Ready for a Room With a View?
We’ve always loved E.M. Forster’s great “travel romance” A Room With a View (not to mention the beautiful film adaptation), in which a young Englishwoman’s life is forever changed when she agrees to swap hotel rooms with a fascinating young Englishman in Florence in order to have, yes, a room with a view. We love the way that expression can mean, quite literally, a window that affords gorgeous scenery, but also the way those words can sum up a transformative travel experience.
Speaking of transformative travel: River cruises have been very much on our radar lately because of the way they can broaden your cruise experience, taking you down iconic rivers such as the Rhine, the Danube, and the Mekong, and getting you up close and personal with the cultures and cuisines of the historic, beautiful cruise ports along the way.
We’ve also noticed that Avalon Waterways’s unique staterooms offer, you guessed it, “a room with a view” like no other: Avalon’s Panorama Suites are 200 square feet, with 11-foot-wide and 7-foot-tall wall-to-wall windows and a bed angled so that you can get a perfect view out the window. (You can also open up your window to create an Open-Air Bbalcony, but they’re designed to work all year long, regardless of the weather outside.)
Some of the Avalon river cruises we’re yearning to see from a Panorama Suite include: Essential Holland & Belgium, an unforgettable eight-day odyssey from Brussels to Amsterdam, with guided sightseeing in Antwerp, Ghent, the Keukenhof Gardens, and other must-sees; The Legendary Danube, from Prague to Budapest, with guided sightseeing in Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and other cities; and Fascinating Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Mekong River, from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to Siem Reap, Cambodia, gateway to the stunning temple complex at Angkor Wat.
TALK TO US! We’d love to hear about your river cruise experiences, especially those that have included “a room with a view”!
Got $55,000 To Burn? Try This Round-The-World Cruise!
Is all that money burning a hole in your pocket? Do you have 129 days to kill? We've got just the cruise for you! For just $54,499 per person—I know, I know, mere pocket change—you can embark on a glorious 128-night cruise around the world, dock in more than 60 ports on six continents, and visit 31 countries along the way with 499 of your new best friends. This special bargain price also includes sweet perks like first class airfare, shore excursions, suite accommodations onboard the Regent Seven Seas Navigator, as well as complimentary WiFi, meals, and beverages (except for premium-level drinks). Plus, you'd be at sea for a little over four months, so you would basically be trading in four months' rent for the same amount of time in your brand new, all-inclusive sailing apartment! On the bright side, you've got some time to start saving up, as the cruise doesn't actually depart from Miami until January 5th, 2017. As for me, I'm filing this one under "things to do if I ever win the lottery" for the time being, but it's still fun to think about. What do you think? If money was no object, is this something you would want to do?
Carnival Cruise Lines Will Start Sailing To Cuba In 2016
Well, it's official. As of May 2016, Carnival Corporation's new brand of ships, Fathom, will be sailing to Cuba as part of their move toward creating more meaningful cultural experiences between the American and Cuban people. The 710-passenger ship, MV Adonia, would set sail from Miami each week. Exact cruising itineraries have yet to be released but so far we've learned that prices for seven-day trips to Cuba will start at $2,990 per person without taxes, port, or government fees, while all meals, onboard activities, and certain cultural immersion shore excursions will be included. A similar Fathom cultural exchange program starting in April 2016 with a seven-day trip to the Dominican Republic will start at $1,540 per person (depending on the season) and include accommodations in an oceanview cabin, all meals, onboard activities, three social impact activities in the D.R., taxes, fees, and port charges. Before you start having visions of lines of super-mega-sized cruise ships full of tourists stationed in the waters outside historic Havana, keep in mind that Fathom ships are much smaller and programs are geared toward people interested in volunteering and interacting with the local people in the places they visit, not for those who just wish to dock and spend the whole trip in the nearest Señor Frogs. We want to know: Do you think this is one giant leap for the travel world or Cuba's first step toward becoming Cozumel 2.0? Sound off below!
Carnival’s New Mega Ships Will Carry 7,000 Passengers and Crew
This article originally appeared on Fox News Travel. Carnival Cruise Line is expanding its fleet with four new ships that will transport a record number of passengers and crew members. Setting sail between 2019 and 2022, the new cruise ships will be able to carry up to 6,600 guests in addition to hundreds of crew members. Cruise ships today average about 4,000 plus passengers, but despite the increased capacity Carnival stressed that the high-volume vessels won’t feel more crowded. “A major part of the innovative design involves making much more efficient use of the ship's spaces, creating an enhanced onboard experience for guests,” the company said in a statement released Monday. Though the new ships will have an “an extensive number of guest-friendly features,” they will unlikely house the large scale attractions like bumper cars, skating rinks, or full size basketball courts, according to Bloomberg. “It won’t feel congested, it won’t feel confined,” Carnival Chief Executive Arnold W. Donald assured viewers in a Bloomberg interview yesterday. “People will find it to be a great experience.” Rooms and suites are likely to stay the same while extra space will be taken from the ships’ common areas. The largest ship by size currently in commission is Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the seas which is scheduled to set sail next spring. That ship boasts a capacity of 5,479 passengers. The line’s Oasis class ships are about seven feet shorter but can carry considerably more passengers—up to 6,300 guests and almost 2,400 crew. Carnival is also stepping into the "green cruising" space as the new ships will be the first ever cruise vessels powered by Liquefied Natural Gas. This type of gas is already used municipal buses and airport shuttles as it reduces soot emissions and cuts down on mechanical carbon footprints. More From Fox News Travel: The scariest water slide ever may be in Texas Why America's air travel liberation may finally take flight this year The most hated hotel chains in the US, according to social media Virgin Cruises to launch in Miami in 2020
Her Cruise Waiter Became the Love of Her Life
This article was written by Laurie Martins and originally appeared on Yahoo Travel. Who: Laurie and Albino Antonio Martins a.k.a "Martins" What: Met on the SS Norway sailing from Miami, Florida When: Date was September 24, 1988 Relationship Status: Married on June 16, 1990 (As told by Laurie) I had asked my sister if she wanted to go on a cruise with me. She's an OR nurse and couldn't get time off due to the surgery schedule, but told me about her favorite cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line and encouraged me to go by myself. She assured me that I'd make new friends and wouldn't feel uncomfortable traveling solo. I decided to trust her and booked the cruise. Following the mandatory lifeboat drill, I decided to go up to one of the promenade decks where I expected to make friends and mingle with other single passengers. There were none to be found. I started to question if my sister was right. At 38, everyone else seemed to be about my age, but after watching groups of 4-6 single women traveling together and starry-eyed couples beaming into each other's eyes, I retired to my cabin. I dressed for my first dining room dinner and entered the room a bit apprehensive. The cruise line determined the seating arrangements, so I didn't know what to expect. The maitre d' ushered me to a table with five women seated. We exchanged greetings and introductions and I learned they were sisters and friends traveling together from Canada. Once they found out I was alone, they adopted me into their group. My sister was right! By the second night at dinner, I told my table mates that I thought our waiter, whose name tag simply said "Martins," was possibly one of the most handsome men I had ever seen in all of my 38 years. His elegant looks and mannerisms were only enhanced by the most beautiful European accent. He was the topic of conversation the entire evening, and we giggled and laughed flirtatiously with everything he said. At dinner on the third night, we invited him to one of our cabins to share a drink. He charmingly accepted and asked for the cabin number. One of the women named Bea responded by giving him my room number. Later that evening, my new friends and me were toasting champagne and listening to music when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to see Martins, dressed in off-white slacks and a tank top. He had a beautiful smile highlighted by beautiful pearly white, perfectly aligned teeth. His biceps were amazing and I was thrilled to note that he wore embroidered, monogrammed Ralph Lauren socks. Perfect from head to toe. It turned into a really fun night and we all got sillier and sillier with every round of drinks. We taught him English words and phrases, laughed together, and when a tango played on the television, he grabbed my hand, pulled me to my feet and danced with me. As morning started to creep up, the other women retired to their cabins and Martins and I talked our hometowns, families, friends, and jobs until 4 a.m. The next morning at breakfast, my new friends asked me "what I had done" to him, reporting that he was singing like a bird that morning. I told them about our long talk, and that despite the fact that he spoke very little English aside from food-related subjects, our conversations were comfortable and free-flowing from the beginning. The next few nights, he joined us in my cabin. As the cruise was nearing the end, he asked if he could accompany me to the airport after the ship arrived back in Miami. Of course, I told him yes. While we were waiting for my flight, he took my hand, kissed it, and told me he "knew why he was born." Knowing I was divorced, had two sons (ages 18 and 11), and had my share of unhappy times, he vowed that "no one would ever make me unhappy again." He promised that he "would always take care of me" and pledged his love. After I returned home, we exchanged weekly cards, letters, and telephone calls. As things got more serious, he began to fly me to Miami and pay for my airfare and hotel room once a month. The following January, he took me to Portugal to show me his country. I was able to see his beautiful homeland, tour some castles, be wined and dined, and best of all, meet his family. We stayed in his family's home for two days. It was after meeting them, laughing with them, eating, and talking with them that I understood where this wonderful man was nurtured and raised. Martins asked me to marry him in the National Palace in Sintra, Portugal. It's a place where kings and queens once walked, and he told me he would "feel like a king every day of his life if I would marry him." Doesn't get any more romantic and wonderful than that! The next two years were filled with flights to Miami for romantic rendezvous weekends, more visits to Portugal, and nonstop telephone calls and cards to each other. Finally, I was able to marry the love of my life on June 16, 1990. 25 years later, he remains true to his worlds. I am living happily ever after with my personal Portuguese Prince Charming. Yahoo Travel profiles readers who came back from a trip with the best souvenir ever—true love. Want to share your own story? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. More From Yahoo Travel: What Other Countries Really Think of America Apparently L.A. is the Best Place to Find a Date on Vacation The 10 Most Insane Shopping Malls Around the World