Author Archives: David Kriso

About David Kriso

David Kriso has been a travel writer since August 2011. He is a contributing writer for both of his hometown's newspapers, The Gazette, and The Observer. His articles focus on cruise and railroad travel. David is also published online at ProwsEdge.com, a cruise magazine based in Vancouver, Canada and at Amtrak's story site, Whistlestop.Amtrak.com. David also writes for the publication Examiner.com. On Examiner.com, he writes about cruise and rail travel. David is a long-time train traveler, avid cruiser, and a Disney traveler since age 4.

Hurricane strong: No doubting Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten/Martin

Puerto Rico is one of the Caribbean’s most legendary destination. In Old San Juan, Castillo Felipe del Morro sits proudly at harbor entrance.

Fall 2017 has been one of the most active hurricane seasons in recent memory. Three destructive hurricanes hit the Caribbean in one month. Each of these three hurricanes reeked havoc on the Caribbean. Hurricanes Irma and  Maria did the most damage. Both hurricanes registered at category 5. The U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and St. Maarten/Martin sustained heavy damage. On Puerto Rico and St. Maarten/Martin, the hurricane damage was extremely heavy. The damage was heavy enough that both islands looked unrecognizable. St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. also sustained significant damage. The level of damage put doubt in the minds of travelers, suggesting that these island destinations won’t see tourist traffic for a long period of time. Surprising news has arisen that these islands will be ready for tourism again by year’s end. When they say “Count your blessings”, it’s not a joke. It’s the truth.

Puerto Rico hasn’t been hit by a hurricane in nearly a century. It is desperately in need of tourism traffic of all types. The island’s infrastructure is merely in ruins. Almost everywhere anyone can look, there is debris lying around. Left and right, there are houses and businesses torn apart. It rips at anyone’s heart to see island residents seeking out shelter and supplies. The port of San Juan, in Old San Juan, is showing signs of improvement. San Juan is a very popular embarkation port as well as being a port-of-call. The three most popular attractions on Puerto Rico are El Yunche Rainforest, the Bacardi Rum Factory, and Castillo Felipe del Morro. Castillo Felipe del Morro is located on the mouth of the San Juan harbor channel. It is visited by millions. The Bacardi Rum Factory is the second most visited attraction on Puerto Rico. Luis Munoz Marin referred to the factory as the “Cathedral of Rum”. Puerto Rico in Spanish means “rich port”. Puerto Rico is without a doubt an island rich in beauty, rich in color, and rich in culture. “Rich” is embedded in the island’s name. No hurricane can change that.

The Marriott Frenchman’s Reef sits on the mouth of St. Thomas Harbor. The view arriving cruise ships is a picture worth a thousand words.

The U.S. Virgin Islands are located thirty miles southeast of Puerto Rico. The islands of St. Thomas and St. John took the most damage from both Hurricanes Irma and Maria. St. Croix, the largest of the three islands, sustained moderate damage. St. Thomas sees the most tourist traffic. Anyone visiting St. John must take a ferry from St. Thomas. The cruise lines offer shore excursions to St. John from St. Thomas. St. Thomas has two cruise piers, Havensight and Crown Bay. Havensight is the largest of the two. Crown Bay is on the west side of Hassel Island, which forms a border between St. Thomas Harbor and Crown Bay. It handles Princess, Holland America, and Royal Caribbean’s Oasis class ships. Magen’s Bay is the most popular beach on St. Thomas. It is located on the island’s north shore. Hurricanes can disrupt the hustle and bustle, but they don’t disrupt the foundation of the island’s resolve. St. Thomas is an island of resilience. The waters will be bluer. The island will be welcoming cruise passengers and tourists sooner than expected.

Remarkably, the infamous sign for Orient Bay’s nude beach survived Hurricane Irma. The beach will be looking “presentable” again soon.

St. Maarten/Martin is located east of the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Maarten/Martin is nicknamed “The Friendly Island”. St. Maarten/Martin is the only island shared by two European countries. It is part Dutch and part French. There is almost no distinction which side receives the most tourist attention. Phillipsburg is home to the St. Maarten/Martin cruise ship pier. The two long concrete piers can accommodate up to nine cruise ships at one time. The town of Marigot, on the French side, is ideal for shopping. Maho Bay, on the Dutch Side, is home to Princess Julianna International Airport. There, the runway is just one hundred feet from the beach. The jets are just one hundred feet above the water as they make their final approach to the runway. On the northeast shore, on the French side, is famous Orient Bay. Orient Beach is the largest clothing-optional beach in the Caribbean. The clothing-optional side of the beach is shared with the nudist resort, Club Orient. It has been rated with five stars by Trip Advisor. The resort was completely torn apart by Hurricane Irma. Orient Bay visitors can rest assured. Orient Bay will be “presentable” in no time.

Royal Caribbean’s Allure of The Seas is one of the three largest cruise ships in the world, carrying over six thousand guests. St. Thomas and St. Maarten are ports-of-call for all three ships.

The Caribbean is the go-to region for all winter travelers. Whether by plane or cruise ship, it is a region that is always pulsing with tourism. The Caribbean is a region which no hurricane can shake. The islands of Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten/Martin were merely paralyzed by Hurricanes Irma and Maria. In just hours, they became “Paradise Lost”. With a pleasant breeze and the sun shining brightly, the recovery process is well underway. By year’s end, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten/Martin will once again be back in action. The duty-free shops will be overflowing with shoppers. The beaches will be crowded with sun worshipers. Further, the cruise piers will be teaming with cruise ship activity. Hurricanes can rev up to whatever speed Mother Nature dictates, but they can never shake the spirits of these three great island destinations. These islands are hurricane strong. These three islands were built with resurrection power. No storm can shake these islands’ calm.

 

Inside track: The Amtrak passengers’ checklist

Traveling by train can’t be a more safer way to travel this fall. Here, an Amtrak Northeast Regional train prepares to depart from Washington, DC’s Union Station.

Traveling on Amtrak is the best traveling experience anyone can have. Amtrak’s on board atmosphere without-a-doubt beats that of the airlines. There’s plenty of leg room, the on board dining is not to be missed, and the scenery makes every trip worthwhile. With the fall season underway, the leaves will soon be changing. Seeing the leaves ablaze in their orange, yellow, and red make every Amtrak journey a memorable one. Before boarding any Amtrak train, it’s paramount to pay attention to the passengers’ checklist. What is the passengers’ checklist? It is five simple steps for Amtrak passengers to follow on any journey. Whether intercity or long-distance, being prepared always makes the journey one to truly enjoy. What are the steps? See the checklist below.

5) Reservations: The Amtrak passengers’ checklist cannot start without making reservations. Before any journey begins, all passengers must make reservations. All Amtrak trains are reserved. Reservations can be made online at Amtrak.com or via phone at 1-800-USA-RAIL (872-7245). When reservations are made, passengers will be given their reservation codes. If making reservations via phone, it’s a must to remember the agent’s name. The agent will do his/her very best to provide a positive experience for all passengers. When the phone call is complete, passengers should remember to thank the agent for his/her assistance and professionalism.

Amtrak’s Quik Trak kiosks are available at all major stations. Passengers use their credit cards as their ID.

4) Obtaining tickets: The passengers’ checklist continues with the ticket issuing process. Upon the completion of the reservation transaction, the reservations agent will have provided to the passenger a reservation code. Amtrak passengers must write the number down. The next step on the passengers’ checklist is to obtain their tickets. Amtrak passengers can obtain their tickets via mail, email, at the station ticket window, or at one of the Quik Trak kiosks.

Quik Trak kiosks are available at all major Amtrak stations. Passengers obtain their tickets by using the credit card they used to purchase their tickets. The credit card acts as their identification. At the station window, passengers must provide valid photo ID for obtaining their tickets.

Via email, passengers must go to the email message and download their tickets. The ticket printouts will have both train numbers listed, with a QR code shown at the top corner. Passengers must not misplace the printout. A crew member will scan the QR code, both going and returning. If passengers wish to have their tickets mailed to their home, they must make their reservations a minimum of ten days or more before traveling.

3) Using the Amtrak mobile app: What would the passengers’ checklist be without mobile technology? All aboard the Amtrak mobile app! With mobile technology, Amtrak passengers have their train journey at their fingertips. With Amtrak’s mobile app, Amtrak passengers can do a handful of things. Amtrak passengers can track their train’s status, look up schedule information, or even change a reservation. It’s easy, right? Downloading the Amtrak mobile app takes only a few moments. Once downloaded, Amtrak passengers have America’s railroad at their fingertips. The Amtrak mobile app is not just a key part of a journey. The Amtrak mobile app is a must-have for all Amtrak passengers. Without-a-doubt, it’s a must-do on the passengers’ checklist. With a tap of the app, a riding the rails is moments away.

Checking schedules and a train’s status can’t be easier without the Amtrak mobile app. It is America’s railroad at their fingertips.

2) Be at the station “on-time”: Winding down the passengers’ checklist, there is no better way to have a pleasant train journey than being on-time. All Amtrak journeys start successfully when passengers arrive at the station on-time. If traveling short distance (ex. Northeast Regional) Amtrak passengers should arrive at the station thirty minutes prior to departure. If traveling on a long-distance train (ex. Lake Shore Limited), passengers should arrive at the station one hour prior to departure. This allows passengers time to check-in luggage, if applicable.

Once on the track platform, passengers are then directed to the proper boarding location. On Northeast Regional trains, the quiet car and business car are the last two cars of the train. On long-distance trains, the train staff will show passengers to their assigned sleeping car berths. Being on-time is a key huge part of Amtrak’s tradition. It is how passenger train travel was meant to be. Arriving at the station on-time ensures all Amtrak passengers a safe and pleasant traveling experience.

1) Respect fellow passengers and crew: The passengers’ checklist concludes with the golden rule. Safely aboard, all passengers can sit back and relax. Before getting comfortable, passengers must at all times respect the on board environment. All Amtrak passengers are encouraged to do two things. All Amtrak passengers must respect their fellow passengers and the crew. Respect begins in the quiet car. Those passengers riding in the quiet car must set their cell phones to vibrate or silent. Secondly, they must keep their voices down. Lastly, they must keep their conversations short. Even in coach class, business class, the dining car, and sleeping cars, cell phones should be kept on silent or vibrate.

Aside from respecting one another, passengers should show a great deal of respect towards the train crew. The crew’s responsibility is getting the train to its destination on-time and safely. The safety of the passengers is their responsibility, too. That being said, all Amtrak passengers are to kindly return the favor. Amtrak passengers are responsible for acting safely on board. All Amtrak trains are non-smoking. Passengers are to use handrails when walking in between the cars. No running is allowed on board at any time. Amtrak values safety at the very top of their list. No Amtrak train arrives on-time without the enforcement of safety. A little bit of respect travels a long distance.

While on board, passengers must respect their fellow passengers and the train’s crew. Here, a conductor is doing a routine seat check.

Riding on Amtrak is among the greatest traveling experiences. Whether traveling short or long-distance, the journey should always be one to write home about. No Amtrak journey should ever be complete without plenty of good words shared. More importantly, no Amtrak journey goes successfully without following the five-step passengers’ checklist. All Amtrak passengers should successfully purchase their tickets via phone or online. Passengers should obtain their tickets by one of the methods discussed. Thirdly, passengers are encouraged to use the Amtrak mobile app to check their train’s status. When proceeding to the station, passengers should arrive on-time. The most crucial step of the passengers’ checklist is to respect fellow passengers and the crew. Every Amtrak journey is a shared journey. If passengers carry out their responsibility, the crew can safely carry out theirs. This is why Amtrak has printed on its trains, “A safe team on-time”.

 

Sailing day pitfalls: The top 5 avoidable mistakes

There is nothing worse than missing the ship. Guests must always arrive at the cruise terminal on time.

Cruising is the greatest vacation experience anyone can have. Every cruise line provides a unique on board atmosphere, ranging from dining, to entertainment, to shore excursions, and staterooms with all the comforts of home. Whether it is a seven, ten, or fourteen-day adventure, the fun is non-stop. Every cruise kicks off on sailing day. Sailing day is day one. Sure, it’s great to be excited about sailing day. However, it’s vital for guests to make sure they have all of their ducks in order. Amidst the excitement, guests tend to make a handful of mistakes. They can be mistakes that could greatly affect the outcome of their cruise. Here are the top five sailing day pitfalls which guests must avoid:

5) Misjudging sailing time: When it comes to sailing day, it is paramount for guests to arrive at the cruise terminal on time. Guests should not want to miss all the great activities that await once they’re on board (buffet lunch, having drinks poolside, etc.). Boarding normally begins at 11 am. Once on board, guests have all the time to unwind. What are the pitfalls? Often, guests push their arrival to the very last hour of the day. It is one of the most avoidable pitfalls. Pier security is directed to shut the terminal doors within an hour prior to the ship’s departure. If the ship’s departure is at 4 pm, guests should arrive no later than 3 pm. Guests have been turned away for arriving too late. Guests leave their homes for the pier and then get caught in traffic along the way. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help their chances. It doesn’t matter how much money they spent on such a long-awaited vacation. Guests should never wait til the final hour. The ship will sail without them, regardless of circumstances. Of all sailing pitfalls, it is one not worth facing. On-time is the best time!

Cruise passengers worry excessively about packing the right items on a cruise. Travel documents should be packed in carry-on baggage.

4) Luggage concerns: Of all the things guests worry about on a cruise, it’s their luggage. Honestly, it is the one element they worry too much about. Guests should pack in their luggage all of the key essentials, excluding their travel documents. Packing travel documents in luggage is a no-no. That’s true! If the weather forecast is supposed to be hot and humid, guests should be prepared for it. Guests should not show up in a sports jacket and tie, or some outfit that’s going to make them feel uncomfortable. Guests should always have a change of clothing in their carry-on baggage. That way, in case their luggage hasn’t yet arrived at their stateroom, they should not feel forced to bow out of the sailing day excitement. None of these matters should get in the way on sailing day. Worrying about luggage should be immaterial. Being prepared for the weather is always #1.

3) Gratuities: Gratuities always come to question when booking a cruise. Guests are always concerned about tipping on board. Gratuities should not have to be a monster issue. They should not be. Not prepaying gratuities is among the unexpected pitfalls faced by cruisers. When booking a cruise, guests should always ask the cruise line reservations agent or their travel agent if they can prepay their gratuities. If yes, it’s the right call. Cruise lines normally charge $12.00 per day for gratuities and $16.00 for guests in suites. Once the gratuities are prepaid, there’s no need to add a tip when signing room charge receipts. Plus, it saves the guests money on their on board charge account. The best way is to prepay!

Gratuities should be the least of all guests’ worries. Prepaying gratuities makes life a whole lot easier.

2) Repositioning cruises: Repositioning cruises are a lot of fun. They are actually the cheapest of all cruises. What are repositioning cruises? They’re one-way sailings from one major port concluding at another. They take place particularly when the seasons change. There is one major pitfall that guests face when going on repositioning cruises. On repositioning cruises, guests mistakenly drive to the cruise port, thinking they’re on a round-trip voyage. It makes anyone wonder “What in the world are they thinking?”. It happens often. It creates a hardship for the guests trying to retrieve their car. Further, this pitfall results in the guests trying to devise a grandiose plan on when and how they’ll be able to pick up their car. When booking a cruise, guests should make the effort of researching the cruise itinerary first before committing, A repositioning cruise is just as fun as any other cruise. Doing proper research makes a big difference. It is the key difference between a memorable sailing day and a vacation hardship in the making. A repositioning cruise should be the ship’s transition from one port to another, not one obstacle on top of another.

Repositioning cruises are fun and offer plenty of fun. Warning: guests MUST NOT drive to the cruise terminal.

1) Documentation: To this very point in time, guests still encounter multiple pitfalls regarding documentation. Documentation is the #1 step to a successful sailing day. Documentation is the bread and butter of a cruise. It is needed for not just embarkation, but also for re-entry into the country. What pitfalls have guests faced regarding documentation? The pitfalls range from simple faults like leaving passports at home. The middle-of-the-road faults include packing travel documents in their luggage. The most serious matters include failing to obtain the more important documents, including visas, parental consent letters, and medical letters. Medical letters mainly pertain to pregnant guests. Once guests book their cruise, they get too comfortable with looking forward to their trip. Guests MUST research what documentation they’ll need for their cruise, especially concerning minors, visas, and medical issues. Failure to have the proper documentation will result in their denial of boarding.

Inadequate documentation is the #1 of all sailing day pitfalls. All guests are responsible for having the proper documentation for sailing day.

A cruise: it’s the ultimate vacation experience. Cruises offer merely everything under the sun, including good times had by all. Before going on a cruise, guests must be aware of the pitfalls. Multiple mistakes are made. One day, there will be a cruise which all guests will do everything properly prior to sailing day. Wishful thinking, right? It is imperative that guests pay attention to the pitfalls and make the right choices before suffering the consequences. Guests must arrive at the cruise terminal on time. They should allow themselves the opportunity to unwind. Guests must exercise caution when packing their luggage for the reasons previously mentioned. They should prepay their gratuities. When going on repositioning cruises, they SHOULD NOT drive to the pier. All guests must bring along the appropriate documentation for boarding. Failing to avoid sailing day pitfalls results in the hopes of a long-anticipated cruise being dashed. Avoiding frequent pitfalls does more than assuring guests a pleasurable cruise experience. Avoiding pitfalls assures guests a memorable sailing day.

Amtrak Fall destinations: Something to be-leaf in

Amtrak’;s summer repairs at Penn Station are officially complete. Here, track workers complete repairs to one of the main tracks, as a train emerges from the Hudson River tunnel.

Wow, what a summer! Understatement, right? The temporary cancellations didn’t cause that much of a disruption. According to most riders, the summer went rather smoothly. With the summer repairs at New York Penn  Station over, it’s time to focus on the good times that lay ahead. With shiny new rails in place, Amtrak’s trains will continue to roll. It’s time to celebrate this memorable feat with great travel ideas. With more than twenty-one routes in forty-three states, there’s no better time to make ‘tracks’ this fall. Further, it’s the right time to show some appreciation for Amtrak’s dedication to keeping passengers safe on the rails. Here are the five top Fall destinations to consider:

5)New Orleans: From July 10th to September 1st, Amtrak’s Crescent (New York-New Orleans) was temporarily operating between Washington, DC and New Orleans. With the Crescent returning to its normal schedule on September 2nd, it’s time for Amtrak travelers to celebrate Mardi Gras year-round all over again. Passengers can feel the Cajun beat from New York to New Orleans without disruption. Football fans can catch the Saints at the Superdome. In New Orleans, it’s party time all the time. The craw fish, alligator meat, and the great deep south flavors await. Passengers can grab their ticket and beads! On the Crescent, the Cajun beat is non-stop. Of all Fall destinations, New Orleans is truly a city to “Fall” for.

P-40 locomotive #701 leads an Empire Service train home from Niagara Falls.

4) Niagara Falls: Of all Amtrak Fall destinations, Niagara Falls is among the most family-oriented and above all, the most romantic. Amtrak travelers can escape the hustle and bustle of the New York metropolitan area for one of the most picturesque places on earth. From the “Maid of The Mist”, to strolling across the Rainbow Bridge, to experiencing the Niagara Falls Canada Whirlpool Aero Car, Amtrak presents Fall travelers with a ticket for the journey of a lifetime. The journey from New York City to Niagara Falls is a journey not to be missed. From departing cavernous Penn Station, to gliding along the city’s west side, to cruising beneath Riverside Park through the Overbuild Tunnel, and speeding along the mighty Hudson River, who would not want to pass up a train ride, a train ride to write home about? Niagara Falls is without-a-doubt, a must-do for all Amtrak Fall travelers. Travelers should forget about  their barrels and let Amtrak take them to the edge of the excitement and experience the power of the falls.

Twilight Shoreliner train #67 arrives at historic Williamsburg Station.

3) Williamsburg, VA: Do you hear the hoofs of Clydesdales? During the Fall. there is no better place to visit than the great state of Virginia. Williamsburg is one of the most romantic and the most charming towns in Virginia. Is is one of the great Fall destinations which speaks to the hearts of all train travelers.

Williamsburg is the home of Colonial Williamsburg and Busch Gardens-Europe. Busch Gardens-Europe is home to the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales. There, visitors can see them up close. At Colonial Williamsburg, visitors can experience colonial life in the most authentic of surroundings. It is where history comes alive. At both of these quintessential points of interest, the Fall atmosphere can’t be more intimate. In Williamsburg, there are tons of hotels within minutes of the Amtrak’s Williamsburg station. Who said Virginia was for lovers? Virginia is for Amtrak travelers, too.

2) Boston: Boston, the City of Kind Hearts, is the one destination that was never affected by the summer cancellations. Of all Fall destinations, Boston speaks to the “heaht” of every Amtrak traveler. That says a lot for city known as Beantown. Visitors should be wary of the Boston accent. It is so thick, one can cut it with a “fawk”.

Completed in 1898, Boston’s South Station is the oldest terminal on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

When Fall arrives, Boston’s sports atmosphere is in full swing. The New England Patriots will be defending their historic Super Bowl championship. The Red Sox will be going for their sixth World Series title. With so such energy in the air, Boston is the perfect Fall destination. Passengers will step off their train at historic South Station. From there, they can visit the Seaport  District, enjoy a bowl of fresh clam chowder, and mingle with the friendly city locals. Music lovers can head to Symphony Hall to tune in to the sounds of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Boston Pops. Rock music fans can pay a visit to 1325 Commonwealth Avenue, the former residence of Aerosmith.

Once the World Series is over, the seasons will change again. It will be game-on for Boston’s two other beloved teams, the Bruins and the Celtics. The Celtics will be in pursuit of their eighteenth NBA championship. The Boston Bruins will be pursuing their seventh Stanley Cup in franchise history. In Boston, Amtrak travelers aren’t just part of history. They are part of the revolution.

1) Washington, DC: Our nation’s capital was significantly affected by the summer cancellations. As of September 2nd, the trains will be running on a normal daily schedule. New York-Washington service will be fully restored. There is no better city to experience Fall colors than in Washington, DC.

Washington, DC is the gem of all Fall destinations. Passengers will exit their train at the glorious Union Station. It’s not just a train station, it’s a feast for the eyes. At Union Station, passengers can hop aboard the Metro subway to visit the National Mall and the Smithsonian museums. The Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, and Lincoln Memorial are just a short walking distance away.

Built in 1907, Washington, DC’s Union Station was constructed to be both a railroad terminal and a monument in one.

Speaking of Fall destinations, visitors can head to Six  Flags America in nearby Largo, MD. Six Flags hosts its annual Fright Fest, blending the “spirit” of Halloween into its theme parks. Amtrak will have passengers “screaming” down the rails to be a part of an engaging Fall experience.

Washington, DC is not just a city of museums and monuments. It’s a city for all seasons. Come Fall, it is game-on for the NFL’s Redskins, the NHL’s Capitals, and NBA’s Wizards. It’s easy to understand why Washington, DC is a destination of ‘monumental’ proportions.

Fall is the right time to ride the rails. With the hot and humid summer coming to an end, the train schedule is returning to normal. It’s time to return to the pastime all travelers enjoy. Fall time is train time. Amtrak’s great Fall destinations are calling to avid train travelers.

Fall time means train time. Here, a Amtrak’s Fall Foliage Express crosses the 115 year-old Rockville Bridge over the Susquehanna River near Marysville, PA.

Fall destinations are the reason why the train is the way to go. The Crescent will be returning to full service from New York to New Orleans. The Empire Route will be returning to a normal schedule out of Penn Station. Last, but not least, Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains will be once again thundering up and down the tracks between New York and Washington, DC. Fall foliage cannot be experienced better than through the windows of a train. On any of Amtrak’s east coast routes, Fall scenery is always a feast for the eyes. In an old Amtrak commercial one can remember the jingle, “There’s something about a train that’s magic.”. That’s Fall!

 

“Boston: History beyond freedom’s trail” is complete!

There are than a dozen U.S. cities well rooted in history. There are cities well known for sailing, contemporary architecture, cultural diversity, and their sports traditions. We must not forget that there are cities well known for their distinctive accents. The one city that captures the traveler’s imagination in all of these categories is Boston. Boston was one of a handful of cities that shaped our country’s history. We can be sure of that. Boston is known for much more than massacres, tea parties, and witchcraft trials. This new lecture, set to debut in August 2017, will take would-be travelers “beyond freedom’s trail”.

Costing the city a record 14.6 billion dollars. the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (a.k.a The Big Big), was the most expensive engineering project in United States history.

When traveling to Boston, it’s easy to take the train or simply drive. Boston is also a popular port-of-call for cruise ships during the Summer and Fall months. Boston is a city home to thousands upon thousands of commuters. By bus, trolley, train, or subway, Bostonians use them all. The one event in Boston’s history, which Bostonians are happy for its completion, is the Central Artery/Tunnel Project. Bostonians referred to it as “The Big Dig”.

“The Big Dig” was the most complex and most costly engineering project in United States history. “The Big Dig” began in the year 1982. The plan was to alleviate the traffic headaches caused by the elevated highways knifing through the city’s central area. “The Big Dig” included tunnels under Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor leading into South Station. Also included was the construction of the Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge over the Charles River. Lastly, “The Big Dig” dictated the relocation of commuter trolley lines. “The Big Dig” cost a record-shattering 14.6 billion dollars. For the worst part, “The Big Dig” caused Bostonians and commuters alike, hours of construction traffic. “The Big Dig” was complete by late 2006. It’ is a pleasure to see Bostonians sleeping easy these days.

Built in 1928, the legendary Boston Garden was the home of the Celtics and Bruins.

Boston is well-known for its sports history. New York is referred to as the mecca of the sports world. Boston’s sports history is rooted much deeper than New York. Two of the most iconic sports facilities in Boston’s history are Boston Garden and Fenway Park. The Boston Celtics started playing at Boston Garden in 1957, and won 16 NBA championships during the Garden’s era. The Boston Garden, completed in 1928, had a few home disadvantages. The Boston Bruins’ hockey rink was undersized as opposed to the standard dimensions. The Boston Garden was also built without air conditioning, making every basketball and hockey match-up an uphill challenge. Boston Garden closed its doors for the final time in the Spring of 1995, making way for a new era in Celtics and Bruins history. The TD Garden (f.k.a Fleet Center), became the new home. Boston Garden was demolished in the Spring of 1998.

Fenway Park has been historic home of the Boston Red Sox since April 1912.

Fenway Park was built in April 1912. Home to the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park was the site of only one World Series Championship celebration. It was the 2013 World Series Championship over the St. Louis Cardinals. It was once the home of the New England Patriots. When Fenway Park was completed, the stadium never made headlines as opposed to an ocean liner that sank that same month.

Boston’s historic South Station is Amtrak’s terminal, home to more than 40 trains arriving and departing on a daily basis.

Boston still has the most intriguing transportation system. Aside from having the oldest subway system in the United States (the T), Boston’s two railroad stations have their own stories to tell. Boston’s South Station is the most breathtaking. North Station was torn down in 1927, to make room for Boston Garden. South Station is Amtrak’s terminal, and serves the MBTA. In its hay day, South Station was the busiest railroad station in the country, handling up to three hundred trains a day. Today it is still busy, handling Amtrak’s Northeast Regional trains, Acela Express, and the Lake Shore Limited (New York/Boston-Chicago). Circa 1940, the station had a shed, covering the station platforms. The shed was later destroyed by fire. The whole terminal was feared to be completely demolished. The famous front facade of South Station was saved. South Station today serves as Boston’s railroad gateway. Today, South Station is a historic city landmark.

Held every April, the Boston Marathon welcomes runners from all over the world.

Every November, all eyes are on New York City for the New York City Marathon. Every April, the Boston Athletics Association hosts the Boston Marathon. The Boston Marathon begins in Boston suburb of Ashland, MA. The route cuts eastward through the suburbs of Natick, Wellesley, Brookline, Newton, and concluding in downtown Boston on Boylston Street. Ever since the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, the race’s popularity has grown tremendously. No city’s marathon has welcomed more runners than Boston. The Boston Marathon has welcomed runners from all over the world, including those with disabilities. With regards to sports, Boston is among the candidate cities for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.

A treat for all travelers alike, Boston is at the very “heaht” of New England.

Boston is more than just a popular city for travelers from all around the world. It is a city that is constantly evolving. Boston is the city that welcomes ideas, traditions, cultures, and leaders from all over the world. Ever since the Boston Marathon bombing, Boston has been a city for the strong and courageous. Ultimately, Boston is a city that stands at the heart or “haht” of New England. Boston is where our country’s history “stahted” and it is where history “chahges” on.

Lost treasures: The 3 well-missed cruise ship events

Every cruise vacation comes with forever cherished memories. Here, travel writer David Kriso enjoys his time on the flow rider on board the Oasis of The Seas.

No one can say that cruising is no fun. Everyone who comes home from their cruise vacation always have plenty to share. They brag about who stuffed themselves, who won the jackpot in bingo, who won big in the casino, and who spent the most in duty-free shopping. The list goes on and on. In the years past, things have changed. Cruise ships have evolved. New on board experiences have been added. Unfortunately, there are some on board experiences which have long disappeared. It’s these kinds of events which longtime cruisers remember to this very day. Many avid cruisers speak highly of them, and reminisce about the level of excitement drawn by them. Here’s the top three missed cruise ship events. They’re gone, but not forgotten.

Paired with the belly-flop competition, the Mr. Sexy Legs competition was a favorite poolside event for all ladies on board.

3. Mr. Sexy Legs Competition: Everyone’s heard the expression, “What happens on board, stays on board!”. There are so many fun poolside events held on board cruise ships. There’s bar games, swimming pool volleyball tournaments, and the belly-flop competition. The Mr. Sexy Legs competition is the one event which many young cruisers miss very much. The Mr. Sexy Legs competition was one of the most anticipated events on board ship. It was the second most favorite to the belly-flop competition. It was one competition which signaled to all ladies on board to get their cameras rolling. How did the competition go? Eight contestants danced before a panel of female judges (who are guests). They were allowed to make body contact, make crazy gestures, and so on. There was never any nudity. Third place was awarded to Mr. Chicken Legs. Second place was awarded to Mr. Hairy Legs. Then, there was first place-self-explanatory. To all men on board, anyone being crowned Mr. Sexy Legs was a happening. Not long ago, the event was done away with. Well, so we think! On most cruise lines, it’s been combined with “The World’s Sexiest Man” competition. If anyone’s ever participated in this competition, they should without-a-doubt savor the moment.

Without the cruise director and the staff, no cruise vacation would be possible. Here, the cruise staff performs the legendary show, “Fountains”.

2. Fountains: On every cruise, guests love a good show. Who doesn’t? There are headliner shows, special guest comedians, and Broadway musicals. There was one show which guests got a huge laugh out of. It was the show that starred the cruise director and his/her staff. It was called “Fountains”. How did “Fountains” go? “Fountains” would to start out very quiet, with the music starting. Depending which cruise line “Fountains” was featured on, the stage effects were always unpredictable, and gave the show that guessing feeling. Then, the performers processed on to the stage, wearing togas and laurel wreathes. Each performer carried a metal jug of water. Often times, the show was set to the music of Enya. How appropriate, no?

In “Fountains”, there was never enough anticipation. The guests laughed non-stop.

In “Fountains” the action would continue to build. The audience’s anticipation also began to build. Each of the performers would start drinking the water and filling up their mouths. Like fountains, they started squirting each other and the cruise director. Each and every time, the performers would get into different formations on stage. Just like those fancy fountains in a city park, they drank more water and squirted each other on cue. It was too funny. No one knew who was going to squirt who next, and how, and in what manner? “Fountains” was like a fountain in a European city impersonated by circus clowns. This iconic show sadly disappeared from the cruise ship stage. It wasn’t disliked by anyone. Unfortunately, it was discontinued for sanitary reasons. If anyone has seen this show before, let the memory live on forever.

Surrounded by so much mouth-watering food at all angles, the midnight buffet was the holiest of events on board.

1. The midnight buffet: Everyone has been on a cruise and heard the funny question, “What time is the midnight buffet”? That question still lives on to this day. The midnight buffet was once the most anticipated event on any cruise ship. Everyone looked forward to it. Dinner in the main dining room was never enough. The midnight buffet was looked to by guests as being the holiest of holidays on board. There were dazzling ice sculptures, handcrafted fruit platters, all-you-can-eat shrimp, all-you-can-eat crab legs, all-you-can-eat cold cuts, all-you-can-eat grilled meats, and best of all…all-you-can-eat dessert. One can imagine how much food anyone can consume in one night. One can imagine why they would hold a belly-flop competition on board. Unfortunately, the midnight buffet was done away with. Any food not consumed (meat, fruits, vegetables, etc), had to be disposed of. Nothing is saved on board a cruise ship. If a major buffet event is held, it would be some major event such as a wedding or a ship’s inaugural celebration. If anyone’s ever been to the midnight buffet before, he/she should savor the memory, and the mouth-watering aftertaste. Long live the taste buds!

