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FALL 2017

Explore JAPAN, CHINA & TAIWAN Hot Destinations in EUROPE Find Bliss in

FRENCH POLYNESIA

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Dear Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The lazy days of summer have sadly come to an end, with some of us heading back to school or planning for the holidays ahead. As you dive into the hustle and bustle of fall activities, don’t forget to plan your escape from those winter blues that can creep up in the New Year. Perhaps you dream of the unbelievably blue waters of Tahiti, or a culturefilled grand tour through Europe. Or even just a quick getaway to a fabulous locale right here in the United States. Whatever sparks your wanderlust during those long winter days, as your travel specialists, we’re here to help you turn those daydreams into reality. No matter where your travels take you, booking with us assures you: • Unique itineraries tailored to your wants and needs; • Insider connections to the best hotels, ships, & tour guides; • Flawlessly planned and beautifully executed itineraries; plus • Ensemble® Exclusives, like free room upgrades, extra savings, private shore events, shipboard & resort credits, complimentary dining, and more. We’re here to make the travel planning process as seamless and stress-free as your vacation will be, and we look forward to designing the trip of your dreams. Contact us today to get started.

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Cover: Kyoto, Japan

Ensemble Travel® Group membership enables us to bring you added amenities, custom touches, unexpected experiences, and a genuinely warm welcome wherever your travels take you. When your next opportunity for travel arises, be sure to inquire about the Ensemble® Exclusives that can make your trip an absolute dream come true.


FROM THE EDITOR I FIND THAT TRAVELING IS A LOT LIKE WORKING OUT:

EDITORIAL Editor In Chief

Alice Stroh

Associate Editor

Kimberly Buerkle

Creative Director

Laura Torrisi

Art Director at Large Art Director Editorial Assistant Staff Writer

Yin Wong Allyn Bacher Haley Tomsheck Daniel Stein

DESIGN

Torrisi Design Associates P RO DUC T I O N Production Manager

Wendy Russo

An Ensemble Travel® Group Publication Ensemble Vacations® is a publication of Ensemble Travel® Group. © September 2017 Ensemble Travel, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without written permission of the publisher. Ensemble Travel Group, 256 West 38th Street, New York, NY 10018. Ensemble® Ensemble Travel® Ensemble® Hosted Cruises Ensemble® Hotel & Resort Collection Ensemble® On Location Ensemble® Villas & Vacation Homes Ensemble® Exclusives Ensemble® Experience Ensemble® Luxe Life and the floret design are registered and unregistered trademarks of Ensemble Travel, Inc.

you know that it will make you feel amazing, but there’s always a good excuse to put it off. (You don’t have the time, getting there and back can be a hassle, you don’t want to spend the money, etc.). But like a good workout, travel is something you never regret doing. Last summer my husband and I took a last minute trip to Spain, and while we almost didn’t go because I felt I was too busy, I’m so glad that we went. It was one of the best trips we’ve ever taken, and little did I know that it would be a while before we were able to travel again, as we’re embarking on a new adventure this October: our first baby.

Ávila, Spain

While my traveling days are temporarily on pause, I encourage you to stop making excuses and get out there and see the world! In this issue, we’re taking an in-depth look at the ever-fascinating lands of Japan, China, and Taiwan. In Japan, relax in Yamashiro’s hot springs and roam the tranquil gardens of Kanazawa; meet a sake sommelier from Akita; learn about family-friendly activities in Japan; and discover the enchanting Kamakura Snow Festival. In China, meet the pandas of Chengdu and taste the unique cuisine of Macau, and in Taiwan, savor exotic bites from Taipei’s night markets and venture through mountainous hiking and biking trails.

Over in Europe, we’re sailing around the Cyclades, gallivanting through Spain’s Asturias region, and discovering all the reasons why Croatia is THE place to be. Elsewhere, follow a father and his two sons as they travel the world, including a stop in ancient Petra; explore the rich culture and beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville; and find your own Bali Ha’i in French Polynesia. You never know where life will take you – talk to your Ensemble-member travel agent and start planning the trip of your dreams today. HAPPY TRAVELS,

Alice Stroh

Editor in Chief, Ensemble Vacations® Magazine

I’d love to hear from you! Please share your travel stories with me: editor@ensembletravel.com

Ensemble Lifestyles Winter 2015 1

Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 1


FALL 2017

45

35 21

FEATURES 20 Map illustration of Japan, China and Taiwan J A PA N

21 Gardens, Hot Springs & Geishas 24 The Empress of Sake 27 Amazing Family Activities in Japan 28 Nature as Art CHINA

F R E N C H P O LY N E S I A

45 Where the Sky Meets the Sea GREECE

54 The Blues of the Cyclades

30 Chengdu: China’s City of Pandas 34 A Taste of Macau

S PA I N

TA I WA N

C R O AT I A

35 After Dark in Taipei 36 Bikes and Boots: Conquering Taiwan’s Trails

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58 Discovering the Unexpected in Asturias 62 Adriatic Idyll JORDAN

76 Father and Sons’ Adventures in Petra

DEPARTMENTS 1 From the Editor 4 Contributors 31 Worth the Journey: Hainan Island 32 Frequent Traveler: Fifty by Fifty 70 U.S. City Spotlight: Asheville Gets its Groove on 80 Traveler’s Notebook: Ensemble® Exclusive deals & offers

62


At an exceptional address in the cultural heart of the city, Amsterdam’s only Modern Grand Hotel has continued the legacy of the Conservatorium music school by creating inspiring spaces, beautifully composed for contemporary life. For more information please contact your Ensemblemember travel agent.


CONTRIBUTORS

LOLA AUGUSTINE BROWN is

MELANIE CHAMBERS’s

a freelance writer who is based in rural Nova Scotia, where she lives with her husband, three kids, two dogs, and 12 chickens. Lola loves to travel both with her family and without, having just returned home from a family trip to London and looking very much forward to her next solo trip, to Anguilla. Amazing Family Activities in Japan, page 27.

16 years as a travel writer has produced adventure stories for the likes of Outside Magazine, Air Canada, and Canadian Geographical. She conducts writing workshops internationally and teaches travel writing at Western University. Bikes and Boots, Conquering Taiwan’s Trails, page 36.

Based in New York, awardwinning journalist SUZANNE GANNON covers travel and leisure, food and wine, and culture and design. Her work has appeared in Town & Country, The New York Times, Art & Antiques, The Wall Street Journal, and Executive Traveler. She has been a guest on NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” and published In the Garden. The Empress of Sake, page 24; Nature as Art, page 28.

JILL MROSS is a Florida-based freelance writer and public relations executive specializing in travel and culinary communications. She is in constant search of the next great escape from the ordinary. Discovering the Unexpected in Asturias, page 58.

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ROBIN CHERRY lives in the Hudson Valley and writes about travel, food, and popular culture. She’s written two books: Catalog: The Illustrated History of Mail Order Shopping and Garlic: An Edible Biography (with over 100 recipes). She’s visited over 100 countries and has a passion for Central and Eastern Europe. Where the Sky Meets the Sea, page 45; Adriatic Idyll, page 62.

Chef, author, culinary writer, RICHARD FRISBIE combines his passions for food, wine and travel with his curiosity about other cultures. As a contributor to the book Savoring Gotham, A Food Lover’s Companion to NYC the publisher, Oxford University Press, called him one of “the most notable food experts.” A Taste of Macau, page 34.

NYC-based writer, MARGIE GOLDSMITH writes experiential travel and profiles. She has interviewed Sir Richard Branson and Francis Ford Coppola. She has traveled to 134 countries and written about them all. Her 68 writing awards include the prestigious Lowell Thomas Gold Award, and two Folio Awards. She is a triathlete, and Fellow Resident of the Explorer’s Club. margiegoldsmith.com Gardens, Hot Springs and Geishas, page 21.

MARTIN HAAKE has worked as

Based in Colorado, NANCY HELLMRICH is a recovering advertising creative director and active travel enthusiast. Her work includes brand alignment projects as well as travel stories. Her recent adventures have involved hiking in the Tetons, cycling in New Zealand, snuggling up in Sweden’s Ice Hotel, and glamping in the Sahara. Fifty by Fifty, page 32; After Dark in Taipei, page 35; Asheville Gets its Groove On, page 70.

JAY PEARSON lives in Toronto, Canada with his two young sons, Sullivan and Max. Recently, they took a year off of regular life to travel the world. They visited 26 different countries - hiking mountains, snorkelling reefs, exploring ruins and sleeping in deserts. They’re currently on the lookout for their next adventure. Father and Sons’ Adventures in Petra, page 76.

CHRIS ROBINSON is a travel

HANS TAMMEMAGI’s writing

writer and broadcaster who has traveled to over 100 countries. The Chris Robinson Travel Show is Canada’s most popular radio travel show with over 1,000 episodes for nearly twenty years. His articles have appeared in newspapers, magazines and online. chrisrobinsontravelshow.ca/Blog. Chengdu, China’s City of Pandas, page 30.

is eclectic, including travel, environment and Native culture. He has penned 10 books (one national best seller) and his articles appear in media across North America. A former adjunct professor in environmental sciences, he has a strong affinity for nature and the environment around us. He enjoys photography. The Blues of the Cyclades, page 54.

a freelance illustrator for 15 years. His clients include Barnes & Noble, The New York Times, Penguin Books, Bacardi, Yahoo, Playboy and The Hollywood Reporter. His work has garnered numerous international awards and been shown in national and international exhibitions. Martin’s work is influenced by the Surrealists and Dada artists as well as children’s book illustrations of the 1950s. Japan, China and Taiwan, page 20.


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

If you could peer over the shoulders of 100 world travelers to peruse their bucket lists, New Zealand and Egypt would likely be on the top of many — for both offer the sorts of superlatives that promise bucket-list-worthy experiences. If you’re planning to go the distance, it makes sense to do it right. And with never more than 16 guests, Alexander+Roberts Small Group Journeys offer a better way to experience all that they have to offer.

OF ALPINE LANDSCAPES

+ THE ANCIENT WORLD ...

Explore two bucket-list destinations with never more than 16 guests.

Focusing on the towering terrain of the South Island, Spectacular New Zealand is an expertly guided 9-day journey filled with once-in-a-lifetime adventures – like an overnight cruise deep into Milford Sound, a jet boat adventure through the gorges of the Shotover River, and a lakeside dinner on a working high-country homestead! Boutique hotels, tastings of New Zealand wines and intimate farm-to-table dining enhance the journey. A Private Touring version is available as are extensions to New Zealand’s North Island or Australia.

With its arid landscapes and ancient Pharaonic monuments, Egypt is obviously different from New Zealand. But expert guides and a small group of never more than 16 guests also make A+R’s Visions of Egypt by Small Ship a better way to explore this bucket-list favorite. The adventure begins at the luxurious Kempinski Nile Hotel and includes two full days of sightseeing in and around Cairo. Then flying to Luxor, guests embark on a 4-night luxury Nile cruise aboard the sleek, 44-guest Oberoi Philae. With A+R’s terrific Egyptologists, fabled sites like Karnak Temple, Luxor, and the Valley of the Kings and Queens come to life. The company even includes your roundtrip flights to Abu Simbel and a tour of the must-see Temple of Ramses II.

For special offers from Alexander + Roberts, please see page 80. For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 5


Not long ago, the mere mention of a “world cruise” would inspire waves of envy. After all, only those who could afford to run away for months on end without irksome ramifications back home could dream of embarking on such a voyage. Now, as incredible as it seems, the world is a different place. We live in a more automated and connected time, a time when many of the quotidian tasks of life and business can be managed from afar. Which means, quite simply, that we are free to follow our wanderlust to the very ends of the earth and back.

WHY SETTLE ON ONE DESTINATION WHEN

YOU CAN HAVE THEM ALL? Perhaps it’s no coincidence at all then that highly acclaimed

Crystal Cruises has announced four unprecedented World Cruise journeys aboard their award-winning luxury ships — Crystal Symphony® and Crystal Serenity®. Now, modern travelers with ambitious bucket lists can fulfill their dreams aboard any of these extraordinary voyages, which range from 97 to 129 days in length.

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SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

WORLD CRUISE 1: STUNNING SKYLINES & HALCYON HARBORS

WORLD CRUISE 2: WORLD WONDERS & ETERNAL CITIES

Crystal’s first World Cruise option is an extraordinary 114-day voyage aboard Crystal Symphony from Cape Town to Fort Lauderdale. Departing January 7, 2018, Stunning Skylines & Halcyon Harbors will explore the southern hemisphere – from the Winelands and game reserves of South Africa to the exotic wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. En route, the ship will call upon Mauritius, coastal Australia from Broome to Sydney, New Zealand’s fiordland, the Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Easter Island, Valparaiso, Cartagena, St. Barts, and more. This magnificent journey features 13 overnight stays and six impressive maiden calls, including Burnie, Tasmania, and Robinson Crusoe Island.

Crystal’s second World Cruise option is a 112-day odyssey aboard Crystal Serenity from Los Angeles to Rome. Departing January 23, 2018, World Wonders & Eternal Cities begins with a sojourn across the Pacific Ocean to the islands of Hawaii and concludes with a romp through antiquity in Egypt, Israel, and Italy. En route, guests will experience Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the mysteries of New Guinea, the rich contrasts of modern and ancient China, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, India, and the marvels of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This breathtaking itinerary features 18 overnight stays and seven maiden calls, including Pago Pago, Kitava, Gizo, and Magalore.

A LAVISH WHITE EXTRAVAGANZA GALA IN SYDNEY

The two ships will meet in Sydney on February 17, 2018 for Crystal’s White Extravaganza Gala, a once-in-a-lifetime event that will welcome all of Crystal’s Full World Cruise guests. The high-Victorian interiors of Sydney Town Hall are sure to make an elegant backdrop for this privileged group as they arrive in all-white attire for a lavish evening of dining and entertainment, hosted by Crystal CEO and President Edie Rodriguez. WORLD CRUISES 3 & 4: THE OPTION TO SWITCH SHIPS

Also in Sydney, for the first time ever, Crystal’s World Cruise guests will have the option to switch ships and complete the second half of their journey aboard the new ship. This option effectively creates two additional World Cruise itineraries –World Cruise 3: Storied Treasures & Journeys and World Cruise 4: South Pacific Reflections. A WORLD OF OPPORTUNITIES ON BOARD AND ON SHORE

Crystal’s World Cruise guests will sail in modern luxury and awaken each day to world-themed events, exclusive shore experiences, active adventures, leisurely sightseeing, even opportunities for voluntourism. Shore excursions run the gamut from helicopter flights, vineyards, tribal villages, and game reserves to cycling, gastronomy, museums, nature walks, sailing, diving, and more. After dark, the ships come alive with exquisite dining experiences, dazzling shows, dancing, and lively conversation with onboard celebrities and guests. For more information about Crystal Cruises’ World Cruise experiences, as well as shorter yet equally extraordinary voyages, see page 85 or contact your Ensemblemember travel agent.


EXPLORE THE

WORLD WITH

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE


WRITE THE NEXT

GREAT CHAPTER IN YOUR LIFE STORY

15-Day Panama Canal Fort Lauderdale to San Diego ms Westerdam OCEAN-VIEW FROM

2/4/18

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$

Ensemble Exclusive: $75 onboard credit per stateroom

12-Day Colors of Brazil Roundtrip Buenos Aires ms Zaandam

2/19/18

OCEAN-VIEW FROM

1,699

$

Ensemble Exclusive: $75 onboard credit per stateroom

14-Day New Zealand Discovery Roundtrip Sydney ms Noordam

3/1/18

OCEAN-VIEW FROM

2,299

$

Ensemble Exclusive: Up to $50 onboard credit per stateroom and Pinnacle Grill lunch for two

For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

Fares are based on Promo LG. Featured fares are per person based on double occupancy, cruise or Land+Sea Journeys only. Fares are in U.S. dollars. All savings amounts are included in the fares shown. Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses are additional and range from $325 to $410. Subject to availability. For more information about our stateroom categories and suite descriptions, to view deck plans and for full terms and conditions applicable to your cruise, please refer to your travel professional. Offers have limited space, and may be modified or withdrawn without prior notice. Other restrictions may apply. Ships’ Registry: The Netherlands.


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

The AquaClass Stateroom Experience Each AquaClass stateroom includes the following world-class amenities that all contribute to your modern luxury experience. From thoughtful inroom additions to personalized service, enjoy the signature touches you’ll only find when you sail with Celebrity Cruises.

Your Escape at Sea Our AquaClass staterooms are perfectly suited for those with a focus on wellness and pure relaxation. Enjoy luxurious spa elements infused into the stateroom experience, savor clean cuisine with priority seating at Blu restaurant, and escape to the Relaxation Room and Persian garden for stunning sea views. Relax with AquaSpa treatments arranged by your personal spa concierge and feel rejuvenated with wellness classes such as meditation and yoga.

• Specialty restaurant Blu, for AquaClass guests • Unlimited access to Persian Garden spa lounge • Personal spa concierge • Hansgrohe shower panel • Wellness Channel - On Demand AquaClass Programming • Daily delivery of flavored tea • Pillow menu and Aromatherapy diffuser • Reverie Dream Lite® Mattress • Expanded room service breakfast menu

BLU As an AquaClass® guest, you can enjoy your own exclusive restaurant for breakfast and dinner. The spa-inspired cuisine at Blu is an imaginative way of preparing popular dishes without fussiness or pretense. Clean, crisp flavors and inventive cuisine meet an extensive list of sustainable and biodynamic wines. Personalized service, inviting surroundings, and natural light are all part of the fresh and bold aesthetic of Blu. Our crew of world-class chefs continually raise the bar for culinary experiences, both at sea and beyond. For special offers from Celebrity Cruises please see page 84. For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

10 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017


Discover the warmth and value of winter in Ireland. Introducing the New Winter Vacation Collection – A CIE Tours Exclusive!

Ha’Penny Bridge, Dublin

IRISH ADVENTURE WINTER

WINTER GETAWAY: DUBLIN

Monday departures, December 2017 – February 2018 Monday & Wednesday departures, March 2018

Independent departures November 2017 – March 2018

TASTE OF IRELAND WINTER

WINTER GETAWAY: KILLARNEY

Sunday departures, December 2017 – February 2018 Sunday & Friday departures, March 2018

Wednesday departures November 2017 – March 2018

9 days, 8 nights from $1240 Discover the magic of Ireland’s winter coastline. Avoid the crowds at must-see attractions such as Blarney Castle, Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry and Giant’s Causeway. Stay in Dublin, Waterford, Killarney, Galway and Derry, enjoying great meals, and a traditional pub sing-along evening.

7 days, 6 nights from $1090 The perfect introduction to the Emerald Isle! Kiss the Blarney Stone, view the scenic Ring of Kerry and majestic Cliffs of Moher. Enjoy traditional Irish dinners and an evening of lively entertainment.

4 days, 3 nights Independent Vacation from $690 Escape the winter doldrums with a quick trip to Dublin! Lively pubs, cozy restaurants, boutique shopping and historical treasures await. Experience the city your way, with the help of a personal concierge who will help you maximize your time in this bustling city.

5 days, 4 nights from $740 Take a quick winter break in Killarney! Visit the best attractions in southern Ireland with plenty of time to take in the lively pubs, shops, and postcard-perfect winter scenery.

* Prices are land only, per person, based on double occupancy and vary by departure date.

