Royal Caribbean “Going, Going, Gone” Last Minute Discounted Cruises – Book By Wednesday, October 18th

Caribbean

11/18    Harmony of the Seas  7 night E Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Oceanview Balcony $899; Neighborhood Balcony $799; Inside $699

11/18   Adventure of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $549; Inside $449

11/18   Anthem of the Seas  7 night Bahamas from Cape Liberty – Balcony $579; Oceanview $529; Inside $479

11/19   Navigator of the Seas  5 night W Carib from Miami – Balcony $549; Inside $379

11/19   Jewel of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $549; Oceanview $549; Inside $449

11/19   Allure of the Seas  7 night W Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Oceanview Balcony $899; Neighborhood Balcony $799; Oceanview $699; Inside $649

11/19  Rhapsody of the Seas  7 night W Carib from Tampa – Balcony $899; Oceanview $499; Inside $419

11/19   Oasis of the Seas 7 night E Carib from Pt Canaveral – Oceanview Balcony $869; Neighborhood Balcony $749; Oceanview $689; Inside $649

11/23   Brilliance of the Seas  7 night W Carib from Tampa – Balcony $549; Inside $479

11/24   Serenade of the Seas  10 night S Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Balcony $649; Oceanview $599

11/24   Navigator of the Seas  9 night S Carib from Miami – Inside $569

11/25   Adventure of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $649; Inside $399

11/25   Anthem of the Seas  7 night Bahamas from Cape Liberty – Balcony $569; Oceanview $529; Inside $479

11/26   Jewel of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $599; Oceanview $449; Inside $399

11/26   Rhapsody of the Seas  7 night W Carib from Tampa – Balcony $879; Oceanview $449; Inside $349

11/26   Oasis of the Seas 7 night W Carib from Pt Canaveral – Oceanview Balcony $849

12/2     Adventure of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $549; Oceanview $449; Inside $399

12/3     Rhapsody of the Seas  7 night W Carib from Tampa – Balcony $859; Oceanview $459; Inside $359

12/3     Jewel of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $599; Oceanview $449; Inside $349

12/4     Serenade of the Seas  11 night S Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Balcony $1299; Oceanview $1199

12/9     Adventure of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $799

12/9     Grandeur of the Seas  12 night S Carib from Baltimore – Suite $1729

12/10   Rhapsody of the Seas  7 night W Carib from Tampa – Jr Suite $939; Balcony $849; Oceanview $599

12/10   Jewel of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $599; Oceanview $499; Inside $399

12/10   Oasis of the Seas 7 night W Carib from Pt Canaveral – Oceanview Balcony $949; Neighborhood Balcony $849

12/11    Brilliance of the Seas  7 night W Carib from Tampa – Balcony $669; Oceanview $569; Inside $369

12/14   Anthem of the Seas 8 night Bahamas from Cape Liberty – Balcony $549; Oceanview $529; Inside $499

12/16   Adventure of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $899; Oceanview $799; Inside $689

12/17   Jewel of the Seas  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Balcony $699; Oceanview $599; Inside $549

12/18   Brilliance of the Seas  7 night W Carib from Tampa – Balcony $509; Oceanview $419

12/21   Grandeur of the Seas  12 night S Carib from Baltimore – Balcony $1839; Oceanview $1109; Inside $949

1/5       Serenade of the Seas  10 night S Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Balcony $1199

1/11      Grandeur of the Seas 9 night SE Coast and Bahamas from Baltimore – Balcony $862; Oceanview $559; Inside $449

 

Celebrity Cruises “Exciting Deals” 7 Day Sale ends on Tuesday, October 18th

11/2      Eclipse  14 night S Carib from Miami – Concierge Veranda $1199; Veranda $1099; Inside $799

11/4      Summit  7 night S Carib from San Juan – Veranda $549; Oceanview $399; Inside $349

11/11    Summit    7 night S Carib from San Juan – Aqua Class Veranda $699; Concierge Class Veranda $599; Veranda $499; Oceanview $399; Inside $349

11/16     Equinox  9 night W Carib from Miami – Aqua Class Veranda $1349; Concierge Class Veranda $949; Veranda $849; Inside $549

11/17     Reflection  10 night S Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Aqua Class Veranda $1399; Concierge Class Veranda $1349; Veranda $1049; Oceanview $949; Inside $699

11/18    Summit    7 night S Carib from San Juan – Aqua Class Veranda $699; Concierge Class Veranda $599; Veranda $499; Oceanview $399; Inside $349

11/19     Silhouette  7 night E Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Aqua Class Veranda $1149; Concierge Class Veranda $949; Veranda $799;  Inside $549

11/25   Summit    7 night S Carib from San Juan – Aqua Class Veranda $699; Concierge Class Veranda $599; Veranda $499; Oceanview $399; Inside $349

11/26   Silhouette  12 night S Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Veranda $899; Oceanview $749; Inside $549

11/26     Eclipse  14 night S Carib from Miami – Concierge Class Veranda $1299; Veranda $1099;  Inside $799

11/26   Silhouette  12 night S Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Veranda $899; Oceanview $749; Inside $649

11/27     Reflection  11 night S Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Aqua Class Veranda $1499;  Veranda $1199; Oceanview $999

12/2       Summit   10 night S Carib from San Juan –  Concierge Class Veranda $849; Veranda $749; Oceanview $499; Inside $549

12/2       Equinox  7 night W Carib from Miami – Aqua Class Veranda $849; Concierge Class Veranda $1249; Veranda $749;  Inside $549

12/8       Silhouette  9 night E Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Concierge Class Veranda $949; Veranda $849;   Inside $549

12/9       Equinox  7 night E Carib from Miami – Concierge Class Veranda $849; Veranda $699; Inside $549

12/10    Eclipse  11 night S Carib from Miami – Aqua Class Veranda $1049; Veranda $849; Oceanview $749;  Inside $649

12/12     Summit   12 night S Carib from San Juan –  Concierge Class Veranda $799; Veranda $649; Oceanview $499; Inside $449

12/21     Eclipse  12 night S Carib from Miami – Aqua Class Veranda $1599; Concierge Class Veranda $1499; Veranda $1399; Oceanview $949;  Inside $799

12/31     Silhouette  7 night E Carib from Ft Lauderdale – Aqua Class Veranda $1549; Concierge Class Veranda $1249; Veranda $1049; Oceanview $1299;  Inside $1199

 

Cunard 5 Day Sale – Ends on Monday, October 16th

11/12    Queen Mary 2  7 night Transatlantic NYC to Southampton – Balcony $799

11/26   Queen Mary 2  12 night E Carib from NYC – Balcony $1399; Oceanview $1199; Inside $599

12/8     Queen Mary 2  7 night Transatlantic NYC to Southampton – Balcony $749; Oceanview $739; Inside $649

12/8     Queen Mary 2 14 night Transatlantic Roundtrip from NYC – Balcony $1499; Oceanview $1399; Inside $1199

12/22   Queen Mary 2  12 night Carib from NYC – Balcony $2249; Oceanview $2149; Inside $799

1/3       Queen Mary 2  134 night Roundtrip (and Round the World) from NYC – Queen’s Grill $71,299; Princess Grill $60,199; Balcony $25,599

Azamara Club Cruises – Book by October 31st

Get Upgraded from a Club Interior to a Club Balcony plus either $1000 Choice Air credit or an Essentials Package that includes $300 shore excursion credit, unlimited internet and a premium beverage package for 2 people.

These are European Cruises sailing between April 20th and October 15th.  Dates, rates and itineraries available upon request.

This is just a sampling of what’s available, so call or email if you don’t find the cruise or land vacation you are looking for.

