Steamboat American Queen Revives a Classic Era

The steamboat American Queen

By WALLACE IMMEN A rich tradition of cruising on paddle wheel river boats stretching back to pioneer America is about to be revived. Mark Twain spent his early career as a river boat pilot on the Mississippi, and for nearly two centuries there were many choices of traditional steam boats on American rivers. But in… [Read More]

In My Viewfinder: Var Provence’s Toulon & La Seyne-sur-Mer, France

The "Salad Lady" at Toulon's market.

We had a wonderful day in Var Provence, exploring ship shore excursions in Toulon and La Seyne-sur-Mer, France, while filming for the new Avid Cruiser travel show, launching in 2012. In Toulon, we walked through the local market, where we met many colorful characters, including the “Salad Lady.” We found the people here to be exceptionally… [Read More]

Holland America Improves on a Long Tradition

Crew on gangway of Holland America's ship Noordam

WALLACE IMMEN, aboard the Noordam in the Mediterranean Near the end of my 10-day cruise aboard Holland America Lines’ ship Noordam, there was a party for the line’s repeat passengers. Some have logged hundreds of days at sea on “the dam ships,” a reference to the fact that all the ships names end in -dam,… [Read More]

Shore Excursions From Le Havre, In Photos

Le Havre, France © Ralph Grizzle

I spent last week in and around Le Havre, France, and I must say I was impressed with the variety of shore excursions offered in this region in Normandy. During four exceptionally full days, we visited: The D-Day Landing Beaches, including Pointe du Hoc, Omaha Beach, the American Cemetery and Gold Beach. Visiting these places brings to… [Read More]

Holland America Tour Follows Footsteps of The Godfather

The Bar Vitelli that featured in the Godfather II

WALLACE IMMEN, aboard the Noordam in Messina, Sicily Godfather, how much of what I’ve seen in the films is real? What they show about the old country, where the Family came from, does it really exist? On a port call of Holland America Line’s  ship Noordam at Messina in Sicily, I was about to learn… [Read More]