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small ship cruising

Yvonne Craig as "Batgirl."

Yvonne Craig as “Batgirl.”

I recently read of the death of Yvonne Craig, an actress best known for her role as “Batgirl” in the campy late 1960s “Batman” TV series.

While Yvonne wasn’t  a baby boomer — she was 78 when she died after a two-year battle with breast cancer, weakened by a long regimen of chemotherapy — she was an icon of sorts for many boomers. She was a role model for young women — the first woman superhero, predating “Wonder Woman” and the rest — and an object of desire for many young men of the era.

I’m writing about Yvonne not because of this but because my wife, Catharine, and I briefly knew her while we were on a small ship cruise together down the Croatian coast of the Adriatic Sea eight years ago.

It wasn’t her role as “Batgirl” that impressed me so much as… Continue reading

The Mackinac Bridge connects Michigan's Upper Peninsula with the rest of the state. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews.

The Mackinac Bridge connects Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with the rest of the state. Photo by Dennis Cox/WorldViews.

First in a Series

Having been born in Michigan, reared in Indiana, and then returned to Michigan to attend college before moving to the West and East Coasts, I often wince a bit when I hear friends in the latter refer to the Midwestern U.S. as “flyover country.”

I’ve even been guilty of a bit of snobbery myself when I’ve noted that most of our friends in California and New York originally came from the Midwest — “but had the good sense to get out.”

I’m now officially retracting that statement, which was based on my childhood memories of bitterly cold winters, hot, humid summers, and what I perceived as a lack of cutting-edge cuisine and culture.

After spending last week cruising Lake Michigan with Blount Small Ship Adventures in the company of… Continue reading

Captain Cook Cruises' 130-passenger vessel sails through Fiji. Photo by Clark Norton

Captain Cook Cruises’ 130-passenger vessel sails through Fiji. Photo by Clark Norton

Possibly due in part to recent bad publicity about large ocean cruising vessels gone wrong, travel agents are seeing an upsurge in interest in small ship and river cruising, according to an internal American Express Travel survey released during a recent cruise industry conference in Vancouver.

The survey of 250 Amex agents showed that 38 percent of them ranked small ship cruises as their highest-demand voyages, followed by megaships at 31 percent and river cruises at 27 percent.

This dovetails with my own surveys of baby boomer travelers, who have often told me they would never consider taking a cruise — until I ask about small ship and river cruises. Then I often get this kind of reply: “Oh, those are different — I’d try them.”

Megaships carrying thousands of passengers — with their myriad on-board activities, entertainments,… 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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