Aaron's Last Fun Day On Carnival Miracle, Plus, I'm Gearing Up For Seabourn In New York & A Barge Cruise In France

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'Gearing' Up: Seabourn Has 'Something Cooking' In New York, Biking With Friends & My Return To Europe

Thank you for all of the nice emails commenting on last week's story about Asheville, North Carolina, and my kids. Your remarks reminded me of all of the friends I have made during years of travel and reporting. I'm grateful that I have met many of you personally - on ships, at conventions and in ports of call. If you missed that story, you can find it here: You Can’t Go Home Again? I Did. Next Adventures? Barging In France & Off To NYC For A Big Seabourn Announcement.

I'm still in Asheville, preparing to leave this week for New York, where Seabourn has a big unveiling. I'm told that "something's cooking" for the luxury line's newest ship. That stands to reason. The company recently announced a partnership with world-renowned American chef and restaurateur Thomas Keller, the culinary genius behind a trio of Michelin-starred restaurants – The French Laundry, Per Se and Bouchon.

Coincidentally, a couple of those restaurants bear the imprint of Seabourn Encore's designer, Adam D. Tihany. Earlier this year, I traveled to New York's design district to interview Adam. You can find that story and video at Meet Seabourn Encore's Designer: Adam D. Tihany.

I'm extremely grateful to have such a wide circle of friends, colleagues and acquaintances. And while most of my time with them is spent in professional settings (yes, even the cruises are professional settings), for the past two weeks I've been spending time with my biking buddies and others. I write so much about bikes on my blog that some people have commented that it should be named "The Avid Cyclist" instead of the "The Avid Cruiser." Well, the two go hand-in-hand in my opinion. Bikes and boats, particularly river boats, marry two of my favorite forms of travel.

Today, I reconnected on the bike with a high school classmate from 1976. Coincidentally that was the same year that ABBA performed "Dancing Queen" for the first time on Swedish television in Stockholm on the eve of the wedding of King Carl XVI Gustaf to Silvia Sommerlath. We were not at the latter event by the way but then you probably weren't either.

I'll be leaving these beautiful mountains and my friends soon to return to Europe and my first-ever hosted barge cruise. I fly next Sunday, and I'll be flying in a business class seat that cost me about the same as an economy class seat. How so? See my post about Flying First & Business Class For Cheap. And if you have questions, please don't hesitate to leave them in the comments box [click here to comment] so that all can benefit from the engagement.

Happy (biking) trails, Ralph

See my post about Flying First & Business Class For Cheap

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Carnival Miracle Day 7: One Last Fun Day at Sea

One Last Carnival Miracle Day At Sea Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports Friday, June 5, 2015 Today, guests aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Miracle – including myself – are all asking the same question: where did the time go?! A week at work never goes so fast, yet as our weeklong cruise to the Mexican Riviera comes to a close, …

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Carnival Miracle Day 6: Sailing the Pacific Ocean

Relaxing On the Pacific with Carnival Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports Thursday, June 4, 2015 It’s a gorgeous, sunny day at sea here aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Miracle as we cruise the Pacific Ocean, set on a course for Long Beach, California after nearly a solid week in the beautiful Mexican Riviera. But it’s not just my “classic” Mexican …

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Carnival Miracle Day 5: Puerto Vallarta

Walking Puerto Vallarta’s Malecon Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports Wednesday, June 3, 2015 Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Miracle came alongside in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico this morning, greeted by blue skies, warm temperatures, and chirping birds. The cruise terminal looks very much as I remember it: an attractive facility blanketed by green grass and local vendors. Canadian and American flags fly …

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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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