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WORLD’S FIRST EXPEDITION WORLD CRUISE

WORLD’S FIRST EXPEDITION WORLD CRUISE

Silversea Cruises continues to push boundaries with the announcement of the world’s first ever Expedition World Cruise in 2021. Fully inclusive, the cruise is unprecedented with regards to the scope of immersive experiences on offer because the itinerary is crafted to connect the most rewarding travel experiences around the planet. This experience-focused expedition will appeal to those with a passion for discovery, who like to stay active on their travels, and continue to challenge their own sense of adventure. From Ushuaia to Tromsø, the 167-day voyage will call at 107 of the planet’s most amazing destinations, in 30 must-visit countries—including six new ports of call for Silversea (Naxos, Folegandros, Nafpaktos, Ksamil, Bejaïa, and Fort William).

This highly experiential expedition will enable guests to engage with remote destinations through hands-on exploration; immersive shore excursions, which are included; informative lectures from Silversea’s Expedition Team; and featured lectures from many world-class experts, including, among others, the inspirational Felicity Aston MBE—a recipient of the Polar Medal and the first and only woman to cross Antarctica alone—and Tim Severin—a world-renowned explorer who has retraced the storied journeys of Saint Brendan the Navigator, Sindbad the Sailor, Jason and the Argonauts, Ulysses, The First Crusade, and Genghis Khan. Guests will enjoy a private dinner on London Tower Bridge’s walkway, an exclusive Viking feast in Kjarnaskogur Forest in Iceland, and a number of other bespoke events around the world. Moreover, for a segment of this innovative World Cruise, Silversea’s Senior Vice President of Expedition and Destinations Experiences, Conrad Combrink, will feature as Expedition Leader, enriching the voyage for guests.

Departing Ushuaia on January 30, 2021, Silversea’s ultra-luxurious ice-class crossover, Silver Cloud, will journey between Antarctica’s highlight destinations, before setting course for Chile’s Valparaiso via the Chilean Fjords. Subsequently, guests will set sail for Papeete, Tahiti, via Easter Island and the fabled Pitcairn Island, before voyaging towards Lautoka, Fiji. Calls in a number of other iconic destinations in Oceania—including remote exploration stops in Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea—precede guests’ arrival in Cairns, Australia, which then leads to the Kimberley Coast. Guests will subsequently unlock various destinations in Indonesia, before arriving in Singapore. Next, Silver Cloud will set sail for Sumatra, Sri Lanka and Cochin, India, prior to reaching Piraeus (Athens), Lisbon, and Reykjavik. Part of an emphatic conclusion, guests aboard Silversea’s 2021 Expedition World Cruise will then explore the highlights of Iceland, ahead of calls in the Svalbard Region and the voyage’s conclusion in Tromsø, Norway, on July 16, 2021.

There are a lot of exciting things happening in the world of expedition cruises and we’d love to help find you the cruise (and adventure) that’s the perfect fit just for you.

SMALL SHIPS GET BIGGER… AND NICER

SMALL SHIPS GET BIGGER… AND NICER

At Select Waterways, we’re the experts in river and small ship cruises but, we freely admit, the definition of “small ship” is rather amorphous.  Thirty years ago, for example, of 70,000-ton ship was a megaship. Today, it is considered midsized or even small. However, we prefer to define the term “small ship” by the number of passengers carried. While we generally prefer ships of under 500 guests, we make a few exceptions. Hurtigruten offers a small ship feeling even though their ships carry as many as 600 people but thanks to the expedition itineraries and voyages in the Norwegian fjords, the entire experience feels more intimate.

Likewise, luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas and upper premium cruise line Oceania Cruises carry more than 500 guests per ship but have created vessels so spacious and service so personalized, you feel as if you’re on your own yacht.  While Oceania has two newer ships that carry 1,250 guests, we gravitate toward their fleet of four older vessels that carry 684 lucky travelers each. Regent Seven Seas has settled on about 700 to 750 guests as its standard size and we find that ideal as well. And for both companies, there’s big news this year.

First, Oceania Cruises has committed to a major refurbishment program for its four smaller ships, redoing them from stem to stern and keel to funnel. Amazingly, the staterooms and suites have been stripped to the bare walls and rebuilt, so while the changes appear cosmetic, they are more than skin deep. We were invited to a special preview of the first ship to get the special treatment, the Insignia, and can tell you first hand that the ship is lighter, brighter, more contemporary and more luxurious. In its previous guise, the Insignia had a warm glow but now she boasts a sophisticated sparkle.

Regent, which has six ships including the acclaimed 750-guest Seven Seas Explorer introduced in 2016, has not only one sister ship, Seven Seas Splendor, on order for delivery in 2020, but just announced a third sister ship for a 2023 debut. Building on the success of its predecessors, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ newest addition will continue to set the standard for defining elegance at sea. Accommodating up to 750 guests, the intimate and spacious new ship will be the brand’s sixth-all-suite vessel. Details regarding her itineraries, accommodations, dining venues, amenities and onboard experiences will be revealed leading up to her 2023 debut. Voyages for the ship’s inaugural season will go on sale in 2021.

So, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of exciting things happening among small ships and we’re eager to help you select the voyage that is just right for you.

TIPS ON TIPPING

TIPS ON TIPPING

We’re all used to tipping in a shoreside restaurant, tipping a valet or tipping the porter at the airport,  but tipping on a river cruise seems far more intimidating when, in fact, it couldn’t be simpler.

SHIPBOARD STAFF

On every voyage offered by Select Waterways, you really don’t have to worry about a thing. All lines will automatically take care of charging gratuities with no need for you to feel like you need to slip a staff member some cash for every special request. Many will charge a daily rate for gratuities to your onboard account. Depending on the cruise line, this amount may vary from as little as $12 to as much as $25 per person per day. Once aboard, you simply let the purser know this is how you would like to handle tipping.

But we suggest you go the pre-paid gratuities route. These days, most lines will simply add the cost of gratuities to your fare at the time you pay for your booking—the ship is notified that you have pre-paid gratuities, and there’s nothing else you need to do. It’s completely hassle-free and the service is so exceptional you won’t even blink at the gratuity surcharge.

BUS DRIVERS AND SHORE EXCURSION GUIDES

Though not everyone does, we find it’s nice to extend a small gratuity to your motorcoach driver and tour guide following a shore excursion. Keeping in mind that in most cases on our voyages the shore excursions are included, it feels nice to reward those who made your day ashore so pleasant. We usually reserve $1 to $2 per person for the driver and $2 to $5 per person for the tour guide. Tip at the low end for half-day excursions and the higher end for full day excursions.

If you’re dissatisfied with the experience don’t tip at all. Fortunately, we’ve only encountered that situation once in all our years of travel, in Tunis, when a tour guide was reluctant to follow the itinerary and take us to the ruins of Carthage. On some luxury lines, you’ll find that tipping of any kind is discouraged entirely so follow the lead of your cruise line’s guidelines and your fellow guests.

SHIPBOARD BARTENDERS

On most of the river cruises in the Select Waterways collections, onboard beverages are either completely complimentary or offered at no charge at certain times, such as champagne, Bloody Mary and mimosas at breakfast, and wine and beer at lunch and dinner. When the beverage is included, there’s no need to tip. If you buy a top shelf drink with a charge, the gratuity is usually included in the bill when you sign it to your shipboard account. Once aboard ship, you need carry no cash at all.

PORTERS

This can get tricky. When traveling independently, we always extend a small tip of $1 to $2 per bag to those who transfer our bags to or from our rooms in a hotel, at the airport or when boarding or disembarking a ship. However, keep in mind that a great many of the cruises featured by Select Waterways are so all-inclusive that if they include transfers between airports, hotels and ships, you won’t be expected to tip at all since all costs are covered by the cruise line.

CHRISTMAS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT OF ALL

CHRISTMAS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT OF ALL

While it may be too late for this year, it’s not too early to plan your 2019 holiday getaway to the Christmas markets of Europe, a once-in-a-lifetime river cruise that will have you feeling as jolly as St. Nick himself!

There are few experiences more joyous, more full of life and more colorful than a cruise along the Rhine or Danube during the holidays. In quaint towns and refined cities, you will find an array of Christmas markets, a European tradition that infuses each destination with the spirit of the holidays. Located in prominent parks, city squares or sometimes outside the gates of castles, Christmas markets are filled with gaily decorated stalls filled not just with one-of-a-kind gifts but also local food and drink. Best of all, although the markets draw their fair share of tourists, they are a favorite spot for locals to immerse themselves in the spirit of the season.

Share a hot mug of traditional mulled wine called glühwein with an Austrian and learn more about their land from a native’s perspective. Pop by a booth selling hand-carved egg shell ornaments, then try a slice of black forest cake with a friendly German. Sample a chocolate-laden linzer torte, a delicate dominostein, a cup of warm almonds coated in crunchy brown sugar, or tackle the best apple strudel you’ve ever tasted. Don’t leave without savoring a stein of the local beer and a fresh soft pretzel so large that you’re happy to share it with your new friends.

So as you cozy up with friends and family for the holidays this year, try not to think of what you’re missing. Instead, book your 2019 Christmas markets cruise today. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

5 TIPS FOR FIRST TIME RIVER CRUISERS

5 TIPS FOR FIRST TIME RIVER CRUISERS

Have you been considering U.S. river cruises, but aren’t sure which one is right for you? Riverboat cruises are a unique way to explore America’s waterways and discover the picturesque towns that have sprung up alongside them. Our friends at American Queen Steamboat Company offer a wide variety of cruises tailored to suit different interests. Now is the best time to book a ticket, but if you’re a first time river cruiser you may not know all the tips to get the most out of the experience. So, courtesy of American Queen Steamboat Company, we’re passing along their five tips for taking an American river cruise.

1. Book Early for Big Savings

It’s no secret that booking early can give you access to the best deals. American Queen Steamboat Company offers an extensive range of savings for early bookings. You can find savings of up to $1,800 per stateroom on certain routes. Another advantage of booking early is that it gives you plenty of time to plan an extended vacation in one of the ports, which brings us to the next tip.

2. Extend Your Vacation in the Port

Scenic river cruises begin and end at major port cities including Memphis, New Orleans, and Chicago. Those places are amazing destinations in their own right, and many river cruisers want to explore them further. That’s why American Queen offers City Stay packages. The packages vary but may include accommodations, breakfasts and tours of local attractions. You can book for before or after your cruise. This option lets you extend your trip and experience the magical musical scene of Memphis, the history and vibrant culture of New Orleans, and more.

3. Research What is Included

Even among the riverboats of American Queen Steamboat Company, each vessel and each cruise offer different experiences, so you’ll want to do a little research to know what you can expect. Get an itinerary of the included excursions and look up the local weather before the departure date so you’ll know what to pack. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Select Waterways and we’ll be happy to help you. Your booked cruise will typically include onboard meals, porterage, and transfers. Other amenities vary by the vessel and cruise.

4. Hit the Shore with Fun Excursions

Shore excursions are what really make American river cruises stand out. Many itineraries have been customized for each cruise theme, whether it’s the Bourbon Trail or searching out America’s best music. Packages feature included and premium excursions, which cost extra but are usually well worth it. Through these, you get VIP treatment and exclusive access to attractions and sights that aren’t usually on a typical tour itinerary. They can really enhance your cruise experience.

5. Choose the Right Vessel

Each of American Queen Steamboat Company’s vessels have their own unique character and offer different amenities. You can choose the right vacation experience, whether you want a nostalgic journey through golden eras past or modern comforts and décor.  For example, the American Duchess is a charming, traditionally styled paddleboat that includes modern amenities and décor. The American Queen is the largest steamboat ever built and offers an amazing variety of onboard entertainment in opulent surroundings, while the American Empress is a paddlewheeler with nostalgic décor that combines classical elegance with an impressive collection of historical artifacts.

So, which will you choose?

AMAWATERWAYS TEES UP EXCLUSIVE CONCIERGE GOLF PROGRAM

AMAWATERWAYS TEES UP EXCLUSIVE CONCIERGE GOLF PROGRAM

AmaWaterways is teeing up an incredible roster of amenities for guests traveling on board the one-of-a-kind AmaMagna when she makes her debut next year– including a brand new Exclusive Concierge Golf Program. The program will give travelers the opportunity to experience five top-level golf courses in Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic and Germany while enjoying the beauty and luxury of river cruising. Pricing starts at an additional $2,399 per person on the seven-night Romantic Danube and Melodies of the Danube itineraries beginning in May 2019.

AmaMagna embodies our invariable world-class service with even more to love, and we are thrilled to add the Exclusive Concierge Golf Program to her line-up of offerings,” said Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-owner of AmaWaterways. “Pairing luxury river cruising with golf gives travelers the incredible opportunity to play top-rated courses in five different countries.”

In addition to the expansive selection of amenities and immersive shore excursions that travelers can expect from an AmaWaterways cruise, guests participating in AmaMagna’s Exclusive Concierge Golf Program will receive the following:

  • One Welcome Packet, which includes: a dozen Titleist Pro V1 golf balls per golfer, one pitch repair tool, course guides and a leather shoe bag
  • Concierge service, including club care
  • Private luxury Mercedes transfers between the ship and courses
  • A la carte lunch at each course with beer and wine included
  • One round per golfer at each course
  • One shared golf cart per round
  • One range token per round
  • Club cleaning after each round

AmaMagna provides excellent options for multi-generational groups or those that may have differing interests, with an avid golfer or two amongst them. She is nearly twice the width of traditional river cruise ships, but welcomes only 20 percent more guests, allowing generous personal space with more than half of the 98 staterooms designated as suites (355 sq. ft. or larger). Enticing onboard amenities include Sun Deck with a large heated pool, relaxing whirlpool and pop-up sky bar, as well as a Water Sports Platform at the rear of the ship, where complimentary tours will be offered on the intimate Sundowner vessel.

Guests on board AmaMagna will enjoy four unique dining venues – the Main Restaurant and The Chef’s Table Restaurant, plus the new Jimmy’s Wine Bar Restaurant and Al Fresco Restaurant. The expansive Zen Wellness Studio is complete with large exercise area offering group classes focused on stretching, cardio and core strengthening led by a professionally trained Wellness Host, as well as a juice bar and two massage rooms, along with manicure, pedicure and hair services.

Ready To go golfing and cruising?