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Latest Luxury travel articles

A capuchin monkey spotted near the Panama Canal.

Windstar Cruises to celebrate Panama Canal deckside festival

December 8, 2015

From www.travelagentcentral.com via Scoop.it:

Guests sailing on Windstar Cruises' Costa Rica & Panama Canal itineraries have a new way to celebrate: The Canal Celebration, a deck side festival, invites guests to experience the sights and sounds of the Panama Canal while enjoying amenities and activities that highlight the Panamanian culture.

New for 2015 and 2016, Windstar guests can enjoy a nighttime passage through the Panama Canal, during which lights illuminate the inner workings of the waterway, during the Canal Celebration. As the ship approaches the first locks in the early evening, a speaker from the Panama Port Authority comes on board to introduce guests to the complex lock system.

As the yacht navigates the passage, guests can drink local beverages, beers, and cocktails from a mobile drink cart while listening to local festive music from various regions around the country.

In the evening, guests can dine on a custom-made Panamanian menu, curated by Windstar’s Executive Chef Michael Sabourin. Upon completion of the passage, guests find in their stateroom a certification of The Order of the Ditch, a Navy tradition that recognizes “sailors” who have passed through the Panama Canal.

Walter Christen's insight:

Windstar Cruises is really making a Panama Canal transit very intriguing.  Windstar's Costa RicaPanama Canal luxury cruise will be a fun and very informative cruise. In addition to the Panama Canal transit, Windstar stops at some of the most beautiful areas in the region where you will see sloths, howler monkeys and other wildlife that make this part of the world their home.

Windstar also has some pretty amazing land packages for either before or after your cruise. 

 

Star Clippers to offer free yoga and meditation classes

December 8, 2015

From www.porthole.com via Scoop.it:

Star Clippers has announced it will offer complimentary yoga and meditation classes aboard select sailings on all three of its ships in the Mediterranean in 2016. The classes will be open to all fitness levels and will be conducted in English as well as various other languages based on the instructor’s fluency. Yoga classes will be open to all guests and will be available in the mornings and afternoons, contingent on the port schedules.

Walter Christen's insight:

What a great way to decompress and relax on your Mediterranean cruise. Nice to see that Star Clippers will have classes for all fitness levels as I would be a rank beginner although would love to give thisa try.

 

Star Pride: The first in a trio of Windstar Cruises’ new 'star class' yachts

November 30, 2015

From www.cruiseandtravellifestyles.com via Scoop.it:

Can affordable luxury cruising get any better? We’re splashing out in a suite – all 106 staterooms are outside suites that come with huge picture windows or balconies plus living areas (where we can order multi-course dinners if we wish). There’s even a walk-in closet. We have deluxe L’Occitane bath products, his-and-hers sinks and a full-size bathtub too in the marble bathroom. And, oh, the food! How are we going to zip up our pants with the food being this scrumptious?

Welcome to the Star Pride – the first in a trio of Windstar Cruises’ new “star class” yachts. Windstar prides itself on their ports-of-call being the chief attraction. We fondly recall our Tahiti and Amalfi Coast cruises on Windstar’s tall ships – intimate enough to nose into hidden bays and secluded villages the big ship contenders can only dream about. But if the new Star Pride is any indication, the “star class” yachts can boast star power themselves.

Until recently, Windstar was known for its three motorized, tall-ship yachts (Wind Surf, Wind Spirit and Wind Star). The line then acquired the 440-foot Pride from the luxury Seabourn fleet, which set sail as the Star Pride under the Windstar flag in 2014. Two sister ships were also plucked from Seabourn, and after a multi-million dollar transformation (double the upgrades of the Star Pride), the Star Legend and Star Breeze were launched by Windstar in May, 2015. The three “star class” yachts offer a new level of luxury for port-hopping Windstar guests.

Walter Christen's insight:

Windstar "Star Class" ships are small luxury ships that can go to ports of call that the large mega ships cannot go to. I especially like the concept of casual elegance and the lack of need for a jacket or tie.

You can read more about these three fantastic ships right here on Cruiseable:

Star Pride

Star Legend

Star Breeze

 

Wind Spirit, a computer-controlled yacht-style sailing ship, now sails to Tahiti.

Photo tour: The charm of a Windstar sailing ship

November 25, 2015

From www.usatoday.com via Scoop.it:

Looking for something out of the ordinary for your next cruise? Our latest Cruise Ship Tour, in the carousel above, offers a deck-by-deck look at one of the most unusual and alluring small ships afloat, upscale line Windstar's Wind Spirit.

As can be seen in the tour, the 148-passenger Wind Spirit is a motor sailing vessel that can operate on both wind and diesel power -- one of three in the six-ship Windstar fleet. Originally built in 1988, it recently received a major makeover in dry dock that brought significantly revamped public spaces and cabins, and it now sails year-round in the South Pacific (a nearly identical sister ship, the Wind Star, operates in the Caribbean and Mediterranean).

Walter Christen's insight:

I have always loved the looks of the Windstar cruise ships that can also use sail power in addition to the more traditional diesel. Windstar's Wind Spirit and sister ship Wind Star only have capacity for 148 passengers while the bigger Wind Surf can have up to 312 passengers. Windstar also has three traditional cruise ships, Star Breeze, Star Legend and Star Pride each with a capacity for 212 passengers.

Windstar is known as a luxury cruise line that feels more like your on a yacht. Smaller ships mean they can go to smaller and often more interesting ports of call.

 

 

Silversea to offer guests rare access to Ghana's royal Festival of Akwasidae

November 19, 2015

From www.cruiseandferry.net via Scoop.it:

Cruise guests will have a rare opportunity to attend the Festival of Akwasidae in Ghana next March as part of Silversea Cruises’ latest land tour.

Offered as part of a new six-day, pre-cruise ‘Accra & the Ashanti Kingdom’ land tour before Silver Cloud’s 16 March 2016 West Africa voyage, the centuries-old festival is held within the walls of the royal palace in Kumasi. It is presided over by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the 16th ruler of the Ashanti people. During the ceremony, griots tell stories of past Ashanti rulers while drum and ivory horn players accompany traditional dance performances.

“In addition to being an amazing journey, this unique programme provides our guests with the exclusive opportunity to participate in the Akwasidae Festival in Kumasi,” said Darius Mehta, Silversea’s vice president of air and land programmes. “Like all of our overland adventures, this exciting programme has been hand-crafted to enhance our guests' experiences ashore, and to provide them with cultural immersion opportunities that would simply not be possible otherwise.”

Walter Christen's insight:

This pre cruise land tour being offered by Silversea Cruises looks to be a unique and once in a lifetime experience. This is a six day land tour before boarding the Silver Cloud on it's West Africa itinerary.

 

Visit exotic beaches with turquoise waters when the Crystal Symphony sails to the Caribbean.

Crystal Symphony cruise ship review: beautiful views of the sea, plenty of options aboard

November 17, 2015

From www.pennlive.com via Scoop.it:

I am gazing onto the bright blue Caribbean Sea aboard the luxurious and oh-so-pretty Crystal Symphony cruise ship en route to Willemstad, Curacao.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Crystal long has epitomized gracious living at sea for the seasoned and well-heeled traveler.

With only two ships (for now), Crystal has been voted "World's Best" more than any other cruise line, resort or hotel in history.

Walter Christen's insight:

Crystal Cruises Crystal Symphony is a wonderful ship backed up by the luxury and service Crystal Cruises is known for. I can see why they have such a high returning guest percentage.

The Sushi Bar, serving world-famous sushi by Nobu Matsuhisa sounds fantastic.

 

At  Pont du Gard, an ancient aquaduct system in Vers-Pont-du-Gard in the South of France.

Tauck targets solo travelers by trimming the single supplement

October 27, 2015
From Cruiseable news services:
 

Tauck is trying to get solo travelers to reconsider their choices if the cost of singles supplements for traveling alone has been holding them back.

The tour operator is targeting single travelers with a broad-based reduction or elimination of singles supplements across a wide range of its tours in Europe and North America and on river cruises in Europe.

Tauck completely removed its singles supplements on all of its Category 1 cabins on all of its riverboats in Europe, a total of 220 departures, according to the company. The company is also cutting the singles supplements by as much as $1,000 on Category 4 and 5 cabins on 15 river cruise programs.

Tauck also cut up to $400 off the price of a number of its European land tours and up to $300 off North American land tours.


Seabourn Quest at sea.

Seabourn wins ‘Finest Cruise Line Dining’ award

October 17, 2015

From www.travelpulse.com via Scoop.it:

Seabourn Cruise Line has been awarded the 2015 Good Taste Award for “Finest Cruise Line Dining” by culinary magazine Saveur.

The inaugural Good Taste Awards were celebrated by the magazine at a reception in New York City on Oct. 13, and Seabourn — along with all of the other winners — will appear in the October issue.

This is not the first award Seabourn has won from Saveur, either, as the company was also named the "Best Culinary Cruise Line" in the magazine's Culinary Travel Awards in 2013 and 2014.

 

Walter Christen's insight:

This is a well deserved award for Seabourn Cruise Line.  They do know that the dining experience on a cruise is very important.

 

Explore the sun-drenched tropics aboard a Seven Seas Navigator cruise. The British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, St. Barts, St. Maarten, Turks & Caicos, Puerto Rico, Costa Maya and the Panama Canal are just a few of the destinations visited.

Free unlimited WiFi on cruise ships? It just might be a trend

October 15, 2015

From www.usatoday.com via Scoop.it:

Luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises is getting even more all-inclusive with the addition of free unlimited WiFi access for every passenger.

Regent on Wednesday announced the new perk would be available fleetwide starting in late 2016. The company currently offers free unlimited WiFi only to passengers in top suites. Passengers in lesser cabins get 200 to 500 minutes of free WiFi access per cruise, with the time depending on the voyage length.

Regent's move comes just six months after the debut of Viking Ocean Cruises, a new upscale line that has been making waves in the industry with a "no nickel-and-diming" mantra that includes the promise of free Wi-Fi for every passenger. Viking's free Internet offering is similar to Regent's in that there is no time limit for any passenger.

Walter Christen's insight:

When I first started cruising, one of the benefits I saw was that I would be totally unplugged from work and could relax completely. Unplugging is not stress reducing anymore as more as more of our lives require the internet. Sometimes you just need to check in to make sure everything is OK at home or work.

Just last year I had to purchase a internet package for my son on a cruise we took because he was taking a online class and could not afford to not keep up with the work involved.

I imagine within the next few years, internet access will be free or very inexpensive on all the major cruise lines. Congratulations should go out to Regent Seven Seas and Viking Ocean Cruises for offering free Wi-Fi to all their passengers. 

 

 

 

The Brandenburg Gate in the Moabit section of Berlin is a former city gate, rebuilt in the late 1700s as a neoclassical triumphal arch. It's one of Germany's best-known landmarks.

Navigating cultural change: A Baltic Sea cruise to Berlin and St. Petersburg

October 7, 2015

From www.washingtonpost.com via Scoop.it:

A Baltic Sea cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia’s historic showplace, offers wonders galore, punctuated by breathtaking onboard views of dramatic Nordic coastlines. But I had a specific mission in mind for the seven-day voyage my wife, Eileen, and I took there this August — one that began with an excursion to Berlin. As a former U.S. Army cold warrior 45 years ago, briefly based in what was then West Germany, I aimed to make some sense of the vast changes in Europe since the Soviet Union’s collapse.

Thanks to cultural insights gleaned in Germany’s stately gem of a capital, and in Russia’s glittering “second city,” with its ornate czarist palaces filled with artistic treasures, we returned to the United States feeling far more knowledgeable about the country that Winston Churchill famously called “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.” For this, we also give a nod to our local tour guides as well as the ship’s lecturers.

Walter Christen's insight:

A Baltic Cruise is on my bucket list and after reading this article, I may have to bump it up in priority. This cruise aboard Crystal Cruise LinesSymphony cruise ship seems like the ideal way to see this region in a immersive way.

 

Oceania Cruises' next ship to feature Tuscan steak house

October 3, 2015

From www.usatoday.com via Scoop.it:

Oceania Cruises is planning two new eateries for the ship it's taking over from Princess Cruises in April.

The 684-passenger Sirena will feature a new-for-the-line Italian restaurant called Tuscan Steak that will serve steaks and seafood with a Tuscan flair. The line says it'll be inspired by the traditional steak house Polo Grill and Italian eatery Toscana that are found on other Oceania ships.

Also new on Sirena will be a version of the contemporary Asian-inspired restaurant Red Ginger that's found on Oceania's two newest ships, Marina and Riviera.

In addition, Oceania plans to transform the Sirena's Grand Dining Room into a Jacques Bistro for lunch. The French eatery created by famed chef and Oceania executive culinary director Jacques Pépin also is found on Marina and Riviera.

Walter Christen's insight:

Oceania is planning many new dining venues to the Sirena as it is remodeled and overhauled before going into service next year.

Oceania has taken over the Princess Cruises ship Ocean Princess.

 

Holland America's Koningsdam to feature wine-blending experience

September 29, 2015

From www.travelweekly.com via Scoop.it:

When the ship enters service next April, Holland America Line’s Koningsdam will feature a venue where passengers can blend their own bottle of wine to take to dinner.

The venue, called Blend by Chateau Ste. Michelle, is an expansion of the cruise line’s partnership with the winery.

The two Seattle-area companies announced the partnership at a luncheon on Monday at the Chateau Set Michelle headquarters in Woodinville, Wash.

Guests will choose to blend their wines from five vintages: two cabernet sauvignons, two merlots and a cabernet franc.

Walter Christen's insight:

I found this concept by Holland America to be very intriguing. I do not drink very often but do enjoy a nice glass of merlot with a special meal (almost always while cruising). My wife and I like to attend wine tasting events on cruises and this looks like the next step to enjoying and learning more about wine.