My Upcoming Cruises
Here are the details on all of the cruises I currently have booked
Lately, I've been in demand as a commercial photographer, videographer, and licensed commercial drone pilot. Two different cruise lines (Viking, and American Cruise Lines) have been inviting me to sail with them at their expense to shoot photos and videos.
It's smart of these cruise lines to do this, because it generates great publicity for them. Also, it's cheaper than if they actually hired a commercial photographer because I don't charge the cruise lines a thing for my service. I love cruising, so I am happy to do the work at no charge in exchange for the free trip.
My next assignment for American Cruise Lines will be taking me to Toronto for a cruise on the Great Lakes! This will be with the Canadian subsidiary of American Cruise Lines, which is known as Pearl Seas Cruises.
I'm very excited that this cruise will take me to Niagara Falls... someplace I've never been before and which seems like a place that a traveller like me should definitely see at least once in his lifetime. Visiting famous places within the United States that I've never been to is one of my favorite things about American Cruise Lines... or in this case, their sister brand, Pearl Seas Cruises.
The main reason that my friends at American Cruise Lines wanted to get me on to this Great Lakes cruise is that the ship has just completed a total refurbishment of all the interior decor, including the cabins. ACL wants me to get photos and videos of the entire ship so that the photos they use in their marketing will reflect the new look of the ship... because all they have to use in their marketing right now is artist's renderings of what the new design was supposed to look like. For example, here's an artist's rendering of what one of the cabins should look like after the refurb...
It looks great to me, and my first task after getting aboard will to shoot lots of photos of videos of the real thing so that ACL won't have to use these renderings any longer.
I mentioned that this cruise will be taking me to Niagra Falls. That's just the first of quite a few destinations that we'll visit during my 12-night trip. Here's the full itinerary:
One of the stops I'm actually most excited about is Detroit, Michigan... and that's because I've been a pizza fanatic my entire life and I just love Detroit-style pizza. If possible, I'll be stopping by one of Detroit's most famous pizza restaurants, Buddy's Pizza, who have been making their class Detroit-style pizzas for more than 75 years!
Detroit-style pizza at Buddy's Pizza
I am really looking forward to exploring the Great Lakes region. I was a California boy for most of my life, and these days Washington state is my home... and it seems like, at this point in my travels, I really should get to know some of these classic American regions that I've never been to... like the Great Lakes.
I also have another cruise booked with American Cruise Lines for this summer. Kellyn and I will be flying to Nashville, Tennessee, for a river cruise there!
They've got a new ship that will be doing Tennessee River cruises, and they want me on it. I'm excited about it, because I've wanted to visit Nashville for a long time now! In fact, this cruise would get me to three states I've never visited before: Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky. This will be my 61st cruise overall, and my fifth with American Cruise Lines. Our dog sitter will be available to take care of Carli, our Cocker Spaniel... so, my wife, Kellyn, will be able to come along for this cruise.
I've also already booked a cruise for 2024. Kellyn and I are going to revisit a ship we really loved... the Norwegian Breakaway. We sailed on her back in April of 2019, and there's kind of a funny story about why I decided to cruise on this ship for a second time.
Norwegian Breakaway made her debut back in 2013... the first of a brand new class of ships for Norwegian Cruise Line... but in the years since then, Norwegian has brought out six newer ships. In fact, when I mentioned Breakaway to my travel agent, one of her comments was that it was kind of an old ship! My point is that with so many newer ships that have come out over the last ten years, even I had kind of forgotten about Breakaway and focused on the newer ships.
But a few weeks ago, I was having a lazy day at home without much to do, and I found myself looking at a few old YouTube videos of mine. I stumbled across a video that I made back in 2019 when we cruised on Norwegian Breakaway. If you have 12 minutes to watch a video, have a look at it:
To start the video playing, click the triangle in the middle of the video screen
To make the video fill the screen (recommended) click the little symbol in the lower right corner of the video player
Looking back at that video, about four years after I had made it, I realized that I had forgotten how much I really enjoyed Breakaway... especially since we had been fortunate enough to sail in The Haven. I also realized that it was a really great ship, and that we really liked a lot of things about The Haven on that particular ship. It got me thinking about how NCL charges the highest prices to sail on the newest ships... and that a cruise on a ten year old ship like this might be a little more affordable than sailing on Norwegian's newest ships.
