Category: First Time Cruisers

Odyssey of the Seas

Odyssey of the Seas – coming Fall 2020

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 0 0

It’s time to see how just far adventure can take you. Introducing the newest Royal Caribbean® gamechanger, and the first Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship to sail in the U.S and Europe – Odyssey of the Seas℠. Cue the thrills with unforgettable experiences onboard the cruise ship, dig in to delicious dining from around the world, or soak up the sun at a newly designed resort-style pool deck that brings the island vibes poolside. From bow to stern and St. Thomas to Santorini, it’s bold in every direction.

Odyssey of the Seas

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

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 347 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

Autism Friendly Cruising with Celebrity Cruises

Autism Friendly Cruising with Celebrity Cruises

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 280 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

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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

Danube Christmas Markets Cruise

Posted By : cruising/ 0 0

My niece and I were so excited to take our first ever cruise and to go on a river cruise was a great way to experience Europe in a way we never thought we would.  Especially during the holiday season and visiting the Christmas Markets.

We flew from Toronto to Budapest (with KLM) with a connection in Amsterdam.  On the way home we flew from Nuremberg to Toronto (with KLM) also with a connection in Amsterdam.  Surprisingly there were quite a few storms within Europe so we were glad we decided to fly a day earlier since you never know what could happen!

HOTEL

We spent one night at the Hilton Budapest City, which is centrally located, close to the train station, restaurants and shops as well as above West End City Centre Shopping Centre.

The rooms are large and clean.  All rooms, the lounge and restaurants have complimentary WiFi.  Modern fitness facility available.  Upon check in we purchased a package that included buffet breakfast.  Buffet had a wide selection of items i.e. cereal, croissants, Danishes, sausages, cold cuts and fruits.  Coffee, tea and juices readily available.

Front desk and hotel staff were friendly and efficient and they all spoke English.

The cab ride from the airport to the hotel took about 35 mins and cost approximately EUR40.  The cab ride from the hotel to the dock was approximately 15 mins drive cost EUR25.

CRUISE 
Finally the day arrived and we travel by cab to the dock to board AMA Serena which will be our home for the next 8 days!

The AMA Serena is a beautiful vessel and is a glow with decorations to celebrate the Christmas season.  From the minute we stepped on board we were greeted by the extremely friendly staff and crew.  We were given a glass of champagne and warm towels and were seated comfortably waiting to be checked in.  Everything went very smoothly.  There is no line up or waiting at the registration desk.  I strongly believe all check in procedures should be like this!

As a part of the check in procedure we each had a photo taken which is attached on their reservation/registration system to our room key fob.  Security and safety is key so whenever you are leaving the ship for any reason (i.e. Shore excursions) you must have your key fob scanned.  This helps the crew to know who is on board the ship at any given time (no one gets left behind! J).

There are 4 decks – the Sun deck with the heated pool, walking track, navigation bridge, bicycles, sun deck and lower sun deck, the Violin deck which has the reception, main lounge and piano bar and gift shop, 32 staterooms which includes 3 suites, the massage and hair salon, the Chef’s Table Restaurant, Fitness room, the Cello Deck with 33 staterooms, elevator down to the main dining room and the Piano Deck (our deck for our voyage) with 16 suites.

Each Stateroom had twin beds (in most cases) an en-suite bathroom, flat screen TV and keyboard (featuring various news and movie channels as well as a ship safety channel), 2 wardrobes, safe, telephone, coffee table and 2 chairs, 2 robes, hairdryer, a 110V socket as well a few more 220V sockets, and a bar fridge which is stocked with water (replenished daily).  Although the beds were small they were very comfortable. Staterooms on the Violin and Cello decks have French balconies.

Staterooms on the Piano deck (our deck for the trip) do not have French balcony but have porthole windows.

All decks are easily accessible. There is an elevator which runs from the Violin to Cello deck as well as to the Main dining room.

