Archive for March, 2007
If your idea of adventure is sampling the local cocktail in the closest port bar, then trekking through Maya ruins may not be for you. Not the typical “cruise ship shore excursion” trips to these fascinating sites are available from Caribbean ports in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras.
On a recent stop in Guatemala, guests of the Seven Seas Mariner had the opportunity to visit the crème de la crème of the Classic Maya world – Tikal, Copan and Quirigua. Upon the approach to Guatemala’s Peten region, the roof combs of Tikal’s temples tower above the tree line. If the sight looks familiar it may be because it was used in the opening scene of the original Star Wars! Visitors to the site are amazed to its extent; the largest Maya city-state yet to found, Tikal supported a population some estimate to be over 200,000 inhabitants. One day is time only to whet one’s appetite for a future visit. Quirigua is the closest site to the port of Santo Tomas de Castillo and can be reached by car or bus. Within the site is an excellent collection of stela – the carved columns that depict dynastic rulers and their hieroglyphic text. Those with walking difficulties will appreciate the level surface throughout the site and its accessibility. Finally, Copan; acclaimed as the “Paris of the Maya world” the site is rich in deep-relief carving and sculpture. In recent years Copan has contributed much to the understanding of the Maya thanks to the archaeological work done by Ricardo Agurcia, Bill Fash and Robert Sharer. Perfectly preserved amidst the core of Temple 16, a replica of the Rosalia Temple is on display in the new Sculpture Museum. As an added bonus, many of the tunnels used by archaeologists are open to the public.
For those seriously interested in learning more about the Maya; mark your calendars for June 14 – 16, 2007, when the III International Congress will meet in Copan. This year’s theme: The Art of Power in the Mundo Maya. Included on the schedule of events in a Mundo Maya Culinary Festival! For more information contact www.copancongress.com.
Should you take a cruise to Alaska? The answer is YES! Of all the places I am asked about, I have to say that for the shear beauty you get more “bang for the buck” on a cruise to Alaska than any other destination in the world (that I know of…)
This year, I many of my friends who own tour companies are anticipating a little change in attitude – they are going - if it is possible – more “green.” Many companies are including more environmentally oriented tours into their offerings, showcasing the majestic beauty of the state while educating participants on its fragile nature. As more visitors are becoming more sensitive to issues effecting The Great Land, tour operators are responding with programs that allow children as well as adults the chance to get “up close and personal” with nature. With kids out for the summer, this is an ideal time for families to experience together the wonders of our 49th state.
Food – good food - is one of the most important aspects of a memorable cruise. Therefore, it is understood that any book on cruising should include something about the cuisine onboard ship, right? Starting with the third edition of, “The Cruiser Friendly Onboard Guide to Alaska’s Inside Passage,” there will be a new section written by one of the industry’s finest Executive Chefs!
The chapter will include not only recipes and tips but also insights and anecdotes on what it is like cooking for 3,000 people in a moving galley! Included will also be hints on buying locally in some of the most exotic markets in the world plus how to provision for a huge ship. I hope that you will enjoy this addition and look forward to similar chapters in upcoming books.