Welcome to the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Blog where we keep you up to date with things about cruises that are part of cruise news, useful, interesting and even irrelevant but fun in the world of cruises and cruising.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Packing for a Cruise - Part 5 (essentials / medications etc))

We have already discussed some important issues about packing for your cruise, some of the points of which may well have sounded very obvious, but it is surprising how easily one forgets the sensible obvious things when getting excited about a cruise.

In today’s post, still on the topic of packing for a cruise, we discuss the all important necessities of medications and health aids.

While you don’t want to think all the worst is going to happen on your cruise in terms of health, it may actually help to quieten any ugly thoughts you may have about what can go wrong  by making sure you have the basics to cope with all the basic problems.

The number one recommendation is that you make sure you meet with your doctor at least a week before your cruise and make sure you have enough of your regular medications to last you the cruise and at least a few days when you get back.

Many people forget to take control of this until the day before they head off on their vacation, at which point unnecessary panic sets in.

Once you have these basics in place, the next thing to consider is what to take with you.

Once you have them, you know you won’t need them.  It’s usually when you forget them that you find you need them!

So - apart from ensuring you have adequate supplies of your regular prescription and non prescription medications, here are just a few things you might want to consider taking with you.

•  something to aid constipation

•  something to aid diarrhoea

•  supplements and vitamins

•  sun screen

•  insect repellent

Once you are adequately equipped, you probably won’t need them at all - but at least it’s better to be safe rather than sorry and have to spend large amounts on the on-board shops.  And some cruise ships may not even have what you might need.

Please let us know here if you can think of any other major suggestions on this topic - or maybe just a hint of what has worked for you when taking a cruise.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Packing for a Cruise - Part 4 (toiletries)

In our series of short blogs about “packing for a cruise” Prow’s Edge has concentrated on a variety of different topics, from advice on the best kind of luggage to purchase, the ideal selection of shoes for any cruise and the value of packing lightly, no matter how tempting your whole wardrobe may be.

In Part 4 of our series of tips about packing for a cruise is all about toiletries and other bathroom and dressing table “essentials”.

While it might well be tempting for many women (and some men too, if truth be told) to clear the dressing table of all their favorite toiletries and to purchase even more while on vacation, this is one occasion when good sense should win the day.

Most cruise lines offer a perfectly adequate supply of soaps and hair shampoos, and very often some of those nice extras like hair conditioners, body lotions and body washes. There really is need to cart along the 2 pint bottles of your favorite shampoos and other addict forming toiletries.  Your hair really will survive the onslaught of something different for a change.  And a whole selection of toiletry bags filled with non essential toiletries can really add to the weight of your hand luggage, if not just the suspicion of airport security staff.

In fact, many cruise lines, and especially the more luxury ones, offer a selection of free toiletries that most of us could never afford and just dream of as having as permanent features in our home bathrooms.

One member of our staff here at Prow’s Edge prides herself on not having had to purchase soap or hair shampoo for over ten years.  She brings home and hoards the free offerings from the cruise ships.

With her in mind, however, (and we call her Miss Hoarder) some of the cruise lines now offer very small samples of all the necessary toiletries - not really enough for her to hoard.  We can blame her for this change in offerings. And we do.

If what to take is really a worry for you, a simple enquiry to the actual cruise line or to any one else who has traveled with them before will ease your worries and lighten your hand luggage.

Check in to the next blog about packing in which we talk about the necessary things you really need to take with you in terms of your medications and herbal supplements.

If you have tips about packing you want to share, please let us know here at Prow's Edge!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Packing for a Cruise - Part 3 (luggage)

As for packing for a cruise, we’ve discussed the advantages of packing lightly, and how and why you should keep the number of shoes you take with you as low as possible.

In this blog article about packing for a cruise we’re tackling the issue of luggage and what sort of luggage is ideal for a cruise.

The main issue is that the luggage should be as strong and as solid as possible. Port luggage handlers are not famous for “tender” luggage care - you only have to watch them unloading the ship while you waiting for your turn to disembark to see that their concern is with speed, and not with loving and nurturing your luggage and your packed souvenirs.

