Over the past 10 years, I have written for travel publications and websites. Additionally, my published work focuses on cruise employment articles.
Confessions of a Cruise Ship Purser
The purser on a cruise ship is part hotel receptionist, part concierge. Guests line up at the Purser’s Desk to pay their onboard accounts, to ask questions like “What time do the whales swim by?” and to complain about everything under the sun. On mega ships there may be as many as 20 pursers, who listen to the same gripes cruise after cruise. At times, I felt like a mix of Judge Judy and Sherlock Holmes, trying to decide which parts of passengers’ stories were true.
Rock Climbing in Skagway Alaska
It’s been more than ten years since the last time I rock climbed and my adrenaline is pumping enough to make my knees feel wobbly. I stare up at the vertical, granite rock face in front of me that appears to be about 100 feet high. Although age and motherhood have mildly tamed my thrill-seeking wild side, I’m anxious to get my gear on and start climbing.
Getting Personal with Penguins in the Falkland Islands
It’s a lot smellier than I had imagined and my five-year old daughters agree. “What stinks?” one of them shrieks while covering her nose and mouth with her mittens. The pungent odor of guano (aka: penguin poop) is nauseating but once I see the tuxedo-clad birds, I forget all about the smell and realize why I booked a penguin tour.
Compass / Gateways (The PPI Group)
Perhaps it’s the untamed landscape, or possibly the fact that vacations grant us the permission to try something new and exciting. Regardless, Alaska has cruise passengers unleashing their wild side with shore excursions that are unique and packed with adventure. From mild to strenuous in terms of physical activity, rarely do the tours require any previous experience, making them suitable for most ages and abilities…..
Portland, Maine Cruise Port
Portland, Maine is all about lobster. It’s hard to imagine this crustacean was once deemed poor man’s food, but it’s true — lobsters would wash up on Portland’s shores after a storm and be used primarily as fertilizer and bait.
Bar Harbor, Maine Cruise Port
Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island) Cruise Port
Sitka, Alaska Cruise Port
Vancouver, Canada Cruise Port
Although I wrote the above port profiles, they have been updated by other Cruise Critic contributors (eliminating my byline). On a closer look at the content of those articles, a good portion of the published work is still the words that I wrote.
Suite Life Roundup
From square footage that exceeds many people’s homes, to perks worthy of VIP status, this article provides a detailed comparison of suite offerings from all of the major cruise lines.
Cruise Travel Magazine
For many passengers, Christmas onboard a cruise ship means multi-generational vacations complete with kids out of school and relatives from all over the globe meeting to celebrate the holidays together. But for most officers and crew onboard, Christmas is a time without families and little time to celebrate.
The cruising teenagers of today will be the 20-something passengers of tomorrow, and cruise lines are starting to cater more to this hard-to-please age group. Too old for arts & crafts and too young for the 18 and over diversions, kids aged 13 to 17 can now enjoy more facilities and programs designed especially for them. Gone are the days when there was only a video arcade to keep teens busy, because in the last decade family cruising has completely transformed itself.
Interview with a Navigator
An inside look at the First Officer who plots to get passengers to port on time. The itinerary in a cruise ship brochure details where and when a ship will be in port, but the onboard Navigator is responsible for taking care of all the logistics that make it happen. On Princess Cruises’ vessels, the First Officer looks after the duties of Navigator; Tony Ruggero is one of the line’s First Officers (and, I am proud to say, my husband).
This is one of the websites that I own and manage. It is still in the development stage, therefore the content is limited.
Cruise Lines’ Private Islands
Cruise companies introduce a wave of private ‘desert islands’ for guests. In the latest move to woo new passengers, cruise companies are turning increasingly to private islands to provide their guests with the quintessential beach experience.
P&O Caribbean Cruise
A Caribbean cruise with Noddy, Mr. Bump (and Marco Pierre White). Renee Ruggero was hesitant about taking her daughters out of school for a 14-day Caribbean cruise on the P&O Ventura. But, a host of celebrities convinced her it was a good move.
Solo Cruise Travel
Are cruise ships starting to finally embrace the single traveller? The dreaded single supplement has inhibited solo travellers for many years. But now a new generation of cruise ships is offering solo studio rooms at no extra cost.
Cruise Line Loyalty Programs
Loyalty points mean cruises and perks as operators get customer-savvy. Cruise operators are now onboard with loyalty schemes as they are keen to make sure customers keep coming back for more. Renee Ruggero reveals bonuses and perks for repeat cruise passengers.
Cruise Lines’ Specialty Restaurants
A notch up from the Captain’s table. Specialty dining is cruise lingo for ‘it’ll cost you more’. But for that special occasion, it’s great to splash out on the cedar plank halibut and Hibachi grill.
Classism on Cruise Ships
The little touches that give a voyage that extra edge of class. Airlines have long offered first-class seating and executive lounges. Now cruise companies are getting in on the act with private restaurants and deck space.
Cruising with Children
Guaranteed family fun or a real holiday from hell? Is it really a wise idea to take small children away on a cruise? You bet it is, says Renee Ruggero, as she selects the best cruise companies for voyages with the little ones.
Porthole Insider (The PPI Group)
What makes a tour operation successful? As in any industry, the surest way to stand out is to offer something different – something that not only transcends the norm, but becomes a can’t miss activity. Of course, no one will deny that the coveted endorsement of a cruise line gives the approved excursion an advantage over tours that aren’t listed in the cruise brochure. So, what makes entrepreneurs take that leap of faith to bring their business idea into a reality?
Shore X – Up, Up, and Away!
Climbing Skagway’s White Pass is just one example of Alaska’s adventurous shore excursions. Although the pristine beauty, fresh mountain air, and tasty seafood are the main attractions, adrenaline-pumping tours are what I remember most from cruising Alaska.
Gotta Go – Halifax
Once a busy port of entry for immigrants, Halifax, Nova Scotia now is a popular stop on most Canada/New England cruise itineraries Halifax’s location on the east coast of Canada accounts for it’s natural rugged beauty, seafaring heritage, water-related excursions, and fresh Atlantic seafood….In port for a day and can’t decide what to do? Here are a few suggestions to find the shoreside activity that’s best for you.
Gotta Go – Santorini, Greece
Santorini is one of the most recognizable places on earth, with its whitewashed villages and blue-domed churches perched precariously on sheer cliffs. This Greek island in the Cyclades is also steeped in history with its shape, terrain, and exports a direct result of a devasting volcanic eruption that occurred around 1500 B.C. A combination of extraordinary vistas, museums, a unique viniculture, local handicrafts, and, of course, Greek cuisine contributes to Santorini’s overwhelming cultural experience.
Feature: Get in the Swing – 10 Excuses to Tee Off on Your Next Cruise
Need an excuse to golf on a cruise? Of course not — unless your cabin mate is trying to tie you to a deck chair. Quell complaints with our top 10 excuses to putt your way through paradise. Then grab those clubs and start swinging!
I was the Features Writer for the Cruise/Island Vacations section between 2009 and 2012. Over that period, I amassed over 180 articles with the online publishing company. My pieces provided information on destinations, cruise lines, cruise ships, shore excursions, onboard activities and cruise jobs.
Family Fun in Fort Lauderdale
Many of us remember the days when Fort Lauderdale was synonymous with Spring Break. Fortunately, this seaside Florida city shed its partying image and transformed itself into an upscale year-round destination suitable for families.