Thursday, March 27, 2008

Caribbean Cruises

Caribbean cruises are becoming more popular every year because of the variety of activities that are available to cruisers. Caribbean islands boast clear, clean beaches and fun in the sun. From the most active, to the most laid-back vacationer, everyone can find something worthwhile on a Caribbean cruise.

Caribbean cruises are generally based on which area of the Caribbean you are interested in visiting. The Eastern, Western, and Southern Caribbean are all great places to relax, unwind, and catch some rays.

The Eastern Caribbean boasts tropical islands that are some of the most beautiful in the world. The Bahamas, Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, Tortola, San Juan, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten make up the Eastern Caribbean. Unbelieveable scuba diving is offered off the shores of these islands.

Southern Caribbean cruises generally include St. Thomas, St. Maarten, Antigua, Dominica, Martinique, Barbados, and Aruba. The rainforests in Dominica are amazing, along with the seaside villages in Barbados. Southern Caribbean cruises are some of the most gorgeous and activity filled. Swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and sightseeing are the most popular activities in this region.

The Western Caribbean is a place worth exploring. The Bahamas, Key West, Grand Cayman, Ocho Rios, Montego Bay, Cozumel, Calica/Playa del Carmen, Costa Maya, Belize, and Honduras are all features on many Western Caribbean cruises. Waterfalls, rainforests, and gorgeous beaches are available in this region. This is a location worth exploring. For more information about the fabulous locations in the Western Caribbean visit

Many believe that all cruises are alike, but nothing could be further from the truth. Some cruise lines are geared toward families, couples, singles, older generations, younger generations, partiers, etc. A cruise travel specialist is your best bet in deciding the right cruise for you.

Children have an equally good time on a cruise as adults do. Many cruise lines cater to families specifically and make sure that there are plenty of activities for children and young adults. For example, Carnival Cruise Lines offers activities based on age. Camp Carnival is geared for ages 2 - 11 (and then broken down into smaller age groups from there) and offers supervision, activities, fun events, games, arts & crafts, and their own wading pool. Circle C is geared toward those ages 12 - 14 in which they can have fun, play games, cruise, chill, and connect all under supervision.

If you are trying to escape reality (and children) there are cruise lines that are geared toward adults. Weddings, vow renewals, anniversary celebrations, receptions, and engagement announcements can all take place on cruise ships or in certain ports of call. Cruise providers really try to accomodate all of your hopes and expectations while you are onboard.

Once you have decided on the correct cruise and correct cruise line for you, you have nothing to worry about except packing for your vacation. Different cruise lines mandate different dress codes so check with your cruise specialist before you embark on your voyage. However, it is a good rule to bring swim attire, casual dress, and even formal attire for special restaurants and events on the ship.

Your Caribbean cruise will be a vacation of a lifetime!

Caribbean Island Cruises - Not Just For The Wealthy

A great way to spend a vacation is by visiting some of the most beautiful islands in the world. Everything you could possibly want is at hand with wonderful Caribbean island locations, a new one each day, and every comfort on board the cruise liner.

Vacations can be for an extended period and it is up to your budget, choice of locations and preferences, ranging from as little as three days up to fourteen days or more. Whilst this type of vacation has become widespread each vacationer has diverse needs so there are many different packages available as it is a time for unwinding, enjoyment and revitalization. Cruise liner owners are aware of this and have different packages to cater for diverse crowds so the vacation can meet their needs of a dream holiday with a variety of entertainment packages available.Planning is the key to vacationing and with the number of packages now available it will be well worth your time to have a chat with your tour operator's agent. Each Caribbean cruise will visit a certain number of islands on that particular voyage so you must decide if you want to visit certain islands like Jamaica, Bermuda, Bahamas or Antigua for example.Disco loving people that don't like to sleep will enjoy those cruise vacations that arrange activity filled days and non-stop party evenings. Whilst your travel agent can give more details, so can the Caribbean cruise liner website and information on the types of packages should be more in depth.The main difference with this type of vacation is the number of changes of clothing you take with you as there is a greater opportunity to dress for evening functions. These are ideal opportunities to dress up which many of us do not get the chance to do these days so the ladies will want at least two evening gowns and the men will require a tuxedo.Don't worry if you are uncertain about taking your children along on a cruise vacations because there will be plenty for them to do without you needing to be close at hand, watching over them. You can even take time off for a little quality adult time as there is fully trained staff to look after them.For those of you that would prefer a child free vacation, that too is available so you can cruise around the Caribbean islands without having to worry about children. Honeymooners and couples celebrating wedding anniversaries can also have cruise liner packages tailored to suit them as well.A Caribbean cruise will be your vacation of a lifetime as it has the scenery, locations, beaches and the first class service you can expect on board a cruise liner whether you are alone or with others.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Orlando - A Vacation beyond Disney

Copyright © 2008 Terry Hely

Orlando, Florida is known the world over as the home of Walt Disney World and is undoubtedly the entertainment park capital of the world. While most people know the Disney name, very few know that the total Disney experience includes separate parks for the Disney-MGM Studios, Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach Water Park, Typhoon Lagoon, River Country Water Park and Pleasure Island. There are over 11 pages of ticket combinations available when booking online for the Disney parks!
Universal Studios Florida actually comprises 2 side-by-side parks. Universal Studios is the number one movie studio theme park in the world with real movie sets and attractions that put you right at the center of your favorite movie scenes. Universal Studios Islands of Adventure consists of five islands, each with its own character and offering something for everyone.

Making up the "big 3" parks is Seaworld Orlando, a renowned marine park that lives up to its reputation for making education fun. With over 200 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and a 17acre lagoon, there is absolutely no location like it anywhere else in the world.

Visitors explore the mysteries of the oceans, experience the beauty of the Arctic, have face to face encounters with polar bears, walruses, seals, beluga whales and get to touch and feed dolphins.

Orlando is also home to a host of other world-class entertainment parks such as Gatorland, Wet 'n Wild, Water Mania Florida and the Central Florida Zoological Park.**

The entertainment parks are naturally the #1 attractions that entice millions of visitors each year to Orlando and the adjacent towns of Kissimmee and Lake Buena Vista which are the locations for many of the park attractions. However, central Florida offers plenty to see and do apart from the theme parks.The Harry P. Leu Gardens is located just a few minutes from downtown Orlando and consists of 50 acres of botanical magic. The gardens house one of the largest camellia collections in North America and the Leu House Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Orlando Museum of Art is considered to be one of the finest art museums in the southern USA, with outstanding collections of American art, ancient Americas and African art plus excellent educational programs.

Like everywhere else in Florida, Orlando and the surrounding areas of central Florida has numerous private and public golf courses. Many of the resort courses are restricted to resort guests.

Cracker Jack Stadium, completed in 2002, is the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves baseball club. The spring training matches at the stadium provides an opportunity to see the professional players up close before the regular season gets underway.

Orlando has its own basketball franchise in the NBA and the Orlando Magic play approximately 40 of their regular-season games in the 17,500-seat TD Waterhouse Center which is their home venue.**

The Blue Springs State Park, located near Cassadaga, is about 40 miles (65km) north of Orlando. The park is a leader in the fight to protect the once endangered Florida manatee and is an historic area that for hundreds of years was home to the Timucuan Indians.

The Ocala National Forest is an enormous reserve renowned for its natural springs and lakes, and offers excellent facilities for hiking, canoeing, fishing and swimming. The park is near the town of Ocala, about 60 miles (96km) northwest of Orlando.The reserve consists of three major spring areas. The beautiful Juniper Springs has crystal clear waters and is an excellent canoeing location. Salt Springs and Alexander Springs both have walking trails through cypress forests.

A popular attraction is Lake Eaton Sinkhole, 80ft (24m) deep and 450ft (135m) in diameter, with a staircase leading to the bottom. Nearby Lake Eaton provides a popular spot for swimming.

Disney World is a fantastic attraction but next time you take a trip to Orlando, make sure to experience some of the other attractions that Florida has to offer.


Terry Hely writes travel destination guides that are valuable planning resources for holiday makers. Find out more about Orlando vacations as well as the best choices for Orlando accommodation from his Go Florida website

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Travel Insurance - A true story

When planning a trip, whether business or pleasure, most travelers do not think of the mishaps that can occur on the road. Furthest from their minds is the thought that the unexpected can happen – domestically and abroad. Fortunately, when the worst does happen, travelers who carry travel insurance coverage often find it worthwhile.

A Caribbean Calamity For Carolyn of Forest City, Iowa, her 10-day Caribbean cruise came to an early end when her friend and travel companion, Wanda, was hospitalized with pneumonia in Mexico during a stop in Cozumel.

Luckily, Carolyn and Wanda purchased the Protect Assist plan through AIG Travel Guard prior to their trip and were able to speak with an assistance coordinator directly over the phone. Not only was Carolyn surprised to find that she would be covered under trip interruption, allowing her to stay behind with Wanda, but a representative from AIG Travel Assist was able to speak with the Mexican doctors to make sure Wanda received proper medical care.

AIG Travel Assist's bilingual assistance coordinators relayed information to Carolyn and Wanda’s family back home regarding Wanda's medical condition. Once Wanda was well and fit to travel, assistance coordinators arranged an evacuation for Wanda and flight arrangements for Carolyn to return home.

Carolyn and Wanda weren't able to finish their Caribbean cruise, but the Protect Assist travel insurance plan through AIG Travel Guard helped them in so many ways during a difficult emergency in a foreign country. Plus, Carolyn and Wanda were reimbursed nearly $8,000.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Las Vegas for Free - The best free attractions

Copyright © 2007
Buzz B Berkeley

If you're looking for some great free things to do in Vegas, there are some amazing treats for you and the family awaiting. Many casinos, in an effort to bring in more and more business are offering elaborate shows that are free for the family in an effort to bring more warm bodies into their casinos and out of their competitors'.

This is a win-Wynn (ha) situation for tourists and locals alike who are seeking entertainment that will leave a little money in their pockets to spend at the casinos (which is exactly what the casinos were hoping for). But, there are many great freebies outside of the Casinos too!

One of the great shows that is available free to families is the Fall of Atlantis Show at Caesars Palace, located in the Forum Shops, next to The Cheesecake Factory. This particular show is a laser, water, and light show that features wonderful animatronics action. Also notice that the show's platform is actually a salt-water aquarium. You can see divers feed the fish each day at 1:15 and 5:15 while another staff member is on hand to answer any questions you may have about the show and the facility. You can actually take a tour of the facility at 3:15 each day.

Enjoy watching the gods as they entertain you rather than us entertaining them. At the west end of the mall is the Festival Fountain show, featuring an animatronic discussion between Bacchus, Venus, Apollo and Pluto as well as a laser light show.

The Cambridge Community Center offers a free movie with popcorn each Saturday at 1:00. Each week a different movie will be shown and children under 12 must bring an adult to keep them company. You can check out which movie will be playing by checking out the posting on Friday.

Another great Las Vegas freebie is daily performances by the Hawaiian Marketplace Island Performers. These performances take place throughout the day from 11:00 am until 10:30 pm and feature wonderful dances that will remind you of the islands. See hula dancers, fire and knife dancers, musicians, lei makers, and animatronic birds. The performances are free and take place at the Hawaiian Marketplace. The market is made up of several stand-alone cart vendors surrounding nine anchor stores that offer a variety of clothing, gifts and souvenirs. The market is covered by an awning, which helps to keep things a bit cooler.

For the Elvis fan in all of us, you can see Pete Vallee perform as Big Elvis. The admission for this show is free and he brings in quite a crowd with his vocal talent and heartfelt renditions of Elvis' ballads. A collector of Elvis memorabilia, Pete admires his namesake and tries to stay true to the King's persona as a man who loved and was loved by his fans, and maintained a sense of loyalty to them. When Pete sings, his fans come alive and the party begins. Pete's repertoire includes an abundance of Elvis tunes, as well as Louis Armstrong, some country, gospel and other favorites. He is currently appearing at the Barbary Coast on "the Strip" Tuesday through Friday from 3 - 6 pm.

M&M's World uses ingenuity and a whole lot of sugar to make an impression on Las Vegas. It is a wonderful and yummy place to visit. More importantly it is a free place to visit. This museum is open Sunday through Thursday from 9 am until 11 pm and Friday and Saturday from 9 am until midnight. This really is a neat attraction to visit and is much more than initially meets the eye. Take a stroll, look around and make sure you see all there is to see or you just might miss something fantastic. Can you believe: four floors of retail space devoted to our favorite chocolate-covered candies? It just doesn't get much better than that!

Located in the Showcase Mall, the mouth-watering exhibit features Red, Yellow and the rest of the brightly colored gang on everything from T-shirts and golf-club covers to calculators and martini glasses. The attraction features a 3-D movie theater, the films rotate and viewers are rewarded with a surprise treat as they exit. There also is a wall of M&M's, displaying the sweet treat in nearly every color imaginable, from aqua green to gold. But perhaps the most exciting exhibit in the attraction is the M&M Racing Team area. The exhibit is centered on a replica of #38, the M&M's sponsored race car driven by Elliott Sadler in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.

For another sweet freebie, you really must make plans to visit Ethel M's Chocolate Factory. The admission for this self-guided tour is free as is the first sample, but who can eat just one chocolate? Be sure not to leave this tour empty handed, as you'll be kicking yourself once you get back to the room and have a craving for something sinfully sweet.

In addition to the chocolate factor is the Botanical Cactus Garden that is open from 8:30 until 7:00 daily. Another great thing to see on this particular tour is the Living Machine, which has waste-consuming ecologies that turns 32,000 gallons wastewater each day into water that is clean enough to use for irrigation purposes.

The Marjorie Barrick Museum of Natural History, which is located on the University of Nevada Las Vegas Campus, is another place to go and learn while being entertained. Admission is Monday through Friday from 8:00 until 4:45 and on Saturday from 10:00 until 2:00. Admission is free and the museum is closed on all state and federal holidays. This museum offers a great display of Western culture and the history of ancient Mexico.

Where else in Las Vegas can you learn about the native cultures of the southwest United States and view Navajo weaving, jewelry and basketry; Hopi kachinas, basketry and pottery; and Southern Paiute basketry and archaeological objects without paying admission? Is there another museum in Las Vegas where you can view a comprehensive collection of objects representing nearly every culture of Pre-Columbian Latin America? And where else might one see a cohesive collection of Guatemalan costumes and an extensive collection of Mexican masks and then wander to view reptiles native to our region, all for free?

No matter what your specific interests are there are plenty of wonderful things to see and do in Las Vegas that do not put a strain on the pocketbook at all.


Buzz was a Casino Dealer, and has been teaching gambling for many years. He has been collecting gambling resources all the while. Now, he has put them all to great use in his Gambling Blog. If you have the same passion for gambling, subscribe to his blog. He is the producer of the Buzz Awards for Gambling. To see the current winners, go to The Buzz Awards.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Unraveling Common Travel Myths

Unraveling Common Travel Myths
By Peter Greenberg

• If you use your cellphone, the plane will crash.
• Cruise ships are all-inclusive.
• If you rent a car with a credit card, you don’t need additional insurance.
• Taking the train in Europe is cheaper than flying.
• Recirculated cabin air on planes will make you sick.
• X-ray machines at airport security checkpoints can erase your computer’s hard drive.
• Your hotel card key can be used to steal your identity.

These are just some of the things many travelers believe to be true. And, in fact, with a couple of qualifications, they are nothing more than the latest batch of travel myths.

• Let’s start with the Blackberry/cell phone myth. Every airline flight attendant makes more or less the same announcement, insisting you turn off your cellphones and Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries and other personal electronic devices because “they interfere with the plane’s navigational systems.” If you ask if it’s a rule, the flight attendant will tell you it’s FAA policy. True or false?

False on both counts. First, the FAA has tested personal electronic devices, including iPods, Gameboys and laptops. Their scientists—for more than 25 years now—have bumped up the RF interference these devices give off, up to 100 times their normal levels, at distances of less than three feet from sensitive cockpit avionics. And guess what? Nothing happened. Nothing has ever happened. So did the FAA make a rule? Or a policy? Not exactly.
Under the current federal air regulations, the FAA simply states that it was unable to prove any connection or link between operating these devices and airplane system interference. But it hasn’t made a rule; it's left to each individual airline to set policy. So, if you insist on ignoring the flight attendant by using your Blackberry, you may be in violation of an airline’s policy (and subject to arrest for interfering with a flight crew). But no, the plane won’t crash because you were sending emails.

• First-time passengers like to think that “all-inclusive” cruise means you can put your wallet away for a week. True or False?

Keep your wallet with you. Not long ago, what you paid for your cruise (exclusive of liquor) was the sum total of expenditures. Not anymore. Think of cruise ships today as multiple floating revenue centers. Some cruise lines are now charging a flat fee for unlimited soda, and even a wine-and-dine deal that includes wine or champagne with your dinner (about $125 for a seven-day cruise). But the key to cruise ship profitability can be summed up in two words: onboard revenue. A new rule of thumb for budgeting your next cruise: Take the basic cruise fare and multiply it by 1.75 per person.

• Oops, you just backed into a parking meter. Not to worry, your personal auto insurance covers damages to your rental. True or False?

