Tour St Petersburg’s Rivers and Canals to Discover Its Finest Architecture

If you book Northern Europe cruises for your next holiday, you are sure to find that one port of call really stands out from the others. Destinations such as Stockholm, Tallinn and Helsinki are all fascinating places, but few cities in the world can compare to the splendour of St Petersburg.

It was one of the true hidden gems of the tourist industry until the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, disguised by being given the title Leningrad – a name that conjured up images of a grim Soviet metropolis. But that could not have been further from the truth, as the city is packed with history and culture, and has stunning buildings on every corner – even some of the Metro stations are considered works of art.

St Petersburg, as it became known again in 1991, deserves to be regarded alongside Florence and Paris as one of the great cultural destinations of Europe, as you will soon discover when your cruiseship docks in the city.

It enjoyed its heyday in the 18th and 19th centuries, when the country’s richest families queued up to build magnificent palaces and castles in what was then the capital of Russia. A pier and a waterside view were must-haves for any lavish home at that time, so most of St Petersburg’s finest buildings were constructed on the banks of the River Neva or alongside its canal network.

One of the best ways to enjoy the sights is by taking a boat tour around the city, as this will give you unhindered views of the striking neoclassical architecture St Petersburg is so famous for.

Among the buildings you will see on the granite embankments of the Neva is the magnificent Winter Palace. This opulent building was once the official residence of the Russian monarch and has a special place in the country’s history. It has been restored in recent years and now houses the fascinating Hermitage Museum.

Another highlight of your tour of St Petersburg’s waterways is to be found next to the Griboyedov Canal. The Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood, which is modelled on St Basil’s cathedral in Moscow, is among the most ornate religious buildings you will ever see, with its facade every bit as impressive as the interior.

It is also well worth keeping an eye out for Yusupov Palace, St Michael’s Castle and Stroganov Palace as you cruise around the city. But with landmarks lining the river banks and streets, you will never be short of things to see in St Petersburg, whether you are exploring on foot or by boat.

Cheap Summer Vacations

People, as a whole, need a break. Traveling is one of the favorite ways to unwind and relax. One of the busiest and most popular times to travel is during the summer months, when the children and the college students (and even some adults) get their biggest break. Good spots to travel to and explore are historic landmarks, beaches, water theme parks and/or exotic locales.

Think you can’t afford a nice weekend getaway or a nice dream vacation? Think again. If you know what you really want in a vacation and have good planning, you can have a summer adventure that won’t ruin your budget. If you know how and where to look, travel prices, according to some experts, can be pretty economical.

Some predictable summer vacations have been cruises. Some popular cruise destinations have been to the Caribbean, Mexico and Europe, Florida and Las Vegas. One growing trend is that people tend to want to travel closer to home and less overseas. There is also a rise in people booking their vacations at the last minute, making last-minute bargains harder and harder to find. More and more people can find the best deals at the best times thanks to the Internet. And more and more people are thinking smart and ahead by scheduling vacations in advance. It’s not unreasonable to start planning for a trip or cruise a year ahead. If going through a travel agency to book your vacation or cruise, many travel agencies have the option to pay for your vacation or cruise by monthly payments instead of a lump sum.

Consider taking a trip within the United States and make it a road trip at that. There are bed and breakfasts, camping resorts and hotels with great rates that can help you explore your own fantastic country. It is surprising, but many people call hotels for reservations and ask for a rate for a specific date and don’t get the lowest rate. The rate that is given is usually not the lowest rate. You must ask specifically for the lowest rate in order to get it. Being flexible is important when scheduling vacations and cruises. If the rate for your specific travel date is not available, having a second set of dates and even a third set can help people get the discounted rate they want. One hotel that you want to stay at may not have a room available. That hotel may be partnered with another hotel in the same area that can give you a room instead. This is where being flexible comes in handy.

Before you get there, find out as much as you can about your travel destination. If you have pets and children, find a place where they can be accommodated. An all night party place may not be the best spot if want a quiet place for two. This is where the Internet can come in handy. The Internet is a great tool to create the perfect vacation for you and your love ones.

