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Showing posts from 2017

River cruising on 5 continents

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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.

Europe

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

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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 après-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.

Colorado

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…

Our Top Fall Getaways

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Our Top Fall GetawaysBy Damien MartinKids are back in school, and though it’s technically a couple more weeks to the equinox, let’s face it: Summer is over. While you may be shunned from polite society for wearing white now, you can absolutely take advantage of the travel values shoulder season brings. With smaller crowds, nicer weather and lower prices, fall isn’t just for football and pumpkin spice everything. It’s a great time to take a trip. Here are a few places where you can maximize beauty and budget in the autumn.
New England & Canada
The changing leaves and charming towns are a sight to behold, and there are great cruise itineraries that make their way up the East Coast from New York or Boston to Montreal. The light this time of year really works wonders, especially as afternoon fades to evening. For a land-based getaway, Virtuoso-preferred properties such as Pitcher Inn in Warren. Vt., and Cliff House in Cape Neddick, Maine, are the kind of picturesque spots perfect for a …

Why you should book your festive season getaway now

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Why you should book your festive season getaway nowBy Damien Martin

Sweating through another hot day longing for a cold drink in your favorite giant unicorn floatie, you may not have given much thought to your travel plans for the holiday season. There’s plenty of time for that, right? WRONG! Make no mistake, winter is coming. Before you know it, the leaves will be changing colors. Soon after, you’ll be looking back wistfully at those long summer days. If you start trying to plan a trip then, you could be frozen out.


The period around Christmas and New Year’s is absolutely the most in-demand time on the calendar. Everybody and their mother is tired of the stress of cooking, cleaning and accommodating guests. They’d rather head to the beach, let someone else do all the work and actually enjoy that time with loved ones. 

The trouble is, there’s a limited number of places where the weather can be counted on. The people who were lucky enough to find rooms last year got the right of first ref…

Largay Travel hits the strip for Virtuoso Travel Week

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Largay Travel hits the strip for Virtuoso Travel WeekBy Damien Martin


For one week every August, what happens in Vegas goes worldwide. It’s Virtuoso Travel Week, when travel advisors and preferred partners from across the globe converge. This year, 5,693 from 103 countries gathered to learn and share the latest innovations in travel in order to make your next vacation the best yet.

Virtuoso Travel Week is unlike any other travel event out there. It is a powerful synergistic network and dynamic that provides for insights, shared intellectual property, collaboration and development of best industry practices.

The theme was “Travel Unites,” and that ethos was exemplified in the variety of religious symbols and cultural dress on display. While “Travel Unites” certainly means supporting the people in some of our favorite places when tragedy befalls them, it’s also about making personal connections with those you might on the surface have nothing in common with. Your experience could be explo…

Top places to see next week's solar eclipse

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Top places to see next week's solar eclipseBy Damien Martin



Monday’s total solar eclipse will cut a path across the continental U.S. from the Northwest to the Southeast, a once-in-a-generation event. The path of totality is a band about 70 miles wide and will pass by a few major cities. While you’ll certainly have to fight traffic in the prime viewing areas, here are a few spots you can see the eclipse in style. Don’t forget your glasses!

Portland, Oregon

Virtuoso-preferred The Nines hotel is offering a solar eclipse package that includes tickets to the OMSI Planetarium, a map of the eclipse path and a blanket for maximum comfort while watching. From Portland, the sun will be 99.4 percent obscured. If that’s not enough for you, you can head out to wineries of the Willamette Valley and drink in the totality. Yes, the show will begin before 10:30 a.m. local time, but this is a special occasion.
Yellowstone National Park 


The sun’s corona won’t be visible, as totality will range between 9…

Top Zika-free Honeymoon Destinations

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Top Zika-free Honeymoon DestinationsBy Damien MartinWho doesn’t love a wedding? Friends and family come together to celebrate love, have a feast and dance late into the night. But if you’re the bride or groom, just making it to your big day involves a lot of planning and stress. You have to pare down that guest list and make sure you’re having the right people sit together for dinner. All those little touches throughout the night that wow your guests don’t just happen. There’s a lot of work that goes into it.

So it’s no wonder that after the ceremony and reception are over, you want to just hit the beach for a week and relax on an island somewhere with your new spouse. Of course, finding the right place for your honeymoon doesn’t just happen on its own, either. And with the spread of the Zika virus, even finding somewhere to relax has gotten more stressful for honeymooners who want to start families soon. Fortunately, there are still quite a few islands where you can spend a worry-free…

Top Dive Locations From Around The World

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Top Dive Locations From Around The World
By Damien Martin
Considering oceans cover more than two-thirds of Earth’s surface, there’s no shortage of excellent places to go diving. So any list of the “best” spots is sure to missing a few. They’re like children, it’s hard to pick a favorite. At the risk of leaving off your No. 1, here’s a sampling of top locations around the globe to explore the wonders of the deep in style.

Belize
OK, it’s hard to argue this one doesn’t belong. The Great Blue Hole, almost 1,000 feet wide and more than 400 feet deep, was made famous by Jacques Cousteau. Formed in stages between 15,000 and 150,000 years ago, it’s a basically a big sinkhole about 40 miles off mainland Belize and a marvelous sight to behold. Divers are greeted by midnight parrotfish and Caribbean reef sharks, but the main attraction is the dark, stalactite-filled caverns stretching up from the floor like an underwater cathedral. Just off the mainland is the Belize Barrier Reef, which wowed Char…

Hawaii: Which island is best for you?

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Hawaii: Which island is best for you?By Damien MartinIt’s the only U.S. state in the tropics, the most remote island chain in the world and actually made up of more than 100 islands. You can go SCUBA diving well below sea level and go to the top of what is technically the world’s tallest mountain (though most of it is underwater). There are great beaches and great golf courses everywhere, and the weather is just about perfect year-round. No matter how you slice it, Hawaii is pretty awesome. But which island is best for you? Off the eight main islands, Kaho‘olawe is uninhabited, Ni‘ihau is off limits non-Native Hawaiians and Moloka‘i has limited options for accommodations. That leaves five islands that vacationers commonly seek out, each with something unique in store.Hawai‘i, “The Big Island”
By far the largest of the islands, Hawai‘i is made up of five volcanoes and could fit the rest of the islands inside it with room to spare. With Kilauea volcano erupting continuously since 1983 an…

Off the beaten path travel experiences

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Off the beaten path travel experiences
By Damien Martin So you’ve been up to Machu Picchu, seen all of the big five on safari. You’ve marveled at the beauty of Lake Louise and split a week between London and Paris. You’ve lived out all your Hobbit-related fantasies in New Zealand and been to every cat café in Japan. Yet, you still can’t shake this wanderlust. You need a new adventure, but where haven’t you been yet? Consider these off-the-beaten path destinations for each continent (except Antarctica; you should probably stick to the beaten path there).

North America: Fogo Island, Canada



One of the easternmost spots in North America, Fogo Island in the province Newfoundland and Labrador has fewer than 3,000 inhabitants and is a great destination in each of the seven seasons. Yes, seven. They are: summer (July-August), berry (September-October), late fall (November), winter (December-February), pack ice (March), spring (April-May) and trap berth (June). Each is unique and offers a glimpse …