10 Reasons to Take a Family Cruise

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Family cruises are exciting and offer something special for everyone. Bring the kids along for a special vacation experience you will all remember and talk about for years to come. Take the parents too for a multi-generations vacation or reunion holiday. There’s room for everyone.

1. Incredible Value

Family cruise vacations are very cost-effective compared to a holiday at a land-based resort. Several dining choices, daytime and nighttime entertainment, children and teen activities, plus much more is included in the fare. Instead of paying for separate meals, various entertainment, such as production shows and movies, which can quickly add up, everything is included!

2. Something for All Age Groups

Cruising on these family-friendly ships provide a myriad of activities geared toward different age groups. Everyone from tots to grandparents can enjoy something special and be as adventurous or inactive as they like. Kids can head to the waterslides at the water park, teens can spend time at the video arcade and adults can lounge in the sun or get a rejuvenating massage at the spa. Take an educational lecture, do yoga, go to a wine-tasting, watch a more or a production show. There are endless possibilities to explore. Try the ropes course, go bowling and take a ride in the bumper cars. Some ships have ice-skating and a merry-go-round.

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3. Visit Multiple Destinations

Another advantage of a family cruise is that you can wake up each day or so (depending on the itinerary) in a new place adding more excitement to you and the kids’ vacation. They can have a daily surprise as they peek out the window or balcony doors and guess where they are for a fun experience.

4. Adults Get to Relax

Family cruises do not have to mean parents don’t get time to themselves. With the many activities and babysitting services offered on many ships, adults can actually have quality time for themselves. Depending on the ship, there are adults-only restaurants for romantic candlelit dinners under the stars and dancing. Melt your cares away at the pools, whirlpools and have a couples side-by-side massage at the spa.

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5. Family Reunion

A cruise vacation provides the perfect venue for the extended family to get together in a fun and relaxing setting. They can spend as much time together as they want but also have the freedom to enjoy whatever interests them. Catch-up with the family in lovely surroundings as you enjoy each other’s company without having to worry about cooking, cleaning or fixing up the spare bedroom. It is an ideal setting. Travel in the utmost of comfort on a beautiful ship to exciting destinations and really enjoy seeing the family.

6. Accommodations

Many cruise ships now boast “family staterooms” that can accommodate five or six guests. Some are also interconnecting, so there will be more bathrooms and storage space. In addition, there is a large variety of cabin types from inside staterooms to luxurious suites. Different family members can select the perfect stateroom according to their preference and budget.

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7. Kids, Teens & Tweens

Family-friendly offering include age-specific kids’ program. Depending on the cruise line, they can enjoy a variety of ever expanding kids programs sure to keep them happy. They can meet their favorite DreamWorks characters with Royal Caribbean and go on mega-waterslides with Carnival and Disney. Norwegian Cruise Line has Kids Aqua Park, Wii video games, Nickelodeon TV and activities with SpongeBob Square Pants. Many people are concerned about what Tweens (ages 12 to 14) and Teens (up to age 17) can do on a cruise, knowing they get bored so easily. The good news is many ships have areas just for them. There are pizza parties, video and high-tech games, dances and much more fun activities.

8. Dining to Please Everyone

Dining is easier than ever on cruise ships, with a host of eateries that are family-friendly. There are buffets, casual choices and many restaurants have a “kid-friendly” menu with such popular favorites as mac ’n cheese, pizza, hot dogs, burgers and ice cream. There are adults-only restaurants and a host of culinary choices on the ships with delicious cuisine from around the world, including regional dishes. There are formal options, alfresco and much more. Elegant restaurants serving exquisite cuisine and fine wines are also available.

9. Packing and Unpacking Just Once

A big advantage to taking a family cruise is that you just have to pack and unpack once as your floating resort take you from one exciting destination to another. Especially when traveling with kids, life is much easier when you can simply sit-back and enjoy your vacation and not have to worry about clothes and suitcases.

10. Shared Memories

Last but not least, a family cruise provides many happy occasions that the family gets to share. Experiencing fun and unique times create memories that last forever.  Whether it is snorkeling in the Caribbean, panning for gold in Alaska or seeing the historic sites of Europe for the first time, family cruises are priceless.

