Pre Cruise Hotel Special – The Grand Amsterdam Hotel

As a special addition to the upcoming Rhine River Wine Cruise in November, Cruise guests may begin their trip with a extraordinary 2 night stay at the luxurious Sofitel Legend, The Grand Amsterdam Hotel, easily regarded as the best hotel in Amsterdam.

Relax and enjoy Amsterdam from above as this special includes a guaranteed upgrade to a Superior Room with gorgeous views of the canal below.

To aid in making your trip as stress free as possible, this package also includes breakfast as well as provide transportation from the hotel to the ship on the day of departure.

Package- 2 nights $510 per person double; $1016 single occupancy

Included in the 2 night package:
Hotel nights at Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam Hotel (or similar)

* Guaranteed Upgrade to Superior Room With Canal View
* USD $50 F&B hotel credit
* Transfer from hotel to ship
* Hot buffet Breakfast
* Baggage handling at the hotel
* All hotel taxes

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Amsterdam - First Stop on your Rhine River Wine Cruise

Amsterdam, the gorgeous capital city of the Netherlands, is  known for its artistic heritage, elaborate canal system and narrow houses.  On your Rhine River Cruise you’ll enjoy this beautiful city and its many wonders.  Enjoy a cruise through Amsterdam’s lovely canals which circle around and throughout the oldest parts of the city. Considered the Venice of the north, Amsterdam’s houses were built entirely on water with long poles dug deep into the ground to prevent them from sinking. Over time many of these houses have become fascinatingly lopsided. 

Cross under or over the beautiful Magere Brug bridge, a draw-bridge connecting the sides of the river Amstel. The traditional double-leaf design was originally build in 1670 and has been maintained to keep its historic charm throughout the centuries.  You’ll see the house where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding during WWII and the famous windmill painted by Rembrandt.

Art fans have many museums to visit in Amsterdam. Those interested in Dutch arts and history will want to visit the Rijksmuseum museum located in Museum Square.  Just around the corner is the Van Gogh Museum, which houses the world’s largest van Gogh collection. For a more personal look at the life of a 17th century Dutch master artist, visit the Rembrandt House Museum. A historic house and art museum, Rembrandt lived and worked in the house between 1639 and 1656. 

Special pricing continues through March 31, 2017
For more information contact Michelle @ Learncation
michelle@learncationtravel.com
www.learncationtravel.com

The Beautiful AmaSonata

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The AmaSonata is a sister ship to the AmaCerto and features the most advanced design of any river cruise vessel currently in operation. The AmaSonata was build in 2014 in the Netherlands.  The ship proudly has a crew of 51 with 82 beautiful staterooms.  Our exclusive Twin Balconies are available in most staterooms, which measure a spacious 210-235 sq. feet, with four suites measuring 300 sq. feet. Passengers will enjoy gourmet dining with free-flowing fine wines at multiple onboard dining venues; a heated sun deck swimming pool with a ‘swim-up’ bar; fitness center and spa; complimentary ship-wide Wi-Fi and in-room Internet and entertainment on demand; and a fleet of bicycles carried onboard for passengers to enjoy on their own or on guided bike tours.
This will be your vessel for the upcoming Coyote Canyon Winery Rhine River Wine Cruise. This enchanting cruise begins in the legendary city of Amsterdam, with its myriad canals and distinctive architecture. Visit the majestic Gothic cathedral in Cologne, cruise through the picturesque Rhine Gorge admiring the legendary Lorelei Rock, and visit the German university town of Heidelberg and medieval Strasbourg.  Beauty beyond imaginable.  
 

Call today to book your Rhine River Wine Cruise
For more information contact Michelle @ Learncation
michelle@learncationtravel.com
www.learncationtravel.com

Cunard to Offer Wine Certification Courses on Queen Mary 2 and Other Cruise Ships

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Cunard has partnered with the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) to offer wine classes on selected Queen Mary II cruises. 

