Cruises we've taken . . . and loved!
(some more than others)

25 years of cruising with Russ & Nancy

We've been fortunate to have taken twenty cruises (so far) over the years with three more planned.  Some have been better than others, but they've all been memorable. There's something about any cruise that you always remember. So . . . we've enjoyed something about each one. The sea has an attraction that is hard to describe, and all the cruises we've been on had the added advantage of stopping at some pretty exciting Caribbean island, Mediterranean, and Mexican Riviera locations plus Atlantic crossings. And, if you can't tell already, we're definitely "beach people." You can get a glimpse of all of them below.


1990
Norwegian Cruise Line s/s Norway

#1



Our first cruise was on Norwegian Cruise Line's SS Norway the former SS France, seven days out of Miami. The only true ocean liner of the lot, the ol' girl still has loads of class, but seems a bit out of place in the Caribbean circuit. We traded Marriott Rewards points and had a really nice outside cabin. Ports of call: St. Maarten/St. Bartholemew, St. Thomas, and Great Stirrip Cay, Bahamas. Best, we met two of our best friends, Michelle DeFronzo and Frank Salas on this cruise. We've traveled with and enjoyed them both ever since. Certainly the highlight of this cruise!


1991 & 1994
Royal Caribbean m/s Nordic Empress

#2 & #3



We took two four-day, three-night cruises on Royal Caribbean's MS Nordic Empress, again from Miami. She was almost new on our first cruise with Frank and Michelle, but looked just as grand on our second with Nancy's company "Gold Team" cruise. Ports of call: Nassau and Coco Cay, Bahamas. This is a great size ship and RCCL did a fine job. Being with friends on both cruises certainly made them special.


1995
Carnival m/s Ecstacy

#4


Nancy's Gold Team next sponsored us on Carnival's Ecstasy, from Miami. Was this ever an experience! We enjoyed the weekend in Miami with Nancy's colleagues and the stops in Key West and Cozumel, but the ship was more like a Las Vegas casino than a cruise ship. We had a suite which helped a bit, but it was a crazy place. Maybe if we'd been ten years younger . . ?


1998
Holland America m/s Ryndam

#5



Our 1998 cruise again, courtesy of Marriott Rewards was on the Holland America Lines' ship MS Ryndam (one of those "dam" ships). Ten days out of Ft. Lauderdale. We traded points and paid to upgrade to a suite. A suite is a good thing on Holland America you get the star treatment, and we enjoyed it. The stops in Nassau, St. Thomas, and Ste. Maarten/St. Martin were familiar, but always fun, and the new islands of St. Lucia and Barbados made the cruise "something new." We also stopped at their island, Half Moon Cay, Bahamas. HAL is a class act with both great food and service. The ship reflects a more up-scale clientele than some of our previous cruises. I think we'd do HAL again maybe a Scandinavia Baltic cruise.


2002

Windstar msy Wind Spirit

#6

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A WindStar cruise is different or as they say, "180 from the Ordinary." They try hard to create that private yacht feeling and they succeed! It's relaxing and you really get a chance to meet the other 140 or so passengers. None of the usual cruise ship stuff (note the lack of tuxedo and cocktail dress). We sailed (literally) from St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands with the first stop on it's sister island, St. John. Next stop was Sint Maarten (the Dutch side at Phillipsburg), although we spent the day on the French side, St. Martin. From there we sailed to St. Barthelemy (or St. Barths) for a bit more French culture. The remainder of the cruise was in the British Virgin Islands: Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, and Virgin Gorda. It was a wonderful way to preview the Virgin Islands. We hope to revisit each in conjunction with our timeshare at the Ritz-Carlton Club, St. Thomas who provided this wonderful experience.


2002

Seabourn Legend

#7

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Seabourn is really top notch. We had never experienced such exquisite service, accommodations and food. This was also our first cruise outside the Caribbean. It was truly a Mediterranean Journey from Nice, France to Barcelona, Spain and returning to Nice along the French Riviera . . . Port Vendres (and Collioure), Saint Tropez, Porquerolles, and Cassis. It was a wonderful seven days and nights of ultimate pampering.  (Note same dress as Holland America in 1998 and still looking good. My thanks to Bob Mackie!)


2004

SeaDream II

#8

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We sailed on the SeaDream II out of Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI following two glorious weeks at our Ritz-Carlton Club residence. Ports of call included Saint Martin (the French side); Antiga; Nevis; St Barths; Jost Van Dyke, BVI; and Virgin Gorda, BVI. Four old friends and two new ones. In 2003, SeaDream Yacht Club's two ships came in number two and number three in the worldwide Berlitz cruise ship ratings. We found out why. Eighty passengers and lots of personal service!


2005

Royal Caribbean m/s Enchantment of the Seas

#9

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We sailed from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale along with 25 of Nancy's family to celebrate her dad's 80th birthday. Ports of call included Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico -- the same destinations as our 1995 cruise on Carnival with Nancy's company. It was a fun time getting together with Nancy's extended family and her mom and dad certainly enjoyed it.


2006

SeaDream II

#10

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We sailed on the SeaDream II out of San Juan, Puerto Rico following two glorious weeks at our Ritz-Carlton Club residence in St Thomas. Ports of call will include Marigot, Saint Martin (the French side); Gustavia, Saint Barthelemy; St. Johns, Antigua; Anguilla, BWI; Virgin Gorda, BVI; and Jost Van Dyke, BVI. It was great to be back aboard SeaDream!  We'll do it again in 2008 this time in the Med (Venice to Athens).


2008

Holland America m/s Oosterdam
January 19-26, 2008 (7 days)

#11

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We were back on Holland America after a ten-year hiatus, this time on the Vista-class m/s Oosterdam. This was our first cruise on the West Coast along the Mexican Riviera.  We boarded her in San Diego after a week at our Desert Springs timeshare in Palm Desert, California. We spent three lovely days at sea along with these ports of call: Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  This was a bigger ship than we've been on lately, but we loved our previous voyage with Holland America, and we booked a suite again.  It was a bit chilly for much beaching, but we enjoyed the top-notch service and attention to detail.


2008

SeaDream I
Jul 26 - Aug 2, 2008 (7 days)

#12

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We sailed on the SeaDream I out of Venice, Italy on 26 July 2008.  Ports of call included: Hvar and Dubrovnik in Croatia and Corfu, Itea, the Corinth Canal, and Santorini in Greece, disembarking Piraeus (Athens), Greece on 2 Aug 2008.  This was our third SeaDream Yacht Club cruise and our first to Italy and the Greek Islands. We're getting addicted to this style of cruising, or rather yachting.


2010

SeaDream II
November 21-18, 2010 (7 days)

#13

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We returned to the Caribbean on the SeaDream II out of San Juan on November 21, 2010.  Ports of call will included: Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI; Road Town, Tortola, BVI; Norman Island, BVI; Marigot, St Martin, FWI; Gustavia, St Barths, FWI; and Virgin Gorda, BVI; disembarking in San Juan on 28 November 2010.  This was our fourth SeaDream Yacht Club cruise. We are definitely addicted to this style of cruising, or rather yachting.


2012

Seabourn Legend
August 16-26, 2012 (10 days)

#14

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We were back on Seabourn (for the first time since 2002).  This time we did the Italian Riviera cruising from Monte Carlo, Monaco to St Tropez, France; Bonifacio, Corsica, France; Cagliari, Italy; Trapani, Italy; Xlendi Gozo, Malta; Vlletta, Malta; Lipari, Italy; Sorrento, Italy; Ponza, Italy; and returning to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.  Seabourn was definitely a class act, and we're looking forward to another Med cruise with them.  It was also a great reason for a couple of days in Monte Carlo and in Rome.


2013

SeaDream I
February 3-10, 2013 (7 days)

#15

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We returned to the Caribbean on the SeaDream I out of San Juan, Puerto Rico in Jaunary 2013, following a stay at our Ritz-Carlton timeshare in St Thomas. Ports of call included: Culebrita Island, Fajardo Bay, and Esperanza, Viequez in Puerto Rico; Cruz Bay, St John, USVI; Gustavia, St Barths, FWI; Soper's Hole, Tortola, Norman Island, and Jost van Dyke in the BVI.  This was the second time that we missed Saba due to weather -- maybe someday.  This was our fifth SeaDream Yacht Club cruise. We LOVE it!  And we LOVE the 15% discount for on-board bookings too!


2013

Oceana Marina
August 24 - September 3, 2013 (10 days)

#16



We finally got to the Baltic on Oceana's new (and bigger -- too big for us) ship, Marina.  We joined our Wexford Plantation neighbors who are members of the Wexford Event and Travel Club (ETC).  We embarked from Stockholm, Sweden with stops in Helsinki, Finland; St Petersburg, Russia (three days); Tallinn, Estonia; Gdansk, Poland; Berlin, Germany; and disembarked at Copenhagen, Denmark.  This was a bigger ship that we're used to, but we enjoyed the company of neighbors and friends.


2014

River Baroness
June 1-8, 2014 (8 days)

#17



For the first time, we followed the advice of many and tried a European river cruise.  This one followed our participation in the meeting of the International Federation of Wine Brotherhoods (FICB) Congress in Reims, France.  Stops along the Seine included: Paris, Vernon (Giverny), Les Andelys, Roven (Normandy beaches), Cavdebec-en-Caux, Mantes-la-Jolie, and returning to Paris.  It was a great time with several of our FICB and Knights of the Vine friends.  We'd heard great things about Uniworld and we agreed.


2015

SeaDream II
February 14-21, 2015 (7 days)

#18

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We are looking forward to this cruise on our old friend SeaDream II from St Thomas to St Thomas with a few new stops:  Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI; Cruz Bay, St John, USVI; Charleston, Nevis; South Friars Bay, St Kitts; Gustavia, St Barths, FWI; Sandy Ground, Anquilla; Jost van Dyke, BVI; returning to Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI.  We'll spend a week at our Ritz-Carlton Club timeshare on St Thomas following the cruise.


2015

Seabourn Quest
March 31 to April 14, 2015 (14 days)

#19

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We were back on Seabourn this time for our first-ever Atlantic crossing on the Seabourn Quest.  Nancy has wanted to do this for a long time.  We embarked from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, spend nine days at Sea enjoying the great Seabourn amenities and service, then Funchal (Madeira), Portugal, followed by another three days at Sea, disembarking at Barcelona, Spain.  We've always wanted to try a crossing and this was our chance.  The "new, bigger" Seabourn Quest is about the right size for this adventure.  Even the captain said that is was one of his smoothest crossings we appreciated that!


2016

Grandeur of the Seas
January 6, 2016 (10 days)

#20




               Russ and Nancy                                                                                                     Russ and Niece Trish Smart
 

We sailed with Nancy's immediate family from Baltimore, Maryland for her Dad's 91st birthday.  We embarked Baltimore, Maryland , and after two sea-days arrived in Labadee, Haiti -- our first time there. Next was San Juan, Puerto Rico.  This is where the cruise pretty much fell apart.  Nancy's dad had trouble swallowing and the ship's physician put him off the ship in San Juan and sent him to the hospital.  He wasn't allowed to return to the ship, so we stayed with him, spent the night in San Juan, and flew back to Baltimore.  Next was San Juan, PR and St Thomas, USVI.  Afterwards teh rest of the family sailed to Phillipsburg, St Maarten, DWI, followed by three additional sea-days before returning to Baltimore.  Not one of our greater experiences.  Good news is that Nancy's dad is doing well now that he is home.


2016

SeaDream II
March 12, 2016 (7 days)

#21




We cruised our old friend again, SeaDream II
from St Thomas to San Juan with a few new stops:  Charlotte Amalie, St Thomas, USVI; Cruz Bay, St John, USVI; Saba, NA; Gustavia, St Barths, FWI; Marigot, St Martin, FWI; Soper's Hole, BVI; Great Harbour, Peter Island, BVI; North Sound, Virgin Gorda, BVI; disembarking at San Juan, PR.  Once again, we spent a week at our Ritz-Carlton Club timeshare on St Thomas following the cruise.


2017

Seabourn Odyssey
April 15-29, 2017 (14 days)

#22





We were back on Seabourn this time for our second Atlantic crossing on the Seabourn Odyssey.  Nancy loved the first crossing and we both wanted to do it again.  Thi one was equally enjoyable.  We embarked this time from Bridgetown in Barbados, spent seven days at Sea enjoying the great Seabourn amenities and service, then Funchal (Madeira), Portugal, followed by another three days at Sea to Barcelona, Spain, followed by Marseille, France and disembarked in Monte Carlo, Monaco (our favorite destination in all the world).  The "new, bigger" Seabourn Odyssey is about the right size for this adventure.  We of course spent a few days in Monte Carlo on our arrival.


Planned for 2017

SeaDream II
October 7-17, 2017 (9 days)

#23




We be back on our old friend again, SeaDream I
from Nice, France to Malaga, Spain stopping in St Tropez, France; Sanary Sur-Mer, France; Cassis, France; Montpellier, France; Barcelona, spain; Valencia, Spain; Alicante, Spain, Cartagena, Spain; and disembarking in Malage, Spain.  We plan to spent a few days at our Marriott Vacation Club timeshare in Marbella, Spain following the cruise.


Planned for 2018

Seabourn Odyssey
February 10-24, 2018 (14 days)

#24





Another great trip planned on Seabourn Odyssey.  This one is to celebrate Nancy's birthday, and we plan to do it in grand Seabourn style.  This will be our first Seabourn cruise in the Caribbean, and we'll get to visit some new islands.  We embark from Philipsburg, St Maarten (the Dutch side), followed by: Carambola Beach, St Kitts; Road Bay, Anguilla; St Johns, Antigua; Terre-de-Haut, Guadeloupe; Castries, St Lucia; Port Elizabeth, St Vincent; Saline Bay, St Vincent; Rose, Dominica; Deshales, Guadeloupe; Basseterre, St Kitts; Gustavia, St Barths; Great Harbour, Jost van Dyke, BVI; and returning to Philipsburg, St Maarten.  Seabourn calls it, "14-Day CAribbean Gems in Depth" -- a pretty good description.  Some old friends and some new ones.


Planned for 2018

Queen Mary 2
July 6-13 (7 days)

#25



We're planning our first cruise aboard Cunard -- on their flagship ocean liner, Queen Mary 2.  She is certainly bigger that we are used to, but a North Atlantic crossing on a true ocean liner is on the "bucket list."  Perhaps our booking in a Princess Grill suite will provide a bit more intimacy.  We shall see.  This will be our third Atlantic crossing and we are hoping for as smooth a seas as we've enjoyed on the other two.  It will be a short seven days from New York City to Southampton, England.  NAturally, time in both New York City and London on each end.


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