New recipes

James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Climbs to the Top of the Space Needle in Seattle Slideshow

James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Climbs to the Top of the Space Needle in Seattle Slideshow

The James Beard Foundation's Taste America lands in Seattle

Taste America Banquet

Taste America Seattle guests dined underneath the striking beauty of the Chihuly chandeliers

Reception Chefs

Thomas Kollasch, JBF Award Winner Eric Tanaka, JBF Award Winner Maxime Bilet, Zoi Antonitsas, and Jay Blackinton

Tyler Florence and Jeff Maxfield

Taste America All-Star Tyler Florence and host chef Jeff Maxfield got an exclusive view from the roof of the Space Needle

Lamb Loin with Cauliflower Mousse

Tyler Florence served Anderson Ranch lamb loin with cauliflower mousse, chile–date jam, and crispy sweetbreads

Friday Evening Dessert

Neil Robertson prepared a decadent dessert of milk chocolate crémeux with apricot compote, earl grey mousse, and chocolate crumble

Mocha Truffles

Sodexo sent guests off with a sweet treat of mocha truffles as the night wrapped up


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


PAST EVENTS

When considering cruising as a viable travel option, there a number of companies to choose from, many of which can take us to the same places. Deciding which to choose is often a daunting task. On this website, I offer a unique perspective to consider. I have spent decades selling travel as a travel agent and still service existing customers from time to time. As a current member of the press, I am able to take a bit different viewpoint than others, that of a person who knows what travelers want and has been successful enabling the dreams of many to come true. Actually, there’s not a lot of difference between they way I sell travel now and has in the past. Many decades ago, when I was knocking on the doors of total strangers trying to make a living ‘selling’ a successful person gave me some advice. “I don’t ‘sell’ anything. I provide a way for people to make their dreams come true. When that happens, it’s been a good day”. I never forgot that and settled in on a life of enabling people to be happy as my mission. I hope this website is of value to you in that way as well.

On this page, we have references to past events and trips we have shared with our friends, many of which began their cruise history as we did, with small children who are now young adults, starting families of their own. I hope you find this information of value. You will not find advertising here, this is not a way I make money that race has been run and it was a good one. Now, I align with travel brands I believe are making a difference in our world and hope to add to their success any way possible.

Chris (and Lisa, my very best friend for over 35 years and for whom none of this would have been possible without)

Windstar Cruises 2018 President’s Cruise With John Delaney & Gloria Bohan Best of the Philippines & Borneo

Published Live As We Traveled

At ChrisCruises

Posted In Reflection After Travel- another look at our Windstar cruise, port by port

  • The Republic Of Singapore- Windstar Embarkation In Singapore A Breeze
  • Kuching, Malaysia- First Malasia Stop Highlights Hearty Windstar Travelers
  • The Kingdom Of Brunei- Behold: The Kingdom Of Brunei
  • Kota Kinabalu, The Philippines- Kota Kinabalu: One Of Those Places I Want To See Again
  • Puerto Princessa, Palawan, The Philippines- Puerto Princessa: Destination Authenticity Confirmed
  • Coron, The Philippines- Windstar Cruises In The Philippines: Crysta Clear Coron
  • Manila, The Philippines- Windstar’s Brilliant Commitment To Doing It Right, Really Right
  • Hundred Islands, The Philippines- Windstar Cruise Unexpected: Specific Examples

Posted In Reflection

Deeper On Related Topics Of Interest

On ChrisCruises:

At The Windstar Blog

At CruiseFever.net

On Instagram

Facebook Photo Albums

Flickr Photo Albums

Pinterest– A variety of favorite photo experiences, posted in reflection after travel.

Exposure Photo Storybooks

Exposure Photo Storybooks- Usually created after sailing and reflection, these full-size images provide a distinctly different view of destinations and events also depicted elsewhere. Actually, you can preview the Windstar Experience via our storybook Windstar’s Costa Rica & Panama Canal. Our first time sailing with Windstar, this is the reason we came back.

Holland America Line Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise To Alaska

On a 7-day Alaska sailing with Holland America Line for Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise, we compiled a list of what we saw and did via a variety of social sharing platforms

Keep The Oprah Magic Going

Official #tags and accounts we engaged for this event:

    – Holland America Line, aHere to help you explore the world O, The Oprah Magazine, information and inspiration so that you can live your best life Oprah Winfrey, well, you know Gayle King, co-host of CBSThisMorning and Editor at Large of O, The Oprah Magazine. Adam Glassman, Creative Director of O, The Oprah Magazine Lucy Kaylin, Editor in Chief at O, The Oprah Magazine – Leigh Haber, O Mag books editor – Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author – India.Aire, Artist & Explorer Elettra Wiedemann, Founder: Impatient Foodie – Glennon Doyle- Author, Founder: MOMASTERY – Angela Davis, Motivational Coach, Fitness Evangelist – Rita Rudner- Comedian, author, actress, mom.

