Cruising

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4 highlights of modern cruising holidays

<p>Holidays on board cruise ships are more popular than ever with over 22 million people taking to the seas in 2015. The industry is expanding its on-board activities to appeal to every type of passenger. Try these for size.</p> <p><strong>1. Scale a rock-climbing wall</strong></p> <p>Snoozing around the pool isn’t everyone’s idea of holiday fun. The cruise ship Oasis of the Sea from Royal Caribbean has two nine-metre rock climbing walls, two surf-simulator pools, a flying fox and an ice-skating rink.</p> <p><strong>2. Walk above the water</strong></p> <p>The Regal Princess, owned and operated by Princess Cruises, features a glass-bottomed walkway that sits 39 metres high and extends 18 metres out over the ocean, offering dramatic views.</p> <p><strong>3. Themed cruises</strong></p> <p>It’s fair to say that Disney is fast rewriting the fantasy cruise experience for families. Not only does its Disney Dream cruise ship sport a 223 metre-long outdoor tube waterslide, but it’s Very Merrytime Cruises host a Santa’s Winter Wonderland Ball complete with snow and special appearances from Frozen’s Anna and Elsa.</p> <p><strong>4. Around the world in 180 days</strong></p> <p>For people who love life at sea, the Insignia, operated by Oceania Cruises, takes 180 days and nights to circumnavigate the globe, taking in 44 countries. The ship departs from the US, then travels to the Caribbean, South America, Africa and Asia.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/4-highlights-of-modern-cruising-holidays">Reader’s Digest</a></span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestsubscribe?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;utm_medium=display&amp;keycode=WRA85S">here’s our best subscription offer</a></span>.</em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

Cruising

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What really happens on a cruise ship?

<p>Everyone wakes up on a cruise to find themselves floating blissfully somewhere between vast seas and even vaster skies. While you slumbered, your floating hotel travelled through the night. Come morning, just outside your window is a completely new world and destination waiting for you to discover. What a way to start your day.</p> <p>Early risers can catch the sunrise from the deck with a steaming cup of coffee and warm French pastries before heading to breakfast, while later risers can take in the views and the fresh sea air before heading downstairs to breakfast. Cruise restaurants offer banquets fit for a king. Choose from fresh fruit, omelettes, pancakes and, of course, ­a traditional full English breakfast.</p> <p>Energise your morning with a gentle yoga class, stretching your body and relaxing your mind on the top deck, or doing a few laps of the pool. For something a little more invigorating, hit the gym. If that sounds like too much action, simply spend your morning lounging by the pool or getting lost in a book, perhaps engrossing yourself in the history, culture and legends of your next port of call.</p> <p>If it’s a port day, you might want to head out straight after breakfast to fit in all the sights. Maybe you have a tour lined up to see the local attractions; a boat trip to view a coral reef; or a sightseeing tour from high up above a rainforest canopy.</p> <p>From tropical island paradises of the South Pacific to the majestic ice-scapes of Scandinavia and Alaska and the bustling Mediterranean, where you can take a nostalgic trip back in history and visit ancient monuments and ruins, the world is your oyster as far as cruise travel is concerned.</p> <p>You can also choose to whittle the afternoon away in a quaint restaurant and watch the world go by. If you spent the previous day exploring on land, a day on board allows you to unwind and soak in the delights of ship life, such as a day of spa treatments and pampering, sunbathing by the pool, or simply afternoon tea on deck.</p> <p>For a bit more excitement, try the surfing and skydiving simulators. Or if you want to learn something, take a cookery class, or learn to dance the tango. Whatever your poison, what is not to be missed is watching the sun going down from the deck with a glass of Happy Hour bubbles in hand.</p> <p>An array of Broadway shows, cabaret spectaculars and concerts are on offer after dark. And if you want to party like it’s 1999, head to the nightclubs and chic lounges where everyone’s party can carry on late into the night.</p> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/cruise-activities/">MyDiscoveries</a></span>. </em></p>

Cruising

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The best animal spotting cruises

<p>For some travellers, their main motivation for taking a cruise is to experience the amazing wildlife that the world’s oceans and islands have to offer.</p> <p><strong>1. Stingrays and manta rays</strong></p> <p>Some cruises will offer excursions to see local wildlife while at port, with passengers able to enjoy trips to see stingrays – which frequent shallow sandy areas – up close. It’s also not uncommon for passengers to see large rays such as manta rays while at sea or as their ship leaves port. If you’re keen to swim with rays, try a cruise that takes in the Caribbean’s Cayman Islands or to the tropical islands of Fiji. There, from May to October, the stingless and gentle manta rays gather in the warm tropical waters to feed on – and be cleaned by – plankton.</p> <p><strong>2. Flying fish </strong></p> <p>They may sound too fantastical to be real but flying fish do exist and many cruise passengers report seeing them. Despite their name, they can’t really fly, but they are equipped with large wing-like pectoral fins that enable them to propel their bodies out of the water and glide for distances up to 200m – more if they use the updrafts from waves. Some types of flying fish also have a second set of ‘wing’ fins and most have a long tail they can dip into the water to help prolong ‘flight’. You’ll find them in deep tropical open ocean waters, rather than close to port. Ranging in size from 14-46cm, they can be hard to spot, but if you keep an eye out, you may just see one.</p> <p>(Note: While flying is a quirky evolutionary safeguard that keeps the fish out of reach of predators such as marlin and tuna, they need to watch out for hungry birds while gliding.)</p> <p><strong>3. Whales</strong></p> <p>If you’re keen to watch these giants of the oceans in their natural habitat, there’s no better place than Antarctica. From November to March a handful of specialist cruising companies offer Antarctic expeditions departing from Argentina or New Zealand. Antarctic waters are home to eight species of whales: fin, humpback, minke, orca, sei, southern right, sperm and the largest mammal ever known to live, the rare blue whale. But you’ll also get a chance to view other wildlife, such as Adélie penguins, elephant seals, sea lions and albatross.</p> <p><strong>4. Galápagos Iguana </strong></p> <p>The Galápagos Islands are situated in the Pacific Ocean, just under 1000km from Ecuador. The islands are home to a selection of unique animals, including the marine iguana and giant tortoise. Often described as a ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’, access to the 127 islands, islets and rocks in the Galápagos archipelago (19 are relatively large and only four are inhabited) is limited to smaller cruise ships of 100 passengers or fewer.</p> <p>Birdwatchers will be particularly interested in Darwin’s finches, named after British naturalist Charles Darwin. His theory of evolution was influenced by the adaptable little birds he noticed during his visit to the area in 1835.</p> <p><strong>5. Dolphins </strong></p> <p>You’re most likely to see dolphins when entering or leaving port, rather than in the open sea. These playful, highly intelligent mammals will often follow the wake of a ship (the disturbance it causes as it cuts through the water). Many cruises passengers report seeing dusky or Clymene dolphins on cruises in Mexican waters, but for cruises in the Pacific Ocean’s Southern Hemisphere waters, you’re more likely to spot bottlenose dolphins, identifiable by their short-rounded snouts. Dolphins love temperate waters. Head to the rear of the ship and hang out on the promenade deck for the best chance of catching sight of them.</p> <p><strong>6. Sea Turtles and Tropical Fish </strong></p> <p>Scuba diving and snorkelling are both available on cruises visiting the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with ships permitted to drop anchor in designated areas in the Whitsunday Islands region. Here, passengers can enjoy the beauty of the marine park, which is home to 1625 types of fish, including 1400 coral reef species; 450 kinds of hard coral; more than 3000 species of molluscs including clams and tritons; and more than 100 kinds of jellyfish. You may also spot sea turtles, reef sharks and many seabirds.</p> <p><strong>7. Penguins </strong></p> <p>New Zealand’s majestic Fiordland National Park is a World Heritage Site situated on the south-western corner of the South Island, where you’ll find Milford, Dusky and Doubtful Sounds. The local wildlife includes the delightful Fiordland crested penguin (aka the tawaki), a tall and portly breed of penguin with crests of yellow feathers on their heads. This rare bird is the only forest-nesting penguin. Cruise passengers should also be on the lookout for little blue penguins and bottlenose dolphins, as well as fur seals and their pups sunning themselves on the rocks.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <span><a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/animal-spotting-cruises">Reader’s Digest</a></span>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <span><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestsubscribe?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;utm_medium=display&amp;keycode=WRA85S">here’s our best subscription offer</a></span>.</em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Clive Palmer announces $700 million Titanic II set to sail in 2022

<p>One of the most infamous shipwrecks in history, the story surrounding the <em>Titanic</em> will be one that will be told for years to come.</p> <p>And now, exactly 110 years after the ocean liner sank to the depths of the sea, an optimistic hopeful promises to complete the voyage that it failed to do in 1912.</p> <p>Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has shared his plans to create <em>Titanic II</em> – a replica of the ship that met a doomed fate – and said it will be ready to set sail in 2022.</p> <p>The ship, which is costing close to $760 million, has been a work in progress since 2012 under Mr Palmer’s company Blue Star Line.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/BpK8dTdn64S/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BpK8dTdn64S/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank">You'll feel like king of the world, when the Titanic II casts off in 2022. The maiden voyage of the replica of the doomed 1912 vessel will leave from Dubai before traveling from Southhampton to New York: the same route as the original.</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/tictoc/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_medium=loading" target="_blank"> TicToc by Bloomberg</a> (@tictoc) on Oct 20, 2018 at 3:05pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Construction paused momentarily in between then and now due to financial disputes, but work has started back up again.</p> <p>However, despite the similarities, there are also some differences, as the <em>Titanic II</em> is currently being built in China while the older model, which was said to be “unsinkable”, was constructed in Northern Ireland.</p> <p>Another difference to expect is the improved safety systems in place, such as accurate navigation and technology, and extra lifeboats on board.</p> <p>Otherwise everything ranging from the interior to the exterior will be the same as the original.</p> <p>The old <em>Titanic </em>was able to house 2400 passengers and 900 crew members, with the new cruise liner hoping to accommodate to that exact number.</p> <p>The <em>Titanic II</em> will also replicate the cabin layout of the original ship.</p> <p>And to top it all off, the cruise plans to follow the same voyage as the first, starting its journey in Dubai and travelling along the North Atlantic route from Southampton, England, to New York.</p> <p>The journey will take two weeks in total, and upon its return, it will then start to travel towards other destinations.</p> <p>“The ship will follow the original journey, carrying passengers from Southampton to New York,” Mr Palmer said to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.msn.com/en-au" target="_blank"><em>MSN</em></a>.</p> <p>“But she will also circumnavigate the globe, inspiring and enchanting people while attracting unrivalled attention, intrigue and mystery in every port she visits.”</p> <p>Speaking to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/travel/travel-ideas/cruises/clive-palmers-700m-titanic-ii-to-replicate-voyage-of-the-doomed-original/news-story/851178755d4ce4d58fe0d4c475b93b91" target="_blank">news.com.au</a></em>, Blue Star Line has said that the <em>Titanic II</em> will feature the same class categories as the original – first, second and third class.</p> <p>The length of the ship will also be the same, along with having dining rooms and restaurants resembling the original.</p> <p>There is currently no information regarding ticket prices.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above for a sneak peak inside the <em>Titanic II</em>.</p> <p>Would you like to be a passenger and set sail on <em>Titanic II</em>? Tell us in the comments below. </p>

