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, May 31, 2010

Latin Culinary Stars Spice Up Riviera Cruise

You might be under the impression that the staples of Mexican food is typically corn and beans, a few spices and a few smoke-dried jalapeño chilis tossed in. If so, a Crystal Cruises culinary voyage in December will scupper that delusion.

On a new 10-day itinerary, the U.S. Ambassador of Tequila and Latin American master sommeliers and chefs will showcase the essence of Latin flavor aboard Crystal Cruises’ Wine and Food Experiences of Discovery voyage.

Aboard Crystal Symphony’s Mexican Riviera voyage, the top culinary talent from Mexico will lead cooking demos and special menus, wine pairing and tasting sessions, and specialty cocktail classes. The cruise sails round-trip from Los Angeles December 12.

Together with Crystal’s own talented culinary team, the guest experts leading classes and creating menus include:

Yerika Munoz – considered one of the brightest Master Chefs in Mexico; executive chef at Mexico City’s Astrid y Gaston,

Jeremiah Tower – James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur, currently residing in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, credited as co-creator of California cuisine;

Sandra Fernandez – a self-proclaimed Wine Designer, Culinary Institute of America Sommelier and the only Latin American woman certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers;

Madeleine de Jean – first female sommelier in the U.S. and former Wine Businesswoman of the Year; and

Julio Bermejo – U.S. Ambassador of Tequila and proprietor of San Francisco’s famous Tommy’s Mexican Eatery.

Ashore, Crystal Adventures offer tastes of Mexico with experiences including a traditional fiesta and clambake in Loreto and Mazatlan shrimp feast.

Per person, promotional Two-for-one cruise fares start at $2,990 (double occupancy), and include $500 per person ‘All Inclusive – As You Wish’ shipboard credit. Guests booking a deluxe stateroom with verandah by July 31 will save an additional $500 per person. Crystal’s Family Memories program offers groups and families a host of perks, including a complimentary berth for every 10 full-fare guests.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Cunard Line Unveils David Linley Artwork for the New Queen Elizabeth

The original Queen Elizabeth liner, an Art Deco icon, is making a nostalgic return as a stunning centerpiece for the Grand Lobby of the Line’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, debuting this fall 2010.

Cunard Line specially commissioned the artwork to David Linley, son of the late Princess Margaret and the internationally famous photographer Lord Snowdon – and Her Majesty The Queen's only nephew – whose company specializes in the design and creation of fine furniture and marquetry.

Work is already underway, and the completed 18 and a half foot panel will be shipped this summer to the Fincantieri shipyard at Monfalcone, Italy, where it will be installed over a four-day period to take pride of place at the heart of the ship just before she enters service in October.

Linley’s magnificent work shows the port bow of the original Queen Elizabeth seen dramatically from sea level, and is intricately executed using the technique of marquetry inlay with nine individual panels made of various types of wood veneers seamlessly jointed to lightweight board.

Designers for the new Queen Elizabeth’s interiors considered the best way to treat the Grand Lobby’s soaring central arched space on the sweeping staircase leading up from the main deck, as it is the first area to greet embarking guests.

Queen Elizabeth will be the second largest Cunarder ever built and will join her sisters, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, as part of the youngest fleet in the world. The first Queen Elizabeth was one of Cunard’s greatest ships, and the new Queen Elizabeth will reflect her predecessor in interior grandeur, décor and style, but with a modern twist.

Queen Elizabeth will depart on her Maiden Voyage on Tuesday 12 October 2010. This 13-night celebration will leave from the company’s home port, Southampton, and will call at Vigo, Lisbon, Cadiz, Las Palmas, Santa Cruz de Tenerife (overnight call) and Funchal. She will then embark on five celebratory maiden voyages to the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Caribbean.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Variety of Spiritual Makeover Cruises

You never need a reason to go on a cruise – there are too many of them – but here’s a new one to add to your long list.

Can luxury travel give you a spiritual makeover? asks Variety Cruises.

Yes, that’s the idea behind Variety Cruises’ experiential travel trend. Harnessing the emotion of powerful experiences in exotic locales, the journey becomes a traveler’s personal quest to happiness, self-actualization, and building connections to loved ones and the world, it says.

Find out for yourselves as Variety Cruises set the course for experiential travel, spanning Greece, West Africa and the Red Sea.

