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mar 05 2015

Confessions of a Cruise Ship Doctor

A Cruise ship in the port of Miami - Florida

Dr. Bradberry dishes about his years as a cruise ship doctor.

(Lonely Planet)

This article was written by Sid Lipsey and originally appeared on Yahoo Travel.

Being a cruise ship doctor may seem like the medical profession's dream gig—and in a lot of ways it is. But the job comes with an incredible amount of responsibility: you see everything from sprained ankles to potentially deadly heart attacks. You're responsible for the lives of thousands of passengers and crew. And for many people, having a great vacation means never, ever seeing you.

It's a job Dr. John Bradberry knows well. A double board-certified emergency medicine and family medicine physician, Bradberry spent seven years as a ship doctor for a major cruise line and another seven years as that cruise line's medical director. Long story short, he's seen just about all there is to see at sea. Here, Dr. Bradberry shares what it's like to be a real-life ship's "Doc."

We really are doctors—and good ones—despite what some people might think

Passengers think the medical center on board a ship is maybe a Band-Aid station. In a passenger area or in an elevator, a passenger would look at my nametag [which says] "Ship's Physician." And it's like, "So what do you do? Treat a lot of seasickness? Ha ha!" And it's not the case. Credentialing guidelines for cruise ship doctors require extensive experience and expertise in primary care, including emergency medicine.  

Related: Confessions of a Cruise Ship Entertainer: We Think You're Fat and We Only Care About Your Tips

We work hard, but we also get to enjoy the benefits of cruising

Any doctor who anticipates that the practice of cruise ship medicine is tantamount to a paid vacation is going to be sorely disappointed. Cruise ship doctors have an immense amount of responsibility on their shoulders. That cruise ship doctor is responsible for the health and well-being and lives of 5,000 people; that's a small town. A physician must be on call 24 hours a day whenever the ship is at sea. So it's not a paid vacation by any means.

There is time off, though. And during the time-off periods, the ship's doctors can go up to the main deck where a lot of the activities are and intermingle with the guests. If the ship is in port and the doctor's off-duty, they're allowed to go shoreside and go exploring, go to the beach, go on shoreside excursions. All expenses paid travel, and you get a salary on top of it. Free room and board is included. In some ways, the ship's doctors get paid to do what the passengers are paying to come and do.

Yes, it's like "The Love Boat"—kinda

There are a lot of romances... among the crew. You have a thousand mostly young adult crewmembers living, working, and socializing together, and human nature will take its course.

In true "Love Boat" fashion, I met my wife on board. She was one of the ship's nurses. She's half-British, half-Greek, tall, black hair and big sparkling blue eyes. And I just happened to be in the medical center when she walked in. And when she spoke, she had that British accent. Within 8 to 10 seconds of laying eyes on her, I thought, "This might get complicated." So we're now married with two kids; I think that qualifies as a "complicated."

Despite "Doc's" womanizing on "The Love Boat," there's no hanky-panky between real-life cruise ship doctors and passengers

mar 05 2015

Meet America's Coolest Small Town 2015!

Grand Marais, MN, is America's Coolest Small Town 2015!

(Courtesy Visit Cook County Minnesota)

Congratulations to Grand Marais, MN, the winner of Budget Travel's 10th annual America's Coolest Small Town contest! The beautiful town on the north shore of Lake Superior amassed a whopping 30 percent of the vote in our contest, surpassing strong second-place finisher Chincoteague, VA, and 13 other semifinalists to attain the title of "Coolest" of 2015.

feb 26 2015

Save Big on Avalon's European River Cruises

Budapest's majestic Parliament Building along the Danube, just one of the many amazing sights you may encounter on a European River Cruise with Avalon.

(Lonely Planet)

It's no secret that we're big fans of river cruises as a unique, elegant way of seeing the world. So we were psyched to learn about a special offer from Avalon. For a limited time, you can save $2,000 per couple on select Avalon 2015 European River Cruises.

feb 25 2015

Explore Winter's Coolest ICE Destinations!

A visit to the Fairbanks, Alaska, area in winter means a front-row seat for the Northern Lights as well as a unique museum of ice sculptures!

(Karrapavan / Dreamstime.com)

You know, this time of year, when we think of "travel" we usually think of fleeing the cold. But some people don't mind getting into it. And I mean really into it! Here, some of the world's most amazing "ice destinations," where you can eat, drink, sleep, and most of all chill on vacation!

feb 25 2015

Ice Trekking on the Viedma Glacier

Viedma Glacier
(Courtesy Celine Frers)

This article was written by Will Collier on behalf of Say Hueque, a company specializing in tours to Argentina and Chile.

You may have heard of Argentina's famous Perito Moreno Glacier, but did you know that it's not the biggest glacier in the country? While Perito Moreno may be the most popular among tourists, the largest in Argentina is actually the Viedma glacier. Located in the Los Glaciares National Park, the Viedma glacier has a total area of 380 square miles and flows directly from the South Patagonic Ice Field, eventually feeding the Viedma Lake with its runoff. Much like Perito Moreno, there are a number of ways to view the enormous ice formation, the most interactive: trekking on the glacier itself.

feb 22 2015

10 Great Movies Set in Miami

This article was written by Mike Richard on behalf of Viator.com.

The warm weather, beautiful beaches, and over-the-top luxury of Miami have made it the ideal location for a number of Hollywood films. From the gritty, gangster drama of Scarface, to the hilarious humor of The Birdcage, to the non-stop action of Miami Vice, here are ten of the greatest movies ever set in Miami, Florida.

#1: Ace Ventura Pet Detective (1994)

feb 20 2015

Escape The Cold With These Warm-Weather Travel Deals

Hilton Hawaiian Village

Doesn't the beach sound great right about now? You can save on a getaway to beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village among other places and beat the polar vortex blues.

(Courtesy Hilton Hawaiian Village)

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for spring. With more snow on the way this weekend for parts of the northeast, nothing sounds better right now than a quick getaway to somewhere—anywhere!—that is warm. Here, we've rounded up some great vacation deals, hotel specials, and travel sales to help you thaw out this winter.


feb 18 2015

Eat Like a Local in Vietnam!

Learn the insider secrets of affordable Vietnamse cuisine from a pair of world travelers who love sharing the locals-only lowdown.

(Lonely Planet)

Danika Garlotta and her husband Chris are traveling around the world and sharing their experiences at nodestinations.com.

Vietnamese food is without a doubt, one of my favorite cuisines. My husband Chris and I love its creative ingredients, and that mix of sweet, sour and spicy flavors! Although we were excited to visit Vietnam in general, we were more excited to taste everything and eat our way through the various cities we were visiting like Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, and Saigon.

feb 17 2015

How to Eat Your Way Through Nova Scotia's Chowder Trail—Recipe Included!

Vegetable seafood chowder

The secret to this root vegetable and seafood chowder recipe is being liberal with the cream, fresh lemon juice, and parsley.

(Courtesy Rhubarb Restaurant)

Mmmmm...Chowder Trail. Pardon us as we go all Homer Simpson just thinking about Nova Scotia's 60-plus destinations where you can try fresh, hot Atlantic seafood chowder. Throw the kids in the backseat and drive along the 4,700 miles of the Atlantic Canada province's coastline, sampling soups as you go.

feb 15 2015

Who's in the Lead for America's Coolest Small Town 2015?

Grand Marais, MN, currently leads the voting for America's Coolest Small Town 2015!

(Courtesy Visit Cook County Minnesota)

Budget Travel's America's Coolest Small Town 2015 contest ends next week, and it's looking like the competition will remain lively and close right up until voting closes at 11:59 p.m. on February 25!

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