Carnival Vista Video Series Showcases Ship’s Innovative Accommodations and the First IMAX Theatre at Sea

In episode five in the Behind the Scenes: Carnival Vista video series, host Peter Gonzalez takes viewers on a tour of the ship's IMAX Theater – the first ever on a cruise ship – as well as the innovative accommodations that will be featured aboard the new 130,000-ton vessel which is currently being constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

Royal Caribbean Orders Fifth Quantum-Class Vessel

Royal Caribbean today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Meyer Werft in Germany to order a fifth Quantum-class ship for delivery in the Fall of 2020.
"It is such a pleasure to announce the order of another Quantum-class ship as we are welcoming Anthem of the Seas to North America," said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  "These ships have been received with excitement, and performed exceptionally well, across the globe.  We fully expect that momentum to continue as we add to this innovative class of ships."
"At Royal Caribbean we are focused on continuously improving efficiency and sustainability, and the fifth Quantum class vessel will be clear evidence of this," said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International.  "Of equal importance is our ability to consistently surpass guest expectations, and we are harnessing the power of the latest technology to do so on this ship."
Based upon current ship orders, projected capital expenditures for full year 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are $1.6 billion, $2.4 billion, $0.5 billion, $2.5 billion and $1.4 billion, respectively.
Capacity increases for 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are expected to be 5.4%, 6.4%, 3.4%, 3.7% and 6.6%, respectively.  These figures do not include potential ship sales or additions that we may elect to make in the future.

Source: Royal Caribbean Cruise Line

Fall Leaves at Tray Mountain

These are some photos me any my friend Justin took last weekend at Tray Mountain in Helen, Georgia.

Jaxon Picking Out Some Pumpkins

Newest Behind the Scenes: Carnival Vista Video Focuses on Ship’s Array of Dining Options

In the latest Behind the Scenes: Carnival Vista video series, host Peter Gonzalez travels to the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy to take viewers on a tantalizing tour of the ship's variety of food and beverage choices, which are enhanced by the vessel's breathtaking connection to the sea. The video can be viewed here (or down below).

Taking the ship's name to heart, Carnival Vista will offer 12 different indoor/outdoor culinary and bar concepts, from a classic American steakhouse called Fahrenheit 555 to the RedFrog Pub featuring the line's first on-board brewery and the Cherry On Top sweets store featuring a new mixed-to-order ice cream venue.

Carnival Liberty Caught Fire in St Thomas

Here is the latest news
 September 7, 2015 – 2:15 pm EDT

Earlier today, while the Carnival Liberty was docked in St. Thomas, there was a fire in the ship’s engine room. There were no reported injuries to guests or crew. All guests are ashore in St. Thomas. Crews are working to confirm the fire has been completely extinguished.

The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. Updates will be provided as additional information becomes available.

 Carnival Liberty is on the second day of a seven-day Caribbean cruise that departed San Juan yesterday.


September 7, 2015 – 9 pm EDT
...All guests remained ashore through this evening while the ship's technical systems were evaluated. Presently, all hotel services including air conditioning, elevators, toilets, galleys, etc. are fully functional. 
Crew was permitted to reboard at approximately 5:30 p.m. EDT to prepare for the anticipated embarkation of guests. At approximately 8 p.m. EDT the U.S. Coast Guard gave permission for guests to reboard.
Dinner is being served in the main dining rooms and Lido, and a variety of entertainment and activities are available.
A team of experts is in the process of conducting a deeper technical assessment of the affected engine room that is expected to be completed in the morning.  At this time it has not been determined when the ship will depart St. Thomas. 
We apologize to our guests for the inconvenience and appreciate their patience.

Source: John Heald

Carnival Pride to Return to Tampa To Operate Series of Voyages in January and February 2017

Carnival Cruise Line's 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride will return to the Port of Tampa to operate a series of five- to 14-day voyages in January and February 2017, providing consumers with an exciting variety of "Fun Ship" vacation choices from this popular Florida port.

Newest “Carnival Vista: Behind the Scenes” Video Showcases Line’s First-Ever Brewery at the RedFrog Pub

In the third installment of "Carnival Vista: Behind the Scenes" video series, host Peter Gonzalez and Carnival Vice President of Beverage Operations Eddie Allen highlight the line's first-ever brewery that will be featured in the ship's RedFrog Pub.  Carnival Vista is set to debut in Europe May 1, 2016.

Harmony Of The Seas To Debut New Aquatic Adventure Park For Kids

MIAMI, Aug. 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Royal Caribbean International will amp up the adventure when the cruise line debuts Harmony of the Seas, the world's largest cruise ship and the first to feature Splashaway Bay an interactive aqua park for kids. The Ultimate Abyss, the tallest slide at sea touting a 100 foot dramatic plunge, The Perfect Storm trio of water slides and Splashaway Bay are the latest in a thrilling collection of activities that will make Harmony of the Seas the ultimate family vacation experience starting next summer.

Carnival’s Enhanced Internet Access, Including Social Media Packages, To Be Rolled Out Fleetwide by Early 2016

Carnival Mobile App
Carnival Cruise Line's new social media Internet packages – which offer access to a variety of popular Web sites for just $5 a day – are now available on more than half of the line's ships with fleetwide implementation scheduled by the first quarter of 2016.

Additionally, the line's new mobile app – currently available on Carnival Breeze and offering an innovative "chat" feature – has been very well received with a third of the ship's guests actively using the app during their cruise. The app is expected to be available on five additional ships by the end of the year and be fleetwide by summer 2016.

"Fast, affordable and reliable social media channels and the Internet have become essential on today's cruise ships," said Gabriela Gonzalez, Carnival's vice president of guest technology. "We have thoughtfully approached this area to ensure we are providing options that guests sailing throughout our fleet find truly valuable and reliable," she added.

Currently available on 13 ships, Carnival's enhanced Internet access offers dramatically increased bandwidth and speed while the cruise industry's first social media package provides unlimited access to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest and other popular sites for just $5 per day with discounted plans available for the entire cruise.

Carnival Teams Up With Dr. Seuss Enterprises To Host Celebrity Book-Reading Events For New Dr. Seuss Book ‘What Pet Should I Get?’

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Carnival Cruise Line and its partner Dr. Seuss Enterprises teamed up to celebrate the release of the new Dr. Seuss book, "What Pet Should I Get?" with celebrity book readings by Tampa Bay Rays all-star Evan Longoria aboard Carnival Paradise in Tampa and local broadcasting legend Angela Hill aboard Carnival Dream in New Orleans.

Second Video in Carnival Vista Behind the Scenes Video Series

The new "Behind the Scenes: Carnival Vista" video series continues with the second episode venturing below deck to showcase the line's largest and most innovative ship which is set to debut from Europe May 1, 2016.

Freedom of the Seas on Fire Near Falmouth, Jamaica

Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas caught on fire near Falmouth, Jamaica.  Click the link below for more information.

Freedom of the Seas on Fire Near Falmouth, Jamaica

Carnival to Build Another Terminal in Barcelona

Carnival Corporation  today announced it has signed an agreement with the Port Authority of Barcelona to invest more than 30 million euros to build and operate its second private cruise terminal at the Port of Barcelona, which is used by seven of the company's 10 cruise line brands as both a destination and home port.

As part of the agreement, the Port Authority granted Carnival Corporation administrative concessions to operate the cruise terminal and all-new parking facility at Europe's largest port and the fourth busiest port in the world.

With the agreement, Carnival Corporation has been granted approval to begin the final design process and start construction of the new terminal in 2016. Scheduled to open as early as 2018 in the Port's Adossat wharf, the new terminal will be one of Europe's largest at 11,500 square meters.

Royal Caribbean Cancels Dynamic Dining Plans for Rest of Fleet

After introducing Dynamic Dining on the Quantum of the Seas, and subsequent changes to the program, and delays on introducing it on Oasis and Allure, Royal Caribbean International has confirmed the innovative dining program will not be introduced on the rest of its fleet.

“The revolutionary Dynamic Dining concept was created for Royal Caribbean International’s newest and most technologically advanced Quantum-class ships. It has been decided not to introduce the Dynamic Dining concept to the rest of the fleet, which was not specifically designed to support it, although previously announced for Oasis Class ships," said the line in a statement sent to travel agents.
Plans to launch the program on Harmony are also gone, meaning guests sailing on the ship will revert back to the company's two seating times in the main dining room, or the My Time Dining option.

