Deep-dive itin­er­ar­ies

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - REAL ESTATE -

Many of the lines are push­ing im­mer­sive itin­er­ar­ies in a big way. What does that look like?

Grand Cir­cle Cruise Line, which pi­o­neered the home­hosted lunch, en­cour­ages its pro­gram di­rec­tors to go off-script and talk about what’s go­ing on in the cul­ture and the coun­try, no mat­ter how con­tro­ver­sial. The idea is to give pas­sen­gers real in­sight into a peo­ple and a place.

At Crys­tal, im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ences in­clude cook­ing lessons in the houses of lo­cals, chats with artists, and din­ing at restau­rants you won’t find in travel guides.

Crys­tal’s cu­rated desti­na­tion pro­gram, new this year, al­lows trav­el­ers to fo­cus on five types of ex­pe­ri­ences: gas­tron­omy, cul­tural land­marks, ac­tive pro­gram­ming, concierge-de­signed pri­vate tours and per­sonal con­nec­tions with lo­cals, like a visit to a fam­ily’s home in a small vil­lage in Slo­vakia to learn first­hand about the coun­try’s cul­ture and cui­sine.

“It’s about ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a desti­na­tion rather than ob­serv­ing it,” says Wal­ter Lit­tle­john, vice pres­i­dent and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Crys­tal River Cruises. “Your va­ca­tion be­comes more au­then­tic.

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