Big Ship West Coast Cruising, Our Insider's Guide to Stockholm, Best of Corfu shore excursions

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Carnival Miracle Day 1: Embarkation in Long Beach

The smog was so thick when my Air Canada Rouge flight touched down at Los Angeles International Airport this morning that you could have scooped it up and served it as pudding. With the horizon disappearing into a grey-brown haze, it’s the kind of thing that could really get a guy (or gal) down. Unless, that is, you’re headed to Long Beach to embark Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Miracle for a weeklong voyage to the Mexican Riviera ...

Read Aaron Saunders Live Voyage Report from Carnival Miracle

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Many Baltic Sea cruises either begin or end in Stockholm. There is an elegance and gracefulness to Stockholm that is often difficult to put into words. You must be there to absorb the aura of this grand Scandinavian city.

If I were younger and planning to move to Europe, Stockholm would be my first choice of cities in which to settle. As a world traveler, I consider that quite a strong statement of support for this far northern city whose cold winter nights often negate its other qualities. Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden and the largest city in Scandinavia. But of course the people of Copenhagen dispute that statistic, claiming that they are larger.

Read Lew Deitch's guide to Stockholm

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Corfu-avidcruiser

The Greek island of Corfu is the second largest of the Ionian Islands. In some ways, Corfu feels more Italian (thanks to the Venetians and the Italians who occupied the island) than it does Greek. Certainly the many pine trees that we saw during our visit reminded us of the Tuscan landscape as does some of the dialects we found …

Read our guide to Corfu shore excursions

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The Second Coming Of Torstein Hagen: Full Circle In Bergen

For Torstein Hagen, returning to Bergen, Norway, was about much more than christening his new and much-lauded ocean-going vessel, the 930-passenger Viking Star. The event marked a "coming home" for Hagen as well as the crowning achievement of a Lazarus-like return from two potentially catastrophic events in his life.

Read more.

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Viking Star, Two Ways

We've got lots of Viking Star coverage, from my own series of reports on a Barcelona to Lisbon sailing, including a firsthand video look at what makes this new ship so exciting, to Aaron Saunders coverage from London to Bergen, including the christening events. Here are the links to our reports.

Barcelona to Lisbon, Ralph Grizzle

• Day 1: Boarding in Barcelona; a Tour with Tor

• Day 2: Departing Barcelona; Understated Elegance - for less than Oceania

• Day 3: Cartagena, Spain, Has Viking Created a New Category of Ocean Cruiser

• Day 4: A Peek Inside My Penthouse aboard Viking Star

• Day 5: Avid Cruiser's Viking Star Introduction Video

• Day 6: Lisbon, Portugal; End of a Journey; Summing Up Viking Star

London to Bergen, Aaron Saunders

• Day 1: Embarkation in London

• Day 2: At Sea

• Day 3: Sailing the North Sea

• Day 4: Arrival in Bergen

• Prelude To A Viking Christening

• Day 5: Christening A Star

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Six Tips To Extract More Joy From Your Cruise

In this free special report, I’ve put together a half dozen actionable items that can make the difference between cruise vacations that are memorable and others that fail to measure up to all you had hoped they would be. I’ve cruised on hundreds of ships, as a solo traveler and with family and friends.  — Ralph Grizzle, The Avid Cruiser

Click to download the report.

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Complete this thought: My best packing tip for cruises is ... click here to answer.

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