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Ship photos of the day - Largest cruise ship ever built begins sea trials

Ship photos of the day - Largest cruise ship ever built begins sea trials | Family travel | Scoop.it

The largest cruise ship ever built departed the STX France Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France on Thursday for its first set of sea trials.

The Harmony of the Seas is the third ship in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class. At 227,700 GRT, the cruise ship will be just slightly larger than her two sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, which at 225,282 GRT are currently the largest cruise ships in the world.

Harmony of the Seas is due back at the shipyard on Sunday following three days of trials meant to test the ship’s power and propulsion. The sea trials involve some 500 engineers and technicians, as representatives from the classification society DNV GL.

Harmony of the Seas is expected to make its maiden voyage from Europe in May 2016. The ship is designed to carry a total of 6,410 passengers and 2,300 crew.

Walter Christen's insight:

I must admit, I do like the very large cruise ships where the ship is a destination as much as the ports of call.  Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is the third Oasis class ship for the cruise line.  I have been with my family on both the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas and we enjoyed sailing on them very much. After dinner strolls through Central Park, the onboard entertainment like the water and ice skating shows were particulary memorable.  And even though the ships hold a lot of other cruisers, I never felt that it was crowded.

The Harmony of the Seas will spend the summer out of Barcelona and in the fall will home port out of Port Everglades.  Seriously considering a family cruise on this ship.

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Revamped Princess youth centers spring from Discovery partnership

Revamped Princess youth centers spring from Discovery partnership | Family travel | Scoop.it

Princess Cruises expanded its partnership with Discovery Communications to create reimagined youth centers with new themes, experiences and designs.

This multimillion-dollar investment is rolling out fleetwide through 2018, with program implementation taking place in early 2017 and new center designs planned for installation during scheduled ship renovations. There are three center themes catering to specific age groups.

Camp Discovery, for ages 3-12, includes The Treehouse (formerly Pelicans) for ages 3-7 and The Lodge (formerly Shockwaves) for ages 8-12. The Treehouse consists of a bright, whimsical forest and animal-themed center with hands-on activities, while The Lodge is inspired by the great outdoors and filled with sports activities and fun places for kids to explore, hang out and lounge.

The Beach House (previously Remix), for ages 13-17, provides a contemporary, surf-themed lounge where teens can hang out and socialize.

Walter Christen's insight:

To appeal to a wide variety of children, youth programs on cruise ships need varied programs and updated to today's technologies.  Nice to see that Princess Cruises understands this and is making the changes needed to keep up.  I was impressed with some of their new upcoming offerings like 'MythBusters' science activities. 

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Five things to love about the revamped Disney Wonder

Five things to love about the revamped Disney Wonder | Family travel | Scoop.it

Aboard the Disney Wonder -- It was another makeover for the record books.

As can be seen in the photo tour above, the six-week overhaul this fall of the 1,754-passenger Disney Wonder, one of Disney Cruise Line's two original ships, brought major changes to wide swaths of the vessel including eateries, lounges and cabins. The grand Lobby Atrium, a signature feature, was completely reworked. The Mickey-shaped kiddie pool, an icon of the ship since its debut in 1999, was replaced by a new watery fun zone.

USA TODAY got a peek at the revamped vessel in recent days as it resumed sailings out of Galveston, Texas, and here we highlight five things we love about it.

 

Frozen, a Musical Spectacular
Tiana’s Place Restaurant
AquaLab
Crown & Fin Pub
Marvel Super Hero Academy

 

Walter Christen's insight:

my family cruised on the Disney Wonder in 2003. it was a great cruise.  It is still one of my children's most talked about cruises even though they are older now.  The changes that Disney has done on this latest revamp look like they are hitting the mark with both children and adults alike.

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Walltopia’s Rollglider Might Be the Wildest Cruise Ship Attraction Yet

Just weeks after speculating that a zip-line roller coaster type of attraction might at some point make its way aboard a cruise ship, Walltopia, a climbing wall manufacturer, has actually modeled what its Rollglider product, called a “safe proximity flight,” would look like onboard.
The company has even produced a fully rendered video, embedded below, showcasing what its zip-line roller coaster hybrid product might look like installed on one of Royal Caribbean International’s Sovereign-class vessels like the Majesty of the Seas. While it doesn’t actually show it running, it does give you a sense for how such an attraction would scale and potentially traverse high above and out beyond the upper decks of a relatively small ship.
In reality, the Rollglider would probably be better suited to a larger cruise ship like Royal Caribbean’s own Harmony of the Seas, the biggest one in the world currently, where it could really sprawl a much longer distance. The pairing of the video-rendered attraction with a ropes course even suggests it could be well suited to Carnival Cruise Line or Norwegian Cruise Line which already have such structures perched on their decks.

Walter Christen's insight:

All I can say is WOW.  This looks like a fun thing to do and would make a welcome cruise ship attraction.  Even with my fear of heights I think I would give this a try.  I wonder which cruise line will be the first to give this a go.

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Riding the Rails – Disney Cruise Line

Riding the Rails – Disney Cruise Line | Family travel | Scoop.it
Disney Cruise Line was named recently named the Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line and Top Mega-Ship Cruise Line for Families by Travel + Leisure readers in the magazine’s World’s Best Awards 2014.
Walter Christen's insight:

For families, Disney Cruise Lines is one of the best.  There is so much entertainment for children it is doubtful you would ever here the dreadful term "I'm Bored"  Years ago when my kids were small we did a Disney Wonder cruise.  Even though they are older now they still remember so much of the details of what they did on that cruise.

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10 reasons your next family vacation should be aboard Carnival Vista

10 reasons your next family vacation should be aboard Carnival Vista | Family travel | Scoop.it

It’s good to be a kid on Carnival’s newest cruise ship, Vista. Which means it’s also great to be a parent sailing aboard Vista. More kids sail on Carnival than other cruise line, and Vista proves the company wants to keep it that way. Carrying 3,936 passengers and 1,450 crew members, she’s a floating resort with everything a vacationing family could ask for, and plenty of things they may not have ever imagined were possible at sea or on land.

Weighing in at more than 133-thousand tons, the list of Carnival Vista’s family-friendly perks is long, entertaining and in many cases adrenaline boosting, but these ten should provide instant vacation inspiration.

1. Ride On.. On the SkyRide
2. Climb to New Heights on the SkyCourse
3. First IMAX at Sea
4. WaterWorks
5. Family Harbor
6. Seuss at Sea
7. Camp Ocean
8. The Clubhouse
9. There’s an app for that
10. Family-Friendly Eats
Walter Christen's insight:

The one phrase that a parent never wants to hear from their children while on vacation is "I'm bored". The Carnival Vista looks to be just the ticket to ensure those words are never uttered. There are so many different kid friendly activities and venues onboard to keep everyone amused and enjoy their vacation.

We have taken our children on many cruises when they were younger and picking a cruise line and ship that has lots of activities for them was a major consideration.

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Ship photos of the day - Largest cruise ship ever built begins sea trials

Ship photos of the day - Largest cruise ship ever built begins sea trials | Family travel | Scoop.it

The largest cruise ship ever built departed the STX France Chantiers de l’Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France on Thursday for its first set of sea trials.

The Harmony of the Seas is the third ship in Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class. At 227,700 GRT, the cruise ship will be just slightly larger than her two sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, which at 225,282 GRT are currently the largest cruise ships in the world.

Harmony of the Seas is due back at the shipyard on Sunday following three days of trials meant to test the ship’s power and propulsion. The sea trials involve some 500 engineers and technicians, as representatives from the classification society DNV GL.

Harmony of the Seas is expected to make its maiden voyage from Europe in May 2016. The ship is designed to carry a total of 6,410 passengers and 2,300 crew.

Walter Christen's insight:

I must admit, I do like the very large cruise ships where the ship is a destination as much as the ports of call.  Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas is the third Oasis class ship for the cruise line.  I have been with my family on both the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas and we enjoyed sailing on them very much. After dinner strolls through Central Park, the onboard entertainment like the water and ice skating shows were particulary memorable.  And even though the ships hold a lot of other cruisers, I never felt that it was crowded.

