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Down in Southern Florida amidst the spendiest, most budget-busting hotels in the state, a new, affordable boutique hotel brand is emerging in the form of the letter B. B Ocean Fort Lauderdale, and b2 Miami Downtown, to be exact. This budding hotel brand recently invited us down to “The Sunshine State” to experience their own brand of stylish, affordable hospitality firsthand.
At either property, beyond the sleek decor, you’ll immediately notice another unique feature – affordable nightly rates. According to Expedia, a king room at the 3.5-star b2 Miami Downtown starts at $113, while a king or double room at the 4-star B Ocean Fort Lauderdale costs $122 (we searched over select dates in September). Similar properties in Downtown Miami tend to run around $169, while beachfront accommodation in Fort Lauderdale starts at about $179. Read more
Last week, Celebrity Cruises announced new routes leaving from Los Angeles (a first for the company), including two new beer-themed voyages: the 2014 Alaskan Brewing Company cruise, which starts at $1,684, and the California Beer Festival At Sea cruise, which starts at $639. And while themed cruises are something we’ve come across before, the growing popularity of Celebrity’s “craft beer cruises” are making us sit up and take notice.
And we’re not the only ones interested – after posting their 2013 and 2014 Alaskan Amber Craft Beer Cruise, tickets sold out in less than a month.
To make these trips happen, Celebrity links up with various breweries and beer festivals, such as Alaska Brewing Co., Sam Adams, or California Beer Festival who, in turn, supply the booze. A winning partnership that Celebrity says “has significantly increased our business.” And we believe it. We were wondering, though, how the cost and value of these cruises stacks up. After all, you’ll pay extra for alcohol on almost any big ocean cruise, and that’s not the case with these theme cruises. Here’s what we learned. Read more
What’s it like to work on the biggest cruise ship in the world? Ken Rush, Cruise Director for Royal Caribbean, knows all about it, and spoke to us about his favorite destinations and travel tips, and what it’s like to work on his current ship, the Allure of the Seas. Read more
The odd duck of volcanoes, Mount Erebus’s permanent lava lake reaches temperatures of 1,826 degrees Fahrenheit, but is situated in one of the coldest places on Earth. The southern-most active volcano and second-highest summit on Antarctica’s Ross Island (at 12,448 feet), this volcano has been active since 1972. Though its ironic location alone makes us scratch our heads, its ice towers (pictured above) are even more unbelievable. As gas escapes fissures on the sides of the mountain, the ice pack and snow on the surface begins to melt and hollow out. As the warm, wet air inside escapes into the cold air, it freezes and creates frozen crystals along the edges, building the towers to up to 60 feet tall. They occasionally topple over. Read more
Fall is a great time to take a trip: In many destinations, you’ll find lower rates and smaller crowds than in summer, making for a relaxing and easy-on-the-wallet travel experience. Our deals expert, Lisa Hubner, rounded up some of the best deals for fall travel to Europe, the U.S., and the Caribbean: Read more
Every cruise vacationer has a favorite port of call. For some it’s posh St. Bart’s in the Eastern Caribbean or St. Tropez in the Western Mediterranean. Others value the culture of Barcelona or the Nordic history of Copenhagen. These destinations are common port calls for most major cruise ships, but there a handful of emerging ports around the globe that are getting the attention of both cruise lines and travelers looking for something a little different. Check out these five lesser-known, but up-and-coming ports… Read more
Three cruise ship operators that together control more than 90 percent of industry market share, Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal Caribbean International, and Norwegian Cruise Line, agreed to pull back the curtain that for years has kept onboard crime statistics in the shadows. Read more
Sometimes when you travel, Mother Nature throws a curveball. Usually you’ll only need a raincoat, but more serious and dangerous weather can put a more permanent damper on your trip. With heavy rainfall and floodwaters rising across central Europe, river cruise companies continue to cancel and modify routes throughout Germany, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. So what should you do if your dream vacation is cancelled? Though river cruise companies have not adopted the Passenger Bill of Rights like many North American ocean cruise lines, you still have some options. Read more
From teenagers getting kicked off an AirTran flight, to knives on planes, here’s what’s happening in travel this week… Read more
There’s something so romantically American about a riverboat cruise. Perhaps it’s because they remind us of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Show Boat, Riverboat, and other great stories. But riverboats aren’t just for the Mississippi. The American Queen Steamboat Company, which runs a successful franchise on the Mississippi, recently announced they’ll be expanding their service to Oregon and Washington! Read more
Being a kid can be rough, but being the adults traveling with tykes can be difficult as well. Coordinating activities for youngsters of varying ages is a challenge (little Tommy wants to visit the petting zoo, while teen Tammy would rather go shopping), as is attempting to stay on a budget. For parents planning a trip for the whole clan, we have good news (and bad news).
Don’t let the Carnival Cruise Line’s recent newsworthy items deter you from hitting the high seas. There are millions of cruises that sail each year without making the news. They have great customer service, activities for families, couples, and seniors, onboard entertainment, and unique ports around the world. Today we’ve rounded up the best of the best, from exotic international cruises to the always-popular beach destinations. Read more
Carnival Cruise Lines and its passengers have not been having a great couple of months. First there was the news of Carnival Triumph, when the 4,000 people aboard were stranded in the Gulf of Mexico for five days. Passengers spent nearly a week at sea with no power, limited supplies, and extremely unsanitary bathroom conditions. The most recent disaster comes aboard the Carnival Dream, which is currently docked at the Caribbean island of St. Maarten.
A few years ago, a fake trailer for a sequel to James Cameron’s mega-movie Titanic made the internet rounds, and it was a pretty big hit. The video is fun and silly – the “movie” is about Jack Dawson surviving in a block of ice at the bottom of the ocean, and having to adjust to modern day. The main joke is the trailer itself. How wacky would it be to have a Titanic II? That’s just too crazy for the real world, right? Right?
Not quite. Australian billionaire Clive Palmer has unveiled construction plans for the Titanic II, a “full-scale re-creation” of the White Star Liner that tragically sank in April 1912, killing more than 1,500 passengers. Palmer said as Titanic was the ship of dreams, Titanic II will be, “the ship where dreams come true.” Read more
If you’ve ever been to a child’s birthday party, you know how hard it is to wrangle all the kids together once the activities have started. Forget to inform them of a rule? Realized you need to change the plan? Once they’re laser tagging/bowling/tumbling/rollerskating, it’s pretty hard to bring them back to sit down-and-listen position. Cruise passengers can be just as hard to corral once their ship sets sail. Now, I’m not calling cruise passengers childish. What I am implying, however, is that once that ship leaves port, everyone’s natural instinct is to relax, turn off their brains, and enter vacation mode. That’s why it never made much sense to conduct muster drills once the ship set sail. That’s all going to change, though, as the Cruise Lines International Association plans to require that ships conduct these vital safety drills before they ever untie their ropes. Read more
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