Cruise & Travel Lifestyles

Letter from the Publisher

One Of the things I cherish most about my lengthy travel career and involvement in the cruise industry, is being witness to so much remarkable innovation over the years. Cruise ships have certainly come a long way since I sailed on Royal Caribbean’s Song of Norway in 1982!

This inventive segment of the travel industry has morphed considerably and it’s more than just bigger and better ships being built. There has been a sea change including the arrival of simply glorious ship design, which for me is beyond compare. There are now numerous Celebrity Chefs at sea, wonderful partnerships in health, spa and wellness – Dr. Andrew Weil and Seabourn as an example – and also a deserved nod to the increase in green technology and to preserving our oceans and seas. Both river and expedition cruising are growing exponentially – a testament to the interest in smaller ships and the benefit of reaching all corners of the globe in comfort while seeing some of the most breathtaking and out of the way places on earth.

Ships have been called ‘game-changers’, ‘audacious’, ‘ground-breaking’, ‘spectacular’ and‘imaginative’ for good reason. Ship design has come a long way, baby, and it has been thrilling to watch the evolution. New cruise lines still appear relatively often – witness Virgin Voyages and Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection, both of whom will debut ships in the next few years. Favorites continue to evolve and bring us amazing concepts – such as Celebrity Cruises and their new vessel, Celebrity Edge launching in November. An exciting venue, to be used for various dining and entertainment options, dubbed the Magic Carpet, will rise from Deck 2 to above Deck 16 on the side of the ship – who could have imagined that?

One of the most creative and push-the- envelope line’s is Royal Caribbean, especially with the introduction of their Oasis-class ships a few years ago. next generation Oasis ships are still arriving with regularity and are phenomenal, with a bar that rises up from Deck 5 to Deck 8, Central Park in the ship’s middle with thousands of living plants and trees and the Aquatheater pool at the aft of the ship for the most amazing diving shows. there’s even the Royal Promenade that cuts through the middle of the ship almost from end to end.

Celebrity Chefs are plentiful and their influence on the cuisine offered by many cruise lines has been tremendous. Nobu, Thomas Keller, Jacques Pepin, Curtis Stone, Roy Yamaguchi, Jamie Oliver, Jose Garces, Michael Schwartz and Guy Fieri - and more, have made a huge culinary impact. Long gone are the midnight buffets thankfully replaced by imaginative cuisine with an abundance of alternative restaurants from which to choose, as well as the most gorgeous main dining rooms with decor and menus that will amaze.

Ship architecture and design is nothing short of magical these days – the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, as is the remarkable Seabourn Encore with the unmistakable imprimatur of one of the world’s most renowned interior designers, Adam D. Tihany. Small,beautiful ships are not as rare as they used to be, which is a joy to this woman's eyes. Even the large, very modern ships are providing areas which are absolutely stunning - witness aspects of the recently launched MSC Seaside.

Creative use of outdoor space with al fresco dining and cocktail areas was a big hit on Norwegian’s Breakaway Class vessels and brought guests closer to the sea. And it has been embraced by a number of other cruise companies. Pushing the envelope is an everyday occurrence on the oceans and gives everyone at sea a better experience. When the AmaMagna river ship launches next year, she will be twice as wide as other ships and will have more features than seen before on the rivers – another pivotal moment.

Yes, innovation is alive and well and you are the fortunate recipients of these able ships. After 37 years in the cruise world, I can still be happily surprised, delighted and awed, and find sheer joy and excitement when stepping aboard another new ship. It's a feeling I never want to lose.


Vanessa Lee