The Harmony of the Seas will spend the summer out of Barcelona and in the fall will home port out of Port Everglades.  Seriously considering a family cruise on this ship.

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The best cruises for families

The best cruises for families | Family travel | Scoop.it

The secret's out that value-packed cruises make for great family getaways, what with fun-for-everyone, multigenerational appeal at every port, and via the plentiful activities, entertainment, and dining options on board.

Now, cruise lines are upping the ante on their accommodations, too, in response to the ever-rising demand of multigenerational family travelers.

These days, you can choose from a wide selection of suites and connecting staterooms that are specifically designed to keep the whole clan connected at sea. Touting plenty of space for you to spread out in comfortable digs (with must-have features like multiple bathrooms), these 5 leading cruise lines are your best bets for finding the perfect suite for your family.

Royal Caribbean International

Norwegian Cruise Line

Carnival Cruise Line

Holland America Line

Disney Cruise Line

Walter Christen's insight:

My wife and I have taken our two children on many cruises. We have also done some multigenerational cruises with my wife's parents. I do agree that connecting rooms are fantastic when travelling with multiple family members.  On most cruise lines that offer connecting rooms not only is there a door connecting the rooms, on balcony rooms, you usually can have the divider between opened making the balcony much longer.

There are so many varied activities onboard a cruise ship and at most ports of call, that with a little research and planning all family can have a great time. Also there are so many food options on cruise ships that even if you have a picky eater, you will not have any issues.

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Gone for good? Not this Royal Caribbean ship

Gone for good? Not this Royal Caribbean ship | Family travel | Scoop.it

Just when you think it's gone for good, they pull it back in.

With apologies to The Godfather's Michael Corleone (yeah, we know the quote isn't quite right), that's the story for a beloved Royal Caribbean ship that will be returning to the line's fleet this year after an eight-year absence.

The Miami-based line over the holidays confirmed that the 2,020-passenger Empress of the Seas would return to the fold to sail short cruises out of the city starting in April.

Unveiled in 1990, the 48,563-ton vessel left the Royal Caribbean fleet in early 2008 and has been sailing ever since for Spanish line Pullmantur. Pullmantur is owned by Royal Caribbean's parent company.

Walter Christen's insight:

Royal Caribbean's Empress of the Seas, is a beautiful ship and well suited for the intended short Bahamas/ Caribbean cruises. Sailing out of Miami, it will do 4 and 5 day cruises to Nassau and the Bahamas, Cozumel and Cost Maya, or Grand Cayman and Key West.

These shorter cruises are great when you need a cruise break but do not have the time to take a longer cruise. These itineraries would make for great long weekend getaways.

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6 must-book family cruises

6 must-book family cruises | Family travel | Scoop.it

It’s not uncommon to book a family cruise one year or more in advance and given the incredible experiences children can have, like learning to juggle, exploring medieval history and creating ocean murals, you’d be wise to book well in advance in order to snap up the best staterooms.

Walter Christen's insight:

Detailed in this article are the children and teen programs from the major cruise lines.  I feel that cruising is the ideal vacation for families with children not only because of these programs which are excellent, but also they can learn so much about other places and people. It is also a great place to get your children to try different foods.

My children have been on many cruises with us.  Decisions about tours were made by all of us.  We have been to a few zoos on caribbean islands (the zoo in Aruba was great) and both of my kids learned to snorkel with me.  Alaska was most memorable. Fishing for halibut in Icy Straits with my son and seeing whales while at dinner on the ship.

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Top five coolest things about Anthem of the Seas

Top five coolest things about Anthem of the Seas | Family travel | Scoop.it

Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas is less than two weeks away from her arrival in the New York City area and many  fans are excited to check out what this brand new ship offers.

Royal Caribbean has packed Anthem of the Seas with innovations, activities and technology that all contribute to give guests that "WOW" factor the company is well known for.

There is a lot of exciting options onboard and in anticipation of Anthem of the Seas' arrival, we are counting down the top five coolest features onboard.

Walter Christen's insight:

Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Sea is one of the new ship that I am personally excited about. Here are five of the highly anticipated options:

Virtual Balcony - live outside views on 80 inch LED screens on inside cabins.

Voom high speed internet - For when disconnecting is not an option.  High Speed at a reasonable cost.

Two70 - Looks like a exciting show venue.

Ripcord  - Looks like a lot of fun but I am not sure I am up for the sky diving experience.

North Star - I would love to experience the panoramic views from the North Star.


This is only a small part of the exciting attractions and venues on this new ship.


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The big question: Can you take kids on a Holland America cruise?

The big question: Can you take kids on a Holland America cruise? | Family travel | Scoop.it

This was a common response to the announcement of our cruise to Alaska in September with Holland America Line.

It had long been on my dream list. I yearned to visit Alaska and a cruise seemed like a fabulous way to see it. There were so many choices, but we left things really late and all of a sudden it was the end of the season with only 4 more ships heading to Alaska. Two of those were the Westerdam and Noordam.

So when Holland America suggested we take their final cruise of the season from Vancouver to Alaska aboard the ms Noordam, it fit in perfectly to our schedule. Alaska would be sandwiched between our archery tournament in sunny Spokane, Washington and a housesitting assignment in Kelowna, Canada. 

Walter Christen's insight:

I have not sailed on a Holland America cruise ship and I did not know the answer to this.  When you talk about taking the kids on a cruise you normally think of Disney , Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival.

 Sounds like Holland America has most of the bases covered for family cruises. A kids program, excellent food and service, and first rate entertainment go a long way to providing a memorable vacation.

 I especially liked the description of the room with the curtain between the beds giving a little privacy. 

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Set sail with Disney Cruise Lines for the perfect family vacation - Babyology

Set sail with Disney Cruise Lines for the perfect family vacation - Babyology | Family travel | Scoop.it

There’s a time in life for back road adventures, and a time when you want to kick back in a deck chair, have Olaf from Frozen bring you daiquiris and watch your kids swimming in the pool. I’ve done the backpacking-around-Australia bit and spent six weeks with a sore neck from sleeping in the car every night. Two kids and a decade later, it’s Disney Cruise time! My brothers and sisters in parenting, we’ve earned it.

Disney Cruise Line has four ships in its fleet: Wonder, Magic, Dream and Fantasy, the latest addition. All the ships are designed with families in mind and cater for kids from babies to 17-year-olds. On board you can swim, eat at one of the many buffets and restaurants, drop the kids at kids club and go to the gym, eat, watch live entertainment, eat, hang out with Donald Duck. And did we mention eat? Because there’s lots to eat.

Walter Christen's insight:

Disney Cruise Lines knows how to cater to families with children. My kids, although are now young adults, still remember the cruise we did on the Disney Wonder when they were young.

Although you do pay a premium for the Disney experience, the activities aboard and the stellar service is worth it.

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12 reasons why family reunion cruises rule

12 reasons why family reunion cruises rule | Family travel | Scoop.it

Over the holidays, 30 members of my family and I were lucky enough to have a family reunion on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas for 5 days from Ft. Lauderdale to Cozumel, Mexico and back. We had a fabulous time. Here are 12 reasons why family reunion cruises rule:

Walter Christen's insight:

I have been on many cruises over the years and do not think I have ever not seen a large family reunion group. On the last Royal Caribbean cruise we were on this past may, there was a group that had matching baseball jerseys and instead of their names on the back, they had their nicknames.  Some of them were very funny.


We have cruised with my in-laws and even had my niece join once.  The ability to get together was wonderful, but also being able to "get lost" on the ship if you needed some away time was good.


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Cruising in Hawaii: the world's most relaxing family cruise?

Cruising in Hawaii: the world's most relaxing family cruise? | Family travel | Scoop.it

Stretching ahead, as far as the eye could see, was a desolate expanse of volcanic rock, broken only by a plume of white smoke rising from a crater into the cloudy sky.
All was quiet, all was calm. Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire who reputedly resides in the crater of the Kilauea volcano, was obviously (and a little disappointingly) at peace that day.
The Hawaiian Islands are famously volcanic, their lush terrain a by-product of the mercurial elements that have made this tropical archipelago one of the most geologically volatile places on earth. On the Big Island – where our ship Grand Princess was moored during a 14-night cruise of the islands – such tempestuous outpourings are confined to the 500-square-mile Volcanoes National Park, one of their top attractions.

Walter Christen's insight:

The Hawaiian Islands are very beautiful and there are many things to see and do.  I would have to agree that a cruise to the Hawaiian Islands would be a great family vacation although I am unsure if the number of sea days would go over well with my family.  Might be better to fly and take a cruise around to the different islands.  

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Previewing Disney Cruise Line’s enhanced Disney Wonder

Previewing Disney Cruise Line’s enhanced Disney Wonder | Family travel | Scoop.it

Come November 10, 2016, Disney Cruise Line will reintroduce the Disney Wonder to the fleet with new improvements, and we’ll be onboard to share them all with you. Until then, let’s take a look at what work has been done to the ship before her next grand unveiling.
Gene Sloan at USA Today got a sneak peek at the ship being remodeled during its extensive September 9 to October 23 dry-dock in Cadiz, Spain, showing a little of what went on to soon bring new venues to life. Most significantly, the kids facilities, one of the three main dining rooms and adults-only spaces were retooled.
“Frozen” will be integrated into Disney’s Oceaneer Club for ages 3 to 12 and open to all ages during select open house hours to check out. The new Frozen Adventures space we now know will feature Wandering Oaken’s, the trading post from the amusing character known for his signature “woo hoo” call.

Walter Christen's insight:

I think most people would agree that Disney Cruise Lines ships make for the perfect cruise vacation for families with small children.  The additions and enhancements being made to the Disney Wonder while in dry dock will only enhance this reputation.

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World's three biggest-ever cruise ships sail together for the first time

World's three biggest-ever cruise ships sail together for the first time | Family travel | Scoop.it

The three largest cruise ships in the world have ‘met’ for the first time in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Royal Caribbean International's Oasis-class ships, Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas and the new Harmony of the Seas appeared together to mark the latter’s arrival at her new permanent home at Port Everglades.
All three feature seven themed ‘neighborhoods’, a Central Park with nearly 12,000 plants and trees, FlowRider surf simulators, an 82-foot zip wire, luxurious multi-level loft suites with floor-to-ceiling windows, an outdoor ‘aqua theatre’ that hosts high-diving, aquatic and acrobatic performances, and a Boardwalk with a hand-carved carousel.
Until recently Oasis of the Seas, which sailed in 2009, and Allure of the Seas, which followed in 2010, had held the record as the largest cruise ships in the world.

Walter Christen's insight:

I have sailed aboard the Oasis of the Seas twice and the Allure of the Seas once. My family found them to be fantastic ships with plenty to keep them occupied while aboard.  I especially liked Central Park and the Aqua theater.  Now that Harmony of the Seas will be berthed in Florida, I am planning a family vacation aboard for later next year.

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Harvest Caye… developing paradise

Harvest Caye… developing paradise | Family travel | Scoop.it

Earlier this year Norwegian Cruise Line revealed details on their new Western Caribbean destination Harvest Caye, Belize. The resort style port of call is set to open in November this year.

For a closer look at what Norwegian Cruise Line has planned for guests sailing on Western Caribbean cruises from mid-November onwards, visit our post: Harvest Caye… paradise by Norwegian Cruise Line.

International Environments Ltd., the company which was hired to conduct a socio-economic and environment impact assessment, is providing the architectural and engineering services for the $50 million project. This includes taking designs to 100% completion, project administration and construction supervision.

Walter Christen's insight:

I have my first Norwegian Cruise Line vacation aboard the Jade to the Western Caribbean in November.  One of the ports of call is to be Harvest Caye.  The pictures in this article show that they are well along on getting this exciting new private island ready.  I cant wait.

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5 things to do in Cape Canaveral while waiting for your cruise

5 things to do in Cape Canaveral while waiting for your cruise | Family travel | Scoop.it

We’ve all been there.

The trip is all set, but things aren’t fitting together quite as smoothly as one might like. Between this, that and the other thing with connecting flights, drive time to and from the airport and all sorts of life’s little hurdles, you’re left with hours — sometimes a full day — between getting to Florida and the departure time for that dream cruise. 

Don’t stress out or hole up in a boring hotel room. Instead, enjoy the best of what Cape Canaveral and the surrounding area has to offer. This is vacation! You’re supposed to have fun! Start now and do it in style.

Walter Christen's insight:

Port Canaveral is one of my favorite cruise ports. Not only is it convenient for me to get to, but it also has quite a few nearby attractions and things to do.

Ron Jon’s Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach - I have been to this iconic store and have the t-shirt to prove it.  In addition, Cocoa Beach has some of the best beaches.
Victory Casino Cruises - 5 hour gambling cruises that will even appeal to non gamblers
Fishlips Waterfront Bar and Grill - One of the best places for dinner in the area before your cruise.
Florida Beer Company - Craft brewing is very big in Florida and the Florida Beer Company is one of the biggest and best. The brewery tour sounds like it would be very interesting.
Kennedy Space Center - This is one of my favorite places to go when I am on the east coast of Florida. Everyone should spend a day here. There is a lot to do and see.

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Disney Cruise Line adding two new ships

Disney Cruise Line adding two new ships | Family travel | Scoop.it

Disney Cruise Lines will add two new cruise ships to its fleet.

Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger made the announcement at today's annual shareholder meeting.

 

The company has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. The schedule calls for the new ships to be completed in 2021 and 2023.

Disney Cruise Line already has four ships. The Disney Magic and the Disney Wonder are 85,000-ton 877-stateroom ships, and the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy are 130,000-ton 1,250-stateroom ships.

Walter Christen's insight:

This is great news for families with children who want to take a cruise.  I feel that Disney Cruise Lines ships are fantastic.  The entertainment, food and activities are sure to be a hit with both the children and adults alike.

When my children were smaller, we did a cruise on the Disney Wonder.  Even to this day, they can remember it like it was yesterday.

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Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Inspiration set to receive makeover

Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Inspiration set to receive makeover | Family travel | Scoop.it

Even as exciting new cruise ships launch, it’s always pleasant to see lines refurbish their existing fleet, and Carnival Cruise Line is set to enhance its Carnival Inspiration accordingly.

One of eight Fantasy-class ships, the 1996-built, 2,052-guest Carnival Inspiration will receive several Fun Ship 2.0 dining features during a multimillion dollar refit to bring it closer in line with its newer siblings. The three-week dry-dock will take place in Portland, Oregon from Jan. 18 to Feb. 5, 2016.

Walter Christen's insight:

The Carnival Inspiration refurbishment shows that even Carnival's smaller ships can feature many of the same venues as their larger ships.

Additions include, Guy’s Burger Joint, Blue Iguana Cantina, Red Frog Rum Bar, Alchemy Bar, Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, and my favorite, Cherry On Top.

After refurbishment, the Carnival Inspiration will be based out of Long Beach CA, and do 3-4 day Baja cruises

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5 things I never knew about the Disney Cruise Line

5 things I never knew about the Disney Cruise Line | Family travel | Scoop.it

Cruise veterans are going to think I am crazy; I am pretty much resigned to that fact. Our family however has NEVER been on a cruise before, not just a Disney Cruise Line cruise, but any cruise. So when my husband and I decided we would like to try one for our next “Disney trip” I hit the internet like a madwoman soaking in as much Disney Cruise Line knowledge as I possibly could.

There were a lot of things I knew just from being in the Disney trip planning community (yes there is a community and it’s awesome! ha ha) but there were so many things that, as a Disney Cruise Line rookie, I had no idea about.

Walter Christen's insight:

The author really hit it on the head on some of the special things about cruising on Disney Cruise Lines especially if you have children.

Rotational dining was one of our favorite things on our Disney cruise a while back. Back then they did not have the Magical portholes that streamed live images to a screen in the inside cabins, but I would say that is a winner. I do remember my daughter being afraid of most of character meet and greets.

I would recommend Disney Cruise Lines for anyone contemplating a cruise with children.

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Disney Dream cruise ship gets a Star Wars upgrade and much more

Disney Dream cruise ship gets a Star Wars upgrade and much more | Family travel | Scoop.it

A Disney cruise ship is back in the water at Port Canaveral Friday after getting some upgrades.

The Disney Dream had been in dry dock for three weeks for the installation of a new toy box entertainment area.

Disney also added more Star Wars-themed play areas.

The ship is headed to the Bahamas Friday.

"We have go so many different activities for families, for adults, for kids, it's all here," said assistant cruise director Michael Gibbons.

Walter Christen's insight:

The upgrades done to the Disney Dream sound like a lot of fun. Disney Cruise Lines did not forget the adults with a new pool area (Satellite Falls) which is just for adults.

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5 Thanksgiving cruises that are perfect for families

5 Thanksgiving cruises that are perfect for families | Family travel | Scoop.it

This Thanksgiving, forget the cooking and cleaning and instead focus on spending quality time with your loved ones onboard one of the five best holiday cruises for families. With sailings throughout the holiday week, these cruises keep all the traditions intact, while adding fun and inventive ways to celebrate the feast. From pumpkin-pie cocktails to post-dinner NFL games shows on jumbo screens, the comforts of home have never been more buoyant.

Walter Christen's insight:

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take that multigenerational family cruise or a group cruise with friends and family.  Imaging not having to cook and clean for the holiday and also not worrying about fitting all the leftovers in the refrigerator. Missing the black Friday craziness is also a plus. 

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Cruise smackdown: Disney Fantasy vs. Disney Magic

Cruise smackdown: Disney Fantasy vs. Disney Magic | Family travel | Scoop.it

Is newer better when it comes to Disney ships? Readers, we want to hear what you have to say!

In this, the sixth of our new series of Cruise Ship Smackdowns, we're pitting one of Disney Cruise Line's two new vessels, the Disney Fantasy, against one of its original two ships, the Disney Magic.

Click through the photo tours of the two vessels in the carousels above and below, then go the comment area to tell us: Which one would you prefer for a cruise vacation -- and why?

Walter Christen's insight:

Other than the size difference of the ships and what resort-like attractions are available on each, I do not think you could go wrong sailing on either the Disney Fantasy or Disney Magic. Either ship will provide many great memories for the entire family.

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Royal Caribbean expands impressive array of entertainment on Anthem of the Seas

Royal Caribbean expands impressive array of entertainment on Anthem of the Seas | Family travel | Scoop.it

When Anthem of the Seas arrives into the New York harbor in just 50 days it will bring with it a familiar cast of DreamWorks Animation characters. Po of "Kung Fu Panda;" Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots of "Shrek;" and Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien and the Penguins from "Madagascar" will be joining Anthem of the Seas when she begins sailing from her homeport of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ.

Guests on Anthem can enjoy events and activities based on DreamWorks Animation's popular feature-film characters, including a DreamWorks Character breakfast in the main dining room, 'meet and greet' experiences throughout the day as well as photo ops that can be shared with family and friends back home thanks to VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. Royal Caribbean's younger guests can enjoy an exhilarating line-up of activities, games and adventures rooted in the popular DreamWorks Animation films at the complimentary, award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program. Additionally, guests can watch the latest DreamWorks Animation films at the ship's movie theater or on a dedicated DreamWorks TV channel in their stateroom

Walter Christen's insight:

Royal Caribbean's inclusion of the DreamWorks characters on the Anthem of the Seas is a great move.  Definitely will be a hit with the kids. 

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