Saturday, May 31, 2014

In Search of Best Cruise Fruit Art

Cruise + Fruit + Creativity
 = #CruiseFruitArt

Welcome aboard - your cabin is being prepared - join us in the buffet for lunch while you wait.

We've just completed our series on Hurricane Preparedness and decided that we should find something a bit lighter to talk about.  So, looking through our photo archives, we stumbled upon this image from our Celebrity Century cruise to the Arctic Circle & North Cape.  Furthermore, we decided that we'd create a new Pinterest board and start pinning more of these Fruit Art images.

Hello Come In - Welcome Aboard

When we entered the buffet, these fruit people greeted us and we definitely felt welcome.  Creations like these are made by some very talented crew members, whose only mission is to make every moment on board the ship enjoyable.  

Special Presentations

Turning back the clock a bit, besides finding fruit art in the welcome aboard buffet, it wasn't unusual for there to be an evening set aside during the cruise to showcase the work of these talented individuals.  This image was captured on Celebrity Zenith, which is no longer part of the Celebrity Cruises fleet.   One evening the late night buffet featured these fruit creations.

Grand buffets are pretty much a thing of the past, but there still are many opportunities to view the handiwork of talented crew members.

Watermelon Art

Some of our favorite fruit art was carved out of watermelons.   This image was captured during our Carnival Conquest cruise which happened to coincide with this year's Superbowl game.  Just look at the intricacy of this design.

We have many more example of watermelon fruit art in our new Pinterest board.

We are doubtful that the ship on the right is sea worthy.   However, it definitely is worthy of inclusion in our Cruise Fruit Art collection.

Help Us Find Cruise Fruit Art

Click here to visit our Pinterest board and see more of these fun fruit sculptures.   Do you have any images that you'd like to contribute?  

Two Ways to Contribute

  • Follow our Pinterest Cruise Fruit Art board (Add your pins by first asking to be a contributor - follow instructions on the board)
  • Follow us on Twitter  @ChrisPappinMCC (Include #CruiseFruitArt  in your Tweeted image)
Which cruise line has the best fruit art? 

We'll start things off with several images from our archives. Include information about the Cruise Line in your pin / tweet so that we can see who has the most creative artists.

Hurricane Preparedness 2014 - After the Storm

Recovering from Disaster
Final In the 2014 Series

Rebuilding After the Storm

We conclude our coverage of the 2014 Hurricane Preparedness Week by looking at recovering from the storm.  Three organizations come to mind when you think about the aftermath of a hurricane or other natural disaster:  FEMA, Red Cross, and the National Guard.  There are many other organizations and individuals that also play a key role in providing immediate and long-term assistance to those impacted by the hazards of hurricanes and other natural disasters.

Recovering from a disaster is usually a gradual process with the first concern being immediate search and recovery while keeping safety in mind.   After the area has been made safe, the recovery process can begin.  Here are some resources that are helpful after the storm:
Even with all the scientific advances in recent years, it is still impossible to predict how many storms will occur in a given year and what communities lie in their path.   Just like in sports, the best defense is a good offense.


Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here

Hurricane Preparedness Week
In this case, Hurricane Preparedness is that secret play that can make the difference in loss of property and lives.  It is for that reason that we have participated with NOAA, FEMA and other organizations in sharing these public service announcements.   We have been covering hurricane preparedness for years, so if you still need more information, you can check out some of our other articles which can be found via links in our Hurricane Zone page.

We are reminded about some disturbing news, published by the American Red Cross, about how Despite Sandy’s Damage, U.S. Coastal Residents Still Unprepared. 

An infographic on the survey findings can be viewed here.

American Red Cross Urges People to Get Ready for Hurricanes

Friday, May 30, 2014

Hurricane Preparedness 2014 - Get a Plan

Click on this interactive image to learn more about being prepared for Hurricanes and other Disasters


Not the storm you are looking for?  Click Image or Here
Below Normal: Atlantic      
Above Normal: Central & Eastern Pacific

A normal to below normal hurricane season is expected for the Atlantic Basin this year according to the seasonal outlook issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. See Related Blog Posts section below for links to NOAA outlooks for each region as well as hurricane preparedness information.

The U.S. was spared from a hurricane last year, but that does not mean we will be as fortunate during the 2014 season,” said Rick Knabb, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. "Prepare for a hurricane now before one threatens your area, and find out if you are in a hurricane evacuation zone."

The president recently designated May 26 - June 1, 2013 as National Hurricane Preparedness Week. NOAA and FEMA encourage those living in hurricane-prone states to use this time to review their overall preparedness. More information on individual and family preparedness can be found at and

"Preventing the loss of life and minimizing the damage to property from hurricanes are responsibilities that are shared by all"

"FEMA is working across the administration and with our state and local partners to ensure we're prepared for hurricane season," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "But we can only be as prepared as the public, so it's important that families and businesses in coastal communities take steps now to be ready. These include developing a communications plan, putting together a kit, and staying informed of the latest forecasts and local emergency plans. You can't control when a hurricane or other emergency may happen, but you can make sure you're ready."

Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes so it is important to plan in advance: how you will get to a safe place; how you will contact one another; how you will get back together; and what you will do in different situations. Read more about Family Communication during an emergency. has made it simple for you to make a family emergency plan. Download the Family Emergency Plan (FEP) (PDF - 750 Kb) and fill out the sections before printing it or emailing it to your family and friends.  Learn what your family can do before, during, & after a hurricane:

Disaster Prevention should include:

Tropical Cyclone Preparedness Guide (pdf) - Spanish Version (pdf)
"How To" guides for protecting your property from flooding & high winds. (FEMA)

Be Red Cross Ready image

Are you Red Cross Ready? Click here to launch an interactive module with pictures, audio and video content.

More on what to do before, during and after a hurricane can be found at: An infographic on the survey findings can be viewed here.

Related Blog Posts & Links

More links and information about tropical storms and other weather conditions can be found in the Weather & Hurricane Zone tabs above.

Hurricane Preparedness Week:   May 25 - May 31, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

During My Cruise I'd Walk On a Glacier

Have You Visited Alaska?
Wasn't It Amazing?
Want To See More Spectacular Views?

Imagine a place where you'll see fertile valleys, majestic mountains, waterfalls and glaciers. Yes, you can even get up close to a glacier like the people in this picture. Join us on our journey to Norway and the exquisite Norwegian Fjords.

Geiranger, Norway

View from Your Balcony

I've left you imagining the Norwegian Fjords long enough. I can assure you that the picture you have in your mind is about to be surpassed. To the left is a picture from our balcony as we arrived in Geiranger, Norway. The stillness of the morning was broken by the sound of rushing water. The ship doesn't dock alongside a pier in Geiranger. Instead, the ship uses its lifeboats to tender the passengers ashore.

We booked the Journey to Briksdal Glacier RCCL shore excursion so we were one of the first passengers to disembark the vessel. We boarded our motor coach and drove through the small village of Geiranger arriving at the Flydal Gorge (approximately 1,000 feet above sea level) where we had a fantastic view of the fjord and ship below as you can see in this picture. Look how small the Jewel of the Seas looks in the middle of the fjord. From this overlook, we continued our journey up the mountain to Dalsnibba which is at 4500 feet elevation.

Dalsnibba is a mountain in Møre og Romsdal, Norway. It is located above the town of Geiranger, 7 km away from Geirangerfjord. It offers very good lookout opportunities and thus is a very popular tourist destination. Dalsnibba is often covered by the snow even in the summer. It is hard to tell whether you'll have a good view until you get to the mountain top. Unfortunately, there was extensive cloud cover and fog when we arrived. It did start to clear as we descended the mountain peak. Note the hairpin curves that the motor coaches had to make. There were times when one bus had to back up to allow another one to pass. It sure makes one glad they aren't the driver. Even with the overcast sky, the view was amazing.

Our tour continued as we drove down the mountain on our way to Briksdalen Mountain. When we arrived at at the Briksdalen Glacier, we disembarked the motor coach and entered Briksdal Inn for a typical Norwegian lunch. Following lunch we had free time to explore the glacier on our own.

There are three ways to get near the glacier - walking, riding in a horse cart, or riding in a jeep. Regardless of the method you choose, you will still need to walk on rugged terrain to get close to the face of Briksdal Glacier. Since we had limited time there, we opted for transportation by jeep. There is a nominal charge for both the jeep and the horse cart, so make sure you have some cash. You will definitely want to have a good pair of hiking shoes.

Here is a closeup of the glacial ice for those of you that haven't seen a glacier before. You'll notice the telltale bluish tint to the ice. It is possible to go onto the glacier itself, but it isn't practical with the limited amount of time during this particular organized tour. You probably wouldn't guess that we weren't on the glacier when we took this closeup picture. With today's cameras, it's possible to get great photos from a distance. We have two albums with pictures from this shore excursion. See our Geiranger album and Briksdal Glacier album for some more photos of this wonderful port of call.

