Issuu on Google+

Traveler WORLD

$5.95

THE CRUISE & VACATION MAGAZINE

WINTER 2014

CRUISING THE GREAT RIVERS OF EUROPE Destination guide:

PUNTA CANA

Ship reviews:

ROYAL PRINCESS OASIS OF THE SEAS

WIN

A FREE CRUISE DETAILS INSIDE

NOW THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT

at a

CRUISE ONE FALL 2011 1 EXCLUSIVE OFFERS: CARIBBEAN CRUISE SAVINGS AND FREE UPGRADES SEE PAGE 15

**WT COVERS_Winter14.indd 1

16-12-13 9:57 AM

Book your next getaway with your

CruiseOne Independent Vacation Specialist EXTRAORDINARY

EXCEPTIONAL

We simply love what we do. We’ll help you find your perfect vacation at the best value available. We will walk with you through your entire vacation planning process and give you the one-on-one personal attention you deserve.

We have access to incredible savings and dynamite deals that are often lower than “cruise line direct prices” or “online agencies.”

PERSONAL SERVICE

EXCLUSIVE

INDUSTRY OFFERS We do all we can to provide you with any exclusive perks available to you such as upgrades, shore excursion discounts, onboard credits and more.

LOW PRICES

PRICE & SATISFACTION GUARANTEE Our Vacation Specialists are the finest in the industry. We will help you choose the right vacation at the right price and guarantee it will be a getaway of a lifetime with our DOUBLE GUARANTEE standard!

With CruiseOne, you can rest assured that your vacation plans are in the hands of an award-winning agency!

MORE THAN 800 LOCATIONS NATIONWIDE

Look for your Vacation Specialist’s information on the back cover.

*For Best Price and Satisfaction Guarantee visit our website for complete details.

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 2

12/23/13 3:11 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 1

12/20/13 1:43 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 2

12/20/13 1:43 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 3

12/20/13 1:43 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 4

12/20/13 1:43 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 5

12/20/13 1:43 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 6

12/20/13 1:43 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 7

12/20/13 1:43 PM

C R U I S E N E W S AZAMARA ADDS AUSTRALIA

For Azamara Club Cruises, 2015 will be an exciting year. According to a recent announcement by Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises: “Azamara Club Cruises is delighted to announce our new year of destination-immersive voyages that are perfectly suited for up-market travelers,” said Larry “As a hallmark of the Azamara experience, many voyages are timed with major events and celebrations, so guests can join in the festivities. We are particularly delighted to bring Azamara Quest to Australia in late 2015 and expand our distinctive experience to a new continent.” In addition to adding the land down under to its lineup, Azamara’s 2015 program will include 52 voyages for up-market travelers, visiting 203 ports in 62 countries. Of these, 16 will be maiden port calls in an “expansive, curated collection of culture-rich metropolises, charming colonial towns, stunning beaches and unsurpassed natural preserves in South America, the West Indies, Europe, the Far East and Australia.” Azamara Club Cruises is known for their Destination Immersion program which involves in-depth travel experiences, longer stays and more overnights in port during which guests enjoy AzAmazing Evenings – inclusive night tours that provide bespoke slices of a destination’s authentic culture and character.

AROUND THE WORLD IN 180 DAYS WITH OCEANIA CRUISES Last year, Oceania Cruises announced that it would set sail from Miami on January 10, 2015, on its first ever around the world cruise aboard the 684 guest Insignia – an unforgettable port-intensive 180-day voyage. The Insignia is slated to visit five continents, 44 countries and 89 ports of call, with 11 overnight calls plus four two-night calls. Oceania Cruises eliminated the typical 100- to 110-day time constraint of a world cruise to offer a more port-intensive voyage to some of the world’s most fascinating destinations including 47 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. That cruise proved so popular that it sold out in less than eight hours, so Oceania Cruises recently announced a second sailing that will see the Insignia embark on an additional 180-Day World Odyssey, sailing round-trip from Miami on July 8, 2015. Says Kunal S. Kamlani, President of Oceania Cruises. “Unlike conventional world cruises that commence in winter, the 180-Day World Odyssey starts in July, allowing us to create and deliver the most unique global-cruise itinerary ever offered.” The second Insignia itinerary will include Canada’s east coast, New England, Greenland, Iceland, many Mediterranean ports, and Asian cities such as Mumbai, Rangoon, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Guests will also explore Africa from Kenya to Cape Town and the continent’s western shores before the voyage concludes with a sunny holiday season of Caribbean island-hopping.

CELEBRITY’S GUESTS HAVE THEIR SAY What guests have loved about their Celebrity Cruise experiences in the Galapagos Islands is being immortalized in print and on Facebook as the Celebrity Xpedition project takes shape. As part of the commemoration of the tenth anniversary of Celebrity’s Galapagos Vacations, guests who’ve enjoyed cruises to these amazing islands are being invited to be part of a storytelling collective by submitting their recollections and photos. The result will be a Facebook page, rich in memories and amazing photography, as well as a limited edition coffee table book. Guests on the Celebrity Xpedition’s official 10th anniversary sailing in June 2014 will receive a complimentary copy of the book. “We are pleased to have been providing thousands of vacationers with once-in-a-lifetime holidays in one of the world’s most compelling and biodiverse regions for 10 years,” says Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “We are also proud of the ways our guests and crew have helped us make a difference in the communities and eco-

systems of the region. This book is the first of many ways we will commemorate that, as we enter our 10th year in this extraordinary destination.” Guest satisfaction is clearly of paramount importance to Celebrity as they recently announced improvements to their loyalty program that will create a six-tier Captain’s Club system including two additional levels of status and rewards. Members who achieve the new “Elite Plus” levels will enjoy additional beverage and specialty dining discounts, large complimentary Internet packages, complimentary cappuccinos and lattes and access to Michael’s Club Lounge (available fleetwide in 2014) while “Zenith” level members will also receive a complimentary premium alcoholic beverage package, complimentary laundry and other benefits. Unlike other loyalty reward programs, the new Captain’s Club awards points not only for days spent aboard but also for stateroom category. All existing Captain’s Club points will be recognized within the new system.

8 WORLD TRAVELER WINTER 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 8

14-12-13 12:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 9

12/20/13 1:43 PM

CRUISE NEWS

D-Day memorial The Braves, on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France

LINDA CRAWLEY

GLOBUS REMEMBERS

Remembering the sacrifices of the Great War and World War II will be a travel focus for many in 2014, as we mark a number of significant anniversaries. To make those fascinating and heartfelt journeys of commemoration possible, Globus has created a number of special packages for 2014 that include tours of iconic WWI and WWII battlefields and memorial sites. For example, their France package features both the highlights of Paris and the World War II landing beaches in Normandy and Brittany, as well as the Normandy American Cemetery and Omaha Beach while their Eastern European package explores historic Warsaw and Czestochowa, home of the Black Madonna, as well as Krakow’s Oskar Schindler Factory, made famous in the movie Schindler’s List. The tour also includes: the remains of the Auschwitz concentration camp; Dresden, once badly damaged by war but now restored to its baroque splendor; the former Buchenwald concentration camp; Nuremberg’s Zeppelin Field; the impressive Documentation Center; and even the former Dachau concentration camp. Tours that focus on other important war memorials in England, Germany and more are also available.

