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Culinary Cruise Pairings to Poach in 2017

These days, culinary themed cruises cater to specific passions, offering not only exceptional and exclusive menus, but also hands on learning and teaching from the finest. If you are a food aficionado, aka “foodie,” then you’ll love these culinary partnerships on the water this 2017.

Chef Thomas Keller Joins Seabourn

Chef Thomas Keller Joins Seabourn

World-renowned American chef and restaurateur, Thomas Keller, has designed the culinary experience aboard Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn, and Seabourn Quest. The culinary genius behind a trio of Michelin-starred restaurants – The French Laundry, Per Se, and Bouchon – Chef Keller brings his award-winning French and American cuisine to the ultra-luxury cruise line adding new flavors and flair to complement Seabourn’s already celebrated cuisine.

Chef: Tom Keller
Company: Seabourn

Master Chef Jacques Pepin Partners with Oceania Cruises

Enjoy gourmet cuisine curated by world-renowned Master Chef Jacques Pépin for the Oceania fleet. Accompanied by a master chef, tour a winery in Madeira or a fish market in Rio de Janeiro, taste the authentic flavors of a region, learn techniques in local cooking classes and then hone your skills at The Culinary Center.

Perks: Multiple open-seating dining venues for breakfast, lunch and dinner, at no additional charge & free 24-hour room service. The spectacular port-intensive itineraries feature overnight visits and extended evening port stays.

Chef: Jacques Pépin
Company: Oceania Cruises

 

“The enjoyment of good food is a universal pleasure. We merely try to share what we like, what gives us that pleasure day after day.”

LANSHU CHEN  –  LE MOÛT RESTAURANT, TAÏWAN

 

Chef David Blisland hosts Silversea's Culinary Trainer Program

Chef David Blisland hosts Silversea’s Culinary Trainer Program

Learn from the “Grands Chefs” of Relais and Châteaux by joining the select Culinary Arts Voyages with Silversea Cruises. On 14 exclusive voyages around the globe, Silversea guests can experience an innovative cooking school at sea concept, L’Ecole des Chefs by Relais & Châteaux. This culinary discovery experience offers a unique and interactive program, hosted by Silversea’s Culinary Trainer, Chef David Bilsland. In addition to cooking, enjoy the thrilling and memorable meals of “La Collection du Monde,” created exclusively for guests of Silversea. It is not just the menu that is extraordinary, it is the “selection of ingredients, honed techniques, perceptive associations of flavors [that] all combine to create an art of true excellence in perfect harmony with an idyllic setting.”

Perk: Silversea Cruises is the only cruise line to partner with the exclusive, globally renowned collection of “Grands Chefs” from Relais and Châteaux

Chef/Teacher: David Blisland
Company: Silversea Cruises

 

Culinary delight on Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Enjoy specialty restaurants and gourmet cuisine.

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;

teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”

Don’t just eat the best food, learn the secrets of making it yourself. The Culinary Arts Kitchen aboard Seven Seas Explorer will provide guests with all the ingredients to expand their culinary skills in a welcoming environment reminiscent of the most prestigious cooking schools in France in both layout and design. With highly individualized hands on instruction, you’ll learn the advanced techniques of the best, with themed menus for each destination.

Perks: Regent Seven Seas Explorer is the newest ship aboard the all-inclusive luxury cruise line.

Chef: You!
Company: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Santa Barbara Travel customizes the most magnificent culinary experiences on both sea and land. Call your Santa Barbara Travel advisor or visit our advisor page to find the best fit for you.

SeaDream Yacht Club Wine Voyages

“It’s Yachting, Not Cruising”

With SeaDream, look forward to a casual yachting experience that goes above and beyond expectations.

The twin yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II, were voted “Best Small Luxury Cruise Ship of 2015” in ForbesLife. The intimate mega boutique yachts with 95 crew members and 112 guests makes each guest feel like they are on their very own private luxury yacht. Chic and stylish, SeaDream’s 56-stateroom yachts are favored for its elegant informality, highly personal service, inclusive open bar and gratuities, all ocean views staterooms and suites, luxury accommodations and world-class cuisine.

SeaDream I and II Nice

This Fall, sail from Nice to Malaga on a wine voyage designed to enhance both your culinary and yachting experience. Explore the flavors and history from some of the worlds most renowned wineries through exclusive wine tastings, and highlights such as a Winemaker’s Dinner with Chateau Gassier and Finca Valpiedra, offering a special menu complemented with top cuvees.

