by Don McCann
We went to a presentation yesterday on a brand new ship and new offering from Scenic Cruises. Currently, Scenic offers river cruises in Europe and some exotic locations, but this new ship will be an ocean-going vessel. However, this is not ‘just another cruise ship’; on the contrary, this will be somewhat unique in several ways.
Scenic Eclipse is a luxury yacht-inspired cruise ship accommodating 228 guests and it will launch in August, 2018. So your first thought might be “2018!?” Why talk about it now? Well, there are several reasons. To begin with, the ship will sail primarily very intriguing, trip-of-a-lifetime type of itineraries, such as around Iceland, Antarctica, or some smaller European ports. Such trips usually take some advance planning, not to mention that with only 228 passengers, the ship will most likely fill much farther in advance than larger ships. Also, it’s not cheap. It’s a true luxury experience, with pricing to match, and this often evokes careful consideration before a commitment is made. That being said, while price is one thing, “value” is another and Eclipse will definitely be a good value with the experience AND the inclusions. Just as with Scenic Cruises’ river ships, the Eclipse fares will include all gratuities, all beverages, specialty dining options, and shore excursions. The only exception will be the excursions available from the two onboard six passenger helicopters, or the seven passenger submarine. These unique options will make the overall experience just THAT much more impressive.
We feel confident that the Scenic Cruises management team can truly ‘deliver’ a wonderful and exciting cruise experience with Scenic Eclipse. Take a look at some of the photos & video links below and contact us for more details!
Filed under adventure cruising, Cruise News, European Cruises, European River Cruises, Italy Cruise, luxury adventure cruising, Mediterranean Cruises, New Ship, Our Cruise Stories, Our events, River Cruises, Scenic Cruises, Scenic Eclipse, Uncategorized
by Don McCann
In a previous post, I mentioned about my recent Avalon Waterways cruise on the Seine River to the Normandy Region of France. On our itinerary, the first port of call was the quaint town of Vernon, the gateway to Monet’s home at Giverny. I think most of us probably envision lily pads on a tranquil pond when we hear the name “Giverny” and that’s JUST what we were lucky enough to see that first morning!
Vernon on a quiet Sunday morning
Our tour departure time allowed us enough time to disembark and wonder the little town of Vernon before we boarded the motorcoach for the short drive to Giverny. Being a Sunday morning, Vernon was noticeably quiet and made for a delightful early walk as we quickly explored what charming & historic sights the village had to offer. As is true with so many European locations, the church was the dominant landmark and it was a very short distance from our ship.
As we arrived in Giverny, the anticipation grew with each phase of the tour. First, a walk from the parking lot to the outer area of the village, then into the gardens themselves, next into Monet’s home, and finally a short walk to the far end of town to the cemetery for Monet’s grave. In the gardens, on the path, over the famed arched bridge, it all seems as though the paintings of Monet have come to life and you are directly ‘in the thick of it’! It is an area of impressive beauty and its preservation seems to have been successful to maintain an authentic “Monet experience”. I could say more, but the photos say it best, take a look…
Giverny lily pads
Giverny, France foot bridge
Giverny area map
Giverny, France gardens
Monet home in Giverny
Monet’s bedroom at Giverny
Monet’s grave in Giverny
for more on Avalon Waterways, click here
by Don McCann
We often host client presentations, which our business calls “Cruise Nights”. Last week, we had a cruise night called “Christmas in June” featuring Viking River Cruises and their Christmas Market cruises in Europe. This event was great fun to plan and easy to decide how to decorate. However, the most enthusiastic of our planners was my daughter, Rachel, who just moved back from Germany, after having lived there for 3 1/2 years. While there, she LOVED the various Christmas Markets and she had TONS of ideas for our event. Not only did she bring in some of her market purchases, but she baked authentic heart-shaped gingerbread cookies with ‘Merry Christmas’ in German, French, and Hungarian, as well as some cookies with the Viking River logo, AND she agreed to be one of our guest speakers!
Vikings great 3minute video was an effective visual introduction to the Christmas Markets, then Rachel added her personal experiences about the Markets, with some wonderful “show ‘n tell” items. Next up, our local Viking River Representative, Carolyn Szekeres, did a great presentation on the cruises themselves and the fantastic new river ships the line is adding. All in all, it was perhaps our most fun, and certainly our most festive, cruise night yet!
If you were not able to join us, take a look at some of the photos (click on each to enlarge):
Brats & cheese with pretzel bread
Christmas in June lights at Cruise Escapes
Carolyn Szekeres of Viking Cruises
Cruise Escapes staff at one of our Market ‘stalls’ with Viking cookies!
Have any Christmas Market stories, or photos you’d care to share? – We’d love your reply!
We’re getting ready!
For those of you in the Dallas area, you may have seen that we are presenting “Christmas in June” next week with Viking River Cruises. To give just a taste of the markets, we are busy putting together a fun evening of sample foods, market items, and we’ll have two guest speakers – one from Viking River and a second experienced Christmas Markets enthusiast!
If you are in the DFW area, some seats are still available; take a break from the summer heat and come pretend it’s cooler! Join us Tuesday, June 25 – “markets” open at 6:00pm and presentation begins at 6:30pm in our office. Cruise Escapes, 14464 Midway Road, Dallas TX 75244. RSVP 972-404-0505, or info@CruiseEscapes.com
by John Lane
A quote that comes to mind that reminds me of my tour with Tauck would be:
“If you settle for ordinary you are just a tourist”. There is nothing ordinary about Tauck Tours. Tauck offers exclusive destination experiences that are truly all inclusive with the personalized service of a tour host and takes you to those out of the way places the other tour companies don’t.
Tauck specializes in ‘destination immersion’
On my Tauck River Cruise, we had several “Tauck Exclusives” that made the River Cruise even more special. We visited a family ranch in Camargue in the delta of the Rhone River. Imagine a provencal lunch served by family members in traditional costumes and being serenaded by a trio of guitar players during the wonderful noon feast. After lunch we had the opportunity to see the bulls and the guardians in action with a demonstration of a Camargue style bullfight. These young men were crazy, being chased by this wild bull through the ring. It was an amazing day that only Tauck could offer. On two other occasions we were given 20 Euros to spend to enjoy the local culture and food! A wonderful lunch in Avignon was enjoyed and in Lyon, the gastronomical capital of France, we enjoyed a “private food tasting”. We then sampled the wonderful foods that were awaiting us at the various stalls at France’s largest indoor food market all on the generosity of Tauck.
With Tauck you can not go wrong—they travel the world. This family run business offers the best! So if you never want to settle for ordinary, travel in good company, leave your worries at home and get what you pay for and then some …travel with Tauck…you won’t be disappointed and you will never travel with anyone else!
by John Lane
I found a gem of a hotel in Hotel Moliere in Paris. Built in 1840 the hotel is in a prime location just off the Avenue de l’Opera and around the corner from the shops and cafes of the Rue de Rivoli and the Louvre. Who could ask for a better location! With all the major attractions of Paris at your doorstep! The metro is close by and if I can maneuver my way through the Paris metro system anyone can!
Hotel Moliere Paris
A welcoming reception staff helped with dining and shopping suggestions and reconfirmed travel arrangements for my departure. This gem of hotel offers complimentary internet service and along with the lobby lounge there is a small living room just off of the reception and small breakfast room. Continental breakfast is included in some rates. Rooms are are decorated in fabric prints on the walls with coordinating curtains hung from the ceiling draped over the window that open to the street. Bathrooms are marble and stone and new! This small hotel is a great value for a city that charges an arm and leg for hotel nights. Stay at the Hotel Moliere right in the heart of it all and you won’t be disappointed!
John recently returned from a Tauck River Cruise in France.
by John Lane
A dreary day, but great time on the Rhone River
We are floating up the Rhone towards Lyon and enjoying every minute of it.
Avignon was our second stop and the Palais de Papes (Palace of the Popes)
dominates the city. This walled city dates back to the 14th century and I
always wonder how they built all this stuff so many years ago. Shopping and
sidewalk cafes dot the streets and we enjoyed all. I enjoyed a typical
french lunch at a local restaurant compliments of Tauck which they gave
each guest 20 Euros to immerse themselves in the local French food…and
we did it was wonderful.
Viviers – unique trees lining the street into the city center
Viviers, a small ancient city of about 4,000 is a maze of small
cobblestone streets and not much life as most of the people have left the
town and moved to the countryside. We did visit a local potter and
purchased two bowls that would of cost three times the cost in the U.S. I
will enjoy those and put the chocolate sauce, carmel or basil mustard that I bought in Avignon in them…YUM! Lyon will be our last stop and hoping for better weather but on the river all things are good and relaxing!
Note: John is onboard the Swiss Emerald with Tauck River Cruises this week, sailing from Arles to Lyon, France and will be posting blog updates as his time allows; check back for more!