Tag: Ships

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Why Kate Middleton Smashed a $2,000 Bottle of Champagne

June 13, 2013 at 4:45 PM | by | Comments (0)

When you're a royal princess, christening ships is just part of the job. Having the ship (sorta) named after you is also simply an additional perk, as HRH Kate Middleton now knows after smashing a bottle of champagne to christen the newest Princess Cruises ship, the Royal Princess.

Her Royal Highness headed down to Southampton to tour the 141,000-ton, 3,600-passenger ship with Captain Tony Draper, and cut the cord to send the champers sailing into the side, officially welcoming the ship to the open seas. The Royal Princess will only be under the gray sky of England until it departs to begin her inaugural season of 12-night cruises around the Caribbean.

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Throwback Thursday: A Travel Blog in 1908

April 11, 2013 at 3:50 PM | by | Comments (0)

Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.

Millions of travel blogs exist online. Actually the number is more likely in the billions, a staggering amount considering civilization has only had the ability to create weblogs since the early 1990s. Prior to this, travelers sent a steady stream of letters home, or *gasp* wrote entire books of their journeys. These handwritten journals or published, typed tomes often sit forgotten in an attic, in the stacks of suburban libraries, or rotting under heaps of trash sifted away from the jewelry and other hockable bits of estates.

Recently we got our hands on one such book, saved from the last fate as it turned up in an auction, forgotten in the bottom of a box.

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Throwback Thursday: What The Shanghai Bund Looked Like in 1930

Where: Shanghai, China
March 14, 2013 at 6:17 PM | by | Comments (0)

Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.

When next you're in Shanghai, standing on The Bund and staring out into the Huangpu River with its parade of digital billboard barges and the backdrop of the soaring skyscrapers of Pudong, close your eyes and, for a moment, imagine it all as it was in this postcard from 1930.

For several months at the start of 1930, the Hamburg-American line ship S.S. Resolute sailed an around-the-world itinerary, placing a great focus on Asian ports of call. Instead of placing the responsibility of mailing postcards onto each passenger, the ship offered a service whereby they would mail postcards for you, at each port. The messages were the same, only the neatly typed addresses differed. By the end of the voyage, your friends back home would have amassed a stack of exotic postcards without your having lifted a pen.

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An Abandoned, Rusting Ship is Reborn Under Street Art

March 4, 2013 at 5:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

Put an abandoned site together with street art and it's like travel photography gold. Mark the derelict ship Duke of Lancaster on your must-visit map as it's the newest place to add graffiti to its rusting hulk. We can smell the Instagram "likes" already.

Located in the Dee estuary near Mostyn, on the north coast of Wales, the Duke of Lancaster has sat unused and seemingly unloved since 1979. It was only recently that former street artist Maurice Blunt spotted the ship while traveling on a train, and formed the idea to turn her into a canvas for street art.

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Wish You Were Here: A Ferry Boat on the Bosphorus

February 21, 2013 at 8:44 PM | by | Comments (0)

New York has its Staten Island Ferry, Venice the Vaporetto and Bangkok the Chao Phraya River Bus, but no city ferry line seems quite as regal as that of Istanbul.

Last night, we hopped a Vapur (the name for these old ferries) for the first time, traveling from the docks at Eminönü near the Spice Market to about 25 minutes up the Bosphorus to Ortaköy, a neighborhood just before the towering Bosphorus Bridge. Though a private water taxi charges 120 Lira ($67 USD) for a one-way ride between these points, sharing the ferry means a far budget friendlier cost of only 3 Lira ($1.67) each way.

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Video Interlude: A Time-Lapse Trip on Scandinavia's Ultra Fancy, Duty-Free Ferry

Where: Finland
February 21, 2013 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you think cruise shops are pretty fancy, then you haven't stepped onboard a Scandinavian ferry. Indeed, ferries aren't what they used to be—they're so much better, as musty waiting room-like spaces are being replaced with comfortable lounges, entertainment spaces and even airport-style shopping.

