Monthly Archives: May 2015

RHINE GETAWAY – AIRFARE ON SALE

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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.

DAY 1 | AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

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

Kinderdijk, Netherlands

DAY 2 | KINDERDIJK, THE NETHERLANDS

This morning we sail 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 a 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 atsjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). We cruise through the night. (B, L, D)

UNESCO

The Dom Cathedral, Cologne, Germany

DAY 3 | COLOGNE, GERMANY

Continue 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 began in 1248 and 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)

UNESCO

Rüdesheim, Germany

DAY 4 | KOBLENZ & RÜDESHEIM, GERMANY

Proceed along the Rhine, disembarking to tour the 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Enjoy an onboard lunch as you marvel at this scenic passage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where castles overlook the river from their hilltop posts.

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 your ship, or in town if you prefer. We depart after midnight. (B, L, D)

UNESCO

Heidelberg Turret Gate, Germany

DAY 5 | HEIDELBERG & SPEYER, GERMANY

Cruise through the morning as you enjoy breakfast and the passing scenery. Arrive in Mannheim and disembark for a tour of 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 this hilltop post. Continue with a walking tour through Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates.

Rejoin your 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 influenced 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 that was installed in the western facade during a later Gothic period. (B, L, D)

UNESCO

Strasbourg, France

DAY 6 | STRASBOURG, FRANCE

We dock 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, resplendent churches, medieval covered bridges, verdant parks and handsome Art Nouveau and modernist architecture. Dine aboard and enjoy free time this evening in the amiable little city of Kehl. (B, L, D)

UNESCO

Breisach, Germany

DAY 7 | BREISACH, GERMANY

Arrive in Breisach this morning, 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 or choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard and cruise on through the night. (B, L, D)

Basel, Switzerland

DAY 8 | BASEL, SWITZERLAND

After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your journey with 2 nights in Lucerne. Enjoy the scenic landscape of the Swiss Alps with a view from your hotel, situated on the banks of beautiful Lake Lucerne. (B)

We can extend our stay in either Amsterdam, Lucerne or Basel.  This is either a March or April departure cruise.
The airfare is an excellent value.  From my flight city, the airfare is $495.00 per person which is quite the deal for Europe air.
Give me a call before June 30, 2015 as the airfare is for a limited time.
919.708.8217
cruiselikeavip@windstream.net
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Costa Rica Natural Paradise – BOOKING NOW

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Welcome to Costa Rica.  This trip is an eco-adventure lover’s paradise.  From the rain forest, to the Arenal Volcano, cloud forest, to the Pacific ocean, this trip is jam packed with adventure.  Imagine rafting down a lazy river, taking a jungle cruise, and maybe even horseback ride on the shores of Guanacaste Beach.  This tour has limited space for a group.  I have 12 spaces reserved and 4 are already booked.  Call as soon as possible so you won’t miss out on this amazing adventure to a beautiful part of the world.  Put this one on your bucket list for January 17-25, 2016.

Here’s the intinerary:

Day 1 – San José, Costa Rica
Welcome to the “rich coast,” friendly land of democracy and rare natural beauty. With naturalist guides, see exotic birds and wildlife, hike in jungle rainforests, view volcanoes, soak in hot springs and cruise through biological reserves. Caravan provides transfers from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica to your hotel for a two night stay. Rooms are available for check in after 4:00 p.m. Join Caravan for an 8:00 p.m. welcome briefing. Dinner is served until 9:30 p.m. at your hotel. D \

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Day 2 – Poás Volcano, Cloud Forest, Coffee Plantation, Butterflies
Morning visit to Costa Rica’s most popular park, Poás Volcano. Weather permitting, you can see inside the active crater from an overlook. Next, hike the Escalonia Cloud Forest Trail, home to epiphytes, orchids, ferns and tropical hummingbirds. Cloud forests are like rainforests, but with less rain and more humidity. Then, drive through Costa Rica’s famous coffee growing region. Lunch.  Enjoy a guided tour at a coffee plantation. Sample fresh Costa Rican coffee. Next, visit a butterfly garden. Look for blue morpho butterflies. Dinner. BLD

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Day 3 – Wildlife Rescue Center, Sarchi, Fortuna
This morning drive by San Jose’s Plaza de la Cultura, Central Park and the National Theatre. Next, visit Zoo Ave, a wildlife rescue center. Here, injured birds and animals are rehabilitated for release back into the wild. Lunch. Then, visit Sarchi and watch artisans making traditional Costa Rican oxcarts. Continue to the San Carlos Valley. Arrive at Fortuna for a two night stay. Dinner. BLD

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Day 4 – Rio Frio Cruise, Hot Springs
Head north this morning, passing through sugar cane, teak, pineapple, and orange plantations. Then, cruise on the Rio Frio which runs through the world famous Caño Negro wildlife refuge, home to many migratory birds found nowhere else in Costa Rica. Look for black turtles, whistling ducks, roseate spoonbills, cormorants, anhingas, blue heron, and northern jacanas. Watch for caimans, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, green iguanas, and water-walking lizards. Lunch. Return to Fortuna. This afternoon enjoy a relaxing soak in the volcanic hot springs. Dinner. BLD

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Day 5 – Hanging Bridges, Leatherback Turtle Park
Morning visit to the Hanging Bridges. With a naturalist guide, hike the suspension bridges. Weather permitting, enjoy views of majestic Arenal Volcano. Next, enjoy a scenic drive around Lake Arenal. Lunch at a historic hacienda in the Guanacaste province. Then, to Costa Rica’s beautiful Pacific Coast. Visit Leatherback Turtles National Park and learn about Costa Rica’s efforts to protect this endangered giant. The leatherback is the largest marine reptile in the world, weighing over 1,500 pounds. Continue to the J.W. Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa for a relaxing two night stay. Dinner. BLD

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Day 6 – Guanacaste Beach Resort
Free time today to enjoy your magnificent world class beach resort. Visit the elegant spa or swim in your hotel’s infinity pool, the largest in Central America. Lunch. Time to beachcomb while strolling your resort’s pristine beach. Dinner. BLD

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Day 7 – Bird Watching Cruise, Manuel Antonio
This morning drive though the cattle ranches of Guanacaste. Stop at the Monteverde Cooperative. Sample delicious cheeses. Lunch. Next, cruise on the Tarcoles River, adjacent to the Carara Biological Reserve. Float through a mangrove forest. Look for white and snowy egrets and the amazing nests of the montezuma oropendola. This tropical bird and wildlife sanctuary is a nesting site for the scarlet macaw. Continue to your hotel, located directly at the entrance to Manuel Antonio National Park. Listen to joyful jungle sounds. Dinner. BLD

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Day 8 – Manuel Antonio, Aerial Tram
This morning visit the world famous Manuel Antonio National Park, a natural habitat for the white face monkey, the rare squirrel monkey and the three-toed sloth. Hike through the rainforest and along the spectacular beach coves, ranking among the most beautiful in the world. Look for toucans and parrots. Lunch. Then, a thrilling adventure. Glide through and above a dry tropical transitional forest. Enjoy views of waterfalls and the Pacific Ocean. Return to San José. Farewell dinner.. BLD

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Day 9 – San José
Your tour ends after breakfast this morning at your hotel. Breakfast begins at 6:30 a.m. Caravan provides transfers to the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) in San José, Costa Rica arriving at 5:00 a.m, 7:00 a.m, 9:00 a.m., and 11:30 a.m. Thanks for vacationing with Caravan and Cruise Like A VIP. ¡Hasta la vista! B

$2400.00 per person includes round trip airfare from RDU, but I can fly you from any destination.  All meals, all excursions, taxes, round trip transfers, 8 nights resort/lodges.

Check out the hotels at caravan.com and select Costa Rica Natural Paradise and then give me a call at 919.708.8217 or e-mail at cruiselikeavip@windstream.net.  Thank you and “Gracias.”

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#all inclusive tours

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Cruising in Paradise – The Hawaiian Islands

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Paris and The Heart of Normandy

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PARIS & THE HEART OF NORMANDY

Combine the magic of Paris with the beauty of France’s Norman countryside and voilà! Experience history firsthand at the Normandy beaches, site of the famous Allied invasion on D-Day in 1944. Delight in the Gothic architecture of Rouen, and see where Joan of Arc was tried and executed. Lose yourself in the exquisite gardens of Giverny, whose rich palette inspired Impressionist Claude Monet for many years. Walk the cobblestone streets of provincial Vernon and share the splendor of Paris, the world’s most romantic city, with your companion. This fascinating 8-day journey has something for everyone.  AIRFARE REDUCED ON THIS CRUISE.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France

DAY 1 | PARIS, FRANCE

Arrive in Paris, romance capital of the world. Transfer from the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to your ship.* After boarding, take free time to explore Paris, or join our “welcome walk” to stretch your legs and get oriented. (D)

Paris Louvre, France

DAY 2 | PARIS, FRANCE

Wake up to a full day in Paris. After breakfast, embark on a half-day tour of this dazzling city and take in its most remarkable sights, including the iconic Eiffel Tower. You’ll also see the École Militaire, Orsay Museum and Latin Quarter and the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame. Then we’ll drive past the Louvre and Opera House and along the famed Champs-Élysées. Return aboard for lunch. This afternoon you’re free to take in the Louvre, shop the fashionable boutiques, visit the artists’ district of Montmartre or enjoy a cruise along the Seine. As always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served aboard your ship. (B, L, D)

UNESCO

Vernon Notre Dame, France

DAY 3 | GIVERNY & VERNON, FRANCE

Arrive in Vernon before breakfast; take a short ride into the town of Giverny, where Claude Monet resided from 1883 until his death in 1926. Visit the beautiful gardens and charming stone farmhouse where he lived and worked; see the water garden with the recognizable Japanese bridge, water lilies, wisteria and azaleas that inspired many of his masterpieces.†

After lunch, spend some time with your Program Director in the provincial town of Vernon. Take a stroll to see the Maison du Temps Jadis (House of Past Times), Vernon’s oldest house, and the 11th-century Church of Notre Dame. Dinner is served aboard. (B, L, D)

† Monet garden not available before April 1 or after November 1; a visit to the village of Auvers-sur-Oise, favored by van Gogh and other artists, will be substituted.

DAY 4 | ROUEN, FRANCE

Indulge in leisurely morning cruising along the Seine. You’ll spend the afternoon in the medieval city of Rouen, preeminent capital of Normandy. Begin with a walking tour through the center of Old Town, where you see the spectacular Gothic Notre Dame Cathedral, often painted by Claude Monet, and the famous Gros Horloge, a 16th-century astronomical clock. As you walk among the half-timbered storybook buildings, you’ll feel transported back through time; see the 14th-century courthouse where Joan of Arc was sentenced to death and the nearby Market Square where she was martyred.

Take free time to discover more of Rouen or visit one of its museums of art or antiquities. Dine aboard or at a sidewalk café. Your ship remains docked overnight. (B, L, D)

DAY 5 | NORMANDY BEACHES, FRANCE

After breakfast, begin your full-day tour to the historic beaches of Normandy. Drive past Gold Beach, Courseulles sur Mer and Juno Beach on your way to visit such World War II landmarks as Omaha Beach, the American Military Cemetery and Arromanches Debarkment D-Day Museum. Have dinner and relax aboard your ship or take an evening stroll. (B, L, D)

Les Andelys Chateau Galliard, France

DAY 6 | LES ANDELYS & CONFLANS, FRANCE

Enjoy a leisurely morning cruise to the small town of Les Andelys, known for its imposing castle, Château Gaillard, built in 1196 by Richard the Lionheart. After lunch, join a guided walk to this fatally flawed masterpiece of Middle Ages architecture. Return aboard for scenic cruising and dinner. Late in the evening we dock in Conflans, a riverside town whose unique culture reflects its status as a local hub for barge transportation along the Seine and its tributaries. (B, L, D)

Conflans Palace Versailles, France

DAY 7 | CONFLANS & PARIS, FRANCE

After breakfast, set out on a walking tour through the charming neighborhoods of Conflans. Or, join an optional tour to the luxurious Palace of Versailles, former home of Louis XIV. Lunch aboard your ship as you sail back to Paris this afternoon. Dine aboard and then enjoy some free time in the “City of Light.” (B, L, D)

UNESCO

Paris, France

DAY 8 | PARIS, FRANCE

After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the Paris airport for your return flight.* Or, extend your time in France’s romantic capital with a 3-night Paris extension. (B)

August, 2016 departures:  From $3556 per person cruise.  Airfare $695.
Hurry limited time offer on airfare:  Expires May 31, 2015.
Call today-919.708.8217
#river cruises
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Portugal’s River of Gold

Porto 1Portugal’s River of Gold

Discover one of Europe’s most pristine destinations with me – Portugal.  We begin by exploring the capital city of Lisbon for 2 nights, then proceed to Porto at the mouth of the Douro River for a 7 night river cruise.  The river takes us on a winding course between steeply terraced vineyards, stopping at ports of call with charming town squares, colorful castles, baroque mansions, hostoric monasteries and the medieval city of Salamanca.  Of course, we will have many opportunities to sample the sensational port and tawny wines of the Douro River Valley.

This is a fabulous trip trip with a great bonus included – reduced airfare (which is a great surprise).  I will be showcasing each port stop in my weekly newsletter.

Here’s a preview of what we will be seeing.

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port-wine

Call me for more details about Portugal’s River of Gold cruise. 919.708.8217

Hurry – this $495 airfare only lasts until May 31st.

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