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Travel Blog

Latest Cruise news articles

Explore King George Falls and the red cliffs of Kimberley, Australia, when you sail with Silver Discoverer.

Discover Australia’s remote Kimberley Coast on an all-inclusive Silversea Expedition Cruise

February 10, 2017

Luxury cruise operator Silversea has announced it's offering adventurous voyages to Australia’s scenic, remote northwest region.

The spectacular natural vistas of the country's northwest have been enhanced by the wettest December on record — seven times greater than normal. For those who want to take an expedition cruise in style to see waterfalls plunging into sun-scorched gorges, you have a choice of five mostly 10-day cruises on Silver Discoverer sailing between Darwin and Broome, Australia. 

Golden Gate Bridge overfly (drone video)

January 30, 2017

Here's one of the most beautiful hi-def drone videos we've come across, a 10-minute flyover of the the Golden Gate Bridge, connecting San Francisco to Marin County. The video runs from Baker Beach across the Golden Gate Bridge to the north Vista Point — some 11,000 feet in distance with the Phantom 3 Professional. (I recently bought a Phantom 4.)

As the comments below the video make clear, these kinds of drone flyovers are becoming harder to do, given the restrictions imposed on their flight by national, state and city parks. (The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a federal park.) 


Mixologists do their thing at Harmony of the Seas’ Wonderland.

Cocktail artistry at Harmony of the Seas’ Wonderland (video)

January 12, 2017

On Monday we ran our feature story on 8 Caribbean drink recipes from a master mixologist, with cocktail concoctions from a veteran bartender on Silversea's Silver Spirit

Today we came across a new 2-minute video from Royal Caribbean showcasing the mixologists who whip up colorful creations at Harmony of the Seas’ lounge-bar Wonderland. As they put it: "Cocktails are more than just drinks – they are masterpieces. These artists use innovative flavors and artisanal ingredients to create cocktails that are almost too stunning to drink!"

Well, not that stunning. Check out the fast-paced video: 


Upper Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria. See it on a Crystal river cruise.

Construction begins on Crystal Debussy & Crystal Ravel

January 9, 2017

Luxury travel provider Crystal Cruises, operator of ships, yachts, river boats and a private jet, today announced the cutting of the first piece of steel for the construction of Crystal River Cruises’ two additional Rhine Class luxury river yachts, Crystal Debussy and Crystal Ravel, which are scheduled to sail in spring 2018.   

MV Werften of Mecklenburg, Germany, celebrated  the occasion as the first plates of the extravagant river ships were flame cut in the presence of the Genting Group executive  Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's Economics Minister Harry Glawe and numerous other guests.

The Ocean Medallion will debut on Regal Princess in November followed by Royal Princess and Caribbean Princess in early 2018.

Princess Cruises debuts wearable tech

January 5, 2017

In this age of Apple Watches, smartphones, robots and other high-tech gadgets designed to “simplify'” life, Princess Cruises has come up with a device devoted to passenger comfort called the Ocean Medallion — a first-of-its-kind wearable “assistant” that uses interactive technology within the O.C.E.A.N, One Cruise Experience Access Network.

Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald unveiled the Ocean Medallion on Wednesday during his opening keynote in Las Vegas at the CES 2017 consumer technology trade show, explaining that it will be the only accessory needed to heighten passenger experiences.

The 5-star Crystal Serenity carries 1,070 passengers to all regions of the world.

Crystal Cruises adds more than a dozen ‘Clear Choices’ sailing to 2018 itineraries

January 4, 2017

As the the 2017 “Wave Season” gets into gear (that’s when cruise lines offer attractive savings), Crystal Cruises is riding the crest by expanding its popular “Crystal Clear Choices” promotion, with more than a dozen choice opportunities in 2018.

