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, April 29, 2013

Cruise Ports of Call

One of the most popular sections of Prow’s Edge is the part that deals with the main ports of call that are usually the port of departure or port of arrival at the start and/or end of the cruise.

Although things have begun to improve as cruise lines are now starting to concentrate on ports that are featured at the start or end of a cruise, most cruise  lines still tend to concentrate on the ports featured during the cruise where there is usually at least eight hours to at least marginally truly showcase those individual destinations.

Those cruise lines that do offer tours of starting and ending points, they are usually limited to a short sightseeing glimpse of those locations as passengers are whisked off to the airport or collected from the airport and rushed to the cruise trip.

Cruises to Alaska that begin and end in Vancouver, Canada for example concentrate on all the Alaska ports of call and people arriving home eventually have very little experience or new knowledge of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

To make sure this does not happen to you - it is always a good idea to add at least a night in departure and arrival ports and to take the opportunity to experience what is on offer there.

The very popular part of Prow’s Edge dealing with these ports offer an extensive overview of the port itself, the main attractions, all about the cruise terminals and a host of information from weather and climates, currencies, languages.

For a list of over 50 of these ports take a look at http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-ports-terminals.html

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Being Prepared for Disaster at Sea

While you don’t want to dwell on all the horrific things that could happen on any cruise, it is well worth while preparing yourself for what could happen and learn about a few sensible precautions.

It is not that you want to dwell on all the terrible things that could happen on any cruise, but you do need to be prepared – even more than you might have originally thought.

It is somewhat incredible that good sense seems to fly out of the window along with the larger portion of your hard earned savings whenever you book a cruise.

And while you don’t want to dwell on all the horrific things that could happen on any cruise, it is well worth while preparing yourself with a few sensible precautions.

In fact, the main precaution to keep in mind, on any cruise, is that you are prepared for any possible disaster. 

Again, this is not something you want to dwell on but something you want to be prepared for so that you can actually put it out of your mind and actually enjoy the trip. 

While lifeboat drills, for example, may seem to be boring and a waste of time, especially if you have cruised before, it is a known fact that when faced with a real disaster, your calmness about how to handle things like lifeboat boarding etc flies off the ship before you do.

For this simple, and proven reason alone, it is worth packing away your cynicism and paying attention to life boat drills.

It is also worth paying attention to all the other information about emergencies available on the cruise ship.  This is not to say that you need to be obsessed with this – just pay attention to announcements, and the notices on your cabin door that detail your escape routes.

Some savvy cruise travelers suggest that you follow the escape route outlined in your cabin.  As practice. Again, this not something to dwell on too much, but it is something to be aware of so that should such action become necessary, you will be able to handle the whole situation much more successfully.

Think of these things now, prepare yourself, and then you can forget about it all, and enjoy your cruise, knowing that you are as prepared for anything that might happen.

Don't be one of those big-headed, smart alecks who think they know all the answers. They don't!

Check our next blog entry for some more advice on how to deal with the less wonderful things that can happen on a cruise, how to be prepared for these issues and how then you can put it at the back of your mind and enjoy the cruise all the more.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Still About the Cruise Chat Rooms

The hot debate about the value of chat rooms dealing with all sorts of aspects of cruises that we brought attention to in Trusting the Cruise Forums and Chat Rooms continues with some very heated reactions to our comments about this topic.

In fact - this topic is one of Prow's Edge's most popular, blog topics!

We stand corrected in that cruise chat rooms are still, in fact, a popular source of information for those looking for an ideal cruise – but we still stand by our viewpoint that the opinions offered in these chat rooms are not the most ideal nor unbiased sources of information.

We still maintain that any information gleaned from such forums has to be treated with a little caution.

As we reported in our last blog on this topic, it is a sad fact that a lot of the regular participants in these forums are in fact only taking part in order to gain some benefits for themselves.  Some complain incessantly until the cruise lines take notice and offer some benefits. 
This does not happen as frequently as before – as we showcased in  Trusting the Cruise Forums and Chat Rooms  – but it should make readers a little cautious about what they read in these forums.

Others taking part in these forums, while not after some benefit as mentioned above, can can also  inwittingly pass on incorrect information - not necessarily on purpose, but simply because they do not know much better.  They like to see their opinions on the internet.

Another development in terms of cruise forums and chat rooms is the growth of such sites by the cruise lines themselves.

One has to wonder about the unbiased honestly of commentary on such web site forums as well.

Having said that - there are a number of chat rooms that deal specifically with certain topics and provide information that cannot be found elsewhere.

We can only suggest that you treat all such forums with some kind of caution.

If you would like to send us ALL here at Prow's Edge on a number of cruises to test the validity of commentary about many of these cruises on various forum websites - we would be happy to carry out the chores for you  - providing of course, that champagne is served every night in our cabins, before dinner, with dinner, after dinner, as a bedtime treat, and hey - even for breakfast as well!

We would, of course, be totally unbiased.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Cruises for Those with Special Needs

Cruise line brochures and websites are filled with images of hale and hearty, fit, younger passengers enjoying some very active pursuits, and even those cruise lines that are a little more honest about their passengers in general, their ages and their abilities, tend to to paint a rosy pictures of cruise travelers in the prime of their time.

The actual truth is nothing like the images the cruise lines paint.

In fact, more than 60 million cruise passengers each year are those with some kind of disability who need a variety of special needs -  from oxygen requirements to motorized scooters and even power chairs.

The positive update these days is that despite the glorious pictures of only hale and hearty passengers about to leap ashore and run around the block, the cruise lines have in fact become very much more aware of the special needs of a growing number of their passengers. 

While the solutions they offer are not always as ideal as they should be, every year, more and more cruise lines seem to be paying attention to these issues.

At least twelve of the popular cruise lines, for example, from Carnival to Cunard and all levels between now offer special disabled cabins.

Lots more information about accommodating cruise lines and what they can offer can be found at www.disabledcruiseclub.com – a web site specializing in special needs cruises from the Red Sea to the polar regions.

And where they are not able to accommodate the very special needs of their passengers, there are companies such as Special Needs at Sea, at www.specialneedsatsea.com who can help make any trip easier and more hassle-free.

But be warned - there are still a lot of problems still with this issue, no matter the promises and some cruise passengers with special needs to to their cruise research very thoroughly before booking and embarking on a trip of a lifetime.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More Safety Tips for Your Cruise

Originally posted almost two years ago here at Prow's Edge, we have now updated this topic. 

It is of vital importance.

Travelers very often leave their common sense at home when they go on vacation - and cruise passengers are no exception.

Unlike other cruise magazines, here at Prow’s Edge we have been highlighting this issue for many years - not to wallow in gory details or to sensationalize the problem, but to make our readers aware that there is real problem on cruise ships and that passengers need to be aware of it.

The good news is that many of the problems concerning safety at sea can be eased with being sensible and taking a few precautions. Here are a few tips, most of which are common sense.

For a full article about safety at sea and how to avoid becoming a victim, please take a look at www.prowsedge.com/cruises-safety-things-to-do.html at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine.


• Be vigilant
• Don’t be afraid to report something suspicious
• Avoid deserted areas of the ship
• Limit your alcohol consumption
• Be aware of excessive alcohol consumption by others
• Avoid unattended drinks
• Know where your friends and family are
• Check your stateroom when entering
• Keep your stateroom door locked
• Safeguard your cabin keycard
• Leave expensive jewelry at home
• Lock your jewelry away
• Don’t bring a bank vault of cash

Reaffirming the need for vigilance and awareness of the safety issues at sea, the International Cruise Victims Association(ICV) represents the victims of crime on cruise ships, their families and friends, and those concerned about the problems of victimization and disappearances on cruise ships.

