Best cruises for Fall Foliage.

Cruises provide views of peak foliage in New England and Canada, without the hassle of congested highways.

One of Mother Nature’s best shows takes place along the Eastern Seaboard in late September and October when colorful leaves are on full display. Cruises provide views of peak foliage in New England and Canada.

You can visit places including Acadia National Park in Maine and the St. Lawrence Seaway in Quebec, without the detraction of highways filled with other leaf-peepers. Bonus: From your ship you’re also likely to spot migrating humpback whales.

There are also other places to see colorful foliage, including along the cruising routes in the Pacific Northwest, Hudson Valley and along the Tennessee River.

Here are the best cruises for viewing fall foliage.

Royal Princess: This beautiful year-old, 3,560-passenger Princess Cruises ship, with its expansive Piazza and fountain pool, cruises round-trip from New York (Brooklyn). The one-week itineraries include port calls in St. John, New Brunswick, tony Newport, Rhode Island, Boston, Bar Harbor and Halifax. From $999.

Regatta: Cruise on this 694-passenger Oceania Cruises ship between New York and Montreal on 10- to 12-day itineraries that visit Newport, Portland (Maine), Boston and Bar Harbor as well as ports in Atlantic Canada, with some cruises including Corner Brook, Newfoundland. An October 10 sailing gets you to Saguenay National Park, the great tree-lined fjord, which cuts through what may be the oldest rocks on the planet. From $2,949.

Brilliance of the Seas: Check out the views from the rock-climbing wall aboard this 2,112-passenger Royal Caribbean ship, as you cruise for a week, round-trip from Boston to Portland, Bar Harbor, St. John and Halifax, fares from $599.

Seabourn Quest: Enjoy suite accommodations onboard Seabourn’s 450-passenger luxury ship as you cruise between Boston and Montreal, on one of four 10-day itineraries. You’ll overnight in Quebec City, visit Charlottetown, Halifax, Bar Harbor and Saguenay, and also spend time in the scenic St. Lawrence River and the Quebec cities of Baie-Comeau and Gaspe. Fares from $3,999.

Maasdam: This 1,258-passenger Holland America Line ship sails from both Boston and Montreal on seven- to 14-day itineraries, either round-trip or one-way. You visit Bar Harbor, Maine (for Acadia), cruise into the narrow channels of the St. Lawrence Seaway, with colorful leaves on both sides, and visit ports including Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Fares from $599.

Norwegian Gem: Cruise from New York on a one-week itinerary that includes port calls in Newport, Boston, Bar Harbor, St. John and Halifax. Fares are from $699. While onboard thisNorwegian Cruise Line ship, visit the bowling lanes in the retro-chic Bliss Ultra Lounge.

S.S. Legacy: See colorful leaves, deep gorges and waterfalls as you trace the route of Lewis & Clark on the Columbia, Snake and Willamette rivers. Un-Cruise has booked historians and Heritage guides are to provide guests with a narrative. The 88-passenger ship, a replica of a steamer, does one-week sailings from Portland, Oregon through November. Fares from $3,195.

American Queen: Red and gold leaves create beautiful landscapes on the Tennessee River. Cruise between Chattanooga and Memphis or Nashville in October on this 436-passengerAmerican Queen Steamboat Company paddlewheeler on nine-day itineraries, priced from $2,549. The October 24 departure is a Country Music-themed sailing.

American Star: This 100-passenger ship operated by American Cruise Lines has October sailings from New York through the Hudson Valley, getting you to places including Sleepy Hollow, Catskill and West Point. Fares from $3,810.

Crystal Serenity: Do a five- to 30-day cruise in luxurious surrounds onboard this 1,070-passenger Crystal Cruises ship. Most of the sailings are from Quebec City or New York, but there’s also a five-day sailing from Halifax to New York, priced from $1,780, that visits Bar Harbor, Boston and Newport. A new feature is running tours in select ports of call – including an escorted 5k run on scenic carriage roads in Acadia National Park.

Ready to book your Fall cruise? Call us today at 877-229-6008 or 757-229-6008.

Visit us on the web at www.vipleisuretravel.com

Carnival adds longer cruises from Baltimore

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Industry giant Carnival will offer 10- to 14-night cruises out of Baltimore starting in October 2015 — a first for the line.

The Miami-based company says the voyages on the 2,124-passenger Carnival Pride, announced today, will include both round-trip sailings from the city and one-way sailings between Baltimore and San Juan.

The new cruises include an 11-day exotic southern Caribbean cruise from Baltimore to San Juan departing on Jan. 17, 2016 that stops at Grand Turk, Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, and St. Croix.

Also new to the schedule is a 10-day exotic eastern Caribbean cruise from San Juan to Baltimore departing Jan. 28, 2016, that calls at St. Thomas, Antigua, Dominica, St. Lucia; St. Kitts and St. Maarten; and a 14-day eastern Caribbean cruise round-trip from Baltimore March 13, 2016, that features eight different island destinations: Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Dominica, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua and St. Maarten.

Until now, Carnival only has offered seven-night cruises from Baltimore.

Carnival today also announced plans for new five-Day Bermuda sailings from Baltimore that will feature two days in Bermuda. There will be just two of the trips, departing on Oct. 26, 2015 and April 10, 2016.

In addition, Carnival says it plans three six-day Bahamas cruises from Baltimore in 2015 and 2016 that will feature stops in Freeport and Nassau. Departure dates are Nov. 30 and Dec. 20, 2015, and Feb. 14, 2016.

Carnival says the 2015 and 2016 schedule from Baltimore also will include a series of eight-day voyages that include stops in Grand Turk, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau. Departure dates are Oct. 18 and 31, and Dec. 26, 2015, and Feb. 20, and April 15 and 23, 2016.

A special six-day East Coast U.S. and Bahamas cruise from Baltimore featuring the line’s first-ever scheduled in-transit call to Charleston, S.C., as well as Port Canaveral, Fla., Nassau, and Freeport, will be offered Nov. 22, 2015.

The Carnival Pride is slated to undergo a multi-million-dollar makeover before the voyages begin.

Ready to book your next cruise? Call us today at 877-229-6008 or 757-229-6008

Visit us on the web at www.vipleisuretravel.com

10 Worst Tourist Scams

A recent posting on Just the Flight warned travelers of 40 tourist scams prevalent around the world. Wow—that’s a long checklist. Fortunately, many of the 40 are “variations on a theme,” and a comparable posting of 10 scams from Cheapflights.com is more realistic. Yes, none of the 10 or even the 40 is really new or innovative, but they bear repeating, anyhow.

Fake Police: A street merchant may put something in your hand or around your wrist, then, when you try to give it back, complain that you’re trying to steal it. A uniformed policeman—fake—happens to be passing by and threatens to arrest you if you don’t pay for what you supposedly stole. Variations include trumped-up arguments with taxi drivers and merchants.

Fake Valuables: A vendor on a Bogota street offers to sell you “emeralds” at a fraction of the going price. A related scam: You’re standing in line to buy a ticket for something and someone offers to sell you a “better” ticket and avoid the line.

Distraction Theft: The list of 40 scams includes many variations on this basic theme. Someone distracts you while an accomplice picks your pocket or goes through your baggage. The scenarios are endless: kids swarm around you asking for money, someone “accidentally” spills something on you, someone punctures the tire on your rental car and pilfers your stuff while supposedly “helping” you change the tire, someone throws a doll dressed up like a real baby at you. The list goes on and on, and it can happen almost anywhere.

Taxi Tricks: When you hop in a cab and ask to go to a specific restaurant, hotel, or shop, the driver tells you it’s “closed” but offers to take you to a “better” one. At best, the new place is a long trip; at worst, it’s a rip-off joint in partnership with the driver.

The Fake “Gift”: A street musician hands you what appears to be a “free” CD, asking you to check out his/her music, then, after you have it, demands payment, even when you try to return it. Variations apply to just about any item.

Photo Finagling: Someone offers to take a picture of you and your companion with your camera—and runs off with the camera. Or you pose with a picturesque but apparently willing local, who then turns mean and demands a fee.

Fake Friends: You go to a bar and a friendly group of locals asks you to join them. Then, after a few rounds, they suddenly depart, leaving you with a padded bill.

PIN Theft: A casher surreptitiously takes a picture of your credit card, or someone who “helps” you at a foreign ATM notes and remembers your PIN for later theft use.

Old-Fashioned Pickpocketing: Pickpockets don’t need elaborate scams or set-up scenarios. They can get as close to you as they need to on crowded public transit, intercity trains, and in busy shops.

Currency Capers: A merchant counts out your change correctly, accidentally drops it, retrieves it, and hands you a substitute wad that’s a bit lighter. Or you get a mix of counterfeit and real bills.

You can easily avoid some of these scams. If you can’t tell the difference between an emerald and a fragment of green glass, don’t buy “emeralds” on the street. Assume anything someone tries to sell you on the street is either a fake or carries a grossly inflated price. Know enough about the local geography that you can tell when you’re being “taken for a ride.” Dress modestly and try to fit in with the locals. Avoid constant glances at guidebooks or maps. But those strategies work only in obvious situations.

Yes, most locals you encounter are honest and genuinely want to help. But you need to remain alert at all times. Sad to say, but “paranoia is its own reward.” As an obvious tourist, you have to be aware that you might be targeted in just about any situation.

Ready to book your next vacation? We can help you in deciding where to go. Call us today at 877-229-6008 or 757-229-6008.

Visit us on the web at www.vipleisuretravel.com