In the past, exploring the world and checking off our bucket lists often came coupled with crowds, lines and so called “tourist traps.” We were focused on the Instagram moments, the photo opportunities, and “keeping up with the Joneses,” but we were missing the mark. With a renewed focus on privacy and socially distanced experiences, the opportunities are endless. Whether exploring remote locations, discovering off-the-beaten-path natural wonders, or revisiting our favorite destinations in a completely new way, a newfound intimacy awaits us.
Antarctica. Even just saying it sounds adventurous. The surreal remoteness. The absolute beauty. The myriad of wildlife. The ice. The snow (the miles and miles of snow and ice). And yes, the Drake Passage. A rite of passage for those who really want to travel to the seventh continent; the Drake Passage proves that you need to earn the right to go to Antarctica. And for those who travel with passion, this is the only destination on the planet that will suffice.
Meeting the personal challenge of reaching Earth’s last wilderness doesn’t necessarily mean roughing it. Silversea’s polished luxury offers even the most intrepid of explorers’ home comforts, whether it’s onboard or onshore. Think guided Zodiac tours with world-class experts, 10-night sailings that include expedition adventures to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands and award-winning luxury from stem to stern. With both comfort and authenticity on the map, isn’t it time you fell in love with Antarctica?
The pursuit of the unknown reaches an epic level north of the Arctic Circle — all among the captivating cacophony of Svalbard’s calving glaciers, walruses feasting on Atlantic oysters, and the Viking legends pervading the shores of Greenland. There is a reason why this is one of the most successful destinations. Venture beyond the unknown and explore the beating heart of the Arctic. Journey in supreme comfort to the very top of the world and discover so much more than just Polar Bears and midnight sun. Enthusiastic and expert Expedition Team Members keep you in the know while immersive local culture keeps you on the go. Inspirational, aspirational, and educational – champagne on ice will never seem the same again.
Silversea Expeditions takes you to the edge of the world with all the comforts you love. Aided by a team of world-class experts, the ultra-luxury ships are modern gems of design, excelling in both fine living and exploration. The small ship cruises offer comfort, unrivalled expedition knowledge, and some of the most spectacular landscape you’re ever likely to see. That could mean scanning the horizon for Polar Bears, taking a Zodiac cruise to access an Inuit community, or learning how to take the perfect iceberg photo. With Silversea, you will be kayaking the glacial Arctic seas by day, and dining in superlative luxury by night.
The extensive coverage of the region offers a variety of itineraries and lengths. From a full circumnavigation of Svalbard to crossing the Northwest Passage, there is very little of the region we don’t cover. Your Arctic adventure starts here.
Set sail for the world’s most all-inclusive voyage to the Arctic: complimentary in-country flights, transfers, pre-cruise hotel, shore experience plus much, much more. Silversea is the only real choice when it comes to Arctic luxury cruises.
So, let’s get ready to explore the Arctic – we’ve got the details taken care of. You only need to pack your bags.
Main image credit: Silversea guest taking a photo of the Silver Cloud and Aappilattoq_ Voyage 1919 Reykjavik to Kangerlussaq on board Silver Cloud 2019 by Pablo Bianco
2021 is set to be an interesting year with so many of us wanting to travel amidst the uncertainty that still exists. Yet, one thing is certain, privacy will be at the forefront of travel experiences. We caught up with Jeanette Mahnken, Director of Group Sales Operations at CIE Tours, to learn what their company is doing to provide new, yet still exceptional, experiences.
Q: Tell us a bit about CIE and the company’s tour offerings.
In 1932, we created a company dedicated to introducing people to the beauty and magic of Ireland and Britain. Today we’re proud to bring more North Americans to those destinations each year than any other tour operator - and with a 95% customer satisfaction rating.
While we are best known for scheduled tours, we also have tremendously popular Groups and Custom Private Driver options.
Plus, in 2021, as a response to the greater demand for private touring options, we now offer 17 different classic pre-set Ireland itineraries in a private vehicle with your own driver or as a self-drive option. For those looking for more flexibility, we continue to offer Travelers Choice, our “go-as-you-please” (a la carte) self-drive option.
Q: How has CIE incorporated comfort, safety, and social distancing into its tour options?
