River cruises – Canal Voyagers http://canalvoyagers.com/ Thu, 19 May 2022 21:15:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://canalvoyagers.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/icon-6-83x150.png River cruises – Canal Voyagers http://canalvoyagers.com/ 32 32 American River Cruises launches 2022 season in the Pacific Northwest https://canalvoyagers.com/american-river-cruises-launches-2022-season-in-the-pacific-northwest/ Mon, 16 May 2022 20:27:00 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/american-river-cruises-launches-2022-season-in-the-pacific-northwest/ American Cruise Lines announced today that its 2022 Pacific Northwest river cruise season, sailing the Columbia and Snake Rivers, has officially begun. Last month, the company celebrated the start of the season by opening a new cruise pier in Kalama, Washington, which was built through a partnership with the Port of Kalama. This year, four […]]]>

American Cruise Lines announced today that its 2022 Pacific Northwest river cruise season, sailing the Columbia and Snake Rivers, has officially begun. Last month, the company celebrated the start of the season by opening a new cruise pier in Kalama, Washington, which was built through a partnership with the Port of Kalama.

This year, four of American Cruise Lines’ riverboats will explore the Columbia and Snake Rivers between Hayden Island/Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington; and the line plans to add a fifth ship to the region next year.

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The current quartet of modern river vessels – American Song, American Harmony, American Pride and American West – will offer three different routes along these historic waterways.

Sailing between Hayden Island/Portland, Oregon and Clarkston, Washington, a classic eight-day “Columbia & Snake Rivers” cruise and a longer 11-day “Northwest Pioneers” cruise; and a five-day “Highlights of the Columbia River” cruise that sails round-trip from Portland.

The cruise line’s immersive experience aboard a small ship and carefully curated itineraries entice many guests to explore the majestic Pacific Northwest each year; as do its comprehensive pre- and post-cruise packages, which include hotel stays and exciting adventures on land and water, with everything from jet boat rides to in-flight tours.

For 2022, the cruise line launched its new “National Parks Post-Cruise Packages,” available on select Columbia and Snake Rivers cruises that land in Clarkston, Washington. These three- or seven-night guided exploration packages through some of America’s most magnificent national parks, namely Glacier, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.

Of course, throughout the immersive river cruises themselves, guests are constantly treated to breathtaking views of the region’s extraordinarily diverse landscapes, which range from forested mountains to flowering meadows and desert canyons. All American Cruise Lines voyages offer exceptional shore excursions, led by experts and local guides in small groups, every day.

For more information, visit americancruiselines.com.

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AmaWaterways Announces Resumption of River Cruises in Southeast Asia This Fall https://canalvoyagers.com/amawaterways-announces-resumption-of-river-cruises-in-southeast-asia-this-fall/ Sun, 15 May 2022 11:44:41 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/amawaterways-announces-resumption-of-river-cruises-in-southeast-asia-this-fall/ AmaWaterways has announced a return to cruising in Southeast Asia, offering river voyages to Vietnam and Cambodia from October. The company offers two different cruises between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. Both are 8-day, 7-night adventures, with the option to add on pre- or post-trip stays in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or […]]]>

AmaWaterways has announced a return to cruising in Southeast Asia, offering river voyages to Vietnam and Cambodia from October.

The company offers two different cruises between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. Both are 8-day, 7-night adventures, with the option to add on pre- or post-trip stays in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, or Siem Reap.

“After missing many celebrations with family and friends over the past two years, there is incredible pent-up demand, with travelers eager to pack their bags and start filling out their to-do lists,” Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-founder of AmaWaterways, said in a statement.

Riches of the Mekong

The first Asian cruise is called Riches of the Mekong.

“Sail along the Mekong through Cambodia and Vietnam as you are transported back in time to another era, where the rhythms of the countryside move at a slower pace and allow fascinating insight into a way of life traditional,” said AmaWaterways when announcing the details.

The cruise includes visits ranging from rural villages to the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, and a stop at a monastery where passengers will receive a special Buddhist blessing by monks.

It includes stops at Angkor Ban and Phnom Penh in Cambodia, then Tan Chau, Sa Dec, My Tho and other Vietnamese sites before disembarking in Ho Chi Minh City.

The cruise is normally priced at $3,099 per person, but some dates drop as low as $1,399 per person next summer and everywhere in between, depending on the date chosen.

The cruise takes place on the AmaDara, a 302-foot boat that has 62 cabins and can accommodate up to 124 passengers. It features French colonial decor, carved wooden furniture, massage rooms, a fitness room, a pool on the terrace and much more.

Mekong Charms

The second cruise is the Charms of the Mekong, and it offers many of the same aspects as its partner, only sailing in the opposite direction.

Other highlights include a visit to a silk village and the historic old house of Kiet. Passengers can also visit the Royal Palace and National Museum in Phnom Penh, or have the option of seeing the Killing Fields and Genocide Museum instead.

Also sailing aboard the AmaDaraCharms of the Mekong is similarly priced, although there is a sale price of $2,349 per person for the first two crossings in October.

Two decades of cruising

AmaWaterways was founded 20 years ago as a family business and now offers river cruises throughout Europe, Egypt, Africa and South East Asia.

The objective is to differentiate itself from the major cruise companies.

“The desire to get away from the everyday and reconnect with the world is driving demand for longer cruises, itineraries that include exclusive events and those that take guests to more exotic destinations,” Karst said.

To learn more about cruises, explore these articles:

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Grill kits, guest chefs and river cruises: book your summer fun now https://canalvoyagers.com/grill-kits-guest-chefs-and-river-cruises-book-your-summer-fun-now/ Wed, 04 May 2022 13:00:34 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/grill-kits-guest-chefs-and-river-cruises-book-your-summer-fun-now/ Chef’s meal kits are perfect for the holidays Chef Gavin Kaysen will help take the guesswork out of what to grill for the summer vacation with grilling kits, available through his GK at Home line for Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day. First up, for Memorial Day, is a collaboration between Kaysen and Animales […]]]>

Chef’s meal kits are perfect for the holidays

Chef Gavin Kaysen will help take the guesswork out of what to grill for the summer vacation with grilling kits, available through his GK at Home line for Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day.

First up, for Memorial Day, is a collaboration between Kaysen and Animales BBQ chef/owner Jon Wipfli that offers a 3-pound smoked rib eye. Also on the menu: roasted carrot and arugula salad, roasted mushrooms, German potato salad, Parker House rolls, strawberry-rhubarb pie and an extra bottle of dry marinade — a mix created by the chefs and their teams — for future grills.

The kit serves six to eight and costs $375; Memorial Day kits are on sale now (others will go on sale at a later date) at exploretock.com/spoonandstable. Pickup May 26 at Spoon and Stable, 211 N. 1st St., Mpls.

Also included are detailed preparation instructions, as well as cooking tips. No grill? No problem. The meal can also be prepared without the grill.

Sunset river cruise and dinner

The Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis is once again teaming up with Minneapolis Water Taxi for summer cruises on the Mississippi River.

Grab up to six friends and begin at the city’s Boom Island Park, where you’ll board a solar-powered electric cruise ship for an hour-long tour of the upper Mississippi River. Warm up with a picnic of wine or champagne (your choice) and finger foods before returning to the inn for the main course.

Tickets are available for select weeknights and weekends from May through September. Prices vary by group size, but start at $295 for two people. This includes boat service, onboard picnic and $50 dinner credit per person. For more information or reservations, visit nicolletislandinn.com.

Nigella Lawson is coming to town this fall

Plan ahead: Nigella Lawson, British cookbook author and TV personality, is coming to town this fall, but tickets go on sale this week.

“An Evening with Nigella Lawson” will feature the talking writer from her new book, “Cook, Eat, Repeat,” a combination of over 50 new recipes intertwined with narrative essays. The event will take place on November 21 at the Pantages Theater (710 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.).

Get tickets starting May 6 at 10 a.m. at the State Theater Box Office (805 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls.), online at hennepintheatretrust.org or by calling 800-982-2787. Tickets range from $39.50 to $75.

Lawson published his first cookbook – “How to Eat, The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food” – in 1998 and has written more than a dozen others. She also had a string of TV shows, including her debut, “Nigella Bites”, and went on to host several shows in the US, Australia and the UK.

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Evansville could see Ohio River cruises, city seeks to rehabilitate wharf https://canalvoyagers.com/evansville-could-see-ohio-river-cruises-city-seeks-to-rehabilitate-wharf/ Tue, 03 May 2022 10:46:59 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/evansville-could-see-ohio-river-cruises-city-seeks-to-rehabilitate-wharf/ EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Not a near-term possibility, but local officials say Evansville could be added to cruise line itineraries on the Ohio River if ships have a place to dock. The city and the Convention & Visitors Bureau want to rehabilitate the old LST 325 pier at Inland Marina for this purpose. City-owned and built […]]]>

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Not a near-term possibility, but local officials say Evansville could be added to cruise line itineraries on the Ohio River if ships have a place to dock.