Our tour wasn't complete at this point in time, so next time I'll tell you about our trip back to Hellesylt where we rejoined our ship.

Hurricane Preparedness 2014 - Forecast Process

Hurricane Forecast Process
Fifth In the 2014 Series

Forecast Process
We continue our coverage of the 2014 Hurricane Preparedness Week by looking at the tropical weather forecasting process.

6 Hour
Forecast Cycle
When a storm threatens the following occurs
A new hurricane forecast cycle begins.
Receive the location of the center of the hurricane.
Initialize or start thehurricane models with the storm's location and intensity
Receive model guidance and prepare a new hurricane forecast.
Coordinate with National Weather Service and Dept. of Defense.
Issue the full hurricane advisory package.
5am EDT (4 CDT)
11am EDT (10 CDT)
5pm EDT (4 CDT)
11pm EDT (10 CDT)
Participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conference call with the affected states.
A new hurricane forecast cycle begins.
When a Watch or a Warning is issued, intermediate advisories are initiated.

Source:  NHC: Forecast Process (Learn More)

Part of the mission of the National Weather Service (NWS) Tropical Prediction Center (TPC) is to save lives and protect property by issuing watches, warnings, forecasts, and analyses of hazardous weather conditions in the tropics. This section provides information about the roles of those responsible for providing hurricane information to emergency managers and decision makers.

The TPC is comprised of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the Tropical Analysis and Forecast Branch (TAFB), and the Technical Support Branch (TSB). During hurricane season, the latter two provide support to the NHC.

The local NWS Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs) in hurricane-prone areas are also important participants in the forecast process.

Observations including satellites, buoys, reconnaissance aircraft, and radar are the basis for all forecast and warning products issued by the NHC. Quality, quantity, and timeliness of remote sensing observations are critical for accurate and timely forecasts and warnings.

The various observations are checked for quality, analyzed, and put into a suite of computer models. 

The computer models take in the observations and perform millions of calculations to generate predictions of hurricane behavior and the general conditions of the atmosphere in which the hurricane is embedded. The model results are packaged as guidance for the appropriate national centers and local offices and for evaluation and use in the NWS's forecast and warning process.

Forecasts and warnings are coordinated between the national centers and local forecast offices to provide consistency, which is critical during severe weather episodes.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

2014 Hurricane Preparedness - Flooding

Hurricane Inland Flooding
Fourth In the 2014 Series

Looking for current storms?  Click Image or Here

Inland Flooding
We continue our coverage of the 2014 Hurricane Preparedness Week by looking at another of the hurricane hazards.  In particular, we'll look at Inland Flooding.

Stop and think about that for a minute and you'll agree that the force of rushing, rising, water can do extensive damage in a very short period of time.    For those that ignore evacuation suggestions, they could quickly be cut off from safety.  Inland flooding can be a major threat to communities hundreds of miles from the coast as intense rain falls from these huge tropical air masses. 

Most of these fatalities occur because people underestimate the power of moving water. It isn't necessarily the strongest storm that has the greatest potential for flooding.  Often the weaker, slow moving storm can cause more damage due to flooding than a fast moving severe tropical storm.

Tropical Storms and Hurricanes: Hurricanes pack a triple punch: high winds, soaking rain, and flying debris. They can cause storm surges to coastal areas, as well as create heavy rainfall which in turn causes flooding hundreds of miles inland. While all coastal areas are at risk, certain cities are particularly vulnerable and could have losses similar to or even greater than those caused by the 2005 hurricane, Katrina, in New Orleans and Mississippi.
When hurricanes weaken into tropical storms, they generate rainfall and flooding that can be especially damaging since the rain collects in one place. In 2001, Tropical Storm Allison produced more than 30 inches of rainfall in Houston in just a few days, flooding over 70,000 houses and destroying 2,744 homes.
Federal And National Resources 
Find additional information on how to plan and prepare for floods, what to do during and after a flood and learn about available resources by visiting the following:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2014 Hurricane Preparedness - High Winds

Hurricane High Winds & Tornadoes
Third In the 2014 Series

High Winds from Hurricanes

We continue our coverage of the 2014 Hurricane Preparedness Week by looking at two more of the hurricane hazards.  In particular, we'll look at High Wind and Tornadoes.

