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Save the Date! Building the Ultimate Cruise Ship, Seven Seas Explorer on PBS

On February 8th at 6 PM (PST) we will be tuning in to PBS to watch this documentary created about the engineering challenges and construction of the luxurious Seven Seas Explorer. Watch pioneering shipbuilders as they endeavor to create the ultimate cruise ship, Seven Seas Explorer in the upcoming episode of NOVA, the most-watched, prime-time science series on American television.

See the ship by numbers here on our blog.

Our CEO, Charles de L’Arbre, traveled aboard this incredible ship on the invitation-only Pre-Inaugural Voyage from Barcelona to Monte Carlo. He shares his experiences, insider tips, and personal photos from the trip here.

Save the Date! Building Seven Seas Navigator

Save the Date! Building Seven Seas Explorer on February 8th

Sailing with Star Clippers Cruises

Experience the traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing when you travel with Star Clippers. Step aboard the decks of this incredible fleet of Tall Ships recreated from early 20th century designs that are now paired with modern amenities, top of the line navigation, and relaxing luxuries on water.

Star Clipper and Star Flyer – true clipper ships for guests seeking traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships.

Star Clipper and Star Flyer – true clipper ships for guests seeking traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships.

With each destination, experience vastly different cultures from the Caribbean, to Indonesia, to the Mediterranean, to Cuba to epic Ocean crossings. Enjoy adventures on land, underwater (scuba!), and immerse yourself in new cultures. For the days when you just want to relax on board, enjoy evening performances by local musicians and dancers.

Unlike a typical cruise ship your voyage is wind-powered, and your schedule is relaxed and flexible. Enjoy on-board evening entertainment from local musicians and performers at each destination for authentic, local cultural experiences. Enjoy the salty, ocean breeze on your face– the same wind powering the sails above. Find your secret hideaway on one of the hidden balconies on either side of the bow. Or climb the mast (with safety harness provided) to one of the passenger lookout crows-nests, thoughtfully furnished with a comfortable settee, where you’ll have the grandest view of all!

StarClippers - rigging

The fleet of three ships includes Royal Clipper, Star Clipper, and Star Flyer. Royal Clipper, the crown of the fleet, was inspired by the largest, fastest sail boat made in 1902, that has now been redesigned for the 21st Century without losing their tradition or function. Today, the Royal Clipper is the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world, with 5 masts, 56,000 square feet of canvas sails, 3 swimming pools, and a 227 passenger capacity. The twin-sister ships –Star Clipper and Star Flyer– are true clipper ships for guests seeking traditions and romance of the legendary era of sailing ships.

Leave the hectic pace of land behind, and travel leisurely with the wind. For more information about sailing on small ships, join us at our event on Wednesday, February 22nd at 5:30 hosted in our Downtown Santa Barbara Office at 1028 State Street.

Kathy Reimer

Kathy Reimer

Travel Advisor, Ventura

Santa Barbara Travel Bureau
3140 Telegraph Road
Ventura, CA 93003

Email: kreimer@sbtravel.com
Phone: 805.869.1151

Luxury by Numbers: The Most Luxurious Cruise Ship Ever Built

Seven Seas Explorer® is officially on duty. Guests may now relish the opulence and extravagance aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises newest ship. From unwinding on the $150,000 Savoir No. 1 bed in the Regent Suite to dining on specially designed Versace plates, here’s why Seven Seas Explorer is the world’s most luxurious ship ever built. Next week, Santa Barbara Travel CEO, Charles de L’Arbre, shares his personal experience and travel tips from his voyage aboard the Seven Seas Explorer.

staff to guest ratio


balcony space

 


 

more quality


versace place settings


chandliers


Regent Seven Seas Explorer Main Lobby

1 Acre of Marble and 1 Acre of Granite Used to Build Ship

Charles de L'Arbre in Barcelona

Charles de L’Arbre in Barcelona

Talk to our CEO, Charles de L’Arbre, about his recent trip to Europe visiting Spain and traveling aboard Regent’s new Seven Seas Explorer. Contact him by emailing charlesd@sbtravel.com

 

 

Discover the World Through Abercrombie & Kent

We love working with companies that make travel elegant, seamless, and awe-inspiring.  Abercrombie & Kent delivers incredible experiences, every time, in the world’s greatest destinations. Every review from our clients has been raving! We highly recommend them for family trips. Whatever sparks your sense of adventure, with Abercrombie & Kent you are in good hands. Below are some highlights from trips all around the world.
A&K Australia Collage

Australia

Funlom Falls Water Hole, Kakadu National Park

Funlom Falls waterhole, Kakadu National Park

paddleboarding lizard island

Paddle Boarding Lizard Island, Australia

whale shark ningaloo reef

Swim with Whale Sharks on Ningaloo Reef, Australia

Chile

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Atacamba Desert, Chile

Atacamba Desert, Chile

Chile houses on water

Houses on the Water, Chile

Thailand

thailand beach

Boat Ride to Beach in Thailand

Thailand Maeklong railway market

Maeklong Railway Market, Thailand

Puripunn Chiang Mai, Thailand

Puripunn Chiang Mai, Thailand

To learn more about Abercrombie & Kent, join us at our event on Wednesday, April 27th!

You may also email Erin at ezetter@sbtravel.com or call 805.969.7746 to discuss the possibilities!

Find daily travel tips & ideas on our Facebook Page

Australia: A Land of Surprises

“It was a country of continual surprises”, says Travel Advisor Erin Zetter, just returned from Australia.  Erin was one of only 60 agents from throughout the US and Canada invited to travel down under on Travel2’s ‘Amazing Aussie Adventure’.  Visiting Sydney, Melbourne, Ayres Rock, and the Wolgan Valley in a small group of 10 Virtuoso agents, Erin’s preconceptions of  Australia were challenged – and in a good way.

Erin at a Camel Farm

Erin at a Camel Farm

“First,” says Erin, “I was astonished at the amount of wildlife.  We went on a night safari drive to see the nocturnal animals, and then a nature walk the next morning to see kangaroos, wallaby and wombats.  We also visited the Featherdale Wildlife Park, where I was thrilled to be able to feed kangaroos (from ice-cream cones!) right out of my hands.  I originally thought, though, that the wildlife in Australia would be rather elusive.  But when we went to the Blue Mountains I couldn’t believe the number of kangaroos you could see – they were everywhere, in the hundreds.  I could even see them from right outside my room!”

Ern gets to hand feed a kangaroo.

Ern gets to hand feed a kangaroo.

 

“Everyone has seen photos of the Australian outback,” says Erin.  “But I found that no picture can compare.  You can’t begin to imagine the vastness, and the sunset and views of Uluru (Ayres Rock) were stunning.  The stars began to come out at the end of a ‘Sounds of Silence’ dinner in the outback. They had billed it as a ‘dine under a billion stars’ evening – and for once, there was no exaggeration.  With the clarity of the sky, I could see planets, galaxies, even the full Milky Way.  It was a very emotional experience”.

Sounds of Silence dinner near Ayres Rock

Sounds of Silence dinner near Ayres Rock

 

Even the visit to Australia’s cities held surprises.  Did you know the Sydney Opera House can be toured?  And that ‘Opera House’ is actually a bit of a misnomer? Because it’s not just one house, but a full complex with five different theaters where you can hear the symphony, of course, but also rock performances, dramas, and theater in the round.

In Sydney, Erin also got to complete a bucket list item with another iconic city landmark.  Conquering all fear of heights in the name of research for her clients, Erin climbed – and crossed – the Sydney Harbour Bridge for 1.5 hours as part of BridgeClimb Sydney.  Her reward from the top was 360 degree panoramic views of the city.

See those tiny dots up there?  Those are the brave climbers on BridgeClimb Sydney.  Climbers are dressed in suits to match the bridge - so as not to distract the drivers below.

See those tiny dots up there? Those are the brave climbers on BridgeClimb Sydney. Climbers are dressed in suits to match the bridge – so as not to distract the drivers below.

And then there’s Melbourne, Erin’s favorite city.  From above, the city of Melbourne has a full metropolitan skyline, complete with skyscrapers.  But walk the streets, and you’ll discover a hidden Melbourne, one with narrow alleyways and lanes, cobblestone streets, café’s and street performers.  “You’ll think you’re in Europe”, says Erin.

Europe or Australia?  ... It's a laneway in Melbourne!

Europe or Australia? … It’s a laneway in Melbourne!

“So much of this trip was fabulous,” concludes Erin, “I couldn’t believe how much there was to see and do, and so much variety.  I visited at the end of our summer and had a great time.  Ideally, in order to see everything under the best conditions, I’d recommend booking travel for our Spring and Fall.”

Want to learn more about Australia?  Give your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor a call today!

Tips for Visiting Cuba

Cuba, the tropical paradise frozen for so many years in the 1950’s, is quickly thawing.  With the U.S. and Cuba restoring diplomatic relations, now is the time to see the country before it changes.

As mentioned in an earlier blog post, cruise ships and tour groups travelling to Cuba must tailor their itineraries to adhere to the regulations of the ‘people to people ambassador’ program allowed by the U.S. government.  This means no lazy days (although under this program your nights are free) – any travel itinerary to Cuba will have a robust itinerary of cultural experiences.  It’s important to realize that going to Cuba will not necessarily be a ‘vacation’ but more an adventure, where you will be touched by the destination and its people.

Many people, in fact, consider Cuba a highly emotional destination.  If travel is all about new discoveries and expanding your horizons, then Cuba represents a perfect opportunity to do that.

 

Even though travel regulations have been relaxed, Americans must still participate in a 'people to people ambassador' program sanctioned by the U.S. government.

Even though travel regulations have been relaxed, Americans must still participate in a ‘people to people ambassador’ program sanctioned by the U.S. government.

 

The people to people experiences will feature Cuba’s culture, lifestyle and personalities, and include opportunities for U.S. visitors to meet with Cuban citizens from many walks of life.  For instance, LaTour’s nine-day Hello Cuba itinerary provides an immersive experience.

One traveler on this tour, Phil Marzullo, described some highlights of his trip, “On my tour, we visited a middle school outside Havana, an attended a music and dance performance by the students.  Another day, we visited a dance studio and took salsa lessons from professional dancers.  We also met with university students, learned about a community service project run by artists and musicians, (and) visited a senior center”…. ”These visits”, said Mazullo, ‘taught us a lot about the spirit and resiliency of the Cuban people”.

When traveling to Cuba, it is important to find a trustworthy, operator with experience in the country.  With so many complicated regulations or possible on-the-ground changes, you should also look for on-the-ground support.  For instance, some tour operators can offer meals in one of Cuba’s paladares.  These are restaurants run out of a private home.  In addition to having better food, the paladares often inspire intense discussions with local entrepreneurs.

 Paladares are privately owned restaurants, often run out of a private home. These are authentic, Cuban establishments where you get to meet local entrepreneurs.

Paladares are privately owned restaurants, often run out of a private home. These are authentic, Cuban establishments where you get to meet local entrepreneurs.

Want to know more about visiting Cuba ?  Then give Santa Barbara Travel a call.  We can let you know about the many opportunities for traveling to this dynamic destination.

Ernest Hemingway lived for almost 20 years in Cuba.  You can visit his private home, Finca Vigia.

Ernest Hemingway lived for almost 20 years in Cuba. You can visit his private home, Finca Vigia.

Culinary Croatia: With Central Holidays

With 1,118 miles of stunning coastline and more than 1,000 islands, Croatia is an increasingly well-known travel destination for adventurers with a love of history, culture and dramatic scenery.  It should also be a country that comes to mind when people think of food and wine.
croatiaThe coastal regions of Istria and Dalmatia are famed for their fresh, Adriatic seafood.  Here, you’ll find a host of dishes based on shellfish.  With its warm Mediterranean climate, the coastal region also enjoys an ever-changing array of fresh seasonal produce.Inland, the cuisine is characterized by recent contacts with neighboring cultures – Hungary, Turkey, and Austria. Paprika and garlic are heavily featured in this cooking, and the desserts, including the delectable kremsnita, are a wonderful culinary legacy of the Austrian Hungarian empire.
This cream cake, when it's made around Zagreb, in Croatia has a puff pastry top, predominantly custard cream filling (less whipped cream) and is finished with powdered sugar. The massive size is at first daunting, but the light filling makes the cake easy to eat and not too heavy. Just perfect for an afternoon snack.

This cream cake, when it’s made around Zagreb, in Croatia has a puff pastry top, predominantly custard cream filling (less whipped cream) and is finished with powdered sugar. The massive size is at first daunting, but the light filling makes the cake easy to eat and not too heavy. Just perfect for an afternoon snack.

The Croatian peninsula of Istria is renowned for truffles.  The world’s largest recorded truffle (weighing 1.31 kg.) was found there in 1999.  Truffle hunting takes place in the autumn, and local food specialties include pasta or steak with truffles.  Italian foodies drive over the border just to have a truffle lunch before returning home.  In fact, some say that the best Italian food can be found in Northern Croatia!

You can hunt, dig and taste them in the dark forests of Motovun, on the Istrian peninsula of Croatia. Especially trained truffle-hunting dogs called 'breks' are used during the 3-month season, which begins in October.

You can hunt, dig and taste them in the dark forests of Motovun, on the Istrian peninsula of Croatia. Especially trained truffle-hunting dogs called ‘breks’ are used during the 3-month season, which begins in October.

Croatian wines are equally deserving of praise.  Basking in 2,600 hours of sunlight each year, Croatia abounds in a variety of excellent wine growing regions, with both quality red and white varietals.  Croatian wine, however, is largely undiscovered.  Wine producers are generally boutique, family operations, bottled only in small batches. This means that most of their vintages are consumed by the local market.

Learn more about the culinary delights of Croatia, as well as the Northern Italian Piemonte region, at Central Holidays’ presentation on October 1, 2015 at the State Street office of Santa Barbara Travel.

A Patagonia Penguin Primer

Who doesn’t love the animal that’s always ready for a formal event?  Monika Weinsoft from Zegrahm Expeditions will be speaking this coming Thursday evening, September 3rd, at our Santa Barbara office.  She’ll discuss their upcoming 18-day Patagonia trip, and the many ways you can see penguins up close, as well as whales, dolphins, seals and an enormous variety of other animals.

One lucky attendee at this lecture will win $1500 of airfare for themself and a traveling companion, so mark your calendar to attend NOW!

While you’re waiting, we’d like to whet your Patagonian palate with a penguin article recently published by Zegrahm Expeditions.

Penguins of Patagonia—A Primer

Zegrahm Contributor|June 8, 2015

Always looking dapper in their natural tuxedos, penguins are amazing little creatures. The dashing appearance of these flightless birds—evolved from sky-bound birds some 40 million years ago and found solely in the Southern Hemisphere—is quite strategic: their black backs provide camouflage to predators from above, while their white bellies blend into the water’s bright surface.

Magellanic Penguins

Magellanic Penguins

Most penguins mate for life, joining up to a thousand others in large breeding colonies. They return year after year to the same rookery, often the very nesting spot where they were born. (In Patagonia, females lay their eggs, usually two, in October; babies are born about 40 days later.) Both parents are involved in caring for young chicks, and in some species, the males incubate the eggs while the females hunt for food.

Although other sea mammals have a layer of blubber for warmth, the penguin’s feathers actually act as insulation, trapping warm air against the body. The seawater they ingest is filtered through a special gland behind the eye, then discharged through the beak—the reason penguins sneeze so often.

Gentoo Penguins

Gentoo Penguins

Four penguin species make their home in Patagonia between September and mid-March. The macaroni—standing some 30 inches tall and weighing in around 10 pounds—earned its moniker for the stylish yellow crest on its brow. About a third larger in size, the gentoo is the fastest swimmer among all penguins, reaching speeds of more than 20 miles per hour. There are approximately 250,000 pairs of southern rockhopper penguins, which come in at just under two feet and got their name from the colorful way they hop about on the sheer, rocky cliffs.

Rockhopper Penguin

Rockhopper Penguin

Also medium-sized, Magellanic penguins make up Patagonia’s largest population with upwards of 2 million breeding pairs. While its closest relatives are the African, Galápagos, and Humboldt found along the coasts of Chile and Peru, Magellanics prefer to winter in Brazil, swimming nearly 2,000 miles for its warmer waters.

Patagonia penguins feed on krill, cuttlefish, shrimp, and sardines; their predators include petrels, sea lions, leopard seals, and Orcas. Yet their biggest threats by far are polluted waters and the effects of climate change. 

Santa Barbara Travel Bureau at the 2015 French Festival

Despite the historic rainfall resulting from Hurricane Delores, it was a great weekend on July 18-19 at the 2015 Santa Barbara French Festival. There were over 14,000 attendees, poodle parades, strolling gendarmes, and one quite interesting drag revue. Santa Barbara Travel was there, giving information about travel to and around France, and providing special offers from select vendors for trips around France and French Polynesia.

South Pacific Management was the sponsor of the French Festival Grand Prize Drawing. They gave away a French Polynesian resort vacation for one night at the Manava Suite Resort in Tahiti, and two nights at the Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort and Spa.

Even if you did not attend the Festival, we still have special offers from Viking River Cruises, Backroads, Pleasant Holidays, Star Clippers, Oceania, Paul Gauguin Cruises, and South Pacific Management that will be available for the next few weeks. Give Santa Barbara Travel a call to see if any of these offers are right for you.

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Pleasant Holidays Representative Laura Davis and our own Phyllis Brown enjoying the sights and sounds of the French Festival.

 

ff4

SBTB Travel Advisor Tina Slimp talking to clients about the amazing offers to France and French Polynesia.

 

July First Thursday at Santa Barbara Travel: Easter Island

Marci Bogusz from SPM Hotels discusses the history and culture of Easter Island at Santa Barbara Travel on July 2, 2015

Marci Bogusz from SPM Hotels discusses the history and culture of Easter Island at Santa Barbara Travel on July 2, 2015

The remote and mysterious Easter Island was the topic of July’s First Thursday presentation at Santa Barbara Travel. Easter Island is the most remote inhabited place on earth: it’s 3,500 miles from Chile, and 3,000 miles from Tahiti.

In two presentations on Thursday evening, July 2nd, Marci Bogusz from South Pacific Management hotels discussed the history of this island – discovered on Easter Sunday in 1722 – and also called Rapa Nui in Polynesian. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island contains 887 ‘moai’ or stone carvings. Marci discussed the mysteries still surrounding how these moai were carved, erected and moved across the island.