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Benefits of adding pre and post days to your river cruise

If you can, always arrive early for your river cruise.  If you can, get to your starting destination a few days early.  I recommend 2-3 days but if you can only do 1, that’s OK.

This tip is not just for a river cruise, I recommend adding a few days for ANY trip you do.  River cruise, ocean cruise, land tour, etc…

Benefits of arriving early:

  • There’s no doubt that you’ll be starting in a wonderful city.  Spending some extra time there will be magnificent. Explore the city, do some of the things that are not part of the tour, venture out of the city to do something different.  Your travel advisor can give you some recommendations here.
  • It will help you get over jet lag for the start of your trip.
  • Flight delays are unpredictable.  Weather, mechanical issues, airline strikes, can affect your flight.  I’ve seen them all happen!  By leaving earlier, you minimize missing the start of your trip.  Most of the time you’ll be meeting your tour guides and fellow travelers over dinner on the first night and you don’t want to miss that!

In addition, you’ll be ending your river cruise in different spectacular city.  If you can add another couple days on the end of your trip, I always recommend that as well.  You’ve traveled a long way, why not make the most of it.

Here are some ideas:

  • Prague – Although Prague is not on a river, it’s a short bus or train ride from cruises that start or end in Germany on the Danube River.  Almost all river cruise lines offer pre or post cruise stays in Prague and they offer transfers to make it easy.
  • Amsterdam – One of the most popular river cruise itineraries are on the Rhine River.  Many either start or end in Amsterdam. This is an excellent city to spend a few extra days!
  • Vietnam and Cambodia river cruise on the Mekong River – Add some time in Halong Bay, Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap.
  • Ski the Swiss alps when starting or ending your Rhine River cruise from Basel.

We certainly don’t have to keep it just to the cities that start or end your river cruise.  It’s super easy to fly from one city to another in Europe.  

  • Experience London or Paris then hop on a flight or train to start your Rhine River cruise in Amsterdam.
  • One of my favorite countries in the world is Italy.  Spend some time in Rome, Florence, Naples, Venice… Uniworld has a river cruise starting in Venice on the Po.  Or hop on a short flight to your starting tour destination.
  • I’ve added a few days in Thailand as it’s just a short flight away!  Add a stay in Krabi, Thailand at the end of your river cruise to soak in the sun at some of the most beautiful beaches.  And the Thai food is the BEST I’VE EVER HAD!

There are MANY options!  As a travel advisor, I can offer some fantastic recommendations and help plan your trip from A to Z…


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Prediction: What the future of travel looks like in 2040

Here’s a fun and interesting article I came across.  There’s a new report released by Allianz Travel Insurance (they are a fantastic company providing travel insurance and a host of other things).  The article is “Future Travel Experience” which predicts what the travel industry will look like in the year 2040.

It’s written by renowned futurologist Ray Hammond who has 40 years experience writing about trends in the future.  He’s got a long record of accurate foresight and the UN has awarded him the Gold Medal of Services to Futurology in 2010.

Here’s what Ray Hammond predicts:

Virtual & Augmented Reality

Multi-sensory virtual reality will allow you toe “step into” your cruise ship and walk around.  Explore a city that you’ve been thinking about visiting. Walk around a museum half way around the world.  I know it may sound as if VR & AR will be taking the place of travel but that’s not the case. This may help you decide on what you’d like to experience in real life. 

 

Instant check-in thanks to new technology

Facial pattern recognition systems are already in experimental use at airports, and within 20 years computer systems that can reliably identify your face will be in widespread use to check-in seamlessly.

 

Hotel software assistants

While some luxury hotels will greet their guests with a human face, many business and budget hotels will use automated check-in and guidance to rooms provided by software assistants. Some hotels will even provide robotic baggage carriers to move luggage.

 

Super-fast trains

Cross-border train journeys will be smoother and much improved in many parts of the world. Computer networks and the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) will manage national and international rail networks, allowing trains to run faster and closer together. Train speed will also increase on most rail networks, with most high-speed trains running at speeds above 125 mph.

 

On-site 3D clothes printing

In 2040, it will be possible to send your measurements to your hotel in advance of your arrival and heavy or bulky clothes (e.g. raincoats or shoes) will have been printed out to await your arrival, reducing the amount of luggage the tourist of 2040 will have to transport. The low cost of 3D printed garments means travelers will be able to leave the clothes behind for local recycling.

 

Sustainable cruises

Cruise ships will be far more environmentally friendly than today’s giant ocean liners. Vessels will be powered by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), a light fossil fuel with almost no greenhouse gas emissions, transforming cruise vacations into one of the greenest ways to travel the world. The range of cruise destinations will also continue to grow, with Asia proving particularly fertile ground.

 

Space as a regular destination

For some travelers in 2040, the world may not be enough as it may not offer a sufficiently large choice of destinations. By that time, it’s likely that tourists will be flying to and from the Moon on a regular basis as they seek the experience of seeing the Earth from space.

A lot of these do not sound too far fetched, even space travel…

Let’s check back here in 2040 and we’ll see how Ray’s predictions came out!

Epic Total Solar Eclipse on a Cruise to Antarctica

Here’s a bucket list trip that doesn’t come around often.  If you want to take a once in a lifetime adventure, read on…

Back in 2003 Quark Expeditions became the first and only operator to successfully lead a Total Solar Eclipse sailing to the 7th continent, Antarctica.

The next total solar eclipse in Antarctica will be happening on December 4, 2021.  Quark will have 2 scheduled expeditions to witness this rare occurrence.

They’ll have world-renowned Eclipse experts like Mr. Eclipse Fred Espenak, Babak Tafreshi, and David Baron onboard to host talks and presentations.

One voyage includes the Antarctic Peninsula and wildlife-rich South Georgia, while the second also travels to the remote Falkland Islands. Both journeys highlight the wonders of an Antarctic expedition: towering icebergs, glaciers, whales, penguin rookeries, walruses, seals and other iconic wildlife, as well as visits to significant historic sites.

There will be several cruise and tour operators that will be offering Total Solar Eclipse expeditions.  Feel free to contact me to discuss what option is best for you.  And don’t forget to sign up for updates below.

 

Sign up here to keep updated with Solar Eclipse sailings!

Iceland Travel & Photography Adventure with Contiki

A photography journey with 2 professional photographers, exploring the best of Iceland’s natural beauty

Calling all travelers 35 and under.  Contiki launched a new itinerary called Iceland Photography Workshop and it’s hosted by 2 photographers:
– Jeremiah Davis (Instagram @ThatOneBlondKid)
– Jacob Riglin (Instagram @Jacob)

They both have huge following on Instagram.  Check out their Instagram accounts!

Contiki has hand picked Iceland’s most unique natural beauty for this Iceland workshop trip.  A week of travelling, teaching, creating, and collaborating.  With on-site tips for camera settings and angles, and real-world practice.  Whether your style is travel, portraits, music, brands, or drones, Jeremiah and Jacob have you covered with both photo and video.

The itinerary is 6 days from Reykjavik round trip.

Arrive on day one and meet the group, tour guides, along with Jacob & Jeremiah.

Day 2 – Explore the Icelandic wild in the Golden Circle. You’ll shoot the turquoise water ravines and the erupting geothermal geysers with Jacob and Jeremiah by your side. In the evening, eat dinner and gather for workshop sessions on Photoshop, and video editing.

Day 3 – Travel from Vik to Skaftafell to see more natural wonders. Vast pavements of volcanic rock await, as do rivers and glaciers. Finally, capture the canyon and volcano of Eldgjá, then finish up the day with workshop sessions on Lightroom and Drone piloting.

Day 4 – Travel from Skaftafell to Selfoss.  See the best of the south shore, exploring iconic black beaches and magnificent waterfalls. If you’re lucky, you may see pony-sized wild horses with teal blue eyes.

Day 5 – Travel from Selfoss back to Reykjavik.  Capture one of the most memorable Icelandic locations: The Blue Lagoon. Spend a few hours at the naturally warm blue pool. After that, we’ll finish the trip with one final workshop session on business development, leaving you with the tools and inspiration to make content your career.

Day 6 – Say goodbye to the new friends you make and head back home – or you can look to extend your trip in Iceland or elsewhere.

If you love travel and photography, or just want to visit Iceland, this is an amazing trip!

Contiki is a tour company exclusively for 18-35 year old.  They offer budget, adventure, and many different types of travel.  If you’re under 35, this is a great way to travel and meet new people.  My very first ever tour was with Contiki to Italy, and i absolutely loved it.  It was great meeting new friends and it was the start of my love for travel!

If you have any questions on this or anything else travel, please call me anytime at 305-814-8184!

New River Cruise Ships Coming in 2020

As you may know, the AmaMagna was the IT ship for 2019.  It’s a wonderful ship that sails the Danube River.  I talked a little about this in a podcast last week.  It’s twice the width of the average river ship.  It’s currently sailing on it’s inaugural season and it’s a wonderful ship!

So, what’s new for 2020?

AmaWaterways launched 3 new ships for 2019 including the AmaMagna.  For 2020 they’ll be introducing 1, the AmaSiena in July.  The AmaSiena will sail on the Main, Rhine, and Mosel.  Ama builds their own ships which is not a common practice.  Most river cruise lines lease ships.  Ama builds and owns them so they have all the say in how they want them build.  And they win awards all the time!

Tauck (luxury tour company in operation since 1925, fully all inclusive, and one of the best tour operators and river cruises in the world, these guys do it right).  Tauck is launching a new river ship for the Douro, ms Andorinha.  Very intimate with just 84 guests.  A beautiful ship to sail on Portugal’s river of gold.

Uniworld is going to be super busy in 2020.  They have 4 new ships (well, 3 new and 1 complete renovation).  Uniworld is ultra luxury and has a distinctive interior design that’s classically modern European elegance.

– S.S. La Venezia sails in Italy on the Po River.  This is their former ship, the River Countess.  It’s being completely redone and made into a Super Ship.  Uniworld has been busy refitting some of their older ships.

– S.S. Sao Gabriel will sail on the Douro.  Also intimate with just 84 guests.

– S.S. Sphinx launches on the Nile in Egypt this January 4.

– Mekong Jewel sets sail on the Mekong on January 3.  I did a Mekong river cruise last year and it was one of my favorite trips.  I highly recommend it.

And of course, there’s hardly a year without a new Viking river ship.  Viking has 1 coming in 2020, the Viking Osiris sailing on the Nile.

In the U.S.:

American Queen Steamboat company is introducing the American Countess sailing on the Mississippi.  This is a true paddlewheeler with a classic decor and that brings you back to another time.  It’s not completely new, the hull dates from 1995 but American Queen Steamboat Company is stripping it down to the steel frame, adding a new 60 foot midsection, so it’ll essentially be a new ship.

American Cruise lines has the American Jazz coming in August 2020 and the American Melody soon after.  Both will sail on the Mississippi – contemporary style and modern with a unique opening bow and retractable gangway at the front of the ship.

Feeling a bit more adventurous?  An Amazon River Cruise should be on your bucket list. It’s the wold’s second longest river and more than a third of the world’s animal species live in this vast river basin’s rainforest.

Aqua Expeditions (they sail luxury river cruises and yachts) is introducing the Aqua Nera.  Small ship with no more than 40 guests.  It’s a stunning ship, i’ll link some photos in the show notes.