Client Adventure: The Flayers Go Cruisin!

Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor:  Do it While You Can Enjoy it!
September 2012
From Stockholm, Sweden to Southampton, United Kingdom, Bill and Anne Flayer enjoyed a 13-day “cruise of a lifetime” withRegent and the Seven Seas!  This luxurious cruise included lavish dining, elegant accommodations, top-notch entertainment and fascinating tours throughout the North Baltic area.  The Flayers enjoyed all of the sights and sounds to the fullest extent without the distraction of cost because this trip was all inclusive!  After pinching pennies for years, the Flayers finally cut loose at the recommendation from David Williamson and Dustin Smith!  They finally felt comfortable to enjoy the fruits of their labor!  They were so grateful to have made this decision while they were healthy enough to enjoy it and are ecstatic to share some highlights of their adventure with you!
Bill and Anne began their adventure in Stockholm, Sweden.  They flew in early and spent two days there before the cruise began.  They went to the Vasa Museum, home of a 17thCentury, 64-gun warship that has been almost fully restored.  The ship sunk on her maiden voyage due to a miscalculation of buoyancy caused by the low salinity levels and her heavy cannons.  She was preserved underwater in the muck of the sea until being rediscovered in 1963.  She was then raised from the sea and treated for preservation.  Sweden then built a permanent museum around the ship for all to see!  Fascinating and impressive, this is something you have to see to believe if you ever travel to Stockholm!  They also enjoyed the Absolute Ice Bar in the Ice Hotel.  Everything from the walls to the glasses is made of ice!  Bill and Anne, snug in their parkas and gloves, enjoyed their drinks as they “cooled off” in the frosty structure.  So far, they were off to an excellent start to their adventure!
They soon found themselves in the beautiful St. Petersburg, Russia.  One of the highlights of this stop was Catherine’s Palace, which was the summer home of the Czars.  Catherine’s Palace has over-the-top elegance and vibrant color combined with detailed precision.  This was in sharp contrast to the “dorm room” like architecture from the communist era.  They also visited the Hermitage Museum which was extremely interesting for both of them.   They both took art history classes in college and were thrilled to see some of the pieces that they had studied  such as the “Madonna and Child,” by Leonardo Da Vinci.  Bill and Anne toured the city by boat through the maze of canals and bridges before leaving Russia. 
Three months in advance of their cruise, The Flayers initially signed up for all of their excursions.  They opted for the most physically rigorous events.  This became one of the highlights of their entire trip in Estonia.  They took a long bike ride which wound across the countryside through the Open Air Museum.  This is a living museum where historians dress in outfits to accurately portray the everyday life of that era.  The buildings are preserved as the appeared centuries ago.  Bill and Anne also took a long and rainy bike ride through the countryside of Visby, Sweden.  This ride was much more challenging but the price was worth the reward as they saw beautiful gardens and magnificent castles.  These bike adventures formed some of their fondest memories of the entire trip.
Bill and Anne also visited Copenhagen, Denmark.  Here they went to the famous amusement park, Tivoli Gardens.  They enjoyed rollercoasters, ferris wheels, and the beautiful scenery of the gardens.  From there, they went to Amalienborg Palace.  This is a courtyard enclosed with four giant palaces in which various kings and their families resided.  Bill and Anne watched as the Royal Guard marched through the streets and provided security to the Queen’s mansion.  They also saw the original statue of “The Little Mermaid,” from the tales of Hans Christian Anderson.  After Denmark, they headed back out to sea towards their next destination!
Amsterdam, Netherlands was next for Bill and Anne.  “Our favorite, wanna go back, too much to see was Amsterdam!”  -Anne.  First, they went to visit Anne Frank’s house, where they spent half of the day and was very memorable.  They went on another tour through the city to the countryside.  They regretted that they did not have time to experience the city on foot.  One of Anne’s favorite artists is Vincent Van Gogh, but there was no time to visit his museum.  There’s so much to do and so little time!  Next time, Bill and Anne!   
Their last stop before returning to the United Kingdom was in Bruges, Belgium.  Also known as the “Venice of the North,” this was Bill’s favorite stop.  They toured the city by canal tour to see the immaculately preserved medieval architecture, rich with history and culture.  Everything is painted with great detail using rich colors such as gold flake.  Through its preservation, Bruges provides a rare opportunity to experience history and has been designated as the European Capital of Culture.  This is a must see for anyone traveling to the area!  In addition, other ports of call were Helsinki, Finland, Warnemunde, Germany and Riga, Latvia.

Throughout their cruise, Bill and Anne made a lifetime of memories, met some great people, and had a fantastic time.  They want to share their story with you and if you have any questions about taking a cruise or the North Baltic area, please do not hesitate to ask at  The Flayers had such a great time but Bill is having “cruise withdrawals.”  So, they have already booked their next cruise from Buenos Aires in December, 2013!