CruiseSavvy Site Blog

About the Site Blog: Come here for gossip and opinions regarding the cruise industry and this site. Think Gawker.com meets Lloyd's List!

We add around a post a day, so why not make us part of your afternoon coffee break...

Opera on the pool deck?

Interesting bit of news crossed my desk today: Princess will be screening Puccini's La Boheme, broadcast live from the Met, on every single one of its ships.

First of all, this is opera. In Italian. Unless I'm on a Med cruise, I really don't care to bother my brain with foreign languages, much less foreign languages that are being sung

Second of all, it's La Boheme, not exactly the most uplifting opera ever.

To be fair, Princess has proved me wrong before. Apparently their decision to show the movie Titanic was a big hit with guests (no pun intended).

Or maybe it's intended to get people off the deck and into the casino.


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Motel Mojo for Azamara and Celebrity

Mr. Wayne Wielgus, the newly appointed SVP of Marketing for Celebrity and Azamara, is a seasoned hospitality marketer with experience overseeing rapid growth.

Even so, his background makes him a surprising choice in some quarters.

After all, in his previous role and EVP and Chief Marketing Officer for Choice Hotels International he oversaw a very different portfolio of brands: Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality, Clarion, Sleep Inn, Econo Lodge, MainStay Suites and Rodeway Inn. That's right, motels.

But surely there are stranger career paths out there. After all, Dan Hanrahan, Wielgus' new boss, came to the cruise industry by way of Reebok sneakers, Nestle foods, Texas Instruments devices and Gallo wines.

Furthermore, Mr. Wielgus saw Choice through a period of substantial growth in franchisees and shareholder value: From the time he joined as SVP of Marketing in 2000 until he announced his departure in January of 2007, Choice shares rose eight-fold, from around $5 a share to around $40 a share. Not too shabby.

We wish Mr. Wieglus well and are excited to see what he has in store for the brands!


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"Bachelor" is Princess' judge of romance??

Princess announced today they're using Alex Michel, ABC's original "Bachelor" from 2002, to help judge a romantic video contest.

This is a guy who, at 37, remains a bachelor six years after the show designed to find him a life partner (supposedly).

Further, this is the same Alex Michel who, immediately after The Bachelor, produced and starred in a film called Our Very First S-x Tape. We haven't seen it, but based on the IMDB reviews (3.8 out of 10) it's not high on artistic merit.

Mr. Michel may have an MBA from Stanford and a BA from Harvard (as press releases about him never fail to mention), but c'mon, when it comes to romance -- or a career in show business -- would you trust this man's judgment?


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Site after our own heart

Oh my. A site devoted to archiving cruise ship daily programs. Nice hierarchical categorization by line and ship. Sweet.

CruiseDailies.com - If you have a professional interest in the design of daily programs (yo, Bill!), or just really like a lot of detail, check it out.


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Fun with Fruit

There are artists in the kitchen, and then there's art made from food.

The severed cow head made of fruit disturbs me. As does a member selecting it as her Avatar. And you thought I was weird. ;-)

On the other hand, I think the Fruit People (from Sylvia's Noordam 2/28 cruise) are really cute.

Decorative cow head, made of fruit

Decorative cow head, made
of fruit (HAL Zuiderdam, 9/07)

Decorative fruit, made into a marching band

Decorative fruit marching band
(HAL Noordam, 3/2008)


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How to Get Seasick

As a seasoned cruise traveler of course I followed the Savvy Guide's advice on how to avoid getting sea sick.

But on my last cruise a, um, "friend" (who shall remain nameless) did not. Thanks to "her" I can share the following sure-fire techniques for getting sick to your stomach:

1. Don't sleep enough. If possible, take an extremely early-morning flight or red eye, then do not catch up on sleep. Your first night aboard, stay out late partying, then get up very early. Remember, make the most of every minute - even if it means feeling bad!

2. Drink. A lot. Alcohol, especially if you are not used to it, will help destabilize even the strongest stomach. Choose strong drinks with lots of sugar. Not only does this make it easy to drink more than you think, the sugar upsets your stomach in its own right.

