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Time To Try A River Cruise!

Avalon Waterways has just launched the Avalon Panorama. With the arrival of this ship, and the announcement of 2 more ships in 2012 Avalon is keeping a firm hold on their claim to the youngest fleet on the rivers.

The Avalon fleet has always had some of the largest cabins on the rivers, with their smallest cabins at 172 square feet. The Avalon Panorama, soon to be followed by the Avalon Visionary and the Avalon Vista are the “suitest” ships in river cruising. Almost 75% of the cabins are suites including 2 Royal Suites on each ship. Panorama suites are 200 square feet and include wall to wall windows.

For anyone unfamiliar with river cruising, you will be traveling on ships of 60 to 80 cabins. Most cabins are outside cabins, giving you incredible, and close up, views of the towns you will be visiting.

River cruising allows you to be closer to the sights, sounds and tastes of Europe, China, Southeast Asia and Egypt. As you travel from town to town you are immersed in the local culture.

One of the main selling points of river cruising has always been its “inclusivity” – is that a word?? You are treated to complimentary regional wines and beers with your dinner and most of your shore excursions are included in the cruise fare. Many of the cruises include pre or post cruise nights in a hotel. On an Avalon ship there is sparkling wine with breakfast, complimentary cappuccino and lattes and in 2012 Avalon will also offer complimentary Wi Fi on their ships.

Want to learn a bit more about river cruising? Take a look at this video – and enjoy!!

https://agents.globusfamily.com/user/videos/Avalon_Short.html

Family Vacation to Key West

A special “thank you” to Michael for taking time to let us know how his trip to Key West was. We encourage all of our On Track fans and friends to do the same!!

We want to thank you so much for recommending Key West as family vacation spot. While we do love visiting Disney, it was nice to take a relaxing vacation. The Sheraton Suites hotel you suggested was an excellent choice, all the rooms in the hotel were suites and it was beautiful. The sunset festival at Mallory Square was a lot of fun and one of those things everyone should do once in their lives. We also decided on an all day water excursion, that included parasailing, jet ski riding, and snorkeling on the only reef in North America (who knew). There where a lot of really good restaurants in the Mallory Square area or down on Duvall Street, and the shorts and flip flops dress code, helped make it a stress free evening.  Two places I would highly recommend are Fogarty’s and Red Fish Blue Fish. If you have kids be sure to take them to the Butterfly Conservatory of Key West and the Southernmost point in the US. There are a few beaches on the island but the one at Fort Zachary is the nicest absolutely worth the $1 per person admission fee.

If you’re thinking of visiting Key West I would recommend trying to get a direct flight, or connection into the Key West Airport. If not spend a night in Miami, the four hour drive from Key West to Miami followed by a 2 hour flight, is almost a sure fire meltdown moment for your kids.

Other than that we had a great time and want to thank you for suggesting Key West.

Michael

Get Your Passport!

The days of traveling out of the country with your birth certificate or drivers license are coming to an end. New Travel Document requirements will go into effect December 31, 2006. This “Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative” will affect air or sea travel to and from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean and Bermuda. As of that date United States Citizens will be required to present a current passport. The second part of the initiative rolls out December 31, 2007 and extends the requirements to land border crossings.

These new regulations will not affect travel between the United States and its territories. For example, U.S. citizens traveling to Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands will not need passports. Now, these dates may seem far in the future but savvy travelers are already getting prepared. Their theory is “why wait!” A great many cruise itineraries include stops at multiple islands- some U.S. territories but not all. With that in mind some of the cruise lines are already asking for passports as the preferred form of ID.

According to the U.S. government the peak processing time for passports is between January and July. For faster service they recommend applying between August and December.Applying is a snap! You can download the application at home, in some cases have your picture taken at your local Post Office and mail it off. Passports are valid for 10 years- that’s a lot of happy traveling.
Be Safe- Get Your Passport Now!

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