Despite the popularity of the “Mr. Sexy Legs” competition, it was no match for the belly-flop competition.

Every cruise vacation has plenty to talk and brag about. Every cruise vacation features great shows, fun contests on the open decks, and exciting evening events. Everyone has something fun and amazing to talk about when they return home from their cruise. However, there are a handful of great on board events which avid cruisers will truly miss. They were events which they often looked forward to, and events they were always anticipating the moment they stepped on board. Guests would even ask the cruise staff when those events will be taking place. “Mr. Sexy Legs”, “Fountains”, and the midnight buffet will be sorely missed. They were the events that got the crowd going. As we all know, times do change. Things happen for a reason. “Mr. Sexy Legs”, “Fountains”, and the midnight buffet are gone, but will never be forgotten. If any cruisers out there have footage of these events on their cruise DVD, they should play them on repeat. It’s too easy to believe when they say “Great moments last forever”.

NY Penn Station: At its heart, Amtrak keeps on chugging

All of Amtrak’s Acela trains will continue to run on a normal schedule. The Acela can travel at speeds up to 150 mph. (Photo taken in Kingston, RI)

Passenger train travel is a vital part of intercity daily life in the northeastern United States. Amtrak operates up to one hundred trains per day up and down its bustling Northeast Corridor. In addition, it offers daily service from New York City to the cities of Albany, Buffalo, Niagara Falls. Amtrak’s Empire route also handles trains headed to Montreal, Toronto, Chicago, and Rutland, VT. New York City’s Penn Station is the origin and termination point for all of these routes. July 10th, 2017, Amtrak will be temporarily cancelling a handful of trains to allow track improvements to be made at Penn Station. Passengers should not be discouraged by these cancellations. Amtrak strongly values the safety of its passengers and employees. What trains will be cancelled? Will they positively or negatively affect passengers’ views of the carrier? It’s best to understand that Amtrak wants to keep daily business on ‘track’.

Three daily Northeast Regional trains will be temporarily cancelled. Here, Northeast Regional train #185, arrives at Newark Penn Station.

Between July 10th and September 1st, 2017, Amtrak will be temporarily cancelling certain trains to alleviate congestion at Penn Station, while track improvements are in progress. Amtrak will be temporarily cancelling three daily New York City-Washington, DC Northeast Regional trains. Amtrak’s Keystone route from New York City to Harrisburg will be slightly affected.  Three weekday round-trips will start and end in Philadelphia. One weekday round-trip will start and end in Newark, NJ. Service between Philadelphia and Harrisburg will operate as scheduled. No announcement has been made regarding Amtrak’s Empire route. A decision will be announced soon.

Amtrak’s Crescent, a daily long-distance run between New York City and New Orleans, will also be operating on a modified schedule. The Crescent will run daily between Washington, DC and New Orleans. Passengers traveling to and from destinations north of Washington, DC will be able to connect to other services.

Spanning the Hackensack River between Secaucus and Kearny, NJ, Portal Bridge handles up to two hundred trains per day, Amtrak and NJ Transit combined.

Schedules are up to date. Anyone with a trip already booked on affected routes has been contacted. Additional work will last through approximately June 2018, with most of it occurring on weekends to minimize the impact on service. Amtrak continues to make progress on the construction of the new Moynihan Station, across from the current Penn Station. Amtrak also plans to replace the 107 year-old Portal Bridge between Secaucus and Kearny, NJ. The current bridge has a two-track right-of-way. The new bridge will have a four-track right-of-way.

Amtrak Northeast Regional train #178 prepares to depart Newark Penn Station for New York Penn Station.

Despite temporary cancellations, Amtrak will continue make ‘tracks’. Travelers, both business and pleasure, rely on Amtrak more than ever before. New York City is the mecca of northeast railroad travel. With a handful of scheduled trains to be briefly affected, life on the rails will keep rolling. The Northeast Corridor is the busiest passenger railroad in the United States. In the coming year, passenger volume is projected to rise even further. In recent years, Amtrak has broken ridership records and will continue to do so. Amtrak’s temporary cancellations are necessary for the company to improve its infrastructure. Furthermore, these improvements are key to Amtrak’s reliability. Without them, Amtrak cannot move forward. These cancellations, along with the needed improvements, are a tribute to the perseverance of Amtrak’s dedicated and talented employees. No journey on the rails would be possible without them. Despite upcoming cancellations and mandatory track improvements at Penn Station, Amtrak keeps on chugging along.

Newport, RI: The top five must-see’s

The Claiborne Pell Bridge, f.k.a Newport Bridge, is the longest suspension bridge in New England.

Newport, RI is the among the most visited cities in the northeastern United States. It is among the most historic towns in the United States. Newport has a whole smorgasbord of sights and activities to keep any tourist busy. What should be visited first? What should be visited second? Here’s the inside scoop to a smooth sailing visit to Newport.

 

The Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant is among the most popular restaurants on Thames Street. It is well visited by Salve Regina students, Salve Regina alumni, and tourists.

5) Thames Street: Thames Street in Newport is not to be missed. Thames Street cuts through the heart of historic Newport. If anyone is looking for restaurants and novelty shops, Thames Street is the place. Among the popular restaurants are the Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant and The Red Parrot. Brick Alley Pub is located near the corner of Thames and Washington Square. The menu is tremendous. The Red Parrot is located on the corner of Memorial Boulevard and Thames Street. If anyone is looking for seafood, The Red Parrot is the place to find it. If anyone is looking for some gourmet fudge, the Newport Fudgery is directly next door.

Fort Adams was built in 1790, named after John Quincy Adams. It is located at the mouth of Newport Harbor.

4) Fort Adams: Fort Adams is the oldest fort in the northeastern United States. Located at the mouth of Newport Harbor, it was built in 1790 to protect Newport against invasions. Fort Adams is protected by more than two hundred guns. Fort Adams was named after former president John Quincy Adams, who was instrumental in starting the War of 1812. Fort Adams was active in all major wars; War of 1812, Spanish-American War, Civil War, World War I, and World War II. Every summer, Fort Adams is the hosting venue of the Newport Jazz Festival.

