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Photo Gallery / Cruise Travel / Retro Travel / Ships / Active Travel / Celebrity Cruises / Celebrity Reflection / → All Tags
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 stereotypesthe 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
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.
Cruise Travel / Lists / Ships / Viking River Cruises / Celebrity Cruises / Cunard / National Geographic Expeditions / → All Tags
No matter what your opinion of cruising, there are some places much better suited to entering by ocean or waterway. Every year cruise lines kick each other in the shins in the race to have the coolest city combinations for their newest ships...all to attract you, dear traveler. For 2013, we have our eyes on four itineraries in particular that make midnight buffets off the coast of Bermuda and dancing to jazz in middle of the Med look like child's play.
· 12 days on Ukraine's Dnieper River with Viking River Cruises
Who thinks, "hey, let me go cruise my way through Ukraine?" No one, that's who. Or, rather, no one with the exception of people booking the Dnieper River trip on Viking River Cruises, since that's exactly what they'll be doing. We love river cruise ships for their ability to cruise by at eye level and gain a unique perspective of smaller cities where travelers usually arrive by train or car. Viking also has a Burma/Myanmar cruise coming up for 2014 we're already eyeing.
Ports: Odessa, Sevastopol, Yalta, Kherson, Zaporozhye, Kiev
From: $2,438 double occupancy (includes 10 tours)
Cruise Travel / Ships / Celebrity Cruises / Celebrity Reflection / Wish You Were Here / Travel Snapshot / Art Travel / Art Basel Miami Beach / → All Tags
Ahoy! If you're hanging out in Florida and are anywhere near the coast from Miami on up to West Palm Beach, break out a pair of binoculars to spot us. Just look for a white sliver on the horizon, that'll actually be the ginormous white Celebrity Cruises ship Celebrity Reflection. We promise to wave back.
There's no ultimate destination other than a return to Miami for the start of the Art Basel festival of contemporary art. You see, this is a preview cruisethe ship's maiden US voyage. It's a bit like an airport practice run, when terminals invite people to come simulate operations so, on opening day, the kinks have been well worked out. We would say we're "kicking the tires" of the Reflection but, well, it's a boat with a massive hull...and a multi-million modern art collection with 6,059 original pieces from the likes of Jeff Koons, Anish Kapoor, Christo, Marina Abramovic, Richard Prince and Robert Rauschenberg.
Yachts / Apple / Steve Jobs / iMac / iPhone / Travel Tech / Technology / Design Travel / Architecture Travel / Ships / → All Tags
Do you ever find your mind wandering into the realm of "I wonder what [insert anything] would look like if it was designed by Apple?" Of course we've already seen how this plays out when applied to computers, music players, mobile phones and even maps, but what about a yacht?!
Well, wonder no more. Steve Jobs actually did put his talents towards a megayacht design and, though he's passed, that boat lives on.
Christened the Venus, the 80m/262' beast was unveiled at the end of October in Aalsmeer, Holland. As is normal with private yachts of this size and innovation, there are no interior photos to drool over nor is there an announcement of who will actually own the Venus. Odds are good that more than a few would love to charter it, however.
Historical Travel / Airlines / Around the World Travel / Pan Am / Intrepid / Military Travel / Ships / → All Tags
When was the last time you flew over the Equator and, at the exact moment, toasted the occasion? Probably never, right? That's because it's not that big a deal anymore and airplane pilots have stopped announcing it. But trust that there was a time when heading over the equator was a very big frickin' deal and flight crew not only noted it, but celebrated it by passing out official certificates of equatorial passage to passengers.
This was a time before seatback TVs and the moving map channel, of course. In fact, the ritual of "Crossing the Line" goes back to the days of exploration by tall ship, a fact that wasn't lost on Pan Am when they borrowed the practice to break up the monotony that set in on those long Clipper (also a maritime term) flights, from the 1930s through the early 1960s.
Antarctica Travel / Ships / Boats / Cruise Travel / Intrepid Travel / Historical Travel / Epic Travel / Travel News / → All Tags
Shackleton's original voyage
Imagine taking nearly two months off to sail some of the most exotic seas on the earth. If you're picturing a cruise, with its midnight buffets and tinkling atrium piano and sunning on the Lido deck, then STOP. What we're talking about is a serious voyage, one that requires a bit more preparation than having the post office hold your mail and a bit more clothing than tank tops and flip flops.
We're talking about sailing the route of Sir Ernest Shackleton to Antarctica, on the T.S. Pelican tall ship that's nearly the twin of his original ship, the Endurance, while shadowing a team of 6 who'll complete the second portion of Shackleton's journey in a replica 22.5' whaler boat.
It's been four years of planning for the journeyfrom Punta Arenas, Chile to Elephant Island, then 800 nautical miles on to South Georgia Island and Shackleton’s grave at Grytviken, before ending in Rio de Janeiro. In alliance with Intrepid Travel, the Pelican has made 10 berths available for regular travelers to join the trip, provided you're willing and able to embark on a 56-day epic and shell out $30,000 for the opportunity.
Live Music Travel / Music Travel / Coachella / Cruise Travel / Celebrity Cruises / Jamaica Travel / Bahamas Travel / Ships / SS Coachella / Events / How To Get Tickets To / → All Tags
Whoa. Okay it's official. The live music festival Coachella has jumped the shark so hard it's landed in the deep end of the ocean.