The city and the Convention & Visitors Bureau want to rehabilitate the old LST 325 pier at Inland Marina for this purpose. City-owned and built in 2005, the wharf has not been used since the LST moved to downtown Evansville two years ago.

It needs some work.

“Since the departure of the LST, maintenance has been deferred,” said Alexis Berggren, CEO of the visitors office. “We’re talking about ballast replacements, new coats of paint, the hinges need to be greased. Nothing too bad, but it’s just some attention that needs to be given to make it nice and useful.”

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Truro River Cruises closes after huge fuel price hikes https://canalvoyagers.com/truro-river-cruises-closes-after-huge-fuel-price-hikes/ Wed, 27 Apr 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/truro-river-cruises-closes-after-huge-fuel-price-hikes/ A cruise service linking two major towns in Cornwall has had to close permanently, after rising costs prevented the business from making ends meet. Truro River Cruises launched in June 2021, with its blue, red and white boat ‘Truro Belle’ ferrying tourists and passengers between Falmouth and the town. However, owners Rhos Newman and Matthew […]]]>

A cruise service linking two major towns in Cornwall has had to close permanently, after rising costs prevented the business from making ends meet. Truro River Cruises launched in June 2021, with its blue, red and white boat ‘Truro Belle’ ferrying tourists and passengers between Falmouth and the town.

However, owners Rhos Newman and Matthew Repper announced in October that they would close for the remainder of the year. Then yesterday (April 26) Mr Newman and Mr Repper said the service was gone for good.

They said “multiple unforeseen circumstances” meant it was not possible to return. These, the pair explained, included increased costs across the board.

Read: Cornwall’s 400 abandoned mines could be used to heat homes

On a social media post, Truro River Cruises said: “Apologies to us for being so quiet over the past few months, but due to multiple unforeseen circumstances we have made the difficult decision not to return, so that we loved our first season we had to take a look at the bigger picture with the increased fuel, permits, landing fees and insurance costs it’s just not worth no need to run.

“We are so grateful for all the love, help and support everyone has given us that made our first season so memorable.” Truro River Cruises ran between Truro, St Mawes and Falmouth – and launched with a bang last year.

As CornwallLive reported in June 2021, her owners had a long family tradition of living on the water. Mr Repper had been described as the ‘future’ by colleagues and previously worked for Kernow Cruises before helping launch Truro River Cruises.

Dozens of people shared their sadness over the closure of the service. Leaving a comment on the company’s Facebook, Chris Sherin said: “This is very sad news. I hope you find a job that is profitable and gives you a living wage. Good luck with whatever you do in the future.

“You made a lot of people very happy during the time you were able to go on. Best wishes for your future.

Lesley Gallie added: “Very sad to read this – we had a wonderful trip up the Fal and back with you last year – but understandable in these trying times.”

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RiverQuest makes the CT River Museum its permanent home for Connecticut River cruises https://canalvoyagers.com/riverquest-makes-the-ct-river-museum-its-permanent-home-for-connecticut-river-cruises/ Mon, 18 Apr 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/riverquest-makes-the-ct-river-museum-its-permanent-home-for-connecticut-river-cruises/ How about a warm-weather river cruise on the Connecticut River, where the RiverQuest — famous for its winter eagle-watching tours — is now permanently moored. The Connecticut River Museum is gearing up for cruise season – with two boats now, instead of one. Many know that the museum is home to the Onrust, the replica […]]]>

How about a warm-weather river cruise on the Connecticut River, where the RiverQuest — famous for its winter eagle-watching tours — is now permanently moored.

The Connecticut River Museum is gearing up for cruise season – with two boats now, instead of one.

Many know that the museum is home to the Onrust, the replica of Dutch explorer Adrian Block’s 1614 wooden sailing ship, which sailed the Connecticut River in the 1600s while Block charted the great waterway.

The RiverQuest, a sightseeing boat that can comfortably accommodate 50 passengers, will sail from February to October from the museum dock. For 20 years he called Essex home for the winter season, from where he set out on his osprey-eagle cruises. Now the museum is his home for the whole season.

The RiverQuest was purchased from Mark and Mindy Yuknat, who are downsizing from a smaller boat in Haddam to run eco-tours, clean up rivers and eradicate invasive aquatic plants, according to Cathy Malin, longtime crew member and naturalist. The Yuknats sold the boat to Fresh River LLC in late January, while the museum operates it.

Malin works at the museum, overseeing programs for the River Quest, where she was part of the crew for a decade.

“I actually came with the boat,” joked Malin who had worked as a program coordinator for 17 years for the boat and spent much of the time on board, providing narration for the tours.

Now the odd-looking contraption will also be ready for summer fun.

