Introducing VISTA ~Oceania Cruises’ First New Ship in a Decade…Dazzles!

I arrive in Civitavecchia to find it bustling with cruise ships but easily spot the newcomer among them:  Oceania Cruises’ Vista, the first ship of the line’s new Allura class vessels. At 67,000 grt and holding 1,200 passengers and 800 crew, she is smaller than the behemoths that surround her, a streamlined picture of elegance. Yet, as I board the all-balcony newbuild, I find myself fearing change. I worry that, like so many other cruise lines, Vista …

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AMERICAN QUEEN SAILS THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI

Battlefields, Blues and Biscuits…A Beauty of a Riverboat “My mailing address might be elsewhere, but this is where I call home.” Those words were among the first I heard from my American Queen shipmate, Bill, a jolly Ohioan who has more than 20 voyages on the steamboat booked through the end of 2023. And he’s not alone in his devotion. From the moment I board American Queen in New Orleans for a 7-day “President’s Cruise” up the …

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THE BIG EASY CRUISE:  Cuisine, Culture…and All that Jazz!

New Orleans Comes to the High Seas! Imagine experiencing the music, culture, cuisine and spirit of New Orleans on a 7-day voyage from Fort Lauderdale aboard Holland America’s luxurious Nieuw Amsterdam! On November 4th, the 2,106-passenger Nieuw Amsterdam hosts its first-ever Big Easy Cruise, a celebration that includes some of the biggest names in American music, including Little Feat, Tab Benoit, Samantha Fish, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Leo Nocentelli from The Meters, Anders Osborne, Jon Cleary & …

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QUEEN MARY 2’s “LITERATURE FESTIVAL AT SEA” ~A Blockbuster for Book Lovers!

At Queen Mary 2’s Royal Court Theater, three of my favorite crime fiction novelists–Ian Rankin, Mark Billingham and Mick Herron—are on stage debating the best TV sleuths. “Without question, it’s Columbo. We can all go home now,” declares Billingham, the stand-up comic-cum-author whose popular Thomas Thorne novels have sold millions of copies worldwide. But not so fast: Ian Rankin—Sir Ian Rankin, actually—who, in 1987 created the legendary Inspector John Rebus, counters with Jane Tennison, the hard-drinking detective …

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Holland America’s 150th Anniversary Transatlantic Voyage ~A Tale of Two Crossings

Even the weather seemed to be participating in the 12-day Atlantic crossing that recreated Holland America’s very first sailing 150 years ago.  Moody skies, rain and a couple of days of rough seas followed Rotterdam VII from the port of Rotterdam until New York City welcomed us with blue skies and blinding sunshine.   It seemed to mirror the long, arduous passage of millions of emigrants carried to the New World by Holland America ships and the bright …

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Aboard Rotterdam VII ~Marking Holland America Line’s 150th Anniversary on a Gala Transatlantic Sailing

First of two historic sailings underway! There’s nothing like being a part of history…particularly when being a part of that history includes a transatlantic sailing aboard Rotterdam VII, Holland America’s recently launched 2,668-passenger flagship. On October 15, 1872, the steamship Rotterdam departed the city of Rotterdam for a crossing that called at Honfleur, France and Plymouth, England before continuing on to New York City. To celebrate the line’s anniversary, Holland America is recreating this exact itinerary with …

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WINDSTAR CRUISES’ STAR PRIDE SETS SAIL~A Small Ship Delivers Big Advantages!

It’s the first sailing of Windstar Cruises’ new Star Pride. “New” might be a misleading term to apply to this luxury vessel that first sailed under the Seabourn banner, but the ship I’m aboard right now bears little resemblance to the one that sailed out of the shipyard in 1989. Initially, Windstar Cruises’ acquisition of Seabourn’s sister yachts baffled me. In 2014, when the ships first joined the Windstar fleet, the line was synonymous with tall ships …

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Sailing Aboard SeaDream Yacht Club’s Renovated SeaDream 2

What I’ve Always Loved…Only Better! I wake to a gentle breeze and see a palette of orange, pink and gold spread across the sky. Beneath the flutter of the whisper-soft comforter that embraces me, I stretch, lift my head from the pillow and survey the endless emerald sea before me. I am clad in a pair of navy and white pajamas, personalized with my first name, that I discovered neatly folded on the bed in my suite …

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AMERICAN EMPRESS: A National Treasure!

The stars and stripes flutter from the flagpole atop American Queen Voyages’ American Empress. It’s the first clue that this riverboat is a celebration of America, from its friendly and supremely capable all-American crew, dining that showcases some of the country’s best loved dishes and an itinerary that takes us along the Columbia and Snake Rivers, past scenery that inspired a ton of Woody Guthrie songs. I’m aboard the season’s first sailing of this 3,388 grt, 223-passenger …

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Yummmmmmm…Marina! ~Superb Dining and So Much More Aboard Oceania Marina

It’s the 43rd minute of my daily hour-long workout atop an elliptical machine at Oceania Marina’s fitness center and the digital window says I’ve burned 307 calories. If my calculations are correct, my efforts thus far have erased the caloric damage of the two glasses of wine I enjoyed with last night’s dinner. I recall that feast at Jacques’, Oceania Marina’s French restaurant with a menu created by master chef Jacques Pepin: the rich, gravy-drizzled foie gras …

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