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



AARP Travel, Vacations and Tours are Popular

AARP Travel,  Vacations, Tours are Popular

The nonprofit membership organization AARP (for individuals 50+ years of age) has long offered senior group travel and tour options for its members – and now it has improved its offerings even further with the launch of AARP Travel. This great new travel website has detailed destination information, special offers, and even an interactive Trip Finder to help prospective adventurers age 50 and older choose an exciting (or relaxing) tour or travel destination.

Baby boomers, the largest age demographic in the country, are moving into the age of retirement – and are seeking new experiences and social interactions to enjoy.

Boomers want experiences, not more stuff at this stage of their lives.

AARP-organized vacations, travel packages, and tours are ready-made senior-friendly travel options that can meet those needs while specifically catering to the desires of 50+ travelers.

Through relationships with Liberty Travel and Expedia, among other travel industry leaders, AARP can offer its members incredible group deals on some of the most sought-after travel destinations around the world.

Some of the favorite domestic AARP member vacations include Las Vegas packages, Hawaiian getaways, Washington, D.C. stays and tours, and New Orleans Jazz Festival experiences, and other offerings in major cities such as New York, Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, San Antonio, and Portland.

For those looking to travel farther afield, there are a wide range of international travel options. You may enjoy tours of Paris museums, explorations of Barcelona and Rome, rail tours in the UK, cruises among the Galapagos Islands, and guided trips of Hong Kong, among many other destinations.

Available choices include fully escorted tours and small ship cruises, or independent travel with a planned itinerary and access to customer service support.

If you are looking for the right tour or travel package, even without a destination in mind, the interactive Trip Finder application on the AARP Travel website can help guide you toward some of the organization’s many offerings with “visual questions,” using photography to represent the geography, styles of travel, and activities offered by various packages.

The AARP also has a new travel relationship with Liberty Travel, offering personalized travel agent expertise, as well as discounts and exclusive benefits for AARP members. Many more travel companies and services are listed on the AARP Travel site.



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.



Remembering #Lifeat50+ in Boston

It was only last September that we attended our first AARP Life@50+ Event in Atlanta; now we are planning on attending the next one in historic Boston

Boston

The Boston LifeAt50+ event was back in May and was our second. We had a great time and it appealed to us as much this time as the first time we visited this event. Now looking forward to San Diego in September 4-6, 2014.  This time it will be actually called IdeasAt50 San Diego. Looking forward to seeing what new ideas and interesting things we can learn. The post below was pre Boston but I am sure allies to San Diego also. Get more info here on IdeasAt50 in San Diego.

Original post here:

It was only last September that we attended our first AARP Life@50+ Event in Atlanta; now we are planning on attending the next one in historic Boston Massachusetts May 8-10, 2014. Life@50+ is a very poplar national event held twice a year, in the Spring and in the Fall. I would expect over 13,000 baby boomers will be joining me in Boston for this event.

 

Life@50+ National Event & Expo in Boston – Spring 2014

There are several good reasons to head to this Lifeat50 event in Boston.

1. It is in Boston! Boston is a great city to visit. We love walking around Boston especially the Faneuil Hall district and downtown. The Lifeat50 event will be held at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, near both.  Also there are wonderful restaurants and you will love the seafood! What a great opportunity for a little boomer travel to a great city.
See our Pinterest for Lifeat50 Boston.

2.  You will see more than 400+ exhibitors on the huge convention floor, with products and services especially appealing to us baby boomers. Plus you get enough freebies to fill a shopping cart.  You get to learn about the AARP discounts and deals only available to AARP members.  I had no idea about many of them. You can ask questions and try out products with no sales pressure at all. These vendors are there to educate you about their products and services. Many AARP vendors have informative presentations and these gather a crowd quite quickly. 50+ AARP perks are everywhere!

AARP travel 3. AARP Travel Center– The next generation web site to help you anticipate and plan your travel. I previewed this and it should be ready soon, in the meantime the current site is a handy place to begin.

