I have always preferred the smaller cruise vessels like those with only 200 to 500 passengers. But, when my wife suggested taking a cruise with only 100 passengers, I balked. “There are no verandahs”, I said. “The staterooms are smaller”, I said. “There will be no activities, no entertainment, etc., etc……” until finally I gave in! But, to my pleasant surprise, the cruise turned out to be a huge success. We have been on many, many cruises, but this had to be one of the most enjoyable. We have never been treated so warmly and courteously. The food was outstanding, the ambiance was elegant yet casual and the staff was extremely attentive. And, oh yes…the fellow passengers were wonderfully friendly.
By now you must be curious to know the name of this ship. Well, it is the Sea Dream II! It is one of two ships that are in the SeaDream Yacht Club fleet. This cruise line bills itself as a luxury yacht line. And, luxury is no over statement. It is comparable to a private club on water. Every one of the crew members addressed us as Mr. and Mrs. Dowrick and never missed an opportunity to offer service. Even the Captain spent time with the passengers and he personally invited us to have dinner with him on our wedding anniversary….not an invitation to the “captain’s table” but a “one on one” dinner on deck (which was our choice of table). We were truly treated as if we were the owners of this magnificent yacht throughout the cruise.
If my words of satisfaction have piqued your interest to learn more about this wonderful cruise line, you should go to the SeaDream Yacht Club’s website and examine their links there. Then call Joan at The Travel Gallery if you have any questions regarding their offerings. Perhaps you will be a fellow guest on our next Seadream cruise. I will look forward to that occasion.
South Africa is an exciting place to visit. Cape Town, with its vibrant nightlife, stylish young people and beautiful surroundings, has become one of the most desirable destinations in the world. South Africa's natural attractions are as appealing as ever: the green vineyards and rocky coast of the Cape; the arid landscape of the Karoo; the rich farmlands of Gauteng and Mpumalanga; the snowcapped peaks of the Drakensberg range; and the verdant hills and wide beaches of KwaZulu-Natal. The country also has more than 300 game and nature reserves, along with some of the finest lodges on the continent. Your surroundings can be as wild or as genteel as you want -- or both. The hottest tourist attraction in South Africa these days is Robben Island, where former president Nelson Mandela spent almost 20 years as a political prisoner.
One of Venezuela's most dramatic sights, Angel Falls is truly spectacular. Water plummets 3,212 ft/979 m, making it the world's highest waterfall—so high that during the dry season the cascade can evaporate into mist before it reaches bottom. The water originates from Auyantepui ("Devil's Mountain"), a great mesa or plateau with its own ecosystem, and ends in almost impenetrable jungle.
The waterfall was unknown to the outside world until U.S. pilot Jimmy Angel spotted it in 1935. Today Angel Falls is one of Venezuela's most popular tourist sights, but it remains difficult to reach. You can take a one-day flight from several Venezuelan cities that leaves early in the morning, makes passes over the falls, lands in Canaima for lunch and then returns. Another option is to fly, arriving in Canaima just after dawn, then go by land to visit the falls and return in late afternoon. We prefer a two- or three-day trip that includes a flight over the falls and the Orinoco River as well as accommodations in Canaima, allowing you to explore the area at a more leisurely pace. (Be aware that there's some risk of disappointment in the flightseeing tours—clouds may cover the falls.)
If you're a hardy traveler and you're visiting during the rainy season, it's possible to see the falls up close in another way. It involves a Jeep ride to the river, then a trip upstream in 40-ft/12-m curiaras (motorized canoes). After a portage by Jeep around some rapids, a stop at Orchid Island, then a trip through rapids, you hike for an hour through the hilly jungle to emerge at the base of the falls. (As a bonus, a walk behind the 100-ft/31-m Sapo Falls near Canaima is often included in the tour.) The best time to visit the falls is June-November—during the wet season, when the volume of water coming off the top of the falls is greatest. But that's also when visibility can be the worst.
For those staying overnight, the indigenous community of Canaima has its own waterfalls. You can visit the hollowed-out cave behind Sapo Falls and then climb to the top, where masses of orchids grow. Canoe trips and visits to other nearby Amerindian villages are also possible. There is no road access to Canaima, but if you don't want to fly, several operators now offer tours that involve a combination of travel in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, on foot and by boat. Angel Falls is 450 mi/725 km southeast of Caracas.
For assistance in planning your trip to Angel Falls, contact one of our travel consultants.
Book a Tailor Made Journey to Europe Before July 31 and Receive Complimentary Sightseeing
There's no better way to see Europe than on an A&K Luxury Tailor Made Journey customized for your own private party and departing when you choose. Led by expert A&K local guides, our journeys provide access to people and sites far beyond the reach of the average traveller. With all the planning taken care of by our experts, you need do nothing more than enjoy each inspiring day.
Now, book a 2016 Luxury Tailor Made Journey to select destinations in Europe before July 31, 2016, and receive a complimentary, half-day guided city sightseeing tour when you stay three or more consecutive nights at the same hotel.
Here are a few examples of the inspiring Tailor Made Journeys we can create:
Prices are per person based on double occupancy. Internal and international air not included. Offer valid for Tailor Made Journeys booked by July 31, 2016, via Abercrombie & Kent USA, LLC, for travel to Europe between June 1 and December 31, 2016. Offer excludes Scandinavia, Iceland, the Baltics, Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova. Complimentary half-day sightseeing available once per destination when the guest is staying three or more consecutive nights in the same hotel. Other restrictions may apply. Contact A&K for details.
ltra-chic and ultra-elegant, Crystal River Cruises has just revealed the design details of the much anticipated Crystal Mozart, the first of five all-suite river yachts set to elevate European river cruising to entirely new standards of all-inclusive excellence. With unmatched space and luxury, the strikingly reimagined Crystal Mozart will host 158 guests in pampered luxury, traveling round-trip from Vienna on her July 13, 2016 maiden voyage to explore the Danube River & Wachau Valley.
As Europe’s largest and most luxurious river vessel, Crystal Mozart marries the classic elegance for which Crystal is known with innovative, state-of-the-art design and technologies—expansive windows and skylights, a living rooftop garden with teak bench seating to relax and enjoy the scenery, a midship elevator connecting three of the four decks, and an exceptionally clever “pop-up” bar on the river yacht’s top Vista Deck, complete with a vanishing movie screen for al fresco evening entertainment.
Popular venues on Crystal’s ocean ships find a natural home aboard Crystal Mozart, including Palm Court for drinks and dancing, The Cove piano bar and lounge, the Vintage Room for wine dinners, and Bistro Mozart for coffees and charcuterie. The Waterside Restaurant will serve superb, locally influenced cuisine, and the Crystal Life Spa, complete with full-service salon, fitness center, private treatment rooms and indoor pool, marks Crystal’s first-ever spa operated and staffed by Crystal’s own trained crew.
Boasting the largest suites of any river ship—including two 883-square-foot Two-Bedroom Crystal Suites and 12 Penthouse Suites of 330 square feet—Crystal Mozart’s exquisitely appointed deluxe accommodations measure a generous 219 square feet, nearly all of them featuring a floor-to-ceiling French Balcony creating a seamless connection with the passing beauty of the Danube. Other unique suite features include full-height closets, in-suite bar set-up, and dedicated butler service for any special arrangements, daily hors d’oeuvres service and more.
Contact one of our travel consultants for the best offers. 800 882-5677
One of my clients just returned from the Silver Galapagos and she said it was an amazing trip. I wanted to share a few of the pictures from her journey...
A Galápagos expedition cruise, enjoyed aboard Silver Galapagos, brings you to one of the most isolated places in the world to encounter an abundant variety of wildlife species that is incredibly unique and found nowhere else on earth. Lying just off the western coast of South America, the Galápagos archipelago is inaccessible to most, yet this isolation has allowed nature to develop in ways exclusive to the islands. Experience it all with complimentary exploration activities including Zodiac tours, snorkeling, kayaking and nature hikes led by highly experienced guides certified by the National Park of the Galápagos.
Dave's Hot Pick
Auckland is New Zealand's largest, most culturally diverse and cosmopolitan city. Its European, Pacific and Asian influences make it a destination unlike any other. But its urban credentials—a flourishing cultural life and abundant commerce—are often upstaged by its breathtaking geography. Sprawled across an isthmus, the city envelops more than 40 extinct volcanoes, several of which stand in green, pastoral parks overlooking a broad harbor, gulf islands and a seemingly endless shoreline.
Auckland's residents appreciate the city's two-sided personality: They view nature as one of life's privileges rather than a barrier to development, and the city's population is dispersed into neighborhoods of manageable size. All in all, Auckland is a gateway to nature and outdoor adventure, with fine dining and culture there for the asking, too.
MUST SEE - MUST DO
Sights—Panoramic views of the city and harbor from the Auckland Harbour Bridge and SkyCity and Sky Tower; a ferry trip to Devonport, Rangitoto Island or Waiheke Island; a drive through the Waitakere Ranges to the vast, wild west-coast beaches of Piha and Muriwai.
Museums—Cultural and natural-history exhibits at the Auckland Museum; New Zealand and international art at the Auckland Art Gallery; maritime history exhibits at the Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum; Navy history and exhibits at the Navy Museum.
Memorable Meals—Savor meals with panoramic views at Orbit atop Sky Tower; quick bites at Federal Delicatessen below on Federal Street; fresh seafood at Sails Restaurant overlooking Westhaven Marina; fabulous food and fun at Libertine in the revitalized Victoria Park Market; Italian fare at Prego in Ponsonby.
Late Night—Dancing at Ink Bar; local rock bands and good beer at dive-y King;'s Arms; fantastic, interesting cocktails with a Japanese twist at Fukuko.
Walks—Visiting plant exhibits in the Auckland Domain Wintergardens or Auckland Botanic Gardens (Manurewa); strolling along Tamaki Drive or through Cornwall Park; hiking in the Waitakere Ranges; walking or cycling the Coast to Coast trail; wandering through historic Devonport, along beaches or on Rangitoto, Motutapu and Waiheke islands.
Especially for Kids—Kelly Tarlton's Antarctic Encounter and Underwater World; Rainbow's End; Butterfly Creek; SheepWorld; the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT); interactive children's exhibits at Auckland Museum; Auckland Zoo; Crystal Mountain; Stardome Observatory and Planetarium.
An AmaWaterways river cruise is an excellent option for people looking to explore on their own without paying any additional fees for being a solo traveler. You won’t have to deal with hauling luggage from place to place, finding good company during meals or navigating an unfamiliar environment alone. And there are plenty of opportunities to meet new friends on our intimate ships!
If you are thinking of traveling solo, book any 2016 or 2017 river cruise in Europe or Asia and pay no single supplement in select categories. Please ask us for details.
Now is the time to visit or return to Africa, with some of the most favorable exchange rates in history. In addition to the views of giraffe on the vast plains, we encourage you to visit the Stellenbosch region outside of Cape Town, which offers culinary experiences that will delight your palette.
Discount/Offer: Book a Travcoa Africa Escorted or Private Journey and receive 4 free nights at the Taj Cape Town.* Spend time at leisure or let us arrange private turning including a great 'dine with a local' experience in the wine region of Stellenbosch.
*Terms & Conditions: Valid for new bookings only. This offer is only valid on new bookings when confirmed simultaneously with any 7-night or longer Escorted or Private Journey. Both journeys must be booked and deposited by March 31, 2016 for travel between April 1, 2016 and September 30, 2016. This offer only includes 4 nights in a deluxe room and one round-trip transfer to/from CPT airport to Taj Cape Town. Airfare, additional nights, private touring, and upgraded categories are supplemental in cost. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Offer is subject to availability; is not transferable and not redeemable for cash or other accommodations. Other restrictions may apply - please call for details.
A voyage with Seabourn begins on board your intimate Seabourn ship, where a blend of ultra-luxurious accommodations, genuine personal service and superb dining create a transcendent journey. You’ll sail to the heart of iconic cities and to secluded locales in search of experiences beyond the ordinary. At the end of each glorious day, you’ll be welcomed back to your ship, where you’ll share your day’s adventures and dream of the wonders tomorrow has in store. This is what it means to cruise, Seabourn-style.
Curator of Adventures in the Art of Travel
Exquisite journeys for those with a yearning to experience what a destination has to offer in a soft adventure experience.