Vantage Deluxe World Travel “Heart of Germany” voyage, 7-night sailing from Frankfurt to Munich on Ms River Splendor

Story and Photos By Gerry Barker In all the many cruises we taken over the years, there is one type of cruise we’ve never tried: River cruising. That all changed recently when we were invited by Vantage Deluxe World Travel to go on their “Heart of Germany” voyage — a seven-night sailing from Frankfurt to Munich on Ms River Splendor, touring six historic cities along the way. So it was with great anticipation that we boarded our …

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Vantage River Cruise ~ Day 3

Story and photo(s) by Gerry Barker … HEIDELBERG, Germany – Today starts early. We need to get a hardy breakfast before we board buses to tour this historic, romantic city and visit Schloss Heidelberg, one of Europe’s most famous castles. Ms River Splendor is docked at Aschaffenburg, from which Heidelberg is about 90 minutes by bus. The weather continues to be cold and rainy – pretty typical for November – so Pam and I add a few …

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Vantage River Cruise ~ Day 2

Story and photo(s) By Gerry Barker … KOBLENZ, Germany – It’s day two, and we just about have our body clocks adjusted to European time. This morning we are docked here in this historic city, described in our brochure as “a friendly town where its guests feel right at home.” Located where the Moselle and Rhine Rivers meet, its roots go back two thousand years, and has been governed at various times by the Romans, the French …

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Vantage River Cruise ~ Day One

By Gerry Barker MAINZ, Germany – Stepping off the plane in Frankfort, it was clear we had left Florida far behind. We had gone from the high 80s to the low 50s, trading swaying palms for trees in their full fall-foliage glory. For us, this was a trip of firsts: Our first visit to Germany, and our first river cruise. We were excited to experience both. Pam and I were here for Vantage Deluxe Travel’s “Heart of …

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Gerry Barker: Cabo San Lucas, Carnival Miracle’s Last Stop Before Cruise Ends in Long Beach

CABO SAN LUCAS – Here we are — Carnival Miracle‘s last stop before we end our cruise in Long Beach in two days. From our balcony we can view the Cabo’s iconic rock formations, including the famous arch where the blue-green surf sprays into the air. While the weather is beautiful, the morning is off to a rocky start onboard the ship. Apparently we have arrived later than planned, which has delayed the shore excursions and all …

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Gerry Barker: Carnival Miracle Visit to Guatemala (Antigua)

PUERTO QUETZAL, Guatemala – After two days at sea, including a driving overnight thunderstorm with unbelievable lightning, we arrive at this Central American country famous for its Mayan heritage, coffee, sugar cane and volcanoes. “Quetzal” refers to the famous, vibrantly-colored Central American bird of the same name, the national bird of Guatemala and also the name of its currency. This is our first time to experience Guatemala, which plays hosts to over 100 cruise ship visits yearly. …

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Gerry Barker’s Experience on the Panama Canal

image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  PANAMA CANAL_Here we are, floating quietly outside the entrance to the Panama Canal, along with dozens of cargo ships, all of us waiting our turn. Carnival Miracle is among the first cruise ships to make the transit as the 2019-2020 season starts; it was reported Island Princess was the first, a day or two before us, headed for Ft. Lauderdale. Ranked as one of the seven wonders of the modern world, it will take us the …

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Gerry Barker’s Experience on the Brightline Inter-City Rail Line

Image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  In previous posts I’ve extolled the virtues of Brightline (soon to be Virgin Trains), the nation’s only private, iner-city rail line. If you live in South Florida, like Pam and I do, it’s the best way to get to the ports at Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, hands down. Recently, Brightline gave passengers more reasons to go by train with the launch of its new Train-to-Port packages. A typical package includes train tickets, parking at a Brightline …

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Gerry Barker Visiting Cartagena, Columbia

image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  CARTAGENA, Columbia_After over two days at sea and almost 1,300 nautical miles from Tampa, we have arrived at our first port — the historic Columbian city of Cartagena. Located on the Caribbean Sea, this is a city that is both steeped in history and a modern-day metropolis, which the locals call “Miami Two.” That’s in reference to the towering condominiums and office buildings that ring the harbor. But its most famous attraction is the 17th century …

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Aboard Carnival Miracle- Day Three

Image courtesy of Gerry Barker

  On the third full day of our cruise, and over 1,200 miles from where we started, we are approaching our first port of call, Cartagena, Columbia. We are scheduled to dock at 6 pm, and we’ll be there overnight, giving us extra time to explore this Spanish Colonial port city that served as a military fortress in the 17th century. In the meantime, we’re taking advantage of the sea days to relax and take in some …

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