Category Archives: River Cruising

New Group GetAway Just Added – but you must act soon

Have you ever taken a European river cruise?  Have you ever cruised with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises?

river-princess

Our customers love to cruise on Uniworld.  In fact it has one of the highest rates for repeat trips amongst all the suppliers we use.

 

You may very well ask why that is.  Well for starters, the standards of accommodations, food and service are extremely high.  The ships have very tasteful interiors and yes they are all different, with each being as unique as your voyage.   Typical cruise lengths are 8 – 15 days and everything is included, making for carefree and truly effortless travel.   Included are: scheduled airport transfers, all dining on board, unlimited beverages (including many premium spirits), personalized shore excursions, fitness center, Wi-Fi, on-board entertainment and all gratuities.

kinderdijk-windmillsOK – is this a commercial?  Yes it pretty much is and here is why.  We currently have some very special amazing prices on select Uniworld Cruises including our group cruise in April 2017 from Amsterdam to Antwerp.  This “Tulips and Windmills” cruise is scheduled to coincide perfectly with a visit to the famous Keukenhof gardens which has over 7 million bulbs in bloom each spring.  Additionally we will visit the windmills of Kinderdijk, the picture perfect villages of Veere, Hoorn and Enkhuizen, and the cities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bruges and Antwerp.  So much to see and so much to do but you need to act fast.  Why?  Because our amazing special pricing only lasts until October 11.  Give us a call at 262.538.2140 to reserve your spot with our group.

For additional details on the ship and the trip you may also want to visit our web page.

 

 

Europe GetAways in 2017

We have 2 exciting European Group GetAways scheduled for 2017.  They may both be cruises, but they are completely different!


1-Wine_grapes07First up is the Wines of Western Europe which includes Bordeaux (France), Basque (Spain) and Portugal.  Our group will be sailing aboard the luxurious Azamara Journey.  Azamara Club Cruises is at the crossroads of where luxury and destination immersive cruising meet.  This ship only holds 694 passengers and has a wonderful mix of amenities.  She’s a perfect-sized vessel: small enough that it’s never too far from one place to another, yet large enough to provide variety on long itineraries. On our trip we will experience late evening and overnight port stays.  The Journey was completely refurbished in 2016 –  it received new spa suites in the fully renovated Sanctum spa with updated decor in marble, light wood and a cream palate. Every suite and stateroom has new beds with the same decor scheme, and the restaurants also received a modern upgrade.

Our 12 Night GetAway begins in Southampton England on September 4 and ends in Lisbon Portugal on September 16.  Along the way you will experience the worlds foremost wine region in Bordeaux, spend a day at the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, wash Tapas down with Rioja wine, and sip port in the Douro Valley – and so much more.  You can find more details at our website.  We hope you can join us.


salzburg2Our second European Group GetAway for 2017 is in December.  Why December?  Christmas MarketsCome with us and celebrate the season as we cruise along the Danube aboard the Uniworld SS Maria Theresa.  We last visited Christmas markets in 2014 and everyone had such a great time that we knew we’d definitely do it again.

If you’re tired of commercialism taking over the holidays, you will be very pleased with the traditions and romance of real Christmas markets where the gifts are not mass-produced but craftwork of real quality.   Our group will begin in Budapest and sail along the Danube while visiting Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Germany.  Every stop along the way will feature special Christmas Market excursions.  You can find more details on the itinerary at our website.

Every Uniworld ship is as unique as it’s itinerary and the SS Maria Theresa is no exception.  It’s opulent 18th century décor is a floating homage to one of the Habsburg empires most beloved ruler.  The food, drink and service on Uniworld are absolutely outstanding – and everything is included!  Call now as there are limited time promotions where even the air is included!

  As always, we can be reached at 262.538.2140 or send us an email: paul@getaway.travel or sue@getaway.travel


 

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.

European Christmas Markets – Let’s GO!

nutcrackerAdvent has been ushered in since the late middle ages via traditional Christmas markets.  Depending on where you are in Europe a Christmas market is also known as ChristkindlmarktMarché de NoëlChristkindlesmarktand Weihnachtsmarkt. Christkindlesmarkt literally translates as “Christ child market”.

Generally held in town squares, the markets sell food, drink and seasonal crafts from open-air stalls accompanied by traditional singing and dancing.  Popular attractions include a Nativity scene, nutcrackers, toasted almonds, traditional gingerbread cookies and hot mulled wine to help stave off the cold winter air.  Many handmade items including toys, decorations and ornaments are found in the Market.  Check out this photo – It’s truly a magical experience!cologne cathedral market

One of the most visited Christmas Markets is found in Cologne, Germany which in fact has 7 markets in total of which the 4 biggest are located near the amazing Cathedral. The Christmas Market at the Cologne Cathedral is the most impressive one in, due to the huge backdrop of the imposing Cathedral.  Beneath the Cathedral and the largest Christmas tree in the Rhineland, you can find well over 160 festively designed wooden pavilions. Here you can watch artisans at work, enjoy original “Christmas Mulled Wine” out of festively decorated Christmas mugs or you can choose from an unlimited choice of sweets and local delicacies. The Alter Markt takes place in front of the old town hall only 200 meters from the cathedral. Shadowed by beautiful narrow-gabled houses and half-timbered stalls, this market conveys a very romantic and idyllic feel.  The Neumarkt is Cologne’s oldest Christmas market located near St. Aspoteln’s (Basilica of the Holy Apostles) church. This market glows in splendor with charmingly designed chalets and a unique “stars at night” theme.  The Christmas Market on the Rudolfplatz takes you to a world of brother’s Grimm fairy tales. Large fairy tale figures and festive illuminations provide a special eye-catcher, set against the historic backdrop of one of Cologne’s 3 standing medieval gate houses.

Rhine Holiday Market 2014 mapYou may very well be asking why we are talking about Christmas markets in May?  Well because to see the markets you need to plan ahead.  GetAway Travel has an agency exclusive offer for you to join us on an amazing River Cruise on the Rhine River during the start of Advent.  

Prepare to be pampered and amazed on our special 7 day trip cruising along the legendary Rhine through Germany, France and Switzerland. Explore charming towns and discover treasures in some of Europe’s finest traditional Christmas markets. You’ll revel in the brilliant holiday decorations and in tasting the many treats and spiced wines of the season. This is truly the way to celebrate Christmas!  Discover the roots of our Christmas traditions as you explore some of Europe’s most charming towns. Browse for unique ornaments in Basel’s Christmas Market. Sip vin chaud as you stroll to Place Kléber to behold the enormous, brilliantly lighted tree that Strasbourg offers modern celebrants. Find unexpected treasures in the red-roofed stalls clustered around Cologne’s magnificent cathedral.

You may have never planned your Christmas holiday this far in advance, but now is really the time to get in the spirit and join our group.  Please view our webpage for more details on this cruise and information on how you can sign up!

Oh and did we mention that the river cruise is all-inclusive?

 

Groups!

Are you looking for a girls getaway to the Caribbean?  How about a wine club tour of France, Italy or New Zealand?  Would your church group like to experience the footsteps of St. Paul in Turkey and Greece?  What about taking a group of your friends to Napa to celebrate a milestone birthday?  How about a family reunion on an Alaskan cruise?  Ski club trip to Vail?  Scrapbooking club River Cruise in Austria?  Choral group trip to Christmas markets in Germany? Foodies group at Walt Disney World food and wine festival?  Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

The possibilities are endless.  We can help with generating ideas, the detailed planning, the marketing and of course getting everyone in your group to where they need to go.  While we work with the group leaders to help craft the whole experience, we also make sure that we meet the needs of individual travellers within the group as well.

Have an idea for a group GetAway?  We need to talk – (262) 538-2140

#9 groups

Trip planning 101 – How to take a European River Cruise from Brugge.

Trip planning can be every bit as enjoyable as the trip.  Our theory is some of the happiest people in the world are those who either are planning a vacation or those that are on vacation.  If you are not doing one, well you should be doing the other.

Belgium Trip Planning

Here are the 3 most critical tools we used for planning a trip to Belgium.

  1. A guidebook from Brugge tourism,
  2. Great Beers of Belgium book
  3. Trappistes Rochefort 8.

Straffe Hendrick

We had such a good time planning that we decided to go there ourselves.

One unique way for you to add Brugge to your vacation is to take a Rhine Getaway river cruise with Viking River Cruises and add in a 3 night pre-stay in Brugge.  Begin your trip on an amazing note by staying in the heart of the old town at this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  See one of the few Michelangelo sculptures outside of Italy, walk along the canals, explore the cobbled streets and many sidewalk cafes.  But what ever you do, don’t forget to spend some quality time at the Half Moon Brewery!  After visiting Brugge, you will be transferred to Amsterdam to start your cruise on the Rhine river heading towards Basel, Switzerland.

Rhine Getaway itineraryDAY 1 AMSTERDAM – Arrive in Amsterdam, then transfer to your ship. After boarding, the afternoon is yours to explore the city on your own. If your arrival schedule permits and you are interested, you may wish to visit the Anne Frank House.

DAY 2 KINDERDIJK – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sail to Kinderdijk, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a tour of this ingenious network of windmills and other flood management devices. You learn why the windmills were built and see how they work, plus you enter an actual working windmill for a tour of its mechanisms and living quarters. Return aboard for lunch and an enjoyable afternoon of Dutch diversions: sample handcrafted Dutch cheeses and jenever, a distilled juniper liquor, and try your hand at sjoelen (Dutch table shuffleboard). Cruise through the night.

DAY 3 COLOGNE – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Continue along the Rhine this morning; arrive in Cologne and disembark for a walking tour. Stroll through Old Town past St. Martin’s Church, and spend some time inside Cologne’s Dom, a remarkable Gothic cathedral whose construction was begun in 1248 and which was only completed in 1880. Explore the dockside taverns, cafés and shops on your own—as always, your Program Director can help you plan your free time. Dinner is served aboard and we remain docked until late evening.

DAY 4 KOBLENZ & RÜDESHEIM – UNESCO World Heritage Site. Proceed along the Rhine, disembarking to tour 700-year-old Marksburg Castle and its museum. Lunch aboard as you enjoy this scenic passage, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where castles overlook the river from their hilltop locations. Arrive in Rüdesheim in the late afternoon. Spend free time in the pedestrian-only Drosselgasse and sample a glass of locally produced wine at one of the restaurants or wine bars—dine aboard or in town if you prefer. Ship departs after midnight.

DAY 5 HEIDELBERG & SPEYER – UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Cruise through the morning enjoying brunch and the passing scenery. Arrive in Mannheim and disembark for a journey to Heidelberg to see Germany’s oldest university, founded in 1386. Then visit the beautiful sandstone ruins of imposing Heidelberg Castle, and take in the scenery of the Neckar River Valley and the city’s many red rooftops from its hilltop location. Continue with a walking tour through the Old Town to Heidelberg’s renowned gates.

Rejoin your ship in Speyer this afternoon and take some time to look around. You dock in full view of the imposing Romanesque cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 11th century on the site of a former basilica, the building’s design was highly influential upon Romanesque architecture for centuries to come, and is the final resting place of eight German monarchs. Its soaring interior features graceful rows of sandstone columns and a large stained-glass window installed in the western façade during a later Gothic period.

DAY 6 STRASBOURG – UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Dock this morning in Kehl and disembark for a guided tour of Strasbourg. See the European Parliament and tour the interior of the city’s famed cathedral. The afternoon is free to further explore this Alsatian city’s blend of French and German cultures—fabulous churches, medieval covered bridges, beautiful parks and some lovely Art Nouveau and modernist architecture. Dine aboard and enjoy free time this evening in the quaint little city of Kehl.

DAY 7 BREISACH –  After cruising through the night you arrive during breakfast in Breisach, gateway to the Black Forest. Take a scenic excursion through the area’s renowned mountain landscape, rolling meadows and dense forests. Once there, visit a local workshop and see a cuckoo clock-making demonstration. Return to Breisach for some free time before an early evening departure. Or, choose an optional excursion to the quaint Alsatian town of Colmar. Dine aboard while you cruise on to Basel, arriving around midnight.

DAY 8  BASEL – After breakfast, disembark and proceed to the airport for your return flight. Or, extend your time in Switzerland’s Alpine region with 2 nights in lovely Lucerne or a 3-night stay at Lake Geneva.

GetAway Travel is your best resource for river cruises.  We have the necessary expertise and are completely focused on meeting your needs.  Call now for a free consultation 262-538-2140

We hate to brag, but…

We love our clients and work very hard to make sure all of their travel dreams come true.

As the majority of our business is from word of mouth referrals, it’s always great to get feedback to see how they enjoyed their vacations.

Here is some of our most recent feedback:

 “GetAway Travel Service is the company that we used for our recent trip to France and Italy. They spent a lot of time with us to help us decide where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see. They took care of all of the details and provided all of the information we needed to avoid stress when we were there. Everything went flawlessly. I highly recommend Sue Adams and Paul Adams at GetAway. Consider using them for your next trip!”

These clients took an amazing river cruise in France and then while they were already in Europe, we sent them on a luxury tour of Italy (Venice, Rome, Florence).

“We booked our 25th anniversary trip with them this summer. When the plans changed (beyond our control) just 5 days before our trip, Paul and Sue booked us an entirely new trip and took the stress away! We are already booked with them next year.” 

These clients had booked a Celebrity Galapagos cruise over 1 year in advance.  Literally days before departure, the cruise was cancelled (very rare circumstances).  We quickly scrambled and sent them on a dream cruise to Alaska.  We worked with the cruise lines to get them an upgrade on their Alaska cruise stateroom, and got full refunds on their air and cruise for Galapagos.   They have already rebooked their Galapagos cruise for next year.

Is there anything we can do to help you make your vacation dreams come true?

Experience the difference that smart dedicated travel agents can make in your next vacation.

 

 

France – Burgundy & Provence – Vino Group – on it’s way soon!

Starting next week we have a group of very fortunate travelers heading out for a river cruise on the Saône and Rhône rivers through the heart of Burgundy and Provence.

River Royale

Here is just a bit of a sampling of the things they will be enjoying.

The scent of lavender fields.  Glowing sunflowers that inspired paintings by Van Gogh.  A Roman amphitheater still in use after millennia.  The 14th century Palace of the Popes.  A tri-level aqueduct bridge built in 19 BC.  Visit to a produce market and dinner making with a celebrated French chef.  Visit to a truffle farm and watch a truffle dog work amongst the oak trees.  Visit the Hospices de Beaune, begun as a charitable organization in 1443 where the tradition of an annual wine auction to support the monks work continues to this day.

GetAway Wine grapes logo

Oh and we’re fairly certain there will also be some wine sampling along the way such as:  exclusive tour and private tastings at select Grand cru and premier cru wineries in Côte de Beaune. Visit to wine cellars in Tain l’Hermitage.  Châteauneuf-du-Pape vineyard visit and wine tasting.  

France is the source of many grape varieties now planted throughout the world and it also originated the notion of “terroir” that describes a wines sense of place.  What better way to get a sense of the place of the wine, then to journey where the wine is grown?  And what better way to journey than to go with a group of your friends?

This group was organized with the help of our wonderful friends at the areas best wine bar – Vino Etcetera –  in the town with the greatest “Wisconish” name ever – Oconomowoc.

If you are not going with the group this year, stay tuned we have grand plans for another wine trip in 2014!  Ciao!

Honfleur – Beautiful picturesque Normandy

On the southern bank of the Seine in Lower Normandy is a beautiful town with the most picturesque 17th century harbor – Honfleur.  Painted many times by famous artists including Claude Monet, the port is characterized by its houses with slate covered frontages.

Honfleur Harbor

Harbor of Vieux Bassin, Honfleur

Honfleur Harbor boats

The sky was well overcast and it drizzled most of the time during our visit, but you could not escape the unique charm of this town.

hondfleur half timbered bldgs

The amazingly well-preserved half-timbered medieval architecture was everywhere to be seen during our walking tour.

Honfleur St Catherines church

St Catherine’s is certainly one of the most unusual churches you will visit in France.  Apparently all the local stone was used to build town defenses, so the church was built out of wood by nautical ship builders.

Honfleur sweets

Oh and there is no shortage of bakery goods available for the tourists to satisfy a sweet tooth.  There are many different ways to tour Normandy and Honfleur, one that we highly recommend is by River Cruising.  You can get more details at our partner site with Uniworld

Sustainable River Cruising

Not only do you want to go to great destinations, but it’s good to know that suppliers such as Uniworld are working to keep them as great destinations for future generations of travellers. 

Here is what Uniworld has to say about this important initiative.

Sustaining the destinations we visit is of great importance to us at Uniworld. We are part of a joint initiative by The Travel Corporation (TTC) family of brands called TreadRight; a not for profit working to ensure that the environment and communities we explore remain vibrant for future generations.
TreadRight is The Travel Corporation’s hub for all corporate social responsibility efforts, and manages a long-standing grants program that benefits sustainable tourism projects.
To date, TreadRight has committed more than USD 1.5 million to projects worldwide, and encourages industry best practice through our support for the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Tourism for Tomorrow Awards. To learn more about our work at TreadRight, please visit us at http://www.treadright.org.
Uniworld’s current and most exciting project is in partnership with The Travel Foundation, a United Kingdom-based charity with the same socio-environmental values we share. With their support, Uniworld is spearheading the Sustainable River Cruising project—the first of its kind—focusing on minimizing the environmental impact of Uniworld’s ships, and the river cruising industry at large.
We believe conservation starts at the local level, and encourage you to learn more about our Sustainable River Cruising initiative and its impact on Uniworld and the river cruising industry as a whole.

Why not join us on a very special River Cruise in 2013?