Traveling with Abercrombie & Kent, we enjoyed an Egypt and The Nile Luxury Small Group Journey that included a significant amount of time on land in addition to a Nile River cruise. Extending that epic adventure, an A&K Signature Series Journey took us into Jordan to visit the enchanting land of Petra, Wadi Rum and more. Those two lifetime quality experiences were on the heels of an Abercrombie & Kent Connections Small Group river cruise that was bookended by lovely hotels before and after. In a recent move to improve that already stellar Connections product, A&K has made some significant changes of particular interest to those considering a luxury land travel experience that represents outstanding value. Those changes also add up to a new class of travel: Boutique Luxury.
The Connections base elements are the same. Small groups of no more than 24 travelers with first class A&K service. A Resident Tour Director, with the group every step of the way, has lived in the area for decades if not their entire life. Different is terminology that now includes “Boutique” as a result of focusing land stays on smaller and/or family owned hotels. The Boutique luxury move promises properties set in fun, interesting neighborhoods where A&K travelers will see more locals and less tourists. Those hotels might be located in historic buildings that include converted abbeys or monasteries. Dining happens in local restaurants favored by locals. The Boutique focus extends to the experience as well, connecting A&K travelers to locals, their cities and how they live everyday life. 2017 also brings a number of new destinations for Abercrombie & Kent Boutique Connections.
“Sightseeing is not just looking, but experiencing, gaining deeper insight into the culture and having an authentic encounter ” – A&K President Phil Otterson.
For 2017, Abercrombie & Kent expanding the Connections portfolio to feature 12 new journeys such as cultural explorations of lesser-visited regions of Europe including Latvia & Lithuania, Cornwall & the Cotswolds, Burgundy & Loire Valley and Sicily & Puglia. Active adventures in Iceland, including a new Family journey, complete the offerings.
Boutique Luxury Connections can range from introducing guests to the crafts and produce markets where locals gather, such as the Mercato Centrale in Florence, to bringing to life a locale’s culture and history, such as a private tour of Badminton House, the country estate of the Duke and Duchess of Beaufort. Guests may sample the local flavors of Burgundy’s most famous white wines, meet the brewer of a family-run Bavarian brewery, or try their hand at Icelandic fishing and let a chef prepare their catch for dinner. Join an Estonian sculptor for a master class at his gallery work or enjoy private performances with local musicians such as an exclusive violin concert at the Salzburg Museum. You get the idea: Boutique Luxury.
A quick look at 2017: Connections Boutique Small Group Journeys provides further definition:
The Baltics & Helsinki – Visit three UNESCO World Heritage sites and tour the Rundāl Palace, an architectural gem. Explore Riga’s National Opera House during an exclusive backstage visit. Enjoy Nordic walking and a Finnish sauna. Accommodations include a historic hotel opposite Helsinki’s Esplanade Park and a hotel in Tallinn’s Old Town, decorated in favorite pieces from the owner’s Italian art collection. 11 days from $4,695.
Bohemia & Bavaria: Munich, Salzburg & Prague – Explore the Bavarian Alps, including Ludwig II’s Neuschwanstein Castle and Oberammergau. Discover the region’s World War II history, paying visits to Hitler’s wartime getaway, the new Documentation Centre in Munich and the Mathausen Concentration Camp Memorial. Accommodations include a Benedictine abbey set in the Salzkammergut lake district and a former 16th-century Jesuit abbey in old Cesky Krumlov. 10 days from $4,495
Britain: Cornwall, Wales & the Cotswolds – Stroll the streets of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its Georgian architecture and Roman baths. Accommodations include a 12th-century former monastery in Coventry’s countryside, a stylish Victorian-era townhouse in buzzy South Kensington, and a reimagined historic home just outside the gates of Windsor Castle. 10 days from $5,995
Sicily, Puglia & the Amalfi Coast – Savor a private tasting with a cheesemaker and a cooking class with a Puglian chef. Step back in time as you explore Sicily’s incredible Greek and Roman ruins and the mountain-carved city of Matera. Visit — and sleep in — several UNESCO World Heritage sites. 11 days from $6,595
Iceland: Geysers & Glaciers – Drive on Europe’s second largest glacier before descending into man-made ice tunnels. Drop into an extinct volcano. Cruise the northern coast to spot myriad whale species. Accommodations include an eco-friendly hotel with geothermal baths, a historic landmark next to Parliament and Reykjavík Cathedral and a modern wilderness lodge. 11 days from $8,995
Classic China – Discover the capital of Beijing, ancient Xian and spectacular Shanghai, with stays in a curated collection of modern high-design hotels. Walk atop the less-visited, well-preserved Mutianyu section of the Great Wall. View the incredible Terra Cotta Warriors with an archaeologist. Take a walking tour with a local historian along the Bund in Shanghai. 9 days priced from $3,995
Iceland: A Family Journey – Explore by mountain bike and Super Jeep, and swim in natural geothermal pools. Watch a craftsman fashion traditional knives as the Vikings once did. Drive atop the Langjökull Ice Cap. Ride native Icelandic horses along a black sand beach. 11 days from $8,995; child savings of $400 for children under 12.
Luxury Family Travel With A Purpose, On Sale
Speaking of Family Travel, for a limited time, guests can book the December 13 departure of Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands and save 25% on suites (Cabin Categories 4 & 5). Additionally, the first child saves 50% and the second child sails completely FREE.
The 15-night itinerary offers a luxurious, panoramic expedition across the Southern Ocean, stopping at wildlife-rich South Georgia, the unspoiled Falklands and the vast, wild shores of Antarctica.
Perfect for families, Abercrombie & Kent’s Young Explorers Program is designed for ages 7-18. The program includes dedicated Young Explorer’s Guides leading groups of kids and teens in engaging activities like squid dissection, Japanese fish printing and deep sea presentations with a marine biologist.
The Antarctica, South Georgia & the Falkland Islands journey takes travelers deep into the polar latitudes, led by a knowledgeable and captivating Expedition Team to experience a truly wild place that many never see in their lifetime. The deal is perfect for adventurous families looking for a remarkable destination holiday to end 2016.
Booking: Experience the world more intimately than ever before with Abercrombie & Kent’s Connections Boutique Group Journeys. Call 800.554.7094 to speak with an A&K Travel Consultant, or contact your travel professional to learn more. Visit their website and odds are live chat will be available too.
Another Luxury Travel Option From A&K? Luxury Villas Throughout Europe as we see in this new video