cruising (74)

The Benefits of River & Canal Cruising

10227429296?profile=RESIZE_930xA French Country Waterways barge in France

One evening several years ago, my wife Fyllis and I savored a sumptuous four-course gourmet dinner accompanied by wines that had been produced nearby. 

More recently, we listened raptly to lectures by knowledgeable experts about a variety of issues, some controversial, in several Eastern European countries.

The settings for these experiences could have been a five-star hotel or resort - and indeed in atmosphere and attractiveness they deserved that rat

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My Bevy of Boat Trips


The poet William Wordsworth once said that the best way to view the hills of the English Lake District was from a boat on one of the lakes. I’d agree with that; when I was a kid, my holiday job was working on those boats on Lake Windermere.

A lot of time has passed since then, and I’ve amassed many more over the years. Cruises on lakes, river cruises, trips around the harbour, ferry crossings - the only thing I excluded from my list was ocean cruises.


River cruises fall into two categories. Th

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Touring Several of the World's Glaciers


Some folk describe glaciers as "rivers of ice", and in essence that’s just what they are. It starts with a snowfall, back in the Year Dot. If that snow doesn’t melt, there’s another snowfall next year, which just lies on top of it. Repeat this process for a few thousand years, and the snow is compressed into ice. Just the same as if you squeezed a snowball really tightly, you’ll finish up with an iceball.  Slowly but surely, the ice heads off downhill until it reaches a level where it can melt;

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Myanmar (aka Burma) is changing fast and is now one of the "gotta-visit" places before it is too late.  Tourism is now booming and things are changing fast.  One are that is still of the radar of most tourist is the Irrawaddy Delta. Only Pandaw cruises can provide a comprehensive tour of the area.

The delta, which comprises nine main tributaries and a capillary system of smaller creeks and waterways, stretches over 10,000 square miles. Heavily populated, this water-logged maze has played a major

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After writing scores of articles about ocean cruises, we decided to see what motivates vacationers to take European river cruises. We are glad we did.

So Much to Choose From

There are endless selections of river cruise itineraries on the internet, so we sought the guidance of three prominent river cruise companies in Europe – Amway, Uniworld, and Viking.

Viking River Cruises Comes Through

Viking River Cruises was most generous with their public relations department and customer service time, so we s

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Around the Horn of South America


We boarded our ship in Buenos Aires, and the cruise would take us right around South America around the famous … or infamous … Cape Horn to Valpariaso.

I thought of the old sea shanty ‘Paddy Lay Back’:

‘… for we’re bound for Valparaiso round the Horn’

Then I remembered more words of the same ditty:

‘ … half the crew were spewing o’er the ship’s side

And the other half were spewing over me’.

Happily, such conditions didn’t happen on this cruise. We called at Punta del Este, Puerto Madryn and Port S

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7 Ways to Improve your Cruise Experience

Many ToursByLocals travelers are avid cruisers. Knowing this, we have secured excellent guide-partners at virtually every major and minor port of call in the world, so that our travelers always have the option of booking private tours independent of the cruise line. In the spirit of celebrating the cruisers among you, today we’re highlighting seven tips to help make your next cruise a smooth one – whether you’re a newbie or an ocean veteran. photo
(click to enlarge)

1. Arrive a day early for your sail
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Our goal in taking a month-long cruise around Hawaii and Tahiti on the Golden Princess was to experience – and then write about – how a major cruise line like Princess caters to its suite passengers. It was one of our most enjoyable projects.


Suites for two

Over the past ten years, we have photographed and written about suites in B&Bs, hotels, resorts, and on cruise ships. It is our writing practice to always consider our subjects from a “couples” perspective. In that light, we have found many sui

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Pandaw River Expeditions has become the first Western operator to reach China’s Yunnan Province via the Mekong River, when the RV Champa Pandaw moored yesterday at Guanlei.

The Champa Pandaw, which has 14 teak-finished staterooms, was specially built to withstand the strong currents and challenging navigational conditions of the Upper Mekong and deliver Southeast Asia’s first ever “four country” river expedition.

Running from October through April, Pandaw’s 14-night cruise The Mekong: from Laos to

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Our visit to Dubrovnik seemed to be generating lots of hype onboard the ship. As this was our first Mediterranean cruise we were swept up in the added anticipation. Let me tell you, we weren’t disappointed.


