Aboard the Harmony of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean makes good use of the new ship’s extra length, wider beam.

On a two-night preview sailing of Royal Caribbean International’s 5,479-passenger Harmony of the Seas, the line’s third Oasis-class ship, Travel Agent was impressed with how it combined Quantum- and Oasis-class features on a grand scale. The 226,963-grt ship spans 16 guest decks with seven neighborhoods, including the popular Central Park and Boardwalk areas.

Our favorite jaw-dropping feature was the “Ultimate Abyss,” a 100-foot-long slide cascading down 10 decks in the aft section of the ship. Riders climb stairs leading to the slide platform, walk over the clear platform suspended above a 90-foot-plus drop, and then enjoy a thrilling multi-sensory experience during the slide itself.

Thrills? Data from a Royal Caribbean test of the slide, as supervised by Professor Brendan Walker, director, Thrill Laboratory, UK, revealed that the experience caused heartbeats to rise by an average of 44 beats per minute compared to the resting rate for a 30-year-old adult of average fitness. When the ship is totally full on a regular sailing, there likely could be longer lines, but we liked that the Harmony of the Seas has other adrenaline inducing options nearby on deck 16, including a zip-line and two FlowRider surfing pools.


More Snazzy Features

Longer than Allure of the Seas at 1,188 feet and a bit wider, with a beam of nearly 216 feet — as well as 20 percent more energy efficient — the new ship is the fastest in Royal Caribbean’s fleet and a city unto itself.

Guests will discover 42 restaurants and bars; four swimming pools, including an adults-only pool in the Solarium; multiple whirlpools and FlowRider surfing pools; a large ice rink; multiple theaters; a casino; a full-service spa; shops; rock climbing walls; and more.

Entertainment-wise, much is new. The 600-seat Aqua Theatre has two new water shows. “Fine Line” features extreme stunts and acrobatics, while “Hideaway Heist” is a comedy dive show. The ship also offers the line’s first dedicated Puzzle Break escape game, and the Attic is a new comedy club.

New productions include the musical “Grease” — for the first time at sea — and “1887: a Journey in Time”, a fun new French-themed ice show.  We were most impressed by the latter with its costumed ice performers in historic French garb; the production unfolded against a backdrop of ultra high-definition video designed to resembled the Seine. It’s great for kids of all ages.

What else is new? Sure to appeal to younger passengers is a dedicated satellite that enables the high-speed VOOM Internet service and a Royal IQ app for quick check-in and the booking of dining and activities. In addition, the ship uses a razzle-dazzle new RFID (radio frequency identification) system to track bags, stateroom entry and onboard charges.

Specialty Dining

Harmony of the Seas has eight specialty restaurants, including the first two-story, 122-seat Wonderland. The concept was initially launched on theQuantum-class vessels, but this is the largest of those offerings. Jamie’s is the first such eatery on an Oasis-class vessel, and also has more space than the ones on the Quantum-class ships.

Of the eight specialty restaurants onboard, we best loved Wonderland, loosely based on the Lewis Carroll novel and Johnny Depp movie. It’s a fantastical experience with a tunnel like-entry, whimsical art and waiters in purple velvet jackets.

Fun touches abound. We loved the menu that revealed itself only after you painted it with a special brush. An appetizer of deviled eggs appeared from beneath a dome of smoke. A “wow” moment was when a dessert was set ablaze to melt an outer chocolate shell — revealing a moist, delicious cake. All entrees are served to be shared so guests dining together can try everything.


Izumi, a Japanese dining venue, is the first of those restaurants in the fleet to offer teppanyaki. So 24 diners can now enjoy the chef’s sizzling show on the grill. With just 70 seats for sushi, it’s best to book clients for a meal here as soon as they confirm a sailing.

We also sampled the Italian cuisine at Jamie’s ($20 per person at lunch, $30 per person at dinner), Latin dishes at Sabor, and high-end continental fare with multi-course tasting menus and wine pairings at 150 Central Park.

All of the above are more intimate than the main dining rooms. The ship’s specialty dining venues carry surcharges and online pre-booking is essential.

For a casual, yummy treat, definitely check out the Dog House on the Boardwalk, where cruisers can choose from seven different kinds of succulent hot dogs with toppings of grilled onions, peppers and sauerkraut.

Drinking spots worth a mention? Certainly, you shouldn’t miss the mesmerizing Bionic Bar, where two robotic arms create cocktails from 160 suspended bottles and 16 mixers. We also liked the concept of the Rising Tide Bar, essentially a pod of cocktail tables on a platform that rises and drops — seemingly floating between three decks. Vintages, with its an impressive selection, is the place for wine lovers.

Larger Accommodations

The new ship’s increased width means slightly larger accommodations than on other Oasis-class vessels. That’s particularly true for the staterooms on decks six and up. Virtual balconies, a signature of Quantum-class ships, are also offered in 76 of Harmony of the Seas’ inside cabins, a first for an Oasis-class ship.

We stayed in stateroom #9264, a 272-square-foot Ocean View Stateroom with an 80-square-foot balcony. The stateroom felt spacious with a king bed, sofa, desk and two wardrobes with shelves, drawers and a safe.

We toured many other accommodations and particularly liked #8660, a 371-square-foot Grand Suite with Balcony; the king bed area is separated from the living space with a half-wall / half-curtain divider and there’s a large marble bathroom with two sinks.

Most luxurious and spacious for families? It’s #12640, the 1,142-square-foot Presidential Family Suite, which can accommodate up to 14 guests. It has four bedrooms — two with king beds, two with bunk beds — and sofa beds. There is also an additional sofa bed in the main living room. Most spectacular is the 476-square-foot balcony with whirlpool, dining area and bar.

The Royal Family Suite, #10244, is 580 square feet with two king bedrooms with vanities, a nook with bunk beds, a spacious living room with convertible sofa, plus a 238-square-foot balcony. Modest family rooms designed to sleep six are also available.

Royal Suite Class Program

Royal Caribbean has just rolled out a three-tiered Royal Suite Class program for guests staying in suites (excluding junior suites). The three tiers are Sea, Skyand Star class.

Benefits range from access to dinner in the 100-seat Coastal Kitchen on Deck 17 for Sea Class to Suite Lounge access, concierge services, priority bookings and free VOOM for Sky Class.

The most robust perks come with Star Class. Ten suites on Harmony of the Seasqualify for this level of amenities. Included are all the features in Sea and Sky class, plus access to a Suite Sun Deck, a beverage package, free movies, spa classes and exclusive activities such as bridge, galley and back stage tours.

An added level of pampering for Star Class is the Royal Genie butler who greets guests and tends to your every need, creating bespoke experiences and excursions. Guests in these top suites will be whisked to the front of any line, generally ensuring they never wait or want for anything on Harmony of the Seas. Star Class Suite guests fill out a questionnaire before the cruise so the butler will begin preparations for their arrival.

Pampering and Fitness

Top features of the Vitality at Sea Spa include a thermal suite with heated ceramic loungers, saunas and steam rooms. Twenty-nine spa treatment rooms include three couples’ massage suites and seven individual treatment rooms — the largest collection at sea.

Kids and teens have a dedicated spa of their own, YSPA. Certainly, the Fitness Center impresses with its large selection of cardio and weights machines; yoga,Pilates, TRX, spin studio and kick boxing classes; and personal trainers available to assist.

Family Entertainment

Beyond the Ultimate Abyss and water slides, guests can head one deck below — to Deck 15 — for mini-golf, a sport court and ping-pong. That area nicely flows into the family areas, including the Teen Zone, an arcade, Fuel (the teen night club) and Puzzle Break. As you continue on to the bow, you’ll see the aptly named Splashaway Zone with its trio of waterslides.

