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Grand Turk Update From Jack’s Shack



In the wake of the devastating hurricanes which tore through some of our favorite ports, many cruisers have found themselves not only keeping the residents in their thoughts, but worrying about some of the locals who have over time become like members of their extended family. With that in mind, we reached out to Topher — the world’s most photographed dog — and his human pal Jack (of Jack’s Shack) for an update on Grand Turk.

Grand Turk Update

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For those who’ve not yet had the pleasure, Jack’s Shack is a bar located a short walk from the Grand Turk cruise port. A favorite among visitors, the bar is known as a great place to meet friendly strangers who’ll likely become lifetime friends as well as the aforementioned Topher. No stranger to bad storms, Jack has seen his share of hurricanes… and the damage they can do to the island. “I went through Ike, a category 4 hurricane, in 2008,” he writes.

“Although Irma was a category 5, in some ways the damage was less. The electric polls were not all down like in Ike. It took us 26 weeks to get power back at Jack’s Shack after Ike.”

This time around, he reports that “it looks like lots of the power should be back in late October.”

Because the two hurricanes hit so close together, there was no time for residents to really regain their footing between the attacks. “Irma was worse because we lost both telephone and internet for a week,” Jack says. “Maria was the frosting on the cake, causing a little bit more damage and lots more dampness, with winds hitting the other side of the island that Irma had not impacted.”

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“Everyone Is Out Of Work”

Grand Turk

The view from Jack’s Shack.

In the aftermath of the storm, Jack says that the “damage is devastating to the islands. Almost every home had water driven into it, making for wet clothes, mattresses… and potential mold everywhere.” If there is a bright side, he says it’s that “the week after the storms are usually dry and hot.”

But what the islands really need is for things to get up and running as soon as possible. “As tourism is our only industry to speak of and everyone is out of work for practically two months,” the barkeep explains, “the devastation has to be solved with savings. For those who lost their whole home, the situation is bleaker. For those with minor damage and generators, life still involves clean-up and paying for gasoline with money you can’t spare.”

The good news? “No one was hurt or died,” he says. “The island has had assistance from other governments and charities, so no one is starving. Building materials are scarece, so instant rebuilding is not realistic.”

“We Are All Hoping The Cruise Ships Will Return Soon”

As far as Jack’s Shack goes, the much loved hot spot emerged relatively unscathed, at least when compared to what others have experienced. “Jack’s Shack has only minor damage,” he reports. “It should take a week of clean-up, re installation of sun shades and tiki hut roofing, which we took down to avoid losing. The kitchen was not damaged, [it] just as 12 inches of sand in it.”

Now, he — like his fellow islanders — just wants things to go back to normal. “We are all hoping the cruise ships will return soon so we can start making salaries again and having fun with our cruising friends!”


Carnival Cruise Line

Inside The Party For Carnival Horizon [PHOTOS]



Given that Queen Latifah is the Godmother of Carnival’s newest ship, you had to know a good time was going to be had by all at the Carnival Horizon’s official naming ceremony. Held in New York City on a picture-perfect afternoon, the event featured plenty of food, lots of drink, singing, dancing and even a pretty substantial charitable donation.

Welcome To Flavortown

Things got under way with a ribbon-cutting ceremony as celebrity chef Guy Fieri welcomed guests to the latest outpost of Flavortown, the Pig & Anchor Smokehouse/Brewhouse. With live music playing, servers dished out hearty helpings of the venue’s signature foods, including trashcan nachos, dragon chili cheese fries and a pecan pie that was, according to the genuine Southern belle at our table, “to die for.”

Guy Fieri and brewmeister Colin Presby, doing the honors.

After that, the traditional naming ceremony kicked off with Brand Ambassador John Heald offering up a tip of the hat to “the one man to blame” for the fact that “I now have X’s in the back of everything I’m wearing,” Fieri.

Next up was the traditional prayer of blessing, followed by Carnival president Christine Duffy welcoming everyone aboard before discussing the very special bond between the cruise line and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Speaking proudly of the $16 million dollars raised by Carnival since the partnership first began in 2010, Duffy then presented the hospital with a check for another $100,000 and directed everyone’s eyes to the 24-foot Dreamscape, which anchors the atrium and now features among it’s displays 33 pieces of art created by St. Jude patients.

Artwork done by St. Jude patients lit up the Dreamscape.

Next up was the ship’s Godmother, Queen Latifah, who also happens to be a major supporter of St. Jude. After thanking the crowd “for looking so good,” Latifah asked everyone to take another look at the artwork-adorned Dreamscape. “My mom was an art teacher,” she said of her recently-deceased parent, “so I appreciate what the kids do. I know what it does for a child’s heart to create like that.”

