Crystal RIVER Cruising

Crystal Cruises now Offering River Cruises – Open for booking on November 30, 2015!

Inaugural sailings only available for Crystal Society members for the first 2 weeks.

Dear clients and friends,

I met virtually this morning with Crystal Cruises as they reviewed their entry into European river cruising.  All the details are not in including what Virtuoso Voyager Club benefits may be offered for the best in personal service and exclusive amenities, but please stay tuned. And email or call for more information.

Their first cruise is July 13, 2016 on the Danube on Crystal Mozart,. The first ship is the only one that is not a ‘new-build’ but I understand a fabulous ship.  It was the Mozart and guest capacity has been reduced and cabins enlarged.  Will now be 160 guests and  90 crew. This is the only ship without an elevator so keep that in mind for guests with physical challenges.

Itineraries | Danube’s Capitals and Wachau Valley, 10 nights (vs. the usual 7 on others) includes Austria, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary. Sailing round-trip from Vienna includes actual cruising time (a difference from others) plus extra time in port e.g. 1 1/2 days in Budapest for instance;  2 for 1 fares from $3,645 each.

Crystal Mozart is also doing  also 11 night cruises round-trip from Vienna to Austria, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia & Slovakia (Countries of Eastern Danube). This is combinable with the 10 night sailing for a 21 night cruise.

The NEW ships welcome 140 guests only in 70 suites, no smaller than 250 square feet.

Ship #2 / The NEW Crystal Bach / 14 nights Rhine and Mosel including winter Christmas Market cruises with late stays to enjoy the ‘magic of the evening markets’

Ship #3  / NEW Crystal Mahler / Grand Europe  /16 night Amsterdam to Budapest or VV / starting August 29,  2017. Overnights in Amsterdam, Passau, Vienna & Budapest.  Dozens and dozens of locks on this cruise so Crystal’s 16 nights gives them flexibility over the usual 14 night for this cruise.

Ship #4 / NEW Crystal Ravel / Wine Region / 7 nights round-trip from Bordeaux starting  August 8, 2017.

Ship #5 / NEW Crystal Debussy /  On the Seine from Paris to Normandy for 5, 7 and 10 night cruises starting  June 4, 2017.  Overnights in Paris and 1 1/2 nights in Rouen and a visit to the port of Honfleur (near the Normandy beaches) on their 10 night cruises.

the Crystal difference

  • all gratuities included including those for butlers and  shore excursion staff
  • largest kitchen of any ship / allows prefect meals from scratch
  • complimentary high end (e.g. Michelin) restaurant experience once during cruise
  • premium drinks all day
  • more overnight stays
  • optional tours offering untouristic itineraries
  • complimentary airport transfers
  • 24/7 room service; complimentary wifi (limited); king beds(on new vessels
  • shore excursions /choice of tours and complimentary wifi on busses

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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LGBT Gay Friendly Luxury Caribbean Cruise

Hello fellow clients and sailors!

I’m very pleased to let you know that I’m hosting another Voyager Club sailing, this time a 7 day ultra-luxury Caribbean cruise on Silversea, including an overnight in St Barths. This was the draw for me as I haven’t been, and keep hearing how it’s the best place in the area!

The only problem is that I’m getting into this hosting gig a little late and the ship is getting pretty full, with about 20 suites left.

If you’re interested please contact me right away. Below are the basic details, and/or click here for all details, including  photos, deck plans, etc.

Pictures from our 2011 Voyager Club sailing on Silversea can be found by clicking here.

Dates: January 29 thru  February for 8 days (7 nights)
Starts: Ft. Lauderdale
Ends: San Juan
Ports: Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos), Samana (Dom Rep), Road Town (BVIs), St Barths (overnight), Philipsburg (St Maarten)
Ship: Ultra-luxury Silversea’s Silver Wind, 298 guests, 210 crew, refurbished 2013 (built in ’95). This ship, sister to Silver Cloud, is also very similar to Seabourn’s original 3 ships.
Virtuoso Voyager Club: Complimentary amenities in our wonderful cruise program can be found here.

