Bon Voyage!

Welcome to the world of cruising! Whether novice or seasoned cruiser, picking the perfect cruise vacation just became a whole lot easier. This blog is bringing you the 411 on cruising according to me, Shon "Cruise Man 3000" Ford! This site is a 'cruisetacular' collection of my personal cruising experiences, cruise ship reviews, and cruise line ratings—I’m bringing you the latest and greatest from the high seas! I hope to bid you a Bon Voyage on a contemporary innovative ocean going vessel very soon! Hey, while you're at it, have a 'cruisemazing' day! Much love—Shon!

Monday, January 19, 2015

CM3K Recap: Hiatus, Healing and Holiday!

I still cruised! While I may have not brought the video cam and social media
along, I did keep the cruisetacular spirit alive and well!
Hey, cruise friends! How are you? It's been a while, eh? So much in fact, it took me forever just to log back into my portal here to blog, haha. Many of you may have remembered I took a hiatus that began back in the spring of 2014 as I had a number of personal things clashing at once; and I thought I'd give you all a recap as to some of the things I did while I was away.

I gave "bull-fighting" a go while I was away...
but I realized, I don't have a death wish, hahaha!
The main influence for my decision to step away from it all were some health issues I had to deal with. I promise I am in great health now, but dealing with that and a number of personal family issues circulating at the same time with changes in other areas of my life, I just "knew" I had to give Cruise Man 3000 a break. I did keep tabs with my pals in the cruise industry and followed stories from afar (so I still stay connected to the high seas biz)! 

When things settled out, I enjoyed a vacation to 'REAL' Mexico in the country's capital
in Mexico City (August '14)... and I was mistaken to be Cuban? 

I joined with many who celebrated the 200th Anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner (September '14).
Right in my own backyard of Baltimore, MD!
I had the privilege to be in my cousin's wedding back in October.

I took a trip down to the Florida Keys driving by car (I flew to Miami, then drove from there) and really had a blast (November '14)!
Some of the best views I've ever seen and it was great to see more than Key West!
Those are just a few of the highlights from what I did while on hiatus. The first chance I could get back to traveling, I did and enjoyed trips both on land and at sea. And in case you missed it, be sure to check out my photos from my cruise aboard Norwegian Gem by clicking here. Stay tuned friends, for in my next post coming later this week where I will share the big news about where I'll be moving to and the details of my new career on the high seas (I am finally leaving the finance realm, haha)! Keep cruising and grooving, y'all!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Farewell for Now, Cruise Friends!

I'll be sailing away for a while...
but I hope to return soon.
Hey, everyone! This is going to be my last blog post on The Ocean Escape for a while. I am going to walk away from this platform for at least a year to focus on some personal matters that have arisen that need my full attention. After much prayer and see-sawing about it, I made the decision to take the next year off from all things cruise to get a better handle on things.

Many of you may recall me mentioning garnering an onboard employment opportunity with a cruise line and I can assure you that road has not lead me to this present decision (if I was gonna go work on a ship, I promise you all would be the first to know)! Just because I won't be broadcasting about cruising as I have in the past doesn't mean I will stop taking advantage of the BEST way to travel (so if you see me on the high seas, don't be a stranger)!

I just wanted to thank everyone who has supported me over all these years. Thank you for showing love and allowing me to share my high seas travels with you and your family! I will truly miss this, but I promise when I return, it will be with a cruisetacular bang! So this is farewell for now, cruise friends until we talk ship again. Hopefully, I'll see you all in 2015! Don't stop cruising and grooving! Much love always-Shon.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

#ThrowBackThursday aboard Norwegian Star!

Photo Credit: agift

Happy Throwback Thursday, cruise friends! So on this day in social media I LOVE seeing the old pics my friends post for the world to enjoy and thought I'd start reliving some of my high seas adventures to join the #TBT spirit! So this week, I'm throwing back just 2 years ago when I sailed aboard Norwegian Star as a member of the Village People! Who remembers this one?

I hope you enjoyed that one! Be sure to check back next Thursday for another CM3K throwback vid; until then, keep cruising and grooving! 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Off Deck Thoughts: Overcoming Daily

I'm still alive... I promise!

