The New York City Bucket-list for Boomers

Colorful, teeming with life, art, passion and vivacious energy, New York City isn’t only for the young and trendy. In the Big Apple there are in fact many amazing sites for retirees, or travelers with plenty of time or cash to splash. If you’re one of them, here’s a bucket-list of must-see monuments and things to do in NYC.

The Empire State Building

A monument to the true grit and determination of New Yorkers, this 1930’s architectural beauty has been a part of NYC folklore and countless Hollywood films for a reason. The Empire State Building is arguably the building that makes New York feel like New York. Just head to the area between 33rd and 34th streets in mid-town Manhattan: the observatory is open late, so there’s time to stop at one of many little jazz bars nearby beforehand. Finally – go up to the observatory of the Empire State, to see the skyline in all of its beauty. The last elevators depart at 1.15 am.

The Statue of Liberty

She’s been a familiar salutation for millions of immigrants entering the country for the first time, ever since she was erected in 1886. Take a NYC water taxi to Liberty Island and visit the Lady Liberty up close. The statue houses a museum, and one of the guided tours allows you to go to the top and enjoy unparalleled views.

The Guggenheim and MoMa Museums

New York has countless museums. The grand-daddy of them all is the Guggenheim on 5th Avenue. The mecca of modern art with Kandinsky, Miro and Picasso within its walls, it has a lot to offer for all art connoisseurs. Elsewhere, the MoMa on W 53rd street is more than just a museum: films and live performances are part of the splendid mix of this modern haven for the arts.

Epic Open Spaces

Every public space is a declaration of enormity in New York City. With this in mind, visit Central Park, also fondly known as NYC’s lungs. This green space is where locals and visitors can go to unwind and revive themselves away from the smoggy traffic elsewhere. Here you’ll find sporting facilities, nature reserves and plenty more, although the most common pursuit is people watching. Just a short walk away from the part of the park on 59th street, you should also visit Times Square: in terms of atmosphere, this is the polar opposite of Central Park. Busy, colourful, it boasts the kind of chaos that can be tolerated in small doses.

Whatever you make of your time in New York, you will be anything but bored in this vibrant, chaotic and beautiful city: enjoy your leisurely holiday with a New York-sized slice of Big Apple pie.

Originally posted 2013-06-24 13:48:58.

Celebrity Equinox Cruise Ship Photo Blog

Photo blog of the Celebrity Equinox. Just back from a 10 night Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship, my second cruise on this beautiful ship.

Just back from a 10 night Caribbean cruise on the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship, my second cruise on this beautiful ship.  I have now taken 19 cruises and I think the Equinox is the best so far. Here are some of my photos of the Celebrity Equinox cruise ship.

Photo Blog of Celebrity Equinox Cruise Ship

The Lawn Club on the Deck 12
The Lawn Club on the Deck 12

The lawn club is amazing. Up on the top of the ship are two large areas of real grass!  We played bocce ball and was in a golf putting contest (which I won, see photo below).  The lawn club area makes this ship and the other solstice class ships really unique.

ship lawn putting contest
Putting contest at Lawn Club

 Well that is not all, right next to the Lawn Club is the Corning Glass Show. Given a couple of times a day while at sea, you have got to see this. True artisans at work.

Corning Glass Show on Equinox
Corning Glass Show
Rear deck of Celebrity Equinox
Rear deck of Celebrity Equinox

On the same level at the rear of the ship, there is a bar and sitting area. Up above you will the outside tables from the appropriately named Oceanview Cafe. This must have been St Thomas.

Dance Class
Dance Class

There is always some activity going on in the many foyers of the Equinox.  I believe this is some sort of dance exercise group. You don’t sign up, just show up. In the evenings there  games here.

Speaking of foyers, this one below is the Grand Foyer on Deck 3. Part of this foyer is the elevator atrium that shows four glass elevators as they go all the way to the top of the ship. Quite a sight. In the Grand Foyer there is always something going on, like dance classes, demonstrations, formal dancing, and mini “interactive” shows by the ship’s entertainment cast.

Grand Foyer on Eqinox
Grand Foyer

One evening the cast came down the stairs of the Grand Foyer and gave a mini show which turned into a dance party. It was wild!

Interactive Show on Equinox
Interactive Show on Equinox

The main entertainment area is the Princess Theater where two shows a night are staged. I liked this theater because there were no chairs and tables to bang around and camp your sitting.  Comfortable and every seat is a good seat, even in the balcony.

Princess Theater on Equinox
Princess Theater

On a returning sea day there is a great brunch from 10am to 2pm.  Do not miss this, it is excellent.

Brunch on Equinox
Brunch

 

One reason not to miss the brunch is the beautiful original food and ice carvings. Bring your camera like I did.

Food Carving on ship
Food Carvings

By the way, we took a cooking class at the Murano Specialty restaurant and really enjoyed it.  You get a great meal with the package. You have to ask the restaurant about this as I don’t think it is advertised.

Cooking Class Murano
Cooking Class

Of course there is a 24 hour computer room (staffed during the day)

computer room aboard the Equinox
Computer Room

Other rooms include a library

Library on Equinox
Library

 

And a card game room

card game roon on the Equinox
Card Game Room

Of course on a Caribbean cruise the pool area is very popular. Entertainment stage, hamburger and hotdog grill and bar right there too.

pool on the Equinox
Outdoor pool

But we liked the Adult Pool in the Solarium.

adult pool Equinox
Adult Pool

This little cafe is also in the solarium. They serve healthy food and have fresh fruit drinks and smoothies which we like.

Cafe in the solarium
Cafe in the solarium

Well there are many more attractive places on the Celebrity Equinox but this should give you an impression of this beautiful ship.

Boomer Cruise Vacations
Boomer Travel

Oh, I better let you see the outside of the Equinox.

Celebrity Equinox
Celebrity Equinox

Originally posted 2014-01-23 21:54:43.

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.

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.

Surprising Greenville SC to Awesome Asheville NC

Surprising Greenville SC to Awesome Asheville NC

We took a great trip to Greenville in the Upcountry of South Carolina and then took a mini road trip up to Asheville NC with a couple of stops along the way. Next time you are looking for a 5 or 6 day getaway, this could be a great trip for you.

Driving up I-85 from our home in Atlanta, a brief stop at Chateau Elan, a winery – resort would be a good stop. It is right off Exit 126 in Braselton.

Hampton Inn Downtown Greenville
Hampton Inn Greenville

The drive up to Greenville is a pleasant drive of only a little over 2 hours. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Downtown at River Place  which has a great location on the Reedy River and next to Main Street and Falls Park on the Reedy. We parked our car and didn’t touch it until our departure. Continue reading “Surprising Greenville SC to Awesome Asheville NC”

Originally posted 2018-10-13 21:34:47.

Booking Strategies To Get The Best Cruise Price

I asked Vince at CruiseShipCenters why should I book a cruise early, like a year in advance.  Here is his excellent reply which I gained his approval to share with you.

Why Should I Book A Cruise Early?

Hi Robert,

I was thinking about our conversation from yesterday, and wanted to share a few more thoughts. This email may get long, but I hope you’ll find it interesting and useful. Continue reading “Booking Strategies To Get The Best Cruise Price”

Originally posted 2018-09-10 09:26:31.