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Senior Travel Newsletter: nature, cruise, barging, volunteer vacations.
Senior travel newsletter: nature travel, educational, cultural, volunteer, cruise and barging vacations worldwide.
New stories, June 1, 2016 
TravelWatch: Senior Travel Newsletter.

What's on the Travel News Menu for YOU Today
Senior travel nature vacations, cruise and barging vacations, volunteer vacations worldwide & much more! Would you like to be notified of each bi-monthly issue as it is launched? Click here to add your email to our TravelWatch newsletter notification list. [See our Privacy Policy]

1. Feedback tells us that European barging is one of the travel adventures that our readers enjoy most. Check out these super-bargain offers for the remainder of the 2016 barging season.
2. While South America has some of the world’s finest small-ship cruise experiences, they are less well-known than cruises elsewhere in the world. Check out these Amazon cruise exploration specials for 2016 and 2017, including multi-generational adventures.
3. A small but meaningful volunteer opportunity while you are vacationing on Hawaii’s Big Island is a win/win for Humane Society shelter dogs and their visiting hosts for a day.
4. We introduce readers to a trip planning specialist in the Galicia region of Northwest Spain that will show participants much more than the region’s famous pilgrim destination of Santiago de Compostela.
5. When a natural disaster strikes a part of our planet, what can we do? One U.S. tour operator is lending a hand to Ecuador following its devastating earthquake in April. You can help too when planning your travels.

Before planning your next adventure, you may compare accommodation alternatives with sites such as www.trivago.com or use their data base for further information about your destination and read traveler hotel reviews.

Check Travel Golf Guide. Play golf in Algarve.

