As a four-decade Certified agent, international airline employee, researcher, writer, teacher, and photographer, travel, whether for pleasure or business purposes, has always been a big and integral part of my life. Some 400 trips to each portion of the world, by means of road, rail, sea, and air, entailed destinations both mundane and exotic. this text focuses on my worldwide cruises and crossings.
My lifetime Cruise Program, which spanned the 18-year period from 1991 to 2009, entailed 27 voyages on 24 ships operated by 11 cruise lines to 17 regions, 49 countries, and 114 ports of call. During 205 days stumped, I sailed almost 60,000 nautical miles. The journeys themselves are subdivided into the countryside.
The East Coast of us, as an example, was covered with both northerly and southerly itineraries.
The first, with Holland America’s Rotterdam, departed NY on a ten-day cruise that took it to Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine, then to Canada, specifically Nova Scotia, Edward Island, and Quebec, plying the St. Lawrence River to Quebec and Montreal. The second, with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn, paralleled the eastern seaboard on its seven-day sailing to Orlando and Miami in Florida, then amended its course to a more easterly one to Nassau and Freeport within the Bahamas, before returning to its port-or-origin.
The West Coast was also thoroughly covered by the sea. Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas, as an example, threaded 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 undertook its seven-day Alaska Inside Passage itinerary from Vancouver to Juneau, Skagway, Yakutat Bay, and Sitka.
Hawaii, within the Pacific, was covered with a multiple-island circuit on the Norwegian Star, specifically Oahu, the large island of Hawaii, Maui, and Kuai, before assuming a southerly heading to the just about equator-equivalent, three-degree north latitude location of Fanning Island within the Republic of Kiribati, its mandatory foreign port-of-call.
Other than the Bahamas, Bermuda counted as an Atlantic Island destination-in this case, on Carnival’s Pride for a seven-day sailing that included three nights at port for daily sightseeing of an equal number of British island’s 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 Ft. Lauderdale’s Port Everglades and touched bases in St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Princess Cays, its private island.
The second, with Celebrity’s Constellation, set sail from San Juan and traveled to the Dominican Republic, Barbados, Grenada, Antigua, and St. Thomas.
The third, with the Caribbean Princess, once more had a San Juan origin but sailed to Aruba, Bonaire, Grenada, Dominica, and, for a 3rd time, St. Thomas.
Two Mexican itineraries entailed a single-day one from San Diego to Ensenada on Starlite Cruise Line’s Pacific Star, and therefore the more traditional single-week one with the ocean Princess-in this case, from l. a. to the Mexican Riviera destinations of Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas, like the one weekly plied within the Love Boat television series, which sparked considerable cruise interest.
South America was circumnavigated with three 14-day journeys.
The first, on the Royal Princess, departed Ft. Lauderdale and hopscotched its thanks to St. Barthelemy, St. Lucia, and Barbados within the Caribbean, before venturing to Devil’s Island in French Guiana, crossing the equator, and penetrating the Amazon in Brazil to Santana, Santarem, Boca da Valeria, Parintins, and Manaus, covering 3,236 miles.
The second, originating in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and operated by Celebrity’s Infinity, ultimately arched its way around the tip of the continent at Cape Horn, which provided northerly access to the Beagle Channel of Darwin fame and therefore the southerly entrance to the Drake Passage. Its ports-of-calls included Montevideo in Uruguay, Puerto Madryn in Argentina, Port Stanley within the Falkland Islands, Ushuaia in Argentina, and Punta Arenas in Chile. Continuing its trek up the West Coast, it plied the Strait of Magellan and therefore the Chilean Fjords, offering close inspection of Skua Glacier, before sailing to Puerto Mont and terminating in Valparaiso, both in Chile, completing a 4,070-mile cruise.
The third, of equal duration and on an equivalent ship some two years later, departed Valparaiso, but alighted in La Serena and Arica, both in Chile, before continuing to Callao, Peru, and Manta, Ecuador, within the process crossing the equator. An easterly transit through the Panama Canal took it through the Miraflores Locks, Gatun Lake, the Gaillard Cut, and therefore the Gatun Locks, during which era it had been subjected to an 85-foot change in water level. the ultimate four days of its journey took it to Cartagena, Colombia; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Ft. Lauderdale, its terminus, ending a 4,505-mile journey.
An earlier, partial Panama Canal crossing, on the Coral Princess, had also departed Ft. Lauderdale but called on Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman within the Caribbean, Limon in Costa Rica, and Cozumel in Mexico. It only entered the Gatun Locks and plied the lake of an equivalent name.
Off of South America’s west coast-specifically Ecuador-a five-day, four-night Galapagos Island cruise on the smaller Corinthian entailed ports-of-call in San Cristobal, Tower, Bartolomé, Santiago, Santa Fe, and Santa Crux, its two daily shore expeditions requiring a barefoot plunge into the nice and cozy, crystal water from tenders and a subsequent walk-and-wade to the beach to bridge.
