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Which cruise lines are making headlines this week? Travel journalist Donna Tunney — ShermansTravel’s cruise expert — has all the latest news. Check back every week for trends, new amenities, and money-saving ideas that help you plan a perfect vacation at sea.
Tour a monastery in Oudong. Visit the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh. Ride through local villages in a trishaw. These are the adventures that await AmaWaterways guests on seven-night Mekong River cruises in Vietnam and Cambodia. Even better: Passengers who book by March 31 save up to $2,500 per stateroom, and those traveling solo pay no single supplement. With the price break, balcony cabins on these sailings cost $1,648 per person — a super value for this luxury river cruise line. Optional pre- and post-cruise land stays are offered, too, at an extra charge.
Tourists flock to Punta Cana for snow white beaches, aquamarine waters, and never-ending rum drinks, but outside the resorts, you can immerse yourself in Dominican culture or experience the country’s tropical wonders. Here are five day trips from Punta Cana that you won’t want to miss — and that will get you back in time for some Latin dancing back at the resort.
If you’re yearning to flee the coop this winter for a little heat, Apple Vacations wants to help you out. Its Winter Super Sale kicks into effect for select packages in various sunny locales — shaving close to $300 off busy season prices from booking air and hotel separately. The sale encompasses three-, five-, or seven-night trips between December 18, 2014 and April 30, 2015.
In the last year of his life, fashion designer Oscar de la Renta worked on one of his passion projects — a hotel he helped develop in his native Dominican Republic called Tortuga Bay. Originally opened in 2006, and part of a larger Punta Cana resort, the 13 oceanfront villas offer guests airy open spaces, incredible views of the sea, and impeccable service. De la Renta oversaw a redesign of the villas just this year, and they reopened to the public three weeks ago. We found rates for about $580 per night with a three-night minimum stay for the smaller units in December, but most go for $905 and $1,030, plus tax. If you’re considering a visit — or just need a Hump Day mental vacation — here’s a look at the redesigned rooms, which stand in tribute to the late designer…
Southwest Airlines have been a major player in the U.S. market over the past few decades, but today it takes its first step into the big, wide world. As of July 1, Southwest has begun service to Aruba and Montego Bay, Jamaica, from Atlanta, Baltimore, and Orlando. In the coming months flights to the Bahamas, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic from other gateways will follow.
When anyone comes to us looking for a summer deal, we’ll always point them to getaways in the Caribbean. Summer either means high heat or rain showers, and then there are the risks inherent during hurricane season, which lasts from September to November. Of course, this means great deals all around, as long as you’re open-minded to a bit of unpredictability and can schedule your beach outing around the weather. Whether you’re looking for dirt cheap vacations or unbelievable luxury for less, these 10 deals for summer and fall run the gamut:
A few beads of moisture had collected on a marble tabletop at the outdoor Panorama Lounge aboard Silversea Cruises‘ Silver Spirit. Seconds later, a waiter appeared out of nowhere with a white rag. “Here, madam. Let me just take care of that,” he said, wiping away the droplets. That’s one example of the service level passengers can expect on a luxury ship like this. On the Silver Spirit, there is one crew member for every 1.4 passengers – that’s half the ratio offered by most premium-category ships.
When visiting the Caribbean islands, odds are the restaurants, food stalls, and street vendors are peddling snacks and dishes you’ve never heard of, let alone eaten. But don’t avoid them because you’re nervous. After all, exploring the local cuisine could become the highlight of your trip. Here are the items you’re most likely to encounter, plus info on how much they typically cost, and how to order like a local. Now, dig in!
Depending on the size (or existence) of the check coming your way post taxes, you could be looking at extra vacation money. And if you’re anything like us, money like that burns a deep, deep hole in your pocket. We thought you’d appreciate a few tips on ways to blow your tax refund on a trip in late April/May. Consider it a reward for getting them done in the first place. Read more
If a change of scenery is the goal for your next getaway, these stunning shores along the Caribbean Sea ought to fit the bill. Try a cruise stop-off in the Dominican Republic’s dreamy Samaná Bay, or spread out along a 2,000-foot long coastal stretch in Anguilla; wherever you go, plan on letting out a great, heaving ‘Aahhh’ as soon as your toes hit the sand. Here are ten of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean to visit now.
It’s the first day of the rest of the year, and for us, that means only one thing: time to start making new travel plans! We’ve got about a million and one ideas cooking, but to narrow the playing field a bit, we’re taking a closer look at where we can go on the cheap. Here, a sampling of the best deals to be had to kick off 2014 – better hurry, though, some of these expire in just a few days! Read more
Things change. Those words are particularly apt when talking about the current hotel expansion happening in the Caribbean. On Wednesday, we showed you photos of the still-in-construction 1,000-acre mega resort Baha Mar, set to open on New Paradise Island in the Bahamas in late 2014/early 2015. Of the resort’s four hotels (totaling 2,200 rooms), one will be flagged as a Mondrian, the design-forward brand normally associated with urban destinations like New York and Miami.
With its trendy cocktail bars, pool cabanas, and “Sunset Strip vibe,” the Mondrian will be specifically targeting fashion and nightlife crowds. This signals a 180-degree shift from the Caribbean’s usual family-oriented, mid-range hotel offerings. But this could be just the tip of the iceberg. Read more
Nine months out of the year, Caribbean islands are a postcard-ready panorama of blue skies, swaying palm trees, and cocktail-sipping, hammock-lounging bliss. But from September to November (as in, right now), they are associated with another thing: hurricanes. As we speak, reports are showing that the season’s first tropical storms are already forming.
But for those willing to roll the dice, hurricane season can also yield up some incredible bargains. Flights, cruises, and hotels often go for a fraction of their peak season rates, at a time when most travelers are too spooked by the thought of having their trip washed, blown, or flooded down the drain.
And if you’re worried about showing up to a ghost town, rest assured: of the 25 million tourists who visited the Caribbean in 2012, roughly a fifth of them were brave enough to travel between September and November, the peak of hurricane season.
To give you a head start, we logged onto Expedia and CheapCaribbean and chose some hotel-and-flight packages for a range of dates in late October and mid-November. All packages are priced per-person, based on double occupancy, with flights from Miami. Other departure cities are usually available for more.
Clearly, none of the following destinations can provide guarantees on anything weather-related (otherwise they wouldn’t be offering the deals in the first place!). But with prices this low, you can afford to have your trip cancelled and still have extra cash lying around to re-book the whole thing from scratch. Now, get out those bathing suits! Read more
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