(Information from CruiseCritic.com)
"Large" yachts are those that accommodate between 140 and 400 passengers, and feel more like small-scale cruise ships than pumped-up private yachts. These capacities are ideal for travelers who want an intimate experience but prefer sailing with more than a few dozen other people. These ships are also a good bet if you don't like feeling the movement of the ocean; because they are larger, the ride is usually a bit smoother than small yacht options.
There are some nice perks when you sail a large yacht. First of all, you'll have more choice when it comes to cabins. Some cabins on large yachts will have balconies with sweeping ocean views, while none of the ships in the "Small Yacht" category offer accommodations with verandas. Most of the ships in this category also offer a variety of suites that give you more square footage, space to dine in your cabin and outdoor furniture to enjoy on your veranda. Ships from Silversea offer butler service with every stateroom, which equates to an ultra-luxurious experience for all.
These larger ships offer more dining venues onboard. Silversea ships in this category, for example, offer three fine dining options -- The Restaurant main dining room, La Terrazza for authentic Italian flair, and specialty restaurant Le Champagne, featuring French cuisine -- in addition to the on-deck Pool Bar & Grill. Many lines -- including Windstar, Silversea and Paul Gauguin -- also stage elaborate BBQs on deck or on a beautiful stretch of beach.
The public areas of the ship offer more variety on a large yacht as well. You can expect amenities that could include at least two bars and even a standalone cigar lounge; a spa, beauty salon and full-fledged fitness center; a small theater; a casino; a library and internet/card room; and maybe even a small boutique selling clothing, jewelry and sundries.
Finally, these large yachts can visit some additional destinations that the small yachts can't visit safely (due to their size) but larger ships might be too big to access. Look for itineraries to the Arctic and Antarctica -- destinations that require larger ships with certain navigational equipment and strengthened hulls for sailing in areas where ice is prevalent. Large yachts also offer some compelling South Pacific itineraries.
For more information on large & small yacht cruising worldwide, give us a call.
(Information from CruiseCritic.com)
The "small yacht" category includes ships that accommodate no more than 110 passengers. Here you'll find yachts that range in length from 120 to 360 feet, brought to you by Un-Cruise Adventures, Crystal Cruises and SeaDream Yacht Club. Compare that to Quantum of the Seas' length of 1,139 feet, and you see how much smaller and more intimate these yachts can be. Ponant's entry to this category is Le Ponant, a three-masted motor-yacht; a pair of windjammers from SeaCloud Cruises round out the list. You won't enjoy a voyage aboard a yacht in this category unless you love traveling with a very small group of people. If you wish to hobnob with a different group of people each night, look to a larger ship.
Small-ship cruising in general is all about the destination, and that's even more the case aboard small yachts. These downright tiny vessels can anchor in hidden-away bays and harbors, and can visit some truly off-the-grid destinations, such as Alaska's Kuiu Island or Curieuse in the Seychelles. Plus, small yachts put a premium on getting passengers close to amazing sites. For example, take Alaska's Inside Passage; while mainstream cruise ships sail past Dawes Glacier in Endicott Arm, yacht passengers don marine survival suits, board skiffs and get within feet of sweet seals sitting prettily atop icebergs floating in the strait.
Most port visits focus on the natural habitat or local culture of the destination, and many of these cruise lines hire well-educated naturalists and historians to interact with passengers each day, offering onboard lectures and leading shore excursions (which are included in the cruise fare in the case of Un-Cruise Adventures' trips). These experts are on hand to answer questions and provide a level of education about the region that makes the trip special.
One of the most appealing aspects of small yachts are their watersports platforms, which enable passengers to get right into the water rather than simply gazing at it from 10 decks up. All of the ships in this category, with the exception of SeaCloud’s windjammers, have them. From the platform, you can go swimming or snorkeling right from the ship, or borrow a personal watercraft such as a kayak or canoe. SeaDream also has several JetSkis for passenger use. While some larger yachts and ships have similar onboard marinas, it's a different experience when you're sharing the facilities with so few people. It feels as if the yacht is yours alone, and you're simply enjoying the water with a handful of friends.
The onboard experience is also more like that of sailing on a private yacht. You'll get to know your fellow passengers -- who tend to be well off and well traveled -- and the crew will cater to your every need, quickly learning not just your name but your likes and your dislikes. The chef will incorporate locally sourced ingredients -- salmon in Alaska, pineapple in Hawaii -- at mealtime and can customize the menu to a certain degree for your personal tastes. On the flip side, choice will be limited to one dining venue (with breakfast and possibly lunch served as a buffet only) and a limited selection of dinner entrees (typically a meat, fish and vegetarian option). Though seating is open, mealtimes are set, but can change based on what's going on outside. For example, if there are whale sightings in Alaska, dinner could be delayed in order to allow everyone to get on deck and have a look.
Because the itinerary is so paramount on small yachts, daytime activities are pretty nonexistent. Passengers generally need to entertain themselves. While the sun decks are nice on all of these ships, only Crystal Esprit and SeaDream I and II have pools; the other ships only have on-deck hot tubs. The spa (if any) usually consists of one or two small treatment rooms. Some yachts do have a few fun high-tech toys -- like the submarine aboard Crystal Esprit or the golf simulator on SeaDream yachts. There are no theaters on these ships and the "casino" -- when there is one -- is often just one game table with a slot machine located in a nearby corner.
Call us for more information on these luxury ships,
In 1922, upscale clientele boarded Cunard Line’s Laconia for the first cruise ship itinerary to circle the globe. Today almost 100 year later cruise passengers have many luxury small ship cruise options from long to short voyages.
Passengers can choose a pampering yacht experience or opt for a vacation on a midsize ship. There are adventurous expeditions to remote destinations or simply upgrade to a suite on a range of cruise lines. If you prefer mega ships you can choose the exclusive” ship with in the ship” area of these vessels. With upgrades so go the benefits.
Boutique cruising is becoming so attractive to the luxury cruiser that even the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company is launching its own brand in 2019 the Ritz- Carlton Yacht Collection with three, 298 passenger, all suite, all-balcony luxury yachts.
An advantage of the smaller upscale ships is the ability to be more all-inclusive & because of their size there can experience smaller ports & destinations that the big boats cannot.
Croatia, a country with a long coastline with over thousand islands, attract visitors from all over the world. Time Travels inc. is offering itineraries for this summer or fall until May 31st. Choose from a selection of three luxry, small ships and enjoy an itinerary such as this:
Day 1, arrive Dubrovnik, Saturday You will be transferred from Dubrovnik’s airport or your Dubrovnik hotel to Gruz Harbor, where embarkation begins at noon. Meet your fellow travelers and your Cruise Manager later at an on-board Welcome reception. This evening, you can relax or take a walk through Dubrovnik’s vibrant streets.
Day 2, Dubrovnik – Mljet – Korcula, Sunday Start the day with a walking tour of Dubrovnik, the “Pearl of Adriatic” and a UNESCO World Heritage site. You’ll visit the Rector’s Palace and Franciscan Monastery’s Pharmacy before returning to the boat for lunch. As you dine, set sail for Mljet Island. Mljet National Park features five types of forest, many species of birds, and two deep lakes, Veliko Jezero (Big Lake) and Malo Jezero (Small Lake). After time to enjoy the spectacular scenery, continue cruising to Korcula, believed to be the birthplace of the explorer Marco Polo. Dinner tonight is on board.
Day 3, Korcula – Hvar, Monday This morning, a walking tour of Korcula town takes you through its narrow, cobbled streets and includes a visit to the majestic Gothic-Baroque Cathedral of St. Mark. Board your boat for lunch and a swimming stop as you cruise. Late this afternoon, arrive in Hvar. On a sightseeing tour, see the first public theatre in Europe (older than Shakespeare’s theatre in the UK), the Franciscan Monastery and much more. Your evening is free in Hvar. You can explore more and dine on your own at one of the many restaurants in town.
Day 4, Hvar – Bol – Split, Tuesday Sail to Bol, home to one of the best beaches in Croatia, the Golden Horn. This vast, golden pebble beach is unique in that it changes shape and position depending on the winds. Over lunch on board, continue sailing to Split. Here, a walking tour shows off the historic inner city, built around the Roman Emperor Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site. See the remnants of Split’s Roman heritage, its Renaissance and Gothic structures, Jupiter’s Temple, the Peristyle, and the Cathedral. Your evening is free in Split.
Day 5, Split – Trogir – Sibenik, Wednesday In the morning sail to the UNESCO-listed city of Trogir. Your time here is free to explore on your own. Back on board, enjoy lunch as you cruise to Sibenik, with stop on the way for a swim. Arriving in Sibenik, a walking tour shows you the highlights of the city, then your evening is at leisure.
Day 6, Sibenik – Sali, Thursday The Sibenik area is home to two National Parks: Krka, with its breathtaking waterfalls, and Kornati, comprised of more than 140 islands. Your day is devoted to these scenic destinations before you sail to Sali. Tonight, enjoy captain’s dinner with live entertainment on board.
Day 7, Sali – Zadar, Friday As you cruise this morning, stop for a swim (weather permitting). Late this afternoon, arrive in Zadar. A walking tour shows you Zadar’s historical center with the defensive walls built in 16th century, the ancient Port Gate where the Venetian lion still stands guard, the Square of the Five Wells, Church of St. Donat, Roman Forum (1st century BC) and the largest cathedral in Dalmatia, St. Anastasia. Your evening is free in the city.
Day 8, depart Zadar, Saturday Disembark after breakfast, bidding your boat and crew farewell. You will be transferred to Zadar or Split airport for your flight home. You might want to join a post-cruise trip to Italy.
The island of Cuba is on the bucket list for many Americans. While relations have warmed between the USA & this Caribbean island only 90 miles from Miami; Americans must still travel on People to People Tours to legally travel in Cuba. These are considered educational opportunities that showcase Cuba’s people, places & culture. Fidel may be dead but the rules have not changed for Americans.
At this moment in time Cruising Cuba may just be the best way to see the island.
Most cruises stop in 3 ports, Havana, Cienfuegos & Santiago de Cuba. You have access to more excursions then most land tours. You can also cover more territory via the water as land travel is slow due to poor road infrastructure. There are also more modern amenities aboard these small cruise ship and let’s face it American's love nice digs.
Be one of the first to Cruise Cuba in style. Call me for information & cruise dates.
Most people think of a villa vacation as just a villa rental, a time share condo or renting an apartment. A new concept called the Villa Vacation is much more. A Villa Vacation has the amenities & service of a 5 star luxury resort plus the extra space of a vacation rental. A Villa Vacation is a fully staffed private villa in Tuscany, Italy with a private driver, chef & staff to take care of your every need.
A Villa Vacation is a residence at the Grand Wailea Maui where friends & family rent a 3 bedroom luxury town house that is part of the resort & has access to all resort amenities.
A Villa Vacation is a luxury condo rental at the All-inclusive Generations Riviera Maya. This ocean front property offers amazing ocean views & also offers adult access to the El Dorado Royale AI Resort next door.
Villa vacations are great for multigenerational families traveling together. Villa Vacations are an excellent destination wedding option. A Villa Vacation is a great option for a group of friends that prefer more space but also demand the services of a deluxe resort.
For more information on Villa Vacation options call me today.
Are you worried that your children may get bored with too many days in your company? Or that you & your significant other will have more than enough time alone? Why not invite friends or family & make a group vacation out of it.
Traveling as a group can actually be more fun. You bring the party with you & the group trip is tailored to the wishes of your individual group.
The old definition of a group vacation i.e. traveling with at least 20 people still applies as a group option but the idea of flexible group getaways has taken hold. 10 people traveling together are now considered a group. Certain destinations like Costa Rica & Peru welcome groups of 6 – 8 people as a group. This size group can fit into smaller vans & have their personal tour guide to accompany & advise them. The cost of a tour guide divided between 4 couples is minimal & makes for a unique & educational experience.
For more information on group travel opportunities call Time Travels Inc. 651-771-5666.
A Cool Destination for a Cruise Wedding.
If you have taken an Alaskan Cruise….you must go. Alaska is one of the most spectacular destinations in the Northern hemisphere. Whether you seek a romantic honeymoon or an anniversary getaway for two, a vow renewal with friends or adventurous small group travel..Alaska is amazing. Now think destination wedding. Envision that you are being married by the cruise captain with Glacier Bay as your back drop…wow. What a cool destination for a cruise wedding….no pun intended. This past August I traveled with my sisters Shannon & Mugz (Marguerite) on the north bound Coral Princess ( Princess Cruises- Vancouver to Whittier) –This cruise itinerary is called the inside passage). Our cruise started with a high note when we were upgraded to a mini suite thanks to my Princess Cruise sale rep. The mini suite upgrade really made the difference. The extra space made traveling with 3 adults in one cabin more than comfortable. Cruisesers should always consider booking a least a balcony cabin. Anyone who tells you that your cruise cabin does not make a difference has never cruised. Cruising is the only other way to see the inside passage other than by small plane. After the cruise it was onto McKinley Princess Lodge, Denali Princess Lodge & finally into Denali National Park itself. Yes…I even saw the mountain!!!