Shermans Travel » Blog » Archive
Tag Results: Europe
I’m getting married in less than three weeks [hold for applause]. It’s a destination wedding, which probably merits its own blog post at some point. However, since wedding planning has rendered me unable to put together a string of coherent thoughts, it’s best if I focus on the honeymoon in this post since, well, that’s way less stressful.
Selecting a honeymoon destination requires looking at the trip from several different angles. As you begin to discuss where to decompress after months spent selecting tablecloths and entrée choices, you want to make sure you reach the decision that makes both of you happy. Ultimately, there are only three types of honeymoons. Once you pick which is right for you, the decisions get a lot easier. Read more
While local economies in our favorite travel destinations may still be feeling the pinch of the global recession – especially in international locales – the hotel industry continues to bounce back (though prices have yet to reach pre-recession levels). According to the annual hotels.com Hotel Price Index the cost to book a room increased by 4 percent worldwide from 2010 to 2011, with the biggest jumps in the Pacific (8 percent) and North America (5 percent).
What really struck us about this year’s survey, however, was the comparison of what different nationalities tend to pay for a hotel room in their own countries versus what they shell out while abroad. Turns out Americans are the second thriftiest when it comes to what they’ll plunk down for a hotel in the U.S. – paying an average of $120/night – while at the same time splurging when traveling outside the country, where they pay around $171/night. (Only Australians, the Japanese, and the Swiss pay more.)
If you’re looking for a break on a luxury getaway over the next several months, here are three great spending credit offers – from a $1,500 air credit to a $200-a-day spa credit – in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Florida:
Four Seasons Resort Nevis: If you’re in the mood for a Caribbean escape, consider a stay at the 196-room Four Seasons Resort Nevis (shown at left), which is fresh from a December 2010 renovation and features a world-class golf course, four restaurants, and a serene spa. Book five nights in a Deluxe Oceanside or Deluxe Oceanview Room or a Plantation Suite, Ocean Suite, or Luxury Suite and you’ll get a $1,000 air credit (applied to your bill at check out). Book a Villa and the credit is $1,500. Rates start at $545/night.
Truth be told, my only experience with a repositioning cruise was as a precocious 6-year-old sailing Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth 2 instead of flying when my family moved back to the U.S. from Paris. Our week at sea was spent watching the newly released Beauty and the Beast and splashing in salt water swimming pools. Even our poor cat, Fuzzy, came along for the ride, although I think she had significantly less fun than we did. (Apparently this trip made quite the impression on me, as the parent volunteers from my first grade class still to this day remember how I regaled them with tales of the QE2.)
Fond childhood memories aside, these types of cruises generally offer the best deals around, since cruise lines need to move their ships from one place to another and offer significant discounts on “one-way” passages. The itineraries can cost as little as $42/night – though note since you spend less time in port you’re more apt (so the cruise lines hope) to open your wallet for the ship’s onboard activities and specialty restaurants.
There are some amazing cruise deals available online this week – perfect for an easy, affordable, last-minute getaway for two. I’m a fan of cruising for a few reasons: You unpack once, get to see an average of four to six different cities or islands in a week, and enjoy all the advantages of a resort (spa, great restaurants, pool, Jacuzzi) along the way. Here are two great sales you should check out if a cruise is on your travel horizon. Each offers a different kind of romance – either classic and cultured or adventurous and off-the-beaten-path.
If your love of social media is as strong as your love of travel, then you’ve no doubt discovered the delicious by-product of combining these two passions: bragging on social media about your trip during your trip.
I’ve been quite guilty of this while on the road with my family or traveling solo, sharing one real-time photo after another. But when I consider that my future teens (and yours) will soon enough find themselves traveling as unaccompanied minors, it’s clear what my first piece of safety advice has to be: Do as I say and not as I do.
Or, as SafetyWeb more succinctly puts it, stop oversharing. The website, which among its services can track your child’s “digital footprint” and provide details about what your kids are posting and where, observes that traveling teens who overshare details about their whereabouts risk “getting unwanted attention from potential predators or strangers.”
In this year’s Top 10 Cruises in 2012 we chose Viking River Cruises as the best river ship debut, what with its plans to introduce six new Longships to its fleet in 2012. Just last week four of those Norse-god-named Longships were christened, and another two are due for delivery later this summer. While this is already an unprecedented number of ships for a single year, Viking River Cruises has just announced that 2013 will be more of the same; another six Longships will be added to its fleet.
The sleek Longships, designed by the same firm behind the Disney Dream and the Yachts of Seabourn, are high-tech, modern, and full of sizable rooms – it’s no wonder the demand is high enough for another six. Each of the ships’ 95 staterooms include deluxe amenities like heated bathroom floors and mirrors and Sony HD TVs, and the ships all have an Aquavit Terrace – a lounge with retractable floor-to-ceiling glass walls so that you can fully enjoy favorable weather. The Longships are also more sustainable, with solar panels, onboard organic herb gardens, and hybrid engines that have the added bonus of a smoother ride.
If you’re thinking of taking a Mediterranean, Northern Europe, transatlantic, or Alaska cruise this spring or summer, the time to book is now. Princess Cruises has slashed fares on dozens of itineraries and departures, with savings of 50 percent or more on certain dates. All sale bookings also include an onboard credit of $25 or $50 per person (depending on cabin class).
The biggest savings can be found on the transatlantic sailings. A 14-night cruise from San Juan to London – with stops in New York, Halifax, Dublin, and Glasgow – that was $1,190 is now $499 per person. That’s almost 60 percent off! We’re also fond of the 6-night Scandinavia sailing round-trip from London for $699 (originally $1,399) as well as the 6-night Alaska sailings from Whittier, Alaska, to Vancouver for $499 (down from $924).
Certain dates and cabin classes are sold out, but there are still plenty of options to choose from. Note that these bookings are non-refundable. Head to www.princess.com/springsale.page for details.
For more great savings, check out our cruise deals.
As cruise lines release their 2013 itineraries, it’s clear that European cruises are receiving more and more attention. From transatlantic crossings to the Norwegian fjords to the Mediterranean, options will be wide and varied. We’ve already covered Disney Cruise Line’s 2013 return to Europe, and Carnival Cruise Lines is offering more European programs than ever before for their 2013 season. Princess Cruises is even sending its newest (and biggest) ship, the Royal Princess, to Europe for its maiden voyage in June of 2013.
The Carnival Cruise Line European additions include longer itineraries in familiar destinations as well as brand new programs. New Western Europe and British Isles cruises include the 12-day “Norway & Western Europe” cruise, the 12-day “British Isles, Norway & France” voyage, and several “Baltic Wonders & St. Petersburg” cruises. You can also spend 12 days exploring the Mediterranean or 15 days traveling across the Atlantic, from Tampa to Barcelona or from Barcelona to Tampa (see our Repositioning Cruises 101 piece for more transatlantic cruise advice).
German carrier Lufthansa is rolling out a new automatic check-in service on some 400 routes in 26 participating countries in Europe. The program, which has already proven popular during its test phases in Germany and Italy, is slated to save time and ramp up the convenience factor for passengers. It works like this: Booked passengers are automatically checked in to their flights 23 hours before the scheduled departure time. They’re then sent an electronic boarding pass, complete with seat number, which they can opt to receive by email or via text (so long as they’re touting an Internet-enabled phone).
The program will be offered to Lufthansa’s Miles & More frequent-flyer program members, who opt-in for the free service (just select the automatic check-in option under the “Travel Services” section of your Lufthansa.com customer profile) – though the program is expected to be extended to all passengers in the months ahead.
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals