I’m not sure when the desire to visit Normandy Beach began – but once the idea hatched in my head, the passion to realize this adventure grew into an obsession! Perhaps, as a veteran and a lover of history, it’s just natural that I’d want to not only visit this historic site, but also to take a group of veterans with me!
Paris – the starting and ending point of this adventure – always sizzles while Normandy beckons with its stunning coastline, incredible food and artistic beauty. Monet’s Gardens, Rouen’s Cathedral of Notre Dame and the charming harbor town of Honfleur, will inspire you the same way as they inspired the great Impressionists.
For inspiration of a different kind, travel the “Routes des Abbayes,” visiting some of the most magnificent monasteries, and to the unforgettable beaches of Normandy where Allied forces landed during WWII’s D-Day invasion. Relive the grandeur of royalty at Château Malmaison, the former home of Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte, and at Chateau de Bizy, once referred to as “the Versailles of Normandy.” Blend a passion for the good life with culture, art, architecture and timeless landscapes, and you have Northern France.
Preparing for your cruise – Part Two
Following up on our October 28th Blog, we are more valuable tips for cruisers – whether you’re a first timer or a seasoned Sailor!
What to Pack:
There are several factors you should consider before you begin stuffing that suitcase: What’s the weather like in the ports you’re visiting? Are you going snorkeling? Horseback riding? (Your adventures will dictate what type of clothing/accessories you’ll need). Will there be formal nights or theme parties onboard? Will you be decorating your cabin door?
A great resource for packing lists can be found at: https://www.cruisecritic.com/articles.cfm?ID=1436 Check it out before you begin deciding what to pack!
What you can – and can’t bring – on a cruise:
Each cruise line offers a list of prohibited items on their website. That’s always a good place to start. But, in general, there are some items that aren’t allowed on ANY cruise ship.
Just like ANY form of public transportation, drugs, weapons and even alcohol are not allowed onboard (although some cruise lines do allow you to bring a limited amount of wine/and or beer – CHECK FIRST!). Then there are items that just aren’t safe on board a ship: clothing irons, hot plates, and anything else with a heating element, aren’t allowed (exceptions include hair dryers – which are provided by most cruise lines – and curling irons). Candles, musical instruments, drones and even wrapped gifts could be denied during the embarkation process. Again, check the cruise line’s website!
When you think of cruise itineraries, what comes to mind? The Caribbean? Alaska? Hawaii? Europe? Is the Mississippi River on your list? No? Well, let’s see if we can convince you that a riverboat cruise down the Mississippi River might be an item to add to your Bucket List!
There are many reasons why a Mississippi River cruise could become one of those “memories that last a lifetime” adventures. But we’re just going to focus on three:
The Ships: The great rivers of American should be enjoyed in style. When you cruise the legendary Mississippi River, you’ll be boarding one of the newest paddle wheelers, while enjoying comfort and modern amenities. As you travel to each historic destination, you’ll feel like royalty as you relax in your beautiful suite or stateroom, feast in fabulous dining rooms and feel the breeze on a spacious deck. Delicious regional cuisines, amazing onboard music and customized excursions to historical landmarks come together as you glide past rolling farmlands and witness the ingenuity of the pioneers who first traveled these waters.
Check out these unique small ship features:
Many first-time cruisers (and some repeat passengers) are confused about how tipping is handled on a cruise ship – when, whom and how much to tip. Most ocean cruise lines add a specified daily gratuity to your sailing account (NOTE: this doesn’t cover luggage porters, room service deliveries and tour guides). But what if you receive incredible service from your room steward – or your dining room staff goes above and beyond to make your cruise a truly memorable experience? Or how do you show your appreciation to a spa therapist who just did an amazing “Calgon-take-me-away-from-here” moment?
There are several online guides to cruise tipping – but here, we’re going to share seven times when you should NOT tip.
Do NOT tip when: