Explore Exotic Russia On A River Cruise

The places that you must see include the ‘Hermitage Museum’, which was once the Winter Palace and houses one of the finest collections of art in the world with works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt and Matisse. ‘Catherine the Great’s Palace’ is next on the must see list as it features a 298 metre white, gold and blue façade and is crowned with golden onion domes and ‘St Isaac’s Cathedral’ is quite simply stunning, with its marble walls embossed with an array of semi-precious stones.

Mandrogui is set upon beautiful parklands on the banks of the Svir River and is littered with a whole host of colourful buildings. At this port of call you can discover an array of shops, arts and crafts workshops. And a lot of the river cruise ships offer Russia lessons when you get back on board so you can learn a little something along the way.

Kizhi is the next port of call and is the place to see an array of churches, temples and historical sites. This UNESCO World Heritage site is also home to ancient wooden buildings which fascinate everyone that visits. After this you can head to the Russian settlement of Goritsy. Situated near the famous St Cyril Monastery you can enjoy a whole wealth of exploring during your time here.

Russia’s capital Moscow is always a firm favourite with river cruise travellers. You can visit the onion domes of St Basil’s Cathedral, the legendary Red Square, the famous Kremlinm, Novodevichy Convent and enjoy incredible scenic views from the Sparrow Hills. You can explore fascinating European art in the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, take a stroll through the ever so beautiful Gorky Park or even shop for some bargains at the Izmailovo Flea Market. There really is something everyone in Russia’s capital.

Galapagos Cruise

Kicker Rock (Leon Dormido)

This vertical rock off the northwest coast of San Cristobal juts up approximately 500 feet straight out of the water. As you approach from San Cristobal it will have the appearance of a boot, giving it the name “Kicker Rock”. As you get closer and cruise around towards the north face, you will have the opportunity to spot blue footed boobies, masked boobies and magnificent frigate birds.

Genovesa (Tower Island)

Located in the far north east of the archipelago, Genovesa is home to some of the most spectacular bird watching in the Galapagos. Most visits include a stop at Prince Philips steps and Darwin Bay. Both locations are superb for viewing the abundance of birdlife, including swallow-tailed gulls, storm petrels, frigate birds and tropic birds. At times the sky seems filled with birds. You will also see Red Footed Boobies which, like the frigate bird, nest in the branches of the low lying shrubs. (Breeding Season is from September to July.) Aside from birdlife, Genovesa is also a great place for snorkeling. With small cliffs lining the bay, there is a diverse array of sea life that lives around these rocky outcroppings as well as on the sandy bottom.

Fernandina

Fernandina is the westernmost island in the Galapagos, located just a short distance from Isabela. One of the youngest islands in the Galapagos, Fernadina remains one of the most highly active volcanic islands, with its main crater approximately 6.5 kilometers wide. Due to its young age and lack of precipitation, it does not have the rich flora that other islands such as Santa Cruz or San Cristobal do. This allows only a certain group of animals to thrive here, most notably the flightless cormorant. Punta Espinoza is the main area of visit, offering great contrast between the green mangroves, black lava flows, and turquoise waters. The island is also home to the largest colony of sea iguanas in the Galapagos.

Isabela

Formed by joining of six lava flows, Isabela is the largest island in the Galapagos. Located on the western side of the archipelago Isabela stretches approximately 100 kilometers north to south.

On its western coast you will find Tagus Cove and Urvina Bay, popular destination for cruises that make the journey to Fernandina and the west coast of Isabela. On a short walk around Tagus Cove, past walls scrawled with graffiti dating back to the 1800’s, you’ll enjoy views of a saltwater lagoon named Darwin Lake. Throughout this hike you are sure to see several different kinds of finches, including the woodpecker finch. Once you reach the summit of this hike, you will also be able to see both Darwin and Wolf Volcano. A short boat ride along the cliffs of Tagus Cove also reveals Galapagos Penguins, flightless cormorants, blue footed boobies and marine iguanas.

