Saint Lawrence River Cruise

This cruise in 2012 was actually a combo ocean and river cruise in that it started in the bustling city of Boston and cruised on the open water before reaching the St. Lawrence River and finishing up in Montreal, Canada.

More details and picture captions coming soon

Seine River Cruise-Paris to Normandy

Picture this – your voyage begins from the romantic city of Paris and your ship is docked a half hour walk from the base of the Eiffel Tower !

From the top deck, we could see the tower and the fun glitter show that occurs every night at 9pm for 5 minutes.  This wonderful journey down the Seine River in France was rich with art, gardens and history.
Everyone should visit Normandy once in their life to appreciate those who sacrificed so much for our future.

 

Yangtze River Cruise-Chongqing to Shanghai

The Yangtze River is the largest river in Asia and the third largest in the world. This was the most interesting cruise I have even been on and learned so much about history and customs that so many of us still use today.  There were night excursions, mountain tours, Sampan boat rides, the most amazing view over the Three Gorges Dam and a far greater appreciation of what the locals went through when this project was being built.

Spent a few days in Shanghai after the cruise and absolutely loved this city, so easy to get around.

Danube River Cruise-Nuremburg to Budapest

Took my first river cruise along the Danube River in Europe and I was hooked.  It was with AmaWaterways aboard the AmaDolce from Nuremburg to Budapest and I fell in love with every city we stopped at but my favourite was Budapest, it is the most picturesque place to visit.

Loved the ship in that it only holds around 150 people so you get to know your fellow travellers. It was so nice to dock either right in town or very close to it and no lineups to get off and on !  They even had small group walking tours  (divided into slow and fast walkers so you could keep pace with your own group).   Very relaxing dinners and truly an enjoyable way to see the heart of Europe. They even had free Wifi onboard so I could catch up on some work while away.

Here is a quick video of my trip down the Danube River with AMA Waterways

 

Oasis of the Seas

In 2010 I was lucky enought to be invited to the inaugural sailing of the Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world.

It was an incredible experience, I couldn’t believe what they built into this floating megaship.   It has a rock climbing wall, an indoor ice rink, a wave runner to practice your surfboarding, an outdoor water show, a replica of Central Park New York complete with real grass, a full broadway play production in the theatre and too much more to list.  We went from dawn to dusk trying to do everything and felt amazed to be a part of what would change the cruise industry forever.

 

 

 

Multigeneration Cruise

In 2006 our family did a Pacific Coastal cruise to celebrate a 50th Anniversary.  We had a variety of ages from 75 down to a 1 year old and a great time was had by all. It is always interesting to play tourist in your own backyard and we had fun visiting cities that we would normally not get to.  When we visited Prince Rupert, we were trying to look up the birthplace of a family member who was no longer with us and we were shocked when we went into the public library there to find a women who not only knew what we were looking for, gave us directions to the exact location !  (the beauty of friendly small towns)

 

Northern Europe Baltic Cruise

In 1990, I sailed aboard the Sun Viking (part of the  Royal Caribbean Cruise Line) from England to Norway, Sweden, Finland and into Russia winding back via Poland and Germany to end up in London again.

This was probably the most memorable cruise in that my son just happened to be born exactly 9 months after taking it !

The midnight sun in was amazing, you could be out on deck at midnight and still light out. St Petersburg (called Leningrad when we visited) was such a contrast between old and new.   You can see the street pictures are so gray, yet the Hermitage and Catherines Palace were shimmering with gold.  We went into a grocery store to look around and saw the meat in the freezers, except they had no power to them so not actually sure how they kept the stuff cold.

One of the most interesting things about this cruise (and obviously way before privacy laws) they published a “Passenger List” which was circulated to every cabin and listed each passenger and the city they came from.  It was a really nice keepsake and too bad they had to do away with it.

Loved the beautiful Baltic cities of Helsinki, Olso and Stockholm – it was hard to pick a favourite.

Pictures coming soon

 

The Love Boat

Who doesn’t remember the theme song for the television show The Love Boat ?  I’m sure I could still recite every word today so I was very excited to be travelling on the Sun Princess in 1988.  Even though most people associate the Pacific Princess as the true Love Boat, the 1977 pilot show was filmed aboard the Sun Princess in Mexico.

I loved watching the cliff divers in Acapulco and visiting Cabo San Lucas when it was just a sleepy little Mexican town.  I didn’t realize at the time that I was on one of the last voyages for the Sun Princess as it was sold to Premier Cruises right after we finished our sailing.  Look at the people gathered around the decks as they are set to release the balloons for our sailing send off.

Greece Turkey Cruise with Epirotiki

My Greece/Turkey cruise in 1987 was aboard the Oceanos which was was built in 1952. Little did I know that it would become famous a mere 4 years after I sailed on it.  Highlights for this itinerary were the Greek Islands of course and spending the day zipping around Rhodes on a scooter.  Plus the day visiting Ephesus in Turkey was amazing, the ruins that they have uncovered were jaw dropping.  

How the ship became famous was that it sank off the coast of South Africa on Aug 4th, 1991   All 571 onboard were saved but Captain Yiannis Avranas was accused by the passengers of leaving them behind with no one other than the ship’s onboard entertainers to help them evacuate. Avranas claimed that he left the ship first to arrange for a rescue effort, and then supervised the rescue from a helicopter. A Greek board of inquiry found Avranas and four officers negligent in their handling of the disaster.

North to Alaska

My next cruise was in 1986 and left from my beautiful home town of Vancouver BC from their new cruise ship terminal which opened during Expo ‘86. I fell in love Holland America on this cruise and not because of their stellar service and wonderful staff but I was an ice cream-aholic at the time and they served up an ice cream buffet every day at 4pm with all kinds of toppings that you could choose from.  After a few days I kept telling myself that the next day I would take a break from it but somehow or another, always seemed to end up really close by as they were serving up !

In Juneau, we were able to actually walk right up to the Mendenhall Glacier and it was a spectacular site.  Visiting Sitka and Ketchikan was in some drizzly rain but when they get an average of 220 days a year of precipitation, it’s hard to avoid. We did our own walking tour in each place and enjoyed Creek Street in Ketchikan with the colourful buildings raised on pilings and the Russian influence meandering through Sitka.