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This New Cruise  Ship will House its Own Exclusively-Designed Fabergé Egg
When Regent Seven Seas Grandeur embarks on her inaugural voyage in late 2023, its breathtaking, multi-million dollar art collection will be anchored by a bespoke, sea-inspired Fabergé egg designed just for the ship.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises and the legendary house of Fabergé are collaborating on the hand-crafted, precious art object, which will be the first Fabergé Egg to reside permanently at sea.

Founded in 1842, Fabergé has been one of the most revered names in jewelry ever since Peter Carl Fabergé created dozens of spectacular and ingenious Easter Eggs for Russia's Imperial family.

Regent has shared the design its collaboration with the relaunched, modern-day house of Fabergé has generated. Called 'Journey in Jewels,' the extravagant, jeweled egg captures the essence of the powerful natural elements of the sea - and has a built-in secret.

The outer egg ‘shell’ is comprised of seven blades, representing the seven seas, which will unfurl to reveal a surprise hidden inside, details of which are being kept as a closely guarded secret until Seven Seas Grandeur is christened in 2023.

Journey in Jewels will stand about 7 inches tall, with a three-tiered base which hides the movement of the egg’s opening mechanism - the first time that Fabergé has hidden the movement in this way.

Conjuring up visions of epic voyages on the water, the egg’s three-tiered base is a gentle cascading waterfall of ocean greens and subtle turquoise, while its outer shell’s soothing deep blue waves become lighter, before breaking into a sea spray of pearls.

Exterior features of the egg's design include a ground-breaking ombre enamel shell; this is the very first time that Fabergé has applied this intricate enameling technique to an egg, marking this a milestone moment for the company. Enameling is an incredibly technical skill, which is made even more challenging with egg art objects due to the added complexity of applying the enamel to a curved surface.

Designed by Fabergé’s Head of Design, Liisa Tallgren, Journey in Jewels is being entirely hand-crafted by one of Fabergé’s appointed Workmasters, and a dedicated team of artisans based in England.

From conception to crafting, the egg will take 24 entire months to complete, just in time to be set in pride of place in Seven Seas Grandeur’s atrium.

Art collections on cruise ships - and especially on luxury cruise ships - are becoming bigger, more valuable and noteworthy. Regent's two latest ships have works by Picasso and other masters on board, and this purpose-designed,
cruise-inspired Fabergé egg art object on Regent's upcoming Grandeur is upping the ante for one-of-a-kind art at sea.

Start your Luxury Cruise Trip!


Images courtesy Regent Seven Seas Cruises via youtube

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3 Unique Ways to Get Active Outdoors in French St. Martin
The twin-nation island of St. Martin is one of the Caribbean's most popular destinations. It's the smallest place in the world divided between two countries: the south end is Dutch and the north end is French. Famous for its beaches, shopping and gastronomy, there's much more to St. Martin.

Whether you're in St. Martin on a cruise ship port of call or an extended stay at a hotel or resort, we recommend you explore the wild side of French St. Martin. Here are three very different ways to enjoy its outdoors:

Fort Louis

Good for: sightseers, novice hikers, history buffs

One of French St. Martin's most noticeable remains of its colonial history, Fort Louis is part of a coastal string of historic naval forts on the French side of the island.

Towering on the hilltop above French St. Martin's capital city Marigot, Fort Louis (pictured, top) was build in the 1700's and named after the King of France, of course. Originally built to protect Marigot from pirates, what remains is weathered stone and cannons, but proudly flying the French flag.

Nowadays, Fort Louis is one of the most popular hiking spots on the island, enticing visitors with its 360-degree overlook of St. Martin’s crystal waters. It’s only a short jaunt up the hill to access this incredible view, and you’ll walk amidst the ruins of the fort as you follow the path to the summit. A breathtaking panorama awaits you at the top of this gentle climb and on a clear day, one can even see the neighbouring island of Anguilla!

Loterie Farm

Good for: lux/adventure lovers, families

A private nature sanctuary encompassing 135 acres, Loterie Farm has a fascinating history, won, I was told, originally in a lottery, but the property has transitioned to modern-day luxury outdoor adventure park.


From hiking and ziplining in the forest canopy to an onsite pool, bar, cabanas and restaurant, Loterie is a tropical forest escape from the bustle of the rest of St. Martin. A self-guided hike through the reserve’s tropical forest allows guests to choose their own adventure: exploring the entirety of the well-marked trail takes just under two hours, but hikers are free to make their own way. The various ruins, lookouts, and springs found within Loterie’s shaded expanse make for perfect picnic destinations.


Recharge at Loterie Farm's Jungle Room serving up Caribbean cuisine made with fresh, local ingredients and paired with a relaxed, open-air ambiance. Or lounge by the pool and listen to the sounds of the surrounding forest, that keeps Loterie Farm slightly cooler than other places on the island and was a perfect luxury retreat on my last visit to St. Martin.


Reserve Naturelle

Good for: Nature lovers, hikers of all experience and fitness levels

The National Nature Reserve of St. Martin, the Reserve Naturelle (as it is known to the island’s French-speaking populace) covers nearly 7500 acres of nationally managed land and sea in Northeastern St. Martin, including the smaller offshore islands of Pinel and Tintamarre.

The Reserve boasts a stunning assortment of natural scenery and abundant protected wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, iguanas, and seabirds. Visitors can access the Reserve via tours or snorkeling excursions, and one of the best ways to experience the Reserve is on a hike through one of its four Discovery Trails; each offering a glimpse of a different ecosystem.

A hike through the mangroves of Barrière pond, for example, will get you up close and personal with the beautiful endemic birds who make the area their home.


On Pinel (pictured above), guests can hike a mile-long trail that connects all three beaches of the islet, providing a fascinating introduction to the Reserve’s coastal vegetation. Experienced hikers should head to Froussard’s Trail, which covers 3 miles of intact coastal forest, the last of its kind on St. Martin.

No matter how many times you've cruised to St. Martin, these outdoor escapes show how much more of the half-Dutch, half-French island there is to discover!

Start your St. Martin Trip!




Images of Fort Louis and Loterie Farm: World's Greatest Cruises
Pinel Island image via Getty

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Trail-blazing women is a theme of Celebrity Cruises in general, and it was a triple play at the christening of the Celebrity Beyond. The newest of Celebrity's Edge-class ships was christened by Simone Biles, nicknamed the 'G.O.A.T.,' or 'Greatest of all Time' U.S. gymnasts, in Port Everglades, Florida on November 5th.


