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New Ship No. 1 — Viking Sea

First in a series of new ships for 2016

Ship-SeaThe first new ship of 2016 will set sail the first week of April and the category it falls into is “A tough act to follow.” If the Viking Sea is, in fact, a clone of last year’s Viking Star then it will be a winner out of the gate. The Star was ship-of-the-year in the eyes of most experts and it will be interesting to see if they feel the same way about another Viking ocean ship now that they’ve seen one.

Launch date: April 4

Capacity: 930

Sister ships: Viking Star

Maiden voyage: Istanbul to Venice (9 days)

Home port: None

Ships then in Viking Ocean fleet: 2

Interesting: Like its predecessor, the Sea will be more about ports than sea days, visiting some places where bigger ships don’t fit. Despite that, Viking trumpets its “unique onboard experience” — generally larger rooms (270 square feet) that all have verandahs, two pools including an infinity pool looking out to sea, a Nordic-style spa and books and speakers to enrich your knowledge while sitting in “tasteful, understated elegance.” Like the Star, it’s expected to deliver a high level of all-inclusiveness from Wi-Fi to cappuccinos to shore excursions (one) in every port to wine and spirits with meals. This Sea is designed to be a Star.

In the news…

• Port Everglades breaks single-day record by 120 with 53,485 passengers
• Two new, big Costa ships heading for Asian market for 2019 and 2020
• Holland America, Carnival lead inspections — six ships perfect in 2015

Today at portsandbows.comCarnival Corporation’s big ship order


Holland America Eurodam
14 nights
March 27, 2016
Fort Lauderdale, Funchal, Cadiz, Malaga, Cartagena, Barcelona
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $49
www.hollandamerica.com

Cruise Internships For ‘Students’

Call it an industry within an industry. Or call it an opportunity to see distant shores and get paid. Or just call it an unbelievable opportunity.

‘It’ is a cruise internship.

The industry has grown to the point that there are websites dedicated to helping students who are looking for an internship in the cruise business, which probably shouldn’t be a surprise since there are websites dedicated to…well, you name it. For those of us with some vintage, it’s like turning the clock back a few decades and wishing these things were available then.

Of the internships we’ve been reading about — most of them cater to young people attending maritime schools or wanting to work in the hospitality business — one jumped out.

The one from CroisiEurope.

Yes, right, who really has heard of CroisiEurope. More about that later. First, the opportunity…

CroisiEurope has a three-month internship (just one) for a student who is “passionate 7743_12_90_0_phpLZa2otabout travel and has a knack for photography and writing…”

Aha, a future cruise blogger!

“…to explore 14 countries across Europe and Asia aboard 10 ships as they develop their writing and photography skills.”

One student only, from the U.S. or Canada. Applications close in three weeks, on March 22. Here’s the link: Photo Tour Internship.

CroisiEurope?

It’s billed as the largest river cruise line in Europe, with 41 ships (hmm, Viking had 52 last year). CroisiEurope is going to be 40 years old next year. It has ferried more than 200,000 passengers along the rivers of Europe and Asia. It’s a family-owned business, launched in 1976 by Frenchman Gérard Schmitter. It claims to have the “best value in river cruises at great prices.”

While comparing rivers and ships is not an exact science, we found a CroisiEurope “Romantic Rhine” cruise in July starting at $250 per day and a Viking “Romantic Danube” cruise in the same month starting at just over $335 per day.

All of which makes “cruise internship” even better.

For students, that is. However, there’s no age restriction.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
15 nights
April 11, 2015
Tampa, Key West, Funchal, Gibraltar, Malaga, Barcelona
Inside: $599
Cost per day: $39
www.royalcaribbean.com

New in 2015 — Viking Star

Second in a series about new ships

This is what happens when river-ship people get into the ocean-ship business. Viking River Cruises is about to become just Viking Cruises (on the water) and what makes this first crossover venture a game-changer that will be watched world-wide is that all suites on the Star (270 square feet minimum) have balconies and cruises will depart late at night or stay over in ports.

Launch date: April 11

Capacity: 930

Sister ships: To come — Viking Sea and Viking Sky, both in 2016

Maiden voyage: Istanbul to Venice in nine days

Home port: Do river ships even have homes?

Ships then in Viking ocean fleet: 1

Interesting: Small by ocean standards, the Star comes out of the gate with a whopping 49-day cruise…yes, it can be broken into sections. The ship emphasizes simplicity, with gathering places named The Restaurant, The Kitchen Table and The Living Room. Several of the company's popular riverboat features are included — the Aquavit Terrace and an alfresco dining venue — and Viking is taking its commitment connecting customers and destinations to a new level by going ocean. With fewer than 1,000 passengers, the Star’s likely to feel spacious.

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Carnival Conquest
6 nights
March 1, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Key WestGrand CaymanCozumel
Inside: $329
Cost per day: $54
www.carnival.com

Nov. 11: Remembering Audie Murphy

Audie MurphyYesterday was a day for remembering war vets. In Canada, people wear poppies and attend services, and poppy sales were at an all-time high this year. In the U.S., war heroes are celebrated and the never-ending list of people serving in the Armed Services are saluted.

People like Audie Murphy.

Who's Audie Murphy?

There are probably two generations of North Americans who haven't a clue, including many from our generation. Those who have heard of him likely think of the Hollywood actor who for two decades played mostly cowboy type roles on the big screen, which meant his real story as a soldier was lost on many.

Not on Viking Cruises.

One of the shore excursions on one of the Viking itineraries includes a trip to the Audie Murphy Memorial. That would be in France, near a small town called Holtzwihr. The people of Holtzwihr — there are fewer than 2,000 living there today Holtzwihr Memorial to Audie L. Murphy— never forgot him. Thirteen years ago, they built the memorial. An American hero, an American movie star, a soldier's soldier as they say…celebrated to this day in the French countryside where he lived what might be called the day he became a legend.

And speaking of legends…the most popular one is that he held off, injured and killed dozens of enemy soldiers that day, almost single-handedly. He climbed onto a burning German tank, turned it on the enemy and held them at bay until he ran out of ammunition, returning on a wounded leg to his company, which he then led into battle. It was one of the turning-point battles in World War II.

Murphy was decorated with every known military combat medal and award for courage and valor — 33 of them. He was wounded three times. After returning from France at age 21, he suffered mightily from what today is known as PTSD. He died at age 45 in a plane crash in Virginia, 43 years ago.

Yesterday was a reminder to remember him, as a symbol of war veterans — all gave some, some gave all.

Viking Cruises is part of that.

- Photo of Audie Murphy Memorial by Conrad SickowViking Prestige

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival's unique and upgraded WiFi

Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas
8 nights
January 16, 2015
Baltimore (return): Port Canaveral, Nassau, CocoCay, Key West
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $62
www.royalcaribbean.com

About The Laying Of A New Cruise Ship's Keel…

Having never seen the laying of a keel on a cruise ship, we were intrigued by the opportunity to watch the procedure online. It was courtesy of Viking, the river cruise line that's soon to be an ocean cruise line, once its Viking Star is in the water next year.

If you're interested, click here: vikingcruises.com.

It only takes two minutes but be forewarned: about 25 seconds of it is devoted to the "breath-taking moment" — the laying of the keel. The rest is information and Star-keel layingface time for Viking owner Torstein Hagen, whose vision it was to add a 928-passenger ship to the worldwide fleet.

The Viking Star will be an evolution of sorts. Billed as "the ship our river passengers inspired us to build" it hopes to fill one of the remaining niche markets that still exists on the ocean.

And by the way, the Star is sold out for 2015.

Holland America Statendam
7 nights
September 21, 2014
Vancouver (return): Juneau, Skagway, Tracy Arm, Ketchikan
Inside: $529
Cost per day: $75
www.hollandamerica.com

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