Take your cruise ship home, part of it anyway

Did you have a good time on your cruise, so much fun that you would like to take your cruise ship home? Now you can.

Not to be confused with stealing towels or silverware, some cruise lines are allowing passengers to enjoy some of the luxury they experience at sea right in their own homes. No, they’re not sending a masseur over for a little session on the night of your choice or shipping you Lobster-Night-In-A-Box. But they are offering a service that even those who have never been on a cruise can take advantage of.

The topic comes up because this week, Royal Caribbean International announced the new Royal Caribbean Bedding Collection available for sale to anyone.

“In line with our Royal Advantage program, the Royal Caribbean Bedding Collection was chosen with care to offer the indulgent sleep experience that they enjoy onboard and longed and requested to bring home,” said Lisa Bauer, senior vice president of Hotel Operations.

Royal Caribbean’s collection offers not just sheets and pillows but full-size ma tresses as well made in Italy by Matermoll and Emmebiesse. The popular Royal Memory Pillows start at $79 (with $26.95 shipping make that $105.95. Kinda pricey. Remember that number, we’ll be coming back to it shortly.

Rival lines Carnival and Holland America also offer bedding for sale. I have a bunch of the Carnival Comfort Collection pillows that have done well over the 4 years we have used them. It makes sense too; this stuff is made both for durability and comfort. To make it to luxury-status in a commercial setting, they have to hit both marks.

Thinking about just stuffing that pillow in your suitcase before leaving the ship? Think again.

Bed bugs, even a few, attached to that pillow can infest your home and multiply quickly. Odds are you don’t make your bed and perform an informal inspection for bed bugs twice daily or disinfect foundation pieces each week like they do on cruise ships.

Those bed bugs are going to love your home.

Suddenly, after spending a lot of money with an exterminator to get rid of your little friends from the cruise ship, that $105.95 price tag for a pillow doesn’t sound so bad. I’m still not sure how they get $26.95 to ship a pillow. Maybe the captain delivers it, tucks you in and tells a tale of great wonder about life at sea and giant octopi.

But bedding is just one item for sale from the cruise lines.

Let’s go back to 2005 and another cruise line at-home program. Carnival Cruise Line’s Presidential Wine Club. It was a mail-order program where members were shipped two bottles of wine each month, selected by the line’s then president, Bob Dickinson, a noted wine connoisseur and collector. That program really never took off the way the cruise line had hoped and was canceled after a very short life. Buying into pretty much anything cruise-related at the time, I joined that club but was kind of relieved once it was over, the wine was really stacking up. These things happen to beer drinkers.

Royal Caribbean also offers would-be passengers/imposter’s the ability to look all cruisey without even going to sea with their Gifts and Gear Ashore program. This one lets us visit the cruise ship gift shop from home ordering a wide variety of clothing and other items we might find on the ships.

Want to freak out your friends at the next WeHateCruises.org meeting? Buy a Royal Caribbean t-shirt and tell them “I kinda liked it”.

Flickr photo by ceemarie

3 great books about cruise vacations

While blogging, video, interactive travel books and online travelguides have command a lot of interest, books (like with paper and ink) are still being published. Here are some of the best about cruise vacations for your weekend reading pleasure.

Selling the Sea– An inside Look at the Cruise Industry
Written by cruise industry veterans Bob Dickinson from Carnival Cruise Lines fame and Andy Vladimir this second edition features information all about the mechanics of the cruise industry as well as interviews with captains, social directors, and cruise line executives

Frommer’s Cruises and Ports of Call, 7th Edition
This is like the handbook of all cruise books and has photos of all major ship classes that sail from North American home-ports plus in-depth coverage of major ports of call in the Caribbean as well. This 7th edition has candid reviews and other useful information to supplement what you find online and here at Gadling.

Cruise Confidential A Hit Below the Waterline
If you have ever wondered what it would be like to work on a cruise ship, this is the book for you. Brian David Bruns look at his life as the only American waiter on several Carnival cruise ships gives a backstage account of what it is like day to day aboard a ship at sea.

Don’t want to cut down trees for information? AOL TravelGuides are a great source for all things cruising as well. Some of the best include great warm-weather ports like Kingston, San Juan, Acapulco and Cancun.

Just the thing on a cold, snowy, Winter night or if you’re a Time-Warner subscriber, expecting another blackout.

No time for such nonsense as books? Fine then, check this video on the new Disney Dream:

You’re watching Cruise Director: Disney Dream – Behind the Scenes. See the Web’s top videos on AOL Video