Live from…American Empress: 5 Things to Love

American Queen Steamboat Company’s newest ship, American Empress, made a soft debut this week, sailing an itinerary from Spokane, Washington, to Portland, Oregon, ahead of the ship’s christening Saturday. AQSC, which launched fleetmate American Queen in 2012 on the Mississippi River, bought Empress of the North in spring 2013 and has meticulously refurbished the paddlewheel [...]

Just Back From….Celebrity Summit: 5 Things that Surprised Me – and 1 That Didn’t

Before boarding Celebrity Summit last week in Puerto Rico, I felt like I had a pretty good idea about what to expect. After all, I’d sailed on two of the line’s newer, bigger ships: Equinox and Reflection. I expected the touches that make a ship “Celebrity,” and I got them: Comfy seating at the pools; [...]

Live from: MSC Divina

MSC Divina is making its debut sailing from its new Miami homeport. The Italian line, which generally has plied the waters of the Mediterranean, is dipping its toe in the Caribbean in a big way, offering deals and holding contests to entice North American travelers to a product relatively unfamiliar to this market. MSC hasn’t [...]

5 Things That Intrigued Me on My First River Cruise

After years on the high seas, I’ve finally given river cruising a try. My first sailing is on Amadeus Silver, the newest ship in the Amadeus by Lueftner Cruises’ fleet. I never go into anything without doing research, and working at Cruise Critic means I read and talk about river cruising all the time — [...]

We Try It: Snorkeling Excursion in Alaska

As I boarded the creaky bus, my tour guide smiled and asked the gathered throngs, “Who’s ready for some snorkeling?” The response was energetic, if not a little nervous. We arrived at the dive shop, where another pleasantly over-caffeinated guide pronounced it was time for “island music.” ¬†With Jimmy Buffet blaring, the mood turned jovial [...]

My First Cruise on Princess: Six Cool Touches

I fell for cruising long before I joined the Cruise Critic staff. My first cruise was a Western Caribbean itinerary onboard Carnival Sensation, and I’ve been hooked ever since. Over the years, I had sailed a number of lines, including every major U.S. mainstream line — except Princess. It wasn’t intentional avoidance. Somehow, it just [...]

Q and A: Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas

Cruise Critic just got off a one-night preview sailing of Royal Caribbean International‘s Grandeur of the Seas, returning to service for the first time since a May 27 fire damaged the aft of the ship and sent it to dry dock for repairs. Grandeur of the Seas begins sailing full itineraries out of Baltimore on [...]

In Search of a Decent Room Service Breakfast

I’ve pictured it a thousand times: sun shining, waves lapping against the side of the ship as I enjoy my perfect breakfast on my cruise balcony. A thousand times. Maybe more. The reality, though, is while nature might have cooperated, I’ve never had the perfect room service breakfast on a cruise. At best, I’ve had [...]

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