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Ideas For Getting The Most Out Of Your Vacation Budget

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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.

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New EXC In-Depth Voyages Feature Zodiac Excursions for Up-Close Discovery

This September Holland America Line will begin an innovative approach to cruising for travelers who are looking for thoughtful and immersive ways to see the world. Offered on the 1,258-guest Maasdam, new EXC In-Depth Voyages explore some of the most fascinating corners of the globe on itineraries from 12 to 34 days, using world-renowned experts, local scholars and customized Zodiac tours to immerse guests in the experience.

With EXC In-Depth Voyages, each journey offers guests a variety of themes and choices to tailor their exploration: photography; science and nature; arts and culture; food, wine and spirits; history and perspective; and active exploration. Guests are free to focus on one area of interest or combine their passions through onboard enrichment and captivating shore activities. Guests can choose to do as much or as little as they like.

“We created EXC In-Depth Voyages to further enhance our guests immersion experience in a more personalized way in the exotic destinations featured on this series of specially designed itineraries,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “The addition of Zodiac tours will allow guests to be modern-day explorers, and Maasdam will visit many ports that we have never been to or haven’t visited in years; EXC In-Depth Voyages are truly unique.”


Maasdam will offer EXC In-Depth cruises starting in Sept. 2018.

Notable Experts Lead Workshops, Seminars and Learning Opportunities
From September 2018 through April 2019, EXC In-Depth Voyages expand on Holland America Line’s exciting Explorations CentralTM (EXCTM) programming by creating a total experience on board and ashore. Onboard enrichment is guided by a special resident team of subject-matter experts — covering such topics as marine and bird life, geology, cultural anthropology, history and more — who sail on all EXC In-Depth cruises, complementing each adventure with informative talks and insightful discussions of their own field experiences.

A sea day could include a lecture on Captain Cook (history and perspective), discovering the indigenous breadfruit (food, wine and spirits), growing coral (science and nature), DSLR Basics (photography) and a traditional tattoo design workshop (arts and culture). Additional EXC programming on board is designed to bring guests together with similar interests and will offer interactive activities, destination insight from location experts and EXC Guides, and cultural encounters to make each cruise more engaging and meaningful.

Since EXC In-Depth Voyages are designed with added emphasis on the destination and onboard learning, evening entertainment will reflect the local culture instead of mainstage production shows. America’s Test Kitchen is being replaced with local chefs, locally sourced ingredients and local traditions to enhance the culinary offerings appreciated by Holland America Line guests. Junior cruisers are welcome, but Club HAL kids’ activities will not be offered on EXC In-Depth Voyages.

Zodiac Inflatable Boats Amplify Up-close Experiences
Maasdam will carry Zodiac inflatable boats, the type popularized by famous oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, so guests may enjoy opportunities to intimately explore less-accessible sites and wildlife habitats in select ports as part of the ships EXC Tours program. A mix of onboard experts and local guides co-guide Zodiac outings to enrich the experience for guests.

komodo dragon

Guests can go in search of the famed Komodo Dragon.

For example, guests might foray around sheltered islands to spot local birdlife including waders, oystercatchers, nesting cormorants and other species. Or venture up rivers to explore the history and sights of a region from a unique vantage. Perhaps they will uncover the beauty of nature reserves on a photo adventure that features rugged shores, blue waters, limestone cliffs and abundant wildlife. Zodiac tours are not included in the cruise fare.

Dr. Peter Carey, Holland America Line’s director of explorations, is currently scouting locations and refining plans for this innovative new series of voyages and Zodiac excursions. A zoologist who has traveled extensively throughout and researched the region, Carey will draw on his journeys and vast research into sea mammal behavior and seabird ecology to craft experiences that open up even wilder places for guests to enjoy and remember as the ultimate field trip. Carey is director of the Sub-Antarctic Foundation for Ecosystems Research and a contributing lecturer at the University of Canterbury and an affiliate professor with the Geography Program at the University of Alaska.

Other shoreside activities focus on offering memorable experiences like photographing the colors of a Tahitian market (photography), taking a guided walking tour of Komodo National Park in search of the Komodo dragon (active exploration), touring the Nukubalavu Village and seeing the Fijian kava welcoming ceremony (arts and culture), visiting famous ruins in Thailand (history and perspective) and watching the platypus playing in billabongs in Australia (science and nature).

making textiles

Cultural experiences come to life on EXC In-Depth cruises.

