Views from the Star Princess Cruise Ship

by Janis on October 22, 2014

I’m sailing on the Star Princess cruise ship this week, sailing from San Francisco to Mexico and various ports along the California coast. Star PrincessHere are some views from around the 2,600 passenger cruise ship.

rear pool in san franWe boarded the Star Princess at Pier 27, the newly-opened cruise terminal in San Francisco. The view above is of the aft end of the ship, looking out on San Francisco. The Terrace Pool on Deck 12 is a nice place to soak in the sun and watch the world sail by.

under ggloden gateSince we departed from San Francisco, California, we sailed under the magnificent Golden Gate Bridge. This ship fits easily under the bridge.

under the golden gateOnce we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, the views of San Francisco, the bridge and the California coast line were spectacular.

captain, Star PrincessThere is a 3-story atrium at the center of the Star Princess. The master of the vessel, Captain Todd McBain, gave his welcoming speech from one of the balconies in the atrium.  Below the captain was the famous Champagne Waterfall.

Vines Wine Bar, Star PrincessOn Deck 5 in the Atrium there is an international cafe that’s open 24 hours a day with sandwiches and pastries. Nearby is the Vines wine bar, with a nice selection of wines by the glass or bottle, served with your choice of sushi or tapas.

cho dessert sabatinisThere are three specialty restaurants on the Star Princess. This decadent chocolate dessert is served at Sabatini’s Italian restaurant, which has a $25 per person charge.  The Crown Grill, a steak and seafood specialty restaurant, also carries a $25 charge. The Crab Shack opens some nights in part of the Horizon Court. It features seafood boils and costs $20 per person.

There is also three dining rooms, a buffet restaurant, Sundaes ice cream parlor, Prego pizzeria and the Trident Grill with hot dogs and hamburgers.

Star PrincessDeck 7 features a wrap-around deck for walking and taking in the ocean breeze.  To go all the way around the ship, however you must take steps up a deck at both the front and the back of the ship.

The Star Princess sails California Coastal, Mexico and Hawaii itineraries out of San Francisco, and will sail Alaskan itineraries between Vancouver and Whittier, Alaska during the summer of 2015.

Have you sailed on the Star Princess? What was your favorite spot on the ship? Please share in comments below. 

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8 Fun Facts About Darwin, Australia

by Kathryn Johnson on October 21, 2014

The Library at Charles Darwin University, Photo courtesy of Stephen Barnett from wikipedia.org.

The library at Charles Darwin University.
Photo by Stephen Barnett.

As the capital of the Northern Territory of Australia, Darwin provides a variety of fun activities and interesting facts.  Aside from being a port city, Darwin is a fun and exciting town with a hot, tropical climate that’s perfect for tourists and travel enthusiasts alike.

Take a look at these 8 fun facts about Darwin, Australia

1.  You can attend one of the Weekly Mindil Beach Sunset Markets.

Sunset Market at Mindil Beach. Photo courtesy of Tourism NT from wikipedia.org. (http://www.travelnt.com)

Sunset Market at Mindil Beach.
Photo courtesy of Tourism NT

These markets are not like most other normal markets that you can see everyday.  If you love the market scenery, just wait until you visit the Sunset Markets at Mindil Beach which take place every Tuesday and Sunday during the dry season in Australia which is from May through October.  Tourists and locals can watch performers, buy souvenir, and taste a variety of foods all in the sunset light.

2.  Darwin hosts the annual Darwin Beer Can Regata.

Boats made from all sorts of cans get ready to sail. Photo courtesy of Donama from wikipedia.org.

Boats made from all sorts of cans get ready to sail.
Photo by Donama.

Every year since 1974, the Darwin Beer Can Regata is held at Mindil Beach.  People build boats out of beer cans, pop cans, bottles, and milk cartons in the hopes that they will float in the water.

This event is supplemented by concerts and other contests to make a fun-filled event that everyone can enjoy.

3.  The Seabreeze Festival is like a huge talent show.

Performers play their clapsticks and didgeridoo at the Seabreeze Festival. Photo courtesy of Owen65 from wikipedia.org.

Performers play their clapsticks and didgeridoo at the Seabreeze Festival.
Photo by Owen65.

Performers come to this festival from many different places to perform their acts of culture such as the two men in the picture above.  Started in 2005, the Seabreeze Festival is held on the second week of May every year in Nightcliff which is a close suburb of Darwin.

Local talent is showcased throughout the celebration as well as a variety of other festivities.

4.  Visiting the Darwin Aviation Heritage Center is a great way to learn the history of the city.

A Hover Bird on display at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre. Photo courtesy of Travel NT from wikipedia.org. (http://travelnt.com)

A Hover Bird on display at the Australian Aviation Heritage Centre.
Photo courtesy of Travel NT.

A large part of Darwin’s history is that it has been the home of many aviation pioneers.  It was also a check point for the London to Melbourne Centenary Air Race in 1934.  The Darwin Aviation Heritage Centre gives tourists and locals alike a look into this amazing and interesting history of the port city of Darwin.

5.  Did you know there’s actually a solar car race?  It’s called the World Solar Challenge.

A solar-powered car at the World Solar Challenge. Photo courtesy of GTHO from wikipedia.org.

A solar-powered car at the World Solar Challenge.
Photo courtesy of GTHO..

The World Solar Challenge is a solar-powered car race that cover 3,021 km which in the entire distance of the continent of Australia starting on the north coast and ending on the south coast.

The race attracts contenders from all over the world, and participants come in teams to test their innovative cars in the well-known race.

6.  You can have a picnic at the Charles Darwin National Park.

Picnics are a fun family activity at the Charles Darwin National Park. Photo courtesy of kenhodge13 from wikipedia.org.

Picnics are a fun family activity at the Charles Darwin National Park.
Photo by kenhodge13.

 Charles Darwin National Park is named after Charles Darwin, a well-known scientists who invented the concept of Darwinism.  This park is a great location for anyone to spend a day, weekend, or even longer together for a nice vacation.

7.  Casuarina Beach is quite possibly one of the most popular beaches in the Northern Territory.

Take a walk along the beach or take a swim in the crystal blue waves. Photo courtesy of Tourism NT at wikipedia.org. (http://travelnt.com)

Take a walk along the beach or take a swim in the crystal blue waves.
Photo courtesy of Tourism NT.

When one is looking to relax in the exciting, upbeat city of Darwin, you can never go wrong with a trip to Casuarina Beach.  Strolling along the warm sand in the tropical climate gives anyone a getaway from the multiple festivals that take place in Darwin.

Casuarina Beach has been deemed one of the best beaches in the Northern Territory of Australia.

8.  Aboriginal Art Galleries are available for viewing at the annual Darwin Festival.

Art galleries and concerts are staples at the Darwin Festival. Photo courtesy of Tourism NT from wikipedia.org. (http://travelnt.com)

Art galleries and concerts are staples at the Darwin Festival.
Photo courtesy of Tourism NT./> (http://travelnt.com)

The annual Darwin Festival is another staple of the port city of Darwin.  There are concerts and other activities available for the festival attendees, but the most well-known aspect of this festival are the art galleries featuring aboriginal art pieces that are widely popular in the coastal city.  In the city of Darwin, there’s always something for everyone at this well-known festival.

Have you ever been to Darwin, Australia?  Do you have any fun facts to share or recommended activities?  Leave your comments below.  We love to hear from you!

Kathryn JohnsonThis post was written by Kathryn Johnson, a junior majoring in Spanish at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.

Kathryn’s passion for travel blossomed from her love for foreign language  In August, 2015, she plans to volunteer in France or Morocco before traveling to Spain for a semester-long study abroad experience.

Kathryn is currently learning about travel marketing and social media during an internship with VentureTime Travel.

View her LinkedIn profile at  to learn more about her accomplishments and future goals.

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Top 5 Locations on my Travel Bucket List

October 20, 2014

Many people have a bucket list and some may even have more than one. I have many as well, but my favorite one is my travel bucket list of places all around the world that I hope to one day visit. Here are my top 5 locations on my travel bucket list: 1. Zip Line […]

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13 Favorite Things to Eat, Drink, and Do in St. Augustine, Florida

October 18, 2014

I grew up about 30 minutes outside of St Augustine, and still to this day it is undoubtably one of my favorite places in Florida to spend time. The oldest city in the continental United States has a lot to offer for those who live in the area and for those who are stopping by for […]

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