Ships That Pass in the Night - Video

For my first few cruises I had an itch to wake early to see what it was like when a ship entered port.  I failed miserably to do so until January of 2016 aboard Oasis of the Seas.  The video included here was the result of that success.  This all makes what I did seem like a lot.  In truth I cheated.  As I had the entire cruise, I setup my tripod and camera on the balcony and with the help of my alarm, staggered out of bed and started it recording.  The results have become one of my favorite lunch-time videos.  It is relaxing, peaceful and as the end of any cruise sometimes feels, a little bit sad as it marks the end of another adventure.

What does it look like when a ship enters a port?

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Five Things You Missed About Cruising: Royal Genies

Yapple Dapple!

A butler by any other name is a Royal Genie for passengers staying in Star Class accommodations aboard Royal Caribbean Ships.  Trained and certified by the British Butler Institute, these men and women provide 24 hour a day service, engaging reservations for dining, entertainment and shore excursions.  Likewise they can provide for everything from unpacking your luggage to cleaning and laundry while you are cruising.
Royal Genie? Yes.
However if you are expecting black and white butler uniforms complete with white gloves you will be disappointed.  More fitting the modern surroundings Royal Caribbean has gone so far as to commission custom uniforms that are contemporary though still formal enough to give the men and women a distinctly different look from the ships crew at large.
The Star Class accommodations are the pinnacle of cruising on Royal Caribbean.  However one should consider the suites that are part of this class can manage more than a traditional couple cruising on their own.  Indeed the cost per passenger declines considerably if one travels with kids or family.  Up to 8 passengers can be accommodated in some of the Star Class suites.  Several members of the Cruise Aficionados community have actually sailed in the high-end suite and it noted how close to a more common stateroom in cost per person.  

Five Things You Missed About Cruising: Winning Hearts, Minds and Permits in Charleston.

Carnival builds community connections as cruise terminal fight nears conclusion.

The irony of a legal fight over a place called Union Terminal located in Charleston, South Carolina maybe a bit obscure for most cruise aficionados.  However for those seeking to drive and cruise from ports along the U.S. east coast, the battle over renovation and expansion of cruise ship facilities in Charleston is of keen interest.  Likewise for Carnival Cruise Lines and its peers, better equipped facilities are essential to maintaining the port as viable in the marketplace.  So it is not surprising in light of resistance to the Union Terminal project from historic conservationist groups that they would seek to build deeper connections to the community.  
To that end the Post and Courier has been reporting on a number of stories and developments related to Union Terminal. First, they have reported that after innumerable delays due to scheduling conflicts, it appears that November will see the final arguments over a ruling that the groups opposing the terminal project have no standing in court proceedings.  A ruling on the appeal would come at some point afterward, presumably in 2017.  The key to the legal challenge lays in the permits needed for construction being tied to state agencies not local control.  A federal permit administered by the Army Corps of Engineers remains in process separately.  
In the meantime, Carnival has continued a six year old program of donating surplus materials from dining plates to stuffed animals and mattress' to local charities.  Regardless of the outcome of the hearing in November and subsequent ruling, building long-term track records is something that will benefit Carnival and set a precedent for other lines to emulate.  If it is unlikely to sway the major opponents of the Union Terminal project the public face of the reason for it will be all the more positive.  The likelihood of the project eventually being approved and completed is strong by most objective points of view.  The main push for improvements lays in mandates from the state capital.  With the major kinetic impact growth in cruise travel originating in Charleston would have for the region, Union Terminal will come to fruition in some shape or form.

Five Things You Missed About Cruising: Cruising on Old Man River

"Cruise Willing and the Creek Don't Rise...." 

Alternative cruising is becoming increasingly mainstream in how common it is to read about it.  Expedition cruising to exotic locations such as the Arctic.  River cruising in Europe.  Great Lakes cruising in north America.  Plus many people are familiar with river cruising in the United States either from vague memories of Mark Twain or the once common news reports about grand paddle wheel boats plying the Mississippi river.  
What you might have missed about cruising is that the tradition of river cruising in the United States is growing.  Two lines already operate in American rivers.  American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat will be joined by the new French America Line out of Louisiana and in the coming years by Viking River Cruises out of Switzerland.
We'll explore the history of inland and river cruising in north America this fall on Cruise Aficionados.

Five Things You Missed About Cruising #3 - Seaside Cuisine

MSC Seaside, one of the most unique ship designs since the Oasis class, will be matched with a  Pan Asian restaurant by Roy Yamaguchi.  The Japanese-American Yamaguchi is the creator of 30 restaurants spanning the United States to Japan.  Educated at the Culinary Institute of America, is known for his cuisine is driven by his Hawaiian roots though he was born and raised in Tokyo.

Roy Yamaguchi

Read more: Five Things You Missed About Cruising #3 - Seaside Cuisine

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