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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Silversea Silver Moon: New…And Perfectly Seasoned!

Silversea’s New S.A.L.T. Culinary Program Immerses Guests in Their Destination Until last week when I sailed a segment of Silver Moon’s Panama Canal voyage from Fort Lauderdale, the dishes I most closely associated with Mexico and the Caribbean were things like chicken wings, jalapeno poppers, nachos and other artery-cloggers I’d pluck off the grubby menus of places like Señor Frog’s. Silversea’s Silver Moon has changed all that with S.A.L.T (Sea and Land Taste), an innovative and ambitious …

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ROYAL CARIBBEAN ~ ODYSSEY OF THE SEAS: A Little Peek at a BIG Ship!

It didn’t take me very long to appreciate the appeal of a big—okay, massive—cruise ship, particularly for active families. It took me exactly two-days, or the duration of Royal Caribbean’s recent Odyssey of the Seas inaugural and naming event, exclusively for 2,200 press, travel professionals and the line’s most devoted guests. As one passionately devoted to small and mid-size ship cruising, the thought of sailing the Quantum Class Odyssey of the Seas, a 1,138-foot long, 16-deck, 167,704 …

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Viking Venus: Mediterranean Odyssey

– Covid Restrictions Are Messin’ With My Med The 930-passenger, 47,842 grt Viking Venus, launched in May 2021, sits in the dazzling port of Barcelona. If the stats sound familiar, it’s because Viking Venus is the seventh ship in the series of Viking Ocean’s identical sister ships, each following the same, clean Scandinavian design. If you’ve sailed Viking Ocean before, you’ll feel right at home aboard this latest launch. You’ll instinctively know where Manfredi’s is, how to …

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