Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Virtual National Cruise Vacation Week Calendar 2011



Resources to Help You Explore 
the World of Cruise Vacationing


October is National Cruise Vacation Month and we will be sharing useful information with our readers on this blog, our Facebook page, and website. We'll add links to this calendar to help you find related information.

First-time Cruisers and Seasoned Cruisers alike should find something of interest in the calendar.   Simply click on a calendar day entry to start your exploration.   If there are specific topics you'd like to see us cover, contact us.

Bookmark this blog post and visit often for updated links
National Cruise Vacation Week
The World’s Largest Cruise Sale               October 17 - 23, 2011
October 2011 Calendar - as blank HTML code



Virtual NCVW Starts October 1st



Explore the World of Cruise Vacationing
October 1 - 31, 2011 
If you've ever thought about going on your first cruise, October is the time to begin that journey.

We're joining with member travel agencies from the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) across the US and Canada to host the Virtual National Cruise Vacation Week (NCVW) which is an opportunity for travelers like you to learn more about one of the most popular vacations: cruising!

Cruising is all about you. You can find adventure, culture and education or, relax the day away. Dine on fine cuisine. Indulge at the spa. Reconnect with family. Share romantic moments. All this, in the destination of your choice, for a few days, a week or more, on a cruise that's right for you.

We have a special page with Cruise Line Videos for you to explore.   Just click the cruise line logo of your choice and watch their video.

There are special offers throughout the month. The highlight will be October 17-23, 2011 which is designated the National Cruise Vacation Week (NCVW). We have a special page (click here) which lists the offers and other information.

Simply click on the cruise line of your choice 
and see what special deals they have to offer! 

Checkout our Facebook Page
for more Cruising Tips
and Offers


Monday, September 26, 2011

Adriatic Coastal Drive

Scenic Drive
Along Adriatic Coast
to Krka National Park


Our day in Split, Croatia, began with a tender ride from the Star Princess to the pier where our guide and a motorcoach awaited our arrival.  Our ultimate destination, Krka National Park & Waterfalls, was approximately two hours away from the pier.

If you haven't already read about our tour to Krka, see our blog post, Off the Beaten Path Krka National Park, and be sure to view our photo album on Facebook: KRKA National Park & Waterfalls.

Our journey onward from the pier went through the Croation countryside, which has a beauty all its own.  Special points of interest to look out for on this exceptional bus journey include the limestone plateaus and river canyons.The Adriatic coast attracts tourists from all over the world.

We invite you to sit back and enjoy a virtual trip from the pier in Split to Krka.

Which Side Has the Best View

Stepping aboard our tour bus, we wondered which side would offer the best view for this two hour journey.  Since the bus wasn't completely full, we were able to spread out, which meant we could have someone on both sides of the bus.  In fact, the entire back seat was empty, so that's where my husband camped out with his trusty digital SLR in hand.  We hope you enjoy seeing the Adriatic coast through our lenses.

Facebook Photo Album:     Adriatic Coastal Drive to Krka

Having just left the Greek Isles the day before, with white-washed buildings and blue-domed churches, the first thing that struck us was the red clay roof tiles on the houses.  It reminded us of houses on the west coast of the United States, perhaps those in California.

The next thing that captured our attention was the various shades of blue waters as we drove along the scenic winding roads by the Adriatic Sea.  Separating the houses from the sea were white sandy beaches that were, for the most part, untouched in this early morning light.   From our vantage point looking down from the winding road, both the sea and the white sand seemed to go on infinitely.

Picture Perfect ...

Boats of every size, from small row boats to yachts, were seen in the marinas and small inlets along the path to Krka.  Their white shapes provided contrast to the green landscape, crystal clear blue waters of many shades, and the red-roofed buildings.  Even the sky cooperated, having cleared up after an early morning gentle rain that had fallen before we arrived.

It wasn't long before we arrived at Krka National Park.   The two hour drive seemed to pass quickly, perhaps because it had been so scenic.  We hope you enjoyed your ride to Krka.  If you are still longing for more images, click the link above to view our Facebook album.   When we return to our visit to Croatia, we'll be at a hotel near Krka for our lunch stop.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Off the Beaten Path Krka National Park


Krka National Park 
& Waterfalls
Split, Croatia

Continuing our 12-Night Mediterranean & Greek Isles Cruise, our next port of call was Split, Croatia.  Here we ventured off the beaten path one more time to Krka National Park & Waterfalls.  Our day began with a big drive, almost two hours from boarding the bus at Split pier, onwards through the Croation countryside to the glorious national park.  We'll talk about the countryside in another post - this one will focus on the park itself.

The Adriatic coast attracts tourists from all over the world and you'll quickly see why as you enter Krka National Park, a breath-taking natural wonder. This vibrant area was declared a national park in 1985, one of seven in Croatia, and is named after the river that runs through all 35,000 acres. Krka River, with its seven magical waterfalls, travels two thirds of its way to the sea through canyons.


The Sounds of Nature

Close your eyes and listen intently to the sounds of nature that surround you...    One of the 222 species of birds sings out in the silence, searching for a mate.    The water rushing is getting more intense;  a waterfall must be just around the bend.  A gentle breeze ruffles the leaves.  You continue walking and silence returns, but only for an instant as once again you hear water rushing.

The park is a natural haven for over 400 species of animals, including Adriatic salmon, and thousands of different types of plant life but the true spectacle are the waterfalls.  Skradinski Buk, the part of the park we visited, features the largest and most dramatic waterfall in Krka National Park at 151 feet in height and approximately 1,312 feet wide.

Footpaths that meander above and below the falls offer the most dramatic and extensive views of this natural wonder. Swimming is allowed in some pools at certain times (your Guide will be able to advise you) so you may want to pack your swim gear and towel just in case you get the urge to jump in and cool down.

We leave you with a sampling of images...  


More can be found on our Facebook Fan Page in our album:




Saturday, September 24, 2011

Heavy Rains from Typhoon Roke

› View larger image  
Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce


Typhoon Roke
(Western North Pacific Ocean)

Makes Landfall 
Along Southeast 
Coast of Honshu

This rainfall map was created from TRMM satellite data from Sept. 15 to 22, 2011 over and around Japan. It shows a band of very heavy rain stretching northeastward from eastern Kyushu across Shikoku and into southern Honshu from 300 mm (~12 inches, shown in green) to in excess of 550 mm (~22 inches, shown in red). Rainfall of 50 mm/~2 inches appear in light blue, and over 150 mm (~6 inches are shown in blue. )The thin black line is Roke's track, storm symbols mark Roke's 6-hourly positions.) Credit: SSAI/NASA, Hal Pierce 


Heavy Rainfall in  Japan's Honshu Region

We don't generally monitor tropical storms in the Western North Pacific Ocean during the Atlantic and East Pacific Hurricane Season of June - November but Typhoon Roke warrants mention.   Earlier this year Honshu, Japan suffered a series of devastating earthquakes and a tsunami which cancelled cruises, damaged property, injured and killed many people, and put the country at the brink of a major nuclear disaster.   Still recovering from that devastation, Honshu found itself in the path of Typhoon Roke which made landfall as a Category 1 Typhoon.   It had been as high as a Category 4 Typhoon earlier.

Landslides and flooding triggered by Typhoon Roke left as many as 13 people dead or missing. Authorities had urged more than 2.2 million residents across the country to evacuate their homes as the storm moved north, but it wasn't clear how many had left.

Officials at the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where engineers are still struggling with small radiation leaks due to tsunami damage, said that the typhoon's driving winds and rain caused no immediate problems there other than a broken security camera.

Typhoon Roke came less than three weeks after Typhoon Talas, which, after landfall September 3rd, became the deadliest typhoon to rip through Japan in three decades.

Talas left more than 100 people dead or missing as record rainfall triggered mudslides and flooding in the country's central region, the highest death toll since Typhoon Tip in 1979, when 110 people were killed.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said Roke was smaller than Talas, but its wind strength was more formidable.
 
Typhoons

A tropical storm in the West Pacific, when it intensifies, becomes a Typhoon. A typhoon is a tropical storm with sustained winds in excess of 119 km/h or approximately 74 mph.

Names for most severe storms on earth:

When the winds are sustained (based on a one-minute average) at 74 mph (64 knots; 119 km/hr), the storm becomes: In the Atlantic Ocean, East Pacific, Central Pacific (east of the International Dateline) and Southeast Pacific (east of 160°E) a Hurricane; in the Northwest Pacific (west of the International Dateline) a Typhoon; in the Southwest Pacific (west of 160°E) and Southeast Indian Ocean (east of 90°E) a Severe Tropical Cyclone; in the North Indian Ocean a Severe Cyclonic Storm; and in the Southwest Indian Ocean (west of 90°E) a Tropical Cyclone.

Tropical Storm Philippe in Atlantic

17th Tropical Depression 

Forms in the Atlantic

Strengthened into Tropical Storm Philippe 
Now a Category One Hurricane 

500 AM AST FRI OCT 07 2011

...PHILIPPE MOVING A LITTLE FASTER TOWARD THE EAST-NORTHEAST...
The busy Atlantic Hurricane Season shows no signs of slowing down, as another tropical cyclone, TD-17, forms about 290 miles South of Cape Verde Islands. These storms tend to stay around for a long time and potentially grow in strength, since they have plenty of warm ocean waters in their path.  Forming very early  Saturday morning, September 24th,  the depression will undoubtedly become Tropical Storm Philippe.  We will continue to monitor major events associated with this storm.

PHILIPPE IS
MOVING TOWARD THE EAST-NORTHEAST NEAR 17 MPH...28 KM/H...AND THIS
MOTION SHOULD CONTINUE TODAY WITH A TURN BACK TOWARD THE NORTHEAST
ON SATURDAY.
 
SUMMARY OF 500 AM AST...0900 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...29.6N 56.3W
ABOUT 535 MI...865 KM ESE OF BERMUDA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...90 MPH...150 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...ENE OR 65 DEGREES AT 17 MPH...28 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...978 MB...28.88 INCHES

Cruise Ship Travel Advisories
Cruise lines are monitoring the tropical storms for potential impact to this weekend's cruises.   There is no impact to cruises at this time.

Current Watches & Warnings

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

NONE.

THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.
 
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS REMAIN NEAR 90 MPH...150 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  PHILIPPE IS A CATEGORY ONE HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
HURRICANE WIND SCALE.  SOME GRADUAL WEAKENING SHOULD BEGIN TODAY...
AND PHILLIPE IS FORECAST TO BECOME POST-TROPICAL IN A DAY OR TWO. 
 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
NONE
 
Historical Data:             Archive        Graphics Archive        
 
500 PM AST SAT SEP 24 2011
...DEPRESSION BECOMES TROPICAL STORM PHILIPPE OVER THE FAR
EASTERN TROPICAL ATLANTIC...
 
500 AM AST SAT SEP 24 2011
...ANOTHER DEPRESSION FORMS IN THE TROPICAL ATLANTIC OCEAN...
 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tropical Storm Hilary Near Hurricane Strength


Tropical Depression Nine-E

Becomes TS Hilary
Then Major Hurricane Hilary
HILARY HAS WEAKENED TO A TROPICAL STORM
OFF THE COAST OF SOUTHERN MEXICO

Cruise Ship Impact     Current Watches & Warnings
200 PM PDT FRI SEP 30 2011
 
...HILARY BECOMES A REMNANT LOW...

NHC ACTIVE STORMS (CLICK HERE)

We are monitoring a new storm which has formed off the coast of Southern Mexico. Tropical Depression Seven-E is forecast to become Tropical Storm Greg Tuesday night and a hurricane by Thursday.  Hilary is expected to turn Northward and closer to land later this coming week.

