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December 24, 2019

Happy Holidays from the QuirkyCruise Tribe

Happy Holidays from the QuirkyCruise Tribe

by Heidi & Ted.

QuirkyCruise.com wouldn’t be what it is today with our tribe of excellent contributing writers. They’re a well-traveled and experienced group with impressive pedigrees, a flair for writing and many years plying the world’s rivers, lakes, coastal areas and oceans on small-ship cruises under 300 passengers.

A big big thank you to all of them wherever they cruising this holiday season!

Happy Holidays from Quirky Cruise

Happy Holidays from Quirky Cruise

And as a gift to you…
Our experts share their favorite small-ship cruises.
Enjoy! And Happy Traveling in 2020!
Happy Holidays from Anne

Anne Kalosh

Anne Kalosh

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

I love small ships because they’re able to go to the most interesting places without impacting the environment and they attract the most interesting passengers — people traveling with a purpose.

My favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax) are …

I like them all! 

My favorite small-ship cruise memories are ….

  • Climbing the mast on Star Clipper. I was scared to death, but a handsome officer came along to help.
  • Crunching through the ice in the otherworldly atmosphere of Antarctica aboard A&K’s Explorer (now gone).
  • Nudged against a riverbank in Cambodia where kids jumped rope beneath my AmaDara balcony.
  • Stepping back centuries from Kristina Regina at the Solovetsky Monastery in the White Sea.
  • Dazzled by the colored lights and glinting gold of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon on Aegean Odyssey.
  • Hiking amid puffins on Fair Isle from Clipper Adventurer.

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise?

I love sharing my enthusiasm for small ships and am thrilled to be among thoughtful and inspiring writers like Heidi, Ted, Peter Knego, Ben Lyons and so many others.

Tell us about YOU!

I’m a long-time editor for Seatrade-Cruise.com and I freelance for many others.

Anne’s articles for QuirkyCruise.com (some of them!)

Mekong River Cruise Adventure with AmaWaterways

Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators Voluntarily Ban Heavy Fuel Oil

More of Anne’s articles here …

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John Roberts at the Holidays

John Roberts

John Roberts

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

I really enjoy the intimacy and flexibility. You are more likely to meet like-minded travelers who are seeking immersive experiences and regard the vessel as merely a way to get there. The atmosphere is more conducive to meeting people and creating new friendships.

My 3 favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax) are …

  • My favorite experiences have been with UnCruise Adventures (I have taken five expeditions with them) because the guides and crew are so passionate about wildlife and conservation, and the program offers so many thrilling activities that adventure-seekers would love.
  • Avalon Waterways is an amazing line, with especially outstanding sailings on their small ships in Southeast Asia.
  • AmaWaterways is my top river line for exploring historic European waterways like the Danube and Rhine. They offer a great wellness program and wonderful cuisine and service onboard.

My favorite small-ship cruise memory is …

I sailed on Avalon Myanmar along the Irawaddy River. This 36-passenger ship offered an amazing experience visiting such a remote and exotic place. The people are so warm and inviting and the children just precious, curious and an overall delight.

We had a similarly outstanding experience on Avalon Siem Reap sailing the Mekong from Cambodia to Vietnam. We can’t wait to return. We learned so much about the culture and history on these voyages.

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise?

QuirkyCruise.com has been a great outlet for me to tell the stories of my travels and adventures in fun ways using my voice. Plus, the story designs encourage the use of a lot of photos and videos, so readers get a lot of information and can get a true feel of what the experience on a voyage will be like for them.

Tell us about YOU!

I write for Porthole magazine, Cruise Travel magazine, Cruise Passenger magazine in Australia, Travel Age West, Cruise Fever, Cruise Addicts and my site In The Loop Travel, among others. I also have a fun YouTube channel that features a lot of trip highlights and ship tours. Follow me on TWITTER @ InTheLoopTravel & INSTAGRAM @ LoopTravelPics.

John’s articles for QuirkyCruise.com (some of them!)

Active European River Cruises

Sporty New Zealand Cruise

More of John’s articles here …

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Happy Holidays from Gene Sloan

Gene Sloan

Gene Sloan

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

To me, the travel experience is always richer and deeper when you’re in a small group. Small ships are more intimate, and they can get you more off-the-beaten-path.

My 3 favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax) are ….

  • I’m a big fan of UnCruise’s super-small vessels in Alaska, which can get you deep into the wilderness of the region far from the tourist hordes in Juneau and Ketchikan. They carry Zodiacs and kayaks for exploring. They’re not the newest or snazziest ships, but that’s not what matters in a destination like that.”
  • I also love Windstar. They’ve got this wonderful collection of small vessels that go to both mainstream and off-the-beaten-path places all over the world. Former Seabourn executive John Delaney has done a great job with that line since he took over in 2016. He’s really expanded the itinerary offerings, and he’s also overseeing a major update of the ships, which all are around 30 years old. For the record, these mostly are vessels in the 150 to 200 passenger range. What John has done in keeping these small ships alive is great news for the small-ship lover.
  • I also will give a shout-out to tiny Adventure Canada, which offers expedition-style cruises in the Canadian Arctic each summer. The ship they charter for the trips isn’t fancy. It’s the old Ocean Endeavour, which dates to the early 1980s and is about as no-frills as it gets. But the breadth and depth of the team of onboard experts and guides that they put together for the sailings is stunning. They really know Arctic Canada — including the fabled Northwest Passage — like no other company. 

My favorite small-ship cruise memories are ….

Bumping through the ice in the Arctic Sea above Russia on a small but rugged Hapag-Lloyd Cruises expedition ship. You feel like you’re a million miles away from the world.

Also, sailing through the Caribbean on a Star Clippers sailing ship. I love the feeling of being under sail, experiencing the awesome power of the wind. Star Clippers ships also visit some wonderfully out-of-the-way places in the Caribbean that are off limits to bigger ships.

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise?

QuirkyCruise focuses on small vessels that often are overlooked by the mainstream travel media but shouldn’t be. I truly love the opportunity to bring attention to some of these lesser-known cruise offerings, which often are wonderful experiences. QuirkyCruise also gives its writers a lot of freedom in their writing.

Tell us about YOU!

I’ve written about cruising for more than 25 years and for many years oversaw USA TODAY’s award-winning cruise site, USA TODAY Cruises. These days I mostly write for The Points Guy, the fast-growing travel site that points-and-miles expert Brian Kelly started about a decade ago as a blog (it now has an editorial staff of over 40 people and 7 million unique visitors a month). I’m also writing quite a bit for Afar Magazine, both print and online. On social, you can follow my cruise travels on my Twitter page and Facebook page.

I’ve sailed on nearly 150 ships and have served as a cruise expert for The Travel Channel. I’ve written travel guides for Frommer’s and my work has appeared in more than 70 outlets. I’m the proud winner of a Lowell Thomas Award (Society of American Travel Writers) and a Gold Prize Award (North American Travel Journalists Association).

Gene’s articles for QuirkyCruise.com (some of them!)

Sailing to the Canary Islands with Sea Cloud

Viking River Cruise in the Ukraine

More of Gene’s articles here …

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Holiday Greetings from Ben Lyons

Ben Lyons

Ben Lyons

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

I love small ship cruising because (often) it is all about using the ships as platforms to reach areas that are otherwise inaccessible. There also develops  a wonderful sense of community on smaller ships — an element that I think many first-time small-ship cruisers overlook or don’t expect.

My 3 favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax) are …

  • A “footloose” hiking cruise through Scotland on the Hebridean Princess is absolutely one of my favorite cruise experiences. I love the charm of the ship, and it fits perfectly into the destination.
  • I love what Windstar is doing on many levels. Sailing on the Wind Star around Tahiti with the sails up… a spectacular combination.
  • I’ve always had a soft spot for the ships of SeaDream dating back to when they were the Sea Goddesses. They were trailblazers in the small-ship industry and the ships have actually gotten better as they get older.

My favorite small-ship cruise memories are ….

Undoubtedly my first trip to Antarctica has to stand out — I can still clearly remember my first ice berg, my first King Penguin, etc. My highlight from that trip: spending 4 hours just cruising through thick ice south of the Antarctic Circle. It was for me — as a ship’s officer used to larger ships — a real eye opening moment in what was possible.

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise.com?

I enjoy helping to bring attention to many of  these smaller operators. I love the diversity in the cruise industry and want there to be more and more of these smaller ships and operators, so anything I can do to help bring attention to them, the better.

Tell us about YOU!

I was thrilled to make the Seatrade 20 under 40 list!

Ben’s articles for QuirkyCruise.com (some of them!)

Barge Cruising in France

An UnCruise Adventure to Alaska

More of Ben’s articles here …

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Seasons Greetings from Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Peter Knego

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

There is no better way to see the world than by water and small ships are the ideal way to do it.  As much as I’m impressed with the technology and engineering, I’m not fond of the crowds, amusement parks, casinos and the whole over-the-top aspects of modern mega ship cruising.

Smaller ships enable travelers to mingle with and get to know like-minded people in an intimate setting and not overwhelm the places they visit.  They also can get into more remote ports that are not yet spoiled by tourism.

