Pho Bo

Recipe: Vietnamese Pho Bo

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 807 0

Pho Bo is a National dish with international influence easy enough to make all on your own.

A hearty noodle dish perfect for warming away shivers on a winter’s day, yet somehow refreshing enough to enjoy in summer, pho bo is the epitome of Vietnamese comfort food. Found on almost every street corner and simmered in nearly every home, its complex flavors vary from cook to cook but its pleasant blend of herbs, spices and unique textures never disappoints.

From Pot Au Feu to Pho Bo

Pho bo may be Vietnam’s widely popular national dish, but if the French hadn’t colonized the country in the late 19th century, it may never have come into existence! You see, before the French arrived, the Vietnamese did not use cattle as food. Cows were merely beasts of burden. However, the French were accustomed to using beef in their recipes. It is even said that the dish’s name, “pho,” may have been derived from the French word for fire, “feu,” as in pot au feu, leading many to believe the noodle dish is a Vietnamese adaptation of this similarly cooked French stew.

The Vietnamese Lo Mein

Noodles, ginger and anise may also have been introduced by the Chinese. Considered the Vietnamese answer to “lo mein,” the Vietnamese created pho bo with similar noodles and a combination of aromatic flavors that has delighted people across the world ever since.

Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or making a week’s worth of lunches, pho bo is a simply prepared dish worth the simmering time for maximum flavor.

Ingredients

2 lbs. 3 oz. Beef Bones
10½ Cup Water/beef stock (about 2 ½ cartons stock)
4 tsp. Fish Sauce
3 tsp. Sugar
2 tsp. Salt
6 TBS and 2 tsp. Garlic
6 TBS and 2 tsp. Ginger
5 pcs Star Anise
2 pcs Cinnamon Sticks (broken into pieces)
1/3 Cup and 4¼ tsp. Onion
1/3 Cup and 4¼ tsp. Carrot
1/2 lb. raw eye of round, sirloin, London broil or tri-tip steak, thinly sliced across the grain (1/16 inch thick; freeze for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)

Preparation Method

Sauté the carrots and onion with the star anise, ginger, cinnamon and garlic. Caramelize nicely until golden brown, then add the water/beef stock and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 hours. Leave to cool, then strain off the stock. Add fish sauce, sugar and salt. Correct the seasoning to taste. Makes approximately 6 servings.

Condiments and Garnish for Soup

Thick Rice Noodles (Cooked)
Bean Sprouts
Long Leaves (Vietnamese Mint, Perilla Leaves)
Lime
Red Chili Finely Chopped
Lettuce (Iceberg)
Sweet Basil/Hot Basil
Lemongrass
Sliced Onion

Preparation Method with Beef

Mix all ingredients into the soup and stir together. Divide noodles among 6 serving bowls and top with sirloin. Pour hot broth over the top. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes until the beef is partially cooked and no longer pink, and the flavors are infused. Serve with bean sprouts, Thai basil, lime wedges, hoisin sauce, and chili -garlic sauce on the side.

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

Chilled Strawberry, Basil and Coconut Soup

Recipe: Chilled Strawberry, Basil and Coconut Soup

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 539 0

C/O Ama Waterways, in celebration of their stunning cruises through Provence

Though its origins are murky, chilled Strawberry Soup is the perfect seasonal recipe for summers in Provence – or anywhere with hot weather!

Itineraries: Colors of Provence

In modern times, cold soups are more closely aligned with a meal’s amouse bouche than its hearty main dish. The idea is to excite your appetite and prepare it for what’s ahead, not satiate your hunger. Of course, given that many chilled soups, such as this strawberry, basil and coconut blend, are sweet, they are also a wonderful way to finish off a delicious meal.

Why Cold Soup?

Germany’s cucumber soup. Hungary’s sour cherry. Portugal’s ajoblanco. And France’s Vichyssoise. What do all of these delicious soups have in common? They are refreshing enough to be served in the height of summer’s heat—because they are chilled

Got a Blender?

If you have a blender or food processor, congratulations—you’re equipped to make chilled soups! Forget about fancy slicing and dicing, searing or hours of simmering. Chilled soups simply use complementary fresh seasonal ingredients for a quick and no-fuss recipe that delights the palate.

