Archive for the 'Trivia' Category

Oasis of the Seas – 7 Godmothers

posted by Wayne
May 15, 2015

We received over 60 responses to our May 9th trivia question which asked which ship had 7 godmothers.

Click here for lots of Oasis information and photos

Click here for lots of Oasis information and photos

Congratulations to Adrienne Klein of Philadelphia, PA, whose name was randomly selected from those with the correct response.

The answer is Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas®.  The 7 godmothers represent the Oasis’ 7 “neighborhoods”.

The 7 neighborhoods are:

– Central Park
– Boardwalk
– Royal Promenade
– Entertainment Place
– Vitality at Sea Spa & Fitness Center
– Pools & Sports Zone
– Youth Zone

And who were the 7 Godmothers?

-Gloria Estefan (singer)
-Michelle Kwan (figure skater)
-Jane Seymour (actress)
-Dara Torres (swimmer)
-Keisha Knight Pulliam (actress)
-Shawn Johnson (gymnast)
-Daisy Fuentes (tv personality)

The Oasis of the Seas is a destination in and of itself.  Click here for Oasis info, updates and photos as well as detailed info on each of the neighborhoods.

Click here for a great deal on a “dance-optional” cruise aboard the Oasis.

Disney Pin Trading – Contest Results

posted by Wayne
October 31, 2014
Pins found on ebay

Photo of pins found on ebay

We received over 50 responses to last week’s question which asked about the “jumble of items” shown in the contest photo.  Responses ranged from “Disney magnets” to “Disney luggage tags”.  These guesses were close but the correct answer is “Disney pins”. Only 20 of you guessed correctly.   Congratulations to Ellie Schwartz of Washington Crossing, PA, the winner of the random drawing.

What can you do with these pins?  Buy them, wear them, put them on display, save them and trade them, of course!

Disney pins are hot and the trading of those pins is a popular activity, as if there was not enough to already keep you busy when visiting Disney. You can buy packs of pins in advance. When at Disney, you can wear your pins on a lanyard which you wear around your neck.  As you walk around the parks, you will see Disney staff members who are also wearing their pins. You may approach those staff members and offer to trade selected pins.

Disney pins can also we acquired at events, for example, if you buy a behind the scenes tour of Disney, you’ll receive a pin at the end of your tour.

Some pins come in sets. Pins are often “retired” from production and, as the new version of that pin is introduced, the older version increases in value.

When at Disney, there is an etiquette to trading pins with staff members including:

–          Trade one pin at a time, hand to hand

–          For safety, trade pins with the backs attached

–          Pins should be in good, undamaged, tradeable condition.

–          Certain pin sets must be traded as sets.

–          Refrain from touching another person’s pin or lanyard. If you need a closer look, ask the person.

Click here for a complete list of Pin Trading Etiquette.

Thinking about a trip to Disney? Give us a call.  We’ve been doing Disney trips for years and have agents who are expert in both land and sea vacations packages.

Guadeloupe — The Butterfly Island

posted by Wayne
July 25, 2014


In last week’s photo contest results, we challenged our readers with  a new trivia question:  There is one nation in the Caribbean where one large part of the island is volcanic and the other part is coral.  Can you name the nation?  The correct answer is “Guadaloupe”.

Sadly, we received no correct responses to our trivia challenge!

Guadaloupe is a French-owned collection of islands located in the southernmost portion of the leeward island chain.  The two main islands, Basse-Terre and Grand-Terre, are so close as to appear, from above, to be two wings of a butterfly.

Designated a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, Guadeloupe National Park on Basse-Terre, is comprised of waterfalls, lush foliage, gorgeous flowers including many species of orchids and 300 kilometers of hiking trails.

Lush rain forest

Lush rain forest

In the heart of the park is La Soufrière an active volcano which has erupted eight times since 1660.  Hot springs, mud pools, and fumaroles punctuate its barren black sides.  Hiking trails along this mountain allow hikers panoramic views of the surrounding islands.

