Would You Book This ‘Bad Balcony?’

I’ve long subscribed to the sentiment that there’s no such thing as a bad cruise ship balcony — but my opinion might be changing. Onboard the brand-new MSC Divina in a forward-facing balcony cabin, you understand the need for the pictured wall of windows: It’s to protect occupants from the blustery winds that front-of-ship cabins […]

Live From Riviera: Does the Godmother Fit the Ship?

In Barcelona, I’m onboard the 66,084-ton, 1,250-passenger Riviera, the newest ship from luxury-mainstream straddlers Oceania Cruises. In preparation for Friday’s christening ceremony, our dock is literally ringing with the sounds of hammers and chisels as workers install stages, lighting towers and a massive flat-screen television to create a mini-arena. No doubt the star of tomorrow’s […]

Live From Avalon Visionary: First Impressions

It’s my first time on a river cruise, and although I’m not yet convinced I like it better than big-ship cruising, I’m certainly intrigued. Most itineraries have no “sea” days, the ships are much more intimate, and passengers focus mainly on destinations instead of racing to and fro onboard to hit the casino, production show […]

4 Months After the Concordia Tragedy, a New Costa Ship Debuts

Aboard the just-launched Costa Fascinosa, things can’t help but feel a little symbolic. An appropriately understated welcome — the christening lacked the aerial acrobats, lasers and celebrities Costa is known for — has given way to cruising as usual, exactly what a line coming out of a period of mourning is looking for. The mood […]

River Report: First Impressions From American Queen

So now that American Queen is back in service after Ms. Priscilla Presley re-christened it on Friday, how’s it doing? I’m onboard the inaugural run from Memphis to Cincinnati, and here’s the short answer: The world’s largest steamboat needs a little work. The good news is that the Great American Steamboat Company team, which brought […]

The Viking Invasion: 6 Riverboats Take Shape

For Viking River Cruises‘ new 190-passenger Longships, what a difference a day (week, month) makes. Intriguingly, Viking, which will ultimately build a dozen boats on the innovative Longship platform, is in the process of building six at once! During a visit to Amsterdam this week, we’re here to celebrate the launch of the first two […]

Viking River Cruise Godmothers Get Pre-Christening Warmup

Imagine this: You are invited to serve as godmother to a brand-new cruise ship. Pretty spiffy opportunity, right? It definitely seemed that way to Rebecca Eaton, executive producer of PBS’ “Masterpiece Theater” and to Gail Wiswedel, chosen because she’s Viking’s most well-traveled cruise passenger. They, along with two others, were set to be part of […]

Video: An Unusual Marriage at the Shipyard

Sometimes it takes a moving picture. Above is a video of a 23-ton red paddlewheel and American Cruise Lines‘ 150-passenger Queen of the Mississippi becoming one in maritime matrimony. The wheel certainly isn’t only for show — it can be used exclusively to propel the Victorian-styled boat — but a pair of 1,900 horse power […]

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