Cruises have ceased to be off-limits to the average person. Budget-wise, you can choose from the popularly-priced sailing trips to the luxurious ones where you are pampered like a king. For first-timers and frequent cruisers alike, some cruises belong to the best in category, even if taken the second or third time around. [Read more…]
Cruises have become more and more popular for their all inclusive amenities, vacation affordability and especially for their destination-itineraries. Whether travelers are set on fun in the sun, or have a once-in-a-lifetime location in mind, the best cruise destinations are those that combine breathtaking scenery with time to absorb every bit of it. Cruises sail from a few days at a time, to month-long excursions and offer a variety of both port and sea activities. Traveling by cruise ship allows passengers to experience a variety of new locations in one vacation, in addition to enjoying fine cuisine, live entertainment and getting a luxurious vacation for an affordable price tag. 5 popular cruise destinations are:
The Hawaiian Islands, The Caribbean and The South Pacific
Cruising the Hawaiian Islands is an iconic paradise-vacation. Experiencing Hawaii from a ship means getting to visit the archipelago of up to eight major islands. Lush greenery and pristine blue ocean set along a backdrop of rugged, volcanic cliffs and Polynesian cuisine make this itinerary exceptionally great for families and romantic vacationers alike. Similar to Hawaii, Caribbean cruises offer thrilling activities like para-sailing, time aside for enjoying gorgeous white, sandy beaches and for sampling multi-course delicious seafood fare by sunset. Coined one of the most beautiful places in the world, cruising the South Pacific is popular for its picturesque tropical destinations where vacationers can experience Moorea reefs and rare botanicals. While these three warm, dreamy destinations are noted, cooler climates are also popular cruise destinations for their comparably gorgeous landscapes.
Alaska and Scandinavian Cruises
Embarking on an Alaskan Cruise allows travelers to experience awe-inspiring, rugged wilderness from the comfort of a luxurious ship and observe wildlife while relaxing, playing and dining. Alaska is a popular cruise destination either via one-way or round trip and are both scenic and enriching. While experiencing the majesty of glaciers is reason enough to explore cruising Alaska, the inside passage routes and cruise ports deliver native culture as well as history, art and bold landscapes. Scandinavian oceanic cruises are both award wining and elegant. Destinations like Norway, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Iceland combine dazzling, ice-berg accented seas with once-in-a-lifetime sights like the Aurora Borealis.
Regardless of chosen destination, cruises are available for everyone. Families, single vacationers, travelers desiring romance, senior-specialty trips and kid-oriented vacations are all awaiting cruise patrons. The US alone has over thirty home ports, so travel from virtually any destination makes cruising all the more worthwhile and attainable. Further, embarking on a cruise vacation requires a moderate amount of pre-planning. Vacationers can essentially set a date for future travel, opt-in on travel insurance and work towards their sail date by making incremental payments, setting aside vacation funds to enjoy while cruising and staying within budget since all costs associated with a cruise vacation are known in advance. With out impromptu expensive dinners, excessive rental car expenses and adversely having to shell out for extra activities, vacationers can actually sit back, relax and enjoy every moment of their vacation.
Unless you live under a rock, no doubt you’ve recently heard of the various catastrophes that have befallen certain cruise ship tours over the past year. The customers on the Carnival Triumph who suffered from the groundings, mechanical failures and loss of water and electricity for days on end were offered as little as the cruise companies could offer and not risk the wrath of the public. Recompense for being forced to live in squalid conditions and losing long-awaited vacation plans included a refund for only three days of the planned cruise and the offer of a half-priced cruise in the future.
The anger of these passengers and the reported filth and disorganization of the ship led to a senator calling for a passengers’ Bill of Rights and an investigation into this recent spate of disasters. During all the media hype with photo shots, video footage and great quotes, some investigators began to research what happened in the past to the passengers of such voyages and discovered precisely why it’s wise to consider insurance as a necessity when booking a voyage.
Travel Insurance 101 [Read more…]
I wrote something about going as a solo traveler some time back, and I think it’s time to tackle this topic again. This is because I just found out something about cruise lines offering more solo travel deals these days. I have always wanted to go on a cruise but they’re just way too expensive for me. If this trend of lower prices for solos on cruises goes any further, then I just might find myself going on a cruise one of these days!
This is what I found out from Reuters:
“The tour industry is making way for the single traveler,” said Margie Jordan, spokesperson for the American Society of Travel Agents. “This is nothing that’s going to go away. The single traveler is going to have as many opportunities as anyone else.”
For years most travel deals were based on two people traveling together.
“Single travelers would see a price on line and we’ve had to break the news that if you’re going by yourself, it’s 150 to 200 percent more,” said Jordan, CEO of ASAP Travel. “They were left high and dry.”
But times are changing and Jordan said cruise lines in particular are stepping up. MSC Cruises is currently offering trips that waive the dreaded single supplement, which accounts for the price hike.
Norwegian Cruise Lines is one of the pioneers of this movement. While not every cruise line in the world is offering similar packages, I think that it is just a matter of time when other major lines will see the wisdom in doing so. Can’t wait!
I never became a fan of Stephanie Meyer’s popular series, Twilight. I cannot pinpoint the reason – I did try to read the first book but I didn’t particularly care for it. I am sure that countless people around the world – people of all ages – will vehemently disagree with me. In fact, “Twilight tourism” is fast becoming a buzz word in travel circles these days.
The idea is not that novel. After all, a lot of people have embarked on their own journeys to experience Dan Brown’s stories for themselves. The Da Vinci Code started it all, and the subsequent stories added more destinations for fans to visit. Now, it’s Twilight’s turn. In spite of the fact that Halloween is over, the idea of visiting the setting of the story enchants fans.
Forks, Washington is the center of all the attention, for it is the place where Bella and the Cullens reside. Forks is in the northwestern part of the state, and is known for high levels of rainfall. This remote town is taking advantage of the attention, and even has a Twilight Lounge where events are held. A couple is also planning on opening a restaurant called Volterra, a city in the novels, by next year.
If you’re into cruises, you could join next year’s Twilight Cruise, which will be joined by Ashley Greene, Alex Meraz, and Michael Welch. It sails from Seattle on the 8th of August next year. By the looks of it, the cruise will soon be fully booked so you should get your tickets as early as you can.
Twilight fans, have you ever visited a place that is Twilight-related? Would you like to visit one in the near future? Tell us about it!
Photo courtesy of LA Times