Fatima, Portugal

People walk to the shrine on their knees as an act of sorrow and penance for sin.
Judi & Al in Fatima, Portugal with the Sanctuary of Fatima in the background. Fatima is a central Portuguese town that’s home to this pilgrimage site. The Virgin Mary allegedly appeared here in 1917.

 

Ponce, Puerto Rico

This was a surprising little stop where the town declared a holiday in celebration of a cruise ship stopping. It was only the 4th ship to stop here and the 2nd for Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas. Not too much to see right at the port. The downtown city is about 4.8 km inland. Four of us got a taxi for $10 and it took only about 10 minutes.
The city has a nice town square, a lovely park with banyan trees and a large fountain.
Ponce is in the southern part of Puerto Rico. It is the second most populated area next to San Juan which is about 1 1/2 hours away by car. Ponce is named after Juan Ponce de Leon y Loayza, the great-grandson of Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Leon.
Many of the townspeople put on entertainment for us with dancing and music.
We went into the city hall but nothing was really there although there were a couple of interesting works of art. One of the highlights is a taste of ice cream at King’s Cones which is actually a sherbet in many fruit flavours. We tried the  lemon and the mango. Very cold & refreshing.

After we returned from the downtown we took a free shuttle to La Guancha. There was a boardwalk along the water, however, when we got there we discovered that the boardwalk was closed due to damage from the recent hurricanes. We did walk along the area and there were some restaurants although no tourists were there. There was an old lighthouse and many fish in

Some locals entertaining us in Ponce
These dancers got the audience involved. I danced with them for a while.

the water. Further along we could have walked over to the beach area but decided to return to the ship.

I hope more people get to visit this quaint city before Diamonds International moves in.
Thursday, March 22/18
Serenade of the Seas

10 Tips to Help You Get the Best Out of Your Cruise

10 Tips to Help You Get the Best Out of Your Cruise

  1. Go for value. Keep in mind that “cheap” is not always the best way to go. Talk to your travel agent and they can recommend the best choice for you and your family depending on what you enjoy. All your meals and entertainment are included and the convenience of only having to unpack once. A cruise is one of the best ways to get value out of your vacation.
  2. Don’t take too many clothes. Some ships have laundry facilities or a few things can be rinsed out in the sink. Especially if you are touring before or after the cruise you don’t want a lot of extra baggage in tow.
  3.  Don’t overeat. Stay active. Just because the food is there doesn’t mean you have to eat more than you normally would. The ship offers a fully-equipped workout centre and then there are some active side-trips available. I would suggest taking the stairs instead of the elevators.
  4. Stay safe and be aware. There are many strangers and a ship is like a floating resort so take the same precautions that you would in a big city to stay safe.
  5. Protect your passport. Staterooms feature a safe where you can store your valuables so use it. Also, I recommend taking a photocopy of your documents and keeping one at home and the other in your suitcase.
  6. Flashy jewellery. If you must take the “real” thing on your cruise it is best to wear these for dinners or other special occasions onboard. When taking an excursion off-ship it is safer to leave your valuables locked up in your stateroom.
  7. Stateroom. Where you are on the ship can also affect whether you enjoy your cruise. Discuss this with your travel agent. Some people choose to be close to the elevators for convenience while others want to be in an area that is as quiet as possible. Some people prefer to be on a higher deck and near midship. Many people choose to have a stateroom with a window. If you wish to enjoy a veranda then book a stateroom with this feature. Don’t rely on being upgraded and then being disappointed.
  8. Dressing. Some people love going to the formal nights dressed in their best and others choose to dress more casually or go to another venue for their meals on formal nights. The choice is yours.
  9. Excursions. When the ship is docked at a port you have the option to take a sidetrip or excursion and these can often be booked ahead. Planning in advance will make sure you aren’t disappointed if you want a popular one and it’s sold out by the time you take your cruise. Your travel agent can help you with this also.
  10. Good walking shoes. If you are taking new shoes, break them in before leaving on your trip. Comfortable shoes are a must especially if you plan to tour the ports where the ship stops.

Judi Kruzins
Cruise Consultant
www.JourneyWithJudi.ca

 

 

Best of Portugal for April/May 2018

Join Al & Judi Kruzins for our trip to Portugal in April 2018.   See the map below for our itinerary our itinerary.  There is a link at the bottom of this article with the details.

ABOUT THIS TRIP

Let the melancholic trill of the Fado Guitar follow you from Portugal’s Manueline Lisbon to Baroque Oporto and the sun-soaked beaches of Vilamoura. Wander through the medieval cities of Obidos, Évora and Guimarães, and visit the religious landmarks of Fatima, Batalha and the dramatic Hieronymite Monastery, enjoying a delicious pasteis de nata or two along the way.

So far we have 22 people joining us.  Feel free to call us for more details.  We do have fun with our group travel.

Following the tour of Portugal we will be flying to Madrid and most of us will be attending the Madrid Open Tennis tournament.  We will be flying back to Toronto from Madrid after a 4-night stay there.  Al & I have been to Madrid before and there is lots to see.

https://www.trafalgar.com/can/tours/best-of-portugal

 

Why visit Thunder Bay, Ontario

The Sea Lion Trail is at Pass Lake & about 2 km long

You may wonder “Who wants to live in Thunder Bay?”. Well, our son, Zack, loves it there. He completed his university education at Lakehead so we became familiar with the area. We have driven up on more than one occasion and flown up a couple of times including this month (Oct 2017). The drive is beautiful if you have the time as you go through a lot of the Canadian Shield where the rocks and landscaping are amazing.  We enjoyed the Sea Lion Trail as pictured here.

One of our favourite places to visit and enjoy a meal is at The Hoito especially for Finnish pancakes. Thunder Bay has one of the largest communities of Finnish people outside Finland.

Thunder Bay is on the shore of Lake Superior and one of the main attractions is The Sleeping Giant. We were lucky enough to take a harbour tour on a sailboat with a friend of Zack’s while we were there. It was a splendid day for October and a Sunday, however, no one else seemed to be taking advantage of the day before the boats had to be taken out of the water.
While sailing we stopped at the Welcome Islands and visited with the owners, took a hike across the island and just soaked up the sun along with the view of the Giant. Life is good!

Al & Judi with son, Zack, with The Sleeping Giant in the background

Hiking is one of the most popular activities during our visits to Thunder Bay. Besides Sleeping Giant Provincial Park this time we also hiked through Cascades Conservation Area. The rocks and water are a sight to see but only hear. There is something so soothing about rushing water. It does help when the sky is clear blue. You can feel how clean the air is in the north.
On this visit we had a couple of huskies that joined us and they loved to run and also enjoyed a bit of a swim.

We visited Silver Islet on this trip where there used to be a very active silver mine. It is located one hour east of Thunder Bay and is adjacent to the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Mining stopped by 1884 and the mine shafts flooded with water never to be opened again. The area is mostly private summer cottages where originally the miners had built houses. There is no electricity in the area and the residents like it that way. The general store there is now closed and for sale so there was no pie to enjoy at its tea-room.

There is a country market in Thunder Bay which is opened twice a week and some of it is contained in the buildings so it operates around the year. When we were there many of the area farmers still had outdoor displays with some of the largest heads of cabbage that we’ve ever seen along with other colourful harvests.

Just outside Thunder Bay is the Terry Fox Monument commemorating his Marathon of Hope.  This meant a lot to me as I remember seeing Terry in person as he ran by our home in Burlington.

 

Whenever you get the chance to head to northern Ontario don’t put it off. It’s quite an experience that you remember forever.

Educational Benefits of Cruising

1. Complete Cultural Immersion: There is no better way to learn about different cultures than to experience them firsthand.

2. Feeding the Mind: While onboard a cruise, kids can experience the authentic cuisines of different regions as well as get a hands-on experience in preparing dishes of foreign lands, building both the mind and the palate.

3. Cruise Captain: Many cruise lines offer children the chance to speak with one of the greatest sources of information on board: the ship captain, providing a wonderful opportunity for younger passengers to learn about everything from the mechanics of the ship to the most exciting ports of call.

4. Lessons in History & Conservation: Young cruise travelers have the amazing opportunity to learn about the world in the best way: by seeing it up close. Cruises offer the chance to see ruins, museums, and landmarks in real life.

5. Speaking the Language: The benefits of learning a second language are unmatched for children. In addition to cruise taking kids to different corners of the world, it offers them an opportunity to learn a new language in the real world, both by hearing it on land or learning it onboard.

6. Fun and Games: Cruises also offer kids a chance to unwind with fun, brain-sharpening children’s programs and kids’ clubs complete with educational games, scavenger hunts, and crafts, based on the cultures kids visit while on their cruise.

Taken from CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) Newsletter of August 2016, Issue 17.

EUROPEAN ADVENTURES – ITINERARY BY TRAFALGAR TOURS – Join us following this coach trip for a day at the French Open Tennis Tournament on May 22/16.

See Map that was posted in January 2015.

Departing Canada May 5:   Join Al & Judi Kruzins to view castles of the Rhine Valley, and see the impressive Prague Castle. Travel the canals of Venice and see beautiful Lake Lucerne before exploring magical Paris.

Day 1: DEPART HOME
Overnight flight to London.
DAY 2: ARRIVE LONDON (2 NIGHTS)
Relax after check -in or take a leisurely stroll through this fascinating city.
DAY 3: LONDON FREE TIME
The day is yours to explore the delights of London! See the sights, visit a museum or go shopping – the list is endless and the choice is yours!
DAY 4: LONDON – AMSTERDAM (2 NIGHTS)
Greetings from your Travel Director and Welcome to Europe! Drive through Kent’s scenic countryside to Dover. Admire the famous White Cliffs as you sail across the Channel to Calais, France. Continue by road through Belgium to The Netherlands, home of clogs and windmills! Perhaps take a canal cruise in a glass-topped boat and see the city from a unique perspective!
DAY 5: AMSTERDAM ORIENTATION AND FREE TIME
This morning in Amsterdam, enjoy an orientation of the historic city centre. Afterwards you will have free time to take in one of the fantastic museums that the city has to offer.
DAY 6: AMSTERDAM – COLOGNE – RHINELAND
Drive into Germany and marvel at Cologne Cathedral. At Boppard, embark on a relaxing cruise along the River Rhine past medieval hilltop castles and steep vineyards. Continue to your hotel where you dine this evening.
DAY 7: RHINELAND – NUREMBERG – PRAGUE (2 NIGHTS)
Stop in Nuremberg this morning, a historic city where little has changed since the Middle Ages! Drive east across the border into the Czech Republic, and arrive later in the capital, Prague.
DAY 8: PRAGUE SIGHTSEEING AND FREE TIME
Your Local Specialist brings the history of this fascinating city to life during your sightseeing tour, which includes Prague Castle – the largest medieval castle complex in Europe – the Cathedral of St. Vitus, views of Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square.
DAY 9: PRAGUE – REGENSBURG – MUNICH
Cross back into Germany, stopping in Regensburg on the River Danube. In Munich, capital of Bavaria, your orientation includes the Olympic Stadium, Ludwigstrasse and the Marienplatz, renowned for its musical Glockenspiel. You might like to visit a bierkeller and sample the local beer, for which the city is famous.
DAY 10: MUNICH – INNSBRUCK – VENICE (2 NIGHTS)
Head south towards the mountains and enjoy an amazing drive through Austria. Stop at Innsbruck, a popular ski area, to view the Golden Roof and the Hofburg. Continue across the Brenner Pass, one of the principal Alpine highways, into Italy and south to Venice, Queen of the Adriatic. Tonight dine in your hotel.
DAY 11: VENICE ORIENTATION AND FREE TIME
Evidence of Venice’s glorious Byzantine history is all around as you cruise by private launch through the city’s canals to St. Mark’s Square. Admire the magnificent Doge’s Palace, former home of Venice’s ruling elite. Watch the Venetian craftsmen at work creating local specialities at a glassblowing workshop on Giudecca Island. Afterwards, you have time to explore amazing narrow alleyways and historic bridges and canals. Later, perhaps take the opportunity to cruise to Burano Island, the most picturesque island in the lagoon, for a delicious meal.
DAY 12: VENICE – LAKE LUCERNE (2 NIGHTS)
Traverse the plains of northern Italy and cross the border into Switzerland. Continue along the St. Gotthard route, with spectacular views of waterfalls and mountain peaks. See the chalets dotting the steep hillsides as you approach Lake Lucerne in the heart of central Switzerland. Dine tonight at your hotel.
DAY 13: LAKE LUCERNE ORIENTATION AND FREE TIME
Your orientation tour of Lucerne includes the medieval wooden Chapel Bridge and the poignant Lion Monument, built to commemorate the Swiss Guards who bravely defended Louis XVl during the French Revolution. There is time afterwards to shop for delicious chocolates and watches, relax or stroll beside the lake. Consider an optional trip up a mountain peak by cable car to admire the magnificent views! Later, you might like to join in the fun at a Swiss Folklore Show.
DAY 14: LAKE LUCERNE – PARIS (2 NIGHTS)
Travel north-west through Basel into France, skirting the edge of the Vosges Mountains. Admire charming villages and castles as you pass through the vineyards of Burgundy, France’s most famous wine region. Arrive later in the glittering capital, Paris! This evening perhaps take a tour through this dazzling city to see the magnificent illuminations.
DAY 15: PARIS SIGHTSEEING AND FREE TIMEParis probably has more recognisable landmarks than any other city in the world. Your Local Specialist shows you all the major sights during your sightseeing tour, including the Champs Élysées, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower. The rest of the day is yours to explore. Consider a Seine cruise as an optional experience. This evening, you might like to celebrate the end of your holiday with a famous Parisian cabaret show!
DAY 16: PARIS – JOIN US FOR THE FRENCH OPEN
OR, RETURN HOME.

