Some Cruising Lessons

You don’t have to gain weight while on a cruise. If you are a fussy eater or vegetarian, there are plenty of choices. Fresh fruit and salads are plentiful. Food is everywhere and available all the time. You can have free ice cream, pizza and/or a burger in the grill area or eat meals in onboard restaurants (a complementary meal is often given to entice you to come back and pay the next time). There is an all you can eat buffet, the Trough, which is the most dangerous place to spend time. It is best to take tiny portions of the foods that sound interesting and then go back for a little extra of your favorites. Watch out for breads and starches, white sauces and cream-filled desserts.

There’s always plenty to do on board ship. Hmm, yes, there are many activities and the staff does a great job trying to keep folks entertained. Activities are more important for long periods of time (Alaska) on board, unlike island hopping in Hawaii, when you are off the ship quite a bit. Activities consist of a comedian, a singer, a couple bands, movies, karaoke, trivia games, a casino and pricey bingo. There are also guest speakers talking about the area you are cruising, and health-oriented talks in the on-board spa. If you are traveling solo and find it difficult to meet people, these activities can help. However, if you have a specific interest, such as jazz, you might be better off trying a jazz cruise, where you are more likely to meet someone with common interests.

Getting away from all the people can be challenging. If you are a detective or a writer, it is best to avoid telling people. You might find the same person “bumping” into you everywhere you go. Even with a balcony, rooms can be claustrophobic no matter the weather. Everyone is out on deck when it is nice, and it can get loud with announcements and movies. If you don’t like the constant wind from the movement of the ship when outdoors, you may have more problems than most with claustrophobia.

Figure out the best time to go. Do you like it hot, rainy or cool? Do you want the beginning of season, when the excursion folks may be new to their jobs and kids are still in school? Or do you want end of season, when staff can’t wait for it all to be over? Do you want to see spring flowers, certain animals or fall colors? Figure out what you are most interested in seeing and then book the cruise accordingly.

You may have to spend more to fulfill the scale of your expectations. For example, on an Alaskan cruise, you may see whales and experience the thrill of icebergs falling from glaciers into the ocean (calving). However, without very strong binoculars or sharp reflexes, you won’t see either from the cruise ship. Seals resting on pieces of ice are just black or brown dots in the distance even with binoculars. Twenty-five story glaciers look minuscule, when the ship is five miles out to avoid the ice chunks from all the calving in the area. Whale spouts are confused with porpoise spouts, so many folks yelling out “whales” don’t even know what they are seeing and in the blink of an eye, whatever they were, are now gone. Thus, the scale of things is much smaller than your expectations, when compared to National Geographic photos. The only way to cure that is to go on a whale-watching excursion, which will cost you more.

Croatia Cruises

The itinerary of your Croatia gulet can allow you to visit different magnificent ports such as Zadar, Split, Sibenik, Trogir and Dubrovnik where you will experience coastal towns with rich natural beauty, culture and history. On your Croatia cruises you will come across different islands where your gulet can make stopovers thus allowing you to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, fishing, jet skiing, and so forth. As your gulet cruises over the pleasurable waters of the Adriatic you can enjoy sunbathing at the front deck or even sipping fine wine on the shaded cushion seats on the opposite deck as you sail past exotic lush green sceneries all around.

In comparison to the blue cruises in Turkey, Croatia gulet cruises allow you to spend every evening in a different island or town. There are therefore many possibilities that your itinerary can take including visiting the top ten most pleasant islands in Hvar plus visiting features such as the Krka Islands and areas such as Korcula, Mljet, Kornati Islands and Elafite Islands.

The prices of Croatia cruises have really come down over the past few years thanks to a strong competition base and you can now find great offers on private charters or cabin charters. To save much more just look out for last minute discounts where you can enjoy savings of up to 20{fcda63cc565aa7cfbe404283493d0d1ca101953cd59f3ca9bfe541f2a37914e8} on different gulet cruises.

Planning for cruises in Croatia is best done with the help of online cruise companies. Choosing the right companies will make or break your expectations for the trip; you will find companies that take care of different itinerary needs and budgets quite differently. Always look for companies that carry a professional image and websites that carry plenty of info. This will in most cases guarantee you to find quality gulets with cabins that are well furnished and equipped with modern amenities for your convenience in addition to being staffed by friendly and professional crews.

Cruising in Winter

San Juan. The capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521. It is famous for its many beautiful beaches, hotels, museums and other tourist attractions that make it one of the most popular ports of call for all cruise lines. Several historical structures dating from its earliest days under Spanish rule include Fort San Cristóbal, Fort San Felipe del Morro, and La Fortaleza, which is the oldest executive mansion continually occupied in the Americas. When cruising the Caribbean, be sure to check out Old San Juan, located on Isleta de San Juan and offering a connection to the main island in the form of a causeway and two bridges. Old San Juan is an architecture lover’s dream, with several residences and forts in the classic Spanish design, including a house once owned and occupied by founder Ponce de Leon and his family.

St. Maarten. Located on the southern half of the island of St. Martin, St. Maarten was colonized by Dutch settlers in the early 1500s but was first claimed by Christopher Columbus in 1493. Popular tourist destinations include white sandy beaches, and numerous British and Dutch era forts, including Fort Amsterdam. The French side of the island features Marigot featuring lovely shops and French bakeries.

St. Kitts. An island in the West Indies bordering the Caribbean and Atlantic, St. Kitts is a neighbor to the island of Nevis. It features the famous Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, where visitors can walk a military fortification built by the British during their ongoing battles with the French in the 17th and 18th centuries. Visitors cruising the Caribbean often stop to explore its capital, Basseterre, located on south-western coast and founded in 1627 by French trader Pierre Belain d’Esnambuc. For the truly adventurous in spirit, St. Kitts offers three volcanic mountain ranges worth exploring: the Mount Misery Range, Verchilds Range, and the Olivees Range.

Now is a great time to begin searching for Caribbean cruises in winter specials from major cruise lines, like Royal Caribbean, whose spacious Independence of the Seas plies the warm, clear turquoise waters of the Caribbean from Miami down through Puerto Rico to Labadee and other ports of call. Labadee is a private resort off Haiti belonging exclusively to Royal Caribbean, whose guests enjoy private beaches, water slides, snorkeling, sumptuous meals, and a multitude of other activities to make their visit truly memorable. Some of the most popular stops in the Caribbean include San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts, and many other ports, so look for departure dates and schedule your winter cruise today!

Cruising to Dubrovnik

You can enjoy a wonderful day tour from Dubrovnik, to the Peljesac peninsula, a spectacular 40-mile stretch of land running north from Dubrovnik along the coast, where vines have flourished on the well-drained, sunny slopes since the time of the Greeks, and some fine wines are produced, notably the celebrated Dingac wine (also known as the King of Croatian red wines) from the plavac mali grapes which are similar to the Californian Zinfandel. Grapes are picked by hand as the terrain is so steep and rocky. Visit three of the more prominent local cellars for wine tastings with your guide who is a WSET Diploma Holder/Certified wine educator and certified sommelier and you can enjoy a superb gourmet lunch at the ancient fortified town of Ston.

Ston itself is well worth a visit on a day tour from Dubrovnik, its low white stone houses nestling in a sheltered bay, almost completely encircled by a wall that snakes over the surrounding hillsides rather like a miniature version of the Great Wall of China. It’s famous for its oysters and mussels which you can also taste, and for its salt pans which produced the region’s most profitable export for a thousand years.

Closer to Dubrovnik and on the way to Ston and Peljesac is Croatia’s oldest arboretum, Trstena, a delightful exotic garden overlooking the coast, and your day tour from Dubrovnik can also include a visit to the Franciscan Monastery in Kuna where you can see paintings by a famous artist from the village.

Heading in the opposite direction is the region of Konavle, a region of hills covered in mulberry and cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves. A typical day trip from Dubrovnik features a local vineyard to taste some of their wines and homemade snacks, a visit to a 15th century Franciscan monastery at the village of Pridvorje and a tour of Cavtat, a tiny medieval town on the coast with pine forests behind and the glittering blue sea on front, stone houses and red roofs, cobbled streets and colourful window boxes – a real hidden gem of the Mediterranean. Edward & Mrs Simpson spent part of their honeymoon here.