Check this list often as new tips, events and deals around Florida come in:
Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina renovation
The Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina has completed phase 1 of a $5.6 million renovation. New features include a new family-sized pool, two completely re-built docks at the 75-slip marina, and several improvements to the boutique resorts’ 51-rooms. Visit www.biggameclubbimini.com.
Golf package in Jacksonville/St. Augustine
The Renaissance World Golf Village Resort in Jacksonville/St. Augustine is featuring the “Stay and Play Package” that includes one round of golf per person on the resort’s Slammer & Squire championship course (steps from The Renaissance Resort) or renowned King & Bear championship course (co-designed by Arnold “The King” Palmer and Jack “The Bear” Nicklaus). In addition, the package includes: deluxe guest room accommodations; one World Golf Hall of Fame “Combo Ticket” per golfer, which provides a two-day admission to the adjacent World Golf Hall of Fame. The package also includes one round on the World Golf Hall of Fame’s 18-hole championship putting course; one shot at the 132-yard Island Challenge Hole; a $50 PGA TOUR Golf Academy (World Golf Village) credit voucher per golfer; breakfast daily in the resort’s Villagio Italian Grille; and range balls. The resort also provides a complimentary shuttle for individual guests (based on availability) to and from historic downtown St. Augustine. In addition, resort guests benefit from no resort fees and complimentary self-parking. The “Stay and Play Golf Package,” available through Aug. 31, starts at $274 per room, per night, plus tax for one golfer; or from $389 per room, per night, plus tax for two golfers in the room. Rates are based on availability, with a limited number of rooms and rounds of golf available for this promotion. Advanced reservations are required, and the offer cannot be combined with any other offer and does not apply to groups of 10 or more rooms. Blackout dates may apply, and other restrictions may apply. Visit www.marriott.com, or specifically http://tinyurl.com/9oezzld. Reference promotional code ZJ4 when making the reservation.
Orlando World Center Marriott invites friends and families to indulge in a "Fueled for Fun" escape, starting at $169 per night, for stays now through Aug. 30, treating travelers to their choice of perks, including choice of room type and complimentary self-parking or complimentary breakfast buffet for two adults and two children and self-parking, when using promotional code: FXL. Visit www.worldcentermarriott.com.
Escape the heat of the summer with Captiva package
South Seas Island Resort on Captiva is featuring a fourth night free, resort coupon booklet & kids eat free offer called “Summer is Heating Up…Just Escape" package. When booking the package, guests receive their fourth night free when staying consecutive nights at regular rates. Also included in the package is the resort’s coupon booklet with more than $250 in savings at resort outlets such as on cabana rentals, rounds of seaside golf, water sports, island cruises, spa services, dining, shopping and more. In addition, children 12 and under receive free breakfast with a paying adult. Nightly rates start from $159. The package is available for travel now through Sept. 30, based on a four-night minimum. Blackout dates may apply. Visit www.southseas.com/special-offers-en.html.
Mermaid-themed experiences in Fort Lauderdale
B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale features mermaid-themed experiences not only during Happy Hour in its Wreck Bar, seen in Robert DeNiro’s “Analyze This,” but also in its Mermaid Wedding Package. Set at the iconic Wreck Bar, couples can choose to have their ring exchange, first kiss, first dance or vow exchange, underwater in a 10-minute submerged ceremony complete with playful mermaids as their guests watch through the bar’s portholes. To complete the experience, the submerged ceremony will be accompanied by a 30-minute ceremony on the hotel’s private beach allowing couples to have the best of both worlds. Leading up to the wedding day, couples will be fitted for tails to flaunt in a personalized photo shoot as well as learn aquatic training and technique from the hotel’s own mermaid team. Visit www.boceanfortlauderdale.com.
Grand Cayman offer
Travelers who book the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort's “Sea and Sun Beach Bum” package receive a collection of fun, travel-sized Sun Bum skincare products. Package also includes a $50 resort credit and complimentary Linus bike rentals to explore the island. Visit marriottgrandcayman.com and use promo code P74. Rates start at $208 per night. Minimum three-night stay is needed. The offer is valid through Oct. 31.
Packages in Naples
The Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites in Naples has announced four vacation packages that can be enjoyed year round. The packages combine accommodations at the newly transformed 119-room inn with the appeal of its downtown setting, dining, spa and all that Naples’ Fifth Avenue South has to offer. Guests can stay in one of 87 renovated rooms and suites at the Inn’s original location, or step across Fifth Avenue to the recently opened Club Level Suites. The Club Level Suites feature added amenities and services such as a private rooftop retreat with a hot tub and sunbathing area, concierge service, continental breakfast, afternoon refreshments, and evening cocktails and tasters. Among the package offerings is the “Wine, Dine & Recline” Package for stay dates now through Dec. 24. Starting at less than $500 per night, this two-night package offers a taste of the dining opportunities available at the Club Level Suites. Package components are:
• Two-night accommodations at the Club Level Suites
• Dinner at Avenue5 restaurant
• Dinner at Trulucks
• Bottle of California Champagne in Suite
• Aromatic Candle in Suite
• Deluxe continental breakfast, full bar with hors d’oeuvres in the evenings, desserts and after dinner drinks and turndown service included.
Package prices vary by season and do not include tax or gratuity. Reservations are based on availability. Package rates are for double occupancy and not available on certain holiday weekends. Visit www.InnonFifth.com.
More all-inclusive experience on Norwegian Sky in 2016
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced that beginning January 2016 all guests sailing aboard Norwegian Sky from Miami will have an even more all-inclusive cruise experience with dining, entertainment and free unlimited beer, wine and premium spirits included. Guests will enjoy for free a variety of unlimited premium spirits, innovative cocktails curated by the award-winning mixologists from Miami’s Bar Lab, wines by the glass and bottled or draft beer up to $11 aboard Norwegian Sky in 2016 and beyond. Guests must be at least 21 years of age at time of sailing to enjoy premium beverages. Guests 3 to 20 years of age will enjoy unlimited sodas and juice throughout their cruise. Norwegian Sky sails three- and four-day roundtrip cruises from Miami to the Bahamas year-round. The new all-inclusive experience will also provide guests with the freedom to enjoy unlimited premium beverages while soaking up the sun on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian’s private island in the Bahamas. In addition to the variety of inclusive offerings onboard, Norwegian Sky guests also have the option to indulge in a variety of extra onboard experiences such as specialty restaurants and pampering Mandara Spa treatments. While in port, Norwegian Sky guests can also opt to choose from a wide array of shore excursions offering leisure, adventure and cultural experiences including swimming with dolphins, historical island tours, beach time and more. Visit www.ncl.com.
MSC Miami presence
MSC Cruises has announced that due to growth in the North American market and strong consumer demand, MSC Divina will once again sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean starting in November. This announcement continues to demonstrate the line’s overall commitment to North America and its plans for growth in the market. MSC recently also announced that the MSC Seaside – the first ship in the line’s Seaside class of ships – will sail year-round from Miami when she debuts in Dec. 2017. Visit www.msccruisesusa.com.
Roundtrip economy air add-ons on Galapagos expeditions
Silversea Expeditions has introduced roundtrip economy air add-ons to Ecuador from select gateways in the U.S. and Canada for as low as $199. The offer is available from dozens of east coast and centrally located gateways, including Miami. A $299 roundtrip economy air add-on is also available from such western gateways as Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver, Calgary, and more. Guests may purchase the new air add-on in conjunction with a Silver Galapagos expedition cruise. The Galápagos voyages feature all-inclusive air-and-land package fares that include: roundtrip economy class air between Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands; a two-night pre-cruise hotel stay with breakfast at the Quito JW Marriott; an evening tour of Quito's historic city highlights; transfer from the hotel to the airport in Quito; pre- and post-cruise transfers between the airport and Silver Galapagos in Baltra; a post-cruise hotel day room at the Hotel Oro Verde in Guayaquil (for guests with flights after 10 p.m.); transfer from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the airport in Guayaquil; Galápagos National Park and Ingala Transit Card fees; and porterage fees. The $199 and $299 roundtrip economy air add-ons apply to new Silver Galapagos bookings made on or after March 31, and sailing after July 1. The capacity-controlled offer is valid for bookings made at least 60 days prior to departure, and may be modified or discontinued at any time without notice. Visit www.silversea.com.
Downtown Disney hotels offering teacher appreciation rates
In recognition of teachers and school support staff, the seven Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels in Disney World are offering “Teacher Appreciation Rates.” Available to preschool, daycare, kindergarten – college teachers and support staff in the U.S. and Canada, for stays through July 31, the special rates are:
B Resort & Spa – rates from $119 per room, per night.
Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel – rates from $89 per room, per night.
Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa – rates from $79 per room, per night.
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton – rates from $99 per suite, per night.
Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – rates from $89 per room, per night.
Holiday Inn Orlando – Lake Buena Vista – rates from $89 per room, per night.
Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort – rates from $87 per room, per night.
Visit DowntownDisneyHotels.com, specifically www.downtowndisneyhotels.com/teachers-special-hotels-offer. The “Teacher Appreciation Rates” apply to Preschool, Daycare, Kindergarten – College teachers and support staff in the U.S. and Canada. Rates are based on availability, some blackout dates may apply, and availability may be limited. 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.
Disney vacation savings plan
Disney Vacation Account, a savings program that allows participants to plan and save now for their future Disney vacation. Disney Vacation Account provides online tools to help participants estimate the cost of their Disney vacation based on current prices (prices are subject to change) and manage a savings plan that is right for them and their budget.
Participants save at their own pace toward the goal of their dream Disney trip, making contributions using their debit, credit or Disney gift card. There are no fees to create or maintain an account. There’s even the incentive of Disney Gift Cards. Guests who open a Disney Vacation Account and use it to pay for a vacation before Dec. 31, 2017 (date subject to extension) will be eligible for a $20 Disney Gift Card for every $1,000 spent on qualified Disney vacation purchases. Certain limitations apply. Participants must request the cards 4-6 weeks in advance of their vacation to allow time for delivery to their mailing addresses.
Disney Vacation Account contributions may be used to pay for pre-arrival vacation packages, cruise fare and hotel reservations at Disney-owned and operated resorts in the following destinations: Disneyland Resort in California, Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii.
At any time, participants can manage their accounts by visiting www.disneyvacationaccount.com and track their savings progress on their very own webpage. In order to create a Disney Vacation Account, you must be a resident of one of the 50 states, District of Columbia or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least the age of majority.
Participants can set up automatic ongoing contributions every week, every other week or monthly or make one-time contributions from their debit or credit card. What savings they build may be used at any time to pay for a Disney vacation. Users can start the process as far as five years in advance of their vacation. The minimum savings to open an account is $10. Disney Vacation Account may be used again and again, too.
Once guests apply their savings towards their vacation, guests can use their account to begin planning their next Disney getaway and start saving toward it. Disney does not impose an expiration date on account savings and leftover or unused savings are completely refundable at any time. Maximum of a total of $500 in Disney Gift Card(s) per household. Your Disney Vacation Account must be active for a minimum of 120 days at the time of spending in order to receive this bonus. Visit www.DisneyVacationAccount.com\FAQ\Bonus for complete details.
Scalloping on Crystal River
Scalloping season begins a few days early this year with the season starting on June 27, and Plantation on Crystal River, on Florida’s Nature Coast, is offering guided and non-guided scalloping deals. Guided scalloping package rates start at $556 for mid-week stays for two guests and includes two-night stay in a 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 and water; chef will prepare the cleaned fresh day’s harvest (scallops or fish) for lunch or dinner and serve with two sides; breakfast daily; ramp launch, trailer storage and seawall tie for those bringing their own boa. Seawall tie is first come-first serve. Rates for the unguided package begin at $276 for mid-week stays for two guests.
If guests choose not to book the scalloping package, they can still get their scallops cooked. For $13.95 per person, Executive Chef David Bolanos at West 82 Bar & Grill will prepare guests’ shucked scallops during dinner one of four ways: scampi style, au gratin, sautéed in lemon butter or Chef’s choice. The meal also comes with two sides that could include rice, mashed potatoes or seasonal vegetables. Lunch is also available for $10.95 per person and includes cole slaw and French fries. Package price listed is for two people, two-nights mid-week in a Garden View room with a guide. Weekend pricing with guide begins at $716 for two people, two nights. Subject to availability. Taxes and gratuities not included. For meals, scallops must be shucked, cleaned, stored on ice, and delivered to the dining room a minimum of 2 hours prior to dinner or lunch reservation. Visit www.PlantationonCrystalRiver.com.
Florida resident rate in Key West
The 245-room Gates Hotel on the Last Key is offering a 15 percent off Florida Resident rate valid till Dec. 31 with rates beginning at $199 per night. The offer may be booked online at http://bit.ly/1DdvoQi where terms and conditions are listed. For information, visit www.gateshotelkeywest.com.
Adopt a sloth package in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to two species of sloths that distinguish the destination’s docile environment. In efforts to elevate its dedication to the rescue and rehabilitation of sloths, Costa Rica Marriott San Jose has launched the Book a Room... Adopt a Sloth package. With rates starting at $209 per night, this animal-friendly package includes breakfast for two along with $25 donation for World Wide Fund for Nature. The package is available now through June 30 with travel window through June 30. Guests can book with promotional code: I26. Visit www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjocr-costa-rica-marriott-hotel-san-jose.
The South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island is offering a fourth night free with its Summer is Heating Up… Just Escape package. When booking the package, guests receive their fourth night free when staying consecutive nights at regular rates. Also included in the package is the resort’s coupon booklet with more than $250 in savings at resort outlets such as on cabana rentals, rounds of seaside golf, water sports, island cruises, spa services, dining, shopping and more. In addition, children 12 and under receive free breakfast with a paying adult. The package is available for travel through Sept. 30, based on a four-night minimum. Blackout dates may apply. Visit www.southseas.com/special-offers-en.html.
Family package in Miami
The Biltmore Hotel in Miami is featuring a Family Fun Package available year round. The package offers Junior suite accommodations, breakfast daily, with children under 12 years of age dining free with the purchase of an adult meal, daily admission to the Biltmore’s Buddies kids club, 20 percent savings at the Biltmore Spa and the hotel’s Donald Ross classic golf course, nightly turndown of milk and cookies, and special discounts to area attractions. The package starts at $489 per night, plus tax and resort fee. Visit www.biltmorehotel.com/resort/specials.php.
New Alaska adventures for families
Disney Cruise Line has announced a new selection of Port Adventures available on Alaska sailings. The new excursions offer something for everyone in the family to enjoy, from alpine forest adventures to hands-on experiences showcasing Alaska’s rich heritage. Among new experiences are the Family Gold Exploration and the Mendenhall Glacier and Mine Ruin Exploration in Juneau, during which guests experience an encounter with an eccentric prospector mining the hills. Families trek to the miner’s camp for stories around the campfire, leaving with tips of the trade and a keepsake from the prospector himself. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Islamorada Resort Company’s four hotels – Amara Cay Resort, Pelican Cove Resort & Marina, Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina and La Siesta Resort – invite Florida residents to enjoy savings. Available for booking now through June 30, for travel starting June 1 through Aug. 31, the Escape to Islamorada package will treat local visitors to reduced Florida resident rates, a $50 gas card, two complimentary cocktails and discounted tickets to Theater of the Sea when they book at any of the four properties. Rates start at $249 per night with a two-night stay minimum, the newly renovated Amara Cay Resort.
Rates start at $199 per night with a two-night stay minimum at Pelican Cove Resort & Marina which recently unveiled 63 upgraded waterfront guest rooms and suites. Rates also start at $199 per night with a two-night stay minimum at the Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina.
Rates start at $179 per night with a two-night stay minimum at the all-suite La Siesta Resort. Holidays and some black out dates excluded. May not be used with any other discounts or promotions. Discount at Theater of the Sea applies to general admission tickets only, interactive programs excluded. Must present a valid Florida Identification at check-in. Must be over 21 years old for the drink vouchers. Visit www.islamoradaresortcompany.com.
Kimpton Hotels & Resorts promotions
Kimpton Hotels & Resorts of Florida will treat state residents, as well as all guests who linger for longer stays, to special rates, discounts and offers this summer as a part of their regional Save ‘n Stay and Florida Resident promotions. Beginning May 1, all Kimpton hotels in Florida will offer Florida residents complimentary parking, as well as savings of up to 30 percent off for all guests through their Save ‘n Stay promotion through Oct. 31: 20 percent off 3 – 4 nights; 25 percent off 5 – 6 nights; 30 percent off 7 or more nights; 20 percent off spa services; and complimentary valet parking every night. Florida Resident and Save ‘n Stay promotions are both bookable through each of the properties’ websites: Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, Palm Beach—a Kimpton Hotel (www.tidelineresort.com); Vero Beach Hotel & Spa—a Kimpton Hotel (www.verobeachhotelandspa.com); The Surfcomber Miami, South Beach—a Kimpton Hotel (www.surfcomber.com); the EPIC Hotel, Downtown Miami (www.epichotel.com).
New Hilton coming to West Palm Beach
The Hilton West Palm Beach, a 400-room hotel currently under construction, is expected to open spring 2016. The hotel, within the epicenter of downtown Palm Beach, and connected to the Palm Beach County Convention Center, will offer over 24,000 square feet of refined meeting space, two restaurants, fitness center and an expansive pool deck. Visit www.hilton.com.
Philanthropic shore excursions
Crystal Cruises has announced an expanded number of the popular “You Care, We Care” shore excursions in 2015. For the line’s 25th Anniversary, 16 Crystal Adventures ashore – offered complimentarily to guests and crew, alike – will allow participants to engage in the humanitarian and conservational activities of organizations throughout the world. With three brand new excursions added to the roster, 2015 marks the largest collection of opportunities to serve global communities Crystal has offered. Among the new offerings is a program in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where guests will work alongside community members and volunteers at the Mustard Seed Food Bank, sorting food donations and helping prepare meals for those who would otherwise go without. Visit www.crystalcruises.com.
St. Croix family package
St. Croix’s 138-room and suites Buccaneer resort, is offering special summer family packages. Families booking two rooms can enjoy additional savings with the second room half off when traveling with children 18 and under, plus kids (ages 4-12) stay free and enjoy a complimentary breakfast. The Buccaneer offers three beaches and family-friendly amenities including connecting rooms and complimentary kids camp with trained counselors, indoor and outdoor activities such as crab races and a treasure hunt complete with a pirate’s eye patch, lunch and its own clubhouse. Other features include a complimentary buffet breakfast each morning, complimentary use of snorkels, floating mats and kayaks, a weekly Sugar Mill party with steel pan music and Mocko Jumbie dancers, and welcome fruit and rum punch upon check in. Visit www.thebuccaneer.com for information, terms and conditions.
Savings on Silversea
Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea Cruises is reintroducing its popular Silver Select promotion with enhanced savings options available for a limited time on 52 worldwide voyages in 2015, including select expedition cruises. On ocean-going voyages, guests may opt for a two-category suite upgrade or $1,000 per suite shipboard credit or 50 percent off a second suite. On expedition cruises guests may opt for a two-category suite upgrade or 50 percent off a second suite. Silver Select is available on new bookings made May 7 through June 30 for select voyages sailing in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, South America, Asia, Alaska, Galápagos, Africa, and Arctic. Among itineraries offering the promotion is an ocean-going voyage roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean aboard the Silver Spirit Nov. 24-Dec. 4. Visit www.silversea.com/exclusive-offers/silver-select.
Also in the news for Silversea: the line is spicing up its schedule with tasty enrichment offerings. Over the course of 2015 and 2016, 26 sailings will feature either a culinary or wine focus, including four with culinary and wine themes paired together. Silversea features "L'École des Chefs by Relais & Châteaux" cooking school at sea. The program – which is offered free of charge – provides a special culinary curriculum, including hands-on instruction, and entertaining events. It's hosted by acclaimed culinary trainer David Bilsland, a former instructor at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in London. Highlights include specialized workshops covering an array of topics from basic knife skills and kitchen terminology to sauces and baking; cooking demonstrations with wine pairings and interactive Q&A sessions; cooking competitions between Chef Bilsland and the ship's own culinary team; a "Lunch and Learn" event offering small groups of guests a chance to sample a delicious meal of specially prepareddishes; and "Take It Home" recipes for entertaining at home. Info: www.silversea.com/onboard/enrichment/culinary-and-wine-voyages/.
New Holland America ship to homeport in Port Everglades
Following its inaugural Europe season in 2016, Holland America Line’s new Koningsdam will homeport at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. The ship will sail a series of Caribbean voyages and one cruise to the Bahamas from November 2016 through March 2017. Info: www.hollandamerica.com.
Disney Cruise Line to sail first British Isles itinerary
In 2016, Disney Cruise Line is sailing its first British Isles itinerary, visiting Scotland, England, Ireland and France. Throughout the summer of 2016, Disney Cruise Line also will return to Norway, Iceland and ports of call in more than 15 European countries. In addition to the tour of Europe with limited engagements in the Baltic, Norwegian Fjords, Iceland, British Isles, Greek Isles and the Mediterranean, Disney Cruise Line will revisit favorite destinations elsewhere around the globe including Alaska, the Caribbean and theBahamas. Info: www.disneycruise.com.
New York Times speakers on the horizon for Cunard
Cunard Line has come together with The New York Times to offer speakers as part of its long-running, award-winning Insights program. The offering will debut on Queen Mary 2 on Jan. 3, and will be on tap during all East-bound Transatlantic Crossings in 2016. To kick-off the series, the 3 Jan. 3 cruise dubbed “The New York Times Insights Cruise” will feature a line-up of The New York Times’ experts including former foreign correspondent and columnist Clyde Haberman. Info: www.cunard.com.
Zumba cruise on Royal Caribbean
Zumba Fitness has teamed up with Royal Caribbean to create the Zumba® Cruise, setting sail from Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 25. During the five-day voyage aboard Independence of the Seas, cruisers will create their own rules: for the passionate Zumba fan, Zumba-themed classes will be available every day led by 130 Zumba celebrity instructors from around the world, plus Beto ³Unplugged², classes led by Zumba® creator Beto Perez, with live music and DJs. The Zumba Cruise will call Falmouth, Jamaica and to Zumba¹s private island experience in Labadee, Haiti, where a live concert will take place. Visit zumba-cruise.com.
Hotel to open in South Beach
JMH Development, Madden RealEstate Ventures and Starwood Hotels & Resorts have announce the official opening of Aloft South Beach at 2360 Collins Avenue on May 28. The property has 235 loft-like rooms and ushers in Continental Miami, a new dining destination established by restaurateur Stephen Starr. Visit www.aloftsouthbeach.com.
Puerto Rico package
Caribe Hilton in San Juan, the birthplace of the piña colada, has welcomed the addition of a new bar, Caribar, and to celebrate its launch is featuring a special Caribar Lounge opening package. The package includes accommodation, two welcome piña coladas and one appetizer per stay. Valid now through Dec. 22, the offer starts at $204 per night based on double occupancy. Package rate is a starting rate only based on double occupancy, subject to availability, does not include taxes, resort fees or gratuities. Package includes one piña colada per person per stay, and one appetizer per room per stay. Other restrictions apply. For a sneak peek of the new Caribar or to book the Caribar Lounge package, visit www.caribarsanjuan.com. For hotel information, visit www.caribehilton.com.
New ships on the horizon
Carnival Corporation, has signed two strategic memorandums of agreement that will add a total of nine new cruise ships to the company's industry-leading fleet over a four-year period from 2019 - 2022. The shipbuilding agreements, which include options for additional ship builds in the coming years, are subject to several conditions, including satisfactory financing. Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri S.p.A and German shipbuilder Meyer Werft will each build new ships based on Carnival Corporation's next-generation ship designs, which will produce the most efficient ships in the company's history. The new ships are expected to serve established cruise markets in North America and Europe, as well as newer markets, including China. Each new ship will be specifically designed and developed for the brand and guests it will serve, and support the company's overall goal of exceeding guest expectations and further elevating every aspect of the guest experience. Visit www.carnivalcorp.com.
The Westin Playa Bonita is offering the Panama, Unexpected package, which includes a truck safari tour to the historic town of Portobelo and Isla Grande’s Caribbean beaches, a day tour of the Embera Indigenous Village (located in the rainforest), deluxe accommodations, daily breakfast and roundtrip airport transfers. Rates start at $225 per person, per night based on double occupancy ($310 per night for single occupancy). A minimum three-night stay required. To book, email email@example.com and reference package name: Panama, Unexpected. Package expires Dec. 31.
New outdoor lounge space in Fort Lauderdale
The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort recently opened an adults-only hideaway, BalQony. A sophisticated lounge experience with views of Fort Lauderdale Beach, and food and beverage service, it is designed to provide a respite for guests from the activity at the pool and a venue for events and weddings. Visit www3.hilton.com.
La Nouba Florida residents special
La Nouba, the exclusive Cirque du Soleil show at Walt Disney World Resort, has launched special Florida residents rates starting at $49 for an adult ticket and $44 for a child ticket. Just in time for a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gift, this offer is available from now through June 27. Ticket prices are: Category 3: $49 adult, $44 child (plus tax); Category 2: $69 adult, $64 child (plus tax) and Category 1- $89 adult, $80 child (plus tax). Visit www.lanouba.com.
Fourth night free in Turks & Caicos
The Sands at Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos is featuring a 4th Night Free offer combined with the resort’s reduced low-season rates starting from $195 per night for stays between May 1 through Dec. 19. Added-value amenities and freebies include complimentary use of watersports equipment - including kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, snorkel gear and Hobie Cats; bicycles for island exploration; and a Tuesday Manager’s cocktail party. The 4th Night Free promotion is valid for new bookings made on all room categories at The Sands at Grace Bay, for consecutive stays of four nights or more started and completed between May 1 through Dec. 19th. The free night is not transferable or redeemable for cash, and is not applicable for groups. Visit www.thesandstc.com.
New ship under construction for MSC Cruises to sail from Miami
MSC Cruises has announced that the first of its next generation “Seaside” class of ships — set to debut in November 2017 — will be named MSC Seaside and sail year-round from Miami to the Caribbean starting in December 2017. A highlight of the new ship will be an interactive aqua park including five slides. Visit http://bit.ly/MSC-Seaside. For more information on MSC Cruises and its current fleet of 12 ships, visit www.msccruisesusa.com.
Identifying healthier menu choices
Parents sailing with Disney Cruise Line now have an easier way to identify healthier menu choices for their children. As part of Disney’s commitment to make healthy living simpler and more fun for families, Mickey Check meals are now offered in rotational dining restaurants aboard all four Disney ships. To receive the Mickey Check, foods must be nutritious and meet Disney Nutrition Guidelines for calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar. These guidelines were developed by leading child health experts and align to best-in-class dietary guideline recommendations. A complete Mickey Check kids’ meal, for example, includes three or more nutritious food groups (such as vegetables, whole grains, lean protein), has limited added sugar and does not have any trans fats. A sample dish served on Disney Cruise Line is grilled chicken skewer with roasted sweet potato, broccoli florets and fruit salad. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Key West flavors
Visitors can taste their way through the history and flavors of Key West with Made in Key West Food Tours. The current food circuit is the Southernmost Food Tour, a leisurely paced walking tour that stops at six different restaurants where participants get samples of Bahamian and Cuban cuisines, local seafood and tropical fruits. The one-mile, three-hour tour begins at Camille's Restaurant and finishes at Flamingo Crossing on Duval Street. As well as eateries, participants stop at Key West landmarks and lesser-known sites and discover architectural, historic and cultural tidbits that add to the experience. Tours begin at 11:30 a.m. and take place rain or shine. Cost is $65 for adults and $45 for children. Visit www.keywestfoodtours.com.
Cruises to the Last Frontier
Holland America Line will offer 124 Alaska voyages this year. New developments for 2015 include moving the Noordam to the region and positioning the Statendam exclusively on 14-day itineraries roundtrip from Seattle. From May through September seven ships in the fleet will sail a total of 124 Alaska voyages that stretch from the Inside Passage to Glacier Bay and beyond. With the Statendam shifting to longer voyages, the line is moving the Zaandam to Gulf of Alaska itineraries. The other ships offering seven- and 14-day Alaska cruises are the Amsterdam, Oosterdam, Volendam and Westerdam. Among the season’s highlights are seven-day Alaska Explorer Cruises roundtrip from Seattle starting in May. The itinerary features calls at Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria, and scenic cruising at Tracy Arm/Twin Sawyer Glaciers or Glacier Bay National Park. Seven-day Alaska Inside Passage cruises from Seattle, or Vancouver, British Columbia, start at $599 per person; 14-day Alaskan Explorer voyages begin at $1,699 per person, double occupancy. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Disney Dream enhancements
New experiences await Disney Dream guests after spaces throughout the Disney Cruise Line vessel are transformed this fall. Headlining the enhancements are two new interactive youth areas, one themed to Star Wars and another to Disney Infinity. The newly themed Star Wars area in Disney’s Oceaneer Club, open to ages three to 12, will delight children with an out-of-this-galaxy experience. Kids will be transported to a far away galaxy at Star Wars: Millennium Falcon, a Force-filled play area inspired by the spacecraft from the legendary saga. Upon entering the spaceship, children will join the Rebel Alliance in the epic battle of good versus evil by assisting with the navigation of this powerful space vehicle. Sitting in the cockpit, children can pilot this super-cool spaceship through hyperspace and trigger lightspeed jumps to different locations around the galaxy. Also new: a sweet shop serving handmade gelato and the ever-popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique will debut after the Disney Dream undergoes dry dock Oct. 4-24, in Freeport, Bahamas. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Nassau Paradise Island promotion
Nassau Paradise Island, Bahamas is featuring the return of its $250 Instant Savings Promotion. Travelers planning to visit throughout 2015 can take advantage of the latest Instant Savings offer for deals at some of the destination’s most popular hotels and resorts. Travelers who book a minimum four-night stay at any of Nassau Paradise Island’s participating hotels by May 20 will receive $250 Instant Savings on air-inclusive packages. Travel can take place now through Dec. 18 (blackout dates are Nov. 22-27). Participating hotels include Atlantis, Paradise Island, Best Western Bay View Suites, British Colonial Hilton Nassau, and Comfort Suites Paradise Island. This offer is valid for travel originating in the U.S. and Canada. Visit www.NassauParadiseIsland.com.
Keys property reopens after renovation
Amara Cay Resort, an upscale, boutique resort in Islamorada reopened to the public following a multi-million dollar renovation this spring. The resort’s 110 guestrooms, all public spaces, meeting rooms, landscaping, retail space and restaurant are completely redesigned. Amara Cay Resort’s new restaurant, Oltremare Ristorante, serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The 60-seat restaurant includes a coastal Italian-inspired menu by Chef Darío Olivera. Fresh homemade pasta is prepared daily. Locally caught seafood and farm-grown produce is utilized throughout the menu. Conceived as a contemporary re-imagination of the classic seaside cottage, Amara Cay Resort’s guestrooms and suites feature simple, clean designs and furnishings incorporating natural elements such as wood, rattan and dark tile. Each guestroom has a newly extended balcony affording views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding Florida Keys. In keeping with Amara Cay Resort’s commitment to sustainability, the new guestrooms incorporate environmentally responsible elements including LED lighting, improved thermostats, upgraded sinks and showers, and impact resistant glass. The resort has also partnered with the Coral Restoration Foundation to raise funds for the conservation organization. Visit www.amaracayresort.com.
Tickets, packages on sale for food festival
Overnight packages and event-only tickets are now on sale for the sixth-annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, Friday, Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 31, at www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com. A Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic causeway ticket offers guests unlimited tastings at more than 40 stations featuring culinary selections from the hotel’s restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries amidst a backdrop of live entertainment on the hotel’s causeway. Upgraded ticket options allow guests to enjoy access to a beer garden featuring a wide selection of craft beers and Oktoberfest-inspired cuisine. The event also includes hands-on experiences with the hotel’s chefs and certified beverage experts in a variety of food and beverage seminars.
Several overnight and multiple-night package options are available for the sixth-annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic and can be booked by phone at 1-888-828-8850:
Package One, starting at $359, includes overnight accommodations and tickets to the outdoor festival for two. Package Two, starting at $385, includes overnight accommodations, tickets to the outdoor festival and upgraded beer garden access for two.
Package Three, starting at $435, includes overnight accommodations, tickets to the outdoor festival, upgraded beer garden access and an interactive seminar experience for two.
Individual ticket options are also available for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic (pricing is inclusive of tax and service fees):
Advance-purchase, event-only tickets to enjoy unlimited tastings on the causeway are $105 per person. Upgraded tickets, including unlimited tastings on the causeway and access to the beer garden, are $125 per person. Beverage seminars are $45 per person, per class with the purchase of a causeway ticket. Pasta making, sushi and sake, and cheese seminars are $60 per person,per class with the purchase of a causeway ticket.
Florida residents rate at Four Seasons Orlando
Four Seasons Orlando has announced select dates when the Florida Resident Rate will be available, for $295 per night including parking (and no resort fee). The Florida resident rate is offered beginning April 23 through June 11, and also from Aug. 17 through Oct. 4. For reservations, contact 1-407-313-7777. The rate may be booked via phoneonly and requires a valid Florida state ID upon arrival.
Tangled at sea
In November, the characters and music of the animated film “Tangled” will enchant audiences once again, this time as an original stage show spectacular at sea aboard the Disney Magic—the first time the beloved Disney tale has been adapted for the stage. “Tangled: The Musical” will immerse audiences in Rapunzel’s fairytale world through production numbers and spellbinding music. Three new songs created exclusively for this show by Academy Award-winning composer Alan Menken and Grammy Award-winning lyricist Glenn Slater will bring the story to life onstage. The new show will premiere during the four-night Bahamas sailing of the Disney Magic from Miami. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Star Wars package
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is offering guests the chance to enjoy the Star Wars Weekends celebration at Disney's Hollywood Studios with special rates starting at $185 on May 15-June 15. Guests staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin are within walking distance or short complimentary boat ride to all the festivities taking place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Star Wars Weekends will be held every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, May 15-June 14. The 2015 event will feature Star Wars characters roaming the theme park for meet-and-greet opportunities, star conversations with Star Wars celebrities, a Star Wars motorcade through the park, interactive activities and exclusive merchandise. Visit www.swandolphin.com/offers. To make room reservations, call 1-800-227-1500 and mention “STARWARS.” Rates start at $185 per night. Taxes, resort services fee and gratuities are not included. Not valid with any other special offers, promotions, or for existing reservations or groups; offer is based on rate schedule availability.
New culinary center to be added to new ship
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is adding a new exclusive venue to its Seven Seas Explorer. The luxury line announced today that Seven Seas Explorer will feature the brand’s first culinary instruction center called the Culinary Arts Kitchen, and will debut a new social venue named the Meridian Lounge. The Culinary Arts Kitchen will provide guests with all the ingredients to expand their culinary skills in an environment reminiscent of prestigious cooking schools in France in both layout and design. Eighteen individual cooking stations sit atop three long curved rows with white quartzite countertops and stainless steel accents to provide a look that elegantly complements the complex. The culinary workstations are equipped with induction cooktops, stainless steel sinks and a comprehensive collection of additional cooking essentials. The instruction at the Culinary Arts Kitchen will cover a wide array of topics including healthy cooking, fish and shellfish preparation, perfect food and wine pairings for entertaining, delectable mini-desserts, high-heat grilling, and classes inspired by the destinations visited. The Culinary Arts Kitchen will debut on Seven Seas Explorer with more than a dozen unique classes. Seven Seas Explorer is slated to join the rest of thefleet in summer of 2016. Visit www.rssc.com.
New film at Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex launched this spring a new 3D space film, “Journey To Space,” showcasing NASA’s plans for the future, including landing astronauts on Mars and capturing asteroids. Through interviews with astronauts Chris Ferguson, commander of the final shuttle mission, and Serena Aunon, a new astronaut chosen for future flights, as well as narration by film and television legend Sir Patrick Stewart, the film gives an overview of NASA’s past space accomplishments, current activities and future plans. The film concludes with a scenario of how astronauts will actually get to Mars, live there, and then return home after a two-and-a-half-year mission. “Journey To Space” is one of two space films currently shown at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Both “Journey to Space” and the IMAX® film “Hubble 3D” are included in the price of admission and arefree for annual pass holders. Visit www.kennedyspacecenter.com.
Jazz at sea
Cunard and jazz label Blue Note Records have announced an entertainment partnership, which will debut on Cunard’s flagship, Queen Mary 2, on October 29. Guests onboard will embark on a special Transatlantic Crossing, featuring intimate jazz performances by the Blue Note 75th Anniversary All Star Band, Our Point of View, formed for the label’s milestone anniversary in 2014. The supergroup celebrates the vitality of Blue Note by looking ahead and assembling leading young artists on the Blue Note roster who continue to move jazz forward. Featuring keyboardist Robert Glasper, trumpeter Keyon Harrold, tenor saxophonist Marcus Strickland, guitarist Lionel Loueke, bassist Derrick Hodge, and drummer Kendrick Scott, the band’s repertoire draws from each of these artists’ own catalogs as well new spins on Blue Note classics. President of Blue Note Records, Don Was, who himself is a celebrated musician and Grammy® Award winning producer for Bonnie Raitt and the Rolling Stones, will also sail on the voyage and participate in Q&A sessions. Jazz lovers can look forward to two more special cruises in 2016, and Don will personally hand pick those artists from Blue Note Record’s renowned group of musicians. Visit www.cunard.com.
Do good, feel good package on Miami Beach
The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach invites guests to have fun and dogood all at once -- perhaps a nice option to celebrate Earth Day, April 22? Valid select weekends through Sunday, Sept. 20, including Earth Day weekend, April 24-26, the “Do Good, Feel Good” package may appeal to nature-minded, eco-warriors who want a bit more from their vacation. Starting at $859 for two people, the package includes a two-night stay, daily breakfast at Farm-to-Table Essensia restaurant, daily $50 spa credit per person and stand-up paddle boarding lesson with a guided stand-up paddle board (SUP) tour of the beach. This package includes a hands-on beach clean-up experience on the Saturday morning from 9am - noon, where guests can join the local Miami Community working hard to make the world a cleaner place. Visit www.thepalmshotel.com/do-good-feel-good/.
New show at SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando’s all-new show “Clyde and Seamore’s Sea Lion High” is slated to open on April 16. The show takes place in an aquatic-themed high school where laughter and education go hand in hand (er, flipper). The show’s storyline follows Clyde and Seamore who are nominated to win scholarships to Ocean University -- and they must enter crash courses in science, dance and gym. A pre-show celebrates teachers from all over. Visit www.SeaWorldOrlando.com.
Oceania unveils summer, fall 2016 itineraries including new Sirena’s
Oceania Cruises’ new Sirena, formerly the Ocean Princess, is a 684-passenger ship that enters service April 27, 2016 with a Barcelona to Venice voyage. In total, Oceania Cruises’ 2016 summer and fall collection features 121 unique sailings, 90 new itineraries; 50 of which are extended journeys, and 20 ports not previously visited by the upscale line. With the summer and fall season alone, the now six ships Oceania Cruises fleet will sail to more than 240 ports in over 70 different countries, including several overnight stays in the world’s most sought-after destinations. With its April debut, Sirena will join the line’s trio of award winning sister ships Insignia, Regatta and Nautica and offer an array of new itineraries filled with unique destinations to provide more options for Oceania Cruises guests. After undergoing an extensive bow-to-stern refurbishment, Sirena will emerge with the same style Oceania Cruises guests love about the existing fleet, and feature renowned specialty dining restaurants Toscana and Polo Grill, along with more recent additions to the fleet such as Baristas and the cook-to-order grill Terrace Café. Sirena’s maiden voyage will be a 14-night cruise from Barcelona to Venice on April 27, 2016. The inaugural season features a new lineup of 10- to 14-day voyages, artfully blended with a mix of classic and new destinations throughout the Mediterranean, including two voyages venturing as far west as Seville and Lisbon. The ship will visit 11 new locales for Oceania Cruises, such as the famed beaches of Gaeta (Italy), pristine rainforest of Golfito (Costa Rica) and well-preserved provincial township of La Paz (Mexico). Visit www.oceaniacruises.com.
Stand up paddle boarding in Bonaire
Harbour Village Beach Club in Bonaire now offers guests Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) tours of the island’s northern coast. The new, guided Stand-Up Paddleboard tours let guests explore the beautiful northern coast of the main island of Bonaire and the picturesque Harbour Village marina while experiencing the fitness benefits of this increasingly popular activity. The one-hour tour is priced at $75 per person, and is limited to three people per tour. Visit www.harbourvillage.com.
The “hulls” are alive with the sound of music
Beginning mid-April, Princess Cruises will partner with Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to screen the biggest movie musical “The Sound of Music,” onboard all 18 of its cruise ships and feature sing-a-longs, trivia games, and other movie-themed experiences throughout the year. The offerings celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the cruise line and the musical and are part of a yearlong campaign to honor the classic film. In addition, Princess Cruises is offering movie fans chances to win a free cruise and a $500 onboard gift card every month through December 2015. More details about the themed onboard experiences and cruise giveaways are available at www.princesscruises.com/SoundofMusic.
Sunday brunch in Highland Beach
The new Delray Sands Resort is hosting a weekly Sunday Champagne Brunch with ocean views at its signature restaurant, Latitudes. Served every Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the brunch features fresh-baked favorites, Chef’s signature French toast, Eggs Benedict, an omelet station and a carving station serving slow-roasted meats. Already noted for its fresh seafood, the restaurant’s brunch features a seafood bar with fresh oysters, scallops, ceviche and more, as well as a selection of hot entrees that changes weekly with inspiration from the sea, local farms and markets. The brunch also features a salad bar and assorted desserts and pastries. Brunch pricing starts at $44.95 per person and includes bottomless mimosas made with Barefoot Bubby. Reservations are not required but are strongly suggested by calling the restaurant at 561-278-2008. For information on DelraySands Resort, visit www.DelraySandsResort.com.
Sea turtle escape
The LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples is featuring the “Sea Turtle Suite” escape, starting at $2,400 for two nights from May 1 to Oct. 31 based on double occupancy. The package provides a welcome kit upon arrival, participation in sea turtle adoption program, nighttime “Turtle Crawl” walks hosted by the Loggerhead Marine-life Center, and other features. A percentage of proceeds is donated to Loggerhead Marine-life Center & Sea Turtle Conservancy. Promo code is TURTLE. Visit www.laplayaresort.com. The package is based on double occupancy and availability; minimum two-night stay required. Rates are subject to change. Taxes and resort fee not included. Seven day advanced reservations required, full non-refundable deposit required at time ofreservation.
Fort Lauderdale’s Mai Kai on National Register
The Mai Kai Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale has been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Polynesian-themed restaurant opened in 1956. Visit www.maikai.com.
Grand Bahama Island spring offer
Grand Lucayan, the four-star resort located 55 miles off the Florida coast on Grand Bahama Island, is featuring a “cruise and stay” package for travel from Fort Lauderdale, to Grand Bahama Island. Guests board the state-of-the-art 1,000 passenger Balearia Ferry Express dubbed the “Bahama Mama” with economy and first-class seating, private suites, a swimming pool, lounges, casino, entertainment, an “A la Carte” restaurant, bars and cafes, duty-free shopping and a 200 container cargo capacity. Guests who book a four-night stay at the resort can enjoy transportation and accommodations starting at $145 per person, per night plus a $100 in resort credits (per room) available for use at any of the property’s five restaurants or spa. As an added incentive for spring travel, Grand Lucayan is offering special rates and perks for spring. Travelers who book a four-night stay at Grand Lucayan before June 1 for travel now through June 15, can receive 40 percent off rates (starting at $131 per night) plus $100 worth of resort credits applicable towards dinner, spa, golf and other onsite amenities. To book the spring offer, enter the booking code RTSPR4. Visit www.grandlucayan.com/offers/baleria-ferry.
Innovative theater on new Holland America ship
On Holland America Line’s new Koningsdam, a new main theater design will surround the audience with a 270-degree LED screen. Breaking from the line’s traditionally styled theaters, The World Stage will be a flexible space that can have multiple stage configurations, ranging from in-the-round to the more conventional proscenium staging. The theater will initially host five new productions performed in repertory by a cast sourced from around the world. At two stories high and 250 feet long, the high-definition LED screens will make The World Stage a trend-setting theater at sea capable of showcasing an exciting array of performances and productions. Enhanced by state-of-the-art lighting, projection and sound systems, the screens enable the environment of The World Stage to change throughout the day to present anything the designers can imagine. For example, the room can evolve effortlessly from an Italian palazzo for a concert performance to an imaginary world for innovative production numbers.
Currently under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy, Koningsdam represents a new Pinnacle Class of ship for Holland America Line. When it sets sail on its Premier Voyage on April 8, 2016, the vessel will debut several innovative concepts and new public venues while still featuring popular amenities guests associate with Holland America Line. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
For pampered pups in Palm Beach
In honor of “National Pet Day” on April 11, The Brazilian Court Hotel in Palm Beach presents the ultimate pooch-pampering package with the launch of “Bark Butler,” available now through the end of the year, starting at $9,300. In hopes of helping local animals find forever homes, The Brazilian Court Hotel will donate 5 percent of each package sold to the Humane Society of Broward County. The Brazilian Court Hotel’s "Bark Butler” includes:
-Welcome BarkBox upon arrival
-Daily dog walking services, provided by Four Paws of Palm Beach
-Spa services at the local OnBlonde Pet Salon & Boutique, including: blueberry facial, dead sea salt scrub, milk thistle paw soak
-One-hour photo session for owner and pooch provided by Capehart Photography, including a take-home 8x11 photo book with up to 40 images
-$500 Worth Avenue shopping spree with personal shopper
-Bark Boat adventure with 5 hours aboard the “The Casablanca,” courtesy of Lots of Yachts
-Nightly turndown services with hand-delivered treats
-Special in-room monogrammed bowls and designer doggie bed
General restrictions and blackout dates apply. Two-night minimum stayrequired. Based on availability at time of booking.14-day advancebooking and 14-day cancellation required. Visit www.thebraziliancourt.com.
Recognizing the variety of interests of adventure travelers, Silversea Expeditions has launched new collections of specialty expeditions, each offering a focus on such activities as birding, photography, scuba diving, wellness, and gastronomy. Six mini-brochures are available in traditional print format and as digital flip books, ranging from six to eight pages. Each provides an overview of a particular specialty cruise program and a calendar of sailing dates.
They can be requested or downloaded at www.silversea.com/brochures. Offered on select sailing dates, the specialty expedition voyages are as follows:
Birding & Ornithology Expedition Voyages: From spotting bald eagles in Alaska to witnessing the blue-footed boobies of Galápagos, these specialty journeys available on Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, and Silver Discoverer offer exceptional birding opportunities that can be enjoyed by casual bird enthusiasts, serious birdwatchers with a "life list" of bird sightings, and just about anyone who loves interacting with nature.
Wellness Expedition Voyages: A team of wellness specialists onboard Silver Discoverer in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific hosts a program of fitness training, including stretching, yoga, and Pilates. Other highlights include daily lectures and cooking demonstrations focused on balanced nutrition, plus guests may enjoy a complimentary spa massage treatment.
