Monthly Archives: January 2014

Imperial Jewels of China

Imperial Jewels of China.

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Imperial Jewels of China

Yangtze%20river   Imperial Jewels of China

This phenomenal itinerary presents China’s key highlights in just 13 days. Explore cosmopolitan Shanghai, China’s most cutting-edge, modern city. Cruise the legendary Yangtze between Wuhan and Chongqing through the scenic Three Gorges and wildly beautiful Lesser Gorges. Tour the Three Gorges Dam, an engineering marvel that has changed the face of China. Visit the necropolis at Xian, where you encounter thousands of Terra Cotta Warriors. In Beijing, explore imperial treasures like the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, and walk through historic Tiananmen Square, the world’s largest public venue. The hospitality of distinctive hotels and the fabulous Viking Emerald round out an amazing trip.

DAY 1BEIJING

Fly to Beijing, China’s imperial capital whose rich history dates back more than 3,000 years, then transfer to your hotel.* After check-in, you have free time to relax or explore.

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DAY 2BEIJING

UNESCO World Heritage SiteThis morning visit the enormous Tiananmen Square, which can accommodate over 1,000,000 people. Then, tour Beijing’s Forbidden City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; made up of nearly 800 buildings, it is the world’s largest surviving palace complex. Walk its grounds among the opulent palaces, pavilions, courtyards and imperial gardens within the 26-foot-high walls.

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After lunch in a local restaurant, take some free time to explore Beijing on your own or relax at your hotel. Or, you may choose to tour the Summer Palace, a 700-acre complex of elegant buildings and gardens (complete with man-made Kunming Lake) frequented by the Imperial Court when they wanted to escape the bustle of Beijing. Tonight, taste some local specialties at dinner, or attend an optional Peking opera, a form of traditional Chinese theater. (B, L, D)

DAY 3BEIJING

UNESCO World Heritage SiteAfter breakfast, travel to the Badaling Hills. There, you behold one of the most impressive and best-preserved sections of the Great Wall of China—a 4,000-mile-long series of sandstone and earthwork fortifications built and maintained between the 5th century B.C. and the 16th century A.D. that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Explore its winding pathways and marvel at the panoramic views from its ramparts.

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After a lunch of local specialties, visit the Sacred Way, a tree-lined avenue guarded by massive sculptures of elephants, lions and camels leading to the Ming Dynasty tombs. This evening, dine at a local restaurant and relax at your hotel—or, enjoy an optional Peking duck dinner, the region’s famous dish. (B, L, D)

DAY 4BEIJING & XIAN

Today tour Old Beijing’s hutongs (narrow alleys) via rickshaw.† Discover the sights and sounds of traditional Chinese life. After lunch, fly to Xian, key city of the Tang Dynasty. From 618 to 907 A.D., this dynasty presided over one of China’s most glorious cultural periods spreading its influence throughout Asia into Europe and Africa. This evening, you may choose to dine surrounded by the song and dance of this colorful era, or have dinner and relax at your hotel. (B, L, D)
†Rickshaw tour only available on Beijing to Shanghai itinerary direction.

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DAY 5XIAN

UNESCO World Heritage SiteAfter breakfast, tour the mausoleum where Emperor Qin Shi Huang was laid to rest over 2,000 years ago. See the thousands of life-sized terra cotta warriors, archers and infantrymen that were buried with him; each man and horse molded with its own distinctive features. Walkways provide a bird’s-eye view of the entire necropolis where the Terra Cotta Army was discovered in the 1970s. After lunch, you have free time to further explore Xian. (B, L, D)

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DAY 6XIAN & CHONGQING

Today, fly to Chongqing, gateway to the Yangtze to board your ship. You are welcomed aboard with a Western meal, and set sail this evening. (B, L, D)

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DAY 7SHIBAOZHAI

This morning, visit Shibaozhai Temple, a 12-story pavilion built in 1650 along the Yangtze. Tour the pavilion and temple before returning aboard for lunch. Enjoy Yangtze River scenery as you cruise this afternoon and through the night. (B, L, D)

DAY 8THREE GORGES & LESSER THREE GORGES

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For the next 150 miles, travel the most scenic stretch of the Yangtze as it forces its way through a spectacular series of limestone ridges known as the Three Gorges. During breakfast, cruise through Qutang Gorge, the shortest, narrowest and most spectacular of the three large gorges. Then, board a smaller boat for an excursion through the Lesser Three Gorges. Sail through these remarkable canyons flanked by towering cliffs. Along the way, see fascinating sites including the hanging coffins of the Ba people and the ancient plank road carved into the cliffside. Return aboard for lunch, and spend the afternoon sailing through Wu (Witches) Gorge, renowned for its magnificent scenery. Dinner is served aboard. This evening, sail through the five-stage locks of the Three Gorges Dam. (B, L, D)

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DAY 9THREE GORGES DAM & THREE GORGES

This morning, disembark for a tour of the Three Gorges Dam where you learn about this immense engineering masterpiece and what it means for the Chinese people and the Yangtze. Lunch and dinner are served aboard while you cruise through Xiling Gorge, the longest of the Three Gorges. (B, L, D)

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DAY 10JINGZHOU

This morning, arrive in Jingzhou, where you visit an elementary school sponsored by Viking River Cruises. You are greeted and entertained by the children, then return to your ship for scenic cruising. (B, L, D)

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DAY 11WUHAN & SHANGHAI

After breakfast, disembark in Wuhan. Visit the Hubei Provincial Museum where you hear the music of ancient bronze bells. Then, fly to Shanghai, China’s largest city and one of the world’s most important ports. Here, you can see the modern metropolis of the financial district juxtaposed with the older sections of the city. Check in to your hotel. (B, L, D)

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DAY 12SHANGHAI

This morning, see Old Shanghai and travel along the elegant Bund, stopping to admire some of its historic buildings and city views. Then tour the Shanghai Museum, featuring displays of ceramics, bronzes, calligraphy and paintings. After lunch, we spend some time at the exquisite Yuyuan Garden, dating back to the Ming Dynasty. Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant before the world-famous Shanghai Acrobatic Troupe show from the best seats in the house. (B, L, D)

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DAY 13SHANGHAI

After breakfast, check out of your hotel and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Consider extending your China journey with 2 extra nights in Shanghai to further explore this fascinating city, or you may instead choose an escorted land program that includes 1 night in Guilin and 3 nights in Hong Kong. (B)

China River Cruise - Forbidden City, BeijingChina River Cruise - Tiananmen Square, BeijingChina River Cruise - Summer Palace in BeijingChina River Cruise - Great Wall from guard towerChina River Cruise - Terracotta Warrior facesChina River Cruise - Xian Gate at nightChina River Cruise - misty Three GorgesChina River Cruise - Viking School, JingzhouChina River Cruise - Shibaozhai TempleChina River Cruise - Yangtze Three GorgesChina River Cruise - Three Gorges Dam lock transitChina River Cruise - Shanghai skyline, PudongChina River Cruise - shopping in ShanghaiChina River Cruise - Yuyuan Garden, Shanghai

The following meals are included:
B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner

Added Feature:  2 for 1 cruise and 2 for 1 airfare.  Hurry, limited time offer.

“Tang Dynasty Dinner and Show”- Compliments of Cruise Like A VIP

Call me at 919.708.8217 for additional details or at facebook.com/cruiselikeavip

#river cruises, #china, #terra cotta warriors, #great wall of china, #shanghai, #three gorges river, #shanghai, #beijing, #yangtze river.

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Rhine Getaway at Christmas

Rhine Getaway at Christmas.