My 3 favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax) are ….

My favorite small-ship cruise memories are ….

Hard to limit to just two! A few years ago on the former Hapag-Lloyd ship HANSEATIC, I enjoyed a rather thrilling zodiac ride only a few feet away from the prow of the moving ship. The first officer was driving the zodiac at exactly the same speed as the HANSEATIC while the ship entered Alaska’s magical Misty Fjords on a brilliantly sunny morning — we were literally in the shadow of the moving bow, bone in teeth lurking within arm’s reach!

Another favorite experience was a nighttime stingray encounter with UnCruises’ SAFARI EXPLORER off Hilo. We gathered in a circle at the surface as the massive rays swam up from the depths to feed, gently brushing against us in the process.

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise?

I started writing blogs over 20 years ago, so it is nice to be able to do so again with QuirkyCruise.com. Perhaps fittingly, my writing style is a bit quirky, so it’s nice to be able to inject a little personality into my experiences when I contribute to Quirky, something that is not always possible when writing for industry trades or more nuts and bolts consumer markets. And, as a cruise fan, I’m so happy there is a site exclusively dedicated to smaller ship cruising.

Tell us about YOU!

My other outlets are USA Today Travel, Cruise Travel Magazine, TravelAgeWest, Ocean and Cruise News, Porthole, Ships Monthly and MaritimeMatters.com.

I own MidShipCentury.com, which is a website and e-commerce site dedicated to the classic cruise ships and ocean liners broken up at Alang, India in the past two decades, featuring artworks, furniture and fittings that I have rescued.

In 2014, I was the recipient of the Samuel Ward Stanton Lifetime Achievement Award from the Steamship Historical Society of America for my contributions to the world of ocean liners and cruise ships.

Peter’s articles for QuirkyCruise.com (some of them!)

Great Lakes Cruising Aboard Victory I

Lindblad Adventure in Baja California

More of Peter’s articles here …. 

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Happiest Holidays from Judi Cohen

Judi Cohen

Judi Cohen

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

Because they are not big!! I enjoy getting to know the other passengers and the crew, the casual style for meals, and the opportunity to see and learn about our close encounters in places many larger ships might not be able to visit.

My 3 favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax) are …

My favorite small-ship cruise memories are …

Spending Christmas and New Years aboard the Pandaw Kalaw in Myanmar with only 18 guests including some friends and my family. Partying with the crew and captain into the wee hours under the stars along the Irrawaddy was just magical.

Many memorable moments on UnCruise in Alaska when the captain turned the boat for a pod of Orcas. Breathtaking moments approaching the glaciers and watching global warming in action (sadly) as massive sheets of ice and snow collapsed into the water around our skiff.

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise?

QC is a treasure chest of interesting and current information on small-ship cruises. Writing for Heidi has allowed me to connect with like-minded small-ship cruise lovers and share my first hand off-the beaten-path experiences.

Tell us about YOU!

My website is TravelingJudi.com and I also write for AllThingsCruise.com, Food Wine Travel Magazine and Travel World International Magazine. Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @TravelingJudi.

Judi’s articles for QuirkyCruise.com (some of them!)

Brahmaputra River in India

Antarctica on a Russian Research Vessel

More of Judi’s articles here …

_______

Sarah says Happy Holidays

Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon

Sarah GreavesGabbadon

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

Because it combines the convenience and many of the amenities of modern cruising with the intimacy and romance of sailing. And when a small ship enters a port with a couple of hundred passengers or fewer, I believe you get a more authentic experience of the destination. Because when 3,000+ people disembark in any given place, there’s no way it can remain unchanged!

What are your favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax)?

My favorite small-ship cruise memory is ….

My circumnavigation of Iceland on Windstar last summer was unforgettable. I was awed by the beauty of the landscape and discovered that I’m a natural-born hiker!

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise?

I appreciate that the site is run by editors who truly care about the subject and spreading the word about small-ship cruising.

Tell us about YOU!

You can follow my globetrotting, fitness and shopping adventures on my website and on my @JetSetSarah social media channels. I’m kind of a big deal on Instagram! 😉

Sarah’s articles & videos for QuirkyCruise.com

Iceland Circumnavigation with Windstar (article)

Iceland Cruise Excursions (video)

Iceland Cruise ABCs (video)

JetSet Sarah Takes the Polar Plunge (video)

_______

Randy Mink

Randy Mink

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

I love small-ship cruising because, as in real life, I can’t deal with big complicated things.

My favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax) are …

  • Scenic (Europe rivers)
  • Iceland ProCruises
  • Latin Trails (Galapagos)

My favorite small-ship cruise memories are ….

I loved sharing a Galapagos cruise with my veterinarian daughter. There were only 16 people onboard Latin Trails’ yacht-like Sea Star Journey, and three were dad-daughter groups, including two Australians with their 83-year-old dad.

On my circumnavigation of Iceland, I treasured the free time I had to poke around the little port towns — peeking into backyard gardens, talking to Icelandic ponies on the other side of the fence and just getting a sense of how people live in this isolated country at the top of the world.

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise.com?

I like writing for QuirkyCruises.com because I feel I’m part of a community.

Tell us about YOU!

In everyday life, I am editor of Cruise Travel Magazine, which has been published since 1979.

Randy’s articles for QuirkyCruise.com (some of them!)

Galapagos Islands Cruise

Circumnavigating Iceland with Iceland ProCruises

More of Randy’s articles here …

_______

Seldon Ink says Happy Holidays

Lynn & Cele Seldon

Lynn & Cele Seldon

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

We prefer the intimacy of a smaller group of like-minded travelers. And the ease of everything from embarkation to excursions to less choice. We also love the shared experience with the other passengers. And we love getting to know the staff and crew. It usually adds to the experience.

My 3 favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax) are ….

My favorite small-ship cruise memories are …

We loved exploring the nooks and crannies of Cuba while circumnavigating the island with International Expeditions. It was the perfect way to immerse ourselves in the culture, from visiting a local school house to exploring the prison where Fidel and Raul Castro were held. One of our favorite memories was going to the Tropicana in Havana on New Year’s Eve and celebrating with the incredible music, costumes, dancing, and, oh yes, the Cuba Libres!

Kayaking amongst the crystal-blue glaciers of Fords Terror in Alaska with Alaskan Dream Cruises is also a memory we will not soon forget.

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise?

We love sharing our experiences and spreading the gospel of small-ship cruising with others.

Tell us about YOU!

We also write for Cruise Travel magazine; Porthole; AAA Carolinas GO Magazine; AAA Carolinas Traveler; Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and FoodNetwork.com. Follow us on Instagram @SeldonInk and on our site: www.seldonink.com.

Lynn & Cele’s articles for QuirkyCruise.com (some of them!)

Alaska with Alaskan Dream Cruises

Cuba with International Expeditions

More of Lynn & Cele Seldon’s articles …

_______

Happy Hols from Elise

Elise Lentz

Elise Lentz

Why do you love small-ship cruising?

If you’re reading this post, chances are, you are an avid fan of quirky cruises, and a member of the small-ship cruising community thus sharing a like-minded approach to travel. We tend to thrive on the ways small cruising gives us the ability to more easily interact with and get to know our fellow cruisers. I love being able to access unique and remote ports of call that only small-ship cruising can offer.

My favorite small-ship lines (under 300 pax) are …

  • Tauck’s River Cruises are great for chartered groups. The tour operator staffs the riverboats with their own tour leaders and cruise director, and packages the excursions and programs specific for group travel. The food gets great reviews and the ability to easily venture off the boat for independent exploration is a definite plus.
  • Ponant ships offer chic accommodations and smooth sailing. The line is continuing to expand their fleet so some of the ships are “hot off the presses.” This line offers a cruising clientele with an International flare and the ships present themselves with a sleek/modern design.

My favorite small-ship cruise memories are ….

When I was first introduced to the QuirkyCruise family, I remember seeing a post from Ted Scull about a Panamanian indigenous group, the Embera. When I reflect on one of my favorite small-ship cruise memories, my numerous visits to this beautiful and amazing group of people, always rises as #1.

My voyages to the Darien were onboard the Le Levant (also previously known as the Tere Moana). The Darien is so remote; there are only a small number of cruise/tour operators that are able to arrange these visits.

Why do you like writing for QuirkyCruise.com?

Writing for QuirkyCruise has allowed me to share some of my behind-the-scenes’ drama that happens while working in the travel industry. I absolutely love what I do and wouldn’t change it for the world. So, thanks to you, the loyal fans and readers of QuirkyCruise, for your continued support of QuirkyCruise and its contributing writers.

Tell us about YOU!

Want to hear what others have to say about us?  Visit our website at Global Tour Management. Tim and I also teach for the International Guide Academy (IGA); check out their website if you have an interest in becoming a tour leader.

Elise’s articles for QuirkyCruise.com (some of them!)

Packing Tips: Some Like it Hard

Behind the Scenes at Sea (Part 12)

More of Elise’s articles …. 

 

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