HOW TO TURN A CRUISE INTO AN EXTENDED MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
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You and your family booked a cruise with Kosherica. It is going to be unforgettable - everything taken care of, you'll be pampered by the nicest people, eat the best food, see daily shows on board and visit places that will blow your mind. Your departure is on Sunday and a week later you'll disembark.  Perfect solution to see the world, rest and renew if the vacation time you have available is 7-10 days.
This blog is directed toward those of us who have vacation time of two weeks or more, the kids are out of school and you have to travel across the country to get to your ship.
Most people buy plane tickets, have a stressful or mediocre ride and arrive in the wonderfully surprising different atmosphere and climate from the one they left behind.
This whole idea occurred to me after a dinner party yesterday, when half the guests admitted to never have explored the US, though some have been to China, Europe or Canada.
It hit me how much we're missing out on by not taking in the mind-boggling and often magical differences of the American terrain. I think most foreign tourists have seen more of the US landscape than local residents. One person said he never left the state of NY and has spent mostly in his home borough of Brooklyn.
With the Northeast preparing for a huge blizzard, airport delays and cancelled flights effecting passengers in tropical and warm climates as well, I thought about how nice it would be to hop in my car, luggage safely packed in the trunk, snacks and drinks within reach and before the storm hits to start the trip down to Fort Lauderdale or to Seattle, should the ship be leaving from there.
Some of the best times in my life were on road trips, exploring the breadth and width of this country. Each one was different and each is a dear memory I'll cherish.
Imagine you live in the icy tundra of the East coast or Midwest. You and family get on the road with Google Maps or Waze to help navigate. You depart your state, drive until the evening and find a last-minute hotel deal on HotelTonight.com. After a lovely night's rest, you awaken to find yourself in the country's capital city, Washington DC. The local Trader Joe's or Wholefoods carries all the perishable supplies you need for fruit and cereal breakfast, or if you rent a room with a kitchenette you may cook up whatever you desire. Make sure to bring along a Swiss-army knife, a pot and a pan and paper or plastic plates, bowls and utensils. You may also choose to look up the Chabad houses or Kosher restaurants along your route and eat your main meals there.
Then off to explore the sights - the White House, Abraham Lincoln's huge statue, the National Art Gallery - endless, depending on the time available. The next day, since you're likely to start late, you'oll get to explore and picnic in beautiful West Virginia with its stunning wooded mountain terrain and stop for the night in the Carolinas. If you choose to visit Raleigh, North Carolina, there is a Chabad Center you can contact at 919-847-8986 or write ahead (www.jewishraleigh.org) to let them know you'll be coming to dine. If you want to simplify - buy lots of fruits and vegetables, sardines and other non-perishables and dine in your room. If you feel like driving a bit longer, get to Old Charleston (one of my favorites) a most beautiful and charming town.  See the point where the first cannon shot was fired in the Civil War or visit a plantation and get the kids to hear and see more real American history. If you saw "Gone with The Wind", a film which plays yearly around the holiday season, these sites will really speak to you.
The next day you might consider visiting another amazing town - Savannah, Georgia. If you have the time for a serious detour, New Orleans is 9 hours away, going through Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama, the place where some of the most historic civil upheavals and changes took place in the 1960's. New Orleans really deserves its own blog as it truly contains pure magic in the Old Quarter.
If you feel like taking it easier, continue to Saint Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the country, charmingly captivating, the location of the legendary Fountain of Youth which was found here by the gullible explorer Ponce de Leon in 1513. You may drink from the water and see yourself turn 15 again! One can only hope, right?
Next stop Orlando - Disney World, Sea World and loads of wonderful stuff for the kids (and the kid in all of us). You could stay the night at Daytona Beach with an ocean-facing room feasting your nature deprived eyes in the vastness of the sparkling waters ahead. Enjoy the balmy weather and think kindly of those of us back home in the blizzard
You could also choose to visit Coco Beach and its Space rockets, the elegantly ostentatious Palm Beach with its mansions and the artistic Delray Beach. By now you'll be tired and ready for the kind and caring staff of Kosherica to envelop you in total relaxation. The end of the trip is near, since Fort Lauderdale is about one hours' drive from there. Give yourself a little time to find long term parking for your car (it can be Googled ahead of time) if you drove your own ca or to return the rental car to the agency after dropping off your luggage at the port.
You just finished a great (if tiring) adventure, one you designed and controlled. Now it's time to embark on the best adventure, your cruise with Kosherica, where there is no need to plan ahead as everything is done for you and you are wrapped in luxury. You'll be taken to the most beautiful and interesting places on earth, be entertained daily and be fed the best food anywhere without moving a finger. It will also give you the rest and recovery from the long trek to the harbor and if your body parts are hurting from driving for so long, booking a massage or a pampering spa treatment will revive you. The sleep you'll get as you're lulled gently the ocean waves in your delightful cabin laying on soft, fresh sheets is incomparable. Instead of hunting and gathering for food you'll be seated in a group of like-minded people, munching on five-star gourmet Glatt Kosher delicacies and exchanging stories. You and your family will have lots of new ones: Two vacations in one, what could be bad?
Disclaimer: Cruise Kosher suggests the top Kosher Cruise Agents and is not responsible for bookings made with those companies.