Category Archives: Cruise

Cruising with Fathom Travel & Volunteering in the Dominican Republic

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It’s taking me a bit to share my experiences while cruising to and volunteering in the Dominican Republic with Fathom Travel because it was such an overwhelming experience on so many levels. First, it was the very first time my youngest boys had visited the country. Yes, I lived there for many years (from 9 to 18) and yes, my father and other family still live there, and though I have been back a few times, taking my kids is just something we have never done. Second, it was a trip that involved getting into the communities, at times even into someone’s home and offer a service, through volunteerism.

Volunteerism through travel, or voluntourism, has been covered by many often highlighting the good and mostly bad in the efforts (and profiting) of companies who organize these types of experiences for travelers looking to do something more meaningful and a bit more impactful with their vacation time. I grew up spending a lot of time in hotels and resorts on the island because of my dad’s work in hospitality and so I learned a lot about tourists and their expectations and behaviors from a very early age. Though I have been critical of the Dominican Republic’s politics, I am also very proud and protective of my heritage and people. So, it was with a strong sense of curiosity and emotions that I embarked on the journey.

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Fall Weekend Cruising the Hudson

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Last year my family and I got up early on a Sunday morning to take a cruise up the Hudson River in celebration of Oktoberfest. Granted, I am not a huge beer drinker and tend to not consume much alcohol when I am on an outing with my kids, but visiting Bear Mountain and taking in the views along the river as the foliage changes colors has become a family favorite.

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Champagne, Celebrities, and The Love Boat Experience

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The Love Boat. If you say those words to anyone over the age of 35, more than likely they’ll belt the tune from the hit TV show right back atcha. Of course, only one line. Does anyone really know the rest of the song?

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Love, Friendship, and Travel: Girlfriend Getaway on The Regal Princess

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Do you have those days when you throw your hands up? You wish you could transport yourself to someplace and just chill. No worries. No email. No Facebook.

My friend Lisa and I were asked go on the inaugural cruise of Princess Cruises’ newest ship, the Regal Princess. Talk about a respite!

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Vacationing on Le Boat

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This year has been full of amazing road trips adventures. I have always said that one of the reasons I enjoy road trips so much is because of all the things you can see that you wouldn’t otherwise were you on a plane. The road trip through the Southwest that I took with my girlfriends on an RV was a great way of turning the fun of road tripping and camping into one fun experience with friends.

While in France, and in between road trips, I took the experience to the next level with Le Boat. Le Boat are boat vacation rentals that you can sleep in, cook in, hang out in – much like an RV – except your journey takes you along the canals of the European destination of your choice. On this trip, some friends and I ventured through most of the Canal du Midi taking off near Carcassonne, for a taste of the life on a boat.

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Bordeaux from the river on a Uniworld Cruise

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I recently went on my very first river cruise as the guest of Uniworld Cruises. This cruise took me back to my favorite French city, Bordeaux, where I was able to visit some places I fell in love with during my previous visit to the region.

I was traveling on my own, a strange experience in an environment where most travelers are there as couples or families. And unlike the bigger cruise ships, these cruises are less crowded, making the entire experience even more intimate.

We sailed on the River Royale and set off from Bordeaux on an 8-day excursions to wineries, chateaus, and villages in and around Pauillac, Blaye, Bergerac, Saint-Emilion, Cadillac, and back to Bordeaux.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Cruising, as I have experienced on bigger ships has been fun, but not always my favorite experience. River cruising is a bit different from the cruise ship experience…and a luxury river cruise, such as the one I was on, was unlike anything I imagined.

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Cruising Adventures on the Carnival Sunshine

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This past summer I took my teen on a travel experience of a lifetime. He and I ventured on a Mediterranean adventure with Carnival Cruise Lines as guest of the Carnival Sunshine.

We flew out to Barcelona (you can read about our visit in Riding High In Barcelona) and made stops in Marseille, where we took a tour to the sleepy beach town of Bandol and the prettiest town in France, Castellet.

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Riding High in Barcelona, Spain

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Lack of sleep is an incredible thing. Go too long and it can be quite dangerous, but hang on to it for those beginning side effects and the world is a pretty interesting place. My teen and I arrived to Barcelona a day before our cruise with the Carnival Sunshine was scheduled to depart.

I wanted to arrive a day early because I had never been to this great Spanish city, and my son had never been to Europe. I never sleep on planes, I try to but just can’t, so I knew that it would be an interesting day for me.

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Speechless in Messina, Italy (Sicily)

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There are a few things that I am proud of when it comes to being a New Yorker.

I can drive through the streets of New York with the focus and aggression of a skilled hunter (though admittedly having a license, or a car, is not very New York).

I can walk the streets at any time, anywhere, without fear of any kind.

I can speed through a walking crowd like water running through pebbles in a stream.

And I never, ever, let anyone get away with talking smack to me.

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Exploring Rome with a Pocket Full of Pennies

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I have never been to Rome, yet have heard so much about it and I was excited to check it out.

Our hosts at Carnival Cruise paid for our (my teen and I) excursion fee, which consisted of a tour called “Rome on Your Own”. Basically, it was the hour ride from the port of Civitavecchia into the city of Rome. We did get some tips from our guide along the way, but what you pay for is really the comfort of the transportation to and from the port. Turns out that you can also just take the metro for as little as 5 euros per person. (Check out this great resource on Trip Advisor for different commuting options from Civitavecchia to Rome.) One important thing to note, however, is that the train terminal isn’t right off the boat. You have to walk about 20 minutes to the train terminal if the cruise line doesn’t offer a shuttle service to it.

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