Home » Travel Idea

Category: Travel Idea

A Magical Holiday Christmas River Cruise

I love the Christmas Holidays.  Once we get to Thanksgiving, I start feeling that Christmas spirit.  Christmas music around the clock, Christmas movies, the cooler weather.  I love it all. 
 
As much as I love to river cruise.  Combine them, perfection.
A Christmas river cruise is pure magic.  And the Christmas season is one of the best times to go to Europe.  A true winter wonderland.
 
Glide by storybook villages and snow-capped castles on the riverside.
 
Each year, timeless traditions spring to life at European Christmas Markets, where rows of colorful lights illuminate cobblestone streets and charming booths brimming with traditional handcrafted souvenirs in historic town squares. 
 
A river cruise visits some of the most delightful Christmas markets.
Indulge in gingerbread, Christmas cookies and sugary chimney cakes
Feast on mulled wine or sip hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.
Shop for Hand-carved toys and ornaments from Christmases past.
Listen to Angelic songs of strolling carolers.  
And romantic ice-skating in front of the beautifully illuminated Vienna City Hall.

Some of the time honored Christmas Markets include:

– The Budapest Christmas Market – it’s Hungary’s largest.  It’s strict “handcrafted-only” policy makes it the ideal shopping spot for the one of a kind gift.
– Vienna – situated in front their impressive 19th century town hall with awe inspiring decorations that illuminate the city.
– Strasbourg, France – the self proclaimed “Capital of Christmas”.  The oldest, largest, and most famous Christmas Markets in France. 
– Nuremberg, Germany – One of the largest and most popular in all of Europe.  Nuremberg’s 400 year old Christmas Market offers live music, hand crafted souvenirs, a nostalgic carousel, and a children’s steam train.
– Regensburg, Germany – which an independent jury has described as one of the loveliest in Germany
– Cologne, Germany – featuring their specialty – potato pancakes with applesauce
You’ll be transported from one Christmas wonderland to another by river ship. 
 
Onboard festivities include music performances, tree trimming, exquisite feasts, and engaging in customs that have long since passed.  

Christmas river cruises sail on the Rhine, Danube, and on the Seine in Paris:

– Danube river cruises sail from Budapest to Germany (Vilshofen, Passau, Nuremberg).  Extend in Prague which is less than 2 hours from where the cruise ends in Germany.  Transfer and hotels included so no need to worry about how you’re getting there.
 
– Rhine river cruises sail from Amsterdam to Basel.  Extend in Paris or Switzerland.
 
– Or a Parisian holiday on the Seine. 
 
Christmas river cruises start when the Christmas Markets open (Towards the end of November – could start as early as the 22nd or as late as the 29th).
 
Best time to go, I’d say anytime.  My opinion, that early part of December.
 
There’s also cruises that are out on Christmas day so you can celebrate on the ship.  And you can even celebrate the new year on a river cruise.  Keep in mind that most Christmas Markets do end just after Christmas day so if you’re most interested in the Christmas Markets, go a bit earlier in the month.
 
Christmas on a European river cruise is magical.  It’s a great option for couples and families.  If you’re looking for a holiday getaway, I would highly recommend a river cruise.  No better way to get into the Christmas spirit.
Please feel free to call with any questions at 305-814-8184!

Seabourn Journeys to some Spectacular Destinations

In the old days of cruising, when I say this, I mean in the last decade or so, a cruises ship was the destination.  You booked a cruise for all the activities on board (and the food).  Sometimes, you didn’t even get off the ship at your ports of call.  More and more, people craved something different from their cruise.  Better food and more of an enriching experience.

After all, a ship can access some of the worlds most intriguing and unique ports of call.  But sometimes a day is not enough to experience a destination.  You need more time to explore.

Seabourn has taken this to a new level.

Seabourn is an ultra luxury cruise line that takes you to all 7 continents with top notch service and intimate ships.

They introduced 4 new Seabourn Journeys in 2020 to exceptional destinations in Europe.  These are extensions that you can add to your cruise before or after your voyage.  These are not your ordinary single day excursions from the ship.  They can last from 6 to 13 days.

These journeys enable you to combine exceptional land and sea experiences seamlessly.  They’re kept small, between 2 and 10 guests.  This offers a more intimate and personalized adventure.

There are 14 options and most visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

  • UNESCO Banff National Park & The Rocky Mountaineer
  • UNESCO SOUTH AMERICA: RIO, IGUAZU FALLS & BUENOS AIRES
  • UNESCO Splendors Of Peru: Lima, Cuzco & Machu Picchu
  • UNESCO Sydney, The Red Centre & Great Barrier Reef
  • UNESCO Lakeside Gems Of The Swiss Alps
  • UNESCO Treasures Of Tuscany
  • UNESCO Cambodia: Phnom Penh & The Temples Of Angkor
  • UNESCO Treasure Of China: Beijing, Xi’an & Hong Kong
  • UNESCO India’s Golden Triangle: The Taj Mahal & Jaipur
  • UNESCO Imperial Heritage Of Europe
  • South Africa: Cape Town & Kruger Park Safari Lodge
  • South Pole Quest
  • The Denali Experience 2020
  • Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

These are some fantastic pre and post cruise options.  Many cruise lines offer extensions, although not all on this grand level.  Whether you book your extension with the cruise line or set something up on your own, I always recommend adding a couple days before and or after.

If you have any questions, please feel free to write us or call 305-814-8184.

If you’re heading to Rome, you’re going to want to get today’s tip!

Are you planning a trip to Rome, Italy?  If you are, make sure that you purchase your tickets to see the Roman Colosseum ahead of time.  New for 2019, visitors to the Colosseum need to schedule, in advance, their entry time. Head over to their website at https://www.coopculture.it/en/colosseo-e-shop.cfm

My advice is to book your time slot for when they open in the morning, 8:30 AM.  This way, you’ll beat the crowds and the mid-day heat!

Travel and Leisure has a new article titled “Europe’s Most Underrated City Has an Amazing Christmas Market, Over 30 Parks, and Some of the World’s Best Hot Chocolate”.  The article explains how Warsaw, Poland has a FANTASTIC Christmas Markets.  If you love visiting the Christmas Markets in Budapest, Vienna, Prague, or Germany, but hate the crowds, Warsaw may be the PERFECT option for you.

Here’s a link to the Travel and Leisure article – https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/city-vacations/visit-warsaw-poland-europe

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 305-814-8184.

This years top 10 most popular and fastest growing destinations

Virtuoso’s list of this years hottest upscale destination for fall into winter travel.

Top 10 most popular destination for fall 2019 are as follows:
1. United States
2. Italy
3. United Kingdom
4. France
5. South Africa
6. Israel
7. Australia
8. Germany
9. Japan

10. Spain

Interested in something a bit more adventurous or something different?

Here’s a list of the Hot 10 ranking of emerging places with the largest year-over-year percentage increase in fall travel bookings:
1. Uruguay
2. The Maldives
3. Malta
4. Romania
5. Egypt
6. Puerto Rico
7. Rwanda
8. Qatar
9. South Korea

10. Norway

Please feel free to call us at 305-814-8184 with questions.

Destination – Switzerland! Journey by high class rail

Switzerland is one of the most beautiful countries with it’s shimmering lakes, scenic mountains, medieval villages, and high peaks of the Alps.  With bordering neighbors like France, Germany, Austria, and Italy, Switzerland can often be overlooked.  But it shouldn’t be!

There’s a new itinerary offered by Cox & King, Switzerland & Snow-Capped Alps.  The full itinerary is below.

Highlights of this wonderful itinerary include:

  • High Class rail trip through Switzerland
  • Horse drawn carriage ride in the Val Fex valley
  • Exploring Chillon Castle
  • A medieval fortress on an island in Lake Geneva
  • A private sledding ride crosses alpine meadows and frozen waterfalls ending at a small local restaurant for dinner
  • A chocolate making workshop and tasting traditional fondue
  • Much more!

Switzerland & Snow – Capped Alps

12 DAYS & 11 NIGHTS, PRIVATE JOURNEY 

PRICING FROM: $9,599

Zurich, Sils Maria, Zermatt, Vevey, Interlaken & Lucerne

Enjoy sublime views of mountains and glaciers and take in the local culture as you travel by train through Switzerland on this journey. Begin your journey with a tour of life in Zermatt. Ride into the idyllic Fex Valley on horse-drawn carriage. Rise above 29 peaks on the Gornergrat Railway and revel in the breathtaking views. Learn to make chocolate in the Swiss Alps. In Lucerne, discover hidden valley and town squares. Travel through the country at ease with high class rail.

  • Day 1

    Arrive Zurich

    Welcome to Zurich! This afternoon, meet your private guide and embark on a highlights walking tour of Zurich. During your exploration of old town, you will uncover the secrets of Bahnhofstrasse, find out what a “procession axis” is, and visit a church with a clock that has a minute-hand that jumps a record-breaking half meter every minute.

    Unique Hotel Post

  • Day 2

    Sils-Maria

    Enjoy a scenic first class train ride to St. Moritz. Upon arrival, you will be assisted to your elegant hotel.
    This afternoon, you can choose to book an optional scenic helicopter flight with a culinary stopover, or explore on your own. Spend the night in Sils-Maria.

    Hotel Waldhaus – 2 Nights (B)

  • Day 3

    Sils-Maria

    A trip by horse-drawn carriage into the Val Fex is one of the most romantic experiences far and wide. Enjoy your ride, and then try fondue in the area around the beautiful Fex Valley. Later on relax by taking advantage of the hotel’s spa facilities.

    Hotel Waldhaus (B)

  • Day 4

    Sils-Maria to Zermatt

    After breakfast, meet with your driver who will take you to St. Moritz train station. There, you will board the famous Glacier Express. Enjoy a 3-course meal while taking in the breath-taking sights. Spend the night in your elegant hotel in Zermatt.

    Grand Hotel Zermatterhof – 2 Nights (B, L)

  • Day 5

    Zermatt

    Enjoy a stroll through Zermatt before taking the Gornergrat Railway to an altitude of 10135 above sea level, with a breath-taking mountain panorama overlooking 29 peaks over 4,000m high. This afternoon, take some time to explore Zermatt or relax in the hotel spa.

    Grand Hotel Zermatterhof (B)

  • Day 6

    Zermatt to Vevey

    Take the train from Zermatt to Vevey. Upon arrival, we suggest to either enjoy a private tour of the world famous Charlie Chaplin Museum. Another option is to explore the wine region Laveaux which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Grand Hotel Du Lac – 2 Nights (B)

  • Day 7

    Vevey

    Explore Chillon Castle, a medieval fortress on an island in Lake Geneva. Listed as “Switzerland’s most visited historic monument,” this is a stop you cannot miss on your journey through this beautiful and mountainous country.

    Grand Hotel Du Lac (B)

  • Day 8

    Vevey to Interlaken

    Take the train to Interlaken and enjoy the beautiful snow covered mountain resort which is presided over by the three mighty mountains of Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Upon arrival, participate in a Chocolate Workshop, in which you will produce your own masterpiece of 400 g chocolate. After the chocolate workshop, you have the option to book a private sledding night in the Swiss Alps.

    Along the way the trail winds through the woods, crosses alpine meadows and passes majestic frozen waterfalls. The sled run finishes at a small local restaurant where you can enjoy a traditional Swiss cheese fondue dinner.

    Victoria Jungfrau – 2 Nights (B)

  • Day 9

    Interlaken

    Visit Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe, on a self-guided tour. Enjoy breath-taking views of the Aletsch Glacier as you travel.

    Victoria Jungfrau (B)

  • Day 10

    Interlaken to Lucerne

    Travel by train over the Brunigpass, towards picturesque Lucerne, on the famous Golden Pass Line. The afternoon is at your leisure, spend it exploring the city, or else enjoying your hotel spa.

    Grand Hotel National – 2 Nights (B)

  • Day 11

    Lucerne

    Lucerne is the gateway of central Switzerland. Situated on Lake Lucerne, it is embedded within an impressive mountainous panorama. Today, enjoy a private walking city tour as well as an excursion to Mount Pilatus. On the tour you will learn important and humorous facts about the history of Lucerne and the everyday life of its residents. You will discover hidden alleys, visit town squares teeming with activity and even catch a glimpse of the city’s “crown,” the Musegg Wall.

    Grand Hotel National (B)

  • Day 12

    Depart

    Travel by train back to Zurich or Geneva for your onward journey or your return flight home.

    (B)

    Interested in more information?  Please feel free to call me at 305-814-8184 or send me a note here!


     

    Sign up to keep updated on happenings with the Ritz Carlton Yacht Collection