Travelscope's Blog

Montreal is a year-round global capital of celebration. The world’s second-largest French-speaking city (after only Paris) is famous for its cosmopolitan flair, cuisine, fashion, as a UNESCO City of Design, the birthplace of Cirque du Soleil - and a full calendar of top-shelf festivals that wrap the city in energy anytime you visit.

A famously active winter city, Montreal’s star shines even when the temperatures fall, with a mid-winter ‘Nuit Blanche’, ‘Igloofest’ and active celebrations of the city, like giant outdoor skating rinks.

Summer is high festival season, with marquee events like the Canadian Formula One Grand Prix race which is the most watched F1 race in the world, the world’s largest comedy festival, rock and electronic music fests, the Montreal World Film Festival, just to name a few.

Most summers, that includes the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Guinness World Record-holding celebration of jazz music that transforms the city’s Quartier des Spectacles, or festival neighbourhood, into the world’s biggest jazz club with thousands of performers from dozens of countries, including today’s jazz legends as well as tomorrow’s.
 

© Benoit Rousseau - Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
 
In 2021, a smaller Montreal Jazz Festival took place in September – highlighting the irresistible appeal of open-air events as we start traveling again.

And it highlighted perhaps the very best time to visit Montreal – during the Fall, when warm sunny days and crisp nights are tailor made for enjoying the city outdoors to its fullest. There’s Montreal’s version of Oktoberfest in its Beer Festival, MUTEK, an exposition combining electronic music and digital art, MOMENTA, Montreal’s Biennale of photography and image art, even a two-part video gaming extravaganza.

But one literally 'outshines' them all.

Gardens of Light

 
For weeks at the height of the best fall weather in September and October, Montreal’s Botanical Gardens are transformed into pure enchantment. Three gardens: Chinese, Japanese, and First Nations, are set aglow with light and magic.
 
Glittering lanterns in different shapes, styles and sizes glitter along paths through the dynamic and uniquely styled gardens, illuminating not just your way, but providing an authentic gateway to three of the world’s great cultures.
 
The beloved annual spectacle draws thousands who come to be immersed in inspiration and culture, and the best time to visit includes the late afternoon sun, blooms and fall colors, that transition with sundown to a different world that pays homage to the rising moon.
 
In fact, one of the central – and very Canadian- experiences is an interactive, lunar installation that captures the relationship between humans and Nature. Under the real moon above, and in the reflection of a illuminated moon installation, you’ll hear wolves howling – and if you howl, too, it makes the illuminated moon grow bigger. It takes a nocturnal experience out of the playbook of camping in Canada’s north country – responding to the howling wolves – and makes it into art that highlights dialogue between humans and Nature.
 

The First Nations’ Illuminations: Circle of Life

 
The illuminations in the First Nations Garden grow out of the actual, giant poplar tree that’s the dominant feature of the garden, and labelled the Sacred Tree. On and around the Sacred Tree, the light installations portray the birth and fading of seasons and Nature’s constant transformation.

To add to the primal experience, the light show is played against a projection of fire and to the evocative soundtrack of a human heartbeat.
 

The Chinese Garden: Legend of Pangu

 
There’s a long cultural tradition of lanterns in China, making the magical silk lantern installations in this section of the Montreal Botanical Gardens both a natural fit and a fabulous transformation.
 
The Gardens of Light here recreate in dramatic illuminations the Chinese fishing tale of the mythological creature Pangu, who is accompanied by four more creatures representing the four compass points. The black tortoise for North, the red bird for South, blue dragon for East, and white tiger for West.
 

The Japanese Garden: Zen by Light

 
Where the Chinese Garden is dramatic, the Japanese Gardens by Light are meditative and understated. An illuminated path begins to glow as the sun sets, with the unmistakeable shapes of Japanese garden features reborn in peaceful lighting.

True to ancient Japanese culture, the illuminations pay homage to the changing seasons and highlight, rather than mask, Nature, enhanced on certain nights by live music.
 
Montreal’s Gardens of Light may be one of the most magical ways to celebrate autumn outdoors in one of the most dynamic cities in the world.
 

#StartYourTrip!


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host BestTrip TV

Image credits as noted.

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


The secret about river cruising was out, even before the pandemic.

Like all cruise travel, it's the ‘easy button’ way to ‘sample’ multiple destinations and get an overview of a region. You unpack once, really settling in to your ship environment like a home away from home in a floating boutique hotel that winds its way through marquee cities as well as scenic countryside you might not see if you travel any other way.
The enchantment of river cruising is enhanced by its authenticity. Historically, rivers were the best – sometimes only! – way to travel between communities. Most European cities started and were built from the river. In many ways, river cruising is one of the most authentic ways to experience its diverse regions.

That hasn’t changed, and as we return to travel, river cruising makes even more sense to dip our toes back into the water. 