3. Bacon for breakfast. Nothing helps a hangover like bacon! Unfortunately it's not the best for settling an uneasy stomach. It is tasty, though.

4. Early morning Pilates. With a belly full of bacon and a head full of hurt, rush up to an early morning class. Turn yourself upside down. Roll on the floor. Feel the ship roll under you. Repeat five times on each side.

5. Be stubborn. Don't take any preventatives. A scopolamine patch, acupressure wrist bands, Dramamine tablets: any of those, taken before one starts feeling sick, would have stopped ill feelings before they started. So be sure to avoid doing anything so sensible.

"My friend" carefully followed these five steps. Combined with an itinerary sailing out of New York in February, with its big Atlantic waves, she was rewarded with an afternoon of queasiness and a light lunch of pickled ginger and green apples.

Serves me her right.




Boss, boss! Da ship! Da ship!

We're so excited - the ships are coming! It brings out our inner Tattoo.

San Francisco only gets cruise ships seasonally, mainly en route to and from Alaska. This year we get a grand total of 59 cruise ship calls. At least for us here at CruiseSavvy, it's even more exciting than the whale migration.

The first to arrive will be Celebrity Mercury on March 29, the first of five calls as part of a series of Pacific Coastal cruises. Celebrity has been lovely about getting us access (we will post pictures). We can't wait!


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Overheard at Seatrade

There was some pretty funny stuff, some of it even intentional...

"There's a lot of money left on the table when crew leave the ship to use internet on land. You could make money off that" -Audience member during IT and Communications panel, apparently unaware that it's bad HR practice to make money off the crew ... and unwise permanently detain them on board

"Disegalitarianism: I made up [this] word, it has 17 letters, I'm quite proud of that" -Adam Goldstein

"Champagne and a chocolate fountain at an 8:30am press briefing? How bad is the news??" -Member of the Press Corps

"The first few days [with Apollo] was a permanent, day-and night-colonoscopy" -Colin Veitch

"Hello. We're the proctologists." -Apollo Capital Management


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Backhanded Compliments?

Christopher Hayman, the esteemed Chairman of Seatrade Communications, showed himself to be polished speaker and effective emcee at the major conference panels at last week's Seatrade convention.

Which is why we were surprised by the way he introduced certain panelists. At least two introductions almost seemed like backhanded compliments.

Adam Goldstein, President and CEO of RCI, was introduced by his academic record: "[Adam] brings powerful academic credentials: Princeton, Harvard, INSEAD." This was at the standing room only State of the Industry panel. C'mon, Chris, where I come from, you only cite academics when there's nothing else to say. Adam runs one of the largest, most innovative cruise lines at sea. Which is rather more impressive than where he went to school.

Pam Conover, President and CEO of Cunard, was introduced as successful "for a female". Apparently leading a large and profitable luxury cruise line, as well as having headed a total of six lines in the course of a 27-year career in the industry, is "a remarkable achievement for a female executive." Huh. Funny, I would have thought that a pretty remarkable achievement for anyone.

I'll venture that Mr. Hayman didn't mean anything unkind by either of these introductions. But for panelists, it does suggest the value of arriving at early and reviewing the emcee's introductory notes.


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Save the endangered teak!

It makes us sad to see teak un-cared-for and rotting.

Teak is an important part of "traditional" ship decor, but it is extremely difficult to buy suitable teak today due to past over-harvesting and growing environmental concerns.

Our suggestion for the big conglomerates (Carnival Corporation, RCL, Apollo Capital):

  • Remove unloved teak from older vessels currently serving customers who don't care about teak. Artificial turf will be just fine for those guests, and it's so much easier to clean that your Hotel Managers will have more time to focus on entertainment, bar sales, etc.
  • Transfer the teak to your new and refit upscale vessels. The Hotel Managers on those ships will take care of it. The more traditional guests will be delighted. The environmentalists will be happy.

That teak is getting awfully wet

That teak is getting awfully wet

Waterlogged Teak

Waterlogged Teak