Tag Archives: cruise ship

Sail the Mekong with the Brand-New Emerald Waterways Harmony

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If you love Emerald Waterways, here’s your chance to join their brand-new river cruise ship on the Mekong River.

The 84-passenger Emerald Harmony, will sail the Mekong River in 2019.

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Emerald Harmony will have many of the features of the line’s European “star ships,” including:

  • Panorama Balcony suites with drop-down windows
  • Asian design touches
  • Horizon Bar & Lounge will be Asian-themed
  • the ship’s main dining venue, Reflections Restaurant, will serve a locally-inspired menu.

One standout feature of the ship is that it will be built to allow access to the center of Ho Chi Minh City, so passengers can embark there as opposed to a dock outside of the city. Emerald Waterways has been sailing on the Mekong since 2014, with a chartered vessel, Mekong Navigator.

Emerald Harmony will be the first time that the company has put a “star ship” style ship outside Europe.

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Itineraries

Beginning August 2019, Emerald Harmony will sail three itineraries in Vietnam and Cambodia:

a 13-Day Majestic Mekong River Cruise – cruise tour sailing between Ho Chi Minh City and Siem Reap, with time for Angkor Wat; 

Your journey begins in Siem Reap, where early mornings and ancient architecture promise to be the perfect combination. Angkor Wat is sure to fascinate, as is Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. Then your journey along the majestic Mekong introduces Phnom Penh, invites you to a family-owned silk-producing factory and to attend a scarfweaving workshop in Long Khanh Island. Continue onwards before leaving your Star-Ship at the center of Ho Chi Minh City for a two-night stay in a 5-star colonial-style hotel.

a 17-Day Treasures & Temples of Vietnam & Cambodia: that adds stops at Hanoi and Halong Bay in the north;

Begin your adventure in Hanoi, where centuries-old architecture is a wonderful nod to the past and the Old Quarter strikes a fine contrast with its many temples. Cruise the emerald waters of Halong Bay in a traditional junk boat, learn of Ho Chi Minh City’s fascinating war history and embark on a once-in-a-lifetime river cruise along the Mekong. Enjoy tuk-tuk and ox cart tours in Phnom Penh and finish your adventure in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, where you’ll witness Angkor Wat and attend a circus performance.

and a 21-Day Grand Tour of Vietnam & Cambodia that encompasses all of the above, plus Hoi An and Hue.

Hanoi’s labyrinth of streets is filled with food stalls and markets. Journey to Halong Bay and embark on a traditional junk boat as you sail its ethereal waters, and drive through Da Nang before crossing the Pass of Ocean Clouds. Discover Ho Chi Minh City’s Cu Chi Tunnels, before meeting your Star-Ship and sailing the Mekong, stopping off in My Tho, Sa Dec and Phnom Penh. Conclude your trip with three nights in Siem Reap, attending the Phare Cambodian Circus and visiting the historic Angkor Wat.

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Inclusions

Fares for Emerald Harmony will have the same inclusions as other Emerald Waterways ships:
  • transfers,
  • port charges,
  • meals,
  • unlimited wine and beer with lunch and dinner,
  • bottled water in the cabins,
  • complimentary Wi-Fi,
  • at least one shore excursion in every port and
  • all onboard and excursion gratuities.
  • During the cruise tour portion of the trips, hotel, internal flights and transfers are also included.

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Filed under Asia, Cambodia, Cruises, emerald waterways, Thailand, Travel by Ship, Vietnam, Vietnam

Cruise Ship Debut: Celebrity Reflection

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This past season we saw the debut of the Celebrity Reflection, the last of five solstice class ships built for the Celebrity cruise line fleet. At nearly 126,000 gross tons, the ship is larger than any other solstice ships— with an additional deck that allows for 72 extra cabins.

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The vessel is equipped with a number of new and improved facilities, including an expansive library, a half-acre lawn, and the Hideaway, a quiet area for relaxation and reading. The Alcove, a cabana-style private retreat, is available for rent and can accommodate up to four guests. The Reflection maintains its famous specialty restaurants, Murano, Tuscan Grille and Qsine, and introduces the new and unique Lawn Club Grill, an outdoor interactive grill venue with high-end burgers and pizzas. Other additions include the Kasbah-themed Sunset Bar and the Molecular Bar, offering tasty artisanal cocktails chilled with liquid nitrogen.