Urbina Bay

Urbina Bay is located south of Tagus Cove on the western coast of Isabela and is largely known for a 5 kilometer section that was uplifted some 4 meters in a geological event in 1954, leaving sea life stranded above the ocean. From Urbina Bay you will also have the chance to cruise through large Mangroves as well as search for Giant Tortoises.

Santiago

Santiago is located in the heart of the Archipelago. On the western side of Santiago the two main sites include Puerto Egas and James Bay. Puerto Egas was once an area of salt mining, although in current times it is known more for the 30-40 thousand fur seals that make their home here and the inter-tidal pools that support a large variety of sea life. The black sand beach of Puerto Egas also serves as a great place to snorkel, with good chances to swim with sea lions and sea turtles.

Bartolome

Bartolome is where you will find the iconic Pinnacle Rock, one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Galapagos. A visit to Bartolome will include a hike up a series of stairs to a lookout point that peers across a martian landscape towards Pinnacle Rock. At the base of this rock you will find beautiful white sand beaches with sea lions and Galapagos Penguins. The south side of this island is where sea turtles will come to lay their eggs from January to March.

Mediterranean Cruise Adventure

A glimpse into the Western Mediterranean

In the Western Mediterranean you’ll discover beaches, bustling cities and island resorts. When setting sail on a Western Mediterranean adventure, cruise ships usually leave from awe inspiring places like Barcelona, Palma, Genoa or Rome.

Mainly bordering Italy, France, and Spain, on a Western Mediterranean cruise you’ll sail to ports of call like the Balearic Islands (including Majorca, Ibiza, and Menorca & Formentera). Italy is another destination – it is here you can explore fascinating historical destinations including Pompeii, Rome & Pisa. Western Mediterranean cruises also can include stops in Portugal, Morocco, Monte Carlo, Malta and Croatia and Dubrovnik.

Something for everyone, a Western Mediterranean is a firm holiday favourite with families and couples alike.

Example of Eastern Mediterranean itinerary

Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas has a 12 night cruise from Barcelona to Florence, Venice, Rome and Naples.

One of the top things to do:
Admire Gaudi’s architectural works of art in Barcelona, such as Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Church.

The Eastern Mediterranean

An Eastern Mediterranean cruise calls at the ports that stretch from the Aegean Seas to the Adriatic. Main ports of embarkation and debarkation in the Eastern Mediterranean include Athens, Greece; Istanbul, Turkey and Venice. On your Eastern Mediterranean journey, you can explore the ancient cities like Olympia in Greece or Ephesus in Turkey. Other popular cruise destinations in the Eastern Mediterranean include Dubrovnik and Corfu – found on the Croatian coast. TheGreek Islands such as Mykonos, Rhodes and Santorini are sought after cruise destinations too.

Example of Western Mediterranean itinerary

Norwegian Cruise line’s Jade has a 7 night cruise from Venice, Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Katakolon.

Now you need to decide which ship you want to go on your Mediterranean voyage with. If it’s your first time visiting the Mediterranean, your best bet will be a larger ship as these cover more ‘major’ ports of call. There’s a good selection to choose from too, including Royal Caribbean, Costa, Carnival, Celebrity and Holland America. And, of course, going on a larger ship you have more to pick from when it comes to on-board facilities, entertainment, places to dine and so forth.

Guarantee an Enjoyable Jewish Trip

Planning the destination is perhaps the easiest part. You might already have a place in mind even before you decide to go on a vacation.

However, choosing the destination should not be at random, if you really want your trip to be a memorable one.

If you are interested in knowing Jewish history in Europe for example, you can visit heritage sites in there. These places have rich Jewish history that will bring you back to the struggles and success of the Jews.

Moreover, these places have exquisite sceneries and amazing tourist spots that will satisfy your trip.

Before going, make sure you check the weather and other concerns so that you can pack appropriately.

Kosher food planning can be tedious to make sure that your destination keeps up with your dietary restrictions. Google restaurants that serve kosher near your place. You can also ask your accommodations in advance too.

