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David Frost's Legacy for Interviewers

Think about this:

In moments when he may have contemplated his demise, do you think Sir David Frost could ever have imagined that one in a continuous line of the British prime ministers he'd interviewed would send a "tweet of condolence" upon hearing of Frost's death?

It is a measure of the great journalist's storied career, terminated by his death of a heart attack on a cruise ship, that his life of communicating stretched from television to tweeting.

David Frost was only 74 when he died Saturday night on Cunard's Queen Elizabeth, where he was to have entertained fellow passengers with a speech. The ship was en route to the Mediterranean, on a 10-day cruise, and more than his fellow passengers were shocked by his death.

Among them Prime Minister David Cameron, whose tweet read, in part:

"Sir David was an extraordinary man – with charm, wit, talent, intelligence and warmth in equal measure. He made a huge impact on television and politics. He could be, and certainly was with me, both a friend and a fearsome interviewer."

For us, his connection to people who write about cruising goes beyond the fact that he died on a ship, because those of us who write about cruising often interview people on ships and his style of getting to the point was masterful. Sometimes criticized for being "soft" but those who knew him say that was only a reflection of Frost the man and his quality as a human being.

Another British PM, Tony Blair, put it this way to The Guardian on the weekend:

"He had an extraordinary ability to draw out the interviewee, knew exactly where the real story lay and how to get at it, and was also a thoroughly kind and good-natured man. Being interviewed by him was always a pleasure, but also you knew that there would be multiple stories the next day arising from it."

The Frost way — and this man was much more than an interviewer — was applied to sessions with seven U.S. Presidents and six British Prime Ministers, the most famous of which was getting Richard Nixon to admit to some blame for Watergate for the first time. His way was to get to the tough questions by being nice, as opposed to being confrontational, and interviewers at any level could learn from it.

Even those interviewing cruise-ship captains.

Photo credit: Chatham House

Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas
4 nights
November 4, 2013
Port Canaveral (return): CocoCayNassau
Oceanview: $299
Cost per day: $74


This Time, Cruising Hit by Hurricane

Get ready for the hurricane.

Not Sandy, the "hurricane" of stories that we're going to hear from cruisers who have been stranded while trying to reach their ship, tossed around on ships, left at sea, compensated by airlines/cruise lines, not compensated by airlines/cruise lines, missed ports, missed ships, had their cruise shortened, had their cruise lengthened…

This may go down as the week that the cruise ship industry was most affected by hurricanes. One hurricane.

With at least 20% of the entire U.S. population affected by Hurricane Sandy, here's a rough re-cap of how some cruise ships were impacted (as reported by Cruise.Co, Cruise Critic and a myriad of news sources on the Internet):

• Five ships yesterday were caught in or near 30-foot seas churned by Sandy — Norwegian Jewel, Carnival Miracle, Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, Aida Luna and the Queen Mary 2 (trying vainly to escape Sandy's path as it headed east for England).

• Holland America's Eurodam had to change its departure from Fort Lauderdale to Jacksonville, bussing all its passengers over 320 miles in windy conditions.

• Disney's Fantasy finally made it to Port Canaveral with a shipload of scared and sick passengers tossed around while the Fantasy sustained damage to restaurants, bars, shops and stateroom furniture.

• One ship, Carnival Pride, was forbidden to depart from Baltimore by the U.S. Coast Guard and the cruise was canceled.

• Passengers on another Carnival ship, the Glory, were issued refunds because the Norfolk (Virginia) cruise terminal is behind a flood gate that closed on the weekend.

• Eight other Carnival ships on the East Coast were forced to delay departures or arrivals and skip or change ports for other stops, or add an extra sea day.

• Three other Norwegian ships were affected…the Gem is sitting out in calmer Atlantic waters until the hurricane passes, which could turn a 9-day cruise into 12, while the Dawn and the Sky also shuffled departures and ports.

• The Emerald Princess escaped rough seas by stopping in Port Saguenay (Quebec) instead of Bar Harbor (Maine), and three other Princess ships changed itineraries.

• Four Royal Caribbean ships — Enchantment, Jewel, Majesty and Monarch of the Seas — also changed schedules or added sea days to escape Sandy's wrath.

Blessed with modern technology, cruise ships are almost always able to escape hurricanes. This one, because of its mushrooming size and force, may turn out to be the exception. And with compensation packages reaching far into the future, not to mention far into the bank accounts of cruise lines, the effects could be felt for a long, long time.

In the days ahead, expect to hear many first-person and harrowing accounts of life on a cruise ship during a hurricane.

Celebrity Silhouette
15 nights
April 14, 2013
Fort Lauderdale, Coco Cay, San Juan, St. Maarten, Madeira, Rome
Inside: $789
Cost per day: $52

Carnival Breeze's Three Island trip


The newest ship on the ocean (okay, sea) these days is the Carnival Breeze, currently on its inaugural cruise in Europe, in the Mediterranean en route to Venice. This is the latest in a long line of ships from the world's biggest cruise line and, while it's not necessarily the biggest and the best, the Breeze will have something new to offer.

Like 180 shore excursions.

That's right…180. Actually, according to Carnival, it's "more than" 180. Of the four Carnival has featured, the one that caught our eye was in Dubrovnik, the Croatian city that last week became the Breeze's maiden port of call.

It's called the Three Island Yacht Cruise.

While we're not big island hoppers, having a chance to see Murano and Burano on the same day in Venice last month was a bonus. Both are designed for first-time visitors (our opinion) and when you go to both on the same day — they're about half an hour apart by boat — that means you're not spending more time than you want to in a souvenir haven.

So here's the Three Island Yacht story…

The whole trip is five hours. The islands are called Lokrum, Kolocep and Lopud. They are the Elaphati Islands, now that you ask, and that makes three of us who learned something today. The legend is that Richard the Lion Heart was cast ashore here in the 12th century after surviving a post-Crusades shipwreck. Better him than you.

On Lokrum, you tour a monastery built by the Benedictine monks of that era. You are not required to enlist. On Kolocep, you will be surrounded by 15th-century mansions, olive groves and vineyards. So if you're not into mansions and olives aren't on your diet, you can always just drink wine. On Lopud, you can swim or walk the promenade or taste Croatian delicacies. Who knew Croatians had delicacies?

And if you don't find seeing all of this from a yacht while sipping chilled wine intriguing, you can always go back to the drawing board and read the other "more than" 179 excursions.

Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas
6 nights
September 14, 2012
Baltimore (return): King's Wharf, Bermuda
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $83

Norovirus Sickens Princess

It’s entirely possible that Princess now holds the norovirus record. This weekend, the cruise line admitted the number of cases on two of its ships had grown to 499.

Saturday, the Crown Princess returned to Fort Lauderdale from the Caribbean with 12% of the people on board suffering from the disease — 364 passengers and 30 crew members.

Sunday, the Ruby Princess returned to the Florida port with 92 passengers and 13 crew members ill with norovirus.

These things can happen wherever people gather in large numbers but with 2,000 to 6,000 people sharing the same ventilation, hallways and eateries for a week or more, it seems to happen more on cruise ships than in schools or at conventions.

What’s more disturbing about this situation is the simultaneous infection on two ships from the same cruise line.

The Centers for Disease Control has had its investigators on both ships, which were cleaned and returned to service.

The message continues to be: Use the hand sanitizers all ships have, and wash your hands often.

Even then, there are no guarantees.

Royal Caribbean Enchantment of the Seas
8 nights
April 19, 2012
Baltimore (return): King’s Wharf (Bermuda), Boston
Inside $659

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