On Deck 14, the central Kids Avenue boulevard links such spaces as the Royal Babies & Tots nursery and Adventure Ocean, the line’s supervised kids’ club. Around the ship, you’ll also see Dreamworks characters floating around the restaurants at times. The Boardwalk neighborhood is home to a large colorful carousel and carnival games. The ship also has rock-climbing walls.

A Gallery Afloat

Art aficionados amongst your clientele will especially appreciate the ship’s spectacular $6.5 million art collection, brimming with paintings, sculptures and other pieces displayed in public spaces and accommodations. International Corporate Art curated the more than 3,000 unique pieces from 60 countries.

The Ship’s Itineraries

Launched in May, Harmony of the Seas is operating seven-night western Mediterranean sailings through early fall. In November, it will reposition and homeport at Port Everglades, FL, where will sail alternating seven-night eastern and western Caribbean sailings.

— Source;  Travel Agent Central

25 Free Things to Do in New Orleans

Thomas Jefferson paid $15 million for the entire Louisiana Territory, or about four cents an acre. That means New Orleans went for about seven bucks. More than 200 years later, New Orleans is still a great deal.

1. Get jazzed.
Stroll along Bourbon, Frenchmen and Fulton, where jazz pours out onto the street, or duck into a club for the full experience. Many clubs don’t even charge a cover.

2. Dive deeper into our musical heritage.
Explore New Orleans neighborhoods and their connection to jazz with six self-guided Jazz HistoryWalking Tours provided by the National Park Service.

3. Browse art throughout the city.
It seems like you can find art in every corner of New Orleans – and you can. Check out the galleries on Julia and Royal, Jackson Square vendors and the Mid-City and Bywater art markets.

4. Experience our parks.
Walk among the centuries-old oaks of City Park, picnic in picturesque Audubon Park or enjoy views of the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Park.

5. Attend a free festival.
There’s almost always a festival going on in New Orleans, and many of them are free – French Quarter Fest, Satchmo SummerFest, Po-Boy Preservation Festival, Wednesdays at the Square and, of course, Mardi Gras.

6. Immerse yourself in New Orleans history.
Stop by the Historic New Orleans Collection at 533 Royal Street for a crash course on the city’s history, which spans almost 300 years.

7. Spend a day at the track.
Experience the thrill of live thoroughbred racing at the New Orleans Fair Grounds from early November to late March. Grand stand admission is free.

8. Bike along the levee.
Bring your bike (or rent one) and go for a ride along the levee while taking in the sights and sounds of the mighty Mississippi River.

9. Eat for free.
Oysters, gumbo, crawfish boils – many of these feasts are free at local music clubs for those who are there buying a few drinks.

10. Shop for mansions on St. Charles Avenue.
Come on! You don’t have to be in the market to appreciate these jewels on the Avenue.

11. View the architecture of the French Quarter.
I spy wrought-iron balconies, a cornstalk fence, a hidden courtyard…

12. Tour the oldest restaurant in the French Quarter.
Ask for a tour of the historic Antoine’s that has hosted dignitaries, presidents and notable historic figures in its 160 years. Make sure to peek into the endless wine cellar.

13. Catch a free summer show at Tipitina’s.
This uptown venue pays homage to the jazz legend Professor Longhair with free shows on Fridays during the summer months.

14. Eat some pralines.
This gooey, nutty treat is a New Orleans snack staple. Candy shops throughout the city offer enough free samples to fill you up – and tempt you to bring some home.

15. See haute art.
The fashionable Warehouse District also doubles as the art district. The first Saturday of every month, walk down Julia Street and peruse local artwork in the diverse galleries.

16. Look for ghosts.
Experience paranormal activity and visit haunted sites such as the Bourbon Orleans, one of the most spirited locations in the French Quarter.

17. Spend Saturday morning at the farmers’ market.
Learn a bit about the famous New Orleans cuisine with free cooking demonstrations at the Crescent City Farmers Market.