Ideally, you should bring some backup food just in case. You can request a microwave or a mini fridge to store up your food if you’re staying in a hotel.

But remember, not all hotels let you use such amenities for free. Ask them, and if they do try to explain why you need them. Hotels are there to accommodate you with the best service they can offer, and they do understand that guests come from different places and races with various dietary guiding principle.

Perhaps, they might let you use that for free.

If you are a multi-millionaire, then this won’t be your problem. But if you are traveling on a tight budget, you can go on an all-inclusive tour package.

All-inclusive means everything is included in your ticket, from food to excursions. You can eat as much kosher food as you want, and don’t have to keep coins for bus tickets and short rides on your touring.

Small Cruise Ships

A small cruise ship is ideal to holiday in as the atmosphere is more relaxed and quieter than a large cruise ship. A smaller vessel will give you the same benefits as a larger ship but in a more relaxed and personal way with a friendlier crew who tend to your every need and want.

Just imagine this; sitting on the deck outside your cabin on-board a small luxury cruise ship as you sail through the South Pacific. All you can hear is the swish of the waves as they slap against the boat; and all you can feel is the wind in your hair and the warmth of the south-seas sun.

Here you have the best of both worlds; you can enjoy the outdoors on deck, taking in the fresh air and sunshine or you can retreat to your cabin if you want privacy – the choice is yours.

As the ship docks at interesting ports on exotic small islands, you get the opportunity to sample the delicious local food and make friends with the island’s inhabitants. You’ll have a chance to buy some unique souvenirs made by the locals to take back home and remind you of your trip.

If you are feeling lazy you can just lie in the sun with a good novel and savour the peace and quiet of the lazy, warm atmosphere and enjoy the day.

Formal dining will be available just as on a large cruise ship, or perhaps you fancy the casual-style dining and menu, either option will be available. Perhaps for one night you may want to have an intimate dinner in your own cabin where you can enjoy a romantic evening and have your wine and dinner delivered at your leisure.

Whether you have time for a thirteen day cruise or a six-day cruise you will surely enjoy all the amenities on offer and the very personal attention you will receive.

With the greater crew to passenger ratio, it will almost be as if you have your own personal captain and shipmates at your beck and call.

If you so desire you will have the opportunity to socialise and visit with others; shipboard romances are legion and life-long friendships are often forged. If you want company there will always be people ready for a chat and a drink on the deck or in the dining room.

You can join in on games and movies for entertainment and meet the other passengers, or curl up in your own cabin to listen to music or open your port window and simply lie and listen to the ocean’s waves as the ship sails to her next destination.

Antarctica Cruises

Any sort of trip planning starts here and you’ll find right away that if you wish to disembark your ship and explore Antarctica ashore, rates go up, and ship size goes down. And unlike other types of travel, luxury does not always increase with price! With Antarctica travel, the keys to a worthy cruise are time of year, number of days in Antarctica, access to the regions you want to explore, and the caliber of the expedition and naturalist staff that accompany you. This typically means that despite the higher fares on small ships, the value is tremendous when compared to larger ship programs that only provide scenic by way cruising. With small ships you really experience Antarctica through Zodiac explorations, landings and adventure options.

The cost for a small ship Antarctic cruise varies based on trip length, the ship and cabin selection, and travel dates. Typically the cruise fare is more inclusive than on larger cruise ship, covering accommodations, meals and some beverages, guide services, landing fees, shore excursions, Zodiac expeditions, rubber boots for shore landings, and expert presentations.

While each cruise to Antarctica varies, generally the fees usually don’t cover airfare to or from the point of embarkation/disembarkation, some soft drinks and most alcoholic beverages, tips to your guides, laundry and other items of a personal nature, and optional adventure activities.

