Cruising / Royal Caribbean

Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas–the Ship

This is my second post about our recent cruise on the Empress of the Seas.  Today I will talk about the ship itself and how good things often come in small packages. Continue reading “Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas–the Ship”

Cruising / Florida

Empress of the Seas–the Little Ship That Could

Mom Enjoying Sailaway on the Empress of the Seas

The Empress of the Seas is Royal Caribbean’s smallest ship, yet provides a great cruise experience.  We sailed on her recently on a five-day itinerary out of Tampa to Mexico, and enjoyed the good food, excellent service and entertainment.  In this post I’m discussing our trip down to Tampa Port. Continue reading “Empress of the Seas–the Little Ship That Could”

Cruising / Trip Planning

My Experience Using Cruise Compete

Cruise Compete Landing Page

I recently sent a cruise out for bid on Cruise Compete.  I got three bids from different travel agencies and the prices varied by more than $1000! Continue reading “My Experience Using Cruise Compete”

Airfare / American Airlines / Award travel / etc.

Cruise Air Cheaper Than Ten Years Ago!

ITA Matrix New York to Copenhagen Roundtrip

As I was doing research for a Baltic cruise this summer, I found that round trip airfare costs the same or less than it did ten years ago! Continue reading “Cruise Air Cheaper Than Ten Years Ago!”

Cruising / Mexico / Ports / etc.

Using Cruise Critic Forums for Cruise Planning

Cruise Critic Landing Page

I use Cruise Critic extensively for all aspects of cruise planning.  In this post I’ll go into detail about how I use the Cruise Critic forums to find cheap parking and plan shore days.
Continue reading “Using Cruise Critic Forums for Cruise Planning”

Cruising / Living on Cruise Ships / Norwegian / etc.

Virtual Cruise Life–Norwegian Spirit Roundtrip Rome

Norwegian Spirit May 18 Roundtrip from Rome

In this second installment of my virtual cruise life, I’ve decided to add a Norwegian Spirit round-trip cruise from Rome.  I’ve also investigated the costs and logistics of getting from Copenhagen to the Port of Rome at Civitavecchia.
Continue reading “Virtual Cruise Life–Norwegian Spirit Roundtrip Rome”

American Airlines / Award travel / banking

Why I No Longer Collect American Airlines Miles

Useless AAdvantage Miles

I no longer try to amass American Airlines AAdvantage miles from credit card sign ups and BankDirect checking accounts.  Award availability on American and its partners has been so scarce recently that I haven’t made any AAdvantage mile redemptions this year!
Continue reading “Why I No Longer Collect American Airlines Miles”

Cruising / Living on Cruise Ships / Norwegian / etc.

Starting My Virtual Cruise Life

Norwegian Getaway April 2017 Transatlantic

My newest blog project is to plan a summer of Mediterranean travel using last-minute cruise bookings interspersed with land travel.  I want to see what the ratio of land/sea travel would turn out to be, and to come up with an approximate cost.
Continue reading “Starting My Virtual Cruise Life”

Credit and Debit Cards / Cruising / Hotel Rewards

When Hotel Loyalty Programs Are a Waste of Time

Loveland Pass Colorado

Booking last-minute hotels on a quick cross-country road trip taught us the value of using CASH to book last-minute budget hotels.  We never paid more than $60 a night for hotels that were basic but adequate.  This experience makes me question the value of hotel points that I have been saving.
Continue reading “When Hotel Loyalty Programs Are a Waste of Time”

Cruising / Royal Caribbean

Chasing Royal Caribbean Diamond Status–Is It Worth It?

Crown and Anchor Club Benefit Levels

The value of “status” with airlines, hotels and cruise lines has always eluded me.  It seems like the time, effort, and money spent are not worth the nebulous perks.  Now that I realize that I am a couple of cruises away from Diamond status on Royal Caribbean I may be changing my tune. Continue reading “Chasing Royal Caribbean Diamond Status–Is It Worth It?”