The 64-foot River Quest is a stable, double-hulled tour boat that looks more like a tugboat with its wheelhouse seemingly laying on top, Malin noted.

“It’s a unique boat – you can’t guess what year it is,” Malin said, “because there’s nothing else like it. The wheelhouse now looks like a tug .

When people first see the wide boat, their reaction is surprise, she said.

“I think the initial reaction is ‘hmmm’ when they look at the boat and then they get on and relax.”

Spring and summer events

Kicking off the season will be a Cinco de Mayo cruise hosted by Ani’s Kitchen on May 5, followed by a Mother’s Day cruise and a Father’s Day outing.

The latest additions to the program are two-hour sunset cruises from June to August.

Passengers can bring “their favorite drink” and a picnic lunch on board and toast to the setting sun during the journey on this unspoiled part of the river, unseen by many who have not traveled its waters.

“We are so lucky to live and be on this part of the river because so much of it is not accessible,” Malin said of the lower Connecticut River. “These are all private properties or conserved properties that have no access. Really to see this part of the river you have to be on a boat.”

And it’s a great way to beat the heat on a sweltering summer day, Malin added.

“There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than getting out on the cool river and enjoying it,” she said. “Relax and watch the beautiful river go by – there’s nothing more relaxing.”

For those who just want to relax while taking in the sights passing by and not taking an official tour, “it’s lightly narrated — very lightly,” Malin noted.

When newbies step off the boat, Malin said, “The most common thing I hear – ‘I didn’t know it was right here in my own backyard. I had no idea of ​​all this beauty, all this wildlife.

Sometimes passengers can see the museum’s sister ship, the Onrust, on the water, it sails full and under wind power.

“If you’re on this boat and you see this boat (pointing at the Onrust tied to the dock without its mast) under sail, it’s amazing,” said Jane Raunikar, marketing manager at the museum.

“It’s breathtaking, when that mast goes up it looks like it would have looked in 1614,” Raunikar said.

The RiverQuest is relatively quiet when powered up and has two gasoline engines, according to Malin.

“They don’t have huge exhaust issues,” she said of the engines. “They were chosen because they are quiet enough for outboard motors. It’s not a big diesel engine.

Private events

The RiverQuest, as well as the Onrust, offer private charters. Both are popular venues for wedding anniversaries, family reunions and private parties.

Aboard the Onrust, which is a very different experience than the RiverQuest, Raunikar said, “You can bring your friend and bring picnic-type food, you can raise the sails and steer the boat.”

If you need more space for your party, “The RiverQuest is wonderful for buffet-style cocktails…we can set up fancy tables and cakes and just go out and cruise and enjoy the beauty of the Lower Connecticut River,” Malin said, noting that the boat has a big-screen TV, which passengers can show “slideshows of loved ones.”

Other amenities on the large sightseeing boat include dining tables and chairs.

“Some people get very elaborate — they’ll bring a tablecloth, wicker baskets, wine glasses… It’s whatever you want to do with it,” Malin described.

“On the Onrust we have lines and sails, it needs to be a bit more contained. You need to bring a cooler,” Raunikar said.

The Onrust has an outboard motor when the wind drops.

Raunikar noted: “He (the captain) will go sailing a bit and which is funny when there is no wind – if you think of 1614, that was used to explore…”

“So these guys would go a bit and if the wind stopped they would have to drop anchor. It was a long journey,” Raunikar said of early explorers.

“It’s exactly what it would have felt like in 1614,” enthused Raunikar.

When it’s calm, the river is a sight to behold, Malin said.

“When it’s calm like this…the river gets flat, flat, flat. So you get all the highlights. It’s not often that there’s absolutely no wind, but when it does, it’s absolutely beautiful,” Malin said.

Glimpse of the past

On the Onrust, passengers can imagine what it was like for Adrian Block, Raunikar said.

She noted that while he was on the Onrust, “Adrian Block actually drew a very detailed map of the Connecticut River just in his sight. And he looked and he drew and he looked and he drew.

“And now when they compare the maps of what he drew in 1614 and what you can see on GPS right now, they’re almost the same,” she said.

Navigating the river was a challenge at the time, she noted, as the channel changes with the current, bringing silt with it.

Today the blue-green water is very slightly tinged with what looks like mud.

It’s the spring thaw, Raunikar said, when “the silt is really pulled out of a glacial lake. It’s a big ‘lake bed’ at the head of the river.

“Every time you have all this current, it stirs up all this sand and it comes to the mouth of the river and deposits it,” she said.

The Connecticut River, she added, is “one of the largest rivers on the east coast that has no major port…it is 410 miles long and has no port.

But during the War of 1812, the changing channel and shifting sandbars were a hindrance to the British at one point.

That is, until a man from Essex, nicknamed “Traitor Jack”, decides to lend a hand to the invaders.

“He took his boat to the mouth of the river and met the English and said, ‘I’m going to show you how to come up the river…you have to know what you’re doing to come up here,'” Raunikar said. , adding that it led to the infamous Burning of Ships, where the English burned 27 ships.

But today, with a gentle April breeze chopping the water, it’s hard to imagine burning ships on the Essex seafront.

“We live in one of the most beautiful places ever,” Raunikar said.

For a complete list of events or to book your cruise aboard RiverQuest, visit www.ctrivermuseum.org or call 860-767-8269, ext. 110. The Connecticut River Museum is located on the waterfront at the foot of the Main in Essex at 67 Main St. and is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Riviera River Cruises offers savings on France itineraries https://canalvoyagers.com/riviera-river-cruises-offers-savings-on-france-itineraries/ Thu, 14 Apr 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/riviera-river-cruises-offers-savings-on-france-itineraries/ Riviera River Cruises is making a trip to France this year very tempting. The cruise company offers special offers on its crossings in France on the Saône and the Seine. Travelers can receive a $1,000 per person discount or free round-trip economy class flights from most major North American airports when booking one of the […]]]>

Riviera River Cruises is making a trip to France this year very tempting. The cruise company offers special offers on its crossings in France on the Saône and the Seine.

Travelers can receive a $1,000 per person discount or free round-trip economy class flights from most major North American airports when booking one of the two France itineraries offered by Riviera River Cruises .

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“What better way to experience France than on a river cruise – and Travel Advisor customers can now enjoy the country on two of our most popular itineraries, saving $1,000 to spend on their travels or receiving free flights from most major airports in North America,” said Marilyn Conroy, Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Riviera River Cruises North America. from our cruise from iconic and romantic Paris to historic WWII beaches in Normandy, or from the country’s foodie capital of Lyon to the heart of Burgundy and reminders of the Roman Empire in Provence.”

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Both routes in France navigate either the Seine or the Saône.

The Seine, Paris and Normandy cruise begins in Paris and travels through the Seine Valley in France to historic Normandy and back. You can enjoy guided tours of Paris, Honfleur and Rouen, as well as Caudebec, Les Andelys and Vernon and excursions to Claude Monet’s house, the Normandy landing beaches and the famous Bayeux Tapestry. Eight-day cruises start at $2,609 per person based on double occupancy before discounts.

The offer is also available on the Burgundy, Rhône and Provence Cruise, departing from Lyon. The cruise travels along the magnificent Saône and Rhône rivers, passing sun-kissed hills, terraced vineyards, steep gorges and medieval towns in Burgundy and Provence. You can participate in visits to Lyon, Arles, Avignon and Vienne, wine tasting in Beaune and excursions to the Gorges de l’Ardèche, the Palais des Papes and the aqueduct of the Etang du Gard. The eight-day cruise starts at $2,429 per person based on double occupancy before discounts.

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Supreme Court to hear labor case involving Viking River Cruises: Travel Weekly https://canalvoyagers.com/supreme-court-to-hear-labor-case-involving-viking-river-cruises-travel-weekly/ Wed, 30 Mar 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/supreme-court-to-hear-labor-case-involving-viking-river-cruises-travel-weekly/ The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Wednesday in a case involving Viking River Cruises that could make it harder to pursue legal action against an employer for workers who signed arbitration agreements as a condition of their job. The Supreme Court will rule on Viking River Cruises Inc. v. Moriana […]]]>

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments on Wednesday in a case involving Viking River Cruises that could make it harder to pursue legal action against an employer for workers who signed arbitration agreements as a condition of their job.

The Supreme Court will rule on Viking River Cruises Inc. v. Moriana in June. The ruling will determine the applicability of California’s Attorneys General Act, a 2003 law that allows California workers to sue their employers on behalf of the state for labor violations.

If the Supreme Court strikes down California law and upholds the federal arbitration agreement, which allows employers to pursue mandatory arbitration and requires employees to settle disputes before an arbitrator chosen by the employer, employees will then be obliged to bring individual disputes outside the public court. procedure and resolve disputes by private arbitration instead.

Currently, under the law, employees can bring disputes on behalf of similarly situated workers who also allege employment violations.

Angie Moriana, who worked as a sales representative for Viking River Cruises in 2016 and 2017, sued Viking in a representative action for alleged violations of California labor law. Moriana alleges that Viking violated California wage and hour laws.

Viking argued that Moriana had agreed to arbitration as a condition of his employment and attempted to have the case dismissed.

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Shuffleboard and River Cruises with the Winter Texans https://canalvoyagers.com/shuffleboard-and-river-cruises-with-the-winter-texans/ Tue, 29 Mar 2022 15:01:43 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/shuffleboard-and-river-cruises-with-the-winter-texans/ Six days a week, Dave Rountree, better known as Omelet Dave, dons a foot-high toque and stands behind two double burners to cook breakfast for hungry South Texas retirees. Every year, tens of thousands of these Winter Texans, as they are known, temporarily relocate from across the continent to the southern tip of Texas, an […]]]>

Six days a week, Dave Rountree, better known as Omelet Dave, dons a foot-high toque and stands behind two double burners to cook breakfast for hungry South Texas retirees. Every year, tens of thousands of these Winter Texans, as they are known, temporarily relocate from across the continent to the southern tip of Texas, an area known for its warm climate and low cost of living. Many of them end up at the Victoria Palms RV Resort, one of Texas’ largest winter communities, which operates as a permanent summer camp for more than fifty-five people.

Omelet Dave, who has served over a hundred thousand omelets at Victoria Palms, is something of a local celebrity, and the wall near his cooking station is covered in clips of him from the local news. (“A local boy is doing good!! . . . Omelettes.”) On a bright February morning, a group of winter Texans discussed the wind chill at their homes in Minnesota and Nebraska as they dug in plates of Dave’s Special – an omelette and a half a waffle topped with strawberry sauce and a dollop of whipped cream, for seven dollars and ninety-nine cents (before tax). Outside the pool was crowded, with half a dozen people in the hot tub and the best sunbeds already claimed. The sound system played 60s and 70s rock, heavy on the Christine McVie section of the Fleetwood Mac catalog.

If the pool scene got boring, winter Texans from Victoria Palms could drive their golf carts to the resort’s twenty shuffleboard courts, or miniature dirt racetrack, to catch a Nascar style rally for radio controlled cars. They could entertain themselves in the ceramic room; the two carpentry workshops; the stained glass workshop; the Sewing, Quilting and Tailoring Room; the library, with its cupboard full of puzzles; or the poker den, with its green felt tables and Tiffany-style lamps. They could learn water aerobics with Lawrence, who is ninety-nine, or take part in a pet parade, golf cart parade or vow renewal ceremony. They could take a class on how to sync their Bluetooth devices, paint a portrait of their pets, or play the ukulele. And, of course, there are the parties: poolside sips and dips, jam sessions, happy hours, karaoke, talent shows, pizza nights and dances. “These people like to have fun,” Victoria Palms manager Rocky Ramirez told me. “Oh yeah. They like to have fun. And they deserve it – they’ve worked hard.

Retirees began to pour into South Texas in earnest in the 1960s and 1970s. After a series of devastating freezes nearly destroyed the region’s citrus industry, a number of landowners converted their acreage to motorhome parks. And when the devaluation of the Mexican peso in 1982 put an end to cross-border trade, South Texas increasingly turned to winter tourism to boost its economy. The region has attracted middle-class retirees, similar to snowbirds who decamp seasonally to Arizona or Florida, but with a distinct identity. “We like to think we’re different here in Texas,” said Kristi Collier, founder of Welcome Home Rio Grande Valley, a tourism organization serving seasonal visitors to South Texas. Winter Texans, who hail mostly from the Midwest and Canada, say they beat the snowbirds. “Florida is too expensive,” a man from Iowa told me. “Arizona, there’s not much to do.”

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Today, hundreds of RV parks and age-restricted retirement communities, with names like Leisure Valley Ranch and Patriot Pointe, are scattered throughout the Rio Grande Valley. Each year, a few seasonal residents become full-time residents or “converted Texans.” Welcome Home RGV holds a “naturalization” ceremony for new converts, who must raise their right hand and pledge allegiance to Texas.

Victoria Palms, which was founded in the 1980s, is one of the most upscale retirement communities in the area. “It’s a status symbol among winter Texans to stay here,” Ramirez said, as he took me on a golf cart tour of the one hundred and twenty-acre resort. “They don’t like talking about the park; they prefer it to be a resort. That tells you something. During the mind-numbing South Texas summers, Victoria Palms is a sleepier spot, its ballroom being rented out for the occasional quinceañera. When the Texas winter season begins, however, in November, it transforms into a town of more than two thousand people, of which Ramirez, a stocky man in his forties, is something of a mayor. Ramirez explained that first-time visitors to Victoria Palms usually get off in their RV. If, after a few seasons, they find themselves wanting more space, they can upgrade to a park model, a home up to four hundred square feet, usually furnished, that rents for around two thousand dollars a month. Those looking for even more permanence can choose to purchase one of Victoria Palms’ manufactured homes, which they can complete with landscaping and screened porches. As we walked down a street of pastel-colored houses, he greeted residents by name. We rounded the corner and passed a row of gleaming RVs. “There’s no shortage of quarter-million-dollar rigs here,” Ramirez said admiringly. “Rigs that cost more than my house.”

