OK, this is a bit of shameless self-promotion, but I’m happy to say that Cruising the World: From Gondolas to Megaships — has won Gold in the Coffee Table Book category of the 2021 Independent Press Award competition.
The book represents the finest images from prize-winning travel photographer Dennis Cox’s decades of documenting cruise ships — and a host of other passenger carrying vessels — from around the world (77 countries on seven continents!).
I enjoyed writing the text for the book because in the process I learned a lot about the history of cruising, as well as the sheer magnitude of what goes into running megaships (love ’em or hate ’em) and smaller ocean-going cruise ships — along with the incredible variety of riverboats, sailing ships, freighters, ferries, dhows, sampans, junks, paddle wheelers, barges, trajineras, expedition vessels, feluccas, gulets, and, of course, gondolas, that traverse the world’s waterways.
Cruise… Continue reading
Award-winning travel photographer Dennis Cox and I have been friends since high school. We’ve collaborated on a number of magazine and newspaper projects over the years, and Dennis has contributed many of his photos for use on clarknorton.com.
Our collaboration has worked out well since my photography skills are about on a par with his writing abilities. In other words, if he sticks to camera work and I stick to words, we do OK.
One of our collaborative pieces for United Airlines’ Hemispheres magazine, on China’s ethereal Mt. Huangshan, was named Best Magazine Travel Article of the year in 1995 by the Pacific Asia Travel Association. We’ve also worked together on pieces for The Washington Post Magazine, Destinations magazine, the San Francisco Examiner, and other publications.
But we had never done a book together until now. The final product, which we finished earlier this year — Cruising the World: From… Continue reading
As of late April, 2020, world cruising came to a complete halt, when the MSC Magnifica ended its epic voyage around the world that began way back on January 5, just about four months and a lifetime ago.
At the time, there were relatively few public stirrings about a mysterious virus apparently emanating from Wuhan, China, and passengers were treated to several stops in South America before rounding Cape Horn and heading to the South Pacific.
The rest of the Magnifica‘s voyage didn’t exactly go as planned (though, ironically, free of coronavirus, it was actually one of the safest places to be on the planet).
Rejected by some Pacific islands — the virus by now had struck several other cruise ships, which were all seeking safe havens and, in many cases, being turned away —… Continue reading
My experience with Australian river cruises was something of a mixed bag. When our kids were young, my wife and I took them on a “Crocodile Cruise” on the Daintree River in far north Queensland.
The tropical setting was exotic, the little riverboat was appropriately atmospheric, and breakfast — including frontier-style Billy tea — was included.
The only problem: there were no crocs. Well, we did spot one baby croc toward the end of the day, at which point everyone on board started madly snapping pictures, none of which produced a clear image of the elusive reptile.
On the other hand, the boatman did allow our son, Grael, to play captain and steer the ship for a while, and we met some nice people onboard.
Our guest writer today, Sam Hoffman, lives in Australia and describes… Continue reading
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
In our last two posts, we took a look at some of the most popular travel-related bucket list destinations and activities based on a survey of 1,000 travelers by the website TotallyMoney.com. You can view those results, and my comments, by clicking here and here.
While my own experiences with a few of the items — such as gambling in Las Vegas — were on the margins (in the case of Vegas, dropping a few quarters into slot machines), I had pretty much done all those on the list.
My own bucket list tends to be a little quirkier than most. Places that end up on my list are pretty far-flung, represent something I’ve missed in past trips, or are just items that fulfill my admittedly peculiar travel obsessions. (I suspect that a lot of baby boomer frequent travelers’ lists are… Continue reading
I’m always glad to run guest posts that contain valuable information for baby boomer travelers, and my friend Samantha Scott at StrideTravel.com has put together a good compendium of the most popular trends in boomer travel today — as well as some excellent suggestions for tour companies that will help you join in the fun.
Samantha’s post strikes on many of the themes I’ve been discussing here for nearly three years now: that baby boomers are dedicated travelers and life-long learners, love to take river cruises and travel with their grandchildren, are embracing the wide diversity of tours now available — including adventure travel — and are far more tech savvy than is generally believed.
While not a boomer herself, Samantha “gets it” — boomers are big travelers, are open to and eager for new experiences,… Continue reading
“The Savvy Path to Breathtaking Travel, Without the Hassle”
“Less Planning, More Experiencing”
“A Journey of a Thousand Smiles Begins With a Single Click”
These are some of the taglines that express the essence of the new travel website, StrideTravel.com, where I worked for more than a year as Content Director. (My job is now in the capable hands of Content Coordinator Samantha Scott, who, together with co-founders Gavin Delany and Jared Alster, comprise a formidable team.)
In practical terms, Stride aspires to be — and in many ways already is — the best place on the Web to survey the wealth of multi-day, pre-planned trips that are now available from hundreds of travel suppliers around the world.
“Pre-planned trips” may encompass guided group or private tours as well as independent journeys… Continue reading
Here’s Part 2 of our two-part series on Ten Top European Natural Wonders, starring five more incredibly scenic spots on land, on water, and up in the sky:
The Greek Island of Santorini
If you bypass the often-crowded Aegean island of Santorini — also known as Thira or, in ancient times, Thera — due to its popularity as a sun-soaked tourist destination, you’ll also be missing one of the most memorable and expansive seascape panoramas in all of Europe.
Few views can compete with those from a terrace perched high atop the cliffs overlooking Santorini’s deep, seven-by- four-mile circle-shaped lagoon, formed from a mostly underwater caldera left by a titanic volcanic explosion some 36 centuries ago. One of the most powerful volcanic eruptions in history, it wiped out the island’s… Continue reading
Two of my favorite cruise lines, Star Clippers and CroisiEurope, have just come out with Valentine’s specials, and with Cupid Day coming right up, you’ll have to move quickly to take advantage of them.
Star Clippers, whose fleet consists of three of the world’s largest and tallest sailing vessels, has a Valentine’s Day offer of French Champagne, sweet treats, and a one-hour massage for two for all new bookings made by February 15, 2016, based on double occupancy.
If you’re traveling solo, you can treat yourself to one massage along with the Champagne and sweets as well.
The offer is good for select Mediterranean sailings between April and October of this year. To review European itineraries and to book, go to the Star Clippers website or call 1-800-442-0551.
Note: I was on one… Continue reading