Suite dreams at sea

My motto for all travel is to do what you can comfortably afford to do. As I’ve written, if you want to fly business- or first-class, and you have the money to do it, don’t let anybody persuade you otherwise.

First-class cabin on the Titanic (origin unknown)

The difference between business and economy class on a plane — especially on long-haul flights — is painfully obvious. That is, the ever-more-cramped economy-class seats will induce pain; the lie-flat options up front will not. Continue reading Suite dreams at sea

Cruise ships: bigger, better, best?

In both aircraft and cruise-ship manufacturing, there’s a debate: is bigger always better? In aviation, the largest commercial plane, the Airbus A380, is popular only with airlines, notably Emirates, that are staking the future on carrying a lot of people over long distances to and from big airports.

Project Leonardo (NCL)

With cruise ships, there has been greater investment by those who believe  bigger is better, although niche operators beg to differ.

Continue reading Cruise ships: bigger, better, best?

Sober on the high seas

A Twitter follower recently posed me an interesting question that went a little like this: “I am a non-drinker, and I have always shied away from cruises because everybody on board seems to be drinking all the time.

One of many cruise-ship bars. Where to go if you don’t drink?

“Is there anything to do on a cruise if you don’t drink?”

Continue reading Sober on the high seas

You’re never alone at sea

If you follow this blog, you might be aware the I’m a fan of Quora, the site that crowdsources answers to interesting questions, including many about travel.

I’m not just an avid reader of the site, I’ve recently become a contributor, with a few posts and a couple of thousand views to my name.  My latest answer relates to something I’m reasonably well informed about: cruising alone.

Continue reading You’re never alone at sea

Jamaica: I went of my own accord

OK, so the headline on this piece is a lazy reference to an old joke, but don’t let that put you off a visit to Jamaica, one of the jewels of the Caribbean.

Falmouth, Jamaica

I visited Falmouth as part of a cruise itinerary, and I’m keen to see more. The people, from the local tour guide to the people we met on the streets, were friendly and the weather was superb.

Continue reading Jamaica: I went of my own accord

Symphony rules the seas

With the launch next year of a new contender for the title of world’s biggest cruise ship, the question arises: just how big can a passenger vessel be?

Symphony of the Seas (royalcaribbean.com)

Royal Caribbean, which already has more megaships than any other company, is gearing up to launch Symphony of the Seas, and its vital statistics are incredible.

Continue reading Symphony rules the seas

We want affordable wi-fi!

There is one area where the hospitality industry has struggled (or is unwilling) to keep up and be competitive: the provision of internet services.

It is ridiculous in this day and age that some hotels, airlines and cruise ships offer near-extortionate prices for internet access (which, according to the United Nations, is a basic human right, no less).

Continue reading We want affordable wi-fi!

Kusadasi in pictures

Kusadasi is a city on the western Aegean coast of Turkey, perhaps best known to tourists as the gateway to the remarkable Roman ruins at Ephesus.

Sadly, a lot of cruise ships have stopped calling at Turkish ports following political unrest in that country. Hopefully the delights of the city, with its winding passages and interesting shops will be available to travellers again soon.

Continue reading Kusadasi in pictures

Gratuitous advice about tipping

Tipping is a way of life in some parts of the world, and something to be avoided in other places. Travellers soon learn whether they need to tip or not.

Do you need to tip on ships?

But it’s on the high seas where things get confusing. Cruise holidays bring together passengers from all parts of the world, and there is often no consensus about how much, or even whether, they should tip.

Continue reading Gratuitous advice about tipping

Keeping it clean

I wouldn’t normally write about a press release announcing that a cruise line, or other travel company, had won some kind of award or distinction.

ms Eurodam (hollandamerica.com)

However, this is different. Holland America Line has announced that its ms Eurodam has registered a particular achievement for the 11th consecutive time. And that should interest everyone who has ever cruised, or has ever contemplated a cruise holiday.

Continue reading Keeping it clean

Feeling free at sea

The interior stateroom I had on my most recent cruise could fit at least four times into the apartment I currently call home. But in many ways, the apartment is smaller.

That’s despite the fact that the windowless cabin barely had enough room for a double bed and a desk, and had a bathroom in which one, even if so cruelly inclined, could not swing a cat.

Continue reading Feeling free at sea

It’s not all smooth sailing

I love to cruise. I’ve averaged three cruises a year for the past four years, and I’ve been to some fabulous places on some wonderful ships.

But, as with all experiences in life, things don’t always go smoothly. So, here I’m listing some of the things I wish were different about cruise ships in general and about experiences that I’ve had in particular.

Continue reading It’s not all smooth sailing

Considering a cruising career?

I once wanted to work on a cruise ship; part of me still does. What’s not to like about working on board a ship; to get paid to see the world, with accommodation, food and drinks thrown in?

Vision of the Seas

Well, there are quite a few things to think about if you are considering taking the leap into the world of hospitality and entertainment on the high seas.

Continue reading Considering a cruising career?

Secrets of the sea

One of my favourite activities onboard a cruise ship is the question-and-answer session with the captain and senior officers. Not every cruise line does it, but Royal Caribbean does on at least some of its ships, and it’s called Captain’s Corner.

On my cruise aboard Vision of the Seas, I learned — or was reminded of — quite a few “fun facts” about that particular ship and cruising in general in a session hosted by Captain Marek Slaby.

Continue reading Secrets of the sea

Breaking free at sea

I broke one of my own rules. I decided this time that I would not spend money while at sea when I’m cruising.

4Ever plus one

The idea was to pay for everything in advance — and get the applicable discouts — then pretend to be having a free holiday (Hey, it works for me. I certainly got a good deal on the internet, paying about $5 a day less than I would had I bought it on board).

But I found one thing I couldn’t resist. Well, two actually.

Continue reading Breaking free at sea