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, November 30, 2009

The Pandaw Cruises Charity

With the appointment of a new CEO for Pandaw Cruises comes news that Founder Paul Strachan is stepping aside to focus on the Pandaw Cruises charity projects.

Pandaw Cruises and their passengers have been actively involved in a variety of community, humanitarian and cultural projects since 1995.

Some of the countries highlighted in the the unique Pandaw Cruises itineraries are amongst the poorest in the world and passengers want to give something in return for the wonderful travel experiences these places offer.

There are a number of ongoing projects like a school construction programme in Burma and support for orphanages in Cambodia, and even protection for threatened cultural artefacts.

Pandaw Cruises are also ready to move fast in the event disaster strikes, as their teams did in Burma after the May 2008 Cyclone Nargis hit the Delta area. The Pandaw Floating Clinic continues to operate in this devastated area thanks to the support of old passengers, known as 'Old Pandaw Hands'.

Passengers can donate after visiting these projects on board whilst on a Pandaw cruise or they may donate after returning home.

For more information about these projects visit http://www.pandaw.com/pandaw-charity-c-104.html or to make a donation tothe cyclone appeal, visit https://www.pandaw.com/cyclone_appeal_burma.php/cPath/104_103

Friday, November 27, 2009

New Destination Cruise Line, Voyages to Antiquity Launches With Generous Incentives to Explore the Mediterranean.

The new cruise line Voyages to Antiquity, founded by Gerry Herrod, founder of Ocean Cruise Line and Orient Lines, is set to showcase the cultures and people who created the "cradle of civilizations" of the Mediterranean.

Cruises on the Aegean Odyssey will begin in May 2010.

Offers include:

NO SINGLE SUPPLEMENTS on most sailings, in selected stateroom categories

$1,000 OFF PER STATEROOM (double occupancy) on May 31, June 28, July 26 & August 9 departures from North America

$500 OFF PER STATEROOM (double occupancy) on May 3, May 17, June 14, July 12 & August 23 departures from North America *The No Single Supplement offers do not apply to "Time Fears The Pyramids" itinerary departing on November 12.These Special Launch Offers are strictly capacity controlled, not combinable and may be withdrawn from sale at any time.

For more information about the new cruise line take a look at the Prow's Edge news item at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-271109-voyages-to-antiquity.html or visit the official Voyages to Antiquity web site at www.voyagestoantiquity.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Following on from our news about the Maine Windjammer Association being featured in Patricia Schultz's NYT bestseller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, here is a wonderful video by Eniko 1 at You Tube which gives a great taste of the magic of the oldest fleet of historic vessels offering sailing vacations in America.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Drydock Journal shares Transformation of Tahitian Princess into Ocean Princess

For those of you who enjoy all the behind the scenes details of the cruise lines and their cruise ships, Princess Cruises is again offering an opportunity to follow a vessel through the renovation process.

In the newest installment of the Princess online drydock journal, the current Tahitian Princess will not only undergo a makeover, but also get a new name. The vessel, one of the small ships of Princess, will be transformed into Ocean Princess during the two-week process, giving her a new moniker reflecting her global range of fascinating itineraries.

The fifth in this unprecedented series, the Ocean Princess Drydock Journal will run through December 2 on www.princess.com, and will be updated regularly with photos as the ship progresses through its drydock at Keppel Shipyard in Singapore. Viewers can follow along as the ship’s name is removed and replaced on the bow and throughout the vessel – including on equipment such as the lifeboats. The journal will also chronicle changes as the ship is lifted from the water and receives a new coating of energy-efficient silicone paint, plus the interior refurbishments, with new upholstery, carpet and flooring.

“Response to our drydock journals has been remarkable – passengers love to see what’s done to the ship and how much work is involved in such a short time,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “This latest journal will give cruise fans yet another insiders’ peek behind the scenes, with the added interest in seeing the name change.”

The Ocean Princess Drydock Journal follows the enthusiastically received online journals chronicling work on Golden Princess, Dawn Princess, Sea Princess and Coral Princess. The journal can be found on the Ocean Princess page in the website’s “Ships” section, and it will be updated throughout the ship’s two-week drydock.

After the drydock the newly named Ocean Princess will set sail on a 16-day Treasures of Southeast Asia cruise from Singapore to Shanghai, beginning a season of unique Asia, India and Africa sailings, followed by a summer of European voyages.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Most cruise magazines bring you endless news of fun on cruises with Carnival Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean and all the other major cruise lines. No doubt there is fun to be had on board all these major cruise ships, but there are quite a number of other cruise lines, small and large that offer some unique experiences. At Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine we aim to give you the whole picture.

To that end, three new cruise line profiles have been added to the Prow's Edge web site at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-lines.html and they are, Aqua Expeditions, Avalon Waterways and Oceanwide Expeditions.