18. Watch a Cigar Rolling Demonstration.
The New Orleans Cigar Factory is one of just a handful of U.S.-based cigar rolling outfits. Located right in the French Quarter, the store is a walk-in factory with a half-dozen experts rolling tobacco at any given time.

19. Haunt our “Cities of the Dead.”
Take a guided tour of our famous aboveground tombs at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden District or St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 on Basin Street, believed to be the final resting place of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau. Knock three times on her crypt and make a wish. Please note that tours of St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 are only available with a guide.

20. Take a self-guided literary tour.
See where Tennessee Williams (722 Toulouse), William Faulkner (624 Pirate’s Alley), Truman Capote (711 Royal), Thornton Wilder (623 Bourbon), Walker Percy (1820 Milan) and Anne Rice (1239 First) lived.

21. Jam at the Square.
During the spring, the Young Leadership Council sponsors free concerts Wednesdays in Lafayette Square.

22. Stroll the French Market
Nearly three centuries of history and six blocks of uniquearts and crafts, souvenirs, and local food stalls to discover. Whatever it isyou’re looking for, you’ll find it at the French Market!www.frenchmarket.org

23. Be moved by our spectacular churches.
The large Catholic population of New Orleans gave rise to breathtaking churches such as St. Louis Cathedral, St. Augustine and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

24. Discover the Besthoff Sculpture Garden.
Located amid the beauty of City Park, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden features one of the most impressive collections of contemporary sculpture in America.

25. Go window shopping on Magazine Street.
While this might start out a free activity, you may find yourself with the uncontrollable urge to throw your money at any one of the unique shops that line Magazine Street so that you can bring a little bit of New Orleans home with you.


Source: New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau   http://www.neworleanscvb.com/

10 Reasons We Travel

by Cheryl Rosen  and  Jessica Montevago


1. To get a new perspective
There’s nothing like travel to help you see that what you think is “the way people do things” is really just the way YOU do things. From our families to our work to our food to our homes, humankind is alive with differences you cannot imagine—until you see them for yourself.

2. To see the world through new eyes
“We need sometimes to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure hazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what,” wrote philosopher George Santayana in “The Philosophy of Travel.”

3. To gain appreciation for what you have
There’s no place like home—but that’s so easy to forget. Leaving the comforts behind gives you a renewed appreciation for them when you return.

4. To get some distance from work
Americans have a reputation the world over have for being unable to leave their jobs behind. But taking a step away from the job is good for your physical and mental health. It’s good for your work, too— it gives you the space to see the big picture in a new way, and builds a stronger team by forcing you to delegate and let someone else have your back.

5. To settle grievances through shared experiences
There’s nothing like a glass of wine by the cruise-ship pool to open a discussion that helps you see another person’s side of things. Family grudges and hurt feelings that rumble beneath the surface of the annual Thanksgiving dinner look different when you’re making memories and sharing pleasurable experiences—and seeing each other, literally, in a new light.

6. To get you out of your comfort zone
Whether you’re stuck in a rut or looking to gain a little independence, traveling can teach you things you never knew about yourself. Discover your resourcefulness while mingling with the locals. Realize your capabilities while navigating your way through a foreign city. You’ll never learn more about yourself than when you travel.

7. To admire Mother Nature
Travel gives us the gift of seeing how small we really are in comparison to the beauty of Mother Nature. From crystal blue waters to pink sands to lush greenery, the real world is full of colors and sounds, sights and sites, that no computer screen can duplicate.

8. To learn about other cultures
Every destination has its own unique history and style. A passionate local tour guide will immerse you in a world that’s completely different from the one in which you live.

9. To strengthen relationships
There’s something about the shared experience of travel that can bring people together. Family vacations, a trip with a significant other, or a girls’ weekend will build a lifelong bond.

10. To unplug
We’re constantly checking in on our phones, living life through other’s status updates or posts. Traveling allows you to disconnect from emails and social media. Sit back, relax, and take in the moment without the screen of your phone blocking the view.