Cruising

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A day in the life of a luxury cruise ship passenger

<p><strong>1. Rise and shine</strong></p> <p>Everyone wakes up on a cruise to find themselves floating blissfully somewhere between vast seas and even vaster skies.</p> <p>While you slumbered, your floating hotel travelled through the night. Come morning, just outside your window is a completely new world and destination waiting for you to discover. What a way to start your day!</p> <p><strong>2. Breakfast club</strong></p> <p>Early risers can catch sunrise from the deck with a steaming cup of coffee and warm French pastries before heading to breakfast, while later risers can take in the views and the fresh sea air before heading downstairs to breakfast. Cruise restaurants offer banquets fit for a king. Choose from fresh fruit, omelettes, pancakes and, of course, ­a traditional full English breakfast.</p> <p><strong>3. Ease into your day</strong></p> <p>Energise your morning with a gentle yoga class, stretching your body and relaxing your mind on the top deck, or doing a few laps of the pool. For something a little more invigorating, hit the gym. If that sounds like too much action, simply spend your morning lounging by the pool or getting lost in a book, perhaps engrossing yourself in the history, culture and legends of your next port of call.</p> <p><strong>4. Port action</strong></p> <p>If it’s a port day, you might want to head out straight after breakfast to fit in all the sights. Maybe you have a tour lined up to see the local attractions; a boat trip to view a coral reef; or a sightseeing tour from high up above a rainforest canopy.</p> <p>From tropical island paradises of the South Pacific to the majestic ice-scapes of Scandinavia and Alaska and the bustling Mediterranean, where you can take a nostalgic trip back in history and visit ancient monuments and ruins, the world is your oyster as far as cruise travel is concerned.</p> <p>You can also choose to whittle the afternoon away in a quaint restaurant and watch the world go by.</p> <p><strong>5. Me time</strong></p> <p>If you spent the previous day exploring on land, a day on board allows you to unwind and soak in the delights of ship life, such as a day of spa treatments and pampering, sunbathing by the pool, or simply afternoon tea on deck.</p> <p>For a bit more excitement, try the surfing and skydiving simulators.</p> <p>Or if you want to learn something, take a cookery class, or learn to dance the tango. Whatever your poison, what is not to be missed is watching the sun going down from the deck with a glass of Happy Hour bubbles in hand.</p> <p><strong>6. Make a night of it</strong></p> <p>An array of Broadway shows, cabaret spectaculars and concerts are on offer after dark. And if you want to party like it’s 1999, head to the nightclubs and chic lounges where everyone’s party can carry on late into the night.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/day-life-luxury-cruise-ship-passenger?items_per_page=All">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestsubscribe?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;utm_medium=display&amp;keycode=WRA85S">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p> <p><img src="/media/7820640/1.png" style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;"/></p>

Cruising

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How to pack for your first cruise

<p><strong>Hand luggage</strong><br /> Most cruise lines will take your suitcases at check-in, but it can take a while for these to be delivered to your room. So, it makes sense to pack a small carry bag to take on with you containing your passport, tickets, swimsuit, change of clothes and any other essentials including medication and valuables.</p> <p><strong>Cruise style</strong><br /> Do some research into what you’ll be doing. If it’s mostly on-board entertainment, you’ll need lots of swimwear and casuals, whereas shore trips to galleries and cultural venues will require smarter wear.</p> <p><strong>Dinner style </strong><br /> Most cruise ships have a selection of restaurants, and you’ll probably get a set number of dinners in a formal restaurant, with other meals served in casual or buffet style eateries. Each cruise line has their own dress codes and rules, which should be provided on their website. As a general rule they are:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Casual:</strong> If you’re having lunch or dinner at a buffet-style restaurant, then the dress code is laidback, although swimwear and bare feet are usually not allowed.</li> <li><strong>Semi-formal:</strong> Polo shirts and chinos or smart jeans for men, with women wearing dresses or smart separates.</li> <li><strong>Formal:</strong> Men will be required to wear a dark suit and tie or dinner jacket, with ladies dressing up in cocktail or floor-length dresses. Your tickets should say how many formal nights there are.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Gala nights</strong> <br /> If you are on an upmarket cruise, a gala night or two is usually part of the itinerary. Some men enjoy wearing a tuxedo for these special events, although a lounge suit is usually acceptable, and for women, it’s an excuse to go all out, with evening gowns or glittery cocktail dresses.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/how-to-pack-for-your-first-cruise">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestsubscribe?utm_source=readersdigest&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;utm_medium=display&amp;keycode=WRA85S">here’s our best subscription offer</a>.</em></p>

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This cruise company just banned children

<p>Vikings River Cruises has just announced it will no longer permit people under the age of 18 on board their cruises.</p> <p>The cruise company, based in Basel, Switzerland, has changed its river cruise policy to be the same as its Viking Ocean Cruises line, which has had an adults-only policy since 2015.</p> <p>The cruise line’s age policy is now “one of the strictest in the industry”, according to <em><a href="https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2018/08/27/viking-cruise-lines-bans-children-says-their-clients-want-kid-free-vacations">Orlando Weekly</a></em>.</p> <p>Viking’s new terms and conditions page stipulates that for all new trips booked on both lines after August 1, 2018, passengers must be 18 or over.</p> <p>This does not apply to cruises booked on behalf of people under the age of 18 through to 2019.</p> <p>The rule change does not come as a huge surprise considering Viking River Cruises’ minimum passenger age was 12 years old.</p> <p>Viking senior vice president of marketing Richard Marnell said the new rule makes sense as the cruise line’s travel experience is for the over-50s market.</p> <p>“Viking has always offered experiences that are designed for travellers who are 50 and older, with interests in history, art, culture and exploration. It’s what we’re known for,” Mr Marnell said.</p> <p>“Previously, we had allowed a degree of flexibility in the minimum age for travel, but increasingly our guests have told us how much they appreciate an environment where they can travel without children.</p> <p>“In addition to marketing what Viking is, we believe our guests also appreciate knowing what Viking is not,” he said.</p>

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Richard Branson is building a luxury cruise ship for adults only

<p>Virgin Voyages, the cruise line launched by Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, has released renderings of its new adult-only cruise ship.</p> <p>The <em>Scarlet Lady</em> will have an 18-year-old age requirement and will feature a nightclub, a thermal spa, two restaurants, athletic clubs and a barbershop.</p> <p>The interior and exterior have been conceptualised by some of the world’s most successful design firms, including Tom Dixon Design Studio of London, Roman and Williams of New York and Concrete Amsterdam.</p> <p>“Our design partners together with our internal design team have dreamed up eye-catching, intimate and alluring spaces that we can’t wait to see come to life,” said Tom McAlpin, President and Chief Executive Officer for Virgin Voyages, in a statement to <a href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au" target="_blank"><em><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Business Insider</span></strong></em></a>.</p> <p>There will also be an exclusive outdoor lounge called Richard’s Roof-deck for suite guests.</p> <p>Inside the ship, guests can choose between two restaurants, Pink Agave and Test Kitchen.</p> <p>The ship will have an outdoor athletic club for guests who are interested in joining a boxing class or running track. The indoor gym will offer group fitness classes, yoga and stationary bicycles.</p> <p>There will also be a thermal spa called Redemption that will have a hydrotherapy pool, mud room, salt room, cold plunge rooms, quartz beds and other spa treatments.</p> <p>For those looking for furthering pampering, there will also be a nail salon, a barbershop and a hair salon.</p> <p>The ship is expected to arrive in Port Miami in 2020 for its maiden journey.</p> <p>It will hold 2,700 passengers and 1,150 crew members.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see inside the luxury cruise line.</p> <p><em>Photo: Virgin Voyages </em></p>

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Cruise ship worker rescued 22 hours after falling overboard

<p>A cruise ship worked who fell overboard has been miraculously rescued by another passing cruise ship.</p> <p>The 33-year-old man, who was working for Norwegian Cruise Line, is in a stable condition after reportedly treading water for 22 hours to stay alive.</p> <p>According to the US Coast Guard, the worker went overboard at around 3.20 pm local time on Saturday, 45 kilometres north west of Pinar del Rio, Cuba.</p> <p>The man fell off the <em>Norwegian Getaway</em> and was rescued by Carnival Cruise Line’s <em>Carnival Glory</em>.</p> <p>“It was nothing short of miraculous,” president of Carnival Cruise Line, Christine Duffy, said in a statement.</p> <p>The search for the man was suspended on Saturday evening, but a cabin steward from the <em>Carnival Glory</em> spotted him in the water at around 1.20 pm on Sunday.</p> <p>Carnival spokeswoman AnnMarie Matthews said the man did not have any safety device on when he was rescued and they “can only surmise that he was likely treading water the entire time”.</p> <p>“Kudos to the <em>Carnival Glory</em> team for this amazing effort to rescue a fellow seafarer,” Ms Duffy said.</p> <p>Speaking to <a href="https://miami.cbslocal.com/2018/07/01/missing-cruise-employee-found/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em>CBS Miami</em></strong></span></a>, US Coast Guard spokesman Jonathan Lally said: "The <em>Carnival Glory</em> had found someone in the water waving their arms and they rescued him and he was the missing <em>Norwegian Getaway</em> crew member and that was roughly about 21 miles north of Cuba.”</p> <p>Norwegian said in a statement that the line is “extremely thankful” to Carnival Cruise line.</p> <p>“We are so happy to know that the individual is safe and will soon be reunited with friends and family,” the Norwegian statement said.</p>

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Rare Titanic letter offers insight into life on doomed ship

