Category: Sailing

Star Breeze in Portoferrario

Windstar Cruises Cuts Star Breeze in Half

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Windstar Cruises has reached a huge milestone in their $250 Million Star Plus Initiative! Star Breeze is at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Italy, and was cut in half in preparation for the insertion of a new block! This transformation includes a new eclectic Spanish restaurant Cuadro 44 by Anthony Sasso, the new alfresco Star Grill by Steven Raichlen, an elevated pool, and a new spa and fitness center. In future voyages you’ll discover thoughtful re-imagined enhancements throughout all suites, including new bathrooms.

The slightly larger ships and new enhancements will significantly build upon the signature onboard environment Windstar is known for. The social and friendly public spaces on the ships create a welcome chemistry between guests and the crew. This is the first of three new mid-ship sections to be constructed and inserted as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, which is committed to the expansion and transformation of the cruise line’s three Star Class vessels.

Be one of the first to experience these new features in person during the inaugural Star Breeze Caribbean cruise, Colors of Key West & Central America, departing from Miami on March 20, 2020!

 

Recipe: Simple to Make Lemon Tiramisu

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Shared from our friends at Windstar Cruises, this Lemon Tiramisu dessert sound like a perfect way to add some summer sunshine into a classic recipe

Before we start making a simple lemon tiramisu, we will tell you where we got this recipe.

Gorgeous seasonal produce and beautiful markets constantly inspire us to play with new spins on traditional dishes. Wandering the morning market in Antibes, France with the James Beard Foundation Awarded Chef Maxime Billet, it was easy to drool over the mounds of purple garlic, the towers of heirloom tomatoes, and the crates of just-foraged chanterelle mushrooms. Summer in the south of France is known for the bounty of its gorgeous harvest, and the market of Antibes certainly does not disappoint! But it was the massive, knotty, nearly-neon yellow lemons that drew me in the most.

In northern Italy, the perfect summer dessert is Tiramisu (literally, ‘pick me up’). Served cold straight from the fridge, there is nothing better than this creamy, caffeinated dessert. But the French lemons made us want to play with this classic recipe, switching out the traditional coffee for a tart lemon syrup, and trading the rum for a splash of bright limoncello. Perfect for those hot afternoons after a morning at the beach, or those late night sweet snack desires, enjoy this memory-invoking Mediterranean take for your next dessert craving!

Simple Lemon Tiramisu from Windstar Cruises

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1¾ cup sugar, divided
  • 1 lb mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup lemon curd
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 10 lemons)
  • 1 cup limoncello
  • 20 ladyfingers
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

 

Directions

1) Whisk the whipping cream and ¾ cup sugar until it reaches soft peaks. Set aside.

2) Put the mascarpone cheese into a medium bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in the lemon curd. Fold in the sweetened whipped cream. Set aside and keep chilled.

3) Mix the lemon juice and the remaining 1 cup sugar in a small pot over medium heat. Heat just until sugar is melted. Remove from heat, and stir in limoncello. Let cool.

4) Soak ladyfingers in cooled limoncello mixture for a couple seconds, rotating to coat all sides. (Do not oversoak, or else your ladyfingers will dissolve, and your tiramisu will be too wet). Place ladyfingers side by side on the bottom of an 8- by 8-inch pan.

5) Put half the lemon cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers in pan. Smooth with a spatula or spoon.

6) Apply the second layer of limoncello-soaked ladyfingers and remaining cream. Sift a light dusting of powdered sugar over the top. Cover in plastic wrap and chill.

7) To serve, cut lemon tiramisu into squares (or simply spoon it out if it is too soft to cut) and serve on plates.

 

The New Wave Of Cruise Experiences

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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

Photography Ideas While Travelling in Alaska

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Did you know Alaska means “great land” in Aleut? If you travel to Alaska, you’ll quickly see why. Alaska is one of the most spectacular places in the world to photograph wildlife and breathtaking scenery. In Alaska, you’ll find 17 of the highest mountain peaks in the country, more than 3 million lakes, an estimated 100,000 glaciers and more than 70 volcanoes. It’s no wonder Alaska is a photographer’s dream come true.

You may be wondering where to start, since there is so much beauty to behold in the Last Frontier. We’ll inspire your photography journey, and show you some of the most jaw-dropping locations to take photos in Alaska.

Most Beautiful Places in Alaska to Take Photos
Alaska may be best known for Denali National Park, but the entire state is full of photogenic jewels. Consider the following locations for your photography excursions. By the end of this post, you might agree — photography in Alaska should be on everyone’s bucket list.

1. Kodiak
Kodiak is a city on Kodiak Island —Alaska’s largest island. It’s one of the top fishing destinations in the country, where you might catch halibut, cod, trout and salmon. It’s also home to Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, where you’ll find enchanting fjords, impressive mountains, alpine lakes and peaceful meadows.

Wildlife photography is a top activity for refuge visitors. Birdwatching photographers have a chance to capture the beauty of over 200 species of birds. In the winter, they’ll find sea ducks and other migratory birds, and in the summer they may see puffins from the North Pacific.

Many people travel to Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge to view Kodiak bears, as 3,000 bears call the refuge home. Frazer Lake, which is at the southern portion of the refuge, is a popular spot for bear viewing. The best time to look for bears is at dawn or dusk. You have a greater chance of seeing bears at salmon streams from July to September. The refuge staff recommends taking a guided tour to view and photograph bears. With a guided tour, you can make the most of your experience and ensure your safety.

There are tons of other photography opportunities in Kodiak. For example, you could take a boat tour of nearby islands and snap photos of sea otters, sea lions, puffins or maybe even whales. Or, you could stay in Kodiak and capture images of St. Paul Harbor and the colorful fishing boats set against a backdrop of mountain greenery.

 

2. Seward
Seward is a port city located south of Anchorage, surrounded by the majesty of the snow-capped peaks and Kenai Fjords National Park. Seward is one of the state’s oldest and most picturesque communities.

To start your photography expedition, you might take a picture of the Seward Boat Harbor at the northern tip of Resurrection Bay and capture the essence of Seward. You could also go on a boat tour of Resurrection Bay, camera in hand, and explore hidden coves or photograph sea otters, harbor seals and eagles. Head down to Lowell Point for calming pictures of deep blue water and misty mountains.

You could easily capture hundreds of photos without ever leaving the bay area. However, photographers do not want to miss the chance to explore Kenai Fjords National Park— a top destination for visitors who wish to surround themselves with glacial beauty. You’ll find almost 40 glaciers drifting from the Harding Icefield and an abundance of wildlife in the park’s lush forests and crystal waters.

You might get to photograph sea otters, sea lions, moose, mountain goats, gray wolves, bears and a variety of birds. You might also see orcas and humpback whales. Imagine snapping a shot of a whale rocketing from the water, or capturing the striking contrast of a red kayak in front of a glacier.

Most of the park is only accessible by water, but a boat tour offers incredible opportunities to photograph breathtaking scenery and wildlife. If you’re a photographer visiting Seward, Kenai Fjords National Park is a must-see.

 

3. Metlakatla
Metlakatla, located on Annette Islands Indian Reservation, is the only American Indian Reserve in Alaska. It’s also the only settlement of the Tsimshian people in the country. The community has an active economy due to its natural resources and the ability to harvest halibut, cod, clams and salmon. Metlakatla features lush forests and salmon-rich streams. Visitors usually travel to Metlakatla by boat or seaplane.

For traveling photographers who want to capture Alaska’s cultural diversity and history, Metlakatla is the place to go. Plan to take pictures of skillfully crafted totems, traditional dance, a longhouse painted with a Tsimshian design or the tranquil harbor. You might also take photos of the island from atop Yellow Hill, which stands 540 feet above the community and offers a panoramic view.