Ramirez is responsible for keeping up good vibes at Victoria Palms, which means keeping an eye on trends (horseshoes are out, pickleball is in) and enforcing the community’s long list of rules. He has the stubborn diplomatic energy of someone who has worked in the hospitality industry since graduating from college. “Can you imagine letting a nineteen year old run a million dollar hotel?” he asked me. “But I did!”

Ramirez was born in South Texas, but his family soon decamped to Columbia, Maryland, one of the nation’s most ambitious planned communities, founded in the 1960s with the utopian goal of eliminating racial segregation and class. Ramirez’s time in Colombia was an idyllic time in his life. “You would never see a broken down car anywhere,” he said. “Block captains would let you know if your lumber was stacked incorrectly or your porch light was out. There was beauty and safety, if you followed the rules and regulations. He made friends from different backgrounds — “Jews, Mormons, Buddhists,” he said. “It’s a different life experience than if I had stayed here, a ninety-five, ninety-seven percent Hispanic place.” The demographics of Victoria Palms and the Texas winter community as a whole are monolithic in a different direction. According to a 2017-2018 survey by the University of Texas–Rio Grande Valley, Winter Texans are ninety-seven percent white, “slightly more diverse than any previous study.” Overall, they are wealthier and better educated than the national averages for their age group.

Welcome Home RGV’s Collier regularly hosts focus groups for retirees, some of whom have also wintered in Florida or Arizona, in which attendees told him that South Texas’ proximity to Mexico was one of his main attractions. Eighty-five percent of Winter Texans visit Mexico, according to the UT-RGV study; there they can have their teeth cleaned for thirty-five dollars or go shopping. “And, yeah, they’re still crossing,” Collier said, a little flustered, before I could even ask. The recent proliferation of videos of border visits by politicians portraying the region as a war zone has made Collier’s job more difficult. “I want to hit people right and left, like, please stop talking,” she said. “I would love to take some of these people. Let me give you a real tour of South Texas. It’s not much. It’s business as usual.”

“Business as usual” may be an exaggeration. Last year, encounters between border patrols and migrants along the southern border hit a record high, as did migrant deaths. The National Butterfly Center, a popular local destination, has closed indefinitely after becoming the target of right-wing conspiracies. The politicized border itself has become something of a tourist attraction. One Saturday afternoon, I signed up for a favorite Winter Texan excursion: an hour-long boat ride down the Rio Grande on a 55-foot pontoon boat called the Riverside Dreamer. The light shimmered on the water and the afternoon had a boozy pleasure cruise atmosphere, but some on board seemed to feel a chill of danger because of our proximity to the border. A visitor in a polo shirt sat with his back to Mexico. “If you start dodging, I guess they’re shooting,” he told people in front of him.

“You are our shield,” replied a man in a shirt with the words “Vacation Executive” on it.

The jokes about body bags and lawlessness died down as the Riverside Dreamer skirted the South Rim and passed manicured lawns and families barbecuing in Mexico. Captain Johnny, a terse man in a tie-dye shirt, kept a practiced crackle as he guided us down the river. The sight was an odd mix of pastoral and dystopia: a watchtower, an egret leaning in the river cane, a State Police patrol boat with rear-mounted machine guns, a couple on a train to fish, a section of border wall, a man in a man’s uniform with a gun, a white bird skimming the water.

Just downstream from the Riverside Dreamer’s wharf, the Chimney Park RV Resort sits on the bank of the Rio Grande, south of a new stretch of border wall. Vivian, a Winter Texan from South Dakota, told me it was disconcerting to have to walk through the gate to get to her RV. “We are cut off. It’s like we’re part of Mexico,” she said. Vivian added that she and her husband had been coming to South Texas for sixteen years and regularly saw people she assumed were migrants. “Sometimes they get wet from the river. There were seven runners last night, maybe more. But they don’t bother you at all,” she said. A resort employee, who declined to give me his name, said six different types of law enforcement were patrolling the area. On the other side of the boat ramp, what appeared to be a member of the National Guard was standing next to a Humvee. “We have no problem,” insisted the employee.