Islands and Ports Are Off-the-Beaten Track but Accessible to Intimate Maasdam
The ports on EXC In-Depth itineraries were selected to evoke curiosity and inspire wonder. Maasdam will visit 154 ports in 36 countries on 12 individual cruises with guests having the opportunity to explore far-flung locales like Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Java, the Maldives, the Marquesas and Nuku Hiva. Twenty-eight ports are maiden calls or have not been visited by Holland America Line ships in years.

Ports are off-the-beaten track, but accessible to Maasdam guests.

EXC In-Depth Voyages Range from 12 to 239 Days
The first EXC In-Depth Voyage departs Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Sept. 10, 2018, and sets sail for Papeete, Tahiti, via the Panama Canal. Along the way the ship calls at ports on the west coast of South America, sails across the Pacific Ocean to Easter Island, and visits several South Pacific islands during the 34-day voyage. Maasdam then spends October and part of November exploring the South Pacific before heading to New Zealand.

Come December, Maasdam journeys along the southern coast of Australia, featuring a special 16-day holiday cruise departing Dec. 21. The ship spends January cruising the northwest coast of Australia up to Singapore where it embarks on a 20-day adventure in the culturally rich Indian Ocean region. Following a 20-day Southeast Asia itinerary in February 2019, the ship explores the Spice Islands and ports along the northeastern coast of Australia, then sails back to the South Pacific and charts a course throughout the idyllic islands. The final EXC In-Depth cruise is a 24-day Polynesian Crossing ending at San Francisco, California, May 7, 2019.

Cruises can be combined to form longer voyages extending up to an incredible 239-day adventure that covers French Polynesia, the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Overnight calls are a highlight of the EXC In-Depth Voyages. Guests will have overnight experiences in Callao (Lima), Peru; Easter Island; Papeete, French Polynesia; Tauranga and Waitangi, New Zealand; Adelaide, Australia; Singapore; Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Halong Bay, Vietnam; and Hong Kong, China.


Holland America Blog

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Explore Living History on an Autumn Mediterranean and Holy Land Cruise

Millennia of spiritually, politically, and culturally transformative events and figures make Israel one of the world’s most enduring icons of ancient beginnings. Situated at the convergence of Europe, Africa and Asia, some believe Israel is literally where east meets west, and some elements of the diverse culture found here would seem to support that. Its sands have seen the footsteps of Romans and Greeks, Phoenicians and Philistines, Hebrews, Christians and Muslims. This fall, as Crystal Serenity spends three full days in Israel on a Mediterranean and Holy Land cruise that sails round-trip from Rome, you can add your footsteps to the millions who have pursued the sacred and the secular through the country.

The voyage spends a day in Ashdod and two days in Haifa. Both cities are considered gateway cities, ideal starting points to a number of profound sites that chronicle the development of civilization. Ashdod leads to unforgettable locales to the south like Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Jaffa and Masada, while Haifa is the gateway to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, by way of the Jordan River.

Jerusalem’s Western Wall Plaza, with the Dome of the Rock beyond.

First, visit Ashdod, itself an impressive commercial port city of just over 200,000 people – the sixth largest in Israel. Ashdod is a large-scale representation of the modern maritime commerce that contributes to the country’s economy, but a short distance in any direction will transport you through time. Head north and find the booming metropolis of Tel Aviv. Formed in the early 20th century by a group of Jewish residents looking to establish their own community, the city is juvenile by comparison to its adjacent port of Jaffa. But what Tel Aviv lacks in age it makes up for in character and internationally inspired art, architecture, cuisine and commerce. Skyscrapers and cosmopolitan shopping are more prevalent here than ancient carvings, making it a haven for industry and tourism from around the world.

Just down the “road” is Jaffa, estimated to be roughly 4,000 years old. The port city was established in the 15th century B.C. by the Phoenicians, and later conquered by Pharaoh Thutmose III and King Solomon. Today, it is sprinkled with churches, mosques and synagogues throughout, its charms are colorful and eclectic. The contrast between Tel Aviv and Jaffa is beautifully experienced from the observation point in Jaffa, which looks out over the “White City” of Tel Aviv.

Your full day in Ashdod also offers several opportunities to experience Jerusalem, above the golden hill of Judea, where Jesus, Mohammed and Solomon left their respective marks on history. Still today, Christians, Jews, Muslims and Armenians cherish the city as sacred land for their own historical reasons. One of several Crystal Adventures to Jerusalem will take you to Bethlehem and the sacred Church of the Nativity, the precise spot where Jesus was born. Beyond Jerusalem to the east is the desert city of Masada, towering 1,000 feet above the salty still Dead Sea, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The ancient ruins of Masada overlooking the Dead Sea

On Crystal Adventures from Ashdod, reflect on the prayers at the Western Wall, considered to be the holiest site in the Jewish world, then carry on to Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity and the precise location of Jesus’ birth. A full day’s adventure to Masada explores one of the most significant archaeological sites in the world, built by Herod the Great in the first century B.C.E.

Your next two days will be spent in Haifa – considered the gateway to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, whose history dates back to 1400 B.C. The city’s harmonious coexistence among the Jewish, Christian and Arab residents and reputation for tolerance of diversity is punctuated by what is arguably its most beautiful attraction for visitors: a Baha’i shrine and tropical gardens. The Baha’i faith is considered to be one of the newest independent faiths in the world, whose followers gather every five years in Haifa for a pilgrimage.

But Haifa – Hebrew for “beautiful coast” – has been a mecca for the faithful of all kinds for centuries, with UNESCO-listed Acre situated on its northernmost point, which became the primary port of the Crusaders in the 11th century. Haifa is also the city from which you can explore Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, two other sacred sites in the Christian faith. Nazareth is where Jesus was believed to have spent his early years, and now home to the Basilica of the Annunciation. This church is the largest in the Middle East and is revered as the greatest in Christianity.

You can also venture to Zippori – the City of Mosaics – first settled in 5000 B.C., and an astonishing archaeological site that has revealed treasures of the Romans, Christians and Jews. A 4,500-seat Roman theater, a 3rd-century synagogue that houses the remarkable “Mona Lisa of Galilee,” one of more than 40 remarkable mosaics.

An overlooking view of Haifa from the Baha’i Gardens

These and several other Haifa highlights can be explored on Crystal Adventures ashore, as well as Caesarea Maritima, Capernaum, and a visit to the Baptismal site of Yardanit on the Jordan River. A Crystal Overland Adventure to the Israeli resort town of Eilat is also available from the ship’s call in Aqaba, Jordan, which explores the beautiful beaches and marine life along the Red Sea, as well as Jerusalem’s rich heritage.

Israel is among eight fascinating ports of call on Crystal Serenity’sSecular and Sacred” Holy Land cruise, embarking on September 9. Also discover the ancient civilizations and their modern iterations in Rome, Sicily/Catania, and Naples, Italy; Limassol and Paphos, Cyprus; and Valletta, Malta.

The post 3 DAYS IN ISRAEL appeared first on CRYSTAL INSIDER.


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Top 5 Romantic Islands Around the World

Seeking a serene escape for you and your significant other? From secluded beaches and famed lagoons to dramatic cliffs, epic sunsets and lush rainforests, these islands span the four corners of the globe and make it hard not to swoon. For your next romantic getaway, here’s what our Destination Specialists say are your best bets.

1. St. Lucia

St. Lucia


What’s not to love about settling into the relaxing rhythm of St. Lucia amidst the stunning backdrop of the UNESCO-protected Pitons? This lush island is favored by honeymooners and those looking to escape and reconnect. Stroll the French colonial gem of Soufrière hand-in-hand, explore the majestic old-growth rainforest or perhaps spice things up and learn the island secrets of traditional St. Lucian dishes on one of our popular Culinary Discovery Tours™.

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: Island Spices & Cooking Tour

2. Santorini

Is there any place in the world that can compete with the vistas of Santorini? Dramatic cliffs, ancient ruins, picturesque villages – all with your significant other by your side. You really can’t go wrong with adventures in this Greek paradise, but one involving Santorini wine tops our list.

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: Food & Wine Trails: Santorini’s Boutari Winery, Oia & Fira Visits

3. The Seychelles

The Seychelles


A naturalist’s paradise, the Seychelles are one of those locations on the planet that truly are a world away. La Digue offers gorgeous and romantic beaches, while mountainous Mahé offers excellent hiking and beautiful natural parks as well tropical beaches.

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: these secluded islands need no advance planning – arrive, relax and savor every moment of the surreal beauty.

4. Boracay

Declared “World’s Best Island” by Travel+Leisure, Boracay Island is dreamy hidden paradise free from crowds. White Beach is perfect for lazing in the sun by day and enjoying leisurely sunset strolls by evening. The surrounding waters are ideal for snorkeling and often lead you to even more secluded and tranquil stretches of beach that you can enjoy all to yourself.

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: Island Beach & Snorkeling

5. Bora Bora

Bora Bora


From the island’s fabled lagoon to off-the-beaten-path villages and beaches, Bora Bora offers endless corners of paradise to uncover together. There are plenty of options for adventures both on land and by sea – off-road safaris, island tours, snorkeling, lagoon cruises and more. Why not cap your Bora Bora island experience off by indulging in a sumptuous dinner at St. Regis on our new exclusive Culinary Discovery Tour?

Romantic Shore Excursion Pick: Gourmet Dinner at St. Regis Bora Bora

A romantic island cruise vacation is the perfect chance to rekindle and re-connect – explore more options now.

The post Top 5 Romantic Islands Around the World appeared first on Oceania Cruises Blog.

Oceania Cruises Blog

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Spotlight Voyages Part 1: Wine and Cuisine

For the avid adventurer who is also a gastronome and oenophile, experiencing wine and great food on the high seas does not get any better. Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Spotlight Voyages offer a variety of themed experiences tailored to everything from cuisine and music to the professional bridge for all levels.


Spotlight on Cuisine features a variety of culinary events that cater to every taste bud. From memorable locales in Europe to Alaska, travelers will be treated to food and wine pairings and hosted dinners coupled with how-to demonstrations.

The first voyage in this exclusive spotlight collection will include events such as a specially designed Royal Dinner menu and Royal Afternoon Tea complete with white-glove tea service. Foodies can savor fine Mediterranean cuisine with guest chef Darren McGrady while sailing roundtrip Barcelona aboard Seven Seas Voyager®, with stops in Valencia, Sardinia, Rome, Monte Carlo and Saint-Tropez. Personal chef to Queen Elizabeth II, the late Diana Princess of Wales and five U.S. Presidents ranging from Gerald Ford to George W. Bush, Chef McGrady is also an author and culinary consultant whose royal recipes and penchant for seasonal entertaining will no doubt educate and entertain.  Chef McGrady dishes (no pun intended) on recollections of his fifteen years in the royal household along with up close and personal recipes, anecdotes and stories from his book Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen.


Foodies will also enjoy Bravo TV Top Chef Ryan Scott’s take on California and American regional cuisines aboard Seven Seas Mariner® on the August 15th voyage; or guests  may choose to sail with award-winning Los Angeles chef Tomasso Barletta aboard Seven Seas Voyager on September 20th for themed events such as Italian Cuisine and Health Cuisine.

The wine connoisseur (or those who simply enjoy exquisite wine tastings) will not want to miss the Spotlight on Wine voyages featuring calls to Rome, Venice, Monte Carlo and Barcelona. Passengers aboard Seven Seas Voyager’s June 1st voyage from Rome to Venice will be joined by multi-award winning wine expert and international speaker Tyson Stelzer. As a regular contributor to Wine Spectator magazine and author of 15 books on the subject, he will host a seminar for the beginner to connoisseur accompanied by two specialty wine tastings from his book Champagne Guide 2018-2019.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ has also paired with the renowned Castello Banfi wines for a variety of activities aboard select Seven Seas Voyager sailings. Shore excursions to the Italian-American brothers state-of-the-art Banfi Estate winery in Tuscany (a region that produces some of the best wines of the world) and a locally sourced lunch, Banfi premium wine-paired dinners, legendary wine tastings and educational seminars are just a few of the memorable experiences available.

Check back next week for part two of our series as we explore Spotlight Voyages focusing on Music and Craft Beers & Spirits.

View all featured programs available in the exclusive Spotlight Voyages collection.


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