Costa Cruises: A fine romance

Costa Cruises: A fine romance

Home / FOOD / Costa Cruises: A fine romance Costa Cruises: A fine romance 1 hour ago FOOD Neil Porten has tender memories of his time enjoying the European-Asian fusion aboard this sophisticated and intimate Italian cruise ship. Tenerezza — tenderness — is a couple embracing, her head on his shoulder, leaning forward as one, their hair whipped by the wind but otherwise motionless at the railing of the ship’s aft deck. Standing 3.25m tall, this sculpture in fire brick and corten steel by artist Bruno Lucchi is a totem of the charm and sophistication to be found on the Italian ship Costa neoRomantica, which cruises from the Japanese ports of Tokyo and Fukuoka from April to November. To the only New Zealander onboard this six-night out-and-back trip from Japan’s capital to Kobe, Fukuoka and the South Korean island of Jeju, it’s also the embodiment of a satisfying duet of an Asian destination experienced on a quintessentially European cruise line. The cruise holiday market is increasingly split between the smaller luxury ships, many of them newer and carrying fewer than 1000 passengers, and the modern mega liners with 2500 or more passengers. Costa neoRomantica, built in 1993 and completely refurbished in 2012, takes a middle course: you don’t get the adrenaline-pumping theme park amusements, the multi-deck casinos, or a dozen dining destinations. But 1800 passengers get great value and a sophisticated experience, enjoyed in a series of intimate and beautiful on-board spaces. As its name implies, this ship is perfect for romance. But it also works for families and groups of friends. You can glad-rag with the Italians at the Captain’s Cocktail Party if you choose but it’s equally fine to karaoke with the Chinese in the Tango Disco bar, or soak in the spa pool like the hardy Russians. I’m aboard to enjoy the cruise on my terms: relax, recharge, eat well, and see new places from the unique perspective only a ship provides. Wicker chairs and cabanas at the Lido Bar. Photo / Supplied Cruise mode Costa neoRomantica usually docks at the Harumi Passenger Terminal in Tokyo, about a 5km taxi ride from Tokyo Station but, for some unexplained reason, this sailing was from the more remote Oi Container Terminal. The ship docked at Harumi on its return. Check-in is stress-free and efficient. Your luggage is delivered to your cabin, where you’ll find your Costa Card, the keycard for your room and your security card for getting off and on the ship. It’s also the means by which you make all payments on board. Prices are in US dollars. A per-day service fee is charged, instead of tipping your cabin steward or the waiting staff. My oceanview cabin on Deck 4 had plenty of wardrobe and shelf space, and enough large mirrors to conjure a feeling of extra space. The bed was comfortable and firm, the bathroom sparse but utterly clean. While my cabin was right by the stairs and lifts, I was never troubled by noise outside the door. The rumble of the engines was noticeable but didn’t bother me. I want to be alone Being autumn, it wasn’t surprising to find the outdoor areas, apart from the sheltered Saint Tropez pool deck, largely deserted despite a sunny week of cruising. I did spot a Russian mother and her daughter alternating between the hot tub and the pool on the Montecarlo Lido deck, watched over by Tenerezza. But the rearmost oasis, the Lido Bar Montecarlo, with its deep wicker chairs and cabanas was cruelly underused. And apart from a few of the evening shows, and also during happy hour in the Tango Disco bar (11pm-midnight, all you can drink for US$10), I never found myself in a lounge or bar with more than a handful of fellow passengers. Lack of a crowd is a good thing, in my book. For a quiet spot, try the Tango Disco at the back of the boat during the day, or the oversized chairs by the windows in the wine bar. Cruiser Neil Porten takes a selfie-at-sea. Photo / Neil Porten Sea, food You will never go hungry eating the food included in your fare on neoRomantica. If you miss a meal timeslot, there’s always a smaller spot providing a late breakfast, afternoon tea, or late evening snack. European and Asian tastes are catered for at every meal and I enjoyed every morsel produced by the ship’s fine kitchen staff. Botticelli is the main formal restaurant and in the Italian style, lunch and dinner consists of several courses. Each menu is themed for a specific region’s food. The pasta was always good, naturalmente. Less formal is the Giardino buffet, a light and bright restaurant at the stern. This was my go-to spot for breakfast, essentially to load up on the excellent pastries. Taking the stairs is a scientifically proven method to cancel out the calories in a half-dozen selection of danishes, doughnuts and cannoli, isn’t it? Service was attentive and friendly in all the dining places. The thing I couldn’t get my head around was why, at lunch and dinner in the Botticelli restaurant I had to pay for bottled water. A free water option was not available. But if I dined at the buffet restaurant