Shermanstravel Blog


4132910198_50b9d465b1_zThe best things about birdwatching? You can do it at almost any time of the year, it can be a relaxing break from a packed travel itinerary, and it’s often a fairly low-cost activity. With migratory birds on the move or already at the their winter habitats, now is the perfect time to grab a pair of binoculars (and field guide) and explore some of the nation’s best bird watching destinations. Here are some of our favorites…

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Seabourn  Caviar in the Surf

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? We’ve got the latest on ocean and river combo itineraries, a new East Coast cruise terminal, and more.  

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cruise fix

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? We’ve got the latest on luxury sales, a great idea for crowd-funding your next vacation, holiday itineraries, and more. 

Now here’s a great idea for newlywed travelers: Rather than asking for home appliances, why not have friends and family contribute to your post-nuptial trip? Princess CruisesHoneymoon Wishes Registry allows others to chip in for everything from cruise fare and shore excursions to specialty dining and drinks by the pool to relaxing spa treatments. All gifts are applied as an onboard credit to the couple’s stateroom account to use during their honeymoon cruise, and the bride and groom can create an accompanying website to share wedding details and personal photos.

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Disney Land and Sea Packages

Flickr Joe Turco2

Want the ultimate Disney vacation? There’s a way you can enjoy Mickey and friends on both land and sea: by combining a stay at a Walt Disney World hotel with a trip aboard Disney Cruise Line that embarks from Port Canaveral.

The easiest way to do this is to first book the cruise, then make your stay at Disney World an add-on with a Land and Sea Vacation package. But there are some caveats with this method of booking — here’s the dish on what you should know.

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venice - st marks - san marco - anna fox - 620

Which cruise lines are making headlines? We’ve got the latest on protecting against Ebola at sea, packages for doing Europe right, new Caribbean sailings, and more.

The biggest news from this weekend: A lab supervisor who handled workup for the recent Ebola patient in Dallas jumped on a cruise after the case was closed. Crazy, we know — but the good news is that nothing actually went wrong, at least on the medical front. She and her companion voluntarily quarantined themselves on the cruise, and their tests have since come back negative. The only blip was that the ship, which returned to Galveston yesterday as scheduled, wasn’t allowed to dock in Cozumel (and the couple couldn’t disembark in Belize with the other passengers) as a precaution. And if you have a sailing scheduled, worry not. Cruise Lines International Association says that cruise lines have begun to perform contact screening at embarkation to protect against the virus on commercial ships. The group, which has been “actively engaged” with the CDC and is working on a standard monitoring protocol, is also urging its member cruise lines to deny boarding to any passenger or crew member who’s traveled through Guinea, Liberia, or Sierra Leone within the previous 21 days. 

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dessert - christine wei - 2

The last thing you want to think about on vacation is how to eat well. But overindulging while away can mean extra work to get back in shape when you return home.

The good news? There are lots of little things you can do to minimize the damage and take advantage of your destination’s local fare at the same time. Registered dietician Cheryl Forberg — who’s the nutritionist for NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” and a brand nutritionist for Omni Hotels and Resorts — offers specific tips for different types of escapes.

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American Queen Steamboat Company

Which cruise lines are making headlines? We’ve got the latest on new itineraries and deals, spruce up rooms, themed sailings, and more in this week’s weekly cruise news column. 

River cruise line Emerald Waterways is heading to Eastern Europe in 2015 — and is currently running a promotion to celebrate. Enchantment of Eastern Europe is a 9-night itinerary between Budapest and Bucharest along the Danube, including seven nights onboard and two nights on land in Bucharest. As they pass through Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania, travelers can immerse themselves with excursions like a home-hosted lunch in Vukovar (Serbia) and visits to a Roman tomb, Ottoman fort, and medieval fortress (Romania). Departures on July 23, 2015 travel from Budapest to Bucharest, while departures on April 23 and July 28 reverse direction. Prices range from $3,335 to $5,730 per person based on double occupancy, but book by October 31 and get $250 off per person.

