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128 feet above the sea and 29 feet out from the side of the ship, the Seawalk is one of Royal Princess' exciting new features!
July 8, 2013 Press Release by Oceania Cruises
Oceania Cruises, the award-winning upper-premium cruise line, announced today its first ever Around the World in 180 Days cruise, a star-studded, port-intensive 180-day voyage aboard the 684-guest Insignia, setting sail round-trip from Miami on January 10, 2015.
This extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime voyage visits five continents, 44 countries and 89 ports of call and will feature 11 overnight calls plus 4 two-night calls in Cape Town, South Africa; Yangon, Myanmar (Burma); Singapore, Singapore; and Shanghai, China.
Insignia's 180-day journey begins by visiting boutique ports in the Caribbean then steers south to South America and east to Africa before heading to India, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Hawaii before returning via the Panama Canal to Miami on July 8, 2015.
"As the leading specialist in destination cruising, we wanted to create a unique port- intensive voyage that reflects the dreams of the true explorer, rather than speed across the seas racing to the next convenient port as is the norm in a typical 100- to 110-day world cruise," said Kunal S. Kamlani, the line's president. "By eliminating the 100-day time constraint, we freed ourselves to conceive a remarkable dream voyage designed to visit the world's most fascinating destinations."
In addition to crossing the equator four times and sailing through all 24 time zones, the Around the World in 180 Days cruise will traverse three oceans and 10 seas, call on 45 islands and offer the chance to visit 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Of the 89 ports visited on this extraordinary cruise, 13 are new to Oceania Cruises, including Corinto, Nicaragua; El Guamache (Isla Margarita), Venezuela; Langkawi, Malaysia; Santa Marta, Colombia; and Xiamen, China.
Guests will also enjoy a one-night pre-cruise luxury hotel stay in Miami and free exclusive shoreside events in Walvis Bay, Namibia; Myanmar; Bangkok; Beijing and Honolulu. Please click here to view the full itinerary.
Offer features 2-for-1 cruise fares, first class airfare, pre-paid gratuities, free luggage valet and free onboard medical service
Bookings for the Around the World in 180 Days cruise open at 8 a.m. EST on July 17, 2013, and feature two-for-one cruise fares, free FIRST CLASS round-trip airfare and free pre-paid gratuities. Additionally, guests will receive a free visa package including entry visas for 16 countries, unlimited Internet and laundry service, luggage delivery, round-trip transfers and free onboard medical service, a first for the industry.
"We expect that many of our Around the World guests will be experienced cruisers and therefore will be over the age of 60," Kamlani added. "In order to eliminate the stress of worrying about everyday medical issues, we have included free onboard medical service for our Around the World guests for the duration of the cruise."
Guests must book by 9 p.m. EST on September 17, 2013, to receive early booking fares beginning at $39,999 per person.
Around the World guests will cruise aboard the Insignia, an elegant mid-size ship. Insignia is spacious enough to offer every modern comfort and amenity of larger ships, yet small enough to call on secluded bays and chic, seaside hamlets not accessible to most vessels. Gourmet cuisine crafted by acclaimed master chef Jacques Pépin is served in four open-seating restaurants, all at no additional charge. The ship features spacious, modern accommodations and a state-of-the-art fitness center, casino, boutique, large pool and the Canyon Ranch SpaClub®.
By Bonnie Snowhite, Travel Consultant, Travel of America
Attracted by weather cooler than we have in southern California during the summer, my family and I decided to take a seven-day, round-trip Holland America cruise out of Boston, along the New England coast and up to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Before embarking, we spent a few days in Boston visiting some of the many historical sites there.
We began exploring the town by following the Freedom Trail, marked on our tourist map, which took us to sixteen different historical sites along an easy three-and-a-half mile walk. We also purchased a two-day ticket on the Beantown Trolley, which allowed us to exit and re-board at any of its twenty stops. Points of interest include Beacon Hill, Faneuil Hall, King's Chapel, Bunker Hill Monument, Boston Common, and the Paul Revere House (Walking tours with knowledgeable guides dressed in period costumes are very popular). We also used the very economical streetcar system (the Charlie), which took us to Harvard University in neighboring Cambridge and along the scenic Charles River, with its lush green banks and bobbing sailboats. The river side park area is an excellent place to take pictures.
