Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, operators of the Europa which has been best ship in the world * for all 13 years it has been afloat, showed off its elegant, and trendy, newbuild in a shakedown cruise that was full of surprises other than the name – Europa2.
The 43,000-tonner, with 516 passengers a little bigger than its renowned sister, is the roomiest vessel afloat in terms of passenger space ratio, and every cabin comes with balconies bigger than competitors.
Its stunning design is light and outward-looking with huge windows, Read more…
The dream of a Caribbean cruise is becoming a nightmare to be avoided after two more attacks on tourists. And could it lead to cruises becoming just that, with no ports of call?
In the most recent incident a busload of more than 50 passengers from a Celebrity vessel was robbed on St Lucia. This came shortly after a couple, P & O passengers, were shot and robbed on Barbados, supposedly a relatively safe destination.
And just before these attacks, I had an unpleasant experience on St Thomas. I had been playing golf at Mahogany Run and was returning to my Disney cruise ship.
I asked a taxi driver waiting outside the golf club Read more…
River cruising in Europe is on a roll, mostly on the Rhine and Danube with convoys of large vessels sailing Amsterdam to Budapest and beyond. But there are other routes, such as the River Douro in Portugal, and a charismatic shipowner there has just introduced three beautiful vessels using movie stars Sharon Stone and Andie MacDowell to get worldwide attention.
The Douro, famous for its port wine, flows into the Atlantic Ocean at Porto, about three hours north of Lisbon, and Read more…
Eating at airports is not a good idea as restos tend to be expensive, crowded, noisy and lacking the most important ingredient, good food.
Why I ventured into O’Leary’s Sports Bar at Malaga airport beats me. I must have been lost. If I had read Trip Advisor I would have run a mile. It has two posts and both say the service was terrible.
But I persevered and you know what – its cheeseburgers are superb. Best I have ever had. So good that I went back a second time, and my cheeseburger was historic (now that Michael Winner is upstairs I feel I can use that word). Chips were good too, if not up to Belgian standard.
I have to agree getting a table is not easy. You are supposed to wait for a hostess but a better way is just to look for an empty table and go and sit there, then find a waiter. And when your food arrives, ask for the bill.
The name Baja California has an exotic ring to it, and the peninsula stands out on a map, but in fact it is just a long finger of under-populated, mostly scrubby land stretching from San Diego down to Cabo San Lucas, where a recent rush of expensive hotels has transformed the party town invented by Canadians on the cheap.
It was here not so long ago that I met a French chef ready to quit a posh hotel because the new crowd in town, wealthy Americans, only wanted sandwiches and their idea of Mexican food. As he said, there must be better places.
There are, mon ami, there are.
Like a boat on the Sea of Cortez, just around the corner.
In the meantime Cabo has a shiny new airport terminal, Read more…
Crossing the Atlantic Ocean used to be such an ordeal. Christopher Columbus, for example, took 70 days to get to the other side.
My recent cruise from Barcelona to Miami was on a similar track, steaming fairly close to Palos, the tiny Spanish port Columbus set sail from in 1492, but for me it was 12 days, and all calm seas and sunshine.
While I enjoyed retracing Columbus’s epic voyage, most of the 800 others on the Crystal Serenity probably didn’t care. One man told me he hated flying, his wife wanted to avoid jetlag, and a throng was there, it seemed, just for the bridge.
There was no doubt everyone enjoyed the discounted fares for what was a positioning cruise — in this case we were one of an armada Read more…
If you like new ships, and lots of innovation thrown in, stand by for the 141,000-ton Royal Princess, latest new vessel from Princess Cruises, which goes into service this summer.
And if you’re quick off the mark you can take advantage of two short preview cruises before the inaugural sailing June 16. Per person cruise fares start at $530 for an obstructed-view balcony stateroom.
The quickies are roundtrip from Southampton June 9 and June 14, letting passengers be among the first to sample the new generation ship’s many ground-breaking features.
First is a greatly expanded atrium, the social hub of the ship; a dramatic over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending more than 28 feet beyond the edge of the vessel; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on the water; and balconies on all outside cabins.
I like the sound of the Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light.
The 3,600-passenger Royal Princess will spend the summer in the Mediterranean followed by an Atlantic crossing in the autumn and series of Eastern Caribbean cruises