A Day on Barbados

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Barbados has to be one of the most beautiful islands in the southern Caribbean. Having heard about it so much I finally had the opportunity to travel here on a cruise and I loved it. The beaches are extremely clean and pristine and the water is crystal clear. I could spend the entire time relaxing on the beach, but Barbados offers plenty more to see and do. Two of these draws are Harrison's Cave and a rum factory visit.

Caribbean Beach BarbadosBridgetown is the capital of Barbados and is the port of call for cruise ships. The pier provides easy access to disembark and walk to the beach which is very close to the pier. Although there are many beaches in Barbados, we walked to the closest one, Brighton Beach and it was absolutely beautiful. Not commercialized at all, the beach was perfect for a day of relaxation. Not far up the beach is the Malibu Beach Club where you can rent beach equipment and get something to eat or drink. There are also restroom facilities.

Mount Gay Rum Factory in BarbadosAlso a short walk from the cruise port is the Mount Gay Rum Distillery where you can take a 45 minute tour if you are interested in the rum-making process. For over 300 years they have been making rum here from the sugar cane which grows so abundantly on this island. For only $7 (children are free) adults can tour this rum factory and taste two of their popular brands. Tours leave every hour.

Mount Gay Rum Factory in BarbadosAnother interesting place to visit in Barbados is not so close to the cruise port but easily accessed by taxi. Harrison's Cave is an underground limestone cavern complete with stalactites and stalagmites, streams and waterfalls. Tours are available on a tram and they last an hour. You may see some bats or a green monkey if you are lucky. Prices are $30 for adults and $15 for children. There is also a 45 minute Bat Program for kids 7-11 available on request for $7.50.

One of the other beaches that appeal to surfers is in Bathsheba on the eastern side of the island and is called "Soup Bowl."  This side of Barbados is not touristy and considered the rough side but surfers consider this one of the world's best beaches for surfing the giant waves. The beach is exposed to the open Atlantic and nothing is in the way to break the waves here.

Sunset in BarbadosBarbados is a beautiful island and I hope to return here one day to check out some of the places I did not have a chance to see. A day simply is not enough here.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Follow Margie on her blog at margieinitaly.wordpress.com


4 Fantastic Turkey Cruise Destinations

Turkey Beach

Guest Post by: James Helliwell

There is nothing quite like a cruise, I love the feeling of the waves crashing against the side of the ship as we glide towards many different ports to embark on our travels. Of all the possible destinations, I have always found Turkey to be one of the more exotic and rewarding. Turkey is located at the far eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea and is home to some of the great ruins of the ancient world, as well as some of the best beaches of the modern world. Great cruises to Turkey can be had from P&O cruises so come and get some Mediterranean sunshine!

Turkey has four main ports of call. Dikili is perhaps the best known. It is famous for its resorts and its dark sand beaches. There is more to this town than fun, however; for here are located the ruins of ancient Troy and the rebuilt Temple of Trajan. Dikili is also the gateway for the ruins of Pergamum.

Another port of call in Turkey is Istanbul, an ancient city that has long spanned two continents. It is both the cultural and the economic center of Turkey. Some of the best sights in this amazing city are the Hippodrome and the Grand Bazaar. The latter contains over 4,000 shops and restaurants. The Topkapi Palace is another worthwhile place to visit. This famous palace was once home to the Ottoman Sultans, and contains a display of Ottoman treasures and jewelery. Istanbul is also justifiably famous for its architecture, which includes a mixture of Byzantine, Ottoman, Roman, and Greek styles, among others.

Turkey CruiseThe third common port of call for cruise ships in Turkey is the port of Kusadasi, which gives access to the ancient and ruined city of Ephesus. This city contains a number of ruins, including the Magnesia Gate and the Grand Theater, which once housed an audience of 25,000. This is the theater where St. Paul preached to the Ephesians. This city also contains the Basilica of St. John and the House of the Virgin Mary.

Finally, the magnificent city of Trabzon is the fourth common port in Turkey. This former Byzantine capital still contains a central square and has streets paved with cobblestones. For those not historically inclined there is a bustling marketplace. The silver-blue anchovies for which the city is famed are available here. The quiet and beautiful Sumela Monastery is located outside the city.

There are many cruise lines that visit Turkey, but one I mainly travel on is P&O Cruises. P&O is the oldest cruise line in the world. It is based in Southampton, England, but has cruises worldwide, including ships that visit all four Turkish ports.


Choosing a Discount Cruise

As I sit here on the computer with Jimmy Buffet playing in the background, it seems I finally have some time to get caught up on the Beachcomber Pete Travel website and answer e-mails from readers.

One of the e-mails I received was directed towards my recent post, “Is a Cruise Vacation in your Future?” The question asked was one that I also am asked often, where is your favorite vacation spot? In this case, the question asked was how I decide from the many discount cruises out there. And where should we go? If you are looking for a way to save money, you may want to try a cruise travel agency such as discountcruises.com. If they don’t have a cruise package that interests you, you could consider other travel agencies.

Tulum Mexico Costa Maya MexicoWell usually, my first response is how much time do you have? No sense talking about somewhere half way around the world when you only have 4 days to travel. Time is usually the limiting factor on traveling; a lot of people think it is money. I find that time is usually my restraint, money can be worked out. I mean, I know of many places that you could stay in Costa Rica for 5 dollars a night and others that will cost you 200 to 300 dollars a night. It’s really comes down to your comfort level.

Ok, so after asking the time frame question, I will often ask, are we talking in country? Out of the country? Some place exotic? Or someplace fun?

In regards to this e-mail I had received the writer said they had 5 days maybe and they lived here in Florida, Pete what would you do? We were thinking about a cruise, but we are not sure where to go. To me this is an open book with many opportunities available. It also asks more questions, Are you single? Will kids be going? Is this a romantic getaway?

When you come down to it I really think that if you have only a few days to travel, in this case the writer said 5 days, I think you are going to get the biggest bang for your time and money with a cruise.

If you are living in the United States and are talking about taking one of many cruises available out of Florida or maybe even New Orleans and are limited to 5 to 7 days, your cruise is going to be traveling through the Caribbean. Once again you have many choices.

Flying Dutchmen Disney Castaway Cay BahamasIf you have kids, one of the Disney or Carnival Cruises will provide a lot of entertainment for the whole family; they offer 3, 4, 5 and 7 day family oriented trips mainly throughout the Bahamas and eastern Caribbean. Sun, great water activities and stops at their own private islands, this is a great way to spend time with the family and see the Bahamas.

Heading out of Miami, Tampa or New Orleans, with again 3, 4, 5, 7 days available, take one of the many western Caribbean cruises leaving these ports and you could find yourself in fun filled places like Key West, Cozumel, Rotan, Grand Cayman, and Costa Maya. With bigger ports such as Miami, Tampa and New Orleans you have several more choices of cruise lines. Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Norwegian are just a few that come to mind that offer great deals and fantastic destinations.

Ocho Rios JamaicaLooking for a more romantic cruise? Think about one of the eastern Caribbean cruises with stops in the Virgin Islands, Ocho Rios in Jamaica and Grand Turks. Both an eastern and western Caribbean cruise will usually let you experience a couple different countries in a matter of days.

Back to the original question, “Where would you go Pete?” I have my favorite spots, and I know I would have a good time where ever I choose. The real question is where would you choose for your cruise? For those who need a little help there are several good internet based cruise sites that offer great deals on all the different cruises out there, one that comes to mind is Discountcruises.com, like most sites on the internet they have specialist that can help with those question we talked about, fun, sun, romantic or exotic cruises.

Enjoy your cruise, take in some sun, enjoy the ship, see some exciting ports of call, and have a margarita for me while you relax.


Is a Cruise Vacation in your Future?

Thinking of far off exotic places in South America, or old world cities of Europe? Maybe you are dreaming of sun drenched beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters in the Caribbean, or deep blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Have a few days off this weekend, a week this summer or you just retired and want to take that once in a lifetime trip around the world. You are probably just like thousands of others, trying to plan that next great adventure.  Where are you going to go? Where are you going to stay when you get there?  You have so many choices on top of more choices. With airfares and flights so cheap this year the world is like an open book, take out your world map or globe and find the perfect spot. Or…

Why not let someone else do all the planning, give you several destinations to chose from, handle the sleeping reservation, tours and also take care of your meals?  No, I am not talking guided tours here; I am thinking of a cruise vacation.

Norwegian Pearl, Cozumel, MexicoA cruise vacation, m,m,m… airfares are not the only thing that have come down this year, cruise packages are also a great bargain. Many cruise vacations are combined with airfare, so you really don’t have to worry about getting to the nearest port.

A cruise is a great way to get out and see the world, plenty of weekend cruises will take you to one or two islands in the Bahamas, or maybe even explore Mexico. You have a week to 10 days off, how about seeing several countries throughout the Caribbean or maybe a tour along Central America with a trip through the Panama Canal? Ok, you might be the lucky one and can get away for 6 months to a year, then there is the always dreamed about round the world cruise.

Royale Caribbean and Carnival Cruise ships Grand Cayman  IslandA cruise vacation might be just what you are looking for; you have a room for the length of your cruise, so you don’t have to move to a different hotel when you go to the next island or port of call. You have plenty of food choices with varying degrees of restaurant styles as well as formality. Yet you are still open to try the local cuisine at your different destinations. There are great night activities available on board the ships, need someone to watch the kids? Give mom and dad that alone time, not a problem, most ships have programs and babysitting available.

Ok, what are you waiting for, time to get out and see the world, experience a new adventure. How are you going to choose the perfect cruise vacations? You can deal directly with an individual cruise company, a local travel agent but you will find a lot of bargains on the internet; my favorite choice. Companies like Liberty Travel can help you find the best airfare and cruise package that will fit any budget.

So if you have some time off, whether its spur of the moment or next year’s dream vacation, why not think about a cruise vacation and just sit back with that margarita in hand and let someone else worry about the travel details.

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