The world of cruise vacations has come a long way since we sailed as a family with kids in school. A decade ago, family travel meant a Caribbean cruise with our sailing history dominated by Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruises. Over time, both brands evolved to the engaging travel options they offer today. Still, I can’t help but remember elements of the cruise experience of yesteryear fondly. In a bit of a nod to the past, both lines have made a couple changes that bring back two elements of Caribbean cruising we enjoyed in the past: longer time in Cozumel on Carnival Cruise Line and DJ Emotion on Princess Cruises.
While one is an ongoing change and the other a temporary feature, both remind bring back some wonderful memories of family cruise travel. Let’s start with Carnival’s extended time in Cozumel, Mexico.
Back when Carnival Victory was one of the largest cruise ships in the world, we sailed an itinerary that included a late night stop in Cozumel. In port until midnight, the standard of that particular itinerary, other cruise lines would add years later and define as ‘destination immersion’, as though it was something new. Now, Carnival Cruise Line has extended the length of time its ships spend in Cozumel on more than 750 voyages, providing guests with even more opportunities to experience and explore one of the Caribbean’s most diverse vacation destinations.
Way back when, that meant enjoying the evening dockside in Cozumel, leisurely wandering back to the ship before its midnight departure. The new Cozumel Plus itineraries give access to a variety of new excursions, like swimming with whale sharks, visiting the centuries-old ruins of UNESCO World Heritage Site Chichen Itza, swimming in hidden caverns and more.
Better yet, Carnival is kicking off its new Cozumel Plus itineraries with a special promotion offering a $25 per person shipboard credit that can be used toward shore excursions.
Carnival’s Cozumel Plus is an ongoing program offered by 17 different Carnival ships offering more than 750 four- to eight-day cruises from six U.S. homeports along the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico
Thinking back to sailing with Princess Cruises, one of the reasons we enjoyed that travel experience happened at various times of the day was music set to match the passengers on board. At the time, one of the most engaging DJ’s at sea was Rob Nadigel, commonly known as ‘DJ E-motion’ who ruled over Princess Cruise Skywalker’s Nightclub on grand class ships. There was a connection that kept passengers coming back, often choosing Caribbean Princess (at the time) because personable DJ Emotion was there.
It’s one of the elements of sailing that a number of cruise lines have sacrificed in the race to build bigger, better ships at a faster pace than crew development could support.
There, I said it.
We go on ships, enjoy interacting with the crew then go back to find an entirely different bunch. Not that the new bunch is not good at what they do. We’ll leave that off the table for now. Just fewer familiar faces.
We won’t be sailing with DJ Emotion but thinking back to that time and where the cruise industry was then reminds me of a more personable time on board. We can still find that today but usually on smaller ships with a higher crew to guest ratio. Seabourn, Azamara, Viking, Crystal, Oceania and others still make that connection. It’s probably the biggest challenge the operators of big ships today face and one rarely talked about, if considered at all.
On a temporary assignment with Princess Cruises, Rob will be back April 29th – May 12th on Star Princess in Hawaii.