Category Archives: Ocean Cruise

Wining around Hobart Tasmania

Tasmania has perfect climate for growing grapes and making wines with mild summers and long autumn days.  Tasmania features elegant cool climate wines including pinot noir, riesling, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, pinot gris, gewurztraminer and sparkling wines in both the Northern and Southern growing regions.

There are 3 main clusters of vineyards in the Southern growing region which encompasses the Hobart area:

  • The Freycinet Peninsula northeast of Hobart
  • Around Hobart including the Coal Valley and Derwent River
  • South of Hobart around the Huon Valley and the d’Entrecasteaux Channel

Exhibit at MONA

We visited Freycinet Peninsula previously, so for this trip we focused on Coal Valley and Derwent River.  Basically no matter which direction you drive from Hobart (as long as you don’t drive into the ocean) you will quickly reach a vineyard.  We were hosting a cruise group on the Celebrity Solstice which sailed originally from Auckland, New Zealand and we only had a 1 day stop in Hobart.   We’d been on the ship for about 1 week at this point, so did double duty on the day – taste wines and get some laundry done.  So off the ship we went, grabbed an Uber to the car rental, dropped off some laundry, made a very quick trip to MONA ( see our previous blogs on MONA here and here ) and then off to taste some excellent Tasmanian wines.

First stop was Derwent Estates Wines, located right along the River Derwent which is seen in the background of the tasting room below and which we’re sure you’ll agree is fantastically charming.  Several of these wines made it home to the states with us – where we recently opened the Calcaire Pinot Noir which is particularly stunning and by itself makes the entire trip to Hobart well worth it!

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Derwent tasting room

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Dusky Sound – Fjordland National Park New Zealand

Fjordland National Park in New Zealand is a truly magnificent place to go. On our recent cruise we were favored with fantastic weather outside, but inside Sue Adams​ was a bit under the weather so some of the viewing was done just from our stateroom balcony. As we were passing by another stunning waterfall, some dolphins just happened to swim by and put on a show for us. Wow! #love2getaway

 

You know, some people still wonder…Do I really need to have a balcony cabin? uh, yes you do!

The Largest Passenger Cruise Ship in the World

Recently we sailed aboard the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas on it’s inaugural voyage from Miami, Florida.  She is the reigning queen of large ships with so much to see and do on-board that it would take several vacations just to experience it all.

Here’s a sample of what we experienced: water slides, robot bartenders, world class fine dining, high energy Vegas show, Broadway show – Hairspray, Water show with high diving into an ever changing pool , fireworks, balloon drop, wine tasting, fresh seafood lunch, organic italian pasta, laser tag, a real boardwalk carousel ride, a musical staircase, a bar that’s also an elevator, mini-golf, the international space station, and the Wright brothers flying a plane above the theater audiences heads.  I’m sure i’m forgetting something – and we were only there for 4 nights!

As there is so much, we’ve created a photo & video gallery if you wish to see more

visit our web page

Kids Pool

 

Symphony of the Seas – We’ll see you on-board.

Follow us on Facebook as we sail on the inaugural voyage from Miami on the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas.

find us on facebook

https://www.facebook.com/getawaytravelllc/

By the numbers she is 1188 feet long and 215.5 feet wide.  She occupies 228,081 Gross Tons.  18 Decks with 24 guest elevators.  4 Bow thrusters with 7500 horse power each.  There are 7 neighborhoods (really our favorite feature of this class of ship) Central Park, Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, Pool & Sports Zone, Spa & Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.  There are 2759 Staterooms which accommodate 5518 guests with double occupancy.  2200 crew members.

There are 9 complimentary dining venues and 11 specialty ones.

