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Cruise Ports of Call

Often novice cruisers never give much thought to the details of ports they will be visiting. Even experienced cruisers are often so involved with the overall planning of a trip they overlook those important port details.

On our next cruise are there any tender ports? Are there ports that don’t allow walking out? Are there facilities on the pier? Is a port wheelchair accessible? Often cruise ships are not that free with information on upcoming ports of call and it would be helpful if you knew ahead of time if there are going to be challenges.

We’ve begun going thru our trip notes to build a section devoted just to port information and highlights. We hope you find it useful.

Also, If you would like to contribute please email us at TheIntentionalTraveler@gmx.com

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Our Caribbean

Discover the Caribbean

For over twenty-five years the heart of our business was servicing customers in the Caribbean. It would be easier to list the places we haven’t been than were we have. As a result we like to think we know the neighborhood pretty well.

Back in the beginning, Eastern Airlines was the primary carrier from the U.S. to most islands and they sold an island hopper ticket that allowed us to travel around the islands for a discount price. We would usually go out for a couple of weeks at a time spending a day at each island and staying at local or discount accommodations. Fast forward a decade or more and Eastern is gone (mostly replaced by American) and, because we now have to book each flight in and out with between islands mostly being LIAT and seaplanes, the trips take in fewer stops at much higher prices. Fortunately our business is more successful but travel has gotten more complicated because we are hauling children with us.

The restaurants, hotels and resorts are more upscale and we tended to spend more time in each location, partly because of the airfare, but also because we are spending time with more customers. We also took a number of busman’s holidays because we liked skin diving and beach combing but also because we could include business and offset some of the costs.

There are some places that we haven’t been back to in a while but we can still talk about the character of the islands. There is one place we can’t go back to because a volcano buried it (Montserrat). There are a number of places we return to often and can offer current tips and suggestions. Keep an eye out as we add articles about our little corner of the world including:

Barbados      St. Croix      Antigua      Curacao      Sint Maarten

St. Kitts       St. Lucia       Caymans      Jamaica       St. Thomas

Dominica      Grenada      St. Barts     Bahamas      and more

We have also taken more than a dozen Caribbean cruises and we will offer some comments on these as well. Cruising the Caribbean I offers an overview of cruising the Caribbean.  Cruising the Caribbean II talks about the short 3 and 4 day cruises out of South Florida and their destinations. Cruising the Caribbean III looks at the seven day and longer cruises.

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Cruising the South China Sea

cropped-southeast_asia_map.jpg

A First Visit to Southeast Asia

We spent all of February cruising with Celebrity’s Constellation in the South China Sea on back-to-back itineraries. We visited twelve ports with only one repeat (Ho Chi Min City). If you are going to fly twelve thousand miles you probably should make the most of the trip. We flew into Singapore and with the return for the second cruise and the extra day in port at the end we had five days to explore the city and all we could say was wow! The ship also spent two days in the port for Bangkok and we spent that night in a Bangkok hotel and booked a private tour (more about that at another time ;-).

Beyond the usual reasons for cruising there was an additional advantage on this trip. If you are not into a diet of noodles with dried fish flakes or hot curries, the ship gives you the opportunity to return to a Western style menu. The ship also takes care of visas and immigration ahead of each port.

Besides our time in Singapore our trip included four stops in Vietnam, Hong Kong, two stops in the Philippines which included Manila, two stops in Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, Brunei and two stops in Thailand. We had an opportunity to see a lot as well as try a number of cuisines. Many of the destinations were studies in extreme contrasts but it was also obvious that things are greatly improving economically. It is also interesting to switch from Muslim to Buddhist to Western cultures as we went from one port to the next. On board there were a number of excellent in-depth lectures on the history and culture of the various countries which provided a good perspective on the ways the region developed.

Over the last number of years we have found cruising gives us an opportunity to sample a number of places and than we decide where we want to come back to for extended stays. Southeast Asia is no exception to this and we certainly have a few we will add to our return list.


Phone Service: We were traveling on this trip with an iPhone 5 on Verizon service ($80 for 250 international minutes)and with a Blu 5.5 phone with a prepaid international plan from One Sim Card service. Vietnam and Brunei were not part of the Verizon international service so we switched use to OneSimCard. Phone calls with Verizon worked well everywhere else but there were problems getting text messages out on a few days. The only reliable data that we found on the Verizon service was in Singapore (didn’t attempt in Hong Kong) most other places indicated “Data Service Failed”. The One Sim Card service worked as expected except in Vietnam. There we connected with the recommended service provider (Viettel) but instead of text messages costing the expected 25¢ they were charged at a couple of dollars. One Sim Card did send a text message warning of high costs on this service recommending we switch networks, even though Viettel was their recommended provider.


In the near future look for posts covering each of these countries with pointers on must do things, food, transportation and hotels.

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You Must Visit This Arboretum in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Arboretum in the Blue Ridge Mountains is a feast for the senses.

The North Carolina Arboretum is located on The Blue Ridge Parkway near the Asheville entrance at mile marker 393. The site offers acres of cultivated gardens and groomed trails featuring some of the most beautiful, native plants in the region. Admission is free but there is a $14 per car parking fee.

