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Category Archives: Travel

European Cruise Travel Vacation

Virtually all of the major rivers in Europe have luxury cruise vacation packages available on them. These magnificent boats cruise the mighty rivers through the indescribable scenery that is steeped in history. Each day you can visit another town, city, village or point of interest – all without travel in uncomfortable surroundings and the packing and unpacking required by other means of European travel.

Many of the cruise itineraries have special cruises available depending on the time of year. Art and music cruises are available. Wine tasting cruises are available taking you to some of the vineyards and wineries in Europe’s wine country. See the fall colours or watch as spring “bursts forth”. Many of the “shore excursions” provided by the river cruise lines are included in your ticket price. Now that’s value added!

These cruise boats offer luxurious surroundings. Many offer common areas with the likes of cherry wood, burnished brass and exquisite fabrics. All have comfortable deck areas for viewing the passing scenery.

Some staterooms offer floor to ceiling viewing windows. Some have separate bath and showers. Most of the stateroom amenities you would expect in the magnificent ocean cruise ships are provided on these luxurious river cruise boats.

The cuisine aboard river cruise boats is exquisite as well. The chefs often make use of local fresh ingredients to provide mouth watering fare. The dining room is set for dinner in elegance.

The pampering service one would expect on any luxury cruise is met and exceeded on these cruises. Luxury travel vacations would simply be travel without the marvelous service bestowed upon the river cruise passengers. The cruise staff are friendly and personable and are definitely there to please!

All about Cruising Glacier Bay

Nowhere else in Alaska, or in the world, can you see the amazing sight of the tidewater glacier that spreads from a peak 3 miles high down to sea level, that is known as the Margerie Glacier.

Only 200 years ago, the beautiful fjords and cruising areas of “Glacier Bay”, were buried under ice thousands of feet thick. In 1794, Capitan George Vancouver saw the face of an enormous glacier at Glacier Bay’s entrance at Icy Strait.

Naturalist John Muir found in 1879, that the vast ice had withdrawn an impressive 48 miles up the Bay. Amazingly, by 1916, its face had receded 65 miles all the way back to the entrance of Tarr Inlet, where it is today.

So, in only 200 years, these massive glaciers have left us with the beautiful, 65 mile long bay we enjoy now.

The glaciers on the Bay are extremely active and quite frequently, you get to hear or see “calving”. It occurs when huge parts of the glacier breaks off and falls crashing into the Bay.

The calving imitates an explosion, reverberating off the walls of the glacier, and the ice makes a giant splash as it smashes into Glacier Bay.

Along with Mother Nature’s incredible playful artistry of twinkling icebergs and striking views, you will probably be entertained by the plentiful wildlife that call this section of Alaska their homefront.

Sea otters, sleek sea lions, wolves, moose, black bears, Alaskan brown bears, puffins, humpback whales, minke and orca, harbor seals, porpoises, stunning bald eagles, mountain goats, and an amazing 200 breeds of birds are a delight to watch.

Puffins are one of the most vibrant birds. They are small seabirds, pigeon-sized, that live on the open water throughout the largest part of the year. Except for breeding.They swim and ride the surface of the ocean all year long regardless of harsh weather.

Pack For a Cruise

First of all, break your cruise vacation into parts or activities to make planning your packing easier. An example for a Caribbean cruise may be:

1. Travel to the cruise port.

2. Embarkation day.

3. Morning exercise

4. Afternoon sunbathing and pool

5. Evening dining and entertainment

6. Shore excursions

7. Formal night

8. Disembarkation and travel home

Let’s break these down into the items required for packing for your cruise

1. How to pack for your travel to the cruise port

Whether you are driving or flying to the cruise port, there are a few items you should have. First and foremost – keep all medications with you as carry-ons. Even if you will not require them until the next day, it’s important that you have them with you. Remember, “Stuff Happens”. Luggage has been known to go astray and it could be days before you see it again. With long waits at the airport, you may wish to have some reading materials or other activities to help the time pass. Make sure that you identify what you can and can’t carry on to an airplane. No nail files or other sharp objects etc. These can be placed in your checked luggage. Make sure that you have your transfer voucher from the airport to the ship with you as well so you won’t be scrambling to find them at the last minute. Also have your cruise tickets readily available. You wouldn’t want to have to tear apart your luggage in the cruise terminal to find your tickets.

2. How to pack for Embarkation

Again, all meds should be carried on – not in checked luggage. Make sure that you have a change of clothes with you as carry-ons. This may seem strange. Cruise passengers may not receive their luggage until late in the day of embarkation. Your checked luggage is delivered right to your stateroom. With as many as three thousand passengers all having one or two bags, that’s a lot of luggage to deliver! ( On one cruise, we went on board around 1:00 and didn’t receive the last of our luggage until about 7:00 that evening.) So, if you have left a cold climate to arrive at the airport and then directly to the cruise ship, you may want to put on some lighter clothing when you get on board.

3. How to pack for morning exercise

Only you can suggest what you might like here. Perhaps work-out shoes and clothing, weight lifting gloves, etc. The trick here is to make it light. If you are a walker or jogger, you may wish to have some cool clothing for the track on deck. Some cruise ships have athletic activities like basketball, volleyball and golf. Some consideration for these activities is recommended as well.

4. How to pack for the cruise afternoons on board ship

Sunbathing is one of the main activities in the sun on board cruise ships. Ample deck chairs are available on various decks and around the pools. You will want your bathing suits and cover-ups or other tanning attire. Suntan lotion is a must – the last thing you want is a painful sunburn to hamper your fun-in-the-sun cruise! A sun hat is advisable as well. A general requirement for your cruise vacation is a couple of pairs of comfortable shoes. You will do a good deal of walking while on board ship so you won’t want to be breaking in any fancy new shoes here! There are some special activities available on some cruise ships – ice skating, rock climbing etc. Check out your specific cruise ship to see if there are activities that you would like to plan for. For the most part, cruising attire is casual during the day. That means COMFORTABLE! After all, you are on vacation!

5. How to pack for evening dining and entertainment

Evenings on board ship have an atmosphere of casual elegance. Dress casual should be the attire of choice. The main dining rooms on board most cruise ships exude elegance after dark (or at dusk depending on your seating time). Scrumptious culinary fare will tempt you at every seating so add comfortable to the dress casual. You will be thankful for clothing that is not too tight. (You can work off the calories when you get home!) Many cruise ships offer fantastic evening entertainment. Las Vegas-style shows, Broadway-style skits, karaoke, piano bars, discos, and dancing will all add to your cruise ship experience. And of course the Casinos! Excitement on the high seas! Keep these activities all in mind when planning your packing list.

6. How to pack for shore excursions

Shore excursions are sometimes forgotten about when planning your packing list. This could be tragic. Forgetting the camera and missing the once in a lifetime shot of swimming with the dolphins. What about the binoculars if you are going to be sightseeing from high places or along the coast? Good walking shoes are a must here as well because many shore excursions will include some or a lot of walking. Think shopping. What would you need to be wearing if you are going power-shopping for a few hours? Shore time also means beach time. Many excursions offer snorkeling, sailing, kayaking, para-sailing and many other types of water activities. Make sure you plan for these on your packing list.

7. How to pack for Formal Night

I know guys – the dreaded Formal Night! The agony and the ecstasy. Agony for men and ecstasy for women! Formal nights on the cruise ship truly are elegant. Ladies in long flowing gowns and men in their best tuxedos. All right, not all are dressed-to-the-nines like that. However, jackets and ties for men are the norm. Dresses and pantsuits are common for the ladies. Ladies, keep in mind that you are on a moving ship so be careful about high and spike heels. If you choose casual dining on formal nights, there are casual dining alternates for you.

8. How to pack for disembarkation and travel home

Your cruise is over and you have been called to disembark the ship. Some will be ready to leave and get to work for a rest while others will be reluctant to leave. Again, it’s always wise to keep your medications with you. And don’t forget to put all sharp items is checked luggage so there is no hassle at the airport. Short of that, it’s a matter of throwing everything into the bags and zipping them up.

