Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Seabourn Odyssey World Cruise Set Sail Today!

Seabourn Cruise Line's Seabourn Odyssey starts its 108 day maiden world cruise visiting 42 ports between Ft. Lauderdale and Athens in a voyage of 108 days from January 5 to April 24, 2010.

All Full World Odyssey guests stayed at overnight and attended a gala Bon Voyage Ball at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Fort Lauderdale the night before departing today. Here is the full itinerary - with color-coded special events (see below for details of each):

January 2010
5 Tuesday FORT LAUDERDALE, FLORIDA 07:00 AM - 05:00 PM D
6 Wednesday AT SEA
7 Thursday AT SEA
8 Friday CARTAGENA, COLOMBIA 01:00 PM - 06:00 PM D (All World Cruise Guests)
9 Saturday AT SEA
10 Sunday AT SEA
11 Monday AT SEA
12 Tuesday PUERTO CALDERA, COSTA RICA 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D (Ensemble Travel Exclusive)
13 Wednesday AT SEA
14 Thursday PUERTO QUETZAL, GUATEMALA 06:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
15 Friday AT SEA
16 Saturday ACAPULCO, MEXICO 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM D
17 Sunday AT SEA
18 Monday CABO SAN LUCAS, MEXICO 10:00 AM - 07:00 PM A (Full World Cruise Exclusive)
19 Tuesday AT SEA
20 Wednesday AT SEA
21 Thursday LOS ANGELES, CA, USA 07:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
22 Friday AT SEA
23 Saturday AT SEA
24 Sunday AT SEA
25 Monday AT SEA
26 Tuesday AT SEA
27 Wednesday NAWILIWILI, KAUAI, HI, USA 09:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
28 Thursday HONOLULU, HI, USA 08:00 AM - 11:00 PM D
29 Friday LAHAINA, MAUI, HI, USA 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM A
30 Saturday AT SEA
31 Sunday AT SEA
February 2010
1 Monday AT SEA
2 Tuesday CHRISTMAS ISLAND, KIRIBATI 08:00 AM - 01:00 PM A
3 Wednesday AT SEA
4 Thursday AT SEA
5 Friday PAPEETE, TAHITI, FR. POLYNESIA Arrive: 02:00 PM D
6 Saturday PAPEETE, TAHITI, FR. POLYNESIA Depart: 06:00 PM D
7 Sunday BORA BORA, FRENCH POLYNESIA 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM A
8 Monday AT SEA
9 Tuesday RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM A
10 Wednesday AT SEA
11 Thursday AT SEA
12 Friday DATE LINE GOING WEST
13 Saturday AT SEA
14 Sunday RUSSELL, BAY OF ISLANDS, N.Z. 01:00 PM - 06:00 PM A
15 Monday AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM D
16 Tuesday AT SEA
17 Wednesday LYTTLETON, NEW ZEALAND 09:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
18 Thursday WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
19 Friday AT SEA
20 Saturday AT SEA
21 Sunday AT SEA
22 Monday MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
23 Tuesday AT SEA
24 Wednesday SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA 08:00 AM - 09:00 PM D
25 Thursday SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA Depart: 10:00 PM D
26 Friday AT SEA
27 Saturday AT SEA
28 Sunday AT SEA
March 2010
1 Monday CAIRNS, AUSTRALIA 09:30 AM - 05:00 PM D
2 Tuesday AT SEA
3 Wednesday AT SEA
4 Thursday DARWIN, AUSTRALIA 01:00 PM - 06:00 PM D
5 Friday AT SEA
6 Saturday AT SEA
7 Sunday PADANG BAY, BALI, INDONESIA 07:00 AM - 10:00 PM A
8 Monday AT SEA
9 Tuesday AT SEA
10 Wednesday AT SEA -
11 Thursday MUARA, BRUNEI 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
12 Friday KOTA KINABALU, MALAYSIA 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
13 Saturday AT SEA
14 Sunday AT SEA
15 Monday HONG KONG, CHINA Arrive: 08:00 AM
16 Tuesday HONG KONG, CHINA Depart: 06:00 PM D
17 Wednesday AT SEA
18 Thursday DA NANG, VIETNAM 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
19 Friday AT SEA
20 Saturday HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM Arrive: 10:00 AM D
21 Sunday HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM Depart: 03:00 PM D
22 Monday AT SEA
23 Tuesday LAEM CHABANG, THAILAND Arrive: 08:00 AM D
24 Wednesday LAEM CHABANG, THAILAND Depart: 06:00 PM D
25 Thursday SIHANOUKVILLE, CAMBODIA 09:00 AM - 07:00 PM D
26 Friday AT SEA
27 Saturday SINGAPORE 09:00 AM - 10:00 PM D
28 Sunday AT SEA
29 Monday PHUKET ISLAND, THAILAND 08:00 AM - 05:00 PM D
30 Tuesday AT SEA
31 Wednesday AT SEA
April 2010
1 Thursday AT SEA -
2 Friday COCHIN, INDIA 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
3 Saturday AT SEA -
4 Sunday MUMBAI (BOMBAY), INDIA 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
5 Monday AT SEA
6 Tuesday AT SEA
7 Wednesday DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Arrive: 01:00 PM D
8 Thursday DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Depart: 06:00 PM D
9 Friday AT SEA
10 Saturday AT SEA
11 Sunday SALALAH, OMAN 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
12 Monday AT SEA
13 Tuesday AT SEA
14 Wednesday AT SEA
15 Thursday AT SEA
16 Friday SAFAGA (LUXOR), EGYPT Arrive: 08:00 AM D
17 Saturday SAFAGA (LUXOR), EGYPT Depart: 06:00 PM D
18 Sunday AQABA, JORDAN 07:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
19 Monday SHARM EL SHEIKH, EGYPT 06:00 AM - 05:00 PM D
20 Tuesday SOKHNA (CAIRO), EGYPT 07:00 AM - 08:00 PM D
21 Wednesday AT SEA
22 Thursday HAIFA, ISRAEL 06:00 AM - 06:00 PM D
23 Friday AT SEA
24 Saturday PIRAEUS (ATHENS), GREECE 08:00 AM - 06:00 PM D

Then there will be five complimentary events reserved solely for guests who book the full world cruise. Those guests embarking in Los Angeles for 92 days will enjoy four of them. An additional seven ports will feature complimentary Exclusively Seabourn shoreside experiences to which all guests on board will be invited, regardless of the length of their voyages.

• The full world cruise events begin on January 18, 2010, with a spectacular catamaran cruise from tiny Cabo San Lucas, at the tip of Baja California, to seek some of the six species of whales which gather each year in the Sea of Cortez. Sailing on a comfortable catamaran, guests will pass the famed natural formation of Los Arcos, the secluded golden sands of Lover’s Beach, the resident colony of sea lions, and beyond. A naturalist guide will impart details of sea and land life, and answer questions as guests toast the starkly beautiful and biologically rich environment of the Baja Peninsula.

• On February 6, full world cruise guests will be greeted by the haunting tones of a conch-shell salute and fragrant tiare flower leis as they stroll a candlelit path into a tropical garden at Papeete, Tahiti. There, under a canopy of South Pacific stars, they will enjoy an evening of cocktails, lilting Tahitian music and a sumptuous feast capped by a rousing performance of traditional Polynesian song and dance.

• In Sydney, Australia on February 24, a private sunset dinner cruise of scenic Sydney Harbor will end alongside the city’s iconic Opera House, where guests will be escorted inside to enjoy the featured performance, before returning by the same boat to Seabourn Odyssey.

• Hong Kong will be the site of the next world cruise event on March 15. The waterside Aberdeen Marina Club will be transformed into a colorful Chinese bazaar with craftsmen’s booths, traditional fortune-tellers and calligraphers, a Chinese musical ensemble and a spectacular Lion Dance. In addition to a buffet of delectable Chinese specialties fit for an emperor, the kaleidoscopic evening will include exhibitions of Chinese Opera “face-changing,” kung fu martial arts and acrobatics.

• The dramatic climax of the world cruise exclusive events will unfold in a colorful setting on the island of Phuket on March 29. Greeted by a Thai long drum troupe, Seabourn guests will enter a Phuket Thai cultural village to be regaled by women in traditional Thai costumes, gaily decorated elephants, and exhibitions of classical Thai dance, traditional boxing, floral decorations and elaborate fruit and vegetable carving. There will be demonstrations of Thai cooking, puppet carving, rubber tapping, and even chances to ride in an ox-cart or atop a decorated elephant.

The Exclusively Seabourn experiences for all guests on board will include an afternoon tour of Cultural Cartagena in Colombia’s venerable Caribbean port city, A UNESCO World Heritage Site; a rousing re-creation of the classic “Aloha Boat Days” at Honolulu’s Royal Hawaiian Hotel; a Maori cultural discovery experience at Lyttelton (Christchurch), New Zealand; an introduction to the arts and cultures of Borneo’s 32 diverse ethnic groups at Kota Kinabalu; a visit to the spectacular Sanctuary of Truth at Pattaya, Thailand from Bangkok; a spellbinding evening at an oasis near Dubai; and a sortie from Sharm el Sheikh into a sheltered valley in the mountainous Sinai desert, for tea and traditional folkloric music and dance at a Bedouin encampment.

The Exclusive Ensemble Ensemble Experiences, complimentary for those World Cruise guests who have booked their cruise through Goldring Travel or other Ensemble Travel Group affilliated travel agencies are as follows:

PUERTO CALDERA, COSTA RICA: The Scarlet Sanctuary with Champagne Lunch - Experience some of Costa Rica’s most amazing scenery and wildlife. It’s just a short drive from the pier to the dock where you will board the boat that will take you on a journey through the mangrove forest. As you glide across the waters that coil through the verdant tropical rain forest, keep an eye out for the local residents flying in the treetops, swimming in the mangroves and scurrying along the rich, fertile earth. Long willowy branches drape to the surface of the water, and the canopy of green looming overhead allows the sun to peek through in dappled splendor. After your boat ride, your journey will continue aboard an air-conditioned motor coach as you drive through fields of sugarcane, a mainstay of the Costa Rican economy. You reach the highlight of your tour today, a sanctuary dedicated to the Scarlet Macaw. They are sure to announce your arrival. Be prepared to take lots of photos of these magnificent creatures. Their brilliant red plumage is stunning and during your guided tour, as the birds fly freely about, you are sure to get some fabulous pictures in their natural habitat. Then enjoy a light repast of fresh tropical fruits before going on to the Costa Rica Yacht Club for a delicious three-course lunch with champagne before heading back to the ship.

NAWILIWILI, KAUAI: Kauai Plantation Railway and Lunch at Gaylord’s Kilohana - Fascinating afternoon enjoying the lush beauty of Kauai, considered by many to be the perfect tropical island paradise. Your tour begins with a ride aboard the narrow-gauge Kauai Plantation Railway train. Pulled by “Ike,” the plantations 1939 diesel engine you will find yourself in another era with the clattering of the rails and sound of the train’s whistle. And the elegant mahogany coaches you will be riding in are modeled on the private coach of King Kamehameha. During your journey through the nearly 100 acres of the historic Kilohana Plantation your conductor will provide a narrated history of the island and the property as you pass orchards with over 50 varieties of exotic fruit trees including cherries, cashews, mangoes, star fruit, lychee, mountain apple and more. Admire the fields of pineapple, sugarcane, bananas, papayas and taro as well as stands of Native Hawaiian hardwood trees and myriad colorful tropical flowers. Then stop by the paddock to see the sheep, cattle, horses and Clydesdales. Your final stop today is at Gaylord’s restaurant at the Kilohana Plantation. The restaurant is named after Gaylord Parke Wilcox, who built this beautiful house in 1935 as part of a larger sugar plantation. Now a restaurant and art gallery on this working plantation, it is known for its exquisite cuisine and its historic plantation atmosphere. Relax and enjoy a private dessert with refreshments in the covered patio area before heading back to the ship.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: Auckland City Sights, School Visit and Lunch at Mc Hughs - Sprawled across the cones, hills, ridges and valleys of an old volcanic field and stretching literally from coast to coast, Aauckland and its far-flung suburbs are divided by two magnificent harbors and as a dramatic back drop, numerous extinct volcanic cones protrude from Auckland's landscape. New Zealand’s largest city, with a population of over one million it is often called the “City of Sails” since there is at least one boat for every four households! During your tour today you will see some of city’s most renowned historic, natural and architectural landmarks during this scenic introduction. Your first stop is Ponsonby School, a well established public primary school for children aged 5 – 10 years. Here the children will sing local and Maori songs and dances especially to welcome you to Auckland and there also will be time to mingle with them after their performance. Next you travel through the downtown area encompassing the America’s Cup Village and Westhaven Marina. Then travel through some of Auckland’s most affluent suburbs, featuring fantastic views of the harbor and islands before driving along the scenic waterfront to the colonial style village of Parnell, where Victorian buildings have been transformed into stylish boutiques and specialty shops. Visit the Botanical Gardens in the heart of the city with its ponds, statues, tropical glass houses, various flowers and a great variety of trees. Set within this idyllic retreat see the Auckland Museum, commemorating those of the province who served and died in the two world wars.stop on the summit of Mt. Eden, one of more than 60 dormant volcanoes in the greater Auckland area. A short walk will take you to an observation platform offering fantastic panoramic views of the city and its two harbors below. This vantage point also shows further evidence of Auckland’s volcanic history. Then travel to the west coast of Auckland through the wine districts and black sand beaches continuing to the North Shore. Enjoy a buffet lunch at McHugh’s restaurant located on Cheltenham Beach near the historic village of Devonport. Nestled on the foreshore of Cheltenham beach, the restaurant offers spectacular views of Rangitoto and the Waitemata Harbor. After a lunch in this delightful setting it will be time to return to the ship.

BALI, INDONESIA: Balinese Traditions, Seafood Dinner and Kecak Dance - This afternoon discover the beautiful, magical island of Bali, a paradise of ancient temples, dense jungles, terraced rice fields, quaint villages and roadside deities decorated with their daily offerings left by the Balinese who believe heaven and earth to be all one, right here. On your tour today you will experience the island’s unique blend of sights, culture and traditions as they unfold before you concluding with a wonderful Balinese seafood dinner and a performance of the exotic Kecak and Fire Dance. After landing at Padang Bai pier from the ship’s tender board your waiting air-conditioned motor coach and travel along the coastline with its many fishing villages, through the lush green countryside, past the beautifully manicured yellow and green rice terraces that Bali is so famous for as well as other crops like chilis, bananas and papayas. Savor these stunning landscapes on the way to the village of Tohpati where you will meet the owner/designer of a Batik Gallery and learn about the complex process of making Batik. While you are there enjoy some local refreshments. Continue to your destination, Kedonganan, as the sun begins to set, creating a uniquely colorful setting. This gorgeous spot, by Jimbaran Bay beach, is ideal for dinner and entertainment. Young ladies clad in traditional Balinese dress will invite you to relax and absorb the atmosphere as the chefs prepare to grill your dinner which will include deliciously fresh lobsters and prawns. After dinner watch a spellbinding performance of the Kecak and Fire Dance. On Bali, a Hindu island, dance is a very important part of the religion; accordingly Balinese dances are as varied and intricate as the deities they honor and religious tales they tell. Kecak is the most Balinese of dances – a ‘trance’ dance with no orchestra or gamelan to accompany it only a choir of up to 100 men who chant and dance and who act as mediums to convey the wishes of their deities and ancestors. Since the 1930’s the old Indian epic ‘Ramayana’ has been included in the dance drama and ritual that you will see this evening. After the performance rejoin your coach and return to the ship.