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Choose from several family-friendly cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean International

For more information on Family cruises, visit us at Cruise.com or call one of our cruise experts at 1-888-776-0659.

Bermuda Cruises – British and Beautiful!

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Bermuda cruises offer a fabulous vacation choice with fabulous pink-sand beaches, clear turquoise water, great restaurants and the most golf courses per square mile than anywhere in the world. Add to that superb diving and other water sports, museums and historic forts, diverse shopping and swimming with the dolphins and it makes a perfect cruise destination.

With all this plus the scenic coastline and balmy weather, it is no wonder Bermuda is called the “Jewel of the Atlantic.” As a British Territory there is an atmosphere that reflects this culture, from driving on the left side of the road to traditional afternoon tea.

Situated just 600 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina it just takes about a day and a half to cruise here from ports in the northeast, including New York City, Baltimore, Boston and Bayonne, New Jersey. Transatlantic and repositioning sailings also often include Bermuda on its itineraries.

Several cruise lines sail here, such as Celebrity Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Silversea Cruises. Norwegian Cruise Line’s spectacular floating resort — Norwegian Breakaway – sails weekly roundtrip from New York City to King’s Wharf.

Exciting experiences include whale-watching in the spring when humpbacks and other species migrate from the Caribbean to north Atlantic feeding grounds. Explore the sea life and coral reefs by helmet-diving and the Crystal Caves that reach 120 feet below ground level with dramatic stalactites and stalagmites.

Take a romantic stroll on the South Shore Park, which connects two of the best-known beaches of Bermuda — Warwick Beach and Horseshoe Bay, which is also considered one of the world’s most beautiful. At a small cove surrounded by cliffs, Baby Beach with clear shallow waters make it an ideal spot for snorkeling. Shelly Bay Beach in Hamilton is popular with families because of its shallow water and tree-shaded areas and the man-made Snorkel Park with snorkeling and waterslides for the kids. Sea Glass Beach sparkles with a unique beauty and is also one of the favorites.

Historic Hamilton

Both the capital and the hub of Bermuda, Hamilton is a picturesque and bustling harbor city. Stroll along the cobblestone streets with the row of iconic pastel-colored buildings along Front Street designed in a British Colonial style.

Designed for all age groups, the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute features a wide variety of fascinating exhibits as well as whale-watching tours. Overlooking beautiful Harrington Sound is Holy Trinity Church, which is one of the oldest churches in the western hemisphere, with some parts dating back to 1660. Relax at the many bars and restaurants along the waterfront, where you can sip on Bermuda’s Dark ‘n’ Stormy. See the beauty underneath Bermuda at the Crystal and Fantasy Caves.

Join in the fun of Harbour Nights on Wednesdays between May and September, when it comes alive with sparkling lights, Gombey dancers and music. Shops and restaurants stay open later, providing the perfect opportunity to sample delicious authentic Bermudian dishes.

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Picturesque St. George’s

Picturesque St. George’s holds the title as the second English settlement in the New World and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stroll along its quaint narrow streets with such descriptive names as Featherbed Alley and Silk Alley. King’s Square at the town’s center features replicas of stocks, a pillory and whipping post, used to punish criminals over four centuries ago and today a fun spot for the family. Once the Governor’s house, The Bermuda National Trust Museum exhibits the history of St. George’s.

 

Snorkelers flock to the crystal clear waters of Tobacco Bay from all over the world. History comes alive on a tour of the replica of the 1610 Deliverance, a Bermuda cedar wood ship providing a memorable experience for the entire family. Somers Wharf Shopping and Dining Complex is lined with restaurants and an array of items diverse items.

Discover 400 years of Bermudian history at Fort St. Catherine that was built in 1614 and where the first settlers came onshore and you can now tour. A popular exhibit includes replicas of some of the British Crown Jewels. Historic is St. Peter’s Church is the oldest surviving Anglican church in continuous use outside the British Isles.

The island’s largest wildlife sanctuary called Spittal Pond Nature Preserve is home to a variety of species and flora. Take a scenic mile-long walk amongst beautiful flowers and trees. Another is the tranquil Nonsuch Island Nature Reserve is dedicated to the conservation of rare and threatened species.

