Windstar Cruises’ New “Have You Ever” Promotion Includes 22 Can’t-Miss Itineraries in Europe 2017 Summer Sale

Monte-Carlo_F1_raceNever have I ever heard the visceral roar of the Monaco Grand Prix from premier grandstand seats, or mingled with the “glitterati” of Monte Carlo before retiring to my yacht. Never have I ever watched a live Russian ballet performance actually in Russia. Never have I ever chased shots of ouzo with plates of mezes in Greece, paired with an epic cerulean sky. Never have I ever taken an intimate, small ship cruise that brings me to the best, most exclusive, and off-the-beaten-path locations in all of Europe.

Today, Windstar Cruises announces its new “Have You Ever” campaign focusing on a Europe 2017 summer sale, aimed at turning these “never have I evers” into “yes, I haves” with prices from $ 1,299 per guest. More than 20 voyages in Northern Europe, Italy, Greece, and the Mediterranean are included in the sale.

Windstar simply does Europe differently than other cruise lines. In addition to the unique itineraries, the ships are so small, they actually engage in picturesque cruising along Europe’s most scenic shorelines (like the stunning Stockholm Archipelago). More time in port means more time to explore local culture and cuisines, and Windstar’s small-group shore excursions give guests a more authentic Europe experience, one that connects them in meaningful ways with the people and cultures they encounter.



A sampling of Windstar European shore excursions include:

  • Ephesus and Private Lunch in Sirince Village (Kusadasi, Turkey) Cruisers explore the ruined city of ancient Ephesus, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, from the glorious Celsus Library façade and Temple of Hadrian to the newly excavated “Terrace Houses”. This shore excursion is featured on all Treasures of the Greek Isles voyages.
  • Dinner at a Local Family Village Home (Dubrovnik, Croatia) Travelers head to the fertile Konavle Valley where their gracious host and chef prepares local specialties. Available on Venetian Passageways, Quintessential Croatia, Marvels of the Croatian Coast & Greece, and Classic Italy & Dalmatian Coast.Celsus-Library_Kusadasi
  • Kayak in the Finnish Archipelago (Helsinki, Finland) Participants tour the sights of Helsinki before paddling their own sea kayak through the scenic and wildlife-rich Finnish Archipelago on Baltic Delights.
  • Mountains & Fjords (Alesund, Norway) Guests climb the famous Trolls Road with its exhilarating hairpin bends, pausing to admire the incredible mountains, gorges, and waterfalls along the way on Lands of the Midnight Sun.

Of course, no trip to Europe would be complete without dining like a European, and on Windstar, every effort is placed upon using fresh, local ingredients, with the cruise line recently becoming the official cruise line of the venerable James Beard Foundation. With fresh gravlax while sailing through Norwegian fjords, local cheeses in France (paired with amazing wines), osso bucco in Italy, or souvlaki in Greece, these “Have You Ever” gastronomic questions can all be answered with a resounding, “Mmmm, yes, I have” after joining Windstar in Europe.




Rates for Windstar European summer sailings start at $ 1,299 per person, double occupancy including “Have You Ever” inspired journeys such as the following:


Glitter & Glam of the Rivieras – on the voyage from Barcelona to Rome (or reverse), this glamorous sailing stops along the French and Italian Rivieras, including Port Vendres, Sanary-Sur-Mer, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Portofino, and Portoferraio. There are 12 sail dates to choose from, starting at $ 1,299 per person.Market_Tour_with_chef

Gaelic Explorers – traveling from Edinburgh to Dublin (or reverse), this unique Windstar itinerary heads from the hills to the highlands, with port in Isle of Man, Portrush, Tobermory (Isle of Mull), Portree, Kirkwall, and Invergordon. There are six sail dates to choose from, starting at $ 2,499 per person.

For a full listing of “Have You Ever” Europe sale voyages, visit

For additional information on small ship cruising with Windstar, contact a travel professional or Windstar Cruises by phone at 877-958-7718, or visit

The post Windstar Cruises’ New “Have You Ever” Promotion Includes 22 Can’t-Miss Itineraries in Europe 2017 Summer Sale appeared first on Windstar Cruises – A Luxury Cruise Blog.

