wine and culinary cruises tours travel

Oceania Cruise’s newest ship, Marina, is a beauty.  I was fortunate to tour Marina and have lunch on-board in the stunning Grand Dining Room when she was in port in New York City. 

Carrying 1250 guests, about double the number accommodated on Oceania’s other two ships, Regatta and Nautica, Marina was built with the foodie and wine connoisseur in mind.  Imagine yourself in the hands-on cooking school at sea, Bon Appétit’s Culinary Center, taking classes with a master chef, then joining the chef for a visit to the local markets in your current port-of-call.   Whether a casual foodie or an expert chef, there will be classes to enrich your cooking abilities.

Imagine hosting your own private 7-course dinner party in Privée, one of the most beautiful and exclusive dining venues at sea.  Restricted to just 8 guests each evening, exclusive is an understatement.  Get that reservation in early …  Now, imagine yourself in a purpose-built wine tasting room.  This will be, La Reserve by Wine Spectator, where you can take wine appreciation classes during the day then indulge in exclusive food and wine pairing dinners, limited to 24 guests, each evening. 

Legendary Master Chef, Jacques Pépin, has his first restaurant at sea, aptly named, Jacques.  Casual French classics are served in this small venue (126 dinner guests) with art from Pépin’s private collection and heirloom antiques.  Also not to be missed is one of the most vibrantly decorated dinner venues at sea: Red Ginger, offering Asian classics prepared in a contemporary style.  

Oceania Cruises is an upper-premium cruise line perfect for the discerning  traveler who values mutli-cultural experiences and port-intensive itineraries.   Country-club ambience (tuxedos and gowns are never required), Canyon Ranch SpaClub treatments and cuisine, and open seating dining add to the on-board ambiance.   In 2012, Oceania Cruises is adding 15 new ports of  call and 21 all-new Grand Voyages combining multiple itineraries ranging from 23 to 71 days.    Riviera, sister ship to Marina, will be entering service in April 2012 in Europe and will be doing overnight port visits on all her European itineraries.  If  you want more info on Marina’s itineraries and the Master Chefs joining the sailings or info on any of Oceania’s ships, contact me.   Oceania Cruises best prices are offered when the cruises are initially go on sale and they increase as the staterooms and suites are booked.  Current Special Offers for 2012 sailings include 2 for 1 Cruise Fares with Free Air and up to $5,000 Bonus Savings per stateroom.

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Apr
29

Fine Dining with Remy

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I sailed on the new Disney Dream in late January.   What a fun experience – the  Aqua Duck  water coaster, first at sea & I rode it twice!!;  the only fireworks at sea; The District, a great adult-only bar and nightclub area; Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island that offers a beach day that cannot be compared to any other cruise line’s private island experience. 

Disney proved to me that the Disney ships, especially Disney Dream, are not for families only.  Without hesitation, I would recommend Disney dream to adults of all ages as they do not need to be traveling with children to have an awesome cruise and Disney experience. 

 The food throughout the ship is excellent, but it is Remy that won my heart.                                                                            

Remy is one of two restaurants that are adult-only (the other, Palo, offers northern Italian cuisine, is on all three Disney ships, and has a cover charge of $20 per person).  Remy, named for the rat who wanted to become a chef in the film, Ratatouille, offers an intimate, ultra-deluxe dining experience that will have you wanting to return again and again.   It’s not cheap – the $75 per person cover charge is one of the highest cover charges for a specialty restaurant at sea.   Plus wine and any extra gratuity that you may want to give the superb wait staff.

The French-inspired menu was created by the collaboration of Chef Arnaud Lallement who oversees the 2-star Michelin restaurant, l’Assiette Champenoise, just outside of Reims, France, and Chef Scott Hunnel who oversees the award-winning Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian at Disney World.  Chef Patrick Albert, French-trained, is Remy’s executive chef.

Think seating for 30 in an Art Nouveau setting, Frette table linens, china designed special for Remy, Christofle silverware, and Riedel stemware.   And sharing the dining room with Remy – in true Disney style.  You have to search for him, but Remy is present, in the fabrics, the iron work, the carpeting throughout the restaurant.  Look closely at those “squiggly” designs on your chair back or on the railing leading to the banquette seating and you may see Remy.

Our four-hour plus dining extravaganza began with Remy’s complimentary signature cocktail prepared tableside: Taittinger champagne, a splash of vodka infused with pear, sugar cane, a sprig of mint, a twist of apricot, and lightly crushed blackberry.  A simple but delicious appetizer – a single grape tomato wrapped in a lightly baked pastry – was served with the warning that the tomato may be hot – yummy.  Then we received a small plate of ratatouille to enjoy as we perused the menu.

Remy offers an a la carte menu and a Chef’s Tasting menu, both of which will change with the availability of seasonal ingredients.  I opted for the a la carte menu while my dinner mate selected the tasting menu.  Neither of us was disappointed.  My first course was a Declinaison Tomato which consisted of a tomato and feta tart, tomato soup with parmesan foam, and essence of tomato, a delightful clear “tomato juice” served in a champagne flute.  At the end of dinner, Chef Albert stopped by our table and explained how the essence of tomato was prepared with pineapple tomatoes.   

Next came a generous piece of John Dory served with chorizo beans and a spicy carrot mousse.  Our waiter suggested that I have an additional course to match my dinner mate’s tasting menu selections.  He suggested the lobster, served with vanilla, bisque and a lobster roe foam.   Next was veal tenderloin, served with sweetbreads and potatoes.  Each dish was perfectly cooked and the sauces were divine.

The cheese course was served tableside from the cheese trolley.  We asked our waiter to select our cheeses, not expecting each of us to receive a plate of seven cheeses organized from least to most pungent. 

Remy lists two desserts on the main menu, plus there is a separate dessert menu with two additional desserts listed.  The dessert selection on the tasting menu,  a very, very, rich dark chocolate with praline and cocoa sorbet wrapped in fondant shaped in the form of a gift box was served to my dinner mate.  I selected the lighter dessert, the lemon sorbet.  Following dessert, a plate of petit fours appeared and, to top off the evening, upon returning to our stateroom, a note from the Remy staff thanking us for visiting Remy sat on my bed along with a box of truffles.

In addition to Remy’s main dining room, there are two private rooms for dining.  Chez Gusteau, inspired by the fictional restaurant in Ratatouille, is a private dining room that seats eight. Guests are served a multi-course menu while interacting with Chef Albert.  This private room features a rendering of the kitchen featured in Ratatouille.   The Wine Room is a glass-enclosed private room that houses over 900 bottles of wine including rare Old World wines.   

Remy offers two wine lists – a French list with 200 vintages, some of which may be ordered by the glass, and Remy’s Vault, an exclusive wine list with rare wines from all over the world.  Included in Remy’s Vault is a bottle of 1947 Château Cheval Blanc, considered one of the best vintages in the world and the vintage that the food critic in Ratatouille requested.  The bottle is yours for $25,000.  A wine pairing menu selected by the Chef Sommelier to complement the flavors of the tasting menu is also available for $99 per person.

Remy has a dress code: jacket, dress pants and shoes for men and cocktail dresses, pants suits or dressy skirts and blouses for women.  

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I am not one to take vacations where all I do is veg-out for a week.  But Jay was ready for such a vacation.  So where do we go late June for a week at most?  We wanted a relaxing, stress-free vacation where we could unwind and not feel we had to sight-see, shop, or do the usual when you are in a new destination.  Having never stayed at an all-inclusive, we decided that this is what we wanted: all-inclusive, adults-only, nice spa, a variety of dining options in a not-too-distant foreign destination.

I liked what I saw in the marketing materials for Excellence Group Luxury Resorts, checked guest reviews and got feedback from my colleagues to make sure this was the property for us.  We decided on Excellence Riviera Cancun as we have been visiting Mexico since the mid-80’s and haven’t been on a land-based vacation there in several years.   Excellence Riviera Cancun is located about 1/2 hour south of Cancun and 1/2 hour north of Playa Del Carmen.  We have stayed in Cancun many times and have enjoyed the hotels, dining, and beaches, but I find Cancun these days to to be more like a US city (think Miami) than a quaint, Mexican village.   We have visited Playa Del Carmen on day trips from Cancun and on excursions off the cruise ships that come into Playa Del Carmen for a port day and always found this sleepy, little fishing village worth a visit for a taste of a more “authentic” Mexico.
The “must do” activities for a first-time visitor to this area, including the Mayan ruins at Tulum and the ecological water parks at  Xcaret and Xel-ha, will not be on our schedule – “been there, done that”.     We figured we would rent a car for one day and drive up to Cancun for lunch then down to Playa Del Carmen for a quick  tour of the village.    Otherwise, we would just veg-out at our resort and enjoy the facilities and the restaurants.
Excellence Riviera Cancun is gorgeous, romantic, and luxurious.  We stayed in The Excellence Club, a section of  the resort that offered extra amenities including  a private beach and pool, club lounge with food and bar service, internet access and club concierge.   Our suite, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, was beautifullly decorated with lots of marble, a four-poster king-size bed, all marble bath including twin vanities, separate shower, and whirlpool tub.  Must not forget the outdoor jacuzzi (remember the bubble bath, or like us, you’ll pay big bucks for a small bottle at the spa).   And the mini-bar stocked daily with snacks and wine, beer, soda and juices.
Early in the week, we spent our days at one of the six pools that meander throughout the resort.    There are plenty of rafts for those who want to float on the water, and there are a few hammocks for singles and couples that stretch across the pools.  The beach is gorgeous – soft white sand, single and double daybeds with floating white curtains, staff stopping by to ask if we’d like anothe pina colada, margarita – you get the picture.
Wining and dining are two of our favorite past times, so we had to try all the restaurants.  Not an easy thing to do considering there are eight full-service resturants and ten bars.  The restaurants do not accept reservations, but most are near the Martini Bar which sits prominently in the center of the public space. With the Martini Bar being open air and offering just about any drink you would want, not too many folks seemed to mind if they had to wait a bit for a table.  Dining choices are the Agave which specializes in Mexican food, the Barcelona (Mediterranean), Toscana (Italian), Oregano (pizza), The Lobster House (lobster and seafood), Spice (Asian), The Grille (Steak House) and Chez Isabelle (French).  Our favorvites were Agave, Spice and  The Lobster House.   Although some couples loved Chez Isabelle, I found the service superb, but the food was not that special.  Maybe my expectations were too high; I just didn’t find the food that “gourmet French”.  I didn’t enjoy the food at Toscana either, and I didn’t think the pizza at Oregano was very good.  But others enjoyed these restaurants and returned to them for a second night of dining in some instances.
There is also 24-hour room service, a Cuban cigar store and bar, pool bars, several lounges, and an open-air theater.  The evening entertainment centered around the open-air theater which included a different show each night: Caribbean, Mexican, magic, Michael Jackson – The Legend (actually quite entertaining), jazz, and a circus show with cirque-style performers.   Daytime activities, beyond lounging at the beach and pool, included water and beach volley ball, kayaking, bocce ball, archery, soccer, bingo, water aerobics, tennis, dance lessons, Texas hold-em, and I could go on …   We did attend a wine tasting of Mexican wines which was educational and fun.   I plan to write a separate blog just on this tasting as Mexico does have a long and interesting history of wine making.  It was interesting to learn that Excellence serves mostly Chilean rather than Mexican wine as its house wines because the taxes on Mexican wine make it too expensive for even the resort to buy it in large quantity.
Ahhh, the spa.  A visit to the spa was one of the few “activities” we did during the week.  First, it is gorgeous, at the edge of one of the pools with an entrance that is magical – an all-white structure with white, flowing curtains that exuberates calm the moment you walk (or swim) toward it.  The Couples Massage – think candles, incense, soft music, Swedish massage, followed by strawberries and champagne – was a highlight of the week.
Our other highlight was our afternoon in Playa Del Carmen.  How it has grown since we last visited!  It is no longer the sleepy little fishing village that we remembered.   Despite a few new hotels and condos, it still has that “Mexican” feel that we love and didn’t experience at our resort.  A number of blocks on Quinta Avenida — also known as Fifth Avenue – have expanded to include a mix of the usual Mexican open-stall style stores with an influx of international restaurants, mostly Italian and Mediterrean, but also Mexican, including one that specializes in Maya-style cuisine.  If we could have stayed for dinner, that would have been our restaurant of choice.  But after passing more restaurants, cigar bars, wine bar and shops, we headed back to our resort.
So, what’s my assessment of our very first all-inclusive experience?   While we needed a few days of just “vegging”, we thought seven days were too long a time to be in an isolated resort.    Plus the “all-inclusive” aspect is not important to us because we do not drink that many cocktails.   We drink wine with dinner, so several nights we purchased wine by the bottle rather than just drink the house wines.  For me, a three-night stay at a resort like this, followed by four or so nights in a town like Playa Del Carmen, would be perfect.  That way, we get total relaxation for a few days then we experience the culture, the food, and the people of the country we are visiting.
Who is the perfect guest at Excellence Riviera Cancun?
(1) honeymooners – this resort is the perfect setting for a honeymoon.  It is so romantic – honeymooners and those celebrating anniversaries are greeted by a huge heart made of rose petals on their table when they arrive for dinner at Chez Iasabelle, door fronts identify those celebrating honeymoons and anniversaries, the entire resort just exudes romance by its design and the actions of the staff.   The staff, by the way, were phenomenal.  Everyone was friendly, had a smile on his/her face and simply could not do enough for you.  This is a well-managed resort and it shows.
(2) those who prefer to not have to pay ala carte for food and drinks
(3) those who want to just veg-out at a beautiful, well-run resort.  If you enjoy a full week of this sort of experience or more (we met folks who were staying two weeks plus several couples who had returned for their second or third stay),  Excellence Riviera Cancun is perfect for you.  We will return, not for  a week, but definitely in conjunction with a stay in Playa Del Carmen.
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Wine and food usually play a huge part in my personal travel planning.   Which wineries are near the ports or cities we are visiting?   What grape varieties should we be looking for?  Is there a must-visit restaurant for dining?   The number one travel destination on my “travel bucket list”, however, does not have a single vineyard or restaurant within hundreds of miles of its borders.  A cruise to Antarctica — the “White Continent and the highest, coldest, windiest, driest, cleanest and one of the most remote places on earth – is number one on my travel bucket list.     

 This will be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.  My Antarctica adventure will begin with a flight to either Santiago, Chile or Buenos Aires, Argentina, so if I had plenty of travel time, I could add on a pre- or post-cruise adventure to some South American vineyards.   But Antarctica will be the focal point of this trip – sail date to be determined.

Cruising in Antarctica gives you the opportunity to see abundant wildlife, including whales, 45 species of birds, Weddell and fur seals, and, of course, my favorite, the penguins.  Seven of the 17 species of penguin can be found in Antarctica!  Imagine thousands of Emperor penguins, hilariously awkward on ice, surrounding you as you walk the beach or penguins swimming around you as you kayak around the icebergs.

Should you want to join me, these are the factors to consider as the Antarctica cruising season is very short – about five months.  The season begins in November which is early summer in Antarctica.  The ice begins to melt & the birds, especially the penguins, are courting and mating in November.  December and January are the height of summer with warmer temperatures and up to 20 hours of sunlight each day. Penguins are hatching their eggs and feeding their chicks.  February and March are late summer when whale-watching is at its best.  Plus penguin chicks are beginning to become more independent and are beginning to fly and adult penguins are ashore molting.  Late season cruises (from mid-February on) are less-crowded & less expensive, but the later you cruise, the less wildlife you will encounter as wildlife is now heading out to sea.

Big ship or small ship?  The smaller ships will have zodiacs to take you on expeditions in the water and on land during the day.  Some of the large cruise ships sail near Antarctica, but you do not set foot on the continent.  The closest you come to actually seeing the real Antarctica is by taking a shore excursion that includes a flight over the continent.  These flights, however, are often cancelled because of bad weather, so keep this in mind when selecting your Antarctica adventure.

An Antarctica cruise talks a big commitment in terms of both the cost and the time needed to visit the continent.  From the US, most travelers will take an overnight flight to Santiago, Chile, stay a night or two in Santiago, then fly to Ushuaia, Argentina.  Ushuaia is the southern-most city in the world and the starting point for most Antarctica cruises. 

From this most southern tip of South America, you pass Cape Horn and across the spectacular Drake Passage on the way to the Antarctica Peninsula.  Depending on ship and itinerary, you may visit one or more of these South Shetland Islands before reaching the Antarctica Peninsula: Elephant Island, Deception Island, Half Moon Island, and Yankee Harbor.

Then onto the Antarctic Peninsula and possible expeditions by zodiac to Paradise Bay, Lemaitre Channel, Petermann Island, Neko Harbor, Port Lockroy, Wilhemina Bay, and Brown Bluff.      

Some Antarctica cruises will depart from Buenos Aires, Argentina and include stopovers in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and/or the South Orkney Islands before sailing on to Antarctica.

This is one destination that takes a lot of research and planning.  I’m working on my dream Antarctica cruise and am ready to make your dream Antarctica adventure come true, too.  Let’s pack the long-johns and a few bottles of Chilean or Argentinean wine and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

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Whether you are a novice or a connoisseur of fine wines, join me on a fabulous wine cruise aboard one of Celebrity’s most loved cruise ships.  Celebrity Cruises has several sailings in 2011 or 2012 with wine as the central-theme and I have group space !!    

On-board offerings (fees may apply) include specialty wine, champagne, sparkling wine, and port tastings; food and wine pairings; wine lectures by a winemaker; Connoisseur Wine Dinner where French and California wines are paired to the best of the Pacific Coast; the popular Riedel® Comparative Wine Crystal Workshop where you learn how the shape of a wine glass affects the flavors on the palate; and many more on-board fun events. 

Some of the wine-related shore excursions that have been announced (more to come) include:  Monterey Wine Tasting and Carmel Mission; Grape Fermentation – visits to several wineries in southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia; Butchart Gardens, Wine & Chocolate in Victoria, British Columbia; Napa Wine Enthusiast – visits to Beringer, St. Supéry, and Castello di Amorosa wineries, plus lunch at The Wine Spectator’s  Greystone Restaurant; Taste of Sonoma – visits to Benzinger, Glen Ellen, and Kendall Jackson Wine Center, and Chateau St. Jean; Woodenville Wine Country (near Seattle) with visits to Columbia Winery and Chateau Ste. Michelle.

 If you will be sailing with friends or family not sharing your passion for wine, regular shore excursions are offered including the spectacular Pacific coastline via the famous 17-mile drive with a stop in Carmel ; San Francisco City Tour with Dim Sum Lunch; Sausalito and Muir Woods; Future of Flight and Boeing Factory Tour; golf at Chamber Bay Golf Course in Seattle; and much more.

Want to see Alaska pre-or post-cruise?  Some wine cruises can be combined with an Alaska sailing.   So contact your wine-loving friends, pack your bags, and join me for a fun, educational and relaxing tour of the Pacific Coast wine country.   Contact me for sail dates, itineraries, cruise pricing, more information.  

BTW – I was on Celebrity’s April, 2007, wine cruise from San Francisco to Vancouver and wrote a day-by-day journal of my experience.  Let me know if you would like a copy.

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Combining a vacation with volunteer work in a developing country in Africa, South America or Asia has been popular for years with travelers who want to give back while immersing themselves in a local culture.  In the past, you usually had to hook up with a non-profit organization, maybe a local college or university that was advertising a volunteer trip.  Today, voluntourism opportunities abound – just google “voluntourism” for websites and blogs dedicated to this type of travel experience.  One of the best is http://www.voluntourism.org .

Cruise lines are getting into voluntourism, although on a very limited basis.  Most port visits are 6 – 8 hours in length, so a voluntourism project will probably be in the 3 – 5 hour range.  Some critics say this is not voluntourism and you cannot accomplish anything in such a short time period.  But I think it may be a start. Cozumel, for instance, is a very popular port-of-call & many cruisers visit the island again and again on a Western Caribbean cruise.  Why not give up one beach day and do some good for the local residents?  You help them and you feel good about giving back to the local community.

Royal Caribbean recently announced a voluntarism program available on her newest mega-ship, Oasis of the Seas.  The first projects being offered are in Cozumel and one is “Voluntarism: The Mexican Red Cross Landscaping Project”.  The $50 being charged each volunteer for this four-hour project helps pay for landscaping materials and transportation costs to the work site, plus a portion of the $50 is donated to the Cozumel Chapter of the Mexican Red Cross.  Royal Caribbean will soon have projects in the ports of St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands and Labadee, Haiti as well.

Crystal Cruises will be offering “voluntour” excursions beginning in 2011 with Crystal paying the tab for each guest to participate in one voluntour excursion on every itinerary.  Voluntour excursions planned are neighborhood clean-ups in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; local school improvement projects in Guayaquil, Ecuador; and Habitat for Humanity work in Cape Town, South Africa.

