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Cunard Cocktails…And All That Jazz

A good part of being successful in the cruise business, or any business for that matter, is knowing your clientele.

For Cunard that means The Savoy, Jack Daniel’s and Dee Dee Bridgewater.

It may be news to you, as it was to us, that “The Savoy” stands for Savoy Beaufort Bar — last year chosen the Best International Bar and now the inspiration for Age of Discovery. What’s Age of Discovery? A specially created (by the team at The Savoy), barrel-aged, limited edition cocktail.

Clearly, that appeals to Cunard’s clientele.

That’s where Jack comes in. One of Jack’s barrels will be on the Queen Mary 2 and from it Dee Dee Bridgewaterwill be poured the Age of Discovery. This will happen on the ship’s four-month World Voyage, 50 weeks from now, and if you’re thinking that one barrel of Jack Daniel’s won’t last four months, welcome to the club.

The barrel holds 300 litres, and you can only assume Cunard will have a generous supply of Age of Discovery to re-fill it.

Dee Dee Bridgewater?

She’ll be on the Queen Mary 2 as well, but not next January. She’s part of a different Cunard theme, the one that attracts jazz lovers to cruise ships. An industry icon with three Grammys, a Tony and credentials as a United Nationals Goodwill Ambassador as part of her resume, the jazz legend will board the ship in New York for one of its crossings to Southampton.

During the 7-night cruise the last week of October, she’ll play three intimate shows in a week designed to attract the jazz crowd. In a career now more than four decades long, she recorded with Dizzy Gillespie and played Billie Holiday on stage.

Also performing will be the International Jazz Artist of the Year, Gregory Porter. If his name is unfamiliar, it matters little. The jazz aficionados know and that is Cunard’s clientele…at least for the last week of November.

In the news…

• Holland America’s Eurodam passengers first to experience upgrades
• Royal Caribbean scraps some improvements for Majesty of the Seas
• Protests in Haitian waters forces Freedom of the Seas to take a pass

Today at portsandbows.comStar Wars Days on Disney Fantasy

Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas
3 nights
April 4, 2016
Miami (return): Nassau, CocoCay
Inside: $219
Cost per day: $73

Elvis…Far From The Mississippi

It’s 1974. You’re Elvis Presley — many wished that for almost two decades. You’re not at the height of your career, but you’re still packing them in wherever you go. Some people actually are “Elvis Presley”…as impersonators are beginning to pop up. Your country is in an awful war (like there are any other kind), in Vietnam.

Fast forward 42 years.

Elvis is long gone. The impersonators are not. In fact, there are more Elvis look-a-likes than ever. Some of them are even pretty good performers, not just in Vegas and assorted venues ranging from small theaters to street corners.

One is doing it in Vietnam.

His real name is Damian Mullin and he’s an Australian…crikey! He’s the best of Australia’s Elvis impElvis impersonators, having won the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest and he has the seal of approval from Elvis Presley Enterprises, which means The King’s company has a financial interest in the performances in…Vietnam.

The event will take place over eight days in September, on board La Marguerite, a river cruise ship that sails under the flag of AmaWaterways through its Australian partners, on the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam.

“It’s an opportunity to present something different with a more intimate atmosphere,” said Jodie Quick, director of The Cruise Gallery, the Australian agency that’s selling the tour. “Most music cruises are on larger ships…[this one] gives passengers the chance to travel somewhere more adventurous and exotic with the comfort of Elvis’ crooning!”

The cruise is called Rockin’ the Mekong.

You can only imagine what Elvis would be thinking.

Today at portsandbows.comCelebrity Solstice back to Australia for 2017-18

Carnival Magic
7 nights
January 31, 2016
Galveston (return): Key West, Freeport, Nassau
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78

Theme Cruises You May Not Believe 

Let’s call if the extreme of theme. That’s not the name of a new musical group or TV reality show, it’s just a way of identifying what’s coming up in the way of, ah, unusual cruises this winter.

Here’s a quick look at three upcoming theme cruises:

The Meow Meow Cruise

This one’s for cat lovers, but not cats. On the Carnival Paradise next April 21, passengers who are cat lovers (or cat lovers who are passengers) will gather to participate in feline-meow-meow-cruise2themed activities while cruising from Tampa to Cozumel, and back. Suggestions for activities are “You scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours” and “Isn’t a perfect place for a flea market?”

The Walking Dead Cruise

This three-night cruise from Miami to the Bahamas on the Norwegian Pearl in January is for zombies. Every family has theme. Yes, ours does, too. It appeals to fans of the hit TV series because they’ll have a chance to hang with Daryl and Carl and Beth and Sasha and Tyreese…and if those names aren’t familiar to you, welcome to the club. Their fans have lots of money — an inside cabin is $750, or $250 a night — and it’s sold out.

