Crystal Cruises – The Only Luxury Line Offering Children’s Programs‏

August 29, 2014 on 9:45 am | In Cruise Boats | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowSophisticated Cruise Specialists at Crown Cruise Vacations Provide Exclusive Offers, Exceptional Value & Unparalleled Service

For grandparents and families that want luxury travel with children or grandchildren, Crystal Cruises has made it an easy choice to cruise together in luxury, according to Ross Spalding, President-Crown Cruise Vacations. Crystal offers one of the most comprehensive children’s programs at sea with outstanding offerings that exceed even the highest expectations.

Overview of the Children’s Program

Crystal Cruises’ extraordinary commitment to excellence and quality of experience applies to guests of all ages. Space dedicated to children is rare on luxury ships, yet Crystal has designed its ships to accommodate multiple generations. Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity offer spacious staterooms in a range of categories as well as suites, third berths, and connecting staterooms, child-friendly cuisine, highly acclaimed children’s programs on select sailings with activities for children ages 3-17, a Fantasia playroom, and a video arcade for teens. During holiday cruises, summer sailings and other selected itineraries, additional children’s activities are offered under the supervision of experienced Junior Activities Directors. For parents longing for some time on their own, all vessels offer in-stateroom babysitting.

The Facilities for Families

Many facilities on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity were designed with young guests in mind. Fantasia has supervised activities, tables and chairs for board games, arts and crafts, giant padded cubes, puzzles, and large-screen televisions with kid-sized stadium seating. Teenagers enjoy the Waves video arcade, which has Sony PlayStation® 2, Nintendo Wii™ and Xbox 360TM kiosks. The Library offers a selection of children’s books and videos for in-room viewing; children can also see recently released films in The Hollywood Theatre.

The Activities for Children

Crystal Cruises offers children a broad choice of organized activities and entertainment options. A daily Surf Runner newsletter provides details on the following day’s activity schedule, tailored by age group, available on cruises that typically have many children (summer cruises, shorter itineraries and holiday sailings):

Scavenger Hunts
Hide and Seek
Story Times / Ice cream / Pajama Parties
Stretch-ercise / Dress-up Playtime
Bridge / Galley tours
Cookie Baking / Pizza making
Fashion Shows / Coke-tails / card games
Karaoke / Special Artists’ Performances
Mask Parade / Trivia
Movies / Dancing
Mini Olympics / Relay Races
Pool Games / Paddle tennis
Water Polo / Swimming
Shuffleboard / Volleyball
Late Night Pool Parties / Teen disco
Trivial Pursuit Teen karaoke
Twister Popcorn Parties
Pizza Parties Computer University@Sea®
E-mail Services

The Children’s Dining

Crystal’s executive chefs and other culinary staff can prepare custom dishes and items comparable to those found on shoreside kids’ menus. Baby food, high chairs and booster seats are available on request. In addition to meals in the Crystal Dining Room and specialty restaurants, the Trident Grill & Ice Cream Bar serves complimentary hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, and sandwiches as well as ice cream, non-fat yogurt and cookies throughout the afternoon.

Babysitting Services
All vessels offer in-stateroom babysitting for children over the age of 1. Arrangements can easily be made by contacting the concierge at least 24 hours in advance. Fees are $10 per hour for one child, $15 per hour for two children and $20 per hour for three children. To satisfy safety concerns, the maximum number of children/babies watched by one babysitter is three.

Family Savings

Children 11 and younger occupying the third berth pay 50 percent of the minimum fare when accompanied by two full-fare paying adults. Throughout the year, the line occasionally sets special promotions in which children can sail free when sharing a room with two adults.

Family Accommodations
Crystal Symphony offers ten connecting staterooms and 89 staterooms with a third berth available. On Crystal Serenity, there are 50 connecting staterooms and 154 staterooms with a third berth available.

Please note: Crystal Cruises is unable to accommodate children less than 6 months of age and reserves the right to restrict the number of those less than 3 years of age aboard the ships


Teen Program (ages 13 – 17)

Daytime Activities

Sony Playstation® 2, Nintendo® Xbox 360 and Wii Tournaments
Afternoon Games in the Bridge Lounge
Afternoon Movie in the Hollywood Theatre
CU@Sea classes in the computer lab
Golf Pro Educational Classes
Clue Hunt
Paddle Tennis
Table Tennis
Shuffle Board
Golfing Range
Fitness Classes with the Fitness Director (ages 16+) Library
Lectures – Destination and Special Guest
Backstage Tour
Galley Tour
Teen Trivia
Teen Bingo

Night Time Activities and Theme Nights

Poker Night
Texas Hold Em Tournament
Karaoke Night
Movie Night – in Fantasia or the Hollywood Theatre
Disco Night
Pictionary Night
Game Night in the Bridge Lounge
“Coke”tails – meet and greet for teens
Liar’s Club – hosted by the Cruise Director, for all guests on board. Check Reflections for time and location.
Liar’s Club – teen version hosted by the Junior Activities Director.
Pool and Hot Tub Party Hangout
Paddle Tennis Tournament
Casual Dining with Friends in the Lido
Toga Party
Destination Party – with themes planned according to where the ship is sailing
“What if” Conversation Starters
Five Minute Mysteries
Murder Mystery Night
Sail-away Party


Crystal Cruises is unable to accommodate children less than 6 months of age and reserves the right to restrict the number of those less than 3 years of age aboard the ships. There are no formal programs for children under 3.