The very fact that the International Cruise Victims Association(ICV) is steadily growing and that membership now reaches 20 countries around the world simply enforces the point that this is an issue we need to know more about.

Don’t sit back and say that this could never happen to you. Get your head out of the sand!

Visit the Safety at Sea section at Prow's Edge Cruise Magazine at www.prowsedge.com/cruises-safety-at-sea.html for news and information on this topic.

The Reality of Cruise Safety Issues

Passengers missing after winning large amounts at the cruise ship casino, robberies at knife point, sexual assaults and rapes, general assaults and even passengers overboard?

Sounds like the thriller you’re reading beside the pool as your ship heads to the next port of fun?

Well, it’s not!  This is not an excerpt from the latest best-selling novel - this is the truth about the other side of cruising that very few people know about.

Those who do know about it, victims and family members alike, have had their lives changed forever.

One of those family members is Ken Carver who founded the International Cruise Victims Association to support the families like his own who are victims of crimes, disappearances, and accidents aboard cruise ships.

With several hundred members, the organization advocates for legislative reform to protect passengers from crimes and increase the rights of victims of crimes that do occur on cruise ships, and provides support to victims of crimes occurring on cruise ships.

In an interview at TravelTalkRADIO, Ken Carver, President of the International Cruise Victims Association (ICV) urged the public to become more informed about the issues, and to support the association in its efforts to make the cruise lines more accountable.

“We suggest that you contact your congressional people, take action,” he said, “because we are not proposing things that are really out of line. They would just make cruising safer and more fun for everybody.”

You can find the petition to improve safety on cruise ships at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/CruiseSafety/index.html

Read more about this issue in Ken Carver’s own words as he shares his View From the Bridge at Prow’s Edge Cruise Magazine

Friday, April 12, 2013

Hotel Key Cards in Thieves Hands

After you've handed in your key card at the hotel you stayed at the night before your cruise began, and while your'e happily watching the shore slip away and the great sense of euphoria build as you head out the harbour and out to sea – are you ever possibly thinking that maybe handing in the room key card as not such good idea?

If you are thinking that - you're right.  Never return the room card.

That room card is simply an open book supply of information, from your home address to your credit card number and expiration date.

Which means that while you're sailing out into the middle of the ocean, someone at that departure port town is going out on a major shopping spree - using your card - and getting away with it.

And in case you think we're being just a little too cautious, it is actually a fact that some hotel employees in the past have managed to take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device, access the information on a laptop computer and go on a wild shopping spree.

The information they need to empty your credit card accounts is all too easily accessible.

Yes, times have changed, and some of the newer hotels have more secure systems than before but the dangers of theft using your credit card are not unheard of.

The information they need to empty your credit card accounts is all too easily accessible.

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 and within easy access of a number of people.!

The bottom line is: 

1: Keep the room cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. 
2: NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and
3: 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.

ANOTHER WORD OF WARNING:  If you have managed to keep a hold of your room card just remember that it's NOT OK to throw it away at the airport garbage bin. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip! 

Here at Prow's Edge we do not like to focus on all the things that could go wrong on a cruise, like theft and more - but the more you are aware of these things the more likely you are to be able really relax and enjoy your cruise vacation

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Trusting the Cruise Forums and Chat Rooms

Initially, Cruise forums and chat rooms were a new and unique way for cruisers to be able to comment on and spread the news about their latest cruise and favorite cruise lines and cruise ships.

While some of the commentary may not have been in the best of prose, or even targeting anything of any real importance, these forums and chat rooms  were very popular.

Inevitably, however, the chat rooms became ripe for abuse.

 One example of this was a couple from Ohio, Brenda and Gerald Moran, who apparently enjoyed Royal Caribbean so much that they had six voyages with the line in three years. 

Oddly enough, however, that did not stop them complaining about the cruise line in all the chat rooms.  They found fault on every cruise, from plumbing problems in their stateroom, a birthday greeting delivered to the wrong cabin, the husband locked out on the balcony when a door latch failed, and much more.

