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South Korea waters tricky for casinos

Star Cruises is a small cruise line that opens a piece (28 per cent) of a big cruise line, Norwegian. Its sell line is that Star is the “leading cruise line in Asia-Pacific” so, naturally, it caters to Asians.

On the weekend, South Korea gave Star Cruises permission to operate casinos once the ships are in international waters, which is the cruise norm. It also said local residents will be allowed to use casinos on cruise ships carrying the Korean national flag. At the moment, there are no such ships, but that’s going to change as cruising starts to grow in South Korea.

But locals weren’t going to be allowed in…really?

In other words, foreigners would have been able to play tables and slots but not nationals. Now that would give a new reason for having your ID checked, wouldn’t it?

Apparently, there is some rationale to this. In South Korea, there are presently 17 casinos. The industry is growing rapidly, despite the fact that only one of the 17 casinos allows South Koreans to gamble.


In the news…

• Viking's first ocean ship to be christened Sunday in Norway
• Popular Celebrity Eclipse emerges from nine-day refurbishing

Today at portsandbows.com: First look at the Viking Star

Celebrity Constellation
7 nights
August 23, 2015
Venice (return): Dubrovnik, Ephesus, Mykonos, Corfu
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $99

The Hotel That's A Cruise Ship


One of our daughters-in-law, who knows something about the hotel business, tipped us off about a rather unique place to stay. Lots of cruise ships are called hotels…this is a hotel that’s a cruise ship and, yes, there is a difference.

It’s in South Korea. Our daughter-in-law (Kim) found the “Sun Cruise Resort & Yacht” while surfing…the web, that is. She found a site named SlipTalk on which there are posted some fabulous, amazing pictures of this resort. It’s worth checking out.

Back to the hotel-ship.

It’s in a city called Gangneung (or Jeongdongjin), on the coast of South Korea, due east of Seoul. Make that, above a city, because this cruise ship sits on the top of a cliff where you can reputedly have “the best view of the sunrise/sunset in Korea.” The hotel is surely the best-kept secret in the cruise community — maybe because it’s outside competition.

It’s been around for 12 years. Accommodation in its 211 rooms is “luxurious.” It has both condominiums and hotel-style rooms. The “ship” is 165 meters long and 45 meters high, and weighs 30,000 tons. For comparison, it would be slightly smaller than a ship like the Ocean Princess.

And here’s the best part: If our research is accurate, the price of accommodation starts at 80,000 wan, which sounds like a lot until you convert it and discover that’s about $75.

The next-best part: You can’t get seasick.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons: parhessiastest

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Caribbean Princess
5 nights
December 13, 2014
Fort Lauderdale (return): Cozumel, Costa Maya
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $59

The Cruise Line Known for Tragedy

Bobby Orr turned 65 this year. Also born the same year (1948) were the World Health Organization, Terry Bradshaw, South Korea, Billy Crystal and LP records.

Also…Costa Cruises.

For almost 64 years, Costa was a cruise line known mostly to Italians, somewhat to other Europeans and hardly at all to North Americans.

Then came — or then went — the Concordia. Ever since the tragic accident, the sunken ship has been mentioned almost every time there is anything resembling a cruise accident, and Costa has become well-known for all of the wrong reasons. The beleaguered cruise line quietly celebrated last weekend with seven ships on which Easter was also celebrated, and with a statement that read:

"Special events will be held onboard all 14 ships of the fleet, highlighting that the company has created memorable moments for millions of guests, and continues to look toward the future encouraged and support by its clients’ constant appreciation.”

It must surprise most people to know that Costa does have 14 ships in its fleet, and that they range in size from 1,356 to 3,780 passengers. It must surprise most people to know that Costa has been a part of the Carnival family of cruise lines for 13 years…and that in 2014 a new ship, the Diadema, will be closely resemble Carnival's Dream Class ships.

Most of all, it must surprise most people that Costa is 65 years old.

Carnival Glory
4 nights
June 16, 2013
Boston (return): Saint John
Inside: $199
Cost per day: $49

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