Here is an example Crystal sailing:

Crystal Cruises Crystal Serenity 7-Night Canada / New England, departing Sept. 29, 2014, from Quebec City, Quebec. Ports of Call: Quebec City, Quebec | Sept-Iles, Canada | Magdalen Islands, Canada | Saint-Pierre, France | Quebec City, Quebec. (Oceanview fares start at $3185 per person, double occupancy).

Sophisticated cruise specialists at Crown Cruise Vacations provide exclusive offers, exceptional value & unparalleled service and can assist with experienced cruise information and bookings. For more information and to book a cruise call 1-877-283-1114 toll-free USA/Canada, +1-609-945-9801 direct dial or visit

About Crown Cruise Vacations
Sophisticated cruise specialists at Crown Cruise Vacations provide exclusive offers, exceptional value & unparalleled service and can assist with any cruise information and booking.

Crown Cruise Vacations was named North America’s Leading Cruise Travel Agent 2013 by the prestigious World Travel Awards, which acknowledges excellence across all sectors of the global travel and tourism industry. Crown Cruise Vacations is the preferred provider of Artful Traveler’s PTV at Sea cruises, which enrich, inspire and entertain with informative programming presented by some of public broadcasting’s most acclaimed personalities.

Based in Princeton, New Jersey, Crown Cruise Vacations specialists are comprised of a unique team of experienced, accredited travel agents and managers with a multitude of years selling leisure travel. For more information, please visit us at

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August 29, 2014 on 9:42 am | In Beachbooker, Caribbean, Cruise Boats, Dine Drink | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowToday, Oceania Cruises announced another expansion to its popular Culinary Discovery Tours by unveiling new experiences for St. Lucia and Antigua that are set to debut during the upcoming Caribbean season aboard Riviera. Already widely recognized as the cruise line for foodies, Culinary Discovery Tours provide Oceania Cruises guests with epicurean interests a unique opportunity to explore local food markets, vineyards, farms and restaurants with a knowledgeable chef from the Bon Appétit Culinary Center.

“Culinary traditions are often at the heart of many cultures and with our Culinary Discover Tours, we’re able to provide our guests with unique opportunities to share in those traditions firsthand,” explained Kathryn Kelly, Director of Culinary Enrichment for Oceania Cruises. “With our new tours in St. Lucia and Antigua, guests spend time in the kitchen with local culinary experts learning about the spices, fruits, vegetables and cooking customs that have influenced Caribbean cuisine for centuries. Our goal is for guests to leave the tour with new culinary skills, satisfied taste buds and a deeper appreciation for the vibrant culinary traditions found in the Caribbean”

The new Culinary Discovery Tours will be offered during the “Holidays In The Tropics” sailing that departs Miami on Dec. 23 and on two “Island Paradise” voyages embarking in early 2015. Highlights from the new Culinary Discovery Tours include:

St. Lucia – Spices Cooking Studio

After assembling at the Bon Appétit Culinary Center, guests begin the tour with a scenic drive through Rodney Bay Village to a magnificent private estate situated on the grounds of a former sugar cane plantation on the Atlantic side of the island. Guests explore an expansive herb garden at the estate before heading to inside the home for some hands-on cooking instruction. Using fresh, local ingredients, guests will prepare a menu of authentic Saint Lucian cuisine while learning about the subtleties of flavor and historical influences from the chef. Once the cooking process is complete, guests will enjoy their creations while taking in the natural vistas surrounding the property. On the return drive to the pier, guests will stop at the bustling open-air Castries Market, where farmers have brought locally grown fruits, vegetables and spices to market for nearly 100 years.

Antigua – Market Visit & Cooking Demo

Guests will enjoy a short ride to the center of downtown St. John’s and walk the local market with their Bon Appétit Culinary Center chef, who will show them a wide variety of typical local fruits such as breadfruit, mangoes, sour sap and dasheen. Afterwards, guests will make the short, but scenic, journey through the city of St. John’s to the charming Villas at Sunset Lane boutique hotel and cooking school owned by renowned Chef Jacquie, who will invite the guests into her kitchen to help prepare lunch. Chef Jacquie shops daily from local organic farmers and will share her secrets for shopping and eating seasonally. Following a hands-on cooking demonstration, guests will enjoy local, seasonal favorites for lunch while overlooking the beachfront property. After lunch, guests can go for a stroll on the private beach or relax at the property and perhaps peruse a book from Jacquie’s extensive library.