 

The Jones Act has been in the news because of the hurricanes and the need to get supplies into hurricane ravaged US territories.  It was enacted in 1920 and was designed to protect the American Merchant Marine which would be needed in time of war.  Its basic tenant is that in order to carry goods or passengers between US ports, a ship must have the hull of the ship built in the US and at least 75% of its crew must be US citizens.  During the ongoing emergency at St Thomas, St Johns and Puerto Rico, there are too few US flagged ships available to move supplies to these territories.  Therefore the Jones Act was temporarily suspended.

How does the Jones Act affect the cruise industry and its customers?

There are a number of cruise lines whose ships ply US rivers who meet the Jones Act requirements.  The most well known is the American Queen.

However, most of the large cruise ships were built in Europe and are flagged in small countries that have low tax rates.  They cannot carry passengers between US ports without stopping at a foreign port.  There is one large cruise ship that meets the Jones act provisions.  It is NCL’s Pride of America. Its hull was built in the U.S. It’s flagged in the US and carries an American crew.   It’s based in Hawaii has weekly cruises in the Hawaiian Islands.

It is the only large cruise ship that can do this itinerary and therefore it is no competition.  NCL has the only 7 day cruise in the Hawaiian Islands.

How does the lack of competition affect price?

We compared a Balcony stateroom on a 7 day cruise around Hawaii with an NCL 7 day cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Norwegian Getaway.  Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess and others provide stiff competition on this itinerary.

The lowest priced balcony on the March 3rd 2018 sailing of the Pride of America from Honolulu is $2599 per person while the lowest priced balcony on the March 4th Norwegian Getaway is $1179, less than half the price of the Pride of America.

Itineraries are also affected by the Jones Act.  For example, for a round trip Alaska cruise from Seattle, one of the ports must be in Canada.

You can go to Hawaii on a cruise line other than Norwegian Cruise Line.  However, the ship will stop in Ensenada or Vancouver on its way to or from the West Coast of the United States and it will be an 11 or 12 night cruise with a lot of days at sea..

Are there benefits to the Jones Act?

Yes, crews receive higher wages and working conditions are better and safer.  Also, there are stricter environmental requirements for US flagged ships.

When NCL initiated Hawaii cruises on the Pride of America, they hired young Americans as waiters and room stewards and guess what happened?  Passengers complained bitterly about the quality of service.  It seems that the young Americans pictured themselves as laying out on deck during the day and partying at night with a smidgen of work here and there.

NCL had to build a facility in Maryland to train American staff in the art of service.  They are now able to weed out the party people before they board the Pride and service is now very good.

Hurricane Update – 9/30/17

posted by Wayne
September 29, 2017

Irma and Maria devastated the islands visited by cruise ships in the Eastern Caribbean.  The most hard hit and the ones that may take months before they will be able to welcome cruise ships include Tortola (British Virgin Islands), Grand Turk, Guadeloupe and Dominica.

There are two Puerto Ricos: San Juan and the Rest of Puerto Rico.  San Juan is coming back quickly but the Rest of Puerto Rico is completely ravaged and will not come back for months or even years.

St Thomas and St Maarten will take a month or two before they can accept cruise ships.  They are fortunate to have major powers aiding their recovery.

Dominica was devastated, suffered the most deaths and may not come back for at least a year. The cruises lines had no damage to their ships as they stayed out of the path of both hurricanes.  However, they will take a major financial hit since they had to cancel many cruises and change itineraries on many others.

The Western Caribbean ports (Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Jamaica) will benefit although passengers will experience crowded conditions until San Juan, St. Thomas and St Maarten reopen.

The Southern Caribbean will be the least affected once San Juan is back and that will be soon.  The port where the cruise ships dock is in good condition.  However, the main problem is the airport where a major radar installation was knocked out.  Currently take offs and landings are limited to humanitarian needs.  Getting the San Juan airport fully functional is a very high priority and we believe will be completed within weeks.