Source: Cruise Industry News

WTF Comments: I'm a Cheapskate!!

7-18-2015 episode of The Joe Somebody Show in which I discuss a comment left by a follower that said: I was a cheapskate, I book the oldest and cheapest ships, and never buy my wife any drinks while on our cruises.

I get some weird comments on my youtube videos.  Most of them are good and nice and even if they disagree they are polite.  But sometimes people are just mean.

Carnival Dramatically Enhances Shore Excursion Offerings with Exclusive Private and Customized Tours, Expanded Services, Family-Friendly Pricing and More

Carnival Cruise Line has dramatically expanded its shore excursion offerings, adding exclusive new landside experiences and customized private tours, as well as new family-friendly enhancements, including fun complimentary beachside activities, value pricing and free tours in select ports for children under age five.
The new options build upon Carnival's leadership position in the shore excursion arena, with nearly 1,200 unique landside experiences offered by the line in more than 50 ports of call throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Bahamas, Canada, New England, and Central and South America.
"Shore excursions are an important part of the Carnival vacation experience and we've gone to great lengths to provide our guests with even more choices and offer families unique value-added services and pricing options that are exclusive to Carnival," said Erika Tache, Carnival's director of product development.

Celebrity Names First American Female Captain

For the first time in the cruise industry an American female will take the helm of a cruise ship.
At 37 years of age, San Francisco native Kate McCue will command Celebrity Summit starting this August.
Celebrity said it has elevated McCue to the position of Captain based on her 15 years of successful experience and leadership in the maritime industry.
During her tenure, McCue has managed ship logistics while sailing worldwide itineraries, including Europe, Asia, Australia, the Caribbean, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska, and along the Panama Canal. Captain McCue has also served as a maritime leader while sailing several transatlantic and repositioning cruises, and played a notable role in the revitalization of ships in Singapore.
Continuing Celebrity Cruises’ dedication to advancing the role of women in leadership, Kate McCue’s appointment follows that of Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, who was named President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises in December 2014.
"From the first time I met Kate, I looked forward to this moment, when I could extend my congratulations to her for being such a dynamic and highly respected leader who will continue to pave the way for women in the maritime industry,” said Lutoff-Perlo. “Of all the great moments throughout my career, this is at the top of my list. I am both honored that Kate accepted this position, and proud of the way our team continues to transform the way people think about Celebrity, and about cruising in general.”
A graduate of California State University’s California Maritime Academy, Captain McCue has held a variety of roles in the maritime industry, beginning as a cadet and deck officer, then working through a series of successively more responsible positions to her most recent role as Master Mariner with Royal Caribbean International. McCue has earned numerous certifications in a variety of areas pertaining to leadership navigation, ship management and security.
"Becoming the first female American captain of a cruise ship has been a goal of mine for as long as I can remember,” added McCue. “The honor is amplified by being the first at a company like Celebrity Cruises. The cruise industry is ever-evolving, from the ships and the itineraries, to our guests’ expectations for vacation experiences. Celebrity has a history of delivering on each of these, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.  I look forward to working with an amazing team and the exceptional leadership who bring the Celebrity Cruises vision to life every day."
McCue will begin her new role onboard Celebrity Summit in August 2015.

Source: Cruise Industry News

Cruise giant Carnival Corp. to launch sailings to Cuba

Add cruise giant Carnival Corp. to the list of travel companies starting up trips to Cuba.

The parent company of Carnival, Princess and eight other cruise brands says it'll launch seven-night "people-to-people" tours to the island via ship beginning in May 2016, contingent on approval by Cuban authorities.

Carnival Fascination Earns Perfect 100 U.S.P.H. Inspection Score

Carnival Fascination scored 100 during its recent United States Public Health (U.S.P.H.) inspection which took place at Jacksonville, Fla. Carnival Fascination is the sixth Carnival ship to earn a perfect score this year. To earn a 100 score, cruise ships must receive perfect marks on all 44 items that comprise the U.S.P.H.'s comprehensive Vessel Sanitation Program checklist. The unannounced inspections, which are conducted twice a year and required for any cruise ship with an international itinerary calling at a U.S. port, evaluate vessels in a wide variety of areas, including adherence to proper food handling, preparation and storage procedures, and overall galley cleanliness. Ships' potable water supplies used in spas and pools are evaluated, as well. The 2,052-passenger Carnival Fascination operates four- and five-day cruises from Jacksonville. 

Source: Carnival Cruise Lines

Fast, Free Internet And Exciting New Features For Royal Caribbean's Majesty Of The Seas

By popular demand, Majesty of the Seas will continue to offer short cruises sailing with Royal Caribbean International. The largest and most award-winning global cruise line announced today that the ship will homeport in Port Canaveral, along Florida's Space Coast, starting in summer 2016.  Before her season in Port Canaveral where she will sail to theBahamasMajesty of the Seas will go into drydock for upgrades and receive transformational new onboard amenities.
Voom, the fastest internet at sea, will be available free and unlimited exclusively for guests on Majesty of the Seas to stay connected, brag about their vacation to friends and family, stream their favorite movies and music, and enjoy popular online video gaming.

Affinity Gaming and Carnival Cruise Line Form Partnership

Affinity logo

Affinity Gaming has partnered with Carnival Cruise Line, the world's most popular cruise line, to offer exciting new benefits to members of Affinity's A-Play Player's Club at 11 Affinity-owned casinos in four states.

The partnership will award Affinity Gaming's highest Player's Club tier members with a variety of benefits, including the opportunity to earn complimentary Carnival cruises, beginning July 1, 2015, based on their level of play. Mid-level tier members will be eligible to receive special discounted offers on a wide variety of Carnival cruises, which visit beautiful ports throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas, Alaska, Hawaii and other destinations.

"We believe that our players will find this new benefit to be very rewarding and cultivate strong loyalty between the players and our properties," said Affinity Gaming Chief Operating Officer Michael Silberling. "Our partnership with Carnival Cruise Line is a win-win for all parties involved."

"Affinity Gaming LLC is an excellent partner for this venture as they share Carnival Cruise Line's commitment to outstanding service and hospitality," said Marty Goldman, Carnival's senior vice president of global casino operations. "We look forward to bringing the one-of-a-kind Carnival vacation experience to Affinity Gaming A-Play guests and providing them with a lifetime of wonderful vacation memories."

The cruises can be booked through any of Carnival's reservations channels, including its valued travel agent partners.

About Affinity Gaming
Affinity Gaming is a diversified casino gaming company headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Company's casino operations consist of 11 casinos, five of which are located in Nevada, three in Colorado, two in Missouri and one in Iowa. For more information about Affinity Gaming, please visit its website:

Source: Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival Vista ‘Floated Out’ at Fincantieri Shipyard in Italy, Marking Significant Construction Milestone

Carnival Vista, currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, has been "floated out" from its dry dock facility and towed to a new location at the yard, marking a significant construction milestone in the ship's construction progress in anticipation of its May 1, 2016, debut.
The newest, largest and most innovative ship in the fleet, the 133,500-ton Carnival Vista will offer a variety of one-of-a-kind features, including a suspended cycling experience called SkyRide, the line's first on-board brewery and the first IMAX Theatre on a cruise ship.  Several unique stateroom options, including the new Family Harbor accommodations and the Havana staterooms and suites, will be included as well.
Carnival Vista will operate a schedule of European cruises from May to October 2016. Following a trans-Atlantic crossing, Carnival Vista will operate a pair of voyages from New York in November 2016 then launch year-round Caribbean departures from Miami later that month.

Source: Carnival Cruise Lines


7-5-2015 episode of the Joe Somebody Show in which I answer a question about 3rd party cruise excursions.

No More Cruises To Nowhere?!

6-12-2015 episode of The Joe Somebody Show in which I talk about the government changing a customs law that will no longer allow cruise lines to offer a cruise to nowhere.  Starting in 2016 all cruises must make stops in a foreign port.

Carnival's New No Bottle Policy (Bottle BAN)

6-1-2015 episode of The Joe Somebody Show in which I talk about Carnival's new policy about bringing bottles of water or bottles of soda onto cruise ships...and my nose is stuffy.

