If you’re skeptical about a postcard you received in the mail or phone call offering a free cruise or vacation, you have every right to be. While some are legitimate, many are not. At the very least, they will ask you to attend a high-pressure sales pitch for a product or ask for a substantial sum of money up front, presumably for taxes, fees, service charges or other hidden charges.
A little detective work will usually let you know whether the travel provider is legitimate. Start by readin
Another year has gone and it's time, once again, to lay out my annual Top 10 travel experiences of the year. Since the big summer trip for my husband and I this year was a Mediterranean cruise, many of the following favorites are destinations resulting from that 11-night sailing. Here are my top 10 favorites for 2014:
#10) Flying First Class. On a selfish whim, I decided to splurge and upgrade our usual economy seats on Aer Lingus between Boston and Rome. Aer Lingus has a bidding system for
Before embarking on your next land or sea vacation, load a weather app to your smartphone or favorite electronic device. Set the app's preferences for each place you're visiting on your itinerary, whip out your smartphone and have a day, weekend or week's worth of weather forecasts at your fingertips. There are several good apps for weather, but my favorite two are "Yahoo Weather" and "Weather Bug". Well organized, pretty to look at, and very functional, these handy tools will assist you in pack
Agents and cruise lines love to promote their cruises, and their ads will boldly display a particular sailing with a "starting at" price - $199/pp, for instance. What you don't see until you investigate a little further is that the $199 cabin is the lead-in price, or the price of the cabin at the lowest category, which tend to be the least desirable in terms of location and size. The cheapest is also an interior cabin. Some people are quite happy with an inside cabin; they like sleeping in pitch
Are you bringing the kids on your cruise? You've got a few of choices for accommodations. You can all squeeze into a standard cabin for 4 (some ships allow 5 in a cabin). Another option is to book a more costly family-size cabin or suite for more elbow room. A better option, though, is to book two cabins. If the kids are young, book connecting cabins. If your kids are older (12 and up) consider booking two side-by-side cabins or, better yet, an oceanview or balcony cabin for yourselves and an in
Thirteen years ago, today, our country - and the world - witnessed a horrific attack on our nation. In April 2014, my husband and I visited the 9/11 National Memorial & Museum in New York City. The Museum itself was not yet open to the public, but we were able to experience the Memorial, the Pools, the inscriptions of the names of all those who died on that horrible day, and the new Freedom Tower rising above the city as a tribute to that tragic day, as well as a symbol of hope for the futur
Today's tip comes to you from Travel & Leisure: "Should I Be Worried About Cybersecurity When Traveling? (by Amy Farley).
Be smart when traveling with your electronic devices. Don't use shared computers, and beware of fake hot spots, unsecured networks and social snoops. Most importantly, be sure you have some type of "Find My Phone" service installed on all your electronic devices. If your phone goes missing, immediately lock it and change your passwords immediately. Alternatively, if
On August 4, 2014, my husband and I embarked on a Mediterranean cruise from Rome aboard the Celebrity Reflection, but not before spending three nights in this great city. In that short amount of time, we experienced the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, the Pantheon, great food, more great churches, the best hotel ever, and more. My narrative (including many photos) of those days begins here and continues in my personal blog
My recent Royal Caribbean Cruise started at Quebec City and ended at magical New York. Quebec City is superb, quintessentially French and worth two or three days to explore if you can manage the extra time.
I was cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas and the ship was berthed on the St Lawrence River just below the promontory on which the iconic Chateau Frontenac is located, one of the classic hotels of North America. The old town (since 1985 a UNESCO World Heritage site) is div
Cruise ships offer many options for shore excursions during their cruises and they can often be a highlight of your cruise. However I have found that the prices when booking on the ship are often excessive. At many ports of call local entrepreneurs line up on the dock to provide alternative tours.
One consideration you need to be aware of is that if something goes wrong with a locally organised tour and you are late back the ship will not wait for you and it could lead, as it did on a recen
Cruises have so much going on at any given time, catering to all kinds of individual preferences. If you want your family or group of friends to stick together like glue through the whole vacation, two things will happen: (a) you will miss a lot, and (b) you'll resent each other by the end of it. For example, your husband is fond of the casino, but the last thing you want to do on a warm, tropical day is spend it inside a smoke-filled, noisy room. Go to the pool or spend time lounging on your de
The shopping arcade on any cruise ship is a mecca for many passengers. Most ships have a range of shops selling goods ranging from clothing, watches, jewellery, souvenirs to cameras and duty free alcohol. In generak I have found the quality of merchandise is good with brand names a feature. Often there is a gallery selling ( or auctioning) art works although in my view much of it is pretty ordinary.
It is fascinating to watch the passengers searching for that special item to take home. Ther
You found a great cruise deal on line and booked it. You patted yourself on the back and told all your friends about it. Maybe it was a buy-one, get-one-free promotion. Or maybe it was a free upgrade. Whatever the deal, congratulations! But before you click the "Reserve" button, be sure you know what you're getting. Do yourself a favor and study the deck plan. Pay close attention to the following:
Square Footage. How large (or tiny) is the cabin? You and your 3 buddies crammed into a 145 sq
Most cruise ships offer a choice for evening meals between fixed seating or the ‘freer’ MyTime dining arrangement.
I don’t really like dining at 6pm (too early) or 8.30pm (too late) so the flexibility of choosing my dinner time is welcome by me. Fixed seating times usually also mean being with the same table companions the whole cruise. I like to have the option of dining with my wife or joining other couples or individuals we meet along the way.
MyTime dining also provides a more flex
This is the Carnival Sunshine through my eyes.
As usual, once you get on the ship all your troubles melt away. We got this far and came to a screeching halt... lol I was on my tip toes, reaching over people's heads (I know they thought I was nuts) just trying to snap a glimpse of what lay ahead.
After a brief pause we were moving again and officially... Walking On Sunshine! I could not believe we were finally there! The atrium was beautiful. It was like I was in a dream and being
To save money and enjoy a more relaxing cruise experience, try a repositioning cruise. Cruise lines will typically have their ships spend a season cruising the same itinerary. During, say, the spring or fall, these ships will be relocated – or repositioned – to a new geographical area of the world to begin a new cruise season and new itinerary. Rather than have these ships sail empty, cabins are sold, usually at a reduced rate. For passengers who like lots of peaceful days at sea, this can be a
Sure, you're on vacation, but that doesn't mean you have to sleep the day away. You'll miss so much. Here are my five best reasons to force yourself out of bed before sunrise:
(1) View a breathtaking sunrise at sea; you'll forget all about how much you wanted to sleep in.
(2) Photograph nature in its best light. The natural lighting for taking photos is best early morning and just before sunset; this was especially true for the glaciers on our Alaska cruise and our cruise 2 years ago a
When I heard the Carnival Destiny was going to be “Sunshined”, I thought it sounded pretty cool. Then when I heard it was coming to New Orleans, I was REALLY excited. I don’t know why, but I really wanted to sail on that ship! New Orleans was doable. SO, while on the Magic last May, I booked a cruise on the Sunshine and went skipping (literally… I skipped) back to my cabin.
Once we were home, I patiently waited for it to set sail in Europe. Then I started reading how everyone hated the ship
A cruise is the perfect way to mark a romantic event. After all, nothing puts us in the mood than sun, sea and a cruise ship. Why not add a little something else to celebrate the grand occasion!Whether you are celebrating with an on-board wedding or simply looking for some alone time with that certain someone, cruise lines have made it easy to order gifts and packages to say "I love you." Your travel agent can help you choose the perfect gift or package. If you booked direct with the cruise line
Those who have cruised before know what a popular place the ship's buffet is on embarkation day. It's as though 3,000 cruisers arrive on board and haven't eaten in days. Eager, hungry vacationers line up at the door, squirt the required antibacterial lotion into the palms of their hands, fill their plates, and search for the grand prize: a seat at which to enjoy their lunch - all while carefully and steadily balancing plates and cups along the way. Depending on the ship and venue, it can be a ve
In 2013, David and I were blessed with another year of amazing travel firsts - first time to Alaska, first time to San Francisco, first time to the Grand Canyon, first time in a tiny 6-seater plane, and other notable moments of first glimpses. New and different sights and opportunities always produce an abundance of fresh stories and photos to share. Here, in no particular order, are our top 10 most memorable travel experiences of 2013, followed by photos I took:
Flightseeing in Ketchikan,
And the time has come. Wow. I can't believe it's almost here! So I will be leaving for nearly a month of just fun, fun, fun! Next week I leave Baltimore to hang in Los Angeles and Long Beach for a few days before heading up to San Francisco to catch Grand Princess! I still can't believe I'm getting ready to sail on this 16 escape to Hawaii and the Mexican Riviera... AHHH! Sorry y'all, I can't contain my excitement! It's just come full circle for me. This has been a trip a whole year in the makin
As the holiday season approaches each year, I wonder aloud to those who will listen: Wouldn’t it be great to combine two of my most favorite things in the world: Christmas and a cruise vacation. From the moment I picked up a copy of John Grisham’s “Skipping Christmas,” at the library, I knew that book was written with specifically me in mind. If you haven’t read the book, or seen its weaker film version (“Christmas with the Kranks”), the story is about a couple that decides one year to forego Ch