Thursday, August 04, 2005

Spectacular Glacier Calving

Will I see glacier calving on an Alaska Glacier Cruise?

Imagine looking from your ship toward the massive ice formations of a calving glacier. Feel the coolness of the clean Alaska air. Hear the crack of the ice as it slowly moves forward, carving its path toward the sea. Witness glacier calving. Calving! Wow, what a site. Massive chunks of ice crashing into the water, small fragments of ice that enlarge to avalanches as they gather speed down the face of the glacier and huge ice cubes breaking off below the water’s surface and exploding with enough force to destroy a small boat. These three types of calving are almost always visible from the ship as it turns sideways to the glacier.

Holland America offers the number one glacier experience - Glacier Bay Cruising. Glacier Bay is offered on all three major cruise experiences, the inside passage roundtrip from either Seattle or Vancouver or cruising north or southbound between Vancouver and Seward. Holland provides deck chairs, blankets and hot soup for glacier viewing.

Princess offers the Voyage of the Glaciers to the thundering icebergs of Glacier Bay. Glacier Bay is offered on every Gulf of Alaska Cruise. For the ultimate, combine this cruise with a rail and lodge package for a spectacular Alaska experience.

View the magnificent Hubbard Glacier from the deck of Royal Caribbean’s Vision or Radiance of The Seas. Be part of the excitement as icebergs are formed right before your eyes. Schedule a shore excursion and get personal with a glacier via helicopter. Boots and cold weather gear are furnished for your walk on the icy surface.

What ever your choice, Alaska Glacier Cruising is a fabulous vacation that shouldn’t be missed. Alaska is wild, rugged and spectacular. Don’t fail to visit this untamed land soon.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Los Cabos all inclusive vacation

Mention all inclusive resorts and Mexico immediately comes to mind.

Yes, there are other destinations but Mexico is replete with the all inclusive concept (all food, drink and non-motorized water sports equipment are included in the cost.) For something unique and out of the ordinary, try a Los Cabos all inclusive vacation.

Los Cabos, a new Mexico destination at the southern most tip of the Baha Peninsula (Baha California), is gaining popularity with the all inclusive crowd. Formerly the playground of the rich and famous, popularized by the world class fishing at the confluence of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific ocean, Los Cabos is a fast growing destination that has a character all its own. The terrain is pure desert, with the dark blue Sea of Cortez to the south and the mountains to the north. It is a striking contrast. Fertile golf courses seem to materialize around each corner on the drive from the quite town of San Jose Del Cabo, along the 18 mile corridor to Cabo San Lucas, where night life is king. No trip to Cabo would be complete without a night at Cabo Wabo, one of the most famous of the local night spots.

In years past, San Jose Del Cabo was the home of the area's all inclusive concept. Presidente Intercontinental led the way and Royal Solaris added an all inclusive in the same general area. Now there are several other Los Cabos all inclusive vacation resorts. The Presidente Intercontinental was built several years ago. During our recent visit we could not see any signs of age. We had lunch at the beach restaurant and left with a great feeling about the food quality. Our host commented that there were several ala carte restaurants and they provide a break from the typical buffet lines that most all inclusives are "famous" for. (I always recommend that the choice of all inclusive resort be influenced by the number of different restaurants. How many ways can they fix fish, chicken, pork and beef before they all begin to taste the same?)

The all inclusive concept has recently moved to Cabo San Lucas, spurred by the opening of the fabulous Riu Palace Los Cabos. Yes, there are others there but the Riu really sets the standard. It opened in late 2004 and is gaining great reviews. Located on a stretch of beach that is sometimes swimable (most in Los Cabos are not), with a distant view of the Arch (at lands end) as well as the anchorages for the many cruise ships that visit the area, it is a most desirable location for this beautiful all inclusive resort.

Overall, I recommend all inclusives when available, even if you are planning to sample the local cuisine. The cost of AI vs. EP (no food included) is very reasonable so AI remains a bargain if you only eat at breakfast and lunch. And I really recommend Los Cabos! It is beautiful, safe (you can rent a car and drive without all the fears of the Mexico drivers), with lots to do (dive/snorkel, 4-wheeling in the dunes, world class golf, spectacular deep sea fishing, history, cuisine, beautiful resorts, great pools, ecology programs and whale watching). Cabo really has it all. Schedule a Los Cabos all inclusive vacation soon. You'll be glad you did.

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Hawaii cruise vacation

"Hawaii cruise vacation." Just the words themselves conjure up beautiful blue water, flower covered islands, exotic sights and smells great food and beautiful dancers, illuminated by flickering firelight. Can you imagine a more perfect destination.

Cruising has come to Hawaii. Often thought of as a "land only" vacation destination, Hawaii is visited today by ships from many popular cruise lines. It is truly a spectacular cruise destination. For those like myself who are really cruise lovers, this destination combines the best of both the cruise world and truly spectacular sights to see. Long cruises, 12 - 14 days, leave the US mainland and enjoy days at sea before reaching the islands. Your floating hotel removes the need to pack and unpack every time your destination changes. Imagine waking up in a new island every day.