Celebrity, Cruise West, Holland America, and Lindblad Expeditions also promote voluntourism during their sailings.    If these programs prove to be successful, additional cruise lines are likely to begin to promote voluntourism.  Critics can say a few hours out of one’s vacation is not a lot of time, but think of the positive impact thousands of cruisers participating week after week will have in these ports-of-call.

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champagne glasses with champagne insideCruiseOne is one of just 75 worldwide travel agencies honored as top luxury travel specialist at Crystal Cruises 20th annual Sales Achievement Gala this week.  That’s exciting news for us as Crystal is a perfect fit for so many of our clients.

Crystal Wine and Food Festival sailings bring world-renowned chefs and wine experts aboard Crystal ships for special theme cruises.  Wine and food pairings, wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and guest chefs preparing multi-course dinners are all part of these special wine and culinary themed cruises.

Three Wine and Food Festival sailings remain for the year: a 12-night sailing departing September 5, 2010, from Istanbul to Barcelona; a 12-night sailing departing September 17, 2010, from Barcelona to Venice; and a 9-night sailing, round-trip Lisbon, departing November 11, 2010.

These are just a few of the chefs and wine experts scheduled to be on one of these sailings:

Michael Mina – He started Mina Group with partner Andre Agassi, opening 11 concept restaurants including his Michelin 2-star Michael Mina in San Francisco, the Stonehill Tavern in Dana Point, Seablue in Vegas and Atlantic City, Bourbon Steak in Detroit, Miami and Scottsdale, and Nemi in Mexico City, among others.

Victoria Ordonez – Her pioneering Spanish wine family is the largest exporter of Spanish wines to the United States.

Tony Abou-Ganim – A current Iron Chef America competitor with Mario Batali, Abou-Ganim is also the National Ambassador of the U.S. Bartenders Guild.

Dieter Koschina – Koschina is the chef at Portugal’s only Michelin 2-star restaurant, Vila Joya.

Dewey Markham – Director of the School L’Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, Markham has taught about wine at the Culinary Institute of America.

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man and woman on deck of cruise shipEvery travel adventure, whether it’s a land tour or a cruise, offers opportunities for new gastronomic experiences.  With the popularity of Baltic Sea cruises, I was not surprised to receive a call recently from one of my clients. She excitedly said that she wondered if she and her husband and their travel companions might be able to dine at noma while their cruise ship is docked in Copenhagen.

Well, why not (unless it’s a Sunday or Monday night – noma is closed those nights). Isn’t this what traveling to faraway places is all about?  So here’s the low-down on noma:

Noma is ranked 2010’s #1 restaurant on the S. Pelegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.   Located on the waterfront in a newly renovated 250-year-old warehouse, The North Atlantic Wharf Building, noma opened in 2003.   Chef René Redzepi is an alumnus of three 3-Michelin restaurants, including the highly-acclaimed French Laundry in Napa Valley.

The food, described as Nordic gourmet cuisine, earns high reviews from diners.    Visit noma’s website at https://www.noma.dk for a look at the menu and to make reservations.  Currently, requests for reservations are being taken for dates through October 31, 2010.

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passport pages with stamps from different placesWhat’s the status of your passport?  If you need to renew within the next six months or so, or you’ve been thinking of adding additional pages to your current passport, do not wait another day.

The State Department recently announced that passport fees would go into effect as of July 13.  New fees are pretty steep – new passports for adults (over 16) will cost $135 (that’s a 32% increase over the old fee), renewals $110 (also a 32% increase in the fee), and a whopping $82 for additional pages to be added to your current passport.  In the past, these extra pages were added free of charge, so frequent travelers will be hit with this new fee

All the information you need is at http://travel.state.gov/passport .  If you are applying for a new passport, click on “Apply for Passport”, then “Where to Apply in US” & you can search by zip code, state, or state/city for the location closest to you that can accept applications.    Renewals and the addition of pages are easy to do by mail.

I just renewed my passport in January and am set for the next ten years.   So when I plan my next trip, there will be no hassles with expediting my passport renewal.  Why not double-check your expiration date right now & apply for a renewal so you will be ready to join me on my next culinary adventure or wine cruise.

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