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.

Monday, June 29, 2009


One blogger and a friend will participate for free in a USD$20,000 Antarctic Cruise.

Quark Expeditions, the world leader in polar adventures, has launched a competition that will entitle one fearless adventurer and a companion to travel to Antarctica at no cost. To enter, a competitor must post one entry of no more than 300 words that captures the imagination of blog readers around the world.

The competition is open to anyone 21 years of age or over as of June 19, 2009. According to Quark Expeditions’ Vice President of Marketing, Francesco Contini, “Voters will be looking for entries that demonstrate creativity and clearly explain why the competitor should become the Quark Blogger.” Contini continued, “The entrant must be capable of communicating the excitement of an Antarctic adventure.”

The USD$20,000 expedition includes return airfare for two from the successful competitor’s closest international gateway; 1 night of hotel accommodation in Ushuaia, Argentina with breakfast; a Main Deck Twin Cabin aboard Lyubov Orlova for 11 nights, including all shipboard meals; and all excursions in the Antarctic Peninsula as described in the daily program.

In an unusual move designed to keep the competition interesting over time, voters will be allowed to change their vote throughout the competition. Only one vote is permitted at one time, but once the voter is registered, he or she may change the vote for any reason.

To enter or vote visit www.blogyourwaytoantarctica.com. Competition closes September 30, 2009 at noon eastern daylight time.

Friday, June 26, 2009


At last we have an answer to the mystery about Mediterranean Classic Cruises that we have been trying to solve for the past week.

We sent out calls for information about the cruise line that seemed to have no activity on its web site.

Today comes the answer from Al Metzger of Mediterranean Classic Cruises in New York.

He says: "Due to the unexpected non-availability of the vessel: m/v VISION STAR, Mediterranean Classic Cruises has entered into a co-operative agreement with easyCruise offering both 3 day and 4 day cruises on board its vessel: easyCruise Life from May through October 2009."

Mystery solved - well sort of!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

“The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009”

As cruise passengers we all should be aware of “The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009” and the astonishing role Ken Carver and the International Cruise Victims Association has played in bringing the new bill this far. It is without a doubt, the most important advance in securing the safety of us all on cruise ships today.

We have all seen the headlines of "foul play" at sea, missing passengers and rape and sexual assault. And we've all seen snippets of accusations that the cruise lines were not taking responsibility for investigating these crimes at sea.

What we haven't seen is the behind the scenes efforts of people like the members of the International Cruise Victims Association, set up to support victims and families of victims, advocating for legislative reform.

It is only because of them that the “The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009” actually exists, and it is only because of them that cruising may just become a little safer for us all.

For more details of the “The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2009”, take a look at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-vessel-security-and-safety-act-2009.html or go directly to the International Cruise Victims Association for news about the issue of safety at sea.

The crew here aboard Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine is just wondering if there shouldn't be some kind of control over web sites that advertise products that no longer seem to exist, like cruises with Mediterranean Classic Cruises, or even over articles and news features on other sites that are more than a decade old and of no value to anyone but which consistently come up in the first page of any search.

How many times have you done a search for a cruise topic, and checked the first few results on the search engines, only to discover copyright dates, and posting dates are from more than 6 years ago.

The internet must be drowning in old articles and old web sites.

Time for some house cleaning we think!

The mystery about Mediterranean Classic Cruises continues as Prow's Edge gets no reply from contact emails and reservation emails, and there is no luck either from telephone numbers posted on the MCC website which actually don't make sense as they are presented.

We would hate to presume the cruise line has gone belly up - but how else do we explain the mystery. And if the company no longer exists ... why is the web site still live and running?

Did someone forget to sweep the floors before they left the office?

Still hoping someone can shed some light on this.

Forum is open at: http://www.prowsedge.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=52&t=78

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Ever wonder what is on the magnetic key card to your hotel room where you’re overnighting before your cruise?

Here are the answers from the Metropolitan Police Service:

a. Customer's name
b. Customer's partial home address
c. Hotel room number
d. Check-in date and out dates
e. Customer's credit card number and expiration date!

When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner.

An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense.

Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee reissues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new guest's information is electronically 'overwritten' on the card and the previous guest's information is erased in the overwriting process.

But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!

The bottom line is: Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and NEVER turn them into the front desk when you check out of a room.

They will not charge you for the card (it's illegal) and you'll be sure you are not leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with any simple scanning device card reader.

For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport rubbish basket. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip!

