Category: Cruising

Caribbean Luxury Travel

Out of all the Bahamian islands in the Caribbean region, Andros is one of the less well-known. And yet, its subdued allure is what makes it even more appealing as a Caribbean luxury travel destination. With an area of 2,300 square miles and home to only 8,000 people, it is one of the least explored places in the western hemisphere.

However, don’t even for a second think that Andros is just one of those dime-a-dozen island destinations which the Caribbean is full of. Andros is the largest island in the country so you have plenty of grounds to have fun and enjoy the warm Caribbean sun. And because the island is yet undeveloped, there are few phones, few bus lines, and other facilities that could distract you from your relaxing vacation.

In truth, the island is not just one island but a group of islands tightly meshed into one archipelago. With its rocky shores and a web of creeks, this Caribbean luxury travel destination has never offered the kind of obvious harbor found on other Bahamian islands so, apart from the odd fishing lodge and Caribbean luxury travel retreats, development has largely bypassed it. However, what has made the island unsuitable for urban evolution makes it perfect for eco-tourism.

The Caribbean luxury travel resort of Tiamo is remote, even by Andros’ standards. Set three, road-less miles from the nearest village and surrounded by palm trees, banana plants, orchids, herons, tiny tree frogs, and some vicious mosquitoes, Tiamo is only accessible to guests by boat. Relying on its solar power system and solar-heated rainwater showers, the resort stays true to its ecological philosophy but at the same time offers you with an idyllic retreat is incomparable anywhere else.

Tiamo’s wooden cottages come with massive beds, hand-painted “do not disturb” signs, brightly tiled mirrors and showers lean towards safari-chic, especially when taken in with their painted, corrugated-iron walls. And in a clever twist on recycling, even the wood left over from building the cottages were used to build this Caribbean luxury travel resort’s funky outdoor furniture.

But while the interiors are outstanding, the main features of all the cottages though are their open porches. They have fans rather than air conditioning, but you don’t need to worry about the heat. The open sides of the cottages are designed to help keep temperatures down. Climate control aside, the real beauty of these porches is that they offer you panoramic views of the forest and the beach.

Lagoon Catamarans

THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN LAGOON MULTIHULL

In April 1988, The Lagoon 55 was unleashed to the world during Océanides, at Brest, winning immediate accolades and sparking an international demand for high-tech cruising catamarans that continues to this day.

The JTA staff moved seamlessly between construction of the Lagoon 55 and other competition boats, thus fusing competition technology breakthroughs with commercial cruising catamaran design.

VARIOUS VICTORIES; NEW MODELS INTRODUCED

The advances were significant: In 1990 JTA trimarans won all the top places in the Route De Rhum and group opened up a new shipyard in Nantes to organize the production of the Lagoon 55, Lagoon 57, and Lagoon 47. At the same time it continued to push the envelope in racing multihull construction.

While JTA continued to amass sailing victories and break records in the Pacific, it also started to produce ever more complex prototypes, continually testing and improving the technology and the underlying materials.

The result of all this activity and progress was the request for two new models, The Lagoon37 and Lagoon 42, which found their way into the North American charter market.

BENETEAU ACQUIRES JTA AND THE LAGOON RANGE

While market conditions deteriorated between 1993 and 1994 and dampened production levels, 1995 was another turning point when Jeanneau was acquired by Beneteau and the link was established between Construction Navale Bordeaux (CNB) and Lagoon.

TECHNOLOGY RE-APPRAISAL

JTA-LAGOON made good use of those two years of transition to make an in-depth appraisal of the technologies available for constructing their boats. High-level competition resulted in more and more boats being built using ultra specific technology (pre-preg vacuum at over 200°F, even autoclave).

SECRET RESEARCHS LEADS TO INFUSION TECHNOLOGY

To the staff at JTA, this seemed too costly to adapt to cruising sailboats as the ratio of price to technology needed to remain reasonable. It was during this period that the choice turned toward infusion, which was developed after thousands of hours of research in secret to make it a viable and efficient technology.

HOLLYWOOD COURTS JTA-LAGOON

At the same time, JTA’s notoriety enabled them to sign a contract with Universal Pictures for two 60′ trimarans to be used in the filming of Waterworld.

TECHNOLOGY VALIDATED IN REAL WORLD

Infusion technology was officially validated when a JTA prototype – small and nimble – won the Mini Transcat 97 and 99 and allowed JTA-LAGOON (Lagoon) to launch into infusion construction on a larger scale that is now the benchmark for the multihull industry and being successfully used to build the Lagoon 500, Lagoon 570 and Lagoon 420.

