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Monthly Archives: April 2018

Europe Cruise Tour

A maximum number of river cruises are a week long, but some of the exotic trips can sometimes extend up to ten to fourteen days. Mostly the journey starts from some of the fantastic cities in Europe and includes an overnight stay on board. But in case this facility is not provided you should preferably plan a pre or post-cruise stay. Generally, the daily shore excursions are included in the fares that you have already paid while booking. Some rare cruise companies of Europe offer extra tour options on paying extra bucks.

European cruise tariffs typically covers accommodations, some selective meals, children’s club activities, kid’s entertainment and even some theatrical performances. But you must also note that there are several activities and services that are charged extra like spa treatments, casino, cocktails and special drinks.

These packages also include the cost of transportation between ports and you can enjoy visits to a lot of European cities without paying any extra money. Some of these voyages cover two large regions like Western Europe and the Baltic or the Eastern and Western Mediterranean. Some cruises even combine more than three countries all together.

Among all these regular facts, there is a very important cautionary point that you all need to be extra careful about while going for cruising in Europe’s rivers. This is typically the weather from April to October, as heavy rains and spring flooding during this period makes the rivers swell and the locks become impassable. Many of the bridges along the routes are low and so the high waters prevent the boats to fit underneath them during this period. Similarly, the drought results in excessive low waters that don’t allow boats to move.

Dive in Cuban Culture

This place proudly holds and flaunts its cultural and traditional treasure, such as the buildings and the remains of colonial era. Even a few towns of Cuba have been honored by USNESCO and declared as the World Heritage Sites. These sites are as follows:

  • The old city of Trinidad (Sancti Spíritus)
  • The Castle of San Pedro de la Roca del Morro (Santiago de Cuba)
  • “Desembarco del Granma”- the national park
  • Fort Havana and the Habana Vieja’s historic city center
  • The remains of the La Gran Piedra’s French coffee plantations
  • The sugar factories near Trinidad (Sancti Spíritus)

Apart from all the cultural evidences, other towns of the Cuban are worth seeing. One can easily find beautiful buildings, churches, theatres, or old forts in almost every city of Cuba. The food factor of Cuban is yet another strong element of its culture and tradition. The current version of Cuban cuisine is strongly influenced by Andalucía and southern Spain. However it also contains strong hints of African plantations, traits of French, Italian and Chinese influence.

This assorted mix of cultures gave birth to lively flavors with distinctive spice and seasoning. Chicken, fish, pork, rice, sugar-cane, beans, yucca, pumpkin, coconut etc are some of the key ingredients of classic Cuban dishes that are still enjoyed and is a part of regular lifestyle.

Cuban Rum and Beer are distinctively famous and recognized all round the world. High quality beer, unique drinks, lip smacking Rum cocktails has made Cuba clearly visible on the map. One of the most popular brands of Cuba is Havana Club- a drink which is whole heartedly relished all over the nation. You can effortlessly find Cuban local sit-outs on the street, where one can chat, laugh and sweep the floor with your dancing skills.

Antarctica Cruises

The cost for a small ship Antarctic cruise varies based on trip length, the ship and cabin selection, and travel dates. Typically the cruise fare is more inclusive than on larger cruise ship, covering accommodations, meals and some beverages, guide services, landing fees, shore excursions, Zodiac expeditions, rubber boots for shore landings, and expert presentations.

What is not included?

While each cruise to Antarctica varies, generally the fees usually don’t cover airfare to or from the point of embarkation/disembarkation, some soft drinks and most alcoholic beverages, tips to your guides, laundry and other items of a personal nature, and optional adventure activities.

Where you will go and what you will see.

Where you go affects not only just pricing, but your experience as well. The majority of 10 to 14-day expedition cruises depart from Ushuaia, located at the southernmost tip of Argentina, crossing the famed Drake Passage by sea or occasionally by air (with ship embarkation in the Peninsula region). Cruises then explore the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands, each made up of small islands, channels and inlets. Expect to see tabular icebergs, ice sheets and glaciers, 4 – 5 penguin species, seals and whales and sea birds. A few Antarctica cruises venture south to cross the Polar Circle and while these definitely provide travelers with unique bragging rights, they typically only add more days at sea onto the itineraries without much corresponding value in terms of increased wildlife sightings, Zodiac exploration or landings.

A few itineraries venture to the Weddell Sea which is found on the western side of the Peninsula. Some of these cruises are operated as a stand-alone itinerary, or more commonly in combination with an Antarctic Peninsula cruise. In this region, the tabular icebergs are larger, and so are the penguin colonies- and sometimes you even see emperor penguins. You can expect to see leopard seals in the water, Weddell seals lounging on ice floes, and hopefully encounter whales as you traverse the seas of the Antarctic convergence zone.

Longer 14 – 24 day Antarctic Peninsula cruises venture northeast to the wildlife-rich sub-Antarctic islands of South Georgia and the Falklands where you find even more species of penguins – including massive colonies of king penguins. Huge elephant seals, albatross in their nests and sea lions are also highlights of this region along historical explorer sites.

For the past few years a new crop of tours in Antarctica have begun to operate which combine cruising the Peninsula or sub-Antarcitc regions via small ship with a full expedition staff, but which utilize flights on small BAE jets to transport travelers across the Drake Passage by air rather than sea. Given that the cruise portion of these expeditions are of comparable quality to most of the other Antarctic small ship expeditions, these really can be a great option for those who are very short on time or who fear a rough crossing the infamous Drake Passage. The drawbacks are firstly price- rates are much higher for these cruises, demand is high, and there is a risk of the very weather that causes the Drake to ‘shake’ as the saying goes will interrupt and cause delays in the flight schedule which then unexpectedly can cut into the time spent on the expedition.

When to travel?

The Antarctic travel season revolves around the Austral Summer, from early November through early March, when sea ice breaks up and snowfall and storms decrease. From April through October, it is next to impossible for any ships to break through the heavy pack and sea ice.

The most desirable time to visit starts the 2nd week of December through January when the weather is most reliably, and, importantly, most Antarctic penguins hatch– and during the accompanying holiday season and Argentina’s high travel season, demand can definitely outrun supply for popular trips. However, for those wanting to do a longer trip that explores the Falklands and South Georgia, the best time of year depends on what you are hoping to see and experience- January gets you better weather and potential access in the polar zones as well as an increase of whale migration in the Southern Ocean, but October and November bring the truly extraordinary mating and birthing season for the massive elephant seals found in and near South Georgia Island as well as the chance to see the magnificent waved albatross in their nests. Massive colonies of king penguins breed year-round, making South Georgia & The Falklands a great option during the entire season.

Discounts?

With Antarctica expeditions cruises, you’ll find discounts scarce when compared to the large cruise ship industry. Demand is high for Antarctica cruising and tours, and while some companies will discount to fill every berth, many of the higher quality ships do not offer last-minute discounts at all, but instead offer early booking incentives which often align with the lower air fares.

Last-minute travel.

If you can make arrangements quickly, and you love the thrill of the bargain hunt, then you’ll want to take advantage of the approaching ‘season’ or mid-season discounts. These can range from 10{fcda63cc565aa7cfbe404283493d0d1ca101953cd59f3ca9bfe541f2a37914e8} up to 50{fcda63cc565aa7cfbe404283493d0d1ca101953cd59f3ca9bfe541f2a37914e8} off full fares, but your choice of departure dates and cabin is limited. Airfare increases, eating into your cruise savings, and sometimes flights to Ushuaia can be full prior to your cruise, making it necessary for you to arrive days ahead of your cruise, adding several nights accommodation cost to your trip.

Life on board ship.

Depending on the type of small ship you choose, the level of accommodation, service, food and even adventure options ranges from ‘spartan’ to luxurious. Finding a ship that has what you want, means that you must look carefully at ship photos, deck plans and public areas (observation lounge, lecture media rooms etc) and adventure options. You’ll then want to balance that against the ships that have the itineraries that work for you in your timeframe.

Find Good Travel Agent Specializes in Cruises

You simply add the travel agents Skype name and ring them via video conference call. This beats sitting in a travel agents office waiting for them to become available. If you are unsure if they have a Skype account simply send them an email requesting their Skype name and you can be up and speaking with a cruiseagent in a matter of minutes.

CLIA affiliated agencies take advantages of many CLIA programs in order to better serve their cruising customers. CLIA agents receive up to the minute training from CLIA and the cruise line industry. Cruise Lines International Association agents will also have this as part of their affiliations listed on their site.

Cruise agents can serve as advisers, planners, and negotiators with the cruise line to help you get the best deal available. They also tend to purchase large amounts of cruises at certain times of the year and resell them to their customers at a low rate due to their bulk purchase. Groups looking to plan a vacation for a cruise can possibly save thousands when traveling with a cruise agent who has these berths already purchased at last year’s price. Therefore sometimes it pays the cruise customer to take the time to speak with a travel agent directly before booking through a search engine online. Also, many of the online travel sites will not take group bookings and you are required to speak with a cruise agent directly to make all the necessary arrangements without a lot of stress and wasted time. When you book in this fashion you also will on many occasions get certain perks that the travel agent is giving their customers who are traveling as part of a group. This could include onboard credits, bottle of wine, and other incentive items not always provided to cruise travelers booking online.

Dana Brown

Cruise Brothers Travel Agent

Corporate Office

100 Boyd Ave., E. Providence RI 02914

Travel Agent Office

105 Hilo W., Naples FL 34113