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Discover affordable Europe with a Holland America Line cruise from $999
There's no better way to experience Europe than on a Holland America Line cruise. We invite you to explore a world of award-winning service and sophisticated five-star dining aboard our elegant, mid-sized ships. View our special offers now.

Save up to $1,000/stateroom on 2010 Avalon Europe river cruises
Set sail with Avalon Waterways and save on 2010 Europe river cruises. With the youngest fleet, the largest staterooms, included sightseeing and wine, the time to experience the Avalon difference has never been better. View details online or call

Squeeze more everything into your vacation
Bring the whole gang on any Carnival Cruise and get ready for some serious fun. Because almost everything is included, like comfy accommodations, jaw-dropping destinations, delicious dining options, live entertainment, and so much more.

Chef Matt Sigel's Cruise with CruiseMates
A Cruisemates group cruise with Chef Matt Sigel of the popular series Hell's Kitchen. Norwegian Epic 10-30-10

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Kiplinger's Magazine named CruiseMates to its Top 25 Best Value Travel Sites

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WHERE THE BARGAINS ARE

Last Minute Deals Looking for a deal? Check America's Vacation Center's last-minute cruise offers! Click for Details!

Other HOT Deals...
  • from $749
    Celebrity Summit to Bermuda from Bayonne, NJ (New York area) to Newport, RI and two nights in King's Wharf.
  • from $659
    8-night Southern Caribbean Carnival Miracle from Ft Lauderdale to Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Curacao; $50 onboard credit.
  • save $200
    Oasis Of The Seas Cruise Sale: Receive up to $200 onboard credit on balcony staterooms or above on select May 2010 Oasis of the Seas sailings. Offer ends 4/15/10

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04.08.2010


Hipsters populate a typical Apple Store similar to iLounge

Celebrity Teams With Apple
Celebrity Cruises just announced a new feature for their newest Solstice-class ships, a special area specifically to highlight computer products from Apple. Dubbed the "Celebrity iLounge" - a name similar to iPhone and iPod, there will be three main areas: a network of new and "contemporary" MacBook workstations where guests can check their e-mail, "retain their social media connections," or print boarding passes; a retail store featuring the latest MacBooks, iPods and accessories; and an enrichment center where instructors will offer classes and tips on using Macs or iPods.

It is always fun to watch cruise lines "compete." Sometimes I wonder if any cruise line ever has a truly original idea. Well, now here was one; Holland America formed a strategic alliance with Microsoft to feature their products on all Holland America ships just last year. If you sail on the Eurodam, or several other Holland America ships, you can take classes taught by actual Microsoft employees using Windows 7 PC computers to make movies, create web sites and edit pictures. The "Microsoft Digital Workshop" will be fleet-wide on Holland America soon.

It was one of the better moves Holland America has made in a long time, from the perspective of technophiles like me, because it gives a cohesive solution to what had previously been a somewhat hodgepodge approach to the line's Internet access offerings which had varied too much from ship to ship.


Save up to $1,000 per stateroom on Avalon Waterways Europe river cruises
Set sail with Avalon Waterways and save on 2010 Europe river cruises. With the youngest fleet, the largest staterooms, included sightseeing and wine, the time to experience the Avalon difference has never been better. View details online or call.
Avalon Waterways 866.397.6594

The Celebrity iLounge will also have instructors to show people how to edit movies, design web sites and edit photos. The difference is that all of the classes will be offered on Apple computers with instructors who have all received 125 hours of training in these different programs.

Now, I personally find the Solstice iLounge idea appealing - they are beautiful ships; stylish and modernistic - just like the new MacBooks - and given the relaxed atmosphere of a cruise I would relish spending a few hours getting to know Macs a little better. But I am not your average cruiser and Apple products normally appeal to the artistic college crowd, particularly photographers, musicians, videographers and some web designers. Not exactly the Celebrity Cruises demographic.

So, I have to wonder about an Apple iLounge on a cruise ship where the average passenger is close to age 50. I have been in cruise ship computer classes, and they are typically populated by seniors who just want to email digital pictures to their grandkids.


Discover affordable Europe with a Holland America Line cruise from $999
There's no better way to experience Europe than on a Holland America Line cruise. We invite you to explore a world of award-winning service and sophisticated five-star dining aboard our elegant, mid-sized ships. View our special offers now.
Holland America Lines

These people will be lost on a Mac - they barely know how to use the PC computers they have at home. How do I know? According to figures provided by Global Market Share Statistics, as of late 2008 Windows still has 90% of the market, and the remaining 10% of people, known to populate Apple stores, tend to be under 30.

That will be a challenge for those specially trained Apple instructors who will probably spend most of their time showing people how to access the Internet on a Mac. Macs don't have Internet Explorer - you need to look for a program called Safari.


Squeeze more everything into your vacation
Bring the whole gang on any Carnival Cruise and get ready for some serious fun. Because almost everything is included, like comfy accommodations, jaw-dropping destinations, delicious dining options, live entertainment, and so much more.
Offer Details >Book your Carnival function

I have to admit that while the marketing certainly seems to work, the characterization of Apple as the "hip" computer and PC as the "un-cool" does chap my hide. You have probably seen the same "Hi, I'm a PC - Hi, I'm a Mac" commercials I have seen. The "PC" in the commercial is a Dilbert who can't help tripping over his own shoelaces, while the "Mac" is a cool "hipster."

In a press release Celebrity claims the press dubbed the iLounge idea as "a hipster haven" and "a nifty app for tech junkies." Hipster? Isn't that kind of an unhip word? Along the lines of "groovy" and that one word that even as a five-year-old had me hiding my reddened face when my mom used it - "nifty." As a technophile, (I don‘t really care for the word "junkie" to connote anything cool) if I am faced with a room full of Macs when I go to check my email I am going to be cursing the slow mouse with no right click and the odd-looking browser.


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I predict these ships will be installing an additional bank of PC computers soon enough - perhaps to "compare" the "hipster factor" of the Mac vs. the PC - just like the Apple commercials.

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new feature articles

Are Restrictive Pricing Policies The Path To The End of Cruise Travel Agents?
Last week Holland America joined the ranks of some cruise lines implementing a restrictive “flat pricing” policy for travel agents selling their cruises. blue arrows

Seabourn One-week Sale
Until Friday, 27 different cruises departing between June and August, 2010, are on sale - limited to new bookings only. blue arrows

Holy Land Cruises for 2010/2011
See world history on a Holy Land cruise. Recomendations for 2011 and even 2010 last minute bargains. blue arrows

Fuel Surcharges Getting Closer
The price of oil is rising steadily and cruise lines could reinstate fuel surcharges at any time without warning. blue arrows

More Magic from Disney Dream
Disney takes cruise interaction to new levels with video magic. blue arrows

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NEW CRUISEMATES CRUISES!

Chef Matt Sigel's Cruise with CruiseMates
Join Chef Matt Sigel's on Norwegian Epic, Halloween Cruise, Oct 30, 2010 Travel from Miami to Costa Maya, Roatan Honduras and Cozumel - 7-days

Let's Get Lei'd 5.0
We're doing yet again - for the fifth time (because these cruises do so well) - We are going to Hawaii on a Princess ship, this time the mega-Sapphire Princess. We sail from Los Angeles and return to the same. Eight days at sea and five beautiful ports of call - four of them in Hawaii, plus Ensenada. February 26, 2011.

Allure of the Seas
Join your CruiseMates on the newest world's biggest cruise ship on January 23rd, 2011, on the sister ship to Oasis of the Seas slated to debut in early December of 2010. We have great prices and plenty of onboard fun in store for you!