Conference Fun in Ft. Lauderdale

Here I am two months after the event, finally posting about my super fun time attending this conference!  The 10th annual Cruise3sixty was loaded with a lot of surprises, great speakers,  a huge trade show and beautiful ships to tour.

My days were packed with seminars keeping me up-to-date in the social media world to destination workshops and product updates from the cruise line execs themselves.

Then of course there were the ship tours.  Easily, one of the best parts of the conference, in my opinion.   I toured four different ships, each impressing me in one way or another.   While the tours were fast paced, I did manage to get a few pics to share.  The one thing I did NOT enjoy was having to get off the ship after the tour was over 😉

The first tour was on the MSC Divina.  I had never been on board a MSC ship, so this first time was really anticipated.  While I really enjoyed most things about the ship, one particular feature stood out to me:  the four Swarovski staircases.  Wow!!  They have the lighting just right and it sparkles like diamonds in the special lighting all over the atrium.   Beautiful!

Next up was the Celebrity Equinox.  Loved everything about her.  Gorgeous ship, phenomenal food.   The main dining room (called the Silhouette), has a two story wine tower that is just stunning!  The Martini Bar even had a frosted bar top.   The staterooms were chic and spacious.

My third tour was on the Norwegian Getaway.  Again, just a lovely ship.  Waterslides like I have never seen on a cruise ship.   There is even a Carlo’s Bakery on board (you know, from the Cake Boss)!

The final ship tour was on the new Royal Princess.  Wow.  I really just wanted to stay on board instead of heading to the airport.  A couple of things really stood out to me.  The size of the inside staterooms were the biggest I have seen on any Princess ship.  I always feel a bit claustrophoic when I am in an inside stateroom.  Maybe it was just the different layout, but it sure seemed more roomy.   The Piazza/Atrium was enlarged on this new ship and it is beautiful!  I would love to hang out here for an afternoon at sea or in the morning over a mocha.

The highlight and most exciting part of the week was my opportunity to meet Gavin MacLeod –  Captain Stubing from the “Love Boat”.   What a fun surprise!!   Had the chance to chat for a minute and have my photo taken with him.  I was a “Love Boat” watcher when I was a kid and fell in love with the idea of cruising even back then.  Little did I know that one day cruising would be such a big part of my world!

Attending Cruise3sixty is always such a great time.  I love interacting with other agents, hearing their stories, bouncing ideas around.  I truly enjoy the event and am looking forward to the next one in 2015!

Happy Sailing 🙂



Preparing for Another Travel Seminar

I will be attending my 3rd travel seminar in the last 7 months this April!  Loving everything that I am learning!  Best of all, it is so much fun to tour new ships and have lunch on board.

Boston – September 2013 -  My host agency, Dugan’s Travels, sponsors a seminar twice a year.  I have been with Dugan’s for over 5 years and this was the first one I was able to attend.  I am making it a priority to go more often than every 5 years now that I know what I was missing 🙂

Several of our suppliers made presentations.  My favorite though, of course, was Michelle Van Deusen, our BDM (Business Development Manager) for Royal Caribbean International.  She also led us on a tour aboard the Brilliance of the Seas.  Best inspection ever.  We timed it just right when the debarking passengers had cleared the ship and the new guests were yet to board.  Needless to say, we took advantage of that and quickly toured stem to stern, top to bottom, followed that by an amazing lunch with wine flowing and great converstation with my fellow travel consultants.   The Boston seminar was such great fun,  loved getting to know the faces and voices behind the names on our online forums.

Cruise World – November 2013 – Located in Ft. Lauderdale.  This was my first time attending Cruise World!  The conference itself was really pretty good, a large variety of classes available for those interested in technology, selling, river cruising, home port destinations and so on.  I was able to get on board 3 ships for a tour and lunch:  Norwegian Epic, Disney Magic and I actually sailed for one night on Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas.   I must say, that while I loved them all, I loved the Disney Magic even more!  I’m sure that’s because I’ve never been on board a Disney ship and have looked forward to it for a long time!  Disney did not disappoint.  Gorgeous ship, with amazing kiddo adventures and great venues for adults, too.

Cruise3sixty – April 2014 – Also in Ft. Lauderdale, this will be my 3rd time at this conference.  I would have to say between the two dedicated cruise conferences, this is my favorite.  I’m looking forward to 4 days of all things cruising.   New this year is one full day dedicated to presentations from 25 cruise lines!!  I will have to pack a lunch, there isn’t even a lunch break!  I am also very much looking forward to 4 ship tours:  MSC Divina, Celebrity Equinox, Norwegian Getaway and the Royal Princess.  Look for Facebook posts the first week of April when I am at this conference.  So excited!

Happy Sailing 🙂


Cow Butt Stateroom – Awesome

How clever!  Royal Caribbean sure knows how to put a positive spin on a stateroom dilemma…

There is an inside stateroom on the Freedom Class ships of Royal Caribbean that has a window to the Royal Promenade.  This stateroom is located directly above the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream shop, stateroom #6305.

As it turns out, when you look through the window, you have a wonderful view of the backside of two life-size cows that sit on top of the ice cream shop!   Seeing this as a bit of a disadvantage to the passengers booked in this stateroom, so Royal Caribbean decided to make it something unique and sought after.

Royal Caribbean has coined the stateroom, the “Ben and Jerry’s Sweet”.  The decor is cow-themed, of course.  From the sheets to the pillows to the wall hangings to the towel hooks.  Fun!

Check out this video for a tour of the room!

The best part is the complimentary ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s for two guests, once a day on the cruise.  The rumor is that the stateroom also includes access to the Concierge Lounge (for passengers over 18 years old), which is otherwise only available to passengers who book a suite.

What a creative way to market this less-than-desirable location!

Shown on the deck plan as a normal stateroom, this is a real insider tip.  If you are a Ben and Jerry’s lover and tend to book the inside category, this stateroom is for you!

Happy Sailing!  🙂


7 Must Haves for Your Next Cruise

Do you keep those “must haves” always ready to pack when you vacation?  My husband and I do.  I thought I would share with you those items we take with us when we cruise.  Feel free to comment on anything you feel is a neccessity for you!

  1. A simple luggage scale or a digital luggage scale.  It helps with getting your bags balanced out so you aren’t trying to rearrange at the airport to avoid overweight bag fees.
  2. A travel-size alarm clock.   Cell phones work great when you are on land, but not always good to have them turned on while you are sailing.   Check with your mobile phone provider before turning your cell phone on at sea (or in a foreign country for that matter).
  3. A power strip.  With all of today’s electronic gadgets, you need a way to keep them all powered up!  There are very few electrical outlets (typically only one, maybe two) in a stateroom on board, so you must make the most of the one you have.
  4. Sea sickness meds.   You will find that very few get sick on board due to motion sickness.  This is because of the great stabilizers these large cruise ships have underneath.  Most of the time you can hardly tell you are on a ship!  Never hurts to be prepared though.  My husband has an iron stomach.  I, on the other hand, take Dramamine just in case.  I hear sea bands work great, too.
  5. Ear plugs.  In case your neighbors are noisy.  Enough said 🙂
  6. Packable tote bag.  You may need to take a few things ashore with you for that beach day like a book, sunscreen and underwater cameras.  Or you may have too many souvenirs to fit into your luggage and need the extra packing space on your way home!
  7. Night light.  If you book an inside stateroom, there are no windows and it is almost completely dark.  You will need a little light just to get to the bathroom.  Ours is the Blackout Buddy that doubles as a flashlight.

These items, for us, just make our cruise vacation a little bit easier.

Happy Sailing 🙂