Samantha Brown AARP’s travel ambassador usually attends the Lifeat50+ events and speaks a few times about her favorite subject: travel.

4. Well over a hundred live presentations to see. Three or four stages set up for various presentations going on all during the day. You will want to keep your AARP Pocket Guide handy for the time and places of those which interests you.  Every hour there are technology workshops in the Exhibit Hall at the AARP TEK Pavilion about how to use technology to connect with friends, family and new discoveries.  Subjects like new smartphones, tablets and apps, new social media sites and the like are popular. Technological advances in healthcare presentation by companies who are developing new products to help us age well. More than 50 lifestyle presentations and workshops are planned and will be well attended.

5. Entertainment is another reason you will like Life@50+ event in Boston. The Moody Blues is booked for Saturday, May 10, 2014 at the convention. Hear Justin Hayward sing “Tuesday Afternoon” and “Your Wildest Dreams”. Baby boomers always have a wonderful party at these shows.

The Spinners Lifeat50 Boston
The Spinners Lifeat50 Boston

6. Life@50+ Dance Party – The Spinners and Mary Wilson of The Supremes will have the groove going and a large dance floor will be provided for a very energetic baby boomer dance party!!

Then you have the several general sessions with more than a few national celebrities and dynamic speakers. I heard Whoopi Goldberg interview Tyler Perry at the last event.

This just in: At Boston Whoopi will be talking with Jay Leno on stage.  Also on stage will be Linda Ronstadt, Captain Richard Phillips and HGTV stars of Kitchen Cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri.

Laura Bush and her daughter Barbara Pierce Bush will be speaking in Boston among others.

Check out and track this event at Lifeat50+ Boston on Pinterest.
On Twitter track using hashtag #lifeat50 and @AARPEvents

For more information and to keep up with current news, click here for Life@50+ in Boston. Member registration is unbelievably only $25 for this three day event. Time to check out the registration and hotels. See you there!

Pinterest Lifeat50+ Boston
Our category for Life@50+



Big Week For Baby Boomers at Life@50+ in Atlanta

This week I am heading to the Life@50+ event in Atlanta, an event produced by AARP. This is expected to bring together 5,000 baby boomers for the three day event beginning Oct 3th.

Atlanta Lifeat50This week I am heading to the Life@50+ event in Atlanta, an event produced by AARP.  This is expected to bring together 5,000 baby boomers for the three day event beginning Oct 3th.

This is my first time attending a Life@50+ event.  I was invited as one of the bloggers so one thing I am excited about is meeting with other bloggers, many of whom are the top 8 travel bloggers .  Diana Nyad, the lady who swam from Cuba to Florida is going to be in Atlanta at this event too and I look forward to seeing and hearing from her.

Looking at the event schedule, on Thursday is there is a community day of service lead by James “JB” Brown, Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D. and Dan Marino.  The bloggers will be meeting with AARP discounts to see what is available.

Friday is a big day, with tons of speakers starting off with Whoopi Golberg ad Tyler Perry, then many sessions with different folks lasting from 30 minutes to an hour.

Then at 7:30pm Friday starts the Dance Party (ticketed event – added cost)   The Happy Together Tour featuring The Turtles featuring Flo and Eddie, Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night, Gary Puckett and The Union Gap, Gary U.S. Bonds and Gary Lewis and the Playboys.  Mary Ann and I are excited about going to the dance party.  Maybe we can try out our new dance steps.

Saturday looks like more great speakers all day long.  Samantha Brown of the travel TV fame has a session “My Life on the Road” that I would like to see and Ed Begley, Jr. will have a session  Movies for Grownups Film Festival in the afternoon.

The Saturday evening entertainment will be Gloria Estefan.  Her husband is giving a talk on Sat. I think.

Many funs things to see and do with the sponsor and exhibitors too. I hear they give away a lot of stuff and even give you a bag to tote it off.

I better get some sleep and rest before this starts!



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