As you leaf through Saks Fifth Avenue's 2006 Holiday Catalogue (online or in print) to search for just the right gift for whomever, you may find yourself reeling from the wealth of options: The New York City snow globe, the Armani tuxedo, the Chanel white Chronograph watch and the gold votive set are among 163 pages of 'em. Here's a tip: Skip to the good stuff! Indeed, this year, amidst the more typical holiday gifts, Saks is offering a Scandinavian cruise package aboard Seabourn (page 134).
The $24,000 package -- that's per person, based on double occupancy, and the old adage "if you have to ask..." applies -- is available for three 12-night sailings from Copenhagen to places like St. Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Tallinn. Departure dates are June 30, July 21 and August 11, 2007. And while anyone can simply go ahead and just book the cruise via more traditional methods (the price without the special Saks fixin's is $7,969 on Seabourn's Web site), it's just ... sexier ... this way.
Plus, what's pretty nifty is that the Saks package includes exclusive shore outings, including a trip by private jet from Helsinki to Finland's Lapland (have you ever wanted to learn how to herd reindeer?), three days of touring St. Petersburg's baroque masterpieces and a private evening gala in the opulent Catherine Palace, and an exclusive jaunt to Berlin from the port of Warnemunde.
Ultimately, though the Saks catalog offers a nifty way to give a hint, the trip really is nothing but a big ol' gimmick and you are better off booking this cruise a la carte through more traditional avenues. After we waited on hold at "Saks First" for seven and one-half minutes (listening, inexplicably, to Foreigner's "Waiting for A Girl Like You" -- we'd have expected a nice Bach tune from a store so illustrious), we were told that staffers there were still searching for an answer to my questions, which were: Was the air first class? And what was the cabin category?
A travel agent could have answered those questions in a New York minute.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor
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Saks Fifth Avenue Spotlights Seabourn's Cruises
November 7, 2006