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The Reflection has thirty-four new AquaClass suites, complete with your favorite spa and suite amenities, 79-square-foot verandas, and access to the exclusive restaurant Blu. The ship is home to the fleet’s first 2-bedroom suite, a whopping 1636 square foot apartment. The Reflection Suite is located in an exclusive area accessible only to those guests possessing a special SeaPass card. The room comes with European-style butler service, a bathroom with a sea view, and a special customizable mattress.

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The Reflection made its debut on a 9-night inaugural cruise through Northern Europe in the Fall. Western Hemisphere sailings from Miami will begin in January in time for the winter season.

For a terrific virtual photo tour throughout the ship, click here.

Did you know? Jovanka Goronjic, who joined Celebrity Cruises’ AquaSpa staff in 2009 as a massage therapist, was recently named one of the ship’s four godmothers. With support from the cruise line, Jovanka arranged time off to help her mother fight breast cancer. In tribute to the cause, Jovanka donated her hair for wigs for cancer patients. She will soon be transferring to the Reflection as the ship’s AquaSpa Manager. Said Jovanka when she found out about her new godmotherly status: “I was delighted, thrilled, emotional, and proud, all at the same time.”

CELEBRITY SALE: Celebrity and Willamette Intl Travel are partnering up for a sale! Book a select sailing between Jan 7-27 and you could receive a number of special offers. Email now if you’re interested and we’ll send you the full details when they come in!

Eager to take a closer look at the new Celebrity Reflection? We can book a vacation for you and your family! Several of our agents have sailed with Celebrity Cruises and would love to share our tips and tricks with you. Call us at 503.224.0180.

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Filed under Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, Travel by Ship

Ship Inspection Report: Disney Wonder

This week we are reporting on WIT agent Wailana’s trip up to Seattle mid-July to view Celebrity and Disney cruise ships. Today we take a look at her account of Disney’s Wonder.

Ship Inspection Report: By Wailana

Disney’s spectacular Wonder ship can accommodate 2,700 passengers comfortably, as well as 950 cast and crew members. It has 11 main decks, all dressed in a variety of colors and illustrations. Hanging pictures showcased familiar character prototypes such as Mickey or Goofy, yet the décor never came across as gaudy or childish. There’s an air of sophisticated nostalgia—Walt’s photos and illustrations from the 1950s decorate the walls, colors are elegantly combined. Heroic, animated music followed us wherever we stepped. The ceilings were quite low for some towering individuals—topping perhaps 8-9 feet high in most areas.

Some highlights of the tour include:

–          Animator’s Palate. This unique restaurant begins at lunch as an all black-and-white tablet, and colors creep up gradually as the evening wears on! The décor is very cartoonish, with walls covered in sketches and columns designed to look like huge paintbrushes.

–          The surface deck’s Pirates’ Party, thrown once a voyage. Pirates parade on a stage, accompanied by lively music and dance. Passengers are of course encouraged to dress up themselves!

–          Oceaneer Club is a playroom for children who wish to explore their artistic side, and the adjoining Oceaneer Science Lab is for the computer-obsessed and the scientist in every child. They do have an Open House hour, when all ages can join.

–          The spacious handicapped suites, which were very handsome with plenty of hall space. Quite the luxury accommodation! (Un)fortunately you must prove your handicap status before voyage.

–          All rooms come with a “wave” phone, or ship phone, that allows family members to keep track of each other.

Afterwards, we enjoyed a relaxing lunch in Parrot Cay—dill mashed potatoes, shrimp cocktail, moist chocolate cake. A high quality of ingredients, and most importantly, delicious!

Tune in next time when I report on the King Tut exhibit at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center. In the meantime, check out my trip photos here.

Willamette Intl Travel arranges all sorts of cruises customizable to our clients! Interested in cruising with Disney? Call us for more info at 800.821.0401 or email Wailana at wailanak@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Cruises, Disney Cruises, North America, Our Travel Agents, The Pacific Northwest, USA, Washington, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?

Ship Inspection Report: Celebrity Infinity

This week we are reporting on WIT agent Wailana’s trip up to Seattle mid-July to view Celebrity and Disney cruise ships. Today we take a look at her account of Celebrity’s Infinity.

courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Ship Inspection Report: By Wailana

I checked in at Pier 66 at 10am, and not long after the thunderstorm hit. It was one of Seattle’s brief “gods’ wrath and rage,” despite an impressive show of flailing winds and dramatic howls—disappeared after about half an hour. We gingerly picked our way across the pier into the crew entrance, and boarded the ship.

The Celebrity Infinity recently underwent a 40-million-dollar upgrade in style and comfort. New and improved features include the spa-inspired AquaClass accommodations, Blu restaurant, iLounge computer lab, and Qsine specialty restaurant. The AquaClass style includes spa-inspired amenities, exclusive dining options, and unlimited access to the Spa and Persian Garden.

I had the impression, as the tour winded its way through, that this ship was made for luxury. Colors were cool and blueish, spaces were open, and everywhere light played a large role. Ceilings were high, walls were often curvaceous and made of glass. Outdoor seating was ample, and in some places sheltered by a sheet of protective glass—great for those Alaskan voyages. Space felt manageable, one never felt overwhelmed or too cramped. The atmosphere was made, yes, for indulgence and comfort, but it never came across as overly pretentious or posh. (Though there were bottles of Johnny Walker Blue on the wall. J) The tour guides were very enthusiastic and well-organized, and the staff were very congenial and approachable.

Some highlights of the tour:

–          Qsine. This is a modern tapas restaurant, with hues in orange, black and white. Menus are presented on ipads—on which you can look up the dishes and email yourself the recipes. You can even create your own virtual cocktail, hit send, and in a few moments the waiters will come out with your drink!

–          The indoor solarium Thalassotherapy. High glass ceilings, with lounge seating, and lounge pools, some of which are adults only. Operatic singing and the white/blue walls made it all feel quite surreal and peaceful.

–          Blu, an exclusive restaurant with a different menu every night. Colors were subdued and classy—deep indigo and white—tables adorned in circular candleholders and haloed by circular portholes. The restaurant is available to AquaClass only.

–          Trellis is the crème-de-la-crème, a magnificent two-story dining room and the main restaurant on the ship. Warm colors contribute to a muted, calm, civilized atmosphere. Most impressive was the grand staircase adjoining the two floors.

At the end of the tour, we made our way to the luxurious Constellation Lounge for chats. Stiff-collared Dutch waiters served champagne and cosmos with strips of smoked salmon. If they wanted me to leave happy, they succeeded. J

Stay tuned next week for the Disney ship inspection. In the meantime, check out my trip photos here.

Willamette Intl Travel arranges all sorts of cruises customizable to the client! Interested in cruising with Celebrity? Call us for more info at 800.821.0401 or email Wailana at wailanak@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Celebrity Cruises, Cruises, North America, The Pacific Northwest, Travel by Ship, USA, Washington, Where in the World is the WIT Agent?

WIT News: Newsletter and Upcoming Seattle & Cruises Report

NEWSLETTER RELEASE: This week Willamette Intl Travel is releasing our midsummer newsletter! It holds information on tours, opportunities at home and abroad,  travel tips and gadgets, client and agent trip reports, travel news, cruises, and our invitation to an Australia & South Pacific Evening on November 14 here at the Portland office, sponsored by Qantas Vacation. If you would like to read or receive this fantastic source of all your travel info, call us at 503.224.0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

SEATTLE CRUISES: This past weekend, our main blogger Wailana headed up to Seattle to check out two cruise ships docked in the harbor: Celebrity’s Infinity and Disney’s Wonder. Willamette Intl Travel has booked clients on these lines before, so it was great to see the gorgeous specimens at port! The Infinity has newly been renovated into Celebrity’s “Solstice” class, a dramatic upgrade with state-of-the-art specialty restaurants and spa-inspired staterooms.

Nancy Fowler also talks about her Spring 2012 experience on the Celebrity Eclipse in our midsummer newsletter!

KING TUT EXHIBIT: Wailana also had the opportunity to check out Seattle’s incredible King Tut exhibition at the Pacific Science Center. Over the next week or so, she will be posting impressions of her trip, so be sure to tune in. With luck there will also be some photos of Seatown, some stellar restaurants, and ancient artifacts!

Interested in signing up for our newsletter? Want to hear more about Seattle, Celebrity Cruises, or Disney Cruises? Email us at info@wittravel.com or call us at 800.821.0401 for a chat!

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Filed under North America, The Pacific Northwest, USA, Washington