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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Photo from Gerry Barker

  Since we do most of our cruising from South Florida, it was a real treat to depart from New York. There’s nothing quite like sailing past its iconic skyline and feeling the pride of seeing the Statue of Liberty standing tall in the harbor. The photos and selfies were coming fast and furious, even when a driving rain hit as we left the dock. From stem to stern, the $200 million Carnival spent transforming Triumph into …



Photo courtesy of Gerry Barker

  Sunday morning — our last day at sea. How do these cruise days go by so fast? In less than 24 hours, we’re back at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, right where we started. First, the weather report you’ve been waiting for: The winds have picked up, but nothing so far like the trip out. Lots of sunshine streaming through our balcony window. We start with “Brunch at Sea” in the Sunshine room. While Pam goes traditional …


ABOARD CARNIVAL SUNRISE-After a Windy Trip From New York, We Have Found Smooth Waters as We Dock in Bermuda.

  Last night we had dinner at Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, one of the specialty restaurants that has an $38 per person upcharge. Steak lovers will find their nirvana on this menu for sure, which includes a wagyu. But since we don’t indulge red meat, we found our happy place with the Dover Sole. If you need a recommendation for a cocktail with dinner, try the Polaris. It’s like a French 75 with a splash of elderflower. For …

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ABOARD CARNIVAL SUNRISE-It’s Day Two, and We are Rocking and Rolling. Literally.

  High winds are whipping up the waves around us. During the night, toiletries toppled in the bath and water spilled from glasses. No surprise they had to close the pool and access to the upper decks for safety reasons. But guests are pretty much taking it all in stride. All the pool loungers are occupied and the bars are doing a brisk business. It will take more than a little wind to slow down the Fun …

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Aboard Carnival Sunrise- Day One

Photo from Gerry Barker

  After investing nearly $200 millon in shiny new upgrades for Carnival Triumph, it’s no wonder Carnival opted to give the refurished ship a new name as well. Meet Carnival Sunrise. Newly launched this spring after two months in drydock, Pam and I are checking out all the changes on a 5-day cruise to Bermuda. Getting here was something of an adventure in itself. When we can, we shun airline travel in favor of taking the train. …

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Photo courtesy of Gerry Barker

  There was much anticipation as invited media, guests and Princess personnel stood in front of the big blue whale on Deck 17 of Caribbean Princess, docked at Port Everglades. We were all there for the debut of The Reef Family Splash Zone, a major new feature added after the ship completed a recent drydock. Of course, we couldn’t attend without bringing along an expert in the field to offer her own assessment, and no one is …

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First-timers on MSC Seaside

  As veteran cruisers, it’s always exciting to experience a new ship, and a new brand, for the first time. So Pam and I were looking forward to our first voyage on MSC, taking MSC Seaside from the Port of Miami. MSC, well-established in Europe and South America, is looking to capture the American market with big, shiny new ships like Seaside, the first in its Seaside Class, which launched in late 2017. Sister ship Seaview debuted …

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Tell Everyone: The Virgin Islands Are Open for Business

  MIAMI_At an off-site lunch during SeaTrade Cruise Global, the message delivered by the U.S. Virgin Islands Dept. of Tourism and government officials was clear: The U.S. Virgin Islands are open for business. Back-to-back hurricanes in 2017 — Irma and Maria — left a wide path of destruction across the three islands of St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix. But officials pointed to significant recovery across the board. Underscoring that optimism, they pointed out, was Spirit …

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