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Tag Archives: Cruising

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

Solo Travelers on Silversea Cruises

We’ve written before about the amazing explosion in the desire for solo travel.  A recent poll by Booking.com revealed that 66% of women have vacationed without a partner.  It appears that people, especially women, are no longer willing to wait for a spouse or a companion whose schedule or interests match theirs.

This rising demographic doesn’t want to be penalized for traveling alone.  Cruise companies have, in the past, been especially guilty of the dreaded ‘single supplement’ that charges just as much for a solo traveler as for a couple.  That’s why we’re happy to report today about Silversea, the small ship cruise line.  Silversea caters to the independent, adventurous traveler by offering sailings to unique destinations with only a 10% cabin supplement.

Silversea offers concierge-level, personalized butler service in all their suites.

Silversea offers concierge-level, personalized butler service in all their suites.

The cabins themselves are all ocean-view suites.  Owned by an Italian family, Silversea features Italian bed linens and chocolates, and even Italian marble in the spacious bathrooms.  Their all-inclusive experience, with an extraordinary staff-to-guest ratio of nearly one-to-one, is more akin to a floating boutique hotel than the usual cruise ship: there are no lines, no waiting, no assigned dining times or tables, photographers or art auctions.

A welcoming champagne reception is hosted aboard every Silversea sailing, so that independent travelers can meet and mingle with other like-minded voyagers – and some departures even feature Gentlemen Hosts who are available as dance partners and dinner companions.

Select Silversea departures have only a 10% single supplement, with all the same, all-inclusive features

Select Silversea departures have only a 10% single supplement, with all the same, all-inclusive features

Silversea cruises also fit well with the independent traveler profile:  their ships are sized to be able to visit more remote, lesser-known ports and to bring guests closer to their destination.  Silversea guests are known for being physically fit, with a strong spirit of adventure and a bucket list of must-see and must-do experiences.

Silversea guests are highly experienced travelers, with a strong spirit for adventure.

Silversea guests are highly experienced travelers, with a strong spirit for adventure.

The departures featured on Silversea’s 10% supplement promotion reflect that explorer mindset. In 2015, solo travelers can choose between expeditions to Chile and Cape Horn, the Galapagos and Tahiti and New Zealand. In 2016, there are South Africa, Africa and Australian travel opportunities. Don’t like these destinations?  Silversea also has reduced single rates available on additional voyages.

Give us a call at Santa Barbara Travel today to see which departure bests fits your schedule – and your bucket list!

Cuba – What’s the Scoop?

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With the announcement earlier this month that Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise ship company, has received approval from the US government to operate cruises to Cuba as a provider of ‘cultural exchange programs’, we’ve been getting a lot of calls from clients. Many want to go to Cuba soon, before it completely opens up and becomes too touristy.

It’s important to note that, even with the normalization of relations with Cuba, US citizen travel to the largest island in the Caribbean must still fall within 12 categories of authorized travel. These include educational activities, humanitarian projects, or ‘people to people’ programs. Travel just for tourism is still off-limits to Americans – so no lounging on the beach with your mojito allowed quite yet.

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Carnival‘s approval falls under the ‘people to people’ program section. It’s cruises won’t begin until May, 2016 and will not use Carnival ships. Instead, it’s ‘fathom‘ brand will launch one cruise every-other week with a 710-passenger ship called Adonis, currently operated by P&O Cruises.

Other operating details, such as specific sailing dates, have not yet been finalized. Prices for the 7-day Cuba cruise start at $2,990 per person. This fare includes meals on the ship, and some cultural immersion activities on land. Reservations are being taken for this cruise now. Because details of the cruise are not yet finalized, deposits are (for the moment) fully refundable.

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Can’t wait till next May to see Cuba? One option is International Expeditions, which has a long-standing ‘people to people’ ground tour. They have already added a new, small ship cruise itinerary to their program. The Panorama, a 48-guest, three-masted yacht, will sail Cuba’s Western coast on 10-day sailings scheduled for December 17, 2015, January 28, March 10 and April 7, 2016.

International Expeditions'  48-passenger yacht has 10 day sailings around Cuba's Western coast

International Expeditions’ 48-passenger yacht has 10 day sailings around Cuba’s Western coast

Another possibility is sailing with long-time Cuba expert Alexander+Roberts. Their 210-passenger ms Saint Laurent sails completely around the island on a 10-day, round-trip Miami voyage. Sailings already have detailed itineraries, and are scheduled and being booked now for 2016 cruises on February 29, April 5, April 15 and a special, New Year’s voyage on December 30.

Passengers on the ms Saint Laurent will explore 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, plus rarely visited ports.

Passengers on the ms Saint Laurent will explore 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, plus rarely visited ports.

If you’d like more information about any of these cruise sailings, ground tours with a wide variety of themes, or even biking expeditions around Cuba, give us a call at Santa Barbara Travel Bureau.

Trip Report: Sheila Cohn with Pearl Seas Cruises to Canada

Recently returned from a ‘Canadian Maritimes’ voyage on Pearl Seas Cruises, Sheila Cohn’s first comment was, “it was much more than I expected!

