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Tag Archives: Vacation

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

pisa

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

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.

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.

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.