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Richest Of The Rich In Cruising

In trying to give you a personal look at things that happen in cruising, we’re always on the prowl for interesting subjects, people, places, opinions, prices and just stories. Sometimes the stories are so good — either in writing or content, or both — that we think you should Gene Sloansimply be directed to them.

Today, we have one to share with you.

It’s from USA Today, where Gene Sloan is the cruise expert. He’s an intelligent and hard-working writer who stays on top of everything that’s happening in cruising. This one caught our eyes because it’s about the richest people in cruising, and the rich and famous are always interesting.

Rather than tell you what he has to say, we thought it best to send you right to the source:

Click here.

In the news…

• Norwegian's sending its next Breakaway Plus ship to China in 2017
• Star Cruises to quadruple deployment to Vietnam next year
• Four Carnival brands to have ships in Chinese waters within two years

Today at portsandbows.com: Norwegian, Princess ships with Chinese names

Celebrity Constellation
5 nights
December 7, 2015
Fort Lauderdale (return): Cozumel, Key West
Inside: $299
Cost per day: $59

Making That Final Resting Place At Sea

People have been buried at sea, by choice and by misfortune, since the beginning of time. Is it a sign of the apocalypse that more people are requesting that their final resting places be where there will never be a headstone.

Apparently so.

In fact, Carnival provides burials at sea as a service. It's a serious business, as it should be, except that it's not a business at all. Carnival regularly arranges such ceremonies at no charge and it's becoming more, er, popular.

But if you think it's just a matter of taking poor ol' dad's ashes in your checked luggage Carnival Freedomand gently slipping them into the ocean, think again. There are rules and regulations to be followed:

• The ashes must be brought in board in a sealed urn, where they must remain until the ceremony
• There must be a death certificate
• A document certifying that the cremation was performed at a licensed U.S. crematorium
• The ship must be at least 12 miles from land

The ceremony is private, so other passengers will be oblivious to it. When it's over, the captain gives the survivor(s) a signed document with the longitude and latitude coordinates of where the loved one was buried.

Carnival's Senior Cruise Director John Heald told USA Today's Fran Golden that he gets at least one inquiry a week for burials at sea. Carnival arranges about 200 such ceremonies each year.

This type of burial at sea was unheard-of a few years ago. Despite its growth, it' is safe to assume people aren't standing in line because nobody's in hurry to join that crowd.

Photo courtesy of Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Lines

In the news…

• Blue Man Group, Geoffrey Zakarian gone from Norwegian ships
• Chefs Cat Cora and Suzanne Tracht on 4-day Princess cruise
• Princess announces Room With A View Getaway Sweepstakes

Today at portsandbows.com: Carnival invests $33 million in Barcelona

Carnival Fascination
7 nights
September 7, 2015
Jacksonville (return): Nassau, Freeport
Inside: $249
Cost per day: $35

Crui$e New$ That’s Cry$tal Clear

Somewhere between the end of the unbelievable third round of the British Open and watching our favorite baseball team lose yet another game yesterday, we got wind of a cruise news bulletin that is going to mean more to Brad Pitt, or Will and Kate, or Lebron James than it’s going to mean to the everyday avid cruiser.

Crystal Cruises is expanding in a way that will blow the lid off its part of the cruise world.

By adding three luxury ships, a river cruise line, the beginning of a yacht division and a private jetliner, Crystal is going to turn all-inclusivity into all-exclusivity. People like you (and us) won’t be going there until we win the lottery, and the last time we checked the Crystal Espritchances of that were 1 in 20 million or so.

If you buy a ticket.

Crystal has always been about luxury. Now it’s about super luxury. Or it will be when these new components start rolling off the assembly line between December and 2018. The 62-passenger Crystal Esprit yacht (left) will come first, complete with a two-person submarine and you can book now. The new ships are planned for 2017 and will be approximately twice the size of current luxury ships. 

The jetliner, reported to be at Boeing 787 Dreamliner, is also expected in 2017.

The name of the cruise line will be changing from what you are accustomed to hearing…to Crystal Cruises, Crystal Yacht Cruises, Crystal River Cruises and Crystal Air.

To give you an idea what the price points are, cruising on the new yacht will run you between $600 and $800 per person.

Per day.

What exactly is the Crystal market?

President and CEO Edie Rodriguez defined it like this for Gene Sloan at USA Today:

Our guest base is the top 2% of the world's wealthiest global consumers.”

So, about that lottery ticket…

Also in the news…

• Norwegian Star booked at Hong Kong port for January 2017
• Haimark Cruise Line approved to circumnavigate Cuba in February

Today at portsandbows.com: More on the Crystal announcement

Holland America Zaandam
7 nights
August 23, 2015
Vancouver, Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Anchorage
Inside: $499
Cost per day: $71

Cruise Transparency Reaches Shower

USA Today's cruise writer, Gene Sloan, authored a blog last week which began:

"One of the best views from Celebrity Cruises' next ship, the 3,030-passenger Celebrity Reflection, will be from the shower of its top suite."

Maybe he could also have written "of the shower."

The shower, you see, overlooks everything and has see-through glass. That's right…see-through. It's one-way during the day because the glass is coated with reflective material. At night, a different story. The shower inhabitant can flip a switch to trigger a fogging function to further obscure lookee-loos from the outside.


Celebrity is assuring all concerned that nobody will be able to see into the shower that protrudes from the Reflection Suite. One thing Celebrity can be certain is, at some point, that will be tested. The world is full of exhibitionists who (accidentally or otherwise) like to show off what they have to show off. Some of them even have lots of money, which is what it will take to stay in the Reflection's signature suite.

And if you think the rich and the famous are bent and bound on personal privacy, consider how many of them take it all off for magazine…er, spreads.

Other amenities in the Reflection Suite are two bedrooms, accommodation for six, a wraparound balcony bigger than most cabins and a 24-hour butler. So if there's a problem with over-exposure from the shower, the inhabitant can always say:

"The butler did it."

Norwegian Sun
10 nights
November 4, 2012
Miami (return): St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Maarten
Inside: $729
Cost per day: $72

Into The Heads at the Top

It’s hard for anybody to get into the heads of the people who run cruise lines to find out “What are they thinking?”

Unless “anybody” is USA Today, whose cruise writers Gene Sloan and Veronica Gould Stoddart had both the foresight and the opportunity to spend an hour with five CEOs/Presidents from the cruise industry.

For anybody interested in cruising, the result is compelling reading. Among the issues they addressed…

• How safe are people on cruise ships?
• Misconceptions about cruising
• Big ships getting bigger
• The cruise demographic
• Too much or too little to do on a cruise ship
• Cruising’s hot spots

You can find the article by clicking here. See if there’s anything you would have asked, if you had an hour with these five cruising “heads of state.”

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