Monday, November 26, 2018

You'll need a new Brussels map

Ceci n’est pas une rue.
Brussels honours artist René Magritte with a new street name.

If you love Brussels, and are planning a return trip, you'll need a new street map. Here's why:

"If you could name a street in your hometown, what would you choose? Belgian citizens had the opportunity to mull just that question as part of an initiative to name 28 streets, squares, and walkways in the Belgian capital’s Tour & Taxis district*. The city crowdsourced the names as part of an ongoing regeneration project in the Tour & Taxis district—a formerly industrial area now set to become one of the city’s cultural and residential meccas. After receiving nearly 1,400 suggestions from the public, the final list was chosen by a jury of city officials, historians, and the site’s property developer, Extena...""[read more on Quartz].

*The district is named after the famous Thurn and Taxis, a German noble family that was a key player in European postal services until the fall of the Holy Roman Empire.

Street name signs in Brussels are in Flemish and French.
There have been more going up lately.

"Once a railway station and inland port, the district was a maze of warehouses, customs buildings and post and telegraph offices. By the early 1990s the area had fallen on hard times: lorry transport had rendered rail freight lines obsolete, while the introduction of a European customs union and harmonisation of standards drastically reduced incoming goods..." [read more on The Guardian].

"Did you know that the site once served as the largest freight station of Europe? The historic buildings were years ahead of the rest of Europe. The architects and engineers combined beautiful Belgian architecture with the most innovative technologies of the time. The result? Buildings that still have all modern facilities with an attractive, historic flavour..."read more on the official website].

"The eclectic mix of new names chosen by Brussels residents range from Passage de la Kriek, named after a famous Belgian cherry beer, to Ceci n’est pas une rue (This is not a street), inspired by the art of Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte. “To give a street a name, it gives it a certain identity,” Kris Verhellen, CEO of the Extensa development group which owns the former transport hub in the north of the city..." [read more on Reuters].



The new Brussels street names - and what they mean

  • Allée des Douanes: Customs Alley
  • Ceci n’est pas une rue: This is not a street (honouring Belgian artist René Magritte)
  • Chemin du Bonheur: Path to Happiness
  • Chemin d’Un Monde Meilleur: Path to a Better World
  • Drève des Rêves: Drive of Dreams
  • Drève du Parc: Park Drive
  • Drève Maritime: Maritime Drive
  • Drève von Thurn und Tassis: Tour and Taxis Drive
  • Mer des Pavés: Sea of Cobblestones
  • Passage de la Caricole: Passage of the Caricole
  • Passage de la Frite: Passage of the fries
  • Passage de la Praline: Passage of the Praline
  • Passage de la Kriek: Passage of the Kriek (Belgian beer)
  • Passage du Chicon: Passage of Chicon (a Belgian cheese and endive dish)
  • Passage du Cuberdon: Passage of Cuberdon (a Belgian candy)
  • Passage du Speculoos: Passage of the Speculoos (a Belgian spiced cookie)
  • Passage du Stoemp: Passage of the Stoemp (a Belgian vegetable dish)
  • Place de la Musique: Place of Music
  • Place des Choukes: Place of Choukes (a Belgian term of endearment)
  • Place des Grands Hommes Place of Great People
  • Quai des Brumes: Quay of the Mists
  • Rue Chantal Akerman: Chantal Akerman Street (a famous Belgian feminist and avant-garde filmmaker)
  • Rue des Entrepôts: Warehouse Street
  • Rue du Méandre: Meander Street
  • Rue Isala Van Diest: Isala Van Diest Street (Belguim's first female medical doctor)
  • Voie 1: Way 1
  • Voie 2: Way 2


The Brussels city flag
To learn more
Tour & Taxis District - official website
Belgians chose “This is not a street” as one of 28 new Brussels street names - Quartz
Beer, chips and historic women inspire new Brussels street names
New names of the Tour & Taxis streets - Brussels city website
Ceci n’est pas une rue: Brussels to adopt whimsical new street names - The Guardian
Brussels Honors René Magritte & Other Painters With Bizarre Street Names - The Travel

This post was published previously on my citytravelbug blog


Sponsored content (mine!)
Cruises - my cruise website
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Saturday, November 3, 2018

My late picks - November 2018

Flexible schedule? If you can get away last minute, here are some interesting sailings this month that still have space ~ and good deals!

Check out these escapes to warmth as the northern lands grow chilly...

South Pacific from Tahiti!


November 11, 2018

15-Nights

Sailing from Papeete (Tahiti) to Auckland on Holland America's ms Maasdam

Very nice South Pacific cruise, offering great value.

Ports on this sailing include: Papeete, French Polynesia - At Sea - Rarotonga, Cook Islands - At Sea - Alofi, New Zealand - International Dateline - Vava'u, Tonga - At Sea - Savusavu, Fiji - Suva, Fiji - Dravuni Island - At Sea - Nuku`alofa, Tonga - At Sea - At Sea - Auckland, New Zealand
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.


Great Middle East cruise!


