Tendering Smartly From the Edge, Questioning Cell Phone Privacy, Tagging Aliens and Robots (Maybe Spouses) With a Laser

The Celebrity Edge, with tangerine track on the side to slide the Magic Carpet. Photo courtesy of David G. Molyneaux

In the new cruise world of instant gratification from your cell phone or other techy hardware at sea, don’t forget that someone, somewhere, may be watching. Such is the case when you allow an app on your smart phone to send and receive information. Many of the new cruise ships are moving swiftly in this direction. No problem, unless you prefer to keep your whereabouts private. The possibility of a need to retreat alone or to hide …

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Cruising from Barbados, port of beaches, cricket matches, rum, and a synagogue reflecting Jewish history from 1654

On evenings when Barbados shows off its restoration of the old Bridgetown marketplace, among the highlights are a stunning synagogue built of coral stone and a museum celebrating one of the oldest Jewish houses of worship in the Western Hemisphere, dating from 1654. Aglow with tinted lights and the luster of the irony of history, the site is a delightful and unexpected focus on this popular vacation island and growing home port for cruise ship voyages in …

Read moreCruising from Barbados, port of beaches, cricket matches, rum, and a synagogue reflecting Jewish history from 1654

A vintage vessel with a fresh makeover, this ship is cruising the world for Azamara

 Cruise line pursues upscale, bespoke-style on its boutique ships On the new Azamara Pursuit, docked for the day at Cherbourg, France, an engaging breakfast waiter brought me coffee, placing a cup and saucer at the table. After sipping, I set the cup directly onto the table. Later, when I asked for a refill, the waiter lifted my cup, filled it, and placed it back onto the saucer. “Yes,” she said, laughing, when I asked whether most Americans …

Read moreA vintage vessel with a fresh makeover, this ship is cruising the world for Azamara

Ocean-going Crystal Cruises slides smoothly into the luxury niche on Europe’s rivers

We were new passengers, my wife and I, when we boarded the Crystal Bach, docked at Mainz, Germany, on the River Rhine near Frankfurt. As we walked into the Palm Court lounge, fellow passengers made no secret of their curiosity. Most of them were at the midpoint of a two-week cruise from Amsterdam. Warm and friendly, they acted as if we were new members of their private club. “Welcome.” “You’re new, we haven’t seen you before.” “Just …

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They once said that small, luxury ships would not be profitable, but now they are building more

In a scene that plays out each evening on cruise ships all over the world, during a recent voyage I popped into a bar for a pre-dinner cocktail. My request was a Jack Daniels on the rocks. How the next scene plays out depends on your choice of ships. If your ship is operated by a budget cruise line or most premium lines, the price of that drink would range from about $8, as measured by a …

Read moreThey once said that small, luxury ships would not be profitable, but now they are building more

Carnival, that most American of cruise lines, won’t return to Europe any time soon

Remembering occasional cultural clashes, naked Russians, buying beer by the bucket at the movies, caught by security with a kitchen knife The new Carnival Horizon, which left Europe in May for New York and will move to Miami in September, may be the last Carnival Cruise Line ship to offer European voyages, at least for quite some time. President Christine Duffy says Carnival has no plans to cruise in Europe. Carnival Horizon was built in Italy and …

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New dimension in vertical transportation on Carnival Horizon

BARCELONA-In a stream of passengers boarding the new Carnival Horizon, I entered an elevator for a ride to my assigned cabin, only to become a prisoner to a lift with a brain but no buttons. The door closed quickly. Nearly a dozen of us, seemingly trapped in an elevator without controls, began rising to who knew where. Carnival cruisers: Get ready for brainy lifts at sea that may know more about where you are going than you …

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Ocean ships, river cruises add new shore excursions, active tours

More choices require more research to target experiences that are right for you In Germany on the Rhine, my riverboat, the Viking Hild, stopped in the historic city of Mainz. The vessel’s basic complimentary walking tour included monuments to art and history, markets, churches, and the fascinating museum of Johannes Gutenberg where travelers may see two of the 29 remaining copies of the Gutenberg bible. All good, except what I wanted to see in this port, on …

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In a food fight among premium cruise lines, Celebrity seeks an Edge

In a darkened room at a restaurant table set with empty, shiny white dinner plates, a little man about the size of my thumb suddenly appears plate-side to prepare dessert. He is accompanied by a miniature sled, spoon, and igloo. At each place on the table, the animated little man in red scarf and chef’s hat heaves a scoop of ice cream, flips berries with his spoon, shoots chocolate sauce from a firehose, and lights a celebratory …

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Post-cruise, How 2 people vacationed on the Amalfi Coast and were the only Americans in town

MINORI, ITALY-A week into our off-season trip to the ancient Amalfi Coast beach town of Minori, my wife and I heard whispers from a doorstep as we walked along a cobbled lane. “Here come the Americans,” (or something close to that), said one woman to another in Italian. We were making our usual late afternoon shopping jaunt to buy fresh bread, a sack of delightful baby artichokes, a big scoop from a barrel of ripe broccoli rabe, …

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