TO LISTEN TO CURRENT OR PAST SHOWS, CHECK OUT THE LET'S TALK TRAVEL PODCAST PAGE! CLICK HERE
Check out Sandy's ongoing Patriot-News special travel features. Go to www.PennLive.com/travel - look for "Fenton's Favorites."
ALL SHOWS ARE SATURDAY 3PM-4PM
SATURDAY, MAY 25TH, 3PM-4PM - "The All-Inclusive Regent Seven Seas Cruise Experience" Having recently returned from extensive Bahamas/Caribbean cruises, travel events and site inspections - I learned that the best value for upcoming summer and fall vacations may be the excellent discounts, particularly in the luxury travel brands. One of the best is the all-inclusive luxury cruise market and one of my favorites, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, continues to offer exceptional values on many worldwide sailings. Regent Seven Seas is an award-winning , all-suite , all-inclusive cruise line with three luxurious mid-sized ships (Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator), carrying 490 or 700 pampered guests, to some of the most glamorous and off-the-beaten-path places on the planet. Some of Regent's all-inclusive experiences include roundtrip air, unlimited shore excursions, pre-paid gratuities, specialty restaurants, unlimited beverages plus open bars, lounges and in-suite mini-bar replenished daily…and so much more. Kate Otto, Regent Seven Seas sales director, will be my in-studio guest next Saturday at 3 p.m. on "Let's Talk Travel with AAA" on WHP-AM580. Before you settle for the "same old - same old" vacation, be sure to tune in and learn why a Regent Seven Seas cruise may be a perfect fit for you.
SATURDAY, JUNE 1ST, 3PM-4PM - "HOW TO STAY HEALTHY WHILE TRAVELING" Not much is worse than you or a family member getting sick while on vacation. What do you do - especially if you are in a foreign country or an exotic destination and the nearest medical facility is hours away? Can you prepare in advance? You bet you can. Since the early days of "Let's Talk Travel with AAA" one of the most popular shows continue to be the "How to Stay Healthy While Traveling" interview segments with Dr. John Goldman, medical director for Pinnacle Health Infectious Diseases and Travel Clinic. And to add some "reality show drama" - I was recently diagnosed with lyme disease (via a blood test) and had been referred to Dr. Goldman, who just so happens to be my in-studio guest at 3p.m. next Saturday on "Let's Talk Travel with AAA" on WHP-AM580. Lyme disease, especially during summer vacation months, is one of the most frequent travel medicine inquiries we receive. At this point in time Dr. Goldman has recommended I continue my antibiotic treatment and wants additional testing for other causes. In addition to a feature on lyme disease, Dr. Goldman will answer many listener questions - including what to pack in a traveler's first aid kit ; new virus threats ; food poisoning ; heat stroke and immunizations needed for exotic destinations. Prevention is key. When traveling, always wash your hands thoroughly and frequently to prevent the spread of illness. And remember, if your travels take you to a Third Word country : If you can't cook it, boil it or peel it , then forget it.
Listen To Past Shows:
TO LISTEN TO FUTURE SHOWS, CHECK OUT THE LET'S TALK TRAVEL PODCAST PAGE! CLICK HERE
Now I know why European River cruises have exploded in popularity. River cruising is the fastest-growing segment of the travel industry - and I get it.
Just a few weeks ago my husband, Stewart, and I were sailing the famous Blue Danube, from Budapest, Hungary to Nuremberg, Germany, onboard Viking River Cruises newest ship, "Prestige" - and loving every moment of it.
We began with a two night, pre-cruise stay at the historic Corinthia Grand Hotel in Budapest, Hungary. We spent our time touring (and eating Hungarian specialties like goulash soup and porkolt) in this grand cultural city. On embarkation day, we walked from the hotel to the Viking River Cruise dock on the Danube and in less than 20- minutes we were unpacking in our lovely French-balcony stateroom.
A river cruise is very different than an ocean cruise.
For starters, the pace is slower and the ships are smaller with much less people and no children. (we were sold-out with 188 guests)
Forget about crowded on-and-off the ship tender service - you literally sail directly to the heart of your destinations and walk right off the ship into the center of town.
There are no intrusive welcome aboard announcements, no frozen tropical drink specials and no loud reggae bands playing their version of 'Margarettaville'. Instead, guests get comfortable (with Austrian wines and German beers) and become acquainted in the Viking Lounge. On our sailing most guests were North Americans and first-time river cruisers. All were well traveled and former ocean cruisers.
You won't have to worry about trying all 15 dining choices onboard this ship. There is one main restaurant plus an optional grill venue. Sumptuous breakfast and lunch buffets are complimented with table-service menu options, and dinner is a sit-down, three to four-course meal with complimentary regional wines. (Everyone loved the generous wine pours throughout the entire meal.) Attire for dinner is smart-casual, with several men wearing sport coats, few sporting ties and none in tank tops or baseball caps.
If you're looking for 24/7 scheduled onboard activities, high-energy casinos, head-to-toe specialty spa treatments, glitzy shopping venues and Vegas-style entertainment - jump off the ship - now.
A Viking River Danube cruise is all about scenery. Beautiful, picture postcard scenery plus cultural enrichment, traditional local entertainment and historic port lectures by local experts. It's about walking and touring the medieval fairy-tale villages of Melk and Passau, Austria. It's about sitting in an outdoor café enjoying a local Franconian beer and sausage (forget about the diet) in fabulous Regensburg, Germany and attending a private concert in glorious Vienna.
Did I mention that every port included a complimentary excursion, mostly walking and sightseeing tours combined with free time. (Very important to pack comfortable shoes and easy travel attire. Check out TravelSmith.com and Magellans.com for stylish and easy-to-pack travel clothes.)
If it sounds like I'm gushing…I am.
For many years I pooh-poohed taking a European river cruise. Maybe because we did a Mississippi River cruise several years ago and let's just say, it wasn't for us. I also thought the clientele would be extremely elderly (I'm talking 90+ here) - I was really wrong on that one. Our cruise averaged 60-65 years old and it was one of the most friendly and interesting group of cruisers I've ever been around.
And last, but not least, this Viking Danube River cruise exceeded my expectations.
No one complained. Do you get that? No one complained. (Ok, at the end of the sailing, some folks wanted to spend more time on the ship and some wanted more leisure time in the morning - but that's not really complaining - is it?) And after 85+ ocean cruises under my belt, I can't say the same about any one of them.
There are several European River cruise companies and cruise ships available. Before you book, be sure to sit with your trusted travel agent and decide what ship and itinerary is the best fit for you. Due to extremely high demand, Viking River Cruises will have six new ships innaugurated in 2012 with balconies, luxury suites and complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks. As I am writing this column, 65% of those staterooms are already sold-out. Other popular river cruise lines include Uniworld, Tauck, AMA and Avalon. Be sure to ask about 2012 special incentives, including 2 for 1 airfare and cruise rates.