Lepreau Falls - Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is here already. Where did 2009 go? As has become my tradition, I'd like to share with you some of the things that I'm thankful for and highlight some of my adventures this year.
I hope that you, your family, and friends have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season. I know that I have plenty of things to be thankful for, including my health, family, and friends and the ability to share my love of cruising with all of you. I’m grateful that I’ve been able to explore new worlds with family and friends again this year.
While this has been a tough economic year, it appears that the cruise industry has weathered the storm. Just this month, we have been highlighting the introduction of Oasis of the Seas. Royal Caribbean International has set the standard bar quite high with this new marvel. The value of cruising has never been stronger. Even in these tough times, more and more families have taken to the seas. There were some record discounts offered, making it even a better value, and consequently we have seen a surge in first-time cruisers.
The photos above are from some of our cruises this year. The true highlight of the year was our Tulip Time river cruise on AMA Waterways Amalegro. We sailed out of Amsterdam, Netherlands visiting the surrounding Belgium and Holland area. My favorite memories are of the Keukenhof Gardens (top photo) where we saw thousands of tulips in bloom and Brussels where we feasted on Belgium chocolates and freshly made Belgium waffles topped with fruit and chocolate.
Mid-year we visited Canada and New England stopping at Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada (middle photo) and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Reversing Falls in Saint John and a Tall Ship Sailing Experience were two of my favorite things from that cruise vacation.
Our National Conference departed last month from Baltimore, Maryland (bottom photo), and sailed to Port Canaveral and then on to the Bahamas. Carnival Pride is now sailing year-round from this port which is within driving distance of many parts of the Eastern United States. Our visit to Baltimore was definitely a highlight of this trip as was our all day excursion to Blue Lagoon.
When the Pilgrims came to the New World, they came in Tall Ships, much like the one we sailed on in Halifax. The average length of those ships were 110 feet. The length of the Oasis of the Seas is more than 10 times that at 1182 feet. The Pilgrim ships had 32 - 150 passengers while the Oasis can hold more than 6300 (not counting the crew). It took months to cross the Atlantic while the Oasis of the Seas took 14 days (due to the storm encountered in the Northern Atlantic).
Thank you for making my blog column a part of your lives in 2009. I hope that the information I share helps you to dream about future cruises of your own. I'd be honored to help you plan those trips. I have the best job in the world - helping make dreams come true. For that, I'm truly thankful.
Happy Thanksgiving to All