DISNEY REVAMPED

When Disney Cruise Lines revamped Disney Magic, the improvements made were anything but Mickey Mouse! With the new “Splashtacular Fun” areas on the upper decks that include the AquaDunk thrill slide, the AquaLab interactive water playground and pool, Nephews’ Splash Zone for infants and toddlers, and the freshly re-imagined Disney’s Oceaneer Club, the ship’s water attractions have undergone a tidal wave of upgrades. Other improvements included: a re-themed Disney’s Oceaneer Lab, an It’s a Small World Nursery, and a Chill Spa for teens in the Senses Spa & Salon. For the adults on board, many lounge and bar areas were revitalized and renewed, including After Hours, a nighttime entertainment district, Fathoms, Keys piano lounge, and O’Gill’s Pub, an Irish pub and sports bar. Palo, Disney Family Dining: Carioca’s, Animator’s Palate with its “Drawn to Magic” show and Cabanas are all fresh, fun new eateries on board. The Atrium Lobby has had a facelift along with the D Lounge, which has replaced Studio Sea. Six decks of staterooms and suites have been redesigned making Disney Magic a whole new ship!

ALLINCLUSIVE RIVER CRUISING FLOURISHES ON AROSA Back for their second season, A-Rosa River Cruises will once again dedicate three of their vessels to the North American traveler offering more itineraries and a brand new ship. And A-Rosa has changed the definition of “all-inclusive” river cruising by raising the bar in terms of included services and amenities. An open bar is available throughout the ship which includes all beverages, coffee and tea, wine and spirits. Guests can enjoy complimentary use of bicycles on board as well as included Wi-Fi and there’s a spa on all ships as well. All transfers, port charges, taxes, fees and gratuities are also included in the cruise fare. The new A-Rosa Flora, sister ship to the Silva, will offer more junior suites, have two family suites and will sail the Rhine in spring and summer. A-Rosa Silva will continue to sail the Danube in summer and offer the very popular Christmas markets cruises in November and December. The A-Rosa Stella will once more sail the Saône and Rhône rivers offering guests a chance to savor wines from some of France’s best wineries. A-Rosa has been hailed for the superb quality of their cuisine on every ship this past season and many cruises will offer special culinary cruises in 2014. 10 WORLD TRAVELER WINTER 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 10

14-12-13 12:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 11

12/20/13 1:44 PM

cruise news | new ships

Another Breakaway Plus in 2017

Viking Increases Its Order!

With cruisers eagerly awaiting the October 2015 arrival of the first Breakaway Plus ship, Norwegian Cruise Lines has announced the coming of a second, slated for delivery in spring 2017. The two ships will be the largest in the Norwegian fleet, weighing in at approximately 163,000 gross tons each, with 4,200 guest berths. The combined price tag will be approximately $1.4 billion. Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s CEO, is enthusiastic about the coming additions. “The incredible response we’ve received from guests, travel agents and media regarding Norwegian Breakaway only reinforced our decision to add a second Breakaway Plus vessel to our fleet. With groundbreaking elements, yet to be announced, and an additional deck to incorporate further innovations, our two Breakaway Plus ships will provide guests even more ways to experience all that the new Norwegian has to offer.” The second of the Norwegian’s Breakaway class of ships the Norwegian Getaway will be launched in January 2014, following the resounding success of her sister ship Norwegian Breakaway launched in May 2013.  

The burgeoning demand for river cruises – the fastest growing segment of the travel industry – has spurred Viking Cruises to add two more to its 2014 Viking Longships order, upping the total from 12 to 14. With the launch of these new additions, Viking Cruises will have introduced an impressive total of 30 new ships in just three years, making their fleet expansion the fastest ever seen by the cruise industry. Viking’s yearly expansion average has hit 22 percent, well ahead of the estimated four percent annual growth of other river cruise lines. In 2014, the 14 new vessels will join their sister ships already sailing on Viking’s most popular European itineraries. Says Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking Cruises, “We are working hard to match supply with demand, and with these new builds, we have the best-designed, newest and most extensive offer of ships on the rivers – more than double all our competitors combined. More than ever, travelers want experiences that bring them closer to the destination, which is why we continue to design ships and itineraries with destinations and enrichment as the focus.”

12 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 12

14-12-13 12:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 13

12/20/13 1:44 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 14

12/23/13 3:44 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 15

12/20/13 4:50 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 16

12/20/13 4:50 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 17

12/20/13 1:44 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 18

12/20/13 1:44 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 19

12/20/13 1:44 PM

interludes | hotels and resorts

Majestic elegance This all-suite five star property is discreetly divided so kids and parents can splash and play all day in the family-friendly pools on one side of the property, while romance can blossom undisturbed under the palms on the Elegance Club side, where guests must be at least 18 years. The hotel is aptly named, featuring swim-up suites and expansive ocean views. Dining is all about choice at the Majestic Elegance, with six restaurants including: Flavors, a sumptuous buffet; See and Sea, a beachfront seafood house; 9 Doors, an Asian-inspired restaurant featuring nine Teppanyaki and two Sushi bars; El Asadito Steak House, inspired by the carnivorous delights of Argentina; Limited Gourmand, an intimate adult-focused gourmet hideaway, complete with a pianist; and Il Botaccio, a delectable Italian restaurant. Fun is always at the forefront, with a casino, 11 bars and discos blazing with hot salsa and cool jazz and a well-supervised kids program for ages 3 -14 years that runs from 9am to 6pm daily. For something very special, the Majestic Elegance Club offers Supreme Service, a pampering lineup of upgraded amenities sure to exceed your every expectation. As club members you will find your butler waiting to open a welcome bottle of bubbly, enjoy the privacy of cooling ocean breezes on the oceanfront rooftop bars, and have the exclusive privilege of dining in Il Botaccio for both breakfast and lunch. You can glide into the waves in a kayak, on a catamaran, a sunfish or a pedal boat, or try windsurfing or snorkeling – it’s all included. And when you return to shore, you’re very likely to find a smiling bartender offering a warm welcome and an icy rum punch. — liz fleming

LE SOLÉAL (132 staterooms & suites)

An authentic and mysterious continent, a source of endless fascination…. EXOTIC ASIA

Sail onboard our newest yacht LE SOLÉAL Adventures in Malaysia & Vietnam Explore Thailand and Burma

Exotic Jewels of the Old & the New

Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) – Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) – Colombo (Sri Lanka) March 1 – 14, 2014 March 14 – 27, 2014 13 nights all-inclusive fares from 13 nights all-inclusive fares from $6,391pp* $6,358pp*

Colombo (Sri Lanka) – Muscat (Oman) March 27 – April 13, 2014 17 nights all-inclusive fares from $8,464pp*

Free Sin gle Sup plemen Back-to t** -Back o ffers*** Availab le

Call your Independent Vacation Specialist to book NOW! *All-inclusive price shown is per person based on double occupancy and includes port & safety charges, open bar, gratuities and fuel surcharges. The fare does not include flights and transfers, insurance, optional shore excursions (sold onboard) or personal expenses. Ponant Bonus Fares are the lowest available rate at the time of purchase. Offers are subject to increase or withdrawal at any time without notice as the ship fills. Special offers are not cumulative or retroactive. Offers are subject to availability. Additional restrictions may apply. **Free single supplement is waived on select sailing - March 1 and March 14, 2014. *** Back-to-back offers for Asia sailings are 2nd at 20% off and 3rd at 30% off. Ship’s Registry: France. FL Seller of Travel Ref No. ST37706 and CA Seller of Travel Ref No. 2106116-50.

20 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 20

14-12-13 1:30 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 21

12/20/13 1:44 PM

Enter for a chance to win a

7 Day Cruise for two!

Look on the back cover

to enter.

1. To Enter: No purchase necessary. Complete the official online registration form. Limit one entry per person. CruiseOne, Inc. & Cruises Inc., and World Travel Holdings are not responsible for telephone, network, electronic or computer failures of any kind, or for entries that are incomplete, garbled, delayed by mail or computer transmissions, misdirected or otherwise ineligible. All entries become the property of CruiseOne Inc. & Cruises Inc. and will not be acknowledged or returned. The www. CruiseOne.com / www.CruisesInc.com Website vacation give-away will begin on January 13th, 2014 at 12:00 AM Eastern Time and end March 22nd, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. All entries must be received before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 22nd, 2014. 2. Selection Of Winner And Eligibility: Winner will be chosen on or about March 23rd, 2014 in a random drawing from all eligible entries received. Winner will be notified by phone /email and announced at www.facebook.com/cruiseone and www.facebook.com/cruisesinc within 30 days of the drawing. Winner will be required to sign and return to CruiseOne, Inc. & Cruises Inc., an affidavit of eligibility and liability and publicity releases within 14 days of notification. Traveling companion of Grand Prize Winner will be required to sign a liability and publicity release before ticketing. If any prize notification is undeliverable, or in the event of non-compliance with each of these requirements, the prize will be forfeited and an alternate Winner will be selected at random from the remaining eligible entries. The sweepstakes is determined by the total number of entries received. 3. Prize: Grand Prize includes an ocean view stateroom for two, onboard of a 7 day Carnival Cruise Lines sailings, based on availability. Prize may not be exchanged with another ship or sail date. Transportation to and from the port city (i.e. airfare, transfers, etc.) , non-commissionable funds, ground transfers, pre-post-hotel, government taxes and fees, current applicable fuel supplement at time of booking, gratuities, shore excursions and other personal expenditures such as gift shops, spas, or beauty salons are the responsibility solely of winner. Additional guests sailing in the same cabin will be subject to the current cruise rate, non-commissionable fees, government taxes and fees, fuel supplement, and gratitude applicable at the time of booking. To validate the acceptance of this prize, winner must fully complete the attached information page and include three preferred sail dates. The prize is not valid and excludes all Europe, Alaska, and holiday sail dates. Cruise winner’s departure date must be before November 30, 2014. This expiration date cannot be extended. Sailings are capacity controlled and confirmation is subject to availability. Carnival Cruise Lines reserves the right to ask for alternate dates if dates requested are not available for this promotion. This prize is non-commissionable, and may not be sold, traded, refunded or redeemed for cash value. Cruise travel is subject to terms and conditions contained in the general information section of Carnival’s travel brochure and passenger ticket contract. Winner or travel guest under the age of 21 is required to travel: (i) in the same stateroom with an individual 25 years of age or older; (ii) in the same stateroom with their spouse; or (iii) with a parent or guardian in an accompanying stateroom. Standard cancellation penalties apply. A service charge of $50 USD will be assessed within 60 days of departure for any cruise or vacation package changes, per guest per change. Winner and travel companion are solely responsible for obtaining valid passports and any other documents necessary for international travel. All U.S. Citizens will be required to carry a Passport for all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda. This includes children and infants. Travel restrictions, conditions and limitations may apply. Other restrictions may apply. Value not applicable toward other cruise line departures. 4. Disclaimer: Winner assumes all liability for any damages caused or claimed to be caused by his or her participation in the Sweepstakes and/or the acceptance and/or use of any prize, and releases CruiseOne, Inc. , Cruises Inc., World Travel Holdings, National Leisure Group and their respective officers, directors, and employees from any such liability. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission (except where prohibited by law) to use Winner’s name, city, state, likeness and/or voice for purposes of advertising, promotion and publicity without additional compensation. Participants of this sweepstakes will provide information to CruiseOne Inc. & Cruises Inc. only. This sweepstakes is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. 5. Additional Rules: This sweepstakes is sponsored by CruiseOne, Inc. & Cruises Inc.; 1201 W Cypress Creek Rd, Suite 100, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33309. Employees and Independent Contractors of CruiseOne Inc., Cruises Inc., CruisesOnly, World Travel Holdings, and National Leisure Group their affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and members of their immediate families are not eligible. All federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations apply. Contest open to residents of the United States only. Void in any jurisdiction(s) in the United States where participation is prohibited. In the event this contest is compromised in any way, electronically or otherwise, that is beyond the control of CruiseOne Inc. and Cruises Inc., CruiseOne Inc. and Cruises Inc., reserve the right to withdraw the transmission of this sweepstakes and award all prizes from among entries received prior to the date of the withdrawal. Entrants agree to abide by these Official Rules and by the decisions of the CruiseOne Inc. and Cruises Inc., whose decisions are final. Failure to comply with these rules may result in disqualification from this sweepstakes promotion. For the name of the Grand Prize Winner (available within 60 days of the date of the drawing), send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: CruiseOne, Inc. 1201 W Cypress Creek Rd, Suite 100, Fort Lauderdale , FL 33309 Attn: Win a Free Cruise Sweepstakes.

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 22

12/20/13 1:45 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 23

12/20/13 1:45 PM

Get Ready To

Cruise Like a Norwegian

®

It’s your vacation

and you should have the freedom to enjoy it on your terms. Dress up or down. Sleep in or catch a sunrise from your own private balcony. Take in some never-before-seen entertainment at sea. Even eat somewhere different every day of the week.

Only Norwegian offers Freestyle Cruising®, giving you the freedom and flexibility to do what you want, when you want. With the most dining options at sea, dazzling entertainment and exciting onboard activities, there’s plenty of ways to make your vacation one for the record books. Bask in the bright lights of Broadway with performances like the five-time Tony Award-nominated Rock of Ages. Go wild with our Nickelodeon™ activities. Tickle your funny bone with The Second City. Or get lucky at our award-winning Casinos at Sea®. As the “World’s Leading Large Ship Cruise Line” by the World Travel Awards, we promise a vacation like no other.

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 24

12/20/13 3:09 PM

®

7 Night Western Caribbean

$449 Norwegian Dawn Oceanview from $519 November 23 & 30, 2014 / $749 Balcony from Roundtrip from New Orleans

Inside from

7 Night Sawyer Glacier, Alaska

$729 Oceanview from $899 Norwegian Jewel $1399 Balcony from

Roundtrip from Seattle

December 7, 14, 21 & 28, 2014

7 Night Bermuda

7 Night Bermuda

$50 Onboard Credit

$479 Norwegian Dawn Oceanview from $559 October 10, 17 & 24 $799 Balcony from $50 Onboard Credit

$599 Inside from Norwegian Breakaway Oceanview from $699 November 9,16 & 30, 2014 $919 Balcony from Roundtrip from New York

7 Night Eastern Caribbean

$649 $ Norwegian Getaway Oceanview from 749 $899 May 3, 2014 Balcony from Roundtrip from Miami

Inside from

May 17 & August 30

Roundtrip from Boston Inside from

7 Night Bahamas & Florida

$50 Onboard Credit

Roundtrip from New York

$50 Onboard Credit Inside from

$799

Norwegian Breakaway Oceanview from $1049 May 4, 11 & 18, 2014 $1269 Balcony from

12 Night Grand Mediterranean

$50 Onboard Credit

$989 $ Norwegian Spirit Oceanview from 1099 $1799 April 24, October 21 & November 2 Balcony from Barcelona to Venice (or Reverse)