November 11, 2018

15-Nights

Sailing from Rome to Abu Dhabi on the Celebrity Constellation

A great choice if you'd like to disembark in Abu Dhabi

Ports on this sailing include: Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy - Catania, Italy - At Sea - Piraeus, Greece - Suez Canal, Egypt - Suez Canal, Egypt - Al 'Aqabah, Jordan - At Sea - At Sea - At Sea - At Sea - At Sea - Muscat, Oman - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.


New Orleans cruise


November 25, 2018

11-Nights

Sailing roundtrip from New Orleans on the Norwegian Breakaway

Wrap your Caribbean cruise with a little New Orleans jazz!

Ports on this sailing include: New Orleans, Louisiana - At Sea - At Sea - Ocho Rios, Jamaica - Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - Roatan, Honduras - Belize City, Belize - Harvest Caye, Belize - Costa Maya, Mexico - Cozumel, Mexico - At Sea - New Orleans, Louisiana
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.


3 weeks in the Caribbean


November 25, 2018

21-Nights

Sailing roundtrip Tampa on Holland America's ms Rotterdam

Lovely, relaxing 3 week long cruise... claim your deck chair!

Ports on this sailing include: Tampa, Florida - Key West, Florida - At Sea - Puerto Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala - Roatan, Honduras - Costa Maya, Mexico - At Sea - Tampa, Florida - Key West, Florida - At Sea - At Sea - San Juan, Puerto Rico - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands - St John's, Antigua and Barbuda - Castries, Saint Lucia - Soufriere Bay, Saint Lucia - At Sea - Willemstad, Curacao, Netherlands Antilles - Oranjestad, Aruba - At Sea - Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - At Sea - Tampa, Florida
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.


Panama Canal


November 30, 2018

14-Nights

Sailing from Miami to Los Angeles on the Norwegian Star

A surprisingly affordable Panama Canal opportunity

Ports on this sailing include: Miami, Florida - At Sea - At Sea - Cartagena, Colombia - Panama Canal - At Sea - Puntarenas, Costa Rica - Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua - Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala - At Sea - Acapulco, Mexico - At Sea - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - At Sea - Los Angeles, California
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.



==============================================

Cup of black tea None of these your cup of tea?

I'm happy to help you plan an adventure wherever you'd like to go.

Please contact me to begin the planning process.



Related resources
Roberta's picks - hand picked by me
Vancouver cruise opportunities - hand picked by me
Solo-friendly picks - a list of ships with single staterooms
Transatlantic cruises - the best itineraries, picked by me

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Vancouver Spring Panama Canal saillings

Sailing the Panama Canal on the Coral Princess
Did you know that you can take a Panama Canal cruise from Florida right to Vancouver? No flying on your way home... doesn't that sound lovely?

In the spring, there are usually only NORTHBOUND Panama Canal sailings to Vancouver, but this year there are two (2) SOUTHBOUND Panama Canal sailings from Vancouver... so take your pick!

You can choose between sailings from 17 to 22 nights - there is even an 28 night sailing that includes Alaska!

April 9, 2019: Island Princess - 22 nights
April 9, 2019 - NORTHBOUND SAILING
22 Night Panama Canal cruise on the Island Princess
Itinerary: Fort Lauderdale, Florida - At Sea - At Sea - Cartagena, Colombia - Panama Canal - Fuerte Amador, Panama - At Sea - Puntarenas, Costa Rica - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua - At Sea - Huatulco, Mexico - At Sea - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - At Sea - At Sea - Los Angeles, California - Santa Barbara, California - At Sea - San Francisco, California - At Sea - Astoria, Oregon - Victoria, British Columbia - Vancouver, British Columbia
Book with me now!

April 11, 2019: Emerald Princess - 22 nights
April 11, 2019 - SOUTHBOUND SAILING
22 Night Panama Canal cruise on the Emerald Princess
Itinerary: Vancouver, British Columbia - Victoria, British Columbia - Astoria, Oregon - At Sea - San Francisco, California - At Sea - Santa Barbara, California - Los Angeles, California - At Sea - At Sea - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - At Sea - Huatulco, Mexico - At Sea - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua - Puntarenas, Costa Rica - At Sea - Fuerte Amador, Panama - Panama Canal - Cartagena, Colombia - At Sea - At Sea - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Book with me now!

April 13, 2019: Oosterdam - 21 nights
April 13, 2019 - NORTHBOUND SAILING
21 Night Panama Canal cruise on the ms Oosterdam
Itinerary: Fort Lauderdale, Florida - At Sea - At Sea - Cartagena, Colombia - Panama Canal - Fuerte Amador, Panama - Fuerte Amador, Panama - At Sea - Caldera, Costa Rica - Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua - Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala - Puerto Chiapas, Mexico - Huatulco, Mexico - At Sea - Manzanillo, Mexico - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - At Sea - At Sea - San Diego, California - At Sea - At Sea - Victoria, British Columbia - Vancouver, British Columbia
Book with me now!

