As I compose this month’s blog, I’m sitting in cabin #13786 on Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship, Norwegian Joy. It is the last morning of a 3-day, invitation-only, inaugural cruise for Norwegian Joy. This was her first sailing following a $50 million refurbishment, and she looks fantastic! It’s still the dark hours before the dawn, and I have my balcony door open, listening to the sound of the water splashing off the hull. It’s very soothing, and the gentle motion of the ship, along with the sound of the waves, is more conducive to sleeping than to working! These days, cruise ships are becoming a destination in and of themselves. Even if you’ve cruised in the past, the ship experience now is much different than before. Gone are the days of shuffleboard and ping pong as major forms of entertainment. Instead, you see each new ship coming out with impressive bells & whistles, such as laser tag, go-carts, age-appropriate kids’ clubs and programming, virtual reality gaming rooms, high-tech/high-quality theater shows, nationally-known guest speakers and immersive experiences that bring the destinations on board the ship before you even get off to explore a destination. (Did I mention that Norwegian Joy has all of these latest and greatest features?) Cruising is a great option for people of all ages and physical abilities and is especially perfect for multigenerational groups and families. Booking a cruise—even for experienced cruisers—can be quite confusing. If you run a Google search of “cheap cruises to the Caribbean,” you’ll have more options than you can easily sort through. Multiple ships may be sailing to the same destinations. Which ship or cruise line is best for you? What’s the difference between all of the cabin categories? Why is one Inside cabin more expensive than another Inside cabin? What’s included in the price? What’s not included in the price? Are you getting the best value for your money? This is where the services of a professional travel advisor, such as me, can make all the difference in the planning and booking process. Not only am I familiar with the various cruise lines and what they have to offer across their fleet, but I’m also a repeat cruiser, so I’m very experienced when it comes to finding the right cruise and cruise ship for you, making your travel arrangements to/from the cruise, answering questions about the ship experience, and helping to identify and assist in arranging unique excursions and adventures you’ll enjoy in the destinations you’ll be visiting. The inaugural cruise experience on Norwegian Joy has been both educational and fun for me. I hope you’ve joined me on the adventure by following my daily posts on my Facebook business page. There, I posted basic information about Norwegian Joy, such as the services and amenities available onboard, as well as pictures taken around the ship. I have hundreds of pictures I’ve yet to share with you, so keep watching my Facebook business page for a photo album to be uploaded in the next few days. Cruises are a very economical and efficient way to explore the world. Even better, you only have to unpack your luggage once! Selecting the right cruise itinerary and cruise line is important for your overall cruise experience–most especially for folks trying out cruising for the first time. This is where the skills and cruise-industry knowledge of a Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE), like me, can make all the difference for you. I will provide support up until your trip is successfully completed—assisting with pre/post cruise travel arrangements, answering questions about what to expect/what’s included on the ship, and making sure you have the proper documents required for visiting the destinations you’ll be exploring. If you haven’t experienced cruising, I highly recommend you give it a try! I’ll help find the perfect cruise for you! Call me at (309) 256-2984, send me an email, or complete a Contact request form on my website to get started planning your own high-seas adventure. Until next time… Jennifer