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Three Times a Godmother

Unquestionably, there are people who envy or resent the Arison family. It comes with their territory. Wealthy beyond any normal person's means. Owners (or part-owners) of 11 cruise lines under the Carnival banner. Owners of the NBA's champions for the last two years. High up on the list of Miami's rich and famous.


So there is bound to be that same anti-Arison sentiment when — in New Orleans on November 17 — the family matriarch, Lin, becomes the Godmother of the Carnival Sunshine. She'll also become the only person to be Godmother of three ships — the previous iteration of the Sunshine (Carnival Destiny) and the Carnival Holiday being her other godchild ships.

To which we say…good for her!

Mrs. Arison's late husband, Ted, had an enormous cruising impact that affects all of us who go on ships today. He was part-owner of the cruise line that really introduced the affordable Caribbean cruise. It was called the Norwegian Line and Arison left it after six years to found Carnival, which became a corporation that also owns Holland America, Cunard, Princess, Costa and half a dozen smaller cruise lines.

He was a child of wealth and he parlayed it into greater wealth. His son Mickey became the face of Carnival, the world's 169th wealthiest person and the man who signs the paychecks for Lebron James. His mother has been mostly anonymous, except in Miami. There she is known as a philanthropist, especially for the arts, which she obviously loves. She has dedicated her life to advancement of the arts for young people and last year President Obama awarded her the National Medal.

With such people of privilege often comes a responsibility to help others. But it's not a given. If there were no wealthy people like this, who would step up to help others, in a myriad of ways. Mrs. Arison made doing so her responsibility.

When she wasn't giving "berth" to three ships.

White House photo by Chuck Kennedy

Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas
7 nights
October 6, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Labadee, Falmouth, Cozumel
Inside: $749
Cost per day: $107

Show Goes on for Quantum of the Seas

NEW YORK — It was sunny yesterday in Lower Manhattan, just like it was on that fateful Tuesday more than 11 years ago, when the landscape of not just Manhattan but the world changed.

Yesterday was another sunny Tuesday when nobody in America had much to cheer about, and Royal Caribbean had little choice but to try. It had a new ship to show off, or at least the concept of a new ship. In the midst of increased security in this city and gripping news reports from the bombing in Boston, Royal Caribbean brought Quantum of the Seas to life on a big screen in a modern-looking building called IAC.

Outside was a sky-diving simulator, where guests were invited to experience what cruisers on Quantum of the Seas will experience – what it feels like to skydive, only on a cruise ship.

Inside was the ship's Godmother, Kristin Chenoweth. The tiny entertainer played a huge role while introducing "my godchild." She narrated an eight-minute movie in which she participated as a skydiver, a basketball player, a bumping car driver, a table tennis player and a passenger in a pod that goes over the side of the ship when it isn't sitting high above the ship.

"I deserve an Oscar for this!" she laughed.

Royal Caribbean's new ship won't go live until a year from November. When it does, she'll be on board and passengers will be doing all the things she did, if they choose. The fact that they can choose to do them without paying a nickel more than they paid to be on Quantum of the Seas gives new meaning to all-inclusivity on a cruise ship.

Both company CEO Richard Fain and President Adam Goldstein, who accompanied the Godmother on stage and on screen, say the two attractions are do-able for just about anybody. No age restrictions for people who collect pensions. Fain and Goldstein have tested North Star and Rip Cord, as they're called, and yesterday they arrived by driving bumping cars onto the stage.

They addressed any issues the assembled media wanted them to, even the matter of increased cruise-ship security because of Boston. It was mostly party-line stuff because, really, nobody knows what the latest terrorist event is going to impact getting on and off cruise ships.

On any other day, on a better day, nobody would likely have asked.

Costa Favolosa
7 nights
May 27, 2013
Savona (return): Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valletta, Catania, Naples
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57

Royal Princess Preview for Writers

There are lots of times lots of us would like to be where Phil Reimer is, and this week is one of them.

Phil is Canada's pre-eminent cruise writer and, after a short stop on the river in The Netherlands and on the edge of St. Mark's Square in Venice, he was off to see the princess…the Royal Princess, that is.

