February 9, 2013 |
MEXICO CITY - You might be hard-pressed to find the word "Mexico" in some of the advertising for tourist resorts in Mexico. Brands like "Riviera Maya" often eclipse the name of the country where those lush beaches are located. As deadly violence that has haunted Mexico for years threatens tourist zones, government officials and trade executives are scrambling for ways to minimize damage to an industry that is a top income-earner and employer. The rapes last week of six Spanish women vacationing in Acapulco have heightened fear and called into question the government's ability to control crime and attract foreign visitors.
January 27, 2013 |
ISTANBUL, Turkey - We slipped out of Istanbul at dusk, gliding across the Bosporus strait toward the Aegean Sea, Asia on the left bank, Europe on the right, four masts towering 204 feet overhead, polished teak floors underfoot, the notes of Buddy Justineau's piano drifting out from the lounge: “You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh…” The Bosporus, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara, is the world's...
January 27, 2013 |
Big, bigger, biggest is not what cruising is all about in 2013. In fact, most of this year's new ships are designed for river cruising, carrying fewer than 200 passengers. Woodland Hills-based Viking River Cruises leads the way, introducing 10 new longships on its European routes - with eight more coming in 2014. River cruising is so popular, said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of CruiseCritic.com, that "they're running out of rivers. " Well, not quite, but it's no longer just the usual suspects.
January 27, 2013 |
More than a year after the Costa Concordia capsized off Italy, one big question still haunts survivor Michelle Barraclough: Why were no clear instructions given during the emergency? "The crew had no idea what to do," the Australian woman wrote on a blog posted soon after the wreck, "and the order to evacuate took [way] too long. " The ship trembled and lights went out some time after the vessel struck a rock about 9:45 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2012. Passengers said they were told the problem was electrical, according to news accounts.
January 27, 2013 |
ISTANBUL, Turkey - As we sat on the Breeza, the open aft deck of the Azamara Quest, we watched the shadow line of the sunset climb the sheer, volcanic cliff above Skala, the tender landing area on the island of Santorini in the southern Aegean. It wasn't this iconic Greek island with dazzling white villas and churches that had lured my wife, Laurel, and me aboard this 10-night cruise from Istanbul to Athens. Rather, it was the chance to visit Black Sea ports in countries that were terrae incognitae to us, thus adding pages to our personal atlas.
September 2, 2012 |
PSERIMOS, Greece - "Our boats are for people who don't like crowds," Muhammet Okumus, our captain, tells me. "Even though there can be six or so gulets in a bay in summer, the places we go never see cruise ships. " He's right. It's easy to be basking in the solitary glory of an Aegean inlet and suddenly feel territorial when another gulet with all of eight passengers pulls into your bay. Okumus pulls out a map and asks me, "Where do you want to go next?" I cannot remember ever being asked that on a cruise.
July 11, 2012
Re "Is cruise ships' crime drop real?," July 2 The article presented an unbalanced portrayal of security on board cruise ships. The security personnel working for members of the Cruise Lines International Assn. expend significant efforts responding to incidents, which are communicated to appropriate law enforcement agencies as required by law. We are not aware of any situation in which a passenger reported a serious crime to a cruise line that was not reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
July 2, 2012 |
In the age of headline news and Twitter, the name of a proposed law must get as much focus-grouping as the content of the law itself. Remember the George W. Bush administration's "No Child Left Behind"? Sounds so caring and concerned. Eventually the name became a much-parodied punchline. Names of propositions and laws like Megan's Law and Marsy's Law, named for crime victims, carry so much emotional weight that voters can be swayed by the names alone, never mind the content.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 1, 2012 |
Two years after Congress passed legislation to improve passenger safety aboard cruise ships, crime victims and other supporters of the law say key provisions are being watered down - including the mandatory reporting of crimes and how crew members are trained to handle them. The Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010 was designed to give passengers a more accurate picture of shipboard crime and assistance if they became victims of assault, rape or theft. But since the law's hard-fought passage, reported crimes disclosed to the public have plummeted from more than 400 a year to a few dozen, dramatically understating the number of deaths and sexual assaults and other crimes on cruise ships.
June 12, 2012 |
It was a theatrical entrance even for the Tony Awards. Actor Harvey Fierstein -- wearing a tuxedo jacket, a blue plastic inflatable inner-tube hugging his stomach, pink swim trunks, and hoisting a cocktail glass sporting a tiny umbrella - waddled on stage two hours into the awards ceremony telecast Sunday on CBS. But rather than revealing who would win the next category, Fierstein instead introduced a commercial segment that promotedRoyal Caribbean...