Aqua Expeditions, the brainchild of Francesco Galli-Zugaro, is entirely unique to the Peruvian Amazon, offering trips for discriminating, adventurous travelers exploring the more remote and pristine areas in the upper Amazon River and its tributaries.

The award-winning small ship cruise company Avalon Waterways is part of the Globus family of brands and is making waves in river and small ship cruising by offering travelers the newest, most luxurious ships in Europe, China, Egypt and the Galápagos.

And last, but not least, Oceanwide Expeditions is a pioneer and one of the market leaders in the Polar Regions and has – since 1996 - been offering expedition-style cruises to the Arctic and Antarctic regions with chartered ice-strengthened Russian vessels, very suitable to offer exploratory voyages with passengers.

Prow's Edge offers profiles of more than 60 cruise lines, and reviews of more than 40 of those cruise lines in the Cruise Review section at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-reviews.html

It's not often that a vacation idea like cruising is named as of the 1,000 places to see before you die - but that is just the honor awarded to the offerings of the Maine Windjammer Association in Patricia Schultz's NYT bestseller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

On page 640, the introductory heading states: "The Greatest Sailing on the Eastern Seaboard" followed by a nice write-up and photo by Fred LeBlanc.

"Quite a few of our guests," says the Maine Windjammer Assocoiation, "found out about us through this book."

The oldest fleet of historic vessels offering sailing vacations in America was established in 1936 and has been the cornerstone of the industry for over 60 years.

The schooners offer an opportunity to cruise among the spruce-clad islands of Maine in a convenient, exciting, and historic way. They sail with no inboard power, as they did a hundred years ago, with wind and canvas still providing this unique way to travel in the 21st century.

The authentic turn-of-the-century coastal cargo schooners, Grace Bailey & Mercantile, have been lovingly restored and recognized as National Landmarks.

Maine Windjammer Cruises offers a variety of weekend cruises and 3-, 4-, and 5-day cruises from through October. There are also pre-season cruises and Fall Foliage cruises.

For more information see the Prow's Edge cruise line profile of Maine Windjammer Cruises or visit the official Maine Windjammer Association web site at www.sailmainecoast.com

Photo courtesy Maine Windjammer Cruises

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Aqua Expeditions among 26 travel and tourism companies recognized as "World Savers."

In honoring those companies that are "turning travel's enormous potential to improve the planet into reality", Condé Nast Traveler has listed Aqua Expeditions among 26 travel and tourism companies that it recognizes as "World Savers."

Nominations were made for excellence in the areas of education, poverty, wildlife, preservation, and health. Aqua Expeditions, however, was honored to find itself on the "doing it all" list, reflecting its efforts in every one of the above categories.

"The day we decided to operate the M/V Aqua in a fragile nature reserve, we knew that the social component of our programs would be just as important as the wildlife component," notes Francesco Galli-Zugaro, Founder and CEO of Aqua Expeditions.

"From day one, our journeys into Amazonia -- including the remote Pacaya Samiria Reserve -- have involved active participation with some 14 native river communities," Galli-Zugaro adds, noting that these visits are unstructured, and place a strong focus on relationship building.

"Given that we have only been operating for 18 months, we are thrilled to have been nominated for this "World Saver" award," Galli-Zugaro says. "Even though our sustainability efforts are only in their initial stages, we see this as an indication that we are on the right track."

Aqua Expeditions is dedicated to delivering a world-class Amazon experience, in an environment of comfort and safety. Its team onboard the M/V Aqua equals that of the finest small ship operators, anywhere in the world. Management has a total commitment to excellence.

For more information about Aqua Expeditions visit: www.aquaexpeditions.com

Zagat Survey is the world's most trusted source for information about where to eat, drink, stay and play around the globe, and as such has become a symbol of quality.

Zagat Survey rates and reviews airlines, restaurants, hotels, nightlife, movies, music, golf, resorts, shopping, spas and a range of other entertainment categories in more than 100 countries and has been lauded as the “most up-to-date, comprehensive and reliable guides ever published” and as “a necessity second only to a valid credit card.”

Cunard, Regent and SeaDream are top rated, respectively, in the Large, Mid-Size and Small Ships categories, while Royal Caribbean, Crystal and Windstar are Most Popular in Each Size Category.

Carnival Wins for Budget Travel and Singles, Disney for Families, Nightlife and Entertainment, while when it Comes to Top Itinerary Choices, Romance, Shopping, Spas and Casinos, Cunard Sweeps the board.

For full details and results of the survey see the Prow's Edge News page about the Zagat survey at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-news-191109-zagat-survey.html

Zagat content is available in print, on the web, on the mobile web, iPhones, BlackBerry and on TV. For more information, visit ZAGAT.com.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Don't just think of a cruise as something aboard a mega ship in the Caribbean! Not that there's anything wrong with a mega ship cruise in the Caribbean - but the cruise industry is offering a lot more these days - and proof of the pudding is in Pandaw River Cruises and their latest attempts to bring something new and interesting to cruise ship passengers.

