Category: Big Ship Cruising

Odyssey of the Seas

Introducing Royal Caribbean’s newest ship – Odyssey of the Seas

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 479 0

It’s time to see just how far adventure can take you. Introducing the newest Royal Caribbean® gamechanger, Odyssey of the SeasSM. From bow to stern and St. Thomas to Santorini, it’s bold in every direction on the latest Quantum Ultra Class feat — debuting fall 2020 in Fort Lauderdale and sailing from Rome summer 2021.

 

HIGHLIGHTS YOU WILL FIND ONBOARD

ALL THE THRILLS
• RipCord® by iFLY® — Your clients can feel the freedom of freefall without even leaving the deck.

• Sky PadSM — Whether bouncing around a sugarcoated world, or a planet lightyears in the future, it’s gravity-defying fun in this bungee trampoline experience.

• FlowRider® — The surf’s always up as 30,000 gallons of rushing awesome heads your clients’ way.

 

ALL DECKED OUT
• Resort style pools — Island vibes are set to max with two uncovered pools, plenty of shady casitas, and hammocks primed for sweet ocean breezes.

• North Star® — It’s time to raise the bar on adventure — with 360-degree views of the world from 300 feet above sea level in our signature observation capsule.

• Solarium — Peaceful swimming pools, whirlpools with ocean views and ambience for days — and nights.

 

ALL FOR THE FAMILY
• SeaPlex® — The largest indoor activity space at sea serves up family friendly thrills like bumper cars, a trapeze school, glow-in-the-dark laser tag and PlaymakersSM Sports Bar & Arcade overlooking all the action.

• Adventure Ocean® — It’s time to play outside the lines with wide open play places and dedicated spaces for all types of activities for kids.

• Teen spaces — Teenagers don’t have to choose between game time and hanging out. Spaces like Social133 put them in the action, indoors and out.

• Splashaway BaySM — Pint-sized cruisers will find gallons of adventure onboard — at the fun-soaked Splashaway BaySM aqua park with slides, water cannons and more.

 

ALL OUT DINING AND ENTERTAINMENT
• Giovanni’sSM Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar — Pizza, pasta, wine — now there’s even more to love at this reimagined trattoria.

• Teppanyaki — Your clients have front row seats for authentic Far East flavors cooked in Japan’s traditional style right at their table.

• Two70® — By night, the lights go down in this open area panoramic living room, where windows become screens, and aerialists, robots and more take your clients on a journey like no other.

• Music Hall — This is the premier place for live music lovers where the industry’s best cover bands rock like the real thing.

 

CONNECT WITH US TODAY TO BOOK YOUR CRUISE ON ODYSSEY OF THE SEAS!

FALL 2020 — Sailing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
6 to 8 Night Eastern/Western/Southern Caribbean

SUMMER 2021 — Sailing from Rome, Italy
7 to 12 Night Mediterranean, Greek Isles and Holy Land itineraries

B.B. Kings onboard Holland America

Holland America Offers Music For Your Soul

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 270 0

With so many irresistible options to choose from, evenings on board a Holland America ship can and should be all about live music. Memorable performances from world-class musicians fill your journey with an unforgettable rhythm all its own. Spend your time in one place or enjoy several venues over the course of the night. We asked our advisors to share some of their favourite ways to experience music onboard Holland America.

B.B. King’s Blues Club: Bringing you the best of Memphis music, from funky and fast to soulful and smooth, you’ll enjoy dancing while listening to an eight-piece band with two vocalists, rhythm and horn sections.  And don’t forget to try one of their specialty cocktails like the Lucille and Rock Me Baby.

Postmodern Jukebox on Deck: One of the world’s hottest musical groups is bringing its exciting signature show to sea, two ways. At The Rendezvous you’ll experience a day in the life of Postmodern Jukebox at a ‘20s jazz club. Or during a state-of-the-art shipboard concert – The Golden Age – you’ll hear Postmodern Jukebox’s most iconic songs. And of course each performance features unbelievable lavish costumes and arrangements.

Billboard Onboard: Sing along with two pianists while they play the music you love from fifty years of chart-topping hits. And between sets show off your trivia skills, answering questions on the digital screens.

Rolling Stone Rock Room: The newest addition to Music Walk on the Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam you’ll feel like your stepping into the pages of Rolling Stone magazine.  The Rolling Stone Rock Room features a five-piece live band playing iconic hits by your favorite bands covering four decades of rock and roll.

These amazing venues, along with exciting performances at The Mainstage, Lincoln Center Stage and World Stage ensure you experience the Best in Live Music and entertainment.

My Kids LOVED NCL

Posted By : cruising/ 0 0

I just took my kids on their first cruise and it was fantastic. NCL is perfect for families. There was a ton to do for every age group and the food options are limitless. We had a balcony stateroom, and there was enough room for the four of us. I loved sitting out on the balcony – it meant I could see the sunset even if we were back in our room getting changed for dinner.  The staff on board were excellent.

We sailed from NY to Bermuda – the experience of sailing out of NY harbor past the Statue of Liberty is something everyone should experience.

My kids are already planning their next cruise. 

NCL Japan Cruises

Cruising to Japan: 11 Incredible Ports to Explore

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 272 0

When you journey to Japan you will experience a land of culture, history and sites beyond your imagination. To ensure you see all you are meant to, read on to discover 11 incredible ports to explore when you sail Japan with Norwegian Cruise Lines

If you’re looking through Norwegian’s Asia cruises, you’ll find no shortage of beautiful and exotic ports, many of which are in Japan. In fact, you can even book a cruise that primarily explores some of Japan’s most iconic destinations. One option is a 13-day cruise from Yokohama. If you’re planning a cruise to Japan, here’s a look at 11 incredible ports in Japan you can’t miss.

1. Shimizu (Mount Fuji)
Shimizu is a popular port because it’s the gateway to Mount Fuji (pictured above), but it’s also one of Japan’s most beautiful ports. Here, you can visit Japan’s first sushi museum, check out the archeological site of Toro that dates back to 200 BC, or wander through a 650-year-old black pine forest. If you’re interested in regional specialties, you’ll find traditional wooden handicrafts, fabrics, and local eats like a sweet jellied confection known as yokan.

2. Kobe
Kobe, Japan, is famous for its iconic beef, but it’s also the gateway to the popular city of Osaka. Here you can visit Ikuta Shrine, one of Japan’s oldest shrines, and spend the rest of the day eating and drinking your way through one of Japan’s most beloved food destinations. Enjoy an endless amount of street foods, and don’t miss Kobe’s Nada District, which is the top sake-producing region in the county.

3. Kanazawa
Travelers who want to learn more about Japan’s Edo period, which lasted from 1603 to 1886, should book a cruise that stops in Kanazawa. This is the second-largest city to survive World War II intact. You can explore the old castle town, the Nagamachi samurai district, and teahouses in the geisha district. You’ll find no shortage of temples and museums, plus a historic market that dates back to 1721.

4. Sapporo
Sapporo is one of Japan’s youngest cities and was the host city for the 1972 Winter Olympics. World class skiing and the annual ice festival are two reasons people flock to Sapporo, especially in the winter months. From Sapporo, you can also visit other iconic destinations, such as Hokkaido, or mineral-rich hot springs like Noboribetsu.

5. Beppu
Beppu is famous for its countless hot springs. The most famous of these is Jigoku, or Hell Circuit, but you won’t be taking a dip here, as it’s only for admiring. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may be able to view thousands of cherry blossoms in the spring or the stunning leaves of autumn. For local food specialties, don’t miss stopping by the historic Tomonaga Panya. This bakery dates back to 1916, and its signature specialty is the wanchan (doggie) bun.

6. Sasebo
Sasebo was once an old fishing village, but it transitioned into a large naval port in the 19th century. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the wide range of outdoor activities here. Visit the zoological and tropical botanical gardens with over 1,200 plant species and 80 animal species. Love Dutch tulips? Huis Ten Bosch is a recreation of a 17th-century Dutch village, complete with its own tulip fields. For traditional Japanese fare, explore the Yorozu-cho District where you can find a fun market with fresh seafood, produce, and plenty of handmade pottery and clothing.

7. Hakodate
The best views in Hakodate are seen from atop Hakodate Mountain. You can take a scenic ride up the gondola to the observation deck and marvel at the views below. Don’t miss interesting Hakodate attractions like Fort Goryokaku, built in the shape of a star, or the Hakodate market. Be sure to eat local specialties like kaisen-don, a seafood rice bowl.

8. Sakaiminato
The western part of Japan is seafood heaven, and Sakaiminato is the main fishing port for this part of the country. If you’ve eaten succulent snow crab in Japan, it comes from the Sakai Port. Beautiful sculptures from local artist Shigeru Mizuki line Kitaro Road, and the city is famed for its “Yokai” bronze sculptures of Japanese folklore spirit monsters.

9. Kochi
Kochi is another fun Japanese port, especially if you want to experience a Japanese beach. Katsurahama Beach is beautiful and is home to the Sakamoto Ryoma Memorial that honors the famous Japanese peace negotiator. Settlement in this area started in 1601, and you can visit the area surrounding the historic Kochi Castle. Don’t miss trying Katsuo no tataki, which is a type of tuna tataki.

10. Miyako-Jima
Okinawa is renowned for its natural beauty, and Miyako-Jima is a beautiful port in the Okinawa Prefecture. Visitors are blown away by the turquoise water and world-class snorkeling. After you’ve worked up an appetite in the water, be sure to try Okinawa soba, a local specialty.

11. Hiroshima
Hiroshima is an emotional port for many travelers. It’s a historically rich region, but also a solemn reminder of World War II. Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and Museum, where you’ll find numerous monuments to honor those who perished during the war. Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy a myriad of outdoor activities like hiking and biking. Hiroshima is renowned for its local cuisine, including okonomiyaki, a crepe-like dish that some people refer to as Japanese pizza. It has vegetables, cabbage, and usually seafood. If you like oysters, don’t miss trying grilled oysters in Hiroshima either.

If your budget and vacation time allows, consider an East Asia cruise that primarily explores some of these ports in Japan. Many itineraries start or end in Tokyo, so you can add extra days to explore one of the world’s most dynamic cities on your own.

 

 

 

 

Original Blog Post can be found here

Autism Friendly Cruising with Celebrity Cruises

Autism Friendly Cruising with Celebrity Cruises

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 329 0

We understand that cruising as a family takes extra planning. And we can only imagine the extra steps that go into planning a cruise when travelling with special needs. One of our special partners, Celebrity Cruises, offer Autism Friendly programs for all ages to help make your family cruise the best it can be.

Celebrity Cruises® offers a welcoming autism-friendly environment onboard its cruise ships. This includes sensory-friendly films and toys, dietary menu options, and overall autism-friendly training for Camp at Sea staff. In addition, Youth Staff have received autism awareness training which covers the following topics: characteristics of autism and developmental disabilities, and communication tactics, such as person-first language and terms, and skills to initiate a conversation with a parent about his or her child’s needs. Your search for special needs cruise ships ends here.

Autism-Friendly Ships

Celebrity Cruises® offers autism-friendly interactive initiatives for families, including sensory-friendly films and toys, dietary menu options, and overall autism-friendly training for Camp at Sea staff and more. Additionally, we offer a wide range of autism friendly products and services, which include:

> Priority check-in, boarding and departure
> Camp at Sea toilet-trained policy exception
> Special dietary accommodations including gluten-free and dairy-free
> Pagers/phones for parents of children while signed into the care of Camp at Sea programs (subject to availability).
> Camp at Sea flexible grouping by ability for children 3 to 12 years old

Autism-Friendly Films

Autism friendly films are presented in a low lighting, low volume environment. Guests are encouraged to freely talk and walk around during the film. These films will be offered on all autism group cruises, and cruises with at least five children with autism onboard. Dates and times will be highlighted in Celebrity Today.

Autism-Friendly Toy Lending Program

“In our efforts to deliver top-rated products with both entertainment and educational value, Celebrity Cruises® partnered with Fat Brain Toys—one of the most highly regarded toy companies among occupational, physical and play therapists—to offer an exclusive Autism Friendly Toy Lending Catalog. We also offer: non-toxic crayons, markers, water colors, building blocks, dominoes and picture books. Upon request, we will provide a tote bag with the Fat Brain Toys of your selection.

Autism-Friendly Activities

We offer activities for children of all abilities. Families are encouraged to consult with Camp at Sea staff regarding any special needs that their children may have in order to identify which activities are appropriate for their child and any possible modifications.

Cruising Social Story

“A Social Story is a written or visual guide describing various social interactions, situations, behaviors, skills or concepts. These Social Stories help individuals with autism to better cope with social situations. Celebrity Cruises® offers a Social Story Booklet about cruising to help families with autism prepare for their cruise vacation.

What Do You Offer For Teens With Autism?
• Expedited check-in, boarding and departure
• Special dietary accommodations including gluten-free
• Autism Friendly Toy Lending Program
• Autism Friendly Films
• Social Story Booklet
• Our Teen Program with teens-only hangouts and activities. Please note while some activities are hosted, supervision or one-on-one attention is not provided

What Do You Offer For Adults With Autism?
• Expected check-in, boarding and departure
• Special dietary accommodations including gluten-free
• Autism Friendly Toy Lending Program
• Autism Friendly Films
• Social Story Booklet
• Our Cruise Activities Program.
Please note while some activities are hosted, supervision or one-on-one attention is not provided (Adults are not permitted in Teen or Camp at Sea spaces)

Top 5 Tips for Making the Most of Norwegian’s Free at Sea

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 295 0

With Norwegian’s Free at Sea offer you have a lot of choices, which one will you choose? Well, you will want to take advantage of the ones that fit best with what you want to get out of your cruise vacation. If you prefer to enjoy the sights when getting off in port then the Shore Excursion credit is perfect for you. Prefer to keep in touch with family and friends and share all your experiences, Free WiFi will keep you connected! Here are some tips from Norwegian Cruise Line to help you make the right choice!

Top 5 Tips for Making the Most of Norwegian’s Free at Sea

Feel like making a good time five times more awesome? Feel Free. With Norwegian’s Free at Sea, you can enjoy Unlimited Open Bar, Shore Excursions, Specialty Dining, WiFi or Friends & Family Sail Free. Choose one, pick two or take all five! Whether you’re looking forward to toasting each day at one of our unique bars and lounges, tasting your way through our specialty restaurants or Instagramming every perfect moment to friends and family back home, Norwegian’s Free at Sea will help you vacation your way.

1. Find Your Happy Place
If you pick Shore Excursions, you’ll receive a $50 per port credit to use for the land-based adventure of your choosing. Dog sledding in Alaska. A snorkeling and champagne catamaran tour in The Caribbean. Touring the world-famous ruins of Pompeii. The possibilities for the spectacular are seemingly endless.

Plus, once you apply your port credit, you’ll also receive the Shore Excursion discount commensurate with your Latitudes Rewards tier level on the remaining cost: 10% for Silver, Gold and Platinum, 15% for Platinum Plus and 20% for Ambassador members.

PRO TIP:
Make the most of the last shore excursion of your vacation. Put your $50 credit toward an excursion that will drop you off at the airport at the end of the tour.

 

2. Savor Every Moment
When you choose Free Specialty Dining, you and a guest will receive a dining package with up to 3 free meals on a 7-day sailing at our Specialty Dining restaurants. Kick off a romantic night with bouillabaisse and côte de boeuf at our signature French restaurant, Le Bistro or dine under the stars along our oceanfront promenade, The Waterfront, while enjoying your favorite Italian foods at La Cucina.

PRO TIP:
Wherever you decide to dine, consider reserving your table for the first night when restaurants are less crowded and it’s easier to get a reservation.

 

3. Stay Connected
With Free WiFi, you can stay connected while at sea. From posting awe-inspiring photos of Glacier Bay in Alaska to sending friends back home photos of your newfound happy place in The Caribbean, you can do it all with the Free WiFi package-a value of up to $130.

PRO TIP:
Need to tweet, post, update and email a lot? Get the best deal by selecting this package where you can then upgrade to Unlimited or Unlimited Premium WiFi for a discount.

 

4. Raise a Glass to the Good Life
Morning mimosa? Poolside margarita? Wine with your filet mignon? Coming right up. Whether you like your beverages shaken, stirred or chilled, toast the good life with Unlimited Open Bar-a savings of up to $1,400. You and a guest can enjoy all the cocktails, spirits, wine, draft beer, juice and soda you like. With multiple bars and lounges on board to choose from, no two drinks will be the same, unless of course you’d like another round.

PRO TIP:
If you savor the finer things in life, then upgrade to the Premium Plus Beverage package and only pay the difference while enjoying top shelf brands.

 

5. The More, The Merrier
Whether you’re daydreaming of planning a get together for your group of old friends or where to hold the next extended family reunion, look no further than a cruise with Norwegian. With Friends & Family Sail Free, cruising with a large group will not only save money, but our diverse selection of onboard dining, activities, entertainment and amenities ensure that everyone will have an incredible vacation. When you choose Friends & Family Sail Free, guests 3 and 4 enjoy complimentary cruise fares on select cruises-a savings of up to $1,000! So go on and start calling/texting/emailing your crew about your brilliant vacation idea.

PRO TIP:
Stretch out and relax by booking in a Suite or The Haven where the first two guests receive ALL 5 Free at Sea offers and friends and family sail free.

 

 

 

Originally shared here on Norwegian’s Official Travel Blog

Disney Wonder at sea

Great News For New Orleans and the Disney Wonder

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 263 0

New Orleans and Princess Tiana Take Center Stage in Enhancements Coming to the Disney Wonder

The world of “The Princess and the Frog” will come to life in new ways on the Disney Wonder with the addition of an exciting New Orleans-themed lounge that will transport you deeper into the heart of the city’s iconic French Quarter. A perfect complement to Tiana’s Place Restaurant on the Disney Wonder, the French Quarter Lounge will feature live music and themed activities for everyone in the family. Also debuting on the Disney Wonder this fall will be a sleek new space for teens and a redesigned café just for adults.

Here’s a look at enhancements sure to enchant:

“The Princess and the Frog” Comes to Life in a New Family Lounge
The French Quarter Lounge will be a perfect companion to Tiana’s Place Restaurant on the Disney Wonder, both inspired by the Disney animated feature “The Princess and the Frog.” The jazzy atmosphere of the French Quarter Lounge will evoke an airy outdoor space in New Orleans, surrounded by touches of iconic architecture such as wrought-iron balconies, classic brick walls and shutter-framed windows. Decorative details including a life-size trolley car and nods to the film, with signs and icons on the walls, add to the ambiance of the space.

Days and nights get a touch of bayou hospitality at the French Quarter Lounge, where you can enjoy live music on the gazebo stage and sip specialty drinks at an updated whimsical bar. The French Quarter Lounge will be a natural precursor to dinner at Tiana’s Place Restaurant or the perfect destination for entertainment and libations. The story will continue in the lounge all day long with New Orleans-themed family activities, trivia and character encounters. There may even be a glimpse of Princess Tiana herself as she stops by to welcome you.

Redesigned Retreats for Teens and Adults
Vibe, a club reserved for teens ages 14-17, will transform into a contemporary place to hang out with friends while at sea. The space will be given a timeless feel with an open, bright redesign, a light color palette and industrial metal work. A new coffee bar and updated virtual reality technology add to the list of activities for teens to enjoy in this exclusive club.

Adults will have an updated space all their own in the Cove Café, after a redesign that will transform the look and feel of the café into a local coffee shop, complete with warm, comfortable and trendy décor. Ample seating and a relaxed atmosphere will beckon you to indulge in this peaceful retreat. The newly redesigned Cove Café will be the perfect place to sip specialty coffee or tea throughout the day or partake in wine, cocktails and light bites during the evening.

Adult beverage tastings will be available at select times for an additional fee. Just steps away, Signals Bar is also undergoing a transformation with a similar look.

The new enhancements debut on the Disney Wonder’s four-night sailing from Vancouver to San Diego on Sept. 30, 2019. These additions are part of an overall commitment by Disney Cruise Line to invest in its ships, helping to deliver incredible family vacation experiences for years to come. While making these enhancements, crews perform regularly scheduled and wide-ranging maintenance to keep the fleet in tip-top shape, further demonstrating the unwavering commitment by Disney Cruise Line to continually elevate the experience.

The Disney Wonder offers a variety of itineraries and ports of call throughout the year, including summer sailings to Alaska, cruises to the Mexican Riviera and voyages to the Caribbean and Bahamas. For the first time, the Disney Wonder will also call New Orleans home in 2020 with Caribbean and Bahamian itineraries departing from this new home port beginning Feb. 7.

