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This is a photograph I captured in July of 2010 as Carol and I were celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary at Caneel Bay in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We have wonderful memories of our beachfront cabana and watching the sunset from this hammock was a very special treat.

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UN World Tourism Trends. Click for a larger view.

How to Avoid Overtourism in Your Travel Planning

“Overtourism refers to a situation in which conflicts arise between locals and visitors at tourism destinations, due to perceived congestion or overcrowding. The term is relatively young and has only been used frequently since 2015. However, in a short period of time, it has become the most commonly used expression to describe the negative impacts ascribed to tourism.” (via Wikipedia)

In 2017, 260,000 people lived in Venice, Italy.  In that same year, 24,000,000 people visited that city.

Let that sink in. 24,000,000 people!

Most of those visitors visited between the months of July through September.  So, that means that Venice is an absolute madhouse during those months.  We’ve been there in July.  Trust me; it’s no fun.  It’s wall-to-wall people, and the locals have a hard time accommodating and dealing with those crowds.

And, if you click on that chart, you will see that the UN World Tourism Organization is predicting that in the next 20-years, the number of tourists will be close to doubling.

As I was scanning this report, put out by the European Parliament in 2018, cities like Venice, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Rome, and many others have a real problem with the crowds. And don’t think these problems are just a European thing.  Go hang out in Skagway, Alaska around July and you will see that they are having a similar problem.

So, I am suggesting that you seriously consider this issue as you contemplate your destinations, and in particular, when you plan to visit overcrowded destinations.

5 Tips to Avoid Overtourism in Your Travel Planning
  • Give strong consideration to traveling in the shoulder seasons.  The weather will likely still be pleasant, but the crowds will be absent. We did a Rhine River cruise two years ago in very early April.  The weather was glorious and there were NO crowds. This year, we were sailing the Rhöne in early May.  Same thing; glorious weather and no crowds.  Plus, the other benefit of traveling in the shoulder seasons is that the prices are generally lower.  Avoid the crowds and save money.  What could be better?
  • Try to avoid routine travel patterns. We sailed with Regent Seven Seas Cruises through Alaska’s Inside Passage in July last year.  This is a very busy time for Alaska.  However, Regent started their cruise mid-week rather than a typical weekend start.  The result?  No crowds when we pulled into the various towns. Sweet!
  • Consider a smaller footprint while traveling. When we started our travel blog in 2010, we were invited to sail on one of those large-ship floating cities. When we got on board, I wanted to turn around and leave.  There we just too many people.  Plus, we were sailing in a pack of mega-ships so when we got into the various cities, you could hardly move.  Not fun!  If you’re contemplating an ocean cruise, spend a little more money and consider a ship with 1,000 or fewer people. These smaller ships can take you to places that the large ships just can’t go.  Instead of a large-group land tour, again, spend a little more and enjoy a small group journey.  You’ll thank me later, I promise.
  • Consider visiting destinations that are away from the crowds. While we love Europe, and I’m sure that we’ll be back many more times, we too are starting to consider other destinations in the Far East, South America, as well as arctic regions.  After all, who doesn’t want to see a walrus or a narwhal in the wild?  Or, how about Buenos Aires with a side trip to the Mendoza wine country for one of their famous Malbecs? Oh, I could go on and on and on.
  • Stay home. No. That was a stupid suggestion. Ignore that one.

When we are sharing travel advice with our clients, we hear over and over, “oh, I’m so glad you told me that”. You see many times, you don’t know what you don’t know.  That’s what we are here for.

So, back to our Venice example.  Not only can it be very busy during certain times of the year, but did you know that in some months the city can be flooded with 2 feet of water?  I beg you, don’t spend thousands of dollars to learn the hard way.

Find a professional travel advisor that you trust.  And if we can fill that role, we’d be honored.

To learn more about our services, or to book your next fun adventure, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we will reach out to you.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.

Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40

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Seabourn Unveils Custom Subs To Take Travelers “Below The Surface” On New Expedition Ships

River cruising has been all the rage for the past five or six years.  But, did you know that between 2018 and 2023 there are 43 expedition ships coming to the market?  And, it seems, ocean cruise lines are tripping all over themselves to get even more of these new generation expedition ships built.

According to the folks at Cruise Industry News, expedition cruising is the fastest-growing segment in the entire cruise industry with ships ranging from three- to six-star products and ships ranging from 100 to 500 berths.

We here at Roaming Boomers Travel have been watching this trend with interest.  And when we visit Virtuoso Travel Week this summer, we have a number of appointments set with cruise industry leaders to make ourselves known and to learn more about the expedition cruise industry for our readers and clients.

A very interesting part of this whole expedition cruise boom are these newfangled submarines that a few of the ships will be carrying along.  Imagine being submerged in the ocean watching a whale swim by your submarine seat.

It sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime moment.  Right? 

Here is a press release from Seabourn about their new submarine:

SEATTLE, June 27, 2019 – Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, is preparing to take travelers into the depths of the ocean for the first time by revealing the design and details for its custom submarines that will operate excursions for an additional charge from the line’s two upcoming ultra-luxury purpose-built expedition ships. Both Seabourn Venture and her yet-to-be-named sister ship will sail to the far corners of the Earth carrying two U-Boat Worx Cruise Sub 7 subs designed specifically for Seabourn.

Each battery-powered sub will carry six guests as well as one pilot, who will guide the journey up to 300 meters beneath the surface to explore sunken wrecks, reefs, and view marine wildlife in their natural habitat. Guests are seated in two clear acrylic spheres flanking the center pilot’s station, with an awe-inspiring perspective of the marine world just outside thanks to undisturbed and undistorted views in virtually all directions. The three passenger seats in each sphere are mounted on a rotating platform that can turn for best sightlines.

“The undersea world is often considered as the last great frontier on Earth, with more than 80 percent of the underwater realm remaining unmapped, unobserved, and unexplored according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” said Robin West, vice president of Expedition Operations for Seabourn. “With these subs, we’re going to take our guests to places that few have ever seen firsthand, leaving them with a perspective on the world around us that is jaw-dropping and will create stories to last a lifetime.”

To maximize the guest experience, the subs will be outfitted with a host of optional equipment to enhance this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. A 4k underwater video camera system will record the world outside while an internal video recording system will capture imagery of guests inside and their direct surroundings. Video footage can then be downloaded and projected on large screens in the Discovery Center during lectures aboard the ships. A six-function manipulator arm capable of lifting up to 32 kg (about 70 pounds) will also be mounted on the side of the sub. In keeping with the luxury experience found on Seabourn, each sub on both ships will be outfitted with custom embroidered leather upholstery, two air conditioning systems, a Bluetooth stereo system, and champagne chiller for guests looking to toast their voyage of discovery.

The subs will be operated multiple times per day in regions around the world where conditions are suitable. They will be equipped with underwater LED flood/spot lights, imaging sonar that acts as a second set of eyes, and an advanced underwater tracking and navigation system.

Seabourn Venture is scheduled to launch in June 2021, with a second yet-to-be-named sister ship slated to launch in May 2022. The ships are being designed from conception for expedition travel blended with ultra-luxury and personalized service by leading travel experts and seasoned professionals with great depth of experience in expedition, hospitality, and luxury cruising.

Between July 2021 and April 2022, Seabourn Venture will visit a vast number of breathtaking locations and remote destinations in the Arctic and Antarctica, as well as in the Amazon, Caribbean, Central and South America and more, offering guests the unique opportunity to experience ultra-luxury expedition cruising and exhilarating adventures. The ship is scheduled to visit more than 150 unique and fascinating destinations across the globe – many of which few travelers have ever been – and over 65 new or notable destinations with a multitude of new and compelling expedition experiences. The itineraries, fares and additional details of Seabourn Venture’s inaugural year are available at www.seabourn.com.

Both ships will be designed and built for diverse environments to PC6 Polar Class standards and will include a plethora of modern hardware and technology that will extend the ships global deployment and capabilities. The ships will also be designed to carry a number of kayaks and 24 Zodiacs that can accommodate all onboard guests at once, which will allow for a truly immersive experience. Each ship will feature 132 luxurious oceanfront veranda suites. More details and full-color renderings of the ship and its interior spaces will be released in the months ahead.

Seabourn continues to represent the pinnacle of ultra-luxury travel with intimate ships offering key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas and all 100% ocean front; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available on board at all times; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home on board. The ships travel the globe to many of the world’s most desirable destinations, including marquee cities, more than 170 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser-known ports and hideaways.

Seabourn is one of the luxury cruise brands in our Virtuoso Network and we have wonderful Virtuoso Voyages perks to offer on many of their sailings.  And, when these expedition ships come to market, I’m certain that we’ll have perks to offer on these ships as well.

To learn more, or to book a fun Seabourn cruise, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we will reach out to you.

Virtuoso® is the leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency partners with 20,000 elite travel advisors in 50 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with over 1,800 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. More than (U.S.) $26.4 billion in annual travel sales makes Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.

Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40

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American Queen | River Cruising on the Mississippi River - YouTube
American Queen Steamboat Company River Cruises

In the not too distant future, Carol and I will be making our first river cruise with the folks from the American Queen Steamboat Company on a Plantations Holidays Mississippi River cruise from Memphis to New Orleans.

The American Queen Steamboat Company is new to our Virtuoso Network, and we’re looking forward to experiencing a little Americana on this 9-day lower-Mississippi river cruise.

Here’s this from American Queen:

“Memory flows deep, and sentiment eddies along the Lower Mississippi River. Experience the birthplace of blues and home of antebellum neoclassical architecture. This journey gives way to discovery – from the heart of the Mississippi Delta, wherein lies the rich culture of the South, to the soul of New Orleans, where the city dances to the beat of a Creole drummer.
 
Century-old live oak trees, indigenous wildlife, Civil War historic sites and vast plantations await you; history is alive in the preservation of each river town we visit. Look back: Every battlefield, mansion, and monument has a story to tell. We invite you to celebrate the living, breathing places where Southern culture continues its evolution through modern renaissance while keeping hold of the pleasantry of its past.
 
This river boasts a fascinating history and luxurious aesthetic packaged in Southern hospitality. Embrace the land of sweet tea and Southern twang on a Lower Mississippi River cruise.”

Our Ship: The American Queen

The American Queen is said to be the largest river steamboat ever built.

Here are a few interesting facts:

  • The American Queen was launched in 1995 and was fully refurbished in 2013.
  • She has 222 staterooms with a capacity of 436 guests with a crew of 160.
  • She is powered by a stern steam-powered paddlewheel with secondary propulsion coming from a set of diesel-electric propellers “z-drives” to maneuver in the tight spots.
  • She has 6 decks and measures 418 ft long, 89 ft wide, and 109.5 ft high with a draught of 8.5 ft.
  • The American Queen Steamboat is also a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

Carol and I are looking forward to our Mississippi river cruise adventure and we can’t wait to share our experience with you in upcoming articles.

If you want to beat us to the punch, click below for online brochures:

  • 2019 Antebellum South River Cruises – CLICK HERE
  • 2019 Holiday Season U.S. River Cruises – CLICK HERE

To learn more, or to book one of these fun U.S. river cruises, call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we will reach out to you. 

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.

Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40

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Viking Ocean Cruises: 2020 Exotic Voyages Sale

For the next five days, Viking Ocean Cruises is lowering their cruise fares on the popular Northern Europe itinerary In Search of the Northern Lights and other exotic voyages that span the globe from South America to Australia and Asia.

Book one of these 2020 sailings now for the best savings, including international airfare for only $799.

Plus, when you book one of these sailings through Roaming Boomers Travel Services, we will bring you complimentary air booking through Viking’s VIP air desk.

Take a peek at these 6 enriching itineraries:

To learn more, click on each of the offers below.

To learn more, or to book one of these enriching itineraries, call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we will reach out to you. 

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.

Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40

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New England and Canada Fall Color Cruises for 2019

Every year in the fall, a large number of cruise ships will migrate from the Mediterranean to the picturesque shores of New England and Canada to offer guests color cruises before they ultimately again migrate to the Caribbean for the winter.

Most of these cruises are 8-12 days and will sail from NYC to Montreal or the reverse.

Carol and I enjoyed one of these fall color cruises a few years ago and had a wonderful time.  We came a few days early to enjoy some time in NYC and then sailed up the coast and made stops in Cape Cod, Boston, Bar Harbor Maine, Halifax, Québec City and more.

It was a beautiful journey, and we enjoyed the sites, cuisine, and charm of this beautiful part of the world.

If you’ve yet to enjoy such a cruise, we highly recommend it.  I can tell you that we would gleefully go back and do it again.

Travel Tip: predicting the prime time to go for the colors is a difficult thing to do as the local weather plays a big part in the equation.  As a general rule, however, consider the later sailings as the ocean waters tend to keep the coastal cities warmer into the fall, thereby making the colors pop later than they might inland.

While it might feel a bit late in the year to book one of these cruises, there still remains excellent opportunities to snag a stateroom.

The above chart from the folks at Cruise Industry News shows us the market penetration of the various small-ship cruise lines that fall into the luxury segment of the market.

As you can see in the chart above, Seabourn, Silversea, and Regent control nearly 75% of the market capacity, so that might present us with the best opportunity to grab a lovely stateroom.

Cruise Search Tool for New England and Canada Fall Color Cruises

To help you better begin your search for a New England and Canada fall color cruise, I’ve prepared a custom cruise search for you that will show you 44 different sailings across nine different cruise lines. To explore the list: CLICK HERE.

