Cruise Lines & Ships

Aerial Norwegian Sky - Departure from Miami 09/05/08 Norwegian Sky - Norwegian Cruise line

Norwegian Cruise Line today opened for sale the line’s 2017 cruises to Cuba aboard Norwegian Sky, the largest vessel sailing to Cuba, which also offers an overnight stay in Havana.

Norwegian Sky will sail a series of five, four-day cruises from Miami to Cuba in May 2017 that will include an overnight in the capital of Havana. On Monday, May 1, Norwegian Sky will set sail for her first voyage to Havana, arriving on Tuesday morning and staying alongside until Wednesday evening, allowing guests the opportunity to go ashore and experience the island’s rich cultural traditions through people-to-people exchanges. Norwegian will also offer OFAC-compliant shore excursions, where guests aboard Norwegian Sky will have the opportunity to visit historical sites such as Old Havana, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; view incredible art and listen to the vibrant local music scene; and visit with Cuba’s warm and friendly residents through people-to-people exchanges.

The ship will continue on to call on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island destination in the Bahamas that was recently enhanced to offer guests exciting new ways to enjoy the island, with additional features to be added through summer 2017.

Along with the freedom and flexibility that only Norwegian Cruise Line can provide, guests sailing on Norwegian Sky also enjoy unlimited complimentary beverages as a part of the ship’s all-inclusive program. Additional Cuba cruise departure dates include May 8, 15, 22 and 29. The four-day cruises begin at $699 per person.

If you are interested in booking, please give us a call 727-846-0077.

MSC Seaside

21 Days of Deals — Join us as we highlight a different travel deal we hand picked just for travelers like you. When you see one you like – let us know and we will be happy to help you grab the deal. (or contact your travel agent) Team Cruises

DEAL #9: MSC Seaside & Chef Roy Yamaguchi

NOW is the time to book your cruise on MSC Cruises’ new ship coming to Miami in late 2017 – Seaside. Check out this video of the ship model (currently being built by Fincantieri). It looks more like a condo and is sure to provide an onboard experience unique only to MSC. And we love the name, with the lower deck you can walk around the ship and really feel “seaside”.

Here are a couple deals to consider:

  • 8 day/7 night caribbean itinerary starts at $589 per person
  • 15 day/14 night itinerary that starts at just $1119 per person

And if you have a group, NOW is the time to grab your space and lock in your price. The perfect ship for your entire family – young and old.

And we can’t forget the new culinary partnership MSC announced in March.  Chef Roy Yamaguchi has partnered with MSC to create a specialty pan-Asian restaurant onboard. Here are a few of the dishes (and their recipes)  we got to try at the press conference. And yes, they were as delicious as they look.

Drink Recipes    Food Recipes

Read the full article about MSC’s partnerships with award-winning, celebrity chefs and fine dining experiences.


This week we continue our journey along the Amazon with International Expeditions. We visited a local village, got a spiritual blessing from a shaman,walked through a market like we’ve never experienced and even got an aerial view of this amazing place.

Here are a few of the  surprising  facts about the Amazon River basin.

  • It contains over 2/3 of all the unfrozen fresh water on earth.
  • The water level fluctuates as much as 40 feet between the wet & dry seasons
  • It produces over 20% of the earth’s oxygen

Our typical day started with an old fashioned wake up call as early as 6AM… no alarms, no phones, just a knock on the door to get us going….old school.

IMG_4190This early in the morning, the weather is cooler and the animals are just getting their day started, so their is a lot of activity at this hour.  The number and variety of wildlife we saw was incredible, and thanks to our guides and our check lists, we were able to keep a running tab on what we saw, and where. Five species of monkeys, sloths, pink and gray dolphins ,reptiles, fish…and more birds than we thought possible…. we saw 112 different kinds of birds. The coolest was a prehistoric bird called the Hoatzin. It’s part of the oldest living line of birds dating back to around the time of the dinosaur extinction.

The Amazon river cruise wasn’t just about seeing the rainforest and all the wildlife. It was also about immersing ourselves.

Our guides are experts regarding the local culture and it was very humbling to not only learn how people live along the river, but to actually get invited into their homes where we could here their stories first hand.  It was impressive to see how they lived in houses that are basically raised platforms on stilts, with a thatched roof, and no electricity.  Cooking on hot coals and surviving on just what they can grow and trade for, truly makes you appreciate the comforts that we take for granted every day.

It was  very common to see villagers of all ages going about their business and traveling along the river…including boys as young as 10 or 12 that were justifiably proud of their hand carved canoes as they paddled by on their way to their favorite fishing spots.

One of the most memorable visits was to a local school. It was incredible to see how excited the kids were about simple gifts like crayons and other school supplies that we often don’t think about because we can go to the local office depot whenever we need something.

Because there are few if any mirrors around, the kids aren’t used to seeing themselves, and were amazed that we could take a picture or video of them, and they could see themselves instantly.

The most important ingredient in the local diet is salt.  With no electricity or refrigeration, it’s the only way they can preserve food and keep it from going bad. This is very obvious when we visited the market later in our trip.

In today’s modern world, it may be hard to understand the role that the local shaman plays in the daily lives of villages for miles around.  He is their doctor, priest, and spiritual advisor all rolled into one person.

It was truly an honor to participate in a traditional blessing.

IMG_4838We can’t thank IE enough for introducing us to the Amazon River. The crew on board here is amazing. Special thanks to our guide the naturalists Ucile and Cliver and to the incredible expedition leader Dennis Osorio.

And on a cruise this small, the crew makes all the different. Not only did we catch some piranha with nothing more than a stick as a fishing pole…  it’s what’s for dinner.

The food was authentic and very tasty on Estrella Amazonica… they  even have their own version of “Top Chef”

and at the end of every day there was a relaxing happy hour with our complimentary “drink of the day” before dinner with authentic music from the Chunky Monkeys… these talented musicians pull double duty as members of the crew.

The person that keeps us all safe here on the Estrella Amazonica is the captain. And unlike a lot of the big ships there’s not a charter plotter and autopilot he is steering manually all the time because the Amazon is so dynamic you never know how deep the water is going to be so you can’t just set it on auto pilot, kick back and enjoy a cup of coffee, you have to constantly monitor the depth so

When I was offered a chance to steer the ship myself, I was totally psyched until I realized that there is no power steering on this ship.  The captains arms were huge because auto pilot just doesn’t exist here and it’s harder to steer than it looks

IMG_4699Something that we were excited for the whole cruise was the chance to kayak on the Amazon River.  What added to the excitement was knowing all of the different kinds of fish and reptiles that we were learning about, could  be a just few feet from us as we paddled down the waterways

On the last day before returning to Iquitos we ventured ashore in the town of Nauta, which is by far the largest town in the area, and it’s a commercial hub.  People come, mostly by boat, from all over the region to buy and sell their goods, and to get fuel for anything that needs it.

Because there is no way to keep food fresh, other than salt, the locals shop at the market just about every day.  Not like the 1-2 times per week like we do here in the states.

Cars are few and far between here, but motorized 3 wheeled cabs everywhere commonly call tuk tuk’s are everywhere. Check out how we were chauffeured back to the dock.

The excursion that really put things into perspective was a float plane flight high above the river. Every single place that you look, is part of the Amazon basin

You can’t travel along the Amazon river and not have it change you. We have complete admiration of how the people along the river not only survive but thrive. Completely off the grid, self-sufficient and happy.

Until next time, life short travel often.

If you would like to travel to the Amazon, contact your travel professional and ask them about International Expeditions.