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River Cruising on 5 Continents

As river cruises have exploded in popularity in recent years, more and more ships have hit the water and more companies have entered the market. It is also being marketed to all generations with special family themed departures for kids from 4 years on up and hip, new U-Cruise ships designed strictly for the millennials. It’s a great way to get around to several destinations on the same trip without having to figure out transportation and hauling luggage around. Plus, there are a lot of inclusions, from excursions to meals and even drinks in a lot of cases. Typically, when people think of river cruises, they think of Europe. There are certainly a lot of great itineraries there, but it’s important to note that Virtuoso-preferred lines are operating river cruises on five continents. All those options can be overwhelming, so let’s break it down.

Europe

This continent’s rivers are still by far the most heavily trafficked. No fewer than nine Virtuoso-preferred companies offer river cruises in Europe. Some itineraries are unique. For example, Uniworld is the only line with cruises on the Po River in Italy and is also launching cruises aimed specifically at millennials in 2018. Some are off the beaten path. French Country Waterways, Abercrombie & Kent and Belmond offer barge cruising in France. Viking has a Kiev to the Black Sea journey through Ukraine. Crystal is new to river cruising after many successful years on the ocean, and its river product rivals Uniworld’s in terms of most-inclusive. Both include gratuities and alcoholic drinks throughout the ship at all times. Ama Waterways is building another ship for its always-sold-out Douro itineraries in Portugal. Past travelers with Tauck can receive the Gift of Time, one complimentary hotel night on either end of cruise. It’s also putting loft spaces into lower-deck cabins so passengers can open their windows above the water line. Avalon Waterways’ Panorama suites are designed to maximize space, with uniquely shaped bathrooms and beds facing large windows so you can see the river as soon as you wake and have an open-air sitting area inside the cabin.

Most lines include excursions in each port plus beer and wine at meals. Several have optional excursions for an additional fee, and some even have bicycles onboard if you just want to go for a ride and take in the sights yourself. Among the most popular itineraries are Christmas Markets, Tulip Time in the Netherlands and Belgium, and Danube cruises between Prague and Budapest. Special interest sailings such as wine-themed and Jewish heritage abound.

Asia

Experience India from along the Ganges, China along the Yangtze, Myanmar along the Irrawady
or Vietnam and Cambodia along the Mekong and visit some of the most breathtaking sites in the
world. Uniworld’s 13-day India’s Golden Triangle & The Sacred Ganges itinerary visits bustling
New Delhi, Agra and Jaipur before a 7-night cruise starting and ending in Kolkata. Belmond and
Avalon’s Irrawady itineraries open up the “Golden Land” of Myanmar, from shimmering
pagodas to possible spottings of the rare Irrawady dolphin. Ama is adding itineraries on the
Ganges and Irrawady in the next few years. Viking’s three itineraries in China range from 14 to
19 days between Beijing and Shanghai. All three feature the beautiful Wu Gorge and Xi’an, and
the Roof of the World spends two days in Lhasa, Tibet. Uniworld’s three China itineraries range
from 11 to 18 days, one stopping in Tibet and another ending in Hong Kong. The Mekong is quite
popular thanks to such gems as Angkor Wat and Siem Reap. Ama, Avalon, Aqua Expeditions,
Viking and Uniworld all operate all the river.

Africa

Ama’s 28-passenger Zambezi Queen does four-night itineraries on the Chobe River brings the wildlife to you as you’re floating along a primary water source. The journeys built around the cruise include options for exploring Cape Town, going on safari, seeing Victoria Falls and a luxury train ride through Zimbabwe and South Africa. Uniworld and Viking each have 12-day Egypt journeys that begin and end in Cairo. The Nile cruises feature ancient temples in Luxor, the Aswan High Dam, the magnificent Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel and of course the Great Pyramids of Giza. Uniworld deploys the 82-passenger River Tosca along the Nile, while Viking uses the 148-guest ms Mayfair and its own 48-passenger Viking Ra.

North America

As its name implies, UnCruise Adventures does things a little differently. UnCruise goes places other lines don’t go, and its itineraries through the Pacific Northwest on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers do not disappoint. On the 88-passenger S.S. Legacy, a replica of an 1898 coastal gold rush steamer, UnCruise has three themes: Legacy of Discovery, Rivers of Wine and Rivers of Adventure, all roundtrip from Portland. The Legacy of Discovery traces the path of Lewis and Clark, delving into the culture and history of the area. Rivers of Wine features winery tours and tastings in five American viticultural areas: Columbia Gorge, Walla Walla, Red Mountain, Columbia Valley and Willamette Valley. Rivers of Adventure offers white-water rafting on the Deschutes River and water sports in Palouse Falls State Park. Don’t worry, you get to drink wine and see Multnomah Falls on all three options.

South America

With capacities of 44 and 32 respectively, the Delfin III (Avalon) and Aria Amazon (Aqua Expeditions) take guests down the Peruvian Amazon in comfort. Aqua’s seven-night Expedition Cruise, four-night Explorer Cruise and three-night Discovery Cruise all start and end in Iquitos, with different itineraries depending on water level. The long you cruise the more opportunity there is for piranha fishing, jungle trekking and glimpsing pink dolphins. Avalon’s itineraries, ranging from 11 to 20 days spend four days on the river with journeys Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, the Nazca Lines and even a second cruise in the Galapagos possible.

Panama Canal to Bay City

Robert and I invite you to join us on this fantastic voyage from Miami to San Francisco including the fascinating Panama Canal Transit. Along the way you will have the opportunity to visit several UNESCO World Heritage Colonial Cities, beautiful beaches, bubbling volcanoes and more. All the while you will travel on the Ultra luxurious all-veranda suite RSSC Mariner – where everything is included. Travel with us for Exclusive Virtuoso Voyages amenities and $500 per suite on board credit. Amazingly this far ahead, suites are selling fast for this fabulous itinerary.Please contact me for more details and to book your suite.

Rivers of Wine Cruise on the Columbia and Snake River

Space is filling fast – please do not delay contacting me if you would like to join us on this wonderful Wine Cruise. We have extended our exclusive $350 per cabin discount until May 31st!   
No passports required! This is Wine Cruising USA style on the beautiful Columbia and Snake Rivers tracing the footprints of Lewis & Clarke and visiting fabulous wineries in Oregon and Washington State!

The wine country in Oregon and Washington is situated on the same parallel as Burgundy and Bordeaux in France. The climate, soil and long growing season (April to October) make this part of the Northwest a great host for grape vines. The countryside is varied, ranging from the arid, golden hillsides of eastern Washington to the lush, moisture-rich slopes of Oregon. Winemaking there has surged in the last decade, with 850 wineries in Washington and nearly 700 in Oregon — many of them boutique operations producing award-winning wines. Oregon is known for its pinot noir and pinot gris while Washington is associated with big reds like cabernet sauvignon and syrah and whites such as riesling and chardonnay.
Won’t you join us for this fantastic voyage next October. Space is extremely limited on this small ship so please contact me as soon as possible to secure your cabin.

Venenice Lagoon and Po River Family Cruise with Uniworld

 

           

Just back from a wonderful adventure in Venice with my 6-year old granddaughter on an amazing Uniworld Family Cruise on board the beautiful River Countess. For those of you who did not follow along on my Facebook posts, here is a brief synopsis of a week full of surprises.

After resting up at the exquisite Londra Palace hotel, we boarded the lovely River Countess at the Port of Venice for a week of incredible discoveries in and around the magical city of Venice.

Along with visiting several of the Venice highlights, including an exclusive after-hours visit to the basilica, and a visit to the Rialto Market with the chef, we and the children were treated to such cultural delights as mussel fishing and dining at a fisherman’s shack on stilts in the lagoon, historical Bologna and a pasta making class, pizza making and visits to the beautiful lagoon islands. River Countess set up a special room on board for the kids complete with legos, all kinds of crafting activities and a playstation with video games. They all had a wonderful time together and dined with each other at a special kids table in the dining room where the waiters (probably all missing their own children back home) all showered them with attention. Guests on board without children all marveled at how well behaved they were and well organized by the special Children’s hosts on the ship.

   

On the island of Torcello while the adults enjoyed a visit to view the amazing mosaics in the church, the kids went on a treasure hunt and climbed the bell tower. In colorful Burano, we dined on fresh calamari and shopped for treasures. And while the adults enjoyed a special wine tasting at a gorgeous vineyard on Mazzorbo, the kids honed their rowing skills on a canal in the Lagoon. Visits to the local market in Chioggia, time at the beach and bike rides, rounded out a week filled with activities. For the older children and adults, excursions to Padua, Ravenna and Verona were also offered. All around fun time for all!!

           

I highly recommend this amazing itierary for all ages. It is an incredible way to see Venice and so much more. Uniworld thought of every little detail to keep clients of all ages happy at all times.

For families with children young and old, this is a fantastic vacation opportunity you may never have considered. Dedicated family cruises are offered on several of their River Cruise itineraries. Ask me about the perfect one for you.

Silversea to Central America

Join us on this Virtuoso Voyager Club adventure as we travel to Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Honduras, and experience each country’s undeniable allure. Wander amid Mayan ruins and have lunch on a Cozumel beach. Go fly-fishing in Costa Maya, and soar over stunning Tikal National Park in a helicopter. You can even enjoy the relaxation and revelry of Key West, the “Conch Republic”. This sweeping Central American adventure is one you’re sure to enjoy.

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Exclusive Offer: Enjoy a 10% Single Supplement on this Voyage.

