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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Heart warming news from the world of cruising

Princess Cruises and Cruise Critic today announced the winning entry for their Real Life Love Story contest.

“Someone e-mailed me today and told me that Princess was hosting a contest for the best romantic on-board love story … ‘Well, that sounds nice,’ I said to myself, and thought about entering the contest … But I don’t think I’m going to.”

Despite what she wrote, Tracey Pettit did enter the Real Life Love Stories contest sponsored by Princess Cruises and Cruise Critic® and her entry, “The Contest,” was voted the most romantic by Cruise Critic members.

In her story, Pettit, from Rocklin, California, tells of meeting her husband while on a Christmas cruise to the Mexican Rivera aboard Regal Princess. “I was standing at the bar in the Bengal Lounge … and I turned to find a tall man with broad shoulders and bedroom eyes… twenty minutes later, as he walked out of the bar, I said to my sister “I’m going to marry that man. … it sounds ridiculous. It sounds like something that only happens in the movies.”

Her entry was one of more than a 100 stories submitted and posted on the Cruise Critic site. The romantic stories chronicled onboard meetings, marriage proposals, weddings at sea and vow renewals. The top five stories were selected by Gavin MacLeod, Princess’ well-known ambassador and member of the line’s “Department of Romance,” and Cruise Critic editor-in-chief Carolyn Spencer Brown. People were then invited to vote for their favorite story from the five finalists. As the winner, Pettit will receive a seven-day Princess cruise to the Caribbean.

“We are absolutely thrilled to win,” said Pettit. “I’m very glad my mother-in-law told me about the contest -- I had so much fun writing the story, and we have a great story to share. We’re coming up on the 10th anniversary of when we met, so it was very serendipitous that the contest came at this time. We feel very blessed to have met on a Princess ship, and we always tell people that we met on the Love Boat.”

Pettit’s story can be found at http://www.princess.com/romance/

And if you're looking for romance at sea yourself, take a look at the Prow's Edge pages of advice including those talking about weddings and romance at sea at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-advice-weddings-at-sea.html

Monday, September 28, 2009


Continuing its tradition of breaking the mold, Royal Caribbean International is teaming up with USA TODAY to launch the “Reporter at Sea” contest in search of a talented citizen journalist to help cover one of the biggest travel stories of the year – the unveiling of Oasis of the Seas, the world’s largest and most innovative cruise ship.

Starting today through October 9, 2009, aspiring journalists are invited to enter to win the coveted job of special field correspondent onboard Oasis of the Seas' preview sailing alongside USA TODAY’S own cruise editor, Gene Sloan.

Once onboard the ship, the lucky winner will receive behind-the-scenes access to file reports that will appear at USA TODAY’s Cruise Log about one of the most buzzed about hospitality and entertainment stories of the year.

In addition to the United States, the “Reporter at Sea” contest is searching for journalists in Canada, Germany, Mexico, and the United Kingdom with one winner from each country.

Eager reporters-to-be can audition for the assignment of a lifetime by submitting a creative video no longer than 45 seconds at reporteratsea.usatoday.com. The video should showcase his/her best reporting skills and tout why Royal Caribbean should select him/her to serve as a citizen journalist onboard Oasis of the Seas. Videos will be judged based on creativity and quality, as well as the entrant’s ability to entertain, effectively bring to life and clearly explain travel or cruising concepts, and articulate why he/she should be chosen to represent their country.

Once the entry period ends, judges will select 10 finalists per country, and voters will choose their favorite video between October 20 and October 25. One winner from each country will be simultaneously announced on November 4 and will be flown with a guest to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to cover the first pre-inaugural cruise onboard Oasis of the Seas from November 19 to November 22.

For more information on the “Reporter at Sea” contest, how to enter, the official rules, details on the prize and voting , please visit http://www.reporteratsea.usatoday.com.


The five finalists in Carnival Cruise Lines’ Virtual Book of Dreams Contest were unveiled this morning at www.carnivalbookofdreams.com and public voting is now underway to determine a Grand Prize Winner.

As we reported in Prow's Edge, the contest invited children between the ages of 7 and 12 to share their awesome dreams in a short essay and accompanying hand-drawn illustration for a chance to become the world’s first-ever cruise ship waterslide Godchild. The winner and family will travel to New York City to christen the spectacular Carnival WaterWorks aqua park on the new Carnival Dream in November and also receive a free cruise.