Inside from

Inside from

7 Night Hawai’i $50 Onboard Credit Roundtrip from Honolulu Inside from $1199

Pride of America Oceanview from $1339 April 19 & 26 / September 20 $1739 Balcony from

Contact Your Independent Vacation Specialist to Book Your Norwegian Cruise Experience Today. Fares are shown in U.S. Dollars. Fares are cruise only, per person, based on double occupancy. Guests who cancel and rebook must accept this promotion’s Terms and Conditions. Government taxes & fees, and onboard service charges are additional. Offers are based on availability, are capacity controlled, and combinability with other offers is subject to change or cancellation at any time per Norwegian Cruise Line’s discretion. Onboard credit amount is per stateroom, in U.S. dollars based on category booked and will be applied to 1st and 2nd guest in stateroom. Other restrictions may apply. IMPORTANT NOTICE: Norwegian Cruise Line reserves the right to charge a fuel supplement without prior notice should the closing price of West Texas Intermediate Fuel increase above $65 per barrel on the NYMEX (New York Mercantile Exchange Index). In the event a fuel supplement is charged, Norwegian Cruise Line will have sole discretion to apply the supplementary charge to both existing and new bookings, regardless of whether such bookings have been paid in full. Such supplementary charges are not included in the cruise fare. The fuel supplement charge will not exceed $10.00 per passenger per day. Norwegian is not responsible for typographical errors or omissions. ©2014 Norwegian Cruise Line Corporation LTD. Ships’ Registry: Bahamas and United States of America.

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 25

12/20/13 3:09 PM

Huber/Sime / eStock Photo

destination guide | punta cana

Stunning beach at Dominican Republic’s Parque National del Este

26 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 26

13-12-13 4:25 PM

Punta Cana Liz Fleming

Sometimes you find the best things when you aren’t looking… Christopher Columbus was on a quest for Queen Isabella of Spain when he stumbled upon Punta Cana’s spectacular beaches. Because Christopher was looking for spices not beaches, he had to push on – but you won’t. Like thousands of vacationers from around the world who make their way to the Dominican Republic each year, you’ll be seduced by the stunning scenery, the natural beauty and the welcoming warmth of both the climate and the people.

world traveler winter 2014 27

@@World Traveler #6.indd 27

13-12-13 4:25 PM

destination guide | punta cana

Now Larimar Punta Cana

The Dominican Republic’s sugary white beaches and hundreds of miles of undulating coastline are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Dining

Punta Cana Ecological Foundation’s Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve

Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism

Geographically, the dominican republic has a bit of everything. Four of the five highest peaks in the Caribbean, tower over the island’s Santiago lowlands while the southwestern regions are covered with windswept deserts. Every area has its charms but, like a cupcake, the most delectable bits are the frosting on the edges. The Dominican Republic’s sugary white beaches and hundreds of miles of undulating coastline are among the most beautiful in the Caribbean and none are more perfect than those found in Punta Cana on the Costa del Coco, or Coconut Coast. This exquisite cape stretches for miles and includes such well-known resort areas as Playa de Arena Gorda, Playa Bávaro, Playa Ubero Alto, Playa Macao, Playa de El Cortecito – some of which are included in the UNESCO list of the world’s top ten beaches. Sun and fun lovers spend their days wandering the shores and then sizzle the nights away, practicing their salsa and merengue steps on the dance floor. It’s a holiday Mecca for sun worshippers and water lovers – all you have to do is choose from the tempting list of resorts and hotels.

A vacation should feed your belly as well as your soul, and Punta Cana has an array of great restaurants waiting to welcome you with great local seafood and more. While most resorts offer a huge selection of onproperty dining, it’s always fun to be adventurous and discover local restaurants offering cuisine you might not otherwise experience. Be sure to make your way to Bavaro Beach where foodies will adore the Italian cuisine at Moby Dick, one of the most popular restaurants in Punta Cana. Using local marlin to create a fresh fish carpaccio is just one of their strokes of culinary brilliance – but our sources tell us that the real menu masterpiece is the tiramisu – so save room for dessert! Another evening, go for the slightly bumpy ride that takes you to the Jellyfish Restaurant, a secluded beachfront restaurant that’s one of the region’s best-kept culinary secrets. The seafood served is so fresh it practically swims out of the kitchen and onto your plate. Best on the menu? The grilled seafood plate – lobster, shrimp, langoustines, conch, and octopus! While you’re in a fishy mood – dive into the seafood platter at Kukua Beach Club. Enthusiastic diners tell the management they come back to Punta Cana simply for this dish!

Adventures If you manage to tear yourself away from the spectacular beaches, you’ll be surprised to find that life inland is almost as much fun! Spend a day flying through the jungle air with Canopy Adventure Zipline Tours or take a Segway tour through the Punta Cana Ecological Foundation’s Indigenous Eyes Ecological Park and Reserve, a 1,500-acre private oasis with 12 freshwater lagoons. This very special tropical habitat is home to such fascinating native Dominican Republic species as the Rhinoceros iguana and the endangered Ridgway hawk. Because hunting for the perfect keepsake of your trip is an adventure of its own, you’ll want to visit both the upmarket Plaza Bávaro shopping complex and the Mercado or ‘market’ at the northern end of that plaza. There, you’ll meet local artists and craftspeople, eager to show you their creations every day, from 8am until sunset.

Watersports Add some excitement to your holiday by trying a few surfing lessons (haven’t you always wanted to hang ten?), or by sailing off into the waves on a customized catamaran tour designed to show you the spots that make Punta Cana one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful areas. Always longed to SCUBA, but hesitated to dive in? Power snorkeling offers the best of underwater touring, without the need to venture into deep water. Instead, you’ll use a simple breathing tube and a hand-held power source to propel you gracefully along a beautiful sandbar. n

28 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 28

13-12-13 4:26 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 29

1/3/14 1:59 PM

Book EARLY and

Get the Lowest Rates Available on your next Carnival Cruise vacation!

!