THE CRUISE: The new Rivers of West Africa cruise sets sail on December 2010, exploring lush vegetation and cultural beauty by way of the Saloun and Gambia rivers. Land tours to Mali and Timbuktu are available.
EXPERIENCE: Land tours journey to Djenné, Mali, home of the mud brick Grand Mosque, the largest in the world. Every February through April, the village of Djenné restores the mosque in a festival filled with food, music and community. Passengers can take part in this unique event, and in turn become part of the mosque’s extensive history.

THE CRUISE: The new Kings & Pharaohs cruise, embarking December 2010, will explore the Red Sea and gateway ports that preserve ancient history. Pre and post-cruise land tours are available between Suez, Egypt and Aqaba, Jordan.
EXPERIENCE: Enter Jerusalem during your land tour, home to powerful religious and historical wonders. Explore places significant in the New Testament, including Mount of Olives, Garden of Gethsemane, the room of the Last Supper and the little town of Bethlehem. Passengers are enveloped in the physical manifestation of faith and can literally walk in Jesus’ footsteps.

THE CRUISE: The Classical Greece cruise, sailing now through October 2010, traverses the Aegean Islands, Crete and continental Greece. Embarking from Marina Zea in Athens, this eight-day cruise makes stops in Mykonos, Santorini, and Crete.
EXPERIENCE: Knossos, the labyrinth palace preserved from the Bronze Age, awaits in Crete. Home to Greece’s enduring legend of Theseus and the Minotaur, it features more than 1,000 interlocking rooms. Wander through the maze-like passages, following Prince Theseus’ path toward the ferocious Minotaur, who lurked at the palace’s center.

For more cruises and cruise reviews, visit Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MSC Receives High Ratings from the 2010 Berlitz Guide

MSC Cruises received high ratings in the latest 25th anniversary edition of the internationally acclaimed Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise ships by world shipping guru, Douglas Ward.

All nine of MSC Cruises’ luxury cruise liners listed in the “large resort ship” category were given an excellent rating of four out of a possible five, while the 10th ship in the company’s fleet, MSC Melody, rates an above average of three in the “mid-size ship” category.

MSC Cruises’ ships were recognized as the “cleanest” of all major cruise liners and obtained accolades for its recycling efforts.

The food review section compliments MSC Cruises for the introduction of the Italian “slow food” concept, specialty restaurants on its newest ships and for providing better-quality ingredients than some other major cruise lines.

Aurea Spa on MSC Fantasia made the list as one of the 10 excellent shipboard spas in the world. Mention for the Italian influences evident in the interior décor and the high quality, fit and finish of materials used, was also noteworthy.

Considered to be one of the most authoritative books on cruising in the travel industry, the 2010 edition of the “Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships” reviews 271 ships representing some 75 ocean-going cruise line operators.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit www.MSCCRuisesUSA.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Titanic sails into Tennessee

For cruise passengers and cruises enthusiasts - there is nothing more fascinating than the story of the Titanic - and now you don't have to be at sea to enjoy it, especially if you're based in Tennessee.

The new Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is a half-scale, permanent, three-deck recreation of the Titanic. The museum houses 20 galleries to display nearly 400 authentic, priceless Titanic artifacts that were either carried from the ship and into lifeboats by passengers and crew, or were found afloat soon after the sinking and quickly salvaged by rescue boats.

Inside the Titanic Museum Attraction, visitors find full-size recreations (built to actual Titanic blueprints) of Third-Class quarters, a First-Class suite, dining rooms and – the museum’s centerpiece – a $1 million exact reproduction of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase. The First-Class suite in the Titanic Museum Attraction, which is dedicated to Isidor and Ida Straus who co-owned Macy’s Department Stores, was also the cabin used in James Cameron’s blockbuster movie Titanic as Rose’s suite.

In addition to being a world class museum in the truest sense of the word, Titanic Museum Attraction is also highly interactive and offers a hands-on experience for children, teenagers and adults. The ship is anchored in water to create the illusion of Titanic at sea, and a two-hour self-guided tour gives guests the sensation of sailing on the original ship’s 1912 maiden voyage.