There were many ex-pats on board the ship with us who were looking forward to the visit. Also, many with ancestors from the area. Perhaps as a result of the former Yugoslavia’s troubled past, many were returning to their homeland for the first time. You could visibly see the added excitement

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The "Other Down Under" destination of New Zealand is on the bucket lists of many Americans -- and justly so. Problem is, New Zealand is a long way from anywhere U.S.A. Consequently, most tourists want to see as much as possible on their first visit. Our suggestion for an orientation trip to New Zealand – book a cruise.

The Rationale

A cruise will visit several ports on the two islands of New Zealand, which is a great way to get a taste of the entire country – and all without packing and repacking.

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Oh, Là Là! Bordeaux by River Cruise

Grand Cru, Medoc, St Émilion, Bordeaux Left and Right Banks - all terms of which I was aware, but wanted much more information. That’s the beauty of a river cruise with wine as its main topic (and the wine isn’t bad either, to put it mildly!). We were about to embark on an eight-day UniWorld boutique wine river cruise along the Garonne River - an area settled by ancient Romans and once ruled by the English, but every bit a French region.

9009041882?profile=originalEach evening of the cruise started by imbibing in the "

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After more than 45 years of traveling the globe, we have finally put together a list of our favorite travel destinations of a lifetime.  This is not an exhaustive list by any means, as we can think of additional wonderful places which could be considered for such a list. We have to draw the line somewhere, and so we selected twelve of our favorites.

After reading several similar lists available on the internet, from well known publications as well as from other bloggers, we felt that we should

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9008734686?profile=originalDid you know that booking a cruise with a cruise expert could save you time and money? I recently worked with Jamie Erdman and learned a lot about cruises from a real expert.

Jamie is the Brand Manager of, a website dedicated to cruise travel. She shared her knowledge and tips and told me that there's a cruise line and a cruise ship to suit almost everyone’s taste and budget. She also said that many travelers miss out on the best deals because they don’t utilize the services

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Dining at a chef’s table should always be a titillating treat of tantalizing tastes. Traditionally, a chef’s table is located in the kitchen – where the guests can watch, and “ooh” and “ahh” as the chef and his/her team work their culinary magic. That was not how it was at the table of Chef Ottavio Bellesi aboard Princess Cruises' Golden Princess – and here’s why.


From the Beginning

Soon after boarding the Golden Princess in San Francisco, we had a meeting with the ship’s maître d'hôtel, Neville

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According to local legend, a long time ago when the Vietnamese were fighting Chinese invaders, the gods sent down a family of dragons to help defend the land. They began spitting out jewels and jade which transformed into thousands of islands and islets dotting the bay, forming a great wall to block the invaders. These thousands of tiny limestone islands enabled the Vietnamese to successfully defend their land. This bay was named Ha Long Bay (Ha means descending, Long means dragon), and sits ju
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Puerto Vallarta Cruise Lines and Ships

cruise chipsA magnificent way to arrive in Puerto Vallarta is by sea. Several cruise lines make Puerto Vallarta a "Port O' Call", docking at the Terminal Marítimo, which has had to be modified to receive more than one cruise ship at a time.

The cruise lines that will be arriving in Puerto Vallarta during 2012 and 2013 include the following: Carnival Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Disney Cruises, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbea

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We live in California and two of our best friends reside in Florida. We wanted to visit them during the holidays, but didn’t want to endure the stress and aggravation of crowded airports and airplanes – so an opportunity to sail from nearby San Francisco to Ft. Lauderdale through the Panama Canal was especially appealing.

03-27-Amsterdam 1

Our cruise was an anomaly for a Holland America Panama Canal Cruise because the usual port of embarkation for the Canal trip is San Diego. However, it was our good fortune that

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A Day on Lanzarote


I never really considered Lanzarote as a holiday destination. From seeing various advertisements, and hearsay, I’d formed the impression that it’s a tacky haunt for the package holiday sun-seeker, and not my thing at all.

But, a recent cruise stop caused me to change my views, and realise there’s a lot more to the island when you get away from the sun, sea, sand, sangria and … what’s the other S? I’ve forgotten!

Two excursions which appealed were on offer. I wanted to see the volcanos and lava fie

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Mediterranean Cruise 2008

To continue our tradition of traveling for a week (or two) as a graduation present, my family traveled along with two other families to Europe. My friend picked a cruise that left out of Barcelona, Spain and traveled along the Northern Mediterranean for 7 days. This was the best way to get a glimpse of Europe and a get an idea of what to come back and see and what can be seen in a short visit. We traveled to Barcelona, Monaco, Rome, Cinque Terre, and Sicily with a group ranging in ages and types
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