Monday, April 22, 2019

Cruising to Cozumel, Mexico with Kids

Cozumel, Mexico my favorite port of call on a Western Caribbean cruise!  I’ve been there a dozen times and I still haven’t seen and done everything (probably because I’m notorious for returning to the Mayan ruins each and every visit)! So here are some places I intend to check out in the future, and maybe you’ll want to visit too.

Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park: The park is a quick ten minute taxi ride from the cruise ship terminal. Tickets include a slew of activities that the whole family will love… sea lion show, dolphin Caribbean / Mexico!
presentation, manatee exhibition, crocodile exhibition and eco archaeological tour, and of course huts, hammocks and chairs on the beautiful beach!  For an additional charge guests can take part in snorkel tours, scuba diving tours, snuba tours, seatrek tours, spa treatments, or swim with dolphins and manatees.This is one of the best adventure parks in the

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Cruising to Nassau, Bahamas with Kids


A day in the Bahamas seems to be synonymous with Atlantis or the straw market.  Looking for something different that will keep the kids occupied and happy too?  Here’s some suggestions.

The Pirates of Nassau: This is great interactive museum that your kids will really enjoy. It provides a great mix of entertainment and history of the Golden Age of Piracy in the Bahamas. Your adventure begins as you step onto a moonlit dock complete with the sounds of lapping water and pirates celebrating in a nearby tavern. There’s a replica of the pirate ship “Revenge” that everyone can board and get a feel for life on the ship. My husband loved the museum as much as my son!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Cruising to San Juan with Kids


My family has always enjoyed our time in the Caribbean, especially San Juan, Puerto Rico. We love strolling the old city, and of course the beaches.  We have also visited and enjoyed two of the three activities I’ve cited below, with hopes to try the third. I hope your family enjoys them as much as we did.
 
The Forts-There are two historic forts in San Juan, about a mile apart from one another; Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristobal. Spain built these fortifications to secure their position in the Caribbean and protect the city of San Juan. El Morro is the larger of the two and you can either take the free trolley between them or walk. Special note…there’s a big lawn in front of El Morro fort and locals and tourists enjoy flying kites there and picnicking on the grass.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Cruising to St. Thomas with the Kids


When your Eastern Caribbean cruises stops at St. Thomas what are your plans? Many families head straight to the beach for those hours that the ship is docked, and that's always a good plan because those beaches are beautiful! However, if you and your family are looking for something else to do, here are a few suggestions.


Coral World Ocean Park: This 5 acre Eco Marine Park is located on the North East side of the island at Coki Point and is really amazing! There’s a variety of activities and attractions with aquariums, underwater viewing of the Caribbean Sea, touch pools, reefs, nature trails and more. Plus, Coral World also has many activities you can add to your visit, such as SNUBA, sea lion, turtle and shark encounters and the semi submarine ride. My family loved Coral World!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cruising to Grand Cayman Island With the Kids


Are you cruising to the Caribbean and looking for something to do with the kids when your ship docks in Grand Cayman? Well obviously there’s the gorgeous Seven Mile Beach, but if you’re looking for a different type of activity here’s some suggestions.



Stingray City:  Visit the Stingray City sandbar, a long, raised ridge in the ocean that enables you to stand in three to five feet of water. During the many tours that are available through the cruise line or booked independently, you can swim with, feed, and take memorable photos with these friendly rays. Even small children will enjoy petting the rays. It may be the highlight of your Caribbean cruise.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Caribbean Hot Spots…and I Don’t Mean the Beach


Every Caribbean island has that one place that you just have to check out while you’re there. That spot that even the locals love to visit. Here’s some of my top picks.  After all, there’s more to a Caribbean island than just gorgeous beaches!


Arikok National Park on Aruba: I visited this park by taking an all-day shore excursion via jeep.  The ride was a blast but dusty and bumpy.  Still, it’s a really fun way to see the area. Covering almost 20 percent of the island, Arikok National Park is home to a variety of unique attractions and cultural heritage sites, including spectacular caves, original Indian rock drawings, and unusual land formations. Bring a swimsuit to splash around in the Natural Pool.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Been There Done That…Barcelona, Spain


Barcelona is my favorite city in the world!  The food, the architecture, the art, the people… all keep me heading back there time and time again. If you have been to Barcelona multiple times (which may be, since there are so many cruises that leave from Barcelona) then I’m sure you’ve strolled Las Ramblas, explored the Gothic Quarter and admired the best of Gaudi (Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera).  So where do you head next?  Here’s some suggestions…


For Art Lovers: Fundació Joan Miró is a museum of modern art honoring Catalonian artist Joan Miró. It was designed by Miro himself and traces his development through multiple periods and forms. Let me say that I visited this museum knowing nothing about his work. A two hour visit was enough time to make my way around and introduce me to his art.  The museum is located on Montjuic so be sure to take the funicular up the hill so you can enjoy the amazing views!

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

A “New” Norwegian Joy Heads to Alaska


The Norwegian Joy, launched in 2017 and built specifically for the Chinese market, will be refitted for a primarily North American market.  The goal of the $50 million refurbishment is to make Norwegian Joy as close to resembling sister ship Norwegian Bliss as possible.


There’s to be a swapping out some high-end designer boutiques and dining venues, adding the go-karts and laser tag, shrinking the casino as well as adding a beer-themed bar and a Godiva shop.  In addition, Norwegian Cruise Line is supplementing their always excellent entertainment with some additional shows!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Samantha Brown Sails the Danube aboard the AmaMagna


Years ago, when the Travel Channel’s programming was all about traveling, I became a Samantha Brown fan.  I booked hotels and activities based on her recommendations and was never disappointed.  So when I saw that she had been asked by AmaWaterways to be godmother of the new AmaMagna, I took notice!