I could help myself to cold water. You can also pay to eat at other spots and I found them all good value. At La Fiorentina Steakhouse you get multiple courses, including a generous scallop entree, a fish course, steak, salad, cheese and dessert for US$32 (NZ$50). Fire is a great danger at sea; gas is not used for cooking due to the hazard of naked flames. And yet, neoRomantica is the only cruise ship with a woodfired pizza oven. For about NZ$14 you’ll enjoy a large tasty pizza like nowhere else at sea. Tossing dough at the Napoli Pizza Bar. Photo / Supplied Casanova, the ship’s premier eatery, is a collaboration with Italian chef Umberto Bombana. On this sailing, the eight-course menu was reproduced from his three Michelin-star Hong Kong restaurant, 8½ Otto e Mezzo Bombana. It’s fancy food in a beautiful setting, with the New Zealand scampi carpaccio, the two cuts of wagyu beef, and the tiramisu the stand-outs for me. I’d happily pay US$59 again to linger over another meal like that. Pamper me The neoRomantica’s Samsara Spa is a wonder to behold. The beautiful space is on two levels at the front of the ship; the tranquil Japanese tea house and a gallery of loungers overlook the thalassotherapy pools and gym below. Also on the lower level is my pick for luxury on-board treat: the thermal suite. It’s an arcade of rooms — steam room, cold room, tepidarium (to us plebs, that’s a room of heated ceramic loungers), laconium (all hail the dry sweating room!) and sauna. There’s a deal that gets you unlimited access to all these facilities in the spa for the whole cruise Hedonistically, there’s a full smorgasbord of spa and beauty treatments to be savoured too. Are you not entertained? I was curious to see if the entertainment on a cruise aimed at the Japanese market and Costa’s traditional European clientele from Italy, France and Germany would hold any attraction for New Zealanders. Take Italian Night: Bonkers! At dinner, the wait staff, all in white with tri-colour aprons, start twirling white napkins above their heads as Italian songs are played. The diners all join in. Then the waiters begin dancing with diners, which segues into conga lines snaking throughout the restaurant. The mass hysteria ends only after a group of young waiters bust their best dance moves surrounded by a throng of wildly cheering passengers. All this before we’d even seen the cheese course. Verdict on the entertainment: I chose to love it all. I’m not a dancer, but I loved the mad dash of those desperate to get a turn in the arms of their favourite hunky trouper during the Dance with the Senior Officers and Latin Dancers. Opera is not my favourite music genre but, boy, I loved the looks on the faces in the front row as the tenor belted out aria after aria to a full house. I loved the magic show and I loved the Mister Bello Bello audience participation singing/drag queen/striptease elimination competition. Something to see here Each of the three port destinations is worthy of its own story. Here, what’s most interesting to me is what I can see from the ship. Kobe is a dense city, forming the narrow northern arm of the massive urban area surrounding Osaka Bay. The steep rugged mountains behind the port have limited expansion inland leading to reclamation, including the enormous Port and Rokko islands and Kobe Airport. Arriving at Jeju Island is to be reminded of the volcanic field of Auckland; the flat-top coastal mountains suggest Mt Eden and Mt Wellington, and the distant inland summit of Hallansan, South Korea’s highest mountain, hints at the familiar outline of Rangitoto. Departing Fukuoka is spectacular in the late afternoon, as the low sun softens the ranks of mountains behind the city and the peaks of the islands in Hakata Bay. Trawlers with green decks and white hulls returning to port are overtaken by jets making their approach into the airport. A few hours later, in the dark, our ocean-going ship becomes a river cruiser navigating through a strait separating two of Japan’s main islands. It’s a wonderland of illuminated offices and apartments crowding both shorelines, Shimonoseki on the Honshu side and Kitakyushu on the Kyushu side, a vista that slides past for miles. Then, after passing a neon-lit ferris wheel we glide beneath the huge Kanmon suspension bridge connecting the two islands; it’s quite simply awesome. Our final approach to land is a four-hour journey through what the ship’s captain describes as “heavily trafficated” Tokyo Bay. Sunrise reveals flotillas of tankers and container ships on all sides. Eventually, under clear blue skies and the towers of the Tokyo CBD we berth at the Harumi terminal. I’m lingering at the back of the ship for the last time, taking photos, delaying the inevitable disembarkation back to reality. Tenerezza is here with me; the lucky couple will get to continue their romance. Tenerezza, by Bruno Lucchi. Photo / Supplied Checklist DETAILS Cruise World has four-to-six night packages sailing on the Costa neoRomatica between Japan an Korea through to August, with prices starting from $649pp (without flights).