Voting to determine the Grand Prize Winner will run through Oct. 4, 2009 and the winner will be announced on Oct. 12, 2009.

The five finalists include four chosen by a panel of judges and one chosen via public voting. The finalists are: “Dream Viewing Invention” submitted by Alice, age 10, Pleasant Hill, CA; “Going to the Moon for Vacation” submitted by Amanda, age 10, from Bridgeport, PA; “My Famous Pancake” submitted by Alyssa, age 9, from Napa, CA; “Sending My Dreams to Iraq” submitted by Emily, age 8, from Holly Springs, NC; and “Wake Me When We Leave” submitted by Hailee, age 9, from Egg Harbor Township, NJ.

Voting is open to the public and currently underway at www.carnivalbookofdreams.com.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


It might seem a little early to start thinking about Christmas, but not if you're thinking of taking a cruise.

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has produced a mini brochure of its pre-Christmas cruises, including Christmas markets, winter sunshine and mini cruises.

For bookings on longer cruises, to the Canary Islands and Caribbean, there is a free luxury Christmas hamper worth £100 per booking, and a £50 hamper on bookings for Christmas markets cruises.

The cruises include Boudicca’s BD0929 to the Canaries, 12 nights departing from Portsmouth on 6th December with prices from £736 per person – this cruise also features The ArtsClub subject of Music (no additional cost). Braemar's BM0926 Caribbean fly-cruise of 12 nights, departing 10th December, is priced from £1,099 per person. This cruise has flights from Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle and Newquay and joins the ship in Barbados. Also available is Flagship Golf at an additional cost of £400 per player.

The Christmas markets cruises include Balmoral’s BL0922 cruise of seven nights, departing Dover on 12th December, and visiting Copenhagen, Hamburg, and Amsterdam. Prices for this cruise start from just £429 per person.

The brochure also features two mini cruises, ideal tasters for those new to cruising.

For more details visit www.fredolsencruises.co.uk To book, call Reservations on 01473 742424 or see an ABTA travel agent. You can also book online.

For more information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines visit the Prow's Edge profile on Fred. Olsen at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-fred-olsen-cruises.html

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Hapag-Lloyd Cruises' MS EUROPA celebrated her 10th birthday last night with a grand harbor cruise in Hamburg after returning from a 14-day shipyard stay. During the shipyard stay all of her 204 luxury suites received fresh new fabrics and colors, and the Penthouses Deluxe Suite (measuring 484 sq. ft.) and the Penthouse Grand Suite (measuring 915 sq. ft.) were fully renovated. The extraordinary birthday celebration on the EUROPA, on September 21st sailed along the banks of the River Elbe from Blankenese all the way to the bridge Koehlbrandbruecke in the Port of Hamburg. The festivities included an eight hour tour of the harbor, a gourmet sampling onboard from six of Hamburg’s best chefs, culinary masterpieces prepared by EUROPA’s top chefs, a 30 liter champagne bottle for toasting, and a grand finale fireworks display for guests onboard and onlookers ashore.

For a profile of Hapag-LLoyd Cruises please visit http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-hapag-lloyd-cruises.html at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine

Even if you're already doing that with your handy video cam and latest equipment, there's always room for improvement, right? To help you out, Crystal Cruises is partnering with the Travel Channel Academy to teach its guests how to produce, direct and edit professional travel films.

Taught by Travel Channel producers and directors, the comprehensive curriculum mirrors the Academy’s respected land-based program, embellished with camera equipment and editing software available exclusively to Crystal guests. The Academy is the only travel-focused digital filmmaking workshop on the planet. As the only cruise line to offer a version of the program at sea, Crystal is encouraging travelers to combine their passion for travel and film to become video travel journalists. Crystal’s onboard Creative Learning Institute is introducing the workshops on the February 9, 21-day Cape Town-to-Mumbai “Safaris and Saris” segment of the ultra-luxury line’s World Cruise.

“Storytelling is one of the great joys of travel,” says Thomas Mazloum, Crystal’s senior vice president of hotel operations. “This Crystal Cruises filmmaking experience is the kind of sophisticated enrichment our guests appreciate, enabling them to professionally document, relive and share the intangible adventures that inspire them to travel.”

