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Peeking behind the former Iron Curtain – River cruise opens doors in Eastern Europe

By Katherine Rodeghier  Ten of us sat around a kitchen table in a tidy home in eastern Croatia. Over cake and coffee, our hostess answered questions about life in villages still reeling from the effects of a war that ended on paper more than two decades ago. Fields still laced with land mines. Rampant unemployment. […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Learning how to wear a pareo, feeding sand crabs, drinking at Bloody Mary’s and more on last cruise stop at Bora Bora

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – She made it look so easy. A few knots here, some stylish tucks there, a loop around the neck. And viola. A beautiful pareo, the sarong-like clothing worn by Polynesian men and women. Asking for volunteers from our group of Sirena passengers, the Mama Ruta designer created four different sarong […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Learning about black pearls and a rare flower that grows nowhere else except Raiatea island

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – The island where Sirena is docked today is home to a five-petal flower so rare that it grows nowhere else on earth except here on Raiatea. Named Tiare Apetahi, the blossom rising out of a bed of dagger-shaped leaves has an equally lovely legend. The story goes that a beautiful […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Vanilla plantation, historic marae, ancient fish traps, sacred blue-eyed eels among Huahine highlights

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – When we pulled into the tiny village of Fare, a shorts-clad youngster was wading in the beautiful turquoise lagoon under the watchful eyes of nearby parents. By the time we got off our excursion bus, that child had removed every stitch of clothing and was happily playing au naturale in […]

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Heading for a Christmas on the Rhine cruise aboard the AmaCerto

Heading for a Christmas on the Rhine cruise aboard the AmaCerto When I was a kid, the family friend who gave me my middle name (Marie) and braided my hair was from Germany. To keep my squirming to a minimum, Mrs. Schmidt used to regale me with German fairy tales and other stories while she […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Having lobster at ship specialty restaurant Tuscan Steak

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – I dined at Sirena’s specialty restaurant Tuscan Steak and ordered lobster. Why not? I know that Tuscan specializes in steak but I was Just in the mood for a great lobster dinner. I was not disappointed. Nearby diners said their steaks were great but I also noticed that some looked […]

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American Cruise Lines Announces New Fleet of Modern Riverboats

American Cruise Lines, the largest U.S. cruise company, is pleased to announce details for the first of a new class of 5 modern riverboats destined for America’s rivers. These will be the first to combine the modern styling of a European riverboat with the premium comfort for which American Cruise Lines is known. The first […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Visiting Moorea island, said to be inspiration for Bali Hai

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – To discover the Polynesian paradise of Moorea, I rode around the whole island. Of course, that isn’t very difficult. Moorea has only one major road and it takes about one and a half hours to drive the whole thing. But, oh, what beauty that drive revealed. The heart-shaped island is […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Seeing a revival of traditional Tahitian tattoos

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – Tour guide Teiva moved over, thinking he was blocking my picture. But he was my picture. The tattoos on his arm and neck were fascinating. When I told Teiva I would like to photograph them and learn more about the art. Teiva was happy to oblige. “These are in honor […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Goal of new ship concierge is to visit every country in the world

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – When Matteo Ribecco was a little boy – “maybe three or four years old,” he says, the youngster told his parents he was going to be a world traveler when he grew up. “I have wanted to do that for as long as I can remember,” Matteo said. However, his […]

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Strolling Cuba’s Cienfuegos, buying art, listening to music, watching children dance, making repairs with Duck Tape

Cienfuegos, Cuba-On our last day on the south coast of Cuba, my wife Fran Golden and I set out on a long walk, sandwiched by two outstanding musical programs arranged by Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic — a religious and classical Cuban performance by the Cantores de Cienfuegos choir, and a classic children’s show, Cucarachita Martina. Our full […]

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American travelers bump into Cuba’s rules on early cruise to southwest coast, but all runs smoothly later

Isla de la Juventud, Cuba – After a calm winter’s night at anchor on Cuba’s remote Siguanea Bay, 35 American travelers on the 150-foot motor-sailor Panorama II awakened before dawn and collected their snorkeling gear, prepared for a ride on a local boat to a dock on the southwest corner of Isla de la Juventud […]

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Oceania Sirena Cruise: Specialty ship restaurant Red Ginger is superb

ABOARD THE OCEANIA SIRENA – I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I’ve never seen this happen. Maybe I just haven’t eaten in the right restaurants. Oceania Sirena has two specialty restaurants where reservations must be made. There is no extra charge – in fact, there are few extra charges at all on this […]

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