Themed River Cruises: Golf on Europe’s Top Courses with AMA Waterways in 2019

AMA Waschu Valley Danuber
The Waschu Valley

Immortalised by Johann Strauss in his famous waltz, the Danube is one of Europe’s most famous rivers, flowing through the heart of continent from the Black Forest of Germany to the Black Sea. The 1700-mile waterway meanders past UNESCO status countryside along with fine cities brimming with fascinating culture and history; such as Vienna, Prague and Budapest. Imagine combining this adventure with playing on some of Europe’s best golf courses?

AMA Golf
Beckenbauer Course

AMA Waterways, widely recognised as one of the leading luxury river cruise lines, offers a sensational Concierge Golf Programme to marry the two interests together in perfect harmony.  Offering certainly one of the best golf river cruises in 2019, each 7-night journey includes all the luxuries you would expect with AMA, such as fine dining and beautiful accommodation, as well as shore excursions and at least 5 games on these top courses.

  • Albatross Golf Club, Albatross Course, Prague, Host of the Czech Open
  • Hartl Resorts Beckenbauer Course, Bad Griesbach, Germany, Host of the Porsche European Open
  • Diamond Country Club, Diamond Course, Atzenbrugg, Austria, Host of the Lyoness Austrian Open
  • Penati Country Club, Legends Course, Senica, Slovakia, Host of the Slovakian Open
  • Pannonia Country Club, Budapest, Hungary, Host of the Hungarian Open
AMAMAGNA
AMAMAGNA

On arrival at each destination, you will be chauffeur driven to the day’s course with tee times,  practice balls and trolleys arranged in advance. After your round, during a pleasant lunch in the clubhouse, AMA staff will clean your golf clubs before returning you to the ship to enjoy dinner and all the facilities.

AMA Massage
Spa Services

For non-golfing partners, there are plenty of on-board activities as well as thoughtfully curated shore excursions. A generous discount is also offered on the cruise price. ‘Pre’ and ‘Post’ cruise options can be added to allow more time in Prague and dates run until mid October. Watch the video below to see the AMA experience.

For more information visit www.amawaterways.co.uk or contact Louise here

Images Courtesy of AMA Waterways

Prana by Atzaro: Indonesian Island-Hop on the Ultimate Phinisi Super-Yacht

Owned by Atzaro, the luxe Ibizan hospitality group, this stunning Phinisi super-yacht is the largest of its kind in the world. Voyages explore the remote Indonesian Coral Triangle, following the trade winds to some of the world’s most inaccessible and dreamy islands.

Prana Indonesia map
Indonesia

Designed to reflect the ancient Indonesian double-masted Phinisi sailing vessels, this 180-foot ship is entirely handmade from ironwood and teak according to traditional methods.

Prana overhead
Prana

Beyond this authentic backdrop Prana gives way to pure luxury. Nine beautiful suites, with en-suite bathrooms and deluxe furnishings, are carefully placed across four decks ensuring privacy and wonderful sea views from floor-to -ceiling windows.

A Prana Suite
A Prana Suite

Daily sun salutations on the yoga deck start the day followed by an outdoor breakfast and a leisurely rest on one of the sumptuous day beds; perfectly placed to watch the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean drift by.

Prana yoga
Morning Yoga

Days are as active or restful as you like. A range of water sports and spa treatments are offered on board as well as carefully curated shore-based adventures.

Relax on deck
Relax on Deck

During May to October, Prana visits the Komodo National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the famous ‘dragons’, stunning pink beaches and pristine waters. If you seek adventure, the ship’s resident dive expert hosts specialist diving trips to explore the protected reefs.

Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park

In the shoulder seasons of autumn and spring, Prana traverses the remote Banda Islands. Famously part of the colonial spice trade, this heavenly part of the world is rich in myth and legend. Dominated by the grand Mount Api, the landscape gives way to virgin rainforest, white-sandy beaches and coral cliffs plunging deep into an ocean brimming with marine life.

