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Experiencing a Disney Cruise with Friendly Cruises

Smith Family Castaway CayThe Smith Family set sail via the Disney Wonder cruise from Port Canaveral in mid-April 2017 on a Disney Wonder cruise thanks to Friendly Cruises.  It was a (4) day cruise visiting Nassau & Castaway Cay that created many magical moments, lifetime memories and joy for our family.

The Disney Wonder cruise experience significantly exceeded our expectations on an infinite number of magical moments.  In fact, we will be looking forward to our next Disney cruise and taking their other ships Disney Magic, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

Snorkeling Castaway Island with Sting Rays“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~ Walt Disney

 We lived out our dreams on this family vacation and look forward to sharing many more memories with Disney Cruise Lines.

 More highlights of our experience follow:

  • Wife overcame fear of water & cruising
  • Nassau historic district, local shops & artists
  • Nassau beaches & Local culture including Atlantis
  • Castaway Cay Tour
  • Beaches of Castaway Cay
  • Swimming and snorkeling with the sting rays on Castaway Island
  • Enjoying the water park on the ship & Castaway Island
  • Fishing on Castaway Cay – “Grandpa caught tons of fish”
  • Foodies you will love the food
  • Magic show by internationally known illusionist “Hector is Magic” from Sevilla España – INCREDIBLE SHOW
  • Disney Theater & Movies
  • Oceaneer Youth Club
  • Themed Dining
  • Disney Pin Trading with the Captains

A few Smith family lasting memories we thought were worth mentioning.  Our son became inspired by the magic show by the world famous Illusionista “Hector is Magic.”  The BEST magic show we have ever seen.  The themed Hector is Magicdining was exceptional.  Incredible staff, smiles and the creation of many new wonderful friends.  Truly a magical and creative dining experience.  Grandpa was thrilled to catch a number of difference fish on Castaway Island and grandma enjoyed swimming with the Sting Rays with my wife and I. My wife’s comment, “Best vacation we have ever taken”.

We found our Disney Cruise experience to be the most exciting vacation as an entire family we have ever taken together.   Plenty of things to keep grandma and grandpa busy while consistently entertaining a (7) old boy with tons of energy.  My wife and I found it to be a very pleasurable experience and found the Oceaneer Youth Club very valuable for Mommy and Daddy time.  We look forward to booking our future cruising adventures with Friendly Cruises.

We are grateful for this experience on the Disney Wonder.  Lona Lee Thull is a legend in the luxury cruise industry and offers a lot of wisdom.  Call Lona Lee Thull today and learn more about creating lasting memories aboard the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy.

Disney LogoFor more information please contact Lona Lee Thull an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS 480-358-1496. Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure, “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”

Friendly Cruises Highlights the Mysteries of India

IndiaFriendly Cruises Highlights the Mysteries of India. cert-ecc  Lona Lee Thull is an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS with Friendly Cruises 480-358-1496.  Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure, “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”

If one were to describe India in a few short words you would see the following adjectives help uncover the mysteries of India while on a Cruise.

  • new-delhi-indiaRich
  • Vibrant
  • Colorful
  • Delicious
  • Spicy
  • Exotic
  • Expressive
  • Warm
  • Friendly & Open
  • Busy

 As Mahatma Gandhi” said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  Come join us and learn more about a 15 day cruise discovering the mysteries of India.

New DelhiDay 1: Friday, April 28, 2017 Overnight Flight

Day 2: Saturday, April 29, 2017 Delhi, India – Tour Begins

Welcome to Delhi, India’s capital city that sports a rich history spanning over 2,000 years.

Day 3: Sunday, April 30, 2017 New Delhi

Ease your way into the local culture as your Tour Manager shares a few key phrases of the native language. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of Old Delhi. Visit Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. Explore Old Delhi’s narrow streets by rickshaw, the traditional mode of transportation. Next you’ll tour New Delhi, visiting Qutub Minar, the tallest brick minaret in the world. Then, visit Humayun’s tomb – considered a precursor to the Taj Mahal for its Indo-Persian design; it was built by the widow of a great Mughal Emperor. Behold the India Gate war memorial, the Parliament and the palatial Rashtrapati Bhawan – the President’s residence. (B, L, D)

udaipurDay 4: Monday, May 1, 2017 Delhi – Udaipur

Fly to Udaipur, your gateway to Rajasthan, where chivalrous tales come to life at forts and palaces. Settle into your hotel, a carefully restored palace perched on a hill and overlooking the lake. (B, D)

Day 5: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 Udaipur

Participate in a relaxing yoga class and learn basic exercises and breathing techniques from a local expert. Visit the exquisite City Palace – its main entrance, Tripolia, was built in 1725. Stop at Sahelion-ki-Bari, the Garden of the Maids of Honor, and learn about the lifestyle of the royal ladies who once strolled through these gardens. This evening, cruise along Lake Pichola and take in views of the Jag Mandir Palace and the City Palace. (B)

Jal-Mahal-JaipurDay 6: Wednesday, May 3, 2017 Udaipur – Jaipur

This morning, depart on a scenic drive through the countryside to the “Pink City” of Jaipur. After having lunch and checking into your hotel, head out for a brief stop at Hawa Mahal, home to a former Maharaja, beholding its façade of 953 windows. Visit the City Palace and find gardens, courtyards, intricate decorative art and carved doorways. Marvel at Jantar Mantar, an astronomical observatory built in 1726 by Sawai Jai Singh. Visit the Amber Fort and Palace Complex in Jaipur that holds the history of a citadel, pulsating with a legendary past of 600 years and 28 kings of the Kachhwaha dynasty, before their capital moved to Jaipur. This musical extravaganza has highlighted the local legends, folklore and a connoisseur of folk music that continues to give Rajasthan its unique identity. The show has been set in a very exotic location, with the giant panoramic view of the Amber Fort and Palace Complex in the front, raising Jaigarh on the left, the hills at the back and the gallery itself in the Kesar Kiyari Complex of Maota Lake. (B, L)

Day 7: Thursday, May 4, 2017 Jaipur

Ride an elephant* to the top of Amber Fort, India’s former seat of power. Visit a local school** where the children are part of a mid-day program supported by the efforts of the Collette Foundation.Tap into local customs during lunch as you learn about turban and sari tying. Stroll through a flower market for a glimpse into the art of making garlands used in traditional Indian welcome ceremonies. Enjoy a henna tattoo and bindi demonstration. Tonight, sit down for a home-hosted dinner and observe daily life inside the old city. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Friday, May 5, 2017 Jaipur – Ranthambore

Travel to Ranthambore National Park, learning of Project Tiger’s efforts at conservation in the country. A naturalist discusses the wildlife of the country and presents a slideshow. Embark on a game viewing drive by canter (an open air vehicle). Watch for marsh crocodiles, hyenas, sloth bears and even tigers.(B, L, D)

Day 9: Saturday, May 6, 2017 Ranthambore

Rise and shine early for a game viewing drive. Afterwards, enjoy breakfast at your hotel. Visit the Ranthambore School of Art which recruits students from neighboring villages and trains them to be self-sufficient artists. Next, visit Dastkar Ranthambore Project, founded in 1981 by six women united to protect India’s traditional artisans. Dive into the local cuisine with an interactive cooking demonstration followed by dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 10: Sunday, May 7, 2017 Ranthambore – Bharatpur – Agra

An early morning train brings you to Bharatpur. Disembark and enjoy brunch before continuing your journey to Agra, a city rich with the splendors of the past. (B, L)

Agra-IndiaDay 11: Monday, May 8, 2017 Agra

Visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise aboard a tonga – or horse carriage – that takes you to its gates. The Taj Mahal took 22 years and 20,000 men to build. Built in the 17th century by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as an expression of his love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, the Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world. Immerse yourself in Indian culture tonight when you journey to Kalakriti Cultural Center to see the lively and romantic show Mohabbat-e-Taj. You will be surrounded by the colorful music, song, dance and costumes that India is so famous for. This series of plays walks you through the stories of love surrounding the creation of the Taj Mahal. The love of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, and daily life of Mughal era artisans who worked for 22 years to create this marvel are depicted in this magical performance. (B)

Day 12: Tuesday, May 9, 2017 Agra – Jhansi – Orchha – Khajuraho

Board your train for Jhansi and continue to Orchha for a relaxing lunch. Arrive in Khajuraho, your home for the evening. (B, L)

Day 13: Wednesday, May 10, 2017 Khajuraho – Varanasi

Visit the Chandel Temple complex and behold some of the finest examples of temple architecture in northern India. Fly to Varanasi, a simplistic and charming city with a universal mystique. Tonight, visit the Ghats – the banks of the river – witnessing the illuminated Ganga Aarti ceremony. (B)

Varanasi-Ganga-Ghat2Day 14: Thursday, May 11, 2017 Varanasi

Cruise along the River Ganges past various Ghats where people ritually cleanse themselves of their sins, hoping for salvation. A city tour of Varanasi includes the Benaras Hindu University and Bharat Mata Temple. Continue to Sarnath where Siddarth Gautama, later known as Buddha, gave his first sermon on a quiet grove in the 6th century B.C. A Hindu scholar discusses the philosophy of Hinduism with you. Join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner this evening. (B, D)

Day 15: Friday, May 12, 2017 Varanasi – Delhi – Tour Ends

Enjoy a morning at leisure before flying back to Delhi. Later, depart on your flight home. (B)

Luxury Cruise Experiences (CLICK HERE) or to schedule a consultation or book a cruise please contact Lona Lee Thullat  480-358-1496.

Friendly Cruises Highlights the Ports of Call in Tahiti and South Pacific

Tahiti FlagFriendly Cruises Highlights the Ports of Call for Tahiti and South Pacific including: Moorea, Taha’a, Raiatea, Bora Bora, Huahine and Pepeete. In Tahiti and the South Pacific SCUBA diving and snorkeling are the top main activities. Below Friendly Cruises highlights the things to do in addition to the main attractions of diving and snorkeling.

Moorea IslandIn the magical island of Moorea where rough mountain peaks and translucent turquoise lagoons are common when arriving in the Ports of Call you will have a number of activities aside from snorkeling and diving that include: Island Tour Featuring Belvedere Lookout, Photographer’s Eye View of Moorea, Dolphin Eco Tour, Active Hike and Guided Tour of Three Coconut Trail.

An interesting alternative to snorkeling and SCUBA diving in Moorea is Sport Fishing. Moorea offers a number of options. Friendly Cruises suggests Tea Nui Services where you have the chance of catching Tuna, Mahi-Mahi, Wahoo and perhaps even a Pacific Blue Marlin. Click here for their website: TEA NUI SERVICES.

TahaaTaha’a is located in the society islands in French Polynesia. The islands of Taha’a and neighboring Raiatea. The best things to do in Taha’a aside from snorkeling and SCUBA are: Heremana Tours “Simply the Best of the Best” tours, Tahaa Tour Excursion Tours “Informative”, Valle de la Vanilla “Educational” and very informative specific to the vanilla bean growing process.  Another interesting thing to do in Tahaa is to see the Turtle Convention Center where you have the chance to take a tour with a biologist, visiting the coral reefs and watching the turtles get fed. Tahaa also offers a number of great sport fishing options.

Tahiti Culture
Raiatea is known as a sacred island rich in culture and history and the birthplace of Polynesia. In this Ports of Call you will have the a number of options that include; Sacred Island Tour, Harvest Your Own Pearl and Faaroa River with Motu Beach Break.

On the Sacred Island Tour you will be introduced to the culture, legends and folklore as well as the history of Raiatea. Find your own Pearl in a Pearl Farm or go on the Faaroa River Tour that will take you upstream on the only navigable river in the Society Islands the Faaroa River. On this tour you will discover the rich vegetation and tropical forest with wild hibiscus purau trees, bamboo groves, and Tahitian chestnut trees.

Bora Bora
boraboraBora Bora is the crowned jewel of the South Pacific where honeymooners escape to a private oasis custom tailored to their very desires. Bora Bora is a place where underwater bungalows and floating villas with glass floors create lifetime memories. Friendly Cruises found the following activities in Bora Bora Island discovery, Helicopter Flight, Glass Bottom Boat, AquaSafari and Jet Ski Tours. Bora Bora also offers a number of great sport fishing options.

Huahine is known as the garden island or Garden of Eden. It has an incredible tropical rainforest with coconut plantations, vanilla orchids, banana groves, breadfruit trees and watermelon fields. Friendly Cruises found the following things to do aside from snorkeling or SCUBA diving.

huahine-landHighlights of Huahine Nui tour of Huahine where you will see vanilla growing stalls, ancient fish traps and famous blue eyed eels. This is a great tour to get a lot of photographs. Another activity called Sacred Sites & Cultural Walk is where you can experience an eco-excursion will begin with an introduction from a knowledgeable anthropologist and guide. The Safari Expedition will allow you to discover the amazing beauty of Huahine taking you to Pearl Farms and see cultural pottery and is an overall tour of the island where you will see colorful bays and lagoons.

Pape'ete Cruise PortArriving in the Ports of Call of Pepeete you will have the opportunity to visit the James Norman Hall House. A visit to his home will show you the culture and creativity of this famous poet and writer of American contemporary literature. You may want to enjoy a local delicacy before you move on to Matavai Bay, then to Venus Point, the historic landing site for many European discoverers and evangelists. Matavai Bay is proud to have the only lighthouse of the island, built in 1867 and is a great place to take photos and shop.

On the Sacred Island Tour you will be introduced to the culture, legends and folklore as well as the history of Raiatea. Find your own Pearl in a Pearl Farm or go on the Faaroa River Tour that will take you upstream on the only navigable river in the Society Islands the Faaroa River. On this tour you will discover the rich vegetation and tropical forest with wild hibiscus purau trees, bamboo groves, and Tahitian chestnut trees.

 The following video summarizes the beauty, culture and luxury the South Pacific and Tahiti can provide specific to luxury cruise ships.

cert-eccFor more information please contact Lona Lee Thull an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS 480-358-1496Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure, “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”


Friendly Cruises highlights Tahiti

French Polynesia Coat of ArmsFriendly Cruises highlights Tahiti.  The islands of Tahiti create words and images that paint a masterpiece of the ideal paradise. There are 118 islands with jagged mountain peaks, coral reefs, turquoise lagoons, white sand, pristine beaches, luxurious resorts and friendly people.

Each island paradise has something unique to offer including activities aside from water.

Tahiti RelaxMany of these Pacific Islands have capped with high jagged peaks while others appear to barely hover above the breaking waves illustrating the beauty of this amazing place. The entire landmass of all the islands is similar to the size of Western Europe and if they were all put together on one area they would be slightly larger than the small Rhode Island State.

Friendly Cruises highlights Tahiti.


Known as the magical island inspired by the mythical Bali Hai from the Tales of the South Pacific. It is located just 10 nautical miles from Tahiti and easily accessible via ferry, plane from Papeete the capital of French Polynesia.

MooreaMoorea has 8 mountain peaks rising up from its translucent turquoise lagoons. The unique landscape gives Moorea a reputation of one of the best islands for adventure and activity.   From the air the island is pear shaped and one of the top honeymoon destinations in Tahiti.

Popular lagoon activities include snorkeling, paddle boarding, cruising and fishing. On land you can discover quaint villages along the waterfront, tour pineapple plantations and Moorea happens to have a variety of hiking trails for all levels.

Other Moorea activities include:

  • Golfing at the Moorea Green Pearl Golf Course

  • Moorea’s Tiki Village where you can see a traditional authentic Polynesian Dance Show

 Fautaua Waterfall

Fautaua WaterfallAlso known as “Cascade de Fachoda” located on Tahiti Island is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world reaching over 443 feet surrounded by rugged mountain peaks. This is a full day, allow for 4.5 to 6 hours to enjoy the hike and take in the beauty of what these waterfalls offer.


Pape'ete Cruise PortPape’ete is the capital of French Polynesia, a tiny part of France in the Pacific Ocean. The commune of Pape’ete is located on the island of Tahiti. Pape’ete is a vibrant and lively multicultural city. It has streets that come alive and a busy harbor that is fun to people watch.

The downtown municipal market called, “Le Marché”, is an exciting place to shop inTahiti. At the “Le Marché” you can find Vanilla Beans, Monoi oil and colorful Pareos.

Down the street at Le Centre Vaima is the Robert Wan Pearl Museum. This is a great place to look if you’re looking for a Tahitian black pearl. If you would like to live like a local, head down to Vai’ete Square after a sunset. This waterfront promenade comes to life at night.

Les Roulottes opens their windows to serve a range of affordable meals including Chinese food, French crépes, steak frites, fresh fish and pizza.

Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands 

The Museum of Tahiti and Her Islands (“Musée de Tahiti et des Îles” in French) is dedicated to educating visitors about this beautiful archipelago. The museum is divided into four distinct sections: geography and natural history, the second on pre-European culture, effects of colonization, and lastly natural wonders. Tip: If you get tired during your tour of the exhibits, step outside for great views of surfers tackling the ocean waves.

Papenoo Beach 

Papenoo Beach TahitiThe shores of Papenoo is a small village located a little over five miles along the eastbound road from Pape’ete. The shores are reminiscent of the island’s tumultuous natural history. The Puna’auai Beach also known as “PK18” Beach due to its location and view of sands that reach down into the clear blue waters of the South Pacific.

 When Friendly Cruises travels to Tahiti we use Windstar Cruises, 180° From Ordinary and they define luxury. Learn more via Lona Lee Thull 480-358-1496 an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS.

Friendly Cruises highlights South America

dcp_1572Friendly Cruises highlights South America from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil illustrating the rich cultures of this contentment and the many adventures and luxuries it offers.

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Lao Tzu

 From Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro, Friendly Cruises highlights the beauty and charm of South America.

 Buenos Aires Argentina

dcp_1607Uncover a charming city under a beautiful setting with a quiet cruise through the Tigre Delta past islands, mansions and English gardens. Visit the pampas and watch Gauchos show off their amazing horsemanship shills, or enjoy a fabulous tango show in its birthplace. Buenos Aires is full of excitement, elegance and charm.

 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro has plenty of amazing beaches, remarkable mountains, and a backdrop of samba and bossa nova rhythms. It is easy to see why so many fall in love with Rio de Janeiro. Famous in song, Ipanema Beach is still the place to stroll, sunbathe, and be seen with spectacular backdrops. The largest Art Deco statue in the world, “Christ the Redeemer”, attracts visitors to Corcovado Mountain from around the world. Rio’s annual “Carnaval” celebrations are bacchanalian spectacular extravaganzas of feasting, music, dance, and costumed festivities.

dcp_1617Colorful is the word describing South America, interesting rich history, cultures, historic sights, natural attractions, and wildlife opportunities. From vibrant Rio de Janeiro to the intriguing Amazon Jungle, and from enigmatic Machu Picchu to the fascinating Galápagos Islands South America offers a unique cruising experience.

For example, uncover radiant waters, enormous mountains and rich cultural activities of the southeastern coastline of South America. Before it ends you will taste the colorful flavors of Uruguay and travel to the urbane city of Montevideo and where you get to taste the exquisite beef dishes and local wines that will allure your palate with unique flavors. South America will touch your soul with many new adventures including unique animals.

dcp_1545You will notice there is wildlife with names like Capybara, Armadillos, Rheas, Piranha and Anaconda. South America is a fascinating place with a lot of wildlife and nature to see.   This includes Iguazu Falls, waterfalls from the Iguazu River on the border dividing Argentina and Brazil.

Along the coast of Brazil you will discover a number of unique scenic outlooks including the world’s largest beachfront garden in Santos and a stroll through the historic colonial neighborhoods of Buzios.

Radiant Rhythms from Buenos Aires to Rio De Janeiro Friendly Cruises Highlights South America. It is a unique experience filled with culture, charm, nature and new flavors of food.

Learn more about Friendly Cruises and the South America special groups we are doing November 7, 2016 for 12 night cruise from Buenos Aires to Rio with a pre-land excursion to Iguassu Falls via this link (CLICK HERE)

cert-eccFor more information please contact Lona Lee Thull an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS 480-358-1496Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure, “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”


Friendly Cruises and Maurice Weir Review Vietnam Hong Kong and China


Saigon-Aerial-NightFriendly Cruises and Maurice Weir Review Vietnam Hong Kong and China.  We docked on the coast, about 90 minutes from Ho Chi Minh (Saigon).  We decided not to take the long drive there, and instead toured the coastal area.  We booked a private tour with a group of Australian Vets who volunteer their time to give tours, and use the proceeds to fund volunteer projects in the local area.

There were no ATM’s or credit cards accepted in most of Vietnam, our guide said he would pay for our simple lunch with Vietnamese money and we could reimburse him in dollars.

In Vietnam, fisherman catch small shrimp in the tidal ponds in large nets and then use one lane of the highway to dry them in the sun. We must have passed millions of tiny shrimp spread out on the road.

Our guide Peter fought in Vietnam in 1969-70, then returned 8 years ago and fell in love with the place. He and several other Vets devote their time to raising money to build schools.

#1VietnamHere is a picture of Peter and Kerry smelling a cashew that fell of the tree and a picture of the school.

We visited a war memorial and several battle sites near Vung Tau and then toured the nearby Viet Cong tunnel system. Ten of us walked through the —enlarged for tourists

According to Peter, in this Communist country, there is no organized health care, schooling or government support for the people in any way. It is simply work or starve. To build their schools that are open to everyone, the charity needed to bribe the local politicians at each step of the process.

I asked Peter why he stays. The Aussie smiled and said, “Cheap beer, mate.”

RestarauntThis photo Kerry on the balcony was taken at our lunch restaurant, which by the way, is a real Aussie Vet hangout.

Hong Kong

HongKong#2Almost thirty years ago, Kerry and I visited Hong Kong on a business trip. Not much seemed changed. Like NY city and other older large cities, if it wasn’t for the change in clothing styles, it could be any decade. There are always millions of people scurrying around living their lives amongst these giant stalagmites that we call skyscrapers. We spent 12 hours visiting the sights. I have included a picture of me having a drink (with Kerry) at the Peninsula Hotel, where we stayed 30 years ago.  I have also posted a picture of Kerry outside another swanky hotel.


Xiamen, China is a lovely modern resort city on the sea. There are two notable memories I take away with me.

One is the beautiful parks, especially the sea front park that stretches for miles along the beach. Perfectly manicured with dozens of beautiful statues, this park is the most beautiful of any we have visited, anywhere. I thought it was interesting how the Chinese dress to spend a day at the beach. Fully clothed, with their skin totally covered and an umbrella to shield the suns rays, they walk or sit on the sandy beach.

Our guide said that the Chinese value pale skin and do not want to have it darken. Evidently the more pale you are, the more high class you are in China, because you don’t have to labor in the sun.

SaraThe second memory I take away is the story our guide, “Sarah” told. I asked her if families were now allowed to have two children in China. She explained that the law recently has changed and if a man has no siblings, then his family may have up to two children.

Photo of Sarah and Kerry:

Maurice Weir thank you for sharing this amazing story with us of your adventures in Asia.

cert-eccWe invite you to search our database of cruise experiences around the world by CLICKING HERE

For more information please contact Lona Lee Thull an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS 480-358-1496Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure, “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”


Friendly cruises story aboard a Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Sea Malaysian Voyage

Friendly cruises story aboard a Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Sea Malaysian Voyage.  Throughout out the next several months Friendly Cruises will be highlighting various destinations around the world starting with Friendly Cruises shares a short story by the Weir family aboard the Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Sea Asian & Malaysian Voyages.

Super Tree Light Show - SingaporeWhen we arrived in Singapore from Dubai, 3000 cruisers, mostly US and European, ended their trip and 3500 Asians including 900 children boarded for a three day cruise. This increased our total passengers to 5000. The children and the 85% Asians on board added to the culture and joy of the cruise.

Having visited many places in the world, Malaysia has been the most surprising and impressive. Penang, Kuala Lumpur and the nation-city Singapore are shining examples of what hard work and good governance can accomplish. These industrious people have moved into the modern world and in many ways equal or passed the US.

Malyasia - DrumsThere is no unemployment and people look to their family for financial help and not the government (which provides a very small assistance for those aged people who have no family or are severely handicapped.) But jobs are plentiful and even the elderly are encouraged to work well passed the average retirement age of 55.

The climate (similar to Hawaii), low cost of living, wonderful highways and infrastructure along with excellent and cheap health care make this a wonderful place to live. Easily the most impressive place we have visited.

This drum corp met us as we went ashore in Kuala Lumpur and Kerry stands in Independence Square, the center of government until the British gave them their independence in the 50’s. That is the Petronas Towers in the distance above Kerry’s outstretched arms.

Penang - Waving Hicert-eccOpen your arms and plan on creating new stories with Friendly Cruises. We strive to combine luxury and adventure uncovering new cruising standards.

Are you ready for your next step? Friendly Cruises would love to learn more about your cruising and yachting needs.

Feel free to look through our database of cruise experiences around the world by CLICKING HERE

For more information please contact Lona Lee Thull an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS 480-358-1496Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure, “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”

Friendly Cruises City Guide to Budapest by Alex Harbour

BudapestFriendly Cruises City Guide to Budapest by Alex Harbour. Budapest, as most people know, is a city union of two parts on either side of the Danube, in Hungary; Buda and Pest. It’s charm and uniqueness comes from the two sides being very different; Pest, on the east side, is the bustling urban hub of the city, whereas Buda is the old town, and greener and more residential. Buda is also very hilly, making it hard for cars to navigate. This makes Buda the quieter side of the city, perfect for exploring on foot – there are some spectacular old buildings, churches, monuments, and the castle district to see – before heading back to Pest for dinner and late-night entertainment.

When to Visit

Budapest-Háttérkép-01The weather in Budapest can be changeable, with the four seasons being definitively different and following each other in a constant cycle. You can visit in any season, although the winters are quite cold and grey, and the summers can be very hot (often reaching temperatures over 30℃!) – therefore many prefer to come in spring (April or May) or early autumn, in September. These months are when temperatures are mildest and there isn’t that much rain. This is a bonus because there are lots of outside attractions, so the driest, most inclement months are generally best – in winter – and summer! – you may want to spend most of your time indoors, out of the extreme temperatures, therefore missing some lovely sights.

Sightseeing and Activities

gellert-bathsBudapest is perhaps best known for is its spas. In fact, with 118 springs in total, Budapest has more thermal and medicinal water springs than any other capital city in the world. The Gellert spa is renowned, although there are dozens of others which cater for specific activities and tastes; some geared towards sports, others towards children, and some even holding ‘party nights’ at the weekend, with music and light shows.

Other sights include the old town and , or course, Buda Castle.  There are a whole host of tours, from bus tours which loop the entire city, to river cruises which sail up and down the Danube, giving views of the Parliament buildings and enabling sights of the banks of both busy Pest and tranquil Buda.

If you’re looking for something quirky to do, then Budapest is home to a large variety or ‘room escape’ games – a craze that is sweeping Europe. Room escape games are live action puzzles, which consist of a series of riddles and physical tests which need to be completed successfully in order to make their way from one room to another, eventually escaping to freedom. A guide monitors you on CCTV to make sure that you’re OK, not cheating and to give tips. This is a great activity if you’re after something a little different, and always wish you’d been on the Crystal Maze.

 Food and Drink

goulash-soupGoulash is one of Budapest’s most traditional dishes. Somewhere between a soup and a stew, this is a beef dish cooked with onions, tomatoes and green pepper – and lots of Hungarian paprika. Sometimes with noodles or potatoes in (or sometimes both) it has a nice thick texture and hearty feel. Another traditional dish is roast goose. This is usually served with with steamed red cabbage and sautéed potatoes mashed up with onion.

 Rather than take a punt on one of the many restaurants serving these dishes, a little restaurant on Galagonya Pinceborozó, on Lajos utca (street) will guarantee a fabulous goulash. Other recommended eateries are the Spoon Cafe & Lounge Bar, a swanky establishment set on a static boat on the Danube, and Melba; a traditional Hungarian restaurant and bar, sitting on the bank of the river and offering fine dining.

As for drinks, Hungary is one of the few countries whose words for wine do not derive from Latin, meaning that they have been producing wine for a very long time. Their Tokaji wine – a sweet dessert wine, is probably best known outside of Hungary, so a must-try when visiting it’s origin. However, as you might expect, all wines are good here, so it is a paradise for wine-drinkers who are used to visiting European destinations known for their beers.

DSC05342-SmallPalinka is the national spirit; a traditional fruit brandy invented in the Middle Ages in Hungary, it comes in almost any flavour you can think of, but the traditional and therefore most prevalent ones are plums, apricots, apples, pears, and cherries. It may be an acquired taste at first, but rather moreish…

With a tapestry as rich as Budapest’s, it is easy to see why many people return again and again to soak up it’s culture and atmosphere. A heady mixture of centuries-old architecture and culture mixed with modern day buildings and activities, there really is something for everyone.

 Author Bio

This post was written by Alex Harbour, on behalf of Avalon Waterways, specialist in first class river cruising experiences in Europe and Worldwide.

 cert-eccAre you ready for your next step? Friendly Cruises would love to learn more about your cruising and yachting needs.

For more information please contact Lona Lee Thull an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS 480-358-1496. Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure, “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”


Friendly Cruises highlights Windstar Cruises

Windstar Sails

Friendly Cruises highlights Windstar Cruises.  Friendly Cruises fourth blog series highlights Windstar Cruises. On Tuesday, November 10th 2015 a representative from Windstar will educate our guests here in Arizona on the difference of the variety of sailing ships Windstar Cruises offers.

Windstar is very grateful to have been accredited with top honors from many of the most respected leaders in the travel and cruise industry. Awards & Accolades include Windstar Cruises voted the world’s best small ship cruise line by Condé Nast Traveler.  Windstar’s slogan is “180 degrees from the Ordinary” based on their goal of creating a vacation experience unlike any other.

It’s a private yacht experience where you feel the ship is your very own where you become closer to the world where you can explore, engage discover & connect.

Let Friendly Cruises guide you down the path to Windstar Cruises where they can help you step away from the crowd, long lines, waiting and even large group travel allowing you to see the gems of the world in an intimate atmosphere.

Windstar’s elegant and luxurious Yachts have fewer than 300 guests. Windstar has six beautiful small ship yachts with destinations all over the world where each Windstar voyage starts with you. Luxury as you like it…….Freedom the ultimate luxury.

Destinations include: The Mediterranean, Greek Isles – Turkey & the Black Sea, Italy, Northern Europe, Caribbean, Panama Canal – Costa Rica, Tahiti & Arabia

 windstarcruises - MediterraneanThe Mediterranean

Where centuries and time shake hands and the moon shines bright on the deep blue waters. You can expect to see wonders like Pietá and David and the intimacy of the small towns in Cinque Terra. The Mediterranean is a unique place where the earth transforms grapes into a fine wine.

Greek Isles Turkey & the Black Sea

The Acropolis at sunrise or sunset. A dinner at Celsus Library in Ephesus. The Minoan eruption of Thira, where it is told the ruins of Atlantis are hidden. The intimacy of this experience follows you across the Aegean and the Black Sea, and your white yacht gives you a front row seat to it all.


ITALY-H2Where artists turn marble into lifelike statues and fashion smiles on every street corner. Imagine an intimate voyage on a Windstar yacht while embracing the elegance and creativity of Italian culture. There are many wonders to see like the landscapes of Tuscany, Amalfi Coast and the Gulf of Poets.

 Northern Europe

NorthernEuropeWords like fjords, crags, and tundra were created in this land, because nothing could accurately describe this remarkable terrain. As your elegant yacht passes its way through the charming fjords and forgotten enclaves, you words become lost in the spectacular scenery making you speechless.

 Windstar-Cruises - CaribbeanCaribbean

Bright colored cocktails and the beauty of the turquoise clear water flow into relaxing days and vibrant nights. Whether you’re sailing through turquoise waters, and relaxing on white sand beaches, the colorful harbors and secret coves of this area remain a hidden treasure.

 Panama Canal & Costa Rica

A tropical region of architectural wonders and natural beauty where Windstar Cruises teachers you about the history of Central America, the region flora and fauna specifics all from a local Naturalist on board your intimate yacht. Visit and sail through the Panama Canal, one of the world’s most stunning feats of engineering where Windstar Cruises lets you see it all.


Imagine yourself sailing into heaven on an elegant luxurious white yacht going from island to island where the sand massages your toes and the warm water greets you like family and the landscape resembles a colorful masterpiece. Tahiti is easy to love, difficult to leave and waiting for you to set sail. Set your sail for these islands leaving lasting memories.


Get ready to set sail on a luxurious yacht through lands as old as time and as new as tomorrow. This voyage is special and takes you along ancient spice routes are just one of the treasures you will encounter on this journey. Observe the frankincense train to the ancient city of Zafar, cross the narrow Sig to the Lost City of Petra and wonder into the modern city of Dubai.

cert-eccAre you ready for your next step? Friendly Cruises would love to learn more about your cruising and yachting needs.

For more information please contact Lona Lee Thull an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS 480-358-1496. Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure, “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”

Come away from the ordinary come to the small ship world of Windstar.

Friendly Cruises highlights Sea Dream Yacht Club 2015 Wine Voyages

WineCloseUpFriendly Cruises third blog series title “Friendly Cruises highlights Sea Dream Yacht Club 2015 Wine Voyages” in boutique ports paired with Intimate culinary experiences

On January 6, 2015 SeaDream Yacht Club announced a number of wine voyages that will be added to the 2015 season.  Friendly Cruises is committed to updating our clients with luxurious yachting adventures to some of the most scenic and vivid yachting ports in the Mediterranean and around the world.

Experience SeaDream Yacht Club – Pure luxury including 112 guests 95 crew creating a  5 Star cuisine

We invite you to learn more about the Wine Voyage where you can elevate your palate by participating in sit-down wine tastings, a Wine Master Class Tasting taught by internationally known wine experts as well as tastings held by top winemakers.  At the Winemaker’s Dinner the chef will craft you a special menu to match the wine of the maker who will dine with you onboard.  There will be other casual tastings throughout your sail which will capture the local flavor of many producers and as well as the favorites in the cellar of SeaDream.

“SeaDream’s extensive 2015 Wine Voyages are built on the tradition by pairing legendary vineyards with expert instructors and winemakers to develop a truly one-of-a-kind experience on land and sea.”

SeaDream Yacht Club – Mediterranean & Wine Voyage Cruises – Step into luxury

SeaDream Wine Voyages cuisine menu showcase local delicacies from these ports of call.  For example:

DubrovnikCroatia1.  Civitavecchia (Rome) to Dubrovnik, Croatia – Sailing SeaDream I August 8th to 15th from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Dubrovnik where guests will create lasting memories with their meals paired with the incredible wines of Chianti.  In addition, Wine Writer Anthony Rose of the British daily newspaper The Independent and Decanter Magazine, will take guests on a tasting tour of the Italian countryside including super-Tuscans and mini-tastings of wine in Sicily, Puglia and Manduria. You will also experience Wine Land Adventures including a visit to Cantina Benanti, Cantine Marisa Cuomo and Marisa Cuomo in Positano, Italy.

CivitavecchiaRome2.  Civitavecchia (Rome) to Malaga, Spain – Sailing the 112-guest mega-yacht from October 23rd to November 1st – This voyage sails from Civitavecchia (Rome) to Malaga, Spain and will be hosted by Guy de Rivoire and international export director of the Bollinger champagne house in Monaco.  Exclusive Wine Land Adventures on this voyage include a visit to the 1500-acre private estate of Château de Berne, Sanary-sur-Mer, the Cavas Recaredo winery in Sant Sardurní d’Anoia hosted by Ton Mata the winery founder’s grandson.

For our guests who are wine enthusiasts or would simply like to increase their knowledge of fine wines and cuisine, SeaDream introduces specially designed 2015 wine voyages.

Visit the world’s most exclusive wine destinations and experience both informal and formal settings of local varietals as well as SeaDreams Wine Cellar.

SeaDream’s 2015 Wine Voyage itineraries & highlights below:

  • April 18th to May 1st – San  Juan, Puerto Rico to Malaga Spain – 13 Days – SeaDream I
  • May 1st to May 9th – Malaga, Spain to Monte Carlo, Monaco – 8 Days including boutique ports of Ibiza, Valencia, and Palma de Mallorca (Spain) – SeaDream II
  • May 16th to May 21st – Monte Carlo, Monaco – Round Trip – 7 Days – SeaDream II
  • September 12th to September 19th – Dubrovnik, Croatia to Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy – 7 Days – SeaDream II
  • October 23rd to November 1st – Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy to Malaga, Spain – 9 Days – calling on Porto Ercole, Portofino, Monte Carlo, Sanary-sur-Mer (France) and Valencia – SeaDream I

cert-eccAre you ready for the next step?  We would love to learn more about your cruising and yachting needs.

For more information please contact Lona Lee Thull an Elite Cruise Counsellor Scholar ECCS  480-358-1496  Friendly Cruises helps define pleasure “Pleasure means Business and Business can mean Pleasure”