Watching from a ship as it departs is a favorite of many cruisers. For those rare birds able to rise early, watching as one's ship arrives in a port can be something special. In this case we split the difference and enjoy watching the Norwegian Gem as she enters the Bay of San Juan. Seen from the aft deck of the Royal Caribbean ship Independence of the Seas, she sails quickly to dock.
Enjoy the bit of cruising? Join us here at Cruise Aficionados! Share your own cruise, port, shopping and even hotel reviews. Learn or share about cruising in our forums. Make cruising part of every day! When you can't be onboard, be online!
Costa has secured an agreement with Fincantieri, the Italian shipbuilder, to build two ships for 2019 and 2020. Each carrying 4,200 passengers they will surely mean the ship is a follow-on to the Vista class Carnival has begun to deploy. These news vessels will sail out of China and designed for that market specifically. If Costa retains the existing ships deployed in the Chinese market it will have five.
The Florida Turnpike is one of the nicer such roads I've driven. The route serves the main artery of tourist travel from Miami to just north of Orlando. Although I-95 runs parallel to it and costs nothing, I choose to use it because of the steady flow of rest-stops complete with gas and food. The Turnpike likes to use the motto "The Less Stress Way," and there is some truth to that. The only aggravation I've ever experienced is the sometimes confusing layout of the parking lots. Unlike some toll roads, the service plazas are in the middle of the north and southbound lanes, so everything is designed around an essentially circular traffic pattern. In plazas where construction is underway, especially at night, you can easily miss where to turn for the gas station or parking.
One feature common to most toll roads is an automated toll collection system. Called Sun Pass, there is a device which you can place on your windshield which is scanned by select toll booth lanes. This allows you to move through without stopping. The video included here shows both entering and passing through one such Sun Pass lane.
Traveling with kids as I will be this October (2016) having service plazas are a plus when shuttling kids in and out of bathrooms and eating a meal or two. Plus the absolute certainty of where I can count on fuel lets me plan my drive so I can blaze out of state of Florida quickly. Not that I honestly want to leave having just been on a cruise.
Ah, that first night dilemma. To go below deck for dinner or the show, or to remain at a railing to watch the sight of the ship putting to sea. Sometimes that hard choice is made all the more difficult because of the hypnotic image of the city lights at night or the setting sun.
Cruise Aficionados helps you skip having to choose. Enjoy this video of Independence of the Seas leaving Port Everglades at sunset. Especially enjoy the traditional salutes by the condos!
Spend a little time every day thinking about being on a cruise ship. When you find the day running long, think about the sounds of the ship, the smell of the ship, and let it take you back there for awhile. It works.