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CruiseCompete Currents
Cruise News and Information
November 18, 2013

Historic Meeting of Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth; Monet’s Glorious Gardens at Giverny on a Sunny Day; Celebrity Xpedition’s  Storytelling Collective and the Guide to Family Cruising & Private Islands

The CruiseCompete Blog
Have you seen the new CruiseCompete blog yet? We have compiled the latest amenities (cabin upgrades and cabin credits, plus more) and other offers directly from the cruise lines for you to see here:

This month’s highlighted cruise line is Holland America!
Holland America is one of my favorite cruise lines. One of the most beautiful days I have spent in my life was on their private island, Half Moon Cay.

Holland America’s private island in the Bahamas, illustrates the cruise travel industry’s ongoing effort to exceed the expectations of its guests. Air-conditioned, open-air beach cabanas are available just a few steps from warm, blue, pristine waters. Private butlers magically appear (for a small fee) from nowhere to fill one’s beverage glass; others prepare hot and chilled appetizers, and offer cool cucumbers to sooth guests’ eyes from the tropical sun.

Is this heaven? Not quite, but these breathtaking private islands surely are memorable for cruisers wanting to enjoy total stress reduction.

Many Caribbean cruises include a stop at some of the Caribbean Sea’s most picturesque islands. Turquoise waters, stunning coral reefs, beautiful beaches, native fauna and wildlife draw the awe of visitors. For the more active crowd, a variety of optional island exploration and water sports activities keep people busy all day long.

For a rundown of the private island’s entire click here:

With more than 138 years of experience, Holland America Line is recognized as the undisputed leader in the cruise industry's premium segment. Holland America Line's fleet of 15 ships offers more than 500 cruises to 350 ports in more than 100 countries, territories or dependencies. Two- to 110-day itineraries visit all seven continents and highlights include Antarctica, South America, Australia/New Zealand and Asia voyages; a Grand World Voyage; and popular sailings to ports in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Alaska, Mexico, Canada/New England, Europe and the Panama Canal. More…

Rankings from actual consumers: The HAL Eurodam ranks 4.5 out of 5.
Jackie’s Blog says: The Eurodam and crew exceeded our expectations. We were sorry when our cruise ended. I highly recommend the ship to any travelers and hope to return again someday. That is the highest compliment I can give.

See more Eurodam reviews here:

Wondering about other Holland America Ships? Read all Holland America Reviews here…

Holland America has many offerings for cruisers of all ages. Read more about their children’s policies here:

See more Holland America Deals here…

CruiseCompete is partnered with Shore Excursions Group – the largest shore excursions company in the world which features more than 2,000 excursions in cruise ports all over the world. These excursions provide an excellent alternative to cruise line excursions – they have fewer people, better prices and an unbeatable series of guarantees.
  1. Guaranteed Better Prices
  2. Guaranteed Fewer Guests
  3. Guaranteed Return-to-Ship on Time
  4. Guaranteed Satisfaction or your Money Back
  5. Guaranteed Tour Departures
To see all of the shore excursions by ship simply click here:

To see shore excursions by port, click here:

Frequently asked question about CruiseCompete Shore Excursions:
How does CruiseCompete’s pricing compare to that of the cruise lines?
Our prices are lower than the cruise lines, sometimes as much as 40% lower. You deserve to enjoy great experiences without over paying for them. In the rare cases in which our prices are higher, it is because our excursions are higher quality and typically involve smaller, more intimate tour groups with fewer individuals per guide.

For the ultra-luxury lover in you
Cunard Line, operator of The Most Famous Ocean Liners in the World®, is pleased to confirm two special events in 2015 to be held in its spiritual home of Liverpool, England, in celebration of the company’s 175th anniversary. First, Cunard will celebrate its historic anniversary in style with the first-ever three Queens meeting on the Mersey on May 25, 2015, by flagship Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Then, on the 4th of July, 2015, Queen Mary 2 will sail from Liverpool to recreate the original Transatlantic Crossing on July 4, 1840, of Cunard’s Britannia from Liverpool to Halifax and Boston. More…

Silversea has announced that they have increased their onboard media options, including newspapers and lifestyle magazines to their complimentary onboard digital service. Passengers can use their smartphone or tablet to access hundreds of newspapers and lifestyle magazines from 100 countries and in 56 languages these items are in addition to an already impressive service that provides streaming movies and live television news broadcasts to guests’ mobile devices aboard Silversea’s Silver Cloud and Silver Galapagos. More…

Private Jets, All-Inclusive Resorts, Tahiti and the South Pacific – If this is what you dream about for your vacation, try the new VacationCompete

Fun things happening on the cruise ships
My grandson Logan did a double take when we walked into Parrot Cay for dinner the first night of our Disney Magic cruise and a server called him by name. How did anyone know Logan’s name? We sure weren’t wearing nametags. More…

Celebrity Cruises announced today that it is curating a guest-driven commemorative book that will debut next year to celebrate the modern luxury cruise line’s 10 years in the Galapagos Islands. Past Celebrity Xpedition guests are being invited to be part of this storytelling collective, by way of Celebrity’s Facebook page, to share photos and stories of their Celebrity Xpedition memories. More…

Family travel tips
The cruise experts at CruiseCompete have compiled a list of the best cruise line children’s programs and detailed their highlights. For a comprehensive listing of the lines and their full children’s program information, including the minimum ages accepted by each line, please click here.