In October 2009, Pandaw River Cruises were the first passenger ship to sail between Calcutta and Varanasi on the Ganges since the 1930s. An historic occasion indeed, but not without many challenges and difficulties.

As Paul Strachan, Founder, Pandaw River Cruises, writes on his return from the Maiden Voyage: "This is the most beautiful and culturally varied river I have explored - but it is also the most daunting for crew and passengers alike.

The RV Bengal Pandaw was launched in Burma as Pandaw IV in 2004 and has twenty-eight promenade deck staterooms. The eight hundred mile expedition is of fifteen days duration and only ten sailings are planned for the coming season. The expedition takes in a number of the most important historical sites in India including the colonial splendours of Calcutta, the sacred places of Buddhism around Bodh Gaya and Benares, now called Varanasi, the great cultural centre of Hinduism. In addition, the Pandaw stops daily in smaller towns and villages to see handicrafts, rural life and a variety of local cultures as we pass from region to region.

Given the practical difficulties of crossing India by land, a river cruise makes the best sense covering a vast landscape in comfort and safety and exploring the real India well off the beaten track. The scenery is amazing and the excursions ashore are varied and exciting. Each day is quite different with a wealth of things to do and see. The standard of guides in India, with their good English and intellectuality, is far better than in the other countries we operate in and the lectures and briefings proved highly stimulating.We also have a medical doctor on the team who doubles as resident naturalist.

Each of the subsequent river expeditions will be highly adventurous and should not be booked by the faint hearted. Itineraries are skeletal and indicational only. Each day the schedule will be subject to constant revisions. Some excursions may be cancelled, whilst you may find yourself on excursions never offered in the first place! All depends on water levels and flow rates, the weather, local bureaucracy and a hundred other factors that make and shape a cruise. Do not expect this to be a slick well-oiled operation like our cruises on the Mekong! These cruises really are expeditions in the full sense of the word.

Note also that the service, food and beverage standards that you would expect on a Pandaw will not be up to standard. The food is mainly Indian and this is generally good, but over 10 days can become repetitive for many. Despite initial licencing scares we have been able to offer complimentary beers and local drinks. Please understand that this is a new destination for us working with a new crew in a country with quite different standards to what you would find in South-East Asia. Please bear this in mind if you are considering booking this cruise.

We had planned 14 nights on board but given the disparity in service standards between India and our other operations I have decided to reduce the number of days spent cruising to 10 with 2 nights in deluxe hotels either side of the cruise: in Varanas at the brand new Radisson and in Calcutta at the splendid Oberoi Grand. I feel that given the fact that it will take some time for us to get standards up to scratch, working in a very tough environment, we should offer our passsengers a little more comfort before and after the cruise. Pandaw will absorb this cost and the original rates offered remain. These revised itineraries are now online.

I would say, though, that this is the 'Mother of Rivers' - no other river can match the Ganges in terms of scenery, cultural variety, quantity of historic sites not to mention profuse bird and wild life. This definitely is the way to do India. If you are not too sure if you are ready for it, or rather we are ready, give us a couple of years to get up to speed. In this first year of operations nearly all the people joining the cruise are old Pandaw passengers, who, thankfully, understand what our team are up against and do their best to support them. We are very grateful for that."

Read more about the Maiden Voyage on the Pandaw Blog or take a look at Paul Strachan's contribution to the View from the Bridge pages at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at http://www.prowsedge.com/views-paul-strachan.html

In a time when the news is riddled with reports of lower sales, job cuts and worse, it's good to hear good news indicating things more positive for the cruise industry. Like the fact that Québec City’s 2009 international cruise season saw the arrival of six new ships and double the number of destination passengers compared to last year.

The Port of Québec welcomed nearly 87,000 passengers and 30,000 crew members, a 6% rise compared to 2008. The increase is largely due to the number of turnaround cruises, making Québec City a destination rather than simply a port of call. A total of 33,329 passengers chose Québec City as their arrival or departure point, an 88% increase over 2008.

Six new ships docked at the port for the first time this season: the Crown Princess (3,782 passengers), the Costa Atlantica (2,680 passengers), the Norwegian Spirit (2,475 passengers), the Queen Victoria (2,172 passengers), the Princess Danae (690 passengers), and the Clelia II (100 passengers).

“Even though cruise ship lines have always enjoyed an excellent occupancy rate on their ships sailing the St. Lawrence, we are delighted with this extremely positive result given the current global economic situation,” said Québec Port Authority CEO Ross Gaudreault.