When they're still in the shipyards, as the Royal Princess is (Fincantieri), they're like celebrities who are not at their best — no visitors allowed. Trade secrets must remain secret until her big day arrives. The exceptions are select cruise writers — such as Phil — who are invited for a sneak preview soon before the ship goes public. That happens in June, in Southampton, and between now and then the Royal Princess will spend her days being primped and primed for the inaugural.

The Royal Princess has been seen in public. In August, at her float-out she was the background for the introduction of her Godmother, which Princess calls her "madrina" in paying tribute to her Italian heritage. The ship already has her own page on the Princess website, with artistic renderings revealing all that's attractive about her. And she is, of course, available for booking, although her first four cruises are sold out and you won't be able to sleep on her now until July 5.

Meanwhile, the writers/photographers will provide the latest look and feel about the biggest ship in the Princess fleet. Reimer's reports are available at portsandbows.com and in Postmedia newspapers across Canada in about 10 days' time. As you read this, he's probably combing her decks looking for the highlights…and looking down through the glass floor of a walkway that extends 28 feet over the sea on the top deck.

Now, wouldn't you want to be there?

Norwegian Sun
7 nights
May 27, 2013
Anchorage, Hubbard Glacier, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan, Vancouver
Inside: $429
Cost per day: $61

Quantum Talent to be a Godmother

You may have seen Kristin Chenoweth at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, singing along with Seth McFarlane, the show's host.

We did not.

Or you may have seen her on Broadway (Wicked), on the big screen (Into Temptation) or on TV (Glee) sometime over the last decade.

We did not.

Though not by design, it seems we've spent a lot of time not seeing Kristin Chenoweth. In our world, she is a familiar name but we don't know why. Probably anybody who's had her own TV show (11 episodes) would be, but our impression is she's one of those Hollywood stars who hasn't quite made it big.

And now maybe she will, as the Godmother of Quantam of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean ship that will be launched next year. Just kidding. Godmothers of ships are named because they are famous, not to become famous, of course.

We also wonder why a woman so talented hasn't jumped to that next level of fame.

Chenoweth has spent 20 years singing and acting in the three venues of entertainment: stage, TV, motion picture. She won an Emmy (Pushing Daisies) and a Tony (You're A Good Man Charlie Brown). She won critical claim for playing Glinda in Wicked. She has acted in 12 movies and done voiceovers in five more. She has recorded four albums, the last of which reached No. 14 on the U.S. country charts, and has done concert tours. She wrote a book, A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages.

And now she is to be Godmother of Quantum of the Seas.

Maybe she just has too talents…you know, Quantum-talented.

And in case you think we're out to lunch in saying she hasn't quite made it big, Royal Caribbean isn't sure if her name is Krist-en or Krist-in.

Carnival Miracle
15 nights
April 14, 2013
Long Beach, Kahului, Hilo, Honolulu, Nawilili, Kona, Vancouver
Inside: $1,159
Cost per day: $77

New Ship: Norwegian Breakaway


There will be four new cruise ships launched this year, fewer than usual. Only two are outside the group of the 11 cruise lines owned by Carnival Corporation. This week, we're giving you a snapshot of all four new ships, and the Norwegian Breakaway is the first…

Launch date: April 30

Capacity: 4,028

Staterooms: 1,262

Decks: 18

Sister ship: Norwegian Getaway (2014)

Home Port: New York

Where it's sailing: Bermuda (summer), Caribbean (winter)

Ships now in Norwegian fleet: 12

Interesting: A boardwalk that runs, with restaurants, along both sides of Deck 8…Three seafood venues on The Waterfront under the guise of Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian…The hull painted by a famous artist (and New Yorker), Peter Max…Godmothers — The Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall — riding on select cruises…Based in New York all year, the biggest cruise ship ever to call The Big Apple its home…and all that's just for starters.

Celebrity Silhouette
7 nights
January 27, 2013
Fort Lauderdale (return): Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth, Coco Cay
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78

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