Nobel Peace Prize recipient Desmond Tutu to join Crystal spring 2015 South Africa voyage

World-renowned peace and human rights crusader Archbishop Desmond Tutu will bring an especially intimate perspective of South Africa – and the world – aboard Crystal Cruises’ March 13, 2015 voyage through Tutu’s African homeland.  The 1984 Nobel Laureate was considered his country’s “voice of conscience” throughout its struggle against apartheid, and is still one of world’s leading voices for freedom and justice.  Via a complimentary presentation and interactive Q & A session, the Archbishop will share personal …

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Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic partners with world renowned ethnomusicologist Jacob Edgar to explore unique rhythms of its destinations

They say music is a window to the soul.  And at Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic, that goes for the soul of an entire culture, thanks to a series of music adventures on select itineraries that offer guests rare insight into the music and musical influences of some of the world’s most fascinating places. “I think most everyone is to some degree a music lover,” said Ralph Hammelbacher, Lindblad’s Vice President of Expedition Development. “Music and musical performances give …

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Life in remote villages of the Upper Amazon of Peru

One of the highlights of a riverboat tour in the Upper Amazon was the opportunity to visit remote villages that sit beside the many rivers in the Pacaya-Samiria government reserve near Iquitos, Peru. During daytime village visits, our small tour group from Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic, off the riverboat Delfin II, seldom met any of the male residents. “Out working,” said our guide, Juan Luis. Daytime villagers mostly were young people, children and babies, and teenage mothers. In …

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Cruising the Upper Amazon of Peru

Anaconda, piranha and king toads, oh my! One day, on a cushy fall river cruise in the Upper Amazon Basin, our 10-passenger, motorized skiff was exploring tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries. Each sliver of water was smaller than the former, until we plunged into a jungle path clogged with vines, rotting logs, trees with twisting roots, weeds, and tall grasses. Our guide, Rudy Flores, was pointing out species of birds, buzzing insects, and the occasional three-toed sloth. …

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Princess Cruises announces 2015-2016 Americas sailings

Princess Cruises announced its 2015-2016 Americas cruise itineraries including Caribbean, Canada and New England, Panama Canal, Mexico, Hawaiian Islands and West Coast cruises. The array of cruise vacations departing from U.S. ports range from three to 28 days and go on sale May 13. In total, 12 ships will sail on more than 230 departures on 48 itineraries to 86 destinations. Guests will have the opportunity to sail on Princess’ two newest cruise ships to the Caribbean …

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Rounding the Horn of South America on the MS Veendam

In the 19th and early 20th centuries the safest way to get from the U.S. East Coast to the West Coast was to sail around the tip of South America. “Rounding the Horn,” they called it, referring to the often rough and dangerous passage for sailing ships via the island promontory called Cape Horn. Prospectors from the east chose clipper ships to make it to the California Gold Rush. Commercial shipping, too, continued to use the difficult …

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Last of a series about the Azamara Quest

Christmas in the South Atlantic is hot! That’s only if you consider temps in the 85- to 95-degree category “hot,” but no way is it a white Christmas  – unless you’re talking white hot. Christmas in the South Atlantic – especially on board a lovely ship like Azamara Quest – is absolutely delightful. Boarding in Rio de Janeiro, calling in Uruguay and disembarking in Buenos Aires was chuck full of Christmas spirit, yet everyone thanked God for …

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Mosquito Coast…an unusual beginning to the holidays

ABOARD THE AMAZARA QUEST — Remember that old film? I think it starred Harrison Ford. Or was it a book by Paul Theroux? Our version, on Christmas Eve Day here along the end of the Brazilian coast before we sail into Uruguay, starred the 400+ passengers and officers and crew aboard Azamara Quest. It began early this morning when we opened our sliding door onto the verandah. We were thrilled with  a beautiful baby blue summer sky, …

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Getting to know you…exploring Rio de Janeiro

RIO DE JANEIRO-Today we got a little more up close and personal with Rio de Janeiro. It is a sprawling metropolis of about 11 million people. We fully intended to visit the Carmen Miranda museum along with a few other cultural sites because so many are closed on Monday. After a chat with the concierge – and the fact we board the ship before noon on Tuesday – we hired a guide and driver for the afternoon, …

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Aboard the ms Veendam: The end and the beginning

ABOARD THE ms VEENDAM –  Our first port call on this fortnight journey was Puerto Montt, named for an early governor of the province. And it is quite literally at the end of the road. The road meaning the Pan American Highway, a noble concept whose opposite extreme is far, far away in Alaska. Pulling up to a small dock was not a practical option for the 55,000-ton, Veendam, so passengers boarded the ship’s tenders which ferried …

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