Worth A Thousand Words

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: over 1500 images we captured, free to share and use as you wish with attribution.

    Making my way from Orlando to Seattle then on to the ship. Strongly suggested: one of the few non-stop flights available if booked far enough in advance. – a complete overview of new programming introduced on our sailing to already engaging Holland America Line programming. The convenient cruise port where we begin and end our voyage. Pier 91 is the farther away from the airport option. Pier 66 is closer. Pier 91 enables more of a view of the city on the way to the ship. getting on the ship in Seattle then going directly to our staterooms, all of which were ready upon our arrival. A huge factor for those of us who travel with carry on luggage only and refuse to let anyone else handle it. comes to sea on Holland America Line bringing new life to the Culinary Arts Center – Fitness Evangelist gets Holland America travelers up out of their seats for an inspiring at sea work out Holland America travelers start the day the right way with meaningful meditations and daily intentions random photos from around the ship in no apparent order Simply some of the best in the business and one feature I rarely have enough time to explore. Kudos for offering a taste of specialty restaurants in a boxed lunch sort of way delivered to your stateroom. a nicely-appointed standard Verandah stateroom, typical of others on ms Eurodam and the rest of the Holland America fleet. Special treat: recently retrofitted to include lots of USB ports – random shots of crew members going about their day a- random images of other ships and interesting thing we saw while sailing – seen with Holland America Line where we got off the ship to hunt for bear a new feature on Holland America Line ships, an onboard version of Oprah’s book club highlights one of the most common cruise activities that, up until now, had nothing to do with the cruise line. We spent a day slow sailing to glaciers then paused at each to examine them further. Oddly, the feeling is much like the experience of going through a full transit of the Panama Canal. we went by plane to hunt for bear in remote places where we saw no other humans as far as the eye could see. We did see a bear though. flyers, handouts, keepsakes collected during the Oprah’s Share The Adventure Cruise Chef Rudi Sodamin’s pop-up restaurant appearing once on each 7-day cruise not a big of a deal on an Alaska cruise as they are more difficult to capture The place for totem pole lovers and shoppers shows us trendy cruise wear, available in onboard O-shop – specialty dinner venue delivered to your stateroom one item per day, featured in the buffet area a conversation with Oprah on the ship’s main stage exterior photos

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

YouTube Video Added To Our Collection– (courtesy of Holland America Line)

Pinterest – A selection of photos about our trip to Alaska with Holland America Line

ChrisCruises- The blog posts, one a day, as we traveled.

Pre-Cruise Posts– context for what we are about to share with you

The Main Event- posts with content sourced at the scene

Chris On CruiseFever

Viking River Cruises Grand European Tour

Our Summer 2017 trip to Europe brought us back to Viking River Cruises for a 15-day Grand European Tour. It had been a while since we sailed with Viking on the river, recently devoting a lot of time to Viking Ocean Cruises, a travel experience that was inspired by, asked for and the logical next step for Viking. Celebrating 20 years in the river cruising business in 2017, the last decade saw phenomenal growth, fueled in part by the unique design of the massive fleet of new Viking Longships. Now coming back to Viking River Cruises for a first full sailing since sailing the sparkling new Viking Ocean experience, I wondered how it would compare. The experience, in a word: flawless. That’s a descriptive term we rarely use here. When we do, an explanation is required.

In the world of travel, it’s really all about the experience and memories we carry forward. At the end of the day, back home sleeping in our own bed, using our own shower, and in our everyday environment, the unasked question is answered: What are the enduring memories from travel? One of the reasons we embrace and promote the world of cruise travel is the packaging and choreography of it. Get it right and great, life-changing moments happen, bringing us back home with an expanded worldview among other personal benefits. Viking longships transport mostly North American travelers on the waterways of Europe. Recently-built versions of those Viking Longships sail in Russia, the Ukraine, Asia, and Egypt as well. As they do, a carefully timed and planned onboard program details just about every part of the experience.

Example: by the book, when a passenger takes a seat in the dining room of a Viking Longship, the staff has 30 seconds to make a glass of water appear on the table. On that table will be a salt and pepper shaker. Of the two, the salt shaker is always closest to the entry point of that dining room. And so it goes, with every possible detail of the experience defined. Impressive? Sure. Is that what makes for a flawless experience? Not by a long shot.

Also on those Viking Longships are a nimble and experienced crew capable of performing multiple positions. The Program Director is a face most often associated with the experience, and rightfully so: he or she is with passengers every step of the way. Where Viking earns the flawless designation is with those crew members. It is their efforts that put the experience over the top. They are entrusted with the well-being of Viking travelers in a unique way few other travel companies have been able to deliver: they are allowed to think on their own and react accordingly to variable situations.

Throughout our journey, we noted situations and events where the human element of the experience made a difference, purposefully not mentioning Viking staff by name for one gigantic reason: It’s not about an individual here or there who might excel at their particular job at any one given time. The human element of the Viking experience starts at the top and goes all the way down to everyone we come in contact with who is associated in any way with the brand. Every single person.

Example: A selling point of Viking River Cruises is the included tour at every port of call. That part of the deal focuses our attention on what we are there for in the first place: the destinations. The 190 travelers on a Viking Longship are divided up into small groups and assigned a high-quality local guide then off they go on tour. We have had everything from college professors to life-long residents of the area. All cover the bullet point highlights of the place and include their own personal take on events that may have happened in that area. Better yet, they pay attention to individual group members, engaging them along the way. Stop there and we have a win. But that’s not the end of the story.

The night before that tour took place, the longship’s Program Director briefs Viking travelers on the day ahead and any unexpected nuances in the itinerary that might be coming their way. Empowered to deliver the best experience, that Program Director might also decide to offer some variations to the plan based on the makeup of that particular mix of traveler onboard. In addition to the regular tours, an “energetic group” might be offered for those who want to buzz right through the destination highlights. A “leisurely” group could be offered for those who want to go a bit slower and linger along the way. On the scene, at one place on our itinerary, a “late bus” was offered for those who wanted more time at a destination requiring the use of a motor coach.

In other words, on a travel experience self-proclaimed as “the thinking man’s cruise”, the crew is also enabled to think themselves.

Below is everything we have published on this flawless experience and we’re not done yet. There is one more significant piece of this interesting puzzle for you and I to think through and complete. After recently sailing both Viking’s ocean and river offerings, we’re seeing some crossover of style, focus, and direction that looks to be the next chapter in this story. Stay tuned: it might be the most exciting yet.

ChrisCruises- Posted before, during and after sailing

Flickr Photo Albums- just photos, no words: all the images we capture, unedited and free to share or use as you wish with attribution.

    – two days in a favorite place to begin a number of river cruise itineraries A day of scenic cruising on the way to the Austrian capital – An excellent use of free time provided after your included Viking tour – Overnight In Austria’s Elegant Capital City – The front page of the ship’s daily newsletter, helpful for planning the day The first place food is available every day on a Viking Longship and where early risers meet Where we went and what we saw within ten minutes from where our ship was docked- images via iPhone Ship shots- Various photos of our ship in no apparent order. If they don’t fit anywhere else, they go here Usually held on the first full day of sailing, the ship’s program director introduces key department heads and everyone meets the Captain. Something that can be done on a ship of 190 passengers. Also included, the photo of those same people posted in every Viking ship. One of my favorite albums to compile as we travel with Viking, this one hopes to capture the spirit of one of the most seriously differentiating factors in the overall Viking experience. As the title would indicate, food photos, tablemates and other scenes captured in the ship’s restaurant Titles on hand for the reference and enjoyment of passengers An alternative to dining in the Restaurant A sampling of onboard events that happen in the ship’s lounge, also the place for nightly briefings before dinner Beverages available at the time we sailed onboard as well as any beverages consumed ashore This itinerary has 67 of them, I have a sampling – scenic cruising then a tour of Melk Abbey before we get lost on the way back – seen as we sailed, other Viking Longships images of our day scenic cruising through the UNESCO World Heritage Site Scenic Cruising on the Main river Scenic cruising at sunset – Our day at the historic World War II site – the sausage capital of the world (or so I think) – a favorite on Viking Longships a favorite place to visit any time of the year – after docking and before tours, what we can see in ten minutes, round trip – The Program Director on our Viking Longship said we would pass by Frankfurt at 3:30 in the morning- it was well worth getting up for. Scenic cruising through one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Scenic cruising was a big part of our tour- we loved every minute of it. a favorite place any time of the year, Koblenz takes on a unique character of its own in the summer. It’s the place where Viking Travelers get off the ship to see one of the stars of the show: Marksburg Castle. – one of the few untouched by bombing of World War II – Fun facts about all the castles we have seen along the way. – A themed night in the dining room and on the Aquavit Terrace where Viking travelers have a grand old German time and the ship’s executive chef features fabulous German cuisine. – The included tour of Cologne Germany An optional tour that proved to be one of the best ever travel experiences. Not as dominant in a day on the river as on an ocean cruise, but a wonderful time of the day nonetheless – Scenic cruising on the Rhine – a favorite place in Holland, revisited

Facebook Photo Albums- much like Flickr Photo Albums, the Facebook version features a story and select photos that illustrate the topic, tour or onboard event.

Instagram Photos– A recap of our daily postings on Instagram


Watch the video: James Beard Foundations Taste America Las Vegas (December 2021).