Sapvtoe u %

20

Carnival Cruise Lines reserves the right to re-instate the fuel supplement for all guests at up to $9 per person per day if the NYMEX oil price exceeds $70 per barrel. *Early Saver: Cruise rates are in US dollars, per person and based on double occupancy. Offer is capacity controlled. Category restrictions and exclusions apply. Carnival reserves the right to withdraw and/or change offer at any time without prior notice. Cruise Fare does not include government taxes and fees. Government taxes and fees range from $37.06 to $319.82, and are assessed on a per guest basis and according to the itinerary. Full payment of the per person deposit is required at the time of booking. All cancellations that occur prior to final payment due date will receive a future cruise credit in the amount of the deposit less a $50 pp service fee. The future cruise credit can only be redeemed on bookings made in USD currency, will be applied to your cruise fare, is non-refundable, non-transferable, any unused portion will be forfeited, and must be used on a sailing within 24 months from the date of cancellation. Full names are required for each guest. Guest may select the stateroom. Early Saver fare is only available for short cruises (5 days or less), 3 months prior to sail date, and available for long cruises (6 days or longer), 5 months prior to sail date. No name changes are allowed. Early Saver fare is backed by a unique price protection policy that allows you to adjust your cruise fare to the best available fare advertised by Carnival and available to the general public. Carnival will honor your request for price protection if the reduction on the total amount paid for your booking results only from a lower cruise fare and not from the booked ancillary services, such as air, transfers, pre-paid gratuities, or government taxes and fees. Early Saver price protection does not apply to Super Saver and Instant Saver fares, group rates, membership programs, charters, select promotional fares, travel agent rebates, or other travel agent promotions not offered by Carnival to the general public. The price protection policy applies only to the category booked; no downgrades allowed. Price protection will be subject to the prevailing fees. A $50 change fee per guest will be assessed for ship and/or sail date changes made prior to final payment due date. The guest is responsible for increases to ancillary services such as air, resulting from changes to ship and/or sail date, or adjustments to cruise fare. Subsequent upgrades in lieu of price protection will no longer be offered. Cancellation penalties apply. Request Early Saver. Ships’ Registry: The Bahamas, Panama & Malta. To submit a Price Protection claim, visit carnival.com/earlysaver. When requesting a cruise fare adjustment, you must provide the lower rate amount and where the rate can be found. Requests will be accepted up to two business days prior to sailing. Lower rate must be: (i) for the same ship, sail date, stateroom category and number of guests; (ii) a qualifying Carnival advertised rate (iii) available for booking at the time the request is reviewed by Carnival’s reservation agents. Verified rate difference is issued as an on-board credit. The on-board credit is non-refundable, non-transferable and has no cash value. Any unused portion of the onboard credit will be forfeited.

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 30

12/20/13 1:45 PM

!

You’ll find amazing things to do, mouth-watering foods to choose from, nightlife, comedy and plenty of places to enjoy or you can simply do…well, nothing. Welcome to a fun-filled vacation on the ocean blue.

It’s clear why cruising with Carnival is a great choice Pretty much everything is included! Your food, entertainment, accommodations, kids’ programs, health club and activities – oh, and don’t forget those amazing ocean views. And if that isn’t enough, how about the multiple ports, cultures and cities all rolled into one unforgettable vacation, all while experiencing everything onboard one of Carnival’s breakthrough “Fun Ships®”.

Go ahead and pinch yourself, not your pennies When you sail with Carnival, it’s your time to let go and not worry about a thing because most stuff is already included on a Carnival cruise. Compared to ordinary land-based vacations, your dollar goes further and – well, see for yourself – how your fun lasts longer too. Best of all, you’ll visit amazing destinations and you only have to unpack once.

5 Night Western Caribbean

Starting from

279

$

October 4, 2014

Carnival Victory®

Oceanview from $349 Balcony from $459

Sailing Roundtrip from Miami, FL

6 Night Western Caribbean

Starting from

409

$

October 5, 2014

Carnival Breeze®

Oceanview from $529 Balcony from $659

Sailing Roundtrip from Miami, FL

7 Night Western Caribbean

Starting from

439

$

October 4, 2014

Carnival Liberty

Oceanview from $549

®

Balcony from $719

Sailing Roundtrip from Port Canaveral, FL

7 Night Canada & New England October 4, 2014

Carnival Splendor

®

Sailing Roundtrip from New York, NY

8 Night Southern Caribbean October 5, 2014

Carnival Freedom® Sailing Roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Starting from

459

$

Oceanview from $619 Balcony from $869

Starting from

669

$

Oceanview from $789 Balcony from $1109

4 Night Catalina & Baja Mexico October 5, 2014

Carnival Imagination®

Starting from

299

$

Oceanview from $349

Sailing Roundtrip from Los Angeles, CA

7 Night Western Caribbean October 5, 2014

Carnival Dream® Sailing Roundtrip from New Orleans, LA

7 Night Eastern Caribbean October 4, 2014

Carnival Glory

Starting from

429

$

Oceanview from $579 Balcony from $689

Starting from

459

$

Oceanview from $579

®

Sailing Roundtrip from Miami, FL

Balcony from $749

7 Night Mexican Riviera

Starting from

October 4, 2014

Carnival Miracle

®

Sailing Roundtrip from Los Angeles, CA

8 Night Southern Caribbean October 4, 2014

Carnival Sunshine® Sailing Roundtrip from Port Canaveral, FL

569

$

Oceanview from $689 Balcony from $819

Starting from

679

$

Oceanview from $849 Balcony from $1159

Contact Your Independent Vacation Specialist to Book Your Carnival Cruise Today.

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 31

12/20/13 1:45 PM

ship review | oasis of the seas

A first-timer spends seven nights on Oasis of the Seas, the world’s biggest cruise ship Tim Johnson

I Above: Upscale dining at 150 Central Park Restaurant.

had been on many zip-lines before – that wasn’t the thing. From Costa Rica to New Zealand, I’ve clipped in and zoomed through both rainforest canopy and high-alpine forests. But as I stood there, it all felt like a brand-new experience. A humid tropical breeze blew softly in my face as a wide wake of spume rolled out behind me, more than 16 vertiginous stories below. And just beyond the tips of my toes, a busy Boardwalk bustled with happy cruisers strolling about, eating ice cream cones and riding a carousel, little ants down there beyond several floors of stateroom balconies. I’d never before been on board a cruise ship. And here I was, ready to step off the ledge, high atop a 225,000-ton, 130,000-horsepower mega-liner. It was all new to me. A veteran world traveler with the stamps of more than 85 countries in my passport, I had been on small ships before, expeditions to far-flung places like Cape Horn and the Galapagos Islands. But a real, bona-fide, seven-night cruise? Never. I figure that it’s always better to go big on things like this, so I chose Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas – the world’s largest cruise ship – for my maiden voyage into cruising. And as I would find out, my seven nights aboard the Oasis would definitely be a journey of discovery. To say that Oasis of the Seas is “big” doesn’t really capture it. This is a ship that actually has “neighborhoods” – seven themed zones, each of which place you squarely in a distinct place. Central Park, for example, is an actual living park with dozens of trees, 12,000 plants and a New York City feel, while the Boardwalk, just a two-minute walk away, gives a whole different experience, with a Coney Island ambiance, a seafood joint, a hand-crafted carousel and a huge AquaTheater. (My surprisingly large stateroom overlooked the latter, and in the evenings, I could watch water shows from my balcony.) And the scale of the ship boggled my mind. It has room for more than 6,000 guests and more than 2,500 staff. Two 43-foot rock climbing walls. Two FlowRider surf simulators. 21 pools. The first full-length Broadway show at sea. An ice-skating rink. 16 decks. And, of course, an 82-foot zip-line.

But it wasn’t really the size of the ship that intimidated me. It was cruising itself. I had heard things from friends, who told me that cruising is a culture – with its own elaborate costumes, a distinct lexicon, unique folkways and more. Clearly I needed help, and that was never more evident than on the first formal night in the dining room. My friends had mentioned that people like to get dressed up on these big ships. So I donned the best items I had in my suitcase: dark, distressed blue jeans, a brown linen Banana Republic jacket, a button-down Ralph Lauren shirt, black three-stripe Adidas shoes. I briefly considered putting on the matching tie that I’d thrown in at the last minute, but nixed that thought. Weren’t we all on vacation? As I walked down the hall and into the ship’s futuristic glass elevators (riding them reminded me of The Jetsons), my heart sank. Around me, every last person was dressed up – I saw cocktail dresses and dapper suits in all directions. I felt like the one guy who didn’t get the memo that we won’t be wearing costumes at this year’s Halloween party, and shows up in a full-blown gorilla suit. When I saw a dude wearing a tux, I turned around and headed back to my room to get that tie.

