FEATURED IN THIS ISSUE
- The Alaska Experience
- The Value of Cruising
- Mykonos Port of Call
Cruising To Alaska A Trip To Remember
Visiting Alaska by cruise ship has become one of the most popular ways to experience Alaska’s breathtaking beauty and diverse culture. Cruises incorporate all that Alaska has to offer including glaciers, wildlife, exotic ports of call, entertainment and fine dining.
Some of the most popular Alaskan cruises are glacier cruises. Much of the Alaskan terrain consists of majestic, snow capped mountains and gorgeous, formidable glaciers and ice fields covering over 5% of Alaska. This natural beauty can be seen from many top tourist destinations in Alaska including Juneau, Valdez, Seward and the Matanuska Valley, but is usually more fully appreciated with an up close and personal view that only a cruise can afford. From this vantage point you will stand spellbound by tidewater glaciers that reach over 100 ft. in height and the antics of wildlife such as humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, dolphins, brown bears and bald eagles.
The Gulf of Alaska is also a popular cruise option. Many cruise lines offer week-long cruises from Seward to Vancouver or vice versa. Along the way you can take in such highlights as Glacier Bay National Park, College Fjord and interesting ports of call including Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. At each port you can take advantage of unique and exciting land activities such as helicopter glacier landing, fishing trips, whale watching and sightseeing tours, just to name a few.
Because of the awe-inspiring beauty of the Alaskan inside passage and since many destinations along the Alaska inside passage are only accessible by plane or boat, these cruises have become one of the most popular tourist attractions of the state. From the waterway of the passage, one can look upon some of the most magnificent natural scenery to be found such as coastal rainforests, deep blue fjords and tidewater glaciers. Also to be found in the passage are numerous species of wildlife including humpback whales, orcas, sea lions and seabirds.
Some Alaska cruises often incorporate land packages as part of their cruise options. With an optional land package, visitors can spend an additional five to seven days exploring all that Alaska has to offer from land. You can explore one of the many cities or national parks like Denali, take advantage of Alaska’s world-renowned sport fishing, or visit famous mining towns.
Because of the state’s appeal, there are many Alaska cruises to choose from, and each promise memories of adventure and excitement to last a lifetime. Which one is perfect for you? That is for you to decide.
Cruises Can Be Vacation Bargains
6 Reasons Why A Cruise Is Such A Fine Budget Vacation
A cruise ship provides a great, one price, vacation, and one of the main attractions to booking a cruise ship is that just about everything is included in the price.
When many people think about a budget vacation, they picture an intrepid traveler in a roach infested hotel room eating stale sandwiches and riding around on the city bus. However, one of the best ways to save money on a vacation is also one of the most luxurious and most thrilling – the cruise vacation.
In addition to a cheap place to stay, a cruise also offers unlimited food, including many amazing buffets that are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition, the food on cruise vacation ships are often better-quality to those in all but the best land locked restaurants, and once again, the food is included in the price.
Of course, it is possible to save money by traveling in the off-season, and this can often be a great plan. For instance, even though it is the middle of the winter and most people are not thinking about vacations where you are, it may be warm and tempting in many tropical cruise ship destinations.
It is important, however to check out the local weather, and to avoid the rainy season in the destinations you are considering. Steering clear of hurricanes, tropical downpours and other weather problems can help you get the most out of your cruise ship.
If you have never taken a cruise ship before, it is a good idea to get advice from those who have experienced cruising. These people can give valuable insight on the best balance of cost and comfort for your first cruise ship experience.
The location of the cabin is another important consideration when booking a cruise ship. The interior cabins on the lower parts of the ship are generally the least costly, while the higher, larger cabins with ocean views are the most expensive.
Discounts and Cheap Cruise ship Deals
It is not always necessary to shop early, of course. Cruise ship lines have been known to offer some fantastic discounts at the last minute in order to move unsold cabins or avoid leaving with a less than full passenger load.
There are many last minute travel newsletters that provide details on these types of cruise ship deals, and these last minute travel deals are a big hit with retirees and others with the time to see the world.
Food and Gym
After eating all that food, you will probably feel the need to work out, and the cost of the cruise vacation also typically includes unlimited use of the gym, the weight room and the sports locations. While many hotels tack on a surcharge for the use of the hotel gym, with a cruise vacation it is generally included.
The cost of a cruise vacation also includes all shipboard entertainment and classes. The entertainment options of a cruise vacation are often one of the best parts of the experience, and many cruises offer such things as movie nights, theatres, spas, nightclubs, discos, and even casinos.
There are also some great classes offered by cruise lines, in everything from origami to bridge to ballroom dancing. And again, these classes and entertainment options are included in the price you pay for the cruise.
Among the only things that are not included in the typical cruise vacation are alcoholic beverages and shore excursions. Many of the higher priced cruises even include these extras. If the shore excursions and drinks are not included, be sure to get a price list for shore excursions and drinks.
It is often possible to save money on shore excursions while on a cruise vacation by booking the tours locally at portside instead of going with the cruise line. Just be sure, however that the book it yourself excursion will get you back to the ship on time.
For all these reasons, cruise vacation can be among the best, and most economical, of all vacation opportunities. The ability to enjoy a week or two week cruise vacation at one low price is one more reason to love cruising.
Mykonos, Our Featured Port of Call
The Greek islands attract people from all over the world and the most popular of these pieces of paradise is Mykonos. It features an exciting nightlife and a cosmopolitan atmosphere that attracts visitors of all ages who come for a number of reasons. The island is famous for partying, relaxation, picturesque villages and magnificent beaches featuring golden sands and the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea.The weather is usually great, the sky and sea compete to see which is the more spectacular turquoise and everywhere you look are sun bleached white stucco buildings. Spend time strolling thru narrow streets and alleys as you shop for art, local crafts and souvenirs. Cafes and restaurants are everywhere with seating that spreads out onto patios and porches each offering incredible views.
While visiting keep an eye out for the Pelican of Mykonos. Named Petros (Peter) he’s part of the traditions and culture of the island. This mascot of Mykonos strolls leisurely through the city’s many streets and alleyways.
Currently Petros the Pelican is a second generation mascot. He and his predecessor have made Mykonos their home since 1954. The original Petros passed away in 1985 and the current Petros quickly took his place. Both of these Pelicans have have their way into the hearts of the people of Mykonos as well as the many visitors to this enchanted island.
Where Your Ship Docks
Mykonos has a new cruise ship docking pier about a mile and a half from Mykonos City. Shuttle bus service is usually provided and there are good sidewalks around the waterfront but they can be steep in places.
The island has a good bus system with routes that connect most towns with the many popular beaches. The Mykonos bus fleet includes 26 buses, some of which are provided especially for the island”s tourist visitors. The fare is between €1 and €3, depending on the distance traveled, and you can buy tickets directly from the driver or at the booths at the terminals. Taxis are also readily available.
Mostly the island is popular for the beaches with dozens to pick from. A couple of the most popular include:
Paradise beach and Super Paradise beach are 4 miles from Mykonos Town, they are sand beaches very popular with young people that come to play all day and late into the night. It also features diving and watersports and plenty of bars and clubs which flow out onto the beach. Paradise beach has a party vibe with good swimming in beautiful water. It’s also nudist friendly. You can reach the beach by taxi, boat or bus.
Ornos beach is well equipped with loungers and umbrellas along with many cafes and restaurants. There is good for windsurfing, diving and water skiing. It’s less than 2 miles from Mykonos Town, so it’s easy to get to by bus or boat. It’s located in a lovely bay with great views. Although it can get crowded, it is more relaxed than other beaches, so it’s an enjoyable place to spend the day.
The Mykonos windmills are the iconic feature of this island. The windmills can be seen from many points around the village of Mykonos, the island’s principal village and are the first thing you see when coming into the harbor as they stand on a hill overlooking the village.
The Aegean Maritime Museum – a non-profit institution founded in 1985. It’s dedicated to collect, study and promote Greek maritime history and tradition. It features a particular focus on the evolution and activities of the merchant ship, mainly in this historic region of the Aegean Sea. The Aegean Maritime Museum is housed in a traditional 19th century Myconian building, which is located at the centre of the Town of Mykonos.
The Archaeological Museum of Mykonos – a museum thats collections include exhibits dating from the Prehistoric to the Hellenistic period. The museum includes six rooms that include models and tomb artifacts of Rinia. Also featured are earthenware, Cycladic stoneware and ceramics dated from ninth and eighth century BC. The most popular display is the internment reliefs of the fall of Troy.
Specialties include olive products like soaps and oils, spices along with local arts and crafts. Keep a look out for good buys in souvenir shops, premium label designer clothes and shoes, art galleries and fine jewelry in the Greek design tradition.
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