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Crown Cruise Vacations | October 21, 2017

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Shore Excursion: Learning about black pearls and rare flower that grows only on Raiatea

October 18, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

The island of Raiatea is home to a five-petal flower so rare that it grows nowhere else on earth except here. Named Tiare Apetahi, the blossom rising out of a bed of dagger-shaped leaves has an equally lovely legend.

The story goes that a beautiful Tahitian woman named Apetahi fell in love with the son of a king. Devastated that as a commoner she could not marry him, Apetahi fled to Mount Temehani on Raiatea where she died of a broken heart. Read more...

Shore Excursion: How Bora Bora got its name, having a cold drink at Bloody Mary’s

October 11, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

If Captain Cook hadn’t misunderstood what the French Polynesians were calling their home, the island of Bora Bora might have a different name today.

That’s a tidbit I learned from tour guide Sandra as we bounced around the popular island in our open-air “Le Truck” vehicle. Read more...

Shore Excursion: How ‘Holy Toledo’ got its nickname

October 4, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

TOLEDO, Spain – About the closest my Aunt Minnie ever came to cursing was to mutter “Holy Toledo” whenever she had reached her “wit’s end,” another favorite Aunt Minnie saying.

I never knew what either of those meant when I was a kid. It took a trip to Toledo, Spain, to learn the origin of Aunt Minnie’s favorite exclamation. Read more...

Shore Excursion: Ali Center showcases more than history of boxing legend

September 27, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

“Maybe I was great in the ring, but outside of boxing, I’m just a brother like other people. I want to live a good life, serve God, help everybody I can. And one more thing. I’m still gonna find out who stole my bike when I was 12 years old in Louisville and I’m gonna whup him. That was a good bike.” Read more...

Oceania Sirena restaurant Red Ginger is surprising and superb

September 20, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

I don’t want to spoil the surprise but I’ve never seen this happen. Maybe I just haven’t eaten in the right restaurants.

Oceania Sirena has two specialty restaurants where reservations must be made. There is no extra charge – in fact, there are few extra charges at all on this cruise ship. Most passengers can expect to dine at least once in Red Ginger and once in Tuscan Steak. If the restaurants are not booked up, passengers may be able to reserve another dining adventure. Read more...

Shore Excursion: Man in Sea Museum showcases history of diving ocean’s depths

September 13, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

More than half a century ago, four Navy divers plunged 193 feet into the Atlantic Ocean for an experiment in living under the ocean’s surface. Named Sealab 1, their “home” submerged off the coast of Bermuda was a long cylinder resembling a gigantic tin can. Read more...

Shore Excursion: Spanish city of Toledo and legend of the pins

September 6, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

Once upon a time, two lovers were separated by war. To pray for her soldier’s safe return, the young lady would visit an image of the Virgin Mary and pray every night.

Afraid that she might fall asleep during her long vigil, the lady asked her maid to stick her with a pin if she faltered in her prayers. Then the lady would present the pin to the Virgin Mary as proof of her dedication and sacrifice. Read more...

Oceania Sirena ship general manager worked his way up from deck boy

August 30, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

My cruise had just started when I returned to my stateroom and saw an evaluation form about my journey. Now, I am accustomed to getting evaluation forms at the end of a cruise but not at the beginning.

It does make sense though. If my cruise is over and there is something I could suggest that would have made it more enjoyable for me, it wouldn’t help much to make note of that when my cruise has ended. Read more...

Shore Excursion: Alcatraz now attracts voluntary visitors rather than inmates

August 23, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

SAN FRANCISCO – Even on a sunny California day, the island was shrouded in fog. We were almost dead-on before the sun broke through and we could see it well.

Despite the balmy breezes, the sight gave me shivers. The island is one very scary place.  And that is exactly what it was intended to be. Read more...

Shore Excursion: Visiting historic marae on island of Huahine

August 16, 2017 | Jackie Sheckler Finch

By Jackie Sheckler Finch

The South Polynesian island of Huahine is said to have the best-preserved historic marae on the islands so that was the shore excursion I chose when our ship docked.

So far, the marae I have seen look like piles of rocks or elevated land. If a tour guide and info signs didn’t describe what I was seeing, I probably would not have known the historic significance of the pre-European temples. Read more...