The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

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cruises

The Diamant, Island Windjammers' 12-passenger sailing ship. Photo from Island Windjammers

The Diamant, Island Windjammers’ 12-passenger sailing ship. Photo from Island Windjammers

How you get to where you’re going can be just as crucial to the success of your trip as the destination itself.

And in some cases, the mode of transport is, in effect, the destination.

Ocean cruises are an obvious example of the latter.

When you choose to see the world by cruise ship, you’re committing yourself  to spending most of your time at sea and limiting your sightseeing on land to ports or places that are within a few hours’ drive by tour bus,  taxi, or rental car from the ports.

But ocean- and sea-going vessels come in many shapes and forms — from small sailing ships to  floating behemoths  — that can make for entirely different journeys themselves.

Or say you want to take the Trans-Siberian Express (train) from China to… Continue reading

The Northern Lights, best viewed above the Arctic Circle,took the top spot on this Bucket List survey;

The Northern Lights, best viewed above the Arctic Circle,took the top spot on this Bucket List survey

While I prefer the term “Life List” to “Bucket List” — it just has a more positive ring to it — Bucket List has become the generally accepted phrase for delineating those often-challenging, mostly travel-related experiences you want to do before you, uh, can’t do them any more.

As a baby boomer, I’m acutely aware that I won’t have as much time or perhaps physical capacity as a millennial to, say, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, which has recently slipped off my Bucket List until  I can work myself into better shape. A few more years on the treadmill should do it, if my knees haven’t collapsed in the process.

The good news is, Bucket List items don’t have to involve super-strenuous exertion. In fact, according to a recent TotallyMoney.com survey of 1,000… Continue reading

Yangtze River, China: Sunrise over the Three Gorges. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

Yangtze River, China: Sunrise over the Three Gorges. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews

I spent much of the fall of 2015 taking river cruises, in China and Europe. China’s Yangtze and Europe’s Danube, Rhine, Moselle, and Main rivers were all on the itineraries.

I’ve already blogged about the Yangtze cruise here and will write about the two European river cruises as time goes along (one was for a magazine, so I’ll have to wait for that article to appear in the spring of 2016 before writing about it here, but my Danube cruise accounts will appear in this space shortly).

I was already sold on river cruising before taking the last three — two of my past favorites were the Nile in Egypt and the Mississippi from Memphis to New Orleans — but with every new river cruise I take, the more I like them.

As much as… Continue reading

The Grande Mariner also ventures to Central America and the Caribbean. Photo from Blount Small Ship Adventures.

The Grande Mariner also ventures to Central America and the Caribbean. Photo from Blount Small Ship Adventures.

Sixth in a Series

When it comes to cruising, you can usually divide people into two camps: those who like big ships and those who like small ships.

On our recent “Magical Lake Michigan” cruise with Blount Small Ship Adventures, I don’t know how many times I heard other passengers say they would never take a big ship cruise.

The notion of traveling on a floating city of 2,000-6,000 people just didn’t interest them.

Small Ships Vs. Large

Cruising on a small ship — usually defined as one carrying 200 or fewer passengers (though often far less) — does have plenty of advantages:

* Getting on and off the ship takes virtually no time, while on a big ship, you often have to wait in long lines to do either.

*… 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

Every fall and spring, a number of ocean-going cruise ships leave one area of the world — say, Europe, Canada, or Alaska in the fall — for another, such as the Caribbean, South America, or Hawaii, to take advantage of the warmer winter waters in the latter spots.

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

The cruise lines don’t want to run the ships empty, of course, so they sell the cabins often at  much-reduced rates, especially considering the length of the voyages.  You might find a 17-day October repositioning cruise from Italy to Brazil, for example, for about the same price as a regular 10-day cruise.

In the spring, you might find a… Continue reading

Brenda Thomas, the hard-working but fun-loving captain of the historic Maine Windjammer Isaac H. Evans, may or may not think of herself as a travel marketer, but she’s a good one.

The Isaac H. Evans at sea -- a boomer schooner deluxe

The Isaac H. Evans at sea — a boomer schooner deluxe

During the Evans’ four-month annual summer season, when it plies the Maine coast and scenic Penobscot Bay — anchoring in secluded coves, visiting small islands and offering views of lighthouses and marine life — Thomas offers a number of specialty cruises that seem tailor-made for baby boomers.

Chocolate Lovers Cruise? Check.

Knitting Cruise? Check.

Lighthouse cruise? Check.

Perseid Meteor Shower cruise? Check.

Puffin Cruise? Check.

“Old Salts” cruise? Well, maybe “Older Than We Once Were Salts” cruise. Check.

Music Cruise With Hank Cramer? I have no idea who Hank Cramer is, but what the heck…check.

Lobster Festival? Double check.

Even Thomas’ swashbuckling Pirate Adventure cruises are a… 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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