Off the coast of Basse-Terre near Bouillante, the waters surrounding Pigeon Island comprise the  Jacques Cousteau Underwater Reserve (Réserve Cousteau) with some of Guadeloupe’s best sub-aquatic scenery.  Turtles and large schools of fish, as well as parrotfish, trumpetfish, and barracuda frequent the coral gardens here, and the area offers good wall and wreck dives. We had the wonderful experience of scuba diving in this reserve, however there are also shallow reefs which can be easily reached by snorklers.

The adjacent French islands of La Desirade, Les Saintes and Marie-Glante are also under the jurisdiction of Guadaloupe.  Les Saintes, also known as Îles des Saintes, is a wonderful island with a small main town, many secluded beaches and wonderful snorkeling. It’s considered to have one of the most picturesque bays in the world.

Photo Contest July 12th – Pitons

posted by Wayne
July 19, 2014
July 12 Contest Photo - Pitons of St. Lucia

July 12 Contest Photo - Pitons of St. Lucia

We had 5 correct answers to our photo contest.  Congratulations to Bob Mandl of Coram, NY, winner of the $25 gift card.  His name was randomly selected from those who responded correctly.

The island in the photograph has two distinctions in addition to the famous Pitons featured in the photograph.

First, St Lucia has more Pulitzer prize winners per capita than any other sovereign nation in the world.  In 1978, Sir William Arthur Lewis won the prize for economics and in 1992, Derek Alton Walcott won a Pulitzer for poetry.

A second unique characteristic is that St Lucia has the only drive through volcano in the world.  Don’t worry, its dormant.  However, the smell of sulfur is still present.

The most known features are the Pitons shown in the photograph.  These two pointy mountains, known individually as “Gros” and “Petit”, are located near the southwest end of the island.  Mountain climbers are familiar with pitons which are metal spikes used in mountain climbing.

Other Views of St Lucia

Other Views of St Lucia

St Lucia is one of many volcanic islands in the Caribbean.  While most are dormant, a famous eruption occurred on the nearby island of Martinique in 1902.  Nearly the entire town was killed in the massive eruption that is said to have had the power of 40 Hiroshima atomic bombs.  The lone survivor was a man who was in jail for drunkenness.  The walls of the jail were thick and gave him protection from the blast.  I would not want to have his hangover.

Volcanic islands are characterized by high mountains and lots of rain.  They are great for hikers and climbers and the scenery is very dramatic.  These islands have dark and/or pebble beaches and the snorkeling and diving are not the best.

Other volcanic islands in the Caribbean are Dominique, Nevis, Saba, St Kitts, Grenada, and Monsterrat.  Coral islands are the other type of islands found in the Caribbean.  The Caymans, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Antigua Anguilla, Barbados and St Martin are typical Coral islands.  They were formed over thousands of years by the death of coral which piled up to form islands.  Beaches are the more familiar colors and snorkeling and diving are outstanding on these islands.

Trivia Challenge

There is one nation in the Caribbean where one large part of the island is volcanic and the other part is coral.  Can you name the nation?   All responses must be emailed to us by Thursday, July 24.  All correct responses will be placed in a random drawing for a $25 gift card.

Trivia Contest – August 16, 2013

posted by Wayne
August 23, 2013
USS Long Island - Image from the private collection of Reuben Goossens

USS Long Island - Image from the private collection of Reuben Goossens

We thought that our trivia question, “What is the name of the aircraft carrier that became a cruise ship?”,  would be tough.  Only 5 people responded.  Three people gave the answer that we were looking for which was USS Long Island (aircraft carrier) to M/V Seven Seas (cruise ship).  One person gave the names of two British aircraft carriers which were converted to the Italian liners Sydney and Roma.  This was also a correct answer.  The fifth person gave the name of a ship that began its career as a passenger ship and later became an aircraft carrier for Italy during WW2.  We also put this into the pool of 5 correct answers.

The Long Island was built as a cargo ship at Sun Shipbuilding inChester,PA.  Before completion, she was sent toNorfolk and in 77 days was converted into the United States’ first “baby flattop”.  She served throughout WW2 as an aircraft ferry and as a carrier pilot training ship.  After the war, she was sold for scrap but at the last minute was sold to a Panamanian Company and sent toItalyfor conversion to an immigrant ship carrying passengers from Italy to Australia.

M/S Seven Seas - Image from the private collection of Reuben Goossens

M/S Seven Seas - Image from the private collection of Reuben Goossens

In May of 1953, she was sent to Bremerhaven, Germany were she was completely rebuilt as the M/V Seven Seas.  She sailed for 10 years in the European market.  In 1963, she became a college cruiser with instructors from colleges and universities all over the world.  Her career ended in 1977 when she was sent to Belgium for scrapping.

Congratulations to our gift card winner, Andrea Swierzy of Philadelphia, PA, whose name was randomly drawn from those who responded.

Trivia Contest – June 21st, 2013

posted by Wayne
June 28, 2013
In response to the trivia question we posed in last week’s email, the first cruiseship to have a boxing ring was Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas.

Freedom's Flowrider Surf Simulator

Freedom's Flowrider Surf Simulator

The boxing ring gives passengers the opportunity to spar with instructors as an alternative to traditional exercise.   The Freedom’s sister ships, Independence of the Seas and Liberty of the Seas, also have boxing rings, but the Freedom was the first in the line.  We had 47 responses to the question and 42 were correct.  Congratulations to Bianca Hegedus of Huntingdon Valley, PA whose name was randomly selected from the correct answers.
The Freedom Class ships — with their  surf simulator, children’s water park, rock climbing wall, ice skating rink and miniature golf -still hold their own against of the newer/larger action-packed cruiseships!
H2O Zone, children's waterpark

H2O Zone, children's waterpark



Freedom's Rock Climbing Wall

Freedom's Rock Climbing Wall







Freedom's Miniature Golf Course

Freedom's Miniature Golf Course


Photo Contest – April 26, 2013

posted by Wayne
May 3, 2013
Contest Photo 4/24/13 - Liberty Ship S.S. John W. Brown

Contest Photo 4/26/13 - S.S. John W. Brown

The answer to last week’s photo contest question is the S.S. John W. Brown.  The photo was taken of the ship as she was hosting a Project Liberty Ship cruise from Baltimore.  Congratulations to Donna Cunningham of Philadelphia, PA whose name was randomly selected from the four correct responses.

The John W. Brown is one of two surviving Liberty ships out of the 2,710 built during World War II.  The other is the Jeremiah O’Brien, based in San Francisco, California.  During the first few years of World War II, the Allies were losing more than twice as many ships as were being built.  Most of these losses were the result of U boat torpedoes in the Caribbean and Atlantic.  To counteract these unsustainable losses, the Brits and Yanks designed an expendable vessel that could be built cheaply and in great numbers.  Thus, the Liberty ship came into being.  They were built in an average of 6 weeks with the record being less than 5 days.


John W. Brown - on deck

John W. Brown - on deck

The priority was quantity over quality.  Some were so poorly constructed that they broke in two while at sea.  They were slow and made good targets for U boats. Over 250 Liberty ships were lost during the war.  Their design life was 5 years, so it is a tribute to the men and women who keep the memory alive by the loving care they give to these two surviving septuagenarians.

We cruised for a day on the John W. Brown last year and can tell you that they only thing it had in common with today’s luxury cruise ships was that there was plenty of food.  However, the hot dogs and hamburgers were not served in a splendid dining room with white table cloths and attentive waiters.  They were served buffet style in a converted cargo hold.

If you want to experience hot, visit the engine room where the temperature reaches over 110 degrees.  Watch the massive connection rods as they pound out a rhythm of power.


Japanese World War II vintage aircraft

Japanese World War II vintage aircraft


A highlight of the cruise was the “attack” by several Japanese World War II vintage aircraft and the victory of the American P-51 over these “aggressors”.

Project Liberty Ship will operate 4 special cruises this year from Baltimore.  If you would like to experience one of these “living history” cruises, go to for dates and rates.


