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Princess Cruising With Cat Greenleaf

Maybe we’ve been living under a rock, but we’d never heard of Cat Greenleaf. Or maybe it’s because in the morning our TV station of choice is CNN, not NBC. Or maybe it’s just because we don’t live in New York, or go to the Emmys.

So finding out something about Cat Greenleaf was…interesting.

Our motivation was that Princess Cruises is sharing — with anybody who cares to watch — a series of videos with the host of Talk Stoop, an Emmy Award-winning interview show with more than 12 million viewers, or more than live in New York City, her home. The videos are about the first cruise for her family: husband Mike, two small boys and mother-in-law (aka, babysitter).

There are 20 of them — don’t be intimidated, they’re short — and they’re well-done, because Princess always seems to do things well…or even better. They highlight all the good things about what first-time cruisers (and sometimes long-time cruisers) experience Cat Greenleaf-2in booking, sailing, enjoying and leaving a ship. It’s not clear which Princess ship this television celebrity was on, but it was the Regal Princess, which carries “5,000 people” — 3,500 plus crew.

That Princess came up with the idea is impressive. 

This is a multi-racial, two-parents-who-work family with a career-driven life that’s too busy to escape on a week-long cruise. Or has been. Sound familiar? There are many such families these days, so Princess is tapping into a large segment of what is already a large segment — first-time cruisers. We can assume, because this was a promotion for the cruise line, that this busy family didn’t pay for the cruise and that, in return, Princess got exactly what it wants the rest of us to see.

For people who have cruised a lot, a couple of things were intriguing. Who knew that a ship like this has 300 routers positioned in all corners to accommodate Wi-Fi? Did Cat Greenleaf really hurt her foot, necessitating a trip to the ship’s doctor and an opportunity to talk about the “hospitals” at sea? And how did she manage to wander through the kitchen without wearing one of those antiseptic white coats the rest of us have worn on kitchen visits?

But the concept is clever, to say the least, and Princess did a service not just for its brand but for the entire industry with this first-person, one-person videos to let the rest of the world in on why cruising is the vacation choice of millions. Plus, it’s good for Cat Greenleaf far beyond a happy cruise experience, because now she has more people who know of her and Talk Stoop.

At least two.

In the news…

• Anthem of the Seas makes Martinique port call amid joy, sorrow, silence
• Celebrity Exclipse to return to Southampton for seventh straight summer
• Top-selling romance book authors on Princess Valentine's Day cruise

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival and craft beer


Celebrity Equinox
14 nights
April 15, 2016
Fort Lauderdale (return): Ponta Delgada, Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Alicante, Barcelona
Inside: $899
Cost per day: $64
www.celebritycruises.com

Which Ships Are Best…And To Where?

Because they're so subjective, cruise ship awards and surveys can be construed as somewhat meaningless, not to mention redundant. Whose "best cruise ship carrying more than 3,000 passengers in the Caribbean on the third Saturdays of January" means the most. (Weak attempt at humor.)

So when Cruise Critic reveals its latest Cruisers' Choice Awards, as it did this week, you have to take it with a grain of salt…as our buddy Phil Reimer did at Ports and Bows by pointing out in today's blog there's a "caveat" at play here.

Having said all that, there's one category in the Cruise Critic awards that we hadn't seen before, which doesn't necessarily mean that it wasn't there.

Destination ships.

That's not which ships are destinations, as Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas — and no doubt their followers — are sometimes called. It's which ships are considered the best ones to take going to or from different parts of the cruising universe. Clever. Helpful even, for the first time cruisers who would like something — anything — to help them decide on which ship to sail to the Caribbean.

Rhapsody of the SeasGoing to Alaska?

Cruise Critic readers recommend Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas (right).

Bahamas?

The Disney Dream.

Caribbean?

Disney Fantasy.

Mediterranean?

Celebrity Silhouette.

Sailing from the Northeast?

Try Explorer of the Seas, from Bayonne, New Jersey.

Across the ocean out of England?

Celebrity Eclipse.

From Florida?

Disney's Fantasy, again.

From the West Coast?

Sapphire Princess.

Nobody says why these ships are the best ion category, of course, so if you buy into the thinking it's because so many people picked these ships.

Just remember one thing.

It is subjective.

Sapphire Princess
4 nights
March 19, 2014 
Los Angeles (return): Catalina IslandEnsenada
Inside: $329
Cost per day: $82
www.princess.com

Cruise Educating on a Golf Course

I was playing golf with three friends a couple of weeks ago, and the subject of cruises came up on the 13th tee. I know it was the 13th because after the way I played the 12th, I was looking to change the subject.

Only one of my friends had been on a cruise, and he was lamenting the cost of flying to Europe, sailing around the North Sea and taking the North Atlantic route back to New York.

As the other two asked questions about cruising, I had to interject and point out, all the while insisting I was being unbiased, the value of going on a cruise.

“Remember,” I said, “if you take an 18-day trip like our pal did, it includes 18 hotel-room nights, 18 days of eating [that's 108 meals, plus whatever else you want, whenever you want it], and as many as 18 days of entertainment. If you take out the air fare, how much would you spend on equivalent meals, equivalent lodging and equivalent entertainment…not that anybody is likely to do that 18 times in 18 days.”

One of the non-cruisers replied: “Hmmm.”

I think I was making some headway.

It made me think that sometimes, because the all-inclusiveness of the price, it sounds like a lot of money to first-timers…or non-timers. No 18-day vacation is cheap — unless you go camping, and I won’t even go there, because I’d be going alone — but it does need some perspective for people who’ve never been on a cruise ship.

And I didn’t even get around to mentioning the places you visit in 18 days.

Review from Rookies of the Seas

We met a nice young couple — distant cousins, actually — a few days ago and in the course of conversation heard the story of three cruising rookies: Mom, Dad and six-year-old son. They were recruited for their maiden voyage last year by friends who also had a six-year-old and, frankly, they didn’t really know what to expect.

They were blown away.

It happened that their ship of choice (make that their friends’ ship of choice) was the Norwegian Star, and the cruise was down the Pacific Coast. On the surface, they wouldn’t know the Star from the Oasis of the Seas, unless somebody (like their distant cousins) told them the NCL ship was a peanut compared to the biggest cruise ship in the world.

They loved the kids’ program. They loved the food. They loved the atmosphere. In short, they loved the experience.

There were a few small “n” negatives. Paying for soda pop was a surprise, although none of them is much for sodas anyway. The kids’ pool could have been bigger, and had areas that they’d have preferred were less slippery. That was about it.

When you’re not a nice “young” couple and you’ve been on “a few” cruises, sometimes you forget what it was like the first time, as is the case with many things in life. So it’s refreshing to hear what first-time cruisers with no preconceived expectations and no vested interest have to say about their inaugural trip on the seas.

What these rookies say is…they’ll be back.

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