CIE Tours offers over 40 guided vacations to Ireland & Britain starting as low as $768 per person, as well as Independent and Luxury Private-Driver programs. For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Unlimited

ALASKA Wild gold rush stories. Gorgeous glaciers. Breathtaking mountains. Whales, wolves, bears, bald eagles, salmon, moose, you name it … bold, beautiful Alaska has it all. In 2018, visitors to Alaska can have it all too – with an all-inclusive cruise aboard an intimate, luxurious ship. Along Alaska’s shores, icy-blue glaciers dominate the foreground as awe inspiring, snow-capped mountains pierce the cerulean sky. In port, deep blue harbors and spirited frontier towns welcome visitors with open arms, eager to reveal their riches. Those sailing with Regent Seven Seas Cruises® also enjoy all-inclusive Alaska cruise fares that cover just about every amenity and activity imaginable. Guests can choose from an array of exciting Alaska itineraries with free round-trip air from select gateway cities; unlimited shore excursions; unlimited fine wines, premium spirits, and exquisite meals in four onboard restaurants;

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unlimited WiFi; pre-paid gratuities; Club Mariner youth program; special pricing for kids; and more. Included shore excursions offer everything from rainforest expeditions, whale watching, and catamaran quests to tasting tours, tribal dances, lumberjack shows, fishing, birding, rock climbing, zip lining, and glacial exploring. The intimate, all-suite Seven Seas Mariner®, will begin the 2018 Alaska season fresh from complete refurbishment and poised to pamper her Alaska-bound guests with 350 luxurious, all-balcony suites and over 400 attentive crew.

Onboard amenities include superb restaurants and a refreshing Canyon Ranch SpaClub®. Enrichment aboard select Alaska voyages includes Terry Breen, author and cultural anthropologist who shares her passion and love of the region through lectures and intermittent commentary from the bridge. And entertainment options range from live music and full-scale production shows to culinary demos, wine events, and artisan cheese tastings. For special offers from Regent Seven Seas Cruises, please see page 92. For more information please contact your Ensemblemember travel agent.


RESORTS AS

UNIQUE AS YOU. Get away with AMResorts Collection and Delta Vacations. AMResorts are the masters of vacation innovation, from luxurious Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts and adults-only Secrets and Breathless Resorts & Spas to family-friendly Dreams, Now and Sunscape Resorts & Spas. Receive up to $400 in resort coupons at select properties, when you book a flight and hotel getaway.* Plus, SkyMiles® Members earn up to 7,500 bonus miles per person, in addition to credited flight miles, with a flight and hotel package. Contact your Ensemble-member travel agent to book by December 31, 2017, for travel September 15 – December 31, 2017.

Offer subject to change without notice; other restrictions may apply. For complete details on this offer, visit deltavacations.com/go/amrcoupons. All SkyMiles Program rules apply. To review the rules, please visit delta.com/memberguide. Bonus miles do not count towards Medallion® Status or Million Miler™ Status. Offers void where prohibited by law. *Minimum night stays, select travel dates and other restrictions may apply. ©2017 Delta Vacations DV31063 Location: Now Jade Riviera Cancun


The Rivers are Calling Sail on the Highest Rated Ships in Europe


Cruise the Danube or Rhine – and Save! Step aboard and the world opens. Welcoming smiles greet you. The luxury of Europe’s finest ships surrounds you. And legendary rivers beckon you to explore. Gentle currents carry you to shores lined with fairytale-like castles – where you can fill your knapsack with daydreams. To fanciful villages – where you can browse through cobblestone lanes or country roads. To enchanting cities and stunning countryside. Savor exquisite cuisine… enjoy fine wines… stay active on our bicycles, hikes, or walks… and be pampered in your home away from home. This is the world of AmaWaterways. Come and see the world you deserve.

ROMANTIC DANUBE

CAPTIVATING RHINE

7-night cruise from Vilshofen to Budapest

7-night cruise from Amsterdam to Basel

CRUISE STARTING AT $1,749

CRUISE STARTING AT $1,749

1,500 savings on select 2017-2018 dates

up to $

For more information, please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent. Terms & Conditions: All rates are in USD, based on per person, double occupancy and valid on select sailings only. $1,500 Savings is per stateroom, based on double occupancy. Offer is valid on new bookings only through October 31, 2017, and is not combinable with any other promotions/discounts, are limited to availability, are capacity controlled and are subject to change or termination without notice. Price listed for Romantic Danube is based on the March 23, 2018 embarkation of the AmaSerena; price listed for Captivating Rhine is based on the March 24, 2018 embarkation of the AmaPrima. Price reflects $750 per person savings. Other restrictions apply. CST#2065452-40


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

EXPLORE MAJESTIC CORNERS OF THE WORLD aboard Oceania Cruises

Featuring a fleet of intimately luxurious ships, Oceania Cruises offers an unrivaled vacation experience renowned for the finest cuisine at sea and destination-rich itineraries. Seasoned world travelers are drawn to Oceania Cruises’ diverse voyages, which call on more than 400 ports across the globe. Spacious and elegant accommodations aboard the 684-guest Regatta, Insignia, Nautica and Sirena and the 1,250-guest Marina and Riviera invite guests to explore the world in unparalleled comfort and style.

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SUN-DRENCHED ADVENTURES IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC When you sail the distant lands of the shimmering South Pacific aboard an Oceania Cruises ship, you leave the routines of everyday life behind for authentic cultural experiences and adventures that elevate your travels to a whole new level. Revel in having Tahiti’s soaring volcanic cliffs, the sapphire seas of Moorea and the pearlescent sands of Fiji’s flawless beaches in your backyard. Uncover the lasting legacies of author Herman Melville and painter Paul Gauguin, who were so inspired by the stunning South Pacific islands. During an off-road journey, explore an uncommon side of Tahiti deep in Papenoo Valley, which brims with waterfalls and verdant flora. Spend the afternoon at an aromatic spice farm and gardens full of medicinal plants, then learn the secrets of native Fijian cooking while in Suva or travel back in time at an ancient temple on Tahiti for a glimpse of sacred Polynesian traditions. With hundreds of islands scattered across this legendary sea, the possibilities are endless. Whether you spend blissful days among the gorgeous waters of French Polynesia or head off on island trekking adventures, Oceania Cruises’ voyages in this region are certain to inspire you to return again and again. For special offers from Oceania Cruises please see page 89. For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.


Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 17


Secrets Resorts & Spas offer adults an escape to romance and sensuality in spectacular oceanfront settings. Indulge in an expansive array of international cuisine at a variety of à la carte gourmet restaurants, where reservations are never required. Or enjoy 24-hour room service in your finely appointed room or suite. At Secrets Resorts & Spas, you’ll enjoy all of the privileges of UnlimitedLuxury®: gourmet dining, unlimited top-shelf spirits, world-class entertainment—even free WiFi with the Unlimited Connectivity app. Experience an even higher level of luxury in the Preferred Club. Apple Vacations, the World’s #1 Vacation Company to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, makes getting there easy and affordable! With our exclusive non-stop vacation flights and exclusive non-stop airport/hotel transfers, you’ll arrive at your Secrets Resort relaxed, refreshed, and ready to enjoy the time of your life. That’s the Apple Advantage!

MEXICO

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For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

AD8786 5/17


Japan

SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

UNCOVER THE WONDERS of

E

xplore all Japan has to offer on 5- to 23-day cruises roundtrip from Tokyo on board the spectacular Diamond Princess®, visiting intriguing ports such as Aomori, Kyoto, Okinawa and even Taipei in Taiwan. From the spring to the fall, Princess offers itineraries designed to coincide with some of Japan’s most spectacular festivals, along with exciting cruises to the Southern Islands of Okinawa and Ishigaki, with its distinct culture and cuisine unlike anywhere else in Japan. Experience cherry blossom viewing in the spring, view over 10,000 fireworks lighting up the Kumano summer sky from the deck

on board Diamond Princess

®

of your ship, or witness the changing of leaves Japan-style on a NEW Fall Foliage cruise. Depending on your itinerary, you’ll have the opportunity to view among 12 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the temples and shrines of Nara and Kyoto. And sailing Japan on board the Diamond Princess®, indulge in tranquil relaxation at the Izumi, the largest traditional Japanese bath at sea; savor fresh fish at Kai Sushi; and enjoy a variety of programs that bring the unique culture, color and flavors of Japan to life. You’ll also enjoy the signature features our guests have come to love, from Movies Under the Stars®, casino gaming

and Broadway-style production shows to world-class cuisine at specialty restaurants like Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria and Sterling Steakhouse. Board the Diamond Princess® in 2018 for a truly authentic and enriching experience in one of the most intriguing destinations around the world – Japan – and find out for yourself what it means to truly come back new®. For special offers from Princess Cruises please see page 89-91 or contact your Ensemblemember travel agent.

Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 19


Your “someday” list just got a lot shorter. Yep. It’s time. Time to explore the devotion to nature that is so infused in the culture of To see

Japan.

China’s ancient traditions collide with her dazzlingly modern advancements. And succumb to the vibrant food scene and delicious scenery of

Taiwan.

TOTTORI


JAPAN TOURING

For me, majestic mountains, beautiful gardens, and rambling rivers mean vacation. But for the Japanese, mountains, gardens, and rivers - while still majestic - are a vital part of everyday life.

GARDENS, HOT SPRINGS & GEISHAS by MARGIE GOLDSMITH

I went to relax in Japan’s beautiful gardens and soothing hot springs while staying in ryokan (traditional Japanese inns). Kanazawa, not far from Kyoto by train, is home to one of Japan’s most beautifully landscaped gardens, Kenrokuen. Yamashiro, known for its soothing hot springs, is called “the hidden region” because it’s tucked into the mountains, just a short drive from Kanazawa. Kyoto, a World Heritage Site, is known for its architecture, food, and traditions, including the geisha. It also has an authentic ryokan, built for a relative of Emperor Hirohito in 1932.

Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 21


JAPAN

to heal aches and pains, prevent illness, and maintain good health. For the Japanese, hot springs are also considered part of maintaining a tranquil, zen-like equilibrium.

TOURING

Kanazawa Kinto, my guide and translator, met me at the Kanazawa station and we headed straight to Kenrokuen, considered one of Japan’s top three gardens. This was not like any botanical garden I’d ever seen anywhere in the world. In Japan, to qualify as a garden, the landscaped area must have foliage and plants and flowers, but must also include rocks, sand (think of raked sand gardens), wooden pathways, bridges, and pavilions. Kenrokuen Garden had it all. Since it was spring, the pink and white cherry, apple, and plum trees were in full bloom, and I inhaled the heady scent wafting in the air. How lucky for me that the blossoms had bloomed two weeks early. In Japan, sakura is an ancient tradition of going to enjoy the blooming cherry blossoms. Entire families arrive with blankets and picnics and stay all day and evening to appreciate the fleeting blooms. Autumn in Japanese parks and gardens is equally magnificent when the maple trees turn brilliant orange and red. Kinto and I walked along wooden arched bridges and pathways. All the trees were in bloom – near the fountains, stone gardens, and even hidden nooks. There was beauty everywhere. I couldn’t remember ever feeling this joyous and light on my feet.

Yamashiro And it was just as beautiful in Yamashiro, a pastoral setting known for its natural hot springs or onsen, extremely popular throughout Japan. Each region has its own geothermally heated springs distinguished by their natural minerals, which are said

We pulled up to the town of Yamashiro Onsen and I checked into Ryokan Arayatotoan, a traditional inn whose hot springs create a massive flow of 100,000 liters of water per day. The gracious hostess bowed to me (I bowed back), took my western clothes and helped me don a yukata (Japanese kimono). This is not like putting on a bathrobe; it has to be fitted and tied in a perfect way. I slipped into wooden sandals, and clomped downstairs to a sliding door which opened to a room full of steam. It took a while to realize I was alone in a rock-enclosed area the size of a small swimming pool. I slipped off the yukata and sandals and stepped into the pool, similar to a large hot tub, but surrounded by rocks and without noisy jets. There was another sliding door leading to a larger outdoor hot spring. The air temperature was about 50 degrees, but the water was soothing and warm, and I was cozy with the water up to my neck, lying against a warm rock. For a while, I watched the water flow down from the spring above, then closed my eyes and listened to the sound of trickling water. There wasn’t a thought in my head.

Kyoto I was worried that once I arrived in Kyoto, my serenity would be broken; after all, while Kyoto has magnificent, ornate shrines and exquisite stone gardens, it’s also a bustling modern city of 1.5 million people. So I was astonished and very happy when Kinto led me to my new home, Ryokan Yoshido Sanzo. My room was a private semidetached villa whose wrap-around terrace overlooked a fragrant azalea garden. It couldn’t have been more zen, and the fact that it was just a

To plan your trip to Japan, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent. 22 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

short walk to the famous Philosopher’s Path (a stone path by a canal lined with hundreds of cherry blossom trees in full bloom) made it even more magical. That night, they delivered a gourmet eightcourse kaiseke meal to my villa, served in traditional style, course by course. After dinner, Kinto arrived to accompany me through old Kyoto’s entertainment district because I wanted to see a geisha. In Kyoto, there are small pockets of ancient Japan where one still sees kimonoclad geishas shuffling along the narrow cobblestone lamp-lit streets. Originally, a geisha was a Japanese hostess trained to entertain men with conversation, dance and music, but these days, they serve not only male but also female customers. Today, geishas are well-respected and considered the best business people in Japan. We entered Ichi Riki, a geisha tea house where Hiko greeted me. She wore white makeup on her neck and face, her lips were painted ruby red, and her thick jet-black hair was in an elaborate up-do crowned with two large bouquets of pink flowers. She was dressed in a red kimono with white flower patterns and a crisscrossed black sash. She bowed to me, poured sake, then sang, danced, and played a threestringed instrument called a shamisen. Her hands were exquisitely graceful and her movements were beautiful. She’d begun training at a young age, learning to sing and dance and play music, pour tea, dress perfectly, and make conversation. Geishas are considered an impeccable form of Japanese art; in the west, we have no equivalent. She smiled and bowed her head. I returned the bow, honoring her grace, talent and self-assurance, and also to pay homage to everything I had experienced in Japan: the majestic mountains, exquisite gardens, and hot springs - and I finally understood why the Japanese consider these natural wonders vital to everyday life. b


Kenrokuen Garden

Kenrokuen Garden

Japanese Hot Spring

Yamashiro Onsen

Japanese Tea House

Kyoto

Margie and hosteess at Ryokan Yoshido Sanzo

Kinkakuji, Kyoto

Ensemble Vacations Winter 2017 XX


JAPAN SAKE JOURNEY

The Empress of Sake

Photo: Hirokazu Takayama

Sake sommelier Chizuko Niikawa-Helton serves up her homeland’s beverage on two continents.

by SUZANNE GANNON

Above, clockwise from left: Shochu flight – Unlike sake which is brewed, Shochu is a distilled alcohol like vodka, served straight up, on the rocks, or mixed with water Kozaemon sake flight – The brand is from the Gifu prefecture, served chilled Chizuko receiving the Sake Samurai title, 2012

Whether touching down in New York or Kyoto, entrepreneur Chizuko NiikawaHelton’s demure chuckle projects unadulterated delight in what she does for a living: being the bubbly ambassador, on both sides of the Pacific, for sake, Japan’s revered alcoholic beverage. Niikawa-Helton grew up in Akita, a striking rural region known for the high quality of rice and sake it produces – as well as the Buddhist temple where her father and brother have served as priests, and is now part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Her ties to Akita, now just 4,000 in population, presented a quandary: she loved and respected it, but she also knew she had to explore the world. After high school she moved to Tokyo and studied fashion. In her third year she

24 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

visited New York, and was awestruck. Years later, she returned, and eventually became a designer with a label. But at 31 she was summoned home because her father had fallen ill. After he died she experienced a deep regret for having been away from home for so long, and an epiphany that this was where she would begin a new life: getting to know the product in which her region took such pride. Brewed from hearty grains of rice that are polished to remove their bran covering, and then fermented using a mold called “koji” and a special yeast, sake also requires high-quality natural water from each brewery’s location. “So many people in the world want to become fashion designers but not so many decide to study rice and sake, or to know the beauty of a small town,” she says.


She’d come full circle. The 14-year trajectory that ensued took her from a passing familiarity with this beverage – and its production process, considered more complicated than that of beer or wine – to sought-after expertise. In Tokyo, she studied and received her certification from the Sake Service Institute, and then embarked on her new career in New York where she placed third in the Sake Sommelier Competition. While working her first restaurant job, she went to bed every night with the menu, intent on memorizing every ingredient. Then she established her own boutique consultancy, Sake Discoveries, where she helps producers, importers, distributors, restaurateurs, and others develop sake lists and inventories for both sophisticated and casual eateries. She also plans and conducts promotional events for sake brands including Daishichi, Kozaemon, Amabuki, Tengumai, Nanbu Bijin, and Hakkaisan, among others. (She calls herself sake’s first P.R. agent.) Advising both ramen shops and high-end sushi restaurants, she recommends a spectrum of sakes that can cost anywhere from $10 to $40 a glass. In this capacity, to train staff, she dons a kimono, an apron, or a kappogi kimono, which resembles a gown. But the endeavor that has become the jet-setting multi-tasker’s latest all-consuming passion is the pairing of her beloved brew with a wide range of cuisines. She piloted this concept with Sake Caliente, a pop-up restaurant she opened in 2015 in New York.

Above: Cherry blossoms at night; Shukanki, sake warming machine Below clockwise from left: Chizuko at her restaurant in Kyoto; Caliente Wings; Entryway to Sake Caliente; Egg on Egg on Egg; Relaxing with Biscuit, her English bulldog in New York; 26-year aged sake Tsukinokatsura Yanagi Junmai Daiginjo; Heshiko Oeuf Mayonnaise

“My restaurant friends were complaining that they had nowhere to drink late-night, after work.” Then, earlier this year, having closed her New York shop, she opened the Japanese version of Sake Caliente in the heart of Gion in Kyoto, which is open for six hours a night. “Our target is people from all over the world,” says Niikawa-Helton. “People want a different experience in Kyoto.” Overseeing the kitchen is a local female chef known for her tenure at an Italian restaurant and whose versatile repertoire includes some surprising pairings. Niikawa-Helton’s favorites? The Caliente chicken wing, marinated in Kyoto white miso, soy milk, and Kyoto’s spiciest pepper called the golden ichimi that’s paired with a juicy, undiluted namazake (unpasteurized). There is also an ultra-thinly sliced prosciutto paired with a warm or 20-year aged sake. A super-rich soft boiled egg covered in homemade spicy mayonnaise topped with heshiko, (fermented mackerel) tempts the restaurant owner to lick the plate. It’s paired with a mild dry sake such as junmai as long as it’s not too fruity or aromatic. Her uni scrambled egg with caviar does well with chilled fresh or gently warmed mild sake. The stand-alones that intrigue her these days are 20- and 25-year-old sakes, made by few producers in any of the country’s 47 prefectures, and thus coveted. “They have a beautiful gold or amber color,” she says, “Consume them at room temperature or gently warmed.” Hot or cold, New York or Kyoto, Chizuko Niikawa-Helton is on to something. b To plan your trip to Kyoto, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 25


Gateway to the Divine As a symbol of purity for over 800 years, the torii to Itsukushima shrine cleanses all who pass through. Opening onto one Miyajima of Japan’s most stunning locations, where architecture pays equal tribute to the spiritual and natural worlds, Miyajima is truly the land of the divine.

For more information, please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

XX Ensemble Vacations Winter 2017


JAPAN FAMILY TRAVEL

Amazing Family Activities in

JAPAN

Japan is a blow-your-mind vacation destination that offers tons of exciting stuff for all ages. From anime and ninjas, to geishas and crazy fun foods, there’s so much to discover in Japan that pushes you a little past your comfort zone and gives unforgettable experiences. Here are five amazing attractions to add to your family’s Japan itinerary.

by LOLA AUGUSTINE BROWN

1

3

Enroll in Ninja School in Akame

Head to the birthplace of the ninja, don a traditional suit and learn how to jump, hide, climb, throw ninja stars, use a sword, and other seriously cool – and somewhat dangerous — stuff that you’d probably never be allowed to do at home. Ninja school is suitable for ages four and up (under seven must be accompanied by an adult), and costumes come in all colors, including pink. Akame is also famous for its 48 waterfalls, beautiful hiking and nature trails, and having a large population of the giant salamanders.

2 Check out the Kyoto International Manga Museum There you’ll see original manga (comics) artwork from 1945 through to 2005, and be able to watch resident manga artists at work. There are plenty of sofas where you’re encouraged to pick up comics and read (though most comics are in Japanese, you’ll also find many international manga printings). The museum has a quirky onsite shop and café too. For junior artists, Pokémon fans, or those kids who adore everything anime, this museum is fantastic.

4 Play Geisha Dress-up in Kyoto Seeing geisha and samurai everywhere around the city is a thrill, but mostly these are young men and women in fancy dress. You’ll find outfits throughout the city offering geisha makeovers and traditional costume rentals for ages three and up. Some of these costume rental places take photographs, and provide scenic backdrops for in-house photo shoots, or you can choose to wear the costumes for the entire day and snap shots of yourself dressed up at temples and famous Kyoto landmarks. (Lots of Japanese tourists do this).

Visit with 1,500 deer in Nara Park Taking a trip out to this UNESCO World Heritage site gives you access to beautiful ancient Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, plus the opportunity to feed, pet, and adore the many tame deer that make their home there. Vendors sell packages of special crackers that the deer will bow to you for (at best) or butt into you for (at their hungriest). Visiting the park during cherry blossom time (usually mid-March) makes for a particularly beautiful experience.

5 Go all in Hello Kitty in Tokyo Look for hotels with luxe rooms dedicated to the cult cartoon figure Hello Kitty. You can also meet the adorable Hello Kitty characters, watch themed shows and parades, eat Hello Kitty themed food and shop everything you could ever think of buying with this pop culture phenomenon at the cutesy Sanrio Puroland theme park just outside of the city.

To plan your family trip to Japan, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 27


JAPAN CULTURE

Photo: japan-guide.com

Snow Glow

People walk among the little candlelit kamakura snow domes

NATURE as ART by SUZANNE GANNON

Every February for more than four centuries, the city of Yokote, in the snowy prefecture of Akita, lights up. For two days of flickering glory, the Kamakura Snow Festival brings more than 100 snow huts, both adult-sized and in miniature, to residential streets, school yards, and public spaces including the city hall. Carved from a mound of snow and hollowed out, a kamakura is shaped roughly like an igloo, but more like a round adobe fireplace that features smooth and contoured walls with a plaster-like surface. Architectural elements include an arched doorway, a small altar, and plenty of room for the candles that collectively produce an inviting glow one might think could be seen from space. At the altar an occupant can petition the water deity for an abundant and healthy supply of the staple – or other deities for other essentials. Both magical and magnetic by nature, Kamakura is a vector for a festive spirit. Visitors strolling the streets for a glimpse inside the 28 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

various domes are invited inside by children to sample rice cakes grilled on a charcoal brazier and a low-alcohol beverage derived from rice. Coinciding roughly with the lunar new year in the middle of the month, the festival serves as a preface to the Bonden Festival, an exciting ritual in which men vie for an opportunity to make an offering to the gods at the local Asahiokayama Shrine. The colorful gifts – sacred wands that guide the gods to earth – can be as high as 16 feet and are magnificently crafted (often from bamboo). They are carried by the men in a procession from the city hall to the shrine. Once they arrive at the shrine, the men forge toward it, jockeying for position and often shoving each other out of the way. Kamakura, Bonden, or both, no matter how low the mercury dips in mid-February, these time-honored traditions of Yokote promise to warm you up.


Etched in Sand

The Sand Museum

Above: A sand sculpture by Toshihiko Hosaka is displayed at Yasashigaura beach in Asahi, Chiba prefecture on July 13, 2014. Photo: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images

On the remote 10-mile stretch that is the Tottori Sand Dunes on Japan’s windswept west coast, the mesmerizing terrain of Namibia – or of Pilat, on France’s Bay of Arcachon – could come to mind. Inside a national park that now protects the shifting forms of tiny grains is the Sand Museum, the world’s only indoor temple to what a persevering artist with an imagination can do with what’s left after rocks and minerals have been eroded by time. Though this exhibit is mounted upon a landscape that has been in the making for one hundred thousand years, it has been accessible to humans only since 2006, a popular gathering place in Japan’s least populated regions. Each year the museum settles on a theme, grants artists roughly three months to design and build, and then between April and January welcomes visitors who marvel at intricate miniatures of the city of Cusco in Peru, for example, the Terracotta Warriors, or a tussle between beasts of the wild. When you’re not ogling the sheer ingenuity of the sculptors who are able to tame an inherently dynamic material as though it were marble or clay, you can ride a camel or take a lesson in sand surfing or paragliding.

A Pioneer If the Sand Museum is the destination for alternative-sculpture pilgrims, one of the art form’s luminaries is surely Toshihiko Hosaka, a fine artist who began working in the medium 20 years ago while studying at Tokyo’s National University of Fine Arts and Music. Winning awards around the world, Hosaka derives inspiration from a spectrum of influences including astrology and fairy tales, mythology and ancient history, and even religion. Although he sometimes applies an environmentally-friendly spray to protect his finished work from natural elements, he works without adhesives or molds but rather with water and sand to erect menacing dinosaurs, languorous mermaids, Alice in Wonderland, the Hindu god Ganesh, and even Poseidon on his throne. Hosaka’s defining feature may be his ability to render texture and detail as vividly as many a Renaissance master. Faces feature creases, beards are wind-blown and wild, and garments cascade in folds as convincing as those in a Michelangelo statue chiseled from Carrara. b To plan your trip to Japan, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 29

Photo: japan-guide.com

Tottori Sand Dunes


CHINA CITY SPOTLIGHT

CHENGDU

China’s City of Pandas Pandas are one of China’s most iconic attractions — and the place to see them is Chengdu, Sichuan’s sizzling capital.

by CHRIS ROBINSON

Ancient and Modern Chengdu, a city of 14 million people in Western China, greets visitors with a bewildering mix of old and new. Traditional temples and medieval streets are overshadowed by 21st century skyscrapers. On its bustling streets, sales folk bear their goods with simple wooden yokes, but jostle with hordes of motorcyclists. Chengdu is famous for its charming teahouses, fiery Sichuan cuisine, bizarre face-changing theater, and its enchanting pandas. It is also easier to get there now than ever before with daily nonstop flights from New York and Los Angeles to Hong Kong. A local flight then links Hong Kong directly to Chengdu in less than three hours.

30 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

Teahouses, Hotpots and Face Changers Traditional teahouses abound in Chengdu; the idea of tea drinking as a social event has been established here for 3,000 years. Try the Mi Xun Teahouse at The Temple House hotel, which was inspired by a traditional Chinese apothecary. Chengdu is also the center of Sichuanese cuisine and it is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy. The best place to experience its spicy, sizzling dishes is the Wide and Narrow Alleyway district, an exotic mix of ancient streets and courtyards. Food stalls along the alleys and the courtyard restaurants tempt browsers with the famously flavorful Sichuan hotpot. For more local flavor, try gong bao jiding (spicy chicken and peanuts). This neighborhood is also the place to see Sichuan opera performed, including the strange face-changing theater where performers swap personas in an instant, with a mesmerizing combination of masks, makeup and magic.


W H I LE I N C H I NA . . .

worth the

J Journey

Pandas, Pandas Everywhere Pandas are everywhere in Chengdu. Every shop seems to be selling plush pandas, panda prints or panda sweets. There’s even a panda post office! But the real thing is so much more captivating at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. This is a world-class facility, about six miles north of the city center, where 160 giant pandas live in an environment that closely matches their natural surroundings in the nearby mountains. It is estimated that less than 2,000 pandas remain in the wild. For visitors, the experience is entrancing. Pathways lead through a labyrinth of lush bamboo groves, lakes, brooks, grassy glades, man-made dens, rocks and caves while pandas doze, eat, wrestle and play. To see so many pandas up close and personal in these natural settings is humbling and joyful in equal measure. Visitors can tour nurseries of baby pandas and perhaps see them outside their den for the first time in their young, impossibly cute, lives. Films and guides show how the research center finally succeeded in persuading pandas to reproduce successfully in captivity and how young pandas are rehabilitated back into the wild. Last year, thanks in large part to this facility, the giant panda was officially taken off the ‘endangered’ list and upgraded to ‘vulnerable’. It’s a heart-warming story that visitors are privileged to see unfolding right in front of their eyes in Chengdu – City of Pandas. b To plan your trip to Chengdu, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

D O N ’ T M I S S HAI NAN I S L AN D China’s breath of fresh air G O Just off China’s southern coast, Hainan Island boasts lush forests, golden beaches, and – thanks to strong local environmental protection initiatives – the highest air quality ratings in the country. The island is also a sanctuary for numerous endangered and endemic species, including the Hainan leaf-warbler, Hainan blackcrested gibbon, Chinese white dolphin, and the gentle, manatee-like Dugong. STAY The lavish beach resorts of Sanya, on the island’s south coast, offer ultra-luxurious accommodations with every modern appointment imaginable, as well as tranquil lagoon pools, beach cabanas, and magnificent cuisine. A short drive away, in Haitang Bay, you can dine on fresh seafood with the boat-dwelling Dan people and partake in healing rituals in the Pearl River Nantian Hotspring. S E E NanShan Cultural Park boasts acres upon acres of lush rainforest as well as breathtaking sea views, Buddhist temples, and gardens. Highlights include the spectacular 354-foot Guanyin statue and the lotusflower rich Longevity Valley. On the northern tip of the island the massive, new Mission Hills Haikou features 22 championship golf courses, world-class dining, Movie Town, and the Guinness World Record “Largest Mineral Springs & Spa Resort.” W H E N The best time to go is April through October. Hainan boasts a year-round tropical climate with average lows of 61˚F and highs around 84˚F. Summers can be very wet. During January and February, the skies are foggy due to the warm sea air colliding with cold northerly winds.

To plan your trip to Hainan Island, please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 31


P ROF IL E : FR EQ UE NT T RAV E L E R

Fifty by Fifty Donna Annetta Gross O C C U PATI O N

Owner & President That Survey Company, LLC Boulder, Colorado C O U NTR I E S V I S ITE D S O FA R

56

by NANCY HELLMRICH

“My sister and I were having cocktails in Riga. There were some American men bragging about having visited something like eight countries. Sharon and I played along, ‘Wow, that’s so cool!’ but secretly we were thinking, “Only eight?!” When we got back to the hotel we made a list. That’s when it dawned on me … I could do 50 by the time I turned 50.” Born and raised in laid back Cocoa Beach, Florida, entrepreneur and erstwhile tennis pro Donna Gross grew up with a rocket scientist for a father and a belief that she could go anywhere. Since then, she’s taught tennis to billionaires in private clubs from the Hamptons to Sydney, Australia. She started a business that collects data for museums, international airports, and places like Dolphin Cay in the Bahamas. She has also traveled in 56 countries. Today, Donna lives near Boulder, Colorado, plays tennis, runs her business, dabbles in the digital arts, and travels. Sometimes, she returns to places she loves – she’s been to Greece and Australia five times – other times, she goes somewhere new. How has all that travel colored her life? Here’s what she had to say … 32 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

When did you catch the travel bug? When I was 17 and away at a tennis tournament, a Chilean player invited me to visit her family home for the summer. I called my parents and they said, “You’ll be home tomorrow. We’ll talk about it then.”

How did that first trip change you? When I came back to Cocoa Beach I felt very mature, very worldly. My next trip was Switzerland, through Florida State University. That was for six weeks. I tacked on another six weeks of backpacking in Europe; that’s what really sealed the deal.

Where did you go after college? I worked at Disney for two years, then decided I needed to backpack around the world. I headed west, starting in French Polynesia. I fell in love in Australia so I


United States • Bahamas • Mexico • Chile • Belgium • East Germany • Monaco • Switzerland • The Netherlands • France • England • Greece • Austria • Denmark Germany • Hungary • Italy • Sweden • French Polynesia • New Zealand • Australia • Canada • Hong Kong • Macau • Malaysia • Singapore • Thailand • Turkey Czechoslovakia • Norway • Anguilla • Antigua • Grand Cayman • St. Barts • St. Eustatius • St. Maarten • Ireland • Northern Ireland • Nepal • India • Spain • Portugal United Arab Emirates • Oman • Russia • Latvia • Estonia • Lithuania • China • Tibet • South Africa • Zambia • Zimbabwe • Botswana • Swaziland • Mozambique

applied for residency, then completed my journey across parts of Southeast Asia and Europe. Four years later, en route to Egypt, I had a moped crash on a Greek island and had to fly home for knee surgery. So I got a “real” job and eventually started my business.

Did owning a business slow you down? Not at all. When I had a normal job, I could squeeze in a cruise in the Caribbean. As a business owner, I could design my own schedule. Every few years, I would plan a trip … Russia & the Baltic States, the UAE & Oman, China & Tibet.

Was China your 50th country? China was 49th and Tibet was 50th but I didn’t know until I got home and reviewed my list. I hit the goal and I didn’t even celebrate it!

What was Tiananmen Square like?

Which trip was the most amazing?

It was kind of surreal to stand there knowing the history and see people just going about their daily business. If you didn’t know … you wouldn’t know.

A friend’s father was organizing a trip to Nepal and India. I said, “What’s his address? I’m sending him a check.” And I did. I had no time to prepare, so everything was 100% surprise.

Did you see the Terra Cotta Army? That’s another “oh my gosh.” It’s so surreal. You think, this could not actually be for real.

Did you go on any cultural visits? We met a doctor who talked about Chinese medicine and the meridians in the body. And we visited a local school.

What’s your favorite place in China? If I were to go back, it would be to Shanghai. I loved the eclectic flavors, the Bund, the Shanghai Museum, and the architecture. When you see the skyline, you know, oh that’s Shanghai.

What counts as visiting a country? It has to have its own government. And I have to stay at least a few days. I landed in Peru and Papua New Guinea, but I don’t count them.

Where will you travel to next? Mongolia, Iceland, Kenya, Tanzania, Israel, Egypt … Machu Picchu, the Galapagos.

Think you’ll hit sixty by sixty? Easily. How about 100 by 100? There’s a club I’ve heard about … it’s on the honor system. b

Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 33


CHINA

Pato de cabidela

FOOD FOCUSED

A Taste of MACAU In Macau, the world’s largest gambling destination, your best bet is the food.

by RICHARD FRISBIE

Visiting Macau, I sit down at one of only two tables in a tiny, oldfashioned restaurant, and order the pato de cabidela – duck served in a dark brown, thick and very tasty blood sauce over rice. (In Portuguese, cabidela is a meat cooked in its own blood.) It’s spicy from commonly added chilies and mildly sour with the addition of vinegar; a tender and delicious old-style Macanese dish with Portuguese roots traced to Recife (Brazil) and Angola. Modern recipes call for wine and tomatoes instead of blood, but go for the real thing if you can find it – it’s amazing! Macau, on the South China Sea, was once the center of the Portuguese colonial trade routes. Now it is the gambling capital of the world with a unique cuisine that is a complex amalgam of ingredients and techniques the Portuguese collected from Brazil to Malaysia. When combined with Cantonese and other regional cooking – true fusion food was created. Today, the once obscure regional cooking is growing in popularity in the U.S., thanks to Chef Abraham Conlon’s famous Chicago restaurant, Fat Rice, and his recent Macanese cookbook. The Macau Institute for Tourism’s culinary school was founded with the intent to preserve Macau’s unique cuisine. In two decades, the institute has grown into several schools that include a teaching restaurant and hotel. While the lodging in Macau can 34 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

African Chicken is a half chicken marinated in a coconut and citrus sauce that is grilled, with the sauce thickened and served over it. Shallots, chilies, tarragon and paprika really punch up the sauce’s flavor. Some modern recipes add peanuts, but in my opinion they just muddy the flavor.

be glitzy and over-the-top (think Las Vegas on steroids – a gilded mashup of Venice and Versailles), the institute’s Pousada de MongHa is a simple, quiet place to stay while visiting Macau. Combine that with visits to its teaching restaurant, which serves old-style dishes with a contemporary flair, and you’ll be helping the next generation of chefs and hoteliers to learn their craft as you enjoy great food and service.

Austrian chef Raimund Pichlmaier, an early institute instructor and the founding director of the Macanese Culinary Association, learned the cooking of Macau by watching his Macanese mother-inlaw. He taught me how to make African Chicken, one of the most famous dishes of Macau. I should say he showed me, because his method of teaching was to let the students watch him cook and then encourage them to recreate the dish. There were no books or recipes involved. While curriculum and teaching techniques have changed considerably, the African Chicken is still a classic dish. There are a few family-owned restaurants in Macau that epitomize the local cuisine. Restaurante Fat Siu Lau (you must try the marinated pigeon) and A Vencedora are both century-old restaurants, while Solmar Restaurant and Riquexo Café are decades younger, but all preserve the classic Macanese cuisine. By now it is apparent that my interest lies in the older Macanese dishes, but, when in Macau, I strongly suggest you taste the roots of Macanese cuisine and then experience the classic Cantonese cooking (especially the dim sum at The Eight!) that Macau is equally famous for. b To plan your trip to Macau, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.


TAIWAN FOOD FOCUSED

DRINKS & DINING

Din Tai Fung ❘ Original Location No. 194, Sec. 2, Xinyi Road dintaifung.com/en The Kitchen Table ❘ Open Kitchen 10 Zhongxiao East Road., Sec. 5 thekitchentabletaipei.com RAW ❘ Avant Garde Cuisine No. 301 Le Qun Third Road raw.com.tw Jiufen at night

After Dark in TAIPEI Exploring the exotic tastes of Taipei’s famous night markets

Kloud ❘ Rooftop Bar No. 12, Songshou Road, 10th Floor facebook.com/kloud.taipei Monsieur L ❘ Haute Cuisine No. 21, Lane 131, Sec. 4 Minsheng East Road monsieur-l.com.tw NIGHT MARKETS

by NANCY HELLMRICH

Born in Taipei and raised largely in British Columbia, May Fong Robinson had often wondered what it would be like to visit Taiwan as an adult. Last fall, she and her husband Doug caught a flight to the island to see what had changed since May left at the tender age of eleven. From the moment they landed, they were mesmerized. “Taipei was bustling back then,” says May. “After three decades, it’s transformed into a modern metropolis!”

Taiwan’s night markets are famous for their xiaochi, China’s version of tapas. In Ningxia, vibrant stalls tempted the couple with salty, sweet, and spicy braised pork rice, fried taro cake, and sweet peanut soup. In Jiufen, a historic gold rush town on the coast, they meandered through a maze of narrow alleyways, sampling exotic treats in tea houses and cafés.

