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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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Nick Aster for Yahoo! Travel
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When you arrive in Auckland to start your New Zealand vacation, your first thought may be to head straight out of town for the North Island’s greener pastures. But don’t make that mistake — the country’s largest city is often overlooked, allowing its lovely waterfront, revamped historical centers, and islands of Hauraki Gulf to go unvisited. If you have one day to spare, fill it with this on-foot itinerary (and don’t forget to pack those walking shoes!).
Located in south central Arizona, less than 20 miles east of Phoenix, Mesa has all the diversions a traveler would want from the Southwest. You’ll find everything from outdoor playgrounds to fine dining to an “agrihood.” Standing guard nearby, Superstition Mountains provide plenty of natural adventures, too, with jagged peaks separated by rock-filled canyons and covered with saguaro cacti that reach tree-like heights. But perhaps the most compelling reason to make this destination your base is that a visit to Mesa costs just a fraction of a visit to its big-city neighbors. Lodging rates here, for starters, are 60 percent lower here than in Scottsdale.
Here’s what else you need to know about a great Mesa escape:
Sinking your toes into pearly sands and sipping on a festive cocktail qualify as essential ingredients for enjoying a beach bar. But Caribbean joints require an extra component: music. After all, lounging beachside in the Caribbean isn’t quite complete without languid reggae rhythms, upbeat dancehall, or punchy cumbia notes — and all that music, more often than not, inspires some fun dance moves for a night. Here are the bars to hit up for the liveliest dancing.
Wedged between the expensive seashore city of Santa Barbara and the beach cities of Los Angeles County, Ojai is in the perfect spot for a budget-friendly getaway. This laid-back town of 7,500 people boasts charming bed-and-breakfasts, spas, eclectic boutiques, farm-to-fork eateries, and outdoor adventures. It’s not uncommon to pass a shop touting palm or tarot-card readings, and a yoga class is always an easy find. Fly into LAX, and even with LA’s worst traffic, you can be there in less than two hours. Here’s the perfect plan for your Ojai getaway.
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