Category Archives: Atlantic Coastal

New Lobsterbake Cruises Added for 2012

American Cruise Lines has just announced new Lobsterbake sailings on their New England Islands Atlantic coastal cruises.

Guests on the June 17, 23; July 28 and August 18, 25 sailings will enjoy a complimentary lobsterbake while exploring Newport’s Fort Adams. This classic New England feast includes succulent lobster, clams and mussels, freshly prepared right before your eyes.

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2011 Holidays Aboard Small Ships

Many people settle down with family during the holidays to catch up, and reconnect with loved ones. For a small group, the holidays are a perfect time to explore and experience the world.

Small ship cruises have been busy this holiday season, exploring diverse areas of our world, from the southern reaches of Antarctica and the South Pacific, up to the unique Galapagos Islands and Central America, and further to Europe and America’s southern Atlantic coast.

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Former Cruise West Ships – Where are they now?

Cruise WestBack in the 90’s and into most of the 2000’s, Cruise West was a major player in the small ship cruising niche industry. Many of our clients fell in love with their Alaska experience and the ships. With the one-year anniversary of the Cruise West’s demise approaching, we like to check in on the former Cruise West ships to see where they are now.

Spirit of Oceanus

Spirit of Oceanus / Sea SpiritThe one time 120-passenger flagship of the line was the most luxurious ship in the fleet, and sailed grand Alaska and Asia itineraries. The Spirit of Oceanus was in the midst of sailing a world cruise when Cruise West halted operations. The ship terminated its sailing in Newfoundland, Canada and was immediately sold to TN Cruise K/S, who now charters the ship to other cruise lines.

Today, the ship, renamed Sea Spirit, is now chartered to several expedition lines, including Quark Expeditions and Zegrahm Expeditions, sailing the Antarctic.

Sea Spirit Itineraries

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Cruise Report: American Cruise Lines – American Spirit – Day 6

Chesapeake Bay – St. Michaels, MD

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We arrived in St. Michales, MD last night and we are staying until the wee hours of Friday. We are docked in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. The largest collection of watercraft in existence – 76 boats scattered over 18 acres and 23 buildings. The American Spirit perfectly fits into the landscape and people come up to the ship thinking they can walk on and exlore as you can do with the other 76 boats in the museum. There is always a staff member standing out side explaining our ship, kinda fun when people in our exploration of town ask us what our ship is and where it goes.

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Day started with my breakfast of vanilla bean french toast covered in fresh berries. Then onto the 9am sailing on the EcoTour River Cruise out on the bay. We were introduced to all sorts of live critters by Kelly, our biologist. We were able to see in action what we have been told about all week. A waterman going for crabs in his little boat. They start around 4am and lay out a 1/2 mile long line with bait of chicken necks tied to the line every ten feet. When the crabs wakeup and are hungry, they smell the bait and hook onto the chicken neck. The waterman goes along and pulls up the line as he hangs over with a net to scoop up the crabs eating his bait. He does this while he is also running the boat as he is alone in the whole operation. Interesting to watch and I realize what a great education I have received on the life of the watermen which is the life of the Chesapeake Bay.    Read the rest of this entry

Two Former Cruise West Ships Reappointed within 24 Hours

I just find it so interesting that two of the now defunct Cruise West ships have been re-appointed within the past 24 hours.

We at Sunstone Tours & Cruises are very happy these fine ships continue to be utilized, providing memorable experiences for thousands of travelers.

Yorktown to Sail Great Lakes / Atlantic Coast for Travel Dynamics

The Yorktown

Travel Dynamics International, a leading operator of high-caliber educational programs aboard small cruise ships, recently announced that they have acquired the Spirit of Yorktown from the now defunct Cruise West cruise line. The ship, renamed “Yorktown,” will sail the Atlantic Coast, Canandian Maritimes and Great Lakes during the summer of 2012.

The Yorktown is the perfect vessel for relaxed and convivial exploration of America’s great coastal waterways. Built in Florida in 1988 specifically for coastal cruising and certified by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Yorktown flies the American flag and will be staffed by friendly and experienced American officers and crew. 257 feet long, 43 feet wide, with a draft of 8 feet, the Yorktown is able to maneuver in secluded waterways and visit small ports that are inaccessible to larger vessels. And Yorktown’s American registry makes it possible to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. Read the rest of this entry

Cruise Report: American Cruise Lines – American Spirit – Day 5

Chesapeake Bay – Oxford, MD

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Woke up to glorious clear skies and a little less hot, not cool but less hot. We actually did not sail last night as I thought we would. Instead the plan was to stay docked and drive over to Oxford.

After breakfast we were offered a bus tour over to Oxford with a historian educating us along the way. I am sorry I can’t remember his name, but what a gem and source of information. He was born and grew up in Oxford and was able to tell us the changes over the years, and there were many.
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Cruise Report: American Cruise Lines – American Spirit – Day 4

Chesapeake Bay – Cambridge, MD

We escaped threatened thunderstorms to have a beautiful clear day. I even snuck away after breakfast for a snooze on the top deck. I had the whole deck to myself, Definitely a small ship perk.

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We sailed all morning, arriving in the port of Cambridge after lunch. Sailing time is good, it gave us time to hear Lori’s lecture titled, “Green Eggs and Sand,” as well as time to hang out and have down time. I wrote post cards that go in a basket and American Cruise Line provides the stamp and mails them at the next town. A bunch of us worked on the 1,000 piece puzzle in the library. Our king puzzle person is Andrew, our youngest person on the ship at 18, here with his parents and grandparents.

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Cruise Report: American Cruise Lines – American Spirit – Day 3

Chesapeake Bay – Crisfield / Tangier Island, VA / Solomons Is., MD

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Today was the highlight of the whole cruise for my personal bucket list, Tangier Island. A place, few people visit, few people have heard of and an island that is light years away from the hussle and bussle of our usual towns and cities.

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Day started fun enough with Kite Flying. Not as easy as it looks. We were given quite high tech kites, nothing like the ones I flew when I was a kid. I was the most successful and, as it was a kick, all us adults playing kids. This was not kids play with the winds off the bay.

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Cruise Report: American Cruise Lines – American Spirit – Day 2

Chesapeake Bay – Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown

Day two on the Chesapeake Bay brought us down to Yorktown. We arrived in the wee hours, with the treat of waking up opening our balcony door and realizing we were right in the center of the dock that leads to the quaint town of Yorktown. We of course are the only ship arriving, we are surrounded by small yachts, big yachts, fishing boats and whatever the local dock of Yorktown has to offer. We walk off the ship as locals for the day. The reason I love the small boats; we do not take over anything, we just fit in.

After a good breakfast buffet, we were all on our way. Passengers went in all directions with many options. Our arrival into Yorktown provides a jump off spot for Williamsburg and Jamestown. Some stayed on the ship and read on the top deck in the shade of of the overhangs. Others took the scheduled ship bus to Williamsburg, others walked off the ship to explore the quaint little town of Yorktown. Read the rest of this entry