Ripples st marys long course qualifying meet the millers

ripples st marys long course qualifying meet the millers

Ripples LC Qualifying Meet · Ripples 12&U Meet Ripples St Marys Swimming Club Inc. was established in and caters for swimmers of all ages and abilities. Located in St Marys and operating out of Ripples Leisure Centre, t he Club's objectives are to promote the art of No forthcoming Meet to display. There were, indeed, differences betwixt the two classes, but, like tribes in the I told, indeed, Allan Ramsay's story of the Monk and Miller's Wife, in order to It has been long famous for the splendid Monastery of Saint Mary, strong ripple from the counter of the mule, and began to rise upon her side. 12 Will long term tenancies deliver for tenants? | Ned Cutcher 16 City of Sydney Street count – what does it actually tell us? Publisher | Mary Perkins. Editor . money than gambling – is, of course . In order to meet the housing needs “what happens in the Redfern-Waterloo area ripples across.

The water it flows round Colmslie mill; The mill and the kiln gang bonnily. Langshaw, although larger than the other mansions assembled at the head of the supposed Glendearg, has nothing about it more remarkable than the inscription of the present proprietor over his shooting lodge — Utinam hane eliam viris impleam amicis — a modest wish, which I know no one more capable of attaining upon an extended scale, than the gentleman who has expressed it upon a limited one.

ripples st marys long course qualifying meet the millers

Having thus shown that I could say something of these desolated towers, which the desire of social intercourse, or the facility of mutual defence, had drawn together at the head of this Glen, I need not add any farther reason to show, that there is no resemblance between them and the solitary habitation of Dame Elspeth Glendinning.

Beyond these dwellings are some remains of natural wood, and a considerable portion of morass and bog; but I would not advise any who may be curious in localities, to spend time in looking for the fountain and holly-tree of the White Lady. While I am on the subject I may add, that Captain Clutterbuck, the imaginary editor of the Monastery, has no real prototype in the village of Melrose or neighbourhood, that ever I saw or heard of.

To give some individuality to this personage, he is described as a character which sometimes occurs in actual society — a person who, having spent his life within the necessary duties of a technical profession, from which he has been at length emancipated, finds himself without any occupation whatever, and is apt to become the prey of ennui, until he discerns some petty subject of investigation commensurate to his talents, the study of which gives him employment in solitude; while the conscious possession of information peculiar to himself, adds to his consequence in society.

I have often observed, that the lighter and trivial branches of antiquarian study are singularly useful in relieving vacuity of such a kind, and have known them serve many a Captain Clutterbuck to retreat upon; I was therefore a good deal surprised, when I found the antiquarian Captain identified with a neighbour and friend of my own, who could never have been confounded with him by any one who had read the book, and seen the party alluded to.

Mistakes of place or inanimate things referred to, are of very little moment; but the ingenious author ought to have been more cautious of attaching real names to fictitious characters. There was a disadvantage, notwithstanding, in treading this Border district, for it had been already ransacked by the author himself, as well as others; and unless presented under a new light, was likely to afford ground to the objection of Crambe bis cocta. To attain the indispensable quality of novelty, something, it was thought, might be gained by contrasting the character of the vassals of the church with those of the dependants of the lay barons, by whom they were surrounded.

But much advantage could not be derived from this. There were, indeed, differences betwixt the two classes, but, like tribes in the mineral and vegetable world, which, resembling each other to common eyes, can be sufficiently well discriminated by naturalists, they were yet too similar, upon the whole, to be placed in marked contrast with each other.

Machinery remained — the introduction of the supernatural and marvellous; the resort of distressed authors since the days of Horace, but whose privileges as a sanctuary have been disputed in the present age, and well-nigh exploded.

The popular belief no longer allows the possibility of existence to the race of mysterious beings which hovered betwixt this world and that which is invisible. The fairies have abandoned their moonlight turf; the witch no longer holds her black orgies in the hemlock dell; and Even the last lingering phantom of the brain, The churchyard ghost, is now at rest again. From the discredit attached to the vulgar and more common modes in which the Scottish superstition displays itself, the author was induced to have recourse to the beautiful, though almost forgotten, theory of astral spirits, or creatures of the elements, surpassing human beings in knowledge and power, but inferior to them, as being subject, after a certain space of years, to a death which is to them annihilation, as they have no share in the promise made to the sons of Adam.

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These spirits are supposed to be of four distinct kinds, as the elements from which they have their origin, and are known, to those who have studied the cabalistical philosophy, by the names of Sylphs, Gnomes, Salamanders, and Naiads, as they belong to the elements of Air, Earth, Fire, or Water.

In imitation of an example so successful, the White Lady of Avenel was introduced into the following sheets. She is represented as connected with the family of Avenel by one of those mystic ties, which, in ancient times, were supposed to exist, in certain circumstances, between the creatures of the elements and the children of men.

Such instances of mysterious union are recognized in Ireland, in the real Milosian families, who are possessed of a Banshie; and they are known among the traditions of the Highlands, which, in many cases, attached an immortal being or spirit to the service of particular families or tribes.

These demons, if they are to be called so, announced good or evil fortune to the families connected with them; and though some only condescended to meddle with matters of importance, others, like the May Mollach, or Maid of the Hairy Arms, condescended to mingle in ordinary sports, and even to direct the Chief how to play at draughts.

There was, therefore, no great violence in supposing such a being as this to have existed, while the elementary spirits were believed in; but it was more difficult to describe or imagine its attributes and principles of action. A being, however superior to man in length of life — in power over the elements — in certain perceptions respecting the present, the past, and the future, yet still incapable of human passions, of sentiments of moral good and evil, of meriting future rewards or punishments, belongs rather to the class of animals, than of human creatures, and must therefore be presumed to act more from temporary benevolence or caprice, than from anything approaching to feeling or reasoning.

The partialities which we suppose such spirits to entertain must be like those of the dog; their sudden starts of passion, or the indulgence of a frolic, or mischief, may be compared to those of the numerous varieties of the cat. All these propensities are, however, controlled by the laws which render the elementary race subordinate to the command of man — liable to be subjected by his science, so the sect of Gnostics believed, and on this turned the Rosicrucian philosophy, or to be overpowered by his superior courage and daring, when it set their illusions at defiance.

It is with reference to this idea of the supposed spirits of the elements, that the White Lady of Avenel is represented as acting a varying, capricious, and inconsistent part in the pages assigned to her in the narrative; manifesting interest and attachment to the family with whom her destinies are associated, but evincing whim, and even a species of malevolence, towards other mortals, as the Sacristan, and the Border robber, whose incorrect life subjected them to receive petty mortifications at her hand.

The White Lady is scarcely supposed, however, to have possessed either the power or the inclination to do more than inflict terror or create embarrassment, and is also subjected by those mortals, who, by virtuous resolution, and mental energy, could assert superiority over her. In these particulars she seems to constitute a being of a middle class, between the esprit follet who places its pleasure in misleading and tormenting mortals, and the benevolent Fairy of the East, who uniformly guides, aids, and supports them.

Either, however, the author executed his purpose indifferently, or the public did not approve of it; for the White Lady of Avenel was far from being popular. He does not now make the present statement, in the view of arguing readers into a more favourable opinion on the subject, but merely with the purpose of exculpating himself from the charge of having wantonly intruded into the narrative a being of inconsistent powers and propensities. In the delineation of another character, the author of the Monastery failed, where he hoped for some success.

As nothing is so successful a subject for ridicule as the fashionable follies of the time, it occurred to him that the more serious scenes of his narrative might be relieved by the humour of a cavaliero of the age of Queen Elizabeth. On all occasions, the manners of the sovereign, the court, and the time, must give the tone to the peculiar description of qualities by which those who would attain the height of fashion must seek to distinguish themselves. The reign of Elizabeth, being that of a maiden queen, was distinguished by the decorum of the courtiers, and especially the affectation of the deepest deference to the sovereign.

This tone of romantic gallantry found a clever but conceited author, to reduce it to a species of constitution and form, and lay down the courtly manner of conversation, in a pedantic book, called Euphues and his England.

Of this, a brief account is given in the text, to which it may now be proper to make some additions. The extravagance of Euphuism, or a symbolical jargon of the same class, predominates in the romances of Calprenade and Scuderi, which were read for the amusement of the fair sex of France during the long reign of Louis XIV. In this reign they encountered the satire of Moliere and Boileau.

A similar disorder, spreading into private society, formed the ground of the affected dialogue of the Praecieuses, as they were styled, who formed the coterie of the Hotel de Rambouillet, and afforded Moliere matter for his admirable comedy, Les Praecieuses Ridicules. In England, the humour does not seem to have long survived the accession of James I.

The author had the vanity to think that a character, whose peculiarities should turn on extravagances which were once universally fashionable, might be read in a fictitious story with a good chance of affording amusement to the existing generation, who, fond as they are of looking back on the actions and manners of their ancestors, might be also supposed to be sensible of their absurdities. He must fairly acknowledge that he was disappointed, and that the Euphuist, far from being accounted a well drawn and humorous character of the period, was condemned as unnatural and absurd.

But as the author himself can scarcely be supposed willing to acquiesce in this final cause, if any other can be alleged, he has been led to suspect, that, contrary to what he originally supposed, his subject was injudiciously chosen, in which, and not in his mode of treating it, lay the source of the want of success. The manners of a rude people are always founded on nature, and therefore the feelings of a more polished generation immediately sympathize with them.

We need no numerous notes, no antiquarian dissertations, to enable the most ignorant to recognize the sentiments and diction of the characters of Homer; we have but, as Lear says, to strip off our lendings — to set aside the factitious principles and adornments which we have received from our comparatively artificial system of society, and our natural feelings are in unison with those of the bard of Chios and the heroes who live in his verses.

It is the same with a great part of the narratives of my friend Mr. We sympathize with his Indian chiefs and back-woodsmen, and acknowledge, in the characters which he presents to us, the same truth of human nature by which we should feel ourselves influenced if placed in the same condition.

So much is this the case, that, though it is difficult, or almost impossible, to reclaim a savage, bred from his youth to war and the chase, to the restraints and the duties of civilized life, nothing is more easy or common than to find men who have been educated in all the habits and comforts of improved society, willing to exchange them for the wild labours of the hunter and the fisher.

These generally, when driven to extravagance, are founded, not upon any natural taste proper to the species, but upon the growth of some peculiar cast of affectation, with which mankind in general, and succeeding generations in particular, feel no common interest or sympathy. The extravagances of coxcombry in manners and apparel are indeed the legitimate and often the successful objects of satire, during the time when they exist. This, perhaps, affords a reason why the comedies of Ben Jonson, founded upon system, or what the age termed humours — by which was meant factitious and affected characters, superinduced on that which was common to the rest of their race — in spite of acute satire, deep scholarship, and strong sense, do not now afford general pleasure, but are confined to the closet of the antiquary, whose studies have assured him that the personages of the dramatist were once, though they are now no longer, portraits of existing nature.

Let us take another example of our hypothesis from Shakspeare himself, who, of all authors, drew his portraits for all ages. With the whole sum of the idolatry which affects us at his name, the mass of readers peruse, without amusement, the characters formed on the extravagances of temporary fashion; and the Euphuist Don Armado, the pedant Holofernes, even Nym and Pistol, are read with little pleasure by the mass of the public, being portraits of which we cannot recognize the humour, because the originals no longer exist.

