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drinks on the balcony - norwegian cruise line

facebook.com/NorwegianCruiseLine

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.

In a first for ocean-going cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line is expanding its all-inclusive concept to cover free beer, wine, and cocktails (up to $11 in value) for adults, plus free soda and juices for youngster ages 3 to 20. It’s a practice typically found only on luxury lines and on river ships, and it’s being rolled out next January on just one ship, the 2,000-passenger Norwegian Sky (at least for now). But how much of a bargain is it, exactly? It would depend on your typical bar tab. Here’s a comparison: The cruise fare for a three-night Bahamas cruise from Miami in January aboard Norwegian Sky starts at $339 per person — while a Carnival cruise for three nights to the Western Caribbean the same month, aboard the 2,000-passenger Carnival Ecstasy, begins at $179 per person sans free drinks.

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Facebook, Emergency Alerts

Darren Murph

The recent Nepal earthquake is devastating, but it’s worth noting that, in the wake of disaster, a handful of technology companies have stepped up to provide help in any way that they can. One of those ways is by enabling people on the ground to easily get the one message that matters back home: “I’m safe.” Planning for unforeseen events is a necessary part of travel, which is why we think it’s importantly to understand exactly how two features from Google and Facebook in particular work, before you head out on your next adventure.

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Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina - Saint Lucia, Caribbean

Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina

Capella Marigot Bay Resort & Marina, snug on the shoreline along Marigot Bay in Saint Lucia, is the newest member of the Cappella Hotels brand (joining others in Düsseldorf, Singapore, and more). Since it’s re-opening last fall, the 124-room resort has charmed travelers with a taste for luxury with riots of tropical foliage everywhere you turn. And to kick off its first summer, the resort is offering a 50 percent discount off its suites, to make that luxury more affordable for all of us.

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Google Project Fi

Google

We already know that standard international roaming rates can lead to horror stories of coming home to insanely high smartphone bills. That’s why many of us simply switch our smartphones to airplane mode when heading to a foreign land, relying on spotty and inconsistent WiFi signals to attempt to stay in touch. But there’s a better way, especially with all the different services available — including Google’s new Project Fi. If you’re heading to Europe to take advantage of the current awesome exchange rate that you probably keep hearing about, check out these three services before you go.

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Deal Alert: Late Spring Hotel Deals from $110

Facebook.com/HamptonsMYC

Summer’s almost here, with the promise of days filled with barbecues and trips to the beach. But we’re just as excited about the coming late-spring weeks. While it’s not quite swim weather in some parts, it’s now nice enough to enjoy most of what the outdoors has to offer — before summer crowds and summer pricing kicks off in earnest. Here, just five trips in May that offer substantial pre-summer savings.

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free room service on celebrity cruises

Celebrity Cruises

For a lot of travelers, few things are as indulgent as ordering room service. Getting our favorite foods catered to us as we lounge about practically shouts “I’m on vacation!” and it’s a luxury that we’re used to paying small markups for. But did you know that on cruises, room service is largely free for all meals? A gratuity for the crew member who delivers the meal is suggested (though optional), of course, otherwise you only may have to pay additional when ordering during late-night hours.

That said, two major cruise lines have recently changed their room service policies. Here’s the scoop:

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Barcelona - Flickr_Ferran BCN

Flickr/Ferran BCN

With the euro now in favor of American travelers for the first time in many years, European cities with chic, cosmopolitan flair are an attractive travel option this summer. Barcelona is one of our current favorites, with its world-class architecture, museums, abundance of tapas restaurants, and seaside ambiance. Sure, flights are still seasonally priced — we found round-trip fares of $1,300 for mid-July between New York City and Barcelona — but what you’ll pay on the ground can easily make up for the flight. Here are five ways to explore Barcelona on a budget.