The latter is the highlight of the crossing between Stockholm, Sweden and Turku, Finland onboard the Viking Line ferry M/S Grace. The boat stops in Marihamn, a port town which sits pretty on the Åland Islands between the two Baltic Sea cities. These islands are one of those weird territories travelers love to visit, as they have their own government, flag, stamps and patriotism, but still come under some jurisdiction of another country (Finland, in this case). The draw for the ferries and their duty-free shops is that these boats are exempt from Europe's VAT tax. It's literally a booze cruise—buying it, not so much consuming it.

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What It's Like to Be Stuck Onboard a Crippled Cruise Ship

Where: Mexico
February 12, 2013 at 10:31 AM | by | Comments (0)

Yikes. If you haven't already heard, there's a Carnival Cruise ship drifting without electricity (and, thus, propulsion) in the Caribbean. It's the Carnival Triumph, a megaship which embarked on a 4-night cruise from Galveston, Texas over the weekend, only to be crippled by an engine room fire on Sunday. Not much was known about the state of the ship and onboard conditions for the passengers until several were able to place phone calls when a sister Carnival ship came to the Triumph's aid with backup food and water.

The ship is being pushed by two tugboats from her position off the coast of Mexico and she should reach Mobile, Alabama on Thursday.

Still, this is one more entry into our series of "The Evolution of Cruise Ships," as events like this do happen as much as you pray they won't on your cruise. In fact, one of our friends suffered a similar fate on her cruise, though it took place before the age of cellphones/internet/immediate news dissemination.

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The Evolution of Cruise Ships, from 1975 to 2013: The Ship Itself

February 8, 2013 at 12:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

Imagine a cruise. Now picture yourself on that cruise. Are you playing shuffleboard and gobbling rum cakes? God, let's hope not. Over the next several days, we're going to dig back into the era responsible for creating these cruise stereotypes—the fun-in-the-sun 1970s, when ocean liners turned into cruise ships and voyages into vacations. In sharp contrast, we'll look at cruising 2013-style onboard the newest ship on the seas, the Celebrity Reflection.

The Cruising 1975 vs. 2013 Series:

1. Activities
2. Technology
3. Dining and drinking
4. Cabins and suites
5. The ships themselves

The average ship of 1975 had eight guest decks, none of them named with any creativity (ex: "Main Deck," "B Deck") while the Celebrity Reflection and similar megaships regularly boast of 13 or 14 guest decks with names ("Solstice Deck") that sound more natural than naval.

Sure, 13 decks to explore sounds like quite a bit, but then consider that the number of cabins has also risen from 500 in 1975 to 1,500 in 2013, so all that fresh space means more room for more new friends. Oh, and the chance of scoring a cabin with a verandah? Nearly 0% in 1975, depending on your ship. Heck, having a large window was living in luxury, and a dinner plate-sized porthole was far more common. In 2013, the percentage of cabins with private verandahs has skyrocketed to an impressive 85% on the Reflection, and even portholes on the lowest decks have expanded to dimensions approaching picture windows.

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The Evolution of Cruise Ships, from 1975 to 2013: Cabins and Suites

February 6, 2013 at 9:33 AM | by | Comment (1)

Imagine a cruise. Now picture yourself on that cruise. Are you playing shuffleboard and gobbling rum cakes? God, let's hope not. Over the next several days, we're going to dig back into the era responsible for creating these cruise stereotypes—the fun-in-the-sun 1970s, when ocean liners turned into cruise ships and voyages into vacations. In sharp contrast, we'll look at cruising 2013-style onboard the newest ship on the seas, the Celebrity Reflection.

The Cruising 1975 vs. 2013 Series:

1. Activities
2. Technology
3. Dining and drinking
4. Cabins and suites
5. The ships themselves

There was once a time when going on a cruise meant days of fun in the sun balanced out by the small miseries of showering in a teeny-tiny restroom, sleeping in a dreary room without a balcony (or even a window larger than a dinner plate), and forgoing the usual comforts of home. Happily those days are in the past and instead cruisers can bunk down in two-bedroom suites with wet bars, baby grand pianos, massive bathrooms larger than studio apartments, and balconies galore. Even the average cabin of 2013 makes suites of 1975 looks like steerage class. Ah, evolution.

