The blog for you to GETAWAY FROM YOUR EVERYDAY!!!!!

We’ll feature up to 3 destinations each week. If you don’t want to do a package deal then have no fear because we can do most independently for you or what used to be call an ON YOUR OWN package.

 

 

 

 

www.railtoursireland.com


Titanic Rail Trail & Wild Atlantic Way

Price: from US$1979 pps

We are delighted to offer a nine day / nine night tour of Ireland which includes the highlights of Ireland and has the theme of the ill-fated Titanic story. We visit Cork and Blarney Castle, and Cobh near Cork City, the ships last port of call. We include Belfast where she was built, we explore Clifden in Connemara, where Jack Phillips, the Titanic's wireless operator worked for Marconi before the fatal voyage. This tour also takes in Ireland's most famous attractions such as The Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, The Ring of Kerry, Bunratty Castle, The Giant's Causeway and Galway Bay on the wild Atlantic Coast. FREE UPGRADES for your clients.

Click for Details!


The All Ireland Tour 
Price: from US$1339 pps

Travel South, Southwest and North by Train on a rail tour covering all our highlights - offering two nights in Killarney, two nights in Galway and two nights in Dublin. This tour covers a large part of the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway coast. We head South to visit Cork, Blarney Castle & the Ring of Kerry, West to the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara, the Aran Islands in Galway Bay and North to the Giants Causeway. FREE UPGRADES for your clients.

Click for Details!


 


Waterford Crystal, Kilkenny City & the Suir Valley 
Price: US$149 pp

Enjoy a full day tour to a big chunk of Ireland's Ancient East - in Ireland's sunny south east. We visit the ancient city of Kilkenny or as it is known "The Marble City". We continue on to explore the historic Viking City of Waterford where we visit The Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre. The tour returns to Dublin via the lovely Suir Valley.

Click for Details!


 


 

Railtours Ireland First Class 16 Amiens Street, Dublin 1.
Tel: +353 1 856 0045 Toll Free: 1-877-451-4783
Freephone (UK): 0800 328 2899
Email: 

 

LOGO Viking Cruises

 

HERO Viking Cruises

 

 

Your clients will experience Russia like never before
in their choice of stateroom
 

 

Russia’s treasures await your clients on our enriching itinerary, Waterways of the Tsars. They can explore the Hermitage and see Catherine Palace in St. Petersburg, meet a friendlybabushka in her home along the Volga River, visit a banya (Russian sauna) for all its health virtues, enjoy a traditional Russian folkloric music performance in Moscow, and go behind the walls of the Kremlin to see historic gems. Now, your clients can choose from the best available stateroom, plus get air for $999.* Offer ends January 31, 2019.




 

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Waterways of the Tsars

13 Days | St. Petersburg to Moscow

 

JULY 2019 Departures
Cruise from $3,999 per person,
plus Air for 
$999*
Ask for Offer R19

 

From magnificent St. Petersburg to vibrant Moscow and quaint riverside towns in between, let Viking show your clients all of Russia’s highlights and introduce them to her people, culture and history.


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THUMBNAIL Video

The Russian Ballet

Ballet is virtually synonymous with Russia. This inspiring art form began as entertainment for the royal court in the mid-1700s. Learn why it remains so celebrated around the world. >WATCH VIDEO

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Russian Food: Soups

No Russian meal is complete without homemade soup, a central element of culinary culture. See Karine sample two types of borscht, the nationally renowned beet soup, and other tasty dishes. >WATCH VIDEO

 

  
 

 


 

 

*Offer R19: Offer valid on bookings made from Jan 17 to Jan 31, 2019. Cruise from $3,999 per person based on Jul 2019 departures ofWaterways of the Tsars in category DX; other departures may be higher, please call for details. Prices are in US dollars and for US residents only. Viking all-inclusive air with transfers available. Air does not have to be purchased to get cruise/tour offer. All fares reflect cruise taxes, port taxes and fees. Additional restrictions may apply. Book by Jan 31, 2019; pay in full by Feb 28, 2019. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019. 

Air Promo: $999 Economy air based on Jul 2019 departures of Waterways of the Tsars. Call for details. Air prices are per person based on cruise or cruise tour check-in date and include transfers. Air seats are limited; airfares are subject to change until full payment of air is received. Click here to learn more about airline baggage allowances and fees. Air offers valid on all N. American gateways except Alaska, Hawaii, San Juan and Mexico City. Ask for Offer R19. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019. 

 

LOGO Viking Cruises

 

HERO Viking Cruises

 

 

Complimentary Air for Barcelona, Tahiti, Australia or South Africa Sailings
 

 

Book your clients to awe-inspiring destinations on a state-of-the-art ship with just 930 guests. They can journey across the Atlantic to Barcelona, experiencing the tropical beauty of St. Martin on the way. They can feel the warm breezes of Tahiti, explore Australia’s southern coast, or discover Africa’s west coast as they sail to London. No matter which epic voyage they choose, your clients will encounter breathtaking landscapes at every turn. Ask about our 50% single supplement for solo travelers. Call for details.

THUMBNAIL Choice Offer




 

Choose from these 5 enriching journeys:
 

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Atlantic Crossing

15 Days | Miami to Barcelona

 

FEB 28, 2019 Departure
Cruise from $2,799 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer FL1

 

This itinerary crosses the Atlantic from Miami to Barcelona, calling on half-French, half-Dutch St. Martin and the “Garden Island” of Madeira.


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West Indies to Spain

14 Days | San Juan to Barcelona

 

MAR 29, 2019 Departure
Cruise from $2,999 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer FL1

 

Your clients can join Viking on a singular journey that spans continents, and discover the cultural legacies of the emerald-green island of St. Martin.


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Islands of the South Pacific

32 Days | Santiago to Sydney

 

FEB 12, 2019 Departure
Cruise from $7,999 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer WC1

 

Your clients will cruise amid landscapes made of dreams on this epic transoceanic journey, with overnights in Auckland and Sydney. Includes visits to Easter Island, Tahiti, Bora Bora and New Zealand.


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Southern Australia to South Africa

29 Days | Sydney to Durban

 

MAR 16, 2019 Departure
Cruise from $6,999 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer WC1

 

This sweeping journey highlights four Southeast Asian countries, with overnight stays in Bangkok, Thailand; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Hong Kong, China.


BUTTON View Itinerary


 

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Along Africa’s Western Shores

29 Days | Durban to London

 

APR 13, 2019 Departure
Cruise from $7,999 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer WC1

 

The splendors of Africa's diverse coast unfold on this remarkable journey. Your clients will witness a colorful tapestry with visits to the Canary Islands, Casablanca and Vigo, plus overnight stays in Durban, Cape Town and London.


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Discover More

THUMBNAIL Video

Advice from Our Chairman

Join Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen as he shares his insights on travel and the benefits of engaging with new cultures. >WATCH VIDEO

THUMBNAIL Video

Viking Weekly
Explore. Travel. Connect.

Discover destination highlights and regional recipes, view photos and hear from fellow travelers, plus catch up on the latest Viking articles in the press. >LEARN MORE

 

 
 

 


 

 

*Offer WC1/FL1: Offer valid on bookings made from Jan 16 to Jan 31, 2019. Cruise from $7,999 per person based on Feb 12, 2019 departure of Islands of the South Pacific in categories V2-DV1; cruise from $6,999 per person based on Mar 16, 2019 departure ofSouthern Australia to South Africa in categories V2-DV1; cruise from $7,999 per person based on Apr 13, 2019 departure of Along Africa’s Western Shores in categories V2-DV1; cruise from $2,799 per person based on Feb 28, 2019 departure of Atlantic Crossing in categories V2-DV1 (Offer FL1); cruise from $2,999 per person based on Mar 29, 2019 departure of West Indies to Spain in categories V2-DV1 (Offer FL1); other departures may be higher, please call for details. Prices are in US dollars and for US residents only. Viking all-inclusive air with transfers available. Air does not have to be purchased to get cruise/tour offer. All fares reflect cruise taxes, port taxes and fees. Additional restrictions may apply. Book by Jan 31, 2019; pay in full at time of booking. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019. 

Air Promo: FREE Economy air based on Feb-Apr 2019 departures of Islands of the South Pacific; Southern Australia to South Africa; Along Africa’s Western Shores; Atlantic Crossing (Offer FL1); West Indies to Spain (Offer FL1)Call for details. Air prices are per person based on cruise or cruise tour check-in date and include transfers. Air seats are limited; airfares are subject to change until full payment of air is received. Click here to learn more about airline baggage allowances and fees. Air offers valid on all N. American gateways except Alaska, Hawaii, San Juan and Mexico City. Ask for Offer WC1 or Offer FL1. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019.

 

 

SPECIAL PROMOTION WITH CIE FOR BRITISH ISLES AND BEYOND

T


2 for 1 Air Sale!(#5728680)

 

Date(s): 4/1/2019 - 10/31/2019

2 for 1 Air Sale, with CIE Tours guided vacations of 7 days or longer to Ireland, England, Scotland & Wales and any guided vacations to Iceland and Italy. Over 50 tours to choose from!

2 for 1 air sale, with over 50 tours to choose from!

 

 

SPECIAL TRAVEL OFFER


Best Rates + 10% off 2019 Trips(#5707287)

 

Date(s): 4/15/2019 - 10/31/2019

No one knows Ireland and Scotland like we do. Let us roll out the 'green carpet' and take you personally through the heart of our homelands. Whether you're interested in a glass of Ireland's best whiskey or are seeking to explore geographical wonders encompassed by history, we'll weave through every corner of the Celtic Isles, ensuring you discover all there is to see and experience in Ireland and Scotland.

 

 

 

Book With Only $50 Deposits.

 

 

 

 

Norwegian Cruise 
Line

 

 

 

 

Norwegian's New Year. Big Savings.

 

The Caribbean

Bahamas

 

Hawaii

Europe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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*Gratuities, specialty service charges, and other restrictions may apply. Free and reduced airfare on select cruises from select gateways. Savings based on 7-Day cruise for two. Terms & Conditions

$50 Deposits Terms & Conditions


Privacy Policy

 

We travel east to Asia....

Offer Ends Jan 31  | 

LOGO Viking Cruises

 

HERO Viking Cruises

 

 

NEW! Enchanting Rivers Await Your Clients with Complimentary Roundtrip Air*
  

 

Your clients will witness a rich landscape of beauty and culture on our Rhine Getaway. They will see medieval castles commanding the riverbanks, explore the Black Forest region, visit charming villages, discover the culinary traditions of Alsace and more. Or, offer them our Paris to the Swiss Alpsitinerary, cruising the Moselle and the Rhine. They will visit the wine town of Bernkastel-Kues, where they can taste exquisite Moselle Rieslings, and discover ancient Roman Trier and quaint Cochem.

THUMBNAIL Choice Offer



 

Choose from these 2 enriching journeys:
 

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Rhine Getaway

8 Days | Amsterdam to Basel

 

APR-JUNE 2019 Departures 
Cruise from $2,999 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer S01

 

The highlights of the legendary Rhine await your clients. They will explore the Black Forest region, witness medieval castles commanding the riverbanks, sample Alsatian cuisine, tour Kinderdijk's windmills and more.


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Paris to the Swiss Alps

12 Days | Paris to Zürich

 

JUNE 2019 Departures
Cruise from $4,699 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer S01

 

This cruisetour highlights four fascinating countries, and includes hotel stays in elegant Paris and lakeside Zürich.


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Cologne Cathedral

Explore the history of this ornate architectural masterpiece. Towering over the Rhine, the majestic Cologne cathedral has been a beacon for pilgrims from around the world for centuries. >WATCH VIDEO

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Explore Paris

Your clients can visit the impressive Notre Dame, stroll the Champs-Élysées, admire the priceless works of the Louvre and stop for a cup of coffee in the St. Germain district. >WATCH VIDEO

 

 
 

 

 

*Offer S01: Offer valid on bookings made from Jan 7 to Jan 31, 2019. Cruise from $2,999 per person based on Apr-Jun 2019 departures of Rhine Getaway in categories E & F; cruise from $4,699 per person based on June 2019 departures of Paris to the Swiss Alps in category F; other departures may be higher, please call for details. Prices are in US dollars and for US residents only. Viking all-inclusive air with transfers available. Air does not have to be purchased to get cruise/tour offer. All fares reflect cruise taxes, port taxes and fees. Additional restrictions may apply. Book by Jan 31, 2019; pay in full by Feb 28, 2019 or within 90 days of departure, if earlier. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019. 

Air Promo: FREE Economy air based on Apr-Jun 2019 departures of Rhine Getaway; Paris to Swiss Alps (June). Call for details. Air prices are per person based on cruise or cruise tour check-in date and include transfers. Air seats are limited; airfares are subject to change until full payment of air is received. Click here to learn more about airline baggage allowances and fees. Air offers valid on all N. American gateways except Alaska, Hawaii, San Juan and Mexico City. Ask for Offer S01. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019.

 

 

Travel More Hero

Year after year, more guests explore Europe with AmaWaterways. From Holland’s iconic windmills and tulip fields to Germany’s fairytale castles and the picturesque vineyards of Austria’s Wachau Valley, there’s no better way to discover the breathtaking scenery and timeless traditions along the Danube, Rhine, Main and Moselle rivers.

If you resolved to travel more in 2019, now is the time to take action – because when you book select AmaWaterways departures by January 31, you’ll fly to Europe on us! Just mention promo code FLYFREE-EB at the time of booking to get Free Air + Roundtrip Transfers from more than 60 US and Canada gateways!

Click below to see a complete list of itineraries and sail dates:

Blue Banner

Romantic Danube

7‌-night cruise

Romantic Danube

from Vilshofen to Budapest

From $2,699 pp

FREE ROUNDTRIP AIR

2019 Embarkation Dates: March 22, 31; April 28
Aboard the AmaCerto or AmaLea

 

Melodies of the Danube

7‌-night cruise

Melodies of the Danube

from Budapest to Vilshofen

From $2,699 pp

FREE ROUNDTRIP AIR

2019 Embarkation Dates: March 23; April 7, 21
Aboard the AmaViola or AmaCerto

 

Magnificent Europe

1‌4-night cruise

Magnificent Europe

from Amsterdam to Budapest
or reverse

From $6,899 pp

FREE ROUNDTRIP AIR

2019 Embarkation Dates: June 30 (AmaViola); July 28
Aboard the AmaViola or AmaStella

 

Medieval Treasures

7‌-night cruise

Medieval Treasures

from Basel to Nuremberg

From $3,599 pp

FREE ROUNDTRIP AIR

2019 Embarkation Date: August 15 (Wine Cruise)
Aboard the AmaDante

 

Rhine & Moselle Fairytales

1‌1-night cruise

Rhine & Moselle Fairytales

from Amsterdam to Basel

From $5,499 pp

FREE ROUNDTRIP AIR

2019 Embarkation Date: August 24
Aboard the AmaPrima

 

Tell us where you’re flying free in 2019!
Follow us on social media: #AmaWaterways

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Awards

 

 

010819_Free_Air_US_TA
Terms & Conditions: All rates are per person in USD based on double occupancy in a base category stateroom unless stated otherwise. FREE AIRFARE is valid on select sailings for new double occupancy reservations booked and deposited between January 8 - 31, 2019. FREE AIRFARE promotion is based on roundtrip, trans-Atlantic economy-class airfare departing from select gateways as published here (based on availability). FREE AIRFARE promotion includes base ticket price, fuel surcharges, taxes and roundtrip airport transfers between the airport and ship and/or hotel for services purchased through AmaWaterways for a published itinerary only.Must mention promo code FLYFREE-EB in order to receive. For complete offer information and applicable gateways, please click hereBonus Savings up to $200 per stateroom is based on double occupancy; solo travelers receive $100 savings. Offer is applicable to select dates and are combinable with current promotions, excluding wine themed departures; subject to availability and capacity controlled. Other terms may apply. Must ask for promo code: WAVE19. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California. CST#2065452-40.