Though very solid luggage bags are more secure, they can be very heavy.  If this is still your choice, make sure that handles, hinges, and even the wheels are as sturdy as the luggage itself. There is not much point in a solid suitcase with cheap hinges that wear out and spill all your belongings on the airport runway, or plastic locks that are sure to snap open at the most inconvenient time.

Soft sided suitcases can be a good deal lighter and easier to manage, but be sure that the fabric used is tightly woven and very strong. The best fabric for suitcases is considered to be “ballistic nylon”, not that most of us would now what that means or looks like, but a question in that direction when purchasing your luggage might well impress the shop keeper and even earn you a good discount.

Also, when purchasing soft-sided luggage, make sure the main structure of the piece is solid enough so as to avoid the case turning into strange shapes and becoming difficult to handle.

Another consideration, apart from worrying about the material used to construct the luggage, is to make sure your luggage has wheels and that these wheels are set far apart and do not stick out unnecessarily. Luggage with wheels set too close to each other actually make the case hard to move about, especially when full, and wheels that sick out are more than likely going to break apart - usually at the most inconvenient moment.

If your take these important points into consideration and if you avoid purchasing the cheapest deal you can find, your luggage should get there and back in one piece.

Take a look at our next blog for more about packing for a cruise.

If you can think of any other hints about packing for a cruise - let us know here at Prow’s Edge and email us at social@prowsedge.com

For more tips and advice on sorts of points of cruising take a look at the advice section of Prow’s Edge Cruise Magazine at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-advice-tips.html

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Packing for a Cruise - Part 2 (shoes)

Now that you’ve learnt the value of packing lightly as we made clear in the last blog at http://prows-edge-cruise-magazine.blogspot.ca/2013/01/packing-for-cruise-part-1.html, this next blog  on the topic of packing for your cruise gives you some idea of some of the necessary things you need to keep in mind.

Our second tip - the #2 Tip about packing is all about shoes.  The first thing about bad packing that many people learn the hard way is what to pack, and what they failed to pack, in the way of footwear.

Though you might be thinking of looking good at all times, especially at the Captain’s cocktail party, not every part of the cruise is about formal events. In fact, the majority of the cruise is about activities, shore excursions and being on the move.  There is very little point in looking great at the formal nights with a different pair of great looking shoes each time if you fail to take something comfortable to wear on excursions and during the day and have to end up limping into the Captain’s arms rather than greeting him more elegantly, all because your feet are covered in blisters.

In fact, it is recommended that ONE pair of formal shoes is more than enough, where as at least two pairs of comfortable, action shoes will make much more sense.

The staff here at Prow’s Edge claim to manage packing only two pairs of shoes - one comfortable and one more dressy, and wearing something comfortable for travel to and from the cruise which can also be used on the cruise and on shore as well.

Of course, the climate of the cruise destinations on your tour make a huge difference as to what you pack in the way of shoes.

Obviously if you are traveling to a hot climate and intending to spend most of your time strolling along beaches it is a good idea to also have sandals.  But make sure they are comfortable. Never mind what they look like - no one will notice if they are a year old.  Some people make sure their sandals are plastic, like the ever popular “flip flops”.  There is no point in expensive leather sandals that get wet and cannot be used the next day.

Also obviously, if your cruise is to a cooler climate, make sure that your casual pair for all day, every day activities is comfortable. And make sure you have socks to make them even more comfortable and warmer.

Another tip from our staff here at Prow’s Edge is save all your old socks year round, take them on your cruise and then discard them as they get used.  This makes room in your luggage for  coming home and safes you the chore of washing them.

Take a look at our next blog for anther reminder of the obvious rules about packing sensibly for a cruise.

If you can think of any other hints about packing for a cruise - let us know here at Prow’s Edge.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Packing for a Cruise - Part 1

Now that passengers are finally learning not to bring on six huge cases with more outfits they could wear even if they were to change twice though every meal and every other occasion, many passengers are still finding it hard to pack the right things, and in the right amounts.