Prices, including our complimentary Voyager Club amenities, are as below, per person, and subject to change until booked:

Vista Suite, $3,560
Veranda Suite, $4,450
Midships Veranda Suite, $4,550
Medallion Suite, $6,050
Larger Suites are also available
availability subject to prior sale

To book or for more information, please send me an email or call.  Those contact details are below.

Thanks very much,

Josh

Included in this Cruise

  • Spacious suites – over 85% with private verandas
  • Personalised service – nearly one crew member for every guest
  • Butler service in every suite – all guests are pampered equally
  • Open-seating dining options – dine when and with whomever you please
  • Diversity of dining venues – casual, romantic, regional delicacies, and gourmet cuisine inspired by Relais & Châteaux
  • Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship – select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees and soft drinks, plus your own tailored mini-bar
  • In-suite dining and 24-hour room service – always complimentary, always available
  • Sophisticated entertainment from live music to production shows
  • Enrichment lecturers, acclaimed chefs and destination consultants
  • Complimentary transportation into town in most ports
  • Gratuities always included in your fare
  • Free WiFi throughout the ship

Silver Privilege Fares: book early for the best fares and availability; Silver Privilege Fares are structured to reward guests who book early with the best possible fare and the privilege of being able to select their desired suite when the best inventory is available. All Silver Privilege Fares shown are cruise-only per guest unless otherwise noted, based on double-occupancy. Availability of all suite categories cannot be guaranteed. Fares for single guests are available upon request. Additional restrictions may apply.
Silversea Fare Guarantee Programme: Silversea’s Fare Guarantee Programme provides guests with the peace of mind in knowing that when they plan ahead and book early, not only will they be able to reserve their desired suite, but they can also benefit from any future reduction in the Silver Privilege Fares for their voyage, upon request. All voyages are eligible.

See Terms and Conditions

Voyager Club Benefits

All Virtuoso Guests Receive

  • Welcome Reception
  • Onboard Host
  • One of the following 3 options:
  • 1) Island Sights with Lunch at Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France – 2016 | Gustavia, Saint Barthélemy | 03 Feb 2016
  • 2) $175 USD Credit Toward Purchase of Virtuoso Product  This option is only available if selected and pre-registered by your Virtuoso Travel Advisor at least 46-days prior to the cruise sailing date. May be applied by your Virtuoso travel advisor toward the purchase of private shore excursion created by a Virtuoso On Site or another Virtuoso preferred product in conjunction with this cruise.
  • 3) $150 USD Shipboard Credit This option is only available if selected and pre-registered by your Virtuoso Travel Advisor at least 46-days prior to the cruise sailing date. Onboard credit applied to your shipboard account. Restrictions Apply. Please see Terms and Conditions for Details of Restrictions.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Virtuoso Travel’s Voyager Club.

 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

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.

This is an LGBT friendly group.
lgbt rainbow flag

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40
Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Virtuoso Voyager Club | Silversea Caribbean January 2016

Hello fellow clients and sailors!

I’m very pleased to let you know that I’m hosting another Voyager Club sailing, this time a 7 day ultra-luxury Caribbean cruise on Silversea, including an overnight in St Barths. This was the draw for me as I haven’t been, and keep hearing how it’s the best place in the area!

The only problem is that I’m getting into this hosting gig a little late and the ship is getting pretty full, with about 20 suites left.

If you’re interested please contact me right away. Below are the basic details, and/or click here for all details, including  photos, deck plans, etc.

Pictures from our 2011 Voyager Club sailing on Silversea can be found by clicking here.

Dates: January 29 thru  February for 8 days (7 nights)
Starts: Ft. Lauderdale
Ends: San Juan
Ports: Grand Turk (Turks & Caicos), Samana (Dom Rep), Road Town (BVIs), St Barths (overnight), Philipsburg (St Maarten)
Ship: Ultra-luxury Silversea’s Silver Wind, 298 guests, 210 crew, refurbished 2013 (built in ’95). This ship, sister to Silver Cloud, is also very similar to Seabourn’s original 3 ships.
Virtuoso Voyager Club: Complimentary amenities in our wonderful cruise program can be found here.