For more information about Oceania Cruises or the Culinary Discovery Tours, guests can visit, call 855-OCEANIA or contact a professional travel agent.

About Oceania Cruises

Oceania Cruises® offers the finest cuisine at sea, elegant accommodations and exceptional personalized service, all for an extraordinary value. Known for its unique and destination-rich itineraries that appeal to the seasoned traveler, Oceania Cruises calls on more than 330 ports across Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Americas aboard five award-winning mid-size ships: the 684-guest Regatta, Insignia and Nautica, and the 1,250-guest Marina and Riviera.

About Prestige Cruise Holdings

Prestige Cruise Holdings (PCH) is the parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. PCH manages select assets in Apollo Management’s cruise investment portfolio and is led by Chairman & CEO Frank J. Del Rio and President & COO Kunal S. Kamlani. PCH is the market leader in the upper-premium and luxury segments of the cruise industry with over 6,400 berths between the Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises brands.

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Harbor Adventures in San Diego‏

August 28, 2014 on 11:02 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, California, Cruise Boats, Dine Drink, San Diego | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowSan Diego Offers Wave of Harbor Adventures

San Diego Bay offers visitors many opportunities to get out on the water and enjoy one of the most scenic natural harbors on the U.S. Pacific coast. From harbor excursions, America’s Cup yacht tours and thrilling jet boat rides to soaring seaplane rides and more, unique and entertaining adventures on the bay await.

Bay Cruises

One of the most popular ways to explore San Diego Bay is on a narrated tour offered by Flagship Cruises & Events and Hornblower Cruises & Events, offering daily one- and two-hour tours cruising past some of San Diego’s most recognized landmarks, including the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, Star of India/Maritime Museum of San Diego and Cabrillo National Monument.

Both companies also offer seasonal whale watching excursions (blue whale watching in summer; gray whale watching in winter), dinner-dance and weekend champagne brunch cruises. Cruises depart from the Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego.

On SEAL Tours’ 90-minute Sea and Land Adventure , San Diego’s only amphibious sightseeing tour, visitors experience San Diego Bay by land and sea aboard a “boat on wheels” that splashes down into the bay off Shelter Island. Learn about San Diego’s early fishing industry and history of its 14-mile working bay, as well as view area marine life like pelicans, blue herons and sea lions. Tours depart from Seaport Village.

Experience the thrill of America’s Cup sailing while enjoying the sights of San Diego Bay aboard America’s Cup Sailing San Diego’s Stars & Stripes/USA-11 , one of the fastest, most famous sailboats in the world; the yacht raced by Dennis Conner during the 1992 America’s Cup. Stars & Stripes departs from Shelter Island.

Next Level Sailing offers bay sailing adventures aboard two America’s Cup sailing yachts, Stars & Stripes/USA 34 and Abracadabra/USA 54, plus a replica of the original America yacht that started the America’s Cup racing tradition back in 1851. Yachts depart from the Maritime Museum of San Diego.

Dozens of other companies offer exciting sailing and boating adventures on the bay.

The Coronado Ferry offers a fun, nostalgic and affordable ($4.25 each way) 15-min. ride across San Diego Bay to Coronado, departing from the Broadway Pier and San Diego Convention Center. Passengers arrive at the Coronado Ferry Landing, an outdoor waterfront marketplace of over 25 unique shops and restaurants.

Swift Boats

Patriot Jet Boat Tour is one of the splashiest, most exhilarating new tours of San Diego Bay. Passengers hold on for a turbo-charged thrill ride that includes 360-degree turns. Tours depart from 990 N. Harbor Drive next to the USS Midway.

On San Diego Speed Boat Adventures ‘ harbor tour, visitors take the wheel and become captains of their own mini speed boats, following a knowledgeable guide pointing out the beauty and wildlife of San Diego Bay, including colonies of sea lions on Point Loma. Tours depart from Harbor Island.

For a narrated one-of-a-kind look at San Diego’s military history, the Maritime Museum of San Diego offers new Swift Boat tours. Passengers can feel the power of a historic Swift Boat’s twin 12 cylinder Detroit Diesel engines while cruising past Naval Base San Diego, Naval Amphibious Base and Naval Air Station North Island.

Fly Away

For breathtaking bird-eye views of San Diego Bay and its attractions, Corporate Helicopters of San Diego offers a Diego Delight half-hour coastal tour over the harbor and downtown, plus La Jolla, Mission Beach and Mission Bay. Their awesome Fly, Float, Feast tour pairs the Diego Delight with a guest’s choice of a three-hour Hornblower brunch or dinner cruise on San Diego Bay.

Another scenic high flying adventure is San Diego Seaplanes’ San Diego Bay and Coastal Aerial Tour, taking off from Peohe’s pier at the Coronado Ferry Landing. A Seaplane and Kayak Combo Tour packages is also available.

Cool Kayaks

Bike & Kayak Tours-Coronado presents San Diego’s only urban kayak tour, launching from the calm waters of the Coronado Ferry Landing. Visitors can paddle beneath the San Diego-Coronado Bridge and explore the sights, downtown skyline and maritime culture of San Diego Bay at their own leisurely pace.

Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego Bay tours, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website at, the Port of San Diego’s website at  or call 619-236-1212.

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Spartan Announces First-Ever Obstacle Course Racing Cruise‏

August 28, 2014 on 10:50 am | In Cruise Boats, Sports Travel | Comments Off


$50,000 in Prizes Featured in 3+ Mile/15+ Obstacle Sprint Race

Hosted by Spartan Founder Joe De Sena, March 6 to 9, 2015

There are Spartan Races in 17 countries, and there are themed cruises, but never a themed Spartan Race cruise – until now. Spartan Race, the world’s premier obstacle race company, will host a deluxe Caribbean cruise from the Port of Miami to a private island in the Bahamas on March 6 to 9, 2015.

The three-night Friday afternoon through Monday morning experience will feature an all-inclusive Norwegian Cruise Line cruise on the luxurious Sky from Miami, a 3+mile/15+ obstacle Spartan Sprint on a private island in the Bahamas’ Great Stirrup Cay, live music, dancing, meals at select onboard restaurants, and what’s considered best of all: a $50,000 prize pool for Elite racers.

The oceanside course will be hosted by Spartan founder Joe De Sena who will join the estimated 2,000 race enthusiasts and their families for this first-ever totally immersive island experience.

“It’s going to be as competitive as any Spartan Race, combined with a long weekend vacation in one of the world’s top travel destinations,” said De Sena. “The shorter Sprint presents plenty for the hardcore Elite to test themselves and is a good starter race for new Spartans.

“We’re going overboard on this one, packing as much as we can into three intense, but relaxing days in the sun,” De Sena said.

Included in the package price:

– 3 day cruise

– 3+ mile Sprint Race with 15 obstacles – led by Joe De Sena

– $50,000 prize pool for Elite Racers*

– Kids travel FREE** (up to 17 years of age at time of booking)

– Meals at select onboard restaurants

– Kids Jr. Spartan race (ages 4-13)

– Onboard entertainment

– Book signing by Joe De Sena

– Guest speakers

– Award ceremony, finisher’s medal and professional photo and video

– Gratuities

– Insurance

– Spartan Cruise t-shirt

– Full day at Great Stirrup Cay for lounging and playing with family and friends

* The first 200 racers that sign up for the “Elite” wave will be eligible for the $50,000 prize pool. The 200 spots will be on a first come, first serve basis.

** Kids Travel Free – ONLY if they are the 3rd or 4th passenger in the cabin. Otherwise, they will pay full price. Children 17 and under at the time of booking are free but are required to pay the Port Charges/Taxes/ Gratuities/Admin Fee/Cancelation and Medical Emergency Insurance: $288.00 per child.

The Sky features 13 dining options, 12 bars and lounges, a spa, and casino to enjoy to and from the race course.

The cost for the cruise and race registration starts at $829 per person dependent upon cabin size. There is a $100 registration fee for a limited number of 200 Elite racers competing for the $50,000 prize purse.

To register log onto:  or call 800 248 7471.

About Spartan Race, Inc

Spartan Race, Inc., voted Outside Magazine’s Best Obstacle Race, is the world’s leading obstacle racing series. In 2013, Spartan Racers participated at 60 events worldwide in what for many was a transformational experience. Spartan Race also offers an obstacle course event for the next generation of Spartans ages four through thirteen.

With over 130 events in 17 countries planned for 2014, Spartan Race continues to make obstacle racing one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The Reebok Spartan Race global race series features races at three distances, 3+Mile/15+ Obstacle Sprint, 8+ Mile/20+ Obstacle Super and 12+ Mile/ 25+ Obstacle Beast, culminating each year in the Spartan World Championship, which in 2014 will be held in Killington, Vt. on September 20. With competitive Elite heats and Open heats for all fitness levels, Reebok Spartan Races offer something for everyone. The Spartan lifestyle continues its goal of ripping people off their couches and helping them lead happier, healthier and more productive lives.

Log onto  for more information, a schedule of events and to register for a race.

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Carnival Pride Announces Its Newest Sailings

August 27, 2014 on 12:52 pm | In Cruise Boats | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowFor the first time, Carnival Pride will operate a series of 10- to 14-day Caribbean cruises round-trip from Baltimore and one-way between Baltimore and San Juan featuring some of the region’s most breathtaking destinations, as well as new five-day Bermuda cruises and unique six- and eight-day Caribbean/Bahamas voyages, beginning in October 2015.

“Our guests and travel agent partners have been seeking more varied options from the Northeast – particularly longer length voyages – and we’re delighted to expand our schedules from Baltimore and San Juan to provide these attractive ‘Fun Ship’ cruise offerings from these ports,” said Gerry Cahill, Carnival’s president and CEO. “These new voyages not only provide vacationers with an abundance of five- to 14-day cruise choices but also feature a wide range of spectacular island destinations throughout the Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda,” he added.

One-of-a-Kind 10- to 14-Day Caribbean Cruises

Carnival Pride will operate a series of 10-, 11- and 14-day cruises either round-trip from Baltimore or one-way between Baltimore and San Juan in 2015 and 2016. The voyages include an 11-day exotic southern Caribbean cruise from Baltimore to San Juan departing Jan. 17, 2016, with stops at Grand Turk, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, and St. Croix; a 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean cruise from San Juan to Baltimore departing Jan. 28, 2016, calling at St. Thomas, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia; St. Kitts and St. Maarten; and a 14-day eastern Caribbean cruise round-trip from Baltimore March 13, 2016, featuring eight different island destinations: Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Maarten.

During these voyages, guests can relax on some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, enjoy a host of shopping, dining and sightseeing opportunities, experience unique Caribbean cultures and visit centuries-old landmarks and attractions.

New Five-Day Bermuda Cruises, Six- and Eight-Day Sailings

Carnival Pride will also offer two five-day Bermuda cruises in 2015-16 – one departing Oct. 26, 2015, and another April 10, 2016. These cruises spend two full days at Heritage Wharf, where guests can marvel at the island’s legendary pink sand beaches, enjoy a variety of watersports and visit historic sites such as the Royal Naval Dockyard and Gibb’s Hill Lighthouse, the oldest cast iron lighthouse in the Western Hemisphere.

Additionally, three six-day Bahamas cruises operating round-trip from Baltimore and featuring visits to Freeport and Nassau will be offered. These value-packed cruises, which depart Nov. 30 and Dec. 20, 2015, and Feb. 14, 2016, provide consumers with a new short duration cruise option from Baltimore at an incredible value.

Carnival Pride will also offer a new series of eight-day exotic eastern Caribbean voyages departing from Baltimore and featuring Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau, each offering gorgeous beaches and excellent watersports. Departure dates for these voyages include Oct. 18 and 31, and Dec. 26, 2015, and Feb. 20, and April 15 and 23, 2016.

A special six-day East Coast U.S. and Bahamas cruise from Baltimore featuring the line’s first-ever scheduled in-transit call to Charleston, S.C., as well as Port Canaveral, Fla., Nassau, and Freeport, will be offered Nov. 22, 2015.

Exciting Fun Ship 2.0 Innovations

This fall, Carnival Pride will undergo a multi-million-dollar makeover that will add a variety of dining, bar and entertainment innovations that are part of the line’s Fun Ship 2.0 product enhancement initiative. New features will include Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, the cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, BlueIguana Cantina serving authentic Mexican fare, EA SPORTS Bar with a 16-monitor video wall and 24/7 sports ticker, and two poolside watering holes – RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar.

Sure to be a hit with guests of all ages will be WaterWorks featuring Green Thunder, the fastest and steepest slide at sea, as well as the line’s signature Twister slide and a water spray park.

Also added will be Bonsai Sushi serving authentic Asian specialties, RedFrog Pub serving Carnival’s own private label draft beer, ThirstyFrog Red, Library Bar with self-service wine dispensers, and Cherry On Top, offering bulk candy, apparel and other items. New entertainment options such as Hasbro, The Game Show with larger-than-life adaptations of the company’s iconic games, and Playlist Productions where talented performers interact with spectacular staging and special effects, will be added, as well.

Read more travel news at

Sail Canada’s Wildlife Riviera‏

August 27, 2014 on 12:34 pm | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, British Columbia, Canada, Cruise Boats, Sailing | Comments Off


Experience Southern British Columbia’s rare Mediterranean climate in October

British Columbia’s leading sailing operator, Outer Shores Expeditions, unveils new 2014 Autumn in Gulf Islands National Park sailing dates, providing outdoor adventurers, sailing enthusiasts and B.C. coast explorers with the unique opportunity to experience the Salish Sea – Canada’s wildlife riviera – and its unexpected Mediterranean-like climate at the most picturesque time of the year. The five-day expeditions debut on October 15th with subsequent expeditions embarking October 20th and 25th, 2014.

Sailing aboard the classic wooden schooner Passing Cloud, Outer Shores invites guests to immerse themselves in the marine wilderness of B.C.’s Southern Gulf Islands archipelago, home to the last remaining pockets of Garry oak ecosystems and historic trade routes used by the Coast Salish First Nations.

The rich and rare flora and fauna found off the eastern coast of Vancouver Island is best enjoyed in the fall season, when purple starfish and giant green anemones share rocky shores alongside seals and sea lions, resident orcas vigilantly patrol the waters for their next meal and migratory songbirds fly in for a rest before continuing their journey south.

“The Southern Gulf Islands archipelago is beautiful year round, but there’s something particularly magical about being aboard the Passing Cloud in the fall,” says Russell Markel, Outer Shores Expeditions Captain and President. “The climate is ideal for exploring the islands between Nanaimo and Sidney, photographing and experiencing the fascinating ecology, and cultural and natural history of this region.”

Highlights include beach and forest walks on Portland Island, whale, porpoise and seabird watching in the famous Haro Strait and sea kayaking around the 33-square kilometre Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

With only three autumn sailings available, space is limited. For more information about expeditions along the B.C. coast, please visit or call 1-855-714-7233 (Toll Free).

About Passing Cloud
Passing Cloud is a classic, 70′ wooden schooner designed by William James Roué, famous for designing the legendary schooner Bluenose. Built in Victoria, BC, in 1974, Passing Cloud has a rich history on the BC Coast, renowned for her elegant design, exceptional accommodation, robust construction, and remarkable sailing abilities. Designed to sail around the world, Passing Cloud is an ideal vessel for small-group natural and cultural history expeditions throughout the BC Coast. Among her many features are Passing Cloud’s classic West coast wheelhouse, four private staterooms and gorgeous main salon.

About Outer Shores Expeditions
Outer Shores offers multi-day wildlife and cultural expeditions that are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Guided by a crew of professional mariners and expert naturalists, Outer Shores Expeditions small groups of 6 to 8 guests explore, experience, and learn about the stunning wildlife and ancient cultures of coastal British Columbia while living and traveling aboard the 70′ classic wooden schooner Passing Cloud. President and Captain Russell Markel holds a PhD in marine biology and is dedicated to hosting guests from around the world while fostering stewardship and supporting conservation-based research in the areas where Outer Shores travels.

Star Clippers Adds Six Yoga-Themed Cruises in 2015‏

August 27, 2014 on 12:28 pm | In Adventure Travel, Cruise Boats, Sailing, Spa Resorts | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowTravelers looking to do something good for their mind, body and soul can set sail on one of Star Clippers’ six scheduled yoga-themed itineraries in 2015. World-class yoga instructors will be onboard Star Clipper’s Jan. 24 and 31 Caribbean sailings, Royal Clipper’s May 16 and 23 western Mediterranean cruises and Star Flyer’s Aug. 1 and 8 Balearic Islands itineraries.

All classes are complimentary and will take place on deck in the fresh air under the billowing sails at sunrise and sunset. The instructors also will give lectures on the philosophy of yoga and advice for practice at home. All of the classes are appropriate for all skill levels, so beginners are as welcome as advanced participants.

“You can’t ask for a more relaxing yoga environment than on the open deck of a Star Clippers ship surrounded by the sea and sails,” said Mikael Krafft, owner and president of Star Clippers. “We continue to look for unique experiences to offer our health-minded guests, and the yoga classes have been met with enthusiasm.”

Yoga teacher, author and life coach Inge Schöps will join the seven-night Caribbean sailings on Star Clipper roundtrip from St. Maarten, Jan. 24 and 31, offering yoga and meditation classes. Schöps is based in Cologne, Germany, where she teaches, and she also runs yoga retreats in the Mediterranean on the Balearic Islands of Mallorca and Formentera. She is an author and has published yoga apps and e-books.

On Royal Clipper’s May 16 and 23 seven-night western Mediterranean cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, guests can learn Ishta-style yoga, focusing on asana, meditation, anatomy and yogic and tantric philosophy under the instruction of Raphaella Rose. A yoga practitioner for 17 years, Rose promotes friendly and accessible yoga, and has taught classes in the U.S., Great Britain and Spain, running regular retreats alongside her class schedule.

Yoga expert Christel Vollmer will join the seven-night Balearic Islands sailings on Star Flyer roundtrip from Palma de Mallorca, Aug. 1 and 8. She will give two classes daily: 60 minutes of power yoga in the morning and a 40-minute wind-down class at sunset, followed by meditation. Vollmer brings many years of teaching experience to Star Clippers, having trained under Bryan Kest, yoga guru to celebrities including Madonna, Cindy Crawford and Sting.

All classes and lectures will be conducted in English and are optional. Additional ship activities will be offered as part of the standard daily program.

Other features of a Star Clippers cruise that appeal to the health-conscious traveler include an abundance of fresh fruit daily, healthy menu options and active shore excursions including watersports and bike tours.

Cruise fares for the Caribbean sailings featuring yoga with Inge Schöps begin at $1,993, the western Med cruises with Raphaella Rose begin at $1,740, and the Balearic Islands voyages with Christel Vollmer begin at $1,575, all per person, double occupancy.