Book by March 31, 2017 to reap savings on nearly six dozen worldwide journeys

If you book by March 31, 2017 you can reap savings on nearly six dozen worldwide journeys aboard Crystal Symphony, Crystal Serenity, Crystal Esprit and Crystal Mozart that cover several global itineraries.  You can also take advantage of three exclusive Crystal Clear Choices  incentives that provide  savings of up to $1,000 per person, air credit of up to $1,100 per person or shipboard credit of up to $1,250 per person.

The special  promotion  is applicable on several of Crystal’s acclaimed travel experiences such as Crystal Serenity’s second Northwest Passage expedition in August 2017 and South America World Cruise segments through April. New additions for 2018  explore Australia, South Pacific, Panama Canal and Caribbean aboard Crystal Symphony; and Southeast Asia, India and Western Europe aboard Crystal Serenity.

Holland America Line's Koningsdam carries 650 passengers on itineraries in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

These cruises you should book a year in advance

January 1, 2017

From via

Be aware, you might not be a fan of early booking, but there is no other way if you want to see certain destinations.

Travelers can be divided into few categories: those who plan ahead their vacation and those who prefer to book the last minute deals and always have their suitcases on the go. However when it comes to choosing a cruise, there are few tricks your should be aware of. Some of the destinations and times, like holiday seasons are not available for fast booking and the only way to catch such a cruise is by booking it in advance, like a year. No jokes here:


Holiday cruises

Cruises on new ships

Popular cruise ships

 Short season itineraries

Expedition cruises


Walter Christen's insight:

For the most part I agree with these suggestions that booking early for some cruises is a requirement.  A lot depends upon how flexible you are on dates and stateroom category.

 I have cruised a few times for New Years Eve and did not find it that difficult to find a suitable cruise 2-3 months out.  I have also sailed on many of the popular cruise ships including Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas ,booking them 3-4 months from the sailing. When we did our Alaska cruise we did book 8 months out and although we wanted a balcony room, none were available even then.  Many cruise ships to Alaska are smaller ships that do not have as many balcony rooms.  Next time we go to Alaska (yes it is worth doing more than once) I will book at least one year in advance.


A Viking Longship sails through a charming village. A typical itinerary will allow passengers to spend the better part of a day exploring cities, towns, castles and museums with a guide or on their own.

Rolling on the Rhone River with Viking Cruises

December 30, 2016

From via

A Viking River Cruise along the Rhone River from Provence to Lyon is a historical, cultural and gastronomic experience not to be missed.

September of this year saw me fulfilling a long-standing dream of taking a European River Cruise. From Provence in the south to Lyon in the northern Rhone region of France, I spent seven days on board the Viking longship Buri.

During the week long cruise, we stopped at six ports along the Rhone River. Each port was a mini history and culture lesson. Often the food and wine of a particular area was a special treat at dinner, as when we arrived in Tournon Sur Rhone, where just across the river are the famous Hermitage AOC Vineyards. That evening, we drank a local Syrah. Food, wine, art, and architecture – all the things I love about Europe – were part of the cruise experience, which Viking does so well.

This was my first time in France, and I was not disappointed. Many of my readers know that I’m a big Italophile, but this year I went to France instead of Italy. Who knew that France has almost as many Roman ruins as Italy? Everywhere we went, we saw magnificent monuments and remains of what was once the mighty Roman Empire.


Walter Christen's insight:

I find river cruising very appealing and what could be better than a cruise through some of the most beautiful places in France. And what better way to experience this than on a Viking River Cruise. I can just imagine the photographic possibilities.


The classy Atrium of Viking Star rises three decks in the heart of the ship.

The 4 most stylish new cruise ships

December 29, 2016

From via

Cruise lines have always tried to top themselves, whether it’s with towering ships, luxurious spas, or decadent cuisine. And these companies show no sign of resting on their laurels.

 Their latest vessels up the ante in terms of luxury and forward-thinking design. With interiors by some of the world’s top hospitality designers, including Lauren Rottet and Richmond International, cuisine by Michelin-starred chefs, and boutiques that would be right at home on Madison Avenue, these ships offer five-star amenities as they sail to their ports of call.

 Whether you’re planning a transatlantic voyage or a quick river cruise, these stylish ships offer trips of a lifetime.

     Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Star

     Ponant’s Le Lyrial

     Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas

     Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape


Walter Christen's insight:

Three of the four new cruise ships mentioned are on my short list. And the only reason that Ponant’s Le Lyrial is not currently on my list is I need to do more research.

I am in the beginning stage of the planning a family cruise for later in 2017 and I am considering both Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Escape. I think Viking Ocean Cruises’ Viking Star would be better suited for a cruise with just my wife.



A marketplace in Puerto Vallarta.

Returning to Mexican Riviera on Holland America

December 29, 2016

As a native of San Diego, I recall the heyday of Mexican Riviera cruises leaving from our shores before the Great Recession, and it looks to be that such high times are coming back thanks in large part to Holland America Line recently increasing its departures to the region.

On board the Westerdam earlier this month, I found it a joy to return to Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta to see the familiar ports from a new perspective. We specifically chose shore excursions that would allow us to rediscover the area and take a deeper dive into its culture and landscape. Sure, mainstays like flea market vendors remain on the surface, but to really know Mexico, travelers need to go beyond the beach tours.

Choose the spa or the pool for a quick dip — Carnival Vista offers many activities poolside.

Carnival Vista cruise review

December 27, 2016

From via

Carnival Cruise Line has had much to celebrate in 2016 with the launch of the 25th ship in its fleet, the Vista. We got an insider’s look at the brand new liner on one of its early voyages from Miami to check out the gizmos and gadgets that keep the ship afloat and the party going.

 The Carnival Vista was built in Italy, and after its completion in March of this year, it’s made its way from Europe to New York and down to the Port of Miami, where it currently sets sail with a variety of destinations. Cruise date options range from four days to eight days with a price range of $349 to $849 on average per person (taxes, fees and port expenses not included). We joined the five-day, sold out cruise embarking from the Port of Miami and traveling to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic and Grand Turk Island. The short trip was just long enough for us to test and enjoy every attraction aboard.

 Although most features on the ship come with no additional charge to guests, some entertainment costs extra. Tickets for the IMAX theater are $12.95 for adults, specialty dining ranges from $5 to $35 per person, and internet plans range from $5 to $25 per day. As usual, alcohol and soda cost money unless you have a beverage package, starting from $49.95 per day for alcohol and $6.50 per day for soda for adults.

Walter Christen's insight:

I enjoy cruising on the larger cruise ships as the ship becomes an additional destination. Carnival Cruise Line's Vista has a lot of the amenities and entertainment to keep almost anyone (including the kids) busy on a cruise. I particularly like the IMAX theater and I really want to give the Skyride a try. 


The Greenhouse Spa & Salon on ms Koningsdam.

Holland America's Koningsdam makes splash with fitness amenities

December 26, 2016

From via

Sure, the newest Holland America ship, Koningsdam, charts a new course in entertainment and dining.  

With its revolutionary Music Walk venues that keep passengers singing and dancing well into the night, and restaurants like the Culinary Arts Center, Sel de Mer and Tamarind that serve up foods to suit a wide variety of tastes, travelers will thoroughly enjoy this cruise ship. Your health and fitness regimen doesn't take a back seat on Koningsdam, either. I took a cruise on Koningsdam and found several ways the ship works for travelers who like to stay fit.

Walter Christen's insight:

Holland America's Koningsdam makes it easy to keep up with your healthy regimen. Whether it is fitness classes, jogging track, healthy food options, or the spa, there are many options available.

One of the first thing I look for when cruising is the walking/jogging track.  I like to keep up with my walking habit. Usually the cruise ships I have been on have a sign that let me know how many times I have to circle the ship to make a mile.