Reward Your Employees with Travel Incentives

Reward your Employees with Travel Incentives

Motivating employees, especially highly competitive employees like inside and outside salespersons and telemarketers, can be a challenge. Sure, everyone likes cash, but what if you could offer a incentive that was worth more than cash? That’s what travel incentives are all about.

What do you think would generate more excitement among your employees; offering $50 to the person who sets the most appointments in one day, or offering a 3 day and 2 nights hotel stay in Hawaii including airfare? I’ll bet that you didn’t have to think about that for too long. The Hawaii trip wins hands down.

I’ll also bet that you’re thinking “sure, I would love to give away a travel incentive deal like that, but how can I afford it?” Prepare to be shocked. You see, travel incentive coupons sell for pennies on the dollar. The key to success in offering travel incentives is their perceived value, not their actual cost to you. The truth is, most travel incentive coupons cost under $10 each. That means that instead of giving away $50 in real money, you’re spending less than $10 and giving away something that’s worth hundreds or even thousands of dollars!

Travel incentives are coupons good for real travel to desirable destinations. There are no gimmicks. The travel industry authorizes distribution of these coupons through approved brokers. Depending upon the offer, these certificates can be redeemed for air travel, cruises, hotel stays, and lots of other travel opportunities.

Hotel and airline operators know that they will rarely be booked to 100% of their capacity. Rather than have empty seats or rooms, they offer free travel deals. They know that the vacationer is going to spend more money on food, sightseeing, and other products and services during their stay, so the free travel offer isn’t a dead loss. In addition, airline and hotel management is counting on the fact that the guest will have such a good time that they will come back some other time and pay full fare.

This means that travel incentives are a triple win. The airlines win, the hotels win, and you win by offering a productivity incentive with a perceived value many times greater than the actual cost. You’ll be a hero with your employees and productivity will soar.

Where to buy travel incentives

You should only buy your travel incentives from an authorized travel incentives broker. That way you are assured of receiving genuine certificates that are good on major airlines and at quality hotels. There are a lot of inferior travel offers out there, and you don’t want to disappoint your employee by sending them to a second-rate hotel on an unknown airline.

One of the other advantages of dealing with authorized brokers is that they are able to offer you the ability to combine different travel incentive coupons to create even better packages. For example, you can combine a 3 day, 2 night, 3-star hotel package with a $500 spending certificate in some cities.

Another popular combination is to create a getaway package that includes dream vacations like a 4 or 5-star hotel package that’s combined with a free round-trip airfare travel coupon. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Stop offering boring bonuses and give your best performing employees the travel vacation of their dreams. Ordering travel incentive coupons is easy, inexpensive, and can be done 100% on-line.

Travel and Leisure Jobs

Travel and leisure industry is one the most favored industry sector for job seekers worldwide. It offers you the wonderful opportunity of seeing new places, getting acquainted with new cultures and helps in developing a more comprehensive perspective about world affairs. So if you are one of those persons who are passionate about travel, and like to meet new people a variety of job opportunities are available in various segments of travel and leisure industry.

Here are few of travel and leisure industry which provide extremely good job opportunities, if you possess requisite skills for the job.

Online Travel – With the advent of internet, travel industry went online. Now you can book flight tickets, hotel rooms and buying tickets for the venue. These ventures require computer programmer, web designer, customer support and sales team.

Event management – This industry specializes in the creation of festivals and events which vary in scale from Olympics to the neighborhood Birthday party. Event managers are in great demand by companies.

Cruise ships – Cruise ships are a classy mode of travel which is popular along a section of tourists. These massive structures require hospitality professionals, maritime professionals, entertainers and security personnel.

Tour operators – They come in handy for those people who travel internationally and do not have time for a "do it yourself" holiday. They take care of all the details of the tour saving their clients from the intricacies.

Airlines – Air travel is the most popular means of travel for tourist especially international tourists. Pilots, air hostess and flight crew are some of the most wanted career. However an airline employs more people as ground staff in the form of air traffic controller, ticket checker, baggage checker and personal service assistant.

Travel websites, magazines and guides – These guide people on popular tourist spots, the best route to take, best time to visit and must see places among others. Here contractual or freelance writers can work as travel writers. Also photographers are hired to shoot photos documenting the journey.

Animation – Animation industry makes animated films some of which are hugely popular like Ice Age. Also they design and execute computer games. Animators, illustrators and designers are broadly in demand here.

Cosmetics Industry – The desire to look beautiful is innate in every woman and man. This industry "claims" to make people beautiful. Cosmetics and the beauty industry require hair stylist, beauty therapist, manicurist and shampoo technician.

Games and toys industry – This sector produces games and toys for people of all ages and groups. It requires creative professionals and game designers.

Fitness sector – This sector works on making people fit through exercise and alternatives like yoga. It requires certified fitness trainers and yoga teachers.

Hotels and resort industry – When you travel anywhere you stay in one of these hotels and resorts. Here this industry plays a very important role in the overall travel and leisure industry so much that hotel occupancy rates are an important indicator of the state of the industry. It requires waiting staff, interior decorators, management professionals and catering services personnel.

The travel and leisure industry is very often the dream job of many people. But many people are unaware of the tremendous job potential of this industry.

How to Use Cruise Ship Ratings

Cruise ships are a wonderful vacation by oneself, for families, or for couples. Cruise ships cater to nearly every type of vacationer and type of activity. Best of all, they do so while traveling the open ocean and ferrying guests to many different new and interesting places in all parts of the world. They are a great value for this reason, but cruise ships can be problematic. The main problem is that once you’re on the boat – you’re on the boat. There’s no way to change your mind about where you’re staying, or where you’re going like you could with a regular vacation. Instead, you’re stuck with the vacation you signed up for.
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Cruise ship ratings can greatly alleviate this problem by giving you a great deal of information on the type of cruise you are heading out on and the quality of the cruise. Though a cruise ship company will always advertise how wonderful their services and experience is, this should be taken with a grain of salt. A very large one in fact. Instead, there are many different sources, online and in print, in order to provide a more accurate measure of how a particular cruise is.
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Travel agencies that specialize in cruises are a great source to compare different types of cruises. These companies will often have a table of some sort that identifies the different amenities with a cost comparison. These are great in helping you pick a cruise company that might work for your wants and needs. These usually just use the information provided by a cruise line, so they aren’t necessarily an indication of a good experience. Online travel sites and books often provide a more in-depth description of a cruise. This is done for most of the major lines and usually has a larger degree of accuracy in the quality of the actual experience, so they are worth checking out after you selection a cruise company to make sure you’ve made a good choice.
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Finally, look for message boards where customers can share their own personal experience. These are by no means definitive evaluations of the experience, however they often provide insight missing in larger appraisals made by professional agencies. Readers of these websites should keep in mind that people usually post to websites to complain, so these sites will mostly have negative opinions. A balance between these descriptions and professional descriptions will help you determine what works best for your vacation and save you the trouble of a wasted trip.

Seattle To Alaska Cruise – Easy Guide to a Wonderful Cruise

There are many choices as to what you can see on a Seattle to Alaska Cruise including: historical places, costal attractions, beautiful scenery, evergreen forests, Mount McKinley (North America's Tallest Peak), Denali National Park, grizzly bears, otters, seals, Killer and Humpback Whales, and maybe even a few dolphins along the way.
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There is quite a bit to look forward if you plan to take a cruise to Alaska. You can also take helicopter tours, go mountain biking, and challenge yourself with a little kayaking if you want to be more active.
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There are three different lengths you can choose from for your cruise including, a 7 day, an 11 day, or a 14 day cruise. The longer you go the more you will see and the more ports your cruise will stop in. You can take an inside passenger cruise or a glacier route cruise.

The inside passenger cruise will be a roundtrip cruise from Seattle including passage through the islands offshore from British Columbia and Alaska. The Glacier Route Cruise is a longer cruise that includes more glaciers and usually stops in a couple extra ports.
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The cruise season for Alaska runs from May to late September. The weather is usually between 50 and 80 degrees during these months and there is much more daylight. June and July offer the longest times of daylight rolling all the way up to 20-21 hours a day. This gives you more opportunities to see glaciers and the wonderful wildlife along the way.
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The best time to see the humpback whales and orca whales is during June and July as well. They are breathtaking and you would not want to miss out on the opportunity to see these graceful creatures in action.

May and September tend to be cheaper months to cruise and the ports are not as crowded, but the days are shorter, the temperatures are cooler, and there is less chance of seeing some of the wildlife along the way.
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A few tips for your Seattle to Alaska Cruise, the weather is unpredictable so take multiple layers of clothing, a waterproof warm jacket, rain gear, light gloves, sweaters, sun glasses, and a warm hat. You will also want a camera, binoculars, extra batteries, extra film, and good walking shoes. Now the only thing that is left is to go and schedule your cruise and enjoy yourself.

Understanding The Four W’s of Cheap, Cheap Cruises

When can you get a cheap cruise? Where do you find cheap, cheap cruises? Why do cruise lines offer low cost cruises? Get the answer to these questions and more.

The following crucial information is divided into four sections. The four sections taken together will provide you with the what, when, where, and why of cheap cruises.
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Keep in mind that you want to look at the general principals of what is presented, and not any specific information. The specifics are always subject to change, but if you understand the general principals then you are always in position to find great prices.
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The What of cheap cruises:

What is a cruise cabin as it relates to sales?

It is inventory; and, the supply and demand for that inventory will vary from sail date to sail date.

As the supply of cabins exceeds the number of people who are looking to book travel the cruise line offer those extra cabins at a discount.
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The When of cheap cruises:

When do cruise lines discount their cabins (inventory)?

Generally, excess supply (inventory) is not discounted until the sail date gets closer. Also, based on historical patterns of slow sales a cruise line could offer steep discounts as indication to spur sales.
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In addition, you may find some great bargains if you do not mind the cruise line routing your ship to alternate destinations to avoid bad weather.

There are many scenarios used by the cruise lines that could provide great prices for you. Identifying only one such scenario (among the many cruise lines) could save you a lot of money.
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Besides the bad weather scenario, the scenarios most easily identifiable to get cheap cruises are based on:

1) booking your cruise very, very early, or

2) booking your cruise very close to the sail date.

The Where of cheap cruises:

Where are you likely to find cheap, cheap cruises?

In addition to those mentioned above, other possibilities are:

  • travel agents and cruise agents
  • cruise brokers
  • group cruises, especially where organizers look at possible scenarios, such as those mentioned above
  • on very long cruises, 90-day and 100-day sailings, where inside cabins (considered inferior) are extremely cheap.
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    Outside cabins on the same cruise sell for $ 700 to $ 1000 per person per day.

However, a quick calculation shows you the problem with these types of cheap cruises. Even though the typical cost is between $ 60,000 and $ 100,000 per person, these cheap, cheap cruises still cost around $ 15,000 per person (a problem for the majority of cruisers).

The Why of cheap cruises:

Why offer cruise cabins at steep discounts?

Cruise cabins are offered at a discount when the supply of cabins exceeds the number of people wanting to pay for them. The greater the excess of inventory, the steeper the discount offered.

Empty cabins on a ship that has sailed are considered none re-occurring inventory. In other words, once that cruise ship leave port any possible income that could have come from that cabin, on that sailing, is lost forever. YES, sometimes income is made on the next sailing, but the opportunity to earn income on that sailing is gone forever.

In conclusion: among the dozens of cruise lines and the many dozen of cruise ships, cheap cruises are there to find. With patience, forethought, and a willingness to ask questions you can find your share.

Good Hunting.

Five Cruise Destinations You May Have Overlooked

People all over the world are finally discovering the advantages of taking a cruise vacation. For one, all of the planning is done for you. You get to travel to multiple destinations without having to worry about finding transportation or hotels. That is because the boat itself is your means of transportation AND it is your hotel!

