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AmaWaterways to Welcome AmaSerena, AmaVista in 2015

Posted by on August 28, 2014

It’s been a busy summer for AmaWaterways. Hot on the heels of the christening of AmaSonata, the popular river cruise line has confirmed they will introduce two new Certo Class river cruise ships in Europe next year.

Currently under construction in the Netherlands, AmaSerena and AmaVista will be capable of carrying 164 guests and will represent the latest evolution of one of AmaWaterways’ most popular designs that began with the launch of the AmaCerto in 2012. Launching in 2015, AmaSerena and AmaVista will sail the Danube, Main and Rhine rivers.

Tauck Increases 2014 Christmas Markets Sailings

Posted by on August 26, 2014

Popular tour and river cruise operator Tauck has recently announced it plans to increase its Christmas Markets river cruise offerings for the upcoming 2014 winter season by 67 percent, adding additional ships and increasing their Christmas-themed departures.

Europe's Christmas Markets are a stunning tradition and vacation opportunity rolled into one. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Europe’s Christmas Markets are a stunning tradition and vacation opportunity rolled into one. Photo © 2013 Aaron Saunders

Tauck will add their new ms Inspireand ms Savoron the highly-popular Christmas Markets runs that occur every year from November 25 to December 24. They will join the line’s existing ms Treasuresand ms Swiss Jewel.

Cruise Specialists Highlights “Most Popular” Cruise Segments for Upcoming Grand Pacific & Far East Voyage

Posted by on August 26, 2014

Guests can cruise on all or select segments of the Grand Pacific & Far East Voyage aboard Holland America Line’s ms Amsterdam, plus Cruise Specialists guests receive exclusive benefits.

decorated cruise port with bon voyage sign

Holland America Line decorates the port to bid its Grand Voyage and World Cruise passengers a fond farewell.


On Silver Discoverer In Russia’s Far East: In Pursuit Of The Reindeer Herders

Posted by on August 13, 2014

We couldn’t have asked for a more diverse or event-filled day on Silver Discoverer. Our morning started off with a hike through a glacial valley, past bubbling streams, and across Arctic tundra, to a lake on a day warm enough to merit a splash. The landscape – and the day were absolutely stunning.

On Silver Discoverer: Visiting Remote Tymlat Village, Plus, An Interview With Conrad Combrink

Posted by on August 11, 2014

On Silver Discoverer, Cruising Russia’s Far East

There are only a little more than 8,000 Koriak people in the world. A handful of them greeted us when our zodiacs pulled ashore this afternoon in Tymlat Village. 

Before entering the village, our spirits were cleansed through a ritual that required us to place a blade of grass on a fire. After that, we were lightly switched as we made our way uphill to the community.

Day 3 – Our Medallion Suite On Silver Discoverer

Posted by on August 8, 2014

Our Home For Two Weeks: Silver Discoverer’s Medallion Suite from Ralph Grizzle on Vimeo.

Our home for our two-week expedition is the most spacious suite on Silver Discoverer. Measuring 408 square feet, including the 27-square-foot balcony, the Medallion Suite features a living room with a sitting area, twin or queen-sized bed and complimentary backpacks and parkas, two flat-panel televisions with on-demand movies, and a large marbled bathroom with a walk-in shower. Laundry and pressing is included for guests occupying the Medallion Suite. If it’s living space that you appreciate on your expedition, then you’re going to like the Medallion Suite.

Silver Discoverer Day 1 – Boarding In Nome To Cruise Russia’s Far East

Posted by on August 6, 2014

Day 1 — Nome, Alaska, U.S.A. Once all guests have embarked, we depart on our spectacular 15-day, Great Northern Expedition. This afternoon we will be introduced to our expedition team and participate in the safety drill before setting sail.

It is 2 a.m. Some things are clear. Others remain shrouded in mystery.

Of those things that are clear.

1. We left Nome, Alaska hours ago — precisely how many hours I cannot say. I am comatose, having traveled 2.5 days to get to Nome (from where, I will tell you in a moment).

AmaVida Day 6 – Castelo Rodrigo, Scenic Cruising & Quinta da Avessada

Posted by on August 5, 2014

Ralph Grizzle is currently sailing onboard AmaWaterways’ AmaVida along Portugal’s Douro River.

What’s on tap for today?

After breakfast, tour Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, a small fortified village perched high on a hilltop. See 16th-century walls and walk down very narrow and steep medieval streets. Among the sights is the Chafariz dos Pretos in the market square, a one-of-a-kind fountain decorated with striking black faces. Enjoy a tasting of honey, nuts and olives, then have lunch on board followed by a wine tasting as the ship sails to Regua. After arriving this evening, you will be treated to Moscatel de Favaios (a sweet fortified wine) and traditional Portuguese foods at a wine estate, Quinta Avessada. Your dinner with the quinta’s owner and his delightful family will be an unforgettable highlight of your trip. The ship moors overnight.

AmaVida Day 5 – Salamanca Flamenco Show, Rejoining AmaVida in Barca d’Alva

Posted by on July 31, 2014

Ralph Grizzle is currently sailing Portugal’s Douro River onboard AmaWaterways’ AmaVida.

What’s on tap for today?

Drive to Salamanca for a full day tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, located at the center of the Castilla y León region of Spain. During your guided city tour, you will see the University buildings, the Salamanca Cathedral and the House of Shells. Enjoy a flamenco show as you dine on a lunch of delicious and authentic Spanish cuisine in a local restaurant. Later, spend some time exploring on your own, perhaps visit the locals’ “living room,” known as the Plaza Mayor. Rejoin the ship in Barca d’Alva, where we moor overnight.

AmaVida Day 4: Shrine Of Our Lady Of Remedies & Scenic Cruising On The Douro

Posted by on July 29, 2014

Ralph Grizzle is currently sailing onboard AmaWaterways AmaVida through Portugal’s Douro River Valley.

What’s on tap for today?

Today, we visited picturesque Lamego, home to one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Portugal, the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Sanctuary of Our Lady of Remedies). There are more than 600 steps to ascend to the top – but fortunately we’d be starting at the top and walking down! It was still a very memorable experience. To think that the pilgrims who visit here actually go up on their knees…