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Freelance Travel Journalist | Travel Writing by Cynthia Dial

Royal Caribbean's Cruisetour: Stretch Your Cruise

May. 10th, 2010 | Comments 0 | Make a Comment   
Luxury Cruises: Have you ever cruised into a prime port, spent a hurried day in frantic exploration, and only hours later stood on the ship's deck as it pulled from the dock already longing to return to really see the destination?

If your answer is "yes," as mine invariably is, have you revisited? Perhaps.

But more than likely, not.

Well, no more. I recently discovered Royal Caribbean's Cruisetours billed as an addendum "designed to make a vacation for clients a complete vacation." Offered in conjunction with cruises in Alaska, South America, Asia, Australia/New Zealand and Europe, it's a pre- or post- multi-day escorted land segment that will immerse you into the land and its lore.

A Cruisetour is optional and it takes your on-water adventure inland for 3 to 7 additional days through a transportation combo of luxury motorcoaches and/or trains.

It's simply the best way to minimize the hassles and maximize being there.

I speak from experience. Prior to a Mediterranean sailing from Rome, I opted for the Cruisetour it commenced in Venice (2 nights), continued to Florence (1 night) and concluded in Rome (2 nights).

Highlights: A professor of art's lecture on the work of Michelangelo at the base of sculptor's famous statue of David in Florence's Accademia Gallery; an insider's visit to the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, again guided by an historian insider (additional perk: we were ushered to the front of the admission line that wrapped around the perimeter of Vatican City) and a private dinner in the cellar of a Tuscan winery after a personal vineyard tour.

The best part: I didn't deal with luggage (my eternal Achilles travel heel); I made no hotel arrangements (they were pre-made, prepaid, upscale and centrally located); local transportation, transfers, city tours, some meals and tickets to famous sites were handled (as were VIP admissions); tips were included; free time was ample and an escort (and acting concierge when requested) was ever-present.

Tempted? For information on Cruisetours, go to www.royalcaribbean.com (also available on Royal Caribbean's sister lines, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises). See all hotels in the Mediterranean.
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