Last week’s trivia question asked: What do Hopalong Cassidy, John Wayne, Judy Garland, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Marilyn Monroe and the Mona Lisa have in common?

The correct answer is that they all sailed on the SS United States.  Congratulations to Mark Shapiro of Mission Viejo, CA whose name was randomly selected from the eight correct responses.

The SS United States

She was the fastest of her breed.  More than 50 years after breaking the record for the fastest Atlantic crossing, the SS United States still represents the epitome of speed at sea.  She routinely “cruised” at 35 miles per hour.  During her record shattering maiden voyage, she averaged 44 miles per hour, so fast that she shed the paint from her bow.  The SS United State’s steam turbines produced twice as much power as the largest cruise ships of today despite being less than half the weight.

The SS United States - Then

The SS United States – Then

A Philadelphia native, William Francis Gibbs, designed the ship to very high military standards (he also designed many ships of the US Navy in WW II).   Subsidized by the US government, the SS United States could be converted to a 15,000 person troopship within 48 hours and was nearly used during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  She plied the Atlantic for 17 years after her maiden trip in 1952 and never experienced a breakdown (listen up Carnival Cruise Line).

Now she is in trouble.  During the last 17 years, this national treasure has been rusting away at a South Philadelphia pier waiting for a knight in shining armor to come to her rescue.  Five years ago, philanthropist H. F. “Gerry” Lenfest gave the United States Conservancy more than 5 million dollars to purchase the ship and find a way of preserving her for future generations.

The SS United States - Now

The SS United States – Now


Now the money is gone and, in a few weeks, this proud example of the genius of American engineering know-how will be become Toyotas and razor blades if she is not thrown a life ring.

Should the ship be saved?  Should the government step in?  We’d like to hear your views.

Antigua – The Island of 365 Beaches

posted by Wayne
February 15, 2013

In response to the question we posed two weeks ago, the island that is known for its 365 beaches is Antigua.  Congratulations to Gina Nichols of Ambler, PA whose name was randomly selected from the 13 correct answers.

Antigua is located in the Southern Caribbean and is part of the Leeward chain of islands.  It is far more low key than the faster paced islands of St. Thomas and St. Martin.  It also has less rainfall than most of its neighbors.  The reason for the low rainfall is that its hills are not as high as those of its neighbors.

Long Bay - one of the many lovely beaches on Antigua

Long Bay - one of the many lovely beaches on Antigua

The effect is that it is a great place to enjoy days of sunshine on it’s many beautiful beaches.  Another effect is that, with less rainfall, they are not able to grow very much so much of their food comes form the nearby island of Dominica, where the mountains are higher and the rainfall greater.

Antigua is divided into 6 parishes – all named for saints. The largest is the colorful city of  St. John, which is literally steps from the cruise ship dock.

St. John, Antigua








While in Antigua on our cruise, we arranged for a private tour for four, independent of the cruise line, because it included more places and was less expensive.  During the tour, we passed through local villages on our way to Shirley Heights, where we got spectacular views of English Harbor and Nelson’s Dockyard.

View of English Harbor from Shirley Heights

View of English Harbor from Shirley Heights


We also drove through Indian Town to visit Devil’s Bridge, a natural bridge caused by hundreds of years of wave action.

Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge













Tourism is currently the largest contributor to Antigua’s economy.  The “high” season is November through April, when northerners are trying to escape the cold, but it is beautiful year-round.  There are some great resorts in Antigua, including Sandals.

If you visit Antigua, and you are looking for some quality local arts and crafts, you might spend some time in St. John, but the main attractions are the beaches and views from the country side.

Trivia Contest – February 1, 2013

posted by Wayne
February 9, 2013

This coming week, some of us from Just Cruises Plus are sailing out of Baltimore on a cruise to the Caribbean. One of the islands on our itinerary is said to have a beach for every day of the year.  What is the name of this island?

Contest Guidelines:

Responses to this question must be emailed to us by Thursday, February 14th.  Names of all respondents with the correct answer will be placed in a random drawing for a $25 gift card.


The winner of this week’s contest will be announced in two weeks.