Meanwhile, there are some really inexpensive cruises to the Southern Caribbean from Florida.  These are 10 to 14 days.

The cruise lines and land-based travel partners have kept us informed about storm related changes and we pass this information on immediately to clients who are impacted.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line responded quickly to the hurricanes and have used their ships to aid victims of the storms.  We applaud the fast response.

Photo Contest August 11, 2017 – Venice

posted by Wayne
August 19, 2017

Contest Photo – Rialto Bridge and Grand Canal

We were thrilled with the response to last week’s photo contest which asked for the name of the bridge and body of water shown in the contest photo (photo on right).  The correct responses to this two part question were Rialto Bridge (or Ponte Rialto) and Grand Canal.  The Grand Canal is the body of water that snakes through the center of Venice and is equal to a city’s main street.  The ornate and picturesque Rialto Bridge is at the heart of Venice.

More views of the grand canal

More views of the grand canal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We (Wayne and Rachelle) were in Venice for 3 days where we boarded the Celebrity Constellation for a 9 night cruise in the Adriatic Sea.  The cruise ended in Rome (Civitavecchia) where we spent another 3 days.

Gondola passing under a small bridge

Small waterway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until you have actually experienced Venice, it is hard to conceptualize a city whose walkways and bridges are interwoven with waterways and whose “main street” is a grand canal.  Our hotel, just a 5 minute walk from St Mark’s Square, was located on a small waterway frequented by serenading gondoliers.  As picturesque as the gondolas are from afar, a close inspection reveals superb maintenance and great attention to design detail.

Gondolas up close

Gondola up close

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Venice, there are basically 2 different modes of water transportation:  water taxis and water buses.  Water taxis are private, point-to-point hires just as a land taxi would be.  They will take you right to your door if requested. Water buses, like land buses, run on a schedule and have multiple lines and designated stops.  Depending on the line, they can be pretty crowded.

 

 

ACTV “bus” line

Alilaguna “bus” line

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congratulations to Pat Horne of Edison, NJ, whose name was randomly drawn from those who responded correctly. Pat will receive a $25 credit towards a trip booked through Just Cruises Plus.

 

Romance in St Mark’s Square

 

Call us to help you plan your next vacation which includes Venice!

Royal Caribbean’s New Price Program

posted by Wayne
June 23, 2017

Are you a Royal Caribbean Fan?  If yes, you must read this.

Beginning July 1st, Royal Caribbean will offer an additional discount if you are willing to forego your deposit if you cancel  your cruise.  However, all is not lost.  If you cancel and rebook another date with Royal Caribbean, your deposit less $100 per person will be moved to the new date. This new program will take effect on July 1st.

The key information, that is, how much you can save by taking the no refund route, will not be available until July 1st.

On the Edge

posted by Wayne
March 17, 2017
Artistic rendition of the Infinite Veranda

Artistic rendering of the Infinite Veranda

There was so much hype leading up to the announcement of Celebrity Edge, Celebrity’s new class of ship which is scheduled to debut at the end of 2018.  Now that we’ve seen the plans, we understand what all the fuss is about!

This groundbreaking ship is truly on the cutting edge in the world of cruising:

~~~ Its Infinite Veranda allows passengers to turn their entire stateroom into one open-air veranda by opening the glass door barriers (they fold to the side like French doors). Alternatively, you can enlarge your stateroom by leaving the “french doors” open and closing a second set of veranda doors which seal off the wind.

~~~ The Magic Carpet is a covered platform attached to the starboard side of the ship. It moves up and down on the side of the ship and stops on certain decks, adapting to each of those decks as an extension of what already exists (an extension to the pool area, an extension of one of the new restaurants, Raw on 5, a platform to streamline stepping onto a tender, etc.)

Artistic rendering of the Magic Carpet

Artistic rendering of the Magic Carpet

~~~ Suite passengers on the Edge have use of exclusive public spaces called “The Retreat”.  There is an exclusive lounge, sundeck, pool bar and pool along with Luminae, Celebrity’s suite-only restaurant.

