Top trips for craft beer lovers

Top trips for craft beer loversBy Damien Martin
So beer isn’t exactly a new thing. In fact, several of the oldest known recipes discovered around the world are for beer. The Roman historian Tacitus even made special mention of a fermented drink made from barley or other grain in his cultural survey of Germanic tribes. It’s been a staple in many cultures for a long time. But while the latter half of the 20th century was dominated by large breweries taking advantage of mass-marketing, the new millennium is all about craft and microbrews. Some destinations have been in on the act for a while, and others are just getting started. Here’s a sampler of some of the best destinations for a great brew-cation.

The long Belgian brewing tradition dates to at least the crusades, when monks sold their creation to raise funds. Think of it as a medieval bake sale. Over the centuries, the Belgians have perfected the craft and the nation of about 11 million people has approximately 180 breweries an…

Top places to visit on your next trip to Italy

Top places to visit on your next trip to Italy
By Damien Martin

Not that anyone ever needs an excuse to talk about Italy, but October is Italian Heritage Month. Though Christopher Columbus sailed for Spain, he was Genoese by birth. And though he was wrong about where he was going and behaved badly when he arrived, he was the first Italian in the Americas and paved the way for many positive contributions by Italian-Americans. Parades in New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and other U.S. cities on Columbus Day celebrate Italian heritage, but an even better way is to visit some of the best spots in Italy, which boasts the most UNESCO world heritage sites of any country.

Rome The world’s first metropolis, celebrated as the caput mundi (“head of the world”) and La Citta Eterna (“the Eternal City”), Rome is so full of history it requires several days just to make a dent. The Colosseum and ancient city hearken back to the days of the Roman Empire. Vatican City contains priceless works of ar…

Top Animal Lover Getaways

Top Animal Lover Getaways By Damien Martin
Wednesday is World Animal Day. The holiday is marked in different ways around the world, but in each locale it’s dedicated to improving animal welfare standards. Largay Travel is lucky enough to have great partners committed to conservation and sustainable tourism. They are also devoted to allowing travelers to see some truly majestic creatures in their natural environments. Though there are too many awesome itineraries to list, here are a few favorites.

Lindblad: Antarctica, South Georgia & The Falklands, 24 days

Onboard the National Geographic Explorer or Orion, you’ll start your journey in Buenos Aires or Santiago before heading to the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia, Argentina, and across the Drake Passage. The itinerary is flexible in order to maximize wildlife viewing but typically spends six days on Antarctica, five days on South Georgia and two days on the Falklands. Myriads of king penguins swarm South Georgia, which also teems wi…

Post-Hurricane Update

Post-Hurricane UpdateBy Damien Martin

The toll taken by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean has been devastating. In addition to the lives lost and billions of dollars worth of damage, the storms have disrupted tourism, the chief industry for just about every Caribbean island.

The port of Galveston, Texas, has reopened for cruises, and ports in Florida are open, with cruise passengers going back to Key West less than two weeks after Irma made landfall as a category 4 storm. Cruise lines such as Carnival and Virtuoso-preferred Royal Caribbean and Norwegian generously used their ships to transport people and supplies to help the affected areas. Carnival Corp., which also owns Virtuoso-preferred Holland America and Princess, was part of a pledge for $10 million in relief.

The port of San Juan in Puerto Rico is open to receive emergency supplies, but it is uncertain when cruise ships will again be able to visit the island after it was ravaged by Hurricane Ma…

Our Top Jewish Heritage Tours and Destinations

Our Top Jewish Heritage Tours and Destinations By Damien Martin

Shanah tovah! It’s a new year on the Jewish calendar and we are in the midst of the High Holidays, with Rosh Hashanah last week and Yom Kippur this weekend. Across the Virtuoso network, there are companies offering Jewish heritage tours in destinations from China to Sarajevo and plenty of places in between. From two-week itineraries to two-hour tours, on land and by water, Virtuoso suppliers have you covered.

Day tours

Much of the diaspora settled in Europe and contributed to the history and society of many major cities. ITB Holland has half- and full-day for it's In the Footsteps of Jewish History tour, visiting the Portuguese Synagogue -- the world’s largest when it was built in 1675 -- and the Jewish Historical Museum of Amsterdam.

Abercrombie & Kent offers customized full-day excursions in London and Moscow, while Esperance’s Russia tours visit the old district of Kolomna and Grand Choral Synagogue in St. Peters…

River cruising on 5 continents

River Cruising on 5 Continents
By Damien Martin

As river cruises have exploded in popularity in recent years, more and more ships have hit the water and more companies have entered the market. It’s a great way to get around to several destinations on the same trip without having to figure out transportation and hauling luggage around. Plus, there are a lot of inclusions, from excursions to meals and even drinks in a lot of cases. Typically, when people think of river cruises, they think of Europe. There are certainly a lot of great itineraries there, but it’s important to note that Virtuoso-preferred lines are operating river cruises on five continents. All those options can be overwhelming, so let’s break it down.


This continent’s rivers are still by far the most heavily trafficked. No fewer than nine Virtuoso-preferred companies offer river cruises in Europe. Some itineraries are unique. For example, Uniworld is the only line with cruises on the Po River in Italy and is also laun…

Top Ski Getaways

Top Ski GetawaysBy Damien Martin
They can’t all be bluebird days, but thanks to the great partners in the Virtuoso network, you’ll feel as cozy as an apr├Ęs-ski hot toddy by the fire on your next ski vacation. Domestic or international, there’s no shortage of options for hitting the slopes. Basically anywhere that has mountains and snow works -- or, as with Ski Dubai, you can just make your own. Of course, some experiences are better than others. These getaways will have you tearing fresh lines in the pow-pow with no worries.


With a whopping 53 mountains peaking at 14,000 feet or higher, Colorado is at the top of any skier’s list. There are more than a dozen Virtuoso-preferred ski resorts across the state, so there’s surely one for you. For a set itinerary, Virtuoso-preferred tour partner American Excursionist has a Colorado Luxury Winter Adventure 10-day package split between Aspen’s The Little Nell and Dunton Hot Springs just across the mountain from Telluride. The itinerary f…