In like manner, while the distresses of Romeo and Juliet continue to interest every bosom, Mercutio, drawn as an accurate representation of the finished fine gentleman of the period, and as such received by the unanimous approbation of contemporaries, has so little to interest the present age, that, stripped of all his puns, and quirks of verbal wit, he only retains his place in the scene, in virtue of his fine and fanciful speech upon dreaming, which belongs to no particular age, and because he is a personage whose presence is indispensable to the plot.

We have already prosecuted perhaps too far an argument, the tendency of which is to prove, that the introduction of an humorist, acting like Sir Piercie Shafton, upon some forgotten and obsolete model of folly, once fashionable, is rather likely to awaken the disgust of the reader, as unnatural, than find him food for laughter. There was little in the story to atone for these failures in two principal points. The incidents were inartificially huddled together.

There was no part of the intrigue to which deep interest was found to apply; and the conclusion was brought about, not by incidents arising out of the story itself, but in consequence of public transactions, with which the narrative has little connexion, and which the reader had little opportunity to become acquainted with. This, if not a positive fault, was yet a great defect in the Romance. It is true, that not only the practice of some great authors in this department, but even the general course of human life itself, may be quoted in favour of this more obvious and less artificial practice of arranging a narrative.

It is seldom that the same circle of personages who have surrounded an individual at his first outset in life, continue to have an interest in his career till his fate comes to a crisis. This hackneyed comparison holds good in another point. The numerous vessels of so many different sorts, and destined for such different purposes, which are launched in the same mighty ocean, although each endeavours to pursue its own course, are in every case more influenced by the winds and tides, which are common to the element which they all navigate, than by their own separate exertions.

And it is thus in the world, that, when human prudence has done its best, some general, perhaps national, event, destroys the schemes of the individual, as the casual touch of a more powerful being sweeps away the web of the spider. Many excellent romances have been composed in this view of human life, where the hero is conducted through a variety of detached scenes, in which various agents appear and disappear, without, perhaps, having any permanent influence on the progress of the story.

Such is the structure of Gil Blas, Roderick Random, and the lives and adventures of many other heroes, who are described as running through different stations of life, and encountering various adventures, which are only connected with each other by having happened to be witnessed by the same individual, whose identity unites them together, as the string of a necklace links the beads, which are otherwise detached. To demand equal correctness and felicity in those who may follow in the track of that illustrious novelist, would be to fetter too much the power of giving pleasure, by surrounding it with penal rules; since of this sort of light literature it may be especially said — tout genre est permis, hors le genre ennuyeux.

For such censure the Monastery gave but too much occasion. The intrigue of the Romance, neither very interesting in itself, nor very happily detailed, is at length finally disentangled by the breaking out of national hostilities between England and Scotland, and the as sudden renewal of the truce.

Instances of this kind, it is true, cannot in reality have been uncommon, but the resorting to such, in order to accomplish the catastrophe, as by a tour de force, was objected to as inartificial, and not perfectly, intelligible to the general reader.

Still the Monastery, though exposed to severe and just criticism, did not fail, judging from the extent of its circulation, to have some interest for the public. And this, too, was according to the ordinary course of such matters; for it very seldom happens that literary reputation is gained by a single effort, and still more rarely is it lost by a solitary miscarriage. Innes of Stow, while Hillslap forms part of the estate of Crookston. Sir, Although I do not pretend to the pleasure of your personal acquaintance, like many whom I believe to be equally strangers to you, I am nevertheless interested in your publications, and desire their continuance;-not that I pretend to much taste in fictitious composition, or that I am apt to be interested in your grave scenes, or amused by those which are meant to be lively.

I will not disguise from you, that I have yawned over the last interview of MacIvor and his sister, and fell fairly asleep while the schoolmaster was reading the humours of Dandie Dinmont. You see, sir, that I scorn to solicit your favour in a way to which you are no stranger. If the papers I enclose you are worth nothing, I will not endeavour to recommend them by personal flattery, as a bad cook pours rancid butter upon stale fish.

I love it the better, because it was originally designed for Captain Grose, an excellent antiquary, though, like yourself, somewhat too apt to treat with levity his own pursuits: I never could conceive what influenced me, when a boy, in the choice of a profession. I say, military zeal it was not; for I was no fighting boy in my own person, and cared not a penny to read the history of the heroes who turned the world upside down in former ages. I soon found out, indeed, that in action there was more anger in running away than in standing fast; and besides, I could not afford to lose my commission, which was my chief means of support.

But, as for that overboiling valour, which I have heard many of ours talk of, though I seldom observed that it influenced them in the actual affair —— that exuberant zeal, which courts Danger as a bride — truly my courage was of a complexion much less ecstatical.

Again, the love of a red coat, which, in default of all other aptitudes to the profession, has made many a bad soldier and some good ones, was an utter stranger to my disposition. As for vanity, or love of finery for itself, I was such a stranger to it, that the difficulty was great to make me brush my coat, and appear in proper trim upon parade. I shall never forget the rebuke of my old Colonel on a morning when the King reviewed a brigade of which ours made part.

Every other person had, or seemed to have, something to do, less or more. They did not, indeed, precisely go to school and learn tasks, that last of evils in my estimation; but it did not escape my boyish observation, that they were all bothered with something or other like duty or labour — all but the happy Captain Doolittle. The minister had his parish to visit, and his preaching to prepare, though perhaps he made more fuss than he needed about both.

The laird had his farming and improving operations to superintend; and, besides, he had to attend trustee meetings, and lieutenancy meetings, and head-courts, and meetings of justices, and what not — was as early up, that I detested, and as much in the open air, wet and dry, as his own grieve.

