Norwegian Cruise Line taking best Wave Season offer to the next level

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Norwegian Cruise Line is taking its best Wave Season offer to the next level with Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus, bringing guests more ways to enhance their dream cruise vacation, with up to $3,500 in added value.  Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus builds on the popular Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice, and gives those who book a new three-day or longer cruise vacation from February 1 through February 28, 2015 the option to choose from up to four special offers— a free Ultimate Dining Package, a free Ultimate Beverage Package, up to $300 in onboard spending money and the recently added Friends, Family & Kids Sail Free on select sailings, where the third through eighth guest in each stateroom sails for free.

During Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus, guests who book inside staterooms can choose either Friends, Family & Kids Sail Free or opt for onboard credit. Cruisers who book any destination in an oceanview stateroom or higher can choose one offer. Guests who book a cruise vacation in Europe or Hawai’i* in an oceanview stateroom or higher can choose any two offers. Norwegian guests who book a suite or The Haven by Norwegian™ will receive all four offers, valued at up to $3,500.

Those who enjoy traveling in large groups can invite all of their loved ones on their cruise vacation during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus and opt for Friends, Family & Kids Sail Free, where the third through eighth guest in each stateroom sails for free. Foodies have the incredible opportunity to indulge in a different specialty restaurant every night of their cruise during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus with the Ultimate Dining Package, which provides guests with the option to dine at any of the brand’s signature specialty restaurants, whether they wish to enjoy Certified Angus Beef and truffle fries at Cagney’s Steakhouse or savor the finest crème brûlée at Le Bistro and beyond. Guests who choose the Ultimate Beverage Package* during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus can enjoy their favorite wine, beer and cocktails throughout their entire cruise. Or, those who prefer to indulge in anything their heart may desire onboard including spa treatments, shore excursions, gifts and more will receive up to $300 in onboard spending money with Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus.

Norwegian’s 13 purpose-built Freestyle ships allow guests the freedom and flexibility to do as much or as little as they’d like while cruising some of the most sought-after destinations around the globe.

            Norwegian Epic will arrive in her new homeport of Barcelona on April 30, 2015 and begin sailing a seven-day Western Mediterranean itinerary for the summer from May 3 through September 13. Guests can embark on a cultural quest with stops in history-rich ports like Rome and Florence, Italy; and marvel in picturesque ports like Cannes, France and Majorca, Spain. Fares start at $749**.

Thrill-seekers can pack up their sense of adventure and explore the stunning coastline of Alaska on board one of Norwegian’s three modern ships: Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Jewel or Norwegian Pearl—the youngest fleet cruising to Alaska.  Guests can head deep into the frozen wilderness,  gaze out to spectacular scenery and breathtaking glaciers or take an exhilarating dog sledding tour and so much more, with fares starting at $499**.

Guests can cruise aboard Miami’s Ultimate Ship, Norwegian Getaway, as she sails seven-day cruises to the Eastern Caribbean from her year-round homeport of Miami, Florida. The line’s newest ship visits tropical ports of call including Philipsburg, St. Maarten; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; and Nassau, Bahamas. Guests will be dazzled by the ship’s Miami flair, exceptional dining and entertainment as well as the excitement of 678 Ocean Place and The Waterfront, a variety of interconnected indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that creates a multiplex of dining, activities and more that enhance guests’ connection with the ocean. Fares start at $449**.

To book a cruise during Norwegian’s Freestyle Choice Plus, contact a travel professional, call Norwegian at 866-NCL-CRUISE866-NCL-CRUISE (625-2784), or visit www.ncl.com.

Boutique Narragansett Hotel to Grand Open This Summer

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Lark Hotels, a collection of designer boutique properties located in iconic coastal New England hot spots, will grand open The Break, in Narragansett, Rhode Island on June 19, 2015, with a soft opening anticipated in May. The property, a new build, will feature a retro chic surf vibe and will be the first hotel of its kind in this historic seaside town, which boasts some of the best surf breaks in New England.

Situated just one block from the ocean and a short walk to the beach, The Break will offer 16 guest rooms and suites, each decked out with king beds, fireplaces, rainfall shower heads, Apple TV, iPads and iPod docking stations. Most accommodations feature private balconies with ocean or sunset views.