Prices, including our complimentary Voyager Club amenities, are as below, per person, and subject to change until booked:

Vista Suite, $3,560
Veranda Suite, $4,450
Midships Veranda Suite, $4,550
Medallion Suite, $6,050
Larger Suites are also available
availability subject to prior sale

To book or for more information, please send me an email or call.  Those contact details are below.

Thanks very much,

Josh

Included in this Cruise

  • Spacious suites – over 85% with private verandas
  • Personalised service – nearly one crew member for every guest
  • Butler service in every suite – all guests are pampered equally
  • Open-seating dining options – dine when and with whomever you please
  • Diversity of dining venues – casual, romantic, regional delicacies, and gourmet cuisine inspired by Relais & Châteaux
  • Beverages in-suite and throughout the ship – select wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees and soft drinks, plus your own tailored mini-bar
  • In-suite dining and 24-hour room service – always complimentary, always available
  • Sophisticated entertainment from live music to production shows
  • Enrichment lecturers, acclaimed chefs and destination consultants
  • Complimentary transportation into town in most ports
  • Gratuities always included in your fare
  • Free WiFi throughout the ship

Silver Privilege Fares: book early for the best fares and availability; Silver Privilege Fares are structured to reward guests who book early with the best possible fare and the privilege of being able to select their desired suite when the best inventory is available. All Silver Privilege Fares shown are cruise-only per guest unless otherwise noted, based on double-occupancy. Availability of all suite categories cannot be guaranteed. Fares for single guests are available upon request. Additional restrictions may apply.
Silversea Fare Guarantee Programme: Silversea’s Fare Guarantee Programme provides guests with the peace of mind in knowing that when they plan ahead and book early, not only will they be able to reserve their desired suite, but they can also benefit from any future reduction in the Silver Privilege Fares for their voyage, upon request. All voyages are eligible.

See Terms and Conditions

Voyager Club Benefits

All Virtuoso Guests Receive

  • Welcome Reception
  • Onboard Host
  • One of the following 3 options:
  • 1) Island Sights with Lunch at Cheval Blanc St. Barth Isle de France – 2016 | Gustavia, Saint Barthélemy | 03 Feb 2016
  • 2) $175 USD Credit Toward Purchase of Virtuoso Product  This option is only available if selected and pre-registered by your Virtuoso Travel Advisor at least 46-days prior to the cruise sailing date. May be applied by your Virtuoso travel advisor toward the purchase of private shore excursion created by a Virtuoso On Site or another Virtuoso preferred product in conjunction with this cruise.
  • 3) $150 USD Shipboard Credit This option is only available if selected and pre-registered by your Virtuoso Travel Advisor at least 46-days prior to the cruise sailing date. Onboard credit applied to your shipboard account. Restrictions Apply. Please see Terms and Conditions for Details of Restrictions.

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Virtuoso Travel’s Voyager Club.

 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

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.

This is an LGBT friendly group.

4083 24th street, #460250,  san francisco, ca 94114 cst# 2080753-40
Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

Josh is Hosting Voyager Club Again! Seabourn Sojourn July 2013

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel
+1 (415) 987-0372
josh@joshfriedmantravel.com
virtuosomemberlogo_thumb.jpg

Dear fellow clients and sailors ……. I had such a fun time earlier this year as well as in 2011 as a Voyager Club host that I’m doing it again! Escape the cold and foggy summers of San Francisco or the hot and oppressive summers of the rest of the country and join Virtuoso’s Voyager Club for a 5 star week on my new favorite ship – Seabourn Sojourn.