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carnival magic - flickr-El Coleccionista de Instantes

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? We’ve got the latest on charitable itineraries, new pricing structures, and more in this week’s weekly cruise news column.

Call your cousins and neighbors! American Cruise Lines passengers who refer a friend or family member to cruise with the small ship river line will get a reward in the form of a $500 credit toward their next cruise. Planning a group cruise and have already sailed with ACL before? You could conceivably have friends or family make a booking, get your credit, then join them on the same sailing so that everyone can enjoy a little extra.

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oceania cruises - deborah jones studio

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? We’ve got the latest on new deals, onboard programming, and special itineraries in this week’s weekly cruise news column. 

The cruise industry is gearing up for its annual CLIA Cruise Week on October 6 through 13, when members of the Cruise Lines International Association will roll out a slew of incentives for booking a vacation at sea — so if you’ve been considering a cruise, this is the time to do your homework. Twenty six cruise lines, both ocean and river, are participating this year with special promotions like cabin upgrades, onboard spending credits, airfare deals, discounted shore excursions, and more. Sample savings include up to $300 in onboard credits with Holland America Line. (CLIA estimates that 21.7 million people will cruise worldwide this year!)

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Carnival_Cruise_Lines_Carnival_Spirit - Wikimedia Commons-Hpeterswald

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? We’ve got the latest on new ships, onboard activities, and itineraries in the first edition of Cruise Tracker, our freshly minted weekly cruise column.

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royal caribbean - north star - 620

Forget lounging by the pool with a sleepy novel as you drift from port to port. Cruise ships today are working hard to outdo each other when it comes to thrills. Here are the latest on-board attractions that pack a serious adrenaline rush.

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royal caribbean oasis of the sea climbing wall

Being healthy during a cruise vacation is typically a foregone conclusion. Cruise lines make food almost constantly available to their guests, making it as easy as pie to lay on a few extra pounds between the gourmet meals, overflowing buffets, and tasty midnight snacks. And guests certainly take advantage, considering the treats are mostly already covered in their cruise fare.

But for a growing number of cruisers, staying fit has become a significant part of their vacation plans. The good news is that in recent years, cruise lines have created innovative ways to help their passengers both have their midnight feasts and keep their waistlines, too.

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sunset on cruise deck - Samantha Beddoes - 620

Cruise lines lure couples onto their ships with promises of romance for all ages. After all, what could be more lovely than watching the evening sky turn pink across a calm sea with your loved one?

Indeed, cruisers typically travel in pairs, says Cruise Lines International Association, with married couples representing 80 percent of the passengers. We can think of a few ways to kindle the fire on any itinerary — like cozying up with a room service dinner or making a reservation at an intimate specialty restaurant. You can always spring for a side-by-side massage at the spa and try the hot tub after dark (when kids who run around during the day will be all tucked in). Or, during a port of call, why not take a horseback ride on the beach or sign up for a two-person parasailing excursion?

But for those who want to take romance to the next level yet, cruise lines also offer many romance and special event packages that feature amenities designed to create just the right mood:

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sunreef catamaran 62

There’s a running joke among boat owners that riffs on the steep costs associated with such a high maintenance toy: BOAT, they say, stands for “bring out another thousand.” For those who yearn for the boating lifestyle but can’t stomach the expense or commitment, there are a number of Airbnb-style platforms that offer yacht-sharing as a cheaper alternative to ownership. Here’s the scoop on three different sites, with examples of where you’ll be able to sail and how much it’ll cost you.

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It’s sunrise. You’re sitting on the outdoor deck of your cruise ship, sipping coffee and nibbling a croissant, watching the ship maneuver into its dock in turquoise waters. But disembarking on the gorgeous island won’t come cheap.

By this we mean that the cruise line you’re traveling with will hand over oodles of money to each port your ship visits, and often to various U.S. government agencies like Customs. That’s where the government taxes and port charges that you pay with your base cruise fare come from (and, to some first-timers’ surprise, that bump up the total cost of your vacation).

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