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Venice has always been one of my favorite cities. If there’s a more beautiful city in the world, I haven’t found it. And millions of other people would say the same.

And therein lies the problem: Millions of people visiting (and tromping through) one of the most fragile cities on the planet — at the rate of 80,000 per day in summer, far outnumbering Venice’s own residents.

After all, the city is built on a lagoon, canals snake through its heart, and its centuries-old palazzos, churches, and art treasures are subject to erosion, flooding, and tsunamis of tourists as well.

It’s been called a “poster child for overtourism” — meaning, simply, too many tourists for its own good, compounded by massive infusions of cruise ship passengers and other day-trippers. It’s remarkable that any gondolier worth his stripes can maneuver his full craft through the gondola-traffic-choked canals and still… Continue reading

Prague's famous Charles Bridge is often jam-packed with tourists. Photo by Clark Norton

Prague’s famous Charles Bridge is often jam-packed with tourists. Photo by Clark Norton

You may have experienced it yourself when battling humongous lines to enter San Marco in Venice, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, or the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, or when you found yourself in a wave of fellow travelers struggling to get a peek at the changing of the guard at palaces in London, Athens, or Prague.

You may have been put off by hordes of drunken revelers in Amsterdam, Mallorca, or Berlin (of which, we trust, you were not one yourself).

You may have found small Alaskan ports or Croatian islands too overrun by your fellow cruise ship passengers to appreciate the beauty that attracted you to such cruise itineraries in the first place.

You may have sought out privacy in Iceland’s hot springs, only to find them packed with Game of Thrones fans drawn… Continue reading

The Diamant, Island Windjammers' 12-passenger sailing ship. Photo from Island Windjammers

The Diamant, Island Windjammers’ 12-passenger sailing ship. Photo from Island Windjammers

How you get to where you’re going can be just as crucial to the success of your trip as the destination itself.

And in some cases, the mode of transport is, in effect, the destination.

Ocean cruises are an obvious example of the latter.

When you choose to see the world by cruise ship, you’re committing yourself  to spending most of your time at sea and limiting your sightseeing on land to ports or places that are within a few hours’ drive by tour bus,  taxi, or rental car from the ports.

But ocean- and sea-going vessels come in many shapes and forms — from small sailing ships to  floating behemoths  — that can make for entirely different journeys themselves.

Or say you want to take the Trans-Siberian Express (train) from China to… Continue reading

The Royal Clipper in full sail. Photo courtesy of Star Clippers.

The Royal Clipper in full sail. Photo courtesy of Star Clippers.

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

The Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, overlooks the Danube. Photo by Clark Norton

The Hungarian Parliament Building, Budapest, overlooks the Danube. Photo by Clark Norton

Travel + Leisure Magazine has just come out with its latest “World’s Best” lists — there are lots of those these days — one of which is the World’s Top Ten Best Cities.

Here’s the Top Ten as voted by T+L readers:

10. Jerusalem, Israel 9. Cape Town, South Africa 8.Barcelona, Spain 7.Krakow, Poland 6. Bangkok, Thailand 5. Rome, Italy 4. Florence, Italy 3. Siem Reap, Cambodia 2. Charleston, South Carolina 1. Kyoto, Japan

A loyal reader sent me the link yesterday and asked if I could name my own Top 10. I’m happy to oblige.

First, I will say that the above list is not bad, although I don’t quite understand how Siem Reap, Cambodia, makes the list, because it’s mostly known as the gateway to Angkor Wat — which, while being a world-class icon, doesn’t qualify… Continue reading

Last of a 3-part series.

In our first post in this series, we began our quick guide to the 12 most popular European cruising rivers, starting with the Danube, Rhine, Seine, and the Volga and other Russian waterways — probably the best known of the top cruising rivers in Europe.

In our second post, we’ took a look at four more rivers  (actually five rivers and one canal) ranging from France to Portugal, Germany and the Czech Republic to Sweden.

In this third post, we’ll complete the top 12 list with cruising rivers in Spain, Germany-Luxembourg, Italy, and, once again, France.

Spain’s Guadalquivir

Seville, Spain's, Plaza de Espana. Photo from Seville Tourism.

Seville, Spain’s, Plaza de Espana. Photo from Seville Tourism.

A Guadalquivir cruise offers one of the most pleasant ways to explore Andalusia – Spain’s southernmost province and site of some of the country’s most fabled cities. The river itself, though one of… Continue reading

Utah's Monument Valley, author Patricia Schultz's absolute must-see  sight for North America. Photo from Utah Tourism.

Utah’s Monument Valley, author Patricia Schultz’s absolute must-see sight for North America. Photo from Utah Tourism.


Jordan's ancient stone city of Petra. Photo by Clark Norton

Jordan’s ancient stone city of Petra. Photo by Clark Norton

I just read an interview with Patricia Schultz, author of the extremely successful travel guide “1000 Places to See Before You Die,” whose first edition publication in 2003 presaged the bucket list craze.

She has since published a second edition, which includes another 200 entries, so if you’ve somehow managed to see the initial 1,000, you still have your work cut out for you.

Depending on how much travel baby boomers — the youngest of whom turn 50 this year — have done earlier in their lives, they face a daunting task of keeping up with Schultz, who says in the interview that she has now visited all the places she’s written about, though when the first edition was published, there were about… 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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