They marveled at the striking cityscapes and toured Buddhist temples, Sun Moon Lake, Taroko Gorge, and Fo Guang Shan Monastery. Everywhere they went, the locals were warm and friendly. May felt a sense of belonging in a place that was familiar, yet somewhat foreign. And the food! The food was exotic and delicious.

With over 530 neon-lit stalls producing an abundance of enchanting aromas, Shilin Night Market is Taipei’s largest and May and Doug’s favorite. Here, the two tasted everything from cold bubble tea to fried chicken steak, Shilin big sausage, lemon aiyu jelly, oyster omelets, stinky tofu, iron eggs, and Tanghulu candied fruits.

At Taipei’s Michelin-starred Din Tai Fung, they shared xiaolongbao (aka steamed buns). The experience was everything two foodies could hope for. But they had also heard stories of the city’s night markets and were eager to give them a try.

Back home, the Robinsons couldn’t stop thinking about Taiwan. Now that they’re both vegan, they’re planning a trip back for New Year’s Eve to explore the many meatfree options available in Taipei. b

Shilin Night Market Shilin District; Opens 3:00 p.m. Ningxia Night Market Datong District; Opens 5:00 p.m. Raohe Street Night Market Songshan District; Opens 5:00 p.m. Shida Night Market Da’an District; Open 24 hours Jiufen Night Market Ruifang District; Open 24 hours

To plan your trip to Taipei, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

Shilin night market Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 XX


TAIWAN ACTIVE TRAVEL

d n a B s o e o k t i s B Conquering Taiwan’s Trails

by MELANIE CHAMBERS

From coastal roads to green mountains and protected parks, Taiwan is a wonderland for hikers and cyclists.

At an incredibly steep 20 percent grade, even walking up Hehuan Mountain would be difficult. I’m cycling. Have been for two hours. It’s also one of the hottest days since arriving in Taiwan – the 95-degree heat bounces off the asphalt of the island’s cross-country highway. Lifting my head, it’s got to be a mirage ahead: a farmer with a wooden fruit cart. Sensing my anticipation, he grabs my hand and places five plums into my palm. Cold, tart, and juicy – my body temperature turns from red hot to cool. It’s like jumping into a stream. Taiwan is about 70 percent mountains; it’s bisected by a ridgeline of about 200 peaks. With coastal road riding, and 20 percent of the island designated as national park and protected land, it’s a hiking and biking wonderland. My adventure starts with one of the world’s longest climbs in the cycling world: the King of the Mountain race starts at sea level in Hualien and reaches an astounding 10,745 feet. The entire race is approximately 62 miles. 36 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

Finishing at Wuling Pass, I absorb the view: a ribbon of road cuts through a mixed forest of evergreens, ferns, and bamboo; the road plows through tunnels carved into the rocky mountainside and traverses across suspension bridges draped over gaping gorges. For my final days, I trade in my bicycle for hiking boots and head to the middle of the island. About an hour east from Taichung City, the Seven Heroes of Guguan are a group of mountains in an isolated old growth forest with natural hot springs; the forest was one of three logging regions during the Japanese colonialization. My taxi driver leaves me in a parking lot at the foot of the Guguan Taoist temple. I’m alone, except for the red dragons perched over the temple steps that seem to ascend to infinity, much like Dongmao Mountain, which I’m about to hike. For hours I walk, breathing myself into a meditative rhythm, taking in the soft green moss that carpets the rocks and fallen trees; it’s paradise. Near the peak, I hoist myself to the top, hand over hand. I’m resting at the top eating pork rice wrapped in a banana leaf as the fog rolls in over the forest below. Time to go.


Hehuan Mountain

With coastal road riding, and 20 percent of the island designated as national park and protected land, it’s a hiking and biking wonderland. A few days later, I’m ready to tackle the highest point of the Guguan Mountains: Ba Xian; the trail guide estimates eight hours return. The moss covered wooden steps feel as natural as the forest, like they’ve always been there. Conifer trees so large you cannot hug them, root systems so expansive and entwined, they might curl around the globe.

Back at my hotel later that day, the hot spring water flows directly into the indoor pools. Lowering myself into the steam, tense muscles melt but I want more. Staying only two weeks, it wasn’t enough to explore the endless trails made for boots and bikes. b To plan your trip to Taiwan, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.


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38 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

FEATURED DESTINATION

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No one can predict unexpected emergencies when it comes to your travel plans. Fortunately, we’re here to help you protect your moments that matter. Contact your Ensemble-member travel agent to include Allianz Travel Insurance on your next vacation. *Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Plan(s) underwritten by BCS Insurance Company or Jefferson Insurance Company depending on insured’s state of residence. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of this plan. 282518_40000745

Feel like a VIP with our 24/7/365 assistance services. Getting real-time help when you’re in a pickle is invaluable – especially if you don’t speak the native tongue. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 39


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HOT HOT HOT …thanks to exclusive rates at Secrets Resorts & Spas! These adults-only Unlimited-Luxury® resorts have been rated “Best Hotel Chain” by Apple Vacationers six years running! Secure your spot in the sun and take advantage of amazing extras: up to $400* in resort credits, free greens fees, and an in-room gift at select resorts! Plus, book a Preferred Club room and receive a complimentary 15-minute massage! Ideal for couples and honeymooners, Secrets Resorts & Spas offer an extra measure of romance and sensuality in exquisite luxury settings. Located on some of the best beaches throughout Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Costa Rica, guests will enjoy limitless access to gourmet dining with no reservations required, topshelf spirits, endless activities, live nightly entertainment, spacious accommodations with 24-hour room service, the Sip, Savor, and See Dining Experience with nearby resorts, and much more. For special offers from Apple Vacations please see page 80. For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

40 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

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Ask about Viking’s 2018 Early Booking Discount. 2-for-1 cruise plus international air discounts. For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

*Note: Grand European Tour price based on CAT F, select October 2018 Viking Longship sailings. Rhine Getaway price based on CAT F, select November 2018 Viking Longship sailings. Romantic Danube price based on CAT F, select November 2018 Viking Longship sailings. Cruise fares listed are for cruise and cruisetour only in US dollars, per person and fares/discount offers are based on double occupancy. 2-for-1 cruise and international air discounts are considered a single offer. International air does not have to be purchased to get cruise offer. Prices are based on lowest price at time of print and are subject to change without notice. Must request 2018 Early Booking Discount at time of booking and pay in full by current expiration date; contact your travel agent for details. Valid on new bookings only as of 9/1/17, subject to availability and may not be combinable with any other offers except Viking Explorer Society Travel Credits and Referral Rewards. Viking reserves the right to correct errors and to change any and all fares, fees and surcharges at any time. Additional terms and conditions apply; see Passenger Ticket Contract. CST#2052644-40


Trade in bumper-to-bumper traffic for beachfront bliss, and the day's biggest decision becomes whether to soak up the sun or lounge under the shade of a palm tree.

For more information, please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

TA H I T I | F R E N C H P O LY N E S I A | F I J I | S O U T H PAC I F I C


Sky Sea

TOU RING FREN CH POLYN ESIA

WHERE THE

MEETS THE

by ROBIN CHERRY

Bora Bora

Find your own Bali Ha’i in the islands of French Polynesia With white, pink, and black sand beaches, jagged, moss-green mountains, and crystal blue lagoons, seductive French Polynesia invites her guests to revel in a kaleidoscope of glorious colors and luxuriate in her natural splendor. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 45


TO U RI N G FR EN CH PO LYN ES IA

waterside roulottes (food trucks) which serve everything from fresh fish and burgers to pizza and crepes. See the ancient marea (temples) of Maeva – a former royal village and one of Polynesia’s most important archaeological sites.

“Bali Ha’i will whisper on the wind of the sea: Here am I, your special island! Come to me, come to me!” James Michener didn’t visit French Polynesia until after he’d written “Tales of the South Pacific,” but when he entered Cook’s Bay in Moorea, he said it was exactly what he’d envisioned when he invented Bali Ha’i … until he saw Bora Bora and said of the island “there can be no other more perfect than this.” In all fairness, you really can’t go wrong in French Polynesia. With over 100 islands, visitors can look forward to pristine, palm-fringed beaches, stunning lagoons, ancient ruins, and traditional customs. French Polynesia can be explored by boat or by plane. The easiest and most luxurious ways to travel through the islands is on the M/S Paul Gauguin, a small cruise ship that was specially designed to navigate the shallow seas of the South Pacific. The elegant ship has an onboard marina so you can launch a kayak or hop on a windsurfer right off the stern of the boat, and if you’ve always wanted to learn to scuba dive, the ship offers PADI certification.

Tahiti Most people fly into Papeete, Tahiti’s capital. To ease into island life, take a walking (or Segway) tour of the city, visiting Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Black Pearl Museum, and the City Hall, a replica of the palace of Queen Pomare who ruled Tahiti in the 1800s. Enjoy shopping at Le Marché, a vibrant, open-air marketplace that sells local produce and handmade souvenirs. One night, attend a theme night at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort & Spa which features a lavish Polynesian buffet and performances of traditional fire dancing and the haka war dance. The performers’ speed and agility is dazzling.

Huahine A thirty minute flight from Tahiti, Huahine, with its lush forests, untamed landscape, and quaint villages, is one of Polynesia’s best-kept secrets and gives visitors a glimpse into old Polynesia. Wander the sleepy town of Fare, stopping at one of the 46 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

Moorea Check into an overwater bungalow at the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa (a fifteen minute puddle jump from Papeete), where you can have your breakfast delivered by canoe and enjoy it on a private terrace which has direct access into the lagoon. Guests can also swim with playful dolphins at the hotel’s dolphin center. A unique way to explore the ocean is by helmet diving, for which you don’t have to know how to scuba dive or even swim. Special helmets let you spend 30 minutes underwater, walking amongst the colorful fish and the surprisingly gentle and curious sting rays. Hikers won’t want to miss The Pass of the Three Coconuts, a moderately strenuous 3-1/2 mile trek that begins on the rim of a volcano and climbs to the pass which has stunning views over the jagged peaks of Mt. Rotui. If you’re thinking of getting a Polynesian tattoo, James Samuela is descended from tattoo artists and studied at L’Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris. (Tattoo is an ancient Polynesian art form and the English word comes from the Tahitian tatau). Taha’a Reached by boat from Raiatea, Taha’a is called Vanilla Island so, of course, you’ll want to visit a vanilla plantation to see how vanilla is grown and to buy some to take home. Try drift snorkeling at Jardin de Corail and let the currents carry you through a coral garden filled with schools of fish, reef sharks, and moray eels.

Bora Bora Forty-five minutes from Papeete, Bora Bora is one of the world’s top honeymoon destinations and it’s easy to see why. The water is a patchwork of every imaginable shade of blue and the island is ringed with secluded palmfringed beaches, but don’t miss the


A God’s Gift A Polynesian legend claims that the god Ono descended to earth on a rainbow to give the first black pearl to his beloved princess. In ancient times, black pearls were reserved for royalty, but times have changed and on Bora Bora today, you can dive for your own black pearl at the Bora Pearl Company. Armed with snorkel and flippers, you’ll canoe out to where the oysters hang on ropes, untie two strands and select your oyster when you get back on land. Once it’s opened, someone will value the pearl. If it’s worth more than the price of the dive ($300) you can keep it. If it’s worth less, you can exchange it for one that is worth $300.

The Brando

On the Waterfront

M/S Paul Gauguin

interior. The island has postcard-worthy vistas, volcanic rock formations, and cannons from when the Americans used the island as a military base during WWII. For a kick, have dinner at Bloody Mary’s, with its sand floors, coconut stools, and thatched roof. It’s touristy and kitschy, but the fish is delicious and the Bloody Mary’s are divine. The allure of French Polynesia is powerful. As Bloody Mary sang in South Pacific, “In your heart, you’ll hear it call you: “Come away ... Come away.” b To plan your trip to French Polynesia, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

Marlon Brando fell in love with French Polynesia (and his Tahitian costar) while filming Mutiny on the Bounty here in 1962. The late actor always wanted his private island, Tetiaroa, to be converted into an eco-friendly luxury retreat and today, The Brando is powered by solar energy and a coconut oil-fueled power station; airconditioning is run by seawater. Each of the resort’s thirty-five thatched villas has an outdoor bath tub and deck with a private plunge pool. In December, The Brando will introduce four new overwater villas in a satellite location at the InterContinental Bora Bora. If you go, you’ll be in good company. Barack Obama worked on his memoirs and Pippa Middleton honeymooned here. Ensemble® Exclusives: • Breakfast for two daily - $100 credit at The Resort Boutique (excluding black pearls and jewelry) - Upgraded room at time of check-in when available - Early check-in / Late check-out when available Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 47


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Even if it’s just once in your lifetime, you deserve to see fire dancing — brilliant reds and yellows leaping and whirling in the night sky, wrapping your heart in their warm glow. You deserve white sails too — crisp, alabaster sails that snap to attention as they catch the wind and pull you into the future. And one more thing — islands, gentle pristine dots of land, in the middle of an aquamarine sea with sugar white beaches, swaying palms, and all the time in the world.

The

TA H I T I You Deserve

With Windstar Cruises you can visit as many as eight Tahitian islands in the intimate comfort of what feels like your own private sailing yacht. You can glide gracefully into small bays. Swim in palm-fringed lagoons. Launch adventures from the yacht’s Watersports Platform. Give into onboard pampering. And fall asleep to tranquil ocean views. Unhurried itineraries take you to the enchanted mountains of Moorea, lush Huahine, and the black pearl farms of Raiatea. They give you a chance to see the undersea gardens of Rangiroa and the teeming reefs of Fakarava. And to experience Bora Bora with its delicate array motus, secluded islets where the whole wide world feels like yours and yours alone. There, on Bora Bora, fresh flower leis are added to the evening attire as a satisfying beach barbecue is shared in the inimitable culinary style of French Polynesia. When the stars come out, fire dancers begin their daring acrobatics, sending time-honored messages to the Polynesian gods. 48 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

Billowing white sails. Eight exotic islands. And fire dancing. That’s the Tahiti you deserve. For more information about Windstar Cruises’ effortless Air + Hotel + Cruise Tahiti travel packages, see page 95 or contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.


Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 49


COLORS OF THE CARIBBEAN REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS • Enjoy afternoon tea in colonial style at the Sunbury Plantation House in Barbados. • Discover a stunning underwater world by submarine in Aruba. • Explore the history and culture of the Mayan people in Mexico. • Lift off on a panoramic helicopter flightseeing adventure above Soufriere Hills Volcano on Montserrat. • Step aboard the “Last Railway in the West Indies” for a scenic trip around St. Kitts. • Swim through a series of spectacular pools and grottos at The Baths on Virgin Gorda.

50 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

On a Silversea cruise through the Caribbean you’ll certainly discover island hot spots, yet it’s the hidden enclaves tucked away from the tourist trail that never cease to amaze. Absorb the rhythm of the Caribbean while sunning in the Grenadines. Go rafting in Dominica, Scuba diving in St. Kitts, or fishing in Tortola. Soak in St. Bart’s sophisticated European ambiance and St. Maarten’s twin personalities. Experience it all with Silversea — and feel your troubles melt away with the warmth of the winter sun.


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SILVER MUSE VENTURES SOUTH

Fall under the magical spell of South America on a breathtaking voyage aboard the stunning new Silver Muse. With just 596 guests, our intimate ship redefines ultra-luxury ocean travel — enhancing the small-ship intimacy and spacious all-suite accommodations that are the hallmarks of the Silversea experience. She can sail through narrow channels, or tie up right at the dock while big ships must anchor off shore. Come experience the magic and mystery of this vast continent on a voyage that is Simply Divine®. SKY’S THE LIMIT – SOUTH AMERICA With a region as varied and noble as South America, it is hard to know where to begin. Fortunately, Silversea’s voyages encapsulate it all: from the effervescent energy of Rio to Ushuaia, a city at the end of the world. Trace the vast empire of the Incas and roam the pampas with the gauchos. Dance the tango in Buenos Aires and savor a traditional Magellanic meal with the locals. Dive into one of the 360 waterfalls in Ilhabela and traverse the eponymous Panama Canal, all before arriving back home with a wealth of incredible new memories.

REGIONAL HIGHLIGHTS • Go evening caiman spotting with overnights in Manaus, Brazil. • Be awed while sailing through the finger-like mountains of the staggering Chilean Fjords. • Experience Costa Rica’s rainforest canopy on an exhilarating zip-line trip. • Unlock the secret to preparing Ecuadorian specialties in an interactive cooking class. • Wander among the overgrown ruins of prison cells on Devil’s Island in French Guiana. • In Peru, take a flightseeing adventure over the mysterious desert drawings known as the Nazca Lines. • Behold the rugged beauty of Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. For special offers from Silversea please see page 93. For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 51


THIS IS OLD WORLD NEW MEMORIES

Santorini

XX Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017


At he n s

My k o n o s

Se a s ide Me dit e r ra n e a n D in in g

EXPLORE GREEC E O NB OAR D J E W E L O F T H E SE AS This is not a cruise. This is Mediterranean style isle hopping. Swim the thermal hot springs of Santorini. Bond over mosaic lessons in Mykonos. And ascend the Acropolis in Athens. All while sailing onboard Royal Caribbean® fan-favorite, Jewel of the Seas ®. And during the month of October, you’ll receive a complimentary specialty dinner for two when you book a Balcony or Suite for your European sailing.

Jewel of the Seas

®

7 NIGHT GREEK ISLES STARTING FROM $999 * RECEIV E A COMPL I MENTARY SPECI ALTY DI NNER FOR TWO * W HEN YOU BOOK A BALCONY OR SUI TE BETWEEN OCTOBER 1 - 31, 2017

Contact yo u r E n s e m b l e m e m b e r t rave l age n t fo r m o re i n fo rm at i o n

*Taxes, fees and port expenses up to $53.02 are additional. Complimentary Specialty Dinner for Two offer. Specialty dinner applies to new bookings made October 1 - 31, 2017 on 6 Night or longer Europe departing between May 1, 2018 and July 31, 2018 in Balcony and above categories. Offer includes one complimentary dinner for two guests in a specialty restaurant. Voucher is valid for dinner only, one per sailing, at Chops Grille, Giovanni’s Table, Samba Grill, Solarium Bistro, 150 Central Park, Wonderland or Jamie’s Italian. Venues vary by ship. Offer available in the United States and Canada. Offer subject to availability and change without notice, capacity controlled, cannot be transferred, and may be withdrawn at any time. Please ask your travel agent for full offer details. Royal Caribbean International reserves the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions and to change or update fares, fees and surcharges at any time without prior notice. ©2017 Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Ships’ registry: The Bahamas. 17057652 • 7/5/17

Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 XX


REAL PEOPLE REAL J OU RN EYS

THE BLUES OF THE CYCLADES by HANS TAMMEMAGI

54 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

Waves sparkle in the turquoise Aegean Sea. A cloudless, azure sky stretches overhead. Church domes topped in cerulean blue contrast with vivid white buildings. My wife, Allyson, and I are at the railing of a ferry, which has stopped briefly at the island of Tinos. We watch as a few people disembark and quickly disappear amongst the white-washed buildings and narrow alleyways that crowd the harbor.

