Boomer Travel: Aruba is the Place to Be

Find out why Aruba is being visited by Boomers and what makes in an ideal Boomer vacation destination

I just returned from a seven night stay at the Aruba Radisson resort and thought I was at a Boomer convention.  There were all ages of Boomers and some younger Seniors too enjoying the island lifestyle, if only for a short time.  There were tie die T-shirt classes at the pool, bingo, sunset cruises, but the main draw is the excellent beaches.

The weather is ideal beach weather with highs in the 80’s and lows in the 70’s.  You really can stay on the beach or lounge at the pool all day long.  You know our bodies are not what they used to be, but it doesn’t matter when most of the people at the beach look just like you do.  No one is going to stare at your pot belly and you won’t feel out of place.  We are just there to enjoy ourselves.  Now that I am retired I  have tried to grow my hair longer and I noticed that must be a trend as evidenced by the Boomer crowd in Aruba this week. A few little ponies but most just sporting longer hair.  Anyway why not, we have conformed long enough and it’s our time again.

Another thing bringing Boomers to Aruba is their excellent restaurants, many within walking distance from the hi-rise hotels along Palm and Eagle beaches.  They are expensive but are uncommonly good for the Caribbean Islands I have visited.  After dinner, there are casinos in many hotels and even some Las Vegas type shows for your entertainment.  Most of the hi-rise hotels have a bar with live entertainment every night.  Not even to mention the two and one half hour long cocktail hour starting at 4 pm where you can try the Pina Colada or some exotic drink of the day.

Everything happens on island time which is just fine with us Boomers after we get used to it.  The favorite saying on the “happy island” is relax, you’re on vacation. It can be a little disturbing when you order food or a drink and it takes forever to get to you, but that is the exception.  What is not the exception is getting your bill at the end and getting it paid.  That can take some time so you might as well not let it bother you.

We talked with one dear lady in her 70’s who moved to Aruba from Boston over 25 years ago and has made it her home quiet well.  She filled me in that there are no retirement communities on the island and not that many people retire there either.  Aruba is just a fine place for a Boomer to travel to and enjoy for a week or a season. TripAdvisor.com is a great place to research Aruba or any other travel destination for that matter.

For more on Boomer Vacations

Originally posted 2010-12-20 16:08:59.

Cruising for Boomers

Baby boomers are replacing seniors on cruise ships as the cruising experience changes to suit their taste and they get more free time to travel. More and more my fellow cruise passengers are around my age 63. Ten years ago the cruisers were a lot older than me.

As boomers retire they have more time to take a cruise but most of the boomers I talked with on a recent cruise are repeat cruisers. The cruise lines have plenty of ships and would like to keep boomers cruising and attract new boomer cruisers. To do so they are making changes in the cruise experience that are attractive to boomers.

As a frequent cruiser here are some of the changes I have noticed.

Baby boomers are replacing seniors on cruise ships as the cruising experience changes to suit their taste and they get more free time to travel.  More and more my fellow cruise passengers are around my age 63.   Ten years ago the cruisers were a lot older than me.

As boomers retire they have more time to take a cruise but most of the boomers I talked with on a recent cruise are repeat cruisers.   The cruise lines have plenty of ships and would like to keep boomers cruising and attract new boomer cruisers.  To do so they are making changes in the cruise experience that are attractive to boomers.

As a frequent cruiser here are some of the changes I have noticed.

1. More Casual Dining – The buffet is more like traditional dining with drink waiters, white table cloths and a more settled feeling like in the formal dining.  Same food is severed as in the formal dining room.  But the big change is in the 24 hour international cafe in the piazza in the center ship that serves pastries, sandwiches and salads, soup for and quick but tasty lunch.  Alongside the cafe is the gourmet coffee shop.  Boomers like casual and fast.

2. More Learning Opportunities – Classes at Sea with lectures on several subjects from experienced people.   On a recent cruise we had a naturalist giving lectures each day on volcanoes, sea mapping and types of ocean waves.  Also a former U-2 pilot had a lot of interest in his talks about military intelligence history.   A cultural presentation by a museum director was given.

3.  More Active – On the ship the dance classes were well attended as well as Zumba and other exercise classes.  The Olympics drew a good crowd trying out a different activity each day.  Then there were yoga, massages and a walking club.

4.  Boomer Entertainment –  Street entertainment in the center ship Piazza was nice.  Movies under the stars and countless other activities.  The comdey was geared more toward boomers I noticed.

5. Active Off Ship Excursions –  Hikes in the rain forest,   snorkel trips, helicopter tours, and ATV riding were some of the move active ones.

Interesting that learning and staying active is becoming a mainstay of cruising just as with the active adult communities.  You have heard the idea of just retiring to a cruise ship; well that may not be such a far fetch idea after all.

Originally posted 2011-11-02 16:51:36.

Boomers: What To Do While Visiting The Villages in Florida

Thousands of people visit The Villages in Florida each year, some staying with relatives, some visiting on the Lifestyle Preview Plan like we just did and many others renting a home in The Villages.

There is something to do everyday that every baby boomer will find fun.

Here are some 16 tips and places to visit during your stay at The Villages Florida.

1. Pick up a copy of The Villages Daily Sun newspaper, especially the Thursday edition with the Recreation News and schedule for the week.

Sumter Square The Villages
Sumter Square

2. Visit and walk around all three town squares,  Lake Sumter Landing which borders Lake Sumter and has a Florida seaport theme and is located centrally.  There is the original town square of Spanish Springs on the South side. The newest town square of Brownwood with a wild west theme is on the North side.  All three town squares are very walkable and have restaurants, shops and a movie theater. Also there is live entertainment in each square every night of the year!

town square
town square

Continue reading “Boomers: What To Do While Visiting The Villages in Florida”

Originally posted 2018-09-29 20:54:03.

Boomers Should Check Out Veterans Cruise Discount

I am taking a cruise in three weeks and I just got a $250 on board ship credit for veterans. This is nice since I didn’t know about this veterans discount when I booked my cruise with Princess a couple of months ago.

I am taking a cruise in three weeks and I just got a $250 on board ship credit for veterans.  This is nice since I didn’t know about this veterans discount when I booked my cruise with Princess a couple of months ago.  I was drafted into the US Army in 1971 and spent two years in service.

I bet a lot of other boomers who are veterans do not know about this.  My wife just told one of her facebook friends about it since they were taking a cruise the week after us with three other couples.  Now three out of the four guys turned out to be veterans and have been approved for the veteran cruise credit also.  Many of us older Baby Boomers are veterans.

Several cruise lines offer veterans a cruise credit.

The information from Princess Cruises is as follows but just ask the cruise line you are considering whether they have a military discount.

From the Princess site:
In recognition of Veterans Day, Princess Cruises is promoting the line’s military onboard credit program for active and retired military personnel. The credit, which ranges from $50 to $250 per stateroom depending on the length of the cruise, is available to members of the United States and Canadian armed forces with appropriate service identification.

“As I discovered when I recently wrote about my own military experience on our company blog, we have a large number of veterans among our passengers,” said Alan Buckelew, Princess Cruises president and CEO. “We want to honor all military personnel this Veterans Day and thank them for their service.”

The line’s military personnel onboard credit program is available to active military personnel plus retired and disabled military veterans with proper verification as follows:

–Active personnel currently serving in the following service divisions: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserves, Canadian National Defense (military verification certificate)

–Retired personnel defined as: Enlisted personnel or officers with a minimum of 20 years of service, medically retired or 100% disabled (blue or tan uniformed ID card/Canadian white N.D. 21 ID card)

–Veterans with an Honorable Discharge serving a minimum of 2 years or 6 months in an active war zone in any of the United States service divisions listed above or Canadian National Defense (DD 214 plus current photo ID)

The onboard credit amount is $50 for cruises 6 days or less, $100 for cruises of 7-13 days, or $250 for cruises of 14 days or longer, offered on a per stateroom basis.

To request the military personnel onboard credit, eligible persons should apply no later than one week prior to the cruise departure date. Passenger and sailing information should be accompanied by proof of eligibility and provided to either the passenger’s travel agent or to Princess Cruises. For more information about how to submit information, contact 1-800-PRINCESS.

Originally posted 2011-12-23 14:32:21.

Celebrating 100 years

Celebrating 100 years
By Sunny Lockwood

While many dream of traveling around the globe to see such wonders as the Pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China, there is an equally spectacular site in the western hemisphere. And it is celebrating its 100th birthday this year.

What is it? The Panama Canal

This 50-mile waterway, connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, changed our world. When it officially opened in 1914, it cut nearly 8,000 miles off the shipping routes from New York to San Francisco,

Considered the eighth wonder of the world, today the Panama Canal accommodates more than 14,000 ships a year carrying cargo ranging from automobiles to grain, on their passage between the oceans.

More than 10 percent of all U.S. shipping goes through the canal.

Cruising the Panama Canal

But for travelers who want to not only view interesting places but actually experience them, cruising through the Panama Canal is unforgettable. Cruise lines offer an array of such trips from a variety of starting ports.

Depending on a traveler’s pocketbook and calendar, transits can be partial (where the ship enters the canal, goes to Gatun Lake, then turns around and goes back out the same locks used to enter the canal) or full (entering the canal from one ocean and exiting at the far end into the other ocean).

When my husband and I cruised on Holland America’s ms Zuiderdam in 2012, it took more than eight hours to make the entire transit.

Our 82,000-ton ship barely fit in the locks, and being smoothly lifted and lowered 85-feet as the locks filled or emptied, was like riding a magic carpet.

There are three sets of locks at each end of the canal. Two lanes allow two ships to move through the locks at the same time. Each ship climbs up three locks at the start of the canal, and then down three at the end.

Lock chambers are 1,000-feet long and 110-feet wide.

One of the magical aspects of our transit through the locks, then through the nine-mile cut through the Continental Divide (think Rocky Mountains), then through the huge man-made Gatun Lake, and out the locks at the Canal’s far end, was that we and our ship did the transit exactly like that first ship had when the canal opened on August 15, 1914.

No computers at all. Everything is run by gravity and electricity. Gravity fills and empties the locks, lifting ships 85 feet above sea level at the beginning of the Canal, and then lowering them again at the end. And the electricity that opens and closes lock doors, and runs everything else at the canal is created by the canal’s dams. It’s all very self-sufficient.

Our trip was a spectacular and historic experience.

This centennial year would be the perfect time to visit this engineering wonder of the world. And cruising along its watery pathway is both inspiring and sobering (when you consider that more than 26,000 lives were lost in the building of this most famous short cut).

My only suggestion to make the trip more meaningful, would be to do some historical research into the building of the Canal. As you learn about the dream and how hard it was to make it all come true, you’ll appreciate the amazing journey across the Isthmus of Panama.

About the Author

Sunny Lockwood and her husband, Al, have traveled by foot, car, rail, air and cruise ship. Wherever they go, they capture unforgettable moments – Al with his camera and Sunny with her reporter’s notebook. Their work for newspapers and magazines has won national, regional and local awards. Cruising Panama’s Canal, savoring 5,000 nautical miles and 500,000 decadent calories is their first travel memoir. It’s available at amazon.com.

Connect with them on Facebook: Cruising Panama’s Canal

coming out of the Culebra Cut and into Gatun Lake
View from the Crow’s Nest, which is above the bow of ms Zuiderdam. We are coming out of the Culebra Cut and into Gatun Lake. Gatun Lake covers about 180 square miles and makes up the center of the Canal.

Originally posted 2014-07-06 18:15:33.

Retirement Travel: Road Trip

Looking for travel ideas when you retire? Here are some enjoyable road trips for you to consider.

Many Glacier Lodge, Montana
Many Glacier Lodge, Montana

When dreaming about retirement one of the fun things to do is to think about the traveling you will do, once you don’t have to go to work every day.

When you are in retirement, one of the fun things to do is to think of all the neat things you have done over your lifetime.

For today’s post,  I am combining those two ideas and posting about some of the enjoyable road trips that I have done.  This has been fun to remember and maybe will give you an idea for a road trip of your own.  Some here are some memorable scenic road trips I have experienced.

Road Trips

1. Blue Ridge Parkway is absolutely gorgeous!   Described as  America’s favorite drive. I started near Cherokee NC took the parkway all the way up to Blowing Rock.  Also have been on the Blue Ridge Parkway in a drive through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.  The Summer or early Fall is a great time for this trip.

2. Montana Practically the whole state is scenic but we took I-15 to Butte, then I-90 to Missoula then to the scenic drive on Hwy 83 to Kalispell and Whitefish.  Along the way we passed through the Valley of 1,00o haystacks.   From there a ride through Glacier National Park on the Going to the Sun road staying in the wonderful park lodges ending up at the famous Many Glacier Lodge.

3. Nova Scotia Flew to Boston and got a comfortable rental car for the drive up to Portland Maine and took the ferry over to Yarmouth Nova Scotia.  With the help of the Canadian Embassy we have planned out 5 overnight stays on the drive along the northern coast, stopping on our trip at the Bay of Fundy to eat scallops and to visit the scenic Peggy’s Cove, ending up at Halifax.

4. Charlottesville VA area.  Make Charlottesville your base and take in the area with day trips to homes of three presidents, Jefferson, Monroe and Madison.  Not to be missed is a day trip through the Shenandoah National Park.  Allow 3 or 4  nights in Charlottesville but you could continue the trip down to Williamsburg and Jamestown for a longer trip.

Retirement Travel

So these are four of my best road trips.  For your retirement travel planning, maybe this will give you an idea for a trip of your own.  Enjoy!

For more good travel ideas, visit our Boomer Travel page.
For more Retirement Travel ideas.

Originally posted 2012-05-13 12:31:41.