Lots of cruise lines are canceling port calls to Mexico due to the Swine Flu. Other lines who don’t have stops scheduled until later in the year are taking a wait and see position.

Here is a list as of today. Check back at the linked site for further updates.

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Sorry about that, guys.

Well, a few weeks ago the Navy Seals wasted some pirates, and now we have passengers getting in on the action.

Initially, no one noticed the ship was being attacked. The first warning came when a woman intuitively leaned over the railing in semidarkness and noticed something when she peered down. She suddenly turned to her fellow passengers and said: “Yikes, there’s a small boat next to us!”

Tayler and the others rushed to the railing and also saw what he described as five or six men sitting in a roofless pirate boat. One started climbing a rope to the deck beneath them. “He was already halfway up,” says Tayler. One passenger screamed: “Pirates!”

Without hesitation, passengers began to grab whatever they could find around them. “We immediately began throwing tables and deck chairs at the rope,” said Tayler. One hit a pirate scaling it. He fell off and the boat turned around, Tayler recalls.

The skirmish between the passengers and the pirates lasted for several minutes, he says. Suddenly, the pirates opened fire — Tayler says he counted three salvos of 25 to 30 rounds each.

Again and again, the pirate boat would approach the ship and disappear under the stern, only to reemerge. Tayler and his fellow passengers continued to throw chairs despite the gunfire. One passenger was shot in the leg and one bullet grazed the head of a crew member. The armed security staff finally turned up six to eight minutes into the skirmish, passengers claim.

Kudos to the cruise line for having armed security on board, even if valuable time was wasted because their weapons had to be kept in a safe. And major congratulations to the brave passengers and their quick thinking!

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Please to admire my magnificent whiskers.

Cruise Lovers, there is no time like the present to find yourself an incredible cruise deal. Heck, you don’t even have to look very far because the cruise lines are desperate to get passengers booked. They are throwing out offers that I have never seen before, and not just one or two cruise lines, but nearly all of them.

Cruise deals on offer at the moment include offers of free airfare, unlimited shore excursions and up to $1,000 onboard credit for every cabin. All that is on top of the already slashed prices of 50% off and more. There is really sort of a perfect storm at the moment where the economy is bad, so that people are hesitant to splash out on vacation spending plus the cruise lines have built so many ships in recent years that they have thousands of cabins they need to fill.

There are some static costs for a ship and they remain the same no matter how many passengers are on board. Just off the top of my head, fuel, port charges and staff need to be paid for. Hence the bottom line for us cruisers is that the cruise lines are super-motivated to get bodies on board.

So get out there and ferret out some incredible cruise deals — it won’t be hard at all!

Last summer I went on the Silver Cloud to the Norwegian fjords. The trip started and ended in Copenhagen and I have to say, without a doubt, that there is no more spectacularly beautiful scenery than what I saw in Norway.

Here is a sample from our first shore excursion in Gudvangen:

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Another fabulous fjord view from our balcony:

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