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Delve Deep: Britain & Ireland (Winter) 2023-24

Delve deep: britain & ireland (winter) 2023-24.

tourhub | Topdeck | Delve Deep: Britain & Ireland (Winter) 2023-24 | TWULL3

17 Days Starting and ending in London

Visiting: London, Oxford, Liverpool, York, Edinburgh, Scottish Highlands, Glasgow, Belfast, Galway, Dublin, North Wales, Cardiff

Tour operator:

Guide type:.

Fully Guided

Group size:

Physical rating:, special diets catered:.

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:

Trip styles:.

Small Group , UK tours by Coach

Gardens & Nature Tours , History

Activities:

Walking , Whisky Tasting

This tour is no longer available

Tour overview.

(Most similar to this previous trip: Winter Britain & Ireland) TRIP VIBE = iconic sights and in-depth adventures with a local Trip Leader. 1. England. 2. The Republic of Ireland. 3. Northern Ireland. 4. Scotland. 5. Wales. Five INCREDIBLE nations all crammed into one teeny corner of the planet. And guess what? Each one is filled to the brim with its own unique cultures, languages, accents, foods and facts. Meaning? You’ll need to enlist the help of a pro to make sense of it all. Lucky for you, we’ve got a few of ‘em on hand. Ready to experience this OG Britain & Ireland trip in all its winter-y glory? We thought so.

See the Angel of the North

Glengoyne whisky distillery tour

Guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse

Walking tour of Dublin with Trip Leader

Photo stop at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch

Places You'll See

Cardiff castle.

tourhub | Topdeck | Delve Deep: Britain & Ireland (Winter) 2023-24 | TWULL3 | Route Map

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Day 1 : London (England)

Location: london, accommodation: hotel, meals included: dinner.

LDN. The perf place to kick off one mind-blowing wintertime adventure around Britain and Ireland’s best bits. First: greet your fellow explorers with a formal royal wave (or, you know, just say hi). Then: settle in for our first included group dinner. Over two weeks’ worth of frosty, foodie, fact-filled fun: we’re coming for ya.

Day 2 : London – Oxford – Liverpool

Location: london, oxford, liverpool, meals included: breakfast.

After that twelfth cuppa (when in England), it’s time to hit the road and get pumped for our first stop: Oxford. Get your real-life Harry Potter fix with a walking tour around the INCREDIBLE colleges. Soak up the views from Carfax Tower. And grab a pub lunch next to a toasty fireplace. Then: we’ll make tracks to Liverpool. Our Trip Leader will show us around town before we head off solo to tick off the likes of the Tate Liverpool, Maritime Museum, Albert Docks and The Beatles museum (of course). Dinner’s up to you this eve. Our suggestion? Warm your cockles with a steaming bowl of scouse stew – so good, Liverpudlians named their accent after it.

Day 3 : Liverpool – York

Location: liverpool, york.

Wave 'ta ra’ to Liverpool, today we’re off to the medieval walled city of York. Centuries of history. A ‘holy sh*t’-worthy cathedral. And some pretty awesome pubs. Don your beanie – we’ll get to know the who’s who of York on a walking tour, then the rest is up to you. Head up the tower of York Minster, visit the JORVIK Viking Centre or engage explorer mode and lose yourself along the Shambles and Snickelways. Later, track down The York Roast Co. and try the Yorkshire Roast wrap for dinner. It’s so wrong, it’s right.

Day 4 : York – Edinburgh (Scotland)

Location: york, edinburgh, meals included: breakfast, dinner.

No lies – today is a bit of a drive day. BUT we’ve got some awesome stops to make along the way. First up: spread your wings under the Angel of the North. Then: take a peek at what Roman life was like back in the year 122 with a stop along Hadrian’s Wall. Wander the barrack blocks of Housesteads Roman Fort and soak up the 360-views from the fortress, before we cross the border into bonnie Scotland. We’ll go all Hogwarts tonight with our included dinner in a traditional Edinburgh dining hall. Line those stomachs with a hearty feast before seeing if the city’s bar scene lives up to the hype.

Day 5 : Edinburgh

Location: edinburgh.

Kick things off today with a walking tour of this historic capital – gawp at mighty Edinburgh Castle, stroll the Royal Mile, get all the feels from Greyfriars Bobby’s statue and stare in awe at St Giles Cathedral. Then? The rest is 100% up to you! Check out the unique collection of Viking-age objects at the Museum of Scotland. Strap on your boots and take a hike up Arthur’s Seat. Step aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia. Explore the uber-cool Leith district. Or escape the weather with afternoon tea at Elephant House (where JK Rowling wrote THAT series, just sayin’). And tonight? There’s an opportunity to delve into Edinburgh’s dark-side on a ‘City of the Dead’ tour. You might need to pack a spare pair of underwear for this one.

Day 6 : Edinburgh

Didn’t get to everything? DW we’ve got your back – here’s a free day we prepared earlier. Zip up the puffer jacket and jump on a Potter-themed walking tour. Check out Liz’s official Scottish residence at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Explore the National and Portrait Galleries. Sip on Scotland’s national drink at The Scotch Whisky Experience. Or flash some plastic along George Street. If the weather is on your side, head up Calton Hill for alllll the sunset views over the city. Then gather the gang for a night on the Old Town – filled with quirky cocktail bars, cosy traditional pubs and craft beerhouses there’s something for everyone. Our fave? Hoot the Redeemer. Think: 1950s’ cocktail bar + arcade games = hours of entertainment!

Day 7 : Edinburgh – Scottish Highlands

Location: edinburgh, scottish highlands.

Breathtaking landscapes. Mysterious legends. Culture-rich traditions. And a lot of attractive red-heads. We must be in the Scottish Highlands. Blast Snow Patrol as we weave past more glens, mountains and lochs than you can shake a sporran at. Tonight, after our included dinner you’ll be free to explore or kick back and take it all in. Yep, you’re actually here. *Take note: the Scottish Highlands are BIG – and we’re unable to guarantee exact locations right now. So, sit tight and check your Trip Notes or Topdeck app for specific locations closer to take-off.

Day 8 : Scottish Highlands

Location: scottish highlands.

This is your day, your way. But we’ve got an included trip out to see ol’ Nessie if you’re keen. Hear alll the legends and see if you can spot the slippery sucker through the mist on an optional scenic cruise. Rather do your own spontaneous-this-is-what-I-came-here-for thing? No worries! There’s plenty to explore around here. Trust us. Tonight, gather your trip mates and seek out a historic pub for a wee dram and hearty Scottish fare. Trying haggis? Go on, we dare you.

Day 9 : Scottish Highlands – Glasgow

Location: scottish highlands, glasgow.

Fact: you can’t ‘do’ Scotland without whisky. So, we’ve organised an included tour of Glengoyne Distillery and a belly-warming tasting today. You can thank us later. Uncover the magic maturation process this liquid gold goes through – before having a sniff and swirl of the good stuff. Next: onwards to the home of COP26, mac ‘n’ cheese pie (try it) and Glasgow kisses (don’t try it). Our in-the-know Trip Leader will show us around the Merchants Quarter, Buchanan Street and George Square on a walking tour – pointing out the must-visits for our free time tonight. Then the rest is 100% up to you. We suggest grabbing a bite in Merchant City, where the 18th-century warehouses are chock-a-block with buzzing bars, restaurants and galleries.

Day 10 : Glasgow – Belfast (Northern Ireland)

Location: glasgow, belfast.

Rise and shine! We’re leaving Scotland behind and setting sail for the Emerald Isle. First up? Belfast. More than just four-leafed clovers and pots of gold – Northern Ireland’s capital is THE place to start delving deeper into the rich history of this island-country. Get a local insight into The Troubles on an included walking tour – visiting significant Protestant and Catholic estates and the Belfast Peace Wall. Tonight: head to the Cathedral Quarter to check out the bar scene. Or find a local haunt to warm your feet by the fire and sip on an Irish coffee. It’s like a hug for your insides.

Day 11 : Belfast – Galway (Republic Of Ireland)

Location: belfast, galway.