 


AmaWaterways 26010 Mureau Road, Calabasas, CA 91302

Offer Ends Jan 31

LOGO Viking Cruises

 

HERO Viking Cruises

 

 

Caribbean Journeys with Air from only $199*
  

 

The warm breezes of the Caribbean and its rich island cultures await your clients. They can sail to the West Indies, Cuba, Bermuda and more on our state-of-the-art ship with just 930 guests. Their journey includes one shore excursion in every port of call and more time in port than on any other cruise line, so they have ample time to explore each destination. Plus, we offer abundant dining options, FREE Wi-Fi and more.

THUMBNAIL Choice Offer

 

Choose from these 3 enriching journeys:
 

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West Indies Explorer

11 Days | San Juan to San Juan

 

OCT-DEC 2019; JAN-FEB,
OCT-DEC 2020 Departures 
Cruise From $3,199 per person,
plus Air from 
$299*
Ask for Offer EBD

 

Amid unspoiled turquoise waters and emerald vistas, your clients will visit a new Caribbean port each day, experiencing the British, French and Dutch cultures of the Lesser Antilles.


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Cultural Cuba

8 Days | Miami to Miami

 

JAN-FEB & NOV 2020 Departures 
Cruise From $2,999 per person,
plus Air from 
$199*
Ask for Offer EBD

 

Your clients can experience the inviting culture of Cuba and engage with its people during this enriching exploration, featuring three days in Cienfuegos and a visit to Santiago de Cuba, the country's former capital.


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New York, Bermuda
& the West Indies

15 Days | New York City to San Juan

 

OCT 2019 & OCT 2020 Departures
Cruise From $3,499 per person,
plus Air from 
$199*
Ask for Offer EBD

 

This itinerary features Bermuda and seven Caribbean ports, including St. Martin, Antigua and Guadeloupe, all steeped in Euro-Caribbean culture and stunning beauty.


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Discover More

THUMBNAIL Video

Viking Weekly
Explore. Travel. Connect.

Discover destination highlights and regional recipes, view photos and hear from fellow travelers, plus catch up on the latest Viking articles in the press. >LEARN MORE

THUMBNAIL Video

What Viking Is Not

When most cruise lines are building bigger and more over-the-top ships, we provide a thoughtful, authentic and well-designed small ship experience that brings your clients closer to the world's cultures. >LEARN MORE

 

 
 

 


 

 

*Offer EBD: Offer valid on bookings made from Jan 9 to Jan 31, 2019. Cruise from $3,199 per person based on Oct-Dec 2019 departures of West Indies Explorer in category DV6; cruise from $2,999 per person based on Jan & Feb 2020 departures of Cultural Cuba in category V2; cruise from $3,499 per person based on Oct 10, 2019 departure of New York, Bermuda & the West Indies in category V2; other departures may be higher, please call for details. Prices are in US dollars and for US residents only. Viking all-inclusive air with transfers available. Air does not have to be purchased to get cruise/tour offer. All fares reflect cruise taxes, port taxes and fees. Additional restrictions may apply. 2019: Book by Jan 31, 2019; pay in full by Feb 28, 2019. 2020: Book by Jan 31, 2019; pay in full by Jun 30, 2019. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019. 

Air Promo: $299 Economy air based on Oct-Dec 2019 departures of West Indies Explorer. $199 Economy air based on Jan & Feb 2020 departure of Cultural Cuba. $199 Economy air based on Oct 2019 departure of New York, Bermuda & the West Indies. Call for details. Air prices are per person based on cruise or cruise tour check-in date and include transfers. Air seats are limited; airfares are subject to change until full payment of air is received. Click here to learn more about airline baggage allowances and fees. Air offers valid on all N. American gateways except Alaska, Hawaii, San Juan and Mexico City. Ask for Offer EBD. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019.
 


 




5700 CANOGA AVENUE, SUITE 200, WOODLAND HILLS, CALIFORNIA 91367
©1997-2019 VIKING CRUISES | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED | ADVERTISEMENT CST:2052644-40

LOGO Viking Cruises

 

HERO Viking Cruises

 

 

Complimentary Air for Tahiti, Australia & South Africa Sailings
 

 

Book your clients to awe-inspiring destinations on a state-of-the-art ship with just 930 guests. They can feel the warm breezes of Tahiti, explore Australia’s southern coast, or discover Africa’s west coast, enjoying the amenities of their ship as they cruise. No matter which of these epic voyages they choose, your clients will encounter breathtaking landscapes and cultural delights at every turn, with an enriching onboard experience along the way.Ask about our 50% single supplement discount. Call for details.

THUMBNAIL Choice Offer




 

Choose from these 3 enriching journeys:
 

THUMBNAIL image

Islands of the South Pacific

32 Days | Santiago to Sydney

 

FEB 12, 2019 Departure
Cruise from $7,999 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer WC1

 

Your clients will cruise amid landscapes made of dreams on this epic transoceanic journey, with overnights in Auckland and Sydney. Includes visits to Easter Island, Tahiti, Bora Bora and New Zealand.


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Southern Australia to South Africa

29 Days | Sydney to Durban

 

MAR 16, 2019 Departure
Cruise from $6,999 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer WC1

 

This sweeping journey highlights four Southeast Asian countries, with overnight stays in Bangkok, Thailand; Sihanoukville, Cambodia; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Hong Kong, China.


BUTTON View Itinerary


 

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Along Africa’s Western Shores

29 Days | Durban to London

 

APR 13, 2019 Departure
Cruise from $7,999 per person,
plus 
FREE Air*
Ask for Offer WC1

 

The splendors of Africa’s diverse coast unfold on this remarkable journey. Your clients will witness a colorful tapestry with visits to the Canary Islands, Casablanca and Vigo, plus overnight stays in Durban, Cape Town and London.


BUTTON View Itinerary


 

 



 

Discover More

THUMBNAIL Video

Experience New Cultures

Join Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen as he shares his insights on travel and the benefits of engaging with new cultures. >WATCH VIDEO

THUMBNAIL Video

Viking Weekly
Explore. Travel. Connect.

Discover destination highlights and regional recipes, view photos and hear from fellow travelers, plus catch up on the latest Viking articles in the press. >VIEW RECIPE

 

 
 

 


 

 

*Offer WC1: Offer valid on bookings made from Jan 6 to Jan 31, 2019. Cruise from $7,999 per person based on Feb 12, 2019 departure of Islands of the South Pacific in categories V2-DV1; cruise from $6,999 per person based on Mar 16, 2019 departure ofSouthern Australia to South Africa in categories V2-DV1; cruise from $7,999 per person based on Apr 13, 2019 departure of Along Africa’s Western Shores in categories V2-DV1; other departures may be higher, please call for details. Prices are in US dollars and for US residents only. Viking all-inclusive air with transfers available. Air does not have to be purchased to get cruise/tour offer. All fares reflect cruise taxes, port taxes and fees. Additional restrictions may apply. Book by Jan 31, 2019; pay in full at time of booking. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019.

Air Promo: FREE Economy air based on Feb-Apr 2019 departures of Islands of the South Pacific; Southern Australia to South Africa;Along Africa’s Western Shores. Call for details. Air prices are per person based on cruise or cruise tour check-in date and include transfers. Air seats are limited; airfares are subject to change until full payment of air is received. Click here to learn more about airline baggage allowances and fees. Air offers valid on all N. American gateways except Alaska, Hawaii, San Juan and Mexico City. Ask for Offer WC1. Offer expires Jan 31, 2019.

 

 

India

Chaotic, bamboozling, intoxicating, crazy, exasperating, wonderful, squalid, beautiful, daunting, overwhelming, and fantastic. India is all these things, and more. How can you possibly prepare yourself? 

 

From the snow-capped Himalayas in the north to the sun-drenched coastal villages of the south, India unfolds like an ancient tapestry. At times threadbare and fading, the land stretches from desert dunes and scattered slums to the rich mix of ancient, jeweled palaces and the majestic domes of forgotten empires. Since the first civilizations developed on the banks of the Indus river almost 5,000 years ago, India has given birth to Buddhism and Hinduism, been touched by the empire of Alexander the Great, seen the ancient empires of the Mauryas and Guptas rise and fall, and has traded with Pharaohs and Caesars. An invasion by the Huns scattered its people until the sweeping hand of Islam saw new kingdoms rise, heralding the era of the Sultans. Defeat came again as the Mogul Emperors marched over the mountains and into the Punjab. The decline of the Mogul Empire gave way to the Marathas, who consolidated control of India just in time for the arrival of the British. The sun finally set on the British Empire as India reclaimed independence in 1947, heralding a new age of democracy. India is a feast for the senses; where the air is heavy with the scent of jasmine and dancers trail frenetic melodies in colorful silk saris. Its cooks compose dishes from a palette of exotic spices that may leave a lingering taste of saffron and aniseed. In India's cities, the hardship of slum-living competes with the cacophony of seemingly endless traffic and a myriad of other textures, colors and movements all jostling for attention. India can be overwhelming, but its variety is part of its charm.

