Cruising gets a bad rap. It’s the Nickelback of holiday options – apparently everyone hates it and it’s an all-out affront to every sense… yet clearly many, many people can’t get enough.

A long, long time ago, as in, a last millenium time ago, my wife and I won a trip on a cruise, which I can definitely recommend if you’re the type who would never consider actually paying for a cruise. And it was a good one – three weeks aboard none other than the legendary QE2 itself, from Hobart, Tasmania, through PNG to Hong Kong.

It was so swish I had to buy my first suit, because on days where no landfall was made, that was the default dress code for gents. And upon seeing the price of suits, I just borrowed dad’s.

Being the QE2 with starting prices around $1000 a night, we were the youngest couple on board by several decades. We learnt early on that about a third of the ship was populated by retirees who were happy to pay that price until they died. We met one delightful lady who was in her 18th year, and survived and thrived only on Pimms and the screams of her lineage back in New York watching their inheritance dwindle.

Basically, we were vacationing for three weeks inside a potential plot for Agatha Christie’s new novel. She was probably even on the boat.

About two days in, we were sat in our cabin wondering how we were going to cope with having F-all to do for the next 2.5 weeks. Then, about a week in, we realised why people like cruises so much – because there is actually F-all to do on a cruise.

Except find a comfy chair on a verandah with a book, and grab the waiter every time they come close for a G&T and some of those triangle sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Bliss.

Every couple of days you all put on a loud shirt and flipflops, trundle down the runway and get shepherded into a AC minibus. Then drive through a jungle to a market clearly set up just for old people who’ve bought almost everything else on the planet, and need a pan pipe made out of a penis gourd to finish the collection.

I will definitely cruise again, and it will certainly be on a luxury liner where only 5-star meals are served and all the passengers have great stories to tell about leaving Grade 3 to go to work in the Industrial Age.

It will 100pc certainly not be aboard this:

Image courtesy Icon of the Seas

Carnival’s Icon of the Seas is alive. It went for a test run this week and will be destroying horizons and harbours near you early next year.

This is Hell by numbers:

8000 guests. That’s 6000 who actually want to be there, and therefore clinically brain-sterile. The other 2000 most likely made up by the one ‘arty’ family member heavily sedated and carried on board. Think Todd from Wedding Crashers, who then takes a liking to you and spends the next two weeks trying to creep into your room and tie you up while you’re asleep for a game of Tummy Sticks.
20 decks. I reckon that’s about three times taller than Myer Launceston. Big in Tasmania.
365m long. It would take the world 400m record holder some 40 seconds of flat out running and pushing fat American kids out of the way to get from one end to the other.

Image courtesy Icon of the Seas

There are 28 cabin types, including a three-storey family suite that comes with a lawn, picket fence and mailbox.

Fifteen restaurants, which doesn’t sound like a personal waiter please handfeeding me crackers and foie gras because I’m so close to nailing this sudoku.

Relief on the Icon of the Seas may come in the form of a swim-up bar called “Swim and Tonic”. But my bet is you’ve probably got the best of three hours to get in before the parents drink it dry, after realising their horrible mistake.

Image courtesy Icon of the Seas

“Record-breaking slides”, “indoor waterfalls”. This is pretty much Wet ‘n Wild at sea, and you’re locked in. If you’ve ever visited the loo any time after 10.30am at Wet ‘n Wild, you’re already scratching at your bare feet again, and wondering where the stale urine stench is wafting in from.

On that note, there was one traumatic event on what now even more so seems like an absolutely blissful QE2 experience.

The very first morning, as I wandered out for my very first swim (only one pool), I was greeted by a gentleman who could have played extra for Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China. The old man part, where you can see his organs pulsing through his skin.

He was on the edge of the pool, legs in, head upturned with a look of ecstasy as he scratched bagfulls of scabs and skin off into the water, like so much fish food.

“He does it every day,” a lady next to me muttered from behind her That’s Life.

Times that by 8000 before you think about booking a ticket for the “Icon of the Seas”. Or at least remember to keep your mouth closed underwater.

Let’s go somewhere saner, like Markets.


