Category Archives: Sunstone News
Last minute warm water sailings in Baja and Hawaii
Larry Bleiberg, special for USA TODAY10:51a.m. EST January 2, 2013
If you’re into photography or marine biology, or want to give your kids an intense nature experience, you might want to check out the new Un-Cruise theme trips.
The small-ship cruise line has added special theme sailings in Hawaii and Mexico’s Sea of Cortes for 2013.
The photography and marine biology trips will include a shipboard expert, who will offer presentations and meet in one-on-one sessions with guests during the week-long sailings.
The Hawaii trips on the 36-passenger Safari Explorer are seven-night cruises allowing the chance to explore four islands: Lanai, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii, the Big Island. In the Sea of Cortes, the 86-passenger Safari Endeavour sails round-trip from La Paz, Baja, Mexico.
The Kids in Nature sailings are aimed at families with children 12 and younger, and timed for spring break. The staff will present education programs and lead hiking, kayaking and snorkeling shore excursions suitable for all ages. Trips include March 9 and 30 Kids in Nature trips in Hawaii and March 9 and 23 Kids in Nature sailings in Mexico.
The photography cruises include two Hawaii trips: a Jan. 5 sailing with one of the world’s top whale photographers, and an April 6 trip with a top travel photographer. In Mexico, photography trips run Feb. 16 and March 16.
Marine biology trips are offered in Mexico on Jan. 12 and March 30 sailings.
All trips include trekking, kayaking, paddle boarding, snorkeling and skiff excursions. Sailings accommodate a flexible itinerary, allowing for viewing wildlife such as whales and dolphins.
Un-Cruise Adventures is a company with seven ships sailing Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Its parent company is InnerSea Discoveries and it began as American Safari Cruises.
It’s seven ships are Wilderness Adventurer, 60 guests; Wilderness Discoverer, 76 guests; Wilderness Explorer, 76 guests; Safari Endeavour, 86 guests; Safari Explorer, 36 guests; Safari Quest, 22 guests; and the Safari Legacy, 88 guests
Travel Agent Magazine, a leading travel trade publication, recently announced that Linda Androlia, President and Owner of Sunstone Tours & Cruises, has just been named a “Top 25 Agent” for 2012. The publication selected the Top 25 Agents based on the challenges and triumphs of being a travel agent the past year.
“An expert in small-ship adventure cruises,” Linda was touted for protecting her clients when a supplier suddenly went out of business, gaining her client’s fierce loyalty and building long-term relationships with her clients. The article also illustrates how far Linda goes to ensure a small ship cruise experience of a lifetime for her clients.
After years of procrastination and false starts, we’ve finally redesigned our website. Currently, it’s not perfect; we’re still kicking the tires and taking care of unexpected goofs, but we think we have a great website to service small ship cruise lovers everywhere.
The redesigned web site addresses several items, both on the back-end, as well as new content and features to help travelers learn more about small ship cruise options and plan the small ship adventure cruise of a lifetime.
Even though the site now responds faster, each page now contains more valuable cruise information, including
- detailed itinerary, rate and ship information
- quotes from past cruisers
- related cruise videos
Besides little fixes and tweaks, we’ll also be added many itineraries from new suppliers, including Orion Expeditions Cruises and Blount Small Ship Adventures.
Although a major visual change, this redesign was merely the first in a wave of future changes which will allow Sunstone Tours & Cruises to continue to lead in offering small ship adventures to discerning travelers seeking life changing experiences.
Visit our website today at sunstonetours.com.
A Look Back
Ketchikan is usually the first port in Alaska to visit on an Alaska cruise. The big ships dock on one side of town our small ships dock in the middle of town. One of our small ship lines Inner Sea Discoveries starts and ends their cruises in Ketchikan. Those who book their small ship crusie with us, Sunstone Tours, the small ship experts, receive a map and all sorts of fun information on Ketchikan as well as where to stay if you come in a night early. Here is some of the information that we provide our clients..
And…for a fun unique private tour of Ketchikan in her vintage Chevy, visit my friend Lois at ClassicTours…tell her Linda sent you
Stop by the visitors center on the dock to pick up the Historic Ketchikan walking-tour map and guide to area attractions. The 2-mi/3-km tour is an excellent way to see many of Ketchikan’s sites. Even if you stray from the map, don’t worry: The town isn’t big enough to get lost in. The city has also put up signage to make it even easier for visitors to find sites of interest and then return to the docks.
The walking tour will take you past the turreted, Victorian-style Burkhardt House; the 1954 tunnel on Front Street, which claims to be the only tunnel that you can go over, around and through; and E.C. Phillips & Sons, one of the few remaining cold-storage and fish-processing plants in the city.
You might also want to drop by the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, one block inland from the cruise docks. It provides interpretive exhibits about the rain forest, wildlife and native cultures, a film about the Tongass National Forest, and information on public lands, area hiking, kayaking and local ecosystems.
Along with the prosperity brought by salmon and mining came a red-light district built on the pilings above Ketchikan Creek. The community had as many as 30 bordellos before prostitution became illegal in 1953. Most of the women moved on; one who didn’t was Dolly Arthur, whose bordello is now a museum, Dolly’s House.
Strolling along the rest of Creek Street and checking out the various shops can be great fun. There are also a few cafes where you can eat outside if the weather is nice. Or just hang over the railings and watch the fish and kayakers go by. While you’re on Creek Street, catch the tram up to Cape Fox Lodge. From there you’ll be treated to one of the best views of Ketchikan.
It is exciting to have more small ships to offer my clients. As Cruise West closed down, their popular ships are being purchased by other companies and will be put back into service in Alaska. Two ships for now…others to showup in the future.
Hawaii, by small ship. A very new unique one of a kind cruise experience. This is a first and it is filling up amazingly fast. Very popular idea that no other line has jumped on. Being on your almost private yacht for a week sailing between the Hawaiian Islands………sign me up…
By Jay Clarke
Special to The Miami Herald
Two new small-ship cruise lines will start service in Alaska in May.
Alaska Dream Cruises will operate a three-ship fleet that includes two former 78-passenger Cruise West vessels that will be renamed Admiralty Dream and Baranof Dream and a 49-passenger renovated catamaran to be named the Alaska Dream. The new line, created by Allen Marine Tours, will offer seven-night cruises from Sitka. http://www.allenmarinetours.com.
Inner Sea Discoveries, created by American Safari Cruises, will operate two 49-passenger vessels, Wilderness Adventurer and Wilderness Discoverer. The former Glacier Bay Cruise Line vessels are undergoing extensive renovation. They will explore coves and other rarely seen sites along the Inside Passage. Inner Sea will offer seven-night one-way cruises between Juneau and Ketchikan and 14-night one-way trips between Seattle and Juneau. http://www.innerseadiscoveries.com.
NEW HAWAII CRUISES
A second American-flagged cruise line will begin making cruises within Hawaii next year. The 36-passenger Safari Explorer, owned by American Safari Cruises, will make seven- and 10-night one-way cruises between Maui and the Big Island and reverse starting in October. Ports of call will include the less-visited islands of Molokai and Lanai, and itineraries will be flexible, enabling passengers to explore remote coves, inlets and shorelines.
Glaciers, iceburgs, whales, polar bears and bald eagles — all can be part of your Alaskan cruise with your children, an experience that will leave them with a lifetime of memories. Particularly interesting for grade schoolers and teens are the shore excursions to such attractions as the Ketchikan Native Village Tour or Skagway’s gold panning demonstration. For “boat-huggers” there is plenty of activity on board, including knowledgeable experts who will point out and explain the flora and fauna as the ship sails through passages, past icebergs and near the shore.
Sunstone Small Ship Adventures
Although not appropriate for toddlers, Sunstone Tours offers a family Alaskan adventure on a small ship that is perfect for kids over 5. With a little more than 80 passengers — as opposed to 2,500 on major cruise lines — these smaller vessels offer better maneuverability, quicker docking at ports and much more personalized service. While your kids won’t find waterslides and pizza parlors, they will have a chance to learn a great deal about Alaska and its inhabitants. Kids under 18 sail for half price and have full privileges both on and off shore (except for alcohol). The small ship visits coves and fjords, threads through fields of small icebergs and gets closer to wildlife than would be possible with any large cruise ship. Kayaks and zodiacs are provided — with professional guides — so that the whole family can penetrate even further into the wilderness. Sunstone Tours 28779 Sea Ranch Way Malibu, CA 90265 888-815-5428 sunstonetours.com
Linda Androlia from Sunstone Tours is Lindblad Expeditions number 1 individual selling travel agent. Here success comes from her expertise in small ship cruising — and specifically Lindblad’s expeditions. Because she specializes in small ships, she knows every detail of our itineraries, ships and staff – which she shares with her clients to ensure an extraordinary experience from start to finish. Her clients are priority #1, and her knowledge and customer service skills allow her to create a relationship with them that lasts. And, she supports all of this with strategic marketing tactics, and online and social media prowess.
Kathy Johns, VP Agency Sales
Guilford, CT – American Cruise Lines has announced it is expanding to the Mississippi River system with a brand new sternwheeler, already under construction at Chesapeake Shipbuilding in Salisbury, MD. It plans to operate the new riverboat on routes similar to those formerly run by Delta Queen Steamboat Company, which will include the Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, and Cumberland Rivers. Cruising the Mississippi River on a sternwheeler is a true all-American experience that American Cruise Lines is pleased to bring back. The new paddlewheeler will recreate the grandeur of past riverboats while possessing the latest safety, environmental and construction technologies. The ship will have the look of a traditional riverboat along with more amenities, a faster speed, and an unmatched level of comfort. Features include six unique lounges, a library, an elegant dining salon, elevator service to all decks, and the exceptionally large staterooms found on all American Cruise Lines ships. With only 140 passengers, each guest will receive personalized service in the intimate and friendly atmosphere for which American Cruise Lines has become known.
The first cruise is a scheduled to depart August 11, 2012 from New Orleans, Louisiana on a 7-night journey up the Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee. The ship will then begin a series of 7-night cruises travelling as far north as St. Paul, Minnesota while utilizing its remarkable speed to open up new itinerary possibilities. As on all true riverboats, a stage and bow ramp will give the ship access to the many interesting ports without docking facilities.
American Cruise Lines has experienced record bookings in 2010 and has seen an increasing demand from passengers to bring their style of cruising to the Mississippi and tributary rivers. The company decided to introduce a new riverboat so that it could offer its superior style of cruising to the Mississippi River.
American Cruise Lines will soon usher in a new era of Mississippi riverboats that will set the standard for years to come. For details on the best Mississippi River experience aboard the finest riverboat in the world please call an American Cruise Lines cruise specialist at 888-815-5428.
We just couldn’t think of any other destination than Alaska for June’s free computer desktop wallpaper.
The image features a bear grazing along a lake with two kayakers looking on.
You can choose from either a desktop image with or without a calendar, at three different screen resolutions.
If the scene in the wallpaper image stirs up the need to explore Alaska, visit the Alaska section of our website or contact us directly at 1-888-815-5428.