Not a fortuitous start: Oceania Marina lacks a terminal in Stockholm

Never a second chance to make a first impression. Deplaning in Stockholm, we move through immigration and customs amazingly quickly. No serious concerns about terrorism here. At the luggage carousel, we meet an Oceania representative collecting luggage for passengers taking a bus tour of Stockholm before boarding the Marina. We tell him we’d just like to go to the passenger terminal and nap in a chair before the ship is ready for boarding, assuming the terminal has …

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Married middle name cruise ID nightmare

Passing through immigration in Stockholm, I can finally relax. I’ve arrived at our departure port so no more worry about being denied boarding by an airline. My concern? The full name on my passport is different from the full name on both my flight reservations and the Oceania cruise manifest. This inconsistency is my middle name. It’s partly due to the conflicting ID requirements on the state and federal levels, a situation many married women may encounter …

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Oceania’s Baltic cruise on the Marina an easy choice

It’s been too long since Linda and I cruised (or blogged) so last January we began looking at cruise itineraries. The Oceania Marina 12-day summer Northern Europe Viking Trails itinerary appeals immediately to us but especially to me since it includes three full days in St. Petersburg, Russia. Having visited St. Petersburg twice decades ago, I’m interested to see how much it’s changed since the end of the Soviet era. For whatever reason, Russia is a long-time …

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Oceania Marina Sinks our Baltic Cruise

Oceania Marina Baltic Cruise Second-Rate Despite Fine Itinerary The Oceania Marina is a fine new ship, in service since 2011, with little signs of wear to its fixtures. Our stateroom, as mentioned previously, was first-rate and so are most of the public areas. But after completing our Oceania Marina Baltic Cruise, we won’t book Oceania for another sailing. Even considering our lengthy history with the cruise line going back to the R-Ships, breaking up is not that …

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Nickelodeon–Orlando’s Best Kids Resort?

After spending the weekend at Nickelodeon Suites Resort with our 5-year old granddaughter, I’m convinced the Nick Hotel is probably Orlando’s best resort for youngsters 5-12 years.  The almost non-stop daytime activity is well coordinated so there’s always something to look forward to, including frequent appearances by such iconic Nick characters as SpongeBob SquarePants, Dora the Explorer and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. And the slides and flumes at the Lagoon Pool water park are ready and …

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Samana humpback whale watching

Surprising Fact: Dominican Whale Watching Easier and Better Than Alaska. Riding the top deck of a 45-foot boat whale watching boat hunting for humpbacks in the Bay of Samana, I keep comparing the Dominican Republic landscape with that of another famous whaling ground: Alaska. From a considerable distance, the Samana coastline appears heavily forested with row after row of terraced trees rising above the shoreline. To me, this unbroken canopy mimics the uninhabited, isolated regions of the …

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Horseback ride to Samana’s El Limon waterfall

Perfect Way to Experience Undeveloped Samana One of the Caribbean’s most active and rugged cruise excursions is a horseback ride to the 130-foot high Falls of El Limon on the Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic.  The remoteness of the falls, also  known as Salto El Limón and Cascada el Limon, undoubtedly helps make this one of  Samana’s most popular attractions. While it’s possible to reach the falls on foot, it probably would be a lonely, rough …

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Grenada harbor walkabout: St. George’s looks brand new after Hurricane Ivan

By Tim O’Keefe Grenada (pronounced “Greh-NAY-dah”) so reminded early Spanish sailors of the beloved green hillsides above their home port they named it Granada (“Grah-NAH-dah”). The spine of a steep hill divides St. George’s, the island capital. The harbor side of the hill, known as the Careenage, is the most picturesque. The cruise dock is located on the wrong side at the Esplanade, which has been developed extensively due to the fairly recent opening of the cruise …

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Tulum is one of Riviera Maya’s most popular excursions

Tulum, the walled city built by the Maya on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast around 1200 A.D., has become so popular it now contains two barriers. The first is the old stone wall enclosing the city on three sides. According to archaeologists, these were constructed not for defensive purposes but to prevent the masses from entering the sacred confines where religious and magical ceremonies were held. Tulum recently added another barrier, this one of rope, to keep the masses …

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Grazing New Zealand at SKYCITY Auckland – Restaurants & Menus

At precisely 1076 feet and 1.38 inches (328 m), the Sky Tower is the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand and serves as one of Auckland’s signature attractions. The Sky Tower also marked the location of SKYCITY Auckland, a casino-hotel complex with 25 cafes, restaurants and bars. This visual menu is from the SKYCITY Grand Hotel’s restaurant called “dine by Peter Gordon.” The word dine certainly deserves to be in all caps at this award-winning restaurant featuring …

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