10 Reasons to Cruise the Caribbean With Norwegian

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With Norwegian Cruise Line, ‘Freestyle Cruising’ is all about flexibility and freedom. Freedom from stress. Freedom from schedules. Freedom to create your own vacation.  Here are the top 10 reasons Fox World Travel believe you should cruise the Caribbean with Norwegian:

1. Norwegian is the only cruise line offering Freestyle Cruising®, giving guests the freedom and flexibility to do what they want, when they want.

2. Norwegian has a young, modern, award-winning fleet of ships sailing to The Caribbean, including our two newest Breakaway-Class ships.

Grand Centrum 033. Norwegian Cruise Line has racked up some pretty impressive industry accolades in The Caribbean region. The World Travel Awards recently named them The Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line. While Yahoo! Travel named Norwegian Breakaway the 2013 Best Cruise for Families. Caribbean Travel + Leisure recognized us as the Best Value Cruise for 2013. And Norwegian Epic earned Travel Weekly’s Readers Choice Award for Best Overall Individual Cruise Ship two years running.

4. Norwegian’s family activities are always a hit with guests. Only Norwegian offers exclusiveMI-BWY-Experience-Family Nickelodeon™ entertainment and activities at sea. Plus, with their fleetwide complimentary youth programs – Splash Academy and Entourage – they have something the whole family will enjoy. 5. It’s easier than ever to cruise The Caribbean thanks to Norwegian’s convenient weekly sailings. Plus, they’ve got eight amazing ships sailing from six departure cities that are amazing destinations themselves: Miami, New York, Tampa, New Orleans, Houston and Boston.

modal_breakaway_burn-the-floor6. With more entertainment venues than any other cruise line sailing to The Caribbean, guests can bask in the bright lights of Broadway with performances like Burn the Floor and Cirque Dreams & Dinner® Jungle Fantasy. Tickle their funny bone with hilarious comedic performances. Marvel in The Illusionarium, a surreal magical experience. Watch the colors fly with Blue Man Group. Or get their groove on at The GRAMMY® Experience.

7. From top to bottom and from bow to stern, Norwegian offers more to do onboard than ever. Kid's WaterparkGuests can splash around at The Aqua Park with Free Fall – the fastest waterslides at sea. Or they can walk The Plank, which extends 8 feet over the side of the ship. And with our luxurious spa, they can pamper themselves whenever they please. With plenty to do and see, there’s never a dull moment on board.

8. With up to 29 dining options – the most at sea – guests can try something new every night of their cruise. From complimentary main dining rooms and expansive buffets to specialty restaurants like Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zakarian, dining on Norwegian means having plenty of choices.

9. Freestyle Cruising aboard a Norwegian ship is the best way to explore the sandy beaches and turquoise waters of the most popular cruise destination in the world. Plus, with hundreds of Caribbean shore excursions to choose from, it’s the perfect time to start discovering the tropics.

10. Guests can unwind in comfort and style with a wide range of staterooms, including The ncl_Brkwy_SpaSuite_S9_MODALHaven by Norwegian™, their most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations. And whether they want to make it a family affair and stay in a Family Suite, vacation solo in a Studio or enjoy a Balcony Stateroom with some of their best friends, Norwegian has just the room for them.

For more information on Cruising the Caribbean with Norwegian click here.

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Or connect with your personal travel agent today!

Content and Photos courtesy of NCL

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6 Tips for Traveling to Europe

  1. It is recommended to have some foreign currency of your destination before arriving. This will come in handy when you are looking to wake up with a cup of coffee at a nice little café after that long flight.
  2. Invest in a neck pillow. Your neck can get kinked and sore pretty easily from trying to catch some shut eye on that long flight. There are inflatable neck pillows that are easy to deflate and will fit nicely into your carry-on after use.
  3. Try not to nap once you arrive in your destination. It can make your jet lag worse and make you feel more tired. If possible, carry on with the rest of your day and get a good, blogpostfull nights rest that evening.
  4. Hand sanitizer is an essential for traveling abroad. Since there is sometimes a charge to use public restrooms, having a quick and easy solution to sanitize is nice and convenient, especially after a subway ride.
  5. There is not always such a thing as “free” water at restaurants like we are use to in the states. Be sure to ask for tap water if it is available or be prepared to pay for bottled water.
  6. Immerse yourself in the country’s culture. Try a traditional dish of paella in Spain or catch a cabaret show in Paris. There are so many things to do and see in Europe. Open your mind and enjoy!
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Top 10 Honeymoon Hotspots

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Your honeymoon is a time to celebrate a new phase of life together. It should reflect the special interests you share as a couple.  This list is just a snapshot of the many honeymoon destinations around the world. 

honeymoon-planning-hawaii1.  Hawaii Honeymoon - Dramatic coastlines, volcanoes, green forests, native Hawaiian culture, tropical breezes, white sand beaches, spectacular resorts. This is the magic that brings couples to Hawaii for the best in honeymoon getaways.

Consult a Hawaii Travel Specialist

 

honeymoon-in-mexico2.  Mexico Honeymoon - A vast country with enough variety to please all. Bask in the sun at posh resorts along the Baja coast in Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa or Los Cabos, or take in the beauty of white sand beaches on the Yucatan Peninsula in hot spots like Cancun/Riviera Maya and Cozumel. All-Inclusive resorts are abundant in throughout Mexico.

Consult a Mexico Travel Specialist

 

honeymoon-planning-jamaica3Jamaica Honeymoon – Passion is inevitable on this tropical paradise island. Jamaica is the place if you are looking for non-stop nightlife. If the bar scene isn’t for you, stay in one of Jamaica’s all-inclusive adults-only resorts. If you are a nature lover, take a leisurely bamboo raft trip or explore the many caves and waterfalls that abound in its green forests.

Consult a Jamaica Travel Specialist

 

 

italy sunset4.  Italy Honeymoon – Italy is one of the top picks for Europe honeymoon locations. No wonder, it’s the land of Amore! From the Northern Alps and lake country to Rome and the Almalfi Coast, Italy has everything for a romantic and classy honeymoon.

 Consult an Italy Travel Specialist

 

honeymoon-in-stlucia5.  St. Lucia Honeymoon - A bit of France, a bit of Britain, and a nature-lovers paradise including a volcano. Great snorkeling in clear, blue warm waters. Sip a cool tropical drink in your hammock. Walk through a rain forest while viewing the ocean. Truly a newlywed’s paradise.

Consult a Caribbean Travel Specialist

 

honeymoon-in-caribbean6.  Dominican Republic Honeymoon – The Dominican Republic has become a beautiful, affordable island destination. Being a larger island, that doesn’t just focus on tourism, you can get some great deals. There are many all-inclusives that will meet the needs of most couples.

Consult a Dominican Republic Travel Specialist

 

honeymoon-planning-tahiti7.  Tahiti Honeymoon – How do you describe paradise? Many call it Tahiti! With many islands to choose from, including favorites Bora Bora and Moorea. From its natural beauty to its Polynesian hospitality. If you do not want to share your new spouse with anyone, this is the place to be. Even its resorts are designed for your love to burn and grow.

Consult a Tahiti Travel Specialist

honeymoon-in-fiji8.  Fiji Honeymoon – Fiji has it all if you are looking to fill that image of white powder beaches with beautiful palm trees, green mountains sweeping to the sea, warm tropical breezes, and lots of secluded resorts scattered among its 300+ islands.

Consult a South Pacific Travel Specialist

Duoro9.  Spain Honeymoon - Spain is a location full of energy, but still with the laid-back Mediterranean style that any couple could love on their honeymoon. Fall in love with the art and gardens of Madrid, or bask in the Barcelona sun. From the sand to the sangrias, Spain is full of the timeless elegance that’s sure to make for a dreamy honeymoon getaway.

Consult a Spain and Portugal Travel Specialist

beaches-beach10.  Turks and Caicos Islands Honeymoon – Turks and Caicos is the perfect romantic getaway for couples looking for exclusivity and seclusion. It is less developed and more upscale than many other spots in the Caribbean. Made up of forty islands, eight of which are inhabited gives the islands an intimate feel. Activities for couples are limitless, from snorkeling and scuba diving to bird watching and horseback riding. Be sure to see the sunset over Grace Bay, famous for the elusive “green flash” at sunset. This split-second burst of emerald light sometimes happens along the horizon on a clear day and is sure to make an unforgettable honeymoon experience.

