Reflections of world cruises

As a certified travel agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher and photographer for four decades, travel, whether for pleasure or business, has always been an important and integral part of my life. Some 400 trips to all parts of the world, by road, rail, sea and air, involved both worldly and exotic destinations. This article focuses on my cruises and crossings around the world.

My lifetime cruise program, which spanned the 18-year period from 1991 to 2009, involved 27 voyages on 24 ships operated by 11 cruise lines to 17 regions, 49 countries, and 114 ports of call. During 205 days at sea, I sailed almost 60,000 nautical miles. The trips themselves have been subdivided into geographic regions.

The east coast of the United States, for example, was covered with itineraries both north and south.

The first, with Holland America’s Rotterdam, left New York on a ten-day cruise that took him to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine, and then to Canada, specifically Noa Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Quebec, sailing the St. Lawrence. River to Quebec City and Montreal. The second, with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn, paralleled the east coast on its seven-day sailing to Orlando and Miami in Florida, then shifted to one more east to Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas, earlier to return to its port. -u-origin.

The west coast was also completely covered by the sea. Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, for example, made its way from San Diego to Vancouver, with ports of call in San Francisco and Astoria, Oregon, before charting Canadian waters to British Columbia, while Princess Cruise Line’s Regal Princess embarked on his seven-day Alaska Inside Passage itinerary from Vancouver to Juneau, Skagway, Yakutat Bay and Sitka.

Hawaii, in the Pacific, was covered with a circuit of several islands on Norwegian Star, specifically Oahu, the big island of Hawaii, Maui and Kuai, before assuming a south course towards north latitude of three degrees, almost equivalent to the equator. . location of Fanning Island in the Republic of Kiribati, its mandatory foreign port of call.

Aside from the Bahamas, Bermuda counted as an Atlantic island destination, in this case, Carnival’s Pride for a seven-day sailing that included three nights in port for daily sightseeing in an equal number of British island areas.

Three Caribbean island cruises, one to the eastern and two to the southern Caribbean, provided considerable coverage there.

The first, with the Grand Princess, departed from Port Everglades in Ft. Lauderdale and touched bases on St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays, his private island.

The second, with Celebrity’s Constellation, sailed from San Juan and traveled to the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua and St. Thomas.

The third, with the Caribbean Princess, again originated in San Juan, but sailed to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica and, for the third time, to Santo Tomás.

Two Mexican itineraries involved one of a single day from San Diego to Ensenada on the Starlite Cruise Line’s Pacific Star, and the more traditional one week with the Sea Princess, in this case, from Los Angeles to destinations on the Mexican Riviera in Vallarta Port. Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas, reminiscent of the weekly television series The Love Boat, which sparked considerable interest in cruises.

South America was circumnavigated with three 14-day voyages.

The first, on the Royal Princess, departed from Ft. Lauderdale and headed for Saint Bartholomew, Saint Lucia and Barbados in the Caribbean, before venturing to Devil’s Island in French Guiana, crossing the equator and entering the Amazon River in Brazil to Santana, Santarem, Boca da Valeria, Parintins and Manaus, covering 3,236 miles.

The second, originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and operated by Celebrity’s Infinity, eventually arched around the tip of the continent at Cape Horn, which provided northern access to the Beagle Channel of Darwin’s fame and the southern entrance to the Drake Passage. . Its ports of call included Montevideo in Uruguay, Puerto Madryn in Argentina, Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands, Ushuaia in Argentina and Punta Arenas in Chile. Continuing his trek along the west coast, he plowed through the Strait of Magellan and the Chilean Fjords, offering an up-close inspection of the Skua Glacier, before sailing to Puerto Mont and ending in Valparaíso, both in Chile, completing a 4,070-mile cruise.

The third, of equal duration and on the same ship some two years later, left Valparaíso, but landed in La Serena and Arica, both in Chile, before continuing to Callao, Peru and Manta, Ecuador, in the process of crossing. the equator. An eastbound transit through the Panama Canal took him through the Miraflores Locks, Gatun Lake, Gaillard Cut, and the Gatun Locks, during which time it underwent an 85-foot change in water level. . The last four days of his trip took him to Cartagena, Colombia; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Ft. Lauderdale, its terminal, ending a 4,505-mile journey.

An earlier partial Panama Canal crossing on the Coral Princess had also departed from Ft. Lauderdale, but called at Ocho Ríos and Grand Cayman in the Caribbean, Limón in Costa Rica and Cozumel in Mexico. He only entered the Gatún Locks and crossed the lake of the same name.

Off the west coast of South America, specifically Ecuador, a five-day, four-night cruise to the Galapagos Islands on the smaller Corinthian involved ports of call in San Cristóbal, Tower, Bartolomé, Santiago, Santa Fe and Santa Crux, your two daily Expeditions on the coast that require a barefoot dive in the warm, crystal-clear water of the boats and a subsequent walk and walk down the beach to the bridge.