In the lounge you will find a bar with a piano and very comfortable couches, chairs and coffee tables throughout.  Most of us loved sitting in the lounge to mingle, read a book, while having a few drinks and looking out at the beautiful scenery.  All entertainment on board takes place in the lounge.  In the lounge daily there is a light lunch at 12 noon should you not want to eat in the dining room, tea time with tea, coffee and cakes between 4 and 5pm and at 10:30pm a light snack.

Off of the lounge there is a small library with daily news from the US and Canada depending on the guests nationality.  There were 4 Canadians (including us) and of course 2 Jamaicans (my niece and I) but no Jamaican news?!?!? J

There is also a 24 hour hot beverage area with seating off of the lounge and across from the gift shop.  Here you are able to sit and have coffee, an assortment of teas, hot chocolate, lattes, cappuccinos etc. or make a hot drink and take it to the lounge.

Whether you are seated in the lounge, library or the hot beverage area, you are able to see the various cities while cruising.

The entertainment on board consisted mostly of our pianist – Peter who was also a very good singer, or depending on the city we are visiting we had various entertainers i.e. an acapella group from Regensburg.

All meals and dessert on board were exquisite.  Breakfast and lunch were usually buffet style however you were able to order off of a menu.

The crew were very helpful and accommodating and by the 2nd day they knew each guests likes and dislikes.    They had very long hours but you would never know that they were tired as they were always full of energy and with a genuine smile.

I do feel that Riverboat cruising is quite suitable for a small group but during our cruise there was a group of American Real Estate Agents and it did tend to get quite loud in the lounge at night.

As this was my first cruise and being on a small ship made me think that this is the only way to cruise.  There is a smaller number of guests and so friendships among the guests and crew are formed very quickly.

ON SHORE

Budapest, Hungary

Our first evening was an Illuminating cruise on the Danube of Budapest’s Riverfront.  Budapest at night is quite beautiful.  We cruised along the banks and saw many illuminated buildings such as the Chain bridge, Buda Castle, Hungarian Parliament Building and Fisherman’s Bastion to name a few.  We docked for the night in Budapest.  On the second day we were taken by motor coach on a city tour of Buda as well as Pest.  We visited Heroes Square, Mathias Church, Fisherman’s Bastion, the opera house and various highlights of Buda City.  We also visited the Pest side where we saw St. Stephen’s Cathedral with its spectacular views of Pest and Buda.  Our tour ended with our first Christmas Market visit.   That night we set sail for Austria.  Our first city to visit….Vienna.

Vienna, Austria

We sailed all night and woke up in Vienna, Austria.  The day began with a motor coach tour to Vienna where we drove by the opera House, the former Imperial house of the Hapsburg Emperors, Parliament, Town Hall and Vienna University.  Our tour ended in Vienna’s historic city centre where we were given a walking tour of the city, visiting St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and other historic city landmarks.   At the end of our city tour we visited the Christmas Markets of Schönbrunn and Karlsplatz Schwedenplatz, Maria-Theresian-Platz and Rathausplatz.  After a long day we had a delightful dinner on board and sailed on to Melk.

Melk, Austria

On this day we arrive in Melk and were taken again by motor coach to Melk Benedictine Abbey were we are given a walking tour.

The abbey sits perched on a rocky hill above the quaint little village of Melk. The abbey is still to this day a functioning abbey with approximately 7 monks and schools approximately 900 co-ed students.  We were not able to take photos of the interior.  The Abbey is quite spectacular with gold frescoed ceilings and columns as well as one of the largest libraries in the world.  The view from the Abbey is quite spectacular as you are overlooking the River Danube and the village of Melk.

Passau & Salzburg, Austria

We sail overnight to Passau where we are taken on a 2 hour motor coach ride to Salzburg, the home of The Sound of Music, my favourite movie J! And also of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Enroute our tour guide gave us a little history of Salzburg and of course the movie.  For example at the end of the movie when the Von Trap family escapes the Germans over the mountain to Switzerland?  Well on the other side of that mountain…… is Germany! J

We arrived in Salzburg where we went on a walking tour through the historic town to the Christmas Market.  On the tour we pass Mozart’s birthplace, Mirabell Gardens (you know the place where Do Rei Me was filmed! J) and get a glimpse of Hohensalburg Fortress which overlooks the town.

Regensburg & Thurn and Taxis Christmas Market, Germany

We sailed overnight and arrive in Regensburg, our first Bavarian city.  Regensburg is well known for its High Gothic Cathedral and very quaint and charming cobblestone street, where we go on another walking tour of the city.  Close to the dock and next to the Stone Bridge is the oldest restaurant in Germany, Wurstkuchl (Sausage Kitchen), famous for its delicious Bavarian sausages.  Unfortunately the line-up was really long so we did not get a chance to partake is this delicious feast.

After lunch on board the ship, we are taken by motor coach (approximately 5 – 10 min drive) to the Thurn and Taxis Christmas Market.  This market is located on the grounds of the Palace Emmeram where Emperor Franz I family still resides.  The matriarch (Princess Gloria) has preserved the castle and all its surroundings and still runs the family business.  She is a collector of modern art and thus has assembled a large array of local artists and craftsmen for this very unique Christmas Market.

This was our second to last evening on board AMA Serena and so the staff and crew serenade us to say goodbye at the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail.  We were also visited by Santa Claus who has presents for all on board.

Roth & Nuremburg, Germany

The sailing from Regensburg to Nuremburg (with a technical stop in Roth) is mostly done during the morning.  The cruise enters the Main-Danube Canal (the European Panama Canal).  When we arrived in Nuremburg we were taken by motor coach on a city tour.   The city is famous for the Nuremburg Trials which was of a series of military tribunals held by the Allied forces under international and also laws of war after World War II.  Nuremburg was also known for its location of the Annual Nazi Rally’s. This was by far the coldest day on our trip and actually seeing the site and where Hitler stood making his speeches had us all thinking back to what it could have been like during his reign of terror.

At the end of our tour we are taken to the largest Christmas Market in the world which is in Nuremburg.  There is so much to see and so many people!

On this evening we are able to get a reservation to have dinner at the Chef’s Table Restaurant.  The meal consists of a delicious tasting menu accompanied by various wines.  Each course is described by the maître d’, and served by 2 waiters with a specific wine pairing.  Not only was the presentation beautiful but the meal and wine delicious.

 

 

Contributed by Kathy Gooden
Vision Travel, a Direct Travel Company

Virtuoso Offer

Virtuoso Offer with Avalon Waterways

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The “Just Right” Way to River Cruise
What defines luxury? Is it the enjoyment of the good things in life, or is it simply having things just the way you prefer them? Avalon Waterways navigates with both elegance and ease to deliver a “just right” experience – one that transports you at just the right pace, with just the right amenities, and just the right views. Along the legendary waterways of Europe, they balance enriching activities, included excursions, mouthwatering cuisine, and unmatched service to offer the perfect degree of relaxed indulgence. This is called the Avalon difference.

We’re fortunate to have a world of resources at our fingertips, thanks in large part to our partnership with Virtuoso®, an organization of the top travel agencies, travel providers, and destinations worldwide.

Through Virtuoso, we are able to offer you, our valued client, the kind of exclusive amenities, upgrades, access, and experiences that elevate your cruise including the following offer on select sailings:

~ Pre-paid Gratuities – a value of up to US $504 per stateroom depending on length of cruise

 

Included for Every Avalon Guest

  • Spacious outside deluxe accommodations with enhanced soundproofing and Avalon’s exclusive Comfort Collection BedsSM for a great night’s sleep. (See deck plans for additional stateroom amenities.)
  • Large private bathroom featuring full shower with glass door, hairdryer & premium L’Occitane® bath products
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner on board daily indicated by breakfast (B), lunch (L), and dinner (D) on the itinerary pages
  • Complimentary sparkling wine with breakfast; wine, beer, or soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included daily on board your vessel
  • A professional Cruise Director who delivers educational commentary as you travel through interesting landscapes, and who assists with requests and additional excursions
  • An Avalon Adventure HostSM available as your guide for fitness activities and active excursions
  • Friendly, English-speaking staff who deliver consummate personal service throughout your journey
  • Avalon Choice® – Enjoy included sightseeing with Certified Local Guides, Guided Optional Excursions and Tours, and ample free time to explore on your own. Explore CLASSIC sights, embark on ACTIVE excursions, and make a new DISCOVERY through hands-on cultural and artistic experiences shared by local residents and experts

