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Pacific Paradise A Windstar Specialty

If there is one lasting introduction to the paradise that exits in the warmth of the Pacific Ocean, at least for those of us who were around in the ‘50s, that image is the movie-musical-TV film called South Pacific.

The story was based on a 1947 book by James Michener, and it spawned a Broadway musical two years later and a big-screen movie nine years after that. Almost seven decades later, the musical still comes and goes on stages around the world.

South PacificWhat never goes away is the image from a poster or an album cover of a world with which we were not familiar at that time.

The South Pacific.

Fast forward to today. Windstar Cruises announced this week it will be making continuous, year-round voyages to the South Pacific. Not content to whet customers’ appetites with its Dreams of Tahiti trips, Windstar will be extending itineraries to include the Tuamotu Islands. Who knows what or where the Tuamotu Islands are, but it doesn’t really matter because they’re in the South Pacific?

Lots of cruises ships criss-cross through that part of the ocean, going to and coming from Australia. Only the Wind Spirit will be there, week after week, starting next May 26. The cruises are from Papeete, return, and the cost starts at $3,000 so it’s not for the faint of wallet. All the cruises stop at Moorea, DCIM101GOPROTahaa, Raiatea, Huahine and Bora Bora — again, it doesn’t matter — and four times a year that’s extended to include the Tuamotus.

Apparently the Wind Spirit, which will have its 73 staterooms renovated before setting sail in May, is the perfect ship for touring around French Polynesia and not just because it was built in France. With six sails, it’s ideal for the warm breezes that power its billowing sails.

In reality, for some of us, the perfect ship is one that sails in the South Pacific. Period. That’s the magnet that draws us to paradise…just like the picture on the album cover.

Today at portsandbows.com: Think summer with Holland America

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas
7 nights
January 3, 2015
New Orleans (return): FalmouthGrand CaymanCozumel
Oceanview: $464
Cost per day: $66
www.royalcaribbean.com

The Majors: Cruise Ship Roll Call

Those of us who write about cruising sometimes take for granted that those of you who read about cruising are as familiar with cruise lines and cruise ships as we try to be. We assume that you know how many ships Carnival has, which new ship will be next for Royal Caribbean, and what the biggest ship is in the Norwegian fleet.

So we thought it might be interesting to give you a little clarity…and brush up on it ourselves!

What follows is a list of the mainstream lines, accompanied by a little comparative information, as a snapshot. They are listed alphabetically. Call it a cruise scorecard…

Carnival

Ships in fleet — 23

Magic

Biggest ship — Magic (3,720)
Oldest ship — Fantasy (1990)
Newest ship — Breeze (2012)*
Next new ship — Vista (2016)
* Sunshine (2013) rebuilt from Destiny

Celebrity

Ships in fleet — 11
ReflectionBiggest ship — Reflection (3,046
Oldest ship — Century (1995)*
Newest ship — Reflection (2012
Next new ship — None announced
** Leaving fleet next year

Holland America

Ships in fleet — 15***
Nieuw AmsterdamBiggest ship — Nieuw Amsterdam (2,106)
Oldest ship — Prinsendam (1988)
Newest ship — Nieuw Amsterdam (2010)
Next new ship — Koningsdam (2016)
*** Two ships leaving next year

Norwegian

Ships in fleet — 13
Breakaway-Dick ElbersBiggest ship — Breakaway (4,500)
Oldest ship — Spirit (2000)
Newest ship — Getaway (2014)
Next new ship — Escape (2015)

Princess

Ships in fleet — 18
RoyalBiggest ship — Royal Princess (3,600)
Oldest ship — Sun Princess (1995)
Newest ship — Regal Princess (2014)
Next new ship — No name yet (2017)

Royal Caribbean

Ships in fleet — 22
Oasis of the SeasBiggest ships — Oasis/Allure of the Seas (6,360)
Oldest ship — Monarch of the Seas (1991)
Newest ship — Allure of the Seas (2010)
Next new ship — Quantum of the Seas (November)

Those are the “Big Six” of major cruise lines, because they the most passengers.

Another day, the upscale and specialty lines.

-Norwegian Breakaway photo by Dick Elbers

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Celebrity Solstice
17 nights
October 5, 2014
Honolulu, Lahaina, Papeete, Bora Bora, Auckland, Bay of Islands, Sydney
Inside: $1,199
Cost per day: $70
www.celebritycruises.com

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