SINGAPORE: Singapore Discovery - Spend a delightful afternoon exploring the compact city center of Singapore, a fascinating blend of contrasts between old and new and east and west. Your tour begins with a drive through the old Colonial District for a view of Parliament House, the imposing City Hall and Supreme Court, both of which overlook the Padang to your first stop, the legendary Raffles Hotel. Named after the British founder of modern-day Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles, it is one of the world’s finest and most famous hotels. The high ceilings and colonial architecture reflect the era of British rule from 1819 to 1963. Years of tender, loving care have kept this landmark a must-see for all visitors to the city. Few however experience the legend as you will today when you lunch at Doc Cheng’s, a renowned restaurant. After lunch spend some time exploring the shops and quiet courtyards on your own. Then continue your tour with a sight-seeing drive through the city including Orchard Road, renowned for its Western-style department stores and couturier houses; then catch a glimpse of Singapore's multiculturalism during a visit to Little India, a fascinating area teeming with shop houses and colorful, flamboyant temples, before entering the Arab Quarter, where you will see a different side of Islam among the mosques and lifestyles of the people who live here. Next visit the world’s largest Observation Wheel and enjoy a 30 minute flight. While on board you will be able to take in the many different perspectives of Singapore’s dynamic landscape and as the Wheel turns, on a clear day, you can see as far as neighboring Malaysia and Indonesia. Standing at a height of 165m from the ground, the ‘Flyer’ offers you breathtaking, views of Marina Bay, the entire island city of Singapore, and beyond. Finally, admire the world’s largest fountain from the wheel as you pass by ‘Suntec City’ and the Fountain of Wealth. Designed on the principles of Feng Shui, this unique construction is highly regarded in Singapore for its wealth-giving properties. Then drive through Chinatown, which bustles with frenetic street merchants before returning to the pier and your ship.

SALALAH, OMAN: The Essence of Salalah, with Lunch - Discover some of many varied aspects of Oman today as you begin your tour with a drive through the small village of Taqah with its picturesque white beach and the Qara Mountains in the distance as you head east to the ruins of the old frankincense port city of Sumhumram. The ancient city dates back to 100 B.C. and the remains of what is known as Queen Sheba’s Palace stand on a small hill overlooking the beautiful bay at Khawr Rawri. It is said that the queen used to travel from Yemen to Dhofar (South Oman) for frankincense and that she that had the Palace built as a place for her to stay in during her visits and to store the frankincense before it was shipped back to Yemen. The remnants of a temple dedicated to the moon goddess and a 30m deep well lie within the palace ruins and can be viewed from the outside. During your visit you will stop to inspect the crumbling ancient storage areas. Then continue to Wadi Dirbat. As you make your way down into the wadi you will find it is home to an amazing variety of plants, trees and flowers. Surrounded by steep walls of rock it offers grazing and water for cattle and camels. Returning to the city you will make a photo-stop at the Summer Palace of HH Sultan Qaboos, Ruler of Oman, then walk to the renowned Frankincense Souk where the colorful stalls are heaped with mounds of frankincense, myrrh, incense, bottles of fragrant perfume oils and a large variety of fascinating artifacts bringing the essence of the Orient together. As you begin the journey back to the ship, you will stop at the Hilton Hotel where you will be greeted by men in traditional costumes who will welcome you with rosewater. Relax and enjoy a delicious 3-course set menu lunch as a small troupe of talented local dancers entertains you with sinuous dance movements and lively rhythms of local musicians. After lunch return to the pier with fond memories of Salalah.

In addition ot the complimentary shoreside events are part of a generous menu of benefits included for full world cruise guests, along with a complimentary pre-cruise Bon Voyage event and luxury overnight before departing, door-to-door private car transfers, roundtrip first-class airfare or air credit, Personal Valet luggage shipping service and shipboard credits of $2,000 per suite. There will also be special gala celebrations and gifts for guests on board during the voyage.

I will posting observations from Goldring Travel clients enjoying the Full World Cruise and Segments of it on The Gold Standard Forum. Stop by. Read what is happening and add your comments.