April 18, 2019: Volendam - 20 nights
April 18, 2019 - NORTHBOUND SAILING
20 Night Panama Canal cruise on the ms Volendam
Itinerary: Fort Lauderdale, Florida - At Sea - At Sea - Cartagena, Colombia - Panama Canal - At Sea - Caldera, Costa Rica - Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua - Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala - Puerto Chiapas, Mexico - Huatulco, Mexico - At Sea - Manzanillo, Mexico - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - At Sea - At Sea - San Francisco, California - At Sea - Victoria, British Columbia - Vancouver, British Columbia
Book with me now!

April 20, 2019: Coral Princess - 18 nights
April 20, 2019 - NORTHBOUND SAILING
18 Night Panama Canal cruise on the Coral Princess
Itinerary: Fort Lauderdale, Florida - At Sea - At Sea - Cartagena, Colombia - Panama Canal - Fuerte Amador, Panama - At Sea - Puntarenas, Costa Rica - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua - At Sea - Huatulco, Mexico - At Sea - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - At Sea - At Sea - Los Angeles, California - At Sea - At Sea - Vancouver, British Columbia
Book with me now!

May 1, 2019: Oceania Regatta - 28 nights
May 1, 2019 - NORTHBOUND SAILING
28 Night Panama Canal cruise on the Oceania Regatta
Itinerary: Miami, Florida - Havana, Cuba - Caribbean Sea - Caribbean Sea - Colon, Panama - Panama Canal - Pacific Ocean - Puntarenas, Costa Rica - San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua - Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala - Pacific Ocean - Acapulco, Mexico - Pacific Ocean - Mazatlan, Mexico - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - Pacific Ocean - San Diego, California - Pacific Ocean - San Francisco, California - Pacific Ocean - Astoria, Oregon - At Sea - Sitka, Alaska - Hubbard Glacier, Alaska - Juneau, Alaska - Wrangell, Alaska - Ketchikan, Alaska - Inside Passage - Vancouver, British Columbia
Ask for a quote - or book with me now!


May 16, 2019: ms Amsterdam - 17 nights
May 16, 2019 - NORTHBOUND SAILING
17 Night Panama Canal cruise on the ms Amsterdam
Itinerary: Fort Lauderdale, Florida - At Sea - At Sea - Cartagena, Colombia - Panama Canal - At Sea - Puerto Corinto, Nicaragua - Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala - Huatulco, Mexico - At Sea - At Sea - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - At Sea - At Sea - San Francisco, California - At Sea - Victoria, British Columbia - Vancouver, British Columbia
Request a quote - or book online now!

June 30, 2019: Queen Elizabeth - 21 nights
June 30, 2019 - SOUTHBOUND SAILING
21 Night Panama Canal cruise on Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth
Itinerary: Vancouver, British Columbia - At Sea - At Sea - San Francisco, California - Los Angeles, California - Los Angeles, California - At Sea - At Sea - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - At Sea - At Sea - Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala - At Sea - Puntarenas, Costa Rica - At Sea - Panama City, Panama - Panama Canal - At Sea - Oranjestad, Aruba - At Sea - At Sea - Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Contact me now for this rare Cunard opportunity!

Please contact me if you are looking for a fall Panama Canal sailing, or even 2020 - I have the information you need, and am always happy to help.

More from cruisetravelbug
Squid Ink: Tattoos at Sea
Alaska Cruise Ships 2019 - BIG or small - What's Best?
Sailing solo on Celebrity Edge
Death by Selfie: is social media worth it?
South Pacific, without the flights
The Goroka Show
Paris: wandering the city's charming passages
New York: the Meetles

Friday, October 19, 2018

Squid Ink: Tattoos at sea

This caught my eye today.


I thought it was brilliant, and I would do it. As long as the seas aren't too high. How about you?

"It was only a matter of time. But you can now add getting a tattoo to the list of things you can do on a cruise ship. Start-up cruise line Virgin Voyages has announced that its first vessel will have a tattoo parlor – an industry first..." [read more on OpenJaw].

The aptly named Squid Ink is being designed in partnership with World Famous Tattoo Ink.

"Virgin Voyages said the idea was following in its ethos of the “Modern Romance of Sailing,” with the inspiration behind Squid Ink “steeped in the traditions of sailing” with many historians crediting the expansion of tattooing to British colonial sailors who picked up the concept from aboriginal tribes while exploring the South Pacific..." [read more on TTG].

“Tattooing is a time-honored seafaring tradition, and we’re continuing that legacy with rock and roll style by bringing some of the best ink artists to sea,” Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin said in a statement. “Our sailors are looking to make lifelong memories, and we think there's no better way to commemorate their first voyage with us than with a souvenir they'll never lose track of...” [read more on Travel Pulse].

“The World Famous Tattoo Ink family has been working with
sailors, pirates and rock stars for more than 50 years."
Lou Rubino of World Famous Tattoo Ink and Soho Ink
World Famous Tattoo Ink's Lou Rubino Jr., who is also the creator of Manhattan's Soho Ink and Freshly Inked Magazine, will handpick Squid Ink's two permanent full-time tattoo artists.

