A Taste of The Carnival Magic Experience

Carnival Magic Photo © Carnival Cruise Lines


I was as excited as a kid the night before Christmas. I had never even stepped foot on a cruise ship let alone sailed on one. So when my best friend Dawn and I got the chance to tour the new Carnival Magic ship, we jumped at it! An overnight experience aboard this amazing ship was certain to be a fun event for us.

Driving towards the cruise ship and loading terminal where from a distance I could hold up two fingers sideways and make the ship look only an inch or so tall, I felt my heart thumping because I had heard story after story about how awesome it is on these cruise ships. Yes, I was super excited.Continue reading

THE EDUCATED TRAVELER: Foreign Travel Advice From An Expert

By: Sandra B. Wilkins, M.A
Senior Agent,  Affordabletours.com

“I don’t know where the shame of being a tourist comes from.  I’ve heard many friends in full touristic swing say that they don’t want to mix with tourists, not realizing that even though they don’t mix with them, they are just as much tourists as the others.  When I visit a place and haven’t enough time to get to know it more than superficially, I unashamedly assume my role as tourist.  I like to join those lightning tours in which the guides explain everything you see out of the window—‘On your right and left, ladies and gentlemen…’  one of the reasons being that then I know once and for all everything I needn’t bother to see when I go out later to explore the place on my own.”

—Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I confess my pet peeve when traveling out of the United States is hearing many times over “well, they don’t do it like this at home!”  Certainly not, my dear sir from Des Moines, if you want life the same as it is at home, by all means stay there, and stop wearing those dumb Bermuda shorts with tacky black knee socks and brown sandals.  In fact, go home, you’re spoiling my enjoyment of the delicious differentness of it all.

Foreign travel, while often taxing and frequently difficult, has brought me the most wonderful pleasures.  It has expanded my sensibility, made me humble, reduced my self-centeredness, and taught me I always have a lot to learn.  What can be more civilized than cooking like the French, savoring theatre like the English, emulating the manners of the Spanish, admiring art and architecture  like the Italians, taking great joy in small things like the Mexicans, meditating like Tibetans, and generally acquiring beautiful new layers of sensibility with each new culture we experience?  To my thinking, nothing is more rewarding.

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Get Ready for Floriade 2012!

There are events that occur annually that you might really enjoy every now and then and there are events that occur every couple of years that you may make a point to attend.  Then, there are certain events that happen every, say, 10 years that are just simply amazing. The Floriade is exactly that.  This international celebration of horticulture and nature is an amazing experience that happens once every decade.  I guarantee you will want to be in Venlo from April 5th to October 7th.

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