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Crown Cruise Vacations | February 19, 2018

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Shore Excursion: Statue in Havana, Cuba, honors ‘crazy’ man

February 14, 2018 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Cuba is a country of statues and monuments, many of them dedicated to heroes of the revolution. But one unusual bronze figure in Havana is the only one in the world I have seen for a certifiably crazy person.

On a walking tour of Havana, we stopped in front of a church. However, what caught my attention was a statue outside the church of a man whose beard, left index finger and foot have been polished almost golden from the touch of passersby. Read more...

Shore Excursion: Ornate Italian Chapel in Scotland built by WWII POWs

February 7, 2018 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

The ornate chapel seems oddly out of place in this quiet countryside. And the story behind it is even more surprising.

“It was built during World War II by Italian prisoners of war,” said tour guide Thelma. “They used whatever materials they could find and you’ll be amazed at what they were able to do.” Read more...

Holland America Line’s master chef Rudi Sodamin releases unusual ‘Food Faces’ art book

January 31, 2018 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Creating faces out of his food is a labor of love for Rudi Sodamin. Using vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, grain and sweets, Sodamin has captured a cast of unforgettable characters expressing a whimsical spectrum of human emotion.

“’Food Faces’ has a universal appeal that crosses all ages, languages, art, cultures and food groups,”  Sodamin said in a news release. “Food is an international language, understood by all, and everyone in the world, regardless of race, gender, experience or social status, can communicate and connect through food.” Read more...

Shore Excursion: Arriving in Athens for night before Celestyal Olympia cruise

January 24, 2018 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

If I could give one piece of advice to fellow cruisers, it would be to arrive in your cruise departure city at least a day ahead of the cruise.

As Geoffrey Chaucer said, “Time and tide wait for no man.”

Or woman.

Flights can be delayed or cancelled so it is best not to plan to arrive the day of a cruise, especially when it is an international flight to board a cruise ship. I’ve been on cruises where a passenger didn’t arrive on time and the ship had to sail anyway. Sometimes a delayed passenger can catch up with a ship at its next stop but what an expensive hassle that could be. Read more...

Basketball great Shaq appointed as Carnival’s CFO – Chief Fun Officer

January 17, 2018 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Larger-than-life sports legend Shaquille O’Neal has a new job. The former NBA great and sports commentator has been named the newly appointed “CFO” for Carnival Cruise Line.

“We are very excited to have Shaq as part of the Carnival Team,” Carnival Christine Duffy said in a news release. “He will serve as a great partner ensuring everyone knows all about our one-of-a-kind brand of fun. We’re confident that his embodiment of our brand values will inspire America to Choose Fun and discover the authentic, participatory and social atmosphere that Carnival offers.” Read more...

Cruise Destination Trivia: Identify the gigantic sculpture

January 10, 2018 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Recognize this bearded man? He is huge, an image posted on a building.

A hint:  The woman standing next to me thought it was a memorial to Fidel Castro. Nope, it is not Fidel but the homage is located in Cuba. Don’t look at the answer below until you’ve formulated your own response. Read more...

Shore Excursion: Castillo del Morro in Cuba a chilling experience

January 3, 2018 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Hearing the loud clank of the metal cell door slamming shut sent chills down my spine. Being locked in this Cuban prison must have been a living hell. Or a death sentence.

Today is a busy itinerary in Santiago de Cuba on our Celestyal Crystal cruise. So much to see and do. Tour guide Ricardo is a wealth of information and his English is excellent. Read more...

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

December 27, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Driving past a bright red door, I thought it was a pretty sight. But I didn’t know how important that place was until tour guide Barbara started talking.

Having a great tour guide can certainly make traveling more educational and fun. In this case, it was the red door in Edinburgh, Scotland. Read more...

Shore excursion: Cuba’s Fusterlandia is one man’s attempt to brighten the world

December 20, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

Outrageous colors. Fantasy figures. Proud historic reminders. Everywhere I looked, it seemed an eye-catching explosion of creativity.

I had been forewarned but I’m not sure anything can prepare you for Fusterlandia. The artistic wonderland is certainly not something I expected to encounter when I arrived in Havana. Read more...

Small ship Celestyal Crystal offers big ship comforts

December 13, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

After years of traveling, I’ve stayed in many different accommodations. But my cabin aboard the Celestyal Crystal has a feature I have never seen before.

My room has twin beds. Across from the beds is a large full-length mirror. Next to the mirror is a curtain on an aluminum rod to pull across the mirror to hide it. Read more...