Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Traveling to Greece During Crisis

What to Know

The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Greece of the possibility of disruptions to banking services – including credit-card processing and servicing of ATMs – throughout Greece in light of developments within the local economy.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry more than one means of payment (cash, debit cards, credit cards), and make sure to have enough cash on hand to cover emergencies and any unexpected delays.   Learn More ...

 Demonstrations & Other Risks

The alert also cautions about being aware of your surroundings at all times.   There might be scheduled and unscheduled political demonstrations as well.  Whenever you are traveling, you should follow this guideline anyway.

It is common knowledge that travelers are being advised to keep extra money with them, which increases the chance of being a target of unsavory individuals or groups looking to take advantage of the situation.    There are various safety methods that you can put in place to keep you and your money safe.

  • Divide the funds among members in your group
  • Only carry enough with you that you will need that day
  • Leave extra money in safe of cruise ship or hotel room
  • Use money belts to hide money on your person
Travel Insurance

Hopefully you purchased travel insurance when you booked your cruise or land vacation to Greece.   In our recent blog post, Insurance Awareness Day 2015, we talked about the value of travel insurance protecting against the unexpected.   You might be tempted to cancel your trip, but be aware that unless you purchased a "cancel for any reason" policy, this would most likely NOT be a covered event.   Even so, there are other benefits of the insurance policy which could come into play during your trip, if you were to lose valuables or be injured for example.

Potential Itinerary Changes

As of this writing, cruise lines with upcoming cruises have not altered their plans but we are certain they are keeping a close watch on developments.   The cruise lines number one priority is the safety of ships, passengers, and crew, so should there be any escalation in the wake of the bank closings, plans could be altered.     In similar situations like this, sea days or alternate ports were substituted, often with very little notice.   Be sure that you have provided contact information to your travel professional or cruise line as appropriate.   Should there be cancellations or changes that we become aware of, we'll share that information with you.

Additional Resources


One of the more important ways that U.S. Citizens can keep informed while traveling abroad is by  enrolling in the U.S. Department of State's STEP service.

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.

STEP allows you to enter information about your upcoming trip abroad so that the Department of State can better assist you in an emergency.

Additional travel information can be found on International Travel (static tab on blog) and Travel Tools (on our website). Topics include: Tips for Traveling Abroad, Travel Warnings, Country Specific Information & Travel Alerts 

We encourage all cruise passengers to be familiar with travel alerts, warnings, tips, and country specific requirements before leaving home.  Make sure that you leave your itinerary with someone at home and that you are adequately protected by travel insurance.



Enjoy Your Cruise to Greece

We were fortunate to travel to Greece a few years ago during our 12-night Mediterranean voyage.   For information about the ports we visited see our blog post:  Diary of Cruise with Chris to Greek Isles

Safe Travels

We highly suggest that you monitor the situation in Greece before and during your visit there.  We wish you safe travels, and for the wonderful people of Greece, we hope that this current financial situation can be resolved quickly.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Insurance Awareness Day 2015


Insurance Awareness Day exists to remind you that things go wrong, and that generally, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan.  If you are like most people, you have health insurance, life insurance, and house or apartment insurance.  We'll talk about Travel Insurance in this post and suggest why it is a good idea to consider it before traveling.

Expect the Unexpected

I'd like to make a few suggestions to anyone planning a cruise vacation.   Similar considerations go for other (land) vacations as well.   As the title suggests, one should plan for the unexpected in advance so that the situations I describe, should they occur to you, would not ruin your vacation or at the very least you would have assistance before, during, and after the vacation.

Situation 1 - Weather Impacting Departure for Cruise

If you've been watching the news lately, I'm sure you've watched in horror as flood waters washed homes away, houses were destroyed in minutes by tornados, and various other disasters that are going on across the world. We always like to think that this can't happen to us and hopefully that is the case. Unfortunately situations like these do occur and no one is exempt from the possibility.

What does this have to do with cruising you might ask? Well, if that were your home, or if you lived in that neighborhood, odds are that you wouldn't be able to depart on schedule for your cruise. Several possibile situations come to mind from roads being blocked, airports being closed, flights delayed, family members injured during the storms. All of these would most likely prevent you from arriving in the cruise departure city prior to the ship sailing.

Suggestion 1 - Leave Early

I've said this many times before, but it bears repeating: Plan to arrive in the embarkation port the day before your cruise (domestic cruises) and at least the day before your cruise (overseas cruises).

Assuming that you are flying to the embarkation city, you can either book airfare with the cruise line or on your own. In most cases, I suggest that my clients book on their own since they have full flexibility and can often save money (perhaps using frequent flier miles, or finding special pricing). I'm more than happy to assist them either way.

That's not to say that you can't use frequent flier miles or get good prices through the cruise line, but you will have to make arrangements through the cruise line's "custom air" department. In some cases, there may be extra fees to tailor your flights to your schedule. The "non-custom" air arrangements typically arrive the day of the cruise which doesn't provide any room for delays.

We've personally had many occasions where we arrived the day before the cruise, so we didn't have any issues. However, our return trip was delayed as many as 4 hours due to weather. Had that been the day of the cruise, we could have missed the ship (assuming it was on the same day as ship departure).

Suggestion 2 - Purchase Trip Insurance

In the above example, depending on the length of the delay and other factors, had you missed the ship your insurance may have provided assistance in rejoining the cruise or reimbursement for unused portion of the trip.

If your house had been damaged or if a family member had ended up in the hospital, due to the storm as described above, the trip cancellation clause of the insurance policy may have come into play providing some financial relief.

Insurance policies vary, so you need to read the policy and compare them to your needs.

Situation 2 - Injury During Cruise

The following situation DID occur to one of the passengers on one of our cruises and we have been on many other cruises where similar situations occured.

The ship sailed on time, we had dinner and had gone to the welcome aboard show. The captain came on the loud speaker system and made an announcement. The ship was turning around and returning to New York because there was a medical emergency onboard. It was necessary to get closer to New York so that the passenger could be transferred to a hospital onshore.

From what we can gather, the injury wasn't life threatening but it required medical attention that could best be provided in a hospital. The passenger was transferred from the ship to a hospital by the U.S. Coast Guard.

A medical evacuation is a very expensive procedure - often costing tens of thousands of dollars. These costs are typically not covered by your personal health insurance policies and could have a very negative impact if you had to bear the cost yourself.

I'm not trying to scare you out of booking a cruise. In fact, these situations I describe could happen any day and on any vacation. I hope that the cruise specialist, or other travel consultant that you work with, recommends insurance to you and that you seriously consider purchasing a policy. Besides the financial protection, there is the intangible benefit of having someone to turn to in the time of crisis. The majority of the policies available offer a 24 hour assistance line.


Top Ten Reasons to travel with the LeisureCare Travel Protection Plan
  1. You have to cancel your trip due to an unexpected event such as bad weather, an illness in the family or the financial default of your airline, cruise line or tour operator.
  2. You have to return home early due to an unexpected emergency such as an illness or death in the family.
  3. Your luggage is lost or delayed, forcing you to purchase necessary essentials, or prescription medications.
  4. Your luggage or personal effects are damaged or stolen.
  5. You become ill or injured and learn that your health care plan doesn't cover you outside the U.S.
  6. You need an emergency medical evacuation due to an accident or sudden illness.
  7. You run into flight delays and miss a portion of your trip or cruise.
  8. Your trip is interrupted due to an unexpected hurricane or storm.
  9. You lose your passport, leaving you stranded abroad.
  10. You need assistance with replacing a prescription or an emergency cash transfer.

Plan for Unexpected - Leave Early, Purchase Travel Insurance, Enjoy Your Cruise

Friday, June 26, 2015

Planning Key West Activities Via Advertising



(click images to enlarge)

#FriFotos Theme: #ADVERTISING

We continue our series of photos depicting the #advertising subject.  In this post we'll look at one popular tourist port of call and the signs that beckon your attention.   They come in all sizes and shapes and on different surfaces.

We arrived in this next destination via cruise ship.  We only had one day to explore the city, so advertising paid a key role in deciding what to do.  So much to see - so little time !

Second in a Series of Posts


For those of you not familiar with the forum, it is hosted by . The theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.    Recently, @spencerspellman joined the team as a permanent co-host.  We  co-hosted one week late last year and continue to contribute with images from our archives whenever possible.


Key West Florida

The sign above can be seen shortly after you arrive at the main part of town.   There is a major shopping area which also has several of the popular attractions.  The sign also advertises various ways that you can explore the city, such as by trolley.  The #advertising on the right adds another element, a 3D person that helps draw your attention to the sign. 

No Escaping Advertising

I bet you thought you'd just have a relaxing day at the beach at the Southernmost Point of continental U.S. Guess again! Here you might find an advertisement like this with water sports and places to eat or drink while you are there.

Place Ad Here

As you can see in these two images, no surface is immune from advertising.  Advertising doesn't have to be stationary.  In this second image, the trolley becomes the medium of choice for delivering several different advertising messages.
 
There are several different transportation choices competing for your vacation dollars, so it makes perfect sense for the business to put their contact information on the side of the trolley as well as other offers to compliment their services.

Signs on Buildings

Even the signs on the buildings are #advertising. Their message is brief, usually just the name of the business or attraction. Sometimes, they may contain other elements, all of which are designed to capture your attention.


Historic Buildings


You can have your picture taken by a marker depicting the "Southernmost Point" and then you might want to explore some of the historic buildings, such as this hotel. A picture is worth a thousand words, so why not advertise by showing what you'll see inside.

This is just a sample of the many #advertising images you might see on your day trip to Key West, Florida. It won't be possible to see everything in the time you are there, but through these ads, you should be able to select what interests you the most. Happy exploring !
If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

@ChrisPappinMCC

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

What #advertising have you seen? 

Take a look through your photo archive and see if there are any images that fit this week's theme.  If you don't have any to share at this time, check out what others are posting.   This forum is a great way to explore the world from the comforts of your chair.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Look at Advertising on Cruise Ships


(click images to enlarge)

#FriFotos Theme: #ADVERTISING

We are bombarded by advertising each and every day of our lives.  This week, #FriFotos theme revolves around that topic. Once again we will be sharing images on Twitter and writing posts on our blog that provide the story behind the pics.

First in a Series of Posts

For those of you not familiar with the forum, it is hosted by . The theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.    Recently, @spencerspellman joined the team as a permanent co-host.  We  co-hosted one week late last year and continue to contribute with images from our archives whenever possible.



OnBoard the Cruise Ship

You would expect to find advertisements when in port, but in this first article, we'll talk about some we found on board our cruise ship. These signs were onboard a Carnival cruise ship, but you might find similar signs regardless of the cruise line.

Advertising Promotions

The first image is advertising services that are performed by the staff on the ship. Throughout your cruise, you'll have the opportunity to have your family portrait taken by the ship's photographers. If you'd like to have a framed remembrance of your cruise, that is possible as well. This sign shows some of the possibilities. The next image is advertising some promotional offers that are available at the casino. 

Many of the ads we see on a regular basis advertise services as opposed to products.  That doesn't stop just because you are on a ship.  You'll see this type of advertising in port as well.

Shopping Savings

If this is your first cruise, you might not be aware that there is shopping onboard the vessel.  Yes folks, you don't have to interrupt your shopping when you are at sea.  As you can see in this advertising sign, the ship matches prices that you might find in port, which means you don't need to give up your exploration time to buy that bottle of liquor to bring home for your self or your friend watching your house while you are away.

Limited Duration

You will find advertising that may offer deals for embarkation day only.  It is definitely to your advantage to pay attention to these signs posted around the ship.  Of course, you can ignore them completely, like you do television ads, if you like.   That's the beauty about cruising - you are complete control of what you want to do.  There will be many choices, but ultimately, you make the final decision on how to spend your time and money throughout the entire cruise vacation.
 
If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

@ChrisPappinMCC

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

What #advertising have you seen? 

Take a look through your photo archive and see if there are any images that fit this week's theme.  If you don't have any to share at this time, check out what others are posting.   This forum is a great way to explore the world from the comforts of your chair.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Arriving Back in Rome

Post-Cruise Stay - Rome

Upon arriving at Roma Termini train station, we walked a few blocks to our post-cruise hotel, Hotel Giardino.

As you can see in the picture, carrying large suitcases up the steep stairs would be challenging, so we were happy that we had opted for much smaller bags.  We used rolling bags that would fit easily on the train.

After checking in, we asked the hotel staff for some dining recommendations.   We were in the mood for some pizza or pasta, so they gave us a couple of choices nearby.

Spaghetteria L'Archetto

It was a short walk to the restaurant from our hotel.   When we arrived, it was pretty busy, but it was only a short wait for a table outside.  It was a gorgeous afternoon, so that was fine by us.

While we were waiting for a table to open up, we had time to look at the menu.   There were several choices that sounded good, so now all we had to do is wait a bit to be seated.  One thing you need to know about dining in Rome, unlike the United States, if you want water, you have to purchase a bottle, so keep that in mind.


We enjoyed our pastas and pizza, and then resumed our self-guided walking tour of Rome.  The food was good and the atmosphere was as well.  We would recommend this restaurant if you are in the neighborhood and get hungry.





Sunday, June 21, 2015

People Mover from Cruise Terminal


Getting Around
Venice
from Cruise Terminal


People Mover between Tronchetto, the Marittima cruise terminal, and the Piazzale Roma in Venice, Italy.

Riding Venice's People Mover is easy: There's only one route, and the fare is €1,30(regardless of where you board or get off).


Affordable Transfer to Venice

Once we had disembarked the ship, it was a short walk along the cruise terminal to the People Mover. We purchased our tickets from the automatic vending machine(it was only €1 when we sailed). As you can see from the sign above, it was only a short wait for the next boarding.

The actual ride only takes a few minutes once the train arrives. The only challenging part of the trip was handling our luggage over the bridge once we arrived in Venice. Not to worry, there's always a good looking Italian gentleman willing to help a lady in distress.

We had checked the train schedule and found that there was an early train which would get us into Rome mid-afternoon.  It is about a 3.5 to 4 hour train ride. Once we arrived in Venice, we made our way to the station purchased our tickets, and waited for departure time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tropical Storm Bill Makes Landfall

TS Bill

Other images: 5-Day track off3-Day track off3-Day track onInteractive

Tropical Storm

The second named storm for the Atlantic Season  Bill formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Monday and was expected to make landfall in the warning area along the Texas coast Tuesday morning and move inland over south-central Texas Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night.  Tropical Storm Bill has weakened since making landfall today.

The NHC has issued its final advisory on this system. Public Advisories from the Weather Prediction Center will provide updates as long as the system remains a flood threat.


 

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.



TS Bill
Additional weakening is forecast during the next
48 hours, and Bill is expected to become a tropical depression by
Wednesday morning.
WIND:
near 45 mph (70 km/h)
with higher gusts
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Port Aransas to San Luis Pass Texas

SHIP IMPACT:
NO IMPACT REPORTED AT THIS TIME
 
     
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.

Storm Archive       Graphics Archive


MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HURRICANES (CLICK HERE)

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

RAINFALL:  Bill is expected to produce total rain accumulations of
4 to 8 inches over eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma and 2 to 4
inches over western Arkansas and southern Missouri, with possible
isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches in eastern Texas.

WIND:  Tropical storm conditions are occurring within the warning
area to the northeast and east of the center.

STORM SURGE:  The combination of a storm surge and the tide will
cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising
waters.  The water could reach the following heights above ground if
the peak surge occurs at the time of high tide...

Upper Texas and Western Louisiana coasts...1 to 2 feet

The deepest water will occur along the immediate coast near and to
the right of the center.  Surge-related flooding depends on the
relative timing of the surge and the tidal cycle, and can vary
greatly over short distances. For information specific to your area,
please see products issued by your local National Weather Service
forecast office.

TORNADOES:  A few tornadoes may occur over parts of southeast and
east central Texas and western Louisiana tonight through early
Wednesday.
HISTORICAL NOTES
 

1000 PM CDT MON JUN 15 2015

...TROPICAL STORM WARNING ISSUED AS TROPICAL STORM BILL FORMS...
...EXPECTED TO BRING HEAVY RAINFALL TO PORTIONS OF EASTERN TEXAS...

700 PM CDT TUE JUN 16 2015

...BILL MOVING FARTHER INLAND OVER TEXAS...

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Flag Flying over Fort McHenry

Flag Flying over Fort McHenry

June 14th is Flag Day.   President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed June 14, 1916, to be a national celebration of the American flag, and the 1949 Congress declared June 14 to be national Flag Day every year.  This day commemorates the day the Second Continental Congress authorized the United States of America to adopt a flag to represent the new nation.

 Fort McHenry, Baltimore, Maryland

We had the opportunity to visit Fort McHenry during our post cruise stay in Baltimore, MD last year following our national conference convention aboard Carnival Pride.

The flag pictured above was flown over the fort.   We were fortunate to be there for the lowering of the flag and raising of a much smaller flag that would fly through the evening hours.

O Say, Can You See?

When you visit Fort McHenry, you can learn all about the birth of our National Anthem.  

O say can you see, by the dawns early light, a large red, white and blue banner? Whose broad stripes and bright stars . . . were so gallantly streaming! over the star-shaped Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore, September 13-14, 1814. The valiant defense of the fort inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner.


This was an impressive flag ceremony.   I suggest you include a visit to Fort McHenry when visiting Baltimore.    Carnival Pride sails year-round from Baltimore, so why not include a cruise in your plans and learn about our nation's history at the same time.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

MERS Outbreak Alters Cruise Itineraries

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Courtesy: CDC

 Royal Caribbean Cancels

South Korean Calls

Since May 2015, the Republic of Korea has been investigating an outbreak of MERS. It is the largest known outbreak of MERS outside the Arabian Peninsula.

CDC does not recommend that Americans change their travel plans to the Republic of Korea or other countries because of MERS. More

 Strong Disease Control Recommended (WHO)

 "A joint mission by the World Health Organization and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare to review the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS CoV) in the Republic of Korea has recommended that continuing strengthening of contact tracing, monitoring and quarantine as well as expanded laboratory testing will prevent further spread of the virus."
There have been 138 confirmed cases of MERS CoV (including 1 confirmed case in China) reported in the current outbreak so far, with 14 deaths.  The World Health Organization has made recommendations to contain the disease in South Korea which include identification of contacts, quarantine, infection prevention, and travel restrictions for infected patients.

Cruise Line Response

Cruise lines that are sailing in the region are monitoring the situation and taking necessary actions.  The first to cancel ports of call in South Korea is Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas will skip visits to Seoul until at least August 2015. Mariner of the Seas also will skip Jeju Island.  

Impacted cruises will substitute sea days or visit other ports including Kagoshima, Fukuoka, Okinawa or Nagasaki, Japan.

Passengers and crew are being screened and provided with information about the MERS outbreak and symptoms.  If passengers or crew members show symptoms, such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath, the ships' medical staff will isolate and treat patients using anti-viral medications onboard.

Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess also has scheduled stops in South Korea. Princess Cruises is monitoring the situation; we are not aware of any changes to itineraries at this time.   We will continue to provide updates as information is made available.

Protect yourself from Respiratory Illnesses

  • washing hands often,
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick,
  • avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and
  • disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Know Before You Go

Before leaving on any international travel, land or sea, we suggest visiting our International Travel tab.  The page contains information about passport & visa requirements, travel advisories, health information and much more.

Resources:


WHO recommends strong disease control to end MERS-CoV outbreak
Fact sheet on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
FAQs on MERS‐CoV
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Republic of Korea 
Learn about MERS (CDC)

If you are traveling in the region impacted by MERS or any other infectious disease, please be sure to visit the WHO and CDC sites for current information.
 

CARLOS Third Hurricane 2015 East Pacifc

Hurricane Carlos
Other images: 5-Day track off3-Day track off3-Day track onInteractive

Hurricane  CARLOS

Tropical Depression Three-E formed Wednesday, well south of southwest Mexico and was upgraded to a Tropical Storm on Thursday.  Today (Saturday) it has become the third Hurricane of  the East Pacific 2015 Hurricane Season. Hurricane Carlos is forecast to strengthen a bit more, but will likely remain a Category 1 hurricane.

NHC issuing advisories on Hurricane CARLOS


 

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 CARLOS
...HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT FINDS CARLOS HAS REGAINED HURRICANE
STATUS JUST OFFSHORE OF THE SOUTH-CENTRAL COAST OF MEXICO...
WIND:
75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts
WATCHES/ WARNINGS:
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for...
* West of Punta San Telmo to Playa Perula

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for...
* Punta San Telmo to Lazaro Cardenas

Interests elsewhere along the southwest coast of Mexico should
monitor the progress of Carlos.

SHIP IMPACT:
NO IMPACT REPORTED AT THIS TIME
 

A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected
somewhere within the warning area.  A warning is typically issued
36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of
tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside
preparations difficult or dangerous.  Preparations to protect life
and property should be rushed to completion.
 
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible
within the watch area.  A watch is typically issued 48 hours
before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force
winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or
dangerous.
     
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.

Storm Archive       Graphics Archive


MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HURRICANES (CLICK HERE)

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND

WIND:  Tropical Storm conditions are expected within the warning
area today.  Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane
watch area by Tuesday morning.

RAINFALL:  Carlos is expected to produce rains in the Mexican states
of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit, with rainfall
accumulations of 6 to 10 inches possible through Wednesday, and
maximum totals of 15 inches possible.  These rains may produce life-
threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in areas of
higher terrain.

SURF:  Swells associated with Carlos will affect the coasts of
southern and southwestern Mexico during the next few days.  These
swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip currents.  Please
consult products from your local weather office.

HISTORICAL NOTES
 

400 PM CDT WED JUN 10 2015

...NEW TROPICAL DEPRESSION FORMS TO THE SOUTH OF MEXICO...

1000 AM CDT THU JUN 11 2015

...TROPICAL STORM CARLOS FORMS SOUTH OF MEXICO...

1000 AM CDT SAT JUN 13 2015

...HURRICANE WATCH AND TROPICAL STORM WARNING ISSUED FOR
PARTS OF SOUTHWESTERN MEXICO...

1000 AM CDT SUN JUN 14 2015

...CARLOS WEAKENS TO A TROPICAL STORM JUST SOUTH OF MEXICO...
...EXPECTED TO RESTRENGTHEN INTO A HURRICANE BY MONDAY...


100 PM CDT MON JUN 15 2015

...HURRICANE HUNTER AIRCRAFT FINDS CARLOS HAS REGAINED HURRICANE
STATUS JUST OFFSHORE OF THE SOUTH-CENTRAL COAST OF MEXICO...

Friday, June 12, 2015

#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - St Petersburg


#FriFotos Theme: #ROADS

We've saved the best for last from our Scandinavia / Russia (Baltic) cruise onboard Celebrity Constellation.  Can you guess where we are?

Final in a Series of Posts

In this port, you may not tour on your own.  To do so would require a visa, which isn't easy to obtain.  Therefore touring needs to be through the cruise line or arranged in advance with a local tour company.  We formed a group of 40 people through Red October.  We saw plenty of #Roads as we toured via motor coach for two days.

Our final #FriFotos entries are from St. Petersburg, Russia.  For those of you not familiar with the forum, it is hosted by . The theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.    Recently, @spencerspellman joined the team as a permanent co-host.  We  co-hosted one week late last year and continue to contribute with images from our archives whenever possible.


On the Road - St. Petersburg


Saint Petersburg is the second largest city in Russia.  It is located on the Neva River at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea.

Saint Petersburg is often described as the most Westernized city of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. Therefore it is not surprising to see #roads filled with cars, buses, and trucks.  This picture looks like a typical rush hour back home.


Taking an organized tour is the best way to take advantage of your two days in Russia.

Our Day 1 tour started with City Highlights including St. Nicholas’s Church, Theatre Square with Mariinsky Theatre, St. Isaac’s Square, majestic St. Isaac Cathedral, “Bronze Horseman” – the most famous monument to Peter the Great.

We drove by the Savior on the Spilled Blood Cathedral for a photo stop (we'd go inside on Day 2). After a shopping stop, we drove to Peter and Paul Fortress. We opted to have lunch on the bus to save time. The next stop was at Peterhof: “Russian Versailles”, official Summer Residence of Russian Tsars. We strolled through the wonderful “Lower Park” with its 150 fountains, cascades and various pavilion and palaces. After returning to the ship, many of us went on the Folklore Boat Tour with Dinner offered by Red October.


Day 2 started with a departure for Tsarskoye Selo (Pushkin) which is 25km/15 miles south of St. Petersburg. We had an inside visit to the Catherine Palace founded by Peter I for his wife Catherine I and later re-built and enlarged for their daughter Empress Elizabeth. The highlight of this is the Amber Room (unfortunately photography is not allowed in that room). We drove back into St. Petersburg and had an interior visit to the Savior of Spilled Blood Cathedral. Our final stop was at the Hermitage.

Due to the Birthday Celebration, traffic was going to be closed starting at 2 PM on Nevsky Avenue, the central street of the city. We had our lunch on the bus and the driver dropped us off in front of the Hermitage. The highlight of that visit is the Gold Room, which has an extra charge. No photography is allowed in there, however. I opted not to bring my camera with me at all, so I don't have an album for the Hermitage. We had a short walk to meet our bus driver and then we headed back to the pier. This was truly the highlight of the cruise. 


If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

@ChrisPappinMCC

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

What #Roads have you traveled? 

There is still time to share your pictures on #FriFotos.  If you don't have any to share at this time, check out what others are posting.   This forum is a great way to explore the world from the comforts of your chair.

Other Posts in the Series


#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Tallinn
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsingborg
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsinki
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Stockholm
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Copenhagen
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Oslo 

#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Oslo



#FriFotos Theme: #ROADS

Our very first stop on our Baltic Cruise was in Norway.  Once again it is possible to take a city tour which begins and ends at the pier. 

Sixth in a Series of Posts

It was raining the day we were in Oslo, so we don't have many #road pictures.  What we have was taken from our balcony.  It shows some tunnels that you pass through right by the ship's dock.

We are highlighting several ports of call from our Celebrity Constellation Baltic Cruise for this week's #FriFotos photo forum.  For those of you not familiar with the forum, it is hosted by . The theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.    Recently, @spencerspellman joined the team as a permanent co-host.  We  co-hosted one week late last year and continue to contribute with images from our archives whenever possible.


 On the Road - Oslo

Oslo is the capital and most populated city of Norway. The city is the economic and governmental center of Norway and also a hub of Norwegian trade, banking, industry and shipping.

We disembarked the ship and outside the cruise terminal there was a City Tours bus parked. The cost was $20 for a tour that included several of the popular sights such as Akershus Castle, the Vigeland Sculpture Park and the Viking Ship Musuem. Since it was starting to rain, we decided to take the bus tour. By the time we got to Vigeland, it was pouring and we purchased an umbrella from the gift shop.

Ships dock within easy walking distance of downtown. Our original plans had included purchasing an Oslo Pass and doing the Norwegian Adventure tour on our own. We also planned a walk to the shopping district, City Hall and the Royal Palace .





If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

@ChrisPappinMCC

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

What #Roads have you traveled? 

There is still time to share your pictures on #FriFotos.  If you don't have any to share at this time, check out what others are posting.   This forum is a great way to explore the world from the comforts of your chair.

Other Posts in the Series


#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Tallinn
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsingborg
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsinki
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Stockholm
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Copenhagen

#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Copenhagen


#FriFotos Theme: #ROADS

Can you guess what our next stop is on this mini-tour of the Baltic ports of call?  Hint: it is one of two ports where we stay overnight.

Fifth in a Series of Posts

The best way to see the #Roads of the country is via a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour.   The tour began and ended at the pier, making it quite convenient.

We are highlighting several ports of call from our Celebrity Constellation Baltic Cruise for this week's #FriFotos photo forum.  For those of you not familiar with the forum, it is hosted by . The theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.    Recently, @spencerspellman joined the team as a permanent co-host.  We  co-hosted one week late last year and continue to contribute with images from our archives whenever possible.


 On the Road - Copenhagen

Copenhagen is the capital and most populated city of Denmark. The city is the cultural, economic and governmental center of Denmark; it is one of the major financial centers of Northern Europe.

We are docked in the modern section of the city as you can see from these images.  There are many shops right by the pier which you can explore in your free time.

The bus tour can take you to historic icons such as Rosenborg Castle which was built in 1606.   Another famous landmark is Tivoli Gardens which is a amusement park not to be missed.  Since the ships stays in port overnight, it is suggested that you visit Tivoli early evening, perhaps having dinner there.



Sightseeing buses share the #roads with bicycles, as you can see in this picture. Another thing you'll notice about Copenhagen is that it is a very colorful city. This was certainly a highlight of the cruise.


If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

@ChrisPappinMCC

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

What #Roads have you traveled? 

There is still time to share your pictures on #FriFotos.  If you don't have any to share at this time, check out what others are posting.   This forum is a great way to explore the world from the comforts of your chair.

Other Posts in the Series


#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Tallinn
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsingborg
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsinki
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Stockholm
 

#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Stockholm



#FriFotos Theme: #ROADS

Our next stop on our Baltic Cruise features modern roads.  Gone are the overhead wires of the trolleys.  Our tour started with a bus ride from the port to the heart of the city and then we took to the waters for most of the day.

Fourth in a Series of Posts

We continue our reflections of our Celebrity Constellation Baltic Cruise with a series of articles showing the countries we visited featuring their #Roads in order to share tweets on the weekly #FriFotos photo forum.  For those of you not familiar with the forum, it is hosted by . The theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.    Recently, @spencerspellman joined the team as a permanent co-host.  We  co-hosted one week late last year and continue to contribute with images from our archives whenever possible.


 On the Road - Stockholm


Stockholm is the capital of Sweden as well as the cultural, media, political, and economic center.

One of the city's most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia. That was the highlight of our tour following the "Under the Bridges of Stockholm" boat tour.

Following our ferry ride to the museum, we walked along the main road back to the bus.


If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

@ChrisPappinMCC

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

What #Roads have you traveled? 

There is still time to share your pictures on #FriFotos.  If you don't have any to share at this time, check out what others are posting.   This forum is a great way to explore the world from the comforts of your chair.

Other Posts in the Series


#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Tallinn
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsingborg 
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsinki

#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsinki

#FriFotos Theme: #ROADS

Our next stop on our Baltic Cruise features several cobblestone roads.  This was another destination that could easily be toured on our own via a walking tour.

Third in a Series of Posts

If you are just joining us, we are reflecting on our Celebrity Constellation Baltic Cruise with a series of articles showing the countries we visited featuring their #Roads in order to share tweets on the weekly #FriFotos photo forum.  For those of you not familiar with the forum, it is hosted by . The theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.    Recently, @spencerspellman joined the team as a permanent co-host.  We  co-hosted one week late last year and continue to contribute with images from our archives whenever possible.



 On the Road - Helsinki

Helsinki is the capital and largest city of Finland. Located on the shores of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea, it's closest neighbors are Tallinn, Estonia, Stockholm, Sweden, and St. Petersburg, Russia. 

Helsinki is Finland's major political, educational, financial, cultural, and research center as well as one of northern Europe's major cities.



As with many of its neighbors, Helsinki's public transportation still uses trolleys with overhead wires seen in many parts of the city.  In the image above, you'll notice that there are also bike paths along the major #roads as well.

If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

@ChrisPappinMCC

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

What #Roads have you traveled? 

There is still time to share your pictures on #FriFotos.  If you don't have any to share at this time, check out what others are posting.   This forum is a great way to explore the world from the comforts of your chair.

Other Posts in the Series

#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Tallinn
#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsingborg 

#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Helsingborg

#FriFotos Theme: #ROADS

During our Baltic Cruise onboard Celebrity Constellation, we visited many port cities and toured them on our own.  We would either use Hop-on-Hop-off-Bus tours, use a ship shuttle to get to town, or in some cases, just walk from the ship.

Second in a Series of Posts


Whenever possible we post some of our images which satisfy the weekly theme on #FriFotos.  This week is no exception.  This series of posts will focus on just a few of the #Roads we have traveled.


For those that don't know:  #FriFotos is a weekly photo forum by . Theme is revealed every Tuesday 12pm ET.    Recently, @spencerspellman joined the team as a permanent co-host.  We even had the chance to co-host one week late last year.

 On the Road - Helsingborg

Helsingborg is one of the oldest cities of what is now Sweden.  This coastal port city is the closet Swedish city to Denmark.  Historic Helsingborg's many old buildings include stone-built churches and a 600 year old medieval fortress in the city center.   We were able to walk here from our ship.


The following view was from the medieval fortress and shows the old buildings lining this main road.


If you like Travel & Photography join us each Friday!

@ChrisPappinMCC

Follow #FriFotos on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter: @ChrisPappinMCC  Pinterest: CruiseWithChris Pappin and Facebook: CruiseWithChris Pappin Cruises Inc

What #Roads have you traveled? 

There is still time to share your pictures on #FriFotos.  If you don't have any to share at this time, check out what others are posting.   This forum is a great way to explore the world from the comforts of your chair.

Other Posts in the Series

#FriFotos Takes to the Roads - Tallinn