Nice to Malaga on SeaDream I

Nice to Malaga on SeaDream I

WINE VOYAGE ACTIVITIES

8th of Oct. Wine tasting with Chateau Gassier

9th of Oct. Visit to Castellet & Winery Visit, Sanary Sur Mer

10th of Oct. Winemaker’s Dinner with Chateau Gassier

12th of Oct. Visit to Cavas Recaredo & Chocolate Factory, Barcelona.

13th of Oct. Wine tasting with Finca Valpiedra

14th of Oct. Winemaker’s Dinner with Finca Valpiedra

15th of Oct. Cooking, strolling & tasting, Cartagena.

Itinerary is subject to change. For updated itinerary, please contact Santa Barbara Travel Bureau

For more information about SeaDream, please call your Santa Barbara Travel advisor.

Tina Slimp

Tina Slimp

Travel Advisor, Santa Barbara

Email: tnordholm@sbtravel.com
Phone: 805.869.1112

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

Charles Travels to Paris the 2016 Virtuoso Chairman’s Event

Our CEO, Charles de L’Arbre, recently traveled to Paris for the 2016 Virtuoso Chairman’s Event, for what he considers to be “the most remarkable week of travel in my 42 year career in the travel industry.” From a river cruise on the Seine, to lunch and a visit to the Louis Vuitton Foundation, to dinner at Four Seasons Hotel Georges V, to a tour of the Palace of Versailles, to a perfect stay at Le Bristol, our Virtuoso partners have the best recommendations.

Upon exiting the plane, Charles and his wife, Barbara, were met by a representative of “Decouvertes” (“Discoveries” for you non French-speakers), which is one of the premier French destination management companies. They were greeted on the jetway outside of the door of the plane, and 6 minutes later, they were through a special line at Passport Control, at baggage claim, and 10 minutes later were in the back of a Mercedes being whisked in to the center of Paris. Soon enough, they were stepping in to the lobby of Le Bristol Hotel on the Faubourg St. Honore in the First Arrondissement of Paris, 2 blocks from the Presidential Palace.

The attendees of the Virtuoso Chairmen’s Event stayed either at Le Bristol, Plaza Athénée or the Four Seasons Hotel. Other hotels participated, hosting events throughout the week, including The Park Hyatt, The Peninsula, The Intercontinental Grand Hotel, and The Ritz.

Le Bristol, Paris, is the top hotel choice for your Paris stay by our CEO, Charles de L'Arbre

Le Bristol, Paris, is the top hotel choice for your Paris stay by our CEO, Charles de L’Arbre

There is nothing like coming back to a hotel which truly feels like home. For Charles and Barbara, that is the Bristol. “Laure and Louise at the front desk; Olivier who greets us every morning at breakfast at the Epicurean Restaurant; my friend Matthias Obresser in sales and a host of other friends who all greeted us by name as we walked in to the hotel. After a full day of work, a drive to LAX on a Friday evening, and a 12 hour flight, the delight of walking in to an environment which was familiar, warm, and the epitome of French refinement and luxury was one of indescribable joy,” shared Charles. Le Bristol is a Virtuoso property and offers Santa Barbara Travel Bureau highly preferential rates, time of booking upgrades, breakfast (85 euro per person value), as well as a special amenity.

The Opera House of Paris, Palais Garnier

The Opera House of Paris, Palais Garnier

The Virtuoso Event included a show at the Paris Opera House, where several ballets by Balanchine were performed. After the event Barbara and Charles walked over to The Ritz for a late dinner at the Hemingway Bar, which Charles tells us “is fabulous and has to be the best bar in Paris.” Before that, they had been at the Picasso Museum and met the grandson of Picasso.

The bar is aptly named in Hemingway's honor, where he is said to have spent the 1920s.

The bar is aptly named in Hemingway’s honor, where he is said to have spent the 1920s.

Louis Vuitton Fondation designed by Frank Gehry. Photo  from http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/

Louis Vuitton Fondation designed by Frank Gehry. Photo from http://www.fondationlouisvuitton.fr/

A new “must” when in Paris is a visit to the new Frank Gehry building located in Greater Paris, at the edge of the  Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne, where Paris meets Neuilly-sur-Seine. The building is incredible– a feat of modern architecture composed of 12 “sails” composed of 3,600 panels of curved glass, cut to the nearest millimeter. The futuristic building is a reflection of the unique, creative and innovative project of the Louis Vuitton Fondation.  The Cheval Blanc Hotel Group hosted a lovely lunch for the Virtuoso Event.

Charles at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris

Charles at the Fondation Louis Vuitton designed by architect Frank Gehry in Paris

“To reflect our constantly changing world, we wanted to create a building that would evolve according to the time and the light in order to give the impression of something ephemeral and continually changing.” -Frank Gehry 

The new Frank Gehry building in Paris. Photo by Charles de L'Arbre

The new Frank Gehry building in Paris. Photo by Charles de L’Arbre

One must visit the Palace of Versailles at least once in their lifetime! The Garden of Versailles is where fruits and vegetables were raised specifically to feed the king and his family. A tour from the head gardener was very informative, and the most interesting part of the garden was was how the fruit trees were espaliered.

Espaliered fruit trees in the Garden of Versailles. Photo by Charles de L'Arbre

Espaliered fruit trees in the Garden of Versailles. Photo by Charles de L’Arbre

The final day of the trip included a reception at City Hall, hosted by the Mayor of Paris and the Minister of Tourism. Dinner was hosted on a Batau Mouch or the “fly boat” which cruised up the Seine. After dinner, the group received a “salute” of flashing lights from the Eiffel Tower as they passed. With Virtuoso, they know who to call.

Charles aboard the

Charles aboard the Batau Mouch as they passed the Eiffel Tower

Santa Barbara Travel is a member of the by-invitation-only, luxury travel network, Virtuoso – an organization of the top travel agencies, travel providers and destinations worldwide.  Our membership in Virtuoso brings a host of unique travel opportunities and exclusive values to our clients as well as access to the world’s best travel companies, hotels, and cruise lines.  For travelers who depend on experts to reduce complexity and ensure smart choices, your Santa Barbara Travel Advisor will design customized travel experiences using the resources and relationships available exclusively through network membership.

A frequent traveler to Paris, Charles would be happy to share his experiences. Please call or email to talk about your trip to Paris.

Charles de L'Arbre posing at the Picasso Museum in Paris in front of the L'Arbre

Charles de L’Arbre posing at the Picasso Museum in Paris in front of the L’Arbre

Charles de L’Arbre

President, Montecito

Santa Barbara Travel Bureau
1485 East Valley Road #9
Montecito, CA 93108

Email: charlesd@sbtravel.com
Phone: 800.266.5452  
Direct Dial:
805.869.1128
Cell: 805.698.8751

Advisor Trip: Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona

Two seasoned travel advisors of Santa Barbara Travel, Kathy Reimer and Tina Slimp, recently visited the world’s premier health resort, Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona for four glorious days.  A true destination resort, Canyon Ranch is located in the sunny Sonoran desert with close access to canyons and the beautiful Santa Catalina Mountains where outside activities such as hiking, biking, swimming and outside dining are possible all year-round.  The all-inclusive resort offers a variety of wellness packages that include accommodations, all you can eat dining, activities and classes, use of all facilities, gratuities and airport transfers between the Tucson airport and the property.

Beautiful Landscape Views from Canyon Ranch

Beautiful Landscape Views from Canyon Ranch

With a plethora of spa services, exercise, health and lifestyle sessions to choose from, you can make your stay what you want it to be.  You will have the opportunity of pre-planning your Canyon Ranch vacation with a program advisor one month prior to your arrival.  Depending on what you enjoy and what you would like to focus on, a program advisor will customize your daily schedule.

Canyon Ranch Desert Landscape

Canyon Ranch Desert Landscape

Both Tina and Kathy opted for a private consultation with a doctor to learn about a healthier lifestyle and integrating exercise into their busy schedules.  They also took advantage of the resort’s daily cooking demonstrations offered by entertaining, yet informative chefs.  They learned how to cook with alternative oils and ingredients, in place of butter and fattening marinades.  Healthy entrees such as the Canyon Ranch’s mouth-watering Asian Braised Flank Steak with Bok Choy made low calorie cooking look easy.  Tina felt that portion control was essential for healthy eating, and noticed that all food served throughout the resort was served in measured portions.

Relax by the Pool Area with Lunch

Relax by the Pool Area with Lunch

The largest spa ever!  Kathy was in awe when she first laid eyes on the 80,000 square foot, luxury spa.  Housing state-of-the-art cardio and weight rooms, private sunbathing decks, dance, yoga, and Pilates/GYROTRONICS® studios, polar bear dunk, infra-red sauna…the list goes on…just where does one begin.  Luckily classes begin at 6 a.m. and go into the evening allowing you plenty of time to exercise and relax.

Serene Grounds and All-Day Spa and Exercise Options

Serene Grounds and All-Day Spa and Exercise Options

Taking advantage of the outdoors, Tina and Kathy chose to work out each day on the underwater treadmill in the “L shaped” pool, one of Canyon Ranch’s 4 pools.  Kathy enjoyed the early morning 2 mile desert walks as well as strolling through the calming meditation garden. The desert flowers and cacti are in full bloom in the spring with a spectacular show of colors.

Serene Grounds at Canyon Ranch

Serene Grounds at Canyon Ranch

Canyon Ranch offers something for everyone with a wide selection of engaging wellness programs that can vary from weight loss, health assessment and preventive care, stress management, detox, surgery recovery, spiritual health to continuing education credits for physicians and nurses. Additionally, this desert oasis is equipped to handle small groups (birthdays, family reunions, social getaways) to corporate retreats of up to 80 guests.   Whatever your health-related interest or passion, you are likely to find it at Canyon Ranch.

Vistas so Beautiful, They Look Like a Painting

Vistas so Beautiful, They Look Like a Painting

Contact Santa Barbara Travel to for valued added amenities at Canyon Ranch Tucson such as a room upgrade, $50 credit to use toward a Health & Healing service, and early check-in/late check-out or special group rates.

Downtown Santa Barbara: Contact Tina by calling 805.966.3116 or email her directly

Ventura Office: Contact Kathy by calling 805.650.6999 or email her directly

Advisor Trip: The Rocky Mountaineer

Santa Barbara Travel Advisor, Nancy Herrmann, took the two day journey aboard Canada’s Rocky Mountaineer this Summer. This comfortable and luxurious train ride is a wonderful way to journey through the Canadian Rockies. Below, Nancy shares her experience, helpful travel tips, and photos of her journey.

Rocky Mountaineer in Exshaw, Alberta

Rocky Mountaineer in Exshaw, Alberta

ROUTE: I took the “Journey Through the Clouds” from Jasper to Kamloops to Vancouver and down to Seattle. I will start by saying: it was the most beautiful train ride of my life. The observation car allows a comfortable way to see the incredible scenery of Western Canada. The train and views are in the league of the dome cars of Anchorage and Denali, Alaska, with the big-time landscapes. Our itinerary worked with the direction we were traveling, but I would recommend going the opposite way– starting in Vancouver and ending in Jasper. From there you can drive along the scenic highway by motorcoach or self-drive to Lake Louise and Banff.

Four routes of the Rocky Mountaineer. Nancy traveled from Jasper to Kamloops to Vancouver to Seattle.

Four routes of the Rocky Mountaineer. Nancy traveled from Jasper to Kamloops to Vancouver to Seattle.

TRAVEL TIP: Travel from Vancouver to Jasper to end with the “wow factor” of mountainous Jasper.

Another interesting route is the Rainforest to Gold Rush—Vancouver – Whistler – Quesnel – Jasper –-perfect to see the great variety of the Canadian West. Whichever route you go, it is likely to be the best train ride you’ve ever had. The track passes along the coast and through the Canadian Rockies.

rocky-mountaineer-nancy

Nancy smiles for a photo in front of a high mountain lake

DINING: Meals and drinks are included in the price of the journey. However, Gold Leaf service provides a much better dining experience and is recommended. The meals are the same, but Gold Leaf service comes with a downstairs dining room, allowing you to get up and stretch. Silver Leaf members will dine in their seat. It is worth noting that you cannot walk from car to car during the trip.

Travel Tip: Drive or take the motorcoach from Jasper to Lake Louise and Banff for a few night stay, then fly out of Calgary.

Serenity on Lake Louis

Serenity on Lake Louis, accessed by scenic drive from Jasper or by train on the Coastal Passage and First Passage to the West

JASPER: Jasper is a tiny, tiny little town with a few restaurants and souvenir shops to support Jasper National Park. It reminded me of an old west town, with art galleries and gift shops. If you spend a few days here, take the Jasper SkyTram to the summit of Whistlers Mountain for a beautiful view, or drive the scenic route to Banff or Lake Louise.

KAMLOOPS: Nice farm to table restaurants and a fairly big city considering it is in the middle of western Canada. It is a beautiful town sitting at the confluence of the North and South Thompson rivers, with Kamloops Lake nearby.

VANCOUVER: We started our journey in Jasper, but would have started in Vancouver instead. This beautiful city with mountains and the Pacific would be a wonderful few days spent. Take a bike around Stanley Park, go to the top of the Vancouver Lookout, and visit the market on Granville Island.

Aerial View of Vancouver, Canada

Aerial View of Vancouver, Canada

SERVICE & HOTEL PACKAGE: There are two options– Silver Leaf and Gold Leaf. I chose the Gold Leaf package, which I recommend, as it provides vastly greater comfort and meal options, including meal service downstairs in the dining car and a seat in the observation car with a glass dome roof. There is also an option to upgrade the Gold Leaf Package to the Deluxe, which includes a hotel upgrade to the world famous Banff Springs Hotel. I found the Rimrock Resort Hotel to be comfortable, but it needs an upgrade as it feels quite out dated.

TRAVEL TIP: Choose the Gold Leaf Package, and upgrade your hotel if it is within budget to access the dining car, 2nd-floor seating, and a stay at the World Famous Banff Springs Hotel.

rocky-mountaineer-roof

Picture of our train car and Gold Leaf seating. Photo by Nancy Herrmann

WHAT TO AVOID: The Amtrak stretch of the trip was a rickety, uncomfortable 4 hour ride and a big let down after the comfort of the Rocky Mountaineer. I would recommend taking the ferry from Vancouver to Seattle, or just flying straight to Vancouver and spend a few nights to explore this beautiful city.

All said and done, the Rocky Mountaineer offers a great experience, especially for those who will not be itching to hike or swim in the mountains and lakes the trip introduces. If you are taking a cruise that begins or ends in Vancouver, I would highly recommend spending a few days on the Rocky Mountaineer.

rocky-mountaineer-nancyI would love to chat with you personally about the experience and answer any questions you may have. Please contact me by phone (805.869.1100) or email nherrmann@sbtravel.com. Learn more about Nancy on her Travel Profile

Northwest Passage 2017 Voyage

VOYAGE 7320 | 32 DAYS | AUGUST 15, 2017

NORTHWEST PASSAGE

ANCHORAGE/SEWARD TO NEW YORK CITY | CRYSTAL SERENITY

Responding to continued demand for its sold-out inaugural 2016 Northwest Passage transit, Crystal Serenity’s 2017 Northwest Passage Explorer will once again be journeying from Seward, Alaska, to New York City, New York, on a 32-day journey crafted for the world’s most curious adventurers. We have been following the 2016 Voyage on the “Live Tracker” and can’t be more excited to offer this trip once again!

2017 Northwest Passage Sailling in Luxury

2017 Northwest Passage Sailling in Luxury

Exceptional wildlife sightings, stunning displays of nature, and rare experiences carefully designed to reveal remote cultures in the most authentic and engaging manner are the defining aspects of this life-enhancing voyage. Joined by a dedicated team of approximately 14 professionals, the Captain and his expanded crew of navigation experts will incorporate unplanned “expedition days” when favorable weather conditions allow, as well as Unexpected Adventures™ ranging from Zodiac landings and kayaking in protected bays to trekking the tundra with an experienced guide. To whet your appetite for this extraordinary adventure, feel free to visit our current 2016 Northwest Passage webpage— crystalcruises.com/NWP — that details all you need to know to prepare for this incredible journey, including the proper gear and accessories required to enjoy the experience to its fullest.

WE’VE THOUGHT OF EVERYTHING… SO YOU CAN DISCOVER THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE IN COMFORT AND STYLE.

Crystal Cruises has compiled the following guide to answer your questions and get you excited about this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

2017_Northwest_Passage_townBEFORE YOU EXPLORE

So grand is the voyage, so magnificent the adventure, Crystal’s 2017 Northwest Passage has been perfectly planned. We’ve conferred with Canadian authorities and experts, and engaged the local communities to ensure every detail of this incredible adventure is attended to with the thoughtful finesse and skilled expertise the world’s most discerning travelers have come to expect from the World’s Best cruise line.

How can a luxury cruise ship offer an expedition-style voyage in the Arctic?

Crystal Serenity is experienced in operating in some of the world’s most extreme locations, such as Alaska and Antarctica, and will be navigating the Northwest Passage at the most optimum time of year, when the ice significantly recedes allowing vessels to safely transit with minimal risk of encountering ice concentrations. Two ice pilots will join the Captain and trained bridge crew at all times, and the ship will be equipped with state-of-the-art sonar technologies. The region is not as remote as one might think and the itinerary will pass communities that have regularly scheduled commercial air service. Given the limited infrastructure of many of the communities we will visit, an escort vessel will accompany Crystal Serenity, carrying with it “adventure equipment” including a platform for wilderness landings, Zodiacs, kayaks and a helicopter.

Wildlife Citings Along the Northwest Passage

Wildlife Sitings Along the Northwest Passage

What wildlife will I see?

Seals, whales and seabirds may be seen throughout the voyage and in High Arctic regions Crystal Serenity may encounter walrus, narwhal, beluga and bowhead whales. Musk-oxen might be seen on shore, and the passage boasts teeming colonies of kittiwakes, guillemots and murres. In general, wildlife along the Northwest Passage is unpredictable and often difficult to spot, and while polar bears thrive in this region, there is no guarantee that any will be seen on the transit. However, the expedition team will maintain a keen eye so that if an opportunity arises and conditions allow, the Captain will attempt to position the vessel accordingly.

What kind of excursions will be offered ashore?

We have created a series of immersive Crystal Adventures® unique to this itinerary:

• Complimentary Community Visits will provide insight into the daily lives and customs of the Arctic people. Guests will have the opportunity to go ashore in smaller groups to explore communities and experience the daily life of local cultures.

• Crystal Unexpected Adventures will be serendipitous stops when weather and wildlife present opportunities for sightseeing, whale watching and Zodiac landings.

• Crystal Wilderness Adventures™ & Crystal Overland Adventures™ feature thrilling explorations such as helicopter flightseeing, kayaking and whale watching by Zodiac.

• “You Care. We Care.™” Voluntourism opportunities will be offered on a complimentary basis with occasions to participate in local cultural activities.

Helicopter Ride's Are Amongst the Choices for Shore Expeditions

Helicopter Ride’s Are Amongst the Choices for Shore Expeditions

How do I pack? What do I need to bring?

We recommend packing outdoor wear that can be layered in breathable fabrics of fleece, cotton and wool, along with windproof, waterproof clothing and shoes. Crystal will provide water-resistant parkas and boot rentals, and has partnered with a wilderness outfitter offering expedition clothing for purchase. Onboard evening attire will be significantly relaxed, with very few formal evenings. A detailed packing list will be provided prior to the voyage.

2017_Northwest_Passage_view from helicopter

Will there be Internet access and mobile phone coverage?

The ship’s Internet and telephone services will be available for approximately 90% of the expedition, although signals may be slowed or not available at all in the northernmost areas. Shore-based cell phone signals will not be available, except in some of the towns we visit—and guests are asked not to use local signals so the local community’s capacity is not overwhelmed. The Captain and crew will always have operational and emergency communication throughout the entire voyage.

What kind of environmental footprint will the ship make?

Crystal Serenity will be voluntarily using marine gas oil, an extremely clean-burning, low-sulphur fuel that far exceeds regulations, as will the escort ship. The ship’s sophisticated waste management equipment, storage and procedures ensure nothing will be left behind. With regard to the individual communities, we will be working in advance with community leaders to ensure our visits are positive experiences for both locals and guests.

To contact a travel advisor about this incredible voyage in 2017, receive a full itinerary, and talk about specials, contact Nancy Herrmann by emailing nherrmann@sbtravel.com or calling 805.966.3116

World Cruise 2018: La Grande Bellezza

180 Days Traveling the World in Luxury and Comfort

121 Days Traveling the World in Luxury and Comfort

It is, indeed, a beautiful world and this magnificent voyage from Los Angeles to Rome casts a spotlight on all of its richness — mesmerizing landscapes like the blue lagoons of Polynesia and splendors of New Zealand. Ancient wonders from Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal to the epic monuments that straddle the banks of the Red Sea.

Silversea Sydney

Silver Whisper in front of the Sydney Opera House

The ingenuity of modern-day man is also on display: Sydney’s Opera House, the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lumpur, the soaring skylines of Singapore and Hong Kong, forever competing in a global race skyward. La Grande Bellezza was designed to encompass priceless treasures like these. Although the ultimate prize may be more metaphysical — the pampered indulgence of your butler, the intimate ship and highly personalised service, the luxury of your spacious suite and culinary excellence and diversity of the cuisine — the joy of a Silversea journey, itself.

Advisor Trip: Holland America’s new Koningsdam Ship

Janet Morton is amongst our most experienced travel advisors. This Spring, she was invited aboard the newest addition to the Holland America fleet, Koningsdam. Below, she shares her impressions of the new ship, as well as highlights and suggestions for each city along the way. 

SHIP HIGHLIGHTS

The Koningsdam is certainly the new King of the Holland America fleet, aptly named as “Koning” means “king” in Dutch. The new ship was impressive. Modern technology upgrades make the trip comfortable; the restaurant options are expanded; the spa is the most deluxe I have seen on a cruise ship, and the music-themed ship certainly delivers on both entertainment and décor.

The onboard entertainment is good, appealing to both solo travelers and families. Favorite entertainment options of mine included a Jazz lounge, classical music area, big evening shows, a new glass roofed Lido Deck where evening movies are screened, diverse dining options, and a huge theatre. On days we were at sea, we spent our time by the pool.

Pool area aboard the

Pool area aboard the Koningsdam

 

LAND HIGHLIGHTS

Naples is always a favorite cruise stop of mine, as there is a lot to do quite easily. You can go to the ancient city of Pompeii, the charming coastal town of Sorrento, tour the Amalfi Coast, or take a boat to Capri, each in a day’s visit. I visited Pompeii, an incredible archeological site that captures this Roman city exactly as it was before Mt. Vesuvius erupted.

Elaborate Sign in Pompeii that Translates to "Beware of Dog"

Elaborate Sign in Pompeii that Translates to “Beware of Dog”

In Granada, I joined the offered shore excursion to visit The Alhambra, a castle with Moorish architecture. I typically go off on my own, given my travel experience, but I chose the offered Shore Excursion to The Alhambra. Unless you rent a car, it is quite difficult to get there yourself, and we were happy to join the group for the day. Our tour guide was knowledgeable and friendly, the weather was great, and lunch was included. It was busy, but still enjoyable.

The Courtyard of the Alhambra, the regional  "Taj Majal"

The Courtyard of the Alhambra, the regional “Taj Majal”

The itinerary was well planned, allowing for two days in the city of Barcelona. While there are plenty of shore excursions (up to 20 to 30 at each port), I chose to walk Barcelona. With the quirky art and architecture of the city, maze-like streets, fantastic restaurants, it is a city meant to be experienced up close. Already I am planning a trip with more time in this city, a passion sparked by our introduction on this cruise.

The Port of Gibraltar was an incredible day with a visit to the most interesting airport in the world and the Rock of Gibraltar. If you go anywhere, you’ll have no choice but to drive through the airport, literally. The main road goes right through the runway, and when a plane comes in, stoplights stop traffic on either side, a crew cleans the runway, and a plane lands right in front of you.

The Rock of Gibraltar (left) and Gibraltar Airport stop light (right)

The Rock of Gibraltar (left) and Gibraltar Airport stop light (right)

The Rock of Gibraltar peaks at 1398 feet, and is formed from Early Jurassic limestone and dolomites. There is a tram that takes you up, and the view over the ocean is unbelievable. The Barbary Macaques, or “monos,” are the resident monkeys and quite a scene!

Each port city is such a treat, and it can be difficult to choose from the many wonderful options. It is good to remember that cruises are an opportunity to explore many places without checking in, checking out, and navigating to each city. In fact, this trip has already inspired another to Spain!

To talk about Holland America, Spain or Italy, reach out to Janet Morton by email at jmorton@sbtravel.com

Featured Itinerary: Monte Carlo to Venice with Silversea Cruises

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EXCLUSIVE VOYAGE WITH ACCADEMIA TEATRO ALLA SCALA –Departing aboard Silver Spirit from glamorous Monte Carlo, travel to five ports in Italy, Croatia’s Dubrovnik and Split, plus Valleta, Malta, before returning to Italy to finally disembark in romance-filled Venice. Adding a vibrato-filled layer of classicism to the mix, four accomplished singer soloists and one piano accompanist will serenade us in two concerts of operatic librettos. Representing Italy’s Accademia Teatro alla Scala, the performances promise to echo long after the voyage takes its final bow.

 

 Day 1: Monte Carlo, Italy

Aboard the Silver Spirit in Monte Carlo

Aboard the Silver Spirit in Monte Carlo

Board the ship and make it home! Your next 9 days will be spent aboard the Silver Spirit. The ship holds 540 guests, 376 crew members, and was built in 2009. Featuring the largest suites in the Silversea fleet, Silver Spirit offers a lively, convivial atmosphere for cosmopolitan travelers who enjoy a greater variety of shipboard diversions, yet crave the personalized service and authentic and “up-close” experiences for which Silversea is known.

Day 2: Livorno, Italy

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Day Excursion to Pisa

Shore excursions are included with Silverseas Cruises, so enjoy the wonderful dilemma each day choosing which adventure bests fulfills your passions. From Livorno, day excursions can take you to explore Lucca, Florence, or Pisa, doing anything from truffle hunting or wine tasting, to a tour of the Uffizi Gallery Museum.

Day 3: Trapani, Sicily, Italy

A Close Look at the Silver Coast

A Close Look at the Silver Shore

Explore the Silver Shore, enjoy the scenic views and olive tasting of Trapani, explore Marsala and tour a local vineyard, explore the Greek ruins of Selinunte or let your excursion take you to Mozia Island–an important trade city with fascinating history.

Day 4: Porto Empedocle, Italy

Visit the Selinunte archeological site and & the city of Agrigento. On the south west coast of Sicily, not far from Mazara del Vallo, lies one of the largest and most impressive archaeological sites in the Mediterranean. Visit the Selinunte Archaeological site and step back in time before relaxing for lunch along the coast in Agrigento.

 Day 5: Valleta, Malta

Submerse yourself in the natural beauty and unique scenery of Malta. Enjoy stunning ocean vistas, explore Malta’s largest fishing village, see the famous Blue Grottos, or visit the Dingli Cliffs.

Italian Coastline and Cliffs

 

Day 6: Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik-Viewpoint

Explore the enchanting seaside Cavtat, now home to summer music festivals, once the ancient Roman city of Epidaurus, or stay on the water and explore the Adriatic Sea by Kayak or sailboat!

Day 7: Split, Croatia

Shore Excursion to the Krka Waterfalls in Croatia

Shore Excursion to the Krka Waterfalls in Croatia

Step onto the shore of Croatia, and choose which shore excursion sparks your passion. The Krka National Park in Croatia is a spacious, largely unchanged region of exceptional and multifaceted natural value, and includes one or more preserved or insignificantly altered ecosystems. Eight hundred and sixty species and subspecies of plants have been identified within the territory of the Krka National Park, including several endemic species. Of course, other shore excusions include rafting the Cetina River, exploring the Silver Shore, a sea safari of Split, Trogir & Ciovo Islands, or a day to discover photography with Ivo Pervan. Which will you choose?

Day 8: Trieste, Italy

Explore the Grotto Gigante near Trieste

Explore the Borgo Grotto Gigante near Trieste

In Trieste, head underground to the Borgo Grotto Gigante, or visit the Castle of Miramare, St. Giusto Cathedral, and a walking tour of Trieste during your shore excursions.

Borgo Grotto Gigante: Explore one of the truly spectacular natural wonders of Italy during this sightseeing excursion to ‘Borgo Grotto Gigante’, a giant cave located along the Adriatic Coast (pictured above). The floor and the ceiling are covered in stalactites, stalagmites and other speleothems of all sizes. The Grotta Gigante is also an important underground and surface scientific research centre.

Castle of Miramare: Designed in the late 19th century by architect Carl Junker, the estate served as a former residence of the Archduke Maximilian of Habsburg and his wife Carlotta. The estate is the most famous locale on the coast of Trieste, and an integral part of the city’s landscape and history.

Day 9: Venice, Italy – Final Destination

Debark in Venice, Italy, & spend at least a few days exploring the beautiful city.

Debark in Venice, Italy, & spend at least a few days exploring the beautiful city.

While the voyage has ended, the journey has just begun! We recommend staying at least a few extra days here before traveling home or continuing on. Venice is a city unlike any other. No matter how often you’ve seen it in photos and films, the real thing is more dreamlike than you could imagine. With canals where streets should be, water shimmers everywhere. The fabulous palaces and churches reflect centuries of history in what was a wealthy trading center between Europe and the Orient. Getting lost in the narrow alleyways is a quintessential part of exploring Venice, but at some point you’ll almost surely end up in Piazza San Marco, where tourists and locals congregate for a coffee or an aperitif.

Enjoy Silversea’s all-inclusive lifestyle of butler service for every suite, complimentary champagne, wines and spirits served throughout the ship, Relais & Chateaux dining and onboard gratuities, plus featured itineraries (like this one) include FREE Shore Excursions, FREE WiFi, FREE 2 Nights at a Luxury Hotel and FREE Airfare with Transfers or Upgrade to Business Class for $199 each way.

 

New to Silversea?  Ask us about our GRAND INTRODUCTION OFFER on Silversea.

For more information or to book all-inclusive Silversea contact Santa Barbara Travel

Santa Barbara: 805-966-3116 or nherrmann@sbtravel.com

Montecito: 805-969-7746 or chart@sbtravel.com

Ventura: 805-650-6999 or chendricks@sbtravel.com