Friday, August 31, 2012

Video Archives

Check out the video library at Chip's Cruise Videos. If you know of any current video to include on this site use the comment section to let us know the link.

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Recently we have been sadened by the news of the gang-rape of a 15 year old girl on board a cruise ship. While the full story still remains to be determined, it remains clear that even on a fun vacation, you must remain on guard for your personal safety.

If you are a teen so fortunate to be taken on a cruise vacation, you must still be so aware of your surroundings and of those around you. The size of many of today's cruise ships enable them to carry upwards of 4,000 passengers and unfortunately, within a group that large there may be a few individuals who deep down are just plain bad people. Don't get into a situation that you may regret. It only takes one bad decision to turn your world upside down.

In the challenging years of the teenager, your put out so much effort to assert your independence from parents, so much effort to gain greater levels of freedom. That is what teens have done throughout the centuries and believe it or not, although you may feel your parent's teen years were hundreds of years ago, they too went through many of the same challenges that you feel today. Believe me that to them their teen years also feels to have been hundreds of years ago. So when a parent implements rules or restrictions on the activities of our teen sons and daughters that may seem unfair to the teen, it is done so with love and out of their want to keep you safe. They have plenty of life's lessons from also having been a teen. Please listen. Your parents want for you to have all the fun in the world but they also want more than anything for you to be safe from harm.

One of the biggest rules for teens on a cruise ship is: DO NOT GO INTO SOMEONE ELSE'S CABIN. No way, no how. Surely the new friends you have met may seem cool and you naturally want to appear cool to them too but you do not really know them. Do not go to their cabin. Even in a group that you have just met, do not go into someone's cabin. Do not let peer pressure lead you into a situation that you know would not be approved by your parents. You are smarter than that.

Additionally, if a person of legal drinking age is offering to provide you with alcohol, even if you are with a group of teens, that is a huge red flag of a potentially dangerous situation. Why would someone you don't know offer to provide you drinks? Are you really such an intriguing person that they just want to be your firend? Why would they feel thay had to load you up on alcohol to be a friend if they didn't have suspicious intentions. If you ask yourself one quick question, "what would Mom and Dad think?", you would have your answer if it was a safe, smart thing to do.

Bottom line is, if the actions that you are about to do on a cruise would not be acceptable back at home then it is still unacceptable. Do not let your guard down, stay safe. Do not put yourself in a situation that can change your life forever in a bad way. Listen to your parents. They want you to have fun. They want you to be safe. They want you to have greater independence so show them that you can handle greater independence by doing right and by making smart decisions. Cruise vacations can still be a great, fun filled vacation with parental rules in effect. Don't focus on the rules but instead focus on the safe, fun activities and you will ahve fun. Attitude is everything.

I am not your parent but please listen to yours. They have much more life experiences that you can learn from if you talk to them. Please do at least follow this advice about safety. I am speaking as a parent of a pre-teen and a former teenage boy. Like your parents I know what peer pressure is like and doing the right thing is tough sometimes but in the long is well worth it. Don't let one poor decision turn your life upside down. Cruise safely my young friends.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How to Pair Cigars and Alcohol

The cigar has long been viewed as a luxury of the rich and powerful. Images of well-to-do men puffing on a stogie and swirling a glass of good brandy have been well documented and memorialized in films and TV. If you are just becoming interested in cigars and would like to relax with a stogie and drink after a long day's work, here are a few tips to get you started.

Traditionally, the cigar has been paired with a strong drink. Popular spirits include rum, brandy, or whiskey. Some argue that a good cigar should always be paired with a strong drink that has a hint of sweetness. Indeed, cigar smokers have long enjoyed these popular pairings. For years, the idea of pairing cigars with beer has gone overlooked. But why overlook good old beer? Recently, the trend has been to pair cigars with various varieties of beer. It seems that as cigars have entered the mainstream, it has been democratized and popularized. What better way to enjoy a puff of this newly popularized treat than to pair it with beer?

Pairing a good cigar with a good beer is not an easy feat, but when accomplished, it is well worth the effort. Much of the pairing has to do with your experience level. If you are a novice, you will probably need help in pairing your specific cigar with an appropriate beer. If you have a more experienced palate, and you know what you like, you can probably make connections between certain types of cigars and beers.

Because cigars are so strong and flavorful, one of the challenges in pairing is to find a beer that complements the intensity of most cigars. Most cigars will pair nicely with a good barley wine or a single malt scotch. If your cigar can be described as woody, spicy, with hints of cedar, try pairing it with a barley wine. The fruity hint of barley wine should complement nicely with the spicy flavor of your cigar. The combination of a spicy cigar with a slightly fruity beer can create an overall creaminess that enhances the flavors of each significantly.

If you have no clue as to what flavor combinations might work, experiment. First, find a cigar that you enjoy. Try to identify the characteristics that you enjoy about it. Then, find a beer whose flavors you think might 'match' or complement the cigar. Many incredible discoveries have been made in much this same way.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Sure, the Sales Guy on the Island Says They're Cuban but...

How can you tell a fake Cuban cigar?

Everyone knows that Cuban cigars are the most coveted cigars, renown worldwide for their smoothness and rich flavors. Indeed, Cuban cigars are so prized that many illegitimate dealers have been known to sell fake Cubans to unsuspecting cigar smokers. How do you tell if what you have is a fake or the real thing? First, make certain that you purchase your cigars from a legitimate dealer. Buying from your local tobacconist or a reputable mail order business can protect you from forking your money over for a box of fake cigars.

When cruising, especially in the Caribbean, many ports of call have shops that advertize Cuban cigars. If you have an opportunity to purchase a box of purported Cuban cigars, but have your doubts, take the time to examine the box before purchasing it. Here are a few tips to help you spot the fakes from the real thing:

The most important thing to examine is the box. Authentic Cuban cigars will contain a green and white warranty seal on the left front side of the box. The seal will contain an insignia that has a picture of a shield and a hat. On the upper right hand corner of the box, you should find a white sticker that is placed diagonally with the word 'Habanos' printed on it. The overall appearance of the box should be neat and clean. If the box appears damaged, smudged, frayed, or marked, avoid it. If the color of the box is dull, don't buy it. Even if the cigars are the real things, their quality may have suffered in transport. If you are in the market for Cohiba, Trinidad, or Q'dorsay brand cigars, know that all authentic Cohiba's will contain the green and white warranty seal on the right hand side of the box.

Richmond Walnut Travel Cigar Humidor

On the bottom of the box of cigars, you should find a heat stamp with the words 'Habanos.' The heat stamp should be impressed onto the bottom of the box. Fake Cuban cigar boxes often find other ways to imprint this label, such as using rubber stamps or paper labels. You should also find a factory code stamp at the bottom that is stamped in green, blue or black ink. This stamp will tell you when and where the cigars were rolled.

Visol Sharp Polished Chrome Premium Cigar Cutter

If you can open the box, take the time to smell the tobacco. Cuban cigars will have a deep, rich aroma, unmistakable to dedicated cigar aficionados. If the smell is off, or very weak, chances are you do not have a box of authentic Cuban cigars in your hands. The cigars should be facing the same way, and the top row may appear slightly flattened. The caps on all the cigars should appear identical, and the foot of each cigar should be cut clean. The bands on all the cigars should also be identical, and should be arranged so that they face the same direction. If allowed, test the cigars out by pressing down on them. Feel along the entire length of each cigar, checking for soft or hard spots. The cigars should feel firm yet pliable.

Enjoy shopping for your cigars.