32 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 32

13-12-13 4:27 PM

Maiden Voyage

world traveler winter 2014 33

@@World Traveler #6.indd 33

13-12-13 4:27 PM

ship review | oasis of the seas

It wasn’t really the size of the ship that intimidated me. It was cruising itself.

On the first day of the voyage, I had overheard an American couple named Luke and Kirsten mention that this was their sixteenth cruise. In one of those cosmic coincidences, their room happened to be adjacent to mine, and we passed often in the hall. So, I sought out their advice. They brought their nine-year-old daughter Lilly (herself on her eleventh cruise) and met me at the Schooner Bar soon afterward, and they walked me through the basics. Never, ever call it a boat, they told me – it’s always a ship. Take the formal nights seriously (when I saw them in the dining room at a later formal night, Mark was wearing a tuxedo, and both Kirsten and Lilly were in pretty gowns). Don’t miss the shows, they’re worth it. Pick a favorite hangout – getting to know the regulars there can make the ship feel more personal. (I certainly had my choice – Oasis offers 25 dining options, from the upscale 150 Central Park, to Giovanni’s Table, which serves up family style Italian, as well as the meaty Chops, and several others. Plus a number of great bars, including the Rising Tide, which elevates 35 patrons between three different decks of the ship.) Be nice to the staff, Luke and Kirsten said, and they’ll be nice to you (although I found that they were always incredibly nice, anyway). And try new things – for example, Luke said he and Lilly had attended a jewelry making class, and both really enjoyed it.

Clockwise from bottom left: The AquaTheater is the setting for the high-diving show Oasis of Dreams. Boardwalk balcony stateroom. Rising Tide bar ascends between three different decks. View of Central Park and interior view balcony staterooms. Central Park is an actual living park with trees and plants, and a New York City feel.

I heeded their advice, attending almost all of the shows, from Frozen in Time, which featured an acrobatic performance of flips and axles on the Studio B ice rink, to the astounding, aerial, high-diving Oasis of Dreams, which takes place in the AquaTheater, which is outfitted with towering diving boards, a trampoline, and the deepest pool at sea. I was amazed at every last one – not only at the talent and facilities, but that all of this was taking place on an actual, moving ship, out in the middle of the Caribbean. I was nice to the staff, and they went above and beyond in their duties (again, I’m pretty sure they would’ve done that anyway). I always wore my tie to the formal nights. And I picked a hangout, which turned out to be the Wind­jammer Marketplace, the ship’s massive buffet. Here, everyone seemed to be a regular, and I ended up gaining a few pounds. I also followed their tip to try new things. For one, healthy eating, which I must admit that I rarely do. I tested that out at the Solarium Bistro, dining under a glass dome near the ship’s bow, looking out on blue sea all the way to the horizon as I dined on delicious ceviche and then a bison steak (both of which, amazingly, rung in at less than 500 calories). And on the last day of the voyage, I clipped into the first-ever zip-line at sea. It was a thrilling few seconds, as I zoomed through the salty air, down the 82-foot length of the line, flying high over the Boardwalk and the balconies, quickly and exuberantly arriving, safe and sound, at the other end. Fueled by adrenaline, I decided that this would definitely not be my last cruise. And the next time? I might just pack a tux. n

34 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 34

13-12-13 4:28 PM

world traveler winter 2014 35

@@World Traveler #6.indd 35

13-12-13 4:28 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 36

12/20/13 1:45 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 37

12/20/13 1:45 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 38

12/20/13 1:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 39

12/20/13 1:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 40

12/20/13 1:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 41

12/20/13 1:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 42

12/20/13 1:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 43

12/20/13 1:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 44

12/20/13 1:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 45

12/20/13 1:46 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 46

12/20/13 1:47 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 47

12/20/13 1:47 PM

For the first-time river cruiser, the sheer number of itineraries, lines and ships can be daunting. A closer inspection however, shows you really can’t go wrong when it comes to cruising the waterways of Europe.

France A foodie’s dream-come-true, river cruises through France can run from the beaches of Normandy to the chic French Riviera and back again. Naturally, Paris is prominent on many itineraries, but the real gems here are towns like Giverny, where

Monet’s gardens at Giverny

linda crawley

Holland & Belgium The typical cruise season in Holland and Belgium is relatively short, stretching just a few months during the springtime. But that is when these two destinations are at their most beautiful with the region’s magnificent tulips in bloom. These voyages don’t cover great distances, but they visit some of the most picturesque locations in these countries, starting with the forward-thinking city of Amsterdam. Along the way, you can visit the Netherland’s historic windmills, sample the fine cheeses, or even set out for a countryside cycle. In Belgium, prepare to be awed by the magnificent architecture of Antwerp and Ghent and some cruises even offer an excursion to nearby Brussels.

SIME / eStock Photo

Holland’s historic windmills

Impressionist painter Claude Monet created some of his most famous works of art. Although food and wine play a prominent role in these itineraries, it is the staggering array of history that draws most people to France. Numerous river cruises visit Rouen, notable for its connection to Joan of Arc; and many voyages sailing the south of France call on historic Avignon and Arles, with its renowned Roman amphitheater Uniworld also has a few tricks up their sleeve: rather than deploying their upcoming S.S. Catherine on the Danube, they’re sending her to France to sail along the Rhône and Saône Rivers. The longawaited successor to the S.S. Antoinette, the striking S.S. Catherine will feature two entire decks of what the line calls “Open Air Balconies”, making her one of the most feature-laden vessels to sail the region. The line is also refurbishing the popular River Royale and moving her to a new itinerary – that of the Bordeaux region. And Uniworld is becoming all-inclusive in 2014.

48 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 48

14-12-13 12:35 PM

SIME / eStock Photo

Viking Odin in Budapest

Rhine, Moselle, Main, Danube Arguably the largest river cruising region in Europe, the itineraries along the Rhine, Moselle, Main and Danube rivers are some of the most diverse. Sailings here can stretch from Amsterdam all the way to the Black Sea on a single voyage. Some of Europe’s most culturally and historically-important cities can be visited, including the lovingly-rebuilt Bavarian city of Nuremberg; vibrant Vienna; and the stunning Hungarian capital of Budapest, with its ten bridges spanning the Danube, all of which were destroyed during World War II. These rivers are also the launching grounds for the latest-and-greatest river cruise ships afloat, with the newest vessels entering service here on a seemingly non-stop basis. In 2014, Viking River Cruises will take delivery of another crop of 14 new Viking Longships, bringing the total count launched since 2011 to 30. It’s not without cause; these are some of the sleekest, most in-demand vessels on Europe’s water­ways, thanks to their innovative design and comfortably-appointed staterooms.

Other river cruise lines are turning up the heat on Viking. AmaWaterways will take delivery of two brand-new sisters to the highly-popular AmaCerto when the 164guest AmaReina and AmaSonata launch in the spring. Also headed to the Danube in 2014 are Tauck’s new ms Inspire and ms Savor, which are substantially larger than the line’s previous river cruise ships, yet carry just 12 additional guests. Avalon Waterways will debut three ships in 2014 along the Rhine, Main and Danube: Avalon Illumination, Avalon Impression, and the smaller Avalon Poetry II for those who like their river cruises more intimately-sized. Other lines are also quickly rising to prominence on these rivers, including A-ROSA, which just began marketing select ships and itineraries to North American river cruisers in 2013. Their itinerary lineup for 2014 is even more comprehensive, and the line is winning over guests with unusual features like spacious swimming pools, spas and all-inclusive pricing.