Via personalized and group instruction from nine Travel Channel professionals, guests will learn both the basic processes and finer nuances of developing travel documentaries, using their own adventures and stories as subject matter, during two distinct, comprehensive classes in travel filmmaking. The “Master Class” is a three-week intensive session during which participants will shoot, edit and produce two individual one-minute films, plus a three-minute group effort. The weeklong option, “How to Make Great Travel Videos,” teaches the same skills in producing professional short travel videos, and help guests develop their own one-minute project.

Each person will have the opportunity to play the role of director, cameraperson, writer and editor, with the best videos selected at an awards ceremony during the cruise and shown on the Travel Channel Academy in-stateroom TV network. Guests can also submit their completed works to the Travel Channel and possibly showcase them on one of the network’s many outlets. Master Class students will also learn how to market their documentaries.

No experience or technical knowledge is necessary to enroll in the program. Included in the $1,995 cost for the three-week course is hands-on training with Travel Channel Academy experts; and all equipment, including cameras, Apple computers, and Final Cut Pro video editing software, all of which runs several hundred dollars extra for the land-based course. Guests can opt for the shorter class for $495. Pre-registration is encouraged, as space is extremely limited.

In addition to Cape Town and Mumbai, the voyage visits Durban and Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Zanzibar, Tanzania; Mahé/Victoria, Seychelles; Malé, Republic of Maldives; and Cochin and Marmagao, India. With two-for-one fares, the 21-day cruise starts at $13,190 per person, double occupancy, and offers a $500 per person ‘All Inclusive – As You Wish’ spending credit. Free air is included if the voyage is combined with another World Cruise segment.

For more information visit www.crystalcruises.com

Monday, September 21, 2009


Here's your chance to find out. On a cruise.

Joining guests and the specialist Expedition Team onboard Orion for the Mawson’s Antarctic voyage departing Bluff, New Zealand, 27th December 2009 will be renowned scientist and media presenter Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. While onboard, Dr Karl will share his wealth of knowledge with guests through a series of fabulously entertaining and witty talks presented in his inimitable style.

His enthusiasm for science is totally infectious and no one is better able to convey the excitement and wonder of it all than Dr Karl Kruszelnicki.

On this 18 night voyage Orion will cross the Antarctic Circle before heading for Cape Denison and a memorable visit to Douglas Mawson's historic huts, built for his 1911-1914 'Australian Antarctic Expedition'.

Prices range from $18,395.

Ranked #2 expedition cruise ship in the world in the current Berlitz Cruise Guide, Orion is the world's latest purpose-built luxury expedition cruise ship. With 75 crew and a maximum of just 100 passengers for Antarctic voyages Orion offers the highest staff to guest ratio and guest to public space ratio of any ship based in Australian waters.

Find out more about Orion Expedition Cruises at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-orion-expedition-cruises.html and at www.orionexpeditions.com

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


News for those looking for something a little different – Cruceros Australis, an expedition cruise line offering three, four and seven-day cruises in the southernmost regions of Chile and Argentina, has become the 14th member line of the Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance.

The line currently operates two vessels, the 64-cabin Mare Australis (built in 2002) and the 64-cabin Via Australis (built in 2005). A third vessel, the 100-cabin Stella Australis, is currently under construction and will join the fleet for the line's 20th anniversary in 2010-11. Cruises are scheduled from September through April.

The ships offer three-day cruises from Ushuaia, Argentina, to Punta Arenas, Chile, and four-day cruises from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia. The two sailings are combinable for a seven-day cruise experience. The expedition voyages, which have been featured on the National Geographic Channel, sail through the Beagle Channel, the Strait of Magellan, Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Among the zodiac expeditions are a call at Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America, and visits to glaciers and a colony of Magellenic penguins. The Mare Australis and Via Australis Expedition Group give lectures on the wildlife, history and geography of this legendary region both onboard and on land.

The Niche Cruise Marketing Alliance is a consortium of specialty cruise lines. Other NCMA member cruise lines include American Canadian Caribbean Line, American Cruise Lines, Cruise West, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, Galapagos Explorer II, Hurtigruten, Imperial River Cruises, Louis Cruise Lines, Orion Expedition Cruises,Peter Deilmann Cruises, Star Clippers, Variety Cruises and Voyages of Discovery.