So where have I been? That's a great question. I've been posting occasionally here and there but not as much as many of you may have been used to and here's why. Recently I've been faced head-on with some issues that just honestly have taken the God-given energy outta me. Talk about 'life' happening in addition to keeping an intense travel schedule... no words can begin to describe. Been doing a lot of crying, eating and doing the whole 'I'm human right now' thing; I really feel like I'm in the fight of my life and some days I don't even know how I'll make it through the day.

A word I think is appropriate to describe the everyday battles we face is OVERCOMER! And for those who read the blog know I LOVE sharing songs and I've got one on the way below. But I just wanted to take this time to share a little more of my life's story. When I was younger, I was diagnosed with spinal meningitis which in my infancy was supposed to kill me. The doctors gave me just 3 days to live and placed me in a room where a girl was dying from aids and a boy who passed away with HIV. And the only kid who came out of that disease-ridden room was me. So maybe that's why I'm a little more 'out there', laugh little louder and smile like it's a part of my outfit - I truly value this gift called life (even if it's kinda sucky at times).

Growing up without a father in my life, should have disposed me to a staggering amount of statistics in society. Kids in school would always make fun of me for being overweight when I was younger and use hurtful words that would send me home crying many nights. Through all my college years, racism was the demon that haunted me many days, but I persevered through and cruise before you today as an overcomer! I could share many more triumphs in my life, but the story would still be the same: I OVERCAME THEM ALL... just like I'll overcome what I'm going through right now! We all hurt. We all experience pain and difficult situations, but they've all been designed to make us stronger!

At times I wished things in my past never happened, but I'm actually glad they did. They helped shape a new character in me and mold me into the man I am today. I remember crying out to God asking him to change my skin color to white, to send me a father and to not allow people to make fun of me when I was younger. But instead of getting out of it the easy way, I learned how to get through it with God's help! He made me stronger, a fighter and someone who is an (can you guess the word)... overcomer!

And just like Mandisa shares in the video above, God is holding you in every low moment you're experiencing. He's right there walking the journey with you. So never quit and don't you dare give in! There are many people waiting on YOU and YOUR story. Always remember that your life isn't about you; while yes, you may focus on yourself while you're walking through the storm but think big picture. You're a cancer survivor and meet someone who was just diagnosed. You were abused in your childhood and know a child who's crying out for help but afraid to speak-out. Your spouse passed away slowly and you know a coworker having to face the reality each day. All these things are not coincidences. Just know your story of overcoming is meant to help and bless those around you... don't be afraid to share your brokenness - there's power in it! 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Giving Thee Applause 'plause to Norwegian!

Norwegian Jade has been in headlines this week...
and her beautiful hull isn't the reason why.
Photo Credit: Shipparde
Alright, so earlier this week I heard about this incredulous story happening over in Mediterranean waters and I wanted to ensure I had all the facts before I decided to speak... but when I heard from the CEO I couldn't hold back with a response! So it was reported that earlier this month Norwegian Jade made a call in Tunis apart of her regularly scheduled voyage but upon arrival, she was greeted with an awkward message.

The Tunisian government decided all the passengers aboard who were from Israel could not disembark the vessel and this news was birthed as the moors were fresh on Tunis' soil. Sounds off the wall, right? Racist some would argue. I mean I understand many things are happening in our world that don't tickle the feathers of everyone but geez... can people enjoy a freaking vacation?
My main man (Norwegian Cruise Line CEO) had a few words
on the matter... and I support 'em 100%!
So what does Norwegian do in response to this crap? Pull out from port visits to the Port of La Goulette, Tunis not just on the next visit but indefinitely! Norwegian published the following via Facebook just moments ago: 

We want to send a strong message to Tunisia and ports around the world that we will not tolerate such random acts of discrimination against our guests,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO. “We are outraged by this act and the fact that we were not notified in advance of this practice. We apologize sincerely to our guests who were affected and want them to know that we have taken the appropriate action in response.”

Now there's a CEO, cruise line and more importantly message I cannot pass up giving applause to! To Kevin and the cruisetacular team at Norwegian, keep making ripples in the pond - the world is not only listening and watching but I pray they will also follow your lead! You know what to do TOERs... keep cruising and grooving until we talk ship again! Always Much Love-Shon!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

The Mid-Atlantic 'Fun-Ship' Action is Back!

