The Cruising World

by Lew Toulmin (Second of two parts, jump to part 1, part 2)

Last month I described part of our September ’05 week-long, self-drive, Emerald Star/Crown Blue Line Shannon River cruise, taking us from the start at Portumna to Lough Derg and then north to Meelick. This month I describe the portion of the trip north along the Shannon and give some tips for first-time self-drive cruisers.

Onshore discoveries

Cruising north from the lock at Meelick about two hours, my wife,...


(First of two parts, jump to part 1, part 2)

I close my eyes and picture the emerald of the sea,

From the fishing boats at Dingle to the shores of Donaghadea;

I miss the River Shannon and folks at Skibbereen.

The moorlands and the meadows with their forty shades o’ green.

— Johnny Cash (1961)

As the song says, I can’t stop thinking about Ireland — the glistening River Shannon scrolling out in front of our cozy vessel, the quiet villages, the glorious...


Cruising is looking good for 2006 and 2007. The cruise industry appears set to boom over the next two years, due to continuing economic prosperity worldwide; the aging of the world population and the resultant disposable income and time, and the creativity of the cruise lines in developing new, attractive ships and shipboard attractions.

I will discuss this topic by forecasting shipbuilding for the next two years, then describing the really fun stuff: the new attractions that are...


The tragic death of popular cruiser, explorer and businessman Stephen Glyn Thomas in a hiking accident in Antarctica has fueled debate about the future of cruising and tourism in that region.

Stephen Thomas, 51, of Cambridge, England, was a successful businessman and multimillionaire who had launched three major information technology firms, including Geneva Technology, which he sold to a U.S. company for £500 million. Thomas had long had a dream of sailing to the high latitudes of...


Too often, we cruise passengers think of our cabin stewards and stewardesses as 2-dimensional persons, without families, lives or futures. So aboard Crystal Symphony on a cruise through the Mediterranean in the summer of 2005, my wife and I decided to have a chat with our energetic, attractive, 24-year-old stewardess, Rasa Janonyte of Klaipeda, Lithuania. The following reflects our conversation.

Q: What does your name mean?

A: Rasa means “dew.”

Q: Tell us about your...


As the head chef at the famous Asian restaurant, Jade Garden, aboard the 5-star cruise ship Crystal Symphony, John Poh has reached the pinnacle of cruise cuisine. He owes his success to talent, hard work, a passion for food, and experience in over 100 kitchens around the world. I spoke to Mr. Poh while on a voyage from Lisbon to Rome in the summer of 2005.

Chef of 100 kitchens

John Poh was born in Singapore and raised in a “food family.” His father was the head chef to the...


(Second of two parts)

Last month I described the romance of tall ship sailing. This month I will give some specific suggestions for fascinating tall ships around the world.

Where the tall ships roam

Cruising grounds for tall ships cover the entire globe. There are various tall ships in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan and South America, and of course in America we have scores. Many U.S. cities and states have built or are building tall ships as roving...


by Lew Toulmin

(First of two parts)

Cruise ships are wonderful, but there is one thing that is better: sailing a real tall ship.

What’s the attraction? Well, how about true adventure, real sailing, living the history that most people just see on TV, visiting exotic places, seeing things that many folks ashore don’t even know exist, meeting fascinating people and really getting to know them, and working together as a crew. It just doesn’t get any better.

This month...