The large cruise line companies undoubtedly have a myriad of activities for all ages, and they are quite popular with families because of the variety they offer. So, as a traveling family is it worth looking at smaller ships for your next cruise vacation? Absolutely. Smaller, more niche lines are great and they cater to those of you wanting to take a more “off the beaten path” family voyage. Believe it or not, when it comes to families, small lines and ships can be just as good (or better) due to the intimate atmosphere on board. More…

River Cruising
I’m walking in Monet’s glorious gardens at Giverny on sunny day thinking about a little girl skipping over the famous green Japanese Bridges a big smile on her face. That was my daughter Melanie, 7 at the time, who was enamored of the book Linnea in Monet’s Garden, so from the time we announced we were going to France in 1998 she announced we must visit Monet’s Garden. This time we have returned to Giverny with cousins, the first stop on an Avalon Waterways cruise from Paris to Normandy. More…

Latest diaries of the AllThingsCruise writers
Barbara Orr enjoyed a gastronomic cruise on a Turkish gulet. Follow her adventure in real small ship cruising here.

Kimberly Button brings us an up-close look at the much-anticipated Royal Princess. See her reports here.

Marcia Levin traveled to London with her grandson Jakob, 13, and then she sailed home on the Queen Mary 2. Follow them here.

Cindy Boal Janssens sails to Alaska with grandchildren on HAL's Oosterdam. Read their adventures here.

Jackie Finch traveled on the Seabourn Odyssey on a 7-day Adriatic Odyssey out of Venice. Follow her here.

Heidi Allison-Shane sailed across the Atlantic on the Cunard Queen Mary 2. Read her diary here.

Cruise Line Charity Work
It’s fun to discuss the glitz, glamour and fun the cruise lines provide, but sometimes we forget to recognize all the work they do to give back to our global community. The cruise lines make an enormous amount of charitable contributions, both within our domestic communities and worldwide. One organization that deserves recognition for its work is the Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, which works to improve the quality of life for individuals in the communities visited by the cruise industry. More…

And CICF just announced it is providing a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross for its Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts in the Philippines. More…

Princess began a program back in 2012 called “Cruising for a Cause,” which is their support of different charities. Next on the initiative’s agenda is a fundraiser for the American Heart Association. Its goal, too, is to raise $1 million, this time in support of the AHA’s heart health and educational programs.The cruise will be a 5-day Western Caribbean voyage, round trip from Ft. Lauderdale, departing February 10-15, 2014 aboard the Ruby Princess®. More…

An airline booking tool, cars, hotels and vacation packages that you might find of interest. Visit this new section here:

Private Jets, All-Inclusive Resorts, Tahiti and the South Pacific – if this is what you want for your vacation, try the new Vacation Compete

Recent ship review from an AllThingsCruise site member:
HAL Westerdam:
c5driver: We can't say enough good things about the level of service, cleanliness, quality of food at the specialty restaurants, ports, and overall cruise experience. HAL should be commended for the Vista design! Except for the mandatory lifeboat drill, at no time (including disembarkation) did we feel like the dreaded packed sardine that seems to be on other cruise ships/cruise lines. The Westerdam captain, crew, and staff were professional, fastidious in their cleanliness, and extremely attentive. Just a world class ship and a great cruise experience! More…

Shore excursion of the week:
Day at a Small Beach Resort
Retreat to a small resort offering 16 rooms, relaxation, bars, water activities, and the best restaurant on the island. After taking a taxi from the port area, you will arrive and be welcomed as a guest.

At check in, the staff will ask you what time you would like lunch, and then point you to your included beach chair waiting for you on the white sand beach next to the turquoise blue water. There are hammocks under palm trees, uncrowded beach to comb, a small beach bar where you can relax with a rum punch or just sit on your beach chair and let the world melt away.

For guests wanting a little more excitement, there is snorkeling gear ($20 per person), kayaks ($20 for 2 hours), Hobie cats ($40 per hour) and other activities available for rental on site.

In addition to your welcome drink, your program also includes a seafood sampler lunch of the best local seafood offerings available that day which may include conch, lobster, fish and chicken prepared fresh by the Executive Chef. Meals include yummy side dishes (depending on local availability). If you do not eat seafood, just let the staff know upon check in. Additional drinks can be purchased from the bar.

Our Price (after savings): $69 per person

Special deal offerings
Check out the “Deals” section on AllThingsCruise… there are some fantastic opportunities in cruising here:

SeaDream Yacht Club is pleased to share an overview of its 2014 season, which will highlight exclusive voyages to some of the world’s most sought-after destinations, including the line’s inaugural visits to Southeast Asia, Papua New Guinea and Northern Europe. Also featured in SeaDream’s 2014 season are the secluded ports and harbors of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. Altogether, the line’s award-winning mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II will sail a total of 64 itineraries in the waters surrounding these beautiful locations. More…

Canyon Ranch is pleased to announce the extension of their partnership with Prestige Cruise Holdings to operate Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at Sea, which includes the spa, beauty salon, wellness and fitness amenities onboard Oceania Cruises’ premium mid-sized ships and Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ all-suite, ultra-luxury ships for the next five years. More…

Special offerings we found on the Web
Here’s a great quote about travel:
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

If you’d love a book of some of the very best travel quotes, take a look at:
No Foreign Lands – 100 of the Most Inspirational Travel Quotes of All Time
Click here to purchase this book:

A valuable unique feature of AllThingsCruise is a complimentary e-card with vital cruise line and cruise ship contact information travelers can send to family members and others prior to departure.

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