New Luxury Guest Accommodations at McKinley Chalet Resort

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Holland America celebrates the Grand Opening of their new 99-Room Addition at McKinley Resort in Alaska

Holland America Line held a grand opening ceremony for its new luxury guest accommodations at McKinley Chalet Resort Friday, June 14. Officially dedicating the new Ridge View building that opened for the 2019 Alaska cruise season, the ribbon-cutting celebration was attended by Arnold Donald, Carnival Corporation and plc president and CEO; Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of Holland America Group and Carnival UK; Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line; Charlie Ball; executive vice president, land operations and customer service for Holland America Group, and several other staff members, business partners and community members. Also attending were representatives from Alaska State Senators Lisa Murkowski’s and Dan Sullivan’s offices and Denali Borough Mayor Clay Walker.

The new 99-room addition features the first-ever junior suites at the McKinley Chalet Resort where guests stay on Holland America Line’s award-winning Land+Sea Journeys. Fifty-four of the new rooms are luxurious junior suites with balconies, larger living areas and enhanced amenities including heated bathroom floors and a stunning floor-to-ceiling map of Denali National Park and Reserve.

The new rooms are an extension of Holland America Line’s overland Alaska experience to Denali, which includes the McKinley Chalet Resort hotel and Denali Square, a gathering area to relax, shop, dine and enjoy music and entertainment. The addition is located just west of Denali Square, with views of Mt. Healy and Denali National Park and Preserve.

The new three-story facility, named Ridge View, features junior suites and standard rooms with modern rustic-chic décor. All junior suites have balconies, so guests can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding Alaska wilderness while relaxing on their private deck.

The first two floors have central, open-air lobbies with cozy furniture and gas fireplaces. The third floor has open public deck space with tables and loungers so guests can take in the panoramic scenery.

The new rooms are an exciting addition to the McKinley Chalet Resort, Holland America Line’s magnificent 68-acre hotel property on the Nenana River. The hotel — featuring guest rooms, dining facilities and extensive walking trails — serves as home base for all adventures in and around Denali National Park, such as the full-day Tundra Wilderness Tour included on most Land+Sea Journeys as well as optional flightseeing, ATV adventures, fly fishing, river rafting right from the hotel property and more. All accommodations feature stylish décor and premium amenities.

Alaska-based companies that worked on the project include general contractor Ghemm Company, Inc., based in Fairbanks. Lead architect Heliotrope is based in Seattle, Washington, and also developed Karstens Public House at Denali Square. Heliotrope worked with the Fairbanks office of Alaskan architectural firm Bettisworth North. Costigan Integrated of Seattle served as project manager.

Denali Square Complex Immerses Guests in Alaska Culture
Steps from the new rooms, Denali Square lies at the heart of Holland America Line’s Denali property and is centrally located between the main area of the McKinley Chalet Resort and the riverfront guest rooms.

The largest building in the complex is Karstens Public House, the grand 7,000-square-foot, two-story restaurant showcasing outdoor deck seating and views of the neighboring mountains for dining guests. At the center of Denali Square sits an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and bench seating for guests to enjoy a variety of local shows and ranger talks. Those wanting to quench their thirst or listen to live music can visit Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the Music of Denali Dinner Theater.

Denali Square also features fire pits, outdoor seating, retail shops offering local goods, and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaska native and local artists display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Denali Square show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting.

Land+Sea Journeys Offer Most Comprehensive Alaska Adventure
Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys combine a three-, four- or seven-day Inside Passage or Glacier Discovery cruise with in-depth overland tours to the Yukon and Alaska’s interior.