Biles is a 19-time World Champion, seven-time Olympic Medalist and most decorated American gymnast in history. In addition to the renowned godmother, the naming ceremony was also attended by Celebrity Cruises' Captain Kate McCue, who remains the first and still only American woman to be named captain of a large cruise ship.

“It is an honor to be selected as Beyond’s Godmother and to join such a distinguished group of strong, barrier-breaking women who have been named as Celebrity’s Godmothers before me,” Biles said during the ceremony.

“I appreciate the important message this designation holds in recognizing our accomplishments as empowering women, and I am honored to share the stage today with fellow brave, boundary-breaking leaders like (Celebrity Cruises' groundbreaking President and CEO) Lisa-Lutoff Perlo and Captain Kate McCue.'

“I’ve been waiting for this day to arrive for a long time, and I am ‘Beyond’ excited to be able to share her with our guests. She is the gold standard by which other ships are built and embodies the meaning of relaxed luxury,” said Lutoff-Perlo.

Captain Kate McCue, Jason Liberty, Simone Biles and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo at Celebrity Beyond's christening

“I can think of no one better to be the Godmother of this incredible ship than the G.O.A.T. herself – Simone Biles,” said Jason Liberty, President and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group, which is the parent company of Celebrity Cruises.

“This ship’s beauty, power, and resilience sets the standard by which all others will be measured. Simone’s determination, progressive nature, empowered attitude, and grace in the face of challenges make her such an inspiration to so many around the world. All of these attributes are why Simone Biles is perfectly suited to watch over Celebrity Beyond’s journey,” he added.


Re-defining 'A Luxury Resort at Sea'

Celebrity says the new ship will usher in a 'new era of cruising.' Celebrity Beyond showcases the talents of Celebrity mainstay design, culinary and lifestyle contributors, including British designer Kelly Hoppen CBE; American designer Nate Berkus; Paris-based design firm Jouin Manku; British architect Tom Wright; Michelin-starred chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud; and goop CEO and founder Gwyneth Paltrow.

Spaces and experiences on board the new ship reflect signatures of the Edge-class series including the Retreat resort-within-a-resort at sea; Sunset Bar; goop wellness experiences; 32 food and drink venues, a Grand Plaza anchored by Celebrity's Martini Bar showpiece, high-tech entertainment, and the Magic Carpet cantilevered venue.

Inaugural Caribbean Season


Following the naming ceremony, the Celebrity Beyond set sail on its inaugural winter season in the Caribbean, including seven-night Puerto Plata, St. Thomas & St. Maarten itineraries and seven-night Bahamas, Mexico, & Grand Cayman itineraries.

Start Your Cruise Trip!


Images courtesy Celebrity Cruises

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Cruises in the Great Lakes are spiking in popularity, and a proposed new National Marine Sanctuary adds to the many attractions of a Great Lakes cruise.

The Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary isn’t a done deal just yet.

In April of 2019, following a New York state community nomination, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) subsequently announced its intention to designate a national marine sanctuary in eastern Lake Ontario. 

You’ll recognize some other beloved maritime destinations NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary System. Many can be visited on cruises in U.S. waters or from land trips to coastal areas. From Washington State to the Florida Keys, from Lake Huron to American Samoa, the network encompasses over 620,000 square miles of underwater parks. It includes 15 current national marine sanctuaries, like Wisconsin’s Great Lake “Shipwreck Coast,” the Pacific Northwest’s “Olympic Coast,” and Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale sanctuaries, as well as the Papahānaumokuākea and American Samoa’s Rose Atoll marine national monuments.
 
The proposed Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary designation area includes the waters offshore of New York State’s Wayne, Cayuga, Oswego and Jefferson counties. It could also extend into the legendary Thousand Islands playground region that spans the American and Canadian waters of the St. Lawrence River.

The waters of the proposed national marine sanctuary are a scuba diver’s dream – especially wreck divers. Their stand out their rich collection of shipwrecks, which NOAA says are “among the best preserved in the world” in the cold, freshwater atmosphere of the depths of Lake Ontario. The designated area includes 43 known shipwrecks, dating as far back as the 1700’s, and one submerged aircraft.

Some are already underwater landmarks and registered heritage sites. They include New York State’s first Submerged Cultural Preserve and Dive Site in Great Lakes, the David W. Mills shipwreck, as well as the St. Peter shipwreck, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
 
And, according to NOAA and the communities around the proposed sanctuary, there could be more “underwater treasures” yet to be revealed. 

As a national marine sanctuary, NOAA would manage, research, preserve and provide ways for visitors to explore and learn more about this “nationally significant collection” of local maritime heritage and the landscape above and below the waters of Lake Ontario. That would include interpretive sites on nearby shores as well as mooring infrastructure on shipwreck sites to facilitate wreck dives that are safe and easy for divers, and still preserve the historic shipwrecks.

Watch the local PBS video above to learn more about the environmental, recreational, and maritime cultural value of the proposed new Lake Ontario National Marine Sanctuary.

And ask your trusted travel advisor about how you can take a cruise in the U.S. and Canadian regions of the Great Lakes.

Start your Great Lakes Cruise!



 
By: Lynn Elmhirst, cruise/ travel journalist
 
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Trick or... Travel: Top Hallowe'en-Inspired Trips
Supernatural and macabre films, TV series, and novels feed our gathered-round-the-fire love of a scary story. But there’s nothing like the real-life thrill of visiting in person places around the world whose histories of hauntings, bone-chilling tales and ghostly sightings get our primal senses tingling while we’re standing right there!

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite spook-tacular trips:

London, England


London’s long history of royal intrigues and political skulduggery – as well as its wealth of ancient towers, dungeons, prisons and places of execution – make most historic places ripe for ghastly tales.

Evan Evans conducts London tours with guides expert in ghoulish history specifically for you to immerse yourself in the city’s spine-chilling history at Hallowe’en.

Its London Dungeon Tour brings the dark, bloody history of London to life walking through The London Dungeon. The immersive theatrical storytelling tour with live actors, lavish sets and special effects is a fantastic way to explore the darker side of London’s history and get in the mood for Halloween.

 
Guests will experience the full wrath of King Henry VIII, and join Anne Boleyn on her final journey along the River Thames to the infamous Tower of London (image via Getty).
 
