Welcome to the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Blog where we keep you up to date with things about cruises that are part of cruise news, useful, interesting and even irrelevant but fun in the world of cruises and cruising.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Celebrating the fifth anniversary of Movies Under the Stars ( a Princess Cruises feature of outdoor movie presentations on giant, Times Square-style movie screens), Princess Cruises has teamed with celebrated film critic and historian Leonard Maltin to bring passengers yet another new way to experience movies onboard -- an exclusive Leonard Maltin Movie Club.

Debuting fleetwide, the new club gives passengers the opportunity to join fellow film buffs to discuss specially selected motion pictures (by Mr Matlin) during their cruise.

Beats Bingo, I guess!

For more on this visit our news page at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-280509-princess-cruises.html

Thursday, May 28, 2009


For those cruise passengers who think they’ve seen it all - we bet they haven’t seen Murmansk yet.

The largest city in the world north of the Arctic Circle, Murmansk is located in northwest Russia, more than 600 miles north of St Petersburg and near the Russain border with Norway and Finland.

Remote, isolated and surrounded by thousands of lakes and dense forests, Murmansk is interesting for it’s history through both world wars when it served as a base for the Allies (it never fell to the Germans) and for it’s future as the Russian terminus of the Arctic Sea Bridge route between Canada and Russia.

Attractions include the the snow-white church of the Saviour-on-Waters, the 120 feet tall Alyosha - a statue of a Russian soldier of World War II, and the Lighthouse monument built in 2002 as a memorial to sailors lost at sea.

So for those looking for the verty “lastest” in cruise destinations - look no further than Murmansk.

Oceania Cruises will visit the port of Murmansk in summer 2010 during its 18-day “Lands of the Midnight Sun” cruise aboard Insignia, departing July 23.

To find more about Oceana Cruises take a look at the profile aboard Prow’s Edge at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-oceania-cruises.html

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Those cruisers already on the high seas or about to embark on that Alaska cruise need have no fears about re-entering the United States after June 1.

That’s the date for the implementation of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) for land and sea travel when secure travel documents will be required at the US-Canada border.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has assured travellers they have nothing to fear .... it will be “practical and flexible in implementing WHTI”.

For full details of the mew document requirements at the border check out ProwsEdge.com news at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-270509-US-customs.html

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


With news of a man overboard yesterday, a teenager who apparently “fell off” the Carnival Fantasy in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday evening, we did some research about people going overboard and we were astonished to find that it’s not that rare an event.

In the past 8 years, there have been 114 cases of passengers and crew overboard, nearly a third of them on Carnival Cruises.

While not everyone going overboard dies, the odds on survival are not great. 18 of the those going overboard since 2000 (only 16%) were rescued. Of the 10 overboard this year alone, only 2 were rescued.

Some of these incidents are clear-cut cases of suicide, many the result of all night parties and drunken binges and more still of incredibly bad judgement, like the passenger who tried to get to the cabin next door by climbing from one balcony to the next.

A good number of the cases, however, are suspicious, and are likely the result of robbery, like the case of the passenger who went missing after winning a huge amount of money in the casino, and sexual assault.

Not the words anyone wants to hear on a cruise, but the reality is that this is something all cruise passengers ought to be aware of. It is only by being informed that we can prevent these things from happening.

The new SAFETY section at Prow’s Edge tackles this issue, with feature articles, advice and an overview of safety at sea. A “must read” for anyone taking a cruise.

The search-and-rescue mission launched by the Coast Guard out of Miami has not been able to find the young man who went overboard in the Gulf of Mexico.

Monday, May 25, 2009


A week ago we reported that the swine flu scare was over as the USA has ceased warnings about travel to Mexico because of the outbreak of swine flu.

Maybe we spoke too soon, or perhaps we were just focusing too much on Mexico.

Last week, only two days after sailing out of Sydney for the South Pacific, two children aboard the Pacific Dawn were quarantined because of what was finally confirmed as swine flu. Over a hundred passengers, and some crew members showed symptoms similar to those of the two boys, and health officials asked that the passengers on that cruise, now home, stay there for a week. The infected crew members were taken off the ship.

