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Both New Princess Ships 'Royal'


This is an era of all things Royal, going back to the marriage of William and Kate, followed by the the Queen's Diamond Jubilee…and HRH's appearance at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, from a helicopter yet…and Prince Harry's famous pool party…

Anyway, you get the idea.

So if nothing else, it's fitting that another Princess — as in the cruise line — announces that the name of its second new ship not yet in the water will be Regal. The Regal Princess will arrive in 2014 and not surprisingly will look a lot like her sister, who will arrive next June and be christened as the…wait for it, Royal Princess.

That means they will be the largest, and obviously most modern, ships in the Princess fleet of 18, Both will carry 3,600 passengers, or 520 more than four Grand Class ships that have a capacity of 3,080. They'll also have balconies on all outside staterooms, the largest top-deck pools of any Princess ships and — for thrill-seekers — a glass-bottomed walkway (above) on the top deck extending 28 feet out over the ocean. That's on the starboard side and is flanked on the port side by a bar that also hangs over the edge of the ships.

With the possible exception to the Crown Princess, these are the Princess ships with names best connected to royalty.

These days, being Royal and Regal works…as long as Princess doesn't invite Harry to the pool.

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas
7 nights
December 8, 2012
New Orleans (return): Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

Getting Married the Cunard Way

If we didn’t know better, we’d say with just a drip of sarcasm that the reason it took Cunard 172 years to do weddings on their ships, it’s because they wanted to get it right.

The real reason, however, is that British law prohibited weddings on British ships. When one of its stablemates, Carnival, had more than two thousand wedding ceremonies on its ships the people at Cunard realized what they’ve been missing. So they re-registered their three ships (Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth) in Bermuda, allowing them to bypass British law.

If you want to ask why it took Cunard 172 years to realize that, go right ahead.

Despite the uproar (relatively speaking) in Great Britain — the ships were, after all, named after and christened by members of the Royal Family — Cunard and its three “Bermuda” ships are now offering couples the chance to get married the Cunard way.

What’s the Cunard way?

Only one wedding per day. This is an exclusive club, and two would erode that exclusivity. A wedding co-ordinator to hold the hands that will bear the rings. A hairdresser, make-up person and manicurist. Photographers to capture the moments digitally, both still and video. A reception, of course.

Oh yes, and luxury, because that is always the Cunard way.

More couples are turning to the sea for their wedding days. Cruise-ship demands are up 60 per cent over the last decade, and often the reason is financial. A Cunard wedding costs $2,500 plus $575 for the marriage license, and no doubt there are avenues of up-sell…i.e., a harpist. But, like all weddings at sea, you find out who really wants to be a guest when they pony up the cost of going on a cruise so they can be there for your big day.

And if you do it the Cunard way, it really is…well, a “royal wedding.”

Holland America Zaandam
22 nights
April 15, 2012
Kobe, Kagoshima and Nagasaki (Japan), Busan (South Korea), Vladivostok and Petropavlovsk, (Russia), Kodiak, Glacier Bay and Sitka (Alaska), Prince Rupert (BC), Inside Passage, Vancouver
Inside $1,649

Cruising Notes on the Boats

The Right Price………..$979
Ship: Celebrity Equinox,
11 nights, Fort Lauderdale (return)
Departures: April 11
Cozumel (Mexico), Roatan (Honduras), Puerto Limon (Costa Rica), Colon (Panama), Cartagena (Colombia), George Town (Grand Cayman)
Bonus: Veranda $1,209
Contact: Celebrity Cruises

* * *
File this one under “What took so long?”…Princess Cruise Lines announced it will be televising the Royal Wedding on all 22 of its ships…On April 29, Prince William and Kate Middleton will be married, and that will make her a Princess…So why wouldn’t it be televised on the cruise line?…Princess Cruise Line, that is…The delay — Cunard announced it would be on their ship TVs weeks ago — must have had something to do with making a deal with the BBC, the official wedding broadcaster, which has exclusive access to Westminster Abbey…Satellite co-operation willing, that is… Princess will also have a Kate and William look-a-like contest on board…William’s mother, Princess Diana, christened the original Royal Princess in 1984 …In this age of peaceful protests (aka Egypt), one in Southampton caught the attention of the cruise world…City council from the British port wanted to charge £10 ($16) per passenger to pay for road improvements in the area, until Carnival’s head honcho in Britain, David Dingle, headed a committee of interventionists…They might have mentioned the problems a “head tax” created in Alaska, and they had one local politician who voiced concern pertaining to “killing the goose” but whatever they did worked…In the words of blogger Captain Greybeard John Honeywell, “the idea has been quietly shelved.”

* * *
If there’s a more appropriate destination to have a photo workshop — and in the cruise world there are countless photo-ops — than Alaska, where would it be?…Aperture Academy from California has a class for photo students also interested in spending a week sailing from Seattle to Juneau and back, in August…Three professional award-winning photographers will be conducting classes on Holland America’s ms Oosterdam, which will call at Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, the obligatory non-USA port necessary to conform with the Jones Act…The photo itinerary’s on AA’s website (not that AA)…And what departure port do you think sends the most big-time spenders out to sea?…Carnival told a ports administration that the most money it reaps from cruisers is on ships leaving — are you ready for this? — Baltimore!…Needless to say, the city’s cruise business has been booming.

* * *
River cruising is big news in Europe these days, but has anybody noticed it’s happening in America, too…American Cruise Lines, with five ships, will soon have six…Traditionally known for itineraries in the eastern half of the U.S., American last year expanded with cruises on the Columbia and Snake Rivers in the West and, with that success, has ordered a new riverboat for arrival in 2012…The Queen of the West, built in 1995 and acquired last year, is being refurbished and will take its 120-passenger loads on the two western rivers from April to November this year and next, at least…The Norwegian Sun is out of dry-dock, where it spent a dozen days being upgraded…Most significant change is the addition of the Moderno Churrascaria, the Brazilian steakhouse that was introduced on NCL’s flagship, the Epic…The Sun is currently running Caribbean itineraries and will again spend the summer in the Baltics, returning to Florida in late September…Finally, Valentine’s Day became a chance to renew wedding vows for passengers who were so inclined and who were on the Crown Princess on Monday…The captain performed the ceremony and some of the participants wore veils and bow ties…Yes, clothes, too.

* * *
That’s it, we’re done.

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