Dutch Harbor — A Friendly Port

September 13, 2016 — onboard the Celebrity MILLENNIUM
Unless you’ve cruised through the Aleutian Islands or you’re a fan of the television show The Deadliest Catch, you’ve probably not heard of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. It is a small town with a permanent population of about 4,000 residents so it’s a big deal when a cruise ship holding 3,000 passengers arrives.

As the Celebrity MILLENNIUM pulled into port a few days ago, we felt appreciated by the locals as they dispatched all four of their school buses to ferry us from the dock to the town’s main meeting place, the Safeway grocery store! I think it’s also the place with the largest parking lot as many municipal services were there on display: Fire, Police, Paramedics. I was one of many who decided to walk the two miles since we’d just had four consecutive sea days — it was nice to be on solid ground. On the way to town I passed the airport, and it’s one of those that stops the road traffic if a plane is crossing the road while taking off or landing.
dutchharborairport-2-compresseddutchharborairport-1-compressedI made it to Safeway, bought some postcards, jotted a few notes, put the mailing labels on them, and mailed them at the nearby Post Office.
A real highlight in town is the Aleutian Islands World War II Museum. aleutianww2museum-01-compressed It’s not a very large building, but it has a small movie room and an upper floor with additional exhibits. They opened early for us and it was nice to see that there is no entrance fee for veterans — that’s a classy move.aleutianww2museum-05-compressedaleutianww2museum-06-compressed
I continued my walk across the Captain’s Bay Bridge to the actual island of Unalaska; the ship is docked at Amaknak Island. One of the main sites here is the Russian Orthodox Church, aka, Church of the Holy Ascension. The church was not open for tours but we were able to stroll around the grounds and take photos.
russianorthodoxchurch-1-compressedrussianorthodoxchurch-2-compressedThe ship tied up in a commercial docking area in the Iliuliuk Bay, and there is a small river on Unalaska Island that feeds out of the bay into Unalaska Lake. Huge salmon were spawning in that river, and it was an incredible sight to see. In addition to the photos below, I’ve also posted some videos on my YouTube Channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/Stuart1947Gustafson)
iliuliukriver-compressedisaaluxbridge-2-compressedspawningsalmon-2-compressedspawningsalmon-4-compressedAccording to the meticulously detailed map provided by the Unalaska/Dutch Harbor Convention & Visitors’ Bureau (Click Here for their website), I had already walked five miles and I hadn’t had lunch. I’m not one of those cruisers who runs back to the ship for the “free meal,” but I was getting hungry. As I walked back toward the ship (another three miles), I stopped in at the Norvegian Rat Saloon (Yes, it is spelled with a v and not a w).norvegianratsaloon-1-compressedThe big lunch crowd (mostly from the ship) — pictured below — had already had their Crab Fest and had departed, so it was much quieter. norvegianratsaloon-4-compressednorvegianratsaloon-5-compressed My server Teressa (not to be confused with her sister Teresa; true statement) wore a friendly smile and was very pleasant. I had a delicious Aleutian Sandwich with pastrami and all the fixings; the homemade chips were sprinkled with Parmesan cheese for a nice added touch. And yes, the Alaskan Amber tasted mighty good!
I was going to walk the remaining two miles back to the ship, but the mist outside was getting pretty thick, so I decided that I’d rather stay dry. So I walked over to the “center of everything” — yes, the Safeway — and rode a school bus back to the ship.
For completeness, I did go to the Museum of the Aleutians, which is supposed to be very good. But I don’t like it when a place does not post their admission prices in a visible place. The only way to find out how much it costs go inside is to stand in line and then be told by the clerk — I didn’t go in.

Happy Travels!
Stuart



Stuart Gustafson is America’s International Travel Expert® who speaks on cruise ships, writes novels, sends out a monthly newsletter (almost every month!), is an avid TripAdvisor reviewer, and loves everything about travel. Visit his website at www.stuartgustafson.com. You can also connect with him and other travelers on his International Travel Expert page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/International-Travel-Expert-147321228683651/


All information and images copyright © 2016 by Stuart Gustafson Productions, LLC. America’s International Travel Expert is a U.S. Registered Trademark of Stuart Gustafson Productions, LLC.




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Heading to Unalaska!

September 4, 2016 — in the Pacific Ocean
Celebrity-MillenniumYes; you read that correctly. I’m currently cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM heading out of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, to our first port of call in Alaska. The port is called Dutch Harbor, home of the TV show The Deadliest Catch, and it’s on the island of Unalaska — look it up; that’s it name!

It’s not surprising that the weather is “not ideal” for cruising as the weather has been cool and damp. We left Vancouver two days ago on the 2nd, and we are having four straight Sea Days before we get Dutch Harbor. We are holding steady on a 285 degree heading; I thought we would head more northerly, but in looking at a chart, Unalaska is almost due West from Vancouver! Dutch Harbor is a small port with a few museums, and I hope to walk around and visit all of them (there are no organized ship tours).

I gave my first talk yesterday and it was on “Journaling Your Trip.” I received many suggestions (no surprise) on how other travelers do their organizing of their trip information. Some of the suggestions were excellent, such as adding sketches into your journal (even if you’re not an artist). I liked that idea. This afternoon I begin my “Music of the Masters” series of talks with an overview of classical music and an introduction to the five masters I’ll present later in the cruise. Speaking of music, the evening entertainment has been excellent. We had a great pianist last night; the night before was a brief introduction of a vocalist and a magician — I watched closely and I still don’t understand how the cut rope becomes whole again! Perhaps that’s why they call it magic!

For those not fond of Formal Nights — they’re gone! We now have what’s called Evening Chic — tuxes and ties are no longer required for the men. Let’s see how it turns out. I brought my ties, so I’ll probably wear one.

There’s not much to talk about on Sea Days; I’ll be back after we’ve been to Dutch Harbor on the 7th.

Happy Travels!
Stuart



Stuart Gustafson is America’s International Travel Expert® who speaks on cruise ships, writes novels, sends out a monthly newsletter (almost every month!), and loves everything about travel. Visit his website at www.stuartgustafson.com. You can also connect with him and other travelers on his International Travel Expert page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/International-Travel-Expert-147321228683651/


All information and images copyright © 2016 by Stuart Gustafson Productions, LLC. America’s International Travel Expert is a U.S. Registered Trademark of Stuart Gustafson Productions, LLC.




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A Crazy Travel Schedule

I head out on Friday for my first cruise of 2016 — that is shocking to some people who know me and how I love to travel. But this summer was dedicated to working in the yards as we are doing a lot of re-landscaping. I built new redwood planter boxes for the back yard, adding artistic flair to them along the way, and the front yards are being done with flower “islands” and buffalo grass (think wild prairies). With other cruises (and other travels) already lined up for 2017, I thought I would write out my schedule as it is for now. If you’re going to be in any of these places at the same time, let’s get together!


    2016:

  • 2 Sep Seattle-Tacoma Airport; En route to Vancouver
  • 2 Sep Vancouver, B.C., Canada; Boarding the Celebrity MILLENNIUM for a cruise across the Pacific
  • 7 Sep Dutch Harbor, Alaska; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 14 Sep Otaru, Japan; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 15 Sep Hakodate, Japan; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 17 Sep Tokyo, Japan; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 18 Sep Tokyo (Yokohama), Japan; depart cruise and fly home
  • 5 Oct to 20 Oct San Jose del Cabo, BCS, MEXICO; 2 weeks along Playa Azul in Los Cabos. Relaxing at Bel Air Vacation Club — available for interviews, articles, etc.
  • 8 Nov Las Vegas, NV; on way to San Diego
  • 9 Nov to 16 Nov Oceanside, California; Staying at WorldMark Oceanside while attending a beautiful wedding
  • 23 Dec to 30 Dec McCall, Idaho; Christmas time at WorldMark McCall
    2017:

