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Design your dream wedding at Sandals Resorts


How easy is it to design your wedding at an adult only all inclusive Sandals Resort? Very easy and it’s all online!  I decided to check out this new tool, so pretended I was a bride choosing colors, cake styles, flowers, linens…the whole works! It was really quite fun, and very simple.  Let’s get those creative juices rolling!!

  • Go to Sandals web site
  • Click on Wedding and Honeymoons and then Design.
  • Choose your island
  • Now your color pallet.
  • Once you have selected your colors, choose your bouquet, boutonniere, and any other flowers you would like, such as table decorations, bridesmaid’s bouquet, and mother’s corsage.
  • Click on the quantity you’d like and the cost will be displayed.

At the end, a $500 Wedding credit will be subtracted and your total wedding cost calculated. And here’s the best part…. If the price is over or under your budget, just go back and add or delete items. No stress, no high pressure sales pitch, just the information you need to plan a dream wedding at Sandals!

Sandals is well-known for its free weddings, but not everyone is aware that the only requirement to snag that free wedding is a 3 night minimum stay and that’s in any room category not just top of the line luxury butler suites!  Many resorts offer free weddings but require 10 or more rooms booked as a group to qualify for the free wedding.  Sandals has a minimum too……one!

Many couples, particularly second marriages, don’t want the stress of planning a big wedding, worrying about photographers and caterers, and everything else that goes into planning a wedding. But they do want to mark the occasion with a romantic ceremony and Sandals Beautiful Beginnings Wedding is just the ticket!  It’s free, and still customizable!! Sandals also offers pre-designed wedding themes, which are available, at an additional cost.  The really cool thing is that within each package you can mix and match from the other pre-designed weddings.  Don’t like the center piece pre-selected for the Flutter of Romance package, but you love the one from the Vision in White?  No worries, just select the one you like!  I think this is one of the best features of the pre-designed weddings…you can personalize the themes!   There are 6 themes, so there’s plenty of options from which to choose.

Sandals understands that each couple likes to make their own choices, but still want to stay within their budget.  Each and every qualifying wedding is entitled to a $500 Wedding credit to be used to design your wedding.  Currently, Sandals is offering a bonus credit of $500 to enhance your Weddingmoon.  You can use the bonus to cover the government fees (which vary depending upon which island you chose), excursions, or even to upgrade your room.  So that’s $1,000 toward your personalized wedding!

As you may be aware, Sandals Resorts are all-inclusive, adult only, couples only resorts, however, many couples want to have either their own children, or nieces and nephews at their wedding.  No worries!  Beaches Resorts, which is the family side of the Sandals Resorts, is for everyone!   The same wedding options that are available at Sandals Resorts are also offered at Beaches family friendly all inclusive resorts.

With Sandals and Beaches Resorts on 7 Caribbean Islands, and 17 resorts available…more coming….I know that you will find the perfect match for you and your intended!  As a Sandals and Beaches Preferred Agency, Totem Travel has 3 Royal Chairman’s Club Specialist on staff and we have been to every single Sandals and Beaches Resort.

If an all inclusive honeymoon or Destination Wedding is in your future, whether it be just the two of you or a group of friends and family….please contact Totem Travel.  We can help you choose the best resort, select the perfect room category, make sure you get the best specials and deals and create the wedding and honeymoon of your dreams. We’re even offering wedding show specials for honeymoons booked by March 31, 2015 so call us!

 

 

Will children enjoy an escorted tour of Europe?


Hohenschwangau Castle Bavaria resize

Will children enjoy an escorted tour of Europe? As a general rule probably not, but there is an exception to every rule and Globus Family Travel has found the magic key to the successful family tour. Many tour companies let anyone join their family vacations, but Globus requires at least one child age 5-17 to be part of every family travel reservation. So your kids are guaranteed to have other kids along and that makes the tour more fun for everyone! Parents will connect with other parents and grandparents can do what they do best:  fawn over the grandchildren!

The love of travel is one of the greatest gifts you can give your children and it’s highly educational too. Kids actually visit the places they learn about in school, so history, art, architecture, even science comes to life with the help of a talented guide and life size props like the Colosseum of Rome, Big Ben in London or a castle in Bavaria!

Globus Tour Directors on the family tours are individuals who truly “get kids”.  They love to pass on their knowledge as well as colorful stories in a funny and engaging way that will capture even the youngest child’s attention.  The emphasis is on connecting:  children with other children, with parents and cultures, scenery and wildlife.

All of the activities and excursions on a Globus Family Tour are geared toward the children.  In London the double decker bus is used for sightseeing and a riverboat will take you to the London Eye.  You will travel from London to Paris underwater via the Chunnel at 150 miles an hour! Show your family Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower then head for the setting of the Hunchback of Notre-Dame where they can try counting the number of gargoyles! In Italy the kids can try straightening the Leaning Tower of Pisa, enjoy Venice by gondola, decorate their own Venetian Carnival Mask and watch an amazing glassblower demonstration.

If Europe isn’t in the plans right now, how about a Grand Canyon adventure?  Kids and adults alike will enjoy the many species of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, jackrabbits, and lots of lizards!  Wouldn’t your children love a 4X4 Jeep tour of the Red Rock Country in Arizona…what fun!  Everyone will be in awe taking in the sights from the Grand Canyon Rim. Or you might jump back in history to the “Old West”!  Saddle up and ride a horse into Bryce Canyon retracing the trails taken by the notorious Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid and no visit to cowboy country would be complete without a Rodeo!  The kids are going to love the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo, with mutton bustin’ and bull ridin’.

These are just a few of the Globus Family Tour options so if your family is looking for a great multi-generational experience they will remember forever please call or email me to discuss an escorted tour designed for families!

How can I find a two bedroom condo in Hawaii?


HNL condo

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Many families vacationing in Hawaii enjoy having apartment style accommodations instead of a hotel room. They like the idea of having the option to prepare some of their meals, having privacy with separate bedrooms, and a more “home away from home” feel. Condominiums which offer this type of accommodation are abundant in Maui, Kauai and on the Big Island of Hawaii but the choices for condominiums in Honolulu are more limited. There are however some quality options.

There are several items to consider before selecting the perfect fit for your family. As the Hawaii Specialist at Totem Travel, I have been helping families choose the appropriate accommodations for more than 18 years, so I would like to talk about how to narrow down your options. One of the best ways to do this is to compile a wish list. Depending upon the age of your children, giving them some input can be helpful, and half the fun of planning.

  • Beach—must be on the beach
  • Pool—must have a swimming pool
  • A two bedroom is essential
  • Washer and Dryer
  • A car
  • Free parking
  • No Resort Fees
  • Staying within budget

Once you have everything on paper, the fun stuff begins: sorting the “must haves” from the “would be nice to have” amenities. Compromise is the name of the game. What is most important for your family, might not be that important for others. Such as a washer and dryer in the unit. If you have 2 children under 5 years old, I would think that would not be a place to compromise, but if you have teens, a coin operated laundry within the complex would be just fine. Two bedrooms is another area for negotiation. Again, if you have small children, and they go to bed early, you would probably enjoy the option of them having their own room. With older kids, and teens, they are just as happy having a sofa bed, and/or roll-a-way, in the living room.

While having a car on the other islands is essential, Honolulu has very good public transportation, as well as having most restaurants and shopping within walking distance. Many of my clients rent a car for just a couple of days of their vacation so that they can explore, but can avoid 7 nights of parking fees. Parking in Honolulu can be very expensive, in the $25-$35 per night range. So having FREE parking is a huge plus, and while it’s out there, it’s difficult to find. Unfortunately, most properties in Hawaii have Resort Fees. These fees are charged by the individual property and are not payable in advance. Resort Fees will be added to your bill upon check-out. The fees to cover several amenities, though, so they are not just an arbitrary fee added to your bill. Amenities covered by the resort fee can include: WiFi, local phone calls, coffee & tea service, daily newspaper, in room safe, and some even include parking. These fees are mandatory, so even if you use none of the covered amenities, you will still be charged. The good news, Resort Fees are generally less at condo properties than full service hotels and resorts.

Staying within your budget is probably one of the most important items on your wish list, and it is very important to let me know what that predetermined amount is. When I ask this question, I am not trying to be nosy, I am trying to narrow down and offer you the best choices for your family. As I said, I have been doing this for a long time, so I have a good feel for what will work best for your family. Having as much information as you can give me: the “wish list”, activities that are important, and ages of your children are all key in helping me assist you in planning a vacation that you and your children will remember for a long time. If a Hawaiian vacation is in your future plans, please contact me to help you plan a seamless family experience. sandi@totemtravel.com.

Cruise Free on Royal Caribbean this fall!!


Oasis resize Royal Caribbean Cruise Line has terrific promo for the fall of 2014. The savings is unbelievable! Book 4 people in a cabin, and the 3rd and 4th go free! Free is good…very good!! If there’s just the 2 of you, no worries. RCCL has a great special for you, too. The second person in the cabin goes for ½ price….Sailing dates available through this promo run from October 15, 2015-through May, 31, 2016. As an example:

  • 3rd & 4th Free Promo: Freedom of the Seas, November 9th , Balcony cabin for 4 people: $3470 including all port charges and taxes! That’s for 4 people, not per person! Without the promo, this fare would be $4465! That’s a thousand bucks, folks!!
  • 2nd Guest ½ price: Freedom of the Seas, November 9th , Balcony cabin for 2 people: $2485 including all port charges and taxes. That’s for 2 people, not per person! Without the promo: Balcony cabin for 2 people: $3285

This particular sailing is a Western Caribbean itinerary, with ports of call in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Similar savings are available on all Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ships, except Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas. There are several different itineraries, including Europe and Hawaii! The savings is available in most cruise cabin categories, too! This is the perfect time to get those BFFs together, or even a bachelor or bachelorette party! A family reunion or even a class reunion! How about a wedding at sea? Royal Caribbean has many beautiful wedding options, and how romantic…getting married at sea! And bring the whole wedding party with you on the honeymoon! A cruise to New England and Canada for the fall colors? So many choices… If you have been waiting until rates went down….now’s the time….bookings must be made by September 15th. Don’t miss out! Please contact sandi@totemtravel.com to get the ball rolling…or should I say get the ship sailing? 425-821-4100

Is a cruise or all inclusive resort a better vacation value?


I love cruising and I love all inclusive resorts so I’ve been asked many times which is the better value. Well there is no one answer but let’s take an example and compare an oceanview room at an adult only all inclusive resort with an oceanview cabin on a 7 day Caribbean Cruise.

All major cruise lines include meals and entertainment in the basic cruise fare but except for a few luxury lines there are lots of extras you must add to your vacation budget. Coffee, tea and fruit juice are usually complimentary but you’ll pay for most other beverages whether you order a soft drink, bottled water, beer, wine or cocktail and a 15-20% tip will be added to your drink cost.

Specialty restaurants requiring a reservation charge a fee. Coffee drinks and gourmet ice cream are not included. Exercise equipment is free but classes often carry a charge. Transportation from the airport to the cruise ship and back are extra. Gratuities for your cabin steward, dining staff and other services will be added to your bill at the end of the cruise and shore excursions such as a snorkeling trip will be extra.

By contrast, at an adult only all inclusive resort like Sandals all of your meals, beverages, gratuities, airport transfers, entertainment, land and watersports are free. Snorkeling, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, water trikes, Hobie Cats, windsurfing, waterskiing and SCUBA , is all included and you can enjoy fitness classes and equipment at no charge.

Specialty restaurants such as Italian, Japanese Teppanyaki and French are all included at no extra charge and you’ll find ice cream shops, swim up pool bar, English pub and nightclub all complimentary. Golf is included at many of the Sandals Resorts and even destination weddings are free!

To give a price comparison, I have compared apples to apples: balcony rooms, oceanview, 7 nights, 2 people:

Cruise:

• Oceanview stateroom with balcony: $2725 for 2 people

• Gratuities @ $80 per person = $160

• Alcoholic beverages, 2 drinks per person per day @ $7.50 each = $105

• Diet Coke, or other soft drink, 2 per day per person @2.50 each = $35

• 2 bottles of water per day per person@ $3.00 each = $42 for the week

• Snorkeling excursion for @ $60 per person = $120

• SCUBA, 2 tank dive @ $105 per person = $210

• Kayaking excursion @ $59 per person = $118

• Airport/port transfers $35 per person each way: $140

TOTAL: $3655.00

 

Sandals Resorts:

• Oceanview room with balcony: $2400 for 2 people

• Gratuities: $0.00

• Alcoholic Beverages: $0.00 unlimited

• Soft drinks: $0.00 unlimited

• Bottle Water: $0.00 unlimited

• Snorkeling: $0.00

• SCUBA: $0.00

• Kayaking: $0.00

• Airport/resort transfers: $0.00

TOTAL: $2400.00

So if you’d like to visit several tropical islands in a single week cruising may be your best choice,  but dollar for dollar your money may go further on an adult only or family friendly all inclusive vacation. Whichever vacation experience is right for you I am happy to help so please call or email sandi@totemtravel.com or contact one of the Certified Sandals Specialists at Totem Travel.