Presently, Lagoon remains intimately connected to CNB and has ceased to build racing boats. However, the team retains the historical legacy of cutting edge research and development in new prototypes including a sixth sense when it comes to understanding what the traditional sailor requires in terms of comfort, speed and performance.

Stay Slim On Your Carnival Cruise

The Carnival Sensation has an outdoor 9 hole mini golf course located on the sports deck. There is no extra charge for the use of the clubs and golf balls. There is also a gold pro on board who can assist you with golf lessons and arranging tee times in various ports.

The gym and spa together are over 12,000 square feet. The gym is equipped with free weights and treadmills. There are also stationary bikes and elliptical machines. Classes are offered in aerobics, yoga, kick boxing cycling and Pilate’s for a small fee. The spa is an oasis of relaxation offering the usual manicure or pedicure and hair salon. They also offer a dreamy hot stone massage. The lime and ginger massage is an exfoliating treatment with massage. The ultimate is the Swedish massage for two. Those under 16 aren’t allowed in the gym or spa. Passengers between 16 and 18 years old can go in but only with an adult accompanying them.

There is an outdoor jogging track that loops around the sun deck. Eight laps around equals one mile.

There are three swimming pools, one just for children. The main pool has a 114 ft water slide. Pool games and scavenger hunts are held in the afternoons. Six whirlpools are available for your use, several do not allow children. The main pool area does get congested in the middle of the day so if you don’t intend to dip in get a chair one deck up and enjoy the sun and peacefulness of no crowds.

Afternoon activities are concentrated around the main pool on Lido deck. There is usually a steel drum band or reggae singers performing island music to put you into the vacation mood. By the main pool is where many games take place like the ever popular hairy chest contest which is less about hair than how to work the crowd.

There are wine tasting and art auctions. If you go to the art auction and see something you like you don’t have to bid, just wait until someone else wins and ask later if you can have the same picture for the same price.

If you find you have too much money on hand the Casablanca Casino can help you out in a matter of minutes. The casino has slots, blackjack, And Caribbean Stud Poker. There are Mega cash slots that are linked with all Carnival cruise ships where the jackpot has been as high as a million dollars. There are 2 cent slots where you can win a car. You can use old fashioned cash or your ship account card in the casino. If you need to you can also get a cash advance in the casino on your credit card.

On all Carnival ships a daily events newspaper is distributed to each cabin. This is called the Carnival Capers. The Capers lists all activities for the day. This will help you to schedule non food related events. The list of scheduled activities such as Bingo and slots tournaments is listed in the Capers. You will also see and perhaps be puzzled by other listings.

On every Carnival ship there is a meeting for friends of Bill W meeting. Now, you may wonder about this, as I did after several cruises. Who the heck is Bill W and how many friends does he have that he gets his own meeting place on board? This is a euphemism for an alcoholic’s anonymous meeting. Bill W is the founder of alcoholic’s anonymous. You will also see in the Capers a friend’s of Dorothy meeting scheduled. This is a quiet way of announcing a meeting for those who are gay or lesbian or their friends.

In the Fantasia lounge that seats over 1300 people you can see a comedy show at night. An early kid friendly show is scheduled along with a late night R rated version. Austin Powers dance classes take place in the same lounge. Also in the Fantasia lounge is Game Show mania for passengers to play on stage.

In the Touch of Class disco there is an evening piano sing a long if that’s your thing. If you really want to sing by yourself the dance club has a karaoke night. Popular dance music plays every night at Michelangelo’s disco. You can dance any extra calories away.

Types of Cruise Ship Cabins

Some cruise cabins have VCRs or DVD players, and some televisions also have radio/music channels. The cabins also usually have a night table, reading lamps, and a chair. Most modern cruise ships come with a hairdryer, so you won’t have to bring one from home. Some standard staterooms feature personal safes, table, desk with chair, convertible loveseat, mini-refrigerator, and even Internet access, although it is often much more costly than in the common Internet lounge. The cruise line brochure or Web site usually specifies what amenities are in each cabin.

The standard cruise cabin bathrooms are usually tiny and most only have a shower (no tub). The shower usually has good water pressure, with the only complaint being the small size. Don’t be surprised if the shower curtain keeps trying to attack you! The bathroom also has a sink, toiletry shelves, and a noisy vacuum toilet like on an airplane. Often there is a small step up between the bedroom and bathroom, perfect for stubbing your toe. The bathrooms also usually have a retractable clothesline for drying your swimsuit or hand laundry.

