Friday, November 21, 2014

Circles of Regal Princess

Regal Princess

Not Your Typical
Cruise Ship Review

We've just concluded a 7 Night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the brand new Regal Princess.   It has been sailing since May over in Europe, but we were fortunate to be onboard her debut in the Caribbean.

We were part of a group of more than 900 people for the CruiseOne / Cruises Inc. 2014 National Conference.  Besides learning from some of the industry's leaders, we also had our own first-hand experiences on Regal Princess that we are anxious to share with our readers.  Join us in this photographic journey around Regal Princess.

Why Circles?

Photography is one of our passions, and sharing images with our readers brings us great joy.   When you cruise as much as we do to the same destinations, photography helps you focus on finding a unique perspective to the destination (including the ship).  Unique images are more interesting.

When the @FriFotos team announced this week's theme (you may have guessed it) #CIRCLES, we checked through our recently captured images for some contributions.  

Remember, we are constantly looking for different angles and interpretations for our photos, so even though we didn't have advance knowledge of the theme, we identified several examples that we could share.  You might be amazed at how many circles can be found on a cruise ship.  

Some Obvious Examples - Food

Those that have followed me for awhile know that we love sharing images of food.   Being able to sample fabulous food from around the globe is one of the best values of cruising.   Food is often a determining factor for our guests when they select a particular cruise itinerary.

Regal Princess had plenty of great food.  The Horizon Court buffet was truly amazing.   If you couldn't find something you liked to eat there, then you probably weren't hungry in the first place.   When we captured these images, the crew had put out their Chocolate Indulgence creations for our breakfast enjoyment, along with the normal breakfast items.   Donuts, cookies, waffles, pancakes (topped with chocolate of course) fit the #circle theme rather nicely.

On our first Formal night  we enjoyed this Chocolate Journeys creation by Norman Love.

First Impressions

When you board the ship, your first impression of the lobby will be one of your memorable moments.   Ship designers realize that and put a lot of consideration into creating an impressive atrium.

Regal Princess has beautiful circular staircases with concentric circles on the floor which helps draw you to this central meeting point on the ship.   Be sure to capture the atrium from several different vantage points.   Often the best shots are from higher decks.

Look Up

Most ships have exquisite light fixtures hanging from the ceiling in the atrium.  Regal Princess was no exception with this gorgeous piece with many circles in the design.

We actually captured several different angles which we'll share for #FriFotos.

Include Art Work 

Your ship portfolio should include images of the art work located around the ship.   Often you'll find art work in the stairways as well as corridors of the ship.   Regal Princess had original works taken by past guests lining the corridors.   We'll share more of those images another time.


Carpet / Wall Patterns

As you walk around the ship, pay attention to details.   Is there an interesting pattern on the floor,  walls, ceilings, etc.?   Maybe that could be used as a background for some other image at a later date.   Or perhaps, it just catches your eye and helps you identify with the ship and it's designers.   

Great Hangouts

Did you have a favorite location to hangout with your new or existing circle of friends?   What made you comfortable hanging out there?

Perhaps the #circles in this image bring back memories and become conversation starters. Odds are you won't find this same setting on another ship, so some day when you are searching through images, you'll immediately recall the time you spent on Royal Princess.

We have just scratched the surface on our #circle adventure around Royal Princess.  We invite you to  join us on Twitter this Friday for more images.   Also, if you are so inclined, search through your images and see if you have any to share from your trips.

If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc for more ideas. 
 #FriFotos is a weekly photo forum by . Theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.  This Friday, guest host @spencerspellman joins the @FriFotos crew.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Natiional Conference 2014 in Review

Can You Find Me?

We've just returned from a very successful CruiseOne Cruises Inc. National Conference on board the new Regal Princess.  Our sailing was the inaugural North American sailing to the Eastern Caribbean.
This was our largest conference ever with more than 900 franchise owners, agents, and families attending.

Pre-Cruise (Ft. Lauderdale)

Water Taxi Tour

Shortly after arriving in Ft. Lauderdale, Saturday November 7th, we boarded a Water Taxi for a private tour of the yachts and mansions along the Ft. Lauderdale canal system.

Our guide provided background information about the properties and boats we saw along the way.   The tour is very informative and a good way to pass the time before your cruise.

Renaissance Hotel Ft. Lauderdale

Our pre-conference activities were based out of the Marriott Renaissance Hotel Cruise Port which was walking distance to the water taxi.

Following the water taxi tour, we had time to freshen up and then had a welcome cocktail party which was hosted by Crystal Cruises. 