<p>A rare letter written on-board the Titanic recently went up for auction, giving a glimpse of what life was like on the historic ship.</p> <p>According to auction house Henry Aldridge &amp; Son, the letter was written by Second Class passenger and survivor Kate Buss.</p> <p>The letter, written on April 10, 1912, is addressed to her brother Percy James and was in response to a letter she had received from him while on the historic ship.</p> <p>“I’ve been quite alright — but now feel dead tired and more fit for bed than anything,” Ms Buss wrote.</p> <p>“Have to go to dinner-tea in half an hour.”</p> <p>The letter reveals more about everyday life on the Titanic, which sank on April 15, killing 1503 passengers.</p> <p>“Mr Peters spent about an hour on the vessel and they might easily have spent another without waste of time,” Ms Buss wrote.</p> <p>“The first class apartments are really magnificent and unless you had first seen them you would think the second class were the same.”</p> <p>Ms Buss said the ship had not yet reached Cherbourg, France, but the mail had cleared.</p> <p>“I think I’d best try and get some postcards of the vessel,” she wrote.</p> <p>She also said that the passenger she was sharing her stateroom with had not yet turned up. She was also told by two clergymen sitting opposite her at the table to eat a good lunch.</p> <p>Ms Buss finished her letter by informing her brother that she was putting her letter in the post.</p> <p>“Must clear and have a wash now,” she wrote. “Will pop this in the [mail] in case I’m sea sick tomorrow. PW brought a box of chocolates — shouldn’t wonder if I’m like Jim Buss and get it the other way. Give my love to all enquirers — must go. Much love, Kate.”</p> <p>Ms Buss was travelling to America to marry her fiancé Samuel Willis.</p> <p>She survived the Titanic sinking when the <a href="http://www.oversixty.co.nz/travel/travel-trouble/2018/04/the-call-that-sealed-the-fate-of-titanic-victims/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Carpathia</span><span style="text-decoration: underline;"> picked her up</span></strong></a> along with 705 other passengers.</p> <p>Kate Buss and Samuel Willis married on May 11 as planned.</p> <p>She passed away on July 12, 1972 at the age of 96.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Henry Aldridge &amp; Son</em></p>

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What it’s like to cruise around NZ solo

<p>The last time I sailed on Azamara Journey was in 2014, on an unforgettable cruise from Athens to Rome.</p> <p>A general strike in Athens meant Syntagma Square was packed with  protesters and tours to the Acropolis were out of the question. No matter; my cruise companion and I boarded the Journey at Piraeus to find we'd been magically upgraded to the Club World Owner's Suite. Any sense of sightseeing disappointment evaporated in a trice.</p> <p>Four years on, I'm on a mission to check out what's changed since the ship had a multimillion-dollar refurb in 2016 – and to experience sailing solo for a change. Azamara Journey's cruise starts in Auckland, recently rated the world's third-most liveable city (after Vienna and Zurich). I'm not surprised by this news – Auckland is easy to get around on public transport, scores highly on the shopping, dining and natural-attractions scene and its cruise port is right there in the middle of the city.</p> <p align="center"><img src="https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/p/j/0/b/p/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1pj0lo.png/1524519902434.jpg" alt="The ship had a multimillion-dollar refurb in 2016." class="photoborder"/></p> <p align="center"><em>The ship had a multimillion-dollar refurb in 2016.</em></p> <p>Before we sail out of Auckland, we are treated to an impressive onboard performance of the haka and other tribal dances by a local band of musicians. They manage to entice a surprising number of passengers to join them on the deck and it's a fun start to the cruise.</p> <p>After the excitement of sailaway – and a vaguely worrying thought about dining alone – dinner on the aft deck of Windows Cafe proves to be a breeze. A seafood buffet is in full swing – you pick your own ingredients and the chefs cook it all in front of you – and my table for one (OK four, with three empty places) overlooking the Hauraki Gulf is the best place to be for amazing sunset views and casual conversations.</p> <p align="center"><img src="https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/p/j/0/b/o/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1pj0lo.png/1524519902434.jpg" alt="The pool deck on Azamara Journey." class="photoborder"/></p> <p align="center"><em>The pool deck on Azamara Journey.</em></p> <p>Has the ship changed much over four years? Yes and no. The decor is brighter and lighter, a selection of house drinks is now included in the fare, dining is better than ever and the service even more attentive than I recall. The former Looking Glass Lounge is now the more attractive Living Room, where wine and tapas are served in the evening and coffee and snacks during the day, while favourite features such as the painted tromp de l'oeil ceiling in the library (Drawing Room) remain.</p> <p>On the way to the Bay of Islands I join a table of single travellers for dinner, hosted by cruise director Tony Markey. You have to book a spot in advance and there are so many of us we spill onto a neighbouring table. It's a lively evening. On one side of me sits a former US senator, on the other a retired teacher, also from the US. An English woman gets straight to the point – "What are you going to do about your gun laws?" Then we talk Trump, Brexit, travel, sex and everything else under the sun.</p> <p>Over the next few days, friendships develop; Azamara Journey's size and spaces are very conducive to sociability, whether you're travelling with a group, couple or on your own. And if you're not the most confident single traveller, organised cruise excursions are a boon. Whether you take a ship's tour or a cheaper option offered by a local operator, it takes the hassle out of making the arrangements yourself and, particularly if you choose a small-group tour, you get to know fellow passengers along the way.</p> <p align="center"><img src="https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/p/j/0/b/q/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1pj0lo.png/1524519902434.jpg" alt="The Aqualina restaurant." class="photoborder"/></p> <p align="center"><em>The Aqualina restaurant.</em></p> <p>I join a Waitangi walking tour at the Bay of Islands. Guide Morrie is a straight-talking Māori who shares his extensive knowledge of his ancestors' culture as we wander along the glittering rocky coastline. He explains the significance of the massive ceremonial canoe, which is launched every February for Waitangi Day celebrations, and inside the surprisingly homely Treaty House we inspect a replica of the historic Waitangi Treaty.</p> <p>At the ornately carved Meeting House, which symbolically faces the Treaty House, we see a dazzling display of Māori weaponry, stick games and the haka; later we split up to try our hands at wood-carving or flax-weaving. Not something I'll be doing again, by the way, crafts are not my forte. Azamara Journey's visiting magician Paul Draper accompanies the tour – his show in the new 54 Below venue that evening is mind-boggling.</p> <p>My next outing is with eight other passengers from Tauranga to Rotorua, the birthplace of Maori culture. Minibus driver John keeps up a running commentary during the 45-minute drive, on everything from soaring real-estate prices in seafront Mount Maunganui to how the freshwater lakes surrounding Rotorua are full of trout. You can catch the fish but selling them is illegal.</p> <p align="center"><img src="https://resources.stuff.co.nz/content/dam/images/1/p/j/0/b/s/image.related.StuffLandscapeSixteenByNine.620x349.1pj0lo.png/1524519902434.jpg" alt="Kayaking the Queen Charlotte Sound." class="photoborder"/></p> <p style="text-align: center;" align="center"><em>Kayaking the Queen Charlotte Sound.</em></p> <p>The gushing geysers and bubbling mud pools at Te Puia are as dramatic as I'd imagined and the sulphur smell much fainter. It's a key tourist attraction and very managed – however, our onsite guide talks geology with authority and takes us through a nocturnal sanctuary to observe a pair of young kiwi birds. You can only see the native "slow breeders" in the wild if you're accompanied by a ranger.</p> <p>After a look through the inspirational new NZ Arts &amp; Crafts Institute in Te Puia we spend an hour or so at the Polynesian Spa, languishing in geothermal pools that overlook steaming, multicoloured Lake Rotorua and far distant mountains. We agree on the drive back to the ship that another hour there would have been preferable to the educational pit stop we make at a kiwifruit farm – but it's a first-world problem.</p> <p>By the time we reach Picton the weather is considerably cooler and the prospect of kayaking on Queen Charlotte Sound is suddenly not so enticing. Nobody else is piking out, though, and it turns out to be a wonderful, energising experience. Ten of us paddle about 14 kilometres in and out of bays and coves in a mountainous landscape that's so vast and silent it's quite mystical; our entertaining guide's dry comments bring us back to earth (or sea).</p> <p>Another highlight is the AzAmazing Evening in Wellington. These special events are held once on every cruise and almost everyone on the ship attends the superb Symphony by the Sea in Wellington Cathedral. Even if you don't know much about classical music you recognise these pieces; two are traditional songs made famous by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.</p> <p>I jump ship in Dunedin and catch a glimpse of Azamara Journey a few days later in Sydney, where it's setting off on its 102-night Bridge to Bridge voyage to London. Fifty-two passengers are on board for the full cruise; as Captain Johannes Tysse says, "I hope they won't be climbing the walls by the end of it, but we have plenty of things to keep them entertained."</p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p><strong>Cruise</strong></p> <p><em>Azamara Quest will sail four voyages between Australia and New Zealand in 2019; 16-night Melbourne to Auckland, departing January 6; 16-night Auckland to Sydney, departing January 22; 14-night Sydney to Auckland, departing February 7; and 15-night Auckland to Cairns, departing February 21. <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__azamaraclubcruises.com&amp;d=DwMGaQ&amp;c=N9aEhCy8U0rJkO1xCZf7rgM9fohfR5qe_N93viZd7O8&amp;r=kNONHh_9qghstnaZzt5LFySipmRKjcpxz7waAfXLdzs&amp;m=jqIGzfOoUiMQ3dWC9TedpQQtBI1lo6umx6SU66fU_60&amp;s=KMSZ5_2TXwEZLDFa5Q4vaRWekJRzkbWSDWBwQ9_fc_Y&amp;e=" target="_blank">azamaraclubcruises.com</a></strong></span></em></p> <p><em>Sally Macmillan travelled as a guest of Azamara Club Cruises and Emirates.</em></p> <p><em>Sally Macmillan. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz.</span></strong></a></em></p>