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Put Your River Knowledge to the Test

(Photo credit: Avalon Waterways)

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Travelmarvel Jewel in Cologne
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Image by Rolf H.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                             

Contact:  Melanie Gravdal
[email protected]




LITTLETON, Colorado –  April 19, 2017 – A journey on one of Asia’s great rivers offers a tapestry of fascinating sights, colorful cultures and ancient traditions.  A journey on Avalon Waterways’ smaller ships widens the possibilities, getting travelers closer to all the must-see sights and introducing them to new destinations, locals and their way of life.  On the heels of unveiling two, NEW 36-guest Suite Ships® on the Irrawaddy and Mekong Rivers in two years, Avalon Waterways has announced plans to cruise farther into the Far East by increasing its fleet – and vacation portfolio – with another Suite Ship for the Mekong River – the Avalon Saigon – and new ways to see and explore Southeast Asia.

“Avalon river cruises go beyond expectation … they go beyond the grand waterways of Europe, too,” said Terri Burke, managing director of Avalon Waterways.  “With a maximum capacity of only 36 guests, our smaller Mekong and Irrawaddy Suite Ships invite travelers to see the world differently by sailing into surprising places other ships simply cannot.  Gliding through narrow passageways, these intimate ships get travelers up close to the sights, cultures and traditions of Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.”

On Avalon’s new Southeast Asia Suite Ships – the Avalon Saigon, Avalon Myanmar and Avalon Siem Reap – travelers are welcomed by 18 well-appointed Avalon Suites with 245-square-feet of living space.  And, while other ships may offer guests tiny balconies, these new ships introduce travelers in Asia to Avalon’s innovative, signature Open-Air Balconies® featuring floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall panoramic windows measuring 14-feet-wide with retractable screen systems and doors that slide open a full 9-feet, creating the feeling of sitting outside.  In front of each Open-Air Balcony is a private sitting area, complete with love seat, chairs and table.  And facing the passing views is Avalon’s Comfort Collection BedsSM, inviting travelers to relax and enjoy every moment of cruising past the fascinating scenes of daily life on the Irrawaddy and Mekong Rivers.

In addition to introducing the NEW Avalon Saigon, the company is adding a new itinerary to see and explore Vietnam & Cambodia.  The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam is a NEW 18-day journey through Cambodia and Vietnam.  Travelers will not only enjoy an immersive cruise on the Mekong River, after flying to Hanoi, they will embark on a two-day cruise of Ha Long Bay.

The river cruise company also allows travelers dozens of vacation extension options on both their Mekong and Irrawaddy itineraries.  For instance, travelers booking a 13-day Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River cruise can add stays in Bangkok and/or Luang Prabang to their journey.  Those who book the 14-day Golden Myanmar & the Alluring Irrawaddy itinerary can add Bangkok and/or Inle Lake to their vacation.


2018 Southeast Asia cruises offered by Avalon Waterways:


  • 13-day Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & the Mekong River (Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap; Siem Reap to Ho Chi Minh City)
  • NEW! 18-day The Heart of Cambodia & Vietnam (Siem Reap to Hanoi; Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi)




Avalon’s other exotic cruise offerings include the Yangtze River, Amazon River and Galápagos Islands.  For more information, visit

SEE THE WORLD SALES EVENT: Those booking a 2018 river cruise to Southeast Asia can SAVE up to $ 2,000 per couple.  Avalon Waterways is also catering to solo travelers by waiving the single supplement on select Avalon Irrawaddy and Mekong river cruise departures.  For details, click here.

To download a PDF of this release, click here.

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Since we launched our very first ship in 2004, Avalon Waterways has invited you – our traveler – to be our muse. Thanks to you, we let imagination and a relentless desire to create a smart use of space, be our guide. The result?  An incomparable river cruise experience, including one-of-a-kind Panorama Suites℠ – with innovative Open-Air BalconiesSM and beds facing the views – on the industry’s only Suite Ships®:  Unequaled vessels that feature two full decks of 200- and 300-square-foot suites.
On the spectacular ships of Avalon, “included” is one of our favorite words.  Spacious outside staterooms with plenty of room to relax – included.  Special touches like regional wines and beer at every onboard dinner – included.  Complimentary Wi-Fi – included.  The most shore excursions, led by Certified Local Guides – included.  VIP entrance into must-see sites – included. Unique Local FavoritesSM designed to bring your destination to life – included.  In addition to everything that is included, we also give you the freedom of Avalon Choice® – a different approach to river cruising that invites travelers to personalize their trip.
Whether looking for a romantic mini-break, an in-depth 24-day exploration or something in between, with Avalon Waterways, you can choose the river cruise that reveals the very best of Europe, Asia, or South America– your way!
For more information, visit and “like” us on Facebook.  Agents should visit for booking details and promotions.


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2015 – Budapest – Avalon Waterways Impression – 3 of 6
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Image by Ted’s photos – Returns Mid May

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4 Unforgettable Experiences in Hong Kong

By Oceania Cruises Guest Mariela U.

One of the great cities of the world, Hong Kong is fast-paced, filled with dizzying bazaars, amazing restaurants and a dynamic cultural landscape. It’s also constantly transforming. I recently visited Hong Kong before my cruise aboard Insignia with my husband, and we had the chance to experience this city for two full days. From delicious dim sum to the treasured Tian Tan Buddha, here are four of my favorite experiences in Hong Kong. 

Tian Tan Buddha | Lantau Island, Hong Kong

One of the largest outdoor Buddha statues in the world, also known as the Big Buddha, Tian Tan Buddha is located in a very picturesque area of Lantau Island. Once you arrive, you climb the stairs and there you are, at the foot of a gigantic bronze statue of the Buddha. You can only appreciate the magnitude of this incredible statue up close and in person. As I walked around the statue, I took in the wild, beautiful mountains sprawling into the distance. Hong Kong may be one of the most densely populated cities in the world, but Lantau Island, which is part of the city, has a very low population. This is one of the things I love about Hong Kong – the drastic contrasts from one area to the next.

Big Buddhav2

Dim Sum at Maxim’s Palace | At City Hall in the Central District

Of all the dishes and creations you can try in Hong Kong, you absolutely must try traditional dim sum at least once during your visit. Maxim’s Palace is a Hong Kong institution, so make sure to get to the restaurant early for lunch – before 12:30 p.m. – since people begin lining up early for a table at this popular local’s spot. Since it’s in City Hall, you’ll be eating alongside business-people and workers from all the surrounding offices. The interior is beautifully decorated and filled with cheerful waiters pushing traditional carts filled with all sorts of amazing Chinese food. My favorites were the fried taro dumplings, similar to a croquette, and the steamed buns – the ones with pork were especially amazing. This place offers the quintessential Hong Kong dim sum experience, and is one not to miss.

dim sum in china city hall

Chi Lin Nunnery & Nan Lian Garden | Kowloon, Hong Kong

This is a beautiful and peaceful Buddhist temple and garden right in the middle of the chaos of Hong Kong. Not only is the architecture impressive, the grounds are immaculate. I saw locals praying to Buddha, lighting incense and practicing meditation, so this is a place where you get a sense of the day-to-day life as well. Across the street from the temple is Nan Lian Gardens, which are perfectly manicured and make for a great spot to relax, rest, and reflect after lunch or exploring the city a bit. There are also tons of great photo opportunities. I walked around the gardens for a while and completely forgot I was in Hong Kong.

Mariela - Nan Lian Gardens.jpeg

Chi Lin Nunneryv2

Temple Street Night Market | Kowloon, Hong Kong

The night comes alive when this bazaar opens on Temple Street, a long and narrow pedestrian-only street, every evening. Each stall is filled with colorful goods specific to the stall – everything from jade jewelry, antiques and tea ware to clothing, toys and electronics. The best – and most lively – part of the experience is to negotiate the price with the vendors, and believe me, everyone negotiates. I found a beautiful scarf and some traditional jade jewelry. This is one of those places so steeped in the local atmosphere that you just have to spend some time there when you are in this city.

After our memorable visit to Hong Kong, I know it’s only a matter of time before we return to this part of the world – it’s a complete food lover’s paradise and there’s an endless amount of culture and tradition to soak up.

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It’s been this way since the very beginning. From the moment our first ship sailed, Crystal has made waves in the travel industry, creating new standards of luxury cruising with each new experience, look, taste, and pursuit that has graced our elegant ships. Awards and acclaim have been given, guests have been wowed. And with every nautical mile of our journey, it has been our immense pleasure to exceed the wishes of the world’s most discerning travelers, always evolving and innovating, but remaining constant in our commitment to incomparable luxury vacation experiences.

That luxury began with the gorgeous vessels of Crystal Cruises, Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity. This fall and next, they will embark on the next chapter of their story, during the most extensive dry dock redesign in their respective histories. As this journey continues and our path expands to the rivers, skies and hidden harbors of the world, we are not deviating from the course of true luxury. Rather, we are upping the ante in a big way.

Debuting this year and next, stay as connected as you wish with free unlimited Wi-Fi on all Crystal vessels. Dine around the world at your leisure with fresh new culinary experiences and open seating. Indulge in more butler service and plush personal space with brand new Penthouse accommodations. Every new design and added comfort is created to enhance travelers’ Crystal Experience, while captivating global itineraries continue showcasing the world’s most spectacular locales.

Enjoy this glimpse into the next chapter of the evolution of Crystal luxury, and allow your imagination to soar to the ends of the earth with us.



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