Monaco Yachts

There is a restraint, exclusivist rich group that has a thing for yachting, mainly because they can afford to! You and I, we both know that we’d like to own even a small, “unpretentious” sailboat, don’t we? And have at least once dreamed to relax on the deck of a luxury yacht in Monaco. But, hey, who needs a yacht in a so busy world? Do we wake up in the morning with nothing better to do than dress in white completely (maybe some blue too), have our cafe au lait (maybe a croissant also if not on diet) and go to the quay ordering around the employees to rub up better that side? We certainly don’t! If you say you do, that’s another story!

What better place (and object) for a competition: who has the bigger, more expensive model, envies arise, disputes start… Shirley Bassey reportedly complained of the big size of “Le Grand Bleu” belonging to the Russian billionaire Abramovich. The yacht apparently spoiled the view on the port of her uphill apartment. Well, what else would you like rich people to do?…

Beside occasional cruises and constant care some rich people find a practical use to their yachts: some rent them, others live there. Owning a yacht can be extremely useful if you are a tax exile, especially UK citizens who live in Monaco but work in the UK. Renting is very profitable, especially during holidays season or when big events happen in Monaco: prices go from 25,000EUR per week to 365,000EUR per week, depending on the size and facilities.

Some of world’s famous yachts rest in the waters of the bay. Some of them are so big that they have helicopters on their top decks. Among worlds’ 100 largest yachts are:

* Octopus – owned by Paul Allen, the Microsoft cofounder;

* Tatoosh – owned also by Paul Allen;

* Atlantis II – owned by the Niarchos family, descendants of Onassis’ rival Stavros;

* Le Grand Bleu – owned by the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich;

* Delphine – owned by the American car magnate Horace Dodge;

* Montkaj – owned by Prince Mohammed bin Fahd, son of Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd.

Following its policy of capitalization of all (though scarce) natural resource, the Principality quickly became aware of the potential of the Hercules Bay and started a yachting tradition. There is a Yacht Club founded in 1953 by Prince Rainier and it was all along supported by him and his son Albert, who is also its President. The Yacht Club de Monaco gained international fame attracting worlds’ greatest names in sailing to come and battle on the Monegasque waters.

Naturally, there are also prestigious yachting events of international interest, excellent opportunities for yacht owners all over the world to show off.

* Primo Cup – Trophée Credit Suisse

* Challenge Inter-Banques

* Monaco Classic Week

* Fête de la Mer

* Régates Corporatives

* Monaco Yacht Show

The events are organized with the support of H.S.H. Prince Albert I and of H.S.H. Prince Rainier III. All these events have display and competitions parts, except for Monaco Yacht Show, which is the greatest in-water yacht exhibition in Europe, without competition show.

Rotary Boat Hull

There is also an issue with run off if you clean your boat hull near the water because the water goes somewhere, generally into storm drains and back into the ocean, river or lake you see? Like wise even if you design a system to clean it in the water how do you bring the boat into the lock, clean it (swimming pool clean the water) for 10 hours to insure wash water volume is accumulated and discharged? Then how will you monitor it? And since there is not yet such a permit even available you have to wait for the Government Regulators to get off their asses and coffee breaks to create one, with public hearings, etc.

This is the kind of environmental issues faced by Marinas and even though you need that hull cleaned for savings in fuel efficiency, speed in water and safety of the hull’s integrity, the Marina may not be legally allowed to clean it. The poor Marina owner even if they go through the process to get permitted their project loses the money it could have made sitting on idle property that they could have put a slip in and been collecting fees?

Imagine in Ft Lauderdale sitting on a property that you could lease out for over $50K – 100K during the winter months; so much for that income property. Also you must build your system to and have space to use it. If you use it in a slip already there and put an inflatable raft under the boat and blow it up around it, do it there. Great, you do not hurt the environment (which is BS anyway, algae on a boat does not kill fish), as we have cruise ships dumping 1 million gallons of gray and black water into the sea? I suppose they could clean the hull and then leave, before any regulators come to see what they did. If they did happen by no one could cite you because you did not hurt any thing and collected the water and filtered it from the dock on your hand truck pool cleaner filtration system? But sometimes you might be better off to ask forgiveness in this way than to ask permission and be denied because no one ever asked the question that the brain dead regulators never pondered because they never had to make a friggin payroll?