  • 29 Jan to 12 Feb Cabo San Lucas, BCS, Mexico; We’ll be staying at Playa Grande Resort or Grand Solmar Resort (or both)
  • 23 Feb to 25 Feb Singapore; Visiting prior to joining cruise ship
  • 25 Feb to 26 Feb Singapore; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 1 Mar to 2 Mar Bangkok, Thailand; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 4 Mar Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 6 Mar Danang, Vietnam; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 7 Mar Halong Bay, Vietnam; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 7 Mar to 8 Mar Hanoi, Vietnam; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 10 Mar to 11 Mar Hong Kong, China; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 11 Mar Hong Kong, China; Turnaround day for cruises on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 13 Mar 13 Mar Keelung, Taiwan; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 15 Mar Nagasaki, Japan; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 16 Mar Busan, South Korea; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 17 Mar Jeju Island, South Korea; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 18 Mar Incheon, South Korea; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 20 Mar to 22 Mar Beijing, China; Three days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 20 Mar to 22 Tianjin, China; Three days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 25 Mar Shanghai, China; Turnaround day for cruises on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 28 Mar to 30 Mar Tianjin, China; Three days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 28 Mar to 30 Mar Beijing, China; Three days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 1 Apr Incheon, South Korea; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 2 Apr Jeju Island, South Korea; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 3 Apr Nagasaki, Japan; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 5 Apr Keelung, Taiwan; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 7 Apr to 8 Apr Hong Kong, China; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 8 Apr to 9 Apr Hong Kong, China; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 11 Apr to 12 Apr Taipei, Taiwan; Two days in port (Keelung) while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 13 Apr Okinawa, Japan; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 15 Apr Shanghai, China; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 17 Apr Nagasaki, Japan; Full day in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 19 Apr to 20 Apr Kobe, Japan; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 21 Apr Mt. Fuji, Japan; Full day in port (Shimizu) while cruising on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 22 Apr Tokyo, Japan; End of cruise (Yokohama) on Celebrity MILLENNIUM
  • 7 Jul to 8 Jul Providence, RI; preparing for “Great American Waterways” cruise on Blount Small Ship Adventures
  • 10 Jul Kingston, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 11 Jul Troy, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 12 Jul Amsterdam, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 13 Jul Sylvan Beach, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 14 Jul Oswego, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 15 Jul Rochester, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 16 Jul Buffalo, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 18 Jul Cleveland, OH; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 19 Jul Wyandotte, MI; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 21 Jul Mackinac Island, MI; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 22 Jul Manitowoc, WI; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 23 Jul Chicago, IL; Ending of “Great American Waterways” cruise on Blount
  • 23 Jul to 25 Jul Chicago, IL; between Blount cruises; taking in some art and other scenery
  • 26 Jul Manitowoc, WI; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 27 Jul Mackinac Island, MI; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 29 Jul Wyandotte, MI; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 30 Jul Cleveland, OH; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 31 Jul Erie, PA; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 1 Aug Buffalo, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 2 Aug Rochester, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 3 Aug Oswego, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 4 Aug Sylvan Beach, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 5 Aug Amsterdam, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 6 Aug Troy, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 7 Aug Kingston, NY; Day in port while cruising on Blount GRANDE CARIBE
  • 9 Aug Warren, RI; end of Blount cruise
  • 25 Aug to 28 Aug Venice, Italy; Before heading out on cruise on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 30 Aug Katakolon, Greece; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 31 Aug Santorini, Greece; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION on what would have been Mom’s 100th birthday!
  • 1 Sep to 2 Sep Athens, Greece; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 3 Sep Mykonos, Greece; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 5 Sep Corfu, Greece; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 7 Sep Venice, Italy; Turnaround day for cruises on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 8 Sep Ravenna, Italy; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 9 Sep to 10 Sep Dubrovnik, Croatia; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 11 Sep Kotor, Montenegro; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 13 Sep Catania, Sicily, Italy; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 15 Sep Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 16 Sep Ibiza, Spain; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 17 Sep Valencia, Spain; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 18 Sep Barcelona, Spain; Turnaround day for cruises on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 19 Sep Sete, France; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 20 Sep Toulon, France; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 21 Sep Villefranche, France; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION; perhaps a day trip to Monte Carlo!
  • 22 Sep Civitavecchia, Italy; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 23 Sep Naples, Italy; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 25 Sep to 26 Sep Valletta, Malta; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION; hoping to visit friend while there
  • 28 Sep Venice, Italy; Turnaround day for cruises on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 29 Sep Ravenna, Italy; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 30 Sep to 1 Oct Dubrovnik, Croatia; Two days in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 2 Oct Kotor, Montenegro; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 4 Oct Catania, Sicily, Italy; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 6 Oct Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 7 Oct Ibiza, Spain; Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 8 Oct Valencia, Spain;Day in port while cruising on Celebrity CONSTELLATION
  • 9 Oct to 13 Oct Barcelona, Spain; End of cruises; celebrate anniversary 43; explore the city, more Gaudi art to see; stroll La Rambla one more time!

Stuart Gustafson is America’s International Travel Expert® who speaks on cruise ships, writes novels, sends out a monthly newsletter (almost every month!), and loves everything about travel. Visit his website at www.stuartgustafson.com. You can also connect with him and other travelers on his International Travel Expert page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/International-Travel-Expert-147321228683651/


All information and images copyright © 2016 by Stuart Gustafson Productions, LLC. America’s International Travel Expert is a U.S. Registered Trademark of Stuart Gustafson Productions, LLC.




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Making an #Impact in the D.R. – part one

This is the first in a set of articles about my recent trip to the Dominican Republic aboard the P&O ship Adonia with the new cruise line fathom + travel. [Disclaimer: Fathom travel provided my transportation, lodging, cruise, and social impact activities without the expectation or requirement of favorable reviews. The opinions expressed herein are completely mine, and I’m responsible for all the content.]

