Exotic – the word itself induces a feeling of excitement with thoughts of far away lands full of adrenaline-pumping adventures. But unbeknownst to most, you can find an exotic escape at almost any corner of the world.
Made famous by Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Petra has a well-earned reputation as Jordan’s top tourist attraction. The Nabatean city carved into red rock is a must for any Jordan trip, but it shouldn’t be the only stop on your itinerary. Here are just some of the other amazing experiences this country has to offer.
Sustainable tourism is booming in Umm Qais, where local families invite travelers into their homes, enticing them to stay a night or two after visiting the nearby ancient city of Gadara.
In this village of 7,000, located near the northern border, you’ll be welcomed into a family kitchen for a lesson in making cured eggplants, or into the living room for a crash course in basket weaving. In the evening, you’ll sit with your hosts on floor cushions, dining around a low table on a home-cooked meal of chicken, rice and vegetables, finished with tea and cake.
Wadi Rum has stood in for Mars in several movies, and it’s easy to see why. The red sand stretches into infinity, and sandstone and granite cliffs tower in all directions.
Plodding through the sand on a camel is a good way to take in the astonishing scenery at an easy pace. To pick things up, hop into the back of a 4x4 and bounce over the sand hills.
Head back into the desert after dark for an incredible view of the stars, gathered around a fire for freshly brewed Bedouin tea while singing into the night. Then, get up at the crack of dawn as the light glows pink over the desert for a morning you’ll never forget.
At the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea is actually a salt lake. Lined with high-end resorts, it’s a stunning place to settle in for a few days of luxury.
At the waterfront, cover yourself head to toe in black Dead Sea mud, known for its healing properties. Dry yourself in the sun, then wade in for a dip. Don’t try to swim, though – the water is much too salty for that. Instead, enjoy the strange sensation of weightlessness as you bob on the surface.
Mount Nebo, with its views stretching out into the valley, is said to be the place where Moses saw the Promised Land. The site is now home to a sixth-century church with a beautifully-preserved mosaic floor depicting the domestication of animals. Outside, there’s an olive tree planted by Pope John Paul II.
On the eastern bank of the River Jordan, Bethany Beyond the Jordan is believed to be the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. After touring the Roman and Byzantine ruins, you can wade into the water, joining centuries of Christian pilgrims who have traveled to this holy site.
We caught up with Lisa McLean, Marketing Manager, North America and Latin America, at Le Boat, to learn how travelers can become the captain of their own boat and experience their greatest vacation yet.
Canal Cruise rentals is one of the hottest 2019 travel trends! It’s the perfect option for travelers looking to go off the beaten path and explore a region by its waterway versus its roadways.
Le Boat has been in business for 50 years in Europe, but this style of travel is just starting to gain awareness with North American travelers. Most travelers are unaware they can rent a canal boat cruiser on a great waterway in Europe or Canada with no previous boating experience or boat license required.
To put in simple terms, Le Boat is a modern “houseboat,” floating cottage, or RV for the water, where travelers live onboard, are the captain of their boat, set their own agenda, and choose their own travel schedule. Boat rentals vary from 3-4 days, to one week, to even 10 days plus! All our boats are easy to drive, and you get a full driving lesson at the time of your check in. The Le Boat base team will teach you all you need to know to have an amazing, brag-worthy vacation.
Le Boat operates in eight European countries, and in 2018, we launched a fleet of boats on the UNESCO World Heritage Rideau in Ontario. With an entire fleet of more than 940 boats (sleeping 2-12 people), you will easily find a boat that fits your party size, budget, and travel style.
No boating license or boating experience required! If you’ve never been on a boating vacation before, the concept is simple. We provide you with a boat, which will be your home and transport for the duration of your vacation. Pick it up from one of our many bases, situated along some of the most beautiful waterways in Europe and Canada, and the rest is entirely up to you. Go where you want; do as you please. The only requirement is that you return your boat back to the base on time.
Not many of our new customers have driven a boat before. However, they quickly realize how easy it is and soon become confident navigating the waterways. Our base teams will show you everything you need know! If you can drive a car, you can drive our boats, which were designed to be easy to use, with a steering wheel for left and right and a throttle for forward and reverse.
A private yachting vacation is no longer reserved for the rich and famous. A Le Boat canal cruise rental is much more affordable than you might expect, and the price is per boat, not per person. With a fleet of boats to choose from, you will easily find a boat to fit your budget.
Choose a cruise based on your favorite things to do. Whether it's golfing, biking, or wine-tasting you’re looking for, we have cruises to suit all kinds of interests.
A Le Boat holiday is great for couples, families, groups of friends traveling together, or a girls/guy’s getaway. It’s also perfect for those looking for an authentic and unique holiday that is off the beaten path, or for those wanting to travel at their own pace and set their own itinerary. Le Boat can provide a sample itinerary based on a food /wine tour, history, nature, soft adventure, golfing or fishing, or you can just relax on the water. But, for those looking for more of an active holiday, Le Boat offers the option to rent bikes, stand up paddle boards, or kayaks.
Our most popular cruising region is France, and we recommend the UNESCO World Heritage Canal du Midi. When it comes to barging in the South of France, the scenic Canal du Midi is a must. Cruising this 300-year-old waterway, you will savor the slow, easy pace while traveling past lush vineyards in the heart of the Languedoc wine region. Passing through historic water locks, you will discover charming Medieval villages and ancient fortress cities. Sightseeing, wine tasting, and sun-kissed cycle rides await, all the way from bustling Toulouse to the golden sands of the Mediterranean Sea.
For those looking to stay closer to home and skip the long-haul flight to Europe, we would recommend the UNESCO World Heritage Rideau Canal located in Ontario. Our base is located 40 minutes from Canada’s capital city, Ottawa. One of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century, the Rideau Canal, is the oldest continuously-operated canal system in North America. While traveling this attractive waterway, you'll be able to unwind and take in the spectacular nature, picturesque towns and lively cities along the way.
When we think of exotic escapes, we tend to think of fragrant spices and tropical air. But the truth is, you can find something exotic in every corner of the world, no matter the temperature. Here are 10 exotic experiences you may have never considered.
B.C.’s Fraser River is home to more than 40,000 sturgeon – the largest freshwater fish in North America, with a history dating back 200 million years. The river has the only fully wild population of this ancient fish in the world, and a well-monitored catch-and-release tagging program using barb-free hooks allows anglers to help monitor and protect these ancient giants, which average six to eight feet in length.
At the largest underground medieval church in Europe, the light filters through a small arched window high above an altar, and candle flames flicker as your movement disturbs the still air. This magical church can only be entered with a guide, and it’s an excellent excursion option for river cruises along the Dordogne.
Shooting a blast of turquoise glacial water up to 100 feet in the air every five to 10 minutes, Stokkur geyser is a thrill to watch. Propelled by the intense heat of liquid magma below the surface, the water first rises in a bubble and then explodes in a powerful column reaching the sky.
In Nuwara Eliya, a high-altitude British colonial-style town surrounded by tea plantations, hop on the train bound for Ella. The nearly 40-mile journey takes about three and a half hours, winding slowly down through the mountains. Brave travelers lean out doors or windows for an epic photo as the train rounds a scenic corner, while the more sedate settle into the observation car for non-stop views of waterfalls and tea fields.
These lovely white-and-blue cellars, some built right into the hill, were built beginning in the 1600s to store agricultural products. Now, they’re used to make and store Moravian wine, with each cellar owned by a different family. Taste the Czech Republic’s most popular wine, Pálava, a sweet white, and imagine you’re in a fairy tale.
Head to the Valley of Fire, about an hour-long drive from the Las Vegas Strip, for landscapes that are truly out of this world. The jagged red rocks and white domes stood in for Mars in the 1990s blockbuster Total Recall, and as Veridian III in Star Trek Generations. It’s a great spot to explore with short hikes manageable even when the temperatures soar.
The enormous Ise Grand Shrine, dedicated to sun goddess Amaterasu, is about 2,000 years old – but everything looks perfectly preserved. That’s because the site has been torn down and rebuilt exactly as it was every 20 years for more than a millennium, last done in 2013. It’s no small feat – the site includes 125 individual shrines in an area the size of central Paris.
On Cheow Larn Lake, you’ll find one of the world’s only floating tent camps. Each tent has its own kayak, giving you the perfect opportunity to slip out for a quiet paddle through the lake’s small channels, with monkeys flying through the trees overhead. At night, watch the sun set over the rainforest as you soak up the blissful silence.
There may be no place more exotic than space, and you can get a sense of the astronaut experience right here on Earth. Space Center Houston is the only place in the world where you can walk inside a space shuttle replica, view multiple flown spacecraft, and touch samples of rock from the moon and Mars.
Photo | Space Center Houston
At Flevopark, you’ll find a darling jenever distillery that looks at first glance like a church. Built in 1880, this former pumping station is set on a pond surrounded by willows and hydrangea. Inaccessible by car, the tasting room and patio are easy to reach by bike or foot, but you’ll feel a world away from Amsterdam’s bustling center as you sip your jenever, the juniper-based traditional Dutch spirit.
It’s easy to see why Winston Churchill called Uganda the “Pearl of Africa.” Straddling the equator, this stunning country’s diverse landscapes and incredible wildlife experiences will take your breath away. Here are just a few of the unforgettable outdoor activities to explore in this East African gem.
Uganda is one of only two countries in the world where you can trek to see the endangered mountain gorilla in the wild. At Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, a guide hacks his way through the trees with a machete, guiding you to your assigned gorilla family.
You might spot huge silverbacks or tiny babies. You’ll have an hour to spend in silence with these impressive great apes, watching them interact with each other or snooze under the leaves.
For a completely different trekking experience, head to Kalinzu National Forest to visit a family of chimpanzees. The trekking is generally easier, but the wildlife experience is much less serene. Chimp shouts and calls can be heard up to a mile away, and you'll need to keep your wits about you to watch out for fruit being flung from on high.
The world’s longest river, the Nile, begins in Jinga, Uganda, and flows 4,132 miles through nine countries. In Murchison Falls National Park, you can ride along the Nile in a small motorboat, passing elephants, crocodiles, and an astonishing number of brightly-colored birds on the shore.
But the most impressive beasts you’ll spot on a Nile safari are the hippos. Gathered in large groups, the semi-submerged beasts eye you menacingly. In fact, these are among the most dangerous animals you can come across in this country. It’s a treat to be close enough to see the water running off their slippery skin from the safety of the boat.
Ernest Hemingway spent an unplanned night very near the base of the world’s most powerful waterfall when his small plane crashed here in 1954. A small sign marked PBM 9026, the plane’s registration number, marks the spot where Hemingway and his wife Mary spent the night, injured, fending off wild elephants.
But you won’t crash on your exotic adventure; instead, you’ll climb for 45 minutes up the hiking trail to the top of Murchison Falls, where the entire Nile squeezes through a 21-foot gap before thundering down 141 feet. The mist the falls throw off creates a perfect rainbow and cools your face as you prepare for the hike back down.
The best way to get up close to the kings of the jungle in the wild is to pair up with a researcher in Queen Elizabeth National Park. By tracking the movements of lions tagged with radio collars, the researchers help preserve peace between animals and local communities, while studying how lions live and behave.
Joining a research safari allows you to go off-road in the park, something no other safari can do. Between the off-road access and the radio tracker, you have the best chance to find lions and watch them eat a fresh kill while vultures lurk nearby waiting for scraps.
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.
Princess partners with mixologist Rob Floyd to create travel stories in a glass.
Floyd believes spectacular drinks combine the best of “The Three T’s.” First and foremost is “Taste,” as interesting ingredient combinations produce delicious flavors. The second element, “Technique,” refers to the skill and craft that goes into creating each drink. And last but not least the “Tale;” the fascinating inspiration behind each unique cocktail — especially when it relates to the destination you are visiting!
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.
Sailing our most popular itineraries, the award-winning Viking Longships showcase innovative engineering, streamlined design and understated elegance for the most comfortable river cruise experience available.
Plus, the Viking Inclusive Value covers just about everything—port charges, Wi-Fi, meals, lectures, onboard activities and shore excursions—so all you have to do is relax and enjoy a great journey. And the award-winning Viking Longships® have set the standard in river cruising with spacious Veranda Staterooms, the largest suites in Europe, al fresco dining and more. Discover for yourself why Viking truly is The World’s Leading River Cruise Line®.
THE SMALL SHIP EXPERTS
Viking takes you closer to your destination
THE BEST WAY TO IMMERSE YOURSELF in new cultures is to explore the world by river. That is why we designed elegant, intimate ships with all the amenities of a fine hotel. Our ships gently carry you to the world’s greatest cities, deliver you to the center of charming towns and villages, and connect you to your destination.
TRAVEL WITH EASE. Unpack once and relax to an ever-changing canvas of breathtaking landscapes. Arrive in the center of town—often at Viking-owned dock locations—and stroll right off to begin exploring. Viking reveals the true character of the world’s historic waterways by delivering you to their doorsteps.
INNOVATIVE SHIPS ENHANCE YOUR JOURNEY. Viking Longships have set the new standard in river cruising, expertly crafted to bring the outside in. With the most al fresco dining on the rivers and vast windows that bathe the interiors in sunshine, your destination and the exhilaration of the outdoors are always within reach.
Because we own and operate our ships, no detail escapes our attention. Join us, and learn why we have consistently been the most awarded river cruise line worldwide.
UNPARALLELED STATEROOM CHOICES The Viking patented design allows for more variety than other ships
YOUR PRIVATE SANCTUARY ON THE RIVER. Our innovative thinking provides you with more choices and a more enriching experience. Each of our spacious Viking staterooms offers a hotel-style bed topped with European linens and duvets. And you will feel pampered by bathrooms equipped with heated floors and premium Freyja® bath products.
*All amenities on board Viking Longships; amenities vary on other ships.
The first-ever true (two-room) suites on Europe’s river ships
DESTINATION - FOCUSED DINING The most al fresco dining on the rivers
CUISINE AND WINE ARE PART OF EVERY VIKING JOURNEY. Both engage your senses and open a window to the essence of a place. Our highly trained chefs are passionate about food and committed to providing enriching culinary experiences, whether local specialties or American classics. Our ships’ dining areas are the ideal setting for hospitable, attentive and personalized service.
FRESH FARE AND REGIONAL CUISINE
bring your destination to life. Locally sourced ingredients inspire our chefs to create authentic dishes. Our extensive wine list features a vintage created by our own vintner. And, our signature “Taste of…” events introduce you to the food and drink of the region, providing the perfect opportunity to sample local flavors.
IMPECCABLE SERVICE AMID CASUAL ELEGANCE. Indulge in attentive table service in the upscale Restaurant, whether over a sumptuous breakfast buffet, a light salad midday or a relaxed multicourse dinner. Open seating gives you freedom to dine with whomever you wish. Enjoy more casual meals on the Sun Deck or Aquavit Terrace®, our al fresco dining area.
Bringing culture and history to life
We are pleased to bring you a curated onboard experience to complement your time ashore.
GUEST LECTURERS expertly shed light on your destination’s art, architecture, geopolitics and more.
DESTINATION PERFORMANCES represent the most iconic cultural performing arts of the region— whether it be Portuguese fado, Viennese opera or world-renowned Mariinsky Theatre performers from St. Petersburg.
PORT TALKS provide an overview of your ports of call through informative multimedia presentations.
COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS present recipes of regional treats and drinks— Austrian apple strudel, Rüdesheim Coffee and more—so you can take the flavors of your destinations home with you.
CRAFT DEMONSTRATIONS reveal the centuries-old traditions of local artisans, from glassblowing and lace making to silk screen printing and wooden shoemaking.
WINE TASTINGS introduce you to a wide selection of regional wines or vintages crafted by our own Viking vintner.
CLASSICAL AND REGIONAL MUSICIANS, from local ensembles to acclaimed choirs, perform well-known and lesser-known melodies.
With an included excursion in every port, plus The Viking Way of exploration
THE VIKING WAY OF EXPLORATION offers behind-the-scenes insights and opportunities that set us apart. While we feature the expected and iconic in our included shore excursions and carefully curated optional tours, we also work hard to offer our guests LOCAL LIFE, WORKING WORLD and optional PRIVILEGED ACCESS® experiences.
AWARD - WINNING SERVICE
Genuine warmth and thoughtful attention
ONLY THE VERY BEST. Our knowledgeable and highly experienced Swiss management oversees your entire journey and handpicks each member of our onboard team. Rigorous training and inspiring leadership make Viking the employer of choice, which allows us to select the very best people to care for you, from stateroom stewards to the Captain.
PERSONALIZED ATTENTION. Can a reservations agent make booking your journey a pleasure? Will a waiter learn your favorite wine? Is it possible for members of your ship’s staff to feel like close friends? Yes, if those individuals work for Viking. When you have the best people, you have the best service—and Viking has both. Our English-speaking international staff is trained to the highest standards. These loyal members of the Viking family, 90% of whom return year after year, ensure you the same quality cruise after cruise.
OUR SERVICE GUARANTEE. We are so confident we will exceed your expectations that we are the only cruise line to guarantee its award-winning service. See our website for details.
VIKING INCLUSIVE VALUE
We offer the best experience, with all you need included plus the ability to customize
With Viking, we make sure that there are no surprises or hidden fees. The price you pay covers just about everything—port charges, free Wi-Fi, meals, lectures, activities and shore excursions—plus hotel accommodations on cruisetours. Although you can never put a price on hospitality, all of your included amenities and features have an added value. That is what we call Viking Inclusive Value. And, here are more ways to save: