Archive for the ‘Panama Canal’ Category

My Top Five – Places I’ve Been

If my husband looks at the title he is going to laugh.  I have a very hard time narrowing down my “top” lists.  We tried doing a favorite song, but my list was well over five (we capped it at 100, and even that is changing!).  I thought it might be fun to look at some of my top picks – places I’ve been, cruise destinations, travel bucket list.  Today I’ll start with places I’ve been.  I haven’t done a lot of traveling, except for cruises, so a lot of places are on my wish list.

St John, US Virgin Islands

This is one of the most beautiful islands I have ever been to.  The vast majority of the island is a National Park so you don’t have all the houses and resorts as you traverse the island.  We have been there many times while on cruises.  One trip we rented a car and drove all around the island, finding a deserted beach (part of the park) where we could swim and snorkel.  There were coral beds, stingrays, turtles and many fish in this bay.  One other group came while we were there, otherwise, we had the place to ourselves.


Panama Canal

We have passed through the Panama Canal on a couple cruises.  Both times it was equally amazing!  What makes this destination so incredible was taking the time to learn about the history of the building of the canal.  The massive number of people who gave their life while working on this marvel.  How they cut into the Continental Divide.  How our ship just barely fit into the locks.  How the ship rose up to Gatun Lake basically by water power.


Southern France

We visited Marseille and Villefranche on our Mediterranean cruise and found Southern France to be unexpectedly welcoming.  We had been told that people from France don’t really like Americans and that was so far from the truth where we visited.  We visited Châteauneuf-du-Pape (one of my favorite wines!) and Avignon from Marseille.  Avignon was an incredible place to visit.  From the Popes’ Palace you can see the city of Avignon and the Rhone River.

From the port of Villefranche, we were able to visit Nice and Eze during our stay.  Shopping in Eze was so much fun once we met “Horst”, though he got us in a bit of trouble and almost made us miss the bus to Nice.  The views of the Mediterranean Sea from Eze were incredible!


Juneau, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska is the first place I’ve been to that is cold where I actually felt like going back again!  Friends drove us around the city before our shore excursion, getting us acquainted with the area.  I only wish we had more time to visit Mendenhall Glacier (definitely in 2014!).  The geological history of the area is what was so inspiring to me.  The nature that we experienced from the glaciers and snow-capped mountains to the humpback whales and bald eagles and everything else in between.  Just incredible.


Machu Picchu

One of the wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is breathtaking.  First, I was amazed that I lived through the week of touring other Incan ruins in Peru.  Walking around the first building when we reached the park and seeing all of Machu Picchu before us was mind-blowing.  To think that Incans built a city like this in 1450, nearly 8,000 feet above sea level is difficult to comprehend, even when you visit here.


Disneyland Resort

Okay so this is number six (I told you I have a problem!).  I just had to add this one in here because of the feeling I get every time I arrive at Disneyland.  I feel like a little kid!  I get all giggly and excited.  It’s truly my happy place.  I don’t get that way with Walt Disney World, just Disneyland.  Probably because it was my first Disney park when I was 24 years old.  We walked through the turnstiles and I proclaimed “This IS THE happiest place on earth!”.  And that comes back every time we are there.  It doesn’t bother me that the park is in the middle of a city, in fact, I like the convenience of walking everywhere without needing to take a bus or shuttle.  I was so excited when Disney California Adventure was built and enjoy that park nearly as much as Disneyland.


Honorable Mentions

This was hard enough limiting the list to five, or six.  Here are a few other places that have a special place in my heart for a variety of reasons:  New York City, San Francisco, Castaway Cay, Barbados, St. Kitts, Estes Park (Colorado), Temecula (California), Mackinac Island (Michigan), Napa Valley (California), Hudson River Valley (New York)

So what are your top favorites?  Join in the discussion on Facebook in our ToaDers Group.

Which Do You Prefer?

Some of you have never cruised on a Disney Cruise Line® cruise, while others have cruised many times.  This question is more for someone who has cruised at least once on Disney but we welcome opinions from others as well.

If you have cruised on the Disney Magic® or Disney Wonder®, which would you prefer to do for your next Disney cruise?

Cruising on the Disney Dream® or Disney Fantasy® will give you the option to see some of the new technological advances of these ships, new decor and features as well.  Cruising different ships in the fleet will also give you new entertainment options.  What you don’t get with the newer ships is new itineraries.  3, 4 and 5 night cruises to the Bahamas are what you will get with the Disney Dream while 7 night Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings will be offered on the Disney Fantasy.

