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I’ve just returned from another fantastic quilting cruise with Quilt Seminars at Sea, this time to Alaska, along The Inside Passage.

It is really hard to put into words or show with a photo the beauty of Alaska, but here are a few photos from our trip.

 

 

This has to be one of my favorite shots. . . after a morning of thick fog, we were treated to bright blue skies while we cruised along Glacier Bay.

 

For more information about our upcoming quilting cruises with Quilt Seminars at Sea, please visit: Quiltcruises.com or my website at Karencombs.com

Quilt seminars at sea logo

In many of my classes or lectures, people are always interested in exactly what happens on a quilting cruise.  I’ve listed some of the questions I’ve been asked with answers below.

 

Q:  When are quilting classes held?  

Classes are held during sea days.  This is when we are traveling at sea.  These days are usually “lazy” days with people enjoying different activities around the ship, reading or simply taking it easy.   We use these days to do our favorite thing, quilting!  Classes are scheduled when we are “at sea”, with a nice break during lunch time.

Get-togethers, parties with other quilters, lectures are also scheduled when we are “at sea” or after we’ve left a port.

Q:  Will you have free time?  

Absolutely!  We have lots of free time when we are at a port, in the evenings or even on sea days.  Some people sign up for just one class and relax the other days.  Other people take all the classes they can.  This will be totally up to you.

Q:  What happens when we are at a port?

Classes are not held when we are at a port.  You can spend this time as you wish, wandering the port on your own, take in the sights, or schedule a shore excursions through the ship.  Again, how you spend your time when we are at port is totally up to you.

Sometimes we will schedule a special  excursion for the quilters (and their friends and family) can attend.  Sometimes it is a “shop-hop”, or a visit to a quilt show.

Several years ago, when we traveled to the Mediterranean, we all visited a quilt shop in Istanbul, visited The Grand Bazaar and had a special meal at the spice market.  A very special treat was meeting with members of the Istanbul quilt guild as we visited the quilt shop.  That was a very special treat!

Q:  What if I want to bring a friend or family member?

We often have people bring friends, spouses or family members.  When you are in class, there are plenty of things for them to do on the ship.  You can meet them for lunch, if you wish.  One of my husband’s favorite activity was a ship tour he attended when I was in class.

Q: What classes will be offered?  Do I need to bring my sewing machine?  What about supplies for my class?

You can pick your class from the list of classes offered each day.  Most of the cruises have 3 or 4 teachers, so you will have a variety of classes to pick from.

If the class needs a sewing machine, it will be supplied.

Many of the classes will have a kit, so you don’t need to bring a suitcase full of supplies.  You will be given a small supply list, once you sign up for the class, so you will know just what to bring.

Q:  Why do you love cruising so much?

I fell in love with cruising from my very first cruise.  I love unpacking just once, yet, I get to travel to many different ports.

I love that I don’t have to cook and I will always have a choice for my meals.  I can go to dinner in the main dining room, I can order room service (anytime I wish), I can go to many of the smaller restaurants or even have a casual meal on the Lido deck.

I love the quilting classes, our get-togethers with other quilters in the evenings.  I enjoy spending time in the library in a comfy chair watching the ocean go by. Of course, with some handwork or a good book!  I really love the coffee bar in the library, so I can get my favorite latte whenever I wish.

I love that I have an option for the cabin I want to purchase.  I can save money for more fabric purchases by booking an inside cabin or a cabin with a ocean view.  Or I can splurge and book a cabin with a balcony.  I’ve done both and I’ve enjoyed all the cabins I’ve had.

One of my favorite ocean view room was on an Alaska cruise.  I could lay in bed and watch the water go by.  We sailed on the Inside Passage and the water was as smooth as glass.  One afternoon, I looked out the window and saw a Killer Whale pod swim right by us.  What a treat!

I love all the different places we’ve traveled to and I look forward to many more!

 

 

 

I  love quilt cruises.  Combine quilting (our favorite passion) and cruising, what could be better??

I am so excited about my next quilt cruise. . . to the Mediterranean!  We will be cruising to fabulous ports in Italy, Croatia and the Greek Isles. Other teachers on the cruise include John Flynn, Cindy Walter and Christine Porter.

There is a fabulous tour that has just been added for our group, an EXCLUSIVE QUILTERS’ TOUR IN ISTANBUL! 

You will not find this tour anywhere else—this is exclusive FOR OUR GROUP ONLY!!   Companions are welcome and encouraged to join as well!

 

 

SOME DETAILS ABOUT THE TOUR:

Board the motorcoach and cross the Galata Bridge to the heart of the old city. Walk the historic streets with your English-speaking guide.

 

 

Our first stop will be the famous Grand Bazaar. Your guide escorts you to a store just outside the Grand Bazaar, your rendezvous point after experiencing the marketplace. Take

in a carpet-weaving demonstration and explore the Grand Bazaar, where the shops are organized by the wares they sell. The narrow alleys are filled with shops offering jewelry, carpets, leather ware, copper goods and more. Bargaining is expected – and half the fun. We will take you to the special section that sells all types of local fabrics to offer something exotic for your quilts.

Next, you will visit the Spice Bazaar (also known as the Egyptian Bazaar) built in 1663, the Spice Market is still the second-largest covered bazaar in Turkey and it is still the best place to buy Turkish delight, dried fruit, exotic herbs and all the spices of the East including cardamom, turmeric, saffron, rose water and more.

Lunch will be served at a famous Bab-i Hayat restaurant located in the Spice market serving the best varieties of Turkish Cuisine prepared by a famous chef. After lunch you will cross the intercontinental bridge to the Asian side of Istanbul and visit the Textile Arts Association. We will experience a great workshop with patchworkers and interact with the local quilters and enjoy light refreshments together.

 

For more details, contact Quilt Seminars at Sea.   You can also call Amy Ross at 866-573-6351 or email her at ARoss@quiltseminarsatsea.com

HALF-MOON CAY

One of our ports of call was the private island owned by Holland America, Half-moon Cay.

halfmoon-cay

On the island, there is a sign that states, “I wish I could stay here forever!”  Yes, I really do!

 

ARUBA

Our next stop was Aruba. We did not spend much time in town, but headed directly to De Palm Island. Rick and I snorkled and saw some amazing sea life.

Snorkeling in Aruba

While this is not us, it does show the beautiful blue Parrotfish we saw. These fish are an amazing blue and are huge!

In addition to the blue parrot fish, we also saw the Stoplight Parrotfish.

Spotlight Parrotfish

 

CURACAO

I had two favorite ports of call, one of them was Curacao, just 80 miles from Aruba.

Willemstad, Curacao

Willemstad, its capital and only town of any size, looks just like old Dutch towns in the motherland except here the charming step-and bell-topped facades from the 1600s are dressed in island pastels, and the catch of the day in the outdoor cafes is sea bass, and not herring.

The shopping was fantastic and the town charming.  As we walked along the streets, we came upon a floating Market. Fresh fish for sale, right off the boat!

floating market

One of the unique features of Willemstad is the largest flating bridge in existence, Queen Emma.

This pontoon bridge, which folds against the shore to permit seagoing traffic, has been a Curacao landmark since the 19th century, and is still a vital part of the island’s commercial structure. It’s the quickest and only way to get by foot from the Punda (oldest section) to the newer Otrobanda on the opposite shore. Queen Emma, named for a Dutch queen, is a pontoon bridge with an unusual history and mission as a long, folding bridge capable of opening and closing for ocean-going ships.

floating-bridge

While we were there, the bridge opened to allow several boats to through.

I snapped a quick photo of the bridge opening.

Curacao

Everywhere we walked in, we saw beautiful colors.

Curacoa

Even the street vendors were colorful!

Curacoa

Karen Combs is a internationally known quilt teacher, author and fabric designer. Visit her web site at http://www.karencombs.com

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