The classes initially will be available on QM2's westbound transatlantic crossings, as well as world cruises; the first one will take place on the December 15 sailing from Southampton to New York City. The line plans to extend the courses to Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth later in 2017. 

WSET is the world's largest provider of classes, certifying both wine lovers and food and beverage professionals. The partnership with Cunard is the first time WSET courses will be available to passengers on a transatlantic or round-world cruise line.

Taught by WSET-certified educator Andres Solis Lira, the courses vary in their complexity, as well as the credentials received. 

The transatlantic sailings will feature the WSET Level 1 Award in Wines, a five-day beginner course that covers the basics of wine types and styles. Passengers will taste a minimum of 10 wines, and the $295 fee includes all study materials and examination fees, as well as a Champagne reception and four-course lunch with matching wines in the Verandah Restaurant. 

The world cruises -- traveling from Southampton to Cape Town, Cape Town to Fremantle, Hong Kong to Dubai and Dubai to Singapore -- will feature a more involved 12-day WSET Level 2 Award in Wine and Spirits course. Passengers in this class will taste up to 45 wines and four spirits; the $595 price includes all study materials and examination fees, as well as a Champagne reception and four-course lunch with matching wines in the Verandah Restaurant. 

Both classes finish with a multiple-choice exam. Passengers who pass will receive a WSET qualification certificate and lapel pin.

--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor, Cruise Critic

Call Learncation Travel for more information.

10 Great Reasons to Cruise With Your Family

 

1.  Cruise Vacations Offers Great Value
Cruise packages offer great value for our dollar mainly because the fares include nearly everything you'll need for an amazing trip.  Think of the time alone that will be saved not having to plan food, accommodations, entertainment, transportation and sometimes even airfare. Regularly when cost is broken down, you end up spending much less per person per day on a cruise than would be spent on separate hotel, meals, taxis and shows.  Special discounts (or even free fare) are often offered for children traveling with parents.   

2,  Mulitple Destinations - Unpack Only Once
Perfect for groups that want to see many different places.  You don't have to pick just one.  Once you arrive at each destination, your floating hotel waits.  There is not hassle with lugging suitcases along cobblestone streets, lifting them in and our of public transit or dealing with your childrens' additional bags. 

3.  Cruise Ships are Family Friendly
If you are having difficulty finding a trip that will be enjoyed by everyone from tots to grandparents, cruises are now offering a wide age range of activities.  Among the usual adult activities there are Kids' Clubs that are split by age, teen hangouts with video games and swimming pools, family friendly dining so families can enjoy being together during meals and so much more etc.  Families can pick from multiple onshore excursions that all will enjoy and remember for years to come.

4.  Cruise Packages & Ships Come in All Shapes and Sizes
What might be ideal of one family may not be for another.  Mega-ships with outfitted with rock-climbing walls and outdoor movie theaters to intimate ships with elegant ambiance, educational river cruises to seafaring sailing ships, the options are endless and we can help.

5.  Ships Offer a Variety of Onboard Activities
Today's cruise ships are designed to please all.  Spas and casinos, wine tasting and computer classes, play bridge or do yoga, dine at a casual buffet or sit down to a fancy dinner, sushi bar or steak house, watch  movie or lounge in the sun and read a book while you watch your family play basketball.  Or....just relax while your ship sails from port to port.  

6.  Cruise Vacations are Easy to Plan
Cruise vacation packages group so many traveling factors together that they are now easier than ever to plan.  This along with the help from us, we can make your booking experience stress-free. Cruise lines have plans in place for group travel, eliminating the hassle of coordinating your 20 family members and friends from around the country who want to vacation with you. Book enough cabins -- and you'll get extra perks, which very well may include a free fare.  

7.  Ships are Floating Cities
Todays cruise ship are outfitted with everything you could possibly want onboard.  You have everything you need to stay in touch with the world outside, Wi-fi, cell and satellite service.  Onboard shops carry anything that you may have forgot to pack.  Medical centers and medical personnel are available for urgent medical needs.  Laundry services are wonderful and eliminate the need to overpack. Do not forget the many entertainment and dining facilities. 