Where you go affects not only just pricing, but your experience as well. The majority of 10 to 14-day expedition cruises depart from Ushuaia, located at the southernmost tip of Argentina, crossing the famed Drake Passage by sea or occasionally by air (with ship embarkation in the Peninsula region). Cruises then explore the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands, each made up of small islands, channels and inlets. Expect to see tabular icebergs, ice sheets and glaciers, 4 – 5 penguin species, seals and whales and sea birds. A few Antarctica cruises venture south to cross the Polar Circle and while these definitely provide travelers with unique bragging rights, they typically only add more days at sea onto the itineraries without much corresponding value in terms of increased wildlife sightings, Zodiac exploration or landings.

A few itineraries venture to the Weddell Sea which is found on the western side of the Peninsula. Some of these cruises are operated as a stand-alone itinerary, or more commonly in combination with an Antarctic Peninsula cruise. In this region, the tabular icebergs are larger, and so are the penguin colonies- and sometimes you even see emperor penguins. You can expect to see leopard seals in the water, Weddell seals lounging on ice floes, and hopefully encounter whales as you traverse the seas of the Antarctic convergence zone.

Longer 14 – 24 day Antarctic Peninsula cruises venture northeast to the wildlife-rich sub-Antarctic islands of South Georgia and the Falklands where you find even more species of penguins – including massive colonies of king penguins. Huge elephant seals, albatross in their nests and sea lions are also highlights of this region along historical explorer sites.

For the past few years a new crop of tours in Antarctica have begun to operate which combine cruising the Peninsula or sub-Antarcitc regions via small ship with a full expedition staff, but which utilize flights on small BAE jets to transport travelers across the Drake Passage by air rather than sea. Given that the cruise portion of these expeditions are of comparable quality to most of the other Antarctic small ship expeditions, these really can be a great option for those who are very short on time or who fear a rough crossing the infamous Drake Passage. The drawbacks are firstly price- rates are much higher for these cruises, demand is high, and there is a risk of the very weather that causes the Drake to ‘shake’ as the saying goes will interrupt and cause delays in the flight schedule which then unexpectedly can cut into the time spent on the expedition.

The Antarctic travel season revolves around the Austral Summer, from early November through early March, when sea ice breaks up and snowfall and storms decrease. From April through October, it is next to impossible for any ships to break through the heavy pack and sea ice.

The most desirable time to visit starts the 2nd week of December through January when the weather is most reliably, and, importantly, most Antarctic penguins hatch– and during the accompanying holiday season and Argentina’s high travel season, demand can definitely outrun supply for popular trips. However, for those wanting to do a longer trip that explores the Falklands and South Georgia, the best time of year depends on what you are hoping to see and experience- January gets you better weather and potential access in the polar zones as well as an increase of whale migration in the Southern Ocean, but October and November bring the truly extraordinary mating and birthing season for the massive elephant seals found in and near South Georgia Island as well as the chance to see the magnificent waved albatross in their nests. Massive colonies of king penguins breed year-round, making South Georgia & The Falklands a great option during the entire season.

With Antarctica expeditions cruises, you’ll find discounts scarce when compared to the large cruise ship industry. Demand is high for Antarctica cruising and tours, and while some companies will discount to fill every berth, many of the higher quality ships do not offer last-minute discounts at all, but instead offer early booking incentives which often align with the lower air fares.

If you can make arrangements quickly, and you love the thrill of the bargain hunt, then you’ll want to take advantage of the approaching ‘season’ or mid-season discounts. These can range from 10% up to 50% off full fares, but your choice of departure dates and cabin is limited. Airfare increases, eating into your cruise savings, and sometimes flights to Ushuaia can be full prior to your cruise, making it necessary for you to arrive days ahead of your cruise, adding several nights accommodation cost to your trip.

Depending on the type of small ship you choose, the level of accommodation, service, food and even adventure options ranges from ‘spartan’ to luxurious. Finding a ship that has what you want, means that you must look carefully at ship photos, deck plans and public areas (observation lounge, lecture media rooms etc) and adventure options. You’ll then want to balance that against the ships that have the itineraries that work for you in your timeframe.

To find the best itinerary, decide what is most important to see and hone in on the programs that deliver this. Then you’ll want to rank trips breaking out cost against the number of days exploring (vs days at sea), against what is included and not included in the types of ships you desire.