For more information about Cruceros Australis visit the Prow's Edge profile on the cruise line at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-cruceros-australis.html or visit the Cruceros Australis web site at http://www.australis.com/english/portada/index.aspx

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


The new Mariner Society Rewards Program provides past guests with exciting new benefits from generous onboard discounts while sailing and special rates on select cruises to reduced or free third and fourth rates when booking future cruises. Benefits are tiered and vary based on a guest’s cruise history.

The Mariner Society Rewards Program offers a four-level progressive membership with a wide range of cruise and on-board savings and extra values. All guests who sail with Holland America Line are automatically welcomed into the Mariner Society where they receive special offers on upcoming cruises as well as advance information about new ships and the latest product enhancements.

Based on past cruises recorded as cruise days, members now enjoy Star memberships with four different levels offering an ever-widening range of cruise options and enhancements. Guests automatically collect additional “cruise days” or cruise day credits based on their onboard spending or through the purchase of one of the premium line’s suite options.

Star Mariner
Guests who complete their initial cruise with Holland America Line are automatically enrolled in the Mariner Society’s first level, earning cruise days towards future cruises and an exclusive collectable gift. Among the features of Star Mariner status: special offers on select sailings, 50 percent discount for third and fourth guests on select sailings, hosted sailings with Holland America Line Ambassadors, a relaxing Welcome Back Embarkation Brunch on future cruises, a subscription to the Mariner Magazine and a Mariner Champagne Brunch on future cruises.

Two-Star Mariner
After 30 cruise day credits earned, Two-Star guests receive all the amenities of a Star Mariner plus shopping discounts, featuring 15 percent off merchandise purchased from ShopHollandAmerica.com and 10 percent off logo apparel items onboard in the gift shops. Two-Star Mariners also will receive a complimentary ship photo and be sent an exclusive annual cruise planner and special recognition pin.

Three –Star Mariner
With 75 cruise days earned, Three-Star guests automatically are given all Two-Star amenities plus generous new discounts including 10 percent off on select spa treatments; a 25 percent discount on all wine packages, mini-bar purchases, Explorations Café drinks and alternative restaurant surcharges; special advanced notice of new itineraries; and a waiver of air deviation fees.

Four-Star Mariner
At the top of the tiers, with 200 cruise days earned, Four-Star guests enjoy the benefits of all Star levels below and the bonus of free fare for third and fourth guests on select sailings; complimentary wine tasting and laundry/pressing; a 50 percent discount on all wine packages, mini-bar purchases, Explorations Café drinks and alternative restaurant surcharges; a 15 percent discount on logo apparel items onboard in the gift shops; priority tender service and check-in; priority shore excursion pre-booking; and a free subscription to Food and Wine magazine or Travel and Leisure magazine.

The new Mariner Society Rewards Program will roll out to the entire fleet by October 18, 2009. For more information, consult a travel agent, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.

For news about other rewards programs offered by other cruise lines, visit www.prowsedge.com/cruises-advice-reward-programs.html or visit our forum pages at www.prowsedge.com/phpBB3/viewforum.php?f=53&sid=ac06f8a560971d0b824878877131f8e2 where visitors share their own opinions about cruise line reward programs.

Monday, September 14, 2009


We’ve all heard about Trans Atlantic cruises - but how about a Trans Europe cruise!

Sounds odd to cruise across a land mass?

Well, it IS possible – with European Waterways who are offering a very special voyage aboard luxury hotel barge 'Anjodi' on a unique 1,000 mile, 6 week adventure along the canals and rivers of central Europe, from Avignon in Provence all the way to Amsterdam in Holland.

Anjodi is the hotel barge that achieved “film star” status following her many appearances during the hugely popular BBC TV series 'Rick Stein’s French Odyssey', when she carried celebrity chef Rick Stein and a full film crew, on a 400-mile voyage of culinary discovery through South West France.

This unique 6 week cruise takes in famous cities such as Lyon, Paris and Cologne, the local highlights and culture along famous rivers such as the Rhone, Seine and Rhine, and enchanting smaller waterways such as the Canal de Bourgogne. This extraordinary adventure will be a mixture of days spent cruising, sight seeing and city stays whilst discovering the regional cuisine and wines of Provence, Beaujolais, Burgundy, Champagne, Alsace and the Moselle and Rhine valleys.