8.  Many Onshore Excursions
Snorkeling through coral reefs, exploring ancient Roman ruins, hiking on glaciers, shopping at local outdoor markets; all these shoreside activities are as much a part of the cruise experience as enjoying the onboard amenities of your ship. Indeed, half the fun of taking a cruise is exploring exciting new places, tropical islands, bustling metropolises, exotic countries.  The benefits of booking ship-sponsored tours are many. You can skip the hassle of arranging your own onshore activities, you'll know the tour provider is licensed and reputable and the ship won't depart until all of its tour buses have returned, even the tardy ones.  We can help find the best options for your family travel.  

9.  Plan an Exotic Vacation
We often see people reluctant to plan trips to other countries because they are nervous about the language barrier or not knowing the country customs.  A cruise is the best way for you and your group to experience foreign and exotic destinations in a very easy way.  Itineraries offer calls at major cities and picturesque villages, all of which will be regional highlights, so you don't have to do the research on the best places to visit in an unfamiliar destination. If you're uncomfortable with independent sightseeing in a new locale, simply take a ship's tour with English-speaking guides. Another option is to team up with more experienced travelers you meet online or onboard to share private guide.

10. Meet People From All Over the World
Cruise vacations are a great opportunity to meet wonderful people from all corners of the Earth.  We've heard many stories of long time friendships that began on cruises, kids have developed pen pal relationships and now with social media, staying in touch with new friends is even easier.  This will only enhance the memories made on a family vacation.  

Many group cruise options are available.  We can make your family trip memorable from the very beginning by making it as stress free as possible.  Having one contact person will enable multiple families or persons to come together seamlessly and have a wonderful trip together.  

Useful Cruising Terms

Whether you are new to cruising or a well traveled adventurer, it is alway good to have a place to reference terms that are crucial to understand when planning or embarking on your cruise vacation.  Let us help.  

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Accommodations 

Cabin – your room, similar to that of a hotel room, for the length of your cruise.
Category – the price level of a cabin that is usually based on location, size, and amenities.
Double – a cabin that will sleep two passengers.
Family Friendly Accommodations – cabins or staterooms specially designed to comfortably sleep up to 2 adults and 3 children.
Inside/Interior – a cabin that doesn’t have a porthole or a window.
Oceanview/Outside – a cabin with a porthole or a window.
Porthole – a round window on a ship; now sometimes just referred to as a window for ocean views.
Quad – a cabin that sleeps 4 passengers
Single Supplement – a surcharge for one passenger occupying a cabin that sleeps two
Stateroom – same as a cabin.
Suite – a cabin that is usually larger than inside, oceanview and veranda cabins; can come with or without balconies and usually includes additional amenities.
Triple – a cabin that sleeps 3 passengers.
Upgrade – when you are moved from a lower category to a higher one.
Veranda or Balcony – when your cabin has a balcony that you can either stand or sit on. 

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Dining

Dinner Seating – some lines offer set times for meals; this is known as Traditional Seating.  There are two seatings (or sometimes four, with staggered start times) for each meal, with some flexibility offered for breakfast and lunch.
Open Seating – no times are established for dining, there is typically a window provided for each meal.  This option is provided on some lines as a standard practice; some lines for breakfast and lunch on “at sea” days; and in the evenings at a buffet style alternative to the traditional restaurant; and on some smaller lines all the time.
Alternative Dining – may refer to an alternative more casual evening dining option than the tradition main restaurant, typically a buffet on the Lido Deck.
Alternative Restaurant – typically a smaller, more intimate onboard restaurant where passengers may choose to dine for a nominal fee; reservations are usually required.  
Galley - the "kitchen" area where the food is stored and prepared.
Room service – yes, most cruise ships offer in-room dining – often 24 hours a day. 

Ship's Crew

Captain/Master – the person that is in charge of the entire ship.
Hotel Director – the person in charge of all onboard services (housekeeping, food & beverage, etc.) related to your stay.
Purser – the officer onboard who serves as a financial or administrative manager.
Maitre d’ Hotel – the person in charge of the dining room/restaurant wait staff.
Cruise Director – the person who heads up the entertainment staff and is usually the emcee for all of the activities and shows onboard.
Cabin Steward/ess – the person who mysteriously cleans your cabin when you are not there

Ship Specific Terms

Aft – the back of the ship.
Beam - the width of the ship measured at its widest point, typically right at the middle section of the ship.
Bow – the front of the ship.
Bridge – the place where the Captain and his crew manage the ship’s journey.
Draft - the depth of water required so that the ship doesn't touch the ocean floor. The draft is measured from the waterline to the lowest part of the ship, usually the keel.
Fleet – all of the ships within the same company.
Funnel – the ship’s smokestack, and usually where the company’s logo appears.
Gangway - Walkway between the ship and the shore while the ship is docked so that passengers may embark and disembark.
Godmother – traditionally she blesses a new ship as it begins its inaugural voyage. Royalty, well known celebrities and even a cartoon character have been honored as godmothers of ships.  See also Naming Ceremony.
Knot – how the ship’s speed is measured.  One knot equals one nautical mile per hour.
Length - the distance measured from the very front of the ship to the very back of the ship.
Maiden Call – the very first time a ship calls in a particular port of call.
Maiden Voyage or Inaugural Voyage – the very first sailing of a brand new ship.
Midship – the middle of a ship.
Naming Ceremony or Launch - the tradition of christening or naming a ship as it begins its inaugural voyage.
Nautical Mile - 6,080.2 feet or slightly more than 1.15 land miles.
Passenger Space Ratio – the number of gross registered tons (GRT) divided by the total passenger capacity.
Passenger to Crew Ratio – The total number of passengers divided by the total number of crew members.
Port Side - the left side of the ship when facing forward.
Promenade Deck – an open deck that encircles a ship, typically referred to as the walking or jogging track.
Registry – the country where the ship is registered.
Sister Ships – ships built of the same design.
Starboard Side – the right side of the ship when facing forward.
Tender – a small boat used to transport passengers from the ship to the shore when the harbor is not deep enough for the ship to dock.

Destinations Related

Port of Call – a destination on your itinerary where the ship docks or anchors so that you may disembark and explore.
Shore Excursion – an escorted or unescorted tour sold onboard a cruise ship in the various ports of calls visited.
Embarkation – Sailing day!  Passengers board the ship for their cruise vacation.
Disembarkation – the exiting of the ship to either explore a port of call or to end the sailing.   

Helpful information provided by CLIA

Choose to Cruise!

A cruise experience offers the opportunity to experience the world as you choose. Whether you're looking to spend a week relaxing with family in the Caribbean, or swim among dolphins of the South Pacific, cruising offers a world of opportunity.

When compared to a land vacation, cruising offers a number of benefits:

  • You can tailor your experience based on your budget, selecting specific accommodations, dining arrangements and even shore excursions. Most cruises already include dining, entertainment, and gratuities, offering options for even the most cost conscious traveler.
  • Additional expenses may include drinks, casino play, spa treatments, shore excursions and shopping.
  • For those looking to indulge a bit more, many cruises offer additional premium dining options, entertainment and even exclusive spaces, such as spas, pools and restaurants.
  • A week onboard one cruise ship will offer you a chance to experience a number of enticing destinations, across the globe. In one week, many ships sailing through the Caribbean will bring guests to four exciting ports of call, whereas a land based resort only offers the same destination each day.
  • A cruise experience offers you the ability to experience as much, or as little of the world as you prefer. Cruises also offer the most flexibility in pricing, allowing all travelers the opportunity to cruise with their preferred budget in mind.

If you're looking to make the most of your next family vacation or adventure, contact Michelle today to start exploring your cruise options.

Article courtesy of CLIA