Check this list often as new tips, events and deals around Florida come in:
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.