“Captain” Bill’s Top 3 Travel Rules

Maybe you heard about our latest cruise aboard the beautiful Allure of the Seas at the end of August.  It didn’t go exactly as we had planned.

Remember Tropical Storm Isaac?  Well, he was in the Caribbean when we were supposed to be boarding our ship. Port Everglades was closed and the cruise before ours had to stay out to sea for two extra days.  Nice for them.  But that meant we had to spend three very wet and windy days in a Fort Lauderdale hotel.  And our 7 day cruise was cut down to 5 days.  (Sad face.)

We had chosen this cruise for the itinerary – Labadee (ah… a private island); Falmouth, Jamaica (where we had never been); and Cozumel, Mexico.  Well… you can’t do that in 5 days, so our ports were changed to Cozumel, and Nassau.  (Sad face.)

We had prearranged a resort package in Jamaica that sounded like so much fun, but that got scratched. (Bummer.)

We had really been looking forward to our day in Labadee (Royal Caribbean’s private island), but since that port was cancelled we decided to do a beach excursion in Cozumel. Very nice for an hour or so, and then the skies opened up – thunder and lightning and pouring rain and wind.  But we had free beer and pina coladas!  (Sad face, but…) 

There are some great things to do in Nassau, but we have been there many times, so we were disappointed that that was our last port before coming home.  (Yet another sad face.) 

But you know, our little group made the best of it.  We were on vacation.  We had fun!  We laughed, we ate, we played, we relaxed!  For every little glitch along the way, one of us would remind the others, “It’s an adventure!”

You know, there’s not always someone to blame.  Things happen that you have no control over.  Decisions need to be made in the best consideration for the safety and welfare of the ship, her passengers and her crew.  We could have moaned and whined and carried on.  And we could have, and would have, had a miserable time.  But we all made a decision to ENJOY OUR ADVENTURE!  And that’s exactly what we did!

“Captain” Bill’s Top 3 Vacation Rules:














As always, I’m wishing you clear skies and smooth seas, and a very “Bon Voyage,”

“Captain” Bill

Captain’s Club Cruises & Tours
Captain’s Club Cruises & Tours
125 Dolson Avenue, Middletown, NY  10940
(845) 344-4949  ~  Email captclub@citlink.net  ~  www.captainsclubcruises.com


Who Loves Disney? WE Love Disney!

How To Get The Most From a Trip To DisneyWorld!

Anyone who knows me and my family knows that we are HUGE fans of everything Disney.  We LOVE Disney stores, Disney clothing and jewelry, Disney kitchen wares and household items, Disney movies, well… you get the idea!
That’s why one of our all-time favorite family vacations is a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.  There are lots of different ways to “do” Disney, but there are 4 things we always recommend to anyone planning a trip:
  1. Give yourself enough time to see and do all the things you want to see and do.  With four major theme parks, two water parks, championship golf, spas, water sports, shopping and dining experiences galore – you really need to plan for as many days as you possibly can to get it all in.
  2. Disney ParadePurchase a Park Hopper ticket to have the flexibility to come and go as you please through all four parks on the same day.  You can also add on the Water Park Fun & More Option which gets you into water parks, DisneyQuest, golf, or ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  (This only works for you if you have paid attention to #1 – Make sure you give yourself enough time!)
  3.  Stay in the Middle of the Magic – on-site at a Disney Resort hotel.  You’ll get extra time in the parks, complimentary transportation to and from the airport and all around Walt Disney World, spectacularly themed resorts, and that unique Disney service, entertainment and fun!
  4. And, if possible, purchase (or sometimes even get for free) a Disney Dining package. This is a super value with lots of flexibility to fit your schedule and preferences.  You can choose from the Disney Dining Plan, the Quick-Service Dining Plan and the Deluxe Dining Plan.  Want to learn more about these options?  Check out this video:
Disney Dining Plans
Disney Dining Plans
If you see a Disney vacation in YOUR future, we can help!  Give us a call or stop in.  We’ll help make it Magical, Enchanting and Affordable!
Captain’s Club Cruises & Tours
125 Dolson Avenue, Middletown, NY  10940
(845) 344-4949  ~  Email captclub@citlink.net  ~  www.captainsclubcruises.com

Touring the Veendam took me back…

It was like deja vu…



The moment we stepped onboard Holland America’s Veendam it felt like we had come home.   Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s we cruised many times on the old Volendam and Rotterdam, and they’ve always held fond memories for us.  Now 30 years later the memories from those cruises came rushing back as we walked around this ship.

At 57,000 tons the Veendam is considered small in today’s world of megaships, but that is precisely what gives her the charm and timeless ambiance that many cruisers are looking for.   The staterooms are spacious and well-appointed.  Closet and drawer space is adequate.  Nice amenities like terry cloth bathrobes, Elemis bath products, 100% Egyptian cotton towels and luxurious Euro-Top mattresses can be found in all staterooms.

The staterooms, dining room, lounges and public areas were all in great shape.  Although we did see some areas that are a bit worn, mostly outside on deck, I’m sure these will be addressed with the ship’s ongoing maintenance.

Some of the more remarkable areas of the Veendam are:

Veendam Lanai Stateroom

Lanai Stateroom

LANAI STATEROOMS:  These staterooms on deck 6 have sliding glass doors that open right onto the fully covered, walk-around Lower Promenade deck.  Teak deck chairs are reserved for passengers in lanai staterooms right outside your door.  We tried to see how easily passers-by could see into the room and found the mirrored windows effectively block the view.  I imagine, however, that at night you would need to keep the drapes closed when the lights are on to avoid putting on a show for anyone walking by.

Veendam Delft

Delft china

THE ARTWORK: Holland America has always been known for it’s art collections aboard their ships. You’ll find everything from ancient Mayan sculptures and Japanese war costumes to crystal and Delft china. A multitude of paintings by one of our favorite artists, Stephen Card, whose family owned Vera P. Card shop on Front Street in Bermuda for many years, are displayed throughout the ship. He is well known for his truly lifelike paintings of ships and other maritime subjects.

THE CULINARY ARTS CENTER:  The Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine Magazine, is a unique opportunity aboard Holland America.  They have an impressive  show kitchen dedicated to cooking classes and culinary demonstrations, as well as winetasting and food pairing sessions, cocktail classes and more.  Special workshops for children and teens, too!

The Oasis

The Oasis

CLUB HAL:  For such a small ship, there is a nice amount of space allocated to their  children’s programs, serving children 3-7, tweens ages 8-12,and the Loft and The Oasis (a great private outdoor deck area) for teens 13-17.  We spoke to one of the counselors and were told that the smaller number of children typically onboard means there can be a more individualized experience for the participants.  They make every effort to accommodate and include all children, including those with special needs.

THE SMILES:  Everywhere we went on board this ship we were greeted with warm, friendly smiles.  That’s one thing that we will always associate with Holland America!

If you remember what cruising was like 30 years ago, a cruise on the Veendam may be exactly what you’re looking for.  If you never had the opportunity to cruise before ziplines and rock walls, when dressing for dinner meant dressing for dinner , or if all your cruise experience is limited to the huge, flashy ships of today, now would be a great time to experience the timeless elegance of Holland America.

Now, I don’t want you to think that there are no modern amenities aboard the Veendam (and other Holland America ships).  Quite the contrary!   You’ll find plenty to do:  Digital Workshops, a fully-equipped Fitness Center, 2 pools, basketball and volleyball courts, The Greenhouse Spa and Salon, an extensive library, internet cafe amd coffeehouse, shopping, movies, shows, Piano Bar, Sports Bar, casino – I don’t think I need to keep going to make my point.  You’ll find the perfect blend of classic elegance and modern interests.

The Veendam sails from NYC this summer on 7 day cruises to Bermuda.  She is the only ship that docks on Front Street in Hamilton on a regular basis and stays there for four days!  BUT she’s not scheduled to come back to New York next year so, you really need to go NOW!

Are you ready????  I certainly am!!

“Captain” Bill

Captain’s Club Cruises & Tours ~ 125 Dolson Avenue, Middletown, NY  10940 ~ (845) 344-4949 ~ www.captainsclubcruises.com

I’m So Excited About the Disney Fantasy!

Yes, I am REALLY EXCITED about Disney Cruise Line’s newest ship, Disney Fantasy, which is currently enroute from the shipyard to the U.S.  —  Why? you may ask?  Because I will be sailing onboard the Fantasy next month!!

Disney Fantasy Atrium Lobby

Disney Fantasy Atrium Lobby

This brand-new ship is a sister-ship to the still new Disney Dream, and at 130,000 tons they are quite a bit larger than Disney’s first two ships, Disney Magic and Disney Wonder (83,000 tons).  Now, with 4 ships, Disney has more itineraries than ever.  You’ll find them in the Bahamas, the Eastern and Western Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska, AND this summer the Disney Magic will sail from New York(!) on 5 night Canada/New England Coast cruises, and a few 2 night Weekend Cruises!

But… back to the Disney Fantasy,  beginning the end of March, this ship will alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises, including Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay (one of my whole family’s favorite places in the world!).  Like the Disney Dream, the Fantasy will feature AquaDuck, the only water coasters at sea.  I can’t wait to try it out!  Other features include Europa, a nighttime, adult entertainment district; Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, for princess and pirate makeovers; and all new Disney shows!

Stay tuned and I’ll let you know EXACTLY how magical this ship is!!

Captain’s Club Cruises & Tours
125 Dolson Avenue, Middletown, NY  10940
(845) 344-4949  ~  Email captclub@citlink.net  ~  www.captainsclubcruises.com

Captain’s Club’s Cruise and Vacation EXPO was Great!

Captain’s Club’s Cruise and Vacation EXPO was held on Sunday and we had a great time! It was so good to see many of our regulars, some people we haven’t seen in quite a while, and a lot of newcomers.  In our crowd of about 300 people we had first-time cruisers, a couple who have been on 83 cruises (many of them with us), and everything in between.  I hope everyone enjoyed themselves and got the information they came for.

Based on the attendance, and the questions, and the overall vibe, I think it’s pretty clear that people are feeling a little better about the economy and the future.  Or maybe they’re just tired of waiting.  The overwhelming sentiment seemed to be,

“If not now, then when?” 

Captain’s Club Cruises & Tours, 125 Dolson Avenue, Middletown, NY  10940
(845) 344-4949  ~  captclub@citlink.net  ~  www.captainsclubcruises.com

Hooray for Carnival!! We’ve been waiting for this…

I’m really pleased to let you know that Carnival Cruise Lines’ will be moving the Carnival Splendor from Long Beach, CA to her new year-round homeport in New York City, starting Mar. 31, 2013, sailing 8 day cruises from NYC!!   The 113,000 ton Carnival Splendor will replace the smaller 88,000 ton Carnival Miracle, providing more amenities for passengers sailing from New York.

This move also gives you the opportunity to get in on some great itineraries.


13-18 Day South America sailings (repositioning) Feb 2013 – Mar 2013

17 Day South America Explorer from LA – Feb. 3, 2013

13 Day Fjords, Glaciers & Patagonia from  Santiago, Chile – Feb. 20, 2013

18 Day Brazilian and Caribbean from Buenos Aires, Argentina – Mar. 5, 2013

8 Day Port Canaveral (Orlando) & Bahamas from New York, NY

2013:  3/23/2013, 11/1/2013, 11/9/2013, 11/17/2013, 11/25/2013, 12/3/2013, 12/11/2013, 12/19/2013, 12/27/2013

2014:  1/4/2014, 1/12/2014, 1/20/2014, 1/28/2014, 2/5/2014, 2/13/2014, 2/21/2014, 3/1/2014, 3/9/2014, 3/17/2014, 3/25/2014, 4/2/2014 

New York, NY   4:00 PM
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
Port Canaveral (Orlando), FL 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
Nassau, Bahamas 11:00 AM 10:00 PM
Freeport, Bahamas 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
New York, NY 8:00 AM  



8 Day New York-Caribbean from New York, NY

 2013:  4/8/2013, 4/23/2013, 5/1/2013, 5/17/2013, 5/25/2013, 6/10/2013, 6/26/2013, 7/12/2013, 7/28/2013, 8/13/2013, 9/14/2013, 9/30/2013, 10/8/2013, 10/16/2013

2014:  4/10/2014, 4/18/2014, 4/26/2014 
New York, NY   4:00 PM
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
Grand Turk 7:00 AM 3:00 PM
Half Moon Cay, Bahamas 9:00 AM 5:00 PM
Nassau, Bahamas 7:00 AM 6:00 PM
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
New York, NY 8:00 AM  
 8 Day Eastern Caribbean from New York, NY

2013:  5/9/2013, 6/2/2013, 6/18/2013, 7/4/2013, 7/20/2013, 8/5/2013, 8/21/2013, 8/29/2013, 9/6/2013, 9/22/2013, 10/24/2013 

New York, NY   4:00 PM
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
San Juan, Puerto Rico 3:00 PM MIDNIGHT
St. Thomas, Usvi 7:00 AM 4:00 PM
Grand Turk 1:00 PM 7:00 PM
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
“Fun Day” At Sea At Sea At Sea
New York, NY 8:00 AM  




15 Day Panamá Canal “Repositioning” Cruise – Mar. 16 2013  (NY to LA)

7 Day Mexican Riviera sailings – starting Mar. 31 2013

7 Day Alaska from Seattle – May 2013 – Sept. 2013

15 Day Hawaii cruises – (5) sailings


Thank you, Carnival!!!




Captain’s Club’s Cruise and Vacation EXPO is this Sunday

"Captain" Bill

"Captain" Bill

If you are thinking about taking a vacation this year, then you need to be at Captain’s Club’s Cruise and Vacation EXPO this Sunday, February 12, 2012.  We’ll have representatives and information from top cruise lines and vacation destinations, door prizes and show specials.  Plus, if you know me at all, you know I love to talk (especially about something I love and know well), so I’ll do a presentation on cruising.  So, I hope to see you Sunday!

DATE: Sunday, February 12, 2012

TIME: 1 – 4 pm, presentation begins at 2 pm

LOCATION:  125 Dolson Avenue, Middletown, NY (in the former Fashion Bug store located right next to Captain’s Club Cruises and Tours’ office)

Email your RSVP to captclub2@citlink.net, or call us at (845) 344-4949 with any questions.

Captain’s Club Cruises & Tours
125 Dolson Avenue, Middletown, NY  10940
(845) 344-4949  ~  Email captclub@citlink.net  ~  www.captainsclubcruises.com

It’s “Captain” Bill’s New Blog!

"Captain" Bill

"Captain" Bill

Welcome to my new blog!  I hope you’ll follow along as we discuss cruising, traveling and vacationing of all kinds.  I am the owner of Captain’s Club Cruises and Tours, a cruise and vacation agency located in Middletown, NY. 

I started cruising as a young child and continued after I was married.  Over time I discovered I loved cruising so much, I decided to open the area’s first cruise-only travel agency in 1988.  At that time, cruise-only agencies were very rare, and many questioned how we would succeed with such a “limited” offering.  Well, succeed we did, through a combination of top-notch, personal service and extensive cruise knowledge and experience.

I have earned industry certifications: ACC – Accredited Cruise Counselor, MCC – Master Cruise Counselor, and ECC – Elite Cruise Counselor, the highest ranking currently available through the Cruise Line International Association, as well specific industry certifications through the major cruise lines.

Of course, I never hesitated to add Disney to the mix. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a HUGE fan of Mickey and friends! And as we’ve grown, we’ve added a few select tour providers to accomodate you during those times when you’re looking for something different.


I love travel, and I delight in helping others discover the pleasures and wonders of vacationing too. So, when I say “We treat your vacation as if it were our own,” – WE MEAN IT!