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.

Bucket List Travel


Bucket List Travel Can Improve Your Health, Broaden your Perspective, Even Lead You Into New Careers

If travel is something you long for, I encourage you to do it. Don’t let fears or worries stop you.

Study after study reveals that travel is good for us. It’s good for the body and good for the mind. It lowers stress, strengthens relationships and gives you memories for a lifetime.

Whether you like natural beauty (think rivers, mountains, beaches, waterfalls), cultural experiences (think museums, concert halls, art galleries), or historical sites (think battle grounds or presidential libraries), traveling to these places can enrich and enlarge your life in numerous ways.

Want to be amazed? Fascinated? Awed? Travel somewhere you’ve dreamed about but never actually been. Or, return to someplace wonderful you visited decades back and feel the wonder anew.

My husband, Al, and I began to travel in earnest after we were involved in a serious automobile accident in 2012. That wreck brought home to us how fragile life is. How it can be snatched away in a moment, in the blink of an eye. We decided to stop putting off our travel dreams.

Since then we’ve cruised through the Panama Canal, visited the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico, ridden on the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, cruised the Mediterranean, driven the Blue Ridge Parkway, and cruised the Mississippi River on an honest-to-goodness steam-powered paddle-wheeler.  Next spring, we’ll cruise the fjords of Norway.

We’ve been pleased to learn that travel is associated with lower rates of heart disease, reduced risk of depression, as well as increased brain development. Yes, our brains can develop even at our “seasoned” ages.

Activities such as touring a museum, finding your way through an unfamiliar town,  walking along the beach have positive mental, physical and social benefits.

Traveling develops new skills. And that increases confidence.

When we travel and meet people from unfamiliar cultures, we may find new ways of looking at life. And that can give us a different perspective on things. We may find ourselves growing intellectually and emotionally.

Because travel often includes walking, we may find ourselves actually getting in better shape. We may even lose weight and gain muscle as we hike, stroll, walk or amble about.

Escaping the every-day, if only for a weekend, can energize and renew us.

Travel is fun.

And you never know where your travels will take you. Al and I have made friends we never would have met otherwise. And we found our travels so amazing, that we began to write about them.

So travel has turned us into authors. We write travel memoirs, filling them with all the wit, wisdom, discoveries and surprises we experience on our journeys.            This year, we’re publishing three books about a trip we took in 2014.

Color_Cover_Promo_72dpi copy

 

Cruising the Mediterranean, describes our adventures in  Amsterdam, Venice, Athens, Istanbul and other places. It was named an Amazon #1 best seller in the senior travel category.

Indie Book Reviewers say that the book is “…full of adventure and life and great advice on traveling.”

 

 

FindingOur second book, Finding Ourselves in Venice, Florence, Rome & Barcelona,  was also named a #1 best seller in the senior travel category. In addition, Amazon named it the #1 Hot New Release in Venice travel guides.

In this book, we visit local markets, famous sites, and quiet out-of-the way neighborhoods, staying in Airbnb apartments and using Barcelona’s hop-on hop-off bus to show us around.

Rick Bava, author of In Search of the Baby Boom Generation, said this  about the book: “The beauty of these wonderful places shines through every page.  I recommend it for Baby Boomers and others whose hearts long to travel. You’ll feel like you’re right there…”

And we have a third book, coming out soon: Cruising the Atlantic, Our Epic Journey from Barcelona to Miami.

          I tell you this to underscore how travel can take you places you never dreamed of. Who would have imagined that a wreck caused by a texting driver slamming full speed into us would result in our becoming travel memoir authors sharing our trips with readers around the world?

But there you have it. We’re either writing about a trip, planning a trip, or we’re on a trip, enjoying all the benefits of travel.

At our age, we have the time for travel and we have more money for travel than we had as young adults. Still, we are careful with our travel funds, and try to get the most value for our dollars.

If you have a travel dream, I encourage you to take it.  Travel now, while you can. The Internet can make the trip easier than ever. Nearly every city, state or national park has a website where you can check out tours, lodging, points of interest, even maps of the area.

Do some online exploring, plan with care, fuel your sense of adventure, trigger your imagination, then make your dreams come true.

Al and Sunny Lockwood have traveled by foot, car, rail, air and cruise ship. Everywhere they go, they capture unforgettable moments — Al with his camera and Sunny with her reporter’s notebook.  Their work has been published in magazines and newspapers. This photograph was taken in an Athens coffee shop, when Al and Sunny ducked inside to escape a sudden downpour.  You can contact the Lockwoods at  sunnyandallockwood@gmail.com

 

 

 

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Originally posted 2016-09-09 08:55:48.

Boomers on Royal Princess and Regent Princess Cruise Ships

These two ships are recent additions to Princess Cruises and my wife wanted to sail with the Royal Princess. We just did the reposition cruise on the Royal from the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal down to Fort Lauderdale with three stops in the Caribbean.

It is hard to answer when people ask me what is the best cruise line for baby boomers and just as hard to compare ships because it really is up to your personal taste and desires. But having taken 22 cruises and having sailed on the Royal with 2600 guests with Princess Platinum or better cards, here are some observations. The sweet spot of the ages on this cruise was say mid 60’s to early 70’s, so we now fit it perfectly.  That is kind of strange since we used to think the people were older, now they are our fellow baby boomers.

The Royal is a nice big glitzy ship with 3560 guests and 1700 crew but you don’t feel too crowded. There are some large spaces like the Piazza atrium which some felt was too much for their taste but most people liked it. We noticed there is no problem finding a seat at the bar lounges and around the Piazza atrium’s three levels. That was nice.

Atrium on Royal Princess cruise ship
Atrium on Royal Princess

 I must say the food and the Royal’s singers and dancers were the best I have seen. Also we had no problem at all with our anything dining getting in without any wait. Those are a big part the cruising experience right there.

Smaller things people were complaining about were no stairs above deck 8 on the center of the ship. Shower curtains rather than glass doors. A small balcony in their cabins.

Alfredo's on Royal Princess
Alfredo’s

But as the cruise got on you saw many positives like I have mentioned above with the food, shows and no wait to dine. There is Alfredo’s  Pizzeria, a new no fee restaurant with is nice for lunch and a full size Gelateria bar serving ice cream and Italian crepes. The SeaWalk on the side of the ship was fun to walk across and look down 128 feet to the ocean under your feet.

Top of the SeaWalk give a good view.
Top of the SeaWalk gives a good view.

The Movies Under the Stairs on Pool side was amazing. It is the largest movie screen of any cruise ship. It look great even during the day. The sound qualify was amazing and resulted in some great pool parties during the day.

The Princess Theater has the most up to date technology and the digital props on stage were amazing.

I loved the Royal’s ship horn which plays part of the Love Boat Theme which I capture here as we were leaving Antigua. The passengers on the Carnival ship next to us got a kick of it and cheered us goodbye!

The Royal Princess (and Regent Princess) are beautiful ships and you should give them a try. They will be sailing the Caribbean this Winter through April.

More about Cruises for Boomers
Celebrity Equinox Cruise Photos
Cruise Travel Tips
British Isles Cruise
Veterans Cruise Discounts

Originally posted 2014-11-09 16:32:29.

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.