Ornaments collected during our travels stir up so many family memories

Our tree is loaded down with skiers from Colorado, shells from Florida, sailboats from Maine, ferries from Washington state, flip flops from Hawaii, monkeys from Costa Rica, Victorian queens from England, fish from Caribbean islands, Disney characters from Orlando…you get the idea. Wherever I travel, I’m compelled to bring home an ornament or two or three. “Enough, already! My youngest daughter Melanie says, wearily eyeing the pile of holiday ornaments with her name on them. “This is …

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Guests can personalize shore experience with new tours and packages from Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises is introducing more than 1,000 new tours and excursion packages that allow guests to custom design their destination experience and enjoy significant savings. This product enhancement is in addition to previously announced new beverage packages. Both constitute the third phase of the line’s ongoing Pillars of Distinction initiative. “These new packages provide guests the opportunity to take full advantage of our onboard programs at a price point that is more compelling than ever before,” said …

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Princess Cruises launches new blog chronicling inspiring reasons to cruise

Following on the heels of its award-winning blog (“50 Essential Experiences”), Princess Cruises has launched a new blog called “Inspired to Cruise: A Year of Reasons to Get Away From the Everyday” (www.InspiredToCruise.com). Throughout 2012, the blog will gradually reveal 52 passenger stories about what compelled them to take a cruise vacation. The blog will explore the myriad celebrations, accomplishments, family milestones and other inspired  reasons to cruise, and each week another passenger will tell their story. …

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New holiday traditions help keep family drama to a minimum

To be honest, the Rudolph the red nosed cocktail was a little too sweet. The 12-year-old wasn’t too fond of the North Pole ice cream either (too much pumpkin spice.) But it didn’t matter. We congratulated him on trying new things and he loved his Palace Guard burger and fries. Old holiday traditions are fine—most of the time, of course, when family drama doesn’t get in the way But there’s something to be said for creating a …

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Alaskan Dream Cruises adds new iteineraries, ports of call

Alaskan Dream Cruises, one of the newest small-ship cruise lines sailing in Southeast Alaska, is announcing three new itineraries, additional ports of call and ship renovations. Alaskan Dream Cruises is owned and operated by an Alaska Native family in Sitka, Alaska. The company will operate its second season from May through September 2012. The 42-passenger Alaskan Dream will sail on three new itineraries in 2012: an eight-day trip that focuses on many less-explored destinations, including Hobart Bay …

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Eileen’s guide to family cruising – 2011

Kids are everywhere—on cruise ships anyway—whether you are in the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or far flung destinations like the Galapagos Islands and even the Arctic. Cruise Lines International Association reports that some 1.5 million kids now are cruising every year—more than 1,000 on some sailings. And cruise lines have never done more for them, from featuring hip teen and tween hang-outs with the latest music and video games, to centers for the littlest cruisers (that are better …

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Meeting local Jamaicans while exploring Bluefield Bay

DAY 4 — Twice a day,  50 year-old   Delta Spence totes two big jugs of water up Blueflields Mountain a mile and a half from Bluefields River to her rustic home on the mountainside above the town of BLuefields Bay in Jamaica.  She has no running water, electricity or indoor plumbing. Marvin Furrest, the houseman at the Bluefields Bay Villa where we are staying has led us on an early morning hike up the mountain, past baby …

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A man on a mission to promote authentic tourism experiences in Jamaica

DAY 3 — Wolde Kristos is a man with a mission—and a vision. He hopes to bring the sleepy Jamaican town of Bluefields Bay into the 21st century—tourist wise. But he’s not aiming to build a big hotel. Jamaica already has enough of those. He wants to offer authentic experiences that at the same time will enable tourists to meet the locals, see the region’s birds, visit artisans, eat local food and at the same time employ …

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A wonderful day exploring around the Bluefield Bay resort in Jamaica

DAY TWO — When I wander out of my bedroom in the morning, the coffee is already made and table is set for breakfast. After my friends get up, we’re served omelets, bacon, and fresh local fruit.  Instead of cooking and cleaning up, my job this morning: simply to enjoy, to soak up the beauty here in our  Bluefields Bay Villa about an hour and 15 minutes from Montego Bay while the staff pampers me. “You have …

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American Safari Cruises offers complimentary night at Juneau’s Baranof Hotel to guests booking Safari Endeavour’s inaugural season in Alaska

Travelers interested in an Alaskan adventure cruise this summer aboard American Safari Cruises newly acquired yacht, the upscale 86-guest Safari Endeavour, have an extra incentive to book a trip now. Guests reserving a stateroom between December 1, 2011 and January 31, 2012, receive a complimentary hotel night pre- or post-cruise at Juneau’s Baranof Hotel. The Safari Endeavour will cruise in Southeast Alaska from May to September.  Weeklong cruises roundtrip from Juneau, Alaska include two days exploration in …

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