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Friday File: Caribbean Calling In Winter

In case the resident weather systems haven’t prompted you to look south — or anywhere — for a break from mid-winter, this is a good time to drool over some of the luscious, hot, picturesque, sandy, enticing places you can visit when you take a Caribbean cruise. And if that doesn’t tempt you to book one…well, maybe you’re just content to stay home and shovel!

Before departureIs there a more photographic rock formation than at Cabo San Lucas?

St. MaartenIt seems everybody has a boat in the popular port of St. Maarten

TulumGazing at the Gulf of Mexico from the Maya ruins of Tulum, Mexico

Cayman IslandsA watering hole called Paradise in the Grand Cayman Islands

Mahogany BayPrivacy is available at beautiful Mahogany Bay in Roatan, Honduras

CozumelThis pretty part of Cozumel is worth taking a drive to the north shore

In the news…

• Norwegian Edge: 2-year, $400-million refurbishing program for 9 ships
• Holland America’s new brand campaign called ‘Savour The Journey’
• Sea trials complete for Holland America’s new 2,650-passenger Koningsdam

Today at portsandbows.comRefurbishing the Carnival Inspiration

Holland America Maasdam
7 nights
April 19, 2016
Fort Lauderdale (return): Half Moon Cay, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman, Cozumel
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78

Merry Christmas! Season’s Greetings!

Cruise pictures that require no description at this time of year, other than to accompany them with wishes for peace, happiness and safe cruising…


Canuck Place

119_4646 copy


Christmas decorations in Progreso

celebrity reflection


Holland America Noordam
14 nights
February 13, 2016
Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin, Melbourne, Burnie, Eden, Sydney
Inside: $999
Cost per day: $71

Friday File: Faces Of Ports

Cruise ports always like to put on their best faces when welcoming ships that carry thousands of visitors, and “best faces” can be the welcome that awaits when you disembark. It could be a sign, or dancers, or a scenic harbor or something else created by Mother Nature. Today’s Friday File takes in all of that, from ports we visited for the first time…

Cayman Islands

Once there were pirates on Grand Cayman Island…now there are beaches and wonderful people and a place called Hell, worth the trip from Georgetown. No pirates.


Imagine seeing water as clear as this from the balcony of a cruise ship! This was in Roatan, Honduras and one of the nicest “environmental” welcomes we’ve ever seen.

Grand Bahama

One of the many friendly cruise-ship stops in the Bahamas is Freeport in Grand Bahama Island, where the locals wanted to see if we could proof-read their sign.


There’s a good reason why this port might make you think of the Netherlands…it’s colorful Curacao in what until 2010 was known as the Netherland Antilles.


The unmistakable, natural entrance to Cabo San Lucas is possibly the most photographed rock formation in all of Mexico, which has thousands of them.

Grand Turk

You could say there’s nothing especially warm about this entrance to Grand Turk in the Caribbean, except that entrances to every Caribbean port are warm!


Labadee is likely a place that would never be heard of if not for the fact Royal Caribbean made it a private port for “of the Seas” ships to put it on the map.

In the news…

• Norway-owned Hurtigruten cruise line going inland (the Amazon) for the first time
• Eight coins welded into keel in otherwise traditional ceremony for the Silver Muse

Today at Azamara unveils itineraries three years early

Norwegian Sky
3 nights
January 22, 2016
Miami (return): Grand Bahama lsland, Nassau, Great Stirrup Cay
Inside: $269
Cost per day: $89

Friday File: The Princess Celebration

Yesterday was the big day for Princess Cruises, which has had many big days over the last 50 years. Yesterday being December 3, it was the actual 50th anniversary of the first Princess cruise — Los Angeles to Mexico on the Princess Patricia. It was also the first day of the cruise to re-create that first itinerary, this time on the Pacific Princess. That was the name of The Love Boat that is credited with bringing cruising to the masses, but this is a more recent iteration, one that joined the fleet in 2002. The original Pacific Princess is long gone but her memories were ever-present yesterday at the 50th Anniversary bash in Southern California…

Princess Cruises celebrates their 50th Anniversary with the original cast of The Love Boat aboard Pacific Princess at the Port of Los Angeles on Thurs., Dec. 3, 2015, in San Pedro, Calif. (Photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Princess Cruises/AP Images)

It’s been 29 years since The Love Boat’s nine-year reign ended on prime time television but six members of the cast were on hand yesterday: Bernie Kopell (Doc), Fred Frandy (Gopher), Ted Lange (Isaac), Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Lauren Tewes (Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki Stubing).

