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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Boomer Living Trends

Here are some trends happening with us of the baby boomer generation. If you are a boomer, can you relate to any of these?

Buying a New Car

Boomers have been buying new cars, even though many of us are driving less. The catalyst for baby boomers to buy a new car is the safety equipment in new cars these days. My wife Mary Ann picked up her new Honda yesterday with Navigational system and Sensing, replacing her 2009 model car.  It is amazing what cars can do these days. Boomers feel these items make today’s cars safer and easier to drive.  One day when self driving cars become available, there may be another boomer car buying spree.
safer autos for baby boomers

Being More Active

Boomers are becoming more active and getting out for walks and playing pickleball and other sports.  I joined 10,500 boomers at the National Senior Games a couple of months ago and witnessed the passion first hand.
National Senior Games race walkers

Attend to Our Health

All boomers’ lives are affected by their health and that is becoming more clear by the day. The Medicare nurse comes to our homes each year to check up on us (if you have an Advantage Plan).  Many of us do annual physicals and preventative dental work.  We visit health fairs and do Health Screenings which are medical tests that doctors use to check for diseases and health conditions before there are any signs or symptoms. Screenings help find problems early, when they may be easier to treat. Many of us are dealing with chronic health conditions that alter our lifestyle.

Downsizing and Moving

Almost every boomer I talk with has downsized or is downsizing, getting rid of stuff they no longer need. Many times this is in preparation for a future move to a home more suitable to their needs, like a retirement home in a 55+ active adult community or small town.
retirement home

Traveling More

Travel while you can is our motto. Traveling is our new purpose it seems. I am astounded at the amount of travel quite a few of my friends are doing. Back to back major trips that would have been considered “trips of a lifetime” are taken in a year.

That’s the way I see it from here.

Robert Fowler
Village at Deaton Creek, a 55+ Del Webb Community

 

Originally posted 2017-09-01 15:35:24.