Breakfast and drinks included at Embassy Suites in Honolulu Hawaii


Waikiki Sunset

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During my last visit to Honolulu, I had the pleasure of staying at Embassy Suites Hotel, on the Waikiki Beach Walk. Embassy Suites Hotel is a moderately sized all-suite hotel in the heart of Waikik on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Although not located on the beach, it is just about ½ block to the beach!

Embassy Suites offers 1 and 2 bedroom suites, with a separate living room (with sofa bed), wet bar, mini-frig, microwave and coffee maker so a great choice for a family vacation. Each room has a telephone and television. The two bedroom suites offer 2 full bathrooms, as well. Traveling with another couple? No problem. The bedrooms can be furnished with either a king or 2 queen beds.

One of the best features of the hotel is the complimentary, cooked-to-order breakfast, served daily. Omelets are not problem for the chef, and there are lots of different options: mushrooms, bacon, sausage, ham, cheese, etc! Prefer waffles, or French Toast? You’ll find it here! Lots of fresh fruits and veggies, too. The kids love all the choices! Me too! With breakfast included, the hotel value increases!

In the evening, from 5pm-7pm, a Manager’s Reception is held. Snacks and beverages are served, again they are complimentary. Here’s your chance to try those fancy umbrella drinks! More value!

Location! Location! Location! Embassy Suites is very conveniently located near lots of restaurants, clubs, and shopping! International Market Place is just about a block away; Coach, Prada, Louis Viton and other high end shops are close too! There are 2 Starbucks less than a 2 minute walk, and great restaurants right on the Beach Walk, such as Yard House, Cheeseburger Beachwalk, Roys, and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

Oahu has so many activities to offer for singles, families, honeymooners, couples! Something for everyone! So if this sounds like the right place to stay for your Hawaiian vacation, please email me, sandi@totemtravel.com, give me a call, 425-821-4100, or book on line.

 

Best Sandals Agency, top butler agency & 3 top travel agents bring home awards


STAR awards 2013 resized

This month I represented Totem Travel at Sandals Travel Agency Recognition Awards. This event acknowledges top travel agencies and individual travel agents and Totem Travel has been honored to receive awards every year since becoming a Preferred Sandals Agency. 2013 was no exception with Totem Travel awards for top butler agency, Best of the Best travel agency and 3 Chairman’s Royal Club members, the top individual travel agent award.

The Sandals recognition event lasts from Thursday-Saturday and was held at Beaches Turks and Caicos a fabulous all inclusive resort for families. This year was unique in that agents were also given the chance to visit 2 Sandals Resorts: Sandals Emerald Bay in the Bahamas, and Sandals Grande Antigua. Jets were chartered for the occasion, and we were accompanied by many of the Sandals Management Staff. What other company will charter a jet to whisk you off to a Caribbean Island for lunch? Not many, I would say!

Travel agents had the opportunity to enjoy the host resort, Beaches Turks and Caicos, with nineteen restaurants, fantastic water activities for every age like water slides and fountains for toddlers, a lazy river that is fun for all, and an incredible surf simulator for more adventuresome. Hobie Cat sailboats, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, snorkeling and scuba are very popular at Beaches Turks and Caicos as well.

Friday evening, after traveling to Antigua, we dined at Neptune’s, a Mediterranean restaurant in the new Key West Village. In addition to the wonderful meal, awards were also presented and Totem Travel was recognized as the top butler agency for the 3rd year in a row! WooHoo!!

Saturday morning, another beautiful day in paradise, presented agents with the occasion to hear Sandals CEO, Adam Stewart, and the Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart and both Mr. Stewarts were excited about the newest Sandals Resorts – Sandals Barbados and Sandals La Source in Grenada.  We also learned that Beaches is adding two new resorts  , one in Barbados and one in Antigua! Beaches Turks and Caicos will also be adding a Conference Center to the property offering an excellent opportunity to combine business and pleasure.

We also discovered some rather interesting insights into Sandals and Beaches philanthropic efforts in the Caribbean. Sandals Foundation, established 4 years ago, has directed more than $12 million into the Caribbean community. This ranges from building schools, paying teachers, supplying hospitals with linens and bringing healthcare to those who cannot afford it. Although many charities use much of their donated funds to support the charities administrative staff, Sandals Foundation does not retain any of the donations for managing the Foundation! 100% of the funds are put to work supporting more than 150 major projects in Sandals & Beaches host communities. Sandals Resorts International covers all operating costs!