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Rhine Getaway at Christmas

   the-rhine-river    Rhine Getaway at Christmas

Visit all the highlights of the legendary Rhine in just 8 days. In Germany, see the many charming castles commanding the riverbanks as you sail by, and tour both Marksburg Castle and the ruins of Heidelberg Castle. Admire Cologne, the jewel of the Rhine, with its awe-inspiring Dom, and experience the lush landscape of the Black Forest region. Also, explore Holland’s famous windmills and waterworks, encounter multicultural Strasbourg in France, and take part in the inviting nightlife in Rüdesheim’s Drosselgasse. On this itinerary you see a lot, without spending a lot of time.

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The Magic of European Christmas: Cruises sailing from November 29 through December 14 will include Christmas markets. Here, the spirit and romance of the holidays come alive with the scent of gingerbread and the tunes of traditional carols around every corner. Whichever Christmas markets you visit, you’ll enjoy a wonderful feast of tasty treats, as well as dozens of stalls brimming with unique and inspiring handcrafted gifts.   Our cruise is during the Christmas markets!

DAY 1: AMSTERDAM

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Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to our ship.  After boarding, the afternoon is yours to explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits and you are interested, you may wish to visit the Anne Frank House. (D)

DAY 2: KINDERDIJK

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UNESCO World Heritage SiteSail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter an actual working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return aboard for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). Cruise through the night. (B, L, D)

DAY 3: COLOGNE

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UNESCO World Heritage SiteContinue along the Rhine this morning; arrive in Cologne and disembark for a walking tour. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church, and spend some time inside Cologne’s Dom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral whose construction was begun in 1248 and which was only completed in 1880. Explore the dockside taverns, cafés and shops on your own—as always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served aboard and we remain docked until late evening. (B, L, D)

DAY 4: KOBLENZ & RÜDESHEIM

Reichsburg Castle

UNESCO World Heritage SiteProceed along the Rhine, disembarking to tour 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Lunch aboard as you enjoy this scenic passage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where castles overlook the river from their hilltop locations.

Arrive in Rüdesheim in the late afternoon. Spend free time in the pedestrian-only Drosselgasse and sample a glass of locally produced wine at one of the restaurants or wine bars—dine aboard or in town if you prefer. Ship departs after midnight. (B, L, D)

DAY 5: HEIDELBERG & SPEYER

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UNESCO World Heritage SiteCruise through the morning enjoying brunch and the passing scenery. Arrive in Mannheim and disembark for a journey to Heidelberg to see Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. Then visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle, and take in the scenery of the Neckar River Valley and the city’s many red rooftops from its hilltop location. Continue with a walking tour through the Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates.

Rejoin the ship in Speyer this afternoon and take some time to look around. You dock in full view of the imposing Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 11th century on the site of a former basilica, the building’s design was highly influential upon Romanesque architecture for centuries to come, and is the final resting place of eight German monarchs. Its soaring interior features graceful rows of sandstone columns and a large stained-glass window installed in the western façade during a later Gothic period. (B, L, D)

DAY 6: STRASBOURG

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UNESCO World Heritage SiteDock this morning in Kehl and disembark for a guided tour of Strasbourg. See the European Parliament and tour the interior of the city’s famed cathedral. The afternoon is free to further explore this Alsatian city’s blend of French and German cultures—fabulous churches, medieval covered bridges, beautiful parks and some lovely Art Nouveau and modernist architecture. Dine aboard and enjoy free time this evening in the quaint little city of Kehl. (B, L, D)

DAY 7: BREISACH

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After cruising through the night , arrive during breakfast in Breisach, gateway to the Black Forest. Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration. Return to Breisach for some free time before an early evening departure. Or, choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard while you cruise on to Basel, arriving around midnight. (B, L, D)

DAY 8: BASEL

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After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for our return flight. Or, extend your time in Switzerland’s Alpine region with 2 nights in lovely Lucerne or a 3-night stay at Lake Geneva. (B)

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*Optional nights in Amsterdam available also.

November 29, 2014

4 countries, 6  escorted tours – Plenty of free time to visit the Christmas markets.