Princess Patricia

The ship that started it all, the Princess Patricia, which sailed the Mexican Riviera on the first week of December 1965.

Pacific Princess-1

It was the original Pacific Princess that became The Love Boat and made a TV show, a crew of actors and the cruise industry famous.

Royal Princess-Kate

Two years ago, Kate the Duchess of Cambridge christened the Royal Princess to join the family of Princess Godmothers — which includes Princess Diana.

2015 Princess Rose Parade Float Photo by Rob Comeau for Princess Cruises

The 50th anniversary celebrations kicked off 328 days ago, with a float in the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena on New Year’s Day.

Capt. Ravera

Gavin MacLeod notwithstanding, Captain Stefano Ravera is our favorite Princess captain, from an Alaska cruise on the Star Princess.

Majestic Princess

To validate how far the cruise line has come since 1965, take a peek at the Majestic Princessdue to make its maiden voyage in 2017.

— Love Boat reunion photo by Casey Rodgers/Invision for Princess Cruises/AP Images) & Rose Parade Float photo by Rob Comeau

In the news…

• Carnival Live’s new performer: comedian Kathy Griffin, for two cruises in February
• MSC Armonia and Opera both to have Havana as home port next November

Today at portsandbows.comPrincess does it right for passengers 

Holland America Amsterdam
1 night
May 21, 2016
Vancouver, Seattle
Inside: $99
Cost per day: $99

Friday File: Favorite Faces

You meet lots and lots of nice people who work on cruise ships and often we — like you — take photos of them. Almost all of the captains we’ve met have been warm, interesting individuals and often that’s reflected in their staffs. Today we’re introducing you to some of the nicest crew members we’ve met, no matter their position, and you may notice they are all men. That’s because earlier in our Friday Files we did a spread on the nicest female crew members we’ve encountered. Men, after all, do deserve equal billing…


Saravan Krishnan, who is from Mumbai, was an outstanding sommelier on the Celebrity Millennium and now has a similar position on Qatar Air, a job that keeps him closer to his young family.

2-RC-Dr. Mejia

We’ll always have a soft spot for Dr. Ricardo Mejia from Cartagena, Colombia, as much for his personable nature and caring as for his expertise when one of us was sick on Allure of the Seas.


Eduardo Angulo Solis was planning to leave the Crown Princess as a sommelier to start his own wine tourism business where grapes are a staple, Chile, and calls it Wines and Barrels.

4-RC-Saul Lance

Room stewards are all over the map, and from all over the map, and the engaging Saul Lance came to Royal Caribbean from St. Vincent and he brought the perfect personality with him.


Not our favorite picture (bad camera) but Dollerage Soares — now retired from cruising in Mumbai — is right at the top of our favorite dining-room waiters, and we’ve had many of them.


Okan Bilir is from Turkey and was maitre d’ at Celebrity’s specialty restaurant The Olympic, and he wanted us to visit him in his country, which years later is in the midst of turmoil and terrorism.


We’ve always had an affinity for people of Italian heritage and Maitre d’Hotel Giorgio Pisano, who took us on a Princess kitchen tour, became the latest to join our list of friendly Italians.

In the news…

• Happy Black Friday!

Today at portsandbows.comSports and recreation on Harmony of the Seas

Carnival Ecstasy
4 nights
January 11, 2016
Miami (return): Key West, Cozumel
Inside: $189
Cost per day: $47

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