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Eighth Cruise Wonder, Anyone?

A writer for Conde Nast Traveler, Ondine Cohane, has produced the “Seven Cruise Wonders of the World.” It’s a clever idea and, like all such lists, highly subjective.

Picking up on it, Princess Cruises now has a contest for cruisers to add No. 8. The top prize is to sail away to one of the wonders (the eighth?) on a Princess ship.

What would your pick be?

Before deciding, here is Ms Cohane’s criteria for what qualifies as a cruise wonder, followed by her list of seven:

“The particular sense of arrival when approaching them by ship, the experience of anticipation and excitement when closing in on each treasure, and the sense of discovery that only an arrival by ship can really create.”

1. Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
2. Panama Canal
3. Shiretoko Peninsula, Japan
4. Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
5. Christ the Redeemer (statue), Brazil
6. Trunk Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands
7. Hagia Sophia, Istanbul

So, about Number Eight?

Obviously, you draw on your experiences from cruising, not from pictures, We’ve seen two of her wonders (Glacier Bay, Panama Canal) and wouldn’t object to their inclusions. Using her criteria and our experiences, three candidates come to mind for the eighth wonder…

VancouverVancouver: Approaching the Lions Gate Bridge and sailing under it, both times in early morning as the sun crested over the North Shore Mountains.

Venice: As beautiful and intriguing an arrival by ship as we’ve ever seen, and the city lives up to the anticipation.

New York: Crossing under the Verrazano Bridge to be faced with the Statue of Liberty, that icon of freedom.

Over to you…

In the news…

• Royal Caribbean pushing 30 per cent discounts on all cruise ships
• First LGBT cruise line, Anteros, to announce itineraries in April 2016
• SplashGolf in interactive water environment installed on Norwegian Epic

Today at portsandbows.com: Day by day on Fathom's Cuba cruise

Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas
7 nights
December 13, 2015
Galveston (return): Falmouth, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $512
Cost per day: $73

A Lifetime Of Carnival Cruises

Funnel-EcstasySo what are the chances of entering a contest and winning the grand prize, a cruise every year for the rest of your life?

Evidently, 1 in 115,000.

That’s how many people entered a Carnival contest called the “World’s Leading Cruise Lines Marketing Challenge.” Consumers (who were cruisers, obviously) gave Carnival input on new TV advertising concepts. If you saw Carnival’s ad on the Super Bowl, that was one of them.

What, exactly, is an annual cruise for life?

In Carnival’s world, it’s a cruise every year on a ship from one of three brands from the corporation’s cast of nine: PrincessHolland America or Carnival. Pick a brand, pick a North American cruise…and that’s what a woman from Red Bud, Illinois — Bette Shapiro — will be doing. Presumably, she gets to pick any cruise she wants, although Carnival hasn’t specified if it has to be 7 days…or if it can be to Hawaii (that is North America, after all)…or if it can be through the Panama Canal

It’s likely this matters little to Bette Shapiro, because she is going cruising once a year at no cost to her for the rest of her life.

Not that it really matters, but nobody’s giving Ms Shapiro’s age.

Today at portsandbows.com: The new Costa Diadema

Grand Princess
7 nights
May 23, 2015
Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord, Anchorage
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $92

The Changing World Of Godmothers

Remember when being the godmother of a cruise ship was an honor reserved for celebrities, royalty or others who were already enjoying some measure of fame?

Times have changed.

Today is a “reality world.”

Acknowledging that, and in partnership with Travel Weekly, Royal Caribbean is going to have what might be called the cruise world’s first “reality godmother” when Anthem of the Seas is launched in April. This ship’s godmother will be a singing travel agent.


Really. Also, reality.

Here’s how it will work:

Travel agents (women only) can apply by submitting a short video clip of their singing ability. They’ll choose from a list of 19 songs. The list of potential godmothers will be trimmed to five by a panel of three judges who will watch the videos. The five finalists will sing for the judges and the winner will — after a little voice coaching — appear at the ships’ christening where she will sing the anthem.

Anthem, get it?

The winner will also sing at Travel Weekly’s Agent Achievement Awards and win a cruise-for-two on Anthem of the Seas. The winner will also enjoy at least 15 minutes of fame, or royalty, or celebrity, or all of the above.

So far, nobody’s saying that this will turn into an award-winning, long-running TV show that they’ll call Cruising Idol.

Today at portsandbows.com: Foodie new for Oceania fans

Holland American Maasdam
25 nights
March 13, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): St. Thomas, St. Barts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, Bonaire, Curacao, Half Moon Cay, Fort Lauderdale, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, St. Vincent, Barbados, Fort-de-France, St. Croix, Half Moon Cay
Inside: $1,349
Cost per day: $53

New Norwegian ships 'Escape' and 'Bliss' results of 100,000 votes in five countries

As the number of cruise ships in the world grows, naming them becomes an issue. Every cruise line wants to come up with something unique, catchy and consistent with the brand it is trying to establish. Is any cruise line doing a better job of that than Norwegian, which yesterday announced its next two ships would be called Escape and Bliss?

Until now, these ships were simply identified as Breakaway Plus because that's the ship class into which they will be slotted. The names comes from a two-week Facebook contest Norwegian conducted last month, among customers from five countries. The results were based on 100,000 votes, one of which landed a cruise for two on the first ship's (Escape) inaugural, including airfare.

The winner, also announced on Facebook, was Nicole Cannon.

While cruise lines search for names that are different, since 2010 this aggressive line has built or committed to build five new ships. If nothing else the names are all unique to the industry: Epic (2010), Breakaway (2013), Getaway (2014), Escape (2015) and Bliss (2017). This fleet expansion will take Norwegian from 10 ships to 15, barring any sales of older ships.

There are no other major cruise lines with ships of those names, and the last four all fit the branding of "getting away" or "escaping" on a "blissful" cruise. Meanwhile, here are the names of other new ships since 2010:

Royal Caribbean: Allure (2010), Quantum (2014), Anthem (2015), "Oasis 3" and to be named later (2016)

Carnival: Magic (2011), Breeze (2012) and Sunshine (rebuilt Destiny, 2013)

Disney: Dream (2011), Fantasy (2012)

Oceania: Marina (2011), Riviera (2012)

Princess: Royal (2013), Regal (2014)

Holland America: Nieuw Amsterdam (2010)

So, which cruise line do you think is most unique, catchy and consistent in the name department?

Carnival Valor
7 nights
March 2 2014
San Juan (return): St. ThomasBarbadosSt. LuciaSt. KittsSt. Maarten
Inside: $409
Cost per day: $58

Fun Ships Want Family of Brits

Our research department came across a humorous item involving Carnival and Brits. The cruise line was looking for Britain's "funniest" family to sample its ships and on-board experiences, and report back.

It seems that British families have a misconception about the industry's "Fun Ships" as Carnival likes to call its fleet. The cruise line wants to make sure it delivers what that segment of its market is expecting.

The successful family "will love active, fun-filled holidays and be as comfortable relaxing by the pool as they are racing down waterslides” and it will help if the father tells good jokes. Funniest, right?

Our encounters with British friends is that they are meticulously clever, articulate and entertaining. But funny? Do you know anybody this side of Monty Python to inspire a belly laugh?

If you do, they can enter to win a 9-day Mediterranean cruise on the Carnival Sunshine, now that it has been refurbished by 3,500 workers and $155 million…and re-named. After delivering their "funny" file they can do the same thing on the Carnival Breeze when it sails from Miami to the Bahamas. Relax, teachers, the cruise is during school holidays.

It was about this time of writing that the research department checked in with an update. That should be Carnival is looking for Britain's "funnest" family. The "i" was in the research department's "eye."

However, Carnival's going to have a problem. Brits won't understand. In the Oxford Dictionary, to which all educated British people subscribe, there is no such word as "funnest."

Guess what word comes closest?


Carnival Valor
7 nights
August 25, 2013
San Juan (return): St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten
Inside: $419
Cost per day: $59

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