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King’s Wharf (Royal Naval Dockyard)

King’s Wharf, located within The Royal Naval Dockyard, is an immense stone fortress built in 1815. Once a royal naval base, it is now a popular attraction and home to The National Museum of Bermuda, Dolphin Quest, the Art Center and the Bermuda Craft Market, plus several restaurants and duty-free shopping.

Duty-free shopping is offered at the Clocktower Mall, filled with a myriad of shops including the famous Bermuda Rum Cake Company. One-of-a-kind beautiful items by local are sold at Dockyard Glassworks, where you can also watch artist demonstrations.

Shopping

British imports such as Harris Tweeds and cashmere sweaters are duty-free in Bermuda — about 20 percent less than you would pay in the U.S. Buy some famous Gosling’s rum to make your own Dark ‘n’ Stormy when you get back home and head to the Bermuda Perfumery in St. George’s for an authentic fragrance made here, including the popular Lili Bermuda.

Wine lovers and cigar aficionados flock to Churchill’s in St. George’s, boasting high-quality eclectic selections from around the world, plus lot of unique accessories.

BermudaStroll along the Royal Naval Dockyard area, filled with jewelry stores and boutiques, crafts and island pottery. Located here, is the popular Clocktower Mall, with 100-foot towers and a variety of diverse shops with a variety of fabulous goods. Shop at Dockyard Glassworks for beautiful items by local artists and watch demonstrate the process of glassblowing and flameworking. Browse through a myriad of stunning handmade glassware produced locally at The Glass Art Gallery.

Front Street in Hamilton is lined with shops, including the department store, A.S. Cooper, boasting a wide variety of goods, including crystal and china, such as Waterford and Wedgwood. Famous Horton’s Black Rum Cakes are also sold here. Outside the city, the Bermuda Craft Market offers lovely handmade items. Constructed around an atrium, find everything from seaglass jewelry and Swarovski collectibles to fine European china at the shops of Somers Wharf at St George’s.

Famous Forts

Once a strategic naval center that played an important role in several wars, Bermuda was called “Gibraltar of the West,” and many of the historic buildings still remain. Offering an interesting glimpse into the past, more forts per square mile are located here than anywhere in the world.

Overlooking lush gardens and the harbor, Fort Hamilton is at the outskirts of Hamilton City. Built in the 1870’s to protect the harbor, you can enjoy its spectacular views, especially when cruise ships are in port. The serene garden-filled park that is ideal for a walk, with a wooden bridge, cannons and ramparts.

Towering high about the beaches, is Fort St. Catherine, Bermuda’s largest. Built in 1614, its interior is now a Bermudian history museum. Learn about the island’s unique history here and even see replicas of the British Crown Jewels, guarded by a wax figure of a Beefeater. Collections of antique guns and other weapons are also exhibited.

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Delight in the culture, history, magnificent beaches, natural wonders and more that is Bermuda.

For more information on Bermuda cruises, visit us at Cruise.com or call one of our Bermuda experts at 1-888-776-0659.

Alaska Cruises – Experience Alaska’s Natural Beauty Up Close

AlaskaMountainsAn Alaska cruise offers an incredible and unique vacation experience. America’s 49th state and its “last frontier” – Alaska – is one of the world’s most beautiful and unique destinations with breathtaking sights at every turn. Marvel at majestic Mt. McKinley, icy blue glaciers as they calve and thunder into the sea, rainforests, fjords, dramatic landscapes and a host of wildlife in their natural habitats.

Popular Alaska itineraries include the scenic Inside Passage and the incredible Northbound/Southbound cruises, sometimes referred to as Gulf of Alaska sailings. The North and southbound itineraries offer a convenient jumping off point for Alaska CruiseTours to such places as Denali, Fairbanks and the Yukon.

