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Cruise News and Information
February 10, 2014

Private Islands, Sea Lion Encounters, Swimming With Dolphins or Turtles
& Yacht Racing on Sparkling Emerald Seas in the Caribbean …
What is Your Favorite Ship Size – XS, S, M, L, XL or XXL?
Which Cruise Lines Are All-Inclusive?

Dreaming of a few hours with your family on a private island, swimming with the dolphins, or participating in a yacht race? The shore excursions here are listed by island and there are some lovely ideas to soothe those winter blues.

We love this one where you visit two private islands with a stop at the beach:

And the sea lion encounter:

Spending the day on a private island – the ultimate port of call … All about the private islands:

Time-sensitive offers directly from the cruise lines we have found for you………We have compiled the latest amenities (cabin upgrades and cabin credits, plus more) and other special offers directly from the cruise lines for you to see here:

And here are some examples:

Cunard Line is offering special savings on their 2015 World Voyages. For a limited time Cunard is offering up to $3000 onboard credit and a reduced deposit of 15% on a Full World or Liner Voyage. (Full World Voyage is defined as Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria voyages 82 days or longer.) This offer expires February 28, 2014. More…

Save with Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s early booking savings! Uniworld is offering up to $600 savings per couple when you book and deposit at the time of reservation for select China river cruise and tours. This offer expires February 28, 2014. More…

For a limited time Silversea Expeditions is offering complimentary airfare on Silver Discoverer’s inaugural Asia Pacific expeditions. Silversea Expeditions new promotion offers a great opportunity to explore Asia. For a limited time they are offering complimentary airfare on the Silver Discoverer’s inaugural Asia Pacific expeditions. Offer is applicable to new bookings made from February 1 to March 31, 2014. More…

Read about more current cruise line deals by visiting Cruise Market Dossier at:

Cruise lines going all-inclusive? What is included on your cruise? We have put together this guide to help you know in advance what the lines are offering from airfare to pre- and post-hotel stays, to transfers, wine and liquor, shore excursions and gratuities. Some have it all, others don’t.

What is your favorite ship size – XS, S, M, L, XL or XXL?

There are categories of ships – see which vessels fall into each category and what you may expect from the onboard amenities.
Following is information on the XS, S, M, L, XL and XXL categories of ships and what you can expect from them.

Extra, Extra Large Ships (XXL) – 4,000+ passengers
These megaships boast unparalleled options in entertainment and amenities. They truly give the impression of being onboard a floating city and provide endless choices in dining, activities and shopping (some are so large as to even incorporate a “mall” area with brand name stores). If you desire a resort-type feel from your cruise or worry about sea-sickness, this may be your best option. Read about the benefits of XXL ships and see which ones fall into this category….

Extra Large Ships (XL) – 3,000-3,999 passengers
These extra-large ships are a destination unto themselves and are especially good for families and multigenerational cruises due to the many amenities found onboard. There is something for everyone, and many cruisers enjoy their time onboard as much as they do the destinations they visit. Read about the benefits of XL ships and see which ones fall into this category….

Large Ships (L) – 2,000 to 2,999 passengers
Large ships offer many of the same amenities as the XL ships, on a slightly smaller scale. They don’t necessarily require a ship map to navigate entertainment and activity options, and they tend to have more personal touches. Read about the benefits of L ships and see which ones fall into this category….

Medium Ships (M) – 951 to 1,999 passengers
Medium ships generally offer a slower pace than their large counterparts, with fewer crowds, less noise and more modest offerings when it comes to activity and entertainment options. Many cruisers prefer this size of ship for its “relaxation” vibe. Many of these ships tend to be more luxurious with more personal service. Read about the benefits of M ships and see which ones fall into this category….

Small Ships (S) – 950 passengers or less
Small ships fill a niche for cruisers that are looking for more in-depth exploration of the regions they visit. They can visit ports that are inaccessible to larger ships and exotic itineraries are the standard. Most river cruise ships and almost all of the luxury lines have ships that fall into this category. Read about the benefits of S ships and see which ones fall into this category….

Extra Small Ships (XS) – 1-499 passengers
Very small ships offer a private, exclusive ambiance, along with personalized service and the advantage of being able to port almost anywhere. Passengers get a feel for the water and experience destinations in a very close-up, personal way. Read about the benefits of XS ships and see which ones fall into this category….

Or perhaps a river cruise interests you more…

River Cruises have a slower pace and deeply immersive itineraries that make them a wonderful choice if you are very destination-oriented. Those of you with the hearts of wanderers will certainly appreciate the ability to disembark and re-embark at leisure.

