Carnival Horizon’s contemporary design features comfort and grace

I recently joined about 20 other travel writers and a boatload of travel agents for a two-day inaugural sailing from Port Miami to Nassau and back. The big and beautiful Carnival Horizon had come into Port for a year-long schedule of six- and eight-week cruises to the Caribbean. The large, (133,500 gross tons,) and lovely vessel is a Vista Class ship. She is designed to carry just under 4,000 passengers and is 14 decks high. Restaurants include …

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Caribbean cruise aboard the MSC Divina

ABOARD MSC DIVINA: There was a time in the world of cruising where most passengers hurried to the nearest shop as soon as disembarking – especially here in the Caribbean and purchased such goodies as jewelry, fragrance, liquor and even electronics, returning shipboard with arms full. I recall a stop in St. Martin where my husband and I and another couple schlepped to cartons of booze back to the ship – with help from the shop owner, …

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Caribbean cruise aboard the MSC Divina: St. Martin

ABOARD MSC DIVINA: The crowds gathered around the stairwells awaiting the announcement of arrival in Phillipsburg, the capital of Dutch St. Martin, have gathered early. Eager to head to beaches, to shop or tour, they all want to be first off the ship. It is the same in Barcelona, in Monaco, Ketchikan or Singapore, and whether it is your first or 50th, that rush to disembark for a few hours is pretty universal. The choice of excursions …

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Caribbean cruise aboard the MSC Divina: Day at sea

ABOARD MSC DIVINA: Another evening, another show. Last night’s offering, entitled “Mask,” and loosely based on the old Jim Carrey movie, showcases the entire cast of singers, and dancers, acrobats and more in a skilled production that kept audience members – young and old alike – on their toes while they kept on tapping them. I have sailed on MSC some six or seven times and each time came away impressed with the caliber of entertainment. (More …

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Caribbean cruise aboard the MSC Divina: Day 1

MSC Divina (Photo courtesy of MSC Cruises) ABOARD THE MSC DIVINA-We glided out of Port Miami promptly at 7pm last night. It is strange to use a verb like “glided” to describe a a vessel weighing close to 140,000 tons, but that is exactly how this ship left Miami. We were at dinner, in the aft dining room dubbed Villa Rossa, at a table overlooking the water, and it was lovely to watch. And make no mistake, …

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Preparing to cruise aboard the MSC Divina

MSC Divina, that big beautiful girl from Italy, now enjoying her first full year in the U.S., will soon be my home for a week. She debuted in 2012 with Italian film star Sophia Loren as Godmother. Headquartered in Geneva, MSC Cruises is a Swiss-registered, global cruise line and the world’s largest privately owned line. Twelve ships fly the MSC banner and are deployed across Europe, South America, Asia and the U.S. Two new vessels will join …

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Kathie Lee Gifford introduces her wines on board the Carnival Breeze

MIAMI, Fla. — Kathie Lee Gifford, the original singing and dancing “fun ship” star of Carnival Cruise Lines ads beginning in 1984, returned to the line on Sunday debuting her GIFFT line of wines, available on all 24 Carnival cruise ships. (The wines are also available at Winn-Dixie and Total Wine stores.) The Red Blend is “smooth, juicy and luscious” in Gifford’s own words and the light and pleasant Chardonnay is a “hallmark of all Monterey chardonnay wines.” Gifford participated in a …

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End of Caribbean cruise aboard the Costa Mediterranea

ABOARD THE COSTA MEDITERRANEA – Another day, another sea day. Our last. Despite fantastic ports of call, the three days at sea have been great. Our 11-day odyssey of the Caribbean ends Monday morning and the Costa Mediterranea will call tomorrow in Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, in the Bahamas. It is an island I know well and am looking forward to seeing again. Today has been a day of exchanging contact info with new friends and catching …

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Time is passing swiftly aboard the Costa Mediterranea

ABOARD THE COSTA MEDITERRANEA — It is our second sea day. We have left behind St. Maarten where we spent a great day at Maho Bay watching planes land, flying low over the beach. Waded into the turquoise blue waters, had lunch and some laughs and by 3 p.m. we were back on board. St. Maarten has always been a favorite island of mine. I love the blend of Dutch and French cultures – Grande Case on …

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The Mediterranea visits a new port, Samana in the Dominican Republic

ABOARD THE COSTA MEDITERRANEA –– Samana, in the Dominican Republic, is now a full-fledged member of the welcome tourist brigade for passengers on Costa cruises. I just returned from this new port of call, where an energetic young man named Carlos was our guide. Welcoming our group of Costa Mediterranea passengers in both French and English, he talked about the area’s history supplying mahogany wood for construction to the U.S. in exchange for arms prior to the …

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