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Join Tom Joines and explore the world with Holland America Line Cruise in classic style to New Zealand and Australia in the comfort of a well-appointed, mid-sized ship. Encounter fascinating lands and cultures. And make lasting memories on a Holland America Line cruise.

We were born to voyage. For nearly 145 years, Holland America Line Cruise has been introducing guests to new places and new cultures, and we’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of travel. We’ve seen how it opens minds, builds connections and fosters an appreciation of the shared humanity that unites us the world over. We invite you to join us for an unforgettable experience. Because travel is more than an itinerary, it has the power to change us and our world, journey by journey. This is why we sail.

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Bill and I were joined by 4 other Half Moon Bay couples on a life-transforming journey to the Galapagos Islands this month. As a travel advisor, I looked at many options and ways to experience the Galapagos – and was completely swept away by Silversea’s expedition itinerary aboard the lovely Silver Galapagos.

What Silversea offered:

• A fully inclusive experience from our US based flights to Ecuador, hotels on the mainland for 2 night in Quito and 1 day in Guayaquil, flights to the islands, and 7 nights aboard an elegant yet low-key ship

• 10 naturalists on board, most of whom grew up in the islands and know the wildlife on water and on shore better than anyone

• Onboard nature photographer and videographer who captured amazing images that will last a lifetime of memories

• Locally sourced cuisine – delicious and beautifully presented • Pampering while on board – butler service in every suite; fully stocked mini-bar and top shelf spirits and elegant South American wines available at all hours

• Opportunities to snorkel, kayak, walk, zodiac – all included, two times per day every day. On our week cruising around the islands of San Cristobal, Isabella, Fernandina, Floreana, Santa Cruz, Bartolome, Baltra, and the breathtaking sunset over Roca Leon Dormido we spotted so much wildlife it was almost overwhelming.

Here are a few highlights:

• Got up close to giant tortoises

• Saw the mating dance of the rare and Galapagos-only flightless cormorant

• Spied a Galapagos hawk snapping up a young marine iguana

• Snorkeled with Galapagos penguins and Galapagos sea lions among the thousands of reef fish that populate the waters

• Experienced the boobies diving for fish and saw at close range the vivid blue feet of the blue-footed boobies

• Enjoyed a peaceful scene of flamingos feeding in the shallows at sunset

• Got eye level with land iguanas

• Witnessed a fight for a nest by two female marine iguanas

It was also a special honor to share this experience with friends and neighbors from our community.  We created a bond that only a special shared experience can build.  In fact, we couldn’t wait to get home and see the video created by our onboard photographer while enjoying a wonderful Ecuadorian meal together.    We even learned a few culinary tricks from the Silver Galapagos chef that we showcased at our Half Moon Bay dinner.    I’d highly recommend a trip like this with people you know and who share the same enthusiasm and love of nature.  As soon as I got back, I started thinking about what’s next?  Personally, I want to go back on Silversea’s expedition ships – the Arctic has special appeal but there are dozens of amazing itineraries.

Want to learn more about expedition ship experiences?  Don’t hesitate to reach out!

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Recently, I took a short trip to New York City – an action packed long weekend arranged through Bay World Travel’s relationship with New York City Vacation Packages. My friend Joanne came up from New Jersey, and 1 day into the trip I was surprised by two other friends who decided to join us for the weekend.

While I’ve gone to school in New York, worked in New York, and visited for business reasons through the year, I’ve never been a tourist in New York. I know New York is an amazing city but seeing it through visitor’s eyes provided a new perspective. Here are my top 5 reasons to make New York City a girlfriends’ getaway.

1. Convenience. I live in California so traveling across the US for a long weekend might seem to be a bit much. But honestly, flights are convenient, frequent and affordable. Plus no passport is required, and you’ll land in New York quicker than driving between northern and southern California. There are nonstop flights from the West Coast into New York’s two biggest airports – JFK and Newark – and lots of connecting flights into La Guardia and White Plains as well.