The next step above an outside cabin is one with a balcony (verandah). These cruise cabins have sliding glass doors, giving you access to the outside. The sliding doors also mean you can see outside from anywhere in the cabin, i.e. lie on the bed and still see the ocean outside. Usually the cruise balcony cabins are also larger than the standard cabins, and some qualify as mini-suites. Which means they have a small sitting area with a loveseat or convertible sofa. The cruise mini-suites also usually have a curtain that can be drawn to separate the sleeping and sitting areas. This feature is ideal for couples (or friends) that have different sleeping habits.

Avoid Sea Sickness On A Cruise

I have been sick to my stomach on a small fishing vessel that I paid a fortune to charter so when my brother suggested a cruise years ago I thought to myself that I may have more fun jumping off the Eiffel tower. At least it would end. I have since traveled on many cruises without the troublesome problem of sea sickness. I want to share what I have learned so that you too can enjoying cruising as much I do.

The easiest and most economical way to stop sea sickness is to walk. This is what is meant by getting your sea legs. When you walk around a moving ship the fluid in your inner ear learns the motion of the ship in a controlled way. When you feel sea sickness coming on walk,walk,walk. The worst thing you can do is take to your bed. Lying down will make your nausea worse. Once your body becomes accustomed to the motion you will no longer feel ill and will be able to sit and lie down when you want to.

Another drug free way to curb your motion sickness is by wearing a Sea Bands bracelet. The bracelet has a small bead on the inside that puts pressure on the inside of your wrist. This is a pressure point that will reduce nausea. Children and pregnant women can use Sea Bands as there are no side effects to this method. They are available at most drug stores. Buy these before you leave home and put it on before boarding the ship to be safe.

The use of ginger can help to reduce the nausea part of sea sickness but not the dizziness. Other herbal remedies have been tried but not scientifically proven to work. Staying above deck and getting fresh air will go a long way to normalizing your inner ear.

Cabin location can also be a factor in how much motion you feel while trying to sleep. Select a cabin that is in the middle of the ship both horizontally and vertically. If you pick a middle deck you will feel less motion from the sea and if you are close to the center of that deck you will feel less vibration from the engines and under workings of the ship.

Sail on a ship that has stabilizers. All of the newest mega liners have stabilizers that help minimize the rolling of the ship back and forth. Consider sailing on a ship that uses the Azipod propulsion system. All of the Carnival Cruise Lines ships have them. This system pushes rather than pulls the ship through the water which reduces motion and creates much less vibration. It also has the added benefit of allowing sharper turns for the ship without causing a lean.

Medications such as Dramamine or Gravol decrease nausea. You don’t have to buy these at home as they are available on the ship at the pursers desk where they are usually given out free of charge. Unfortunately these drugs can make some people drowsy which does not make for an exciting cruise experience.

Ear patches work wonders to get rid of sea sickness. The trans dermal scopolamine patch is about the size of a dime and is worn behind the ear. It’s effects last about 72 hours. This patch must be applied 8 hours before boarding the ship or you’ll be playing catch up later. The trans dermal patch does have side effects ranging from drowsiness to dry mouth.

Celebrity Cruises

If you think about it, it’s an extremely cost-effective and time-efficient way to take a holiday. Consider all the time you’d spend driving yourself to several different destinations, packing and unpacking at each hotel, and searching for restaurants and other services. On a cruise you don’t drive anywhere for seven, ten, fourteen days or even even more. Even if you were on a bus tour with no driving yourself, you haul your luggage or at least one package and unpack it at every new stop. On a cruise, you check your luggage when you check in and it magically appears in your cabin, stateroom, or even suite. You’re at home for the duration of the cruise. And the food! Every ship has several restuarants staffed by world-class chefs, and the cost of the food is included as part of the cruise. At each port, guided tours are available so you won’t miss any local attractions. Supervised activities such as snorkeling are available to keep the children occupied. And at the end of your holidy staff will pick up your luggage and place it on shore at the intended pick-up point. Taking a cruise vacation frees you from so many of the hassles of traveling, and leaves you with more time to relax and enjoy your destination.

Celebrity Cruise Lines offer some of the best deals in the business. Conde Nast Traveler consistently rates
Celebrity Cruises as one of the world’s best cruise lines. Services include informative lectures about your location, upscale boutiques, and Las Vegas style entertainment created for Celebrity by Cirque du Soleil.
Try your luck in the Casino or collect fine art during an onboad auction. The nightlife spectacular at The Bar At The Edge of the Earth.

There’s a whole world of pampering waiting for you at the world-famous Aqua-Spa by Elemis. Try a deluxe manicure, a luxurious facial or a relaxing massage. There is even acupuncture by a licensed acupuncturist and Chinese medicine as well. You’ll feel renewed and invigorated.

Children feel right at home on a Celebrity Cruise. The Celebrity X-Club Youth Program has age-specific activities and entertainment for every child. Science and nature exploration, talent shows, treasure hunts, children’s dinner parties, slumber parties and more are all arranged by professional staff. Special areas of the ship are set aside for children only, such as the Shipmates Fun Factory, teen center and pools. When the ship is docked, adults have the option of going on tours by themselves while the children are supervised onboard. What could be more enjoyable or safer?

Age or disability are no impediment to cruising. Ships are designed for mobility-impaired passengers, and staff is always ready to assist. Celebrity accommodates those who need dialysis or oxygen, and other medical services can be arranged if requested beforehand. Emergency care is always available on board, saving you the trouble of finding a doctor who speaks your language in a foreign country.

Dinner is a vital event in itself on a cruise ship, a tradition dating back to the late 1800’s when cruises were for royalty and the wealthy who expected elegant formal dinners. Again, in today’s lifestyle the elegant dinner is optional, and for those who like to dine casually, food is available around the clock . However, for those who like a ritzy event where they can show off their best attire and jewelry, there are optional formal dinners where ladies wear long formal gowns or evening dresses and gentlemen have on tuxedos.

Did I forget to mention the cruise destination itself? Celebrity Cruises dock at a different port of call every day or two, depending upon distances and sailing time between points of interest. You can stay aboard the ship all day or disembark. You are free to explore every destination on your itinerary as long as you return to the ship before departure time.

Trip to Black Sea

There are many reasons for that. The main reason for those who come from former Soviet countries is the simple habit, because they were grown up on this seaside. Almost each working person in the past Soviet Union could get in summer a trip to Black Sea rest-places half-paid or completely paid by the government. Another reason is that this sea is the most southern located from all the seas that are bordering direct the former Soviet Union countries and is of course most accessible.

There are 5 countries that have claimed a piece of coastline at Black Sea. These are Turkey, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Romania and Bulgaria.

The Turkish part of the coastline is the longest one and is generally preferred by European travelers mostly because of the good marketing campaigns of the travel agencies and is actually, the cheapest possibility. In the last time the prices are quite high there and the quality of service should be double checked and the place of stay should be selected with great carefulness. Though, for a little higher amount of money, one can get quite a good service there. The most frequent visitors are travelers from Germany.

The Georgian coastline is very special with its rocky parts. Imagine the huge rocks coming out of the sea, a short, about 20 meters rocky beach and mountains beginning right after the beach. You could find a cave there, make a camp, place some tents and spend a week or two diving, climbing on the mountains, hunting fish and crabs, gathering starfishes. The sea water is perfectly clear here even if it is 25-30 centigrade warm. Such a week would be an unforgettable one and I would really spend some more weeks there.

The Russian coastline is rich with pensions and holiday homes built in soviet time for the collaborates of the Soviet Party. Some of them are already ruined with the time, and some of the were sold to private persons and companies and are held in quite a good state to have a rest in them.

The Ukrainian part has two different types of places. The first of them is the usual coastline of Odessa region and the neighboring, which is characterized with high temperatures, burning sun, sandy beaches and quite inexpensive possibilities for a traveler. The second one is Crimea semi island, which is characterized by separate climatic conditions and even separate flora and fauna. There you can find rocky beaches along with the sandy ones, lots of pensions left from soviet time, which are held in a very good state. It was actually one of the most beloved and privilege seasides of the Soviet Union and till now it is quite a good one to travel to.

The Bulgarian and Romanian parts of the coast are targeted mostly on the European market and in the last times the prices are much higher than quality, at lest in Bulgaria, but if not to consider the prices, Bulgarian coastline is quite well equipped and served and the time spent there won’t be appreciated as lost, so it’s worth traveling.

Sail the 7 Seas

The most important decision you will face after you decide to go on a cruise is where you want to go. When people think of cruises they usually think of the big cruise ships in the Caribbean. Just imagine all that deep blue water and the sun shining down while you sit on the deck and enjoy cocktails. Ahhhh nice, and while that can be a lot of fun, you should keep in mind that you can go on cruises to almost any part of the world. Take a cruise through the Panama Canal, around the Indian Ocean, or follow the western coast of Africa into the Mediterranean.

Keep in mind that you are not just picking which part of the ocean you’d like to see. Almost all cruises will allow you to make side trips inland when the ship stops at a port of call. This can be either on your own or as part of an organized tour group. If you have always wanted to visit Australia try combining a trip to Australia with a cruise around the Pacific Ocean.

