Posted by: gardner310 | July 15, 2016

Cuba Rising

Fathom cruises provided me with the opportunity to visit Cuba in June so I took advantage of it. Fathom is a new cruise line that Carnival Cruises created with one of their older ships in the P& O line. She was originally a Renaissance ship the R8 and honestly she looks lovely. Her capacity is around 800 although she was not full on our cruise which of course is great for the passengers.  
We sailed from Miami May 29 and the itinerary included 2 days in Havana, 1 in Cienfuegos and one in Santiago de Cuba. Embarkation was smooth with plenty of check in stations. I did discovered that I was given incorrect information from the Seattle office in that every person needs to complete the affidavit when I was told one per cabin. It wasn’t a problem because the terminal staff had copies we could complete. We also discovered that we can check 2 boxes on the affidavit- one that says we are with a Fathom sponsored tour on shore and one that says self guided touring, meaning we can wander around alone with no issues. This is huge! For photography enthusiasts it means we have time to talk to the locals and wander the back streets without a schedule. The reservations office needs to make this clear before guests board to eliminate extra paperwork and allow for planning free time.  
Havana is quite the city. It reminded me of a more colorful East Berlin in the 1970’s. Dilapidated beautiful old buildings and rutted sidewalks and cobbled streets are the first thing you see on sail in and we got a closer look walking the streets. Having said that there is an air of old elegance in the architecture that is stunning. Everywhere you looked the glory days shone through if you let them. A major effort to renovate a lot of the area within the public areas is proceeding with a goal of 2019 when there will be a celebration. Meanwhile the people will continue to live in close quarters in buildings that would be condemned in some US cities. 

#FathomTravel #Cuba #travel #cruising #cruises

Posted by: gardner310 | January 10, 2015

Wonders of the World – Historical

Great Wall of China
Petra, Jordan
Giza Pyramids, Egypt
Colosseum, Rome
Chichen Itza, Mexico
Taj Mahal, India
Angkor Wat, Cambodia

How many have you seen?

Posted by: gardner310 | January 10, 2015

Cheap Cities for Traveler

From Trip Advisor

1. Sofia, Bulgaria
2. Hanoi, Vietnam
3. Warsaw, Poland
4. Sharma el Sheikh, Egypt
5. Budapest, Hungary
6. Bangkok, Thailand
7. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
8. Tunis, Tunisia
9. Cape Town, South Africa
10. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Most expensive city? Oslo

2013 survey

Posted by: gardner310 | November 28, 2014

Easier India visas! Finally!

We are so very excited. So happy today for our long wish has been answered. After two years of negotiating and planning, the Government of India today launched its new Electronic Travel Authorisation system or what is more commonly called Tourist Visa on Arrival. This heralds a new chapter in India tourism as this system will allow citizens of 43 countries to apply for their visas online and get their approval online as well.

The system was inaugurated today at a large industry event hosted by the trade. Present were the national Home Minster, the National Tourism Minister, a number of Ambassadors from different countries, other key government officials and over 400 members of the travel & hospitality industry.

The Indian Association of Tour Operators, who has been working on this project with the government for the past two years says that this is a game changer for us in Indian Tourism industry. It will allow for impulse travel to India, for travellers to plan their trips with shorter lead time and also allow travellers not residing in their country of citizenship to apply for tourist visas quicker and more easily. The entire process has been simplified and the visa fee is lower as well.

This is Phase 1 of the implementation and we expect the rest of the world to be added to the list in the next 4 – 6 months. You can see the official information video of the new system at Coming to India has never been so easy.

Download the brochure on the new system here

An article from today’s papers is here

Do share any feedback with us that you may have on the system and any challenges clients may face. We will share that input with the relevant ministries to see what needs to be tweaked.

The countries that can use this system are –
1. Australia
2. Brazil
3. Cambodia
4. Cook Islands
5. Djibouti
6. Fiji
7. Finland
8. Germany
9. Indonesia
10. Israel
11. Japan
12. Jordan
13. Kenya
14. Kiribati
15. Laos

16. Luxembourg
17. Marshall Islands
18. Mauritius
19. Mexico
20. Micronesia
21. Myanmar
22. Nauru
|23. New Zealand
24. Niue Island
25. Norway
26. Oman
27. Palau
28. Palestine
29. Papua New Guinea
30. Philippines

31. Republic of Korea
32. Russia
33. Samoa
34. Singapore
35. Solomon Islands
36. Thailand36. Thailand
37. Tonga
38. Tuvalu
39. UAE
40. Ukraine
41. United States of America
42. Vanuatu
43. Vietnam

Posted by: gardner310 | July 2, 2014

10 Ways to Not Travel Like a Tourist

I like the way these folks think. I travel the same way. Try it, you may like it

Life Out of the Box

Life Out of the Box

To kick of this week’s theme of “Exploration”, here’s a list of things to do when traveling that will ensure you have the true local experience. We have found that the best way to learn as much as we can as we travel is to immerse ourselves  into each new culture we travel to. As Andrew Zimmerman says, “Please be a traveler, not a tourist. Try new things, meet new people and look beyond what’s in front of you. Those are the keys to understanding this amazing world we live in.” Here, we share 10 of our favorite ways to make sure you do just that.

  1. Live with the locals

    Life Out of the Box in Laguna de Apoyo, Nicaragua

    We definitely recommend living with a local family. You don’t have to live there forever, but try it out for a while. Not only will you learn the small intricacies of a new culture, but you will also make deep relationships with people who…

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I love Quebec.  From Chicago you can feel like you are in Europe in a few hours.  I saw this article and wanted to share it.  Spend a long weekend there enjoying the scenery and in particular, the food!


I Heart Quebec City: Three-Day Itinerary — National Geographic.

Posted by: gardner310 | December 5, 2013

Summer heat, Piraeus

Summer heat, Piraeus

Trying to beat the heat? Homeless? My Greek wasn’t good enough to find out.

Posted by: gardner310 | July 7, 2013

Vacationing in Historic Romania

As I am heading to Transylvania, Romania for a friend’s wedding in a few weeks, I found this information to be invaluable. I thought it might be helpful for anyone thinking about visiting this country. Enjoy

International Bellhop Travel Magazine

Vacationing To Historic Romania

For some, it’s easy to think of Romania as nothing but fortresses and strongholds commanding the tops of the darkly forested Carpathian Mountains, with ties to infamous tyrants and vampires. Far from being a one-note country, Romania is a land of rich landscapes and history. The country is fairly well divided equally between lowlands and mountainous, hilly regions, which are well looked after and offer up a variety of wildlife and opportunities for travel.

Romanian Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral, Timisoara, Romania.

One of the most visited areas of Romania is the coast of the Black Sea. And sitting like glittering jewels on the Black Sea, the cities of Constanta and Mamaia make up part of what is often referred to as the Romanian Riviera, with  Mangalia, Saturn, Venus, Neptun, Olimp rounding out the list. Being two of the most important cities in Romania, just behind Bucharest, Constanta and Mamaia are well-developed and travel friendly. Resorts line the…

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Posted by: gardner310 | May 6, 2013

I Never Thought About Being a Fireman Until…

So here I am in Washington state doing mandatory safety training in order to keep my job on board the ship.  Last week we spent in Anacortes doing safety training so we can lower and board lifeboats and rafts, right them if they are upside down in the water, doing survival training in the water and driving the rescue boats.  I can now operate the boats as well as transfer from one to another while they are moving just like James Bond.  I passed a Coast Guard test (probably just barely because a lot of the questions were never covered in the material).  I was very frustrated taking that test because it’s one thing at my age not to remember what was taught but when it was never taught it’s even tougher to remember.

This week we are in Seattle and I have the next two days to learn how to fight fires in full gear (tanks, suits, hoses etc) with real fire in a closed space.  Then we get to right an even larger raft in the water, jump into water in an immersion suit (think a red Gumby) and learn CPR.  I’m hoping that at least we learn the stuff on the test before we take it.

As a kid I wanted to be a lot of things; a skater in the Ice Capades, a vet, an oceanographer, a medical technician.  Funny, being a fireman never even occurred to me and yet here I am.  Who says life provides no adventures!

Posted by: gardner310 | January 12, 2013

Love this blogger and wanted to share this fun street photography. Cuba is a bucket list item for me so I really enjoyed this. Hope you all do as well.

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