The North American and European continents were connected with three transatlantic crossings between NY and Southampton on Cunard’s famous Queen Elizabeth 2 and Queen Mary 2 ocean liners, one during an easterly direction and therefore the other two in a westerly one for ultimate travel opulence. all of them passed the Statue of Liberty, penetrated the choppy Grand Banks of Newfoundland, and sailed their way down Solent to Southampton, sometimes in reverse order, depending upon the travel; direction.
Europe was extensively cruise-covered from the north to the south.
A British Isles circumnavigation on the Golden Princess, for instance, proceeded from Southampton to Dublin in Ireland, Hollyhead in Wales, Belfast in Northern Ireland, Greenock in Scotland, Kirkwall within the Orkney Islands, South Queensferry, serving Edinburgh in Scotland, and back to Southampton, England.
The Norwegian Fjords, on Celebrity’s Century, were accessed through Olden, Flam, Alesund, and Bergen, an itinerary that included the breathtaking North Fjord, Jostedal Glacier, Europe’s largest, and therefore the Sognefjorden, the continent’s longest, after a departure from Amsterdam.
An excerpt from my Cruise Log captured the experience.
“The Century exited the Sognefjorden, once more turning north and plying the North Sea throughout the night. Approaching Alesund, its third port-of-call during the early-morning hours, it docked to starboard within the silver-mirror-reflective harbor at 0730 between the low, deep green hills on its left side, above which dirty-white clouds, like ethereal mist, hovered, and therefore the gabled, turreted Norwegian row houses of the town on its right, characterized area architecture. Located at the mouth of the Storfjord, Alesund proudly sported Mount Aksla, which prominently rose above it.”
Scandinavia was also covered with a cruise from Copenhagen on the Crown Princess, calling at Nyshaven in Sweden and Helsinki in Finland, before continuing to St. Petersburg in Russia. Although it docked in Oslo, Norway, at the top of its sailing, it returned via the Baltic countries of Estonia and Poland.
An Iberian sailing from Southampton on the ocean Princess paralleled Europe’s West Coast after docking within the Isle of Guernsey, then proceeded to La Rochelle in France and Vigo in Spain.
The Eastern and Western sides of the Mediterranean were also cruise-covered.
The former, on Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas, departed Barcelona and touched bases in Marseilles 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 therefore the Greek Islands of Santorini and Mykonos from Rome.
Finally, a 3,374-mile sailing on the Costa Fortuna entailed ports-of-call in Barcelona before proceeding through the Straits of Gibraltar, a bridge between the ECU and African continents, to Casablanca in Morocco, whereafter it plied the South Atlantic to Santa Cruz on Tenerife within the Canary Islands and Funchal in Madeira. Its return brought it to Malaga on Spain’s sun-drenched Costa del Sol.
These cruises and crossings offered new approaches to destinations already visited, alongside many new ones. As self-contained, floating cities, their megaships, sometimes housing populations of seven,000 passengers and crew members, brought multi-colored sunsets, tranquility to the soul, and islands, cities, and countries that appeared outside of my stateroom’s window or balcony almost every morning. During days stumped, I took advantage of some 100 lectures and courses, an equal number of live performances in the dark, and even as many shore excursions once they were in port. The countless buffet and sit-down meals are almost unfathomable, but three examples are cited.
“Breakfast within the Splendour of the Seas’ King and that I Dining Room included fruit juice, fried eggs, bacon, grilled tomatoes, hash-browned potatoes, and croissants.”
“Afternoon tea, on the Queen Mary 2, was a British tradition and a pleasant intermittence between lunch and dinner served on every Cunard crossing. Served today within the Queen’s Room, which was the most important ballroom stumped with an arched ceiling, twin crystal chandeliers, a velvet blue and gold curtain over the orchestra stage, a 1,225-square-foot floor, a live harpist, and small, round tables, it consisted of egg, ham and cheese, cucumber, tomato, beef, and seafood finger-sandwiches, scones with Devonshire cream and jam, and strawberry cream tarts.”
“Dinner was served within the Infinity’s SS us Restaurant just after exiting the Panama Canal, a chic dining venue inspired by the SS us liner with an actual, etched glass panel from the ship, formally-adorned tables, and porthole windows. The chosen “Menu Exceptional,” a six-course degustation of its signature dishes, included Riesling wine from Germany; chicken roulade with sun-dried tomatoes and pine nuts; a light-weight, creamy tomato, red pepper, and mozzarella soup with pesto; a twice-baked chevre soufflé served with red pepper coulis and an olive toast triangle; a granite of edible fruit and white rum; grilled fillet of sea bass served with sun-dried tomatoes, fresh herbs, pistachio, and vegetable oil over grilled Mediterranean vegetables; a variety of cheeses with walnut bread, celery, sliced apples, nuts, and grapes; chocolate soufflé with vanilla Anglaise sauce; coffee; and petit fours”