Why, if it isn’t October! That means it’s time for another mostly regular round-up of what’s changed on the site in the last month, any bits of relevant news to impart, and what I’ve been taking a look at recently from the world of travel bloggers and vloggers.
With the impending closure of Google+ I’ve now removed the link from the social icons at the bottom of the page. Truth be told, hadn’t really used it in the last few years other than a couple of tests to see whether the social side of it was still effective or not. It was a bit but I just didn’t feel it was worth the effort to try to devote any time to the place especially following its structural changes a few years back. When I first started using it the social network was a good place for photographers but the so-called “community” changes seemed to fracture the original concept of circles rather than glue them together in my opinion. All that said, shuttering a site still used by many people simply because there was a security hole (allegedly unexploited) in it earlier in the year is unnecessary but pretty much par for the course for Google; they’ve burned too many bridges behind them with the closures of things like Wave and Reader and Picasa over the years to ever trust them with the longevity of any social enterprise going forwards.
If you’ve got any Google+ content and would like to save a copy for posterity then you can see what you need to set with Google’s Takeout service here: Google+ Export.
The Reddit Effect
A funny thing happened this month. Someone posted a question in the whatisthisthing subreddit forum asking just what was this strange building seen in the Netherlands while on a cruise? As luck would have it we’ve been on a cruise in the Netherlands and I’d not only seen that thing but I’d also taken some photos of it, found out what it was, and explained on this post. This led someone to answer the original person’s question and thoughtfully link to my article.
Reddit is a very popular website. Admittedly, any traffic it sends outwards is fairly transient, lasting only as long as the original post is relevant and keeps getting views, but it still sent an awful, awful lot of traffic to this site (which actually coped fine with it). Several thousand visits came flying in mostly in the space of three hours (although traffic is still trickling in now). A comparison chart with normal daily traffic levels shows you what a difference it made.
Of more interest because this site has a focus on world travel was a breakdown of visitors by country of origin from most popular to least. I imagine in many cases this will be the first time that people from some of those countries will ever have seen this site.
Site Content Updates
Two posts covering last month’s overnight gala cruise aboard CMV Astoria have now gone up and you can find them here: Cruise: Astoria Gala 2018. We particularly enjoyed the cruise into Portsmouth Harbour early in the morning there as it provided a lot of opportunity to get some lovely dawn photos of the city’s sights and if you’re a fan of naval history then I’ve got you covered there too.
New content will be sparse (read: non-existent) until November as we’re about to head off to Asia for a 15-day cruise aboard our first love, Diamond Princess. I’ve mentioned it enough times on the site and social media and it’s easy enough to search for or stumble over on this site if you want to see what we saw in Asia the first time we were on her back in 2008. Splashing cash has been picked up for the cruise and for a weekend break to Reykjavik that will follow hot on its heels when we return, and explaining the presence of Icelandic money amongst so many Asian notes was quite fun to the puzzled travel money clerk when we picked the money up. We were really pleased when she asked if we wanted to swap our larger denomination dollars for 1s and 5s as well as they’re ideal for tipping and small purchases as well.
If we were travelling in Europe or North America, perhaps, then we’d rely far more on credit cards rather than physical money but with some of the excursions we’ve got planned, notifications that only local currency is accepted in some of them, and no guarantee that there will be a card reader of any sort we’ve elected to get currency the old-fashioned way. We aren’t taking much for each port stop despite appearances (and despite becoming instant Vietnamese millionaires) and we’re hoping that this also forces us to buy something everywhere we stop, something we haven’t always done in the past. It’s good for our memories and it’s good for the local economies of the places we’ll be visiting.
Something new has been formed online.
To quote from one of the founding members, Emma:
Choose cruise club is a formal platform dedicated to influencers. Membership will give members access to events and ship visits as well as opportunities to collaborate on posts on CLIA’s website and learn more about all things cruise. It is for bloggers, vloggers and influencers within the cruise/travel sector.
You can see the membership cost and benefits on that link. It’s difficult to see the benefits for us on a personal level, though. Work commitments mean ship visits are almost never a possibility which only leaves getting emails about cruise news (I know how to use Google Alerts and search so…), access to a learning academy (for what?), and the possibility to attend some conferences (we like cruising but not to the extent that a conference appeals) and a special influencers event too (and that doesn’t sit well with our introversion). At the back of my head there’s this worry too that the members of this group (as can already be seen from the use of the #ChooseCruise tag on social media) will end up simply becoming another coordinated advertising mechanism for the cruise industry at large and, bizarrely, will be paying for the privilege.
I hope the other members get value for money from their membership and I stand ready to change my mind about it in the future when I see what some of the members report about their experiences but for now it’s a no from me.
On The Internet
This sorta regular post finishes in the sorta regular way with a quick look at what travel and cruise-related posts have caught my attention online in the last month.
Gav and Luke got a look aboard Pacific Princess when it docked near them recently. She’s a ship that stands out somewhat from the rest of the Princess Cruises fleet on account of her size, class, and – most notably – her interior decoration. We’ve been on the Grand-class and the Royal-class ships and they are more-or-less different scales of the same thing but Pacific Princess looks very different indeed. Videos, photos, and descriptions at the link.
I loved this cartoon from Itchy Feet featuring a handy map of every European city. Didn’t love loads of other people sharing it online without attribution (which is how I saw it first but then hunted down the original). Come on, people, give the original artist credit whenever possible.
Naomi paid a weekend visit to Warsaw and it looks like a spectacular place to see from historical and architectural perspectives. We hit Gdańsk last year on our Crown Princess cruise and loved our short time in Poland so Naomi’s post shows there’s a good reason to see more of the country too.
Lauren put up a post about Grand Rapids, Michigan that served to catapult the city from nowhere at all to right near the top of places to see in America if we go back. Why? Three words: “Beer City, USA”.
We were watching the last episode of Travel Man recently and saw a visit to a microscopic pub in Milan called Backdoor43. Not a place you can casually get into but if we ever do have a trip to the Italian city we might look to see whether booking a timeslot for a visit is a possibility.
Finally, a post from someone who lives fairly close to us, Eleni, featuring a trip to the the beautiful village of Kalopanayiotis on Cyprus. Not somewhere we’d heard of and not a country we’ve ever visited either but would love to based on this post. The food sounds fantastic too.