A holiday cruise story: Sea of Sorrow, Sea of Joy

Editor’s note: At this time of year, it is always nice to hear wonderful stories about cruising adventures. This year contributor Judy M. Zimmerman shares her tale of happiness found at sea. Special to AllThings Cruise Christmas was only a few days away and I was about to begin an adventure I’d dreamed of for many years: a cruise from Singapore to some of Indonesia’s most exotic ports — Java, Bali and Borneo. Why, then, was I …

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Following Santa’s sleigh around the Caribbean on Oceania Cruises Insignia

This year my husband Bill and I are breaking with our usual holiday tradition. Instead of gathering with family for Christmas and New Year’s, we are boarding a luxury ocean liner and heading south on a 12-day voyage through the West Indies, stopping off at seven islands along the way. When friends who are elbow deep into gift wrap, decorations and recipes for sumptuous holiday meals ask about our plans their reaction is a mix of dismay …

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Oceania Riviera “Sunny Celebrations” voyage wrap up

PORT OF MIAMI-“Brown 3,” said the voice over the Oceania Riviera intercom, the signal that  our cruise is officially over. All guests holding “Brown 3” luggage tags headed for the gangway on Deck 6 for disembarkation at the Port of Miami, where we started this voyage back on Dec. 22. Over the past 12 days, we visited seven islands, celebrated Christmas and New Year’s and covered over 3,000 nautical miles. All the while, with a crew that …

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Day 10-12: Final thoughts as two sea days become three

St. Bart’s, you were but a vision seen from afar. Last night’s New Year’s resolution to maintain a sunny disposition in the face of adversity was called upon this morning as Oceania’s Insignia anchored off St. Barthelemy. The sea was as tipsy as some of the passengers after ringing in the New Year, the swells too high for passengers to safely board tenders headed into port. The captain announced he would wait an hour for the sea …

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New Years Day spent at sea aboard the Oceania Riviera

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY ELEVEN — The first day of 2017 is sunny and bright, and we are on our way back home to Miami. This is the first of two days at sea as we cover the 1,000-plus nautical miles ahead. The staff has prepared personalized disembarkation printouts for each guest that provide all the specifics for making our departure. And it seems like we just arrived on board. Dining-wise, the main event today is Sunday …

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New Year’s Eve in St. Maarten

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY TEN –– It’s the last day of 2016, New Year’s Eve, and the weather gods aren’t smiling any more. In fact, they’re downright grumpy. We are docked in St. Maarten, our last port of call on this voyage. It’s windy, chilly and gray, with a light rain peppering down. No tour today, by choice. We have been here on numerous occasions, and it’s still one of our favorite islands. Parked beside us — …

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St. Lucia-“Island of Splendor” tour

ABOARD OCEANIA RIVIERA, DAY NINE — Day nine, really? The calendar says it’s Friday, but on a cruise they really do all run together. It truly is just another day in paradise. Today’s slice of paradise is St. Lucia, another island we have never visited but have heard so much about. So we are really looking forward to taking the “Island Splendor” tour. The weather gods are smiling on us once again. This day is bright and …

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Day 9: Rain drops and tiny bubbles in Dominica

Our day with Oceania’s Insignia in Dominca began on a low note and ended with a high and noisy one on this, the last day of the year. The shore excursion we had booked was cancelled the night before our arrival due to lack of interest. We’d planned a Jeep safari through the rainforest and natural wonders of what we’d been told is one of the Caribbean’s wildest and most unspoiled islands. Luckily, Insignia’s destination services crew …

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Day 8: A spicy day in Grenada

Oceania’s Insignia docked right on time in Grenada. Today marks our third visit here and this time we were determined to have a proper tour of the island on an excursion we booked ourselves through the Grenada Tourism Authority. On our first visit, back in 1986, our Sitmar vessel—remember that cruise line?—docked at Carenage, a perfectly shaped natural horseshoe harbor and one of the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Our 3- and 6-year-olds stayed on board with …

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Day 7: The bounty of Barbados

Two things I love about Barbados: beaches and shopping. This former British colony, independent since 1966, is an important center of commerce in the Caribbean, most of it centered in the capital, Bridgetown. The cruise terminal sits just a little over a mile from the heart of the city. As soon as we make our way through the maze of shops inside the terminal we emerge into sunlight and walk a short distance to a well-organized taxi …

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