Changes to NHC products for 2014 include Elimination of the Intensity Probability Table
Update on NHC Products and Services for 2014 (PDF)


Cat. Speed (mph)
1 74-95
2 96-110
3 111-129
4 130-156
5 >157
The intensity of a landfalling hurricane is expressed in terms of categories that relate wind speeds and potential damage. According to the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, a Category 1 hurricane has lighter winds compared to storms in higher categories. A Category 4 hurricane would have winds between 131 and 155 mph and, on the average, would usually be expected to cause 100 times the damage of the Category 1 storm.
Depending on circumstances, less intense storms may still be strong enough to produce damage, particularly in areas that have not prepared in advance.  A summary chart is shown here. More details were covered in 2014 Hurricanes - How They Work.


A tornado is a dark funnel-shaped cloud made up of violently rotating winds that can reach speeds of up to 300 m.p.h. The diameter of a tornado can vary between a few feet and a mile, and its track can extend from less than a mile to several hundred miles. Tornadoes can occur any time, with many occurring in spring or early summer.
Hurricanes can also produce tornadoes that add to the storm's destructive power. Tornadoes are most likely to occur in the right-front quadrant of the hurricane. However, they are also often found elsewhere embedded in the rainbands, well away from the center of the hurricane.

Tornado Facts
  • When associated with hurricanes, tornadoes are not usually accompanied by hail or a lot of lightning, clues that citizens in other parts of the country watch for.
  • Tornado production can occur for days after landfall when the tropical cyclone remnants maintain an identifiable low pressure circulation.
  • They can also develop at any time of the day or night during landfall. However, by 12 hours after landfall, tornadoes tend to occur mainly during daytime hours.

The Fujita Scale

F-Scale NumberIntensity PhraseWind SpeedType of Damage Done
F0Gale tornado40-72 mphSome damage to chimneys; breaks branches off trees; pushes over shallow-rooted trees; damages sign boards.
F1Moderate tornado73-112 mphThe lower limit is the beginning of hurricane wind speed; peels surface off roofs; mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned; moving autos pushed off the roads; attached garages may be destroyed.
F2Significant tornado113-157 mphConsiderable damage. Roofs torn off frame houses; mobile homes demolished; boxcars pushed over; large trees snapped or uprooted; light object missiles generated.
F3Severe tornado158-206 mphRoof and some walls torn off well constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in fores uprooted
F4Devastating tornado207-260 mphWell-constructed houses leveled; structures with weak foundations blown off some distance; cars thrown and large missiles generated.
F5Incredible tornado261-318 mphStrong frame houses lifted off foundations and carried considerable distances to disintegrate; automobile sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; steel re-inforced concrete structures badly damaged.
F6Inconceivable tornado319-379 mphThese winds are very unlikely. The small area of damage they might produce would probably not be recognizable along with the mess produced by F4 and F5 wind that would surround the F6 winds. Missiles, such as cars and refrigerators would do serious secondary damage that could not be directly identified as F6 damage. If this level is ever achieved, evidence for it might only be found in some manner of ground swirl pattern, for it may never be identifiable through engineering studies

Monday, May 26, 2014

Hurricane Preparedness 2014 - Storm Surge

Hurricane Storm Surge
Second In the 2014 Series
2014 National Hurricane Preparedness Week

Storm Surge Hazard

We continue our coverage of the 2014 Hurricane Preparedness Week by looking at some of the hurricane hazards.  In particular, we'll start by examining the greatest potential for loss of life related to a hurricane, the storm surge.

Simply put, it is a dome of water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around the storm.  The advancing water, combined with the normal tides, can increase the mean water level by 15 feet or more.  The threat is increased if it combines with high tide.  Along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, the mean sea level is around 10 feet, so a storm surge above that level could cause catastrophic damage.

 Experimental Product for 2014
Effective June 1, 2014 and continuing through November 30, 2014,
the NWS is seeking user feedback on experimental Potential Storm
Surge Flooding Map issued by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Feedback requested for Experimental Potential Storm Surge Flooding Map in 2014

The Many Factors that Influence Storm Surge
  • Central Pressure
  • Storm Intensity
  • Storm Forward Speed
  • Size
  • Angle of Approach to Coast
  • Shape of the Coastline
  • Width and Slope of Ocean Bottom
  • Local Features

Download INTRODUCTION TO STORM SURGE (PDF) for more background information about storm surges and consult the following links for animations and other useful information. Be sure to watch the PSA video below as well.  

For those in danger areas, it is wise to plan in advance of hurricane season.   Be sure you know areas that would be safe when a storm approaches.   You should be able to get to these safe zones quickly so that you don't risk being trapped by road congestion.

Hurricanes usually provide advance warning.  When local officials recommend evacuation, heed their warnings and put your plan into action.   Structures can be replaced, but lives cannot.

We'll continue our Hurricane Preparedness Week coverage by looking at additional hazards next.   Consult the NHC and other websites for additional information about storm surges.

Thoughts on Memorial Day 2014

History of Memorial Day: Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. May 30th was chosen for Decoration Day because it was believed that flowers would be in bloom all across the country.

On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset, in honor of the nation’s battle heroes. In the early days of our country, no regulations existed for flying the flag at half-staff and, as a result, there were many conflicting policies. But on March 1, 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower issued a proclamation on the proper times.

You will notice in the collage above, that the flag is flying at half-staff. Those pictures were taken during our visit to the American Cemetary in Normandy, France. It was very moving seeing row after row of graves. For more pictures from our visit to Normandy, see my previous posts on the topic and also our cruise vacations website.

I've mentioned several times in the past about the opportunity to relive history while on a cruise vacation. This is especially true in Europe due to the large battle field from the World Wars. Whether your cruise vacation takes you to Normandy, France or Honolulu, Hawaii, please take some time to visit a historical site and pay your respects to the troops that fought to keep America strong. We have done so on several cruises and of all the trips we've taken, those tend to stand out in my mind. Don't forget to bring you children with you so that they too can learn about war first hand.

As Albert Schweitzer said "... Wargraves are the great communicators of peace ..." Perhaps another more striking quote was by George Santayanan who said "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

And who can forget those immortal words of President John F. Kennedy: "And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. "

To the brave men and women, living and deceased, who have taken President Kennedy's charge to heart, Thank You for your Service. May we never forget the sacrifices you have made.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

2014 Hurricanes - How They Work

Hurricane Basics & History
First In the 2014 Series
Hurricane Preparedness Week playlist on YouTube

"Hurricanes can demolish towns, obliterate coastlines, and devastate families. We cannot eliminate the threats they pose, but with careful planning, we can better protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. During National Hurricane Preparedness Week, America fortifies our homes and businesses so that we are ready long before these powerful storms make landfall." - President Obama

Looking for past or current hurricanes?  Click Image or Here
President Obama declared May 25 - May 31 “National Hurricane Preparedness Week." FEMA, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is helping to raise awareness of steps that can be taken to help protect citizens, and their communities and property. 

What is a Hurricane?
A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone, which is a generic term for a low pressure system that generally forms in the tropics. The cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms and, in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth's surface. Tropical cyclones are classified as follows:

* Sustained winds
A 1-minute average wind measured at about 33 ft (10 meters) above the surface.

** 1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour or 1.15 statute miles per hour. Abbreviated as "kt".
Tropical Depression
An organized system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds* of 38 mph (33 kt**) or less

Tropical Storm
An organized system of strong thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph (34-63 kt)

An intense tropical weather system of strong thunderstorms with a well-defined surface circulation and maximum sustained winds of 74 mph (64 kt) or higher

Familiarize yourself with the terms that are used to identify a hurricane.
  • A hurricane watch means a hurricane is possible in your area. Be prepared to evacuate. Monitor local radio and television news outlets or listen to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest developments.
  • A hurricane warning is when a hurricane is expected in your area. If local authorities advise you to evacuate, leave immediately.
Hurricanes are classified into five categories based on their wind speed, central pressure, and damage potential. Category Three and higher hurricanes are considered major hurricanes, though Categories One and Two are still extremely dangerous and warrant your full attention.The following chart details the categories and the damage that can result from a storm with that strength.
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale for Kids (NASA)

Scale Number (Category) Sustained  Winds Damage Storm Surge

74-95 mph
64-82 kt
119-153 km/h
Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days. 4-5 feet

96-110 mph
83-95 kt
154-177 km/h
Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks. 6-8 feet

111-129 mph
96-112 kt
178-208 km/h
Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes. 9-12 feet

130-156 mph
113-136 kt
209-251 km/h
Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. 13-18 feet

157 mph or higher
137 kt or higher
252 km/h or higher
Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months. Greater than 18 feet

Hurricane History

In the following article, we look at the 2014 Hurricane season in review, comparing the forecast to actual results.   We also look at NOAA and Colorado State University forecasts for the 2014 Season.

NHC Data Archive

We will continue coverage of Hurricane Preparedness Week by looking at some of the hazards starting tomorrow.  Additional Hurricane information can be found in our static Hurricane Zone tab.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

2014 Hurricane Preparedness Week

National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2014
May 25th through May 31st 

“The U.S. was spared from a hurricane last year, but that does not mean we will be as fortunate during the 2014 season,” said Rick Knabb, Ph.D., director of NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. "Prepare for a hurricane now before one threatens your area, and find out if you are in a hurricane evacuation zone."

The goal of NOAA's Hurricane Preparedness Web site is to inform the public about the hurricane hazards and provide knowledge which can be used to take ACTION. This information can be used to save lives at work, home, while on the road, or on the water.

A hurricane is a type of tropical cyclone or severe tropical storm that forms in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean. A typical cyclone is accompanied by thunderstorms, and in the Northern Hemisphere, a counterclockwise circulation of winds near the earth’s surface.

Every year, hurricanes put communities at risk of catastrophic damage from storm surges, flooding, high winds, and tornadoes.  During National Hurricane Preparedness Week, we rededicate ourselves to preventing loss of life and damage to property by raising awareness about hurricane hazards and taking action to protect our families, our homes, and our neighborhoods.

Hurricane Preparedness Week during 2014
May 25th through May31st

For additional information about hurricanes, including useful links, 
see the static  "Hurricane Zone" tab above.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Remembering Those Who Served

Saluting Those That Have Served Their Country

Especially Those Who Have Given The Ultimate Sacrifice

Over the years we have been to many military cemeteries, museums, and other sites during our cruise vacations.   One of our most memorable trips was when we visited Normandy, France during a British Isles cruise.  My father had been among the troops landing at the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. He lived through that day and many other horrific days during the war.  Many of his fellow soldiers weren't as fortunate.  He returned to Normandy years later and stood on this hallowed ground.   He wept for his Lieutenant and comrades as he found their graves.

Gone But Not Forgotten

It is fitting that there is a day set aside to honor the war dead.   However, I suggest that we should remember them, and those that lived through the war and have now returned to their heavenly homes, at other times, not just Memorial Day.    

The generation that fought in the two World Wars are quickly slipping away.  My father and his brother, who both fought in the war, are gone now.   They would rarely speak of that time in their lives.   When we were in Normandy, we were fortunate to have a knowledgeable private guide who took us to all the historic sights and was able to show us what it was like then and now.  Without men like that, we might not hear the stories any longer.

If you are fortunate enough to have a living relative who fought in the war,  and if they are willing to talk about it, find out more about that time in their lives.   I suspect they won't want to talk about it.  If they are still able to travel, they may want to go back to Normandy for a final visit like my father did on an anniversary of D-Day.   He went to the very beach that he had landed on so many years ago.  

Of course there are other wars, not just the world ones where we salute the men and women that gave their lives and those that didn't but had their lives changed forever.   Let's not forget them either and be sure to thank them for what they did.

The cruise lines thank the military as well.   There are discounts year-round and often specials around this time of year.  We would be honored to help you plan a trip, land or sea, to the battlefields of Europe or any other destination.

Thank You to All the Military for Your Service 

East Pacific Depression Strengthens to Tropical Storm Amanda

Tropical Storm Amanda

Hurricane AMANDA
The 2014 East Pacific Hurricane Season officially started on May 15th and the first Tropical Depression formed a few days later on May 22nd.  It formed well southwest of Mexico and has strengthened to a tropical storm.
NHC issuing advisories on Hurricane AMANDA


Full coverage of this, and all tropical storms, can be found on our Hurricane Zone page.   There are RSS feeds from the National Hurricane Center posted there giving you up to the minute information.   For storms that impact cruises, we will bring you information on those details as well.  Please bookmark that page for further reference during the Hurricane Season which runs now through November 30th.

 Hurricane AMANDA ...AMANDA WEAKENS... As of 2:00 PM PDT Tue May 27 the center of AMANDA was located near 15.0, -112.6 with movement NNW at 5 mph. The minimum central pressure was 970 mb with maximum sustained winds of about 105 mph.
NEAR 105 MPH...165
Storm Archive       Graphics Archive