Ben Lyons is only 29 years old, but he has known he wanted to go to sea since he became obsessed with Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2 since he was a child growing up in New York City. Today he is the chief officer on the world's largest ocean liner ever built, the Queen Mary 2. At 29, he is third in charge of on of the world's largest and certainly the fastest high occupancy passenger sailing vessel.
We could shorten that phrase and just say "cruise ship," but in reality, Queen Mary 2 and Ben Lyons are so much more. The ship can sail at 30 knots, comfortably. That is about 30% faster than almost any cruise ship in the world. As for Ben, he loves being an officer on a passenger vessel, but he especially loves woerking on Queen Mary 2.
Ben Lyons is one of the only American officers working in the cruise industry, that is excepting NCL-America. He has made his way through a system dominated by Brits, Norwegians, Dutch, Italians and Greeks; and is today third in command of a arguably the highest profile passenger ship in the world.
Why do I say that about Queen Mary 2? She is the only ship in the world purpose-built in the last 20 years as an ocean liner. I happen to be sailing aboard her as I type this, and as I see this majestic vessel ripping through the North Atlantic at speeds that appear shocking to the accustomed cruise ship passenger, I know I am experiencing a "cruise" experience like no other on earth.
And to Ben Lyons, it is that exact affirmation of the ocean liner experience that makes his job special. To Ben, QM2 maintains the very experience that was such an essential part of human history. She is more than an homage and not just an anomaly, she is the real deal, a true ocean liner, just like all of the great vessels that moved so many human beings in history from one continent to the other. She is as significant as the ice bridge that made it possible for nomads to wander to the American continent in pre-historic times and settle.
| DO SOME ISLAND HOPPING THIS FALL.
Getaway and make summer last longer on cruises from 4 nights or more to the Bahamas and Caribbean from as little as $65 per person per day.
Royal Caribbean: 1-800-Royal Caribbean
As Ben would say, "this is not a ship where people forget the name of the vessel once the cruise is over." Like so immigrants could do back in the 20s and 30s, everyone who sails QM23 on a transatlantiuc voyage can tell you exactly what ship they were on. This ship is unique and memorable.
Port Guide: Philadelphia
The City of Brotherly Love truly welcomes tourists with open arms as a part of its historic heritage.
Best Ships for Nightlife
Norwegian Cruise Lines creates new concepts in onboard entertainment with "name" shows and flexible showtime schedules.
Going Ashore in New England and Canada
East Coast summer cruises offer historic cities like Boston, Cape Cod, Newport RI and Nova Scotia.
Alaska: Family Cruise of a Lifetime
For families cruising together, Alaska is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and an adventure they will always remember.
NEW YORK TIMES:
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A 14-night transatlantic cruise.
April 2008, from Florida to the Caribbean then to Europe including the Canary Islands, Spain, Florence Italy and ending in Rome - starting as low as $699 per person. This one is filling up fast!
John Heald's Blogger Cruise 2
Come and join all of John Heald's friends and the CruiseMates' family. Everyone is welcome on this cruise, and it's going to be a ball.
Norwegian Jewel NY City to Miami
Oct 28-Nov 9 2008 Ports of call: New York City; Samana; Aruba; Curacao; Belize City; Roatan; Miami and a Halloween Party too!
Kiplinger's Magazine named CruiseMates to its
Top 25 Best Value Travel Sites for 2006
CruiseMates is the most useful cruise-review site. We especially like its advice columns, which are written for people of different ages and interests.