INSIDE PASSAGE CRUISES

The scenic Inside Passage is a sheltered waterway between Pacific Coast islands. Cruises here are typically a roundtrip seven-day itinerary that includes Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan and may also feature the towns of Seward, Icy Strait Point,  College Fjord, Seward, Victoria, B.C., Haines and Tracy Arm Fjord. Spectacular scenes can be enjoyed as you sail through Hubbard Glacier and the Inside Passage. Some 14-day sailings are also offered, and are usually from San Francisco.

Inside Passage cruises provide a classic and relaxing experience. Enjoy a variety of excursions or just sit back and watch the stunning coastal scenery pass you by from the comfort of the open decks or from your balcony stateroom.

NORTHBOUND & SOUTHBOUND CRUISES

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Another popular cruise itinerary is the Northbound and Southbound Alaska cruise routes. These seven night cruises are generally one-way itineraries sailing between Seattle/Vancouver and Seward/Whittier (the gateway for Anchorage), sailing either north or south. Some two-week roundtrip voyages are also available.

The northbound/southbound cruises allow for more time in Alaska ports or National Glacier Parks at Hubbard Glacier and Glacier Bay than the Inside Passage route. Highlights include College Fjord in Prince William Sound, lined with 16 glaciers, beautiful Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan and Sitka, a seaside town with a Russian influence. Some include also include the ports of Hubbard Glacier and Valdez.

The northbound southbound itineraries sail further north and therefore offer more coastal and glacier scenery. The most important difference between the Inside Passage cruises and the northbound/southbound cruises is that the northbound/southbound cruises provide access to land tours that include sights such as Denali National Park. The land portion of the cruise tour itineraries last from four to seven days.

CRUISE TOURS

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See the state’s magnificent interior when you take Alaska CruiseTours which combines a land tour before or after your Alaska cruise. Journey in luxury domed railcars across the immense Alaska wilderness. Highlighting any Alaska CruiseTour is Denali National Park, home to Mount McKinley, the highest peak mountain in North America. View an abundance of wildlife including bears, caribou, moose, sheep and more. As you journey along through the incredible landscape, marvel at the ice bridges, pristine glacier streams and massive ice fields.

Experience a multi-night fully-escorted land journey to the spectacular Alaskan interior. Immerse yourself in its amazing culture, history, flavors and sounds.  Some favorite Alaska cruise tour packages combine a seven night cruise with a 3- to 5-night Anchorage/Denali/Fairbanks tour, a 4- to 7-night Yukon tour, which takes you to Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks or you can take a 5- to 7-night fascinating tour of the Canadian Rockies.

EXCITING ACTIVITIES

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Alaska cruises are ideal for families and all age groups with a variety of activities that will enhance your vacation experience. Cultural tours may include panning for gold, where you can feel the excitement of the Gold Rush. Feel the excitement of traditional gold rush towns as families have an unforgettable time competing to see who finds the most. Salmon bakes are also a popular choice and offer a delicious traditional meal. Visit museums and wildlife conservation centers, including those for raptors and other birds.

More adventurous travelers may take a thrilling helicopter ride or flightsee over ice blue glaciers. You can also experience Alaska’s nature first hand as you go dog sledding, salmon fishing, kayaking, hiking, zip-lining, whitewater rafting and glacier trekking.

Highlights of an Alaska cruise for many is whale watching, where you may get to see Humpback and Minke whales, Orcas and more. June and July are the best times to see bubble-netting Humpbacks. Another unique excursion includes taking a tram ride to see incredible and unique views such as hanging glaciers and wildlife.

Animal-lovers will be thrilled by the diverse wildlife in their natural environment. Grizzly bears, Bald Eagles, caribou, Sitka Blacktail deer, moose and Dall Sheep call this home. Lynx, marmots, fox, puffin, wolves and snowshoe hare also live here.

The Alaska Sealife Center in Seward and the Anchorage Museum is perfect for families. Here children and adults alike will enjoy all of the exhibits and the kids will love the Imaginarium Discovery Center.

Fascinating Ketchikan is the ancestral home of the Tlingit people, who hand-carved the world’s largest collection of totem poles. Learn about their history and culture through their Native American Totem Poles that were created to tell stories and commemorate life events at the Totem Bight Historical Park 

Most of the major cruise lines offer Alaska cruises. They include Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Royal Caribbean, Seabourn and Silversea Cruises.

