Category Archives: Avalon Waterway

6 Travel News Tidbits

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1. Viking Cruises partners with National Geographic

Viking Cruises will sponsor National Geographic’s first fully scripted global anthology series, “Genius,” which will tell the story of Albert Einstein. During the global premiere of Genius — April 25 at 9PM ET/PT on National Geographic — Viking will showcase their brand campaign “Time.” The Founder of Viking, Torstein Hagen, is a lifelong admirer of Einstein and a physicist himself. Read more on their website.

2. Hilton rapidly expanding

In 2016, Hilton opened a whopping 354 properties — that’s nearly one per day! Hilton is especially progressing in China, with 328 properties open or to open. In total, Hilton has 4875 hotels open worldwide.  

3. More attention to flying needs for children with neurological issues

Wings for Autism®/Wings for All® are sponsoring airport “rehearsals” specially designed for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The programs are designed to alleviate the stress that families who have a child with autism or intellectual/developmental disabilities experience when flying. It provides families the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtaining boarding passes, going through security and boarding a plane. Learn more here at The Arc’s website

holidays airport crowd

4. What’s NEW for the 72-Hour Visa Free Transit in Beijing

Beijing has introduced new regulations concerning the 72-hour transit without visa. Travelers must now fill in an application and wait for clearance. An application form and background check are required for stays over 24 hours. So travelers need: 1) onward ticket, 2) application form, 3) background check. This system doesn’t necessarily exist in other Chinese cities as they can be different. In Shanghai, for instance, you can stay double the time (6 days / 144 hours) without a visa. Ask your WIT Travel Agent to Learn More.

5. Avalon Waterways Announces A New Ship

Avalon Waterways is expanding in 2018 with a new ship for the Mekong River, adding new active and themed cruises and cutting the single supplement for all European river cruises. The line’s next new ship will be based on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, sailing between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap. The 36-passenger vessel will be called Avalon Saigon and will launch in September 2018. The cabins will be slightly bigger, at 245 square feet, with sliding French balcony doors that extend 9 feet. The 14-foot windows have screens to keep out insects. Ask your WIT Travel Agent about available cruises, itineraries, and pre- and post-cruise land tours. 

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6. Did You Know? Two-thirds Of Travel Websites In EU Mislead On Prices

According to a European Commission report, 2/3 of EU websites display misleading prices. Of the 352 price comparison and travel booking websites checked in October 2016, the Commission found 235 gave prices that were not reliable. The sweep of websites, conducted with consumer protection authorities, found that in 1/3 of cases, the final price was not the same as the first price shown. In 1/5 of cases, promotional prices were not available at all. Additionally, in 1/3 of cases, the final price or the way it was calculated was not clear. In a quarter of instances, websites did not make it clear that room availability applied just to that site, and rooms might be available through other channels. The Commission said the 235 websites will have to correct the irregularities and it will ensure sites comply with national enforcement procedures.

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Filed under Avalon Waterway, China, Cruises, Europe, Travel by Ship, Viking Cruises

Tulip Time!

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photo by Kivanc Nis, Creative Commons

The season for Tulips is just concluding in the Netherlands. Didn’t catch this year’s festivities of buds and blossoms? Never fear—it’s not too early to plan a 2014 tulip trip!

The Netherlands has a long history with these colorful little buds. Ever since the Dutch Golden Age introduced the tulip to Europe from the Ottoman Empire, the Netherlands have nurtured a passion and some might even say mania for tulips. During blooming season from March to May, the Netherlands offers dozens of ways and places to enjoy these beloved flowers.

Like everything that is weather-dependent, the blooming season of tulips is unpredictable. Late springs can lead to missing the blossoms in March. The safest bet to catch the blooms is mid-April. The most well-known bulb region in the Netherlands lies between Haarlem and Sassenheim. This area includes the small village of Lisse, 30 miles southwest of Amsterdam and less than an hour away.

You can catch the bus from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to Keukenhof gardens. Once there, you can rent a bike outside the garden entrance for about 10 euros. If you prefer more private transportation, book a guided tour, which includes coach rides and prepaid entrance fees. You can also enjoy the gardens as a shore excursion.

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photo by bertknot, Creative Commons

Another major tulip event is the Netherlands’ annual Flower Parade, held one Saturday in April. Floats, luxury cars, dancers and musicians travel along the 40-km route from Noordwijk to Haarlem. It’s an all day event—so pack a lunch!

Looking for a unique way to enjoy the tulip season? Several river cruises have opened for sale for 2014, some of which even focus on the tulip festivals. Cruise companies typically award early booking savings to their fore-thinking customers. Avalon Waterways has deals of up to $1000 per couple off for 2014, and Viking River Cruises is offering an Early Booking Discount that expires May 31, 2013.

A trip to Europe not in the stars next Spring? For a tulip festival closer to home, check out Skagit Valley, a.k.a. “tulip town,” in northwest Washington State. Here, you can enjoy indoor tulip displays and outdoor gardens, visit bulb shops, kite displays and snack bars. Snap a photo with your family in front of the picturesque windmill. You can even wander the fields aboard a tractor-pulled carriage. You can even purchase some tulips at one of the stands. These are not harvested until late summer or early fall, after which the bulbs are shipped to your home.

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photo by Hisa Fujimoto, Creative Commons

Missed the Tulips this Year? Call us for your trip in 2014!

If you want to catch the famous Dutch tulip fields in bloom, book your trip today to the Netherlands for Spring 2014. It’s not too early!

Delta flies nonstop from Portland to Amsterdam everyday once a day. Call Wittravel to book your trip today. We can arrange your flight and hotel reservations, and advise on the best activities in and around the Netherlands.

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Filed under Avalon Waterway, Europe, Netherlands, Viking Cruises