Still, a lot of great cruise deals will oftentimes get lost in the shuffle. Many people will see a few of the old standby destinations at a great bargain and instantly jump at them. And there is nothing wrong with taking your umpteenth trip to the Bahamas. If you like it there then by all means go for it. If you’ve never been you should give it a shot.

But part of the appeal of a cruise is that it can take you to strange and exotic places without stressing you too much on the details. A cruise can be a fantastic adventure to places you never dreamed about visiting, and maybe some places you’ve never even heard of before! Here are a few suggestions for bargain deals on cruises to places that are a little bit off the beaten path.

1. Alaska

When most people think about a cruise they think about fun in the Caribbean sun. An Alaskan cruise is not usually at the top of the list. But touring Alaska by boat can be an unforgettable and gorgeous experience. The landscapes and wildlife that you encounter are like nothing else in the world.

Princess Cruises offers a five day cruise of Alaska’s Inside Passage. That is the little area between the southernmost Alaskan islands and the mainland. The trip leaves from Vancouver, Canada and after a day at sea it docks for an afternoon in Juneau.

Juneau is the capital of Alaska and it is also the state’s third largest city. Hiking trails through temperate rain forests are easily accessible from downtown. There are also many museums and other cultural hotspots in the city. The next destination on the way back is the small city of Ketchikan. It is a huge fishing area and a great place to sea orca and humpback whales.

Although an Alaskan vacation might not facilitate too much sunbathing time, it has more than enough cultural and wildlife-viewing opportunities to make up for it.

2. European Rivers

Another oft-overlooked option for a cruise is to take a trip down a river instead of out to sea. Railways and rental cars aren’t the only way to tour Europe. Now you can do it by boat!

Avalon Waterways runs a 10-day trip that begins in Paris and sails down the Seine River, down to Lyon and the Rhone River, and eventually out into the Mediterranean Sea and over to the city of Nice, France. This is an unbelievable tour that hits a total of 11 French cities in 11 days and 10 nights. Seeing all that countryside on a traditional trip would be nearly impossible in such a short span of time, but it is leisurely and enjoyable when taken in from the deck of your cruise ship.

3. Panama Canal

Seeing one ocean is enough for most people. But the more adventurous types might want a cruise vacation where they get to see large parts of the two biggest oceans on the planet in the same trip.

Celebrity Cruises runs a 14-day trip that leaves from San Juan, Puerto Rico, travels through the Panama Canal, and then all the way up the western coast of Mexico and back to San Diego. Along the way it ports at Puntarenas, Costa Rica. This is a huge fishing port and it is an unbelievable place for fresh seafood. From there it is up the coast with stops in Acapulco and Cabo San Lucas.

If you want to go on a tropical cruise vacation but you can’t decide on which ocean to sail in, experience two of them by crossing through the Panama Canal!

4. The Canary Islands

If you like the idea of spending long days at sea then you might consider a cruise of the Canary Islands. Royal Caribbean International runs 13-day repositioning cruises out of San Juan, Puerto Rico that spend six whole days at sea before arriving for a three-day tour of the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa.

These repositioning trips are a great deal because many of the cruise lines are already taking their boats from the Caribbean where they tour in the winter to the Mediterranean for the summertime. There is no real point in sailing across an ocean without passengers so they offer really great bargains. This trip also travels to Cadiz before docking in Barcelona, Spain.

5. The Galapagos Islands

Charles Darwin was so inspired by what he saw on the Galapagos Islands that it partially inspired his landmark study of human evolution “The Origin of Species.” Kurt Vonnegut was so inspired by Darwin’s work that he wrote the science fiction novel “Galapagos,” which explores the inherent sorrow that comes from being a member of a species with an abnormally large brain.

Clearly, these islands are a magical place. Animals have evolved there in dramatic and exciting ways because they have been cut off for millennia from contact with other landmasses. Celebrity Cruises runs a 10-day cruise out of Quito, Ecuador so that you can explore these one-of-a-kind islands for yourself. Who knows what they will inspire in you.

World travel is about different things for different people. Some people desire a vacation simply to get away from the office and to relax for a few weeks. There is nothing wrong with that.

