BEYOND THE RIVER: WHEN YOU DON’T WANT THE JOURNEY TO END

Berlin Cathedral (Photo by Dreamstime.com)

New 2018 Land Experiences Take You Further

The transition from the bliss that is a Crystal River voyage – a week or two filled with smiling faces granting your every wish with a warm “my pleasure,” Michelin-inspired cuisine served with perfect wine pairings, a personal butler at your service with just the touch of an iPad in your suite – back to real life, can feel like an alarm clock that sounded too soon. Inverse logic dictates that the anticipation of an upcoming Crystal vacation can make the days leading up to embarkation drag on…and on. Enter: Crystal River Cruises’ pre- and post-cruise land experiences, extended land programs that allow you to prolong the luxury vacation you’ve been waiting for.

Specifically, four immersive programs offered in 2018 that delve deeper into some of the most famously fascinating destinations in Europe invite you to explore ashore, with every detail crafted by Crystal’s own experts. Three nights in Prague, Paris, Berlin and Slovenia – each program packed with experiences designed to authentically showcase the many facets of each destination, with luxury accommodations selected particularly for their historical and architectural significance to each city.

Exclusive dining reservations at acclaimed venues, an enriching roster of adventures that offer special access and insightful perspectives from experts, and the ability to “Design Your Time” make Crystal’s pre- and post-cruise land experiences exactly what you want them to be.

Piran, Slovenia

Let the vacation continue…

Prague Discovery

Explore the “City of a Hundred Spires” that sits along the Vltava River. Prague’s history is vast, and its present is vibrant. Bespoke experiences showcase traditions of the Czech Republic that have endured for centuries, as well as the awe-inspiring architecture that presides imposingly over the city’s modern culture. Taste Pilsner in the capital of Czech beer, and venture to UNESCO-listed Kutná Hora, returning to the elegant, 14th-century Augustine Hotel after each day’s adventures. *Offered from Budapest

You’ll Always Have Paris

The City of Light’s joie de vivre will, indeed, remain with you long after your return home, imprinted on your memory as clearly as on your passport. The iconic treasures of Paris are yours to explore, from the gilded rooms and gardens of Versailles to the monumental Eiffel Tower and Nôtre Dame. Stroll the romantic Champs Élysées from the centrally located Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome, itself an icon of Parisian charm. *Offered from Amsterdam

Slovenian Treasures

Stretching from the Adriatic Sea to the Slovenian Alps, these three days encompass the quintessential medieval influence of Eastern Europe. Your home base will be the Kempinski Palace in the heart of Portoroz’ city center, with its own private courtyard and expansive wine cellar. Beyond your luxury hotel lie visits to ominous Predjama Castle, the incredibly preserved open-air museum that is Piran, and encounters with the legendary Lipizzaner horses renowned by nobility and beloved by all Slovenians. *Offered from Vienna

The Best of Berlin

Retrace the footsteps of some of history’s most pivotal events and today’s greatest artistic and innovative minds. Pass through Brandenburg Gate, visit prominent World War II sites, and peruse the gritty masterpieces of Berlin’s thriving street art scene, juxtaposed with exclusive tours of the city’s preeminent art museums. Taste the many – many – nuances of traditional German beer, and join the locals in Gendarmenmarkt Square. Berlin’s world-class shopping, dining and bustling historic Mitte District is at your fingertips from your accommodations at the Regent Hotel, one of the most acclaimed luxury hotels in the world. *Offered from Frankfurt

Crystal’s Extended Land Programs are offered pre- and post-cruise from select cities throughout 2018. Book today, and prolong your Crystal journey.

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Visit One of the World’s Greatest Mysteries on Our Iconic Events ‘Stonehenge Solstice’ Cruise

For centuries, historians and archaeologists have been puzzled over the many mysteries of Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument that took Neolithic builders an estimated 1,500 years to erect. Stonehenge has been called the “world’s most famous prehistoric monument” and has become a key fixture on many traveler’s bucket lists.