Honeymoon in Alaska

Posted By : Morgan Gibson/ 0 0

Alaska isn’t the destination most people think of in conjunction with a honeymoon but it’s where my husband and I ended up going and it was fabulous.  We got married in the late summer, which corresponds with hurricane season in the Caribbean and we were unwilling to risk the weather.  Europe was also a consideration; however, we were concerned it would be too busy after the intense business of organizing a wedding.  We really just needed to relax!

 

A cruise to Alaska it was! I wouldn’t hesitate to suggest it to anyone – it was quiet romantic to be able to snuggle under warm blankets on our balcony and enjoy the majestic scenery of the inside passage.

Eat Around the World Aboard Norwegian!

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 339 0

Get ready for a culinary exploration at Food Republic on Norwegian Cruise Line

Savor a fusion of foods and cultures from around the globe without ever leaving the ship. Travel to Peru to scoop up some ceviche. Jet away to Japan and try a new kind of sushi roll. Or have a hearty helping of noodles from China. Whichever delicious food guests choose, they will enjoy exotic dishes made with the freshest ingredients – and made fresh daily. Food Republic is not a food court, but rather a chef-inspired marketplace where guests order by using a tablet at their table or at the counter.

Travel somewhere new with every delicious bite.  Food Republic can be chosen as one of the specialty dining restaurants as part of the FREE AT SEA promotion or dine a la carte for a per person charge.

Food Republic is currently available on the following Norwegian Cruise Line ships

Norwegian Bliss

Norwegian Joy

Norwegian Escape

Norwegian Encore

 

The New Wave Of Cruise Experiences

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 356 0

Thirteen experiences you didn’t know you could have on a cruise.

Today’s cruising boom is good news for everyone, from aficionados who love setting sail to those ready to give a new vacation style a go. And as cruising’s popularity grows – approximately 27 million people stepped aboard in 2018 – cruise lines have diversified. It’s all about variety these days, not just in ship size – ranging from intimate, 60-passenger yachts to next-level, 6,000-person megavessels – but in style too. You can sip coffee on your balcony as you float down a European river, go searching for wildlife on an expedition ship, or get lost in a floating city at sea. Itineraries are also more creative: Culinary academies and wellness centers on board, for example, pair well with surprising shore excursions, from hiking up mountains to attending orchestra concerts. These 13 experiences are offered by cruise lines that participate in Virtuoso Voyages – an exclusive program that offers complimentary benefits and perks to travelers who book cruises through a Virtuoso travel advisor – and they’ll make you think twice about what you can do on your next sailings.

 

Welcome to the new era of cruising, where almost everything goes.

 

1 – Explore Marine Life From Inside A $3 Million Submarine

Realize your James Bond fantasies with a trip on Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Esprit, a 62-passenger yacht that touts a three-person submersible as one of its water-based activity options. (Jet Skis, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards are also at the ready.) A pilot takes two passengers at a time on explorations up to 1,000 feet below the surface, including on a seven-day, Dubrovnik-to-Venice sailing. The Esprit is an ideal vessel for scuba divers and snorkelers, and its slim size means it can call on smaller ports, including the yacht marina in Kotor, Montenegro; Croatia’s walled city of Dubrovnik; and all the way north to Venice.

Departures: Multiple dates, July 7, 2019, to August 30, 2020. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include a $125 shipboard credit. Submersible experience, $350.

 

2 – Set Sail With Your Pup In Tow

Crossing the Atlantic on Cunard’s eight-day, New York City to Southampton sailing is slow travel at its finest – rest, relaxation, and enrichment, from tango lessons and yoga sessions to fi lm screenings and music recitals. Share the adventure with your four-legged BFF on the 2,620-passenger Queen Mary 2, which has an onboard kennel for 24 pets. Like their owners, cats and dogs receive VIP treatment, including a portrait session, fleece coat, and “turndown service” of freshly baked biscuits. The pet lounge and play area welcome animals from both sides of the pond with a Liverpool lamppost and an NYC fire hydrant.

Departures: Multiple dates, June 7 to December 15, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include private port transfers in New York City and London and an onboard specialty-dining credit.

