Recently, I had the opportunity to cruise the Rhine River onboard Uniworld’s river boat, the Antoinette. Like so many of you, I’ve been on lots of cruises, both ocean and river. I knew my travel agent friends would expect me to tell them what I thought about the experience, so for all seven days I ate, drank, went sightseeing, mingled with other guests and participated in the activities. It was Uniworld’s attention to detail made this cruise exceptional.
What does “Attention To Detail” mean? What does such attention mean to a passenger’s enjoyment of the trip? How does Uniworld stand out in this category? Let’s take a look....
With stunning islands and the most gorgeous water on the planet, Greece has always attracted tons of tourists, all clamoring for fun and relaxation in the Mediterranean sun. I just visited Greece and discovered a true treasure - Naxos - an island like no other. Go there now, for the secret is sure to be out soon.
Landing in Athens, I visited the Acropolis then marveled at the remarkable antiquities at The Acropolis Museum before I hopped a ferry to Naxos.
Boasting some of the world’s cleanest waters, charming islands and a coast lined with World Heritage sites, the Adriatic Sea is one of the world’s premier cruising grounds. Most of the vessels plying these waters are not large cruise ships, but rather large yachts, ranging from rustic traditional sail boats to luxury yachts, providing an unspoiled, uncrowded cruise vacation option for your clients.
Captivated by the rolling hills, forest and patchworks of vineyards full of lush grapevines, my journey is heightened by the sounds, sights, and smells of the fresh countryside as my train travels from Paris to the Champagne-Ardennes. This adventure is heightened by the vivid landscape of lush, green vineyards creating a striking contrast against a dark blue sky in the Champagne region that conjures up bright images, like those featured in a Chagall painting.
We came to this famous wine region to deepen our understanding and appreciation of some of the best wine produced in the world. Beaune, we soon discover, is a bustling town with a decidedly sophisticated rural ambience located in the very heart of the French countryside. Beneath medieval ramparts and former cloistered convents, vast mazes of wine cellars are connected under the entire ancient town, creating an extraordinary setting connecting the past with the present.
Rail travel is a quick, easy and efficient way to travel in Europe. France’s TGV and other high-speed routes speed clients from city to city, leaving more time for enjoying the attractions. On long trips, night trains can save time by combining sleep with changing cities. But convenience is not the only reason to tell your clients about Europe’s excellent rail network: riding one of the great scenic routes by train can be the highlight of your client’s vacation.
Any list of the world’s greatest train rides includes a number in Europe, where trains are the best vantage point for scenic landscapes. Remind clients that trains have a big advantage over driving: everyone can marvel at the scenery, as no one needs to be watching the road.
While Manchester may not be high on the radar yet for American travelers, it welcomes the UK’s third largest number of visitors, exceeded only by London and Edinburgh. They come to enjoy a vibrant city that’s England’s most ethnically diverse, a melting pot of Britain’s vast former empire.
When people think of storybook medieval German towns, the talk generally revolves around Rothenberg ob der Tauber, as well it should; it’s a beautiful medieval city on the Romantic Road in Bavaria. It has picturesque lanes, half-timbered houses and an intact fortification wall gives you a good idea of what a medieval town looked like nearly 1,000 years ago. It is even said that Walt Disney used some of Rothenberg’s medieval buildings for inspiration when constructing Disneyland. The region also attracts millions and millions of visitors each year.
While Rothenberg is a must-see city, discerning travelers may have an issue with those millions of tourists. In this age of experiential travel, many people want to avoid places that even slightly resemble a tourist trap and the souvenir shops that go with that moniker. If only Franconian Bavaria had an undiscovered medieval town that had the charm, the architecture and the culture of Rothenberg, yet without the millions of tourists. Well, luckily there is one! And its name is Iphofen.
For those of us who grew up during the Cold War era the cities of the Ukraine were viewed enigmatically. Ukraine was located on the other side of the Iron Curtain and so it seemed to be off-limits, not just a different political system, but a different world entirely. Yet, for those who dared to delve to dream of visiting the forbidden cities on the other side of the Iron Curtain, they also conjured up images from a previous age...the beauty of legendary opera houses, ancient monasteries, great literature and beautiful parks and the romance of a long ago age.
On water, on rails, in historic manor houses or smart city hotels, Scotland knows how to do luxury travel.
While the Royal Scotsman is well-known to high-end travelers as one of the world’s grandest train trips, the Hebridian Princess (www.hebridean.co.uk) may be less familiar to clients seeking a luxury Scottish vacation. A cruise on board this 50-passenger ship is like being the guest at a floating house party at a posh country house.
But this house party’s scenery changes constantly and each day brings a different shore experience - the ghost town on rarely visited St Kilda, an airport with a white-sand beach for a runway, prehistoric sites, castles, the fabled isle of Iona, and one of Britain’s most famous gardens at Inverewe. Service is impeccable - seamless, cordial and good-humored. Staterooms are spacious and public areas intimate and welcoming. No wonder when Queen Elizabeth II plans a family cruise she charters the Hebridean Princess.