Italy and the Po

Uniworld’s River Countess in Venice

Uniworld is placing their sights squarely on another part of Europe: Italy’s Po River, which has long been tricky to navigate due to fluctuating water levels. But the line has created two distinct itineraries here, from the accessible eight-day Venice and the Po River to the comprehensive 13-day Splendors of Italy itinerary that begins in Venice and ends with an overland journey to Rome. world traveler winter 2014 49

@@World Traveler #6.indd 49

13-12-13 4:31 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 50

12/23/13 3:52 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 51

12/20/13 1:47 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 52

12/20/13 1:47 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 53

12/23/13 3:25 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 54

12/20/13 1:47 PM

ship review | royal princess

ROYAL PRINCESS

The elegant evolution of cruising A new class of ship for Princess Cruises WALLACE IMMEN There’s been an evolutionary leap in the cruise world since Princess Cruises launched its last new ship five years ago. Ships are growing progressively larger. Dining at set times in large restaurants has given way to when-you-choose options in an array of smaller, themed restaurants. Entertainment venues have morphed from huge theaters to smaller lounges and cabarets. And complex spas and private lounge areas provide alternatives to vast sun decks. The designers of the new Royal Princess had to one-up these trends but still maintain the opulent elegance guests expect from a Princess ship. They went for size, and in the process managed to provide more intimacy and choice. Here’s an interesting comparison: The Oasis class ships of rival Royal Caribbean that were considered “can you believe it?” huge when they were launched a couple of years ago are 1,185 feet long and 213 feet wide with 16 decks and a guest capacity of 5,400. Royal Princess at 1,083 feet is only 100 feet shorter than those ships. While it isn’t quite as wide, it’s taller, with 19 decks. Yet it accommodates just 3,600 guests. With so much space to play with, the designers of Royal Princess had fun concocting new ways to wow and pamper guests. One of the first features I checked out on a recent cruise in Europe was the SeaWalk that swoops dramatically out over the edge of the ship 16 decks above the waves. Whoa, you can’t walk on air, my mind kept telling me as I stepped onto the glass floor and looked at my feet hovering in space. I found it fun, but some other guests stopped short and backed away. The bar alongside the walkway does a good business for those who need something bracing after their stroll over the edge. On the top deck the Sanctuary and Retreat is one of the largest adults-only areas on any ship and certainly the most elegant.

The extra cost to reserve a lounge chair for a day in the Sanctuary puts you in a courtyard style setting that’s surrounded by glass screens to keep out the wind and landscaped with topiary. For an additional charge reserve one of the most coveted hideaways: a louvered enclosure with couches and privacy curtains that create a suite-like space complete with a big-screen television. My choice for a place to tuck into was The Enclave, a hedonistic room within the Lotus Spa, which is located on Deck 5. It centers around a warm swimming pool that has a variety of whirlpool zones that focus on backs, shoulders or legs. Surrounding the pool are rooms that echo the ancient Roman baths. You start with a marblewalled caldarium, which is a steam room with herbal scents to clear your pipes and release stress. Then, you can mellow out in the tepidarium, a warm, dry room that encourages detoxification. Finally, there’s frigidarium, which is actually cool rather than frigid, but it still helps that the floors and benches are warmed a bit. The ritual is topped off with a shower that features choice of sprays, lighting and herbal scents you can program to your choice of moods.

Top: The elegant spainspired Sanctuary and Retreat with its intimate private cabanas, complete with big screen television. Above: The dramatic glass-floored SeaWalk offers stunning views. Facing page: The spectacular atrium.

world traveler winter 2014 55

@@World Traveler #6.indd 55

13-12-13 4:32 PM

ship review | royal princess

Above: The popular three-deck Piazza is the heart of the ship. Top photos: The ship is rich in elegant design and beautifully decorated spaces. Right: The Wheelhouse Pub is paired with the Crown Grill for a seamless evening experience. Bottom right: Gelato features hand-made Italian-inspired ice creams. Opposite page: Top: From its prime location on the Piazza, glamorous Bellini’s offers champagne and Bellini cocktails. Bottom: Another popular venue on the Piazza is Crooners piano bar.

One of the innovations I found extremely successful is the Piazza in the center of the ship just outside the spa area. Unlike the largely unused central atriums of many other ships, this three-deck complex includes multiple attractions for dining and entertainment arranged around the gorgeous Atrium. I found myself settling in to the Pastry Shop on the lowest level for brunches or afternoon tea and enjoying the music played by a string quartet or a jazz combo in the Piazza. There’s no charge for the grilled sandwiches on fresh-baked breads or for the array of desserts. Warm chocolate brownies are invitingly arranged on a table at the entrance and cheese cakes and cream puffs are calling out “try me”. It’s not just rows of tempting confections, but an ongoing show, with pastry chefs preparing desserts and dipping chocolates to order. Nearby is Gelato, where they serve up home-made Italian-inspired ice creams and next door to that a pizzeria that turns out pies to order. Some of the venues around the Piazza are extremely intimate. A made-to-order sushi, sashimi and ceviche seafood bar called Ocean Terrace Seafood Bar has a capacity of just 26 and skirts the edge of the Piazza on Deck 7. There’s a caviar menu as well for special occasions at appropriate prices. Just below, on the center deck of the Atrium there’s an equally personal bar called Bellini’s, which specializes in cocktails and Champagnes. Nearby is the piano bar. While other Princess ships have piano lounges named Crooners, the Royal Princess

version is innovative because it’s part of the Piazza/Atrium space. The Crooners piano is a work of art itself, hand-painted with a motif of martini glasses and musical scores accented with olives. The piano man quipped that if any guest wanted to buy it, the price would be $1-million. It’s probably best left where it is. By day, those who have always wanted to be in the studio audience for Oprah or a daytime game show should check out Princess Live! It’s a fully functioning 280seat television studio featuring lively, bantering hosts and lots of opportunities for the audience to participate.

Dining has evolved on Royal Princess as well. Even the classic restaurants guests may know from other Princess ships may be larger, but they’re divided into several small rooms so they don’t seem big. And they’re neatly paired with lounges so that a cocktails and dinner evening becomes a seamless experience rather than requiring a trek to the restaurant after a pre-dinner drink. One of my favorite areas is the Crown Grill, a classic steak house with an art deco decor that features a theater-style open kitchen so you can watch the chefs in action and see what’s cooking. The restaurant is aptly adjacent to the British-style Wheelhouse Pub. Sabatini’s, the northern Italian restaurant on the ship is grouped in a similar way with Vines wine bar. It’s the only place outside of Italy that I’ve ever seen a slicer for prosciutto ham on the bar, which is a specialty appetizer of the house. If there’s one area of the ship that demonstrates the explosion of choices possible on a cruise ship it’s the Horizons

56 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 56

13-12-13 4:32 PM

The heart of the Royal Princess is the hugely popular three-deck Piazza featuring multiple attractions for dining and entertainment arranged around the gorgeous atrium. and Bistro area. Every ship has a food court zone that serves lunch buffets and informal dinners, but this area is the first one I’ve ever encountered that has multiple serving lines which never repeat an item. There are entire lines that cater to individual cuisines, from Latin American to Oriental to French and a hibachi grill and carving stations whose offerings change each day. On this Mediterranean cruise, the itinerary was just as varied as the cuisine and entertainment choices on board. On the itinerary I chose, Royal Princess spent a day docked in Venice so guests could enjoy an evening in the city of canals before setting sail the next day past the iconic St. Mark’s Square. Ports of call in Greece included picturesque Mykonos as well as the port for Athens and a shore excursion to the Acropolis. Then we visited the port of

