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Archive for cruise travel

Second Life for Historic Ocean Liner

By Linda Tancs

In 1952, the SS United States took its maiden voyage to Europe and broke the transatlantic speed record. Over 100 feet longer than Titanic, it was the ship of choice for a who’s who including the likes of Marlon Brando, Salvador Dali, Grace Kelly and four U.S. presidents. Retired from active service in 1969, the ship has been moored in South Philadelphia since 1996. Now owned by a conservancy group, the old gal is being readied for a comeback thanks to Crystal Cruises. The luxury line recently announced plans to resurrect it as a 400-suite, 800-passenger ocean liner.

The Legend of Twin Rocks

By Linda Tancs

Although identified plainly as “a garden in a valley on the ocean,” the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden is anything but ordinary. A natural greenhouse, the 40-acre valley just miles north of Hilo on the Big Island features nearly 200 species of palms alone and over 2,000 species of tropical plants from around the world overall. Its location on the site of the ancient village Kahali’i at Onomea Bay gives rise to the legend of twin rocks. According to the tale, two young lovers were recruited to stand guard over the bay during the night to protect against enemy sails spotted by the local chieftain. When day broke, the lovers were gone and two attached rock formations stood in their place, forever standing sentinel at the head of the bay. These days the enemy sails are just cruise ships, and passengers will be glad to know that garden staff will meet you at the pier for a day’s visit.

A Meeting on the Mersey

By Linda Tancs

In 1840 Cunard established the first scheduled service across the Atlantic with a sailing from Liverpool to Halifax and Boston on the ship Britannia.  In celebration of their 175th year of service, Cunard  returns to its spiritual home at the Liverpool waterfront with a spectacular meeting of its three queens–Elizabeth, Mary and Victoria–today.  The original transatlantic crossing will be replicated by Queen Mary 2 in July.

Panama Canal’s Centenary

By Linda Tancs

An engineering marvel of its day, the Panama Canal manages five percent of  shipments worldwide, linking more than 144 routes, 1,700 ports and 160 countries in commerce.  The grand dame is celebrating her 100th birthday today with a makeover in the works that includes new locks, wider shipping lanes and bigger ports.  A canal cruise frequently lands on the bucket list of travelers.  Look for cruise deals highlighting the centennial, including increased transits (Holland America has nearly 30 full or partial transits on its 2014 schedule), stage celebrations and enrichment classes.

Flagship Vessel Celebrates 10 Years

By Linda Tancs

This month marks the tenth anniversary of Cunard’s flagship vessel, Queen Mary 2.  So what makes her so special?  Let us count the ways:  longer than three football fields, hostess of the first Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at sea, the largest wine cellar at sea, the only onboard planetarium and over five million dollars of fine art gracing the walls.  Where else will you find all that in one place?  Long may she sail.

A Cruise Ship Fit for a Queen

By Linda Tancs

Undoubtedly it’s safe to say that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II doesn’t charter cruise ships willy-nilly.   So when the monarch did just that to celebrate her 80th birthday, you’ve got to think that the ship must be something special.  That ship is the Hebridean Princess, a luxury ship hosting just 50 guests.  Now in its 25th season, the former ferry boat has come a long way indeed.  From March to November the ship sets sail from Oban for Scotland’s far flung isles, offering travelers the best way imaginable to discover the remoteness and beauty of the west coast.

The Green Flash

By Linda Tancs

A green flash sunset, when the last sliver of sun turns green before vanishing into the horizon, is spectacular–and elusive for many.   That’s because a confluence of events must occur for a viewing of this phenomenon:  you need an unobstructed view and no haze or cloud cover at the horizon.  For these reasons, it’s a treat best caught on the open sea.  My favorite green flash moment was in Moorea in the South Pacific.  Leave a comment about your own green flash experience!

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