Holland America Line is the only cruise company to combine must-see sites such as Denali National Park and Preserve — the centerpiece of every Land+Sea Journey — with rare ones such as Dawson City, in the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush Country. Offering up to three days at Denali for wildlife viewing and spectacular scenery, Land+Sea Journeys are designed to highlight the best of Alaska’s wilderness, wildlife, native culture and history.

If you’re looking to visit Denali and book one of these new suites, connect with on of our cruise specialists and discover Holland America’s Land+Sea itineraries today!

 

explore4 with Holland America

Why Holland America Line?

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 347 0

Over the years Holland America Line has consistently been a favourite of our valued cruisers and cruise specialists. If you have not cruised before you may be asking yourself “Which cruise line is best for me”.  If you are a seasoned cruiser but have yet to try Holland America you may be asking “Why should I try Holland America when I am happy with the cruise lines I have previously cruised with”. Well, hopefully this answers your question of Why Holland America Line?

 

THE HOLLAND AMERICA GUEST
Holland America Line guests don’t need things like waterslides, go-karts, roller coasters or climbing walls when they cruise. They are explorers, foodies and music lovers of all ages who want to pursue these passions on refreshingly uncrowded ships with one-of-a-kind culinary experiences, the very best in live music and staff that attends to every detail, every day.

 

DESTINATION EXPERTISE & IMMERSION
• Nearly 150 years of experience sailing the world’s oceans
• More than 500 itineraries connecting with over 470 ports of call
• Exclusive Explorations Central™ destination programming that gives guests a deeper understanding of the places you visit

 

UNRIVALED CULINARY EXPERIENCES
• Culinary Council® of world-renowned chefs — plus experts in wine and spirits — who design our onboard dining experiences
• A variety of dining options*, including specialty restaurants, pop-up dining and the exceptional Dining Room
• Live onboard cooking demonstrations
• Culinary shore excursions in partnership with FOOD & WINE® magazine

 

THE BEST IN LIVE MUSIC
• A great cruise deserves a great soundtrack with memorable performances from world-class musicians
• Live music for every taste at Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King’s Blues Club, Billboard Onboard, Rolling Stone Rock Room and more*

 

PERFECTLY SIZED SHIPS; RENOWNED SERVICE
• Ships designed with the philosophy that bigger isn’t better, better is better
• Sleek nautical lines, spacious public areas, wraparound decks and sophisticated style
• In every detail, every day, guests experience the best service at sea, with a gracious, friendly staff that’s never in the way but always close at hand

 

When you are ready to Experience the WHY of Holland America don’t forget to contact one of our cruise specialists to help you plan! 

Click here for a list of current Holland America cruise offers for you to take advantage of 

Cruising Alone

4 Tips on Cruising Hawaii Alone

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Many people have the misconception that cruising alone is a lonely or scary activity. Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth! Travelling alone can be an epic way to rejuvenate, to gain confidence in yourself and experience the destination in all its glory-all while setting your own agenda! On a Hawaiian cruise, there are many opportunities for single travellers to explore and push the limits, and perhaps learn something new about themselves. The Hawaiian islands accept the lone traveller with open arms, and cruising solo* onboard Pride of America is a blast in itself. So, hey, don’t be afraid to get out there and do your thing! Here are four tips for embracing Hawaii all by yourself.

SAY YES TO ADVENTURE:
So if I’m still not convincing you that travelling alone is fantastic idea (which it is), try easing into it by taking advantage of Norwegian’s Hawaii cruise excursions such as Captain Zodiac Raft, Snorkel & Dolphin Adventure; it’s a guaranteed way to be surrounded by like-minded adventurers! Not to mention, when you’re surrounded by the beautiful features, flora and fauna of Kealakekua Bay off of the coast of Kona, you won’t even be thinking about who is or isn’t standing next to you.

 

DO SOMETHING NEW:
Wait, so you’ve always wanted to try surfing? Then what are you waiting for?! When in Rome…or, should I say, Hawaii…you get the idea. Maui cruises, in particular, have a wide array of surfing programs to choose from for beginner and intermediate surfers. If surfing is something you’re already quite familiar with, why not try kiteboarding? Or windsurfing? Who knows, you might have a hidden talent for extreme sports, and the exhilaration you’ll get from trying is definitely worth falling a couple of times!

 

DON’T BE AFRAID TO DINE ALONE:
Good news: it means more food for you! Hawaii has famously unique food, often with Asian or Hispanic influence. Arguably the most ‘Hawaiian’ delicacy you’ll encounter, poke (pronounced poke-ay), is a must eat. And for those of you who are too shy to sit down by yourself at a table, poke is often grabbed on the go, so munch it down somewhere picturesque! And since you’re indulging yourself with a solo vacation, you definitely have room for the ultimate indulgence: loco moco. Gravy, meat, rice, fried egg—are you drooling yet? Cafe 100 in Hilo is the perfect place to find the loco moco that suits you, with more than 30 different varieties available.

When you’re not out exploring the local delicacies, you’ll still have 19 cruise dining options to choose from onboard Pride of America.

 

TREAT YOURSELF TO LUXURY:
Guess what? You deserve it. After all of the excitement of exploring and adventuring in and around the islands, take a moment to reflect on your vacation with one of Norwegian’s brilliant cruise spa treatments. Loosen up, unwind and meditate on the fact that you’re at one of the most beautiful destinations on Earth. After a good massage, the sunsets will seem even more vibrant, trust me. So park yourself down on a beach, sip on something sweet (and maybe boozy), take a deep breath, and enjoy the time you get to yourself, while you still can!

 

*Pride of America offers award winning Studio Staterooms, specifically designed and priced for the solo traveller.
C/O Norwegian Cruise Lines Offical Travel Blog
Read original article here – https://www.ncl.com/ca/en/travel-blog/hawaii-singles

Europe River Cruise with Viking

Exploring the rivers of Europe with Viking

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 263 0

Are you charmed by the idea of exploring Europe but do not want a traditional coach tour? You want to be right in the heart of the towns and villages but still want the comfort of having a guide? Then a river cruise sounds just about perfect for you! Immerse yourself in the Old World as you sail Europe’s most iconic rivers. Discover Danube gems like Vienna and Budapest. See storied Rhine castles. Trace French history along the Seine. From the Main to the Moselle, the Douro to the Dordogne, the Viking experience is unsurpassed.

Why Cruise the Rivers of Europe with Viking?
Viking takes you to the heart of Europe via its grand waterways, providing you with boundless insight into the continent’s cultural and historic treasures. Immerse yourself in the storybook villages, vibrant cultural centers and picturesque landscapes of The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, France, Hungary and Switzerland, and unlock a whole new world of discovery. Here is a sample of what you will see on one of their European river cruises:

  • Culinary delights in Lyon, France
  • Medieval Prague, “City of a Thousand Spires”
  • The elegant boulevards and grand monuments of Paris
  • Historic Wittenberg, home to Martin Luther
  • Fairytale windmills of The Netherlands
  • Wine tastings in the quintas of Portugal’s Douro Valley
  • Budapest’s regal Parliament building and Chain Bridge
  • Vienna’s inspirational legacy of classical music
  • France’s famed wineries in Beaujolais, Bordeaux and beyond

 

The Viking Difference

Award-Winning Viking Longships – Viking’s Longships showcase innovative engineering, streamlined Scandinavian design with understated elegance, and provide you with unprecedented levels of comfort designed to connect you to your destination.

Unparallelled Staterooms & Suites – with their exclusive patented corridor configuration, Viking is able to offer a variety of stateroom choices that include spacious Veranda and French Balcony staterooms. As well as Veranda and Explorer Suites.

Destination Focused Dining – Menus include regional cuisine and always available classics enhanced with locally sourced ingredients, so you can explore new cultures through food.