Limber up for a giant game of hopscotch – today we’ll skip and jump our way across the famous Giant’s Causeway. Think these huge hexagonal columns were created by volcanic activity 60 million years ago? Wrong! They’re actually remnants of a GIANT-sized, testosterone-filled stand-off. True story, just ask your expert Trip Leader. Next up: (London)Derry, where we’ll take a closer look at the Derry Murals and learn about the Battle of Bogside and Bloody Sunday. Later, get the run around Galway with our on-road expert before taking the night off to explore. Tonight, dinner is up to you. But we hear the oysters here are bloody good. Hot tip: McDonagh’s is THE place to go.

Day 12 : Galway

Location: galway.

It’s your day, your (Gal)way. You’ve got 24 hrs to delve deeper, so don’t waste a second. Need some suggestions? Set sail for the Aran Islands and rewind to a time of horse-drawn carts, ancient forts and locally spoken Gaelic. Or if you’re sticking around town – make sure you check out Wolfe Tone Bridge, the Spanish Arch, Lynch’s Castle and settle in for a shamrock tea at Cupán Tae. Tonight, dinner’s on us back at the hotel. Then? Find your Galway girl/boy at O’Connor’s Pub.

Day 13 : Galway – Dublin

Location: galway, dublin.

Next: the cobblestone streets of Temple Bar and historic watering holes of the capital. But first, glue your nose to the coach window as we take the scenic route across the Burren to the breathtaking Cliffs of Moher. You’re gonna want your camera charged for this one. We’ll stop in at Doolan (famous for surfing) and Lisdoonvarna (famous for matchmaking...) before rolling onto Dublin. Home of saints, scholars and U2 – tonight is yours to take on the buzzing local nightlife or learn some new moves at a traditional dance show.

Day 14 : Dublin

Location: dublin.

Slip on your gloves and down that cup of Joe – we’ll get our bearings around this historic city on a walking tour. Tick off Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin Castle, the General Post Office and Temple Bar. Then? It’s time to discover what’s so special about Ireland’s most iconic export at the Guinness Storehouse. With 7 floors, a sky-high Gravity Bar and a cold pint of the good stuff included – even the cider-drinkers will be impressed. Fact: you’ve got the rest of the afternoon to do whatever you want. Keep the buzz going and head to the Irish Whiskey Museum. Check out the Book of Kells at Trinity College. Take a tour of Kilmainham Gaol. Buy a claddagh ring for someone special along Drury Street. And don’t miss out on a cone of brown-bread ice cream at Murphey’s. Trust us, even in winter it’s a must.

Day 15 : Dublin – North Wales (Wales)

Location: dublin, north wales.

Land ahoy! Today, we’re ferrying over to wild Wales – a country that has collectively rejected the letters K,Q,V and Z. Speaking of letters – we’ll make a photo stop at the place with the longest name in Europe. Work on your pronunciation for a bit, then we’ll roll through the scenic countryside to Llangollen. A cute lil’ Welsh town on the riverfront – you’ll have the afternoon to check out the 13th- century ruins of Castell Dinas Brân, jump aboard the (seasonal) steam train, or take a walk along the canal. Tonight: gather the gang to seek out a local pub for some live music and a hearty feed along the riverfront. *Take note: North Wales is a BIG place – and we’re unable to guarantee exact locations right now. So, sit tight and check your Trip Notes or Topdeck app for specific locations closer to take-off.

Day 16 : North Wales – Cardif

Location: north wales, cardiff.

Today we’re gonna find out why so many English university students flock to study in Cardiff. Hint: it has something to do with the awesome bands that pass through. Check out the Castle on the Hill. Take a tour of Principality Stadium. Wander around Cardiff Bay. And tuck into a Welsh cake at Cardiff Central Market. At dinner tonight, we’re going to give this incredible adventure the send-off it deserves. Make sure you catch a home-grown act at the Welsh Club or sample a quirky cocktail at the Dead Canary (their menu is as whacky as the name).

Day 17 : Cardiff – London (England)

Location: cardiff, london.

Quick maths: this is our last day. But we’re sure as hell not done yet! En route to London, we’ll stop by the gobsmackingly beautiful Bath to take in the Abbey, Royal Crescent and Roman Baths. You’ve got free time to take a tour of the Baths and sample the healing (read: disgusting) spa water. Or treat yourself to a classy lunch at the Pump Rooms. Get a Bath Bun (or two) takeaway before we make tracks to our next stop: the mystical Stonehenge. One of the most iconic prehistoric sites in the world, take it alllllll in before piling back on the coach for the drive back to ol’ Blighty. Swap Insta handles and start planning that reunion trip – where to next?

What's Included

Air-conditioned minicoach

Tipping and Gratuities

Accommodation

As detailed in the itinerary

Free Wi-Fi at Accommodation

What's Not Included

Country Entry Visas

International Travel

Airport Transfers at Destination

Check out our Q&As

Are airport transfers included in this tour.

No they aren't

Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

Will passengers from another country be participating in the tour.

Yes from all over the world

Are all entrance fees included in the price?

Are children permitted to take part in the tour, will there be an escort accompanying this tour.

We will have our Tour Leader with you every day

Do you require a visa for this holiday?

This will vary from your country of origin. Please seek advice locally

Is the tour coach air conditioned?

Will i know the names and details of all the accommodation before i depart.

This will be provided on all documentation

What is the tipping policy?

Tipping is not required

Is there a supplement for solo travellers?

Single pricing is available on all tours

What is the maximum group size?

Are flights included in this tour, are the local guides on the tour english speaking.

All guides are English Speaking

Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

Curious? Open-minded? Same. Topdeckers are a mixed bunch, but that’s what makes us special. They come from all over the globe and are aged between 18 and 39. Like you, they’re looking to feel real. To experience more. To embrace the unknown. To grow and connect – without judgement.

Is there an age limit on Topdeck trips?

Yes. Our trips are specifically designed for those aged 18-39 years of age.

How long has the tour company been trading?

What policies are in place for covid-19.

https://www.topdeck.travel/resources/booking-flexibility

Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

We operate Single Share across across all touring styles and will match you with someone of the same gender

What documents will I receive before I travel?

E-Documentation will be sent

Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

Yes, we work dilligenltly with our partners to acheive this

Can I join the tour once it has departed?

Yes you can on European Tours

Reviews of this operator

Road trip usa.

"The tour leader and bus driver were exceptional at all times. The optional activities were great and catered to a lot of different people. The tour as a whole was great and a once in a lifetime opportunity. I would definitely book with Topdeck again."

Japan Highlights

“Incredible experience! I had done a tour with another company in Europe so thought I knew what to expect but was blown away with my Topdeck tour. Better accommodation, such a great group of people and our trip leader was incredible. Saw so much stuff I would have missed without him. Highly recommended!”

Jordan & Israel

“I felt so safe everywhere we went and would go back in a heartbeat if I could! Can't wait to make my way back to Egypt! I would recommend this to everyone, any doubt you have about Egypt or any of the Middle Eastern countries will be washed away as soon as you step off that plane!”

So Topdeck, you have better...

So Topdeck, you have better not of cancelled my trip that I paid over $6000, and now I can’t even login into my own account because of some 403 Error and need permission to gain access to my account. Get it sorted out because I am not flying all the way over to Lisbon Portugal to find my reservation at the hotel has been cancelled. This is absolutely unacceptable and disgraceful. You even got my flights wrong when I went to Tokyo back in 2017 and I ended up at the wrong airport. Topdeck get your act together and sort it out. And let me back into my own account.

Will cancel your trip 1...

Will cancel your trip 1 week beforehand

2 Finding available rooms...

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The staff at TourHub were very responsive to all of my questions and more! They provided me with all the information I needed to book our trip in a very short period of time. I am very impressed with this company and looking forward to our tour in 2025!

I have never been much of a tour person, but this company offers so many options! I love the fact that they consolidate many options so that you have all the adventures in one location.

Customer service was prompt in responding to any questions I had, and offering suggestions on tour options. Looking forward to our adventure in September!

I love that each destination and hotel accommodation is listed. Makes planning or even deciding to take the trip so much easier. Each time I emailed a question, I got a response right away. So far, I'm very impressed and looking forward to the trip that we booked for next year.