But other individuals travel because they sea it as a way to open their minds to new people, places and ideas. For them, vacation is both a physical and a spiritual journey. If you find yourself in this latter group then you might consider taking a cruise to one of these oft-overlooked locations. You never know what you might find there.

Winter Cruising in Europe

If you like to get away during the winter months, but you’ve perhaps grown weary of the Caribbean or Mexico, there is a new cruise option on the horizon for you to consider. Cruising in Europe and the Mediterranean during the non-traditional time frame of December through April isn’t on most traveler’s radar, however this destination – at an atypical time of year – has been slowly gaining in popularity.

Some real positives to take into account –

Airfares to Europe are considerably lower during the winter time. It isn’t unusual to see consolidator or promotional roundtrip airfares of $300 to $500 per person

Should you be interested in extending a cruise, hotels and restaurants will be hungry for customers, resulting in lower prices (which is especially important given the poor exchange rates as a result of the strength of the Euro versus the US Dollar.)

These cruises do not sell as quickly, so pricing will be more advantageous. As with summer cruises to Europe, you are paying in US Dollars rather than Euros. As a result, you will find that your vacation dollar goes a lot further.

Avoiding the summer heat of Europe isn’t such a bad thing.

Traveling at this time of year, you will avoid the crowds which are an inherent part of European travel during peak season. Lines for museums, restaurants and high traffic tourist destinations will be short or nonexistent. (Of course you must keep in mind that certain outdoor oriented places may not be open during winter months.)

You will get an entirely different perspective on the regions and people you meet once tourist season is over, as life gets back to normal.

You may prefer to travel when there aren’t a lot of kids and families around.

Weather

Perhaps the least appealing aspect of traveling during this time of year is the weather. January average temperatures for the main cities of central Europe (Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Munich, Budapest) range from the 30’s through the 50’s. Overcast skies are common and rain or snow are to be expected.

Temperatures range in the southern Mediterranean locations from the upper 60’s to low 50’s at night – certainly comfortable enough to avoid any type of heavy coat.

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Beginning in the winter of 2009 Royal Caribbean International will offer a series of 10 and 11 night winter cruises in the southern Med, Egypt, Canary Islands, Greece and Morocco as a test. Pricing is quite competitive relative to summer rates, and temperatures in these locations are considerably more temperate.

The 10 night itinerary originates in Barcelona, Spain and visits Malaga, Spain; Lanzarote, Canary Islands; Tenerife, Canary Islands; Casablanca, Morocco, Seville (Cadiz), Spain and ending up back in Barcelona.

The 11 night itinerary originates in Barcelona, Spain and visits Tunis, Tunisia; Piraeus (Athens), Greece; Rhodes, Greece; Limassol, Cyprus; Alexandria, Egypt; Valletta, Malta and concluding in Barcelona.

If these test cruises prove to be successful, you can expect other cruise lines to follow suit.

River cruises

Most of the river cruise lines of Europe – Peter Deilmann, Amadeus Waterways, Viking River Cruises, Uniworld – offer a series of 7 to 14 night winter cruises through New Years along the Danube, Rhine and Rhone rivers in Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic. These are great shopping forays, as well as a most relaxing way to visit some of the more intimate and wonderful small towns throughout Europe. Christmas season in Europe is an enchanting experience.

As interest in travel has grown over the last several years and prices have drifted up accordingly, sometimes it requires that the more adventurous travelers among us truly think outside of the box – or in this case outside of the traditional dates of European travel. Regardless, traveling during winter months will offer a unique perspective on Europe which most never get to experience.

Choosing The Perfect Cruise

There are three categories of cruise lines to choose from: Luxury Cruise Lines, Premium Cruise Lines and Mainstream Cruise Lines. All of which have different types of ships to consider. Within the three categories of cruise lines are the following types of cruise ships: mega cruise ships, large cruise ships, small cruise ships, adventure cruise ships, sailing ships, river cruise boats and yachts.

So what is the difference of Luxury Cruise Lines, Premium Cruise Lines and Mainstream Cruise lines? All of them provide great adventures on water, all of them have much to their credit and most of them have a strong commitment for providing fantastic vacation experiences. Often times it’s not the flavor of the cruise that counts but the tastes of the individual. Your travel agent can help you put together the perfect cruise vacation based on your unique lifestyle.

Luxury Cruises

Aboard deluxe cruise lines such as Crystal Cruises, Radisson Seven Sea Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Sea Dream Yahcht Club, Silverseas Cruises and Windstar Cruises are ocean liners that offer guests the ultimate cruise experience. The luxury lines offer itineraries in a variety of lengths and destinations. Many of these destinations are un-traveled by Premium or Mainstream cruise lines. These are high quality products at a high quality price. The majority of these cruise ships carry less than 500 passengers.

A luxury cruise is perfect for those looking for:

  • A formal, refined atmosphere, epicurean dining and personal service, all with a touch of elegance.
  • Deluxe and spacious accommodations.
  • A limited number of fellow passengers with one-on-one attention from the crew.
  • An Average of two weeks or longer away.
  • Onboard scholars and lecturers providing in-depth information on certain topics.

These cruises typically cater to business oriented professionals whom are well traveled.

Premium Cruises

Premium lines offer a high quality product at a more affordable price. The majority of these cruise ships carry less than 2000 passengers. Premium Cruise lines include such favorites as Celebrity Cruises, Cunard Line, Hapag-Lloyd Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises and Peter Deilmann Cruises.

A premium Cruise is perfect for those looking for:

  • A semi-formal yet relaxed atmosphere, great cuisine and personalized service
  • Above standard and spacious accommodations.
  • An average cruise of seven days or longer in length.
  • An active lifestyle.

These cruises most often attract business oriented professionals, who are well traveled.

Mainstream Cruise Lines

These cruise lines provide a great product at a great price. Many are literally floating cities with parks, golfing, theaters, restaurants, salons and even rock climbing. Cruise Lines in this classification have something for everyone. They also carry the highest number of passengers per available space. Mainstream Cruise lines include, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Disney Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean, International, Lewis Cruises and Star Cruises. Many of these cruise ships can carry 3000 passengers. A mainstream cruise is perfect for those looking for:

  • Casual and active atmosphere with good food, good service and a good price.
  • Fast paced entertainment and activities.
  • Standard accommodations.

These cruises attract many families as well as passengers of any age group.

Now that we have seen the different Ocean Liners remember that many fun and exotic ports are best accessed by river.

River cruise

Voyages along inland waterways are as varied and unique as earth itself. Anywhere that there are large rivers and barges you will probably find a river cruise operator. River cruise crafts are smaller than ocean-going cruise ships, typically holding 90-240 passengers (though there are ships that take only 5 passengers and others can carry 1,000 passengers). Due to their smaller size and low draft, river cruise crafts can go where ocean cruise ships cannot, and sometimes to where no other transport is practical: rivers are an excellent way to reach some otherwise missed attractions. And are great ways to combine land tours with cruising. During river cruises the countryside is usually in view, so they are especially relaxing to those who prefer land nearby.

River cruises usually last from 7 to 15 days. Some river ships resemble five stars hotels, with sun decks, dining rooms, lounges, fitness facilities, swimming pools, casinos and other entertainment. Accommodation, meals onboard, entertainment and special events (holidays, festivals, contests, concerts, etc.) are usually included in the cruise price while bar expenses, sauna, massage, laundry and cleaning, and phone calls are not. Most cruises have a variety of onboard and off board activities. The latter include guided tours to historic and cultural sites, visiting local attractions, museums and galleries, and other points of interest. Guides give a running commentary while sailing. Popular river cruises include trips along the Nile, the Mississippi, the Yangtze, the Mekong, the Danube, the Rhine, the Seine, or the Volga.

There are several dozen river cruise companies each with 1 to 20 ships. River Cruise Tours are great for small group travelers and adventure seekers of all types. They are fantastic for small and midsized groups who want to get away from the crowd with a private charter.