Author Archives: Ralph Grizzle

There are 352 articles by Ralph Grizzle published on this site.


On the heels of announcing two new expedition vessels, Seabourn promoted veteran expedition leader Robin West to Vice President, Expedition Operations & Planning. Those of us who know Robin could not be more pleased.

I had the pleasure of cruising Antarctica with Robin in 2014. When the photo accompanying this post was taken, Robin was educating me about the Drake Passage. The notorious body of water between South American and Antarctica requires that ships travel nearly 600 miles across open ocean. I’ve heard stories of swells raging up to 90 feet, but those are extremely rare, and expedition vessels won’t cross during such conditions. Still, the Drake Passage can make for a rocky passage almost anytime, but not always. Read the rest of this entry »

AmaWaterways July News Brief

AmaWaterways’ Co-Founders and Owners Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst believe in the motto “under promise and over deliver,” and that desire to “over deliver” translates into actions throughout the AmaWaterways’ fleet. Here’s what’s going on with AmaWaterways right now. Read the rest of this entry »

The Danube River travels nearly 1,800 miles through Eastern and Central Europe, from the Black Forest in Germany to the coast of Romania where it empties into the Black Sea. Along the way, it traverses eight countries and touches four capital cities. For 2019, Emerald Waterways has added two new Danube river itineraries that allow guests to spend more time in favorite ports or visit new destinations along this route. Read the rest of this entry »

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announced the opening of reservations for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which promises to provide a leisurely cruising style along with the service of The Ritz-Carlton in ports around the world.

“As the first luxury hotel company to bring the legendary service and ambiance of its resorts to sea, we are thrilled to offer guests a new way to create memories with The Ritz-Carlton,” said Lisa Holladay, Global Brand Leader for Ritz-Carlton. Read the rest of this entry »

Shoulder Season Price Comparisons: Rhine 2019

Shoulder season river cruises can provide exceptional value. Airfares are generally cheaper than they are in peak season; river cruise rates can be up to 20 percent less than they are during the height of the summer; cities and tourist attractions are generally less crowded; restaurants and cafes are often a little less busy. And the weather? You may need to bring along a sweater or a wind-breaker, and it’s not a bad idea to pack a rain jacket, but on the plus side you’ll almost always escape the heat of the summer.

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Princess Cruises will visit Mexico, South America, and Asia in 2019 and 2020. Royal Princess will offer 27 total departures in Mexico while Diamond and Sapphire Princess sail 45 departures in Asia, and Coral and Island Princess visit South America on 14 departures.

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Cunard’s flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 returned to her homeport of New York for her 2018 Transatlantic Season. Following her World Cruise season, QM2 will resume her regularly-scheduled service across the Atlantic, a route that began 178 years ago.

Traveling by sea between New York and England, for seven nights in the North Atlantic, passengers have the time to explore passions, crafts, creative expression, and work on projects that range from journal writing and sketching, to polishing screenplays, musical scores, and more.

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Sapphire Princess emerged today from a two-week dry dock in Singapore. The ship has been upgraded with refit onboard spaces and product innovations. After finishing up a season cruising throughout Asia, Sapphire Princess departed on a 28-day voyage from Singapore to London to begin European voyages to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe including Monte Carlo, Lisbon, Brussels, St. Petersburg, and an opportunity to cruise the Norwegian Fjords during Summer Solstice.

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New AmaMagna Video

AmaWaterways released new renderings of its new ship – AmaMagna – including details on the ship’s public spaces, accommodations, multiple dining venues and expansive wellness studio. To show the new ship in all of her glory, I grabbed the renderings to create an AmaMagna video, which you can view below.

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Seabourn is putting adventure at the forefront for its Alaska and British Columbia season this summer with an offering of optional Ventures by Seabourn guided kayak, Zodiac, catamaran, and hiking tours. From exploring Misty Fjords, Holgate Glacier and the Inian Islands by kayak or Zodiac, to hiking Mendenhall Glacier, Rainbow Falls and the Perseverance Trail, all Ventures by Seabourn excursions will be led by an expedition team.