Upon entry, each guest receives a boarding pass bearing the name of an actual Titanic passenger or crew member whose fate is revealed on the Memorial Wall at tour end. Along the way, powerful emotions surface as guests:Walk Titanic’s Grand Staircase
  • Touch the frozen surface of an “iceberg”
  • Feel the chill of that fateful “Starry Night”
  • Study some of the largest, most detailed Titanic models ever built
  • Grip the ship’s wheel and follow the Captain’s commands
  • Tour world-class galleries and the rare historical artifacts they hold
  • Sit in a Titanic lifeboat and listen to actual survivors tell their stories
  • Send an SOS from the Marconi Wireless Room
  • Test their balance while standing on mini-decks built to show the ever-steeper slope of Titanic as she sank
  • Watch children eight years and younger explore the special interactive Tot-Titanic Play-and-Learn Room
  • Dive to Titanic’s wreck site via spectacular underwater camera footage
The Titanic Museum Attraction – which is conveniently located to all areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville – is now open every day from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. ET. Tickets are available online at www.TitanicPigeonForge.com or by calling 1-800-381-7670 and visitors are urged to purchase tickets in advance.

PHOTO: Titanic Captain Edward Smith (Lowell Lytle) and Margaret "Molly" Brown’s great granddaughter Helen Benziger McKinney on the Titanic Museum Attraction’s Grand Staircase

Friday, May 7, 2010

HAL's Culinary Arts Center

Following on our story about Chef Randy Zweiban appearing in Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center, here are some details about the Culinary Arts Center.

Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center
Holland America Line’s Culinary Arts Center is featured on each of the line’s 14 ships. A first-class “show kitchen at sea,” the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine resembles the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs. The facilities offer demonstrations, tastings and hands-on cooking classes aboard every Holland America Line sailing.

Each facility features a theater-style venue, with two large plasma video screens and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn from and interact with the masters. On cruises that do not have a celebrity chef on board, hands-on classes and demonstrations in the show kitchen are scheduled with Holland America Line’s own expert chefs.

Holland America Line also offers a youth Culinary Arts Center activity program to teach kids and teens how to cook. The program incorporates dishes from breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks in complimentary 45-minute-long classes. Kids under eight years old learn to make theme cookies, fruit roll-ups, ice cream sandwiches, salad people art and scones. Kids eight and over make soft pretzels, granola bars, pita chips and hummus, and saltwater taffy. Teens also can attend adult culinary demonstrations.

For a full schedule of Holland America Line’s culinary guest program, visit http://www.hollandamerica.com/cruise-vacation-onboard/Enrichment.action and click on the Culinary Arts Center tab.

For the latest in cruise cuisine and cruise line chef's recipes, visit the free Prow's Edge cookbook at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine

Food for Foodies aboard Holland America Line

A real treat for foodies is coming up on Holland America Line. Randy Zweiban, executive chef and owner of Chicago’s acclaimed restaurant, Province, is scheduled to sail as part of the guest enrichment program on the July 12, 2010, Alaskan Adventurer Via Hubbard Glacier cruise aboard Holland America Line’s ms Amsterdam.

The 14-day cruise sails round-trip from Seattle and will call at Ketchikan, Skagway, Sitka, Anchorage, Homer and Juneau, Alaska, before visiting Victoria, British Columbia.

Zweiban, who will be on board from July 12 – 19, will share his expertise on Nuevo Latino cuisine and conduct cooking demonstrations for guests in the ship's state-of-the-art show kitchen.

From the moment Zweiban opened Province in Chicago’s trendy West Loop neighborhood in 2008, the Nuevo Latino concept captured the hearts and tastes of the Windy City’s food critics and foodies alike. Featuring cuisine inspired by Central and South America and Spain, Province was given a three-out-of-four-star review by the Chicago Tribune. Additionally, Zweiban’s work has been featured in several national publications including USA Today, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Newsweek, Food Arts, Metropolitan Home and Esquire magazine.

For a full schedule of Holland America Line’s culinary guest program, visit http://www.hollandamerica.com/cruise-vacation-onboard/Enrichment.action and click on the Culinary Arts Center tab.

For recipes from famous cruise line chefs visit the CAPTAIN'S TABLE at Prow's Edge.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Falling Ill on a Cruise - Check the Medical Facilities BEFORE you book!

No one wants to think about getting sick at sea, but it's like making a will, some things just need to be organized just in case - and being prepared for being ill at sea will make a huge difference as to how happy the outcome is.

In our article about medical safety at sea we discuss the precautions you need to take, and included in those is finding out about the medical facilities on board.

Well, there is good news about that if you happen to be traveling with Princess Cruises.

The Princess Cruises Medical Departments have once again been credited with meeting the quality health standards of an internationally recognized healthcare organization.

Following a comprehensive survey of both its shipboard and shoreside medical departments, Princess Cruises has achieved an industry first by being awarded accreditation and ISO 9001:2008 certification for quality in health care. These awards recognize the excellent standards of medical care provided on board Princess’ vessels.

CHKS accreditation was first awarded to Princess in 2006 and, following comprehensive annual external surveys of its medical facilities, staff and procedures, in 2009 was re-accredited for a further three years.

CHKS is a major UK based organization which works with public and private health care providers worldwide. They develop best practice standards and are accredited by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua), the leading international healthcare quality policy and research organization, as well as by the UK Accreditation Services (UKAS) to award certification to the standards of ISO 9001:2008.

Princess Cruises’ medical department offers one of the industry's most advanced sea-going medical programs, featuring a staff of qualified, full-time maritime professionals who work within well equipped facilities suited to the practice of medicine in a maritime environment.

Princess' medical program also meets or exceeds the cruise ship medical guidelines issued by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

Additional information about Princess Cruises is available through a professional travel agent, by calling 1-800-PRINCESS, or by visiting the company's website at www.princess.com.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Record attendance for CLIA’s cruise3sixty conference

Pioneering Everest climber and adventurer Alison Levine is no stranger to risk-taking. She has survived sub-zero temperatures, hurricane-force winds, sudden avalanches, and a career on Wall Street. This June she’ll face an eager and appreciative cruise industry audience of thousands when she delivers the keynote address at Cruise Lines International Association's (CLIA) cruise3sixty conference, June 2-6 in Vancouver.

The conference is dedicated to honoring women who have made major contributions to the world of business and the cruise industry. A record 1,400 travel agents will be there to hear her.

“The industry’s response to cruise3sixty this year has been tremendous. It is obvious that our travel agent members recognize the vital importance of coming together in this challenging business environment to learn and advance their professional training, network with colleagues and cruise lines, and catch up on the latest developments in cruising,” said Terry L. Dale, CLIA’s president and CEO. “And, we cannot minimize the appeal of Vancouver itself, which served as a strong incentive for many agents in deciding to attend.”

Over the course of the conference, delegates will have the opportunity to take part in extensive educational programming – 15 CLIA seminars – a massive trade show, diverse and insightful product and destination workshops, dynamic general sessions featuring leaders from the cruise and other industries, and ship inspections.

The nonprofit Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is North America's largest cruise industry organization. CLIA represents the interests of 25 member lines and participates in the regulatory and policy development process while supporting measures that foster a safe, secure and healthy cruise ship environment.

CLIA is also engaged in travel agent training, research and marketing communications to promote the value and desirability of cruise vacations and counts as members 16,000 travel agencies.

For more information on CLIA, the cruise industry, and CLIA-member cruise lines and travel agencies, visit www.cruising.org. CLIA can also be followed on Twitter @TerryAtCLIA and on the Cruise Lines International Association's Fan Page on Facebook.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Art Fraud on Cruises - Beware

As we have been reporting for a long time now – there IS is a problem of crime on cruise ships. But thanks to the efforts of Kendall Carver and the International Cruise Victims Association, there has been some movement in the right direction in protecting cruise passengers.

Major legislation is in the process of being passed; already having passed in the House in November by a vote of 416 to 4. In addition to passengers that have been victims of sexual crimes, robberies and disappearance, other victims have included those that purchased Art onboard of cruise ships.

The truth is that the strict auction regulations that stop the scams of auctioneers on land do not apply outside the three mile limit of United States Court jurisdiction, which means that cruise passengers are often sitting targets, many of whom know very little about art or the artists. Evaluations can be highly exaggerated, with no written guarantee authenticity.

Park West Gallery, for example, was accused by the The Fine Arts Registry, which devotes part of its Web site to exposing fraud and deception in the art world, of selling overpriced, forged and fraudulent artwork to unsuspecting customers during auctions aboard cruise ships.

A jury in Port Huron awarded $500,000 to Global Fine Arts Registry and its founder, Theresa Franks.

There are currently more than five class action lawsuits against cruise ship art auctions and more than 40 official complaints against cruise ship art auctions.

Buyer beware!