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Latest Cruise news articles

A path along the Danube in Vienna, Austria.

Waltzing along the Danube in a luxury cruise ship

September 22, 2015

From via

More than 20 years ago, I spent several weeks in Budapest. It was part of a seven-month ad-hoc journey that I made around parts of Eastern Europe, which was then not long out of communism. Every day I spent in Budapest was defined by journeys either alongside or over the river Danube: to go anywhere in that sternly grand city was to encounter the river constantly.

In those weeks more than two decades ago in Budapest, I do not recall seeing one cruise boat on the river. Earlier this year, I returned to the city to join a week-long river cruise that started there, and was to end in Passau, in Germany.

The taxi driver got lost en route from the airport, and so we travelled pretty much the entire length of the Danube from the Pest side, searching for the right dock.

I spent the time staring out the window at a riverside I hardly recognized. It was studded with river cruise boats, docked all the way along. I don’t know why I was surprised. The Rhine was being cruised long before commercial river cruising came to Hungary.

Walter Christen's insight:

The popularity of river cruising in Europe has dramatically increased.  Reading this account aboard Uniworld's luxury river cruise boat Beatrice. I can understand why.


And now for something different on a river cruise: nighttime excursions

September 21, 2015

From via

The fun doesn't stop just because the sun has set. That's the idea behind Crystal Cruises' itineraries that will pass by some cities during the day and overnight in key ports, where passengers might take in local entertainment or dine in a top restaurant.

 "Crystal’s itineraries will also intentionally deviate from traditional river cruise routes to avoid congestion of other vessels in port," a company statement said about its itineraries, which will start in March 2017.

Crystal also plans to add more active excursions for passengers who want to explore cities by bicycle or Segway. Passengers also will have access to a tender to seek out more private destinations, an unusual feature for a river ship.

Walter Christen's insight:

Crystal  River Cruises has a great idea here.  I can see, especially on a river cruise, that some destinations would warrant a overnight stay.  Taking in the nightlife at these ports can be a important part of the total cruise experience.


Fall foliage on the Saint Lawrence River.

New England's best fall foliage cruise deals

September 19, 2015

From via

Mother Nature will do one of her best shows in late September and early October, with cruise ships providing views of coastal New England and Canada during the colorful fall foliage display. You'll visit prime leaf-peeping destinations such as Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine and the narrow channels of Quebec's St. Lawrence Seaway, where you'll see colorful leaves on both sides.

Walter Christen's insight:

Living in Florida, but originally from the New York, I sometimes do miss the Fall and the changing colors of the leaves on the trees. These cruises would be wonderful to experience this time of year and some really nice ports of call.

Cruise ships mentioned included

Crystal Cruises: Crystal Symphony

Seabourn Cruise Line: Seabourn Quest

Norwegian Cruise Line: Norwegian Gem,

Holland America LineVeendam and Maasdam

Princess Cruises: Regal Princess,

Oceania Cruises: Regatta

Cunard Line: Queen Mary 2,

Royal Caribbean: Brilliance of the Seas


Oasis of the Seas sails the Caribbean to the Bahamas, Jamaica and Cozumel, Mexico.

Huge cruise terminal for Royal Caribbean is possibly on tap for Port of Miami

September 17, 2015

From via

Is a new Port of Miami terminal to accommodate one of Royal Caribbean International’s largest mega-ships on the horizon? A proposal for just that is now making its way through the government approval process in South Florida.

The Miami Herald reported late last week that a deal is in the works between Miami-Dade County, FL, and Royal Caribbean, which has corporate headquarters at Port of Miami.

The line reportedly wants to finance and build a new cruise Terminal A, located in the northeastern section of the port; that area is now dedicated to cargo. The county says Royal Caribbean’s investment could total more than $100 million and double the number of its passengers sailing from Port of Miami.

Walter Christen's insight:

I see this as a win-win situation for both the Port of Miami and Royal Caribbean.  The port of Miami will see a 20% increase in cruise traffic, and Royal Caribbean will have a new terminal that they would be able to utilize for their mega sized Oasis class ships like the Oasis of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas.


The stunning Royal Esplanade, which runs along decks 4 and 5 on Anthem of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean expands impressive array of entertainment on Anthem of the Seas

September 16, 2015

From via

When Anthem of the Seas arrives into the New York harbor in just 50 days it will bring with it a familiar cast of DreamWorks Animation characters. Po of "Kung Fu Panda;" Shrek, Fiona and Puss In Boots of "Shrek;" and Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, King Julien and the Penguins from "Madagascar" will be joining Anthem of the Seas when she begins sailing from her homeport of Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, NJ.

Guests on Anthem can enjoy events and activities based on DreamWorks Animation's popular feature-film characters, including a DreamWorks Character breakfast in the main dining room, 'meet and greet' experiences throughout the day as well as photo ops that can be shared with family and friends back home thanks to VOOM, the fastest internet at sea. Royal Caribbean's younger guests can enjoy an exhilarating line-up of activities, games and adventures rooted in the popular DreamWorks Animation films at the complimentary, award-winning Adventure Ocean youth program. Additionally, guests can watch the latest DreamWorks Animation films at the ship's movie theater or on a dedicated DreamWorks TV channel in their stateroom

Walter Christen's insight:

Royal Caribbean's inclusion of the DreamWorks characters and activities on the Anthem of the Seas is a great move.  Definitely will be a hit with the kids. The Royal Esplanade will be the perfect place for the parade.


  Queen Mary 2 in Sydney Harbour.

Latest epic cruise: New York to Australia and back

September 15, 2015

From via

Want to travel from New York to Australia and back without ever getting on an airplane? It'll be doable in 2017 for those willing to hop on a Cunard ocean liner.

The storied line plans to send its flagship Queen Mary 2 on an epic, 132-day voyage from the Big Apple to Australia that also includes stops in Africa, Asia and Europe.

The unusual itinerary will kick off Jan. 3, 2017 with a trans-Atlantic crossing to Southampton, England followed by a trip down the west coast of Africa to Namibia and South Africa. From there, the ship will head east across the Indian Ocean to Australia for an extensive stay that includes 14 port calls.

Walter Christen's insight:

This is a epic cruise. I for one would be able to tick off many of the destinations on my bucket list with this one cruise on Cunard's Queen Mary 2.  2017 may seem quite a way off but I would imagine that there would be many plans and details to work out to be able to cruise for 132 days.


The 278-passenger Fram, the smallest, newest ship in Hurtigruten's fleet, sails past the small island of Uummannaq on the west coast of Greenland.

Cruising to adventure in the land of ice and polar bears

September 11, 2015

From via

Standing at the bow of one of expedition cruising's hardiest ships as it crunches northward through a carpet of ice, Cecilia Donnelly is almost giggly with excitement. And who can blame her.

The steel-reinforced Fram has just arrived at the edge of the Arctic ice cap, and for the moment, at least, the 67-year-old retiree from Riverside, Calif., can lay claim to being one of the northernmost travelers in the world.

"This is fantastic!" Donnelly gushes as the 318-passenger Fram smashes into a car-length ice chunk, sending a shudder through the vessel. "In all my dreams, I never thought I would make it to the edge of the North Pole."

Fantastic, indeed. And an increasingly sought after experience. A growing number of adventurous travelers are signing up for expedition cruises to the realm of ice and polar bears at the top of the planet, prompting expedition cruise operators to offer an ever larger array of Arctic itineraries.

Walter Christen's insight:

A cruise to the arctic region is on my bucket list.  This article about Hurtigruten's 7 day circumnavigation of Spitsbergen aboard the Fram really piqued my interest. 


Crystal Serenity cruises through Sorrento in southern Italy.

Woman pays $164K per year to live on luxury cruise ship

September 10, 2015

From via

Lee Wachtstetter, an 86-year-old Florida widow, took her daughter's advice. She sold her five-bedroom Fort Lauderdale-area home on 10 acres and became a permanent luxury cruise ship resident after her husband died.

Mama Lee, as she's known aboard the 11-year-old Crystal Serenity, has been living on the 1,070-passenger vessel longer than most of its 655 crewmembers — nearly seven years.

"My husband introduced me to cruising," she recalled. "Mason was a banker and real estate appraiser and taught me to love cruising. During our 50-year marriage we did 89 cruises. I've done nearly a hundred more and 15 world cruises."

Walter Christen's insight:

What a fantastic way to spend your retirement years. Nice choice of ships also. Crystal Cruises Crystal Serenity is a beautiful luxury cruise ship.


Cruise Watch: Seabourn follows Fathom & Crystal, with luxury launch news

September 8, 2015

From via

More premium cruise news: After the recent Fathom "social impact cruise experience" due next spring, and the Crystal announcement of new ultra-luxury sea and air transportation, we can now anticipate another exciting upscale launch due in 2016. Seabourn has revealed design renderings of the luxurious all-suite, all-veranda accommodations on Seabourn Encore, the line’s newest, ultra-luxury ship.

Like everything on board the Seabourn Encore, the suites are envisioned by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, who blended modern design elements and innovations consistent with understated elegance. In 2014, Seabourn began phasing out the three original ships that started it all, more than two decades before. Their departure, and the arrival of Seabourn Encore in 2016 and Seabourn Ovation in 2018, prepares a new era.

The ship will feature 300 suites with private verandas. The majority range from nearly 300 square feet for the standard veranda suite, plus a private veranda that is up to 74 square feet, to upwards of 1,300 square feet for the Wintergarden suites, which also feature verandas of nearly 200 square feet. "As on every one of our ships, guests will feel right at home when they enter their suite aboard Seabourn Encore," said Richard Meadows, Seabourn’s President. "The suites will offer many thoughtful amenities and personal touches that we are known for, and will be designed with the style and elegance our guests have come to love and expect."

Walter Christen's insight:

Ultra luxury cruise line Seabourn has unveiled design renderings of their newest ship Seabourn Encore due to arrive late in 2016.  The amenities of this 300 suite all veranda ship are impressive.


Disney Fantasy at dockside.

Star Wars on Disney Cruise Line!

September 5, 2015

From via

Star Wars on Disney Cruise Line?  It didn’t take a Jedi Master to foresee this coming!  In 2016, Disney Cruise Line Guests can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga during a brand-new, day-long celebration aboard eight special sailings on the Disney Fantasy: Star Wars Day at Sea.


Occurring one day during each of eight Disney Fantasy sailings, Star Wars Day at Sea will transport you to a galaxy far, far away – in the Western Caribbean. The event will feature a full day of Star Wars celebrations, including a deck party, meet-and-greets with favorite characters, Star Wars-themed youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings and special merchandise.  Can you expect to find R2-D2 serving drinks or meet Princess Leia in her metal bikini?  I do not know.

Walter Christen's insight:

What a great theme cruise.  Disney Cruise Line's Disney Fantasy will host a Star Wars day on selected Western Caribbean cruises January-April 2016.

This sounds like it will be great fun for any Star Wars fan.


Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas in port in Miami.

Cruising 101: 4 tips for final disembarkation

September 1, 2015

From via

The hardest part about cruising is leaving the ship… not because it’s difficult, but because it’s hard to leave the fun. But since that final disembarkation is inevitable, knowing what to expect should make it a bit easier.

The final night on board, you’ll get a detailed list of all charges made on the ship during your vacation. If you didn’t keep up with that during the cruise, check that everything is accurate. Mistakes are rare, but they do happen. Remember that gratuities for cabin stewards and wait staff will be added to your account as well. If there’s a problem with your account, go to Guest Services as soon as possible. There’s always a long line to dispute charges (rarely a cruise line error, but it is possible) or to make final settlement if using a debit card. Be patient.

Walter Christen's insight:

No one likes to think about the end of their cruise vacation, but leaving the ship need not be a stressful situation.  The 4 tips presented in this article will help.

Living in Florida we for the most part drive to the  cruise terminal,  and for this reason we carry our own luggage off of the ship.  The main reason is I do not like having to find my luggage in the sea of luggage in the cruise terminal.

Here are a few pointers I have found useful:

  • Remember you will need your cruise card one last time to get off the ship.  Do not pack it away until you are off the ship.
  • Keep your passport/identification handy with the customs declaration form you filled before you left the ship.
  • Do not bring any fruits or vegetables off the ship with you.  Your cruise line will have information on what you cannot bring off the ship.
  • if you plan on one last dip in the pool or Jacuzzi on the last night of the cruise, use a plastic bag or Ziploc bag to keep the bathing suits from getting everything else in your luggage wet.

Tranquil seas and beautiful, sunny days await you aboard Crystal Serenity.

New perk at luxury line Crystal Cruises: Free Wi-Fi

September 1, 2015

From via

Crystal Cruises today announced a new perk for repeat customers: Free Wi-Fi.

The two-ship line says members of its frequent cruiser club, the Crystal Society, will receive 60 minutes a day of free Internet access starting this fall.

The new policy will take effect on the line's Crystal Serenity starting with the ship's Sept. 19 sailing in New England and Canada. It'll kick off on the Crystal Symphony with the Oct. 15 sailing to the Panama Canal.

Walter Christen's insight:

Crystal Cruises has upgraded their Wi-Fi systems on both of their ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Crystal Society members are eligible for the free Wi-Fi time. You automatically become a member after your first Crystal Cruise.

In this day and age it is getting harder and harder to disconnect completely.  This is a welcome upgrade.