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Whale of an Invention for Seafarers

A story about a new app is, well, interesting.

Here's the story:

A new iOS app called Whale Alerts is designed to help mariners avoid collisions with endangered North American right whales by displaying whale locations on a real-time, digital map.

This raises several interesting points.

1. The news item is incorrect. An iOS is an operating system for Macs, sold by Apple and used on iBooks, iPhones, iPods and iPads. An IOS — note the capital "I" — is an Inter-Organizational System that involves the flow of information between two (or more) organizations. In this case, between a ship and a whale, although nobody told the whale about it. This is an Apple app, primarily for iPads, but not an operating system.

2. To help all of us who do not know right whales from wrong whales, this enables all of us to be better educated. They are "baleen" whales — hey, one lesson a bog is enough — that are called "right" because they're the right ones to hunt. The reason they're the right ones is they float when killed, swim near land and are not shy about approaching boats. Well, that's one theory, which by some is more of an old wives' tale…or an old fisherman's tale. Endangered? Only 400 are left.

3. While it's hard to imagine that the captain of a cruise ship would find this gizmo useful, there is a rumor circulating that its real purpose on cruise ships is to locate the guys who make too many visits to the buffet.

Whale Finder, right?


Carnival Sensation
4 nights
September 30, 2012
Port Canaveral (return): Freeport, Nassau
Inside: $189
Cost per day: $47
www.carnival.com

 

Celebrity makes a Queen 'Appy'

The iPhone Queen is at it again. She used to be the Travel Queen, but now she has a dual identity.

Plus, another app.

I used to think “app” was an incorrectly abbreviated word. Now it’s in the dictionary (or most dictionaries) because it doesn’t need a second name. It’s like Oprah. And Tiger. And Hillary. Saying it’s “app time” no longer means the snacks are about to appear, because an app is what you put on your iPhone.

At least, the iPhone Queen does.

Her latest one is about cruising. Now there’s a surprise. It’s called “Celebrity” — another one-word name. One you touch the screen, it gets a second name — Explorer. Gone are the days when an “explorer” discovered uncharted lands, or was even just the name of your favorite browser.

On Celebrity Explorer, you can find cruises. Another surprise. You can also find ships, as long as they’re the ones with the big “X” on the funnel. You can find cruise destinations, with pictures. You can find out what to pack, dependent on the length of your cruise and your gender (only two options here). You can find out how to make yourself known to somebody at Celebrity Cruise Lines.

You can even find a cruise that you don’t know you’ll be finding. Just touch the “Surprise me” button and up pops a random cruise. For me, it was “13-Night Hawaii Cruise” on the Celebrity Century on March 23, 2012.

Other cruise lines probably have apps, too. This is just the only one my cruise partner has found.

Just give her time.

Category: Cruise News, People, Ships, Stories  Tags: , , , , ,  Comments off

For Cruisers, the App of All Apps

Both good news and bad often come in the box with a new computer. My new MacBook Pro arrived a few weeks ago, so I’m still dealing with the “bad-news”…software updates, lost photos, transferring files, and so on.

However, the good news is better than good. It’s great! When I bought the computer, it came with my first-ever iPod.

The first person to help set up the iPod was my 10-year-old grandson, Gareth. He’s had his for several months, so he knows all about “apps” — a word not previously in my personal dictionary. The only apps I knew anything about was Syl, a hockey player from the 1970s.

Gareth had me downloading all kinds of apps (that’s “applications” for the uneducated). He was most concerned that I get sports scores on my iPod, like he does. I didn’t know how to break it to him that this wasn’t as important to Grandma as he thought.

The next  “apps assistant” was number two son, Lerrin. He made sure I had the PGA Tour app. Again, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings…

Then, last weekend, I recruited my son-in-law, Aron, to find an expense tracker. Looks good, but I’m still trying to figure it out.

Today, I finally downloaded my first app — the Cruise Finder! It’s touted as being the most comprehensive cruise planning app in the iTunes store. It’s probably also the only cruise planning app in the store. Also, it’s been in the Top 50 Free Travel Apps since launch (Do they “launch” all apps or only the ones connected to ships?).

So, what can you do with it?

Lots.

View ship photos, cabin layouts and deck plans. Check out ship stats, like size, capacity, crew. Browse 12,000 itineraries from all the major cruise lines. Find port directions. Check out port weather.

And, if you download it this month, iCruise.com is offering a chance to win one of four free Apple iPads, and you’ll automatically be included in a drawing for a 4- or 5-night Caribbean Cruise on the Celebrity Century. The iPads and the trip are courtesy of Celebrity Cruises to mark the opening of their new iLounges on selected ships.

So…do iPads have apps, too?

Costa the Apple of One Cruiser's i

There’s gotta be a connection here. We just spent the weekend with our three grown children (and families) and one of the topics of conversation was some in-house trading of cel phones so that their mother, O Travel Queen, would wind up with an iPhone instead of a Blackberry.

Yesterday, we read that Costa Cruises has launched a new iPhone application. Coincidence?

After all, this way the Travel Queen will be able to go on full-screen virtual tours of Costa’s 14 ships. That means, once she downloads her iPhone app — free — she can check out cabins and suites, wellness and fitness centers, restaurants and bars, even Grand Prix and golf simulators.

She’ll be able to follow her dream trip with an “interactive geolocalisation” system, which shows the position of all the ships in real time so that each ships’ journey can be “lived” day after day.

She’ll not only be able to examine Costa’s itineraries and ports of call, she’ll be able to check out prices and reservations.

And if she’s so inclined, she can do all this in any of six languages, or all six.

Knowing how much she likes to cruise, are we to believe her children just came up with this little iPhone scheme on their own?

Category: Cruise News, People, Stories  Tags: , , , ,  Comments off
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