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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Spotlight: River Ambassador- Grand European Highlights



Cruise through the nations that the Habsburg Empire, from Strasbourg all the way to Belgrade, seeing imperial palaces, medieval villages and Baroque abbeys. Cruising though three great rivers, you will float through the history of Europe, from the Middle Ages to the vibrant present, as you sail through six nations— Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Serbia. In these countries, you will be able to visit the capital cities and experience the history and culture of each- as well as the unique regional cuisine. Discover the UNESCO World Heritage-designed Wachu Valley, the imposing 900-year-old Baroque Melk Abbey, and Passau, with its Italian-Baroque flair.

Guests will also be able to step into the Middle Ages and the beautifully preserved Rothenburg, enjoy a canal cruise through Strasbourg with its half-timbered houses and quaint waterways, and see Bratislava, where 19 Hungarian rulers were crowned. And lets not forget the majestic Budapest, overrun by conquerors through the centuries to emerge triumphantly vibrant in the 21st century. In Belgrade, guests will be able to discover the remarkable fusion of Habsburg, Balkan and Communist influences- all completely unique and yet melded to make the city amazing.

This cruise is ideal for scenic sailing with a relaxed pace, with plenty of time to enjoy the ship, as well as getting out and exploring the countryside and cities. Guests will also be able to experience the smaller villages, really getting a feel for each new destination. The River Ambassador is quite with understated elegance, the perfect place to capture the sights, nature, and culture from the ship. Built in 1993 and refurbished in 2011, River Ambassador is one of the finest vessels cruising the Rhine. The comfortable size provides guests with plenty of space to relax upon the European waterways.

If you are a traveller interested in adventures, the crew will provide you with a multitude of activities to take part in on land. If you prefer to stay on board and enjoy the scenery, the comfortable decks are the perfect place to soak up the sun and sights. This cruise is also perfect for the guest who prefers no hassle when travelling. Multiple country stops allows guests to experience a myriad of cultures while never having to unpack and repack. Once you unpack, the River Ambassador does all the work for you, we only ask that you enjoy yourself and take lots of pictures.

If you would like more information about the River Ambassador, please visit the website here, we look forward to showing you the beauty and history of Europe!

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Spanish Wines, They Won’t Beak The Bank And They Taste Amazing Too


If you are unfamiliar with wine, or have the idea that only wines from California or France are good, while you aren’t wrong per say, you aren’t exactly completely right as well. Wines from Spain have taken a giant leap in popularity over the past couple years. With most everyone feeling the strains from the economy, high dollar wines weren’t as popular as they used to be, however, people didn’t want to sacrifice on taste. This is where Spain stepped in- able to provide high quality wine, for lower prices, Spanish wine took off in popularity. If you aren’t familiar with Spanish wines, we are here to point you in the right direction, as well as save you a couple bucks.

One thing that makes Spanish wines so good is the age of their vines. They are lucky to have older vines, which are producing more complex and richer tasting grapes, equaling in fantastic wines. While Spain has had some draughts over the past year, wine exporters aren’t worried the price will effect it too much, making it still extremely affordable. One of the reasons Spanish wine has flown under the radar is because people aren’t familiar with the regions of wine growing in Spain as they are with places such as the United States, or France. For example, people are generally familiar with Napa valley, or the Bordeaux region of France. Spain however, features regions such as Ribera del Duero, Rías Baixas, and Yecla to name a few. These regions don’t have the fame as their counterparts in the U.S. and France, allowing their price points to be lower.

This is good for the buyer, because as the buyer, you are saving money, without sacrificing on quality. Becoming familiar with Spanish wines is also a plus because it will impress your wine enthusiast friends. Knowing good, offbeat regions is a great way to discover new brands as well. If you love wine from a certain region, it is a great starting point for finding new labels. Also, research online will definitely help point you in the right direction. However, tasting is the best way to really find what you like.

If you haven’t tried wine from Spain, now is the time to start. Breaking away from the standard of French or American wines is also a great place to develop your knowledge about wine. Most importantly, it is a great way to save money- which, who doesn’t love to save some money and not compromise the quality of things you love?

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spotlight: Zambezi Queen- Stars of Africa


Traveling in Africa is an experience one will never forget. Travelling with us in Africa will be an experience you won’t be able to top. Your journey will begin with a three-night stay in beautiful Cape Town. From there you will travel to Hoedspruit and able to experience the game-rich country near Kruger National Park. There you will spend three nights in a game lodge- filling your sights and camera with images of wild animals in their natural habitats. Guests will have the change to experience thrilling game drives, and during the evening, the starry skies will highlight the magnificent Southern Cross.

Next, guests will then fly to Johannesburg for an overnight stay and have time on their own to explore the city. Then, the following day, a transfer to Kasane is where they will begin their Zambezi Queen safari cruise on the Chobe River. There they will be able to explore the Chobe National Park, home to one of the densest populations of wildlife on the African continent. The journey in Africa will conclude with two nights at the picturesque Victoria National Falls, where guests have the opportunity to enjoy a guided tour of the falls on your last full day in Africa.

The Zambezi Queen was specifically designed for safari river cruising and offers a sophisticated design to offer maximum animal sightings. The 28-passenger Zambezi Queen is a wonderful, personal and luxurious way to experience Africa. Your comfort is ensured with one of our 14 balcony staterooms, all decorated in contemporary style. The air-conditioned deck offers guests a dining room, lounge, and bar and pool area for their comfort. The Zambezi Queen also offers excellent food; guests will enjoy meals while watching magnificent game wander past. This cruise is truly and adventure and provides guest with a peek into Africa’s astounding culture and the beauty that surrounds it.

For more information about the Zambezi Queen, visit our website here, we look forward to helping your plan your dream African escape. 


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Monday, October 14, 2013

Five Tips For First Time Travellers To China


China, a country where history and culture are rich, and an incredibly diverse population provides people travelling with the opportunity to experience something completely unique. China, to this day, has remained one of the top travel destinations in the world. Traveling there for the first time can be a daunting experience, with it constantly in the news, extremely diverse, and a large language barrier, it can intimidate travelers into thinking a trip there won’t be easy. Here are five tips for your first time traveling to China:

1. Break the language barrier. Often thought of as the number one hurdle, the language can be intimidating, because unlike western languages, it has no real connections phonetically to what we are used to hearing. It is important to get a general phrase book to carry with you. Learning a few key words will also help, as well as show respect to the natives. There are even great translator aps now that you can download onto your phone before you leave.

2. Focus your itinerary. Because China is so large, you will really have to sit down and plan your trip. Unless you have infinite time (and stay within your visa time limit), planning your stops throughout the country will help you best maximize your time, as well as help you see the most. The three main provinces recommended to first time visitors are: Sichuan, Guangxi, and Beijing.

3. Check the weather. As with travelling anywhere, it is important to know how to pack correctly. This will save you space, and make your trip a whole lot more comfortable. Depending on what weather you prefer, plan your trip around seasons you enjoy the most- this will optimize your experience and not put an unnecessary taste in your mouth about China from the start.

4. Use public transport. Before you panic, don’t. There are tons of ap you can download onto your phone with public transport maps and departure times. You can also get maps and ask an information center for help. Seeing a country from the local’s perspective requires you to do what the locals do. It may be a little difficult at first, but it will be worth it when you get used to it. Traveling among locals is the best way to experience a culture and what the people are really like.

5. Eat, eat and then eat some more. If you think you’ve had good Chinese food in a western culture, be prepared to have your mind blown. Eating in a country is how you experience people. Food connects and shows us how unique other cultures can be. Always use your judgment when eating anywhere, but a good rule of thumb, if there are lots of locals eating there, it’s probably really good. Before you go to China, you should probably learn to eat with chopsticks- it will save you lots of embarrassment, and the better you are, the more fun you’ll have eating!

Overall, enjoy your time in China by planning strategically, being smart, and trying to experience the culture from a locals perspective. Finding a guide can also help maximize our time in a city too. Good luck and happy exploring.



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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Exploring Africa


Africa is one of those places that evokes a sense of mystery and intrigue. From its rich history, thousands of different tribes, and exotic foods and animals, Africa truly is a unique destination. We have found 15 travel tips for those of you interested in visiting Africa. Like any foreign country, it is always wise to learn a little about where you are going, such as local customs, cultural norms, and always respect a cultures dress code and rules. Here are some tips to make your journey to Africa seamless and enjoyable!

  1. 1.     Take only one bag. Taking one bag will prevent you from having to watch multiple bags and manage them while traveling. One bag, well packed, is simpler and easier to control when in crowds.
  2. 2.     Pack less. Research the weather conditions, cultural norms in dress, i.e.: should women be covered, or is it inappropriate to wear shorts in certain places.
  3. 3.     Carry some kind of snack. Usually, you can always find food. If you are an adventurous eater, then this isn’t so much for you. If you are picky though, try and have a couple snacks handy incase you can’t find anything to eat.
  4. 4.     Techies: Bring your own computer. If you take thousands of pictures on a trip, it is recommended that you bring your own laptop or tablet and upload your pictures to that. Many internet café’s are hotbeds for accidentally downloading virus’s.
  5. 5.     Bring a paperback. Having a book handy will make waiting times much more enjoyable, you’re in Africa now, things are a little slower- enjoy it and kick back with a good read.
  6. 6.     Cell phone? You have a few options when it comes to cell phone usage. You can either buy a cheap phone when you arrive and a local SIM card with minutes loaded, you can set up a global plan with your carrier (most expensive), or have an unlocked phone (Verizon and T-Mobile) and but a local SIM card to use there.
  7. 7.     Bargain on everything. Make a connection with your seller. Bargaining is a part of the culture. Explore all of your options and practice your haggling skills, the better you become, the better prices you will get for goods!
  8. 8.     Bring a camera. Unless your hobby is photography, or you are a professional, a small camera will suffice. One that fits easily into a pocket and is discreet will be your best bet. Bringing a big camera can be heavy and bulky, and with new technology, many hand-held cameras perform very well.
  9. 9.     Spread your money out. A general rule of thumb when traveling anywhere, you should never have all your money in one place. Keep a small amount on you, but be sure you don’t flash a lot of cash. That puts you in a dangerous spot and can make you a target.
  10. 10. Eat local. Learn from locals where they like to eat, research blogs about the best places to eat in the region your in. Immersing yourself in cuisine is a great way to experience the culture. Always make sure wherever you pick looks clean and uses filtered water though, contaminated water is the fastest way to get sick.
  11. 11. Bring insect repellent. This is especially important in Africa. Bring a bottle with you and make it a habit to spray yourself everyday. Bugs are carriers for a lot of virus’s, it’s easier to just be safe than sorry.
  12. 12. Bring adaptors. This is essential if you want your electronics to work. Make sure you have one for the country your are in, if you are going to multiple countries, they now make adaptors with multiple adaptions in one device.
  13. 13. Watches are overrated. DO NOT wear a fancy watch. This makes you stand out and can give the false impression that you have a lot of money- making you a target. Wear a simple watch if you really need one.
  14. 14. Drink a lot. Make sure you are buying bottled water and drinking a lot of it. You’ll be sweating more walking around, and getting dehydrated can be dangerous.
  15. 15. Embrace Africa. Don’t come with expectations, or base your idea of Africa based entirely off what you have heard or read. Entering a country with an open mind is the best way to have a great time. You won’t have your experience tainted by preconceived ideas. Have fun, after all, that is what a vacation is for!

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