Prana Spice Islands
The Banda Islands

The islands of Raja Ampat are Prana’s destination from December until April. Nestled in the heart of the Coral Triangle, these lost islands are home to prehistoric caves, hidden lagoons, forgotten tribes and some of the best diving in the world. There are ten times the number of hard coral species here as found in the Caribbean.

Diving the Reefs
Diving the Reefs

Prana is quite simply a haven after such exhilarating days ashore. Chefs prepare the very finest regional dishes served either under the stars, in the elegant lounge or on a deserted island beach. Old and new wines complement the cuisine along with a collection of carefully chosen cocktails, beers and spirits. After dinner the open-air cinema beckons or simply an early night to the sound of gently lapping waves.

Prana sunset
Sunset on Prana

What we like ….

  • guided access to remote areas of the world
  • a perfect balance of nurturing rest and adventure
  • a unique private charter

www.pranabyatzaro.com

Photos courtesy of Atzaro

 

 

Melting Away: Kimberley is the Hot Choice for Cool Expedition Cruising

Saltwater crocodile

Good news for sun-loving adventure junkies … expedition cruising doesn’t have to be cold! Despite the growing popularity of cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica, the stunning north-west of Australia is emerging as a hot spot in more ways than one. As well as the reliable sunshine and high temperatures, Kimberley is also a remote wilderness, threaded with winding rivers and framed by a rocky coastline, home to thumping waterfalls, deep gorges, dangerous crocodiles, scorching desert and rocky mountains burning red in the fiery light.

Small ship cruising is a fantastic way to explore this fascinating wilderness. Ponant, Silversea and Lindblad all offering stunning itineraries. Generally Kimberley cruises are bookended by tropical Darwin, a lively outpost surrounded by the turquoise water of the Timor Sea, and the cosmopolitan beach town of Broome, famous for a stunning beach and friendly atmosphere. This part of Australia follows a tropical monsoon climate with distinct dry (May to October) and wet (November to April) seasons. The best time to cruise is immediately following the wet season when waterfalls and rivers are at their most exciting, although cruises do depart all through the dry season until May.

Broome
Broome

Here are our top highlights for an expedition cruise to Kimberley.

Bungle Bungle Mountain Range
Bungle Bungle Mountain Range

Wyndham is the gateway to the Bungle Bungle mountain range in Purnululu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rich in Aboriginal culture, the area is known for the strange orange and black geological formations found across the landscape.  Scenic flights are offered here, as are trips along the Ord river where freshwater crocodiles, fruit-bats, short-eared rock wallabies, mangrove herons and mangrove gerygones are sure to be spotted.

Zodiac Visits King George Falls
Zodiac Visits King George Falls

The breathtaking King George Falls are twin cascading waterfalls with drops of 80 metres, making them the highest in north-western Australia.  Zodiac tours travel to the base of the waterfall, past towering ancient Warton sandstone cliffs.

Mitchell Falls
Mitchell Falls

Hunter River is an immense network of narrow mangrove channels, home to the notoriously dangerous saltwater crocodile. Many cruise lines offer helicopter flightseeing excursions to the famous Mitchell Falls Plateau and Mitchell Falls, where four tiers of waterfalls plunge into deep pools that flow out into the Mitchell River.

Aboriginal Artwork at Raft Point
Aboriginal Artwork at Raft Point

Raft Point is the is the site of the incredible outdoor Aboriginal Wandjina art gallery. Guided hikes take guests to the top of Raft Point to enjoy far-reaching views of the bay in the shade of the overhanging cliff, which is home to the Wandjina Spirit.

Montgomery Reef
Montgomery Reef

Montgomery Reef  is one of Kimberley’s iconic wonders. This famous tidal movement is massive; at just under 400km2 it is Australia’s largest inshore reef, containing large areas of shallow lagoon, seagrass beds and corals. As the tide drops a raging torrent of water cascades off the top of the reef and the entire reef appears to rise from the ocean. Zodiac tours take guest close the the myriad of waterfalls appearing along the reef.

Horizontal Falls

Talbot Bay, described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world” is also known as the ‘Horizontal Waterfalls’. This pair of stunning breaks in the McLarty Range are approximately 300m apart with massive tidal differences of up to 10.8m on a spring tide. As seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, a waterfall appears up to 4m high.

