Two Exciting Cruises To Plan For Now

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This summer, I will be hosting a Baltic cruise, which departs by air to London June 18. It will be aboard one of my favorite ships, the Discovery of Voyages of Discovery. The ship holds only 650 guests, allowing for a club-like atmosphere aboard. It is a British ship expertly crewed by British officers and a top Filipino service staff. The Discovery was formerly the Island Princess of "Love Boat" fame and it retains its classic charm. Recently it was extensively refurbished and it feels almost new.

Our itinerary is a flight from Phoenix to London June 18, with arrival the following morning. We will be transferred to our hotel, with the rest of the day at leisure. Included will be London City sightseeing the next day -- then on June 21, we transfer to the port of Harwich to embark on the Discovery.

The cruise takes us first to Copenhagen, Denmark with a full day to enjoy some sightseeing, either on an escorted tour or on your own. Then, it's on to Stockholm, Sweden for another exciting day. The next day we spend in Tallinn, Estonia to enjoy this most picturesque city that is great for just strolling the streets, enjoying the shops, centuries' old buildings, small eateries, etc.

On June 27, the ship arrives in St. Petersburg, Russia and here we have three days to explore one of Europe's most cultural cities. We use the ship as our hotel. Peter the Great founded this grand city in 1703.

Now Russia's second-largest metropolis, you can join exciting sightseeing tours or roam around on your own. You'll be sure to visit the famous Hermitage which houses one of the world's finest collections of nearly three million artworks. You might even take in a performance of ballet while you are there.

From Russia, we cruise on to Gdynia, Poland for a short tour experience and then on to Warnemunde, Germany, where an optional two-hour train ride will take us into Berlin, the cultural capital of Europe for a day. Then, we cruise through the Kiel Canal on our way back to England, where we dock, disembark and are transferred to the London airport for the flight return to Phoenix.

The trip is 16 nights in duration and arrives back in Arizona July 4. It would be fun to have you with us and others from Payson. We'll also have a cocktail party at sea during our voyage. For more information, a free brochure fully describing the trip with rate schedules, please contact Great American Travel at 1-800-929-8638 and ask for Alice Young.

Just a few days ago, I came across a 21-night cruise from Genoa, Italy to Durban, South Africa. This is a vacation for the well traveled who might be looking for something quite different. MSC Italian Cruises offers a special repositioning cruise on their Melody. It begins Oct. 28 from Genoa, Italy and cruises to Durban, South Africa via Egypt, Jordan, the Seychelles, Mauritius and Reunion. This leisure-paced cruise ship has amenities such as two heated pools and whirlpools, a nightclub and casino, 4 bars, 2 lounges, a beauty shop, a gym and sauna and cinema. There are elevators and a hospital. The cabins are very nice with all the amenities one would expect on a first-class cruise ship.

The Melody has a capacity of only 1,000 passengers and you will enjoy the Italian ambience and warmth and casualness of the cruise. The price is right, with fares beginning, for an ocean-view room, at $1,636 per person. An outside single guarantee is only $2,324. Of course you have to get yourself to Genoa and return to Arizona by air, which is not included.

For additional information and reservations call Joycene at Freighter World Cruises (this ship is not a freighter) at 1-800-531-7774.

Whatever you do for your summer vacation, may it be exciting with some rest thrown in -- and take some good pictures so the rest of us can envy you.

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