Friday in Quebec

QUEBEC  CITY,  Quebec I flew into this French Canadian City this morning – a place I ‘ve never been before — and ran into an old friend: Holland-America’s 18-year-old cruise ship, the Veendam. Of course this veteran vessel has been upgraded a lot over the years. In 2012, I enjoyed virtually every minute of a two-week South America cruise aboard the same ship  I can see it now as I write from my high-floor room at the …

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Anticipation – it’s the same in French!

For me, at least, an essential element of a cruise vacation is simply the anticipation of the adventure. I’ve been experiencing this thrill again in advance of my June cruise which begins in Quebec City, Canada. My wife and I will be on board an old friend, Holland-America’s good ship Veendam. In 2012, I took the same vessel on a two-week cruise around the southern tip of South America, from Santiago, Chile to Buenos Aires, Argentina, covering …

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Travel agents know best cruise secrets

On the big MSC Divina, my balcony cabin at the aft end provided a rare sense of privacy and easy access during a week’s winter voyage in the Caribbean from Miami. Four cabins away from mine was a door that led to a little used outside stairway which became my nearly private entrance and exit. Using the stairs, I could walk up to the ship’s buffet restaurant or to a top deck swimming pool, and down to …

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MSC Splendida, Day 2: Marseilles, the European Capital of Culture

ABOARD THE MSC SPLENDIDA –-You get the feeling that this is going to be an upscale cruise when the taxi driver taking you from the Barcelona airport to the port is playing classical trumpet concerti on his radio. Upscale is a forte of MSC  cruise ships. In fact, according to cruise director Valerio Stegleano, exclusivity and privacy and five-star service is so important to some passengers now, that pricing voyages according to cabin placement or size is …

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MSC Splendida, Day 1: Am I the only American on board?

ABOARD THE MSC SPLENDIDA – There will be no waffling or wondering where the life preservers and the lifeboats are should an unforeseen accident happen while we’re cruising on the MSC Splendida this week. The first thing we received from the crew, even before we got to our cabins, was a notice of the Compulsory Safety Briefing that we had to attend to learn about how to put on our life preservers and where to meet should …

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Crystal’s new extended land programs explore coveted Canadian cities and northeastern sites

Two new lavish land programs allow Crystal guests to extend their vacations with five 2014 luxury cruises through North America’s East Coast and French Canada.  Available on Crystal Serenity’s September-October voyages, the two- and three-night, pre- and post-cruise packages offer travelers the opportunity to explore beyond the rich New England/Canada cruise itineraries that begin or end in Québec City.  Guests can choose from programs in Toronto and Niagara Falls, Montréal and Québec City, or enjoy a free …

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Royal Caribbean orders fourth Oasis-class vessel

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today that it has agreed with STX France to move forward on the order of a fourth Oasis-class ship for delivery in 2018. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard D. Fain and President and Chief Operating Officer Adam Goldstein, along with STX France Chief Executive Officer Laurent Castaing, announced the planned ship order at the keel-laying ceremony for the third Oasis-class ship at the STX shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, …

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Legend of the Seas to deliver the wonders and beauty of Southeast Asia, Australia and South Pacific in 2015-16

Royal Caribbean International today announced Legend of the Seas’ year-round deployment for 2015-16, offering itineraries to breathtakingly beautiful destinations throughout Southeast Asia from Singapore in the summer season, and sailings to idyllic settings in Australia and the South Pacific during the winter season from the cruise line’s new homeport of Brisbane, Australia. With Mariner of the Seas’ also sailing from Singapore in the winter season, Legend of the Seas’ new summer season will mark the first time …

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American Empress cuisine puts spotlight on Pacific Northwest

The American Queen Steamboat Company has  introduced a new culinary program onboard the American Empress, which began her inaugural season April 5, 2014. Staying true to her Pacific Northwest surroundings, the culinary team is taking full advantage of the region’s freshest seafood and produce including sustainable fish, free-range chicken and artisan cheeses along with seasonal fruits and vegetables.  In addition, guests have the opportunity to taste the top local beers, wines and liquors as the vessel passes …

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Norwegian Epic to sail from Southampton in Fall 2015

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that Norwegian Epic has added two sailings to and from Southampton, England in 2015, marking the first time that the ship has visited the port since the inaugural celebration in June 2010. Norwegian Epic, named “Best Ship for Sea Days” by Cruise Critic and “Best Overall Cruise Ship” by the readers of Travel Weekly two years in a row, will sail one six- and one seven-night Iberian Peninsula itinerary. The ship’s six-night …

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