Photography Expedition Voyages: Photo walks, onboard lectures, and workshops with a professional photographer enable the guests of Silver Explorer and Silver Discoverer to get the best out of their photography equipment and capture some of nature's unexpected moments in some of the world's most exotic destinations.
Diving Expedition Voyages: The underwater worlds of Indonesia, Micronesia, Melanesia, and Polynesia are revealed on a scuba diving program presented by Silver Discoverer's onboard divemasters and expedition team.
Culinary Expedition Voyages: Designed for the adventurous traveler who is a gourmet at heart, these theme-focused expedition cruises aboard Silver Explorer offer culinary events on board and ashore – in addition to explorations of the natural, cultural, and historic landmarks visited along the way. Visit www.silversea.com.
Spring deal on Captiva Island
South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island offers travelers a fourth night free this spring. The “Spring Getaway” package also includes the resort’s coupon booklet with more than $250 in savings on resort services and amenities, from rounds of seaside golf and island cruises, to spa services, cabana rentals by the pool, and more. The "Spring Getaway” package is available for travel from April 5 through June 30. Rates start from $229 per night, based on a four-night minimum. Blackout dates may apply. For package reservations, please visit www.southseas.com/special-offers-en.html. For more information on South Seas Island Resort, visit www.southseas.com.
Miami “stress-free” package
Viceroy Miami, a 148-room hotel in downtown Miami, is featuring the Stress-Free Stays package. Available through Dec. 24, the overnight package starts at $499 per night and features the following calming inclusions:
-Accommodations in a residentially-appointed guest room
-Daily $50 breakfast credit
-Two drink vouchers
-Signature Viceroy Miami candle
-1 p.m. late check-out
The hotel is also offering The Whole Package created in partnership with the Whole Foods Market, which recently opened a new location just two blocks away. With a focus on wellness, health-conscious travelers enjoy the following inclusions and more from $499 per night:
-Accommodations in a residentially-appointed guest room (two-night minimum)
-Welcome amenity of two snacks and a beverage from Whole Foods Market Reusable shopping bag
-$50 gift card to Whole Foods Market
-Unlimited fitness classes at The Spa
Rates are per room, per night, based on single or double occupancy, exclusive of taxes, gratuities, fees and other charges. Rate does not apply to groups and cannot be combined with any other offer. Offer is subject to availability and to change. Visit www.viceroymiami.com.
Disney World’s newest accommodations slated to open on April 1
Disney Vacation Club’s Bora Bora Bungalows and connecting Deluxe Studios at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, on the monorail line, are scheduled to open a first phase on April 1. Non-members of the Disney Vacation Club are able to rent these new accommodations when not in use by members. The 20 Bora Bora Bungalows on the Seven Seas Lagoon sleep up to eight guests each in a two-bedroom, home-like setting inspired in the South Pacific. The Bungalows have two full bathrooms, a kitchen, washer and dryer, and large dining and living room spaces for gatherings. Décor combines modern style with the tropical and enchanting look and feel of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Private decks feature a plunge pool from where to view fireworks over the Magic Kingdom, complete with the soundtrack that can be heard through an individual sound system. They also have front-row seats to the Electrical Water Pageant, a playful nighttime water parade in the Seven Seas Lagoon. The new resort also includes 360 Deluxe Studio Villas, the largest at the Walt Disney World Resort. These villas sleep up to five guests each and feature a kitchenette, enhanced storage space, and two separate bathroom areas, one a full bathroom with a tub/shower and another one with a shower and sink. A pull-down armoire bed showcases painted artwork from the Disney film, “Lilo & Stitch.” Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Spring deal on St. Pete Beach
Mediterranean-inspired The Hotel Zamora, steps away from St. Pete Beach, is featuring the “Spring for the Sun” package. It includes 15 percent off nightly rates, $25 daily food and beverage credit and 1 p.m. late check out. Rates start at $212 per night. Offer requires a two-night minimum stay, is based on availability, cannot be combined with other packages, discounts or promotions and is not valid for group business. Book by May 21 for travel through May 31 (Sunday-Thursday only). Blackout dates are April 2-6 and May 22-25. Visit www.thehotelzamora.com.
Wedding special in Naples
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Southwest Florida is offering special “Where Dreams Come True” wedding promotion for weddings of $15,000 or more that are booked by Dec. 31 and held by Dec. 15, 2016. Brides and grooms have options to choose from: 5 percent off food at one event or 10 percent off food with two events; 10 percent off the ceremony package; complimentary presentation menus for the dinner; complimentary aisle markers for the ceremony; or complimentary custom signature cocktail. Call the resort’s Catering Department at 888-231-2197, and visit www.NaplesBeachHotel.com. The offer is valid for new contracts only, and restrictions may apply.
Kids sail free
Star Clippers is offering a fabulous opportunity for families to sail the Mediterranean on a tall ship adventure at an affordable rate. In a first for the cruise line, children are invited to sail for free when two adults book at the brochure savings rate on select summer sailings. The offer covers one child in a cabin with two adults, or two adults and two children booked in two cabins, with the cabins being equivalent or one a lesser category. Each adult sailing in a family cabin is eligible for a $250 flight credit, for a total of $500. Eligible itineraries include Royal Clipper's 10- and 11-night Italy, Montenegro and Croatia itineraries departing Aug. 1, 12 and 22; Star Clipper's seven-night Northern Cyclades itineraries departing Aug. 8 and 22, and seven-night Southern Cyclades itineraries departing July 18 and Aug. 15; and Star Flyer's seven-night Cannes, France, to Palma de Mallorca, Balearic Islands, itinerary departing June 20; Palma to Palma itineraries departing July 11, 18, 25 and Aug 1, 8; and Palma to Cannes itinerary departing on Aug 15. Visit www.starclippers.com.
Actress on board
Cunard Line will welcome Emmy® and Golden Globe® winning actress Jane Seymour aboard Queen Mary 2 for a special transatlantic crossing from New York to Southampton on June 3. During the crossing, Seymour will share her insights with guests during two Q&A sessions with Queen Mary 2’s Entertainment Director, as well as participate in a screening of one of her films. In addition to her starring roles on screen, Seymour has fashioned a formidable career as an artist, known for her delicate watercolors and vibrant oil paintings. As a special part of the voyage, she will conduct painting classes for passengers, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for a minimal fee. Guests will also have the opportunity to attend a book-signing session with Seymour during the voyage. Visit www.cunard.com.
“Coolest” summer to be launched at Disney World
Walt Disney World Resort will kick off the “Coolest Summer Ever” with 24 hours of nonstop fun during a special event May 22-23 at the Magic Kingdom, hosted by Olaf, the summer-loving snowman from Disney’s “Frozen.” The Magic Kingdom will be open 24 hours to guests from 6 a.m. to 6 a.m., Friday May 22 to Saturday, May 23. Guests will be invited to come in costume and a selection of attractions, entertainment, special event merchandise, plus food and beverage are on tap all night long to celebrate the start of the “Coolest Summer Ever” at Walt Disney World. The around-the-clock celebration features Disney character greetings, dance parties and surprises. Hours of operation are from 6 a.m. on May 22 to 6 a.m. on May 23, subject to capacity restrictions. Only select attractions, entertainment and services will be available. Valid theme park admission is required. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Disney characters will be in the parks throughout the day and all night, inviting guests to dress up for the occasion, too. Guests may join the party dressed in costume. Costumes should be child-friendly and adhere to any guidelines determined by Disney.
During the “Coolest Summer Ever,” with Olaf as the official host, Walt Disney World guests can get their cool on all summer long at four theme parks and two water parks. Among summer highlights is “Frozen” Summer Fun LIVE with daily shows and experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios June 17-Sept. 7. Guests will find cool thrills this summer including a royal processional, a sing-along show, Frozen-themed treats and merchandise. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Free concert series in Naples
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club will again host its annual “SummerJazz on the Gulf concert series. This will mark the 30th consecutive year of the free concert series, which combines a diverse selection of Jazz entertainment with views of the Gulf of Mexico, stunning sunsets, cool breezes, and a relaxing atmosphere. Each concert is held on the family-owned resort’s Watkins Lawn overlooking the Gulf. “SummerJazz on the Gulf” will take place one Saturday evening per month June-September, and each concert will be from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. This year’s concerts will be on June 27, July 18, Aug. 15, and Sept. 19. The entertainment lineup is not yet set, but last year’s entertainment included performances by The Betty Fox Band, Late Night Brass, Pocket Change, and The Mud Flappers Band. Visit www.NaplesBeachHotel.com.
St. Lucia wedding packages
Calabash Cove Resort & Spa offers wedding packages for those who would like to say “I do” in St. Lucia. Offerings include the Perfect Paradise Package for the Bride and Groom and up to 18 guests ($7,000) featuring:
• Ceremony location and set up on Calabash Cove’s private pier.
• Chairs adorned with chair ties, natural flowers for the bridal
bouquet, groom boutonniere and two table arrangements.
• Private dinner reservations for 20 guests, a chilled bottle of
Champagne for wedding toast and a two-tier wedding cake.
• One-hour post-ceremony cocktail reception with five hors d’oeuvres
and full open bar.
• Special turn down service on wedding night and romantic breakfast in
bed the morning after for the bride and groom.
• Island Romance Couples Message in the resort’s private gazebo.
• Morning after Brunch for 20 guests at Windsong restaurant.
• License/fees and marriage offer.
Land and sea package on Galapagos expeditions
Silversea is making it easier to discover the wonders of the Galapagos by introducing air and land package fares for Silver Galapagos expedition cruises. The program is available for new bookings made on or after March 4, on any of the ship's year-round Galapagos sailings.
The package includes roundtrip economy class air between Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands; a two-night pre-cruise hotel stay with breakfast at the Quito JW Marriott; an evening tour of Quito's historic city highlights; transfer from the hotel to the airport in Quito; pre- and post-cruise transfers between the airport and Silver Galapagos in Baltra; a post-cruise hotel day room at the Hotel Oro Verde in Guayaquil (for guests with flights after 10 p.m.); transfer from the airport to the hotel, and from the hotel to the airport in Guayaquil; Galapagos National Park and Ingala Transit Card fees; and porterage fees. Fares start at $6,750 per person, double occupancy. Visit www.silversea.com.
Resort reopens in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Mahekal Beach Resort in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, has re-opened after a $10 million dollar re-imagination. The resort features 122 rooms located in individual thatched-roof bungalows, all less than a two-minute walk from the sweeping, sandy beach. Additional new amenities include two brand new swimming pools, a new seaside Jacuzzi, two renovated restaurants (Las Olas and Cocina), and three new bars (Boli’s, Itzi and Las Olas). Visit www.mahekalbeachresort.com.
New England and Canada sailings
With 39 cruises throughout Canada and New England this year, Holland America Line offers an array of cruises in the region that range from seven to 15 days. The voyages are aboard three of the line’s ships: ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam and ms Veendam.Scheduled May through October, the cruises depart from Boston, Mass.; Montréal and Québec City, Quebec, Canada; Fort Lauderdale; and New York City, N.Y., and visit some of the region’s most iconic destinations in some cases affording opportunities to admire fall foliage. Among the offerings is a 15-day northbound cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Montréal on the Maasdam departing May 1, that includes scenic cruising in the Saguenay Fjord. From May 16 through the Oct. 10 departure, Maasdam offers 22 seven-day sailings between Montréal and Boston, featuring scenic cruising in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the St. Lawrence River. Maasdam concludes the season with a 13-day coastal sailing departing Oct. 17 from Montréal to Fort Lauderdale. Guests can take in the beautiful landscape at peak fall foliage time on scenic cruising along the St. Lawrence River, Saguenay Fjord and Gaspé Bay. Guests also can choose a 10-day option to sail from Montréal to New York. Fares for New England and Canada cruises begin at $699 per person, double occupancy. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Oceania Cruises expanding program of culinary classes
Oceania Cruises will expand its culinary curriculum with 20 new classes for the Culinary Center, including a special two-day culinary immersion program, a session focused on the life and legacy of Chef Jacques Pépin and additions to the Gourmet Explorer Series that showcases cooking styles from a variety of international destinations. The upper-premium line is recognized for its culinary enrichment offerings, including the introduction of the Culinary Center at sea equipped with individual induction cook top work stations. The new programs were developed by longtime Director of Culinary Enrichment, Chef Kathryn Kelly, and will debut on Marina and Riviera starting in April. Visit www.oceaniacruises.com.
Restaurant undergoing expansion at Disney Springs
An expansion that capitalizes on its waterfront setting is under way at Paradiso 37 restaurant, part of the new Disney Springs, an entertainment-dining-retail district re-imagined from Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Renovations include doubling the seating, adding more terrace dining, a new performance stage, new artwork, a fresh color palette and the addition of a second entrance. The menu, a “Taste of the Americas,” will continue to offer a culinary tour of North, Central and South America, with popular dishes including ceviche, jalapeño burgers, Argentinian skirt steak, whole crispy chicken and Chilean-style salmon. Paradiso 37 will remain open while undergoing renovations, expected to be complete this summer. Visit www.paradiso37.com.
New Carnival ship to make a splash with innovations
Carnival Cruise Line’s new ship, Carnival Vista, slated to debut in spring of 2016 will introduce innovations including SkyRide, a suspended open-air cycling experience; the first IMAX Theatre at sea and the line’s first raft-riding water tube slide. Visit www.carnival.com.
Turtle researcher for a day program in British Virgins
Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina, a private-island resort in the British Virgin Islands has partnered with the on-island dive shop, DiveBVI, Association of Reef Keepers and the Conservation & Fisheries Departments, to offer guests a new Turtle Researcher for A Day program that assists in on-going sea turtle conservation efforts. By participating in half- and full-day turtle tagging experiences hosted by DiveBVI, guests can learn about sea turtles and the local marine environment. The experience includes instruction on the latest techniques to safely catch a turtle and take measurements before it is then carefully tagged, micro-chipped and released back into the water. Data collected during each adventure will be recorded and used to help global efforts to better understand sea turtles and their conservation. The half-day experience starts at $3,000 and the full-day experience at $4,800 for six guests. Up to six additional guests can participate for $50 extra per additional person. The experience includes gift bags, recognition cards, flash drive with photos from the day, fuel, water, adult beverages, snacks, towels and snorkeling gear. The full-day experience also includes lunch and soft drinks at a nearby restaurant. For an additional $75, guests participating in the “Turtle Researcher for A Day” program have the opportunity to name and “adopt” any tagged turtles. Guests receive a certificate of adoption with all the details about their turtle, general information about sea turtles, a reusable grocery bag and a glass turtle handmade by the local Green VI, a non-profit dedicated to maintaining balance between development and conservation of the natural environment in the BVI. For guests interested in staying on-island before or after their adventure, Scrub Island Resort offers 52 ocean view guest rooms and suites, as well as a collection of two-, three- and four-bedroom villas. Ocean view guest room rates start at $435 per night, while villas start at $1,400 per night. Visit www.ScrubIsland.com.
Crosby, Stills & Nash onboard
Cunard has announced that Crosby, Stills & Nash will perform a series of exclusive concerts on board the company’s Flagship, Queen Mary 2 during her Sept. 4-11 Transatlantic Crossing. The Grammy® Award winning trio, who first performed together at the now legendary Woodstock Festival over four decades ago, will perform three concerts for passengers on board Queen Mary 2 during the seven-night Transatlantic Crossing from New York to Southampton. During the Queen Mary 2 Crossing from New York (M519A), the trio will perform some of their greatest hits including “Teach Your Children,” “Southern Cross” and “Wooden Ships” in the Royal Court Theatre. They will also participate in a Q&A session and special autograph opportunity for passengers on board. Visit www.cunard.com
Princess Cruises debuts new cocktail named after “Love Boat” bartender
Princess Cruises, the line made famous as the backdrop of the iconic “Love Boat” television series, debuted a new cocktail named after original “Love Boat” cast member Ted Lange, who played Isaac the bartender. The new drink is debuting on all Princess cruise ships in time for Valentine’s Day. Called, “The Isaac,” it is dubbed as a “refreshing love potion” including white rum - a nod to Lange’s favorite cruise destination, the Caribbean; pomegranate syrup – channeling the famous red jacket his character wore and also an aphrodisiac; two pineapple leaves as garnish – tribute to his character’s two-finger signature point; lime juice and club soda, to add sparkle. Visit www.princess.com.
Amelia Island offers
Amelia Island invites travelers to enjoy its popular “Free Night, Any Night” deals throughout 2015. Visitors can choose from 20 participating island accommodators including bed and breakfast inns, vacation rentals, and family-owned and popular chain hotels, each offering a free night to guests who book a qualifying stay. The year round offer allows visitors to use their free night with their current stay or during a return visit. Among Third Night Free participating accommodators are Amelia By the Sea, www.ameliabythesearentals.com; and Beachside Motel, www.beachsidemotel.com. Among Fourth Night Free participating properties are Amelia Hotel at the Beach, www.ameliahotel.com, and Amelia Island Williams House, www.williamshouse.com. All free night deals are based on availability and include restrictions and black out dates. Cannot be combined with any other offer. Prices vary. Contact individual hotels for more information or to book a room. Additional details are available at www.ameliaisland.com/free.
New attraction in Panama City Beach
Gulf World Marine Park has announced a new stingray habitat scheduled to open early this year. The new indoor marine habitat is for a variety of rays and small sharks. Guests are able to feed the rays poolside or kneel in the 2.5-ft. deep pool for a more interactive experience. Visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com.
Regent Seven Seas’ alliance with Smithsonian
Regent Seven Seas Cruises and the Smithsonian Institution will introduce a new enrichment program, The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys. This new guest lecture series will feature a range of experts, from art historians to authors and geopolitical experts, leading discussions both aboard the ships and ashore. Starting in July, The Smithsonian Collection by Smithsonian Journeys will be available on a majority of sailings, with more than 80 voyages scheduled across the fleet for the 2015/2016 season, and featured on itineraries throughout the world, including South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. For information about the program, visit www.rssc.com/TheSmithsonian. For details about Regent Seven SeasCruises visit www.RSSC.com.
Puerto Rico escape
The Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa in Puerto Rico is featuring a Winter Escapes package valid now through Dec. 23, with starting rates of $289. The package includes a Food & Beverage credit of up to $150, depending on length of stay: $150 credit for seven nights or longer; $100 credit for five to six nights; $75 credit for four nights. To book for stays now through Dec. 23, guests can visit www.wyndhamriomar.com and note the PKGWINTES promo code. Rates do not include taxes and gratuities, are based on availability, and blackout dates do apply.
Disney Cruise Line invites families to explore culturally rich and exotic locales, with Port Adventures during its 2015 Norwegian Fjords sailings. From June to August, the Disney Magic returns to Europe, visiting the Norwegian Fjords and Iceland for the first time. Guests exploring these new ports, steeped in Viking history, will be treated to diverse destinations that showcase iconic locations, enchanting cultures, tantalizing cuisine and even festivities themed to the hit animated movie, “Frozen.” Anna, Elsa and Kristoff from “Frozen” join Disney Cruise Line guests in Ålesund, marking their first appearance in the land that inspired their story. Only Disney guests are invited to a Norwegian summer celebration at the Sunnmøre Open Air Museum where the festivities culminate with the grand arrival of the beloved sisters and their ice-loving companion, Kristoff, who join in the lively revelry. After being personally greeted by their “Frozen” friends, and surrounded by the idyllic beauty of Norway, guests dance to local musicians and sample tasty Norwegian specialties, including svele, a traditional sweet pancake from the region.
Also on the horizon for 2016, Disney Cruise Line guests can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga during a new, day-long celebration aboard eight special sailings on the Disney Fantasy: Star Wars Day at Sea. Marking the first official appearance of the heroes and villains of Star Wars aboard a Disney Cruise Line ship, Star Wars Day at Sea combines the power of the Force, the magic of Disney and the excitement of cruising for an out-of-this-galaxy experience. Occurring one day during each of eight Disney Fantasy sailings, Star Wars Day at Sea will transport guests to a galaxy far, far away – in the Western Caribbean. The event features a full day of Star Wars celebrations, including a deck party, meet-and-greets with favorite characters, Star Wars-themed youth activities, unique food and beverage offerings, and special merchandise. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Forgot Valentine’s Day?
It’s not too late to make it up to your sweetie. The new B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale is offering a Valentine’s Day “Fifty Shades of B Package” package themed to the best-selling novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, and it is available through March 1. Couples booking the “Fifty Shades of B Package” will receive items that appear in the novel’s storyline including a grey silk tie, a bottle of Pouilly Fume wine, a cheese and fruit platter and a sensual love kit. In true Christian Grey fashion, couples that are looking to take things up a notch can B Adventurous with the addition on a helicopter ride above the beaches of Fort Lauderdale. The Fifty Shades of B Package can be booked at https://boceanfortlauderdale.reztrip.com/special_offer?rate_code=B50SOG&vr=3. Package is available through March 1 with rates starting at $339 per night with a two-night stay minimum. The optional B Adventurous helicopter ride is available for an additional $185 per person (plus transportation fee). Offer is subject to rate and room availability.
Novel spaces on Norwegian’s new ship
Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest and largest ship, Norwegian Escape, will offer an array of spaces for guests to relax and unwind while at sea when the ship debuts in October. The ship will feature the line’s most innovative Mandara Spa to date, a tranquil hideaway that at its epicenter will feature what is being reported as the largest Thermal Suite at sea, outfitted with the line’s first Snow Room. The Snow Room, which ranges from 21 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit will send out a flurry of powdery snow throughout the day. In addition to the spa, adults will have two private lounge spaces to enjoy onboard at Vibe Beach Club and Spice H2O, which will feature an all-new grotto area for guests to cool off after a day of sunbathing. Visit www.escape.ncl.com.
To Downton, m’lady
Crystal Cruises is offering travelers the opportunity to visit Highclere Castle –the real life Downtown Abbey of the popular television series – on a two-night “English Countryside & Highclere Castle” Extended Land Program offered post-cruise with Crystal Symphony’s 18-day, July 8 North Cape/Arctic exploration from Reykjavík to London. The “White Sea Exploration” cruise commemorates Crystal’s 25th anniversary of sailing with special receptions and events hosted by Chairman Nobuyoshi “N¿b” Kuzuya. During the excursion, guests will visit Highclere Castle in Hampshire, arriving just like visitors on the show -- in vintage 1920’s automobiles, driven by chauffeurs. There, travelers will be the guests of honor at a private champagne reception and tour of the estate, including numerous rooms made famous on the series, such as the library and drawing room. Leading up to the Castle, guests will also visit Berkshire’s Basildon Park, which is used as the Grantham family’s London house; Swan Inn, where Lady Sybil and Branson elope; Byfleet Manor, known as the Dowager Countess’ home, for lunch Downton-style, with period-costumed hosts; and Bampton, a village filled with locations that double as the Crawleys’ home, the hospital, and the church where Lady Edith was jilted at the altar. At night, tour participants will sleep in an authentic English manor house—now transformed into the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire. Cruise-only fares are from $8,435 per person. Fares for the “English Countryside & Highclere Castle” Extended Land Program start at $4,600 per person/double occupancy, including meals, accommodations, and transportation to and from London/Dover. Visit www.crystalcruises.com.
Shopping packages in Naples
The Edgewater Beach Hotel in Naples has announced three new shopping packages available now through April 15. The Edgewater has partnered with Naples' Fifth Avenue South boutiques and style guru and author Barbara King, to offer a range of shopping experiences – from a day of retail therapy to an escorted power shopping excursion and a comprehensive style and wardrobe makeover. Small group rates are available for the packages. Among the offerings is a Retail Therapy package that includes a $100 Visa Gift Card, round-trip transportation to Fifth Avenue South, two nights' accommodations, and Power Breakfast daily at the Edgewater Beach Hotel. Two-night package rates start at $998 per person, based on single occupancy, plus tax and resort fees. Requires seven days advance booking. Visit www.edgewaternaples.com.
Free Wi-Fi at Hyatt Hotels
Hyatt Hotels has announced plans to offer free Wi-Fi at all Hyatt hotels worldwide, providing connectivity and convenience regardless of booking method or loyalty program participation. Free Wi-Fi will become available to Hyatt guests around the world in February. Travelers will be able to access free Wi-Fi on an unlimited number of mobile devices or laptops in Hyatt-branded hotel guest rooms and social spaces. Visit www.hyatt.com. Where available, Hyatt Gold Passport Diamond and Platinum tier members will receive a complimentary upgrade to premium Wi-Fi service.
Renovations at resort in the Keys
Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys resort has entered the final phase of a multi-million dollar renovation. The project touches nearly every aspect of the resort from the landscape architecture and exterior reception area to the lobby and guestrooms as well as meetings facilities, Calm Waters Spa and the kids’ activities center.
As part of the renovation, the resort has added a variety of new amenities and activities to create memorable guest vacation experiences. These include cabanas at the adults-only pool area and penthouses equipped for stargazing. The renovated kids’ activities center features a new high-tech hangout for teens and an expanded educational program complete with an indoor, saltwater touch tank for Island Adventure Camp, designed for children age five to 12. The final piece in the new Hawks Cay experience will debut in June. At that time, the resort will unveil a new Marina Walk to serve as an entertainment destination. Home to watersports and charter captains as well as shopping and local artisans, the Marina Walk will bring island culture and an authentic Florida Keys experience to guests’ fingertips. The Marina Walk will be complemented by a new-build restaurant that features outdoor seating with multiple fire pits, private dining and panoramic views of the ocean. Visit www.hawkscay.com.
Holland America Line is featuring a ReadySetSail promotion that enables guests to take advantage of special offers, including an onboard spending credit for suite guests that can be put toward a variety of shipboard experiences. ReadySetSail offers are available on select 2015 summer sailings and feature savings for multiple destinations, so guests are encouraged to book early for the best stateroom selection. Guests who book cruises or an Alaska Land+Sea Journey (offers on cruise portion only) with the ReadySetSailpromotion will receive a complimentary stateroom upgrade from an interior to ocean-view or ocean-view to veranda stateroom, up to 10 percent savings on select shore excursions when booked before March 15, 2015, free or reduced third and fourth fares, and a reduction of 50 percent off the normal deposit rate. With complimentary upgrades, guests can sail in an ocean-view stateroom for the price of an interior or receive a free upgrade to a veranda when purchasing an ocean-view. Suite bookings receive a $300 onboard spending credit per stateroom ($150 per person), a complimentary three-bottle Wine Navigator Package and two free soda cards per stateroom in addition to the other ReadySetSail offers. Cruise destinations featured in the ReadySetSail promotion include Alaska cruises and Land+Sea Journeys, Bermuda Canada/New England and Europe. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Celebrating the season in a “Suite with a Veuve”
Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Key West, if featuring a “Suite with a Veuve” promotion. Couples who book one of the resort’s suites for two nights or more receive an in-suite bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut complimentary. Suite rates start at $449. The “Suite with a Veuve” offer requires a two-night minimum stay. Offer is valid for travel from Feb. 16 through March 6 (book by March 6; stay by March 9). All offers are subject to availability. Visit www.casamarinaresort.com.
New resort opening in Nassau
Baha Mar, is a new $3.5 billion luxury resort opening in Nassau,Bahamas on March 27. It will feature 2,200 luxury guest rooms across four hotels – Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood at Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar and SLS LUX at Baha Mar – along with what is beingbilled as the Caribbean’s largest casino, a 100,000 square foot facility featuring a full array of slots and table games. In addition, the resort's TPC at Baha Mar Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, ESPA spa, pools, beach experiences, and many restaurants and luxury shops will be part of its resort experience upon opening. Visit www.bahamar.com.
Winter getaway package on Captiva Island
Located along the shores of Captiva Island in Southwest Florida, SouthSeas Island Resort invites families to escape this season with its “Winter Getaway Package.” Available through April, travelers staying for three nights or longer enjoy $25 per day in resort credits (up to $100) that can be applied towards resort activities and restaurants, where kids also eat free with purchase of an adult entree. Guests also receive a coupon book with more than $250 in savings for family activities at the resort. Rates are from $179 per night. Visit www.southseas.com/special-offers-en.html.
Grand Bahama Island special
The Grand Lucayan Bahamas on Grand Bahama Island is offering a winterdeal. Guests who book by Feb. 20 receive 50 percent off rates and $350worth of credits ($100 in resort credits plus $250 in air credits fromthe Bahamas Tourism Board). Rates start at $110 per night. Familiescan also take advantage of the property’s Kids Stay & Eat FreePromotion. Rate Code is RTWIN4. Must book a stay of four nights ormore. Offer applies to new bookings only, and cannot be combined withany other existing offer. Resort Credit applicable for spa treatments,dining and golf. Booking link is gc.synxis.com/rez.aspx?Hotel=58217&Chain=14595&promo=rtwin.
Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea has released two brochures detailing a diverse collection of more than 300 luxury cruises that will be sailing across the globe in 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. Both print and digital versions of the brochures can be requested by visiting www.Silversea.com/brochures/. The new 180-page Silversea Cruises brochure is devoted to the journeys of Silver Cloud, Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, and Silver Spirit. It is complemented by a separate 140-page Silversea Expeditions guide highlighting the expedition cruises of Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, and Silver Discoverer, ships known for exploring some of the world's most remote regions. Among the highlights is the Venetian World Odyssey 2016, a 115-day World Cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Venice aboard the 382-guest Silver Whisper that will cross the Panama Canal to South America and the Pacific, visiting 51 destinations in 31 countries beginning in January of 2016. Another highlight, also departing in January of 2016, is the 66-day Circle South America voyage aboard Silver Spirit roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, crossing the Panama Canal and spending three days in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival.
Surf’s up at Boca Resort
The Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, recentlyintroduced Flow House™. A complement to the resort’s Surf Schoolintroduced last year at the Boca Beach Club, the Flow House features adual-sided FLOWRIDER® stationary wave for flow-surfing andbody-boarding on land. Surf Boca allows aspiring surfers of all agesto master the waves and enjoy a variety of watersports activities. Inaddition to the FLOWRIDER®, Boca Resort’s Flow House includes theCalifornia beach-themed Shaka Bar & Grill for “FlowRiders” tohang-loose poolside with light bites and beverages. Throughout the year, the resort will host special land and sea family Surf Boca events at Boca Beach Club and on the FLOWRIDER® where surf enthusiasts can meet competitive surfers and World Professional Flowboarders Nightly rates start at $199. Visit www.bocaresort.com.
Free excursions and WiFi
Silversea Cruises is introducing a new program that includes shore excursions and WiFi. This program is available for new bookings made on or after Jan. 15, on any of the line's Mediterranean cruises this year. Guests may enrich their travel experience with a choice of included Silver Shore Select excursions offered in every port of call. Whether it's exploring the ancient Acropolis of Athens, strolling back through time along the marbled lanes of Ephesus, or discovering the Renaissance treasures of Florence, these small-group excursions present a destination's art, history, and culture utilizing comfortable transportation and expert local guides. These special all-inclusive fares also include two hours of complimentary WiFi per guest, per day, and unlimited complimentary WiFi for the line's larger suites (Medallion and higher categories). The new perks join an array of included amenities that already features: open-seating gourmet dining; butler service for all suites; select wines, champagnes, premium spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks; in-suite bar stocked with guests' preferences; in-suite dining and 24-hour dining service; lecture and enrichment programs; roundtrip transportation into town (in most ports); and onboard gratuities (exclusive of spa treatments). In addition to the included Silver Shore Select excursions, guests may purchase tours from a variety of land programs offering exceptional value, including the more-immersive Silver Shore Collection tours, as well as Silver Shore Privato, which provides a private car and driver for independent exploring. Visit www.silversea.com.
Food & Wine Classic dates announced for 2015
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic is returning for its sixth year on Friday Oct. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Epcot Resort Area hotel. The two-night, outdoor festival will feature more than 40 stations with culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries. Guests will also enjoy live music, a beer garden featuring local and seasonal brews from around the world and food and beverage seminars led by the hotel’s chefs and certified beverage experts. More details about the event, including specific ticket packages, will be announced later. Visit www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com.
New Alaska programs from Princess
Princess Cruises has announced the launch of North to Alaska!, a series of new onboard offerings that immerse guests in the Great Alaska experience. Created in partnership with local experts, the program features a variety of authentic Alaska culinary, educational and entertainment experiences designed to delve deeper into the fascinating frontier guests are exploring. The program includes expanded Alaska seafood offerings, with signature dishes from local chefs and restaurants; unique interactions with Alaskans; and onboard festivals to allow guests to eat like a local, learn from the locals, and celebrate like a local. The program debuts in May 2015 on Princess cruises to Alaska. Visit www.princess.com.
“Frozen” experiences at sea
This summer Disney Cruise Line will add experiences themed to the hit animated movie, “Frozen.” The new experiences inspired by the film, include a spectacular deck party, a three-song stage show production number, new character meet and greets, storybook adventures ashore and more. The experiences debut this summer on select Disney Magic and Disney Wonder sailings to Europe and Alaska. Guests will be transported to the land of “Frozen” when the ship is transformed into a winter wonderland and a day of frozen fun culminates with an extravagant celebration with friends from the Kingdom of Arendelle. Also, this summer, friends from “Frozen” are making their stage show debut at sea in the Walt Disney Theatre aboard the Disney Magic. In the Disney Cruise Line original production, “Disney Dreams ... An Enchanted Classic,” Anna, Elsa and Olaf join the line up of Disney characters that together teach a young girl the power of her dreams. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
And winter package at Kimpton hotels in Florida
The Fly South for the Winter package is available at the following Kimpton Hotels, now through April 30 with the following rates and inclusions:
Epic Miami is offering two complimentary cocktails, a sunscreen and lip balm, compliments of Exhale spa, as well as 20 percent off any Exhale spa therapy. Rates start at $359 per night.
Surfcomber Miami, South Beach is offering two complimentary signature vodka cocktails from the Social Club, a Surfcomber beach pack, including a koozie, beach ball, sandals and lip balm, as well as two complimentary bottled waters. Rates start at $263 per night.
Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, Palm Beach is offering two complimentary welcome cocktails at Brandon’s restaurant, 20 percent off services at the Tideline Spa and sunglasses to wear while soaking up the endless sun at the oceanfront resort.
Vero Beach Hotel & Spa is offering two complimentary pairs of sunglasses to wear on a beach stroll with two welcome mimosas made with fresh-squeezed Indian River County orange juice, and two bottled waters to cool off with afterward. Rates start at $280 per night.
The Angler’s Miami, South Beach is offering two signature Beach Bum cocktails “to-go” for a leisurely beach stroll, two complimentary bottled waters and one Angler’s take-home beach bag.
Rates start at $279 per night. Call 1-800-546-7866. Booking code is FlySNYT. Offer is available for booking through April 30. Blackout dates may apply.
The South Seas in Florida
Always wanted to experience the South Seas, but without the long flights? Well, this spring you can head for Orlando –the first phase of the new Disney Vacation Club overwater bungalows and deluxe studios at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is slated to open on April 1. The new Bora Bora Bungalows on the Seven Seas Lagoon, 20 in all, will sleep up to eight guests each in a two-bedroom, two-bath home-like setting inspired in the South Pacific. They will feature a plunge pool from which guests can watch the nightly fireworks over the Magic Kingdom. The 360 Deluxe Studios will be the first connecting ones at Disney World and reportedly, will be the largest, and they will sleep up to five guests each. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale offering '50 Shades'-inspired deal
To celebrate couples this Valentine's Day season, B Ocean Resort in Fort Lauderdale is offering a "50 Shades of Grey"-inspired package deal to coincide with the much-anticipated release of the movie.
Couples who book "The Fifty Shades of B" package will receive items from the movie, including a gray silk tie, a bottle of Pouilly Fume wine, a cheese and fruit platter and a "sensual love kit."
There's also an upgrade offer for a helicopter ride over Fort Lauderdale for an extra $185 per person, plus a transportation fee.
Rates start at $339 per night for a minimum two-night stay between Feb. 1 and March 1. To book visit BOceanFortLauderdale.com or call 888-662-4683.
South Beach deal
The Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach, an oceanfront hotel that just completed a renovation, is located on Collins Avenue in the Beach Art Deco district and is the new home of Morimoto South Beach, Iron Chef Morimoto’s new flagship restaurant. Travelers who stay a minimum of two nights can receive 20 percent off with rates starting at $199.20 per night and 1,500 bonus Wyndham Rewards loyalty points, redeemable for a variety of reward options including free hotel stays, air travel, gift cards for leading retailers and restaurants and more. Offer code is DISWROP. Stays must be booked by April 28 and completed by April 30. Visit www.wyndham.com.
New culinary experiences on Disney Cruise Line
Adult guests aboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy can look forward to new culinary experiences and menus in Remy, one of Disney Cruise Line’s fine dining specialty restaurants. The expanded offerings in the French-inspired Remy include a tasting opportunity, a decadent dessert experience, a seasonal truffle menu and special caviar selections. Among the new offerings are these two: the “Petites Assiettes de Remy” (Small Plates of Remy, $50 per guest, including wine pairings for each course) provides a taste of the restaurant’s dishes and wine pairings for each course including dessert and final wine pairing at the private Chef’s Table dining room; and Pompidou’s Patisseries Dessert Experience (offered on the Disney Fantasy only, $50 per person, including one complimentary glass of champagne, wine or cocktail) begins in the private Chef’s Table dining room and moves on to the main dining room for presentations and tastings of six desserts. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Expansion for Oceania Cruises
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. has announced a definitive agreement with Princess Cruises, Ltd. to purchase Ocean Princess for its newly acquired Oceania Cruises brand. The 684-passenger ship joins Oceania Cruises’ trio of award-winning sister ships Insignia, Regatta and Nautica. The new addition will be named Sirena. Upon delivery in March 2016, Sirena will undergo a 35-day, $40 million refurbishment in Marseille, France to elevate the ship to the Oceania Cruises’ standards. Drawing on the recent transformation of Insignia as inspiration, the ship will feature Oceania Cruises’ specialty dining restaurants, Toscana and Polo Grill, along with more recent additions to the fleet such as Baristas and the cook-to-order grill at Terrace Café. The ship will welcome her first guests in late April 2016. The inaugural season for Sirena will be released in late February 2015 with reservations opening on March 4, 2015. For more information on Oceania Cruises, visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.
New Holland America ship to feature singles, family cabins
When ms Koningsdam debuts in 2016, the ship will feature Holland America Line’s first-ever purpose-built staterooms for families as well as single staterooms among its 1,331 guest accommodations (total capacity is 2,650). In addition, many familiar stateroom categories such as Neptune, Signature and Vista suites will be available in a wider range of sizes and different configurations to choose from. The 32 new specially designed family ocean-view staterooms will range from 222 to 231 square feet and feature special amenities such as two bathrooms and accommodations for five people. The 12 single ocean-view cabins will range from 127 to 172 square feet in size and will be available on multiple decks at a variety of forward, mid-ship and aft locations. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
New engagement packages in Lake Buena Vista
B Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista is offering two new engagement packages to help pop the question in a big way. One of the offerings is the “B Mine” package that includes access to the resort’s expert “Proposal Concierge” to help customize the proposal experience for each individual couple—from choosing the spot to get down on one knee, to assisting with ring selection, to helping pull off the surprise. The package also includes two nights in a junior suite, a private dessert making class with champagne pairings at on-site restaurant American Q and a couples massage at B Indulged by AVEDA. The “B Mine” is $1,499 per couple inclusive of taxes and gratuities. Visit www.bhotelsandresorts.com/b-walt-disney-world/.
New attraction at Tampa waterpark
Colossal Curl, a new thrill ride that combines tunnel and wave elements is slated to debut at Adventure Island waterpark in Tampa Bay in March. Holding up to four passengers, this mega slide adds to the waterpark’s combination of corkscrews, waterfalls, high-speed thrills and tropical, tranquil surroundings for guests of all ages. Colossal Curl will be located in the center of the park, next to Mango Joe’s Café, and will take the place of Gulf Scream. The slide will be the tallest ride at Adventure Island at nearly 70 feet high and 560 feet in length. By early 2015 many of the ride’s features will be visible to guests. Visit www.ColossalCurl.com.
Miami’s Jungle Island’s transformation
Miami’s 18-acre Jungle Island attraction’s multi-million dollar transformation will include new aerial adventure activities and more. Already the attraction has debuted Parrot Cove, a private beach and floating aqua park. During its reinvention, the park will remain open for visitors to enjoy some of the world’s most fascinating animals. For information on current adventures and offerings at Jungle Island, visit www.jungleisland.com.
Pre-schoolers are free at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa
SeaWorld Orlando is celebrating the new year and families with young kids with a limited-time offer. Children five and younger can explore SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay for free throughout 2015 with the return of the Preschool Pass. The Free SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Preschool Pass is an exclusive online offer. It is exclusively for Florida residents ages five and younger and is valid for unlimited admission – with no blackout dates – through Dec. 31, at SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The Preschool Pass does not include parking or Pass Member discounts or benefits. Visit www.seaworldparks.com.
Special rates at newly renovated Keys hotel
Smuggler’s Cove Resort and Marina, a 12-room waterfront boutique hotel and full-service marina in Islamorada, recently announced the completion of a three-month $500,000 property renovation. From fully revamped guestrooms and new food and beverage offerings to a new “Hook ‘N’ Cook” experience, Smuggler's Cove reopened in late December with an enhanced guest experience. In celebration of the renovation, the hotel is offering a special re-opening promotion for travel through March with rates starting at $135 per night – a savings of 20 percent. Call 305-664-5564.
Norwegian to debut new entertainment on Norwegian Epic
Norwegian Cruise Line has announced a new entertainment line-up for Norwegian Epic, the award-winning ship that will be based year-round in Barcelona, Spain, starting April 30. Two new Broadway shows will take the stage as headliners: Burn the Floor in April, and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - The Musical in October. The ship will also feature an all-new British pop music entertainment experience, The Cavern Club, bringing the legendary Liverpool venue where the Beatles performed to life at sea. Visit www.ncl.com.
New Holland America ship to premier in the Med in 2016
When Holland America Line’s 2,650-guest ms Koningsdam sets sail in February 2016 the ship will head to the azure waters of the Mediterranean on a seven-day Premiere Voyage and continue on a series of 12-day Premiere Sailings through early May 2016. The debut cruises will explore some of the region’s most popular capitals, cities, villages and beaches. Bookings for the Premiere Voyage and Sailings are open. The 2,650-guest ship is scheduled for delivery by Fincantieri’s Marghera, Italy shipyard on Feb. 15, 2016. Following its repositioning to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, ms Koningsdam will sail a seven-day Premiere Voyage roundtrip from Civitavecchia departing Feb. 20 to Dubrovnik, Croatia; Kérkira (Corfu) and Katakolon (Olympia), Greece; and Naples, Italy. Following the Premiere Voyage, from the end of February through early May ms Koningsdam will cruise a series of six 12-day Premiere Sailings on two alternating itineraries roundtrip from Civitavecchia. The first itinerary calls at Katakolon, Piraeus (Athens), Rhodes and Crete, Greece; Istanbul (overnight) and Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey; and Naples, Italy. The other itinerary visits Naples, Italy; Palermo, Sicily; Cagliari, Sardinia; Gibraltar, British Territory; and Cádiz, Málaga, Cartagena and Barcelona (overnight), Spain. Cruise fares on Premier Sailings begin at $999 per person, double occupancy. Taxes are additional. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Alaska sailings on the horizon
PONANT, known for destination-focused itineraries to remote and exotic locales, is extending its 15-years of five-star polar expedition cruising expertise to the wild inlets, rugged Eastern coastline and Inland Passage of Alaska. New for the 2015 summer season, PONANT’s Alaska and Arctic Adventure itineraries let guests follow in the footsteps of the pioneering prospectors who settled this wild land during the Gold Rush days of the late 1800s. Alaska and Arctic Adventure cruises for the 2015 summer season include six different itineraries and nine departure dates sailing the Inside Passage or to Arctic Russia. Among the offerings is In the Wake of the Pioneers, a seven-night cruise between Vancouver and Juneau with departures in June and July and priced from $3,700 per person. Visit http://en.ponant.com.
Weekend “Winter-vention” in Orlando
Marriott Orlando hotels invite travelers to wind down with a “Weekend Winter-vention” escape, with rates starting at $109 per night, for stays now - March 31, 2015. Offering 20 percent savings and a $25 daily hotel credit — when using promo code: P91 — guests can reclaim their weekends with great rates at five Orlando hotels across four Marriott brands, including:
• Orlando World Center Marriott — starting rate: $135 per night.
• JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes — starting rate: $143 per night.
• Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld — starting rate: $115 per night.
• Orlando Airport Marriott — starting rate: $109 per night.
• Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center — starting rate: $175 per night.
For information on a “Weekend Winter-vention” visit Marriott.com and enter corporate/promotional code P91.
Eco-friendly lasers at Epcot
The nighttime spectacular "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" in Epcot recently introduced new environmentally friendly lasers. Brighter and more precise, the show's new solid-state lasers use the energy equivalent of a hair dryer, saving approximately 64,000 watts of power with each show. By making the switch to more efficient lasers, Disney eliminates the need for a water-cooling system and saves thousands of gallons of water. Visit www.disneyworld.com.
Helping to protect the world’s oceans
As part of its “Our Marvelous Oceans” partnership with Marine Conservation Institute, Holland America Line has created a new program that highlights and educates guests and crew about marine protected
areas around the world. Developed with the team at Marine Conservation Institute, the program will educate guests and crew through on-board presentations by shipboard personnel. Topics will cover what a marine protected area is and how to visit one without causing harm to the habitat and wildlife. This information can be enhanced through participation in featured shore excursions. In the Caribbean the program will largely focus on marine life and a variety of tropical ecosystems – in Key West, guests can go snorkeling in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to see the area’s beautiful coral reefs; in San Juan, Puerto Rico, cruisers can embark on a unique nighttime kayak adventure into the bio-luminescent bay at Laguna Grande of Fajardo to learn about the water’s organisms and see how they “light up” at night. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
New gift card program
Princess Cruises has announced a new gift card program whereby gift cards can be applied as payment towards the purchase of a Princess cruise, as well as onboard products and services including specialty dining, drinks, Lotus Spa treatments, shore excursions and more. The gift card program allows buyers to choose from various designs, schedule a delivery date to the recipient and personalize the notification by allowing buyers to record an audio message and add a digital photo. Gift cards are available in $50, $100, $250, $500, $1,000 and $2,000 increments and can be customized for a specific dollar amount up to $2,000. Buyers purchasing a gift card for $100 or more will also receive free shipping. Gift cards can be sent electronically or via mail. Visit www.princess.com/giftcard.
New waterfront dining venue coming to Disney Springs
Schussler Creative, specialists in the creation and consultation of attractions, restaurants, retail stores and entertainment venues worldwide, has announced their latest project: The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats, located at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista. Schussler Creative also is the creator of other restaurant/retail attractions at Walt Disney World Resort including Rainforest Cafe and T-REX Café in Downtown Disney, and Rainforest Cafe and Yak & Yeti at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Opening this spring as one of the new venues in The Landing at Disney Springs, The BOATHOUSE will be an upscale, waterfront dining experience featuring floating artwork: dream boats from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. The restaurant will feature three bars including The Captain’s Raw Bar, The Admiral’s Club Bar and The Dock Bar, which is built over the water. Other nautically-themed rooms include The Runabout, Twin Transoms, and The Lake House. There will also be two private dining rooms for special events, conventions and presentations: The Regatta and The Trophy Room. The BOATHOUSE restaurant will be managed by Gibsons Restaurant Group, celebrated for exceptional food and extraordinary service (recently named Best Steak House in Chicago). Guests will enjoy a gourmet menu served daily until 2 a.m. featuring steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar.
The BOATHOUSE restaurant will feature live music and Captain’s guided tours aboard The Venezia, a 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi featuring champagne toasts and chocolate-covered strawberries. There also will be the exhilaration of guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, entering the water with a splash, taking guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs. The Harbor Master will orchestrate daily flag ceremonies, accompanied by a musical performance of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard a classic 1800’s steamboat. Visit www.theboathouseorlando.com.
St. Pete Beach offer for a post-holidays “staycation”
The Hotel Zamora in St. Pete Beach offers Floridians who are looking for a post-holiday “staycation” the “Thaw Out While You Chill Out” deal. It includes 15 percent off nightly rates (starting at $177), $25 nightly food & beverage credit, and complimentary late 1 p.m. check-out. Booking is available through March 31 for travel through April 1. Minimum two-night stay is required. Visit www.thehotelzamora.com.
Holland America’s European season features eight ships
Holland America’s 2015 Europe voyages offer sailings on eight ships ranging from seven to 50 days. The 62 cruises highlight three new itineraries, four maiden calls and overnight visits to 21 of the continent’s most popular and culturally rich cities. The diverse fleet that will explore the region includes ms Eurodam and ms Nieuw Amsterdam — Holland America Line’s two Signature-Class ships — as well as ms Maasdam, ms Prinsendam, ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam and ms Veendam. New to Europe in 2015 is the 1,916-guest ms Zuiderdam, which will sail in the Mediterranean. Several roundtrip options will be available from eight ports: Fort Lauderdale; Barcelona, Spain; Boston, Mass.; Civitavecchia (Rome) and Venice, Italy; Copenhagen, Denmark; Harwich (London), England; and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Many of the cruises also can be extended into Collectors’ Voyages ranging from 14 to 35 days, which offer the ultimate European experience. These longer journeys combine back-to-back itineraries, enabling guests to visit more ports and spend extra time exploring centuries of art, history and culture. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Princess launches interactive onboard activities and excursions
Princess Cruises and Discovery Consumer Products, the licensing arm of Discovery Communications, have announced their collaboration to create Discovery At Sea, interactive onboard activities and shore excursions to entertain and delight families aboard Princess ships. The new Discovery At Sea cruise vacations will feature themed tours, science activities, hands-on programs and games based on Discovery’s breadth of brands and programming. Debuting on Princess Cruises’ ships in early 2015, the interactive experiences are designed to bring to life the nature, wildlife and history of the regions guests are sailing. Discovery At Sea content will be based on Discovery network properties from Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Science Channel. Some of the integrations guests will experience are based on Shark Week, Mythbusters and Deadliest Catch. Among the new programs are Discovery Under the Stars – a cosmic voyage from the ship’s top deck – and Shark Week at Sea – challenging adults and kids alike, testing their knowledge of the ocean with trivia games and a variety of themed activities. Visit www.princess.com.
Carnival Corporation orders new ships
Carnival Corporation has announced new cruise ship orders for two of its brands.The new cruise ships will be constructed by Fincantieri in Italy for Carnival Cruise Line and Holland America Line, two of Carnival Corporation's nine brands. Carnival Cruise Line's as-yet-unnamed 3,954-passenger vessel, which is the 26th ship in the line's fleet, will offer many of the newest and most popular features from Carnival's current ships, along with several innovations that will be exclusive to this vessel. The delivery date for the new cruise ship is scheduled for March 2018. Homeport and itinerary information will be announced at a later date. The new ship will be a sister ship to Carnival Vista, which is slated for delivery in spring 2016. For Holland America Line, the new order adds a second Pinnacle class ship to the fleet, a new class of vessels that will debut with the delivery and launch of the ms Koningsdam in February 2016. The new ship, scheduled for delivery in late November 2018, will accommodate 2,650 guests and 1,025 crew. The new as-yet-unnamed ship will feature new public spaces and venues that will debut on Koningsdam. In addition, many of the familiar spaces that are currently featured across the Holland America Line fleet will be included. Visit www.carnival.com and www.hollandamerica.com.
Holiday engagement hangover? Fort Lauderdale Marriott has remedy
December is full of things being popped –like bottles of holiday fizz and marriage proposals. But sometimes the engagement buzz is followed by wedding planning headaches. Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa offers a remedy to the holiday engagement hangover: an oceanfront wedding that keeps within budget. Two no-fuss packages are available in 2015 (book by Jan. 31, 2015). With a $10,000 booking, couples will receive a complimentary overnight stay in an Oceanfront Bridal Suite, two 50-minute spa treatments at SiSpa, complimentary champagne toast, waived event space rental and complimentary overnight stay in an Ocean View Room on their first anniversary. With a $15,000 booking, couples will receive complimentary two night’s stay in an Ocean Front Bridal Suite, two 50-minute spa treatments at SiSpa, complimentary champagne toast, waived event space rental, buffet breakfast for the bride and groom and eight guests at McCoy’s Oceanfront, and complimentary overnight stay in an Ocean View Room on their first anniversary. Visit
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker onboard
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will host Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rory Kennedy for a preview of her latest project, Last Days In Vietnam, aboard Seven Seas Voyager during the 18-night Dynasties and Dragons sailing in Asia on Feb. 21. The filmmaker will engage with guests during a question-and-answer session at the end of the screening and provide insight into the making and significance of the film. Kennedy’s documentary chronicles the chaotic final days of the Vietnam War as the North Vietnamese Army closes in on Saigon and the South Vietnamese resistance crumbles. As the U.S. readies to withdraw, a number of heroic Americans take matters into their own hands, engaging in unsanctioned and often makeshift operations in a desperate effort to save as many South Vietnamese lives as possible. Continuing a longtime relationship with PBS, Artful Travelers is partnering with Regent Seven Seas Cruises on this enrichment series showcasing exceptional PBS programming and beloved personalities.
As the ship sails from Beijing to ports in China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, guests will have the opportunity to join panel discussions, question-and-answer sessions and special presentations in the ship’s signature showplace, the Constellation Theater. Additionally, private dinners and cocktail receptions will take place during the voyage allowing guests to enjoy one-on-one conversations and personal interactions with the guest presenters. In addition to Kennedy, scheduled guests to appear on this voyage include Steven Johnson, author, technology expert and host of PBS’ How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson; Mark Bailey, Emmy Award-nominated screenwriter and best-selling author (Of All The Gin Joints: Stumbling Through Hollywood History and Last Days In Vietnam) and Lauren Prestileo, Series Manager of the acclaimed PBS series American Experience. These special activities are available to guests at no additional cost. At the time of booking, guests or their travel agents need to request the promotional code “ARTFUL” to be added to the guest’s reservation. Visit www.RSSC.com. Guests can also visit the Artful Travelers website at www.artfultravelers.com for additional information.
Silversea's all-suite expedition vessel, Silver Galapagos completed a second phase of renovations this fall, during a month-long dry dock in Panama. All of the ship's suites, corridors and the Explorer Lounge have been refurbished in a blue and beige color palette utilized to create an interior décor echoing that of the recently refurbished Silver Discoverer. These further enhancements have achieved a consistency of interior design within the expedition fleet. The 100-guest Silver Galapagos underwent an initial partial refurbishment last year including the installation of new in-suite bathrooms featuring marble detailing, plus a new fitness center, massage room, beauty salon, outdoor Jacuzzi, and Silversea's signature outdoor dining venue, The Grill. The ship sails Saturday to Saturday on seven-day voyages through the Galapagos Islands, following either a western or north central route. Visit www.silversea.com.
Master chef and family onboard
Master chef, cookbook author and Oceania Cruises Executive Culinary Director, Jacques Pépin, will host a special sailing onboard Riviera in 2015. The chef’s daughter Claudine, co-Host of Jacques’ award-winning “Cooking with Claudine“ television series, and his granddaughter Shorey will join Pépin and his wife Gloria on the 10-day Iberian Inspiration departing Lisbon for Rome on July 7. The sailing will feature cooking demonstrations, specially designed signature menus, book signings and more. Making the sailing even more special, guests can share in an 80th birthday celebration for Chef Pépin. Visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.
Kimpton hotel opens in Palm Beach
The Tideline Ocean Resort & Spa, a Kimpton hotel, was launched this December. A beachfront boutique hotel on the island of Palm Beach, it has 134 guestrooms and two suites. Perched at the Atlantic Ocean’s edge along more than 200 feet of white sand beach, the Tideline Ocean Resort’s amenities include a signature spa, destination restaurant and infinity pool. Visit www.tidelineresort.com.
Crystal Cruises marks its 25th anniversary with special sailings
Crystal Cruises has announced a celebratory twist for its Experiences of Discovery theme cruises for 2015, when the line marks its 25th anniversary of cruising. During six designated sailings – in addition to more than a dozen themed cruises focused on culinary, musical, theatrical, political and athletic pursuits – Crystal guests will be treated to commemorative parties and receptions, where they’ll rub
elbows with Crystal’s top leadership. Of these, four voyages will be Crystal’s first-ever “Captain’s Cruises,” wherein former captains will join Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity again to regale travelers with their Crystal memories. The four cruises, and hosts, include:
· April 11, Asia (Hong Kong to Tokyo) with Captain Reidulf Maalen, the captain of Crystal’s first ship, the Crystal Harmony, when the company began sailing in 1990.
· May 4, Southern Trans-Atlantic (Miami to Lisbon) with Captain Glenn Edvardsen, a 21-year Crystal veteran, and the youngest Crystal captain when he joined the line in 1999.
· June 12, Northern Trans-Atlantic (New York to London) with Captain Helge Brudvik, captain of Crystal Symphony in its inaugural year, retired from Crystal since 2000.
· December 19, Caribbean/Brazilian Holiday (San Juan to Rio de Janeiro) with Captain John Økland, who just retired in 2012 after 15 years with Crystal.
New Year’s Eve dinner in Naples
Located at the iconic Inn on Fifth in downtown Naples, Avenue5 is offering a special New Year’s Eve dinner on Dec. 31. Served in a festive atmosphere, a five-course prix fixe menu created by Executive Chef John Welch, features Maine Lobster, all natural prime beef and locally sourced, and organic vegetable. The dinner is $135 per person for the early seating and $175 per person for the second seating, which includes a champagne toast at midnight. Party favors, hats andmore will add to the restaurant’s “Vintage Glam” vibe for the evening. Opened in early 2014, the $3 million Avenue 5 features 240 seats and two private dining rooms. The 7,000-square-foot restaurant is at 699 Fifth Avenue South. For more information or to make reservations for the New Year’s Eve dinner, visit www.Avenue5Naples.com.
Ushering in 2015 in Vero Beach
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort & Spa offers two culinary options for New Year’s Eve: a buffet in the resort’s Shutters restaurant with such specialties as chilled beer boiled peel and eat shrimp, bacon-wrapped pork loin, bourbon glazed salmon, carving station with herb-crusted strip loin and pineapple glazed ham and a variety of desserts ($34.99 for ages 10 and up and $16.99 for children ages 3 to 9). The buffet at Shutters is available from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. At the resort’s fine dining Sonya’s, a prix fixe menu ($55 per person plus gratuity and tax; wine pairing is an additional $25 per person) features an amuse bouche, a choice of one appetizer including crab cake, an a choice of one entree including oak-grilled beef tenderloin filet. Reservations are recommended. Call 772-234-2180.
Oceania features new culinary offerings
Often referred to as the line for epicureans, Oceania Cruises is introducing new culinary offerings this fall and winter including a “by the bottle” wine package, a new food and wine pairing menu for La Reserve by Wine Spectator, and a visiting chef program for Insignia’s world cruise. Among the new features is the Wine by the Bottle Package available across the Oceania Cruises fleet. More than 50 bottles selected by the line’s master sommeliers include a selection of whites, reds, champagnes and sparkling wines. The Hess Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Rodney Strong Sonoma Sauvignon Blanc and Domaine Saint-Roch Vin de Pays are among the many values on the extensive list. The package is priced at $42.50 per bottle, including gratuities, when guests select seven or more bottles. The list features some exclusive wines otherwise not available in the restaurants onboard and varies by ship and itinerary, with regional wines added on many voyages. Visit www.oceaniacruises.com.
Special at Sunset Key
Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort, just off Key West has announced a special two-night Winter Reprieve package, available now through Jan. 15. The package includes two-nights' cottage accommodations in garden-view cottage, one 80-minute spa treatment for two in the resort's waterfront Spa Cabana, one gourmet Sunset Picnic Basket for two, one reserved hammock, and daily breakfast for two. Package price starts at $1,980 based on double occupancy, plus applicable taxes, and is based on availability. Visit www.WestinSunsetKeyCottages.com.
Swimming with manatees in Crystal River this winter
The Plantation on Crystal River has created two winter packages giving guests the chance to swim with the West Indian manatee in Crystal River. Starting at $230 for two guests, the one-night Swim with the Manatees package includes: accommodations in a renovated garden view room, manatee snorkeling tour for two from the Plantation Adventure Center with all equipment needed (mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit. Tours leave directly from the on-property dock at Plantation Adventure Center & Dive Shop and provide hot chocolate and coffee on the enclosed boats and a hot shower facility for those guests who already checked out or snorkelers not staying at the resort), breakfast for two at West 82° Bar & Grill, welcome bag with plush manatee toy, fun facts and manatee interaction guidelines. If guests would like to add more adventure and an additional night to their getaway, the resort is also offering a two-night Swim and Dive package. In addition to all the amenities from the Manatee package, guests receive an additional night as well as a guided tour for two to one of Florida's most pristine rivers and fourth largest spring system in Florida, Rainbow River. The Swim and Dive package is $540 for two people. Manatee tours are offered year-round at Plantation’s Adventure Center & Dive Shop, headquarters, but in the winter time guests are guaranteed to see these gentle giants. During prime manatee viewing season, which usually runs through Mar. 31 depending on temperatures, guests will experience the adventure of swimming with more than 300 manatees as they play, eat, and socialize with one another. The manatees enjoy the year-round 72°F waters of Florida's second largest spring system – relatively warm considering manatee season is in the winter. Rate is based on double occupancy and includes Sunday-Thursday stays. Water view, patio rooms, Junior suites and golf villas are available for an additional charge. Additional nights and people sharing room are available for additional charge. Rates are subject to availability. Taxes and gratuities are not included. Visit www.PlantationonCrystalRiver.com.
Larry Martin, the President of Food & Wine Trails, and his wife Laura, will host his Ultimate Wine Cruise in the Adriatic for friends and customers in the fall. The trip compiles Martin’s four favorite elements: curated and rare French wines, a luxurious small-ship cruise, new wine destinations, and a bevy of like-mind people to share the experience. The cruise will also be hosted by Kelly McAuliffe, an American sommelier living in France, who will oversee a series of private to the group, shipboard wine tastings and a dinner with 95-point or better Robert Parker-rated French wines. His wine selections include a Domaine de la Janasse cuvee made from 100 year-old vines and such famous French wine producers as Vieux Telegraph, Chateau Beaucastel and Domaine de la Mordore. The one-week cruise departs from Venice on Sept. 11, on Silversea's 540-passenger cruise ship Silver Spirit, with stops planned in Koper, Slovenia; Zadar, Split and Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Ravenna, Italy, near Bologna.
Fare begins at $4,025 per person including 7-nights in one of Silversea's large suites, ship meals, wine and spirits and the private onboard wine program. Not included are the optional shore tours, airport transfers or round trip airfare. Visit www.foodandwinetrails.com.
For young sailors
Carnival Cruise Lines has teamed up with DJ IRIE – the official DJ of Carnival and the Miami HEAT who has entertained crowds from South Beach and Vegas to Paris and Brazil – to create Spin U, a new shipboard DJ academy for teens ages 15-17. Part of the line’s popular Club O2 teen program and inspired by DJ IRIE’s own Spin’iversity – a customized training program exclusively for developing Carnival’s shipboard DJs – Spin U is designed to provide aspiring spin-masters with what they need to know about this emerging art form, from bringing a crowd to its feet to pumping up the dance floor with excitement. There are three different Spin U packages: Intro – a free 30-minute introductory session that includes an overview of equipment basics and spinning and mixing techniques; DJ 101 – a 45-minute program that expands upon the Intro program with an overview of both mixing and scratching (cost is $20); and DJ Master – comprised of three one-hour sessions, helping participants master the art of mixing, mic skills and understanding song structure and transitions. After selecting their own creative DJ moniker, DJ Master students participate in a “Battle of the Beats” against other up-and-coming DJs with one lucky DJ entertaining guests poolside on Lido deck (cost for the three-session program is $99). Personalized, one-on-one sessions with Carnival’s shipboard DJs are also available and all DJ Master participants receive a “swag bag” containing a variety of premium branded logo items. Spin U is currently being piloted on six- and eight-day cruises of the Carnival Freedom from Fort Lauderdale with fleetwide rollout expected by the end of 2015. Visit www.carnival.com.
Silversea offers “Silver Wave” incentive
Silversea is offering a booking incentive valid for a limited time on a variety of global itineraries. The new “Silver Wave” promotion provides guests with a complimentary suite upgrade plus an onboard spending credit of up to $1,000 per suite that can be used for shore excursions, spa treatments, specialty restaurants, boutique purchases, and more. The offer is available for new bookings made by Dec. 31, on 31 select voyages sailing in 2015 -- including both traditional ocean-going and expedition cruises. Among the select voyages featuring a complimentary suite upgrade plus $1,000 per suite onboard spending credit is the Silver Spirit’s voyage 5507 from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, 17 Days, March 27 - April 13. Silver Wave is a capacity-controlled program and subject to availability. For details and fares, visit www.Silversea.com.
Key West going to the dogs
As many as 200 short-legged, tail-wagging canine "revelers" are to stage a pre-New Year's Eve promenade before thousands of spectators Wednesday, Dec. 31, during the 10th annual Key West Dachshund Walk. The procession of pooches and their human companions begins at noon at the corner of Whitehead and Fleming streets in Key West's downtown. The walking route, kept brief to cater to the diminutive dogs' short legs, is to encompass the 400 block of Fleming Street, 500 block of Duval Street and entire one-block length of Appelrouth Lane. The 2013 "wiener walk" included approximately 200 dogs, many of them costumed or wearing offbeat accessories. Among the standouts were dachshunds portraying a "cocktail wiener" in a pseudo martini glass with oversized olives, "hot dogs" in buns, superheroes, sea creatures and a pirate carrying a sword nearly as long as he was. Canine participants typically include miniature and standard shorthaired, wirehaired and longhaired dachshunds. Some trot briskly along the route, while others ride in wagons or strollers. Dogs are accompanied by a supply wagon carrying water for thirsty walkers and plastic bags for quick cleanup of any accidents -- as well as providing transport for dogs that get tired along the way. The procession usually draws a few dachshund "imposters" bearing a suspicious resemblance to other breeds. Since pedigrees aren't checked, even "wiener wannabes" can strut their stuff in the lighthearted annual amble.There is no cost to participate, but donations of dog and cat food are requested for the community pet-food pantry operated by St. Mary Star of the Sea Outreach Mission. Spectators can watch the fun and meet the canine participants on Fleming Street between Whitehead and Duval streets. For information on Key West and the Florida Keys, visit www.fla-keys.com/keywest.
Oceanfront boardwalk on new Norwegian ship
Norwegian Cruise Line has revealed that Norwegian Escape will incorporate The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, the popular design innovation first introduced on Norwegian Breakaway and on Norwegian Getaway. This concept includes an oceanfront boardwalk lined with restaurants, bars and shops, combined with three decks of dining, bars, entertainment, gaming and more. Norwegian Escape is currently under construction and is scheduled for delivery in October 2015. Norwegian Escape will begin weekly seven-day cruises from her year-round homeport of Miami to the Eastern Caribbean on Nov. 14, 2015. The ship will carry 4,200 guests to tropical Caribbean destinations including St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Nassau, Bahamas. Visit www.escape.ncl.com.
Divi Resorts in Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire and St. Maarten (www.diviresorts.com) are featuring specials, offering rooms at 30 percent off standard rates for vacations now and in 2015. There is no book by date. Some sample rates: In Aruba, Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort, rates start at $185 per night; at Divi Village Golf & Beach Resort, rates start at $159 per night; and at Divi Dutch Village Beach Resort, rates start at $139 per night. For information on the savings, visit www.diviresorts.com.
New Hilton in Barranquilla, Colombia
Hilton Worldwide recently opened the newly-built Hilton Garden Inn Barranquilla, a 123-room Hilton Garden Inn property in Colombia’s Caribbean port city. Hilton Garden Inn Barranquilla is the brand’s first hotel in Colombia and the company’s seventh, reinforcing Hilton Worldwide’s plans to continue growing in Colombia, and Latin America. Hilton Garden Inn Barranquilla is approximately 30 minutes from the Ernesto Cortissoz International Airport, and forms part of the Blue Garden mixed use complex featuring office space, an upscale shopping mall with 126 stores, seven movie theaters and parking. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool and a complimentary fitness center featuring premium cardio and strength training equipment. Travelers to Hilton Garden Inn Barranquilla also have access to meeting space, and signature Hilton Garden Inn brand attributes such as complimentary Wi-Fi and a 24-hour business center. The city of Barranquilla, located in Northern Colombia, is served by both direct domestic and international flights including a less than three hour flight from Miami and a less than hour and a half flight from Colombia’s capital city of Bogota.The hotel participates in Hilton HHonors, the rewards program that allows members to earn Points & Miles for the same stay and redeem points for free nights with no blackout dates at more than 4,200 hotels worldwide. Visit hiltongardeninn.com.
Serenity in Naples
The Edgewater Beach Hotel has introduced the Seaside Serenity package available exclusively in the hotel's new custom-designed Serenity Suite. The Seaside Serenity package includes overnight accommodations in the Serenity Suite, a choice of two 50-minute activities or services from the hotel's Wellness Menu, choice of two meal options from the Serenity Dining Menu, and a selection of organic fruits and vegetables delivered in-suite with juicing tips and recipes. Wellness activities and services include massage, private yoga, meditation, personal training, and personalized lifestyle and wellness coaching sessions. The Serenity Dining Menu features healthy options for breakfast, lunch and dinner and includes such entrees as a vegetable wrap with five-spice tofu and baked salmon with mango and avocado salsa. The Serenity Suite has custom amenities including serene lighting on dimmer switches, PranaSleep mattress providing incomparable support and comfort; a NutriBullet Pro juicer; an in-suite massage table and yoga mat; a selection of meditation, yoga and wellness CDs, DVDs and books; and complimentary set of aromatherapy lotions and oils. The Serenity Suite features open plan bedroom, bathroom and separate living area, fully-equipped kitchen and private balcony with outdoor seating. Seaside Serenity package rates start at $600 per night, single occupancy, based on availability and excluding taxes and fees. Additional guest and amenities can be added at an additional cost. The Serenity Suite can be booked separate from the Seaside Serenity package, with rates starting at $279 per night. Visit www.edgewaternaples.com.
Winter Wonderland package, festivities on Amelia Island
Omni Amelia Island Plantation hosts celebrations this holiday season transforming The Shops at Amelia Island Plantation into Santa’s Workshop, and offering ever-changing daily celebrations from 4-6 p.m. Monday thru Thursday and 5-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Celebrations include live music, falling snow and family-friendly activities such as animal encounters, craft stations, archery demos, gingerbread decorating, chocolate bark making and more. In addition, the resort offers a Winter Wonderland package. Starting at $259 per night Nov. 28 through Dec 30, the package provides oceanfront accommodations, daily breakfast at Sunrise Café, unlimited access to Santa’s Workshop, milk and cookie turndown, valet parking and welcome amenity. The package is subject to availability and blackout dates. It does not apply to groups or conventions and cannot be combined with any other offer or discount. Rates are subject to change without notice. Visit www.omniameliaislandplantation.com.
Connecting with fellow passengers at sea
Regal Princess guests have the opportunity to connect with their fellow cruisers with the debut of Princess@Sea Messenger, a free mobile messenger feature offering guests an easy way to share updates and make plans during their cruise vacation. The Princess@Sea Messenger is integrated in the complimentary Princess@Sea mobile app, accessed via a smartphone or tablet browser. It debuted on Regal Princess in November and will be rolled out to all cruise ships in the entire Princess fleet by the end of 2015. Guests are able to download Princess@Sea Messenger for free before sailing at the Apple or Android App Store or on board with the purchase of an internet package. Limited messaging functionality will also be available in Princess@Sea without downloading the app. The award-winning Princess@Sea mobile app debuted aboard Royal Princess in 2013 giving guests the ability to check the day’s events and activities, review the ship’s itinerary and port guides, browse restaurant menus and even access their stateroom account. Regal Princess began her Caribbean cruise season on Nov. 6 with a short preview sailing, followed by a schedule of seven-day Eastern Caribbean cruises to ports including St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays in the Bahamas. Visit www.princess.com.
Gourmet package in Cancun
Grand Residences Riviera Cancun is featuring the Grand Gourmet Experience, which takes guests on a journey through Mexican and European cuisines. The Grand Gourmet package includes choice of suite accommodations (from a junior suite to a four-bedroom suite and deluxe Bvlgari amenities; round-trip private ground transportation from the Cancun International Airport to the resort; an in-suite, 375-ml bottle of premier brand tequila upon arrival; unlimited gourmet meals and snacks at El Faro Restaurant, Heaven Beach Bar, the Pool Bar and the Lobby Bar and Café; unlimited drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic, domestic brands and a selection of luxury brands); 24-hour room service; beer, water and soft drinks replenished in the minibar once per day; daily activities program, including tea service, salsa dancing, Zumba and yoga classes, tennis clinics and more; sports activities such as tennis, guided bicycle tours, beach soccer and volleyball; activities at the kids’ and teens’ clubs and other features. The Grand Gourmet Package is valid on stays now through Dec. 19. Rates in a junior suite start from $375 per person, per night, double occupancy. Additional guests ages 13 and older may added to the same suite for $199 per person, per night. Children ages five to 12 years old may be added for $79 per child, per night. Children under five years stay complimentary. Visit www.grandresidencesrivieracancun.com. Package reference is “Grand Gourmet.”
Thanksgiving and holidays package in Palm Beach
The Chesterfield Palm Beach, has recently announced several packages for the holidays including an overnight Thanksgiving package starting at $334 per night. The Home for the Holidays package is available Dec. 1-30 and includes a two-night stay, traditional English Breakfast for two each morning, beach amenities for the day and a mixology lesson with one of the famous Leopard Lounge bartenders starting at $314 per night. For details and terms and conditions, visit www.chesterfieldpb.com.
“Out of this world” this holiday season
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Cape Canaveral features “Holidays in Space” with a first-of-its-kind 3D show “projection mapped” onto a rocket, and a laser and light show so spectacular, astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) should be able to see the beam. Beginning Nov. 28, the Visitor Complex will be adorned for the holiday season including a 41-foot Christmas tree, a giant NASA “meatball” ornament, garlands, lights, ribbons, bows and more. From Dec. 2 through Jan. 4, the Visitor Complex presents the new Holiday Rocket Garden Light Show featuring a choreographed light and music show. The excitement accelerates Dec. 22 through Dec. 31 when a second element is added to the show: a 3D projection mapping
presentations shown on the side of the 223-foot-long Saturn 1B rocket. Also called spatial augmented reality, this technology is used to project images onto irregularly shaped objects, such as bridges, buildings, and now, a rocket. This presentation, a first at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, features custom animation blended with historic footage of actual launches and awe-inspiring views of Earth from the ISS. From Dec. 26-Dec. 31, a Holiday Laser Light Spectacular will be added to the festivities, featuring a music and laser light show. The green rays from the laser show are bright enough for astronauts aboard the International Space Station to see them. All holiday activities are included with Visitor Complex admission; no advance reservations are required. Light shows begin at dusk each day. The Visitor Complex is open 365 days a year, including Christmas Day, Dec. 25. Admission is $50 plus tax for adults and $40 plus tax for children ages 3-11. Visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
Artful package in St. Petersburg
The Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club’s in St. Petersburg is featuring an Artful Retreat package in conjunction with the new “Picasso/Dali, Dali/Picasso” exhibit at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. The “Artful Retreat” package for a weekend getaway, available now through Feb. 6, 2015 and starting at $264, includes upgraded bay view accommodations, $50 resort dining credit for Marchand’s, and choice of two tickets to the Dali Museum or Chihuly Collection.
Renovations completed at Florida Keys Wild Bird Center in Tavernier
Several renovations and restorations are complete at the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center in Tavernier. In 2013, the FKWBC purchased a property at 92080 Overseas Highway that has become a rehabilitation and education center. The center is equipped with an operating room, X-ray capability, a triage unit, isolation area and separate recovery areas for small and large birds along with an outdoor pelican enclosure. The Florida Keys Wild Bird Center is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of sick and injured birds in the Upper Keys area, and their release whenever possible. As well as the rehabilitation center, the facility operates a visitor center and a sanctuary that houses rehabilitated birds that can no longer survive in the wild. Visit www.fkwbc.org.
Visiting the Last Key this fall? You can still use 2014 Key West attractions pass
Visitors to America's southernmost city can receive special values on museum and attractions admissions, watersports adventures and more by purchasing a 2014 Key West Vacation Pass from the Key West Attractions Association. The $49 pass booklet contains 22 offers from many of Key West's popular attractions and can be used through Dec. 19. Values are featured on tickets for historic and museum attractions, snorkeling excursions, kayaking and eco-tours, visits to nature facilities, fishing charters, food and beverages, sunset cruises and even a flyboard adventure. Visitors must purchase passes online at www.keywestvacationpass.com before traveling to Key West, and should receive them within seven days of ordering. Some blackout dates apply, and there is a $6 shipping and handling fee.
Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba specials
La Nouba, the exclusive Cirque du Soleil show at Walt Disney World Resort has announced special offers starting at $54 for adult and $45 for child seats. This offer is available for performances now through Dec. 19. Guests who wish to have dinner before or after the show can take advantage of La Nouba’s special Dinner & A Show package available now until Nov. 22. The package includes a ticket to the show and dinner at a participating restaurant of their choice. Participating restaurants are Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, Planet Hollywood and Splitsville Luxury Lanes. The offer includes one entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage. Package prices start at $99 for adults and at $89 for children ages 3 to 9. Visit www.lanouba.com.
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel redesign
The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel has launched a multi-phase, multi-year, $125 million redesign project that will transform every guest room in the 758-room Swan Hotel and the 1,509-room Dolphin Hotel. The transformation will occur without disruption to the guest experience as the majority of guest rooms will be available throughout the process. The hotel’s public spaces, restaurants, meeting rooms, shops, pools and recreational areas will not be impacted and remain operational throughout the renovation. Hotel and condominium interior design and architecture firm Garcia Stromberg/GS4 Studios, designers of the Conrad Hotel Ft. Lauderdale, the Waldorf Astoria’s Boca Beach Club and One Thousand Ocean condominium in Boca Raton, created the concept for the new rooms, inspired by the resort’s water-themed architecture. The guest room features upgraded furniture and all of the latest technology including large HD TVs. Additional power outlets provide corporate executives and family travelers more options for use of multiple personal electronics. Blending a combination of whites, blues and grays, the design creates a tasteful ambiance that appeals to adults while abstract artwork playfully delights children as well. The centerpiece of the room is the Westin Heavenly Bed with its all-white custom-designed pillow-top mattress set, cozy down blanket, a trio of crisp sheets, goose down comforter and four over-stuffed pillows. The design continues into a completely new bathroom, featuring a back-lit mirror mounted on iridescent glass tiles. The project started at the Swan Hotel, with approximately 500 of the 756 rooms redesigned by the end of 2014. The first phase of the Dolphin Hotel rooms will begin in 2016 with the entire rooms project currently scheduled for completion by the end of 2017. Visit www.swandolphin.com.
New production shows
All-new, visually exciting musical experiences are coming to the stages of Silversea Cruises' five ultra-luxury ships. The new production shows will feature live singing complemented with musical tracks recorded exclusively for Silversea by such renowned artists as London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Seven different shows, featuring rich costuming, imaginative set designs, and special visual effects, will spotlight the talents of an international ensemble of
accomplished vocalists, known collectively as the Voices of Silversea. Among the productions that will be performed in the main Show Lounge fleetwide is “Musica Maestro” with a grand ballroom as the elegant backdrop for this signature show, which is a 45-minute tribute to popular operatic arias and classical crossover music. Led by renowned conductor Richard Balcombe, its musical score has been arranged, performed, and recorded by London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra exclusively for Silversea guests. Guests on Silver Wind and Silver Cloud have been treated to sneak previews of some of the new shows, produced for Silversea by London-based Luna Rossa Productions, and the program will roll out fleetwide beginning with Silver Whisper on Nov. 25; Silver Shaow on Dec. 20; and Silver Spirit on April 13. Visit www.silversea.com.
Disney Cruise Line announces new ports for 2016
Disney Cruise Line has announced two popular Caribbean destinations – Tortola, British Virgin Islands and Martinique – on its lineup of tropical itineraries for early 2016. The return to the homeport of San Juan, Puerto Rico brings a new itinerary that includes Martinique. From the warm Caribbean culture of Tortola, capital of the British Virgin Islands, to the exquisite French island of Martinique, these destinations provide Disney Cruise Line guests the chance to relax on pristine beaches, discover natural wonders and indulge in local shopping and cuisine. Bookings are open to the public now. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
Sunset sails on Panama City Beach
Paradise Adventures offers a two-hour sail along the Gulf of Mexico to take in the sights and sunsets of Panama City Beach. Travelers can relax onboard the 55-foot catamaran and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine, sangria, cold beer or a non-alcoholic beverage. Cost is $25 for adults, $15 for children 12 and under and $5 for youths 2 and under. Visit www.paradiseadventurespcb.com.
Acquisition of Florida Keys hotels
The Carlyle Group has announced the acquisition of two Florida Keys hotels in Islamorada – the Postcard Inn Beach Resort at Holiday Isle and La Siesta Resort. The two hotels join the Islamorada Resort and Pelican Cove Resort & Marina in Carlyle’s Islamorada hotel portfolio. The four properties will form the newly created Islamorada Hotel Company and be managed by Trust Hospitality. Postcard Inn is a 151-room resort at Mile Marker 84 in Islamorada. The oceanfront resort features a private beach, watersports, two pools, ocean-side marina and a variety of food and beverage options, including the World Famous Tiki Bar. La Siesta is an all-suite beach hotel on six tropical acres on the Oceanside of Islamorada at Mile Marker 80.2. The hotel features cottages with full kitchens and complimentary use of kayaks and bicycles. The Postcard Inn will undergo renovations beginning with upgrades to guest bathrooms, which are scheduled to begin by the end of the year. Improvements to common areas, the marina, and food and beverage options will begin in 2015. La Siesta’s renovations will start in late 2015 and will also include a refresh of the guestrooms and common areas. For more information on Trust Hospitality visit www.TrustHospitality.com. For more information on The Carlyle Hotel Group visit www.Carlyle.com.
New ship named
Holland America Line revealed the name of its new 99,500-ton cruise ship slated for delivery in February 2016 will be ms Koningsdam. While the name pays homage to the company’s rich heritage and deep roots in the Netherlands, it also reflects a new era with a name that is an original in Holland America Line’s 141-year history. The 2,650-passenger ship is an evolution in design for the line — a new Pinnacle Class — and is being built at Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard. Since 1883 every Holland America passenger vessel has borne the “dam” suffix, and ms Koningsdam carries on that tradition. The word koning means “king” in Dutch, and the name celebrates the majestic new ship. The name also pays honor to His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, the first king of the Netherlands in over a century. Holland America Line has a long, proud history with the Netherlands. All of its 15 cruise ships that carry nearly one million guests each year fly the Dutch flag as they sail throughout the world, to more than 400 ports of call. And the line has many Dutch employees, including most of the fleet’s captains and officers. When the Koningsdam debuts she will be a new type of ship for Holland America Line. It is the largest ever built for the company and the increased size provides more opportunities to add new public spaces and venues, and several innovative features will debut on ms Koningsdam. Familiar spaces and amenities currently featured across the Holland America Line fleet will also be found on the new ship. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
New fitness offering at The Breakers
Ocean Fitness will debut as The Breakers’ flagship fitness offering in early December. A 6,000 sq. ft., indoor/outdoor oceanfront fitness experience, situated in the resort’s Mediterranean-style Beach Club complex, it is complimentary to hotel guests. More than twice as large as the resort’s previous rendition within the Spa, Ocean Fitness will encompass 4,300 square feet of air-conditioned interior space, a 1,700 square foot oceanfront terrace featuring treadmills and classes for outdoor workouts, including spin classes, and 10 foot-tall windows
showcasing magnificent ocean vistas. Highlights of the facility include the most advanced equipment available on the market, weekly rotation of more than 45 classes, the expertise of professional fitness instructors, personal trainers and a wellness coach and other features. Visit www.thebreakers.com.
Amelia Island offer
Guests can enjoy a two-bedroom unit at Ketch Courtyard Condominiums on Fernandina Beach at a rate of $165 a night or in a three-bedroom/three-bath condo for $180 per from Sept. 15 to April 1, 2015. Visit www.ketchcourtyard.com for details and terms and conditions.
To the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale
Travelers looking for a mid-sized cruise experience in the Caribbean have 126 itineraries to choose from during Holland America Line’s 2014-15 Caribbean season. Featuring nine of the line’s vessels sailing roundtrip from either Fort Lauderdale or Tampa, the cruises span the Caribbean on eastern, western and southern routes, as well as partial transits of the Panama Canal. The diverse itineraries visit 30 ports. Among the cruises roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale are seven-day voyages to the eastern and western Caribbean that can be combined to form a 14-day Collectors’ Voyage spanning both regions on the Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Westerdam and Zuiderdam. Fares begin at $399 per person, double occupancy for a seven-day cruise. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
New hotel opening in Key West this fall
The Gates Hotel Key West, a new independent hotel with 100 rooms, will open on Key West, this fall. The boutique address under new ownership of Highgate Hotels will combine luxury, modern design, organic touches, and Floridian flare to recreate the verve of Hemingway's "old
school Key West." With its island ambiance, residential-style interiors, Cuban-themed dining and drinking, and splashy pool deck scene, The Gates will bring the Key West lifestyle to life for guests and locals alike. The hotel will offer two guest room categories: The Standard and The View. The View guest rooms include views of the pool or bay with some even providing direct access to the pool area. Each stay comes with complimentary WiFi access, a welcome cocktail and locally-inspired gifts and programs. Opening rates are from $249. Visit www.gateshotelkeywest.com.
Ballrooms renovation in Naples
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, a boutique beachfront resort in Naples, has announced the completion of the million-dollar overhaul to their meeting and event space. Extensive enhancements were carried out to both the Vanderbilt and Bayview Ballrooms and Terraces, community spaces surrounding the conference center, as well as the restrooms and “lantern lane.” Offering event space with waterfront views, LaPlaya makes an picturesque site for social and business functions such as weddings, board meetings, bar mitzvahs, galas, benefits and more with more than 11,500 sq. ft. of flexible function space. Visit www.laplayaresort.com.
Free Internet in some accommodations
Oceania Cruises has announced plans to provide complimentary Internet access to guests booked in either a suite or Concierge Level stateroom on any of its five mid-size ships. This is the first time the upper-premium cruise line has offered a free Internet program, with the new benefit commencing during the 2015 winter season. As part of the program, guests booked in Owner’s, Vista and Oceania suites will receive unlimited complimentary Internet access to enjoy throughout their voyage. Guests booked in Penthouse suites or Concierge Level staterooms will receive blocks of complimentary Internet time based on cruise length, starting with 200 minutes for a seven-night cruise and extending to 500 minutes for voyages over 16 nights. Guests will be able to take advantage of the free Internet either through the ship’s Wi-Fi system or at the Oceania@Sea Internet café. Oceania Cruises recently upgraded the Wi-Fi system across the fleet to increase bandwidth and provide connectivity throughout the entire ship, including all public spaces, outdoor decks and all suites and staterooms. The complimentary Internet rollout will be staggered across the fleet, tied to the official start of each ship’s winter schedule. The first sailings will be Nautica on Oct. 25, 2015, followed by Marina on Nov. 3, Regatta on Nov. 4, Riviera on Dec. 2, and Insignia on Jan. 4, 2016, when it begins its third 180-day Around the World voyage. Complete itinerary details for the winter schedule will be released and available to book at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 17, 2014. Oceania Cruises’ signature 2-for-1 cruise fares include complimentary amenities such as unlimited soft drinks, coffee beverages, juices and bottled water. Guests can savor the finest cuisine at sea at any of the ships’ specialty restaurants without any supplemental dining charges. Oceania Cruises also eliminates the hassle of searching for flights by including free roundtrip air service from major U.S. and Canadian gateways. Visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.
“Dolphin Tale 2 Getaway” on St. Pete Beach
TradeWinds Island Resorts, the Island Grand and Guy Harvey Outpost, on St. Pete Beach is offering the “Dolphin Tale 2 Getaway,” a three-night package beginning at $632 including accommodations at the TradeWinds Island Grand or Guy Harvey Outpost; two tickets to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (additional discounted tickets can be purchased); a dolphin watch cruise for two; a plush Winter the dolphin toy; and the hardcover book, “Winter’s Tale.” Also included is the nightly resort amenity fee, which includes parking, beach cabana, paddleboats and other extras at both TradeWinds resorts. A portion of the proceeds from the package will be donated back to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium – home to the movie’s celebrities, Winter and Hope. The “Dolphin Tale 2 Getaway” is available through Feb. 11, 2015. Visit www.JustLetGo.com. Price listed is for two people and does not include tax. No refunds for early checkouts or unused portions of the package. Package is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other promotion, offer, resort credit or package.
“Pick Your Park” offer in Orlando
Orlando World Center Marriott is featuring the “Pick Your Park” escape, starting at $344 per night, valid for stays now through Dec. 31 (promo code is THM). The program provides choice of two admission tickets to one of the following theme parks: Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Universal Studios Orlando or Universal’s Islands of Adventure; complimentary self-parking and $25 per night resort credit. The offer is based on occupancy and availability. Rates are subject to change and blackout dates apply. Taxes are not included. Package is valid for minimum two-night stays, available now through Dec. 31. Additional theme park tickets are available at Concierge Desk. Visit www.worldcentermarriott.com.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s acquisition of Prestige
Norwegian Cruise Line” or “Norwegian has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Prestige Cruises International, Inc., parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, in cash and stock for a total transaction consideration of $3.025 billion, including the assumption of debt. Prestige operates eight ships and approximately 6,500 berths under two brands. Oceania Cruises is a market leader in the upper-premium cruise segment with five ships offering destination-oriented cruise vacations to more than 330 ports around the globe, gourmet culinary experiences, elegant accommodations and personalized service. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is a market leader in the luxury cruise segment and operates three all-suite ships, with an additional ship on order for delivery in summer 2016. Regent ships visit more than 250 destinations worldwide. Visit www.ncl.com, www.oceaniacruises.com and www.rssc.com.
New nighttime experience debuts on Regal Princess in November
A new nighttime experience debuts on Regal Princess in November, enabling guests to enjoy a chic outdoor nightclub under the stars. The Night Sky Lounge debuts when the ship begins her inaugural Caribbean season from Fort Lauderdale on Nov. 6. The top-deck Retreat Pool will transform into the new Night Sky Lounge one night during each cruise, inviting guests to enjoy a South Miami-style nightclub vibe, including atmospheric pool and furniture lighting, glowing drinks and a DJ spinning tunes on a state-of-the-art audio system. Guests can sip sophisticated cocktails, even in the two Jacuzzis, enjoy a flair bartending demonstration, dance the night away, and can even reserve a cabana with hosted bottle service. Guests pay a nominal charge to enter the Night Sky Lounge. After a short preview sailing on Nov. 6, Regal Princess begins her Caribbean cruise season with a schedule of seven-day cruises to ports in the Eastern Caribbean including St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Princess Cays in the Bahamas. Visit www.princess.com.
Photography books this fall
Guests to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will be able to meet photographer Michael Soluri on Nov. 8 for a book signing and presentation for his new book, “Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration.” Guests are invited to a 30-minute presentation by Soluri at noon in the Hubble Theater at Space Shuttle Atlantis, which features 19 of Soluri’s images of the NASA and Kennedy Space Center workforce. At 1 p.m., a one-hour signing opportunity will follow the presentation on the lower level of Space Shuttle Atlantis. This event is included in daily admission to the Visitor Complex. Soluri has documented humankind’s space exploration journey for more than 15 years. His new book takes a behind-the-scenes look at NASA’s centers in Florida, Texas and Maryland. Published by Simon & Schuster, “Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration” features more than 300 images, 15 essays and a forword by former astronaut and Senator John Glenn. Admission is $50 plus tax for adults and $40 plus tax for children ages 3-11. Visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
Another new book of images this fall is Rebecca Webb Wilson's Well Seasoned: Savoring Life's Lessons (Inspire on Purpose, $25). The former Pan Am flight attendant, attorney, avid traveler and nature photographer chronicles the seasons of nature and of life, illuminated by her uplifting philosophy, in a collage of breathtaking photographs and inspirational essays. The book includes more than one hundred full-color images, and is sprinkled with quotations and fragments of poetry. Visit: www.hawkeyenature.com.
Keel laid for new Holland America ship
Holland America Line recently celebrated the keel laying of its new 2,650-guest Pinnacle Class ship at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy. A 680-ton block was lowered by crane into the yard’s building dock, marking the official beginning of construction. The 99,500-gross-ton ship is scheduled for delivery in February 2016. The ship will showcase decors by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany, based in New York City, and designer and architect Bjorn Storbraaten, based in Oslo, Norway. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Cunard announces 2016 World Cruise and exotics sailings
Cunard Line has announced its 2016 World and Exotic Cruises travelling to 92 destinations, including 32 maiden calls, in 47 countries. The program will feature three World and Exotic Cruises with options ranging from four to 121 days aboard Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Among the offerings is the Queen Mary 2’s circumnavigation from Southampton (her first since 2009), with eight maiden calls during her 120-night westbound voyage via South America and the Suez Canal. She will visit 38 ports of call in 26 countries,
traveling more than 41,000 nautical miles. Destination highlights include her first crossing of the South Pacific, featuring a sail-by of Easter Island and visits to the Polynesian islands of Tahiti and Moorea. Additionally, guests will have the opportunity to take in views of Beagle Channel and Magellan Straits when sailing around Cape Horn. Queen Mary 2 will also travel through the iconic Suez Canal. Overnight calls will include Rio de Janeiro, Punta del Este, Sydney and Dubai. Segment voyages will range from seven to 22 days and include a 10-day Southampton to Fort Lauderdale and a 13-day segment from Fort Lauderdale to Rio de Janeiro. Sample starting fares for Queen Mary 2 Full World Cruise and Segments include: roundtrip New York – $20,049; roundtrip Southampton – $19,999; and Fort Lauderdale to Rio de Janeiro – $2,299. Visit www.cunard.com.
Captiva Holiday Village gets into spirit of the season
The hoteliers, merchants, attraction owners and restaurateurs of Captiva Island are getting into the holiday spirit and preparing for the fifth annual Captiva Holiday Village. The three-weekend-long Captiva Holiday Village launches its 2014 spectacular the Friday after Thanksgiving with fireworks, tree lightings, holiday readings, musical performances and more. Each special-themed weekend will be a fun-filled extravaganza of sight and sound, set against the backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico and evening sunsets. During the event weekends, visitors will enjoy everything from decorated golf cart and lighted boat parades to Junkanoo dancers, live music and even a Marching Mullet Parade.
One of the highlights, the Golf Cart Parade begins at South Seas Island Resort at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6 and is limited to the first 100 entries. All entries must incorporate a holiday theme. The parade route travels from South Seas to Andy Rosse Lane then loops around Chapin a nd Wiles Drive and back past the Green Flash restaurant before returning to South Seas. A portion of the $20 entrance fee will benefit the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation. Prizes will be awarded for the best entries. The Boat Parade will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13 just outside Roosevelt Channel, Marker #2. The route will follow Roosevelt Channel to ‘Tween Waters Inn and back. There is no entry fee for the boat parade and prizes will be given for the best-decorated vessels. A minimum of 100 lights is required for entry but more are encouraged. Best Boat Club & Rentals at South Seas Island Resort will rent boats to resort guests if they want to decorate and participate in the parade. Captiva Island resorts, inns, cottages and vacation homes are also offering lodging specials in conjunction with this year’s event. Visit www.CaptivaHolidayVillage.com.
Internet upgraded and access offerings expanded on Regent Seven Seas
For all Regent Seven Seas Cruises voyages setting sail after Jan. 1, 2015, guests booked in Master, Grand, Seven Seas, Horizon, Mariner, Navigator and Voyager suites will receive unlimited complimentary internet access. The free internet access is available for the duration of the cruise and is accessible in all public spaces and suites via the ship-wide Wi-Fi system. The addition of free unlimited internet access for upper suites coincides with the completion of a multimillion-dollar upgrade to internet systems on all Regent Seven Seas Cruises ships. The upgrades entail a doubling of available bandwidth to increase internet speed and reliability, and an expansion of the Wi-Fi system to provide connectivity throughout the entire ship, including all public spaces, outdoor decks and suites. While top tier suites will enjoy unlimited internet access, guests booked in Penthouse and Concierge suites will continue to receive complimentary internet time based on cruise length. For example, guests sailing on a seven-night voyage receive 200-minutes free and the amount of gratis internet time extends to 500-minutes for voyages over 16-nights. Members of the Regent Seven Seas Cruises loyalty program, Seven Seas Society, who achieved gold status or higher will continue to receive unlimited complimentary internet access onboard, regardless of suite selection. Visit www.rssc.com.
Set-jetting in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has served as the backdrop for many Hollywood movies including “22 Jump Street,” “Runner Runner,” “The Pirates of the Caribbean” and “The Rum Diary,” so the San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino has created a new Set-Jetting package to discover the locations of favorite films. The package (starting at $384 per night) includes a half-day “City Set” tour where guests will be taken to a handful of movie locations. Other perks include one “clapper board” to strike a pose for videos and pictures at your favorite film locations, a $30 credit for On Demand in-room movies, and daily breakfast for two adults and two children. Visit www.marriottsanjuan.com. Promo code is PK9. Minimum two-night stay is required and the offer is valid through Dec. 31.
Perks for Florida residents at Daytona Beach Shores resort
This fall, Florida residents can enjoy exclusive perks at The Shores Resort & Spa in Central Florida –as well as the oceanfront resort’s new Cabana Suites. Now through Dec. 30, 2014, Floridians who overnight at The Shores Resort & Spa receive: choice of two complimentary welcome cocktails or an appetizer sampler, choice of complimentary bottle of house wine or dessert with the purchase of a dinner entree at Azure, 20 percent discount on spa services at Indulge Spa, free car wash at Splash Car Wash, and a $25 gift certificate to be used for a future stay. Visit www.ShoresResort.com Promotion code is FAL.
Live Oak’s Magnolia Fest
In the mood for music? The Magnolia Fest in Live Oak presents such artists as Lyle Lovett & His Accustic Group, Jason Isbell and the Indigo Girls at the Spirit of Suwannee Music Park on Oct. 16-19. A four-day general admission pass is $170 including primitive camping, taxes and fees. The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park is at 3076 95th Drive. Visit www.magnoliafest.com.
Central Florida fall special
Special “Make Some Memories Rates” are being offered by the seven Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels for stays through Oct. 31. As a bonus, guests at these hotels also receive the “2014 Downtown Disney Deals” booklet that features exclusive discounts and specials from more than 30 merchants on Downtown Disney area dining, entertainment and shopping. “Make Some Memories Rates” are:
· B Resort & Spa – now open – rates from $89 per room, per night
· Best Western Lake Buena Vista Resort Hotel – rates from $69 per
room, per night
· Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa – rates from $75 per room, per night
· DoubleTree Suites by Hilton – rates from $99 per suite, per night
· Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – rates from $79 per room, per night
· Holiday Inn Orlando – Lake Buena Vista – rates from $94 per room, per night
· Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort – rates from $69 per room, per night.
Rates are based on availability and some blackout dates may apply. The rates do not include the Resort Services Fee or daily parking fee (if applicable), taxes or gratuities. The offer is not valid with any other special offers, promotions, existing reservations, or for groups. Visit www.DowntownDisneyHotels.com.
12/13/14 wedding package
The auspicious 12/13/14 weekend inspired the Grand Residences Riviera Cancun resort’s wedding team to offer a package for those who book 15 rooms from Dec. 1 through Dec. 20. This all-suite resort provides the perfect setting to celebrate married life together with an intimate group of family and friends. The Grand Residences 12-13-14-15 Package includes complimentary suite for the bride and groom with a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne on the night of the wedding, symbolic ceremony in a beach gazebom bride’s bouquet and groom’s boutonnière, one large mantle floral arrangement, photography and DVD of the wedding ceremony, selection of wedding music to be played during the ceremony, complimentary wedding cake for the party, roundtrip transfers to and from Cancun International Airport, US$50 daily resort credit per suite for food, beverages and spa treatments, welcome 375-ml bottle of premium tequila in each suite, WiFi throughout the resort, European tea service experience every afternoon, resort activities (cooking class, yoga, salsa class, bike tour, etc.). The complimentary bridal suite is available for the night of choice when the 15-room minimum is met (paid and occupied). Regardless of where the bride and groom marry, Grand Residences Riviera Cancun can offer a symbolic ceremony under a beach gazebo with all of the perks mentioned above. This package also applies for other types of ceremonies such as a vow renewal, anniversary and other celebrations. The Grand Residences 12-13-14-15 Package is available for stays between Dec. 1 and Dec. 20, 2014 and Dec. 1 and 20, 2015. In the event of a no-show, a one-night attrition fee per suite will apply. Please check cancellation policy at time of booking. Nightly package rates start at $419 for a junior suite and do not include taxes or service fees. Visit www.grandresidencesrivieracancun.com.
Tampa gets into the spirit for Halloween
Tampa’s Latin Quarter, Ybor City, is getting into the spirit of Halloween with Fantasma Fest (“Fantasma” means ghost in Spanish) hosted by the Ybor Merchants Association Oct. 20-31. The event series kicks off with a celebration of Ybor City's many flavors with Fantasma Feast, and continues with the Little Monster's Promenade - trick-or-treating among the merchants in Centro Ybor, and a pumpkin patch in the courtyard. There’s also Bed Races, where riders on wheeled beds race along three blocks in Ybor City, a Zombie Crawl and Ghost Stories to enjoy. Also in Ybor, the Ybor City Chamber will be presenting the 29th Annual Guavaween Costume Contest on Oct. 25 at the Centro Ybor Stage. There will be live music and cash prizes for a variety of contests, including best costume. Guppyween at The Florida Aquarium is another event taking place from 4 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 26, and is the only day they allow costumed animals, ghosts and princesses to roam the aquarium. Younger guests can trick-or-treat from tank-to-tank among more than 20,000 sea creatures, making it an ideal family-friendly Halloween event. For information on Tampa’s Halloween festivities, visit www.VisitTampaBay.com.
Voyage collection for 2016 unveiled
Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea has announced its 2016 voyages. The line’s eight intimate ships will showcase 845 destinations (including 107 new ports) on 272 voyages across seven continents. Highlights include a 115-day Venetian World Cruise departing Fort Lauderdale on Jan. 5, 2016 and visiting 51 destinations in 31 countries. It will follow a westward path through the Panama Canal to South America and the Pacific. Guests will explore the South Seas, including Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, and Bora Bora before sailing to New Zealand, Australia, and Asia, including Hong Kong and Singapore, the resorts of Bali and Phuket, and mysterious Myanmar. The odyssey will continue to India, Arabia, and Mediterranean hideaways before concluding with two nights in Venice. Another highlight is a Circle South America voyage on Silver Spirit departing Jan. 15 on a 66-day roundtrip Grand Voyage from Fort Lauderdale. Highlights include a crossing of the Panama Canal, two days cruising Chile's fjords, a three-day stopover in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival, plus multi-day calls in Buenos Aires and Callao (gateway to Lima and Machu Picchu). Visit www.silversea.com.
South America/Antarctica voyage from Fort Lauderdale
Holland America Line’s ms Prinsendam kicks off the new year on Jan 3 with a 68-day Grand South America and Antarctica. After passing through the Panama Canal, the ship will reach South America’s Pacific coast and continue on to circumnavigate the continent. During the voyage, Prinsendam will call at 31 ports in 11 countries, including spending seven days cruising the Amazon River and three days of scenic cruising in Antarctica. The 2015 itinerary also features overnight calls at Valparaiso (Santiago), Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Manaus, Brazil, in the Amazon; and two nights at Callao (Lima), Peru. Guests sailing on this voyage also will enjoy scenic cruising past the Romanche and Alemania glaciers in Chile, Drake Passage, Cape Horn and Argentina’s Glacier Alley. Rates start at $13,999. Segments between Fort Lauderdale and Buenos Aires are available. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Free night offer in St. Lucia
Special savings are available this fall at Calabash Cove Resort & Spa in St. Lucia. Guests who book four nights at Calabash Cove’s standard rates (travel by Dec. 20) receive a fifth night's accommodations at no additional charge. Call 1-800-917-COVE (2683).
Disney’s Hoop-Dee-Doo marks 40th anniversary
The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, an all-you-can-eat dinner show themed to the Wild West marked its 40th anniversary as a permanent show at Pioneer Hall in Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground at Walt Disney World on Sept. 5. It’s one of the country’s longest-running dinner shows and has presented more than 37,000 performances with more than 10.5 million guests seeing the high-spirited show. And while the 90-minute Hoop-Dee-Doo has been fine-tuned over its 40-year run, the heart of the show never has changed: a slice of Americana, old-fashioned family fun and heaping helpings of good, down-home food. Six performers sing, dance and act their way through the show while diners enjoy fried chicken, ribs, mashed potatoes, cornbread, baked beans, corn and strawberry shortcake. Beer, wine, sangria and soft drinks are included. Three shows are presented nightly at 4 p.m., 6:15 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Prices, including tax and gratuity, start at $56.99 for adults and $29.99 for ages 3 to 9. Call 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463) or visit www.disneyworld.com.
Princess launches new craft beer
Princess Cruises is pouring a new craft beer to toast its upcoming 50th anniversary. The “Seawitch” West Coast IPA beer – named for the company’s iconic logo – was developed exclusively for Princess Cruises, in partnership with Strike Brewing Company, and is the first in the line’s new series of craft beers. The brew will be introduced aboard Regal Princess when the cruise ship debuts in Florida for a season of Caribbean cruises this November. The Seawitch West Coast IPA will retail for $6.25 and be available in bars and lounges throughout the ship. It is expected to be available fleetwide by early 2015. Visit www.princess.com.
Fall getaway special for Florida and Georgia residents
Families in Florida and Georgia can take advantage of the Florida and Georgia Resident Special Offer from the new B Resort & Spa in Orlando. An Official Disney Hotel, the property offers a full service B Indulged, an AVEDA lifestyle spa, B Active Fitness Center and a restaurant concept American Q, spearheaded by NYC restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow. The Florida and Georgia Resident Special Offer provides special discounted rates starting at $99 per night with complimentary breakfast for two adults and two children, representing 30 percent savings. Visit www.bhotelsandresorts.com.
A round of "Spa"pplause in Vero Beach
Kimpton’s Vero Beach Hotel & Spa is inviting travelers to slip into a world of relaxation with its special round of "Spa"pplause offer, which includes 20 percent off best available rates and a 25-minute massage and facial at White Orchid Spa (one per stay). The Round of "Spa"pplause offer is available for booking and restrictions may apply. Visit www.verobeachhotelandspa.com and use booking code PSPA.
Offer at Boca resorts
The Boca Raton Resort & Club and Boca Beach Club, Waldorf Astoria Resorts in South Florida, are offering guests special rates when they book now for the holiday season. For guests booking before Oct. 4, rates start at $199 for Boca Raton Resort and $249 for Boca Beach Club. Amenities offered include a Waldorf Astoria Spa, two championship 18-hole golf courses, seven swimming pools, and 13 dining opportunities. Boca Beach Club, steps from a half-mile stretch of private beach along the Atlantic coast, offers families a more contemporary, modern design. Visit www.bocaresort.com and www.bocabeachclub.com.
Celebrating 40th anniversary at Daytona Beach Shores resort
The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores is offering a special rate starting at $74 per night, in honor of its 1974 opening date. The rate is valid on all mid-week stays at the oceanfront resort through the end of the year. Visit www.ShoresResort.com. Promotion code is 1974SH. Offer is valid on mid-week stays only (Sunday-Thursday) and excludes Biketoberfest and other Special Event blackout dates. Offer may not be used with another promotion or discount. Visit www.shoresresort.com.
New sleepover program at Miami Seaquarium in early October
“Dreaming with Dolphins” is a new sleepover program where families get to explore Miami Seaquarium after hours and sleep beside the Top Deck Dolphin exhibit and the jewel fish tanks. From 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4 to 10 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, Miami Seaquarium invites guests to go on an adventure and experience the park like never before. Cost is $60 per participant ($30 with a valid Annual Pass), the two-day event will offer science presentations, marine mammal shows, light snacks, dinner, and continental breakfast the next day. Families also will have the opportunity to explore a variety of marine creatures by booking one of the many interaction packages with the manatees, sea turtles, dolphins, sea lions and more. Due to limited space, reservations must be booked in advance. To make a reservation call 305-365-2501. Participating families will need to bring a sleeping bag and air mattress. For those who wish to rent, a limited number of closed-cell foam sleeping mats will be available. Visit www.miamiseaquarium.com.
Revamped travel guides
In celebration of the 20th anniversary of DK’s Eyewitness Travel guides, the books have been re-launched this summer. The series re-launch includes updated itineraries ranging from two to 14 days, new content and improved usability with the same gold-standard integrity they are known and loved for. Key features include: new itineraries based on lengths of stay, regional destinations, or themes; city guides with tailor-made daytrip and weekend itineraries; country guide itineraries ranging from two to fourteen days; new hotel and restaurant listings; DK Choice listings highlighting recommendations for dining and accommodations; simplified price and cuisine categories, with photography throughout; redrawn maps for improved readability; restaurants plotted on maps and listed with adjacent sights; more detailed street maps, with subway stops and viewing points. Among the newly revamped titles are DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: New York City; DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Italy; DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: London; and DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Paris. Visit http://us.dk.com.
Celebrating National Yoga Month in September
National Yoga Month kicked off Sept. 1 and Kimpton Florida properties are celebrating with complimentary yoga-inspired wellness offerings. Kimpton’s EPIC Hotel in downtown Miami offers guest programs through Exhale, the "mind body spa" brand. Guests have the option to choose from a variety of yoga classes including Exhale Chill Yoga, Flow Yoga and Power Yoga. Kimpton’s Surfcomber Miami, South Beach, located oceanfront in the Art Deco District in South Beach, offers complimentary beachfront yoga classes every Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Additionally, all four of Kimpton’s Florida properties, EPIC Hotel, Surfcomber, The Angler’s and Vero Beach Hotel and Spa, offer guests a complimentary in-room yoga mat for convenient relaxation. Visit www.kimptonhotels.com.
Flavors of the Palm Beaches
The Palm Beaches are gearing up for the FLAVOR Palm Beach restaurant month running in September. A favorite of both locals and visitors alike, the month-long event will include nearly 50 Palm Beach County restaurants from Tequesta to Boca Raton, each offering three-course lunches for $20 and dinners starting at $30. Now in its seventh year, the event has attracted new and additional restaurants, including Buccan, Café Boulud, Capital Grille, 50 Ocean, Graze at Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach, Imoto, Morton’s The Steakhouse, PB Catch, Pistache French Bistro, Renato’s, The Italian Restaurant at The Breakers, Temple Orange at Eau Palm Beach and Sinclairs Ocean Grill at Jupiter Beach Resort. Each reservation made through FlavorPB.com benefits the Food Bank, which aims to eradicate hunger in the county. Reservations can be made on the FLAVOR Palm Beach website or by contacting individual restaurants directly. Due to the popularity of the event, advance reservations are strongly recommended. Visit www.FlavorPB.com.
Original cast of “The Love Boat” to name new Princess ship in Fort Lauderdale
It’s been nearly forty years since the television show “The Love Boat” went on the air and introduced viewers to modern day cruising and, in the process, made Princess Cruises and its ships synonymous with vacations at sea. As Princess prepares to celebrate its milestone 50th anniversary year in 2015, the company is honoring the role that “The Love Boat” played in its history by selecting the original cast members to serve as godparents for its new cruise ship Regal Princess. All six Love Boat cast members - who played the roles of Captain Stubing, Gopher, Isaac, Doc, Julie and Vicki – will reunite to christen the new ship on Nov. 5 in Fort Lauderdale. The ceremony will officially launch the golden year anniversary celebrations for Princess Cruises, which will celebrate five decades of operation throughout 2015. The actors include Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing) Fred Grandy (Gopher, the chief purser), Ted Lange (Isaac, the bartender), Bernie Kopell (Doc, the ship’s doctor), Lauren Tewes (cruise director Julie) and Jill Whelan (Vicki, the captain’s daughter). The 3,560-guest Regal Princess, which entered service in May, is arriving in Fort Lauderdale to begin her maiden season of Caribbean cruise vacations. Among the special features found on board is a multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship, offering dining and entertainment options; an over-water SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; plush private poolside cabanas that appear to be floating on water; the Princess Live! television studio; the largest pastry shop at sea; a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light; and balconies on all outside staterooms. Visit www.princess.com.
For multi-generational vacationers
In recognition of Grandparents Day, Sept. 7, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is making it easier for the whole family to connect and spend quality time together with an offer for a multigenerational vacation. Grandparents and their families vacationing at the Epcot Resort Area hotel can receive a connecting guest room for just $109 per night – up to a 50-percent savings off standard rates – when booking one room at the standard price for stays in September. Connecting guest rooms provide the space, privacy and access ideal for multigenerational families as well as for grandparents traveling alone with grandkids. In addition to nearby theme parks, the hotel offers a variety of amenities for each generation and activity level, including 17 restaurants and lounges, five pools, two health clubs, tennis, nearby golf, a Balinese-inspired spa and complimentary transportation throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. Visit www.swandolphin.com/offers. Taxes, resort services fee and gratuities not included. Not valid with any other special offers, promotions, or for existing reservations or groups; offer is based on rate schedule availability.
Key West attractions pass
The Key West Attractions Association is offering a Vacation Values Pass with which visitors can receive special values on museum and attractions admissions, watersports adventures and more. The $49 pass booklet contains 22 offers from many of Key West's popular attractions and can be used through Dec. 19. Values are featured on tickets for historic and museum attractions, snorkeling excursions, kayaking and eco-tours, visits to nature facilities, fishing charters, food and beverages, sunset cruises and even a flyboard adventure. Visitors must purchase passes online at www.keywestvacationpass.com before traveling to Key West, and should receive them within seven days of ordering. Some blackout dates apply, and there is a $6 shipping and handling fee. For Key West Attractions Association information visit www.keywestattractions.org.
Coast to coast VIP package
Two of Ocean Properties’ Florida resorts have partnered with Aura Jets to create a “Coast to Coast” vacation. The four-night, five-day itinerary starts on the East Coast of Florida with a two-night stay at Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa, then takes them on a 45-minute flight aboard a 6-passenger Cessna Conquest jet to the Gulf Coast for another two-night stay on Longboat Key (Sarasota). It includes limo transports, suite accommodations at the two Four-Diamond resorts, champagne, dinners, and more. The package starts at $10,500. Info: www.jupiterbeachresort.com/coasttocoast or www.longboatkeyclub.com/coasttocoast/.
Around the world in 180 days
Oceania Cruises has announced an 180-day journey aboard the newly refurbished Insignia, scheduled to depart on Jan, 4, 2016. The Around the World in 180 Days itinerary departs from Miami, sailing in the Caribbean before continuing on a southern course to South America where the ship will visit ports in Trinidad and Tobago, French Guiana and Brazil. The ship then heads to Africa where guests will enjoy the scenery in countries such as Angola, Namibia, South Africa and Mozambique. After traveling around the African continent, Insignia sails for Asia where guests will enjoy two-night stays in Rangoon, Burma (Yangon, Myanmar), and Shanghai, China. Insignia then heads to the South Pacific for a number of stops, including Oceania Cruises’ first call on the Australian port of Cooktown, serving as a gateway for the Great Barrier Reef and the Aboriginal community of Hopevale. After sailing through the Hawaiian waters, Insignia stops in Los Angeles before heading down the west coast, through the Panama Canal and completing the journey in Miami on July 1. Guests reserving their suite or stateroom by Oct. 31, 2014, will receive two-for-one cruise fares, free First Class roundtrip airfare from major U.S. and Canadian gateways and early booking savings of up to 71 percent. In addition, guests will receive the Exclusive Prestige Package, which includes free pre-paid gratuities – a value up to $8,300; free onboard medical services; free unlimited Internet; free laundry services; free shoreside events; free visa package; free luggage delivery for up to two bags 50 lbs. or less; free one-night pre-cruise hotel stay; free roundtrip transfers from pre-cruise hotel or 50-mile radius of PortMiami. Visit www.OceaniaCruises.com.
Exploring the Northwest Passage in 2016
Crystal Cruises is introducing a new expedition-style voyage traversing the Arctic Ocean via the Northwest Passage (500 miles north of the Arctic Circle). Beginning Aug. 16, 2016 in Anchorage/Seward, Alaska, the Crystal Serenity will sail for 32 days from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean/New York City.
A 14-person expedition team of experts in a variety of subjects – including a native Arctic guide, scientists, and wildlife and landscape photographers – will not only provide lectures on subjects such as the science and history of the area, but also offer hands-on seminars and workshops, host dinners with guests, guide wildlife watching from the ship, and accompany excursions, where appropriate. Visit www.crystalcruises.com.
Post-Labor Day deal in Orlando
Travelers looking for a post-Labor Day deal may wish to check out this one from the Wyndham Orlando International Drive, which recently underwent a multi-million dollar renovation. The resort is offering a special 25 percent off deal on select nights, based on availability, from Sept. 1 to Nov. 1, with nightly rates starting at $69 (based on double occupancy and exclusive of tax and resort fee). The package is bookable with rate code DIS15; terms and conditions apply. Visit
Third night free offer in Naples
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Southwest Florida has enhanced its 3rd Night Free offer with the just-announced added bonus of no greens fees (with cart fees only) on its championship golf course, and free tennis at its Mary C. Watkins Tennis Center. The resort’s 3rd night free offer, with the complimentary tennis and the cart fees only for golf, is available for stays through Sept. 30, based on availability, with holiday weekends excluded. For holiday weekends the resort is offering the 4th night free. Visit www.NaplesBeachHotel.com. Blackout dates may apply, and the promotion may not be combined with any other offer. Also, the promotion is not applicable to groups.
Jupiter grand opening special
The new Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place opens this fall and in celebration, guests can now book a stay from $179 per night for travel Oct. 15-31. Visit: www.wyndham.com/hotels/47553.
Soaring over the Keys
Visitors to the Florida Keys can soar over the Keys’ waters with Barefoot Billy's new Flyboard Adventure, offered from the company's Atlantic Ocean beachfront location at the Casa Marina Resort Jetski Hut, 1500 Reynolds St. in Key West. The Flyboard device connects to the motor of a jet ski, routing a jet of water through a pair of jet boots that enable flyers to soar "Iron Man style" up to 20 feet high. The adventure includes a one-on-one operation and safety training session where flyers learn to take off, hover and land, and 30 minutes of flight time. Experiences are offered daily every hour on the half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Rates start at $199 per person and $350 for two people. Visit www.barefootbillys.com.
Music festival at sea
Norwegian Cruise Line and Sixthman, a leader in music festivals at sea, have announced the full line up of fall 2014 and spring 2015 festivals sailing from Miami onboard the Norwegian Pearl. Each of these music-themed cruises are sure to give fans an intimate experience with their favorite artists, featuring outdoor performances, meet and greets, personal Q&A sessions and more. With artists ranging from Heart to KISS, to 311 and Kid Rock, there is floating festival for every musical taste. Among the highlights, debuting in fall, Grammy Festival at sea presents “Women Who Rock featuring Heart, the Indigo Girls, Emmylou Harris and many more. This group cruise sets sail Nov. 4- 8. Info: www.grammyfestivalatsea.com. For more information on these special events, visit www.sixthman.net.
New hotel to open in Key West in October
The 96-room Marker Waterfront Resort is slated to open in Key West this October. Located on the edge of the Key West Historic Seaport, the Marker “marks” the first new hotel build in Old Town Key West since 1994. It resides on nearly two acres of waterfront land, built in the style of classic conch architecture. In addition to The Marker's 96 guest rooms, the property boasts; an eclectic dining concept (Cero Bodega,) tropical landscaping, multiple swimming pools and poolside cocktail service as well as on-site parking and waterfront views. The Marker will offer four room categories, ranging between Marina, Pool, Garden and Old Town views, available in both standard king and double queen options. Additional amenities include complimentary WIFI, soaking tubs, and a fitness center, among others. Starting rates for The Marker Key West Resort will be $329. Visit www.TheMarkerKeyWest.com.
New cruise ships on the horizon
Princess Cruises has announced that it has reached an agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a new ship, which will enter service in 2017. The as-yet unnamed 143,000-ton vessel, will be built at an all-in cost of approximately 600 million euros, will carry 3,560 passengers, and feature the design platform introduced by sister ships Royal Princess in 2013 and Regal Princess that entered service in May. The new ship will include the signature elements that have become synonymous with Princess Cruises such as a soaring central atrium hub with multiple dining, entertainment and retail venues; the adults-only Sanctuary; Movies Under the Stars cinema experience, and 80 percent of all staterooms with balconies. The ship will also include some innovations to enhance the guest experience further. Info: www.princess.com.
This September, Silversea Expeditions' all-suite, 100-guest Silver Galapagos will undergo a second phase of refurbishment during a month-long dry dock in Panama. The renovations will entail a refurbishment of all suites, corridors and the Explorer Lounge. Visit www.silversea.com.
A return to Bermuda
Holland America is returning to Bermuda on seven-day cruises aboard the 1,350-guest Veendam in the summer of 2015. Sailing roundtrip from Boston, Mass., six departures will sail in May, June and July, and feature three days and nights at Hamilton. Fares begin at $799 per person, double, for the seven-day cruises. Info: www.hollandamerica.com.
Key West Hard Rock Café renovated
Key West's iconic Hard Rock Café at 313 Duval St. recently underwent major renovations. A new outside patio bar was added and the exterior design features a new pastel color palette and an 1889 gingerbread design. Inside, guests find a wedding room that has been added to the second floor featuring memorabilia from famous rock star couples including John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Sonny and Cher. A new "Art of Rock" room features artwork memorabilia from legendary rock stars. For customers seeking a more tropical vibe, the new "Surfer Room" features memorabilia from some top "trop rockers" including Jimmy Buffett and the Beach Boys. The menu has been updated and new specialty drinks have been added. Visit www.hardrock.com/cafes/key-west/.
Kids eat free package in St. Petersburg
The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersbur Resort & Golf Club is featuring a Kids Eat Free package now through Dec. 31. With five restaurants to choose from, children can find something that feeds their hunger and parents will save since up to four children can eat all three daily meals for free. With rates starting at $179 a night, this deal (promo code MAJ must be entered/mentioned at time of reservation) offers free meals for up to four children ages 12 and under for breakfast, lunch and dinner orders off the children’s menu; guest room with one king or two double beds, and access to fitness center and health club. Visit http://vinoyrenaissanceresort.com.
Last fling before the ring
Kimpton Surfcomber Miami, South Beach is helping bachelors and bachelorettes say bye-bye in style to their final days as a singleton with the introduction of its Girls or Guys Getaway (GGG) package. South Beach is known as a popular playground for bachelor and bachelorette groups, and the Surfcomber is kick-starting the last fling before the ring to help soon-to-be newlyweds create unforgettable memories before tying the knot. The GGG package includes: complimentary upgrade to the next room category upon availability, poolside cabana with your choice of bucket of beers or bottle of champagne, a $50 food and beverage credit at Social Club, and a four-hour limousine ride to take you bar, club or restaurant hopping. Package is available for booking now and travel through Dec. 31. Restriction and blackout dates may apply. Visit www.surfcomber.com and use booking code GGG.
Star Clippers offers discount for kids starting in summer 2015
Families may wish to check out Star Clippers’ tall ships’ offer that saves 25 percent off the cruise fare for kids 17 and under starting in summer 2015. The savings are applied when a reservation is made with two adult bookings at the brochure price with up to two adults and one child in the same cabin or one adult and one child each in two cabins. Cabin categories 2 through 6 are eligible for the discount, offering guests a range of accommodations and price points. Visit www.starclippers.com.
National S’mores Day at The Shores Resort & Spa
You don't have to go camping to enjoy some ooey gooey s'mores. At The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores s'mores kits come complimentary with every room and are a signature snack enjoyed at the resort's firepit, so it makes sense that the resort would jump at the opportunity to celebrate National S'mores Day on Aug. 10. The Shores Resort & Spa will be honoring the campfire confection all month long with its S’mores Package, starting at 187 per night. The package includes: 15 percent of one night’s accommodations, s’mores specialty pedicure, two smore-tini cocktails and one specialty s’mores platter. Guests who can’t get enough of the treat can also head down to the resort’s Azure restaurant to taste the new Skillet S’mores dish. Visit: www.shoresresort.com
Curacao family offer
The recently renovated Hilton Curaçao resort is featuring the Bring Your Family package. Now through Dec. 24, this beachfront property welcomes families of four with adventure-filled activities. Starting at $229 per night for a family of four (two adults, two children), the package features accommodations in a renovated guestroom as well as a welcome “Beach Play Set” Kit for the kids, daily American Breakfast for four, Children’s Menu or 50 percent off regular menu items, Dolphin Encounter at the Sea Aquarium, kayaking with Caribbean Sea Sports onsite watersports center, a Family Photo (taken at family’s favorite spot onsite and provided prior to departure), and a Movie Night with popcorn and soft drinks. The offer is subject to availability. Rate is a starting rate only and does not include resort/service fees, local taxes, incidental charges or gratuities, and is subject to change without notice. A minimum length of stay of four nights is required. Cannot be combined with any other promotions, offers or discounts and not valid for existing reservations or groups. See terms and conditions, and information, regarding the dolphin encounter at www.dolphin-academy.com/programs/dolphin-encounter. Visit www.hiltoncuracaoresort.com.
Escape every which way
InterContinental Hotels Group invites travelers to plan their ideal vacation with "Fantastic Escapes." Now through Dec. 31, guests who book the Fantastic Escapes packages and stay at any of the more than 200 InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo Hotels, Holiday Inn Hotels, Holiday Inn Express Hotels, Holiday Inn Resort Hotels and Staybridge Suites Hotels located in any destination across Latin America, the Caribbean and Mexico will receive special offers such as free breakfast, discounts on food and beverage and complimentary in-room amenities. Three experiences for different stay occasions including:
The Family Escape with complimentary daily breakfast for two adults and two children, complimentary dinner for children each night when ordering from the children's menu and accompanied by an adult ordering from the hotel restaurant’s menu, 10 percent discount on all lunches and dinners for two adults in select hotel restaurants, late check-out, children stay free when sharing a room with an adult abd receive a coloring book and crayon box. The Romantic Escape with choice of daily continental breakfast or nightly romantic dinner for two, one bottle of wine, 15 percent discount on all food and beverage in select hotel restaurants and bars, late check-out and in-room amenity. The Weekend Escape with complimentary daily breakfast for two adults and two children, 15 percent discount on all food and beverage for two adults in select hotel restaurants & bars, two complimentary cocktails at the hotel bar, children 12 and under dine free for breakfast and when ordering from the children's menu and accompanied by an adult ordering from the hotel restaurant’s menu and stay free when sharing a room with an adult, late check-out, complimentary valet parking, and local excursion organized by hotel.
Restrictions may apply. Some include: late check-out of an additional hour is subject to the availability of the selected hotel; two children under 19 stay free when sharing a room with an adult, but at InterContinental brand hotels children must be under 12; and children under 12 receive complimentary lunch and dinner from the kids menu when accompanied by an adult. For all restrictions that may apply, please visit www.ihg.com/escape.
Princess Cruises has announced a new partnership with internationally acclaimed master chocolatier and pastry designer Norman Love. “Chocolate Journeys” is the line’s new onboard chocolate experience that will entice guests with an impressive array of onboard chocolate offerings among which are custom-crafted desserts, chocolate and wine pairings, and exquisite chocolate bites created by one of the top names in artisan chocolate. Some of the offerings are complimentary (like the Chocolate Love Pops truffles guests can enjoy along with bubbly at the Captain’s Welcome Reception) and others have fees. The program debuts this fall on the Regal Princess during her Caribbean season and will be rolled out to the rest of the Princess fleet throughout 2015. Visit www.princess.com.
For music lovers on Panama City Beach
Panama City Beach is setting the scene for the Chasin the Sun Music Festival presented by SeaHaven Beach Resorts. Featuring an array of artists who created and continue playing the classic beach sound, the event allows concert-goers a chance to enjoy a few bonus days of summer Sept. 12-14. The festival will be hosted by Radio Margaritaville’s JD Spradlin, and will feature surf-music legends in Jan & Dean’s Beach Party, including Dean Torrence (of Jan & Dean) and original Beach Boys members Al Jardine and David Marks. Also in the three-day musical lineup will be Peter Mayer (the lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffett), Mac McAnally (a member of The Coral Reefer Band) and Nadira Shakoor (another member of the Coral Reefer Band). The Chasin’ the Sun Music Festival will be held steps from the beach in Panama City Beach’s Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater, where adults can enjoy Dave’s Margarita Bar and children can play in the Little Parakeet Fun Zone with water slides and a bounce house. Prizes will be awarded in an island-style costume contest. VIP tickets are available, and will provide ticket holders with premium seating, a private tent area, drink and food service, and a Chasin’ the Sun t-shirt. As an added bonus, on Saturday, Sept. 13 local businesses are holding Beach Parties in multiple Panama City Beach locations from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Single day tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for children. Three-day passes are $45 for adults, $20 for children, with military and senior discounts available, Visit www.visitpanamacitybeach.com
New brochure and features for Star Clippers
Star Clippers has released a new brochure featuring itineraries from April 2015 through March 2016. Royal Clipper, Star Clipper and Star Flyer explore the Mediterranean and Caribbean, as well as sail transatlantic crossings and Panama Canal transits. The new brochure has photos of the ports of call to life and voyage maps make it easy to plot each sailing. New itinerary highlights point out special attractions and sights on each voyage, and the pricing structure has been simplified and is easy to follow in charts throughout the brochure. Each itinerary includes an early-booking savings rate for savvy guests who reserve by Jan. 31, 2015. On Caribbean sailings the savings rate includes free roundtrip air and taxes from select air-gateway cities including Miami. For Star Clippers' loyal guests, a new past-passenger program has been created. Past guests will be entitled to an additional discount of 3 percent off the savings rate on every sailing whenever they sail. New Star Clippers guests receive a $50 per person onboard credit for bookings made by Oct. 1, 2014. Visit www.starclippers.com to view a video about the line or take a virtual tour of Star Clippers' tall ships.
World cruise 2016 announced
Fort Lauderdale-based Silversea Cruises has opened the books on its World Cruise 2016, a 115-day sailing from Fort Lauderdale to Venice, departing Jan. 5, 2016. The voyage on the all-suite Silver Whisper, spans across six continents and visits 51 destinations in 31 countries, including 13 multi-day port calls along the way, plus many late-night departures.
Named "Venetian World Odyssey 2016," the voyage will f ollow a westward path from Fort Lauderdale through the Panama Canal to South America and the Pacific. Guests will explore the island paradises of the South Seas, including Easter Island, Pitcairn Island, Tahiti, and Bora Bora before sailing to the most desirable destinations of New Zealand, Australia, and Asia, including Hong Kong and Singapore, the resorts of Bali and Phuket, and mysterious Myanmar. The odyssey will continue to India, Arabia, and Mediterranean hideaways before concluding with two nights in Venice.
Guests will enjoy onboard enrichment program featuring destination experts, academics, journalists, diplomats and other specialists. Local entertainment, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and regional specialties will provide immersion in each destination. Guests sailing the complete World Cruise will have a variety of amenities, including a gala Bon Voyage reception, dinner, and overnight stay at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Miami, complimentary Business Class air and transfers (between home, airport, hotel and Silver Whisper), complimentary baggage valet service, a $4,000 onboard spending credit (per suite), complimentary laundry service, Internet package and commemorative gifts. Additionally, for guests sailing the full 115 days, there will be three complimentary exclusive World Cruise events. These include a masked ball in Venice, an elegant lunch on a private island in Sydney Harbor, and a chartered jet flight to India's Taj Mahal for a tour followed by lunch and a return flight to Silver Whisper. Plus, three complimentary Silversea Experiences will highlight enigmatic Easter Island, the seascape of Halong Bay, and the Royal Opera House of Muscat. Air-inclusive fares for World Cruise 2016 start at $59,950 per person, double. Visit www.Silversea.com/worldcruise2016.
Key West package
The Ocean Key Resort has introduced the "Live To Play Another Day" package. Starting at $869 per night, the program provides daily breakfast for two at Hot Tin Roof, one cocktail per person, per day at Liquid Lounge or Sunset Pier, daily “Rejuvenating Massage” for two including Isotonic B-12 vitamin shots, and accommodations in an Oceanview Boutique Suite. The package is subject to availability and blackouts. Visit www.oceankey.com.
Life’s a beach in Miami
The oceanfront Marriott Stanton South Beach in Miami has unveiled a new $10 million look and is inviting travelers to come experience the surf-inspired re-design with their “Life’s A Beach” package. Guests can hang by one of the infinity-edge pools, bike down Ocean Drive or take a stroll to dining, shopping and nightlife. The Life’s a Beach package provides two drinks by the pool, two beach chairs, an umbrella rental and Wi-Fi each night of the stay. This package is valid now through Oct. 15, with rates starting at $279 per night. High season rates average $569. Visit www.marriottstantonsouthbeach.com.
Savings offer from Holland America
To encourage early bookings Holland America is returning with its “Explore 4” savings program that is better than before with four exceptional offers on select 2015 and 2016 sailings. The “Explore 4” benefits include a free Signature Beverage Package and free Pinnacle Grill dinner for guests booking an ocean-view and higher category stateroom, free or reduced cruise fares for third and fourth guests in the same stateroom on select sailings and 50 percent reduced deposits. Suite bookings also receive a $300 onboard spending credit per stateroom ($150 per person) and a free Canaletto dinner in addition to the other four offers. Guests may receive all of the offers when booking a qualified itinerary. Guests looking to take advantage of the “Explore 4” program can choose select itineraries to nearly all of Holland America Line’s global destinations, including Alaska and Alaska/Yukon Land+Sea Journeys, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Mexico/Hawaii, Panama Canal and South America/Antarctica. With free or reduced cruise fare for third and fourth guests on select sailings, a family of four can take a vacation to Europe, a tropical sailing to the Caribbean or longer journey to an exotic destination. In the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexico, fares for seven-day cruises start from $799 for the first and second guests in an ocean-view stateroom, and the third and fourth guests sail free. A seven-day European cruise starts at $1,199 for an ocean-view stateroom for the first and second guests, and the third and fourth guests sail free. By taking advantage of the 50 percent reduced deposit offer, guests will have more flexibility and time before paying the final deposit on their cruise. Visit www.hollandamerica.com.
Hot summer nights on St. Pete Beach
The waterfront Hotel Zamora on St. Pete Beach is featuring The Hot Summer Nights offer including 15 percent off nightly rates, $25 daily food and beverage credit, and complimentary late check out for guests. Booking is available through Sept. 30, for travel through Oct. 1. Visit www.thehotelzamora.com.
Spa package inspired in the Everglades
Inspired in the Florida Everglades the aLaya Spa experience at the Bonaventure Resort & Spa offers organic treatments from OSEA, a Malibu-based company using natural ingredients inspired by the plant life found in the Everglades and in natural environments around the world. A new Everglades Experience package combines excursions into the Everglades and spa treatments and fitness programs offered by the aLaya Spa. Starting from $199 per room per night the package includes complimentary upgrade to one bedroom suite, Everglades Air-Boat Tour at the nearby Sawgrass Recreational Park, transportation to/from the Park, daily breakfast at the resort’s Banyan's Restaurant, choice of either one Endless Everglades treatment or one Wetlands Facial and a nature walk pedicure. The package requires a two-night minimum stay and is based on based on double occupancy. It extends through Dec. 31. Info: www.bonaventureresortandspa.com/florida_resort_deals/evergladesspa.
Exotics collection from Princess Cruises
Princess Cruises has announced its 2015-2016 Exotics program that will take guests to a myriad of fascinating destinations that span the globe. The deployment includes more than 40 unique itineraries to 140 destinations in 70 countries on six continents. Guests will be able to book cruises to Tahiti and the South Pacific, South America, Australia/New Zealand, Asia and Africa. In addition, cruisers will experience less-traveled ports- available on the line’s small ships, or circumvent the globe on a 111-day World Cruise sailing roundtrip from North America. South America Cruises include sailings on Star Princess to the Southern Hemisphere sailing between Santiago (Valparaiso) and either Rio de Janeiro or Buenos Aires on itineraries sailing the southernmost tip of South America and the Chilean Fjords. In addition, Star Princess will sail between two continents and cross the Equator on two departures of Andes and South American cruises
featuring Peru, Ecuador, Costa Rica and an optional overland tour of Machu Picchu. Visit www.princess.com.
New cabana suites in Daytona Beach Shores
The Shores Resort & Spa in Daytona Beach Shores has unveiled 14 Cabana Suites. Giving guests a private outdoor space, the oceanfront cabana area connects directly to the guest room and includes a flat screen
TV, ceiling fan, private lounge chairs and seating area. Visit www.shoresresort.com.
Instant savings in Nassau/Paradise Island
Nassau/Paradise Island in the Bahamas is offering an Instant Savings promotion whereby travelers can save when booking a stay at any of the destination’s participating properties. Travelers receive $200 Instant Savings when booking an air-inclusive minimum four-night stay. The package must be booked by Aug. 11 and travel must occur from Aug. 18 through Dec. 19. This offer is valid for travel originating in the U.S. and Canada. For information on participating resorts, additional packages, or to book the Instant Savings offer, visit www.NassauParadiseIsland.com. Blackout dates are Nov. 23–30.
Frightfully good time at sea
Disney Cruise Line will present Halloween on the High Seas on most voyages in September and October. The spooky sailings will feature Halloween-themed parties, entertainment and décor including The Pumpkin Tree, which magically transforms during the cruise. Visit www.disneycruise.com.
New off-the-beaten-path overland adventures
Eleven new overland adventures in some of the world's most exotic locales are among more than 60 extended mid-voyage excursions ultra-luxury Silversea Cruises will be offering in 2015. Unlike a partial-day shore tour, single- or multiple-day inland adventures offer a more in-depth encounter with the local people, history, wildlife, and natural attractions that lie just beyond the ports of call. One of the new offerings is The Andes & the Train to the Devil's Nose (a four-night program departing Manta, Ecuador and rejoining the ship in Callao, Peru. Participants can immerse themselves in Ecuador’s Andean region, taking in grassy highlands, cloud forests, mountain lakes, active volcanoes, colonial towns and haciendas. A highlight is the Devil’s Nose, a train ride through the Andes featuring a 45-degree descent. The program is available on Silver Shadows’s Jan. 7 voyage. The optional mid-voyage land programs feature deluxe accommodations (if overnight stays are required), all transportation, transfers, guided sightseeing and some meals. Prices range from $1,899 to $8,999 per person, double. Visit www.silversea.com.
Single staterooms available on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth
Recognizing the increasing popularity of solo travel, Cunard Line has announced the addition of single staterooms on board Queen Elizabeth. The eight outside and one inside staterooms are on sale now and available for booking beginning with the Dec. 16 sailing (voyage number Q422). The inclusion of single staterooms builds upon Cunard’s offerings that include activities organized by the ships’ social hostesses, including a welcome reception on embarkation day, coffee and cookies every sea day morning, and specially organized meeting points and excursions on port days. Single ladies who enjoy dancing have the Gentlemen Dance Hosts, who know all the formal ballroom dances and are available during evening balls held in the Queens Room. Visit www.cunard.com.
For music lovers in Southwest Florida
The Beaches of Ft. Myers and Sanibel will set the scene for the inaugural Island Hopper Songwriters Festival (www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/island-hopper) over two consecutive weekends, Sept. 26-28 on Captiva Island and Oct. 3-5 in Ft. Myers Beach. The festival will feature free performances by nationally acclaimed singer-songwriters in intimate settings at popular island venues. Among the settings will be the private home of American graphic artist and painter Robert Rauschenberg. The line up of performers includes Dean Dillon, whose career boasts 26 songs that exceed one million performances and a combined total of 31 BMI Country and Pop awards; GRAMMY-nominated songwriter Tim James, who penned past number one single “My List” by Toby Keith; Wynn Varble, whose lyrics have been nominated for Song of the Year by the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music; as well as singer-songwriters Phil O’Donnel, Kevn Kinney, Dylan Altman, Marshall Altman, Jeff Cohen, Kristen Kelly, Ruth Collins, Danny Myrick with Megan