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MSC Meraviglia christened June 3, 2017, officially joining the MSC Cruises fleet

MSC Cruises fleet, MSC Meraviglia was christened June 3, 2017 in a glittering ceremony by international screen legend and godmother of all of MSC Cruises’ ships, Sophia Loren. At 171,598 GRT and with guest capacity of 5,714 (4,488 at double occupancy), MSC Meraviglia is the biggest ship to be built by a European ship owner, […]

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Celestyal Crystal Cuba Cruise: Discovering Love Garden at Hotel Nacional de Cuba

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – I was the only person in the Love Garden. It is a bit out of the way at the famous Hotel Nacional de Cuba in Havana. Seemed like most people were walking through the hotel’s historic halls or heading down to enjoy the beautiful view of the sea. In truth, […]

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Celestyal Crystal Cuba Cruise: 1950s American cars still cruising in Cuba

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – Eisenhower was president. The New York Yankees won their fifth world series in a row. Frank Sinatra was drawing movie goers with his film “From Here to Eternity.” A 26-year-old Fidel Castro launched his failed attempt to overthrow Cuban dictator Batista on July 26. The first Corvette went on sale. […]

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Celestyal Crystal Cuba Cruise: Statue honors ‘crazy’ man

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – Cuba is a country of statues and monuments, many of them dedicated to heroes of the revolution. But one unusual bronze figure in Havana is the only one in the world I have seen for a certifiably crazy person. On a walking tour of Havana, we stopped in front of […]

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Oceania offers limited-time flight upgrade offer for OLife Choice guests

Oceania Cruises is currently offering a flight upgrade special as part of the signature OLife Choice package. For as little as $149 extra, guests can secure premium economy seats for over 100 prime European sailings for 2018. What is the OLife Choice? When booking a cruise, guests can choose to strictly pay the price for the sailing or […]

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River cruise excursion to Normandy links WWII memorials, and my Great-Grandmother Pearl’s 1944 diary

Of all the war monuments and cemeteries dedicated to North Americans, the beaches and plots at Normandy are perhaps the most haunting Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France On an early June day in 1944, Pearl Molyneaux wondered where her boys and daughter were, as World War II charged toward deadly climaxes in Europe and in the Pacific. As […]

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Celestyal Crystal Cruise: Learning about Cuban flag, anthem and coat of arms

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – Walk by a Cuban school on an early weekday morning and you’ll probably hear the Cuban National Anthem being sung by the students, including an additional “dun tada dun” at the end. “That’s just how we end the song,” Dr. Jorge Arocha said, giving a demonstration. “I can’t sing,” he […]

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Celestyal Crystal Cuba Cruise: Fusterlandia is one man’s attempt to brighten the world

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – Outrageous colors. Fantasy figures. Proud historic reminders. Everywhere I looked, it seemed an eye-catching explosion of creativity. I had been forewarned but I’m not sure anything can prepare you for Fusterlandia. The artistic wonderland is certainly not something I expected to encounter when I arrived in Havana. “Some people thought […]

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Carnival Cruise Line prepares for Carnival Paradise to sail to Cuba June 29

By GERRY BARKER June 29. That’s a date that Terry Thornton, Carnival Cruise Line’s Senior VP of Fleet Deployment, has had circled on his calendar for a long time. That’s the day Carnival Paradise departs Tampa for Havana, Cuba, the first of 12 scheduled departures to the Caribbean destination that’s been off-limits to Americans for […]

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Celestyal Crystal Cuba Cruise: Cuban cuisine a cruise delight

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – I’ll admit it. One of the things I enjoy most on a cruise is getting to try various foods.  Even a standard steak can taste different according to which chef created the recipe. Choosing from so many tempting menu items can be difficult but the Celestyal Crystal has a dinner […]

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Celestyal Crystal Cruise: Cuban culture saluted in ship shows

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – They danced. They sang. They did amazing acrobatic maneuvers. The Celesytal Crystal entertainment team is really good. Usually, smaller ships have smaller entertainments offerings. That is fine. I’ve enjoyed many small ship cruises where the evening program was a singer and a guitarist or a singer who was a guitarist. […]

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New craft beer debuts on Carnival Vista

ABOARD CARNIVAL VISTA IN MIAMI _ What better way to celebrate American Craft Beer Week than — what else? — brew a new craft beer. To mark the occasion, brewmaster Colin Presby, who oversees the RedFrog Pub and Brewery on Carnival Vista (the first brewery on a North American cruise ship) created  Miami Guava Wheat. […]

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Celestyal Crystal Cruise: Small ship offers big ship comforts

ABOARD THE CELESTYAL CRYSTAL – After years of traveling, I’ve stayed in many different accommodations. But my cabin aboard the Celestyal Crystal has a feature I have never seen before. My room has twin beds. Across from the beds is a large full-length mirror. Next to the mirror is a curtain on an aluminum rod […]

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