If anyone has news of Mediterranean Classic Cruises (once known as Monarch) operating in Greece - we'd really like to hear from you.

There has been a query about the cruise line at our new forum at http://www.prowsedge.com/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=52 but we can find no conclusive information ourselves to try and answer the member post.

Launched in 2006, Mediterranean Classic Cruises has a very nice website with a copyright date of 2007 but there are some things that are odd about the site - most particularly - a reluctance to name their ships. There is also no response from their contact us pages or their reservation e-mail.

We can find no conclusive information about them on the internet

Perhaps there is no mystery at all! But if anyone does have news of this cruise line, we would happy to hear from you at info@prowsedge.com, or better still, join our forum at http://www.prowsedge.com/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=52 and interact with our members.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


In these tough economic times it ‘s good to hear of something apart from layoffs and wage reductions and unemployment. Oprah Winfrey is reportedly treating her staff of over 100 (and their families) to an all-espenses-paid cruise in the Mediterranean.

At approximately $5,000 per person, the cruise will visit ports in Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and Malta.

Four years ago, the TV diva splashed out on a similar “thank you” when she footed the bill for an all-expenses cruise to Hawaii.

Though it is generally believed that this current vacation bonus has cost the Oprah Winfrey almost a million dollars, there is some confusion as to the exact details of the itinerary.

Sources don’t seem to know which cruise line is involved, but contactmusic.com reports that this particular Mediterranean cruise starts in Chicago, Illinois ?????

If you know more than we do, please feel free to keep us up to date in our comment boxes here, or e-mail us at info@prowsedge.com

Monday, June 22, 2009


Single travelers have always had to pay over the odds for the luxury of traveling on their own , and the days of specially created single cabins, and single hotel rooms are long gone. And these prohibitive costs have driven passengers to web sites that match traveling partners to bunk up together. Some cruise lines even match their guests so so you don't have to do it.

However - for those that still want to travel "single", good news comes from Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. They are offering ‘No Single Supplements’ on selected Uniworld Boutique River Cruise itineraries for a number of 2009 departure dates, which means savings of up to an extraordinary £2,300.

Remember to book before the 31st July 2009, so you don’t lose out on this fantastic limited period offer.

For more details take a look at the news page at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-220609-uniworld.html

Friday, June 19, 2009


It's the little things that annoy you after a while, like the couple who is always pushing to the head of the buffet line up, the guy snoring his head off at the end of the line of deck chairs, or the woman with the annoying laugh like a braying donkey who always seems to be at the table just behind yours.

These things shouldn't annoy you really - you're on vacation, after all - but after a while....

Well, join the Prow's Edge Cruise Forum and LET OFF STEAM - just as "seagull" has in his topic called "What Really Gets My Goat ... Movie Makers!"

Vent, go on, why don't you!

After the engine fire that occurred earlier yesterday, Princess Cruises has brought the Royal Princess back into Port Said, Egypt .

An assessment of the ship's condition will now include inspections by various technical experts and regulatory authorities . A full assessment is to be expected by Saturday.

"During this time," says Princess Cruises, "Our ship's crew, local representatives ashore and the Princess Care Team, who are currently en route to the ship, will be doing their best to make passengers comfortable." Tours are being made available for passengers.

"Once the assessment is complete we will have an understanding of how the remainder of the cruise, or any future sailing, will be affected, and also what compensation we will be offering to passengers. We understand this is a disappointing development, and we apologize for the disruption to our passengers' cruise. We will be keeping our passengers fully informed throughout this process and we deeply appreciate their patience and understanding."

Thursday, June 18, 2009


At approximately 8:10 pm local time, an engine room fire broke out aboard Royal Princess, as the ship was departing Port Said, Egypt.

The fire is now extinguished, and the ship is currently anchored approximately five miles off the coast of Port Said.

All passengers and crew have been accounted for, and passengers remain at their emergency stations as a precautionary measure until further notice. The ship is operating on emergency power and lighting.

Assessments of any damage will be made over the next several hours, at which time we will be able to provide further information about how the remainder of the cruise may be impacted.

We will continue to provide updates on a regular basis.

Royal Princess is carrying 733 passengers and 393 crew. The ship is on the fifth day of a 12-day Holy Land sailing between Civitavecchia and Athens.