2016 Red Sox Fan Cruise

Also in January, this one on the Celebrity Reflection, although it’s a Caribbean cruise — also from Miami — that Boston baseball fans could be on this week, since they have nothing better to do during the baseball playoffs. Among the ex-players on the Reflection will be Luis Tiant and Jim Rice, although Dustin Pedroia and Big Papi would have been better, since they actually won with the Red Sox.

In the news…

• Carnival latest to name its new "air program" — Fly2Fun
• Royal Caribbean: 90 departures, 20 per cent increase in Australia
• Norwegian guests on new TV series 'Dream Quest With Evette Rios'

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas
16 nights
November 19, 2015
Barcelona, Cadiz, Lisbon, Funchal, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo
Inside: $697
Cost per day: $43

Walker Stalker Cruise For Zombies

Even though we’ve never once seen a minute of The Walking Dead on TV, we do have two immediate family members who drove 10 hours so they could run and climb and slip and slide and generally be zombies…or be attacked by them. So we do know a little bit about the world of zombies, which is what (or whom) a TWD theme cruise is designed to attract.

The cruise will be on the Norwegian Pearl for four days (and worse yet, nights) in January 2016. The trip from Miami to Nassau will be called the Walker Stalker Cruise and eight Walking Dead-The Walking Dead-AMCPhoto credit: The Walking Dead-AMC

members of The Walking Dead cast will be on board, including Norman Reedus (Daryl), Chandler Riggs (Carl), Emily Kinney (Beth) and Soniqua Martin-Green (Sasha).

For all we knew they could be from The Walking Dead or The Grateful Dead, another zombie-themed phenomenon we managed to miss (escape). Coincidentally, The Grateful Dead put an end to a 50-year career last night at Soldier Field in Chicago, where the four living members played for the last time at the last place they played when there were five of them (Jerry Garcia died in 1995).

The other “Dead” is just getting started.

The TV show (and yes, the zombies in our family watch it religiously) is just getting started. Its next season will be number six, so by “Dead” standards some of them will still be doing this –  or something like it — in the year 2060. That might be cruising, a pastime in which cast members are getting an early start.

The Pearl is probably as good a name as possible for The Walking Dead cruise, given that cruise ships rarely have anything but upbeat names, for obvious reasons. Participants will Pearlhave a chance to be zombies in themed games, costume contests, concerts, doing make-up and as wannabes when meeting the show’s stars at panel discussions and photo-ops.

At what cost?

From January 15 to 18, inside rooms run $750 to $875 per person. Oceanviews are going for $875 to $1,000. Balconies $1,150 to $1,350. The same four-day cruise on the same ship in November has prices of $249 (inside), $379 (oceanview) and $469 (balcony).

We must ask our resident zombies to help us understand that…

In the news…

• Cruise lines evaluating risk day-to-day on cruises to Tunisia for 2015 and 2016
• Number of Antarctic (Soputh Georgia) cruisers up 15% to all-time high of 8,142
• First Princess whisky bar, Magnums, selling 63 varieties on Dawn Princess

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Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas
7 nights
August 16, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts
Inside: $489
Cost per day: $69

Sail-ers, Seahawks on Crown Princess

A week from Saturday, June 20, the Crown Princess will leave Seattle for Alaska with a passenger load dedicated to “sailing with the 12s.” 

It’s entirely possible that many cruise passengers have no idea what that means, if they aren’t football fans and are unaware the Seattle Seahawks had 12 players on the field in the last two Super Bowls…the “12th” being the Seahawks’ fan base.

So now the 12s — it is not politically correct to say 12th men — are going on a  cruise with some of their favorite people, which is to say anybody with a past, present or future with their beloved football team. As you might expect, there’s enough fervor to sell out three of Seahawks Fan Cruisethe five stateroom categories, with only inside and oceanview accommodation left, 10 days before the cruise.

Who’s going? Among the Seattle celebrities…

• Warren Moon, who briefly quarterbacked the Seahawks after spending most of his career in Texas (Houston) and Canada (Edmonton) on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and who is now on the ‘Hawks’ radio broadcast.

• Defensive end Gregg Scruggs and tackle Justin Britt, members of what the 12s say will be three straight Super Bowl teams, along with safety Jordan Babineau and lineman Edward Bailey, who played on pre-championship Seattle teams.

• Jim Zorn, who spent nine years with the Seahawks and was the first quarterback to take them to the playoffs.

At last report, there was no sign of current quarterback Russell Wilson or running back Marshawn Lynch or defensive back Richard Sherman or head coach Pete Carroll, whose goal-line strategy in the final minute last February still angers some of the 12s.

But hey, there’s always next year. The 12s are in it for the long run.

In the news…

• Capsized Chinese cruise ship cited for safety problems two years ago (Fox News)
• Australia's 10-year market growth 533 per cent (Cruise Industry News)
• Third terminal quietly opened in Germany's biggest port, Hamburg

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Royal Caribbean Majesty of the Seas
4 nights
September 14, 2015
Miami (return): Nassau, CocoCay, Key West
Inside: $287
Cost per day: $71

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