Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's Like a Sandwich! Seabourn Spirit - New Ports for 2009

It is not the bread that usually distinguishes or defines a a sandwich. Tuna or cheese, roast beef or chicken salad; you don't usually mention the bread. It is not that the bread is unimportant, but it is just not as important for most. "Tuna on rye" or "Chicken salad on a hard roll"; never the other way around. Without the bread you don't have a sandwich and with the bread (save white bread) you add flavor and texture...but it is not the meat of the meal.

It is not so different for cruise itineraries. Figuring out new ports for a cruise ship is not easy because there are only so many ports that can be used to provision a ship and, at the same time, efficiently and quickly gather passengers from a close by airport (oh, yes, and also fly out "those other people" who have been using "your" ship...disembarking guests.)

So when you see Athens-Istanbul or Venice-Rome or Barcelona-Nice don't assume because you see the "bread" of the itinerary that you know what the "meat" is. You just might be missing a truly outstanding and innovative feast as you declare "Been There. Done That!"

And please do not make the mistake of saying, "I've been to Italy before." I live in Colts Neck, New Jersey. I live in horse country, am 10 minutes from beautiful lakes, 15 minutes from the ocean and 45 minute from New York City. Oh, and a Six Flags is 30 minutes away. I would never think that visiting my home is the same as visiting New York City or would give you the flavor of the Jersey Shore. These are not subtle differences, but rather far more unique than related. Italy, Croatia, Spain, France, etc. are all very similar in that regard. To a true traveler, it is pretty hard to say "Been There. Done That."

Now, let's take a look at the the Seabourn Spirit's 2009 itineraries. Borrowing from a Seabourn release I offer to you the following:

In 2009, the Seabourn Spirit will inaugurate three (3) new week-long itineraries sailing from Civitavecchia and Venice to some of the most unusual and desirable destinations on the Dalmatian and Apulian coasts of the Adriatic. The itineraries may be combined without repeating ports.

The Dalmatian Coast is a veritable filigree of islands large and small, most harboring medieval towns as picturesque as they are friendly. Some, like Rovinj, Croatia, are joined to the mainland by causeways. They share the red-tiled roofs and candy-colored facades that have enchanted visitors to Dubrovnik, but the ones Seabourn Spirit is visiting are less crowded. Most have some claim to fame, such as ornate Austrian villas at Split and a Roman theater at Trieste, but the real attraction is the scenic beauty, the clear waters, forested peaks and the friendly people. Rovinj, Hvar, Kotor and Korcula and Koper all are places you will never forget once you’ve seen them. All offer chances to bike, kayak or explore on foot, and all three itineraries offer a Marina day at Triluke Bay, Croatia or in Italy’s Gulf of Squillace.

Situated on the heel of Italy’s boot, Apulia is “Italy as it used to be.” A latecomer to tourism, Apulia has been happily supplying wine (10 percent of what’s consumed in Europe is grown there), olive oil, almonds and other foodstuffs. Now small luxury inns are springing up among the rustic towns. Apulia’s landscape looks different from the rest of Italy, slightly Oriental with intensely local customs and unique, round stone-roofed houses called trulli.

So, is Seabourn is offering up the same old thing? Rome and Venice is the bread (tasty in their own rights), but the stuff in between seems like a wonderful buffet of new experiences.