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Travel Blog

Latest Cruise news articles

Helsinki Cathedral, located in the center of Helsinki, Finland. The church was originally built from 1830-1852 as a tribute to Tsar Nicholas I of Russia, the Grand Duke of Finland, before Finland achieved independence in 1917.

Finland plans special events for centenary

March 18, 2017

Finland, which presented its top cruise destinations with Estonia this week at the Seatrade cruise trade show in Ft. Lauderdale, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of its independence this coming Dec. 6. And throughout 2017 the Scandinavian nation is holding a series of special events.

Finland offers a variety of impressive cruise destinations, from the cultural hubs of Helsinki and Turku to getaways in nature in Kotka and Mariehamn. All of the destinations offer special programs and tours during the year.

Oceania Cruises' 1,250-guest Marina sails past El Morro Castle into Havana Harbor.

Oceania Cruises calls on Havana with 1,250 guests

March 13, 2017

Oceania Cruises made history on Thursday when its ship, Marina, pulled into Sierra Maestra cruise terminal in Havana, Cuba carrying 1,250 guests. Oceania made history as the first major North American cruise brand to sail to Cuba.

On board for the historic event was Bob Binder, co-founder and CEO of Oceania Cruises, and Frank Del Rio, Cuban-born founder of Oceania Cruises and CEO of parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. Once the ship docked, Del Rio addressed international media regarding the inaugural voyage. 

Explore the world on Oceania Insignia. The mid-size ship offers guests with a warm, charming atmosphere designed for those who love the luxuries of fine dining and travel experiences.

Oceania announces new world cruise for 2019

March 3, 2017

Oceania Cruises has announced that it will be hosting another 180-day world cruise scheduled to depart on March 1, 2019, aboard its sleek ship Insignia.

The Insignia vessel will carry 684 guests during the 180-day world cruise that covers more than 45,000 nautical miles across two oceans, five continents and 16 seas. In addition, passengers will visit 90 fascinating destinations in 36 countries.

For added flexibility, passengers will be able to embark from New York, Miami or Los Angeles.

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 2,650 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.