Star Clippers’ new 2015-16 brochure features significant fare savings on bookings made before Jan. 31, 2015. Access the brochure online at < >. To request a hard-copy brochure, call toll-free 800-442-0556 or email

To make a reservation, contact a travel professional. For information, call Star Clippers at 800-442-0551 or visit to view a video about the line or take a virtual tour of the Star Clippers ships. Keep up to date on the latest Star Clippers news by visiting us on our blog at,  Facebook and Twitter.

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August 27, 2014 on 12:26 pm | In Cruise Boats | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowSeaDream Yacht Club announces crew-led excursions for the fall and winter 2014/2015 season in the Caribbean’s most beautiful islands. Known as “shore side casuals” among past guests, the veteran crew onboard the 112-guest twin mega-yachts leads complimentary shore tours to their favorite spots in the islands. The 1:1 crew-to-guest ratio of SeaDream and casual elegance onboard SeaDream I and SeaDream II affords flexibility to explore where large ships and formal tours seldom venture.

“The intimate size and casually elegant service onboard SeaDream gives guests a true yachting experience in the Caribbean,” shares Bob Lepisto, president of SeaDream Yacht Club. “That experience is equally delivered shore side as our the crew shares their favorite activities in the islands through one-of-a-kind shore excursions.”

With 10 mountain bikes onboard each mega-yacht, guests can bike to the secluded beaches including Flamenco Beach in Culebra, the intimate coves in Esperanza and Shoal Bay in Anguilla. Nature preserves like the Turtle Sanctuary in Bequia and watching the dolphins at Soper’s Hole are led by crew. For the most ambitious, a tour circumnavigating the island of Nevis or mountain biking to the bottom of Saba are popular ways to work off a delicious lunch. Guests on SeaDream this season can enjoy crew-led hikes on many of the smaller islands in the Caribbean.

One of the many highlights of shore side casuals includes an incredible hike on the tiny island of Culebrita. Part of a wildlife refuge and located approximately one mile east of the island of Culebra, this truly a nature lover’s paradise. Led by a knowledgeable crewmember, guests will hike to the only remaining Spanish-era structure in the Culebra archipelago, which is also the only permanent structure on the island. After taking in the views, guests will head to Playa Tortuga (Turtle Beach), which is named for the many sea turtles that use the beach for breeding grounds and surrounding waters for grazing.

SeaDream Yacht Club offers a myriad of crew-led, complementary shore excursions in numerous destinations giving guests many opportunities to explore their surroundings. A walk through Old San Juan to the El Morro Fortress offers guests the chance to explore the region’s rich history, while a circumnavigation bike ride on the tiny island paradise of Nevis is one of many ways for guests to enjoy the unspoiled serenity of natural Caribbean settings.

With an emphasis on relaxed luxury, guests can take advantage of the SeaDream Spa, with the highest therapist-to-guest ratio at sea. Both SeaDream I and SeaDream II are also equipped with wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and many other watersports activities, all of which can be launched directly from the yachts’ Marina. While passengers sailing with other lines fight the crowds in larger ports, guests sailing with SeaDream Yacht Club will enjoy an experience like none other, visiting ports that only they can access.

Fully inclusive yachting fares begin at $3,999 based on double occupancy. For inquiries, contact a travel professional or SeaDream Yacht Club at 1-800-707-4911 or visit

About SeaDream Yacht Club

SeaDream Yacht Club has achieved the industry’s highest accolades for its two twin, casually elegant mega-yachts, SeaDream I and SeaDream II. With a maximum of only 112 guests and a 95-person award-winning crew, “It’s yachting, not cruising,” defines not only the size of the vessels, but the onboard lifestyle and anticipatory service. SeaDream Yacht Club provides a yachting experience visiting small harbors and ports around the world, many inaccessible by larger ships, on seven to 15-day voyages. An incredible array of services, activities, water toys, dining, wine, premium drinks and gratuities are available through SeaDream’s fully-inclusive fare. For more information, visit  or call 1-800-707-4911.

Book Your Beach Resort at a Discount

Royal Caribbean outlines hi-tech innovations for Quantum of the Seas

August 26, 2014 on 11:21 am | In Cruise Boats | Comments Off

Goddess Swimwear from Today ShowRoyal Caribbean International is installing a range of tech features for new ship Quantum of the Seas, including chip-enabled smart wristbands, that can unlock cabins, radio frequency identification (RFID) enabled bag tagging and even a robotic bartender.

The wristbands offer access to cabins and operate as a streamlined payment gateway for onboard purchases.

Guests can track their luggage in real time from drop-off prior to the sailing until disembarkation.

Also, guests can produce their boarding documents online and upload a photo ID to shorten the often lengthy check-in process.

Speaking at a press event at the ship’s construction dock in Germany, Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain said Quantum’s guests will go from “sidewalk to ship in 10 minutes.”

Vastly improved internet speeds are also planned for the Quantum-class ships, or as Fain says “boatloads of bandwidth.”

