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Martinique

1ef61fa7bf921f1dc6fc666030b62d88A few months ago I attended a stamp and coin show in Tucson and was disappointed to see that most of the displays were devoted to coins, not stamps.

And I became almost morose while chatting with some of the few stamp dealers there (all of whom were baby boomers, by the way). They each told the same story: in their experience, at least, stamp collecting is a dying hobby. Many of their items had been marked down for faster sale.

As a boy growing up in Indiana, I became a fervent stamp collector while still in grade school.

While I collected stamps from all over the world, including the U.S., I especially liked the issues of British and French colonies — not because I romanticized colonization (I didn’t know its moral implications at the time), but because they beautifully depicted far-away, exotic places that, quite simply, made me… Continue reading

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Amy El-Bassioni.

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Amy El-Bassioni.

 

On the first day of our Caribbean cruise aboard the Sagitta – a 24-passenger Island Windjammers ship sailing out of St. Lucia through the French West Indies – my watch stopped.

Though it seemed inconvenient at the time, it proved to be a good omen. This was one of the most relaxing trips I’ve had in years, and while I admit that I glanced at my left wrist from  time to time over the course of a week’s cruise expecting to view my now packed-away watch, I didn’t really need to know the hour – or sometimes, it seemed, even the day.

The ship’s bell rang at mealtimes – 8 a.m. for breakfast, noon for lunch, 5 p.m. for snack-and-cocktail hour, 7 p.m. for dinner – so the critical times of the day were accounted for.

All my wife,… Continue reading

Sixth in a Series:

Colorful buildings in Fort-de-France, Martinque. Photo by Catharine Norton.

Colorful buildings in Fort-de-France, Martinque. Photo by Catharine Norton.

On the final full day of our recent Caribbean cruise with Island Windjammers, the Sagitta anchored off the dock at Fort-de-France, capital of Martinique.

Like Guadeloupe, where we had spent the previous two days, Martinique is an overseas department of France, so I had a chance to practice my rusty French from high school and college. It’s amazing what flows out when you actually want or need something, such as a map of the city or a bottle of wine.

Leah, the operations manager aboard the Sagitta, had tasked us all with bringing back a bottle of wine from shore for a wine and cheese party to be held during cocktail hour that afternoon.  It was the first time all week she had actually asked us to do anything, so just about everyone gladly… Continue reading

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo from Island Windjammers.

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo from Island Windjammers.

Fifth in a Series:

When Windjammer Barefoot Cruises — known for their casual, relaxed, small-ship sailing cruises of the Caribbean — went defunct back in 2007, many of their long-time regular passengers felt adrift. There simply was nothing comparable to turn to.

So, like any truly dedicated cruisers, they started their own company, offering much the same casual sailing experience. Georgia-based Island Windjammers, run by company president Liz Harvey, rounded up some of the old Barefoot crew and, in late 2009, launched with the 12-passenger schooner Diamant, which sailed the Grenadines in the far southern Caribbean.

Success has followed in its wake. The 24-passenger, 120-foot-long motorsailer Sagitta — our ship for our week-long cruise through the southern Caribbean — followed in 2013, and the 30-passenger tall ship Vela is set for its first shakedown… Continue reading

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Marina Kofman.

The Sagitta at full sail. Photo by Marina Kofman.

First in a Series:

On the first day of our recent Caribbean cruise aboard the Sagitta – a 24-passenger Island Windjammers ship sailing out of St. Lucia through the French West Indies – my watch stopped.

Though it seemed inconvenient at the time, it proved to be a good omen. This was one of the most relaxing trips I’ve had in years, and while I admit that I glanced at my left wrist from  time to time over the course of a week’s cruise expecting to view my now packed-away watch, I didn’t really need to know the hour – or sometimes, it seemed, even the day.

The ship’s bell rang at mealtimes – 8 a.m. for breakfast, noon for lunch, 5 p.m. for snack-and-cocktail hour, 7 p.m. for dinner – so the critical times of the day were… 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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