Archive for November, 2013

Bethlehem, Connecticut, Offers Festive Start to the Holiday Season

November 30, 2013

They call this little town in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut “Christmas Town” with good reason. Bethlehem’s 33rd annual Christmas Town Festival scheduled for December 6 and 7, is one of New England’s favorite ways to kick off the season. Wherever you turn, special treats are waiting, from the town green to the post office to the Abbey of Regina Laudis and the 1754 Bellamy-Ferriday House, and some of the distinctive attractions continue when the festival is over.

Bethlehem’s quaint town green, centered with a giant tree, is offers over 70 vendors with gift items, wreaths and foods for sale, strolling carolers and musicians. Santa is at the firehouse to pose for pictures and everyone is invited to climb aboard for hayrides offered in front of First Church. Collectors can garner this year’s unique limited edition Christmas Town pewter ornament, sold only during the Festival.

Bethlehem’s beautiful 18th century Bellamy-Ferriday House & Garden is festively decorated and open for guided tours, hot cider and a scavenger hunt for children (9 Main Street North, www.ctlandmarks.org).

Hours for the Christmas Town Festival are Friday, December 6 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, see www.christmastownfestival.com or phone 203-266-7510, ext. 300.

Christmas Town Mailings at the Post Office

As you can imagine, the Bethlehem post office is especially busy in December serving the many who come every year to mail holiday cards with the special postmarks.  Visitors can select favorites among the “Christmas Cachet” designs, hand-stamp and mail these unique greetings to friends and family. The idea of the special stamps dates to 1938, when a local Postmaster, the late Earl Johnson, designed a “cachet,” a special rubber stamp featuring a tree and lettering that said “From the Little Town of Bethlehem, Christmas Greetings.” New cachets have been added almost every year since. Over 70 designs are now available and nearly 200,000 cards are mailed each year from this small post office.  Located at 34 East Street, the post office will have extended hours during the festival, Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Precious Crèches at the Abbey

One of Bethlehem’s not-to-be-missed jewels is open all month. The museum-quality 18th century Neapolitan crèche on view in a vintage barn at the Abbey of Regina Laudis includes hundreds of beautiful hand-carved figures. Made of wood, terra cotta, and porcelain, the figures portray the Holy Family, angels, the Three Kings, merchants and peddlers, children, peasants and farm animals.  This fabulous gift from artist and philanthropist Loretta Hines Howard is similar to the one Howard donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where it is prominently displayed every Christmas.

A second Crèche, The Lauren Ford Crèche, created by a favorite Connecticut artist, is displayed in a farm shed near the Lower Abbey Chapel. This charming rustic Nativity scene displays figures of Jesus, Mary and Joseph dressed in typical New England garb.

The Monastic Art Shop on the property offers crafts, cheeses, jams, herbal teas, flavored vinegars, herbs and honey, and all created on site by the Abbey’s residents.

The Abbey of Regina Laudis, located at 249 Flanders Road, is open to visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit www.abbeyofreginalaudis.org

For more information, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, 860-567-4506, or visit www.visitwesternct.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

 

Advertisements

Cruisecom’s Annual Black Friday Sale Runs Nov 29-Dec 2

November 27, 2013

Cruise.com, a subsidiary of Omega World Travel, Inc. and one of the Internet’s leading cruise sellers, announces its annual Black Friday sale, delivering the industry’s best values on cruise vacations, which will run from 8AM on Friday, November 29 through Monday, December 2, 2013.

This annual sales event features incredible offers including reduced rates, up to $1,500 onboard credits, complimentary upgrades, complimentary shore excursions, free gratuities, kids sail free, and special “2 for 1” rates. Plus guests can enjoy 50% reduced deposits and reduced airfares on select cruise lines.

Fifteen of the world’s largest and most popular cruise lines are participating in the event including Azamara Club Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity, Costa Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Cunard, Disney Cruise Line, Holland America, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise line, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Silversea, and Viking Cruises. Cruise.com’s upcoming sales event will also feature unprecedented savings to a wide variety of areas throughout the world, including the Caribbean, Alaska, Europe, South America and Asia.

“Now is the perfect time to lock in a fantastic deal on the industry’s best cruise vacations,” said Cruise.com’s President, Anthony Hamawy. “We are proud to leverage our buying power, reputation and industry expertise to continually deliver value and savings to our customers throughout the world on this most famous of shopping days.”

This year’s sale also comes at the end of an exciting year for Cruise.com. They recently moved their headquarters and expanded their facilities to include a welcoming reservation center, new event space and a new, state of the art television and video studio.

Space for these cruise deals is limited and will be offered on a first come first serve basis. To book these deals call 866-401-0895, visit http://www.cruise.com or download their mobile app in the iPhone App Store, Android Marketplace, and the company’s website.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

 

Royal Caribbean Holds 3-Day WOW Sale with up to $200 Onboard Credit, Dec 2-4

November 25, 2013
Royal Caribbean's 3-day WOW sale onboard credit can be used toward one of Royal Caribbean’s signature specialty restaurants; a Royal Caribbean shore excursion; rejuvenating body and mind with a Vitality Spa treatment; or sampling the Cocktail of the Day on every Royal Caribbean vacation day © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Royal Caribbean’s 3-day WOW sale onboard credit can be used toward one of Royal Caribbean’s signature specialty restaurants; a Royal Caribbean shore excursion; rejuvenating body and mind with a Vitality Spa treatment; or sampling the Cocktail of the Day on every Royal Caribbean vacation day © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Take advantage of the Thanksgiving family gathering to plan a 2014 Royal Caribbean International cruise. Royal Caribbean is mounting an extra special three-day WOW Sale, December 2-4, 2013, when vacationers can receive up to $200 onboard credit per stateroom and enjoy 50 percent reduced deposit at the time of booking.

You can apply the onboard credit toward celebrating a special occasion in one of Royal Caribbean’s signature specialty restaurants; trying completely new experiences on a Royal Caribbean shore excursion; rejuvenating body and mind with a Vitality Spa treatment; or simply sampling the Cocktail of the Day on every Royal Caribbean vacation day.

For all new individual bookings, made from December 2 through 4, 2013, and for all sailings (excluding Quantum of the Seas) departing on or after January 1, 2014, vacationers can enjoy 50-percent reduced deposit at the time of booking and receive up to $200 onboard credit per stateroom to spend during their cruise. Eligible guests will receive $50 onboard credit per stateroom for itineraries of five nights or shorter, $100 onboard credit per stateroom for itineraries ranging from six to nine nights, and $200 onboard credit per stateroom on itineraries of 10 nights or longer.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

 

More information, and additional terms and conditions will be available at http://www.RoyalCaribbean.com/WOWSale on Nov. 29, 2013.

France Cruises Offers Free Land Tour with Purchase off Cruise and Hotel

November 23, 2013
A guided walking tour of Dijon brings me up to the tower atop the magnificent  Palais de Ducs for the fabulous view of the historic city © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

A guided walking tour of Dijon brings me up to the tower atop the magnificent Palais de Ducs for the fabulous view of the historic city © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

For a limited time, France Cruises is offering guests a free land tour with purchase of a cruise and hotel. The free full-day land tour is available in Paris, Carcassonne, Dijon, Avignon, Tours, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Nice.

A France Cruises booking agent will assist either you or your travel agent in arranging all of the trip’s details. Once you have chosen your cruise and land tour, France Cruises will also help recommend and book a hotel for your pre or post cruise excursion.

For more information, call 877-579-7447 or visit http://www.FranceCruises.com.

See our series, Barging through Burgundy on France Cruises:

Barging through Burgundy: A visit to Chagny Market and slideshow

Barging through Burgundy, Day 2: Chateau de Rully and slideshow

Barging through Burgundy, Day 3: Hotel-Dieu, Beaune and slideshow

Barging Through Burgundy, Day 4: Clos de Vougeot, ‘mother church’ of wine and slideshow

Barging through Burgundy, Day 5-6: Walking Tour of Dijon’s Old City and slideshow

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

New-York Historical Society celebrates holiday season with ‘Batteries Not Included: Toys and Trains’ Exhibit

November 23, 2013
To celebrate the holiday season, the New-York Historical Society is exhibiting nineteenth- and twentieth-century toys from the permanent collection. The display will include a whimsical selection of cast iron, tin, and carved wooden toys and banks made between 1850 and 1945.

To celebrate the holiday season, the New-York Historical Society is exhibiting nineteenth- and twentieth-century toys from the permanent collection.
The display will include a whimsical selection of cast iron, tin, and carved wooden toys and banks made between 1850 and 1945.

To celebrate the holiday season, the New-York Historical Society is hosting Batteries Not Included: Toys and Trains exhibit of 19th and 20th century toys from the permanent collection. The display will include a whimsical selection of cast iron, tin, and carved wooden toys and banks made between 1850 and 1945. Among them will be still and mechanical banks, wind-up, pull, and clockwork toys, toy soldiers, and a medley of trains, all topped with a Statue of Liberty still bank made between 1885 and 1920. The display is on view Nov. 26, 2013 – Jan. 5, 2014 (Tues.- Thurs, Sat.: 10 am-6 pm, Friday: 10 am-8 pm,  Sun. 11 am-5 pm.; A/$18, C (5-13)/$6; Teachers/Seniors/ $14; Students/$12; pay as you wish Fridays, 6-8 pm).

Special Events: Historical Train Weekend (Dec.14-15, 1-3 p), Kids 3-6 meet Conductor Bob, hear tales of the rails, and create their own engine car, caboose, or anything in-between. And don’t forget to find all the “eye-spy” details in the amazing toys and trains on view in the New-York Historical Society’s holiday installation. Locomotive with author Brian Floca (Dec 14, 3 pm), Kids 3-10 will hear about Brian’s research, writing, and illustrating process, and will learn new facts about trains, steam engines, and the construction of the railroad.

New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West between West 76th and West 77th Streets,  212-873-3400, visit www.nyhistory.org/exhibitions/toys-and-trains, www.nyhistory.org

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Sugartooth Tours’ Hosts Annual Union Square Holiday Market Dessert Tour

November 19, 2013

On Sugartooth Tours’ annual Union Square Holiday Market Dessert Tour visitors can literally taste the holidays while visiting some of the most festive and delicious stops that this enclave in New York City has to offer. Come battle the crisp air with a cup of authentic hot cocoa and let your five senses be your guide as you sample homemade holiday delights at every twist and turn. From festive music that rings in the air, to cookies for Santa, no holiday season is complete without taking this memorable tour.

Chances are you’ve visited the Union Square Holiday Market, a staple for locals, but Sugartooth Tours prides itself on knowing the best stops and sweet snacks to try. “There are definitely surprises along the way on this tour,” said Allyson Tolbert Sugartooth Tour co-owner. “You get to taste the best desserts the holiday market has to offer while learning about Union Square’s rich history, as well as the vast culinary history of New York City. It’s both delicious and educational!”

Tickets are $50, which includes at least six tastings. The tour will be running most Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 4:00 pm from November 23-December 22. Check the company’s website calendar for an updated schedule. Each tour lasts between 60-90 minutes and is a little under a mile. Another perk? Tour guests also get to skip lines at each culinary booth stop!

For more information on the Union Square Holiday Market Dessert Tour or Sugartooth Tours, visit www.sugartoothtours.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Victorian Cape May NJ Sparkles During 40th Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tours

November 19, 2013
Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May's only Victorian House Museum © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Cape May’s historic homes sparkle and shine for the holidays during the 40th annual Christmas Candlelight House Tours, sponsored by the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC).

Tour-goers board heated trolleys and visit as many as 15 homes, inns, hotels and churches, beautifully decorated for the holiday season. Along the way, carolers and strolling musicians impart good old-fashioned Christmas cheer, and hospitality centers offer warm beverages and traditional holiday treats.

The 40th Annual Christmas Candlelight House Tours are Saturdays, Dec. 7, 14, and 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for children (ages 3-12) and includes entry to the 1879 Emlen Physick Estate, Cape May’s only Victorian House Museum at 1048 Washington St., authentically decorated for a Victorian Christmas and to “An Old-fashioned Christmas” exhibit in the Carriage House Gallery on the grounds of the Estate, as well as continuous shuttle service on heated trolleys.

Christmas Candlelight House Tours are limited; advance reservations are strongly recommended. MAC sponsors six weeks of special holiday tours and events from Nov. 22 through Jan. 1, 2014.

The Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (MAC) is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization committed to promoting the preservation, interpretation, and cultural enrichment of the Cape May region for its residents and visitors. MAC membership is open to all.

For information about MAC’s year-round schedule of tours, festivals, and special events, call 609-884-5404 or 800-275-4278, or visit MAC’s Web site at www.capemaymac.org.

For information about restaurants, accommodations and shopping, call the Chamber of Commerce of Greater Cape May at 609-884-5508.

For information about historic accommodations, contact Cape May Historic Accommodations at www.capemaylodging.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

Newport Mansions Host Christmas Festivities at Breakers, Elms, Marble House

November 19, 2013
Alva Vanderbilt's grand Marble House, one of the Newport Mansions, is inviting guests for Christmas © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Alva Vanderbilt’s grand Marble House, one of the Newport Mansions, is inviting guests for Christmas © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The famed Newport, Rhode Island, Gilded Age mansions, The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House, welcome visitors for Christmas from November 23 through January 1, 2014. The Preservation Society of Newport County is presenting music, tours, shopping events, and visits from Santa Claus at three of America’s grandest historic houses.

New this year is a gingerbread house competition at The Breakers.  Four local pastry programs have created gingerbread models of the Newport Mansions that are on display in the kitchen.  The competitors are Clements’ Marketplace in Portsmouth, RI; Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School of Fall River, MA;  Fatulli’s Gourmet Bakery in  Middletown, RI; and Russell Morin Fine Catering of Newport and Providence, RI.

Returning to the Great Hall of The Breakers this year is the 15-foot tall poinsettia tree, which for the past few years had been displayed at The Elms.   The “tree” is made up of 150 individual poinsettia plants, grown in the Preservation Society’s own greenhouses.  The plants are removed and replaced several times during the six-week holiday season to ensure the display remains fresh.

Christmas trees of various sizes throughout the houses are adorned with new flickering LED candle lights. Additional decorations in the three houses include dozens of wreaths, hundreds of yards of garland and thousands of flowers, including poinsettia plants, lilies, roses, carnations and potted palms.  Ornaments reflect the colors and décor of individual rooms, and white candles illuminate the windows.  Additional highlights include an eight-foot decorated wreath on the grand staircase of Marble House, new large evergreen kissing balls hung in each house, and a pastel floral theme in the ballroom of The Elms.

Three Houses Open Daily

Christmas officially arrives at the Newport Mansions on Saturday, November 23.  The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House will be fully decorated and open daily for tours, except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, through January 1, 2014.  A Winter Passport ticket providing daytime admission to all three houses can be purchased for $28 for adults, $9 for children 6-17. Children under the age of 6 are admitted free.  Individual house tickets are also available. Tickets can be purchased online at www.NewportMansions.org, or at each property.

Holiday Evenings at the Newport Mansions

Holiday Evenings at the Newport Mansions provide a unique opportunity to see these historic houses lit up for a night-time celebration. Guests can take a leisurely self-guided tour through the museum, enjoying live holiday music and a stop for cookies and pastries, eggnog and cider.  Holiday Evenings at The Breakers are scheduled for November 30 and December 7, 14, and 28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. On December 21, guests can enjoy a Holiday Evening Duet: The Elms and Marble House, and see both of the houses for the price of one, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Admission to Holiday Evenings is $28 in advance, $35 at the door.  Children 6-17 are admitted for $10. Children under the age of 6 are admitted free.  Preservation Society members enjoy reduced admission, $25 in advance, $30 at the door.  On December 21, a single ticket provides admission to both The Elms and Marble House, as well as shuttle service operating between the two houses.  More information, including the schedule of Holiday Evening entertainment, and advance tickets are available online at www.NewportMansions.org, or call (401) 847-1000.

Visits with Santa Claus 

Children can visit with Santa Claus in a spectacular setting at each of the three mansions on Sundays in December.  Santa will make public appearances from noon to 3 p.m. at The Breakers on December 8, Marble House on December 15, and The Elms on December 22.  The visit with Santa is included in the regular admission price.

About The Mansions

The Breakers, a 70-room Italian Renaissance-style palazzo, was designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt and completed in 1895 for Cornelius Vanderbilt II, President and Chairman of the New York Central Railroad.  Its interiors include rich marbles and gilded rooms, a 50-foot high Great Hall, mosaic tile floors and ceilings, and open-air terraces with magnificent ocean views.

The Elms is an elegant French-style chateau built in 1901 for Philadelphia coal magnate Edward J. Berwind.  It serves as a backdrop for monumental artworks, including wall-sized 18th century Venetian paintings and Chinese lacquer panels.  The Elms is situated on a 10-acre park with an elaborate sunken garden.

Marble House was the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt. Built and furnished at a reported cost of $11 million, it was the most lavish house in America when it opened in 1892.  It became a grand stage for Alva Vanderbilt’s climb to social and political power, first as a leading society hostess and later as a leader of the “Votes for Women” campaign.

The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island is a non-profit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area’s historic architecture, landscapes and decorative arts.  Its 11 historic properties—seven of them National Historic Landmarks—span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.

For further information, visit www.NewportMansions.org.

Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas Offers 29 New Southeast Asia Sailings for 2014-2015

November 19, 2013

Royal Caribbean International has unveiled 29 new Southeast Asia sailings aboard Mariner of the Seas. Starting in November 2014, Mariner of the Seas will homeport at Singapore and sail three- to five-night itineraries, calling at ports such as Phuket, Thailand, and Penang, Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) in Malaysia.

A special seven-night itinerary, departing February 11, 2015, will overnight at Bangkok (Laemchabang), Thailand, and call at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Vietnam. Mariner of the Seas’ winter season will conclude with an eight-night itinerary from Singapore to Shanghai (Baoshan), China, departing on March 7, and featuring an overnight at Hong Kong with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My) and Xiamen, China.

Mariner of the Seas is among six Royal Caribbean ships that exclusively feature the DreamWorks Experience at sea.  Guests can partake in parades, themed activities and other onboard events based on DreamWorks Animation’s popular feature-film characters, including Po of “Kung Fu Panda;” Shrek and Fiona of “Shrek;” and Alex the Lion, Gloria the Hippo, and the Penguins from “Madagascar.” The ship also is equipped with a 3-D movie theater playing the latest DreamWorks Animation films.

Royal Caribbean’s younger guests can enjoy an exhilarating line-up of activities, games and adventures rooted in the popular DreamWorks Animation films in the complimentary and award-winning Adventure Ocean children’s program.

Guests of all ages can meet their favorite characters over the DreamWorks Character breakfast in the main dining room and take advantage of plenty of photo opportunities throughout the day. Additionally, guests can tune-in to DreamWorks Animation programming on a dedicated RCTV channel in every stateroom.

Guests also enjoy the industry’s largest and most premium selection of duty-free shopping, including the first standalone IWC Schaffhausen boutique and the largest luxury and fashion watch store at sea.

The ship’s Casino Royale offers more than 30 table games and nearly 300 slot machines throughout the 9,600 sq. ft. space. Additionally, high-rollers have exclusive access to parlors for high-stakes gaming in comfort, style and privacy.

Mariner of the Seas is one of Royal Caribbean’s Voyager class of ships, which first introduced the active cruise vacation concept. The ships feature iconic Royal Caribbean International amenities such as the rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink, a nine-hole mini-golf course, full-size basketball and sports court, and the Royal Promenade, a boulevard that stretches nearly the length of the ship and is flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques.

As a truly global cruise brand, Royal Caribbean International caters to an international clientele and deploys its cruise ships throughout the world. On Mariner of the Seas’ Asia cruises, Royal Caribbean offers a culturally enriching cruise experience, in which vacationers will find that the majority of fellow guests are from the Asia-Pacific region and speak languages from the region. While guests will enjoy a more authentic regional experience, including additional onboard choices that reflect the region’s tastes and flavors, English is always spoken by the ship’s staff and crew.

For additional information or to make reservations, vacationers should call their travel agent; visit RoyalCaribbean.com; or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow on Facebook at Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter @RoyalCaribbean.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures

 

Save up to 50% on Victoria Cruises Winter ‘Three Gorges Highlights’ Yangtze River Sailings in China

November 19, 2013
Victoria Cruises sails the Yangtze River in China.

Victoria Cruises sails the Yangtze River in China.

Victoria Cruises is offering steep winter discounts on its popular four- and five-day Three Gorges Highlights program, throughout January and February 2014. Reduced rates start at $470 per person, based on double occupancy, for a superior stateroom with private balcony – a savings of $510 per person.

Executive Suites, which feature upgraded accommodations and ship placement along with VIP amenities such as “white glove” service, access to exclusive ship areas, complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access, enhanced dining privileges, shoe shine service and reserved seating for evening entertainment, start at $870 per person, based on double occupancy – a savings of $720 per person.

For the ultimate experience, guests can book the Shangri-La Suite and enjoy even more spacious accommodations with VIP Executive Amenities from $1,510 per person, based on double occupancy – a savings of $1,050 per person.

Executive Amenities are also offered to passengers traveling in standard cabins at a reduced rate of $670 per person, based on double occupancy – a savings of $510 per person.

Victoria Cruises’ steeply-discounted Three Gorges Highlights winter special sails upstream from Yichang to Chongqing (five days/four nights) as well as downstream from Chongqing to Yichang (four days/three nights) on Victoria Cruises’ lavish five-star vessels.

In addition to spectacular views of centuries-old pagodas nestled along the Yangtze and a scenic passage through the famous Three Gorges, a one-time shore excursion fee of $90 per person (inclusive of all standard excursions) provides travelers with additional experiences including an educational visit to the impressive Three Gorges Dam, a sampan experience along one of the Yangtze’s tranquil tributaries and unforgettable sightseeing in the “Ghost City” of Fengdu.

Passengers can also participate in exciting onboard activities such as Tai Chilessons, demonstrations of acupuncture/acupressure and discussions on the Yangtze’s history. Nightly entertainment options include traditional Chinese dance and musical performances.

All prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Single supplements are available. Itineraries are subject to change based on river conditions.

For more information or to book, or for a list of tour operators which include the Yangtze River in their value-priced winter programs, contact Victoria Cruises toll-free at 800-348-8084 or visit www.VictoriaCruises.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.examiner.com/eclectic-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

‘Like’ us on facebook.com/NewsPhotoFeatures

Twitter: @TravelFeatures