Charity begins on two wheels

Inspired, I hope, by my brother (above left) and his 4,400-mile cycle ride around the coast of the UK, Cunard president Peter Shanks (right) is preparing for a charity bike ride of his own.
Just a little shorter though – Peter is joining friends of the Prince’s Trust – which Cunard supports throughout the year – on a 47-mile ride from Buckingham Palace to Windsor Castle. I’m not sure what roads they are taking, as the direct route is only about half that, and the 26 mile 385 yards distance of a marathon race is precisely that because it […]

Zara pushes the boat out

The drawing room on board Royal Yacht Britannia
Princess Cruises lay claim to the “Love Boat” title – and just to prove it one more time, they are taking Captain Stubing (in the shape of actor Gavin MacLeod) back to sea on Pacific Princess’s world cruise next year.
But perhaps we have all been missing something. The real Love Boat is tied up at a quayside at Leith Docks, near Edinburgh and although it doesn’t sail anywhere these days, it welcomes hundreds of visitors each day.
This vessel has provided a honeymoon home for more princesses than you’ll find in Disney Dream’s […]

Fain’s misfortune brings bargains

If Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain (left) was looking a little distracted at last week’s christening of his latest cruise ship, Celebrity Silhouette, all became clear yesterday when the company released its latest financial figures.
It owned up to an accounting error which reduced its full-year profit expectations, and despite disclosing increased revenue, saw its share price fall by six per cent. “There is not a soul here, including myself, who doesn’t regret the error,” Fain told analysts.
Royal Caribbean, whose brands include Celebrity, Azamara Club Cruises, German line TUI and the Spanish Pullmantur, had earnings of $93.5 million (£57 million) […]

Busman’s holiday on QM2 for Carol

Two years after leaving Cunard to take charge of sister cruise line P&O, Carol Marlow has been back on board flagship Queen Mary 2, taking her mother on a week-long holiday to the Norwegian fjords.
But when you’ve been the president of the company there’s little opportunity to relax, and her successor, Peter Shanks, persuaded Carol to write a guest blog at WeAreCunard.com
In return, she and her mother received an invitation to dine with recently-appointed Commodore Christopher Rynd and his wife Julie, but not before she spent a rough day in the North Sea touring the ship and meeting lots […]

Is it time for Sale of the Century?

Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain reacted in horror when I suggested to him at the weekend that it might almost be time for the 16-year-old cruise ship Celebrity Century to leave the fleet.
Celebrity president Dan Hanrahan assured me that he was looking at itineraries for 2012 and 2013 which included the 1,750-passenger ship and his boss, who took a while to grasp the significance of my question: “When can I write the headline ‘Sale of the Century’?” also said the company was staying loyal to the veteran vessel.
But I’m still not convinced, especially after reading that Fain […]

Warm welcome for Prinsendam

Holland America’s Prinsendam has been making a big impression on a round-Britain cruise, and was particularly welcome at the north Devon town of Ilfracombe, which had been disappointed in May when sister ship Rotterdam had to cancel a call because of rough weather.
The sun wasn’t shining on Friday, but local dignitaries and the town crier put on a warm welcome for the 700 passengers, mostly from America, Canada and New Zealand, who came ashore by tender.
Maureen Brixius, from Florida, returning from an excursion to Exmoor, said: “We loved it; what’s not to like? Even with the rain it was […]

Coast Guard investigate cruise bump

There will be some red faces at Carnival Cruise Line, after two of their ships managed to collide with each other yesterday in Key West, Florida. Goodness knows what the captains had to say to each other as they stood on the quayside examining the minor damage caused when Carnival Fantasy (above) bashed into almost-identical sister ship Carnival Imagination while manoeuvring into port. Admittedly the damage was cosmetic, and no-one was hurt when the ships struck stern-to-stern. The US Coast Guard is investigating, and carried out alcohol and drug tests on key personnel as a matter of routine. Imagination […]

Don’t delay – vote today

The awards season is getting into full swing in the travel industry. More than 100,000 votes have been cast in Cruise International’s first-ever awards, and there is still more than a month to go for passengers to make their opinions count.
There are separate categories for the best cruise line, river cruise line and ship, all voted for by the people who pay to travel on them. You can choose the Coolest Captain and even vote for me in the Best Cruise Blogger category (what are you waiting for?) and every vote cast provides a chance to win a £3,000 […]

Top chef gets the scoop on QM2

It has been fascinating reading the account of a passenger making his first Transatlantic crossing – much more interesting – and, dare I say, insightful – than a recent article by someone making the journey for the 157th time.
David Lebovitz is a renowned pastry chef and author, an American in Paris. He has written about desserts, puddings, and in The Perfect Scoop, penned a paean to ice cream.
Plans for him to sail across the Atlantic on Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 last year were thwarted when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano filled the atmosphere with ash. Fortunately he got another chance, […]

Laugh a minute on Silhouette

A few more words about the Celebrity Silhouette launch before we move on . . .
Ship launches can quite often be fairly sober affairs – at least until the Champagne bottle smashes, acting as a signal for glasses to be poured for all the guests. And while Celebrity’s tradition of inviting breast cancer survivors to be godmothers is admirable, and always guarantees a moving ceremony, it doesn’t follow that it’s going to produce a laugh a minute.
But there were smiles and humour in abundance this weekend, with Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain quipping that he had saved a fortune […]