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Selfie Stick, Bans Both Growing

Selfie StickSometimes, the latest growing trends bring out the worst in people.

Enter the selfie stick.

On some of our recent cruises, we’ve noticed. How can you not? Especially when travelling, because if there’s ever a good reason to use a selfie stick — and we’re not certain there is — it’s when travelling. As an aside, we’re not sure it’s a totally bad idea because we have hundreds of pictures in exotic places where it appears one of us stayed home.

The selfie stick, as surely everyone knows, is that pole with a smartphone (or perhaps camera) on the end. They are growing in both number and degree of annoyance, or so it seems. A cleverly written and fascinating story published online at Travel Weekly last week — here’s the link — is enlightening, entertaining and thoughtful. We had no idea the banning of selfie sticks was growing at close to the same pace as the use of the dreaded “arm extenders”, although probably like you we have seen people rolling their eyes whenever a selfie stick appears.

While it’s all travel that is a selfie target, obviously that includes cruising. You can be trying to watch whales surface from a small boat in the waters of Alaska, and have your view scarred by the stick. You can be trying to cross a dangerously busy street in Asia, and somebody’s trying to catch the unbelievable traffic moment that you’re attempting to survive.

There are too many of them now to think they’ll ever go away but, like so many things in life, we can only hope purveyors will learn to use them more responsibly and with a certain degree of courtesy.

Photo: Courtesy of camera-at-home (Wikimedia Commons)

In the news…

• Royal Caribbean Ltd. applauded for its sexual assault prevention procedures
• Second straight perfect health inspection score for Holland America Noordam
• More luxury for Queens and Princess Grill customers on Cunard's Queen Mary 2

Today at portsandbows.com: Great way to 'wine' on the Koningsdam in 2016

Celebrity Millennium
5 nights
January 31, 2016
Singapore (return): Penang, Langkawi, Phuket
Inside: $449
Cost per day: $89

Reasons for Cruising's Extra Costs

Sometimes, it gets a little wearying to hear cruise passengers complain about having to pay for soda pop. In all the years we've been on cruise ships, that's always been the case so in the end, there are only three words to say:

Deal with it.

Besides alcohol, charging passengers for pop may have been the first "extra source" of income for cruise lines. Like everybody else, we were shocked at the tactic the first time we went cruising. Over time, we have come to understand, because generally cruise lines have kept the cost of cruising in line, while searching for other ways to make a buck. That is, after all, what business is all about, isn't it? Is it just a coincidence that fares have stayed affordable as cruise lines have added extra cost options.

And one more thing:

For people who think cruising should be an all-inclusive experience, because that's what it's always been, here's a few things to remember:

1. You don't have to pay for the pop…don't drink it.

2. You don't have to pay for booze…don't drink.

3. You don't have to pay to dine at a specialty restaurant…there are always enough eateries included.

4. You don't have to go on a shore excursion…you can just be a passenger.

5. You don't have to pay for souvenir photos…take your own, or go home without them.

The fact is, you do have a choice. If you want to pay your cruise fare (plus gratuities and taxes) and nothing else, you do have that option.

Diamond Princess
16 nights
September 22, 2012
Anchorage, Sapporo, Aomori, Vladivostok, Shanghai, Dallan, Beijing
Inside: $898
Cost per day: $56

Posing, posing, posing…on high seas

Vanity, thy name is photography. Let us begin by pointing out that we take hundreds — no, thousands — of pictures. We’re not even in all of them! But the idea of getting our pictures…oops, portraits…done after private consultation, unlimited shoot time, unlimited pictures (portraits) and a photo review is…

Maybe we’re just not sophisticated enough for this.

Evidently, Crystal Cruise passengers are. Or at least Crystal thinks its passengers are. Why else would this upscale — is that the definitive word here? — cruise line feature master photographers on eleven sailings next year. Make that Master Photographers.

They’re all award-winning shutterbugs, to be unsophisticated about it, and the final retouched photographs in “handcrafted, custom-bound, 16×12-inches, embossed-aluminum albums” will surely be a sight to behold. Maybe we just have a problem with seeing ourselves in a photo or portrait that’s 16 inches by 12.

There’s unquestionably a cost involved, one that goes beyond sailing on either the Crystal Symphony or Crystal Serenity. Since we already gave away our first-born, as well as our second and third, we would probably be in trouble here.

The “fun” starts January 18 on a sailing from Los Angeles to Sydney on the Serenity. The last sailing is October 31 from New York to Los Angeles on the Symphony. In between are nine more cruises of 12 to 22 days…

And it never occurred to us until right now: Just what do they have in mind by “unlimited shoot time?”

Cunard Queen Victoria
8 nights
March 16, 2012
Transatlantic:  New York to Southampton
Inside $595

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