Shorter cruises of 7 days or less are available that simply island hop. By careful selection, you can find cruises that visit just the ports that interest you and some that spend two days at each port. You can really learn the islands in depth on a two day stop.

And of course the ships themselves are being built just for Hawaii. Multiple floors of staterooms with balconies, many dining venues, tropical decor, private suites with Jacuzzis, almost every amenity that you can dream up is available on today's beautiful cruise ships.

Entertainment is rich with Hawaiian tradition. Often the local performers will come onboard to entertain. Nothing is left out on a Hawaiian Cruise Vacation. Book yours today for the vacation experience of a lifetime.

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Mediterranean cruise

Rome, Monte Carlo, Palma de Mallorca, Palermo, Naples, Venice, Athens, Crete, Santorini. Spectacular destinations on the Mediterranean.

Who wouldn't love to visit these port cities. Well, you can on a Mediterranean Cruise. Unpack once, enjoy fabulous meals, local entertainment and see the cities that you have only dreamed of.

It is a popular misconception that Mediterranean cruises have longer itineraries. There are 7 day Mediterranean Cruise itineraries. Of course the 10, 12, 16 day and longer cruises do exist and you can add pre or post cruise hotel stays in such notables as Paris, Venice, Athens or London, just to name a few. Combine a 4 night Rome, Tuscany, Vatican tour following your cruise or maybe Paris, Normandy and Amsterdam if Scandinavia is on your itinerary. A Mediterranean cruise coupled with a tour package features the best of both worlds.

Make a list of the cities that you would love to explore. Most will be port cities. Mediterranean cruises are the way to see the ports and finish with a tour of the countryside. You will have memories to last a lifetime. Explore your dreams right now!

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Escorted European Motorcoach Tours

Whether you want a fast paced motorcoach tour to the big European cities or a leisurely coach tour through the countryside to Europe's charming towns, you can find a European Motorcoach Tour to suit your travel desires.

You may choose a tour that takes you to five countries in ten days. Just sit back and leave the driving to us, feel free to gaze at the beauty of the countryside and the excitement of riding the high speed trains, all with a European Motorcoach Tour that will take care of all the details such as airfare, local guides, hotels and city orientations. Choose as little or as much independence as you prefer, from simply air and hotel, down to every detail planned for you...including delicious meals at some of finest restaurants.

Local hosts, travel specialists, and motorcoach drivers are eager to share their knowledge with you to make your European Vacation a trip of a lifetime. Europe has culturally rich countries with unforgettable scenery , great cuisine and friendly people. All of this to be enjoyed with confidence in air conditioned comfort and convenience. Traveling with "insiders" show you the best of each destination with seamless handling of details.

So if you want to see the Louvre with an art historian, sample French cuisine with a pastry chef or visit the lavender fields of Provence with a "country girl", Europe is at your feet when you travel on an Escorted Motorcoach Tour. No hotel check-in, no luggage handling, most gratuities - all of this in one package. All you have to do is soak up the European culture and make memories of a lifetime.

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Alaska Glacier Cruise

The Captain snugged the ship right alongside the Mendenhall Glacier. Luckily, we were on the correct side of the ship to fully enjoy the view from our balcony stateroom.

My wife shivered from the cold (she is very cold natured) but to me, it was light jacket weather on this clear, sunny July day. As the ship slipped slowly sideways, we could hear the crack of the ice as it moved, imperceptibly toward the water. The "crack" sounded like a low caliber gunshot. I picked up my video camera and as I panned the beautiful blue ice formation, I recorded my comment, "I sure hope that I get to photograph at least one calving". Before we left the area I had seen and taken video footage of many of each of the three types of calving that we had learned about in the lectures the previous days. Spectacular! Alaska is a destination not to be missed. One of the many sights to see includes glacier cruising. Many times you will be at the confluence of several ice flows so that you have a great view of a glacier no matter which side of the ship you are viewing from.

Almost every Alaska cruise includes glacier viewing. Not only can you enjoy them from the ship, you can take a float plane over them, perhaps landing at a fishing camp for a delicious freshly prepared salmon lunch, cooked over an alder wood fire. For the more adventurous, you can take a helicopter to get up close and personal, landing on the face of the glacier and hiking over it's surface. Of course, special shoes and cold weather gear are provided.

Glaciers are throw-backs from the Ice Age. They carve fjords, U shaped furrows in the rock beds. The surface ice is blue and the deeper layers are dirty, picking up the dirt and debris from the rock and ground below. Viewing them close, hearing their sounds, watching them calve and observing the various shades of blue in the clear ice is one of the many exciting things that makes Alaska Glacier Cruises a not-to-be-missed experience. Schedule yours today!

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