One thing led to another, and now we're booked to cruise in The Haven on Norwegian Breakaway again!
Cruises I'd Like To Take
A few cruises I would love to do:
A cruise on a Princess ship that
has their new Medallion technology.
This seems like it could really improve the cruise experience, especially for someone like me
that needs to stay connected to the Internet even when on vacation.
I need to get onboard a Princess ship to check it out! The last time I
cruised with Princess was before they rolled out the Medallion technology.
A cruise with Holland America.
That's probably the biggest cruise line that I've never sailed with. I
think I should try it sometime. The reason I've never sailed with Holland
America before is that I view it as a cruise line for old people. Well,
now that I am one, I guess I should give HAL a try.
Just about any cruise on Viking. The ultimate Viking cruise I would love to do is a 40-day South Pacific cruise
they offer... starting in Los Angeles, and visiting Hawaii, Tahiti, Bora
Bora, Moorea, New Zealand, Tasmania, and ending in Sydney, Australia. What
a cruise that would be! But I would also love to cruise with Viking in
Alaska, or on their new river ship that will do Mississippi River cruises.
An Alaska cruise with American
Cruise Lines. American Constellation, the ship I was recently on for a
Puget Sound cruise, spends the summer cruising in Alaska. I would love to
A cruise on one of Royal
Caribbean's Quantum-class ships. I totally loved Anthem Of The Seas when
I sailed on her a few years ago,
and thought it was the best cruise ship I had ever sailed on at that point.
I'd love to sail on Anthem Of The Seas again, or any other ship in the Quantum class.
One of the great things about it is that it's an outstanding value...
the regular balcony cabins on the Quantum class ships are really nice, so
I don't see any need to book a suite... which makes it possible to do
a very affordable cruise, and still have a great experience.
A cruise in the South Pacific, visiting places like Tahiti and Bora Bora.
Cruising Less These Days
In 2020, I retired after 28 years with Pacific Gas & Electric company at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. This allowed me and Kellyn to move out of California and to have our dream house built for us in Washington state. We chose to move to Washington because we wanted to live close to my sister and her family. There are other benefits, too... such as the fact that Washington doesn't have a state income tax, and that water is abundant thanks to the Columbia River that is only about 1200 feet from our new house.
Kellyn and I are so comfortable in our new house that we probably won't do as much vacationing over the next few years as we did in previous years. A lot of our vacations were just elaborate ways to get to warm ocean water or in to a nice hot tub. The weather here in Southeastern Washington is so great (better than where we used to live in California, believe it or not) and now that we have our own hot tub here at our dream house, we're happy... and just not quite as motivated as we used to be to head out on vacation. If I had to guess, I'd say instead of doing three to five vacations a year like we used to do, it might only pay for one (or maybe two) cruises a year for a while. The key word in that sentence is "pay". If any cruise line wants to invite me aboard at their expense so that I can make YouTube videos about their ship, I'd almost certainly accept their offer.
Need A Travel Agent?
Booking a cruise can be confusing, especially if you haven't been on many cruises before. There are lots of first-time cruiser mistakes that a travel agent can keep you from making. Also, the call centers of some of the big cruise lines are severely understaffed these days... creating extremely long wait times to talk to a customer service representative. When you book a cruise through a travel agent, you'll never have to get stuck on hold with the cruise line... your travel agent does all that kind of stuff for you.
If you're interested in booking a cruise with any cruise line... please feel free to use the services of my travel agent, Caitlin Gallagher. She's extremely pleasant to deal with, easy to talk to since she lives in the United States and speaks without any kind of an accent, and quite experienced and knowledgeable about different types of cruising. Caitlin is the owner of Ambren Travel. Visit her web site, check out the Ambren Travel Facebook page, or contact her using the information below.
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