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Tuesday 31 Jan, 2006 

Travel Insider Christmas Markets Cruise

Good morning

I tentatively mentioned the possibility of arranging a Christmas Markets cruise for this December in Friday's newsletter.  Well, by last night, there were already eight people signed up for it, and so what was a possibility on Friday is now a definite, confirmed, guaranteed tour today.

Please consider joining us on this wonderful way of touring through Europe at a magical time of year.

After carefully evaluating the various cruises offered by several different cruise lines, one cruise clearly stands out as the best choice.  The bad news - it is already close to sold out, and would no longer accept new group bookings because the cruise operator wanted to have the few remaining cabins available to fill individual booking requests.

The good news - I persuaded them a Travel Insider group was not speculative but real, and they've agree to juggle their allocations and squeeze us onboard their 10 December sailing (this requires you to leave the US on or before Saturday 9 December).  They've given us, for a very short time, an allocation of ten cabins (their brand new boat, not even yet launched, only has 73 cabins, so Travel Insider readers will be well represented on board).

So, please consider joining eight other Travel Insider readers (and myself) on our 2006 Danube River Christmas Markets Cruise, traveling from Budapest to Nuremberg, with an optional extension on to Prague.  We'll be traveling on the newest and, I think, the best ship on the Danube, Amadeus Waterways' Amadagio, with huge 170 sq ft luxury cabins (and four suites), on a wonderful itinerary, visiting exciting cities such as Vienna as well as quaint small towns such as Melk (where the glorious Abbey, which we'll visit, dominates the Danube).

As a bonus from me, all Travel Insider group members get a free side trip to my favorite Austrian city, Salzburg.  Salzburg, where Sound of Music was set, is also Mozart's birthplace, and is celebrating the 250th anniversary of his birth this year.  Salzburg is a gorgeous town and has a lovely Christmas market too.

You can read more about the cruise, the inclusions, and the pricing (cabins starting from $1499 per person share twin) here.

Can I remind you of what I wrote when I returned from our Christmas Markets Cruise Tour in 2004, because it remains as applicable today as then - I said :

The Christmas Markets Cruise was a marvelous experience.  The cabin on board was larger than expected, the itinerary was full of interesting stops and sights, and the weather, although very cold, was otherwise fine with the only complaint being a lack of snow.  I've always been an advocate for avoiding peak seasons when touring, and while you might think that the start of winter is an extreme way to avoid the midsummer tourist crush, the added attraction of the lovely Christmas markets plus the wonderful lack of too many other tourists all made the shorter colder days a minimal tradeoff.

I am now a total convert to the concept of river boat cruising through Europe.  It is the ultimate in convenient and comfortable ways of traveling.  The massive luxury of not needing to pack and unpack every day, plus having all transportation taken care of, and having a reliable high quality environment for eating, relaxing and sleeping in, all combine to make river cruising the ultimate way to see much of Europe.

Eight readers have placed holds on six of the cabins already, but the other four remain available.  So give yourself an early Christmas present this year and come join us on what promises to be a marvelous experience through the heartland of Europe.

Let me know if I can answer any questions about this cruise.  Otherwise, please fill out the tour joining application at the bottom of the cruise information page and - assuming cabins remain - we'll be delighted to welcome you to our small group of travelers this December.

I look forward to meeting you in Budapest and sharing a wonderful cruise with you

Until Friday's regular newsletter, please enjoy safe travels

              David M Rowell aka The Travel Insider

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