Several of us went to dinner at Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill which was just across from the hotel.   Despite having tables empty, we had to wait to be seated.   The food was fantastic, but we weren't crazy about the wait since we were hungry after traveling earlier that day.  

Our day had actually begun at 4:00 AM so we were really starting to drag.  Following dinner, we went back to our hotel room and went to bed.

We had prearranged transfers from the hotel to the pier, so after some breakfast, we boarded a shuttle to the port.

Welcome to Port Everglades

The town rolled out the red carpet for us with this sign at the entrance to Port Everglades cruise terminal.  As you can see, there is a lot of traffic entering the port.  Make sure you allow enough time when embarking from here.

It wasn't long after this photo was taken that we got our first glimpse of Regal Princess which would be our home for the next 7 nights.

We will update this article with links to additional stories and photos about our National Conference Cruise on board the beautiful Regal Princess.  Be sure to visit again or better you follow us here and our other social media sites to stay up to date on the latest cruise industry news and reviews.

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Count Down to National Conference 2014

Regal Princess

It is hard to believe that we are just one week away from our 2014 National Conference: GROWTH-Gaining Relationships and Opportunities Through World Travel Holdings. That means we are also one week away from seeing the brand new Princess Cruise's Regal Princess as she sails for the first time out of Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Join Us Live from Regal Princess

Our Blog, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter followers will have the opportunity to join in the excitement as we bring you highlights from our National Conference onboard the brand new Regal Princess. If you don't already, please follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc.

We will be sharing content with you throughout the conference...

Making a Difference

In return, we have a favor to ask of you...

As many of you know, our Conference and Corporate charity is Make-A-Wish®. Together we have raised over $200,000 from our fund raising efforts at our National Conferences in the past. Last year alone, we surpassed the $100,000 mark and made history by having a Marathon@Sea run by Sean Tolkin, Director WTH. The National Conference is a great opportunity for us to see firsthand how we can come together and be part of something bigger.

Our goal is to continue our record breaking fundraising efforts and to surpass our goal of $75,000. There will be many opportunities during our conference to raise money for our cause, including a Zumba@Sea-Dance for Wishes. Each dollar we raise together will help kids like Bizzy, age 13, who wished to go on a Mediterranean cruise. You can learn more about Bizzy on the donation site below.

Celebrity Cruises has sponsored our Zumba@Sea efforts this year and will be helping us have some fun during the Zumba event, which will be held on Thursday morning on the ship. WTH/Celebrity will match dollar for dollar up to $5,000 in donations made from the Zumba event.

You Can Help Too

Many of you have asked how you can get your family and friends involved in our efforts to help grant the wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions – AND HERE’S YOUR CHANCE! We have a group donation page that you can access using the link below.

If you are interested in supporting this great cause please make a donation using the following link: 
Any amount will help us reach our group goal of $5,000 for the Zumba event.

Thank you to Celebrity Cruises & World Travel Holdings and all of YOU for helping to make kids like Bizzy a little happier.   Thanks to the Make-a-Wish foundation for all that they do for kids.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween Great Time to Vacation

Plan a Vacation for Halloween

October is Halloween Time at Disney Parks

Halloween can come early for you if you visit Disney Magic Kingdom during the month of October.  The park is decked out for this magical time of year and there's even a private party that you can attend.

Private Party - You are Invited to Attend If You Dare

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a Halloween-themed special event held on select dates in Magic Kingdom theme park. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  The park is closed to other guests for the evening.
Click for More Pictures

During Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. There are several locations where you can collect delicious candy as you trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom theme park.  We didn't dress up, but we did take part in the trick-or-treating.

In addition to many favorite Disney attractions, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is filled with special entertainment, including:
  • Mickey's "Boo-to-You" Halloween Parade—including Disney Characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman.
  • Happy HalloWishes—a spectacular fireworks show where the Disney Villains go trick-or-treating in the sky.
  • Many favorite Disney Characters and Disney Villains in special Halloween costumes.
  • Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom theme park into happy haunted hollows.
We've posted some pictures from the event on our Facebook Fan Page.

Become a fan on Facebook

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dining at Sea - What's Your Favorite Food

National Food Week

In honor of National Food Week, let's take a look at dining at sea.