With only about 200 passengers, the ship felt much more like a riverboat than a cruise ship.”  Never having traveled with Pearl Seas before, Sheila was immediately impressed with the size of the cabins; she compared them more to hotel rooms than the usual cruise ship cabins, and each room had its own balcony.

What stood out for her?  “Hands down, the service.  I’ve been on cruises on many different lines, and the service on this ship really stood out,” Sheila said.  “I was also impressed with the food.  Everything was fresh and cooked to order; there were no buffets.  Since we were travelling through the North Atlantic Ocean, a unique feature of this particular sailing was the abundance of lobster.  We had lobster tails, whole lobster, lobster mac and cheese, and even lobster rolls during this trip.”

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Pearl Seas Cruises along the Canadian Maritimes, beginning in Quebec City and ending in Portland, Maine.

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Favorite destination?  “Without a doubt, Prince Edward Island!  I could easily move there.  I’ve heard that Prince Edward Island (or ‘PEI’) is called ‘the garden of the Gulf,’ and I can believe it.  Not only was the PEI unbelievably green, I was fortunate to be there at the height of wild lupin and lilac season.  The aroma from all the flowers was almost indescribable. I was so impressed, I brought back some lupin seeds as a souvenir. Let’s see how they do in Southern California!”

Sheila suggests that this trip would be a great option for those who really want to feel they’ve traveled abroad, but without the long and taxing overseas flight and jet lag.  A great deal of this trip covers territory that was either historically French or Arcadian (in fact, many of these Arcadians migrated to New Orleans to become the ‘Cajuns’ we know today).  This means that many of the stops have a distinct French flavor.  “In fact, I’d  recommend that anyone taking this cruise arrive in Quebec City a few days early to really soak up the French culture,” concludes Sheila.

Lupins on Prince Edward Island

Lupins on Prince Edward Island

Advisor Trip Report: Kathy Reimer explores Corsica and the French Riviera with Star Clippers

Kathy with Star Clippers Representative Greg Baxter

Kathy with Star Clippers Representative Greg Baxter

Star Flyer docked in Bonafaccio, Corsica

Star Flyer docked in Bonafaccio, Corsica

Dramatic coastline and coves around Bonafaccio

Dramatic coastline and coves around Bonafaccio

“It was truly the trip of a lifetime!” says travel advisor Kathy Reimer. Just returning from a 7-day, Star Clippers voyage, Kathy can’t stop talking about her trip to Corsica and the French Riviera. “With only 128 passengers, I felt as if I were travelling on my own, private yacht. The small size allowed us to reach these unbelievable ports and private coves that would normally only be known to locals.”

Kathy says she never saw another cruise ship during her entire trip. The small size of the 4-masted, 16-sail Star Flyer provided plenty of opportunity to actively explore areas the large ships could not enter, including nature reserves. It was possible to explore the maze of local medieval villages, and to swim in isolated, aquamarine waters without the usual cruise ship crowds.

Working out of our Ventura office, Kathy has been advising clients on cruises and destinations throughout Mexico, Hawaii, and the Caribbean for almost 30 years. “Now, I’m happy to add the French Riviera to the list!” she says.

For more details about her trip, contact Kathy at kreimer@sbtravel.com.

1st Thursday Showcase with Paul Gauguin Cruises!

Photo courtesy of www.pgcruises.com

Photo courtesy of www.pgcruises.com

April 2nd, 2015

Open House: 5:00pm – 8:00pm / Presenations at 6:00pm and 7:00pm

Join us for 1st Thursdays and learn all about Paul Gauguin Cruises!

Paul Gauguin is the leader of small ship cruising in warm weather destinations such as Tahiti, the South Pacific, Fiji and hidden ports found in the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America.

See you at the Downtown SBTB Office – 1028 State Street – for this amazing presentation!

An Oceania Cruises Experience

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Recently, SB Travel Advisor Sheree Peterson had the opportunity to enjoy a cruise on Oceania Cruises, and she said it was the best cruise experience she’s ever had!

“We were very fortunate to have recently taken the “Mayan Mystique”, a 10 day cruise on the ship Riviera of Oceania Cruise Lines. Sailing on this beautiful ship was a wonderful experience and every crew member we met was very professional and attentive to us. The 4 specialty restaurants as well as the Grand Ballroom were over the top. We also enjoyed the fabulous lunches at the Terrace Café and Waves Grill.

I can personally say this was the best cruise I have taken!  Love the Oceania experience, and look forward to another voyage.”

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If you’d like more information on an Oceania Cruise, contact your SBTB Advisor today! 

It was the perfect evening for a Regent Seven Seas Cruises presentation!

We had such a delightful time at our Regent Seven Seas Cruises presentation last night at the lovely Santa Barbara Club.  There was even time to enjoy a drink on the patio in the warm evening sunshine before hearing the exciting updates at Regent.

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SBTB Travel Advisor Karin Jacobson, with her happy clients

 

Call your SB Travel Advisor today to learn about the valuable offers currently available on 2015 Regent bookings!