Our article about packing for cruises at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-advice-tips-packing.html makes it quite clear that the best way to pack for a cruise to “pack lightly”.

But not many passengers ever learn their lesson on this one, though they vow to do it differently at the end of every cruise.  Come packing days for the next trip, all good intentions are flung out of the window.

So - our main tip - the #1 Tip about packing is to pack lightly.  Remember what happened last time, be honest about those memories, and pack more lightly. You don't have to take everything from home.

This may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many people don't know how to pack lightly.

You may very well have missed a certain number of things, and you may have, if you’re one out of one million cruise passengers, failed to pack enough.

 But the truth is that EVERYBODY tends to take too much which makes getting to airport and back a nightmare, and takes up valuable vacation time in unpacking and packing at the beginning and end of the cruise.

The staff here at Prow’s Edge actually have a competition on each of their cruise assignments to see how little they can pack and get away with.

The advantage they all claim at the end of their trips is that getting to and from the cruise ships, on and off flights is very much easier when luggage is at a minimum.  Also, unpacking on board takes just a matter of seconds rather than hours before you can start to enjoy the holiday, and you can enjoy the last night on board without having to spend it all in your cabin packing for the luggage pick up that evening.

If you can think of other reasons to pack lightly, and HOW to pack lightly, what to concentrate on - let us know here at Prow’s Edge.

 Our next blog item will continue with this theme . . .

Monday, January 14, 2013

Still More about Family Cruising


If the last blog about cruising with the family have not given you enough information to fire the imagination and take a cruise with the family take a look the page about family cruising in the advice section of Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-advice-tips-family-cruises.html and in the section of cruises at www.prowsedge.com/types-of-cruises-family-cruises.html.

This should give you enough information to follow your ideas on this as an ideal vacation.

Don't forget either the last blog Cruises for the Family – The Ideal Vacation

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cruises for the Family – The Ideal Vacation

Cruises are not just for romantic couples holding hands on the aft deck and gazing at each other and the beautiful views beyond – even if this is what the brochures and advertisements will often seem to promote.

In fact, cruises are the ideal family vacation that not only give the family time to be together without the usual hassles of cooking and cleaning, but also very often provide a lot of entertainment for the children alone (and by themselves) and time for parents to relive their honeymoon without worrying what is happening to the children.

In short, a cruise can be the perfect vacation for families.

Most of the major cruise lines now have programs catering especially for children of all ages.  Carnival Cruise Line is one of the most popular, along with the ever popular Disney Cruise Line as well as Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean who’s two ships, the Allure and Oasis of the Seas, have been voted as the best ships for families. 

While many cruise lines offer a wide range of activities especially for children, and while the children are being spoiled with special events purely for them, parents can spoil themselves with grown up treats like massages, and cocktails without worrying about the children.

And an on top of all this there is usually a wide menu of things the whole family can do together.

Of course, every cruise line is different, offering very different things and catering specifically for different age groups. Some cater specifically to older children, other to the younger tots.

Actually, the most difficult part of the cruise is the planning which one to take, which cruise line to use, what destination would work best for your tastes and which costs and charges would be the better ones for your tastes.

The only way to make sure you make the right choices is to spend some time on the internet - go to google and search and find out what other people are saying about their most favorite cruise line for cruises with the family and study the websites of the cruise lines themselves to find out what they have to offer and at what cost.

As to costs, one the advantages of a cruise as apposed to another type of holiday with the children is the cost. 

Considering the things that are laid on for free, and the advantageous rates of cabin accommodation with the children, a cruise vacation for the whole family can be much cheaper than many other types of holiday.

Disney Cruise Line for example offers cabins especially for families, with room for five and 1-1/2 baths. Royal Caribbean International has family cabins that can accommodate six, and the latest created Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ships, like the Norwegian Gem, have a wide selection a cabins on offer that would suit all sizes of families.

Also considering all the fun activities laid on for the children at no extra cost, plus the fact that they are well looked after and give the adults a time to themselves makes a vacation that can not be matched on land.