One of the most special and popular times to visit Stonehenge is around June 20 for the northern summer solstice — or when the sun’s path stops moving northward in the sky, marking the day in which the days stop growing longer and will soon begin to shorten again. Celebrations at Stonehenge have marked this holiday for centuries, and Holland America Line makes it possible to combine a visit to Stonehenge during the summer solstice and a cruise with the Iconic Events 14-day Stonehenge Solstice cruise on Zuiderdam.

The cruise departs Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the easiest European capitals to fall in love with. While there, make sure to not miss the chance to snag a picture of “The Little Mermaid” statue. After a sea day, the cruise moves westward and arrives at Amsterdam, The Netherlands, for an overnight visit.

amsterdamcanals

Sail the iconic canals of central Amsterdam this summer.

Over the years Amsterdam has developed a reputation as one of Europe’s most inviting and laid back cities. While exploring at a relaxed pace, guests should head to the historic city center where you’ll find some of the world’s top art museums, including the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. Since the cruise will be in town for the night, guests should also make their way to Dam Square to tour the Royal Palace before continuing to the tourist attractions on the Canal Belt. After Amsterdam, the cruise stops at Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium, and Le Havre (Paris) and Cherbourg (Normandy), France. The ship has an 11 p.m. departure from Le Havre so guests can enjoy the enchanting city of Paris, and a call at Cherbourg allows for a moving visit to the American Cemetery overlooking WWII’s Omaha Beach.

Zuiderdam then reaches Southampton (London), England, for an overnight call to experience the summer solstice at Stonehenge.

stonehenge1

Experience the year’s longest day and celebrate the summer solstice with thousands of travelers from across the world.

While at Southampton, Holland America Line makes it easy for guests to enjoy the Stonehenge summer solstice with two EXC Tour options: Solstice Sunset Stonehenge Transfer on June 20, or the Solstice Sunrise Stonehenge Transfer on June 21. Both shore excursions provide the unique opportunity for an up-close look at the Neolithic site while being surrounded by a positive and free-flowing celebration. The two excursions only differ in whether you prefer a sunrise or sunset experience at Stonehenge. While at Southampton guests also can choose to explore London’s multiple attractions.

stonehenge2

Don’t miss your chance to see the sunrise or sunset at Stonehenge on a Holland America Cruise.

From Southampton, the cruise moves northward at St. Peter Port, Guernsey, and after a sea day, arrives at South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland. A key attraction that dominates the skyline in Edinburgh is Edinburgh Castle. While at the castle’s rock, a visit to St. Margaret’s Chapel should not be skipped. The site is believed to have been the place where Queen Margaret of Scotland worshipped. In addition to the castle and chapel, Edinburgh proudly displays multiple exhibits on national and international scientific achievements at the National Museum of Scotland, as well as some fantastic works of visual art at the National Galleries of Scotland.

edinburghcastle

Head to Edinburgh’s famous castle and church for a peek into Scotland’s past.

From Edinburgh, the cruise heads northward to Invergordon (Inverness), Scotland, for an exploration of Loch Ness before returning to Copenhagen for the end of the sailing.

If you’re looking to extend the cruise, take a look at the 24-day Baltic Adventure & Stonehenge Solstice Collectors’ Voyage that combines the Summer Solstice cruise with a Baltic Adventure itinerary.

The Collectors’ Voyage begins on June 3, 2018, at Copenhagen, Denmark, and guests in-transit have the opportunity to indulge in one of Holland America Line’s new culinary-themed EXC Tours with Food & Wine. During the “Smørrebrød – The Art of Sandwich Making” EXC Tour, you’ll learn to make rye bread and a variety of seasonal and traditional toppings for the Danish delicacy of open-faced sandwiches. While dining on these culinary creations, the concept of hygge or the Danish mantra for “coziness” will be discussed.

After a sea day, the cruise visits charming Tallinn, Estonia, before reaching St. Petersburg, Russia, for two nights. Famed Russian poet and playwright Alexander Pushkin called St. Petersburg, Russia’s “window to Europe” and it’s easy to see why. Among the tourist attractions, the Hermitage is the city’s most famous — as it is one of the world’s greatest art museums and the largest museum in the world-with almost three million objects collected in five buildings. Performing arts also abound: Many of Russia’s greatest ballets, plays and operas have premiered at the Mariinsky Theatre. Nearby, the summer residences of the czars, including Peterhof, are dazzling gilded Baroque palaces perfect for sightseeing.

st.petersburg

Be left in awe while you walk by the Church of our Savior on Spilled Blood while exploring St. Petersburg.

After two nights at St. Petersburg, the cruise moves westward and reaches Finland’s capital of Helsinki before calling at Stockholm, Sweden. Spread over more than a dozen islands linked by bridges, the Swedish capital of Stockholm is one of the most effortlessly enjoyable cities in Europe. After a sea day, the cruise reaches German shores at Warnëmunde (Berlin) and Kiel (Hamburg), Germany, before returnign to Copenhagen.

Along with the 24-day Baltic Adventure & Stonehenge Solstice departing on June 3, 2018, travelers can instead to choose to depart Copenhagen for the 24-day Baltic Adventure & Stonehenge Solstice sailing on June 13, 2018, that visits Stonehenge first, then the Baltic region.

Interested in partaking in the solstice celebrations at Stonehenge? Book today to not miss out on this iconic event by heading to Holland America Line website or by consulting your travel professional.

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Exhilarating Playlist Production Shows among Array of Entertainment Options aboard New Carnival Horizon

 

For its newest ship, Carnival Horizon, Carnival Cruise Line’s talented in-house entertainment team has partnered with leading creative directors from Broadway, Los Angeles and London’s West End to create three brand new shows that are designed to raise the bar on cruise ship entertainment.

Part of the line’s popular Playlist Productions revues, the new shows make maximum use of the ship’s sophisticated and interactive LED screens while showcasing the talents of the shows’ performers to deliver unforgettable evenings of high-caliber entertainment.

Three new shows – Soulbound, Celestial Strings and Vintage Pop – will debut on Carnival Horizon when it enters service in April 2018. A fourth show, Amor Cubano:  A Caribbean Dance Romance, has been brought to Carnival Horizon following an incredible debut on Carnival Vista last year.

“Carnival Horizon promises to be a spectacular addition to the fleet and we’ve made the entertainment and activity options equally spectacular with such an array of fun choices, morning until night,” said Sarah Beth Reno, Carnival’s vice president of entertainment. “Whether you’re enjoying an amazing Playlist Productions show, checking out the hilarious entertainers at the Punchliner Comedy Club or participating in our legendary deck parties, our team will make sure your Carnival Horizon vacation is one you’ll never forget,” she added.

The Playlist Productions shows on Carnival Horizon include:

  • Soulbound: Hosted by Carnival Horizon’s very own “soul catcher,” this fun, high-energy show offers a gothic-inspired journey through New Orleans with stops at recognizable Crescent City landmarks like a haunted paddlewheel ship, an apothecary shop and cemetery highlighted by levitating chairs and other spookily stunning illusions.  As spirits are playfully captured and brought back to life through dazzling special effects, cast members belt out R&B favorites like Superstitious, Soul Man and Born Under a Bad Sign.
  • Celestial Strings: Billed as a “breathtaking performance beyond your wildest dreams,” Celestial Strings merges the beauty of classical music with modern pop beats that takes place in an elegant and enchanted garden that seamlessly transforms from season to season, stimulating the senses with unbelievable visual imagery, 3D cast interactions and aroma-infused sets to bring the garden to life.  The first Playlist Productions show to feature a live string trio, Celestial Strings is truly a multi-sensory symphony for the soul.
  • Vintage Pop: Taking viewers back to the Great Gatsby and Cotton Club era with contemporary songs like All About that Bass, That’s What I Like and Work transformed into classic jazz interpretations, Vintage Pop features a toe-tapping six-piece live band performing in a modern-day speakeasy.  Highlighted by a show-stopping burlesque number that leaves audiences breathless, Vintage Pop ends with a rollicking after party in the atrium where guests can dance and interact with the flapper- and zoot suit-outfitted cast members.
  • Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance: This exciting get-on-your-feet show blends classic Latin songs with today’s hits and features an authentic reproduction of Carnival Horizon’s sizzling Havana Bar.  The show is highlighted by a seven-piece Cuban-inspired band that performs songs by Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz and others amid a tropical, multi-hued backdrop of Cuba and Miami, the latter of which will be the ship’s eventual year-round homeport.

The new shows complement Carnival Horizon’s vast array of entertainment offerings which include family-friendly and adults-only performances at the Punchliner Comedy Club and the family-favorite Hasbro, The Game Show, a live action game show incorporating larger-than-life adaptations of popular Hasbro games, along with an IMAX Theatre showcasing first-run blockbusters, documentaries and family favorites, and the multi-sensory Thrill Theater, the latter of which are part of the Carnival Multiplex entertainment concept.

At night, Serenity, the ship’s outdoor adults-only retreat, is transformed into a South Beach-style club under the stars complete with spectacular lighting effects and a crowd-pleasing mix of popular music spun by one of Carnival’s professional DJ’s. Live bands along the promenade, solo artists in the new Smokehouse Brewhouse BBQ restaurant and brewery and the line’s legendary deck parties will also be offered.

Carnival Horizon is set to debut April 2, 2018, with a 13-day Mediterranean cruise from Barcelona – the first of four round-trip departures from that port – then reposition to the U.S. with a 14-day trans-Atlantic crossing from Barcelona to New York May 9-23, 2018.

Following its summer schedule of four-day Bermuda and eight-day Caribbean departures from the Big Apple, Carnival Horizon will shift to Miami and kick off a year-round schedule of six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises beginning Sept. 22, 2018. Carnival Horizon will also offer a special two-day cruise to Nassau from Miami Sept. 20-22, 2018.

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com. Carnival also can be found on: FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube. Journalists also can visit Carnival’s media site, carnival-news.com or follow the line’s PR department on Twitter at twitter.com/CarnivalPR.

Carnival Cruise Line News

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Carnival Fascination Resumes Year-Round Service From San Juan Following Multi-Million-Dollar Dry Dock

 

Carnival Fascination resumed its year-round schedule of seven-day southern Caribbean departures from San Juan this past Sunday, following an extensive multi-million-dollar dry dock that added a variety of popular food and beverage concepts.

On its San Juan-based program, Carnival Fascination departs every Sunday on week-long voyages visiting five tropical destinations: St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Kitts, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, each of which is home to world-class beaches, centuries-old historical sites, unique and exciting shoreside experiences and array of shopping and dining opportunities.

“We’re delighted that the Carnival Fascination has returned to year-round sailing from San Juan better than ever with a wide range of great new dining, beverage and retail options for our guests to enjoy,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line who noted that prior to the dry dock the ship was chartered by FEMA to house relief workers in St. Croix.

The new spaces include:

  • Guy’s Burger Joint: a free-of-charge poolside venue developed in partnership with Food Network personality Guy Fieri serving hand-crafted burgers and fresh-cut fries enjoyed amidst a décor that celebrates the chef’s California roots and love of car culture.
  • RedFrog Rum Bar: a poolside watering hole offering the quintessential Caribbean vacation vibe with refreshing Caribbean rum-based frozen drinks and beers, including Carnival’s own private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.
  • BlueIguana Cantina: a complimentary poolside Mexican eatery where guests can enjoy authentic freshly made burritos and tacos on homemade tortillas, as well as an elaborate toppings and salsa bar.
  • BlueIguana Tequila Bar: a fun and festive outdoor bar offering a laid-back Mexican-themed atmosphere and tequila-based frozen drinks and beers, perfect for chillin’ by the pool.
  • Cherry on Top: The “sweetest spot on board,” Cherry on Top is the gateway to the joys of simple indulgences with bins of bulk candy, fun-and-fanciful gifts, just-because novelties, colorful custom apparel and more.
  • Alchemy Bar: a vintage-themed cocktail “pharmacy” that’s the go-to spot for guests seeking a unique experience with mixologists who “prescribe” concoctions from different elixirs and ingredients or guests’ own custom-created cocktails.
  • Bonsai Sushi Express: the success of the full-service Bonsai Sushi restaurants has spawned this casual, convenient yet equally tasty offshoot featuring a mouth-watering array of sushi, sashimi, rolls and more.

These complement Carnival Fascination’s popular onboard features like a luxurious 12,000-square-foot health and wellness center, a Serenity adults-only retreat, and an array of entertainment choices including the Punchliner Comedy Club, Playlist Productions shows, and Hasbro, The Game Show, with larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic games.

The ship’s family-friendly options include the Seuss at Sea program, an exclusive partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, along with fun, supervised activities for kids in three age groups – Camp Ocean (2-11), Circle “C” (12-14) and Club O2 (15-17) and a WaterWorks aqua park featuring a 300-foot-long Twister slide.

For additional information and reservations, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com. Carnival also can be found on: FacebookInstagramTwitter and YouTube. Journalists also can visit Carnival’s media site, carnival-news.com or follow the line’s PR department on Twitter at twitter.com/CarnivalPR.

Carnival Cruise Line News

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Ideas For Getting The Most Out Of Your Vacation Budget

cruise ship
Image by Simon Varwell

Ideas For Getting The Most Out Of Your Vacation Budget

The idea of traveling evokes many feelings in people. Whether it is for business or pleasure, there is always some level of stress involved. Don’t let stress get to you and stop you from enjoying your trip. Read the tips in this article for a safe trip filled with fun.

If you’re going on a cruise, pack a tackle box and keep your valuables in it. Cruises often have a lot of thieves aboard them and you don’t want to risk losing something important to you. Thieves will often ignore something like a tackle box, leaving your valuables safe.

If you’re going on a cruise either by yourself or with only one other person, consider getting the smallest room available. It’s usually a lot cheaper and you can put that money to good use. You’re not going to want to spend a lot of time in your room except when you’re sleeping or washing, so why should you spend a fortune on it?

Pack lightly when traveling, but also make sure that you are dressing for the weather and the activities you plan on doing. That way, you don’t sweat too much when rock climbing, or freeze in a museum. Also make sure you have extra cash in case of an emergency, so you don’t get stuck abroad!

If you’re looking for a cheap souvenir to bring home to a family member or friend, try hotel stationary! Hotel stationary is complimentary, and often has an interesting design evocative of the area you’re staying in. Bring home some hotel stationary every time you go on a trip. It won’t take long for the recipient to develop a very cool collection.

If you plan to travel and have animals, you will need to decide whether they are staying behind or coming with you. Pets can make travel hard if they will need a care giver while you’re gone or the places you plan to travel are not pet friendly. Searching for inexpensive care or pet friendly destinations in advance will help you tremendously.

If your travels take you through or into a small airport, check the website for that airport to see all of the airlines that offer service there. Many smaller airports will have charter airlines – that do not show up when searching for rates, and they may be able to offer better deals than the big companies.

A great traveling tip that can save you a lot of money is to write to people when you’re going on a cruise. A lot of cruise ships will charge you an arm and a leg for using their Internet or phone service. You can avoid those high charges charges just by writing to people, and people love getting postcards from afar.

As was stated in the beginning of this article, stress is always a major factor in travel, for various reasons. You don’t have to let it ruin you, instead conquer it by arming yourself with successful travel tips that are sure to make your journey worry-free and safe.

Find your dream cruise at TopCruiseFinder.com.