Special guest amenities at The Break will include a intimately sized restaurant, Chair 5, a rooftop lounge with panoramic views, a heated outdoor swimming pool, hot tub and sun deck, a fitness center and a small spa and salon. 

The decor, by Rhode Island designer Jocelyn Chiappone, will tap into the vintage surfer nostalgia of the late 60s when local surfing legend, Peter Pan, burst onto the scene and put Narragansett on the map. Bold, modern textiles pop with color palettes of bright orange and yellow, earth tones, crisp white and shades of green and blue. Furnishings combine dark woods with modern whicker chairs and chandeliers, midcentury modern inspired armchairs and sofas, fabric headboards and ceramic tables.
Developed and owned by locals Jim and Becky Durkin, The Break will embrace the beach community history of this distinctive stretch of sand and sea. Chair 5 will feature modern spins on comfort foods and seafood favorites. The rooftop lounge is destined to become a top guest destination with indoor and outdoor hang out spaces and expansive views of the ocean and the Point Judith lighthouse. 
A sampling of the hotel’s personalized concierge services will include arranging surfing and stand up paddle boarding lessons, board and kayak rentals, beach picnics and fishing excursions – Narragansett is home to the second largest fishing port in the northeast.
Rates at The Break will start from $159-$459 per night, depending on room type and season, and include a curated small plates breakfast.

Lifestyle brand vineyard vines®, the official outfitter for all Lark Hotels, will provide coastal chic attire for The Break staff.

The Break participates in Lark Hotels’ “On a Lark Club” program where points are accrued for each stay and can be redeemed in the future at each property for exclusive benefits, packages and experiences.
For additional information on The Break, please visit www.thebreakhotel.com or call (401) 363-9800(401) 363-9800 or (855) 559-3001(855) 559-3001.

MKTO and Phillip Phillips Complete Universal Orlando’s 2015 Mardi Gras Lineup

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Universal Orlando Resort announces the addition of pop duo MKTO and hit singer-songwriter Phillip Phillips to the list of popular artists performing at this year’s Mardi Gras celebration.

 

            Best known for their multi-platinum singles, “Thank You” and “Classic,” pop group MKTO will make their concert debut at Universal Studios Florida on Friday, March 13. The group’s name stands for musical duo Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller, as well as “Misfit Kids and Total Outcasts.”

 

            On Saturday, March 28, “American Idol” victor Phillip Phillips will take the stage. His most popular song, “Home,” has endured great success with more than four million copies sold, and he released his newest album, “Behind the Lights,” last May.

 

            Running select nights Feb. 7 to April 18, Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is a family-friendly version of the famed New Orleans festival. The event features a dazzling parade with thousands of beads, fresh Cajun dishes, bands straight from Bourbon Street and live concerts by some of today’s hottest musical acts, such as Kelly Clarkson, Jessie J and Trey Songz.

 

            To view the complete musical lineup and learn more about the event, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com/MardiGras.

 

Wildland Adventures Bets On Home Team with Galapagos Super Bowl Promo

Wildland Adventures Bets On Home Team  With Super Bowl Promo - 10 Percent Off Galapagos Cruises  Plus an Additional $500 When Seahawks Win

10 Percent Off Galapagos Cruises
Plus an Additional $500 When Seahawks Win

Wildland Adventures believes that Darwin’s survival of the fittest applies to the outcome of its home team, the Seattle-based Seahawks, as they compete in this Sunday’s Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, AZ.

Expressing confidence in their team’s victory, Wildland Adventures is celebrating with its own Galapagos Adventure Bowl by offering a 10 percent savings on a cruise through the Galapagos Islands in 2015. And the kicker: if the hometown Seahawks win, another $500 comes off the adventure package.

The small country of Ecuador is a player in this year’s half-time advertising break during the Super Bowl on Feb. 1. This is the first time the country has decided to promote itself in such an ambitious way to a huge US audience and it will be the only destination to be promoted in this event.

Why so bullish on the Seattle Seahawks? “Like Darwin’s observations of physical and behavioral characteristics of animals in the Galapagos, we have studied and documented the extreme levels of strength, size and speed among individual Seahawk players and we predict they will dominate in the Arizona bowl habitat,” said Sherry Howland, the company’s Galapagos Program Director and most ardent Seahawks supporter.

