Vietnam, Cambodia & The Riches of The Mekong

AMA Ha Long Bay

by Don McCann

Last week we attended an agent presentation by AMA Waterways on their Vietnam package.  I was very interested to hear what it included as I’ve heard great things about tourism in this region in recent years.  On a personal note, I also wanted to see what could be so good that it could make those of us who grew up during the Vietnam War era overcome the really negative feelings at the very sound of that country’s name.

AMA Angkor Wat

Even though “river cruising” brings to mind Europe for many, there are certainly many other regions around the world where river cruising has much to offer.  Such is the case with Vietnam & Cambodia.  The complete AMA package begins in the north with a couple of nights in Hanoi and one night on a traditional wooden junk in Ha Long Bay.  Many people would be surprised about the French heritage in the city and even more surprised at the world-class stunning scenery of Ha Long Bay (just like in a James Bond movie!).  After a short flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia, your next stop would be Angkor Wat, the Asian temple of which many associate with this region.  Next, the cruise itself on the Mekong onboard one of AMA’s new, elegant vessels.  This journey, with the markets, the sights, the people, the traditions, is more than a vacation, it’s truly a life experience!    Then, at the end of the cruise, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the conclusion of this magnificent tour with two nights at a premier hotel.  Here you may find the culture even more French than in Hanoi!

Needless to say, we all came away extremely impressed and excited to have a quality product to offer in an exotic location for yet another wonderful river cruise destination!

AMA Mekong collage

Paris to Prague with Avalon Waterways – photos by Bill

Continuing with our Cruise Week features, Bill Edwards is sharing his photos of his recent Avalon Waterways Paris to Prague itinerary in Central Europe:

Avalon Bill map

Disney World? NO, this is the real thing! Charming Paris



Everyone’s favorite tower!


Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre, Sacred Heart overlooking Paris


Off to join the river cruise, via the famed TGV !!




One of many castles along the Rhine
One of the many castles along the Rhine
Ruins along the Rhine



Reichsburg Castle overlooking Cochem


Avalon Luminary docked in Koblenz


Charming architecture of Koblenz


Bill in Miltenberg




Lovely View, Overlooking Miltenberg




The beauty of river cruising: the peaceful Moselle

Vineyards along the Moselle

The many locks always provide a fun and interesting experience!







Always something to see, along the Moselle


Historic Bamberg


Avalon Bill Bamberg2

Bamberg waterfront



overlooking Prague




Prague & blue skies


A very serious guard in Prague


Stunning window in Prague


For more information on Avalon Waterways, click here>

French Waterways with Tauck River Cruises – “Show ‘n Tell”

Our recent blog posts by John Lane featured some of his ports along the French Waterways cruise with Tauck, but in honor of our “River Cruise Week” we thought we’d put together some more photo highlights to illustrate this outstanding itinerary:

John’s itinerary was from Arles to Lyon, then TGV to Paris

Tauck John map


 A very FRENCH side street in Arles

Tauck John Arles street



 Cafe Van Gogh in Arles – how perfect is this?!!

Tauck John Arles Cafe Van Gogh


 The beauty of Arles – inside & out!

Tauck John Arles bakery garden


Avignon Bridge

Tauck John Avignon Bridge



Chateauneuf du Pape near Avignon

Tauck John Avignon Chateauneuf du Pape

Vineyards near Avignon

Tauck John Avignon vineyards



Tree-lined street in Viviers

Tauck John Viviers street



Tauck exclusive tour to the Laurent Family Ranch and the Camargue horses

Tauck John Laurent Family Ranch

John, overlooking Vienne

Tauck John Vienne



St Maurice in Vienne

Tauck John Vienne St Maurice



Roman ruins in Vienne

Roman ruins in Vienne



Festive colors of the produce & flowers in Vienne

Festive colors of the produce & flowers at the Vienne market!



Farewell dinner setting onboard Tauck Swiss Emerald

Tauck John farewell dinner



Paris:  The perfect ending to any visit to France!

Tauck John Paris


For more on Tauck River Cruise, click here>

Christmas in June

by Don McCann

We often host client presentations, which our business calls “Cruise Nights”.  Last week, we had a cruise night called “Christmas in June” featuring Viking River Cruises and their Christmas Market cruises in Europe.    This event was great fun to plan and easy to decide how to decorate.  However, the most enthusiastic of our planners was my daughter, Rachel, who just moved back from Germany, after having lived there for 3 1/2 years.   While there, she LOVED the various Christmas Markets and she had TONS of ideas for our event.  Not only did she bring in some of her market purchases, but she baked authentic heart-shaped gingerbread cookies with ‘Merry Christmas’ in German, French, and Hungarian, as well as some cookies with the Viking River logo, AND she agreed to be one of our guest speakers!

Vikings great 3minute video was an effective visual introduction to the Christmas Markets, then Rachel added her personal experiences about the Markets, with some wonderful “show ‘n tell” items.  Next up, our local Viking River Representative, Carolyn Szekeres, did a great presentation on the cruises themselves and the fantastic new river ships the line is adding.  All in all, it was perhaps our most fun, and certainly our most festive, cruise night yet!

If you were not able to join us, take a look at some of the photos (click on each to enlarge):

Brats & cheese with pretzel bread

Brats & cheese with pretzel bread

Christmas in June lights and seating

Christmas in June lights at Cruise Escapes


Carolyn Szekeres of Viking Cruises

Carolyn Szekeres of Viking Cruises

Christmas in June CE staff

Cruise Escapes staff at one of our Market ‘stalls’ with Viking cookies!


Have any Christmas Market stories, or photos you’d care to share? – We’d love your reply!

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