The continents of North America and Europe were connected with three transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton on Cunard’s famous Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 ocean liners, one heading east and the other two heading west for maximum travel opulence. . They all passed the Statue of Liberty, penetrated the choppy Grand Banks of Newfoundland, and sailed up the Solent to Southampton, sometimes in reverse order, depending on the journey; direction.

Europe was extensively covered with cruise ships from north to south.

A circumnavigation of the British Isles on the Golden Princess, for example, proceeded from Southampton to Dublin in Ireland, Hollyhead in Wales, Belfast in Northern Ireland, Greenock in Scotland, Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, South Queensferry, serving Edinburgh in Scotland , and back to Southampton, England.

The Norwegian fjords were accessed, at Celebrity’s Century, via Olden, Flam, Alesund and Bergen, an itinerary that included the impressive North Fjord, the Jostedal Glacier, the largest in Europe, and the Sognefjorden, the longest on the continent. , after a departure from Amsterdam.

An excerpt from my Cruise Log captured the experience.

“The Century left the Sognefjorden, once again turning north and plying the North Sea all night. As it approached Alesund, its third port of call in the early hours of the morning, it docked to starboard in the reflective harbor. mirror silver at 07:30 am between the low hills and deep green on its left side, above which loomed dirty white clouds, like ethereal mist, and the Norwegian gabled terraced houses and turrets of the city below to his right, characterize the architecture of the area. Storfjord, Alesund proudly sported Mount Aksla, towering prominently above it. “

Scandinavia was also covered with a cruise from Copenhagen on the Crown Princess, stopping at Nyshaven in Sweden and Helsinki in Finland, before continuing on to St. Petersburg in Russia. Although it docked in Oslo, Norway, at the end of its navigation, it returned through the Baltic countries of Estonia and Poland.

An Iberian ship from Southampton on the Sea Princess paralleled the west coast of Europe after docking on the island of Guernsey, then headed for La Rochelle in France and Vigo in Spain.

The eastern and western sides of the Mediterranean were also covered with cruise ships.

The first, on Royal Caribbean’s Splendor of the Seas, departed from Barcelona and touched bases in Marseille and Nice in France, Monaco and Florence, Pisa, Capri and Sorrento in Italy.

The latter, with Celebrity’s Galaxy, sailed to Greece and Turkey, and the Greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos from Rome.

Finally, a 3,374-mile navigation on the Costa Fortuna involved ports of call in Barcelona before continuing through the Strait of Gibraltar, the bridge between the European and African continents, to Casablanca in Morocco, where it then crossed the South Atlantic to Santa Cruz. in Tenerife in the Canary Islands and Funchal in Madeira. His return brought him to Malaga on the sun-drenched Costa del Sol of Spain.

These cruises and voyages offered new approaches to destinations already visited, along with many new ones. As autonomous floating cities, their mega-ships, sometimes home to populations of 7,000 passengers and crew members, brought multicolored sunsets, tranquility to the soul, and islands, cities, and countries that appeared outside my cabin window or balcony. the days. Tomorrow. During the days at sea, I took advantage of about a hundred lectures and courses, an equal number of live performances at night, and as many shore excursions when they were in port. The myriad buffets and sit-down meals are almost unfathomable, but three examples have been cited.

“Breakfast in the King and I dining room at Splendor of the Seas included orange juice, fried eggs, bacon, roasted tomatoes, French fries and croissants.”

“Afternoon tea on the Queen Mary 2 was a British tradition and a delightful intermittence between lunch and dinner was served at every Cunard junction. Today it is served in the Queen’s Room, which was the most popular ballroom. large from the sea with a vaulted ceiling and two crystal chandeliers, a blue and gold velvet curtain over the orchestra stage, a 1,225 square foot dance floor, a live harpist and small round tables, which consisted of egg , ham and cheese, cucumber, tomato, beef and seafood. sandwiches, buns with curd cream and jam, and strawberry cream tarts. “

“Dinner was served at Infinity’s SS United States restaurant just after exiting the Panama Canal, an elegant dining room inspired by the SS United States cladding with an actual etched glass panel from the ship, formally ornate tables, and porthole windows. . “Menu Exeptionel”, a six-course tasting of their signature dishes, included Riesling white wine from Germany; chicken roll with dried tomatoes and pine nuts; a light and creamy tomato, red pepper and mozzarella cream with pesto; twice – Baked goat cheese soufflé served with red pepper coulis and a triangle of olive toast; a dash of passion fruit and white rum; grilled sea bass fillet served with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, pistachio and olive oil over vegetables grilled Mediterranean dishes; a selection of cheeses with pecan bread, celery, apple slices, walnuts and grapes; chocolate souffle with English vanilla sauce; coffee; and petit fours “

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