Each time, Royal Caribbean Line turned the other cheek, offering the couple discounts on the next cruise and/or onboard credits.

But things were now beginning to change and the cruise lines were starting to take the internet a little more seriously than they had done before.  They had to start taking part, promote their products and avoid the damage that could be done by the likes of Brenda and Gerald Morn.

The straw that broke the camel’s back as it were was that after each trip Brenda Moran continued to voice her complaints about their treatment by posting their cruise experience on the Internet.

Some fellow cruisers sympathized, others believed the couple were "teaching" fellow cruisers how to scam Royal Caribbean.

"Why keep booking a trip with Royal Caribbean?" wondered one of our contributing writers.  "If every trip had so many problems, why did they keep going back to them".Which was exactly what they seemed to be doing."

But by now Royal Caribbean had had enough and they banned the couple from ever cruising with Royal Caribbean again.

Some people feel that this was a little harsh a reaction, others do not.

 Some see Brenda and Gerald Moran behaving with any need for criticism.  Other would not agree.

Prow's Edge takes no side here and passes no commentary - simply reporting the story as we have heard it.

What this whole episode WAS, however, no matter our opinions on it, the marking of the end of the “chat room” as an efficient and accurate supply of information for anyone wanting to take a cruise.

It is a fact that the complaints in the chatrooms are voiced by only a tiny number of all the people who have taken cruises and who have actually enjoyed them and have no complaints.

Chatrooms for cruises were doomed, cruise line web sites were taking over!

Even here at Prow's Edge the chat room section was finally removed and destroyed. And we were not the first cruise web site to do that.

Watch out for our next blog feature on this topic in which we look at other modern things in a brand new world that have had an impact on cruises.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cruise Lines Offering the Best Food

Now that we’ve outlined some of the things to avoid while taking a cruise in terms of avoiding over-eating - here is a good look  at some of the main cruise lines and what to expect from them in terms of the awards they have earned.

Prow’s Edge Cruise Magazine awarded 3 cruise lines (Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Windstar Cruises) with the Best Cruise Line Food aboard Luxury Cruise Lines 2012/2013 awards, and 3 other cruise lines (Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises and Costa Cruises) with the Best Cruise Line Food aboard Other Cruise Lines 2012/2013

Cruise Critic singled out Oceania Cruises with their Best Dining award saying that “Oceania Cruises does an exceptional job on it’s cuisine”.

Cruise International recognized 6 cruise lines as having the best food. These are Celebrity Cruses, Crystal Cruises, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, and  Oceania Cruises.

Condé Nast Traveller recognizes Seabourn with very high scores for Best Food, Carnival Cruise Line has been recognized by CruiseMates as providing more for your money than any other cruise line, Crystal Cruises has been recognized for their outstanding on board restaurants by Howard Hillman’s popular Cruise Guide, and Best Food Awards have also been granted to Silversea and Regent.

And finally, after studying the various popular chat rooms about cruising and the quality of food at various cruise lines, it is clear that the repeated winners and favorites as far as those offering the best food are Crystal Cruises, Celebrity Cruises.

Overall - the three cruise lines consistently winning awards for the best food are Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Celebrity Cruises, followed closely by Holland America Line and Windstar Cruises.

Follow our next blog as we investigate the chat rooms in more detail and find out what is being said about food on cruise lines, and whether we should be taking these comments and awards very seriously!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Eating on a Cruise Part 2

A few weeks ago in Eating on a Cruise we talked about eating sensibly on a cruise, about how to avoid the average weight gain of over 2lbs per day and how to hit the happy medium – watching what you eat without becoming obsessed with the problem - and actually enjoying the process.

We mentioned before things like that one needs to slow down your eating, eat more times a day (yes, really!) and why you should drink more water.

You can find all this at http://prows-edge-cruise-magazine.blogspot.ca/2013/03/eating-on-cruise.html

Our new advice on this topic are:

Avoid being obviously greedy ...