With so many things to consider when booking a cruise to Antarctica, it is always good to connect with travel veterans, read reviews, and research companies. And while you will find many large companies with a vested interest in selling you on their expedition, and also many travel or big ship cruise agents who will only point you in the most obvious directions, there does exist a small niche of travel professionals who specialize in small ship expedition travel. They’re services are usually free, but their value to you as an expert and a more objective evaluator is enormous. They can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars and hours of research. They can also add tremendous value to your trip with insider ‘been there, done that’ tips. Traveling to Antarctica is for most people a once in a lifetime experience that involves a significant amount of time, effort and money so it’s best to use all your available resources, including those of a professional adventure cruise specialist.

Myths About Cruising

Cruising is only for old people!

This was true maybe twenty years ago but now people of all ages are cruising. The latest figures from the Passenger Shipping Association (PSA) show that the average age of a UK cruise passenger is now just over 54.

Cruising is expensive!

According to a recent report from the PSA although average prices have risen by 7% it is still lower than in 2006 with one in every seven cruises costing less than £500 per person.

Will I get seasick?

The truthful answer to this is possibly but the reality is that today’s modern ships are all stabilised to reduce the rolling (side to side motion) and designed by sophisticated computer aided design equipment to minimise pitching (up and down motion). If you do feel seasick you could always try the “Julie McIntyre Sea Sickness Remedy” of drinking more Gin!!!

Is cruising safe?

Ships now have to follow an extraordinary number of rules and regulations that safeguard both passengers and crewmembers. The biggest risk to a cruise ship is not sinking in Titanic-esque style, it is in fact – fire, and when it comes to fire safety, ships operate under international rules known as Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS).

Cruise Ships are overcrowded!

I recently travelled on a ship that held just over 500 guests and crew and can honestly say I never felt claustrophobic at any point. There is always somewhere to escape to, some little corner that no one else has found for you to relax in peace and solitude. If you want an indication of how crowded a ship is you need to work out the Passenger Space Ratio which can be done by dividing the ships tonnage by its total passenger capacity. A Space Ratio of 50 and above is the ultimate: 30-50 very spacious; 20-30 is reasonably spacious; 10-20 is high density; and 10 or below is extremely cramped.

Things to Pack for Cruising in Thailand

  1. Carry extra bags – A laundry bag, plastic bag, and bag for several other necessities should be a must carrying item when traveling on the cruise. It also includes Ziploc bags for foods. Though you cannot too many bags, carrying some of them would help you throughout your journey. In this regard, the service provided by yacht charter Thailand declares beforehand about the necessity items to carry.
  2. Beverage – This should not include any alcoholic beverages, and you should make it a point to carry food items other than coke products. It has been seen that most of the cruise lines carry limited version of sodas. Thus, if you have any favorite brand, then it is better the one you like. Even the limits on the beverages can also vary and therefore, it is better to check with your cruise service provider before you go for the trip. In this relation, services from yacht charter Thailand are the best to avail.
  3. First-Aid bag – This is one of the essential to carry on the cruise to prevent conditions when you get hurt or a cut. Getting a Band-Aid may not be cheap on the cruise, therefore, it is recommended to carry the same. It is also advisable to carry some of the essentials items in the first-aid kit including seasickness remedies, antibiotic ointment, cold pills, painkillers, cough drops, and most important medicines for stomach upset.
  4. Carry power banks – These are also important to carry as there is the possibility that the cruise cabins may not have any outlets to charge your electronic gadgets. But you also have to be careful about the strictness of gadgets that you are allowed to carry on the cruise. Certain cruise services have a strict rule that no power surge strip can be carried on the cruise.
  5. Take extra clothes – Do not forget to take extra clothes on the cruise. Cost may not be a factor but spending too much on a little purpose can be expensive enough. Therefore. It is better to carry all necessary clothing while traveling on the cruise in Thailand.

