Episode 99: Weather Channel, Carnival Splendor, & iPhone app
Broadcasting from the Cruise Radio studio’s in Jacksonville, Florida – this is Cruise Radio.
Host: I’m Matt Basford and I’m Doug Parker, follow us on Facebook and Twitter at Cruise Radio dot net. On this show listener Davinder Kaur will give us a review of the Carnival Splendor and we’ll talk to The Weather Channel’s, Jennifer Nittoso about hurricane season, specifically tropical storm Emily.
Before we get to Stewart, you know that brew we enjoyed so much on (Carnival) Magic? ThirstyFrog Red, Carnival’s signature brew, currently it’s not only on Carnival Magic but 14 other ships, well now they’re going to expand it to three more, so it will be on 18 ships total. ThirstyFrog Red was so popular on Carnival Magic that they ran out the first day and had to air-freight some to the ship in the Mediterranean.
My big question to (CEO) Gerry Cahill was it is going to be available in grocery stores? No word on that yet though. We’ll keep you updated.
Right now Stewart Chiron the Cruise Guy is with us, actually in Mexico on vacation, how’s it going?
Stewart: Good, you know it’s a working vacation. I’ve got my mobile office up and running and the family is having a great time.
Host: Well, back in the real world here we have some cruise news. Disney Cruise Lines are dropping the Florida discount for all sailings on Disney Dream, to make more money, is that why?
Stewart: No, they dropped the discount because they can. The ship is sailing completely full. It’s at a record of 150.7 percent occupancy, which means it’s almost sold out every sailing since it’s first sailing in January and sold every single berth on the ship. Keep in mind this is a 2,500 passenger ship, with 4,000 berths. So it’s an astronomical number and if any one’s looked, the prices have not dropped really. They are getting about $1600 per person for a three day cruise, on a balcony. Big money, they don’t need to drop the price or offer discount.
Host: Carnival Corporation orders new ships. What brands are these ships for? AND With all these new ships coming out, will it have an effect on future cruise prices?
Stewart: Well I don’t think it’s going to have much of an effect on future cruise prices. They ordered one 132,500 ton ships with 3,700 passengers for their Costa Cruises division and they ordered two 125,000 ton ships for their German branded AIDA cruises.
Host: This is shocking. Royal Caribbean stock now down more than 13%? How did that happen? Does this effect all share holders?
Stewart: It’s a good question, Matt. The answer is yes, every one’s effected anytime the stock goes down, there shares are reduced. There was an accounting error that kind of spooked a few people but you have a company that between Royal Caribbean and Celebrity that has incredible hardware and have invested a great deal in there ships so it was really just some investors saying hey we are going to take a couple steps back but it’s not a real concern.
Host: (sarcastically) They better invest in a new accountant.
Host: The Oceania Rivera launch has been pushed back a little bit, why?
Stewart: Oceania cruises announced that they’re going to be delaying the inaugural cruise of the Riveria to April 24 to April 14, 2012. Their stated reason was to allow their crew to get accustomed to the ship but they reality is there may be a little delay in the ship yard or some of the pre-inaugural activities they have planned. It’s the sister ship to the Marina and ten days is not a big deal. They people that were booked on that first sailing are obviously going to have to cancel and re-book, hopefully they’re same accommodations are going to be available on the new sailing. It should be okay.
Host: We always love receiving your listener questions. Email [email protected]. This one from Lauren in San Diego.
Lauren writes, “When is Alaska cruise season and when is a good time for booking a 2012 Alaskan cruises? Seattle or Vancouver?”
Stewart: It depends on what kind of Alaska experience you want. The round-trip Seattle is going to be the least expensive not only for the cruise but all because of the airfare to get there. Seattle can be about 30-50% less than if you fly into Vancouver. To answer the question about when the season starts, Alaska starts at the beginning of May and typically (depending on the line) runs into the first or second week of September. I would recommend seeing which one of these sailings you like best, book now, you can always make changes later on if you want to change ships because of a better deal. The earlier is always better.
Host: Dude, thank you so much for burning your cell phone minutes (from Mexico).
