It’s that time of year again! For a decade, I rang in each New Year with a trip around the world. But since Delta discontinued its award Round-the-World ticket in 2015, I’ve had to get a little more creative. For the past few years that’s meant a lengthy visit to Southeast Asia instead, one of my favorite parts of the world and a terrific place to escape the US winter.
Last year, my husband Dave and I enjoyed tranquil visits to the Thai islands of Koh Lanta and Koh Lipe and the awe-inspiring island of Palawan, Philippines. This year, we decided to mix things up a bit. We wanted to visit Vietnam and return to Thailand but I wasn’t keen on a repeat of my last visit to Vietnam (which involved a rather unpleasant 36 hour train ride).
So, I went in search of a more convenient and relaxed way to see the country and discovered that, lo and behold, cruise ships visit Vietnam these days. Yes, an Asia cruise, now that just might be the way to go!Read More
For my second cruise with MSC in as many weeks, I was headed up the eastern coast of South Africa bound for Mozambique. Like Namibia, Mozambique was a country that I hoped to visit while exploring southern Africa but the logistics of getting there and deciding where to stay were complex.
So when I discovered that MSC had several cruise itineraries from Durban that visited Mozambique, it was a no-brainer. I had originally planned to do a cruise that included both Madagascar and Mozambique but couldn’t work out the dates for that sailing with the rest of my itinerary so I settled for the MSC Opera’s sailing that called at the capital city of Maputo and made a second stop on the uninhabited sands of Portuguese Island.
For nearly 200 years after Vasco da Gama landed at Mozambique Island en route to India in 1498, the Portuguese ran trading posts along the coast of what they called Portuguese East Africa. In the centuries that followed, the gold trade turned to the ivory trade and by the end of the 18th century, both had been replaced by the slave trade. Nearly a million Africans were sold into slavery through Mozambique’s ports making it a major center of the African slave trade.Read More
It’s the only place on the planet where the dunes of the world’s oldest desert meet the crashing Atlantic surf; a German colonial legacy set against a lunar landscape. It’s Namibia…and no journey through Southern Africa would be complete without a visit.
Namibia has been on my list ever since Matt Lauer stopped there a few years ago on “Where in the World is Matt Lauer.” I know, I know, I seem to get a lot of my travel inspiration from Matt and it doesn’t always pan out (see Seychelles), but watching him explore those incredible dunes in the Namib Desert was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and I just had to see it for myself.
Since Africa was a major focus for this year’s RTW, I figured there was no better time to add Namibia to the itinerary. After a little research I realized that I couldn’t get to the major airport, Windhoek, on Skyteam so I would need a separate flight (outside my RTW ticket) if I flew. But even if I did book a flight to Windhoek, it appeared that the places I would actually want to visit were hours away and driving on your own was roundly discouraged. I needed a better plan.
Enter, MSC Cruise Lines.Read More
“You’re going where? Seriously, Jenny, have you really run out of places to go? What on earth is there to see in Antarctica, anyway? Isn’t it just a bunch of icebergs and penguins?”
These were just a few of the milder expressions of disbelief I received from friends and family after I announced my intention to include Antarctica on Round the World #8. And to be honest, they were valid questions. In fact, I had some of the same questions myself. What on earth was there to see in Antarctica?
To me, an expedition to the white continent was mostly a badge of honor; a dividing line that separated the traveling public into tourists and adventurers. And if I’m being completely truthful, the ability to say I’d been to all 7 continents was a significant part of the allure. When it comes to true globetrotting, either you’ve been to Antarctica or you haven’t. This would be the year I joined the distinguished former.Read More
Truth be told, I’ve never thought of myself as much of a cruiser. In fact, until two years ago, I hadn’t been on one since I was 17 years old (which, for the sake of argument, we’ll say wasn’t all that long ago). I don’t know what I had against the idea of cruising. I mean certainly I’m known for whirlwind stops in various countries that could roughly resemble a cruise ship itinerary. Of course, in my defense, I usually at least spend the night. But after 4 cruises in the past two years (3 Caribbean, 1 European) I can officially say I am slowly but surely becoming a fan of cruise ship travel.
It turns out there are certain parts of the world that just lend themselves perfectly to cruising. The Caribbean definitely falls into this category. There are so many islands so close together, why not just unpack once and call it a week? And I do have to say, one of my favorite things about cruising is waking up in a different port every morning with a new island to explore! I also love last minute cruise deals, like those offered by the Bolsover Cruise Club.Read More
I know what you’re thinking, “Didn’t she just get home from five weeks in Europe?” And you’re right, I did. But with little going on work-wise in the month of August, I decided one more trip was in order before succumbing to the daily grind of another college football season.
So, when Delta ran a sale to Aruba, I took it as a sign that the “Summer of Fun” should continue with a visit to the Caribbean’s A-B-C Islands.
Situated just off the coast of Venezuela are the three western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. Commonly known as the ABC Islands they fall south of the Caribbean’s hurricane belt making them popular with visitors year-round.Read More