REVISED EDITION FOR 2016
Publish Date: 2016-12-15
Fall is a magical time of year in Eastern Canada and the New England states. As the days grow cooler and the first frost coats the pumpkins, something happens to bring about an explosion of color in the leaves of the broadleaf forest. Cooler weather and shorter days tell the trees to prepare to drop their leaves and go dormant for the winter to come. And in doing so, each species has its own chemistry, turning the leaves lemon yellow, brilliant orange, dazzling gold or scarlet red. And it is this kaleidoscope of colors that brings visitors by the tens of thousands. The best way to see the fall colors without the stresses of driving your car, staying in numerous hotels and packing/unpacking is to see the landscape from a cruise ship. All the major cruise lines offer 10 to 14-day cruises between Montreal, Quebec and either Boston or New York City. You visit Quebec City, Charlottetown, Halifax, Portland, Maine and many small ports, enjoying the beauty of the season. This book is specifically deigned to provide you with geographic, historic and cultural information on the Canadian provinces and New England states you will be visiting. And as a prelude, I provide a comparison and contrast between the ways of life in both Canada and the United States. There are also recommendations on shopping and dining, but this is not meant to be one of those comprehensive guidebooks. It is meant to provide you with more insight into the lands and peoples of Eastern Canada and New England, not to give you thousands of listings on where to buy post cards or grab a quick lunch. I hope you will find the book useful.
Publish Date: 2016-04-16
The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most popular destinations in the world in which to cruise on a luxury ship, enjoying the warm weather, beautiful scenery, romantic countries and gorgeous beaches. And not to mention the crystal clear blue waters of this sea that has been home to so much of Western history. The Mediterranean Sea has been the birthplace of the ancient Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Moors and many other smaller civilizations. Even ancient Egyptians are believed to have left the confines of the Nile River and traded along its shores. Today the Mediterranean Sea serves as the cultural divide between the Islamic World to the south and the European nations to the north. For thousands of years, trade across its waters has created many great ports of call that today are visited by tens of thousands of tourists each year. And the easiest way to enjoy the Mediterranean is by ship. But it is not possible to cruise the entire sea in one journey because of its vast size and the scope of its many nations. This book is the first of three volumes that will be issued on the topic of cruising the Mediterranean. This volume covers the ports of call in France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco. The second volume will explore cruising the ports of Monaco, Italy, Malta and Tunisia. The third and final volume will explore the ports of Croatia, Montenegro, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel and Egypt.
A Cruise Adventure
Publish Date: 2016-01-25
This is a special edition for those who plan to take a cruise along the west coast of Mexico, either the short cruise to Ensenada or the longer cruise all the way to Acapulco or beyond. Mexico is a country that has lately been given so much bad publicity because of the violence that is continuing, especially along the border, due to drug trafficking. But the coastal resorts have experienced far less of a problem than the border or major interior cities. And traveling by ship, spending a day in each port often on group excursions, is the best way to appreciate the beauty and historic charm of this great country. Unlike a guidebook, this small edition is designed to present the geography, history and socio-economic aspects of each of the ports of call along Mexico's west coast where cruise ships routinely stop. If you are planning a trip, this book will be of immense value. It also informs you as to how to keep yourself safe and maximize the enjoyment of the trip. There are limited restaurant listings, mainly places close to where the ships dock since it is not recommended to use local taxis in any of the ports of call. I hope you find this book useful.
REVISED EDITION FOR 2016-17
Publish Date: 2015-11-14
With the success of my first Baltic Sea book, I have taken the material and greatly expanded it, adding more detail, restaurant and shopping recommendations and new photographs. The Baltic Sea is one of the most popular regions in Europe for those who want to cruise. There are seven to 10-day cruises offered that include such memorable cities as Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. And the crown jewel of any Baltic Sea cruise is Saint Petersburg, the grand imperial capital of Russia. Normally the weather is cool, yet bright. And the days during summer are long, what the Russians call the "White Nights." If you have ever wanted to learn about this region and what it offers, this is the book to purchase. It is NOT a detailed guide that offers individualized walking tours or presents dozens of hotel and restaurant listings. I have included my favorite restaurants and shopping venues, but the focus of the book is to describe the landscape, discuss the relevant history and give you tips as to how to maximize your days in port. Remember that when you cruise, you have a limited amount of time in each port. So it is best to become familiar with where you are going before you get there. Not all cruise lines offer a comprehensive lecture program that will provide you with such valuable information. I have been lecturing for Silversea Cruises for nine years and I have made 38 tours through the Baltic Sea. Combined with my 46 years as a geography professor, I believe I am in a good position to present you with a valid picture of what you will find in the Baltic Sea.