The 2010 season is shaping up to be just as good, with the arrival of the Italian cruise line MSC Cruises.

Quebec is the largest cruise ship port on the St. Lawrence and a hugely popular destination for cruise passengers visiting the St. Lawrence River. Visit the Prow's Edge profile of the Port of Quebec at http://www.prowsedge.com/ports-quebec-city.html

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Who hasn't heard of Celebrity Chef, Jacques Pépin! Host of award-winning cooking shows, author of more than 20 cookbooks and has served as personal chef to numerous heads of state.

As the Executive Culinary Director for Oceania Cruises, Pepin has brought his legendary cuisine and unique artistry to the gourmet restaurants onboard Marina’s sister ships Regatta, Insignia and Nautica.

Today he shares one of his recipes with Prow's Edge passengers at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-chef-jacques-pepin.html - a Tomato and Zucchini Salad.

It is, says Chef Pépin, "A very simple traditional French dish that is exceptional when made with fresh seasonal tomatoes."

Today, Oceania Cruises has announced the introduction of a new online portal that will let booked guests make advance reservations for specialty restaurants from the comfort of their home.

Oceania Cruises’ three 684-guest vessels – Regatta, Insignia and Nautica – offer a choice of four different dining venues, all of which come under the watchful eye of renowned master chef, Jacques Pépin. Guests can choose from The Grand Dining Room, Polo Grill, Toscana and Tapas on the Terrace.

The new online “Dining Reservations Calendar” conveniently includes the times the ship is in port, as well as any pre-reserved shore excursions to assist guests in selecting the ideal dining times. Reservations can be made 90 days in advance of sailing, once final payment has been received, and will remain available until 10 days prior to departure.

Take a look at the Captain's Table section of Prow's Edge at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruises-captains-table.html for recipes from all the world famous chefs working with the cruise lines to establish better cuisine on cruises.

No matter who you are, and where you are, there is nothing like humor to make your day a little brighter, and cruise passengers are no exception to this rule.

Take a look at the "jokes from fellow cruise passengers" section of Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at http://www.prowsedge.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=38&t=30&start=0 where forum members share their latest "funnies".

Our favorite since the forum began is:

A man was ashore in a port with tender service and forgot when the last tender back to the ship would be. He approached the dock and saw a tender fifteen feet from the dock. He raced to the end of the dock and made a flying jump into the tender landing flat on his face. He turned to the officer in charge and said, "That was a pretty good long jump. It must have been fifteen feet."

“Yes!” said the officer, "But I don’t know why you did it. This tender is coming in!"

For more views and opinions about all aspects of cruises and cruising, take a look at the Prow's Edge Forum at http://www.prowsedge.com/phpBB3/index.php Sign on and join the fun!

Monday, November 2, 2009


With this blog, the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Blog celebrates its 100th blog today.

Bringing you news and views, the serious and the incredible, the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Blog continues to keep you informed with the latest from the world of cruising.

Hitting the world wide web more than 6 months ago, the Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine Blog has been a popular addition to the main site at http://www.prowsedge.com – a free web site magazine and guide devoted to the world of cruising, complete with cruise reviews, cruise line profiles, news about cruises, opinions about cruises, port information, passenger advice, recipes, medical tips, safety at sea and cheap cruises and cruise deals.

The award winning Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine was launched in 1998 - and is one of the oldest established cruise magazines on the web.

If you don't find the news you're looking for in the Cruise News section of Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine, or in any of the many pages of information throughout the site, the blog is sure to have the latest tidbit to keep your "cruise"habit going.

In celebration of the 100th blog, we'd like to hear from you about what you'd like to see on our blog in the future. Email us at crew@prowsedge.com and tell us what sort of blogs would keep you interested.

We're looking forward to hearing from you!


Another Cruise Industry Leader Shares His Views at Prow's Edge.

Another addition to the popular View from the Bridge pages at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine , in which leaders in the cruise industry share their "views from the bridge", features James Rodriguez, Senior Vice President, Marketing at Oceania Cruises in which he highlights some truly exotic destinations offered by Oceania Cruises.

These are destinations in "far away fabulous places you're just longing to see" to quote Dotor Doolittle, such as the appealingly named Nosy Be, in Madagascar, and Dakar in Senegal, Walvis Bay in Namibia, and Kaohsiung in Waiwan.

Altogether, Oceania ships will be visiting 30 exotic ports for the very first time. Among the destinations whose appeals are well documented are Martinique, Mexico’s Costa Maya, Colonial Williamsburg, Charleston, San Juan, Mombasa, Zanzibar, Yangon (Rangoon), Manila, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and Cape Town. In South Africa, Nautica will call at Durban, East London and Richards Bay.

Take a look at James Rodriguez's View from the Bridge at http://www.prowsedge.com/views-james-rodriguez.html for more details.