The good news now is that results have come back negative for Human Swine Influenza for passengers on board the Dawn Princess cruise ship.

NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant said: “Passengers from the cruise ship who presented with mild influenza like illnesses and were tested by Public Health Officials have since been advised of their test results; which are negative for Human swine influenza."

“As we are now in the CONTAIN phase of the influenza response we are taking public health measures to prevent spread of human swine influenza where outbreaks are suspected,” Dr Chant said.

For health issues aboard cruises, take a look at the Ship's Doctor pages at Prow's Edge for a variety of health topics and advice - everything from seasickness to food poisoning.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


NOAA forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season is most likely this year.

This is not exactly news (a 50% chance of anything doesn’t really tell us too much) - but no news is good news - right?

The initial forecast for the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June through November, and which covers a region that includes the North Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico, predicts a 50 % probability of a near-normal season, but for those who want to worry about this, the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center also warns of a 25 % probability of an above-normal season.

You can find out more about the NOAA forecast in the Prow’s Edge news pages.

A few days ago we reported the sad news that one of ProwsEdge.com’s favourite small-ship lines, Hebridean International Cruises, had been forced to sell the Hebridean Spirit.

The good news now is that it is business as usual for the Hebridean Princess. It has reverted to its original company name of Hebridean Island Cruises under the umbrella of All Leisure Holidays, owners of two other cruise brands: Swan Hellenic and Voyages of Discovery.

All Leisure Holidays specializes in high class cultural cruises on ocean-going waters, European rivers and on the Nile. Hebridean will continue to be operated as a stand-alone brand, cruising the craggy coastline of the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and of Norway.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


One of ProwsEdge.com’s favourite small-ship lines, Hebridean International Cruises, has been forced to sell the Hebridean Spirit. But its sister ship, the Hebridean Princess, is still offering all-inclusive cruises around Scotland’s spectacular Western Isles. It’s been doing so for 20 years and in 2006 the Hebridean Princess was chartered by Queen Elizabeth for a private family holiday for members of the Royal family.

If you’re looking for a cruise bargain, now is the time to go hunting, especially in the luxury segment of the cruise market. As the credit crunch bites and cruisers tighten their belts, upmarket ships particularly are edgy, offering spectacular discounts – cuts of 55 to 60 per cent on some cruises.

Others are offering two-for-one deals, or free flights, onboard spending money OR free shore excursions (which often take a large slice of your travel budget).

Those cruisers looking for deals need look no further than Prow’s Edge’s cruise deals where you’ll find cruise agents competing for your business with the best cruise prices.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Following our favorite topic in the past couple of weeks, apart from that of the swine flu and the media coverage of the virus, we are finding a lot of interest in the issue of whether cruise passengers should be allowed to bring alcohol on a cruise with them or not.

Help us get a better look at the issue by voting for the the latest Prow's Edge Blog poll here (top right hand corner) and let us know what you think!


Looks like Europe is the place these days for cruises.

Citing a 66 % growth in five years, the European Cruise Council (EEC), representing the leading cruise companies operating in Europe, has revealed that the number of Europeans taking a cruise holiday reached an all time high in 2008 with the UK continuing to top the list with the greatest number of cruise passengers.

Not only that, the EEC also reports that the European cruise industry has dramatically increased its share of the global cruise market with 21.7 million passengers visiting a European port, 4.7 million joining their cruise in Europe and the industry generating €32.2 billion of goods and services in 2008.

You might want to rethink your cruise to the Caribbean this year. Almost 5 million cruise passengers can’t be wrong!

The European Cruise Council has 24 members, including Aida Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines, Carnival UK, CDF Croisieres de France, Costa Crociere SpA, Delphin Kreuzfahrten GmbH, Disney Cruise Line, France Ferries Croisieres, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Iberocruceros, Louis Cruise Lines, Monarch Classic Cruises SA, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Phoenix Reisen GmbH, Pullmantur Cruises SL, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Royal Caribbean International & Celebrity Cruises, Saga Shipping Co Ltd, Silversea Cruises, Star Clippers Cruises, Thomson Cruises, and Transocean Tours Touristik GmbH.