Award-Winning Service – Viking has over 7,000 staff members worldwide devoted to making your stay on board as memorable as possible. And with 90% of their staff returning year after year, you can expect the same quality service, cruise after cruise.

Onboard Enrichment Programs – While sailing you’ll want to take advantage of Cultural enrichment programs to supplement your onshore experience such as Guest Lectures & Port Talks, Destination Performances, Craft and Cooking Demonstrations and Destination Insight films available right in your stateroom.

Onshore Experiences – You’ll enjoy an included guided excursion in every port, plus The Viking Way® of exploration.

 

THE RIVERS OF EUROPE

Danube River Cruises
Coursing through Germany, Austria, Hungary and seven other countries all the way to the Black Sea, the Danube is the soul of Central Europe. Join us along these culture-rich banks, whose scenic vineyards, ancient monasteries and elegant cities have inspired travelers for centuries.

Rhine River Cruises
Raise a glass of Riesling to our acclaimed Rhine River cruises through Switzerland, Germany and The Netherlands. See how the Rhine, Main and Moselle river systems unfold to create a spellbinding display of storybook villages, Dutch windmills, German vineyards and Gothic cities.

Elbe River Cruises
Sail the Elbe to reaches seldom seen in Germany and the Czech Republic. Insights greet you at every bend as you explore majestic Berlin and Prague, delve into Wittenberg’s religious history and contrast the delicacy of Meissen porcelain with the rocky brawn of Saxon Switzerland.

Main River Cruises
Winding between Mainz and Bamberg, the Main passes through 34 locks—16 more connect it to the Danube via the Main-Danube Canal. While this engineering feat enables river travel across the entire length of Europe, it also unlocks a trove of unspoiled landscapes and historic towns.

Seine River Cruises
The Seine meanders on a serpentine path through the Norman countryside, an historic region of great pastoral beauty. Drift along dreamy apple orchards and medieval ruins. Explore elegant Paris. See Monet’s Giverny home. And honor World War II heroes on Normandy beaches.

Moselle River Cruises
The romantic Moselle winds through an enchanting landscape of castles, picture-book villages and terraced slate hillsides that form one of the world’s richest wine regions. With a settled history that predates the Romans, it is yours to discover on one of our Moselle river cruises.

Saône River Cruises
Cruise the Saône with Viking, as gentle countryside and historic cities unfold before you. Savor Lyon, France’s traditional gastronomic capital. Taste ruby-red wines in the lush vineyards of Beaujolais and Burgundy. Join us to experience this rewarding corner of France, up close.

Rhône River Cruises
Enjoy the diverse pleasures of life along the Rhône with Viking. Savor Lyon, France’s gastronomic heart; the Beaujolais wine region; quaint Provençal villages; and historic Avignon and Arles. For those who love fine food, beauty and riveting history, Rhône cruises are pure bliss.

Douro River Cruises
Our Portugal cruises uncover one of Europe’s oldest and most renowned wine regions. Cruise the Douro River through ancient wine estates, passing barcos rabelos laden with casks en route to Porto and Lisbon. A sublimely scenic corner of Europe, with equally sublime food and wine.

 

And although not traditionally “Europe” river cruises through Russia and the Ukraine are not to be missed!

Russia River Cruises
The Viking fleet is the finest operating along Russia’s rivers today, delivering eye-opening experiences in historic Moscow and canal-laced St. Petersburg. Beyond, see the domed churches of Uglich and Yaroslavl, and witness the seldom seen rural tranquility of this enigmatic country.

Ukraine River Cruises
Uncover Europe’s best-kept secret as you sail Ukraine’s Dnieper River through a maze of whisper-thin tributaries and village-studded bays. Colorful folk traditions, hearty cuisine and rich culture lead the way from the Golden Gates of Kiev to the Odessa Steps of the Black Sea.

 

Destination focused. Culturally enriching. Carefully curated. Isn’t it time you discover what makes Viking the world’s leading small ship cruise line? Check out Vikings current offers here