Or take its Jack the Ripper Tour (top image, Getty) to walk in the footsteps of London’s most infamous serial killer on a tour conducted in the evening for maximum thrills. You’ll travel back to Victorian London as you visit the real-life murder locations and hear the gruesome stories behind Jack the Ripper’s vicitims’ deaths.
 

Ireland

 
Ireland is equally scary. A Royal Irish Tours “Emerald Adventure” driving holiday takes you into the heart of a number of Ireland’s most spooky places.
 
You’ll be booked to spend the night in a luxurious, but haunted, castle. Ballygally Castle north of Belfast is home of the ghost of Lady Isabella Shaw, believed to have been thrown from a castle-top window by the cruel Lord Shaw. Over the years many guests have reported strange experiences and have felt a presence in their rooms. There are also endless stories of an eerie green mist over the castle. For the very brave, during your stay you can even visit the room of Lady Isabella at the top of the spiral staircase.
 
During your two-day stay in Dublin, you can travel back in time and learn about “Ghosts, Ghouls and Goodie Glover Day” at EPIC Ireland, the world’s first fully digital museum that tells the story of Irish emigration. Learn more about The Dullahan (“dark man”), a malevolent harbinger of death who served as the inspiration for the headless horseman of Sleepy Hollow, or how the local practice of burying corpses with a stake through the heart influenced the writings of Irish emigrant Bram Stoker, author of Dracula.


Uncover the tragic story of ‘Goody Annie Glover’ the Irish woman who became the last person hanged for witchcraft in Boston in 1688, and how the influx of Irish immigrants, who brought their traditions and folktales, helped shape the story of jack-o’-lanterns in America (image via Getty).
 

Sicily

 
The history of Sicily’s capital city already has a bloody history, through its ties to the Sicilian mafia. If you’re looking for a more traditional eerie happening, though, Exodus Tours recommends its ‘Street Food and Sunshine in Sicily” tour for its tour of Palermo whose Teatro Massimo is said to be haunted by the ghost of a nun, known as ‘La Monachella’.

 
The controversial project to build the Teatro Massimo (picture courtesy Exodus Tours) involved the destruction of four churches and two convents. It’s said that the building work desecrated the grave of a former Mother Superior, and her spirit haunts the theatre to this day. During the 23 years it took to construct the opera house, many of the original backers died, including the architect– could the curse of La Monachella be the reason? You’ll have to decide for yourself – if you have the fortune to see the spirit of the Mother Superior herself.
 

Egypt

 
Egypt has given us so many Hallowe’en themes as the country where bandage-wrapped ancient myths and legends originate. On Exodus Tours’ 'Pyramids and Pharaohs in Egypt” tour, you can get up close to the real thing – and contemplate a cautionary tale tied to ancient Egypt.
 

The artefact of the “Unlucky Mummy” (picture courtesy of Exodus Tours) can now be found in the British Museum, but its story begins in 1860s Egypt, where four British university students decided to pick up a souvenir of their visit, in the form of the coffin lid of a priestess of Amen-Ra. On the return trip, two of the graduates died, and a third accidentally shot himself in the arm, resulting in an amputation. The fourth lost his entire fortune (twice), a photographer and porter trying to take a photograph of it died, as did the man translating its hieroglyphs. Throughout the years since, many more people associated with the coffin lid were plagued with bad luck.
 
 

South of France

 
River cruising can sail you right up into the heart of off-the-beaten path historic towns with rich and eerie pasts.

 
On an Avalon Waterways river cruise on the Rhone river in the south of France, you can take one of their Active & Discovery shore excursions: a ghost walk by moonlight through the winding, bending cobblestone alleyways of Viviers (picture via Getty) – a hilltop, stone-walled medieval village – that brings the ancient ghosts, legends and tales of this quiet – is it too quiet? - little town to life.
 

Start your Spook-tacular Trip!



Images credits as noted

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Another River Cruise Line to Begin Sailing on the Douro in Portugal
 
 
Beginning in 2024, Avalon Waterways will be the latest river cruise line to embark on this increasingly popular route, joining Uniworld, Tauck, AmaWaterways, Scenic, Emerald Cruises and others on this western-most European river cruise route.
 
Calling its new itinerary “a new view on the Old World,” Avalon Waterways says the new route will provide guests with “the grandest views in cruising and whim-powered itineraries to Southwestern Europe.” 
 
Avalon's new river cruise roundtrip from Porto brings guests into the heart of hillside vineyards and historic villages in this famous wine region all the way to the glorious sandstone architecture of Salamanca, Spain, just across the border.  
 
From medieval castles to cinematic scenery – plus all the vinho, fresh-baked rustic bread, locally grown olives and locally-produced cheese your soul desires – a Douro River cruise earns an entry on your European river cruising bucket list. 
 
Plus, Avalon Waterways has three styles of shore excursions that allow you to customize your Portuguese river cruise. In addition to ‘Classic’ tours, guests can choose from ‘Active’ and ‘Discovery’ tours that give you new perspectives on destinations, plus a chance to break a light sweat and even get your hands a bit dirty! The river cruise line says ‘Active’ and ‘Discovery’ tours on its new Douro River itinerary will include things like rock art or baking traditional ‘florinhas’ pastries, painting iconic Portuguese tiles, to riding bikes from Porto to the sea. 
 
Of course, all guests will enjoy visiting farms and vineyards, wine- and food-tastings, scenic sailings and historic city exploration, with overnights in some towns along the way.
 

A Ship Named 'Happiness'

Douro River dimensions require customized vessels, and Avalon’s purpose-built ship for its Portugal river cruises is the Avalon Alegria, debuting in 2024. 
 
The Alegria – which means ‘happiness’ in Portuguese – will accommodate just a hundred guests on two decks, so you’ll be able to get to know and have shared experiences with the small group of people on your Portuguese river journey. 
 
 
Like other Avalon Waterways ships, the Alegria will orient beds to face the windows, so you can open your floor-to-ceiling sliding windows and your whole room becomes an ‘open-air balcony’ facing the views sailing along the Douro. 
Guests will also enjoy a pool on the Sky Deck to bask in the warm Portuguese sun and take in the scenery during daytime sailings from a new, poolside perspective.
 

Start your Douro River Cruise Trip!

 
Top Image: Getty
Bottom Image: Avalon Waterways
 
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The Safest Countries for Solo Women Travelers - Plus Other Top Tips
Never before have more women been traveling solo! Singletons of all ages and stages in life: never-been-married, divorced, widowed… all kinds of women are deciding not to wait to be paired up or until a friend can be a travel companion to embark on dream journeys.

They’re making plans to travel now. Does that sound like you? If so, you’re part of one of the top travel trends, and the great news is that the world has never been more accessible to solo travelers, especially solo women travelers.

Here are three of the most burning questions women often ask before committing to travel on their own, and my tips for solo travel:

1. Is it safe?

Let’s face it – everyone’s daily commute has risks. But the idea of traveling alone in an unfamiliar location makes many savvy women newly thoughtful about their personal safety.

To help you decide where you might want to try solo travel, here are the results of a recent study that ranked three dozen popular tourist countries for their safety for solo women travelers. 
 
The ranking was based on seven measurements about things like the percentage of women in a country who report experiencing violence, who feel safe walking home or at night, of how a society feels about domestic violence or violence against women, and the strength of local laws protecting women. The data came from organizations like the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the World Bank.

Only one of the countries that made the top ten list of the safest destinations for solo women travelers was outside of Europe.

Ireland topped the safe list with a score of 7.88/10, with Austria, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland rounding out the top five.

The only non-European nation that made the top 10 was Canada, which ranked 8th, with Spain and Portugal ranked slightly higher and the Netherlands and Poland completing the top 10. One other non-European nation, Japan, barely missed the top 10, coming in at 11th in the rankings.

Tip for Staying Safe:
Also, don’t forget the old mantra “There’s safety in numbers.” Traveling solo doesn’t mean you have to travel alone – group travel is a great way to travel solo – and stay safe.

2. Is it more expensive?

Travel often prices trips for ‘double occupancy.’ That is: two people to a room. And that can put solo travelers at a financial disadvantage. If you don’t want or don’t have anyone to share with, it can leave you on the hook for double the price.

Well, the good news is that more and more travel companies are catering to the solo travel crowd. Some serve only singletons or even single women, with no ‘single surcharge’ at all; they’ve negotiated prices for accommodations that don’t penalize their solo women travelers. Others specialize in singletons and pair up solos who are willing to share a room to save.

Other tour companies and cruise lines offer occasional solo travel specials, where they waive the single traveler surcharge. These are terrific deals that give you the full experience without having to share! 


Tip for Maximizing your Solo Travel Budget:
Your expert travel advisor can help you take advantage of solo travel specials whether it’s an ocean or river cruise or a small- or full-sized group land tour that interests you.

More and more travel companies are catering to solo travelers, especially women. There are some companies that serve only women solo travelers! And many, many others who make special accommodations, packages, and pricing arrangements for women seizing the day and hitting the road on their own.

3. Is it worth it?

Solo travel can seem like a lot of effort. But if you’re craving travel, finding the optimal way to travel solo is your dream come true.

And the good news is that solo travel doesn’t have to mean you’re on your own.

Tips for Getting the Most Out of Solo Travel:
I mentioned group travel already. Groups provide not just extra safety and an expert local tour guide who knows the lay of the land to make you feel completely secure. The local group tour leader can give you the best local knowledge for you to spend your free time, so you have a built-in support system and source of information.

Groups also people to socialize with, and if you’re a bit intimidated by the idea of a large group, take heart! Tour groups can range from a full coach of 40 people to as small as half a dozen people. You have a wide range of options for the number of people you’ll be sharing your journey with.

Plus, working with a qualified travel advisor means there’s always someone with the full details of your travel plans at home who’s in your corner – and able to help sort out any glitch that may happen while you’re on your solo travel journey.
 

Start your Solo Trip!

 
 
Images: Getty
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This Year's 5 Top Adventure Travel Trends - For Fitness Fans and Everyday Travelers!
If your favorite way to experience the world is from the outdoors, then adventure travel is for you. And the best news is: you don’t have to be an Olympian to enjoy adventure the Great Outdoors!
 
In fact, the Adventure Travel Trade Association recently released a list of this year’s hottest adventure travel activities – and we bet several sound right up your alley. From cycling to safaris, trekking and snowshoeing to wellness and culinary escapes, there’s a hardcore or soft adventure for everyone who loves to experience a destination’s landscapes, wilderness and wildlife, local food and fresh air.
 
Your expert travel advisor can help match your outdoor adventure interests with the trip that checks all the boxes – including your preferred level of activity.
 
Here are examples of 5 trending adventures close to home or in distant locales: 

 Courtesy: Adventure Cycling Association - Rachel Stevens

1. Cycling Across America:


You don’t have to cycle across the whole country all at once! But whether you prefer road biking, gravel or dirt, or want the ease of an e-bike, organizations like the Adventure Cycling Association or cycling adventure tour companies can help you enjoy the country on two wheels. Cycle the country’s Southern Tier from San Diego to St. Augustine, Florida, go on a gravel ramble in the mountains of Montana, bring an e-bike along for a fall color tour in Vermont, or explore one of the best mountain bike trail systems in the U.S. on an Ozark Mountain biking tour.

Ozark Mountain Biking - Courtesy Escape Adventures 

Did you know? Cycling trips can be as rugged or as luxurious as you prefer. There’s a wide range of levels of service for cycling tours that your travel advisor can help to match to your preferred travel style.

Courtesy of Adventure Life - Anna Zlotnicki 

2. Experiencing a ‘White Safari’ on an Antarctic Expedition Cruise:


Embrace the spirit of polar exploration on an expedition cruise to Antarctica. Watch for seabirds and the first icebergs as you cross the famed Drake Passage to reach the South Shetland Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula. Once there, experience the wonder of the white continent as you cruise along spectacular ice cliffs looking for seals and whales, and go ashore to visit penguin rookeries and historic huts.
 
Did you know? Cruises to Antarctica are among the fastest-growing trends in cruising as well as adventure travel. Small, ice-hulled expedition cruise ships, sail from the southern-most points of South America on these bucket-list voyages. Ships carry zodiacs so guests can land on remote islands, and some also carry helicopters and submarines for your adventure voyage of a lifetime!

Courtesy of Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole

3. Exploring America’s National Parks: 


America’s great Western National Parks have never been so popular. If you’re looking for endless adventure surrounded by incredible views, look no further than Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Take a day trip to Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Park to see wildlife up close, try out a ropes course, relax in nearby hot springs and more, then retreat to a cabin. 
 
Did you know? Many western National Parks are four season destinations, with hiking and mountain biking in the spring, summer and fall, and snowshoeing, skiing and more in the scenic winter months.
 