Just yesterday, Coachella promoters Goldenvoice announced that they'd be packing up the popular desert-held music event and adding some waterby theming two cruises after it. The S.S. Coachella will set sail for two consecutive weekends during the notoriously slow weeks of the year for cruisingthose right before the Christmas holiday. Brilliant timing if you're a cruise line looking to make a buck, horrible timing for attendees, who will likely have to chose between taking work time off for S.S. Coachella or heading home for the holidays.
And it won't be cheap; no camping or crashing on a stranger's couch possible on this ship. The 2,886-guest Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Silhouette is all staterooms and suites, with packages starting from $500 per person and maxing out around $2,000 per person (of their published prices, "email to inquire" for pricier suites). Remember those amounts do not include booze, soda, taxes & gratuities, shore excursions or travel to and from Fort Lauderdale.
Social Media / Facebook / Cruise Travel / Boats / Ships / → All Tags
It's been a few months now since the Facebook switch to timeline layout, which introduced the need for a cover photo. For brands, cover photos are the one-second, first impression bang that hopefully turns a casual, social media fan into a future passenger.
We've already reviewed what the airlines are doing with their cover photos. Now it's time to play with some boats.
The trends for cruise line images are: smiling couples, snapshots and big ships (of course). Since it's a pain to search for each cruise line individually to see what we mean, we've rounded up some current cover photos, alphabetically:
Cruise Travel / Travel News / Princess Cruises / Ships / Love Boat / Videos / Romance Travel / → All Tags
Here's some fun news to share over dinner tonight. USA Today's Cruise Log alerts us to the fact that not only is the original "Love Boat" still floating, but it can be yours for the pretty price of $2.5 million. That's how much a Turkish company paid for the 1971-built Pacific Princess only recently, with the intent to break it up and sell its famous bits for scrap. That was the plan, at least until they defaulted on payments. Whoops.
The ships has seen more than its slew of make-ups and break-ups over the decades; the Pacific Princess has also sailed under a few other names and cruise lines, finally reaching the stalemate at which she sits today. Will she be scrapped after all? Will she sail again on budget cruises? Will she be permanently docked as a hotel somewhere?
Here's our idea: somebody please buy this babe and convert her into the hotel idea, but keep her seaworthy so that the Pacific Princess can show up wherever overflow accommodations are needed, such as the London Olympics or World Cup. Heck, park it on the Hudson River in NYC during major conventions, Pride Week and the Fourth of July and we'll book a room or two ourselves. Make it happen.
Space Travel / Museum Travel / NASA / New York City / Ships / → All Tags
This last week brought some serious excitement to the shores of the New York City area, as the retired NASA Space Shuttle Enterprise traveled by barge from JFK International Airport to its final resting place aboard the Intrepid aircraft carrier on Manhattan's west side. The tens of thousands (maybe hundreds of thousands) who came out with their cameras, binoculars and umbrellas to #spottheshuttle now have but one question: When can the public see the shuttle again?
The short answer is July 19, according to a banner hanging from the Intrepid. That'll be the date when the newly created Space Shuttle exhibit and tour debuts on the deck of the aircraft carrier. The long answer is that it'll likely open a tad bit earlier, for VIP viewings and what surely will be quite a celebratory shindig. Until all that, the crew at the Intrepid Museum will build a "space pavilion" around the craft, protecting it from the elements (though, sadly, too late to protect it from railway bridges).
Travel Snapshot / Germany Travel / Hamburg Travel / Wish You Were Here / Ships / Airbus / → All Tags
The Museum ship "Cap San Diego" hangs out with some tugs
How was your Memorial Day? Hopefully it involved being by water, firing up a BBQ, and being active in the outdoors. Even better if it was all three, as it was for us...even though we spent the long weekend outside the USA, in Germany.
In Köln, we joined a barbeque in the Stadtgarten before hopping a train up to Hamburg, where the "being by water" and "being active in the outdoors" took over. Hamburg's nickname is Tor zur Welt, or "Gateway to the World," and with a ginormous port (around which you may take tourist boat tours, of course) and an Airbus plant, it's no wonder.
While the oceanic climate means strong, chilly winds most of the year, the short summer packs all the goodness into these day; the sky is almost always without clouds, the sun stays up extra late, and biking along the harbor with a beer in the basket is a particularly pleasant way to spend the evening.
Ships / Vintage Travel / Cruise Travel / Titanic / Historical Travel / Famous Ships That Did Not Sink / → All Tags
As you already know, this last weekend marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Though yes, the sinking is a huge part of history, it's also not indicative of how ship travel actually was in the early 20th century. Not every ship sank. This week, we'll show you some notable ships that managed to stay afloat and still make their mark in history.
Today's ship that didn't sink: the SS President Grant of Admiral Oriental Line.
Have you picked up on a theme in our series so far? It's that, for all these notable ocean liners that didn't sink, they eventually ended up serving their time as troopships, mostly during World War I. Had the Titanic continued on, she probably would have gone the same route, possibly even eventually sinking from U-boat torpedoes.
Still we focus on one more ship that didn't sink, and this one isn't a veteran of the transatlantic route; the SS President Grant instead plied the waves between the US west coast and the Orient, specifically Japan and Hong Kong. As the Grant, the ship sailed for weeks with passengers bound for new lives, or just new adventures, on the other side of the world. As the USS Harris, which is what she became in 1940 with a conversion to a US troopship, she sailed with troops fighting World War II in the South Pacific, in North Africa, and even in the Aleutian Islands.