Tag-Archive for » New York «

The Modern Problem Of Picking A Port

With each day, and each violent activity often linked to terrorism, reasonable people who like to travel get even more reasonable. Or concerned. Or paranoid. Or even scared.

Pick an adverb. The uncertainty of traveling abroad — be it in one direction to Europe or in the other to Asia — understandably may leave North Americans more likely to pick a cruise ship departing and returning to a North American port. Not that there are any guarantees that doing so will keep you from being an unsuspecting victim of terrorism.

But even seasoned travelers are at least having second thoughts. Why fly internationally to get on a cruise if you can fly domestically, or better yet drive or take ground transportation to a port of departure?

This is good (okay, more comforting) news for cruise lines with ships that primarily visit the Caribbean, or assorted other warm-weather spots in the Western Hemisphere. Since a Caribbean cruise still out-ranks all others, that would be most of them, yet many have shifted their investments — and some of their ships — to Asia the last couple of years, which in today’s world could mean counting on a local (Asian) clientele.

For North Americans, there is no shortage of options. A quick count shows that there are 21 cruise homeports in this continent: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Port Canaveral, Tampa, Jacksonville, New Orleans, Galveston, Houston, Charleston, Baltimore, Norfolk, Bayonne, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Vancouver, Anchorage, Boston, San Diego, Seattle, Montreal.

So if you’re an avid cruiser who’s reluctant to fly afar to get to a ship, pick a port.

You may find many kindred spirits.

In the news…

• Two biggest ships (both Royal Caribbean) in southern hemisphere meeting in Sydney

Today at portsandbows.comChristmas markets with Viking in Europe

Norwegian Getaway
7 nights
December 13, 2015
Miami (return): Great Stirrup Cay, Ocho Rios, George Town, Cozumel
Inside: $649
Cost per day: $92

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

Friday File: Memories of 9/11

It was 14 years ago today that the world changed forever. The twin towers of New York crumbled into dust and debris, taking down with them close to 3,000 lives. Cruise passengers who've been to New York in succeeding years have been among the visitors who've had a change to watch the rebuilding of the World Trade Center, or the space it occupied. It wasn't a cruise that took us there, it was a cruise press conference about Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas, and we seized the opportunity to walk down to Wall Street and see, though still incomplete at the time, the re-construction and the memories of 9/11…


The Freedom Tower, erected in defiance of freedom lost that sunny September day.

9/11 tree

From the rubble, The Survivor Tree, nurtured back to life and replanted in 2010.


One of the two reflecting pools, for “reflecting absence” and built where each tower stood.


Nearly 3,000 names, plus victims with names to come, carved into the walls around the pools.


The new site is among the millions of places where security is now commonplace.

6-WTC-2-Michael Mahesh
-Photo by Michael Mahesh
Today’s New York skyline, the Freedom Tower reaching far above its neighbours.

In the news…

• Royal Caribbean plans $100-million Miami port for biggest ships by 2018
• Coming on Norwegian Escape: Lacoste and Carolina Herrera boutiques

Today at portsandbows.com: About time to check up on Down Under

Celebrity Silhouette
7 nights
December 6, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts
Inside: $596
Cost per day: $85

Deal Too Good, Too Late To Be True

Normally, we let our “Daily Deal” deliver some value cruises for you to consider but once in a while there’s something extraordinary that deserves an even better treatment…A couple Allureof days ago we had one — you do notice that’s past tense, right?…It was a Transatlantic trip on Allure of the Seas, the (starting) price was $659 with 50 per cent off for the second guest, plus up to $200 for an on-board credit…For 12 days, it worked out to less than $50 a day on one of the two biggest cruise ships in the world, as long as bookings were made by January 31…Well, guess what?…Today is January 20, and it’s no longer available…Obviously, eagle-eyed consumers snapped up the rooms but it does leave you wondering how many Royal Caribbean made available in the promotion.

Now here’s a clever idea: When the AIDAsol arrived in Vietnam this week, immigration AIDAsolofficials boarded the ship at Buoy 1, three hours before docking at Tan Cang-Cai Mep, to process the 2,176 passengers, most of them German…By the time the AIDA ship reached the port, the process was finished and passengers were able to disembark right away…On their most recent health inspections, in Fort Lauderdale, two Holland America ships — the Noordam and the Zuiderdam — were perfect (100) in scores by the Centers for Disease Control.

The line-up for the Olympics has begun…The Norwegian Getaway is first in the line-up of cruise ships for Rio de Janeiro, where the Summer Games will be staged in 2016…The Getaway will be impersonating a hotel from August 5-21 next year, just like its smaller Getawaysibling, the Jade, did at the 2012 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia…With a capacity close to 4,000, the Getaway will help take some of the stress off Rio’s hotels, at the same time providing its “passengers” with luxurious accommodation and presumably earning a few “reals” — you didn’t know that’s what Brazilian currency was called, did you? — for the cruise line…The Getaway has experience at this, having served as a floating hotel at last year’s Super Bowl in New York…It doesn’t hurt that Getaway’s ambiance and treatment are decidedly Spanish.

Super BowlFile this one in the “When Will It End?” drawer…In a major Canadian newspaper (Toronto Star) there was a story about Carnival’s advertising on TV during the Super Bowl next week, and the second paragraph read: “Carnival, of course, is the line whose ship, Triumph, became a PR disaster in early 2013, when it got stuck at sea for almost a week due to an engine fire”…Seriously?…That was two years ago and, after all the things Carnival has done to restore its public stature, the cruise line hardly needed a Super Bowl ad to make image amends.

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival's latest technology

Carnival Triumph
10 nights
February 20, 2015
San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, St. Kitts, St. Croix, Falmouth, Galveston
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $54

New York: 'Hello, Quantum of the Seas'

It was just over a year ago that the world was “introduced” to Quantum of the Seas in New York. The quotation marks are because what those of us who were in Manhattan that day saw was conceptual. Drawings, artistic conceptions, videos and promises by Royal Kristin ChenowethCaribbean CEO Richard Fain that it would be the most technologically astute ship the cruise world had ever seen. Only its Godmother, the personable actress Kristin Chenoweth, was real.

Yesterday, the real Quantum of the Seas arrived in New York.

On board was the Godmother, of course. On board was the North Star, extending 300 feet vertically once the ship cleared the Verrazano Bridge to show off its most visual technology advance to the folks in The Big Apple as Quantum of the Seas detoured around New York Harbor and past the Statue of Liberty before heading back to the “other” Liberty (Cape Liberty), its New Jersey home. On board were dignitaries and media types and, yes, real passengers for Quantum’s authentic maiden cruise, from Southampton.

This is the third-largest cruise ship in the world — behind its sisters Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. It can carry close to 5,000 passengers, or about 1,000 fewer than the North Starsiblings. It has innovations that include a chance for its passengers to go sky diving (simulated), to ride bumper cars, to board it in 10 minutes using digital technology and to buy drinks from a robot at one of its bars.

The irony in all of this is that New Yorkers needn’t get too attached to Quantum of the Seas. After the christening ceremony on Friday, she’ll only be with them for six months before heading to her “permanent” home in Singapore, to be replaced on the shores of New Jersey by a reasonable facsimile, Anthem of the Seas.

That, it’s said, will not be a “quantum” leap.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Norwegian Sun
7 nights
November 30, 2014
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $269
Cost per day: $38

  • Categories

  • Archives