Dream Big

june-elaine-chairTRAVEL DREAMS: Anyone with a passport has them. Whether we call it a bucket list, wish list, or 1,000 places to see before we die, we all keep a mental check list of where we want to go next.

And that’s what our Travel Dreams Survey is about. For the seventh year in a row, we asked you to tell us which destinations, cruise itineraries, and travel experiences top your list. From islands to cities, family vacations to romantic getaways, and the like, the results are a road map of inspiration.

june-cover-200x242 Nearly 8,000 of you took the survey, and you didn’t just tell us where you want to go; you also identified your travel personality. The survey listed five traveler types – the Trendsetter, the Classic Traveler, the Relaxationist, the Go-Getter, and the Connoisseur – and respondents selected the one that best described them. Studying the results, it’s fascinating – though not surprising – to see how where you want to go and what you want to do varies by personality. For example, island destinations and spa retreats rank high on the Relaxationists’ lists; gourmet pursuits emerge on the Connoisseurs’ lists. You’re all united in globe-trotting: Almost 98 percent of you plan to travel (or have traveled) at least once this year, and 95 percent hold a current passport – remarkable, considering that just over a third of U.S. residents have one (which is still a whopping number). Find the complete survey results on page 74.

Thanks to all of you who participated, and congratulations to our winners. Bill Emerson (a Go-Getter featured on page 81) won the grand-prize Baltic sailing for two on Crystal Cruises, and five others won $1,000 cash: Ritam Bhalla, Hayden Gallary, and Sarann Kraushaar (all Connoisseurs); Joseph Tancredi (a Trendsetter); and Lind York (a Go-Getter).

Click here to read the latest edition of Virtuoso Life.

Safe travels this summer!

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june_cover_200x200THE MAKING OF AN ISSUE
The Stories behind the scenes.
june-drinks-100x133For this issue, we dispatched writers to eight destinations and one inaugural cruise; conducted nine photo shoots; solicited a dozen tips from Virtuoso advisors; rounded up 14 products; and mixed up at least two batches of cocktails – pictured right – (all in the name of reporting). The cover photo alone, shot on location at the Palacio Duhau-Park Hyatt in Buenos Aires, required a seeming cast of thousands: tango dancers and their manager, horses and their handlers, polo players and their manager – along with the requisite boots, helmets, and mallets – plus a model, stylist, hair and makeup artists, assistants, an art director, editor, and numerous, incredibly helpful hotel staff. Considering the mayhem that might have ensued with so many on set – including two live and very valuable 1,000-pound animals – we got the shot (relatively) stress-free.

 

December Virtuoso Insights – Europe + Urban Escapes

From Europe’s premier ports to New York, December Virtuoso Insights is filled with remarkable places to explore. Discover next season’s most popular European ports of call, from Venice to Istanbul, Monte Carlo, and more. Or, if you’re searching for a South American getaway, look no further than Buenos Aires, where each barrio has its own distinctive vibe. And, if family fun is on your agenda, bundle up the kids and head to New York where they can give their regards to Broadway, behind the scenes, or play it up at FAO Schwarz, before the store opens! Whatever your interests, wherever your journey takes you, your Virtuoso travel advisor has the insider tips to make your trip exclusive and memorable for the whole family.

Small Bite of the Big Apple – Page 18, Getting to New York City’s core with kids. There’s nothing quite like seeing the “Big Apple” through a child’s eye – and no one gets to the city’s core quite like Virtuoso’s travel advisors!

Barrio Hopping in Buenos Aires – Page 28, Stepping out in South America’s sexiest city. Stylish, spirited, and way-past-your-bedtime-sexy, Argentina’s colorful capital is a city of superlatives.

Europe Ship & Shore – Page 38, Exploring the Continent’s premier ports of call. We’ve compiled some of next season’s most popular overnight calls, along with our favorite ways to explore them.

And, you won’t want to miss, The Virtuoso Traveler – Page 4, – For experiences that run deep, Lima’s Luis Humberto Zazzali taps into his travel advisor’s expertise.

All of these trips and more can be hand-tailored to suit your needs with the help of a Virtuoso travel advisor. Don’t have a travel advisor? Click here to find one.

Find Enriching Journeys in Virtuoso Life

Beckoning to you from China, India, Buenos Aires and more, you’ll realize your true travel potential with one of these Enriching Journeys. Take a trip down the Yangtze River in China, discover four cities with distinctly different personalities in India, and find the latest fashions (and footwork) in Buenos Aires. If you desire inspirational travel, this is the issue for you!

FEATURES INCLUDE:

The New China: Page 82 – A trip up the Yangtze River reveals the superpower’s intrigue, from breakneck development to ancient treasures and natural wonders.

Subcontinent Sampler: Page 92 – An essential guide to four cities in India, each with personality to spare.

Tokyo Today: Page 102 – A new day dawns in the land of the rising sun.

Stepping Out: Page 108 – Fashion, food, and fancy footwork – winter’s the perfect time to make moves for Buenos Aires.

Also, you won’t want to miss – The Virtuoso Traveler on page 54 – Frank and Gerry Victor trip the light fantastic to their Virtuoso travel advisor’s score.

All of these trips and more can be hand-tailored to suit your needs with the help of a Virtuoso travel advisor. Don’t have a travel advisor? Click here to find one.

Exclusive Cruise Program Provides Distinctive Experiences

Pioneer Enhanced-Experience Luxury Cruise Program Celebrates 20 Years with Slate of 20 Special Sailings

In a post-recession economy, even the affluent are looking for value.  But, according to Virtuoso®, leading retailer for luxury travel, value for affluent travelers is determined by the experiences received.  Virtuoso Voyager Club, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, has sustained its allure with affluent travelers by adding authentic local experiences to regular cruise departures.

“To have staying power, you need to offer something unique in the luxury travel market,” said Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso CEO.  “Virtuoso Voyager Club was the first to give passengers one-of-a-kind events at cultural landmarks, a professional on-board host, and a private shipboard reception to establish a sense of camaraderie.”

“We are absolutely enthusiastic about Virtuoso.  It is absolutely fantastic.   All the excursions they organized are perfect and have a ‘plus,’” said passengers Claude Laurent and Danielle Magnolato-Trosset.  The two sailed recently on board the Seabourn Odyssey.  “We were invited to a visit of the Maori Museum in Auckland with a private guide and had an outstanding lunch in a boutique hotel called Mollie’s, classified as Relais and Chateaux, which is top level in Europe. During the lunch, the owner of the hotel was playing piano with young opera singers. It was GREAT.”

These types of experiences have been the hallmarks of Virtuoso Voyager Club since it became the industry’s first enhanced-experience luxury cruise program in 1990.  In that year, Virtuoso hosted 15 sailings.  Twenty years later, the program has grown to 424 departures.  Demonstrating investment even in uncertain economic times, the number of Voyager Club sailings has increased 30 percent from 2009.  A full 91 percent of Voyager Club passengers say that the presence of Voyager Club on a departure is instrumental in their cruise choice.

To celebrate the program’s 20 years of passenger camaraderie, Virtuoso has created 20 special shore events aboard 20 sailings.  Highlights of the unique Voyager Club 20/20 sailings include a tango night at a historic Buenos Aires club, dinner at an iconic hotel in Bangkok, a discovery tour of Dutch culinary specialties in Amsterdam, and a private event at a former U.S. ambassador’s residence in Vietnam.

“We have stayed true to our mission for Voyager Club for two decades,” said David Powers, Virtuoso Voyager Club director.  “We provide a more welcoming and exclusive experience that adds to cruise and travel enjoyment. Today’s program continues to innovate according to passenger desires.  Voyager Club members have enviable options to personalize their experience, as they can choose among hosted shore experiences, vouchers for customized experiences and shipboard credits.”

The Virtuoso Voyager Club 20/20 sailings, dates and event locations are as follows:

Cruise Line Ship Sailing date Event Port
Crystal Crystal Serenity 26-Jan-10 Buenos Aires, Argentina – completed
Regent Seven Seas Voyager 25-Feb-10 Manila, Philippines – completed
Silversea Silver Whisper 4-Mar-10 Bangkok, Thailand – completed
Silversea Silver Shadow 5-Mar-10 Acapulco, Mexico – completed
Crystal Crystal Symphony 11-Apr-10 Bali, Indonesia – completed
Regent Seven Seas Navigator 6-May-10 Acapulco, Mexico
Silversea Silver Wind 25-May-10 Valletta, Malta
Silversea Silver Spirit 12-Jun-10 Kusadasi, Turkey
Seabourn Seabourn Odyssey 12-Jun-10 Bodrum, Turkey
Seabourn Seabourn Odyssey 17-Jul-10 Yalta, Ukraine
Regent Seven Seas Mariner 21-Jul-10 Katakalon, Greece
Crystal Crystal Serenity 31-Jul-10 Kusadasi, Turkey
Crystal Crystal Symphony 25-Aug-10 Belfast, Northern Ireland
Seabourn Seabourn Odyssey 28-Aug-10 Bodrum, Turkey
Regent Seven Seas Navigator 15-Sep-10 Yokohama, Japan
Seabourn Seabourn Sojourn 15-Sep-10 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Regent Seven Seas Mariner 22-Sep-10 Kusadasi, Turkey
Silversea Silver Shadow 25-Oct-10 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Crystal Crystal Serenity 31-Oct-10 Valencia, Spain
Seabourn Seabourn Pride 6-Dec-10 Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

These as well as other Voyager Club sailings are available exclusively to those who book through a Virtuoso member advisor.  For reservations or information about Voyager Club, find a Virtuoso advisor by calling +1 (866) 401-7974 or visiting www.virtuoso.com.

A Tango Story

by Virtuoso Preferred On-Site in Argentina – Mai 10

The event: Virtuoso Voyager Club 20th Anniversary Gala Dinner.

The time: dusk on a perfect summer evening.

The place: Buenos Aires’ first tango club, El Viejo Almacén.  The story begins…

As Virtuoso Voyager Club guests of the Crystal Cruises World Cruise 2010 stepped off their motorcoach, they stepped into Buenos Aires of the 1920’s, the era when tango had reached its zenith.  The sights and sounds of life on the old street quickly drew the guests into the magical setting.

The flower girl, the paperboy, the patrolman and the old man were there.  So, too, were the beautiful young women who vied for the attention of young men sporting finely tailored suits.  A solitary couple danced in the street as a young musician played a melancholy tango.  Nearby Voyager Club guests looked on as they enjoyed cocktails and appetizers.

Guests were soon invited inside the historic tango club for a private meal of the finest Argentinean cuisine and wine.  The club was quaint and dark, the perfect backdrop for a stunning tango show.  One after another, couples came to the stage, held each other close, and performed the exquisite steps of the tango.  The passion of their music and the intensity of their dance captured the hearts of the audience.  Time stood still.  The enchantment was complete.

Abuzz with excited conversation about the evening’s events, Virtuoso Voyager Club guests returned to the Crystal Serenity.   It was the end of their tango story.  It was also the beginning of a new adventure at sea as the Serenity departed at midnight with a new heading – Cape Town.

These and other experiences are being captured in a blog by Jesse Upchurch, Chairmain of Virtuoso, Ltd. and honorary host of this historic world cruise. Read Jesse’s blog here.

http://www.virtuoso.com/whychoosevirtuoso/voyagerclubandexplorer/