Heavyweights of the Seas

  I normally arrive a day early for cruise departures, but have made an exception for a cruise out of the Port of Miami. I came three days early this time in order to photograph some representative heavyweights of cruising, megaships of MSC, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival that are currently in port. All are overwhelmingly huge and seeing most of the attractions onboard would require at least a four-day cruise on each. I only have a …

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Cruising in France: Day 6 on the Burgundy Canal

  On the last leg of our cruise, from Lezinnes to Tanlay, there are five more locks and some of the group wanted to make the most of the nice weather by walking most of the way. A few others took the opportunity on our last cruise day to ride bikes. Throughout the cruise, Captain Jolanda has made a point of warning everyone not to fall overboard when getting on or off the barge at the locks. …

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Cruising in France: Day 5 on the Burgundy Canal

  A sunny morning permitted the group to get out to walk on the towpath while La Belle Epoque cruised today from Ancy-le-Franc to Lezinnes, with an excursion in the afternoon to the town of Chablis. A most notable town in Burgundy is Chablis dominated by the spire of the 13th century Collégiale Saint-Martin à Chablis. The city is packed with cellars aging the namesake wine. There are 300 producers with the most prominent being Domaine Laroche. We visited …

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Cruising in France: Day 4 on the Burgundy Canal

Les Riceys is the only wine growing area of the Champagne region to have three Appellation d’Origine Contollees. It is the major supplier of grapes for Alexandre Bonnet.

  Today our cruise on the Burgundy Canal is from Ravieres to Ancy-le-Franc. Following a morning drive into Champagne to inspect the vines at a Les Riceys vineyard, we moved on to the Alexandre Bonnet winery for a demonstration of the making of Champagnes by Ervine, the future wine maker of the winery. Included was a sampling of fine Alexandre Bonnet Champagnes. A Champagne aperitif and multicourse gourmet lunch was hosted by the vivacious Baroness Segolene and …

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Cruising in France: Day 3 on the Burgundy Canal

  The cruise this morning took Le Belle Epoque from Montbard to Ravieres. For breakfast, individually prepared poached eggs were prepared by Chef Bryan who gave instructions on how to properly cook the eggs (the secret is to boil the eggs for ten seconds in their shells so the whites will adhere to the yolks before cracking them open and boiling them in the swirling water of large pot). A unique character, Bryan began his fascinating culinary …

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Cruising in France: Day 2 on the Burgundy Canal

  Aboard La Belle Epoque cruising slowly from Venarey-les-Laumes to Montbard this morning. Nine locks are along this section of the canal permitting several opportunities to get off the barge for a walk or a bike ride. The 12-passenger La Belle Epoque was constructed in 1930 as a freight barge to carry logs from Burgundy to Paris and Amsterdam. In 1973 it was converted into a state of the art luxury hotel barge designed for elegance and …

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Cruising in France: Day 1 on the Burgundy Canal

  “April showers bring spring flowers.” Our group of twelve was picked up at a designated meeting point in the afternoon on a chilly day in Paris by Jolanda, Captain of the canal barge La Belle Epoque, owned by European Waterways, for the trip in two private minibuses to the village of Venarey-les-Laumes, a three hour drive of 180m kilometers. Our route south out of Paris took us along the left bank of the River Seine and …

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Cruising in France: Uniworld’s Seine Super Ship

  Today I am an American in Paris, the city of light, Hemingway’s moveable feast. My wife, Jialin, and I arrived a couple of days early in France for a week-long barge tour in Burgundy and we will use our extra days to explore a bit more of Paris. This is our third time here. On our last visit I lost a rental car. Well, that’s not exactly what happened as it turned out. I had simply …

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Cruising in the Far East with HAL

by Dennis Cox ABOARD the WESTERDAM – Our arrival in Shanghai to board Holland America’s Westerdam was a bit unusual.  It began early this morning on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas as we completed a short four night cruise over to Japan and back, returning to Shanghai’s Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal for a second time. The Westerdam just happened to be conveniently docked bumper-to-bumper in front of the Quantum. Nevertheless, clearing Chinese immigration in the …

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Cruising in the Far East with RCI & HAL: Shanghaied Again

ABOARD QUANTUM of the SEAS — Early this morning the Quantum cruised into the mouth of China’s Yangtze River and then turned left on to the Huangpu River.  After docking again at Shanghai’s Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal we had a late leisurely breakfast and waited to disembark after other passengers, as we can’t board the Westerdam until 11AM.  The Westerdam just happens to be conveniently docked bumper-to-bumper in front of the Quantum.  Nevertheless, clearing Chinese immigration in …

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