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We received an email from one of our clients who recently enjoyed an Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard a Holland America ship called the Nieuw Amsterdam. The clients opted to travel to Fort Lauderdale for 1 night before the cruise to allow for travel delays and also for 1 night after the cruise so they didn't have to rush back to the airport from the ship. The review is pretty thorough and informative so we felt the desire to share it with you. Enjoy!

Hi Todd,

E. and I had a wonderful cruise! We thoroughly enjoyed HAL Nieuw Amsterdam ship.


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Five years ago we spruced up our name to reflect a commitment to a new era of travel and thus Palmer Travel became Palmer Vacations & Destination Planners. Same company but a new logo and color scheme. Along with that came a new road sign to catch the attention of those going to and from on Fulton Road in Lake Cable.

old sign

Original Sign from 1996

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People travel for the holidays and people eat stuffing for the holidays after they travel to their destination. That is our way of justifying why a travel agency is posting a recipe instead of a travel related post. Don't wonder why we do what we do, just make this stuffing for your Thanksgiving feast and thank us later!!

Bacon, Sourdough and Mushroom Stuffing


1 1/4 pounds sourdough bread, crusts trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 12 cups)
1 1/2 pounds mushrooms, chopped
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 to 5 cups homemade chicken stock or low sodium canned chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Spread the bread onto a large baking sheet in an even layer and bake, stirring a few times, until lightly golden brown, about 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once cooled, put the cubes into a very large bowl.

3.Increase the heat to 375 degrees F. Combine the mushrooms in a large baking dish or baking sheet, toss with 3 tablespoons of the oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven, stirring several times, until soft and golden brown, about 25 minutes.

4.While the mushrooms are roasting, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and the fat has rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.

5. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat in the saute pan and place back on the stove over high heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add 3 cups of the chicken stock and the herbs, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer.

6. Add the mushrooms to the bread, and then add the onion/stock mixture, egg, salt and pepper, and gently stir until combined. The dressing should be very wet, add more stock as needed. Scrape the mixture into a buttered 13 by 9 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, and continue baking until the top is golden brown, about 30 to 40 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Note again: You want the dressing very wet but be careful not to go crazy. This stuff absorbs moisture like crazy and before long, you're stuff will look "very wet" but really be a swamp which tacks on a lot of cooking time and makes the flavor much saltier.