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Wallace Immen

A reporter for Canada’s nationwide Globe and Mail newspaper for many years, Wallace’s  travels have taken him to more than 100 countries and both poles and he has experienced and written about well over 100 cruises.  His column 'Cruise Control' runs every Monday.

RECENT ARTICLES


A TREND TAKES ROOT
Oceania rolls out 200 plant based menu options

15 APR 2019: Oceania Cruises has created the most extensive plant-based menus at sea as part of their latest innovations in the OceaniaNEXT program to revitalize their fleet. The cruise line is featuring more than 200 new meatless menu selections in addition to its current gourmet offerings.


DINING LIKE ROYALTY
Six luxurious tastes of Regent Seven Seas Explorer

08 APR 2019: The day on Seven Seas Explorer begins with a couple of features not often found on even the most luxurious of cruise ships. On deck, there’s complimentary juice bar, where a barista is waiting to blend any combination of fresh vegetables and fruits to order into vitamin-rich potions. Meanwhile, Explorer’s chefs are already returning from a morning visit to the local market with baskets of fish and farm-fresh fruit and vegetables.


TWINS WILL EXPAND PRINCESS FAMILY
And add to record cruise ship orders

01 APR 2019: A new order for two next-generation ships makes Princess Cruises the fastest-growing line in the premium cruise market and adds to an unprecedented roster of over 100 cruise ships due to debut in coming years. In addition to Sky Princess arriving this year and two more coming in the next couple of years, the line announced contracts for two more ships that will be the largest ever built in Italy and accommodate about 4,300 guests each.


DESIGNERS OF CARNIVALS MARDI GRAS
Listen to what guests want

25 MAR 2019: Luxury hotels and innovative architectural trends are inspirations for the design of accommodations on Carnival Cruise Lines‘ newest ship, Mardi Gras, set to debut in the summer of 2020. The ergonomically friendly staterooms were developed in a partnership with DCA Design International, a transportation and commercial design firm based in Warwick, England.


TAKEAWAYS FROM A MODERN TOUR
To Shaky, Fiery Antigua Guatemala

18 MAR 2019:  Where’s Puerto Quetzal ? It’s a question more travellers are asking these days as Guatemala emerges as a cruise destination. A dozen cruise lines have added the once little-known port to their Pacific and Panama Canal itineraries in the past couple of years. A bigger question about Guatemala’s main container port is: what do you do when you get there? It’s basically an industrial town surrounded by banana plantations.


SLEEK DANCING HORSES
And lithe llamas on a tour of contrasts in Peru

04 MAR 2019: The beautiful chestnut horses seem to dance around the show ring. They glisten in the sun; their showy blonde manes sweep from side to side and their impossibly long tails swish proudly as they high step in a fluid motion.


MORE THAN A SLOGAN
Factors that Make Crystals Luxury Personal

25 FEB 2019: From the time we board the Crystal Serenity, the cruise feels like a visit with a happy family. Everybody wants to address us by name, the waiters seem to bring what we need before we have to ask and there’s so much on offer, there’s no way we’ll be able experience it all.


FUN WITH FOOD
Innovations on Holland America’s Nieuw Statendam

11 FEB 2019: It may not be polite to play with your food, but at Rudi’s Sel de Mer, the plates are wonderfully playful. The chargers at every table are decorated with whimsical portraits created from vegetables, fruits and seafood. At dessert the ice cream, berries and chocolates are arranged as faces. On Holland America Line it’s part of a fleet-wide philosophy that dining should be fun.


DAZZLING FEATS IN THE AIR AT SEA
Behind the scenes at Cirque’s MSC shows

04 FEB 2019: In a large studio, performers balance each other in the air. Others suspended on ropes do mid-air splits and twist and turn in unison. In another studio, artists in elaborate, colorful costumes are rehearsing for their coming Cirque du Soleil at Sea show for MSC Cruises. You stare, hold your breath and exhale when all is done.


A WORLD OF NEW RIVER SHIPS IN 2019
Expanding sizes, options and routes

29 JAN 2019: The Garonne, the Ganges, the Mississippi, the Mekong. Twin balconies and a double- wide. Leave it to river cruise companies to find new ways to tweak and broaden experiences and keep expanding what can be done within the limits of channels and locks on inland waterways.


FIVE UNIQUE WAYS
Nieuw Statendam blends tradition with the future

21 JAN 2019: As a duo of dueling piano folks blast out the last bouncing bars of Satisfaction, a rock group on the other side of the aisle immediately launches into a high energy set. There’s not a beat lost in the swap between a Billboard at Sea show, and one in the Rolling Stone Rock Room because they’re both part of the Music Walk, one of the best innovations on Holland America Lines’ Nieuw Statendam.


NEW LOOK, FRESH TASTES
As dining options expand on Crystal Serenity

14 JAN 2019: An extensive renovation of Crystal Serenity not only added new dining options but sparked a rethink of menus and mealtimes. There are still all the classics you’ve grown to love on Crystal Cruises, along with modern menu choices in a bigger roster of restaurants.


