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Avalon River Cruises- Special Interest Cruises
Avalon Waterways River Cruises is offering their special interest cruises for 2014. For those wine enthusiasts, there are 4 different wine cruises: Grand France Wine river cruise offered on October 21, 2014, Burgundy & Provence wine river cruise offered October 26, 2014, The Legendary Danube wine river cruise offered November 2, 2014, and the Blue Danube Discovery wine river cruise offered on October 27, 2014.
Next are the culinary special interest cruise. For all you food lovers out there, Avalon offers two cruise: Paris to Normandy's Landing Beaches offered on October 28, 2014 and Grand France offered on October 20, 2014.
Avalon has not forgotten about the beer lovers! Beer taste to your heart's desire on the Austrian Highlights & Bavaria river cruise offered October 13, 2014.
Trafalgar Tours-San Francisco and Wine Country Delight
San Francisco and Wine Country Delight
I recently took the “San Francisco and Wine Country Delight” tour from Trafalgar Tours. This Trafalgar tour far exceeded my expectations! Of the Trafalgar tours I have been on, this one is one of my favorites! Our tour was a 3 night stay in San Francisco and a 4 night stay in Napa Valley.
Upon arriving at the San Francisco Airport, all of my travel arrangements were taken care of. The Super Shuttle transfer from the airport to the hotel was complimentary and went smoothly. The Hyatt Regency hotel was just as impressive. Decorated in a beautiful, contemporary style, the lobby was breathtaking.
All of those taking the tour met for a meet and greet reception with our tour director. This included wine, beer and hors d’oeuvres. Most of the guests on the tour were wine enthusiasts, so this was a great beginning and we all loved the wine.
Having just the two hotels gave us plenty of time to settle in and relax. Which we really needed since the tour days were fully-booked and give you more bang for your buck!
During our stay in San Francisco, we took tours of all the “must see” parts of the city. We toured the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Haight-Ashbury and Chinatown. Our tour guide at Haight-Ashbury was a hippy, who better to give a tour of the Grateful Dead house than a San Francisco local?! While in Chinatown, we visited The Golden Gate Cookie Factory. This was a fortune cookie factory and we were able to get free samples!
Many of our meals were included and were so yummy! We also had one free day to take optional tours or sight-see on our own. For those adventurers who like to set out on their own, everyone was given a “hop on/hop off” bus pass that covered all the areas of San Francisco. This was a great time and money saver. This was also particularly beneficial for those that needed a brief rest prior to the Napa tour. San Francisco is a beautiful city that I can’t wait to revisit.
On the 4th day our group headed to Napa Valley. It is considerably much warmer in the valley than the Bay area of San Francisco. We arrived at The River Terrace Inn and settled in for the next 4 nights. Upon check in, we were offered bikes to check out at no extra charge. Mark was amazing! He always had these unexpected treats and surprises for us. He was nice, cheerful and always smiling. He never showed impatience. Since Mark lived in the area we were also able to see his house along the tour.
I absolutely loved Napa Valley! We pretty much ate and “wine tasted” our way through the area. There were several wineries on the tour and I always had a wine glass in my hand! I learned about the different types of grapes used to make wine as well as how the wine making process works.
We took a tour of the Castello di Amorosa castle. It was so beautiful. I have seen many castles in Europe and it looked exactly like them. I had no idea there were European-style castles here in the United States. We had lunch in Calistoga.
Just as in San Francisco, we had one day in Napa Valley to explore the city on our own. My friend and I took full advantage of the bikes and rode all over the Napa area near our inn. It was, just so scenic, aromatic, and the FOOD…words can’t seem to do it justice.
If you are a wine enthusiast, this is the perfect tour for you! Overall it was a wonderful vacation and a great value for all that it included. Honestly, I can’t think of a single thing that could make it better.
Review of Avalon River Cruises- Romantic Rhine River Cruise
We began our 8 day river cruise in Basel, Switzerland. We boarded the ship Visionary on Sunday which holds approximately 120 passengers. As we came aboard, the entire crew stood in a line to greet all of us.
The ship was designed with a contemporary flare. My stateroom, a Category P was gorgeously decorated. There were floor to ceiling windows which opened about 6 ft. This allowed an airy feel as if it were a balcony cabin. Our bed was a Tempurpedic with a plush comforter and pillows. After an active day of touring, it was a blissful place to sleep. Our room also contained a flat screen TV, sofa, desk and chair. TheWi-Fi was free depending on how far from service we cruised.
