Category Archives: Celebrity Cruises

Cruising is more then just Food

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A Cruise is MORE THAN just Food, Food & More Food!

When I mention “cruises” to people who have never cruised,  I often hear people say “I don’t want to cruise, all you do is eat!”  Let me dispel that myth right now.  Cruising is WAAAAYYY more then just food! Just check out the Video above…eating was not high on the list.

I have personally been cruising for 18 years.  I have sailed many different cruise lines, and yes, I do like a cruise line that has really good food, I mean…we all do have to eat meals!  But people are genuinely shocked on their first cruise experience that dining is just a small part of the Cruise Experience.

“Why do most people take a cruise?”  It isn’t to eat… here are the top reasons why I CRUISE!

  1. ADVENTURE – Cruising will take you places that it would normally take you several trips to see.  For example, a typical 7 day Caribbean Cruise will take you to 4 different Islands.  Very hard to see all of that in one”land” trip.  It is great to see which Islands you would love to go back to and spend a week on land…like a scouting mission.  And depending on what Cruise Line you are taking, there are many islands that you can go to that would be way to hard to reach via airplane.  For example, we took a Windstar Cruise to Isle de Saints in by Guadeloupe.   Windstar typically gets into tiny ports that feel “off the grid”.
  2. SO MUCH TO DO – So much to keep you busy while at sea!  There is something for everyone on a Cruise… Wine tastings, Painting Class, Bocce Ball, Basketball, Surfing, Dancing, Comedy shows, Broadway Shows,  Casino Gambling… Geeze, getting tired, but I am not done.  Working out, taking classes to learn how to cook,  sculpt, trivia contests and fabulously fun sing alongs.  (This could be dozens of reasons, but I just grouped them into 1.
  3. TOTAL RELAXATION – I can’t think of anything more relaxing then lounging on your own private deck with a good book (who am I kidding…3 pages in and I fall asleep!), a cappuccino or a glass of wine.  And when I want to be pampered I head to the spa for a bit more relaxation.  There is no doubt about it, fresh sea air does something to your mind and body that makes you go ” ahhhhhhhhhhhh”.
  4. ROMANCE – Sunsets at sea?  A starry sky with no light pollution? Need I say more.

I love land vacations too.  In fact, years of cruising introduced me to Islands that I now return to often.   There are wonderful things about both vacations.  In fact, I have found excellent finding options at resorts I have stayed at… but to me, I never choose a vacation for food…I choose for Adventure, Relaxation, Romance and OPTIONS!

You should try it sometime.

http://www.BookitWithJanet.com

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“Why does it seem unfair to pay double to cruise single?”

Cruising Solo

“Do I really have to pay 200%?” 

I have been a Cruise Specialist for almost 12 years now and approximately 1/4 of  my clients are solo/single travelers.  Cruising is a great way for singles to travel.  Whether it is with a group or a couple of single friends, after a day on a cruise solo travelers are suddenly “not so solo” anymore!  On any given cruise ship there are bound to be quite a few singles…so you won’t be alone!  Cruise lines do cater to the singles by hosting “meet & greet” cocktail parties throughout the cruise.

For singles & solo cruisers, having your own cabin is often the most preferred way to cruise as it is nice to have the privacy of your own cabin. There is however, one question that always comes up when someone traveling solo calls for information…

”Why do I have to pay double to have a have my own room?”  

For those of you unfamiliar with cruising, the cruise fare is usually quoted in a “per person”  rate.  That rate is always based on double occupancy.  However, if you are planning to have your own stateroom as a solo you are required to pay “double” (except on very few occasions where the cruise line is running specials).  For many this seems unfair and sometimes it is a deciding factor in cruising for a single/solo.

Although on the surface, it does seem unfair.  But if you think about the cost of a cruise in terms of booking a hotel rate, it is really not unfair at all.

If you are planning a weekend vacation at a hotel, you are quoted a “per night” rate based on the room you choose.  For example, you may choose a hotel accommodation that costs $300 per night.  If you are traveling alone it will cost you $300 per night.  If you are sharing with a friend and splitting the cost, it would then cost you each $150 per night.  The hotel does not charge you half the room price if you are only 1 person in the room.  The hotel bases their operating budget on the cost of the room, whether 1 or 2 guests are in the hotel room.

A cruise ship is very similar.  If a stateroom costs $300 per night, as a solo you would pay $300 per night and if you share the stateroom you would split that.  Sounds fair…but why does it seem so unfair?

It is the way Cruise pricing is quoted…on a “per person basis.” If a client hears that a cruise is $150 per person/per night, it is hard to understand why as a solo you have to pay double ($300 per night).  It somehow sounds wrong for a cruise to charge a 200% cruise fare for a solo traveler.  But the reality is that the Stateroom has to be paid for, exactly like the Hotel room.  The Cruise lines formulate a budget based on each stateroom being filled whether 1 or 2 guests are in the stateroom. IF the cruise was quoted in a “Per Cabin” rate instead of a “per person” rate, no one would think twice about the solo pricing.

Some cite that the difference is that Cruise fares include meals and the solo traveler is only eating for 1, so shouldn’t there be a discount?  Yet if you were staying at a hotel that included daily breakfast, you would not get a discount on the Hotel room rate if you are solo.  Again, it is thought of in terms of a “Room charge per night”.

As a solo cruiser, it might sound unfair to pay double, but when you compare it on equal terms to a hotel vacation, you will still find the Cruise a much better value…even when you are traveling solo!

So don’t let that 200% charge for a Solo Cruise fare scare you away…it is just in the way it is phrased.  And let’s not forget the benefits of having your own room – privacy, space and your own closet!  Plan your solo travel today! 

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Top 5 Reasons Cruising is Great for Families!

TOP 5 Reasons Cruising is Great for Families!

  1. Kids are split into age appropriate groups so making new friends is easy and fun is supervised!
  2. Teens have their own Dance Clubs onboard where parents can’t “Hang around”!
  3. On deck sports activities such as Golf, Rock Climbing, Zip Lining & Water slides keep kids entertained!
  4. Raining?  No Problem!  How about Movies, Arcades, painting, Ice Cream Sundae Parties and MORE!!
  5. Late evening entertainment for the kids & that means MOM & DAD can stay out and have fun where kids can’t “Hang around”!!
Okay, here is the scoop.  I have raised 5  kids  who are now all in their 20’s and I can honestly tell you that Cruising was the perfect vacation for us.
Disney World?  Pretty awesome…but you really need a vacation when you come back from there!!  It certainly isn’t relaxing!
Beach Resort?  I love to relax on the beach and get a massage at a beautiful island resort….but not when the kids get bored and start saying “Mom, can you come in the water?”  “Dad, can you walk me back to the room”?  I
OH!  And did I mention how expensive it is to feed everyone every day?!!!!  Totally unpredictable when each family member has different desires for lunch  or dinner.  Maybe that should be # 6  – Kids can eat WHAT they want WHEN they want it.  (and it’s all included!)
A Cruise solves all of these issues …
 Kids are entertained so Mom & Dad can enjoy some alone time to relax or “whatever”!
Days at sea are just what us parents need to decompress and relax.
Everyone can eat what they want, when they want.  No hassles, no expensive dining bills…and that means no stress!
After our first 3 cruises, it was our families vacation of choice.  Cruising made everyone happy!
Our favorite Cruise Lines for Family vacation?
  • Royal Caribbean (The kids favorite!)
  • Celebrity Cruise Lines
  • Princess Cruises
  • NCL
Now that the ids are grown up, we still love those Cruise vacations…in fact I look forward to our Super Bowl Cruise on the Celebrity Millennium in 2012 with the whole family!
It is still the #1 vacation for our family because a vacation is really about relaxing, having fun and creating your own mix.

Join us on our Super Bowl Cruise in February 2012!  www.MoreThanJustaCruise.com 

A great holiday Gift for your family…togetherness on a cruise!

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Guest Post from Girlfriendology.com

All I ever needed to know … Girlfriend Cruise Edition!

Guest post from Girlfriendology.com – Great source for all things “Friends”! 

"Girls on Horseshoe Beach"

Wish you could have joined us on our Girlfriend Cruise to Bermuda with GirlsonaCruise.com!

It was an amazing seven days with fabulous female friends – new and not so new. We sailed to beautiful Bermuda on board the Celebrity Summit. We met wonderful women from all over the U.S. who ‘get’ them importance of getting away with their girlfriends!

