The Love Boat

The TV series The Love Boat was a catalyst for the world-wide cruising boom, rating highly with viewers for almost ten decades. Actor Ted Lange, who served up smiles and drinks as Isaac Washington, the cocktail waiter on The Love Boat, reminisced about the show with reporter Veronica Matheson in Australia recently.


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Celebrity chef Curtis Stone’s Los Angeles restaurant Maude in Beverly Hills has been awarded a Michelin star for the first time.

While Curtis is full of pride for his land-based restaurants – the two in California are named after his Australian grandmothers Maude and Gwen – he is equally proud of his sea-going restaurant SHARE that can be found on Princess Cruises’ fleet.

Here is what Curtis had to say on a recent chat with Veronica Matheson (that’s me) on Travel Writers Radio about his restaurants, his food philosophy, and his future plans.




Plant-based cuisine

Times they are changing, and no more so than on cruise ships where huge buffets were once the order of the day, and night. The midnight buffet was as much a sculpture gallery as a food source with its magnificent array of ice carvings, some life-size.

Today’s cruise passengers tastes have changed. Some are vegan, or vegetarian, or gluten- free, or fishetarian, or whatever.  They prefer a menu that tells them exactly what is included in a dish. Cruise lines have latched on quickly to offer all manner of menus to suit those different tastes.

Recently, executive chefs from Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas fleets, spent a week in Thailand to learn more about plant-based food from Christophe Berg at Blue Lotus culinary school in Hua Hin.  And right now, plant-based dishes are being introduced to menus across both cruise fleets.

Here is my interview with Christophe Berg, a world expert on plant-based food.


Crowded house

Tourism is booming internationally. Latest annual figures show 1.32 billion tourists roaming the globe – 84 million more travellers than the previous year.

Those travellers are boosting local economies everywhere, but they are also creating problems with too many tourists visiting too many places at the same time.

Australian Chris Flynn is head of the newly formed World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage, which aims to protect local cultures, heritage and historical sites that are now at risk from over tourism.

A major concern is the impact the cruise ship boom is having on remote island communities, as well as on major cruise ports where thousands of passengers disembark daily for land tours.

Here Chris, who has spent 40 years working in tourism and aviation, most recently as director of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, voices his concerns to Veronica Matheson.



Luxury at sea

Luxury hotels, luxury tours, luxury at the pointy-end of the plane for an international flight.

We all love those experiences, though sadly they are often far too expensive!

These days decadent luxury is also found on the cruise ships in international waters where high-end passengers are invariably known as valued “guests”.

To find out more about luxury at sea, reporter Veronica Matheson chatted to Adam Armstrong, the Australasian Managing Director of Silversea Cruises, about the company’s new flagship Silver Muse which is currently sailing in Australasian waters.

Silversea is marking the inaugural season of Silver Muse in Australasian waters by launching a fundraising campaign to aid Australia’s drought-stricken farmers.




Bumper Oz season

AUSTRALIA is set for a bumper cruise season with an armada of international ships sailing into southern water to spend the summer Down Under.

To find out more reporter Veronica Matheson chatted to Carnival Australia’s Sture Myrmell about the upcoming season.





Jules Verne’s character Phileas Fogg circumnavigated the world in 80 days, but notes that today’s cruise ships prefer a far slower pace.

Viking Cruises has just announced what has to be the longest ever world cruise, a 245-day continuous journey that will visit 59 countries with calls into 113 ports. (The full itinerary is seen on the map below.)

The cruise on the 930-passenger Viking Sun will take in every continent except Antarctica, and will even circumnavigate South America on a path that is rarely taken by cruise ships. Capital cities and lesser known places around the world are on the itinerary as well as remoter islands and tropical getaways. There will be 22 overnight port stays to take in must-do sightseeing further afield.

Leaving London (Greenwich) on August 31 next year, the Viking Sun cruise will also end in London on May 2 the following year.

      The sleek cruise ship Viking Sun will take passengers on a 245-day world cruise.

And the cruise cost?

From $US92,990 – or $US380 a day – including a business class international airfare, transfers to and from the ship, all gratuities and service fees, and even free alcohol on board.

For those who cannot spare 245 days at sea, there is the option of joining the cruise from London to Los Angeles (sector covers 127 days) from $US47,995 or a 119-day cruise from Los Angeles to the UK from $US45,995.

Interestingly, Viking’s last world cruise ended on May 5 this year in London after a mere 141 days at sea.

For more information visit day world cruise



THERE is no disputing the cruise industry is buoyant around the world with passenger numbers continuing to grow. Even those who consider themselves landlubbers are now dipping their toes into international waters.

Most cruise lines are opting for larger ships to meet demand, turning them into lively resorts at sea with onboard attractions to suit all-comers.

Ziplining is one of a myriad of activities to do on Symphony of the Seas, notes that the latest arrival to Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas(zip-lining is one of a myriad of onboard activities) has instantly become the world’s largest cruise ship as she sails her maiden voyage in the Mediterranean from the increasingly popular Spanish port of Barcelona.

So which are the mega giants of the seas, and what are their vital statistics?

  1. Symphony of the Seas, launched just weeks ago, tonnage 228,081, carrying 5,518 passengers.
  2. Harmony of the Seas, launched 2016, tonnage 226,963, carrying 5479 passengers.
  3. Allure of the Seas, launched 2010, tonnage 225,282, carrying 5492 passengers.
  4. Oasis of the Seas, launched 2009, tonnage 225,282, carrying 5400 passengers.
  5. Quantum of the Seas, launched 2014, tonnage 168,666, carrying 4180 passengers.
  6. Anthem of the Seas, launched 2015, tonnage 168,666, carrying 4180 passengers.
  7. Ovation of the Seas, launched 2016, tonnage 167,666, carrying 4180 passengers.
  8. Norwegian Escape, launched 2015, tonnage 164,600, carrying 4248 passengers.
  9. Liberty of the Seas, launched 2007, tonnage 160,000, carrying 3798 passengers.
  10. Norwegian Epic, launched 2010, tonnage 155,873, carrying 4,100 passengers.







Cruising international waters  is no longer the sole domain of “the nearly dead, the over-fed, and the newly-wed” so it is crucial that travelers know what is happening on the cruise scene on the world’s mighty oceans and rivers.

With that focus in mind, has returned.

As a seasoned travel writer who stumbled on the joys of cruising years ago,  I am now addicted to life on board a ship, be it big or small. I constantly dream of sea-going adventures and hope that my sharing these days at sea will inspire my readers.

Right now a fleet of international cruise ships are navigating the Southern Hemisphere tempting Australians and New Zealanders  to stretch their ‘sea legs’ with a vast array of cruise choices.

Not that those Down Under need much convincing as cruising is the fastest growing area on the travel scene.

The South Pacific remains the most popular overseas destination for Aussie cruisers due to the proximity of those island. But, the place to watch is across “the ditch” – the Tasman Sea with over 100,000 passengers cruising to New Zealand annually.

It is the preferred destination of the super liners such as Ovation of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s fleet,  which carries around 8,000 passengers and crew. Ovation, and other cruise ships of its size, need deep harbors and have no trouble finding those around New Zealand’s North and South Islands.

Within months, a fleet of cruise ships will be leaving Australasian waters for summer ports in the Northern Hemisphere. will keep readers posted, so keep on checking in…



With cruising reaching boom proportions internationally, just about everyone wants to be part of the action, particularly in Australian waters where passenger numbers show no sign of slowing down.

The company Compare Travel Insurance is the latest to join the act with an infographic showing a swag of figures associated with cruising Down Under in 2016, will leave it for readers to digest bit by bit.