COMMERCIAL BREAK :60 seconds
Host: Each week give you Porthole Cruise Magazine’s “Pick of the week.”
If you’re cruising from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades this summer, take note. The city is offering a Super Summer Savings promo now through September 30.Thanks to the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB, you can enjoy a slew of special 2-for-1 offers that include everything from boating charters and diving and snorkeling to some of Fort Lauderdale’s most popular museums, attractions, spas, and restaurants.
Go to www.sunny.org/supersummer to check out the complete list of 2-for-1 deals and to print out or your Super Summer Savings card, which you’ll need in order to take advantage of the offers.
Recorded intro: When weather effects your cruise vacation, Cruise Radio is there, faster alerts, accurate forecasts, complete coverage. Cruise Radio brings your Storm Watch 2011 with Jennifer Nittoso from The Weather Channel.
Host: What’s this hurricane season looking like?
Jennifer: We did just get the recent update from Colorado state which issues hurricane forecast throughout the season and they pretty much coincide with the WSI hurricane forecast, that’s our sister company that does the same thing, and the national hurricane center all pretty much agree that there will be no change from the last forecast. That means 16 named storms: 9 hurricanes, 5 major hurricanes. That 16 includes the 5 we’ve already seen this season.
Host: I ask this selfishly, anything hitting Florida?
Jennifer: You know I’ve been looking at some of the information that’s coming out now for Emily and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Emily will take a right hand turn and come up the coast of Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas. It looks like it could brush the coast but it’s really too soon to tell.
Host: For more, go to weather.com, our friend from The Weather Channel, Jennifer Nittoso. Thank ya.
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Host: Listener Davinder Kaur is with us, welcome to Cruise Radio. You’re in San Diego, right?
Guest: I am.
Host: You recently sailed aboard the Carnival Splendor, what was the ittiniary?
Guest: We sailed on July 17, 7 day along the Mexican Riviera so we stopped in Cabo San Lucus and Puerto Vallarta.
Host: This ship is based out of Long Beach, how was embarkation out there?
Guest: Yeah, it was really good. We got there early even though we weren’t scheduled to leave until 4:30, we arrived at 11:00, the check-in was already open and it took maybe 10 minutes before we were on the ship. We were on the ship by lunch time.
Host: What were your first impressions of the ship?
Guest: You’re are just taken away by the lobby. It’s really beautiful, it’s grand, the elevators are breathtaking, it’s all lit up. It’s just very splendid.
Host: Tell us about the public areas on the ship?
Guest: Everything was really good. We saw the black pearl dining room as soon as we boarded the ship. That looked magnificent. We saw that lobby which again, was one of my favorite places on the ship. We took the elevator up to the ninth deck to go to the lido, saw the swimming pool and the big screen TV, the pizzeria on the way into the Lido. Everything just looked really wonderful.
Host: You mentioned the black pearl. Did you dine there and how was the food overall?
Guest: We didn’t actually dine in the black pearl, our reservations were in the gold pearl. We had the early dining at 6 pm. The food was great, the service was brilliant, and the servers were really really patient. We had Indian food a lot because my group consisted of mostly Indian people so that’s what we requested and they took really good care of us.
Host: How was dining in the public areas, was it efficient?
Guest: Yes! Even that first day when we got on the ship. We though we got on around 12 and made our way into the lido dining room about 12:30, it was strange because the lines were already long. I guess a lot of people got onto the ship a lot earlier than we did. It just goes to show you that you have to get to the ship as early as possible. Throughout the seven day cruise, the lido itself always had long lines, a few times i was in there the lines weren’t that long, that was mostly at lunch.
Host: So did you see any shows?
Guest: We did, we saw a Las Vegas style entertainment one evening in the Spectacular lounge. Karaoke in a lounge, and of course my group, the bindi group had two performances. So if you asked me who was my favorite entertainment on the ship I would have to say the Indian entertainment.
Host: Very cool, what about the rooms? Let’s talk about the cabins really quick. What’d you stay in and how was it?