2. Shopping! A highlight for all of us was our SOHO/NoLita boutique shopping tour. Hosted by Shop Gotham, we walked to several unique boutiques filled with surprisingly affordable yet one of a kind items. Plus on our Saturday visit we strolled through a wonderful sidewalk crafts fair – beautiful jewelry. Our tour guide Keve is not only an accomplished shopper but also a professional musician – she plays oboe for Broadway shows. This was a real treat for me as I’m a big Mozart in the Jungle fan, and the main character is an oboist(Keve knows the author of the series and even appeared in the series). My shopping finds? One dress (made in New York City and on sale for under $50), a top, shoes, and an adorable t-shirt for my grandson from local artist (company name: Pigeon Be Pigeon) of the New York skyline and a pigeon dreaming of pizza. What could say New York better than a pigeon and a pizza?

3. Food! Notice I put food before culture? Well, in New York, food is culture. When I lived in New York I commented that you can live well, dress well, or eat well – but not all 3. My friend Joanne has a connection with the local chef scene so we took advantage of an “insiders” meal at trendy Greek Loi Estatorio – treated like goddesses! We met the chef, met the owner but it’s not just about connections in the New York restaurant scene. When you go to small owner operated restaurants like this fabulous Greek offering, you often encounter the chef, the owner, and enthusiastic staff who love and honor the food you are presented with.
On our other big night we enjoyed the hip, youthful vibe of Dirty French in the Ludlow Hotel on the Lower East Side (a far cry from this neighborhood’s tenement days). We enjoyed multiple courses – a personal favorite was the crab, meyer lemon and artichoke special – but honestly the best experience was the parade of people in and out of the restaurant (not to mention the staff members themselves bedecked in eccentric outfits. And I could have spent hours at Mario Batali’s Italian emporium – but instead we browsed, sipped a Negroni and enjoyed some fabulous food.

4. Culture! Our package included several museum entrance admission tickets. On a weekend we couldn’t do it all so we chose to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York’s biggest. And the only rational approach at such a huge museum is to focus – rather than running around trying to look at a little of everything we chose the tiny Frederic Remington special exhibit and of all things American pottery (which we loved). And I had to pay homage to Louis Tiffany – the amazing stained glass windows are jaw-droppingly beautiful.

5. Iconic sights. I have a confession to make – I have never taken the Circle Line tour. I loved it! On a hot and beautiful day we motored around lower Manhattan and enjoyed the New York skyline and the famous lady who holds her torch above the city. Our tour guide was highly knowledgeable about New York history – admittedly in the late afternoon after running around New York all day I may have dozed off during the lecture on the building of the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. And our package also included entrance to the sobering 9/11 Memorial Museum. I had acquaintances who lost their lives on that day and know one heroic office worker who led her staff down the stairs to safety just before the second tower came crashing down. So this was a very personal and reflective time – its location right at the site with remains of stairs, walls, and heartbreakingly the melted Ladder 3 truck. Ladder Company 3 lost almost all of its firefighters that day. And what better experience there is than to laugh, cry and reminisce with friends? This short but packed weekend was one to remember!

Interested in a New York getaway? Call us at Bay World Travel – we will build the perfect experience for you!

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Top 3 Reasons to Come With Us on This Once-in-a-Lifetime Expedition

Home to Charles Darwin’s famous observations, the Galápagos islands are home to rare animal species found nowhere else on Earth. Each of the group’s many islands hosts a unique ecosystem of tortoise, finch, and countless species of sky, land, and sea.

With so many ways to see these amazing islands, we always opt for staying and traveling aboard a cruise ship. SilverSea Expeditions® offers a number of seven-day Galápagos cruises, with the perfect balance of luxury and adventure. With the best expert field guides-per-visitor ratio, SilverSea is our cruise line of choice for the Galápagos. These are the things we love about this experience!

1. World-Class Accommodations

The SilverSea operates intimate cruise vessels which accommodate a small number of guests.Every guest will enjoy plush accommodations, fine dining, and intimate lectures from local experts that immerse you in knowledge for the on-shore excursions to come.

These small vessels open up small areas that are inaccessible to normal, larger cruise vessels. With nimble zodiac crafts to take you to shore, you’ll find yourself miles away from any signs of civilization, up-close and personal with the world’s rarest and most unique animal species.

2. Expert Field Guides

The Galápagos islands offer a glimpse into some of the most unique equatorial ecosystems on the planet. This is why we love the local experts at SilverSea! The sheer diversity of species is best appreciated with their expert insight and experience at your side.

All fully certified by the Directorate of the Galápagos National Park, the field guides are with you for every step of your journey. Prepare for and debrief excursions with on-board lectures. With specialists in every relevant discipline, rest assured that all of your questions will be answered with extraordinary insight.

To us, the guides are what truly set this experience apart. Building a personal connection with your cruise guides gives you a feel for what motivates these amazing people. This personal relationship works both ways, as you feel the excitement of these experts while they share with you this magical place that means so much to them.

There are, of course, a number of great cruises from different companies that we recommend as well. Contact us to find out what cruise best suits your dates, travel style, and budget.

3. Travel Worry-Free

With the seven-day cruise package, everything is taken care of. Round-trip air travel from mainland Ecuador, pre-cruise and post-cruise hotel accommodations in Quito, airport transfers, National Park fees and permits, onboard meals and accommodations are all taken care of so you can focus on getting the most out of your Galápagos experience!

We’ve got your back with all the travel resources you need. With travel insurance, visa and passport assistance and more, we’ll help you connect the dots and make your Galápagos adventure a reality! Contact us and find out more about your Galápagos cruise!

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Top 5 Reasons to Cruise to Mexico

I’m just back from a glorious 7-night cruise aboard Holland America’s MS Westerdam – joined by my sister and 2 friends to celebrate a milestone birthday.  We embarked in San Diego – bound for the lovely Mexican Riviera ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta – but honestly many of the highlights were enjoyed right on board.  Here are the top 5 reasons I love this itinerary and cruise line –

1. Mexico culture immersion.  I’m not just talking about Margaritas though they were certainly featured along with a daily taco bar poolside – but the gracious Mexican ambassadors who sang, danced, and taught us about this beautiful country and culture.  My sister and I even braved a salsa and merengue dance lesson – technically not Mexican but the Latin vibe is irresistible under the warm Mexican sun.

2. Spa day!  3 leisurely sea days provided the inspiration for complete relaxation.  The hot stone massage was heaven as were the heated tile beds and steam room looking out over the gentle Pacific waves.  This Holland America ship was the most stable I’ve ever sailed on …. no rolling sensation on shore, just a gentle rocking to sleep every night.

3. Champagne Dreaming.  I fell in love with the Champagne Dream –one of Holland America’s signature cocktails.  This drink is light and refreshing but packs a punch too!   This was our go-to cocktail for the sunset. We visited several of the bars but our favorite bartender, David, worked at the Pinnacle Bar and was the super fun mixology class instructor.  Yes, my sister and I both got our degrees in mixology!

4. America’s Test Kitchen.  What an awesome partnership Holland America has with ATK.  Our America’s Test Kitchen host Abbie was just delightful and I came home with lots of practical tips and great easy fast recipes.  My husband thinks I’m an obnoxious kitchen know-it-all now!

5. Coffee break.  Smiling and gracious staff greeted us everywhere but we have a special fondness for the barista at the coffee bar – and we’d sit for minutes on port days or linger for hours overlooking the Pacific on sea days.  Great staff, good food, leisure time to enjoy the company of friends and family, and the beautiful sea sum up the Holland America cruise experience.

Interested in exploring Holland America itineraries and destinations?  It’s as easy as giving us a call to get you onboard.

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