 

4. Wrangell
Are you looking to photograph a colorful array of totems and Native American art? Or would you rather snap pictures of Alaskan wildlife? You can choose both if you head to Wrangell.

Wrangell is one of the oldest towns in Alaska and surrounded by natural beauty. You’ll find over a dozen totems scattered through the town. Make sure to take your camera to Chief Shakes Longhouse, located on an island in the middle of the harbor, to take close-ups of totems and tribal designs. You can easily reach Chief Shakes Longhouse by walking over the pedestrian bridge. Keep on the lookout for bald eagles too while you explore the island.

While in Wrangell, you might also visit Petroglyph Beach State Historic Park to photograph primitive rock carvings. If you want to take a short trip south of Wrangell, you can visit the Anan Bear and Wildlife Observatory to watch eagles, harbor seals and bears feast on salmon. However, you don’t have to leave Wrangell to view wildlife. You only need to look to the trees to catch a shot of an eagle or to the shoreline for herons. Everywhere you turn, you can find something picture-perfect.

 

5. Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm
Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm are long, narrow fjords located about 45 miles south of Juneau. From aboard a boat, photographers can capture some of the most unforgettable scenery in Alaska. Imagine plunging waterfalls crashing down cliffs into turquoise water, or brilliant blue ice formations dotting the water like gems. You’ll also have the chance to see eagles, seals, bears and whales if you go in the summer.

You might take your camera with you as you stand within a half mile of South Sawyer Glacier if conditions are right. This glacier, at the head of Tracy Arm, extends deep underwater, producing a vibrant blue hue. If you’re lucky, you might also find mountain goats at the base.

For dramatic glacial scenery that will take your breath away, make sure to explore Tracy Arm and Endicott Arm. When you look at your gorgeous photos post-trip, you’ll be so glad you did.

 

6. Inian Islands
Inian Islands is a unique and pristine designated wilderness area located between Chichagof Island and Glacier Bay National Park. The area is only accessible by floatplane or boat. There are no established trails on the islands, but visitors still have plenty of ways to explore. If you tour Inian Islands by boat, you’ll get to treat your eyes, and your camera, to the unspoiled beauty of dense temperate rainforests, rocky shorelines and shimmering icy water. You’ll mostly want to focus on the water, so you don’t miss the chance to capture photos of humpbacks, orcas, sea lions and otters.

 

7. Icy Strait Point
Icy Strait Point is a tourist destination privately owned and operated by Huna Totem Corporation. It’s on Chichagof Island outside of Hoonah — Alaska’s largest Tlingit village. Lush rainforest and clear, blue waters surround Icy Strait Point. Here, you can choose from over 20 tours, check out a restored Alaskan salmon cannery, walk nature trails or set up your gear on the shore and wait to capture shots of whales or eagles soaring overhead.

One of the benefits of visiting Icy Strait Point, besides its stunning beauty, is the chance to search for wildlife with the help of a tour guide. For example, you might head with a guide to see brown bears at the Spasski River Valley, which is known for a high brown bear density. While on a tour, a guide can show you the best spots for taking wildlife photos. You’ll also get to learn about the animals and enhance your overall experience. You’ll enjoy the meaning of your photographs with greater depth if you learn the story and history behind them.

 

8. Juneau
Juneau is Alaska’s capital city. Downtown Juneau sits at the bottom of Mount Juneau on the Gastineau Channel. Tongass National Forest surrounds the city — the largest national forest and home to the highest density of black bears in the world. An estimated 32,247 people call Juneau home.

Juneau in itself is a photogenic location. While in the city, watch the sky, and you might catch a bald eagle or great blue heron flying overhead. You may also find whales swimming past you as you walk through town, or seals peeking at you from the channel. Search the steep sides of Mount Juneau, and you might catch a black bear or mountain goat feasting on vegetation.

To get closer to the abundance of wildlife in Juneau, you can ride the Mount Roberts Tramway almost 2,000 feet above downtown and explore subalpine trails. In the summer, you’ll find marmots and grouse. You might also see bears, deer, porcupines and other mammals along the trails.

Finally, you won’t want to miss Mendenhall Glacier while you’re visiting Juneau. Here, you can view the 13-mile-long glacier, which ends at Mendenhall Lake, from the historic visitor center. You can also walk along the lake for spectacular views of icebergs or to photograph Nugget Falls cascading down the mountain. You might also snap shots of moss-covered trees or wildlife while exploring the area. To get there, you can take a bus or taxi from downtown.

 

9. Misty Fjords
Located a short trip east of Ketchikan, Misty Fjords National Monument is a designated wilderness area and part of the Tongass National Forest. Thousands of years ago, ice covered the area, carving deep fjords with cliffs reaching thousands of feet into the sky. You can travel by boat on the Behm Canal to enter the heart of the fjords and take jaw-dropping photos. It’s possible you’ll see whales, porpoises, mountain goats and bears along the way. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to photograph plunging waterfalls, abundant wildlife, dramatic cliffs, dense green forest and pure, astonishing beauty.

 

10. Ketchikan
Situated near the entrance of the Inside Passage, Ketchikan is a city that offers charming scenery, surrounded by wildlife-rich waters and forest. Besides being in the Tongass National Forest, Ketchikan is also home to a vibrant arts scene. In other words, there is a ton of potential to photograph something incredible anywhere you turn in Ketchikan.

For example, did you know Ketchikan has the largest collection of totem poles in the world? Some of them are also among the oldest. You can get shots of totems scattered around town or at one of their totem parks. If you want to immerse yourself in nature while visiting Ketchikan, consider taking a trip just outside town to the Alaska Rainforest Sanctuary to possibly get photos of eagles or black bears. At the sanctuary, you can also stop at a historic sawmill or stroll through the totem park.

Alaska scenery is hard to believe unless you’ve been there. Words can’t describe the majesty of steep rocky cliffs jutting out from deep blue-green water, or the sight of massive ice formations carved by time and nature. If you explore Alaska, you will never forget the scenery. Taking pictures is one way to remind yourself of your journey, but the beauty of Alaska will likely remain embedded in your mind and your heart.

 

 

Post shared from Windstar Cruises Blog
Written by Curtis Carr and Original can be found here

2020 Dates for the James Beard Foundation Culinary Cruise Collection

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Award-winning small ship line Windstar Cruises, the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation, today reveals six new cruises being added to the James Beard Foundation (JBF) Culinary Cruise Collection for 2020.

All sailings are led by James Beard Foundation-recognized guest chefs, sommeliers and beverage experts with a passion for their destination. The six diverse cruise offerings will explore locavore cuisine on a country-immersive Croatia cruise; get a flavor for the rugged north of Alaska; discover the hidden gems of France, Spain, and Portugal’s Atlantic coast; experience exotic cuisines of Indonesia and the Philippines; delight in the hidden harbors of the Caribbean; and introduce cruisers to the trend-setting foodie scene and wine regions of the U.S. West Coast. The six newly announced cruises are scheduled to sail from January through November 2020, and range in length from 7 to 14 days.

Together, Windstar and the James Beard Foundation are taking guests on epicurean adventures that deliver the best travel and cuisine experiences worldwide, by curating genuine local culinary encounters while drawing attention to the impactful work of the Beard Foundation network which celebrates food and advocates for food sustainability.

“Our exclusive partnership with the James Beard Foundation has allowed us to enrich our culinary experiences giving our guests unparalleled access to the most cutting edge and accomplished culinarians in the industry. Every evening, on every single sailing, our cruise guests enjoy destination-inspired JBF dishes created especially for Windstar by the James Beard guest chefs who have sailed with us. We have proudly hosted nearly three dozen chefs, sommeliers and beverage experts and counting. What is unique is that each one has a special connection to the places they are sailing, whether through food or family heritage, this creates powerful and inspiring personal experiences that our guests will never forget,” said Windstar President John Delaney.

Coinciding with this announcement, and as part of the unique travel-culinary alliance, Windstar sponsors the acclaimed James Beard Foundation Awards, the pinnacle of recognition in the culinary world, happening today at the Lyric Opera in Chicago, IL.

James Beard Foundation President Clare Reichenbach commented, “We are so pleased to have Windstar’s support of our mantra ‘good food for good’, which commits the James Beard Foundation to giving culinary professionals the tools they need to make the world more sustainable, equitable, and delicious for everyone. The JBF Culinary Cruise Collection shines a light on these chefs and wine experts and highlights the important role that food plays in the culture and economies of each of the ports where Windstar sails, the world round.”

A number of Windstar alumni guest chefs are attending the JBF Awards Gala including Chef Danielle Leoni of Breadfruit in Phoenix, AZ. who led guests on a Caribbean cruise adventure in January, and is a James Beard Foundation 2018 Fellow for the Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program; also attending is acclaimed Chef Hugh Acheson of Empire State South, Five & Ten, and The National in Atlanta, GA. who headlined a 2017 European JBF Culinary Cruise and is nominated for Outstanding Restaurateur.

Windstar’s Corporate Executive Chef Graeme Cockburn joins an exclusive club of chefs that have been invited to prepare a signature bite for the 1,000 plus guests attending the famed JBF Awards Gala. Chef Cockburn sails aboard each JBF cruise overseeing the culinary operations, and the dishes specially developed by the James Beard guest chefs are featured in Windstar’s restaurants each evening and enjoyed on every sailing. For the JBF Awards Gala, Chef Cockburn has developed a recipe inspired by Windstar’s forays into the alpine areas and glaciers of Alaska and will be serving up Seared Venison Loin & Alaskan Pine Spruce Salad with Nasturtium Pesto and Goat Buttermilk Dressing at the epicurean extravaganza.

Windstar also supports JBF’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. A number of the guest chefs who have sailed with Windstar are alumni of the prestigious camp, a part of the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Programs which are committed to establishing a more sustainable food system through education, advocacy, and thought leadership.

Windstar’s JBF Culinary Cruise Collection Offers Authentic Culinary Experiences

The bespoke portfolio of nine total upcoming sailings in the JBF Culinary Cruise Collection embarking June 2019 through November 2020, are attracting food and wine enthusiasts seeking to fully immerse themselves in the culture, tastes, and flavors of regional cuisines where the ships sail. Each cruise features a James Beard chef, working alongside Windstar’s culinary team. The guest chef acts as an onboard culinary ambassador teaching first-hand tips and techniques during cooking demonstrations, leading “Shopping with the Chef” tours to local markets, and picking out fresh local ingredients to use in featured dishes at a wine-paired gala dinner for all on board to enjoy.

Similarly, the JBF sommelier/beverage expert accompanies tours to local wineries, leads on board tastings of regional wines and spirits, and works with the chefs to create one-of-a-kind pairing menus that celebrate the quaint, small ports that Windstar is renowned for visiting. Guests on board get to know these epicurean experts on a personal level, tasting the dishes and wines they recommend and hearing firsthand what stirs their passion for food, wine, and spirits. One-on-one interactions with the guest chef and sommelier/beverage expert are a given during memorable cruise moments like Windstar’s Signature Sail Away and Signature Deck Party, or on a culinary-focused shore excursion.

The names of the 2020 guest chefs, sommeliers, and beverage experts who are being tapped as the culinary cruise ambassadors will be announced in the coming weeks. Below are the dates and itineraries for the six newly announced 2020 additions to the JBF Culinary Cruise Collection:

  • January 25, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: The Spanish Main: Rise of the New World, Colón to San Juan, 7 days aboard Star Pride
  • May 5, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza, San Diego to Vancouver, 10 days aboard Star Breeze
  • June 8, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: Alaskan Splendors, Vancouver to Seward (Anchorage), 11 days aboard Star Breeze
  • September 19, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: Autumn on the Atlantic Coast, London to Lisbon, 10 days aboard Star Legend
  • October 16, 2020 ‒ James Beard Foundation: Quintessential Croatia, Venice to Venice, 8 days aboard Wind Surf
  • November 2, 2020 – James Beard Foundation: Windstar Crew Hometowns: Philippines & Indonesia, Hong Kong to Bali, 14 days cruise aboard Star Breeze

In addition, following is the super star line-up of award-winning chefs and celebrated sommeliers who will headline the three remaining 2019 JBF Culinary Cruise Collection sailings:

June 22, 2019 – James Beard Foundation: Yachtsman’s Harbors of the Rivieras, 8 days aboard Wind Surf

  • Chef & Restaurateur Jamie Leeds, JL Restaurant Group & Hank’s Oyster Bar in Washington, D.C.
  • Sommelier Jeff Strine, JL Restaurant Group & Hank’s Oyster Bar, and more) in Washington, D.C.

Chef and Restaurateur Jamie Leeds — a James Beard Foundation Chef Boot Camp Alumna and owner of JL Restaurant Group — will be seeking out the freshest French oysters and bringing guests on chef-led visits to lively markets to gather produce, herbs, fish, and more to showcase in cooking demonstrations and a gala evening meal on board. Alongside her will be Jeff Strine, who works closely with Jamie at JL Restaurant Group where he developed a thoughtful and concise wine program for Hank’s Oyster Bar’s seasonal seafood-focused menu.

Both love to travel and are excited to visit lesser-known wine regions and visits to smaller ports such as quaint Sanary-sur-Mer, France. This coastal jewel offers a wine tasting tour above the vineyards in the Provençal hilltop village of Le Castellet, followed by a visit to Domaine de Souviou for tasting the house wines and olive oils grown on the expansive 70-hectares property that is planted with 100-year-old olive trees and rows of vines, cypress trees, and lavender, a treat for all of the senses.

 

September 24, 2019 – James Beard Foundation: West Coast Epicurean Extravaganza 10 days aboard Star Legend

  • Chef Duskie Estes of Zazu Kitchen + Farm, Bovolo, and Black Pig Meat Co. in Sonoma County
  • Beverage Expert Michael Metzger of Distinguished Vineyards and Wine Partners

Award-winning Chef Duskie Estes is the perfect culinary guide for this first-ever Windstar sailing along the West Coast of America, as she was born in San Diego, raised in San Francisco, and spent eight years in Seattle working for JBF-awarded Restaurateur Tom Douglas before moving to Sonoma County, where she is celebrated as a chef and avid farmer/advocate for “snout to tail” cooking.

Providing wine pairings and insight will be Michael Metzger from Distinguished Vineyards, who works with the James Beard Foundation’s Impact Program as their sustainable wine partner and represents a collection of iconic wineries including the highly acclaimed Argyle Winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, MacRostie Winery and Vineyards in Sonoma, and Markham Vineyards in Napa Valley.

As with all Windstar sailings, this first-ever West Coast cruise boasts a myriad of shore-side adventures including specially curated culinary shore excursions from vineyard visits, to food trucks and farmers’ markets. In Seattle, guests will enjoy a behind-the-scenes docent tour of the iconic Pike Place Market; after sailing up the Columbia River, the ship has a two-day overnight stay in James Beard’s native Oregon, where guests can enjoy an “Elevated Foodie Walking Tour” of the Portland culinary scene, or a brewery/cidery tasting tour. An all-day excursion to Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley allows guests to indulge in private tastings at three wineries in the region that put Pinot Noir on the U.S. map. In Sonoma, foodies will delight in a private cave tour with wine and cheese tasting at the Gloria Ferrer Winery, followed by lunch and an afternoon of olive oil and balsamic vinegars tasting at Figone Olive Oil & Production Mill.