The choice, then, comes down to the type of river ship that most appeals to you. The ships range from very private eight-person barges all the way up through very large (for a river cruise) ships with more than 400 passengers.

Read about more river cruise ships here.

Time-sensitive offers directly from the cruise lines we have found for you………We have compiled the latest amenities (cabin upgrades and cabin credits, plus more) and other special offers directly from the cruise lines for you to see here:

Read about more current cruise line deals by visiting Cruise Market Dossier at:

Another handy thing to know when planning your next cruise is what is included on each line. We have a wonderful chart here that details what you can expect from the different lines:

No cruise is complete without shore excursions. Here’s a frequently asked question about CruiseCompete shore excursions:

Is there a risk I'll miss the ship if I don't book through the cruise line?

No. Although the cruise lines would like you to believe that independent tours carry this risk, all of our tour operators are well aware of your ship's departure time, and our tours are designed to get you back to the ship with time to spare. One of our tour developers worked onboard cruise ships for 16 years, and not once did a passenger on one of his sailings miss the ship because an independent tour was late getting back to the ship. In the extremely unlikely event you were to miss the ship due to one of our tours, we guarantee that we will pay the full cost of your meals, hotel, and transportation to the next port of call, and we will handle all of your arrangements for you.

Shore Excursion of the Week:

4WD Blue Mountains Adventure
The Blue Mountains, located immediately to the west of the sprawling metropolitan area that is Sydney, is one of the most accessible areas of highland natural beauty in New South Wales, Australia.

Although not particularly high as a mountain range, the Blue Mountains is nonetheless renowned for its majestic scenery of a unique kind, for its cultural attractions and for its relatively tranquil, alternative mode of life. The region was inscribed as a World Heritage Area by UNESCO in 2000.

This gentle off road adventure will allow you to experience the true essence of the Blue Mountains. Your tour begins as you leave Sydney via the Sydney Harbor Bridge and onto Featherdale Wildlife Park for a close up view of one of the best collection of Australian animals. After passing through fertile farmland known as the "fruit bowl" area, the historic early settlement town of Richmond and crossing the Hawkesbury River, you will wander along the Bells Line of Road. This is the land of the Mountain apple and the northwestern passage over the mountains.

Breathe in the invigorating scent of the Australian Eucalyptus as you travel into the World Heritage National Park.

A short walk along this trail will reveal towering Eucalypts, Red Gums, Grass Trees and other varieties of Australian Flora. Access to this area is a highlight on this tour. Enjoy the forest canopy with its Kookaburras and the unique songs of the many other wild native birds. Your guide will interpret the fauna and flora encountered, Aboriginal history and also demonstrate the Didgeridoo.

You will then travel on to Mt. Tomah Botanical Gardens. With 70 acres of unique Australian and overseas plants and trees, you will be treated to a gourmet lunch and a glass of wine in the midst of one of Australia’s most beautiful botanical gardens. Mount Tomah is on the Bells Line of Road, the quiet side of the Blue Mountains, less than one and a half hours from Sydney. In an area of World Heritage wilderness, surrounded by orchards, it is a perfect place to quietly refresh body and spirit.

After lunch, soak up the magnificent views of Govetts Leap Lookout, as well as the Jamieson Valley and the Three Sisters famous rock formation.

Latest diaries of the AllThingsCruise writers

Gerry Barker and his wife, Pam, recently sailed on the new Royal Princess. “This cruise marks several firsts for us: Our first cruise on a Princess ship, and our first holiday voyage. We opted for a seven-day Eastern Caribbean excursion in lieu of the traditional Thanksgiving celebration. For once, we’ll relax and let someone else do the cooking and cleaning.” Here are their reports.

Jackie Finch sails on the Carnival Magic from Galveston, escaping the frigid weather in the Midwest. “Snow. Sleet. Ice. Grey skies. Coat-huddling cold. Enough already.” Read her reports here.

David G. Molyneaux travels in Cambodia and Vietnam aboard the 16-passenger Avalon Angkor riverboat. Follow his adventures here.

Barbara Orr is experiencing the Christmas Markets in Europe aboard the ultra-luxurious Scenic Crystal river ship. Read her reports 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 sailed home on the Queen Mary 2. Follow them here.

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

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

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

Also check out the “Deals” section on AllThingsCruise … there are some fantastic opportunities in cruising here:

Special offerings we found on the Web

Great quote about travel:
“Travel does this: it creates space that allows thoughts and memories to intrude and assert themselves with impunity. Smells and sights, the quality of light, the honk of a horn – can all act as touchstones when least expected.” ―Andrew McCarthy, The Longest Way Home: One Man's Quest for the Courage to Settle Down

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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