by Don McCann
More and more, we are seeing noted chefs from restaurants on land being tapped by cruise lines to bring their trademark styles to shipboard dining. Just this week I was at a presentation on Norwegian Cruise Lines‘ newest ship, Norwegian Escape, which will boast something like 29 different dining options (a brand feature of their ‘Freestyle Cruising’ amenities). But what caught my attention was the two short videos they showed on their partnerships with these noted chefs. Both videos are very short, but very cool……..take a look:
For information and itineraries on this exciting new ship and Norwegian Cruise Line, contact us.
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by Don McCann
At Cruise Escapes, we always take notice when a similar name comes along. A couple of years ago, Princess Cruises used a tagline of “Escape Completely”; we liked that! Now, Norwegian Cruise Line is about to launch their newest and largest ship ever, the Norwegian Escape. The ship will sail from Miami and it begins in November. There’s a nice overview, with some photos & a video if you click here
by Don McCann
On our recent Avalon Waterways cruise on the Seine River, we had two ‘ports of call’ for our second day. After a fantastic morning exploring the gardens and home of Monet in Giverny, we stopped in Les Andelys. Perhaps my favorite part of this stop was just as we were gliding into position along the dock, there were locals strolling along the waterfront, enjoying their Sunday Afternoon and only passively interested in our arrival.
We had the choice of a walking tour through town, or ‘up the hill’ to Chateau Gaillard which was built by King Richard the Lionheart as a fortress in 1196. We opted for the town tour, which I thoroughly enjoyed; nothing special, just a walk in the heart of another charming, quaint, little French jewel along the river. However, I wish there had been enough time to also hike up to see the ruins up close. My camera was able to zoom in pretty well though; it looks impressive.
After our tour, we walked around on own, first along the riverfront, then up the hill a ways, overlooking town. With only about 150 passengers onboard a river cruise, once you disperse and explore on your own, you feel like you’ve blended into the local culture as a respectful visitor (rather than arriving with thousands at a port on an ocean cruise and being seen as invaders!)
Just a really enjoyable Sunday afternoon in Les Andelys!
arrival in Les Andelys
Chateau Gaillard as seen from town
Chateau Gaillard with a zoom lens!
Les Andelys church & town square
Les Andelys as seen from the hill
Avalon Tapestry II docked in Les Andelys
Les Andelys examples of timber architecture
by Don McCann
With all of the growing popularity of European river cruises, it’s not too surprising that one of the major ‘ocean’ cruise lines has decided to launch their own river cruise division. Recently, Crystal Cruises announced that they will begin river cruises within Europe in 2017. At the time, they released virtually no details, but earlier this week they announced some date information and even showed us a couple of renderings!
Crystal Cruises will begin European river cruises in March, 2017 and reservations will open in December of this year, in 2015. That far in advance, you might ask? Yes! With the demand for river cruises and the limited number of cabins onboard, they sell much further in advance than many ocean cruises.
The river vessels from Crystal will each feature standard ‘suites’ at 250 square feet, as well as two 500 square feet penthouse suites. Accommodations will have walk-in closets, king-size beds and the bathrooms will have double vanities. As with their ocean ships, the river ships will include their signature Palm Court, which will have a glass roof & dance floor and there will be a fitness center and spa. The ships will carry only 140 guests.
The other lines in the luxury arena of European river cruises (Uniworld, Tauck, and Scenic) will surely be interested to see how Crystal will create their own style of luxury river cruises and we’ll all be interested to see at what price point, as well. Stay tuned for more info!
So Bill Edwards’ Danube cruise has come to an end, but we thought we’d post just a few more of the many wonderful photos from the later portion of the itinerary. Soon we hope to have a post, or two, in the form of his review and observations on this enchanting river cruise itinerary with Scenic Cruises.
Melk Abbey in Austria
Inside the Melk Abbey
Mondsee, Austria – enroute to Sound of Music area
Strauss in Stadtpark, Vienna
Private evening concert performance at Palais Liechtenstein in Vienna
Scenic Jasper near Durnstein, Austria
As we mentioned in our last post, Bill Edwards is cruising on the Danube this week onboard the Scenic Jasper and is sending us some sample photos. Enjoy these, as we all wish that we were there with him……….
approaching Vienna in one of many locks along the Danube River
The Spanish Riding School in Vienna
Rack of Lamb, onboard Scenic Jasper
Scenic Jasper approaching Durnstein
One of the Danube’s most picturesque churches in Durnstein
Quaint, charming Durnstein
….let’s all hope Bill sends us some more photos soon!
by Don McCann
This week, our own Bill Edwards is on a preview cruise with Scenic Cruises‘ new ship, the Scenic Jasper, sailing from Budapest to Vienna. Even though Bill is not here yet to share his thoughts and review of the ship & itinerary, he’s been good enough to send back some photos as a preview of this trip. Here are just a few examples to view until he returns next week when he can share some ‘words’ to accompany these great photos………
Scenic Jasper in Budapest
Bill Edwards enjoying the balcony on Scenic Jasper
Scenic Jasper Portabello’s alternative Dining Room
Budpest’s famed Parliment building
Matthias Church in Budapest
Heros’ Square in Budapest
Chain Bridge in Budapest
by Don McCann
Obviously, we love talking about cruises (duh, right?). However, we also love it when we can have a guest cruising expert talk about cruises with our clients. Next week is one of those special times. Sheila Bielich of AMA Waterways is going to be here in our office next Tuesday, April 21, 2015. Sheila is a wealth of information on many destinations worldwide and she always provides for lively, enthusiastic presentation when we are lucky enough to host her. We really hope that those in the DFW area will be able to join us for a great talk on river cruises, both in Europe and some other exotic locations. We’ll have some great wines and cheeses to sample and we’re sure you’ll enjoy the evening (and maybe learn a thing, or too, as well !).
If you wish to RSVP, just click the link here and we’ll see you next week!
click photo to enlarge
It’s always exciting when a new ship is about to enter service. Here’s a brand new photo of the Norwegian Breakaway, posted on Norwegian’s Facebook page today. We’ll be going to preview the ship in early May and will have much to report. In the meantime, check out the eye-catching profile as she glides through the sea!