Robert Mackie


Robert Mackie

I've been in the travel business since 1995 and have become a cruise expert within my circle of friends andfamily. I worked for a tour operator in Canada for almost 10 years and worked with various cruise lines. I've sailed on most of the contemporary, premium, deluxe and luxury lines available to the North American market and have now been in the retail side for almost 5 years. I find that there is a lot of misconception about the cruise business and for those guests who consistenly "rate" or disparage a cruise line because they didnt happen to like it or it wasn't up to their expectations I find greatly insulting. Yes, stuff happens when you travel - BUT it happens to ALL cruise lines at one point or another. I have a saying from an old friend of mine - "Their is a ship for everyone, but not everyone for the same ship! - John Lang - The Cruise People". This blog is here to inform and educate those who want an unbiased opinion about the industry. Oh, and perhaps you will see some travel pictures along the way...enjoy! And let me know what you would like to see in the future.

North America » Canada » Ontario » Richmond Hill August 1st 2012

In recent weeks, a handful of biased industry critics continue to use the mainstream media to distort the cruise industry’s strong record on crime reporting and significantly overinflate the number of crimes occurring onboard cruise ships. Unfortunately, the media outlets reporting these stories do not include the perspective of agencies responsible for the enforcement of laws pertaining to crime onboard cruise ships – and the sources of objective third party data - the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and the FBI. The result? Alarming statements, inflammatory accusations and unsubstantiated claims are made that have no basis in fact. These claims could not be further from the truth. A case in point is the Anderson Cooper 360 piece that aired on CNN on July 9 — “... read more

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ajax June 5th 2012

I thought this was a great article by Jen on... This obsession with rushing to print and the subsequent naysaying and hand wringing that ensues every time there is an incident in Mexico has become ludicrous. Mexico is the second most popular destination for Canadians - only just behind the US. An estimated 1.6 million Canadians visited Mexico last year, up about eight percent from the year before. A recent CBC report said that based on more than a decade's worth of data from the Department of Foreign Affairs, an average three Canadians for every 100,000 visiting Mexico, are killed or assaulted annually. However, when you compare that with other popular destinations Canadians visit, it’s only good/bad enough for third place. China tops the list with about seven assaults/murders per 100,000 Canadian visitors which produces ... read more

North America » Canada » Ontario » Richmond Hill April 30th 2012

Wow - its been awhile. Sorry about that. Not sure whats been happening. LOTS by the way. Thomas Cook Canada did another restructure. Air Canada almost went on strike with two of its unions. Costa had some major issues and its only the 2nd quarter of the year. WOW - you gotta love the travel business. Sometimes. Anyway - my wife and I finally made it to Tahiti on the Paul Gauguin and back. The trip is absolutely amazing. If its on your bucket list - dont wait. Try it! Moorea was probably our favourite island. Bora Bora gets all the attention - but Moorea is actually better. The scenery is stunning. There is more to do. All around the best time! Now - whats the cruise line industry up to? NEWS FROM CLIA: CRUISE Lines ... read more
Bora Bora
Bora Bora
On top of Bora Bora

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ajax February 24th 2012

New life is being breathed into Old Man River. As the finishing touches are being put on two ships for the Mississippi River’s big cruising comeback this year, the ships’ owners report that bookings are ahead of projections and that the outlook for the rebirth of Mississippi cruising is very positive. Memphis-based Great American Steamboat Co. will relaunch the 436-passenger American Queen in April, and Guilford, Conn.-based American Cruise Lines (ACL) is building a 150-passenger paddlewheeler, the Queen of the Mississippi, which is expected to set sail in August. Together, the vessels will essentially bring back to life a Mississippi River cruise market that has been dormant since Majestic America Line ceased operations under Ambassadors International at the end of 2008. Since opening its reservations call center on Sept. 30, the Great American Steamboat Co. is ... read more

North America » Canada » Ontario » Richmond Hill February 23rd 2012

Our thrid annual Cruise for the Cure has been a tremendous success. We had 145 guests sailing on the Allure of the Seas this past week sailing the Western Caribbean. We had two cocktail parties, a walk for the cure on board the ship and a few treats throughout the week. We are already in the planning stages of our next Cruise for the Cure which will be held on the Oasis of the Seas on February 9th, 2013. We have a few "wish list" ideas from the cruise line we would like to implement for next year so if those that want to be a part of the group can be and for those that dont, then they can have a great relaxing week. Do you have any ideas that would be great to do? ... read more
Posing at the Cocktail Party
Men In Black

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ajax February 23rd 2012

Hey, if you can have WestJetters why not Virgins. Typically swimming against the tide, or flying against the wind, or whatever - as statistics show UK unemployment on the rise - Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic has announced a recruitment drive for 500 cabin crew. The Office of National Statistics released new figures which saw unemployment rise by 48,000 in the last three months of 2011. Virgin however, says it is expanding its network and fleet, and is advertising jobs throughout the year on The jobs will be based out of London Heathrow and Gatwick and new recruits will be heading for Virgin Atlantic's new routes - Cancun and Vancouver - along with other destinations on the airline's long-haul network including New York, Barbados, Las Vegas and Shanghai. Corneel Koster, director of ... read more

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ajax February 23rd 2012

There is stupid, there is really really stupid, and then there is this guy. An airline passenger heading for Houston on Continental Airlines is facing federal charges, because he apparently refused to turn off an electronic cigarette, threatened other passengers and crew and then in a moment of pure brilliance - invoked the name of Osama bin Laden. Yazeed Mohammed A. Abunayyan who had boarded at Portland International Airport is charged with interfering with a flight crew. Passengers said the man was unruly from the beginning of the journey after he was not given a seat next to his friend. However, the court document said the incident began when a flight attendant asked Abunayyan to stop smoking an electronic cigarette. He refused to stop or hand over the device. He then began ... read more

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ajax January 9th 2012

Steamboating! Have your ever dreamed of travelling on the Mississippi River? Have you ever dreamed of travelling back in time to the great plantations of the south? Memory flows deep and sentiment eddies and swirls along the Lower Mississippi River. Once divided by these very waters, when cotton was king and the plantation lifestyle was at its zenith, the North and South were at war, each armed with conflicting visions of what was worth dying for. Look back as each battlefield and grave marker has a story to tell. The Great American Steam Boat company is back! The magnificent American Queen (The First Lady of the Mississippi) is back in business! I had the chance to travel on the American Queen about 8 years ago before the company that originally ran her filed for bankruptcy. It ... read more
The Parlour
The Grand Saloon

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ajax January 9th 2012

Five-Star Menus, Wine Tastings, Exclusive Touring, Michelin Dining & Impeccable Service Are Par for the Course French Country Waterways is kicking off their 28th year in luxury barge cruising with the launch of an impressive selection of elegant vacation experiences aboard its own fleet of luxury canal barges. Detailed in a new 2012 brochure is the return of eight-passenger Princess to the Upper Loire Valley – nicknamed the “Garden of France” for its idyllic landscape and pleasant climate, as well as the two routes taken by the 12-passenger Adrienne -- splitting her season between the celebrated region of Champagne and the enchanting Alsace-Lorraine route, which traverses a landscape of half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, rolling meadows and lush forests. The six-night cruises are also offered in Central Burgundy aboard the eight-guest Horizon II, and along Canal de ... read more

North America » Canada » Ontario » Ajax January 9th 2012

Question: Why Do Cruise Lines Still Send Ships through the Gulf of Aden? Over the last few weeks, much of the general news media has suddenly discovered the story of piracy of ships in the Gulf of Aden, a story which has been developing and covered by the trade press for several years. In their coverage, and especially with the recent encounter between Nautica and some pirates, they want to bring in the cruise ship angle. They are asking questions like what tools cruise ships have to defend themselves, or, with the rising number of ships being taken, why do cruise lines continue to send their ships through the Gulf. They have been asking the wrong questions, however. After covering cruise lines for a lot of years, we've come to know cruise lines aren't about to ... read more

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