Carnival’s Hub App – Your Mobile App to Everything On Board

Its FREE and its FUN! Prior to boarding the ship for your next Carnival cruise be sure to download the Carnival Hub App to your cell phone. Before the cruise it is not much more than a friendly reminder of  your upcoming cruise. The app will show you a countdown clock with the days, hours, minutes, and seconds before the fun cruise begins.

Once on board however, the app will be your guide to all the important details about your cruise. And for a small fee (just $5 for the entire cruise per device), it will allow you to stay in touch with family and friends who are sailing with you. The app itself will allow you to connect to the ship’s Wi-Fi for free for the entire cruise (internet access plans are extra). Note that unless you intend to use the telephone features of your device, you should put the device into “airplane” mode to avoid running up additional charges. The app itself will put in the palm of your hand all the information you need to get the most out of your cruise including the following:

Daily schedule – Carnival provides fun activities almost around the clock. A paper Fun Times will be delivered each day to your stateroom. That will list the ship’s activities and venue schedules. Instead of the paper version, the app will provide electronic access making it easier to carry around the ship.

Useful information – the app will also provide FAQs about the ship and the ship’s operation. Need to know how to dress for dinner – the answer will be there.

Food and drinks – this feature will allow you view service hours and details about each of the restaurants and bars.

Ship maps – one of most useful features of the app for those who are not familiar with the ship is the quick access to the deck plans. With this feature you will be able to view each deck and search for specific venues. All of the restaurants, bars and other venues can be found easily. Maybe even how to get back to your stateroom!

On board account – your Sign and Sail account will also be accessible with the app. With just a couple taps of the screen you will be able to view all expenditures – almost immediately after each purchase. If you are the  primary account holder you will be able to view expenditures of other guests in  your party – a great way to keep an eye on the kids.

Chat – if traveling with others the chat feature will be a must to stay in touch. This is the only feature that is not free. The current cost is just $5 per device for the entire cruise. The chat feature allows you to text message any of the guests on the ship who are also using the app. Chat is limited to the ship since it works through the ship’s Wi-Fi system –  so it won’t be functional in the ports.

Final thought – if you have any old cell phone devices that are no longer being used as phones, these make excellent devices for use on board the ship. Generally the smart phones that are no longer being used as phones can still connect to Wi-Fi and be used for the Hub app (they can also be used for use with an internet plan). The best part is that if you lose the extra device or damage it – you won’t feel quite as bad as if that happened to your more expensive cell phone.

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Carnival and Chairman Micky Arison’s Family Foundation To Donate $2 Million To Hurricane Harvey Relieve Efforts

Even as hurricane Irma threatens its home state of Florida, Carnival Cruise Line, and its parent company, Carnival Corporation & plc, and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation are pledging a minimum of $2 million to relief and rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast region in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, the first Category 4 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since 2004.

Carnival Cruise Line and Carnival Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Carnival Corporation, are each donating $500,000 to Harvey disaster relief efforts, for a total donation of $1 million from the company. Carnival Corporation Chairman Micky Arison and his wife Madeleine are matching the corporation’s commitment with a $1 million donation from the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation.

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Ever receive a robo call about winning a “free cruise”? You may be owed up to $900!

If you received a recorded or robocall between July 2009 and March 2014 announcing that you have won a free cruise you may be entitled to a settlement of up to $900 per telephone number. This is the result of a settlement in the class action lawsuit brought by Philip Charvat. The plaintiff alleges that Resort Marketing Group, Inc. (RMG) made pre-recorded telemarketing calls offering free cruises with Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Lines in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

The defendants in the lawsuit vigorously deny that there was any violation of the TCPA and the cruise line companies vigorously deny that they authorized RMG to make any calls on their behalf. The parties have agreed to the settlement to avoid the expense, delay, and uncertainties of litigation. Judge Andrea R. Wood of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has granted preliminary approval of the settlement.

To find out if your telephone number is part of the settlement and make your claim simply go to Frequently asked questions about the lawsuit and the settlement can be found at

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Princess Cruise Celebrates – The Sound of Music’s 50th

Princess Cruise - The Sound of Music - Under the Stars

Image courtesy of Princess Cruises

The Sound of Music made its debut the same year Princess Cruises made its first voyage. That was 1965. Now, both are celebrating 50th anniversaries. To honor the movie, Princess will show The Sound of Music on every ship during every cruise – under the stars (of course) beginning mid-April 2015.

Princess Cruises is partnering with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to screen the biggest movie musical of all time, and feature sing-a-longs, trivia games, and other movie-themed experiences throughout the year.  The offerings celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the cruise line and the musical and are part of a year-long campaign to honor the classic film.

In addition, Princess Cruises is offering movie fans chances to win a free cruise and a $500 onboard gift card every month through December 2015.  More details about the themed onboard experiences and cruise giveaways are available at Princess Cruises.

A phenomenon from its first showing, The Sound of Music won five Academy Awards®, including “Best Picture” and continues to inspire audiences around the world with unforgettable songs including “Do-Re-Mi,” “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Every Mountain,” and “The Sound of Music.” Starring Oscar® winners Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the film follows Maria (Andrews), the warm-hearted young woman who brings joy and music to Captain von Trapp (Plummer) and his seven children.

“The Sound of Music isn’t just a classic film – watching the movie together is a classic family activity. In a year in which both Princess Cruises and The Sound of Music mark their golden anniversaries, this is truly a fun and memorable way to join in the celebrations,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.

The Sound of Music will be shown once on every sailing throughout 2015 on Princess Cruises giant Movies Under the Stars top deck screens, with the sing-a-long version featured in the Princess Theater. Song birds can meet and rehearse for a special The Sound of Music edition of Princess Pop Choir and a themed Trivia Challenge will test fans’ movie knowledge.

For information about taking a Princess cruise during the year-long celebration contact AREA Vacations at or call 770-591-5552.

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Carnival Pride Returns to Baltimore

Carnival Pride returns to BaltimoreCarnival Cruise Line announced that its popular ship Carnival Pride will return to the Port of Baltimore launching a year-round cruise program on Sunday, March 29th, when the newly refurbished ship will depart on a seven-night cruise to the Bahamas from the Cruise Maryland Terminal!

Carnival Pride’s year-round schedule from Baltimore encompasses a wide range of departures to cater to cruise enthusiasts, from five-night Bermuda cruises to seven- to 14-night voyages visiting top destinations in the Caribbean, The Bahamas and Florida.

Carnival Pride recently underwent an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that added a variety of our Fun Ship 2.0 innovations, including new dining venues such as Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina and Bonsai Sushi, exciting bar concepts like Alchemy Bar, RedFrog Pub and the poolside RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar, as well as new entertainment choices like Hasbro, The Game Show; Seuss at Sea and Playlist Productions. A massive WaterWorks water park featuring Green Thunder, the fastest and steepest waterslide at sea, was added, as well.

Carnival Pride’s five-night Bermuda sailings feature two days and one night at King’s Wharf with two fun days at sea. Six-night Bahamas cruises call at the popular ports of Nassau and Freeport, while the seven-night Bahamas itinerary also includes a call at Port Canaveral, Fla., with easy access to Orlando’s attractions.  Seven- and eight-night eastern Caribbean cruises feature Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay, and Freeport. Eight-night Bahamas sailings visit Charleston, S.C.; Port Canaveral and Nassau.

For those who prefer more immersive, longer length cruises, Carnival Pride offers two Carnival Journeys adventures departing from Baltimore.  An 11-night Carnival Journeys voyage departs Baltimore Jan. 17, 2016, calling at Grand Turk, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, and St. Croix, ending in San Juan Jan. 28, 2016. There is also a 14-day Carnival Journeys voyage, operating roundtrip from Baltimore March 13-27, 2016, and featuring Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Maarten.

Now more than ever, Carnival Pride makes an excellent cruise vacation choice. For more information or to book your cruise on Carnival Pride please call AREA Vacations at 770-591-5552 or send and email to


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New Carnival Vista Sailing from Miami

Currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy, Carnival Vista will take cruising to new heights, introducing groundbreaking features such as SkyRide, a suspended open-air cycling experience; the world’s first IMAX® Theatre on a ship; Kaleid-O-Slide, the line’s first water tube slide; and RedFrog Pub, including the line’s first onboard brewery.

Carnival is also bolstering its leadership position in Galveston, repositioning Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty to Texas in 2016. Those ships will be joining Carnival Freedom which arrives in Galveston Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015. Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty will replace Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph, respectively, in Galveston. Details on new homeports for Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph, as well as year-round departures from San Juan, have not been announced.

