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In just a few days, the New Year will dawn – and we all know what that means: Many a resolution will be made. I am writing this now in hopes of urging all couples to make their number-one resolution for 2011 to get the most from their romantic travels in year ahead. Here’s how:
1. Be spontaneous. Sometimes the best trips are planned on very short notice. And at ShermansTravel.com, great last-minute travel deals are just a few clicks away.
2. Try a new Caribbean island. Far too many couples get caught in a vacation rut – revisiting the same spot year after year. Repeat getaways are safe and familiar, but it’s fun to head somewhere entirely new: If you like the Bahamas, consider Turks & Caicos or the British Virgin Islands (shown above at left). If you like St. Thomas, try Barbados or St. Lucia. If you’re a fan of Aruba, try Grand Cayman or Anguilla. If Puerto Rico is your usual spot, give Jamaica or Curacao a try.
Is there a more romantic fantasy than saying, “I do” on a white-sand beach beside a tranquil blue lagoon in Bora Bora? Dream no more as Tahiti has legalized destination-wedding ceremonies for U.S. and Canadian couples (in fact, for any overseas visitors over the age of 18 who are not French citizens – with the exception of same-sex couples). Here’s the scoop:
Requirements: If you want to wed legally in Tahiti you will need to start the process at least six months in advance (you can also marry stateside and enjoy ceremonial-only vows in Tahiti with far less paperwork). There are about six detailed documents that need to be translated and filed, including a “Marriage of Foreign Citizens in French Polynesia” document; a letter signed and dated by both spouses and addressed to the mayor of the commune where the wedding will take place; proof of identities (copies of both spouses passports); a certified copy of both spouses’ birth certificates issued less than six months prior to the wedding date, authenticated with an “Apostile,” translated into French by an approved translator and legalized by the French Consulate; a “Certificate of Non-Marital Status” signed by a lawyer, translated into French and legalized by the French Consulate; and proof of residency for both spouses (such as utility bills). For complete details, visit Tahiti Tourisme’s dedicated weddings page (www.Tahiti-Tourisme.com/Weddings).
THE LUXURY Skip the holiday headaches this year. Paul Gaugin Cruises’ M/S Paul Gauguin, a luxury vessel formerly operated by Regent Seven Seas, departs from Papeete, Tahiti, on a nine-night voyage through French Polynesia over Christmas and New Year’s Day. Designed to navigate the shallow reefs surrounding Bora Bora, Moorea, Tahaa, and other secluded isles, the ship has its own marina. Guests can also enjoy an award-winning spa, decadent French cuisine, and a lively Polynesian show.
THE VALUE All-inclusive rates covering gratuities, wine and spirits, and marina use are reduced 45 percent on the December 18 and December 27 departures, to $4,845 per person. Readers will also receive a $100 onboard credit.
THE CATCH Airfare to the embarkation port in Tahiti is not included but is reduced 50 percent from Los Angeles when booking with Paul Gauguin Cruises.
THE DETAILS 800/848-6172 (code Sherman’sTravel); pgcruises.com.
From the fall 2010 issue of Smart Luxury Travel magazine, from ShermansTravel.com.
As Ali Fedotowsky’s search for love culminates in Tahiti next Monday (August 2, 2010) on the season finale of The Bachelorette, the scenery is just as easy on the eyes as her remaining two suitors: Chris and Roberto. And as someone who has been lucky enough to visit this island paradise not once but three times, I can tell you that there has been no digital trickery or special effects to make Taha’a and Bora Bora (shown above; photo courtesy of Tahiti Tourisme) ready for their close-ups. These islands of French Polynesia are as postcard-perfect as they look – a total romance package for water-loving couples. Here’s the scoop on where Ali stayed and played and, hopefully, fell in love.
The ShermansTravel Deals team hand-picks the special breed of deals that promises free perks ? no strings attached. Air Tahiti Nui customers are being rewarded for booking round-trip flights from Los Angeles to New Zealand, with prices starting as low as $1130, by receiving a free, three-night stopover in Tahiti! This vacation within a vacation is valid at the Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti and the Sofitel Tahiti Maeva Beach Resort, for travel between August 15 and March 31, 2011. Book by July 11 at www.airtahitinui.com.
Liberty Travel is offering a vacation package at the Aston Aloha Beach Hotel in Kauai, Hawaii that includes a six-night stay and a midsize car rental for $415 (airfare not included) between July 1 and January 2, 2011. Book now and receive one free night at the hotel and kids 12 and under stay and eat for free! Additionally, receive a 2-for-1 Luau & Aloha coupon book. Book your Hawaii vacation today at www.LibertyTravel.com.
Continental Airlines is offering air and hotel packages from Outrigger and OHANA Hotels & Resorts Hawaii starting as low as $889, which include round-trip airfare, bonus miles, and hotel taxes. Book now and receive a free night, complimentary daily breakfast for two, and a free room upgrade! Book your trip by July 3 at www.continental.com for travel through December 17, 2010.
Have a quick, two-night getaway at the Avalon Hotel Beverly Hills, with nightly rates starting as low as $106, and receive a third night free! Guests will also receive complimentary daily breakfast for two. Book your trip by August 28 at www.dealbase.com for travel through August 31, 2010.