Here’s updates on our Girlfriend Cruise travels –

You know how they say: ‘Everything I needed to know, I learned in Kindergarten?’ Well, after spending a week with the wonderful women on our girlfriend cruise to Bermuda, I think there is much to learn from women in our lives. Like these life lessons from the ‘ladies of leisure’ on the Celebrity Summit:

  • Sometimes you just gotta hang out with your girlfriends! Kids, husbands, relationships, jobs, responsibilities and schedules were all left back in the U.S. when we debarked for Bermuda – and it was a very good thing. Quality time with girlfriends, I personally find, and witnessed other women who agree, was an amazing opportunity to ‘get back to our true selves.’ It’s wonderful how the laughter, conversations, smiles and overall happiness just take over your whole outlook on life. We definitely experienced some great ‘girlfriend therapy’ just by spending a little quality time with other women.
  • Girlfriends NEED each other. Two of the women in our group are cancer survivors (who met on a cancer survivor cruise previously). They expressed deep appreciation and even the medicinal value of spending time with their girlfriends. We women don’t just enjoy time with our friends, we NEED them. We need their friendship, support and guidance. Thankfully we’re there for each other.
  • It’s wonderful to feel totally accepted. I’ll be honest with you. I don’t think I’ve been in public in a bathing suit in a decade (seriously!). It was wonderful to feel so totally accepted and comfortable with a group of girlfriends that it didn’t matter if I held in my stomach or had the cutest suit. We just enjoyed each other’s company – as we are.
  • Laughing together is medicinal. The conversations we had, funny secrets we shared, stores we told – all bonded us through our life experiences and lessons. There is nothing like laughing with female friends with whom you feel so comfortable and happy. Laughing, and friendship, is VERY good.
  • A helpful, fabulous girlfriend-in-charge makes traveling even more fun! We were so lucky to travel with a great cruise director (who arranges cruises for girlfriend trips and other groups) – Janet DeVito of GirlsonaCruise.com. From giving us ‘noodles’ to float on in the Atlantic, to hand-written notes on our door, to making sure our happy hour and dinner conversations were always inclusive and amusing, Janet is a pro in making it a great girlfriend cruise! Check out this video she made:

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Planning a Girls Getaway?

Rules #1 & #2

Rule #1 for a Girls Getaway –

DO NOT invite the Girls who can’t understand the invitation for a “Girls Getaway” (okay…a bit of sarcasm!).  

A classic example of a “Girls Getaway Gone Wrong” happened on the Real Housewives of Orange County when Vicky planned a Girlfriend Getaway to Fort Lauderdale… and most of the women showed up with their husbands!  To top it off, when Vicky got upset, the other women just didn’t get it!  Why?

Seriously, why would Vicky go out of her way to plan a Girls Getaway?  (Think real hard now) The answer is  -” TO GET AWAY WITH THE GIRLS!”  What don’t they get about that?  I thought that statement was completely self-explanatory…and I totally thought that they were rude to just ignore it and bring the GUYS.

I was yelling at the TV screen when I watched that episode.  I totally understood why Vicky was so mad!  There is something very special about “time away with the Girlfriends” that just isn’t the same when half of the group is “couples”.  It would destroy the “girly” atmosphere of any Girls Getaway.  

 Lesson #2 for a Girls Getaway –

Choose the right venue & atmosphere for the Girlfriends Getaway that allows choice, but makes it easy.

The best aspect of Vicky’s Girls Getaway Vicky was that she planned the whole event, day by day, activity by activity…all the way down to dinners.  She could easily get away with that & be in total control as she was paying for everything. But that is usually NOT the case when a group of girls travel.  Everyone has different budgets, desires and ideas of what they want to do, which can lead to catastrophe!

I recently did a Girls getaway to Los Angeles and the 5 days were filled with “Where do you want to have lunch?” “What time do you want to go shopping?”  “We have plans for dinner so you can’t get your hair blown out?”   Of course, I was not “the boss” as everyone was paying for themselves…and that led to half of our time spent discussing / debating all of this.  Don’t get me wrong, I still had a great time…but “ideally” life would have been easier without having to make plans!  AND that could have been accomplished by a change of venue.

The most important factor that goes into selecting the best place to have a Girls Getaway?  Go to a place where everyone can be together yet also have space so each girl can do their own thing. It is essential to take the “thinking & planning” out of the equation once you arrive at your destination.  Choice is essential, but should be a pleasure, not a major decision!  Free time should be spent having fun, relaxing & laughing!

My favorite picks for a Girls Getaway is a Cruise or an All-inclusive Resort. Both offer an easy vacation with a super wide menu of activities all within easy reach.  Shopping, Gym, Spa, Dining Options, Pools, Beach, Entertainment and more!  And the best is that on any particular ship or at any particular resort there are accommodations to suit every budget…and every woman will STILL be able to participate in the same activities!  A cruise has the added feature of being able to satisfy everyone with visits to different ports of call.  That is what it is all about Girls, taking the decisions away from the day to day and making it easy!

Options + Options + Options + Ease = A great “Girls Getaway”!

(And please remember the key word –  “GIRLS”!)

For Fun, Carefree Girls Getaway options….go to “GirlsonaCruise.com” 

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Cruise & Travel Deals of the Week!

April 4, 2011 Last Minute Cruise Deals

Confused by all of the offers and websites on the internet?   Sometimes it can be overwhelming!

Just remember…”The internet is for looking, your Travel Specialist is for booking!”

When you are spending money on a vacation, it is important that it is the right “fit” for you.  Every Cruise ship and Resort has a unique personality and it is my job to match your personality up with the perfect vacation!  As a Travel Specialist, I can clear the confusion and make your life easier (and happier!).

Don’t make planning a vacation become a huge headache…

Check here for Weekly deals and then call me to make your life easier!

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Port of Call of the Week – St Martin

A video says a thousand words!!  Need I write more?

Some people say “I have already done that itinerary.  I want to see other islands.”

I say that the great thing about going to the same port many times is knowing exactly “What” you want to do when you get there.  It really is much more enjoyable when you don’t feel pressured to see everything and you can spend all day doing your favorite thing on the island.  In St Martin, our favorite thing to do is spend the day at Orient Beach…more specifically “Coco’s Beach”.   Of course you can go on an excursion to Orient Beach, but then you will be like a herd of cows (not a literal picture!) and not feel special.  Take my advice…take a cab to Coco’s and feel the difference!

Sure…you could go to Kontiki’s, Waikiki (totally expensive!) or Bikini Beach, but you won’t feel the intimate friendly service.  As with any restaurant or resort, service is always key…and at Cocos the employees really care.  You can feel it.  And I attribute that to the owner Sophie.  She is hands on and a part of the experience.  You can always count on the food being fabulous, the service being top notch and the “after lunch specialty rum” being …oh how can I say “rumilicious!” (is that a word?!)

Look for the Periwinkle umbrellas and THAT is Coco’s.  I recommend the lobster salad, the Rigaletto Pizza or the grilled chicken (devito style!).  Ask for Phillipe, Roman and Sophie and tell them Janet & Frank sent you…and don’t forget to say “Bonjour!”

Take a cruise to St Marten, stay at one of our fav hotels (Alamanda or Esmeralda) or renta villa (Casa Lana, Coccinelle or Dolce Vita – depending on your budget)….but just GO!  I have been going there for over 25 years and love it!

For more tips on St marten and booking that special vacationClick Here!

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Celebrity Eclipse Update! “Who are those Mysterious Bathrobe people?” I will tell you…they are people who know HOW TO START A RELAXING VACATION! That could be YOU!

Call today 732-577-9150 to plan your Celebrity Cruise!

Go to www.jdevito.cruiseone.com for great last minute deals!

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Port of the Week – Grand Cayman

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Grand Cayman is known around the world for Diving & Banking.  Personally, I don’t Dive & I don’t have millions to bank, but I still love Grand Cayman!  The island is beautiful & rich in so many other ways.  It is definitely a favorite Western Caribbean port.

I don’t really care to spend time in the town of George Town (I could shop at expensive stores in NJ!).  I just feel that with such beautiful beaches & crystal clear waters I would have to be nuts to just shop!

Beach lovers will think they died & went to heaven on 7 Mile Beach!  The sand is so white & soft you might think it is actually baby powder and the ocean is a shade of aqua that only exists in dreams.  Clear waters that just say “JUMP IN!”  It is breathtaking.  Great resorts line the beach & can be the perfect landing spot to grab lunch & rent beach chairs.  But don’t get too comfortable, because that amazing water is a playground in the sun!

7 Mile Beach is a perfect beach for water sports – Windsurfing, kayaking, jet skiing, Waterskiing, Hobie Cat sailing, Parasailing, Banana Boat rides and more!  I highly recommend Red Sail Sports for all of your water activities (diving, sailing etc).  They are very reputable, friendly and dependable.  Taxis are readily available at the cruise ship pier. The approximate cost to Red Sail watersports centers on Seven Mile Beach is $20.00 one-way. It’s about a 10 minute drive.  A great idea is to just spend your whole day there!  But if you did, you would be missing out on the most amazing experience Grand Cayman has to offer…Swimming with the Stingrays!