The Strawberries of Provence

Although chilled strawberry soup can hardly be called an authentic French recipe, strawberries are a seasonal ingredient in France’s Provence region from March through June. Wild strawberries, known locally as fraises des bois, thrive in Provence’s shade. Anyone attending Les Halles outdoor market in Avignon during these months will likely come across sun-kissed varieties from the town of Carpentras. So important are these seeded fruits that there is even a Carpentras Strawberry Fraternity. Annual production of the fruit is about 4,000 tons.

Whether you can pick your own or need to buy them at the market, strawberries are the delicious main ingredient of this refreshing and easy to make at home recipe!

Chilled Strawberry, Basil and Coconut Soup

Ingredients:
1 & 1/8 lbs. Frozen Strawberries (about 4.5 cups)
1/2 TBS Confectioners’ Sugar
2 TBS and 2 tsp. Lemon Juice
1¼ tsp. Sweet Basil
1/4 qt. Strawberry Ice Cream
¾ C and 2 TBS Coconut Cream

Preparation Method:

Using a blender or food processor, blend the above ingredients until a smooth pouring consistency is reached. If texture is too thick, add milk to thin it down with more coconut cream to taste. Serve immediately.

 

The New Wave Of Cruise Experiences

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 293 0

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

2 – Set Sail With Your Pup In Tow

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

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

 

3 – Get Your Daily Cardio In

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

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

 

4 – Discuss World Affairs With A Career Diplomat

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

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

 

5 – Stay Out LATE Without Fear Of Missing The Boat

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

7 – Celebrate Your Anniversary With A Polynesian Blessing Ceremony

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

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

 

8 – Spend All Day At The Spa

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

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

 

9 – Learn How To Steer A Sailboat

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

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

 

10 – Turn Your Expedition Photos Into Professional Masterpieces

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

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

 

11 – Read Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn On The Mighty Mississippi

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

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

 

12 – Travel Back In Time On The Nile River

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

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

 

13 – Get Cooking With A Celebrated Chef

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

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

 

 

Original Article from Virtuoso Traveler July 2019 issue

AmaDouro

AmaWaterways Welcomes New Ship AmaDouro

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Celebrations Mark Arrival of Company’s Second Ship in Portugal; AmaWaterways Executives, Valued Partners and First-Ever UK Godmother, Julia Lo Bue-Said, Gather in Porto for Christening

Calabasas, CA – (Apr. 12, 2019) – AmaWaterways today christened its newest river cruise ship, AmaDouro, with a festive ceremony in Porto, Portugal. The christening put the final touch on AmaDouro’s inaugural sailing – which began in Porto and returned today for the special evening event hosted by AmaWaterways co-founders Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst. Honorary guest, Advantage Travel Partnership Chief Executive Officer and AmaDouro Godmother, Julia Lo Bue-Said was joined by respected travel industry partners, international media and other guests for the celebration.

“The arrival of every new ship is exciting for us at AmaWaterways, but we are particularly thrilled to be adding AmaDouro to this spectacular region that we proudly helped introduce when sister ship AmaVida was first launched in 2013,” said Schreiner. “We are very happy to have our friends and partners join us here today as this 21st addition to our fleet marks the beginning of a banner year for our company.”

Following a long-standing tradition associated with ship christenings that originates more than 4,000 years ago, a priest blessed the ship and crew, and Captain Pedro Sardo assisted as Godmother Lo Bue-Said broke a champagne bottle against AmaDouro’s hull, signifying good luck on the journeys ahead.

“We are very happy to have Julia officially welcome this new addition to our family,” said Karst. “It is our way of celebrating the incredible growth and our strong commitment to the UK travel advisor community, as we work together to bring more guests from around the world to this unspoiled region of Europe.”

Reflecting true “AmaFamily” values, Schreiner and Karst surprised their first British godmother, who was accompanied by her husband and youngest son, by flying in her eldest son for the ceremony. Guests joined in the festivities, which included speeches by Schreiner, Karst and Lo Bue-Said, lively local entertainment featuring folk dancers and fado singers, regionally-inspired cocktails, and a gala dinner.

“I’m very honored to be godmother of this incredible ship,” said Lo Bue-Said. “AmaDouro has truly exceeded my expectations of river cruising, from the ship herself to the unparalleled guest service and curated shore excursions. Traveling through Portugal and welcoming this ship with my family has been an unforgettable experience, and I am honored to help officially welcome AmaDouro to AmaWaterways’ extraordinary fleet.”

AmaDouro offers 51 spacious, elegantly designed staterooms, most with outside balconies to enjoy beautiful views of hills and vineyards along the UNESCO-designated Douro River Valley. Additional amenities include a Panoramic Lounge for nightly entertainment, a heated Sun Deck swimming pool, fitness room, massage room and the company’s renowned cuisine at the Main Restaurant, serving regionally-inspired dishes and hand-selected wines.

Joining sister ship AmaVida which sails between Porto and Vega Terron, AmaDouro will be based in Porto and offer seven-night roundtrip Enticing Douro cruises with a three-night pre-cruise land program in Lisbon. AmaDouro is the first of three new ships that will be added to AmaWaterways’ innovative fleet this year. Other new ships making their debut include AmaMora, sister ship to AmaLea and AmaKristina, sailing on the Rhine, and the revolutionary AmaMagna on the Danube.

Are You a Cruiser? Ten Questions to Ask

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A floating hotel has something for everyone. Don’t believe it? Just consider these ten questions.

Cruising. Perhaps you long ago slammed this particular porthole shut, with vague ideas about buffets, crowds, and tired cabaret shows. But lately you’ve been hearing friends rave about their recent cruises, and you’re getting curious.

Whether you’re interested in glacier trekking or pool lounging, exploring secluded islands or city streets, spending days on vineyard tours or in spas – if you can name it, there’s a ship for it. And the best parts of cruising remain the same, regardless of sailing style or destination: You only need to unpack once, and the views are ever-changing.

Not quite convinced? The following questions will help you determine whether you should set sail. (The answer is yes.)

1 – Are You a Foodie?

Top chefs have expanded their empires to include the world’s waterways, and new ingredients await discovery in each port. Here’s a taste of what’s on board.

Wine lovers will savor Uniworld’s eight-day Bordeaux vineyard cruise aboard the 130-passenger River Royale, with cellar tastings in Saint-Émilion, a Sauternes-paired lunch, visits to farmers’ markets in Libourne, and bicycle rides through the back streets of Bordeaux.

Crystal Cruises’ annual Food & Wine Festival sailings feature guest chefs and sommeliers, cooking classes, and more. A roundtrip Los Angeles journey aboard the 980-passenger Crystal Serenity takes in the flavors of Mexico with stops in La Paz, Ensenada, and Mazatlán.

 

2 – Do You Want to See It All?

Sailings that encompass vast regions and whole seasons can write your life’s next chapter.

Spend nearly five months aboard Silversea’s 382-passenger Silver Whisper. In 2019, the line’s 132-day world cruise takes in 31 countries and 52 ports. From snorkeling on Moorea to sampling wonton soup in Hong Kong and strolling San Sebastián, Spain’s historic Old Town, this is one trip that truly earns the moniker “voyage.” (Have less time? Select one of its roughly two-week routes that’s right for you.)

Also for 2019, Crystal Cruises’ 85-day journey on the 980-passenger Crystal Serenity will visit more than 15 countries. Explore the natural wonders of Australia and Africa, isles of the South Pacific, and top cities such as Sydney and Barcelona.

 

3 – Do You Prefer to Venture Off the Beaten Path?

Set sail to ports at the edges of civilization, and cruise rivers deep within Land Rover country.

Game-spot from the comfort of your stateroom during four days with AmaWaterways aboard the 28-passenger Zambezi Queen, as you navigate Botswana’s Chobe National Park.

 

4 – Are You a Night Owl?

Stay up late for chic theme parties, people-watching, and fun shows.

Azamara Club Cruises throws a White Night Party on its sailings, transforming outdoor decks into glamorous dancing and dining venues.

 

5 – Do You Like to Spread Out?

The most lavish and lovely accommodations come with endless blue views.

Cunard’s five Duplex and Grand Duplex suites on the 2,961-passenger Queen Mary 2, on two levels joined by a sweeping staircase, feature two master baths and a private gym. To go all out, combine all five into one 9,000-square-foot mansion.

 

6 – Do You Like the Great Outdoors?

Natural encounters let you heed the call of the wild.

Join wildlife icon Jean-Michel Cousteau aboard an Aqua Expeditions vessel on the Amazon and Mekong rivers. Take guided kayak tours along quiet jungle routes to talk conservation and ecosystems, and enjoy relaxed onboard chats about Cousteau’s top photo and videography tips.

 

7 – Is Vacation Actually a Perfect Time to Get Healthy?

Superior spas, mindfulness, and wellness menus for self-care at sea.

Seabourn’s Spa & Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil program takes health at sea to a new level. Meditation and yoga programs address physical, social, and spiritual well-being; seminars cover topics such as anti-inflammatory foods, healthy aging, and mindfulness. Dr. Weil himself joins some sailings each year.

 

8 – Are You Seeking Cultural Immersion?

See destinations through the eyes of locals and respected experts

Explore Madeira’s capital of Funchal on an exclusive Virtuoso Voyages excursion on board Oceania Cruises’ 1,250-passenger Riviera during a round-trip Barcelona sailing. Ride a cable car to the hilltop village of Monte, where you can take in the churches and palaces before trying out the carros de cesto, wicker toboggans that zoom you down the hill to Livramento. You’ll also visit a wine cellar to savor the nuances of the island’s famous sweet elixir, and relax over a wine-pairing lunch at Belmond Reid’s Palace hotel.

Sail French Polynesia with Paul Gauguin Cruises to delve beyond its beautiful shores. Onboard hosts include an archaeologist who specializes in the ancient ceremonial structures of the Marquesas and an art historian with no fewer than seven books published on the cruise line’s namesake.

 

9 – Are You a Thrill Seeker?

Sky-high adventures via new technologies and old-fashioned daredevilry.

Star Clippers’ 227-passenger Royal Clipper is still the world’s only five-masted, full-rigged sailing ship – and you can climb one of those masts, with a provided safety harness, of course, to take in the views over the vessel’s 42 billowing white sails.

 

10 – Do You Appreciate the Finer Things in Life?

From white-tie evenings to well-dressed breakfasts in bed.

Renowned for its commitment to the golden age of cruising, Cunard’s 2,961-passenger Queen Mary 2 has a formal dress code in the main dining venues – which most guests are eager to embrace. Each sailing typically features three formal nights, such as a masquerade ball or Roaring Twenties–style dance.

On Silversea’s ships, each cabin has dedicated butlers who are trained through the Guild of Professional English Butlers.

 

 

 

This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Virtuoso Traveler. 

AmaLea Lounge photo

AmaLea Sets Sail on Maiden Voyage

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 716 0

AmaWaterways’ Newest Ship Departs on Tulip Time Inaugural Cruise

Calabasas, CA – (Mar. 27, 2018) – AmaWaterways is excited to announce its newest ship, the 156-passenger AmaLea, set sail this week on her inaugural Tulip Time voyage. The ship embarked on her first journey from Amsterdam and is currently sailing along the colorful canals of the Dutch and Belgian Waterways, returning to Amsterdam on April 1. AmaLea will begin her Danube itineraries starting May 6 with an official christening ceremony – led by AmaLea’s godmother and respected travel industry executive, Filomena Andre, taking place on May 26 in Vilshofen, Germany.

“We are thrilled to see AmaLea welcoming her first guests to enjoy her luxurious features, modern and spacious design and impeccable service as they sail an unforgettable Tulip Time cruise,” said Rudi Schreiner, president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “I am confident our guests will appreciate the warm, pastel colors of the interior decor that marry so beautifully with the blooming tulip fields around them.”

Sister ship to the award-winning AmaKristina, AmaStella and AmaViola, AmaLea also features connecting and triple occupancy staterooms that are perfect for the growing multi-generational travel group markets. The ship will also feature AmaWaterways’ unique signature twin-balcony in most staterooms – offering breathtaking views of the European scenery.

Additional amenities include a daily “Sip & Sail” complimentary cocktail hour (new for 2018); a heated sun deck pool with swim-up bar; hair and massage salons; a well-equipped fitness center; complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the ship; a fleet of bicycles carried on board for guests to use complimentary. In addition to the stunning Main Lounge providing an exhilarating backdrop for guests to meet throughout the day and enjoy nightly entertainment, the ship also offers multiple dining venues, including The Chef’s Table specialty restaurant with its wine-paired tasting menu.

AmaLea will sail six Tulip Time cruises before embarking on seven-night cruises on the Danube River between Vilshofen and Budapest, two of which are themed Wine Cruises hosted by Amelia Ceja, president of Ceja Vineyards Napa, CA and Frederick Frank, president of Dr. Konstantin Frank Wine Cellars, Finger Lakes Region, NY and take place in November. AmaLea will close out her inaugural 2018 season with four awe-inspiring Christmas Markets Cruises on the Danube.

AmaWaterways – 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

AmaWaterways River Cruise

Posted By : Kathy Wilton/ 0 0

My husband and I just took our first river cruise which was AmaWaterways, Christmas Markets.  We didn’t know what to expect but we were very pleasantly surprised!  The guests were like 1 big family, on the first night, the cruise director Nick, got everyone together and we all decorated 3 Christmas Trees while singing Christmas songs.  It was amazing how quick that all came together and the community feeling was so great.  Also to mention how AmaWaterways made us all feel every day and Santa even came to give each and every guest a gift!  We all felt extremely special.  The service was amazing and the staff was the best.  Our cruise director gave me the most incredible insight as to what a cruise director does.

We’ve traveled on many ocean cruises and now we have added river cruising to our best loved list!  Add it to your Bucket List!

AmaWaterways announces sponsorship of Samantha Brown’s new show “Places to Love”, debuting on Public Television January 6, 2018

Posted By : Courtney Anderson/ 616 0

Calabasas, CA – (Jan. 6, 2018) – AmaWaterways – the leader in river cruising innovation – today announced the two-year sponsorship of a new show by celebrated travel expert Samantha Brown. Debuting tonight, the first season of Places to Love will air on public television, nationwide, with 13 weekly episodes. A second season will follow. The show explores some of the most vibrant destinations around the globe and showcases the unexpected personalities that bring these places to life.

“AmaWaterways is pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Samantha in her quest to showcase the unique characteristics and vibrant lifestyles of cities around the globe as well as spotlighting remarkable local personalities who add so much depth to the travel experience,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “We have long admired Samantha for her warm, engaging personality and we were excited to see the creative vision she is demonstrating in her new series that highlights the importance of culturally immersive travel experiences which is something that matches our own philosophy to river cruising.”

The partnership comes on the heels of several recent announcements from AmaWaterways that continue to revolutionize the river cruising industry. The company will debut three news ships in 2019 – including AmaMagna, a ship twice the width of traditional river cruise ships but welcoming only 20% more guests. The innovative design will feature the luxury of more expansive lounge, entertainment and spa areas, larger more spacious staterooms, with a majority reaching 355 sq. ft. and a choice of dining venues never before offered to river cruise guests. As the recognized leader in river cruising for active travelers, AmaWaterways will be expanding its current range of hiking and biking tours and debuting its Wellness Program on six ships in 2018 with plans to have Wellness Hosts on all 23 ships in 2019.

“Now is the perfect time for us to align with Samantha, as we look to expand our reach and connect with new types of travelers, with varying interests, from around the world,” said Karst. “We can’t wait to see the debut of ‘Places to Love’ and wish Samantha the best on this exciting new venture!”

Unlike a traditional travelogue series with a formulaic itinerary, “Places to Love” will be a half-hour program that takes viewers on a discovery to the emotional heart of travel by highlighting the people who are changing, challenging and strengthening a destination to deliver a decidedly refreshing and enriching travel experience. In each episode, Samantha will seek out the little-known spots and haunts where innovators and disrupters are creating a brand new travel experience. Whether it’s through food and drink, art and design, culture or adventure, at the end of each episode, viewers will have a well-curated list of new experiences that focus on not just how to visit a destination, but how to fully immerse in it. “Places to Love” will encourage the viewer to experience the passion of people and the soul of a place in a way that only traveling can do. Viewers should check local listings for air times.