Kusadasi in Turkey and had a full day in Istanbul. It was on to Italy, where the stops were Naples for explorations of Capri or the Amalfi Coast and ports for shore excursions to Rome and Tuscany. Finally, there was Toulon for a day in Provence before the cruise ended in Barcelona. The winter sees Princess sailing weeklong itineraries out of Fort Lauderdale, visiting St. Maarten, St. Thomas and the Princess Cays private island. Next year, the views change again as itineraries shift to the Baltic with 11-day cruises from Copenhagen that include twoday stays in St. Petersburg. A new identical sister ship, the Regal Princess, takes up the Mediterranean Grand Tour when it enters service in June, 2014. Either of Princess’ new ships will alter your thinking about what’s possible on a cruise experience. n world traveler winter 2014 57

@@World Traveler #6.indd 57

13-12-13 4:32 PM

Dennis Cox / Alamy

58 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 58

13-12-13 4:34 PM

CRUISING EUROPE

SIME / ESTOCK PHOTO

BEST CRUISE PORTS | EUROPE

Every day brings a unique adventure when you travel in Europe. WALLACE IMMEN And earlier in the cruise I had my latest visit to Venice, a place I’ll never grow tired of visiting. There’s no place on Earth quite like the city whose grand buildings and even the design of the gondolas on the canals haven’t changed in hundreds of years. Sure, I could have saved money on my airfare and done my cruise vacation closer to home. If you want beaches and palm trees, all the Caribbean islands have them. The glaciers and mountains in Alaska are spectacular, but the history and cultural attractions beyond the shore are limited. And if you want shopping, there are stores in every port anywhere. But for me, the premium it costs to fly to Europe always seems to pay daily dividends. There’s no place else on earth where you can have such a variety of sights and experiences in such close proximity as you can on that Continent.

Facing page: Strolling the streets in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Provence Above: Gondolier in the Grand Canal, Venice Right: Orazi and Curiazi’s Hall, Capitolium Museums, Rome

SIME / ESTOCK PHOTO

TODAY I’M ON THE GREEK ISLAND of Rhodes, where I spent the morning in a walled city that a Crusader would have found familiar. A five-minute walk from the gangway of my ship, I entered through a medieval gate that successfully withstood sieges by armies of Ottomans. I had a coffee in a town square whose stone buildings still seemed to echo with the sounds of clashing swords. Yesterday, I got off the ship on the Greek island of Kos, that I never would have imagined wanting to visit until I got there on this cruise. But it turned out to be fascinating. On a shore excursion tour of the ruins, I was plunged into the history of healing and the state of the art in health spas several thousand years ago. It’s here that Hippocrates laid down the principles of modern medicine. After the visit, I swam in some of the clearest blue water imaginable on a nearly deserted beach.

WORLD TRAVELER WINTER 2014 59

@@World Traveler #6.indd 59

13-12-13 4:34 PM

In Europe the cruise ports are larger and offer a wide variety of fascinating choices of shore excursions. In Monte Carlo, it could be an ancient hill town like St. Paul de Vence, a beach day in Cannes, shopping and dining in Nice or a jaunt to a casino to try your luck. European cities have hundreds of years of experience in welcoming visitors from around the world. Even in the days of togas and chariots, all road warriors eventually found themselves in Rome. I’ve found myself drawn back to the Eternal City even when I’m doing a land-based vacation rather than a cruise. I could spend a week in Rome just exploring the history and art of a single century and sampling the daily specials in restaurants, where I’ve never ever had a bad meal. That goes for the rest of Italy as well. I’m always struck by the fact that Italy was not even a single country until 150 years ago. For centuries, towns that were within hiking distance of each other tried to be as different as possible from their neighbors. The colors and styles of buildings in Umbria are completely different from those in Tuscany.

And even in Tuscany, Siena could never be mistaken for Florence. And the customs vary widely by region as well. There’s a Roman way of knocking back a morning espresso that’s very different from the leisurely sipping that’s the style in Naples or Venice. And in the course of a cruise around the Mediterranean, there’s also the chance to compare Italian individuality to daily life in the regions of France and Spain. Even if the cities seem eternal and the history spans centuries, I see each place in Europe with fresh eyes every time I make a return visit. The fashions and the goods in the store windows are ever-changing, the menus in restaurants seem to respect the seasons much more than in other parts of the world. And I have the luxury of familiarity that makes me want to experience more. In fact, now that I’ve discovered the island of Kos, I’m finding myself considering making a return visit to take the waters on a future visit to Greece. As therapeutic as the spa island may be, I doubt that it will cure my addiction to Europe. n

Rome’s Trastevere district

SIME / eStock Photo

European cities have hundreds of years of experience in welcoming visitors from around the world.

The crystalline waters of Greece

SIME / eStock Photo

best cruise ports | europe

60 world traveler winter 2014

@@World Traveler #6.indd 60

13-12-13 4:34 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 61

12/20/13 1:47 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 62

12/20/13 1:47 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 63

12/20/13 1:47 PM

Y

ou May Be Closer to Luxury Cruising Than You Think

When you consider the all-inclusive benefits and perks that a luxury cruise offers, you may be very surprised by the savings compared to the cost of a premium cruise with added extras. Cruisers know about the benefits of luxury cruising such as the higher level of service, the more intimate environment, the extra attention to detail. But, many don’t know about the cost saving benefits when compared to contemporary or premium cruise lines. Luxury lines often include the perks that other cruise lines charge extra for. So you won’t have to worry about spending extra on gratuities, alcoholic beverages, specialty dining, and other valuable items. Add up all of these extras and you’ll see that the cost of a luxury cruise is often equal to, or less than, the cost of other cruise packages.

Sample Itinerary / Savings* + Shore excursions + Alcoholic beverages and wine + Pre-cruise hotel stay (1 night) + Ground transfers + Specialty dining + Pre-paid gratuities + Soft drinks and coffee POTENTIAL SAVINGS:

$800 $201 $200 $93 $90 $84 $81

$1549

Additional Perks May Include Internet access

Pre-/post - cruise Hotel Stay(s)

Airport transfers

Shore Excursions

Contact Your Independent Vacation Specialist for Details

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 64

12/20/13 1:48 PM

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 65

12/20/13 1:48 PM

CA 2006278-40, FLST 35829, IA 655, WA 601698664, NV 2005-0073. Š 2013

Contact Your Independent Vacation Specialist

Enter here to win a free cruise! As part of the largest cruise agency in the world, CruiseOne prides itself in offering customers the best prices available along with the most personal service you could imagine.

RANKED

#1

By the Best

in Travel

CRUISEONE Travel Experts Go the distance to make your

Vacation Dreams A Reality

2014 Winter World Traveler.indd 66

12/20/13 1:48 PM

world traveler by cruiseone

WINTer 2014

top entertainment at sea | punta cana | cruising the caribbean | european river cruises | oasis of the seas | royal princess

16-12-13 10:13 AM

**WT COVERS_Winter14.indd 3


Cone 2014 Winter World Travler