Where To Cruise Next? Avid Cruiser Voyages Provides Inspiration

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Alabaster Coast in Étretat, France

If it was good enough for French impressionist Claude Monet, it is good enough for us. We enjoy visiting the Alabaster Coast in Étretat, France, an easy shore excursion from Le Havre. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

I’ve been in motion for more than five decades, a journey that began with my father driving my mother, sister and me around the southern United States to explore all that our region had to offer.

Along the way, we stopped at Stuckey’s for sugar-packed Pecan Logs, stayed at cheap hotels and visited relatives sprawled throughout the South.

We pushed our trays along the buffet lines at Ponderosa steakhouses and ponied up to see attractions such as The Lost Sea, billed as America’s largest underground lake, surely an intrigue for the teenage boy that I was at the time. “More than 13 acres of water have been mapped so far and still no end to the lake has been found,” says the Lost Sea’s website, suggesting a modicum of mystery about The Lost Sea that still sticks with me to this day.

In my twenties, I became a traveler in earnest, pedaling a bicycle laden with gear across the country and eventually making my way around the world on bicycles, boats and busses. I spent nearly seven years in motion before settling down to obtain a journalism degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Afterward, I went to work for a travel agent magazine, and it was there, more than 20 years ago, that ships began to take me on voyages that I would forever remember.

Today, more than 20 years later, ships are still showing me the wonders of our world. I’ve been extremely fortunate to have seen and experienced so much — and I am grateful that I am able to continue to do so, now in my 50s.

Journalism was a good professional choice for seeing the world, and while there is no doubt that accumulating experiences still drives me to travel as much as I do, experiences mean little if not shared.

First, there is the journalistic obligation to share. A company invites you on a press trip, and you’re obligated to write about the experience and broadcast it to readers. But more than that, a lot of the passion that is behind Avid Cruiser comes from my desire to share what I have experienced in order to help others make informed decisions about travel experiences that will be both meaningful and memorable for them.

That’s what Avid Cruiser Voyages is all about: a resource to inspire others to get out there and experience the best that this blue planet has to offer — while there is still time.

Designed to highlight some of the must-see destinations and itineraries that remain exclusive to the cruise industry, Avid Cruiser Virtual Voyages takes you off the beaten path (or away from the busy shipping channels to put it in maritime terms) to discover new lands by sea, or to simply provide a new way of exploring a classic destination.

Award-winning journalist Ralph Grizzle is joined by Aaron Saunders, who runs Avid Cruiser’s sister site, From the Deck Chair, to highlight our favorite Avid Cruiser Voyages.

You can find all Avid Cruiser Voyages here. Return often, as the list is constantly being updated. Also, be sure to see, Introducing Avid Cruiser Voyages.

Agadir cobras

On Silversea Cruises before crossing the Atlantic, a stop in Agadir, Morocco, where we watched the taming the cobras. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Fish market, Casablanca

Laid back, at the fish market in Casablanca. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Silver Explorer

Finding quiet coves to have fun on the beach on Silver Explorer. Read more about Avid Cruiser Voyages Expedition Cruises. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Taoist monks at Taiqing Palace

On Asia cruises, Taoist monks at Taiqing Palace in Qingdao, China. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Silver Shadow Shanghai

Silver Shadow took me to Shanghai, a fascinating city that should go on every travelers’ bucket list. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Toulon market

Caught fresh daily. At the fish market in Toulon, just steps away from where the cruise ships dock. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Venice Cruise Ships

Up close: Cruising into and out of Venice is unforgettable. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

St. Mark's Square, Venice

Cruising past St. Mark’s Square in Venice. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Xiamen, China

In Xiamen, China, I encountered friendly people and a lot of laughs. At 6’5″, I was asked multiple times for photos with those who were more, er, vertically challenged.

Sailing Into The Sunset

Chart your own course on an Avid Cruiser Voyage. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

Avid Cruiser Voyages that we think must be on every Avid Cruiser’s must-cruise list.