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Crown Cruise Vacations | August 27, 2016

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Shore Excursion: Visiting Germany’s famous Black Forest to hear cuckoos,

June 23, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Centuries ago, farm families in Germany’s Black Forest would spend winters holed up in their mountain cabins.  Snowed in with few chores to do, the families – often with as many as a dozen children – would pass the time using natural resources they had at hand to create objects for use and to sell for extra money.


Nez Perce speaker tells tales passed down for generations

June 17, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Why do dogs go through the ritual of tail sniffing when they encounter each other? Because they are looking for their own tail.

At least that’s the tale that Nez Perce speaker White Bull told on our S.S. Legacy cruise. Sounds about as good an explanation as any other.


Learning how to make Rüdesheim Coffee

June 10, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

He’s handing out bottles of water as we depart for shore excursions. He’s waiting to greet us back with glasses of warming liquor. He clears dinner plates from our dining tables. He even dresses in lederhosen for our German dinner.

And on this afternoon, he is teaching us how to make Rüdesheim Coffee in the Viking Kara lounge. Our maître d’ Mirko Kusan seems to be everywhere. I don’t think he ever sleeps.


Shore Excursion: Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany

June 2, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

His hometown calls him “the Man of the Millennium.” The technology he invented changed the world, our tour guide says.

Can’t say I disagree with those glowing tributes. After all, it might be because of what he perfected that you are reading these words today.


Viking info box helps prepare for cruise

May 26, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

I’m a list maker, a note taker. In my job as a journalist, I have to be organized. So I can see that Viking River Cruises and I are going to be a great match.

With my Viking cruise, I received a good-size box from FedEx. Inside was my personal itinerary, guidebook for the Rhine and its tributaries on which I will be traveling, plus a bright red leather luggage tag, two Viking River Cruises paper tags for my suitcases, welcome-to-the-cruise note, Viking sticker to put on my jacket when I arrive at the Basel airport so Viking staff can locate me for transfer to the ship, and a collector’s edition toiletry bag with a photo of Berlin on it.


Shore Excursion:  Mel Fisher Maritime Museum in Key West

May 16, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

In 1969, Mel Fisher began searching for the Atocha, a Spanish treasure galleon that sank off the coast of the Florida Keys in 1622. Every morning, Fisher would exhort, “Today’s the day.”

And 30 years ago, it was. After a 16-year adventure that included financial hardship, tragic loss, and triumph, Fisher and his treasure hunters found the Atocha on July 20, 1985. Estimated at half a billion dollars, the shipwreck made Mel Fisher the richest treasure hunter in the world.


Taking a stinky trip to Iceland’s ‘hell’

May 9, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

We could smell the “hell” part of our excursion to Namafjall before we even got there on our excursion from the Ocean Diamond cruise. Sterile of any vegetation, the Namafjall geothermal field in Iceland is like walking on Mars.

Also know as Hverir, the site is a large expanse of hot springs with numerous fumaroles, mud pools, and mud pots that all seemed to be boiling with eternal energy. The fumaroles are steam and gas emitting openings in the earth’s cruise usually near volcanoes.


Ocean Diamond- See what’s on the menu before you order

April 25, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Often in a restaurant, I have gotten one look at a companion’s dinner and thought it looked better than mine. The Ocean Diamond cruise ship has an answer for that problem.

On our Iceland cruise, the chef had several of the evening’s menu offerings placed on a decorative front table as we entered the ship’s dining room. That is a great way to give a glimpse of some of the specialties on the night’s menu. It’s really quite helpful and makes choices somewhat easier.