Check this list often as new tips, events and deals around Florida come in:
Disney Cruise Line invites families to explore culturally rich and exotic locales, with Port Adventures during its 2015 Norwegian Fjords sailings. From June to August, the Disney Magic returns to Europe, visiting the Norwegian Fjords and Iceland for the first time. Guests exploring these new ports, steeped in Viking history, will be treated to diverse destinations that showcase iconic locations, enchanting cultures, tantalizing cuisine and even festivities themed to the hit animated movie, “Frozen.” Anna, Elsa and Kristoff from “Frozen” join Disney Cruise Line guests in Ålesund, marking their first appearance in the land that inspired their story. Only Disney guests are invited to a Norwegian summer celebration at the Sunnmøre Open Air Museum where the festivities culminate with the grand arrival of the beloved sisters and their ice-loving companion, Kristoff, who join in the lively revelry. After being personally greeted by their “Frozen” friends, and surrounded by the idyllic beauty of Norway, guests dance to local musicians and sample tasty Norwegian specialties, including svele, a traditional sweet pancake from the region.
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Also on the horizon for 2016, Disney Cruise Line guests can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga during a new, day-long celebration aboard eight special sailings on the Disney Fantasy: Star Wars Day at Sea. Marking the first official appearance of the heroes and villains of Star Wars aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship, Star Wars Day at Sea combines the power of the Force, the magic of Disney and the excitement of cruising for an out-of-this-galaxy experience. Occurring one day during each of eight Disney Fantasy sailings, Star Wars Day at Sea will transport guests to a galaxy far, far away – in the Western Caribbean. The event features a full day of Star Wars celebrations, including a deck party, meet-and-greets with favorite characters, Star Wars-themed youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings, and special merchandise. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Forgot Valentine’s Day?
It’s not too late to make it up to your sweetie. The new B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale is offering a Valentine’s Day “Fifty Shades of B Package” package themed to the best-selling novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, and it is available through March 1. Couples booking the “Fifty Shades of B Package” will receive items that appear in the novel’s storyline including a grey silk tie, a bottle of Pouilly Fume wine, a cheese and fruit platter and a sensual love kit. In true Christian Grey fashion, couples that are looking to take things up a notch can B Adventurous with the addition on a helicopter ride above the beaches of Fort Lauderdale. The Fifty Shades of B Package can be booked at https://boceanfortlauderdale.reztrip.com/special_offer?rate_code=B50SOG&vr=3. Package is available through March 1 with rates starting at $339 per night with a two-night stay minimum. The optional B Adventurous helicopter ride is available for an additional $185 per person (plus transportation fee). Offer is subject to rate and room availability.
Novel spaces on Norwegian’s new ship
Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest and largest ship, Norwegian Escape, will offer an array of spaces for guests to relax and unwind while at sea when the ship debuts in October. The ship will feature the line’s most innovative Mandara Spa to date, a tranquil hideaway that at its epicenter will feature what is being reported as the largest Thermal Suite at sea, outfitted with the line’s first Snow Room. The Snow Room, which ranges from 21 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit will send out a flurry of powdery snow throughout the day. In addition to the spa, adults will have two private lounge spaces to enjoy onboard at Vibe Beach Club and Spice H2O, which will feature an all-new grotto area for guests to cool off after a day of sunbathing. Visit www.escape.ncl.com.
To Downton, m’lady
Crystal Cruises is offering travelers the opportunity to visit Highclere Castle –the real life Downtown Abbey of the popular television series – on a two-night “English Countryside & Highclere Castle” Extended Land Program offered post-cruise with Crystal Symphony’s 18-day, July 8 North Cape/Arctic exploration from Reykjavík to London. The “White Sea Exploration” cruise commemorates Crystal’s 25th anniversary of sailing with special receptions and events hosted by Chairman Nobuyoshi “N¿b” Kuzuya. During the excursion, guests will visit Highclere Castle in Hampshire, arriving just like visitors on the show -- in vintage 1920’s automobiles, driven by chauffeurs. There, travelers will be the guests of honor at a private champagne reception and tour of the estate, including numerous rooms made famous on the series, such as the library and drawing room. Leading up to the Castle, guests will also visit Berkshire’s Basildon Park, which is used as the Grantham family’s London house; Swan Inn, where Lady Sybil and Branson elope; Byfleet Manor, known as the Dowager Countess’ home, for lunch Downton-style, with period-costumed hosts; and Bampton, a village filled with locations that double as the Crawleys’ home, the hospital, and the church where Lady Edith was jilted at the altar. At night, tour participants will sleep in an authentic English manor house—now transformed into the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire. Cruise-only fares are from $8,435 per person. Fares for the “English Countryside & Highclere Castle” Extended Land Program start at $4,600 per person/double occupancy, including meals, accommodations, and transportation to and from London/Dover. Visit www.crystalcruises.com.
Shopping packages in Naples
The Edgewater Beach Hotel in Naples has announced three new shopping packages available now through April 15. The Edgewater has partnered with Naples' Fifth Avenue South boutiques and style guru and author Barbara King, to offer a range of shopping experiences – from a day of retail therapy to an escorted power shopping excursion and a comprehensive style and wardrobe makeover. Small group rates are available for the packages. Among the offerings is a Retail Therapy package that includes a $100 Visa Gift Card, round-trip transportation to Fifth Avenue South, two nights' accommodations, and Power Breakfast daily at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Two-night package rates start at $998 per person, based on single occupancy, plus tax and resort fees. Requires seven days advance booking. Visit www.edgewaternaples.com.
Free Wi-Fi at Hyatt Hotels
Hyatt Hotels has announced plans to offer free Wi-Fi at all Hyatt hotels worldwide, providing connectivity and convenience regardless of booking method or loyalty program participation. Free Wi-Fi will become available to Hyatt guests around the world in February. Travelers will be able to access free Wi-Fi on an unlimited number of mobile devices or laptops in Hyatt-branded hotel guest rooms and social spaces. Visit www.hyatt.com. Where available, Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum tier members will receive a complimentary upgrade to premium Wi-Fi service.
Renovations at resort in the Keys
Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys resort has entered the final phase of a multi-million dollar renovation. The project touches nearly every aspect of the resort from the landscape architecture and exterior reception area to the lobby and guestrooms as well as meetings facilities, Calm Waters Spa and the kids’ activities center.
As part of the renovation, the resort has added a variety of new amenities and activities to create memorable guest vacation experiences. These include cabanas at the adults-only pool area and penthouses equipped for stargazing. The renovated kids’ activities center features a new high-tech hangout for teens and an expanded educational program complete with an indoor, saltwater touch tank for Island Adventure Camp, designed for children age five to 12. The final piece in the new Hawks Cay experience will debut in June. At that time, the resort will unveil a new Marina Walk to serve as an entertainment destination. Home to watersports and charter captains as well as shopping and local artisans, the Marina Walk will bring island culture and an authentic Florida Keys experience to guests’ fingertips. The Marina Walk will be complemented by a new-build restaurant that features outdoor seating with multiple fire pits, private dining and panoramic views of the ocean. Visit www.hawkscay.com.
Holland America Line is featuring a ReadySetSail promotion that enables guests to take advantage of special offers, including an onboard spending credit for suite guests that can be put toward a variety of shipboard experiences. ReadySetSail offers are available on select 2015 summer sailings and feature savings for multiple destinations, so guests are encouraged to book early for the best stateroom selection. Guests who book cruises or an Alaska Land+Sea Journey (offers on cruise portion only) with the ReadySetSailpromotion will receive a complimentary stateroom upgrade from an interior to ocean-view or ocean-view to veranda stateroom, up to 10 percent savings on select shore excursions when booked before March 15, 2015, free or reduced third and fourth fares, and a reduction of 50 percent off the normal deposit rate. With complimentary upgrades, guests can sail in an ocean-view stateroom for the price of an interior or receive a free upgrade to a veranda when purchasing an ocean-view. Suite bookings receive a $300 onboard spending credit per stateroom ($150 per person), a complimentary three-bottle Wine Navigator Package and two free soda cards per stateroom in addition to the other ReadySetSail offers. Cruise destinations featured in the ReadySetSail promotion include Alaska cruises and Land+Sea Journeys, Bermuda Canada/New England and Europe. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Celebrating the season in a “Suite with a Veuve”
Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Key West, if featuring a “Suite with a Veuve” promotion. Couples who book one of the resort’s suites for two nights or more receive an in-suite bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut complimentary. Suite rates start at $449. The “Suite with a Veuve” offer requires a two-night minimum stay. Offer is valid for travel from Feb. 16 through March 6 (book by March 6; stay by March 9). All offers are subject to availability. Visit www.casamarinaresort.com.
New resort opening in Nassau
Baha Mar, is a new $3.5 billion luxury resort opening in Nassau,Bahamas on March 27. It will feature 2,200 luxury guest rooms across four hotels – Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood at Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar and SLS LUX at Baha Mar – along with what is beingbilled as the Caribbean’s largest casino, a 100,000 square foot facility featuring a full array of slots and table games. In addition, the resort's TPC at Baha Mar Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, ESPA spa, pools, beach experiences, and many restaurants and luxury shops will be part of its resort experience upon opening. Visit www.bahamar.com.
Winter getaway package on Captiva Island
Located along the shores of Captiva Island in Southwest Florida, SouthSeas Island Resort invites families to escape this season with its “Winter Getaway Package.” Available through April, travelers staying for three nights or longer enjoy $25 per day in resort credits (up to $100) that can be applied towards resort activities and restaurants, where kids also eat free with purchase of an adult entree. Guests also receive a coupon book with more than $250 in savings for family activities at the resort. Rates are from $179 per night. Visit www.southseas.com/special-offers-en.html.
Grand Bahama Island special
The Grand Lucayan Bahamas on Grand Bahama Island is offering a winterdeal. Guests who book by Feb. 20 receive 50 percent off rates and $350worth of credits ($100 in resort credits plus $250 in air credits fromthe Bahamas Tourism Board). Rates start at $110 per night. Familiescan also take advantage of the property’s Kids Stay & Eat FreePromotion. Rate Code is RTWIN4. Must book a stay of four nights ormore. Offer applies to new bookings only, and cannot be combined withany other existing offer. Resort Credit applicable for spa treatments,dining and golf. Booking link is gc.synxis.com/rez.aspx?Hotel=58217&Chain=14595&promo=rtwin.
Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea has released two brochures detailing a diverse collection of more than 300 luxury cruises that will be sailing across the globe in 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. Both print and digital versions of the brochures can be requested by visiting www.Silversea.com/brochures/. The new 180-page Silversea Cruises brochure is devoted to the journeys of Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, and Silver Spirit. It is complemented by a separate 140-page Silversea Expeditions guide highlighting the expedition cruises of Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, and Silver Discoverer, ships known for exploring some of the world's most remote regions. Among the highlights is the Venetian World Odyssey 2016, a 115-day World Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Venice aboard the 382-guest Silver Whisper that will cross the Panama Canal to South America and the Pacific, visiting 51 destinations in 31 countries beginning in January of 2016. Another highlight, also departing in January of 2016, is the 66-day Circle South America voyage aboard Silver Spirit roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, crossing the Panama Canal and spending three days in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival.
Surf’s up at Boca Resort
The Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, recentlyintroduced Flow House™. A complement to the resort’s Surf Schoolintroduced last year at the Boca Beach Club, the Flow House features adual-sided FLOWRIDER® stationary wave for flow-surfing andbody-boarding on land. Surf Boca allows aspiring surfers of all agesto master the waves and enjoy a variety of watersports activities. Inaddition to the FLOWRIDER®, Boca Resort’s Flow House includes theCalifornia beach-themed Shaka Bar & Grill for “FlowRiders” tohang-loose poolside with light bites and beverages. Throughout the year, the resort will host special land and sea family Surf Boca events at Boca Beach Club and on the FLOWRIDER® where surf enthusiasts can meet competitive surfers and World Professional Flowboarders Nightly rates start at $199. Visit www.bocaresort.com.
Free excursions and WiFi
Silversea Cruises is introducing a new program that includes shore excursions and WiFi. This program is available for new bookings made on or after Jan. 15, on any of the line's Mediterranean cruises this year. Guests may enrich their travel experience with a choice of included Silver Shore Select excursions offered in every port of call. Whether it's exploring the ancient Acropolis of Athens, strolling back through time along the marbled lanes of Ephesus, or discovering the Renaissance treasures of Florence, these small-group excursions present a destination's art, history, and culture utilizing comfortable transportation and expert local guides. These special all-inclusive fares also include two hours of complimentary WiFi per guest, per day, and unlimited complimentary WiFi for the line's larger suites (Medallion and higher categories). The new perks join an array of included amenities that already features: open-seating gourmet dining; butler service for all suites; select wines, champagnes, premium spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks; in-suite bar stocked with guests' preferences; in-suite dining and 24-hour dining service; lecture and enrichment programs; roundtrip transportation into town (in most ports); and onboard gratuities (exclusive of spa treatments). In addition to the included Silver Shore Select excursions, guests may purchase tours from a variety of land programs offering exceptional value, including the more-immersive Silver Shore Collection tours, as well as Silver Shore Privato, which provides a private car and driver for independent exploring. Visit www.silversea.com.
Food & Wine Classic dates announced for 2015
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic is returning for its sixth year on Friday Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Epcot Resort Area hotel. The two-night, outdoor festival will feature more than 40 stations with culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries. Guests will also enjoy live music, a beer garden featuring local and seasonal brews from around the world and food and beverage seminars led by the hotel’s chefs and certified beverage experts. More details about the event, including specific ticket packages, will be announced later. Visit www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com.
New Alaska programs from Princess
Princess Cruises has announced the launch of North to Alaska!, a series of new onboard offerings that immerse guests in the Great Alaska experience. Created in partnership with local experts, the program features a variety of authentic Alaska culinary, educational and entertainment experiences designed to delve deeper into the fascinating frontier guests are exploring. The program includes expanded Alaska seafood offerings, with signature dishes from local chefs and restaurants; unique interactions with Alaskans; and onboard festivals to allow guests to eat like a local, learn from the locals, and celebrate like a local. The program debuts in May 2015 on Princess cruises to Alaska. Visit www.princess.com.
“Frozen” experiences at sea
This summer Disney Cruise Line will add experiences themed to the hit animated movie, “Frozen.” The new experiences inspired by the film, include a spectacular deck party, a three-song stage show production number, new character meet and greets, storybook adventures ashore and more. The experiences debut this summer on select Disney Magic and Disney Wonder sailings to Europe and Alaska. Guests will be transported to the land of “Frozen” when the ship is transformed into a winter wonderland and a day of frozen fun culminates with an extravagant celebration with friends from the Kingdom of Arendelle. Also, this summer, friends from “Frozen” are making their stage show debut at sea in the Walt Disney Theatre aboard the Disney Magic. In the Disney Cruise Line original production, “Disney Dreams ... An Enchanted Classic,” Anna, Elsa and Olaf join the line up of Disney characters that together teach a young girl the power of her dreams. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
And winter package at Kimpton hotels in Florida
The Fly South for the Winter package is available at the following Kimpton Hotels, now through April 30 with the following rates and inclusions:
Epic Miami is offering two complimentary cocktails, a sunscreen and lip balm, compliments of Exhale spa, as well as 20 percent off any Exhale spa therapy. Rates start at $359 per night.
Surfcomber Miami, South Beach is offering two complimentary signature vodka cocktails from the Social Club, a Surfcomber beach pack, including a koozie, beach ball, sandals and lip balm, as well as two complimentary bottled waters. Rates start at $263 per night.
Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, Palm Beach is offering two complimentary welcome cocktails at Brandon’s restaurant, 20 percent off services at the Tideline Spa and sunglasses to wear while soaking up the endless sun at the oceanfront resort.
Vero Beach Hotel & Spa is offering two complimentary pairs of sunglasses to wear on a beach stroll with two welcome mimosas made with fresh-squeezed Indian River County orange juice, and two bottled waters to cool off with afterward. Rates start at $280 per night.
The Angler’s Miami, South Beach is offering two signature Beach Bum cocktails “to-go” for a leisurely beach stroll, two complimentary bottled waters and one Angler’s take-home beach bag.
Rates start at $279 per night. Call 1-800-546-7866. Booking code is FlySNYT. Offer is available for booking through April 30. Blackout dates may apply.
The South Seas in Florida
Always wanted to experience the South Seas, but without the long flights? Well, this spring you can head for Orlando –the first phase of the new Disney Vacation Club overwater bungalows and deluxe studios at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is slated to open on April 1. The new Bora Bora Bungalows on the Seven Seas Lagoon, 20 in all, will sleep up to eight guests each in a two-bedroom, two-bath home-like setting inspired in the South Pacific. They will feature a plunge pool from which guests can watch the nightly fireworks over the Magic Kingdom. The 360 Deluxe Studios will be the first connecting ones at Disney World and reportedly, will be the largest, and they will sleep up to five guests each. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale offering '50 Shades'-inspired deal
To celebrate couples this Valentine's Day season, B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale is offering a "50 Shades of Grey"-inspired package deal to coincide with the much-anticipated release of the movie.
Couples who book "The Fifty Shades of B" package will receive items from the movie, including a gray silk tie, a bottle of Pouilly Fume wine, a cheese and fruit platter and a "sensual love kit."
There's also an upgrade offer for a helicopter ride over Fort Lauderdale for an extra $185 per person, plus a transportation fee.
Rates start at $339 per night for a minimum two-night stay between Feb. 1 and March 1. To book visit BOceanFortLauderdale.com or call 888-662-4683.
South Beach deal
The Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, an oceanfront hotel that just completed a renovation, is located on Collins Avenue in the Beach Art Deco district and is the new home of Morimoto South Beach, Iron Chef Morimoto’s new flagship restaurant. Travelers who stay a minimum of two nights can receive 20 percent off with rates starting at $199.20 per night and 1,500 bonus Wyndham Rewards loyalty points, redeemable for a variety of reward options including free hotel stays, air travel, gift cards for leading retailers and restaurants and more. Offer code is DISWROP. Stays must be booked by April 28 and completed by April 30. Visit www.wyndham.com.
New culinary experiences on Disney Cruise Line
Adult guests aboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy can look forward to new culinary experiences and menus in Remy, one of Disney Cruise Line’s fine dining specialty restaurants. The expanded offerings in the French-inspired Remy include a tasting opportunity, a decadent dessert experience, a seasonal truffle menu and special caviar selections. Among the new offerings are these two: the “Petites Assiettes de Remy” (Small Plates of Remy, $50 per guest, including wine pairings for each course) provides a taste of the restaurant’s dishes and wine pairings for each course including dessert and final wine pairing at the private Chef’s Table dining room; and Pompidou’s Patisseries Dessert Experience (offered on the Disney Fantasy only, $50 per person, including one complimentary glass of champagne, wine or cocktail) begins in the private Chef’s Table dining room and moves on to the main dining room for presentations and tastings of six desserts. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Expansion for Oceania Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has announced a definitive agreement with Princess Cruises, Ltd. to purchase Ocean Princess for its newly acquired Oceania Cruises brand. The 684-passenger ship joins Oceania Cruises’ trio of award-winning sister ships Insignia, Regatta and Nautica. The new addition will be named Sirena. Upon delivery in March 2016, Sirena will undergo a 35-day, $40 million refurbishment in Marseille, France to elevate the ship to the Oceania Cruises’ standards. Drawing on the recent transformation of Insignia as inspiration, the ship will feature Oceania Cruises’ specialty dining restaurants, Toscana and Polo Grill, along with more recent additions to the fleet such as Baristas and the cook-to-order grill at Terrace Café. The ship will welcome her first guests in late April 2016. The inaugural season for Sirena will be released in late February 2015 with reservations opening on March 4, 2015. For more information on Oceania Cruises, visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.
New Holland America ship to feature singles, family cabins
When ms Koningsdam debuts in 2016, the ship will feature Holland America Line’s first-ever purpose-built staterooms for families as well as single staterooms among its 1,331 guest accommodations (total capacity is 2,650). In addition, many familiar stateroom categories such as Neptune, Signature and Vista suites will be available in a wider range of sizes and different configurations to choose from. The 32 new specially designed family ocean-view staterooms will range from 222 to 231 square feet and feature special amenities such as two bathrooms and accommodations for five people. The 12 single ocean-view cabins will range from 127 to 172 square feet in size and will be available on multiple decks at a variety of forward, mid-ship and aft locations. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
New engagement packages in Lake Buena Vista
B Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista is offering two new engagement packages to help pop the question in a big way. One of the offerings is the “B Mine” package that includes access to the resort’s expert “Proposal Concierge” to help customize the proposal experience for each individual couple—from choosing the spot to get down on one knee, to assisting with ring selection, to helping pull off the surprise. The package also includes two nights in a junior suite, a private dessert making class with champagne pairings at on-site restaurant American Q and a couples massage at B Indulged by AVEDA. The “B Mine” is $1,499 per couple inclusive of taxes and gratuities. Visit www.bhotelsandresorts.com/b-walt-disney-world/.
New attraction at Tampa waterpark
Colossal Curl, a new thrill ride that combines tunnel and wave elements is slated to debut at Adventure Island waterpark in Tampa Bay in March. Holding up to four passengers, this mega slide adds to the waterpark’s combination of corkscrews, waterfalls, high-speed thrills and tropical, tranquil surroundings for guests of all ages. Colossal Curl will be located in the center of the park, next to Mango Joe’s Café, and will take the place of Gulf Scream. The slide will be the tallest ride at Adventure Island at nearly 70 feet high and 560 feet in length. By early 2015 many of the ride’s features will be visible to guests. Visit www.ColossalCurl.com.
Miami’s Jungle Island’s transformation
Miami’s 18-acre Jungle Island attraction’s multi-million dollar transformation will include new aerial adventure activities and more. Already the attraction has debuted Parrot Cove, a private beach and floating aqua park. During its reinvention, the park will remain open for visitors to enjoy some of the world’s most fascinating animals. For information on current adventures and offerings at Jungle Island, visit www.jungleisland.com.
Pre-schoolers are free at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa
SeaWorld Orlando is celebrating the new year and families with young kids with a limited-time offer. Children five and younger can explore SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for free throughout 2015 with the return of the Preschool Pass. The Free SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass is an exclusive online offer. It is exclusively for Florida residents ages five and younger and is valid for unlimited admission – with no blackout dates – through Dec. 31, at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The Preschool Pass does not include parking or Pass Member discounts or benefits. Visit www.seaworldparks.com.
Special rates at newly renovated Keys hotel
Smuggler’s Cove Resort and Marina, a 12-room waterfront boutique hotel and full-service marina in Islamorada, recently announced the completion of a three-month $500,000 property renovation. From fully revamped guestrooms and new food and beverage offerings to a new “Hook ‘N’ Cook” experience, Smuggler's Cove reopened in late December with an enhanced guest experience. In celebration of the renovation, the hotel is offering a special re-opening promotion for travel through March with rates starting at $135 per night – a savings of 20 percent. Call 305-664-5564.
Norwegian to debut new entertainment on Norwegian Epic
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a new entertainment line-up for Norwegian Epic, the award-winning ship that will be based year-round in Barcelona, Spain, starting April 30. Two new Broadway shows will take the stage as headliners: Burn the Floor in April, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - The Musical in October. The ship will also feature an all-new British pop music entertainment experience, The Cavern Club, bringing the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed to life at sea. Visit www.ncl.com.
