Here is a major travel firm that covers the world with land tours and many integrated with a cruise component, some as short as 3 nights and on up to 2 weeks and a bit more. Overseas Adventure Travel (O.A.T.) has been in business for over 40 years and is part of Grand Circle Travel, so there may be overlapping bookings from both sources. The multitude of O.A.T. itineraries are highly creative, and often they are land tours only.
Because there are so many choices, numerous ships are involved, some owned by Grand Circle Cruise Line, others chartered by Grand Circle or Overseas Adventure Travel, and in two cases, ships that also carry passengers who are not booked through O.A.T. or Grand Circle. These are cruise tours that include the Chilean fjords and the Yangtze River portion of a much longer China/Tibet cruise tour.
Americans, mostly 50+ and active. Levels of activities are noted with every departure — most cruise tours rate 2 on a scale of 1 to 6, but overall they range from 1 to 4 in terms of level of how active they are.
$ to $$$ — A wide range of rates depends on the ship involved, with most moderately priced. Singles are well catered for, and often there is no single supplement, and if there is, it is a smallish extra charge. Passengers who wish to share can apply for a roommate. Every cruise tour has a chart that includes the availability of single accommodations.
O.A.T. offers a huge range of small-ship cruises in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, Middle East, Central and South America, Egypt, China and Antarctica. Groups of no more than 25 go ashore with separate guides. There are simply too many choices, especially in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, to list them all here. Where the ship is not specifically named, the number passengers carried is mentioned.
Mediterranean: 16 days from Athens (Piraeus) to six Aegean Islands and Ephesus (Turkey); 16 days Dalmatian Coast, Albania and Greek Islands, both aboard Grand Circle’s 50-passenger ATHENA. Other regional itineraries include Portugal, Spain, France, Italy (including Sicily), Malta, Adriatic ports, and Cyprus.
Northern Europe: 15 days England, Wales (3 ports), Ireland, Northern Island, and Scotland (5 ports including three isles) aboard the 98-passenger CORINTHIAN operated by Grand Circle Cruise Line. Additional cruises feature the Baltic ports, north of Norway and Finland, and Iceland.
Egypt: 15-day cruise-tour includes Cairo and the Pyramids, a 5-night Nile cruise from Karnak to Aswan aboard the privately-chartered 14-passenger ASIYA river yacht, and a flight to Abu Simbel.
Israel, Egypt & Jordan: 18-day land & cruise tour begins and ends in Israel with 7 nights aboard the 89-passenger CLIO operated by Grand Circle Cruise Line. The cruise leaves Israel (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Tiberias, Dead Sea) and sails for Egypt with calls that give access to Cairo and the pyramids, and after a Suez Canal transit, the Nile Valley (Karnak, Luxor) and Jordan, including Petra. Then return to Israel.
Panama: 12-day cruise tour of Panama, the country and the canal. Cruise transits the canal, taking 3 nights with stops along the way to view the canal operations, wildlife and local people, plus a land tour to visit indigenous people and Panama City. The privately-chartered catamaran 24-passenger M/S DISCOVERY is operated by Grand Circle Cruise Line.
South America: Itineraries with a cruise element include the Galapagos Islands, a 3- or 4-night cruise aboard an exclusively chartered yacht, plus Machu Picchu and Cusco; a 6-night Amazon and tributaries cruise aboard an exclusively chartered 24-passenger riverboat; and Patagonia and the Chilean fjords aboard the 90-passenger SKORPIOS III shared with other passengers, while ashore with a guide it is no more than 25 O.A.T. passengers.
Antarctica: 15-day cruise tour from Buenos Aires includes a 9-night expedition cruise aboard the 150-passenger OCEAN DIAMOND operated by Grand Circle Cruise Line sailing from Ushuaia. Groups of no more than 25 passengers go ashore at landings along the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands.
China and Tibet: A 22-day land tour uses air, coach, train and a 3-night downstream Yangtze River cruise. Riverboat (various used) holds from 208-378 passengers, and O.A.T. group never exceeds 25 when going ashore. Itinerary includes Beijing, Xian and the terra cotta warriors, Chengdu (panda sanctuary), Wuhan, 3 nights in Lhasa, Tibet and finishes up in Hong Kong.
It varies as so many different types of trips are involved, but it is safe to say most meals (all on ships), excursions and most tips are included in fares.
Overseas Adventure Travel and Grand Circle Line are long-time professionals in the travel business, and if you (as an American) prefer traveling with your own country folk, then you have found your operator. The firms offer worldwide itineraries so someone who wants a one-stop shop, here it is.
When to Go?
All itineraries include the best time of the year to go, and also fringe season when the weather may be hot, rainy or cold. Check the climate averages for wherever and whenever you are thinking of going.
Cabins, Public Rooms, Dining, Activities & Entertainment
With so many different ships used, but most under control of O.A.T. or Grand Circle Travel and Grand Circle Cruise Line, the ships will be of a high, if not necessarily a luxurious standard.
The Overseas Adventure Travel website has an abundance of resources to help visualize and understand the part of the world in which you are interested. If you are anxious to know your ship’s reputation, just Google the ship’s name and add “reviews.”
Along the Same Lines
Zegrahm Expeditions with its worldwide itineraries though with decidedly fewer departures.
Overseas Adventure Travel, 347 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210; 800-955-1925 for new bookings & information; 800-221-0814 for existing bookings; oattravel.com.
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