The shopkeeper the village boasted but one of eminence stood indeed pretty much at his ease behind his counter, for his custom was by no means overburdensome; but still he enjoyed his status, as the Bailie calls it, upon condition of tumbling all the wares in his booth over and over, when any one chose to want a yard of muslin, a mousetrap, an ounce of caraways, a paper of pins, the Sermons of Mr.

Peden, or the Life of Jack the Giant-Queller, not Killer, as usually erroneously written and pronounced. In short, all in the village were under the necessity of doing something which they would rather have left undone, excepting Captain Doolittle, who walked every morning in the open street, which formed the high mall of our village, in a blue coat with a red neck, and played at whist the whole evening, when he could make up a party.

This happy vacuity of all employment appeared to me so delicious, that it became the primary hint, which, according to the system of Helvetius, as the minister says, determined my infant talents towards the profession I was destined to illustrate.

I was not long engaged in my new profession, before I discovered, that if the independent indolence of half-pay was a paradise, the officer must pass through the purgatory of duty and service in order to gain admission to it. Captain Doolittle might brush his blue coat with the red neck, or leave it unbrushed, at his pleasure; but Ensign Clutterbuck had no such option. What was worse, the Captain might repose under the tester of his tent-bed until noon, if he was so pleased; but the Ensign, God help him, had to appear upon parade at peep of day.

As for duty, I made that as easy as I could, had the sergeant to whisper to me the words of command, and bustled through as other folks did.

Of service, I saw enough for an indolent man — was buffeted up and down the world, and visited both the East and West Indies, Egypt, and other distant places, which my youth had scarce dreamed of. The French I saw, and felt too; witness two fingers on my right hand, which one of their cursed hussars took off with his sabre as neatly as an hospital surgeon.

At length, the death of an old aunt, who left me some fifteen hundred pounds, snugly vested in the three per cents, gave me the long-wished-for opportunity of retiring, with the prospect of enjoying a clean shirt and a guinea four times a-week at least.

For the purpose of commencing my new way of life, I selected for my residence the village of Kennaquhair, in the south of Scotland, celebrated for the ruins of its magnificent Monastery, intending there to lead my future life in the otium cum dignitate of half-pay and annuity.

I was not long, however, in making the grand discovery, that in order to enjoy leisure, it is absolutely necessary it should be preceded by occupation.

For some time, it was delightful to wake at daybreak, dreaming of the reveill? But even this enjoyment had its termination; and time, when it became a stock entirely at my own disposal, began to hang heavy on my hand. I angled for two days, during which time I lost twenty hooks, and several scores of yards of gut and line, and caught not even a minnow.

Hunting was out of the question, for the stomach of a horse by no means agrees with the half-pay establishment. When I shot, the shepherds, and ploughmen, and my very dog, quizzed me every time that I missed, which was, generally speaking, every time I fired. Besides, the country gentlemen in this quarter like their game, and began to talk of prosecutions and interdicts.

The success of this accidental experiment set me on trying my skill in the mechanical arts.

The Monastery, by Walter Scott

I mounted a turning-lathe, and in attempting to use it, I very nearly cribbed off, with an inch-and-half former, one of the fingers which the hussar had left me. Books I tried, both those of the little circulating library, and of the more rational subscription collection maintained by this intellectual people.

But neither the light reading of the one, nor the heavy artillery of the other, suited my purpose. In short, during the time when all the town besides had something to do, I had nothing for it, but to walk in the church-yard, and whistle till it was dinner-time.

During these promenades, the ruins necessarily forced themselves on my attention, and, by degrees, I found myself engaged in studying the more minute ornaments, and at length the general plan, of this noble structure.

The old sexton aided my labours, and gave me his portion of traditional lore. Every day added something to my stock of knowledge respecting the ancient state of the building; and at length I made discoveries concerning the purpose of several detached and very ruinous portions of it, the use of which had hitherto been either unknown altogether or erroneously explained.

The knowledge which I thus acquired I had frequent opportunities of retailing to those visiters whom the progress of a Scottish tour brought to visit this celebrated spot. By degrees my mind became enlarged; I found a book or two which enlightened me on the subject of Gothic architecture, and I read now with pleasure, because I was interested in what I read about. Even my character began to dilate and expand.

I spoke with more authority at the club, and was listened to with deference, because on one subject, at least, I possessed more information than any of its members. Indeed, I found that even my stories about Egypt, which, to say truth, were somewhat threadbare, were now listened to with more respect than formerly.

I ate with more appetite, I digested with more ease, I lay down at night with joy, and slept sound till morning, when I arose with a sense of busy importance, and hied me to measure, to examine, and to compare the various parts of this interesting structure. I lost all sense and consciousness of certain unpleasant sensations of a nondescript nature, about my head and stomach, to which I had been in the habit of attending, more for the benefit of the village apothecary than my own, for the pure want of something else to think about.

I had found out an occupation unwittingly, and was happy because I had something to do. In a word, I had commenced local antiquary, and was not unworthy of the name. Whilst I was in this pleasing career of busy idleness, for so it might at best be called, it happened that I was one night sitting in my little parlour, adjacent to the closet which my landlady calls my bedroom, in the act of preparing for an early retreat to the realms of Morpheus.

Grimslees, the Captain is no in his bed? Grimslees desired I should pursue. But I had not been knocked about the world for thirty years and odd, and lived a bluff bachelor all the while, to come home and be put under petticoat government by my landlady.

Accordingly I opened my chamber-door, and desired my old friend David to walk up stairs. This is a gentleman every inch of him, and a virtuoso, a clean virtuoso-a sad-coloured stand of claithes, and a wig like the curled back of a mug-ewe. The very first question he speered was about the auld drawbrig that has been at the bottom of the water these twal score years — I have seen the fundations when we were sticking saumon — And how the deevil suld he ken ony thing about the old drawbrig, unless he were a virtuoso?

Ah, David, this has been some of your chattering; you are perpetually bringing your guests on my shoulders, as if it were my business to entertain every man who comes to the George. He was a grave personage, about my own age, which we shall call about fifty, and really had, as my friend David expressed it, something in his face that inclined men to oblige and to serve him.

It consisted of a uniform suit of iron-gray clothes, cut in rather an old-fashioned form. His legs were defended with strong leathern gambadoes, which, according to an antiquarian contrivance, opened at the sides, and were secured by steel clasps. His countenance was worn as much by toil and sorrow as by age, for it intimated that he had seen and endured much. There is relatively little marketing of the product overseas.

The line does not accept children under the age of eighteen so this is never going to be a family cruise line. Dress is always "casual", one shore excursion is included each day, and wine and beer are offered at meals. We think that Viking Cruises new ships are drop-dead gorgeous if you are into modern and somewhat minimalist Scandinavian design.

Be prepared for extra charges aboard and for anything like a decent shore excursion. As competitors have learned on Europe's rivers, their CEO is a gambler and he likes to win.

We would book this line with confidence if you have ruled out the five-star, all-inclusive, smaller ships. It was our first experience with Crystal and we loved the experience - feeling they offer more in the way of entertainment, food, and shore excursion options than the smaller ships they compete with. Our only other experiences have been aboard Windstar 3 times and Celebrity.

We've enjoyed all of our cruises but it all came together on Crystal. We were so impressed with staff and our fellow passengers that we went to the on-board travel agent and booked a Baltic Cruise for the summer of next year. If we keep using Crystal, is there any reason to book with an agent back home since everything seems to have been handled on the ship by their agent? We do think it makes sense to book future cruises aboard the ship you are sailing because that, almost always, results in some inducement to book.

But understand that, no matter what they call themselves, on-board booking agents are nothing more than commissioned sales people for the line whose income is largely based on the amount of future stuff they sell on-board.

They are not capable of fulfilling most of the responsibilities of a good agent yet they will still charge you the travel agent commission as if you were using one back home.

If, on the other hand, you booked your original cruise with a consultant back home, no worries at all. So you get the benefits of the on-board booking discount plus the counseling and personalized oversight of your agent. On-board booking incentives can also be combined with consortium benefits offered by your agent - so it is a win-win. But onbly book on-board oif you know exactly what you want. If you aren't sure, most lines will allow you to make a deposit which will get you the on-board incentive, without the need to pick a specific sailing.

That should be thoroughly discussed with a consultant back home who knows you and who really has your back. Q - We were having dinner with friends when someone asked about the Virgin Cruise Project. Haven't heard much about it but we would be very interested. We are in our early forties and some of our friends have younger children. Will this ship ever sail and will they have family cabins? A - This is not so much a "project" as it is an exciting new cruise line, extremely well-funded, that is launching three new "Lady Ship" class 2, passenger vessels.

This is a "definite" with delivery from the Italian Fincantieri yard scheduled for February This will be followed by two additional launches. The first ship will sail from Miami to the Caribbean but there are plans to base at least one Virgin Voyages ship in Europe. Virgin Voyages is an adults-only environment. No one under the age of 18 may sail with the line. Look for entertainment and music options that appeal to a a younger than normal cruise vibe.

Shore excursion options will be active and adventure-oriented although traditional sightseeing will still be available. As the photo of Chairman Sir Richard Branson taken at Virgin's recent press conference announcing the name change from "Cruises" to "Voyages" shows, doing things in moderation is not the philosophy behind this new line. The ship seems smaller than what we've sailed, which is what we want, and the fact that we can easily drive to Miami for the round-trip sailing makes it really attractive.

We're less concerned with cost than we are the quality of the program and our overall cultural experience. Always wanted to visit Cuba. Wondering if you think this is one we should book? If you want to experience Cuba, one day in Havana sandwiched between Key West and Honduras may be disappointing.

This is really a seven-night cruise with two days at sea and a half-day on a private Bahamian island. We think there are better options. We suggest you keep looking. Have your agent give you a few more itineraries including, perhaps, Sea Dream and Windstar. And if you really want to look at an inclusive Cuba cruise, look at Ponant's immersive itineraries. Q - Having sailed once on NCL with almost five thousand new friends sporting tee-shirts and tats and that could be for dinnerwe had decided that mega-ship vacations, how great their value, are not for us.

But now, we have our hearts set on the South Pacific. We are looking at your reviews of the Gauguin and we think this is right for us. We'd love the water platform, the all-inclusive aspects, and, of course, the itinerary.

Our gut is that we should get back into cruising with a one week before considering something longer. Are we on the right track in our thinking on this? A - Probably not. First of all, you've got an eight hour plus flight from Los Angeles.

That is a long way to travel for a week. The day is the better of the itineraries by a fairly wide margin. The Society Islands are, in our opinion, one island with luxury accommodations Bora Bora and a number of sister islands where there has been minimal luxury development and infrastructure improvements. We think you will find The Cook Islands to be the highlight of your entire vacation. You will go out by boat to incredibly clear waters where you can snorkel and even walk across the water on a narrow sand bar out to a private, uninhabited island.

It is the ultimate South Pacific introduction. As we have said elsewhere, the biggest mistake made by new cruisers is the "test" itinerary which is shorter than it ought to be. The only reason to do any seven-night cruise is if work requirements or family issues require a shorter vacation. There is also the issue of value - many of the same costs, including air, are built into both a seven-night and ten or eleven-night sailing. The air program is still built into the fare. As a result, the eleven-night program is the better value.

