Archive for the ‘Cruising Europe’ Category

Royal Caribbean’s March Europe Extravaganza Offers up to $400 Onboard Credit Aboard 9 Ships

March 6, 2013
Take advantage of Royal Caribbean's March sale to book a cruise that immerses you in the splendor of Venice © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Take advantage of Royal Caribbean’s March sale to book a cruise that immerses you in the splendor of Venice © 2013 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

From the Venetian canals to the Norwegian fjords, Royal Caribbean International is inviting vacationers to re-discover Europe this summer, offering up to $400 onboard spending credit in March with its Europe Extravaganza.

Through March 31, 2013, vacationers who make a new booking, six nights or longer, on one of nine ships plying European waters in 2013, also can enjoy an onboard credit to make their Europe cruise even more appealing. There’s no easier way to see the sites of the Old World, delve into its history, culture and cuisine than on a Royal Caribbean cruise vacation. Guests can share their favorite destinations with the whole family or explore a new region together, all while enjoying innovations such as Broadway entertainment, FlowRider surf simulators and rock climbing walls for an experience found only on Royal Caribbean. (For more information about the Europe Extravaganza visit, http://www.RoyalCaribbean.com/EuropeExtravaganza).

During the month-long sale, new individual bookings made with deposit will receive $50 onboard credit per inside stateroom; $100 per outside stateroom; $200 per balcony stateroom; and $400 per suite. Guests can apply their onboard credit toward an exciting shore excursion or rejuvenating spa session, or celebrate a special occasion during their cruise with a specialty dining experience. Guests taking advantage of this offer must mention appropriate offer code when booking. Offer codes may be found by visiting http://www.RoyalCaribbean.com/EuropeExtravaganza.

The onboard credit is applicable to all 2013 Royal Caribbean International Europe cruises six-nights or longer, including cruisetours. Offer is available only in the U.S. and Canada and applies to all categories available. All bookings must be made and the required deposit must be paid by March 31, 2013, by 11:59 p.m. local time to qualify for the promotion. Onboard credit is in U.S. dollars, has no cash value, is not redeemable for cash, is not transferable and will expire if not used by 10:00 pm on the last evening of the cruise. Royal Caribbean International is a global cruise brand with 22 innovative ships, calling on more than 270 destinations in 72 countries across six continents. The line also offers unique cruise tour land packages in Alaska, Canada, Dubai, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand. Royal Caribbean provides a world-class vacation experience with a wide range of signature onboard amenities, entertainment, and award-winning family programming.

The cruise line has a 40-year history of delivery to guests the Royal Advantage – the most innovative cruise ships, exciting itineraries to popular destinations, and world-renowned friendly and engaging Gold Anchor Service. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 10 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers’ Choice Awards. For additional information or to make reservations, call your travel agent, visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com or call (800) ROYAL-CARIBBEAN. Follow Royal Caribbean on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/RoyalCaribbean or on Twitter, @RoyalCaribbean. Travel professionals should visit www.CruisingPower.com or call (800) 327-2056.

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Crystal Cruises Debuts New Exclusive ‘Boutique Adventures’ Shoreside Excursion Collection

January 26, 2013
Among the new "Boutique Adventures" shore experiences Crystal Cruises is debuting is opera up-close with a special operatic performance at the smallest historic public theater in the world.

Among the new “Boutique Adventures” shore experiences Crystal Cruises is debuting is opera up-close with a special operatic performance at the smallest historic public theater in the world.

Crystal Cruises, an ultra-luxury cruiseline, is launching a new, “uber-exclusive” collection of “Boutique Adventures” — shoreside experiences only available to Crystal travelers and not available with any other cruise lines.

Debuting this spring with its Mediterranean cruises, the intimate Boutique Adventures take guests inside private estates, art studios, museums, castles and well-known businesses for exclusive, insider meals, lessons, workshops, and behind-the-scenes tours with fascinating, eminent local experts.

Accommodating only 1-15 guests, the specially-designed outings provide cultural opportunities for deeper connections with local hosts and greater schedule flexibility “in-the-moment.”

Kicking off the Mediterranean season aboard Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity voyages are:
Florence: View the Uffizi Gallery’s private (normally closed to the public) Contini Bonacossi Collection, featuring Bernini sculpture, Bellini and Savoldo paintings, majolica, furniture, and more.
Funchal: Lunch with a local celebrity at the elegant Reid’s Palace or enjoy a private visit to a family-run Madeiran winery, followed by a leisurely, homemade lunch with the owners.
Rome: Create unique souvenir jewelry under the tutelage of a Valentino model-turned-museum jewelry designer, opening her workshop for the first time ever only for Crystal guests.
Corfu: Be one of just six guests per outing to receive a private painting lesson from the President of the Corfu Painters Society.
Vetriano (near Florence): Appreciate opera up-close with a special operatic performance at the smallest historic public theater in the world.
Sorrento and Taormina: Improve your international kitchen skills via hands-on cooking lessons and meals with local, Michelin-star chefs.
Taormina: Dine and listen to a private classical concert at an ancient Sicilian castle.

“Crystal’s luxury guests can savor the exquisite all-inclusive amenities and exceptional space of Crystal ships, yet, ashore, share intimate, immersive experiences with just a handful of other like-minded companions — particularly nice for more independent travelers,” says John Stoll, vice president of land and port operations. “Crystal’s reputation for excellence has persuaded people and places that are nowhere to be seen on the tourist map to open their doors for us in unique ways. These Adventures may be small in size, but they’re huge in rare experience and memory value.”

Prices range from $223 to more than $1000 per person, with exact excursion details and pre-booking available online at crystalcruises.com six months before each cruise. Participation is first come, first serve, so early booking is recommended. Plans include Boutique Adventures in Northern Europe, North America, and other destinations throughout the world.
Crystal’s passion for creating exclusive, eye-opening luxury shore-side experiences are cornerstones of its Crystal Adventures program, earning the line top ratings for two decades.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit http://www.crystalcruises.com.

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Tenuta dell’Ornellaia Winery to Host 4th Annual FOOD & WINE Voyage Aboard Oceania’s Riviera

January 24, 2013

Tenuta dell’Ornellaia, one of Italy’s most lauded wineries, will be the winery host on FOOD & WINE Magazine’s fourth-annual Wine Voyage. This seven-day cruise will be on Oceania Cruises’ newest cruise ship Riviera, which leaves from Monte Carlo on October 11, 2013 and arrives into Civitavecchia, the port of Rome on October 18.

The Riviera is a mid-sized cruise ship specifically designed for the food and wine lover, with Executive Culinary Director Jacques Pepin overseeing seven no-extra-charge restaurants, the cruise industry’s first restaurant collaboration with Wine Spectator magazine and the first at-sea hands-on cooking classroom.

Onboard will be Leonardi Raspini, Ornellaia’s general manager, who along with FOOD & WINE’s long-time wine expert Anthony Giglio, will preside over a series of private events that include a vertical tasting of multiple Ornellaia vintages and a five course gourmet, wine-paired dinner.

As Ornellaia is one of Italy’s highest-rated and most expensive wines, the cruise affords a rare opportunity to cruise the French and Italian Riviera in luxury, while tasting multiple vintages back-to-back and mingling with fellow wine enthusiasts and top wine experts.

Ornellaia’s hospitality will also be extended when the ship visits Livorno, the port of call for Tuscany. Here, the estate normally closed to the public, will open for an optional and opulent private group luncheon and tour.

The Fourth FOOD & WINE Wine Voyage includes other opportunities for the food and wine lover to experience the culinary terroir of the regions they visit. From the French port of Marseille, an optional tour of Chateauneuf-du-Pape is offered, with a wine-paired luncheon cooked by a Michelin-starred chef and a private tasting Domaine de la Janasse, another highly rated winery. In Sorrento, the group has the option of visiting the Stabiae Villas, thought to be the home of the regions governor which, like Pompeii, was buried by Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. Following a tour led by a local archeologist, the group drives up the volcano’s slopes for a private tasting and lunch at Azienda Sorrentino Winery, featuring varieties of grapes and wines not found anywhere else in the world.

Rates of the Fourth FOOD & WINE Wine Voyage begins at $2,624 per person double occupancy and includes Oceania Cruises’ free airfare* from 26 major US airports. All bookings are to be made through Food & Wine Trails, one of the nation’s oldest and largest wine-travel companies. Bookings made before March 31, 2013, will receive a complimentary $100 shipboard credit and prepaid gratuities.

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Cunard Offers up to $1200 Savings for 2013 Transatlantic Crossings and European Voyages

January 12, 2013
Cunard's Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria ships

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria ships

Cunard Line is offering significant savings on select Transatlantic Crossings aboard Queen Mary 2, and European cruises on board Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, for booking by March 31, 2013.  In addition, substantial savings on airfare – up to $1000 per couple – are available on select European cruises.

Transatlantic Crossings
The most storied voyage on the seas, Cunard’s Transatlantic Crossing is the only itinerary for which the voyage itself becomes the destination, offering its guests a true escape from the everyday. For more than 170 years, the Line’s Crossings have appealed to a broad range of sophisticated travelers who share a love of glamor, elegance and tradition.

Fares from $999 per person (including government fees and taxes) are now available for these seven-day 2013-2014 Transatlantic Crossings:

26 April: Westbound, Southampton to New York, $999
3 May: Eastbound, New York to Southampton, $1045
25 May: Westbound, Southampton to New York, $1057
15 December: Westbound, Southampton to New York, $1057
3 January 2014: Eastbound, New York to Southampton, $1045

On board Queen Mary 2, every day offers a wide variety of engaging opportunities: award-winning enrichment through the Cunard Insights program; well-being in the renowned first Canyon Ranch SpaClub® at sea; and entertainment provided by world-class companies such as the Juilliard Jazz School, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and London’s National Symphony Orchestra. Every night is like having “a night out on the town”—cocktails with friends, gourmet cuisine in a different restaurant each evening, ballroom dancing in the Queens Room, or stargazing in the only planetarium at sea.

Europe
From the magnificent Winter Palace to the Troll Wall, to the Stigfossen Waterfall and the Brandenburg Gate, Europe is home to some of the world’s most celebrated landmarks and destinations. On voyages to the region of 12 days or more, such as the popular St. Petersburg & Baltic Explorer aboard Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth, guests will receive up to $1,000 in savings on airfare per couple when flights are booked via the Cunard CompleteAir® programme either through a Travel Agent or by calling Cunard directly.

Guests can take advantage of Queen Elizabeth‘s fly-cruise Mediterranean programme by opting to extend their stay in Athens, Rome or Venice up to two days before or after their voyage calls there, allowing for added discovery and adventure in port at one’s leisure.

Additionally, guests booking a Britannia Club on the Queen Elizabeth‘s May 26 2013 Norwegian Fjords & North Cape Explorer can save up to $1,200 per stateroom in cruise fare.

Queen Elizabeth’s grand art deco interiors and unique art works, which pay homage to both the original Queen Elizabeth and Great Britain’s Royal Family, continue to fascinate and delight guests who sail aboard the Line’s newest Cunarder. The ship’s Grand Lobby prominently displays the 18.5 ft. marquetry piece of the original Queen Elizabeth created by David Linley, only nephew of Her Majesty The Queen; and a specially commissioned portrait of The Queen, created by artist Isobel Peachey particularly for the 2010 debut of Queen Elizabeth.

In grand Cunard tradition, Queen Victoria is designed in the spirit of the floating palaces of the past. Having debuted in December 2007, she captured the world stage in a way few ships ever do – becoming one of the most fêted ships to be introduced in recent years and quickly establishing herself in the Cunard fleet. Every inch of the 2,000-passenger liner is infused with a sense of luxury and tradition – from the Royal Court Theatre, which includes the first private viewing boxes at sea, to the signature two-storey library with a spiral staircase and nearly 6,000 volumes. Queen Victoria features double- and triple-height public rooms that evoke the rich and well-recorded history of ocean liner and Victorian era design.

Fares are available on a space-available basis at time of reservation. Fares for other categories not shown and for other voyages may vary. Fares are per person, do not include air travel, are voyage only, are based on double occupancy and apply to the first two guests in a stateroom. The offer expires March 31,2013.

For more information about Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria or Queen Elizabeth, or to book a voyage, consult your Travel Agent, call Cunard toll-free at 1-800-728-6273 or go to www.cunard.com.

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Virgin Vacations Has 2-For-1 Offer on November Danube River Cruises Booked by Sept 26

September 11, 2012

Virgin Vacations has slashed prices on its November Danube River Cruises, with a close-out sale offering two for the price of one when booked by September 26 © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Virgin Vacations has slashed prices on its November Danube River Cruises, with a close-out sale offering two for the price of one when booked by September 26.

Depending on cabin class, prices begin at $799 per person – half off the regular $1,599 per person price on November departures– for an 8 day Nuremberg– Vienna cruise in an upgraded C category outside cabin, or $999 in A Category with French balcony, regularly priced at $1,999 for November.

Travelers can choose from 9 different cruise and land itineraries, ranging from 8 – to 12-days. Longer itineraries also include a stay in Prague and/or Budapest and are priced up to $1,399 ($2,799 regular). Cruises sail between Vienna and either Regensburg or Nuremberg, visiting the small towns and cities situated along the famous Danube River.

Departure dates range from November 8 to 18, depending on itinerary. All prices are per person, based on double occupancy and availability. Air fare is additional.

For details and to book a cruise, visit http://www.virgin-vacations.com/promo/deals/river-cruises/.

 

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Sail Europe in a Balcony Stateroom at Interior Rate on Select MSC Cruises Booked by Aug 31

July 20, 2012

The MSC Poesia, docked in New York City. MSC has been hailed as offering the Best Onboard International Experience.© 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With youngsters back in school and temperatures ideal for exploring the history, culture and nature of Europe, travellers can take advantage of special fall rates on balcony staterooms that begin at $669 on select MSC Cruises’ sailings that reflect the region and the line’s Mediterranean heritage.

Available only for bookings made by Aug. 31, 2012 on select sailings, guests can book a balcony stateroom at the early booking rate for an interior stateroom; rates begin at $669 (per person, double occupancy; government fees and taxes are additional) for select itineraries on MSC Cruises’ elegant fleet of ships – including the new MSC Divina.

While visiting some of Europe’s most beautiful and historic destinations in the Mediterranean, guests will also enjoy MSC Cruises’ rich Mediterranean heritage and international experience with world-class entertainment, the exotic MSC Aurea Spa and Mediterranean cuisine on the line’s elegant ships, including MSC Divina, which entered the fleet in May.

Like sister ships MSC FantasiaandMSC Splendida, MSC Divina features the exclusive MSC Yacht Club, 69 suites (71 on the sister ships) in a “ship-within-a-ship” oasis of tranquility where guests indulge in comfort and convenience, complete with 24/7 Butler and concierge services; complimentary wines and spirits; private restaurant, lounge, pool and relaxation area; private access to MSC Aurea Spa and more.

Among the roundtrip itineraries available this fall at limited-time-only rates are:

  • MSC Divina’s 7-night “Divine Mediterranean” itineraries, sailing from Bari and calling at Venice, Katakolon, Izmir, Istanbul and Dubrovnik. Rates for balcony staterooms begin at $919.
  • MSC Splendida’s 7-night “Splendid Mediterranean” cruises, sailing from Barcelona or Rome and calling at La Goulette, Valletta and Messina. Rates for balcony staterooms begin at $669.
  • MSC Magnifica’s 7-night “Autumn Iberian Discovery,” sailing from Barcelona and calling at Genoa, Malaga, Lisbon and Casablanca. Rates for balcony staterooms begin at $819.
  • MSC Musica’s 7-night “Greek Islands in the Sun,” sailing from Venice or Bari and calling at, Katakolon, Santorini, Mykonos, Piraeus, Corfu and Dubrovnik. Rates for balcony staterooms begin at $769.
  • MSC Orchestra’s 11-night sailing from Rome or Genoa, calling at Heraklion, Piraeus, Istanbul, Messina and Valletta. Rates for balcony staterooms begin at $969.

Alternate departure ports and itineraries may be available. Prices may vary. Contact your local travel professional, as space is limited

On all 12 of MSC Cruises’ ships, guests will discover what earned the line Porthole Cruise Magazines 2011 Readers’ Choice Award for “Best Onboard International Experience.” Surrounded by elegance and white-gloved service, guests can be pampered with a Balinese massage in the MSC Aurea Spa, dine in the many restaurants featuring international cuisine, sunbathe poolside, gamble in the casino or enjoy the highly acclaimed entertainment in the lounges or the magnificent theater. For guests seeking more activity, there is miniature golf, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball, and shuffleboard as well as a wide variety of excursions sure to satisfy the interests of all guests.

For more information about MSC Cruises, visit us online at www.msccruisesusa.com, call 877-665-4655, or contact a local travel professional. Be certain to ask for Fall Promo for eligible fall dates and rates).

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About MSC Cruises:

MSC Cruises is a privately-held, family-owned, Mediterranean cruise line with a fleet of 12 ships: MSC Magnifica, MSC Splendida, MSC Fantasia, MSC Poesia, MSC Orchestra, MSC Musica, MSC Sinfonia, MSC Armonia, MSC Opera, MSC Lirica and MSC Melody. Its 12th ship, MSC Divina, a sister ship to MSC Fantasia and MSC Splendida, debuted in May 2012, with sister ship MSC Preziosa scheduled to join the fleet in March 2013. The fleet cruises year round in the Mediterranean and seasonally in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, South America, the Indian Ocean, and South and West Africa.

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AmaWaterways Introduces New Paris & Normandy Itineraries on the Seine River

June 13, 2012

AmaWaterways has just iintroduced the new 164-passenger AmaCerto in Europe, joining the AmaVerde and AmaBella in offering an exclusive Twin Balcony design in the majority of staterooms; multiple dining venues; complimentary Internet and Infotainment system, a heated swimming pool or whirlpool on the Sun Deck plus many more unique design elements.

Celebrating the land of Claude Monet, Victor Hugo and Napoleon Bonaparte, AmaWaterways invites guests to explore the rich history and culture of France with two new 2013 itineraries: Paris & Normandy and The Jewels of France. The Francophile cruises will visit classic French landmarks, enchanting towns and famous wine regions.

“These itineraries take our guests through the heart of France,” said AmaWaterways Founder Rudi Schreiner. “From the design of the French Balconies onboard our ships to the locally-sourced ingredients, menus selections and wines, AmaWaterways combines old-world French charm with a luxury travel experience.”

AmaWaterways’ French cruises highlight the charm of the Seine and Rhone Rivers with visits to Paris, Vernon, Giverny, Rouen, Les Andelys, Conflans, Barcelona, Perpignan, Arles, Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Vienne, Tréveux and Lyon. The itineraries include shore excursions through Roman ruins and medieval villages, wine tastings at rustic French vintners, expeditions to the famous Normandy beaches and walking tours through some of Europe’s most beautiful cities and picturesque harbors. AmaWaterways’ new 2013 French cruise itineraries are as follows:

PARIS & NORMANDYAboard the AmaLegro, the seven-night Seine River cruise will travel through Europe’s enchanting cities of Vernon, Rouen, Les Andelys and Conflans before returning to Paris. Excursions include visits to the village of Giverny, where Monet lived for 43 years and tours of Honfleur, a charming French harbor town made famous from artist’s paintings. Passengers will say “Oui” to a stroll through Rouen, the historic capital of Normandy, followed by an unforgettable excursion to the famous Normandy beaches. Visit the charming town of Les Andelys, home of the impressive Château Gaillard. The trip bodes “au revoir” in the magical city of Paris, where guests will spend two nights. North American travelers can book voyages from March 29 – Nov. 8, 2013.

JEWELS OF FRANCECombining two of France’s most beautiful rivers, the seven-night Rhone River cruise and the seven-night Seine River cruise showcase Europe’s most charming cities. Starting with 3-nights in Barcelona, passengers will explore Spain’s second largest city. In Arles, France, passengers will board the AmaDagio to cruise through France’s legendary wine regions. Excursions include wine tastings; exploring Roman ruins at Pont du Gard & Uzes and visits to the Renaissance palace in Grignan. Disembarking in Lyon, France, passengers will travel to Paris aboard the high-speed TGV train to embark on a seven-night Seine River cruise aboard the AmaLegro through historic northern France. Passengers will visit charming villages, the French harbors made famous by many artists, the famous Normandy Beaches and the impressive Château Gaillard before returning to Paris. North American travelers can book voyages from March 26 – Oct. 25, 2013.

The AmaLegro and AmaDagio are luxurious cruising experiences featuring spacious staterooms and suites, which range up to 255 sq. feet. Passengers will enjoy Chaîne des Rôtisseurs culinary creations with free-flowing wine, and unforgettable shore excursions that will immerse them in the local culture and history.

In-room furnishings include plush down bedding, a cozy sitting area, flat-panel TV, hair dryer, safe, terry bathrobes, slippers, individually controlled air-conditioning, ample closet space and bottled water replenished daily. The bathroom features a shower with multi-jet shower heads, spa bath and body toiletries and a magnifying mirror. Passengers can stay connected with complimentary Internet & Infotainment System with Hollywood movies. Other amenities include a massage and beauty salon. Special highlights include lectures, themed dinners, cooking demonstrations and onboard music performances. For passengers wanting to explore the serene paths along the rivers, AmaWaterways offers a fleet of bicycles onboard.

To download AmaWaterways’ 2012 and 2013 brochures, and for more information, visit www.amawaterways.com. To book, contact a local travel agent or visit www.amawaterways.com, like on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

About AmaWaterways

Founded in 2002 by river cruise pioneer Rudi Schreiner, river cruise executive Kristin Karst and founder of Brendan Vacations, Jimmy Murphy, AmaWaterways is the premier river cruise line on Europe’s Danube, Rhine, Main, Mosel and Rhône rivers. Known for its custom-designed ships, extensive complimentary amenities and personalized service levels, AmaWaterways consistently leads the way in river cruising. With destinations traveling through Europe, Russia, Vietnam and Cambodia, and new voyages to Africa and Portugal the line’s award-winning fleets compliment a variety of travel plans.

The Europe fleet includes the AmaPrima (2013); AmaCerto (2012); AmaVerde (2011); AmaBella (2010); AmaLyra (2009); AmaDolce (2009); AmaCello (2008), AmaDante (2008); AmaLegro (2007) and the AmaDagio (2006). In the spring of 2012, AmaWaterways will introduce the new 164-passenger AmaCerto in Europe, joining the AmaVerde and AmaBella in offering an exclusive Twin Balcony design in the majority of staterooms; multiple dining venues; complimentary Internet and Infotainment system, a heated swimming pool or whirlpool on the Sun Deck plus many more unique design elements.

In addition to the European destinations, AmaWaterways offers the separate and distinct AmaVoyages to Vietnam and Cambodia via the AmaLotus (2011) and the La Marguerite (2009); Russia via the AmaKatarina (2011); Portugal via the AmaVida (2013); and Africa via the Zambezi Queen (2009).

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Avalon Waterways announces new ships, new itineraries for river cruising for 2013; $1000 off ‘Book Now’ deals

April 26, 2012

Melk Abbey in Austria has a perch above the Danube River is visited on Avalon Waterways' new 'Austrian Highlights & Bavaria" itinerary © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com.

On the heels of announcing two new Suite Ships in Europe and Avalon ChoiceSM – an entirely new concept in river cruising – for 2013, Avalon Waterways is also unveiling plans to add five new itineraries (plus a new themed cruise) to its roster of cruise options.

“Our choice cruise options will now include more journeys through northern Holland, Austria, Central Europe and Germany,” said Patrick Clark, managing director of Avalon Waterways. “In addition, we’re giving cruisers the chance to discover the divine tastes and incredible flavors of northern France on a new Culinary Cruise. And, in Asia, we’re adding an exciting new cruise along China’s mighty Yangtze River, aboard two new ships.”

NEW EUROPE CRUISES:

Thanks to increased demand for “passion travel,” Avalon Waterways is expanding its popular wine-, music-, art-, legacy- and holiday-vacations to include a NEW! culinary-themed cruise, available on two itineraries for 2013: Paris to Normandy’s Landing Beaches (departure 1029; priced from $2,399) and Grand France (departure 1022; $4,999).

“On this cruise, travelers will enjoy cider, wine and oil tastings,” Clark said. “They will also visit a calvados distillery and a farm that produces the delicious Pont l’Evêque and Liarot cheeses. In addition, a local chef will prepare for guests a menu of regional specialties while sharing tips for food preparation.”

Another sure-to-be-hit for those interested in cruising Europe is Avalon’s 8-day NEW! Tulips of Northern Holland vacation, priced from $2,449. “Every year, our traditional Tulip Time Cruise sells out,” said Clark. “Now, we’re giving our travelers who love the beauty and history of Holland’s tulips a chance to combine some well-known sights with off the beaten path experiences.”

Originating in Amsterdam, on this itinerary, cruisers will enjoy the region of “North Holland” where tulip fields abound before cruising farther north to the region known as “Friesland,” famous for its black and white cows. They’ll sail across the Ijsselmeer and take a walking tour of the small town of Hoorn. They will also visit the ZuiderZee Museum in Enkhuizen, the Batavia shipyard in Lelystad and a windmill outside the fishing village of Volendam, with even more excursion choices in Arnhem and Rotterdam.

Other new European cruises for Avalon for 2013:

  • NEW! Austrian Highlights & Bavaria: On this 9-day cruise vacation, travelers will visit Austria’s capital, Vienna, as well as charming small towns like Melk, Dürnstein and Grein before heading into Germany’s Bavaria. This new vacation also includes time in Munich and a visit to Oberammergau. Priced from $2,579 land/cruise (priced from $1,849 cruise-only).
  • NEW! Capitals of Central Europe: With both 10- and 12-day options, this itinerary focuses on Europe’s splendid capital cities – Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest – as well as the many small towns that dot the landscape along the way. Priced from $2,939 land/cruise (priced from $2,299 cruise-only).
  • NEW! Highlights of Germany: On this 13-day journey from Munich to Basel, Avalon guests will visit two of King Ludwig’s most famous castles: Newuschwanstein, the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and Linderhof. They will also enjoy a beer tasting in Nuremberg and exploration throughout Regensburg, one of Germany’s best-preserved medieval cities. Itinerary visits also include UNESCO World Heritage sites in Bamberg and Würzberg. Priced from $4,129 land/cruise (priced from $3,399 cruise-only).

NEW ASIA OFFERINGS:

In 2013, Avalon Waterways is introducing two new ships in Asia – The Century Legend and Century Paragon – and adding a fourth itinerary (a Small Group Discovery vacation): 15-day NEW! Enchanting China & the Yangtze River, priced from $3,629.

According to Clark, on this new itinerary, travelers can experience China in-depth. They’ll visit world-famous sights in Beijing, Xi’an, Lijiang, Shanghai and Hong Kong, including such must-see sites as the Forbidden City, Great Wall, Sacred Way of the Ming Tombs, Terracotta Warriors, Yu Yuan Gardens and Stanley Market. We’re also offering them amazing, immersive experiences such as attending a special cloisonné and lacquer workshops, a noodle-making demonstration, calligraphy class, rickshaw ride through Beijing’s hutongs and a sampan ride on Hong Kong’s harbor.

“In 2013, our travelers can choose from a 4-to 24-day cruise as well as a cruise-only voyage or an extensive cruise-plus-land journey,” said Clark. “We have put together more than 100 cruise package possibilities on the greatest waterways in the world with hundreds of guaranteed departures to fit cruisers’ interests in Europe, Egypt, China, Southeast Asia and the Galápagos Islands.”

DEAL ALERT: Right now, Avalon Waterways is offering travelers a few ways to save on its 2013 cruises including offering up to $1,000 off per couple on “Book Now Sailings” as well as an early airfare price guarantee for Europe sailings. For details, click here.

To book an Avalon Waterways vacation or request brochures visit a preferred travel agent or by calling 877.380.1535. For more information,  visit www.avalonwaterways.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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

Crystal Cruises Expands Jewish Heritage Tours in Europe 2012

April 14, 2012

Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony travelers have the opportunity to intimately experience Jewish culture and history in European cities including Rome, with its expanded series of Jewish Heritage Tours © 2012 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Crystal Cruises is offering almost 30% more Crystal Adventures exploring Europe’s extensive Jewish heritage in 2012. A predecessor to the ultra-luxe line’s new Christian heritage tours, the popular program gives Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony travelers the opportunity to intimately experience Jewish culture and history. The boutique outings visit neighborhoods, museums, monuments, synagogues, and more somber sites in/near Palamós, Berlin, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Dublin, Hamburg, Rome, Odessa, St. Petersburg, and Israel.

Highlights include:

  • · Haifa: A kibbutz, the ancient holy city of Safed, Golan Heights, and a second-century Jewish burial ground.
  • · Girona: El Call, one of Europe’s best-preserved Jewish Quarters, by Segway or foot.
  • · Dublin: The homes of Dublin’s Jewish Lord Mayors and ex-Israeli President Herzog, the first dedicated day school, and Jewish cemetery.
  • · Stockholm: The Jewish Museum and three local synagogues, from Stockholm’s first (1790) to one whose interior is originally from another synagogue in Hamburg.
  • · Berlin: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, the Grosse Hamburger Strasse deportation area, Otto Weidt’s broom-making factory, and the 205,000-square-foot Holocaust Memorial (two different excursions).
  • · Athens: Athens’ Jewish Museum, containing 8,000+ domestic and religious artifacts from 2,300 years of Greek Judaism.
  • · Odessa: Kosher refreshments, Ukraine’s only Jewish history museum, Shomrei Shabbos synagogue, and Beit Grand Jewish Cultural Center.
  • · Hamburg: Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial, home of 100,000+ WWII prisoners.
  • · Ashdod: Jerusalem’s Western Wall, Old City, and Holocaust artifact-filled Yad Vashem memorial.

“Due to their enormous popularity, we’re continuing to develop niche excursions that connect travelers to their special interests,” says Vice President, Land and Port Operations John Stoll. “Our Jewish guests welcome the opportunity to experience their heritage around the world. However, even non-practitioners of the faith relish gaining first-hand insight into different cultures, and Jewish culture is particularly fascinating for its long and storied impact upon so many areas of the world.”

Half-day and full-day adventures start at $75 per person, with two-person Private Options also available in Rome, Haifa, Berlin, and Odessa. Crystal Serenity’s October visit to Israel further offers trips to Galilee, Tel Aviv, and other Jewish-related areas, by coach or helicopter.

Thirty-five, 7- to 14-day all-inclusive, luxury European cruises offer limited-time Book Now, Cruise-Only fares if booked by April 30. Optional air add-ons are available, with additional savings for groups of six or more, combining cruises, and Crystal Society member-sponsored, new-to-Crystal guests. Kosher options and Jewish services are also available on select Crystal cruises.

Crystal’s passion for creating exclusive, eye-opening luxury shore-side experiences are cornerstones of its Crystal Adventures program, earning the line top ratings for two decades.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit www.crystalcruises.com.

For more travel features, visit:

www.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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

WLCVacations Debuts Artisan Food Trails Cruise in Ireland Aboard Luxury River Barge Shannon Princess

March 16, 2012

To mark St. Patrick’s Day, WLCVacations debuts the Artisan Food Trails cruise in Ireland aboard luxury river barge, Shannon Princess. Available from April through October, the 7-day program showcases artisan experiences along the fabled River Shannon, as well as the gastronomic delights of the region with onboard cooking demonstrations.

“This extraordinary cruise will offer guests to the chance to immerse themselves in the rich flavors of the country, all while taking in the breathtaking scenery along the tranquil waters of the River Shannon,” says Ana Valente, president of WLCVacations.

The 10-passenger Shannon Princess will journey roundtrip from Dublin through rolling green hills and exotic wildlife, passing by crumbling ivy-covered ruins, ancient Celtic monasteries and sleepy market villages. The program will feature shore visits to local cheese makers, smoke houses, artisan bakers, farmers markets and more. Among the new experiences scheduled include

Sampling fresh oysters from Galway Bay’s oyster beds

Strolling through Portumna Castle’s Kitchen Garden where Shannon Princess’s Chef stocks up her galley

Indulging in award-winning Wilde Team’s chocolate in Tuamgraney

Touring a family-run organic goat farm in Athlone Town specializing in cow’s milk cheeses

Onboard, passengers will be treated to a unique taste of Ireland with Master Chef Olivia’s signature meals. All carefully-crafted meals are prepared with natural ingredients chosen from local producers and country markets along the Shannon. In addition, guests will have the opportunity to concoct the dishes themselves by participating in the chef’s private seasonal foraging and cooking lessons. Prices for the cruise start at $3,888 per person.

For more information on the Artisan Food Trails cruise aboard Shannon Princess, visit www.WLCVacations.com.

See also:

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.travelwritersmagazine.com/TravelFeaturesSyndicate

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