Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tina & Becky Aboard Oceania's Sirena

Tina Rose and Becky Hamilton, two of Sanders Travel’s own advisors, recently sailed with Oceania Cruises on a six-day trip aboard the M/S Sirena. After embarking in Rome, they traveled to scenic ports in Italy, France, Spain and Malta, while also enjoying several days at sea. Here is a trip report of their unbelievable voyage!​

“When we first boarded the M/S Sirena, we had no idea just how enjoyable our time onboard would be or how many memories we would be made off and on land. From the dining rooms to the state rooms, the ship was beautifully and elegantly decorated. The attention to detail was incredible, yet not overbearing or fussy. We never felt as though we were on a ship, as every space was extremely comfortable and truly became our “home” during the week. With a strong guest-to-staff ratio of 684 to 400, we received impeccable personal service, making our time onboard all the more enjoyable.”

Activities On Board
“One of our most unique features on Oceania was their 'Big O Points.' By participating in designated activities, we had the opportunity to win points that could then be redeemed for prizes toward the end of our trip. Every day we watched cruise-goers all around the ship engage in activities like shuffleboard and team trivia in hopes of racking up their points. This was such a great way to get involved in activities onboard, meet new people, and most importantly, have fun! If you sail, be sure to look out for activities marked as 'Big O Points' in the daily newsletter.

Your time on board is as hands-on or laid back as you want and there are tons of different activities to choose from depending on your preference. We highly recommend the Canyon Ranch Spa Club, where you can enjoy spa treatments, rest in the sauna or get primped in the beauty salon. Discounts on spa treatments are available when you book in advance, so make sure you book within your first couple of days on board. If you’re looking for some action, head over to the casino where you can receive complimentary gaming lessons in playing blackjack, 3-card poker and roulette like the pros. How ever you choose to spend your day, be sure to take advantage of the daily happy hour from 5-6 p.m. at Horizons or Martinis where you can enjoy 2-for-1-priced cocktails.”

Delightful Dining
“Whether we ate in the main dining room or specialty dining restaurants, we never left  a meal disappointed (or hungry!). The specialty dining restaurants, Red Ginger and Tuscan Steak, were outstanding. We highly recommend giving both a try. We especially recommend the Spicy Duck and Watermelon Salad at Red Ginger.”
“One of the greatest features of this smaller ship is the ability to call on ports that larger ships can’t navigate, allowing for unique itineraries. Had we not been on a ship of this size, we wouldn’t have been able to cruise the Italian Riviera, dock into the beautiful city of Monte Carlo or take the train into Nice for lunch on the French Riviera. We also were spoiled with relaxing days on the beach surrounded by crystal clear waters and sand that sparkled in the sun. One of our favorite memories was touring the unspoiled, ancient fishing village of Cassis in the South of France, just east of Marseille. The village was so charming, but the beauty couldn’t be captured in pictures!”

If you’d like more information on Oceania Cruises, such as where they sail, the ships in their fleet and their unique shore excursions — call Becky, Tina or your Sanders Travel advisor.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Talk of Tauck

Tauck River Cruises stopped by our offices last Tuesday to update our advisors on the latest in river cruising, a hot travel trend. More and more people are discovering this convenient way to see multiple destinations in a high-touch, upscale setting (sans crowds and sea sickness) — and Tauck is one of the suppliers leading the way. Here's a breakdown of what we learned:

The Destination Experience
Tauck is redefining river cruises with
their Destination Fleet, composed of nine beautiful ships — five small and four long. With their spacious cabins and suites, these glamorous ships are much like five-star hotels on water. Tauck emphasizes luxury and personal service, so their ships are limited to a maximum of 130 passengers, which is 30% fewer than other European riverboats. Additionally, all Tauck sailings have an experienced crew and four directors, the highest tour director-to-guest ratio.

Travel like Royalty
Tauck offers 22 different itineraries in places such as France, Budapest and Amsterdam. Each itinerary includes complimentary, unique shore excursions, like private dinners in European palaces with food from Michelin-starred chefs and live musical performances. Throughout the week, passengers can engage in the local culture and traditions of some of the most beautiful destinations in the world, all while creating lasting connections with fellow passengers. 

Family Programs
Tauck offers family-friendly vacations as well with Tauck Bridges. These trips are designed with all ages in mind, making them perfect for multigenerational family trips. Excursions are hands-on and most importantly memorable. Families can enjoy activities like cooking classes, story-telling and cultural explorations. To make these vacations more affordable, Tauck offers $500 savings for kids 12 and younger. Expose your children to the history, food, culture and beauty of all that Europe has to offer without the hassle of moving from hotel to hotel. Sit back, relax and enjoy the views as you sail to each destination.

Already traveled with Tauck before? Let us know! Tauck is offering one free hotel night for new trips booked before December 30, 2016. Contact your Sanders Travel advisor to take advantage of this incredible offer and see all that Europe has to offer for yourself.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Virtuoso Travel Week 2016

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas! We are just back from Virtuoso Global Travel Week and can’t wait to share everything we learned with you! Each August, the Virtuoso luxury consortium hosts a week-long event to connect us to our preferred suppliers so that we may better serve our clients. This year more than 5,000 attendees took over Las Vegas' Bellagio, Aria and Vdara resorts for seven days of networking. Sanders was fortunate enough to send 14 of our advisors this year. Throughout the week, we met with hundreds of vendors from around the world to become more knowledgeable about their products and to build relationships that foster better travel experiences for you. We had such a successful week and are so excited to share all the new information we learned! Watch this space next week when we’ll share some of the most interesting new products and promotions we discovered.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kristie aboard The Explorer

Glitz, glamour and unforgettable memories are only the beginning of the experiences on Regent Seven Seas Cruises. After 8 wonderful days aboard their newest ship, The Explorer, our travel advisor, Kristie Cummins, has a lot to boast about. Kristie was apart of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in which she attended the black tie christening ceremony with Godmother Princess Charlene. Here is her recount of her unforgettable trip!

The Explorer is said to be “the most luxurious ship ever built,” and after seeing it for myself, I know that to be true. The christening ceremony was incredibly memorable. The ceremony was filled with women clothed in beautiful dresses and men in their best suits. It featured Princess Charlene of Monaco and a live performance by Andrea Bocelli. Such a glamorous ceremony was only appropriate for the ship they were christening.

Words don’t seem to do The Explorer justice in describing just how beautiful it is. The exquisite blue and green colors seen throughout the ship create an elegant yet warm ambiance. While the ship was incredibly spacious, it only carries 750 passengers, which fostered an intimate atmosphere. The extra space allows for larger staterooms and balconies, which meant more personal space to sit back, relax, and take in the gorgeous views of the rich, blue waters and colorful horizons.

My time aboard felt like the perfect serene escape from other family-style cruises. Since Regent cruises are geared toward older couples, there were no distractions from relaxation. There were a variety of restaurants and lounges to hang out in, offering different styles of food, atmospheres and music. One of my favorite moments on-board was Chef Kelly’s cooking class in the culinary arts kitchen. It was such a fun experience - I highly recommend if you get to experience The Explorer for yourself. Not only did I get to learn to cook with an incredibly talented chef, but I got to enjoy a delicious meal too.

One of the best parts of traveling is trying new foods. The food on board was outstanding at all of the restaurants, but the specialty Asian restaurant, Pacific Rim, was my favorite. The rich flavors and unique pairings were unbeatable. If you’re looking to indulge in something for dessert, you must try the popcorn ice cream sundae at Prime 7. It’s the perfect balance between sweet and salty, and will leave your taste buds wanting more. Everything from the d├ęcor to the dessert was unforgettable.

If you’re looking to sail the world in high-class fashion, then you must experience one of the elegant Regent cruises. Call Kristie or your Sanders Travel advisor today to book your next Regent Seven Seas Cruise.