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History Buff Cruises – guest post from Cruise Web

asia, cruise ships, cruises, europe, shanghai, southeast asia

3 Cruise Destinations for History Buffs

By Austin Gambino, The Cruise Web Team

As vacations go, cruising offers a lot of diversity. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re interested in kicking back on the beach, ready to go on a culinary adventure, or intrigued by the depths of a destination’s history. Let’s take a look at three cruise destinations that are just perfect for history buffs.

Asia/Southeast Asia

Whether you are cruising to China, Japan, or Southeast Asia, there are some unbelievable sites and attractions for those who love to learn about a region’s history. Beyond the classic trips such as the Great Wall, Angkor Wat, and The Forbidden City, there are plenty of options to explore for even the most jaded travelers of Asia, such as the Sultan Mosque (Singapore), Celuk (Bali), or the Usuki Stone Buddha Statues (Beppu, Japan).

Phenomenal Ports-Of-Call

Ayutthaya (Thailand), Tianjin (China), Singapore, Bali (Indonesia), Bangkok (Thailand), Busan (South Korea), Yokohama (Japan), Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Port Kelang (Malaysia), and more.

Extraordinary Excursion

Trek into the Batu Caves while at port in Kuala Lumpur (Port Kelang) in Malaysia. This location is a sacred Hindu temple with incredible statues and vibrant wildlife (such as the macaque monkeys) with some equally amazing history. Keep in mind there is a 272-step climb to reach the cave complex, so you’re sure to work out your body and your mind on this excursion.

Northern Europe

Cruising to Northern Europe is well-known to be a history buff’s dream. Castles, museums, and churches can be found all over Ireland, Germany, Northern France, Norway, and other countries you will encounter on a cruise to Northern Europe. In addition to the traditional options, river cruises are a superb option to get acquainted with the historic wonders of the Danube, Main, Rhine, and other European rivers.

Phenomenal Ports-Of-Call

Copenhagen (Denmark), Bergen (Norway), Stockholm (Sweden), Southampton (England), Tallinn (Estonia), St. Petersburg (Russia), Helsinki (Finland), Hamburg (Germany), and more.

Extraordinary Excursion

Certain cruise lines offer a unique excursion while cruising through Russia that allows passengers to become a ‘Cosmonaut for a Day’ at Moscow’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. This is a special excursion for history buffs because this base was used as a secret training base for Soviet Cosmonaut candidates and had a direct connection with the ‘space race’ between the USSR and the United States during the cold war.

Canada and New England

Cruises to Canada and New England are an intriguing vacation option for history buffs because of the diversity of history you can experience. In New England, there are attractions and deep rooted cultural and historical influences from the United States’ early years (pilgrims/indians, Yankees, and Industrial Revolution). In Canada, you can find French and British influences dating from the 15th century, Post-Confederation Canada, and more (quaint villages, landmarks, and historic forests).

Phenomenal Ports-Of-Call

New York City (New York), Newport (Rhode Island), Boston (Massachusetts), Bar Harbor (Maine), Halifax, Novia Scotia (Canada), Quebec City (Canada), Montreal (Canada),  and more.

Extraordinary Excursion(s)

If you want to try something different than the classic ‘Lexington & Concord’ in Boston or Quebec City walking tour, you may want to check out the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow House in Portland, Maine, which was once the headquarters of George Washington during the Revolutionary War. Or, visit the picturesque ‘Peggy’s Cove’ tucked into the eastern shore of Halifax, which boasts a pedigree of fishing excellence since 1811, and has a wonderful lighthouse to explore (Peggy’s Point Lighthouse). Peggy’s Cove is a picturesque fishing village. You can charter a boat to go fishing or simply drop a copolymer fishing line from one of the four wharfs to fish for mackeral.

As you can see, history buffs can enjoy history and cultural influence while cruising to the myriad of destinations served by cruises, such as Canada and New England, Northern Europe, and Asia. Remember, this only scratches the surface of history while traveling by sea.   Many other cruise destinations are ideal for historical vacationing, such as the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Africa. Which history buff cruise destination seems like the most intriguing? Let us know in the comments below, or tell us about your historical cruise vacationing experience!

Porto Corsa in Cars 2 or Portofino Italy?

Cinque Terre, eurail passes, europe, europe by train, european events 2010, Italy, Liguria

Portofino Italy
Originally uploaded by Transit Nerds

The Disney / Pixar animated film “Cars 2” has some amazing graphics showing an imaginary car racing city of “Porto Corsa”. According to Wikipedia the animators created the city based partly on their drives around the coast of northern Italy in Liguria and especially the city of Portofino, located on the Mediterreanean Coast just north of the Cinque Terre, an area we blogged about in 2010 during the family train adventures throughout Europe.

Thanks, Rick Steves!

europe, rick steves, Travel, twitter

Seattle’s Rick Steves has been touring Europe for decades, and his PBS shows, books, and personal tours to Europe have captivated many of us over the years. The Rick Steves website is one of the web’s best Travel resources with maps and extensive travel tips and participation.

It’s really a “must see website” if you are considering or planning a trip to Europe.

Although I am not a fan of the group tour approach I’m finding that the itineraries are a great way to discover new cities and attractions, and most importantly get a quick feel for the landscape, travel times, etc.

We’re planning the big family tour of Europe now (thanks ! ) and I’m finding that Eurail and Rick Steves are two of the best sites for planning this complicated trip.
Rick’s on Twitter now @RickSteves and I’m hoping he’ll actively participate there, as it’s a great way to project your views to many very fast. He’s also blogging about the politics of travel, offering some really interesting and provocative perspectives on what he feels is a commercialized and narrow view from the American media. Steves’ believes that travel is the best way to experience cultures and countries and people so we fully come to understand them, and hopefully come closer to reducing the many conflicts in our complex world. Keep up the great blogging Steve!

Europe’s unusual attractions

attractions, europe

CNN’s got a neat article featuring several European “unusual” attractions such as indoor skiing and city park kayaking in Germany.

Check out this CNN review of some cool European attractions like indoor skiing: CNN Reports

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