 

3 – Get Your Daily Cardio In

You’ve worked too hard to let your fitness routine slide for a week. Do as much (or as little) as you like with AmaWaterways, the river-cruise line that stables bicycles for shore excursions and employs dedicated wellness hosts to lead core and circuit training classes on board. On the new, 196-passenger AmaMagna, which debuted in May and is twice as wide as most European river ships, cruisers can log a mile on the top-deck walking track, take a stretching class in the Zen Wellness Studio, hydrate at the juice bar, or get a massage. Disembark on an eight-day, Vilshofen-to-Budapest Danube River sailing to bike along the river or hike to a castle.

Departures: Multiple dates, June 2 to December 29, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include an onboard host and welcome reception and a guided tour of Vienna’s Schönbrunn Palace.

 

4 – Discuss World Affairs With A Career Diplomat

There’s nothing like sailing with an astronaut, scholar, government official, or filmmaker to vanquish the shuffleboard-and-buffets cruising stereotype. Seabourn raises the intellectual bar with its Seabourn Conversations series, featuring notable guests who don’t just lead onboard lectures, but engage with fellow passengers over meals and excursions as well. Ashok Sajjanhar – India’s ambassador to Sweden and Latvia and president of the Institute of Global Studies, New Delhi – will educate guests on the 599-passenger Seabourn Ovation during a 19-day, Dubaito-Singapore cruise with stops in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, India, Sri Lanka, and Indonesia.

Departure: December 2, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion in Mumbai.

 

5 – Stay Out LATE Without Fear Of Missing The Boat

Azamara Club Cruises pioneered overnight port stays, letting guests revel in the local nightlife in addition to the standard daytime scene. The boutique cruise line is amping up its after-dark experiences with a new series of exclusive evening shore excursions, such as taking in an acrobatics performance in Valencia, Spain. On an 11-day, round-trip-from-Athens sailing on the 702-passenger Azamara Pursuit, travelers can attend a traditional Jewish folk music performance by a klezmer group at Jerusalem’s Ashdod Performing Arts Center. It’s part of an immersive, three-day stop in the holy city that includes visits to the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock.

Departure: September 4, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion to Jerusalem.

 

6 – Finally Figure Out The Difference Between A Julienne And A Brunoise Cut

Make tasty use of your time at sea on Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-passenger Marina or Riviera ships by enrolling in a cooking class or three at the onboard Culinary Center. Kick things off with Slice: Mastering Chef Knife Skills to learn the basics of mise en place before trying your hand at making pasta or grilling. The 12-day, Rio de Janeiro-to-Buenos Aires voyage on the Marina offers a balanced diet of cultural excursions in Paraty, Brazil; beach time in Punta del Este, Uruguay; and food and wine tours in Montevideo and Buenos Aires.

Departure: December 7, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include prepaid gratuities.

 

7 – Celebrate Your Anniversary With A Polynesian Blessing Ceremony

Cast away to the South Pacific for the most memorable of occasions aboard the 332-passenger Paul Gauguin Cruises. During an eight-day, roundtrip from Papeete sailing through the Society Islands – full of archaeological sites, lagoons fit for snorkeling, and white-sand beaches – local onboard hosts know as Les Gauguines and Les Gauguins can bless couples in a traditional Polynesian ceremony by reciting a love poem, singing, and after a Champagne toast, wrapping celebrants in a traditional patchwork tifaifai quilt. They’ll also teach you how to say “I do” in Tahitian, dance island-style, and make a basket out of pandanus leaves.

Departures: Multiple dates June 8 to December 28, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion in Moorea.

 

8 – Spend All Day At The Spa

Bookending stops in Sint-Maarten, Dominica Saint Lucia, Antigua, and Saint Bart’s, four of the 11 days on Regent Seven Seas Cruises 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer’s roundtrip from Miami journey are spent at sea, offering prime time to find some inner peace in the ship’s Canyon Ranch Spa. This at-sea outpost mirrors the famous destination retreat, with yoga classes, seaweed wraps, hot stone massages, reflexology, and hydrotherapy features ranging from saunas to cold rooms. Between oxygen facials and pedicures, check out the ship’s impressive art collection, including several Picasso’s, or learn about the healthful secrets of Mediterranean cooking in the Culinary Arts Kitchen.