For details on Wildland Adventures Galapagos Adventure Bowl, please see
http://www.wildland.com/trips/south-america/ecuador-and-galapagos/galapagos-adventure-bowl/overview.aspx

While aboard a deluxe 20-passenger yacht for eight days (the total package is 11 days/10 nights), guests explore where Darwin once roamed. They also enjoy three nights on the Ecuador mainland connecting through the capital city of Quito.

Galapagos Adventure Bowl is available only for new bookings made from Feb. 1-28, 2015 for departures in 2015. Space is limited by availability. Best available dates in 2015 are Sept. 4, 11, 18, 27, Oct. 25 and Dec. 4, 11. Other dates are available on request. Galapagos Adventure Bowl savings are not applicable with other discount programs.

About Wildland Adventures
Kurt Kutay, Founding CEO/President, and Anne Kutay, Vice-President, established Wildland Adventures in 1986. They are actively at its helm and continuously refining and evolving their The results are lasting bonds — intercultural, interpersonal and environmental — wherever Wildland Adventures travels as well as their family-like community of enlightened, passionate travelers who have experienced how to focus on what matters most. Intrinsic to Wildland Adventures are strong personal connections with guests, especially the relationships Kurt, Anne and the Program directors have with alumni.

For more information contact Wildland Adventures at; 1800-345-4453, visit http://www.wildland.com/ or email info@wildland.com.

Hike Your Way Into Irish History Along the Ring of Kerry

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A stage coach route created in 1815 through historic villages and sites in southwestern Ireland’s County Kerry is the destination 200 years later of 8- and 11-day self-guided hikes by native adventure travel specialist Ireland Walk Bike Hike (http://www.irelandwalkhikebike.com/).

Dubbed the Ring of Kerry after the popular 179-km-long circular tourist route of the same name, this is a signature program designed and operated by Ireland Walk Hike Bike, (formerly known as South West Walks Ireland) that was started in 1994 by Linda Woods

This is a self-guided, independent walking tour with guests following a pre-ordained route equipped with detailed route descriptions, maps and pre-arranged accommodations (with full Irish breakfasts) booked in advance by Ireland Walk Hike Bike. Guests have the convenience of 24-hour emergency support and telephone back up. Luggage is moved ahead of the walkers to their next destination.

Depending on how many days they can devote to this hike, guests can enjoy Ring of Kerry 11-Day Self-Guided HIKE from €925 per person double or Ring of Kerry 8-Day Self-Guided HIKE from €749 per person double.

Kerry’s unique character is drawn from its unequalled diversity of land and seascapes while its offshore islands add another dimension to the beauty of the coastline frequently dotted with castles, forts and watchtowers. Warm summers and mild winters produce many sub-tropical and alpine species of flora while the temperate ocean waters, heated by the Gulf Stream, produce magnificent underwater vistas with whales, dolphins, seals and even turtles being frequent visitors.

The Ring of Kerry traces the coastline of the Iveragh Peninsula beginning in the Oak Woods of Killarney National Park, followed by the picture-postcard towns of Kenmare, Sneem and Glenbeigh before taking a step back in time at historic Derrynane House.

Guests walk an average of 20 km a day. Access for this holiday can be from Dublin, Cork or Shannon airports with bus and/or train connections available to Killarney year round.

On July 6, 1815, Charles Bianconi introduced his first horse-drawn carriage for passengers in Ireland, thus launching Ireland’s public transport system. He was able to establish regular horse-drawn carriage services from major towns and villages. Buses and coaches were commonly called “Bianconi’s” well into the 20th century.  This route, which precedes railways, is a unique way to travel Ireland seeing the sites that travelers saw 200 years ago.

About County Kerry
Ireland’s fabled County Kerry consists of a series of spectacular mountainous peninsulas divided by deep sea inlets. MacGillycuddy’s Reeks form the centerpiece of the Ring of Kerry, a 179-kilometer circuit from Killarney, via Killorglin, Caherciveen, Waterville, Kenmare and back to Killarney across Moll’s Gap and past Ladies View – one of Ireland’s most famous viewpoints. Weaving between these points is a network of ancient paths that are nearly as old as the land itself, many of which form part of a long-distance track known as the Kerry Way.

The name ‘Kerry’ comes from the Old Irish word Ciarraige meaning the people of Ciar, an early Celtic tribe that settled in the area around 300 BC. In fact, Kerry has an outstanding collection of historical and archaeological sites that date back over 7,000 years, with several ancient forts and numerous early Christian churches. Impossibly green pastures stretch as far as the eye can see, completely empty save for small herds of sheep or goats, and at almost every turn there are spectacular views of mist-covered mountains and wild stretches of uninhabitable coastline where deep fissures have been carved, over the eons, by the pounding waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

Here and there along the coast, pretty fishing villages, such as Caherdaniel and Portmagee, have successfully withstood the elements and offer a picturesque contrast to the verdant hills that surround them. The Skellig Islands lie 8 miles off the tip of the peninsula, two rocky peaks rising sheer out of the Atlantic Ocean. Skellig Michael is a world heritage site on account of its 6th century monastery, with beehive huts, oratories and inscribed crosses. Seabirds abound as well. Small Skellig is home to over 40,000 gannets, the second largest colony in the world.

Please contact Ireland Walk Hike Bike for more information on both fully-guided and self-guided trips; Phone: USA/Canada 1 720 316 59731 720 316 5973; email: info@irelandwalkhikebike.com, website: http://www.irelandwalkhikebike.com.

Holland America Line’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin Named ‘Best Cruise Line Chef’ for Second Time in Porthole Cruise Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Awards

Master Chef Rudi Sodamin

Rudi Sodamin, longtime master chef consultant for Holland America Line, has been named Best Cruise Line Chef in Porthole Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Awards for 2015. The annual awards are chosen by Bill Panoff, the magazine’s top editor and publisher, who first named Sodamin best chef in 2011.

“The words cruise and cuisine practically go hand in hand, and today’s cruise guests expect the very best of dining at sea,” said Bill Panoff, publisher and editor-in-chief of Porthole Cruise Magazine. “For more than 20 years, Rudi Sodamin has managed to keep up with — and exceed — those expectations in terms of innovation, quality and excellence.”

“Rudi’s creativity and innovative spirit continue to drive Holland America Line’s culinary programs to the forefront of cruise industry cuisine,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “His enthusiasm and attention to detail prove that Rudi truly loves what he does and he deserves this recognition.”

For 14 years, Sodamin has directed the evolution of fine dining and unique menu options at Holland America Line through his role as culinary consultant, and is internationally recognized as a food authority and one of the hospitality industry’s most innovative chefs. His ideas have been instrumental in the development of Holland America Line’s interactive onboard culinary-arts program. Sodamin also chairs Holland America Line’s Culinary Council, which was formed to enrich the premium line’s culinary program and is composed of top international chefs.

Sodamin is the author of numerous internationally published cookbooks including “Seduction & Spice” (Rizzoli, 2000) and Holland America Line’s “A Taste of Excellence” (Rizzoli, 2007), “A Taste of Elegance” (Rizzoli, 2009),  “A Taste of Celebration” (Rizzoli, 2010) and “Culinary Signature Collection Appetizers” (Rizzoli 2013).

His many accolades include a rating of 17 (out of 20) and Three Toques from the prestigious Gault-Millau Guide, the first for an onboard restaurant (and the only such award ever presented at sea). Sodamin belongs to the prestigious Academy Culinaire de France, the Maîtres Cuisiners de France and is an honorary member of the noble Club des Chefs des Chefs, whose members cook for Presidents, Kings and Prime Ministers. In early 2014, the Gastronomy Club Wien and the Chamber of Commerce in Austria presented him with the “Golden Cloche” award.

In December 2014, it was announced that Sodamin will receive the Order of Merit in Silver of the Austrian Republic, an honor conferred by the Republic of Austria. The award will be presented in spring 2015.

The bimonthly Porthole Cruise Magazine was established in 1993 and covers all aspects of cruise travel. The magazine serves as a consumer cruise travel magazine for experienced and first-time cruisers alike. Editorial emphasis is on cruise vacation information, ship reviews, news, popular ports of call and travel tips.

For more information on Holland America Line’s cruises and Alaska Land+Sea Journeys, consult a professional travel seller, call 1-877-SAIL-HAL1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-54251-877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.

Holland America Line Features Robust Canada and New England Cruise Options for Summer and Fall 2015

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With 39 cruises throughout Canada and New England in 2015, Holland America Line offers an extensive array of cruises in the region that range from seven to 15 days. The voyages carry guests in elegant comfort aboard ms Eurodam, ms Maasdam or ms Veendam.

Whether exploring the area during the summer when the skies shine blue or in the fall when the leaves put on an incredible display of jewel-toned hues, Canada and New England is perfect for cruising in either season.

“We offer an incredible number of Canada and New England cruises because this in-demand region is rich in culture, history and stunning scenery — making it an ideal cruise destination that’s close to home,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “There’s something for everyone on these itineraries, whether it’s exploring nature, trying local cuisine, antique shopping or visiting historical locales.”

Scheduled May through October, the cruises depart from Boston, Mass.; Montréal and Québec City, Quebec, Canada; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; and New York City, N.Y., and visit some of the region’s most iconic destinations.

 

Idyllic Summer Climate and Seven-day Cruise Options Perfect for Family Vacation
Maasdam begins the season with a 15-day northbound cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Montréal departing May 1, 2015, that includes scenic cruising in the Saguenay Fjord.

From May 16 through the Oct. 10 departure, Maasdam offers 22 seven-day sailings between Montréal and Boston, featuring scenic cruising in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the St. Lawrence River.

 

Maasdam concludes the season with a 13-day coastal sailing departing Oct. 17 from Montréal to Fort Lauderdale. Guests can take in the beautiful landscape at peak fall foliage time on scenic cruising along the St. Lawrence River, Saguenay Fjord and Gaspé Bay. Guests also can choose a 10-day option to sail from Montréal to New York.

 

Bermuda Collectors’ Voyages and between Quebec and Boston
Veendam kicks off its Canada and New England season with a 14-day Bermuda and Canada/New England Collectors’ Voyage departing Boston May 9, 2015. Highlights include three full nights at Hamilton, Bermuda, and an overnight at Quebec City. This itinerary also is offered in June and July, as well as the reverse route from Quebec City to Boston in May and June.

From May 16 through the Oct. 10 departure, Veendam sails 12 seven-day cruises between Québec City and Boston. These sailings include scenic cruising in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and an overnight at Québec City.

For seven-day Maasdam and Veendam itineraries, back-to-back sailings on the same ship can be combined for an extended 14-day roundtrip Collectors’ Voyage, allowing extra time ashore to get to know each port better with repeating calls.

 

Fall Foliage Cruises Bring Region to Life with Nature’s Colors
In September and October, during the height of the 2015 fall foliage season, Eurodam will sail a 10-day cruise between New York and Québec City, and a 14-day cruise from Québec City to Fort Lauderdale. Both itineraries include scenic cruising in Saguenay Fjord and an overnight at Quebec City.

Veendam kicks off Sept. with a 7-day Historic Coasts roundtrip Boston cruise departing Aug. 29.  Ports feature Portland, Maine, Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax and Sydney, Nova Scotia. Maasdam and Veendam also continue with seven-day fall foliage cruise options into October.

On Location Provides Engagement with Cruise Destinations
On each Canada and New England cruise, Holland America Line’s “On Location” enrichment activities brings local traditions, culinary tastes and cultural experiences to life both onboard and ashore to deepen guests’ appreciation of the region.

Guests on a Canada and New England cruise might enjoy a New England clam bake or a “Fiddlin’ Flapjack” breakfast, complete with authentic Canadian maple syrup and featuring local Cape Breton Celtic fiddlers. Other activities include regional beer and wine tastings, a Canadian Bar mixology class, cultural cooking demonstrations and a special historical and musical performance featuring the Halifax Citadel Highlander & Bagpiper.

Fares begin at $699 per person, double occupancy. For more information about Canada and New England cruises and Holland America Line, consult a travel professional, call 1-877-SAIL HAL (877-724-5425877-724-5425) or visit www.hollandamerica.com.