4. Cycling Through History and Culture in Europe:


Cycling trips in Europe can take you into the heart of the romance of castles and villages, vineyards and villas, rivers and mountains. Take just one example: imagine yourself riding Italy’s “White Roads,” the network of unpaved back roads, named “Strade Bianchi” for the color of their dry earth and limestone gravel, that wind through Tuscany’s hilly vineyards, olive groves and medieval villages, while you fortify yourself with the food and wines of one of Italy’s finest culinary regions. (Top Image: Strade Bianche in Italy, courtesy of Tourissimo.)
 
Did you know? Many of Europe’s top destinations are very bicycle-friendly, with routes, bicycle service and amenities… not to mention the history, scenery, food and wine!

Courtesy of Sacha Lodge, Located in the Amazon

5. Going Exotic in the Galapagos Islands, the Andes and Amazon:


Exotic adventures in bucket-list destinations are all the rage following two years of pandemic travel shut downs. Many travellers have now decided not to put off until tomorrow the travel dreams of today. That makes the wonders of the remote Galapagos Islands, Peru and Machu Picchu, and the depths of the Amazon adventure travel trends right now. While these destinations can accommodate varying levels of fitness - you can hike and climb, paddle and dive if you like, or take a less-strenuous approach to seeing the incredible wildlife and scenery, ancient history and culture of these exotic locations.
 
Did you know? Some guided tours can take you to several of the most exotic travel locations on your bucket list – and taking the planning, logistics, language challenges, local know-how and day-to-day organization off your plate in these off-the-beaten-track destinations – so you can focus on immersing yourself in these once-in-a-lifetime journeys.
 
 

Start your Adventure Trip!

 

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What Size Cruise Ship is Right for You?
If you're ‘sizing up’ your next cruise trip - whether you’ve never cruised before or you’re curious about what life’s like on different sized ships – this is essential travel information for you.

It’s all about match-making, and one type of ship is going to be “just right” for your cruise travel lifestyle and preferences. An expert travel advisor can help you find your own best type of cruise ship. Hopefully, my tips here about each type of cruise ship will help you get started in discovering your own ship “sweet spot.” 

Big Ships

The biggest of the big ships are aptly called ‘mega ships,’ and the world’s biggest cruise ships carry several thousand guests and thousands of crew on top of that. In addition to their sheer size, their lifestyle is the most ‘family friendly.’ 

Mega cruise ships are floating destinations in and of themselves. You might never notice if you didn’t leave port! They have around-the-clock entertainment for everyone from toddlers to grandparents, including active and outdoor pursuits like surfing simulators, climbing walls, theme-park like rides and waterparks, bumper cars, and more. Indoor entertainment like broadway shows, Vegas-style entertainment partnerships, and more dining options than you can even try in a week-long cruise, with lots of celebrity restaurant partnerships. Dining ranges from casual burgers and BBQ to fine dining, steakhouses, wine bars, and more –even dining with eye-popping themed décor and interactive menus. 

Big Cruise Ship Tip:
Families with kids who need a lot of entertaining, or multi-generational families where you want to give lots of options for everyone of every age, or groups where you need to offer the most choice – all of these types of cruise travelers love the big ships. 

Small Ships

The smallest of small ships may carry only a hundred or two hundred, maybe up to a few hundred guests, and end up feeling a lot more like a personal yacht than a commercial cruise ship. 

You’ll rarely see a line up or worry about getting a nice spot at your favorite pool. People who like intimate spaces, where you have plenty of personal space, but you don't have to walk far to get to the pool, or a lounge, or a restaurant, love smaller ships. 

Smaller ships can dock in the heart of an historic city, while larger ships need berths further out, so smaller ships can take you closer to your destination. That includes expedition cruising – active, outdoor adventure-style cruises to remote places around the world including both polar cruising!

Small ships don’t have all the bells and whistles the biggest ships do; they’ll have fewer restaurants, pools, hot tubs and shows. They feel more like boutique hotels or country clubs, and offer a more sedate lifestyle and pace, and some can be fairly formal, but that doesn’t mean snobby. You’ll get to know most of your fellow guests – and even crew! - and make friendships that can last a lifetime. 

Small Cruise Ship Tip:
Some people think that smaller ships feel the ‘motion of the ocean’ more than bigger ships, but in this day and age, ship stabilizers are so good that being on a small ship doesn’t affect people who are worried about motion sickness any more than being on bigger ships. 

Mid-Sized Ships

Right there in the middle are the mid-sized ships. It’s hard to put an exact number on what makes a mid-sized ship but it’s more than a few hundred, and up to a couple of thousand – as high as 3000 guests? Maybe.

Sometimes it’s just a feel. Where there are extensive dining options, some themed design, plenty of activities, but you feel they are not overwhelming or trying to be everything to everyone. Or really focusing on the kids. 

Many mid-sized ships distinguish themselves by specializing in live music, or country club casual elegance, or Scandinavian design and cultural experiences, or their dining offering. 

Mid-Sized Cruise Ship Tip:
For many people, mid-sized ships strike that balance of things to do and variety with not too much energy or distance to travel. Each mid-sized cruise line has distinct character that makes it not about the size, so much as your personal cruise taste.

Start Your Cruise Trip!


By: Lynn Elmhirst, cruise/travel journalist and expert.

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That's a 'First:' Norwegian Prima's Christening by Katy Perry Launches a Whole New Class of Ships
Norwegian Cruise Line has made a habit of inviting global musical superstars to act as new ship godmothers. In the case of the first of Norwegian’s Prima Class ships, pop icon Katy Perry did the honors of welcoming the Norwegian Prima into service, releasing a bottle of champagne to be broken across the Prima’s bow. 

'It was so much fun to sprinkle some fairy godmother dust on Norwegian Prima and send her on her way to sail the high seas,' said Katy Perry. 'I always appreciate a family vacation and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I was happy to wish all the vacationing guests a happy bon voyage!'

But this christening and this ship are also charting new waters.
 
For one thing, the event on August 27th made history as the first major cruise ship christening in Reykjavik, Iceland. 


So although of course, Perry took to the stage with a powerhouse performance of some of her hits, including “Firework” and “Roar,” the christening event included performances by Icelandic talent, including EuroVision fan favorites, Icelandic singer-songwriter Bríet joining the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, and an LED lightshow by a local multi-media artist.
 

