Wednesday December 4, 2013
Cruising on the beautiful Seven Seas Mariner
luxury ship can add much to the magnificent experiences you will have in Alaska.
I sailed on the Seven Seas Mariner from Seward, Alaska southward down Alaska's Gulf Coast and through the Inside Passage of Alaska before disembarking in Vancouver. This seven-day Alaska itinerary
was a combination of wonderful service and amenities onboard along with remarkable adventures and sights ashore in Alaska.
Seven Seas Mariner in Alaska (c) Linda Garrison
Tuesday December 3, 2013
Un-Cruise Adventures is a small ship Alaska cruise line. I sailed on one of the company's active-adventure ships, the 76-passenger Wilderness Discoverer
, and loved the flexibility of the Inside Passage itinerary, the enthusiasm and skill of the crew, and the experiences I shared with my fellow passengers.
Our 7-night cruise from Ketchikan to Juneau included all the things those who travel to Southeast Alaska hope to see and do. We saw humpback whales bubble-net feeding (twice!), orcas, dozens of eagles, and many other types of wildlife. In addition, we got close to a glacier on a small boat, hiked in the rain forest and across the muskeg, and kayaked in quiet coves inaccessible to large ships.
Southeast Alaska is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled places in the world, and can best be enjoyed by water. A small ship like the Wilderness Discoverer is a perfect alternative for those who don't think they would enjoy a large ship cruise experience or who love activities like small boating, hiking, and kayaking.
More on the Un-Cruise Adventures Wilderness Discoverer
Wilderness Discoverer (c) Linda Garrison
Monday December 2, 2013
The Suez Canal is one of the engineering marvels of the 19th century.
Connecting the Mediterranean and Red Seas, cruise ships transit the Suez Canal
on either repositioning cruises to or from Asia or on world cruises.
I sailed through the Suez Canal on the wonderful Silversea Silver Whisper on a cruise from Port Said to the Red Sea. Many think that Egypt and Jordan are not safe travel destinations, but we never felt threatened or insecure. In fact, a cruise or organized tour is probably the best way to see this marvelous part of the world.
Suez Canal Photo (c) Linda Garrison
Sunday December 1, 2013
The SeaDream I is everything a cruise traveler would expect it to be--a luxury yacht with terrific personal service, fantastic food, comfortable cabins, and interesting itineraries. And, the Champagne & Caviar Splash
is great fun!
The sleek SeaDream I ship only carries 112 passengers and 92 crew, but she manages to pack a lot of fun into the small package. This ship is ideal for independent travelers who don't like to dress in formal attire and don't need a lot of scheduled entertainment to have a good time.
SeaDream Yacht Club I - Ship Tour and Photos
SeaDream I Photo (c) Linda Garrison
Saturday November 30, 2013
Bruges was an important commercial center of medieval Europe, and its history dates back almost 2000 years.
is like stepping back into time. Unlike many other European cities, it was not devastated by war, and the city's Gothic charm is picture-perfect.
I've been lucky enough to visit Bruges in two different seasons - spring and summer. This Bruges photo gallery includes pictures of Bruges from both seasons. The daffodils and flowering trees were gorgeous in the spring, but we were too early to see the tulips blooming. The trees and greenery were more dominant in the late summer, and we had more crowds. However, Bruges is lovely in every season!
Bruges (c) Linda Garrison
Friday November 29, 2013
A summer cruise to the fjords of western Norway is filled with spectacular scenery; crisp, clean, air; and the fascinating culture of the region.
Cruise ships visit many ports along the coast, and I've been to five of the most popular:
These five ports of call were visited on three different cruises--the first on a northern European
cruise round-trip on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas
from London to the UK, Ireland, and the Norwegian fjords, and the second on a transatlantic cruise
between Boston and Amsterdam on the Holland America Maasdam
. My third cruise in Norway was the ultimate Norwegian coastal immersion voyage -- a Hurtigruten
cruise. This coastal liner sails between Kirkenes and Bergen, stopping at over 30 ports of call along the way. The unique ships are part ferry and part cruise, and Hurtigruten visits memorable sites in Norway
not found on other cruise itineraries.
However you plan to visit Norway, you'll find it's a great cruise destination.
Geirangerfjord (c) Linda Garrison
Thursday November 28, 2013
Do you love to mix dining with entertainment? Do you like to be part of the action?
If so, you will love the dining experience at the Animator's Palate restaurant on the Disney Fantasy
The food at Animator's Palate is good, but drawing a character and then watching it transform into an animated character is fun for all ages. Diners creates their own character at the beginning of the meal, and then after dessert they get to watch their characters become part of the animated show.
Animator's Palate (c) Linda Garrison
Wednesday November 27, 2013
The Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas
is one of the two largest cruise ships afloat.
(Her sister ship the Oasis of the Seas
is the other.)
Given her size, it shouldn't be a surprise that the Allure of the Seas has over two dozen dining venues. You can sail on the ship for a week and not eat at all of them, unless you eat more than three meals a day! These venues range in atmosphere from the ultra-casual to the ultra-elegant. This article on the dining venues provides more details on the cuisine and location of each restaurant on the Allure of the Seas.
Allure of the Seas Courtesy of Royal Caribbean
Tuesday November 26, 2013
Many cruise travelers love sailing to the Caribbean because they love the beach and water activities found in these sun-drenched islands.
However, anyone who has not cruised to Alaska is missing out on some of the world's best scenery, wildlife, and activities. Where else can you see humpback whales bubble-feeding
or Alaskan brown bears
(grizzlies) staring at you over the tall grass? The views of mountains, fjords, and glaciers are breath-taking. More active cruisers can go hiking, kayaking, fishing, zip-lining, dog sledding, or paddle boarding. Here's a list of some of the best things to do in Alaska
Dog Sledding in Alaska (c) Linda Garrison
Monday November 25, 2013
Christmas is only a month away. Scary, isn't it? Have you done all your holiday shopping yet? What about planning a family cruise for next year? A cruise vacation is still one of the best values in travel, and your family will return with something to relive for years to come.
Even if you plan a 2014 cruise as a gift, you'll need a few stocking stuffers. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, sharing with others is a big part of the holiday spirit. People seem to either love or hate shopping. I love to shop for myself, but always find it difficult to shop for others. That makes gift-buying all the more challenging.
Part 1 of this article covers what to buy for others if you are a frequent traveler, and Part 2 covers what to buy for the cruise lover in your family or circle of friends.