A little over three years ago, I was able to travel to Cuba on a cruise ship and write about my trip for a AAA publication in Colorado and a cruise magazine, as well as for this blog.
The cruise ship was mostly populated by Americans traveling on a “people-to-people” program run by the Fund for Reconciliation and Development, a Riverhead, New York-based organization promoting U.S.-Cuba relations.
The cruise included lectures on Cuban culture, tours of historic sites, a visit to the famed Tropicana nightclub, and other activities, such as visiting a privately owned restaurant as well as various Hemingway haunts around Havana.
And yes, we did meet many Cubans along the way, including government tour guides who spoke remarkably candidly about how they surreptitously supplemented their meager official incomes.
Restrictions had… Continue reading
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
Since just about every travel publication tries to predict – or, more accurately, tries to convince you – where you’ll go in the New Year, clarknorton.com 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
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
Each winter, the New York Times Travel Show draws hundreds of exhibitors — national tourism bureaus, tour operators, and various travel-related organizations, among others — to meet the public and try to lure them to their destination or onto their tours and the like. It’s the largest such trade and consumer show in North America.
There are also dozens of travel-related talks and seminars you can attend led by veteran travel writers, publishers and broadcasters, some beautifully costumed women dancing on stages representing various nationalities, some free food giveaways, a number of special travel discounts good only at the show, and various other enticements.
With winter slush outside, it’s the perfect time to get people thinking about warm-weather destinations or at least traveling somewhere when the weather gets warm.
It’s been more than 50 years since Fidel Castro came down from the mountains to lead a guerrilla movement ousting the corrupt, Mafia-tied Bautista regime in Cuba. Since that time, U.S.-Cuba relations have been both red hot (during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis) and icy cold (for most of the rest of the time since).
It’s time for a thaw, and I applaud President Obama’s initiative to restore full diplomatic relations with that island nation just 90 miles south of Key West.
As readers of this blog know, I always come down on the side of fewer travel restrictions between nations, not more. I think they lead to greater understanding among peoples, who often are far ahead of their governments in their innate grasp of the need to travel freely and exchange ideas and get to know… Continue reading