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Cruising Robots And Fruit Flies

Signs of the cruise apocalypse…or just interesting anecdotes about cruising:

The r2d2 effect

In case you thought you would only see this on the big screens playing the record-breaking latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens, guess again. If next year you’re on a Costa ship, as we were fortunate to be this year, there’s a good chance you’ll be talking to a robot. And the robot will be talking to you.

Costa Cruises will begin placing “emotional robots” on its ships after New Year’s, starting with the Diadema and the AIDAprima, a Costa brand. The robot’s name is Pepper and he, Diademashe or it will greet passengers as they board and help them find their way to restaurants and entertainment.

Pepper is apparently the world’s first robot capable of recognizing major human emotions and responding accurately in real time. So we are officially in the “talk with a robot” age.

The people who will be most nervous about hearing this news?

Walmart greeters.

21st century X-rays

A few years ago, we met a scientist who was commissioned to dissect the brain of a fruit fly, so we know that with fruit flies anything is possible.

Even X-rays.

That’s what is happening at four New Zealand cruise ports. A mobile X-ray machine is X-raymachinebeing installed to keep destructive pests from infesting the country…not rats or bats or snakes, but the dreaded Queensland fruit fly.

Areas near Auckland have been under strict restrictions to prevent the Australian pest from disembarking. To that end, the “biosecurity” machines will X-ray the bags of 260,000 or so cruise passengers next year to make certain there is no fruit inside that could be carrying the fruit fly to shore. Presumably, passengers will be warned about putting apples and oranges in their pockets and purses before leaving the ship.

The object is to make New Zealand “fruit fly free.”

In the news…

• Empress of the Seas returning to Royal Caribbean after 8-year absence
• Costa back in Port Everglades for winter season with the Deliziosa
• New 62-passenger Crystal Esprit christened in the Seychelles

Today at portsandbows.comOceania kicks off Wave Season


Vision of the Seas
7 nights
April 9, 2016
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $560
Cost per day: $80
www.royalcaribbean.com

Brothers In Arms On Disney Ship?

 

This is about two brothers, born 13 months apart in the ’70s. 

The elder of the two became an advocate of Star Wars. Actually, advocacy is too weak a word. He became a Star Wars fanatic, to the point that to this day he still buys light sabers. Invite him to a masquerade party and he’ll find a Darth Vader costume.

The younger of the two went a slightly different direction, as brothers so close in age are wont to do. His passion became Disney…anything Disney. He grew up wishing upon stars, and even got a job at Disney World. There, he met his wife-to-be.

Despite their fanatical differences, today they are as close as two brothers living 1,500 miles apart can be. Next year, however, they may become even closer.

image001Star Wars is going on a Disney cruise.

Maybe they will, too.

When the Disney Dream emerges from dry-dock in October, it will have a Star Wars-themed area added to its Oceaneer Club, including its own Millennium Falcon. It’s for kids 3 to 12, so the elder brother may have a little trouble sneaking in but, hey, he does have a light saber. The refurbished Dream’s first cruise will be October 26 from Port Canaveral to the Bahamas.

There’s another Star Wars option (and likely more in the planning stages)…

For at least eight sailing in the first four months of 2016, there will be a Star Wars Day At Sea on the Disney Fantasy, during a one-week cruise to the Western Caribbean. Passengers will have the opportunity to experience The Force in a galaxy far far away, to meet characters like Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Darth himself, to participate in Stars Wars activities and to watch the only at-sea screenings of Episode VII. If you don’t known what Episode VII is, then you also don’t know anybody with December 18 blocked off on their movie calendars to be among the millions planning to watch the first on-land screening of what is this year’s most-anticipated big-screen event.

For the elder brother, the magnet at sea is Star Wars. For the younger…Disney Dream…Disney Fantasy…Disney anything.

Big Brother has an added incentive: He never did forgive his parents for selling his Millennium Falcon in a garage sale.

Today at portsandbows.com: The world's third-largest ship coming

Holland America Zaandam
17 nights
September 20, 2015
Vancouver, Honolulu, Nawiliwili, Lahaina, Kona, Hilo, San Diego
Inside: $1,899
Cost per day: $111
www.hollandamerica.com

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