And of course, you are likely to have questions, so please feel free to call us.

To learn more about these exciting fall color cruises, or to book one with our complimentary VIP perks, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we will reach out to you. 

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.

Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40

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Last-Minute Small Group Travel Offers

Luxury Gold is a 5-star small-group tour company with fun itineraries all over the world.

They are a member company of The Travel Corporation which owns other travel brands like Insight Vacations, Trafalgar, Uniworld River Cruise Collection, Africa Travel, and more.

They are also a member of our Virtuoso Travel Network and a highly regarded travel brand.

Carol and I are planning to travel with them in the coming year.  We can’t wait!

If you want to beat us to the punch, take a peek at these fun last-minute specials.

Book one of these special offers with Roaming Boomers Travel Services by June 30, 2019, and we’ll give you a $100 gift card to enjoy a special bottle of wine on your journey. Call us at 480-550-1235. Look below.

Click the image below for a much larger view.  

To learn more about one of these fun journeys, CLICK HERE.

To book one of these fun luxury small-group journeys, and to claim your $100 gift card, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we will reach out to you. 

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.

Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40

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Uniworld Debuts the Brand-New S.S. Mekong Jewel for Vietnam and Cambodia River Cruises on the Mekong Starting January 3rd, 2020

Are you looking for an exotic and out-of-the-ordinary getaway for the first quarter of 2020?

How about this 13-day river cruise on the Mekong sailing from Ho Chi Minh City and ending in Siem Reap aboard the brand-new S.S. Mekong Jewel?

Here’s this from our friends at Uniworld River Cruises:

Entry-level Suite

“A fascinating, rewarding and multilayered adventure. Two of the most beautiful, historic and friendly places in all of Asia, dynamic Vietnam and pastoral Cambodia are intriguing studies in contrast. Each possesses its own unique charm and social traditions, its own tragic history and complex past. In many ways, a visit here is less about the sights you see than it is about the people you meet and the experiences you have along the way. Ho Chi Minh City offers a heady mixture of old and new, often surprising visitors with its charm. As the lifeblood of Southeast Asia, the Mekong teems with colorful floating villages and mementos of its French Colonial past. Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s thriving capital, is fast-forwarding to the future yet retains a provincial intimacy. And colorful Siem Reap provides the gateway to the vast UNESCO-designated jungle temple complex of Angkor Wat.”

Click for a larger view

And here’s this about Uniworld’s new ship:

“Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is giving guests a sneak peek of the brand-new S.S. Mekong Jewel debuting January 3, 2020, as the newest and most luxurious ship on the Mekong river. The S.S. Mekong Jewel’s 13-day itinerary will take guests from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, with visits to Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat and more.

“We’re excited to share a very first look at what’s to come for our fleet of Super Ships in 2020,” says Ellen Bettridge, President & CEO of Uniworld. “The S.S. Mekong Jewel’s design coupled with our unparalleled service and experiences will offer guests the best that river cruising has to offer. And this is only the beginning – with a total of four new Super Ships set to launch in 2020, and a commitment to convert our entire fleet to Super Ships in the coming years, we continue to offer our guests the highest standard in luxury river cruising.”

Royal Suite Balcony

The newly-built ship will feature all-suite accommodations, an indoor swimming pool and two restaurants: a main dining room and an alfresco eatery on the upper deck. The S.S. Mekong Jewel will be 33 feet longer than the Mekong Navigator, but with the same capacity of 68 guests, offering guests more space and amenities with one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios on the river. The ship is being constructed with sustainable and eco-friendly materials, such as special paint used for the hull of the ship that creates less drag caused by bio-fueling, specially designed ship propellers that increase performance and efficiency, energy-efficient LED light fixtures, automatic air conditioning controls to optimize cooling resources, and water cooled air-conditioning system that will save energy.”

If you click on the deck plan above, one of the first things to notice is that this ship is half the size of the typical European river cruise ship. And, the entry-level staterooms (pictured above) are much larger than their European counterparts.

I don’t know about you, but a Mekong river cruise is absolutely on our bucket list.  How about you?

To learn more about booking this or any of the other Uniworld river cruises, please call Roaming Boomers Travel Services at (480) 550-1235 or use our convenient online information request (click here) and we will reach out to you. 

NOTE: If you’re not interested in the Mekong, you can save up to $2,000/person on a Uniworld river cruise by CLICKING HERE.

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for our travel newsletter to keep abreast of our best travel tips, on-location reviews, exclusive travel offers, group travel events, and much more.

Roaming Boomers Travel Services is an Independent Affiliate of Cadence, a Virtuoso® member. CST#201120-40

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