$2,456 per person – French Balcony room

$797.00 airfare per person RDU departures.

Limited time offer – expires February 28, 2014

Call me at 919.708.8217 for all details of this once in a lifetime adventure.

#river cruises, #germany, #christmas markets, #heidelberg castle, #switzerland, #basel, #lucerne

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Puget Sound and San Juan Islands Cruise

american-spirit-alaska            Puget Sound and San Juan Islands Cruise

Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands form the most majestic and intriguing cruising grounds in the world.  This 8 day round trip cruise  from Seattle, explores the hundreds of islands, many of which are uninhabited, nestled between Canada’s Vancouver Island and the U.S. mainland.  Enjoy a diverse natural wonderland of sea lions, hawks, whales, and so much more.  We will experience the culture of the Pacific Northwest with fascinating guided tours to historical sites and museums.

Our adventure begins in Seattle, Washington.

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Day 1:  Seattle – Our cruise departs from this picturesque port as we cruise to the Puget Sound.

Day 2: Anacortes – Anacortes is much warmer than its neighbors, so you can make the most of your time here.  Visit Deception Pass State Park, one of the most photographed locations in Washington State.  This park’s miles of scenic shoreline, serene trails, and abundant wildlife make it a rewarding destination for all visitors.

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Day 3: Friday Harbor – From the moment you step off the ship, your senses will be electrified by the intoxicating aromas and majestic views of Friday Harbor. Take a step back in time and experience island life as it was over a century ago by visiting the San Juan Historical Museum.  Explore Friday Harbor’s diverse topography from pebbly beaches to monstrous mountains and lush valleys.  This eclectic town has something for everyone.

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Day 4: Port Angeles – Enjoy the wonderful fresh air, interesting shops, restaurants, recreational opportunities, and marvelous views of the harbor and mountains.  The convenient downtown is alive with friendly folks, flowers and outdoor art.  We visit the award-winning Port Angeles Symphony and the hilltop Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, a noteworthy museum of contemporary art.

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Day 5: Port Townsend – Forested islands, snow-capped mountains, and pristine beauty surround you as your ship cruises through the San Juan Islands and Admiralty Bay into the Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend.  Explore Port Townsend’s vibrant downtown, designated a National Historic District, where you will have access to historical museums, art galleries, and specialty boutiques.  Port Townsend is also home to the Fort Worden State Park.  This turn of the century army base offers an unmatched combination of natural beauty and historic wonders.  Wander the park’s acres of beautiful beaches, wooded hills and open fields, framed by stunning vistas of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

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Day 6: Cruising Puget Sound – Enjoy cruising along Puget Sound, Skagit Bay, and Deception Pass.  This waterway is an intricate system of channels, estuaries and islands that make for the most breathtaking scenery and majestic wildlife.  Get those camera ready, this is the place to get those once-in-a-lifetime photos.

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Day 7: Poulsbo – Located on the Kitsap Peninsula, Poulsbo was settled in 1892 by Norwegian loggers and fishermen who likened the fjord-cut landscape to their homeland.  Explore the heart of Poulsbo by taking a stroll along Front Street, featuring old world murals, numerous art galleries, and specialty shops.  We end our day here with a walk along Poulsbo’s boardwalk, where we view wildlife in their native habitat and majestic snow-capped Olympic Mountains off in the distance.

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Day 8: Seattle – Welcome back to Seattle!  After a delightful week of cruising, we enjoy the sights and sounds of the Pacific Northwest. Start your day by visiting Pike Place Market, internationally recognized as America’s premier farmer’s market.  Visit Seattle’s Space Needle, where you will have stunning views of Seattle, Puget Sound, and picturesque snow-capped mountains.

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Personal comment:  Seattle is one of the most diverse cities in the United States  full of artist colonies, excellent seafood restaurants, and interesting attractions.  I can recommend several restaurants and tourist sites that you will enjoy.

EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT:  Book early and save $400 or more per stateroom on this cruise.  Call me for details at 919.708.8217.

#River Cruises, #Seattle, #Puget Sound, #Salmon, #Mt. Rainier, #Space Needle, #Pike Place Market.

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Heart of Germany 2014 Christmas Cruise

Heart of Germany 2014 Christmas Cruise.

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Heart of Germany 2014 Christmas Cruise

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Christmas In The Heart of Germany

I’m going to the German Christmas Markets on December 1, 2014.  You are invited to join me as we sail along the picturesque Main River between Frankfurt and Nuremberg.  Explore the Bavarian regions of Germany, tour the dramatic sandstone ruins of Heidelberg Castle, the Romantic Road to Rothenburg, historic Nuremberg, and best of all, experience Germany’s world-famous Christmas markets.  Many of our seasonal traditions began in Germany.  So come along and explore the magnificent Christmas markets of Germany, the stunning countryside, quaint towns, and sample all the delicious German food and beverages. This is the perfect “Christmas gift” to give your loved one-and yourself.

Day 1- Nuremberg – Arrive in Nuremberg and transfer from the airport to embark your ship.  After boarding, relax, or begin exploring this historic city on your own.  After dinner, relax and enjoy musical entertainment in the lounge.

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Day 2- Nuremberg – Morning tour of the city’s most prominent landmarks, enjoy the iconic Christmas market in the Old Town’s Main Market Square.  Browse booths with colorful ornaments, gifts, and fragrant treats; there is no better place to shop for handmade wooden toys and nutcrackers.  Savor the traditional lebkuchen and gluhwein.  Free time this afternoon to further explore Nuremberg before boarding your ship for dinner.

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Day 3 – Bamberg – Visit Bamberg with its medieval city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Your walking tour includes a visit to the 11th- century cathedral and picturesque city hall built on an island in the middle of a river.  Free time to walk around Bamberg or visit its traditional Christmas markets.

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Day 4 – Wurzburg & Rothenburg – Disembark in Gerlachshausen for a full day in two of Northern Bavaria’s most charming destinations.  Walk through Wurzburg and tour the Bishops’ Residenz, a beautiful baroque palace.  Then take a deluxe ride along the Romantic Road to Rothenberg.  Lunch at a local Bavarian restaurant and shopping in its joyful Christmas Market.  Rothenberg is also home to Germany’s Christmas Museum.  Return to Wurzburg for onboard dinner.

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Day 5 – Wertheim – Enjoy scenic cruising this morning; sail into Wertheim, located at the confluence of the Main and Tauber Rivers.  You will experience life in a typical small German town on your walking tour.  Free time to visit Wertheim’s Christmas market.  Onboard enjoy Wertheim’s traditional glassblowing art as you sail toward Frankfurt.

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Day 6 – Heidelberg – Arrive at Frankfurt for a full-day excursion to Heidelberg, home to Germany’s oldest university.  Tour the red sandstone ruins of Heidelberg Castle, originally built in the 12th century.  Your tour ends at Old Town and marketplace where you will have time to shop at the Christmas market.  Shop for gifts, sample delightful treats, lunch at a local cafe.  After dinner onboard, you will have free time to explore Frankfurt this evening to discover Frankfurt’s charming elegant city.

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Day 7 – Frankfurt – Our Christmas in the Heart of Germany ends and we return home with suitcases full of gifts and our hearts full of memories.

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Itinerary can be reversed.  Additional nights in Cologne or Prague recommended.                                   ???????????????????????????????                                                 IMG_4010SPECIAL SAVINGS DISCOUNT*****

Two for one cruise and two for one airfare.

Limited time (Special 2 for 1 cruise and 2 for 1 airfare  expires February 28, 2014)

Call me to get on the guest list for this fabulous once in a lifetime cruise.  919.708.8217

#River Cruises, #Heidelberg Castle, #Nuremberg, #Frankfurt, #Christmas Markets, #Germany

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