Gerry Barker’s Experience on the Panama Canal

image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  PANAMA CANAL_Here we are, floating quietly outside the entrance to the Panama Canal, along with dozens of cargo ships, all of us waiting our turn. Carnival Miracle is among the first cruise ships to make the transit as the 2019-2020 season starts; it was reported Island Princess was the first, a day or two before us, headed for Ft. Lauderdale. Ranked as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, it will take us the …

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Gerry Barker’s Experience on the Brightline Inter-City Rail Line

Image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  In previous posts I’ve extolled the virtues of Brightline (soon to be Virgin Trains), the nation’s only private, iner-city rail line. If you live in South Florida, like Pam and I do, it’s the best way to get to the ports at Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, hands down. Recently, Brightline gave passengers more reasons to go by train with the launch of its new Train-to-Port packages. A typical package includes train tickets, parking at a Brightline …

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Gerry Barker Visiting Cartagena, Columbia

image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  CARTAGENA, Columbia_After over two days at sea and almost 1,300 nautical miles from Tampa, we have arrived at our first port — the historic Columbian city of Cartagena. Located on the Caribbean Sea, this is a city that is both steeped in history and a modern-day metropolis, which the locals call “Miami Two.” That’s in reference to the towering condominiums and office buildings that ring the harbor. But its most famous attraction is the 17th century …

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Aboard Carnival Miracle- Day Three

Image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  On the third full day of our cruise, and over 1,200 miles from where we started, we are approaching our first port of call, Cartagena, Columbia. We are scheduled to dock at 6 pm, and we’ll be there overnight, giving us extra time to explore this Spanish Colonial port city that served as a military fortress in the 17th century. In the meantime, we’re taking advantage of the sea days to relax and take in some …

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Aboard Carnival Miracle-Day Two

image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  It’s Day Two, or actually, Day Three (if you count the sailaway), and we are currently navigating the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Central America en route to our first port of call, the walled city of Cartegena, Columbia. This is another day at sea, do Pam and I have had time to explore the ship and get to know our home away from home for the next two weeks. One thing we noted right …

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Aboard Carnival Miracle-Day One

Image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  It’s Day One of our 13-day cruise. We are bound for the Panama Canal, then on to our final destination, Long Beach, California, where Miracle will reposition for cruises to the Mexican Riviera, among others. This was our first time to embark from Tampa, which means we have now cruised from all four major ports in Florida. It was a homecoming of sorts as well, since it was a job opportunity that brought us to Tampa, …

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Carnival Studios Event

image from Gerry Barker

  Two years ago, Carnival debuted Carnival Studios, a massive, 44,500-square-foot facility in Davie, Florida, where the cruise line has centralized planning, production, training and development for all the shows aboard their fleet. Its 21 studios accommodate everything from 3-piece string musicians to full-blown Broadway productions. This week, media was invited on an extended tour to see first-hand how it all comes together, including a preview of the new Playlist production that will debut on Carnival Panorama …

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Gerry Barker’s Interview with Jackie Chase, North American Director of Public Relations for Cunard

photo from Gerry Barker

  I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jackie Chase, Cunard’s North American Director of Public Relations, since I started writing about cruising. She is the consummate professional at what she does. Meet Jackie, and learn more her, her job and Cunard’s storied history in this Q&A. Q. How long have you been with Cunard and what attracted you to the opportunity? A. I began my career in Public Relations in 1999, when I joined a boutique …

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Cruising into the Future: The Digital Wizards at OZ

image from Gerry Barker

  As anyone knows who has taken a cruise recently, technology is front and center when it comes to the guest experience. On MSC Seaside, we reserved shows and restaurants on large digital touch screens, and were amazed by how easy disembarkation was at Customs thanks to biometric facial recognition. On Carnival, the Carnival HUB app is like having a concierge in your hand. Princess goes a step farther with their OceanMedallion, a wearable that opens your …

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises Announced a New, Plant-Based Menu

Photo from Gerry Barker

  Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced a new, plant-based menu that would be offered across its fleet of ships beginning in October. Last night, Pam and I were among a small group invited to get a sneak preview of both the new menu and the culinary experience guests can expect on their newest ship, Seven Seas Splendor, debuting next February. As you might expect from the luxury cruise line leader known for “an unrivaled experience,” the event …

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