UPDATE: Hurricane Hilary strengthened quickly to become a Category Four Major Hurricane but is now weakening as it turns to the North.
 
East Pacific Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook

Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here
Real-Time Cruise Ship Tracking 
HILARY IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHWEST NEAR 7 MPH...11 KM/H.  A
GENERALLY SLOW WESTWARD MOTION IS EXPECTED THROUGH SUNDAY.
SUMMARY OF 200 PM PDT...2100 UTC...INFORMATION
----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...23.6N 122.0W
ABOUT 770 MI...1240 KM W OF THE SOUTHERN TIP OF BAJA CALIFORNIA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...35 MPH...55 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NW OR 325 DEGREES AT 7 MPH...11 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...1007 MB...29.74 INCHES




Cruise Ship Travel Advisories
Cruise lines are monitoring the tropical storms for potential impact to this weekend's cruises.   There is no impact to cruises at this time.

Current Watches & Warnings

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

NONE.

THERE ARE NO COASTAL WATCHES OR WARNINGS IN EFFECT.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 35 MPH...55 KM/H...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS.  WEAKENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 48 HOURS.
 
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
----------------------
NONE
 
Historical Data:             Archive        Graphics Archive      

800 PM PDT WED SEP 28 2011
...HILARY WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL STORM... 
 
200 AM PDT WED SEP 28 2011
...HILARY STEADILY WEAKENING...EXPECTED TO TURN TOWARD THE
NORTH-NORTHWEST LATER TODAY...
 

200 PM PDT SAT SEP 24 2011
...TINY HILARY CONTINUES AS A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE...
 
500 PM PDT THU SEP 22 2011
...AND YET ANOTHER MAJOR HURRICANE IN THE EASTERN NORTH PACIFIC... 
 
800 AM PDT THU SEP 22 2011
...HILARY IS NOW A HURRICANE...ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING EXPECTED...
 
800 AM PDT WED SEP 21 2011
...DEPRESSION STRENGTHENS AND IS NOW TROPICAL STORM HILARY SOUTH OF
MEXICO... 
 
200 AM PDT WED SEP 21 2011
...TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS SOUTH OF MEXICO... 

Tropical Storm Resources (click links below)
Hurricane Hilary
East Pacific Tropical Weather Outlook National Weather Service
East Pacific Tropical Weather Discussion Hurricane Preparedness
Graphical Tropical Weather Outlook (EPAC) Real-Time Hurricane Information
Active Storms  NOAA Satellites & Information
NASA: Latest Storm Images WMO Severe Weather Information Centre
Real-time Monitoring (E. Pacific) The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
Real-time Weather Sites Real-Time Cruise Ship Tracking
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tropical Storm Ophelia in Atlantic

16th Tropical Depression 
Forms in the Atlantic
Strengthens into Tropical Storm Ophelia
...OPHELIA REGENERATED INTO A TROPICAL STORM...
HAS NOW BECOME A HURRICANE 
OPHELIA IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
HURRICANE WIND SCALE.  
 Cruise Ship Impact     Current Watches & Warnings
1100 AM AST SUN OCT 02 2011

...OPHELIA WEAKENS AS IT HEADS TOWARD SOUTHEASTERN NEWFOUNDLAND...

Tropical Storm Ophelia was born overnight September 21st as the tropical depression strengthened.  The storm was about 1370 miles east of the Leeward islands when it was named.  This is a large system with a total diameter of 350 miles.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE DECREASED TO NEAR 110 MPH...175
KM/H...WITH HIGHER GUSTS.  OPHELIA IS A CATEGORY TWO HURRICANE
ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE.  STEADY WEAKENING IS
FORECAST THROUGH MONDAY.  HOWEVER...OPHELIA IS EXPECTED TO BE NEAR
HURRICANE STRENGTH WHEN IT PASSES CLOSE TO THE AVALON PENINSULA. 
OPHELIA IS FORECAST TO BECOME A POST-TROPICAL CYCLONE SHORTLY AFTER
PASSING SOUTHERN NEWFOUNDLAND.  