Take Advantage of 2016 European Barging Bargains
Understandably, many European barging operators have been caught in the "fear fallout" from terrorist bombings in Paris and Brussels. As a result, barge bookings are down, and this means that extra efforts are being made by barge operators to encourage vacationers to sample the unique delights of barging along Europe’s canals, as captured in our perennially-popular feature article, “Barging on Europe’s Magical Waterways”. Here we highlight four European barging offers of great value in 2016:
European Waterways, www.gobarging.com, Europe’s largest luxury hotel barging cruise line, is offering great savings on cabins and full boat charters on select hotel barges through August 2016. Among the eligible vessels are Anjodi, which cruises the scenic Canal du Midi in southern France, and Panache, which cruises in Alsace & Lorraine. Both of these vessels are offering US$2,500 off per cabin on select departures throughout the summer. Full-boat charter specials are also available, with Anjodi offering US$8,000 off and Panache offering US$12,000 off. Cabin specials are based on double occupancy. For full information on all offers, check this webpage. There is also no single supplement on some route departures.
European Waterways Anjodi barge cruises France's Canal du Midi.
European Waterways’ Anjodi cruises the Canal du Midi in Southern France. European Waterways
John Wilson’s self-catering Barge Johanna, www.johannacharters.com, offers seven-night cruises along the rivers and canals of Belgium and Northwest France. He particularly attracts older independent travelers and extended family groups including children (over 5) and grandparents. The barge’s crew does boat management and navigating, while guests design their own excursions and prepare meals in Johanna’s well-equipped kitchen. The comfortable accommodation is ideal for six persons, with a spacious sundeck for savoring fine wines after a barbeque. On offer is a 30% discount to tempt people into bookings from the beginning of August to the end of September.
Self-catering Barge Johanna has a well-equipped kitchen.
Barge Johanna’s well-equipped kitchen is ideal for self-catering barge cruises. Johanna Charters
The concept for Arnild Barging's new-built, Scandinavian-design ASLAUG, www.arnild-barging.com, is to have guests live aboard as though staying in a nice country inn: luxury cabins and baths and half-board. Dinners out are recommended in a wonderful selection of countryside towns. ASLAUG is offering two specific weeks at €2,000 each cabin (2 to 4 people) instead of €2,400. These weeks are June 19 to 25 and July 10 to 16. Both discounted cruises meander along the Canal de la Somme in Northern France where guests discover châteaux, cathedrals, WWI remembrance trails and picturesque villages with weekly markets. Nature lovers will also have a great time watching the abundant flora and fauna.
ASLAUG barge cruises in Northern France, Belgium and Holland.
ASLAUG cruises in Northern France, Belgium
and Holland.
Arnild Barging
Between July 10 and September 17, KR-line/Johanna Cruises, www.johannacruises.com, is offering up to 50% off on one week barging experiences in France’s delicious Champagne area with everything on board included as usual: all meals except one dinner, free wifi, free use of bikes and lots of tourist advice. There is no pick-up or drop-off from the barge and excursions are self guided (on foot, bike or taxi). Special price of €1600/person are based on a minimum of two double cabins booked per week (a total of €6400 for four people). See dedicated webpage for special offer details.
Johanna Cruises travels France's Champagne region.
Johanna Cruises is offering deep discounts on one week trips in France's Champagne region. KR-line
Early Bird Cruise Savings on South America Itineraries for 2017
South America is fortunate to have some of the best small-ship cruise destinations on the planet. It is a proverbial feast for the senses, a vibrant land of passionate rhythms, bright colors and extreme contrasts. Rich in history and natural treasures alike, South America boasts an astonishing variety of wildlife, customs and landscapes like no other travel destination, beckoning even the most seasoned travelers over and over again.
Rainforest Cruises, www.rainforestcruises.com, is a boutique travel company specializing in Amazon river cruises and tours, providing a fine collection of options in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands and Panama. To help clarify possibilities, they have assembled categories for luxury cruises, superior cruises, and comfort cruises which may be easier on the pocket book but they offer some of the more interesting itineraries aboard traditional vessels full of character.
Luxury Amazon cruise boat, Anakonda.
The 40-passenger Anakonda riverboat is the only luxury boutique Amazon cruise along Ecuador's 'El Oriente'.'
Many Rainforest Cruises clients not only book cruises, but also packages with custom land tour extensions before or after their cruises to other popular travel destinations in South America. These include Rio de Janeiro, Iguazu Falls, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and Amazon Treehouse Lodges.
Treehouse Lodge in Peru's Amazon region.
Set in 345 acres of pristine jungle reserve, up to 67 ft above ground, a two-day land extension at Treehouse Lodge in Peru offers guests an unrivalled rainforest canopy experience. Built with sustainability in mind, the lodge is very eco-friendly, built by hand with no heavy equipment, by onsite tree experts.
Rainforest Cruises offers family cruises in regions of the Amazon.
Many family cruises encourage younger family members to interact with village children and visit their schools.
Multi-generational cruising is growing in popularity worldwide, and who better to keep children and teenagers entertained than Mother Nature herself? Families are welcome on all Rainforest Cruises itineraries. However, not all cruises cater specifically for kids, and indeed most have minimum age requirements. Here are the company’s favorite Amazon cruises best suited to family groups including the grandparents!
Rainforest Cruises is deeply committed to Amazon rainforest conservation projects. They make significant donations to the Rainforest Trust, a non-profit organization which for over 26 years have been purchasing and protecting some of the most threatened tropical forests, saving endangered wildlife through local partnerships and community engagement. In 2015 Rainforest Cruises contributions helped preserve over 4,000 acres of rainforest, and in 2016 it is supporting the Trust’s newest initiative that aims to protect a total of 20 million acres of rainforest globally by 2020.
Images copyright to Rainforest Cruises.
The small riverboat Selva Viva cruises the upper Amazon region of Peru.
Built in 2007 in a traditional Brazilian wooden riverboat style, the 10-passenger Selva Viva is arguably the best Amazon riverboat for the price in the upper Amazon region of Peru.
A Taste of Volunteering includes Dog Field Trips on Hawaii’s Big Island
Do you miss your furry friend back home? Or do you just like to include a little “give back” time in your holiday mix? Now visitors may check out a carefully-screened shelter dog for a day at the Hawaii Island Humane Society in Kona, www.hihs.org. It’s not exactly rocket science that their many rescued dogs love to do a little sightseeing right along with the visitors to the beautiful Hawaiian Islands!
Shelter staffers introduce visitors to canine candidates that are allowed out on field trips and, once a selection is made, supplies are readied. The Society supplies an Adopt Me harness and leash, water and a bowl, towels for car transport, toys, treats, waste bags and cleaning supplies. Only sterilized and microchipped dogs with good behavior are available for field trips.

There is a same day return, no later than 5 pm Monday through Saturday. Participants must be at least 18 years old, and a waiver must be signed by the volunteer. Dogs must be transported in an enclosed vehicle (no riding in an open convertible or in the open bed of a truck). The final criterion is that “all participants must have FUN!
Dogs at a Hawaii Island beach.
Banner for Hawaii Island Humane Society."This is such a win-win program," said HIHS Director Donna Whitaker. “Visitors will be asked to evaluate the dog so that potential adopters can find out more about the pet. Field trip pictures are encouraged and these may have a positive impact on people looking for a new pet.” With a slogan of “your online guide to ruffing it in Hawaii”, Lava Dogs 808 provides a creative resource for dog-friendly places on Hawaii Island. HIHS will also provide some excursion options. The mission of the Society is to promote respect for all animals, prevent cruelty to animals, eliminate pet overpopulation, and enhance the bond between humans and animals.
Images copyright to Hawaii Island Humane Society.

Did you know? Only 5% of the world’s population has ever traveled by plane.

Experience More of Spain’s Galicia Region as well as the Camino de Santiago
Spain’s Galicia region is located in the northwest corner of the country, pointing its shoreline into the Atlantic Ocean. Though there is plenty of evidence that this ancient land has been occupied by humans for tens of thousands of years, it is most famous today for hosting the pilgrimage destination city of Santiago de Compostela.
Pilgrim walking the Camino de Santiago in Galicia, Spain.
Consider walking to Santiago de Compostela on the Portuguese Way or the Portuguese Coastal Camino.
Galicia seafood and local wines are a great combination.
Galicia's fresh seafood and local wines offer a distinctive cuisine worth sampling.
While emphatically supporting the region’s 1,000 year connection as the terminus of the Camino de Santiago, a new company founded by local Galicia experts is keen to illustrate how much more in terms of culture, landscapes and cuisine enrichment that the region has to offer. It is doing so with a wide range of multi-day and day tours that help visitors discover more of Galicia.

Alvaro Iglesias Martín, co-founder of tour provider Galiwonders.com is a proud Galician with a deep insider knowledge of his region. “It is a quite different experience from the rest of Spain to take the time to explore Galicia,” he emphasizes. “We offer tailor-made holidays for individuals and groups in Rías Baixas, Ribeira Sacra, Costa da Morte, the Lighthouse Trail, wine tours, Glamping, thermal spring waters... and of course several variations on accomplishing as much of the Camino de Santiago as our guests desire. Together with my business partner, Andres Ruiz Rivas, we have many years of experience in the tourist sector, working and living abroad and in Spain.
Finesterre bronze boot signifies the end of the Camino de Santiago. Small-scale accommodation is available throughout the Galicia region of northwest Spain.
Left: Take a day tour or walk for a few more days from Santiago de Compostela to the Atlantic end-point of the Camino at Finisterre.
Right: Comfortable small-scale accommodations are available throughout Galicia.
“We have organized walking and cycling holidays along the Camino and have also done the route ourselves enough that we know personally the accommodations, guides and transporters. Most of our clients are between 40 and 70 years, and we focus mainly on visitors from English speaking countries. With our headquarters located in Santiago de Compostela, in the unlikely event that clients have a problem during their trip, we are right there to help just by using a 24 hour emergency phone number.”
Images copyright to Galiwonders.com.
Respected Adventure Travel Company
Makes Commitment to Ecuador Earthquake Relief
In April 2016, Ecuador suffered a major 7.8 magnitude earthquake which devastated many of the country's coastal towns. Ecuador's President, Rafael Correa, has said the quake caused $3 billion in damage, and that reconstruction in affected areas will take years.
Yacht Encantada sails
Sea turtle comes ashore on a Galapagos Island.
Left: Sea turtles are abundant in Galapagos Island waters.
Right: Yacht Encantada is a choice for ROW's Christmas charter cruise.
ROW Adventures, www.rowadventures.com, has been in love with Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands since the early 80s,” says founder and president, Peter Grubb. "We are truly heartbroken by the earthquake and its resulting aftershocks. With over 650 people dead, many more missing, and over 20,000 homes and businesses destroyed, the victims' families, the injured, the survivors, and the towns are in desperate need of help.”
To support the relief efforts, ROW Adventures will donate $100 to the Ecuador Relief Earthquake Fund for every Ecuador and Galapagos Islands reservation made by a TravelWatch/Travel with a Challenge reader by the end of July 2016, for travel in 2016 and 2017.

Some of ROW's creative land and sea Galapagos tours include:
Galapagos Unbound
Galapagos Islands Vacation (a lodge to lodge tour)
Galapagos Islands Luxury Adventure Cruise
Galapagos Family Vacation
Galapagos Christmas Cruise
Galapagos Islands: Christmas Vacations

Sea kayaking is a popular choice for ROW’s
more adventurous Galapagos guests.
“If you are already booked on an Ecuador trip, we strongly encourage not cancelling that trip,” Peter Grubb emphasizes. “The Galapagos Islands were not affected by the quake, and while the areas that serve as the gateways to the Andes, Amazon, and Galapagos did endure the worst of it, they remain open and operational. The last thing Ecuador needs is for one of their most important industries - tourism - to come to a halt. Travel to the country is deemed safe, and Ecuador needs your support more than ever.”
Left: Exclusive ROW beach camp location on the Galapagos Islands.
Right: Galapagos family travel vacation Christmas charter cruise.
Images copyright to ROW Adventures.

This senior travel newsletter is part of the path-breaking Travel with a Challenge website, a travel magazine hosting timely articles and advice about educational adventure travel, and unique destinations for planning stimulating journeys worldwide. Explore the website via the navigation menu below. See our Privacy Policy.
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Tags: Senior travel nature vacations, cruise and barging vacations, volunteer vacations worldwide