The itinerary: St. Patrick’s Day zaniness, cruise questions and more

Posted Sunday, Mar. 02, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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Make plans for St. Patrick’s Day

Pack your sense of humor and join actor Jim Belushi, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, the Texas Tortilla Queens and Duck Dynasty’s Mountain Man for the 11th annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17 in Hot Springs, Ark. The route may be only 98 feet long, along Bridge Street, but the celebration tries not to run out of wacky things for visitors to see and do. There’s a Blarney Stone kissing contest with cash awards, a street dance, live music and more. The parade includes 40 marching units, floats and the International Order of the Marching Irish Elvi (50 green-clad Elvis impersonators). How silly is this celebration? In 2013, it landed the No. 1 spot on the the Discovery Channel’s seven crazy St. Patrick’s Day events worldwide.

Q&A: To cruise or not to cruise

I’ve never been on a cruise, but I’m thinking about it. Do higher or lower decks feel more stable in rough water? Do I want to be close to the elevator or stairs, or are they the noisiest? And I can’t imagine taking an inside cabin without a window. What’s it like to spend a week in a broom closet?

If you’re afraid of motion sickness, get a cabin in the middle of the boat toward the bottom decks and avoid the front of the boat. If noise bothers you, choose a cabin with cabins below and above it — you don’t want to be over the disco or the pool deck. And, yes, it’s noisier near the elevators/stairs. As for interior cabins, I’d go for at least a porthole. Even if time in the cabin is short, you still have to shower, dress, etc., and interior cabins can feel claustrophobic.

— Carol Sottili, The Washington Post

Websites: For going and staying home

Hoping for an island getaway soon? Here are two websites that will let those dreams go a little further.

Lowdown: Don’t just dream of that Caribbean vacation — take it. This site is best for spur-of-the-moment types looking for big-name resorts, and the best place to start is the “Deals” button. Many deals expire quickly. Still, the site also is alluring for the snowbound and deskbound, with its enticing photos of gorgeous resorts in hot places.

Lowdown: Slow down. Relaxing images of sparkling streams, quiet lighthouses and images worldwide are accompanied by sweet jazz by Detroit’s Alexander Zonjic.

— Ellen Creager, Detroit Free Press

Fun fact

A cold-weather destination

The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, in northern Wisconsin, has turned to other agencies for help in handling the thousands of people visiting the area to see the majestic ice caves along the southern shore of Lake Superior. It has been five years since the ice has been thick enough for hikers to safely reach the caves. On a recent Saturday, 11,000 people made the trek to the caves, chief ranger Chris Smith told Minnesota Public Radio News ( Even on a Monday, 1,800 people visited the ice caves, park officials said. “It’s been overwhelming,” Smith said. “We did not anticipate this level of turnout for this.”

— The Associated Press

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