Saturday evening brought another lovely dinner with wine to complement each course, fantastic entertainment and more awards for Totem Travel including Best of the Best Travel Agency and three Chairman’s Royal Club members, Sandals top award for individual agents. With over 700 agents in attendance from all over the world,  Totem Travel was proud to be recognized as a top Sandals agency and it was my pleasure to bring home awards for Linda, Patty and myself as top Sandals travel agents.

So check out the best deals for Sandals Resorts, request a quote, call (425) 821-4100 or email if we can help you choose the best Sandals Resort for a romantic, all-inclusive honeymoon or find the right Beaches Resort for a fantastic all inclusive family vacation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maui’s newest luxury resort: Andaz Maui at Wailea


Andaz Maui

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Are you looking for a new resort in Maui? Consider the Andaz by Hyatt a brand new boutique hotel with only 290 guest rooms and suites in the upscale beach resort area of Wailea Maui.

Andaz is very appealing for those guests who enjoy that crisp, modern approach and personal service. Andaz doesn’t have a traditional front desk, their guests check in with a personal host. No standing in line, just a nice sofa, with a cold drink, and personal attention.  I particularly like the modern, sleek décor of the rooms and suites. Quiet colors, hanging lamps, platform beds, a rain shower in the bathroom all contribute to a relaxing atmosphere. Need a little snack or a beverage but don’t want to leave your room: complimentary snacks and beverages are provided in your room so no worries about an $7 Hershey bar or $8 soft drink!!

My flights always seem arrive before check-in time and depart well after check-out time and Andaz has a solution for that as well with a lounge just for early arrivals and late departures. Bathrooms, showers, TV lounge, and video games will ease the tedium of waiting!

Andaz strives to preserve and share the Hawaiian culture by providing activities for guests which include authentically Hawaiian crafts such as lei making, and Niu (coconut) leaf weaving. Guided walks through the property and to the beach will help guests understand Hawaii’s custom of Ohana (family) and working together. Even the dining options at Andaz are committed to providing locally produced ingredients in specialty dishes and cocktails! Be sure to try the fresh sashimi and sushi and Maui caught fish.

Of course, this is Hawaii…and Hawaii means beach and water sports so try stand-up paddle boarding, row an outrigger canoe or take a surfing lesson. More of a pool person? Four beautifully landscaped, cascading infinity pools add to the luxurious atmosphere and in the evening, romantic fire pits create a wonderfully intimate ambiance. The perfect location for a glass of wine before dinner.

Andaz is a beautiful venue for a destination wedding on the beach, with a reception around the pools, in one of the unique restaurants with local cuisine. Maui has always been a favorite honeymoon destination and Andaz will add an intimate, boutique resort option. Couples looking for a romantic get-a-way with great food and drink and families wanting an upscale, luxury property for the adults, and fun beach and pool activities for the kids, are going to love Andaz Maui at Wailea.

If you are ready to experience this new resort or would like to discuss other great Hawaii vacation ideas I would love to help you plan your vacation in Maui. Please contact me at sandi@totemtravel.com, or by phone: 1 800-321-7907.

 

Affordable Family Christmas vacation travel is still possible!


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Although availability for Christmas travel is becoming tight, there are still some good values out there! My research goal was to find reasonably priced family resorts, cruises, and airfare and I compiled a list of several very popular destinations with pricing. The pricing criteria I used were for a family of 2 adults and 2 children staying 7 nights (except Disneyland) with roundtrip airfare from Seattle. Dates I used included Christmas, and a few days before and after.

One of my favorite destinations, and a very popular choice among families, is Hawaii. Honolulu, with Waikiki Beach, and great shopping, restaurants, and activities, is one the most affordable of Hawaii’s locations. I found a handful of family friendly hotels available for 7 nights with non-stop flights for less than $5500 for a family of 4. These hotels are not beachfront but they are centrally located a block or two from the water and several include complimentary breakfast. Christmas in paradise!!

Maui, the Valley Isle, is an option that many families prefer because it is less busy than Waikiki while still having plenty of activities, shopping, and dining opportunities. Maui boasts some great condominiums which are perfect for families with full kitchen facilities, including all of the necessary cooking and eating utensils. Eating a couple of meals “in” can help with the budget and many condos also have washers and dryers. There is very limited space over the holidays but I did find some options in Maui for less than $6500 including airfare, 7 nights in a 1 bedroom condo with a mid-size car rental for a family of 4.

Disneyland is always a big hit with the kids, but with mom and dad too! In the past couple of years Disney has made improvements to the hotels, the parks, and many additions too. CARS Land opened last summer, and is a smash! While there is no beach like Hawaii, all of the hotels have pools, and there are plenty of water attractions at Disneyland and California Adventure. A 5-night Christmas vacation at Disneyland can be done for less that $3700 including airfare, hopper tickets, airport transfers and accommodations in a “Good Neighbor” hotel and if a Disney hotel is more to your liking, Paradise Pier is about $4600.

Another option that I particularly like is a family cruise especially the cruises from Los Angeles. Convenience rules! Fly from Seattle to LAX in 2 ½ hours and board the ship at 2pm the same day! There are three cruise lines sailing from LAX to the Mexican Riviera over the holidays and ports of call include Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. A family of 4 can cruise for 7 nights including airfare, meals and entertainment, port charges and taxes  for less than $5500 and there are so many activities and events for everyone on the ship. You won’t be bored and neither will the children with complimentary “Kids Club”, games, crafts, parties, and other activities.

Mexico is well-known for family friendly all-inclusive resorts. Many folks believe that all-inclusive means one buffet and that’s it! Not so! Most all-inclusive resorts boast 3-8 restaurants, with several different cuisines including favorites like Italian and Seafood. All meals, alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages, entertainment, and non-motorized water sports are usually included. Again, space is very limited but I did find has several resorts with availability in Puerto Vallarta with airfare, transfers, 7 nights at an all-inclusive beachfront resort for under $6300 for a family of 4! That’s really hard to beat!

I hope that I have added optimism to your Christmas vacation search, and I look forward to helping you and your family find the perfect fit! Please email me at sandi@totemtravel.com, or feel free to call at (425) 821-4100 or (800) 321-7907.

See Europe up close, experience European River Cruising


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Touring Europe has been on my wish list for a long time.  The one thing that has held me back is that I want to see the small towns, and experience the local culture. Doing that on an escorted tour through Europe is one way, renting a car and driving through the countryside is another, but neither sounded like the best option for me. Enter: European River Cruising!  This is definitely my cup of tea. I love cruising and the thought of seeing Europe close-up, and having to unpack only once, sounds like a dream come true!

Imagine floating along the calm rivers, docking right in the center of an ancient village, and stepping right of the ship ready to shop in the markets, attend music performances, and enjoy the local cuisine. No long lines to disembark, no tenders into the port, and no bus rides to the village….it’s right there!! And the shore excursions are included. Local guides will lead you on wonderful tours, with a running commentary of genuine behind the scenes experiences. In additional you will have the benefit of personal headsets for the sightseeing excursions, so that you can wander through the attractions without missing any of the narration.

Food is always a big part of the cruising experience! Dining on a river cruise is part of the journey. Chefs incorporate local culinary specialties paired with regional wines, into each dinner. Concerned about where to dine, and what to order, when you are touring the towns along the way? The cruise lines have thought of that too! Throughout the cruise, a local chef will come on board to prepare a special meal, so you will learn about the different dishes, and how to order them. Don’t worry….if you are a fussy eater, and prefer foods that are more familiar to you, there’s always a meat, fowl, fish, and vegetarian choice, too.

Have you ever been on an ocean cruise and picked up a local wine to enjoy on board? Only to find out that there is a corkage fee (about $15-$20), or security takes the wine from you, to be returned at the end of the cruise. This won’t happen on a river cruise! They welcome your regional wine purchase, and do not charge for corkage! So enjoy!

The ships are small, but include an amazing number of amenities: staterooms with balconies, heated floors in the bathroom, libraries for reading & playing board games, lounges with local entertainment, and lovely outdoor decks for watching the world go by! Some of the ships even have a beauty salons, swimming pools and fitness centers!

Sample cruises include tours of Holland and the spectacular tulips; wine tours in France; Eastern European cruises throughout Hungary and Romania; enjoy the sights and sounds which have inspired musicians and poets……the Danube.  Themed cruises are also very popular: Wine Appreciation cruises, Jewish Heritage cruise, and a Jazz cruise to list just a few of the choices. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are to be celebrated, and the river cruise lines have some wonderful options.

If this sounds like perfect way to enjoy Europe, please contact me or even book on-line! I am happy to go over the many options available. sandi@totemtravel.com or 1 800 321-7907

 

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