New Holland America ship to premier in the Med in 2016
When Holland America Line’s 2,650-guest ms Koningsdam sets sail in February 2016 the ship will head to the azure waters of the Mediterranean on a seven-day Premiere Voyage and continue on a series of 12-day Premiere Sailings through early May 2016. The debut cruises will explore some of the region’s most popular capitals, cities, villages and beaches. Bookings for the Premiere Voyage and Sailings are open. The 2,650-guest ship is scheduled for delivery by Fincantieri’s Marghera, Italy shipyard on Feb. 15, 2016. Following its repositioning to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, ms Koningsdam will sail a seven-day Premiere Voyage roundtrip from Civitavecchia departing Feb. 20 to Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kérkira (Corfu) and Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; and Naples, Italy. Following the Premiere Voyage, from the end of February through early May ms Koningsdam will cruise a series of six 12-day Premiere Sailings on two alternating itineraries roundtrip from Civitavecchia. The first itinerary calls at Katakolon, Piraeus (Athens), Rhodes and Crete, Greece; Istanbul (overnight) and Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; and Naples, Italy. The other itinerary visits Naples, Italy; Palermo, Sicily; Cagliari, Sardinia; Gibraltar, British Territory; and Cádiz, Málaga, Cartagena and Barcelona (overnight), Spain. Cruise fares on Premier Sailings begin at $999 per person, double occupancy. Taxes are additional. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Alaska sailings on the horizon
PONANT, known for destination-focused itineraries to remote and exotic locales, is extending its 15-years of five-star polar expedition cruising expertise to the wild inlets, rugged Eastern coastline and Inland Passage of Alaska. New for the 2015 summer season, PONANT’s Alaska and Arctic Adventure itineraries let guests follow in the footsteps of the pioneering prospectors who settled this wild land during the Gold Rush days of the late 1800s. Alaska and Arctic Adventure cruises for the 2015 summer season include six different itineraries and nine departure dates sailing the Inside Passage or to Arctic Russia. Among the offerings is In the Wake of the Pioneers, a seven-night cruise between Vancouver and Juneau with departures in June and July and priced from $3,700 per person. Visit http://en.ponant.com.
Weekend “Winter-vention” in Orlando
Marriott Orlando hotels invite travelers to wind down with a “Weekend Winter-vention” escape, with rates starting at $109 per night, for stays now - March 31, 2015. Offering 20 percent savings and a $25 daily hotel credit — when using promo code: P91 — guests can reclaim their weekends with great rates at five Orlando hotels across four Marriott brands, including:
• Orlando World Center Marriott — starting rate: $135 per night.
• JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes — starting rate: $143 per night.
• Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld — starting rate: $115 per night.
• Orlando Airport Marriott — starting rate: $109 per night.
• Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center — starting rate: $175 per night.
For information on a “Weekend Winter-vention” visit Marriott.com and enter corporate/promotional code P91.
Eco-friendly lasers at Epcot
The nighttime spectacular "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" in Epcot recently introduced new environmentally friendly lasers. Brighter and more precise, the show's new solid-state lasers use the energy equivalent of a hair dryer, saving approximately 64,000 watts of power with each show. By making the switch to more efficient lasers, Disney eliminates the need for a water-cooling system and saves thousands of gallons of water. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Helping to protect the world’s oceans
As part of its “Our Marvelous Oceans” partnership with Marine Conservation Institute, Holland America Line has created a new program that highlights and educates guests and crew about marine protected
areas around the world. Developed with the team at Marine Conservation Institute, the program will educate guests and crew through on-board presentations by shipboard personnel. Topics will cover what a marine protected area is and how to visit one without causing harm to the habitat and wildlife. This information can be enhanced through participation in featured shore excursions. In the Caribbean the program will largely focus on marine life and a variety of tropical ecosystems – in Key West, guests can go snorkeling in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to see the area’s beautiful coral reefs; in San Juan, Puerto Rico, cruisers can embark on a unique nighttime kayak adventure into the bio-luminescent bay at Laguna Grande of Fajardo to learn about the water’s organisms and see how they “light up” at night. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
New gift card program
Princess Cruises has announced a new gift card program whereby gift cards can be applied as payment towards the purchase of a Princess cruise, as well as onboard products and services including specialty dining, drinks, Lotus Spa treatments, shore excursions and more. The gift card program allows buyers to choose from various designs, schedule a delivery date to the recipient and personalize the notification by allowing buyers to record an audio message and add a digital photo. Gift cards are available in $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 and $2,000 increments and can be customized for a specific dollar amount up to $2,000. Buyers purchasing a gift card for $100 or more will also receive free shipping. Gift cards can be sent electronically or via mail. Visit www.princess.com/giftcard.
New waterfront dining venue coming to Disney Springs
Schussler Creative, specialists in the creation and consultation of attractions, restaurants, retail stores and entertainment venues worldwide, has announced their latest project: The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats, located at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista. Schussler Creative also is the creator of other restaurant/retail attractions at Walt Disney World Resort including Rainforest Cafe and T-REX Café in Downtown Disney, and Rainforest Cafe and Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Opening this spring as one of the new venues in The Landing at Disney Springs, The BOATHOUSE will be an upscale, waterfront dining experience featuring floating artwork: dream boats from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. The restaurant will feature three bars including The Captain’s Raw Bar, The Admiral’s Club Bar and The Dock Bar, which is built over the water. Other nautically-themed rooms include The Runabout, Twin Transoms, and The Lake House. There will also be two private dining rooms for special events, conventions and presentations: The Regatta and The Trophy Room. The BOATHOUSE restaurant will be managed by Gibsons Restaurant Group, celebrated for exceptional food and extraordinary service (recently named Best Steak House in Chicago). Guests will enjoy a gourmet menu served daily until 2 a.m. featuring steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar.
The BOATHOUSE restaurant will feature live music and Captain’s guided tours aboard The Venezia, a 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi featuring champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. There also will be the exhilaration of guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, entering the water with a splash, taking guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs. The Harbor Master will orchestrate daily flag ceremonies, accompanied by a musical performance of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard a classic 1800’s steamboat. Visit www.theboathouseorlando.com.
St. Pete Beach offer for a post-holidays “staycation”
The Hotel Zamora in St. Pete Beach offers Floridians who are looking for a post-holiday “staycation” the “Thaw Out While You Chill Out” deal. It includes 15 percent off nightly rates (starting at $177), $25 nightly food & beverage credit, and complimentary late 1 p.m. check-out. Booking is available through March 31 for travel through April 1. Minimum two-night stay is required. Visit www.thehotelzamora.com.
Holland America’s European season features eight ships
Holland America’s 2015 Europe voyages offer sailings on eight ships ranging from seven to 50 days. The 62 cruises highlight three new itineraries, four maiden calls and overnight visits to 21 of the continent’s most popular and culturally rich cities. The diverse fleet that will explore the region includes ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam — Holland America Line’s two Signature-Class ships — as well as ms Maasdam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendam. New to Europe in 2015 is the 1,916-guest ms Zuiderdam, which will sail in the Mediterranean. Several roundtrip options will be available from eight ports: Fort Lauderdale; Barcelona, Spain; Boston, Mass.; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice, Italy; Copenhagen, Denmark; Harwich (London), England; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Many of the cruises also can be extended into Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 35 days, which offer the ultimate European experience. These longer journeys combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring centuries of art, history and culture. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Princess launches interactive onboard activities and excursions
Princess Cruises and Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications, have announced their collaboration to create Discovery At Sea, interactive onboard activities and shore excursions to entertain and delight families aboard Princess ships. The new Discovery At Sea cruise vacations will feature themed tours, science activities, hands-on programs and games based on Discovery’s breadth of brands and programming. Debuting on Princess Cruises’ ships in early 2015, the interactive experiences are designed to bring to life the nature, wildlife and history of the regions guests are sailing. Discovery At Sea content will be based on Discovery network properties from Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Science Channel. Some of the integrations guests will experience are based on Shark Week, Mythbusters and Deadliest Catch. Among the new programs are Discovery Under the Stars – a cosmic voyage from the ship’s top deck – and Shark Week at Sea – challenging adults and kids alike, testing their knowledge of the ocean with trivia games and a variety of themed activities. Visit www.princess.com.
Carnival Corporation orders new ships
Carnival Corporation has announced new cruise ship orders for two of its brands.The new cruise ships will be constructed by Fincantieri in Italy for Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line, two of Carnival Corporation's nine brands. Carnival Cruise Line's as-yet-unnamed 3,954-passenger vessel, which is the 26th ship in the line's fleet, will offer many of the newest and most popular features from Carnival's current ships, along with several innovations that will be exclusive to this vessel. The delivery date for the new cruise ship is scheduled for March 2018. Homeport and itinerary information will be announced at a later date. The new ship will be a sister ship to Carnival Vista, which is slated for delivery in spring 2016. For Holland America Line, the new order adds a second Pinnacle class ship to the fleet, a new class of vessels that will debut with the delivery and launch of the ms Koningsdam in February 2016. The new ship, scheduled for delivery in late November 2018, will accommodate 2,650 guests and 1,025 crew. The new as-yet-unnamed ship will feature new public spaces and venues that will debut on Koningsdam. In addition, many of the familiar spaces that are currently featured across the Holland America Line fleet will be included. Visit www.carnival.com and www.hollandamerica.com.
Holiday engagement hangover? Fort Lauderdale Marriott has remedy
December is full of things being popped –like bottles of holiday fizz and marriage proposals. But sometimes the engagement buzz is followed by wedding planning headaches. Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa offers a remedy to the holiday engagement hangover: an oceanfront wedding that keeps within budget. Two no-fuss packages are available in 2015 (book by Jan. 31, 2015). With a $10,000 booking, couples will receive a complimentary overnight stay in an Oceanfront Bridal Suite, two 50-minute spa treatments at SiSpa, complimentary champagne toast, waived event space rental and complimentary overnight stay in an Ocean View Room on their first anniversary. With a $15,000 booking, couples will receive complimentary two night’s stay in an Ocean Front Bridal Suite, two 50-minute spa treatments at SiSpa, complimentary champagne toast, waived event space rental, buffet breakfast for the bride and groom and eight guests at McCoy’s Oceanfront, and complimentary overnight stay in an Ocean View Room on their first anniversary. Visit
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker onboard
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will host Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy for a preview of her latest project, Last Days In Vietnam, aboard Seven Seas Voyager during the 18-night Dynasties and Dragons sailing in Asia on Feb. 21. The filmmaker will engage with guests during a question-and-answer session at the end of the screening and provide insight into the making and significance of the film. Kennedy’s documentary chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon and the South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. As the U.S. readies to withdraw, a number of heroic Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. Continuing a longtime relationship with PBS, Artful Travelers is partnering with Regent Seven Seas Cruises on this enrichment series showcasing exceptional PBS programming and beloved personalities.
As the ship sails from Beijing to ports in China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, guests will have the opportunity to join panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions and special presentations in the ship’s signature showplace, the Constellation Theater. Additionally, private dinners and cocktail receptions will take place during the voyage allowing guests to enjoy one-on-one conversations and personal interactions with the guest presenters. In addition to Kennedy, scheduled guests to appear on this voyage include Steven Johnson, author, technology expert and host of PBS’ How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson; Mark Bailey, Emmy Award-nominated screenwriter and best-selling author (Of All The Gin Joints: Stumbling Through Hollywood History and Last Days In Vietnam) and Lauren Prestileo, Series Manager of the acclaimed PBS series American Experience. These special activities are available to guests at no additional cost. At the time of booking, guests or their travel agents need to request the promotional code “ARTFUL” to be added to the guest’s reservation. Visit www.RSSC.com. Guests can also visit the Artful Travelers website at www.artfultravelers.com for additional information.
Silversea's all-suite expedition vessel, Silver Galapagos completed a second phase of renovations this fall, during a month-long dry dock in Panama. All of the ship's suites, corridors and the Explorer Lounge have been refurbished in a blue and beige color palette utilized to create an interior décor echoing that of the recently refurbished Silver Discoverer. These further enhancements have achieved a consistency of interior design within the expedition fleet. The 100-guest Silver Galapagos underwent an initial partial refurbishment last year including the installation of new in-suite bathrooms featuring marble detailing, plus a new fitness center, massage room, beauty salon, outdoor Jacuzzi, and Silversea's signature outdoor dining venue, The Grill. The ship sails Saturday to Saturday on seven-day voyages through the Galapagos Islands, following either a western or north central route. Visit www.silversea.com.
Master chef and family onboard
Master chef, cookbook author and Oceania Cruises Executive Culinary Director, Jacques Pépin, will host a special sailing onboard Riviera in 2015. The chef’s daughter Claudine, co-Host of Jacques’ award-winning “Cooking with Claudine“ television series, and his granddaughter Shorey will join Pépin and his wife Gloria on the 10-day Iberian Inspiration departing Lisbon for Rome on July 7. The sailing will feature cooking demonstrations, specially designed signature menus, book signings and more. Making the sailing even more special, guests can share in an 80th birthday celebration for Chef Pépin. Visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.
Kimpton hotel opens in Palm Beach
The Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, a Kimpton hotel, was launched this December. A beachfront boutique hotel on the island of Palm Beach, it has 134 guestrooms and two suites. Perched at the Atlantic Ocean’s edge along more than 200 feet of white sand beach, the Tideline Ocean Resort’s amenities include a signature spa, destination restaurant and infinity pool. Visit www.tidelineresort.com.
Crystal Cruises marks its 25th anniversary with special sailings
Crystal Cruises has announced a celebratory twist for its Experiences of Discovery theme cruises for 2015, when the line marks its 25th anniversary of cruising. During six designated sailings – in addition to more than a dozen themed cruises focused on culinary, musical, theatrical, political and athletic pursuits – Crystal guests will be treated to commemorative parties and receptions, where they’ll rub
elbows with Crystal’s top leadership. Of these, four voyages will be Crystal’s first-ever “Captain’s Cruises,” wherein former captains will join Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity again to regale travelers with their Crystal memories. The four cruises, and hosts, include:
· April 11, Asia (Hong Kong to Tokyo) with Captain Reidulf Maalen, the captain of Crystal’s first ship, the Crystal Harmony, when the company began sailing in 1990.
· May 4, Southern Trans-Atlantic (Miami to Lisbon) with Captain Glenn Edvardsen, a 21-year Crystal veteran, and the youngest Crystal captain when he joined the line in 1999.
· June 12, Northern Trans-Atlantic (New York to London) with Captain Helge Brudvik, captain of Crystal Symphony in its inaugural year, retired from Crystal since 2000.
· December 19, Caribbean/Brazilian Holiday (San Juan to Rio de Janeiro) with Captain John Økland, who just retired in 2012 after 15 years with Crystal.
New Year’s Eve dinner in Naples
Located at the iconic Inn on Fifth in downtown Naples, Avenue5 is offering a special New Year’s Eve dinner on Dec. 31. Served in a festive atmosphere, a five-course prix fixe menu created by Executive Chef John Welch, features Maine Lobster, all natural prime beef and locally sourced, and organic vegetable. The dinner is $135 per person for the early seating and $175 per person for the second seating, which includes a champagne toast at midnight. Party favors, hats andmore will add to the restaurant’s “Vintage Glam” vibe for the evening. Opened in early 2014, the $3 million Avenue 5 features 240 seats and two private dining rooms. The 7,000-square-foot restaurant is at 699 Fifth Avenue South. For more information or to make reservations for the New Year’s Eve dinner, visit www.Avenue5Naples.com.
Ushering in 2015 in Vero Beach
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort & Spa offers two culinary options for New Year’s Eve: a buffet in the resort’s Shutters restaurant with such specialties as chilled beer boiled peel and eat shrimp, bacon-wrapped pork loin, bourbon glazed salmon, carving station with herb-crusted strip loin and pineapple glazed ham and a variety of desserts ($34.99 for ages 10 and up and $16.99 for children ages 3 to 9). The buffet at Shutters is available from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. At the resort’s fine dining Sonya’s, a prix fixe menu ($55 per person plus gratuity and tax; wine pairing is an additional $25 per person) features an amuse bouche, a choice of one appetizer including crab cake, an a choice of one entree including oak-grilled beef tenderloin filet. Reservations are recommended. Call 772-234-2180.
Oceania features new culinary offerings
Often referred to as the line for epicureans, Oceania Cruises is introducing new culinary offerings this fall and winter including a “by the bottle” wine package, a new food and wine pairing menu for La Reserve by Wine Spectator, and a visiting chef program for Insignia’s world cruise. Among the new features is the Wine by the Bottle Package available across the Oceania Cruises fleet. More than 50 bottles selected by the line’s master sommeliers include a selection of whites, reds, champagnes and sparkling wines. The Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Rodney Strong Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc and Domaine Saint-Roch Vin de Pays are among the many values on the extensive list. The package is priced at $42.50 per bottle, including gratuities, when guests select seven or more bottles. The list features some exclusive wines otherwise not available in the restaurants onboard and varies by ship and itinerary, with regional wines added on many voyages. Visit www.oceaniacruises.com.
Special at Sunset Key
Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort, just off Key West has announced a special two-night Winter Reprieve package, available now through Jan. 15. The package includes two-nights' cottage accommodations in garden-view cottage, one 80-minute spa treatment for two in the resort's waterfront Spa Cabana, one gourmet Sunset Picnic Basket for two, one reserved hammock, and daily breakfast for two. Package price starts at $1,980 based on double occupancy, plus applicable taxes, and is based on availability. Visit www.WestinSunsetKeyCottages.com.
Swimming with manatees in Crystal River this winter
The Plantation on Crystal River has created two winter packages giving guests the chance to swim with the West Indian manatee in Crystal River. Starting at $230 for two guests, the one-night Swim with the Manatees package includes: accommodations in a renovated garden view room, manatee snorkeling tour for two from the Plantation Adventure Center with all equipment needed (mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit. Tours leave directly from the on-property dock at Plantation Adventure Center & Dive Shop and provide hot chocolate and coffee on the enclosed boats and a hot shower facility for those guests who already checked out or snorkelers not staying at the resort), breakfast for two at West 82° Bar & Grill, welcome bag with plush manatee toy, fun facts and manatee interaction guidelines. If guests would like to add more adventure and an additional night to their getaway, the resort is also offering a two-night Swim and Dive package. In addition to all the amenities from the Manatee package, guests receive an additional night as well as a guided tour for two to one of Florida's most pristine rivers and fourth largest spring system in Florida, Rainbow River. The Swim and Dive package is $540 for two people. Manatee tours are offered year-round at Plantation’s Adventure Center & Dive Shop, headquarters, but in the winter time guests are guaranteed to see these gentle giants. During prime manatee viewing season, which usually runs through Mar. 31 depending on temperatures, guests will experience the adventure of swimming with more than 300 manatees as they play, eat, and socialize with one another. The manatees enjoy the year-round 72°F waters of Florida's second largest spring system – relatively warm considering manatee season is in the winter. Rate is based on double occupancy and includes Sunday-Thursday stays. Water view, patio rooms, Junior suites and golf villas are available for an additional charge. Additional nights and people sharing room are available for additional charge. Rates are subject to availability. Taxes and gratuities are not included. Visit www.PlantationonCrystalRiver.com.
Larry Martin, the President of Food & Wine Trails, and his wife Laura, will host his Ultimate Wine Cruise in the Adriatic for friends and customers in the fall. The trip compiles Martin’s four favorite elements: curated and rare French wines, a luxurious small-ship cruise, new wine destinations, and a bevy of like-mind people to share the experience. The cruise will also be hosted by Kelly McAuliffe, an American sommelier living in France, who will oversee a series of private to the group, shipboard wine tastings and a dinner with 95-point or better Robert Parker-rated French wines. His wine selections include a Domaine de la Janasse cuvee made from 100 year-old vines and such famous French wine producers as Vieux Telegraph, Chateau Beaucastel and Domaine de la Mordore. The one-week cruise departs from Venice on Sept. 11, on Silversea's 540-passenger cruise ship Silver Spirit, with stops planned in Koper, Slovenia; Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Ravenna, Italy, near Bologna.
Fare begins at $4,025 per person including 7-nights in one of Silversea's large suites, ship meals, wine and spirits and the private onboard wine program. Not included are the optional shore tours, airport transfers or round trip airfare. Visit www.foodandwinetrails.com.
For young sailors
Carnival Cruise Lines has teamed up with DJ IRIE – the official DJ of Carnival and the Miami HEAT who has entertained crowds from South Beach and Vegas to Paris and Brazil – to create Spin U, a new shipboard DJ academy for teens ages 15-17. Part of the line’s popular Club O2 teen program and inspired by DJ IRIE’s own Spin’iversity – a customized training program exclusively for developing Carnival’s shipboard DJs – Spin U is designed to provide aspiring spin-masters with what they need to know about this emerging art form, from bringing a crowd to its feet to pumping up the dance floor with excitement. There are three different Spin U packages: Intro – a free 30-minute introductory session that includes an overview of equipment basics and spinning and mixing techniques; DJ 101 – a 45-minute program that expands upon the Intro program with an overview of both mixing and scratching (cost is $20); and DJ Master – comprised of three one-hour sessions, helping participants master the art of mixing, mic skills and understanding song structure and transitions. After selecting their own creative DJ moniker, DJ Master students participate in a “Battle of the Beats” against other up-and-coming DJs with one lucky DJ entertaining guests poolside on Lido deck (cost for the three-session program is $99). Personalized, one-on-one sessions with Carnival’s shipboard DJs are also available and all DJ Master participants receive a “swag bag” containing a variety of premium branded logo items. Spin U is currently being piloted on six- and eight-day cruises of the Carnival Freedom from Fort Lauderdale with fleetwide rollout expected by the end of 2015. Visit www.carnival.com.
Silversea offers “Silver Wave” incentive
Silversea is offering a booking incentive valid for a limited time on a variety of global itineraries. The new “Silver Wave” promotion provides guests with a complimentary suite upgrade plus an onboard spending credit of up to $1,000 per suite that can be used for shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants, boutique purchases, and more. The offer is available for new bookings made by Dec. 31, on 31 select voyages sailing in 2015 -- including both traditional ocean-going and expedition cruises. Among the select voyages featuring a complimentary suite upgrade plus $1,000 per suite onboard spending credit is the Silver Spirit’s voyage 5507 from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, 17 Days, March 27 - April 13. Silver Wave is a capacity-controlled program and subject to availability. For details and fares, visit www.Silversea.com.
Key West going to the dogs
As many as 200 short-legged, tail-wagging canine "revelers" are to stage a pre-New Year's Eve promenade before thousands of spectators Wednesday, Dec. 31, during the 10th annual Key West Dachshund Walk. The procession of pooches and their human companions begins at noon at the corner of Whitehead and Fleming streets in Key West's downtown. The walking route, kept brief to cater to the diminutive dogs' short legs, is to encompass the 400 block of Fleming Street, 500 block of Duval Street and entire one-block length of Appelrouth Lane. The 2013 "wiener walk" included approximately 200 dogs, many of them costumed or wearing offbeat accessories. Among the standouts were dachshunds portraying a "cocktail wiener" in a pseudo martini glass with oversized olives, "hot dogs" in buns, superheroes, sea creatures and a pirate carrying a sword nearly as long as he was. Canine participants typically include miniature and standard shorthaired, wirehaired and longhaired dachshunds. Some trot briskly along the route, while others ride in wagons or strollers. Dogs are accompanied by a supply wagon carrying water for thirsty walkers and plastic bags for quick cleanup of any accidents -- as well as providing transport for dogs that get tired along the way. The procession usually draws a few dachshund "imposters" bearing a suspicious resemblance to other breeds. Since pedigrees aren't checked, even "wiener wannabes" can strut their stuff in the lighthearted annual amble.There is no cost to participate, but donations of dog and cat food are requested for the community pet-food pantry operated by St. Mary Star of the Sea Outreach Mission. Spectators can watch the fun and meet the canine participants on Fleming Street between Whitehead and Duval streets. For information on Key West and the Florida Keys, visit www.fla-keys.com/keywest.
