Shore Excursion – Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville

The handwritten notes on cheap lined paper gave me chills. Dated Jan. 26, 1947, they are the words scrawled by Hank Williams for his classic, “I Saw the Light.” Then there’s the more-than-half-century-old suit — the one decorated with musical notes on the sleeves — that I’ve seen in so many photographs of the legendary Hank. At the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, visitors come face to face with the greatest names in county music. …

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Shipmates: Surprise overnight stop brings fun fishing

Carol Schreck had never been fishing in her life. But when the Grande Caribe made an unscheduled stop at a lovely marina known for its many fish, Carol decided to give it a try. She pulled in a whopping two fish – a smallmouth bass and a catfish. “It was beginner’s luck,” Carol said modestly. Her prize catches were released back into their watery home. Although the Grande Caribe was due to dock and spend the night …

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Shipmates: Foot cast doesn’t stop cruise for Smithsonian tour leader

A 12-day cruise on the Grande Caribe from New Orleans to Nashville was a dream trip. And Toni Thomas was so ready to start on the wonderful journey. But a few weeks before her departure date, Toni felt a twinge of pain in the side of her right foot. Thinking it would go away, Toni ignored the discomfort. “Then it got worse and starting hurt more and more. I knew I had to go the doctor,” she …

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Shipmates: ‘Volunteering’ to be a chef

A Blount Small Ship Adventures cruise can be full of pleasant surprises. For passenger Billy Burdell of St. Simon Island, Georgia, “volunteering” to be a chef’s helper during a shipboard cooking demonstration turned into a lot of stirring. “You have to stir it constantly,” Chef Michael W. DeVidts instructed as he showed Billy how to make pralines. “I am stirring,” Billy replied, keeping his wooden spoon moving as the sweet syrup began boiling. A Creole favorite, pralines …

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Our first shore visit: The USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park

MOBILE, Ala. — For more than three and a half years, Bob Feller called the narrow metal bunk his home. With scarcely enough room to move his lanky frame, Feller probably spent countless nights dreaming of his family and the Iowa farm where he was born. A record-breaking baseball pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, Feller also might have pondered what his future could have held if not for World War II. Two days after Japan attacked Pearl …

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All aboard Blount’s Grande Caribe, for a very different small ship experience

I’ve never met a boat I didn’t like. From huge ocean liners to historic paddle wheelers, if it floats on water, I’ll probably enjoy it. Each vessel seems to have its own charms and I always leave a voyage ready to take another one. So I was curious to try Blount Small Ship Adventures. Someone described it as sort of like having a friend who has a wonderful yacht and invites you on a cruise. A talented …

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Carnival’s Dream is a Fun Way to Cruise

CARIBBEAN SEA We could hear him screaming all the way down. When he reached the bottom of the water slide, the muscular guy with the shaved head and tattooed torso stood up with an embarrassed grin, took a sheepish half bow and walked off to the applause of onlookers. “It’s scarier than it looks,” the man – Butch from Miami – explained. “It’s dark in there and you’re bouncing all around and don’t know when you’re going …

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Jackie Sheckler Finch’s Bio

Jackie Sheckler Finch fell in love with cruising 35 years ago when she rode the magnificent Mississippi Queen riverboat in its inaugural 1976 voyage. A newspaper reporter, photographer and travel writer, Jackie has cruised on large and small vessels on numerous rivers and oceans. Now the editor of two Indiana magazines, Jackie has written a dozen guidebooks and an app, Indianapolis Insider, as well as being a freelance writer for many publications. A member of The Society …

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