Silver Discoverer
Silver Discoverer

Images courtesy of Silversea

Kimberley Waterfall
Kimberley Waterfall

 

 

In Photos: Scandinavia and the Baltic

After our recent trip with Celebrity Cruises to the Scandinavian and Baltic region we can reflect on the experience; looking at photos of the places we visited and contemplating the positive (and sometimes negative) aspects of these destinations. This particular itinerary on the Celebrity Eclipse visited Zeebrugge, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Tallinn, St. Petersburg and Warnemunde over 14 days. Pictures do ‘speak a thousand words’, offering a unique account of a trip and these will hopefully help readers decide if this adventure is one for them.

Zeebrugge is an access port to the historic town of Bruge, as well as further afield to Ypres and Flanders Field. The shuttle bus takes you to Blankenberge – one of Belgium’s most lovely seaside resorts.

Blankenberge Beach
Traditional beach huts on Blankenberge beach © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Coffee in Blankenberge
Belgian coffee in Blankenberge © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Blankenberge Bistro
Bistro in Blankenberge © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Copenhagen is the gateway to the Baltic, rich in Scandinavian culture and modern design. Tivoli Gardens, a traditional amusement park, inspired Walt Disney and Hans Christian Andersen.

Tivoli Gardens
Tivoli Gardens © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Copenhagen Flowers
Copenhagen Flowers © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Stockholm is a vibrant city surrounded by pristine forests and a stunningly beautiful archipelago. The historic Gamla Stan, with its cobbled streets and Royal Palace, contrasts with the modern centre where visitors find leading museums and the famous Ice Bar.

Stockholm archipelago
Stockholm archipelago © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Stockholm
Stockholm by the river © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Changing of the guard
Changing of the guard © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Stockholm Ice Bar
Stockholm Ice Bar © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Stockholm at night
Stockholm at night © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Tallinn is a Medieval gem, with a well-preserved quaint centre only a short walk from the cruise terminal. Beyond the old town are abandoned and neglected post-Soviet buildings giving a stark reminder of the recent history of this fascinating place.

Tallinn
Tallinn approaches © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Tallinn's abandoned buildings
Views of the former Patarei Prison from the abandoned Linnahall 1980’s Moscow Olympic sailing venue © 2017 Louise farquhar
Tallin graffiti
Graffiti covers Tallinn’s abandoned buildings © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Tallinn's historic centre
Tallinn’s historic centre © 2017 Louise Farquhar
IMG_0424
Tallinn can be very busy © 2017 Louise Farquhar
IMG_0673
Tallinn’s oldest cafe © 2017 Louise Farquhar

St. Petersburg is the pinnacle of the voyage with its onion-domed churches in eye-popping technicolour, world-leading art collection and glittering palaces. A visa is required to leave the ship, which comes as part of any shore excursion. With the high crime rate in the city a group tour may be a safer option. There is poverty here as well as riches, and the information you are given on trips seems carefully curated to the point of being restricted in terms of some Russian history and current affairs.

The Winter Palace
The Winter Palace on a walking tour © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood
Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood © 2017 Louise Farquhar
St. Petersburg military
Russia’s military might on show as battleships and submarines line the river © 2017 Louise Farquhar
The Hermitage Museum
Crowds at The Hermitage Museum © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Touring the Hermitage Museum
Touring the Hermitage Museum © 2017 Louise Farquhar
St. Petersburg housing near cruise terminal
Standard housing near St. Petersburg cruise terminal © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Naval Defences
Naval Defences on Russian sail away © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Russian sea fort
Russian sea fort © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Warnemunde is a pleasant seaside town but has limited interest. The port is more beneficial as a starting point for Berlin excursions, which can be lengthy and expensive,  or trips to the nearby town of Rostock.