All-in-One: London, Amsterdam, Prague, Munich, Venice, Lake Lucerne & Paris

Cruise along the Rhine Valley with its beautiful landscape before enjoying a walking tour of Prague where you view the impressive castle. View castles of the Rhine Valley and see the impressive Prague Castle. Travel the canals of Venice and see beautiful Lake Lucerne before exploring magical Paris.

Full itinerary details coming soon! Join us on this amazing Trafalgar Coach Tour in May 2016. Send me a note if you would like to attend an information night.

Britain & Ireland Experience with Wimbledon Championship Tennis

Britain & Ireland Experience – Trafalgar Coach Tour Hosted by Al & Judi Kruzins

16 Days Vacation From $3,675 per person  June 26 to July 13, 2014

London/London Includes 2 extra days in London for Wimbledon Championship Tennis.

Final price available in September.

 

What’s Included:

  • 15 Day United Kingdom guided vacation with local tours as per itinerary
  • Most meals
  • Pre-tour London hotel
  • Wimbledon Tennis reserved seat or grounds pass (to be confirmed)
  • Return airfare/taxes Toronto-London

 

What’s Not Included:

  • Gratuities for tour driver and travel director
  • Additional meals and optional tours
  • Airport/hotel transfers (to be confirmed)
  • Trip cancellation and out-of-country medical insurance (strongly recommended and will be priced separately)

 

Deposit: $200 per person (non-refundable)

 

Final Payment: January 10, 2014

 

Restrictions: Single and triple room availability is restricted

 

Group Allocation: A minimum of 15 passengers is required for this group

 

Sightseeing Highlights:

  • Stonehenge, Blarney, Adare, Limerick, Galway, Dublin

Full Itinerary:  Available on request

 

Dining:

  • 14 hot buffet breakfasts
  • 4 three course dinners

 

Reserve NOW

Contact Judi or Al Kruzins  Direct Line: 905-627-7113