~~~ Celebrity has introduced two new Edge-class suites. The 950 sq ft Edge Villas are awesome 2 story luxury residences that surpass any “suite” we’ve seen. The 1880 sq ft, 2 bedroom Iconic Suites are positioned above the bridge and enjoy sweeping panoramic views.

~~~ Celebrity has been moving n the direction of open air spaces on all of their ship classes.  The Edge expands on this theme with the Rooftop Garden, a space artfully decorated with tree-top sculptures. It’s a place where you can relax with a good book, grab a bite to eat, dance under the stars or watch a movie.

There is still quite a bit of information about the Edge that has not yet been released – as we receive more information we will provide updates.

The Edge will begin its season with an East/West Caribbean itinerary.  Reservations are available for sailings from December 2018 through April of 2019.  Pricing and promotions are competitive with other Celebrity ships, so call now to reserve your space!

Harmony of the Seas Inaugural Photos

posted by Wayne
November 17, 2016
Harmony of the Seas docked in Nassau

Harmony of the Seas docked in Nassau

Jonathan just returned from the Harmony of the Seas’ inaugural sailing!  He describes this new Oasis class ship as “amazing” and says “you have to see it to believe it”!   The Harmony, Royal Caribbean’s 3rd ship in the Oasis class, will be doing 7-night East and West Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale.

Call or email us to plan your next vacation on this magnificent new ship!

 

Harmony of the Seas has a bionic bar like the one found on the Anthem of the Seas

Harmony of the Seas is the first of the  Oasis class ships to host bionic bartenders.

Harmony's Pool Deck

Harmony of the Seas pool deck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harmony of the Seas has two 10-story slides overlooking Boardwalk

Harmony of the Seas has two 10-story slides overlooking Boardwalk!

Bermuda Trip Ends in Bayonne

posted by Wayne
October 21, 2016
Grandeur of the Seas

Grandeur of the Seas

A category 3 hurricane hit Bermuda last week.  The Grandeur of the Seas was scheduled for a five night cruise to Bermuda and had to be diverted.  Royal Caribbean selected Bayonne as the alternate port.  Is Bayonne for Bermuda a good trade?  Before you scoff, let’s see what happened with the passengers.

First, they were given 100% credit toward a future cruise.

Second, Royal Caribbean provided a free ferry to Manhattan.

It seems to us that the Grandeur’s passengers got an all-expense paid trip to New York City.  Imagine the cost for 2 nights at a hotel and 3 meals per day.

Our clients who were aboard the Grandeur were very happy and can’t wait to book their next Royal Caribbean cruise.

We applaud Royal Caribbean for this more than fair offer.

Rivers of Europe Presentation – RSVP

posted by Wayne
October 14, 2016
Tapestry II on Seine River in Les Andelys, France Photo taken by Rachelle August 2016

Tapestry II on Seine River in Les Andelys, France
Photo taken by Rachelle – August 2016

What’s Hot and What’s Not?

Europe!  It’s both hot and not.  Rachelle and Wayne were in France this August.  We went to a local restaurant for lunch in Isigny-sur-Mer, very near to the Normandy beaches.  There was only one table occupied.  The owner came over to our table and personally thanked us for coming to France.  She said that there have been very few Americans in her restaurant this year.  By the way, we found everyone we encountered in Normandy to be very warm and welcoming.

While Normandy, as well as other areas of Europe, is starving for American tourists, the river cruise ships in Europe are consistently filled to capacity and more are being built as you read this.  There are very few “not so good” river cruise companies.  Most are very good.  However, in our opinion there is one that stands out for value.  Avalon ships ply most of Europe’s rivers and provide passengers with unmatched cuisine and well-appointed staterooms together with exquisite service.

One of the difficulties of river cruising is deciding upon which river to cruise.  Some emphasize history and culture while others excel at scenery and still others have themes like wine tasting.

