Cultural insights and a treasure trove of historic memories
One of the most wonderful opportunities presented by travel is the opportunity to experience, firsthand, destinations as defined by the people who reside there, past and present – and our takeaway is the joy of learning what the experience brings. From Amsterdam to Hawaii, Blenheim Palace to Hearst Castle, our journeys include diverse opportunities to meet present-day local residents in their homes – alongside opportunities to discover the past on visits to the homes where those who shaped history lived and were inspired, from writers to artists, royalty and newsmakers.
Sicily: In the video below, guests enjoy an exclusive, private visit to learn about life in a Sicilian palazzo when they dine in Siracusa at the family palazzo (dating back to the Middle Ages) of Barone Pietro di Beneventano, with wine tasting from the family vineyard.
England: Sometimes home visits step back in time, such as the visit to Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The 18th-century palace was built as a celebration of the English victory over Louis XIV’s French troops at the Battle of Blenheim. Since the early 1700s, it’s been a home to 11 Dukes of Marlborough (Churchill was the grandson of the seventh) – a private guide shares the story of the palace and its extensive grounds.
Amsterdam: Aboard our newest river cruise, Cruising the Dutch Waterways, we make a unique visit to a houseboat docked on the canals; guests have an opportunity to talk about life on the boat, regulations, and the small, well-designed living space.
Croatia: In 1991, there was an 87-day siege known as The Battle of Vukovar; this small town on the Danube was hit hard. The government encouraged people to rebuild and provided funding; homes with a red roof were supported by their government with this rebuild. On our river cruise The Black Sea to Budapest we visit these homes and hear stories about the war and how the families rebuilt their lives.
Morocco: On Magic of Morocco, we travel by 4×4 vehicle to an ancient Berber village then on to a Berber-style dinner in a desert camp outside of Marrakech. Ancient Berber villages preserve time-honored folkways and rituals – like the traditional Moroccan tea ceremony – that have survived for centuries. Guests have tea with the village chief and a crash-course in Berber culture, then it’s on to our desert camp, where dinner is served Berber-style under a tent with musical entertainment.
California: Hearst Castle in San Simeon is both enchanting and foreboding, an exercise in extravagance that must be seen to be believed. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst envisioned a retreat unlike any other – 165 rooms and 123 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways. A guided walking tour reveals behind-the-scenes stories of the inspiration for the never-finished mansion of publisher Charles Foster Kane in Orson Welles’ film classic, Citizen Kane.
Prince Edward Island: Discover the setting for one of literature’s greatest stories, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s masterpiece, Anne of Green Gables. On a visit to Green Gables Heritage Place, go inside “Anne’s” home to view rooms set up as they were described by the author, and stroll the grounds to learn more about rural life in the early 20th century.