For more information no these cruise lines and more visit the Prow's Edge cruise lines pages, or visit the lastest press releases about Royal Caribbean and the European Cruise Council at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-190509-royal-caribbean-international.html

Port Metro Vancouver is celebrating Cruise Month until May 29 this year.

The first port in Canada , and third in the world, to offer shore power, Port Metro Vancouver effectively allows cruise ships to shut down their engines and connect to an electrical power supply while docked.

To learn more about this effective way of reducing air emissions, cruise passengers can visit the Interpretive Centre located at the north end of Canada Place (one of the ports two cruise terminals) weekdays from 9AM to 4PM.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


No big surprise now that the USA has ceased warnings about travel to Mexico because of the outbreak of swine flu, cruise lines are heading back to the region. No big surprise either as more than 75% of voters here at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Blog declared their belief that the threat of the virus had been grossly exaggerated. Less than 14 % of them believed that it had not been emphasized enough.

Carnival is one of the first to announce that once all voyages with previously modified itineraries are completed, those vessels will revert to their original routes featuring stops in Mexico. Most itineraries were modified through mid-June. See the full press release at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-150509-carnival-cruises.html

Royal Caribbean International, in their H1N1 Flu Statement, also on the 15th May, announced that they will resume its port calls in Cozumel, Mexico, beginning with sailings that depart on or after May 24, 2009.

Looks like things are getting back to normal.

Friday, May 15, 2009


More than 50% of those who voted in our "Would you take a cruise to Cuba?" poll said "yes - absolutely". 43 % of those polled said they were undecided and 6% were decidedly against taking a cruise to Cuba.

Following our blog page about the possibility of travel to Cuba from the USA opening up and the news that the cruise lines would soon be laying down plans for Cuba being included in Caribbean itineraries, we were expecting a more positive result in favor of cruises to Cuba and were surprised that almost half those polled were not that enthusiastic.

Let us know your views and leave a comment!

Those of you who think Twitter is a bird species need not read on. Those who are Tweets will be delighted to know you can now use Twitter as yet another tool to help you find hot cruise deals and all-things cruising.

Twitter is of course the latest vogue foisted on us by some Silicon Valley egghead (while most of us us still trying to get to grips with IPod, the Blackberry, Facebook etc). Still, as many of you know, Twitter is a free social networking and microblogging service. Its users send each other short text messages (up to 140 characters in length) known as “tweets”. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, SMS or various external applications.

The number of Twitter users are now several million and the cruise industry hasn’t been slow to cotton on to this new marketing tool: at your finger tips now are travel agents specializing in cruises, online cruise news and review sites, and cruise lines, and of course many Tweets interested in cruising.

But why bother when you can visit Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine, find out everything you need to know and set a whole bunch of agents busy competing for your business with the best quote for a cruise.

Couldn’t be easier. Who needs to be a Twit.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


The post on Canada ports was hardly up when there was a plaintive (but polite) call from Prince Rupert: “What about us!”

And rightly so. Not as well known as Vancouver and Victoria as a cruise port Prince Rupert is nevertheless a major cruise player on British Columbia’s North Coast.

In the summer it is visited by many cruise ships, drawn there by its great port facilities and its motto “Where Canada’s Wilderness Begins”. It's home to Canada's only Grizzly Bear Sanctuary and a huge concentration of humpbacked whales.

Cruise lines, keeping a watchful eye on the swine-flu in Mexico, are scrambling to find alternate itineraries for their passengers – and some Canadian ports are the flavour of the month, particularly those on Vancouver Island.

Victoria, the beautiful capital of British Columbia, this week found itself playing host to some 8,000 unexpected visitors as Carnival Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean International rerouted its cruises from ports in Mexico.

The Carnival Splendor and Mariner of the Seas are now making regular stops in San Francisco, Seattle and Victoria and the windfall has brought a sparkle to the eyes of Victoria businessmen .... this summer season they’re rolling out the red carpet for up to 470,000 cruise passengers plus some 180,000 crew members.

Meanwhile, Nanaimo, a major ferry port midway on Vancouver Island’s mid-east coast is a Johnny-come-lately to the cruise scene ... in April the Spirit of Endeavor pocket cruise ship docked in Nanaimo's harbour.

But this is small-fry stuff and the cruise industry told Nanaimo that if it hankered after bigger fry then it needed a new facility where the ships could tie up so that passengers could walk ashore.

So an $18.5-million port cruise facility is now on the drawing board.

And at the weekend, the Holland America cruise ship Statendam visited Port Alberni on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island where the big tour attraction was the steam-train trip to McLean Mill. Port Alberni is hoping to attract more ships and tourist dollars to the west coast.

Vancouver is of course already a major player as the hub of the Alaska cruise season.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Swine Flu and the Media

So were the horrors and dangers of the Mexico swine flu "pandemic" over-hyped by the media? Prow’s Edge readers and our own crew's blog certainly seemed to think so in their responses to our poll question “Is the threat of the swine flu for cruise passengers exaggerated in the media?”

More than 75% of voters declared their belief that the threat of the virus had been grossly exaggerated. Less than 14 % of them believed that it had not been emphasized ennough.

And they weren’t alone. An expert on Fox News said that in his opinion the national media was “exaggerating and hyping” the issue ...... claims of a pandemic, he said, and stories that the whole of humanity was in danger was “hyperbole and fear-mongering.”

Like Prow’s Edge, he said an emphasis on hand-washing was probably all that was initially needed.

Many other medical experts have urged it is time to get things proportion. Dr John Crippen is the pseudonym of a British doctor who writes a popular medical blog in The Guardian newspaper. The view from his General Practitioner's surgery on the day he wrote was: ”We have 15,000 patients and are close to one of the larger airports in England, but have not seen a case of flu. We have not had a single patient worrying that he or she might have flu. It feels like a phoney war.”

At a meeting of Dr John Crippen’s partners, one said: "There were 2,000 deaths, mainly children in Africa and Asia, yesterday."

A medical student looked shocked: "I didn't know swine flu had reached that part of the world."

"It hasn't," replied the doctor. "I'm talking of deaths from malaria. But that isn't news, is it?"

Friday, May 8, 2009


A cruise to Cuba from Miami or Fort Lauderdale? Perhaps not such an impossible concept anymore!

In recent moves to “reach out to the Cuban people to support their desire to enjoy basic human rights," according to White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, President Obama has lifted limits on family travel and money transfers by Cuban Americans in the United States to Cuba, and is now allowing USA telecommunications companies to start doing business in Cuba.

Many feel that this is just the beginning of the journey to finally removing sanctions imposed after Castro took power in 1959, and opening up travel between Cuba and the USA.

The airlines are certainly excited at the prospect and low-cost charter carriers like Allegiant and AirTran are already talking about a new service to Cuba.

And the excitement is in the air for the cruise industry too. Major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival based in Miami must certainly be dusting off plans for cruises to Cuba.

Less than a hundred miles from the American coast, the addition of Cuba to the Caribbean ports of call would doubtlessly help the cruise lines give a lift to their Caribbean itineraries.

There is no doubt that the Americans are ready for Cuba. Polls suggest that more than 75 % of cruise passengers looking to book a Caribbean cruise would be interested in cruises with Cuba added to the itinerary.

The only question that remains is whether Cuba is ready for the Americans and their mega cruise ships.

Perhaps not right now, but possibly they will be by the time the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter and cruises from the USA to Cuba are finally being planned - or when the cruise lines admit to planning them.

Check Prow's Edge for news on this and other issues affecting the cruise industry.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


For those of us who resent the idea of being dictated to by the cruise lines about what you can or cannot bring on board with you in terms of alcohol, a new product wonderfully named the Rum Runner Cruise Special Kit can be purchased on line.

Ideal for the smugglers in us all, the Rum Runner Cruise Kit contains three of 2oz Travelers and three 8oz easy filling, heavy duty, collapsible flasks and one funnel. The 32oz Travelers are perfect for taking your favorite beverage in your checked luggage and they make having that cocktail while relaxing before dinner effortless. The 8oz pocket flasks are great for those side trips or on deck. The Flasks are made of durable, puncture resistant, odor proof and taste proof clear polyester. Rum Runner Flasks stand up when they are filled and are flat and can be rolled up and put in your pocket when empty. The Flasks have positive seal spouts are freezable and perfect for almost any liquid.

Take a look at the Prow's Edge advice page about bringing alcohol on board cruises at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-advice-alcohol.html

Monday, May 4, 2009


Not many people, including seasoned cruise passengers, know that finding the right agent to book their cruise is as important as deciding which cruise to choose. Not all travel agents are alike - even those specializing in cruises.

One tip in finding the right cruise agent is to find one that specializes in the cruise line you prefer. These agents are often able to get you discounts.

Another tip is to make sure the agent you use are members of some affiliated association that marks them out as knowledgeable. Members of CLIA(Cruise Line International Association) area a good bet.

Or you could use the unique company like Cruise Compete who have established a system whereby you choose the cruise you want and then let several travel agents compete with the best price. You don’t have to reveal yourself or commit to anything until you’re ready and think you have found the best price. No pressure to settle.

You can find more information about CruiseCompete.com and how they work at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-deals.html

Saturday, May 2, 2009


To put your mind at rest, and determined not to have another health problem (like the norovirus) dog the cruise industry, most cruise lines have lept into action with plans to deal with the swine flu problem.

Cruise lines’ plans focus on preparing their vessels to try and prevent any possibility of an outbreak, making sure they are able to detect outbreaks as soon as they occur and being ready to respond to and contain any such outbreak.

In fact, for most regular cruise passengers, there is not much new in these measures, except that they may seem more intensified.

Preparing the vessels includes providing hand sanitizers throughout all ships and conducting enhanced sanitizing of all high-touch areas onboard. Cruise lines have been providing hand sanitizers for some time to combat the norovirus, but now passengers may not be allowed to so easily pass them by with using them.

Educating crew and passengers forms a large part of cruise line’s plans, and these measures include showing educational videos for crew and passengers about infectious illnesses like swine flu and the norovirus.

This, together with swine flu bulletins from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), IS something new for many cruise passengers. The point is not to alarm you, but to prepare you.

Part of prevention measures also include screening embarking guests and crew members who have travelled from Mexico or who have had contact with others who have. On many cruise ships, passengers who are obviously ill will not be allowed to board.

Plans to deal with any outbreaks of swine flu, if necessary, include an adequate supply of anti-viral medications and an onboard medical staff who can isolate and treat guests or crew members who display flu-like symptoms.

Prow's Edge now has a new page with an overview of the swine flu outbreak of 2009 which can be found at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-advice-swine-flu.html and some of the latest press releases by the cruise lines about their cancellations and itinerary alterations can be found in the Prow's Edge news pages.

Friday, May 1, 2009


It seems inevitable that the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico will soon be officially labeled as a pandemic and it’s just a matter of time before the cruise lines announce more changes to their itineraries.

Carnival today has already announced that its cruises will be re-routed to avoid Mexico for a week more than originally planned.

Royal Caribbean International has moved the Mariner of the Seas from Mexico to the USA west coast, and six Princess Cruises ships, currently scheduled for calls in Mexican ports through May, will either visit alternative ports or spend an additional day at sea.

For those of you on a cruise in the area, and worrying about contracting the swine flu, take a look at the Prow’s Edge page on the norovirus - the same common sense rules apply:

Never touch interior handrails or other surfaces others have touched frequently.
Wash your hands at least six times a day for at least 20 seconds each time with warm water and soap.
Avoid anyone who is coughing or sneezing and if you must cough, cover it up!

And if you think you may be infected - inform the authorities at once.

Welcome to the NEW Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Blog where we hope to keep you up to date with things that are funny, interesting and even irrelevant in the world of cruising.

For those of you who haven't climbed aboard Prow's Edge Magazine yet at http://www.prowsedge.com , Prow's Edge is a free cruise magazine and guide to cruises, cruise lines and cruising, with news, reviews, and opinions about cruises, port information, passenger advice, recipes, medical tips, safety at sea and cheap cruises and cruise deals.

Prow's Edge is being relaunched today with a hundreds of extra pages of information and a host of new features, including interactive passenger tips and advice, where cruisers can share their views and opinions on all aspects of a cruise vacation.

No need to sign in or log in - just add your comments in the comment boxes. Chose a topic at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-advice.html or send us an email and suggest a new topic.