The voyage also follows the advance of the American, British and allied forces liberating the French, Belgium and Dutch populations in World War II. It passes through regions held by the French resistance, areas liberated by Allied Forces and near towns like Arnhem fought over by the airborne forces in operation Market Garden. It is an incredible, unfolding journey for those interested in the historical importance of the period following the D-day landings of June 1944.

This amazing Trans Europe cruise is available at a price per person of US$25,000 based on a minimum of 6 passengers, or as a whole barge charter for US$185,000. Rates include all meals, wines, open bar, excursions, admittance fees and transfers.

Click here to see the whole 6 Week Trans Europe Itinerary.

For more information on European Waterways, visit the brand new profile of the cruise line at www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines-european-waterways.html

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Peopled by the Iban, headhunters till the 1950s, there is much to see and do along the remote Rajang River, much of it inaccessible until Pandaw River Cruises came along.

Now taking Prowsedge readers (at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-borneo-pandaw.html) on this fascinating river journey is Stu Lloyd, one of the first passengers aboard the good ship RV Pandaw Orient cruising the Rajang River in the footsteps of Redmond O'Hanlon's journey “Into the heart of Borneo”. (Mr. O'Hanlon, of course, is known for his journeys into some of the most desolate and remote jungles of the world.)

It’s a fabulous trip rich in local Iban headhunter culture and their traditional longhouses, the daunting life-taking Pelagus Rapids, and close shaves with local vessels who know nothing of port-to-port. It is recounted in Stu Lloyd’s inimitable style.

The author of six books – selling in 27 countries – Stu’s travel writings appear in a range of international newspapers and magazines.

His website tells you he “collects tropical art, musical instruments, dabbles in painting exotica, and enjoys stamp collecting [pause for gasps of astonishment]. Biggest claim to fame? “I won 7th place in the Australian Potato Carrying Championships in 2001. Carried a 50kg bag of spuds one lap around a racetrack – the $10 prize money didn't quite cover the cost of the resulting knee reconstruction operation”.

He has lived in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore, and currently calls Chiang Mai, Thailand, home.

For more on wordsmith Stu Lloyd, “The Perfect Storyteller” as The Weekly Telegraph characterize him or on his “crazy” world as he labels his own lifestyle, go to www.stulloyd.com .

More fascinating features around the world by many talented writers can be found at www.prowsedge.com/cruises-reviews.html

Friday, September 4, 2009


For the 53 million Americas with limited disability, oxygen requirements or other form of disability, who want to travel, Special Needs at Sea, (www.specialneedsatsea.com) can help make any trip easier and more hassle-free.

Now in its third year, Special Needs at Sea delivers a full range of special needs equipment and services to hotels, resorts and cruise ships around the world, so that it’s waiting and ready to go when you are.

Special Needs at Sea has delivery and pick-up capability within most of the world’s travel destinations and can even accommodate “one-way” travel. According to company spokespersons, the most frequently requested items are motorized scooters, power chairs, oxygen equipment—including battery-powered concentrators—however, the company also provides audio aides, patient lifts, relief materials for companion dogs and hospital beds and cribs.

Andrew Garnett, company founder and president points out that even with the large number of persons with disabilities, the majority of equipments requests are from travelers without disabilities; persons who may not use scooters or wheelchairs at home, but who are concerned about walking long distances on tours, shore excursions or onboard today’s new, larger cruise vessels.

“My goal is to ensure that no one misses an opportunity to see the world or go on a family vacation because of a permanent or temporary physical impairment,” says Garnett. He established Special Needs at Sea after witnessing the challenges encountered by his own family and friends when they attempted to travel with physical disabilities.

“While today’s resorts, hotels and cruise ships are very accommodating for individuals with disabilities, providing special rooms or staterooms, wider hallways and other special needs access, travelers can’t always take oxygen or powerchairs aboard an airplane, and it can be a hassle to transport the needed equipment. We bridge the gap with customized on-site delivery and pick-up.”

Special Needs at Sea, A Special Needs Group Inc. company, also develops tours for persons with disabilities and works closely with travel professionals, including travel agents, tour operators and cruise lines, to facilitate persons with special needs. In most instances, your travel agent can handle the arrangements with Special Needs at Sea for you.

For more details about Special Needs at Sea or to request a brochure, call Special Needs at Sea toll free 1.800.513.4515, email info@specialneedsgroup.com or log onto www.specialneedsatsea.com.