Cruise Guide: Mingle with the stars aboard Crystal, Cunard and Radisson lines

By Mike Coleman

One-upmanship is serious business, especially among luxury brands in the highly-competitive cruise industry.

Take, for instance, executives at Crystal Cruises, the Cunard Line and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. They create purpose-built ships, top-shelf amenities and onboard programs with the most discerning of travelers at sea in mind.

Who said, however, that it couldn’t be fun? Officials at the three lines are beaming that respective guests will be mingling with celebrities and renowned lecturers this fall.

Seven-time Emmy Award-winning actress Mary Tyler Moore, who served as godmother for Crystal Harmony when it was launched in 1990, will help bid the ship farewell. Harmony will transfer to her Japanese owners in November but not before Moore and guests give this special ship a royal send-off.

Moore is scheduled to sail aboard the 940-guest vessel, round-trip from Los Angeles, on a 10-day Mexican Riviera cruise beginning Oct. 22. Port calls include San Diego, Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo.

Meanwhile, pop music legend Carly Simon is scheduled to conclude a trans-Atlantic crossing this week aboard the Queen Mary 2 (QM2), where she performed two concerts. The sessions were recorded for a one-hour PBS network television special, scheduled to air in December. The concerts will be released on DVD by Columbia Records in November.

Simon’s six-day transatlantic voyage, including her concert performances in the ship’s Queens Room, the largest ballroom at sea, and behind-the-scenes moments onboard QM2 were documented for the DVD by veteran concert filmographer Jim Gable.

Passengers enjoying Radisson Seven Seas’ Grand Circle Pacific segments will be entertained and enlightened as they explore Southeast Asia, Australia and the South Pacific this fall aboard the 700-guest, all balcony-suite Seven Seas Mariner.

During a 14-night, Hong Kong to Singapore sailing beginning Oct. 10, noted Irish actor Milo O’Shea, renowned for his Tony award-nominated roles in Staircase (1968) and Mass Appeal (1981) as well as his character Durand-Durand in Barbarella (1968), will screen some of his films and appear in Q&A sessions.

Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning Hall of Fame songwriter Paul Williams will be onboard during the Auckland to Los Angeles segment, Nov. 21. Between calls at Bay of Islands, Rarotonga, Bora Bora, Moorea, Papeete, and Nuku Hiva, the 19-night cruise will feature the composer and his most memorable hits Rainy Days and Mondays, Evergreen, We’ve Only Just Begun, and The Rainbow Connection during one concert and two lectures.

Renowned ocean explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau will also share the spotlight on the Nov. 21 sailing. He will discuss the ocean’s importance to survival of life on the planet.

Have you ever thought what it would be like to return from such cruises with a customized movie of your time with celebrities on board, or for that matter your trek through Machu Picchu or your exploration of the pyramids at Giza? Now you can, thanks to a new digital video editing course, available on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity, where guests learn how to edit their own video with footage from acquired sources, including existing Crystal videos and special effects, to create mini-documentaries of their global travels.

Who knows? Perhaps Moore, Simon, O’Shea, Williams or Cousteau will ask for your autograph.

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