Canada/New England Fall Cruise 2011

The Clam Shack

The Clam Shack

Portland Head Lighthouse

Portland Head Lighthouse

My husband and I along with another couple, Mic and Missy Johnson, sailed the northeast at the beginning of October.  Nine nights at sea, sailing out of Bayonne, New Jersey was sometimes a little rough because of the wet weather.  This cruise was vastly different in so many ways for us.  The weather was the most obvious difference, most days were rainy and cold.  This is what I had expected considering the region that we were sailing.    In fact, for me anyway, this added to the ambiance of the scenery.  Rocky coasts, lighthouses, fog and mist were a common theme.  I loved it!  Although after six straight days of this, we all were in need of a little sunshine.   Nine nights was also something new to us, usually we do the seven night sailings, the two extra days were a bonus.

This particular cruise had a culinary theme as well.  The northeast is, of course, famous for seafood.  I had my very first lobster in Kennebunkport, Maine, yum!!  Lobster rolls at the Clam Shack, highly recommend!  Maine is also famous for their blueberries.  We had a couple of desserts that were absolutely fantastic,  Blueberry Apple Crisp, amazing!!  The northeast is also known for their Whoopie Pies.  We managed to eat them in every port :)  So a lot of fun with the food and the lighthouses, this cruise has left us wanting to go back.  Our last port was Boston.  I loved that city so much that we agreed to go back and spend a few days.  We plan to do that along with a drive up the coast to Maine for more scenery and culinary delights.  We were a couple of weeks early for peak colors this year.  They said the very wet summer lead to a late color change.   We know to go around Columbus Day to get a little closer to seeing the vibrant fall foliage.  Acadia National Park was gorgeous, even though we were there just as the leaves were starting to change.  We missed going to the top of Cadillac Mountain, it was completely covered in fog.  Next time 🙂

This was an incredible cruise vacation, one I highly recommend if you have already experienced Caribbean cruising and are looking for something different.

Happy Sailing 🙂

Considering Your First Cruise?

My First Cruise, October 2006 out of San Juan

My First Cruise, October 2006 out of San Juan

1. Yes, you need passports.

2. Cruising is priced per person based on double occupancy. If you are travelling as a single,
expect to pay almost double.

3. Consider arriving the day before your ship departs so you are on the ship the day it leaves
port. This is highly recommended when taking into account the unpredictability of the
weather and the airlines.

4. You will find some of the best service on a cruise ship. Gratuities are very much earned and
are customary. Most cruise lines allow you to pay them in advance so you won’t have to
worry about them when your cruise is over.

5. Once you board the ship, you will be on a cashless system with the exception of the casino
or extra tipping if you wish. In port you may need cash for souvenirs, cabs and such.

6. Hurricane season officially runs from June through November with September being the
peak month. Keep this in mind when planning. You will find some great value sailing during
this time, just be flexible as itineraries can change at the last minute when a hurricane is in
the area.

7. Cruise insurance is highly recommended. You want to protect your investment in the event
something comes up such as a cancelled cruise or missing the ship for weather reasons. Trip
insurance will cover you if there is an emergency.

8. What does the cruise fare include? All of your food, coffee, tea, some juices and milk.
Your fare also includes your stateroom and all of the onboard entertainment you could want
such as Broadway shows, karaoke, dance lessons and more.

9. What doesn’t the cruise fare include? Airfare, transfers, excursions, cruise insurance,
alcoholic beverages, sodas, specialty restaurant surcharges, bingo cards and any onboard
shopping such as souvenirs or photos.

10. Pack an extra bag/tote for any extras you made need for days in port or for all of those
souvenirs to take back home.

Happy Sailing!!  🙂

Accredited Cruise Counsellor


I’m not one to toot my own horn, but this, I have to share :)  After much determination, I achieved my personal and professional goal of becoming an Accredited Cruise Counsellor (ACC).   I enrolled in CLIA’s (Cruise Lines International Association) Cruise Counsellor Program and set out to earn my ACC.  By completing the official CLIA Cruise Academy training programs, as well as other professional selling programs within the cruise industry, visiting numerous ships, experiencing short and long cruises and attending professional and product development courses as well as demonstrating sales achievement levels, I was able to reach my goal.  Yay!!   It was a challenging experience and I have enjoyed the ride.  A special thanks to my husband Jason for his support (both technical and emotional) along the way.  I have been able to combine my love of cruising with the small business world to help family, friends and new clients experience a great way to vacation – on board a cruise ship!  Thank you to all who have trusted me with your cruise vacations.  I look forward to planning many more!

Next goal……. Master Cruise Counsellor!!

Happy Sailing 🙂

Do I Need a Passport if I’m Sailing from the U.S.?


Yes!  I hear this question a lot.  I have all of my clients get passports for any sailing.  For most cruise lines, technically, if you are a U.S. citizen sailing on a closed loop itinerary out of a U.S. port all you need is your birth certificate and photo id.  There are so many reasons why this is a bad idea.  This past week with Hurricane Irene wreaking havoc, several passengers were stranded in San Juan, Puerto Rico (U.S. territory).  Those that could, flew on to the next port such as Barbados or Aruba.  Guess who was unable to fly to the next port to meet the ship?  Those that didn’t have passports!!  Sad, but true.  The small investment in a passport is worth not missing your much anticipated cruise vacation.  There are various scenarios where you might need to fly back to the U.S. from a port such as illness, injury or death in the family.   You need a passport for this.  You might miss your ship and need to catch up with it at the next port, you would need a passport for this as well.  One of the first questions I always ask my clients is “Do you have your passports?”  If not, I tell them to make sure and get them.   So far, no one has refused :)  Flying home from a foreign port or trying to get to the next port without a passport will be quite a headache and terribly time consuming.

For more information on your travel document requirements, please refer to

Happy Sailing!  🙂