With Carnival Breeze, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom, Galveston will be home to three of our most innovative ships offering the widest array of cruise durations and itineraries to top destinations in Mexico, Belize, Isla Roatan and The Bahamas. These three ships will carry 600,000 passengers annually from Galveston – more than any other cruise operator.

Island-Intensive Caribbean Cruises from Miami on Carnival Vista
Carnival Vista kicks off its new schedule from Port of Miami with a special four-day cruise to Grand Turk departing Nov. 29, 2016. The ship will then launch year-round six- and eight-day cruises beginning with an eight-day voyage departing Dec. 3, 2016. Six-day cruises feature Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, while a mix of different eight-day itineraries visit some of the Caribbean’s most sought-after destinations, including Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and La Romana (Dominican Republic).

The ship will also offer a combination of one-time voyages, including a five-day cruise departing Dec. 11 and seven-day voyages departing Dec. 17 and 24, 2016, that offer an exciting selection of ports including the Caribbean’s newest destination, Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic, as well as Mahogany Bay, Grand Turk, Belize, San Juan, St. Thomas and Cozumel, depending on the itinerary.

In addition to visiting breathtaking Caribbean destinations, guests can experience all the Carnival Vista has to offer – from the colorful Havana area with tropics-inspired staterooms and suites and Family Harbor with special accommodations and a new family concierge to delicious choices like Seafood Shack and new al fresco options at the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse, Bonsai Sushi and Cherry On Top, featuring a mixed-to-order premium ice cream bar.

Three- to 11-Day Carnival Vista Sailings from the Big Apple
Prior to the start-up of year-round service from Miami, Carnival Vista will operate a pair of voyages round-trip from New York beginning with a three-day cruise November 4-7, 2016, followed by an 11-day voyage departing Nov. 7, 2016, and visiting Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Antigua and St. Maarten. Carnival Vista will then offer a spectacular 11-day cruise from New York to Miami Nov. 18-29, 2016, with calls at Grand Turk, Bonaire, Aruba and St. Maarten, an unmatched combination of great destinations not available on any other cruise from New York.

Carnival Vista is slated to operate an inaugural season of European cruises May to October 2016 before repositioning to New York, then launching year-round Caribbean cruises from Miami in November 2016.

Exciting New Options in Galveston
Carnival Liberty and Carnival Breeze will shift to Galveston in 2016, providing consumers with Texas-sized fun on departures from the Lone Star State.

Carnival Liberty will launch year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico from Galveston beginning March 21, 2016. Four-day “long weekend” cruises depart Thursdays and feature a stop at Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays visiting Cozumel and Progreso. Prior to the start-up of its new Texas-based program, Carnival Liberty will offer a special three-day cruise round-trip from Galveston March 18-21, 2016.

Carnival Breeze – currently the line’s newest ship – will offer three different week-long itineraries visiting popular ports in the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida beginning Dec. 11, 2016. Western Caribbean voyages call at either Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel or Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Cozumel, while a Bahamas/Florida route includes Nassau, Freeport, and Key West. Carnival Breeze will also offer a special two-day cruise from Galveston Dec. 9-11, 2016, before kicking off its new year-round seven-day schedule.

Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty bring exciting new choices to Galveston, each with an array of on-board features. Carnival Breeze offers such innovations as a multi-dimensional cinema experience called Thrill Theater, Bonsai Sushi full-service Asian restaurant and WaterWorks highlighted by a 312-foot-long slide, while Carnival Liberty offers a classic American steakhouse, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar and a 14,500-square-foot spa.

New Value-Packed 12-day Cruises Offer Exciting Destinations
In preparation for their new deployments, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Breeze will each operate a unique 12-day cruise in 2016, visiting a variety of exotic Caribbean destinations. These departures have been created especially for those guests who are looking for a longer-length cruise vacation providing more time to enjoy the ships’ wide range of amenities while visiting less frequently traveled islands throughout the Caribbean.

Carnival Liberty will offer a 12-day cruise from San Juan to Galveston March 6-18, 2016, calling at St. Thomas, Barbados, Tobago, Grenada, Aruba and Grand Cayman. Carnival Breeze will operate a 12-day cruise departing Miami Nov. 27, 2016, and arriving in Galveston Dec. 9, 2016. Featured ports on this one-time voyage include St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Curacao, Aruba and Cozumel.

For information about any of these new cruise options or to make a reservation please contact AREA Vacations by email at or call us at 770-591-5552.

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MSC – Where Kids Sail FREE!

From the charms of the Caribbean to the wonders of Europe, kids 11 and under can enjoy it all . . . compliments of MSC. And kids 12-17 sail at a reduced rate. What’s more, MSC provides countless activities that offer captivating adventures for everyone.

Complimentary Kids Clubs!

Four separate Kids Clubs programs are available from 9 a.m to 11 p.m for young guests; each tailored to a specific age group:

  • mini club – 3 to 6 years old
  • Junior Club – 7 to 11 years old
  • Y-Team – 12 to 14 years old
  • MSC Generation Teen Club – 15 to 17 years old

Cool Kids Zones!

Your children are sure to be delighted by the colorful and spacious play area with lots of room to run, jump, and have fun. On MSC Poesia, children can enjoy the Stone Age dinosaur play area, while MSC Fantasia offer igloos and life-size polar bears in Il Polo Nord, “The North Pole” children’s play area that includes a swimming pool with waterslide.

Fun Kids Activites!

On board our ships you’ll find a wide selection of family, kid and teen activities like basketball and soccer tournaments, table soccer, carnival parades, volleyball, crazy ping pong, karaoke, treasure hunts, dance competitions, miniature golf, tennis and more! Budding artists can channel their creativity with fun crafts. Future journalists and cartoonists will be proud to see their work published in the new kids newspaper.

Digital Fun For Kids!

In addition to sporting, arts, and crafts and theater activities, MSC offers Microsoft Xbox Kinetic, Nintendo Wii and a wide variety of games from which to choose. The teen corner now includes a docking station for iPods, iPhone, iPads and USB readers; and a social corner connected to Net TV and with Bluetooth keyboards. For the ultimate virtual reality experience MSC Spendida and MSC Fantasia feature the stunning 4D Cinema where cinema comes to lift. A giant screen and special headphones for an audio/visual experience like never before.

Flavorful Foods Just For Kids!

The fun continues even with our children’s menus. Kids love our authentic Italian favorites like pasta and pizza, but we offer All-American favorites, too, such as hamburgers, hot dogs and delicious pastries and desserts. And, My Teen Card makes it convenient for kids 12-17 to make pre-paid purchases while onboard.

Kids sail free on MSC is not a promotion on certain sailings, it is all sailings all the time. So what are waiting for? To take advantage of what MSC has to offer contact AREA Vacations at or call 770-591-5552.

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Norway – 9 Customs and Etiquette Advice

Hurtigruten - NorwayAbout 4,463 miles is the distance between the central U.S. and Norway. With such great lengths invariably comes new customs, unique walks of life and different ways of doing things. So before setting sail on a Norwegian cruise and docking at cities across the Scandinavian country, it’s helpful to learn about the Norwegian people and their customs. Here are nine things you should take with you:

1. For starters, more than 99 percent of the 4.3 million people who live in Norway speak Norwegian, the official language. Norwegian has two written forms of language: Bokmål (literally “book language”) and Nynorsk (“New Norwegian”). Although both have the same legal recognition, Bokmål is more common. You will see both on signs throughout the country.

2. When greeting someone from Norway, use a firm handshake, direct eye contact and a smile. Like the U.S., Norwegian greetings are casual but meaningful. If you want to stay on the side of caution and be very polite, people may use the honorific title “Herr” (Mr.) or “Fru” (Mrs.) followed by their surname.

3. Though informal, Norwegians generally have reserved body language, so don’t take offense if someone appears cold or aloof.

4. Norwegians are punctual in both social situations and business.

5. Keeping calm and not displaying strong emotions in public are common virtues in Norway.

6. Avoid discussing business. Norwegians tend to separate their business and personal lives.

7. Similar to the rising trend in the U.S., many couples live together without getting married. A wedding is not a prerequisite to starting a family, so it’s best not to make presumptions about people’s marital status.

8. In general, Norwegians are known to be humble, good-natured and friendly. Many people recognize Jante Law, a term used to describe a pattern of behavior associated with Scandinavians that frown upon individual success and achievement. Essentially, it is meant to teach people to be modest. As such, Norwegians try to see all people as standing on equal footing.

The tenets of the law are: 

– You shall not think you are special.
– You shall not believe you are smarter than others.
– You shall not believe you are wiser than others.
– You shall not behave as if you are better than others.
– You shall not believe that you know more than others.
– You shall not believe that you can fix things better than others.
– You shall not laugh at others.
– You shall not believe that others care about you.
– You shall not believe that you can teach others anything.

9. Most Norwegians have simple tastes and are not prone to excessive showiness.

One of the best ways to experience Norway is on Hurtigruten coastal cruise. You will be immersed in the culture and visit as many as 30+ ports in the 6, 7, or 12-night itinerary. For more information about visiting Norway or taking an exciting Hurtigruten cruise please contact AREA Vacations at or call 770-591-5552.

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Carnival Miracle – Upgraded to Fun Ship 2.0 in 2015

CarnivalThe Carnival Miracle, a Spirit Class cruise ship operated by Carnival Cruise Lines, will undergo an extensive refurbishment this spring that will add an array of new and exciting on-board innovations, from unique bar concepts like RedFrog Pub and Alchemy Bar to fun entertainment choices such as Playlist Productions and Hasbro, The Game Show, and the family-friendly Seuss at Sea program! The new features – part of Carnival’s ongoing Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement initiative – will be added during a two-week-long dry dock that will take place March 7-21, 2015.

The exciting new enhancements include:

  • Red Frog Pub – Carnival’s Caribbean-inspired watering hole featuring the region’s best rums and beers – including Carnival’s own ThirstyFrog Red – enjoyed in a distinct British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West atmosphere
  • Alchemy Bar – at this vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy,” mixologists “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients with creative names like “Forty is the New Twenty” and “Restorative Basil Drop”
  • Playlist Productions – these four spectacular shows – 88 Keys, 80’s Pop To the Max, Getaway Island and Heart Of Soul – combine captivating live performances of recognizable pop and rock songs with dazzling special effects to create unforgettable evenings of entertainment
  • Seuss At Sea – part an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, Seuss at Sea brings the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss to life with fun activities like the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with the Cat in the Hat and Friends, Seuss-a-Palooza Story Time, and more
  • Hasbro, The Game Show – this audience-participation favorite features larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic and popular games with titles like Connect4 Basketball, Sorry Sliders, and Yahtzee Bowling
  • Cherry On Top – this “candy and more store” celebrates the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun fanciful gifts and novelties, custom apparel and more
  • New SPORTS Bar – at this sports lovers’ paradise, guests can catch live sporting events and check out scores on the real-time 24/7 sports ticker
  • Spin U – developed in partnership with legendary DJ IRIE – Carnival’s official DJ who has entertained crowds from South Beach to Las Vegas – this fun DJ academy provides aspiring spin-masters ages 15-17 all they need to know to “hit the decks” and rock the club!

These innovations complement a wide range of existing onboard features such as the Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez, a Serenity adults-only retreat with magnificent ocean vistas, a classic American-style steakhouse serving prime cuts of beef and other gourmet cuisine, a nine-hole miniature golf course, a 14,500-square-foot health and wellness center, and The Taste Bar offering bite-size samples from popular Fun Ship 2.0 dining venues.

Carnival Miracle Itineraries
Carnival Miracle operates year-round departures from Long Beach, California, featuring three different week-long Mexican Riviera cruise options: a three-port itinerary featuring Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas; a two-port option that includes a stop in Cabo San Lucas, along with a two-day overnight stay in Puerto Vallarta; and a third choice featuring a day-long visit to Puerto Vallarta, along with a two-day call at Cabo San Lucas.

Carnival Miracle will also offer 15-day Hawaii cruises round-trip from Long Beach departing Oct. 17 and Nov. 28, 2015, and Jan. 16, 2016, along with a special one-time 13-day Mexican Riviera cruise departing Jan. 31, 2016.

Reservations are currently being accepted for all of Carnival Miracle’s 7 to 15-day departures from Long Beach. For additional information, please contact us at or call 770-591-5552.

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Discover Alaska with Princess Cruises

For many people a trip to Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime event. It is a perfect destination for multi-generation travel with much to offer people of all ages. Alaska is rich with history; offers breath-taking scenery – a real paradise for photographers; and the wildlife is spectacular. One of the best ways to visit Alaska is by taking a cruise or cruise-tour. Here is short video describing the experience on Princess Cruise Lines.

For more information or to book an Alaska cruise or cruise-tour please contact AREA Vacations at 770-591-5552 or

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