Sunday, March 25, 2012

American Queen Makes Inaugural Sailing


American Queen Makes Inaugural Sailing
by Janelle Woodyard

The Great American Steamboat Company is excited about the inaugural sailing of the American Queen, in April. As a Memphis based company, they have chosen Priscilla Presley as the godmother.  Memphis is not only home to the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, it is also a city packed with steamboat history.  

In continuing our blog series on steamboats, I’ve invited Rick Simonson, Regional Sales Director with Great American Steamboat Company, to share with us some perks cruisers can expect from riverboat cruising.

The Great American Steamboat Company eagerly anticipates your arrival. Awaiting you on board the Steamer American Queen is uncompromising elegance and hospitality, meticulous attention to detail and refined amenities that outshine the slender of even the golden age of river travel. It has been far too long since genuine steamboats have graced the rivers of America. With the formation of the Great American Steamboat Company, Steamboating is back and better than ever. In April of this year, the Steamer American Queen will resume her proud role of taking guests on Steamboating Adventures through the heartland of America. While onboard you will enjoy the acclaimed cuisine of famed chef Regina Charboneau, enjoy complimentary bottled water and soft drinks. Dinner includes complimentary wine and beer. Each voyage offers you a pre–cruise luxury hotel stay with breakfast and complimentary shore adventures. All staterooms feature gourmet coffee brewers and Starbucks® coffee. Gracious, friendly service from a professionally trained all-American staff, elegant-casual attire, daily lectures by the Riverlorian (our onboard historian, professional showboat-style entertainment. Traveling onboard the Steamer American Queen adds up to the greatest value in all-American vacations.

Do you like being a part of history?  Are you looking for a quaint get away?  If so, you don’t want to miss the christening of the American Queen on her inaugural sailing from Memphis to Cincinnati, on April 25, 2012.  You'll voyage up the Mississippi River to the Ohio River.  Once you arrive in Cincinnati, you'll be able to witness the Kentucky Derby Festival's Great Steamboat Race, featuring the American Queen, Belle of Louisville and Belle of Cincinnati

Fares are from $1,995 per guest.  At the time of this post, only 37 rooms remain available.  For additional information on this memorable riverboat cruise, please contact

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cruising in America



Cruising in America

By Janelle Woodyard


Do you feel like you could never take a cruise because you don't want to be a small dot in the huge ocean? Do you have a fear of traveling to other countries because of the language barrier? Are you concerned about your safety while traveling outside the United States? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be the perfect candidate for a river cruise in the good ol' USA.


Five reasons people enjoy cruising the American rivers

No passports: Passports are highly recommended when taking a cruise outside the United States Remember, once you step onboard the ship you are on foreign land. However, if you cruise and stay in the United States, passports are not needed. There is no need to go through customs or complete any customs declaration paperwork. Simple board the riverboat and you are on your way.


Great American Cities: Did you know riverboats depart from some great cities: Portland, Providence, New York, Charleston, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Memphis, New Orleans, Jacksonville. You can even catch a riverboat cruise in Alaska from Seattle and Juneau.

Small Ship Cruising: Passenger counts on cruise ships can range from 1,500 to 6,000. Riverboat cruises hold anywhere from 75 to 400 passengers. Need a small, quaint get away? Check out this video.

Themed Cruises: Do you love music from the 50's, 60's or how about Big Band? How about speciality cruises including Civil War, The Kentucky Derby? Can you imagine seeing the colorful fall leaves from a riverboat? Or how about celebrating holidays like July 4th, or Thanksgiving in a way you've never done?

Destinations: Riverboat cruises offer a chance to explore American history, heritage, and culture while cruising down peaceful and serene rivers including: The Mississippi River, The Ohio and Tennessee Rivers, and the St. Johns River, in Florida. Can you imagine voyaging through Alaska on a riverboat?

Looking for an incredible way to journey through our great country without passports, without getting out of the sight of land, and without a language barrier? Consider riverboat cruising. Contact me today for a free brochure (

Have you ever cruised on our great rivers? If so, what did you enjoy most?

All this talk of riverboat cruising makes me think of Huckleberry Finn.

Enjoy America!







Sunday, March 11, 2012

We are happy to have Wendy Lyn Phillips as our guest blogger for this issue on What to Pack for a 7-day Caribbean Cruise.

Professional image expert, Wendy Lyn Phillips knows the importance of making a powerful first impression. Her services help men and women create a compelling presence and ensure that your image mirrors your message. Wendy is the author of Naked to Knockout: Beauty from the Inside Out, has owned a successful business for 25 years, writes for local and national magazines and is often featured on Fox news. Reach her at

Bon Voyage!

It's almost time to set sail on the high seas. Can you smell the ocean air? Have you watched what you're
eating so that you will feel no guilt over three+ full course meals a day? Have you begun to think about
what you might need and will wear? I know.... some of you are already packed...while others will be
considering this very issue on the night prior to departure. No need to create un-do stress. Even if you
think you know what to pack and you’ve been a nautical knockout before, print off the packing list
below and I bet you will find at least one item you hadn't considered!

Typically on cruises, there's every kind of dresser from “Miss Glitzy-Got-Rocks” who's trying to relive her glory days and this is her once in a lifetime opportunity to feel like the Queen of Bling, to “Mr. I-don't care what-anybody-thinks, I'm not here to impress people, I'm here to have a good time”. And then
there's you! Finding your own balance with what cruise wear vs. casually chic vs. formal really is as
unique as you are. However, on a cruise, there’s nothing that’s too dressy…so get out your diamonds
and evening gown and enjoy the opportunity to put on the dogs. Being both comfortable and stylish
doesn’t have to be a chore, it can be really simple when you have some basic ideas of what to bring.
After 20 years in the beauty and fashion industry, I have been able to minimize my packing from 4
suitcases to only 2 now that I realize I really can survive without 20 pair of shoes in one week! Traveling
light, being organized and looking awesome is a knockout goal that you can achieve too. For more
information or help with your wardrobe and creating a compelling presence, contact me at
Day-by-Day (A sample 7-night Caribbean cruise with one night pre-cruise hotel stay)

Fly to Orlando/Port Canaveral and a pre-cruise night

Sweater set/navy print slacks/tennis shoes (plane)
Shorts (hotel afternoon)
Top and skort/sandals (evening)
Sweaters for cover up are a must as the outdoor temperature can be warm and inside air conditioners can by chilly.

Embarkation Day – Casual – remember this is the day you will have your picture taken as you embark! Smile and wear something that compliments you well in photos.

Shorts and polo top/tennis shoes
Crinkle rayon pants and tunic/black sandals or a casually chic sun dress

Important Note: Carry on the outfits you want to wear to dinner--your luggage might not
get delivered to your cabin in time to change!

Day One (at sea) - Formal
Exercise shorts and t-shirt
Shorts and top
Print cocktail dress/black heels/Pashima wrap or silk scarf

Day Two - Informal
Exercise shorts and t-shirt
Navy paisley shorts and top
Navy or gold pants and shell with jacket/gold sandals

Day Three  - Casual
Exercise shorts and top
Shorts and polo top
Black linen sundress/black sandals

Day Four  - Casual
Exercise shorts and top
Shorts and polo top
Skirt and tunic/black sandals

Day Five (St. Marten) - Formal
Shorts and t-shirt (for sailing excursion)
Shorts and top
Black cocktail dress/black heels

Day Six (St. Thomas) - Casual
Exercise shorts and t-shirt
Shorts and top
Black flowered slacks and cotton sweater/sandals

Day Seven (Disembarkation-fly home)
Navy print slacks and shell with jacket/comfortable shoes

Misc. Clothing and Accessories

Night gowns/robe
Bras/panties/slips/ SPANX
White shorts/white slacks/two blouses or polo shirts
Knock around shorts and t-shirt
Flip flops/water shoes
Swimsuits (3)/cover-up – at least 1 should be your pretty-by-the-pool
suit and 1 should be a more “active” suit.
Socks/white tennis shoes
Purses (daytime & evening)/ small evening bags for holding room key, lipstick, mirror and money

Even though I trust the cruise staff, I like to bring a small can of Lysol just for my own sense of
mind. Like most trips where you’ll be around a lot of people; take note on filling up with
Vitamin C and any immune boosters you are accustomed to prior to travel.
Always in fashion--the Basic Black dress, a sheer beaded jacket, a crocheted silk ribbon
jacket, Pashima shawl & silk scarf. Black patent leather shoes, little evening bag and a classy wrap.

For Men, it’s much simpler ~ here’s a basic list

Night Life:

Tuxedo - Tie, Cummerbund & Belt, Studs. Formal Shirt(s), Shoes & Black Socks
OR Dark Business Suit & Accessories
Sport Coat (to be worn on the plane)
Shirts (2) & Ties (2)
Shoes & Dark Socks
Slacks & Belt
Polo/Golf Shirts (3)
Shoes (Socks Optional)
Day Wear
Tee Shirts or Polo Shirts
Swim wear (3)
Tennis shoes & socks
Other WearBoxer or Briefs
Hat or Cap
Flip flops

Other Sundries
Sunscreen and lip protector – SPF30 is sufficient according to the American Cancer Society
Shaving kit (his includes what he needs)
Reading glasses
MP3 player & charger
Cell phone & charger
Thermal insulated mug
Travel clock
Short, multi-plug extension cord or power strip
Notebook & pen
Prescription & OTC medicines
Strapping tape/duct tape
Cable ties
Small flashlight and/or night light
Camera/film or memory cards/extra batteries/binoculars
Favorite gum, chocolate, or healthy snack during travel times to and from disembarkation
or on plane rides

Thanks, Wendy for sharing with us.  For additional cruise wear ideas or image consultation contact Wendy at

 and be sure to ask for a copy of her Essential Carry-On Bag list, a must have for any traveler.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

10 Reasons I Cruise - Part II

10 Reasons I Cruise
Part II
By Janelle Woodyard 

6)        Value:
One of the reasons why I love to cruise is because of the value. Take this challenge.  Price out what a 7-day vacation would cost.  Include food: breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and drinks. Include lodging, entertainment, and extra curricular activities.  Then, call your favorite travel agent and start researching 7-day cruises.  You might be surprised at what you find. 

7)        On Board Activities:
Along with the value of the cruise, there are boatloads of activities on the ships.  The cruise lines know how to entertain their guests.  See last week’s blog.  Along with the entertainment, there are a lot of other things to do at no additional charge.  Ships have putt-putt, basketball, volleyball, rock climbing, ping-pong tables, shuffle board, Royal Caribbean has the Flow Ryder and ice skating.  Other activities include cooking classes, bingo, and casinos.  Depending on what your style is, there are onboard activities waiting for you.

For a glimpse of on board activities on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas, visit our January 1st blog post.

8)        Excursions:
Another reason I enjoy cruises is because of the shore excursions. I love going on excursions because it gives me a chance to experience the culture of the place we visit.  I’ve had the chance to take an excursion to Tulum to visit the Mayan ruins.  I’ve zip lined in Belize and canoed in Cozumel.  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve taken snorkeling trips in the Caribbean.

When it comes to what shore excursions you should take, consider whether you like soft adventures or hard adventures.  Soft adventures consist of walking tours, snorkeling, bus tours, canoe rides, horseback riding, etc.   Hard adventures are more strenuous.  For example, zip lining, rock climbing, ice climbing, scuba diving, ATV tours, etc.   

9)        Adults
If you are cruising without kids there are cruises and cruise lines for you.  We can’t promise there won’t be any children, but the number will be drastically higher on some cruise line than others.  For example, Disney, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean will have more children on them than Princess, Crystal, and Viking River Cruises. 

My husband and I took a Carnival cruise for our 20th anniversary, and we made good use of Serenity, a child-free zone.  Even though we were on a kid friendly ship, we weren’t inundated with children.  They stayed in their sections, and we stayed in ours and had a fabulous time.

10)      No Worries:
I love cruising because I have no worries.  I don’t have to worry about meal plans for the family.  I don’t have to worry planning activities.  I don’t have to cook, clean, or look at the prices on the menus.  Cruising is a hassle-free, care-free vacation.  When I cruise, I take Bob Marley’s advice, “Don’t worry. Be happy.”

Next week, we will have a guest blogger.  You won’t want to miss what this writer has to say.