Cruise follies, foibles, TMI, TLI and unexpected discoveries

ABOARD THE DIAMOND PRINCESS CRUISING OFF JAPAN – All in all it was a great cruise on the Diamond Princess, stopping in ports we had never heard of in northern Japan and even in Russia, thanks to some obscure law or regulation that nobody can quite get their head around. But no cruise is complete without its follies and unexpected discoveries. Here are a few: THAT GUY – You don’t want to be him. This cruise, like …

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Kids have a different take on cultural exchanges aboard cruises

AT SEA ABOARD THE DIAMOND PRINCESS OFF THE COAST OF JAPAN — Jessica Maraesca at age eight is already a bonafide cruise expert. But she has one big advantage—her dad Fabrizio Maresca is the Captain of the Diamond Princess, commanding a crew of 1,050 and celebrating his 15th anniversary with Princess Cruise Line. In fact, Jessica wouldn’t be here if not for Princess—her mom and dad met working on board. Her mom, Caroline Andrews, was a dancer. …

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On a cruise – options for dining vary on taste and budget

AT SEA ABOARD THE DIAMOND PRINCESS BETWEEN JAPAN AND RUSSIA — Sushi or Steak? Like other cruise lines, Princess offers specialty restaurants on board for which you pay an extra fee. “The dining room is like cafeteria food; if you want better food, you have to go to the specialty restaurants,” offered on veteran Princess cruiser. I wouldn’t go that far but it is true that like on other cruise lines, the specialty restaurants offer an enhanced …

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Shore excursions: Cranes, marshes, pluses and minuses

KUSHIRO, Hokkaido, Japan — Cranes, so Japanese legend says, live for a thousand years; turtles for 10,000. That’s why if you went to a Japanese wedding, you might see symbols of cranes and turtles—wishing the couple a long and happy marriage. We’re in Kushiro, Japan, on the island of Hokkaido, and are visiting the Japanese Crane Reserve on a shore excursion from the Diamond Princess, which is spending the morning here. Red-crested cranes, we learn, nearly had …

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Costa Cruises’ ‘Captain for a Day’ Program enables junior cruisers to experience life at the helm

What kid wouldn’t want a chance to captain a cruise ship? Costa Cruises is making junior cruisers’ dreams come true with a new “Captain for a Day” experience on Costa Diadema and Costa Fascinosa. Kids can see what life is like at the helm on a daylong adventure that begins with donning their captain’s stripes and ends with dinner with the true master of the ship at his personal table in the main dining room. Youths participating …

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Eileen Orgintz’s, from Taking the Kids, annual family cruise guide 2015

For family vacations or family reunions, or just to get away, cruising is increasingly popular for all generations.  Whether you choose the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or far-flung destinations like the Galapagos Islands and even the Arctic, you’ll find all-inclusive deals and the advantage of packing and unpacking just once. Welcome to our Taking the Kids Cruise Guide for 2015, researched and updated by our intern Stacy Shepherd and out partners at the Family Travel Forum. Cruise Lines …

Read moreEileen Orgintz’s, from Taking the Kids, annual family cruise guide 2015

Port adventures immerse Disney Cruise Line guests in adventure and culture on 2015 Norwegian Fjords sailings

Disney Cruise Line invites families to explore culturally rich and exotic locales, with Port Adventures like only Disney can do, during its 2015 Norwegian Fjords sailings. From June to August 2015, the Disney Magic returns to Europe, visiting the Norwegian Fjords and Iceland for the first time. Guests exploring these new ports, steeped in Viking history, will be treated to richly diverse destinations that showcase iconic locations, enchanting cultures, tantalizing cuisine and unrivaled experiences. To elevate guests’ …

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Carnival captain celebrates 35 years with cruise line

Giovanni Cutugno is living his dream as captain of the Carnival Magic. “My goal always was to be captain of a cruise ship and I love my job,” he said. “I have been with the Magic since she started. She is my baby.” The man from Italy has been with Carnival Cruise Lines an amazing 35 years. “I have been a captain for 23 years,” Cutugno said. “I am Carnival’s most senior captain.” It started on Nov. …

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Delicious food abounds on the Queen Mary 2, in a variety of venues

Dining is a science aboard Queen Mary 2. It is a popular past time where continental breakfast is available as early as 4 a.m. in the King’s Court and where a late snack is available until 2 am. In between, three meals a day are available in the Queen’s Grill, Princess Grill and Brittania Club as well as the Brittania Restaurant (where I have been seated all week.) Lunch and dinner are available daily inTodd English where …

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After three decades of ship travel, Queen Mary 2 may well be my favorite ship

Queen Mary 2 may well be my favorite ship. After more than three decades of ship travel on oceans and rivers all over the world, this ocean liner (don’t call her a “ship” or, heaven forbid, a “boat,”) seems to really be the epitome of it all for me. This is my third or fourth crossing on QM2, but I sailed on the Queen Elizabeth 2 in the 1980s where I lectured on guidebook writing, again in …

Read moreAfter three decades of ship travel, Queen Mary 2 may well be my favorite ship