Call or email me to learn about our exclusive perks, including both a complimentary shore event and an shipboard credit. Not to mention a very fun crowd!
7-Day The Baltic and St Petersburg

Company Seabourn Cruise Line
Ship Seabourn Sojourn
Cruise Dates 09 Jul, 2013 – 16 Jul, 2013
Begin/End Stockholm to Copenhagen
Length 8 days

 

Day Date Location Arrive Depart
1 Tue, 09 Jul 2013 Stockholm 4:00 PM
2 Wed, 10 Jul 2013 Tallinn 10:00 AM 5:00 PM
3 Thu, 11 Jul 2013 Saint Petersburg 8:00 AM
4 Fri, 12 Jul 2013 Saint Petersburg
5 Sat, 13 Jul 2013 Saint Petersburg 6:00 PM
6 Sun, 14 Jul 2013 Helsinki 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
7 Mon, 15 Jul 2013 Day-at-Sea
8 Tue, 16 Jul 2013 Copenhagen 7:00 AM

What’s Included

Accommodations aboard ship l Onboard meals l Beverages, including select wines, champagnes and spirits, beer, soft drinks, bottled water l Onboard Staff Gratuities l Entertainment and onboard programs

What’s Not Included

Airfare Port Charges, Taxes, Security Fees and Fuel Surcharge l Shore Excursions l Personal expenses l Some premium wine, champagne, and spirit selections are not included in your fare l Anything not noted as included

Terms & Conditions

All fares are in U.S. dollars, cruise-only per guest, double occupancy, subject to availability. | Some suite categories may not be available. | Government fees and taxes are additional. Fares are not combinable with any other offer, vary by sailing date, are capacity controlled, are subject to change without prior notice. Seabourn reserves the right to charge a fuel supplement for all guests, without prior notice, if the NYMEX oil price exceeds $70.00 per barrel, and may collect such a supplement even if the cruise fare has been paid in full. | Certain restrictions apply. | Information herein is accurate at time of printing. | Select promotional offers including American Express cardholder benefits and “Run of House” fares are not be combinable with Virtuoso amenities. | The Seabourn Referral Shipboard Credit is not combinable with the Voyager Club Shipboard Credit option. | The Virtuoso shore event, shore excursion, or shipboard credit is non-transferable and non-refundable. | Please note that ground operators and other suppliers are independently owned and operated, and are not controlled by Virtuoso or Virtuoso Discoveries. | Your participation in this event serves as your acknowledgment that neither Virtuoso nor Virtuoso Discoveries is responsible for the acts or omissions of these third parties. | Virtuoso amenity option must be selected at least 45-days prior to sailing date and may not be changed. | Within 45-days prior to sailing options may not be changed. | Virtuoso events and amenities are capacity controlled, subject to change without notice and may be withdrawn at any time. | The Virtuoso host will provide final event program details onboard to guests who have opted for the main Voyager Club event. | Other restrictions and limitations may apply. | See your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for more details and applicable restrictions. | All Virtuoso Member Travel Agencies are independently owned and operated, and are not controlled by Virtuoso. | Seabourn reserves the right to correct errors. Offers are subject to availability and may be altered or withdrawn at any time without prior notice. | Ships’ registry: Bahamas ©2011 Seabourn

Voyager Club Benefits
All Virtuoso Guests Receive

  • Welcome Reception
  • Onboard Host

Each passenger may select 1 Voyager Club Benefit(s)
Helsinki Highlights, Arts and Architecture | Helsinki | 14 July 2013
Length: 7 hours
Description

Helsinki is a modern European cultural city whose urban cosmopolitan lifestyle exists in perfect harmony with nature. Surrounded by the sea and its own exotic archipelago, Helsinki offers visitors an endless number of possibilities. Throughout its 450-year history, Helsinki has existed in the crosscurrents of the East and West. The colorful layers of history can be seen everywhere. Today’s Helsinki is also a city of the future. Its modern architecture, cutting-edge design and high-technology have attracted international recognition for the city. Unique lifestyles and urban subcultures are all a part of this international metropolis.