Another interesting innovation announced is a robotic bartender able to mix drinks at the aptly named Bionic Bar.

Guests place orders via tablets and watch as the ‘bartender’ makes the perfect Martini.

Fain also said Quantum is out of dry dock and will begin sea trials by the end of September.

Following swiftly behind, Anthem of the Seas is being prepared for assembly in dry dock in September.

Check Antarctica Off Your Bucket List

August 26, 2014 on 11:11 am | In Adventure Travel, Argentina, Chile, Cruise Boats, South America, Uruguay | Comments Off

Is traveling to Antarctica on your bucket list? If you go this upcoming season, you’d join about 36,000 other adventurous travelers who take cruise ships to the bottom of the world.

During the upcoming Antarctic season, from November through March, 36,545 tourists are expected to visit, according to estimates compiled by the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO). That’s a slight dip from the 37,405 who visited in 2013-14, which was a 9 percent increase from the previous year.

Still, both totals are considerably below the peak of 46,265 people who visited Antarctica during the 2007-08 austral summer.

“After a period of strong annual growth in the number of tourists visiting Antarctica in the period from 2003 to 2007-08, the numbers dropped dramatically,” said Dr. Kim Crosbie, executive director of IAATO. “It is believed that this is primarily due to the global economic downturn, which affected many in the travel industry. The following seasons saw a steady decrease, including a further notable drop in 2011-12 following the subsequent ban of the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil.”

In the 2011-12 season, only 26,500 people visited Antarctica. But after that, cruise ships adjusted to the heavy fuel oil ban and the total number of visitors rose and now remains between 34,000 and 37,000.

“Since 2011-12, there has been a slight recovery in the overall numbers although there is little change forecast for this coming season,” Crosbie said. “Within the annual changes over the past few seasons, there have been some interesting trends, such as the increase in the number of Chinese tourists and the growth in some of the smaller sectors of the industry such as air-cruise operations.”

For the upcoming season, IAATO estimates that 71 percent of the visitors will travel to the Antarctic Peninsula on vessels carrying fewer than 500 passengers that make landings ashore. About 27 percent will visit on ships with more than 500 passengers, which do not make landings. Just 1 percent will fly to the Antarctic Peninsula.

In all, 54 vessels are expected in 2014-15.

Most travelers to Antarctica — 33.2 percent — were from the U.S. during the 2013-14 season, according to IAATO. Others visited from Australia (11 percent), China (8.9 percent), U.K. (8.1 percent), Germany (7.7 percent), Canada (5.4 percent), France (2.7 percent) and Switzerland (2.3 percent). Just under 21 percent came from a variety of other countries.

The growth in Chinese visitors is dramatic, rising from just 0.2 percent 10 years ago to almost 9 percent last year.

Another interesting trend noted by Crosbie is the rise of air-cruise combinations. These trips fly travelers to the Antarctic’s South Shetland Islands, where they board ships to make landings on the peninsula. Last year, 5 percent of Antarctic visitors took this style of trip.

Quark Expeditions offers several such trips, which allow travelers to fly over the notoriously rough Drake Passage and shorten an Antarctic adventure. The eight-day “Antarctic Express: Fly the Drake” trip departs Jan. 20 and is priced from $8,995. The three-hour flight from Punta Arenas, Argentina, lands on King George Island.

The vast majority of people take cruises that begin in southern South America, primarily Ushuaia, Argentina. Hurtigruten offers 10-day trips from $7,985 with departures on Nov. 19, 2014, and Jan. 4 and 16, 2015, as well as Nov. 17, 2015, and Jan. 4 and 16, 2016. The cruises are operated by the 256-passenger Fram.

One of the coolest options Hurtigruten offers is an overnight camping excursion, in which no more than 15 people spend the night on land in winter sleeping bags and expedition tents. The location and day of the camping adventure during the voyage will be determined by the local expedition team, depending on the weather and land conditions. It is priced from $530.

Silversea Cruises’ luxury expedition division has scheduled 10 departures, mostly round-trips from Ushuaia, on the 132-passenger Silver Explorer, from November to early March. Fares start at $10,150.

Luxury line Seabourn is operating four 21- to 24-day Antarctic voyages this season between Valparaíso, (Santiago) Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina, beginning Nov. 29, 2014, on the 450-passenger Seabourn Quest. The “Ultimate Antarctica & Patagonia” voyages will include a 17-person expedition team, which Seabourn says is one of the largest on any ship going to Antarctica. Fares start at $9,999, according to Seabourn’s website.

There also are expected to be just seven departures of cruises that sail through Antarctica but don’t make landings. Azamara Club Cruises offers one, a 17-night voyage Buenos Aires round-trip departing Jan. 10, 2015, priced from $6,199. It includes three days of cruising in the Antarctica Sound as well as visits to the Falkland Islands, Ushuaia and Montevideo, Uruguay.

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