Whichever cruise ship you select and wherever you go in Alaska you are sure to see and experience something unique, special and beautiful. Discover this pristine natural masterpiece from the comfort of a luxurious cruise ship and you will never forget the beauty and grandeur of this great land.

To book your amazing Alaska Cruise visit us at Cruise.com or contact one of our Alaska cruise experts at 1-888-776-0659.

Carnival Cruises – A Fun Cruise Experience for All

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Perfect for seniors, children and families, Carnival Cruise Line offers something for all age groups on its famous “Fun Ships.” Known as a trendsetter, new culinary and entertainment choices can always be found. Family-friendly accommodations, lots of activities both day and night, incredible entertainment and great restaurants provide an excitement-filled vacation. With a current fleet of 23 ships, the spectacular new Vista-class will be introduced when the Carnival Vista debuts in spring 2016.

AMENITIES & ACTIVITIES

Throughout the Fun Ships a variety of amenities and activities are available for everyone to take part in. Action-packed SportsSquare offers basketball, soccer, volleyball, mini-golf, foosball, pool and ping-pong tables, plus a jogging track. Enjoy the views as you shape up on a selection of stationary bikes, elliptical machines, weight-lifting equipment and punching bags.

Also featured is the WaterWorks park where you can race down the slides – some of the fastest at sea – such as the Twister Waterslide for an exhilarating feeling. Go to new heights at the SkyCourse 150 feet above the ship where you can adjust the toughness level of this exciting ropes course. Pedal away high about deck for a unique biking-like experience at SkyRide and cool down at the pools.

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Highlighting the ships for many is the Serenity Adult Only Retreat providing a peaceful sanctuary. Remove yourself to this nirvana where you can sway on a hammock in the breeze, have a drink at the bar and simply lounge in the sun.
Offered at both SpaCarnival and Cloud 9 Spa are a variety of rejuvenating soothing treatments with some featuring thalassotherapy pools and thermal suites.

Fun poolside bars include the popular RedFrog Rum Bar and the BlueIguana Tequila Bar, where you will feel like you are on a beach in the Caribbean. Mixologists will whip up something special for you at the Alchemy Bar while the Sports Bar features drinks and big screen TV’s for you to watch your favorite teams. Unwind at The Library Bar, perfect for reading, conversation or a board game. Also popular, are movies shown on a huge outdoor screen called the Seaside Theater.

Family-friendly Carnival Cruise Line offers Camp Carnival® — divided into three age groups: 2 to 5 years, 6 to 8 years and 9 to 11 years. Supervised by a trained staff, kids can take part in a variety of fun activities, such as dancing, video games, arts and crafts, watching movies and more.

While you are out enjoying the evening entertainment, Night Owls for those 11 and under can have fun with music, games and other activities until 1AM. Adding to kids’ enjoyment is Seuss-a-palooza Story Time and Suess-a-palooza Parade, Dr. Seuss Brookville, for family reading in a play space. Unforgettable memories will be created with the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends.

Offered for teens is Circle “C” where they can meet new friends and share games, dance parties and more and older teens can spend time at Club 02 where there are movies, karaoke, sports and video games.

DINING

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Tantalizing international cuisines are served at a variety of formal and casual dining venues, which provide easy meals especially for families. The main dining rooms serve three-course meals and during American TABLE, regional cuisine from some of the local ports are featured on the menu. Spa Carnival fare is also served for those looking for healthier options. Kid-friendly menus with such popular selections as chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese are also featured.

Variety is the spice of life and Carnival Cruise Line offers lots of choices. Savor fresh made hot pizza anytime you have a craving, available 24/7. Bite into a juicy burger with a side of hand-cut fries at Guy’s Burger Joint, created by the Food Network’s Guy Fieri.

Other casual dining options include the buffet-style Lido Restaurant with a variety of stations serving Asian specialties, continental and international dishes, pasta, incredible salads, Indian cuisine and more. Enjoy delicious dishes at Mongolian Wok, including a variety of Asian inspired recipes and vegetarian dishes. Mexican never tasted so good as the homemade tacos, burritos and tortillas at BlueIguana. Savor mouthwatering Italian food inspired by recipes handed down from generation to generation at the family-style Cucina del Capitano and have delicious lunches at its Captain’s Pasta Bar. Feel like you are at New York’s Carnegie Deli when you bite into a hot pastrami sandwich at the Carnival Deli and you will know why it is a favorite.

Start the day with an incredible SeaDay Brunch. Feel like you are on the islands as you savor Caribbean cuisine at the RedFrog Pub. Enjoy the great food, reminiscent of an American cook-out, at Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ with all the classic favorites. Scrumptious dishes are served at Ji Ji Asian Kitchen and Bonsai Sushi also serves soups, sake, decadent desserts and more.

Seafood-lovers will want to head to the New England-style Seafood Shack. For that special occasion reserve a table at the traditional Steakhouse, which also serves seafood and all the classic sides. For the ultimate culinary experience reserve a memorable private multi-course dinner and a cocktail party at The Chef’s Table.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Choose from a wide range of staterooms designed to be restful and relaxing, with many that accommodate up to five guests. After a fun-filled day, retreat to your comfortable stateroom and rest your head on fluffy pillows and sleep like a baby on fine cotton linens on the Carnival Comfort Collection mattress.

All carnival staterooms include turndown service, TV, individual climate control, a phone, and 24-hour room service.

Carnival suites offer the ultimate accommodations and also include VIP check-in, priority embarkation and disembarkation, deluxe bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, a mini-bar or refrigerator and other exclusive amenities.

ENTERTAINMENT

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Fun-filled days and exciting evening entertainment include a variety of different events. Special effects at the Thrill Theater will have you sitting at the edge of your seat with incredible 3D visuals that “jump out of the screen.” Head outdoors and grab some popcorn and watch favorite films on the huge outdoor screen at the Dive-In Movies and view blockbusters at the 3-deck-high IMAX® Theatre. Keeping you laughing on all ships is The Punchliner Comedy Club Presented by George Lopez. Party with DJ IRIE as you dance the night away at the Liquid Nightclub. Belt out your favorite song at Karaoke SuperStar and sing along to your favorites in Piano Bar 88! Try your luck at the many games offered at the bustling Carnival Casino, where there is blackjack, poker, craps, roulette, slot machines and tournaments.

Musical productions include Latin Nights, Heart of Soul and more, while Carnival Stage Shows feature exciting performances. Dance at the theater to tunes by Playlist Productions.

Exciting Carnival LIVE Concerts offered on some sailings let you enjoy such legendary performers as Rascal Flatts, Lionel Richie and more.

Create your special vacation experience with Carnival Cruise Line. Sail on the Fun Ships to such exciting destinations as the Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean, Southern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, Europe/Transatlantic, Hawaii/South America & Caribbean, Mexico, Alaska, Canada/New England and Bermuda.

For more information on Carnival Cruise Line and the best Carnival Cruise Deals, visit us at Cruise.com or call one of our cruise experts at 1-888-776-0659.

The Villages of Sa Dec and Cai Be

SA DEC LOVERS HOUSE Another early start to the day began with breakfast and a tender ride to Sa Dec. Sa Dec is a small river port and an agricultural trading center. We walked through the market which was filled with a variety of fresh vegetables and numerous types of fish. The fish were still swimming and very much alive. We then walked to a house known as The Lover’s House.

The story behind The Lover’s House dates back to 1928 when a fifteen year old French girl met and fell in love with the son of a wealthy Chinese family. It was a love story that was not meant to be and was the subject of the 1984 Grand Goncourt-winning novel, ‘The Lover’. We continued on to the Cao Dai Temple. The Cao Dai Temple is an interesting temple that incorporates different aspects of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism and even Catholicism.

Sa DEC Cao Dai Temple Following lunch on the ship we boarded the tenders and saw the floating market en route to Cai Bei. Our first stop was the French Gothic Cathedral and we continued on to see the rice paper making factory. Here we watched first hand how they made rice paper for spring rolls and also rice wine. Once back on board the AMA Lotus we were treated to a traditional folklore performance by local musicians and dancers followed by a farewell cocktail reception and the farewell dinner.