Squid Ink will also feature a rotating line-up of guest artists, including:
  • Arlo DiCristina - surrealist tattoo artist
  • Jime Litwalk - illustrative specialist
  • Sarah Miller - star of Spike TV’s Ink Master
Squid Ink services will include:
  • Exclusive voyage commemoration tattoos designed by World Famous Tattoo Ink
  • Body piercings
  • Permanent makeup treatments using vegan-friendly Perma Blend pigments
Artist's rendering of Squid Ink
“As global acceptance of tattoos and body art continues to grow, partnering with Virgin Voyages gives us the unique opportunity to bring colour to places people might have never thought possible before. We couldn’t be more excited to leave our mark on the sea travel industry,” says Rubino.

Reactions so far are mainly positive, though the move does have it's detractors. "We have to wonder if this won't be much more popular at the end of sailings though, as while tattooing over sunburn doesn't sound like fun, you really shouldn't go into the ocean after being freshly inked either, says Cruise Habit's Billy Hirsch.

In another industry first, Virgin has announced that it will not only hire staff with visible tattoos, but will encourage crew to also express themselves freely through tattoos, if they so wish. That alone should convince anyone doubting how different Virgin Voyages will be. 

"To date, the cruise industry's big tattoo moment came last year when Adolfo Perez, senior vice president of sales and trade marketing at Carnival Cruise Line, got a tattoo on his upper arm saying "Travel Agents Rock" at a Carnival Agentpalooza agent event in New Orleans..." [read more on Travel Weekly]


Related resources:
Lasting Memories: Virgin Voyages Ship To Feature Tattoo Parlor - Open Jaw
Inked at sea: Virgin Voyages ship will have tattoo parlor - Travel Weekly
Virgin Voyages Adding Tattoo Parlor to Scarlet Lady Ship - Travel Pulse
Virgin Voyages ship to have its own tattoo studio - TTG
Virgin Voyages Gives Cruises Another Way to Remember Their Sailing - With Tattoos at Sea! - Cruise Habit
Get a tattoo on board Virgin Voyages - Virgin.com
Got Ink? Thank a Sailor - Virgin Voyages

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Alaska Cruise Ships 2019 - BIG or small - What's Best?
Sailing solo on Celebrity Edge
Death by Selfie: is social media worth it?
South Pacific, without the flights
The Goroka Show
Paris: wandering the city's charming passages
New York: the Meetles

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Top 5 Solo Picks - October 9, 2018

It has been awhile since I sent out one of my solo cruise deal newsletters, but am seeing some marvellous deals at the moment, so here we go.

Here are my Top 5 Solo Cruise Picks today!

Why these sailings? There may be solo cabins, reduced/waived single supplements, a great deal overall, or simply good value on an itinerary solos can't usually afford. Fares below INCLUDE TAXES, and are subject to availability.

October 27, 2018 - 15-Night Caribbean cruise from New York to New Orleans on the Norwegian Breakaway
Balcony - $1668 CAD solo
Obstructed oceanview - $1534 CAD solo
Inside - $1039 CAD solo

October 28, 2018 - 14-Night Transatlantic cruise from Rome to Fort Lauderdale on the Koningsdam
Balcony - $1970 CAD solo
Obstructed oceanview - $1970 CAD solo
Inside - $1970 CAD solo

November 11, 2018 - 14-Night South Pacific cruise from Papeete to Auckland on the Maasdam
Obstructed oceanview - $2525 CAD solo + $50 USD credit
Inside - $2266 CAD solo

December 5, 2018 - 17-Night Transatlantic cruise from Rome to Fort Lauderdale on the Pacific Princess
Balcony - $2934 CAD solo
Obstructed oceanview - $2318 CAD solo
Inside - $2318 CAD solo

December 7, 2018 - 15-Night South America Panama Canal cruise from Miami to San Antonio, Chile on the Norwegian Sun
Obstructed oceanview - $2057 CAD solo
Inside - $1923 CAD solo

If you see something you like, please contact me and I can send you more details.

Cheers,
Roberta

Expedia Extras: if you book with me, you will earn 2 Expedia+ Rewards points for every $1 spent on cruises. They add up and can be redeemed on hotels, car rentals, and more. Ask me how!

About this newsletter: With so many solo travellers looking for affordable ways to travel, without the dreaded single supplement, I am always watching for specials. Periodically, when I have time, I summarize a few into an email to send to those who may be interested.

Want this news as soon as it comes out? Just email me with the word "SUBSCRIBE" in the subject line. Actually, any email works fine. A human will read it (this one), not a bot.

Want more?
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Check out my list of ships with solo occupancy cabins: Solo-Friendly Cruise Picks
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Friday, October 5, 2018

My late picks - October 2018

If you can get away last minute, here are some interesting sailings this month that still have space ~ and good deals!


Fall Colours and Sunshine! 


October 26, 2018

14 -Nights

Sailing from Quebec City to Fort Lauderdale on the Royal Princess

See the last of the fall colours on the Canada New England cruise, and end up in sunny Fort Lauderdale!

