Holland America is offering free downloads of its ships' art tours, available for each of the fleet's 13 ships. Every piece of art -- from the Art Deco pieces dating from the original Nieuw Amsterdam in 1938 on ms Amsterdam to the "Carnival in Venice" sculptures on ms Zuiderdam -- is catalogued and described. Topping the free "podcasts," passengers who don't have video iPods or MP3 players can borrow, free of charge, one of the devices onboard. To get your art tour, visit the Holland America Web site.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises' offerings are different in that they focus on ports of call. These audio walking-tours feature cities on Mediterranean itineraries; other destinations are in production. Narrated by Elyse Weiner, an Emmy-winning foreign news producer, current tours include Venice, Rome, Pompeii, Florence and Barcelona. Produced and distributed by iJourneys for Regent, the 1.5-hour tours will be available to rent at a cost of $14.95 per destination. You can have the tour put into your personal device or rent one on the ship; the cost is the same.
If two cruise lines in one week's worth of announcements have adopted the technology, it's a pretty good bet that we'll be hearing about more ways to use your iPod or MP3 player ... while on a cruise vacation.
--by Jana Jones, Cruise Critic Contributor