We've got some great things to be happy about here in Baltimore!
There I am outside the Cruise Maryland terminal! :)
Have you heard the AMAZING news? Oh yes, in 2015, Carnival Cruise Lines will be returning to the Mid-Atlantic... not just in one but TWO primere cities: Baltimore, Maryland and Norfolk, Virginia. This comes as nothing new to many of you who follow the industry as Carnival released the details last week, but just in case you didn't catch that news flash... here are the details.

You may remember many of my blogs about Carnival Pride leaving from Baltimore (and I was genuinely sad about it - we love the ships here in Baltimore). THEN Carnival decided to stop the all-year-round service from New York by way of Carnival Splendor as well as ending seasonal service from Boston, Massachusetts and Norfolk, Virginia. This had many of us scractching our heads because with Carnival being the first cruise line to really pioneer the home-port advantage, none of the ship mix-ups made any sense (especially since the greater NY/NJ and MD/DC areas are known to be some of the wealthiest regions in the country).

Carnival 2.0 is coming to the Mid-Atlantic, y'all!
Then... (turn to your neighbor and say, "then") Carnival decided to return! Wahoo! As I've said on this blog before, Carnival has a special place in my heart. They were my first cruise line I sailed (as is true for many of us cruise lovers) and I will always love the vibe and crew that sail their vessels. Anyway, beginning in 2015 the return to berths in Baltimore and Norfolk will happen from Carnival. Carnival Pride will come back to Charm City on March 29, 2015 with the Carnival 2.0 upgrades (I talk more about them here) as well as fuel emission-reducing advancements doing her usual routes to the Bahamas, Florida and Eastern Caribbean. While the details of the voyages and ship that will operate from Norfolk have yet to be revealed, I suspect they will continue the 6 and 5 night Bahamas cruises with a few cruises to nowhere for good measure (I'm guessing it will either be Carnival Splendor or Carnival Glory in Norfolk).

Well I hope YOU (especially the ones who called, texted, facebooked and tweeted me about Carnival leaving) are excited and feel a little more 'fun-ship' excitment in the Mid-Atlantic! I can't wait to see her come back better than ever tricked out with the bells whitsles post her multi-million dollar face lift. Be sure to share some love to Carnival on Twitter by tweeting to @CarnivalCruise and a "we're glad you're coming back home" message. So Baltimore and Norfolk, we can sleep a little better tonight and that's a cruisetacular thing! Keep cruising and grooving until we talk ship again!

Saturday, February 1, 2014


My cruise aboard Grand Princess was truly cruisetacular...
and I told all on Cruise Radio!
So if you've been following my online sites, then you know I have truly been a man on the move. I don't think I can even keep up with all the traveling, but I've got some great content and things to show y'all in 2014 (so keep it locked here to The Ocean Escape). Many of you remember I posted the pictures from my holiday sailing aboard Grand Princess a few weeks ago. I know some of ya want the full cruise review as well as more pictures and videos (they are coming... I promise). In fact, I've got 5 tabs open on Youtube now uploading 5 new videos for you to check out!

In the meantime, why don't you cruise on over to my man Doug Parker's AWESOME website, CruiseRadio. I've blogged about him here before and he's had me on his show before to chat about when I sailed Norwegian Dawn from Boston back in 2012. Well recently, I was able to link up again with him to spill the beans about what I really thought of Grand Princess. I didn't know when he was going to post it, but when I woke up to tweets saying, "Wow, someone is a true food lover..." I knew it was officially LIVE (once you tune in, you'll see why others chimed in with those comments).
From seeing Stevie Wonder's concert, celebrating the holidays
and even competing in Princess Pop Star, I had a blast!
So now you've got to check out the interview - it was truly a blast to do! Click here to listen and be sure to follow Doug on Twitter (@CruiseRadio) and tune into his awesome show every week. Until I give more updates on my #CM3KOnGrand experience you know what to do... keep cruising and grooving! Much love always--Shon!