This article was provided by Travel Market Report 3/3/2016

Discover The Caribbean’s Best Kept Secrets



When you’re in San Juan, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the pinnacle of natural beauty by exploring Puerto Rico’s El Yunque Rain Forest. It features more than 240 species of trees, hundreds of miniature orchids, and what was once believed to be the Fountain of Youth.


  • See Baño Grande, a natural swimming pool. Then take a walk on Camitillo Trail and look for the artificial nest of the Puerto Rican parrot and the flora and fauna of the Palo Colorado forest.
  • Explore Old San Juan, the second-oldest European settlement in the New World. Ride to San Felipe El Morro, the most dramatic of all the city’s military fortifications. Visit the Casa Blanca Museum & Gardens, the Ballaja Barracks, Quincentennial Square, San Jose Church, San Juan Cathedral, and Cristo Chapel.
  • Bike through the gorgeous scenery of the Piñones Reserve, home to the island’s most spectacular views.SPORTING ADVENTURES


Puerto Rico is a great place to enjoy authentic Spanish-style sangria and taste a wide array of delicious tapas.



Visit one of Grenada’s extinct volcanoes in the Grand Etang Forest Reserve and Lake. The lake is actually a natural water-filled crater and the surrounding vegetation is simply amazing, filled with tropical birds and rare flowers.


  • Visit Bay Gardens, located on the site of an old sugar mill and home to more than 3,000 species of plants.
  • Take a guided tour of one of the local rum distilleries or spice estates.
  • Learn more about Grenada’s culture and history at the Grenada National Museum.


Snorkeling and scuba diving in Grenada are some of the best in the Caribbean. The west coast of the island has an offshore reef with a 600-foot shipwreck from 1961.



Explore Hato Caves and their mystical underground lake. After crossing the lake, you’ll enter two large caverns with ancient Indian pteroglyphs. This surreal underground world is an amazing, memorable experience.

Other Fun Things to Do

  • Take part in an exciting dolphin encounter at Curacao’s Sea Aquarium Park.  Step onto a shallow platform in the water, where you’ll be able to touch and interact with the dolphins while learning about their behaviors.
  • Learn about the local flora and fauna while biking the unspoiled 4,500-acre Christoffel National Park.
  • Visit one of Curacao’s top natural attractions and take a guided walk in Willemstad’s historic center. Discover Dutch heritage and multicultural influences in the colorful capital as you stroll past sights like markets, the colonial-era fort that is the government seat, fanciful mansions, and the pontoon bridge.


Set out on a safari in a two-person canoe. Explore the small caves, beautiful rugged coastline and spectacular cliffs of Curaçao.


See the beautiful coastline of St. Lucia from the deck of a catamaran. You’ll have an unbeatable view of the scenery and get an exhilarating ride, too.


  • Take a tour of St. Lucia’s green mountains, banana valleys, rain forests, fishing villages and the town of Soufrière. Drive by bus through Castries, Cul de Sac, the Roseau banana plantations, and the fishing villages of Anse-La-Raye and Canaries. Then board a boat for a relaxing ride back down the scenic coastline to Anse Cochon for swimming in beautiful crystal-clear waters.
  • Hike Soufrière, home of St. Lucia’s most famous landmark, the towering Pitons, a set of primeval twin peaks topping 2,000 feet. Then take a relaxing dip in one of the warm sulfuric pools full of special nutrients.


Troll for blue marlin and other big game fish on a challenging deep-sea fishing adventure.


The best duty-free shopping in this port is near the harbor in Castries at the Spanish-style complex of Pointe Seraphine. Fine china, crystal, perfume and leather goods are found there.  Designer jewelry and watch brands are available at great savings, including Caribbean Hook, Honora, John Atencio, John Hardy, Kabana, Roberto Coin, Starnight, Alfex, Cartier, Concord, Gucci, Maurice LaCroix, Michele, Movado, Wenger and more. The outdoor market on Jeremie Street offers a wide array of straw goods. The best known products are the hand-silk-screened and hand-printed fabrics and fashions created by local craftsmen.



Go snorkeling at Champagne Beach. These actual effervescent waters produce a “fizzing effect” due to the sub-aquatic surroundings. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime chance to swim alongside parrot fish in bubbly waters.


  • Soak the day away with a beauty bath in the rejuvenating Sulphur Springs.
  • See if you can spot the 150 species of plants and rare Dominica parrots at the Botanical Gardens.
  • Get a good dose of vitamin D on the island’s beautiful black-sand beaches.
  • Come river tube down a beautiful river in combination with the exotic Jaco falls.


Serious hikers won’t be disappointed! Take a guided trek to Boiling Lake and the Valley of Desolation at Dominica’s Morne Trios Pitons National Park, a World Heritage site.


You can shop for hand-crafted souvenirs at the Old Market Plaza and nearby boutiques.

For information about cruising to these beautiful destinations visit The Cruiseman Web Site

Content & Images provided by Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

10 things you’ll love about Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas

Published on November 20, 2015


Royal Caribbean’s thoroughly modern, 4,200-passenger Anthem of the Seas is now officially cruising from its new homeport of Bayonne, N.J., after a summer cruising from the UK. The state-of-the-art, $1 billion “smart ship” is a knockout from stern to bow.

The line made some very minor tweaks in moving the six-month-old ship from a British-focused audience to the New York market – no more teakettles in the staterooms, for instance. But the ship’s robot bartenders and such experiences as simulated skydiving deserve wows on both sides of the Atlantic.

Here are our favorite things to do on Anthem of the Seas.


Try indoor skydiving: If you’ve always wanted to fly but have been afraid to jump out of a plane, RipCord by IFLY is your chance to experience the wind-in-your-face exhilaration on a cruise ship. You put on a flak suit and get in a clear, vertical wind tunnel where your cheeks wobble as you follow your instructor’s directions and float in the air. For those who demure, there’s nearby stadium seating where you can watch the skydivers — as well as other brave passengers attempting to stand on surfboards at the FlowRider wave pool.


Go high on the North Star ride: They couldn’t quite fit a Ferris wheel, but Royal Caribbean simulates the at-the-top experience with this big, glass capsule, which holds 12 and gets lifted by a giant mechanical arm high above the pool deck and sea. Get your camera ready for photos that will amaze your friends.

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Smash on bumper cars/go roller-skating: The SeaPlex is one of the most amazing spaces we’ve encountered at sea, an indoor sports center with a rink where at alternative times you can smash into fellow passengers on bumper cars, play basketball or volleyball and go roller-skating to tunes played by a DJ in a floating booth. There’s also opportunity to climb a very tall ladder for a real flying trapeze experience (with substantial padding on the ground assuring a bouncy landing). Bonus: There’s a stand where you can get a complimentary hot dog with the works.

Order drinks from robot bartenders: Have B1-O or N1-C fix you a drink. They staff the Bionic Bar, and while they aren’t the best bartenders in the world (no creative mixology here) they do happen to be robots. You order your drink on a tablet, and your vodka tonic or fruity rum drink gets delivered in a plastic cup via a conveyor belt. These headless, mechanical arms aren’t particularly good at listening to your woes, but they do occasionally dance, eliciting squeals of delight from onlookers.

Headbang at the Music Hall: Pretend you’re seeing the real thing as you scream along with first-rate tribute bands — Bon Jovi, Journey, Led Zeppelin – and classic rock cover bands, such as the excellent Vegas act Phoenix, in this two-deck live music venue. The scene is loud and energetic and even a tad sexy, thanks to the sultry red decor. The huge dance floor assures a lively party scene.

Rock out at We Will Rock You: The songs of the legendary rock group Queen, and a storyline that has to do with a future age where rock music is banned, form the basis for this award-winning West End show. Warning: After seeing the full-length production you’ll spend the rest of your cruise with tunes such as Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Bohemian Rhapsody stuck in your head.

Do bites and beer at Michael’s Genuine: Some of the best eats we had on the ship were the for-a-fee nibbles at this gastrobpub, created by James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz. Try the polenta fries and the chicken liver crostini ($4 each). The accompanying craft beer menu includes British beers from such brewers as Brewdog and Brooklyn Lager and Michael’s Genuine Home Brewon draught.

See Spectra’s CabaretThis avant-garde show will dazzle those who like a great spectacle. Aerialists, singers and dancers interact with digital screens – both wraparound and controlled by robotic arms. It’s a visual stunner.

Surf the net: Royal Caribbean has made much of its VOOM Internet – with speeds that match broadband on shore. On our preview cruise (with fewer passengers onboard than usual) it worked great – you could send and stream video without watching your laptop spin.

Get interactive with the artwork: The ship’s 3,000-piece contemporary art collection is anything but staid. There are works with light and videos and that move, and there are pieces you can touch – such as Rafael Lozano Hemmer’s smart pad-operated Pulse Spiral, which reflects your heartbeat in twinkling lights.

For more information contact The Cruiseman (800) 889-7683


16 Worst Mistakes You Can Make on a Cruise

August 30, 2015 by Ben Souza  cruisefever.net

Cruise Fever’s mission is simple, to help you have the best cruise possible.  While we often write articles on things you should do on cruises, here are the worst mistakes that you can make on a cruise.


1. Climbing/horseplay on railings – Although this should be a no-brainer, we occasionally hear accounts of passengers sitting on the ship’s railings or climbing over balcony partitions.  This is a photo sent to us of a cruise passenger who left common sense at home.

2. Stiffing the crew – While most cruise lines automatically charge a daily gratuity or service surcharge to your stateroom, you can have them removed by going to guest services.  However, just because you are allowed to have them taken off doesn’t mean that you should.  You wouldn’t go to a restaurant without tipping and you shouldn’t go on a cruise without tipping.

3. Getting too drunk – No one enjoys having an obnoxious drunk by them on the lido deck or at their dinner table.

4. Getting left behind in port – When the captain says that the ship is leaving port at 5:00, he means it. He isn’t going to wait around for those that lost track of time.  If you get left behind in port, you are responsible for your own transportation to the next port or back home.  The costs can be several thousand dollars each and will be even more complicated if you are traveling without a passport. Our advice?  Plan on arriving back near the ship 1 1/2 to 2 hours before you are scheduled to leave.  This not only gives you some time to shop in the port area, but also gives you plenty of leeway if you run into traffic or your taxi or bus has a breakdown on the way back.

5. Going by port time instead of ship time – Going by port time instead of ship time is a great way to miss your ship.  Also, never trust the time on your cell phone. Bring a watch and if you don’t have one, pick up a cheap $10 watch and you will never have to worry about getting port/ship times mixed up.

6. Eating only at the buffet – While newer ships like Regal Princess have great buffets, the best food on a cruise is almost always in the main dining room.  By eating only at the buffet, you miss out on the great food and service that is offered in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants.

7. Line cutting –  We all hate waiting in lines while on vacation, but it’s part of life.

8. Booking late flights on embarkation day – Booking late flights on embarkation day is a great way to miss your cruise.  While it is not always possible for everyone to fly in the day before due to work commitments, you should always plan on arriving the day before if you are able to.

9. Booking early flights on disembarkation day – Cruise lines recommend not booking flights before noon on disembarkation day.  Just because your arrival time says 7:00 a.m., there is almost no chance of catching an 8:30 flight.  There have been times I walked right through customs, and other times it took over an hour to get through the line.

10. Leaving balcony doors open – Leaving your balcony door propped open will create a wind tunnel when your stateroom door is opened.  It’s a great way to get your fingers smashed in the door when it slams shut on you.

