Cruising: The Bucket List

What is it about staring out at the thin line between blue sea and blue sky that stops time? Cruises come in all guises from luxurious ocean behemoths to river boats and barges to ice-cutters and small ships that docks in tiny ports no one has ever heard of. Read here about the cruises and the shore excursions that link land and sea.

Taputapuatea Marea is the second most important archaeological site in all of Polynesia (Photo: MCArnott)

Exploring Life on Raiatea Island: A Cruise Shore Excursion in French Polynesia

Ambling through the untidy streets of Papeete, I find myself wondering what happened to the once blissfully depicted capital of French Polynesia. I know the cruise will take us to moss-laden jagged mountains, teeming marine life and stilted Read More

Maine Windjammers off Rockland (Photo by Stillman Rogers)

Sailing on Maine Windjammer Angelique

My husband Tim is a sailing ship nut who could happily spend day after day standing on a swaying deck watching the sails billow and the shore slide past. Born a century earlier, he might have run away to sea as a cabin boy. But would 12-year-old Mary Read More

Lighthouse at Pot du Phare (Photo credit: Roberta Sotonoff ©2012)

Birding the Quebec Maritimes’ Islands near Rivière-du-Loup

The Quebec Maritimes are a haven for people like me who are into nature. This northern part of Quebec along the St. Lawrence River provides both a serene escape from the city and incredible scenery. Jagged rock formations erupt from the water. Birds Read More

Yellow-eyed penguin in nest (Courtesy Yellow-eyed Penguin Trust)

Searching for the Yellow-eyed Penguin in New Zealand

The word “maybe” is out. We might see some, but there is no guarantee. Do we still want to go? We do. A guide points to our transportation--an 8-wheel-drive Argo--a cross between a tractor and a boat. We'll be taking this vehicle to see the penguins Read More

Ruins of abandoned houses, St. Kilda (Copyright Stillman Rogers Photography)

Stepping into the Past on Scotland’s St. Kilda Archipelago, a UNESCO Site

The taste of salt was strong on the wind as we sailed past cliffs that dropped to a wave-dashed tumble of stones below. Beyond this cluster of cliff-bound islands known as St. Kilda, open Atlantic stretched to the gray line of the horizon. The Read More

Steep headlands in Scotland's Outer Hebrides

Cruising Scotland’s Islands on the Hebridean Princess

As we approached the ship, an opening skirl sounded from a piper on the upper deck, and he piped us aboard to the rousing strains of Scotland the Brave. So began our immersion into Scotland’s Western Isles, where more often than the highland Read More

Sailing on Penobscto Bay

Sailing Maine’s Penobscot Bay on a Timberwind Music Cruise

I am sitting on Warren Island in Maine's Penobscot Bay, watching a mountain of lobsters redden on an open fire. Bob Tassi -- ship captain, Grammy-award winning recording engineer, and musician -- is playing songs written by his grandfather on the Read More

L'Austral anchors in Patmos, where St. John wrote Revelations.

Sailing the Greek Isles on L’Austral: A Moonlit Mediterranean Music Cruise

For some reason, concert pianist Gilles Vonsattel had never learned to play Clair de Lune, a staple of the piano repertoire. But strolling the decks of Compagnie du Ponant's mega-yacht, l'Austral on a moonlit evening on the Aegean Sea, he was Read More

Feeding fish underwater with a tube in Moorea's lagoon.

Walking Underwater in Moorea, French Polynesia

I am staring at the eighty-pound helmet that will encapsulate my head: Will it be as weightless underwater as I am told? And the stingrays are on my mind too: One killed the Australian diver and conservationist Steve Irwin. I am only partially Read More

alaska glaciers

Seeing National Park Highlights on a Cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage

“Look there, in the top of that tree,” our raft guide whispered, pointing to a massive cottonwood tree near the river’s edge. Eight bodies in the raft with me turned and squinted, followed almost immediately by emitting a series of ooohs and Read More

A sea lion sleeps while sally lightfoot crabs scamper on the Galapagos Islands. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2012)

Viewing Some of Earth’s Rarest Creatures in the Galapagos Islands

I don’t need a sign warning me to “Yield to Sea Lions.” When a big fellow lumbers across my path you can bet I stop to give him the right of way. Sea lions, like most animals on the Galapagos Islands, are nonchalant toward humans because they are Read More

Felucca on the Nile

Sailing on a Felucca at Sunrise through Cairo, Egypt

What is startling is the silence in the middle of a city that normally assaults the senses. In mid-day Cairo, cars honk through the main roads, businessmen stride to work, vendors vend, ladies covered in the mystery of head-to-toe robes shuffle past Read More

sunset over Nile

Visiting Egypt’s Ruins from a Nile River Cruise

Look at a physical map of north Africa -- a map with brown mountains and green forests and beige deserts -- and you will see thousands of miles of sandy beige, and, then, a thin green line. The Nile. Life giver. In ancient times, the rising and Read More

Victory Chimes under full sail (photo c. Fred LeBlanc)

Sailing on the Victory Chimes, a Maine Windjammer

Here's what I noticed when I stepped aboard the Victory Chimes for a week-long cruise on the Maine coast. Almost all the cabins are belowdecks, and they are teeny -- mostly bunkbeds, so we're not really talking romantic cruise here. There's just Read More