Also of note, this U.S. West Coast itinerary is featured as one of the newly announced 2020 culinary cruises but sailing aboard Star Breeze, following her upcoming full ship renovation as part of Windstar’s $250 Million Star Plus Initiative. The May 5, 2020 itinerary will be a reverse version of the 2019 offering with similar culinary-focused shore excursions, but departing from San Diego, CA. and sailing to Vancouver, B.C. instead. Details on chef and beverage experts in 2020 will be announced soon.

October 14, 2019 – James Beard Foundation: Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast, 8 days aboard Wind Surf

  • Chef Chris Pandel of Swift & Sons, Cold Storage, and Dutch & Doc’s in Chicago
  • Beverage Expert Marcello Cancelli of the Boka Group in Chicago

Chef Chris Pandel, a James Beard Foundation Chef Boot Camp Alumnus, has a love affair with Italy and Italian-American heritage, so who better to cruise with and explore the shores of Italy, Croatia, and Montenegro, discovering the charm of Venice, the magnificence of Rome, and the vast beauty of the Dalmatian Coast? While visiting the picturesque seaside resort of Rovinj, a top pick shore excursion lets guests tour the wine cellar of the Matosevic Family, Croatia’s most well-known wine producers.

Offering beautiful wine pairings on this cruise is Marcello Cancelli, a Certified Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers who is Area Wine Director for Chicago’s Boka Group, overseeing the wine programs at Swift & Sons, Momotaro, Bellemore, Girl & the Goat, and more. Cancelli will be demonstrating his passion and commitment to great wine and its rightful place alongside a meal.

 

For more information on Windstar’s partnership with the James Beard Foundation, find featured recipes, and view the JBF Culinary Cruise Collection visit: https://www.windstarcruises.com/why-windstar/james-beard-foundation/. To learn more about the Beard Foundation visit: https://www.jamesbeard.org/.

 

Windstar has garnered recent culinary awards, notably being named Best Small Cruise Ships for Dining in Cruise Critic’s 2019 Cruisers’ Choice Awards, and a 2019 Editor-in-Chief Award for Best Cruise Partnership as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation from Porthole Cruise Magazine. Windstar was also voted 2018 Best Small Ship Cruise Line by AFAR readers; scored a top spot as Best Small Ship in Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, and was named to the magazine’s prestigious Gold List for 2019; while Windstar’s flagship Wind Surf ranked #1 Midsize-Ship Ocean Cruise Lines in the 2018 Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards.

Star Plus Initiative

Windstar Cruises Announces $250 Million Star Plus Initiative

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Major Investment Engages Fincantieri to Renovate & Lengthen Windstar’s Three Star-Class Ships beginning in Fall 2019

Sleek, modern design configuration and expansion (above) to include creation of 50 new suites and all-new guest experiences including new dining & spa venues

Seattle, WA, November 15, 2018 — Windstar Cruises today announces the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, a major investment and expansion for the innovative cruise company. The multi-million dollar, multi-year undertaking will impact and enhance all aspects of the guest experience for the highly awarded small ship cruise line’s three Star Class vessels.

“We are thrilled to announce the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative, a significant investment in the future of Windstar Cruises. This exciting initiative is our 180 degree from ordinary solution to add new capacity and major enhancements to the guest experience in a very time efficient manner,” said Windstar President John Delaney. “The initiative not only creates beautiful new suites and public spaces, but we will also take the opportunity to re-engine the ships with a more fuel efficient and environmentally responsible propulsion system. This will be a true game changer for Windstar and our small ship cruise experience.”

The initiative will expand guest accommodations on the boutique line’s three all-suite vessels increasing capacity from 212 passengers to 312 guests per ship, following the lengthening. The work will be done to Star Breeze, Star Legend, and Star Pride in succession between October 2019 and November 2020, and take place at the Fincantieri Shipyard in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. The project represents an overall capacity increase of 24% for the small ship line.

Each Star Class ship will be cut to allow the installation of a new section of ship that will lengthen each vessel approximately 25.6 meters bringing the total length to just over 159 meters, still the right size to access the smaller ports and harbors that Windstar favors on the line’s immersive itineraries. The project adds 50 new suites, bringing the total number of suites per ship to 156, and represents an investment of more than $267,000 per passenger berth.

“This major investment is an efficient way to build on a winning brand that shows strong momentum and growth potential. Support for this exciting new initiative demonstrates our commitment to Windstar as an important part of the Xanterra portfolio,” said Andrew N. Todd, President and CEO of Xanterra Travel Collection.

Also involved in the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative is the creation of state-of-the-art public spaces including two new dining locations; new shop and retail space; a much enlarged fitness center; and a new world-class spa.

In addition to the impressive scale of work to be done, the renovation includes a comprehensive re-engine project for each ship. This complex undertaking is an uncommon occurrence in the cruise industry and involves the removal of seven current engines and installation of four new, more environmentally friendly engines that will run on cleaner fuel and reduce emissions impact to sailing regions.

“Given our expertise as a leader in major cruise ship renovations and lengthening projects, we are gratified to be chosen by Windstar to undertake this complex and extensive endeavor. We look forward to working with the Windstar team to totally transform these elegant small ships,” said Giorgio Rizzo, Executive SVP, Fincantieri Services.

NEW: 50 New Suites, New Dining Venues, New Spa & Fitness Areas Take Center Stage
Windstar has partnered with acclaimed designer Ray Chung, Director of Design at The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry in New York, to create modern and inviting design aesthetics for the new public spaces and new suites.

Among new guest amenities and accommodations in the planning phase are:
– 50 new suites featuring new suite categories and open floor plan configurations.
– Creation of two brand new, larger Owner’s Suites, that combines existing suites to create up to a three-bedroom, two-balcony suite – the first of its kind in the cruise industry.
– Two brand new dining experiences including: an intimate, alternative dining restaurant, and a casual barbecue space adjacent to the top deck Star Bar, perfect for outdoor grilling during Windstar’s Signature Onboard Barbecue celebration or enjoying while spending time on deck.
– Expanded Veranda Restaurant to offer significantly more ocean-view seating and upgraded dining area.
– For existing suites, all-new bathrooms and installation of new sliding doors for the Balcony Suites.
– Larger pool and hot tub that will be reconfigured and elevated offering outstanding views, along with more and enhanced outdoor deck area for relaxing and sun-bathing.
– A completely re-imagined and enlarged spa and fitness center to invigorate active guests.
– A new elevator mid-ship, making access to all decks easy from anywhere on board.
– A comfortable, new tender loading area located mid-ship and two new 90-passenger tenders that will ferry guests to port when ships are at anchor.

In addition, ship staff and crew areas and accommodations will be expanded and upgraded. Additional crew will be hired and the increase will maintain the line’s impressive 1.5:1 guest to hotel staff ratio.

As planning on the $250 Million Star Plus Initiative progresses, additional details about the extensive work to be done, new onboard experiences, and new partnerships will be revealed and highlighted in news announcements and on a dedicated microsite that will launch in 2019.

Windstar Ship in Panama Canal and Latin America

Windstar Sails Deeper into the Caribbean and Latin America in 2019 and 2020

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11 New Itineraries and 150 Sailings Expand the Small Ship Line’s Footprint in the Region Featuring New Calls to Mexico’s Atlantic and Pacific Ports, Honduras, Grand Cayman, Dominican Republic and Jamaica

SEATTLE, Oct. 9, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Windstar Cruises announces 2019 and 2020 Caribbean and Latin America sailings including new visits to ports in Mexico, Honduras, Grand Cayman, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. Cruisers seeking active adventure may choose from an impressive 152 departure dates ranging in length from 7- to 56-days. All departures focus on less-visited tropical ports and unusual vacation experiences on board – with the line’s signature Open Bridge and Watersports Platform – to exciting wet landings by Zodiac and hand-crafted excursions.

A first for Windstar in 2020, the boutique line debuts a new Star Collector: Grand Caribbean Adventure aboard the iconic Wind Surf, the world’s largest sailing ship. The nearly two-month cruise is a new option for travelers ready for an encyclopedic exploration of the Caribbean’s Greater and Lesser Antilles and Latin America. The wide-ranging itinerary features a first-time-ever visit to the Panama Canal for Wind Surf where the ship will bring guests on a remarkable journey through the three-tiered Gatun Locks, the historic Atlantic connector locks, followed by scenic cruising on Gatun Lake, then back to the Caribbean through the Gatun Locks that afternoon. Perfect for destination collectors, the journey offers incredible seafaring depth calling on 38 ports and 27 countries in just 56 days.

“At Windstar we are on a mission to deliver the most authentic destination experiences in small ship cruising and this Grand Caribbean sailing is a perfect example of how we do things 180 degrees from ordinary,” said Windstar President John Delaney. “No other cruise line has ever offered such an expansive sailing in this part of the world, visiting 38 ports and 27 countries. And the fact that we offer this on the world’s largest sailing ship with our open bridge policy, complimentary water sports marina and Signature Beach Barbecues will ensure our guests experience the very best of these beautiful warm water destinations.”

Windstar’s Caribbean and Latin America cruises provide thoughtful travelers, who appreciate the region’s stunning beauty, a welcome alternative. The collection of Sea of Cortez, Coastal, Canal, and Caribbean Sea voyages emphasizes hidden harbors on smaller islands and inland coves like picture-perfect Bequia and Mayreau in the Grenadines, and lush Bahia Herradura, Costa Rica.

“The beaches, wildlife, and rainforests are a sure draw, but the way we plan and approach itineraries is what sets Windstar apart – we discover the most authentic cultural experiences a destination has to offer so that adventurous, imaginative travelers can come away with a different view and an enhanced understanding of their ports of call,” commented Delaney.

Destination Authenticity on Small Ships: Why Sail Windstar to the Caribbean & Latin America

The award-winning small ship cruise line will have four of their six ships sailing in the regions accessing tiny harbors, like Man-O-War Bay in Tobago, with many itineraries offering late-night and overnight port calls that allow guests the time to engage in local cultures in a more immersive way. Guests will appreciate the additional time to wander local markets, sample the many great restaurants, and meet the locals.

All Windstar tropical cruises offer a memorable and indulgent day of beach play and fabulous island cuisine during a once-a-cruise Signature Beach Barbecue that is only equaled by an extravagant Signature Onboard Barbecue featuring an amazing array of food including arguably the largest paella pan at sea followed by an enthusiastic deck dance party led by the multi-talented Windstar crew.

All Windstar ships offer complimentary watersports and trained Sports Coordinators to help guests enjoy water activities, featuring stand-up paddle boards, small sail boats, gigantic floating sun mats, water trampolines, inflatable tows, and waterskiing. The balance of active adventure, culture, and culinary exploration can’t be beat.

Windstar visits destinations where small group shore excursions let guests discover a virgin path far from the crowds; where secluded beaches, aquatic life, adventure, romance, and water play is just around the corner. Variety, depth, and detail are the primary focus that Windstar’s Product Development travel experts seek when curating and testing each tour. Nothing is offered to guests that the team hasn’t approved of and personally experienced with an eye to appealing to variety of tastes and activity levels.

New shore excursion standouts for the coming seasons include a private chocolate-making tour in St. Lucia where guests actually make their own dark chocolate bar made from cocoa nibs broken down from local, dried trinitario beans. Also on St. Lucia, guests receive expert instruction in a painting class led by a local artist, taking home their creation as a unique memory of the island. Another new favorite is power cruising to Mustique, a 14-acre island off Bequia that boasts a coral reef, coves, and dazzling beaches frequented by the rich and famous with lunch enjoyed at a chic island restaurant.

Long-standing favorite tours let travelers go cave tubing in Belize, windsurfing off Bonaire, snorkeling with friendly sea turtles and rays in waters as clear as glass, climbing the battlements of colonial forts and scaling the arrowhead peak of famous Gros Piton in St. Lucia.

Cuisine Meets Culture in the Caribbean: JBF Culinary Cruise Collection

Water shapes the region’s food and beverage heritage, and Windstar’s culinary program and affiliation as the Official Cruise Line of the James Beard Foundation (JBF) is especially valuable as guests find their way through the cultures that blend Mayan, European, and Afro-Caribbean influences. Upcoming JBF Culinary Collection Sailings offer multiple food and beverage fusions, taking place in the region – on December 15, 2018 round trip from San Juan; January 5, 2019 from San Juan to Bridgetown; and on February 16, 2019 from Puerto Caldera to Colón; 2020 sailings will be announced at a later date.

NEW Grand Caribbean Adventure Headlines Star Collectors: Small Ships, Big Adventures

Popular Star Collector cruises provide opportunities for travelers to create epic itineraries that are new era voyages of discovery in 2019/20 starting with the 56-day Grand Caribbean Adventure. Star Collector sailings offer longer voyages that may also be booked in shorter segments to suit cruise guest schedules. Star Collector Voyages combine thoughtful itinerary planning with few (if any) repeat ports, hand-crafted excursions, additional savings, and added value with complimentary daily laundry service.

Star Collector: Grand Caribbean Adventure (56 days, 38 ports, 27 countries)

All the color, colonial charm, history and on-water and underwater exploration travelers could ever want are packed into this ultimate Caribbean itinerary. The 56-day Grand Caribbean Adventure includes 38 ports in 27 countries as Wind Surf makes its way from Philipsburg, St. Maarten through the Greater and Lesser Antilles visiting dozens of diverse island ports enroute to Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, and back.

A true highlight for cruise and sailing enthusiasts will be the chance to pass through the century-old Gatun Locks on the way to a day of sailing Gatun Lake with a visit to the Gatun Lake Yacht Club before returning to the Caribbean for more adventure. The ship will be first raised and later lowered approximately 85 feet (26 m.) as it passes through the triple flight of the mighty Gatun Locks made up of three chambers that connect the Atlantic to large Gatun Lake, south of Colón. Wind Surf will sail 21 miles (33 km) of open water across the Isthmus of Panama.

Wind Surf, the world’s largest sailing ship with 21,000 feet of sparkling sail cloth, hosts just 310 guests and was recently named by readers of Travel+Leisure magazine as the #1 World’s Best Mid-size Ship Ocean Cruise Line in 2018. The Grand Caribbean voyage departs from Philipsburg, St. Maarten on January 4, 2020, and completes the expansive circumnavigation of the Caribbean Sea nearly two months later on Feb. 29. Rates start at $11,924 per person (based on double occupancy) and include complimentary daily laundry.

Star Collector: 3 Americas (39 days, 29 ports, 8 countries)

The 39-day 3 Americas expedition aboard Star Legend takes the full measure of the Americas from Vancouver down the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Mexico and through the Panama Canal, concluding in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A portion of the cruise is a James Beard Foundation culinary themed cruise, exploring delicious cuisine, wine and beer delights all down the coast of the Western United States. The cruise departs on September 24, 2019, with rates starting at $9,999 per person (based on double occupancy).

New! 2 Cruises Sail the Pacific Coast, Mexico & the Sea of Cortez on the All-suite Star Legend

Fishing for the Sea of Cortez (7 days)
Cruise aboard Star Legend from San Diego to Puerto Vallarta. The magical Sea of Cortez is packed with sea life and surrounded by laid-back village culture that charmed John Steinbeck and Jacques Cousteau. It is seven days of seafaring, snorkeling (with sea lions) and fishing that are unforgettable.

Southern Mexico: Fish Tales & Mayan Trails (8 days)
Star Legend carries travelers from Puerto Vallarta to Puerto Caldera on a journey that explores Mayan ruins, volcanic summits and UNESCO-designated cultural and snorkeling sites. This trip pairs the adventure of trekking and snorkeling with a glimpse into an important site in the origin of civilizations.

Cruise rates for the two new itineraries visiting Mexico’s Pacific Coast start at $2,499 per person, double occupancy.

More! Caribbean and Latin America – 7 New Itineraries Join Popular Favorites

Windstar’s Caribbean season in 2019/20 will return to islands including St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, and St. Bart’s with classic itineraries like Classic Caribbean and Yachtsman’s Caribbean, but the new cruises below reflect additional offerings for the company. Rates for the cruises below start at $1,799 per person, double occupancy and vary by sail date and destination.

The Spanish Main: Rise of the New World (7 days)
This voyage from Colón, Panama to San Juan, Puerto Rico is perfect for the history buff – whether ancient, colonial or pirate – who loves to snorkel, paddle and hike. Star Legend takes guests to the San Blas Archipelago, accessible only by small ship, and Cartagena, a UNESCO site, jewel of the Spanish Main and re-emergent must-see of South America.

In the Wake of the Spanish Armadas (9 days)
Wind Surf makes its way from Oranjestad, Aruba to Colón, Panama, the cruise route traces the history of Spanish exploration in the region. It will mark the first time Wind Surf has entered the famous Panama Canal and will be the closest this gorgeous ship has ever come to the Pacific Ocean. On this journey, guests can explore the fortresses of Aruba and Cartagena, the engineering triumph of the Panama Canal and the lush rainforest canopies of the region.

Mayan Legacies (8 days)
Travelers are not done with this region until they have explored the uncommon Caribbean along the Gulf of Honduras, from Colón to Cozumel aboard Wind Surf. This is a fantastic voyage for nature adventurers studded with chalk-white beaches, underground waterfalls, up-close encounters with howler monkeys and sea turtles, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef and Isla San Andres, part of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve accessible only to small ships, and capped with some of the most breathtaking sites of Mayan history.

Lush & Lovely Islands of the Lesser Antilles (7 days)
Sail from chic St. Maarten to relaxed Barbados enjoying a mix of must-see Caribbean towns and harbors off the beaten path as the ship sails the royal beauties of the Lesser Antilles islands. Explore colonial history in pastel waterfronts, weathered forts and former sugar plantations. See the Caribbean at its most wild and beautiful on Dominica, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. Join the jetsetters on St. Barts, and make a rare visit to Montserrat, the “Pompeii of the Caribbean.”

Stars of the Greater Antilles (11 days)
This cruise from Cozumel to St. Maarten aboard Wind Surf will take guests to magical places that fell off the map and tiny gems that were never on it in the first place. This itinerary explores beyond the crowds and beneath the sea including diving on pirate shipwrecks.

Windward Ways & Tobago Cays (7 days)
This Wind Surf transit from Barbados to Aruba is the perfect adventure for those who put watersports and diving at the top of their Caribbean vacation to-do list. With stops at multiple marine parks including Tobago Cays Marine Park and Bonaire National Marine Park and plenty of beach time, the action is on the ocean. Visits to four colonial towns will indulge guests in a taste of yesteryear.

Dutch Treats Steel Drum Beats (11 days)
Wind Star island-hops the colonial confections of the Dutch Caribbean from St. Maarten through Willemstad and on to Colón. St. Bart’s pink-sand beaches and Bonaire’s blue tangs keep excursions colorful for guests immersing themselves in the parks, sites, and culture of this itinerary.

SOURCE Windstar Cruises

Star Pride in Asia. Asia Cruise Tours

Windstar Expands Small Ship Cruise Offerings in Asia

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New Asia Cruise Tours Explore Some of the World’s Oldest Civilizations and Most Modern Metropolises

Windstar Expands Small Ship Cruise Offerings in Asia with Inspired and In-Depth Land and Cruise Adventures on Seven New Cruise Tours in 2018-19

SEATTLE (PRWEB) MAY 21, 2018 : The capitals, villages and ports of Asia are among both the oldest and the newest of the world, and Windstar Cruises will offer culturally curious travelers seven different cruise tour options to explore the region aboard the 212-guest Star Legend in 2018-19. The award-winning cruise line has announced that the new season of Asia Cruise Tours is open for booking, presenting guests multiple choices to experience the region from the culturally-rich combination of China, Japan and South Korea, to thoughtful exploration of Southeast Asia’s customs and temples. Asia Cruise Tours start at $5,099 per person, double occupancy, and range from 12 to 17 days.

The itineraries, which combine land and sea exploration, make it possible for guests to take in a unique mix of Asia’s icons, less-often-discovered gems, culinary heritage and coastal beauty. Guests can spend up to 17 days pursuing their path of choice from walking China’s Great Wall to staking out the sunrise over Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. While inland sites like Xian and the Terracotta Warriors inspire many to visit China, the massive region of Asia has so much coastline and so many ports of interest to explore. Windstar’s Star Legend is the perfect way to truly gain a sense of place by allowing guests to linger along the coast in all-suite luxury.

“Launching our Asia Cruise Tours is an exciting next step in our pursuit to be the leading cruise line when it comes to destination delivery,” said Windstar President John Delaney. “The way we research, scout and design our cruises – and now land tours – means we’re giving guests the freedom to do and discover more, knowing that we are the go-to local destination experts in Asia and around the world.”

The itineraries are a rich mix of ancient sites and modern cities that have studded the region with monuments to commerce and progress as Asia takes on a new role in the world economy. The cultures of China, Japan, Korea, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand are also represented by visits to fish markets, food markets, tea houses and restaurants that provide guests an intimate perspective into culinary heritage, cultural treasures and creative expression.

The following Cruise Tours are now open for booking:

The Great Wall, Japan & South Korea Cruise Tour (14 days)
This itinerary brings together three of the region’s powerhouses with a tour that begins in Beijing with four days of land explorations. Guests start their tour with some of the world’s most expansive architectural creations including the Forbidden City, the 9,999-room compound that 14 emperors called home and the Temple of Heaven, a tranquil park that gives travelers perspective on the local life of the city. Tiananmen Square may be familiar to many but this public plaza, one of the largest in the world, holds much that guests have not imagined, including Chairman Mao’s mausoleum. Next is a visit to the Great Wall, the longest man-made structure in the world. Guests will also visit the Terracotta Warriors, the vast army sculpted to accompany China’s first emperor into the afterlife, before embarking on the 11-day voyage to Tokyo. Setting out from Beijing (Tianjin) there are two days at sea allowing time to relax, enjoy the spa, visit the Bridge and participate in informative lectures and briefings. Karatsu, Japan is the first port. Karatsu is known for its pottery which is produced across 60 local studios. From here the tour proceeds to an overnight call in Busan, South Korea. Take in the 7th century Beomeosa Temple on Geumjeongsan Mountain for its history and for the breathtaking view out onto the sea. Busan is a bustling city to rival Seoul, with a beach and creative food scene. The itinerary heads back to Japan with opportunities to visit what remains of a period building known now as the Atomic Bomb Dome at Hiroshima; take in a sweeping 360-degree view of Kyoto from the Umeda Sky Building; and dive into the bustle of the fish market in Shimizu (the gateway to Mount Fuji). The tour concludes in Tokyo where everything – food, fashion, tea, art, culture – is the epitome of Asia’s modernity.

China’s Great Walls & Warriors Cruise Tour (14 days)
This itinerary is a fascinating combination of China from the Middle Kingdom to now with a four-day land tour of key sites and an 11-day voyage from Beijing (Tianjin) to Hong Kong with stops in Japan and Taiwan. It all begins with a tour of key sites including Beijing, the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, the Temple of Heaven and the Terracotta Warriors of Xian. A day at sea gives guests a chance to recharge and prepare for a stop in Qingdao. As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, this seaside town was colonized by Germany which brought the beer making tradition that sparked the creation of Tsingtao Beer, a perfect complement to local spicy noodle and duck dishes. The Tao religion also came into being here. Another day at sea allows time for pampering or a workout before an overnight stop in Shanghai. Shanghai is a bustling city with towers along the Bund that rival any world capital, shopping for every taste and a culinary tradition with modern flourish. It is on to Ishigaki Island in Japan where swimming is not allowed, but glass bottom boats provide a window onto the colorful fish and distinctive blue reefs. Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, is the next stop where old and new is definitely the order of the day. Participate in a Chinese Kong Fu tea ceremony, visit the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial, The Confucius Temple or Taipei 101 which is not a class on world affairs but a 1,671-foot tall skyscraper. The tour concludes in Hong Kong packed with things to do and dim sum to sample, but the tram to Victoria Peak is a must for the expansive view.

Southeast Asia Coastlines & Angkor Wat Cruise Tour (15 days)
This 15-day itinerary immerses guests in a thoughtful journey from Cambodia to Thailand to Vietnam to survey Southeast Asia’s best ports, dramatic coastal sights and ancient temples. The tour begins in Cambodia with a boat tour of the floating village of Chong Khneas, both Vietnamese and Khmer, before receiving a traditional water blessing from the monks at Wat Atvea. Sunrise over Angkor Wat is a universally inspirational experience and the guided walking tour that follows illuminates the stories of the temples and provides context for the Hindu and Buddhist gods. At Ta Prohm (of ‘Tomb Raider’ fame) visitors will see the haunting art as nature has taken back the temple. Throughout this day guests will see the best of Khmer art and culture through sculptures and bas reliefs mingling visions of Vishnu and Buddha. A quick flight to Bangkok allows guests to take in highlights including Wat Pho and the reclining Golden Buddha, five and a half tons of 83 percent pure gold. The tour departs Bangkok on a 12-day cruise to Vietnam before ending in Hong Kong.

The first call is an overnight at Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) where, because of its small size, the ship docks near the city center. Choose between exploring the Mekong Delta and village life in the countryside or visit Vietnam War landmarks. Nha Trang, a lovely seaside city brushed by crystalline water, draws visitors into its open-air markets. The next overnight call is at Da Nang (Hoi An/Hue) where three UNESCO sites are must-sees. The Cham people were the ancient rulers of Vietnam and My Son Sanctuary is its most important Champa ruin, Hue is the country’s spiritual heart and Hoi An, a tranquil 16th century trading town, together these provide real insight into the country’s history. A day at sea allows time for a spa break, time in the library or learning more on board about the customs and cuisine of the region before arriving for an overnight in Hanoi (Halong Bay) where guests can explore its surreal beauty aboard a traditional junk. Star Legend docks in the center of Hong Kong’s harbor to conclude and guests are free to ascend Victoria Peak or take the fast ferry to Macau as they wish.

Angkor Wat & Java Sea Splendor Cruise Tour (14 days)
This 14-day tour combines the ancient spires of Angkor Wat with the glittering towers of Singapore and the authentic culture of many communities throughout Indonesia. For guests who prefer to dive into culture and still have plenty of beach and snorkeling time, this is an unforgettable voyage on a ship that can navigate ”off the beaten path.” Begin in Cambodia with a floating village tour and take in the Angkor Wat UNESCO World Heritage Site before flying to Singapore for a tour of highlights including the National Orchid Garden, China Town, Orchard Road and City Center. Star Legend departs Singapore for an 11-day cruise through Indonesian gems. Spicy fried bananas, duck egg omelets and other street foods are a highlight of Jakarta, but if the sleek rollercoaster of Ancol Dreamland amusement park is a must, plan accordingly. At Pulau Menyawakan snorkeling the biodiverse reef system is also a must. The Borobudur Buddhist Temple near Semarang is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and another UNESCO site. Some have called it the “mountain of a thousand statues” because of its monumental and multi-tiered construction. The next stop at Pulau Bawean is all about diving, snorkeling and sunbathing before the ship moves on to Probolinggo where the most famous feature is the Mount Bromo volcano. At Loh Liang the Komodo dragons of Komodo National Park are the stars; Lembar and Lombok are prime #nofilter beaching and sunbathing stops before the tour concludes at Benoa, Bali. The navigability of Windstar’s small ship makes it possible to pursue the essential Java Sea adventure – relaxed sunny days, rustic villages, local markets and remote beaches.

Angkor Wat & the Allure of Thailand & Malaysia Cruise Tour (14 days)
Experience the splendor of Angkor Wat and contrast the ancient temple complex with modern cities throughout Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. The itinerary begins with the four-day land expedition to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and the highlights of Bangkok including the Golden Buddha. From Bangkok sail out to Ko Kut for an idyllic day on the beach. Two days at sea give guests plenty of time for lectures, briefings, pool time or pampering at the spa. The next stop, Malacca, is a city known for antique shops, markets and historic temples and mosques; it’s quite a contrast with Kuala Lumpur where guests can shoot to the observation deck of the iconic KL Tower via a state-of-the-art elevator. At Langkawi’s UNESCO Global Geopark the world’s longest curved, free-span suspension bridge continues the marveling at man-made attractions. An overnight call at Phuket allows plenty of time to decompress on its legendary beach before moving on to Penang, Malaysia. Established by the East India Trade Company as George Town, Penang’s architecture has also been recognized as a UNESCO site. Guests can explore ethnic street foods from Chinese stir-fry to Indian- and Thai-influenced dishes before the tour concludes in Singapore with its many, many culinary and cultural attractions.

Angkor Wat at Dawn, Midnight in Manila Cruise Tour (17 days)
This 17-day voyage begins with a three-day immersion in the wonders of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat before a 14-day cruise from Singapore to Hong Kong. After a day at sea, search for the perfect cat sculpture in the busy markets of Kuching, Malaysia. Bandar Seri Begawan in Brunei is next offering a choice of exploring the waterfront food scene or venturing to 600-year-old Kampong Ayer on the Brunei River where life takes place on stilted boardwalks and in stilted shacks. At Kota Kinabalu guests can learn about Borneo’s rarest birds, mammals and amphibians at Kinabalu Park. Moving onto the Phillippines the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River fascinates, Coron offers snorkeling over coral reefs and wartime wreckage, and Boracay is a classic beach getaway. An overnight call at Manila allows plenty of time to explore, reflect at the grand Manila Cathedral, before dancing the night away. Bask on the beach at one of the exclusive resorts of the Hundred Islands on the way to the tour’s conclusion in Hong Kong. Star Legend docks directly in the harbor making access to the Victoria Peak tram and any number of local historic, culinary, cultural or shopping attractions easy.