And this is all just the beginning – there is so much to see and do including Rock Climbing Wall, Water slides, Escape Room, Surfing, Zip line, laser tag and not to be missed the Ultimate Abyss.  Will we head down the tallest slide at sea?  Only one way to find out!

ultimate abyss

 

 

Cruising for Seafood

 

Certainly one of the great things about cruising is you are always close to destinations with amazing seafood.  Last month in Halifax, Nova Scotia we had lunch at McKelvie’s Restaurant – a short walk from the cruise pier and not very far from another favorite spot – Halifax Distilling Co.  You can tell from the photos below that we had a great lunch and would definitely go back on our next trip.

What’s your favorite food stop when cruising?

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Notre Dame Basilica Montreal

If you have never seen the Aura music and light show inside this cathedral it is definitely a must see. However, Even during a normal daytime visit the lighting provides an amazing scene. Just check our photos from our visit last month. Montreal was the final stop on our Canada New England fall color cruise. We had great time and highly recommend this itinerary. More photos coming soon!

Cruising – Boston to Montreal

Day 1 – Boston

boston mon itin

I’ll admit it. I’ve been lots of places all around the world, but have never been to Boston. Two things I know about Boston: First is Sam Adams. Jim Koch believed that beer drinkers deserved a better American beer than what was available in the 1980’s. And was he right! Look at the proliferation of craft beers and breweries all across the US. Samuel Adams Boston Lager had a huge impact on the future US landslide of flavor packed beers. Second thing I know about Boston is Boston Rob from the CBS show survivor. Rob and his wife Amber both individually won different seasons – her in 2004 and him in 2011 after his fourth appearance! As a couple they both appeared on Season 7 of the Amazing Race – they were masters of the game, and finished in 2nd place, just short of the big prize.

For this trip, we’ll be in Boston a couple days early and will visit Freedom Trail sites in the downtown area. The city was founded in 1630 and got its name from an English village. Many of the events that led to the American revolution including the infamous Boston Tea Party in 1773, started here In 1775, Paul Revere helped spread the word that the British were coming (no tweeting in those days). The next day “the shot heard round the world” was fired, signaling the start of the American Revolution.  And the rest as they say is history.

Looking forward to another great trip – Cheers!

How many of these sites can you identify?

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Free Dining or Free Drinks. Hmm…which to chose?

Being offered a “free” dining or beverage package seems to the be sign of the times today in ocean cruising bookings.  Every cruise line has its own twist on the perks offered but these two are always in the mix of offerings.

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So, which do you choose?  You love to eat and…. okay you like to consume adult beverages too, thus the dilemma exists.

Now, my first recommendation is talk to your travel professional because all “free” perks are not created equally.  For example, some lines charge service fees associated with their “free” while others do not.  Most lines have a dollar limit to drinks available using the perk and the big difference is how they handle those drinks that hop over that limit.  For example, let’s assume your drink limit is $13 but you really want to try that $16 martini.  On some lines, you would pay only the $3 extra, on other lines you would not be able to use the beverage package and be charged the full $16.   Note from one wine snob to another:  Serious wine drinkers (those who won’t drink the house wine at a bar and who don’t drink much in the way of other alcohol) should think twice about the “free” beverage package because it isn’t likely to have wines that will make you happy.  You, may want to consider choosing the free dining perk and then buying your own wine package.

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Dining packages are no different, you really have to do the math regarding which perk will be best.  Example:  you are on a 7-day cruise, your perk is 3 nights in a specialty restaurant, on board credit, free wifi or the beverage package.  What is the value of those 3 nights dining?  Let’s say the price is $35 per visit to the specialty restaurant x 3 = $105 but the onboard credit is $150 per person…..which is better?

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Remember a particular cruise line can only speak to and only wants to sell you their product, they cannot offer you a side by side comparison like a travel professional.  We can help sort all that out and can search across all cruise lines for the best perk offering out there.

And on that note:  Cheers and Bon Appétit1-Celebrity Century 3-20-2010 10-19-42 PM

Professional Service & Awards

At GetAway Travel, we pride ourselves on great professional service to our customers.  Travel industry surveys continue to relate that travelers that work with travel agents have more fulfilling vacations than those that do not.  We certainly believe it is true, and obviously so do our clients.  Our clients expect to be treated like friends and family.  They are confident in our abilities.  They do not expect to be “sold” on travel as we already know they want an amazing vacation, what they want is our opinions, our help and our support.  One of the ways we support them is by maintaining professional agency affiliations. The affiliation that we are always most excited about is with MAST Travel Network – and unless you are in the industry, you likely have never heard of them.  We’ve been MAST members for many years now, and in fact Sue currently is serving a term on the board of directors.   MAST helps keep us up to date on the travel industry and products, but more importantly puts us face to face with suppliers.

This week was the 12th annual MAST awards night and GetAway Travel came home with 2 awards which bring us great pride.  The first award is for “Best Travel Show”, for our “Afternoon in Italy” event last February.  The second award is the “Directors Achievement Award”, recognizing one of MAST’s smaller agencies for outstanding sales and support with highest percentage increases from one year to the next.  This was a new category and we are truly blessed with being the first agency to ever receive this award.

You should expect great things from your travel agency, and we hope that for you that the travel agency you rely on first and foremost for amazing vacations is us.

Looking Forward – 2016 Year in Travel

European vacations continue to hold great value. The US Dollar remains at historic low levels vs. the Euro. This is good news for travelers to Europe as you definitely get more bang for your buck.  Our best advice for Europe is to plan ahead – this is not a destination that typically rewards the last-minute traveler.   The best way to start planning your European vacation is to schedule a consultation with Sue.

Uniworld River Baroness Honfleur France 3-26-2009 4-32-41 AMRiver Cruising continues to grow and for very good reasons. Our clients absolutely love to take River Cruises. All it takes is to try it once and you will rave about it forever. Be aware however that not all river cruise companies are equal. You can research endlessly on your own, or you can call us to discuss. Our goal is to find out about what you want to do, how adventurous you are, what you like and what you don’t like. What are your travel dreams?  Our recommendations are simply based on you and your needs, that’s it.

iberostar-rose-hall-beach-poolAll Inclusive vacations will remain hot, hot, hot. The industry continues to upgrade old properties and build new ones. There are All-Inclusives for all tastes and budgets. Well we know you want a warm weather, beach destination, but are you looking for a romantic escape or a family/multi-generational getaway? Do you want basic dining choices or a more gourmet experience?   How does a canopy covered bed and open air shower sound? Or a private plunge pool within mere steps of your suite? The choices go on and on.  We can help narrow it down to something you will love.

According to the experts, air ticket prices are down but add-on fees are up.  The simple fact, is you need air tickets to get to many vacation destinations. They are the transportation, not the vacation.

Cheap will remain, well….cheap. While the dictionary defines cheap as inexpensive, it also defines it as something of poor quality or shoddy. Continue to be cautious about anything advertised as cheap, supercheap, ultracheap, etc. A fantastically cheap vacation is not a good value if it is actually craptastic (this is our official industry word for cheap vacations!). Everyone wants good value and that’s where we help – get the best value for your money that actually gets the vacation experience you are looking for. Will it be cheap? We certainly hope not.

The best things in travel continue to come to those who plan ahead. For example, how about planning 2017? You may not be ready yet, but we are. We have 2 special group options worth considering.

Join us in January 2017 for our GetAway on the Getaway.   We will do all the following:  go down the highest water slides at sea, attend award-winning Broadway shows, experience Iron Chef dining, walk the plank and be endlessly entertained and pampered.   Book now and choose between Free unlimited drinks, Free Specialty Dining, Free Shore Excursions or Free WiFi.

In September 2017 we will be hosting a very special Wines of Western Europe group on the Azamara Journey.  Beginning in England, we will sail to France, Spain and Portugal.  Azamara specializes in unique itineraries that include overnight stays in many ports.  Our group will be in Bordeaux, one of the world’s foremost wine regions for 3 days.  But that is not the only World Heritage region we will visit – see our web page for all the details.