Havana, Cuba: Aboard the Louis Cristal, Your Cuba Cruise

HAVANA, CUBA-There’s a feeling of urgency about visiting Cuba these days. We all understand that big changes will be coming, much of it for the good, but we know that the authentic Cuba, which has stolen the hearts of visitors for many years, will begin to disappear. That frozen-in-time simplicity, the faded grandeur, the slow and friendly pace – these things will go, and if we want to experience the Cuba of legend, it must be done, …

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Getting ready to circumnavigate Cuba with Your Cuba Cruise

Cuba Cruise is a Canadian cruise line that circumnavigates the island of Cuba, showcasing the beautiful nook and crannies of the island. But, more than that, it also advocates for the Cuban people and celebrates their rich culture. The company offers travellers a seven day cruise that visits six ports of call, exploring the island’s most iconic destinations like Havana and Santiago de Cuba, and its hidden treasures like Punta Frances on Isla de la Juventud. An …

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The Imam Fainted!

Our chef Numan taught us how to make a very traditional dish that I can’t wait to try out when I get home, if only for the name.  It’s called The Imam Fainted – presumably from the deliciousness of the dish, – eggplant stuffed with either vegetables or minced beef.In this case it was beef, with lots of garlic and onions and tomatoes. While the eggplant roasted in the galley, we took the dinghy over to the …

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The Gulet Cruise: Kaunos

After breakfast this morning, we disembarked and boarded a minibus which will take us to the ancient site of Kaunos.  The boat will sail along the coast and pick us up later this afternoon. The scenery is dramatic, with steep hills, pine trees, lakes, pomegranate trees and orange groves.  It was about an hour’s drive to Kaunos and this was a perfect day for exploring this well preserved site.  The sun was warm and bright, but there …

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Cooking Lesson at Sea

 The weather is still coolish, so this morning we met in the main cabin for a cooking lesson from Serdar.  He demonstrated a Pilaf, that originated in Mardin,  -“a very old and lovely almost Italianate town in Southeastern Turkey, near Syria, a multi-cultural place with narrow streets and archways, where they make delicate silverware and jewelry.” The dish was a composed pilaf, with each layer arranged in exact order – sauteed beef, onions, chick peas, chopped tomatoes, …

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The Gulet Cruise: Stormy Weather

Serdar had warned us that it would get rough and he was right.  We awoke to overcast skies and high winds, and the captain decreed that we would stay in the protected harbour at Knidos until the seas were calmer. No problem.  We all found corners out of the wind to read or catch up on emails. We had lunch inside the main cabin – a delicious lamb moussaka – and then, around 4 pm, the skies …

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Gulet Cruise of Carian Coast arrives in Knidos

Awoke this morning to more blue skies and a glorious view of an ancient hillside, covered with wild olive trees, pines, gum mastic and myrrh. At breakfast we were treated to a gift from the restaurant owner from yesterday – a jar of pine honey from his bee hives. We enjoyed another after-breakfast swim and an exploration of the shore.  I have found so many pieces of pottery and interesting stones – my luggage will be heavier …

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Gulet Cruise in Turkey

We awoke to bright sunshine and a good Turkish breakfast – olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, little thin pancakes, toasted bread, jam and fresh fruit.  Our Turkish guide, Serdar Akerdem, tells us “If you want to know people, you should eat with the people and you should eat what they eat!”  And I believe that is true, and that one of the ways to access a country’s culture and history is through its cuisine. Afterwards we went swimming.  …

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Scenic Christmas Markets Cruise: The Bottom Line

The cruise lived up to promise, exceeding it on many levels. Rooms were comfortable and beautifully maintained, the windowed balcony was perfect for chilly season cruising, the staff were exemplary. My only regret was that I could only do one week of a possible two week cruise. When I read about the complete ‘all inclusive’ promise of the Scenic Cruise line, I have to admit that I was skeptical. Yet, at the end of the cruise, I …

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Scenic Cruises Christmas Market Tour: A ship’s farewell and a slow transition to shore life

There’s such a difference between the disembarkation from a cruise ship and the disembarkation from a river cruise boat.  This one was serene and manageable – no getting up at dawn, no suitcases in the hallways at midnight. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast, said goodbye to the crew and got into the taxi that Yvonne the tour director had arranged for us. That, for me, is how a cruise should end – I hate rushed endings and …

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