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3 very good reasons to try a senior singles cruise

<p>Sometimes the most rewarding things we do in life are those that force us to get out of our comfort zone. Whilst the thought of going on a cruise by yourself might be terrifying, all the other passengers onboard will be in the same boat. Here are some of the great benefits of embarking on a senior singles cruise.</p> <p><strong>1.  Meet new people</strong></p> <p>Whether you end up finding love on the cruise or not, you will have the opportunity to meet plenty of people who are in the same season as life as you. If you don’t meet a partner, you could still end up finding terrific friends. Singles cruises are very social, so expect to meet new people on a day-to-day basis. Singles cruises will strategically help you form friendships with fun classes, social mixers and seating at mealtime.</p> <p><strong>2. Same motives</strong></p> <p>Singles cruises are exclusive to singles so all passengers can have an opportunity to find love. While enjoying the ocean views and blue skies, whoever you come across you will know they are on the cruise as the same reason as you – to meet someone new in an exciting way!  Knowing that everyone on board is single, will help you know that whoever catches your eye is open to starting a relationship.</p> <p><strong>3.  Fun environment</strong></p> <p>Whatever way you like to have fun, whether that be pottery or dance classes or playing golf, senior singles cruises have it all. If you find someone on board, you have a list of great date activities that you can do together as you get to know them. If you are finding it hard to strike up a conversation with someone or feel like you are getting lost in the crowd, you can do a social activity to get out of your cabin.</p> <p>Have you ever been on a singles cruise? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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Should you take your own pillow on a cruise?

