Smoke free balconies: Disney, Cunard and P&O have banned smoking on balconies. *Photo by AFP
Smoke free balconies: Disney, Cunard and P&O have banned smoking on balconies. *Photo by AFP

Here’s somthing that  will help make time fly.

American Airlines Airbus A319 planes will come equipped with the latest in-flight entertainment system. It will have the full gamut of movies, music and games at your seat.

The best part is it will be free from now until November 20, 2013. 

Travellers will have a choice of up to 200 movies, up to 180 TV programmes, up to 15 games and more than 350 audio choices.

One of the highlights is American Airlines partnership with Disney to help keep the younger set entertained. That deal will see the airline offering 12 movies, 15 TV shows, 10 albums of music and three games through the Disney family of products.

Ice cream bar

When I was on the Norwegian Breakaway, I only managed to hit 10 of the nearly 30 places to eat. I’m not sure if it is a case of bellying up to the bar, or the bar adding to the belly, but they’ve added an ice cream eatery. 

It’s located inside of 24-hour Irish pub O’Sheehan’s. The signature item will be the Breakaway Sundae (or Getway Sundae will it debuts in Miami in February 2014). 

You’d better bring an appetite and a friend or two as it includes nine scoops of ice cream and is topped with chocolate shavings, sprinkles, crumbled Oreos, sliced almonds, marshmallows, gummy bears, whipped cream and cherries. No word on whether Norwegian will provide a wheelchair to help get you back to your room after gorging yourself on it. 

Chef’s dining package

On my most recent cruise on Royal Caribbean, I purchased the Chef’s Dining package which cost $145 per person. The packages will vary in cost and which restaurants are included based on the ship. 

My deal included Chops Grille (steakhouse), Izumi (Japanese), Samba (Brazillian steakhouse), Giovanni’s Table (Italian) and the Chef’s Table. 

Without a doubt, the meal I had at the Chef’s Table was one of the best of my entire life. Just how good was it? My wife and I jumped at the chance to eat there again on the last night of the cruise for $50 — nearly half off the regular price of $95. This was a classic no-brainer.

The intimate five-course meal was set for just 16 passengers. 

Chef Nick, whose experience includes working for more than two years with Gordon Ramsay, came out to describe each course. Our sommelier also told us why each glass of alcohol was paired with the dish. 

If you’re a drinker, this was a steal. We got six different kinds of alcohol (it included a pre-dinner glass of champagne) and each glass was bottomless, if you so chose for it to be. 

My two favourite courses were the soups and main entrée. We were served a trio of soups and two of the three — the green pea and mushroom — were the best I had ever tasted of that variety. The green peas tasted like fresh peas… my mouth is watering just thinking about it. The lamb as the main dish was also succulent — and I am not a big lamb eater.

At the end of the meal we all received a signed copy of a cookbook and an apron. It was a nice touch at the end of three-hour culinary experience. 

My wife is Celiac — she can’t have gluten or she gets sick — and Chef Nick was there to help at nearly every specialty meal we ate for the rest of the trip.

Samba was my second favourite, but sadly I could only manage my way through five of the nine meat courses before having to wave the white flag and say I’m done.


Those who fly into Edinburgh Airport will be happy to know the city’s tram service should be in operation by May 2014. Passengers will be able to go from the airport to the city centre and vice versa, making travel a wee bit easier.

No smoking

Cunard, Disney Cruise Line and P&O all announced this past week that passengers will no longer be allowed to smoke on their balconies onboard. Smoking is still allowed onboard, but only in designated areas. 

It also applies to e-cigarettes. Disney’s ban takes effect on November 15 while smokers have a bit more time to enjoy puffing away on P&O (March) and Cunard (April).