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Deal Alert: $84+ Rates at Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels in May and June

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista

In just a little over a month, the resorts at Walt Disney World will get into the full swing of high summer rates. Luckily, there’s one way you can stay in the thick of the magic without having to fork over too much dough: Book a stay at the Downtown Disney Resort Area Hotels. Conveniently located at the resort’s shopping and dining district, these hotels provide complimentary shuttle service to each of the Disney theme parks and water parks, on-site Disney tickets for purchase, the ability to book dining reservations at Disney restaurants, and a booklet filled with discounts on dining, entertainment, and shopping.

What’s more, for stays between May 1 and June 21, the hotels are offering reduced rates with a Spring into the Magic promotion, starting at just $84 per night. But hurry — two of the seven hotels no longer have availability foor the special rates. Here’s a sample of the best that are still bookable that we’ve come across.

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Trend Alert: Hotel Day-Stays

Facebook.com/SetonHotel

Sometimes you need a hotel — but not necessarily for an entire afternoon and night. Hotels are now starting to offer daytime-only bookings, giving travelers the chance to soothe a grueling layover with a quick nap, take a shower, or perhaps even carve out a quiet space to pound out a project.

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Deal Alert: 3 Out of 7 Nights Free in St. Kitts

Facebook.com/StKittsMarriott

St. Kitts is among the Caribbean’s least-visited islands, which is precisely what makes it so appealing. And getting there may be pricey — flights from Miami between May 29 and June 5 start from $747 round-trip and are only slightly less, from $676 in early December — but a deal from St. Kitts Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino will help offset the travel costs.

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By Nick Aster for Yahoo! Travel

best views from airplane window

Who doesn’t love a picturesque landing? (Photo: Thinkstock)

If you’re a window seat fan, you’re probably especially fond of checking out the views upon landing. The slow descent provides a fabulous vantage point to check out your destination.

Some landings, especially at airports far out in suburbia are fairly banal — a few freeway interchanges, some strip malls, maybe a field or two. On the other hand, there are five airports in America that offer spectacular, even dramatic, landings that will take your breath away.

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A sea turtle relaxes on Laniakea Beach, Hawaii

Leah Still

Take a break from sunbathing in Waikiki for a day trip to Oahu’s North Shore, where you can get a feel for a more local way of life on Oahu — the surfer way of life, that is. While not the sleepy, totally undeveloped area it used to be, the North Shore still allows you to enjoy a slow-paced day away from high-rise resorts. Drive yourself along Kamehameha Highway, heading south in order to follow the stops below, which cover an eight-mile coastal route from Sunset Beach to Hale’iwa.

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Restored Civil War Inns with Summer Availability from $95

BedandBreakfast.com/Glenfield Plantation Historic Bed and Breakfast

Looking for something a little different this summer? How about stepping back in time and cozying it up at a beautiful mid-1800s restored home? We’ve gathered a handful of converted inns and B&Bs that truly show off the architectural trends and designs of the era, from intricate fireplaces and high ceilings to exposed beams and wide wood plank floors. Plus, summer stays — including those over Memorial Day weekend — start from $95 per night. Bonus: They all include WiFi.

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Anjou Spa

Anjou Spa

In a trend imported from Europe’s great beer-producing countries, like the Czech Republic and Germany, spas around the U.S. have begun working craft brews into treatments like massages and body scrubs. No mere gimmick devised to lure in hopheads and pampering-averse manly men, beer-infused treatments are purported to impart a host of health and beauty benefits, from exfoliating the skin to wiping out foot fungus. Here, five spas offering sudsy treatments to intoxicate your senses.

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Sydney, Australia harbor

Flickr/Kay Adams

Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every Tuesday for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.

Remember our mention last week of Anthem of the Seas, sister ship to Quantum of the Seas? Yet another is joining the Royal Caribbean International megaship clan. The 4,180-guest passenger Ovation of the Seas will head to Australia in winter 2016 — becoming the biggest ship ever to homeport in the Land Down Under. Itinerary and fare details haven’t been released, but we’re tickled by the fact that the North Star aerial observatory will reach higher than the pylons of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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