We have done this a few times, but never as a Cruise Ship excursion, we have always booked separately through Red Sail Sports for the simple reason that the Cruise Ships excursions all go to the same general area and it is crowded!  For me, that takes away some of the natural beauty of the experience.  Red Sail will take you to another location where it feels more intimate.  Cost is about the same.  Red Sail even does a Stingray & Rum Point Catamaran trip that is awesome!  Or you may opt for a Stingray visit and then spend the rest of the day on 7 Mile beach.  (by the way, that is why it is so important to use a travel agent when planning your trip, we know these little secrets!)

Swimming with the Stingrays is just plain awesome! The first time I did this, I was truly amazed at these beautiful creatures gliding through the water.  I couldn’t believe how friendly they were.  My kids became like mermaids (or should I say “mermans”), swimming around them like they were fish themselves!  Definitely one of the most memorable things we have done.  It should be on everyones Bucket List.

I might not be a Diver and I might not have a need for international banking, but when I drift on a float in that heavenly water, I feel like a gazillionaire!!!

I am actually heading to Grand Cayman on one of my GirlsonaCruise.com Girls Getaways January 22 – 27, 2011 onboard the Celebrity Century. I am so excited to show the girls this island.  And YES, we will be arranging activities through Red Sail Sports!  (There is still space if you would like to join us!).

Okay..one thing I have to warn you about is that if Grand Cayman is on your Itinerary, there is always a chance you might not make it there!  I have heard rumor that 50% of the time, ships cant make the stop due to weather…not sure if that is true, but it has been for us!  In Grand Cayman, ships are required to tender passengers to the island and often the currents change making that process dangerously rough, so ships opt out for safety reasons.  It sucks..but Safety always comes first!

PS…if you do pre-book an activity with Red Sail Sports, they are aware of this issue & are very understanding should your ship not stop.

Make your dream trip to Grand Cayman come true!

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Who says "Bigger is Better"?

Bigger is not always Better!
Americans tend to want everything BIG! Big houses, big cars, big sandwiches….(Okay, get your mind out of the gutter!) …and big cruise ships. But is “Bigger really Better?” I think when people put an emphasis on wanting something “Bigger”, they loose sight of the special qualities that make “smaller” things amazing. For example:
Expedition vs Porsche
Mansion vs Small Cottage by the sea
Boeing 747 vs Brazillian Jet
Big Mac vs Sliders
Hot Dog w/the Works vs the Cocktail Weenie

Get my point? Small things are just as special (if not MORE) than Bigger things…it just depends on what you want to get out of it. Cruise Ships are the same. Sure, GINORMOUS Cruise Ships such as Royal Caribbean’s “Oasis of the Seas”, Celebrity’s Solstice or NCL’s “Epic” do offer amazing options. The size of the ship is enticing, and they really are incredible.

I have often said to friends that “If someone goes on a Super Size Cruise Ship and doesn’t have a good time, they must be a drag… because there is something to please everyone”. Entertainment, dining, sports, shopping, gambling, spa & more! So easy to have fun, relax and do whatever you want. The Newest, Biggest Cruise Ships are definitely awesome. But what about the smaller ships?

At one time, THEY were the Biggest & Best. Now considered “Small” and “Older”, do they stand up to the task of impressing guests? (Again, Keep that mind out of the gutter!) I say “Absolutely!” Smaller ships offer the same activities that Bigger ships offer & many attributes that larger ships don’t. In fact, smaller ships actually go overboard (no pun intended) to impress guests. One big plus – Service tends to be a bit more intimate (bartenders & waiters know your name & your favorites!) and special. And Cruise Lines do pamper the “Old Girls” with facelifts to keep them young and fresh, while retaining the classic style we know and love. Some of my favorites – “The Celebrity Century”, Royal Caribbean’s “Majesty of the Seas” & “Grandeur of the Seas” & The “Sun Princess”. I have sailed on these ships many times before and each time more impressive then the last!

So, don’t be fooled by the size of the ship, after all, Small Ships stand right up to the Big Ships, offering a slightly different, but equally impressive vacation experience!

Want to compare ships? Click HERE!



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