Ralph Grizzle, a.k.a The Avid Cruiser, began his journalistic career at the age of 32, following the conclusion of what he calls his “sabbatical decade.” From 1980 through 1990, Ralph bicycled across America, pedaled through Europe and island-hopped the South Pacific.
After backpacking through Bali, bussing through Java, hopping a boat to Singapore and crossing Malaysia to Thailand, Ralph flew into Burma, tramped to Dhaka and endured a 32-hour train ride from calamitous Calcutta to bustling Bombay. From there, he hopped a plane for Greece and traveled to Switzerland before returning home, where he settled, quite naturally, into a career of travel writing.
A graduate of the University of North Carolina’s School of Journalism, Ralph operates several cruise-related web sites, including avidcruiser.com.
Ralph also contributes to print publications in North America and abroad, including two that he publishes in Europe. In 2005, the North American Travel Journalism Association awarded Ralph in the category of ‘Best Cruise Writing.’
Ever the peripatetic wanderer, Ralph makes his home in Asheville, North Carolina, but more often than not, he can be found at sea or on rivers.
Aaron Saunders has been firmly hooked on cruising since his parents took him on an Alaska cruise in 1998. The sea quickly became a second home for Aaron, who has since sailed numerous voyages on many of the major lines.
In addition to contributing to River Cruise Advisor, he is also the author and editor of From the Deck Chair, a daily blog dedicated to everything exciting about cruise ships and the cruise industry. A true ship buff, he focuses on ship-related material, and has made it a personal mission to photograph the interiors, top-to-bottom, of as many cruise ships as he can.
His professional career began almost a decade ago in the film and television industry, where he has been an Offline Editor for over a dozen different animated television shows, including the award-winning Atomic Betty & My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. He is also the director and editor of Return to Antarctica, a documentary detailing the final days of Robert Falcon Scott’s doomed 1910 Polar Expedition as seen through the eyes of Canadian Charles Seymour Wright.
Born in snowy, land-locked Calgary, Aaron now calls Vancouver, British Columbia home when he’s not sailing the seven seas.
Michelle Baran has been a senior editor at Travel Weekly for two years, covering the tour operator and river cruise industries. She has been on numerous river cruises with many of the major river cruise lines in Europe (and beyond), and covers daily breaking river cruise news as well as reports and writes in-depth analytical stories about the rapidly expanding river cruise market.
She was previously with Conde Nast’s Footwear News magazine, a fashion industry B2B publication.
Before that, she worked at the English desk for Agence France-Presse in Paris.
The daughter of Polish and Romanian immigrants, Baran is fluent in French, Polish and Romanian. She holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in anthropology and another in French, from the University of California at Los Angeles, and holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School.
She also holds diplomas in language studies from the Romanian Cultural Foundation and the University of Bordeaux, France. Most recently, she completed a course in digital photography at the International Center of Photography in New York.
She is currently based in New York.