Posted on Friday, April 20, 2012
Posted on Thursday, March 08, 2012
Thinking about taking an escorted tour? Here is a glossary of some common terms used in our itineraries:
Visit - Your coach will stop and you'll get to visit a specific site.
View - A brief stop and an opportunity to take photos.
See - Your Insight coach will drive by the site so that you can see it.
Sightseeing tour - A local city guide will accompany you on a tour of a city or site.
Orientation tour - Places of interest are pointed out, allowing you to go and explore them on your own.
'Why not see' or 'perhaps enjoy' - These phrases refer to optional excursions not included in the tour package, but are available for an additional fee.
Time to explore and discover - Free time on your own.
A day to relax - No planned activities; time for optional excursions or other independent activities.
Our tour specialists are always available to help you understand what is included on a tour vacation, so that you can plan how much money to budget on your European vacation.
Posted on Saturday, January 07, 2012
One of our favorite parts of vacation planning is helping Hawaii-bound travelers answer that age-old question, “Where should we eat?” Frankly, just talking about dining in the islands is enough to make our mouth water. From modest plate lunches to luau, barefoot cafes to five-star elegance, three meals a day is hardly enough to enjoy the abundant pleasures of dining Hawaii-style.
Keep an eye out for “local grinds” (island comfort foods) and “Hawaii Regional Cuisine” (a culinary movement that inventively blends Hawaii’s diverse ethnic flavors with the cuisines of the world) for some of the most delicious meals among our recommendations.
An island-by-island overview of a few of our current favorites:
There are a number of chefs whose names have come to symbolize the finest in island dining – Alan Wong, Chef Mavro and Nobu. Though Alan Wong’s Restaurant, Honolulu, has been open for 15 years, the Hawaii Regional Cuisine (HRC) flavors that flow from Wong’s kitchen continue to be among the world’s most delectable. James Beard Award winner George Mavrothalassitis presides over Chef Mavro Restaurant, Honolulu, where his exquisite dishes are sourced from the harvest of dozens of local boutique farmers and specialty fishermen. The influence of Japanese fare on the Hawaiian table is nowhere more spectacularly realized than at Nobu Waikiki, at the Waikiki Parc Hotel. These are restaurants both elegant and intimate, with food that is truly memorable.
One of Oahu’s signature experiences is the Waikiki Starlight Luau at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Dine under the stars on traditional island fare, such as kalua pig while you’re entertained by the island’s most accomplished dancers and musicians.
For a special treat as you’re driving around Oahu, be sure to sample the fresh offerings of the famous North Shore shrimp trucks. And take a shave ice break and cool your palate with crushed ice flavored with sweet, brightly colored syrup. Other must-try local grinds: malasada (a Portuguese hole-less donut) and laulau (a steamed fish and pork wrap), and, in Chinatown, try a manapua (meat-filled bun also known as bao).
The Big Island
Another of the names behind HRC, Peter Merriman’s culinary genius can be sampled at Merriman’s Waimea, known for the freshest ingredients and the nightly specials, including opakapaka (local Hawaiian pink snapper) served with a sauce of Tropical Apricot. Another influential name in Hawaiian dining, Roy Yamaguchi, now presides over 31 locations worldwide, including Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill, with signature items such as Braised & Charbroiled Garlic Mustard Shortribs, Grilled Chili Pepper Island Ahi and unforgettable Chocolate Soufflé. Named the best restaurant on Hawaii Island by the 2011 Zagat Survey, Pahu i`a at the Four Seasons Resort is known for treats such as sushi, Dungeness Crab Won Tons and Wild Boar.
For a true Big Island experience, the Sunset Luau at the Waikoloa Beach Marriott lavishes guests with the sights, sounds and flavors of Polynesian tradition. A favorite hangout is the Hilo Farmer’s Market, open Wednesdays and Sundays, where some 200 local farmers and craftspeople sell their produce, crafts, gift items and tropical flowers. While you’re in Hilo, stop by Cafe 100, the originators of loco moco (hamburger patty over rice, topped with eggs and gravy) or Kuhio Grill for laulau.
Located among the pineapple fields of Upcountry Maui, Haliimaile General Store is popular among locals and visitors for its tasty and varied menu, from Crab Pizza to Grilled Rack of Lamb. Mala Ocean Tavern, at the water’s edge in Lahaina, offers small plates, prepared with mostly organic ingredients and loads of flavor. If you’re a fan of Fleetwood Mac, get in line for Mick Fleetwood’s latest venture, Fleetwood’s on Front Street, opening soon in Lahaina.
For under-the-stars dining, nothing beats the Old Lahaina Luau, where you’ll get to sample local grinds such as lomilomi salmon (raw, salted salmon with diced tomatoes and sweet onions) and the coconut pudding known as haupia. Yum! On your island circuit, hang out with the locals at Mama’s Fish House on the north shore, where they’ve been serving fresh fish in old Polynesian style since 1973.
On the Garden Isle of Kauai, Merriman’s Fish House Poipu offers plantation-style comfort, a luscious HRC menu, terrific views and an impressive wine cellar. Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill presents Roy’s delectable fare in a casual open-air setting in Poipu Shopping Village. For the freshest beef, pork, rabbit and fish from Kauai ranchers and fishers and locally-sourced vegetables, nothing beats 22 North, where the menu combines these ingredients with the eclectic influence of international cuisine.
Luau Kalamaku, on Kilohana Plantation, includes all the traditional treats as well as regional arts and crafts, and, if desired, a train ride through the 105-acre historic plantation. Say hello to the locals and have pupu (appetizers) during Aloha Happy Hour at Duke’s on the sand at the Kauai Marriott, Kalapaki Beach.
Hawaii tours 2012
Posted on Saturday, September 03, 2011
Hawaii is an incredible collection of isolated tropical islands in the very center of the Pacific Ocean. A place of unique and wondrous beauty, often called Paradise on Earth. With its perfect climate, flourishing green forests, endless sandy beaches and deep turquoise waters, it is one of the most strunning locations in the world.
Imagine swimming in the sapphire blue lagoons, or relaxing under the palm trees swaying in the gentle breeze. Explore the rainforest, admire the cascading waterfalls and see the amazing and colorful wildlife. Tour the landscapes of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Relax at your beachfront hotel admiring the shimmering sunset. The welcoming smiles of the local people and the warm friendliness of the Aloha Spirit await you.
Start planning a Hawaii tour.
Posted on Friday, May 06, 2011
Crystal Cruises added 2 golf themed Hawaii cruises for December 21st and January 4th, 2012. The round-trip-LA Crystal Symphony voyage joins two other golf-themed cruises already scheduled on Crystal Serenity in 2011: 7/22-8/2 in Britain and 11/27-12/8 in Portugal/Spain. Legendary pro golfer Billy Casper will headline all three.
On each cruise guests will can participate in informal lectures by Casper and other athletic stars such as sportscaster Jim Huber. Of course there is also lots of time for golf.
Crystal provides transportation, caddies, warm-up time, lunch, '19th hole' get-togethers, TaylorMade club rentals or cleaning of your clubs and shoes, team-pairing, parties, awards, and private clinics with PGA instructors like John Clark and Bill Stutzer.
Two-for-One fares start at $5,470/person, and include free air from two-dozen North American cities (or air credit), up to $1000/person "As You Wish" spending credits, and additional savings for family/friend groups, early payment, or new-to-Crystal travelers.
Crystal Cruises' Feng Shui spa and gym, personal trainers, nutrition and exercise classes, exclusive workout equipment, and dietary choices offer guests extensive opportunities to enhance their health and fitness regimes on every sailing.