Crystal Cruises’ Northwest Passage

This is partly promotional, but I’m posting the press release to News as this really is different.  Taking a cruise from Alaska to New York City via the North Pole?

For the 2017  itinerary click here.

Crystal Cruises recently announced their second Arctic expedition, onboard the Crystal Serenity on August 15, 2017! The 32-day voyage begins in Anchorage/Seward, Alaska to New York City, along the legendary route that is 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The booking window opened on March 7 with all-inclusive “Book Now” fares starting at $21,855 per person, double occupancy, if booked by April 29, 2016.  Crystal has worked through their waitlist for the 2016 Northwest Passages and there are now a few staterooms that have become available for sale. This cruise sails August 16, 2016, again from Seward, Alaska to New York, New York. Itinerary details here, but call me at 415 987 0372 for availability and pricing.

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

 

Top Producer with Expert Knowledge on all Luxury Lines:
– Silversea
– Seabourn’s Pinnacle Club
– Regent Seven Seas Cruises
– Crystal Cruises
– SeaDream Yacht Club
– Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions
– AmaWaterways
– Viking Cruises & Viking River Cruises

Read my review of Seabourn Sojourn
and my more recent review of Seabourn Sojourn in the Baltic
Read my review of Seabourn Spirit
Read my review of Silver Cloud
Read all my ship reviews with photos

 

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

 

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

 

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Silversea | Le Champagne Review

My friends and I have been onboard Silversea’s Silver Shadow for just over a week and were finally able to dine at their Relais & Chateau restaurant, Le Champagne. This is a very coveted reservation as there are only 7 tables. Relais & Chateau of course is the highly respected French association of small luxury hotels and fine restaurants.

As connected as I like to think I am in the cruise industry we had to wait until we were onboard to book, but that wasn’t a problem due the extremely efficient and delightful restaurant manager Valentina. She’s the best of the top staff we’ve met.

This week the overall cuisine on the ship has been good and consistent. Only the fish broth the first night warranted a couple of strange expressions from my table mates, but fortunately that experience hasn’t repeated*.  The food in the main dining room isn’t particularly imaginative (based on my San Francisco standards) but certainly enjoyable, tasty and I’d still say gourmet.  My bigger concern has been with the service levels which are I’d say basic 40% of the time, good 40%, and excellent 20%.

The cuisine at Le Champagne did not disappoint. Starting off with 4 excellent mini “amuse bouches” from a mushroom soup to seared scallop to lobster to pate de fois gras cone, the tone was set for a special dining experience. I won’t go into all the details of the menu here, but each course was artfully prepared and paired with a good decent wine. Should the diner wish to arrange a premium wine pairing, this needs to be arranged in advance with the restaurant manager and I understand costs $300. My venison was a large portion served with a raspberry coulis and dessert was a Grand Marnier souffle which was excellent. An Illy Cafe Americano followed which was perfect and which is fortunately available throughout the ship.

The small dining room is adjacent to the much larger La Terrazza, the evening “specialty” Italian restaurant which is reviewed here (following soon.)

Service in Le Champagne however was not in line with the quality of the food, and was no better than in the main restaurant, distracting from the full sensory appreciation of the evening.

Afterwards we retired to The Bar (Deck 5) for a fabulous Espresso Martini. Not sure who invented this but it’s killer.

Good Night!

* This is in comparison to my earlier Silversea experience on the Silver Cloud in the Caribbean a few years ago where I found the food quality to be inconsistent. (Silver Cloud review from 2011 here.) But service and food can vary a fair bit within the same cruise line and from cruise to cruise and ship to ship.

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

SIlversea Alaska | Day 8

Since my last post we’re toured Alaska!  And got to know the ship – Silver Shadow – a lot better. I’ll likely review the ship when the cruise is over, but overall it’s been very nice. Is it similar to or better than Regent, Seabourn, Crystal? Everybody wants to know and yes I have my opinion so stay tuned.

What’s my favorite port so far between Wrangell, Sitka, Juneau and today in Skagway? They are truly all amazing in some way or another.  Alaska is gorgeous, spectacular and “you name the superlative.” Every minute of every day is a visual fantasy.

Our excursion today to the Denver Glacier to see the dog mushing camping was one of those unique life experiences, and gone in flash. The helicopter ride to the glacier through the snow covered canyons and “ice falls” was more than spectacular. And arriving at a dog camp on top of the glacier was equally as stunning. Maybe it’s like arriving in Venice at 6AM when the town is still asleep (another of my incredible life experiences) or hiking the Kalalau trail in Kauai, Hawaii with the breathtaking vistas of the cliffs. DSC_0260_0285

Wrangell, our first stop, is a small, unassuming and non-touristy spot which offered a look at the real small town Alaska experience. And from there we hopped on a speed boat for a ride up the Stikine river which was our first experience with the ooohs and aaahs of Alaska. With 360 degree views of snow capped mountains, a wonderful and authentic experience.

Sitka is a bit more touristy but it’s still just a “bigger” small city. Our kayaking tour was cancelled (I think the guide was probably hungover) so we enjoyed a short visit to the Alaska Raptor Center. The walk there from the ship took of through a residential area where we experienced several bald eagles flying directly overhead to their perches in the tall evergreens above. Their wingspans are massive and they certainly glide effortlessly.

Juneau’s setting is rather breathtaking,  like I said before, as is all of Alaska. The town itself while the state capitol is not particularly nice and I thought the Mendenhall Glacier (accessible easily by the Blue Bus) was fairly boring. What I would do again is take the cable car to the top of the mountain. It’s base in on the pier so it’s right there, the views are wonderful and there are several hiking trails.  And you can go up and down as many times as you want for the price of 1 ticket.

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Silversea Alaska | Day Three

Astoria, Oregon, 06 May 2015

We’re just about to leaving this oldest settlement west of the Mississippi. On the Columbia River that separates Oregon and Washington, this town’s location is quite beautiful with the wide river and green mountains. Old Victorian homes dot the hillside so all around it’s pretty nice and the old bridge between the two states isn’t bad either.

A highlight of the day was my coffee this morning at Coffee Girl after a  $1 trolly ride there from the ship, hosted by volunteers. Very fun.   Besides having good coffee, the location is in an old cannery that unlike locations in San Francisco is still original and has yet to be turned into a shopping center. We also walked up to the top of the hill and climbed the big tower, which is a (believe it or not) copy of Trajan’s column in Rome.

We’ve been on Silver Shadow almost 48 hours now and I’m slowly getting used to being on vacation. I’m glad we have 10 days onboard since I need half of that to unwind from my busy life back home. It’s been 22 months since my last cruise  – on Seabourn Sojourn in the Baltic and just over 4 years since my last Silversea cruise on board the smaller Silver Cloud.

Our suite is quite nice and very quiet on Deck 4. It’s been a very bumpy ride but we’re well situated so it’s not bad at night. Service and food have been good, and lunch today was especially tasty with Paella, fish & a little pizza and chocolate mousse for dessert.

Off to see the ship sail….

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Silversea Alaska | Day One

John, Loki and I were up this morning at 5AM. Normal schedule. He’s off to work and the dog needed to be walked. But instead of the usual trip to Duboce Park or Martha and Brothers I took Loki to the Palace of the Legion of Honor hoping to see Silver Shadow sail through the Golden Gate.  Did that last time when Queen Elizabeth 2 pulled in here in first (only?) time back about 10 years ago.

The ship was early so we missed her. But it’s so gorgeous out there we had a good time and Loki enjoyed running around the golf course, illegal may it have been.  Off to Peets on Cole Street and here I am back at home office in Noe Valley.

Forecast is for a cloudy and cool day, and I need to get last minute things done so am signing off. Next post from Oregon? Alaska? Don’t know.

Josh

Follow Josh, John and friends on their cruise to Alaska from San Francisco. May 4 – 14, 20015. Here’s the itinerary.

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Silversea Alaska | The Journey Begins

John, Ray, Sharon, Steve, Paul & I are all in San Francisco now as we await the arrival of our wheels to Alaska on Monday.

5508591104_6ed8c72faa_b

The wheels happen to be Silver Shadow, the 382 guest ultra luxury ship from Silversea Cruises.  I sailed with Silversea’s first ship, Silver Cloud, a few years ago and had a great time in the Caribbean. This should be a very different experience with a lot of time to relax and to watch the scenery I’m hoping to be spectacular.  And instead of snorkeling off the ship we’ll be helicoptering over glaciers!

Stay tuned for more.

Josh

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
facebook  twitter  flickr  you tube
four seasons preferred partner

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Last Minute Alaska Small Ship Luxury Cruise from San Francisco

Do you live in or around San Francisco or Northern California? Or maybe you’re in L.A., San Diego, Orange County, Portland or Seattle?

Join our small group in about 6 weeks – on May 4, for a 10 day small ship luxury cruise from San Francisco to Alaska. The cruise ends in Vancouver, BC on May 14.

Silversea, a top T+L and Conde Nast prize winner, is a luxury all-inclusive cruise line. Cocktails, wine and gratuities always included. Silver Shadow is an all-suite ship.  Just over 28,000 tons (which is small) she carries 295 guests with 382 crew.

Pricing starts at $4,550 each based on double occupancy, subject to prior sale. And there is a $500 per suite ship board credit. Possible other amenities as well. Please call us at 415.987.0372 or click here for more information,  We hope you join us!

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service.

Top Producer with & Knowledgeable Person for All Luxury Lines:
– Seabourn’s Pinnacle Club
– Regent Seven Seas Cruises
– Crystal Cruises
– Silversea

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
an independent affiliate of travel experts | a virtuoso agency
twitter  flickr  facebook   you tube  tripadvisor

four seasons preferred partner,
Read my review of Seabourn Sojourn

and my more recent review of Seabourn Sojourn in the Baltic
Read my review of Seabourn Spirit
Read my review of Silver Cloud
Read my review of Oceania’s Marina
Read all my ship reviews with photos

Josh Friedman  is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service.  Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

LGBT Gay Friendly Luxury Alaska Cruise*New Itinerary

Silversea Cruises has announced a slightly revised itinerary on the Silver Shadow sailing San Francisco to Vancouver, via Alaska in May of 2014.

Due to operational concerns the 10 day itinerary will add Rangell and Sitka, while removing Prince Rupert and Victoria.  The ship’s stay in Juneau will also be lengthened.  What does all this mean? It means it doesn’t really matter and we’ll have  great time wherever we go. And Rangell looks beautiful. If only we could visit Wasilla!

Click here for our event flyer to learn more about our group. Just ignore the old itinerary please. Our original blog post is here.

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
twitter  flickr  facebook

 

LGBT Gay Friendly Luxury Alaska Cruise on Silversea

Sail with Josh, John & friends as we host a small group from San Francisco to Vancouver! This time it will be 10 days to Alaska on Silversea’s Silver Shadow, May 4-14, 2015.  Or join 18 days earlier in Ft. Lauderdale and make this a 28 day odyssey through the Panama Canal. Both sailings offer savings for Venetian Society members.   More details here.

Our last three cruises were on Seabourn Sojourn in July 2013 (Baltic)Seabourn Spirit in February 2012 (Caribbean), and Silver Cloud in February 2011, also Caribbean.

 

Silver Shadow Veranda Suite
Veranda Suite | Silver Shadow

It will be a great time with a bon voyage celebration in San Francisco a few weeks before the cruise so we can get to meet each other. And depending on interest I’m hoping to offer some exclusive shore excursions, group dinners and of course good drink, food and company every night .

Silversea, a top T+L and Conde Nast prize winner, is a luxury all-inclusive cruise line. Cocktails, wine and gratuities always included. Silver Shadow is an all-suite ship.  Just over 28,000 tons she carries 295 guests with 382 crew, a 1.29 ratio.

Our adventure will sail from San Francisco to Vancouver BC with stops in Astoria (Oregon), Wrangell, Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. The last day will be spent cruising the Inside Passage.

Pricing starts at under $4,000 each based on double occupancy, subject to prior sale. Please call us at 415.987.0372 or click here for more information,  We hope you join us!

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & exclusive hotel amenities with Virtuoso. Several hotels available prior to sailing offering our exclusive amenities.

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
twitter  flickr  facebook 

Josh Friedman is an old-fashioned travel agent offering highly personalized 24/7 service. Specialties include high-end and bespoke luxury travel for small groups and individuals.  His areas of expertise include ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations & luxury hotel stays.  He also plans spectacular honeymoons, anniversary and birthday celebrations and completes trips that clients have started and just can’t quite figure out how to finish.

His relationships built over twenty years with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies will ensure your successful vacation. As a client you get exclusive and complimentary perks that you can’t get on your own — from VIP introduction to the hotel’s management to upgrades, scrumptious breakfasts and hotel spending credits.

an independent affiliate of travel experts, a virtuoso agency
4083 24th  st., #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40.

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco