International Chefs in International Waters

Posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 | 0 comments
Photo by Diana House Flickr Creative Commons

From November 2011, MSC Cruise Lines will be launching a series of 5 gourmet cruises, and have recruited top chefs from various European nations.

Spanish michelin-starred Paco Roncero will sail aboard the MSC Fantasia from Nov 27th and provide top-class spanish cuisine to passengers. Paco is known for his specialty work with olive oil.

Aboard the MSC Splendida from the 7th of January 2012, italian chef Mauro Uliassi will wow guests with pizza, pasta and.. whatever else italian people love. Expect some genuine Italian hospitality on this cruise.

From the 28th of January, chef Gilles EpiƩ brings the gallic influence to the series. Awarded a michelin star at the age of 22, he will sail aboard the Splendida and cook fine french fare like that of his restaurant in Paris.

Also on the Splendida, UK chef Anthony Worral Thompson, of "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here" fame and known for his health-conscious cooking, will bring the english comfort food from the 4th of February.

Lastly, famous michelin starred german chef Kolja Kleeberg will sail on the MSC Lirica from the 1st of June, to treat cruisers to his dishes. Kolja has been a popular guest on many german TV shows and is sure to wow passengers.

So, for those who like the finer gastronomical things in life, be sure to book with MSC!

Author: Ryan Posa+

Married at Sea

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Can you get married on a cruise ship? Yes you can, and with some cruise lines you can even marry at sea rather than at a port.

The first wedding at sea took place on a Princess Ship in 1988, with the captain performing the ceremony. Now, other cruise lines such as Celebrity, P&O and Azamara Club offer at-sea weddings by the captain.

photo by Muha... Flickr Creative Commons

Many other lines, although not licensed for weddings in international waters, can provide weddings aboard at a port or onshore.

Onboard weddings range from just ceremonies to elaborate receptions. Most lines offer packages including various traditional wedding bits and pieces- a cake, a photographer, flowers, etc. Details of these are best found on their websites or by talking to your travel agent.

Cruise ship weddings are very popular, and they have distinct advantages. As destination weddings go, they often work out reasonably cheap, as weddings are a common occurrence aboard, and food is included in cruise fares so only extras are paid for. Also, the honeymoon is readily available!

Author: Ryan Posa+

Like the food on P&O ships?

Posted on Monday, July 25, 2011 | 0 comments

You can have it at home! The line will have available for purchase on cruises a cookbook called "Holidays." The book contains a selection of dishes from the culinary team. These range from macadamia nut pancakes with mango and maple syrup to wagyu burgers and spatchcock with eggplant salad.

Photo by Richard Taylor Flickr Creative Commons

There are more than 16,000 recipes that make up the cruise line's complete offering, so how did they choose just a few? According to Executive Chef Uwe Stiefel, the book contain an "array of passenger's top dishes."

The dishes chosen are also designed to be easy to prepare- important when you are on "Holidays!" Books will cost AUD$40 on P&O cruises.

Author: Ryan Posa+

Silhouette Officially Named

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Celebrity Cruise's latest Solstice-Class ship, seen previously squeezing its way out of the river to freedom, has been officially named in a ceremony in Hamburg, with godmother Michelle Morgan cutting the ribbon.

Michelle is the CEO of Signature Travel Network, and like the other Solstice Class godmothers, a breast cancer survivor. The 3 other godmothers joined her as she cut, fittingly, a pink ribbon.

For Celebrity Silhouette cruises, click here.

Author: Ryan Posa+

Eco cruising

Posted on Sunday, July 24, 2011 | 0 comments
Cruise lines are not known for their environmental efforts- in fact, in the past cruise ships have been blamed for contributing to the destruction of the maritime environment on which they rely to do their thing. Discharging waste, constantly running engines- these things do not make an environmentally friendly picture.

However, over the past few years some cruise lines have gone above and beyond what is required of them to reduce the effect of their ships on the environment. Here are some of the frontrunners amongst the major cruise lines:

Holland America ships have onboard Environmental Officers to educate guests and staff about environmentally friendly measures that can be taken on the ship. Like many hotels, guests are encouraged to reuse towels where possible and low-flow toilets and showers are installed in cabins.
Their attention to detail is groundbreaking: Non-toxic detergents are used in drycleaning, and onboard materials are printed with soy-based inks. In the medical centre, digital technology is being implemented to eliminate x-ray chemicals. Passengers are issued with e-tickets instead of the usual many sheets of paper in plastic ticket holders. Condiments are dispensed from bulk dispensers rather than individual packeges. In 2009, the line ranked first in Friends of the Earth's cruise ship environmental Report Card.
Their ships connect to shore power where available and have top-of-the-line wastewater treatment facilities, which turns blackwater into water almost at drinking water standard, and anything that can be recycled is recycled.

Celebrity Cruises' Solstice Class ships are leaders in eco friendly systems, with solar panels installed to elp power the LED lights, which use less energy than traditional lightbulbs. Windows are tinted to keep the rooms cooler and reduce the need for air conditioning. Chilled river rocks are used in the buffets instead of ice to reduce water usage.
Celebrity also has a great wastewater treatment system to treat sewage and return water to a clean condition.

Lindblad Expeditions is a smaller line but features regularly on lists of eco-friendly cruises. Cruising to more farflung destinations like the Galapagos Islands, Antarctica, New Zealand, the Arctic and other less-popular cruise destinations, it works with National Geographic to give passengers not only an environmentally responsible cruise but a true environmental experience- definitely the cruise line for those interested in our world!
The line partners with many environmental organisations such as the Alaska Whale Foundation and Oceanites to raise awareness and educate people about the environment. Onboard, only locally-sourced and sustainable food is served. They recently launched a Climate Change Action Plan to manage their carbon footprint, including strict measurement, education and carbon offsets.

There are many more cruise lines with programmes in place to reduce their impact on the environment- Carnival recycles, incinerates or offloads all waste on land so none is dumped in the ocean, and has installed devices to monitor water quality on 2 of its ships. Disney uses water from the air conditioning systems for all of it's laundry and painted hulls with a non-toxic coating which reduces drag in the water.Royal Caribbean have a 'nothing goes overboard' policy and have reduced waste with bulk condiments and no disposable utensils or plastic water bottles. They also have purchased a large amount of biodiesel, have climate change and pollution laboratories on one of their ships and shaped their ships to move more efficiently through the water.

So, cruising can be a responsible option, depending on the line you chose and of course your own behaviour whilst on board. Reuse your towels, minimise the rubbish you produce, recycle where available and NEVER throw anything overboard!

Author: Ryan Posa+

New Initiative for Shore Tours

Posted on Thursday, July 21, 2011 | 0 comments
Australian-based Shore Excursions is a new company which will offer alternatives to shore trips organised by the cruise lines. Set up by a former Carnival Australia director, it aims to end the monopoly that the lines have on shore tours and offer options to passengers.

Photo by Richard Taylor Flickr Creative Commons

Vanutatu and New Caledonia have been identified as places in need of alternative tours. An example on the website is a AUD$28 pp/$14 child sightseeing tour of noumea, which takes in all the sights from a bus over 1.5 hours. There is a wide range of activities- amongst them, 4wd eco tours and theme park transfers, spelunking and wineries in Australia, tours of villages and rainforests in Fiji, sightseeing, adventure tourism and helicopter rides in New Zealand and nature, scuba and sailing in Vanuatu

Is it a threat to the Cruise Lines? managing Director Michael Ager says the aim of the company is not to attack the lines but simply to offer alternatives.

Cruising for Names

Posted on Monday, July 18, 2011 | 0 comments
Norwegian Cruise Lines has two new ships on order, scheduled to arrive in April 2013 and April 2014. Instead of coming up with names, the company has opened it up to its passengers from the USA and Canada and is running a contest. The winners will get a trip for two to 'their' ship's inaugural festivities.

To enter the contest, simply fill out a short entry form at, choosing a name that reflects the freedom, innovation and flexibility of cruising with NCL and invoke feelings of a 'break' at sea. The names should start with the word 'Norwegian.' Easy!

The new 'Project Breakaway' Ships will carry 4,000 passengers each, and more details of what they will contain will be released in the next few months.

Rhapsody's Revamp

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 | 0 comments
Good news for the Australasian cruising market- Royal Caribbean's 'Rhapsody of the Seas' is set for a freshen up in 2012. It will be in dry dock in Singapore for 4-6 weeks, whilst cabins, dining rooms and entertainment areas undergo an 'extensive overhaul.' Some of the features of the Oasis and Allure ships will be added, with similiar upgrades planned for other older Royal Carribbean ships in the future, to bring the entire 22-ship fleet up to date.

The overhaul will cause 4 of next year's cruises to be canceled- but 2 cruises to and from Singapore will be added to the itinerary.

Royal Caribbean gives backstage passes

Posted on Thursday, July 7, 2011 | 0 comments
Bridge by Paranoidnotandroid Flickr Creative Commons

Royal Caribbean has introduced a new offering for passengers- the All Access Tour, which for $150 per person will take you to the bridge, galley, behind the scenes in the theatre, the engine control room and other parts of the ships usually off-limits to passengers. The tour group will also have the opportunity to meet key staff and learn what it takes to deliver the cruise experience.

Safety concerns have in the past kept behind the scenes areas strictly off-limits to non-crew members- especially after the 9/11 attacks. However in the last 4 years Princess and Carnival Cruises have introduced similiar all-access tours. All tour groups are closely supervised by security!

Princess Cruises debuted in February this year a new initiative called the Bon Voyage Experience, which harks back to the days of trans-atlantic voyages when families of passengers would come on board to see them off. This was scrapped a long time ago, again due to tightening security, but has been brought back. The 'Experience,' priced at $39 dollars, allows guests onboard to check out the ship on sailing day, and includes a 4 course lunch and tour. The cost of the tour can be put towards a future Princess cruise. Passengers are farewelled in style, and Princess promotes its ships to their families. Everyone wins!

Celebrity with a slim Silhouette

Posted on Monday, July 4, 2011 | 0 comments
The new luxury cruise ship 'Celebrity Silhouette' has squeezed through a canal at places only 5 feet wider than it is. Celebrity Cruises' latest ship performed a remarkable reverse exit from Papenburg, germany, assisted by tugboats and moving at lightning speeds of around 4 miles an hour. It also travelled along an aqueduct over a motorway, and necessitated the removal of power lines and railway tracks.

The ship has relocated to Hamburg and will soon undertake its official maiden voyage to Rome.

Features of the new ship include a rooftop lawn in keeping with it's sister ships, and a Lawn Club grill where passengers will be able to grill their own food.

Book celebrity cruises here!