Monday, May 26, 2014

Un-Cruising the Columbia River

There is something to be said for being a tourist in your own back yard. Especially when you live in a place like the Northwest, a region rich with a diversity of stunning landscapes. 

That's what drew me to the Un-Cruise Adventures Columbia River and Snake River cruise aboard the S.S.Legacy. 

I've travelled the route between Portland and Spokane many times. I've gone by train, automobile and by air. The missing mode of transportation was water. I'd never navigated the river by boat. 

This week I'm cruising the Columbia and a portion of the Snake River on a beautiful 1890s replica coastal steamer.  

So far, the trip has been wonderful. We're following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark and I'm in the company of smart, adventurous, enthusiastic travelers from across the United States. They ask good questions and have interesting stories to share. 

This is the third day and we've passed through four locks and watched the landscape change from the verdant green of the Pacific Northwest to the arid high desert of the east side of the Cascades Range. 

We spent time off the boat yesterday, exploring Multnomah Falls and the power house and fish ladders of the Bonneville Dam. 

Today, we're heading to the junction of the Snake River. It's been a great trip so far. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

(Not) Far From the Crowd: Cruise Zen

I'm doing a story on themed cruises and that has me in Miami onboard the Carnival Ecstasy for the Martina McBride performance as part of the Carnival Live concert series. 

The ship departs this afternoon for a four-day cruise with stops at Key West and Cozumel. 

After checking in and boarding at noon, I have a little time to kill until my room's ready at 1:30. I could have gone to the lunch buffet on the Lido Deck but I'm still full from breakfast. So, I looked around for a quiet spot and I found one: the Blue Saphire Lounge. This is where Martina will be performing on Thursday night. It will look a lot different then. 

One of the most common reasons people give for not cruising is the idea of being in such close quarters with the 2,000-3,000 people on board. That's valid. I don't care for crowds either. Just ask my family. I have a Do-Not-Disturb bubble around me the size of Manhattan.
But I love to cruise because I've discovered it's always possible to find a quiet corner somewhere. The crowds are on the Lido Deck or around the pool. When I need a break, I go to another part of the ship. 

Like now. 

While the rest of the passengers board the ship, I'll enjoy the peace and quite and get a little work done. 

Like this.