Across the world, operators are pulling out the stops on river cruises and ocean voyages, while underlining the extra mile your extra buck will take you.
Italy is one of the most popular destinations for Indians travelling abroad, but there’s nothing to quite match the thrill of approaching your favourite cities from the sea. Azamara Club Cruises runs a 14-night Best of Italy package that sets off from Rome, moves south to Sorrento and then to Taormina, Sicily, up to Venice via Ravenna and Trieste, and touches Dubrovnik, Croatia, before coming back up around the toe of the boot to Florence before finally returning to Rome. The Azamara Quest, the boat that does the trip, is designed to be smaller and more sleek than most cruise ships, but fits in two speciality restaurants, a spa and wellness centre and a wine bar. The cruise runs 15 May through 29 May, and costs $3,099 for an inside room and $6,399 for a suite (all costs per person). Rates do not include air transportation, transfers and land excursions, but all of them may be added on at extra charge. Visit www.azamaraclub cruises.com or call Tarun Travel Marketing, New Delhi, at 011-23311362 for details.
If cruising the European rivers is so “been there, done that”, sign up for a newly launched 13-night tour of Vietnam-Cambodia, which includes seven nights on the Mekong river with AMA Waterways. The journey begins in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi and, after a trip to the famed Ha Long Bay, takes you to Siem Riep and, of course, Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. Board the luxurious new MS La Marguerite in the Tonle Sap Lake, and then glide into the Mekong. After stops at Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Cham, Phnom Penh, Tan Chau, Sa Dec and Cai Be, experiencing tiny villages, floating markets, ancient temples and local workshops—besides city tours and a visit to the Killing Fields—disembark at Ho Chi Minh City. La Marguerite, specially built for the Mekong, has a passenger capacity of just 92, besides the requisite restaurants and lounges. Charges start from $2,299 for just the cruise; cruise plus land excursions cost upwards of $3,048. The Hanoi-Siem Riep internal flight will be an additional $229 (all costs per person). For departure dates and other details, log on to www.amawaterways.com, or call Connexions Tourism Services, New Delhi, at 011-26965016/26511431/26511287.
Photo: Abercrombie and Kent
Luxury travel designers Abercrombie and Kent are introducing the MV Le Boreal, which travels to the South Atlantic to observe the region’s wildlife and marine life. Not your average R&R cruise, this will take you from Argentina to a working scientific research station in Antarctica under the expert guidance of the University of Alabama scientist and professor James McClintock, as well as naturalists, researchers and historians. Over the five days you spend anchored near the peninsula, swift Zodiacs will take you to penguin habitats such as Half Moon and Deception. You could also sail through the stunning Paradise Bay and the Lemaire Channel, and stop by at the turn-of-the-century whaling and sealing stations. And oh, for those of you who feel queasy at the thought of taking on the notorious Drake Passage, Le Boreal has advanced stabilizers that promise smooth sailing.
Living in the owners’ suite on the ship will cost you $23,795 (around Rs11.18 lakh) per person for 14 days, based on double occupancy, while standard stateroom rates are $7,995 per person. Rates do not include internal flights between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia. For more details, log on to www.abercrombiekent.com. The trip begins 7 December.
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