REVISED EDITION FOR 2016-17
Publish Date: 2015-06-25
This is a revised edition of one of my most popular travel companion books. One of the most spectacular locations in which to cruise is around the lower portion of South America. Cruises begin in either Buenos Aires, Argentina westbound or Valparaiso, Chile eastbound and last around two weeks to 16 days. The spectacular scenery of snow covered mountains, many of them steep volcanic cones, rich forests of southern beech and crystal blue waters makes this one of the world's last unspoiled wilderness regions. Towns are few and far apart, but those that are visited exude an atmosphere that is a mix of frontier spirit with Old World charm. Although the countries are of Spanish origin, many settlers in these far southern reaches came from Germany, Wales, Ireland and other central European countries. They found a land that although harsh and remote it reminded them of home and thus they set down roots. At one end of the cruise is Buenos Aires, the Paris of the Americas. This is a vibrant city that looks and feels more like Europe than the Western Hemisphere. It was here that tango was born. And it is here that the delicious flavor of freshly grilled meat is almost a daily staple. On the Pacific side of the high Andes Mountains is Valparaiso, the somewhat ramshackle port city reminiscent of San Francisco that is the gateway to the central valleys of Chile where vineyards and fruit orchards stretch to the horizon. And on that eastern horizon is the towering wall of the Andes, second highest mountains on earth. The capital city of Santiago exudes a different charm than Buenos Aires. Here colonial Spanish architecture is being overshadowed by the high-rises of the 21st century, yet the city bustles with a mix of tradition and modernity. And like all of these southern lands, a mix of peoples settled, thus giving the culture a cosmopolitan aura. From Santiago you can take day trips into the depths of the Andes where ski resorts sit perched precariously on dizzying slopes. A cruise through the waters that surround southern South America is a memorable experience that can begin on the pages of this travel companion. The book will introduce you to the landscapes and cultures of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, the three countries visited. In my revision, I have added pertinent information regarding hotel accommodation in both Buenos Aires and Santiago. I have also added shopping and dining recommendations for all of the ports of call. This revised edition contains many new photographs and improved maps. I hope you find it helpful.
Between Hong Kong and Vancouver
Publish Date: 2015-05-16
Twice each year cruise ships are repositioned either from Southeast Asia to Alaska for the summer season or from Alaska to Southeast Asia in the fall. These cruises give passengers a rare opportunity to sail a route that is both highly scenic as well as being culturally exotic. Regardless of the direction, either eastbound or westbound, you experience the wilds of the outer reaches of Alaska's Kodiak and Aleutian Islands, the even more majestic and isolated Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia and Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan. You get a good taste of the historic urban core of Japan by visiting Tokyo and Osaka-Kyoto and the subtropical southern island of Kyushu. Touching on South Korea, visiting Shanghai and Hong Kong rounds out an itinerary that crosses the northern fringes of the Pacific Rim. If you travel eastbound in April-May, there is a good chance of reaching Japan just at the time of cherry blossoms, a magical and somewhat sacred time of year. And if you travel westbound in September, you will experience the brilliance of autumn colors in Alaska, Russia and Japan. There are other repositioning cruises offered such as spring or fall Trans Atlantic crossings, transits between New York and Vancouver in spring or from Vancouver to Miami in the fall and crossings between the U. S. East Coast and the Mediterranean. But none offers the absolute splendor of crossing the North Pacific Rim. And this book details the countries and ports of call of such a journey.
Publish Date: 2015-04-12
Turkey is the country we think of as the bridge between Europe and Asia. In reality, geographers do not recognize Europe and Asia as separate continents, but in practice everyone accepts them as two. The correct term should be Eurasia for the one continent. But since society is so accustomed to the division between Europe and Asia, Turkey is that one country where East meets West. And its largest city of Istanbul is on that perceived border. When you cross on either of the two great suspension bridges over the Bosphorus Straits, there are signs in Turkish and English that say either "Welcome to Asia" or "Welcome to Europe." Istanbul in the cultural sense is truly the bridge between the two continents. Founded by the Romans, it was the center of Byzantium and then the Ottoman Empire. Its flavors are those of Eastern Europe mixed with the Middle East. No city is more exotic. And likewise, as you travel into Turkey's larger Asian sector, the farther from Istanbul, the more Middle Eastern the flavor. But along the Mediterranean coast of Asiatic Turkey the cities are modern and quite European, yet with that distinct hint of the Middle East. And everywhere there are ancient ruins of Greek, Roman and Persian civilization. Turkey is a magical country because of its mix of traditions. And it is a warm and friendly country. This book introduces you to all the major coastal cities from Trabzon on the Black Sea through Istanbul to Alanya on the eastern Mediterranean coast. It gives you the geographic and historic background to help you understand what each destination is like. And it offers you all of the major highlights without becoming a compendium of hotels, restaurants and souvenir stores. This is a serious book, but written in a light manner. And it is illustrated with all of my wonderful photographs taken on my four different visits to Turkey. I hope you enjoy it.