We have twice traveled with Tauck Tours and everything folks say about them seems to be true. But now, we are looking at several programs Tauck is doing in Europe that are using Ponant ships for a cruise and tour combination. It sounds ideal but we don't know Ponant, are they in business for a long time and what kind of track record do they have?

I imagine Tauck would not use them if they were not good but would appreciate any reassurances before we make this decision. Very few people seem to know this line and any insights would be truly appreciated. A - You are about to make a wonderful decision. And, yes, Ponant Yacht Cruises and Expeditions is not a well-known company but is it one of our personal favorites. Tauck has partnered with Ponant since and their collaboration has created some of the fastest selling series of tour programs in the world.

Ponant has five yachts and will be introducing four more in the next 24 months. There are expansion plans beyond The company is owned by the French Luxury brand company Artemis and the line has a new partnership with famed Chef Alain Ducasse. One of the things that Ponant is doing, which runs counter to cruise industry trends, is reducing the number of guests each yacht holds from guests to only They are doing this without reducing the size of their new vessels.

Ponant is inclusive and sleek. The crew is mostly French and we love the fact that there are actual French chefs on-board. Decor tends toward the modern, minimalist with sharp lines. These truly are large yachts.

They are also true expedition vessels so among the 81 countries the line visits Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic, and Europe are among their most popular programs.

We do not mean to sound gushy - that is not why people come to Cruisetruth. But the fact is that this is a relatively unknown luxury small ship company with an outstanding product and steady, well-funded leadership. The non-Tauck partnered programs will feature a higher percentage of European guests. The Tauck programs enable hassle-free sightseeing with full Tauck staffing and tour quality in some fascinating parts of the world.

The biggest problem with the Tauck-Ponant itineraries in that they often sell out as much as a year in advance. Book immediately and don't ask questions is our advice. This one is that good. Sorry again for the gush. For a moment there, we were concerned we were starting to read like those other sites that have never seen a ship they have not liked. Q - We have taken more than a dozen lines, including the ones you might rate the worst to the best. As we get older we are leaning far more to the best because, when all is said and done, what no one ever says in a brochure is "the passengers on a five-star line are better educated, more accomplished, and, therefore, more interesting.

And, it seems to us that the more expensive lines discount the most. I enjoy your site s a great deal and they have educated us and our travel agent I would guess. But there is one big question I need to really have you-all address.

When is the absolute best time to book one of the top ten lines. The internet has all kinds of conflicting advise.

Cruise Truth Q&A |

I'm a cruise gunslinger looking for the best value and I am confused as to when the best time to pull the trigger might be. A - Dear Gunslinger: There is a short answer and a longer one. You should book your cruise whenever you have decided to take the trip. That's the best advice we can offer. The so-called "Contemporary" or mass market mega-ships are constantly changing their deals and base pricing. They may have promotions for residents of certain states or upgrade offers. With several thousand guests they can usually find a place to put you on an upgrade offer.

The idea is to get you aboard at any cost, even if they lose a bit of money, because once they get you on-board they will have you in an a-la-carte spending environment where you will likely be forced to spend more than you paid for your cabin.

Most importantly, the larger, mass market ships do not feel any obligation to honor their pricing. The top-tier cruise, such as those in the Top Ten, do not and cannot operate this way.

Their ships are smaller, much smaller and word of a last-minute deal would spread quickly. That is the big difference. No one on a deluxe line who is booked in a suite wants to hear that someone got a better price because they waited until the last moment.

In fact, in the vast majority of cases, pricing is controlled by computer programs designed to favor those who book earliest with the highest fees paid by those who wait until the last minute. Not luxury line wants to lower prices close in and then have to go back to every booked guest and their agent to re-invoice a lower price invoice and lower their overall profit.

So - if you are booking a mass market ship - always watch your price changes. If you are booking one of the top all-inclusive small ship lines, book as soon as you have made up your mind for the best stateroom selection and, more often than not, the best pricing. Now, dear friends are wondering if we might join them in Europe on the Silversea Muse. It appears to be a nice ship but we are concerned about continental cuisine overload. It seems like a lovely line but we can a small ship really have choices of dining options that might appeal to the culinary curious.?

A - You are going to be fine. The Muse is the largest ship in Silversea's fleet and carries just under guests. She has a fair reputation of providing several eclectic dining choices including gourmet fare, a sushi bar and a pizza stall just above the swimming pool. Technically, there are eight dining venues if one includes luncheon spots. If you want fewer than guests and an unusually high proportion of dining choices, we think you could not do much better than the Muse. We've been to just about half of the Michelin multi-starred restaurants in the United States and we are "Top Chef" addicts.

So, imagine our delight to find that Thomas Keller is now affiliated with Seabourn and he will have a Grill on every Seabourn ship. Here's the thing - if we go on our first cruise we'd want to dine at Keller's restaurant every night of the cruise.

Can you folks make that happen or can you put us in touch with someone who can? A - You will be conformed for one or two nights at Thomas Keller's restaurant aboard your Seabourn ship. The reservations may be requested in advance after you have made deposit. Based on your level of accommodations, you may be able to secure a second reservation.

The maitre'd may be able to accommodate you aboard ship if there are no-shows. But no one at Seabourn is going to deny other guests the opportunity to dine at Thomas Keller's on-board restaurant because you decided to want a table every night of your cruise. It just isn't going to happen unless you manage to somehow marry into Keller's family - and we're not at all certain that would work.

So, you will need to look forward to dining at the restaurant just once or twice while playing nicely with the other kinds aboard ship who will also want their turn.

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Even Oprah couldn't get you seated each night of your cruise. Q - We are starting our search for a long-delayed cruise in the area of the Adriatic. I have some concerns about choosing a stateroom with a bathtub. I really dislike the entire concept of showering, sticking my hair under the nozzle just doesn't suit me. Will I be able to request or even confirm a stateroom with a bathtub on one of the better lines listed in the Top Ten on your site? A - In designing ships the issue of tubs versus showers is a serious concern.