Cruises From Boston

It’s not just New England and the southeastern states you can experience, either; there are some Caribbean cruises with Boston as the port of departure as well. This is great news for those who live in New England who want to view the Caribbean without having to fly all the way down to FL, TX or SC.

If you don’t want to go south, you can go north. Some cruises from Boston go all the way up to Canada. Imagine seeing a picturesque coastline in orange, yellow, and red during the fall season. Head to places like Halifax, Charlottetown, Quebec City, Montreal, etc.

Keep in mind that some cruises are round trip and some are not. If you don’t want to pay for airfare back to Boston from Quebec City or Nassau, narrow your search to itineraries that include around trip from Boston back to Boston.

Which Cruise Lines Have Cruises from Boston?

If you only have a few days to spare, you might be interested in exploring the Boston Harbor Islands. You don’t even need to book a cruise for this little trip – simply hop on ferries and visit one island to the next. There are Grape and Bumpkin Islands, George Island, Lovells, Spectacle Island, Georges Island, etc.

For the full cruising experience, most of the big-name cruise lines have itineraries beginning at 5 days. Depending on the time of year, you might even find cruises that last for 48 days! Holland America, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and other ship lines offer cruises from Boston to a variety of destinations. September and October are the most popular months for cruising, regardless of which part of the Atlantic you want to explore. You might find some deals in August as well.

When booking online you will likely find great perks like free onboard credits for food and entertainment, several free beverages a day, coupons, onboard credits, etc. Another neat thing to look into when looking over cruises from Boston is the excursions. However, you might end up saving more money if you book your own excursions separate from what the cruise is offering.

Vancouver Cruise Vacation

The most popular cruise is one between Alaska and Vancouver that either begins or ends in the Port of Vancouver usually at the picturesque downtown docks at the Vancouver Convention Centers. Vancouver’s renowned International Airport (YVR) also plays a large role in attracting cruise ship tourism traffic as many travelers easily and quickly arrive or leave Vancouver to begin or end their vacation adventures.

There are cruises that come up from Seattle and more southern American neighbors, but typically they are only stopping through on their way up north. The northern cruise is legendary of the spectacular west coast of British Columbia. From the many Gulf Islands just outside Vancouver to the wide open Pacific Ocean, cruise bound travelers will witness rugged nature that exists uniquely in this part of the world. The more northern you travel to Alaska, the closer you come to encountering the spectacular icebergs that make this cruise route so popular. There are many steps along the way that take you to remote settlements scattered along the coast.

Whether you arrive to or leave from Vancouver on your cruise trip you will have the opportunity to hop off the boat to tour around an amazing city. The best part may be that your floating hotel is in some of the most prime real estate in the world. Checking out the bustling downtown core or making your way over to Kitsilano, the University of British Columbia, Main Street and even the fishing village of Steveston, will be well worth you while and at the very least help you shake off your sea legs a bit.

If you are so absolutely set on making your vacation a complete boat only adventure you can get on a variety of smaller cruise lines in Vancouver. There are numerous boats for hire, companies, shuttles and ferries all over the Greater Vancouver Area. Getting out into the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island will open you to some of the truly unique beauty of the Pacific West Coast. Numerous islands some populated some not, are scattered about the Georgia Straight passage. You will see the wild marine life and experience the sea to sky form the water vantage point. To guarantee marine wildlife sightings, you can get on a boat that offers sightseeing tours where you’ll come by orcas, grey whales, humpbacks, sea lions, otters, seals, sea birds and more. Depending on the time of year you are on the water will determine what species you will see but sometimes you’ll even see the wild salmon running into the river and be at awe as the jump in the thousands all around you.

Arriving to Vancouver by cruise or to leave on a cruise is a special experience. Starting from the beautiful docks in downtown across from Stanley Park to your trip out to the open ocean you will never forget the sights. While you are in the city of Vancouver, consider renting a car from Pacific Car Rentals Vancouver. Pacific Car Rentals is a couple blocks from the port and offer pick up and drop off services. They are a very convenient and affordable ground transportation option for visitors arriving by cruise ships.