Cruise Ships – The Life Beyond

Big passenger ships, also known as cruise ships or cruise liners, have been a very important part of travel life as we know it. Early cruise ships were built with more functionality in mind than comfort or leisure. Their purpose was to travel the oceans and seas, delivering passengers and goods to distant places. Transatlantic crossings took several days and were often perilous. The journey between North America and Europe was never shorter than four days. The introduction of steamships made the trip safer, faster and more reliable.

As cruise ships became a more popular and viable form of travel, the ships became ever more luxurious. The Titanic is likely the most famous cruise ship worldwide. Construction of the ship included ballrooms, luxurious dining areas and staterooms. The Titanic was the largest passenger steamship in the world, and many people looked forward to her maiden voyage. Because of the tragic events that followed, many maritime laws were passed to ensure the safety of future luxury ship voyages.

Today, millions of passengers each year take advantage of the accommodations a variety of cruise ships have to offer. These massive ships are built with comfort in mind. In recent years, they’ve been used as vacation getaways, taking passengers on fantastic voyages lasting several days or a week. A few remote destinations in the world may only be visited by cruise ships, airplane or helicopter. Some of the most popular destinations for cruise ships are the Caribbean, the Balearic Islands, Europe and Alaska.

Retired Cruise Ships Become Much More

The introduction of air travel and cheap holidays caused a decline in the number of passengers on cruise ships. Many people chose to fly in lieu of setting sail on a cruise ship simply because it was faster. Fortunately for tourists who enjoy water travel, many cruise ships still operate today. More cruise ships are being added often to accommodate the growing number of people who enjoy cruising.

When the time comes to retire a cruise ship, they are often put to use in other areas. The SS United States, or “The Big U” as it is often called, made its maiden voyage in 1952. It has been out of service since 1969 and is currently docked in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania awaiting a new future. The Big U still holds the record for the fastest westbound transatlantic crossing.

The RMS Queen Mary, named after Queen Mary, was one of the most spectacular ships of her time. She played a very important part in World War II. One of her passengers was British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, whom she carried across the Atlantic for meetings. In 1942, she captured and still holds the record for the most passengers ever transported on one ship. She carried 16,082 American troops from New York to Great Britain. The RMS Queen Mary is now berthed in Long Beach, California, where she serves as a hotel and museum.

The RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, commonly known as QE2, is one of the most recent ships to be decommissioned. The QE2 commenced her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City in 1969. In 1999, she celebrated her 30th anniversary in Southampton. Her 30 years of service had seen almost 5 million nautical miles and carried more than 2 million passengers.

The QE2 was given a multi-million-dollar makeover in 1999 that included refurbishing several rooms and cabins. Since 2004, she’s made several trips to the Mediterranean. She is now moored at Port Rashid in Dubai, where she will be converted to a floating hotel.

Not all decommissioned cruise ships are forgotten and left to rust. Many cruise ships have been retired and go on to become hotels, casinos, museums and luxury restaurants. Millions of passengers per year enjoy cruises to the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, the Caribbean and many other exotic or remote destinations. Those ships become a special point in the memories of the passengers who enjoyed the trip. The ability to turn those ships into floating hotels or other tourist attractions is a great asset to the tourism industry.

Why Hawaii Is So Popular

Hawaii is rated one of the most popular vacation destination for American travelers by Ask Doc Travel. This destination is also popular with American Express Vacations. But why? What makes this destination so wonderful? For those of us who have traveled to Hawaii, there are so many reasons to visit that we become muddled, answering only “What do you mean what’s so great about Hawaii?” Well, here is some things to keep in mind when you speak of the many wonders which make Hawaii such a popular destination.

Hawaii is comprised of eight islands. These islands are natural wonders that were created in the middle of the ocean by underwater volcanoes. As the magma from these volcanoes cooled, they hardened into rocks. These rock formations became the Hawaiian Islands. The volcanic phenomenon created Hawaii’s famous black sand beaches and the rich soil from which springs the islands lush vegetation. These main islands are Niihau, Kauai , Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Maui, and Hawaii. The island Hawaii is the largest, and is sometimes called the “Big Island” or “Big Isle”. This phenomenon created Hawaii’s famous black sand beaches and the rich soil from which springs the islands lush vegetation.

