Portions of the article excerpt below by Susan Hanson originally appeared in April 2015 issue of Virtuoso Traveler.
Just back from Seattle and a Holland America Line cruise to Alaska’s spectacular coastline, towering glaciers and fascinating waterfront towns rich with history and culture, I’m already excited to return to cruising next month! I’ll be sailing through the Caribbean to San Juan during Gifted Travel Network's annual conference taking place this year on board Celebrity's Summit. Are you ready to set sail someplace special? Here’s a small sample of the endless, uniquely wonderful ways you might choose to cruise, around the world.
1. Special Sailings with Extra Perks: Virtuoso Voyages are available only to those who book through an advisor (like me) with access to this Virtuoso program which offers complimentary benefits on the world's finest cruise ships across hundreds of annual departures. Benefits include Dedicated Onboard Hosts available throughout the journey to answer any questions you may have and generally help everything go smoothly. They facilitate introductions between you and other cruisers at events such as a Welcome Aboard Cocktail Reception: a private event planned specifically for you and fellow Virtuoso Voyages travelers. You can also participate in Exclusive Shore Excursions to immerse yourself in the local culture, or enjoy VIP access to venues. These shore events are specifically for Virtuoso Voyages cruisers.
2. Small Fortunes: Seeking hidden Caribbean coasts, SeaDream Yacht Club enjoys rare access to some of the region’s tiniest ports. The line’s twin mega-yachts, 112-passenger SeaDream I and SeaDream II, are small enough to enter such overlooked gems as Anegada in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Union Island, hailed as the “Tahiti of the West Indies.” Complimentary water-sports equipment from the ships’ marinas – including WaveRunners and stand-up paddleboards – allow for intimate exploration of secluded bays and untouched beaches.
3. Picture-Perfect Moments: Shutterbugs can join two immersive, 15-day photographic expeditions through the wildlife-rich waters of Baja California. Thanks to Lindblad Expeditions’ exclusive alliance, a professional National Geographic photographer will be on board the 62-passenger Sea Lion for informative talks, shore excursions, and hands-on instruction.
4. Continuing Education: Regent Seven Seas Cruises joined forces with the Smithsonian Institution to bring some of the world’s most authoritative voices on board a majority of the line’s voyages. The lecture series includes top minds in such diverse fields as history, art, and geopolitics, who will lead discussions and provide deeper insights into destinations stretching from South America to Asia. The new enrichment series complements Regent’s shore-excursion program, which provides unlimited, complimentary tours in every port of call.
5. Personalized Voyages: True to Viking River Cruises’ claims that its new Longships offer all of the amenities of a fine, floating hotel, the line introduced a new concierge service throughout its fleet of river cruisers. Want a private tour of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg? Tickets to the Mariinsky Ballet? The onboard concierge service is just one way that Viking lets guests customize their trips, including tailor-made shore tours and travel guides for exploring independently. In addition to Russia, Viking cruises to China, Southeast Asia, Egypt, and across Europe.
Contact me for a culturally-immersive cruise with exclusive perks!