Cruise amid the fjords

There’s a growing demand from travellers wanting to cruise Norway’s rugged fjord coastline to experience the Midnight Sun in summer months and the spectacular Northern Lights (the aurora borealis) in winter.

One of the major players cruising the Norwegian coastline is Hurtigruten, and to find out more reporter Veronica Matheson chatted to the cruise line’s Damian Perry about Hurtigruten’s 10 ships carrying passengers and freight to 34 ports along the Norwegian coastline, and the four expedition ships that focus on polar waters. For more visit





OZ cruise season

International cruise ships are sailing into Australian waters at a rapid rate of knots as the summer cruise season Down Under gets under way. Reporter Veronica Matheson chats to MD of Cruise Lines Internationl Association (CLIA) Australasia about the bumper season ahead, and about what is trending on the cruise scene right now.



Dawn rescue

Pacific-Dawn-shipP&O Cruises’ has reported that one of its fleet, Pacific Dawn, today rescued three seafarers who were forced to abandon their sinking yacht off New Caledonia.

Pacific Dawn was asked by marine rescue authorities in Noumea to go to the aid of the stricken vessel after the seafarers sent out a distress call.

The ship with around 2000 passengers onboard was close to the area and immediately changed course to assist.

Pacific Dawn and her crew have followed the finest traditions of the sea by going to the aid of fellow seafarers in peril at sea,” said Sture Myrmell, President of P&O Cruises Australia.

“It is wonderful to know that all three seafarers are now safe and well and being cared for onboard Pacific Dawn.”

The three seafarers were able to call next of kin to let them know “all was well”.

At the time Pacific Dawn was on the way back to her home-port in Brisbane after a seven-night cruise to the South Pacific.

Early reports from the scene were that the yacht sank as the crew from a tender vessel from Pacific Dawn were plucking the three stranded seafarers from their life raft.

 The ship’s Captain gave passengers regular updates throughout the sea rescue mission.


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.


More to SHARE

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.



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.





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…