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    Cruise Ports You Can't Miss

    Santorini, Greece

    Arguably one of the most scenically beautiful cruise ports, Santorini is an ideal cruising destination. With whitewashed houses clinging to cliff sides and gorgeous black sand beaches, it's not hard to see why Santorini is one of the most widely photographed places in the world.1 While the view alone is worth a trip to Santorini so are the shore excursions. Indulge in wine tastings, cooking classes and walking tours. But perhaps one of the most fascinating excursions is a visit to Santorini Crater, the world's largest volcanic crater, created 3,500 years ago.2

    San Juan, Puerto Rico

    The city of San Juan is divided, for the most part, into two parts – old and new. The new areas of San Juan include business districts and luxurious hotel chains, while Old San Juan is abundant with history and culture. Most cruise ships dock in the midst of Old San Juan, providing a great opportunity for cruise goers to explore the city's historical sites.3 The old wall surrounding the city still stands and a stroll down the old cobblestone streets will lead you to fantastic art galleries and antique shops.

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    Just 90 miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico the Port of New Orleans is known as the gateway to the Caribbean.4 The port is a popular stop-over and embarkation point for trips to the eastern and western end of the Caribbean as well as smaller cruise ships traveling the Mississippi River. Whether you have an afternoon or several days to explore New Orleans you'll find something to love in this great city. From the party atmosphere of Bourbon Street to the hidden gastronomical gems throughout the city, there's so much to do you'll be planning your next trip before you even get home.

    Willemstad, Curacao

    Famous for the brightly colored homes that dot the island, there's something unique about approaching by cruise ship and seeing the rainbow of buildings before you. With waterfront cafes and shopping, Willemstad is a true island oasis for cruise goers. Additionally, Willemstad was named an UNESCO World Heritage site because of the European colonial influence on the culture of the city.

    Sydney, Australia

    With iconic port sights like Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, cruising into Sydney Harbour is an experience in itself. Circular Quay, as the Harbour area is called, is a beautifully picturesque place to start any visit to Sydney.5 One popular shore excursion for cruisers is a visit to The Rocks Market. The Market is open on the weekends and includes over 150 different vendors selling crafts, photography, indigenous artwork, jewelry, books and more.

    Kralendijk, Bonaire

    Bonaire is a nature lover's paradise and the island takes ecological conservation seriously. Bonaire began protecting sea turtles in 1961, banned spear-fishing, made it illegal to remove coral, and established the first marine park, all to preserve the natural beauty that abounds around the island.6 Scuba diving has become one of the most popular excursions of the island due to the gorgeous coral and tropical fish abundant in the Caribbean waters, but even this is ecologically sound as diving is done with fixed moorings to prevent coral damage. In addition to diving you can also enjoy windsurfing, kayaking, bird watching, kite boarding, fishing, mountain biking, and horseback riding.

    Sources:
    1: http://www.ncl.com/port/santorini-greece/cruises
    2: http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/shore-excursions/excursion/1497
    3: http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=8
    4: http://www.neworleansonline.com/tools/transportation/gettinghere/cruises.html
    5: http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=93
    6: http://www.cruisecritic.com/ports/newport.cfm?ID=153

    Eating in Moderation on Cruises

    Story 2 Image January

    Indulging in delicious meals is often a highlight of a cruise vacation, especially on the big ships. These vessels host various restaurants, bars and snack shops where passengers can often eat as much as they like and sample all of the choices while cruising. This can be a great way for cruisers to try some new and exotic cuisine for the first time at an all-inclusive price without worrying about the final bill every night.

    However, unlimited culinary delights at a traveler's fingertips can come with a different kind of price. According to a recent study by Bonvoyage.co.uk, the average guest aboard a two-week cruise will pack on roughly 13 pounds during their vacation from the buffets and 24-hour room service.1

    About 1,000 regular cruisers answered a poll that recorded their eating habits. Nearly 10 percent said they at least gained a few pounds, while another 6 percent answered they could sometimes gain 17 pounds or more.2 Some claimed they would eat double their normal caloric intake, due to the unlimited offerings of many different dishes. In conjunction with the weight gain, close to half of those who did carry extra pounds off the ship had a tough time losing it after the vacation.

    However, not all hope of returning home sans extra pounds is lost. There are ways travelers can avoid gaining unnecessary weight while cruising if they plan ahead and make wise choices. Getaways are a time to relax and not count calories, but some restrictions may help alleviate the stress of working to lose weight after a cruise expedition.

    Here are some tips to avoid weight gain on a cruise:
    • Select a small plate. This limits you to a few food items so you don't overindulge.
    • Take a short break after eating. Then re-evaluate how hungry you're feeling. You'll often find you feel full. This will help you avoid feeling uncomfortably full as well.
    • Split foods with friends and family. This allows for trying numerous items without all of the calories.
    • Snack wisely. If you're in need of a snack, choose fresh fruit and veggies.
    • Exercise. Ships often offer fitness classes; use this as an opportunity to try a new class. Plus after an intense workout you'll be less likely to grab calorie packed foods.
    • Drink in moderation. Those delicious fruity drinks can pack a punch in calories, so opt for a lighter option like diet soda or water.


    For more cruise tips check out our travel news section here!

    Sources:
    1: http://www.traveldailynews.com/news/article/49239/average-cruisers-gains-one-stone
    2: http://www.traveldailynews.com/news/article/49239/average-cruisers-gains-one-stone

    Where in the World?


    Where in the World January

    Where in the world can you find this green sand beach?

    Answer:
    This is Papakolea Beach located on Hawaii's Big Island. The sands are tinted green by crystals of olivine, a common mineral found in igneous rocks.







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