How Worldly Are You Based on Brand Names?

There’s a bit of “Keeping up with the Jones’s” in our lives. As a person who enjoys cruising, you have extensive foreign travel experience. You might have even sent your passport back to the State Department to get extra pages inserted! You can’t wave your passport around at the supermarket, but there are ways you can signal to friends you are a citizen of the world. Grocery shopping bags. They do a much better job with these …

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10 Things I Love About German Christmas Markets

Jane and I love visiting the German Christmas markets. We do it almost every December. We missed 2020 for obvious reasons. You can do it by river cruising. You can extend your stay on the front or back end of your trip. You can just fly over for a long weekend like we do. This is our approach: We fly into Frankfurt, rent a car, stay four nights and fly back home. Here are some of the …

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9 Top Reasons to Enjoy a Cruise During the Holidays

Holiday voyages in December and January are some of the most popular voyages and cruise vacations. Rather than wait to book these vacations, the cruise specialists and travel advisors at CruiseCompete encourage travelers to plan and book their holiday cruises now. Currently Princess Cruises, Holland America Line and MSC Cruises all have voyages in December departing from Florida or California. Take a peek here: https://www.cruisecompete.com/specials/holiday/christmas_cruises/1 And New Years’ cruises, too, are plentiful with Oceania, Princess Cruises, Holland …

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Step Back Into History With A European Christmas Market Cruise

In many of the charming towns and villages in Germany and Austria, Advent is ushered in with the opening of the Christmas markets. Medieval in appearance, they are held in the town square and sell food, drink and lovely handmade gifts from open-air stalls. The history of Christmas markets goes back to the late middle ages in the German-speaking parts of Europe- in fact, the Vienna “December Market” was a forerunner of the Christmas market and dates …

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The Joy of German Christmas Markets – 3 Things To Do, 5 Favorite Markets, Plus 7 Market Tips

Who travels to cold places in the winter? Lots of people, specifically those seeking out Christmas markets for an infusion of holiday cheer.  Many river cruises stop at the right European towns. Major port cities often have them too. Should this be on your 2020 vacation agenda? Where to Go The Europeans approach the weeks before Christmas differently. Maybe they do less shopping and more celebrating. Some Internet research will let you know virtually every European country …

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Scenic Christmas Markets Cruise: The Bottom Line

The cruise lived up to promise, exceeding it on many levels. Rooms were comfortable and beautifully maintained, the windowed balcony was perfect for chilly season cruising, the staff were exemplary. My only regret was that I could only do one week of a possible two week cruise. When I read about the complete ‘all inclusive’ promise of the Scenic Cruise line, I have to admit that I was skeptical. Yet, at the end of the cruise, I …

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Scenic Cruises Christmas Market Tour: A ship’s farewell and a slow transition to shore life

There’s such a difference between the disembarkation from a cruise ship and the disembarkation from a river cruise boat.  This one was serene and manageable – no getting up at dawn, no suitcases in the hallways at midnight. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, said goodbye to the crew and got into the taxi that Yvonne the tour director had arranged for us. That, for me, is how a cruise should end – I hate rushed endings and …

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A Taste of Dutch Christmas

When I open the cabin drapes this morning, I’m treated to a view of the heart of Amsterdam.  The Central Station is just a walk away! The surprising shape of the EYE Film Museum glows even in the early light, and the Dutch are already zipping by on their bikes.  This is one of my favorite cities in Europe and I’m excited to see it ‘glammed’ up for Christmas. Some passengers will be heading out to the …

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Cologne and Dusseldorf, Decked out for the Holidays

Since we had been to Cologne recently, we decided to tour nearby Dusseldorf as our choice of excursion today. This is a very cool town, with Frank Ghery modernism combined with medieval churches to produce a dynamic atmosphere.  There are several Christmas Markets in the heart of the city, each with a different personality. One is the Angel Market, another is a traditional market, and one is very controversial . The designers attempted to make this market …

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A Memorable Birthday on the River

My husband forgot it was my birthday, but Stewart, the Hotel Manager didn’t!  He whispered a discrete ‘Happy Birthday’ as we went down for breakfast.  As did our Butler Joana, and the cabin attendant, who devised a very creative birthday cake out of towels! A very nice way to begin the day.  My husband remembered somewhere between the eggs benedict and the latte. While it is a bit sad to be away from family when your birthday …

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