A European river cruise in December?

The cruise program director on the Viking Vili quipped, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” Temperatures hovered in the 30s and 40s on our December cruise down the Danube, but it was still warmer than back home in suburban Chicago. In Vienna, I lucked out with a 54-degree day and ditched my puffy coat. December can be a cheaper time to travel. Air and cruise fares dip below those in peak summer season …

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Regal Princess 14: Caribbean welcoming guests after September hurricanes

ABOARD THE REGAL PRINCESS – Hibiscus are blooming. Palm trees swaying. Shops selling. Cold drinks waiting. St. Thomas is open for business. After devastating September hurricanes, the Caribbean island is welcoming cruise ships and visitors. When the Regal Princess docked in St. Thomas, I was happy to see the remarkable recovery efforts and the welcome mat rolled out for cruise ship passengers. Two other cruise ships were docked there as well and the dock area was festively …

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Regal Princess 13: Dining at specialty restaurant Sabatini’s

ABOARD THE REGAL PRINCESS – If I didn’t see the ocean waves outside the dining room window, I might think I was in some elegant restaurant in Italy. Instead, I am enjoying a leisurely meal at Sabatini’s, the specialty restaurant aboard the Regal Princess. The Tuscan-inspired décor features beautiful murals, warm woods, etched glass, Roman columns and grandiose chandeliers. A large glassed case displays fresh-made pasta and a huge circular case showcases special wines. The carpet is …

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Regal Princess 12: Repeat cruisers get perks on Princess ships

ABOARD THE REAL PRINCESS – A sure sign of Princess cruise popularity is the huge turnout for the Captain’s Circle cocktail party. For repeat cruisers, the invitation-only get together was packed on my Regal Princess cruise. No wonder. Of the 3,291 passengers on my cruise, 2,400 were repeat Princess cruisers, Captain Tim Stringer said. “We welcome you back and appreciate your loyalty,” he said. That’s a whole lot of people. But the most surprising number was the …

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Regal Princess 11: Now ‘Born to Dance’ show spotlights talented performers

ABOARD THE REGAL PRINCESS – Broadway’s “unsung heroes” are saluted in the new stage show “Born to Dance” presented aboard the Regal Princess. The multi-media show has an awesome pedigree. It was produced by Oscar, Grammy and Tony award winner Stephen Schwartz, who composed “Wicked,” “Godspell” and “Pippin.” The show spotlights a who’s-who of acclaimed choreographers and dancers to trace the journey of the great artists and shows that made musical theater history. The theater was packed …

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Oceania Riviera “Sunny Celebrations” voyage wrap up

PORT OF MIAMI-“Brown 3,” said the voice over the Oceania Riviera intercom, the signal that  our cruise is officially over. All guests holding “Brown 3” luggage tags headed for the gangway on Deck 6 for disembarkation at the Port of Miami, where we started this voyage back on Dec. 22. Over the past 12 days, we visited seven islands, celebrated Christmas and New Year’s and covered over 3,000 nautical miles. All the while, with a crew that …

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New Years Day spent at sea aboard the Oceania Riviera

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY ELEVEN — The first day of 2017 is sunny and bright, and we are on our way back home to Miami. This is the first of two days at sea as we cover the 1,000-plus nautical miles ahead. The staff has prepared personalized disembarkation printouts for each guest that provide all the specifics for making our departure. And it seems like we just arrived on board. Dining-wise, the main event today is Sunday …

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New Year’s Eve in St. Maarten

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY TEN –– It’s the last day of 2016, New Year’s Eve, and the weather gods aren’t smiling any more. In fact, they’re downright grumpy. We are docked in St. Maarten, our last port of call on this voyage. It’s windy, chilly and gray, with a light rain peppering down. No tour today, by choice. We have been here on numerous occasions, and it’s still one of our favorite islands. Parked beside us — …

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St. Lucia-“Island of Splendor” tour

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY NINE — Day nine, really? The calendar says it’s Friday, but on a cruise they really do all run together. It truly is just another day in paradise. Today’s slice of paradise is St. Lucia, another island we have never visited but have heard so much about. So we are really looking forward to taking the “Island Splendor” tour. The weather gods are smiling on us once again. This day is bright and …

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St. George’s, Grenada — the Spice Island

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY EIGHT — Our island hopping continues. This morning we have hopped over to St. George’s, Grenada — the Spice Island. We also have reached the southern-most point in our cruise, 90 miles from the South American coast. Docked beside us and looming large is MSC Poesia, with a passenger capacity almost three times ours. But unlike Barbados, we appear to be the only two cruise ships here today. Since we have stopped at …

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