Phone numbers have been established for inquiries from family of passengers and crew (only please) currently onboard Royal Princess:
For inquiries about family: 800-693-7222
For inquiries about crew members: 661-753-2804


Easing it's way out of dry dock this past month, and attracting a handful of new members who have had fun trying her out, the new Prow's Edge Message Boards and Cruise Forum at http://www.prowsedge.com/phpBB3/index.php is now officially sailing the high seas.

"This much anticipated addition to the redesigned and hugely expanded cruise magazine web site has already been welcomed with enthusiasm by many of the Prow's Edge regulars," said Kevin Retief, Publisher.

Take a look at the forum today and check out the heated debates on everything from environmental issues and safety at sea, to what to dress for dinner, and whether you should really pack duct tape or not!

Register as a member (it only takes a moment and no one needs to see your birth certificate or photo ID) and log in to join in the fun!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Royal Caribbean invites you - wherever you are - to join them online for an exclusive Oasis of the Seas Culinary Showcase. This online chat, hosted by president and CEO Adam Goldstein and Kenneth Taylor, Director, Fleet Restaurant Operations will have answers to all of your questions regarding the myriad dining options that guests will enjoy on Oasis of the Seas. Be among the first to learn about the extensive variety of dining offerings onboard including menus, specialty restaurant prices as well as one surprise announcement.

Visit www.oasisoftheseas.com/dining/ for more information and to register.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Digging deeper into the survey carried out by Burst Media, a leading provider of advertising representation, services and technology to independent Web Publishers, nearly all (80.3%) summer travelers indicated they will use the Internet to help plan their vacations.

More startling than that - the survey also revealed the significant connection between affluence and Internet usage for travel planning. Among income segments, respondents reporting household income (HHI) of $100,000 or more were most likely (88.2%) to use the Internet to help plan their summer travel.

"Consumers are actively using the Internet as an information resource and a place to make travel purchases," said Chuck Moran, VP of Marketing for Burst Media. "Online advertisers can benefit greatly from leveraging the web's ability to target specific travel audiences – such as families, and the affluent - with content that is highly meaningful and engaging to the viewer."

When asked to select what features/content of a travel website make them return to it, respondents cited destination information (46.3%) and the ability to check flight, hotel and car rental rates/availability (45.2%) as the most popular options.

The recession has not hit travel planning this summer as hard as expected - or at least, travelers are still taking summer vacations in spite of the recession.

A survey administered by Burst Media last month to nearly 2,000 adults 18 years and older revealed that three-quarters (76.3%) of respondents will take a personal trip or vacation this summer that will entail travel at least 100 miles from home.

Among this "summer travel" segment, 40.8% say the number of trips they plan to take is "the same" as the number they took last year; 24.4% say they will be traveling more frequently, and one-third (34.6%) of summer travelers will travel less frequently.

Having a healthy cruise is in the fore front of most cruise passengers’ thoughts these days. And there is plenty out there to be wary of, from the swine flu and norovirus to bad food hygiene and food poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offer some sage advice on the topic.

1: If you fall sick before the voyage, rather than taking your cruise and possibly infecting everyone else, contact the cruise line and ask about your options such as as alternate cruise dates, credits etc.

We have all learned not to go to work when we’re ill - the same applies to going on vacation.

2: While on the cruise, wash your hands frequently and especially after using the toilet and before eating or smoking.

3: Visiting ports, be aware of general food service cleanliness and avoid eating or drinking anything that looks risky.

This is particularly true for street vendors in tropical climates. Their offerings may look tempting and exotic, but there’s nothing exotic about being ill.

4: If you fall sick during the voyage, visit the ship’s medical facility and follow the recommendations.

For more information on healthy cruising and how the cruise lines stack up in the sanitary scores, check out the latest inspection scores for the cruise lines at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-vessel-sanitation-program.html

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Got a cruise in the Pacific Northwest? And a birthday coming up? Well - you might in be in for a treat! Black Ball Ferry Line has a present for you – travel for free with the MV Coho on its scenic, 90-minute journey between Victoria, BC and Port Angeles, Washington.

The ferry company is celebrating 50 years of service this year with a number of special offers and packages.

Beginning June 17 and running through December 31, 2009, anyone celebrating their birthday on the day of travel will receive free passenger fare on the MV Coho. Identification proving date of birth (such as passport, birth certificate or enhanced drivers licence) is required. The offer covers passenger fare only and does not include a vehicle or other passengers.

“Everyone deserves to celebrate on their birthday and this is our way of saying thank you to the people of British Columbia and Washington State for supporting us over the past 50 years,” said Ryan Burles, CEO of Black Ball Ferry Line. “This is just one of the many ways we are giving the public a chance to celebrate with us in 2009.”

