A long flight to Japan – jet lag cured with spa treatment at Conrad Tokyo

TOKYO (DAY ONE OF TWO) — Who knew a spa treatment could help cure jet lag? I’ve just flown from Denver to Tokyo, with a stopover in Seattle, and by the time I arrive at the Conrad Tokyo I don’t even know what day it is – in fact it is as if I’ve been awake for two days as Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of home in Connecticut. The 290 room Conrad Tokyo is not far …

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Cruise shore excursions: go with a group or on your own?

AT SEA ABOARD THE WINDSTAR STAR LEGEND — Are you ready to take a vacation risk? Michelle and Lance Teschmacher certainly are—not a big risk. They are, after all, sailing on Windstar’s Star Legend around the Scottish Isles where there are 146 crew Ot take care of 205 guests. But rather than rely on the ship’s expensive shore excursions, Michelle Teschmacher explained, “We are happy to wing it.” Her advice: Ask the local tourism officials for the …

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At Scotland’s Fort George: a youth bagpipe band outperforms

INVERNESS, Scotland — Who knew? Who knew a youth band could be such excellent bag pipers and drummers. Of course, we are in Scotland—in the Highlands actually. We our ship docked in Invergordon, for port for Inverness, which is considered the entry point to the Highlands—and the home of “Nessie” the Loch Ness monster (no, we didn’t see her!). And as is the case on all Windstar Cruises, we are treated to a private event just for …

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The Miracle of Camp 60 – in the Orkney Islands north of Scotland

By Andy Yemma KIRKWALL, Orkney Islands, Scotland — We’ve all seen the World War II POW camp depictions – fact or fiction. Stalag 17, The Great Escape, Hogans Heroes. Here’s one that’s not only true, but truly inspiring. We are in the Orkney Islands, north of the Scottish mainland, on cruise aboard the Windstar Star Legend. We have taken a shore excursion, the highlight of which is another Scotch Whisky distillery tour. The distillery tour (Highland Park) …

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At sea with Windstar – connecting families and generations

AT SEA ON THE WINDSTAR STAR LEGEND — The passengers on the Windstar Star Legend range from 11 year old Cassie Albert, traveling with her parents and older brother and sister, to 91-year-old Beverly Unger, who has brought her grandson Wyatt,18, on a high school graduation trip. She lives in Canada and he lives in Portland, OR. We are on an 8-day “Gaelic Explorer” itinerary cruise that began in Dublin, Ireland, and ends in Edinburgh, Scotland, with …

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Finding a hidden gem of a restaurant on a remote road in Scotland

ISLE OF SKYE, Scotland (Day four of Windstar cruise) — Like a lot of young parents, Shirley and Eddie Spears longed to raise their kids away from the city. But unlike a lot of parents, they changed their lives to do that—and in the process had a hand in changing the way the world thinks about Scottish food. The Spears own the tiny (15 table) Three Chimneys Restaurant and six-room inn on an out of the way …

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Learning about the origins of the Titantic in Belfast, Northern Ireland

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (Day two of Windstar cruise) — In 1907, Belfast boasted the largest docks in Ireland. More than 6,000 men worked at dangerous and low paying jobs. James Pirrier wasn’t even 30 when he controlled Harland & Wolff, the largest shipbuilding firm in the world that was in Belfast. Over dinner, he and J. Bruce Ismay from the White Star Line collaborated to design Titanic and her sister ships—the largest and most luxurious ever built. …

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Eileen Orgintz’s, from Taking the Kids, annual family cruise guide 2015

For family vacations or family reunions, or just to get away, cruising is increasingly popular for all generations.  Whether you choose the Caribbean, Europe, Alaska or far-flung destinations like the Galapagos Islands and even the Arctic, you’ll find all-inclusive deals and the advantage of packing and unpacking just once. Welcome to our Taking the Kids Cruise Guide for 2015, researched and updated by our intern Stacy Shepherd and out partners at the Family Travel Forum. Cruise Lines …

Read moreEileen Orgintz’s, from Taking the Kids, annual family cruise guide 2015

Cruising Ireland and Scotland on a Windstar yacht

ISLE OF MAN, UK (Day one of Windstar Cruise) — Are you upper crust? The term, I learn today on the Isle of Man off the Coast of Britain at Castle Rushen, one of the best preserved medieval castles in comes from medieval times when you ate off of pieces of bread rather than plates. The more noble and important you were, the more bread you got—thus the term “Upper Crust.” We are on an eight-day Gaelic …

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A family tour of a Paris neighborhood with a local guide

PARIS — Green, red or purple? Not crayons, French Macarons, the best cookie you could ever taste. We’re in Gerard Merlot, a shop famous for macarons in the St Germain district of Paris, with Genevieve Robert, who we’ve met through a terrific company called Tours by Locals. You correspond ahead of your trip with a local guide who can tailor a tour to your liking—food, design, architecture, kids… I like that the guides are all locals and …

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