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Flower Power

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I spent a very enjoyable Saturday in Philadelphia a couple weeks ago visiting the 2011 Philadelphia International Flower Show.  This year’s theme was “Springtime in Paris”.  How could I resist?

Actually, I try to get there every year.  If you’ve never been and you’re even remotely interested in flowers and gardens, you should try to attend.  Each year I’m amazed by the displays and the sheer size of the exhibition space.  A significant portion of the space is set aside for vendors selling all manner of plant and garden related items.  I would guess there were about 100 vendors this year.  The picture accompanying this post is of an orchid I purchased from one of the vendors.

I wasn’t supposed to be there this year.  We had planned a cruise through the Panama Canal, which would have had us away during the week-long event.  One of our little group, however, developed a medical issue which forced us to cancel.

So the flower show became a bit of compensation for the lost cruise.  The gods of transportation almost made it impossible to get there, but I lucked out.  Coming home, the bus driver had to rendezvous with police to escort a drunken pot smoker off the bus.  Interesting times.

In between, however, the experience was wonderful.  Now, what does this have to do with cruises?  Well tangentially, of course, attending the flower show was possible only because I couldn’t go on our planned cruise.

There’s something else, however, something that grew out of a conversation with a trusted mentor.  I’m wondering if it might be possible to combine two loves and share it with a group of clients.  I’m considering coupling a cruise with specially designed shore excursions to public or private gardens.  This could be a cruise which either focuses on flowers, such as the Netherlands in Spring river boat cruise, or which provides ample opportunity for this type of themed shore excursion, such as a cruise in the British Isles perhaps.

I need to give this some thought.  If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Meanwhile,next year’s theme in Philadelphia is “Islands of Aloha”.  Love Hawaii!

Technorati Tags: cruise groups, gardens, Panama Canal, Philadelphia Flower Show, river boat cruise, shore excursions, the Netherlands, tulips

To The Panama Canal!

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Isalnd Princess

I just finalized a booking on the Island Princess, departing on February 28th from Ft. Lauderdale for a full transit of the Panama Canal.  Fifteen days later, having visited Aruba, Cartegena, Fuerte Amador, Puntarenas, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas and, of course, the Canal itself, and luxuriated in seven glorious sea days, we’ll arrive in Los Angeles.

My sister and I treated my mother to a birthday cruise to Antarctica last February, and it was a great success all around.  We’ve decided to build on that success with a new destination, one which, again, none of us has been to before.

I’m a great fan of Princess Cruise Line.  They simply do things right.  Yes, the ships are large, but the design and layout of the public spaces make the ships seem less crowded.  Anytime dining eliminates the rush to the dining rooms at one’s appointed hour, and I’ve never had to wait more than a couple minutes for a table.  I have to admit that I’m not one to share a table with strangers, but even a request for a table for two is honored quickly and efficiently.

Perhaps, however, what I enjoy most are the smiles.  It is Princess’s policy that staff and crew never pass a guest on board the ship without a smile and an appropriate greeting.   This is no small thing, and is not universally practiced across all premium brands.  It does add a marvelous sense of belonging, however, making for a very pleasant experience.

I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to relax and recharge, and share new and intriguing experiences with my mother and sister.  It should be a lot of fun.

Technorati Tags: Acapulco, Aruba, Cabo San Lucas, Cartegena, Costa Rica, Island Princess, Panama, Panama Canal, Princess Cruise Lines, Puntarenas