Oceanfront boardwalk on new Norwegian ship
Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that Norwegian Escape will incorporate The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, the popular design innovation first introduced on Norwegian Breakaway and on Norwegian Getaway. This concept includes an oceanfront boardwalk lined with restaurants, bars and shops, combined with three decks of dining, bars, entertainment, gaming and more. Norwegian Escape is currently under construction and is scheduled for delivery in October 2015. Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on Nov. 14, 2015. The ship will carry 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. Visit www.escape.ncl.com.
Divi Resorts in Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire and St. Maarten (www.diviresorts.com) are featuring specials, offering rooms at 30 percent off standard rates for vacations now and in 2015. There is no book by date. Some sample rates: In Aruba, Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, rates start at $185 per night; at Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort, rates start at $159 per night; and at Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort, rates start at $139 per night. For information on the savings, visit www.diviresorts.com.
New Hilton in Barranquilla, Colombia
Hilton Worldwide recently opened the newly-built Hilton Garden Inn Barranquilla, a 123-room Hilton Garden Inn property in Colombia’s Caribbean port city. Hilton Garden Inn Barranquilla is the brand’s first hotel in Colombia and the company’s seventh, reinforcing Hilton Worldwide’s plans to continue growing in Colombia, and Latin America. Hilton Garden Inn Barranquilla is approximately 30 minutes from the Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport, and forms part of the Blue Garden mixed use complex featuring office space, an upscale shopping mall with 126 stores, seven movie theaters and parking. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool and a complimentary fitness center featuring premium cardio and strength training equipment. Travelers to Hilton Garden Inn Barranquilla also have access to meeting space, and signature Hilton Garden Inn brand attributes such as complimentary Wi-Fi and a 24-hour business center. The city of Barranquilla, located in Northern Colombia, is served by both direct domestic and international flights including a less than three hour flight from Miami and a less than hour and a half flight from Colombia’s capital city of Bogota.The hotel participates in Hilton HHonors, the rewards program that allows members to earn Points & Miles for the same stay and redeem points for free nights with no blackout dates at more than 4,200 hotels worldwide. Visit hiltongardeninn.com.
Serenity in Naples
The Edgewater Beach Hotel has introduced the Seaside Serenity package available exclusively in the hotel's new custom-designed Serenity Suite. The Seaside Serenity package includes overnight accommodations in the Serenity Suite, a choice of two 50-minute activities or services from the hotel's Wellness Menu, choice of two meal options from the Serenity Dining Menu, and a selection of organic fruits and vegetables delivered in-suite with juicing tips and recipes. Wellness activities and services include massage, private yoga, meditation, personal training, and personalized lifestyle and wellness coaching sessions. The Serenity Dining Menu features healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and includes such entrees as a vegetable wrap with five-spice tofu and baked salmon with mango and avocado salsa. The Serenity Suite has custom amenities including serene lighting on dimmer switches, PranaSleep mattress providing incomparable support and comfort; a NutriBullet Pro juicer; an in-suite massage table and yoga mat; a selection of meditation, yoga and wellness CDs, DVDs and books; and complimentary set of aromatherapy lotions and oils. The Serenity Suite features open plan bedroom, bathroom and separate living area, fully-equipped kitchen and private balcony with outdoor seating. Seaside Serenity package rates start at $600 per night, single occupancy, based on availability and excluding taxes and fees. Additional guest and amenities can be added at an additional cost. The Serenity Suite can be booked separate from the Seaside Serenity package, with rates starting at $279 per night. Visit www.edgewaternaples.com.
Winter Wonderland package, festivities on Amelia Island
Omni Amelia Island Plantation hosts celebrations this holiday season transforming The Shops at Amelia Island Plantation into Santa’s Workshop, and offering ever-changing daily celebrations from 4-6 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and 5-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Celebrations include live music, falling snow and family-friendly activities such as animal encounters, craft stations, archery demos, gingerbread decorating, chocolate bark making and more. In addition, the resort offers a Winter Wonderland package. Starting at $259 per night Nov. 28 through Dec 30, the package provides oceanfront accommodations, daily breakfast at Sunrise Café, unlimited access to Santa’s Workshop, milk and cookie turndown, valet parking and welcome amenity. The package is subject to availability and blackout dates. It does not apply to groups or conventions and cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Rates are subject to change without notice. Visit www.omniameliaislandplantation.com.
Connecting with fellow passengers at sea
Regal Princess guests have the opportunity to connect with their fellow cruisers with the debut of Princess@Sea Messenger, a free mobile messenger feature offering guests an easy way to share updates and make plans during their cruise vacation. The Princess@Sea Messenger is integrated in the complimentary Princess@Sea mobile app, accessed via a smartphone or tablet browser. It debuted on Regal Princess in November and will be rolled out to all cruise ships in the entire Princess fleet by the end of 2015. Guests are able to download Princess@Sea Messenger for free before sailing at the Apple or Android App Store or on board with the purchase of an internet package. Limited messaging functionality will also be available in Princess@Sea without downloading the app. The award-winning Princess@Sea mobile app debuted aboard Royal Princess in 2013 giving guests the ability to check the day’s events and activities, review the ship’s itinerary and port guides, browse restaurant menus and even access their stateroom account. Regal Princess began her Caribbean cruise season on Nov. 6 with a short preview sailing, followed by a schedule of seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises to ports including St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays in the Bahamas. Visit www.princess.com.
Gourmet package in Cancun
Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is featuring the Grand Gourmet Experience, which takes guests on a journey through Mexican and European cuisines. The Grand Gourmet package includes choice of suite accommodations (from a junior suite to a four-bedroom suite and deluxe Bvlgari amenities; round-trip private ground transportation from the Cancun International Airport to the resort; an in-suite, 375-ml bottle of premier brand tequila upon arrival; unlimited gourmet meals and snacks at El Faro Restaurant, Heaven Beach Bar, the Pool Bar and the Lobby Bar and Café; unlimited drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic, domestic brands and a selection of luxury brands); 24-hour room service; beer, water and soft drinks replenished in the minibar once per day; daily activities program, including tea service, salsa dancing, Zumba and yoga classes, tennis clinics and more; sports activities such as tennis, guided bicycle tours, beach soccer and volleyball; activities at the kids’ and teens’ clubs and other features. The Grand Gourmet Package is valid on stays now through Dec. 19. Rates in a junior suite start from $375 per person, per night, double occupancy. Additional guests ages 13 and older may added to the same suite for $199 per person, per night. Children ages five to 12 years old may be added for $79 per child, per night. Children under five years stay complimentary. Visit www.grandresidencesrivieracancun.com. Package reference is “Grand Gourmet.”
Thanksgiving and holidays package in Palm Beach
The Chesterfield Palm Beach, has recently announced several packages for the holidays including an overnight Thanksgiving package starting at $334 per night. The Home for the Holidays package is available Dec. 1-30 and includes a two-night stay, traditional English Breakfast for two each morning, beach amenities for the day and a mixology lesson with one of the famous Leopard Lounge bartenders starting at $314 per night. For details and terms and conditions, visit www.chesterfieldpb.com.
“Out of this world” this holiday season
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral features “Holidays in Space” with a first-of-its-kind 3D show “projection mapped” onto a rocket, and a laser and light show so spectacular, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) should be able to see the beam. Beginning Nov. 28, the Visitor Complex will be adorned for the holiday season including a 41-foot Christmas tree, a giant NASA “meatball” ornament, garlands, lights, ribbons, bows and more. From Dec. 2 through Jan. 4, the Visitor Complex presents the new Holiday Rocket Garden Light Show featuring a choreographed light and music show. The excitement accelerates Dec. 22 through Dec. 31 when a second element is added to the show: a 3D projection mapping
presentations shown on the side of the 223-foot-long Saturn 1B rocket. Also called spatial augmented reality, this technology is used to project images onto irregularly shaped objects, such as bridges, buildings, and now, a rocket. This presentation, a first at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, features custom animation blended with historic footage of actual launches and awe-inspiring views of Earth from the ISS. From Dec. 26-Dec. 31, a Holiday Laser Light Spectacular will be added to the festivities, featuring a music and laser light show. The green rays from the laser show are bright enough for astronauts aboard the International Space Station to see them. All holiday activities are included with Visitor Complex admission; no advance reservations are required. Light shows begin at dusk each day. The Visitor Complex is open 365 days a year, including Christmas Day, Dec. 25. Admission is $50 plus tax for adults and $40 plus tax for children ages 3-11. Visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
Artful package in St. Petersburg
The Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club’s in St. Petersburg is featuring an Artful Retreat package in conjunction with the new “Picasso/Dali, Dali/Picasso” exhibit at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. The “Artful Retreat” package for a weekend getaway, available now through Feb. 6, 2015 and starting at $264, includes upgraded bay view accommodations, $50 resort dining credit for Marchand’s, and choice of two tickets to the Dali Museum or Chihuly Collection.
Renovations completed at Florida Keys Wild Bird Center in Tavernier
Several renovations and restorations are complete at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center in Tavernier. In 2013, the FKWBC purchased a property at 92080 Overseas Highway that has become a rehabilitation and education center. The center is equipped with an operating room, X-ray capability, a triage unit, isolation area and separate recovery areas for small and large birds along with an outdoor pelican enclosure. The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured birds in the Upper Keys area, and their release whenever possible. As well as the rehabilitation center, the facility operates a visitor center and a sanctuary that houses rehabilitated birds that can no longer survive in the wild. Visit www.fkwbc.org.
Visiting the Last Key this fall? You can still use 2014 Key West attractions pass
Visitors to America's southernmost city can receive special values on museum and attractions admissions, watersports adventures and more by purchasing a 2014 Key West Vacation Pass from the Key West Attractions Association. The $49 pass booklet contains 22 offers from many of Key West's popular attractions and can be used through Dec. 19. Values are featured on tickets for historic and museum attractions, snorkeling excursions, kayaking and eco-tours, visits to nature facilities, fishing charters, food and beverages, sunset cruises and even a flyboard adventure. Visitors must purchase passes online at www.keywestvacationpass.com before traveling to Key West, and should receive them within seven days of ordering. Some blackout dates apply, and there is a $6 shipping and handling fee.
Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba specials
La Nouba, the exclusive Cirque du Soleil show at Walt Disney World Resort has announced special offers starting at $54 for adult and $45 for child seats. This offer is available for performances now through Dec. 19. Guests who wish to have dinner before or after the show can take advantage of La Nouba’s special Dinner & A Show package available now until Nov. 22. The package includes a ticket to the show and dinner at a participating restaurant of their choice. Participating restaurants are Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, Planet Hollywood and Splitsville Luxury Lanes. The offer includes one entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage. Package prices start at $99 for adults and at $89 for children ages 3 to 9. Visit www.lanouba.com.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel redesign
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel has launched a multi-phase, multi-year, $125 million redesign project that will transform every guest room in the 758-room Swan Hotel and the 1,509-room Dolphin Hotel. The transformation will occur without disruption to the guest experience as the majority of guest rooms will be available throughout the process. The hotel’s public spaces, restaurants, meeting rooms, shops, pools and recreational areas will not be impacted and remain operational throughout the renovation. Hotel and condominium interior design and architecture firm Garcia Stromberg/GS4 Studios, designers of the Conrad Hotel Ft. Lauderdale, the Waldorf Astoria’s Boca Beach Club and One Thousand Ocean condominium in Boca Raton, created the concept for the new rooms, inspired by the resort’s water-themed architecture. The guest room features upgraded furniture and all of the latest technology including large HD TVs. Additional power outlets provide corporate executives and family travelers more options for use of multiple personal electronics. Blending a combination of whites, blues and grays, the design creates a tasteful ambiance that appeals to adults while abstract artwork playfully delights children as well. The centerpiece of the room is the Westin Heavenly Bed with its all-white custom-designed pillow-top mattress set, cozy down blanket, a trio of crisp sheets, goose down comforter and four over-stuffed pillows. The design continues into a completely new bathroom, featuring a back-lit mirror mounted on iridescent glass tiles. The project started at the Swan Hotel, with approximately 500 of the 756 rooms redesigned by the end of 2014. The first phase of the Dolphin Hotel rooms will begin in 2016 with the entire rooms project currently scheduled for completion by the end of 2017. Visit www.swandolphin.com.
New production shows
All-new, visually exciting musical experiences are coming to the stages of Silversea Cruises' five ultra-luxury ships. The new production shows will feature live singing complemented with musical tracks recorded exclusively for Silversea by such renowned artists as London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Seven different shows, featuring rich costuming, imaginative set designs, and special visual effects, will spotlight the talents of an international ensemble of
accomplished vocalists, known collectively as the Voices of Silversea. Among the productions that will be performed in the main Show Lounge fleetwide is “Musica Maestro” with a grand ballroom as the elegant backdrop for this signature show, which is a 45-minute tribute to popular operatic arias and classical crossover music. Led by renowned conductor Richard Balcombe, its musical score has been arranged, performed, and recorded by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra exclusively for Silversea guests. Guests on Silver Wind and Silver Cloud have been treated to sneak previews of some of the new shows, produced for Silversea by London-based Luna Rossa Productions, and the program will roll out fleetwide beginning with Silver Whisper on Nov. 25; Silver Shaow on Dec. 20; and Silver Spirit on April 13. Visit www.silversea.com.
Disney Cruise Line announces new ports for 2016
Disney Cruise Line has announced two popular Caribbean destinations – Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Martinique – on its lineup of tropical itineraries for early 2016. The return to the homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico brings a new itinerary that includes Martinique. From the warm Caribbean culture of Tortola, capital of the British Virgin Islands, to the exquisite French island of Martinique, these destinations provide Disney Cruise Line guests the chance to relax on pristine beaches, discover natural wonders and indulge in local shopping and cuisine. Bookings are open to the public now. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Sunset sails on Panama City Beach
Paradise Adventures offers a two-hour sail along the Gulf of Mexico to take in the sights and sunsets of Panama City Beach. Travelers can relax onboard the 55-foot catamaran and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, sangria, cold beer or a non-alcoholic beverage. Cost is $25 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under and $5 for youths 2 and under. Visit www.paradiseadventurespcb.com.
Acquisition of Florida Keys hotels
The Carlyle Group has announced the acquisition of two Florida Keys hotels in Islamorada – the Postcard Inn Beach Resort at Holiday Isle and La Siesta Resort. The two hotels join the Islamorada Resort and Pelican Cove Resort & Marina in Carlyle’s Islamorada hotel portfolio. The four properties will form the newly created Islamorada Hotel Company and be managed by Trust Hospitality. Postcard Inn is a 151-room resort at Mile Marker 84 in Islamorada. The oceanfront resort features a private beach, watersports, two pools, ocean-side marina and a variety of food and beverage options, including the World Famous Tiki Bar. La Siesta is an all-suite beach hotel on six tropical acres on the Oceanside of Islamorada at Mile Marker 80.2. The hotel features cottages with full kitchens and complimentary use of kayaks and bicycles. The Postcard Inn will undergo renovations beginning with upgrades to guest bathrooms, which are scheduled to begin by the end of the year. Improvements to common areas, the marina, and food and beverage options will begin in 2015. La Siesta’s renovations will start in late 2015 and will also include a refresh of the guestrooms and common areas. For more information on Trust Hospitality visit www.TrustHospitality.com. For more information on The Carlyle Hotel Group visit www.Carlyle.com.
New ship named
Holland America Line revealed the name of its new 99,500-ton cruise ship slated for delivery in February 2016 will be ms Koningsdam. While the name pays homage to the company’s rich heritage and deep roots in the Netherlands, it also reflects a new era with a name that is an original in Holland America Line’s 141-year history. The 2,650-passenger ship is an evolution in design for the line — a new Pinnacle Class — and is being built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard. Since 1883 every Holland America passenger vessel has borne the “dam” suffix, and ms Koningsdam carries on that tradition. The word koning means “king” in Dutch, and the name celebrates the majestic new ship. The name also pays honor to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the first king of the Netherlands in over a century. Holland America Line has a long, proud history with the Netherlands. All of its 15 cruise ships that carry nearly one million guests each year fly the Dutch flag as they sail throughout the world, to more than 400 ports of call. And the line has many Dutch employees, including most of the fleet’s captains and officers. When the Koningsdam debuts she will be a new type of ship for Holland America Line. It is the largest ever built for the company and the increased size provides more opportunities to add new public spaces and venues, and several innovative features will debut on ms Koningsdam. Familiar spaces and amenities currently featured across the Holland America Line fleet will also be found on the new ship. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
New fitness offering at The Breakers
Ocean Fitness will debut as The Breakers’ flagship fitness offering in early December. A 6,000 sq. ft., indoor/outdoor oceanfront fitness experience, situated in the resort’s Mediterranean-style Beach Club complex, it is complimentary to hotel guests. More than twice as large as the resort’s previous rendition within the Spa, Ocean Fitness will encompass 4,300 square feet of air-conditioned interior space, a 1,700 square foot oceanfront terrace featuring treadmills and classes for outdoor workouts, including spin classes, and 10 foot-tall windows
showcasing magnificent ocean vistas. Highlights of the facility include the most advanced equipment available on the market, weekly rotation of more than 45 classes, the expertise of professional fitness instructors, personal trainers and a wellness coach and other features. Visit www.thebreakers.com.
Amelia Island offer
Guests can enjoy a two-bedroom unit at Ketch Courtyard Condominiums on Fernandina Beach at a rate of $165 a night or in a three-bedroom/three-bath condo for $180 per from Sept. 15 to April 1, 2015. Visit www.ketchcourtyard.com for details and terms and conditions.
To the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale
Travelers looking for a mid-sized cruise experience in the Caribbean have 126 itineraries to choose from during Holland America Line’s 2014-15 Caribbean season. Featuring nine of the line’s vessels sailing roundtrip from either Fort Lauderdale or Tampa, the cruises span the Caribbean on eastern, western and southern routes, as well as partial transits of the Panama Canal. The diverse itineraries visit 30 ports. Among the cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale are seven-day voyages to the eastern and western Caribbean that can be combined to form a 14-day Collectors’ Voyage spanning both regions on the Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam. Fares begin at $399 per person, double occupancy for a seven-day cruise. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
New hotel opening in Key West this fall
The Gates Hotel Key West, a new independent hotel with 100 rooms, will open on Key West, this fall. The boutique address under new ownership of Highgate Hotels will combine luxury, modern design, organic touches, and Floridian flare to recreate the verve of Hemingway's "old
school Key West." With its island ambiance, residential-style interiors, Cuban-themed dining and drinking, and splashy pool deck scene, The Gates will bring the Key West lifestyle to life for guests and locals alike. The hotel will offer two guest room categories: The Standard and The View. The View guest rooms include views of the pool or bay with some even providing direct access to the pool area. Each stay comes with complimentary WiFi access, a welcome cocktail and locally-inspired gifts and programs. Opening rates are from $249. Visit www.gateshotelkeywest.com.
Ballrooms renovation in Naples
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, a boutique beachfront resort in Naples, has announced the completion of the million-dollar overhaul to their meeting and event space. Extensive enhancements were carried out to both the Vanderbilt and Bayview Ballrooms and Terraces, community spaces surrounding the conference center, as well as the restrooms and “lantern lane.” Offering event space with waterfront views, LaPlaya makes an picturesque site for social and business functions such as weddings, board meetings, bar mitzvahs, galas, benefits and more with more than 11,500 sq. ft. of flexible function space. Visit www.laplayaresort.com.
Free Internet in some accommodations
Oceania Cruises has announced plans to provide complimentary Internet access to guests booked in either a suite or Concierge Level stateroom on any of its five mid-size ships. This is the first time the upper-premium cruise line has offered a free Internet program, with the new benefit commencing during the 2015 winter season. As part of the program, guests booked in Owner’s, Vista and Oceania suites will receive unlimited complimentary Internet access to enjoy throughout their voyage. Guests booked in Penthouse suites or Concierge Level staterooms will receive blocks of complimentary Internet time based on cruise length, starting with 200 minutes for a seven-night cruise and extending to 500 minutes for voyages over 16 nights. Guests will be able to take advantage of the free Internet either through the ship’s Wi-Fi system or at the Oceania@Sea Internet café. Oceania Cruises recently upgraded the Wi-Fi system across the fleet to increase bandwidth and provide connectivity throughout the entire ship, including all public spaces, outdoor decks and all suites and staterooms. The complimentary Internet rollout will be staggered across the fleet, tied to the official start of each ship’s winter schedule. The first sailings will be Nautica on Oct. 25, 2015, followed by Marina on Nov. 3, Regatta on Nov. 4, Riviera on Dec. 2, and Insignia on Jan. 4, 2016, when it begins its third 180-day Around the World voyage. Complete itinerary details for the winter schedule will be released and available to book at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2014. Oceania Cruises’ signature 2-for-1 cruise fares include complimentary amenities such as unlimited soft drinks, coffee beverages, juices and bottled water. Guests can savor the finest cuisine at sea at any of the ships’ specialty restaurants without any supplemental dining charges. Oceania Cruises also eliminates the hassle of searching for flights by including free roundtrip air service from major U.S. and Canadian gateways. Visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.
“Dolphin Tale 2 Getaway” on St. Pete Beach
TradeWinds Island Resorts, the Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost, on St. Pete Beach is offering the “Dolphin Tale 2 Getaway,” a three-night package beginning at $632 including accommodations at the TradeWinds Island Grand or Guy Harvey Outpost; two tickets to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (additional discounted tickets can be purchased); a dolphin watch cruise for two; a plush Winter the dolphin toy; and the hardcover book, “Winter’s Tale.” Also included is the nightly resort amenity fee, which includes parking, beach cabana, paddleboats and other extras at both TradeWinds resorts. A portion of the proceeds from the package will be donated back to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium – home to the movie’s celebrities, Winter and Hope. The “Dolphin Tale 2 Getaway” is available through Feb. 11, 2015. Visit www.JustLetGo.com. Price listed is for two people and does not include tax. No refunds for early checkouts or unused portions of the package. Package is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other promotion, offer, resort credit or package.
“Pick Your Park” offer in Orlando
Orlando World Center Marriott is featuring the “Pick Your Park” escape, starting at $344 per night, valid for stays now through Dec. 31 (promo code is THM). The program provides choice of two admission tickets to one of the following theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios Orlando or Universal’s Islands of Adventure; complimentary self-parking and $25 per night resort credit. The offer is based on occupancy and availability. Rates are subject to change and blackout dates apply. Taxes are not included. Package is valid for minimum two-night stays, available now through Dec. 31. Additional theme park tickets are available at Concierge Desk. Visit www.worldcentermarriott.com.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s acquisition of Prestige
Norwegian Cruise Line” or “Norwegian has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prestige Cruises International, Inc., parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt. Prestige operates eight ships and approximately 6,500 berths under two brands. Oceania Cruises is a market leader in the upper-premium cruise segment with five ships offering destination-oriented cruise vacations to more than 330 ports around the globe, gourmet culinary experiences, elegant accommodations and personalized service. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is a market leader in the luxury cruise segment and operates three all-suite ships, with an additional ship on order for delivery in summer 2016. Regent ships visit more than 250 destinations worldwide. Visit www.ncl.com, www.oceaniacruises.com and www.rssc.com.
New nighttime experience debuts on Regal Princess in November
A new nighttime experience debuts on Regal Princess in November, enabling guests to enjoy a chic outdoor nightclub under the stars. The Night Sky Lounge debuts when the ship begins her inaugural Caribbean season from Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 6. The top-deck Retreat Pool will transform into the new Night Sky Lounge one night during each cruise, inviting guests to enjoy a South Miami-style nightclub vibe, including atmospheric pool and furniture lighting, glowing drinks and a DJ spinning tunes on a state-of-the-art audio system. Guests can sip sophisticated cocktails, even in the two Jacuzzis, enjoy a flair bartending demonstration, dance the night away, and can even reserve a cabana with hosted bottle service. Guests pay a nominal charge to enter the Night Sky Lounge. After a short preview sailing on Nov. 6, Regal Princess begins her Caribbean cruise season with a schedule of seven-day cruises to ports in the Eastern Caribbean including St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays in the Bahamas. Visit www.princess.com.
Photography books this fall
Guests to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will be able to meet photographer Michael Soluri on Nov. 8 for a book signing and presentation for his new book, “Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration.” Guests are invited to a 30-minute presentation by Soluri at noon in the Hubble Theater at Space Shuttle Atlantis, which features 19 of Soluri’s images of the NASA and Kennedy Space Center workforce. At 1 p.m., a one-hour signing opportunity will follow the presentation on the lower level of Space Shuttle Atlantis. This event is included in daily admission to the Visitor Complex. Soluri has documented humankind’s space exploration journey for more than 15 years. His new book takes a behind-the-scenes look at NASA’s centers in Florida, Texas and Maryland. Published by Simon & Schuster, “Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration” features more than 300 images, 15 essays and a forword by former astronaut and Senator John Glenn. Admission is $50 plus tax for adults and $40 plus tax for children ages 3-11. Visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
Another new book of images this fall is Rebecca Webb Wilson's Well Seasoned: Savoring Life's Lessons (Inspire on Purpose, $25). The former Pan Am flight attendant, attorney, avid traveler and nature photographer chronicles the seasons of nature and of life, illuminated by her uplifting philosophy, in a collage of breathtaking photographs and inspirational essays. The book includes more than one hundred full-color images, and is sprinkled with quotations and fragments of poetry. Visit: www.hawkeyenature.com.
Keel laid for new Holland America ship
Holland America Line recently celebrated the keel laying of its new 2,650-guest Pinnacle Class ship at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy. A 680-ton block was lowered by crane into the yard’s building dock, marking the official beginning of construction. The 99,500-gross-ton ship is scheduled for delivery in February 2016. The ship will showcase decors by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany, based in New York City, and designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten, based in Oslo, Norway. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Cunard announces 2016 World Cruise and exotics sailings
Cunard Line has announced its 2016 World and Exotic Cruises travelling to 92 destinations, including 32 maiden calls, in 47 countries. The program will feature three World and Exotic Cruises with options ranging from four to 121 days aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Among the offerings is the Queen Mary 2’s circumnavigation from Southampton (her first since 2009), with eight maiden calls during her 120-night westbound voyage via South America and the Suez Canal. She will visit 38 ports of call in 26 countries,
traveling more than 41,000 nautical miles. Destination highlights include her first crossing of the South Pacific, featuring a sail-by of Easter Island and visits to the Polynesian islands of Tahiti and Moorea. Additionally, guests will have the opportunity to take in views of Beagle Channel and Magellan Straits when sailing around Cape Horn. Queen Mary 2 will also travel through the iconic Suez Canal. Overnight calls will include Rio de Janeiro, Punta del Este, Sydney and Dubai. Segment voyages will range from seven to 22 days and include a 10-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale and a 13-day segment from Fort Lauderdale to Rio de Janeiro. Sample starting fares for Queen Mary 2 Full World Cruise and Segments include: roundtrip New York – $20,049; roundtrip Southampton – $19,999; and Fort Lauderdale to Rio de Janeiro – $2,299. Visit www.cunard.com.
Captiva Holiday Village gets into spirit of the season
The hoteliers, merchants, attraction owners and restaurateurs of Captiva Island are getting into the holiday spirit and preparing for the fifth annual Captiva Holiday Village. The three-weekend-long Captiva Holiday Village launches its 2014 spectacular the Friday after Thanksgiving with fireworks, tree lightings, holiday readings, musical performances and more. Each special-themed weekend will be a fun-filled extravaganza of sight and sound, set against the backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico and evening sunsets. During the event weekends, visitors will enjoy everything from decorated golf cart and lighted boat parades to Junkanoo dancers, live music and even a Marching Mullet Parade.
One of the highlights, the Golf Cart Parade begins at South Seas Island Resort at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6 and is limited to the first 100 entries. All entries must incorporate a holiday theme. The parade route travels from South Seas to Andy Rosse Lane then loops around Chapin a nd Wiles Drive and back past the Green Flash restaurant before returning to South Seas. A portion of the $20 entrance fee will benefit the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. Prizes will be awarded for the best entries. The Boat Parade will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 just outside Roosevelt Channel, Marker #2. The route will follow Roosevelt Channel to ‘Tween Waters Inn and back. There is no entry fee for the boat parade and prizes will be given for the best-decorated vessels. A minimum of 100 lights is required for entry but more are encouraged. Best Boat Club & Rentals at South Seas Island Resort will rent boats to resort guests if they want to decorate and participate in the parade. Captiva Island resorts, inns, cottages and vacation homes are also offering lodging specials in conjunction with this year’s event. Visit www.CaptivaHolidayVillage.com.
Internet upgraded and access offerings expanded on Regent Seven Seas
For all Regent Seven Seas Cruises voyages setting sail after Jan. 1, 2015, guests booked in Master, Grand, Seven Seas, Horizon, Mariner, Navigator and Voyager suites will receive unlimited complimentary internet access. The free internet access is available for the duration of the cruise and is accessible in all public spaces and suites via the ship-wide Wi-Fi system. The addition of free unlimited internet access for upper suites coincides with the completion of a multimillion-dollar upgrade to internet systems on all Regent Seven Seas Cruises ships. The upgrades entail a doubling of available bandwidth to increase internet speed and reliability, and an expansion of the Wi-Fi system to provide connectivity throughout the entire ship, including all public spaces, outdoor decks and suites. While top tier suites will enjoy unlimited internet access, guests booked in Penthouse and Concierge suites will continue to receive complimentary internet time based on cruise length. For example, guests sailing on a seven-night voyage receive 200-minutes free and the amount of gratis internet time extends to 500-minutes for voyages over 16-nights. Members of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises loyalty program, Seven Seas Society, who achieved gold status or higher will continue to receive unlimited complimentary internet access onboard, regardless of suite selection. Visit www.rssc.com.
Set-jetting in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has served as the backdrop for many Hollywood movies including “22 Jump Street,” “Runner Runner,” “The Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Rum Diary,” so the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino has created a new Set-Jetting package to discover the locations of favorite films. The package (starting at $384 per night) includes a half-day “City Set” tour where guests will be taken to a handful of movie locations. Other perks include one “clapper board” to strike a pose for videos and pictures at your favorite film locations, a $30 credit for On Demand in-room movies, and daily breakfast for two adults and two children. Visit www.marriottsanjuan.com. Promo code is PK9. Minimum two-night stay is required and the offer is valid through Dec. 31.
Perks for Florida residents at Daytona Beach Shores resort
This fall, Florida residents can enjoy exclusive perks at The Shores Resort & Spa in Central Florida –as well as the oceanfront resort’s new Cabana Suites. Now through Dec. 30, 2014, Floridians who overnight at The Shores Resort & Spa receive: choice of two complimentary welcome cocktails or an appetizer sampler, choice of complimentary bottle of house wine or dessert with the purchase of a dinner entree at Azure, 20 percent discount on spa services at Indulge Spa, free car wash at Splash Car Wash, and a $25 gift certificate to be used for a future stay. Visit www.ShoresResort.com Promotion code is FAL.
Live Oak’s Magnolia Fest
In the mood for music? The Magnolia Fest in Live Oak presents such artists as Lyle Lovett & His Accustic Group, Jason Isbell and the Indigo Girls at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park on Oct. 16-19. A four-day general admission pass is $170 including primitive camping, taxes and fees. The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park is at 3076 95th Drive. Visit www.magnoliafest.com.
Central Florida fall special
Special “Make Some Memories Rates” are being offered by the seven Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels for stays through Oct. 31. As a bonus, guests at these hotels also receive the “2014 Downtown Disney Deals” booklet that features exclusive discounts and specials from more than 30 merchants on Downtown Disney area dining, entertainment and shopping. “Make Some Memories Rates” are:
· B Resort & Spa – now open – rates from $89 per room, per night
· Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel – rates from $69 per
room, per night
· Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa – rates from $75 per room, per night
· DoubleTree Suites by Hilton – rates from $99 per suite, per night
· Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – rates from $79 per room, per night
· Holiday Inn Orlando – Lake Buena Vista – rates from $94 per room, per night
· Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort – rates from $69 per room, per night.
Rates are based on availability and some blackout dates may apply. The rates do not include the Resort Services Fee or daily parking fee (if applicable), taxes or gratuities. The offer is not valid with any other special offers, promotions, existing reservations, or for groups. Visit www.DowntownDisneyHotels.com.
12/13/14 wedding package
The auspicious 12/13/14 weekend inspired the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun resort’s wedding team to offer a package for those who book 15 rooms from Dec. 1 through Dec. 20. This all-suite resort provides the perfect setting to celebrate married life together with an intimate group of family and friends. The Grand Residences 12-13-14-15 Package includes complimentary suite for the bride and groom with a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne on the night of the wedding, symbolic ceremony in a beach gazebom bride’s bouquet and groom’s boutonnière, one large mantle floral arrangement, photography and DVD of the wedding ceremony, selection of wedding music to be played during the ceremony, complimentary wedding cake for the party, roundtrip transfers to and from Cancun International Airport, US$50 daily resort credit per suite for food, beverages and spa treatments, welcome 375-ml bottle of premium tequila in each suite, WiFi throughout the resort, European tea service experience every afternoon, resort activities (cooking class, yoga, salsa class, bike tour, etc.). The complimentary bridal suite is available for the night of choice when the 15-room minimum is met (paid and occupied). Regardless of where the bride and groom marry, Grand Residences Riviera Cancun can offer a symbolic ceremony under a beach gazebo with all of the perks mentioned above. This package also applies for other types of ceremonies such as a vow renewal, anniversary and other celebrations. The Grand Residences 12-13-14-15 Package is available for stays between Dec. 1 and Dec. 20, 2014 and Dec. 1 and 20, 2015. In the event of a no-show, a one-night attrition fee per suite will apply. Please check cancellation policy at time of booking. Nightly package rates start at $419 for a junior suite and do not include taxes or service fees. Visit www.grandresidencesrivieracancun.com.
Tampa gets into the spirit for Halloween
Tampa’s Latin Quarter, Ybor City, is getting into the spirit of Halloween with Fantasma Fest (“Fantasma” means ghost in Spanish) hosted by the Ybor Merchants Association Oct. 20-31. The event series kicks off with a celebration of Ybor City's many flavors with Fantasma Feast, and continues with the Little Monster's Promenade - trick-or-treating among the merchants in Centro Ybor, and a pumpkin patch in the courtyard. There’s also Bed Races, where riders on wheeled beds race along three blocks in Ybor City, a Zombie Crawl and Ghost Stories to enjoy. Also in Ybor, the Ybor City Chamber will be presenting the 29th Annual Guavaween Costume Contest on Oct. 25 at the Centro Ybor Stage. There will be live music and cash prizes for a variety of contests, including best costume. Guppyween at The Florida Aquarium is another event taking place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 26, and is the only day they allow costumed animals, ghosts and princesses to roam the aquarium. Younger guests can trick-or-treat from tank-to-tank among more than 20,000 sea creatures, making it an ideal family-friendly Halloween event. For information on Tampa’s Halloween festivities, visit www.VisitTampaBay.com.
Voyage collection for 2016 unveiled
Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea has announced its 2016 voyages. The line’s eight intimate ships will showcase 845 destinations (including 107 new ports) on 272 voyages across seven continents. Highlights include a 115-day Venetian World Cruise departing Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 5, 2016 and visiting 51 destinations in 31 countries. It will follow a westward path through the Panama Canal to South America and the Pacific. Guests will explore the South Seas, including Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, and Bora Bora before sailing to New Zealand, Australia, and Asia, including Hong Kong and Singapore, the resorts of Bali and Phuket, and mysterious Myanmar. The odyssey will continue to India, Arabia, and Mediterranean hideaways before concluding with two nights in Venice. Another highlight is a Circle South America voyage on Silver Spirit departing Jan. 15 on a 66-day roundtrip Grand Voyage from Fort Lauderdale. Highlights include a crossing of the Panama Canal, two days cruising Chile's fjords, a three-day stopover in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, plus multi-day calls in Buenos Aires and Callao (gateway to Lima and Machu Picchu). Visit www.silversea.com.
South America/Antarctica voyage from Fort Lauderdale
Holland America Line’s ms Prinsendam kicks off the new year on Jan 3 with a 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica. After passing through the Panama Canal, the ship will reach South America’s Pacific coast and continue on to circumnavigate the continent. During the voyage, Prinsendam will call at 31 ports in 11 countries, including spending seven days cruising the Amazon River and three days of scenic cruising in Antarctica. The 2015 itinerary also features overnight calls at Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Manaus, Brazil, in the Amazon; and two nights at Callao (Lima), Peru. Guests sailing on this voyage also will enjoy scenic cruising past the Romanche and Alemania glaciers in Chile, Drake Passage, Cape Horn and Argentina’s Glacier Alley. Rates start at $13,999. Segments between Fort Lauderdale and Buenos Aires are available. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Free night offer in St. Lucia
Special savings are available this fall at Calabash Cove Resort & Spa in St. Lucia. Guests who book four nights at Calabash Cove’s standard rates (travel by Dec. 20) receive a fifth night's accommodations at no additional charge. Call 1-800-917-COVE (2683).
Disney’s Hoop-Dee-Doo marks 40th anniversary
The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, an all-you-can-eat dinner show themed to the Wild West marked its 40th anniversary as a permanent show at Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at Walt Disney World on Sept. 5. It’s one of the country’s longest-running dinner shows and has presented more than 37,000 performances with more than 10.5 million guests seeing the high-spirited show. And while the 90-minute Hoop-Dee-Doo has been fine-tuned over its 40-year run, the heart of the show never has changed: a slice of Americana, old-fashioned family fun and heaping helpings of good, down-home food. Six performers sing, dance and act their way through the show while diners enjoy fried chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes, cornbread, baked beans, corn and strawberry shortcake. Beer, wine, sangria and soft drinks are included. Three shows are presented nightly at 4 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Prices, including tax and gratuity, start at $56.99 for adults and $29.99 for ages 3 to 9. Call 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463) or visit www.disneyworld.com.
Princess launches new craft beer
Princess Cruises is pouring a new craft beer to toast its upcoming 50th anniversary. The “Seawitch” West Coast IPA beer – named for the company’s iconic logo – was developed exclusively for Princess Cruises, in partnership with Strike Brewing Company, and is the first in the line’s new series of craft beers. The brew will be introduced aboard Regal Princess when the cruise ship debuts in Florida for a season of Caribbean cruises this November. The Seawitch West Coast IPA will retail for $6.25 and be available in bars and lounges throughout the ship. It is expected to be available fleetwide by early 2015. Visit www.princess.com.
Fall getaway special for Florida and Georgia residents
Families in Florida and Georgia can take advantage of the Florida and Georgia Resident Special Offer from the new B Resort & Spa in Orlando. An Official Disney Hotel, the property offers a full service B Indulged, an AVEDA lifestyle spa, B Active Fitness Center and a restaurant concept American Q, spearheaded by NYC restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow. The Florida and Georgia Resident Special Offer provides special discounted rates starting at $99 per night with complimentary breakfast for two adults and two children, representing 30 percent savings. Visit www.bhotelsandresorts.com.
A round of "Spa"pplause in Vero Beach
Kimpton’s Vero Beach Hotel & Spa is inviting travelers to slip into a world of relaxation with its special round of "Spa"pplause offer, which includes 20 percent off best available rates and a 25-minute massage and facial at White Orchid Spa (one per stay). The Round of "Spa"pplause offer is available for booking and restrictions may apply. Visit www.verobeachhotelandspa.com and use booking code PSPA.
Offer at Boca resorts
The Boca Raton Resort & Club and Boca Beach Club, Waldorf Astoria Resorts in South Florida, are offering guests special rates when they book now for the holiday season. For guests booking before Oct. 4, rates start at $199 for Boca Raton Resort and $249 for Boca Beach Club. Amenities offered include a Waldorf Astoria Spa, two championship 18-hole golf courses, seven swimming pools, and 13 dining opportunities. Boca Beach Club, steps from a half-mile stretch of private beach along the Atlantic coast, offers families a more contemporary, modern design. Visit www.bocaresort.com and www.bocabeachclub.com.
Celebrating 40th anniversary at Daytona Beach Shores resort
The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores is offering a special rate starting at $74 per night, in honor of its 1974 opening date. The rate is valid on all mid-week stays at the oceanfront resort through the end of the year. Visit www.ShoresResort.com. Promotion code is 1974SH. Offer is valid on mid-week stays only (Sunday-Thursday) and excludes Biketoberfest and other Special Event blackout dates. Offer may not be used with another promotion or discount. Visit www.shoresresort.com.
New sleepover program at Miami Seaquarium in early October
“Dreaming with Dolphins” is a new sleepover program where families get to explore Miami Seaquarium after hours and sleep beside the Top Deck Dolphin exhibit and the jewel fish tanks. From 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, Miami Seaquarium invites guests to go on an adventure and experience the park like never before. Cost is $60 per participant ($30 with a valid Annual Pass), the two-day event will offer science presentations, marine mammal shows, light snacks, dinner, and continental breakfast the next day. Families also will have the opportunity to explore a variety of marine creatures by booking one of the many interaction packages with the manatees, sea turtles, dolphins, sea lions and more. Due to limited space, reservations must be booked in advance. To make a reservation call 305-365-2501. Participating families will need to bring a sleeping bag and air mattress. For those who wish to rent, a limited number of closed-cell foam sleeping mats will be available. Visit www.miamiseaquarium.com.
Revamped travel guides
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of DK’s Eyewitness Travel guides, the books have been re-launched this summer. The series re-launch includes updated itineraries ranging from two to 14 days, new content and improved usability with the same gold-standard integrity they are known and loved for. Key features include: new itineraries based on lengths of stay, regional destinations, or themes; city guides with tailor-made daytrip and weekend itineraries; country guide itineraries ranging from two to fourteen days; new hotel and restaurant listings; DK Choice listings highlighting recommendations for dining and accommodations; simplified price and cuisine categories, with photography throughout; redrawn maps for improved readability; restaurants plotted on maps and listed with adjacent sights; more detailed street maps, with subway stops and viewing points. Among the newly revamped titles are DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: New York City; DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Italy; DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: London; and DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Paris. Visit http://us.dk.com.
Celebrating National Yoga Month in September
National Yoga Month kicked off Sept. 1 and Kimpton Florida properties are celebrating with complimentary yoga-inspired wellness offerings. Kimpton’s EPIC Hotel in downtown Miami offers guest programs through Exhale, the "mind body spa" brand. Guests have the option to choose from a variety of yoga classes including Exhale Chill Yoga, Flow Yoga and Power Yoga. Kimpton’s Surfcomber Miami, South Beach, located oceanfront in the Art Deco District in South Beach, offers complimentary beachfront yoga classes every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Additionally, all four of Kimpton’s Florida properties, EPIC Hotel, Surfcomber, The Angler’s and Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, offer guests a complimentary in-room yoga mat for convenient relaxation. Visit www.kimptonhotels.com.
Flavors of the Palm Beaches
The Palm Beaches are gearing up for the FLAVOR Palm Beach restaurant month running in September. A favorite of both locals and visitors alike, the month-long event will include nearly 50 Palm Beach County restaurants from Tequesta to Boca Raton, each offering three-course lunches for $20 and dinners starting at $30. Now in its seventh year, the event has attracted new and additional restaurants, including Buccan, Café Boulud, Capital Grille, 50 Ocean, Graze at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, Imoto, Morton’s The Steakhouse, PB Catch, Pistache French Bistro, Renato’s, The Italian Restaurant at The Breakers, Temple Orange at Eau Palm Beach and Sinclairs Ocean Grill at Jupiter Beach Resort. Each reservation made through FlavorPB.com benefits the Food Bank, which aims to eradicate hunger in the county. Reservations can be made on the FLAVOR Palm Beach website or by contacting individual restaurants directly. Due to the popularity of the event, advance reservations are strongly recommended. Visit www.FlavorPB.com.
Original cast of “The Love Boat” to name new Princess ship in Fort Lauderdale
It’s been nearly forty years since the television show “The Love Boat” went on the air and introduced viewers to modern day cruising and, in the process, made Princess Cruises and its ships synonymous with vacations at sea. As Princess prepares to celebrate its milestone 50th anniversary year in 2015, the company is honoring the role that “The Love Boat” played in its history by selecting the original cast members to serve as godparents for its new cruise ship Regal Princess. All six Love Boat cast members - who played the roles of Captain Stubing, Gopher, Isaac, Doc, Julie and Vicki – will reunite to christen the new ship on Nov. 5 in Fort Lauderdale. The ceremony will officially launch the golden year anniversary celebrations for Princess Cruises, which will celebrate five decades of operation throughout 2015. The actors include Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing) Fred Grandy (Gopher, the chief purser), Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship’s doctor), Lauren Tewes (cruise director Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain’s daughter). The 3,560-guest Regal Princess, which entered service in May, is arriving in Fort Lauderdale to begin her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations. Among the special features found on board is a multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship, offering dining and entertainment options; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water; the Princess Live! television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms. Visit www.princess.com.
For multi-generational vacationers
In recognition of Grandparents Day, Sept. 7, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is making it easier for the whole family to connect and spend quality time together with an offer for a multigenerational vacation. Grandparents and their families vacationing at the Epcot Resort Area hotel can receive a connecting guest room for just $109 per night – up to a 50-percent savings off standard rates – when booking one room at the standard price for stays in September. Connecting guest rooms provide the space, privacy and access ideal for multigenerational families as well as for grandparents traveling alone with grandkids. In addition to nearby theme parks, the hotel offers a variety of amenities for each generation and activity level, including 17 restaurants and lounges, five pools, two health clubs, tennis, nearby golf, a Balinese-inspired spa and complimentary transportation throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Visit www.swandolphin.com/offers. Taxes, resort services fee and gratuities not included. Not valid with any other special offers, promotions, or for existing reservations or groups; offer is based on rate schedule availability.
Key West attractions pass
The Key West Attractions Association is offering a Vacation Values Pass with which visitors can receive special values on museum and attractions admissions, watersports adventures and more. The $49 pass booklet contains 22 offers from many of Key West's popular attractions and can be used through Dec. 19. Values are featured on tickets for historic and museum attractions, snorkeling excursions, kayaking and eco-tours, visits to nature facilities, fishing charters, food and beverages, sunset cruises and even a flyboard adventure. Visitors must purchase passes online at www.keywestvacationpass.com before traveling to Key West, and should receive them within seven days of ordering. Some blackout dates apply, and there is a $6 shipping and handling fee. For Key West Attractions Association information visit www.keywestattractions.org.
Coast to coast VIP package
Two of Ocean Properties’ Florida resorts have partnered with Aura Jets to create a “Coast to Coast” vacation. The four-night, five-day itinerary starts on the East Coast of Florida with a two-night stay at Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, then takes them on a 45-minute flight aboard a 6-passenger Cessna Conquest jet to the Gulf Coast for another two-night stay on Longboat Key (Sarasota). It includes limo transports, suite accommodations at the two Four-Diamond resorts, champagne, dinners, and more. The package starts at $10,500. Info: www.jupiterbeachresort.com/coasttocoast or www.longboatkeyclub.com/coasttocoast/.
Around the world in 180 days
Oceania Cruises has announced an 180-day journey aboard the newly refurbished Insignia, scheduled to depart on Jan, 4, 2016. The Around the World in 180 Days itinerary departs from Miami, sailing in the Caribbean before continuing on a southern course to South America where the ship will visit ports in Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana and Brazil. The ship then heads to Africa where guests will enjoy the scenery in countries such as Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique. After traveling around the African continent, Insignia sails for Asia where guests will enjoy two-night stays in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar), and Shanghai, China. Insignia then heads to the South Pacific for a number of stops, including Oceania Cruises’ first call on the Australian port of Cooktown, serving as a gateway for the Great Barrier Reef and the Aboriginal community of Hopevale. After sailing through the Hawaiian waters, Insignia stops in Los Angeles before heading down the west coast, through the Panama Canal and completing the journey in Miami on July 1. Guests reserving their suite or stateroom by Oct. 31, 2014, will receive two-for-one cruise fares, free First Class roundtrip airfare from major U.S. and Canadian gateways and early booking savings of up to 71 percent. In addition, guests will receive the Exclusive Prestige Package, which includes free pre-paid gratuities – a value up to $8,300; free onboard medical services; free unlimited Internet; free laundry services; free shoreside events; free visa package; free luggage delivery for up to two bags 50 lbs. or less; free one-night pre-cruise hotel stay; free roundtrip transfers from pre-cruise hotel or 50-mile radius of PortMiami. Visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.
Exploring the Northwest Passage in 2016
Crystal Cruises is introducing a new expedition-style voyage traversing the Arctic Ocean via the Northwest Passage (500 miles north of the Arctic Circle). Beginning Aug. 16, 2016 in Anchorage/Seward, Alaska, the Crystal Serenity will sail for 32 days from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean/New York City.
A 14-person expedition team of experts in a variety of subjects – including a native Arctic guide, scientists, and wildlife and landscape photographers – will not only provide lectures on subjects such as the science and history of the area, but also offer hands-on seminars and workshops, host dinners with guests, guide wildlife watching from the ship, and accompany excursions, where appropriate. Visit www.crystalcruises.com.
Post-Labor Day deal in Orlando
Travelers looking for a post-Labor Day deal may wish to check out this one from the Wyndham Orlando International Drive, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. The resort is offering a special 25 percent off deal on select nights, based on availability, from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1, with nightly rates starting at $69 (based on double occupancy and exclusive of tax and resort fee). The package is bookable with rate code DIS15; terms and conditions apply. Visit
Third night free offer in Naples
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Southwest Florida has enhanced its 3rd Night Free offer with the just-announced added bonus of no greens fees (with cart fees only) on its championship golf course, and free tennis at its Mary C. Watkins Tennis Center. The resort’s 3rd night free offer, with the complimentary tennis and the cart fees only for golf, is available for stays through Sept. 30, based on availability, with holiday weekends excluded. For holiday weekends the resort is offering the 4th night free. Visit www.NaplesBeachHotel.com. Blackout dates may apply, and the promotion may not be combined with any other offer. Also, the promotion is not applicable to groups.
Jupiter grand opening special
The new Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place opens this fall and in celebration, guests can now book a stay from $179 per night for travel Oct. 15-31. Visit: www.wyndham.com/hotels/47553.
Soaring over the Keys
Visitors to the Florida Keys can soar over the Keys’ waters with Barefoot Billy's new Flyboard Adventure, offered from the company's Atlantic Ocean beachfront location at the Casa Marina Resort Jetski Hut, 1500 Reynolds St. in Key West. The Flyboard device connects to the motor of a jet ski, routing a jet of water through a pair of jet boots that enable flyers to soar "Iron Man style" up to 20 feet high. The adventure includes a one-on-one operation and safety training session where flyers learn to take off, hover and land, and 30 minutes of flight time. Experiences are offered daily every hour on the half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Rates start at $199 per person and $350 for two people. Visit www.barefootbillys.com.
Music festival at sea
Norwegian Cruise Line and Sixthman, a leader in music festivals at sea, have announced the full line up of fall 2014 and spring 2015 festivals sailing from Miami onboard the Norwegian Pearl. Each of these music-themed cruises are sure to give fans an intimate experience with their favorite artists, featuring outdoor performances, meet and greets, personal Q&A sessions and more. With artists ranging from Heart to KISS, to 311 and Kid Rock, there is floating festival for every musical taste. Among the highlights, debuting in fall, Grammy Festival at sea presents “Women Who Rock featuring Heart, the Indigo Girls, Emmylou Harris and many more. This group cruise sets sail Nov. 4- 8. Info: www.grammyfestivalatsea.com. For more information on these special events, visit www.sixthman.net.
New hotel to open in Key West in October
The 96-room Marker Waterfront Resort is slated to open in Key West this October. Located on the edge of the Key West Historic Seaport, the Marker “marks” the first new hotel build in Old Town Key West since 1994. It resides on nearly two acres of waterfront land, built in the style of classic conch architecture. In addition to The Marker's 96 guest rooms, the property boasts; an eclectic dining concept (Cero Bodega,) tropical landscaping, multiple swimming pools and poolside cocktail service as well as on-site parking and waterfront views. The Marker will offer four room categories, ranging between Marina, Pool, Garden and Old Town views, available in both standard king and double queen options. Additional amenities include complimentary WIFI, soaking tubs, and a fitness center, among others. Starting rates for The Marker Key West Resort will be $329. Visit www.TheMarkerKeyWest.com.
New cruise ships on the horizon
Princess Cruises has announced that it has reached an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a new ship, which will enter service in 2017. The as-yet unnamed 143,000-ton vessel, will be built at an all-in cost of approximately 600 million euros, will carry 3,560 passengers, and feature the design platform introduced by sister ships Royal Princess in 2013 and Regal Princess that entered service in May. The new ship will include the signature elements that have become synonymous with Princess Cruises such as a soaring central atrium hub with multiple dining, entertainment and retail venues; the adults-only Sanctuary; Movies Under the Stars cinema experience, and 80 percent of all staterooms with balconies. The ship will also include some innovations to enhance the guest experience further. Info: www.princess.com.
This September, Silversea Expeditions' all-suite, 100-guest Silver Galapagos will undergo a second phase of refurbishment during a month-long dry dock in Panama. The renovations will entail a refurbishment of all suites, corridors and the Explorer Lounge. Visit www.silversea.com.
A return to Bermuda
Holland America is returning to Bermuda on seven-day cruises aboard the 1,350-guest Veendam in the summer of 2015. Sailing roundtrip from Boston, Mass., six departures will sail in May, June and July, and feature three days and nights at Hamilton. Fares begin at $799 per person, double, for the seven-day cruises. Info: www.hollandamerica.com.
Key West Hard Rock Café renovated
Key West's iconic Hard Rock Café at 313 Duval St. recently underwent major renovations. A new outside patio bar was added and the exterior design features a new pastel color palette and an 1889 gingerbread design. Inside, guests find a wedding room that has been added to the second floor featuring memorabilia from famous rock star couples including John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Sonny and Cher. A new "Art of Rock" room features artwork memorabilia from legendary rock stars. For customers seeking a more tropical vibe, the new "Surfer Room" features memorabilia from some top "trop rockers" including Jimmy Buffett and the Beach Boys. The menu has been updated and new specialty drinks have been added. Visit www.hardrock.com/cafes/key-west/.
Kids eat free package in St. Petersburg
The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersbur Resort & Golf Club is featuring a Kids Eat Free package now through Dec. 31. With five restaurants to choose from, children can find something that feeds their hunger and parents will save since up to four children can eat all three daily meals for free. With rates starting at $179 a night, this deal (promo code MAJ must be entered/mentioned at time of reservation) offers free meals for up to four children ages 12 and under for breakfast, lunch and dinner orders off the children’s menu; guest room with one king or two double beds, and access to fitness center and health club. Visit http://vinoyrenaissanceresort.com.
Last fling before the ring
Kimpton Surfcomber Miami, South Beach is helping bachelors and bachelorettes say bye-bye in style to their final days as a singleton with the introduction of its Girls or Guys Getaway (GGG) package. South Beach is known as a popular playground for bachelor and bachelorette groups, and the Surfcomber is kick-starting the last fling before the ring to help soon-to-be newlyweds create unforgettable memories before tying the knot. The GGG package includes: complimentary upgrade to the next room category upon availability, poolside cabana with your choice of bucket of beers or bottle of champagne, a $50 food and beverage credit at Social Club, and a four-hour limousine ride to take you bar, club or restaurant hopping. Package is available for booking now and travel through Dec. 31. Restriction and blackout dates may apply. Visit www.surfcomber.com and use booking code GGG.
Star Clippers offers discount for kids starting in summer 2015
Families may wish to check out Star Clippers’ tall ships’ offer that saves 25 percent off the cruise fare for kids 17 and under starting in summer 2015. The savings are applied when a reservation is made with two adult bookings at the brochure price with up to two adults and one child in the same cabin or one adult and one child each in two cabins. Cabin categories 2 through 6 are eligible for the discount, offering guests a range of accommodations and price points. Visit www.starclippers.com.
National S’mores Day at The Shores Resort & Spa
You don't have to go camping to enjoy some ooey gooey s'mores. At The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores s'mores kits come complimentary with every room and are a signature snack enjoyed at the resort's firepit, so it makes sense that the resort would jump at the opportunity to celebrate National S'mores Day on Aug. 10. The Shores Resort & Spa will be honoring the campfire confection all month long with its S’mores Package, starting at 187 per night. The package includes: 15 percent of one night’s accommodations, s’mores specialty pedicure, two smore-tini cocktails and one specialty s’mores platter. Guests who can’t get enough of the treat can also head down to the resort’s Azure restaurant to taste the new Skillet S’mores dish. Visit: www.shoresresort.com
Curacao family offer
The recently renovated Hilton Curaçao resort is featuring the Bring Your Family package. Now through Dec. 24, this beachfront property welcomes families of four with adventure-filled activities. Starting at $229 per night for a family of four (two adults, two children), the package features accommodations in a renovated guestroom as well as a welcome “Beach Play Set” Kit for the kids, daily American Breakfast for four, Children’s Menu or 50 percent off regular menu items, Dolphin Encounter at the Sea Aquarium, kayaking with Caribbean Sea Sports onsite watersports center, a Family Photo (taken at family’s favorite spot onsite and provided prior to departure), and a Movie Night with popcorn and soft drinks. The offer is subject to availability. Rate is a starting rate only and does not include resort/service fees, local taxes, incidental charges or gratuities, and is subject to change without notice. A minimum length of stay of four nights is required. Cannot be combined with any other promotions, offers or discounts and not valid for existing reservations or groups. See terms and conditions, and information, regarding the dolphin encounter at www.dolphin-academy.com/programs/dolphin-encounter. Visit www.hiltoncuracaoresort.com.
Escape every which way
InterContinental Hotels Group invites travelers to plan their ideal vacation with "Fantastic Escapes." Now through Dec. 31, guests who book the Fantastic Escapes packages and stay at any of the more than 200 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo Hotels, Holiday Inn Hotels, Holiday Inn Express Hotels, Holiday Inn Resort Hotels and Staybridge Suites Hotels located in any destination across Latin America, the Caribbean and Mexico will receive special offers such as free breakfast, discounts on food and beverage and complimentary in-room amenities. Three experiences for different stay occasions including:
The Family Escape with complimentary daily breakfast for two adults and two children, complimentary dinner for children each night when ordering from the children's menu and accompanied by an adult ordering from the hotel restaurant’s menu, 10 percent discount on all lunches and dinners for two adults in select hotel restaurants, late check-out, children stay free when sharing a room with an adult abd receive a coloring book and crayon box. The Romantic Escape with choice of daily continental breakfast or nightly romantic dinner for two, one bottle of wine, 15 percent discount on all food and beverage in select hotel restaurants and bars, late check-out and in-room amenity. The Weekend Escape with complimentary daily breakfast for two adults and two children, 15 percent discount on all food and beverage for two adults in select hotel restaurants & bars, two complimentary cocktails at the hotel bar, children 12 and under dine free for breakfast and when ordering from the children's menu and accompanied by an adult ordering from the hotel restaurant’s menu and stay free when sharing a room with an adult, late check-out, complimentary valet parking, and local excursion organized by hotel.
Restrictions may apply. Some include: late check-out of an additional hour is subject to the availability of the selected hotel; two children under 19 stay free when sharing a room with an adult, but at InterContinental brand hotels children must be under 12; and children under 12 receive complimentary lunch and dinner from the kids menu when accompanied by an adult. For all restrictions that may apply, please visit www.ihg.com/escape.
Princess Cruises has announced a new partnership with internationally acclaimed master chocolatier and pastry designer Norman Love. “Chocolate Journeys” is the line’s new onboard chocolate experience that will entice guests with an impressive array of onboard chocolate offerings among which are custom-crafted desserts, chocolate and wine pairings, and exquisite chocolate bites created by one of the top names in artisan chocolate. Some of the offerings are complimentary (like the Chocolate Love Pops truffles guests can enjoy along with bubbly at the Captain’s Welcome Reception) and others have fees. The program debuts this fall on the Regal Princess during her Caribbean season and will be rolled out to the rest of the Princess fleet throughout 2015. Visit www.princess.com.
For music lovers on Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach is setting the scene for the Chasin the Sun Music Festival presented by SeaHaven Beach Resorts. Featuring an array of artists who created and continue playing the classic beach sound, the event allows concert-goers a chance to enjoy a few bonus days of summer Sept. 12-14. The festival will be hosted by Radio Margaritaville’s JD Spradlin, and will feature surf-music legends in Jan & Dean’s Beach Party, including Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean) and original Beach Boys members Al Jardine and David Marks. Also in the three-day musical lineup will be Peter Mayer (the lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffett), Mac McAnally (a member of The Coral Reefer Band) and Nadira Shakoor (another member of the Coral Reefer Band). The Chasin’ the Sun Music Festival will be held steps from the beach in Panama City Beach’s Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater, where adults can enjoy Dave’s Margarita Bar and children can play in the Little Parakeet Fun Zone with water slides and a bounce house. Prizes will be awarded in an island-style costume contest. VIP tickets are available, and will provide ticket holders with premium seating, a private tent area, drink and food service, and a Chasin’ the Sun t-shirt. As an added bonus, on Saturday, Sept. 13 local businesses are holding Beach Parties in multiple Panama City Beach locations from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Single day tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children. Three-day passes are $45 for adults, $20 for children, with military and senior discounts available, Visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com
New brochure and features for Star Clippers
Star Clippers has released a new brochure featuring itineraries from April 2015 through March 2016. Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and Star Flyer explore the Mediterranean and Caribbean, as well as sail transatlantic crossings and Panama Canal transits. The new brochure has photos of the ports of call to life and voyage maps make it easy to plot each sailing. New itinerary highlights point out special attractions and sights on each voyage, and the pricing structure has been simplified and is easy to follow in charts throughout the brochure. Each itinerary includes an early-booking savings rate for savvy guests who reserve by Jan. 31, 2015. On Caribbean sailings the savings rate includes free roundtrip air and taxes from select air-gateway cities including Miami. For Star Clippers' loyal guests, a new past-passenger program has been created. Past guests will be entitled to an additional discount of 3 percent off the savings rate on every sailing whenever they sail. New Star Clippers guests receive a $50 per person onboard credit for bookings made by Oct. 1, 2014. Visit www.starclippers.com to view a video about the line or take a virtual tour of Star Clippers' tall ships.
World cruise 2016 announced
Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea Cruises has opened the books on its World Cruise 2016, a 115-day sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Venice, departing Jan. 5, 2016. The voyage on the all-suite Silver Whisper, spans across six continents and visits 51 destinations in 31 countries, including 13 multi-day port calls along the way, plus many late-night departures.
Named "Venetian World Odyssey 2016," the voyage will f ollow a westward path from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal to South America and the Pacific. Guests will explore the island paradises of the South Seas, including Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, and Bora Bora before sailing to the most desirable destinations of New Zealand, Australia, and Asia, including Hong Kong and Singapore, the resorts of Bali and Phuket, and mysterious Myanmar. The odyssey will continue to India, Arabia, and Mediterranean hideaways before concluding with two nights in Venice.
Guests will enjoy onboard enrichment program featuring destination experts, academics, journalists, diplomats and other specialists. Local entertainment, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and regional specialties will provide immersion in each destination. Guests sailing the complete World Cruise will have a variety of amenities, including a gala Bon Voyage reception, dinner, and overnight stay at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami, complimentary Business Class air and transfers (between home, airport, hotel and Silver Whisper), complimentary baggage valet service, a $4,000 onboard spending credit (per suite), complimentary laundry service, Internet package and commemorative gifts. Additionally, for guests sailing the full 115 days, there will be three complimentary exclusive World Cruise events. These include a masked ball in Venice, an elegant lunch on a private island in Sydney Harbor, and a chartered jet flight to India's Taj Mahal for a tour followed by lunch and a return flight to Silver Whisper. Plus, three complimentary Silversea Experiences will highlight enigmatic Easter Island, the seascape of Halong Bay, and the Royal Opera House of Muscat. Air-inclusive fares for World Cruise 2016 start at $59,950 per person, double. Visit www.Silversea.com/worldcruise2016.
Key West package
The Ocean Key Resort has introduced the "Live To Play Another Day" package. Starting at $869 per night, the program provides daily breakfast for two at Hot Tin Roof, one cocktail per person, per day at Liquid Lounge or Sunset Pier, daily “Rejuvenating Massage” for two including Isotonic B-12 vitamin shots, and accommodations in an Oceanview Boutique Suite. The package is subject to availability and blackouts. Visit www.oceankey.com.
Life’s a beach in Miami
The oceanfront Marriott Stanton South Beach in Miami has unveiled a new $10 million look and is inviting travelers to come experience the surf-inspired re-design with their “Life’s A Beach” package. Guests can hang by one of the infinity-edge pools, bike down Ocean Drive or take a stroll to dining, shopping and nightlife. The Life’s a Beach package provides two drinks by the pool, two beach chairs, an umbrella rental and Wi-Fi each night of the stay. This package is valid now through Oct. 15, with rates starting at $279 per night. High season rates average $569. Visit www.marriottstantonsouthbeach.com.
Savings offer from Holland America
To encourage early bookings Holland America is returning with its “Explore 4” savings program that is better than before with four exceptional offers on select 2015 and 2016 sailings. The “Explore 4” benefits include a free Signature Beverage Package and free Pinnacle Grill dinner for guests booking an ocean-view and higher category stateroom, free or reduced cruise fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom on select sailings and 50 percent reduced deposits. Suite bookings also receive a $300 onboard spending credit per stateroom ($150 per person) and a free Canaletto dinner in addition to the other four offers. Guests may receive all of the offers when booking a qualified itinerary. Guests looking to take advantage of the “Explore 4” program can choose select itineraries to nearly all of Holland America Line’s global destinations, including Alaska and Alaska/Yukon Land+Sea Journeys, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico/Hawaii, Panama Canal and South America/Antarctica. With free or reduced cruise fare for third and fourth guests on select sailings, a family of four can take a vacation to Europe, a tropical sailing to the Caribbean or longer journey to an exotic destination. In the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexico, fares for seven-day cruises start from $799 for the first and second guests in an ocean-view stateroom, and the third and fourth guests sail free. A seven-day European cruise starts at $1,199 for an ocean-view stateroom for the first and second guests, and the third and fourth guests sail free. By taking advantage of the 50 percent reduced deposit offer, guests will have more flexibility and time before paying the final deposit on their cruise. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Hot summer nights on St. Pete Beach
The waterfront Hotel Zamora on St. Pete Beach is featuring The Hot Summer Nights offer including 15 percent off nightly rates, $25 daily food and beverage credit, and complimentary late check out for guests. Booking is available through Sept. 30, for travel through Oct. 1. Visit www.thehotelzamora.com.
Spa package inspired in the Everglades
Inspired in the Florida Everglades the aLaya Spa experience at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa offers organic treatments from OSEA, a Malibu-based company using natural ingredients inspired by the plant life found in the Everglades and in natural environments around the world. A new Everglades Experience package combines excursions into the Everglades and spa treatments and fitness programs offered by the aLaya Spa. Starting from $199 per room per night the package includes complimentary upgrade to one bedroom suite, Everglades Air-Boat Tour at the nearby Sawgrass Recreational Park, transportation to/from the Park, daily breakfast at the resort’s Banyan's Restaurant, choice of either one Endless Everglades treatment or one Wetlands Facial and a nature walk pedicure. The package requires a two-night minimum stay and is based on based on double occupancy. It extends through Dec. 31. Info: www.bonaventureresortandspa.com/florida_resort_deals/evergladesspa.
Exotics collection from Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises has announced its 2015-2016 Exotics program that will take guests to a myriad of fascinating destinations that span the globe. The deployment includes more than 40 unique itineraries to 140 destinations in 70 countries on six continents. Guests will be able to book cruises to Tahiti and the South Pacific, South America, Australia/New Zealand, Asia and Africa. In addition, cruisers will experience less-traveled ports- available on the line’s small ships, or circumvent the globe on a 111-day World Cruise sailing roundtrip from North America. South America Cruises include sailings on Star Princess to the Southern Hemisphere sailing between Santiago (Valparaiso) and either Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires on itineraries sailing the southernmost tip of South America and the Chilean Fjords. In addition, Star Princess will sail between two continents and cross the Equator on two departures of Andes and South American cruises
featuring Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and an optional overland tour of Machu Picchu. Visit www.princess.com.
New cabana suites in Daytona Beach Shores
The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores has unveiled 14 Cabana Suites. Giving guests a private outdoor space, the oceanfront cabana area connects directly to the guest room and includes a flat screen
TV, ceiling fan, private lounge chairs and seating area. Visit www.shoresresort.com.
Instant savings in Nassau/Paradise Island
Nassau/Paradise Island in the Bahamas is offering an Instant Savings promotion whereby travelers can save when booking a stay at any of the destination’s participating properties. Travelers receive $200 Instant Savings when booking an air-inclusive minimum four-night stay. The package must be booked by Aug. 11 and travel must occur from Aug. 18 through Dec. 19. This offer is valid for travel originating in the U.S. and Canada. For information on participating resorts, additional packages, or to book the Instant Savings offer, visit www.NassauParadiseIsland.com. Blackout dates are Nov. 23–30.
Frightfully good time at sea
Disney Cruise Line will present Halloween on the High Seas on most voyages in September and October. The spooky sailings will feature Halloween-themed parties, entertainment and décor including The Pumpkin Tree, which magically transforms during the cruise. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
New off-the-beaten-path overland adventures
Eleven new overland adventures in some of the world's most exotic locales are among more than 60 extended mid-voyage excursions ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises will be offering in 2015. Unlike a partial-day shore tour, single- or multiple-day inland adventures offer a more in-depth encounter with the local people, history, wildlife, and natural attractions that lie just beyond the ports of call. One of the new offerings is The Andes & the Train to the Devil's Nose (a four-night program departing Manta, Ecuador and rejoining the ship in Callao, Peru. Participants can immerse themselves in Ecuador’s Andean region, taking in grassy highlands, cloud forests, mountain lakes, active volcanoes, colonial towns and haciendas. A highlight is the Devil’s Nose, a train ride through the Andes featuring a 45-degree descent. The program is available on Silver Shadows’s Jan. 7 voyage. The optional mid-voyage land programs feature deluxe accommodations (if overnight stays are required), all transportation, transfers, guided sightseeing and some meals. Prices range from $1,899 to $8,999 per person, double. Visit www.silversea.com.
Single staterooms available on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth
Recognizing the increasing popularity of solo travel, Cunard Line has announced the addition of single staterooms on board Queen Elizabeth. The eight outside and one inside staterooms are on sale now and available for booking beginning with the Dec. 16 sailing (voyage number Q422). The inclusion of single staterooms builds upon Cunard’s offerings that include activities organized by the ships’ social hostesses, including a welcome reception on embarkation day, coffee and cookies every sea day morning, and specially organized meeting points and excursions on port days. Single ladies who enjoy dancing have the Gentlemen Dance Hosts, who know all the formal ballroom dances and are available during evening balls held in the Queens Room. Visit www.cunard.com.
For music lovers in Southwest Florida
The Beaches of Ft. Myers and Sanibel will set the scene for the inaugural Island Hopper Songwriters Festival (www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/island-hopper) over two consecutive weekends, Sept. 26-28 on Captiva Island and Oct. 3-5 in Ft. Myers Beach. The festival will feature free performances by nationally acclaimed singer-songwriters in intimate settings at popular island venues. Among the settings will be the private home of American graphic artist and painter Robert Rauschenberg. The line up of performers includes Dean Dillon, whose career boasts 26 songs that exceed one million performances and a combined total of 31 BMI Country and Pop awards; GRAMMY-nominated songwriter Tim James, who penned past number one single “My List” by Toby Keith; Wynn Varble, whose lyrics have been nominated for Song of the Year by the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music; as well as singer-songwriters Phil O’Donnel, Kevn Kinney, Dylan Altman, Marshall Altman, Jeff Cohen, Kristen Kelly, Ruth Collins, Danny Myrick with Megan Linville, George Ducas and Loving Mary.
'Frozen' fun for summer
Here’s This summer, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is celebrating “Frozen,” the hit animated feature film from Disney Animation Studios, with a daily character procession, sing-alongs with Anna and Elsa, special fireworks, a polar playground, ice skating rink, and a nightly party featuring a live band, all themed to the worldwide phenomenon. Now through Sept. 1, “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” brings to life the world of royal sisters Anna and Elsa and their fairy tale kingdom of Arendelle. Most activities are included in theme park admission.
Guests also can purchase The Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package, which offers reserved viewing for three of the new experiences: Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome procession, a showing of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration and an exclusive dessert party in a reserved area for viewing of the nighttime Frozen Fireworks. Packages cost $59 for adults and $34 for children
(including tax and gratuity); guests can book the package by calling 407-939-1939.
And there is more Frozen fun. The festivities do not end at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. At Magic Kingdom, fans can get immersed in “Frozen” fantasies including meeting Anna and Elsa inside Princess Fairytale Hall in Fantasyland and Anna and Elsa appear in the new daytime spectacular “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.” Additionally, the “Celebrate the Magic” nighttime projection show transforms Cinderella Castle with visuals from “Frozen.” Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Orlando September deals
Visit Orlando is giving visitors a way to extend the savings of its Magical Dining Month (whereby restaurants offer prix fixe dinners for $33 during September) even further with Magical Nights. More than 15 dine-and-stay packages pair dinner for two with a one-night hotel stay, starting from $149 per night including the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress where a standard Guest Room and dinner for two at Hemingway’s Restaurant, starts at $149 per night. For additional Orlando savings this September, Visit Orlando’s Magical Deal Month which offers 30 days of deals from Sept. 1-30. Discounted hotel rates, plus deals on theme parks, dining and more can be found at www.VisitOrlando.com/September.
New attraction in the Keys
Visitors to the middle Florida Keys can hobnob with reef fish, invertebrates, stingrays and even sharks -- without entering the ocean -- at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters, a marine life attraction that opened in July in Marathon. The signature feature of the multimillion-dollar facility, located at the foot of the Vaca Cut Bridge at 11710 Overseas Highway, is a coral reef exhibit and shark habitat housed in a 200,000-gallon interconnected saltwater aquarium for viewing. Following an instructional presentation, participants in the flagship 90-minute encounter immerse themselves in the tank to hover over a mock coral reef structure and interact with tropical reef fish, rays and other reef-dwelling marine species that are part of the in-tank ecosystem. The encounter utilizes tethered diving technology, enabling individuals without any prior scuba experience to enjoy the in-water opportunity with supervision from trained professional dive instructors. A large fortified Plexiglas window divides the coral reef tank from a shark and predatory fish tank, and participants can hand-feed these creatures through underwater feeding ports in the wall. Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with planned extended or special-event hours during summer months. General full-day admission rates are $20 per adult, $15 for children age 12 and under, and free for kids 3 and under. Florida residents, active military and online ticket purchasers receive a 10 percent discount. Annual park admission passes are available for $75. Interactive in-water experiences are priced from $25 to $150 depending on the age and number of people in a group. Visit www.floridakeysaquariumencounters.com.
New ships on the horizon
Cruise lines are busy announcing additions to their fleets. Among them, Norwegian Cruise Line (www.ncl.com) has announced that it has reached an agreement with the Meyer Werft GmbH shipyard of Germany to build two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter 2018 and the fourth quarter 2019. Each ship will be 164,600 gross tons and include 4,200 passenger berths. Another line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises (www.RSSC.com) has begun construction of its Seven Seas Explorer at the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy. A luxury 54,000-ton, 750-passenger vessel, Seven Seas Explorer is slated to debut in 2016.
Peruvian Amazon cruise package
Rainforest Cruises is offering a six-day riverboat cruise and Treehouse Lodge package including an Amazon River cruise with overnight accommodation at the Amazon Treehouse Lodge. The program begins with a three-day/two-night stay in the eight-bungalow Treehouse Lodge set in 345 acres of jungle at the confluence of the Yarapa and Cumaceba Rivers. Lodge activities can be tailored to each guest, and include daytime and nocturnal jungle walks to learn about medicinal plants, or to spot insects and night monkeys; piranha fishing in dugout canoes; early bird watching; dolphin-watching; visits to local Jibaro and Kukama communities and a butterfly farm. Cost is $2,499 per person, double. Visit www.rainforestcruises.com.
Summer contest for teachers can net cash, New England trip in autumn
Sophia Institute for Teachers has announced a new summer contest that encourages teachers of all subjects and grade levels to incorporate Catholic teaching into their lessons. Selected teachers will receive an all-expenses-paid-trip to the greater Boston area in the fall and a $500 honorarium for their contribution to a new Teacher’s Guide to be published by Sophia Institute. The contest is free to enter, and is open to all Catholic schoolteachers, homeschoolers, and catechists in the U.S. Sophia Institute for Teachers, the newest division of Sophia Institute Press, publishes classroom materials that are teacher-written, teacher-tested, and scholar-reviewed. Its mission is to support Catholic education with high-quality resources and professional programs for K-12 teachers.
For information or to enter the contest, interested teachers can go to SophiaInstituteforTeachers.org from July 7 through Sept. 1. From there, they can upload an original lesson plan for any grade level and topic that incorporates Catholic teaching into the subject. Each lesson plan is an entry to the contest, and there is no limit to the number of lessons that may be entered. Lessons will be judged on the basis of excellent writing, creative and engaging approaches, and clear connections to Catholic teaching.
Star-studded lineup for Soul Train Cruise
The Soul Train Cruise has unveiled a star-studded lineup for its 2015 voyage, which travels through the Caribbean Feb. 22-March 1, 2015 with more than 30 R&B superstars performing nightly concerts and interacting with cruise guests during more than 25 special events. The fourth sailing of the voyage will star KC and the Sunshine Band, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Gladys Knight, James Ingram, The Spinners, Russell Thompkins, Jr. & The New Stylistics, Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes, Regina Belle, Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis, Jr., original 5th Dimension stars, Valerie Simpson of Ashford and Simpson, Will Hart of the original Delfonics and comedian Alonzo Bodden. Also joining the
cruise are Hitzville: Las Vegas Style Motown Revue, Chicago’s legendary R&B record store merchant “Uncle George” Daniels and cruise host Tony Cornelius. Held aboard Holland America’s Eurodam, the Soul Train Cruise departs from Fort Lauderdale for Turks and Caicos, San Juan (Puerto Rico), St. Thomas, the Bahamas and the private island of Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas. Rates start at $1,975 per person and include all meals, concerts, entertainment and onboard activities. Call 1-855-768-5872 or visit soultraincruise.com.
Life’s a beach in Miami
The oceanfront Marriott Stanton South Beach features the Life’s a Beach package providing two drinks by the pool, two beach chairs, an umbrella rental and Wi-Fi each night of your stay. This package is valid now through Oct. 15, with rates starting at $279 per night. High season rates average at $569. Visit www.marriott.com.
Scalloping season in full swing
Scalloping season has started and runs through Sept. 24. Plantation on Crystal River is offering guided and non-guided scalloping deals. One of the offerings is a guided scalloping package with rates starting at $630 for mid-week stays for four guests and include:
Two-night stay in a renovated garden or water view deluxe room, patio room or golf villa
Guided scalloping tour including mask, snorkel and fins with one of the area’s top captains
Souvenir bag with mesh scalloping bag, scallop recipes, sunscreen and water
Chef will prepare the fresh day’s harvest (scallops or fish) and serve with two sides
Ramp launch, trailer storage and seawall tie for those bringing their own boat
Rates for an unguided package begin at $350 for mid-week stays for four guests. Subject to availability. Taxes and gratuities not included. Info: www.plantationoncrystalriver.com.
Offer extended to Caribbean cruises
Fort Lauderdale-based ultra-deluxe Silversea Cruises has expanded its Silver Select promotion beyond Alaska and the Mediterranean to include select voyages in the Caribbean. The Silver Select promotion enables guests to personalize their voyage with a choice of three offers: a two-category suite upgrade, a $500 per person credit towards the purchase of the Silver Sky air program, or a $500 per person onboard credit that can be used for shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants and more. Silver Select is available on new bookings made by Aug. 31 for select voyages sailing in the Caribbean, Alaska and the Mediterranean. Among the qualifying Caribbean voyages that depart from Fort Lauderdale is a Dec. 5 seven-day sailing on the Silver Cloud with calls in Key West, Belize, Costa Maya and Cozumel before returning to Fort Lauderdale. Silver Privilege fares for this voyage, #1436, start at $2,950. Visit www.silversea.com
Hilton Orlando is rolling out nightly rates starting at $99 with a Universal Orlando Vacation package. The package boasts $99 rates when staying now through Aug. 21 and using promotional code UNITRAVEL; $50 off on any vacation of four or more nights; and early admission to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and nightlife at Universal Orlando’s CityWalk with theme park admission. Visit www.thehiltonorlando.com. Rates do not include taxes and gratuities, are based on availability and blackout dates apply.
Naples' Inn on Fifth offers Florida resident deal
Located along downtown Naples, the recently renovated and expanded Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites is offering Floridians discounted summer rates. Now through Sept. 30, Florida residents can take advantage of rates from $129 per night mid-week and $143 on weekends. With summertime rates starting at $269, guests can also experience the Club Level Suites, with added amenities such as large floor plans, rooftop retreat with hot tub and a variety of refreshments throughout the day, including buffet breakfast, full bar with hors d’oeuvres in the evenings and more. In addition to the already discounted rates, guests can book the Florida Resident Rate online to receive the opportunity to purchase a $100 resort credit for $85. The credit can be used at the Spa on Fifth, new Avenue5 restaurant, or to purchase one of the Inn’s bathrobes. Visit www.innonfifth.com. Rates are based on availability and occupancy, and are subject to change. Offer is not available on holiday weekends including July 4. Prices do not include tax and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional rates. Offer must be mentioned when booking. Valid Florida identification required at check-in.
Up to 20 percent off at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort
The LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort on Florida’s Gulf Coast — invites Florida residents to make the drive to Naples this summer and enjoy a special Florida Resident Rate now through Sept. 30. The special offers up to 20 percent off lowest available rates, as well as discounted resort and parking fees when using promotional code FLRES online. Rates start at $239 for weekday nights and $269 for weekend nights. LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort encompasses 6.5 acres nestled next to Vanderbilt Bay. Visit www.laplayaresort.com.
Flip flops on Daytona Beach Shores
June 20 is National Flip Flop Day, and The Shores Resort & Spa is celebrating. In addition to collecting shoes for the charitable organization Soles4Souls, the resort will donate $10 for every room night booked on the Flip Flop Package, which runs through July 30. The National Flip Flop Day package includes two-night's accommodations, $60 spa credit, two frozen flip flop cocktails or smoothies, and two pairs of Signature Shores Flip Flops. Rates begin at just $316 (Promo Code FLOP14). The package is based on a two-night minimum stay, and may not be used in conjunction with any other special offers or discounts. Guests are encouraged to donate new or gently-worn shoes for a donation to Soles4Souls. Visit www.ShoresResort.com.
Discounts available for Floridians at the Omni Orlando Resort
Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate offers Florida residents’ savings of 15 percent. Located minutes from top Orlando attractions and theme parks, this resort has 720 rooms surrounded by 1,200 acres of greenery and the International and National golf courses, world headquarters of The Leadbetter Golf Academy. Amenities include a full service European-style spa, two heated outdoor pools and an 850-foot lazy river. The resort also features five diverse dining experiences from sushi and sake at Zen to the Italian herb garden and brick oven flatbread at Trevi’s. Promotional code is RESIDE. Visit http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/OrlandoChampionsGate/Exclusive/FloridaResidentOffer.aspx.
Stay for breakfast at the Orlando World Center Marriott
The recently redesigned Orlando World Center Marriott invites Floridians to enjoy fun-in-the-sun with a "Stay for Breakfast” special offer starting at $129 per night, now through Dec. 31. The special offers vacationers a complimentary breakfast buffet for two adults and two children, as well as complimentary self-parking when using promotional code S4B online. To book a “Stay for Breakfast” escape at Orlando World Center Marriott, visit www.worldcentermarriott.com.
Summer offer at La Nouba
La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil has announced special offer rates starting at $49 for adult and child seats this summer. The offer, which comes as Cirque du Soleil celebrates its 30th anniversary, is available to all guests for performances from July 1 through Sept. 27.
Those who have seen the show before will note a few changes including a clown act and balancing act. Visit www.lanouba.com.
Promo offered at staySky Hotels & Resorts
The staySky Hotels & Resorts – a portfolio of hotel, resort, townhome and condo properties – features six all-suite properties in Orlando, and one property overlooking the ocean in Daytona Beach. Florida Residents staying at any of the staySky Hotels & Resort properties save 15 percent by providing valid Florida identification. Florida residents can use the code FLRES in the promotion code field to book the special rate based on its availability. Visit www.staySky.com.
Special rates at iconic Palm Beach hotel
The iconic Brazilian Court Hotel invites Florida residents to indulge in the beauty of Palm Beach while enjoying an island vacation close to home. Available now through Sept. 30, Florida residents receive a special rate starting at $229 per night while enjoying complimentary parking. Visit www.thebraziliancourt.com.
Cousteau program for children
Paul Gauguin Cruises, operator of the m/s Paul Gauguin, and the 88-guest m/v Tere Moana, will offer oceanographer and environmentalist Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program free on holiday voyages in French Polynesia this December when booked by July 31 –a value of $299 per child. Cousteau and his Ocean Futures Society created the Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program that introduces young travelers to the natural wonders of French Polynesia through direct, hands-on, interactive learning. The mission of the Ocean Futures Society is to explore our global oceans, inspiring and educating people throughout the world to act responsibly for their protection. Under the guidance of Ocean Future Society naturalists, young Ambassadors (ages 9-17) explore coral reefs, hike rainforest trails, experience Polynesian culture, and visit marae (ancient Polynesian temples). They also learn how black pearls and vanilla are cultivated, how volcanic islands become coral atolls, and how to paddle an outrigger canoe. Parents are encouraged to join their children on eco-excursions and other activities aboard and ashore. The Ambassadors of the Environment Youth Program is offered free on seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands Holiday Cruises departing Dec. 20 & 27, with cruise fares starting from $5,195 per person and includes airfare from Los Angeles. The third guest in a stateroom sails free. Visit www.pgcruises.com.
Celebrating the Keys’ signature dessert
The creation of the world’s largest Key lime pie, the wacky Miss Key Lime Pageant, pie-eating and cooking contests await Key West visitors July 3-5 during the second annual Key Lime Festival. Celebrating the Florida Keys' signature dessert and the tiny fruit that inspired it, the festival kicks off with a 2-5 p.m. Key Lime Bar Krawl on July 3. Plans call for "krawlers" to sample Key lime martinis and margaritas at local watering holes and select their favorites. The festival's highlight is to be an attempt by event founder David Sloan, author of "The Ultimate Key Lime Pie Cookbook," and three fellow chefs to shatter their own record for baking the largest Key lime pie in history. In 2013 the quartet created a gargantuan pie that measured more than 8 feet in diameter and required the juice of 5,760 yellow Key limes. They plan to prepare and serve the 2014 pie, expected to reach 9 feet in diameter, during a street party set for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on July 4, on Greene Street just off Duval Street. Attractions on July 5 include a Key Lime Pie Eating Contest and a pie-making challenge for amateur and professional bakers. Pies are to be judged on criteria including appearance, flavor balance and originality, and spectators can purchase tickets to sample and cast People's Choice votes. The festival is to conclude with a Miss Key Lime U.S.A. Pageant, a tangy takeoff on the Miss America competition. The contestant who scores highest in the talent, costume, vintage style and Q-&-A categories will take the crown and step into the "limelight." Visit www.keylimefestival.com.
New hotel to open in Key West in August
The Gates of Key West, a new independent hotel with 100 rooms is slated to open on the Last Key in August. Amenities include a 2,000-sq. ft. deck with an adjacent long-boarded bar, and swimming pool. Three guest room categories will be available including Terrace rooms complete with private decks around the pool. Complimentary WiFi access will be offered along with moderately-priced European-style continental breakfast with Cuban coffee. Opening rates are from $159. Visit www.gateshotelkeywest.com.
Special rates for teachers and school support staff
Teachers and school support staff may wish to check out the “Teacher Appreciation Rates” at the seven Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Available for stays May 1-Sept. 30, the rates provide the opportunity to take in the many exceptional special events that are happening at Disney World this summer. This includes the opening of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a new family coaster at Magic Kingdom Park; and the Sounds Like Summer Concert Series at Epcot. Located a walk away to the shopping, dining and entertainment venues at the Downtown Disney area, these seven Official Walt Disney World Hotels also provide complimentary shuttle transportation every 30 minutes to all four Disney World Theme Parks, two water parks, and to Downtown Disney Marketplace. And as a bonus, guests at these hotels also receive the “2014 Downtown Disney Deals”
booklet that features discounts and offers from more than 30 merchants for Downtown Disney area dining, entertainment and shopping. The “Teacher Appreciation Rates” are from $99 per room, per night at the B Resort; from $89 at the Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel; from $75 at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa; from $109 at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton; from $89 at Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista; from $94 at Holiday Inn Orlando – Lake Buena Vista; from $79 at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort. Visit www.DowntownDisneyHotels.com, specifically http://downtowndisneyhotels.com/teachers-special-downtown-disney-hotels-offer.
Rates are based on availability and some blackout dates may apply. The rates do not include the Resort Services Fee or daily parking fee (if applicable), taxes or gratuities. The offer is not valid with any other special offers, promotions, existing reservations, or for groups. All teachers and school support staff must show proof of employment upon check-in.
Pilgrimages to Passion Play in Europe
Every five years for the past two centuries the hamlet of Sordevolo, located in northwest Italy's Biella province, stages "La Passione," a passion play reenacting Jesus Christ's last days on earth, his death and resurrection. The village next produces the play from June-Sept.
2015. Regina Tours is offering five departures of “ Italy and the Passion Play in Sordevolo,” a trip to see the play, followed by a tour of Florence, Assisi and Rome. Italy and the Passion Play in Sordevolo" is available from $3,698-$3,898, based on double occupancy. Cost includes round-trip air fare to Italy from New York, seven nights in tourist class hotels with private facilities, seven breakfasts and seven dinners, admission to all sightseeing tours, airport-hotel transfers, touring by private air conditioned motor coaches, the services of a professional escort and tickets to the Passion Play. Visit: www.regina-tours.com or specifically, http://www.regina-tours.com/STW/STWProduct.aspx?Theme=REGINA&ProductCode=IT-SORDPP-RT.
Latest edition of Tallahassee tourism website
With summer vacation plans in the works Visit Tallahassee has announced the newest http://www.VisitTallahassee.com. With nearly half of travelers planning their trip on a smart phone and a similar number using social media while on vacation, the new website boasts a responsive design that offers a seamless experience for desktop, smartphones and tablets and social media sharing.
Third night free offer in Naples
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is offering the 3rd night free now through Sept. 30, based on availability, with holiday weekends excluded. For holiday weekends the resort is offering the 4th night free. For more information or for reservations, visit www.NaplesBeachHotel.com (specifically http://tinyurl.com/natkas4 ).
Blackout dates may apply, and the promotion may not be combined with any other offer. Also, the promotion is not applicable to groups.
Windstar debuts new vessel
Windstar Cruises recently debuted the new, all-suite Star Pride, the first of three small luxury cruise ships added to its fleet. The Star Pride’s debut followed a three-week transformation period in which all of the yacht’s public spaces, dining venues, and suites were updated to meet Windstar’s casually elegant, warm, and contemporary style. Windstar partnered with Alan McVitty and Trimline Interiors, both of whom spearheaded the recent $18 million renovation of Windstar’s sailing yachts, to complete Star Pride’s stem-to-stern transformation in Barcelona. The updates to Star Pride’s decor include new furnishings, upholstery, lighting, wall coverings, carpeting, ceiling finishes, window treatments, and floor coverings. Additionally, Star Pride introduced Windstar’s new Destination Suites. Each of the Owner’s Suites showcases a signature Windstar destination, complete with cultural decor and local artwork. Windstar will eventually implement the Destination Suites fleet-wide. Star Pride is spending the summer in the Mediterranean. In the fall, Star Pride will embark on Windstar’s brand new itineraries to Asia and Arabia. Star Pride is the first of three new power yachts to join the Windstar fleet. Star Breeze will begin its maiden voyage on May 6, 2015, from Nice, France. Star Legend, will make its inaugural voyage on May 25, 2015, from Rome, Italy. All three yachts are identical, with a guest capacity of 212 in 106 suites. At 10,000 gross tons, each yacht is 440 feet long with a breadth of 63 feet and six passenger decks. Similar to Star Pride, Star Legend and Star Breeze will undergo major transformations to public spaces, suites, and dining venues. Visit www.WindstarCruises.com.
South America cruises in 2015/16
Norwegian’s new South America itineraries for 2015/16 are open for booking, along with alternating Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises from Port Canaveral, Florida, and select Eastern and Panama Canal cruises from Miami. Among the offerings: Norwegian Sun will return to South America for the first time since 2010, sailing 14-day South American voyages between Santiago (Valparaiso), Chile and Buenos Aires, Argentina from Nov. 4, 2015 to March 26, 2016. Ports of call include Puerto Montt, Chile; Puerto Chacabuco, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Stanley, Falkland Islands; Puerto Madryn, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay. Guests will also enjoy a scenic cruise through the Chilean Fjords, Strait of Magellan and around Cape Horn. Fares start at $1199 per person. Visit www.ncl.com.
Florida residents’ rate features credit at participating Hiltons
Hilton Worldwide is spreading sunshine for Floridians this summer with a $25 hotel credit with a two-night minimum stay. From now until Sept. 30, just under 300 Hilton Worldwide participating hotels in the state, from Pensacola to the Keys, are featuring the Florida Residents Rate.
Guests can apply the $25 property credit to any hotel amenity including food and beverage, parking, recreational activities like golf or spa and WIFI. Visit www.hilton.com. Proof of residency and current Florida ID are required at check in.
Summer getaway in Nassau/Paradise Island, Bahamas
For a limited time, travelers who book a summer getaway at any of Nassau/Paradise Island’s participating properties will be able to enjoy special savings. Travelers receive $250 Instant Savings when booking an air-inclusive minimum four-night stay. The package must be booked between June 8 and June 23 and travel must occur between June 8 and Oct. 5. Atlantis Paradise Island, Graycliff Hotel, One&Only Ocean Club and Sandals Royal Bahamian are a few of the 15 properties participating in the Instant Savings deal. The offer can be redeemed through www.NassauParadiseIsland.com.
Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa offer
Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa is featuring the Third Night Free deal that allows guests to pay for two nights and get the third night free with savings of more than $200. Rates start at $146 per night. The offer, valid until Dec. 31, may be booked online at www.jupiterbeachresort.com. Blackout dates apply.
"Babymoon" package in Naples
The Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites in downtown Naples is offering expectant mothers a "Babymoon" package available year round. Designed as a relaxing retreat for mothers-to-be, the three-night package includes modern, deluxe guest rooms, dinner at the new Avenue5 restaurant and a full makeover, complete with professional make-up, manicure/pedicure, and blow dry, maternity pillow for use during stay and cravings basket with sweets. The package starts at $339 per night. Rates are based on availability and are subject to change.
Prices do not include tax and cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional rates. Visit www.innonfifth.com.
New dolphinarium in the Riviera Maya
Dolphin Discovery Tulum Akumal is the newest dolphinarium in the Riviera Maya’s nearby Bahia Akumal opening in June. In addition to swim-with-dolphins programs the location will offer adventure tours and recreational opportunities. All the dolphins in the dolphinarium have been born under human care. Visit www.dolphindiscovery.com.
Third night in Naples this summer
The beachfront Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is offering "Third Night Free" this summer now through Sept. 30, based on availability, with holiday weekends excluded. For holiday weekends the resort is offering the "Fourth Night Free." Blackout dates may apply, and the promotion may not be combined with any other offer. The promotion is not applicable to groups. Visit www.NaplesBeachHotel.com.
Amelia Island cell phone tour
The Amelia Island Museum of History recently launched a new Cell Phone Tour. The tour allows visitors to take a self-guided walking tour of the downtown historic district of Fernandina Beach at their own pace, while receiving historic tidbits on their cell phone. Cost is $5 per person and the tour includes a location map with instructions. Visit www.ameliamuseum.org.
New hotel on St. Pete Beach
The Hotel Zamora, a high-end property, is slated to open this spring on St. Pete Beach. Inspired by the architecture and design of the rocky hills of Zamora, Spain, it is a contemporary waterfront hotel with Mediterranean-style rooms and suites. Amenities include a marina, fresh water pool, fitness center, Spanish-influenced restaurant, and access to Gulf of Mexico beaches. Grand opening rates start at $199.
Voyages for 2015 announced
Paul Gauguin Cruises has presented its Voyages By Gauguin 2015 Collection Brochure. Voyages feature Tahiti, Fiji, South Pacific, Caribbean, Latin America and Europe itineraries. The brochure features 52 voyages by the line’s two deluxe small ships including
seven- to 14-night voyages on both ships. Among the cruises is a Caribbean and Latin America voyage from Colon, Panama to Philipsburg, St. Maarten, visiting Cartagena, Colombia; Oranjestad, Aruba; and Les Saintes, F.W.I. The eight-night voyage also visits St. Barts, F.W.I.
and departs on March 20 with fares starting at $3,495 per person. A Dec. 12. 2015 departure is a seven-night reverse itinerary with fares from $2,845 per person. Visit www.pgcruises.com.
Budget-friendly Bahamas getaway
For a limited time, travelers seeking a budget-friendly Caribbean getaway can save big at Breezes Bahamas Resort & Spa, Nassau’s first and only Super-Inclusive resort. Now through June 12, guests who book travel through August 8, will enjoy 40 percent off during the Spring into Summer Sale. Per person prices start at just $130 per night, double occupancy. Visit www.breezes.com.
Dads get free round of golf on Father’s Day
Everyone gets complimentary admission at the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, and Dads get a free round of golf on Father’s Day, June 15. The first 300 Dads also receive a gift bag. Visit www.WorldGolfHallofFame.org.
"Glamping" concierge available
Westgate River Ranch, an hour south of Orlando, recently introduced "glamping" (glamorous camping), and has further elevated these upscale outdoor accommodations with the launch of a personal glamping concierge. This service, similar to a hotel concierge, is now available 24-7 for the comfort of glampers as they experience this large dude ranch in Florida. The concierge facilitates everything from scheduling daytime activities to starting campfires at night and delivers hot cinnamon rolls, fresh fruit and coffee to glamping tents every morning. Glamping tents are pre-set on raised platforms and include luxury interiors, a screened-in porch with two rocking chairs and access to private bathrooms. Amenities include a mini refrigerator, microwave, air conditioning, electrical outlets, a ceiling fan, private gas propane grill, private picnic table and various board games. The bathrooms are outfitted with showers with hot water and hair blow dryers. Glamping is one overnight option among several offered at Westgate River Ranch, including lodge rooms, cottages, cabins and traditional camping sites. The ranch features activities including horseback riding, nature hikes, trap and skeet shooting, hayrides, an outdoor dance hall, mini-golf, a rock climbing wall, zip line, mechanical bull and bungee jumping. The resort features a 1,200-seat rodeo arena featuring trick riding, bull riding, calf roping and barrel racing. The ranch also offers the Westgate Smokehouse Grill, a saloon, general store and deli, nine-hole golf course, petting farm, swimming, 5,000-foot paved and lighted runway, and a marina complete with boating, fishing, airboat and swamp buggy rides. The glamping concierge is available as part of any glamping reservation at no additional cost. Overnight glamping rates start at $149. Packages are also available and include a golf cart or bicycle rental, a $30 resort credit per night and a s’mores kit. Visit www.wgriverranch.com.
Voyages modified due to unsettled situation in Ukraine
Taking into account the unsettled situation in Ukraine, Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea Cruises has modified the itineraries for four Black Sea voyages originally scheduled to call in Yalta, Sevastopol, or Odessa this year. Silver Spirit's July 21 seven-day sailing will remain entirely a Black Sea itinerary with Trabzon replacing Odessa, while three new nine-day voyages will focus on destinations in Greece and Turkey, and also retain the original Black Sea ports of Constanza and Nessebur. The new nine-day voyages, Silver Cloud's Oct. 13 sailing and Silver Spirit's voyages of Aug. 20 and Sept. 29, have an added perk. Departing from Constanza, guests may enjoy a complimentary full-day Silversea Experience in Bucharest, known as the "Paris of the East" for its tree-lined avenues and elegant architecture. Highlights include a scenic drive through Romania's countryside, a Romanian-style lunch, and an exploration of the capital city's Palace of Parliament, Patriarchal Hill, open-air Village Museum, and Revolution Square. Alternatively, guests may opt for a $200 per guest onboard credit. Details of the modified itineraries are as follows:
* Voyage 5422 - Silver Spirit, July 21 - 28, Istanbul to Istanbul, with calls in Sochi, Trabzon, Sinop, Constanza, and Nessebur. Silver Privilege fares start at $3,550.
* Voyage 5426 - Silver Spirit, Aug. 20 - 29, Istanbul to Istanbul, with calls in Kavala, Thessaloniki, Volos (gateway to the rock towers and monasteries of Meteora), Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, Constanza, and Nessebur, plus passage through the Dardanelles and Bosphorus. Added
perk: choice of complimentary Silversea Experience in Bucharest or
$200 per guest onboard credit. Silver Privilege fares start at $5,550.
* Voyage 5431 - Silver Spirit, Sept. 29 – Oct. 8, Istanbul to Istanbul, with calls in Myrina (Limnos), Thessaloniki, Skiathos, Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, Constanza, and Nessebur, plus passage through the historic Dardanelles and Bosphorus. Added perk: choice of complimentary Silversea Experience in Bucharest or $200 per guest onboard credit. Silver Privilege fares start at $5,450.
* Voyage 1431 - Silver Cloud, Oct. 13 - 22, Istanbul to Istanbul, with calls in Kavala, Thessaloniki, Volos (gateway to the rock towers and monasteries of Meteora), Athens (Piraeus), Izmir, Constanza, and Nessebur, plus passage through the historic Dardanelles and Bosphorus.
Added perk: choice of complimentary Silversea Experience in Bucharest or $200 per guest onboard credit. Silver Privilege fares start at $4,650. Visit www.Silversea.com.
Staycation packages to celebrate Fort Lauderdale hotel’s 10th anniversary
Beginning on June 4, The Atlantic Hotel & Spa in Fort Lauderdale is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a variety of events and "Suite Life" Staycation packages. When guests reserve one of the property’s suites (ranging in size from 950 to 2,200 square feet), the hotel will provide them with a personal concierge who will help them design their own dream Staycation. "The Suite Life" Staycation packages begin at
$299 per night and can be enhanced with a selection of exclusive, personalized services and experiences. Visit www.atlantichotelandspa.com.
Splashtacular summer at Miami Seaquarium
Beginning June 7 through Aug. 17, the Miami Seaquarium will present its Splashtacular Summer celebration. During the event, the park will feature new and interactive aquatic elements for young and old. A Kids’ Water Play Area, inflatable water slides and wet slip-n-slides, seven water-themed slides, Salty’s Pirate Playground and Spray and Play misting stations will provide ways to stay cool. General admission is $41.95 for adults and $31.95 for children (ages 3-9).
Princess Cruises has announced its 2015 program of European voyages.
Highlights include growth in Northern Europe with the line’s newest sister ships Regal Princess and Royal Princess, both deployed in the region for cruises to Scandinavia and Russia and the British Isles. Island Princess will sail in Europe for the first time on the line’s Grand Mediterranean itinerary. Emerald Princess offers a fresh series of Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Sea voyages that can be combined so passengers can customize their own seven-, 14-, 21-day or longer voyage. Caribbean Princess will return to Southampton for a range of itineraries in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean, and Ocean Princess offers a small-ship experience on a variety of Northern Europe routes including Iceland, Norway and the Baltic Sea. Visit www.princess.com.
Immersive port adventures
Disney Cruise Line has introduced port adventures during its 2014 European sailings of the Disney Magic now through August. New for the European season, the line will use Venice, Italy as a homeport for select sailings. During these cruises, the Disney Magic will overnight in Venice and participate in one-of-a-kind Port Adventure that gives guests an exclusive after-hours tour of St. Mark’s Basilica with its ornate mosaics, oriental design and treasured relics. Among other excursions is a city tour followed by a chance for children to create a traditional Venetian mask, and another program offers an opportunity to pilot a gondola in the city’s lagoon. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Cruise line donates to Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation
Holland America Line has made a $100,000 donation to the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, following the former archbishop of Cape Town’s appearance as a guest lecturer on a segment of the line’s Amsterdam ship during her Grand World Voyage. The foundation celebrates young people ages 17-22 who are changing the world as the next generation of peacemakers in the U.S. Tutu spoke about his role as the first black African to serve as archbishop of Cape Town and about his work forging equality throughout the world. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Familymoon package in Barbados
Elegant Hotels in Barbados are featuring a Familymoon program this summer. The package includes one dinner on the beach, babysitting services (eight hours, including taxi for baby sitter after hours), one bottle of sparkling wine and fruit basket in room upon arrival and airport transfers. Rates for the Familymoon package range from $377 to
$567 for traditional and all-inclusive options. A minimum five-night stay is required. Promo code is FAMILYMOON. Visit www.eleganthotels.com.
Renovation projects completed at Amelia Island hotel
Amelia Hotel at the Beach recently finished several renovation projects, adding new flooring and paint throughout the hotel and introducing a new floor plan for their Terrace Suites. The hotel is also offering golfers who play the Amelia River Golf Course a discounted rate when they bring in their scorecard. Visit www.ameliahotel.com.
New Royal Caribbean ship will be homeported in China
Royal Caribbean International has announced its new Quantum of the Seas will make Shanghai, China its homeport. The ship will reposition to China in May 2015 following an inaugural winter season sailing out of New York to the Caribbean after her debut in November. Beginning in late June 2015, the ship will sail three- to eight-night itineraries year round from Shanghai to Japan and Korea. Visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/QuantumoftheSeas.
Active family vacation in Negril
Moon Dance Cliffs, an oceanfront resort in Negril, Jamaica, features onsite amenities including lifeguard-attended cliffs that offer the thrill of splashing into the Caribbean and a 5,000-square-foot pool with waterfall, island bridges and basketball hoops. Accommodations include 480- to 1,200-square-foot rooms and suites, and 1-, 4- and 5-bedroom poolside villas with Caribbean views. Visit www.moondanceresorts.com/cliffs.
Summer volunteer programs for teenagers
Each summer, Projects Abroad sends hundreds of teenage volunteers abroad to participate in service trips called High School Specials. These programs are designed for teenagers to participate in worthwhile voluntary work for two or four weeks over the summer. Each High School Special follows a schedule of taught sessions and practical and observational service work. Volunteers also enjoy evening activities and weekend excursions. Projects Abroad’s new programs for teens for 2014 include a Medicine in Ghana program on June 22-July 5 and Aug.
10-Aug. 23. Other programs include Care & Panda Protection in China and Public Health in Tanzania. Visit www.projects-abroad.org/hss.
New "gems" at Walt Disney World
In time for the summer season, Disney World has inaugurated the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train family roller coaster in the Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland section, and the Disney Festival of Fantasy parade –also in the Magic Kingdom Park. Other novelties include My Magic+, a new way to pre-plan and experience a vacation at Walt Disney World Resort with MagicBands that guests wear on their wrists and enable aspects such as reserving from home FastPass+ (to bypass regular attraction lines); attraction interactivity; Memory Maker photo service and other elements (visit www.MyDisneyExperience.com). Also new are Disney Vacation Club’s Grand Floridian Resort Villas on the Magic Kingdom’s monorail line, and a special offer for parties of six or more who purchase a minimum four-day Magic Your Way ticket by June 14 and receive an additional day for everyone for free. Advance purchase is required. Offer is not available at theme park or Downtown Disney ticket windows. Offer is not available for previously purchased tickets. For offer details, visit www.DisneyWorld.com/Together and for general information, log on to www.disneyworld.com.
Silversea offering new promotion
Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea Cruises is offering the new Silver Select promotion that enables guests to personalize their voyage with three offers: a two-category suite upgrade, a $500 per person credit towards purchase of the Silver Sky air program, or a $500 per person onboard credit that can be used for shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants and more. Silver Select is available on new booking made by June 30 for select voyages sailing this year in Alaska and the Mediterranean. Silver Select is a capacity-controlled program and subject to availability. Promotion code NASELECT03 must be mentioned at time of booking. Visit www.silversea.com/silverselect. In other Silversea news, the line just launched the Silver Discoverer, the latest addition to its expedition fleet this spring. The 120-guest, all-suite expedition ship explores exotic, “bucket list” locales. The ship’s inaugural season will encompass many of the Pacific Ocean’s most isolated corners including rarely traveled lands in Southeast Asia, Micronesia, Melanesia, East Asia, the Russian Far East, New Zealand and Sub-Antarctic Islands. In 2015, the ship will also visit Polynesia and other Pacific destinations. Onboard amenities include gourmet cuisine, butler service, complimentary beverages, wines and spirits throughout the ship and stocked in-suite beverage cabinet. Zodiac excursions and walks ashore, led by marine biologists, botanists, historians and anthropologists are complimentary. Visit www.silversea.com.
Seven Princess ships to sail in Alaska in 2015
Princess Cruises has announced seven of its ships will sail throughout Alaska in 2015. New for the 2015 season, the Ruby Princess will make her Alaska debut, joining sister ship, Crown Princess, to offer Inside Passage cruises from Seattle. The Pacific Princess will sail on the line’s Voyage of the Glaciers itineraries for the first time. She joins Grand Princess, Star Princess and Coral Princess on this route that includes two glacier experiences. Rounding out the program, Golden Princess will offer Inside Passage sailings from San Francisco.
Land and sea vacations are also featured. Visit www.princess.com.
Disney Cruise Line charts a new course for Norway in 2015
In summer 2015, Disney Cruise Line will chart a course to northern Europe, exploring for the first time the Norwegian Fjords, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. The cruise line is also returning to the Baltic for new itineraries, including sailings from Copenhagen, Denmark to St.
Petersburg, Russia. Cruises to the Mediterranean, Alaska, Caribbean and Bahamas are also included in the lineup. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Oceanfront resort offer in Vero Beach
Kimpton’s oceanfront Vero Beach Hotel & Spa is featuring up to 25 percent savings with its Florida Sunshine Offer. With rates starting at $179 per night, the program features savings based on length of stay: one- or two-night stay, 15 percent savings; three- or four-night stay, 20 percent savings; five- or more night stay, 25 percent savings. The Florida Sunshine Offer is available for travel through Sept. 30. Blackout dates may apply. Visit www.verobeachhotelandspa.com and use booking code SP1.
Food and wine festival at Orlando resort
Culinary artistry, fine wine and celebrity chef meet-and-greets will be highlights of the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic. The event, back for its fifth year, will be held on Oct. 31-Nov. 1, at the Epcot Resort Area hotel. The outdoor festival will include food and beverage seminars, food and wine tastings and live music. Seminars will be led by the hotel’s chefs and certified beverage experts, while the hotel’s restaurants will showcase signature culinary selections to pair with tastings from more than 30 wineries. Celebrity Chef Todd English will be in attendance. English has gained national acclaim through his line of restaurants and cookbooks, and other food-related enterprises. Todd English’s bluezoo is located in the hotel and features fresh seafood. Tickets to the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic are currently available as part of a hotel package or individually. Visit www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com.
Couples sunset massage on St. Pete Beach
Loews Don Cesar Hotel has introduced the Spa Oceana Sunset Bliss Massage, a full body, customized treatment. The program begins in a private rooftop cabana overlooking the Gulf of Mexico with a selection of light delicacies prepared by the hotel’s executive chef and a bottle of Cristal by Louis Roederer. Couples also enjoy a private in-ocean couples’ cabana for a seaside massage at sunset. Afterward the couple is escorted back to the spa where they can enjoy the facility’s amenities in privacy. Cost is $3,500 per couple. Five-day notice is required and the service is based on availability. Call 727-363-5029.
Crystal Cruises introduces ambassador hostesses
Crystal Cruises has introduced female counterparts to its Ambassador Hosts program. Two Ambassador Hostesses, in addition to eight Ambassador Hosts who dance with unescorted ladies, will be available to dance with solo male passengers on Trans-Atlantic voyages on Oct.
5, June 12, 2015 and Dec. 11, 2015. Visit www.crystalcruises.com.
New kids’ club at Cape Coral resort
Looking for a summer family getaway? The recently renovated Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village has such family-friendly features as in-room kitchens, washers and dryers. The property recently opened a new Westin Kids Club featuring activities such as bike riding and a visit to a nearby butterfly garden. Other amenities include a lagoon-style pool, complimentary bike rentals and complimentary water taxi ride directly to Ft. Myers Beach. Visit www.westincapecoral.com.
With seventy miles of beaches, Eleuthera in the Bahamas beckons beach lovers who enjoy privacy and unspoiled natural beauty. Beyond the beaches, Eleuthera is surrounded by coral reefs for diving and snorkeling and the island is famous for bone-fishing, lobster diving, deep-sea fishing and spear- fishing. The Caribbean side of the island is usually free of surf, providing opportunities for sailing, windsurfing, kiteboarding and kayaking. The Atlantic side of the island offers several excellent beaches for surfing, including Surfer’s Beach and Holiday Beach. Trails through the fields and woods invite jogging, hiking and mountain-biking and cco-tourism is growing on the island with the Leon Levy Native Plant Preserve is the first national park on the island. Located 200 miles southeast of Miami and 50 miles east of Nassau, Eleuthera has three airports: Governor’s Harbour (GHB) in central Eleuthera, North Eleuthera (ELH) at the north of the island and a smaller airport at Rock Sound, on the south of the island. Daily flights are offered from Fort Lauderdale, Miami and Nassau. Governor’s Harbour, in the center of Eleuthera, makes for a good base for exploring the island and offers a collection of restaurants, nightlife, stores and services. Conveniences of home such as grocery stores, liquor stores, banks with ATMs, a bakery, gift shops, dive shop and medical clinic are nearby. It has a nice collection of 19th century homes and churches overlooking a picturesque harbor. For vacation estate rentals, visit www.eleutheravacationrentals.net, www.squiresestate.com, and www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p3540964.
New hotel in Tampa
Tampa has a new 137-room boutique hotel, a recently constructed Epicurean Hotel for the Autograph Collection of Marriott International. The food-focused hotel, developed by Mainsail Lodging & Development in collaboration with the Bern’s Steak House, features a culinary classroom, signature restaurant, wine shop, rooftop bar, spa, ballroom and patisserie among its amenities. Visit www.EpicureanHotel.com.
Digital signage onboard
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that it will expand the digital signage first introduced on Norwegian Breakaway to the line’s entire fleet by summer 2015. The interactive touch screen signs will allow guests to order specialty items, get directions and reserve dining, shore excursions and entertainment with a scan of their stateroom key. The screens will also be a feature on the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, sailing from her homeport of Miami in February. Each Norwegian ship will have between 30 and 50 touch and static screens located in prominent areas around the vessel. Visit www.ncl.com.
New shopping opportunities in Orlando
Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores recently opened a 2,800-square-foot Polo Assn. store as well as newly renovated Tommy Hilfiger and OshKosh B’Gosh shops. Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores is located at 15657 S Apopka Vineland Road (State Road 535). Visit www.lbvfs.com.
Cruise apps from Celebrity
To bring cruise vacation planning out of the realm of daydreaming and into the palms of consumers' hands, Celebrity Cruises has introduced a suite of easy-to-use mobile apps allowing travelers to digitally immerse themselves in the line's vacation experiences in all seven continents. After downloading the free mobile vacation apps onto iPads or Android tablets, consumers will find content including videos and imagery of Celebrity's worldwide destinations, depictions of the modern, upscale experiences found on every Celebrity ship, profiles of Celebrity's shore excursions, itineraries and maps of the array of Celebrity Cruisetour vacations, interactive ship deck plans with the capability to zoom in on specific suites, staterooms or venues to reveal the highlights of each, must-sees, hidden gems and other tips curated exclusively for Celebrity by the editors of Travel + Leisure, and up-to-date pricing on Celebrity vacations. Celebrity has also introduced a "Cruise Lingo," which makes it easy for vacationers to speak local languages by accessing authentic local phrases and relevant information from their smartphones or tablets. The new vacation apps can be downloaded from www.celebritycruises.com/mobile.
Royal Caribbean International’s Voyager of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas are offering Asia cruises this summer, continuing sailings from Shanghai (Baoshan), Beijing (Tianjin), Hong Kong, and Singapore. Through November, Mariner of the Seas will sail roundtrip Korea cruises from Shanghai (Baoshan) on three- to six-night itineraries that call at Seoul (Incheon), Busan, Jeju Island, or Yeosu (Gangyang). The ship’s summer season will conclude with an eight-night sailing from Shanghai (Baoshan) to Singapore, departing Nov. 4, with ports of call at Xiamen and Hong Kong, China, and Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Vietnam. For its part, from June through September, Voyager of the Seas will sail four- to six-night Korea itineraries roundtrip from Beijing (Tianjin), and call at Seoul (Incheon), Yeosu (Gangyang), Busan, and Jeju Island, South Korea. The ship will then sail a seven-night Japan and Korea cruise from Beijing (Tianjin) to Hong Kong on Sept. 10, followed by four-, five- and seven-night Japan and Taiwan cruises roundtrip from Hong Kong throughout September and early October. Visit www.royalcaribbean.com.
Certified divers can work alongside salvage experts in Key West
Certified divers now can register to work alongside treasure salvage experts on the wreck site of the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha during weeklong programs set for the summer. Believed to be the richest Spanish galleon shipwreck ever discovered, the Atocha sank in 1622 approximately 35 miles southwest of Key West. Approximately $450 million of the vessel's treasure and a significant portion of its structure were discovered in 1985 by the late shipwreck salvor Mel Fisher. Crews led by Fisher's family continue to search for the ship's sterncastle and the gold and silver bars and coins that are listed on the Atocha's manifest but remain undiscovered. The Atocha Dive Adventure, presented by the Fisher family and Mel Fisher's Treasures of Key West, gives recreational divers a chance to be part of the search and recovery effort. The weeklong Atocha Dive Adventure includes training in commercial treasure salvage techniques, behind-the-scenes tours of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and the Fishers' private artifact conservation laboratory, and two days of diving the site alongside salvage experts seeking the galleon's sterncastle. Any participating diver who discovers gold, silver or artifacts will be awarded a previously conserved Atocha piece of equal value, up to $3,000, from the Fisher family's collection. Participation is limited to six divers. Dates are June 9-15 and 16-22, July 14-20 and 21-27, and Aug. 4-10 and 11-17. The package includes accommodations in an Old Town Key West vacation home, welcome party and orientation, a sunset sail and gatherings with the Fisher family and crew. Non-diving companions can participate in all land-based activities and receive a "Key West Treasure Chest" package that includes free admission to Key West museums and a $250 gift certificate to the Mel Fisher's Treasures retail store. Cost for the week is $3,000 per diver. Cost for a non-diving companion to share a room with a participating diver is $1,000. Visit www.melfisher.com/myadventure.
Roster of bike tours expanded
Bike Tours Direct has expanded its roster of bicycle tours in 22 countries in Europe, Asia, and Central America now offering more than 80 programs including some that may be of interest to families as they feature short daily distances, dedicated bike paths, kid-friendly hotels and sometimes discounts for children sharing a room with parents. The self-guided tours start at $550 per person. Visit www.biketoursdirect.com.
Re-branded resort in St. John, U.S.V.I.
Caneel Bay Resort on St. John, U.S.V.I., founded by Laurance Rockefeller and formerly known as Caneel Bay, A Rosewood Resort, re-branded itself as an independent property in November and relaunched with new amenities. These include the new ZoZo's Ristorante, the former Sugar Mill restaurant that now has new management, dining concept, menu and renovation. Other new amenities include the Cannella coffee shop and Italian gelateria and the recent addition of the Sushi Bar, adjacent to the Caneel Beach Bar & Grill. Visit www.caneelbay.com.
Website features information on parking at ports
ParkingAtThePort.com features information on more than two dozens of the largest cruise ports in North America including such major ones in Florida as Port Everglades, Port Canaveral, Miami, Jacksonville and Tampa. In addition to parking details, the site features information on hotels, transportation services, local dining, shopping and other attractions. Visit www.parkingattheport.com. Royal Caribbean has announced the Quantum Experience Advisors program featuring a group of experts in fields such as design, sports & fitness, entertainment and others who will work hand-in-hand with the line’s internal teams to provide their expertise to help shape interior design, amenities and activities on the Quantum-class ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas that are set to debut in November 2014 and April 2015 respectively. Among the experts is interior designer and television personality on HGTV, Genevieve Gorder. Gorder is collaborating with Royal Caribbean’s newbuild and design team to offer insights and opinions and influence the décor and furnishings of the loft and suite accommodations onboard Quantum of the Seas. Visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/QuantumoftheSeas.
River cruising company orders 14 ships for 2014
Amid record levels of consumer interest in river cruising, Viking Cruises (www.vikingcruises.com) has announced it has increased its order for additional Viking Longships, bringing the total number of new ships launching in 2014 from 12 to 14 vessels. By year’s end, Viking will have introduced a total of 30 new ships in a three-year period. The 14 new ships in 2014 will sail Viking’s most popular itineraries in Europe. Visit www.vikingrivercruises.com.
Aruba property renovations
Hyatt Regency Aruba Resort & Casino recently completed the renovation of its Regency Ballroom. Highlights of the property include the aloe-themed ZoiA Spa and Mexicado, an upscale Mexican restaurant, a three-level pool complex with cascading waterfall, two-story water-slide, tennis and basketball courts, private beach and multiple restaurants and lounges. Visit www.aruba.hyatt.com
Volunteers swim with sea turtles in the Bahamas
Earthwatch (http://earthwatch.org) has announced new volunteer expeditions for service-minded individuals to work together with scientists in the field on finding solutions to some of the environment’s most pressing problems. Along with the 52 expeditions already available, among six new programs is Swimming with Sea Turtles in the Bahamas. Participants can jump into the warm waters of the Bahamas to track turtles’ behavior during their uncharted teenage years. Departures for adult participants are slated for August, September, October and November. A teen departure is set for July. Contribution cost is $2,775 for adult departures; $2,995 for the teen departure. Visit http://earthwatch.org/expeditions/swimming-with-sea-turtles-in-the-bahamas.
Third Disney Vacation Club resort on monorail line to open in 2015
Disney Vacation Club’s planned next location, at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, located on Seven Seas Lagoon at Walt Disney World Resort, is projected to be completed in 2015. Upon its completion, the Disney Vacation Club will have destinations at all three resorts on the monorail system, allowing easy access to Magic Kingdom Park. The planned development project at Disney’s Polynesian Resort, when completed, will join Disney Vacation Club’s 12 other properties include The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, that opened in late October 2013. In addition to the Disney Vacation Club project, other guest areas within Disney’s Polynesian Resort will undergo refurbishment. Disney Vacation Club debuted in October 1991 with a vacation point-based model rather than the traditional fixed-week timeshare model. Disney Vacation Club units are available for rental when members are not using them. Visit www.disneyvacationclub.com.
Clean and green initiatives at Best Western
The Best Western hotel chain has a new cleaning program on its North American properties that brings hospital technology to the hotel room with new tools including UV wands, black lights and clean remotes. The germiest spots in the hotel room are things like light switches, door handles, alarm clocks that can be tough to clean with traditional cleaning products like spray and a cloth. The brand made the change because customers began citing cleanliness as the most important part of their hotel stay in national surveys. The brand also has a sustainability program whereby every hotel in North America is required to have a green program. Two examples are the Best Western Plus Brant Park Inn & Conference Center in Brantford, Ont., that uses an organic waste program that composts 90 percent of food waste from the hotel's restaurants and conference center, and the Best Western Plus Night Watchman Inn & Suites in Greensburg, Kansas, which was destroyed by a tornado and then rebuilt using eco-friendly materials and design elements, including the installation of a wind generator. The wind generator is on track to produce about 50 percent of the electricity that the property uses. Visit www.bestwestern.com.
Mediterranean cruises plus adventures
Adventures By Disney has announced that on summer voyages in the Mediterranean aboard Disney Cruise Line, passengers can add Adventures By Disney excursions. The programs are available on a variety of European itineraries including five-, seven-, nine- and 12-night cruises. Two Adventure Guides will sail with the participants, lead excursions and organize activities onboard and ashore. On cruises sailing out of Spain, a four-day Adventures By Disney program can be added pre-cruise to explore Barcelona. Visit www.AdventuresByDisney.com.
New Panama hotel marks chain’s 75th property
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. recently announced its Aloft brand has reached the 75th hotel milestone with the opening of Aloft Panama, the brand’s fourth hotel in Latin America. Aloft is already operating in 14 countries and is set to debut in another 10 countries by 2016. In the past nine months, the Aloft brand has opened hotels in Miami, Chicago, Cleveland, Tulsa, Cancun, Bursa, Kuala Lumpur and Ahmedabad. In North America, the Aloft brand recently reached 55 hotels with nearly 20 more in the pipeline, while Asia Pacific remained the brand’s second fastest growing market with a total of 12 hotels currently open. Visit www.alofthotels.com.
Site with Big Apple information
NewYork.com (www.NewYork.com) is a new site with information for New York travel, entertainment, dining, real estate and job needs, as well as fresh local content. In addition to advice from editors, it offers discounted Broadway theater tickets, hotel deals, restaurant guides and more. It is the latest offering from the company that has such travel and entertainment sites such as Best of Orlando.com (www.BestofOrlando.com).
Elopement package at Sandpearl Resort
Sandpearl Resort on Clearwater Beach offers an Elopement package. Arriving in either a 1933 Packard or Rolls Royce, the soon-to-be newlyweds can say "I do" and relax in the two-story Gulfside Suite where their candlelit ceremony will be held. Priced at $5,800, the two-night package includes custom video so the couple can share their day with friends and family, round-trip airport transportation to and from the resort in either a 1933 Packard or Rolls Royce, two night accommodations in the two-story Gulfside Suite on the sands of Clearwater Beach, certified marriage officiate that will provide consultation, file a marriage license and design a ceremony unique to the couple, candlelit ceremony in the Gulfside Suite, floral arrangements including a bridal bouquet and boutonniere, four-course dinner for two with wine pairing served in the Gulfside Suite, and Veuve Clicquot champagne and strawberries. The Elopement package is based on availability (and there is only one Gulfside Suite). Couples seeking an elopement can book by calling 727-441-2425. Visit www.sandpearl.com.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens awarded arboretum accreditation
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens has been awarded Level I arboretum accrediation in The Morton Register of Arboreta by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program and The Morton Arboretum, The accreditation is given to facilities that achieve particular standards of professional practices deemed important for arboreta and botanic gardens. Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a zoo nestled within a garden. Already nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums for their fauna, the institution’s new ArbNet Arboretum accreditation highlights their floral treasures and ongoing commitment to the historic botanical collection as well as ensuring itself as a public resource for botanical collections, horticultural information and the natural enjoyment of all guests. For additional information on the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program, log on to www.arbnet.org; for details on the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, visit http://napleszoo.com.
Palm Beach package
The Brazilian Court Hotel, ranked the #1 hotel in the state of Florida by Conde Nast Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2013, is offering a Readers’ Choice Package including a two-night stay in a studio or suite, a welcome amenity from Café Boulud and guest’s choice of any two items from the following: a three-course lunch or brunch with wine pairing at Café Boulud, or a Fekkai massage, or Fekkai paraffin manicure and pedicure combo or a Fekkai facial. Call 561-655-7740 (ask for Readers’ Choice Package). Available for call-in reservations only. A 14-day advance booking is required and a two-night minimum is required. Valid for stays through October 2014, based on availability at time of booking, cannot be combined with any other offer. Fekkai Salon & Spa closed on Sunday. Requested times and services based on availability and will be confirmed within 72 hours. Taxes and gratuities are not included. Maximum choice of two services; can be the same service twice. One Café Boulud welcome amenity per stay. Brunch is available on Saturday and Sunday only. Other restrictions apply. Services must be used during package stay dates; guest forfeits any unused services upon departure. Rates start at $663 for two nights.
French cruise line and expedition specialist Compagnie Du Ponant, is featuring several new itineraries for summer aboard its three yachts, Le Boreal, L’Austral and Le Soleal (132 staterooms & suites), and the three-masted Le Ponant (32 staterooms). Through October 2014, the vessels will be cruising in the Great Arctic North and Canada, North Europe and the Baltic, and the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, offering a range of unusual itineraries. Among the new itineraries is a Gourmet Cruise from Lisbon to Bordeaux aboard Le Boreal with a program created by French magazine Cuisine et Vins de France, whereby passengers will be enjoying gourmet cuisine in the company of Michelin-starred chefs and renowned sommeliers. They include celebrity head-chef Hèléne Darroze, Jean Sulpice, Nicolas Magie, Philippe Faure-Brac and Olivier Dauga. Tastings, culinary workshops and conferences will be on the menu between calls into Porto, Viana do Castelo, Vigo, La Coruna, Bilbao, Le Verdon and Bordeaux. The eight-night voyage departs on May 4 and is priced from $3,231 per person, double. Visit http://en.ponant.com.
New spa treatments in Naples
The Spa at The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Southwest Florida is now offering five new spa treatments. Among the new services is the Vital Elastine Facial, an 80-minute treatment utilizing Yon-Ka skincare products to smooth the skin, reduce wrinkles, and increase radiance and hydration in the face, neck and décolleté. The Spa also now carries two new products from Yon-Ka, Stimulastine Jour and Stimulastine Nuit, which are an optional, but a recommended, home-care regimen to help maintain the results of the facial. The Vital Elastine Facial is $180 for 80 minutes. The products are $110 each. Visit www.NaplesBeachHotel.com/spa .
Puerto Rico’s "undiscovered" coast
The Copamarina Resort & Spa, a 20-acre tropical property in the seaside town of Guanica offers a base to explore Puerto Rico’s “undiscovered” southern coast. The property recently updated its spa (which now offers salon services) and rooms. Other amenities include two on-site restaurants, including Alexandra, a seafood restaurant, several swimming pools and nearby attractions including the Dry Forest Reserve, Bioluminescent Bay, Ponce Museum and Gilligan’s Island. Room rates start at $145 per night. Visit www.copamarina.com.
New in Winter Park
East End Market recently opened in Winter Park. Highlights of the facility include market hall, demo kitchens, farm-fresh restaurant, event space, and an urban garden. Visit www.eastendmkt.com.
Legendary San Juan hotel is being reborn
The Condado Vanderbilt, a historical Grand Dame hotel built by Frederick William Vanderbilt in 1919, re-opened its food and beverage venues and event spaces in fall of 2012 and is slated to launch its guestrooms in December 2014. Executive Chef Juan Jose Cuevas, formerly of Dan Barber’s Blue Hill, is at the helm of the upscale 1919 restaurant, a farm-to-table culinary destination in the Condado neighborhood. Visit www.condadovanderbilthotel.com.
Renovated properties in Orlando Convention Center area
Two Marriott properties in the Orlando Convention Center area recently completed renovations. The Residence Inn Orlando Convention Center by Marriott has expanded workplaces and added wireless Internet in the lobby as well as refreshed its 124 suites. The SpringHill Suites by Marriott now features an updated lobby, a new business center, expanded dining area, new fixtures and finishes in guestrooms and corridors and an outdoor heated pool and play fountain. Visit www.marriott.com.
SeaWorld Orlando Fun Card is back
The SeaWorld Fun Card whereby Florida residents pay for a day and come back again and again for the rest of 2013 and all of 2014 is back. Fun Card that is valid from the date of purchase through Dec. 31, 2014. With a Fun Card families can enjoy all of the special events throughout the year, plus the rides and family fun with no blackout dates. Fun Cards are available at the park’s front gate, online at www.SeaWorldOrlando.com or by calling 888-800-5447.
Eco-adventures in Costa Rica
Veragua Rainforest Eco-Adventure is a 3,400-acre private mountain reserve bordering the La Amistad International Park, the largest nature reserve in Central America. Located less than an hour from the cruise port of Puerto Limón, Veragua hosts cruise passengers from leading cruise lines such as Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises and Holland America Line. Shore excursion visitors to Veragua can experience firsthand the natural wonders of Costa Rica's tropical rainforest. Activities at Veragua include gliding through the rainforest on an aerial tram while viewing monkeys and rainforest animals, learning about the rainforest ecosystem at the Frog and Reptile Habitats, mingling with hundreds of butterflies at the Butterfly Garden, experiencing the Original Canopy Tour or journeying into the rainforest on one of several walking trails, including one that leads to a 65-foot waterfall. A Veragua Eco-Adventure Full Tour is $66 for adults, $55 for children; a canopy tour only is $55 for adults, $45 for children. Visit www.veraguarainforest.com.
Oceania refurbishing three ships
Oceania Cruises has announced the largest refurbishment program in the company's history. Its trio of R-Class ships, Regatta, Insignia, and Nautica will undergo a combined $50 million dollar transformation during the second quarter of 2014. All public rooms, suites, and staterooms on the three ships will feature new furnishings and décor. Many of the amenities and design elements that debuted on the line’s newest ships - including Baristas, Oceania Cruises’ signature specialty coffee bar, and the state-of-the-art grill in the Terrace Café - are being added during the refits. Visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.
Jet away for the day
The Resort at Longboat Key Club in Sarasota and Aura Jets have partnered to offer Florida residents a luxury daycation aboard a private jet. The “Jet Away for the Day” package at Longboat Key Club, bookable through Aura Jets features limo service to and from the airport, champagne upon arrival, a suite for the day, spa treatments and more. The package starts at $8,500 including private same day jet transportation for up to eight people to/from any Florida airport to the Sarasota Airport. To book the “Jet Away for the Day” package call Aura Jets at 1-888-908-0391.
Dancing with the Stars at sea program extended
Holland America Line has extended its “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” program for another year. The onboard experience brings the excitement of ABC’s hit show “Dancing with the Stars” to the line’s 15 ships throughout 2014. Once again the program will culminate with a Champions Cruise guest dance-off competition on the Dec. 6, 2014, Caribbean sailing of ms Westerdam. Like 2013, the 2014 schedule will continue to feature “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” programming on all sailings throughout the year, in addition to six special “Dancing with the Stars” theme cruises featuring the show’s professional dancers and celebrities. Currently scheduled to sail on all six theme cruises in 2014 are professional dancers Tristan MacManus and Kym Johnson and television personality Carson Kressley and actress Sabrina Bryan. The “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea” 2014 theme cruises are: June 14 and June 21 aboard ms Zuiderdam, 7-day Alaska roundtrip from Vancouver, British Columbia; July 26 and Aug. 2 aboard Westerdam, 7-day Alaska roundtrip from Seattle, Wash.; and Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 aboard Westerdam, 7-day eastern Caribbean roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Remodeled gourmet restaurant at sea
A remodeled Le Champagne restaurant highlights a major refurbishment of Silversea’s Silver Wind during a two week dry dock in Palermo, Italy in November. Le Champagne, the only Relais & Châteaux restaurant at sea, received a makeover with an upgraded entrance design, the addition of gleaming, backlit wine displays, a redesigned seating layout, and new wood flooring, fabrics and window treatments. The ship's suites, public spaces and dining venues have been freshened up with the installation of new carpets, new upholstery and other soft goods in an overall palette of earth tones. Other highlights include new tiling and deck furniture in the pool area and a redesigned buffet area in the specialty restaurant La Terrazza. Rounding out the refurbishment was a fresh reconditioning and polishing of teak decks and woodwork. The ship also underwent thorough maintenance on mechanical and propulsion systems. Visit www.silversea.com.
Costa Rica options for nature lovers
Two Costa Rica lodging options for nature, adventure and luxury seeking travelers are the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose, at a 30-acre coffee plantation, and the oceanfront Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort resting within a 1,100 acre rainforest. Highlights of the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose include 250,000 two hundred year old tiles covering the hacienda’s roof that were brought in from the colonial city of Granada, Nicaragua; a dining table in the signature restaurant, La Isabela Tapas & Wine Cellar, made from a 350 year old door from a Guatemalan church; antiques brought in from Guatemala and Mexico; and a coffee-inspired Kuo Spa that incorporates beans from the property’s plantation into its treatments. Guests of the 300-room/eight suite hotel have included Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan, Laura Bush, Deepak Chopra, Gilberto Santa Rosa and Julio Iglesias. Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort is a Spanish colonial-style hotel with 201 rooms, an 18-hole Ted Robinson designed golf course and a multi-level outdoor perpetual pool. Nearby activities include zip lining, canopy excursions, deep-sea fishing and more. Highlights of Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort include a massive sculpture by woodcarver Fabio Brenes Morales in the golf course that was carved out of a 300-year old ceibo tree that fell alongside the ninth hole; 15,000 square meters of Costa Rica handmade floor tile throughout the property; and 375,000 Nicaraguan clay tiles that make up the hotel’s roof. Visit www.marriott.com.
Firehouse Museum in Key West
History buffs can learn about Key West's past through its firefighting heritage at the Key West Firehouse Museum at 1024 Grinnell St. The museum is housed in Fire Station No. 3, active from 1907 until 1998 and one of the oldest fire stations in Florida. Spearheaded by retired second-generation Key West firefighter Alex Vega, who also is a historian and writer, the museum contains artifacts from the island's firefighting history. Notable items include a 1929 American La France fire engine, a bell dating back to 1906, historic photos and an early alarm system that communicated a fire's location. The station also contains what is believed to be one of the only remaining coal pits in America, dating from the days when fire engines were horse-drawn steamers. Uniforms, helmets and other items belonging to men once stationed at the firehouse are displayed as well. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $10 per adult, with a discount for firefighters, and free for children under age 12. Visit www.keywestfirehousemuseum.com.
Silversea publishes 2014 brochures
Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea has released two new brochures detailing an array of voyages in 2014, when its seven-ship fleet will visit more than 500 destinations on seven continents. The brochures are available in digital and print formats, and can be viewed online at www.Silversea.com by clicking the E-BROCHURE link. The new Voyage brochure, devoted to the journeys of Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, and Silver Spirit, is complemented by an Adventure guide highlighting the expedition cruises of Silver Explorer and Silver Galapagos, ships known for exploring some of the world's most remote regions.
Northern European voyages
SeaDream Yacht Club is featuring Baltic and Norwegian Fjords voyages this summer. The SeaDream I will explore the summer yachting ports of Northern Europe including overnight stays in popular cities with berthing privileges afforded only a mega-yacht such as docking up the Neva River by the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Stockholm’s historic Gamla Stan, and anchoring steps from Tallin, Estonia’s “Old Town” in the inner pond. Seven to 14-day voyages will be offered from late May through August.
Yachting fares begin at $4,499 per person, double. Visit www.SeaDream.com.
Cunard to celebrate its 175th anniversary with global voyages in 2015
In 2015, Cunard will commemorate the 175th year of the company’s founding with global voyages. This festive time will herald several Cunard Royal Rendezvous events during World Voyage itineraries: Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth will depart Southampton together on Jan. 10, 2015; on March 12, 2015, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria will meet in Sydney; and on May 3, all three Queens will return from their World Voyages to Southampton. One of the global offerings, the Queen Mary 2’s 113-night World Voyage from Southampton will visit 38 ports of call in 21 countries and is priced at $16,399. Segments are available ranging from eight to 24 days starting from $1,599. Visit www.cunard.com.
Princess Cruises to sail out of Shanghai as homeport
Carnival Corporation & plc have announced it will introduce its Princess Cruises brand to China in 2014, naming Shanghai as home port for the Sapphire Princess during a four-month season expected to carry 70,000 passengers. The new roundtrip cruises begin in May. The China season will feature four different itineraries ranging from three to seven days. The seven-day itinerary will take passengers to the Korean capital of Seoul, on to the beach resort of Busan and finishing at the Island of Jeju, before returning to Shanghai. The five-day cruise will call at Jeju and Inchon; the four-day itinerary will call at Busan and Jeju, while the three-day cruise calls at Jeju. In addition to the international cruise experience offered by Princess around the world, passengers on the new China-based cruises will be treated to cultural, culinary, entertaining, and inspiring programs including world leader dinners, sommelier wine excursions, daily English high tea, Tai Chi and Zumba at sea, a “Princess Night” bedtime experience, and a shopping experience. Designed to appeal to multigenerational groups, “Touch of Class” personal enrichment courses will also be offered for adults and children. The 116,000-ton Sapphire Princess carries 2,670 passengers and, at 952 feet long, has 18 decks and 28 premium suites with private balconies. The ship also includes a casino, duty-free shops, fitness center and spa, sports deck, children’s and teen’s centers, library, internet café, wedding chapel, art gallery and a golf putting course, among other features. Visit www.princess.com.
New book on Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales
Bok Tower Gardens: America’s Taj Mahal by Kenneth Treister and David Price [Skira Rizzoli 2013, $50] is a new book recently released with a foreword by Derek Bok and an epilogue by Bob Graham. A National Historic Landmark, built in 1929 and rising 205 feet over central Florida’s rolling hills of citrus, Edward W. Bok’s art deco, neo-Gothic Singing Tower, houses one of the world’s best carillons. According to Price, co-author and president of Bok Tower Gardens, Bok’s story is one of appreciation and giving back to the community that gave him so much during his life. Publisher, philanthropist, and naturalist Edward Bok commissioned two esteemed designers—landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and architect Milton B. Medary—to create a sanctuary that would preserve the area’s natural beauty and become a haven for birds and wildlife. The 224-page hardcover book has 120 color and black and white photos of Bok Tower Gardens.