Ports on this sailing include: Saint John, Sydney, Halifax, Bar Harbour, Boston and New York.
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.


Sun, sun and more sun!


October 27, 2018

8-Nights

Sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on the Adventure of the Seas

You'll find plenty to do for all generations on Royal Caribbean - or just laze in the sun!

Ports on this sailing include: Labadee, San Juan, St. Maarten and St. Kitts... nice!
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.


The BIG Apple & The BIG Easy!


October 27, 2018

15-Nights

Sailing from New York to New Orleans on the Norwegian Breakaway

From The Big Apple to The Big Easy, this sailing packs in big fun and great sun along the way!

Ports on this sailing include: the British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Saint Lucia, Curacao, Aruba, Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel - talk about a bucketlist Caribbean cruise!
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.


Incredible fare on the Koningsdam - one of the newest ships! 


October 28, 2018

14-Nights

Sailing from Rome to Barcelona on the Koningsdam

Holland America's Koningsdam continues to get rave reviews, so I was excited to see such good fares on this crossing. If you can get away, you'll have a great deal on a top ship!

Ports on this sailing include: Alicante (Costa del Sol), Malaga (Picasso's birthplace), Cadiz (for Seville) and Madeira.
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.


4 days in the Azores on the Prinsendam! 


October 28, 2018

12-Nights

Sailing from Lisbon to Fort Lauderdale on the Prinsendam

The Prinsendam is Holland America's smallest ship, but not for long. She is being retired soon, so this is a great deal on one of the last opportunities to sail on her.

Ports on this sailing include 4 days Azores: Ponta Delgada (2 days), Praia da Vitoria and Horta
View the itinerary

Interested? Please contact me for a quote.



==============================================

Cup of black tea None of these your cup of tea?

I'm happy to help you plan an adventure wherever you'd like to go.

Please contact me to begin the planning process.



Related resources
Roberta's picks - hand picked by me
Vancouver cruise opportunities - hand picked by me
Solo-friendly picks - a list of ships with single staterooms
Transatlantic cruises - the best itineraries, picked by me

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

81 nights... with Africa!

I think this is a very clever itinerary.

Imagine sailing for 81 nights - if you are inclined to stay on that long - from Rome to Yokohama, via Africa. Or, pick 1 or more of the 4 segments to customize your trip to your liking.

2 of the segments are positioned well for land travel in Africa. You can either sail from Dubai to Cape Town, or Cape Town to Singapore.


February 10, 2020

21 Night Middle East cruise on the Norwegian Spirit

Sailing from Rome to Dubai
(ends March 2)


Itinerary: Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy - At Sea - Piraeus, Greece - Kusadasi, Turkey - Rhodes, Greece - Limassol, Cyprus - Haifa, Israel - Haifa, Israel - Haifa, Israel - Suez Canal, Egypt - Safaga, Egypt - Safaga, Egypt - Al 'Aqabah, Jordan - At Sea - At Sea - At Sea - At Sea - At Sea - Muscat, Oman - Khasab, Oman - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
More details...


March 2, 2020
20 Night Africa cruise on the Norwegian Spirit
Sailing from Dubai to Cape Town
(ends March 22)


Itinerary: Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - Fujairah, United Arab Emirates - Muscat, Oman - At Sea - At Sea - At Sea - Victoria, Seychelles - Victoria, Seychelles - At Sea - Nosy Be, Madagascar - At Sea - Port Louis, Mauritius - Port de Pointe des Galets, Réunion - At Sea - At Sea - Richards Bay, South Africa - At Sea - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - Mossel Bay, South Africa - Cape Town, South Africa
More details...


March 22, 2020
24 Night Africa cruise on the Norwegian Spirit
Sailing from Cape Town to Singapore
(ends April 15)


Itinerary: Cape Town, South Africa - Mossel Bay, South Africa - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - At Sea - Richards Bay, South Africa - At Sea - At Sea - At Sea - Port de Pointe des Galets, Réunion - Port Louis, Mauritius - At Sea - At Sea - Victoria, Seychelles - Victoria, Seychelles - At Sea - At Sea - Male, Maldives - At Sea - At Sea - At Sea - Phuket, Thailand - Langkawi, Malaysia - Penang (Georgetown), Malaysia - Port Kelang, Malaysia - Singapore, Singapore
More details...


April 15, 2020
16 Night Asia cruise on the Norwegian Spirit
Sailing from Singapore to Yokohama
(ends May 1)


Itinerary: Singapore, Singapore - At Sea - Phu My, Vietnam - At Sea - At Sea - Hong Kong, Hong Kong - Hong Kong, Hong Kong - At Sea - Shanghai, China - Shanghai, China - At Sea - Hiroshima, Japan - Kochi, Japan - Kobe, Japan - Kobe, Japan - Shimizu, Japan - Yokohama, Japan
More details...




If sailing more than one segment appeals, I recommend booking as early as possible, so that you can get the same cabin for the duration of your voyage.

If you are considering doing one of the Cape Town sailings, to spend time ashore, there are a number of African safari options available to you (G Adventures is very popular, ask me why!). 