Many older Americans prefer the bat while European guests seem to prefer a shower with a hand-held nozzle for getting at their unmentionables. Large portions of the world actually look at fixed shower heads as unsanitary. Meanwhile, many affluent cruise travelers like nothing better than having their butler turn down the bed and fixing them a warm bath accompanied, usually, by sprinkled rose petals and an opened bottle of champagne iced and waiting.

All of which is to say that, yes, on most of the ships constructed within the last several years you will have your choice, a combination bath and shower, or, increasingly, a separate bath and shower in your bathroom. In order to help you along a bit, you will likely have both in your stateroom on Hapag-Lloyd, with choices and dual units on Seabourn, Silversea, and Regent Seven Seas. Some of the older ships with fewer than guests such as Windstar and Sea Dream Yacht Club normally offer shower-only.

Speak this over with your consultant. You should be able to get exactly what you want. We'll talk about how you wash your hair in a bathtub some other time.

Yesterday, I called Silversea and they said that they had 14 cabins still available ion the three categories we would want with a veranda. But we did not commit because we don;t know the procedure to take advantage of the pricing for last-minute cabins that they can;t sell. What is the trick and is there an agency that really specializes in this sort of thing.

I see online come-ons for lots of them that say that they specialize in last-minute but when I would call it sounded a bit shady. What is the best strategy. I want to be smart about this thing. A - You are falling for the oldest travel agency trick. Oh, we know, we'll give them to you for less because you waited until the last minute. They are insulting your intelligence.

Here is what you need to know: The industry just doesn't work like that. Why would any sane person book a cruise months sometimes more than a year in advance to pay more? Those who book later often pay more. The highest rates we see in the industry are those charged to guests who book their cruise between the time when final payment is collected and the actual sailing date.

No reputable travel agent would book a line that gave one agency different pricing than all of the other agencies that are top sellers of the brand. It just doesn't happen. If it ever did happen it would become big industry news and large segments of the travel agent community would likely boycott the brand. On many more exotic itineraries, the lines do not want to operate at full capacity fearing this could diminish service.

There are always waiting lists for travel consultants, travel writers, and stockholders who the line would like to accommodate on-board. Every cruise line sales manager has dozens of potential sellers of their product they would love to have experience their product. Filling cabins is quite easy. They will never intentionally anger their best clients. Our firm sells and represents every one of the top ten cruise brands in the world.

Every one of them practices pricing integrity. All of the top agencies receive exactly the same price. But the online call center boiler room operatives keep telling the consumer otherwise.

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You say you want to be "smart about this" so we would advise you to book months in advance next time you travel on the ocean or the rivers. The preliminary information has been helpful bur we are concerned about the A-La-Carte restaurant on-board, the likely venue where we would dine most nights.

It looks like we will have to wait until or - do you think the wait is wise. We certainly can afford top suites on any of the current lines and we do vacation at least once each year. Does delay make sense? A - No one can tell you about the quality of the food aboard an, as yet, unborn new cruise line.

All you need to know about Sven is that his current restaurant has achieved three-star status, something that is rather difficult to do within a hotel setting. So we think your truffles and fois gras will be in good hands. Thew decision as to whether or not you should wait requires some further discussion.

Feel free to give us a call. Our general response is that, unless you have something wonderful planned foryou might want to consider cruising with one of the Ritz Carlton at-sea competitors such as Sea Dream, Silverseas, Regent, or Seabourn. You might also want to look at a larger ship like Crystal with more amenities and options.

Crystal would enable you to make some important comparisons between a mid-size luxury cruise ship and the smaller Ritz yachts. It might be nice to board the Ritz with some sort of personal benchmark. Q - I greatly appreciate the tone of this site but my question is a bit more broad-based than many you deal with. I am involved in the investment market in England and was wondering how your team might respond to an inquiry regarding the growth potential of the cruise market worldwide.

Will new ships continue to be built and will they be profitable? Wondering what the cost of an average berth is, for instance, on a Carnival ship versus the new Ritz Carlton ships? Would appreciate any information you care to share in written form. Despite that, we would be willing to fake it and prepare a lovely written report for you for a substantial consulting fee.

As to the remainder of your inquiry: Seatrade UMB in the UK is currently forecasting the construction of 84 new ships under contract with many more to come. Carnival's new ship scheduled for delivery in is slated to accommodate 5, guests. This gives you a sense of the economies of scale within the industry achieved by more tonnage and more berths generating income.

If these construction costs sound high, remember that they are "per berth" or per lower bed passenger so you have to double the figure to get the cost to construct each cabin. All other shipbuilding costs including public space is included when computing the per berth cost.

Cruise ships of any size are an expensive risk investment and one of the key components is the ability of the product to generate on-board purchases that equal or exceed the actual cost to book a cruise. The all-inclusive, smaller ship luxury lines do not have that cost offset with few "extras" available for purchase on-board. Hope this little bit is helpful.

In the years to come, we will be trying to incorporate more of the financial side of the industry into our coverage as it seems to be a topic of broad interest. Q - Enjoying your information and humor. Wondering if you might advise if one of the better cruise lines is offering a Crossword Puzzle cruise. We like to stretch our minds when we travel and there seem to be very few opportunities. We subscribe to the New York Times pretty much exclusively for the Crossword page.

Thanks and hope you will do more for those readers who appreciate an intellectual challenge or two along the way. A - The best of the cruises for Crossword fanatics is always offered by Cunard.

It is being referred to as "The Crossword Crossing. Although you are late for this year's sailing, it is expected to be repeated in the future. Several Times Crossword pages editors will be on-board including famed, some might say notoriously difficult, puzzle master Will Shortz. It has been our experience that foul language is most often expressed by crossword fans in the middle of a Shortz puzzle.

Crossings, with their days at sea, or longer voyages with a number of days at sea tend to have the best,most intellectually grounded lectures.

Expect to hear little discussion of Proust over dinner on a one-week Caribbean jaunt.

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Q - We are looking at several options including the Viking Sky in Europe next summer. After spending countless hours searching for some really helpful information we were led to your site. We are really glad we found you but we can't figure out why Viking Cruises does not appear at all in your ratings, leading us to assume that, for whatever reason, they do not merit placement in the "Top Ten". Given all the advertising they do, we are sure there are others who would like to solve this mystery.

A - You have asked an excellent question. We are almost finished with this work and you will shortly see Viking Cruises added to the list of the world's top ten cruise lineS. We think Viking has an excellent feel for what its core customers want; modern, clean design, some complimentary shore excursions in every port, casual dress, and overnights at the beginning and the end of most itineraries. We also think it represents real value when compared to the five-star inclusive ships. But, quite frankly, we can address the other side of each of those perceived negatives.

Simply adding Viking to the Top Ten List is challenging for several reasons. First, if we place them on the list who do we eliminate? We have to be certain that they offer a better all-around cruise experience than one of the lines currently listed.

Our ratings are going to change in the next 24 months for certain. We can assume that The Ritz Carlton cruise line will end up with a superior rating once inspections and our research overseas is completed. What about Virgin Voyages?

We would be surprised if they did not merit consideration. Where will Crystal's new ship products place the line in the ratings? And what of the Cunard liners? If you are in Queen's Grill Class or above, it would seem that your cruise line is certainly worthy of being included in our list of the World's Top Ten Rated Cruise Lines. Finally, the ranking given in reader's polls in a magazine or by self-professed "critics" with no professional background in the industry or means of comparison can't be taken too seriously.

We do try to get it right and sometimes that is not a quick process. Thanks for your question and your understanding and, from what we are seeing to date, you should go ahead with Viking Cruises without hesitation. There has been lots of information on the damage done by Irma, Maria and their friends in the Caribbean but we have not seen any listing of those islands unaffected.

We're new to luxury cruising but this one will be celebrating our 30th Anniversary as well as my wife's retirement from government service in January. It would enable us to choose an itinerary we like if you might point us in the direction of a list of islands where "a destruction tour" is not part of the program.

Don't mean to be insensitive but you know what we mean. Any help would be appreciated. A - There is a list that we are currently sharing with our clients. Please find it below. We would make one comment and we trust you will take it in the spirit in which it is intended. You are looking at a longer than usual itinerary. There are very few two-week Caribbean itineraries. Consider days or two back-to-back seven-night cruises that visit different islands.

That would be ideal and you would have some new people to meet. But while you are spending about two weeks in the islands, please consier visiting one or two of the islands that got hot really badly. They need your support and your spending ashore to recover. Here is the best list available from Travel Weekly Magazine: The following islands were outside the paths of Irma and Maria and suffered little or no damage from the storms: We are not as experienced with five-star cruising as our friends so we've been doing a great deal of reading.

Your site seems to get glowing reviews so we've put some stock into what you've said. Yesterday, I was re-reading the review of Crystal and it seems that you've revised it with the news that the CEO is suddenly departing, that there are a bunch of missed deadlines and changes, that the company has expanded much too fast, and that they are bringing in someone from Disneyworld to fix it. As someone who has run several companies, I can tell you that if half of what you suggest has happened, I am concerned about my upcoming sailing.

My biggest concern is why they let their CEO go when she's the one who had started on this exciting growth path. Is our concern justified? A - It is highly likely that you will be both shocked and delighted with the quality of your upcoming Crystal experience. We don't want to get into corporate intrigue or speculate. So just a few facts: Edie Rodriguez resigned while it is clear that discussions with Tom Wolber did not begin on the day he replaced her. So let's call it a mutual agreement.

It is true that a number of economic factors have combined to cause some delays in the river boat segment and there have been well-documented delays in terms of Crystal's 1, Guest new-builds.

But if you look over at one of our other consumer sites dedicated to river cruising, riverboatratings. That, from a company that had no river cruising experience before the launch. Genting, Crystal's owners, have set out to become the luxury experience brand in the US and around the world. They do not mind spending money to achieve that goal. Every single independent ship ratings service rates Crystal at or near the top.

When it comes to mid-size ships, they do own the five-star category. Some five-star cruisers, however, associate smaller and more intimate ships with a sense of exclusivity. Finally, as mentioned in our review, Crystal is on a major expansion trajectory. In Wolber they have found a leader who has the skill set and background to manage new-ship builds, yard coordination with headquarters, and the kind of operations background that a company like Crystal would seem to need badly at this time.

We think the Disney background is only a plus. Don't look for Goofy to be welcoming you aboard the Crystal Serenity anytime soon. We are not scheduled to sail until late March but we are wondering what our options might be given the effects on the islands of the hurricanes? Given all the destruction, can we assume that prices will be coming down and how do we apply for those reductions?

A - Prices will likely not be coming down. The islands that were hit heaviest are in no position to host cruise passengers. There will be a major realignment of scheduled east coast cruises to new, western itineraries. The Caribbean cruises were already heavily booked for the fourth quarter so we would anticipate that many ships will sail full.

You are also going to see fuel increases generated by the destruction of many of the oil refineries on the islands.

You should, of course, ask your travel agent about re-pricing once your proposal for your revised itinerary arrives in their office. You may find that HAL has made you an attractive offer to remain booked.

You do not need to do anything.