Live From….Emerald Sky: Hits & Misses

In all the hoopla of this year’s river season – here at Cruise Critic, our team has gone from one christening ceremony to another – this week’s latest launch has the biggest potential of all. That’s because the shining new ship, the 190-passenger Emerald Sky, belongs to Emerald Waterways, the first cruise line to be created [...]

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 [...]

Live from….Uniworld’s S.S. Catherine: Hits & Misses

Uniworld’s fleet of river ships is known for being grand and elegant, in eye-popping ways. The 159-passenger S.S. Catherine, which debuted last week in the French city of Lyon, only raises the bar on their trademark design qualities. S.S. Catherine has similar amenities to S.S. Antoinette, its most immediate predecessor. There’s an indoor swimming pool, [...]

Live From….Douro River with Viking: Meet the “Baby” Longships

On an overnight aboard Viking River Cruises’ newest Longship — Viking Hemming, just christened on Portugal’s Douro last week – we figured that there’d be no big surprises, having cruised on the 30 odd other nearly identical vessels. We were wrong. Viking Hemming, along with twin Viking Torgil, also named in Douro, is the line’s [...]

Live from….the Panama Canal: Finding the Best Viewing Spots

I’m currently onboard Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas for a 15-night Panama Canal cruise. A few days ago, we made the eight-hour journey southbound, from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, through the 100-year-old waterway — one of the modern world’s most impressive feats of engineering. I learned lots along the way, thanks [...]

Live from….Avalon Poetry II: First Impressions

As part of the dual christening ceremonies with Avalon Impression, I had the chance to spend three nights on Avalon Poetry II, cruising from Cologne, Germany to Amsterdam. Below is a selection of my first impressions of “the ship,” made before its godmother – British three-time Olympic silver medalist and gold medal rower at the London 2012 [...]

Live from….Vantage River Venture: First Impressions

I’m sailing north from Versailles on Vantage’s River Venture, and I’m watching the church spires and willow trees of the northern French countryside slip slowly past us as we move along upstream. It’s part of the company’s effort to preview the ship’s new home on the Seine (Launched last year, River Venture sailed its first [...]

Live from….Navigator of the Seas: A First Look at “Virtual Balconies”

Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas was spruced up during its recent month-long drydock, getting new carpeting, soft furnishings, menus, restaurants, additional cabins and a lot more. But the biggest buzz around the ship’s refurbishment: the first-in-the-industry “Virtual Balcony” cabins. What’s important about the innovative inside cabin, which features floor-to-ceiling HD display screens that give [...]

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