Are you one of those people who plans for a cruise as far in advance as possible? If not, you really might want to change that. Traveling by way of a cruise is continuing to grow in popularity, and if 2018 will be the year of cruising for you, you should start planning now. Here are just a few reasons why if you haven't done so already you should make the plans for next year's cruise now:
Imagine being able to travel into the heart of the countries in Europe, then being able enjoy a more in-depth, authentic experience in multiple destinations with smaller towns and villages. Experience the exclusivity and true all-inclusive nature of river cruising.
Do you have a group of friends that you wish you saw more of (college pals, for example)? It's not hard to plan a getaway reunion, as long as you give everyone sufficient time to include the gathering into busy lives. How do you do this?
The Pitons, St. Lucia's twin peaks, just above the surface of the sea creating one of the most beautiful islands on the Caribbean. The beauty of the island as your ship approaches it is the number one reason to include it on a romantic cruise. The black sand beaches of Anse Chastanet is another. The snorkeling and scuba diving are a fabulous way to share the island with your loved one. Look at Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas itinerary in the Southern Caribbean that includes St. Lucia. Serenade is a medium-sized ship from the Brilliance Class, making it one of the most romantic ships of the line.
With only 67 square miles of land, St. Kitts is a small sliver of paradise to share with your partner. Opt for a scooter rental to get you to the beaches that line the narrow strip of land leading to the south end of the island for some of the best snorkeling to be found in the Caribbean. Princess gets you there in romantic style on ships sailing from Florida to the Eastern Caribbean.
If the butterflies that keep the hills of St. Maarten alive with color are not romantic enough, consider sailing on Celebrity's Equinox when it overnights on the island. Overnighting in port gives you enough time to really experience the island. Imagine arriving in time for a beautiful sunset, before setting out to explore an evening of French cuisine on the French side of the island. Then spend the next day enjoying the fun and sun of the Dutch side before your ship sails for the next port.
The beauty of Santorini may very well be one of the most romantic backdrops on the planet. Santorini wedding photos and proposals abound, but even if wedding bells aren't in your future, a cruise stop at the Greek caldera in the sea is perfect for romantic beach breaks or hiking the Fira to Oia trail.
Pro tip: When you shop for Santorini cruises check the calendars at CruiseTimetables.com to avoid cruises that are in port with a host of large ships. The island can get quite congested, so you need all the help you can get.
Everything about a cruise to Tahiti sounds romantic, doesn't it? Paul Gauguin Cruises makes it more so. With overnight stays and inspirational excursions, there is more than enough romance to enjoy.
My former editor, Jo Piazza, fell in met and love with her husband on a cruise in the Galapagos, so communing with the natural wonders of the Galapagos must be romantic. Cruises here range from very small boats with no air conditioning to luxury lines like Silverseas' Silver Galapagos, which sails the islands year-round.
The romance of Havana is all about its mystique. Consider a cruise that includes an overnight stay to fully explore the city. Look at NCL's Norwegian Sky, which now offers free unlimited bar drinks.
Italy's "City of Love" is actually a cluster of man-made islands. Top pics for a romantic stop here include the obvious gondola ride, walks along the Grand Canal, or sunsets in St. Mark's Square.
Viking Ocean Cruises sails to and from the port of Venice, some with overnights in port to allow you to fully appreciate the romance of the island city.
Have I convinced you it's time to visit some of these great islands? If you are ready to start booking your next island getaway, call me today, and I can help you create the perfect itinerary for your needs and budget. Imperial Cruise and Travel can be reached at (480) 758-5147!
River cruising is a rapidly growing industry in the United States, and we couldn’t be more excited about it! While there are several companies you could choose to travel with, let us try to convince you why cruising with American Queen Steamboat Company is the best choice!
1. Step on as friends, leave as family.
Their hospitality is renowned in the industry and ultimately the key to our success. While on-board, crew will often call you by name and charm you with the finest service. The most common feedback they receive from past guests is how they feel like family upon disembarking from their river cruise, followed by mention of their excitement to travel with American Queen Steamboat Company again.
2. Locally Inspired Cuisine.
The chef works tirelessly to refine menus for the vessels, displaying fabulous regional dishes using fresh, local produce and products. The decadent display of culinary art is delivered to each table with a stunning presentation – almost too pretty to eat. Not to worry, you will recognize the comfort food behind the beauty once you take a bite and realize that you made the right choice by cruising with American Queen Steamboat Company.
3. Exciting Entertainment
Entertainment on-board these vessels is some of the finest, not only in the river cruise industry, but throughout the luxury ocean-going cruise industry as well. There is always something happening on-board to keep guests highly engaged. Activities are carefully created by the cruise line’s cruise director to deliver fun, enriching presentations and Broadway-caliber entertainment throughout the trip. Nightly shows often reflect and incorporate the region through which you are cruising.