Warnemunde harbour
Warnemunde harbour © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Warnemunde house
Warnemunde house © 2017 Louise Farquhar
Warnemunde lighthouse
Warnemunde lighthouse © 2017 Louise Farquhar

And so after 14 wonderful days …

Sunset on the Baltic
The sun sets on the Baltic © 2017 Louise Farquhar

Radar: Seabourn offers unique UNESCO visits

Seabourn Cruise
Seabourn at Sea

Seabourn cruises, in continuing partnership with UNESCO, have announced exciting World Heritage Site tours to selected 2017 and 2018 itineraries. Guests can look forward to limited access and behind-the-scenes experiences at these wonderful places, carefully chosen for their their cultural, historical or scientific significance.

On offer:

  • Portland, England: Stonehenge – Enjoy the rare privilege of slipping past ropes that keep tourists at bay and walking among the towering stones of Stonehengeon the Salisbury Plain of England. Guests will have a full hour to explore, snap photos and take in the majesty of the standing stones. Available on the port call at Portland for Seabourn Quest on August 20.
  • Amalfi, Italy: Extraordinary Amalfi Cooking Class- Celebrate Amalfi traditions and heritage with a hands-on visit to the 13th Century Paper mill that enabled the spread of ancient Amalfi Law. Join Salvatore Aceto, the last in the line of a multi-generational Amalfi lemon farming family, as he retraces his family history lemon by lemon.  In a family-style outdoor kitchen with spectacular views learn traditional recipes and techniques in a cooking class concluding with a traditional Amalfi lunch and of course the family limoncello. Available on all 2017 port calls to Amalfi for Seabourn Encore (June 11, July 7 & 27, August 26, September 25) and Odyssey (June 7 & 27, July 25).
  • Valencia, Spain: The Silk Exchange – Valencia was the final stop on the Silk Road, a stop giving riches to the city in the 15th century. Today the skilled weavers have vanished and only one man alive is able to work the 5000-thread loom and produce the last pure velvet of this tradition.  A complex process extravagant to witness, this skill will be lost upon his retirement.  A visit to the gothic Silk Exchange Building concludes with a market visit and horchata tasting. Available for the port call to Valencia on Seabourn Encore on September 5.
  • Gibraltar: The Ultimate Archeologist Experience at Gorham’s Cave – Gorham’s Cave Complex is one of the world’s most important sites for understanding the “global story” of human evolution and adaptation. Join Drs. Geraldine and Clive Finlayson, scientists involved in “unearthing” these rich discoveries, in the heart of the cave so deep that only 120 people can access it each year. A subsequent visit to the Gibraltar Museum will offer access to archeological finds not available to the general public. Available on port calls to Gibraltar on Seabourn Encore August 11 & September 10.
  • Barcelona, Spain: The World of Gaudi – Discover the famed and brilliant modern architect Antoni Gaudí, who created his most unusual and controversial works in Barcelona. Join an expert architect for a guided tour of the magnificent Sagrada Familia Cathedral – after more than a century, still a work in progress – considered to be Gaudí’s richest work and truest to the Modernist form. Available on all port calls to Barcelona on Seabourn Encore (May 20, June 3, July 16, August 5 & 15, September 4 & 14) and Seabourn Odyssey (April 27, May 17, July 16, October 4)
  • Valletta, Malta:Megalithic Malta & the National Museum of Archaeology – Hagar Qim is the oldest freestanding megalithic temple in Europe and likely an ancient shrine to Mother Earth. Join one of Malta’s renowned national archaeologists at this important excavation as the history of ancient civilizations comes alive.  Enhancing the visit further, a restricted access chamber will be made available with explanation on the conservation of Hagar Qim. Go behind the scenes in a private viewing room with Director Sharon Sultana’s team revealing the private prized pieces of the National Museum’s “hidden” collections in Valletta.  This includes an up-close viewing of the, now-famous, elongated skulls found in Hal Saflieni Hypogeum linking past legends of Malta to the heritage of today. Available on port calls to Valletta on sailings aboard Seabourn Odyssey (May 29, June 26, July 29, & September 23) and on Seabourn Encore (July 26, August 25, & September 24

Photos courtesy of www.seabourn.com