Full statement from COO: https://www.cietours.com/health-safety-guidelines
As the leader in Ireland and Britain and one of the longest-standing tour operators in North America, we have instituted comprehensive health and safety standards to put our guests’ wellbeing first. In conjunction with the leading tourism authorities, we are set to operate at the highest levels of health and safety guidelines in the US and Europe, including regional and national standards for COVID-19 procedures.
Also, as mentioned above, we have a variety of independent travel options – Private Driver, Classic Itineraries with Driver or Self-Drive, Travelers Choice Self-Drive and Private Groups - for those that prefer privacy over the camaraderie of a tour. For those that love the energy of a group tour, we have also dramatically expanded our small group departure schedule.
Q: For travelers looking to explore more secluded and natural destinations, what types of tours does CIE offer?
With private driver or custom group travel, the possibilities are endless. Our knowledgeable specialists are eager and happy to help build the perfect itinerary built around our guests’ passions, interests, and budget. Whether you are an adventurer, foodie, historical enthusiast, or want to walk in the footsteps of your past generations, we can plan your dream trip.
Q: What are some unique ways CIE allows travelers to revisit their favorite destinations but with newfound space and privacy?
Either with a private driver or on a private tour, revisiting destinations with one of our local guides is the absolute best way to experience somewhere you thought you knew, but in a completely new way. Our guides’ deep knowledge goes well beyond history and storytelling (although that is also wildly entertaining). They know the best times to visit attractions, have the best tips to enhance your experience and often insider access to take you to places that you may have previously considered too crowded to thoroughly enjoy.
Q: How have CIE’s offerings changed in response to the pandemic?
Published statement: https://www.cietours.com/travel-flexibility
2021 is such an interesting year. We all want to travel, yet there is so much uncertainty.
You can book confidently with CIE Tours knowing that you can change your 2021 plans up to 30 days before departure for future travel to any of our other destinations and itineraries through 2022.
With Custom Private Driver vacations, you have the flexibility to move or adjust your trip up to 45 days prior to departure. For custom groups of 10 or more, we offer flexibility of fully refundable deposits until 100 days prior to departure.
Q: For travelers looking to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and stray away from crowds, if you could recommend one CIE trip, which would you recommend?
For an exclusively off-the-beaten path vacation, we recommend building a custom travel experience with our specialists. Locations, seasonality, and even the time of day you visit an attraction can make such a difference. We will guide you through the process to ensure you get the most out of your trip – and don’t compromise by ruling out attractions that could give you the privacy you want if you just knew the right time and day to visit or had insider access.
Q: BONUS: What makes a CIE vacation unique?
There are so many things! But I’ll give you my top three…
First, our team’s passion for delivering the ultimate travel experience. Our tour directors are the best of the best, truly our heart and soul. All are local to the destination they tour, and most have been with us for many years. Our local teams in Ireland and Britain work tirelessly to craft and deliver top-notch travel experiences at the best value regardless of your budget. If you choose a custom experience, you also have a highly trained and experienced US-based team to help you build your dream trip.
Second, as part of the communities where we tour, we have deep and long-lasting relationships with the hotels, restaurants, and attractions we visit. Often, we have exclusive opportunities that no one else has because of these are our neighbors.
Third, our All-In Inclusive Advantage guarantees that, when you travel with us, you spend every moment in the moment – not worrying about fees and options. On our guided tours, your accommodations, transportation, sightseeing, entertainment, and most meals come included. No hidden extras!
After a year without travel, we’re all dreaming of places near and far that will allow us to fulfill our wanderlust while also ensuring the safety of our travel bubble. In our pursuit of privacy, the world’s great outdoors and natural wonders await. Our planet is full of remote, yet idyllic, islands where you can have all the distance you need while rediscovering the joy of exploring the world. Here are six remote islands and archipelagoes that you’ve probably never heard of but fuel our travel dreams.
As we get back out into the world, one thing we are all looking for is comfort and safety. Now, more than ever, we understand the need to stray away from the crowds, travel off-the-beaten-path, and see our world in a new light. For many of us, this means reconnecting with nature and our surroundings. As we begin exploring once again, let’s make an effort to travel more meaningfully and discover places that may be lesser known but deserve some appreciation, nonetheless.
Tempting dishes from our featured destinations give you a taste of local culture. From succulent roasts to exotic spicy fare and some divine desserts, you’re sure to find plenty of delicious recipes to try at home.
