Inspired Travel Thursdays: Mary Solio1

What is THE inspiration that fuels your journeys, Sole Sisters? Is it a favorite song or music video, a colorful postcard or unforgettable scene from a movie?

Welcome to the newest series on Sole Sisters: Inspired Travel Thursdays where we feature trips that were sparked by a book, snatches from a poem, lyrics from a song or even a person!

Mary Solio, shares her joys of traveling with children and how a few shows made her realize her passion for cruises.

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"You haven't lived until you've cruised" is a favorite quote by many travel agents selling cruises. Yes, it's a selling hype but having completed our 11th cruise last month and planning the next one by the end of the year, there's bit of truth to it. With the recent Costa Concordia tragedy , it may be off-putting for a lot of people. But, it is still one of the safest vacations out there. 

It has taken us to most of the Caribbean islands, Central America, Mexico, Alaska, Bermuda and the Hawaiian islands. While Europe has been mostly land-based vacations, we hope to sail the Mediterranean one of these days. So, how did this unconventional way to see the world all start?

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A TV Show and Titanic for Inspiration

Plenty of movies and TV shows over the years have inspired me to add to my ever growing travel bucket list. But, there were definitely two that ignited my desire to explore places via a cruise ship.

Growing up, it was a weekly ritual to watch the romantic and funny adventures of the crew and passengers aboard the show,The Love Boat. Its catchy opening tune where it "promises something for everyone" resonated with me. Somewhere in the back of my mind these seeds were planted. I knew I wanted to go on a cruise ship - someday. It seemed like a fun way to travel to a destination. Never mind that at that time, I'd never even set foot on a boat and I was living in the island of Guam in the middle of the Pacific. Sometimes, dreams materialize from the most unexpected sources.

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Over the years, my travels were focused on various land-based vacations. Luckily, I married a man who almost shares my serious case of wanderlust. We were busy discovering new places and thought of cruising but never made the time. Then, one of the biggest movie blockbusters came along that reawakened the cruise fantasy. There has only been one movie that brought the grandeur of old world cruising to life - Titanic. It showed a different side of cruising - extravagance, splendor and classic romance.

I fantasized about how exciting it was to be sailing on a ship of that size. 

Despite its tragic demise, it became one of my favorite movies. It was re-watching Titanic a few years later that prompted me to finally book our first cruise fulfilling the fantasy that had been suppressed for awhile.

It's no surprise that our first cruise was on Princess Cruise Lines which was the same line as the Love Boat aka the Pacific Princess. To be on the safe side and having that giant iceberg tragedy from Titanic in the back of my mind, we booked a Caribbean cruise. There were definitely no floating icebergs there.

Of course, we've thought of recreating the infamous scene on the ship where the Leonardo DiCaprio shouts "I'm the King of the World". We can be touristy but haven't done this yet. Call it a bit of inhibition, self-restraint and my husband trying to preserve some dignity that's preventing us from doing it.

Was cruising exactly how I imagined it?

For the most part, our cruising experience fit the expectations I had based on the shows and the movie. It can be romantic, elegant and relaxing. But, it also had some unexpected and pleasant surprises that made us return to cruising repeatedly every year.

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The ships are huge and are floating mega resorts. The abundance of food, entertainment and activities onboard is staggering. Cruise ships put on food fests like Dessert Extravaganza and Chocoholic Buffets. How can anyone resist those? We get a taste of elegance too by dressing up during designated formal nights. It's a vacation with less worries - where to sleep, what to eat, and what to do are taken care of.

Cruising offers a different perspective to traveling. You unpack once and you wake up to a different port almost everyday - exotic places with different cultures, breathtaking sceneries and new adventures to discover. I consider it sampling a destination. Being at the port for a short time gives a brief glimpse of what it has to offer. If we like it, we can return for an extended vacation. One of the best ways to see Alaska's remote massive glaciers or to experience the Panama Canal or do some island hopping is through cruising.

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There really is something to the Love Boat promising something for everyone. While the whole concept may not sound appealing to some, it's definitely worth a try to see if you like the cruising lifestyle. It's not only about the destinations but the journey. 

Getting to the destination is part of the fun and experience in cruising. 

Mary Solio was born in the Philippines but moved to Guam as a young girl and ended up in Los Angeles for college. She is a full-time working mom who now lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and two children. You can read about the family's adventures as they cruise and explore the world at The World Is A Book or on Twitter (@worldbooktravel).

Would you like to share stories from your your own inspired travels? Whatever or whoever inspires you to just go, do let us know! Contribute to the Inspired Travel Thursdays Series by sending us an email at solesisters(dot)weare(at)gmail(dot)com.
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4 Responses so far.

  1. PossiblyPinay says:

    oh oh oh! I read her! gosh, I loooove that they looooove cruises, because after everything. -- i still loooove it too!

  2. Lois says:

    I just remembered your cruise story Eileen!

  3. Thanks again for the opportunity to be a part of your virtual home, Lois!   It was great to share this particular way to travel the world. 

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