Guest: We had an interior room and that was for the four of us. The rooms were really nice. Of course they were a little small but that’s nothing unusual for cruises, you’re always gonna find the room kind of small. Especially with four people in them. They were always really really clean and house keeping did a terrific job. Every time we went back to the cabin to shower and used up all the towels, they were always replaced as soon as we left. Much better service than going to a hotel and having to ask for a change of towels.
Host: Any excursions you recommend?
Guest: We went to the Arch in Cabo, one of the places a lot of people go to. Other than that, just walking around the pier, there’s a lot of people that just do that. There really isn’t the need to spend the extra money on excursions. I couldn’t tell you about Puerto Vallarta.
Host: Any advice for anyone planning a trip aboard Carnival Splendor?
Guest: Book early. Many people are under the impression that if you wait until the last minute that prices are going to be lower but that’s not always true. We booked in May this year with a cruise date of July 17 and I can honestly say that we saw the prices jump $200 or more for the same type of cabin. Book a balcony cabin if you can.
Host: I gotta ask, was there any discussion about last Novembers incident?
Guest: No, I really didn’t hear anything, you couldn’t tell that anything had happened. The ship looked magnificent.
Host: Listener Davinder Kaur, thanks for being on Cruise Radio.
Guest: Thanks for having me on your show.
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Host: Creator of Meet On Cruise dot com, Farraz, welcome back my friend.
Guest: Hey guys, good to hear from you.
Host: Before we talk about the brand new meet on cruise iPhone app, let’s tell everybody what meet on cruise dot com is about.
Guest: MeetOnCruise.com is a social network for cruisers. The main reason why over 2,000 people have signed up for the site is people want to meet who they’re cruising with. You can come into Meet On Cruise dot com, type in your sailing, and chat with other people on your roll call. There’s also cruise guides, port guides, reviews, and tips.
Host: Okay two things. For the folks who don’t know what a roll call is, what is that? Secondly, go into detail about your port guides because they are awesome.
Guest: A roll call is a specific sailing on a cruise. You can say I’m Doug, I’m going on Carnival Magic on April 15 and that’s the roll call. You put that in the search criteria and it’ll come up with that specific sailing and you can say hey, who wants to do a private tour when we get to Barcelona.
Host: And the port guides?
Guest: Yeah, so what we found was what we found was when we were searching for what you can do in these ports, a lot of the information is made for people who were staying at the island for days but when you come on a cruise you only have six or seven hours. So we went out and we just did our research to get some gorgeous pictures and videos and we put together some port guides. We have mostly all of the Caribbean ports covered and no we’re covering the United States.
Host: Now you have an iPhone app.
Guest: The life changing iPhone app. It’s actually a little bit slimmer than the site. We don’t have the cruise guide version yet, that will be out in about a week and a half. What’s cool about this is it has one feature called the news feed. That’s actually the most popular page on the app. You can go to that page and it shows you up to the minute what’s going on in meet on cruise. Like I’m reading right now that someone just was the first person to check-in on Norwegian Sky for Feb. 15. You can go on that, click on that roll-call and if you’ve already sailed on the Sky or not on the sailing, you can make a comment saying hey, when you get to the Bahamas, do XYZ excursion. The other portion people really like is the active roll calls. You can very easily click on your cruise line, sailing, and count down clock.
Host: From meet on cruise dot com, Farraz. Thanks for being on Cruise Radio.
Guest: Thank you and by the way, congrats on coming up on episode 100.
BREAK: Obrochure Cruise Guide
Host: Right now we have the creator of the Obrochure Cruise Guide, Natalie Arroyn in Australia. Welcome back. P&O Cruises has made Australian history, tell us about the new captain, Sarah Britton?
Natalie: She is the first female captain sailing into Sydney Harbor on P&O Cruises. She joins four other female SR officers as well. It’s great news for the cruise industry.
Host: Apparently Royal Caribbean just appointed a female captain?
Natalie: Yes, this is their second female captain. This isn’t official and hasn’t been replaced at the helm yet but she will be the second female captain for Vision of the Seas.
Host: You can always find her at ETBNews.com, the creator of the OBrochure Cruise Guide, Ms. Natlie Arroyn.
Natalie: Thanks boys.
Coming up next week — our 100th episode!
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