Samantha Brown will actually sail aboard the AmaMagna on the Romantic Danube departing July 14, 2019 from Vilshofen, Germany to Budapest, Hungary. The Danube journeys through the very heart of Europe stopping at some of the world’s most elegant, and influential cities. Multiple capitals including Budapest, Vienna, and Bratislava makes this an extraordinary itinerary for both first-time river cruisers as well as seasoned cruisers.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Cunard’s "Event Cruises"


A theme cruise can be a bit tacky (I shudder at the thought of an Elvis cruise filled with a ship of hip-gyrating impersonators of the “king”) or it can be tasteful (maybe a week dedicated to outer space that doesn’t involve dressing up like r2d2). For the latter experience look no further than Cunard’s unique event cruises.



Here’s a small sample of what Cunard has planned for 2019 and 2020:
Big Band Ball voyages:  Saxophones, trumpets, trombones…music that calls for you to dance the night away. This is the cruise to strut your stuff!

Monday, February 11, 2019

Been There Done That…Athens, Greece


I have a Mediterranean cruise booked for the fall that will once again leave from Piraeus, the port city located within the urban area of Athens, Greece. I’ve been to Athens several times before, staying anywhere from a day to several, pre-cruise.  I’m at the point where I’m searching for some new things to see…places that don’t make the original “bucket list.” Here’s what I’ve found and plan to add to my itinerary.


Lake Vouliagmeni (Sunken Lake): Located just outside the city center, this is a small fresh water lake fed by underground currents seeping through Mount Hymettus. The lake is mineral rich; potassium, calcium, iodine, natrium…minerals known for the relief they give to hurting bones and muscles, eczema, headaches, arthritis and other ailments.  In addition, schools of small fish will approach swimmers and feed off of their dead cells, a practice that may seem a bit gross or weird, however there are many spas in the city that will charge for such a treatment!  Because of the year-round comfortable water temperature as well as the surrounding amenities (beach chairs, changing rooms, restaurants) Lake Vouliagmeni is thought of as a year-round spa visited by both locals and tourists.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Been There Done That…Venice, Italy


Venice is such a magical city I don’t think I will ever tire of visiting. Should it be included on any of my future Mediterranean cruise itineraries I’m happy to wander the city’s maze of alleys time and time again, yet it’s always fun to seek out a spot to explore that I’ve never been to before.  Here’s a few “off the beaten path” destinations I’d like to share from a previous visit.


Burano:  I’ve taken a water taxi to Murano many times in search of a lovely piece of glass, but never made time for neighboring island, Burano.  I rectified that on a recent “girlfriend trip.” Burano is a fisherman’s island with brightly colored houses lining its boat-filled canal. It is said that houses are painted in this manner because it made it easier for returning fishermen to find their homes in the thick fog of the lagoon.  Strolling the streets is a photographer’s (and tourist’s) dream! My friends and I admired the lovely lace in the shop windows and made time for a leisurely lunch of fresh fish over just as fresh pasta! Exploring Burano is a wonderful way to spend a day.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Been There, Done That...Florence, Italy


Is your Mediterranean cruise stopping in Livorno again?  You’ve already visited all the major sites in Florence, made side trips to Pisa and Lucca too.  No worries, there’s still some great places in Florence to explore that you may not have known about.  Here’s some suggestions.


The Oltrarno District

I always try to put aside some time for shopping when I’m in Florence. Strolling from booth to booth
at the San Lorenzo leather market, window shopping the jewelry stores along the Ponte Vecchio, and of course those chic designer shops! However, on my last trip to Florence this past October I was introduced to the Oltrarno district of Florence, just over the Arno, where lots artisans and independent workshops are located. I can’t believe it took me so long to discover this area! Here you will find artisans carrying on the genuine tradition of their ancestors; creating marble paper, handmade shoes, mosaics, ceramics, gilded wooden frames and so much more. There is nothing I enjoy more than chatting with the artist, taking a picture together, then bringing home his or her wonderful design.  A perfect souvenir from another amazing Mediterranean cruise!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Been There, Done That…Rome, Italy




Every city has those iconic sights that every traveler makes it a point to see on their first visit.  But what happens when you return to that city for the second or third time and you’ve already checked off the highlights on your bucket list?  Here are some of my favorite places that are a bit off the beaten path in Rome. 

Roman Aqueducts
My husband, a civil engineer, says the construction of the aqueducts in Rome (300 BC to 200 AD) was one of the most remarkable feats of ancient engineering. Consisting of conduits, tunnels and
pipelines, aqueducts used gravity to bring water from far-away springs and mountains into cities. The large arched stone structures that we associate with the systems were built to maintain an appropriate water height when the system crossed a valley or other land that dipped in elevation. To view a large, well preserved section of such a structure in Rome, we headed to Parco degli Acquedotti, located 5 miles outside Rome’s city center. It is just so amazing to see these beautiful ancient structures still standing! Although we had a driver for the day, you can get to the park using public transportation; take the metro line A to Lucio Sestio or Giulio Agricola and from there it’s a 15-minute walk into the park. The park itself is lovely, a nice place to step away from the hectic pace of a Mediterranean cruise. Even better, bring a picnic lunch!