#VoteForMom: SM Supermalls Guide on How to Spend and Enjoy Mother’s Day at SM

10, 2019 Every year a certain day is allotted to the most important person in our lives – Mother’s Day. Though every day is Mother’s Day, this special day is solely reserved for our moms who have always made us their #1 priority. This Mom’s Day and in everyday of our lives, let’s make them ours. After all, we should always #VoteForMom first before anyone else. Make her feel like a queen on her special day in SM malls nationwide. During the Digital Conference held last May 10, 2019 at SM Southmall SM Supermalls SVP for marketing Jonjon San Agustin emphasizes their importance, “ SM knows how hard it is to be a mom, which is why we’ve come up with fun and memorable activities that celebrate our beloved supermoms who have been there for us since the very beginning.” The sentiment was echoed by special Mom Panelists Dr. Vicky Belo, Kelly Misa-Fernandez, Mika Lagdameo-Martinez and the stars of SM latest #SMoments as they share what will activities they will do this Mother’s Day. As for SM shoppers here are the top eight things in store for Moms this Mom’s Day at SM malls and how we let them know that we’ll choose them first before anyone else. A Sumptuous meals with Mom’s Treat ( May 3 to 12) . A celebration isn’t complete without food! Dine with mom and get special deals with Mom’s Treat this May 3 to 12. Countless shopping options. Taking mom out on a shopping spree is a small token of appreciation you can give her. You can also surprise mommy with goodies made for and by moms at Mom’s Corner this May 3 to 12. Beauty and wellness. Whether it’s a luxurious makeover or a spa date, give mom what she deserves this May 10 to 12 with Mom’s Day Out wellness treats. Tributes to mom. Your mom is your life’s biggest blessing. This Mother’s Day, take her and the whole family out to celebrate the Holy Mass and get a Special Blessing for Mom. Show your overflowing love for mommies online! Post a photo of your mom on the #VoteForMom promo post on SM Supermalls Facebook page or send an e-card via the QR code posted on for a chance to win PhP5,000 worth of SM gift certificates! Exciting activities. On May 10 to 12, take flower-filled photos at That’s My Mom Photo Spots and add these colorful snapshots to your scrapbook or photo album! YouTube Fan Fest Moms Edition. Celebrate Mom’s Day like no other at the YouTube Fan Fest Moms Edition from May 17 to 18 happening at the SM Mall of Asia Music Hall for exciting and informative talks and workshops, and fun performances and activities with their fave creator moms. SM Supermalls is the official event venue partner of this year’s Youtube FanFest. Fun errands. Treat mom to moments of peace by checking off a few errands and chores from her to-do list. Make her life a little easier by doing the groceries at SM Hypermarket, or paying the bills at The SM Store Customer Service, or even doing laundry! Whether with flower, cards, or gifts, don’t miss the chance to #VoteForMom this Mother’s Day at SM Supermalls! For more information, visit .