Of being Godmother to a cruise ship, Latifah admitted it was “one of the coolest things I’ve ever been asked to be a part of in my life!” She was then joined on stage by Captain Luigi De Angelis and, together, they poured an oversized bottle of champagne (“This is the only time the captain will hold a bottle of champagne like this,” quipped Heald) over the ship’s inaugural season bell.

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“Only at Carnival Cruise Line,” quipped Heald of the ceremony, “do we water the plants with Moet.”

With the official business of the day out of the way, it was time for the fun to start in the Liquid Lounge, where Latifah battled Philadelphia Eagles player Jake Elliot in an epic Lip Sync Battle hosted by popular Carnival cruise director Matt Mitcham. But before the main event could begin, the crowd was in for an unexpected treat when Duffy was joined on stage by Carnival Corp’s President and CEO, Arnold Donald, for a lip synched performance of The Black Eyed Peas’ party anthem “I Gotta Feeling.”

Duffy and Donald proved they definitely choose fun.

With Duffy cheering on Elliot, and Donald firmly in the Queen’s corner, the main event began. And while footballer Elliott took the pumped-up crowd back to the days of MTV’s Headbangers Ball by donning a massive wig to perform Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again,” this was Latifah’s battle to lose. And if you know anything about the singer/actor/businesswoman — who also happens to be a past Lip Sync Battle champion — it’s that she does not come to lose. The moment she and the Playlist Productions performers took to the stage to perform “It’s Raining Men,” it was all over but the cheering. Of the stripping background dancers, Mitcham joked that Latifah’s performance was “like Baywatch and Magic Mike went wild,” while Donald said that the dancers “inspired me to keep my shirt on!”  

Elliott put up a good fight, but he couldn’t dethrone the Queen.

Before being crowned the winner, Latifah admitted there was one thing about her new role which she’d found disappointing. “Shouldn’t Godmother’s have a wand?” she asked… only to promptly be presented one, with which she sprinkled “love dust over the crowd, even my sworn enemy Jake.”

The evening ended with a bang… or, more precisely, a whole lot of bangs.

With the scheduled events of the evening over, invited guests dispersed to enjoy the live entertainment taking place all around the ship, as well as movies in the Imax and Thriller Theaters, a party on the Lido deck, a midnight buffet and an impressive fireworks display that was, appropriately enough, set in part to the tune “New York, New York.” 

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Cruise News

June Special: Kids Sail Free to the Bahamas



With summer around the corner, Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line has a special deal for families traveling with kids. Valid for all June cruises, those 16 and under will sail free if they’re staying in the same stateroom with two paying parents.

With the school year wrapping up and Father’s Day on June 17, it’s the perfect time for a quick escape to the Bahamas. Both of the line’s ships, Grand Classica and Grand Celebration offer a number of activities for guests on their way to the island. There are youth clubs divided by age, swimming pools, multiple dining options, a mini movie theater, mini rock climbing wall, a ball pit, and more.

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There’s also a number of shore excursions that families can take part in once they arrive, including snorkeling, a beach day, cruising the beach in an open-top Jeep, swimming with dolphins, parasailing, kayaking, glass-bottom boat tours, and more.

For more information, visit

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Cruise News

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Take Annual Photos on Cruise Ship



The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders have officially wrapped up their 2018 annual photo shoot, and this year a Miami-based cruise ship was the backdrop.

Over 20 of the cheerleaders sailed to the sunny Caribbean this month aboard MSC Cruises’ MSC Seaside, donning a number of clothing styles for the photos while capturing the ship’s iconic design. The Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Annual is set to be released at the Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders Fashion Show this fall.

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The cheerleaders also took part in photo shoot in ports along the way, including St. Maarten, San Juan, and Nassau. During the voyage, the cheerleaders engaged with guests throughout the cruise during a variety of activities, including at the sail away party, hosting youth cheer clinics, posing for photo ops, and doing special performances to entertain guests. To kick off the cruise, they provided a warm Miami Dolphins welcome by taking over the terminal with mascot “TD” to cheer guests into their vacation.

The annual photoshoot onboard MSC Seaside came on the heels of the Dolphins’ first ever Fan Cruise onboard the same ship in March. The voyage included football legend guests of honor including Kim Bokamper, Terry Kirby, Sam Madison, Nat Moore, Joe Rose and Patrick Surtain, for a week of themed activities. The team will be hosting their second cruise in 2019.

The Miami Dolphins and MSC Cruises are in the midst of a three-year partnership, which resulted in the Fan Cruise. It will be hosted annually over the next three years.

Photos: Miami Dolphins

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