Monday, January 27, 2014

LIVE from Norwegian Getaway CM3K Style

All smiles from Norwegian Getaway!
Hey, y'all! So it's no longer a secret... I'm currently sailing aboard the brand new baby from the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, Norwegian Getaway! My day has been jammed packed with just awesome sites, wonders and of course... FOOD! I started the day getting settled into my room, changing clothes and doing video shoots of the rooms available to tour (that was a blast - be looking for the footage soon)! That was soon followed by another outfit change as I sailed into a special cocktail reception. Since I'm still in the Hawaiian spirit, I accompanied the event with my personal fave: the Mai Thai.

Cuban fluist, Nestor Torres, sharing his gift at
The Grammy Experience onboard.
After the cockatail reception, I hedad to Le Bistro (French specialty restaurant onboard) for dinner and it was the lobster and creme brulee that took the cake and won my heart with a class of white wine! With wine in hand, I headed out to the deck to view Norwegian Getaway depart from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal and what a treat we had because they displayed fireworks as we sailed down the Hudson River! After soaking in the sailaway, I went to see Legally Blonde, The Musical (and boy was that a treat). Running a little shy of 90mins, it's one of the best shows I've seen afloat to date - awesome music, awesome dancing and an awesome cast!

Hanging with cruise director, Julie, after Legally Blonde
Spoiler Alert: She's one of the actresses in the show! :)
So on the agenda for tomorrow?: Taking a behind the scenes tour, chatting it up with CEO Kevin Sheehan, viewing a cake decoration from the one and only Buddy Valastro and the hull artist himself, LEBO, will be doing a live painting aboard! I'll check out the Ice Bar, eat around a little more and see what other surprises await me tomorrow (stay tuned, y'all)! Be sure to use hashtag #CM3KOnGetaway to see more updates before they hit the blog and keep cruising and grooving until my next update!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Spoiler Alert: #CM3KOn___________

Someone is getting ready to sail the high seas again...
but can you guess the details?

And we meet again to talk ship! Are you still cruising and grooving? I hope so (you know I never stop... I wonder even if I wanted to if I really could... mmmmm) Let me first start my saying THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR PRAYERS! Today, as many of you know by know, there was an active shooter in the mall located in my hometown of Columbia, Maryland (just right outside of Baltimore). My family, friends and I are all safe which I'm truly thankful for! I ask you join me in praying for the victims and those who were exposed to what I am sure was just an unreal life happening for many in this community (again, thanks so much)!

Many of you also know I just returned from the Grand Adventure - a trip that took me to Hawaii, Mexico, LA, Vegas and so many cool places in between - just a few weeks ago and here I am getting ready to set sail again (and the timing couldn't be more perfect since I JUST washed all those clothes - haha). So which ship am I sailing? Which cruise line? Where am I headed? When am I leaving? The answer to those questions will be revealed via clues I'll share on my Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram accounts! 

Be sure you're following along for the big reveal and the cruise! You'll soon see the hashtag I'll be using for all my real-time updates (i.e., #CM3KOnBreakaway, #CM3KOnGrand) and that'll connect you with videos, posts and so much more from my upcoming trip! Any guesses on where I'm headed? Share your thoughts below, but for now... my lips are sealed (no spoilers)! Keep cruising and grooving until the big reveal, y'all! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

CM3K Behind the Scenes: Blooper Reel Vol. 3

No explanation... I thought polka dotted onesies were in for 2014? No?

Well, here we are in the 4th year of The Ocean Escape and the official documentation of the high seas adventures according to Cruise Man 3000! By now, many of you know hot mess is an understatement of what goes down when I'm on a cruise ship. Many say I have too much fun, but I'd argue to say I'm not quite having enough (haha)! Every now and again, I gather some of the behind the scenes footage and comprise it into a blooper reel. I have a new one to share with y'all and I hope you'll join in with the laughs!

Just in case you missed the other two blooper reel videos I've made, be sure to check them out here:

Enjoy the laughs and be sure to share them with others! Laughter does the heart good and I heard it is becoming a new universal, "I need a cruise now" call? Mmm... let me look more into that (don't take my word for that quite yet)! For more funny videos that share my high seas travels, check out my Official Youtube Channel! Until we talk ship again, keep cruising and grooving y'all! As always, much love to ya--Shon!

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