<p>Going on a cruise, no matter how long your journey may be, requires you to pack some essential items to make it through the trip.</p> <p>One cruiser has asked other travellers on <a href="https://boards.cruisecritic.com.au/showthread.php?t=833016" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>Cruise Critic</strong></em></span></a> if it is necessary to pack his pillow for his sea adventure.</p> <p>“I was wondering if anybody every brings their own pillows. If the pillows are good, I won't worry about it. I just don't want to have neck cramps all week,” he asked.</p> <p>Here are the responses he received from a community of avid cruisers.</p> <p>CruiseDude_83 said: “Yes every cruise. It is not because I feel that the ones on the cruise are dirty i just sleep on my own better…”</p> <p>ChristieNJ wrote” “Never! It's sad that the cruise pillows are WAYYY more comfortable than my own!”</p> <p>CL-JW agreed: “We’ve found the pillows to be good on board.”</p> <p>Tika shared: “I always take my little travel pillow with me when I travel. It is about half the size of a standard pillow and scrunches real small so easy to pack. I know some folks have asked their cabin stewards for different pillows and they always accommodate their requests. One line we cruised on actually asked us in a pre-cruise questionnaire what type of pillows we wanted and bed duvet or standard spread.”</p> <p>Retiredawacs said: “I’ve travelled all over the world and I don't leave home without my pillow. I always find a way to make room for it. I've been told though that on our cruise in three weeks that there is a pillow menu to select from. We are staying in a GS. I still think I will take my own.”</p> <p>Cruiser starlake shared his tricks to travelling with his pillow.</p> <p>“I always take my own pillow. I don't have any problem with the ship's pillows, I just like my own,” he wrote. <br /> “I have a standard size pillow and either make room for it in my checked luggage, or if there is no room there I have simply tied it to my carry-on and go through airport security. I have never been asked to find room inside the carry-on and have never had anyone even say anything about it. It is amazing if you look around airports and see how many people carry their own pillow.”</p> <p>Do you pack your pillow when you go on a cruise? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

Cruising

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The extraordinary story of the British sailor who could have saved the Titanic

<p>In 1912, sailor David Blair avoided death when he was taken off the crew for Titanic’s maiden voyage.</p> <p>It turns out, the sailor could’ve played an unknowing role in the historic tragedy by walking away with the key to a locker containing the vessels crow’s nest binoculars.</p> <p>Historians believe if the binoculars had been accessible on the journey, the iceberg which caused the fatal sinking, may have been spotted earlier.</p> <p>According to the Britain’s Burton Mail, Titanic survivor Fred Fleet told an official inquiry that if they had access to binoculars, they would’ve spotted the iceberg earlier.</p> <p>“David Blair was standing by for three months in Belfast when the Titanic was being built and was signed on for the whole of the New York voyage,” retired Derby headteacher Murray Shaw told the Burton Mail.</p> <p>"He would have been responsible for all the navigation equipment but was taken off the ship in Southampton, surplus to requirements. As a former Navy man myself, I can understand why he would have been upset."</p> <p>Mr Blair was involved in sea trials to assess the Titanic prior to its maiden voyage to New York.</p> <p>He was supposed to be the second officer on the trip when the ship’s owner drafted in senior officer Henry Wilde from sister ship the Olympic.</p> <p>In a postcard to his sister, Mr Blair his expressed his disappointment that he was replaced.</p> <p>"Am afraid I shall have to step out to make room for chief officer of the Olympic. This is a magnificent ship, I feel very disappointed I am not to make her first voyage,” he wrote.</p> <p>On April 14, 1912, the Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:45 and by 2:20am the next morning, it had sunk.</p> <p>More than 1,500 passengers and crew, including Mr Blair’s replacement died.</p>

Cruising

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The bizarre way to make a cruise ship bigger

<p>In a world first for a luxury cruise ship, Silversea's Silver Spirit has been sliced in half during an ambitious lengthening project.</p> <p>A prebuilt 15-metre segment will be inserted inside in order to create more space on board the ship for public areas.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img width="497" height="280" src="/media/7818109/in-text_497x280.jpg" alt="In Text (3)"/></p> <p>The dissection of the 32,600 tonne ship occurred in front of an audience of international press and VIP guests, who were able to watch the manoeuvring of the vast new midsection into place.</p> <p>The operation will not be completed until May 5 and is expected to take 450,000 hours to complete with more than 500 skilled workers.</p> <p>The Silver Spirit's new length of 210.7 metres is expected to increase the capacity of the ship by around 12 per cent.</p> <p>Four new restaurants will be found on board the ship's new midsection, bringing the total number of dining rooms to eight, capable of seating 15 per cent more diners.</p> <p>On top of the extension is an additional 15 metres of sky deck alongside the pool area, with 20 per cent more outdoor seating and a new aerobics area.</p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>Inside, there will be a new spa, expanded gym and two cafes.</p> <p>All suites will also undergo a refurbishment before the ship sets sail again on May 6.</p> <p>Silversea donated all the ships' old furniture to charity, filling 11 containers with 4652 items of furniture, computers and other articles, to be used for social welfare purposes in institutions across the island of Chania, Crete, identified as an island in need.</p> <p>The ship's first service will be a seven-day cruise between Rome and Barcelona.</p> <p><em>Written by Kylie Mclaughlin. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz.</span></strong></a></em></p>

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This tiny Alaskan town is preparing for its first cruise ship visit ever