We have all experienced a cruise where we have had to share a table with people who are actually proud of ordering 2 entrees at a time and at least three deserts as well.

“We just can’t make up our minds” they quip as if they are actually proud of such behaviour.

Don’t be tempted to follow suit, as tempting as it may be - and don’t think you’re being smart or clever. Remember our blog and remember that none of us like to see such obvious greed.

Exercise ...

Not strictly about eating, but certainly related to it. The idea of taking exercise on a cruise may not sound like the point of a vacation. On the other hand you certainly don’t want to end up like one of those exercise obsessed passengers who do nothing but run round the ship all day long and show off in the gym.

There is a happy medium. You don’t even have to set foot in the gym.  Unless you really get fun out of it. There is plenty to do on the ship and on shore excursions to keep you gently active and actually doing more than you would normally do at your desk at the office.

Take excursions that involve some kind of activity, rather than ones that just have you sitting on a bus for six hours and certainly avoid those that feature yet another special meal - as if you're not getting enough on board.

Walk around the ship and count your laps and build up the miles. This can be fun - very often meeting people you wouldn’t have contact with otherwise and getting to chat to them.  And it’s certainly going to be healthier than dozing all day on your deck chair - which ultimately means that the 5th day with yet another cream desert is not going to cause too many problems.

Get enough sleep ...

This might sound a little silly in terms of “eating” advice for someone going on a cruise, but you would be surprised at how many people burn the candle on both ends and over do their leisure activities which often concern eating yet another meal or snack. They reduce their hours of sleep.

It has also been shown that not getting enough sleep my well affect the hormones that govern  your appetite and the way your body process food.

All in all, not a good idea.

Some of these tips may sound like common sense to you, but sometimes when you’re spoiling yourself, common sense goes flying out of the window and you forget things that right now seem very obvious.

For more advice about cruises and how to make the best of them, take a look at the Prow’s Edge Adive section at : http://www.prowsedge.com/cruise-advice-tips.html

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cruise Weddings

Having your wedding on a cruise is becoming an even more popular option than ever before.

And there are many reasons for this.

The first and more obvious is that combing your cruise with your wedding offers you the choice of organizing two distinct and very different actual weddings.  One at sea with the roar of the sea behind you as you complete your vows, or one at one of the destinations  - maybe even a tropical beach.  And nothing can be more romantic that that.

Another reason for planning your cruise as the ideal home for your wedding means that your wedding will involve a lot LESS stress than it would entail were you doing it at home. The cruise lines take care of everything, from the flowers to the champagne, to the place on the ship or the location on the shore.

And, very often, a cruise at sea is a cheaper deal than the 500-guest reception in your home town. Yes, you are paying for a cruise, but you would have paid something for a honeymoon, anyway, and generally the marriage at sea is a private affair, so no costs for huge grand weddings packed with friends and relatives you probably won’t see again for many years.

If the wedding on the cruise IS to be attended by family, this too is not going to be added to your wedding account. Sometimes it could be a treat even for close friends and relatives.  And sometimes it does cost something to bring someone you love who really cannot afford the trip.

Also making things relatively easy, most cruise lines are very well organized now to make weddings at sea very easy to create events.  Some cruise lines have their own wedding coordinators. Some, however, do not encourage such events. Some, like Crystal Cruises and Cunard do not even allow them take place. The distinctly luxurious and up-market cruise lines do not offer any special packages or services.

Those cruise lines that do offer the chance to have you wedding on your cruise include 

Princess Cruses who offer what is considered to be the best selection of events and offerings of service, Disney Cruise Line who offers something a little different to the very much more adult stressed themes of other cruise ship  weddings, Norwegian Cruise Line which offers what is considered to be the widest range of packages, and Carnival Cruise Line who also offers a wide range of options.

Planning your wedding on a cruise really is one of the easiest ways to go about the whole process.  And, very often it is one of the cheaper options too.