Consult a Turks and Caicos Islands Travel Specialist Today

 

For even more honeymoon destinations, click here.

Make sure your special trip is perfect:  Honeymoon Planner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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10 Tips and Tricks for Family Travel: How to Plan a Memorable Vacation for Travelers of all Ages

Planning a family vacation? Traveling with kids can change the way of the game, but no worries, with these 10 travel tips, you can plan a family getaway easily and efficiently and have a vacation filled with memories that will last a lifetime for the little travelers and the big ones!

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Time to plan!

  1. Pack light… VERY light! While packing, keep it in mind that every item that you put into that suitcase, you will be carrying with you hundreds or thousands of miles to wherever your destination is! Not to mention having to keep track of it. That should help to lighten the load. You can always pick up the little stuff once you get there. Pack only the necessities and remember, many hotels and transportation companies offer accommodations like childproof rooms, cribs, and safety seat rentals. Your travel agent can help to teach you all about what various companies have to offer.
  2. Location is key! Find a hotel in a location that is central to the actives you plan to do, preferably within walking distance. This will save on time and transportation costs. Does the location have amenities that are a must for families, like a wade pool for the little ones? A bathtub? What about kid friendly TV channels? Also, look into dining options ahead of time. Make sure the hotel restaurants (or dinning places nearby) offer kids menus. Many may shutterstock_77289121even offer family discounts like ‘kids eat for free’ or family-style dining.
  3. Plan together. Have the whole family help plan the vacation activities ahead of time. The best family vacations are those that every family member gets to experience what they are looking for. Older children and teens, who can be a bit more difficult to please, will be especially appreciative of this!  For some great planning tools click here.
  4. The airplane ride… If you will be traveling with infants or toddlers, this may be the part of the trip that you are most dreading… But don’t worry; there are several tips to make this part of the vacation much more tolerable. If you can, plan the plane ride at night so kids can sleep (this may also mfamily traveling on planeean one less night of paying for overnight accommodations). For seating, know that airlines do not require you to purchase a seat for children under the age of two. However, you may still want to consider it, as it is much safer for the youngsters and it can lessen the meltdowns. Many airlines also offer discounted seats if you do chose to purchase one.

Departure day is here…

  1. Airport security made easy: TSA can be frustrating and can create dramatic delays if you are not prepared. Practice folding up that stroller ahead of time and dress comfy. Dress in layers, you never know when a plane might have the AC on arctic mode! Also, a heads up that babies must remove their shoes as well, so go velcro or slip-on for the day.
  2. Travel entertainment, leave singing Elmo at home. Bring just enough toys to keep the kiddos entertained in long lines, plane rides and car rides. Opt for books and other quiet toys to keep mom and dad, and the other nearby travelers happy. If your kids are like many others, an electronic device can keep them happy for hours. If this is the case, be sure to pack the headphones.
  3. Once arrived, work with kids’ schedules, not against them. They may be at the greatest theme park in the world, but for the little ones, nap time is nap time. Plan for naps, and plot a slower schedule. Many times with family vacations, you just have to roll with the punches and be flexible.family at beach
  4. Check for family deals and do the free stuff! Always do the free stuff. Many times, these are the activities that are most relaxing, memorable, and the best time to bond as a family. After all, that’s why you’re here, right?

Final thoughts to consider:

  1. Do a test run. If this is you first major family trip, or if you have added some new little travelers to the mix, plan a shorter trip together before you go. A weekend getaway or a daytrip will do the trick! This will help you to work out the kinks like items that may be overlooked in packing, timing out activities, and how everyone gets along.
  2. Finally, have fun! Attitude is everything. If you get stressed out about not finding the hotel or an unexpected change in plans, you can bet that the kids will pick up on that stress and become stressed and cranky as well! Have an open mind, be flexible, and go with the flow. And most importantly, have fun!

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For more helpful tips and advice on family travel, visit Fox World Travel.

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Taking New York City By Storm

Carri of Fox World Travel recently took a trip to The Big Apple.  Hear all about her experience here!

New York Skyline

When my children graduate from high school, their gift from us is a vacation weekend of their choice.  This time it was my daughter’s turn, and she chose New York City for her celebration weekend.  We took along several friends who had also never visited the Big Apple.  We planned a busy weekend because in my daughter’s words “I’m going to be a poor college student for a very long time and won’t be able to do this on my own, so I want to see as much as possible on this trip”.

Day 1 We arrived into La Guardia and within five minutes saw Honey Boo-Boo and her mom ordering fast food in the airport.  A hilarious start to our weekend!

Our hotel for three nights was the Crowne Plaza Times Square.   I chose this hotel for the excellent location at 49th and Broadway, situated right in the heart of Times Square, the Theatre District, and within steps of the stop for the Hop On/Hop Off.

On my daughter’s “must do” list was a craving for authentic New York Pizza.  We had asked our 143limo driver for a recommendation, and he steered us to Lazzarra’s Pizza in the Garment District.  After checking in to the hotel and dropping off our luggage we took off on foot to find this place.  It was a quick 15 minute walk from our hotel and the pizza was fabulous.

I wanted everyone to see the Statue of Liberty by night, so I booked the Harbor Lights Cruise with Viator.  We sailed at 7pm as the narrator pointed out various sights from the water.  This was a 90 minute cruise along the shoreline and the East River, highlighted by cruising around the Statue as the sun set.  The scene was beautiful as the Statue glowed and the NYC skyline twinkled in the night.

Halal Guys LineAnother “must do” was to find a food cart that we had seen on the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins, and DivesThe Halal Guys operate a cart featuring Indian cuisine.  We found the original location, and for $6 we received a huge bowl of steaming chicken, rice, and vegetables accompanied by various sauces.  It was delicious!  Every time we passed the cart over the weekend there was a long line of tourists, locals, and businessmen.  We later learned that this cart brings in $4000-$5000 on an average day!  (Pictured is the line for the food cart!  Photo courtesy of the Halal Guys official website)

Day 2  Next on our list was a visit to the 911 Memorial and Museum.  I had visited the Memorial in the past, but was looking forward to the Museum which just opened on May 21st.  We purchased tickets ahead of time and when we arrived we walked straight in to a line marked “Top of the Hour 911MuseumTours”, bypassing lines of people waiting to purchase tickets.   The 911 Museum is very well done, but impossible to describe.  It takes you through every aspect of the tragedy, even showing you video coverage of the terrorists passing through airport security on that terrible day.  Visitors are able to view profiles and pictures of every person who perished that day, and listen to stories told by their friends and family members.  We listened to recordings left by the victims on voicemails to their loved ones, and saw the stairway that many of the survivors used to escape that day.  There are far too many things to even begin to describe.  We spent four hours here but agreed that you could easily spend a full day here and not see everything.  It was truly a moving experience, and a place that I think every American should visit. Photo courtesy of 911memorial.org

Day 3  This morning we biked through Central Park.  Biking through the park on a summer Saturday morning was slightly chaotic.  People were skateboarding, biking, and running, and there wasn’t much room to maneuver.  There were so many runners on the trails that I mistakenly assumed that it was a race.  It was actually just weekend traffic.  I think biking would have been much more enjoyable midweek.

By this time we were starving, so we found an Irish pub for lunch before heading off on our next adventure, the TMZ Tour.  This is a great idea for anyone who is up on pop culture.  We saw numerous homes of movie stars and music people, including Katie Holmes, Robert DeNiro, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, Beyonce and Jay Z.   We saw the “in” restaurants, clubs, and hotels, and saw the entourage waiting for the arrival of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.  His birthday party was being held there that night.  It was a fun fast two hour tour and I’d highly recommend it.       

At that point we decided to check TKTS for last minute show tickets.  TKTS is a booth in Timesfantasticks Square that offers discounted show tickets for that evening’s performances.  Based upon a recommendation we grabbed tickets at $50 each to see Fantasticks – the world’s longest running musical.  We hustled off to the tiny theatre and enjoyed this hilarious performance.  My daughter said it was the highlight of her weekend. 

After the show we headed to Ellens Stardust Diner for a late dinner.  This is a “must do”!  Ellen’s is a retro 1950’s themed diner where the wait staff sings and performs.  Prices were reasonable, the food was great, and the entertainment was incredible.  There is a lot of talent working in this diner and we had a great time here. 

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 Day 4 Our busy, fun-filled weekend ended with a quick NYC breakfast of a bagel and coffee, followed by our private transfer back to La Guardia.  

 

For more information on NYC Destination Travel click here or contact a Vacation Travel Specialist today!

 

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Adventures in Alaska with Katie Tappa

FAIRBANKS

I arrived the Fairbanks airport and was warmly greeted by a Royal Caribbean representative that took my luggage and directed me to the waiting1 area for our group.  Next was a brief drive to Pike’s Waterfront Lodge – which was to be our host for the first night.

I honestly can’t say enough about the hospitality of this property.  What it lacks in the grandiose landscapes of some other Alaskan towns – it makes up for in personality.  It was absolutely adorable; with tons of fun activities for travelers of all ages.  The owner, Jay made us feel like family and this was hands down the best stay during our tour.  My hotel room was very nice with a little balcony overlooking the Chena River.

We were treated to an unexpected dinner at the onsite restaurant next door which was delicious.  It’s a great dining option for weary travelers arriving (and for locals too!)

We spent the morning on the Riverboat Discover Tour which is included for all guests on a 2RCCL and Celebrity tours that include Fairbanks.  This is a must do!  So much more was included than I expected.  In addition to the ride on the old fashioned Sternwheeler, you get to stop off for 3 different educational areas meant to recreate some of the Native fishing camps, home steads, a small recreation of a Husky kennels and more.

DENALI

We arrived at Grande Denali Lodge which is perched high into the Cliffside which makes 3for a winding, scenic drive up.  The view rooms overlook “Glitter Gulch”, the tourist area of Denali.

Next we visited the McKinley Village Lodge.  This complex is HUGE so they do have a golf cart operating from the main lobby to each building for those who may have mobility issues.  It was clean and comfortable, with a log cabin décor throughout.

4I chose the Husky Homestead for my optional excursion and would recommend this tour for any animal lover.  We spent time touring Jeff King’s kennel.  He is a three time Iditarod champion and has competed every year for the last 24 years!  Fun fact: it costs him approximately $100,000 every year to participate in the Iditarod. We got to meet with the Husky puppies (too cute!) but also hear about his experiences in raising sled dogs and the competition.

The tour concluded around 830 pm and with our 5 am bag pull coming the next morning – I called it a day and headed off to bed.  We were scheduled on the 6 am Natural Wilderness Tour in Denali National Park.  To say that it was worth the early wake-up call would be a complete understatement.  It was breathtaking.  In terms of wildlife, we encountered a grey wolf, a moose, caribou, and an artic squirrel.  The rarity of these animal sightings was a great learning opportunity.

5We then boarded the Wilderness Express for lunch and transportation to Talkeetna.  This was one of the best parts of our tour.  The drink and dining menu was excellent and delicious.  The staff onboard was charming, comical, and informative.  The 3 ½ hours just flew by with a great combination of laughter and learning.

TALKEETNA

We arrived into the “big city” of Talkeetna in the early evening for a site inspection at our host hotel, Talkeena Alaskan Lodge, which was located only 10 minutes away from town, with a shuttle running every ½ hour.

The hotel was very nice but it was the least authentic “Alaskan” experience we had up until6 that point.  The sales director made it clear that the locals did not much like having this big corporation in their backyard.  The hotel was making conscious efforts to repair this relationship by featuring local influences in their restaurant, shops, etc.  Rooms  were very clean and well appointed – the lobby was beautiful with picture windows and a stunningly huge stone fireplace.

The town is home to the climbers who come to tackle Denali.  It is SMALL – walking the downtown stretch takes about 15 minutes.  It has whimsical little restaurants and shops, and a few offices for tour operators.  And that’s really about it!

7We had plenty of free time during this stop – both on our arrival evening and the following morning and afternoon.  I spent many hours bumming around town.  I enjoyed warm, reasonably priced coffee at the organic “Conscious Coffee”, pizza by the slice at “Mountain High Pizza Pie” and locally made brew at  “Denali Brewing Company”.  All were excellent, authentic experiences.  Unfortunately, in all my wandering – I never stumbled across the “Mayor” of Talkeetna.  Mr. Stubbs is a cat who apparently has a stubby tail, only drinks water from wine glasses, and has retained been voted mayor of this quirky town for the last several years.  This sort of randomness is everywhere in Talkeetna – and I think they like it that way.

ALYESKA / GIRDWOOD

The drive from Talkeetna to Alyeska was along the Skagway Highway and was breathtaking.  This highway is often voted as one of the world’s most scenic drives.

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Fun Fact – While our original itinerary listed our next stop as Alyeska; that is not the name of the town.  I learned upon arrival that the town is called Girdwood and that Alyeska refers to the ski resort at the base of the mountain of the same name. The Hotel Alyeska was our host hotel for a mere single night, although I think both our tour guides and the rest of the agents would have been happy to stay here the remainder of the trip! It was just gorgeous!

I can’t gush enough about this resort – 5 stars all around.  Arguably one of the most luxurious I have ever seen or had the pleasure of staying at.  Rooms were well appointed9 and comfortable.  Meticulously decorated with no expense seemingly spared – it was high end while still being warm and welcoming. The hotel is home to the Alyeska Tramway and our stay included tickets to the top. The ride up takes just about 3-7 minutes and the views are stunning.  There is a bar and gourmet restaurant at 2,300 feet up called “Seven Glaciers”.

10The hotel had a number of mid to high end shops so it was easy to fill the remaining hours right onsite.  They also host a number of fun events and festivals throughout the year.  We happen to arrive during the celebration of the Fiddlehead Music Festival.  They had a large outdoor stage area set up, live folk music, food and beer tents, and locals selling their goods.  It was fun to have this type of activity available to guests.

ANCHORAGE

The biggest city in Alaska, Anchorage is home to 400,000 residents.  It feels very much like any other US city with big box stores like Cabela’s and Targets now peppered throughout.  It still retains its charm with many great independent, small businesses mixed in as well.

We started off the morning at the Anchorage Museum – oh my goodness, what an00 experience!  This Museum is an official Smithsonian affiliate and boasts an endless amount of Native Alaskan relics.  By and large the most impressive museum I have ever visited.  We only had about a 1 ½ hour here and it didn’t even crack the surface of all there was to see and learn.  The museum includes the most impressive children’s area – the “Imaginarium” with larger than life bubbles, physics stations, dioramas, marine life stations, and much, much more. This would be a must see for families visiting Alaska.  A traveler could easily fill an entire afternoon here.  The museum also offers a surprisingly gourmet restaurant onsite that served a lunch that was to die for!

Next up was the Alaska Native Heritage Center.  We added this tour last minute and I am so glad we did.  They had some Native dancers sharing their traditional song and dance, recreated and authentic totem poles, homes, tools, garments – and so much more.  They also have a small sled dog kennel, with an opportunity to experience a sled dog ride for an extra $10.  It’s a good stop for any guests who may have a couple of free hours in Anchorage.

Here we had a bittersweet farewell reception.  I can’t say enough how much we enjoyed our team.  Aimee Price with Royal Caribbean, Jocelyn with Premier Alaska Tours, and our driver, Marilyn were all so lovely and managed our group so efficiently.   Their patience and thorough explanations allowed us all to learn more than we could have imagined.  Their warm personalities made all of us feel comfortable.  It was a great group of travel agents from all over the country, in all different types of travel agencies.  I learned much from them as well.

After our goodbyes, the majority of us decided to go into town for one last dinner (and a few drinks of course!) together.  After a few unsuccessful attempts (it is apparently very hard to seat medium and large size groups in Alaska!), we ended up at McGinley’s Pub – a little Irish bar and restaurant a few blocks from the Marriott.  Service was great with a large variety of local, Alaskan brews on tap.  We laughed and recapped our adventure for hours before bidding each other safe travels home.

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Boutique River Cruise in Italy with Lisa Pease

Lisa Pease, Manager and Travel Specialist in Fox World Travel’s Sheboygan Office recently had the opportunity to explore Venice and the Gems of Northern Italy with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises.  Hear all about her trip here!

This river cruise experience was my first, and I was very fortunate to sail one of the best…

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The drive from the airport to the ship was only about 30 minutes.  The motor coach stopped just a few yards from the ship and we were welcomed aboard immediately. The check in process was extremely quick and a light lunch was waiting for us in the lounge.  Our cabins were ready by 2:00pm at which time I took a well-needed nap.

The River Countess is extraordinarily beautiful.  The ship is not gaudy, but, instead welcoming, luxurious and opulent (without the snootiness  you might expect).

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ALL INCLUSIVE:

Unlimited drinks-Wines, Beers, Spirits, Cocktails, soft drinks, juices, cappuccinos, lattes, espresso and French press coffee, teas and mineral water.  Some higher end liquors for a slight charge. (Gratuity included)

The cabins are “cozy”.  I was surprised with my own cabin with a french balcony which at 140 square fee, I greatly appreciated.  There are ample storage areas in closets and space under your bed for your luggage.

CABIN AMENITIES:

  • Very comfy beds with down comforters or blankets as needed
  • The bathroom is very luxurious complete with bathrobe, slippers and L’Occitane bath products.
  • Fresh water in a pitcher and candies are replenished daily.
  • Maid service is offered 3 times per day
  • Pillow menu is offered
  • Internet access
  • Uniworld Intranet
  • Flat screen TV’s with movies and shows
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My French Balcony Cabin

CUISINE:

All meals are included on board the ship.

The food is phenomenal prepared with fresh fruits, meats, vegetables.

Breakfast is served from 7:00-9:00am with a smaller offering until 10:00am.

Lunch is served from 12:30-2:00pm.  Dinner is served from 7:00pm-9:00pm.  All dining is open seating.

It is very enjoyable to sit with different guests each night.  The wait staff is excellent.  They never missed a beat or made a mistake.  They were all charming, personable and professional.

The top deck was very nice complete with a Pizza Station, lounge chairs both shaded and unshaded and a designated smoking area.  No pool.

SHORE EXCURSIONS:

As an all inclusive river cruise line, shore excursions are included.

A portable audio headset (found in the closet in your cabin) is used on the group tours.

You have the option to do the standard pace or gentle walking tour.  The shore excursions offered are somewhat unique.  You are not required to take the shore excursions except on Tuesday & Thursday. Several of the guests were upwards of 70 years old and Venice was having a heat wave with 90 degree temps, so many stayed back on the ship.

The walking tours were a bit long for the older folks.  In Verona we walked about ½ mile (perhaps more) to get to the motor coach.  Uniworld taxied some of the handicapped folks to the motor coach.

Day 1-Embarkation in Venice

Included Tour to the Glass Blowing Factory in the afternoon.

Day 2- Venice Walking Tour with a visit to Doges Palace or Alternate  Gentle Walking Tour

Optional tour (at cost) Venetian Painters:  Scuola Grande di San Rocco & Frari Church (55 Euro)

Exclusive Evening visit to Saint Marc’s Basilica.

This was a very unique opportunity (my favorite) to visit the Basilica and hear a lecture with just our group.  No one else was there! 

The tour begins with a water taxi taking us from our port to St. Marks’s Square.  We had a short walking tour of the square and then ushered into the Church where we were given a tour.  The Church dates back to 828.  We were given an informative lecture on the history of the Basilica as well as the story of St. Mark.

St. Mark’s remains were taken from their resting place and moved to the Basilica where they rest at the base of the alter.  We were shown the treasury located on a swivel behind the alter.  This is not shown to the general public. 

The art and tile in the Basilica are breathtaking and the experience was very unique.

Be wary of pick pockets in Italy.  In addition, there are many gentlemen offering roses to the ladies.  They tell you they are free…but, then chase you down for money.

We were given the opportunity to stay in Venice to shop/walk around, but, most everyone chose to go back to the ship.

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Day 3- Excursion to Padua with a visit to Saint Anthony’s Basilica.

The ship did not have authority to take passengers across the Adriatic Sea, so this excursion was a requirement as everyone had to disembark.

The drive to Padua was about 90 minutes.  It was extremely hot this day so there weren’t many visitors on the streets or at Saint Marc’s Basilica.  Padua is an extremely religious town and one of the oldest in Northern Italy. 

The quaint streets around the Basilica are lined with religious trinkets and paraphernalia.

It is also a University town, so there were many students milling about.  We visited Saint Anthony’s Basilica which was comprised of the church, gardens and school.  We had some free time to explore the city with its narrow roads (very easy to get lost).

Shopping in the main square consisted of Luxury Brand name stores (Gucci, Prada, etc.) but, more economical stores could be found along the narrow streets.  We had difficulty finding shops that were open as most shops close in the afternoons and open again in the late afternoon/early evening.

When visiting Churches in Europe, remember to cover your shoulders (scarf) and no shorts or skirt above the knees.

We were late for the Welcome Reception Dinner because the driver couldn’t find the ship. (See my note below on ship placement).

Day 4- Day on your own in Polesella

The walk into town was about 10 minutes.  It is a very small village with lovely homes, gardens and shops.  The two most notable structures were the Commune Polesella and the American Disco J.

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Day 5- The ship did not have authority to take passengers across the Adriatic Sea, so an excursion was a requirement as everyone had to disembark.

Excursion to Ravenna visiting the Byzantine Mosaics or Excursion to Chioggia with seafood lunch

Chioggia (also know at Little Venice) is extremely charming.  If you look at pictures of this town you would swear you were in Venice.  The drive by motor coach took about an hour.  We were dropped within the walled city of the 6th century town.  We arrived just as they were closing up the street markets.  We had only about 60 minutes to shop…wish we had more!  The prices at the market were extraordinary. 

Dresses for 10-20 Euro, Blouses & Skirts for 8-12 Euro, Purses for 8 Euro, Scarves for 1-3 Euro.  You could find pretty much anything you were looking for at this market.  The walk was about 1 mile from the city walls to the water. 

The market closed up by 12:30pm and everything was cleaned from the streets and everything closed.   We had lunch at a lovely seaside restaurant.  We would have enjoyed it a bit better had it not been so hot.  There was no airflow and we were all melting.  We met our ship about 1 mile from the town.

Day 6- Excursion to Verona

Walking tour of the Historic center of Verona with a visit to Juliet’s Balcony. 

The walled city of Verona sits on the Adige River and is very beautiful and more quaint (in my opinion) than Venice.  Verona has its own coliseum dating back to 30AD.

Similar to Venice you will find high end shopping as well as small markets for the usual Italian souvenirs.

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Afternoon optional tour (at cost)-Winery tour with lunch and wine tasting (85 Euro)

The drive to Valpolicella was gorgeous as we passed by vineyards built into the rolling hills.  The Serego Alighieri Estate was about an hour drive. We were able to sample ½ dozen cheeses with honey & preserves, salad, bread and olives.

For lunch we had risotto soaked in wine and cake for dessert.  Each course was served with their three regional wines.  Afterwards we were able to purchase wine, preserves and honey.  The wine cost was reasonable.  The tour itself a was a bit overpriced at 85Euro.

Day 7- Excursion to the market in Venice or day on your own.

We shopped the very busy streets of Venice and took a Gondola Ride. The cost was 80 Euro for 6 people. 

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Afternoon optional Tour (at cost)-Venetian Painters at the Accademia (45Euro)

WHAT SETS UNIWORLD APART FROM OTHER RIVER CRUISE LINES:

  • Expertise
  • Service
  • Luxurious ships uniquely designed
  • Culinary experience
  • Choice of itineraries
  • Truly All Inclusive

OTHER NOTEWORTHY MENTIONS:

  • Uniworld offers Nordic walking sticks and bicycles.
  • They had a wellness program on board.  You could sign up for massage or private yoga classes (at a cost).  The prices were very reasonable compared to 5 star hotel or other cruise lines.
  • Uniworld does not make announcements over the intercom or ring a bell for dinner.  It’s a very quiet, relaxing environment.
  • Key cards are wrapped in leather and service as your room key and embarkation/disembarkation car (Very simple to use.)
  • There is an internet station onboard with two laptops.
  • On the days we were forced to disembark, lunch vouchers were issued for the guests.
  • Lectures and briefings were offered almost daily in the afternoon.
  • Laminated recipe cards featuring the entrée, appetizer or dessert for the evening are delivered to your cabin.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

Ship docking assignments are requested by the cruise line two years in advance.  They never know where the ship will be docked.  In some cases dock changes are made in as little as 2 days prior to embarkation. I received a dock change in my email just a few days before sailing.  If you have clients arriving a few days prior to sailing, be sure to let them know to watch their email for changes.

Learn more about Fox World Travel River Cruises or European Travel Destinations online or call a travel specialist at 888-369-8785.

 

 

 

 

 

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