If you choose the Disney Wonder or Disney Magic, there is a wide variety of new home ports and destinations to visit.  In 2012, you could sail out of Galveston, Texas or New York City on the Disney Magic.  You could sail out of Seattle on the Disney Wonder.  With destinations such as the New England Coast and Canada, Bahamas, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexican Riviera and the Caribbean, there is something for everyone.  In 2013, you can go on a Transatlantic sailing to Barcelona or sail the Mediterranean sea with new ports of call such as Venice, Dubrovnik, and Mykonos just to name a few.  Or you could choose a Panama Canal sailing on the Disney Wonder in either direction.  For those with more time on their hands, how about a Panama Canal sailing followed by a repositioning cruise to Vancouver and finish up with a 7 night Alaskan sailing.  Can you think of a better way to spend a month next year?

So what will you do?  Will it be a standard itinerary of the Bahamas or Caribbean on one of the new ships of Disney Cruise Line or will it be a new, exciting itinerary on one of the classic ships?  Check out our Facebook page and vote on your choice.

Disney Cruise Line Opens New Options for 2013

On Tuesday, Disney Cruise Line® announced several new itineraries for the Disney Magic® and Disney Wonder®.  Bookings begin online today.

As we have previously suggested, the Disney Magic will return from her home port in Galveston to Barcelona, Spain for a summer of Mediterranean cruises.  This time though we are seeing some new itineraries including ports of call in the Eastern Mediterranean, a very desired option for many Mediterranean cruisers.  The Disney Magic will call on Venice and Dubrovnik on two 12 night itineraries and will call on Turkey and two Greek Isles (Athens & Mykonos) on two additional 12 night itineraries.  She will also offer two 4 night cruises from Barcelona to Villefranche, France and Palma de Malcora, Spain.  The summer will be filled with 7 night Western Mediterranean sailings from Barcelona.

The Disney Wonder will return through the Panama Canal in December 2012 and call Miami, Florida home for the Spring, offering a 6 night and 7 night sailing to complete the year followed by 4 and 5 night sailings to the Western Caribbean and Bahamas.  She will then return through the Panama Canal once again and reposition to Vancouver, British Columbia for 7 night Alaskan Cruises.

So which 2013 itinerary are you most looking forward to?  Have you or will you book one of these sailings?

Disney Wonder and 2013 — Where Will She Go?

On Monday, Disney Cruise Line® announced that they were canceling four of their Mexican Riviera sailings on December 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2012.  The question remains, what will they be doing instead.  There has been some speculation, and a few front runners have come to light.

Our prediction is that the Disney Wonder® will set sail on December 9, 2012 on a trip through the Panama Canal, with one stop being Grand Cayman on December 19.  Following this sailing, we predict that the Disney Wonder will not return to Port Canaveral, but will call another Florida port home, likely Miami.  We expect for the Spring season that the Disney Wonder will alternate Eastern and Western Caribbean sailings, again calling on Key West and Grand Cayman.  The rest of the year and the complete itineraries are still sketchy.

We expect a release of at least some of the dates for 2013 on the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder to happen by mid-January.  Keep in mind, we do not have any word from Disney Cruise Line on this, it is just our prediction based on port schedules, information from crew members onboard and surveys offered by Disney Cruise Line.

Are you interested in a Panama Canal Cruise or a Caribbean Cruise on the Disney Wonder?  If so, let us know and we can put you on our waitlist for when these dates are released if it comes to fruition.  Contact us at .

The Ninth Day of ToaDmas

Explore a Modern World Wonder!

Named as one of the Wonders of the modern world, the Panama Canal was one of the largest and most difficult engineering projects ever undertaken.  It had an enormous impact of shipping between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, saving sailors from having to take the long and sometimes treacherous route around the tip of South America.

Now, 97 years since its opening, the canal continues to enjoy great success!  You, too, can experience for yourself this amazing wonder!

Celebrity Cruise Lines offers a fantastic voyage through the Panama Canal, onboard the beautiful Celebrity Century!

This is the only cruise that gives you a full vacation, while crossing the Continental Divide.  As you journey through the Canal, you’ll enjoy a new world of wonder and amazement on the other side.  This is definitely an enlightening and rewarding journey!

Celebrity Century

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Disney Wonder Continues Through to the Pacific

To continue the slide show from this morning, here is the continued voyage the Disney Wonder made through the Panama Canal to the Pacific Ocean.

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Welcome to The Panama Canal Disney Wonder

Today the Disney Wonder made her first transit through the Panama Canal.  She arrived at the Gatun Locks earlier.

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Panama Canal Cruising

While many of my friends are boarding the Disney Wonder for her trip through the Panama Canal, it has brought back so many memories of the two sailings that we have taken on the Disney Magic through the Panama Canal.  I thought I would share those trips with you today.

The first time the Disney Magic went through the Panama Canal, we were not onboard.  Instead we were at home wishing we were there and following the cruisers every step of the way.  Friends of ours were cruising so we helped them to post photos of everyone at the port, boarding the ship, the buffet, you name it.  We helped with the first report of cruisers at the terminal.  It was very exciting!  We spoke to them as they were sailing away.

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