Kyoto & the Zen of Japan Cruise Tour (12 days)
Delve deep into Japan, its seascapes, landscapes, heritage and humming present. The two-day land exploration leads guests through Osaka Castle, the largest in Japan, built during the golden age of the samurai, the Kasuga Taisha Shrine with its 3,000 lanterns guiding the way to enlightenment, and the Todaiji Temple where the world’s largest wooden building houses the world’s largest bronze Buddha. In Kyoto, guests will see the Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavillion) with its gold leaf exterior, and nearby Nijo Castle used to house the visiting shogun. All four of these landmarks are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The 10-day cruise portion includes Tokyo, the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure city. Culinary travelers: Tokyo has more Michelin stars than any other city. Culture vultures: Kabuki theater and sumo wrestling are just starters. The shopping of course is legendary. At Shimizu, snap the perfect portrait of Mount Fuji; at Shingu travelers can climb to the Kumanonachi Taisha UNESCO site, a fiery orange pagoda next to Nachi Falls, the tallest waterfall in Japan. A day at sea provides time to recharge or relax at the spa before reaching Kagoshima, site of the Sakurajima volcano and picturesque samurai district. Reflect on World War II’s legacy at Nagasaki’s Atomic Bomb Museum and Peace Memorial Park. There is a stop at Busan, South Korea, where the terraced homes of Gamcheon Culture Village pour over the slopes like a rainbow waterfall. Karatsu, Japan is known for its art pottery but the Karatsu Castle is also a main attraction. In Hiroshima, guests can visit one of the atomic bomb related sites or head to Miyajima, for a look at the vermillion Itsukushima Shrine floating in the sea. The cruise concludes at Takamatsu where the Ritsurin Garden charms with cherry blossoms in spring or the blaze of fall foliage.

Windstar’s Asia Cruise Tours are the second region where Windstar has rolled out comprehensive land and sea tour options. The company recently added nine Cruise Tour dates in Alaska. It also currently offers three Land Tours in Costa Rica.

Crystal Cruises 2020 Deployment

Crystal Announces 2020 Deployment For Ocean-Going Vessels

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Exotic journeys and abundant European options highlight the global roster of luxury voyages

MIAMI, April 27, 2018 – Today, Crystal unveiled the comprehensive 2020 deployment for its ocean-going vessels, including celebrated ships, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity and the award-winning yacht Crystal Esprit. Just two months after the announcement of its 105-day 2020 “Epic Empires & Idyllic Isles” World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity, which spans the Southern Hemisphere from Miami to Rome (with the option to embark in Los Angeles), Crystal released the remainder of its collection of 2020 luxury cruises. In all, 64 Crystal Cruises sailings and 44 Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises sailings will explore the oceans of the world. Crystal’s 2020 itineraries will be open for booking on May 1, 2018.

“Our 2020 itineraries for Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity deliver the culturally authentic and unforgettable vacations that savvy world travelers value most, with comprehensive regional itineraries with many overnights and longer stays allowing for deeper exploration of historic traditions and modern daily life in the destinations,” said Crystal president and CEO, Tom Wolber. “Crystal Esprit’s 2020 season will combine the intimate atmosphere of the yacht and the leisure and active adventures that guests love about the Crystal Yachting Experience, with enriching discoveries of some of the world’s most significant sites.”

Crystal Cruises 2020 deployment highlights:

~ Overnight stays in 55 cities around the world, with at least one overnight stay on nearly every voyage – These stays are often in embarkation and disembarkation destinations, allowing for convenient extension of travelers’ vacations. Examples include:
– Overnight stays for both ships in Livorno, Tuscany provide guests a gateway to the UNESCO sites of Florence, Pisa and San Gimignano, Italy, plus Giacomo Puccini’s Lucca and the Chianti wine region;

Crystal Symphony overnights in the international hubs of Hong Kong and Singapore, plus distinctive destinations like Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and double overnights in Yangon, Myanmar offer ample opportunity to explore beyond the city limits to places like Angkor Wat and Hue and the UNESCO site of Bagan;

Crystal Serenity overnights in Auckland and Sydney provide deeper exploration of the Australian Outback and the outdoor adventures and cosmopolitan nightlife of New Zealand;

Crystal Symphony’s double overnights in St. Petersburg allow guests to venture to Moscow for the day, and fully immerse themselves in the cultural capital of Russia.

~ Maiden calls in Pohnpei, Micronesia; Majuro, Marshall Islands; Hambantota, Sri Lanka; Mooloolaba, Australia; Airlie Beach, Australia; and Alghero, Sardinia, Italy.

~ Spring and Autumn Asia sailings aboard Crystal Symphony, with concentration in Southeast Asia, Singapore, China and Japan.

~ Specialized itineraries focusing in the Middle East and India, available on both ships, with calls in Mumbai and Cochin and cruising the Bay of Bengal; exploration of Bahrain, Muscat, and Aqaba, as well as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

~ A total of 25 Mediterranean sailings, with many seven-day options aboard both ships that cater to busy schedules or are easily combinable for extended journeys. Destinations encompass the region’s long-favored locales, as well as less explored spots like Sardinia and Corsica, plus several “gateway” destinations that afford close proximity to bucket-list sites.

~ Eventful European and British Isles voyages, aligned with premier world events and occasions, with overnights set in Edinburgh, Scotland scheduled around the annual Military Tattoo and Fringe Art Festival; in Monaco for the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix; and Baltic and North Cape sailings at the height of the summer solstice in the land of the midnight sun.

~ New Trans-Atlantic crossing route with calls in Barcelona and Málaga, Spain; Ponta Delgada and Praia da Vitoria, Azores; St. John’s and St. Anthony, Newfoundland, site of the UNESCO-listed L’Anse aux Meadows; and Saguenay, Québec, home to the spectacular Saguenay Fjord.

~ A 33-day warm-weather winter escape aboard Crystal Symphony across the Pacific, which visits the long-beloved Hawaiian Islands, as well as less explored destinations like the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Philippines.

~ Exotic, warm-weather Holiday cruises, far-reaching and close to home, with Crystal Symphony sailing from Hong Kong to Laem Chabang/Bangkok and spending New Year’s Eve in Singapore; and Crystal Serenity cruising the tropical islands of the Caribbean for a warm-weather winter holiday.
Additional Crystal Cruises itineraries cruise the Pacific Coast and Hawaiian Islands, Australia and New Zealand, the South Pacific and the Caribbean, with virtually every type of travel interest represented in Crystal’s 2020 collection of Ocean voyages. Historical epicenters of ancient and modern influence, outdoor havens for active pursuits, spiritual meccas with sacred and secular significance, and a smorgasbord of culinary hubs will appeal to the varied preferences of Crystal’s discerning guests.

Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises 2020 deployment highlights:

~ A return to the Seychelles from late January through March, with nine new seven-day itineraries sailing round-trip from Mahé, highlighting the adventurous pursuits in the natural paradise, with UNESCO-protected wildlife preserves and world-class snorkeling and diving.

~ New historically significant itineraries exploring the Rose City of Petra, Egypt and the Holy Land on a nine- or 11-day journey; Cyprus and the Greek Isles of Mykonos, Delos, Paphos, Santorini and maiden call Naxos on a nine-day journey; and the United Arab Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi; Sir Bani Yas Island UAE; Manama, Bahrain and Doha, Qatar on an eight-day journey.

~ 24 combinable seven-day voyages along the Dalmatian Coast, Aegean and Adriatic, with immersive itineraries focused on Croatia, Greece and the Cyclades, showcasing the millennia of UNESCO sites and treasured monuments mingling beautifully with modern towns and seaside villages.

~ A “Dubai Holiday Extravaganza” sailing round-trip from Dubai, with two overnights in the spectacular city for the annual New Year’s Eve celebration, plus calls to Khasab, Muscat, Doha and Sir Bani Yas Island.
Itineraries for Crystal Endeavor, Crystal’s new build luxury expedition yacht set to embark in 2020, will be announced at a later date.

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