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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


WILL BERMUDA BE ABLE TO WEATHER A SURGING TIDE OF CRUISE SHIPS
22 JUL 2019: There was a time not long ago when your cruise ship might be the only one visiting Bermuda on any given day. The tiny mid-Atlantic island strictly limited the number of cruise ships allowed to visit at the same time. All that’s changed almost overnight. MORE

EIGHT LUXURIOUS DINING OPTIONS
Make every meal special on Silver Muse
15 JUL 2019: Prime steaks, Asian, Italian; a floor show or a quiet table for two?  Whatever you’re in the mood for tonight, there’s a table waiting on Silversea Cruises’ flagship. Silver Muse breaks with tradition in its approach to dining. Most ships until now centred on a main dining room, with alternatives that could be difficult to get a reservation for. Muse has eight dining venues, each with a different theme, and guests can score a table at most of them any evening  they’d like. MORE

FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATE
Regent tour discovers the sweet spots of Ecuador
08 JUL 2019: It’s always summer in Ecuador, the country named for the fact that the sun’s always nearly straight overhead. If you can’t get tropical flowers to grow here, you’re not trying; but the farmers here have become close to fanatical about perfection. MORE

AZAMARA IS MAKING A SEA CHANGE
02 JUL 2019: Azamara is adding an exclusive range of land options in a rebranding and refocusing of their cruise options. “We’re venturing beyond the sea,” said Larry Pimetel, president and CEO of Azamara, which is part of the Royal Caribbean International family. The company founded in 2007 will be dropping the term Club Cruises from its brand name. Pimentel said it more clearly defines the brand’s new focus on being “more than a cruise, it’s a cruise plus a land component.” MORE

THREE FASCINATING PORTS IN JAPANS NORTH THAT DESERVE TO BE BETTER KNOWN
24 JUN 2019: Banging a taiko drum is harder than it looks. Flail away on the three-foot tall drum head with big sticks using just your arms and you’ll tire out immediately. The trick is to use your whole body in a rhythmic dance, and even then, it’s a full body workout to get the proper thundering roar from the massive drum. MORE

VIRGIN IS CONFIDENT YOU ARE A RECRUIT For a different kind of cruise
17 JUN 2019: Hey sailor. Yes, you. Virgin Voyages thinks you’re a perfect recruit to ship out on their new cruise ship, the Scarlet Lady. All you need to be is an adult who’s looking to enjoy a few high-energy days of music, food and relaxed inhibitions. Tattoos and dancing on the tables are optional. MORE

FIVE INNOVATIONS
That make Silver Muse a game changer in luxury cruising
10 JUN 2019: Where do you go after you’ve sold your personal yacht? For one couple aboard Silver Muse who have sailed around the world on their own luxury plaything, Silversea Cruises’ new ship became a perfect alternative. MORE

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE
Twin sea days on Silver Muse create fascinating deja vu
03 JUN 2019: How many times in life do you get a chance for a do-over of an entire day, particularly a wonderful one? On Silver Muse en route from Siberia to Alaska when Tuesday ends, Tuesday begins again. The time warp happens because we’re crossing the imaginary mid-Pacific International Date Line. If you cross it heading west on a Tuesday, the next day is somehow Thursday. If you cross it in the direction we’re going, from west to east, the day after Tuesday is still Tuesday. MORE

IT IS ALWAYS BLOSSOM TIME
On a ramble around Tokyo's Imperial Gardens
27 MAY 2019: Tokyo can be daunting, with its forests of high rises and streets filled with seemingly endless processions of business men and women dressed in co-ordinated dark suits and immaculate white shirts. Modern Tokyo has taken the West quite literally in its architecture, efficiency and business attire. But in the rush to the future, there are continual bows to the traditional past. MORE

ROYAL CARIBBEAN LETS GUESTS CREATE A UNIQUE PERFECT DAY AT COCOCAY
21 MAY 2019: Royal Caribbean has officially opened the first of what the cruise line envisions will be a collection of islands that let guests create their optimum beach experience. Perfect Day at CocoCay is the result of a $250-million transformation of the line’s private island in The Bahamas and will be a featured stop on 11 of the line’s ships. MORE

THE CLEAREST VIEW OF THE UNIVERSE
Climbing Chile's Highway to the Stars
13 MAY 2019: You don’t need to know much Spanish to grasp the meaning of a sign as we start our perilous zigzag climb up a cactus-covered mountain in Chile. Precaucion: Zona de curvas y pendientes fuertes. Caution, curves and steep slopes, or more to the point: If you miss a turn, it’s a long, long way down. MORE

TWO SHIPS CHARTING A NEW ERA
Of stylish Galapagos Islands exploration
06 MAY 2019: They’re small and rugged adventurers, purpose-built to protect the delicate ecology of Ecuador’s unique Galapagos Islands. And with the elegance and service of their parent lines, they’re about to open a new chapter of luxury cruising. MORE

OLD SAN JUAN PUTS ON A HAPPY FACE
As Puerto Rico comes bouncing back
29 APR 2019: You’ve never seen old San Juan so immaculate. Businesses and restaurants are sporting fresh coats of paint in pinks, golds and blues. Brigades of volunteers in matching fluorescent shirts patrol the streets with brooms and rolling trash bins picking up every last scrap. And the stores are filled with brand new merchandise. It all seems so sparkly and fresh it could be a stage set. MORE

SEABOURN IS DESIGNING ULTRA LUXURY
Into ships exploring the world
22 APR 2019: Design a ship ready for adventure anywhere in the world, but make it oh so very sexy. That was the challenge facing noted ship and restaurant designer Adam Tihany as he imagined expedition ships that are rugged enough to break through ice at the poles but provide the grace and ultra-comfort guests expect from Seabourn Cruise Line. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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

MORE THAN A SLOGAN
Factors that Make Crystal's 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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE

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. MORE
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