On our second night in Boston, we dined at the Union Oyster House, one of the oldest restaurants in America, housed in a building that dates back to 1742; the restaurant was established in 1826 as the Atwood and Bacon Oyster House. Its owners installed its famous semi-circle oyster bar, where legend has it that Daniel Webster was a regular and drank brandy and water each day, one tumbler after eating a plate of a half dozen oysters. He is said to have typically enjoyed six servings of oysters with the accompanying brandy and water. We enjoyed fine traditional seafood entrees amid the restaurant's eighteenth century decor.
After two days of sight-seeing, we boarded the cruise ship, the Maasdam, and began our seven-day voyage up along the New England coastline and into the Canadian Maritimes. The Maasdam is 720 feet long and holds 1,258 passengers. It featured a Culinary Arts Center, sponsored by Food and Wine magazine. Here guest gourmet chefs demonstrated techniques for a variety of dishes, followed by tastings. They also had cooking lessons for groups of passengers.
Our first port of call was Newport, Rhode Island, a premier summer resort for the rich and famous during the Gilded Age. By the turn of the century, many of America's wealthiest families–including the Vanderbilts, the Astors and the Wideners--built palatial summer mansions. It took the better part of a day touring just a few of these lovely old houses and hearing stories from our guides of the lives lived by these American aristocrats. The most impressive was the Vanderbilts' house. We also visited the house used in the filming of The Great Gatsby (starring Robert Redford and Mia Farrow).
When we arrived at Portland, Maine, our second port-of-call, we took a tram tour of places of interest around town. Most impressive was the Portland Head Light, the first lighthouse commissioned by President George Washington. This white, red-roofed columnar structure is surrounded on three sides by rock and thick brush except where it faces the sea. It was immediately apparent why it is purported to be the most photographed light house in the world. On our return to town, our tram passed the childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Our third port-of-call was the charming old town of Bar Harbor, Maine, on the east side of Mt. Desert Island and surrounded by fifty-square miles of Acacia National Park. Its highly varied beautiful terrain—with streams, thick woods, lakes and hiking trails—provided an excitingly lovely environment for our excursion on rented bicycles, which we had booked on board the ship. Our naturalist guide led us and about a dozen other riders along a nine-mile route called the Jordan Bubble loop, where we had thick woods on one side and lakes on the other.
After working up an appetite riding through the woods, we headed back to town, where we found a small waterfront sandwich shop that featured the most delicious lobster rolls in town (The trick to making this delicacy seems to be using plenty of fresh-caught lobster with nothing much added and putting this mound of heaven in a fresh, crispy roll).
Our next port of call was Halifax, the capitol of Nova Scotia. We decided to hire a cab for several hours, which we managed at a very reasonable price. The driver, a proud native of the city, enthusiastically pointed out many places of interest as we toured the city. He then took us out to a place called Peggy's Cove, a small fishing village 26 miles southwest of downtown Halifax, where many painters and photographers have settled to work and sell their art. We visited Peggy's Point Lighthouse, a classic red and white structure operated by the Canadian Coast Guard and probably one of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world since it has found its way into many local landscape paintings and photographs. Our final stop of the tour was Fairview Cemetery. Here, dispersed throughout the carefully tended lawns, we read the inscriptions on the gravestones of many of those who perished in the sinking of the Titanic.
Our final port of call was St. John, New Brunswick, the first incorporated city in Canada, located on the south-central portion of the province along the north shore of the Bay of Fundy and the mouth of the St. John River. This old city is divided by the south flowing river; the east side of the town is bordered by the smaller Kennebecasis River, where it meets the St. John River at the Bay of Fundy through a gorge several hundred feet wide at the center of the city. Here there you can experience a unique phenomenon called the Reversing Falls, where the diurnal tide of the bay reverses its flow for several miles. A series of underwater ledges at the narrowest point of the gorge also creates a series of rapids.