Naturally prices have risen as well—like from $550 double occupancy for a 7-day Caribbean cruise in 1975 to $890 for the same in 2013—but though the price is nearly double, the amenities and space ratios are easily quadrupled.

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The Evolution of Cruise Ships, from 1975 to 2013: Drinking and Dining

February 4, 2013 at 1:04 PM | by | Comment (1)

Imagine a cruise. Now picture yourself on that cruise. Are you playing shuffleboard and gobbling rum cakes? God, let's hope not. Over the next several days, we're going to dig back into the era responsible for creating these cruise stereotypes—the fun-in-the-sun 1970s, when ocean liners turned into cruise ships and voyages into vacations. In sharp contrast, we'll look at cruising 2013-style onboard the newest ship on the seas, the Celebrity Reflection.

The Cruising 1975 vs. 2013 Series:

1. Activities
2. Technology
3. Dining and drinking
4. Cabins and suites
5. The ships themselves

Beef Wellington. Poached lobster. A tower of chocolate eclairs. Daisy-shaped pats of butter to accompany as many glistening dinner rolls as you care to eat. These are the usual suspects on a cruise ship's menu, and it's as true today as it was in 1975. The big difference is that, now, there are actually other options. The ships of 2013 offer healthy and light cuisine, cater to vegetarians and food allergies, and even employ sushi chefs to handcraft rolls to order.

Boiling it down, the decades have brought a needed shift to put quality over quantity.

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The Evolution of Cruise Ships, from 1975 to 2013: Technology

February 1, 2013 at 11:17 AM | by | Comment (1)

Imagine a cruise. Now picture yourself on that cruise. Are you playing shuffleboard and gobbling rum cakes? God, let's hope not. Over the next several days, we're going to dig back into the era responsible for creating these cruise stereotypes—the fun-in-the-sun 1970s, when ocean liners turned into cruise ships and voyages into vacations. In sharp contrast, we'll look at cruising 2013-style onboard the newest ship on the seas, the Celebrity Reflection.

The Cruising 1975 vs. 2013 Series:

1. Activities
2. Technology
3. Dining and drinking
4. Cabins and suites
5. The ships themselves

There were no cell phones in 1975, or personal computers. Of course this is huge "duh" fact, but let that sink in for a moment when you think of the hundreds of passengers onboard a cruise ship and their near complete break with communication when they stepped onboard. Sure, there were in-room radios and ship-to-shore calling, if you wanted to pay the per-minute price, but nothing like the connectivity they now offer.

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The Evolution of Cruise Ships, from 1975 to 2013: Onboard Activities

January 30, 2013 at 5:46 PM | by | Comments (0)

Imagine a cruise. Now picture yourself on that cruise. Are you playing shuffleboard and gobbling rum cakes? God, let's hope not. Over the next several days, we're going to dig back into the era responsible for creating these cruise stereotypes—the fun-in-the-sun 1970s, when ocean liners turned into cruise ships and voyages into vacations. In sharp contrast, we'll look at cruising 2013-style onboard the newest ship on the seas, the Celebrity Reflection.

The Cruising 1975 vs. 2013 Series:

1. Activities
2. Technology
3. Dining and drinking
4. Cabins and suites
5. The ships themselves

"We're getting weirder."

It's a phrase that's been popping up in print more and more often, in attempts to describe how modern interests are evolving faster than ever before. Sure, we have the internet and its constant stream of new information and influences to mostly thank for that. Instead of coffee, we're drinking macchiatos or requesting cups brewed through a Chemex. Instead of going out for a steak dinner, we're hungry for hamachi or sous-vide venison. We're getting weirder and, oh boy, do the cruise lines know it.

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