Santorini


Andros

Scootering in Mykonos Makronissos

With a loud, reverberating toot, the ferry departs. We are touring the Cyclades Isles of Greece, and we’re looking forward to spending a few days at our next port, Mykonos, a popular, sun-kissed island whose hedonism attracts everyone from the rich and famous to back packers. As we enter the harbor, the long arms of windmills, known as Stone Giants dating from the 13th century, greet us. We are soon wandering amongst the tavernas, outdoor patios and shops along the waterfront. We follow narrow, cobble-stone alleys to our small hotel, dodging donkeys bearing heavy loads, their eyes sad and resigned. The sun is hot but the breeze delightfully crisp as we visit the Alefkandra (Pelican) Bar in the trendy Little Venice area. A large, white pelican whose family,

Kea

Tinos

Yiaros

Serifos

Rinia

Serifopoula

Sifnos Antimilos

Mykonos

Syros

Kythnos

Delos

Dragonissi

Naxos

Paros

Kamares

Antiparos

Polyvos

Folegandros

Sikinos Therasia

Donousa

Koufonissi Kato Koufonissi Keros Shinoussa

Iraklia

Kimolos

Milos

the labyrinth of white-washed buildings punctuated by pots of colorful flowers and find Nikos Taverna. We are led into a kitchen rich with aromas and a huge array of steaming dishes including moussakas, dolmades and souvlakis. Gesticuling, we make our choices then carry them outside. We dine while sipping retsina. Later we enjoy an ouzo while around us the noise and bustle steadily increase, for the nights in Mykonos THE come alive with music and CYCLADES action.

Ios

Amorgos

Santorini Anafi

Allyson, who has studied her guidebook, explains the name “Cyclades” refers to an archipelago of 56 islands in the Aegean Sea forming a circle around the sacred island of Delos. The following day, curious to see the island that 3,000 years ago was the thriving center of Greece with a population greater than 20,000, we join a tour.

according to locals, has hung out at this restaurant for generations, clumsily waddles about, posing for photos and begging for handouts. We sit in the cool shade, sip a beer and toss him a few pieces of bread, which disappear into the cavernous pouch under his beak. Avenue of Lions, Delos

Next day, we rent a scooter and, with Allyson hanging on tightly, we follow narrow, winding roads through an arid landscape to the golden sands of Paradise Beach, famous for its nude and topless bathers. “Try not to drool,” admonishes Allyson, as we sunbathe, and swim in the turquoise water. In the evening, our skin tingling from the sun and salt water, we stroll through

We wander amongst the extensive ruins, marveling at the monuments, the impressive mosaics and the statues along the Avenue of Lions. The guide explains that Delos is a UNESCO world heritage site and was the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Now no one lives here. It is hauntingly beautiful, and a reminder that life, and even civilizations, are ephemeral. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 55


REAL PEO PLE R E AL J O U R N E YS

Discovered in 1967, Akrotiri is considered the Pompeii of Greece with artifacts perfectly preserved.

Greek taverna

Museum of Prehistoric Thera, Fira, Santorini

Two days pass. As the ship approaches Santorini, we see it is distinctly different. Formed by enormous volcanic eruptions, the cliffs are jagged and painted in dark lava blacks, interspersed with splashes of reds and yellows. After checking into our hotel, we rent a scooter and explore the island. Passing through traditional villages, we visit a winery where grape vines, some 150 years old, are curled up in a circle on the ground to protect them from the hot, dry wind. The archaeological dig at Akrotiri at the south end of Santorini, is remarkable, displaying how life was 5,000 years ago, when an enormous volcanic eruption buried this ancient city almost in a heartbeat. Discovered in 1967, Akrotiri is considered the Pompeii of Greece with artifacts perfectly preserved. The eruption also created a giant tidal wave that destroyed the Minoan civilization in nearby Crete. Because of this eruption, some consider Santorini the legendary lost Atlantis. The rumbling volcanic activity can still sometimes be felt today and explains why our hotel in Fira has been carved into the rock and the rooms have arched, shockresistant ceilings. Directly below our hotel, several large cruise ships bob in the bay like bathtub toys. We awaken each 56 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

morning to the gentle braying and the clip-clop, clip-clop of donkeys descending the zig-zagging path to meet the ships and fetch up tourists. The end of the day finds us at one of the colorful bars and cafes that cascade over the west-facing cliff of the town, where we join the crowds gathering to watch an amazing daily show. As the sun settles, silence settles over the cliff top. Long, angled rays of sunlight shimmer and bounce in golden profusion off the turquoise waves. The light slowly transforms to flaming crimsons and purples, painting the western sky. Far below, sail boats and fishing boats head for the haven of harbor, their sails luminescent with golden light.

of local retsina while watching bobbing sailboats silhouetted against the setting sun. In the morning we hop aboard a scooter and tour for hours, noting that Naxos is softer and more fertile than the other Cyclades islands. The little villages are full of quaint shops with welcoming owners – it’s easy to wander, sometimes finding a pretty café, sometimes a small gallery. Taking a little side path might mean coming across a tiny, well-kept church or an olive grove dappled in sunshine. Grapes prosper and we purchase a bottle of wine in a small village. “The wine is good, and so are the prices,” notes Allyson. We scooter on, exploring the Temple of Apollo and an old Venetian Fortress, marveling at the high level of civilization that flourished here so long ago.

Suddenly the sun is gone, the temperature drops. Lights begin to appear, like fireflies in the dusk. The lights of the cruise ships, strung festively on their masts, twinkle against the dark water. With a shiver, we search out sweaters and start to think of a taverna and a hearty meal.

A day later, we depart. The ferry stops briefly at Paros. We pass other islands, magical places with a profusion of white houses, blue domes and, occasionally, stone giants.

Naxos is our next port of call and we are

We lean on the ship’s railing, immersed in dazzling blues and a shimmering Aegean light, already dreaming of our next visit. b

happy to arrive, for this isle is quieter, more traditional - less touristy. Our first evening, we wander along the harbor and are lured by the smoky smell of lamb grilling on a wood fire. We savor dinner and a bottle

To plan your trip to the Cyclades, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.


For more information please contact Ensemble-member travel agent.

your


REAL PEOPLE REAL J OU RN EYS

Discovering the Unexpected in A S T U R I A S A trip to Barcelona a few years ago quickly whet my appetite for a return trip to Spain. But this time, my husband Jim and I were looking for something off the beaten path … a road less traveled, if you will. ➋ by JILL MROSS

in advance as the site is very popular and limits the number of visitors each day.

To begin, Asturias is old. Very old. Although established as an independent ➊ kingdom in the 8th century, various cave remains indicate its true beginnings go Our travel advisor had planned our back more than 30,000 years. first trip to Spain (among many The UNESCO-designated Asturias and others) and she knew our Tito Bustillo Cave near the neighboring interests – a sampling of Ribadesella is a mustCantabria and Basque history, architecture, and see if your visit allows. regions feature nearly 100 food and wine (of course!). caves, the most in the Iberian Make sure to book far She also knew we look for Peninsula. Some are open to authentic, real-life encounters the public if Tito Bustillo is not an option. and adventures to deliver life’s special experiences and lasting vacation memories. Well, she was right on point with her recommendation to the tiny principality of Asturias on the northern coast of Spain. Here’s a sampling of our amazing experience in this land ➌ known as paraiso natural or natural paradise … Our guides Ernesto and Belén were passionate, proud people and eager to share their native region’s heritage with us. With a contagious smile and gleam in his eye, Ernesto would always say, “I think you will love it” as a preface to each day’s itinerary. I must admit I was a bit skeptical – at least at the beginning. 58 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

With all that history, one would expect to find diverse architecture throughout. Well, Asturias did not disappoint. Remains of Medieval, Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Modernista (Indian) designs exist throughout Asturias. Among the

➎ ➍

➊ ➋ Stunning cliffs of Cabo Vidio, near Cudillero ➌ Jill with Ernesto and Belén ➍ View of Llanes ➎ Charming Cudillero


➑ ➏

➏ Santa Maria del Naranco, a former hunting lodge and now UNESCO site ➐ Rooftop view of Llastres ➑ Jim pouring cider from wooden cask ➒ A variety of ciders from Llagar Castanon ➓ Museum of Emigration in Colombres, an example of Modernista/Indian architecture

standouts we visited: the Metropolitan Cathedral Basilica of the Holy Saviour, including the holy chamber (Asturian Pre-romanesque) and Apostles statues (Romanesque), in Oviedo; the Fountain of the (siete) Caños de San Francisco (Renaissance) in Aviles; and Laboral City of Culture (Neoclassical), including the church’s Neobyzantine-style dome in Gijon. Dotting the Asturias coastline are colorful fishing villages like Llanes, Llastres, and Cudillero, which offer another glimpse of this charming area, both past and present. We would often walk the cobbled streets to the top for spectacular views. Even our guide Belén was snapping and posing for photos. We could not get enough. Panoramas showcased the mountains from afar (including the famous Picos de Europa depending on the vantage point) and the beaches closer in. Few destinations feature such diversity within a 45-minute drive. Llanes alone offers more than 30 beaches. And, talking about the sand and surf, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the bustling coastal town of Salinas, wellknown for its world-class surfing. Classes to teach even the basic surfing skills abound in this vibrant city.

Asturias produces more than 40 different kinds of cheese.

And the food … well our travel advisor was certainly spot on with this culinary paradise. In fact, we’re still savoring the memories of local dishes such as fabadas asturiana (a popular bean stew), meat with cabrales cheese sauce, and sardines. One of our lunches even took a twist on tradition by serving cabrales with cod. Simply divine. For dessert we could not get enough of the casadiella (a pastry filled with toasted hazelnuts or walnuts and sugar) and moscovitas (a delicate cookie made with Marcona almonds and chocolate). Restaurants ranged from the casual to the formal. In fact, tiny Asturias boasts seven Michelin stars and

an array of more moderately priced, high quality Repsol-accredited establishments (distinguished by an “R” or sun icon). Preparation varied from classical to the contemporary – even fusion. A common thread? The passion exuded by the staff for their local products and a desire to please their guests. And while the rioja, albarino, and rosé wines were quite satisfying in complementing the cuisine, the clear standout was the cider. More than 220 apple varieties are found in Asturias, making the sidra a staple of a local’s diet – and ours too! A visit to the Llagar Castanon, a fourth-generation cider factory, was indeed one of the highlights of our trip. Our stay in Asturias came to an end way too quickly and we had to say goodbye to this natural paradise and our new friends. I guess Ernesto was right all along – we love Asturias … and we think you will, too! b To plan your trip to Asturias, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

➓ Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 59


SEABOURN’S

EXTR AORDINARY MEDITERR ANEAN The newest, most uniform fleet in the ultra-luxury segment Spacious all-suite accommodations Luxury touches including complimentary caviar C o m p l i m e n t a r y C h a m p a g n e a n d i n - s u i t e b a r s t o c k e d w i t h g u e s t ’s p r e f e r e n c e s A l l d i n i n g v e n u e s a r e c o m p l i m e n t a r y, i n c l u d i n g i n - s u i t e s e r v i c e


Embrace a rich mosaic of cultures and cuisines, whose treasures radiate across histor y S e a b o u r n Wo r l d H e r i t a g e To u r s

Ultra-Luxury Mediterranean Cruises

SACRED VATICA N CI VI TAVECCHI A (R OM E) , I TALY

Step into a wondrous world adorned with a sapphire jewel at its center. For those along its shores, the sea remains the heart of it all, an irresistible magnet drawing every gaze. Glimpse it shining from a sunlit piazza high on the Amalfi Coast, or glittering through a filigree of pines along the rocky Cap d’Antibes.

S e a b o u r n D i s c o v e r y To u r s

Explore the vibrant cities of Rome, Venice, Nice and Barcelona, richly layered in history and deeply rooted in the sea. Follow the winding corniches of Monte Carlo, stacked atop a harbor bristling with masts of elegant yachts. Above the beaches and brightly painted fishing boats along the Cote d’Azur and Costa del Sol, amphitheaters of whitewashed villas are all aligned to meet you as you arrive from the sea.

From one-of-a-kind works of art to the majesty of St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican is revered for its storied history. Embark on a private tour with exclusive access to art collections, the Pope’s personal worship space and the room where elected cardinals first don the papal vestments. THE ALHAMBRA M Á LA G A (G R A NA DA ) , S PA I N

Behind the Alhambra’s sheer red walls (for which it is named) lies an artistic and architectural feast for the senses. Rooms of intricate columns, ornamental stucco and vibrantly colored tile work overlook peaceful gardens filled with rectangular pools and quiet, soothing fountains.

Ships’ registry: Bahamas. ©2017 Seabourn


TOU RING CROATIA

ADRIATIC IDYLL by ROBIN CHERRY

CROATIA IS A BEGUILING DESTINATION FOR BEACH BUMS, NATURE LOVERS, AND CULTURE VULTURES

W

ITH MORE THAN 3,500 MILES OF COASTLINE AND OVER 1,000 ISLANDS , Croatia greets its visitors with stunning beaches, historic ports, and sensational seafood. It also has a low-key yet vibrant capital, Zagreb, which was once part of the Hapsburg Empire, giving it a surprising “Little Vienna” vibe.

SLOVENIA

Zagreb

SERBIA BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Zadar Trogir Split Brac Hvar ITALY

Korcula

MONTENEGRO

Dubrovnik

Pelješac Peninsula

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The country’s most well-known destination is Dubrovnik, a medieval gem justifiably known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic.” The walled Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to the 13th century and is famed for its Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque architecture. Playwright George Bernard Shaw once wrote “Those who seek Earthly paradise should come and see Dubrovnik”, and while his sentiment is just as true today, word has definitely gotten out. During the summer, Dubrovnik is so crowded you’d think a Kardashian had posted photos on Instagram. To maximize your enjoyment of Dubrovnik, stay just outside the city and go in early in the morning or just before dinner. The family-friendly Sun Gardens Dubrovnik Hotel is a seaside oasis located 6.8 miles from the historic city center which can be reached from the hotel by water taxi or shuttle bus. The resort has three pools, a


Dubrovnik

private pebble beach, a spa, and several restaurants including the alfresco Cilantro which overlooks verdant islands and serves traditional Croatian dishes and seafood. All of the resort’s hotel rooms and kitchen-equipped residences have ocean views. Alternatively, stay in Old Town and leave during the day, returning in time to enjoy a sunset dinner at an outdoor cafe. Rise early to enjoy the blissfully uncrowded city. Either way, the day trippers will have departed (or not yet arrived) and you’ll have the fortress walls and ancient cobblestone alleys to yourself. The 1.2 mile walk around the fortress walls offers panoramic views over the town and brilliant blue waters of the Adriatic. It’s best to tour the walls just before dusk for sunset views and fewer crowds.

An ideal getaway is a half day tour of the Peljesac Peninsula, known as Croatia’s Napa Valley. One of the most popular wineries, Grgić Vina, was started by Croatianborn winemaker Miljenko “Mike” Grgich, a legendary winemaker in California’s Napa Valley. Grgich opened his Napa vineyard in 1977 and his Croatian winery in 1996. Grgić Vina focuses on two indigenous grapes: the white Pošip and the red Plavac Mali. (The vineyard was damaged by fire but a new tasting room and restaurant opened in June.) Vinarija Miloš is another top winery whose wines dazzled a group of wine professionals from Bordeaux when I visited. It also makes an extra-virgin olive oil that won a Gold Medal at the New York International Olive Oil Competition in 2014. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 63


TO U RI N G CROATIA

From Brac, return to the mainland at Split with its vibrant waterfront and Diocletian Palace which was built for the Roman Emperor Diocletian at the turn of the fourth century AD. During the day, a troupe of male singers fill the palace’s vestibule with seductive a cappella music. An open air restaurant, Makarun, specializes in grilled fresh seafood and local produce. Leaving Split, rent a car so you can stop at Trogir (a well-preserved medieval town) en route to the coastal city of Zadar, known for its Maraschino cherry liqueur. Zadar also has a unique “Sea Organ,” a series of underwater pipes that is played by the waves crashing against the embankment. The entire city seems to gather around the organ at sunset to hear its gentle, whale-like song.

F

A short drive from Zadar, stop at Plitvice National Park and hike around the cascading lakes and waterfalls; the crystalline water ranges from deep azure to vibrant turquoise. Zagreb is two hours from the park.

Zagreb’s old town is filled with picturesque churches – including a gothic revival Cathedral (the tallest building in Croatia) and St. Marks, known for its colorful red, white, and black tiled roof. Enjoy browsing in design shops that sell Croatian housewares and accessories and visit museums, rom Dubrovnik, it’s a one hour and fifty minute ferry ride to the tranquil island including the city’s unique Museum of Broken of Korcula, which some claim as the birthplace of Marco Polo. According to my Relationships. This small gallery showcases tour guide Lana, “Marco Polo was born. Marco Polo died. That we know. He might items that represent the end of a romance have been born here, but we’re not sure.” Either way, the small “Marco Polo” house and labels relay their stories. Exhibits range is on one of the island’s prettiest squares and has fantastic views over the island from from amusing (the axe used to destroy an ex’s its small tower. Korcula’s pretty seafront is lined with restaurants. Try an island furniture) to tragic (a letter from a young boy specialty, cuttlefish and pasta in squid ink, at the LD Restaurant at Leci Dimitri who committed suicide after a father said he Palace: a luxurious property with six rooms, each of which is inspired by stops wasn’t good enough for his daughter). While on Polo’s Silk Road travels. The following day, work off dinner by renting a bike the museum initially seems like a lark, in the and heading out along the coast to Lombarda where you can stop at wineries that end, it’s quite moving and poignant. It has been specialize in Korcula’s unique Grk wine, characterized by a mildly bitter finish. so successful that a second branch was opened in Los Angeles in 2016. A quick one hour hop away, the island of Hvar is wellSince its civil war ended in 2001, Croatia has known for its nightlife (and transformed itself into one of Europe’s most boisterous bachelor and beautiful and compelling destinations – bachelorette parties) but it frequently topping “Best Places to Visit” lists. also has a historic fort with What are you waiting for? b stunning views over the largest stone plaza in Dalmatia and the Adriatic. The fort is reached by a paved path that winds its way through a serene garden filled with native Mediterranean plants including Hvar fragrant pine trees. It’s only a twenty-five minute ferry from Hvar to the island of Brac, home to sandy Zlani Rat (Golden Cape), the best beach in Croatia. Brac is famed for its white marble which was used to build Split’s Diocletian Palace and possibly part of The White House. 64 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

Golden Cape, Brac


Diocletian’s Palace, Split

Perast , Bay of Kotor

MESMERIZING MONTENEGRO

Montenegro makes a lovely day trip from Dubrovnik. See Europe’s southernmost fjords at the Bay of Kotor, a cobalt bay surrounded by imposing granite cliffs. Kotor’s cobblestoned streets are lined with cafes, Venetian palazzos (Venice ruled the region from 1420 to 1797) and churches including St. Tryphon’s Cathedral, a Romanesque masterpiece. In the 1970s, Kotor was known as “St. Tropez on the Adriatic” and was frequented by celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren. Nearby, Perast is a beautiful little town from where you can take a boat to visit “Our Lady of the Rocks,” a 17th-century church on a manmade island. The church’s museum has opulent Venetian paintings and an embroidered icon of the Madonna and Child woven from the artist’s hair.

Plitvice National Park

Brac is famed for its white marble which was used to build Split’s Diocletian Palace and possibly part

To plan your trip to Croatia and Montenegro, contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

of The White House.

St. Marks Church, Zagreb

Delicious grilled Adriatic octopus

Kotor’s main square

Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 65


SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION

Luxurious & Unapologetic That’s how the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya describes Heaven, the adults-only section of their Riviera Maya resort where personalized playlists are handed out like candy, never ending cocktails flow freely, and celebrity-style indulgence is the name of the game. All day and all night, it’s all included, with up to $1,800 in limitless resort credits to spend any way you want. Daytime fun features an energizing hydro pool, a crosscurrent Olympic pool, and lounging on a private beach surrounded by the azure waters of a Caribbean sea cove. Music fans can practice licks on Fender guitars or hit the Music Lab to jam with the band, record a mix, or to produce a music video. Adventurous types can take pole dancing classes in the Body Rock® Fitness Center or try spinning, TRX, and

68 Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017

In the heat of the afternoon, pleasure seekers can retune themselves at the Rock Spa with Rhythm & Motion — the world’s first fully immersive musiccentric spa menu ...

popular, high-intensity Les Mills workouts. In the heat of the afternoon, pleasure seekers can retune themselves at the Rock Spa with Rhythm & Motion – the world’s first fully immersive music-centric spa menu featuring: otherworldly massages, sleek polishes, chocolate body wraps, and hot, native Mexican purification ceremonies. Refuel on decadent dishes in the resort’s rustic French, Italian, and Latin American restaurants. And rendezvous at Club Heaven, where cocktails flow freely and the party lasts into the wee hours of the morning.

Those with rock-and-rollers who are too young for Heaven, can check into the resort’s equally indulgent Hacienda, family section. Kids can hang out, learn, and play with all their favorite friends like Barney™, Angelina Ballerina™, Bob the Builder™,and Thomas The Tank Engine™! The Little Big Club™ is loaded with fun, kid-oriented activities scheduled throughout the week for a vacation parents appreciate and children will never forget.


Whether you’ve got a wild side that yearns for sizzling nightlife in a tropical locale or a secret wish to lounge all day on a sun-warmed beach, these all-inclusive escapes are guaranteed to turn up the heat. Special rates for fall and winter bookings make them virtually irresistible.

Sunshine & Happiness Vacationers in the mood for something a little more mellow can hop a flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica, for a romp in the warm glow of the beautiful and immaculate IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites, where five-star reviews gush about the ultra-friendly and attentive staff. Named for the nearby Rose Hall Estate, this all-inclusive, all-suite resort is the perfect place for a wholesome family getaway. Here, guests can check in to elegant suites and wake up to stunning sea views, splash around in crystal-clear blue waters, or simply stretch out on a quiet beach and soak up the Caribbean sunshine. This all-inclusive destination

boasts massive swimming pools including an infinity pool with a swim up bar, an activities pool, a kids pool, a lazy river, and a thrill-a-minute water park. Those looking for more active pursuits can play tennis or beach volleyball, take PADI Certified scuba lessons, or explore Jamaica’s undersea world on an exhilarating dive trip. While the kids have fun in Lucy’s Club, adults can indulge in rejuvenating treatments at Spa Sensations, where the menu includes relaxing beach massages, invigorating hydro-massages, mud treatments, cell renewing facials, detoxifying wraps, and more.

Here, guests can check in to elegant suites and wake up to stunning sea views, splash around in crystal-clear blue waters, or simply stretch out on a quiet beach and soak up the Caribbean sunshine.

When it’s time to dine, there’s something for everyone from fresh, satisfying buffets to gourmet casual and formal restaurants serving an array of international cuisine, including Italian, Mediterranean, a seaside steakhouse, and, of course, authentic Jamaican fare. After dark, the theater comes alive with family-friendly shows. Babysitting services are also available, so parents can stay up late and take advantage of the resort’s live entertainment and dancing. For special offers from Travel Impressions please see page 81-82. For more information please contact your Ensemblemember travel agent.

Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 69


U.S. CITY SPOTLIGHT

ASHEVILLE Gets its Groove on

BLU E R I DGE GORGEOUSN E SS

➊ Craggy Gardens Hike Walk s through tunnels of rhododendron and birch up to Craggy Pinnacle for views of North Fork Reservoir, where The Hunger Games “Cornucopia” scenes were filmed.

by NANCY HELLMRICH

Tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina, Asheville is a happy-go-lucky breath of fresh air in an otherwise weary world. This much-hyped city easily lives up to its reputation as a mellow mountain mecca for everyone from hip creatives, hungry locavores, and enlightened filmmakers to kayakers, waterfall chasers, and the radical fringe. Here’s what makes Asheville so special … AN INSANE MUSIC SCENE

➊ Street Performances

Asheville is famous for its long tradition of live music and mesmerizing street performances, including Friday drum circles in Pritchard Park and topnotch buskers.

➌ Asheville Music Hall

This all-genre music hall offers a stream of talented acts, plus regular Funk Jams, (Grateful) Dead Fridays, Bluegrass Brunches, and dance parties.

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➌ Wild Food Foraging

Go for an “off the eaten path” tour and learn to safely gather edible plants and wild mushrooms. A local chef turns your finds into amazing, tasty cuisine.

➍ Chasing Waterfalls Pack a picnic and hike through the trees to Hooker Falls, Triple Falls, High Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. Or spend the day at Sliding Rock, a 60-foot natural waterslide. s

➋ Festivals & Events

This town also has an outdoor festival obsession. There’s Downtown After 5, Percussion Fest, LEAF Fest, Shindig on the Green, Mountain Dance & Folk Fest, a Zombie Poetry Cabaret … and oh, so much more.

➋ French Broad River Asheville in the summer is like a happy childhood with swimming holes, rope swings, paddle boarding, river floating, rafting, and more.

➍ Isis Music Hall A former movie s theater, Isis is the ideal spot to catch dinner while popular artists play a hypnotic mix of bluegrass, folk, roots, Americana, indie, blues, and more. ➎ The Orange Peel In the heart of historic downtown, this “social aid and pleasure club” features a huge dance floor and critically acclaimed bands like Drive-By Truckers.


s

A L O C AVO R E ’ S PA R A D I S E

➊ Chai Pani

Adventurous, brightly-flavored, avant-garde, “mind-blasting” Indian street food created by two-time James Beard nominated Chef Meherwan Irani. Try it!

➋ Laughing Seed Café

s

➌ Hole Doughnuts

s

A favorite haunt of the cast and crew of The Hunger Games, this vegetarian café dishes up organic, locally sourced, farm-to-table fare with an international flair.

➍ French Broad Chocolate Lounge

Bon Appétit wasn’t messing around when they named the Molasses-Bourbon doughnut “Dessert of the Year.” This gorgeous hunk of pure bliss is made to order with cage-free, locally sourced awesomeness. #noregrets

Picture an inviting space where chocophiles wax rhapsodic about heirloom cacao and bean-to-bar integrity … and the Liquid Truffle sipping chocolate renders you speechless.

➎ 12 Bones Smokehouse This takeout venue serves made-from-scratch progressive “cue” smoked long-and-slow with mandatory cornbread on the side. BTW, Obama loved it. S OU T H E R N C O M F O RT S OMNI GROV E PAR K INN

❘ Asheville, North Carolina

Fresh from a $25 million transformation, The Omni Grove Park Inn welcomes guests with a soothing blend of southern hospitality and ultra-modern conveniences. Built in the Arts & Crafts style in 1913 by entrepreneur Edwin Wiley Grove, this stately inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. More than a century later, travelers still flock to its elegant rooms, al fresco terraces, Donald Ross-designed golf course, and subterranean spa, named “Top Resort Spa in the U.S.” by Condé Nast Traveler.

Ensemble® Exclusives • Grove Park Inn history book • Room upgrade at check-in, when available

• Early check-in, when available • Late check-out, when available

This is where that couple on your social media feed got engaged. One look at George Vanderbilt’s posh 1889 mansion and 8,000acre estate and you’ll be smitten too.

➋ Indie Bookstores

Somehow, Asheville has managed to preserve the art of perusing books in eccentric indie bookshops like Malaprops and Battery Park Book Exchange.

➌ River Arts District

Imagine 21 ruggedly handsome industrial buildings on the French Broad River converted to 200+ open studios for working artists, eateries, breweries, and markets.

➍ Theatre & Dance

Asheville boasts a bevy of professional companies and experimental troupes performing everything from lyrical operas and classical ballets to Shakespeare in the park.

➊ Sovereign Remedies

➋ Wedge Brewing Company

s

➊ The Biltmore Estate

R A D A RT I S A N L I B AT I O N S s

s

A N E M B A R A S S M E N T O F C U LT U R E

Organic, local cuisine and awardwinning signature cocktails with names like “Despite the Weather,” “Forks of Ivy,” and “Pre-Hangover Tonic.” A small-batch brewer with a trendy location in the River Arts District, a hipster vibe, and food trucks serving Mexican-infused kimchi.

➌ Green Man Brewery Think fútbol and darts, accompanied by traditional ales and seasonal specialties like The Rainmaker Double IPA and The Dweller Imperial Stout. ➍ Wicked Weed Funkatorium

This sour and funky taproom features over a dozen varieties, with artisan eats designed to complement the bizarre beverage selection. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 71


THEbutSHIP MAY LEAVE PARIS Paris never leaves the ship.


MEET THE NEW S.S. JOIE DE VIVRE In March, 2017, the City of Light shone even

hand-cast specifically and exclusively for

brighter, as Uniworld’s newest Super Ship,

the S.S. Joie de Vivre.

the S.S. Joie de Vivre, made its inaugural sailing on the Seine River. The ship is a

Her striking features expand beyond the

showstopper, and per its name, captures

beautiful décor. The ship’s size is the

the “joy of living” onboard, with every room

perfect length to dock in the heart of Paris,

celebrating French culture, design, style,

within walking distance from the Eiffel

colors, food and wine.

Tower. And the area for guests onboard is bigger than ever. Notable features include

Uniworld spared no expense when crafting

the pool in Club L’Esprit with a hydraulic

this unique floating boutique hotel. The

floor that transforms into Claude’s by

luxurious lobby staircase is modeled after

night—an authentic French Supper Club,

the old staircase of the Plaza Athénée Hotel

with a menu of locally-inspired tapas and

on Avenue Montaigne. Fabrics onboard

cocktails, accompanied by live music.

were sourced from one of the most lauded fabric houses in France. Solid bronze work

Come experience what makes the S.S. Joie de

throughout the ship was designed and

Vivre a masterpiece on a voyage to France.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE-MEMBER TRAVEL AGENT


FA M I LY T R AV E L

While traveling with his two young sons, Jay Pearson spent 12 days in Jordan – an exotic country where anticipation and excitement can be found in the most amazing of places.

Father and Sons’ Adventures in by JAY PEARSON

After wandering through what seemed like a maze, the famed Treasury at Petra finally appeared, its beauty and splendor exceeding my imagination. The fact that this magnificent temple was created more than 2,000 years ago and is still in such pristine condition, is nothing short of wondrous. My two young sons, who had just moments ago been laughing and squealing, are mesmerized.

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PETRA

Traveling through Jordan with my two sons, Max and Sully, our journey started in Petra. We made it our first stop to see the Treasury, an elegant temple carved right out of the sandstone rock face. To arrive there, we walked through a narrow, winding, half mile-long gorge called the Siq. The walls of the Siq are steep and as the trail meandered its way towards the Treasury, our anticipation was heightened – we figured around every blind turn that the famous landmark would reveal itself. It became a game for the three of us. We would race to every upcoming twist or bend in the path and peer around, hoping to be the first to spot it. That is how I came to be upon this stunning site with two very excited boys who had been squealing with laughter around every twist and turn of the trail.

First Impressions Watching the boys’ reactions to their first impression of the Treasury and other sites in Petra was sometimes even better than experiencing my own! Jordan was one stop of many in our year-long adventure with just Sullivan, Max and I. The trip was first imagined by their mother, Jane, who passed away before having the chance to take them on a world tour. So we did what she would have wanted, and we traveled in her honor. Before leaving Jordan, we ran and played amongst the ancient ruins of Jerash. Then we bobbed, floated and read books, all the while swimming at the lowest point on the planet, in the Dead Sea. Finally we explored Wadi Rum, a protected desert wilderness in southern Jordan, and like Petra, another UNESCO Heritage site. With our guide, Allak, and his run-down pick-up truck, we spent two days there. We ate and cooked outdoors over a campfire and, at night, slept amongst the stars in tents, Bedouin style. b

Traveling as a Solo Parent Traveling solo with my two young sons to some of the world’s more remote and exotic locations was overwhelming at times. We visited the Taj Mahal and India where chaos seemed to reign and the wonderful sights, smells and noises could be overpowering; the distant temples in Bagan and other remote, newly accessible areas of Myanmar; coastal villages in Sri Lanka that reminded us of the best parts of Costa Rica and Bali put together; and a small village in Oman, where, as the only foreigners there, we were invited to watch a livestock auction with local farmers buying and selling camels, goats and cattle. Each location had its own unique and endearing qualities. And the different types of encounters we had there offered us the most amazing rewards. For all of the effort it took, to watch Sully and Max breathe, walk and participate in some of the more magical places and experiences the world can offer is what made our trip so very special. We have memories and stories to tell that we’ll cherish and remember forever.

To plan your own incredible family adventure, please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent. Ensemble Vacations Fall 2017 77


For more information please contact your Ensemble-member travel agent.

©2017 NCL Corporation Ships’ Registry: BAHAMAS and USA 6/17


IMAGINE

BLISS.

Imagine exhilaration while exploring the wilds of Alaska. Imagine relaxation upon finding your slice of paradise in The Caribbean. Imagine Bliss. That’s what you’ll experience when you vacation on our newest and most incredible ship, Norwegian Bliss, coming to Alaska and The Caribbean in 2018. Custom-built for the spectacular. Come aboard and experience the best dining, entertainment and amenities at sea against a backdrop of unrivaled natural beauty. Whether you choose to go tropical or a little wild, there’s one word to describe the experiences awaiting you on Norwegian’s newest ship: Bliss.

Balcony Stateroom

Observation Lounge

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T R AV E L E R ’ S N O T E B O O K

Spectacular New Zealand

Visions of Egypt by Small Ship

• 9 days touring New Zealand

• 9 days touring Egypt, including a 4-night Nile cruise aboard Oberoi Philae

• Queenstown to Christchurch

• Roundtrip Cairo

• Select departures January 16, 2018 – March 18, 2019

• Select departures January 13, 2018 – December 14, 2019

• From $5,599 per person, land only

• From $4,699 per person, Outside Luxury Cabin/ Kempinski Nile Hotel

• Web ID: EV1398

• Web ID: EV1399 Discover the captivating beauty of the magnificent South Island, from Lake Wakatipu and the Milford Sound to the landscape made famous in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. And with never more than 16 guests and our engaging native-born Trip Leader, you’ll taste fine local wines, sit down to congenial farm-to-table dining, and meet friendly residents eager to share their stories and traditions.

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With lavish staterooms and fine dining, the sleek Oberoi Philae is matched only by the Nile-view rooms at our luxury Cairo hotel and the fabled sites you’ll explore with never more than 16 guests. Highlighted by a 4-night Nile cruise and 2 days of sightseeing in Cairo, our expert Egyptologists bring the ancient world to life — from the Great Pyramids to Karnak, Luxor and Abu Simbel.

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Enjoy a free extra night and day in Queenstown before your tour at the Hotel St. Moritz overlooking the alpine vistas of Lake Wakatipu + Save $1,000 per couple ($500 solo) when you pay in full at time of booking. Book by December 31, 2017.

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Enjoy a free extra night and day in Cairo before your journey in a Nile-view room at the luxurious Kempinski Nile Hotel + Save $1,000 per couple ($500 solo) when you pay in full at time of booking. Book by December 31, 2017.

Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun

Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana

• 5 nights at Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun

• 5 nights at Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana

• Cancun, Mexico

• Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

• January 1 – March 31, 2018

• January 1 – March 31, 2018

• From $805 per person, Unlimited-Luxury® Preferred Deluxe Tropical View Room

• From $950 per person, Unlimited-Luxury® Junior Suite Tropical Room

• Web ID: EV1402

• Web ID: EV1403 Experience the best of Riviera Maya! Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun offers guests a unique, concierge-style setup. Guests are treated to elegant accommodations styled with enhanced Preferred Club amenities and Mediterranean-style décor. Savor cuisine at five gourmet restaurants and delight in health-conscious meal options, including gluten-free, sugar-free, vegetarian, and organic selections.

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Perfectly situated on a palm-studded, sugar white beach in Playa Bavaro, Dominican Republic, Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana offers adults a seaside escape to paradise! This beautiful resort boasts a wealth of amenities, elite services, and contemporary accommodations. Guests will enjoy the expansive free form pool, daily refreshed mini-bar, pool and beach wait service, gourmet dining at six restaurants, golf nearby, and 24-hour room service!

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Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya Hacienda & Heaven Section • 5 nights at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya

IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites • 5 nights at the IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites

• Montego Bay, Jamaica

• Riviera Maya, Mexico

• January 3 through April 7, 2018

• September 15 – December 22, 2017

• From $1,655 per person, All-Inclusive, Junior Suite

• From $2,088 per person, All-Inclusive, Deluxe Diamond King Room – Hacienda Section

• Web ID: EV1450

• Web ID: EV1449 Just off the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea, the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is nothing short of the ultimate crowd pleaser. Enjoy the beauty of a private protected beach. Treat the kids to the Little Big ClubTM and teen activities. Hit the links at an 18-hole golf course. Or channel your inner awesome and spend some time at Heaven – an adults-only expanse with stunning pools, lavish spa treatment rooms, dining and more. Bottom line, it’s all top shelf.

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IBEROSTAR Rose Hall Suites features extraordinary specialty restaurants; unique amenities; luxurious 24-hour All-Inclusive service and concierge; six pools including an infinity pool, activities pool and kids pool plus a lazy river and splash park; and five bars & lounges. All of the elegant suites feature a balcony or terrace, a fully stocked mini bar, a whirlpool tub, and much more.

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Complimentary upgrade to Rock Royalty Level Deluxe Platinum. Book by October 31, 2017.

Complimentary upgrade from Junior Suite or Superior Junior Suite to Ocean View Junior Suite; from Ocean View Junior Suite to Superior Ocean View Junior Suite; from Superior Ocean View Junior Suite to Ocean Front Junior Suite. Book by October 31, 2017.

Paradisus Los Cabos

IBEROSTAR Playa Mita

• 5 nights at Paradisus Los Cabos

• 5 nights at IBEROSTAR Playa Mita

• Los Cabos, Mexico

• Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

• September 15, 2017 through March 30, 2018

• January 3 through April 7, 2018

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• From $1,133 per person, All-Inclusive, Standard Room

• From $1,118 per person, Paradisus Junior Suite Garden View Room

• Web ID: EV1452

• Web ID: EV1451

Sitting on a stunning beach with amazing views of the Sea of Cortez is Paradisus Los Cabos, a newly renovated, luxury all-inclusive resort. Featuring world-class facilities, including the adults-only Royal Service with personalized Butler Service; Family Concierge, a unique vacation experience catering to the needs of our smallest guests; YHI Spa; Life Enriching Experience program; and much more.

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Complimentary room upgrade + Bottle of sparkling wine + 10% off YHI Spa treatments + 10% off Gastro Bar dinner. Book by October 31, 2017.

