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Cruise shore excursions: go with a group or on your own?

AT SEA ABOARD THE WINDSTAR STAR LEGEND — Are you ready to take a vacation risk? Michelle and Lance Teschmacher certainly are—not a big risk. They are, after all, sailing on Windstar’s Star Legend around the Scottish Isles where there are 146 crew Ot take care of 205 guests. But rather than rely on the […]

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At Scotland’s Fort George: a youth bagpipe band outperforms

INVERNESS, Scotland — Who knew? Who knew a youth band could be such excellent bag pipers and drummers. Of course, we are in Scotland—in the Highlands actually. We our ship docked in Invergordon, for port for Inverness, which is considered the entry point to the Highlands—and the home of “Nessie” the Loch Ness monster (no, […]

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The Miracle of Camp 60 – in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland

By Andy Yemma KIRKWALL, Orkney Islands, Scotland — We’ve all seen the World War II POW camp depictions – fact or fiction. Stalag 17, The Great Escape, Hogans Heroes. Here’s one that’s not only true, but truly inspiring. We are in the Orkney Islands, north of the Scottish mainland, on cruise aboard the Windstar Star […]

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Finding a hidden gem of a restaurant on a remote road in Scotland

ISLE OF SKYE, Scotland (Day four of Windstar cruise) — Like a lot of young parents, Shirley and Eddie Spears longed to raise their kids away from the city. But unlike a lot of parents, they changed their lives to do that—and in the process had a hand in changing the way the world thinks […]

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Learning about the origins of the Titantic in Belfast, Northern Ireland

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (Day two of Windstar cruise) — In 1907, Belfast boasted the largest docks in Ireland. More than 6,000 men worked at dangerous and low paying jobs. James Pirrier wasn’t even 30 when he controlled Harland & Wolff, the largest shipbuilding firm in the world that was in Belfast. Over dinner, he and […]

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Eileen Orgintz’s, from Taking the Kids, annual family cruise guide 2015

For family vacations or family reunions, or just to get away, cruising is increasingly popular for all generations.  Whether you choose the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or far-flung destinations like the Galapagos Islands and even the Arctic, you’ll find all-inclusive deals and the advantage of packing and unpacking just once. Welcome to our Taking the Kids […]

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Cruising Ireland and Scotland on a Windstar yacht

ISLE OF MAN, UK (Day one of Windstar Cruise) — Are you upper crust? The term, I learn today on the Isle of Man off the Coast of Britain at Castle Rushen, one of the best preserved medieval castles in comes from medieval times when you ate off of pieces of bread rather than plates. […]

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A family tour of a Paris neighborhood with a local guide

PARIS — Green, red or purple? Not crayons, French Macarons, the best cookie you could ever taste. We’re in Gerard Merlot, a shop famous for macarons in the St Germain district of Paris, with Genevieve Robert, who we’ve met through a terrific company called Tours by Locals. You correspond ahead of your trip with a […]

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A visit to the town where Vincent Van Gogh spent his final most prolific days

Auvers sur Oise, France — I’m literally walking in Vincent Van Gogh’s footsteps to the field where he painted the famous paintings like the Wheatfield of Crows and where he shot himself. Such a sad story. Van Gogh, of course, was only 37 when he died and not yet famous.  He had come to the […]

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In Rouen, France — where Joan of Arc died and Monet painted a famous cathedral

Rouen, on the Seine River in Normandy — She was a teenaged girl who was seeing things.  Centuries later, she is the national symbol of France. Joan of Arc was born in 1412 to a family of farm laborers. When she was a young teen, she started to hear voices telling her to help the […]

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