Hey folks summer’s right around the bend!!
Now is the Time to plan for that Next
“Beat The Heat” Great Adventure!
It seems like that thought rises up, just as New Year’s resolutions fade and summer break is a just few calendar pages away.
The “Next Great Adventure” is, of course, a relative feeling, unique to you or your family and very, very personal. We all have lists. Lists of things to do or yet to achieve, adventures, waiting to be shared.
Hey, the list of…lists, is never ending, but the circumstances that make today’s list important – may never be the same again. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- Your folks, who have been very good to you, are aging.
- The kids are just at the right age to try something new and challenging.
- Your spouse has a window of time from his or her job (only certain for this summer).
- Or, you been moving too fast for too long and just need to reconnect.
These are all great reasons for making now the time – for that Next Great Adventure!
Here is a brief list of adventures: Fun things from water to land and from far to near.
By Sea: Cruises this summer are still a value, large in size and adventure.
We are experiencing a renaissance in the number of new ships on the market these days. In April, Celebrity cruises launched Eclipse, the third in its Solstice class. It actually entered the market by transporting from Bilbao, Spain, to Southampton, England, approximately 2,200 vacationers who had been stranded by the travel disruption caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland. Holland America Line will introduce its ms Nieuw Amsterdam in July 2010. Its interior design and art collection will reflect the glamour and history of New York City, formerly called Nieuw Amsterdam. And who can forget two of the most attention-getting entries into the cruise market in 2009 – Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Carnival Dream. That’s just a sampling of what is out there.
In recent years, more cruise lines have begun introducing their own version of “any-time dining” and casual-attire specialty restaurants. For example, the Solstice features no less than 10 different dining venues.
Cruise prices reached historic lows in 2009. It has been said that the bargain basement prices are all swept away for 2011, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find great value.
If you find something you’re interested in, lock in the pricing with a $100 -$250 deposit. It is fully refundable until final payment, usually around 75 to 90 days from sailing (depending on the specific Cruise Line). Deals are out there and your local cruise consultant/ professional can help you match up with the right product and price.
As cruise lines position their ships for the summer months, Alaska and Europe are perennial favorite summer destinations. Alaska, Mother Natures’ playground, (and a great summer heat escape) is where people are small in numbers and significance. While visiting, you get the feeling that each moment may present a natural drama from the days of Wild Kingdom. Animals going their own way, never giving us a thought or a glance. Flowers are blooming in the morning and completing their life-cycle that night. Oh! And if a four-story glacier of ice crashes in the sea, bobbing five times before it floats away on a Tuesday morning, who hears it? Have to be there, I guess.
While there, whale watching, gold panning, hiking, fishing, white-water rafting, dog-sledding, tobogganing in shorts on a glacier – and of course continuous sight-seeing in 60-70 degrees in August is possible. Really, there is something to see or do for every member of the family, grandpa through 5th graders, and they can do it, together.
When it comes to Europe, think of cruising Europe in four parts, each with its own history, weather and charm. The Eastern Mediterranean from Italy to Spain is easily the one Americans try out first, and it is also the most popular. Book the “Med” early, on just about any cruise line you can think of. European cruise lines like, MSC and Costa (Italian) and Cunard are real values in comparison to the bigger players that only go there seasonally. There’s even a luxury line that is a tall ship with sails. Windstar enters a Mediterranean port with masts flying and beckons the town folk to come welcome her, right around dusk and dinner. Awesome experience.
Greece and Turkey are for the sun worshippers from May to September. Warm waters and cloudless skies are the norm as one approaches a port with history as old as Troy and authentic food that has not changed in as many years. Island hopping in the Aegean or Adriatic Seas is perfect for those who love to explore small villages and talk with residents about their wonderful heritage. Visit Athens and Istanbul for sure, but don’t miss the islands of Santorini, Mykonos and Rhodes.
Scandinavia is a classic land of seafarers and monarchs, historically speaking. Stylish clothiers, night life, and fine seafood dining are the staple of safe cities like Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo. For the sightseers, fjords and handcraft shops abound.
Lastly, we return to the Baltics. These are countries rushing onto the world’s scene of commerce, yet with their own golden history prior to the influence of the Soviet Union. The Baltic people are proud of their independence and offer us a real European value for our money.
At Cruise Holidays, we are cruise experts by nature, but who doesn’t appreciate some good old fashioned travel within the Continental U.S., especially during summer?
Surely, the two spots I’m about to mention are not well kept secrets, but the whole family can enjoy them with a little planning, if you start soon.
The Grand Canyon Railroad leaves from Williams, Arizona (near Flagstaff) and is four hours of fun, history and music. The western theme, staged by cowboy actors will keep you amused from the time you board the train, among shootouts and showgirls. Fiddlers and saloon bartenders will be singing ballads and telling jokes that at least seem feasibly true. Stay a night or two at the Grand Canyon lodges, either on the rim or 11 miles into the Canyon floor. You really need to experience the Grand Canyon at least once in your life. A really cool way to see this adventure is to drive to Williams and stay in the Hotel adjacent to the railway depot station, or if you like a little more ruggedness and have access to a RV or camper you can stay before and after your rail journey in the top notch campground facility also right adjacent to the Railway Depot Station. Personally I have done both and can highly recommend either way!!
Seattle, Washington, is a vibrant city in the summer, when (after the 4th of July) it really doesn’t rain much until Halloween. Mt. Rainier is an amazing sight you can’t miss from downtown or just about anywhere. Pike’s Market has the fish-flying (literally at you), chowder and art. Pioneer Square is hopping with music of every type; in fact, you can enter 10 nightclubs with only a single cover charge. The Space Needle towers over a number of museums of art, science, nature and music. Microsoft’s Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project is outrageous for music lovers. Entire wings of the museum are dedicated to varying American music genres, all in a very high-tech way.
Seattle also has the most comical two-hour ground tour, called “The Underground Seattle Tour.” Yes, there really is a city beneath a city and you must hear the outrageous stories to believe it. This can’t-miss tour is guided by actors that take you below street level to early 20th century wooden sidewalks and share the history of the lumber city that burnt down.
Within 30 minutes of your downtown hotel (traffic permitting), you can be hiking miles of marked trails in the Cascades Mountains, sailing beside orca whales and sea lions, kayaking below a waterfall higher than Niagara or sipping lattes in the book store that the television show “Frazier” was based upon.
You see, this summer really has great choices for your Next Great Adventure. What’s on your list?
Now is the Time!
For more information on these fabulous summer cruise and travel destination ideas, or to book your summertime adventures, you can contact Mike via email firstname.lastname@example.org . You can tweet (or follow) Mike at http://www.twitter.com/cruisewithmike . You can “Join” our Travel Club at http://meetup.com/Sun-Cities-Travelers-Group/ Mikes web site can be found at www.mberryhill.cruiseholidays.com . You can follow this blog (or subscribe to it) at http://www.cruisewithmike.com (or merely click on the subscribe button above to have daily delivery to your email). View all of Mikes uploaded Flickr Photo Galleries at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cruisewithmike/ . Mike also is editor of his own twice daily e-newspapaer called “The Compass Headings” you can see (or subscribe to) it free! at http://paper.li/CruisewithMike
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