Our day begins with a drive from the harbor to historic Senate Square, built in neo-classic style after Helsinki became the capital of Finland in 1812. From there, we will pass by the shipyard and boat harbors, and see the Suomenlinna Island Fortress and “Diplomat Town” where most of the foreign embassies are located. Leaving the city along the coastal road, we will have a beautiful view of the archipelago and travel through “Tech Town”, the University village in Otaniemi, and Tapiola, the “Garden City”, both of which were designed by the famous Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto.

We will then make our way to Hvittrask Museum, built in 1902 and former home of the famous Finnish architects, Eliel Saarinen, Armas Lindgren, and Herman Gesellius. Famed for its architecture, Hvittrask’s buildings are made of natural stones and logs from the surrounding area which is forested and situated by a lake. It is an exhibition center for Finnish art and handicrafts. We’ll visit the magnificent house of Eliel Saarinen, and have some free time to wander about and experience the serenity of this beautiful place before moving on to our wonderful luncheon venue.

We’ll enjoy a delicious 3- course repast complimented by wine at the Kulosaaren Casino restaurant. Acclaimed for its traditional cuisine and atmosphere, the restaurant boasts the most beautiful sea view in Helsinki.

After lunch, our return to the pier takes us back to the center of Helsinki and past the stainless steel monument of composer Jean Sibelius, a patriot whose most famous orchestral piece was appropriately named Finlandia. We will also pass the Olympic Stadium, used for the 1952 Olympic Games and the statue of the “Flying Finn”, runner Paavo Nurmi. We’ll continue along Mannerheim Street, where we will see several important buildings such as Finlandia Hall, the National Museum, and the Parliament House. We’ll make a short visit to the glorious Temppeliaukio or Rock Church, carved out of solid rock and topped with a copper dome before our return to the pier.

Suggested Attire/Walking Notes: Casual with comfortable shoes recommended. Easy to moderate walking required up some stairs and inclines at the Museum. There will be areas for those who do not wish to walk to explore while waiting for the rest of the group.

Please Note
This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to local conditions or other considerations. This Voyager Club Event is not transferable and cannot be used in conjunction with another sailing. This Virtuoso Club Event has no cash value, cannot be redeemed or refunded for cash. Credit will not be issued for unused services. Ground operators and other suppliers are independently owned and operated and are not controlled by Virtuoso. Your participation in this event serves as your acknowledgment that Virtuoso is not responsible for the acts or omissions of these third parties.
Meals: L

Age Appropriateness
All Ages
Activity Level
Moderate
Activity Type

  • Sightseeing

$150 Per Person Shipboard Credit

Onboard credit applied to your shipboard account.

$175 Custom Credit Towards the Purchase of a Virtuoso Exclusive Product

Call Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Voyager Club.

Top Producer with & Knowledgeable Person for All Luxury Lines:

Seabourn’s Pinnacle Club

Cunard’s Commodore

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Crystal Cruises

Silversea

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco’s financial district
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency

yelp!   Twitter   Facebook  Flickr  You Tube
[sign up for exclusive offers!]

Read my review of Seabourn Sojourn
Read my review of Seabourn Spirit

Read my review of Silver Cloud

Read my review of Oceania’s Marina

Read all luxury cruise ship reviews with photos

Josh Friedman is a travel agent specializing in luxury travel for small groups and individuals – particularly ultra-luxury cruises, customized vacations and food & wine inspired journeys.  Based in San Francisco, and with clients throughout the USA, his business is focused on 24/7 personalized service to the sophisticated leisure and business traveler.  His personal  relationships with the world’s top hotels, cruise lines and local agencies often allows for exclusive amenities and VIP status. 

 If you’d like to learn more about luxury travel and our services, please contact Josh Friedman Luxury Travel in San Francisco’s Financial District via phone at 415.987.0372  or email: josh [at] joshfriedmantravel [dot] com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, too.

associated with travel experts, a virtuoso member and four seasons preferred partner, 201 spear st., ste 1100,  san francisco, ca 94105 cst# 2080753-40

Seabourn | Best Way to Book a Cruise

One can book a cruise with Seabourn Cruise Line* basically three ways:

  1. Direct with Seabourn
  2. With a discount travel agency (online or not)
  3. With a full service travel agency

What’s Best for You?