Each month we’re showcasing our cruise partners to bring you the latest on the cruise line and their ships. With different cruising styles and a variety of ships to choose from, you’ll find these profiles helpful for selecting the cruise that’s right for you.
The newest gem in our riverboat fleet, American Countess welcomes 245 guests along the Tennessee, Ohio, Cumberland, and Mississippi rivers. Her sleek, contemporary design offers plenty of open space for gathering and sharing the fun, and you’ll love the great forward-facing windows and the portside bar with an 80-foot view.
American Queen Steamboat Company sets the standard for cruising on American rivers. Experience the romance of the past in modern comfort on the Mississippi, Ohio, Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers on board our authentic paddlewheelers – the iconic and opulent flagship American Queen or the luxurious new boutique paddlewheeler, the American Duchess. Or explore the great Pacific Northwest on the elegant American Empress.
The latest addition to our fleet of authentic paddlewheelers – the American Countess – offers many of the same exciting heartland and deep South itineraries as her sisters the American Queen and American Duchess. Built from an existing hull, the American Countess underwent significant reconstruction, including lengthening the boat by 60 feet. Enjoy the signature distinctions that have made American Queen Steamboat Company the most award-winning river cruise line in America.
The American Countess’s four decks, including a Sun Deck, and 123 comfortable, inviting staterooms, will make cruising on this gorgeous paddlewheeler a truly unforgettable experience. Cabins feature a sleek and modern design that will provide the perfect place to relax after heading out on an included shore excursion or taking in an evening Broadway-caliber performance in The Theater on board.
As our award-winning culinary team takes full advantage of each region’s diverse bounty of fresh, local ingredients to fashion authentic dishes, our gracious staff charms with friendly, courteous attention to your needs in the Grand Dining Room. A more casual atmosphere is offered in the River Grill, which allows guests to dine at their own pace.
It’s easy to stay active onboard the American Countess in her well-appointed Fitness Center, while the Card Room provides a perfect spot for guests to mingle with fellow travelers and newfound friends. It’s also a joy to browse for souvenirs in the Gift Shop, to remember your treasured journey.
Veranda Suites with Private Balcony - 255 sq. ft. with 40-sq.-ft. private veranda: These suites offer the perfect break from a busy day on the river. Settle in at your desk or relax on the couch, open the doors to your veranda and peacefully watch the riverbanks of America’s heartland drift by.
Deluxe Outside Staterooms with Open Veranda - 220 sq. ft. with open veranda: Start your morning on the river by opening sliding doors to enjoy fresh air and picturesque landscape as we gently drift past. Indulge in some snacks on the deck outside your stateroom, socialize with fellow guests or simply enjoy a luxurious day of lounging.
Inside Staterooms - 170 sq. ft.: Our Interior Staterooms invite you to relax and unwind in modern comfort. These spaces offer a tranquil retreat in which you can feel at home on the river and prepare for exciting days brimming with fun activities.
Inspired by America’s heartland and our Southern heritage, our menus showcase the varied cultural and culinary influences of our nation. Savor each succulent bite, swirl and sip amidst the rich ambiance of the Grand Dining Room. If you are looking for a more casual atmosphere, the River Grill is for you. Meals there feature favorite main dishes, such as roast prime rib alongside irresistible sides – roasted new potatoes, classic mac-and-cheese and fresh salads.
Entertainment on the American Countess is one-of-a-kind. Make plans to spend your evenings with nightly river cruise entertainment. Live entertainers will bring down the house in The Theater. Catch world-class entertainment, relive a historical moment or hear a famous river tale originally told by Mark Twain. And be sure to bring your dancin’ shoes to the Library to enjoy a late-night live set by our talented musicians.
Learn more about the region in which you are traveling with a number of enrichment programs we offer. See for yourself the highlights of each port that we visit on one of our guided Hop-On Hop-Off shore excursions, or elect to take part in one of our expertly designed premium experiences. And our onboard historians – we like to call them Riverlorians – provide interesting lectures on the history and culture that surrounds you as you roll down the river.
The rhythm of the river is slow as a southern drawl that invites us all to take a deep breath and enjoy the simple moments. Take in the sunrise with a cup of coffee as you sit on one of the many social verandas, or have a drink in the Grand Lobby as meet new traveling companions. Or Perks – a self-serve snacking area – invites you grab a freshly baked cookie and curl up with a good book.