Early the next morning I returned to Victoria Palms for one last Dave’s Special. Then I slipped inside the door and walked along a curved path. Grackles howled in the high palms; a woman drove by in a golf cart, her dog trotting beside her. A man with a leaf blower was cleaning the shuffleboard courts. The winter sun was shining, and inside the gates of Victoria Palms another day unfolded, full of possibilities.

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Now is the time to book Christmas Market River Cruises https://canalvoyagers.com/now-is-the-time-to-book-christmas-market-river-cruises/ Tue, 29 Mar 2022 07:00:00 +0000 https://canalvoyagers.com/now-is-the-time-to-book-christmas-market-river-cruises/ If you have customers interested in Christmas Market cruises, call today. Do not wait. They sell out fast! This is the message that Travel Market Report hears over and over again from river cruise operators. “Now is the time,” said Steve Born, CMO of the Globus family of brands, which includes Avalon Waterways. “As the […]]]>

If you have customers interested in Christmas Market cruises, call today. Do not wait. They sell out fast! This is the message that Travel Market Report hears over and over again from river cruise operators.

“Now is the time,” said Steve Born, CMO of the Globus family of brands, which includes Avalon Waterways. “As the weather starts to warm up, the inventory starts to melt for these Christmas cruises.

Nearly 80% of Avalon’s Christmas cruise capacity is sold out.

At Tauck, 35% of its Christmas Market cruises are sold out and 35% have limited availability, with the Danube and Rhine itineraries being the most booked, said Tom Armstrong, corporate communications manager at Tauck, at TMR.

Although demand for cruises in the Christmas market typically increases in the spring, this year it is more pronounced than usual, executives said.

“Our Christmas Market cruises are always a customer favourite, and demand is especially high for 2022 after two years of cancellations during the pandemic,” said Ellen Bettridge, President and CEO of Uniworld River Cruises. . “We have actually exceeded pre-pandemic booking levels for our 2022 vacation cruises.”

Kristin Karst, executive vice president and co-founder of AmaWaterways, said they saw much the same thing.

“After so many missed celebrations over the past two years, friends and family are eager to reconnect and this desire is driving demand for special experiences like our Christmas Market cruises on the Rhine and Danube,” said she declared. “River cruise bookings for 2022 are expected to be very strong, especially for second half departures.”

Both Karst and Born mentioned that part of the surge in demand is due to guests on canceled departures postponed for this year.

“Unlike a regular year, this is a bank of additional cruisers that will act,” Born said.

Karst added that simplified entry requirements and reduced travel restrictions in Europe have “encouraged many guests to reschedule their voyages, particularly Christmas Market cruises, which are only available four weeks a year.”

Some remaining capacity
All of the river cruises TMR spoke to still have some capacity on Christmas market cruises, but all said they expect that to go quickly.

“We still have availability on most sailings, but with pent-up demand for these unique experiences, we expect most 2022 Christmas Market cruises to be fully booked,” Karst said. And that’s with extra capacity from the AmaSiena and AmaLucia on the Rhine, and a longer season from the AmaKristina on the Rhône.

“We encourage those who dream of sailing, whether solo or with a multi-generational family group, to contact their travel advisor to ensure they can secure their chosen itinerary and cabin.”

Viking River Cruises has also added capacity for 2022. And, like AmaWaterways, most are filling up fast.

“In response to the strong demand we have seen for these trips over the years, we have launched several new holiday itineraries along the Rhine, Danube and Seine from this year,” said Richard Marnell, executive vice president of marketing at Viking. “While there is still availability for the 2022 holiday season, many sailings already have limited capacity, so we encourage those interested to book early.”

Uniworld’s Bettridge echoed Karst and Marnell. “I encourage advisors to book their clients without delay to ensure their preferences are met for this season.” Uniworld offers six Christmas market routes that Advisors can sell.

Born told TMR that Avalon still has capacity on 34 departures (across eight routes).

“There is still a wide range of availability, but my advice to advisers would be not to wait.” This is especially true for Avalon’s Panorama Suite cabins, he added, which are always the first to book.

Born added that the capacity they have is not concentrated in a given period. Avalon’s ‘Christmas on the Danube’ crossings have space in early November, while the line’s ‘Festive Season in the Heart of Germany’ crossings still have space from late November to mid-December.

Of its four Christmas Market river itineraries, Tauck’s best selection of cabins is on its “Yuletide Spirit: Brussels to Amsterdam” cruises, which has space on three of the four crossings. Armstrong also said the line has good availability on all three departures of its family-specific route (Holiday Magic: Danube Family River Cruise).

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