Adonia-AmberCove
Amber Cove in Dominican Republic

Sailing out of Miami harbor is a beautiful sight — water, condos, greenery — they all combine to put the cruiser into a nice tranquil peace of mind.
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Being on “the first” of anything is a thrill for many reasons. You are experiencing things that no one has done before. There are people who try to be on the first flight of a new plane, eat at a restaurant;s opening night, see the first performance of a new play, etc. I was just lucky; I hadn’t planned to go on the inaugural cruise from Miami to the Dominican Republic — it just worked out that way. Adonia is a small ship, holding a maximum of 704 passengers. I don’t know how many were on board when we sailed from Miami on Sunday afternoon, April 17th, but everyone seemed like family. Some knew each other; others made new friends because of the common #TravelDeep interest.

Carnival Corporation President and CEO Arnold Donald was on board to speak about fathom, its beginnings, and its mission as it’s being led by Tara Varga Russell (who just happens to live with her family in Boise, as do I). There were several inspiring talks during the sail-away event as the party atmosphere began to grow.

Arnold Donald, President & CEO Carnival Corporation; Tara Varga Russell, President fathom travel
Arnold Donald, President & CEO Carnival Corporation; Tara Varga Russell, President fathom travel

Hugs and group photos were in abundant supply as people were so excited to finally make a difference in the lives of Dominican Republic locals as well as in the lives of those participating in the on-ground #SocialImpact activities.
P1120685 P1120689 P1120695 P1120707 During one talk, Tara Varga Russell told us how they came up with the hashtag #TravelDeep. She began with discussing the cruise line’s name, “Fathom.” Most cruisers know that fathom as a noun is a unit of length used to measure the depth of water, equal to six feet. As a verb, it means to come to understand something. So when you think of fathom, you know it has something to do with water and with coming to an understanding.

The understanding we came back with from the cruise was how we were able to make an impact in the lives of the locals even though we were there for just a few days. (More about this in a later article). #TravelDeep is a phrase being used on fathom that describes what you get out of a trip on the Adonia. Most cruise passengers on other lines “travel shallow,” meaning that they’re there mostly for themselves. They might see a local folkloric show, or attend a cultural presentation; but once they’re back on the ship, it’s over. That’s not the case when you #TravelDeep with fathom and participate in the #SocialImpact activities. You are building a foundation for future fathom travelers who will continue the work that you did. The involvement, unlike many mission and other do-good trips, is continual and leads to a conclusion that results in a positive impact on the lives of many Dominican Republic people. A by-product of all of this is the feeling that each traveler gets from doing this work. Some will return home saying, “Okay, I did that.” Others will say, “When can I go again and take others with me? I want more involvement.” It is this latter group of travelers who have learned how to #TravelDeep.

I future articles, I will discuss some of the on-ground #SocialImpact activities that are taking place in the Dominican Republic, along with ways in which you can get involved. The next time you go somewhere new, think how you can #TravelDeep through the area — it will make a difference!


Stuart Gustafson is America’s International Travel Expert® who speaks on cruise ships, writes novels, sends out a monthly newsletter, and loves everything about travel. Visit his website at www.stuartgustafson.com. You can also connect with him and other travelers on his International Travel Expert page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/International-Travel-Expert-147321228683651/


All information and images copyright © 2016 by Stuart Gustafson Productions, LLC. America’s International Travel Expert is a U.S. Registered Trademark of Stuart Gustafson Productions, LLC.




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Volun-Tourism — a New Way to Travel

There’s a new way to travel; it’s called volun-tourism. I know; you’re thinking that helping out in another city or country has been around for decades, so how is this new? It’s new because of how you travel along with the well-planned activities once you’re “there.”

Quoting from their website, Fathom Travel (www.fathom.org) is “a new kind of cruise that combines your love of travel with your desire to make a difference.” The new company, part of Carnival Corporationi, calls their travel Impact Travel, or Travel with a Purpose. Starting this April, Fathom will begin offering separate 7-day cruises out of Miami to two highly desirable Caribbean destinations: Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Your home on the sea, and while docked in port, will be the newly refurbished 704-passenger Adonia.

Planned activities in the Dominican Republic include working side by side with local residents in existing programs that focus on improving the lives of children, families and communities. Planned activities in Cuba include participating in an ongoing cultural exchange program that gives you the opportunity to interact with the Cuban people, one on one. And as with most cruises, there are optional add-on activities that you can partake in during your spare time.

If helping to make a difference sounds exciting to you, read more about these new opportunities at www.fathom.org. Not only do you get to go on a cruise, you get to help people, and you are able to visit two very interesting countries. I applaud Carnival for creating this new brand of travel with a do-good emphasis.


Stuart Gustafson is America’s International Travel Expert® who speaks on cruise ships, writes novels, writes a monthly newsletter, and loves everything about travel. Visit his website at www.stuartgustafson.com.