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Jan/Feb 2012 Issue

Discerning travelers enjoy cruises

For travelers who expect more out of a vacation, such as non-typical destinations, gourmet food and wine, and more, cruising offers wonderful options.

Two travel writers offer a snapshot of their uncommon experiences on two of AAA’s preferred cruise lines, Celebrity Cruises and Uniworld Boutique River Cruises.

Karen Eakins, features editor of AAA’s Home & Away magazine based in Omaha, Neb., last summer wrote about an eastern Caribbean cruise she experienced on Celebrity Cruise Line’s Equinox. In addition to five enchanting islands, the four days at sea allowed Eakins to sample amenities that make Celebrity popular with its many frequent guests.

“The number of Equinox cruisers aboard purely for the ship was surprising,” Eakins said, “but after my time on a Solstice-class ship, it was clear why Celebrity ranks as so many people’s favorite. Equinox, and its siblings, quite simply, boast features and activities no other line has.”

Eakins enjoyed activities at The Lawn Club, glass-blowing demonstrations, various guest speakers and language classes. Dining and service were “excellent,” she said, and recommends guests try at least one of the premium restaurants– Silk Harvest, Tuscan Grille or Murano.

Darcy Grimes, travel manager for AAA Carolinas, last fall filed a story about Uniworld Boutique River Cruises. She cruised the Burgundy and Provence itinerary onboard the River Royale.

Uniworld small ships and the waived single supplement are great for people traveling solo, Grimes said. Friends are quickly made, and the ships blend elegance with comfort, creating a floating boutique hotel for guests.

“There is a family type of feeling onboard that is hard to explain,” Grimes said. She gave an example. While walking through Avignon after exploring a few of its shops, she heard her name called out from across the street.

“It was John and Karen, passengers from Lafayette, La., whom I had met on the sun deck earlier in the week. Here they were shouting across the busy street wanting to know what I bought. It was lovely to feel that comfortable and familiar with people I had only known for a few days, and the credit goes entirely to Uniworld and the environment created on their ships.”

The end of the cruise was bittersweet as she said goodbye to the ship and new friends.

“Uniworld and France both exceeded my expectations and provided me with cherished memories,” Grimes said.

A cruise vacation really can be for anyone who loves to travel.

If you’ve thought about a cruise for a vacation, make plans to attend AAA Travel offices for Cruise Week, Jan. 16–21. Visit or contact a AAA Travel office near you for information

uniworld Lyon

Uniworld Boutique River Cruises photo



Israel opens Gospel Trail

Israel Minister of Tourism Stas Misezhnikov officially opened the Gospel Trail on Dec. 2, 2011, marking the completion of a three-year development project. The 63-kilometer (39-mile) long trail traces the path of Jesus after he left Nazareth at the age of 30. Beginning at Mount Precipice outside of Nazareth, it runs east past many major sites in Jesus’ life–including the Mount of Beatitudes, Magdala and Tabgha–all the way to Capernaum. From Capernaum, travelers can continue their spiritual journey on to the Sea of Galilee where a dock along the shoreline has been constructed to accommodate those seeking to pray or take in the inspirational solitude.

It will be possible for pilgrims to traverse the trail by car, bike, or on foot. The Israel Ministry of Tourism is encouraging private entrepreneurs to develop facilities along the route in order to provide services to tourists, particularly for those walking the trail.

Visit for more information.



Hollywood to be wild about Harry

Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts recently announced plans to bring the popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter attraction to Universal Studios Hollywood. Dates for an opening were not released. The one-year anniversary of Harry Potter in Orlando was celebrated in June 2011.

(c) Universal

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