Meet Me In St. Louis

I am an avid cruise enthusiast.  That can mostly be attributed to my general love for travel, sightseeing, and eating.  When I'm not day dreaming about my next cruise, I often daydream about traveling to some of the more well known cities here in the continental US.  Somehow, the grand idea to go to St. Louis popped into my head at the same time my wife had the idea to go to Missouri to see our dinner-mates (Patrick and Jennifer) from our last cruise.  That made it an easy sell to get her interested in this trip. We decided to load up over memorial weekend and meet Patrick and Jennifer in St. Louis to explore the city for the first time together with our children.

St. Louis is about as far away from our house as Port Canaveral.  It was strange but nice to be heading out in another direction (and to avoid the tollroads!).  We drove mostly during the evening hours through North Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and into St Louis in the wee little hours of the morning.  We saw our first glimpse of the Gateway Arch in the dark and admired the glow of the city as we drove through downtown towards the Marriott West.  Considering we only paid $77/night, the hotel was clean and contemporary.

Our first day in St. Louis was spent taking a riverboat cruise up the Mississippi river and sightseeing at the Gateway Arch park.  It was  a beautiful sight!  The riverboat cruise was an hour long (slightly lack-luster) tour of some bridges and buildings narrated by a guide.  It made for some great pictures and the kids seemed to enjoy being on the paddle-wheel boat.  After the riverboat, we ventured onward to the arch.  I felt very fulfilled as I reached out and touched a leg of the arch.  The seven of us crammed into a tiny egg-shaped capsule that took us up to the top of the arch.  Even with the crowd of tourists and hyper children running around, a very calm feeling came over me as I looked out the window towering over St. Louis.

Being in a new city, we wanted to try some local food.  Nobody wanted another bag meal from a franchise.  Jennifer found a little place called "The Royale" that she wanted to try.  It was a great little neighborhood restaurant and pub.  In retrospect, it probably wasn't the best place for 2 families with small children.  But they were very welcoming none the less.  It had a trendy urban feel, but not too hipster.  I ordered a local soda (R-PEP) and brisket tacos with chips and pico de gallo.  It was truly fantastic!

The next day was spent pretty much entirely at the St. Louis Zoo.  Living less than 2 hours from Zoo Atlanta, we're no strangers to zoos.  The St. Louis zoo is quite a bit larger than Zoo Atlanta and is actually free.  You pay only for certain parts of the zoo.  We chose to buy all access type passes that were $12/person.  That got us into all parts of the zoo as well as unlimited train rides (which the kids loved).

Again, we wanted to try something different for dinner.  I had heard fantastic things about The Hill and the abundance of yummy restaurants it has to offer.  I had also heard about St. Louis being somewhat famous for toasted ravioli.  So I looked on YELP to find a restaurant on The Hill that had some.  Arriving at Mama Toscano's, I realized that I had made a big mistake.  It was closed.  Everything on The Hill is apparently closed on Sundays.  So
my plan to eat on The Hill and have some St. Louis famous toasted ravioli's was now just a dream for another trip.  We dialed in on one of the only open BBQ places on a Sunday evening only to find it to be in a sketchy neighborhood.   Near famished and upset about the ravioli's, I found a place on YELP that was open, cheap, and highly rated.  It'
s name?  Seoul Taco.  That's right, Korean food.  The reviews were great, so that's where we went.  It had 2 dinning options.  You could have Seoul BBQ or Seoul Taco.  We chose the taco side, and it was amazing.  The fresh new age feel of the restaurant was intriguing...almost juxtaposed to their simple menu of exciting flavors.  I had a chicken gogi bowl, a spicy pork taco, and some pork pot stickers.  My wife, had a chicken taco and a burrito.  Even the kids seemed to enjoy the food!

That was our last night in St. Louis.   We awoke early the next morning, said our goodbyes to the city and our friends, and headed back to our home in Georgia.  It was a great trip and I honestly believe that it enriched our souls.  Though it was just a couple of days, we crammed as much as we could into the trip and I enjoyed it just as much if not more than other vacations that were longer and more expensive... well.

Video from this trip:

Memorial Weekend 2015 in St. Louis, MO

This is a set of photos from our random road trip from Atlanta to St. Louis.

From Day 1 (Gateway Arch and Riverboat Cruise)

From Day 2 (St. Louis Zoo)

From The Drive Back Home

Cell Phone Photos