Cartagena

4th Port Stop – Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena – A Magical Mix of Old and Modern

Fort at entrance of Cartagena bay

Fort at the bay’s western entrance

Founded in 1533 by the Spanish who named it after Cartagena, Spain, the city rose at the height of the Spanish empire. Over time, Cartagena became a major global trading port. During the 1600s, Spain began to build fortresses to defend the city, and built a wall of almost 7 miles around the entire city. Continue reading

Panama Canal with Princess Ship

3rd Port Stop – Colon, Panama & the Panama Canal

Colon – A City to Avoid But See the Panama Canal

There are certain iconic images I want to see, such as the Grand Canyon, the Nepali Coast in Kauai, The Eiffel Tower, the glaciers in Alaska, and many more. One of those images has been the Panama Canal. So we were looking forward to finally seeing it in person.

But first, we arrived at the port city of Colon, Panama. Many people mistakenly think beautiful Panama City is on the Atlantic (Caribbean side) of Panama. Unfortunately it is on the Pacific side of Panama. Since it takes about eight hours to transit the Panama Canal, most cruise guests never see Panama City. Instead the port stop is Colon, Panama, a dingy and sadly run down drug and gang infested city. The enclosed port area is safe, but just a block outside the port is a dangerous zone of what once were magnificent large Spanish Colonial buildings.  Continue reading

Costa Rica Sloth

2nd Port Stop – Puerto Limon, Costa Rica

Puerto Limon, Costa Rica – Either Shore Excursion or Relax on the Ship

The port in Puerto Limon is a commercial port versus a tourist/cruise port, and the nearby town doesn’t offer much to see or do. However, there is plenty to do outside of the town. Most of your options will require you to take a shore excursion as many are a significant distance from the port. Here are some of your options: Continue reading

Discover Mexico historical park

1st Port Stop – Cozumel, Mexico

FLAVORS OF MEXICO: CHOCOLATE, TEQUILA & TACOS

Since we’ve been to Cozumel several times, this time we decided to spend the day learning more about Mexican culture and history, as well as taste some of its flavors. So we scheduled a “shore excursion” through ShoreTrips, one of Out Destinations’ main suppliers of shore excursions. While ShoreTrips said a taxi wasn’t required to get to the “Discover Mexico” historical park, it is a fairly long walk that we wouldn’t recommend anyone else do. It would be much more comfortable to take a taxi, and it is a short ride from the port. The “Park” is not large like an U.S. amusement park, it is only a few acres, but well worth the money and time. Continue reading

Celebrity Equinox

The Beginning of a Fabulous 50th-Birthday-Celebration Cruise on Celebrity

It was with a lot of anticipation and excitement that we awaited this cruise. We’ve been on many, many Caribbean cruises on most major cruise lines, but this was different. Part of the excitement was that we would celebrate Kent’s 50th birthday in Cartagena, Colombia, and that it was a 12-day cruise which gave us more time to relax. Also this cruise was going to take us to ports we haven’t been to before, and part of what we enjoy about cruising is the opportunity to learn about the history of other countries, experience some of the local culture, and have the chance to explore new places. On this trip, we’d visit Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia for the first time. Continue reading

International Bear Bash Orlando

International Bear Bash 2016

Plans for 2016

International Bear Bash takes place in sunny Orlando, Florida, USA from September 27 – October 2, 2016 and draws a broad and diverse international crowd of men from around the world. Held in a city that is regularly hailed as one of The Advocate ranked gayest cities in the USA, no city compares to the attractions of Orlando, FL. Much like Orlando, International Bear Bash proudly features non-stop parties, top notch entertainment, all held at an unparalleled host hotel. Continue reading

Visa May Be Required for Europe

EU Commission Punts on Whether to Require Visas for U.S. Citizens

EU Delays Making a Decision – Seeks Guidance

The European Commission put off a decision until at least July 12, 2016, to start the legal process that would eliminate the Visa Waiver Program for U.S. citizens traveling to Europe.

The issue is being raised as a result of a 2014 EU regulation which requires full reciprocity between the U.S. (and other countries) with all 28 member countries of the EU on visa requirements. Currently the U.S. does not allow citizens of Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, or Romania to participate in the Visa Waiver Program. The 2014 regulation set a deadline of April 12, 2016, to determine if all countries were in compliance. Continue reading

Harmony of the Seas

If Bigger is Better, than the Harmony of the Seas Will be the Best!

Royal Caribbean’s Newest Ship Set to Sail in May 2016

When Royal Caribbean’s (RCCL) newest ship sets sail on its maiden voyage in May 2016, it will become the largest cruise ship in the world. As the newest Oasis-class ship, its maximum guest capacity is 6,410, which surpasses its sister ships like the Allure and Oasis of the Sea. Continue reading