What's Your 
Favorite Food 
on a Cruise

Whether you have cruised before or not, I'm sure you are aware that there's plenty of great food to be had on a cruise ship.  The first thing you'll find when you get onboard is that your cabin is not ready, but don't worry, the buffet is open and ready to serve you.  But that is just the beginning of what lies ahead.   We'll take you on a culinary journey onboard several cruise ships over several posts.  If you can't wait, we've posted some similar stories previously as well.

Myth #4 – All There is to do is Eat – I’ll Gain Weight

While it is true that there are several dining options on every cruise, we've examined this myth about nothing to do but eat previously.  Now, let's focus on the second part of that myth - that you'll gain weight.

It is possible that you could gain weight on a cruise, but if so, that will not be the cruise line's fault. There are healthy menu options on the main dining menus and while not every venue serves food for the health conscious, there are plenty of options for you to chose from.  In addition, there are full service health and fitness facilities on each ship so that you can continue your exercise routine.

One of the things the cruise line pays close attention to are any dietary requirements of their passengers. 

We took this picture during a galley tour on Azamara Journey.  The special requests consist of some religious requests, because it was during Jewish holidays, and also some specific ingredients that needed to be avoided for another passenger.

Be sure to let you cruise specialist know if you do have any special requirements so that it can be noted on your reservation and advance preparations can be made if necessary.

What's for Dinner 

You might want to start with our previous What's for Dinner article

In addition, visit our Pinterest Board where we'll be sampling some of the food and venues that we've had the pleasure of dining at in the past.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Memorable Moments in National Parks

Yellowstone National Park
Mammoth Hot Springs

This may come as a shock to some of you but, despite the name of this blog, I do travel by other means of transportation other than cruise ship.

On this particular trip, one of our stops was at Yellowstone National Park, which spans several states: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

North Entrance -
This 37-foot (11-m) dormant hot spring cone marks the northern portion of Mammoth Hot Springs.

Liberty Cap & 
Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel

Minerva Spring & Cleopatra Spring 

This popular stop along the Mammoth Hot Springs trail has a wide range of colors and ornate travertine formations.  A boardwalk spans the hill allowing for close up exploration without danger.

We've seen many sights in our journeys around the world, but Mammoth Hot Springs ranks among the most impressive memories of nature.
There is a lot more to see here.  These images were taken during the first moments within Yellowstone National Park.

Want to learn more about our National Parks?   The inspiration for this article came from a Twitter chat.   Today they are featuring #Memories as the subject matter for photo submissions.

@ChrisPappinMCC#ParksChat is a weekly Twitter chat where anyone can participate and talk about the week's selected Topic/Destination.

Topic for this week (10/17/2014): #memories

Let's talk about our memorable things and share some of our memorable pics in our Parks  -- Use hashtag #ParksChat and #memories
Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc for more ideas.


Happy FOURth Birthday #FriFotos

Celebrating a Milestone
#FriFotos #FOUR 
Since joining the Twitter community, we have been participating in the weekly   photo forum hosted by . A new theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.
Today we celebrate #FriFoto's fourth birthday and the theme fittingly is "#FOUR".
Every week in preparation for our participation, we search through our archives for a few images that meet that week's criteria.   Some themes are hard, while others, such as #greatINDOORS, provide a wealth of possibilities.   We actually co-hosted the event that week which was a lot of fun.

Commemorating the Event

There are many ways to interpret a theme, which actually adds to our enjoyment of the photo forum.   It causes us to look through our archives with a different perspective searching for photos that convey the theme.   It is interesting to see how others interpret the theme as well.   We often get ideas for future trips by reviewing others' contributions.  Here are some of our entries for this week:

Dancers bringing balloons to birthday party

You can't have a birthday party without balloons, so we searched through our archives and found this image captured during a cruise on Caribbean Princess.

Let the Party Begin
Need some music for birthday - we invited the Beatles but they were on Allure OTS 

What's a birthday party without some good music?  This group of #FOUR launched the world into a frenzy with their music and the rest is history.  I think they'd be the perfect group to perform at our party.

dancing stars will provide some entertainment for birthday Direct from stage  
These energetic #Four dancing stars are on stage to really get our party going.   Join us on #FriFotos today so that you don't miss all the fun.

Many Well-Wishers On Hand
Congratulations from Captain Zini & Crew

Everyone is invited to the party and look who showed up. Royal Caribbean's Captain of the largest vessel afloat brought along #Four of his crew members to with the #FriFotos team a Happy Fourth Birthday.

If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc for more ideas.

Congratulations to the best Four-Some on Twitter:
Charles Yap, Jonathan Epstein, Stephanie Diehl & You (the contributors who make it worth the effort)