Airboats

You have to ask yourself many questions when determining what airboat is best for you. Including topics such as the cost factor, whether to purchase a new or used airboat. Your stability needs to include the size of hull that you will require will help determine the size of engine. Also, what is the main purpose of the use of the airboat? In addition, you need to determine the performance expectancy meaning, what do you want your boat to be capable of?

Next is choosing your power drive and propeller design. Reliability of all welded aluminum hulls are other items of consideration. New or used, it is important to know your craft and the tolerance of the hull. In reference to the boat’s warranty, materials and construction, use quality airboat industry standard parts. And finally, what options would you like on your airboat.

Whichever options you decide to choose, consider what you are doing and what you are getting into before you start. And remember, you get what you pay for, so from the safety perspective, going cheap probably isn’t the best idea.

Airboat safety is important. The general population can’t explore the type of territories that an airboat owner can. Airboats have the versatility that other boats don’t. So in many cases and situations, when air boating in the back areas of the rivers, eddies and swamps, you are normally on your own.

It is great to have a craft that goes so many places but sometimes this can also be somewhat dangerous. Travel in two or more craft if possible and have reliable communications onboard such as a cellular or satellite phone or a two-way radio.

Once you categorize your needs, it will often determine what design is required to suit that need. This will get you into the right ballpark. Airboats hulls come in a variety of sizes of airboats. Sizes range from 10×7 ft to the large 25×8 ft airboat. Each foot-length of boat comes in three available widths: the 7, 7.5 or 8 ft. The most popular sized boats are the 12-14 ft boats. There are also companies that specialize in making large sized tour boats. Once you decide what hull is needed the rest of the boat comes easier.

Transatlantic Cruise

The transatlantic voyage is served by many lines such as Celebrity Transatlantic Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America Transatlantic Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Transatlantic Cruise and Royal Caribbean. You will get favorable transatlantic cruise deals aboard ships under these cruise lines.

For centuries, people have taken voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. Now, the routes are served by modern ships fitted with state of the art facilities. To attract customers amid the stiff competition, the ship lines are offering deals which target various segments of the market. For example, there are transatlantic cruise deals that target families.

Aboard the cruise voyage, people get the chance to experience different new activities. For instance, you will be able to gaze at the stars at night. The constellations are a sight to behold. Additionally, you will have the chance to explore different historic European cities along the way in addition to seeing beautiful landscapes such as the Reykjavik landscapes in Iceland.

Among the lines that offer exciting deals is the Royal Caribbean line. The line offers cruise deals with a departure from Tampa or Boston to places such as cork Ireland, Cherbourg France, and Brussels, Belgium. The ships dock in many ports along the way giving the tourists a lifetime’s opportunity to sample the different delicacies and fun the cities offer. From Europe to America, the Royal Caribbean line commences in Europe with stops in Barcelona, Oslo, Hamburg, Rotterdam and other many cities.

Also, the Norwegian cruise line offers affordable transatlantic cruise deals. It covers Miami, Southampton, Copenhagen, and Barcelona. The cruise deals offered by the line tend to target the general market segment. Hence, there are deals designed for couples on a romantic gateway, families looking to take time out to bond and interact, or people taking some time out of their busy and stressful lifestyles. This implies that there are cruise deals that will suit everyone willing to take a journey of a lifetime across the Atlantic Ocean.

Summer Camp

This is a different kind of summer camp – a moving, “live-aboard” camp – called SeaTrek. Here, high school and college aged students live and play onboard one of several 45-foot catamaran sailing yachts equipped with the latest safety equipment and onboard technology for 21 days.

Under the watchful eyes of a professional staff, SeaTrekers take full control of their live-aboard yachts while learning seamanship, sailing, scuba diving and marine science. This hands-on instructional approach continues throughout the voyage ensuring a thorough understanding of safe yacht operation, proper scuba diving procedures, and basic marine science.

Captains Monk and Kat, owners of SeaTrek Adventures, bring a wealth of knowledge of the sea, scuba diving and youth education to the students they work with each summer.

