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Don't let negative television stories prevent a cruise experience

Schloss Schonbrunn, Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace, completed in 1749 and the exquisite home of Empress Maira Theresa, is one of the highlights of the city for passengers on Uniworld Cruise Line's Danube River itinerary.
Schloss Schonbrunn, Vienna's Schonbrunn Palace, completed in 1749 and the exquisite home of Empress Maira Theresa, is one of the highlights of the city for passengers on Uniworld Cruise Line's Danube River itinerary.
Photo by Sandy Nesoff

By Bob & Sandy Nesoff

Members: North American Travel Journalists Association

American Society of Journalists and Authors

A story on television the other night detailed how a car literally flew off the Major Deegan Highway and landed on the roadway below. Fortunately no one was killed.
Other stories told of multiple car pile-ups, a train derailment and a variety of incidents involving the traveling public.

Since that time drivers still use the Deegan, traffic on highways has not slackened and commuters still crowd trains. Interestingly, there are more derailments than, say, incidents of sickness aboard a cruise ship. They don’t make headlines except in their own areas because it isn’t a sexy story.
A piece about a cruise ship full of sick passengers is fodder for the TV cameras and for Jay Leno, recently fired by NBC-TV, to make nasty jokes about New Jersey.

The truth of the matter is that on a weekly basis millions of passengers embark from cruise ports in New York, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale in the United States and Vienna, Bucharest and scores of European ports.

And again, the truth of the matter is that with only rare exceptions they spent time at sea and return without incident. There were no mass outbreaks of sickness, no sinkings, no collisions…nothing that makes the TV leeches stream to the port to do a negative, but camera sexy piece.

While most of the TV “journalists” reported that a recent incident was caused by the norovirus, they failed to follow up when lab results reported that was not the case.

Air travel is the safest way to get from Point A to a distant Point B. But when there is an incident the TV boys and girls build it up to a regular happenstance.

Anyone who has cruised knows the steps the lines take to ensure passenger safety and health. Without exception passengers boarding ship, whether at the initial sailing or upon returning from a port visit, are given disinfectant hand cleanser. The same holds true for everyone entering and leaving a dining room. Hand sanitizers are strategically located throughout the ship.

But herein lines the problem. Have you ever walked out of a public men’s or ladies room and watched someone else open the door without washing his or her hands? Of course you have. These people are not only placing themselves at risk, they are potentially infecting everyone else they come in contact with. It’s the old saw of “…you can lead a horse to water but can’t make him drink…”

To forego the pleasures of a cruise because of these isolated incidents is to deny yourself of the best vacations available. There are many choices to make and now is the time to investigate cruise bargains. Here are two of the possibilities:

For sheer luxury and a wide ranging itinerary, Celebrity Cruises is hard to beat. The ships are large and any amenity they may lack is something that will never be missed. Itineraries range from the Caribbean and Inside Passage to Alaska to a score of European ports. And now Celebrity has teamed up with Canyon Ranch to provide for its passengers one of the most comprehensive spa experiences at sea.

The SpaClub will be available on 10 of Celebrity’s luxury liners offering spa, beauty salon, wellness and fitness amenities from the famed Canyon Ranch offerings. They will be tailored to passenger unique preferences with facial enhancements, thermal, Asian Touch and other healing therapies.

Celebrity will also offer wellness programs that include personal exercise programs and nutritional consults, acupuncture, chiropractic therapy, lectures, workshops and cooking demos. Check to see on which ship the offerings are available. http://www.celebritycruises.com/home.
While Uniworld can’t offer the range that Celebrity dies simply because its ships are only a fraction of the size, the line specializes in and does an amazing job with boutique river cruises.
With sailings from beautiful Vienna and exotic Bucharest as well as other selected ports, Uniworld provides one of the most comprehensive itineraries in the world. Because of the size of their river ships Uniworld is able to provide a personalized experience for every passenger that ranges from specialize itineraries to a dining room staff that will remember your likes and dislikes. Of course the major ships provide much the same service but can’t do it on the individual basis that Uniworld does.

Uniworld’s River Countess was recently honored by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the “World’s Best River Cruise Ship,” a designation that should not surprise anyone who has ever cruised on the line.

Returning passengers, to commemorate the designation, are offered an Italian jaunt with a 2/1 savings that will save some $2,100 per person. If this interests you, hurry because it ends soon. The cruise is for Venice to Venice through Northern Italy.

Uniworld has regular offers on most all of its cruises. Check out the wide ranging cruises and offers that can go to 50% of the cost. http://uniworld.rivercruise.com/.

The bottom line here is that television is a graphic medium and the more graphic the story, no matter how insignificant, the greater play TV will give it. Uniworld and Celebrity are only two of many quality cruise lines. Don’t deny yourself the vacation you deserve because of news reports of an anomaly.