11. Leaving your curtains open when pulling into port – More often than not, you will be docked directly across the pier from another cruise ship.  Those on the ship next to you will be able to see into your cabin if your curtains are open.

12. Forgetting to turn data roaming off – Before stepping foot on the ship, you should go to the settings on your phone and make sure that data roaming is turned off.  This will keep your cell phone from racking up huge charges and using data even when it is in your pocket. Putting your phone in airplane mode will also keep you from racking up additional charges.

13. Piling into elevators without letting other passengers out first – This is about having respect for your fellow passengers.

14. Treating the crew like 2nd class citizens – We all have bad days, but how many you would have if you worked 7 days a week and were away from your family for 6-9 months at a time?  Kind words to the crew will go a long way, treat them with the same respect that you give to your spouse.

15. Cruising without travel insurance – Cruising without travel insurance is like playing with fire.  There are a wide range of policies offered that include coverage for medical (your medical insurance most likely won’t cover you out of the country), travel delays and interruptions, and cancellations.

16. Lying on your medical form – Before you board your cruise, you have to fill out a medical form where you check boxes of certain symptoms that you have had over the past 48-72 hours.  Lying on this form is a great way of spreading an illness to other passengers.  Lying on your form is one of the biggest mistakes you can make on a cruise.

Top Places to Eat Po’Boys in New Orleans


New Orleans natives are known for their discerning culinary palates, so you know when a mere sandwich grabs their attention (and hearts), it’s got to be one amazing sandwich. Along-standing tradition in New Orleans, po-boy sandwiches have been around since the late 1920s and now can be found at nearly every casual restaurant. Fried seafood or tender meat is stuffed inside freshly baked French bread and slathered with hot sauce or remoulade. Start your po-boy tasting tour with our list below, or head to the annual Po-Boy Preservation Festival to get the full experience.

What Is a Po-Boy?
A po-boy is a sandwich made with Louisiana-style French bread (think crispy baguette with soft, fluffy insides), which is usually stuffed with fried seafood or tender meat —  anything from house-made hot sausage to barbecued gulf shrimp. Order like a local and ask for the sandwich “dressed,” it’ll come loaded with lettuce, tomato, pickle and mayonnaise.

Huck Finn’s Café
Huck Finn’s Café has it all if you’re looking for a Southern dining experience: flavored daiquiris, spiked lemonade, pecan pie and, of course, a menu packed with po-boys. Go all out and try their smoked alligator sausage po-boy, which comes drizzled with creamy remoulade sauce.

Mother’s Restaurant
The frequent line out the door and the sumptuous aromas wafting out from inside are the first clues of the deliciousness diners encounter at Mother’s Restaurant. The cafeteria-style joint has been serving up home-cooked standards for more than 60 years, and one of the reasons the local keep coming back is for their juicy po-boy. Stack your roast beef po-boy high with debris (gravy) and have a seat at this uniquely New Orleans institution; you’ll quickly understand why New Orleanians always seem so happy.

La Bayou Restaurant
La Bayou Restaurant knows New Orleans ingredients, and the proof is in the po-boy — the Big Easy Po-boy, to be exact. It comes loaded with seasoned gulf shrimp, fried green tomatoes and a Louisiana-style remoulade, all served with a side of French fries.

Johnny’s Po-Boys
Even though Johnny’s Po-Boys has a menu touting more than 50 po-boys, such as country fried steak and alligator sausage, a locals’ favorite is the soft-shell crab po-boy. Piled with battered, flash-fried soft-shell crabs, this crunchy, seasonal sandwich really shines when it’s served with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and a splash of hot sauce.

Central Grocery
Traditionally speaking, Central Grocery is known for the other famous New Orleans sandwich, the Muffuletta. However, they’ve been perfecting sandwiches since 1906, and we trust them with the ways of a po-boy. Try a different take with the veggie po-boy.

Learn more about the famous cuisine of New Orleans.

Source:  New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau