Archive for August, 2010

European River Cruises Part Deux

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

A European River Cruise vacation is easily the best way to relax while also absorbing all the rich culture Europe has to offer. You can lay out on the sun deck while all your troubles roll away while you take in the beautiful river banks. The only decisions you need to make are which cities you’d most like to visit. It’s never too early to plan for a 2011 river cruise!

Take for example the Avalon Waterways 5 Day Taste of Danube Cruise. On this river cruise you will begin your vacation in the “City of Music” Vienna, Austria. Then you will set sail on the Danube River till you arrive at your final destination, Budapest Hungry. This is one of the shorter cruises Destination Oceans has to offer.

On the other end of the spectrum there is the Avalon Waterways 20 day Grand Black Sea Cruise. This cruise begins in Bucharest, Romania at the entrance to the Black Sea and allows you to sail all the way up the Danube River until you arrive in Nuremberg, Germany. You will have access to many inside visits like Melk’s Benedictine Abbey or Hradcany Castle just to name a few. Have a look at all the River Cruises that Destination Oceans has available.

On a European River Cruise with Destination Oceans you will find that everything is taken care of for you by our friendly and knowledgeable cruise professionals. Let Destination Oceans plan your next vacation for you!

First Time Cruising Tips

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

A cruise vacation offers the perfect opportunity to relax, unwind and enjoy multiple cities all from the comfort of a giant floating hotel. Being on a cruise means you only need to unpack once and then enjoy yourself as you are catered on by the incredibly accommodating staff and crew. But for those who have never been on a cruise, it might be daunting as you might not know what to expect. Here are a few guidelines to help make your first cruise an experience you will never forget.

The first thing that should be done when booking a cruise is to do your research. Find out everything you can about the cruise ship before you make a payment. Find out if the cruise is age specific, gender specific or any other specialized cruise that you might not enjoy. Booking a cruise for your family to only find out you booked it on a spring break cruise can turn out to be an experience that will leave a sour taste in your mouths. Finding the right cruise for your needs is very important as the right crowd can make or break your vacation.

A major focus of your research should be the dining and sleeping accommodations available on the ship. When it comes to sleeping accommodations, cruise ships can offer a multitude of options. The most basic option being an inside stateroom, which is the most economical choice as it offers a cozy sleeping area with no windows or view of the ocean. Be aware when booking an inside room if any of your traveling party is susceptible to claustrophobia. The next option after an inside stateroom is an outside stateroom, which does have a window, but my not have the best of views.

After that you can upgrade to an outside room with a verandah or balcony, which offers great ocean views and a feeling of intimacy on your own private balcony. Cruise lines also offer suites and mini-suites, which usually include a queen or king sized bed, separate seating area and a private balcony. Be aware of some mini-suites as they can just be a stateroom with a balcony and might not be worth the extra expenses. You can’t go wrong with any of these styles, as the only use of the room is for sleeping and changing clothes. Most of your time on the ship will spent elsewhere.

Expect any room that you book to be smaller than a hotel room, but don’t be discouraged by this. Cruise ships have evolved quite a bit in recent years and the staterooms feature well thought out storage options, meaning you can fit all your stuff inside your room with plenty of space to spare. If you are a person that gets sea sick, don’t be turned off by a cruise vacation. Technology has developed on the ships that reduce the motion of the ocean. You can also book a room in the center of the ship, closest to the ocean will tend to notice the movements of the ship the least.

When it comes to dining options onboard, make sure to do your homework. Some ships only offer a strict dining plan, where you are assigned a specific table and dining time for the duration of your cruise. This can sometimes be inconvenient, so some cruise lines have adapted their dining options to be more flexible. Often times there are multiple restaurants and cafes on board which allow you to mix it up during your cruise.

Another helpful hint for first time cruisers is to be aware of the “cruise time.” This is more important for international cruises that cross different time zones. In this case the ship will adhere to a set time zone so that cruisers aren’t constantly changing the time on their watches and not missing meal and show times. Find out the time that the ship will stick to so that you will not be missing out on any fun activities because you had the wrong time. Also it is a good idea to bring a small travel alarm clock as most staterooms do not feature an alarm clock.

Studying the ship’s layout and design is a good idea before you board as ships these days can be quite large. Boarding an unfamiliar ship can often be intimidating so if you are prepared and know what to expect you can alleviate these worries.

Don’t let the unknowns of cruising shy you away from this awesome vacation option. Any experienced cruiser will tell you that cruising is addicting after your first journey through the seas. Let the cruise experts at Destination Oceans help you plan and save money on your cruise through Europe.

Evolution of the Cruise Vacation

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Gone are the days of your grandparents embarking on a 3 week cruise from Ft. Lauderdale through the Caribbean with all the other grandparents and elderly folk. Cruise vacations have an unfair assumption about them that they are just for older people with tons of money. The cruise industry has come a long ways from those days and has done a great job in quelling those stereotypes.

One of the biggest factors in deterring people from embarking on a cruise is the issue of getting sea sick. While some people are just easily susceptible to being sea sick, the average person will be unaffected by this on a cruise ship. This is because modern technology in ship building has advanced very far in the last decade or so and now most ships are equipped state of the art stabilizing equipment. This equipment will prevent the ship from rocking side to side and back to front, a major cause of sea sickness. It is still a wise idea to bring some simple remedies for sea sickness just in case, but don’t let that fear deter you from taking a cruise.

As for the age stereotype, that too has been dissolved. Yes cruise vacations are very popular amongst the elderly, as they are stress free to plan and offer plenty to do; cruises have evolved to cater to a younger crowd as well as the family crowd. You are more likely to a see an older demographic on cruises that are longer as well as cruises that sail through colder weather climates, such as an Alaskan or Scandinavian cruise. Shorter cruises, say 3-4 days, will tend to have a younger crowd. Also if you do your homework you should be able to find out in general who will be on the ship. Is it a younger crowd? Maybe it’s a cruise specifically designed for families or catered to singles. Researching thoroughly can help make sure that the cruise you book will be perfect for you.

Another common misconception is that the dining options aboard a cruise ship are so limited that by the time lunch time on the 3rd day comes around the last thing you want to do is enter the dining area of the ship. This couldn’t be any further from the truth these days as cruise lines have revamped their dining options as they realized eating is a major part of the vacation experience. Cruse lines have made it a priority to offer multiple dining options on board as well as the opportunity to dine on shore when reaching each different port of call.

Cruise lines have also changed the way that dinner is served. In the past it used to be that you signed up for a specific time to eat each meal, and you were also assigned a table to eat each meal at as well. This concept of strict meal times and regulations turned a lot of people away from a cruise vacation, so the cruise lines changed this to cater to its customer. A lot of companies have done away with this and allow each guest to dine on their leisure and not be held down by such a strict policy.

So if you haven’t been a cruise vacation, it really is something that you need to experience first hand in order to form a valid opinion about. And most likely it is going to be a fantastic experience that you will never forget. Visit the cruise experts at Destination Oceans and get on board the cruise of your dreams!