pillows, sitting areas, and walk-in closets. Caviar is served on silver trays and chilled champagne in crystal glasses. Elegant dining rooms are dressed in the finest linens, stemware, and china, and guests dress up on formal nights (there will be some passengers in tuxes and ball gowns others in dark suits and cocktail dresses) and wear suits and ties or nice outfits on informal nights. (Exceptions to this are Windstar Cruises, which offer a more casual kind of luxury and a more laid-back decor and SeaDream Yacht Club, where the ultra-luxurious atmosphere requires no more than casually elegant attire.) Although the high-end lines are discounting more than ever, they still can cost twice as much as your typical mainstream cruise. Besides early-booking...

Dolphin Charters Cruises

Dolphin Charters (not to be confused with Dolphin Cruise Lines) runs fishing trips and cruises geared to groups. Captain Tony Greco has been fishing in Freeport since he was eight he and his son Gary take fishing boats out by day and cruise local waters at night. Operates March 30-November. Charter fees for all-day fishing trips run between 675 and 1,000, depending on the type offish sought (tuna and shark are the highest) and the number of people going out. Other cruises range from 45 to 100 per person.

The Best Shore Excursions

We recommend that you take the cruise line's shuttle (there may be a charge of up to 30) into town (it'll almost certainly drop you off near Princes Street) and do your own thing. The city bus service will take you anywhere you want to go and cabs are plentiful. There are also double-decker buses (open upstairs) that offer tours of the historic Royal Mile, Holyroodhouse, the King's Park, and more that leave from the side of the Waverley Railway Station. But much of Edinburgh is for walkers, anyway.

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