READ AND SEE MORE, CLICK BELOW…

Meet Some Birds of Prey at the Audubon Birds of Prey Center

Meet some birds of prey at the Audubon Birds of Prey Center near Orlando Florida

If you live near Orlando or are visiting from outside the area looking into the Audubon Birds of Prey Center located in within the city of Maitland in the small Town of Eatonville. Stop by and experience a bit of real Florida, and get an opportunity to view up close and personal Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Kites, Owls and Falcons.

Address

1101 Audubon Way

Maitland, FL 32751

(407) 644-0190

CLICK BELOW TO READ MORE

Chimney Rock North Carolina and Lake Lure

Chimney Rock North Carolina and Lake Lure

In the mountains of Western North Carolina is a lake fed by a river that runs thru Hickory Nut Gorge. Standing high above this gorge is a rock formation named Chimney Rock which also gives its name to the town below. Chimney Rock is a North Carolina State Park which features a number of attractions the foremost of which are stairs and an elevator taking visitors to the top of this rock formation. From that perch you can see for miles down the gorge and across Lake Lure nestled between the Blue Ridge Mountains. The park also features miles of hiking trails which go to the top of the mountain and over to the top or the bottom of a four hundred foot waterfall called Hickory Nut Falls. Take a quick tour of Chimney Rock North Carolina and Lake Lure.

PLEASE FOLLOW US TO OUR NEW SITE’S ADDRESS – CLICK HERE

The area is a popular tourist, weekend and vacation destination and claims a connection to a couple of famous movies. Lake Lure was the setting used in Dirty Dancing and Chimney Rock was the backdrop for The Last of the Mohicans. While the area has all the trappings of a tourist town the trails and views surrounding Chimney Rock are also really amazing.

Note: I am trying to post using the worlds slowest internet connection. Apparently wireless and the internet have trouble penetrating Hickory Nut Gorge. Will clean all this up in a few days.

Reflections On A Fall New England & Canada Cruise

Photographs taken on a Fall New England cruise from New York to Quebec City.

Reflections of A Fall New England Cruise. As always a picture is worth a thousand words. Come along as we visit ports of call from New York,  Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, the Canadian Maritimes and Quebec.

Thanks for visiting and since you’re here please click below to follow us to our new address. We’ve run out of space here and are migrating to a new domain and hosting service. Be sure and sign up for email notifications as we will not be able to copy your information over to the new site.

More to see at our new home – please click below to follow us.

We Need More Space

Above – A Manila Jeepney

Please Help

We have reached the space maximum for our current plan and will not be able to add more than one or two more posts without upgrading our plan or moving to a new host. This has been a hobby and we have really enjoyed sharing our travels and tips but do not want this to become a major investment. We would really like to hear what others do and what providers we should investigate.

Please Contact us:

Intent2Travel@gmx.com

And let us know your experiences.

What We Have Done

Web Site – We passed our one year anniversary just a couple of weeks ago using the free hosting at WordPress.com. We bought a couple of domain names so our total initial out of pocket was under $25 (with another $25 to renew the domains last month). In the beginning I would reduce the size of photographs to web specifications to save space but stopped after a few months. It seemed I had plenty of space and I realized that there were visual issues with the reduced size pictures (I now see that this is the main reason we now out of space).

I have learned a lot about the WordPress platform over this year including work arounds to get features of plugins that aren’t allowed under our WordPress plan. The learning curve has been steep at times and I am not looking forward to starting from scratch.

Other Sites – We have set up other social media sites primarily to help promote the blog and have managed to pull it all together with four strongly related names. We are on Pinterest and twitter with the name Intent2Travel and facebook with the name Intend2Travel.

Email – Our emails are all with GMX for a number of reasons. First they are free, they also do not cause all the security issues when traveling internationally that happen with Apple, Gmail, Outlook… Doing this also allow us to maintain these addresses even if we change domains.

Potential Problems

The Intentional Traveler site currently uses over 600 internal links mainly for indexes,  that will ALL have to be redirected with a change in address (this may be unavoidable regardless of what we decide). We also have over a thousand incoming links from shared and other social media sites that would also have to be edited (this may also be unavoidable regardless of what we decide).

I am also concerned about continuity with followers and subscribers both on the site and also with the other social sites? In looking into WordPress it seems that I can set up a redirect using a plugin but the only way I can use these plugins is to buy an upgrade  which doesn’t make financial sense.

What We Have Looked At So Far

WordPress – If we have to upgrade it doesn’t seem to make sense to pay for a service that still doesn’t allow services that we would really like to have. Some plugins are an important issue and WordPress currently would be $300 a year which doesn’t make financial sense to us.

Bluehost -This host offers a lot of what we want for less than $50 year right now. We set up a free 30 day trial with Bluehost since they use the WordPress engine and we exported and imported our site (have not published as yet). While all the posts and categories and menus seemed to have imported, about 20% of the photos are missing. Also headers, widgets and directories are missing so it will require hours of work to get ready to publish.

Again – Please Help we could really use some advice on this
Intent2Travel@gmx.com

Images of the Keukenhof

Every Spring just outside of Amsterdam a garden comes to life with hundreds of flower displays created with millions of tulips. If you are going to be anywhere near Norther Europe be sure and get to the Keukenhof.