Taste of Bordeaux cruise: Blaye and Bourg-en-Gironde, France

ABOARD AMADOLCE-The AmaDolce visited two places: first, Blaye, a quaint little town with a 17th century citadel listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the afternoon, the ship would dock in Bourg-en-Gironde, built during Roman times and still living inside medieval walls. So in the morning, I strolled the streets of Blaye and found the place pretty quiet. It was a Monday, in August, and many places, except for the fabulous and very fragrant bakeries., were …

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Taste of Bordeaux cruise: Pauillac/Medoc; Garonne River/Gironde

  ABOARD AMADOLCE-Morning brought the AmaDolce to the Gironde estuary and the town of Pauillac, the starting point for my tour of the world-famous region of Medoc. The most exciting part of the day for me would be the opportunity to actually see the places that belonged to the names I had only seen previously on fabulous (and usually expensive) bottles of wine: Latour, Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Saint-Estephe, Saint-Julien, etc. I snapped photos of some …

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Taste of Bordeaux cruise: Cadillac, France & Bordeaux, France

ABOARD AMADOLCE-This is the first full day on my “Taste of Bordeaux” cruise aboard AmaWaterways’ AmaDolce, taking me on the Garonne and Dordogne rivers to some of the greatest wine regions of France—and the world. There would be wine lectures and seminars led by Christopher Silva, CEO of the St. Francis Winery in Sonoma, California. And lots of tastings, of course. Though the AmaDolce is not a new ship, this is a brand new itinerary, in response, …

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Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Explorer Christening: Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo-The most glamorous city in the world was the appropriate venue for christening the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, the most luxurious ship ever built. Hundreds of cruise executives,travel partners, press and distinguished guests gathered under a perfect blue sky for this gala black tie event that was streamed live all over the world. As a prelude to the ceremony, images of the ship’s construction and the ports she will visit were projected on a huge screen. …

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Pre-inaugural cruise aboard Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Explorer: St. Tropez

Aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer-Brigitte Bardot (and her bikini) made St. Tropez famous, and all manner of celebrities and movie people followed. Today, it’s still a hot spot on the French Riviera, and a popular port on many Mediterranean cruises. As this is the last day of the Regent Explorer’s pre-inaugural cruise, I took a tour that started at Port Grimaud, Provence’s version of Venice. This little town has a fulltime population of just 80 people, …

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Pre-inaugural cruise aboard Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Explorer: Olbia, Sardinia

Aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer-Among the complimentary tours offered aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, I chose the Scenic Costa Smerelda option, which, I think, is a great way to see the stunning natural beauty of this extraordinary island. Many people only know Sardinia because Prince Karim Aga Khan “discovered” it in the 1960s and, along with other investors, built a glamorous resort enclave at Porto Cervo. Among the very, very expensive hotels on the Costa Smerelda …

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Pre-inaugural cruise aboard Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Explorer: Toulon, France

Aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer-As the Explorer docked at the old town in southern France fairly early, there was time to walk to the Provencal market that takes place every morning and features local products before returning to the ship for one of the day’s highlights, the cooking experience. Chef Kathryn Kelly, director of culinary enrichment, conducted the class, where the menu started with scallops and ended with a Limoncello dessert. With humor and infinite patience, …

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Pre-inaugural cruise aboard Regent Seven Seas’ Seven Seas Explorer: Barcelona

Aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer-After a quick tour of Barcelona, including a stop at Gaudi’s iconic Sagrada Familia, I boarded the brand new Regent Seven Seas Explorer for a brief shakeout cruise (that means not everything will be perfect) that will sail to Monaco for the ship’s christening. (For the maiden voyage that sails on July 20, everything is expected to be perfect.) As the Explorer has been described at the most luxurious ship ever built, …

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Preparing for cruise aboard Regent Seven Seas’ new Seven Seas Explorer

On July 7th, 2016, I’ll be boarding Regent’s brand-new Seven Seas Explorer in Barcelona for an exciting cruise that will end on July 13th in Monaco, where the ship will be christened, with H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco serving as godmother. Jason Montague, president and COO, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, has said:  “It’s fitting to have the world’s most luxurious ship, Seven Seas Explorer, christened in one of the most glamorous cities in the world by H.S.H. …

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American Empress: Little sister to the American Queen

When I was invited to join the inaugural cruise of the American Empress from Spokane, Washington to Portland, Oregon in early April, I jumped at the opportunity to experience the rebirth of the riverboat formerly known as the Empress of the North. The classic paddlewheeler had been laid up since 2008, when her former owner, the Majestic America Line, went bankrupt. After being purchased by the American Queen Steamboat Company from the U.S. Maritime Administration, the 223-passenger …

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