The ASX 200 benchmark started the day in the green, up 0.65%, and managed to keep the momentum, trading at +1.28% by lunchtime.

And every single sector was in the green.

The biggest winner so far is Real Estate up 2.23%, followed by Information Technology +2.02%, Consumer Discretionary +1.90% and Materials (aka Mining) +1.77%.

Lagging behind the pack is Utilities, only up 0.64%.

Global oil prices rose by 1% on Wednesday as milder US inflation data calmed investor fears over further US Fed rate hikes. But the US Energy Information Administration reported a much bigger-than-expected US crude stock build of nearly 6 million barrels last week. The Brent crude price rose by 0.9% to US$80.11 a barrel and the US Nymex crude price gained 1.2% to US$75.75 a barrel.

Base metal prices advanced on Wednesday. The copper futures price rose by 2.4% as the US dollar tumbled after the release of softer US June inflation data and stronger credit data from top consumer China.

The gold futures price rose by US$24.60 or 1.3% to US$1,961.70 an ounce. Spot gold was trading near US$1,957 an ounce at the US close.

And iron ore futures rose by US$1.27 or 1.2% to US$110.61 a tonne after new loans in China accelerated in June, boosting investor sentiment.


Looking overseas, US stock indices advanced Wednesday after June inflation data came in cooler than Wall Street expected.

The S&P 500 rose 0.7% to close at the highest level since April 2022.

The latest CPI data showed that consumer prices rose 3% in June from a year earlier, the slowest pace in more than two years.

Core CPI, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.2% from May. Economists had expected a 0.3% increase.

Inflation data is a key factor in the Federal Reserve’s decision making this month and beyond. Traders in interest rate derivatives are currently betting that a July rate increase may be the Fed’s last.

“A hike in July is pretty much locked in, but after that it’s all to play for,” said Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid.

Markets have rallied this year in part based on the view that the Fed will successfully rein in inflation without causing a severe recession, and Wednesday’s inflation reading bolstered that view.

“The current figures make a strong case against additional rate hikes,” said Jon Maier, chief investment officer at Global X. “The Fed, which had potentially planned two more hikes this year, might reassess its strategy.”

Ronald Temple, chief market strategist at Lazard, wrote that there is “nothing not to like in the report…. It’s too early to pop the champagne, but it’s not too early to start chilling the bottle.”


Here are the best performing ASX small cap stocks for July 13 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
CZN Corazon Ltd 0.029 81% 8,012,742 $9,765,289
MRQ Mrg Metals Limited 0.003 50% 660,000 $3,971,837
AAP Australian Agri Ltd 0.017 42% 119,999 $3,661,194
ME1 Melodiol Glb Health 0.009 38% 41,496,871 $17,475,599
AMD Arrow Minerals 0.004 33% 12,416,102 $9,071,295
CLE Cyclone Metals 0.002 33% 499,999 $15,396,757
AOA Ausmon Resorces 0.0045 29% 6,444,481 $3,392,513
ICL Iceni Gold 0.14 27% 7,434,329 $22,942,857
MHK Metalhawk. 0.14 27% 145,888 $7,487,681
CAV Carnavale Resources 0.0075 25% 52,507,095 $16,401,310
HVY Heavymineralslimited 0.2 25% 585,124 $6,173,641
CCZ Castillo Copper Ltd 0.01 25% 1,347,221 $10,396,043
ERL Empire Resources 0.005 25% 135,474 $4,451,740
SUH Southern Hem Min 0.023 21% 613,166 $8,975,696
SHP South Harz Potash 0.042 20% 2,764,484 $21,000,435
1ST 1St Group Ltd 0.006 20% 2,237 $7,084,956
CNW Cirrus Net Hold Ltd 0.048 20% 42,105,396 $37,200,255
WCN White Cliff Min Ltd 0.012 20% 25,302,393 $11,572,186
OZM Ozaurum Resources 0.05 19% 100,000 $5,334,000
PGY Pilot Energy Ltd 0.025 19% 10,115,308 $21,151,481
PPG Pro-Pac Packaging 0.255 19% 2,493 $39,062,858
XST Xstate Resources 0.013 18% 1,466,451 $3,536,711
ARD Argent Minerals 0.014 17% 115,000 $14,147,775
EDE Eden Inv Ltd 0.0035 17% 4,199 $8,990,833
PUA Peak Minerals Ltd 0.0035 17% 270,000 $3,124,130
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Corazon (ASX:CZN) has intersected a 55.4m sulphide zone on the margin of an interpreted mafic/ultramafic intrusive pipe at its Lynn Lake nickel project in Canada.

The targeted geophysical anomaly extends from near surface to at least 700m below surface.

“The most significant outcome from this drilling is proving that our new geophysical techniques can identify the targeted magmatic sulphides, as well as these late, metal-rich ultramafic pipes,” MD Brett Smith said.

“This drilling is the first in testing several similar geophysical anomalies, some of which link into areas of known nickel mineralisation.”

Assays are pending with further drilling planned – subject to results.

Melodiol Global Health (ASX:ME1) has reported a material acceleration in group revenues in the June quarter with strong quarterly growth across the company’s two fully-owned subsidiaries.

For the June quarter, ME1 reported preliminary net sales of $4.74 million, up 105% from the previous quarter and 202% higher than the prior year comparative period.

The increase in net sales takes unaudited sales for the first half of CY23 to $7.05 million, which marks a 64% uplift on H1 CY22.

Arrow Minerals (ASX:AMD) has uncovered two high grade (+58% fe) iron ore targets from rock chip sampling at Kalako, part of the flagship Simandou North project in Guinea.

Scout drilling is continuing, with five holes completed at the Dalabatini target zone and 8 holes completed at the Kowouleni target zone to date.

And Iceni Gold (ASX:ICL) has picked up more high grade rock chips up to 3880g/t gold at Everleigh Well, part of the 14 Mile Well project in WA.


Here are the most-worst performing ASX small cap stocks for July 13 [intraday]:
Swipe or scroll to reveal full table. Click headings to sort:

Code Company Price % Volume Market Cap
EMC Everest Metals Corp 0.235 -31% 4,419,837 $44,007,257
RGS Regeneus Ltd 0.008 -27% 1,181,649 $3,370,806
AT1 Atomo Diagnostics 0.038 -27% 4,039,116 $29,686,332
AXP AXP Energy Ltd 0.0015 -25% 8,856,498 $11,649,361
MCT Metalicity Limited 0.0015 -25% 200,000 $7,472,172
OAR OAR Resources Ltd 0.003 -25% 100,000 $10,284,152
AUH Austchina Holdings 0.004 -20% 105,203 $10,389,418
CCO The Calmer Co Int 0.002 -20% 1,768 $1,410,194
MRD Mount Ridley Mines 0.002 -20% 61,312 $19,462,207
GRX Greenx Metals Ltd 0.815 -18% 195,049 $264,997,695
IBX Imagion Biosys Ltd 0.024 -17% 6,166,510 $33,862,308
FAU First Au Ltd 0.0025 -17% 412,634 $4,355,980
MXC Mgc Pharmaceuticals 0.005 -17% 934,625 $20,104,158
MRI Myrewardsinternation 0.016 -16% 20,000 $6,630,781
OPN Oppenneg 0.006 -14% 785,937 $1,697,710
TIG Tigers Realm Coal 0.006 -14% 171,429 $91,466,917
NIS Nickelsearch 0.069 -14% 3,568,417 $7,620,829
CPM Coopermetalslimited 0.13 -13% 92,500 $6,189,847
KNM Kneomedia Limited 0.0035 -13% 4,578,725 $6,019,141
MTB Mount Burgess Mining 0.0035 -13% 2,700,000 $3,532,684
MCL Mighty Craft Ltd 0.048 -11% 1,158,208 $19,679,896
AJX Alexium Int Group 0.016 -11% 115,906 $11,725,016
SEG Sports Ent Grp Ltd 0.205 -11% 1,850 $60,055,766
MIL Millennium Grp Ltd 0.25 -11% 1,130 $13,205,713
NKL Nickelxltd 0.062 -10% 305,648 $5,964,034
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At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While Corazon Mining and Melodial Global Health are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.