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Tauck Increases 2014 Christmas Markets Sailings

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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.

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

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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

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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

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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…

This Week Cruising The Douro River On AmaWaterways

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This week, we’re traveling from Copenhagen to Portugal to river cruise along the beautiful Douro River. We’ll be cruising through the heart of the Duoro Valley, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and known for its wine production. In fact, ours is a special wine-themed cruise on AmaVida, operated by AmaWaterways.

Join us for an inspiring week in Portugal.We’ll be posting daily “video vignettes” each day of our voyage.  

Where We’re Cruising On AmaVida

Tauck Wins Travel + Leisure Award

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For the third time in four years, Tauckhas been named “World’s Best River Cruise Line” by readers of the popular Travel + Leisure magazine.

Tauck's new ms Inspire entered service in April 2014. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Tauck’s new ms Inspire entered service in April 2014. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

“We provide a complete destination experience with all of the various elements seamlessly integrated and meticulously choreographed,” said Tauck CEO Dan Mahar. “Our riverboats are thoughtfully and beautifully designed, and we also have 90 years’ experience immersing our guests into the history and culture of different destinations. The insider access and unique cultural experiences we build into our river cruises were instrumental in achieving this honor.”

Uniworld To Resume Egypt River Cruises From September 2015

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Some fabulous news for those who have always wanted to visit Egypt: The Travel Corporation family of brands – which includes Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection along with noteworthy land-based operators Contiki, Insight Vacations and Trafalgar – will resume operations in Egypt for the 2014/2015 season.

Current plans call for Uniworld to resume cruisetour operations along the Nile in September 2015. Contiki and Busabout will resume this September, and Trafalgar and Insight Vacations will return to the region in January.

Uniworld Spices Up Holiday Sailings with Exclusive Excursions

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Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection wants you to start thinking about the holidays and Europe’s stunning Christmas Markets. Special Christmas Market-themed river cruises are offered from the last week of November right up until December 20th or so, when river cruises spanning both Christmas and New Years are typically offered.

This year, Uniworld is spicing up its Christmas Markets cruises by offering A Taste of Christmas – a unique complimentary shore excursion program offered exclusively to Uniworld guests.

AmaWaterways Unveils Three Theme River Cruises for 2015

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One of the first proponents of themed river cruises, California-based AmaWaterways recently announced three brand-new theme voyages scheduled for 2015, revolving around the subjects of beer, art and jazz.

Beer aficionados can participate in AmaWaterways’ special Beer Cruise, which sails on March 31, 2015 aboard AmaLyra and again on December 14, 2015 aboard AmaPrima. Guests will be able to take part in shore excursions to historic breweries, beer tastings, and onboard lectures revolving around the rich history of beer in Europe.

My D-Day Story: A Startling Discovery At The American Cemetery

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In 2012, my son Alex and I visited the D-Day Landing Beaches and the American Cemetery. It was a powerful day for both of us, particularly because of what we discovered by chance at the end of the day. © 2012 Ralph Grizzle

In the summer of 2012, while cruising on Avalon Creativity, I visited the D-Day Landing Beaches and the American Cemetery with my son Alex. Seeing how — and where — the invasions took place was both poignant and fascinating, but it was at the cemetery where we discovered something that took us by surprise: the grave of Garnie L. Grizzle.