Intro to River Cruising: U.S.

by MTT Nancy, Nancy Julian

To avoid the hassle of international flights and travel, you might want to consider a U.S. river cruise. It’s important to understand that operating a U.S. based river cruise company is not an easy proposition as these ships must be built in the United States as well as have a U.S. crew. That said, there are several companies that provide quality river cruises in the United States with more coming on board. Viking has committed to building a ship for cruising in the U.S. and having it in service by the end of 2016.

Blount Small Ship Adventures

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This small ship line boasts small passenger counts, such as the Southern Charm cruise on the 88 passenger Grand Caribe. This voyage, which is 16 days and 15 nights, takes you from Jacksonville, Florida to Warren, Rhode Island, and points in between, starting at $4,999. As with most river cruise ships, this cost includes your stateroom, meals (including beer and wine with lunch and dinner) historians and many excursions.

American Cruise Lines

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A big bonus of river cruising is being able to navigate smaller, more shallow channels. This leads to truly magnificent views from the ship and easy access to ports. See Alaska up close and personal aboard American Cruise Line’s American Spirit. Less than 150 passengers will be on board with you and you’ll be treated to a hotel room the night before you depart. Then set sail for an 8 day, 7 night adventure to such places as Glacier Bay, Haines, and Petersburg, Alaska. Cost per person starts at $4,620.00.

American Queen Steamboat Company

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This line voyages on the Mississippi, Ohio & Tennessee rivers and Columbia and Snake River. These ships have a passenger count of about 400 or less. Try an 8-day New Orleans to Memphis cruise and enjoy a free night in New Orleans and free breakfast in the morning before you board. You’ll be immersed in history and charm as you stop in places such as Natchez, Vicksburg and Helena while enjoying complimentary beer and wine with dinner as well as specialty coffee drinks at no extra charge. Prices start at $2,249.00 per person.

Explore the rich history of America up close and personal on these and many other itineraries.

- Nancy

Contact MTT Nancy at 575-430-1119 or nancy.julian@mousetalestravel.com to book your next river cruise! For more information about boomer travel, join Nancy’s Facebook page:  Facebook.com/MagicalFeatherMemories

Intro to River Cruising: Europe

by MTT Nancy, Nancy Julian

What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “Let’s take a cruise”? A wide open ocean, ports of call reached after days at sea, and a cruise line exclusive island? This is the typical vision of cruising and is certainly one well-loved , but have you heard of the rapidly growing niche of River Cruising?

River cruising occurs in much smaller ships than the big ocean cruisers, and often your fare includes alcohol, tours and gratuities along with inclusions you would expect, such as dining and entertainment. Although many associate river cruising with adult travel, lines are branching out to include family friendly activities as well. For those who are nervous about becoming sea sick, river cruising is smooth and easy with no fear of rough seas.
 
Three big players in this area are, AmaWaterways, Tauck, and Viking.

amaFirst up, let’s take a look at AmaWaterways. How about a European Wine Cruise, or a Knitting Cruise on the Danube? With no more than 164 passengers, you know you’ll be able to enjoy all the activities without fighting a crowd.

This must cost a lot of money, right? River cruising can be surprisingly affordable. For example, the European Wine cruise starts at $2,549 per person and this price includes: Balcony Stateroom, 7 Cruise Nights, 2 nights at a hotel in Lucerne, 2 nights in a hotel in Zurich, and all tours.

Another well -known name is Tauck. Specializing in European travel, Tauck offers a complimentary drink package and intimate ships with under 150 passengers. Tauck is proud of their all-inclusive ships, which include not only food and alcohol but complimentary internet service as well.
 
Like to shop? Take a Christmas Markets Along the Danube cruise, starting from $2,580 for 8 days. Stop and shop in such places as Nurnberg, Passau, Salzburg and Vienna. For a special treat, you can also enjoy exploring Regensberg and shop in a palace.

 

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The largest river cruise company is Viking which currently has 52 vessels in service and is growing rapidly.

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If you’ve been looking for a new cruising experience, consider river cruising, you might never want to be on an ocean again.

- Nancy

Contact MTT Nancy at 575-430-1119 or nancy.julian@mousetalestravel.com to book your next river cruise! For more information about boomer travel, join Nancy’s Facebook page:  Facebook.com/MagicalFeatherMemories

Camp Ocean: The New Carnival Kids Club

by MTT Keri, Keri Reyes

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One of the best parts of cruising for a kid, (let’s face it, the parents love it too) are the kids clubs and Carnival just announced there new kids club called Camp Ocean! Camp Ocean was developed with the younger kiddies in mind. They enlisted the help of some professions who specialize in child development, media and learning through play. This panel of experts helped Carnival create more then 200 new actives to bring the ocean to life by mixing fun and games with a little bit of learning. The kids will have so much fun playing games and doing arts and crafts they won’t even know they are learning! Here are the age categories and a little description.

  • The 2-5 year olds get to join the Penguin Colony and be a part of activates like Musical Icebergs and Ocean Bingo. They can also take part in some fun learning actives like learning about buoyancy!

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  • Ages 6 to 8 are apart of the Stingray group. They will get to make sea salt art, design their own aquariums, and enjoy a Pirate Game Night.

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  • The bigger kids, ages 9-11 are the Sharks. The Sharks will have a great time playing Marine Life Trivia, playing sea-themed volleyball and soccer and creating a giant ocean mural!

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Another cool feature to the program is the Badge Challenge. The Challenges will include things like exploring the ship, trying new foods, make there own towel animals and even taking a ride on one of the water slides. Once they’ve completed the tasks they will collect the badges. It’s a great way for kids to remember the fun activates they did while on board!

The expert panel that was developed is going to continuously review and guide updates to keep the program fresh. Camp Ocean will start on the Carnival Freedom May 24, 2014. Later this year the Carnival Magic, Carnival Breeze and Carnival Triumph will start the program. All the Carnival ships will have the new addition of Camp Ocean by 2016.

- Keri

Contact MTT Keri at 631-406-9551 or keri.reyes@mousetalestravel.com to book your next family vacation! For more information about family travel, join Keri’s Facebook page: Facebook.com/AwfullyBigAdventures

Wordless Wednesday

Meet the AquaDunk aboard the Disney Magic:

Aqua-Dunk-MTT

 From Disney Cruise Line: AquaDunk is a thrilling, 3-story body slide located at the Forward Funnel on Deck 13 aboard the Disney Magic. During this watery thrill ride, plummet at high speeds when the floor beneath you opens up like a trap door and propels you through a 212-foot-long translucent tube—which curves 20 feet out over the side of the ship — to an unforgettable splashdown. Towering nearly 37 feet above the ocean and decks below, it’s an exhilarating experience from countdown to splashdown!

– Kimberly

Get a quote from Kimberly

You’ll find Kimberly booking fabulous vacations for her clients while managing the greatest travel planner team ever assembled. You can reach her at kimberly@mousetalestravel.com (preferred) or 843.606.0687. You’ll also find her on Pinterest and Facebook as the face of MTT.

 

 

 

 

What Not to Wear: Teen Cruise Edition

MTT welcomes back Ashley, the daughter of MTT Glynis, to share her thoughts on teen dress for Disney Cruise Line. Meet Ashley: I am an 18 year old Freshman in college majoring in Vocal Performance, and I dream of one day performing on stage with Disney Cruise Line.  I have always loved Disney movies and when I went to Walt Disney World for the first time, at the age of 12, it was so magical because all those movies I had seen, were finally coming to life right before my eyes.  I love watching other children’s eyes light up with the same amazement when they first experience the Disney magic at the parks and on a Disney Cruise.  My favorite Disney princess is Aurora because she is a classic.

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Knowing what to wear on a cruise for a teenager can be the make it or break it point of the cruise. No teen wants to be the one strolling into Vibe looking a total wreck the first night and everyone makes fun of them, but no teen wants to automatically have others thinking they are a snob because of how nice they dress. I am here to help guide your teen in the process of figuring out what clothes to bring on your family’s Disney cruise.

The first night in Vibe is when your teen will have the opportunity to meet the people they will be hanging out with for the rest of the cruise. I recommend that night dressing fairly casual. For girls I recommend a pair of capri’s or shorts with some type of shirt. For guys you can never go wrong with a polo and shorts….and when I say shorts I mean decent shorts, not gym shorts.

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The rest of the time on the cruise during the day I would wear just about anything. I personally enjoyed wearing Nike shorts and a v-neck or tank top. Guys normally wore some kind of gym shorts and t-shirt or tank top as well. On the Dream and Fantasy, Vibe has their own pool area, so it’s always good to bring your swimsuit and a change of clothes. I would also suggest to girls that they at least bring a large t-shirt for walking to and from the water area, modesty is never a bad thing.

Evening time is when your teen will be able to go to shows and dinner. During most of the cruise they suggest cruise casual. Casual does NOT mean gym shorts and t-shirts.

Guys: I recommend khaki shorts or pants and a button up or polo style shirt.

Girls: Capri’s and a nice top, sun dress, or maxi dress

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One night on the cruise is the formal night where you will have the opportunity to dress a little nicer. You can choose to continue to dress in the same cruise casual as you have the rest of the cruise, or you can dress nicer.

Guys: I have seen some guys wear suits, so if that’s what makes you happy go for it. I would definitely say nothing less than khaki pants and a polo.

Girls: If you are anything like me you love dressing up and would want to wear your prom dress if you could. That is totally fine. I recommend a cocktail dress or homecoming style dress. Basically just something a little nicer.

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These suggestions do not mean bring three suitcases full of your entire wardrobe. Laundry services are available, so I recommend bringing a few pairs of shorts and t-shirts, your necessary undergarments, swimsuits, and whatever you plan on wearing for dinner time.  Following these tips will help your teen have an enjoyable cruise while also looking good.

– Ashley

Get a Quote from Glynis

Contact MTT Glynis at 404-394-7223 or glynis.habeck@mousetalestravel.com to book your next Disney vacation! For more information about Disney travel from the teen perspective, join Glynis’ Facebook page: Facebook.com/MinnieVacations