Sea Dreams Can Come True

Ancient Seas Beckon

Fish market in Cannes, France

Cruising is the ultimate travel experience because on a sailing holiday one may visit many different countries in a short time. There is no packing or unpacking, dancing and entertainment are often provided every night, and
you see new cultures, taste new foods, try amazing water sports while in port, providing it is calm enough and breath clean sea air. Not to mention the fabulous food and wonderful spa treatments.

Old World Ports of Call, Exotic Markets, Hot Spots

Shore excusion to Volterra

Itineraries to choose from seem endless, with numerous intriguing ports of call. You can sail from Barcelona, Nice or the port of Rome for a western Mediterranean cruise and from Venice, Athens or Istanbul for an eastern Mediterranean cruise. Whatever your choice, ask a travel agent to help match your personality to that of the
cruise line. A good agent will also help find you a cabin in the center of the ship, not too high up if you are subject to motion sickness. He or she will also explain tipping policies. On some ships all gratuities are included. And if you need a cabin near the elevators on a large ship, don’t hesitate to mention it. Following is a short cruise ship sampler.

Crystal Cruises: Absolutely, Definitely Opulent

This cruise line rates six stars according to Fieldings Guide to Worldwide Cruising and I can vouch for the authenticity of that rating. Two fabulous ships, the Crystal Symphony and the Crystal Serenity, both mid-sized, feature around the clock ultra-luxe service. All gratuities are included as are fine wines, champagne, spirits, beer and more. According to a Conde Nast Travelers Readers Poll, Crystal tops all mid-sized ships in quality. What I loved were the fab shore excursions. One private tour a few years ago included an exclusive visit to the Hermitage
in St. Petersburg, Russia with lunch at Grand Duke Vladimir’s Palace. Go to www.crystalcruises.com.

Windjammer Barefoot Cruises

Your shipmates on these tall ships might include the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or your next door neighbour. Nobody seems to care. It’s the Caribbean! Or perhaps the Chesapeak Bay area. Once you sail, it’s all about relaxing and “getting into the down-island groove”. Dining is casual – Creole, French or West Indian on a Caribbean sail. You can eat in a bathing suit and T-shirt and there are no fixed seating arrangements. If you want to get married, a Windjammer wedding consultant arranges
everything. The captain officiates. Bouquets, wedding cake, champagne toasts and diner at the captain’s table are part of the package. If you want to help raise the sails or learn about navigation, or help the chef, that’s possible, too on the Liberty Fleet of tall ships, replicas of the renowned Baltimore Clippers. Visit www.windjammer.com.

SeaDream Yacht CLub: Utterly Exclusive

The Berlitz 2012 Ocean Cruising and Cruise Ships continues to rate mega yachts SeaDream 1 and SeaDream 11 as “Utterly Exclusive”. Casual elegance is the rule. The 55-stateroom ships sail the Mediterranean in summer, the Caribbean and other warm spots in winter. The ships sail with only 112 guests, attended by 95 crew. As the slogan says: “It’s yachting, not cruising” and I just love it! Go to www.seadreamyachtclub.com.

Seabourn Cruise Hotel/Tour Packages

Seabourn
cruise shop in port, Greece

Style, elegance and grace are hallmarks of a Seabourn sail. With six ships, three that carry only 208 passengers and three that can accommodate up to 450 guests, Seabourn is poised to please the jet setter who craves privacy, service and luxury and perhaps a stay before or after the cruise at a special hotel. Embarkation ports include Barcelona in Spain; Bridgetown, Barbados; the port of Rome; Istanbul, Turkey; Lisbon, Portugal; Monte Carlo, Monaco; and ports in St. Martin in the West Indies, Athens and Venice.

Go to wwww.seabourn.com for more information.

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