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It's a common question, but one that has a rapidly changing set of answers — particularly where river cruising is concerned.

In the past, you could typically predict which sailings would sell out well in advance: Theme cruises or time-sensitive itineraries, like the spring Tulip Time river cruises that depart from Amsterdam, are historically some of the first to go. And as river cruising gains in popularity, the need to book sooner rather than later has only become more important.

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That Ireland has '40 shades of green' is more than a cliche. It is real….and it’s beautiful! Beautiful not only because of its stunning shades of green; the beauty is also in its out-of-this-world landscapes, its’ charming and historic cities, its’ quaint villages, friendly people with their lovely accents, gentle spirits and a history and beauty which poets and authors have written about for centuries. Artists flock to the emerald isle for artistic inspiration and it’s easy to understand why.

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The various regions of Italy offer a cornucopia of food to delight our senses and the regions of Tuscany and Umbria offer some of the best.

Savour its famous delights...freshly made pasta, fresh vine-ripened tomatoes, exquisite extra virgin olive oil, double baked biscotti, aged fine local wine, homemade tiramisu and cannoli pastries and its rich espresso and frothy cappuccino! And let's not forget the best gelato in the world!

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The AfriCan Link Fund was established at Wesley United Church following the attendance of Mary Weismiller at the Ecumenical Decade for Women Conference in Durban, South Africa in 1992. It was there that Mary met the Light family. Since that time, she and Edna Light have spent well over two years in accumulated visits to each other's homes; much of it in Plettenberg Bay. Edna's endless struggle to feed, teach and help the area's disadvantaged sparked the creation of the fund.

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As we sailed along the Croatian coast onboard Windstar Cruises ms Wind Surf, the Captain turned off the engines and at once we were floating on air or so it seemed. Nothing in sight but ocean, the emerald water mesmerizing and the only sound the occasional sail flapping in the warm breeze. For the past six days, we'd been living like royalty and on this last day at sea, we savoured every moment as Wind Surf made her way back to our starting point of Venice, Italy.

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From Craig Travel's Sales and General Manager, Jennifer Kempa on her recent travel industry educational tour on a Rocky Mountaineer rail journey through Canada's west.... "This was a journey to remember! Arriving at Calgary airport, I was pleasantly surprised when, at the information desk, I simply gave my name and the nice gentleman behind the desk checked his computer and efficiently told me which hotel I was going to, then grabbed my luggage and lead me outside to the waiting coach. So began my lovely Rocky Mountain excursion.

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Arriving at Venice's Marco Polo Airport in the morning, we didn't wait long before our luggage arrived and we were outside waiting for ATVO bus number 5 which would take us to Piazzale Roma. From here, a two-minute taxi ride would take us to the pier, where we would store our luggage for the day, until it was time to depart on our Mediterranean cruise. We had a lot of exploring to do, on this, our first visit to Venice.

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It was Christopher Columbus who, on returning to Europe after his forth voyage to the New World in 1502, named his latest discovery, Costa Rica, the rich coast. Who knows what types of riches he was anticipating finding in this lush, tropical paradise, but surely he must have been speaking, in part, of the lands stunning natural beauty. Today, Costa Rica remains one of the world's most ecologically intact and environmentally proactive countries.

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Our flight from Quito, Ecuador to Baltra in the Galapagos Islands was the start of one of the most awe-inspiring journeys I've had the privilege to experience. I could only imagine Charles Darwin's surprise as these spectacular islands came into view when he first visited here in 1831!

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For many travellers, the lands down under, Australia and New Zealand, are the ultimate dream destinations; the once-in-a-lifetime adventure at the top of many bucket lists. I have been to Australia and New Zealand and this February will make a return visit , as tour leader for Craig Travel's popular annual tour.

What I love about this tour are the many magical experiences which have been included. Instead of simply seeing, we will be doing. And to me, that's what a great travel experience is really all about.

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