Reflections from cruises around the world

Reflections from cruises around the world

As a certified travel agent for four decades, an international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for business or pleasure, has always been an important and integral part of my life. Some 400 voyages to all parts of the world, by road, rail, sea, and air, involved destinations both mundane and exotic. This article focuses on my cruises and voyages around the world.

My lifetime cruise program, which spanned the 18-year period from 1991 to 2009, involved 27 voyages on 24 ships operated by 11 cruise lines to 17 regions, 49 countries, and 114 ports of call. During 205 days at sea I sailed almost 60,000 nautical miles. The trips themselves have been subdivided into geographic regions.

The east coast of the United States, for example, was covered with both north and south itineraries.

The first, with Holland America’s Rotterdam, left New York on a ten-day cruise that took him to Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine, and then to Canada, specifically Noa Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Quebec, sailing up the St Lawrence River to Quebec City and Montreal. The second, with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn, followed the east coast on her seven-day voyage to Orlando and Miami in Florida, then changed course further east to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas, before turning back. to your port. -u-origin.

The west coast was also completely covered by sea. Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, for example, made its way from San Diego to Vancouver, with ports of call in San Francisco and Astoria, Oregon, before sailing in Canadian waters to British Columbia, while Royal Caribbean’s Regal Princess Princess Cruise Line embarked on its seven-day Alaska Inside Passage itinerary from Vancouver to Juneau, Skagway, Yakutat Bay and Sitka.

Hawaii, in the Pacific, was covered in a loop of several islands on the Norwegian Star, specifically Oahu, the Big Island of Hawaii, Maui and Kuai, before assuming a southerly course toward the roughly equivalent of the equator, three degrees north latitude . location of Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati, your mandatory foreign port of call.

In addition to the Bahamas, Bermuda counted as an Atlantic island destination, in this case, on the Carnival’s Pride for a seven-day sailing that included three nights in port for daily sightseeing tours of an equal number of island areas. british.

Three Caribbean island cruises, one to the eastern and two to the southern Caribbean, provided considerable coverage there.

The first, with the Grand Princess, departed from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale and touched bases on St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays, her private island.

The second, with Celebrity’s Constellation, sailed from San Juan and traveled to the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua and Saint Thomas.

The third, with the Caribbean Princess, once again originated from San Juan, but sailed to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica and, for the third time, to St. Thomas.

Two Mexican itineraries involved a one-day one from San Diego to Ensenada on Starlite Cruise Line’s Pacific Star, and the more traditional week-long one with the Sea Princess, in this case, from Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera destinations of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán and Cabo San Lucas, reminiscent of the weekly program of the television series The Love Boat, which aroused considerable interest in cruises.

South America was circumnavigated with three voyages of 14 days.

The first, on the Royal Princess, left Ft. Lauderdale and headed for St. Barthelemy, St. Lucia, and Barbados in the Caribbean, before venturing to Devil’s Island in French Guiana, crossing the equator, and entering the Amazon River in Brazil to Santana, Santarem, Boca da Valeria, Parintins and Manaus, covering 3,236 miles.

The second, originating in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and operated by Celebrity’s Infinity, eventually found its way around the tip of the continent at Cape Horn, which provided northern access to Darwin’s famous Beagle Channel and the southern entrance to the Passage of Drake. Their ports of call included Montevideo in Uruguay, Puerto Madryn in Argentina, Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, Ushuaia in Argentina, and Punta Arenas in Chile. Continuing her journey up the west coast, she crossed the Strait of Magellan and the Chilean fjords, offering a close inspection of the Skua Glacier, before sailing to Puerto Montt and ending up in Valparaíso, both in Chile, completing a 4,070-mile cruise.

The third, of equal duration and on the same ship some two years later, left Valparaíso but called at La Serena and Arica, both in Chile, before continuing on to Callao, Peru, and Manta, Ecuador, in the process crossing the Ecuador. An eastbound transit through the Panama Canal took it through the Miraflores Locks, Gatun Lake, Gaillard Cut, and the Gatun Locks, during which time it was subject to an 85-foot change in sea level. water. The last four days of his trip took him to Cartagena, Colombia; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Ft. Lauderdale, her terminus, completing a 4,505-mile journey.

An earlier partial crossing of the Panama Canal, on the Coral Princess, also left Ft. Lauderdale, but called at Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman in the Caribbean, Limón in Costa Rica and Cozumel in Mexico. It only entered the Gatun Locks and rounded the lake of the same name.

Off the west coast of South America, specifically Ecuador, a five-day, four-night Galapagos cruise on the smaller Corinthian involved calls at San Cristóbal, Tower, Bartolomé, Santiago, Santa Fe and Santa Crux, its two daily shore expeditions requiring a barefoot dip into the warm crystal clear water from the tenders and a subsequent walk and wade up the beach to the bridge.

The North American and European continents were connected with three transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton on Cunard’s famous Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 liners, one eastbound and the other two westbound for the ultimate in opulence in travel . They all passed the Statue of Liberty, entered Newfoundland’s choppy Grand Banks, and sailed up the Solent to Southampton, sometimes in reverse order, depending on the voyage; address.

Europe was extensively covered by cruises from north to south.

A circumnavigation of the British Isles on the Golden Princess, for example, proceeded from Southampton to Dublin in Ireland, Hollyhead in Wales, Belfast in Northern Ireland, Greenock in Scotland, Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, South Queensferry, serving Edinburgh in Scotland and back to Southampton, England.

The Norwegian fjords were accessed, on Celebrity’s Century, through Olden, Flam, Alesund and Bergen, an itinerary that included the impressive North Fjord, the Jostedal glacier, the largest in Europe, and the Sognefjorden, the longest from the continent, after a departure from Amsterdam.

An excerpt from my Cruise Log captured the experience.

“Century left the Sognefjorden, once more turning north and rounding the North Sea throughout the night. Approaching Alesund, her third port of call during the early morning hours, she berthed to starboard at the silvery port like a mirror at 0730 between the low, deep green hills on her left side, over which hung dirty white clouds, like an ethereal mist, and the gabled and turreted Norwegian row houses of the town on her right , characterized the architecture of the area. It boasted Mount Aksla, which rose prominently above it.”

Scandinavia was also covered with a cruise from Copenhagen on the Crown Princess, calling at Nyshaven in Sweden and Helsinki in Finland, before continuing on to St Petersburg in Russia. Although she docked in Oslo, Norway, at the end of her sailing, she returned via the Baltics of Estonia and Poland.

An Iberian sailing from Southampton on the Sea Princess paralleled the west coast of Europe after docking on the island of Guernsey, and then headed for La Rochelle in France and Vigo in Spain.

The eastern and western sides of the Mediterranean were also covered by cruise ships.

The first, on Royal Caribbean’s Splendor of the Seas, departed from Barcelona and called at bases in Marseille and Nice in France, Monaco and Florence, Pisa, Capri and Sorrento in Italy.

The latter, with Celebrity’s Galaxy, sailed to Greece and Turkey, and the Greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos from Rome.

Finally, a 3,374-mile sailing on the Costa Fortuna involved ports of call in Barcelona before continuing across the Strait of Gibraltar, a bridge between the European and African continents, to Casablanca in Morocco, where it then turned the South Atlantic to Santa Cruz. in Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Funchal in Madeira. Her return brought him to Malaga on Spain’s sunny Costa del Sol.

These cruises and voyages offered new approaches to destinations already visited, along with many new ones. Like self-contained floating cities, her mega-ships, sometimes holding populations of 7,000 passengers and crew members, brought multicolored sunsets, tranquility to the soul, and islands, cities, and countries that appeared outside my stateroom window or balcony almost every day. tomorrow. During the days at sea, I took advantage of a hundred lectures and courses, as many live performances at night, and as many shore excursions when in port. The countless buffets and sit-down meals are almost unfathomable, but three examples have been cited.

“Breakfast in the Splendor of the Seas King and I Dining included orange juice, fried eggs, bacon, roasted tomatoes, hash browns and croissants.”

“Afternoon tea, on the Queen Mary 2, was a British tradition and a delicious intermittent between lunch and dinner served at all Cunard crossings. Today it was served in the Queen’s Room, which was the largest ball at sea with a vaulted ceiling, two crystal chandeliers, a blue and gold velvet curtain over the orchestra stage, a 1,225-square-foot dance floor, a live harpist, and small round tables, it consisted of egg, ham and cheese, cucumber, tomato, beef and seafood sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, and strawberry cream tarts.”

“Dinner was served at Infinity’s SS United States restaurant just after exiting the Panama Canal, an elegant dining venue inspired by the SS United States ocean liner with a panel of actual etched glass from the ship, formally ornate tables, and eye windows “Menu Exceptionel,” a six-course tasting of their signature dishes, included Riesling white wine from Germany, chicken roscón with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts, a light and creamy tomato, red pepper, and mozzarella soup with pesto; a soup twice -baked goat cheese soufflé served with red pepper coulis and triangle of olive toast, passion fruit granite and white rum, grilled sea bass fillet served with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, pistachio and olive oil on grilled Mediterranean vegetables; a selection of cheeses with walnut bread, celery, apple slices, walnuts and grapes; chocolate soufflé with vanilla Worcestershire sauce; coffee and petit fours”

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