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Topdeck allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform topdeck, 60 days before departure.

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Topdeck requires a minimum deposit of 60 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

Cancellation Policy

We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of topdeck charges.

Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

At 29 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

At 7 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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Lighthouse Excursion

Photo of Lighthouse  Excursion - Ketchikan, AK, US. Keep your binoculars on hand. You never know what wildlife you might see!

Review Highlights

lighthouse-excursion-ketchikan photo pCnwewysdLt2iFs3EqeOOA

“ Lighthouses, Totems, Eagles, and Puns We went out for a great cruise with Captain Jeff , Rebekka, and Marcus. ” in 19 reviews

lighthouse-excursion-ketchikan photo LHxMZYXHE0aE5HKEnPbO6g

“ You will see Eagles, totem poles (from a distance since you are on a boat) and the Guard Island lighthouse. ” in 18 reviews

Russ F.

“ Kyle was very helpful and provided multiple glasses of hot chocolate that had the right amount of chocolate! ” in 25 reviews

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We are a Ketchikan, Alaska locally owned and operated sightseeing tour operation, featuring the Lighthouse, Totems & Eagles Excursion. …

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104 reviews

Photo of Jo L.

Great excursion. Captain Kelsey knows the area well. She pointed out eagles and their nests just after we got underway. It was interesting to hear about the history and geology of the area. Plenty of photo ops. The taste of Alaska, all locally sourced, was delicious! We even saw a humpback whale. We booked our excursion through our Holland America cruise. Capt Kelsey, her crew and bus drivers clearly enjoy their jobs. Thanks for a fun 3 hours!

Photo of Liliana G.

We did the lighthouse, totems, and eagles boat tour and it was great. Captain Kelsey, a 6th generation Alaskan, was very knowledgeable about the area and piloted our boat to several bald eagle nesting spots. She made sure you could see the sights regardless of where you were sitting on the boat. A great start to our Alaska adventure!

Photo of Candy T.

We were on the Lighthouse, Totems and Eagles excursion on 7/1. Ty and Beaux, the crew, were really nice and attended to everyone. Capt. Jeff had great narration of the local area, the sights, and pointing out wildlife. All three were good sports posing for a picture with my granddaughter's stuffed pup, Pepper. The snacks were good, better than some trips, and I bought some things to take home. I would recommend this excursion.

Photo of Cathy M.

We did the Lighthouse, Totems and Eagles excursion and it was a great easy going adventure. The crew: Captain Jeff, Nathan and Beaux were knowledgeable, friendly and very helpful making sure everyone was able to locate eagle nests, eagles and a few whales. Besides the cruise they also included a very delicious snack plate for everyone, hot chocolate and drinks, all complimentary with your tour. They even gave everyone a recipe for the salmon spread we ate. Yummy. I would go on this tour again, well worth the money. it was relaxing, low key and the crew really go out of their way to make it an enjoyable experience.

Photo of Gary L.

Awesome awesome excursion. If you're traveling to Ketchikan you should definitely do the Lighthouse, totems& Eagles excursion. Super nice crew.

topdeck tours 2023

See all photos from Gary L. for Lighthouse Excursion

Photo of Jeanette E.

This was an excursion that my husband booked for our NCL Cruise. It was a drizzly cool day (August) , but glad we were able to see several bald eagles, jumping salmon, and birds. My phone couldn't get good photos of the eagles, but I appreciated being that close to see them with binoculars. I live 2,700 miles away (no bald eagles there!) so this was truly an experience. We got to see totem poles and learn the meaning behind them, the light house, and learn about a place I never knew about. We were served a delightful tasting of local silver wild Alaska smoked salmon, wild lingonberry jam, salmon dip, kelp pickles and crackers. There's also local coffee available, various teas, and soda. Captain Jeff Karlson and his crew, Maddy and Alex were very hospitable. It was an amazing experience to be on the water, surrounded by nature, wild life, in a place I would never have thought to visit had it not been for the cruise. If you like the light lunch provided on the boat, you can purchase the salmon, jelly, and kelp in their gift shop. Along with other items to bring back home. It was nice to support local vendors rather than some big box store (there is actually a Walmart in Ketchikan!) Bummed that we weren't able to see a bear, but understandably enough this is not a zoo....This is wildlife so if you can see it great, if not then maybe on the next trip.

topdeck tours 2023

See all photos from Jeanette E. for Lighthouse Excursion

Photo of Karl H.

Capt. Jeff and his crew were so knowledgeable, interesting, and funny. They are truly stewards of the area and culture. We saw everything as advertised with the added sighting of two whales. I highly recommend this tour. It's absolutely worth the time and money.

Photo of Matt Y.

Even in the pouring rain, this was such a great tour! From the bus ride to the actual boat tour, the guides were knowledgeable and enthusiastic. As for the tour itself, it was lovely - great ride and great views. And although I was not expecting too much from the snack service, I really enjoyed it, especially the smoked salmon with lingenberry. We were especially lucky on this trip to see not only several bald eagles, but also a pod of playful orcas. All in all, I recommend this tour to anyone!

topdeck tours 2023

We took the Lighthouse, totems, and eagles excursion and we really enjoyed it. The captain was really great and she taught us how to spot eagles and showed us eagle nests. The deck hands were really cordial and welcoming and eager to help with sighting and food.

Photo of Erin T.

Pilot Jeff, Mads and Alex are so great! This was an education and relaxing boat ride! Upper deck as well as heated lower cabin with tables and benches as well as a walkout on the bow and viewing inner cabin. Many eagles and nests and we spied some juveniles being trained by their parents! June 9 2023 was sunny and no jacket needed! Mads and Alex served us great tasty snacks of kelp pickles, smoked salmon by a local company, crackers and salmon dip! We snagged some warm beanies, chocolate and purchased kelp pickles for delivery to our Utah home!excursion is well worth the price and time! Norwegian denies their passengers the ability to spend enough time in Ketchikan. It was either an excursion or 8 mile ride to the town, not both! We wished we would have gotten to see the great town, but we're grateful to see the totems, eagles the stag lighthouse and experience this great crew! We'd do it again!

topdeck tours 2023

See all photos from Erin T. for Lighthouse Excursion

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Duck dog owners unite: Crisfield wants you to help it set new world record with event

topdeck tours 2023

Round up your neighborhood golden retrievers and labrador retrievers for Duck Dogs, a dog-friendly event set to kick off in Crisfield, Maryland, in August.

Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming event, including when and where it will take place, which vendors will be on-deck and much more.

MARYLAND'S FAVORITE DOG BREEDS: Maryland loves dogs, but which breed is most popular? Meet the top pooch here and in US

When and where is Duck Dogs?

The city of Crisfield, Maryland, hosted the World’s Largest Rubber Duck event in 2023. Now, after taking inspiration from last year's event, the town has announced that this year’s world record will be for the most duck dogs.

Duck dogs, or hunting dogs, are canines that hunt alongside hunters. Golden retrievers, labrador retrievers and Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, all of which are invited to Crisfield's big event, are some of the most well-known duck dogs.

Duck Dogs will take place from Aug. 9-10 from 12 to 6 p.m. The event will stretch from the picturesque shores of American Legion Post #16 and Wellington Beach along Crisfield’s waterfront to the City Dock and the J. Millard Tawes Historical Museum.

GUIDE TO CHINCOTEAGUE PONY SWIM: Pony Penning 2024: Everything to know about Chincoteague's big Pony Swim and auction

What activities are in store at Duck Dogs?

This BIG Little Townfest will be a dog’s dream come true with special beach swims, pier jumping, talent contests, doggie art, boat rides to Janes Island beach or around the Crisfield waterfront, demonstrations and, to top it all off, a treat scavenger hunt.

Attendees will get to enjoy live music, food and drink concessions, free museum tours and additional family-friendly activities. There will also be an aerial photo taken each day around 3 p.m. to capture an image of all the dogs throughout town. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs and umbrellas.

MORE ON THE OCEAN CITY SINKHOLE: Ocean City sinkhole: How are they formed, and what can cause them?

Plenty of shady areas and water will be made available. Crisfield's official golden retriever Grand Marshal, Kona, expressed that "show dogs" may want to stay home in the air conditioning while thousands of "blue collar" dogs enjoy the sand and sunshine.

