Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Cruising with a Purpose

Purposeful Travel

This week Twitter chat #FoodTravelChat, which I help moderate, is discussing "Purposeful Food & Travel".   Each Wednesday evening at 7 PM Eastern, a group of like-minded people get together to chat about food and travel, two of my favorite topics.
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The 2016 Cruises Inc., CruiseOne and Dream Vacations National Conference aboard Carnival Vista immediately came to mind when learning of the theme for this week.  Obviously one purpose of the travel was to experience the brand new Carnival Vista so that we could share insider information with our guests. We also learned about industry trends, challenges, and upcoming changes with each of our travel partners.

Changing Lives

General Manager of Network Engagement & Performance, Drew Daly, presented “One Day I Will,” at the closing General Session. He spoke about how agents have the ability to change their customers’ lives by encouraging them to live for today. The presentation reflected on the positive impact a dream vacation has on one’s life – both personally and professionally. Armed with all the information from fellow travel professionals and industry leaders, we certainly felt we had plenty to offer our guests plan memorable vacations, but that was really only the beginning of our purposeful travel.

Giving Back

In addition to changing our customer’s lives, Cruises Inc., CruiseOne and Dream Vacations agents are changing the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions through Make-A-Wish, the signature charity of parent company World Travel Holdings. Fundraising is a core component of National Conference every year when franchisees, agents, staff and suppliers all come together through a variety of fundraising activities such as guessing next year’s conference date, silent auctions, the fourth annual “Zumba@Sea – Dance For Wishes” and exclusive access to the Skyride and sports deck.

Each year we strive to beat the previous year's total, so the goal was set at $75,000 for the week long event. We not only met that goal, but exceeded it with a grand total raised during the conference of $100,000. That amount will help grant 20 wishes.

It is so rewarding to add a purpose to your travel.  I truly believe that by doing so you get so much more back in return.  When on a cruise, check the daily program for ways that you can participate and turn your trip into Purposeful Travel.


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Friday, April 21, 2017

Cruising Impact Earth Day 2017

 Happy Earth Day 2017 
April 22nd

How Green are Cruise Ships?

Cruise ships operate in every ocean worldwide taking thousands of passengers to all parts of the globe.   There is growing concern that these floating resorts are polluting the waterways and air with all the waste that is generated by normal operations.

Polluted discharges (of sewage, grey water and oily bilge water) and air emissions are the chief sources of problems, but they also mark the biggest potential areas for improvement.

Cruise Ship Environmental Report Card

click to enlarge images        click here for report

Friends of the Earth’s  annual  Cruise Report Card compares the environmental footprint of 17 major cruise lines and 171 cruise ships.  View a PDF of the latest annual report card here.

Disney Cruise Lines was the sole cruise line this year to earn an “A” for transparency by responding to information requests. Every other line, like the year before, refused to confirm its current environmental technologies, resulting in failing grades for transparency.   Read the press release.

Protect the Environment for Future Generations

Most people that love to cruise also have an interest in protecting the environment for the future.   We want to continue our quest to see more of the world, but at the same time, want to make sure Mother Earth is around for generations to come.  So, what can we as individuals do?

For those that are interested in doing your part (click the following links):   See #EarthDayEveryDay on EPA website.  Learn more about the FOE.

Is There Any Good News in the Report Card?

I have to admit that my initial reaction to the report card was one of shock.   The majority of the cruise lines have announced initiatives to protect the environment.   You'll see signs posted in your cabin encouraging you to reuse towels, just like you see in hotel rooms on land.   I have to give them the benefit of the doubt that they do intend to turn things around.

You be the judge - read about the various cruise lines' environmental initiatives.  Also form your own opinion while on your next cruise vacation.  We'd love to hear your feedback.   Together we can have a Happy Earth Day.

When on a cruise ship, do your part by doing the little things:   reuse your towel,  don't throw anything overboard, or pollute in any other way.

We share this information, not to make any cruise line look bad, but rather to call awareness to a growing problem which can seriously impact all living things if left unchecked.  Thank you for reading this article and for doing your part to protect the environment.

Special thanks to the EPA and FOE for their efforts and for publishing the information which was the basis of this article.

Cruise Line Sustainability Links

Here are links to the major contemporary cruise lines.  Search out your favorite cruise lines' environmental initiatives documentation.   If you don't find it, ask them why they aren't being transparent.

Carnival Corporation 2020 Sustainability Report   InfoGraphic

Celebrity Cruise Line Environmental Initiatives

Disney Cruise Line Environmental Overview   

Behind the Waves: DCL’s Commitment to Recycling (Video)

Norwegian Cruise Line Environmental Commitment

Royal Caribbean and the Environment

If you have followed our blog, you know that we began our love for cruising and the oceans over 30 years ago.   That love turned into a profession, which we share with all of you.   We are sharing this information as a wake up call to ourselves, and everyone that enjoys cruising and the destinations we visit.   Let's encourage the cruise line executives and those who travel to protect the future.


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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Argentine Precious Stone

click images to enlarge

Rhodochrosite is a manganese carbonate mineral with chemical composition MnCO3. In its (rare) pure form, it is typically a rose-red color, but impure specimens can be shades of pink to pale brown. Rhodochrosite is Argentina's "national gemstone".

Famed for its banding, ranging from light pink to bright red, Argentinian Rhodochrosite is a truly unique gemstone. In ideal specimens of this stone, the banding crosses the surface of the stone in a zigzag pattern, with a sharp contrast between colors.

Inca Rose
Throughout our trip in South America we saw several merchants selling the local semi-precious gem.  These images were taken at Buenos Aires International Airport while waiting for our return flight.

As you can see the gem can be carved into many shapes, including my favorite (you guessed it) - Penguin.

As with any gem, expect to pay a premium based on the quality of the stone used for the setting.   A decent grade stone used in an earring will cost around $125 US at most jewelers.  If you are looking for something special for yourself or a gift, you'll want to check these gems out during your visit.

Click on the image to the right for more Blog posts about this trip.

Related Album:

Inca Rose Gems

Additional photos can be found on our South America Shutterfly page

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

Northernmost City in Norway

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Honningsvåg at 70° 58' N, in Nordkapp municipality, claims to be the northernmost city in Norway and even in the world. It is situated at a bay on the southern side of Magerøya island, while the famous North Cape and its visitors center is on the northern side, 45 minutes away.

The images to the right were from our previous visit to Honningsvåg, where we explored North Cape.  We decided to explore the town instead this time.   Our last visit had an interesting story associated with it.   Read about it in this blog post: Funny Thing Happened on Way to Nordkapp

Colorful Buildings & Trolls 

We arrived around lunchtime and had about 3 hours in port before sailing.  It was a cold but gorgeous day, with blue skies and bright sunlight lighting our path as we walked along the snow-packed streets of town.

We did some window shopping and checked out the local market.  We captured several images around town before purchasing some Norwegian souvenirs and returning to our ship.

Local inhabitants get around town using a
kicksled. The kicksled or spark is a small sled consisting of a chair mounted on a pair of flexible metal runners which extend backward to about twice the chair's length. The sled is propelled by kicking ("sparke" or "sparka" in the Scandinavian languages) the ground by foot. There is a handlebar attached to the top of the chair back.

Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

http://cruisewithchris.blogspot.com/2016/03/diary-hurtigruten-classic-voyage-bergen.htmlJourney to North Cape

Century - Honningsvåg
North Cape

Click on the image to the right for more Blog posts about this trip.

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