Cruising with the TV Crew

Our cruise TV shoot was everything I hoped it would be — and I’ve still got lots of photos to share with you.

When I was setting up the shoot, I needed to find a cruise line that understood our mission: Create a piece of travel journalism that would explain cruising, not be an ad for it. We would acknowledge that, while popular, cruising’s not for everyone; we would point out its pros and cons; and we would share the skills that enable an independent-minded traveler to be a smart cruiser. Celebrity Cruises got it, and they supported us on board, giving us access to everything we needed to make the show. I am really thankful — especially for the officers who made sure we could get up on the bridge with the captain, took us behind the scenes in the kitchen, and let me use their printer for the latest script revisions (even at midnight). Along with a full-capacity gang of 3,000 passengers, we sailed on the good ship Reflection.

The route we took on the Reflection.   

Simon and Karel (my producer and cameraman) are two of the best travelers I know (and both are avid sailors), but neither of them had ever been on a cruise ship. The entire notion of cruising was an anathema to them. They were good sports, open-minded, and ultimately recognized the economy, efficiency, and fun in this kind of tourism.

As a tour organizer, I have a particular fascination with organization and efficiency — how to make a decent profit while still providing travelers with a good vacation at a reasonable price — and I’m dazzled by how cruise lines do this. They are clearly feedback-driven and appreciate (as we do at Rick Steves’ Europe Tours) the loyalty of their frequent travelers.

Celebrity Cruises’ embarkation check-in procedure is impressive.