Late Breaking News: Sales For Solos

Two new excellent offers waive the “single supplement”
onerous and often excessive, required of those traveling solo

The venerable 90 year old Tauck – gold standard of U.S. tour operators, is again rolling out the red carpet for solo travelers in a variety of riverboat cruises and guided land tours… reduced rates and supplement fees eliminated as an added attraction to a form of travel already perfectly suited to solos. Click directly on to navigate their vast array of solo specials in 158 departures, 64 itineraries to five continents.

Exotic Cruises

Book quick, before Oct 21, 2013 on any of the five glorious cruises operated by award-winning British company and avoid all single supplement charges:

13-days “In the Footsteps of St Paul” departing Oct. 21 cruise from Istanbul to Athens
17-days “Windows on the Ancient World” from Athens on Nov. 2 to Sharm-el-Sheikh
16-days “Tales of India & Arabia” on Dec. 4 from Dubai to Colombo
16-days “East to Myanmar & the Orient” on Dec. 19 from Colombo to Port Kelang
17-days “Asian Capitals & the Magic of Vietnam” cruise departing Jan. 3, 2014, from Port Kelang to Hong Kong

For all info as well as details of the 540-passenger Voyager, check out one of
England’s preeminent tour operators, the multi-award winning Voyages of Discovery.

Exotic Small Ship Trips/Happy Holidays!

A good company to know: AdventureSmith Explorations operates a treasure trove of small expedition ships along a vast variety of itineraries, perfect for “soft” adventure-lovers. Their ships carry from 36 to 189 guests and feel like private yachts so if one is sailing solo, one is bound to meet, travel and celebrate with like-spirited travelers. The top destination for dynamic social interaction, and thus great for solos, is always their Antarctica trips.

Anchors aweigh. “From the Antarctic Peninsula to Panama, guests can enjoy either ice-capades or blue-sea snorkeling,” says Todd Smith founder and owner, adding that “trips just before and right after the holiday season come with “terrific discounts” and better availability.

More good news: unlike mega ships that usually charge extra for shore excursions, guests on small expedition ships enjoy exciting, clever and stimulating treks, rides and outings on land at no extra charge.

A sprinkling of cabins is still available for the 2013-2014 holidays
—and here we go:

Range of prices: $3,000 to $16,000 pp.

The company is also fully set up to assist with hotels to bookend your cruise and if a particular cruise is sold out, contact them for alternatives.

Founded in 2003, California-based AdventureSmith Exploration’s Todd Smith was named Condé Nast Traveler Top Travel Specialist of 2013. Call: 800-728-2875 for full scoop.


Knit One, Cruise Too!

The age-old handicraft of knitting is experiencing a renaissance as a younger generation rediscovers its social and creative appeal. Knitting has become cool!  And in today’s digital world, more and more people are embracing the artisanal, the do-it-yourself, and the handmade.

Knitting is easy. It appeals to both men and women of any age, and it’s creative, meditative and sociable. Plus there’s the fashionista factor: knitting encourages self-expression and individuality.

Way-advance notice:  For the next New Year’s Eve, award-winning river cruise line, AmaWaterways, will ring in  2015 with a new theme, innovative and charming – a Knitting New Year’s Cruise on the Danube River from Dec. 27, 2014 – Jan. 2, 2015 aboard the three-year old,161-passenger AmaBella.

“Knitting appeals to a great swath of age groups these days, and we thought it would be a fun and creative outlet for our guests,” says Kristin Karst, Executive Vice President and Co-Owner. “This cruise will bring together a community of knitters and give them opportunities to learn new techniques, find inspiration, and show off their personal style and creativity.”  It will showcase the latest in luxury yarns, fashion trend forums and new stitch patterns, and techniques. Acclaimed textile expert Barry Klein, owner of Trendsetter Yarns in Los Angeles, will host.

In the southern Bavarian Forest, push off onto the Danube from Vilshofen, a Gothic fairy tale of a city centered on a time-capsule Old Town. Guided tours (at no extra cost) of each port city: Linz, Vienna (birthplace of apple strudel,) Bratislava, Budapest and in Austria, an in-depth tour of Melk’s magnificent Benedictine Abbey founded in 1089.
New Year’s Eve will be one of music, dancing and champagne midnight toasts.

Amenities abound. One of the most advanced ship designs in the river cruise industry, the AmaBella features spacious staterooms (many with balconies), multiple dining areas, a swimming pool and fitness room, free bikes, cooking demonstrations and onboard musical performances. Very well-priced starting at $2,799.

“Young knitters may be using the same techniques and equipment as previous generations, but their use of Facebook and Twitter to form online communities and share patterns is a distinctly modern twist,” added Karst. “Think of this cruise as an onboard knitting meetup for people of all levels, from beginners to advanced. It will definitely be a unique and fashion-forward way to ring in 2015.”

Cruise With The Stars Of The New York Times

The Times, they are a-changin’.