Prima Means “First”

The first of six planned Prima-class of ships, and the 18th ship in the NCL fleet, Norwegian Prima herself is scoring off the charts in ‘firsts’ and ‘mosts,’ with some only-on-Prima experiences. 


Norwegian claims the 3000-guest ship has “the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any contemporary or premium cruise ship.” Prima has “the largest variety of suite categories available at sea.” And Norwegian took the opportunity of launching a new class of ship to ‘redefine’ its famous luxury small ship-within-a-ship concept called The Haven, where guests have exclusive keycard access to their own suite, pool, lounge, and restaurant facilities. 
Prima’s round-the-clock recreation includes Prima Speedway, the first three-level racetrack at sea, and the fastest waterslides on any cruise ship: the Rush and the Drop. 


Spaces like Ocean Boulevard, the 44,000 square foot outdoor walk way which wraps around the entire ship; The Concourse, which boasts a multi-million dollar outdoor sculpture garden; and expansive pool decks and infinity style pools at Infinity Beach, offer guests a chance to slow down and relax in ‘prime’ surroundings. 


Inaugural Season

Norwegian Prima’s inaugural season is also a departure from the ordinary. She’ll be gracing ports throughout Europe and North America on a sort of ‘debut-ante’ tour. 

Prima begins inaugural voyages to Northern Europe from the Netherlands, Denmark and England beginning Sept. 3, 2022, before crossing the Atlantic en route to the U.S. 

She will then sail voyages to the Caribbean from New York City, Galveston, Texas, and Miami in October and November, before settling into her homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla., and Galveston, Texas for the 2023 and 2024 cruise seasons.

Start your Cruise Trip!



Images courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises' New Shore Excursions Immerse You in Ecology, Design
Calling all design lovers and eco-wanderers! Luxury cruise line Regent Seven Seas Cruises has launched two new shore excursion concepts. “Behind the Design” and “Eco-Connect” shore excursions roll out beginning in 2022, and give guests new ways to explore destinations and landmarks from unique perspectives that are right up your alley.

The new shore excursions join Regent’s Go Local tours, Gourmet Explorer tours and Wellness tours.

Even better, Regent’s an all-inclusive cruise line, and many of the new tours are included for guests. The cruise line says these two new concepts “were created to offer experiences that even the most seasoned traveler has yet to enjoy.”

“Behind the Design”

Behind the Design tours offer incredible insights about some of the world’s most captivating and brilliant architectural feats.There are already 10 “Behind the Design” tours - all in Europe – in 2022, expanding to more destinations around the world in the months to follow.
 
All offer special, little-known stories and information from knowledgeable guides about the inspiration, reasoning and genius that brought these marvels to life. Behind the Design tours being launched focus on sites in Marseille, France, Copenhagen, Denmark, Oslo, Norway, Barcelona, Spain; Belfast, Northern Ireland; Glasgow, Scotland; La Coruna, Spain; Lisbon, Portugal; and Sete, France. See examples below!
 
“Eco-Connect”
There are over 150 Eco-Connect tours to choose from around the globe, that let you engage with local groups and businesses to learn about how they are working to conserve and sustain their surrounding environment.
 
The tours, many of which provide an educational element, offer guests the opportunity to take part in a variety of experiences. Eco-Connect tours span the globe including Africa, Alaska, Asia, Australia & New Zealand, the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, Northern Europe and South America. See examples below!
 
Check out examples of Regent's new tours!

 

Behind the Design: Marseille, France

La Villa Mediterranée & MUCEM

Gain an insider’s understanding of the challenges in building two avant-garde landmarks, by touring them with an architectural historian. Perched along the waterfront, La Villa Mediterranée was designed to embody Marseille’s deep bond with the sea. Instantly recognized for its prominent cantilevered overhang, this three-level public space also features a conference center with portholes beneath the sea. As guests will discover, that lower floor presented all sorts of unusual circumstances that pushed the boundaries of architecture. The building faces MUCEM, a national museum devoted to Mediterranean civilizations. Its audacious design includes elements such as tree-like columns, a lacy façade that resembles a fishnet and a slender footbridge that connects it to the towering ramparts of Fort St. Jean. The concrete filigree that shields much of the structure is particularly stunning.
 
 

Behind the Design: Copenhagen, Denmark

Royal Library & Blue Planet

Browse two radical, modernistic buildings with an architectural historian that will reveal little known facts about their extraordinary designs. The Black Diamond extension to Copenhagen’s Royal Library is as revolutionary as it looks. The irregularly shaped monolithic prism is clad in black granite and leans toward the river to capture as much natural light as possible. The building’s significant tilt, wave-like balconies and expanding form as it rises from bottom to top presented a slew of design challenges that the guide will explain. The Blue Planet may be even more striking as it is the largest aquarium in Europe and resembles a giant whirlpool – a design inspired by the shape of water in endless motion. The building’s exterior is covered in aluminum panels that are reminiscent of fish scales, while the interior curved ceiling evokes images of the baleens of a massive whale.
 

Behind the Design: Oslo, Norway

Equinor & Munchmuseet

Discover how two extraordinarily modern buildings have transformed Oslo’s skyline and pushed the boundaries of design. The iconic Equinor office building consists of five separate rectangular modules stacked on top of each other at different angles, all to optimize daylight and views. Guests will also learn fascinating details about how the atrium’s propeller-shaped glass roof was designed to withstand months of extra weight from snow. Similarly, climate conditions influenced the design of the Munchmuseet, a 13-story museum dedicated to the works of Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. It is constructed with low-carbon concrete and aluminum cladding that reflects harsh sunlight and is cooled with seawater. The top of the building intentionally tips forward as if bowing to Oslo in homage.

  

Eco-Connect: Bordeaux, France

Bordeaux Wines and Sustainability

On this Eco-Connect tour guests will discover how converting to biodynamic and organic farming has further elevated the quality of the esteemed wines at Château de La Dauphine in this appellation with a 2000-year history. Biodynamic farming takes a holistic, ethical approach that follows the harmonious cycles of nature, specifically the movement of the moon and planets. As guests tour the vineyards, they will learn more about biodynamics and how it affects the terroir and the taste of the wines. The sampling that follows will lend even more insight.

 (Image courtesy Visit Costa Rica)

Eco-Connect: Puntarenas, Costa Rica

A Sloth Paradise – Give Back to Nature

Visiting a sanctuary for sloths that have been orphaned or injured or lost their habitat due to deforestation, guests will have a close-up look at the animals as they are rehabilitated in hopes of returning them to the wild. Sloths are the world’s slowest animals and spend nearly all-day hanging upside down in trees, rarely traveling more than 125 feet. If their habitat is disturbed or destroyed, the sloths are at great risk. Guests can expect to observe baby sloths and plenty of adults in various stages of rehabilitation. Deforestation is one of the biggest threats to sloths, so to help their cause, travelers may plant a tree in a nearby forest reserve.
 

Eco-Connect: Hue, Vietnam

Bach Ma National Park Eco-System

Guests can hike through the mountainous Bach Ma National Park with a naturalist who will point out and describe the remarkably diverse flora and fauna. Bach Ma means “white horse,” a reference to the clouds that ride the wind around the granite summit. Although the ruins of homes that the colonial French built to escape the summer heat are still visible, most every other sight will be natural. Birds are abundant, including red-headed trogons and scarlet minivets, which are easy to spot because of their bright coloring. A fifth of all the plant species found in Vietnam flourish in the park, and rare orchids may be seen. The summit will afford panoramic views of the mountains, Tam Giang lagoon and Hue.

Start Your Cruise Trip!



Top image provided by Regent Seven Seas Cruises

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Ultra-luxury cruise line Seabourn has debuted its first expedition ship, Seabourn Venture. The newest ship in the Seabourn fleet set sail on its inaugural voyage from Tromsø, Norway, on the 27th ofJuly, bound for the Arctic and the Svalbard Archipelago with its complement of about 250 guests.

Outfitted for Adventure

Seabourn Venture was purpose-built for exploration and appointed with features and amenities to enrich and enlighten guests on board, on shore, and even beneath the waves.

Seabourn Venture is a ‘Polar Class’ PC6 ship with modern hardware and technology that qualify it to the highest ‘ice class’ level for a passenger ship.

The ship is equipped with kayaks and enough Zodiacs to transport every guest on expeditions and landings all at once, as well as two custom-built submarines, each with capacity for six and capability of exploring shipwrecks and natural wonders under the sea in luxurious comfort.

In addition to the ship’s regular navigational and hospitality crew, Seabourn Venture has a 26-member Expedition Team, made up of highly regarded wilderness experts, scientists, historians and naturalists. These experts provide guests with in-depth insights into the history, ecology and culture of the places they visit.

Designed for Luxury Exploration

Seabourn’s longtime, renowned hospitality design partner, Adam D.Tihany and Tihany Design, created the ultra-luxurious setting that allows you to feel like you’re in the lap of luxury – and still part of the dramatic sea- and landscapes you’re exploring.

The cruise line’s vision for Seabourn Venture was for the interiors and exteriors to combine “authenticity at sea with modern romanticism.”


Like all ships in the Seabourn fleet, Seabourn Venture’s 132 guest accommodations are all oceanfront suites. Public spaces were designed to evoke the spirit of adventure, and the thrill of discovery balanced with Seabourn-style luxury and comfort. Picture yourself in:

·      the Expedition Lounge on Deck 4 (below) or its adjacent Discovery Center, spacious for all guests to gather in a classroom-like setting and enjoy natural history and cultural programming;
·      the Bow Lounge, a prime setting for watching marine life with the closest access to the water on the ship;
·      the Constellation Lounge on the top deck, with stunning, 270-degree views and an intimate interior dressed up in dark blue and red inspired by constellations in the night sky, as well as
·      unique versions of beloved spaces found on all Seabourn ships, like Seabourn Square and restaurants.



Inaugural Season: Arctic, Greenland, Iceland, Antarctica, Amazon and more

Seabourn Venture begins its inaugural season exploring the Arctic, Greenland and Iceland, and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in Nunavut, the most remote and least-populated destinations explored during Seabourn Venture’s Arctic season. Destination highlights include Scoresby Sound, Greenland, home to the largest and longest fjord system in the world; Sermilik Fjord, located in southeastern Greenland and renowned for the many icebergs that flow from multiple glaciers at its head into the Denmark Strait; Svalbard; and Pond Inlet, Nunavut, the eastern entry to the Northwest Passage.

The ship will make its way south in October 2022, stopping at various locales in the Caribbean, Central America, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, and Chile. There will be opportunities to explore in Zodiacs under cliffs teeming with birds, kayak among tropical coral islands, visit ancient Incan sites, and snorkel unspoiled Caribbean coral gardens, as well as a transit of the magnificent Panama Canal.

Between November 2022 and February 2023, Seabourn Venture will cruise scenic sounds, fjords, channels and glaciers in Chile, sailing to Antarctica, and crossing back to explore South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, with up-close encounters with untamed wilderness and wildlife including icebergs, penguin colonies, and seals, as well as visits to research stations that have footholds on the continent. The voyages will include multiple daily operations using the Zodiacs for landings and cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula. Optional excursions will also be available, such as kayaking and the ship’s submarines, allowing guests to explore the vast frontier below sea level.

In March and April 2023, Seabourn Venture will embark on a series of expedition voyages in Brazil and the Amazon. The ship will visit many colorful colonial cities on the coast of Brazil and sail into the heart of South America through one of the world’s greatest rivers, where guests can cruise in Zodiacs along the Amazon River and visit ancient sites and indigenous villages.

Start Your Expedition Cruise Trip!

 
Images courtesy of Seabourn.
 
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A Wine River Cruise that's Close to Home
One of the top reasons many travellers take a European river cruise is for the wine. The banks of many of Europe’s rivers provide the perfect combination of drainage and sun exposure for the cultivation of vines that produce some very famous wines.

But one of the best wine river cruises in the world doesn’t require a long haul flight.

Lynn Elmhirst, Producer and Host of BestTrip TV, explains.


The Pacific Northwest’s increasingly-acclaimed wine regions have a river flowing through them. Oregon and Washington states meet at the Columbia River as it flows westward towards the Pacific Ocean.

Our week-long UnCruise Adventure on the Columbia River tapped into some epic themes and gave us experiences that rival any river cruise in Europe – or the world:

·     We sailed in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark’s historic expedition to the Pacific through the Northwest, on a vintage vessel that’s designed to evoke the American frontier era of exploration; 

·     Our cruise gave us front row seats to take in the spectacular scenery of the Columbia River Gorge and its awe-inspiring transition from temperate rainforest to desert-like landscapes and dramatic cliffs; and

·     And it brought us into towns and communities along the way that have staked a claim to fame as world-class wine and culinary destinations.

Although most UnCruise Adventures emphasize soft adventure experiences like kayaking and other water sports off the ship, and zodiak landings in remote locations for hiking and land exploration, our Rivers of Wine cruise highlighted the region’s exquisite wine and cuisine.

And for good reason.


River of Wine

On both sides of the Columbia river, in both Oregon and Washingtonstates, a critical mass of viticulture is gaining world-wide recognition. 

Oregon has now become one of America’s largest wine producing states, with hundreds of wineries growing dozens of varietals, but mainly in small-batch wineries producing artisan wines from Riesling to Viogniers, Pinot noir to Syrah, with sparkling, rose, and dessert wines that tempted our palates.


On the other side of the river, Washington state is also now one of the top wine producers in the country. While it's a relative newcomer to America’s wine scene, wine has an illustrious pedigree in the state, dating back to 1825 when the Hudson's Bay Company planted the area's first wine grapes at Fort Vancouver.
 
Today’s Washington state viticulture community is growing fast, drawing wine-makers from Europe and New World wine regions to the state's unique terroir and conditions for producing premium white and red wines. Washington's young and internationally-influenced wine culture exhibits some of the latest trends in wine-making that visiting oenophiles – like us! love. Hand-crafting, sustainability, organic and biodynamic wines make visits to this Pacific North West wine region a must for any wine-lover.


 
I can’t think of a more geographically diverse wine river! We visited wineries with the Cascade Mountains’ dramatic Mt. Hood as a backdrop, to other vineyards just a short sail along the river thriving in almost desert conditions.

 
It would be nearly impossible to replicate our wine exploration of the Pacific Northwest along the Columbia River without the expertise of our UnCruise experts and guides, whose knowledge and relationships in the region gave us access to passionate local winemaker entrepreneurs who are drawing on the unique terroir (wine-producing terrain) to cultivate the grapes and craft one-of-a-kind wines – none of which we could get at home.

 
In fact, some of our fellow guests were on the cruise specifically to tap into that expertise to add to their wine collections. That’s a clear benefit of a ‘drive-to’ cruise: they’d driven in some cases cross-country to leave their cars in Portland and embark the ship, ready to drive home with a new collection of vintages – and Pacific Northwest winery contacts - after our round-trip voyage.
 
Others, like us, were thrilled just to taste these uniquely Pacific Northwest wines in charming wineries, surrounded by vineyards, and hear the stories of the winemakers, as well as meet and sample the fruits of the labors of other culinary innovators in small communities along the river. I think all of us were inspired to find room for at least one or two special bottles in our luggage to fly home!
 
The wine tastings and culinary samplings during our trips off the ship were complemented by an outstanding onboard gastronomic experience.
 
Hyper-local ingredients, not just regional, but identified on daily menus right down to the farm and producer, were transformed into one memorable meal after another. A ship that small – with a tiny galley! – even included a pastry chef. And in addition to abundant meals, onboard tastings of local oysters, cheeses and other delicacies had us pacing ourselves, knowing more treats we’d have to try would be coming up next.
 
The onboard sommelier worked lock-step with the chefs to pair an outstanding range of local wines, many from wineries we didn’t get a chance to visit, with each dish at dinner.

 
But maybe our favorite moment was on board when, local wine in hand, we immersed ourselves in the top deck’s hot tub during a late afternoon sailing to watch some of the most dramatic Columbia River Gorge scenery float by as we toasted our cruise along America’s River of Wine.
 

Start Your Wine River Cruise Trip!

 
 
All images copyright BestTrip TV/ Lynn Elmhirst.

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New USPS Stamp Collection Salutes Mississippi River Cruising
They don’t call it the “Mighty Mississippi” for nothing. From Lake Itasca’s trickling overspill in Minnesota, the Mississippi travels the length of the continental U.S., growing as it flows for 2,300 miles until it empties into the Gulf of Mexico with waters added from tributaries in 31 U.S. states.

The Mississippi is at the core of American heritage, and is often also referred to as “America’s backbone.” It’s also the country’s heart and soul, and one of the most epic river routes in the world. No wonder the popularity of Mississippi river cruises continues to grow.
 
In the spring of 2022, the United States Postal Service recognized the continuing allure of America’s greatest waterway and “quintessential highway” in a new stamp collection called the Mighty Mississippi. Each of the 10 photographic stamps in the portfolio represents a state along the course of the river.
 
And one of them – the Iowa stamp - features American Queen Voyages' American Queen steamboat near the city of Bettendorf. The honor also marks American Queen Voyages' 10th anniversary of sailing the Mississippi River.
At the ceremony dedicating the new stamp collection, the master of ceremonies was the cruise director of American Queen voyages, and John Waggoner, founder and chairman of American Queen Voyages joined USPS chief postal inspector, local mayors from along the river, historians and pastors, were also on hand to inaugurate the collection and note its significance.

“Travelers have been captivated by the Mississippi River — romanticizing the steamboats transporting them from Minnesota to Louisiana — throughout history,” said Waggoner. “Our flagship American Queen is an iconic symbol of those mighty paddle-wheelers, and we are honored to have her grace the collection.” 
 
The American Queen may be the perfect existing river cruise ship to symbolize Mississippi river cruising. At 400 feet long and nearly 90 feet wide, it’s the largest paddlewheel steamboat ever built. Her ornate, historic design, complete with bright red paddlewheel, fluted stacks and curlicue woodwork harkens back to the “romanticized” early days of Mississippi riverboat travel. That’s no accident.
 
“What we try to do as philosophy is keep things like it was in the 1900s. This is just how it was when Mark Twain was onboard,” Waggoner has said.
 
“We want you to experience the thump-thump-thump-thump-thump of the paddlewheel. We want you to stand on the stern. We want you to get muddy Mississippi water spraying your face, and we want you to sit in a rocking chair, and watch the river go by and relax.'
 
Other stamps in the collection highlight top destinations – and incredible diversity of travel experiences – along the length of the Mississippi.
River cruises tend to break the immense river into sections. Guests can choose northern, middle or southern itineraries – or even full length cruises of the Mighty Mississippi. From the unmistakeable, mid-century ‘gateway to the West’ skyline of St. Louis in the north, through the rich lands, horse, music and bourbon cultures in Kentucky and Tennessee, to the bayous of the South and the magic of the bright lights in birthplace of jazz and Creole culture, New Orleans, a river cruise on the Mississippi can bring travelers closer to the heart of America than they may have ever imagined.