Find flights to Hawaii using our Travel Search price comparison tool.
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In the quest for world peace and affordable jet-setting, ShermansTravel editors have spotted a common trait that unites the residents of Mexico, the United States, and Canada: They can all fly round-trip to Tahiti for the low price of $1,226! When booking by April 9, Air Tahiti Nui offers equal airfare for all — regardless of departure city* (flights connect in Los Angeles). Rates are valid on airfare to Papeete from 91 North-American cities, between April 20 and May 31, and all round-trip travel must be completed by June 15. There are no blackout dates.
For reservations, call 877-824-4846.
Exotic, romantic Tahiti often seems out of reach for newlyweds on a set budget. But if you can afford $500 a day (that’s just $3,500 for a week, not including airfare, which runs about $1,600 for two on Air Tahiti Nui from Los Angeles), an unforgettable honeymoon to this South Pacific paradise is totally doable. If you can splurge on $750 to $1,500 a day, Tahiti’s resorts will deliver pampering beyond your dreams. Here’s how:
On $500 a day
Focus on more affordable (and ferry-linked) Tahiti and Moorea—although you can sneak in two nights on Bora Bora if you are willing to stretch your budget. After arriving in Tahiti’s capital, Papeete, stay a night or two at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort or the Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti. Rooms at both start at about $199 a night, but food and sightseeing are pricy and will quickly eat up the rest of your daily budget. Then hop the ferry over to lush, spire-topped Moorea, where a pair of romantic yet affordable resorts (ranging from about $220 to $350 a night) awaits: Moorea Pearl Resort & Spa and The Sofitel Moorea Ia Ora Beach Resort. Spend four nights on Moorea to stay within budget, or if you have your heart set on Bora Bora, two on Moorea and two there. Interisland airfare is about $1,000 roundtrip for two and rooms at the Sofitel Marara Beach and Private Island and The InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora range from $329 to $500 a night. Read more
The late Marlon Brando envisioned building a luxury eco-resort on his own private island of Tetiaroa, a French Polynesian atoll about 35 miles from Tahiti. With the help of friend and Tahiti Beachcomber CEO, Richard Bailey, the new resort, dubbed The Brando, will open in 2011 and will feature 47 bungalow villas, all with private plunge pools, and, most importantly, will utilize eco-friendly practices. Construction began with the building of a platform over the surrounding coral reef to provide island access without damaging the reef and environment. Another smart feature the resort will introduce is a “sea water air conditioning” system (SWAC) which will use a deap-sea pipe to draw cold water from the ocean and then use it to chill the air in the hotel, in turn having zero impact on the environment. A conscious that can rest easy while lounging on the Godfather’s prized property – now, that’s an offer we can’t refuse.
Savor a slice of Polynesian paradise with this affordable 5-night getaway to Tahiti and Moorea. Your trip begins with an overnight at the boutique Hotel Tiare Tahiti, which overlooks downtown Papeete’s waterfront. After a day spent discovering Tahitian treasures, a 45-minute boat ride will ferry you over to Moorea where you’ll bunk down at the Hotel Sofitel la Ora Beach Resort, located on the edge of a picturesque lagoon. Package includes airport transfers, daily breakfast, and round-trip boat transfers from Papeete to Moorea, but international airfare is not included. Book now and save 30 percent, with rates starting at just $1,122 per person (was $1,600).
The Luxury Seekers of paradise will be hard-pressed to find a closer definition than French Polynesia or a more perfect ship to sail when visiting its islands than Regent Seven Seas’ luxurious Paul Gauguin, outfitted entirely with oceanview or balcony cabins and specifically designed to navigate this area’s waters. Experience an 11-night voyage this May that begins (and ends) in Papeete and visits Rangiroa, Taiohae, Bora Bora, Moorea, and other islands brimming with lagoons, volcanoes, coral reefs, and isolated beaches.
The Value At press time, this cruise, which sails May 26, had prices starting at $2,795/person—an incredible 71 percent off brochure rates. Bookings made before April 30 allow a third guest to sail free.
The Catch Airfare to the embarkation port isn’t included, and round-trip flights to Papeete are not exactly cheap.
The Details For more information, call 877/505-5370 or visit rssc.com.
From the April/May 2009 issue of Sherman’s Travel magazine.
Now, more than ever, travelers are seeking out vacation options that offer the best bang for their buck. And time and time again, a cruise vacation from a nearby “homeport” tops this list not only for its tremendous value, but for its sensible convenience, too. With a surplus of cost-conscious cruise lines operating in a healthy state of competition, our expert deal hunters have seen bargain cruises sell for as little as $99 of late, ranging from one-night dinner-and-dancing “cruises to nowhere” to quickie trips to the Bahamas. Even for more exotic and lengthy sailings to locales like Hawaii or Latin America, it’s rare to see cruise starting rates quoted above triple digits (there seems to be a psychological barrier that the cruise companies don’t wish to cross by pricing base rates above $999). Good luck stretching your dollar that far – with lodging, meals, transportation, and many activities thrown in – back on land. Plus, save loads of cash by skipping out on the expensive international or long-haul domestic flights and opting for ground transportation or quick flights to nearby homeports instead.
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