The birthday promotion is in addition to Black Ball Ferry Line’s online contest offering a chance to win a free Vancouver Island or Olympic Peninsula getaway every month during 2009. Each prize package includes round-trip transportation on the MV Coho, overnight accommodation and free passes to local attractions and activities.

The MV Coho offers year round passenger and vehicle service between Victoria’s Inner Harbour and Port Angeles, gateway to the Olympic National Park and Washington State

It might just be the perfect way to start (or cap off) your cruise vacation, whether you depart from Seattle, Vancouver or Victoria.

For more about Black Ball Ferry Line’s 50th anniversary promotions, special offers and complete trip planning information, visit CohoFerry.com.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Just 6 days ago we reported that John Cleese will be highlighting an array of celebrity speakers aboard the Silver Spirit's inaugural cruise in 2010. Now, Silversea Cruises has announced an impressive lineup of guest speakers fleet wide including Christopher Cazenove, British stage, film and television actor; Terry Hughes, former head of BBC TV Variety; Alastair Bruce, the Royal and National Events Commentator for Britain's Sky News; Michael Buerk, BBC news correspondent and anchor; Ambassador Richard Gardner, former U.S. ambassador to Italy and Spain; Dr. John G. Stackhouse, Jr., award-winning historian, theologian, philosopher and journalist; Bill Toone, conservation biologist and executive director of the Ecolife Foundation; Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C.; Richard Cowley, former director-general of the Anglo-Uruguayan Cultural Institute; and John Harrison, a British explorer and author.

For exact sailing dates and cruise ships visit http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-100609-silversea-cruises-star-lineup.html

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Is “etiquette” an outdated notion that belongs to a bygone era? Is it just about gentlemen standing up when a lady approaches the table or how to correctly introduce old friends to new acquaintances?

Not for a second!

Etiquette is about behaving well - about treating each other with respect. It’s what helps us all get along together on a cruise ship.

Without it?


We’ve all seen it. Non smokers hurling abuse at the poor fellow lighting up a cigarette at the end of the deck, the 300 lb matron helping herself to the last three slices of cheesecake at the midnight buffet, fisticuffs over the deck chairs ...

CRUISE ETIQUETTE AND HOW TO BEHAVE AT SEA at Prow’s Edge gives a few tips on the correct way to behave on a cruise ship. Share your own horror stories - add your own comments ...

Monday, June 8, 2009


The "You Deserve a Cruise" promotion just announced by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and its member lines showcases a number of incredible deals. Take a look at the details here at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-080609-Cruise-Lines-International-Association-CLIA.html

Maybe not the healthiest promotion on offer in the cruise industry (I mean, who needs more sugar, right?) but the new promotion from Norwegian Cruise Line is bound to please.

"Pop” addicts booking a cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line before October 15 this year, for sailings through 2010, is that NCL and Pepsi are offering up to two complimentary soda packages per stateroom on any seven-night sailing or longer.

The package includes a Norwegian and Pepsi brand souvenir cup and unlimited access to complimentary soda refills (including Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Mountain Dew or Sierra Mist) at any bar, lounge or restaurant on the ship.

Not bad for anyone who wants to satisfy their soda pop cravings! And all week long too.

Passengers can request the Pepsi Summer Cup promotion at the time of booking by referencing promotion code PGPOP.

Just when we thought the threat of various diseases on board ship was back under control, news comes from the ski resort of Whistler in British Columbia, Canada, that over 41 Australian tourists have been quarantined with the norovirus - all before they expect to be cleared by Tuesday (tomorrow) so that they can board their 2,000 passenger cruise ship in Vancouver bound for Alaska.

Dr. Paul Martiquet, public health officer with Vancouver Coastal Health in Whistler seems confident that no threat is posed to the cruise passengers and that the outbreak will be contained by the time the Australians board the cruise ship in a little over two days time.

Despite that, there may be a few passengers a little wary about shaking hands with any one on that cruise with an Australian accent.

As the advice section at Prow’s Edge (http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-advice-norovirus.html) tells us, the key in avoiding infection is to wash your hands frequently. The recommendation is to wash the hands with soap with warm water for AT LEAST 20 seconds, or as one captain with Holland America Line suggested, for two choruses of “Happy Birthday”. This helps to kill the virus should you come into contact with it.