If you are considering a river cruise, you won’t want to miss the presentation by Doug Brown of Avalon Waterways and Globus Family of Brands.  He has been on the most popular rivers of Europe and will give an overview of those rivers.  The size of the audience will be limited, so we ask that you RSVP now if you want to hear Doug’s very informative talk.

October 29, 2016 at 1:30 PM

RSVP:  Call 215.364.3310 or email just-cruises@comcast.net

Photo Contest September 10, 2016 – Amalfi

posted by Wayne
September 17, 2016
Contest Photo - Amalfi

Contest Photo – Amalfi

We were surprised at how many people identified Amalfi in our photo contest.  We can’t seem to stump our well-traveled friends!  The winner of the contest is Chuck Diefenderfer of Jekyll Island, GA, whose name was randomly selected from the 27 correct responses.

Amalfi's town squre

Amalfi’s town squre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amalfi's Cathedral

Amalfi’s Cathedral

 

 

Amalfi was one of the very picturesque ports on our 7 day cruise along the Amalfi Coast aboard the Star Flyer, a real sailing ship.

It is a prime tourist port with lots of shops and restaurants.  It has a rich history dating back to the 6th century.  It’s most well known attraction is the Cathedral of Amalfi with works by Michelangelo and Bernini.  In Amalfi, we had some of the best olives that we’ve ever tasted at a local restaurant — and they were free.

Amalfi is a good jumping off point for Ravello, a popular spot along the Amalfi coast.  One can take a bus to Ravello from Amalfi, but beware of traffic during summer months!

On our trip, we also visited the “picture postcard” island of Lipari, one of 7 small islands of the Aeolian archipelago.  We opted for the only excursion offered by the ship, a motorcoach tour of the island which offered us many opportunities to take wonderful photos from high in the hills.  We also stopped at “Marisa”s Place where we sampled Malvasia, the local wine, as well as many flavors of delicious cookies.

It would be inaccurate to classify Messina as a picturesque port.  While we found that Messina itself has little to offer, an excursion to Taormina is a must from this port.  The town is perched on a terrace overlooking the sea so we got wonderful photos.  The highlight is the Grecian theater famous for its size and acoustic qualities.  It is still used for open air performances.

View from the hills of Lipari

View from the hills of Lipari

 

Entering Taormina’s main street

View of Mt. Etna from Taormina

View of Mt. Etna from Taormina

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking down a street in Pompeii

Looking down a street in Pompeii

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorrento is another port, beautiful on its own, where one can enjoy shopping and restaurants.  However, the main attractions are nearby and you will have difficult choices.  We chose to visit Pompeii, buried by the  eruption of Vesuvius in 79 A.D.  You will walk the streets of Pompeii and visit wealthy patrician homes just as they looked almost 2000 years ago.

Herculaneum is another (smaller) city destroyed by the eruption that buried Pompeii.  Folks who went there told us that it was a great experience.  Workers are still excavating the town.

The third choice for Sorrento  is the famed Capri.  Those who chose this tour  raved about the beauty of Capri and they said a highlight was a visit to the Blue Grotto.  You need to get to Capri by boat so you should be aware that it can be a rough trip.  However, the waters were quite calm for the folks who visited Capri from our ship.

Picturesque Ponza Waterfront

Picturesque Ponza Waterfront

The final port on our itinerary was the picturesque fishing village of Ponza which, according to legend was the home of Circe who seduced Uslysses.  This port was teeming with vacationing locals.  While in Ponza, you could easily take a local boat to one of the beaches, take a different boat to visit Ponza’s grottos or simply walk through the town.  We ate lunch at a restaurant overlooking the tiny harbor where two Star Clipper ships were anchored – our Star Flyer and the larger Royal Clipper.

Call for more info about the Amalfi Coast.  This was one of our favorite destinations!