Visiting the Lesser Antilles: REVISED EDITION FOR 2016
Publish Date: 2015-02-04
The islands of the Lesser Antilles are the most dramatically beautiful of all the Caribbean. Most rise dramatically out of the sea and are fringed with palms that sway in the cooling Northeast Trade Winds. The waters surrounding these islands are crystal clear and kiss the shores of each island with either a soft embrace, or on their windward side with pounding surf. Culturally they represent a matrix that includes the descendants of African slaves, British, French and Dutch colonists, giving each its own unique identity. The islands form an arc that stretches from Puerto Rico in the northwest all the way to the edge of Venezuela on the southeast. Such fabled names as Martinique, Saint Lucia, Barbados and Grenada are among the many islands making up the Lesser Antilles. Island hopping can be quite expensive, as air services between each country is limited. Ferryboat or hydrofoil service exists in a few area. So the most practical way to visit more than one island is by means of a cruise ship. Long cruises do ply between Florida and Barbados, and shorter cruises between San Juan, Puerto Rico and Barbados. These are the three major ports for beginning or ending an Eastern Caribbean cruise. After visiting several islands on a cruise, you can then decide which you would like to return to visit for an extended vacation. There is a certain magic to the Eastern Caribbean that must be experienced to be fully appreciated. This is an updated edition that includes more information as to places to enjoy along with a few dining options
Getting to Know the Land and its People
Publish Date: 2015-01-10
South Africa is a land of superlatives. This is the most geographically spectacular country on the continent of Africa. Its rugged coastline, gentle interior valleys of the Wine Country, towering cliffs of the Drakensberg and windswept grasslands of the high Veld provide for great landscape diversity. The human landscape is also very diverse thanks to its long history of Bantu, Dutch and English settlement. South Africa is the most economically advanced and diverse of all the sub Saharan countries on the continent. But for centuries it suffered from white imposed racial segregation that reached its peak of indignity under the Apartheid Laws enacted in 1948. Decades of struggle by the black community finally led to universal suffrage in 1991, and today Apartheid is nothing but a bad memory. Thanks to the brilliant leadership of Nelson Mandela, the country emerged from white dominated rule without a "blood bath" and there has been forgiveness and true cultural integration. The next big obstacle to be overcome is economic disparity between the larger black majority and the small white minority. But a black middle class is slowly emerging and the country shows hope for a better future. The government and people place great emphasis upon education, which will benefit all. Crime is still a problem in the urban centers, and this often scares potential visitors. This book will dispel many of the myths of life in South Africa. It will introduce you to all the ports of call, and also to the great high Veld with its major cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. And since many cruise ships also visit neighboring Namibia, there are three chapters on that country.
Revised 2017 Edition
Publish Date: 2014-11-18
Australia - The Land Down Under! The most remote and unique of the world's continents, Australia always enchants the visitor. Where else in the world will you see kangaroos dashing across the landscape, or watch as hundreds of brightly colored parrots take to the sky. Where else can you walk through forests of eucalyptus, inhaling the pungent aroma of sweetness. Where else can you roam over thousands of square miles or kilometers of red, sandy desert where nobody lives. Only in Australia. But to truly get to know this continent, it takes a lot of time that most travelers do not have. So one way to at least begin to comprehend the land and people of Australia is to take a cruise along its more populated eastern coast. The ultimate cruise would be around two to three weeks, extending from Hobart, Tasmania in the south up to the Barrier Reef coast of Queensland in the north. Here you would visit the major cities of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane as well as taking in the coral wonder of the Great Barrier Reef. A more extensive cruise might start on the south coast in Adelaide and wrap all the way around the eastern coast and up to Top End, the tropical north at Darwin. Or you may only visit the two major cities of Melbourne and Sydney, often the ending of a cruise that begins across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand. Which ever cruise you take, you at least get an introduction to Australia, and I guarantee you will want to come back for more. After all no visit is complete without spending some time in the deep Outback, that frontier region where life is hard and the landscape is both beautiful but challenging. This book will give you an introduction to the entire continent, its history, the customs and lifestyle of its people and then take you on a journey along its eastern shores. So as the Aussies say, "G'dai mate!" or good day mate, and welcome to the Land of Oz.