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.
Third in a Series
I’m sure that many residents of Michigan have heard of Beaver Island, even if they haven’t actually visited there. But when I saw it on the itinerary for my recent “Magical Lake Michigan Cruise” aboard the Grande Mariner from Blount Small Ship Adventures, it had me scurrying to my atlas.
It turns out that Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan: about 13 miles long and three to six miles wide. But it’s remote and sparsely populated — with only about 550 year-round residents — and it can only be reached by boat or small plane.
Ferries serve the island from the mainland in warm months, but when the weather gets cold and the northern reaches of the lake ice over, Beaver Island residents mostly have to hunker down… Continue reading
If you start to see Chinese-style rice porridge appearing in your hotel’s breakfast buffet, don’t be surprised — it just means that hotels are catching on to the skyrocketing spending power of the sheer numbers of Chinese tourists now washing over American (and other) shores.
According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Chinese tourists spent more than $100 billion worldwide last year, up by more than third since 2011, during the course of some 83 million trips out of China. That’s more than any other nationality.
While the bulk of those statistics reflect travel within other parts of Asia, the U.S. is also seeing an influx of Chinese visitors — some 1.5 million of them in 2012, spending nearly $9 billion here. That’s an average of $6,000 spent per trip — also more than any other nationality.
The rise… Continue reading