The answer in most cases is true, but with a big warning from us. Credit card companies promote their promise to cover your insurance if you rent a car using their card. As a result, a number of unsuspecting renters who don’t own a car—and thus don’t have their own insurance—think they are covered by their card. Not so. Almost all credit card companies offer something called “secondary insurance,” which only kicks in when you’ve exhausted all the limits of your primary policy. And if you don’t have a primary policy, then you are not covered at all. Even if you are covered, check your policy limits. If the car you own (for which you pay personal insurance) is only worth $5,000 and you total a car worth $20,000, you’re out $15,000.

• Trains are the way to go within Europe if you want to save money. True or False?

Definitely false. While I have always been in love with trains, and I think back fondly to my days using a student Eurail Pass, the dollars-and-sense truth today is that trains are not economical alternatives to air travel. Low-cost European airlines are now cheaper than intra-European train travel. On Ryanair, an off-season round-trip flight from Rome to Frankfurt can be as low as $90. By comparison, a point-to-point train ticket from Rome to Frankfurt starts at $326 each way and takes about 12 hours of travel time.

• Many travelers contend that the way cabin air is circulated makes the plane a prime breeding ground for colds and flu viruses. True or False?

In my experience, the answer is a qualified true, but there is no scientific proof. First, the cabin air: Modern jet planes were designed to bring in air from the outside at high altitude. In theory, the extremely cold air (about 40 to 60 degrees below zero) is then heated by the aircraft engines and circulated into the cabin, purging the old air. But there’s a problem. This procedure costs fuel and fuel costs money, so many airlines simply recirculate the air already onboard the cabin, bringing in a very small amount of new air. So you may well argue correctly that if the person in seat 2B has the flu, you’ll be breathing his air back in 35E. But to date, no definitive scientific studies have proven that allegation. Still, my advice is to hydrate yourself while on the plane, wash your hands often and turn off the air vent over your head.

• Back up your files because X-ray machines at security checkpoints can erase the hard drive on your laptop.

False: X-rays are a form of electromagnetic energy, but they're not magnetically charged. Electromagnetic energy is basically like light, and can expose your camera film just as light can, so watch out for that if you're one of the few photographers still using film. But sending your laptop through the X-ray machine won't damage it. There is something to be careful of, however. In the unlikely event that the security people let you take your laptop through a metal detector or examine it with a metal wand, you're at risk. These detectors send out a strong magnetic pulse that can erase hard drives.

• Your plastic hotel key card can be used to steal your identity and credit card account information.

False: Simply put, hotels do not put your personal information on the card. At the most, they will encode the room number and activation date.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Business Travel: Even Road Warriors Get The Blues

While Web-based meeting technologies may seem to eliminate the need for some business travel, there’s a reason why millions of people still pack their carry-on bags each week for domestic and international business-related travel: savvy business people know that there’s just no substitute for face-to-face meetings.

Still, if getting there is half the battle, it helps explain why a fuming, suit-clad business traveler on a crowded airplane, surrounded by crying children or trapped by an incessant talker, remains a familiar cartoon image. But, what do modern-day road warriors really find most irritating about business travel?

In a survey of more than 1,000 international business travelers conducted by Carson Hotels Worldwide, 75 percent said that last-minute flight cancellations and delays are their most frustrating travel experience. Lack of communication by airline personnel also ranked high. While business travelers who work with travel agencies can call on their agents to deal with flight rescheduling, those who make their own travel arrangements must usually wait in line, or on hold, to deal with the hassle of rescheduling themselves.

Business travelers also revealed that they are more irritated by screaming children (61 percent) and incessant talkers (47 percent) than by the hassles of airport security (32 percent).

While a travel agent can’t guarantee a lone traveler a fascinating seatmate, the survey did reveal who the respondents would most like to sit next to on a flight: Oprah Winfrey (24 percent), Bill Gates (23 percent) or Angelina Jolie (22 percent).

Other “dream” companions include political and religious figures such as Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, the Pope and the Dali Lama.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Emerging Destinations Around the Globe

Some travel destinations – Hawaii, Las Vegas and London come to mind – seem to be perennial favorites, always popular with tourists. But travel has trends, and over time new favorite destinations emerge.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s 2008 Travel Trends Survey identified several destinations currently emerging for vacation travel. Travelers’ desire for new adventures and their cultural curiosity – even the desire to use the passports that more Americans now possess – contribute to the up-and-coming status of new locations around the globe.

Several destinations in Eastern Europe rated “emerging” status this year, including Croatia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. In Asia, China leads the way as an emerging destination, perhaps due to the 2008 Summer Olympics, which will be held there. In the Middle East, Dubai is an emerging destination, based mainly on growing interest from upscale travelers. South America offers a range of emerging destinations, including Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela and the Galapagos Islands.