<p>The Alaska village of Larsen Bay - with a population of 87 - will have its first luxury cruise ship visit this summer.</p> <p>Kodiak city harbourmaster Lon White said it's the first time he can remember a cruise liner visiting one of Kodiak's outlying villages, the Kodiak Daily Mirror <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://bit.ly/2DKXGEM" target="_blank">reports</a></strong></span>.</p> <p>Village Mayor Alice Aga said the ship's stop will allow residents to supplement their income at a time when the Icicle Seafoods processing plant will be closed. Jobs in the village depend almost entirely on tribal and local government administration when the plant is closed.</p> <p>“The community is really excited,” Aga said.  "This is a high-end cruise."</p> <p>The SilverSea cruise will be a 12-day Alaska trip costing US$9900 (NZ$13,684) per person. It includes luxury ocean-view suites, a spa and fitness centre, fine-dining restaurants and a personal butler.</p> <p>Aga said village leadership is working with SilverSea to plan activities for the tourists. Officials are considering a tour of the village and fish cannery, a lesson in the preparation of traditional foods, a hike to the village reservoir, a kayak trip and a demonstration of how to process salmon and deer.</p> <p>"We're just hoping that we can pull something together that's presentable and represents our community," Aga said.</p> <p>Aimee Williams, director of Discover Kodiak, said developing a tourism programme on short notice in a village where none existed before is a challenge.</p> <p>"We're struggling a little bit, because we don't have a lot of touristy things to do over there," she said. "We're working with them step-by-step."</p> <p>Aga said village leadership is working with SilverSea to plan activities for the tourists. Officials are considering a tour of the village and fish cannery, a lesson in the preparation of traditional foods, a hike to the village reservoir, a kayak trip and a demonstration of how to process salmon and deer.</p> <p>"We're just hoping that we can pull something together that's presentable and represents our community," Aga said.</p> <p>Aimee Williams, director of Discover Kodiak, said developing a tourism programme on short notice in a village where none existed before is a challenge.</p> <p>"We're struggling a little bit, because we don't have a lot of touristy things to do over there," she said. "We're working with them step-by-step."</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.stuff.co.nz/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Stuff.co.nz.</span></strong></a> Image credit: Instagram@krimsonfromkodiak</em></p>

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The unmissable spot in the Northern Territory

<p>“Made famous as a harsh and isolated outpost by Jeannie Gunn in her book We of the Never Never, Mataranka is now a welcoming Northern Territory outback town south of Katherine, equally famous for its spring-fed thermal pools as its literary history.</p> <p>Its natural swimming pools in Elsey National Park, such as Bitter Springs and Rainbow Springs, are inviting, warm and crystal clear. Shaded by lush palms, you might even share the water with a friendly turtle. They offer a welcome respite from the heat of the outback, or could be just the place to unwind after a day spent fishing for barramundi on the nearby Roper River.</p> <p>But you can’t escape from the fact that this is ‘Never Never’ country, a name adopted by the locals in celebration of the place they now hold in Australian folklore. When Aeneas and Jeannie Gunn were posted to Mataranka in 1902 to live on and manage Elsey Station, Jeannie was the first white woman in the area. She published the book as an account of her experience, which lasted only until her husband’s death from malarial dysentery in 1903. The book has since sold over a million copies and visitors to Mataranka can experience a replica of the Gunns’ original homestead, which was built for the 1982 movie version of the book.</p> <p>Mataranka has an ability to bring people from all walks of life together. It isn’t flashy and there is no resort, but you can get a good meal at the pub. And then, of course, there are the hot springs – they’re like a spa and their turquoise water is glorious. It’s easy to spend hours soaking in them.” – Janet Denton, Marion, South Australia</p> <p><strong>What to do:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Join the twice-daily barramundi feeding at Territory Manor, a unique celebration of the Top End’s most famous fish.</li> <li>Drop into the Never Never Museum in town, which showcases early settler history alongside that of the region’s traditional custodians, the Mangarayi and Yangman people. It also has displays on the Australian Overland Telegraph Line and the North Australia Railway.</li> <li>Visit Elsey National Park for a soak in the natural hot springs, or to canoe or fish on the mighty Roper River.</li> </ul> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>“The locals of Mataranka, like farmer Jim Sullivan, struck such a chord with us that we often reminisce about them fondly. The town itself is not much more than a tiny main street, its centrepiece being the life-size statues based on Jeannie Gunn’s book We of the Never Never. The statues not only add character to the town, but they bring the history of the region alive and pay homage to the pioneering settlers who took on such a remote and unforgiving part of the world. The springs are an absolute must. In the outback heat, they’re like a gift from Mother Nature. (And don’t worry about crocodiles! They don’t inhabit the thermal springs.)</p> <p>Surrounded by the shade of Elsey National Park, the water is like a bath so you don’t want to get out! Hanging out with fellow travellers from all over the world, we spent an entire day mesmerised by our lush surroundings, floating around in the crystal clear waters, and cruising downstream with the current. To our daughter Charli’s delight, we even spotted a few turtles! Our time in Mataranka ended on the Roper River fishing for barramundi. I can’t say we had any luck(!) but we were totally captivated by the vibrant outback sunset that lit up the water.” – Jen and Clint</p> <p><img width="165" height="202" src="/media/7817764/australia-s-ultimate-bucket-list_165x202.jpg" alt="Australia -s -ultimate -bucket -list (1)" style="float: right;"/></p> <p><em>This is an edited extract from </em>Australia’s Ultimate Bucket List<em> by Jennifer Adams &amp; Clint Bizzell published by Hardie Grant Books RRP $29.99 and is available in stores nationally</em>.</p>

Cruising