Culinary Cruise with Chef Jacques Pepin

Calling all foodies … don’t miss this opportunity to sail with celebrity chef, Jaques Pepin, on this wonderful itinerary through the Mediterranean from Lisbon to Rome … and then book the fabulous Culinary Creations experience in Rome following the Cruise. Enjoy special on board culinary presentations and excursions, great pricing and our group bonus of prepaid gratuities and $150 on board credit!! A Food lover’s dream … contact us for more details.Oceania-Jaques Pepin 2015-page-001

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Paris & Normandy - In Celebration of Wine

We have an exclusive extension of the early booking discount until August 31st, 2015. Also we are now able to give you $150 per person on board credit. COME AND JOIN US …. CAN YOU SAY “CHAMPAGNE!!”

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Regent Voyager Mediterranean Cruise October 23-November 2nd

 
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It is lovely to visit the Mediterranean late in the season when the weather is usually wonderful, there are less crowds everywhere and between summer and the holidays, it is just a nice time to travel. And it is especially lovely to do so on an exquisite luxury ship. Arriving in Rome for two leisurely days in one of our very favorite cities, gave us time to rest up and lose the jet lag before boarding the beautiful Regent Voyager just out of dry dock with a major refurbishment which made her look brand new.

This is a small ship by today’s standards accommodating just 700 passengers in elegant veranda suites of varying sizes. We splurged on a huge Seven Seas suite with 1-1/2 bathrooms and a butler which was pure heaven for our 10-day voyage. The ship is small enough to be intimate and have no crowded spaces or lines anywhere, ever, yet large enough to have various dining and entertainment venues to please everyone.  A lovely touch is Regent’s “block party”, right after muster the first afternoon, all passengers were invited out into their hallways and asked to bring a glass from their bar. And there waiting to greet us were waiters with canapés and bottles of champagne as we greeted our new neighbors and the officers who passed by to greet us.

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Throughout the cruise all the staff were amazingly courteous and efficient, not one staff member ever passed us in the halls without smiling and saying “good morning, afternoon, evening”. We all swore the butlers had hidden cameras in the suites as they appeared out of nowhere with our evening hors d’oeuvres the minute we stepped in!  The food in all the restaurants on board was exceptional at all times as were the free-flowing wines offered throughout the journey. The ship also boasts a magnificent Canyon Ranch Spa for those wishing even more pampering.

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Our journey through the Mediterranean and Aegean seas took us from Rome to Monte Carlo, on to Pisa and Lucca, Sorrento, Taormina, Sicily for wine tasting at a vineyard on the side of Mt. Etna; Corfu, Greece; Kotor, Montenegro – indisputably everyone’s favorite; Dubrovnik, Croatia and back to Italy for visits to Ancona and Venice. It was a dream itinerary revisiting many favorite spots and discovering new ones. The dawn arrival at St. Mark’s Square had everyone up on deck to witness this amazing scene …. One which may not be possible much longer as Venetians are trying to ban the cruise ships passing that way anymore.

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We have been fortunate to travel in Europe by ship from Lisbon to Istanbul over the years visiting just about every port along the way and we never tire of this incredibly civilized and comfortable way to see the world. Try it, we guarantee you will like it!

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Off to sail on the RSSC Voyager

Packing now to leave in a few days to host over 100 Virtuoso Voyager Club clients on a marvelous voyage from Rome to Venice on the beautiful Regent Seven Seas Voyager. All our guests will be comfortably accommodated in their luxurious suites with verandas, many with the additional luxury of Butler service.
I will keep you updated on our adventures as we sail the Mediterranean and Adriatic on this exciting itinerary.

 

Seven Seas Voyager

Last Chance to Experience the Douro with USD2000 Savings

This is a truly amazing itinerary. The scenery is breathtaking, the port visits are fabulous and it is absolutely one of the best trips I have ever taken. If you are a wine enthusiast it is a must-do. This is a fantastic offer. Don’t pass it up!

 

AmaWaterways - Leading The Way In River Cruising
Discover the Dramatic Douro
 Exceptional Savings on Summer Douro Cruises
Save up to $2,000 per stateroom
Cruises from $1,899 per person
AmaWaterways has two exciting river cruises debuting on Portugal’s Douro River in 2013. Experience one of Europe’s most unspoiled and undiscovered rivers on a journey filled with ancient monasteries, sleepy fishing villages, centuries-old wineries and vibrant cultural centers. With its ruggedly beautiful terrain and laboriously terraced hillsides, no wonder the locals boast, “God made the earth, but man made the Douro.”

ENTICING DOURO ENTICING DOURO
7-night roundtrip Porto cruise on the brand-new AmaVida
Optional 3 nights in Lisbon available for $690 per person
U.S. departure dates: August 2 and 9, 2013
Starting from $1,899 per person

OR $1,000 SAVINGS PER STATEROOM
U.S. departure date: July 5 and 26, 2013
Starting from $2,399 per person

PORT WINE & FLAMENCO PORT WINE & FLAMENCO
$1,000 SAVINGS PER STATEROOM
7-night cruise from Vega Terrón to Porto on the brand-new AmaVida
Optional 3 nights in Lisbon & 3 nights in Madrid
available for $1,380 per person
U.S. departure dates: July 12 & 19, 2013
Starting from $2,399 per person