SUMMARY OF 1100 AM AST...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
-----------------------------------------------
LOCATION...38.7N 60.9W
ABOUT 680 MI...1095 KM SW OF CAPE RACE NEWFOUNDLAND
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...110 MPH...175 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...NNE OR 15 DEGREES AT 31 MPH...50 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...958 MB...28.29 INCHES

Cruise lines are monitoring the tropical storms for potential impact to this weekend's cruises.
There are no impacts at this time. 
Current Watches & Warnings

CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...

NONE

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* THE AVALON PENINSULA OF NEWFOUNDLAND
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
EXPECTED SOMEWHERE WITHIN THE WARNING AREA WITHIN 36 HOURS. 

A TROPICAL STORM WATCH MEANS THAT TROPICAL STORM CONDITIONS ARE
POSSIBLE WITHIN THE WATCH AREA...GENERALLY WITHIN 48 HOURS.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WIND...TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS ARE POSSIBLE ON THE AVALON
PENINSULA BY EARLY MONDAY.

SURF...LARGE SWELLS CREATED BY OPHELIA WILL CAUSE HAZARDOUS SURF
CONDITIONS ON BERMUDA.
 

Historical Data:         Storm Archive           Graphics Archive 

500 PM AST THU SEP 29 2011
...OPHELIA BECOMES THE FOURTH HURRICANE OF THE SEASON... 
 
500 AM AST WED SEP 28 2011
...OPHELIA MEANDERING EAST OF THE NORTHERN LEEWARD ISLANDS...

500 PM AST TUE SEP 27 2011
...OPHELIA REGENERATES INTO A TROPICAL DEPRESSION...

500 PM AST SUN SEP 25 2011
...OPHELIA DEGENERATES INTO A REMNANT LOW...THIS IS THE LAST
ADVISORY...
 
1100 PM EDT TUE SEP 20 2011
...NEW TROPICAL STORM FORMS OVER THE CENTRAL TROPICAL ATLANTIC... 



Sunday, September 18, 2011

Achilleion Palace Corfu

In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War, the central character and the greatest warrior of Homer's Iliad.

Achilleion Palace
Corfu, Greece

Achilleion Palace was built in 1889-1891 for Princess Elisabeth von Witelsbach of Austria, and paid homage to Greek mythology. Upon her death, Kaiser Wilhelm II made the palace his summer home until WWII. 

Departing by motorcoach from the port of Corfu, we embarked on a scenic 30-minute drive to the Achilleion Palace. En route, we passed through olive, lemon and orange groves interspersed with cypress trees, and the Old Fortress that stands guard over the harbor and Corfu.

In this photo: Achilles as guardian of the palace in the gardens of the Achilleion. He gazes northward, toward the city. The inscription in Greek reads: ΑΧΙΛΛΕΥΣ i.e. Achilles. It was commissioned by Kaiser Wilhelm II.

As we approached the palace we were awestruck by the architecture of the building and the formal Italian garden with its trees and statuary.

Here statues of Achilles, both in the main hall and in the lavish gardens depicting the heroic and tragic scenes of the Trojan war can be seen. The architectural style is Pompeian and has many parallels to that of the Russian imperial residence in Crimea

Entering the palace murals, statues, and other artifacts abound, but none are more impressive than the primary mural seen here.

The Triumph of Achilles by Franz Matsch

Achilles is seen dragging Hector's lifeless body in front of the Gates of Troy. (From a panoramic fresco on the upper level of the main hall.

Achilleion Palace was featured in the James Bond classic, "For Your Eyes Only".

These few images are just the beginning of what you will see during your visit to Achilleion Palace in Corfu.  We have posted several more images for you enjoyment on our Facebook Fan Page:  Achilleion Palace