I trust this blog post will help you to decide which is best for you to do.  I firmly believe that choice is what it’s all about, and depending on what your goals are, you should book accordingly.

As a note on my background, I am now a full service travel agent specializing in ultra-luxury cruises (such as Seabourn, Crystal, Regent Seven Seas, Silversea) and customized luxury vacations. In the 90s I ran Seabourn’s air/hotel department in San Francisco.

Direct with Seabourn

If you’re the type of person who know pretty much what you’d like, and prefers working direct with suppliers in general, then this is the way to go.  It’s easy, too.  And you know that the cruise line will be financially stable.

But you likely won’t get any assistance in looking at smart (i.e. better value) alternatives to airfare, hotels and insurance. You won’t get shipboard credits or other Voyager Club type promotions, and you won’t get unbiased advice  on the plusses and minuses of different cruise lines. And if something goes wrong, you won’t have an advocate working on your behalf.

With a Discount Travel Agency | Online or Not

If price is what it’s about, and you’d like the absolute cheapest cabin, then book with a discounter. These agencies typically offer a rebate of up to about 10% off the price of the trip (via shipboard credit), and make their margin on the extra commission they are paid by the cruise line.   However, with their reduced profit, don’t expect much in terms of service as the sales motto is “next please!”

So if you know exactly what cabin or category you want, don’t need a price analysis of airfares, pre-post cruise hotels, touring pre/post,  insurance.  And you’re not too concerned with the overall level of service after the agency has collected your money, this might be the way to go.

And I’ll repeat the paragraph from the booking direct section above:  ” …you likely won’t get any assistance in looking at smart (i.e. better value) alternatives to airfare, hotels and insurance. You won’t get shipboard credits or other Voyager Club type promotions, and you won’t get unbiased advice  on the pluses and minuses of different cruise lines. And if something goes wrong, you won’t have an advocate working on your behalf.”

With a Full Service Travel Agency

The easy way to describe the benefits of a full service travel agent is to look at both descriptions above and then consider the following as part of the mix.

Full a full service agency, you can expect:

  1. On many sailings a complimentary membership in a cruise club (i.e. our Voyager Club), an onboard credit and/or a complimentary shore excursion, a welcome cocktail reception, a host to welcome you aboard and arrange social gatherings for the duration of your cruise
  2. Consultation and unbiased advice on the best ship for your particular needs, either in general or  for a specific vacation
  3. Recommendations for the best hotels, upgrades, free breakfasts, hotel credits and introductions to our contacts there to make sure your stay is going to be great
  4. Help in arranging private shore excursions with the best guides in the business, and tailored to your specific interests.
  5. Assistance with customizing a full itinerary before and after your cruise
  6. Analysis of the cruise line’s insurance, air and hotel programs, and better value options.
  7. An advocate on your behalf should something on your vacation go wrong or need follow-up.
  8. An ongoing relationship with your cruise consultant. He or she will likely bend over backwards to help you before, during and after your cruise with anything and everything. I know that I do.
  9. A bon voyage phone call, email or text to make sure you don’t have any last minute questions and to just wish you well

 

 

Call Josh for details, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Virtuoso Travel’s Voyager Club (Virtuoso Voyages). 

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

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 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

* this tenant basically applies to all cruise lines

Josh is Hosting Voyager Club Again! Seabourn Spirit 03 Feb 2012

I had such a fun time this past February, I’m doing it again! Escape the cold and snow of the Winter and join Virtuoso’s Voyager Club for a 5 star week on my old favorite ship – Seabourn Spirit. I know her backwards and forwards, and would love you to join me. Pricing starts at about $2,800 and includes Voyager Club benefits. [details at bottom of this post]……….. Josh

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From Fort Lauderdale, Florida To Charlotte Amalie,

Company Seabourn Cruise Line
Ship Seabourn Spirit
Cruise Dates Feb 3-10, 2012
Begin/End Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Length 8 days
Summary
Day Date Location Arrive Depart
1 Fri, Feb 3, 2012 Fort Lauderdale, Florida 5:00 PM
2 Sat, Feb 4, 2012 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
3 Sun, Feb 5, 2012 Cruising the Atlantic Ocean
4 Mon, Feb 6, 2012 San Juan, Puerto Rico 9:00 AM 11:00 PM
5 Tue, Feb 7, 2012 Cruz Bay, St. John 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
6 Wed, Feb 8, 2012 Fredricksted (St. Croix) 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
7 Thu, Feb 9, 2012 Prickly Pear Island 8:00 AM 5:00 PM
8 Fri, Feb 10, 2012 Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas 7:00 AM
What’s Included
  • Accommodations aboard ship
  • Onboard meals
  • Beverages, including select wines, champagnes and spirits, beer, soft drinks, bottled water
  • Onboard Staff Gratuities
  • Entertainment and onboard programs

Terms & Conditions

  • All fares are US$ per person, double occupancy, unless otherwise specified. Cruise itinerary and pricing are subject to change and availability.
  • Savings apply to select stateroom categories and could decrease or be closed for specific categories or entire voyages without prior notice.
  • Savings not applicable to port charges or taxes.
  • Select promotional offers including American Express cardholder benefits may not be combinable with Virtuoso amenities.
  • The Virtuoso shore event, shore excursion, or shipboard credit is non-transferable and non-refundable.
  • Virtuoso amenity option must be selected at least 45-days prior to sailing date and may not be changed. Within 45-days prior to sailing options may not be changed.
  • Virtuoso events and amenities are capacity controlled, subject to change without notice and may be withdrawn at any time. The Virtuoso host will provide final event program details onboard to guests who have opted for the main Voyager Club event.
  • Other restrictions and limitations may apply.

Voyager Club Events

Exclusives & Options <Choice of one option:Option 1:

  • Onboard Host
  • Welcome Reception
  • Traditional Shared Virtuoso Voyager Club Shore Experience

or

Option 2:

  • Onboard Host
  • Welcome Reception
  • $175 Per person credit towards the purchase of a custom On Site shore excursion or other Virtuoso Preferred Product

or

Option 3:

  • Onboard Host
  • Welcome Reception
  • $150 Per Person Shipboard Credit
Onboard Hosts Yours Truly, Josh FriedmanCall Josh for details, excellent pricing, the ultimate in service & complimentary amenities with Voyager Club. Read my luxury cruise ship reviews and photos

josh friedman luxury travel at casto
in san francisco’s financial district
415.248.5079 | joshfriedmantravel.com
a virtuoso member agency

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Virtuoso Voyager Club Shore Experience
Event details to be announced.

My Cruise on Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud

The Giotto Report
My Cruise on Silversea Cruises’ Silver Cloud
Caribbean | February 2011

Dear Readers,

I have returned from the Caribbean and a cruise aboard Silversea’s Silver Cloud from Ft. Lauderdale to Barbados.  Here’s my report of our Virtuoso Voyager Club’s great experience.

The first installment below covers Silversea and Silver Cloud in general with thoughts on service, crew & cuisine! Subsequent blog posts will focus on Voyager Club, the ports and excursions.

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida . Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands . Philipsburg,  St. Maarten . St. John’s Antigua, Castries, St. Lucia.  Port Elizabeth, Bequia. St. Vincent & The Grenadines (including Mustique) . St. Georges’s Grenada . Bridgetown, Barbados.

Silversea Cruises

As most of my regular readers know, I used to work for Seabourn Cruise Line and had never sailed on Silversea.  As I get rave reviews from my clients about both lines, I thought it was about time to try the former competition. I also wanted host a Virtuoso Voyager Club sailing and learn more about that so when the opportunity came up I jumped on it.

Silversea’s first ship was Silver Cloud –launched in 1994. Silversea was Seabourn’s first serious competitor, and took the Seabourn idea a step further with a bigger and more spacious ship, almost all with balconies (only Seabourn’s larger suites had them), and at a reduced price. Silversea was created by V Ships, who had recently sold off their Sitmar Cruises brand.

Throughout the cruise I was asked which I preferred, so I’ll tell you now that I really can’t answer that question. I did just sail on Seabourn Sojourn in November 2010, but that was only for 2 days.  It’s been longer since I did a full Seabourn cruise and any full-on review wouldn’t be fair. (Yes, I did love it. Read my blog post)  But frankly it’s not that important as my clients consistently tell me they love them both.

Silver Cloud

Service

The cruise was very enjoyable for everybody I spoke to, including myself, our Voyager Club group of 28 persons, my co-host Gary Rhodes and other guests. Comments regarding the high level of service were the most common and I agreed to some extent. On a small ship of c. 450 or less guests, one’s relationship with their dining room and bar waiters, cabin stewardesses, butlers and ship’s general management (i.e. cruise director, shore excursions staff, reception, etc). is paramount. Because the ship is so small, and with a limited number of restaurants/lounges to explore and experience, the quality of your personal relationship can be the difference between a mediocre and a stellar experience.

Take Myra.  She’s the bartender in The Bar. Fabulous. A bit like Cheers, she knows your name and what you drink – and only after one visit. After dinner, what a pleasure to hang out with your new friends in The Bar and to enjoy Myra’s company.  Same to be said for Selma in the Terrace Café for breakfast.  “Hello Mr Josh” or “Mr Friedman” was a very nice way to start the day. She and her colleagues tried to remember your preference for coffee, lattes or whatever. Jimmy Kovell the Cruise Director, Bertram Petyt the Hotel Manager and Jorge Caeiro, the Maitre’D all went above and beyond the call of duty.

I did feel however that there were language problems between guests and crew as well as a general lack of polish in the restaurants. With dining so important an event on a luxury ship, and interaction of the staff and guests so critical,  English comprehension needed to be better. This created a problem with the general way in which the entire dinner experience flowed and with the specifics of getting what you wanted.

They could have done a better job in anticipating needs and  being a bit sharper in their service. On a ship of this caliber, one shouldn’t have to ask for butter, bread, water, etc. but you did too often. And then sometimes it took too long to get it. Nonetheless, after a few days of cruising and relaxing a bit, it was less annoying. But it should have been better.

Food

For me food is the #2 item of importance after service. But they’re close! I’ll remind my readers that I’m a San Francisco food snob before I say that I found the food quality inconsistent. Presentation on the plate was perfect, but flavor was mixed. Sometimes the courses were unique and would rival San Francisco’s best, and at other times they were basic and dull. Coupled with inconsistent service it was hard to know how your meal was going to go.

Crew

The very friendly and hardworking crew is primarily Pilipino, with a scattered person or two from other countries including Brazil, South Africa, Mauritius, Slovakia, Lithuania.

Passengers

While mostly American from the Midwest and East (this was a winter cruise), there were many guests from England and Scotland. Others I met came from France, Belgium, Chile and Australia. Ages ranged from 2 on up, with most in their 50s to 70s.

The Giotto Reports are reviews and stories of my travels around the world.  They’re named after Giotto di Bondone, the 14th century Florentine artist, whose namesake street I lived on at number 37 in Florence  when I was in college.

For my complete set of photos from this trip and others, visit my photo home page. [photos coming soon]

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

josh friedman luxury travel
in san francisco
415.987.0372 | joshfriedmantravel.com
with travel experts, a virtuoso member agency

 

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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.

 

affiliated with travel experts, a virtuoso agency and four seasons preferred partner,
201 spear st., ste 1100,  san francisco, ca 94105 cst# 2080753-40.

 

Josh Friedman Luxury Travel | San Francisco

 

Silver Cloud

Silversea's Silver Cloud

Silver Cloud Bow