Welcome to "Travels With the Diva", a newsletter for women who love to travel!

In this issue, I'll tell you about a couple of great river cruises with special themes - food and wine, music, and even photography.

And I'll show you a couple of videos poking fun at the airline industry!

I'll also tell you a little bit about TripDiva Travel, and give you a chance to participate in the website by adding your travel stories or trip reviews.

Travel News and Updates

More Bad News for Air Travelers

I don't really know where to begin....

The cuts in service and rises in fees continues to plague air travelers. Paying by the pound?!?!?! Some airlines are now charging $50 for a standby ticket, and charges for every bag checked are now common.

So I thought I'd stop complaining for a few minutes and give you something to laugh about instead....

Here is a clip from MadTV, poking fun at the airlines (Fall, 2007)

And to remind you that service cuts are nothing new, here's a clip from the Carol Burnett Show, circa the 1970's

Theme Cruises

River Cruising is a great way to see Europe, and there are small ship cruises in North America that also give you a new perspective on the sites America has to offer.

Food and Wine Cruises

All river cruises take great pains to provide a wide variety of cuisines and meals on board. But some cruises really focus on the foods and wines of the regions being visited.

France is a very good destination for a food and wine cruise. Viking, Uniworld, Peter Deilmann, and Avalon all have river tours through the Burgundy and Provence regions, with wine experts on board to educate passengers about wines of the region (with tastings, of course!) Uniworld and Avalon also focus on chocolate on these cruises!

But Germany and Austria also have good wine, and Avalon's Danube cruises include visits to wineries with on-site wine tastings.

American Cruise Lines has small-ship cruises along the East coast that feature great American cuisine, including crab and lobster! These summer sailings take advantage of peak season catches, along with historians on board for fascinating talks about the history of the industry in the region.

Music Cruises

Peter Deilmann Cruises offers classical music cruises several times a year on the MV Mozart. General Tours is offering a special sailing of the Peter Deilmann cruise from Passau to Budaspest aboard the MV Mozart from September 14 - 21, 2008. This special sailing includes a private concert by the Vienna Boys Choir and private performances of operettas, too.

Avalon Waterways offers a classical music theme on it's Magnificent Europe cruise, a grand river cruise throughout the heart of Europe. You'll visit the homes of composers, as well as enjoy performances on and off the ship.

Photography Cruises

Cruisewest and Pentax have teamed up to create cruises devoted to photographing the spectacular scenery you'll see in Alaska, Mexico, and Costa Rica. These are not river cruises, but are small ship cruises (less than 200 passengers) that also get up close and personal with nature and it's wildlife. Photo experts are on board to teach you the fundamentals of nature photography and how to make the most of your shots. There is no extra charge for these select cruises.

Holiday Cruises

Shopping the European Holiday Markets is a fun way to visit Europe. In addition to seeing the castles and ancient towns that every European river cruise offers, when you travel in November and December, these towns are all decked out in holiday finerey, and there are quaint markets selling nutcrackers, roasted chestnuts, and all kinds of traditional holiday goodies.

The weather is cool and crisp, but not as cold as the northern reaches of the U.S. And these cruises tend to be a bit shorter in length, so they make a good introduction to river cruising if you've never expereienced it before.

As always, if you need any help planning a river cruise vacation, please contact me for more information. I'd be happy to help.

Write a Review or Tell us Your Story and get a T-shirt!

Have a great travel story, or know of a good restaurant somewhere that you want to tell everyone about?

Send it to us using our contact me page.

You can tell us about a great experience, funny story, fascinating destination, or whatever you want to share.

Tell us about your last trip - where did you go, what did you do, what was great about it, what would you avoid next time?

If your story or review is published, we'll send you a TripDiva T-shirt or mug with the Hula Girl logo.

This doesn't have to be professional quality writing - just share your experiences! We want to hear them!

Until next time - Happy Travels!

About TripDiva Travel

TripDiva Travel is a home-based travel agency, associated with Dugan's Travels (a nation-wide group of over 500 agents). TripDiva specializes in great vacations for women (hence the website domain, www.great-womens-vacations.com).

Some of the vacations we talk about are for women only; most are not (so if you see something you would like to explore with your husband or significant other, you can do that, too).

But women's vacations tend to be a bit different than most couples or family vacations. They're a bit "smaller" in scale, allowing for interaction and connections with your fellow travelers and companions. It can be hard to get to know people on a large cruise ship; there are just so many of them! On a small ship cruise, there are no more than 200 people on board and you can make many new friends, or have a nice conversation with your travel companions without shouting over the crowds!

The vacations we look for are focused on experiences, not destinations (although there are a lot of great destinations, too). Would you like to learn to paint or speak Italian, join a cooking class or just learn to enjoy fine wine, take a tour that lets you get close and interact with the locals instead of just passing by an historical site while riding a bus? Those are great women's vacations.

At www.great-womens-vacations.com (or www.tripdivatravel.com - it will get you to the same place), we try to give you the tools to find great vacation experiences and contact information to book your trip. We will be adding a booking engine (via Travelocity), so you can book air and hotels, if needed; or you can simply contact us and we'll help you arrange your trip.


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