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Crown Cruise Vacations | July 24, 2016

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New Carnival Vista showcases diverse flavors from around the world

July 20, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Craving some sushi or maybe crab claws and lobster? How about spaghetti and meat balls or a burger piled high with your favorite toppings? Perhaps your taste buds are ready for a thick steak cooked just the way you like. The new Carnival Vista offers all that and much more.

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Boarding MV Athena for Grand Circle cruise is a breeze

July 13, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

We stepped off our airport shuttle bus, walked a few steps down a gang plank and were officially embarked on our 10-day cruise aboard the M/V Athena.

I’ve never met a ship I didn’t like but I certainly prefer the boarding process on smaller vessels. Instead of waiting in long lines with thousands of other passengers on the big cruise liners, it is such a breeze to board a small ship. Takes minutes, not hours.

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Shore Excursion: Visiting Siegfried’s Mechanical Music Cabinet Museum

July 7, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Today, people can walk around with music in their ears whenever they want. They can plug in and tune out.

But back a couple hundred years ago, people didn’t have that luxury. Only the rich could afford musical devices. And those pieces of equipment were huge.

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Shore Excursion: Discovering naughty spitting boy, gigantic thumb, much more on Koblenz walking tour

June 28, 2016 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Oh, the things you can learn from a good tour guide. On a two-hour walking tour of Koblenz, Germany, with Heinz Gerd Reis, I learned about:

– The naughty spitting boy

– The woman in a boat who brought wine to Germany

– The horse statue with its rear end turned toward France

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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