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Travel Blog

Latest Luxury travel articles

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 via

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 via

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 via

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 via

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 via

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 via

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.


Silver Spirit is at the top of the Silversea cuise  experience, featuring enhancements such as a substantial spa and the largest stateroom suites in the fleet.

Silversea unveils another epic South America cruise

September 29, 2015

From via

Luxury line Silversea plans another epic sailing from Florida to South America and back for 2017.

The 63-day voyage on the 540-passenger Silver Spirit will kick off Jan. 16, 2017 in Fort Lauderdale and feature a complete circumnavigation of the continent.

Highlights of the trip will include a crossing of the Panama Canal; two days cruising Chile's majestic fjords; a two-day stopover in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil during Carnival; and multi-day calls in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Callao, Peru (gateway to Lima and Machu Picchu).

Walter Christen's insight:

Silversea's circumnavigation of South America in early 2017 will be a fantastic voyage and will be making ports of call in some great destinations.  I especially like the stopover in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival.

Silversea cruise line also has a similar cruise for early 2016


  Queen Mary 2 in Sydney Harbour.

Latest epic cruise: New York to Australia and back

September 15, 2015

From via

Want to travel from New York to Australia and back without ever getting on an airplane? It'll be doable in 2017 for those willing to hop on a Cunard ocean liner.

The storied line plans to send its flagship Queen Mary 2 on an epic, 132-day voyage from the Big Apple to Australia that also includes stops in Africa, Asia and Europe.

The unusual itinerary will kick off Jan. 3, 2017 with a trans-Atlantic crossing to Southampton, England followed by a trip down the west coast of Africa to Namibia and South Africa. From there, the ship will head east across the Indian Ocean to Australia for an extensive stay that includes 14 port calls.

Walter Christen's insight:

This is a epic cruise. I for one would be able to tick off many of the destinations on my bucket list with this one cruise on Cunard's Queen Mary 2.  2017 may seem quite a way off but I would imagine that there would be many plans and details to work out to be able to cruise for 132 days.


Crystal Serenity cruises through Sorrento in southern Italy.

Woman pays $164K per year to live on luxury cruise ship

September 10, 2015

From via

Lee Wachtstetter, an 86-year-old Florida widow, took her daughter's advice. She sold her five-bedroom Fort Lauderdale-area home on 10 acres and became a permanent luxury cruise ship resident after her husband died.

Mama Lee, as she's known aboard the 11-year-old Crystal Serenity, has been living on the 1,070-passenger vessel longer than most of its 655 crewmembers — nearly seven years.

"My husband introduced me to cruising," she recalled. "Mason was a banker and real estate appraiser and taught me to love cruising. During our 50-year marriage we did 89 cruises. I've done nearly a hundred more and 15 world cruises."

Walter Christen's insight:

What a fantastic way to spend your retirement years. Nice choice of ships also. Crystal Cruises Crystal Serenity is a beautiful luxury cruise ship.


Cruise Watch: Seabourn follows Fathom & Crystal, with luxury launch news

September 8, 2015

From via

More premium cruise news: After the recent Fathom "social impact cruise experience" due next spring, and the Crystal announcement of new ultra-luxury sea and air transportation, we can now anticipate another exciting upscale launch due in 2016. Seabourn has revealed design renderings of the luxurious all-suite, all-veranda accommodations on Seabourn Encore, the line’s newest, ultra-luxury ship.

Like everything on board the Seabourn Encore, the suites are envisioned by hospitality design icon Adam D. Tihany, who blended modern design elements and innovations consistent with understated elegance. In 2014, Seabourn began phasing out the three original ships that started it all, more than two decades before. Their departure, and the arrival of Seabourn Encore in 2016 and Seabourn Ovation in 2018, prepares a new era.

The ship will feature 300 suites with private verandas. The majority range from nearly 300 square feet for the standard veranda suite, plus a private veranda that is up to 74 square feet, to upwards of 1,300 square feet for the Wintergarden suites, which also feature verandas of nearly 200 square feet. "As on every one of our ships, guests will feel right at home when they enter their suite aboard Seabourn Encore," said Richard Meadows, Seabourn’s President. "The suites will offer many thoughtful amenities and personal touches that we are known for, and will be designed with the style and elegance our guests have come to love and expect."

Walter Christen's insight:

Ultra luxury cruise line Seabourn has unveiled design renderings of their newest ship Seabourn Encore due to arrive late in 2016.  The amenities of this 300 suite all veranda ship are impressive.


Tranquil seas and beautiful, sunny days await you aboard Crystal Serenity.

New perk at luxury line Crystal Cruises: Free Wi-Fi

September 1, 2015

From via

Crystal Cruises today announced a new perk for repeat customers: Free Wi-Fi.

The two-ship line says members of its frequent cruiser club, the Crystal Society, will receive 60 minutes a day of free Internet access starting this fall.

The new policy will take effect on the line's Crystal Serenity starting with the ship's Sept. 19 sailing in New England and Canada. It'll kick off on the Crystal Symphony with the Oct. 15 sailing to the Panama Canal.

Walter Christen's insight:

Crystal Cruises has upgraded their Wi-Fi systems on both of their ships, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Crystal Society members are eligible for the free Wi-Fi time. You automatically become a member after your first Crystal Cruise.

In this day and age it is getting harder and harder to disconnect completely.  This is a welcome upgrade.