The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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Milford Sound is one of Zealandia's top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

Milford Sound is one of Zealandia’s top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

You may have read recently that a group of eminent geologists now believe there is a land mass that should be regarded as the earth’s eighth continent, based on scientific studies of the nature of its continental crust.

They’ve dubbed it Zealandia, partially because it includes the island nation of New Zealand in the western Pacific.

The term “Zealandia” was actually coined back in 1995 to describe a number of islands in the region (of which New Zealand’s three main islands are the largest) and what were believed to be submerged fragments of  continental crust that broke off from Australia in  the distant past.

Now the evidence is that Zealandia is all one big piece stretching from north of Antarctica almost all the way to the east coast of Oz.  That would make… Continue reading

Carnival's soon-to-be-introduced Ocean Medal;lion can be worn around the wrist. Photo from Princess Cruises. .

Carnival’s soon-to-be-introduced Ocean Medallion can be worn around the wrist. Photo from Princess Cruises.

Every year brings advances to the world of cruising: new ships and amenities, breakthrough technologies, more enticing itineraries.

As cruise lines jostle to stay one wave or river bend ahead of the competition, they grow ever more creative – and passengers reap the rewards.

In 2017, that means more personalized experiences, a more varied choice of destinations, and more “Wow!” factors than ever. Happy sailing!

A Techno-Gizmo That Does It All, Almost

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, has announced plans to begin rolling out a techno-marvel medallion in 2017 that will do almost anything for you on board except mix your drinks (for that, you’ll need to sail on Royal Caribbean’s new mega-ship the Harmony of the Seas, which sports cocktail-preparing robots in its Bionic Bar).

Paired with an optional app for maximum… Continue reading

Camping on ice in Nunavut will be hot this year, so to speak, among Americans vacationing in Canada. Photo from Nunavut Tourism

Camping on ice in Nunavut will be hot this year, so to speak, among Americans vacationing in Canada. Photo from Nunavut Tourism.

Since just about every travel publication tries to predict – or, more accurately, tries to convince you – where you’ll go in the New Year, is no exception.

Here are my predictions for what will be the three hottest destinations for Americans in 2017:

*  CANADA – Approximately half the population of the United Sates says they expect to visit Canada in 2017, according to recent surveys, and many say they are planning extended visits of from four to eight years. Interest is particularly strong among residents of the western and northeastern coastal areas, as well as pockets of travelers from the Midwest and Virginia.

Perhaps surprisingly, Canada will apparently be inundated with U.S. visitors at the coldest time of year, in late January. And despite… Continue reading

The Royal Clipper in full sail. Photo courtesy of Star Clippers.

Star Clippers” Royal Clipper in full sail through the Caribbean. Photo courtesy of Star Clippers.

If romance is the universal language — and who says baby boomers have lost their sense of romance? — a Caribbean cruise is sure to spice it up with a potpourri of accents:

Perhaps a dose of “Yeah, mon” Jamaican hospitality one day, a Dutch treat on St. Maarten on another, and a dash of French joie de vivre on St. Bart’s on a third.

Or you could go British on Grand Cayman or all-American with a Spanish twist in Puerto Rico.

Stir in the Caribbean’s trademark turquoise waters, soft breezes, palm-fringed beaches, steel-drum beats, and alluring tropical ambiance, and you have the recipe for an unforgettable voyage.

Decision Time

Still, Caribbean cruises are as varied as the islands themselves, so you’ll need to make some decisions.

One is the itinerary.

Caribbean islands are… Continue reading

A whitewashed church overlooks Milos' harbor. Photo by Catharine Norton

A whitewashed church overlooks Milos’ harbor. Photo by Catharine Norton

Milos — one of Greece’s sun-soaked  Cycladic islands that include the better known Mykonos and Santorini — had not been on my radar until a Greek-American friend of ours suggested it might be the perfect place for a three-generation vacation.

The three generations? My wife, Catharine, and I — first-time grandparents as of six months ago — our son, Grael; daughter-in-law, Nona; and our young grandson, Conrad, making his first trip abroad, brand new passport in hand. (Well, not in his hands — though he would have liked to have gotten hold of it, along with anything dangling and shiny.)

Because we’d all be traveling with a baby, we didn’t want anything too hectic and crowded — that eliminated Mykonos and Santorini — but we did want a good choice of lodgings, restaurants,  cafes, and beaches, as… Continue reading

Imelda Marcos demonstrates her phone shaped like a shoe.

Imelda Marcos demonstrates her phone shaped like a shoe.

Note: This is the second in an occasional series of chance encounters I’ve had with famous people while traveling. The first was with anthropologist Margaret Mead in Kenya as she hesitated to cross a busy Nairobi boulevard. 

Several years ago I was in Manila, capital of the Philippines, and in a bit of a funk.

I was traveling with a group of journalists and we had just finished dinner at a mediocre Chinese restaurant that was located in a nondescript mall way across town from our hotel –a two-hour bus ride, or should I say crawl, away. (Without traffic it would have been maybe 20-30 minutes, but Manila traffic is notoriously brutal.) The dinner was as bland as its surroundings.

As we walked back to the bus all I could think about was the long return ride that awaited. Our… Continue reading

The Viking Sky and Sea meet in Santorini, Greece. Photo from Viking Cruises.

The Viking Sky and Sea meet in Santorini, Greece. Photo from Viking Cruises.

Viking Cruises — which already operates the world’s largest and most popular river cruise line with almost 60 ships in Europe, Russia, Egypt, and Asia– is now moving into ocean cruising in a big way.

Viking launched its first ocean-going ship, the Viking Star, in 2015, and in April 2016 launched its second, the Viking Sea. (I’m looking forward to a voyage on the Viking Sea this fall in the eastern Mediterranean).

And it’s launching more ocean-going vessels, the Viking Sky, Sun, and Spirit, in 2017 or 2018. A sixth unnamed ship is on order for 2020, and if Viking’s explosive growth in river cruising is any indication, other ocean-going cruise lines may want to watch their backs.

Viking’s ocean-going vessels hold a maximum of 930 passengers and, in… Continue reading

Classic cars in downtown Havana draw photographers galore. Photo by Clark Norton

Classic cars in downtown Havana draw photographers galore. Photo by Clark Norton

I just returned from a week-long cruise to Cuba aboard the Greek ship Celestyal Crystal, in the company of 776 fellow passengers, many of them from the United States.

Along with some journalists who were guests of Celestyal Cruises, the Americans were aboard under the auspices of the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, a Riverhead, New York-based “People to People” program promoting U.S.-Cuba relations.

The ship was also filled with Canadians, Germans, French, English and other nationalities who had been free to visit Cuba for years, mostly for Caribbean beach vacations.

Americans, on the other hand, have been highly restricted in travels to Cuba for decades, though things are now loosening up following President Obama’s recent rapprochement with Raul Castro.

As of March 16, 2016, just prior to Obama’s historic visit to Havana, Americans can now… Continue reading

An iceberg off Antarctica. Photo by Catharine Norton.

An iceberg off Antarctica. Photo by Catharine Norton.

An iceberg is born as a roar, as a huge chunk of ice splits from a glacier and plunges into the sea.

But the iceberg’s story is far from over — these drifting islands of ice have much to tell us about our planet. An iceberg — which takes its name from the Dutch ijsberg — or mountain of ice — may lead a surprisingly long and rich life.

Depending on conditions like their size, water and air temperatures, icebergs may survive for days or even years. Eventually they break up and melt — often far from where they originated. Icebergs, in fact, can drift six miles a day or more.

Icebergs are found where glaciers — rivers of ice that flow slowly from mountaintop to sea — predominate: most commonly off the coasts of Antarctica, Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. When… Continue reading

Here’s an interesting way to spice up a cruise:

On Hapag-Lloyd’s five-star-plus ship Europa 2 — considered the finest ship afloat today — the passengers will get to decide most of the itinerary. This should appeal to many baby boomers’ sense of adventure.

The ship will set sail from Istanbul on May 14, 2016, and reach Piraeus, Greece, the port of Athens, 10 days later, but where it goes in-between will be decided by the passengers once the ship has set sail.

The Captain will offer some help by letting those aboard know where the sun will be shining brightest during those days. And lecturers on board will present the highlights of the potential destinations.

While the Europa 2 is a German ship, this “Surprise Cruise” is bilingual with English shore excursions. (You just don’t know where the shore excursions will be.) I sailed on the Europa 2… Continue reading






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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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