Departure: January 8, 2020. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion and lunch in Saint Bart’s

 

9 – Learn How To Steer A Sailboat

Sixteen sails bound to four masts help power the 360 foot Star Flyer clipper ship, one of three throwback vessels in the Star Clippers fleet. Nautical culture meets luxury aboard this 17- passenger vessel, which has two swimming pools on its teak decks. Friendly deckhands, who hoist the sails manually each time the ship leaves port, offer knot-tying classes, ship-maneuvering lectures, and demonstrations on navigating with a sextant – a tool to measure angular distances at sea. Test your newfound skills on a 15-day, Barbados to Panama voyage, which visits Grenada, the ABC Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao), and Colombia and culminates in a sailor’s dream transit through the Panama Canal.

Departure: November 23, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a $150 shipboard credit or a private shore excursion and lunch in Saint George’s, Grenada.

 

10 – Turn Your Expedition Photos Into Professional Masterpieces

Go beyond VSCO and your smartphone’s filters: The fully equipped Photo Studio aboard Silversea Cruises’ 254-passenger (200 in polar waters) Silver Cloud offers master classes in composition, editing, and Adobe’s Lightroom and Photoshop programs. High-tech printers encourage shutterbugs to create postcards and panoramic prints, regardless of whether they were taken using an iPhone or a DSLR. Photograph the wildlife that inhabits the bottom of the earth on a ten-day, roundtrip-from-Ushuaia expedition to Antarctica. The ship’s resident photo manager will coach passengers on adjusting shutter speeds so they can capture images of seabirds in the Drake Passage, penguins on the South Shetland Islands, and otherworldly icebergs in the Antarctic Sound.

Departures: Multiple dates, December 10, 2019, to January 20, 2021. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include a $300 shipboard credit per person.

 

11 – Read Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn On The Mighty Mississippi

The sense of freedom and possibility brought to life in Twain’s iconic novel can still be found on Ol’ Man River, and you’re likely to experience both during American Queen Steamboat Company’s nine-day cruise from New Orleans to Memphis. On board the 436-passenger American Queen, an authentic paddlewheel riverboat, watch the Mississippi roll past from the ship’s decks, read a classic tome in the Mark Twain Gallery, and take in a show in the Grand Saloon. Along the way, holiday themed events and excursions reveal the history and heritage of the U.S. South. See NOLA’s ceremonial lighting of bonfires on the levee, learn how to perfect buttery biscuits in the Natchez home of award-winning chef Regina Charboneau, and more.

Departure: December 15, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception; contact your Virtuoso travel advisor regarding an additional, soon-to-be-announced amenity.

 

12 – Travel Back In Time On The Nile River

From the hand-built pyramids at Giza to tranquil Nile excursions aboard a traditional felucca sailboat, travelers will revel in the ingenuity of past centuries during their time in Egypt. Seven of the 12 days on Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection’s round-trip-from-Cairo itinerary are based on the elegant 82-passenger River Tosca. Egyptologist-guided excursions decode the colossal statues of Memnon, the mummified remains of King Tutankhamun in his Valley of the Kings tomb, and the hieroglyphics adorning temples from Luxor to Aswan. Changing pace, ride a felucca and take tea at the hotel where Agatha Christie set Death on the Nile. Go now, while tourism is growing, but before the masses return.

Departures: Multiple dates, September 28 to December 28, 2019. Virtuoso Voyages benefits on select sailings include a $200 shipboard credit per person.

 

13 – Get Cooking With A Celebrated Chef

The James Beard Foundation ships out its award-winning chefs and sommeliers on culinary-themed Windstar Cruises sailings, which include cooking demos, beverage pairings, and market tours. Gain firsthand knowledge by joining a talented chef and beverage expert on a ten-day, San Diego-to-Vancouver sailing aboard the 212-passenger Star Breeze, which plies the U.S. West Coast with stops in Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. The chef will host a wine-paired dinner, lead a shopping trip, and provide a cooking demonstration. Work off the meals while exploring the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

Departure: May 5, 2020. Virtuoso Voyages benefits include an onboard host and welcome reception and a custom-curated shore event.

 

 

Original Article from Virtuoso Traveler July 2019 issue