If you would like more information on these Norwegian Spirit sailings, or are making other travel plans, please contact me. I am happy to help!


More from cruisetravelbug
What story do you want to tell post-cruise!
7 comebacks to "I hate cruising"
The Goroka Show
Paris: wandering the city's charming passages
New York: the Meetles

Monday, September 3, 2018

Sailing Solo on the Celebrity Edge

The brand new Celebrity Edge, which begins sailing in December 2018, promised to revolutionize cruise travel.

While there are many ways it does this - most newsworthy of all, the "Magic Carpet" (the section of the ship that will reposition up and down one side of the ship) - it is the Single Staterooms with Infinite Verandas that have my attention.

What is an "Infinite Veranda"?

Here is a visual, followed by a description of the solo version, and a link to a video:


Edge Single Stateroom with Infinite Veranda (category ES):
These new and incredible staterooms take our standard veranda stateroom and, with the touch of a button, blur—even erase—the boundaries between inside and outside living space. Your entire living space becomes the veranda, letting you walk right out to the water’s edge. Edge StateroomsSM offer the latest technology that allows you to precisely adjust nearly every comfort feature in your stateroom. The in-room automation allows you to control everything from lighting, to shades, to temperature, and service with a simple touch screen. 
• Stateroom: 142 sq. ft
• Veranda: 42 sq. ft.
• Number: 16 cabins
• Deck: 6

Curious? Check out this video of how the Edge infinite verandas transform.

I'm curious and looking forward to hearing reports back from my first clients to sail on her.

Want to sail on The Edge?

Have a look at The Edge sailings, then contact me to make your booking.



More from cruisetravelbug
Alaska Cruise Ships 2019 - BIG or small - What's Best?
Death by Selfie: is social media worth it?
South Pacific, without the flights
The Goroka Show
Paris: wandering the city's charming passages
New York: the Meetles

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Maybe flying isn't so bad afterall...

"Love is in the Air" by the Black Knights,
the official aerobatics team of the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF)
Wikicommons 
Interesting research from HSBC bank in the UK this week:
"Ditch the dating app and board a plane. A new study of 2,150 airplane passengers from 141 countries found 1 in 50 of those people met their significant other while flying. That number is higher among domestic travelers, among which one in every 25 Americans will meet their soul mates at 30,000 feet. Those love connections started with a simple hello and conversation, a thing that the majority of travelers still take time to do..." [continue reading in the Washington Examiner]
Just be sure to keep that snoring in check.

Tip: before you get too excited about fellow passengers falling in love, read this very recent and very real cautionary tale.

Related resources
Looking for love? 1-in-50 people find it on airplanes - Washington Examiner
What it's like to fall in love on a plane - Condé Nast Traveler
People Who Fell in Love on Planes Are Sharing Their Stories and There Are so Many More Than You'd Expect - Travel+ Leisure
Looking for Love in a Layover - LayoverIdeas blog

Saturday, August 4, 2018

My Pick: Giancarlo Impiglia on Queen Mary 2

My pick today is a lovely 7-night Canada New England cruise sailing on September 30, 2018 from Quebec City to New York on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 sailing with a very special guest onboard, Giancarlo Impiglia.

Special Guest: Giancarlo Impiglia - Artist and Art Historian

Giancarlo Impiglia is an artist and art historian whose name is renowned in the world of art. His paintings are featured in the permanent collection of The Museum of the City of New York, The Kentucky Derby Museum, Absolut Collection, Sweden, The Pfizer Collection, the Cunard Art Collection, and Elton John's private collection, just to mention a few.

If you have sailed on any of the Queens in the last decade or so - Queen Elizabeth, Queen Mary 2 or Queen Victoria - you will be familiar with the work of Impiglia. Impiglia's large murals, commissioned by Cunard.
"[The murals] feature "bold, bright colors and depict scenes of people mingling on an imaginary cruise ship and at other nautical events. The figures are not realistic but rather are flat, geometric shapes, devoid of facial features. The paintings are striking and lively but at the same time, give one pause."
"There are three reasons why the figures in Impiglia's works are devoid of features. First of all, I am not painting portraits, I am painting situations so there is no need for physical features. Also, the images are very stylized and flat. Also, they reflect the idea that we live in a society that is faceless. We do not pay much attention to faces, we pay more attention to other things..." [continue reading on Beyond Ships].
To see the itinerary:
September 30, 2018 - 7-night Canada New England cruise on Queen Mary 2

Space is limited, so please contact me as soon as possible to book your cabin.

More on Giancarlo Impiglia
Artist to the Queens - Beyond Ships
Giancarlo Impiglia - official website
Giancarlo Impiglia: Paintings for the Queens & Collected Works (2012)  – paperback on Amazon.com
Giancarlo Impiglia Paints the Harvest - Dan's Papers
Giancarlo Impiglia Works - Artsy
Giancarlo Impiglia Works - Art Net

More from cruisetravelbug
What story do you want to tell post-cruise!
7 comebacks to "I hate cruising"
The Goroka Show
Paris: wandering the city's charming passages
New York: the Meetles


Monday, July 30, 2018

Imagine yourself at the Tour de France?

If you're like me, you're bleary eyed and wondering what to do with yourself first thing in the morning. What, no Tour de France to watch at 5am? It's been a great 3 weeks in the couch peleton.

Moi at the TDF in 2009 (story)
If your thoughts include dreams of witnessing a Tour de France stage in person, I can only say JUST DO IT! There is nothing like being part of the crowd (even though I stood for hours in the rain when le tour went through Barcelona).

It's easy enough to coordinate your travel plans to be in the start city or Paris ~ or just to be in France in July ~ and it costs you nothing extra to stake out a piece of the sidewalk. Start and finish dates are available now, and the full race route is released in October.

If you want a more packaged affair, with hotels, grandstand seating, VIP access, transfers, breakfasts, bike storage and daily bike rides, there are a range of options available from the official VIP access provider. This is the full meal deal.

Grand Depart Brussels 2019 weekend packages (in Eddy Merckx's hometown!) include:
• Thursday, July 4, 2019: Team presentation in Brussels
• Friday, July 5, 2019: Team training day in Brussels
• Saturday, July 6, 2019: Stage 1, Brussels
• Sunday, July 7, 2019: Stage 2, Brussels - Team Time Trial
• Monday, July 8, 2019: Stage 3, Brussels to TBA

Weekend packages for the Tour de France's conclusion on the Champs Elysees in Paris on Sunday, July 29, 2019, range from basic to full Tour de France Triomphe Packages with VIP access, grandstand seating and, yes, champagne.

Tempted? Please contact me if you'd like more information on official Tour de France travel packages, or assistance in making your own independent plans.


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New worry-free hurricane policy: a new trend?

Turks & Caicos Islands Coat of Arms
It's the first of what one can only hope will be a new trend. This week, Insider Travel Report is reporting good news from the Turks & Caicos Islands:
The Sands at Grace Bay has launched a newly created No-Hassle, 100% Refund Policy in the event of another storm. Developed to offer guests the ultimate “peace of mind” guarantee, Sands at Grace Bay’s new policy states that if the threat of a hurricane prevents travel to Providenciales, or otherwise interferes with the guest’s vacation, the luxury hospitality group will offer a 100 percent refund of any unused portion of the resort stay, no questions asked. 
While the policy applies to hurricanes only, not for tropical storms, the news is encouraging.

The resort's policy is actually very well thought out, and covers a range of scenarios that seem to authentically help travellers, versus just sound good.

Replica of Friendship 7 at the Turks & Caicos Airport - astronaut
John Glenn returned to earth in the oceans nearby in 1962

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Alaska Cruise Ships 2019 - BIG or small - What's Best?

Picking the best cruise ship for your Alaska voyage depends upon a number of factors - personal choice being perhaps the most important - but ship size is a major consideration.
  • A larger ship offers more things to do (believe it or not it can be easier to find a quiet spot alone on a big ship) and lower fares, but they aren't for everyone.
  • Small ships are more intimate, can get into smaller ports and tend to be more inclusive (so more costly), but not everyone will enjoy the quiet evenings.
In 2019, quite a few cruise ships will be sailing Alaska for the very first time, so I thought a list of ships sailing from Vancouver and Seattle, organized by size, might be a helpful tool.

Alaska Cruise Ships - by cabin count

For Alaska, common industry categories aren't all that informative, because so many ships fall into the middle category. So, to make shopping for the best ship for you easier, I have broken down the cruise ships sailing Alaska in 2019 by their cabin count. The nicknames are entirely mine.

HUGE

Ovation of the Seas - 2095 cabins
Norwegian Bliss - 2043 cabins
Norwegian Joy - 2043 cabins
Royal Princess - 1780 cabins

VERY LARGE

Ruby Princess - 1530 cabins
Celebrity Eclipse - 1425 cabins
Celebrity Solstice - 1425 cabins
Golden Princess - 1316 cabins

LARGE

Star Princess - 1298 cabins
Norwegian Jewel - 1194 cabins
Island Princess - 1107 cabins

MEDIUM

Celebrity Millennium - 1079 cabins
Carnival Legend - 1062 cabins
Radiance of the Seas - 1061 cabins
ms Nieuw Amsterdam - 1053 cabins
ms Eurodam - 1052 cabins
Queen Elizabeth - 1043 cabins
ms Oosterdam - 1012 cabins
Coral Princess - 1000 cabins

SMALLISH

ms Noordam - 986 cabins
ms Westerdam - 984 cabins
Disney Wonder - 877 cabins
ms Volendam - 716 cabins
ms Amsterdam - 690 cabins

SMALL

Viking Orion - 464 cabins
Crystal Symphony - 452 cabins
Azamara Quest - 355 cabins
Oceania Regatta - 349 cabins
Silversea Muse - 288 cabins
Seabourn Sojourn - 225 cabins

VERY SMALL

Windstar Star Legend - 106 cabins
Silversea Explorer - 72 cabins


Tip: multiply the number of cabins by 225% to get approximate passenger capacity

Updated on July 25 to reflect announcement thayt the Norwegian Joy (new ship) will replace the Norwegian Pearl for the 2019 Alaska cruise season.


Please contact me if you would like to learn more about a particular ship, or would like a quote.

Related resources
What's the Best Cruise Ship Size for You? - Cruise Critic
Planning a Travel Surprise
Death by Selfie: Is Social Media Worth It?
7 Comebacks to "I Hate Cruising!"
Vancouver Cruise Opportunities
  

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Death by Selfie: is social media worth it?

Shannon Falls, British Columbia
The tragic death of three young people at Shannon Falls, near Vancouver, BC, Canada, while out for a day fun with friends, has saddened many.

The group of friends were hiking near the falls, when one, a young woman, fell in. Two young men, one her boyfriend, fell or jumped in while attempting to rescue her. All three died.

News of the positive yet daring adventures of one of the deceased - a vlogger* - made me think of this death-by-selfie piece I wrote a few years ago. For me, the connection is the drive to share life experiences in social media. I'm not suggesting the friends were doing anything foolish when the accident happened; it just seems timely to share.

*Vlogging is a form of blogging based on videos (the vlog category is popular on YouTube).

DEATH BY SELFIE


- by Roberta Westwood

Think that selfie is fun? Harmless?

Aside of the downsides of "missing" the experience of where you are, because you're so busy capturing your selfie, you may be surprised to to learn that taking selfies is actually dangerous.

What starts as playful fun can cross the line when selfies become an obsession, in which you become less aware of your surroundings and take ever-increasing risks.

Especially for men. The truth is that while women take more selfies than men, 75% of selfie death victims are MEN.

Selfie deaths?!? Really? You bet.

Selfie-takers have been killed by:
  • Falling off cliffs while taking selfies (many)
  • Falling over viewpoint barriers
  • Falling over a cliff when leaning on a gate that gave way
  • Sitting on boulders forming a safety barrier over a gorge, which gave way
  • Falling into a volcano crater
  • Falling down stairs
  • Falling down stairs while taking a selfie at the Taj Majal
  • Falling off bridges (many)
  • Falling off dams (several)
  • Falling into a pond
  • Falling into a spring
  • Falling in irrigation canals
  • Falling into water reservoirs
  • Falling into a quarry filled with rainwater
  • Falling into a well, while leaning over it to take a selfie showing the depth
  • Taking selfies in a melt hole (cave) at the front edge of a receding glacier, when the roof gave way
  • Taking selfies with waterfalls (several)
  • Standing in rivers while taking selfies
  • Waves, when standing on the beach (several)
  • Waves, while standing in the surf, in a storm, taking selfies
  • Taking selfies with trains (several)
  • Falling off moving trains while taking selfies
  • Climbing on top of moving trains
  • Climbing on top of stationary trains mistakenly believed not in service (many by electrocution)
  • Crashing cars while taking selfies or uploading selfies while driving
  • Being hit by cars
  • Being hit by a car while taking selfies with airplanes
  • Standing in a boat to take selfies (drownings)
  • Climbing on a fountain to take selfies
  • Climbing onto a glass dome to take selfies, and falling through
  • Climbing on girders in a construction site to take selfies
  • Preparing to take a selfie by hanging from a rope from a high-rise
  • Leaping to take a "flying selfie" (at Machu Picchu)
  • Falling into a geyser while taking a selfie
  • Posing with guns (many!)
  • Posing with grenades
  • Posing with a rattlesnake
  • Posing with tigers at the zoo (several)
  • Taking selfies with a walrus at the zoo
  • Posing with a bison in a national park (gored)
  • Posing with an elephant near their tent on a safari
  • Getting out of a vehicle to take selfies with a herd of elephants blocking a road

Places where selfies have banned, due to deaths:
  • In Pamplona, Spain, during the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona
  • At New York State zoos (tigers)
  • Anywhere in Mumbai (India has very high selfie deaths)
  • In Japan, selfies and selfie-sticks on train station platforms are banned

Places where selfie bans have been proposed, due to high selfie deaths:
  • In Paris, at the Eiffel Tower
  • In Rome, at Trevi Fountain
  • In Rome, on the Spanish Steps

Do you believe me now?

Even if you are not killed, just imagine the extent of serious injuries any of the above could cause.

Seriously, have fun out there, but don't let it cost you your life (or limbs!)


Related resources
List of selfie-related injuries and deaths - Wikipedia
40% Selfie Deaths from India, Selfie Obsession kills over 60 people Worldwide - Phone Radar
Mumbai sets no-selfie zones as deaths linked to selfies rise - Associated Press
No Selfies Allowed: Social Media Bans at Landmarks - Conde Nast Traveler
Selfie deaths: six people who died while taking a selfie - The Week
In Goa, red flags go up on beaches after tourist deaths: Selfies can be dangerous - The Indian Express
Selfies can be deadly - and India leads the way - Economic Times
Two young women struck by lightning while taking selfies - Economic Times
Death by Selfie - Martin Parr