“She was sold, embalmed and shipped out:’ Funeral home accused of doubling as body parts broker

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Montrose ( KMGH ) — A Colorado funeral home is accused of victimizing families after claims that it secretly sold body parts in the hours after death.
Megan Hess, the owner of Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in Montrose, and her parents are now under investigation by the FBI.
Contact7 Chief Investigative Reporter Tony Kovaleski traveled to Montrose and talked to more than a half dozen family members — now victims — about what they describe as a scheme to profit from their pain.
With a population of about 20,000, Montrose is a community surrounded by the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. It’s a community struggling to understand the stories and the accusations about what happened in the back room at Sunset Mesa.
“I go to sleep with the visions of him being dismembered with a power saw,” said Ruthie Pettyjohn, whose son’s body parts were allegedly sold.
Pettyjohn now lives with the memory of what happened to the body of her 26-year-old son, Brian.
“They desecrated his little body,” she said. “They cut him up in pieces and sent them all over the place.”
Connie Hanson’s son’s body parts were also allegedly sold. Like many, Hanson found out about her son Frederick during a phone call from an FBI agent.
“It’s sickening,” said Hanson. “[the FBI told me] ‘his head was sent to so and so. His two shoulders went somewhere else. I said ‘I don’t want to hear anymore.’”
Another alleged victim said her mother’s body was desecrated.
“I’ve been violated,” said Alena Holloman. “My mother and my mother’s body has been desecrated.”
Holloman now deals with the guilt of knowing details of what happened to her mom’s body.
“She was sold, embalmed and shipped out within just a few hours of her death,” said Holloman.
They’re united by the pain of believing they purchased cremation services for their loved ones, knowing they never agreed to let Hess dismember the bodies.
They are struggling with claims she created a product with a power saw and angry that she ultimately profited from the sale of arms, heads legs, torsos even whole bodies.
“Body snatcher, vile, pure evil, sociopath,” are the words they used when asked to describe Hess.
Jacque Hampson spent a year working as Hess’s personal assistant. She told Contact7 Investigates that she heard bodies being dismembered.
“You could hear the machine going,” she told Kovaleski. “It was kind of creepy.”
Hess, along with her mother and father, are all named in a lawsuit, which accuses them of using a backroom to dismember cadavers with a power saw and stack body parts in coolers.
The lawsuit claims the three sold torsos for $1,000, a pelvis with upper legs for $1,200. Heads went for $500 and $250 for a knee — prices at significantly discounted rates compared to other body brokers.
The lawsuit estimates the three were making $40,000 a month from the sale of body parts.
Denver attorneys Mike Berg and Dave Teselle now represent more than 50 families who claim Hess and her parents victimized them.
“Think about it, the FBI came in and raided them, and they raided them because they knew this body broker — this was getting bigger and bigger and bigger,” said Berg. “Its tentacles go throughout not only the country but the world.”
“These people deserve to know why what was done to them was done to them. Why their loved ones were stolen from them, and they were given back dry cement or sand and told it was loved ones’ ashes,” said Teselle.
The FBI hired a lab to test the cremains given to the families, and they have determined the boxes of ash contain cement, sand and other non-human particles. Hanson’s box included wires and what appear to be old batteries.
“I know these are not his ashes because his body parts went all over the country,” Hanson said.
Hoping to get answers, Denver7 visited Hess’ home in Montrose. We were greeted at the door by her father, who told us to leave the property.
Colorado regulators have shut down the funeral home.
Please note: This content carries a strict local market embargo. If you share the same market as the contributor of this article, you may not use it on any platform. CNN News

beautiful Beauly

beautiful Beauly
Beauty of decay, stillness of remembrance, solitude amongst headstones, what is it people seek on graveyards?
It had become popular with the Victorians to drink in the beauty of old graveyards: mist shrouding the past, breathtaking light on ancient stone, the remoteness of hidden places. It was all part of the sublime and the beautiful.
Robert Southey was part of the productive English group called Lake Poets. Central writers were Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth. Travelling was part of the romantic notion and experience, in fact it was essential to their work. Southey travelled to Scotland, one of the most romantic places on the Victorian travel list. Described in his J ournal of a Tour of Scotland in 1819 , he also visited Beauly:
Dined at Beauly, a village near the bridge, which takes its name from Beaulieu Priory, here called a Cathedral. Several huge iron kettles were lying out of doors here—a great deal of salmon being pickled here, for exportation. Some fine elms, sycamores, and ashes are standing by the ruins, and a few fruit trees, the remains of what the Monks had planted ; they are now in decay, (reformation having carried ruin with it in all these places !) but the fruits (cherries, apples and pears) are remembered as having been of the very best kind. It is rather an extensive ruin, with some trefoil windows, an uncommon form, which did not deserve imitation. The area, as usual, serves for a cemetery. A few bones and skulls have been collected, and laid decently in some of the recesses of the wall. On one of the grave stones is the figure of a warrior much defaced, but still showing by how rude an artist it was sculptured.
Seems he wasn’t really smitten with Beauly.
Southey was not the first romantic poet to visit. John Keats, one of the icons of the literary movement looking for the sublime in nature and finding beauty in ruins, had been here just a few months earlier with his fried Charles Brown. Together they composed On Some Skulls in Beauley Abbey, near Inverness.
This idiot-skull belonged to one,
A buried miser’s only son,
Who, penitent, ere he’d begun
To taste of pleasure,
And hoping Heaven’s dread wrath to shun,
Gave Hell his treasure.
Southey and Keats were following what Thomas Gray had set in motion with his Elegy Written in a Country-Churchyard (1751). A meditation of death very popular among the literary youth of the time.
Beneath those rugged elms, that yew-tree’s shade,
Where heaves the turf in many a mould’ring heap,
Each in his narrow cell for ever laid,
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
The beauty of a country churchyard. Beauly and beauty – the phonetic similarity is explained by the story of Mary Queen of Scots visiting in summer 1564 and finding this a beautiful place ( beau lieu ).
A queen might have given the place its name or so might the monks who settled here in 1230. They came from Burgundy in France and belonged to the Valliscaulian order as did the monks in Pluscarden and Ardchattan .

Genius Brands Internationals Rainbow Rangers Expands Into Europe Via Deal With Leading Childrens Italian Channel, Cartoonito

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Following Genius Brands International’s “Genius Brands” (Nasdaq:GNUS) recent news announcing the greenlight of season two of Rainbow Rangers, and the launch of the hit preschool series into Latin America with Nickelodeon and NOGGIN , the Company signs its first key European broadcast deal for season one (52 x 11’) of the series with Italy’s leading children’s network, Cartoonito , the preschooler channel realized by the joint venture between Turner (WarnerMedia company) and RTI Mediaset . In 2018, Cartoonito was first among commercial children’s channels that target the 4-7 year demographic with a share of over 9%.
Rainbow Rangers , which is being dubbed in Italian for Cartoonito, is a rescue-based series following the adventures of seven girls who are Earth’s first responders, protecting people, animals, resources, and the natural beauty of our world. Since premiering on Nickelodeon’s Nick Jr. in the U.S. in November 2018, the series, which airs Monday through Friday in the afternoon, and on Sunday mornings, has consistently garnered top ratings, especially with kids ages 2 – 5, and retained its audience and grown from its lead-in shows across a variety of different time periods in which it has been placed for broadcast. In addition to Nick Jr. in the U.S., Nickelodeon, and NOGGIN in Latin America and Cartoonito in Italy, Genius Brands is currently in negotiations with other leading broadcasters around the world, which will be announced shortly.
“With broadcasters around the world recognizing the potential of Rainbow Rangers as the next preschool mega-hit, we are excited to kick-off the charge in one of Europe’s major territories through this new deal with Turner’s Cartoonito,” commented Andy Heyward, Chairman & CEO of Genius Brands . “Through its free-to-air and digital platforms, Cartoonito’s footprint reaches virtually every child in Italy, and we look forward to introducing this magical series in the coming year, as well as a robust retail program.”
“There is so much excitement for Rainbow Rangers already following its successful launch in the U.S., and we are thrilled to be among the first in the international marketplace to add this engaging and empowering preschool series to our Cartoonito programming schedule,” stated Alice Fedele, Content Director of Turner Italy.
Rainbow Rangers boasts a unique and highly-accomplished team of creators from the animated motion picture and television worlds, including Rob Minkoff ( Disney’s The Lion King director ), Shane Morris ( Disney’s Frozen co-writer ), Tim Mansfield, and New York Times Bestselling author and Emmy Award-nominated writer Elise Allen ( Dinosaur Train, Lion Guard, Barbie specials ), who serves as head writer and co-creator. Legendary Disney alum Ruben Aquino–responsible for the design and animation of many of Disney’s most iconic characters from award-winning films such as The Lion King , Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid , Mulan , and Frozen— created key designs. Multiple Emmy Award-winning director Michael Maliani directs the series, and Genius Brands’ Chairman and CEO and multiple Emmy Award-winning producer, Andy Heyward, serves as executive producer.
About Genius Brands International
Headquartered in Beverly Hills, Genius Brands International, Inc. (NASDAQ:GNUS) is a leading global kids media company developing, producing, marketing and licensing branded children’s entertainment properties and consumer products for media and retail distribution. The Company’s “content with a purpose” brand portfolio, which is led by award-winning creators and producers, includes preschool properties Rainbow Rangers for Nick Jr. and Llama Llama for Netflix; award-winning toddler brand, Baby Genius ; adventure comedy STEM series, Thomas Edison’s Secret Lab ; and financial literacy and entrepreneurship series, Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaires Club . The Company’s content catalog also includes the animated series, Stan Lee’s Cosmic Crusaders , created with Stan Lee’s Pow! Entertainment. Seeing the need to provide kids and parents with a safe viewing environment that offers premium enriching and engaging programming, Genius Brands launched the Genius Brands Network – comprised of Kid Genius Cartoon Channel and Baby Genius TV , as well as an exclusive Kid Genius Cartoons Plus subscription channel on Amazon Prime. The Network channels are available in approximately 80 million U.S. households via a variety of distribution platforms, such as OTT, set-top box, internet, and mobile. Through licensing agreements with category leading partners, characters from the Company’s properties also appear on a wide range of consumer products for retail. For additional information, please visit .
Turner Italy
Turner Italy, a WarnerMedia Company, is an innovative and well-established multimedia organisation. Turner Italy, leader in the kids’ TV business, operates Pay TV channels on Sky Italy – Cartoon Network, Boomerang and CNN – and two free-to-air kids’ brands in a joint venture with RTI Mediaset – Boing and Cartoonito. Cartoon Network and Boomerang are distributed on linear and non-linear channels on Sky and Timvision® and are available anytime, anywhere. The brands also have a strong presence online and through a range of apps.
About Cartoonito
Cartoonito, a thematic channel for preschoolers and their parents with 24 hour dedicated scheduling, was launched on Italian digital terrestrial television in August 2011. The channel is part of the Boing S.p.A. joint-venture between RTI Mediaset and Turner (WarnerMedia Company) and immediately established itself as the leading digital terrestrial television channel for preschoolers. Cartoonito airs high quality international and local programs such as Paw Patrol, Super Wings, Robocar Poli, Kid-E-Cats, etc. On the website, kids and their parents can find news about programming, games and many creative activities.
Forward-Looking Statements:
Certain statements in this notice constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Words such as “may,” “might,” “will,” “should,” “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “continue,” “predict,” “forecast,” “project,” “plan,” “intend” or similar expressions, or statements regarding intent, belief, or current expectations, are forward-looking statements. While the Company believes these forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on any such forward-looking statements, which are based on information available to us on the date of this release. These forward-looking statements are based upon current estimates and assumptions and are subject to various risks and uncertainties, including without limitation those set forth in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), not limited to Risk Factors relating to its patent business contained therein. Thus, actual results could be materially different. The Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update or alter statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
Genius Brands International Media Contact: Investor Relations Contact: Michelle Orsi Michael Porter Three.Sixty Marketing & Communications PLR Investor Relations (310) 418-6430; 212.564.7000; A photo accompanying this announcement is available at

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