Shermanstravel Blog

Cruise

Grand Turk cruise - Gregory RunyanPerhaps a friend recommended a vacation at sea. Maybe a TV commercial, with shots of turquoise waters and smiling passengers, lured you in. Or is it simply time for something different? No matter the reason, the decision is made – you’re going on your first trip cruise. If you’re feeling unsure of what to expect, don’t fret. Just keep these 10 things in mind and you’ll enjoy smooth sailing:

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAlthough it may seem far off, we are already keenly plotting our winter getaways. This year, we are looking far south, inspired by this deal from Adventure Life that offers up to $925 in savings on their Wildlife and Glaciers expedition cruise through Patagonia, Chile.

Cabin rates for this four-day cruise start at $951 per person (a savings of 35 percent) and the trip includes a visit to a newly discovered elephant seal colony, Brookes fjord, Ainsworth Bay, Marinelli Glacier, Almirantazgo Bay, Parry Glacier, and Magdalena Island. Passengers depart from Punta Arenas and cruise aboard the 136-passenger Via Australis. There are also plenty of opportunities to explore the beautiful trails, shores, and glaciers of the area with daily included excursions.

This offer is good until June 30th for travel September 2014 through April 2015. Book via the company’s website.

CruiseOne of the great things about river cruise ships and other small vessels is the opportunity to locally source food, beer, and wine. Unlike large cruise ships, which haul aboard tons of frozen foods at the start of each voyage, smaller ships can pick and choose from local and regional farms, breweries, and wineries along their itineraries, buying what they need for a smaller number of guests.

One of the leaders in this concept is the American Queen Steamboat Company, which has just launched its newest river paddlewheeler, the 223-passenger American Empress. Read more

Guy FieriIf you’ve dreamed of dining at Nobu in Vegas, or Todd English’s acclaimed Food Court at the Plaza in New York City, you may not have to visit either city to make your dream come true. A number of cruise lines have teamed up with celebrity chefs to bring their restaurants to sea. Forget uninspired buffets from faceless onboard restaurants. Today, specialty restaurants are the new wave, and in some cases, the eateries are included in your cruise costs. (Others require a reservation and a modest additional fee.)

We’ve even done the math and it can, in fact, be cheaper to sample a celebrity chef’s menu while you’re sailing, rather than paying more for the brick-and-mortar experience. Check out the popular celebrity chef restaurants on these seven cruise lines: Read more

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Ever wanted to see all – and we do mean all – of South America’s coastline? Holland America’s newest Grand Voyage for 2015 will let you do just that. The 68-day journey will make a complete loop around the continent from Fort Lauderdale, with a few additional ports of call in the Caribbean, Central America, and, weather permitting, Antarctica.

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Celebrity Cruise“Daiquiri! Mojito! Rum punch! . . . ” shouts a waiter, who walks around a sunny cruise ship deck, trying to be heard above the squeals of children and the chatter of happy vacationers relaxing in lounge chairs.

It’s a typical poolside scene aboard most cruise ships, especially those sailing in the Caribbean, the Bahamas or Mexico. For cruise lines, alcoholic beverages provide a very lucrative onboard revenue stream. Fancy cocktails can command upward of $10 apiece, and sometimes more, aboard the mass market and premium lines. On a ship carrying 3,000 or 4,000 people, it adds up. Read more

juneau - alaska - tracys king crab shack - chris beck - 620

There’s seafood, and then there’s seafood in Alaska. A trip is not complete without some salmon or king crab. Whether you’re embarking on a cruise or are seeing the state on your own, these locals-approved establishments deserve a spot on any Southeast Alaska food tour. They may not have all the bells and whistles of your favorite special occasion seafood restaurant back home, but that’s because they deliver on what’s important: fresh catch and satisfying flavor.

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holland - michigan 1The Great Lakes have long been a prime vacation spot for Detroiters, Chicagoans, and other Midwesterners, but it’s often an overlooked destination for anyone outside of the area. Why isn’t Traverse City as popular as Virginia Beach? Why flock to overcrowded Florida beaches and pay $6 for an ice cream cone when you can spend a summer on the Bayfield coast? For more peace and less moolah, these 10,000 miles of freshwater coastline offer quaint beaches, sprawling forests, and happening area metropolises. Here are our top recommendations. Read more

BratanAs views go, lakes provide a backdrop that is at once soothing and full of mystery. Unlike oceans, these mighty bodies of water are contained. You can row across their surface, dive for shipwrecks, or simply go bird-watching, all in the safe knowledge that land is never too far away. More than anything, lakes can provide a refreshing change of scenery from days spent shopping in town or hiking in the surrounding mountains.

Here are a few lakefront views worth traveling for.

Alaska - Columbia Glacier - Prince Williams Sound - 620 - by Nomadic LassBelieve it or not, there are many ways to see Alaska without taking a cruise, lovely and hassle-free though they may be. Whether you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to cruising, want to see the land up-close, or simply want more control during your trip, here are three excellent, affordable ways to travel through the “Last Frontier.”

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cruise ship - Jim PennucciIn this day and age, it’s generally easy to go DIY when it comes to travel planning. Putting together your own itinerary and making your own bookings gives you the most control – and sometimes results in the best savings. But there are sill a few instances when seeking help is a good idea. Even seasoned travelers will tell you that booking a cruise is one of them.

Before we launch into the various ways an agent can help you, a quick thing to note: When we say “cruise agent,” we mean an agent who solely specializes in cruises or works for a cruise-specific agency. Some agencies we work with here at ShermansTravel include CruisesOnly, Cruise.com, and Online Vacation Center, just to name a few, and cruise lines will often have their own agents (though, obviously, they’d only be able to provide help with that line’s offerings and partners). Working with an agent usually won’t cost you a thing. Agents are compensated via commission, but don’t worry – the close relationships that they form with cruise lines are exactly what might score you extra perks. Keep reading for more.

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crystal-cruisesBeen itching to set sail? Can’t resist a good quiz during your lunch break? Our new quiz helps you find your perfect cruise based on your travel style. In your results, we’ll provide a few expert recommendations for all budgets. Take the quiz here.

If you’re going on a river cruise, chances are you’re keen on immersing yourself in the history and culture of your destination. And while river cruising certainly affords that much more of that than an ocean-going cruise, the time you’ll have in port will still be limited and precious. Here’s how to make the most of it:

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cruise 1When booking a cruise, the options can seem infinite and overwhelming. And choosing the right ship, itinerary, and cabin type is just the beginning. From there, you’ll want to know when the cheapest cruises are, when you should travel, and, the age-old traveler’s dilemma: what to pack. Browse our stories below for answers to all the above, and more. Who knows, you may be inspired to set sail sooner than you think!
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SilverseaA few beads of moisture had collected on a marble tabletop at the outdoor Panorama Lounge aboard Silversea CruisesSilver Spirit. Seconds later, a waiter appeared out of nowhere with a white rag. “Here, madam. Let me just take care of that,” he said, wiping away the droplets. That’s one example of the service level passengers can expect on a luxury ship like this. On the Silver Spirit, there is one crew member for every 1.4 passengers – that’s half the ratio offered by most premium-category ships.

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