Celebrations International Travel Blog

Posts Tagged ‘River Cruising

Karine Hagen, whose family owns Viking River Cruises,  has spent most of her adult life living in Russia and remains captivated and entertained by the country and its culture. Come along as she shares her deep love and fascination for this charming country and its people.   More

Mekong River Cruises, which typically sail through Vietnam and Cambodia, are new, exotic sailings offered by AMA Waterways. A river cruise gives travelers a unique, comfortable, and luxurious way to explore these ancient lands up close.   More

List your site in the Hot Vs Not web directory We are listed in the Cruises Directory

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises knows that a truly extraordinary dining experience depends upon a number of special ingredients.

An elegant restaurant, offering tables bathed in candelight with fine linens and china.  The camaraderie of friends.  The talents of an expert chef using the finest and freshest ingredients.  The gracious hospitality of a professionally-trained staff.  And yes, the food itself–a delicious fusion of quality, creativity, and flavors inspired by the local regions.  Read More

Viking River Cruises announced that it has ordered two more ships in the Viking Longships class for delivery in 2012, bringing the total of new vessels to six. This will mark an unprecedented number of ships launching in a single season, an accomplishment that eclipses Viking’s own record of four ships christened into the fleet in 2001.  Read More

Happy New Year!

“Celebrations travel” is a term that has been coined in reference to travel that takes place because of any type of special occasion.  That’s why at Celebrations International Travel, our motto is Celebrating Life Through Travel.   What will you celebrate in 2011?  Birthdays, anniversaries, graduation, family milestones, retirement, create your own list!

Here are just a few travel ideas to consider:

Cruise the rivers of Europe during Tulip Time or to visit the Christmas markets.

– Take an oceanliner cruise to a part of the world you’ve always wanted to visit.  If there’s an ocean, a cruise ship can take you there!

– Take in the beauty of New England’s fall foliage with a Canada/New England cruise.

– Go on a tour to a dream destination.  Want to see the capitals of Europe or the exotic splendors of Asia or South America?  A tour may be the perfect vacation choice.

– Get away from it all!  If a luxurious, relaxing retreat is what you’re looking for, consider a stay at an all-inclusive resort.  Choices are plentiful throughout the Caribbean and Mexico.

– For your annual family reunion, take a trip that offers something for everyone.  Oceanliner cruises, the Disney resorts, and all-inclusive resorts are a great choice.

Whatever you celebrate in 2011, mark the occasion with a special trip.  Celebrations International Travel‘s experienced agents can help make it happen!

We wish you a happy and prosperous 2011!

I received this recipe in a holiday greeting from Viking River Cruises, and it looks so good I had to share it!

Happy Holidays and enjoy: 

Viking River Cruises' Sachertorte

The year was 1832, and the Austrian minister of foreign affairs, Prince Metternich, ordered his court’s kitchen to create a special dessert for his high-ranking guests. But the head chef of his household was ill that day, so the task fell to his 16-year-old apprentice, Franz Sacher. Fortunately, the delicious chocolate cake he developed on the spot was a rousing success! Herr Sacher went on to become a famous confectioner. In 1876 his son Eduard opened the Hotel Sacher in Vienna, where the treat has been served to honored guests ever since.One of the best things about traveling with Viking River Cruises is the opportunity to sample delicious local cuisine. Here is a recipe from Austria—Sachertorte (pronounced “SOCCER tort”). While the dessert is found in many of Vienna’s coffeehouses, it can also be sampled on many of Viking River Cruises‘ ships.

Cake Ingredients
5 oz. softened butter
A half cup sifted powdered sugar
8 egg yolks
8 egg whites
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate
Two-thirds cup of flour
A half cup sugar
2 tablespoons apricot jam

Glaze Ingredients
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cream together butter and powdered sugar. Add 1 egg yolk at a time, mixing until creamy. Melt the 5 oz. bittersweet chocolate in a double boiler or microwave; gradually add to the creamed mixture. Fold in flour. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and sugar until stiff. Fold into chocolate mixture. Pour batter into a lined 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 50-65 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack. Heat apricot jam and smooth over entire torte, including the sides. For glaze, melt the 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate with butter and frost the cake. Serve with whipped cream.

Makes 8-10 servings.

We would like to thank our friends and colleagues at www.GotSaga.com for featuring my article on Guilin and the Lijiang River.  What a befitting destination to feature in light of the Chinese New Year celebration currently going on!

Celebrations International Travel’s agents can help you plan a tour to China that best suits your travel style.  Whether you prefer to participate in a tour where the itinerary is pre-set and you get to join a group of traveliing companions, or if you’d prefer a tour itinerary customized with travel dates of your choice and including only those cities and towns that interest you, we can help you explore the wonders of China and the world!

Either as a part of your tour to China or as a trip by itself, a river cruise down the Yangtze and Lijiang Rivers is a unique and unforgettable experience.  See our Cruises page to learn more.  Victoria Cruises is an American-owned and managed cruise line specializing in Yangtze River cruises.  There is no better, more luxurious way to experience the waterways of China.

Here is an excerpt from a  press release I received from Victoria Cruises, a river cruise line specializing in cruises on the Yangtze, yesterday morning.   I’ve added the green headings to make it easier to read.

(Click on the Victoria Cruises link to see pictures of the Victoria Jenna and other ships.)


Victoria Cruises Newest Ship Boasts More Suites Than Any Other Vessel On The Yangtze

NEW YORK , NY (Sept. 14, 2009) – On Sunday, Sept. 6, Victoria Cruises launched the Victoria Jenna the world’s largest and most technologically advanced luxury river cruise ship.  One week after its inaugural journey along China ‘s mist-shrouded, temple-lined Yangtze River , the Victoria Jenna shattered expectations and achieved several milestones.

About Stateroom Accommodations: The Victoria Jenna makes history as the first river cruise ship in the world to possess four elevators, two separate full-service kitchens and wireless CDMA Internet, as well as full bathtubs and high efficiency dual-flush toilets in each passenger stateroom.

With 200 staterooms and a passenger capacity of 400, the Victoria Jenna is the largest ship in the Victoria Cruises ‘ five-star fleet, which has now grown to eight vessels.  The room breakdown is as follows: 150 superior staterooms, 35 junior suites, three deluxe suites and two Shangri-La Suites.

“When we first conceptualized the Victoria Jenna, we envisioned a state-of-the-art river cruise ship above and beyond that which made our previous five-star vessels exceptional,” noted Larry Greenman, manager of public relations and customer service for Victoria Cruises .

“The Victoria Jenna marks a new standard for class, style and elegance, and Victoria Cruises is once again proud to pioneer a new era of luxury cruising on the Yangtze River ,” added Greenman.

Meeting & Dining Rooms: Two dedicated conference rooms (equipped with AV-ready equipment for presentations) with capacity to seat up to 40 guests each make the Victoria Jenna perfect for corporate meetings and retreats, while the Yangtze ClubDynasty Dining Room, also the Yangtze’s largest, boasts a capacity of 350 guests, while the upper deck VIP Club restaurant has a capacity of up to 150 guests.

About the Food: Two separate kitchens provide customized meal requests, such as Kosher Tours, Gluten-Free and Vegetarian cuisine.  The VIP Club offers á la carte dining, as well as omelet & egg stations for breakfast, noodle and sandwiching stations for lunch, and Carving and Peking Duck stations for lunch or dinner (varies by day).  All food on the ship is freshly-baked and freshly-made. Grass-fed and non-hormone meats are used, and all pastries, breads and desserts are handmade.

More on Stateroom Amenities: All staterooms feature a private balcony so guests can appreciate the magnificent views of the Yangtze River .  Marble-Top bathroom counters, in-room refrigerators and safety boxes, 26″ Phillips LCD flat screen televisions in each stateroom (suites feature 42″ Phillips LCD flat screen TVs with DVD player), international cable TV broadcasts of HBO and CNN, advanced-cooling air conditioning systems and a fully fit-out fitness center further add to the luxury look and feel of the Victoria Jenna.

Public Spaces & Activities: The Victoria Jenna also features a lecture room (for talks about the river’s history and lessons in Tai Chi, Mandarin language and mah jong), library/reading room, cocktail lounge, beauty parlor and mini-spa, gift shop, spacious observation deck, business center, health clinic and lavish atrium lobby.  The ship’s overall décor is highlighted by a rich tapestry of colors, gleaming woods, sparkling chandeliers, and American and European influences with Asian accents.

Green Cruising: The Victoria Jenna is poised to become the new leader in environmental conservation and “green” renewable technology with the best fuel-passenger ratio on the river due to improved navigational design and weight distribution.  To drastically eliminate paper usage, the Victoria Jenna employs a five-star hotel management software application to fully streamline ship operations from onboard shopping to passenger telecommunications.

The ship possesses advanced SONAR, GPS, Engine and Navigation systems to ensure maximum safety, as well as 24/7 video security surveillance system for passenger areas.

Entertainment & Shore Excursions: In addition to onboard activities such as Tai Chi lessons and a host of nightly entertainment options, the cruise features invigorating shore excursions such as the impressive Three Gorges Dam in Sandouping, an extraordinary feat of engineering. Visitors will also have the opportunity to board a smaller boat for a mind-blowing expedition down the Yangtze’s scenic Daning or Shennong River tributaries to the Small Gorges.

For more information or to book, call Celebrations International Travel at (480) 272-6020 or Contact Us.

I’ve had a number of my own “Calgon Moments” this week, as I’m sure most people out there can relate to:  Sometimes you just feel like you need to get away!

The last time I actually made good on my quest to get away from it all, I booked my family on a last-minute Disney cruise to the Western Caribbean (7 nights on the Disney Magic, round-trip from Port Canaveral, Florida).   No kidding, I got on the phone and told the booking agent “It’s for me; I really need to get out of here.  Can you help me?”  Less than two weeks later, we flew to Orlando and set sail on a much-needed vacation.

When I’m on vacation, I want to be completely relaxed, which can be hard when you have Internet connectivity (temptation to check e-mail, look up stuff, or get on Twitter), a cell phone that might ring, or any other “techno-gadget”.  While technology can be a great way to keep in touch, I’m amongst those who tend to find myself enslaved to it.

That’s why, when I’m looking for total relaxation, I prefer cruising over other types of vacations.   Shortly after the ship sets sail, I turn my cell off because I’m about to lose reception anyway (no satellite phone for me, thanks!), and if I really want to check email or surf the Web, I can, but I’m much less likely to do so when I have to pay for Internet access.  And calling home when we’re on a cruise?  There are a number of ways to do that while the ship is in port that are generally less expensive than calling from the ship if I really need to.

I can’t think of a better way to get away from it all–literally–than on a cruise.   Cruise ships can take you just about anywhere in the world, and the cruise lines are offering excellent deals these days.   When you take into account that everything is included in your cruise fare:  accommodations, meals, activities, entertainment, children’s programs, and transportation between destinations–it might even be a better deal than staying home!

For your next “Calgon Moment”:  Here’s to your cruise vacation getaway!

Visit the Celebrations International Travel Web site for more information on oceanliner cruises and river and specialty cruises.

This title tweet caught my attention this afternoon.  Read this interesting Food Network article.

I am amused by this article in a variety of different ways.  I think it would be fun to see how my fellow foodies might react to this.  Be sure to post your comments!

Here are my thoughts:

Chefs are pickier than you think: Partly true, partly not, based on my own experience in restaurant management.   Personally, I would hope any chef who cooks for me is pickier than average when it comes to food; an indication that he or she knows what they’re talking about, and knows good stuff when they see it!

The other way to look at it is that chefs are around foods all day that the average person may or may not be.   Would you find the same food you stare at all day long appealing enough to enjoy it on your day off?  I don’t know about that one.

Still, chefs hate picky eaters: Picky eaters annoy me too, and I’m not even a chef.

When eating out in other restaurants, chefs say they avoid pasta and chicken: The “over-priced” notion may be true in many cases from a chef’s perspective, but the notion that chefs in general avoid those foods, I’d beg to differ, especially if it’s an ethnic cuisine chef who doesn’t get a lot of pasta, or maybe is a sushi chef!

Chefs have expensive taste: Many chefs don’t, and I think “No Reservations” proves that Anthony Bourdain definitely doesn’t!  Keep in mind, that doesn’t mean chefs, including Bourdain, don’t enjoy and appreciate fine dining!

.…and yet they like fast food: Yes, I’ll agree with that, as long as street foods count as fast food.

Critics trump movie stars in the VIP pecking order: No arguments there; It’s the chef’s call because it’s his food and his restaurant that’s on the line.

Chefs work hard for low pay: Chefs definitely work long, hard hours, and it’s not pleasant to stand over a steaming station for hours, be it in the heat of summer or the dead of winter.  Either way, it’s intense, physically-demanding work.  Kudos to all those who aspire every day to be the best chefs they can be.

“Vegetarian” is open to interpretation: Just remember the difference between “vegan” and “vegetarian,” and the fact that not everyone practices vegetarianism in the same way.

Restaurants mark up wine by a lot more than you’d expect: I suppose that depends on the restaurant, but wine and wine packages onboard oceanliner cruise ships are often a great deal.  Even better, wine aboard many river cruise ships is included with dinner each night!

What are your thoughts?  Please post your comments….we want to hear from you!

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This is blog based on the experiences and interests of travel agency owners Adrienne and Agni Mitra. Through our blog entries, we will share our travel experience and expertise. We will also have other entries of interest to inspire your travels.

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