Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oasis of the Seas, Eastern Caribbean


Day         Port ***           Arrive Depart 
17-Dec Fort Lauderdale, Florida 5:00 PM
18-Dec Nassau, Bahamas 7:00 AM 3:00 PM Docked
19-Dec Cruising
20-Dec Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas 9:00 AM 6:00 PM Docked
21-Dec Philipsburg, St. Maarten 8:00 AM 5:00 PM Docked
22-Dec Cruising
23-Dec Cruising
24-Dec Fort Lauderdale, Florida 7:00 AM
*** All itineraries are subject to change without notice. Please confirm your itinerary on the Review page before purchasing your cruise.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Friday, October 07, 2011

Rome to Fort Lauderdale, November 2011

Rome to Fort Lauderdale
November 27-December 16, 2011

Pre-cruise hotel:  Hotel Nazionale

Cruise Itinerary
Date Port Arrival Departure
Nov 27 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy
6:00 PM
28 Florence/Pisa (Livorno), Italy 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
29 Genoa, Italy (for Milan) 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
30 Nice, France 7:00 AM 4:00 PM
Dec 1 Barcelona, Spain 10:00 AM 10:00 PM
2 At Sea

3 Motril (Granada), Spain 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
4 Gibraltar, Great Britain 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
5 Casablanca, Morocco (for Marrakech) 7:00 AM 7:00 PM
6 At Sea

7 Madeira (Funchal), Portugal 7:00 AM 2:00 PM
8 At Sea

9 At Sea

10 At Sea

11 At Sea

12 At Sea

13 Bermuda (Hamilton) 9:00 AM 5:00 PM
14 At Sea

15 At Sea

16 Ft. Lauderdale, Florida 7:00 AM

Yosemite National Park

 Half Dome at Sunset
Yosemite National Park
(The "Ahwahnee Chief" in Half Dome watching over Yosemite.)

Yosemite is truly awe inspiring.  I had never been to Yosemite before, and I loved being there.  I realize that   for more than 100 years, millions of people have been going to Yosemite and taking wonderful photos there; however, I am very grateful that I too was able to go there and take my photos.  I am just sorry that I was not able to stay longer than two days on this trip. 

While there, I stayed at the historic Ahwahnee Hotel, a rustic old hotel.  In any location outside a National Park, this hotel would be rated as a one-star (or lower)  hotel; it is in great need of renovation.  However, the location and convenience were great. 

One drawback of Yosemite was the exorbitant prices at the hotels and restaurants; they were the most overpriced places I have ever visited.  The prices were completely ridiculous. 

While I was there, I took a photo class at the Ansel Adams gallery, and I enjoyed hearing the story of Ansel Adams at Yosemite, as well as going for a photo walk for the morning.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Avenue of the Giants

September, 2011

After leaving Wine Country, drove up to see the giant redwood trees along Route 101. Meandered along the California coast and stopping in Mendocino, a quaint little town, and Fort Bragg.

Stayed at the Benbow Inn, an elegant old inn listed on the National Register of Historic Places and visited by President Hoover, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many movie stars.

Visited Humboldt Redwoods State Park, and drove along the Avenue of the Giants. The giant redwoods are awe inspiring; they give one a feeling of awe and peace. Also drove up to Eureka for a few hours, with its old Victorian buildings.

Sonoma California Wine Country

September, 2011 visit to Sonoma County California.

Stayed in Healdsburg, in the heart of Wine Country. Visited several of the more than 50 vineyards and wineries in Dry Creek Valley, including Ferrari-Carano and Sbragia. Also visited two of the wineries in the Russian River Valley -- Sonoma Cutrer and Korbel.

Had dinner at Cyrus, a Michelin two-star restaurant in Healdsburg. The atmosphere and service were great, but perhaps I am a bit too pedestrian for the exotic foods served. I think I prefer more recognizable foods than those served at this restaurant.

Visited Santa Rosa, former home of Charles Shulz, author of the comic strip, Peanuts. Santa Rosa has a very pleasant "old town" section.

Also visited the town of Sonoma, which was having a fall festival. Some of the buildings on the square in Sonoma date back to the Spaniards, and are interesting to visit.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kenya and Tanzania - A Classic Safari

The Classic Safari through Tauck Tours, June 26-July 8, 2011.  For details of the tour, or click the links below.
Kenya and Tanzania Classic Safari

Tanzania and Kenya Classic Safari

"A Life-Changing Experience".

Photos Here


Day 1
Arusha – Tanzania's safari gateway!
Tauck's Tanzania and Kenya safari begins at Serena Mountain Village, Arusha. Your Tanzania and Kenya safari begins at Serena Mountain Village in Arusha, the safari gateway city. A transfer is included from Kilimanjaro International Airport to your hotel, Serena Mountain Village, Arusha at the foot of Mount Meru, the second-highest mountain in Tanzania.


Serena Mountain Village, Arusha

Day 2
Flamingos at Lake Manyara National Park
The vast Serengeti beckons as you embark on a four-night safari in Tanzania, and a five-night Kenya safari. Take your first game drive* through Lake Manyara National Park, renowned among birders for huge flocks of pink flamingos, as well as giraffes, baboons, hippos, and elephants. Arrive in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, populated by an estimated 30,000 large mammals. Your lodge for the next two nights is on the Ngorongoro Crater rim overlooking the caldera below, an excellent spot for our welcome reception and dinner.


Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Day 3
Wildlife in the "Garden of Eden" – Ngorongoro
Thought by some to be Africa’s original "Garden of Eden," Ngorongoro Crater is one of the largest calderas in the world and contains a variety of ecosystems and an astounding concentration of birds and animals. Your four-wheel-drive vehicle, built exclusively for Tauck, provides an excellent mobile viewing platform when encountering massive herds of zebras, wildebeests, and gazelles. This area affords an opportunity to spot the Big Five – elephant, leopard, lion, buffalo, and rhinoceros. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the crater today.


Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Day 4
Early human history at Olduvai Gorge
Study the development of humankind at Olduvai Gorge, where, over 50 years ago, archaeologists Louis and Mary Leakey discovered the fossilized remains of some of the earliest known human species, an estimated 1.8 million years old. Continue wildlife viewing while driving the rough dirt roads across the plains to your newly built safari lodge in the Serengeti.


Bilila Lodge Kempinski

Day 5
The Serengeti summons
Look for wildlife in the heart of the vast savanna of the Serengeti today on both morning and afternoon game drives. Sightings might include lions, zebras, hyenas, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, black rhinoceros, hippos, buffaloes, jackals, gazelles, and giraffes. When the sunset paints the sky in the evening, enjoy the show from the luxury of your lodge in Serengeti National Park, and enjoy Pan-African cuisine at dinner tonight.


Bilila Lodge Kempinski

Day 6
Tauck's Kenya safari begins
Leave the Serengeti behind as you fly to Arusha, where Mt. Kiliminjaro National Park invites exploration en route to Kenya. Spend two nights in Amboseli National Park where herds of free-ranging elephants and other wildlife like to roam; visit a local Maasai village this afternoon.


Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge

Day 7
Game drives in Amboseli
Tauck's private safari game drives in Amboseli offer ample opportunity to view the elephants, hippos and buffaloes that seek out the park's natural watering holes and the graceful antelopes that graze in the flat grasslands. Dinner is at your leisure tonight.


Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge

Day 8
Oh baby... from movie stars to animal orphans
A morning flight brings you to the world-famous Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, your luxurious home for the next two nights. The former retreat of actor William Holden, the Safari Club was once the playground of such illustrious members such as Winston Churchill and Bing Crosby. Following lunch and an Equatorial demonstration, you can spend the afternoon on a private visit to William Holden’s Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage on the grounds of the club; this sanctuary for animals that have been orphaned or injured and need special care also teaches local children to cherish and appreciate the unique wildlife of their homeland.


Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club

Day 9
Chimpanzees and rhinos in a private reserve
Conservation efforts are in full force in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy. See them on game drives that bring you to the Sweetwaters Chimpanzee Sanctuary and the protected natural habitat for the largest resident black rhino population in East Africa.


Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club

Day 10
A tapestry of local culture
Take a look at local life in the village of Nanyuki. Villagers spin colorful tales into their handmade wool rugs, sweaters and shawls right before your eyes. The afternoon is your time. Spend it as you wish at your celebrity resort. Complimentary activities include swimming, tennis, lawn bowling or croquet, or, for an additional charge, play a round of golf or saddle up for a horseback ride.


Fairmont Mt. Kenya Safari Club

Day 11
The magical Masai Mara, a Kenya safari highlight
Fly to the Masai Mara National Reserve in southern Kenya, where you'll be welcomed by Maasai warriors. Spend the afternoon becoming acquainted with the luxurious Fairmont Mara Safari Club, your home for the next two nights. This afternoon, leave camp for a game drive in search of animals that make their homes here; perhaps you’ll see lions, antelopes, elephants and zebras in their daily rituals.


Fairmont Mara Safari Club

Day 12
Up, up and away over Masai Mara
Today will be one that you’ll always remember as you arise before dawn to board a hot air balloon* and float over the awakening plains below as the sun rises. When you land, a special champagne breakfast will be awaiting you right there in the bush! Spectacular isn’t quite strong enough a word to describe such an experience, a Tauck Exclusive on your Kenya safari! Back on the ground, look for lions, impalas, cheetahs and giraffes – and the other animals you’ve come to love – during your final game drive, then join us for a perfect ending to your unforgettable safari... a farewell dinner at your tented camp.


Fairmont Mara Safari Club

Day 13
Homeward bound as your Kenya safari concludes.  Fly to Nairobi, where a day room has been reserved for you at the Nairobi Serena Hotel. Enjoy dinner at the hotel before heading to the airport for your flight home this evening. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey home. Your Tanzania / Kenya safari ends at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Caribbean Cruise 2011 -- Grand Princess

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
5:00 PM
At Sea
At Sea
8:00 AM
8:00 PM
7:00 AM
5:00 PM
At Sea
8:00 AM
5:00 PM
8:00 AM
6:00 PM
St. Vincent & the Grenadines
8:00 AM
4:00 PM
St. Kitts & Nevis
8:00 AM
5:00 PM
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
7:00 AM
4:00 PM
Santo Domingo
9:00 AM
4:00 PM
Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos
12:00 PM
6:00 PM
At Sea
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
7:00 AM

Although I had previously cruised on the Grand Princess (Ft. Lauderdale to Rome in 2006), this cruise included several islands I had not previously visited: Curacao, Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turk.  This cruise also put me into the Elite status on Princess Cruise Line -- more than 150 days at sea.