Observed Onboard: Silly Weather Complaints

I was sitting in a café on a beautiful day in Vienna back in August when a large gentleman sporting a river cruise line tour excursion sticker bellowed across the next table to anyone who would listen: “We’re never coming to Europe in summer again. It’s too hot. Vienna is too hot. And Venice smells.” [...]

River Cruising Wish List: Build the Ideal Sun Deck

Cruising along the Danube in sweltering heat several weeks ago, I took several dips in the small plunge pool on AmaWaterways’ new ship, AmaPrima. Strangely, I had the pool to myself, every time. There’s supposed to be a swim-up bar at one end of the pool but it was always closed, so we collared a [...]

What Would You Do? Beating Shyness, as a Solo Cruiser

On a recent cruise with a shipload of honeymooners and couples (and a few families, like mine), I observed a rather grumpy old French man in the cabin next to mine. I thought nothing of his situation as we exchanged nods in the corridor. But then I saw him eating dinner alone one night, in [...]

Observed Onboard: Shore Excursions with “Extras”

While cruising on Star Clippers last week, I joined a shore excursion from the Dalyan River in Turkey. We were to sail along the river in a small boat, daub ourselves with healing mud from a natural thermal pool and admire ancient rock tombs cut into the cliffs towering over the river. We were all [...]

A True IQ Test: Turning Off the Lights

Cruise ship cabin design seems to follow the rule that the newer and more luxurious the ship, the more complicated the cabin electronics. I’ve battled with silly showers and crazy curtains, nonfunctioning telephones and “smart” interactive TV systems with messages welcoming another passenger entirely. But I’ve never been defeated by the lighting system. Until now.

Mind Your Theater Manners — Even on a Cruise

This week, I went to the theater on a cruise ship, and it was a revelation. Not just because the show (“Burn the Floor,” featured on the Norwegian Cruise Line‘s newest ship, Norwegian Breakaway) was excellent. But because it was actually like going to the theater ought to be. You want to see the show? [...]

River Cruising, African-Style?

Deepest Africa isn’t a place normally associated with cruising. But on a small stretch of the Chobe River, a sometimes mile-wide waterway forming part of the border between Namibia and Botswana, there’s an unexpected and thriving boutique riverboat operation, the elegant, 28-passenger Zambezi Queen.

Is Cunard Relaxing its Dress Code?

Apart from smoking and tipping, few other topics spark debate like what to wear onboard. It seems everyone and their great aunt has a view on whether you should dress up onboard. Which is why when Cunard — regarded as the most formal of all the lines — announced it is “loosening” its dress code [...]

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