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Seabourn’s Excursions In Northern Europe

Seabourn will be traveling the waters of Northern Europe this summer. Travelers touring the region on Seabourn Quest and Seabourn Ovation during its maiden season will have opportunities to explore on land and water. With a selection of never-before-offered shore excursions highlighting local culture, history and natural beauty, travelers will be in the company of expert Seabourn guides

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Seven Ways That Riviera Seeks To Stand Out

In summing up my introductory three-night river cruise on the m/s Robert Burns, two words come to mind: pleasantly surprised. Robert Burns is one of a  dozen ships operated by the U.K.’s Riviera Travel, which only recently began marketing Riviera River Cruises to North American travelers.

You’re not alone if you find yourself scratching your head about the company’s name. Why would a river cruise operator choose a name that brings to mind France’s sun-drenched Côte d’Azur? The explanation: Riviera Travel began operating in the U.K. more than three decades ago by offering getaways to the French Riviera, hence the name. One reassuring fact about the name is that Riviera has years of experience in accommodating travelers.

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The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company announces itineraries and shore excursion categories for The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection. Whether visiting a celebrated destination or one that is off the beaten path, guests will benefit from a dedicated Concierge Ashore in addition to five distinct categories of shore excursions, including Iconic Sights; Stirring the Senses; Cultural Connections; Active Explorations; and Epicurean Experiences.

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Windstar Cruises recently appointed Captain James Griffiths to a new role as Expedition Captain, in preparation for Windstar’s return to Alaska this spring with Star Legend. On these voyages, Windstar will feature its new Signature Expeditions program that combines adventurous shore excursion offerings more commonly found on expedition ships and pairs them with Windstar’s own classic cruising ambiance.

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They both begin with the letter “S,” and they’re both big contenders in the luxury cruise segment. Of course, we’re talking about Seabourn and Silversea.

To the casual observer, these two lines may appear to be a lot alike. After all, both operate all-inclusive (we’ll get back to that in a moment) vessels, each carrying fewer than 600 guests (we’ll come back to that in a moment too).

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Six Tips for Smoother River Cruising

With the 2018 European river cruise season about to begin in a few weeks, we’re gearing up for a number of adventures on the rivers. How to make the most of those? Certainly, pre-planning is key to extracting the maximum enjoyment from time on the rivers. It’s important to note that pre-planning extends to both getting to the river cruise and being on the river cruise.

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The last time I was at a shipyard with Silver Spirit, I had breakfast (consisting of pizza, olive oil and coffee as black as motor oil) with shipyard workers in the bowels of the ship. As someone who had become accustomed to Silversea’s ultra-luxury style of cruising, I found the company’s new flagship to be uncharacteristically spartan. I overnighted on a lumpy cot in a Veranda Suite. I bathed with a giant bar of Palmolive soap (no Bvlgari to be seen) and dried myself with a towel about half the size of a newspaper. The carpet in my suite was covered with plastic that crinkled with my every step; the lights and electrical outlets worked fine, though – most of the time.
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The Best Mississippi River Cruises 2018

Where can you find the best Mississippi River Cruises 2018? Well, you won’t need to whittle down the contenders too much. That’s because only two river cruise companies operate on the Mississippi River, American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat Company.

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Silver Spirit To Go Under The Knife

This weekend, Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit goes under the knife. I will be there to witness the event and to report it back to you.

At a shipyard in Palermo, on the sunny side of Sicily, Silver Spirit will be sliced in two, and a pre-built 49-foot-long midsection will be inserted to stretch the ship.

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Ocean cruisers who have been reluctant to river cruise because of the ship’s cozy confines (read: small cabins) may find that a new river cruise ship due out in 2019 to be the perfect fit. When AmaWaterways’ AmaMagna debuts in 2019, she’ll be twice the width of traditional river ships. That extended width puts her in another league altogether. AmaMagna arguably will have as much in common with small luxury cruise ships as with river cruisers. Indeed, AmaMagna is poised to herald in a new era of river cruising that is as close as it gets to small ocean ship cruising.

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Six Tips For Booking Your 2018-19 River Cruise

Five years ago, we came up with a list of Six Tips for Booking Your 2013 River Cruise. Half a decade later, many of these tips are still relevant –  and some of them are even more relevant than they were back then.

As we head into the start of the 2018 river cruise season, there are six things you should consider when planning your 2018 or 2019 river cruise. And as with 2013, the main tips we can provide to prospective river cruisers: plan ahead – and take action.

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