10 NOTABLE SHIP DEBUTS IN 2019
Expand cruise horizons and innovation

07 JAN 2019: Many of 2019’s class of cruise debutantes are sisters of ships we already know. But the new arrivals have their own personalities that raise their levels of innovation, entertainment and expand the range of exploration. Because of that, it’s going to be one of the most remarkable years ever in cruising.


NEW CRUISE TERMINALS ARE PROMISING A SMOOTHER WELCOME ON BOARD

17 DEC 2018: It’s been a bumper year for cruising and the view from the bridge shows smooth sailing ahead. The Cruise Lines International Association expects the number ofpassengers taking cruises will set a record 28 million in 2018 and grow again in 2019. Shipyards are at full capacity turning out innovative and often much larger ships.


WHY A DAYTIME PANAMA CANAL CROSSING
Is still an essential cruise adventure

10 DEC 2018: Clang, clang, clang go the cute little electric trolleys that are still known as mules.  Crystal Serenity seems to move in slow motion as the lock gates open and close at a stately pace. It takes from dawn to dusk to travel just 60 miles, but what a day it is. The Panama Canal is more than a century old. It’s well worn and in many ways antique, but it still ranks as one of the peak cruise experiences.


A FIRST LOOK AT THE FRESH NEW FEATURES OF CRYSTAL SERENITY

03 DEC 2018: As the crew greets us aboard Crystal Serenity, their faces beam with smiles even bigger than usual. They’ve got a big treat in store for even long-time regulars of Crystal Cruises. It’s been quite a journey in the past few weeks for Serenity.


WINDSTARS TRIO OF STAR CLASS SHIPS TO GET A BIG STRETCH AND AN ECO-BOOST

26 NOV 2018: Windstar Cruises is about to puff up its capacity with an ambitious program to lengthen and significantly enhance its three Star Class ships. The $250-million Star Plus Initiative will expand the capacity of each ship from 212 guests to 312 and add features to make them more tech-savvy and eco-friendly, said Windstar President John Delaney.

 


THERE WONT BE ANYTHING STUFFY
About meals on Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady

19 NOV 2018: Think Razzle Dazzle and Drag Brunches. Virgin Voyages’ approach to food will be as brash as the line’s founder, Sir Richard Branson. “There’s a Virgin twist on everything you’ll see aboard the Scarlet Lady, which means there won’t be stuffy formalities, boring buffets and no main dining rooms,” he said as the company revealed its line-up of on-board restaurants on the ship, due in 2020.


NEW MIAMI TERMINAL AIMS To speed getting from shore to ship

12 NOV 2018: As little as 10 minutes from arrival at the terminal to boarding the ship. That’s the claim of Royal Caribbean as it opened a new terminal in Miami geared for getting thousands of passengers onto its biggest ships with as little friction as possible.


THE VIEUX AND THE NEW
Make a tour of elegant Lyon a roaring good time

05 NOV 2018: Whether or not the Sun King spent any time in Lyon, his influence is everywhere– from the city’s elegant layout and classic architecture to the massive open square Louis XIV ordered built as a parade ground. Regal as it is, though, Lyon is a city built on a human scale and it’s ideal for wandering.


THE MANY TASTES OF SEABOURN OVATION
A ship studded with dining options

29 OCT 2018: So what should we sample? Smoked reindeer (tastes like beef)? Sushi-grade whale? Or a slice off a 300-pound tuna? I’m on a Shopping with the Chef shore excursion at the dockside markets in Bergen, Norway to get a tasting of local delicacies and see how the new Seabourn Ovation sources the freshest ingredients for its restaurants.  We skip the counter that sells fresh minke whale–and the lye-cured dried cod that hearkens back to Viking days–to go for some more tasty and politically correct treats.


ON AND OFF SIDEWALKS OF NY
In search of stunning interiors

22 OCT 2018: Back before office towers were just boxes of concrete, steel and glass, artisans in New York created grand lobbies filled with whimsy. The Big Apple’s theaters were showcases of art and even banks were gilded temples of finance.


A SNEAK PEEK AT LINDBLADS ENDURANCE
A ship built to explore anywhere

15 OCT 2018: Lindblad Expeditions radical new ship has got a unique hull design that will give guests a wraparound view of previously inaccessible areas of the world. That’s the promise Sven Lindblad, the company’s CEO and president made as he revealed details of company’s most advanced expedition ship– the 126-guest National Geographic Endurance.


A UNIQUELY REGAL HOME AWAY FROM HOME
In the posh centre of London

01 OCT 2018: It may not be quite as vast as that place in Kensington Gardens across the street—you know, the one where Harry and Meghan and those other royals live. But after a weekend at The Milestone Hotel, I’d be willing to wager a stay here is more comfortable—and a whole lot more fun.


SEABOURN OVATION PASSENGERS HANG ON
Grab a grab and chow down

24 SEP 2018: It was billed as a chance to check traps and find a king crab to cook for lunch. But for our group from Seabourn Ovation in the tiny town of Honnigsvag in Norway’s far north, it turned out to be a much wilder adventure than that. Our first stop was the shop of an adventure tour company that features rentals of off-road vehicles for heading out into the wilderness near the North Cape. We were going out to sea in very small boats, the guide explained and he started handing out bright red flotation survival suits that covered us head to toe.

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