For more snippets of information about cruising check the CRUISE ADVICE section of Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Cruise for Better Health - Part 2

(continuing our look at why a cruise may seem like a good idea to gain or recover better health)

In our last blog entry on this topic at A Cruise for Better Health – Part 1, we concentrated on how useful the different and copious offerings of food on a cruise can be to help all sort of different people recovering from all sorts of different illnesses. 

Different foods on offer on cruises are not the only advantage of a cruise for those of less than 100% health.

In fact, one of the greatest advantages of a cruise as a holiday option for those not in perfect health is the way in which any cruise offers a variety of destinations and sights and scenes without having to change hotels and travel with cars and trains or even flights from one stop to the next.

Nothing could be easier than being on a cruise to see those fabulous places you’ve always wanted to see, even if you’re not feeling 100% well. 

Most cruise lines offer a wide selection of options for port tours, from short bus rides around the destinations to get a general feeling of it all, to a variety of tours tailored for people who do not necessarily have the energy to climb mountains or go water skiing.

The main advantage of a cruise if your health is not one hundred percent, is that most of the things you might like to see at each port of call are usually close at hand or only a short bus ride away.

And if you don't have the energy for that, there's always the very pleasant option of sitting on deck and staring out a a beautiful view that must beat the view from hospital beds or even your own back garden.

A lady we spoke to very recently told us she took a Mediterranean cruise and didn't leave the ship once."I didn't have the energy," she explained, "but there I could sit on deck and see all these wonderful sites, from old volcanoes to Greek seaside towns. I had a wonderful time that is just as filled with fond memories as for those people who were able to go rock climbing! I think I had the better deal.”

Add you own opinions about traveling for better health or write to us at social@prowsedge.com

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Cruise for Better Health - Part 1

There are hundreds of reasons to take a cruise.  It is no longer just to get from point A to B or to head from one of the popular cruise destinations so you don't feel too out of date at your next bridge party or pub session.

Over the next few weeks, Prow's Edge will explore these very many reasons that tempt people to take a cruise.  It might just give you the impetus to follow suit.

We begin with the very popular motive to cruise - to regain and aid a better status of health.

The worst thing about ill health, even at the final stages of recovery, is the exhaustion one experiences.  This is a typical complaint for those recovering from cancer – that the burden is not just recovering from the cancer, but from the medications used to aid you.  And exhaustion is one of the common complaints.

There are obvious reasons why a cruise would be a great idea - and one of those is the fact that you don't have to spend any time in the kitchen and there are no dishes to wash, and best of all, for many ill people, there is no need to think of what to eat, how to get it and find the energy to do so.

The advantage of taking a cruise as apposed to booking a hotel in some sunny resort somewhere, is that the choices and availablity of different meals on a cruise ship can never be matched on land. So, if you are recovering from something major, and just don't feel like eating at 10am, there are plenty of other options throughout the day - even cabin service if you're having a "rum" day!

Many cruise lines also offer special programs for people who have to follow special diets

We here at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine often hear about another reason that cruises are so helpful for those recovering from mega illnesses – the people around them who have stood by them so valiantly, get a chance to avoid those chores for a while (especially cooking) and actually get a break themselves.

Taking a cruise allows them to actually relax for the first time and to refuel a little. The advantage of a cruise really suits everyone in this situation!


Add you own opinions about traveling for better health or write to us at social@prowsedge.com

Friday, January 4, 2013

Safety at Sea - Avoiding Crime

As much as cruises have become an ostensibly  safe and pleasant vacation option, it is important to understand that just as at any other holiday destination, care must be taken for one's own personal safety.

Though newspapers do not dwell on crime on cruise ships too much, it is important to be aware that it does exist, just as it does anywherre else in the world, and that one needs to be aware of one's own safety.

Important news and tips about cruise ship crime, cruise victims, and safety on a cruise ship can be found in the CRUISE SHIP SAFETY section of Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine.
Offering news, advice and tips about crime and safety on cruise ships, Prow’s Edge Cruise magazine tells the truth about cruise crime and the growing number of cruise victims.
The information in these “safety” pages aboard Prow’s Edge may just tell you some things you didn’t know before and may just help to keep you safe on your dream cruise. Knowledge is your biggest weapon against crime on a cruise ship.

Just some of the topics covered include:

• Top tips to avoid being a victim of a crime on a cruise ship

• What to do if you become a victim of a crime on a cruise ship

• High Seas Crimes (article)

• The truth about drug-facilitated sexual assault (article)

• International Cruise Victims Association

• Safety at Sea - did you know?

• Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act 2009

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fighting the Norovirus on Board Ship

Still talking about the wealth of information available in the Advice section of Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine, there is a wealth of articles dealing with the subject of good health on a cruise. This is not to say that we want to dwell on all the things that could go wrong - but with a lot in the press about the Norwalk Virus on cruise ships recently, it is wise to be informed and prepared. There are many articles in the advice section of Prow's Edge than cover this and other not so savory topics.

The idea is not to depress you but to make sure you are prepared. Then you can forget all about it, knowing that should anything happen, you will be ready to deal with it.

Tips and Advice About the Norwalk – Norovirus on a Cruise Ship

This article covers all aspects of the Norovirus and how best to protect yourself from it, from the obvious like remembering to wash you hands frequently, to avoiding close physical contact with too many people, especially if they're sneezing and not looking too great – no mater what your sympathy may be!

The second part of the article is by medical expert and travel enthusiast Joe Springfield aboard Prow's Edge who offers some good advice.

See www.prowsedge.com/cruise-advice-tips-norwalk-norovirus.html

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Nautical cruise ship terms

Something first time cruisers very rarely prepare themselves for is the unique vocabulary they often encounter on their first cruise.  Not that this would cause them too many problems but it might mean they miss a few things, such as when the voice over tells them there is something worth seeing on the port side of the ship and not everyone on their first cruise knows that this refers to the left side of the ship.

To avoid such a thing happening, it is worth knowing at least some of the vocabulary you wouldn't necessarily encounter in your everyday life on land.
And remember - your vessel is never referred to as a boat.  It's a ship!  And a ship is always "she" - never "he" or  "it"!

A few other nautical terms are:

aft – refers to the rear or the back of the ship
berth – just to confuse you, this could refer to your bed on a boat, or the location in a port where a ship can be moored
bow – the front of the ship
bridge – the place where the captain and his officers steer the ship
brig – ship’s jail
draft – the depth of water (from the waterline to the bottom of the ship) needed to float a ship
fathom – a measure of six feet, usually of water depth
fore – towards the front of the ship
leeside – the side of the ship away from the wind;
midships – the middle of the ship
port – refers to the left side of the ship.
purser's desk – the cruise ship equivalent of the land lubbers Front Desk or Information Desk
starboard – refers to the right side of the ship.
stateroom – a cruise ship name for a cabin or room in which you sleep
stern – the rear of the ship
tender – a vessel that transports passengers between the ship and shore when the ship is at anchor in a port.
And last but not least, important measurement terms are:
1 nautical mile = about 6078 feet/1.15 statute miles
1 league = 3 nautical miles
1 knot (a measurement of speed) = 1 nautical mile/hour

For more helpful tips about taking a cruise, visit the Cruise Advice section of Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Keeping Fit on a Cruise

Continuing to let you in on all sorts of advice available at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine, in case you've missed these pages while studying all the other pages, there are many more topics that might just help you on your next cruise.

The most popular of these remains the article about avoiding putting on weight on a cruise contributed by London-based travel journalist Nicole Rebeiro in which she advises:

"...get out on deck. Enjoy a morning jog around the track, or get harnessed up and try to reach the top of the climbing wall. Relax with a calming yoga session overlooking the blue seas or work those arm muscles while practicing your putting skills. There’s always the outdoor swimming pool, too ..."

More can be found at: Banish the Vacation Belly - by Nicole Rebeiro

Another useful article deals with a closely related topic - that of eating healthfully on a cruise at:  Cruise Tips about Healthy Eating on Cruises

For more helpful hints and advice take a look at the many other topics at the advice, tips section of Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-advice-tips.html