In Central America, Costa Rica is the overwhelming choice as an emerging destination. To help meet the quickly rising demand for vacations in Costa Rica, Pleasant Holidays recently launched new travel programs that feature more than 20 resorts in Costa Rica. Vacationers can choose from hotels and resorts, including some all-inclusive options, in Guanacaste, Puntarenas, San Jose, Monteverde and Arenal.

To plan your next vacation to an emerging destination, talk with your travel professional.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The New 7 Wonders of the World

The seven wonders of the ancient world – including the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Colossus of Rhodes – were remarkable, man-made structures of classical antiquity. Of the seven, only the Great Pyramid survives, standing tall in the Egyptian desert for more than 4,500 years.

However, while six of the seven ancient wonders disappeared long ago, there are new wonders to see on your travels. An organization called the New 7 Wonders of the World recently declared seven new wonders, selected from 21 finalists by more than 100 million votes. Any of these wonders can form the centerpiece of a memorable vacation. You may wish to choose your favorite wonder by the human virtue it represents, as described by the New 7 Wonders organization:
· The Taj Mahal, India, represents passion and love, without which our lives, relationships and achievements have no meaning. The white-domed mausoleum is the most familiar part of this monument, but the Taj Mahal is actually an extensive complex of buildings and gardens.

· The Colosseum, Italy, represents joy as well as the dark cloud of suffering, without which there can be no silver lining of joy. This elliptical amphitheatre in the center of Rome is considered to be one of the greatest works of Roman architecture.

· The statue of Christ the Redeemer, Brazil, represents openness and welcoming others, allowing for mutual appreciation and growth. The 130-foot statue overlooks the city of Rio de Janiero.

· Chichen Itza, Mexico, represents knowledge, coupled with worship of a higher level of consciousness. This archeological site contains many stone temples and other buildings constructed before 1000 AD by the Maya civilization.

· Machu Picchu, Peru, represents dedication to common causes and common goals, which enable and sustain community. This “Lost City of the Incas” was built about 1450 and abandoned 100 years later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca empire, although it was not “rediscovered” until the early 20th century.

· The Great Wall of China represents the perseverance to build and to persist, even in the face of adversity. Built and rebuilt between the fifth century BC and the 16th century, the wall helped protect the northern border of the Chinese empire.

· Petra, Jordan, represents protection against the elements and enemies, created by engineering and resourcefulness. Through the work of archeologists and historians, a more complete picture of this ancient city and its beautiful stone buildings is slowly emerging.

Talk with your travel professional about designing a vacation around one or more of the new wonders of the world.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Excursion Society Goes Beyond the Ordinary

Shore excursions, which take cruise passengers off their ships to experience local attractions and culture, are a highlight of any cruise. They range from snorkeling adventures in the Caribbean, to dog sledding in Alaska, to museum tours in the great port cities of Europe and more.

A year ago, Carlson Wagonlit Travel Associates launched a unique shore excursion program called the Excursion Society. This popular program offers exceptional shore excursions exclusively to its members – cruise guests who seek truly distinctive experiences while on shore.

Consider some of the on-shore experiences being offered by the Excursion Society during 2008:
· Step off the ship in Monte Carlo, Monaco, for a special tour focused on one of its local delicacies: olives and wine. After traveling to Grasse, you’ll learn to make authentic black olive tapenade. Later, in the heart of the village of St. Paul, you’ll enjoy sampling local wines in a medieval cellar.
· Near Livorno, Italy, travel through the Tuscan hills to Chianti wine country, passing castles that date from the 1400s. Savor the flavors of Tuscany with an authentic Italian cooking class. You’ll create three types of pasta and learn about sauces that enhance them. Then, it will be time to sample your work, along with other Tuscan dishes, deserts and wines.
· After docking at Christchurch, New Zealand, board the TranzAlpine Express for a rail journey through the mountains. You’ll return to Christchurch by private motor coach, winding through stunning scenery and driving across the Canterbury Plains. On the way, you’ll stop at a working dairy farm to enjoy a sumptuous lunch.
· In the blue waters of the lagoon at the French Polynesian island of Bora Bora, view beautiful rays and black-tipped sharks. Swim and snorkel in the clear water before visiting a private islet for a barbeque lunch. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to develop useful skills for island life, such as tying a pareo, opening coconuts and playing the ukulele.

If you would like to experience shore excursions that go beyond the ordinary, ask your travel professional about joining the Excursion Society.