The climate of Hawaii is one more reason why these islands remain a popular vacation destination. The weather is more moderate than typical tropical areas because of the cooling effect of the surrounding ocean. In layman’s terms, this means that temperatures and humidity tend to be less extreme than places such as the Caribbean or Mexico. In the tourist high season, summer, the high temperatures reaching the upper 80s F, rarely going into the 90sF . During the tourist low season of winter, temperatures at the lowest elevation average in the mid-60s. One more reason that Hawaii is preferred is because hurricanes are a rare occurrence compared to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Compared to other tropical paradises, Hawaii is monitored by American safety and health regulations. Yes, it’s ok to drink the tap water! Also, you still have all the rights and protections of a United States citizen. If you or someone you are traveling with should suddenly need medical attention, you have access to regulated and state of the art care. Hawaii can be a real home away from home.

When people think of Hawaii, they think of the aquamarine water and clean sandy beaches. But what else should one experience in Hawaii? Besides the amazingly pristine beach activities, Hawaii offers deluxe shopping that is reminiscent of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, including couture boutiques such as Coach, Gucci, Tiffany’s and more. The islands are also rich in culture and history. One way to experience the beauty of Hawaiian culture is to attend an old fashioned luau. One of the best traditional Luaus is Famous Germaine’s Luau in Kapolei Oahu. Take in some American History by visiting the infamous Pearl Harbor. With so much to see and do, you’ll never get bored.

There is one snag in this otherwise amazing destination: cost. Because Hawaii is an isolated island chain, everything is more expensive. And because Hawaii is the 50th American state, there is no lower currency exchange like in the Caribbean. Thankfully, there are a number of hotel and travel providers who offer different packages and accommodations. Although hotels and air flights can be on sale and are widely available, consumer products like food, souvenirs and sundries are expensive. Food for one person could cost between $50 to $100! One way to avoid expenses is by making sure you pack all the sundries you can think of, such as sunblock, ChapStick, sunglasses and such.

However, when all is said and done, Hawaii is a top destination for a number of good reasons. There is no better place to go for a tropical vacation.

The Best Museums In Chicago

Travelling in Chicago is always a joy, whether it’s a short trip through the Windy City for business reasons or a longer, planned pleasure break for all the family. With so many attractions on their hotel doorstep, visitors will be positively spoilt for choice.

One of the most overlooked aspects of this city is the quality of its museums and institutes; the exhibits lie in store just waiting to be discovered by inquisitive travellers.
Follow this trail of museums while travelling in Chicago and prepare to be wowed by the diversity of their content and the details that provide a fascinating trip in time.

History Museum
As diverse as a one could wish for are the exhibits that lie in the heart of this museum. Over 20 million artefacts have been accumulated since the mid-19th century and reflect the city’s rich seam of life, from paintings to costumes.

The Field Museum of Natural History
While travelling in Chicago, tourists will no doubt head to the Natural History Museum, given that it houses the world’s best preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex exhibit as part of its dinosaur collection. The museum, which is home to over 20 million exhibits, features some of the most innovative collections from science to culture.

The Art Institute
Located in Grant Park, the institute offers some of the best in iconic art with over 300,000 works, including Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Visitors will be able to appreciate art from across the world, as well as African American art and paintings from local artists.

National Museum of Mexican Art
Those travelling in Chicago may be surprised to find this museum, which enables visitors to immerse themselves in Mexican culture via the rich artistic expressions of a host of specialists from either side of the US border.

DuSable Museum of African American History
Among one of the best interpretative museums in the city focusing on African American history in the US, visitors will be able to gain a unique insight through the collections of a determined art teacher and historian at this outstanding institute.

With more than 15,000 works, ranging from sculptures to historic artefacts, the museum offers new and innovative displays from artists on key events in history. The museum takes its name from Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a Haitian of African and French descent, who established the permanent trading post in the late 18th century that was later to become known as Chicago.
The Shedd Aquarium
While travelling in Chicago, tourists should take the opportunity to spend a few hours at The Shedd, where they will be left awed by the rich live exhibits on display. Visitors can wander the “deep” and discover the habitats of the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific reefs. There is a fascinating and critical eco-balance achieved in the Amazon exhibit, with a host of fascinating and colour animals. Equally, the Abbott Oceanarium is a fascinating look at the ecosystem vital to the existence of beluga whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins.