The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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Alaska cruises

 Cologne Cathedral on Rhine River at night -- but watch for water levels. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Cologne Cathedral on Rhine River at night — but watch for water levels. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

What are the best seasons to travel?

I’m tempted to answer that FAQ with a one-word answer: Anytime. You’ll almost always find something positive in any trip, even if it rains every day.

But that’s the easy way out. A lot depends on where you’re going and what your specific interests are in that place. And a few destinations are limited to one particular season of the year.

Weather is often — though not always — the key factor.

A trip to Finland in summer, for instance, is very different than a trip to Finland in winter. Both have their charms — as do the fall and spring seasons there, for that matter. But you might as well be traveling to two different countries in  the Finnish July and January.

Most travelers… Continue reading

Repositioning cruises can be some of the best bargains at sea. Photo by Clark Norton

Repositioning cruises can be some of the best bargains at sea. Photo by Clark Norton

Note to readers: Today’s post is an updated version of a previous post on increasingly popular repositioning cruises, which generally represent excellent value and will sail this spring, largely in March and April:

Every spring, a number of ocean-going cruise ships leave the warmer areas of the world — say, the Caribbean, South America, or Hawaii — to travel to other regions (such as Europe, Canada, or Alaska), to take advantage of the more seasonable weather in the latter spots.

In the fall, usually around October or November, the vessels reverse this pattern, traveling from the cooler climes to warmer waters.

These are called repositioning cruises (repo cruises for short), and they tend to be longer — sometimes quite a bit longer — than typical cruises.

The cruise lines don’t want to run… Continue reading

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau. Photo by Clark Norton

Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau. Photo by Clark Norton

No matter where you go in Alaska, you’re guaranteed to see sights you’ll see nowhere else in the United States.

But the way you see them – the vantage point and the experience – can vary greatly, depending largely on which type of ship you choose, particularly its size.

Alaska cruise ships range from small yachts that carry a dozen passengers to mega-ships capable of hauling 2,500 people or more. For many cruisers, the larger ships — operated by Carnival, Celebrity, Norwegian, Holland America, Princess, Disney, and Royal Caribbean cruise lines — have a lot to recommend. (Disney, by the way, is geared toward adults as well as kids.)

Averaging around 2,000 passengers, they’re geared toward satisfying a wide variety of tastes — visiting the most popular ports and serving up near-round-the-clock food and entertainment — and are loaded with abundant shipboard… Continue reading

An iceberg in Tracy Arm, Alaska -- great for summetime viewing. Photo by Catharine Norton

An iceberg in Tracy Arm, Alaska — great for summetime viewing. Photo by Catharine Norton

Yes, I know it’s getting cold and snowy in many parts of the country, and Alaska may seem an odd choice when contemplating future travels during the post-holiday doldrums, especially when it’s sleeting outside.

But it’s not too early to begin planning your summertime Alaska vacation, which for most people involves a cruise and perhaps a land tour before or after the shipboard experience.

Generally speaking, to be assured of securing space on the ship you want and the type of cabin you prefer, it’s wise to book an Alaska cruise in January or February (especially if you require family-sized cabins in mid-summer, popular with multi-generational groups).

Last-minute discounts that are often available for other cruise destinations are harder to come by in Alaska. The reason is that high demand, combined with a short season… 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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