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There’s more to cruising than just getting on the ship. The following tips will help you make the most of your maiden voyage. 1. Bring less stuff Sure, cruising is a great way to vacation because you can visit multiple destinations and only have to unpack once. But just because you can bring more clothes, shoes and other items (especially if you’re driving to the port of embarkation) doesn’t mean you need to. No one will care if you wear the same pants three nights in a row, and your feet will thank you for wearing those comfortable sandals every day. Do, however, bring multiple swimsuits so that you can have one to wear while the other is drying. Plus, the less you bring with you, the more room you’ll have in your suitcase for souvenirs. 2. Do bring the following items A power strip: Cruise ship rooms are notorious for having very few outlets. A power strip will allow you to charge multiple electronics at the same time. Extra batteries and memory cards, over-the-counter medications, sunscreen: You can purchase these onboard, but they will be expensive. An over-the-door shoe bag: Many experienced cruisers swear by these bags for storing […]

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1. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify Simplicity is key. Many people try to get as much into their photographs as possible. As a result, they’re often disappointed with the end product. Ask yourself what it is about a specific scene that attracts you. Is it the single flower poking through the cracks in the brick wall or the colorful boats in the bay? If you shoot that and only that, you’ll be much more satisfied with your images. 2. Change Your Perspective You can make your photographs more creative and interesting by varying the angle from which you shoot. Don’t just look straight ahead. Move around, get down on the ground, or even stand on a chair. Take pictures from the side, above, or below. And don’t forget to turn your camera once in a while for both horizontal and vertical shots. 3. Capture the Everyday Details You take photos to preserve your memories of your travels, so don’t hesitate to shoot the little things that make a trip interesting. Yes, you should still shoot the local landmarks and iconic buildings. After all, that’s probably why you’re visiting that particular location. But don’t forget to shoot that special meal or unusual street […]

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More than 750,000 people pass through New York City’s famed Grand Central Terminal every day. Of those, approximately 20,000 are visitors. As such, GCT has become the second most-visited site in the city, next to Time Square.  It’s important to note the GCT is a terminal, not a station. Yes, there is a Grand Central Station, but that’s the subway stop that serves GCT. “There’s a big difference,” says Daniel Brucker, manager of Grand Central Tours for the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the organization that oversees operation of GCT. “Trains terminate here; they stop here.” Grand Central isn’t just any terminal. It’s the world’s largest terminal, covering 49 acres from 42nd Street north to 97th Street. Its massive main concourse, as 22,000 square feet, is just a pin dot compared with the total size of the entire structure. In addition, GCT features 45 tracks that serve 63 platforms, and during the morning rush hour, trains arrive every 58 seconds. During my years in New York, I traversed GCT more times that I can count, rushing to catch a train or meeting with friends, but like most commuters, I never really stopped to appreciate the historic structure and all that it had […]

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Sun, sea and sand—everyone’s idea of the perfect Caribbean getaway. But where can you find such a postcard-perfect escape when you want to get away from everyone else who is getting away? Head to the Turks & Caicos Islands, where the unspoiled Caribbean of the imagination still thrives. Dangling on the southern end of the Bahamas, due north of Hispaniola, the TCI comprise eight inhabited islands and 32 smaller cays. The most developed island is Providenciales, or “Provo” as it is locally known, where you’ll find most of the resorts—and where the hardest decisions you’ll have to make are what drink to order and when to flip over to soak up more sun. 1. Stay at the Gansevoort. With it’s contemporary urban design, clean lines, white-on-white décor and intimate vibe, the Gansevoort Turks & Caicos is the epitome of Caribbean chic. Plus, it’s the only resort on the island in which every room has a view of the ocean. 2. Beach bliss. There are plenty of beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, but none can match the silky white sand and Tiffany blue waters of Grace Bay. Voted one of the best beaches in the world by Condé Nast Traveler, this […]

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Iceland is renowned for its simple, farm-fresh food. Menus throughout the island are replete with lamb, potatoes, and lots and lots of seafood. But despite the quality of product and the ever-imaginative preparations being presented by today’s top Icelandic chefs, the one item that everyone seems to ask about when you mention Icelandic cuisine is hákarl, or fermented shark. Every TV travel show about the island has to include a segment about this local delicacy, possibly because it’s unique to the country or more likely because it’s notorious for its, how shall I say, unusual flavor. Anthony Bourdain called it “the single worst, most disgusting and terrible tasting thing” he’s ever eaten, and Andrew Zimmern, who’s known for eating just about anything, said hákarl was “hardcore food” and “not for beginners.” So naturally, when I had the chance to go to Iceland, I knew that I had to make a stop at the country’s epicenter of hákarl, The Bjarnarhöfn Shark Museum, about 20 minutes west of Stykkishólmur on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. A large shark-shaped sign on road 54 points you down a long dirt road toward what at first glance appears to be a private farm along the rocky coast. […]

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Hagia Sophia Istanbul
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“Hello my friend.” It is my first full day in Istanbul, Turkey, and I am leaving Gülhane Park, near Topkapi Palace, my mind contemplating where I will go for my first dinner in the city. For most of the day, I have been able to avoid the city’s notoriously pushy salesmen, but as soon as I hear those three words, I know that I’ve been caught. The two young men sidle up to me, one on each side. They are both well-dressed, with sharply pressed slacks, suit coats and highly polished shoes. Their friendly dialogue is refined from years of practice on similarly distracted tourists. Each question, resembling small talk, is crafted to gauge my income and interest in their product. “Where are you from?” While Americans are known to love shopping, the British pound is worth more in exchange. “Ah, America. There are big houses in America. Do you have a big house?” Again, sizing up your wealth. “How long have you been in Istanbul?” The longer you’ve been in the city, the more time you’ve already had to spend your money. Willingly, I let the encounter play out. Carpets and the touts who sell them are an integral […]

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Willemstad Curacao
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One of the things I really wanted to do on a visit to Curaçao was to tour Landhuis Chobolobo, the factory that produces the island’s eponymous drink, Genuine Curaçao Liqueur. After all, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “Curaçao?” Caribbean? Maybe. Snorkeling? Perhaps. Colorful cocktails made with blue booze? Absolutely! Sadly, the factory was closed during the few short days that I was in Willemstad, the country’s capital and a favorite tourist destination, thanks to both a bank holiday and a lack of weekend hours. To say that I was disappointed was putting it mildly. But then I learned of another island specialty: green rum. I was beginning to sense a trend. It seems the people of Curaçao like their spirits like they like their buildings: colorful. But unlike Blue Curaçao, which is a staple of every bar menu from Knip Beach to Caracas Baai, there was only one place I could get green rum. So I grabbed my friends and our driver and headed to the famous Netto Bar. Located off the tourist path in the Otrobanda neighborhood of Willemstad, Netto Bar is a tiny hole-in-the-wall joint with a decidedly local flavor. […]

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