Should I Visit Russia in 2015?

RU-St-Petersburg-Hermitage-entrance-640x430

Many people who had planned a Baltic Sea cruise for this summer are now reconsidering and asking, “Is it right to spend some of my money in Russia?” The question is in response to the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russian rebel forces that are believed to have the military backing of the Russian government…. [Read More]

Big Ship Cruising: Carnival Freedom Live Voyage Report – The End

ftdc_carnivalfreedom-0720

The Old Man And The Sea Aaron Saunders, Live Voyage Reports Friday, February 20, 2015 After nearly a week of sailing the Western Caribbean on the inaugural sailing of Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom from her new homeport of Galveston, Texas, we’re nearing the end of our journey. At this time tomorrow, thousands of guests… [Read More]

Big Ship Cruising: Carnival Freedom Live Voyage Report – Day 6

ftdc_carnivalfreedom-0619

Progreso, Mayans and Chichen Itza Thursday, February 19, 2015 Once again, another blustery morning greeted Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom as we sailed into Progreso, Mexico. Unlike our evening departure from Cozumel, our arrival into the port at the northern tip of the Yucatan was bathed in brilliant sunshine that illuminated the water that glistened… [Read More]

Shore Excursions From Livorno: Chianti & Castello Vicchiomaggio

© 2014 Chris Stanley

The rolling hills of Chianti are adorned by leafy vineyards and stately cypresses, all breath-taking to admire. Equally as stunning are the stone castles that watch over many of the vineyards. This is a region that produces some of the world’s most famous wines. You don’t need to love wine to appreciate the beautiful countryside, however…. [Read More]

Big Ship Cruising: Carnival Freedom Live Voyage Report – Day 5

ftdc_carnivalfreedom-0320

Cozumel Briefly; Freed By Carnival Freedom Wednesday, February 18, 2015 The strange weather that has followed Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Freedom throughout our Western Caribbean itinerary from Galveston shows no signs of letting up. Last night, guests were advised that our arrival and departure time for our port of call in Cozumel, Mexico today would… [Read More]

Shore Excursions From Livorno: Lovely Lucca

Lucca © 2014 Ralph Grizzle

Lucca is a charming medieval town that’s enclosed by massive brick walls that are among the best preserved defense structures of Renaissance Europe. The walls seem to isolate Lucca from the hectic pace of the modern world and they give Lucca its special character. Inside the walls, you’ll find a city of monuments and medieval houses,… [Read More]

A Reader’s Criticism: We’re Too Much Like National Geographic, My Response? Thank You!

National Geo Avid Cruiser.001

Every month or so, I look at comments from surveys about our newsletter to make sure that we remain relevant to our readers’ needs. We get both positive and negative remarks, with some remarks conflicting: cover more big ships vs. cover more small ships. My favorite criticism so far, however, was this one: “Avid Cruiser seems… [Read More]