4. Award-winning Shore Excursions.
You have probably chosen a river cruise for the flexibility of experiencing multiple ports of call, but nobody does shore excursions quite like American Steamboat. Each cruise boasts unique, Hop-On Hop-Off tours included with the cruise fare, offering circular routes with several stops to iconic sites via their own fleet of motor coaches. In addition, a variety of Premium Shore Excursions that are available for purchase and will further immerse you in the history, culture, and distinctiveness of the region. Every detail is meticulously planned out, so that all you need to do is sit back and enjoy.
5. Iconic Vessels.
American Queen Steamboat Company vessels are testimonies to the floating palaces of long ago and a culmination of their finest qualities. Grand in every sense of the word, you will discover a blend of every bold paddle-wheeler innovation along with pristine, authentic paddle-wheeler design. While on-board, you can observe the latest high-tech electronics that help them navigate their classic riverboats up the changing currents. From Engine Room viewing and Pilot House tours to enchanting discussions with an insightful Riverlorian, life on the river has never been better!
For more information about 2017 sailings, please email or call me at (480) 758-5147!
One of the groups I'm taking on a cruise in 2017 will be cruising on Carnival's Valor Cruise Ship. This stunning vessel has a capacity of 2,980 guests, is 953 feet in length, features 14 decks, and hosts an on-board crew of 1,180! Whether you are a part of that August group or will simply be traveling aboard this ship for another cruise in the future, here's your insider's guide to the Valor!
Where You'll Sleep
The Carnival Valor features staterooms in the interior of the ship as well as ocean view rooms, rooms with a balcony, and suites. If a suite isn't in your budget, I strongly suggest a balcony room at the very least. Basic balcony rooms can sleep up to 4 guests, and these rooms are also a little larger than the interior and ocean view cabins. Just like their name suggests, extended balcony rooms feature a more spacious balcony, and these rooms also sleep up to 4 people. The Premium Vista Balcony staterooms that are available only sleep two, but these rooms wrap around the aft corners of the Carnival Valor, giving you a unique vantage point from which to enjoy amazing panoramic views of the sky and the sea. There are also a variety of options for your interior and ocean view rooms as well. To learn more about the staterooms available to you, and to determine which one is best for your needs and budget, call Imperial Cruise and Travel at (480) 758-5147.
Endless Dining Options
The beauty of a cruise is that your ticket price includes a wide variety of dining options. The Carnival Valor is no exception. Along with the dining room that offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can also dine at the following spots:
Need a moment away from it all? Consider the Serenity Adult Only Retreat! On the top deck of the ship, this no-kid zone may be the most relaxing area you'll find. However, if you're looking for some excitement just a few of the fun activities included with your ticket are:
There is a casino aboard, multiple bars, shops, a spa and fitness center and several on-board events that vary by cruise week. The cruise ship even offers mini golf, a seaside theater featuring "dive-in" movies. Bottom line, there is always something to do while you are aboard the Valor. And, all of these elements don't even include your ports of call! Cruises really are the best travel experience for your buck!
I'm continuing to share glimpses into the top luxury cruise lines, and today I'm giving you a quick look at Regent Cruise Line. One of the most incredible things about Regent Cruise Line is that each ticket not only includes your meals as well as room and board, but your shore excursions are also included. Amazingly enough the all-inclusive luxuries don't stop there! You'll also enjoy free unlimited Wi-Fi, free transfers between airport and ship, a one night pre-cruise hotel package, open bars and lounges, a mini bar in your room that is replenished daily, 24-hour room service, and so much more.
There is nothing quite like the luxury of a premium cruise liner. They are of a caliber that is truly a cut above the rest, when compared with what can only be called mass public commercial cruise lines. With that in mind I wanted to develop a series that explores a few of my favorite luxury cruise lines. And, because they glide on the seas, it seemed fitting to begin with Seabourn Cruise Line. So, without further adieu, let's take a quick look at this spectacular company.
Recently I offered the readers of this blog a quick look at Seabourn Cruise Line. If you missed that post, you can check it out here. Today, I'm offering a glimpse into the luxury that is Cunard Cruise Line. Cunard Cruise Line considers itself the most iconic ocean liner company in the world. It's ships include the Queen Victoria, the Queen Elizabeth, and the recently remastered Queen Mary 2. What sets Cunard Cruise Line apart from many others is that they offer Transatlantic crossings between New York and Southhamptom as well as World Voyages.
I know the title might fool you but I’ve stayed in an ocean view cabin, a balcony cabin, but the best cabin I ever had was a suite. I have to say that I was excited to our cabin and even more impressed to know that our suite was located in a private area accessible only to guests carrying a special SeaPass® card. We opened the door to our cabin to find sea is full view, framed by the large ceiling-to-floor door of our balcony, it was beautiful. We were in the Sky Loft Suite aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ship to be exact—thus the title a “sweet” life.
This is your home away from home as your floating hotel takes you from one exotic location to the next. This is the place you can revel in awe-inspiring comfort as the world passes by and, you don’t want to miss a thing. Have you ever wondered what it would be like cruising in luxury?
Here’s a peek inside the “Sweet” Life:
Aboard luxury ships upper-category suite guests may choose from an assortment of amenities, including:
The next time you take cruise, plan early enough so you can get the suite, trust me--it's worth it.