Why pay more for a luxury cruise? Who sails on those, anyway?

With bargain rates on many cruise ships at $100-$150 a day or less per person, why would a couple on vacation spend $500-$1,000 a day, each, for a cruise? A man is his 50s asked me that question recently at a party. He was concerned also that his wife was about to book him on a luxury cruise ship full of sedentary old people. It’s a legitimate financial question and an understandable concern by a physically active …

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Croatian port of Zadar features a sea organ…with sounds made by the wind and waves

The joke going around the Seabourn Odyssey, a 450-passenger cruise ship sailing between Athens and Venice, is that the captain found the port of Zadar, Croatia, by Googling it on his computer. Because so many passengers said they had never heard of Zadar, Captain Geir-Arne Thue-Nilsen feigned ignorance, too, as if he had stumbled upon Zadar while wandering up the Dalmatian Coast of the Adriatic Sea. “I just Googled it this morning,” he would say. Zadar may …

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Cruising on Costa Favolosa, a naming ceremony in Trieste, Italy

As many as 10,000 local townsfolk and formally-attired invited guests watched an extravagant naming ceremony Saturday night in Trieste, Italy, for a new cruise ship, the 3,800-passenger Costa Favolosa. Favolosa, now Costa’s largest vessel, was built near Venice, but it was the first major ship christened in ancient Trieste in 50 years. The event also was part of national celebrations for the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy. Actors, musicians, and dancers provided a spectacular show …

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What a premise! Take a cruise on Seabourn Quest and come home fit

Third of three reports. On a recent pre-inaugural cruise aboard the new Seabourn Quest, a full cast of executives from Seabourn and parent company Holland America was aboard to answer questions from media and select travel agents. You can only imagine how much these folks liked their own ship. Still, the best spin for Seabourn came from a personal trainer. Vincent de Jager works in the expansive spa that Seabourn has placed on its three newest 450-passenger …

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Artwork abounds on the new Seabourn Quest cruise ship

Second of three reports. If you wake up from a vacation dream some morning and can’t tell which Seabourn sister you slept with last night, take a look at the artwork. The three newest Seabourn ships are identical triplets, but they dress a bit differently. On the Seabourn Quest, which is cruising this week in the Mediterranean toward Barcelona and its naming ceremony on Sunday, you’ll see the same spacious two-deck spa; elegant restaurants and alfresco Colonnade; …

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The new Seabourn Quest will delivers a superb luxury experience like its sister ships

First of three reports. Seabourn, on a quest to be the lead dog in the luxury business at sea, introduces its third new ship in three years on Sunday, June 19. Blythe  Danner, an actress seen lately in the movies of Fockers fame, will do the honors at a sunset ceremony in Barcelona. Until then, the new Seabourn Quest is on a casual pre-inaugural cruise  from Rome. I was aboard from Rome to Monte Carlo, and, as …

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What’s new, what’s not, on the new Carnival Magic…a report from the inaugural voyage

Third of three reports If you cruise on the new Carnival Magic, what you will see is: Carnival’s first Italian restaurant, first Caribbean pub, first draught beer labeled just for Carnival, first ropes course, a host of family deck games, and three flashy production shows. New interior designs make the ship brighter and more cheerful than its sister Carnival Dream (2009). There are more outdoor activities than on Carnival ships past. What you won’t see, says Carnival …

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Challenging the ropes course on the Carnival Magic cruise ship

Second of three reports. Carnival Cruise Lines has introduced the first ropes course on a cruise ship. The 230-foot course on the new Carnival Magic, now cruising in the Mediterranean, is so well planned that anyone of moderate athletic ability will be able to get around. Yet, if you want to tackle the course at a different pace and style, you can get a serious workout. Station by station, I worked my way around the ropes course …

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The new Carnival Magic: Firsts, thirsts and the RedFrog Pub

First of three reports on the new Carnival Magic As the new Carnival Magic cruises in the Mediterranean, you can be pretty sure that for the rest of the summer there will be plenty of Thirsty Frog Red. That’s the new draught beer with a Carnival Cruise Lines label, poured from a keg in Carnival’s first Caribbean pub. The 3,690-passenger Magic debuted earlier this month to heavy applause. The ship offers three flashy production shows; the cruise …

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Cruising the Mediterranean Sea on the MSC Splendida…a European experience

When you book a cruise beyond the fleets of ships that provide a North American experience, be prepared to accept different vacation approaches to meals, entertainment, and expenses. The rewards for such an adventurous spirit may be substantial, as the differences can be part of the fun. For seven nights in November, I cruised the Mediterranean Sea on MSC Splendida, pictured right, off Naples, Italy. It’s a grand new 3,300-passenger vessel owned by the biggest shipping company …

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