Other obvious precautions include not shaking hands with strangers, (most Captain Welcome Aboard parties no longer involve shaking hands with the master of the vessel) and avoiding touching foreign surfaces, like hand rails, elevator buttons, door plates, table surfaces at buffets.

Also important is remembering to keep hands and fingers away from the face - no rubbing the eyes etc, as the main routes of entry for the virus are the mouth, eyes and nose.

We wish the Australians a speedy recovery. Nothing worse than coming all this way and then falling ill!

G’day Mate!

Friday, June 5, 2009


Travolution, the UK's leading multi-media brand for the online travel industry, will be hosting its third annual awards at The Dorchester hotel on Tuesday 29 September 2009.

The Awards celebrate the achievements of the industry and recognise innovation and outstanding strategy. They are judged by an independent panel of experts drawn from the industry.

Winners will be announced in 21 categories split into 8 key areas, including: Marketing Awards; Blog Awards; Travel Portal Awards; Technology Awards; Agent and Operator Awards; Supplier Awards; Ones to Watch Awards and a Travel Pioneer Award.

The short list for best cruise web sites includes:


Despite more than 21,000 cases of swine flu world wide, cruise lines are in hurry to have done with the swine flu scare. Cruise lines that switched itineraries to steer clear of Mexico are revisiting their plans.

Carnival has already resumed its Mexican port calls. Its 46,000-ton Holiday was back in Cozumel this past weekend with its 1,700 passengers as part of a four-day sailing from Mobile, Atlanta. Next to resume their Mexico calls are Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Fantasy which leave Galveston and New Orleans on June 13.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) is not quite so mellow. Its swine flu alert level remains at Phase 5, which means there is human-to-human spread of the virus in at least two countries in the same region.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Ultra luxury cruise line Silversea Cruises has just announced that John Cleese will be highlighting an array of celebrity speakers aboard the Silver Spirit's inaugural cruise in 2010.

Renowned for his TV roles in Monty Python's Flying Circus and Fawlty Towers, the actor, writer and comedic legend will share insights and anecdotes from his long career and entertain guests on the Buenos Aires to Santiago segment of the 91-day Grand Inaugural Voyage, visiting South America, the Mexican Riviera and crossing the Panama Canal before reaching her ultimate destination, New York City.

Luxury, class, elegance and a good laugh thrown in for good measure.

Visit http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-040609-silversea-cruises-john-cleese.html for more information.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Just in case you thought you had heard it all - here’s a real humdinger of a rumor that is circulating the airline industry, which may just be of interest if you need to get to Grenada or Barbados from New York.

Apparently Air Jamaica wants to introduce a new luggage system in which the first bag is free but the second will cost $25. Small problem though - the second bag (the one you are charged for) will not travel on the same plane as you. And in fact, there is no guarantee that the second bag will arrive at your destination until the following week.

As they say in Jamaica, “no problem, mon”

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Accommodating up to 200 passengers, the new Carnival Dream’s two-level, adult only, Serenity area is set to please the adults when Carnival Cruise Lines' largest ship debuts in September.

The largest adults-only retreat in the line's fleet, the Serenity area will feature a choice of seating, from shaded loungers to hammocks, full bar and two whirl pools.

Carnival Dream will begin service with a series of 12-day Mediterranean cruises, a transatlantic crossing, two 8-day voyages from New York, a special 9-day cruise from Port Canaveral, before settling in for year-round 7-day Caribbean itineraries on December 12.

For more information, check the Prow’s Edge News pages at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-020609-carnival-cruise-lines.html

Monday, June 1, 2009


Most cruise lines have only partially kicked the smoking habit , refusing to take the boot to smokers.

When Fred. Olsen’s Balmoral returned from its round-the-world on Friday it became the final ship of its fleet of five to ban smoking indoors ... smoking is now permitted only on cabin balconies, and in specially designated areas of deck space.

Most cruise lines have not taken it even this far. While some have taken a stern stand (for instance confining smoking to “fun” places like casinos, discos, and piano bars, or permitting smoking only on the port side aft section) others have taken their lead from their own message boards reflecting the feeling of even non-smokers that cruise lines should live-and-let-live a little.

So, feeling the present credit squeeze, the degrees of the smoking bans are not quite so restrictive, some permitting smoking on the open decks AND in cabins and balconies, in addition to designated public room smoking areas.

Perhaps they recall the fate of Renaissance Cruises. That was  once a completely non-smoking line .... and it is no longer with us.