Friday, December 28, 2007

Theme cruises on the high seas are more popular than ever.

Today's cruise lines have taken the onboard experience to new heights but what if rock climbing walls, skating rinks, surf parks, waterslides and bowling alleys at sea aren't your cup of tea?

Enter cruising's ambitious new era, where theme cruises rule.

In addition to showcasing the history, culture and natural wonders of countries and regions visited, such cruises are designed to help passengers pursue the latest trends in hobbies, explore new fields of learning, catch up on world developments and even engage some of the world's leading experts and celebrities in conversation all the while at sea.

Crystal Cruises, the ultra-luxury line, will feature a host of theme sailings in 2008 including an Arts & Antiquities cruise; the Crystal Wine & Food Festival, offered on six voyages; three special golf cruises; Jazz & Big Band; Film & Theatre; and Smithsonian Journeys, featuring lecturers from the Smithsonian Institute.

They have even introduced special cooking activities for kids as part of the Club HAL program.

On longer voyages, look for notable speakers and experts from a variety of fields.

In addition to destination experts and special interest lecturers on such topics as political science, history and finance onboard every sailing, upscale Oceania Cruises is noted for its culinary cruises as well. Other themes include wine tasting seminars and classes in computer software, iPod, Adobe Photoshop and video editing.


Friday, December 21, 2007

cruise shops for party girls

The news travelled fast between the racks of £1,000 Prada dresses and podiums loaded with Louis Vuitton handbags in the Manchester branch of Harvey Nichols. Word had come down from the players at Manchester United that it was time for a "harvest".

The best looking shop assistants were put on alert to expect an invite to one of the biggest football parties of the year. The same thing happened at Selfridges next door. They may never have met them, but for one night these young women stood a chance of swapping their lives as shop assistants to be the guests of champions, some of whom earn 400 times more than they do.

One by one, the invites for the event came; sometimes directly from a player shopping after training, or from a friend deputised to handpick the most attractive young women to "decorate" their party.

Such "harvests" are a part of a social scene involving footballers and would-be Wags (wives and girlfriends of footballers) which was thrust into a harsh spotlight this week after Jonny Evans, a United player, was accused of the rape of a 26-year-old at the club's Christmas party. Evans, 19, was released on bail pending further questioning and has not been charged. He has denied the allegations.

Manchester's boutiques and department stores have emerged as that scene's frontline and, according to the shopworkers, the reality of meetings with millionaire footballers can be far from a fairytale.