You should also make sure that you can find a cruise that will give you the experience you want. Obviously, a small cruise ship touring around the coast of Alaska will result in a very different experience from a large cruise ship meandering leisurely around the Mediterranean. While there are major differences in the cruising experience, this is not just about picking the right kind of climate for your trip. If you are looking for all night parties and poolside drinks, go on the Mediterranean cruise. If you want a more relaxed trip, curled up under blankets and whale watching, go on the Alaskan cruise.

You should also remember that certain cruise lines focus on different types of customers. There are cruise ships that will cater to those who want to spend all night drinking and dancing, there are cruise ships that focus on retirees and there are cruise ships that cater to a variety of tastes. Families should look for family-friendly cruises. These family-friendly cruises will have children’s activities and places for teenagers to hang out. The Disney Cruise line specializes in family style cruising.

The level of service you will receive is the biggest factor in your final price. If you are on a tight budget, avoid the high end luxury cruise. Instead go with a premium or even mainstream cruise. The location and size of your cabin will also make a difference. If you are really tight for cash, take a small cabin on the inside of the ship. While your food and cabin may not be as grand as fellow passengers on the exclusive decks, you will at least still be able to afford the airfare home. And you will have the same experiences as the higher paying passengers.

If you can afford it feel free to treat yourself with a luxury cruise and enjoy all the amenities that come along with staying at a fancy hotel. Except this hotel goes to many different and exotic places!!

While cruises are often all-inclusive, there are a number of things you should confirm before leaving home. First make sure that the cruise ship is aware of any special dietary or smoking restrictions. If your cruise ship will be coming into port, inquire if you need to book any shore excursions in advance. And most importantly, ensure that you have a way to get to the starting point and back again when the cruise is over. Some cruises do not end at the same port that they departed from. Ending a wonderful cruise by being stranded at the ships last port of call is not the best way to enjoy your holiday! Spending a few days in the last port of call before returning home will top off the perfect end to the perfect vacation. Happy cruising!

Discount European Cruises

One can experience the splendors of Europe from the comforts of a cruise ship, since most of the major cities are situated along the ports. The luxury of a European cruise can be enjoyed by the average American thanks to ‘discount European cruises’ advertised by travel agencies. Browsing through any travel magazine or website, you can find the highlighted caption ‘Discount European Cruises’ on the main pages. The reduced ticket rates are offered along with a range of services that were considered a luxury in yesteryears. The varied cultures, landscape, food and wine can be enjoyed thanks to discounted European cruises.

Discounted European cruises brings sailing luxuries to the budget traveler. Rather than air or road travel, more people are now choosing travel by ship. A major reason for this shift is the added convenience of not carrying the luggage form hotel. When docking a port, you just jump on a smaller boat and head for shore.

Discount European cruises are available on all major itineraries, such as the Baltic States, the Netherlands and the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe; cities like London, Paris, Lisbon and Dublin in Western Europe, and the Mediterranean region. The European trips are usually offered in packages of 7 to 15 days. These cruises are cheaper during the spring and fall, which are repositioning periods for ships.

Sea Kayaking

One of the simpler rules to follow is this: make sure it floats. Yes, the most obvious would be making sure the kayak floats and has no holes or gashes that would cause it to sink in the middle of the lake. However, most people don’t think of all of the other gear in their kayak. If your kayak rolls, most likely, all of your gear will be floating down the river, which is bad enough, but imagine if it the gear were to sink! You should put gear that isn’t waterproof into waterproof containers that will float. You have to remember that if your kayak rolls, even the waterproof areas in your kayak will get water in them.

One thing you should consider carrying in your kayak at all times is a PFD. A PFD is a Personal Flotation Device. A PFD is the single most important piece of equipment you could carry with you in a kayak. Some parts of the world don’t require you to bring one with you, but you should take one with you, if not wear it, anyway. They now make them to look good ad feel comfortable, while with storage pockets to hold your gear. There is no reason why you shouldn’t wear a PFD for it will not only help you save your gear in a roll over, but could also save your life.

When kayaking it is good to use the buddy system. You should never paddle alone. The weather conditions could change rapidly, and things could happen that you can not handle by yourself. A buddy can help you in these situations, and could save your life.

You can also increase your safety with the gear that you carry. You should carry a compass, map, food, water, matches, flare gun, cell phone and anything else you think you might need. It will all fit into one small bag or even into the storage pockets of the PFD you should be wearing. Also, a pump is a necessity because if your kayak is full of water after rolling or capsizing you are either going to get hypothermia or you aren’t going to be able to make it back to shore. Please make sure it floats because if you roll you won’t be thinking of is catching your pump.

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