The Newport Casino is home to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

3) International Tennis Hall of Fame: The International Tennis Hall of Fame was established in 1954. In the early twentieth century, the Newport Casino complex was constructed to provide a social club atmosphere for the wealthy and powerful. Unfortunately, the complex struggled from the very beginning. By the 1950s, it was nearly doomed to be demolished. In 1954, the International Tennis Hall of Fame saved the Newport Casino. The International Tennis Hall of Fame is where the game of tennis is celebrated through the great players who made the game as great as it is today. The International Tennis Hall of Fame is home to tennis greats including Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. It also pays a tribute to the game of tennis and the history behind the game. The class of 2017 inductees are Andy Roddick, Kim Clijsters, Monique Kalkman-van-den Bosch, Steve Flink, and Vic Braden.

Salve Regina University was founded in 1947 by the Sisters of Mercy. Its main building is Ochre Court, built by Richard Morris Hunt circa 1895.

2) Salve Regina University: Salve Regina University was founded in 1947 by the Sisters of Mercy. It all started with one of the most gorgeous mansions in Newport; Ochre Court. Ochre Court was built circa 1895 by real estate investment tycoon Ogden Goelet. In 1947, family heir Robert Goelet donated Ochre Court to the Sisters of Mercy. Salve Regina College was founded. The first commencement was held in May 1951 with sixty-one graduates. All were women. Salve Regina College became a co-ed university in 1980. This Spring 2017, Salve Regina University was named the most beautiful university in Rhode Island and among top fifty in the nation by Travel + Leisure magazine.

The Breakers was built between 1893-95, and the summer cottage of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbuilt.

1) The Breakers: The Breakers is the one mansion which tourists cannot miss. The Breakers is located directly next door to Salve Regina University. Built between 1893-95 by Cornelius Vanderbuilt, it is the largest mansion in Newport. The Breakers is a Renaissance-style Palazzo, inspired by the 16th century palaces in Genoa (Genova), and Turin (Torino), Italy. The Breakers was built with seventy rooms, including thirty rooms on the top floor for servants. The Breakers was designed and built by Richard Morris Hunt. Richard Morris Hunt also designed and built Ochre Court, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. In 1972, the Breakers was purchased by the Newport Historical Society, and presently a National Historic Landmark.

The Opera House Theater was built in 1867. This December, it will be re-opened to the public, fully restored, for its 150th anniversary.

New England is a fun and inspiring area of the United States to visit. There’s Boston, Old Sturbridge Village, Bar Harbor, ME, and Mystic, CT. Of all the great historic cities in the northeastern United States, Newport stands alone as being the most awe-inspiring, educational, and entertaining. It is a breathtaking jewel that captures the human imagination. From bustling Thames Street, to the excitement of the International Tennis Hall of Fame, to the educational aspect of Salve Regina University, to iconic mansions, Newport is a model city for tourists from around the world. There is simply no city in the world like it. Newport is simply, a traveler’s jewel by the sea.

 

Amtrak Guest Rewards: Where passengers build a “track” record

Amtrak Guest Rewards points

For each and every journey on the rails, Amtrak Guest Rewards members earn points towards free trips in the near future.

Amtrak; it’s America’s railroad and one of the finest ways to travel in the United States. With all drama arising in the airline industry, it is time to return to basics. It is the right time to focus on the many great reasons why Amtrak is the right choice of travel. There’s better leg room and there’s no need to put electronic devices on airplane mode. Further, it’s frustrating enough to be subjected to a never-ending wait at airport security checkpoints. With Amtrak, traveling is far more relaxing and more rewarding than ever before. Amtrak Guest Rewards is one of the top passenger loyalty programs in the travel industry. The rewards are not just earned on board. They can be earned anywhere and anytime.

With the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard, members can earn maximum points with merchant partners (i.e. eBags, See’s Candies, and Intuit TurboTax). Above: Platinum Card

Amtrak Guest Rewards doesn’t just reward points for train travel and ticket purchases. Passengers accrue Amtrak Guest Rewards points for making everyday purchases with the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard from Bank of America. With the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard, passengers can earn points for purchases at well-known merchants. Presently, passengers can earn ten points per dollar when they purchase Intuit TurboTax. Passengers can earn ten points per dollar by shopping at eBags. Another popular merchant is See’s Candies. At See’s Candies, passengers can earn six points per dollar. The merchant with the largest rewards value is AnytimeCostumes.com. Passengers can earn thirteen points per dollar. Anytime Costumes has been in business since 1954 and online since 1997. The Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard makes preparing for the next trip on the rails all the more desirable.

Once passengers have made their Intuit TurboTax purchase, shopped at EBags, or bought someone a gift at See’s Candies, they are earning instant Amtrak Guest Rewards points. Using the Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard is that simple. Amtrak Guest Rewards points for Amtrak travel or ticket purchases are posted to passengers’ accounts within three weeks. Points from all other purchases such as EBags and AnytimeCostumes.com will be posted within six weeks. The complete listing of Amtrak Guest Rewards merchant partners and point values can be found at www.AmtrakGuestRewards.com.

World Card

Members who use the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Card can earn great perks including a complimentary Companion Coupon and a single-day pass for Club Acela or Metropolitan Lounge access.

Bank of America offers two choices of Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard. There is the Amtrak Guest Rewards Platinum Card and the Amtrak Guest Rewards World Card. With the Platinum Card, passengers can earn twelve thousand instant points when they spent one thousand dollars or more in the first ninety days of activation. When using the World Card, passengers can earn twenty thousand instant points after having spent one thousand dollars or more within ninety days of activation. Passengers can view card details at www.AmtrakGuestRewards.com.

Amtrak has without a doubt made traveling the most rewarding experience anyone could imagine. Earning points for traveling on Amtrak is the utmost fascinating. Earning Amtrak Guest Rewards points for such as tickets and cafe car purchases makes traveling even more exciting. Chiefly, earning Amtrak Guest Rewards points for shopping at popular online merchants makes riding the rails a well-deserved traveling experience. Amtrak Guest Rewards members are VIPs of Amtrak travel. Whichever card passengers use, the rewards and possibilities are endless. The Amtrak Guest Rewards Mastercard makes being a VIP and an avid shopper a combined traveling experience to savor for many journeys to come.

Sailing day: The passengers’ countdown checklist

David Kriso, in front of the Carnival Vista during her inaugural debut in New York City.

David Kriso, in front of the Carnival Vista during her inaugural debut in New York City.

There is simply no news more exciting than hearing that a someone had booked a cruise. Regardless of cruise line, the energy is at a high level. The on board activities, the entertainment, the shore excursions, and the memories all lay head. It’s all good. From beginning to end, cruises are full of good times to be treasured. Prior to sailing day, there is a cheat sheet, a checklist which cruise passengers must adhere to. There is homework to be done, of course. There are things to remember, things to pack, and reminders which the cruise line send out to all passengers in the weeks leading up to sailing day. To have a successful sailing day, cruise passengers should follow a sailing day checklist. It should go as follows.

Before the online check-in process can begin, cruise passengers must make sure that they have made their final payment to the cruise line.

Before the online check-in process can begin, cruise passengers must make sure that they have made their final payment to the cruise line.

5) Final payment: To begin the checklist, the final payment must be made. Before the excitement can build, cruise passengers MUST remember to make their final payment to the cruise line. Normally, the original payments are made out to the travel agency. The final payment is always made out to the cruise line. Cruise passengers have shown up at the check-in counter, and never realized they never submitted their final payment. They end up wondering why their reservation doesn’t exist. Making the final payment is paramount, in order to begin the online check-in process.

Prior to sailing day, cruise passengers must complete the online check-in process. Online check-in is the way of the world in the cruising industry.

Prior to sailing day, cruise passengers must complete the online check-in process. Online check-in is the way of the world in the cruising industry.

4) Online check-in: This is a key component of the sailing day checklist. Having submitted their final payment, the online check-in process can begin. Online check-in is the way of the world in the cruising industry. Only then if cruise passengers have made their final payment, they will receive their booking number. Having done so, they can begin the online check-in process. To ensure a timely embarkation experience, cruise passengers MUST complete this step. It saves a significant amount of time at the check-in counter. Cruise passengers MUST log in to their reservation with the booking code. The online check-in process is laid out like a “yellow brick road”. Cruise passengers need to enter their personal information, passport information, on-board charge information, and accept the terms of the ticket contract. Once completed, they can print out their cruise tickets. If sailing on board Royal Caribbean’s Anthem or Harmony of The Seas, passengers need to upload their security photos. The photo guidelines are provided at that stage of the online check-in process.

Before checking luggage in at the terminal, cruise passengers must attached their provided luggage tags. Shown here are the luggage tags for the Disney Wonder.

Before checking luggage in at the terminal, cruise passengers must attached their provided luggage tags. Shown here are the luggage tags for the Disney Wonder.

3) Luggage tags: Before leaving their home, cruise passengers must make sure that they scratch this part off their checklist. Most cruise lines mail luggage tags to their passengers. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Norwegian, provide their luggage tags at the conclusion of the online check-in process. They must be printed out. Passengers then attach them according the the instructions given. The luggage tags will have the stateroom number, the passengers’ last names, and their guest loyalty level (if applicable). Cruise passengers MUST attach their luggage tags to their bags. Carry-on luggage MUST also have luggage tags attached in case they should go astray.

All cruise passengers are responsible for having the appropriate documentation, including passports.

All cruise passengers are responsible for having the appropriate documentation, including passports.

2) Documentation: This is the second most important part of the sailing day checklist. Documentation is the bread and butter of the embarkation process. All cruise passengers are responsible for having the appropriate documentation to sail. Documentation includes passports, passport cards, birth certificates with a photo ID (for passengers age sixteen and older), and valid visas (if applicable). Valid visas are required to complete the check-in process, depending on the country. Other forms of documentation include parental consent letters and medical letters. Cruise passengers traveling with minors MUST provide a parental consent letter. The purpose of letter isn’t just for granting permission to take the child out of the country. The letter also must include a clause granting permission to make medical decisions in case of an emergency. The parental consent letter must also be notarized. Another key form of documentation would be custody paperwork, in case a child is traveling with his/her legal guardian(s). Pregnant passengers MUST provide a letter from the doctor stating they’re in healthy condition to sail. Expectant passengers at six months pregnancy or less are allowed to sail.

To ensure a safe and sound boarding experience, cruise passengers must arrive at the terminal on time.

To ensure a safe and sound boarding experience, cruise passengers must arrive at the terminal on time.

1) BE ON TIME!: Going on vacation is always a ton of fun. It’s simply a no-brainer. The very last step, the ultimate step, is to be on time. Cruise passengers drive, take the bus, take the train, or fly to their cruise port city. Whichever way they do so, it is paramount that they arrive at the cruise terminal on time. The boarding process begins approximately at eleven o’clock. There are three reasons why cruise passengers must arrive on time: 1) They can relax and enjoy explore the ship, 2) They have ample time to sign up for shore excursions and youth activities, 3) They are well-situated in their staterooms and ready for the lifeboat muster drill. The lifeboat muster drill is mandatory and all passengers must attend. Being on time guarantees endless fun on sailing day. Being on time guarantees a successful start to any cruise. Checklist complete!

Having boarded the ship, cruise passengers can enjoy the never-ending array of food choices. Here, cruise passengers enjoy lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace aboard the Anthem of The Seas.

Having boarded the ship, cruise passengers can enjoy the never-ending array of food choices. Here, cruise passengers enjoy lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace aboard the Anthem of The Seas.

GRAND PRIZE…FOOD!: On any cruise, there can never be enough food. Once cruise passengers have been successfully checked in and received their stateroom key cards, they are ready to board the ship. The staterooms may not be ready for the passengers’ enjoyment until one o’clock at the latest. Until then, passengers are welcome to proceed to the buffet on the upper deck. Food is the name of the game. Food is everywhere. All of the passengers’ favorites are available. Hot dogs, hamburgers, pasta, sandwiches, the salad bar, and ice cream are all waiting for them. Cruise ship food is undeniably sinful. Cruise ship food is indeed so sinful, the culinary staff prepares more than twenty thousand meals per day. Every day, plenty of food keeps cruise passengers happy. In case passengers wish to purchase specialty drinks or beverage packages, all they need to have on hand is their stateroom key cards.

Not only is having a sailing day checklist a must-do, but a routine followed by every seasoned cruise passenger.

Not only is having a sailing day checklist a must-do, but a routine followed by every seasoned cruise passenger.

A cruise: the vacation of a lifetime. Whether it’s the first time on a certain cruise line, the first time out of a certain port city, or the first time period, cruise passengers indeed feel a bit overwhelmed. Seasoned cruisers are highly familiar with the sailing day procedure. They know what to do, where to go, what to do when, and how. For first timers under any circumstance, there is a simple checklist to be followed. Cruise passengers must be sure that they made their final payment to the cruise line. They must also complete the online check-in process. Afterward, it gets easier. Cruise passengers must obtain their cruise tickets and luggage tags. The final steps are taking along the proper documentation and arriving at the cruise terminal on time. Having crossed the finish line, they can enjoy all the food they’ve been longing for.

This checklist is to be repeated each and every time. Having developed this routine, cruising will be more than just a vacation. Cruise passengers, regardless of how often they travel, all share their theories to having a good time. When consistently following the routine, sailing day is no longer a method to the madness. Cruising is certainly without a doubt, a science enjoyed by all.