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The Best of Willemstad, Curacao: Attractions, Beaches, History and Culture

In colorful Curacao, our Christian travelers discover a laid-back island of history, adventure and scenery—particularly in the capital’s cruise port, Willemstad. It’s the perfect backdrop to draw closer to God and hear His voice as you bask in warm ocean breezes and stunning views. The island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its iconic pastel-colored Dutch colonial architecture and pristine white-sand beaches. If you’re considering a Christian cruise that stops at this eye-catching and fascinating port, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about Willemstad and curated its top experiences and attractions. What are the top Willemstad attractions? For most travelers, it’s the capital city itself. Willemstad is known for its friendly population, safe and clean streets, and delightful architecture. The crayon-colored houses and buildings on its waterfront are visible from the cruise ship docks and the city's center is within walking distance from the port. On foot, you’ll be able to visit several iconic landmarks. We recommend the Queen Emma Bridge, the iconic yellow Fort Amsterdam and the Kura Hulanda Museum. What can I expect at Fort Amsterdam in Willemstad, Curacao? Fort Amsterdam is one of Willemstad’s best-known and most-visited historic sites and is only a 5-to-10-minute walk from where cruise ships dock. The vibrant yellow facade of the building—a hallmark of the Dutch colonial style—draws people to it. From its panoramic views of the harbor and the city to its historical artifacts, it offers something for everyone. You’ll want to tour Fort Church within the complex. This Protestant church is one of the oldest buildings (1769) on the island. Our travelers enjoy pausing to pray here as they praise God for all He is doing in their lives and worldwide. What’s special about the Queen Emma Bridge in Willemstad, Curacao? This floating bridge is nearly 550 feet long and rests on 16 pontoons. It connects the Punda district with Otrobanda across the water and sways ever so slightly as pedestrians stroll across it—the journey takes only a few minutes. With wonderful waterfront views, it’s the perfect place to snap a keepsake photo. Travelers also enjoy watching the bridge pivot open to allow boats to pass through the bay. What are the best beaches in Willemstad and how close are they to the cruise port? One of the biggest draws of Willemstad is its collection of spectacular beaches and endless ocean views. While most of them are not within walking distance of the cruise port, there are plenty of taxis available. Travelers can also book shore excursions that include visiting one of these popular beaches: Mambo Beach is only a 10-minute drive from the cruise port. The secluded Directors Bay, also known as Playa Canoa, is a 20-minute drive from the port and great for snorkeling and diving. Kokomo Beach is also 20 minutes away and popular with the Instagram crowd: Look for a large swing located in its shallow turquoise waters. Bring your Bible or a devotional to the beach for a time of reconnection and relaxation with the One who loves you. What are Willemstad’s best cultural experiences? Just 15 minutes from the dock, the thought-provoking Kura Hulanda Museum explores the transatlantic African slave trade in the Caribbean, offering insight into the development of Curacao and the dark history behind that heritage. The Dutch West India Company took control of the island in the mid-1600s and used it as a depot for enslaved people before selling them to plantations throughout Central and North America. While sobering, this museum features the artifacts and narratives of the slave trade—not just in Curacao but also in the United States. Another fascinating experience is visiting Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest synagogue (founded in 1732) in continuous use in the Americas. It was founded by Sephardic Jews escaping the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions. Beyond the Dutch colonial architecture, one of its most interesting characteristics is the sand-covered floor, believed to symbolize the 40 years Israel spent in the desert. The synagogue remains a place of worship for Curacao’s Jewish population and is also open to the public. Where’s the best place to shop in Curacao? The Punda shopping district is famous among cruise passengers, especially along Heerenstraat and Breedestraat streets. These two charming streets are lined with unique boutiques and souvenir shops as well as international luxury brands. If you’re not in the market for jewelry, watches or fine linens, you may be entranced by some of the Curacao-specific items available—like wheels of Gouda thanks to the Dutch tradition of cheesemaking, as well as beautifully decorated wooden clogs from the island’s Dutch heritage. Almost all vendors accept credit cards. What are Curacao’s outdoor excursions and activities? Travelers can find a diverse range of activities while in port in Willemstad. One of the simplest and most popular is a Willemstad Walking Tour, which takes you to key landmarks like the Queen Emma Bridge, the Mikve Israel-Emanuel Synagogue and some of the city’s most charming Dutch colonial architecture. Adventurous travelers may want to book a guided tour of Hato Caves, where you’ll see petroglyphs, stalactites and stalagmites. Others may visit the Curacao Sea Aquarium, known for its marine exhibits and dolphin shows. Few islands are as vibrant as Curacao and its capital city of Willemstad. Time here will refresh you in body and spirit as you laugh and learn with other Christian travelers and reconnect with what matters most. Which of these experiences is on your bucket list?

Latest Travel Tips and Resources

Explore valuable travel tips and resources. Dive in and become a travel expert for your next Christian cruise or tour.

Apr 19, 2024
6 Min Read
Athens Travel Guide: Top Attractions
The cradle of civilization and the birthplace of democracy, Athens is a city where the past and present coexist, where a vibrant modern culture surrounds ancient landmarks. For Christian travelers, visiting this great city awakens everything they love about travel, from standing on Mars Hill where Paul preached the gospel to art and culinary delights. Here’s our travel guide to the top attractions in Athens. The Acropolis Rising majestically atop a hill overlooking the city, this monument—a complex of multiple buildings—has stood for more than 3,300 years as a testament to the philosophy and art that defined ancient Greece’s thriving culture. One of the most famous buildings in the complex, the Parthenon, was a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena. But despite this pagan heritage, it remains a symbol of this once-powerful culture. It is a must-see in Athens, especially for its breathtaking views. We recommend visiting early to avoid the crowds and summer heat. Mars Hill Step into biblical history at the rocky outcrop near the Parthenon known as Mars Hill, where Paul shared the gospel message with a group of philosophers. As Acts 17 describes it, Paul displayed his grasp of the intellectual foundations of Greek culture while pointing to salvation through Jesus Christ. This site is also known as the Areopagus. Visitors can read the text of Paul’s sermon on a brass plate embedded in the rocks. Acropolis Museum At the base of the Acropolis, a relatively new museum tells the story of this archaeological site across 150,000 square feet of space. Early Greek sculpture art, elegant statues and artifacts are displayed beneath glass floors. Visitors particularly enjoy the panoramic views of the Parthenon and other iconic landmarks. Plaka District The uniquely Aegean-whitewashed houses of the Anafiotika neighborhood remind visitors of beloved islands like Santorini. For tourists who may value food and culture above history, its quaint streets are lined with vibrant markets where artisans sell local crafts and traditional Greek products. You’ll love chatting with the welcoming Greeks as you stop at a cozy café for a gyro or sweet loukoumades (deep-fried dough soaked in honey). Lycabettus Hill We recommend a sunset atop Lycabettus Hill. A short climb (primarily stairs) will take you to the top, or enjoy a 10-minute ride in a funicular. The panoramic vista allows you to see the port of Piraeus and the Aegean Sea beyond it. A café on top of the hill serves food and drink. You’ll love stepping inside the quiet Greek Orthodox church at the top. National Archaeological Museum Explore the best collection of Greek antiquities in the world; this sprawling museum is a treasure trove of history. You’ll see the Mask of Agamemnon, a gold funeral mask that dates back to the 16th century B.C., incredibly detailed frescoes from Santorini, and countless statues and artifacts dating back to this ancient civilization. You’ll want to spend at least two hours touring its exhibits. Monastiraki Square Every visit to Athens is completed with an immersive cultural experience in Monastiraki Square, home to a lively flea market where you can glimpse Athens street life while exploring all kinds of handicrafts, local street food and local antiques. If you’re hungry, sample souvlaki (skewered meats served in a pita wrap) and various pastries, including spanakopita (spinach pie). Nearby, the Tzistarakis Mosque and Hadrian’s Library offer additional cultural activities. The Temple of Olympian Zeus In the center of Athens, this colossal ruin dates back to the sixth century B.C. and was dedicated to Zeus, the king of the Olympian gods, until being pillaged during an invasion in the third century. After that, the temple fell into disuse and began to be quarried for other building projects. The remaining 15 of its original 104 Corinthian columns give visitors a glimpse at the building’s former glory. Panathenaic Stadium This historic stadium, sometimes known as Kallimarmaro, hosted the ancient Panathenaic Games as far back as the fourth century B.C. and was renovated for the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. It stands out as the world’s only major stadium built entirely of marble, elevating modern athletic competition and Greece’s rich history of sporting events. This multipurpose stadium is still in use today and serves as the endpoint for the classic Athens Marathon. It remains open to the public for tours. Athens is one of the world’s major cities and serves as an open-air museum, where ancient sites and New Testament history stand in close proximity to a vibrant modern culture. We love introducing cruise travelers and other tourists to this beautiful and ancient destination. Which site or experience are you most interested in?
Sep 03, 2021
7 Min Read
The 5 Most Majestic Alaskan Fjords
Glaciers are a common sight to any traveler on our Alaska cruises. They are hard to miss and a spectacle unto themselves. However, just as impressive are the state’s scenic fjords. If you’re wondering what they are or even how to say “fjords,” don’t worry—you’re not alone! A fjord—say it like “fyord”—is a narrow strip of the sea surrounded by high cliffs formed over centuries by the movement of glaciers. The word itself comes from the ancient Norse language and probably evokes thoughts of Norway, where some of the world’s most famous fjords are located. But you can also see them in Chile, Greenland, and yes, Alaska. Most of Alaska’s fjords aren’t accessible by road, which means a cruise is the best way to appreciate these awe-inspiring valleys that are sometimes deeper than the ocean surrounding them. Here are five of our favorites that every traveler should make a point to see: Misty Fjords Misty Fjords Even the build-up of fog, can’t stop travelers from seeing the steep walls and stunning views of the Misty Fjords. With sea cliffs that rise up to 3,000 feet out of the ocean, passengers get to experience plenty of waterfalls splashing over the bluffs as swollen rivers empty in the fjord. Part of the Inside Passage—a common route for our Alaska cruises—the Misty Fjords National Monument is located east of Ketchikan and is part of the Tongass National Forest. Tongass is the largest temperate rainforest in the world, and provides copious chances for sighting wildlife including brown and black bears, moose, wolves and wolverines! Tracy Arm Fjord South Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord A short 45-mile trek from Juneau and you’ll find yourself in a new world entirely. A world of prodigious granite walls, powerful waterfalls, towering glaciers and mountains that highlight the beauty of God’s craftsmanship. This fjord is also home to active marine life and floating icebergs that give you something to look at in every direction.  But it isn’t until travelers reach the end of this narrow fjord that they get to witness the best it has to offer. That distinction belongs to the Sawyer Glaciers. Once about every hour, travelers lucky enough to visit watch in awe as the glaciers “calve”. Chunks of ice break off of the iceberg and come crashing into the icy waters below.    In some places, the sheer rock walls of this inlet climb nearly a mile above the water. Visitors are treated to the sight of icebergs, harbor seals and breathtaking mountain views along their journey. During your cruise up Tracy Arm, take a glance at the sky—chances are you’ll see plenty of seaplanes taking in the view above you. Lynn Canal Eldred Rock Lighthouse Unless you’re a deep-sea diver or have access to a submarine, you will probably never see the most impressive part of this 60-mile-long fjord––its 2,000-foot descent to the bottom. This makes it the deepest fjord in North America and one of the deepest and longest on the planet. Most of us will have to keep our viewing to above water, but rest assured there is no shortage of marine life to be seen. Orcas, salmon and porpoises can be found here year-round.    Because it connects the towns of Skagway and Haines to Juneau and the rest of the inside passage, Lynn Canal is a major shipping and cruise route. This fjord once ferried thousands of prospectors to the Klondike goldfields during the late 19th-century Gold Rush. You may not leave with gold, but you will leave with memories of the natural beauty of this waterway. During your cruise don’t miss the several scenic lighthouses along the way, including the historic, octagonal-shaped Eldred Rock Lighthouse! Endicott Arm Endicott Arm Fjord While its sibling to the north, Tracy Arm, is the better known fjord, Endicott Arm offers just as much in the way of beauty. A wonderland in its own right, this fjord is filled with granite cliffs, verdant valleys and gushing waterfalls that will leave you in awe.  Accessible from the same inlet that leads to Sawyer Glacier, Endicott Arm stretches southeast out of Stephens Passage. It’s located at the southern edge of a wilderness area called Fords Terror—a reference to a naval crewman who got trapped there during a rare tidal surge in the 1800s. Just like Tracy Arm, Endicott Arm comes to an abrupt end—or beginning, more accurately—at an ethereal, blue tidewater glacier called Dawes Glacier. This 600-feet-tall and a mile-wide glacier is known for being extremely active, regularly calving icebergs into the water. If you need some perspective on just how big the glacier is, the smaller icebergs that it creates can be as large as a three-story house! Kenai Fjords Kenai Fjords The jagged wilderness of Kenai Fjords is the ultimate example of how good things come to those who wait. This fjord is one of Alaska’s coolest natural attractions and was carved into existence by nothing more than icefields, the passage of time and God’s creative prowess. It is part of the glorious Kenai Fjords National Park, the fifth-most-visited national park in Alaska. While wildlife sightings are common across most of Alaska’s fjords, travelers are really in for a treat when cruising here. Pods of orcas and breaching humpback whales are common sights, as are sea otters and harbor seals. From the water, passengers can often see mountain goats climbing the rugged cliffs surrounding the fjord! Which of these fjords are you most excited to visit? 
Sep 29, 2023
6 Min Read
A Traveler’s Guide to an Exceptional Mediterranean Cruise
The Mediterranean is calling! This iconic, ancient destination combines food, faith, architecture and history for an unforgettable Christian travel experience. If you’ve been longing to explore this stunning destination for your next getaway with God, we’ve curated the top information on what to expect on one of our Mediterranean cruises. Q: What do I pack and prepare? A: You want to feel comfortable and look fantastic when you’re on vacation, but heading off to your next destination is not simply a question of how to pack your suitcase—it’s a question of what to pack in it. You wonder whether your everyday clothes will suffice or if your wardrobe would benefit from having a few pieces added in, designed with travel in mind.  Here’s a helpful tip: The subtropical Mediterranean climate is very similar to what you’ll encounter in Southern California—expect sunshine, moderate to hot temperatures and mostly dry conditions.  These Inspiration resources will help you pack efficiently: 5 Travel-Friendly Fashion Finds Helpful Packing Tips from Our Experts 9 Tips for First-Time Cruisers The Key to a Good Night’s Sleep…Anywhere How Not to Lose Things While Traveling Q: Do I need to make any purchases pre-cruise? A: These optional purchases before you board can streamline your experience on the ship: Wi-Fi: You can purchase Wi-Fi before or during the cruise by logging in to your account with the cruise line. Purchase per day or select a package for the entire cruise. Pricing varies per cruise line: Celebrity Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line Holland America Line Beverages: Soft drinks, juices, sparkling water and other favorites can be yours with one of the ship’s unlimited beverage packages. You can purchase these packages before or during the cruise: Celebrity Cruises Norwegian Cruise Line Holland America Line Excursions: You can purchase port excursions before or during the cruise by logging in to your account, on the website or app, with the cruise line or by visiting the cruise excursions desk onboard the ship. Q: What about phone calls? A: Cell signal availability changes based on your ship’s location unless you’ve purchased a Wi-Fi package. When you do have a signal, it could be through an at-sea provider like Cellular at Sea or an international carrier. These roaming charges can be expensive unless you have an international plan and a cruise plan through your provider. We recommend verifying your plan’s coverage before you leave—some providers offer specific talk-and-text cruise plans. Q: What do I need to know about meals and dining? A: Room service is part of the package, not a luxurious “extra” like it would be at a hotel. Also, specialty reservation-only restaurants can be difficult to book several days into your cruise, so scope them out while waiting for your cabin on the first day to explore their menus and book your seating. You’ll want to read this blog for more expert dining tips. Q: Do I need to exchange for a local currency? A: Our Mediterranean cruises typically travel to countries that use the euro, though some destinations still use their own currencies. If you plan on paying with cash, we recommend ordering euros from your bank a few weeks before departure. You may also exchange money at the airport before you leave the United States. Most international airports also have currency exchange ATMs. Q: Where do we go after our flight lands? A: After you arrive and pass through customs, look for your prearranged transfer to the cruise ship. Q: Do you offer transfers to and from the pier and cruise terminal? A: Our Mediterranean cruises depart from Civitavecchia. It’s known as the “Port of Rome,” though it’s about 50 miles northwest of Rome itself. We include group transfers for our travelers, but if you prefer other options, you can contact your hotel directly to see if they provide transfers, use a ride-booking service like Uber or even hop on a train from the airport that will take you within walking distance of the pier. Q: What else should I expect on my cruise? A: You can expect an exceptional travel experience in a breathtaking destination! Here are a few of our favorite tips and places you can look forward to: The Best of Italy on a Christian Tour 7 Hidden Gems of the Mediterranean 11 Insider Cruise Tips You Need to Know Stay Flexible, Make Friends and Other Pro Tips We hope this email helped answer your questions! If you have any other inquiries, please don’t hesitate to call our Reservation Coordinators at 800 247 1899, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm Pacific time.  We’re excited about the upcoming travel season and can’t wait to introduce you to one of the Mediterranean’s most beautiful and life-changing places. Let’s go!
May 29, 2018
4 Min Read
Helpful Packing Tips from the Experts at Inspiration
With summer vacations right around the corner, we asked the experts here at Inspiration Cruises & Tours for their travel wisdom. Whether you’re headed on a cruise to Alaska or the Caribbean; or whether you’re planning to tour the Holy Land, with advice from these industry veterans, your journey is bound to be a smooth one. How much should I bring? Inevitably, the question of how many changes of clothes are needed for each trip comes up early-on. Those who try to pack a different pair of shoes for each day quickly find this creates heavier luggage and more of it. Here are some of our top executives’ thoughts on making wise packing decisions. “I always travel light! I want to be a self-sufficient traveler by making sure I can manage my own luggage,” shares Kelly. Ruth agrees. “Travel with only what you can manage on your own and plan to wear everything twice.” Stephanie offers a similar strategy. “Instead of packing an outfit for each day, pack multiple scarfs. These lightweight items change up an outfit so you can wear things at least two times.” While, surprisingly, the ladies seemed to take a restrained approach, President Steve Dick made no apologies for his more-is-more philosophy: “You have your light-packers? ...That’s not me. I’d rather have too many clothes than not enough. I pack for everything.” What about wrinkles? The men, who tend to wear button-down shirts and slacks had a lot to say on the matter. “My go-to wrinkle fix,” shares Michael, “is a mini hand steamer. It’s small, inexpensive and you can pick one up anywhere. Wrinkle release spray is also good—just make sure it’s in a 3.4 ounce container.” Steve, who is on the road every month of the year, has created his own very deliberate method. “I have a system for folding three or four of my dress shirts together as one. I bring the sleeves straight in (folding back the cuffs if they’re too long) and bringing the bottom half of the shirts up. This way, the creases are only near the waistband and under the arms. And I have them lightly starched at the dry cleaners. Once I arrive, I rub a damp cloth over any creases and they come right out. But if you’re not that much of a planner, the old steam-them-on-the-shower-rod trick works as well.” When it comes to wrinkles, Josh believes prevention is the best cure. “Arcteryx Skyline shirts are wrinkle resistant, always comfortable and breathe in humid weather. Get one...or seven!” Those who work with Josh can attest that he’s passing along this advice not because he’s being compensated to do so, but because he’s a true believer. He wears them almost every day! As for making the most of your suitcase space, John advises stuffing your shoes with socks. Not only does this save room, it keeps your shoes from getting flattened en route. Joel recommends using clear, zip-close packing cubes to organize belongings within your bag, which he points out has the added benefit of making security checks less stressful.   There are plenty more tips where these came from. If you have any of your own strategies you’d like to share with fellow passengers, we would love to hear them. For a more complete packing list tailored to your destination, visit the Resources page of our website. Happy trails, and happy packing!
Dec 13, 2022
4 Min Read
Six Delicious Dining Tips from Veteran Cruisers
Whether heading south to the Caribbean or north to Alaska, traveling by cruise ship offers a unique travel experience. Cruises are a world apart from everyday life, and for those new to cruising, it can sometimes feel like a new culture, with its own language and customs. This learning curve even applies to the onboard dining experience.  Savvy cruisers have the know-how required to navigate these customs with ease and confidence, so we’ve turned to a few of them for advice. Here are their best tips to help you make the most of dining on the high seas. 1. Room service is part of the package, not a luxurious “extra” like it would be at a hotel. Because it’s offered for free on most cruises, don’t hesitate to use it. Order a late-afternoon snack to tide you over until a late dinner seating. Or plan for a quick room-service breakfast to be delivered before the next day’s early excursion. Flavorful breakfast being enjoyed from the comfort of your room   2. You can try everything on the menu in the main dining room. While several appetizer, entree and dessert options will be listed, you aren’t required to pick just one. Ask for a few different appetizer selections and take the opportunity to try something you’ve never had before. Can’t decide between the filet or sea bass? Order both. If you don’t want to be wasteful, request smaller portions. 3. Tea Time! While traveling, take the opportunity to experience the refined tradition of Afternoon Tea. The British, who tend to dine later in the evening, squeeze in a late afternoon mini-meal to tide them over. Holland America Line, known for its emphasis on heritage, provides an elegant tea spread on certain days, and munchies like tacos or nacho fixings for all to enjoy. Delicious desserts and delicatessen   4. The specialty reservation-only restaurants can be difficult to book several days into your cruise, but most people won’t have discovered them the first night. Some even offer specials that first evening as the cruise embarks. While waiting for your cabin, scope out these restaurants, explore their menus and book your seating. 5. At the onboard coffee shop, most of the small food items (pastries, cookies, etc.) are treated just like food at the buffet—they’re included with your cabin. Specialty cappuccino or espresso may cost extra. Coffee, French pastries and jam   6. Ice cream fans will have to pay for scoops and shakes from the specialty shops, but free soft-serve ice cream is available at other times elsewhere on the ship. On Holland America ships, ice cream is available on the Lido deck every afternoon until 4 pm, and during all meal times, including late-night buffets.  If you’ve cruised before, what are your best dining-related tips or suggestions?
Jun 01, 2023
5 Min Read
How to Make the Most of Your Christian Travel Cruise or Tour
The world is waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re anticipating a cruise to Alaska, a tour of Israel or an unforgettable Inspiration experience to the Caribbean—we want every step of your journey to become a cherished memory.  That’s why our team of travel experts compiled some of our best tips and tricks so you can make the most of your Christian travel experience, from advice on financial planning to direction on what to do once you arrive, here is the cumulative wealth and wisdom of our leaders, one tip at a time: Budgeting There are so many ways to save up for an exceptional travel experience. Let this financially focused post kickstart you with practical tips, including how a “slow and steady wins the race” approach can help you start—and even make the end goal more fulfilling and fun. If you’ve already booked, use this approach to save for your next trip! Money-saving tips for travel   Gearing Up Packing for travel often raises questions: What should I bring? What should I leave at home? How do I prepare for the weather of Alaska or exploring Israel? Warm jacket for an excursion to Ketchikan’s Misty Fjords A top suggestion from our experienced travelers is to create a capsule wardrobe—a small selection of interchangeable clothing pieces that complement each other. These are often classic pieces that are versatile and are primarily composed of neutral colors. This allows for a variety of outfits without overpacking.  We know you’ve got other questions and that’s why we have curated our best answers here: 5 Travel-Friendly Fashion Finds 11 Things You Should Never Pack for Travel FAQ: How to Pack & Prepare for Israel Why an Alaska Cruise Is So Unique—and How to Plan for It Getting There You have so much to look forward to when you travel! The first step often involves traveling through an airport and taking a flight. One of our best suggestions is to apply for TSA Pre-Check because this expedited screening program for trusted travelers is now available at most airports nationwide. You’ll speed through security—often without having to remove your shoes. It’s worth the minimal fee! To read our other steps to a stress-free airport experience, click here. Once You Arrive You’ve been looking forward to this trip for months, possibly years. It’s finally here and you want to make the most of your journey. With more than 40 years of leading Christian travel, our team of travel experts knows how to make your cruise or tour as memorable as possible. Our pro tips include staying flexible and present, making new friends along the way and praying as you go. Click here to unpack these suggestions with us. Visiting The Western Wall–the most sacred site in Jerusalem If you want to take better photos for your friends and family, sharpen your photography skills, or amp up your social media presence, we suggest reading our Pro Tips for Better Travel Photography blog. It will help you understand composition to learn how to find good lighting. Soon you’ll be capturing incredible photos like a professional! Some of our other travel tips might surprise you, including how to get a better night’s sleep: Travel with an Eye Mask How Not to Lose Things—Including Your Passport 9 of Our Favorite Travel Apps to Enhance Your Journey Cruising Cruising is one of the most relaxing, luxurious and family-friendly ways to explore the world. You’ll enjoy multiple ports without having to unpack multiple times. Before you embark on the voyage of a lifetime, check out the cruise line’s shore excursions online to reserve exciting, hand-picked activities like zip-lining, snorkeling, horseback riding and so much more. These experiences fill up quickly, so be sure to book early. Delicious treats found in Key West, Florida Check out our other top tips below to elevate your cruise experience: Room Service Isn’t Extra (and Other Cruise Dining Tips) 9 Tips for First-Time Cruisers Magnets on the Cabin Walls (and 10 Other Insider Cruise Tips) Let’s Go! There’s a lot of great advice in the links above. We hope you feel empowered to explore the world with confidence and can’t wait to introduce you to some of the most beautiful destinations and faith-impacting experiences on earth.  Where are you going next?

Latest Articles for Cruises

Check out these resources for an incredible and exceptional experience on your upcoming Christian cruise.

May 01, 2024
5 Min Read
Our Top Cruise Travel Tips
Many travelers on Inspiration’s Christian cruises are veteran cruisers, embarking with us year after year. But every experienced cruise passenger started as a newbie—and likely had questions about the process and planning. If you’re considering booking your first cruise, we want to help you navigate those uncharted waters. We’ve compiled a few of the most common questions about cruises so you can enjoy smooth sailing when you’re ready to book the vacation of a lifetime! Why choose a cruise? You only have to unpack once, but you can experience multiple destinations without the hassle of checking in and out of hotels! Most meals, amenities, social activities, entertainment and accommodations are covered in a single price, which makes cruising a stress-free option for many travelers. Cruise travel can also provide access to places that are very difficult to access by land—like Glacier Bay in Alaska. For more about cruising, click here to read this first-person account from a first-time cruise passenger! How far in advance should I book a cruise? While you can book anytime, booking your cruise 6 to 12 months early offers many benefits, including a better selection of cabin types and locations. You’ll be able to secure popular excursions before they sell out. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of more weeks of anticipation. Do you know that psychological studies have found that the anticipation of a trip can bring as much happiness as the trip itself? Early booking extends your enjoyment of the journey far beyond your travel dates. With Inspiration, you can book online or call us and we’ll handle the entire booking process for you. Booking is available as soon as an event is added to our website. What should I consider when choosing a cruise excursion? First, we always recommend booking your shore excursions early. Popular cruise ports will sometimes have limited availability for their most sought-after tours and activities. It pays to secure your spot in advance. Second, browse the options with your interests and abilities in mind. Some excursions require a more adventurous skill set or the ability to walk longer distances. Always pay attention to the duration and intensity of the excursion! Finally, you can book various excursions through the cruise line itself. Do I have to pay for my trip upfront, or can I make payments? When booking a Christian cruise through Inspiration, you pay a deposit to secure your reservation and then pay the remainder over time, up until the final billing due date. The amount of your deposit, of course, will vary based on the cruise line, the destination and the length of the cruise. Can I (or should I) bring my kids on a cruise? Are they family-friendly? Yes! While we partner with brands known for first-class cruise travel (as opposed to specific family-focused cruise lines, like Disney), all our ships and itineraries are family-friendly. Every cruise ship offers amenities to make families comfortable, including family cabins, children’s pools and adventure activities designed to keep all ages engaged and entertained. It’s advisable to keep the cruise length and destinations in mind when deciding to travel with younger children. For instance, will your family be more engaged in beach and swimming activities (Caribbean) or nature-focused activities (Alaska)? Will I be “off the grid” on a cruise? Can I still communicate with my family back home? You can absolutely stay in touch (if you want to). Most modern cruise ships—including our cruise partners—now offer Wi-Fi access, allowing passengers to stay connected at sea. In most cases, this requires purchasing a Wi-Fi package based on the number of devices you want to connect (phone, tablet, laptop, etc.). We always recommend that passengers review these options before they board. Be advised: The speed and bandwidth on cruise ships may be slightly slower than your experience on land, but they are always improving! We’d love to see you aboard one of our amazing Christian cruise itineraries. From the wonder of Alaska to the dazzling Mediterranean, there’s a trip and ship waiting for you.
Feb 22, 2023
7 Min Read
Alaska’s Glaciers: Your Questions Answered
An Alaska cruise has plenty to offer Christian travelers, from the majestic landscapes, to the unique ports, to the wild adventure promised by this region. The amazing Bible teachers and musicians who regularly lead these cruises are also major draws.  If you want to see a glacier, an Alaska cruise is the best way to get as close as possible to this natural wonder. This wilderness area is home to 616 glaciers—and those are just the ones with names.  Our cruise partners are experts at educating travelers during a cruise, especially when approaching one of these vast rivers of ice. Here are a few of the things we’ve learned about glaciers on our cruises to the 49th state. What are glaciers and how do they form? Enormous masses of compacted snow, glaciers form in areas where more snow falls in the winter than melts in the summer. The accumulating snow compresses itself, slowly turning into ice. Gravity and the weight of the ice causes it to move downhill, “flowing” like any body of water would. [caption id="attachment_9143" align="aligncenter" width="611"] Mendenhall Glacier[/caption] Some glaciers, like the Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau, may be up to 3,000 years old. Others are newer. The Hubbard Glacier, a tidewater glacier and common cruise destination in Yakutat Bay, is estimated to be around 400 years old. How fast do glaciers move? Very, very slowly. Some move just a few inches a day. Others may creep multiple yards a day. The speed depends on such factors as the slope of the land, the amount of snowfall and the temperature of the ice. Glacier speeds can vary seasonally—they tend to flow faster in the summer and slower in the winter.  [caption id="attachment_9146" align="aligncenter" width="611"] A field of wildflowers with Glacier Bay in the distance[/caption] What is the difference between a tidewater glacier and a valley glacier? A tidewater glacier flows into the sea, emptying in a body of water like a fjord or the ocean. Icebergs form when tidewater glaciers “calve,” or break off into the water. A valley glacier, as the name suggests, flows down a valley or canyon and terminates on land. These are long and narrow, and usually melt into streams or lakes. Located in the Tongass National Forest near Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier is a valley glacier that’s 13 miles long and empties into Mendenhall Lake. It is a popular destination for cruise passengers when in port at Juneau. Hikers and kayakers can get an up-close look at the glacier’s blue ice and crevasses from the lake’s shore. Why do some glaciers appear more blue than others? Some of Alaska’s glaciers—like Sawyer Glacier, Hubbard Glacier and Mendenhall Glacier—take on a bluish tint because of the way ice particles refract light. As sunlight enters the ice of a glacier, the blue wavelengths scatter more than other wavelengths, reflecting blue light back to our eyes. The denser or more heavily compacted the ice, the more blue you’ll see. [caption id="attachment_9145" align="aligncenter" width="611"] Sawyer Glacier[/caption] How do glaciers affect Alaska’s landscape? Their impact is dramatic. Glaciers carve deep, U-shaped valleys over centuries. When they melt, they create lakes and rivers—the kind of cold, oxygen-rich water that salmon require for survival and reproduction. The nutrients they carry with them are also significant. Melting glaciers release nitrogen and phosphorus into the water, which stimulates the growth of aquatic plants and provides food sources for fish and other aquatic organisms. Will I see icebergs in Alaska? Possibly! Icebergs are fairly common near tidewater glaciers, and a typical Alaska cruise itinerary will likely include at least one of these kinds of glaciers. For instance, most cruises to Alaska will see Margerie Glacier in Glacier Bay, the Sawyer Glaciers in Tracy Arm (Stephens Passage) or Hubbard Glacier in Disenchantment Bay. You can confirm which glaciers an Alaska cruise visits by checking the itinerary. [caption id="attachment_9144" align="aligncenter" width="611"] Hubbard Glacier calving[/caption] All these glaciers produce icebergs when large pieces of ice break off into the water. Watching a towering, sparkling iceberg calve off a glacier is a bucket list moment for many travelers, and this breathtaking experience is far from rare in Alaska.  Will I see wildlife on Alaska’s glaciers? Not necessarily, as the icy surface of a glacier doesn’t make for a very good animal habitat. However, Alaska is home to a diverse array of wildlife, which means cruise passengers may see species like brown bears, sea lions, otters or bald eagles in the areas surrounding glaciers—including forested shorelines, especially where meltwater or rivers empty into the ocean. [caption id="attachment_9147" align="aligncenter" width="611"] A group of playful sea otters in Alaska[/caption] Are glaciers dangerous? Glaciers are unpredictable, which can make them dangerous. Hikers must be aware of deep, hidden crevasses, the potential for falling ice and rock, and rapidly changing weather conditions. However, our excursion partners in Alaska have created a diverse set of floatplane and helicopter tours that allow cruise passengers to get as close as possible to a glacier while staying safe. For instance, some helicopter tours offer ice landings under the supervision of experts. If you aren’t feeling that adventurous, a cruise ship is one of the safest and most spectacular methods of observing a glacier. [caption id="attachment_9148" align="aligncenter" width="611"] Christian travelers exploring Glacier Bay[/caption] When you travel with us, our cruise partners offer excellent educational programs about the glaciers visible on a cruise to Alaska. We also created this Alaska Glacier-Gazing guide for more information on these incredible landmarks. The best way to learn about Alaska’s stunning glaciers is to see at least one of them in person! Are you ready to mark a glacier encounter off your bucket list?
Feb 13, 2024
4 Min Read
Stories & Songs: MercyMe’s Robby Shaffer on Music and Travel
Our MercyMe at Sea cruise is a much-anticipated cruise experience—and one of the fastest to sell out. The highly decorated and popular Christian music band is known for its soaring anthems, authentic personalities and extensive touring schedule. They travel around the world performing songs that proclaim God’s glory. We have partnered with the band for almost a decade to organize MercyMe at Sea and are honored to work alongside such music legends. We sat down with drummer Robby Shaffer to ask a few questions about travel’s role in his faith, life and the ministry of MercyMe. MercyMe performing on their MercyMe at Sea Caribbean Cruise What has travel meant to you? It’s become a life-giving necessity for me and my family. We love getting away for a time to just unplug from the daily grind.  Can you share with us a memorable or funny moment you’ve had during a trip or vacation? My wife and I had the opportunity to visit Rome and Venice for our 20th anniversary. It was the trip of a lifetime. Another moment was a trip to the Bahamas I took with a group of friends to celebrate a couple of our birthdays. We rented a boat to go see the swimming pigs [at Big Major Cay]. On the way, the boat caught fire when the engine blew up due to sand in the intake. We all decided to jump ship and were stranded in the middle of the ocean for a few hours until we could get help. But it’s hard to complain when you are “stuck” in beautiful, crystal-clear water! What do you get from traveling that you can’t experience with anything else?  It gives us a chance to do something or see something we can’t do at home. For me, [traveling] is all about the experience. I also love seeing the beauty the world has to offer— it really stirs my affection for Christ! MercyMe entertaining on a Christian cruise How has travel impacted your faith and your worldview?  It gives me the ability to really see how different the world is. From how we pursue faith to our freedoms and basic luxuries (or lack thereof). You get a better understanding of how blessed we truly are in the USA. Where are your favorite places to be when writing or composing?  We recently bought a studio in Nashville and wrote our latest album, “inhale (exhale),” there. We did the same thing for a previous album but rented a cabin in Lake Tahoe instead. In each of those experiences, the scenery really inspired us to get to work.   Which destinations are still on your travel list?  Israel, France, South Africa and Greece are all places that I am eager to cross off my bucket list!  Where did some of your favorite conferences or concerts take place? What made them remarkable?   My favorites would be Hawaii, Red Rocks, and the Gorge in Washington state. The beauty that you see while performing at those locations is so inspiring. Click here for more information on the next MercyMe at Sea cruise.
Mar 25, 2024
7 Min Read
Bar Harbor’s Coastal Charm & Natural Wonders
Bar Harbor, Maine, offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, outdoor activities and coastal charm. The city is nestled in the rugged beauty of Maine’s coastline and known for its iconic lighthouses, fresh seafood and rich maritime history. From lobster to lighthouses, there’s something for every Christian traveler to enjoy. We’ve curated a few of the best experiences you can look forward to on our Canada & New England cruises. Iconic Lighthouses There’s nothing like visiting a lighthouse to awaken your sense of history and maritime life. Five lighthouses are within 20 miles of Bar Harbor, including Bear Island Lighthouse, Baker Island Lighthouse and Great Duck Island Lighthouse! Two of the most memorable are: Egg Rock Lighthouse Begin your lighthouse tour with a short ferry ride to the enchanting island of Egg Rock, just off Bar Harbor’s coast. As you approach, see seals basking in the sunshine. Wildflowers and wind-swept grass flourish despite the island’s rocky terrain. Built in 1875, it aids navigation in Frenchman Bay. It’s a reminder of Bar Harbor’s maritime heritage and the importance of lighthouses in guiding sailors and ships to safety. Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse One of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is perched on cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. It features a distinctive tower with a black-iron lantern room and a red roof. Take pictures and reflect on how this lighthouse has guided ships for more than a century. Visit the restored Keeper’s Quarters and learn about the daily life of keepers and the challenges they encountered. Natural Wonders There’s much to experience in and around Bar Harbor, especially if you love the outdoors. Wherever you go, you’ll be amazed at God’s creation! Bar Island Access this hidden gem during low tide by walking across the Bar Harbor sandbar. Enjoy stunning views of Frenchman Bay and the surrounding islands. Follow one of the many trails past ponds and spot wildlife in this diverse coastal ecosystem. Collect seashells and marvel at the marine life and colorful sea creatures temporarily caught in the island’s tidal pools. Acadia National Park Step into wonder as the scent of pine, a salty breeze and the rustle of leaves welcome you. You’ll explore forested terrain, rocky shorelines and secluded beaches. You may even encounter white-tailed deer and red foxes. The park is also a birdwatcher’s paradise with more than 300 bird species. See bald eagles, peregrine falcons, ruby-throated hummingbirds and more! As you hike, beauty awaits you around every corner—cascading waterfalls, hidden coves and panoramic viewpoints will leave you in awe of God’s creative power. Cadillac Mountain Sunrise Take a scenic drive to the highest peak in Acadia National Park. A panorama of rolling hills, rocky cliffs and the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean await you. And if you’re there from October 7 to March 6, it is the first place in the United States to view the sunrise. History & Coastal Charm Bar Harbor boasts a rich history steeped in maritime tradition. Initially inhabited by the Wabanaki Nations and visited by European explorers in the 17th century, Bar Harbor became a cherished destination for luminaries such as the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts. Many of the elegant mansions, charming cottages and grand hotels from the past have been preserved and repurposed as inns, museums and private residences. The Bar Harbor Shore Path For a glimpse of Bar Harbor’s heritage, you’ll love this picturesque trail that meanders along the coastline. Glimpse majestic cliffs as you stroll past seaside cottages and lush gardens. A few historic sites along the way include Bar Harbor Inn from the 19th century and Agamont Park, which features a landmark bandstand and beautifully landscaped gardens. St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church Pause with other Christian travelers for a moment of quiet reflection and prayer as you admire this historic church’s stained glass windows and graceful archways. It was established in 1877. Don’t forget to step outside and stroll through the meticulously landscaped grounds. It’s the perfect place for a picture with loved ones and new friends. Abbe Museum The Abbe Museum is a beacon of culture, preserving and celebrating the history and living traditions of the Wabanaki Nations, the Indigenous peoples of Maine. From intricate woven baskets and beadwork to contemporary artwork, you’ll marvel at their ingenuity, creativity and resilience. Famous Food While traveling, sharing delicious food with loved ones is one of the top experiences travelers anticipate. Bar Harbor offers a variety of delectable dishes, vibrant flavors and unique culinary creations. A few of the dishes our travel experts highly recommend are: Lobster Rolls This Maine delicacy is succulent lobster meat often mixed with mayonnaise and celery and served on a buttered and toasted bun. Clam Chowder This hearty soup is creamy, rich and brimming with fresh clams, potatoes and savory herbs. Seafood Platters Try a bit of everything with a bounty of local catches—lobster, shrimp, crab, scallops and oysters. Blueberry Pie Maine is famous for its wild blueberries. These sweet, juicy berries are baked in a flaky crust and served with vanilla ice cream for a slice of summer perfection. Clam Bakes Steamed together, clams, lobster, corn on the cob and potatoes infuse each bite with flavor. Share a communal feast for a memorable dining experience. We can’t wait to return to Bar Harbor and would love for you to join us. Click here for our upcoming Canada & New England cruises.
Nov 27, 2023
3 Min Read
From Lobster to Lighthouses: Cruising Canada and New England
While cruising Canada and New England, you may think you know what lies ahead on your Christian cruise: the serene beauty of changing foliage in the fall, iconic lighthouses and the quaint charm of seaside villages. But there’s more! You’ll be traveling with other believers and enjoying dynamic programming with some of your favorite Christian speakers, teachers and worship artists. Enjoy faith-focused and fun conversations as you make new friends! Savor delicious fresh seafood dinners and explore the region’s rich history and spiritual heritage. Here are a few ports and highlights you can expect on your unforgettable journey in Canada and New England. Bar Harbor, Maine       Just moments from the cruise port, you can meander through the charming streets of downtown, indulging in the catch of the day at a waterfront eatery or picking up artisanal gifts in boutique shops. Take a leisurely walk along the scenic Shore Path, offering stunning views of the ocean and surrounding islands. Halifax, Nova Scotia The captivating white-and-red lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove, just an hour’s drive from the cruise port, is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. The vibrant Halifax waterfront offers a lively experience with shops, restaurants and maritime history. Be sure to stop by the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, home to an unforgettable Titanic exhibit. Sydney, Nova Scotia Explore the world-famous ocean scenery of Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Take a leisurely hike or look for eagles and seals along the rugged shoreline. Don’t miss the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, which celebrates the influential inventor. Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island In the iconic setting of the Anne of Green Gables book series, discover a stunning combination of Victorian houses, rolling farmlands, sandy beaches and red sandstone cliffs. Prince Edward Island serves up an abundance of memories and adventures for Christian travelers. Gulf of St. Lawrence Glide by picturesque islands and spot the abundant marine life—the whales, dolphins, seals and seabirds who call this deep inlet home. Your “day at sea” within the stunning seaway presents opportunities to relax on deck, enjoy panoramic views and take advantage of the ship’s amenities. Québec City, Québec Experience European charm without leaving North America in Québec City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Delight in afternoon tea at the luxurious Château Frontenac, an architectural masterpiece that has hosted countless world leaders and dignitaries. As you walk the cobblestone streets of Old Québec, don’t miss the prospect of savoring delicious French cuisine in local bistros. Which Canada and New England ports are you most excited about?

Latest Articles for Tours

Make your next upcoming Christian tour extraordinary with these insightful resources.

Feb 15, 2023
6 Min Read
Is Travel Worth It? by Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright
Thinking back to when I was in high school gives me the cold sweats. But if I think past the memory of not having anyone to sit with at lunch or walk with in the halls, and if I never mind the panicked feeling I got taking a math test or being called to the front of class to do a word problem on the board, I am able to remember and focus on God’s mercy amidst my afflictions. God is merciful. And His mercy for me came in the form of international travel. My mom received numerous international invitations to speak with her ministry while I was growing up. As the invitations came flooding in and as she saw the misery of my high school experience, she decided to take me with her on many of her trips. My mom and I joke that the only useful education she and I truly benefited from in high school was typing! What really made the impact on my life were the trips I took with her. Our first trip was underway as we boarded a plane headed to the beautiful country of Spain! I’ll never forget the excitement I felt as we landed and climbed into the car of the person assigned to pick us up. As a high schooler I zoned out of the small talk between the host driver and my mom as I stared out of the back seat window. My eyes drank in the fields of red poppies, the tiny cars, the narrow streets, the people, and even the stop lights. The grandeur of it all seemed so foreign and exciting.  Medieval castle in Fuentes de Valdepero, Spain My love for traveling started on that very trip! I even remember the sound of birds echoing off the stones of ancient city walls, almost an accent all to itself. I was amazed at how different everything was, from the culture to the high pitched sound of car horns, to the light switches and outlets, to even the way the toilets flushed! The people were gracious, enthusiastic, and welcoming. It was all new, exciting and opened up the whole world to me—a world that I began to love for Jesus’ sake. Highlights from other trips included having my picture drawn at dusk on Montmartre in Paris and smacking a man who walked by for pinching my bottom. In Switzerland, my mom, sister and I hiked for eight hours down the Jungfrau—with new hiking boots. Blisters galore! In South Africa I took a stomach dropping helicopter ride across Table Mountain. I rode an open-air Jeep on a safari late at night and ended up surrounded by a pride of lions! Traveling is where so many of my memories are centered; it has fired up all of my senses as it links memories to smells and sights and sounds. In the past it helped me escape from my hard high school life while it opened up a new world full of possibilities. But the greatest benefit of traveling is how it revealed God’s love for the whole world to me. Travelers by Venice canal in Italy It’s not just the beauty of His spectacular, magnificent creation, but it was His work through His followers in every language and in every country that made a profound, life-long impact on me! It didn’t matter if they spoke Spanish, French, German, Swiss, or Afrikaans, I saw their love for the Lord on their faces as they greeted people at the door, worshiped, sang familiar hymns but in a different language, as their tears flowed listening to my mom speak, as they prayed together and loved each other.  It showed me that no matter where we go on this earth, God is there! He loves and woos to Himself people from all walks of life, in every language, in every culture. God began to deepen my heart for international ministry while on our trip to South Africa. I fell in love with the country, the landscape, and especially the people. I asked God to please bring me back to Africa. He heard my prayer and brought me back two years later after the genocide in Rwanda. I went with Samaritan’s Purse to work at an orphanage. It was a faith-stretching, heart-enlarging experience which was worth every minute. Rachel-Ruth Lotz Wright at Shepherds Field of Bethlehem I am now a mother, so it’s my turn. This summer, I’m taking my girls on an unforgettable trip. To Israel! They will sail in a boat on Galilee and walk the streets of the old city of Jerusalem. I pray God uses it to open their eyes, as He did mine, to His great heart of love for the world.
Sep 13, 2022
7 Min Read
The Best of Italy on a Christian Tour
Beautiful cityscape skyline of Florence, Italy with the bridges over the river Arno in the distance Some travelers choose a destination based on its scenery and beauty. Others seek cultural experiences like food, architecture or famous artwork. Still others—especially within the Christian travel community—want to tour historic sites and see places central to their faith. In Italy, every single one of these travelers finds something to love. Few places on earth offer the depth of rich, meaningful experiences for believers. From Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums to stunning cities like Florence and Venice, Italy is a feast for the senses.  Using an itinerary from one of our upcoming Italy tours as a guide, here are a few of the unforgettable experiences available for Christian travelers to this Mediterranean nation. Rome Explore the city where Paul was imprisoned and wrote letters now included in the New Testament. With more than 3,000 museums and more paintings per square mile than any other nation in the world, Italy is known for its fine art and historic architecture. The culmination of this culture is the ancient city of Rome, which is a highlight of any trip to Italy. Christian travelers at the Colosseum in Rome, Italy Immerse yourself in the world’s greatest collection of religious art at the Vatican Museums. Gaze in wonder, admiring Michelangelo’s best-known work at the Sistine Chapel. Step into the history of early Christianity at the Colosseum, a 1st-century structure which saw the martyrdom of countless early Christians. Enjoy the best pizza you’ve ever eaten at a restaurant along one of Rome’s cobblestone streets. (Trust us: almost any streetside café serves amazing pizza.) Read Paul’s letters alongside other like-minded believers. Many of his epistles were written during his imprisonment in Rome. Orvieto This stunning Italian hill town in central Italy is just 75 miles north of Rome but feels like a distinctly different place. A medieval city, Orvieto is known for its narrow streets and beautiful churches—all surrounded by the green hills and vineyards of Umbria. Aerial view of the famed Orvieto, a medieval hill town, rising above the almost vertical faces of tuff cliffs Gaze in wonder at the depths of St. Patrick’s Well, 175 feet deep and nearly 500 spiraling steps down. This massive engineering project dates back to the 16th century. Marvel at the colorful facade and biblical frescoes of the Duomo Cathedral, one of the most beautiful churches in Italy. Perk up with a mid-afternoon cappuccino or espresso from a quaint café in Orvieto’s old town. Enjoy conversations with new friends as you explore historic sites in the “green heart” of Italy. Florence Renaissance greats like Michelangelo and Botticelli once walked the narrow streets of this influential, riverside city in Tuscany, and you’ll follow some of those centuries-old paths on a walking tour as you explore art and architecture. This famed plaza in Florence, Italy, is named for the stunning Piazza Santa Croce church at its center Italy - Piazza Santa Croce with the church of the same name See Michelangelo’s David and other classic works at the Academy of Fine Arts. Tour the massive Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, the third-largest church in the world. Its brick-red dome dominates the city’s skyline.  People-watch at Piazza della Signoria, the square that serves as the city’s political center. Try award-winning gelato near the Santa Croce Piazza, where you can also hear live music from nearby restaurants. Sample one of the 500 varieties of pasta served throughout Italy, like the local favorite tagliolini. Deepen relationships with your traveling friends or family members who walk through each of these unforgettable moments with you. Venice Built upon hundreds of islands in a lagoon of the Adriatic Sea, Venice is a historic, man-made wonder. Its countless canals are lined with palaces, museums and cathedrals that date back centuries. The unequaled allure of this car-free city will stay with you forever. Sunrise over San Marco square in Venice, Italy Revel in the details of the architecture surrounding Piazza San Marco—St. Mark’s Square—which Napoleon once called “the drawing room of Europe.” Step into history at the landmark Palazzo Ducale, once the seat of the Venetian government and a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Get out your camera at the “Bridge of Sighs” on the Rio de Palazzo, known for its iconic views of Venice and its canals. Try delicious cicchetti, small side dishes and finger foods for which Venetian restaurants are famous. Murano and Burano Islands Venice is a world-famous city and draws huge numbers of tourists, but most of those tourists miss another side of this destination. Abandon the crowds with a day trip to the islands of Murano and Burano, the two most famous islands in the lagoon. Colorful buildings and boats along a canal and sidewalk in Burano, Italy Watch master glass-blowers create beautiful works on Murano. Murano glass is known worldwide for its craftsmanship. Shop for intricate, needle-designed lace on Burano, a fishing village famous for its pastel-colored homes and history of lacemaking. Reflect on your time together within your tour group, a community of fellow Christians who have walked through these life-changing experiences with you. Nine Days of Personal Highlights Italy is filled with wonders: iconic artwork, groundbreaking architecture, incredible religious traditions, and history around every corner. There’s a reason it’s the 4th most visited country in the world! On a Christian tour of its cities, we’ve found that faith, food and fellowship impact every believer who travels here. Skip Heitzig teaching Christian travelers about Paul’s time in Mamertime Prison Faith: You’ll reflect on dramatic New Testament scenes depicted by the Renaissance greats and contemplate the missionary journeys and teachings of Paul, connecting you more deeply with God and your faith. Food: Italian food always tastes better in Italy, and you will enjoy some of the best meals of your life as you travel through this nation. Fellowship: Most importantly, the history and culture of Italy will draw closer to your travel companions, to your spouse or family, and to the Creator behind this gorgeous landscape.  Italy is a special place filled with the kinds of experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime. We’d love to introduce it to you.
Jan 27, 2022
3 Min Read
The Best Biblical Sites in Israel
Leading Christian voices identify their favorite sites in Israel As the pioneer of Christian travel, we bring travelers together with renowned Bible teachers and faith-based artists on exceptional Israel tours. We strive to cultivate once-in-a-lifetime experiences that draw believers closer to God by giving them a firsthand understanding of Scripture. These are some of the best biblical sites in Israel that our ministry partners return to time and time again. Caesarea by the Sea (David Jeremiah) Inspiration Travelers Worshiping at Caesarea Maritima This ancient Roman city is where the gospel first came to the Gentiles. Peter preached his first sermon to the Gentiles, as described in Acts 10, and baptized Cornelius and his household.  Southern Steps (Chuck Swindoll) Inspiration travelers on the Southern Steps of the Temple in Jerusalem Located at the Temple Mount, Jesus stood on these exact steps 2,000 years ago while teaching the crowds in Jerusalem. Ancient Jewish worshipers would ascend these steps to enter the Temple. We can’t help but worship here as well. Megiddo (Robert Jeffress) Mount Megiddo This site in the Jezreel Valley of northern Israel is mentioned in Revelation 16:16 as the location of the final battle of the end times. From Mount Megiddo, travelers can look over the valley and consider the future—and the truth of Bible prophecy. Sea of Galilee (Tony Evans) Sea of Galilee boat ride Galilee is one of Israel’s most beautiful places—the numerous beach resorts make this evident—and Jesus also spent His public ministry along these shores. In Galilee, He proclaimed the Good News, healed the sick, and calmed the wind and waves. Mount of Olives (Kay Arthur) Inspiration Travelers at Dominus Flevit Jesus wept over the city from this spectacular viewpoint overlooking Jerusalem. Beyond the amazing views, this location holds deep prophetic significance: Jesus will return here in the last days to rule in glory. Garden Tomb (Michael W. Smith) Inspiration travelers taking communion in the Garden Tomb garden Some historians believe this tomb, discovered in the 19th century, to be where Jesus was buried and resurrected. Today this reverent, peaceful garden is a perfect location to worship or receive communion with your group. Magdala (Priscilla Shirer) First-century synagogue excavation site in Magdala God’s Presence is Everywhere The best biblical sites in Israel are the places that have a profound change on your heart as a believer. These are some of our favorites, but God’s presence can be felt in every corner of the Holy Land.  If you’ve been to Israel before, what location had the biggest impact on you? If you haven’t, it’s time to discover what God has in store for you on your journey of faith to the Holy Land.
Apr 19, 2023
9 Min Read
7 Key Sites to Follow Jesus’ Footsteps Through Israel
There are few things as sacred and transformative for believers as to visit Israel and walk where Jesus walked, pray where He prayed, and to read His words where they were spoken. Christian travelers who make a spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land usually describe it as one of the most significant experiences of their lives, and we’re confident you will too.  Whether you are dreaming of visiting Israel one day, or already have an Israel tour on your calendar, there are few better ways to prepare than by immersing yourself in Scripture. We’ve compiled these verses from the ministry of Jesus for you to prayerfully read during your times of personal Bible study.  They will prepare your heart to discover the life-impacting encounters that await you at these 7 biblically significant sites from Jesus’ life and ministry in Israel.  1) Nazareth  Read: Matthew 2:21-23; John 1:45-46; Matthew 21:6-11 ‘Can anything good come out of Nazareth?’ The adage, popular in Jesus’ day, now has an emphatic answer: Yes! Often referred to as ‘Jesus the Nazarene’, the Savior of the world came from this tiny town, forever putting it on the map. [caption id="attachment_9169" align="aligncenter" width="610"] Nazareth Village brings the first-century to life[/caption] Begin to study Jesus’ life on earth in the very place he grew up—a secluded agrarian village not known for anything (or anything good for that matter). When you visit Israel, you can walk through a town almost identical to the one Jesus called home thanks to Nazareth Village. This includes a first-century farm, synagogue, authentic wine press, archaeological finds and historical reenactors bringing all these scenes to life. To be able to see firsthand the same sights Jesus used as reference points to base His parables and sermons on will prove invaluable to your understanding of Scripture. 2) Sea of Galilee Read: Mark 1:14-20; Matthew 8:23-27; John 21:1-14 This picturesque body of water served as the backdrop for many interactions and miracles throughout the life of Jesus. It was here that He initiated relationships with many of His disciples, calling them to follow Him, and it was here that He chose to present Himself to them after His Resurrection.  [caption id="attachment_9173" align="aligncenter" width="610"] Christian travelers on a Sea of Galilee boat ride[/caption] Even in the twenty-first century, Galilee has managed to maintain a sense of serenity. As you walk the shores of this hallowed lake, your feet may touch the very waters Jesus walked on. Be sure to bring your Bible and enjoy quiet time, listening for His voice to speak to you today. Your boat ride, taking you out on the water, will allow you to hear a message from Scripture and worship in an unforgettable setting, as you spend time in the region where Jesus spent most of His time on earth. 3) Mount of Beatitudes Read: Luke 6:17-26; Matthew 4:23-5:12 Some of Jesus’ most famous words were uttered on the Mount of Beatitudes, where He delivered His best-known sermon. Revered the world over, it gives His followers a new way of looking at life—one that turns everything upside down by its humility, simplicity and paradoxical strength. [caption id="attachment_9174" align="aligncenter" width="610"] Max Lucado teaching on the Mount of Beatitudes[/caption] Here, you will be in a pastoral setting overlooking sparkling, tranquil waters. You’ll experience the power of natural acoustics, which would have carried Jesus’ voice to the thousands who came to hear Him teach. Are you ready to hear a sermon on the Beatitudes in the very place it was first preached? Experiences like these don’t come along often—we encourage you to prepare your heart by meditating on these Scriptures beforehand. 4) Western Wall and Southern Steps Read: Luke 2:21-49; Matthew 4:1-11; John 10:22-28 Praying at the Western Wall is a powerful experience that links you shoulder-to-shoulder and heart-to-heart with the Jewish people, who pray here daily. One of the most iconic sites in all of Israel, it is a favorite among Christian pilgrims who travel to the Holy Land desiring a closer walk with their Lord. [caption id="attachment_9175" align="aligncenter" width="610"] People praying at the Temple Mount Wall (Western Wall)[/caption] The wall remains the only one standing from the iconic Second Temple, where Jesus was presented as an infant and prophesied over by Simeon and Anna, and where His family likely celebrated Passover. It also stood overlooking His display of righteous anger while driving out the moneychangers at the end of His life. [caption id="attachment_9176" align="aligncenter" width="610"] The southwest corner of the Temple Mount Wall[/caption] Nearby, the Southern Steps to the Temple, excavated less than a century ago, are one of the architectural features on earth that we know, with certainty, Jesus would have touched. What a milestone moment for those who know what it is to have been touched by His saving grace! 5) Garden of Gethsemane Read: John 18:1; Mark 14:32-36; Luke 22:39-46 Enter into one of the most significant moments in Jesus’ life: the hours He spent praying before going to the cross for each of us. The events of that night are recorded in great detail, including His time in this garden with His disciples. [caption id="attachment_9177" align="aligncenter" width="610"] Christian travelers strolling through the Garden of Gethsemane[/caption] Gethsemane means oil press, leading scholars to believe these blood-soaked prayers were prayed among a grove of olive trees. Today, in the same place, you can kneel and pray beside the gnarled branches of olive trees, among the oldest in the world. What a privilege to spend time in the Garden of Gethsemane—where Jesus spent some of His last moments on earth. 6) Garden Tomb Read: Mark 15:42-46; John 19:40-42; Matthew 28:1-6; John 20:11-16 Prepare to recreate the experience you’ve always imagined yourself in as one of Jesus’ disciples: finding Him alive and well after having been crucified on Calvary. Stepping foot in the Garden Tomb allows you to do just that. This ancient tomb is cut into the rock surrounding Jerusalem and offers an example of the tomb where Jesus’ body was temporarily laid millennia ago. [caption id="attachment_9178" align="aligncenter" width="610"] The garden tomb[/caption] Wander through the delightful garden. Take communion in this sacred spot. Step inside the tomb as Christians worldwide have on their journey of following Jesus. You will discover, as Peter and John did, the most significant fact in human history: the tomb is empty. “He is not here; he has risen, just as he said,” (Matthew 28:6). 7) Mount of Olives Read: Zechariah 14:1-9; Mark 16:19-20; Acts 1:6-12; Ephesians 4:7-10 This iconic mountain range, central to the life of Christ, also featured prominently in Old Testament prophecy and events. The Prophet Zechariah mentions the Mount of Olives, and King David sought God here while fleeing from Saul. Jesus and His disciples often spent time here, as you will on your Christian tour of Israel. [caption id="attachment_9179" align="aligncenter" width="610"] Christian travelers overlooking the city of Jerusalem[/caption] One special distinction the Mount of Olives can claim is that of being the last place Jesus stood on the earth. It was from here that He ascended into Heaven while giving the Great Commission to His disciples of that day and today. This monumental site serves as the perfect climax to following the footsteps of Jesus through Israel.  Using these verses as a study guide, prepare your heart for all God has in store for you in the land of Israel. Your journey with Jesus will be powerfully informed as you journey through the Holy Land, seeking Him every step of the way.  Which site from Jesus’ life are you most looking forward to experiencing?
Nov 01, 2017
6 Min Read
Seven Centuries of Bible History on Display in Washington, D.C.
For travelers, few cities on earth offer the variety of attractions that greet visitors to Washington D.C. Political aficionados flock to the stately halls of government, enjoying proximity to some of the most influential decision-makers in the world. History buffs choose from among countless museums, including the eleven Smithsonian museums and galleries along the National Mall. Architecture-lovers marvel at the neoclassical buildings and, when the timing is right, nature lovers are greeted by the undeniable beauty of the city’s annual flush of cherry blossoms. And beginning in the fall of 2017, a new attraction allows travelers to see this captivating city from an even more extraordinary perspective. The November opening of the much-anticipated Museum of the Bible promises to put D.C. on the map for a new category of travelers: students of the Bible and faith-based travelers. A Nation Built upon Scripture Located only three blocks from the National Mall, this $500 million, multi-story, privately funded museum opens in November 2017. It has been designed not only to tell the story of the Bible, but to educate visitors about the impact of God’s Word on our history and culture. (In fact, the second-floor of the Museum—known as the “Impact Floor”—has been dedicated to just that purpose, exploring the Bible’s influence on everything from language to popular music.) It’s hard to understate that impact. The earliest Americans were devout pilgrims seeking a place to practice their faith in freedom. Drawing upon that heritage, the Founding Fathers relied on the principles of Christianity in drafting the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. John Adams, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the second President of the United States, described the Bible as “the best book in the world.” Since then, Washington and the Bible have been forever linked. The staircase walls of the Washington Monument are lined with verses from the Old and New Testaments. The powerful speeches carved into the walls of the Lincoln Memorial liberally quote Scripture. The Bible still plays a central role in presidential inaugurations. But the opening of the Museum of the Bible gives even more attention to the impact of the Bible on our heritage. The world’s most influential city now hosts a museum dedicated to the most influential book in the world. Vast Biblical Treasures The state-of-the-art Museum of the Bible welcomes Believers into 430,000 square feet of biblical history, painstakingly curated by some of the world’s top historians and theologians. Spread across six floors—with three dedicated to permanent exhibits—the Museum’s collections include valuable artifacts and centuries of archaeological discoveries designed to immerse guests in the Word. Instead of merely reading Scripture, visitors to the Museum will have the opportunity to walk through it. Its founders have partnered with the Israel Antiquities Authority to create one of the world’s largest compilations of biblical artifacts. A vast quantity of Dead Sea Scroll fragments, ancient Torah scrolls, biblical papyri, early texts, first-edition Bibles and other rare biblical manuscripts highlight the collection. The sheer number of artifacts (over 40,000!) is staggering. Seeing them, you’ll marvel at how so many ancient psalms, histories, prophetic writings and letters were compiled and translated so long ago into the Scriptures that inform our lives today. Still more treasures abound, including a life-size replica of first-century Nazareth that guests can walk through, handle replicas of ancient tools and talk with actors in period garb. Visitors will also be able to peruse the world’s largest single experience of apologetic materials and sources. Adding to the experience is some of the most innovative technology appearing in any museum on earth—including groundbreaking, laptop-based visitor navigation systems. An Unmatched Spiritual Experience But for Christians, it’s not the technology or antiquities that will open eyes; it’s the entire experience itself. The Museum of the Bible pulls back the curtain on the most important Book in history. Regardless of your understanding of God’s Word, your highly personalized experience at the Museum will leave you viewing it with fresh eyes. Through ancient scrolls and fragments, you’ll come face-to-face with the Bible’s past. Through high-tech displays, you’ll better understand its overall narrative. Through carefully curated exhibits, you’ll see the countless ways Scripture touches your life every day. The opening of this highly anticipated museum cements Washington—along with Israel, the Mediterranean and Reformation Europe—as a new kind of pilgrimage site where travelers can rediscover the history, narrative and impact of the Bible in an unforgettable way. That’s why Washington and the Museum have become a top travel destination for Inspiration and the focus of upcoming tours. Since American heritage is so intrinsically tied to the eternal truth of Scripture, the Museum of the Bible now tops our list of must-visit museums in the capital. Is it time to add it to your list of must-see destinations? “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.”—Matthew 24:35

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