This was a relatively short cruise--seven days--that afforded my family and me diverse sights and varied environments. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing this part of our country and a bit of Canada at this time of the year, but I would also recommend this cruise in the autumn months when you will be struck by the beauty of the fall colors.
By Bonnie Snowhite, Travel Consultant, Travel of America
The lush garden-like islands of Fiji offered me and my family an exotic yet friendly environment to enjoy the beauty of the southern hemisphere tropics and experience native Fijian culture. Upon our 6:00 AM arrival in Nadi, the capitol of Fiji, we were greeted by a friendly Fijian representative of Rosie's Holidays, whom we had used to arrange for our accommodations and transportation to and from the airport. She welcomed us by presenting each of us with a shell lei, a huge smile and a brief introduction. We then boarded a modern air-conditioned motor coach and headed for our resort, the Hideaway, on the Coral Coast, which is on the southwestern side of Veti Luva Island and a two-hours' drive from Nadi. A number of large modern hotels and smaller establishments are scattered about this area. Most of the beaches here are of sparkling white sand that contrasts with the cobalt blue sea.
I had selected the Hideaway Resort because I had heard from clients that it has “a very Fijian feel” to it. Upon our arrival, we were escorted to our beachfront villa, which featured a comfortable king-sized bed. An area of the large bedroom was partitioned off and had a double bed and a private walk-in alcove.
We took our showers in an indoor-outdoor beautifully tiled bathroom, from which we could see the lovely plants that surrounded the villa – orchids in bloom and lush foliage. The villa also featured a large front patio just steps from the beach and the ocean. As we further explored the resort, we were greeted by the staff with smiles and the expression Bula (pronounced as boolah), which means welcome and also the wish for good health.
After we spent our first day unwinding from our 10-hour non-stop flight from LA, we decided to experience the life of Fijian people by taking an all-day tour of the Sigatora River and visiting an off-the-beaten-path village far up river. We arrived at the river by bus and then boarded a river boat that held about a dozen tourists and our guide and driver, who provided us with history and stories about the area, including the early Fijian practice of cannibalism (Fijians heartily enjoy the reaction they get from tourists who hear about this practice.) The boat glided for about ten miles past beautiful tropical vegetation, waterfalls trickling down the sides of spectacular rocks and occasional Fijians, mostly children, who waved to us as we passed.
When we reached the village, the inhabitants seemed very happy that we were visiting them. We were guided to the village chief's bur (house), where we were treated to a Kava ceremony (Kava is a leaf from local trees brewed like tea. The Kava tea is very mildly narcotic and enjoyed by many Fijians.) The village women brought us the traditional Fijian lunch dishes they had prepared, well spiced meats and local fruits. After lunch we joined the villagers in singing and arm-in-arm dancing. While the homes in the village were very basic, the people appeared to enjoy their lives and providing for guests.
Back at the Hideaway we were treated to their nightly local entertainment, which began with a Fijian singing group performing traditional Fijian songs as they strolled through the gardens of the resort accompanied by the lali drum. As the sun set, the performers began the torch ceremony, which kicked off the entertainment later in the evening. Singers performed a mix of local and international songs during dinner in the Chef's Restaurant. This program, with some variation, is repeated each evening.
We also found many more opportunities to enjoy ourselves. Rosie's Tours has a full-service tour desk in the lobby and arranges tours that include white water rafting, Zippline Fiji, day sailing, island tours, waterfall and cave tours, and shopping tours. The resort also has a dive shop right on its premises where we could rent a kayak or surf boards as well as scuba gear.
All in all we found Fiji to offer plenty family-friendly fun in a tropical setting second to none. And aside from the expense of the plane trip, accommodations, meals and tours are very reasonably priced.
Posted by Julia Washington at 1/15/2013 5:05 PM