All dinners were 5 courses with complimentary beverages. A choice of Red, White or Rose wine was available. Each portion was average as not to make you feel overindulged while eating. The food was especially delicious. Breakfast was buffet style with an Early Bird, Full and Late breakfast schedule. The buffet selection was extensive and diverse. The Chef was always on hand to answer any questions or to be of service. The Lunch service was also buffet style with just as impressive a selection as the breakfast service.
The boat crew was exceptional! They were always helpful, answered any questions and needs that we had. Our cabin was cleaned several times throughout the day, which really impressed us.
All of our sightseeing tours were well-organized and amazing! We split into 4 groups. Each group had their own guide. Each of us had a headset to easily hear the guide explain the sights we were seeing. On our cruise we stopped in the cities of Rudesheimer, Mainz and Cologne. We arrived in Cologne at Midnight and a few of us took advantage of seeing the lights of the city. What a completely different experience than in the light of day! We were able to capture some breathtaking photos.
When we arrived at Strasbourg, there were some optional excursions for wine tasting. We ended our cruise on Sunday in Amsterdam. We were offered an optional tour of the Van Gough museum.
River cruising is growing in popularity throughout the tourism industry and we can certainly see why! It is so convenient to have your belongings in one place as you travel without having to pack up and haul your things from one hotel to another. Not to mention the convenience of stepping off the boat and walking right into the city. This was a fantastic vacation and everyone in our group had a wonderful time. We highly recommend this to anyone interested in a unique travel experience in Europe.
Why Take a River Cruise?
What Are River Cruises?
Experience some of the world's most intriguing destinations with river cruising. A River Cruise is a tour that travels on a small cruise ship via the rivers of a particular region of the world such as in Europe, Russia, Egypt, and China. Popular river cruises include the Rhine River, Danube River, Maine River, Moselle River, Seine River, Nile River, and Yangtze River.
What Are the Benefits of River Cruises?
River Cruises have several benefits. Many travelers enjoy the convenience of unpacking and packing only once during their river cruise vacation. Not only will you save time in the tour/cruise planning process, you will also save money. They offer a hassle-free vacation. A River Cruise has an experienced and knowledgeable tour/cruise director. The director is familiar with the history and region of the area on tour. The tour/cruise director is always available to answer questions or assist in any way. River Cruises include your shore excurions, all meals, drinks and complimentary wine with dinner, and local guides.
A personal review of Globus Tours-The Best of Southern England Tour
I recently took the Globus Tour-The Best of Southern England. This is a fun filled and packed 7 day tour. The first two nights was spent in London and was more of an independent vacation. You have Globus hosts available in the hotel to help you with optional tours and also the included sightseeing. London is a beautiful city with plenty of things to keep you busy! Some of the optional tours included The Tower of London, Wicked show, and A Taste of London. I took advantage of "A Taste of London". This optional included dinner at a local pub in the "City of London" and a river cruise on the Thames river in the evening so you can see London illuminated. On the 4th day you meet your tour group and tour director. We stopped at Oxford and walked among the Colleges and also visited Christ Church. After that we were on our way to Stratford Upon Avon to visit Shakespeare's birth place. Our next city was Bath where we visited the Roman Baths. Everywhere you looked, there were signs "Do Not Touch the Water". It was pretty amazing. The next day we visited Stonehenge. It was a breath taking sight. You had plenty of time for picture taking. Next we were on to Brighton where we had an included visit to the Royal Pavilion. There was a lot of Chinese decor inside. This architecture was very different from what you typically see. After Brighton we were back in London for the last night. Each day was busy from morning to evening. You definitely get a lot for the value of your money!
I think this tour is great for people that do not have more than a week to spend on their vacation. They can get a sample of each city and know where to spend more time on their next visit. This tour was different from the other Globus Tours I have previously taken. I am accustomed to having the included sightseeing where you have the headsets and a local guide is talking to you so you do not have to be right there in order to hear. The included visits such as the Royal Pavilion and the Roman Bath had audio handheld gadgets. This is where you push a number and hit play and walk throughout the place. There also was not a farewell dinner at the end of the tour. I think this tour was different from other ones because of London. London is more independent location rather than escorted. Overall this was a great tour and I would recommend it to everyone.