Video, Uniworld's Open-Air Balconies, Plus, Headed Toward A Christening In Bergen

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Uniworld's Maria Theresa: Day 4, Open-Air Balconies Make All The Difference

During my tour of S.S. Maria Theresa's stateroom 425 yesterday, I promised to show you a video of my favorite stateroom feature, the open-air balcony. I've seen similar balconies on river cruise vessels, but Uniworld did an exceptional job with the concept on S.S. Maria Theresa.

Catch up with on my journey on Uniworld’s S.S. Maria Theresa and follow along …

• Uniworld’s Maria Theresa: Day 3, Step Into Stateroom 425, Crossing Europe’s Continental Divide

• Uniworld’s Maria Theresa: Day 2, Biking Bamberg, Making The Case For River Cruising As An Active Experience

• Uniworld’s Maria Theresa: Day 1, Rail Strike, Would I Make It To The Ship?

Follow my voyage as I report each day from Uniworld’s S.S. Maria Theresa here on River Cruise Advisor and on Twitter, @avidcruiser, hashtag #SSMariaTheresa

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Viking Star, Two Ways

This past week, the Avid Cruiser's own Ralph Grizzle has been sailing onboard Viking Cruises' brand-new (and first-ever) oceangoing cruise ship, Viking Star. During that time, he's filed an amazing series of reports, including a firsthand video look at what makes this new ship so exciting.

• Day 1: Boarding in Barcelona; a Tour with Tor

• Day 2: Departing Barcelona; Understated Elegance - for less than Oceania

• Day 3: Cartagena, Spain, Has Viking Created a New Category of Ocean Cruiser

• Day 4: A Peek Inside My Penthouse aboard Viking Star

• Day 5: Avid Cruiser's Viking Star Introduction Video

• Day 6: Lisbon, Portugal; End of a Journey; Summing Up Viking Star

As in-depth as Ralph's reports are, we always like to cover every concievable angle - particularly with a new ship like this. So this week, we're trading places. I'll get my own shot at Viking Star as I sail aboard her from Greenwich (London) to the Hanseatic port of Bergen, Norway, to witness her christening ceremonies on Sunday, May 17, 2015.  To fully understand why she's such a special ship, you first have to understand the Norwegian propensity for tenacity.

Once upon a time, there was a Norwegian man by the name of Roald Amundsen. Born in the small parish of Borge in 1872, he would go on to become one of the world’s most daring and successful polar explorers of all time.

He also had a great talent for doing what others couldn’t: Despite centuries of failed expeditions to the North and South Poles, Amundsen ending up claiming both victories for himself and for Norway in 1926 and 1911, respectively. He also singlehandedly succeeded in discovering the fabled Northwest Passage in 1906. A one-man-wrecking-ball, Amundsen was a huge thorn in the side of contemporaries like Scott, Shackleton, and Mawson simply for his freakish ability to succeed in the face of extreme odds.

Viking Cruises founder Torstein Hagen is a bit like Amundsen – and not just because he’s of Norwegian descent. 

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Viking Star: Day 6, Lisbon, Portugal, End Of A Journey, Summing Up Viking Star

My six days of cruising on Viking Star may not have been quite enough time for a full experience. After all, with four restaurants and room service open for dinner, the dining experience alone needs a little more time to fully assess all five dinner venues. I will say that I had the best sushi, excepting Nobu's Sushi Bar on Crystal …

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Silver Discoverer

There’s good reason to book a cruise with ultra-luxury line Silversea: from now until June 30, 2015, new bookings made with the line on select itineraries can benefit from Silversea’s latest Silver Select promotion. Spanning the line’s classic and luxury expedition voyages, these new Silver Select perks include a two category suite upgrade, a $1,000 per suite Onboard Spending Credit …

Read more.

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7 Days Of All-Inclusive Barging, Plus Three Hotel Nights & Tours, $3,995 Per Person

Ready to go barging with our group of intrepid travelers? We have a great trip planned — a really great trip — and at a great price, $3,995 per person, double occupancy.

You'll need to contact me directly to get this price, and it's easiest to do so by using this link

Here's what is included:

• Six nights/Seven days of all-inclusive barging from Arles to Sete*

• Tours included everyday of the barge trip.

• PLUS two pre-hotel nights in a five-star hotel in Arles, including breakfast**

• PLUS one post-hotel night in a four-star hotel in Montpelier, including breakfast**

• PLUS three additional exclusive tours: Avignon, Pont du Gard & Chateauneuf du Pape, Sete Gourmet Markets Tour & Montpelier Tour

• For only $3,995  per person

* Transfers to Arles at the beginning of the trip and from Montpelier at the end of the trip are not included ** Note that a few lunches and dinners are not included for the pre/post days

I believe this trip offers an exceptional value. Barge trips nearly always start at more than $4,000 per person. And those are the beginning prices for the barge portion only. We're adding three extra nights at four- and five-star hotels, plus we're also adding special tours. All for $3,995 per person. CroisiEurope's price for the barge cruise alone is $2,824.

You'll find all of the details of the trip here.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you'd like to book space by contacting me through the form at this link.

I'm excited about taking you along and showing you some of my favorite places in one of my favorite regions of the world - and via a mode of travel that I think you'll find particularly appealing, barging.

Bon voyage, Ralph Grizzle

Six Tips To Extract More Joy From Your Cruise

In this free special report, I’ve put together a half dozen actionable items that can make the difference between cruise vacations that are memorable and others that fail to measure up to all you had hoped they would be. I’ve cruised on hundreds of ships, as a solo traveler and with family and friends.  — Ralph Grizzle, The Avid Cruiser

Click to download the report.

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Complete this thought: My best packing trip for cruises is ... click here to answer.

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