Captain Monk has 10 years experience on live-aboard dive vessels, having worked in the Bahamas, the US and British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Honduras, Mexico, Florida, Australia, Costa Rica and Hawaii. He has developed and directed several school age diving programs in conjunction with Texas A&M University and San Jacinto College. Monk worked extensively with Texas A&M’s Biology Department and The Flower Gardens National Marine Sanctuary as a research diver and dive supervisor.

Captain Kat currently teaches Environmental Science at the University of Michigan. She is an expert on island formation and geology, a photographer and a bit of a historian. She is an avid sailor, having led three previous adventure voyages, as well as having three years experience with world class live-aboard dive vessels. Kat has ten years experience diving the Great Lakes, Mexico, the British Virgin Islands and Hawaii.

Monk and Kat Both hold United States Coast Guard 100ton Masters Licenses and are both Instructor Trainers for the National Association of Underwater Instructors, CPR/1st Aid Instructors, and Divers Alert Network (DAN) Oxygen First Aid Instructors.

“”Our biggest thing is safety – making sure that the kids come home safe. We travel all across the US to meet parents in person prior to each trip. We hire the best sailing, diving, and biology instructors available. Every student receives personal instruction through every aspect of the voyage from raising the sails to tying up your hammock at night,” said Monk.

No experience is necessary, in fact, most Trekers have never sailed or scuba dived before. To be eligible, students must be at least 13 years of age and want to learn. “We offer programs for those who have never set foot in the ocean all they way up to programs for those who have logged hundreds of dives or days under sail.” Programs range from introductory scuba, sailing and marine biology for those with no prior experience, to highly advanced training for the most experienced “Trekers.”

Alex Cohen, age 18, has been sailing with Monk going on four years. “I’ve learned more in those summers than I’ve learned anywhere. I cannot think of a better way to spend my summers – it’s a great life experience.” Now an employee of SeaTrek, Alex says the leadership skills he has developed through his experience sailing with Monk have prepared him well for his professional goals, which include a career in medicine.

While learning to scuba dive, students are also led by the onboard naturalist and marine biologist on a variety of learning experiences. “We have a full time biologist that works to introduce kids to biology. We offer a unique program where students can obtain school credit for completing a project while on the expedition,” said Monk, of the program that offers an impressive 2:1 student teacher ratio.

The culmination of the journey is when all students actively participate in operating the yacht themselves. “One of the biggest goals of each journey is that the students will be able to operate the 45-foot catamaran for 6 hours by themselves – this is the ultimate level of excitement and learning.”

Benefits of Motor Yacht Charters

The larger the size of the yacht, the more amenities it offers to the passengers. Nevertheless, a typical motor yacht contains self-contained suites for the guest, a pantry and space on the deck from where to look at the sea.

Larger motor yachts carry water-scooters and inflatable rubber boats to make forays into the sea for underwater snorkel diving, water-skiing and fishing expeditions.

It is more convenient to have motor yacht charters with a crew because the handling of the vessel requires expert navigation techniques and mechanics. Besides, a trained staff is also needed to look after the upkeep, cooking and catering.

The most popular yacht to charter is a heavy displacement motor yacht that generally offers a cruising speed of between 10 and 14 knots. In rough conditions they are far more comfortable than a faster yacht and also tend to sit better at anchor.

Some people prefer yachts that are capable of continuous speeds in excess of 20 knots. This has the benefit of getting you from port to port as fast as possible. However, if the weather is not ideal, long distance cruising can be a little uncomfortable and certainly the choice of anchorages has to be more carefully considered.

Atlantic Ocean

Due to it’s large area the Climate of the Atlantic Ocean varies greatly from one part to the next. The climate of adjacent land areas is directly influenced by the temperatures of the surface waters and water currents as well as the winds blowing across the Ocean. Because the Ocean can retain heat so well, maritime climates are always moderate and free of extreme season variations. Climatic zones vary with the latitude; the warmest climatic zones span across the Atlantic above the equator. The coldest zones are in the highest latitudes, with the coldest regions corresponding to the areas covered by sea ice. Ocean currents contribute to climatic control by moving warm and cold waters to other regions. Adjacent land areas are affected by the winds that are cooled or warmed when blowing over these currents.