 

Key Facts

Language: Although English is generally used for official and business purposes, Hindi is the official language and is spoken by about 40 percent of the population. Urdu is the language common with the Muslim demographic. India has a total of 22 official languages.

Passport/Visa: Visa extensions are not possible for tourist visas. Other visas may be eligible for extensions, which are applied for through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Holders of multiple-entry Tourist Visas (visa type code "T"), with a validity ranging from above three months and up to 10 years, are no longer required to leave a gap of at least two months between visits unless they are nationals from Afghanistan, China, Iran, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan and Bangladesh. Indian law does not permit dual citizenship for nationals of India. An Indian national holding dual nationality should contact their embassy or consulate for further information. Passengers in possession of an "Overseas Citizen of India" card or a "Person of Indian Origin" card, however, are liable to enter the country without a visa. Note that a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required, if arriving in India within six days of leaving or transiting through heavily infected areas. Also note that the following areas of India are restricted, and require that visitors obtain a permit BEFORE entering them: (Protected Areas) parts of the state of Manipur, parts of the state of Mizoram, parts of the state of Arunachal Pradesh, the whole state of Nagaland, the whole State of Sikkim, parts of the state of Uttaranchal, parts of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, parts of the state of Rajasthan, parts of the state of Himachal Pradesh; (Restricted Areas) the whole of the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, part of the state of Sikkim. If surface travel is involved, and nationals travel via restricted areas, they require a "pass" issued by either the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (located in each major Indian city), or the Superintendent of Police (located in each Indian district), or the diplomatic representation of India in Bhutan or Nepal. NOTE: It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

Currency: The currency is the Indian Rupee (INR), which is divided into 100 paise (singular paisa). Major currencies can be changed at banks, and authorized bureau de change. It is illegal to exchange money through the black market and it is advisable to refuse torn notes, as no one will accept them apart from the National Bank. It is best to change money into small denominations. Major credit cards are widely accepted, particularly in tourist orientated establishments. ATMs are available in large cities and airports but are not generally available in rural areas.

Electricity: 230 volts, 50Hz. A variety of power outlets are used in India, but most plugs have two or three round pins.

 

Here's some tips for taking the ultimate travel plunge by: going to India for the first time!

 

Early morning at the Taj Mahal, Agra. © Peter Adams / Getty Images

1. Pick the perfect route

India packs a lot into a massive space, and you'll never have time to see it all on one trip. Think about what interests you, what you like doing and how much time you have, and tailor your trip accordingly. Be realistic about how much you can fit in. Rather than trying to see the whole country, you may get more out of your trip if you concentrate on the south of the country, or on the north. However, internal flights are plentiful and inexpensive so you can hop from north to south if you want a taste of both worlds. The itineraries section at the front of Lonely Planet's guidebooks to India can be a great help, but here are some possible itineraries to get the ball rolling.

The classics: The most popular India tour is the all-time classic Golden Triangle. If time is short this is a fantastic introduction to three of India's top destinations, DelhiAgra and Jaipur, and you can squeeze it into a week if you don't mind moving every couple of days. Start in Delhi, with sights such as Humayun's Tomb and the Red Fort, before hitting Agra and touring the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri. Then it's on to Jaipur to explore the Pink City and the fort at Amber, before returning to Delhi's wonderful bazaars for a final shopping spree before you fly home.

The towering gopuram of the Virupaksha Temple, Hampi. © Jean-Pierre Dalbéra / CC BY 2.0

Religious sites: If it’s temples you’re after, you’ll find them everywhere, but in north and central India, you'll be truly spoiled for choice. There’s the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the erotically carved edifices of Khajuraho, Konark's rock-carved Sun Temple, and cohorts of exquisitely hewn milk-white-marble Jain temples in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Temples in the south are something else again, with towering, statue-covered gopuram towers; there are stunning examples at Hampi, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli and Tiruvannamalai, and exquisitely decorated temple caves at Ajanta and Ellora, and Elephanta Island near Mumbai.

Mughal magic: Fans of Islamic architecture will find some spectacular monuments in Delhi, home to the Red Fort, the mosques and minarets of the Qutb Minar complex and Humuyan’s Tomb. Nearby you can revel in more graceful Mughal splendour at Fatehpur Sikri and Agra, home of the Taj Mahal, before exploring Rajasthan's captivating collection of Mughal forts, including Jaisalmer, the very vision of an Arabian Nightsdesert fortress.

Sun, sea and sand at Vagator, Kerala. © Amit Chacko Thomas / CC BY 2.0

Beaches & waterways: Head south to enjoy India’s finest beaches. Munch bhelpuri (puffed rice, noodles, green mango and a tangy sauce) on Mumbai’s Girgaum Chowpatty beach before drifting south to the sand and sun in Goa. Take your pick of the Goan beaches – Arambol, Vagator, and Palolem are top spots – or try the black sand beaches of Kovalam and Varkala in Kerala, as well as lesser-known, golden sand in the north of the state. Kerala is also famous for its meandering backwaters, where you can hire a houseboat or a canoe and let the world glide gently by. Similarly serene is beautiful Dal lake in Srinagar in Kashmir, where – depending on the security situation –you can watch the mountains rise out of the mist from the walnut windowframe of a traditional wooden houseboat.

Wildlife encounters: Your best chances of spotting a tiger are in the national parks of Madhya Pradesh or Rajasthan, but there are national reserves all over India where you can track down wildlife as exotic as lions (Sasan Gir, Gujarat), wild asses (Little Rann, Gujarat), one-horned rhinos (Assam) and wild elephants (Wayanad, Kerala), as well as abundant birdlife (Bharatpur, Rajasthan). Not quite wildlife, but certainly wild, are camel treks through the desert from Jaisalmer or Bikaner in Rajasthan.

Royal Bengal tiger in repose, Rajasthan. © Christopher Kray / CC BY 2.0

Trekking & mountains: The north is a playground for adrenaline seekers, with pretty much every outdoor activity imaginable on offer in the Kullu Valley and the high reaches of Uttarkhand and Himachal Pradesh, from treks to skiing and white-water rafting. Shimla, the classic hill station, is a great place to start, as is Manali, still further north. Ideal trekking season is in September/October, after the monsoon. To take adventure up a notch, set off from Manali for the epic two-day journey (possible from mid-June to mid-September) to Leh in Ladakh, whose towering mountain peaks are criss-crossed by epic hiking trails. Rishikesh is another top spot for rafting and trekking, with a famous pilgrimage trail to four sacred mountain temples, and more treks await in mountainous Sikkim.

Vividly-coloured statues at Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Trivandrum, Kerala. © Thejas Panarkandy / CC BY 2.0

Spiritual India: For religious fervour, Varanasi reigns supreme, with its ancient funeral ghats where Hindus pay their last respects to the dead beside the sacred River Ganges. But you’ll encounter India’s spiritual side all over the country, particularly at pilgrimage towns such as Ajmer and Pushkar in Rajasthan, or the Sikh holy city of Amritsar in the Punjab. If you want to get more involved, you'll find classes in meditation and yoga almost everywhere, from the Delhi suburbs to the ashrams of Rishikesh. For Buddhist encounters, aim for Tibetan-Buddhist centres such as Leh in Ladakh and McLeod Ganj(Dharamsala), home to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile.

2. Slow down

Many people try to cram too much into a visit to India. To get the best out your trip, concentrate on a few places rather than trying to tick off as many as possible. Seeing one place slowly can be much more rewarding than seeing loads of places, but not having time to appreciate any of them. Spend a few days in a place and you'll be less stressed, gain a deeper understanding of where you are, and have more time to get to know the people you meet.

Contemplating the desert in Zanskar. © Kiran Jonnalagadda / CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Escape the crowds

With over a billion locals, many parts of India are certainly crowded. The bustle and mayhem can be fun, particularly if there's a festival in town, but it's easy to reach the point of saturation. Fortunately, India has plenty of quiet retreats, so plan some relaxing escapes into your journey. To keep your batteries charged, spend some days or weeks in a city, followed by some days or weeks in the countryside or in a small town. For inner (and outer) peace, head south to the backwaters and beaches of Kerala, or north to India's captivating hill stations or the Tibetan-influenced valleys of the Himalaya in Ladakh, Sikkim and Himachal Pradesh.

4. Stay healthy

No one wants to get ill, particularly if you’re on a shorter trip, so it pays to take steps to avoid a dodgy tum. Never drink tap water, and steer clear of any food that may have been washed in it. As a precaution, avoid ice, ice cream, and salads and fruit you haven't just peeled yourself. Let your stomach acclimatise for a few days before launching into a street food feast, and whenever buying street food, do a mental assessment of standards of cleanliness. Are the owners freshly cooking the food or has it been standing there for a while? Is the stall busy with lots of customers or only attracting hoards of flies?

The classic Indian thali, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. © Tomas Belcik / CC BY 2.0

Many travellers go veggie whilst in India, and it's not a bad idea, as a dodgy bit of meat will do you a lot more harm than undercooked vegetables. Plus, many Indians are vegetarian, so the country offers perhaps the world's most fabulous choice of vegetarian food. If you do eat meat, make sure it's well cooked, and stick to stalls and restaurants that are packed with locals (the best barometer for hygiene standards).

You may well find you have to use some less than sanitary toilet stops, but these don't have to be health hazards. Toilet paper is rarely provided, but the left-hand-and-water-jug method preferred by many locals can be fine if you carry soap with you so you can wash your hands properly afterwards. Anti-bacterial wipes and anti-bacterial gel are also handy to keep in your day bag for a last minute clean up before eating with your fingers.

Old Delhi's colourful, chaotic sprawl. © José Antonio Morcillo Valenciano / CC BY 2.0

5. Keep your cool

As well as its beauty and wonder, India has an often deserved reputation for touts, scams, and other hassles. There are ways you can reduce the chances of being overcharged or cheated, but you will have a few encounters with scammers on your trip, so keep your wits about you and remember that deals that sound too good to be true usually are. In particular, be wary of taxi and rickshaw drivers who insist on taking you to specific hotels, shops or travel agencies – the cost of their commission will added to your bill.

The single most important piece of advice for any India first-timer is to try to remain calm, no matter what. Frustrations boil over easily in India, and being able to control them, take a deep breath and move on, is key to enjoying your time here. If you’re getting stressed about losing some money or being scammed, take a moment to consider how much you’ve really lost and whether it’s worth getting that fussed about.

Check out these deals!

Classic India

 

 

8 Day Taste of India


Starting At: $ 1635.00

The dazzling colors, history and culture of India's renowned Golden Triangle await you on this introductory journey. Experience the highlights of this intoxicating land and India's celebrated diversity.

 

14 Day Highlights of Rajasthan


Starting At: $ 2865.00

Rajasthan is home to some of the country's most impressive sites and most hospitable people. Start your journey in Delhi's old and new areas. Travel on to Agra and the sublime Taj Mahal. Explore rugged Ranthambore National Park in search of wildlife including the endangered Tiger. Tour the 'Pink City' of Jaipur and its imposing hilltop fortress at Amber. Learn the secrets of the palace kitchen at Nimaj, visit traditional villages from your desert camp at Osian, explore Jodhpur's fort and bazaar, and more.

 

Treasures of India Celebrate Diwali Summer 2019


Starting At: $ 4338.20

Ignite all your senses on this journey through the colourful, crowded bazaars, exquisite architecture and culinary splendour of India. Meet its vibrant people, see the beauty of the Taj Mahal and celebrate the mesmerising Diwali festival with a local family in their home

 

Indias Golden Triangle with Varanasi Summer 2018


Starting At: $ 2675.00

Embark on a spiritual interlude with India. Candle-lit rituals on the River Ganges, palaces, forts and tombs, a riot of colour and vibrancy around every corner - your exploration of India's Golden Triangle and centuries-old heritage takes you through the sandstone and marble halls of the Amber Fort, the pyramidal Palace of Winds and the exquisite Taj Mahal.

 

Treasures of India with Nepal Celebrate Diwali Summer 2019


Starting At: $ 5853.90

In India see the beauty of the Taj Mahal and celebrate the mesmerising Diwali festival with a local family in their home before embarking on this spiritual interlude to the ancient mountain kingdom of Nepal.

 

India's Golden Triangle With Kathmandu


Starting At: $ 1469.00

10 Days, featuring: Delhi-agra

 

India's Golden Triangle With Dubai, Southern India & Kathmandu


Starting At: $ 2709.00

17 Days, featuring: Dubai

 

India's Golden Triangle With Southern India & Varanasi


Starting At: $ 2269.00

15 Days, featuring: Varanasi

 

15 Day Sikkim and Bhutan Highlights


Starting At: $ 8355.00

A delightful journey into the Himalayas, combining the mysteries and breathtaking vistas of Bhutan with the lesser known but equally stunning scenery of India's state of Sikkim.

 

Icons Of India: The Taj, Tigers & Beyond With Dubai, Southern India & Varanasi


Starting At: $ 4919.00

20 Days, featuring: Agra-fatehpur Sikri-ranthambore National Park

 

Icons Of India: The Taj, Tigers & Beyond With Dubai, Southern India & Kathmandu


Starting At: $ 4759.00

20 Days, featuring: Ranthambore-jaipur

 

India Escape


Starting At: $ 599.00

8 Days, featuring: Jaipur

 

Mysteries of India

 

Starting At: $ 2799.00

The Taj Mahal, temples and tigers - experience all the spice of India on this comprehensive tour. Explore Old Delhi's historic streets by rickshaw. See the Taj Mahal bathed in the light of sunrise. Embark on an evening cruise across Lake Pichola. Enjoy magnificent views of the Jag Mandir Palace. Participate in a yoga class, a cooking demonstration, sari tying, even get a henna tattoo! See the City Palace in Jaipur. Experience two game drives in Ranthambore National Park. Visit the site of Bud...

 

India's Treasures

 

Starting At: $ 1699.00

India's Golden Triangle showcases some of the most beautiful sites in the country during stays in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. Enjoy a home-hosted dinner with a local family in Delhi and explore its bustling streets by rickshaw. Spend 3 nights in the vibrant "Pink City" of Jaipur and visit the majestic Amber Fort and Hawa Mahal, home to a former Maharaja. Discover the quaint village of Samode, nestled among the rugged hills that are dominated by its famous and beautiful palace. Soak in the colors ...

 

India Wildlife Safari: Lions, Tigers & Leopards


Starting At: $ 9995.00

Explore some of the world's most treasured ecosystems as you track elusive leopards, Asiatic lions and Bengal tigers on game drives through India's biodiverse jungles and dry forests.

 

India: The Beautiful South


Starting At: $ 7795.00

 

Wings Over India Spring


Starting At: $ 38995.00

You can even make a stop-over with some southeast asian cruises:

Cruising by India

 

 

9 Days, Luxury Cruise from Mumbai to Dubai


Starting At: $ 5100.00
Ship: Silver Shadow

Authentic experiences. Simple pleasures. Shared moments. Silversea's Millennium Class luxury cruise ships Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper offer you freedom and space to design your day. Slightly larger in size than Silver Cloud and Silver Wind, Silver Shadow retains Silversea's essence - spacious suites, a complement of only 382 guests, superior service - paired with a lively cosmopolitan atmosphere and enhanced amenities.

 

22-DAY MYANMAR, INDIA & ARABIA


Starting At: $ 5999.00
+ 428.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Seabourn Ovation

Aboard The Yachts of Seabourn, the world is more intimate and more enchanting. Here, you'll explore ports rarely visited by larger ships and meet people who are happy to show you around their hidden corner of the globe. With their unmatched sense of style, elegance and grace, The Yachts of Seabourn beckon you to travel beyond the bounds of the imagination. Aboard Seabourn, every desire is met promptly and with a welcoming smile. Whether it's a warm blanket and a cup of gourmet hot chocolate as you drift along the Norwegian Fjords or a relaxing neck massage poolside, you'll feel that you're a member of a very exclusive club.

 

14 Night Spice Route Cruise


Starting At: $ 1513.00
+ 93.14 taxes/fees
Ship: Spectrum of the Seas

Discover a Far East adventure full of new feats and firsts on Spectrum of the Seas
, the first of the Quantum Ultra Class ships.

 

The Spice Route Cruise


Starting At: $ 1724.50
+ 85.40 taxes/fees
Ship: Explorer of the Seas

Embark on the expedition of a lifetime onboard Explorer of the Seas®- a ship that sizes up with Alaska in adventure. Then delve deeper into the Alaskan wilderness or range inland to the Canadian Rockies on a Cruisetour, with all the best resorts and lodges already reserved, so you can unwind after experiencing the grandeur and wildlife of the Last Frontier.

 

India & Thailand


Starting At: $ 1324.00
+ 125.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Sapphire Princess

Sapphire Princess was built in Japan and completed in 2004, fitted with over 700 balconies from which passengers can step out and enjoy the refreshing ocean breeze. Warm, welcoming crew members enhance your experience on board, from your friendly stateroom steward's attentive service, to white-gloved waiters adorning your plate with freshly-baked pastries during Afternoon Tea, to sommeliers recommending the perfect wine to accompany your dish!

 

26-Day Grand World Voyage


Starting At: $ 9399.00
+ 575.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Amsterdam

The third Holland America Line vessel to bear the name Amsterdam, this elegant, mid-sized ship features a three-story atrium graced by a stunning astrolabe. While on board, enjoy America's Test Kitchen cooking shows and hands-on workshops. Thrill to our exclusive BBC Earth Experiences presentations and activities. Rejuvenate at the Greenhouse Spa & Salon. Work out at our Fitness Center. And savor our delectable array of specialty restaurants.

 

Arabian Sea & India Cruise


Starting At: $ 899.00
+ 151.49 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Constellation

 

Best Of India & Sri Lanka


Starting At: $ 1249.00
+ 158.21 taxes/fees
Ship: Celebrity Constellation

 

17-NIGHT SRI LANKA & INDIA ODYSSEY


Starting At: $ 3599.00
+ 186.48 taxes/fees
Ship: Azamara Quest

This voyage balances relaxation and exploration nicely with five days at sea, two maiden calls, and three overnight stays.It's our first visit to sleepy, unspoiled Sabang, where the main attraction is diving, snorkeling, swimming and soaking up gorgeous scenery at beaches lapped by turquoise seas. Swim along a reef, then fill up on curry noodles at a beachside cafe.

 

Colorful India & The Ganges River With Kathmandu


Starting At: $ 7199.00
Ship: Ganges Voyager

16 Days, featuring: Murshidabad. Excursion To Azimganj & Jiaganj

 

Colorful India & The Ganges River With Southern India & Varanasi


Starting At: $ 8029.00
Ship: Ganges Voyager

18 Days, featuring: Mayapur-guptipara

 

==================================================================

Now on to an Asian country with a connection to the USA.

Cardillera, Mountain, Range, Region, Sagada, Hilltop

Philippines

The Philippines archipelago, consisting of more than 7,000 islands, is sandwiched between Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, and flanked by the South China Sea. All her neighbors have well-known tourist appeal, but the Philippines, even though the sea is just as blue and clear and the myriad coral islands just as alluring, seems to have missed the boat when it comes to fully marketing its attractions. The Philippines is a magical travel destination which remains relatively undiscovered. Bad press in recent years, after some high-profile terrorism and kidnapping incidents, has not helped matters. The country has also labored under a turbulent political reputation and is still overcoming the effects of martial law. Its poor infrastructure, dilapidated roads and unsafe ferries, have also all played a role in deterring potential travelers and the country has been overlooked as an eco-tourist destination because of local disregard for its natural resources (such as fishermen dynamiting coral reefs). While resources are being channeled into education to prevent such practices a great deal of damage has already been done to the environment. The good news is that Filipinos themselves are warm and welcoming, as underscored in the country's tagline 'where Asia wears a smile'. Apart from some beautiful, remote tropical islands and legendary scuba diving spots, the archipelago's best resource is the friendliness and laid-back attitude of the Filipino people. Their hospitable and embracing attitude is enough to put a smile on any visitor's face; and this is even more the case in the country's rural areas. The Philippines has some superb all-inclusive luxury resorts spread around the islands which cushion visitors from the general degradation and safety risks of the cities and towns, and a major plus is that the country is amazingly cheap for foreign tourists who have dollars, pounds or Euros to spend. Also, the food is delicious, and English is widely spoken. Independent travelers who like to wander off the beaten track, and do not mind doing without the conveniences of running water and the like, will find plenty to fascinate them in the countryside and coastal parts of the Philippines; albeit without the assistance of guide books. The Philippines is one of the few places left in the world where adventurers can wander through tribal lands, unfettered by modern interferences. Travelers are, however, advised to follow the current safety advice on areas to avoid.

Key Facts

Language: The official language of the Philippines is Filipino (a standard variant of the Tagalog language), but English is widely spoken. Tagalog is the most predominant of the many dialects or local languages spoken throughout the islands.

 Passport/Visa: Everyone entering the Philippines must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of arrival in the country. All visitors must have return or onward tickets, documents necessary for further travel, as well as sufficient funds. A visa is not required for a stay of up to 30 days provided these criterions are met. Extensions for visas are possible and should be made with the Bureau of Immigration. Visas may be issued on arrival for stays of up to 59 days for a fee, and multiple extensions up to one year total are possible.

Currency: The currency of the Philippines is the Peso (PHP), which is divided into 100 centavos. Major credit cards are widely accepted in cities and tourist destinations. ATMs are available in the major cities and in main centers on some islands. US dollars are widely accepted in Manila and other tourist areas and are the easiest currency to exchange; otherwise euros and pounds sterling can also be exchanged in banks and hotels. Most banks in the Philippines are open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but their ATMs are open 24 hours. It is best to carry pesos when travelling outside of major centers.

Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 60Hz. Two-pin flat blade attachments and two-pin round plugs are used, with round two-pins being the most common.

 

Travel to Philippines

The main attractions of the Philippines are its 7,107 beautiful islands, and for most travelers the remoteness of these destinations is part of the appeal. The capital city, Manila, is an easy place to start and the main entry-point for tourists. There are marvelous buildings and cathedrals such as Intramurals and San Augustin Church which stand as testament to the history of Spanish colonialism. The Nations Museum and the Malacanang Palace are great places to learn about the country's history. Manila is also the gateway to the famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, and there are many delightful islands and regions to explore nearby, including the islands of Palawan and Corregidor, as well as the unspoilt Banue region. From Cebu, another popular starting point, island attractions and beaches in the Visayas are a chartered flight or ferry away, but the city itself also offers plenty to see and do, including the important religious site of Basilica Minore de Santo Nino, or Fort San Pedro. For easily accessible island paradise, try Boracay and its beautiful, white sand beaches, while still enjoying international comforts. The Philippines has much to offer tourists, but all travelers should ensure that they are well-informed about the current dangers of a holiday in the country including areas to avoid and safety precautions advised by travel experts.

Climate in Philippines

The Philippines has a tropical climate which can be clearly divided into a rainy season and a dry season. The summer monsoon brings heavy rains to most of the country from May to October, and the winter monsoon brings cooler and drier air from December to February. The hottest time of year is April and May, although there is little variation in temperature all year round. Manila and most of the lowland areas are hot and dusty from March to May, when temperatures can rise to around 99°F (37°C). However, there are variations in climate according to region; for instance, along the eastern seaboard the rainy season generally runs from December to March, and it is generally dry when the rest of the country is at its wettest. Average sea-level temperatures rarely drop below 80°F (27°C) so swimming is possible year-round providing the ocean is calm. Tropical storms and typhoons are possible between July and October. The best time to visit the Philippines is between November and April; however, be warned that this is also the peak tourist season, and so accommodation and flight prices will be higher. The country is also particularly crowded during Easter. Travelers should also note that weather has become less predictable in the Philippines in recent years.

Health Notes

No special vaccination certificates are required for the Philippines, except by travelers arriving from an area infected with yellow fever. Vaccinations are recommended for typhoid, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. Those who will be spending more than a month in rural areas should consider a vaccination for Japanese encephalitis, and those who may be at risk of animal bites should consider a rabies vaccination. There is a malaria risk in parts of the Philippines and visitors should seek medical advice before travelling; urban areas are generally considered risk-free. Dengue fever is a risk throughout the country; the best prevention is to avoid mosquito bites. Tap water is not safe to drink and ice in drinks should be avoided; cholera is a risk in the country and precautions are advised. Sea snakes can be highly venomous; travelers should be cautious in remote coastal waters, lakes and rivers, as anti-venom may not be readily available. The Philippines is now also a risk area for contracting the Zika virus. As a result, pregnant women should avoid travel to the Philippines and travelers should take steps to avoide contact with the virus through sexual interaction and mosquito bites. Medical care is good in Manila, although very expensive; while outside of the capital it can be difficult to receive adequate care. Comprehensive medical insurance is advised. Travelers should take along any prescription medication they require, in its original packaging, along with a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what the medication is and why it is needed.

Safety Notes

Safety and security should be of paramount concern to any visitor to the Philippines. It is vital to be fully informed of threats and developments regarding crime, terrorism and kidnapping before and during visits to the islands. Vigilance is vital throughout the islands, particularly in Manila, as opportunistic crimes are motivated by circumstances of poverty. Extremist groups have a history of kidnapping foreign tourists, and terrorist bombings have occurred in Manila and Mindanao, targeting transport and public places. The southern Philippines, constituting the Mindanao area, is now under martial law following clashes between armed forces and local terrorist groups affiliated with ISIS. Tourists should avoid all travel to the south and take care in the rest of the country by monitoring alerts and news, while keeping their country's embassy abreast of their whereabouts. There is also a high incidence of piracy and armed robbery against ships in and around Filipino waters (specifically in the southern islands), and risk of kidnappings at sea. The area is prone to typhoons between July and November, when flooding and landslides can occur: Typhoon Fengshen in June 2008 resulted in flash floods, landslides and rough seas that caused hundreds of deaths.

You can make a stop via a cruise:

 

 

Philippines To Cruise

 

 

7 Days, Luxury Cruise from Bali to Manila


Starting At: $ 3720.00
Ship: Silver Muse

 

14-DAY GEMS OF THE SOUTH CHINA SEA


Starting At: $ 7299.00
+ 330.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Seabourn Ovation

Aboard The Yachts of Seabourn, the world is more intimate and more enchanting. Here, you'll explore ports rarely visited by larger ships and meet people who are happy to show you around their hidden corner of the globe. With their unmatched sense of style, elegance and grace, The Yachts of Seabourn beckon you to travel beyond the bounds of the imagination. Aboard Seabourn, every desire is met promptly and with a welcoming smile. Whether it's a warm blanket and a cup of gourmet hot chocolate as you drift along the Norwegian Fjords or a relaxing neck massage poolside, you'll feel that you're a member of a very exclusive club.

 

28-Day Far East Asia Collector


Starting At: $ 2859.00
+ 490.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Westerdam

Recently updated with new bar, entertainment and dining venues, plus completely reimagined suites, Westerdam is a fascinating destination in her own right. On board, enjoy live entertainment with Music WalkT, including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King's Blues Club and Billboard Onboard. Learn culinary skills at a cooking show or hands-on workshop with America's Test Kitchen. Enrich your travel experience at the new Exploration Central atop the ship.

 

12-NIGHT PHILIPPINES & CHINA VOYAGE


Starting At: $ 2849.00
+ 191.26 taxes/fees
Ship: Azamara Quest

This is a high-energy meets high-relaxation voyage, pairing big cities with island paradises. Taipei is a bustling food city where eating out is a national pastime. We stay late so you can visit the world-famous night markets and sample mouthwatering Xiaochi ("substantial snacks"). On a clear day the views from the observatory tower at Taipei 101 are well worth the ride up; otherwise spend your day visiting a Chinese art museum or checking out Longshan Temple, a true architectural marvel.

 

How about a few land touring ideas:

Philippines To Go

 

 

Paradise Uncovered: Philippines


Starting At: $ 7620.00

Uncover the Philippines, bursting with vibrant culture and warm hospitality. Stitched together from over 7000 islands, this tropical country is full of rich and diverse history. The indigenous tribes, the arrival of Islam and Hinduism, and immigration from other Asian countries have all shaped the Philippines of the present. As a result of these influences, there is no shortage of what you can choose to do. From swimming with butanding (whale sharks) in Oslob to visiting Manila's Chinatown, i...

 

Manila, Cebu & Bohol Interlude (First Class)


Starting At: $ 1285.00

 

12 Day Philippines Island Hopper


Starting At: $ 3768.00

As you follow a serene river through remote rainforest, the peaceful lap of the gentle tide is suddenly replaced with a raging waterfall that spills into a series of pristine pools in a place of impossible natural beauty.

 

7 Day Philippines Discovery: Manila & Boracay


Starting At: $ 2415.00

As your small motorboat slides onto the sandy bank of a deserted beach and your attentive guides set up a gourmet seaside picnic, all that's left to do is allow the turquoise waters of this remote paradise wash away your stresses.

 

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CITY SPOTLIGHT

 

 

 

Delhi, India

Travelers in Delhi will probably have to navigate through their fair share of sweaty crowds, persistent beggars and manic traffic. They are also likely to come face to face with some unpleasant smells, noises and sights. Regardless, the city is also home to astounding beauty, friendliness and wealth, with many treasures to be found amid the clamor of everyday life. Delhi is a city of contrasts, where an elephant can overtake a snazzy Italian sports car on the streets, where commanding colonial mansions stand next to overcrowded slums, and where cows are revered but musicians are labeled 'untouchable'. The city's pace is chaotic, yet strangely relaxed, making it ideal for exploring. Visitors are almost certain to have some strange and exotic experiences. With a long and troubled history, Delhi is full of fascinating temples, museums, mosques and forts, each with a distinctive architectural style. In Old Delhi, visitors will find a charming selection of colorful bazaars and narrow winding alleys. In comparison, New Delhi - the city created to reflect the might of the British Empire - consists of tree-lined avenues, spacious parks and somber-looking government buildings. While Delhi itself could fill many holidays, the city is also ideal as a base for visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra, and provides the best links for travelling to the hill stations in northern India.

Travel to Delhi Climate for Delhi The climate of Delhi is semi-arid, and there is a vast difference between summer and winter temperatures. During the long summers the city swelters at highs of 104ºF (40ºC) and lows of 79ºF (26ºC), often exacerbated by a dusty, dry wind. The hottest months of the year are May and June. Winter weather in Delhi arrives in November, with temperatures between 43ºF (6ºC) and 68ºF (20ºC). Delhi's winters are generally mild but the city's proximity to the Himalayas can result in cold spells. Winter also brings heavy fog, which can decrease visibility and disrupt air, road and rail travel; January is the worst month for fog. The rainy season in Delhi is heralded in June and lasts until the end of September, during which monsoons deliver most of the city's annual average rainfall. The city does not experience monsoons to the same extent as many other Indian cities. The best time to visit Delhi is in October and November, or in February and March, when the nights are cool and the days filled with mellow sunshine. December and January can be a little gloomy in Delhi while mid-summer (May, June and July) is uncomfortably hot.

Attractions in Delhi

Travelers visiting the magical city of Delhi will be overwhelmed by the sightseeing opportunities available to them; figuring out where to begin will be the hardest part of the journey. Many visitors kick off their sightseeing at the Red Fort, Delhi's signature attraction, reminiscent of the Mogul Empire that once ruled the region. Other landmark attractions include the majestic Jama Masjid, in Old Delhi's bustling streets, which is India's largest mosque and a breathtakingly beautiful building to photograph; the Chandni Chowk market, the ideal place for an authentically Indian shopping experience; and Humayun's Tomb, another classic example of Mogul architecture, which is especially important to visit for those who are not making the trip to the famous Taj Mahal. Another must-see while in Delhi is Rashtrapati Bhavan, a palace larger than Versailles and the residence of the Indian President, where visitors can watch the changing of the guard and marvel at the building's architecture, built by Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens between 1921 and 1929. Other worthwhile attractions include the beautiful Lotus Temple; and Rajpath, the main route leading from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate, a memorial monument built for the Indian soldiers who died in World War I, where visitors can relax on the grassy lawns and soak up the scenery. A great way to visit many of the sights around Delhi is on the Hop on Hop off Bus, which leaves every 30 minutes and stops at close to 20 of Delhi's top tourist destinations. Tourists pay a once-off fee and can hop on and off at a variety of monuments, gardens, bazaars, museums and galleries. Kids Attractions There's no question about it: Delhi is hot, crowded and intense - not the best place for kids on holiday. But there are a number of interesting and exciting attractions for children in Delhi to enjoy. The Shankar's International Dolls Museum is located in Nehru House, on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, and has one of the largest collections of costume dolls in the world - a wonderful tourist attraction for young girls. On the other hand, Delhi's National Rail Transport Museum, in Chanakyapuri, is a great attraction for young boys. There are a number of bowling alleys in Delhi to take the kids to, including the Kool Kidz Little Tikes Play Zone in Gurgaon, Leisure Bowl in Vasant Kunj, and Little Paradise in Faridabad. Other fun activities include camel and balloon safaris in the nearby Thar Desert. Whatever you end up doing with the kids, one thing is for sure - Delhi is a city that children seldom forget, providing an exciting and colorful experience that will live on in their memories forever. Red Fort The Red Fort, known locally as Lal Quila, is Delhi's signature attraction, rising high above the clamor of Old Delhi as a reminder of the power and prosperity of the Mogul Empire. The massive sandstone walls were built in the 17th century to keep out marauding invaders, and still dominate the city's skyline today. Inside is an array of exquisite buildings, which once provided the living quarters for Shah Jehan, his courtiers, family and staff of three thousand. Visitors can marvel at the intricate decoration and only imagine the scenes here at the empire's height, when the walls were studded with precious stones and a 'stream of paradise' drove an ingenious air conditioning system. The fort was the scene of the Indian Uprising of 1857 and the mighty Lahore Gate, on the west side of the fort, remains a potent symbol of India's fight for independence. There are frequent sound and light shows in the evenings at the fort but they are conducted in Hindi; some audio guides are sometimes available to translate into French and English. The fort is vast and there is a lot to explore so it is best to allow a few hours for this famous attraction; seeing everything means covering quite a lot of ground so come prepared to do some walking.

Jama Masjid

Shah Jehan, the architect of the Red Fort and much of Old Delhi, built Jama Masjid between 1644 and 1656. This grand structure is situated on a hill a few hundred yards west of the Red Fort, and towers over the mayhem of Old Delhi's sprawling streets. Jama Masjid is India's largest mosque, and can hold 25,000 worshippers at one time. Wide red sandstone steps lead to entrances on the north, south and east sides of the mosque. Inside is a massive courtyard, dominated by two red-and-white striped sandstone minarets that cap the main prayer hall on the west side (facing Mecca). There are smaller towers at each corner of the mosque, and energetic visitors can climb the 122 narrow steps of the southern one to be rewarded with magnificent views of Old and New Delhi. Those wearing shorts or skirts can hire a lunghito cover their legs; women wearing T-shirts should bring a scarf to cover their shoulders; you will be required to leave your shoes at the entrance. Tourists frequently complain that the people managing the mosque are rude and try to get as much money as possible out of visitors by charging for things like shoe storage and modesty dresses they insist women wear even if they are appropriately clad. The best way to deal with these inconveniences is to have a local guide with you to steer you through the process.

Qutub Minar

The Qutub Minar is a mammoth tower that was built between 1193 and 1369 to symbolize Islamic rule over Delhi, and to commemorate the victory by Qutab-ud-din over the city's last Hindu king. Standing 238 feet (72m) tall, the tower is decorated with calligraphy representing verses from the Quran, and tapers from 50 feet (15m) at the base to just eight feet (2.5m) at the top. There are five distinct storeys, each encircled with a balcony: the first three are built of red sandstone, and the upper two are faced with white marble. At the foot of the minhar stands Quwwat-ul-Islam, India's oldest mosque, largely built from the remains of 27 Hindu and Jain temples destroyed by the Muslim victors. The cloisters that flank the nearby courtyard are supported by pillars that were unmistakably pilfered from Hindu temples, but fascinatingly, the faces that would have adorned these pillars have been removed to conform to Islamic law, which strictly forbids iconic worship. Somewhat incongruously, in the corner of the mosque, stands the Iron Pillar, bearing 4th-century Sanskrit inscriptions of the Gupta period dedicating the structure to the memory of King Chandragupta II (373-413). It is said that anyone who can encircle the pillar with their hands whilst standing with their back to it will have their wishes fulfilled.

Humayuns Tomb

Humayun's Tomb is one of the best-preserved and most beautiful examples of Mogul architecture in Delhi, and is often seen as a forerunner of the Taj Mahal in Agra. Building started on the tomb in 1564 after the death of Humayun, the second Moghul emperor, and its construction was overseen by Haji Begum, his senior widow and the mother of Akbar. The tomb is an octagonal structure capped by a double dome that soars 125ft (38m) into the sky, and is set in a formal Persian garden. In the grounds are some other worthwhile monuments, including the Tomb of Isa Khan. Some careful restoration work has been done on some of the buildings and art but nothing important has been altered and the site has not lost its sense of authentic old age. Visiting this attraction is great for the uninitiated because it is the perfect introduction to the architecture, symbolism and importance of memorial tombs in India. For photography lovers the tomb, with its red coloring and geometric designs, is a wonderful subject. Tourist infrastructure is somewhat lacking, with only a few stalls, a tiny exhibit and no real public toilets - but, on the plus side, it is also less crowded and commercial than many other sites in the city and visitors can wander freely.

Rashtrapati Bhavan

After his visit in 1911, the Emperor of India, King George V, decreed that the capital should be moved from Calcutta to Delhi. Edwin Lutyens was commissioned to plan the new government centre, which he focused around Rajpath - the grand, tree-lined boulevard that runs between the Secretariat Buildings and India Arch, the war memorial built in 1921. Rashtrapati Bhavan was built by Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker between 1921 and 1929, on the gentle slope of Raisina Hill, flanked by the Secretariat Buildings. This immense palace, larger than Versailles, was created for the Viceroy and is now the residence of the President of India. With the exception of the central copper dome there are few concessions to Indian architectural style: despite its Classical columns, the building is unmistakably British and remains a potent symbol of imperial power. Every Saturday morning between 9:35am and 10:15am guards parade before the iron gates, in Delhi's answer to London's Changing of the Guard. The gardens are open to the public every year in February and March but unfortunately no entry to the palace is permitted at any time of year; however, the exterior is very impressive and it is well worth at least a drive by

Chandni Chowk

No trip to Delhi would be complete without a visit to one of the bazaars that surround Chandni Chowk (Moonlight Square) in Old Delhi, where shops and stalls display a wonderful array of goods, and offer a pungent and colorful insight into everyday Delhi life. Chandni Chowk has a large number of galis (lanes) and each one is different, with its own atmosphere and selection of goods to buy. Naya Bazaar, on Khari Baoli, is the spice market, displaying a wonderful range of seasonings in neat, colorful piles. The nearby Gadodia Market is the wholesale spice market. Hundreds of spices and condiments can be found there, including aniseed, ginger, pomegranate, saffron, lotus seeds, pickles and chutneys, to name just a few. Chor Bazaar sits behind the ramparts of the Red Fort and comes to life on Sundays to trade a collection of 'second-hand' goods. Chawri Bazaar was once notorious for the ladies who beckoned men from the arched windows and balconies above the street, but today these houses have made way for shops specializing in brass and copper Buddhas, Vishnus and Krishnas. Some of the busiest galas (east of Kalan Mahal) house the poultry and fish markets, but most tourists wisely avoid these areas.