All the proceeds for this event will go to Friends of Crisfield and veterans/first responders with service dogs, including U.S. Kennels. Visit FriendsofCrisfield.com to see more information and to register for the event.

WORLD SKYDIVING DAY: Ocean City is seeking thrill seekers to help set a new skydiving record. All to know.

Olivia Minzola covers communities on the Lower Shore. Contact her with tips and story ideas at  [email protected] .

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How to Clean a Deck for the Season

Learn how to clean a deck and remove stains, including greasy spills, mildew, rust, and other grimy buildup.

Jessica Bennett is an editor, writer, and former digital assistant home editor at BHG.

topdeck tours 2023

How to Clean a Wood Deck

How to clean a composite deck, how often to clean a deck.

Decks play host to a wide range of outdoor activities during the warmer months. A season's worth of alfresco cooking, dining, and entertaining can easily dirty the surface with spots from grill grease , food or drink spills, soot from the firepit, and more. And because these spaces are exposed to the elements, they can naturally gather stains from dirt , leaves, tree sap, rusty furniture, and other grime throughout the year.

Deck stains can be difficult to remove, but with the right cleaning method and supplies , you can get your outdoor space looking as good as new. Keep in mind that the best deck stain remover will depend on the type of stain. Use the instructions below to learn how to clean a deck to restore your space for outdoor living .

Plan to clean stains on decks as soon as possible to prevent the mark from setting into the wood permanently. In general, it's best to avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your wood deck. Chlorine bleach, for example, breaks down the wood fibers and can result in permanent damage to your deck or harm to the surrounding environment. To maintain your wood deck's good looks, reapply sealer or stain about every one to two years. Use these cleaning methods to tackle some of the most common deck stains.

How to Clean Barbecue Stains

If your last backyard barbecue got messy, remove grease spots or saucy spills using a household dish detergent.

Step 1: Scrub the Stain. Mix dish detergent designed to cut through grease, such as Dawn Ultra Liquid Dish Soap with hot water. Using a stiff-bristled brush scrub the area.

Step 2: Rinse the Area. Use a dampened sponge to mop up the loosened grease. Rinse the area with a garden hose before it dries.

How to Clean Candle Wax

Clean up candle wax following these steps.

Step 1: Scrape Away Wax. To clear away wax drips from outdoor candles, first carefully scrape away as much residue as possible using a plastic card, putty knife, or similar tool that will not gouge the wood.

Step 2: Warm the Wax. Cover the area with plain paper (such as a brown paper bag) and use an iron set on low to gently warm the wax. The residue should lift away on the paper. Repeat until the wax is gone, replacing the paper as needed.

Alternatively, you can clean candle wax off a wood deck using mineral spirits. Saturate a rag and set it on the dried wax until it absorbs the residue, rubbing lightly if necessary.

How to Clean Green Algae or Moss

Spurred on by damp, dark conditions, algae and moss growth creates a slippery deck surface and can lead to wood rot or other permanent damage. These stains are difficult to remove and usually reappear once the roots are formed in the wood, so it's important to treat them right away.

Step 1: Mix Bleach Solution. Remove green algae or moss stains on wood decks using an oxygen bleach solution. Mix together 1 cup oxygen bleach, 1/2 cup borax, and 2 Tbsp. dish detergent in 1 gallon water.

Step 2: Scrub and Rinse. Scrub the stained areas with a brush dipped into the solution, then wait about 15 minutes before rinsing with a hose.

How to Clean Leaf Stains

When leaves accumulate on decks or porches, they can start to decompose and leave behind dark marks or silhouettes. You can avoid these stains by regularly clearing away leaves from your deck as they begin to fall.

Step 1: Scrub the Area. To remove leaf stains on wood decks, scrub the area with a solution of dish detergent and warm water.

Step 2: Let Sit, Scrub, and Rinse. Let the cleaning solution soak in for about 15 minutes before scrubbing again and rinsing with a hose.

For stubborn stains, try scrubbing with a solution of one cup oxygen bleach to one gallon of water, repeating as necessary until the stains disappear.

How to Clean Mold and Mildew

Mildew or mold is a common problem for decks in shady or damp areas, but regular cleaning can help keep it at bay. Some deck cleaners contain acids or chlorine, which can harm plants; check the label before using the product.

Step 1: Clean the Surface and Let Sit. Clean the surface with a commercial deck cleaner/brightener. If it is not in liquid form, mix the powder concentrate with the recommended amount of water and apply with a garden sprayer, brush, or roller. Let sit for a few minutes.

Step 2: Brush and Rinse. Brush briskly with a stiff brush or broom. Rinse with a garden hose .

How to Clean Rust on Your Deck

Rusty outdoor furniture can leave red-brown rings or marks on your deck.

Step 1: Spray Deck and Wipe. To remove rust stains, spray a 50-50 solution of water and distilled white vinegar on the stain and let sit for about 10 minutes before wiping clean with a cloth.

For stubborn stains, try using an oxalic acid cleaner following the manufacturer's instructions.

How to Clean Tannin Stains

Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found in many trees and plants. They can sometimes cause dark stains to appear on wood decks after rain draws tannins to the surface.

Step 1: Use Deck Cleaner. Remove the black streaks of tannin-rich woods with a specially formulated deck cleaner for tannin stains, following the manufacturer's instructions.

How to Clean Tree Sap on Your Deck

Tree sap can harden on the surface of your deck, creating stains that are difficult to remove.

Step 1: Soften the Sap. To soften the sticky residue, apply Murphy Oil Soap directly on the stain.

Step 2: Scrub and Rinse. Let sit for about 15 minutes, then scrub with a brush and rinse.

Composite decking is an engineered product that blends wood fibers with inorganic materials like plastic and bonding agents. Because it's not lumber, composite decking requires very little maintenance. The material never needs to be stained, sanded, or sealed. Composite decking is fade-resistant, stain-resistant, and moisture-resistant, which means there’s no mold, mildew, or rot.

The real benefit of a composite deck is that it doesn’t require much maintenance. All you need to do to clean composite decking is dab soapy water on the deck with a cloth. If there are any stains, you can use a toothbrush for a deeper clean. Avoid harsh chemicals and power washing when cleaning a composite deck. Simply sweep your deck with a soft-bristled brush.

A lot of things will affect how often you clean and maintain a deck . If you're prone to spill or make messes, you should prioritize these isolated, small clean-ups as the messes are made.

Do you need a full deck refresh? That depends on a lot of other factors. If you live in the suburbs or an urban area with fewer trees, you will need to clean less frequently. If you live under the canopy of trees, your deck will pick up dirt, leaves, bird droppings, and all the natural debris that comes from living with nature, and you'll want to tend to it more often.

The material of your decking boards makes a big difference, too. Composite decking boards will need less maintenance than wood decking. Other factors that affect your deck include your climate and how much natural light or shade falls on your deck. Deck maintenance should be added to your list of regular "home work."

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California Festivals

California holiday home tours.

Holiday Home Tours are challenging to produce, requiring many volunteers and months to plan and execute. They are done with love as people open their homes and hearts to help raise money for special people, programs and projects. These ticketed events are often the biggest fundraising effort for clubs or nonprofit organizations.

 November 2023

LA MESA : Annual Historic Home Tour Saturday, November 11, 2023, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.   Mediterranean to Modern Architecture in La Mesa Highlands. $40, lamesahistory.com

OJAI : Ojai Festival Home Look In November 11-12, 2023, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. $45 valid for both days - each house may be visited one time, ojaifestival.org The properties include: Smiley's House, Gwynne Cottage, Maison Ojai, Oak Creek Oasis

ORANGE / TUSTIN : Orange Jack & Jill Guild Holiday Home Tour November 17, 2023, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Includes three beautiful homes in Lemon Heights and Orange Park Acres. Each home features inspiring architecture, design and landscaping elements that reflect the beautiful and serene surroundings. All proceeds benefit CHOC Children's Hospital. $65 presale includes lunch, foundation.choc.org/guilds/jack-and-jill/

TEMECULA : Temecula 37th annual Holiday Home Tour November 18-19, 2023, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Includes Spanish Hacienda; Italian Villa; and French Garden Living. Plateau Vineyards, 20170 Sierra Soto Rd., Murrieta, CA, hosts the Marketplace shopping & vendors. $42, Bistro $21,  tvwc.com

FRESNO : Fresno La Comida Guild Home Tour, Tea & Boutique November 30-December 1, 2023, 1-4 p.m. lacomidaguild.org Thursday Evening Preview & Gala at The Fort begins at 4:30 p.m. with shopping at our boutique including a champagne reception and host bar, hors d�oeuvres, sit-down dinner and an exclusive tour of five beautiful Fresno area homes. Cost is approx. $150 | Friday Home Tour, Tea & Boutique Tea & Boutique open from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. with one of a kind items. Homes are open for viewing in a self-guided tour from 9- a.m.-4 p.m.

December 2023

AVALON : Holiday Open House at Mt. Ada December 1, 2023, 2-6 p.m. Tour the grand Wrigley home open only once a year to the public. Cookies, drinks and Santa Claus.   Presented by the Catalina Island Foundation, Catalina Island Company and Catalina Island Women's Forum. Approx. $5 per person ticket, catalinaislandfoundation.org   Must be 14 years or older to attend. Mt. Ada, 398 Wrigley Rd., Avalon CA 90704 (310)427-2450 (in the past there has been a $ Taxi running continuously 1:45-6:30 p.m. from the Tour Plaza to Mt. Ada)

HERMOSA BEACH : Hermosa Beach Sandpipers Holiday Homes Tour December 1-3, 2023, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Fri.&Sat.; 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sun. $, sandpipers.org

LONG BEACH : A Victorian Holiday Celebration at the Bembridge House December 1-12, 2023 (not confirmed), a historic home owned and operated by Long Beach Heritage. Magical display of decorations enhanced by docent-led  tours. Everyone is invited to attend the Bembridge House tours and enjoy the yummy cookies.  The Friday night tour is for adults only, because �Holiday Wassail� (wine) is served, along with light refreshments. Friday Night Parking - Please use the parking lot behind 927 Daisy Ave. The Daytime Tours 1-3:30 p.m. (Saturday, Sunday and Tuesdays), tickets cost $15 (children when accompanied by an adult are free). The ticket cost for the Nighttime adults-only Tour 6-7:30 p.m. tickets are $20, lbheritage.org

MOUNTAIN VIEW : Christmas at Our House December 1-2, 2023. On Friday guests enjoy a Boutique, Cookies and Coffee Cart, Champagne reception, Student Showcase Production and Christmas Gala. | Saturday 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. features Boutique Cookies and Coffee Cart, High Tea and Student Performers. sfhs.com

PASADENA : 56th Annual Holiday Look In Holiday Home Tour December 2-3, 2023,  9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. See 4 elegant homes decorated  for the holidays showcase beautiful gardens and the magnificent architecture embellished by the talent of the finest floral designers. Enjoy a feast for the eyes and ears as you leisurely stroll through the homes and gardens while docents point out interesting features and musicians provide holiday music in the background. Visit the free Holiday Look In Boutique w $45, pasadenaholidaylookin.org

PASADENA : Holiday Tour at Castle Green December 2, 2023, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.  125-year-old Castle Green, one of only two times each year that it's open to the public. Visit 25+ private condominiums, the Penthouse, and the iconic Bridge, as well as the ground floor that's decked in holiday finery. Built in 1898, the Castle was designed by architect Frederick I. Roehrig with influence of Moorish, Spanish, and Victorian elements and has turn of the century glamour and charm. Location: 99 S. Raymond Avenue Pasadena, CA  $60-70, castlegreen.com

LOS ANGELES : Grier Musser Museum Victorian Christmas House Tour Sunday, December 3, 2023, 1-4 p.m. Guided Tours and Refreshments provided. | Location: 403 S Bonnie Brae St. Los Angeles, California, CA Guided Tours start at 1 & 2:30 p.m. Admission: $15, $6 child, griermussermuseum.org 

REDLANDS : YMCA 56th annual Holiday Home Tour December 3, 2023, 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Event features 6 homes: Hopkins Home - Silverleaf Ct.; Krejci Home - Sunset Drive; Kavanaugh Home - Valle Vista Drive; Canada Home - Mariposa Drive; Miraflores Home ( University of Redlands) - Highland Ave.; and Raphael & Maeder Home - Parkwood Drive.  $40, or $90 patron ticket which includes champagne brunch at Citrone Restaurant & front of the line VIP acces,  ymcaeastvalley.org/events/hometour

RIO VISTA : Holiday Home Tour December 2, 2023, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. (held only on odd-numbered years) The program contains a map of seven festive and unique homes on the tour. The event is held in conjunction with the Rio Vista Museum Olde Tyme Holiday Faire, annual Christmas Tree Lighting at the end of Main St., followed by a lighted boat parade. Hosted by RioVision $25 general, $50 VIP, riovistavision.com | eventbrite.com

ROSSMOOR : Holiday Home Tour December 2, 2023, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Five beautifully decorated homes in an annual event produced by Rossmoor Woman's Club. Event is held first Saturday in December each year. $25, rossmoorwomansclub.com

SACRAMENTO : Sacramento Sacred Heart 50th annual Holiday Home Tour December 1-3, 2023, self-guided walking tour of five magnificent homes in Sacramento's Fabulous Forties neighborhood. Decorated for the holidays by top area interior designers and florists,  tour takes approx. two hours from start to finish. Friday 12-8 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. $40, $35 senior, sacredhearthometour.com

SANTA CLARA : Santa Clara Historic Home Tour December 1-2, 2023 2023 tour features Santa Clara Woman's Club Adobe and four private homes: an adobe circa 1790; Carpenter Gothic circa 1861; Queen Anne Cottage circa 1895; Spanish Eclectic circa 1933; and a Spanish Revival circa 1935. Decorated for the holidays, docents provide information about the house and the families who once lived there.. Check in starts at Peña Adobe. Ticket $25-35, sc-hometour.com On December 3, 2023 Harris Lass House Museum at 1889 Market Street in Santa Clara will be open for a free event, no tickets needed. Visitors can tour the house and take photos with Santa! 

WOODLAND : Dickens in the Valley Holiday Home Tour Saturday, December 2, 2023, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Five  beautiful Woodland homes decorated in Holiday Splendor:  1813 Estrada Drive,  1440 Blanchard Drive, 15475 Country Road 97A,  18202 Gadwall Street, and 1404 Midway Drive. Event sponsored by Friends of Meals on Wheels as a fundraiser. $30-40, eventbrite.com

LOOMIS : Holiday Home Tour December 9, 2023, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Select Loomis, Granite Bay, Rocklin & Roseville homes are on tour. Boutique is 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Pick up your wristband at H. Clarke Powers School and start tour of decorated homes in the local area. $, This event is organized by the Loomis Basin Education Foundation. Add on experiences include $25 Luncheon and $100 VIP reception with private evening tour. $45 daytime tour, loomisholiday.com

ALPINE : Alpine Woman's Club Holiday Home Tour December 9, 2023, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. $35-40, alpinewomansclub.org

BALBOA : Balboa Island Holiday Home Tour December 10, 2023, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. $35 approx., balboaislandnb.org Tour 8 uniquely decorated Island homes in this pleasurable walking tour sponsored by Balboa Island Improvement Association.

SAN FRANCISCO :   The Victorian Alliance of San Francisco presents: Victorian Alliance Holiday Home Tours  December 10, 2023, 3-7 p.m. at Alamo Square neighborhood. Location: Hayes at Steiner San Francisco CA, 94117  $10-$50, tourvictorians.com   Tour  five glittering, lavishly-decorated  homes in the Alamo Square neighborhood, known for the city's most iconic Victorians. See the main floor principal rooms of each home, decorated in high-Victorian style as docents provide stories about the homes, their histories, and why they are decorated in certain ways.  Proceeds from the ticket sales will help the VASF, San Francisco's oldest all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization committed to the restoration and preservation of historically significant structures.   

