Monthly Archives: March 2013

Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & The Mekong River

p_ext_1Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia & The Mekong River.

From its source high up in the Tibetan Plateau the powerful Mekong River courses for over 3,000 miles through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, providing a lifeline for millions of people.This week we are going on an adventure on the Mekong River visiting Thailand,
Cambodia, and Vietnam. This cruise is quite different from our previous cruises, but equally beautiful and full of culture and history.  We will be visiting many cities and towns along the Mekong Delta.  Ancient ruins, historic sites, and an opportunity to learn about new cultures, activities, and religions – this cruise vacation has it all!  Put this cruise in your bucket list.  I will definitely be on this tour in 2014.

Itinerary: 14 days Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok.

Cruise: Deluxe 7-night cruise from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap in an outside stateroom on the luxurious Avalon Angkor.

Ho Chi Minh City: Sightseeing with a Local Guide; walking tour of the city’s landmarks; visit the Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, and Ben Thanh Market; cooking class; welcome dinner; Cu Chi Tunnels excursion; visit a rubber plantation; begin cruise on the Mekong.

Cai Be: Visit An Kiet House and a cathedral; see how rice paper, rice wine, and traditional candy are made.

Sa Dec: Visit a brick factory, rice factory, local market, and the ancient house of Mr. Hyunh Thuy Le.

Chau Doc: Visit a local fish farm and the religious sites of Sam Mountain; walking tour of a local market.

Phnom Penh: Visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and one of the Killing Fields; sightseeing by private cyclo including the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda, and the National Museum.

Prek Bang Kong: Walking tour through the village to see silk weaving.

Angkor Ban: Walking tour through the village

Kampong Cham: Visit Phnom Pros, Phnom Srey, Nokorbachey, and Wat Hanchey; partake in traditional water blessing by local monks

Udong: Visit a monastery; lecture on Buddhism.

Kampong Tralach: Ride on a traditional ox cart through the countryside.

Siem Reap: Sightseeing with a Local GUide; visit Angkor Thom, Bayon Tample, Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm, and Banteay Srei; Les Artisans d’Angkor, Apsara dance performance.

Bangkok, Thailand: Cruise/tour ends.  Optional stay in Bangkok available. #rivercruises

ADDED BONUS:  EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT:

Complimentary night in Bangkok, Thailand

Call for details on each stop and to take advantage of complimentary night in Bangkok. #rivercruises

919.708.8217 or cruiselikeavip@windstream.net

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Romantic Danube Waltz

austria-aggstein-castle_22559_600x450Romantic Danube Waltz

On this 8-day journey, visit the grand cities and quaint villages along the famous Danube River.  Explore both sides of Hungary’s capital – traditional Buda and cosmopolitan Pest.  Experience Vienna’s imperial architecture and gracious culture, tour riverside towns in Austria’s Wachau Valley.  In Germany, stroll cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses.  Learn about local customs and legends, and see for yourself why Strauss immortalized the “Blue Danube” in his famous music. A beautiful journey on a magnificent river.

Itinerary: 7 night cruise with extension in Budapest or Prague.

Day 1: Budapest: Arrive in Budapest, transfer to your ship.  Enjoy free time in Budapest the rest of the day.

Day 2: Budapest: City tour of Buda & Pest including Castle District, a UNESCO Site.

Day 2: Cruising the scenic Danube Bend.

Day 3: Vienna: Panoramic city tour featuring the Ringstrasse & St. Stephan’s Cathedral; afternoon at leisure. Optional classical concert.

Day 4: Danube River: Cruising the Wachau Valley, a UNESCO Site.

Day 4: Melk: Benedictine abbey tour with library & frescoes

Day 5: Passau: Walking tour, organ concert & free time

Day 6: Regensburg: Walking tour through medieval city center & free time

Day 6: Kelheim: Optional Danube Gorge & Weltenberg Abbey excursion

Day 7: Main-Danube Canal: Scenic cruising through this engineering marvel.

Day 7: Nuremberg:  City tour & guided walk to Market Square or optional WWI history tour; free time

Day 8: Nuremberg: Cruise ends in Nuremberg or optional 3 nights in Prague, Czech Republic.

EARLY BOOKING BONUS:  $500 discount airfare.  A great deal.
#river cruises

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Burgundy and Provence

Monte-Carlo-Monaco-300x225Burgundy and Provence

Your adventure begins with two overnight stays and guided sightseeing in Paris, the “City of Light.”  Ride the TGV trail to Dijon, then continue to Beaune for a Burgundy wine tasting. Board your ship in quaint Chalon-sur-Saone and set sail for lovely Tournus, France’s gastronomic capital of Lyon, as well as medieval Tournon, charming Viviers, Avignon, and Arles.  Before disembarking in Arles, you will sail through the peaceful and beautiful Camargue area.  Your vacation ends with an overnight on the French Riviera, also known as the Cote d’Azur.  This cruise has it all – historic sites, delightful towns, and beautiful wine country.

11 day Itinerary from Paris to Cote D’Azur.

Day 1: Arrive in Paris-Welcome to Paris

Day 2: Paris-Included sightseeing to Notre Dame Cathedral, Louvre Museum, Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel Tower.  Free time to stroll down the Champs-Elysees with its lavish cafes, or visit Montmarte and Sacre Coeur Basilica.  Paris if full of colorful nightlife that includes some of the worlds most famous cabaret shows.

Day 3: Paris-Dijon-Beaune-Chalon-sur-Saone.  This morning board the TGV train to Dijon.  You will visit Beaune,  a beautiful wine growing region.  On to Chalon-sur-Saone where you board your cruise vessel.  Enjoy a welcome reception before you depart for Tournus.

Day 4: Tournus-Macon-Visit Tournus with its Abbey, St. Philibert, one of the oldest and most important monastic centers in the region. Free time to stroll the quaint town.

Day 5: Beaujolais Region-Lyon-Lyon is France’s gastronomic capital.  Guided tour of the old town with its maze of medieval alleyways and Place des Terneaus, a popular area with cafes, monuments, and fountains.

Day 6: Lyon-Free day in Lyon to explore on your own, perhaps take a bike tour or a visit to one of Lyon’s Parks.

Day 7: Tournon/Tain-Hermitage-Viviers-The twin cities of Tournon and Tain-Hermitage lie l=nestled among vineyards between the Rhone River and the granite slopes of the Hermitage.  A guided tour of Tournon, one of France’s oldest medieval cities in sure to impress you.  There’s a treat in store for chocoholics-an onboard Chocolate Tasting while cruising to Viviers.  Enjoy a guided walking tour of the charming town of Viviers Old Town.

Day 8: Avignon-The fortified city of Avignon is the most picturesque part of Provence with its intact ramparts encircling the city.  Your guided tour visits the Palace of the Popes, built in the 14th century as the sovereign popes residence.

Day 9: Camargue Region-Arles-Enjoy your sail through the Camargue region.  Take in the tranquil scenery through this nature park.  Arrive in Arles for a city tour.  Enjoy the Roman Ampitheater that is still in use today.  Free time to explore on your own.

Day 10: Arles- Cruses ends in Arles.  A comfortable motorcoach ride takes you to the Cote d’Azur for the last night in France.  Also known as the French Riviera, the Cote d’Azur stretches along France’s Mediterranean coast, known for its prestige and beauty.

ADDED BONUS:  $500 per couple discount for early booking.

#Rivercruises

Call for additional details at 919-708-8217

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Venice Italy and the Po River

Venice Italy and the Po River.

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Venice Italy and the Po River

RCountessVenice Italy and the Po River

There truly is no place on earth quite like Venice.  Founded in the sixth century, Venice rose up on 118 islands in a lagoon of the Adriatic Sea.  You have seen Venice in photos and films, but there is no substitute for the reality of being there–the shimmering Grand Canal, gondolas slipping down watery alleyways, and the elegant palaces emerging straight from the sea.  Our 8 day cruise also takes us to Padua, Ravenna, Bologna, and Verona-home of Romeo and Juliet.  So grab a glass of Prosecco or Limoncello, sit back and enjoy the splendor of Italy and the Po river right from your luxurious ship.

Itinerary:  8 days Venice to Venice. 6 escorted tours included.

Day 1: Venice – Arrive at Marco Polo Airport and transfer to your home away from home for 8 days.

Day 2: Venice – Walking tour of historic Venice and Grand Canal cruise and exclusive special evening opening of St. Mark’s Basilica.

Day 3: Padua – Full day excursion to Padua with Scrovegni Chapel visit. The 13th and 14th centuries were glory days for Padua. At the Scrovegni Chapel you’ll see the astonishing and moving frescoes painted by Giotto around 1300, but Giotto was not the only artist to shie here: Mantegna and Donatello also gave Padua extraordinary artistic treasures.  Your walking tour will take you from the Basilica del Santo to Caffe Pedrocchi, which writers, poets, and artists frequent.

Day 4:  Ravenna – Full day excursion to Ravenna with artisanal foods tasting. Ravenna, a vital seaport and Italian capital of the Byzantine Empire, is celebrated for the fifth and sixth century mosaics that adorn its churches.  You will see the UNESCO designated Basilica di Sant Apollinare and the mausoleum of Galla Placidia, Spend the afternoon rambling through the lovely historic downtown on your own, and enjoy artisanal foods tasting.

Day 5: Bologna – Full day excursion to Bologna, the culinary capital of Northern Italy.  Spend the whole day in Bologna, called la grassa, meaning bountiful.  There’s more to the city than Bolognese sauce, there’s Parma ham, Parmigiano and perhaps the best tortellini in the world.  Join in a pasta workshop and discover how to make your own fabulous pasta.

Day 6: Verona – Full day excursion to Verona, city of Romeo and Juliet.  Verona’s wealth comes from its role as a center of trade.  Home to Italy’s biggest wine fair, you will see architectural treasures ranging from an ancient Roman amphitheater still in use to Medieval palaces and the Piazza d’Erbe, with its 14th century fountain.  And, of course, you may stand below the Juliet balcony just as Romeo did.

Day 7: Venice – Explore Venice at your leisure. Take a vaporetto to Murano for the world-renowned glass studios. Go to the Galleria dell’ Accademia for the greatest collection of Italian masters in one place.  Lounge beside the Grand Canal with an aperitivo.  Take time to see some of the quiet back lanes where tourists rarely go and get a sense of daily life in this enchanted city.  Exploring off the beaten path is one of my favorite things to do in Venice.  You can’t get lost, just follow the canals. And, of course, you must take a gondola ride!

Day 8: Venice – Our storybook cruise comes to an end, but your love affair with Venice will remain with you forever.

Special Savings of $300 per couple on this sailing.  Also included in this sailing is an Epicurean Adventure Program.  Includes: Pasta-making workshop in Bologna/Italian dessert-making demonstration and tasting/Olive oil and wine tasting/Special wine and food pairing dinner. #rivercruises

Call 919-708-8217 or cruiselikeavip@windstream.net for more details.

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Russia Explorer

Russia Explorer.

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Russia Explorer

350px-St._Basil2RUSSIA EXPLORER

This fascinating 13-day itinerary includes several days in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia before embarking on an 8 day cruise visiting towns that only a river cruise can provide.  You will see opulent palaces, discover fortified monasteries and visit beautiful cathedrals.  It is an unforgettable way to experience the history and culture of this unique and mysterious country.

Itinerary:  St. Petersburg to Moscow – 13 Days/11 Guided Tours

Day 1: St. Petersburg – Arrive in St. Petersburg for 3 nights.  Today you have free time to explore the city

Day 2: St. Petersburg – Guided Hermitage Museum tour, afternoon at leisure; evening ballet or opera performance

Day 3: St. Petersburg – Pushkin excursion featuring Catherine’s Palace, city tour, optional Russian folkloric performance

Day 4: St. Petersburg – Embark ship; day at leisure or optional Peterhof Palace tour or scenic canal city cruise with a home-hosted visit to a Kommunalka

Day 5: Svir River – Scenic cruising along the “Blue Route”

Day 5: Mandrogy – Free time to explore museum village

Day 6: Kizhi Island – Walking tour of Open Air Museum

Day 7: Volga-Baltic Waterway – Scenic cruising along rivers, lakes & canals

Day 7: Kuzino – Kirillo- Belozersky Monastery tour

Day 8: Yaroslavl – Tour of city center, a UNESCO Site, plus Church of St. Elijah the Prophet

Day 9: Uglich – Guided walk with Church of St. Dmitry on the Blood & home-hosted visit

Day 10: Moscow Canal – Scenic cruising

Day 10: Moscow – Panoramic city tour; folkloric performance

Day 11: Moscow – Disembark ship; hotel check-in.  Full day at leisure or optional tours to Sergiev Posad, the Tretyakov Gallery

Day 12: Moscow – Guided Kremlin tour; free time

Day 13: Moscow – Time to bid Russia farewell.

до свидания
do svidaniya

Included:

8-day cruise with river-view stateroom

3 nights in St. Petersburg: Hotel Angleterre, 2 nights in Moscow: Radisson Royal

11 guided tours with audio headset

Most meals-12 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 9 dinners, including hotel breakfasts

Complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks with onboard dinner and lunch service

Visit 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Culture Curriculum: Enjoy onshore music and dance performances; learn a little Russian; listen to lectures about Romanov Czars, the Soviet Union & current affairs; attend a Russian cooking workshop; participate in Russian tea time

EXTRA BONUS:

Special 2-for-1 cruise and land and 2-for-1 on all-inclusive air  (limited time offer) 

#rivercruises

 

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