IBEROSTAR Play Mita is an all-inclusive, Premium Gold Hotel for upscale families and couples alike. Located on the shores of Litibu, the resort features four specialty restaurants: Gourmet, Japanese, Steakhouse and Mexican, eight bars/lounges including a lobby bar, swim up bar, snack bar, and beach bar. All suites feature a private balcony or terrace.

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Complimentary upgrade from Standard room to Ocean View room; from Ocean View or Ocean Front room to Junior Suite; from Junior Suite to Ocean Front Junior Suite. Book by October 31, 2017.

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JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa

• 5 nights at the JW Marriott Panama Golf & Beach Resort

• 5 nights at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa

• Buenaventura, Panama

• Bonita Springs, Florida

• September 15 through December 15, 2017

• September 15 through December 15, 2017

• From $615 per person, Deluxe Resort View Room

• From $752 per person, Standard Room • Web ID: EV1454

• Web ID: EV1453

This premier luxury resort offers elegant accommodations set amongst lush gardens and lagoons with vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Here, every desire is anticipated from a round of golf at the Nicklaus-designed course, a relaxing treatment at Corotu Spa, or a splendid meal of locally sourced produce at Tamarindo Restaurant. Pool attendants and beach butlers ensure umbrellas and extra towels are always on hand. For adventure seekers, enjoy horseback riding, snorkeling, fishing, surfing in Rio Hato Mar, and eco tours.

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Honored with Florida Green Lodging’s Three Palm eco-friendly certification, on 26 beautifully landscaped acres overlooking Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa is a haven for recreation and relaxation. Their new waterpark attraction, the lazy river, is now open – this addition expands the existing two-acre pool area that includes three pools, two waterslides, and a secluded island and beach to now include a triple-waterslide and lazy river pool with a three-story Everglades lookout tower.

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Complimentary upgrade to Garden Terrace View Room + $100 resort credit (per room, per stay). Book by December 15, 2017.

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Daily buffet breakfast for two guests + Welcome amenity of fruit and water (per room). Book by December 15, 2017.

become more Travel should be a cherished experience. Allianz Travel Insurance can protect you before, during, and after your vacation—giving you the confidence to discover something new. Contact your Ensemble Travel Agent.

Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Plan(s) underwritten by BCS Insurance Company or Jefferson Insurance Company depending on insured’s state of residence. AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of this plan.

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For reservations, call us today.

Danube Serenade

Taste of Bordeaux

• 7 nights cruising The Danube River aboard AmaCerto, AmaSerena, or AmaSonata

• 7 nights cruising France aboard AmaDolce • Roundtrip Bordeaux • July 26, September 13 & October 4, 2018

• Nuremberg to Vienna • October 14 & November 18, 2018

• From $3,199 per person, Window Room

• From $2,799 per person, Window Room

• Web ID: EV1401

• Web ID: EV1400

Journey along the beautiful Danube River through four European countries. Discover places where history is not only portrayed but an essential part of daily life as in Nuremberg and Regensburg. Sample savory bites while sipping on Wachau Valley’s Riesling. Fall in love with Old World Europe as you let the melodious Danube serenade you, sailing from Nuremberg to Regensburg, Passau, Linz, Melk, Wachau Valley, Durnstein, Krems, and Vienna.

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Start from Bordeaux, one of the world’s most renowned wine regions. Iconic châteaux, timeless vineyards and delicious wine tastings are plentiful as you visit Cadillac, Pauillac, Saint-Émilion and Libourne. Be treated to an exclusive experience in Bourg, featuring live French music, dancing, wine and hors d’oeuvres. This trip is a must for anyone interested in the best of French culture, lifestyle, wine and food.

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$300 onboard credit per stateroom. Book by October 31, 2017.

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$300 onboard credit per stateroom. Book by October 31, 2017.

THE HIGHEST RATED RIVER CRUISE SHIPS

THE HIGHEST RATED RIVER CRUISE SHIPS

Dalmatian Discovery Voyage

Spain, France & Tuscany Voyage

• 7 nights cruising the Dalmatian Coast aboard Azamara Journey

• 7 nights cruising the Mediterranean aboard Azamara Quest

• Roundtrip Venice

• Barcelona to Monte Carlo

• August 19 – 26, 2018

• June 16 – 23, 2018

• From $2,980 per person, Club Veranda Room • Web ID: EV1404

• From $2,767 per person, Club Veranda Room

Leave from Venice and return there. In between, you will sail the Dalmatian coast, with ancient Cliffside cities on the shimmering Adriatic Sea. Azamara ships are smaller, able to slowly sail Croatia’s spectacular inside passage arriving at the island of Hvar. In Kotor, you can walk to St. John’s Fortress on top of the ancient stone walls. Dubrovnik is outstanding – the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Arrive a day early to explore Barcelona and then set sail to Sète, France’s most important fishing port on the Mediterranean. In Marseille, enjoy a glass of artisanal pastis (pastaga if you’re a local). The Azamara Quest stays late in the next two destinations: Rome, then Florence: history, then art; the Vatican, then “David”. The magical Tuscan port of Portofino rounds out this classic voyage concluding in the jet-set city of Monte Carlo.

• Web ID: EV1405

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$150 onboard credit + Private wine tasting + Bottle of wine in your stateroom. Book by October 31, 2018.

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$150 onboard credit + Private wine tasting + Bottle of wine in your stateroom. Book by October 31, 2018.

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British Isles & French Open

Alaska Tracy Arm Fjord Cruise

• 12 nights cruising Western Europe aboard Celebrity Eclipse®

• 7 nights cruising Alaska aboard Celebrity Solstice®

• Dublin to Amsterdam

• Roundtrip Seattle

• June 7 – 19, 2018

• May 18, June 15 & July 13, 2018

• From $2,099 per person, Concierge Class Stateroom • Web ID: EV1406

• From $1,769 per person, Concierge Class Stateroom

Luxurious and upscale on every deck and at every turn, Celebrity Eclipse sets the standard for modern luxury vacation. Sail in style surrounded by contemporary décor. Take your taste buds on vacation with diverse dining options. Enjoy endless entertainment options from sensational shows to some tranquil time in the library. Whatever your travel style, you’ll find your home on board, as you sail from Dublin to Paris, Liverpool, Belfast, Waterford, Cork, St. Peter Port, and Amsterdam.

Celebrity Solstice is one of our most decorated ships. Our passion for outstanding cuisine takes the onboard dining experience to a whole new level. But luxurious staterooms and specialty restaurants are only part of this ship’s charm. Celebrity Solstice also features the Canyon Ranch SpaClub® and fitness center. Pamper yourself with spa treatments or push yourself in a workout with one of our expert trainers, as you sail to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria.

• Web ID: EV1407

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$75 onboard credit per stateroom + $100 per stateroom Shore Excursion Credit. Book by December 31, 2017.

Up to $75 onboard credit per stateroom + $100 per stateroom Shore Excursion Credit. Book by December 31, 2017.

Taxes, fees and port expenses of $110.49 per person are additional and subject to change.

Taxes, fees and port expenses of $212.30 per person are additional and subject to change.

Jazz Fest & Caribbean Cruise

Bermuda Cruises

• 11 nights cruising the Caribbean aboard Celebrity EquinoxSM

• 7 nights cruising Bermuda aboard Celebrity Summit®

• Roundtrip Miami

• Roundtrip Cape Liberty

• April 23 – May 4, 2018

• May 13, 27 & June 10, 2018

• From $2,299 per person, Concierge Class Stateroom

• From $1,349 per person, Concierge Class Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1408

• Web ID: EV1409

With new amenities not available on any other Celebrity ship, prepare to have your expectations exceeded as soon as you step on board Celebrity Equinox. Every imaginable comfort complimented by Celebrity’s unrivaled guest services promises an unsurpassed cruise experience, as you sail from Miami to Grand Bahama Island, Key West, New Orleans (2-nights for Jazz Fest), Cozumel, Puerto Costa Maya, and return to vibrant Miami.

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$50 onboard credit per stateroom + $100 per stateroom Shore Excursion Credit. Book by December 31, 2017. Taxes, fees and port expenses of $179.76 per person are additional and subject to change.

Celebrity Summit reached the peak of modern luxury with a grand makeover in 2016. The Rooftop Terrace provides a chic new way to experience the great outdoors with creative cocktails, favorite snacks, and movies alfresco. Craving Italian? Tuscan Grille serves up fresh pasta and succulent dry-aged steaks. Enjoy an unordinary dinner at the innovative Qsine®, then top off the night with a chilled Peartini at the ice-topped Martini Bar, as you sail to Kings Wharf, Bermuda.

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$50 onboard credit per stateroom + $100 per stateroom Shore Excursion Credit. Book by December 31, 2017. Taxes, fees and port expenses of $199.68 per person are additional and subject to change.

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For reservations, call us today.

Wonders of Western Australia

Polynesian Palette

• 14 days cruising The Indian Ocean aboard Crystal Symphony®

• 16 days cruising New Zealand & Tahiti aboard Crystal Symphony®

• Mauritius to Fremantle/Perth

• Auckland to Papeete

• January 22 – February 5, 2018

• March 3 – 18, 2018 • From $5,250 per person, Deluxe Stateroom

• From $3,750 per person, Deluxe Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1411

• Web ID: EV1410 Journey from Mauritius, land of rainbows, waterfalls and shooting stars, across the Indian Ocean to discover the raw and untamed beauty of the Kimberley in Australia. Onboard, enjoy an unforgettable culinary journey - where each destination you visit includes a promise of the freshest local ingredients and authentic flavors served in your dining venue of choice.

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The 144 islets comprising the Bay of Islands are paradise for sunseeking water enthusiasts, as are the crystalline shallows and coral reefs of Fiji, Bora Bora and Tahiti. Sail from Auckland to the Bay of Islands, Lautoka, Yasawa-I-Rara, Nuku’Alofa, Alofi, Rarotonga, Aitutaki, Bora Bora, Moorea, and Papeete – aboard The World’s Most Awarded Luxury Cruise line.

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Ensemble Hosted Cruise with Ensemble Experience shore event in Broome. Book now.

Ensemble Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Bora Bora. Book now.

The Great Barrier Reef & Beyond

Far East Vistas

• 23 days cruising Australia & beyond aboard Crystal Serenity®

• 16 days cruising the South China Sea aboard Crystal Serenity®

• Sydney to Manila

• Manila to Singapore

• February 17 – March 12, 2018

• March 12 – 28, 2018

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• From $9,230 per person, Deluxe Stateroom

• From $6,520 per person, Deluxe Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1412

• Web ID: EV1413

A voyage rich in tropical beauty offering adventures to the world’s largest coral reef system and rare eco-explorations with two maiden calls in Papua New Guinea. Sail from Sydney (overnight) to Hamilton Island, Cairns, Cooktown, Alotau, Kitava, Guadalcanal, Gizo, Rabaul, Boracay Island, Romblon Island, and Manila.

Famed for its tower-studded skyline, three days in Hong Kong means time to travel up to Victoria Peak, shop Temple Street market at night and take day trips to see the Tian Tan Buddha or visit the giant pandas at Chengdu. Sail from Manila (overnight) to Hong Kong (overnight), Hanoi, Chan May, Ho Chi Minh City, Sihanoukville, and Singapore (overnight).

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Ensemble® Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Cairns. Book now.

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Ensemble® Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Chan May. Book now.

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T R AV E L E R ’ S N O T E B O O K

Eastbound Transatlantic Crossings

4th of July Celebration

• 7 nights crossing the Atlantic aboard Queen Mary 2®

• 5 nights cruising Canada & New England aboard Queen Mary 2®

• New York to Southampton

• Roundtrip New York

• July 20, September 9, October 7, November 11 & December 8, 2018

• From $1,859* per person, balcony stateroom

• July 1 – 6, 2018

• From $1,789* per person, Balcony Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1415

• Web ID: EV1414 On board any of our Queens, crossing the Atlantic is more than a cruise; it’s one of travel’s great rites of passage. It’s a trip where the journey becomes the destination – and what a journey it is, from the bright lights of New York to the charm of England.

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Spend Independence Day in the city most associated with U.S. independence. This five-night cruise from New York leads first to Saint John on the Bay of Fundy, with its reversing falls phenomenon. You’ll reach Boston on the 4th of July, staying overnight for the festivities.

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Up to $200 onboard credit per stateroom. Book now. *Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses of up to $80 per person are additional and subject to change.

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Up to $200 onboard credit per stateroom. Book now. *Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses of up to $185 per person are additional and subject to change.

Australia & New Zealand

Panama Canal

• 17 days cruising Australia & New Zealand aboard ms Noordam

• 15 days cruising the Panama Canal aboard ms Westerdam

• Sydney to Auckland

• Fort Lauderdale to San Diego

• February 1 – 18, 2018

• February 4 – 19, 2018

• From $2,959 per person, Ocean View Stateroom

• From $2,229 per person, Ocean View Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1416

• Web ID: EV1417

Your Holland America Line ship delights at every turn. Every detail is cared for, from fresh cut flowers to gracious crew anticipating your every turn. Spend your day indulging in a rejuvenating massage at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon followed by a fresh lunch poolside. Nighttime glitters with choices – martini flights, lively dance bands and dazzling production shows. Let us show you the world as only we can, and make your vacation one you’ll never forget.

For any true seafaring explorer, the Panama Canal is a must-see destination. Dubbed “one of the seven wonders of the modern world” by the American Society of Civil Engineers, this 48-mile waterway divides two continents and connects two mighty oceans. On a Holland America Line Panama Canal cruise, you can experience this amazing feat of engineering as you sail to Half Moon Cay, Cartagena, Puntarenas, Corinto, Puerto Quetzal, Puerto Chiapas, and Cabo San Lucas.

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Up to $50 onboard credit per stateroom + Pinnacle Grill lunch for two. Book now.

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For reservations, call us today.

Panama Canal Sunfarer

Colors of Brazil

• 11 days cruising the Panama Canal aboard ms Zuiderdam

• 12 days cruising South America aboard ms Zaandam

• Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale

• Roundtrip Buenos Aires

• February 7 – 18, 2018

• February 19 – March 3, 2018

• From $1,729 per person, Ocean View Stateroom

• From $1,729 per person, Ocean View Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1418

• Web ID: EV1419

Sip the perfect blend of rum, mango and magic or enjoy a horseback ride on the beach of Half Moon Cay, our award-winning private island. Snorkel in the clear, blue seas off the coast of Aruba. Hike into the dense green rainforest outside Limon, Costa Rica, and don’t forget your binoculars. Venture into the Panama Canal at Gátun Lake and experience one of the great marvels of engineering.

Discover the wonders of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina as you sail from Buenos Aires to Punta del Este, Rio de Janeiro, Armacao, Abraao, Sao Paulo, Porto Belo, and Montevideo. Onboard, enjoy cooking shows and hands-on workshops in partnership with America’s Test Kitchen. The Greenhouse Spa & Salon offers spa treatments, a thermal pool and lounge and salon services. On deck enjoy two outdoor pools, along with basketball and practice tennis courts.

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$75 onboard credit per stateroom. Book now.

Ensemble® Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Punta Arenas.

Mediterranean Mosaic

Inside Passage

• 10 days cruising the Mediterranean aboard ms Koningsdam

• 7 days cruising Alaska aboard ms Westerdam

• Roundtrip Rome

• May 6 – 13, 2018

• Roundtrip Vancouver

• April 11 – 21, 2018

• From $1,119 per person, Ocean View Stateroom

• From $1,799 per person, Ocean View Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1421

• Web ID: EV1420

Sip a cappuccino on St. Mark’s Square and drink in the beauty of the Basilica and Doge’s Palace. Experience the ageless works of Michelangelo and Leonardo in Florence, their hometown. Join the jet-set crowd in glittering Monte Carlo and discover the rich history of Gibraltar as you sail from Rome to Cartagena, Gibraltar, Seville, Barcelona, Provence, Monte Carlo, and Florence/Pisa.

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Up to $50 onboard credit per stateroom. Book now.

With its breathtaking coastline carved by massive tidewater glaciers over thousands of years, iconic wildlife in their natural habitats, fascinating native cultures and Klondike Gold Rush history, the Great Land will amaze, engage and delight you, as you sail to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and scenic cruising the Inside Passage.

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Southern Caribbean

Eastern Caribbean

• 14 days cruising the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Breakaway

• 11 days cruising the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Gem

• Roundtrip New York

• Roundtrip New York

• January 5 – 19, 2018

• January 23 & March 6, 2018

• From $1,829 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• From $1,499 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1422

• Web ID: EV1423

Switch from big-city hustle to island ease on a voyage through the southern Caribbean. In Tortola, admire towering peaks and hillsides dressed in vibrant bougainvillea, or explore sunken ships and vivid marine life on a dive. Imagine the pirates who called at Charlotte Amalie’s breathtaking harbor, then go for a duty-free treasure hunt of your own downtown. Or find yourself relaxing, with cocktail in hand, on one of Antigua’s 365 beaches.

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Exchange white snow for pristine white sand when you vacation Norwegian style, sailing the warm waters of the Caribbean. Incredible destinations include San Juan, Puerto Rico; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts; and Tortola British Virgin Islands.

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Up to $200 onboard credit per stateroom + Your choice of Free at Sea perks. Book by October 31, 2017.

Up to $200 onboard credit per stateroom + Your choice of Free at Sea perks. Book by October 31, 2017.

Western Caribbean

South America

• 7 days cruising the Caribbean aboard Norwegian Getaway

• 14 days cruising South America aboard Norwegian Sun

• Roundtrip Miami

• Buenos Aires to Santiago

• January 7, 21 & February 25, 2018

• January 6 & February 3, 2018

• From $1,149 per person, Balcony Stateroom • Web ID: EV1424

• From $1,879 per person, Ocean View Stateroom

Discover ancient civilizations, tales of buccaneering and tropical beauty on your 7-day cruise. Depart from sunny Miami and snorkel the deep blue sea off the coast of Roatán. Soak up some sun in Harvest Caye, our newest island stop in Belize. Costa Maya is where you can explore mysterious pre-Colombian Mayan ruins. And learn to kayak in Cozumel. Get ready for an amazing adventure in the Western Caribbean.

Your adventure begins in Buenos Aires as you journey around the southern tip of South America. Spend the day in Montevideo and discover its European charm. Mingle among the penguins in the Falkland Islands. Marvel at huge glaciers and breathtaking waterfalls as you cruise the Beagle Channel, Strait of Magellan, Chilean Fjords and Patagonic Channels. And take in the natural beauty and blacknecked swans in Puerto Chacabuco.

• Web ID: EV1425

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Up to $200 onboard credit per stateroom + Your choice of Free at Sea perks. Book by October 31, 2017.


For reservations, call us today.

Seas of Tranquility

Pacific Stars

• 29 days cruising the South Pacific aboard Regatta

• 18 days cruising the South Pacific aboard Marina

• Bali to Honolulu

• Papeete to Los Angeles

• March 1 – 29, 2018

• March 19 – April 6, 2018

• From $4,999 per person, Inside Stateroom

• From $4,599 per person, Veranda Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1426

• Web ID: EV1427

Whether relaxing on the stunning beaches of Australia or exploring the diverse Hawaiian Islands, paradise is everywhere you turn. Cruise from Bali to Darwin, Cooktown, Cairns, Nouméa, Vanuatu, Lautoka, Suva, Apia, Pago Pago, Hilo, Kahului, Nawiliwili, and Honolulu, all while enjoying The Finest Cuisine at SeaTM.

A perfect blend of relaxing days at sea and the Pacific Ocean’s most captivating destinations, this cruise offers plenty of time to enjoy the six unique restaurants – all at no additional charge – the Canyon Ranch SpaClub and hands-on cooking classes at The Culinary Center. Cruise from Papeete to Los Angeles, visiting Bora Bora, Rangiroa, Nuku Hiva, Hilo, Honolulu, Kahului and Nawiliwili.

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Ensemble® Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Cairns. Book now.

Pre-Paid Gratuities. Book now.

Japan Fall Foliage

Japan Explorer with Kumano Fireworks

• 8 days cruising Japan aboard Diamond Princess®

• 7 days cruising Japan aboard Diamond Princess®

• Roundtrip Tokyo

• Roundtrip Tokyo

• October 8 – 16, 2018

• August 15 – 22, 2018

• From $2,189 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• From $2,069 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1428

• Web ID: EV1429

Diamond Princess is a treasure trove of exceptional delights waiting to be discovered. Dine on freshly prepared sashimi in Kai Sushi, watch street performers in the dazzling Atrium, or take in a lavish production show in our state-of-the-art theater. And for a unique treat visit the Izumi Japanese Bath, the largest of its kind at sea, as you sail from Tokyo to Toba, Osaka, Iwakuni, Kanmon Straits, Hakata, Busan, and Nagoya.

Japan is a study in contrasts: tranquil retreats of profound beauty lay just outside cities where skyscrapers soar over stunning temples and shrines. Neon-bright architecture and pink cherry blossoms vie for attention amid the colorful Harajuku district and traditional kimonos. Sail from Tokyo to Shimizu, Kumano, Kochi, Kanmon Straits, Busan, and Yatsushiro.

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Western Mediterranean

World Cruise

• 10 days cruising the Mediterranean aboard Crown Princess®

• 111 day World Cruise aboard Pacific Princess®

• Rome to Barcelona

• Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale

• September 22 – October 2, 2018

• January 5 – April 27, 2018

• From $2,899 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• From $28,999 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1430

• Web ID: EV1431

Ancient ruins recall the once-powerful empires that ruled this legendary region. Sail from Rome to Salerno, Sicily, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Corsica, Toulon, and Barcelona. Aboard Crown Princess, discover a relaxing atmosphere filled with an array of world class entertainment and dining options that will greet you each day when you return from making fascinating discoveries ashore.

Explore the far corners of the globe without the hassle of airport travel, constant unpacking, and expensive meals. Discover Aruba, Santa Marta, Panama Canal, San Juan del Sur, Huatulco, La Paz, Honolulu, Pago Pago, Suva, Bay of Islands, Auckland, Sydney, Burnie, Adelaide, Esperance, Fremantle, Exmouth, Singapore, Cohcin, Mumbai, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Aqaba, Suez Canal, Santorini, Crete, Kotor, Zadar, Ancona, Ljubljana, Venice, Korcula, Valletta, Porto Empedocle, Positano, Rome, Portofino, Nice, Barcelona, Gibraltar, Seville, Azores Islands, and Bermuda.

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$60 per stateroom onboard credit. Book now.

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Panama Canal

Cape Horn & the Strait of Magellan

• 15 days cruising Panama aboard Coral Princess®

• 14 days cruising South America aboard Emerald Princess®

• Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco

• Buenos Aires to Santiago

• February 19 – March 6, 2018

• February 28 – March 14, 2018

• From $2,999 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• From $2,559 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1432

• Web ID: EV1433

From ships custom built to sail the massive locks to immersive onboard programs and onshore adventures that inspire, Princess is the number one cruise line sailing to this bucket list destination, and as awe-inspiring as it is to travel through one of Condé Nast Traveler’s 7 Cruise Wonders of the World, Princess will help you explore equally fascinating places along the way: Aruba, Cartagena, Puntarenas, San Juan del Sur, and Cabo San Lucas.

Take in the European sophistication of Buenos Aires and lively Rio de Janeiro. You’ll also immerse yourself on board in the colors and cultures of the region by savoring regional cuisine, dancing the tango and enjoying destination expert presentations that will let you see this sultry destination in a whole new way. Sail from Buenos Aires to Monte Video, Puerto Madryn, Falkland Islands, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt, and Santiago.

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$50 per stateroom onboard credit. Book now.

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For reservations, call us today.

Voyage of the Glaciers

Inside Passage

• 7 days cruising Alaska aboard Star Princess®

• 10 days cruising Alaska aboard Grand Princess®

• Vancouver to Anchorage

• Roundtrip San Francisco

• May 12 – 19, 2018

• From $2,299 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• May 16 – 26, 2018

• From $1,799 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1435

• Web ID: EV1434

Our Voyage of the Glaciers sailing is the top-rated Alaska cruise vacation and with good reason. This comprehensive itinerary sails north through the British Columbia and Alaska portions of the Inside Passage for more stunning scenery at every turn. Cruise over 500 miles farther north across the Gulf of Alaska and into Prince William Sound. Along the way, you’ll visit gold rush-era ports and enjoy two spectacular glacier viewing experiences — including Glacier Bay National Park and College Fjord!

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Experience the thrill of sailing under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge as you head north to Alaska’s legendary Inside Passage, one of the world’s most beautiful waterways. On this Alaska cruise vacation, you’ll visit charming frontier ports, come face-to-face with towering glaciers and enjoy relaxing days at sea to soak up Alaska’s splendor. Sail to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park, Ketchikan, and Victoria.

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• 7 days cruising the Caribbean aboard Caribbean Princess®

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$75 per stateroom onboard credit. Book now.

$60 per stateroom onboard credit. Book now.

Ocean Medallion Cruising to the Western Caribbean

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New Zealand Roundtrip from Sydney • 13 days cruising New Zealand & Australia aboard Sun Princess® • Roundtrip Sydney

• Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale

• February 19 – March 4, 2019

• June 2 – 9, 2018

• From $2,399 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• From $1,499 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1437

• Web ID: EV1436

With Ocean MedallionTM, experience a truly personalized and seamless vacation, as you sail to Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize City, and Cozumel. It’s the size of a quarter and can be worn in a variety of ways: as a wristband, pendant, clip or even in your pocket. Consider the Ocean Medallion your key to opening doors: to your stateroom, your ship and experiences you won’t find anywhere else.

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$50 per stateroom onboard credit. Book now.

Escape to this unhurried corner of the world, where Maori legends, steaming volcanic lakes, penguins and hobbits add to the magical landscape. From the historic North Island, known as “the birthplace of the nation,” to the stirring drama of Fiordland National Park, a cruise to New Zealand with Princess will defy expectations. Sail to Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, Auckland, and Bay of Islands.

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Magnificent Glaciers & Icefields

Rainforests & Raptors

• 7 nights cruising Alaska aboard Seven Seas Mariner®

• 7 nights cruising Alaska aboard Seven Seas Mariner®

• Anchorage to Vancouver

• Vancouver to Anchorage

• July 18 – 25, 2018

• August 8 – 15, 2018

• From $6,399 per person, Deluxe Veranda Suite

• From $6,099 per person, Deluxe Veranda Suite

• Web ID: EV1438

• Web ID: EV1439

Big, bold and impossibly beautiful, Alaska stretches beyond the imagination, particularly in her southeastern seas. Ancient glaciers glint majestically, as snow-mantled mountains soar into the cerulean sky. The deep harbors and frontier towns welcome visitors with open arms, eager to reveal their riches. The possibilities are endless, inviting excursions of untold discovery and delight, as you sail to Sitka, Juneau, Skagway, and Ketchikan.

Salmon, eagles, whales and bears…oh my! Experience all the wonders of Alaska in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka. Regent Seven Seas Cruises all-inclusive Alaska fares include FREE Roundtrip Air with FREE Transfers between Airport and Ship, FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions, FREE Unlimited Beverages Including Fine Wines and Premium Spirits, and much more.

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Greek Isles

Scandinavia & Russia

• 7 nights cruising Greece aboard Jewel of the Seas®

• 7 nights cruising Scandinavia & Russia aboard Serenade of the Seas®

• Roundtrip Rome

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Ensemble Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Skagway. Book now. ®

• Roundtrip Copenhagen

• June 17 – 24, 2018

• May 27 – June 3, 2018

• From $1,149 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• From $1,249 per person, Balcony Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1440

• Web ID: EV1441

Jewel of the Seas® combines sleek swiftness, panoramic vistas, and wide-open spaces for the ultimate cruise getaway to Rome, Santorini, Mykonos, Athens, and Katakolon. With acres of glass throughout and elevators facing the sea, every view is pictureworthy. Bask at the tranquil Solarium pool, recharge at VitalitySM Spa, or conquer our signature rock-climbing wall. When the sun goes down, the night heats up with Broadway-style shows, Casino Royale®, and 16 bars and lounges.

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Book a balcony or suite and receive a complimentary specialty dinner for two. Book October 1 - October 31, 2017.

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You’ve read about it in fairy tales as well as history books. Now see Northern Europe for yourself and sail on Serenade of the Seas®, a dreamlike ship that’s sleek and sunlit, with panoramic vistas and wide-open spaces at every turn. Acres of glass enclose a nine-story central atrium, while glass elevators and floor-to-ceiling windows ensure incredible views, as you sail from Copenhagen to Stockholm, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, and Helsinki.

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For reservations, call us today.

10-Day South America Cruise

25-Day South America Cruise

• 10 days cruising South America aboard Silver Muse

• 25 days cruising South America aboard Silver Muse

• Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro

• Rio de Janeiro to Fort Lauderdale

• February 6 – 16, 2018

• February 16 – March 13, 2018

• From $6,600 per person, Classic Veranda Suite

• From $13,500 per person, Classic Veranda Suite

• Web ID: EV1444

• Web ID: EV1445

Tango in Buenos Aires, before Brazil’s beauty leaves you dancing a samba on its stunning beaches. Enjoyo spotting endangered species while hiking eco-trails and watch the fabulous sunset, Caipirinha in hand, in one of Brazil’s most appealing destinations. As the cacophony and chaos of the Rio Carnaval calms down, we introduce you to a more tranquil side of the Cidade Maravilhosa. Ports of call include Punta del Este, Montevideo, Itajai, Paraty, and Buzios.

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Embark on an extraordinary voyage of discovery, navigating the southernmost tip of Latin America, into the depths of Chile’s humbling fjords. Journey to Ushuaia, known as ‘El Fin Del Mundo’ – The End of the World – before the colossal mountains, and vast waterways of Chile swallow you whole. Poetic Valparaiso, beachblessed Iquique, and historic Lima, are waiting to woo with their charms. Ports of call include Salvador de Bahia, Natal, Fortaleza, Macapa, Santarém, Boca de Valeria, Manaus, Parintins, Alter do Chão, Macapa, Bridgetown, and San Juan.

Ensemble® Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Montevideo. Book now.

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Ensemble Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Manaus. Book now. ®

9-Day South America Cruise

Caribbean & Central America Cruise

• 9 days cruising South America aboard Silver Muse

• 13 days cruising the Caribbean & Central America aboard Silver Muse

• Roundtrip Fort Lauderdale

• Fort Lauderdale to San Juan

• March 13 – 22, 2018

• March 22 – April 4, 2018

• From $6,400 per person, Classic Veranda Suite

• From $7,000 per person, Classic Veranda Suite

• Web ID: EV1446

• Web ID: EV1447

Become bewitched by the vibrancy of the Yucatan Peninsula before taking a break in beautiful Belize. Guatemala will inspire you with awe while Honduras dazzles and delights with its beaches and backcountry. A relaxing day at sea perfectly balances this journey of color, before you voyage to Key West’s sugar white sands. Ports of call include Cozumel, Belize City, Santo Tomas, Roatan Island, and Key West.

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Ensemble Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Belize City. Book now. ®

Screamingly white beaches, and milky blue seas, will wrap you in extravagant indulgence, on this tour of Caribbean’s jewels. Leave the Sunshine State’s shores, and head for Mexico’s fabulous Cozumel island – spotting starfish and turtles while drift diving. Stepped Mayan ruin hide in the jungles of Costa Maya, and Roatan Island is fringed with beautiful beaches, and glowing coral displays. Ports of call include Grand Turk, Toad Town, Basseterre, Roseau, Bridgetown, St. George’s, Bequia, St. John’s, Gustavia, and St. Thomas.

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Ensemble® Hosted Cruise with Ensemble® Experience shore event in Barbados. Book now.

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Adriatic & Greek Glories

The Baltic & St. Petersburg

• 7 days cruising the Mediterranean aboard Seabourn Odyssey

• 7 days cruising Northern Europe aboard Seabourn Ovation

• Venice to Athens

• Copenhagen to Stockholm

• June 9, September 1 & 29, 2018

• June 23, July 21 & August 18, 2018

• From $3,999 per person, Ocean View Suite • Web ID: EV1442

• From $5,499 per person, Veranda Suite

Every Seabourn voyage is a journey through Extraordinary. Let your eyes follow the sunlight as it dances from Corinthian columns to winding canals and back to your glass of wine, all in a region celebrated for centuries on this ultra-luxury Mediterranean cruise, sailing from Venice to Sibenik, Kotor, Corfu, Nydri, Sparta, Nafplion, and Athens.

The worlds of Seabourn are extraordinary. There’s the world of ultra-luxury – where wishes are granted before they’re spoken. And then the world of adventure – a game of hide and seek with the treasures of our planet. No one else brings these worlds together so effortlessly, as you sail from Copenhagen to Tallinn, St. Petersburg (2-nights), Helsinki, and Stockholm.

• Web ID: EV1443

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$300 shipboard credit per suite. Book now.

$300 shipboard credit per suite. Book now.

European Jewels

Legendary Rhine & Moselle

• 16 days cruising The Danube, Main & Rhine Rivers aboard River Duchess

• 13 days cruising The Rhine and Moselle Rivers aboard River Queen

• Amsterdam to Budapest

• Amsterdam to Basel

• May 2 – 17, 2018

• April 18 – 30, 2018

• From $6,849 per person, River View Stateroom

• From $5,599 per person, River View Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1455

• Web ID: EV1456

Indulge your passion for majestic art, architecture, music and history on an all-encompassing journey through four countries along three great rivers – the Danube, Main and Rhine – and to numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites. Ports of call include Budapest, Vienna, Weissenkirchen, Engelhartszell, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, Wertheim, Frankfurt, Rüdesheim, Cologne, and Amsterdam.

Experience the enduring allure of the spectacular scenic Rhine and Moselle. Revel in the UNESCO-designated Rhine River Valley, with its vine-covered slopes and castle-dotted shores, and the mesmerizing Moselle, the Rhine’s breathtaking tributary. Explore the delights of five nations and savor the best these regions have to offer, sailing from Amsterdam to Cologne, Koblenz, Cochem, Trier, Luxembourg, Bernkastel, Boppard, Rüdesheim, Speyer, Strasbourg, Breisach, and Basel.

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$1,500 per booking savings (off the price shown). Book now.

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$1,000 per booking savings (off the price shown). Book now.


For reservations, call us today.

Grand European Tour

Rhine Getaway

• 15 days cruising The Rhine, Main & Danube Rivers aboard State-of-the-art Viking Longships

• 8 days cruising The Rhine River aboard State-of-the-art Viking Longships • Amsterdam to Basel (or reverse)

• Amsterdam to Budapest (or reverse)

• Select departures March through December, 2018

• Select departures March through October, 2018

• From $1,999 per person, Standard Stateroom

• From $4,899 per person, Standard Stateroom

• Web ID: EV1458

• Web ID: EV1457 From Holland’s windmill-studded tulip fields to Germany’s fairytale castles, from the engineering marvel of the Main-Danube Canal to the picturesque vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley, this epic voyage presents the highlights of Holland, Germany, Austria and Hungary. Ports of call include Vienna, Melk, Passau, Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Würzburg, Wertheim, Koblenz, Cologne, and Kinderdijk.

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Visit all the highlights of the legendary Rhine in just 8 days. In Germany, see the many charming castles commanding the riverbanks as you sail by, and tour both Marksburg Castle and the ruins of Heidelberg Castle. Admire Cologne, the jewel of the Rhine, with its awe-inspiring Dom, and experience the lush landscape of the Black Forest region. Also, explore Holland’s famous windmills and waterworks, encounter multicultural Strasbourg in France, and take part in the inviting nightlife in Rüdesheim’s Drosselgasse.

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$100 shipboard credit per stateroom. Book by December 31, 2017.

$100 shipboard credit per stateroom. Book by December 31, 2017.

Dreams of Tahiti

Tahiti & the Tuamotu Islands

• 7 days cruising Tahiti aboard Wind Spirit

• 10 or 11 days cruising Tahiti aboard Wind Spirit

• Roundtrip Papeete

• Roundtrip Papeete

• Select departures November 2, 2017 through December 20, 2018

• Select departures December 3, 2017 through November 15, 2018

• From $3,999 per person, Window Stateroom • Web ID: EV1459

• From $4,999 per person, Window Stateroom

A graceful sailing ship is the perfect way to experience the true wonder of Tahiti. We’ll let the trade winds fill our sails as we visit one legendary island after another, staying overnight in some ports to give you time to swim and snorkel in crystal-clear lagoons, meander through lush rainforests, and experience the fascinating Polynesian culture from tikis to tiare flowers. Ports of call include Moorea, Raiatea, Motu Mahaea, Bora Bora, and Huahine, and Papeete.

The trade winds of French Polynesia have enticed sailors for centuries – and now those same beautiful breezes fills the sails of Wind Spirit as we sail through the windward and leeward Society Islands to the serene natural beauty of the Tuamotu Islands, where pristine atolls and crystal lagoons welcome you to a hidden paradise. Ports of call include Fakarava, Motu Mahaea, Huahine, Bora Bora, Moorea, Papeete, Rangiroa, and Raiatea.

• Web ID: EV1460

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$100 shipboard credit per stateroom. Book by October 31, 2017.

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$100 shipboard credit per stateroom. Book by October 31, 2017.

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Blue Danube: Family Riverboat Adventure • 8 days cruising the Danube River aboard ms Joy or ms Savor • Budapest to Vilshofen or Deggendorf • Select departures June 30 through July 28, 2018 • From $4,190 per person, Window Cabin • Web ID: EV1448 A two-time winner of “Top River Cruise Line” for families, as voted by the readers of Travel + Leisure! There is no better way to experience the heart of Europe with your family than on a leisurely Tauck Bridges Danube river cruise. Unpack only once as you travel from Vilshofen, Germany to Austria, Slovakia and finally to Budapest, Hungary, enjoying action-packed shore excursions specially designed for families.

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$500 Child Savings (children 12 and under) + Longitude Book Gift Set with maps and guides (valued at over $100). Book by October 31, 2017.

FOR ALL ENSEMBLE VACATIONS® OFFERINGS: Prices are per person, double occupancy unless otherwise stated. Prices and terms are displayed throughout this catalog as received from individual suppliers. Certain offers carry restrictions and penalties to be advised at time of booking. Validity differs with each offer. Offers are subject to change without notice, subject to availability, and may be withdrawn at any time. Offers apply to new bookings only. Some blackout dates apply. Ensemble Travel® Group does not assume any responsibility for the accuracy of prices and terms. Ensemble Travel Group and its sub-agents act solely as agents for the companies providing services and facilities to travelers and have no responsibility or liability for loss of or damage to property, injury, or death due to errors, omissions, or intentional acts of the companies providing services.

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