RANCHO CUCAMONGA : Christmas House Inn  usually offers an Annual Open House (last year it was Dec.11.2022) with two sessions. The popular wedding and special events venue  is open to the public but reservations go fast starting in mid-November. $15 last year, christmashouseinn.com

Past events

SAN FRANCISCO: Home Tour October  no 2023 info Historic Heights: 25 Years of Tradition elegant private residences steeped in art and history and exquisite architecture in Presidio Heights. This is a fundraiser for Junior League SF. $65-up, jlsf.org

SAN SIMEON: Hearst Castle Holiday Twilight tours will be available on select nights  - no new dates posted as of 10/17/23 $30-up, reservations 1-800-444-4445 hearstcastle.org/tour-hearst-castle/ daily-tours/ holiday-twilight-tour/ Wind your way through the grounds, Casa del Sol-guest house, and the grand social rooms of Casa Grande 

VISTA: Vista Holiday Home Tour was virtual in 2022. vistacommunityclinic.org  

Events are not guaranteed. It is your responsibility to confirm before going.

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All Europe Tours from Topdeck

32 topdeck trips through europe.

Get Social: Mega European Tour

Get Social: Mega European

  • €75 deposit on some dates

Delve Deep: Spain & Portugal Tour

Delve Deep: Spain & Portugal

"The tour was a great insight into Spain, Morocco and Portugal. Vincenzo knew how to have fun with the group and include everyone." Sarah, traveled in May 2018

Play & Pause: Epic European Tour

Play & Pause: Epic European

Get Social: Europe Express 2025-26 Tour

Get Social: Europe Express 2025-26

Get Social: Central & Eastern Europe Highlights Tour

Get Social: Central & Eastern Europe Highlights

"This insaaaane trip was one of a lifetime & I owe most of this to our tour guide Tim!" Chelsea, traveled in July 2017

Sail & Swim: Croatia (Moja Maja) 2025 Tour

Sail & Swim: Croatia (Moja Maja) 2025

Get Social: Northern & Eastern Europe Highlights Tour

Get Social: Northern & Eastern Europe Highlights

"Loved this trip! Would have liked to see more of Scandinavia but was a good intro to those countries." SamiFalconer, traveled in August 2022

Delve Deep: Greek Islands Tour

Delve Deep: Greek Islands

Play & Pause: Southeastern Europe Highlights Tour

Play & Pause: Southeastern Europe Highlights

"From making everyone feel welcome on day one, to very well informed tours of various places." James, traveled in May 2024

Play & Pause: Central Europe Highlights Tour

Play & Pause: Central Europe Highlights

Play & Pause: Britain & Ireland Tour

Play & Pause: Britain & Ireland

Get Social: Central & Eastern Europe (21 destinations) Tour

Get Social: Central & Eastern Europe (21 destinations)

Play & Pause: Great European (Winter) Tour

Play & Pause: Great European (Winter)

Get Social: Europe Express (Winter) 2025-26 Tour

Get Social: Europe Express (Winter) 2025-26

Play & Pause: Intro to Europe Tour

Play & Pause: Intro to Europe

All europe topdeck tour reviews.

I truly enjoyed myself on the Deep Delve Spain and Portugal tour. The itinerary was fantastic. The most exotic destination was certainly Sintra and the most thrilling destination was San Sebastian. There is room for improvement in that a second night in Barcelona would be great. Monika our tour leader and Firmino the driver were great to be around. As a solo-traveler I felt secure and well informed along the journey. As an improvement, it would have been nice to have more time with Monika for more of our evening events. The accommodations were comfortable and most hotels were in great areas with the exception of Koisi hotel which is on a steep inclined hill and inaccessible by bus. Overall I had a great experience and made some new friends.
This tour is amazing - you have the option to start in London, Paris or a Rome. Whilst the tour is structured, you have a lot of free time to explore the country/cities. These tours are the best way to travel with other likeminded travelers and meet incredible people.
Loved this trip! Would have liked to see more of Scandinavia but was a good intro to those countries

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Top 7 moments from 2024 All-Star Futures Game

Mark Bowman

Mark Bowman

The 25th annual MLB All-Star Futures Game took place at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday with the National League earning a 6-1 victory over AL prospects. You can watch the replay of the game at the top of this article.

This year’s contest was followed by the inaugural Futures Skills Showcase , a three-round hitting challenge inspired by fan-favorite baseball video games, which airs on Sunday at 10 a.m. ET on MLBN, MLB.com and the MLB App.

More on the Futures Game • Gameday • Collier wins MVP • Teodo makes history in start • Roundup | Fun facts • Futures Skills Showcase • History | Complete coverage

Of the 53 players on the Futures Game and Future Skills Showcase rosters , 38 are on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 Prospects list , including eight of the top 18 prospects.

Here's a look at the game's top moments:

Collier's calling card? Power

Cam Collier ( Reds No. 3 prospect ) provided a glimpse of why so many folks are excited about his power potential. The 19-year-old third baseman drilled a 409 ft. homer off Angels No. 1 prospect Caden Dana to begin the top of the third inning. The solo shot came off his bat at 105.1 mph and would have been a homer in 29 of 30 MLB ballparks, while the bat itself is heading to Cooperstown after Collier donated it to the Hall of Fame. Collier, the 18th overall pick in the 2022 Draft, has hit 13 homers for High-A Dayton this year and received game MVP honors for his performance.

Collier is a product of MLB Develops’ extensive youth programming. He played in multiple events, including the 2017 Elite Development Invitational, 2018 and 2021 Breakthrough Series, 2019 Hank Aaron Invitational, 2020 Dream Series and 2021 Hank Aaron Invitational.

Teodo impresses hometown fans

Rangers No. 14 prospect Emiliano Teodo lived up to the hype of his explosive arsenal after drawing the honor of being the American League’s starter. Teodo needed just 14 pitches to complete two perfect innings. The 23-year-old hurler has posted a 1.71 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 68 1/3 innings through 14 starts for Double-A Frisco this year.

  • ABS system gets audition at Futures Game, with broadcast tweak

First fetch

Dizzy, an English Cream Golden Retriever who serves as a ballpark dog for the Arkansas Travelers (Double-A affiliate of the Mariners), got things started by delivering the ceremonial first pitch -- well, kind of. After fetching the baseball, Dizzy didn’t run toward the plate; instead, he veered back toward the third-base dugout. The direction of this pitch conjured memories of when Nuke LaLoosh drilled the bull in Bull Durham .

Air Bud: #FuturesGame First Fetch ⚾️ @MiLB | @MLB pic.twitter.com/fnJ6jZeKaa — Arkansas Travelers (@ARTravs) July 13, 2024

Representing ... without the Cheese

Before the game, Drake Baldwin proudly showed off a bright yellow bat that recognized the cheese heritage that exists in his native Wisconsin. But the fast-rising Braves catcher wasn’t using that “cheese stick” when he hit a 411 ft. opposite-field homer off Fernando Perez in the sixth inning. The solo shot came off his bat at 107.3 mph and marked the hardest-hit ball during the contest. Baldwin, the Braves' No. 11 prospect , has hit six homers in the 94 at-bats he has tallied since being promoted to Triple-A Gwinnett in June.

One year later

Noble Meyer was taken by the Marlins with the 10th overall selection in the 2023 MLB Draft during last year’s All-Star festivities. He made his mark during this year's event by tossing a scoreless second inning for the National League. The Marlins' top-ranked prospect ( MLB No. 40 ) recorded a pair of strikeouts of fellow Top 100 overall prospects and pitched around a walk.

Have the latest news, ticket information, and more from the Cincinnati Reds and MLB delivered right to your inbox.

Throwing heat

Brandon Sproat ( Mets' No. 6 prospect ) produced the game’s two hardest-thrown pitches -- a pair of 99.2 mph fastballs -- during a scoreless third. The 23-year-old right-hander was a two-time Draft selection by the Mets out of the University of Florida, first in the third round in 2022 (after which he returned to school) and then the second round of the 2023 MLB Draft. A recent addition to MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list , Sproat has posted a 1.71 ERA while combining to make 14 appearances (13 starts) for High-A Brooklyn and Double-A Binghamton this year. He has a 29.2 percent strikeout rate over the eight starts he has made since being promoted to Binghamton.

Teel's extra-base pop is for real

Kyle Teel showed why he could be one of the game’s top offensive catchers at some point within the next few years. One year after being taken by Boston with the 14th overall pick, the former Virginia Cavalier standout tallied a pair of doubles, making him the only player in the game to deliver a mutilhit performance.

The left-handed-hitting backstop doubled off a slider from MLB's No. 20 prospect Rhett Lowder (Reds) in the fifth and a 98.4 mph heater from MLB's No. 51 prospect Bubba Chandler (Pirates) in the seventh. Teel ranks as MLB’s No. 24 prospect ( Red Sox's No. 3 ) and has hit .298 with eight homers and an .839 OPS for Double-A Portland this year.

Protect Your Trip »

10 top christmas cruises for 2024 & 2025.

Set sail for the holidays on your next cruise vacation.

Top Christmas Cruises

Laughing Azamara crew members in Christmas attire walking arm-in-arm on deck.

Courtesy of Azamara

If you're ready for a break from holiday traditions and family gatherings at home, consider booking a Christmas cruise. What makes a better present than the chance to leave all the planning, cooking, cleaning and decorating behind – and celebrate the holidays in beautiful destinations in the U.S., the Caribbean or other countries around the world?

If you're dreaming of a white Christmas, you can book a festivity-filled river cruise along Europe's iconic waterways and bundle up in your winter gear to explore the Christmas markets in the snow. If you prefer sunshine and warm temperatures, celebrate the holidays in an exotic locale in the South Pacific Ocean, sailing crystal-clear turquoise waters and relaxing on white sand beaches surrounded by palm trees.

Whether you prefer to stay close to home or jet off for a bucket list adventure, one of these cruises may just be the perfect gift to celebrate your holidays in style.

Find your perfect cruise

Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise

Christmas on beach -chair lounges with Santa hats at sea beach

Getty Images

Put your name on the waiting list for November 2024 if you want to set sail on what Hallmark touts as the "jolliest vacation ever." The Hallmark Channel – known for its year-round holiday-themed programming with Christmas in July, Countdown to Christmas and Christmas Fridays – will host the first-ever Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise sailings in November 2024 from Miami to the Bahamas . Lucky fans of the television channel will travel with their favorite Hallmark stars on one of two four-night cruises on Norwegian Cruise Line 's Norwegian Gem during the 2024 holiday season.

Highlights of the Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise include photo opportunities and panels to meet the stars. Attend Christmas craft workshops or tastings with Hallmark's winemaker – the wines have names like Jingle (cabernet sauvignon) and Joy (sauvignon blanc). Guests can also look forward to "carol-oke" singalongs, cookie decorating, an ugly sweater contest and a world premiere viewing of the new Hallmark Channel Christmas movie "Countdown to Christmas."

AmaWaterways

A Christmas market stand at an AmaWaterways cruise destination.

Courtesy of AmaWaterways

AmaWaterways offers more than a dozen itineraries to visit the Christmas markets in 2024 and 2025 along the Rhine, Moselle, Main, Danube and Rhone rivers – and to see the holiday splendor of Europe's grand cities, such as Vienna , Budapest, Amsterdam and Prague. Travelers can stroll through snow-dusted medieval squares and fairytale markets. Enjoy the chalet-inspired stalls, thousands of colorful lights, festive decorations, ice skating rinks, whimsical handmade gifts, Christmas carolers, carousels and more.

The river cruise line's seven-night Iconic Christmas Markets itinerary sails from Nuremberg, Germany, to Budapest, Hungary , along the Danube. It features a visit to Nuremberg's Christkindlesmarkt – one of the world's oldest and most famous Christmas markets. Sip hot mulled wine or feuerzangenbowle (a red wine and rum punch) and sample savory specialties like Nuremberg bratwurst, flammkuchen (pizza) and kartoffelpuffer (fried potato pancakes). Be sure to save room for sweet delights like schaumkuss (also known as schokokuss), a chocolate-covered marshmallow, or lebkuchen, a traditional spiced cookie.

While on board the ship, guests can participate in festivities like tree-trimming, cookie decorating, caroling and "Shoes for St. Nick." This European tradition encourages passengers to leave their slippers outside their stateroom door before bed. In the morning, they wake up to slippers filled with tasty treats like children in Europe find on Saint Nicholas Day.

Celebrity Cruises

The Celebrity Infinity ship on the Celebrity Cruises' Canaries, Morocco, Spain Holiday itinerary.

Courtesy of Celebrity Cruises

Celebrate Christmas Day at sea in the South Pacific Ocean during Celebrity's 2024 New Zealand Holiday cruise on board Celebrity Edge. This round-trip 13-night itinerary embarks on Dec. 20, 2024, from Sydney . It includes seven ports of call and five sea days. After ringing in the new year sailing between the Bay of Islands, New Zealand and Sydney, guests will disembark the ship on Jan. 2, 2025.

If you'd prefer to travel to the Canary Islands to celebrate Christmas and usher in the new year on the Mediterranean Sea in 2025, then reserve a stateroom or suite for Celebrity Cruises ' Canaries, Morocco & Spain itinerary. The 12-night voyage sails round-trip from Barcelona , embarking a few days before Christmas 2025 on Celebrity Infinity. The festive voyage features eight ports of call, including island of Gibraltar; the Moroccan cities of Casablanca and Tangier; three destinations in the Canary Islands; and Malaga, Spain.

On the ships, guests can revel in the joyous spirit of the season with festive Christmas trees, traditional holiday meals created by a Michelin-starred chef, themed shows and pop-ups, carolers, gingerbread winter villages, and even a visit from Santa. The onboard bars serve up holiday-inspired cocktails along with other seasonal favorites, including spiked apple cider and classic mulled wine. On New Year's Eve, plan to join in the merriment with fellow cruisers during the big countdown bash.

Christmas carolers on the Azamara Onward cruise ship.

If you want to cross South Africa off your list of must-visit destinations , consider spending Christmas and New Year's Eve sailing round-trip from Cape Town on Azamara 's 15-night South Africa Intensive Voyage. The 2024 voyage departs Dec. 20 on Azamara Quest and includes stops in Port Elizabeth, home to one of the densest elephant populations in the world, and Richards Bay, which is teeming with exotic wildlife and stunning landscapes. For a once-in-lifetime experience, reserve a spot on the Safari 4X4 Hippo Cruise in the Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park. This protected park is a white rhino sanctuary, home to South Africa's "big five": lions, elephants, buffalos, rhinos and leopards.

If the Land Down Under is at the top of your list of places to visit, plan ahead for next year to spend the holidays aboard Azamara Pursuit in 2025. The line's 21-night Australia Intensive Voyage will set sail on Dec. 14, 2025, from Singapore . This extended sailing features 10 ports of call in three countries, with two overnight stays, before travelers disembark in Melbourne, Australia , on Jan. 4, 2026.

Guests on board the holiday cruises will be treated to Christmas performances, including singalongs and carols performed by the crew. There will be special menus in the restaurants, holiday-themed buffets, religious services and a tree-trimming party. Festive treats like hot chocolate, cookies and snacks are provided throughout the cruise. The New Year's Eve White Night party, where all the guests don their best white attire, will take place throughout the ships and on the pool deck with entertainment, music and light bites.

People stand on the front deck of a Viking Christmas cruise on the Rhine.

Courtesy of Viking

Viking's 12-day Christmas on the Main & Moselle cruise sails between Paris and Prague in 2024 and 2025. The adults-only sailing affords passengers 18 and older the opportunity to visit four European countries: France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Czech Republic. In addition to browsing the chic boutiques in Paris and a variety of Christmas markets in Germany, you'll want to explore iconic landmarks like Reims Cathedral in France and the Luxembourg American Cemetery. Don't miss the famed wines produced in the regions, including Champagne, Moselle, riesling, Müller-Thurgau and gewürztraminer. In Cochem, Germany, you'll want to sample white mulled wine and regional delicacies produced from the red vineyard peach.

The holiday spirit continues on board the ships with Christmas-themed cooking demonstrations in addition to festive decorations with garland, lights and gingerbread houses. Guests will also taste regional cuisine, enjoy cultural performances on board the ship and ashore and learn about the history of the Christmas markets and local holiday traditions.