Avid readers and lifelong learners can sail away together with New York Times star columnists and reporters on the first cruise of its kind:  twelve nights in the eastern Mediterranean aboard the Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam, October 5-17, 2012.

Beef up that brain! Escalate that IQ! Times journalists will engage participants in conversation, discussions and thought-provoking analysis of current events, film, science, music and technology.  This innovative cruise provides an intimate setting where guests can absorb and explore various perspectives on relevant issues, events and pursuits in the buoyant atmosphere of ideas at sea.

Visit some of the most enchanting and culturally rich destinations in that part of the world: Venice, Montenegro, GreeceTurkey and Croatia.

Anchors Away!   Sample Seminars:

  • JOE NOCERA: The State of the Economy – Can the Euro Survive? – How to Fix College Sports – Throw Things at Joe Nocera
  • WILLIAM PAYNE: Creating a New Play – Global Change – Critiquing Election Drama – Ancient Greek Theater
  • WILLIAM C. RHODEN:  Gender and Sports – Intercollegiate Athletics - The $40 Million Slave: Race and Power in Sports
  • DAN SCHNUR: The West Wing Comes To Life – Dissecting The Electorate by Demography – Advances in Communications Technology Both Empower and Polarize
  • A. O. SCOTT: Why Criticism (Still) Matters – Red, White and Blue Carpet Night - World Cinema in the 21st Century – Pedro Almodovar’s Melodramatic Imagination
  • BARBARA STRAUCH: Talents of the Middle-Aged Brain – Reporting Science in a Changing World

Even more interesting, the October cruise has two price components: the cruise cost and the conference fee. Cruise costs range from $1,799 to $6,099 pp (plus taxes). For “Good-Time-Charlies” and the mentally exhausted, or those who do not want to cruise and shmooze, save the conference fee of $1,575, which includes about 30 hours of programming and two cocktail receptions, and lollygag ashore in the seductive ports of the eastern Med.

For the full scoop on the itinerary, the ship, pre- and post- tours and programs, please click here.


Sail on the Top of the World to the Finnish Line

Award-winning Hurtigruten has operated voyages along the craggy Norwegian coast since 1893. This year guests will be crossing the 71st parallel during their top-ranking “North Cape” cruise.  The 71st is the northernmost point on the European continent — way north of Iceland – and very valuable for bragging rights as a claim few people can make.

Plying these nippy sub-Arctic waters in the part of the world known as “Finnmark” offers a rich tapestry of Sami, Russian and Finnish cultures.  Summer visitors see grazing reindeer and Sami camps, and in winter a special bus follows a snow plow up the final eight miles to reach the 1,000-foot high plateau where, bracing against the winds, you get to stand beside the iconic North Cape globe for photographic proof positive that you have literally stood at the top of the world.

Top stop, Tromsø, Norway’s biggest city north of the Arctic Circle, was named top cruise destination for 2012 by Frommer’s. “The Midnight Concert in the Arctic Cathedral” in the candlelit Tromsdalen Church is always a high note. Another highlight: the Polaria Centre, an aquarium and theater featuring educational programs about the Northern Lights (greatest show not on earth), and local polar bears and seals.  Opportunity to ride a dog sled or just meet and greet the huskies without sledding.

As a world leader in expedition cruising to the most remote of destinations – including Antarctica, Greenland and the Arctic’s Spitsbergen, Hurtigruten’s fleet of 14 intimate ships (100 -646 guests each) offers a vast menu of thrilling excursions in the 34 ports between Bergen and Kirkenes …  anyone for a Viking feast in Stamsund-Svolvaer or a scooter expedition in Lapland?

Chill out!  Check out:  Or call (877) 301-3117.


Sea the World

Tip top rated, fancy pants Crystal Cruises has just announced a menu of 300 adventure escapades for its January 18-April 21, 2012World Cruise – almost a year in advance of sailing. The Crystal Serenity sails round-trip from Los Angeles through the South Pacific, Australia, Asia (Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, and Japan), Russia, Alaska, and Canada: a grand total of 35 ports-of-call, this “Epic Islands and Empires” World Cruise lasts 94 days. [Segments of 16-22 days can be selected.]

Sample “boutique escapades”:

  • Volcano fly-overs near Petropavlovsk, Russia
  • Cuddling koalas in Australia
  • Zipline diving in Singapore
  • Biking in Bali
  • Motorcycling in Alaska
  • Whale watching in British Columbia

Many “Maiden” calls in such exotic ports as: Akureyri, Iceland; Damascus,  Beirut, Klaipeda, Lithuania; St-Jean-de-Luz,France; Bonifacio, Corsica; Buzios, Brazil; and the Magdalen Islands, Canada.  The world’s their oyster.

Crystal’s 17th annual full World Cruise includes a complimentary three-day Beijing Land Package, free First Class air from 20+ North American gateways.

To check it out call 888-799-4625, or visit