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Disney Cruise Line

Goofy, Mickey and Minny characters on a Disney Cruise Line Very Merrytime cruise.

Kent Phillips | Courtesy of Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line offers dozens of Christmas-themed cruises from November through December in 2024. Cruisers looking to celebrate the holidays with Disney's cast of characters can book a Very Merrytime cruise as short as a three-night sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida, to the Bahamas . For a weeklong getaway, consider the line's seven-night Eastern Caribbean voyage on board Disney Fantasy that sails round-trip from Port Canaveral. Ports of call on the itinerary include Tortola in the British Virgin Islands; St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; and the cruise line's private island , Disney Castaway Cay.

On the first evening of every sailing, guests can gather around the 24-foot-tall Christmas tree for the tree lighting ceremony, a holiday singalong and the introduction of Santa Claus. Other festivities on Disney Cruise Line include the fun-filled Mickey and Minnie's Holiday Party, themed Very Merrytime activities for children of all ages, carol singers, and Christmas-inspired food and beverages. Disney characters like Mickey and Minnie Mouse will be sporting jolly new holiday attire during the special voyages.

Windstar Cruises

Christmas tree next to a winding staircase on a Windstar Cruises ship.

Courtesy of Windstar Cruises

Celebrate the holidays with a bucket list getaway to the sun-drenched islands of Tahiti . On this voyage, you'll set sail a few days before Christmas 2024 aboard the 312-passenger, all-suite yacht Star Breeze for Windstar's seven-day Dreams of Tahiti cruise. The round-trip sailing from Papeete, Tahiti, includes stops in the islands of Moorea, Raiatea, Motu Mahea (Tahaa), Bora Bora and Huahine. In Bora Bora, guests will be treated to a special evening Windstar Destination Discovery Event with dinner under the stars and traditional Polynesian fire dancing.

For an extended European holiday in 2025, the line's Star Collector: Winter in Spain and the Rivieras cruise sails from Malaga, Spain, to Rome on Dec. 13 aboard the intimate Star Legend. The 14-day itinerary includes ports of call in Spain, France, Italy and Gibraltar. During the cruise, you can visit must-see attractions like Michelangelo's sculpture of David in Florence and explore the historic Roman theater ruins in Cartagena, Spain. Cruisegoers will also have a chance to sample wines from the famed appellations of Tuscany in Italy and Andalusia in Spain, and taste culinary specialties like bouillabaisse in France.

On board the ships, guests can join in the holiday spirit with festive Christmas trees and decorations as well as holiday-inspired cocktails and treats. Special programming for the voyages includes a Christmas movie, a gala tea, an interdenominational Christmas service and a Christmas Eve dinner. Christmas morning brings more celebrations throughout the day, with holiday meals, a Yuletide afternoon tea and a Christmas dinner followed by a variety show in the evening.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian Gem on open water.

Courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line

Grab the swimsuit, flip-flops and sunglasses – and check the Panama Canal off your must-visit list – for a tropical holiday aboard Norwegian Cruise Line 's Norwegian Gem. The line's 11-day cruisetour begins Dec. 9, 2024, and includes three days to see the canal that some consider the "eighth wonder of the world" and visit vibrant Panama City. After embarking on Dec. 11, you'll transit the canal and then sail to ports in Costa Rica; Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Cozumel, Mexico; and Norwegian's private island, Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, before disembarking in Miami on Dec. 20.

Plan ahead to Christmas 2025 by reserving accommodations on Norwegian's newest vessel – and the first in the Prima Plus class – Norwegian Aqua. The seven-day Caribbean round-trip voyage from Miami on the new ship (scheduled to launch in April 2025) will set sail on Dec. 21, 2025. The cruise includes tropical ports of call in the Dominican Republic, the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, and Great Stirrup Cay. For a special celebration, splurge on luxurious suite accommodations in The Haven. The ship-within-a-ship retreat features a private restaurant, a lounge, a sundeck, a concierge desk and 24-hour butler service.

Holiday-themed activities on Norwegian's vessels vary by itinerary and ship. Still, guests will find plenty of festive fun on board, including traditional holiday fare and holiday-inspired musical sets, trivia, and family and youth programming. Guests are invited to offer interdenominational services for fellow passengers during the sailing. You'll also find Hanukkah services listed in the Freestyle Daily Program.

Holland America Line

Christmas trees and other decor on a Holland America Line cruise ship.

Courtesy of Holland America Line

Celebrate the Christmas holidays in Hawaii during Holland America Line 's round-trip Circle Hawaii Holiday voyage from San Diego on the ship Zaandam, embarking on Dec. 18, 2024. Guests aboard this voyage will sail to Honolulu, Hilo and Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii as well as Kahului, Maui . You'll also get to enjoy scenic cruising at the Kilauea Volcano; visit Ensenada, Mexico; and join in the holiday festivities on the ship during relaxing days at sea.

If you've been dreaming of visiting far-flung destinations in Asia, such as Halong Bay, Vietnam, or Bangkok, Thailand – or seeing Komodo dragons in the wild in Indonesia – the 28-day Far East & Indonesian Holiday Collector itinerary will be an adventure of a lifetime. The voyage on board Westerdam embarks in Hong Kong on Dec. 7, 2025, with exotic ports of call in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore. On Christmas Day, guests will visit the picturesque port town of Probolinggo on the coast of East Java in Indonesia. On New Year's Eve, the ship docks in Semarang, Indonesia; here, you can visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Borobudur, home to an impressive Buddhist temple site dating back to the eighth and ninth centuries.

Back on board the ships, holiday celebrations include a Christmas tree lighting, Santa's arrival, a midnight mass, a Christmas concert, special menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and a New Year's Eve Party and countdown. There are Hanukkah festivities with candle lightings and latkes served in the Lido. Guests will also enjoy viewing the holiday villages around the ship created by Holland America's culinary team.

Silversea Cruises

Penguins on an iceberg seen from a small excursion boat from the Silversea Cruises Silver Cloud cruise ship.

Courtesy of Silversea Cruises

For a life-changing experience and the merriest Christmas of all, spend the holiday with several species of waddling penguins, giant seals and majestic whales while visiting the ice-covered shores of the White Continent. The 10-day round-trip expedition from Puerto Williams, Chile, on Silversea 's Silver Cloud sets sail a week before Christmas in 2024 for the Antarctica Peninsula. Five days of excursions allow travelers on this Antarctica cruise to explore this surreal and magical part of the world. Weather permitting, guests will even take a Zodiac cruise with the expedition team in the South Shetland Islands the day after Christmas.

If you're planning ahead to 2025, consider a longer adventure where you'd fly the infamous Drake Passage one way from Puerto Williams (saving two days at sea) and land on King George Island in Antarctica. This 15-day expedition aboard Silver Cloud begins on Dec. 21, 2025, and features four days of excursions in Antarctica and three days in the South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. You'll also spend three days in the Falkland Islands, where you'll have more chances for unforgettable wildlife encounters with black-browed albatrosses, fur seals, Commerson's dolphins, imperial cormorants, and adorable rockhopper and Magellanic penguins.

Festive touches on the ship include Christmas trees and lights, gingerbread houses, holiday arts and crafts, caroling, religious services, and musical performances by the crew and professional entertainers. Guests will also enjoy a traditional holiday dinner on Christmas Day.

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Gwen Pratesi has been an avid cruiser since her early 20s. She has sailed to destinations around the globe on nearly every type of cruise ship built, including the newest megaships, luxury yachts, expedition vessels, and river ships in Europe and on the Mekong River. She used her extensive knowledge and experience with the cruise industry to write this article. Pratesi covers the travel and culinary industries for major publications, including U.S. News & World Report.

You might also be interested in:

  • The Top River Cruise Lines
  • The Top Cruises on Small Ships
  • The Best Themed Cruises
  • The Best Christmas Lights Displays in the U.S.
  • The Best Christmas Vacations

Tags: Travel , Cruises , Winter Vacations , Christmas

World's Best Places To Visit

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  • # 4 Bora Bora

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