River cruise ships are small enough to navigate the rivers and canals and locks of Europe. In post-pandemic times, smaller ships also translate to fewer fellow guests. Smaller, off-the-beaten track ports along the river mean less crowded destinations. And staying in a small, river cruise ‘bubble’ helps keep everyone safe.

We’ve been missing travel for so long, many people want to extend their journeys with back-to-back river cruises.
For travellers wanting to minimize how many jurisdictions and sets of COVID rules they encounter – France is the obvious choice.

Vineyards on Rhone riverbanks; BestTrip TV

It’s the only country in Europe with more than one, single-country river cruise. And it’s France! Joie de vivre, savoir vivre, wine and cuisine and the French way of life make cruising on any of these three rivers enchanting.

Here are the highlights of France’s three cruising rivers. Sailing along any one of them is a dream vacation. Sailing two – or even all three – back-to-back is a French ‘affair’ you’ll remember forever.

Bordeaux:


Route: Rather than traveling on one river, a cruise in this storied area of south-western France is more like traveling on spokes, where the city of Bordeaux is something of a hub to explore along the Garonne and Dordogne rivers, and Gironde estuary.

WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE for my experience on a Bordeaux river cruise

Highlights: This is a serious wine lover's dream. Bordeaux is a city - the capital of the Aquitaine region – a river, and a wine region: the largest, one of the oldest, and most prestigious in France.  

Some of the most fabled and historic vineyards and wine houses are here, including some of the most expensive bottles in the world, and it’s the origin of the world’s first grand cru. Daily visits and tastings let you immerse yourself in the history, terroirs, and flavors of Medoc, Cadillac's Sauternes, and Saint-Emilion, the first wine region to be protected by UNESCO, and more.

The city of Bordeaux has been called the 'essence of elegance', second only to Paris as the French city with the most protected architecture. Its 18th century French design is best represented by the breathtaking Place de la Bourse. Best of all, your cruise ship docks in the 'Port de la Lune', a crescent shaped part of the river in the heart of the historic city.

Bordeaux keeps its eye to the future, too, with modern architecture, vineyards and developments including the new and astonishing riverbank 'Cite du Vin' – a wildly modern, vast museum of wine, shaped like a stylized decanter, and firmly entrenching Bordeaux as the world capital of wine.

The Seine


Route: Seine river cruises usually begin, and often round-trip to Paris. The river flows north from the French capital, ending at the sea in Normandy. Paris, the sea, and French countryside in between? Formidable! As the French would say.

Highlights: You had us at 'Paris'. Most itineraries include at least one pre- or post- cruise day, and in our opinion, you'll want to top it up to at least three days minimum in the City of Light.

Art Lover? The region north of Paris to Normandy is the birthplace of Impressionism. Cruises call at Giverny, Claude Monet's home, where the flower and water gardens that inspired some of his most famous works are still on view. And don't miss the second largest collection of Impressionist art in the world (after Paris' Musee d'Orsay) in Rouen.

Normandy is the largest region in France that is NOT a wine-producing region (the horror!). Instead, the signature Norman beverage is Calvados – a brandy-like spirit made from the region's famous apple crops. The dairy cattle grazing in fields throughout the countryside supply the milk for the area's most famous cheese: Camembert.

One of the biggest draws is the opportunity to visit the World War 2 Landing Beaches. American, British and Canadian sites are emotional reminders of the epic struggle to gain the first foothold in the quest to free Europe. Memorial centers bring the stories of the battles and soldiers to life, and can help trace family members who fought. 

The Rhone

 
Route: The itinerary is usually a combo of the Rhone and Saone, from the Mediterranean Sea in epic Provence in the south, to France's culinary capital of Lyon, often with a pre or post cruise extension in Paris via a brief high-speed train ride.
 
Highlights: This river cruise itinerary not only gives you the opportunity for a pre or post cruise extension in the legendary South of France, it also makes its way through some of the most legendary wine regions of a legendary wine destination. 
 
River banks offer ideal conditions for many of Europe's famous wine regions. Take a look at a wine map of France; wine regions follow the rivers the entire length of the Rhone/Saone. Itineraries deliver you to the doorsteps of great houses of Cotes de Provence, Chateauneuf du Pape, Cotes du Rhone, Beaujolais, and other celebrated French wines.

Lynn tasting olive oil on a Rhone River cruise; BestTrip TV
 
Along the way, some of the culinary delicacies that pair terrifically with those wines make their homes side by side with vineyards. Think: French truffles, olives and olive oil, goat cheese, and incomparable Provencal produce.
 
Other highlights include the breathtaking Roman amphitheatre in Arles, the bridge of the famous song in Avignon, the culinary capital of France – Lyon, that is. And oh, and did we mention the wine?
 

#StartYourTrip


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host BestTrip TV

Images: BestTrip TV

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.






8 German Words You Need to Fit in at Oktoberfest
It’s Oktoberfest time again. The festival traditionally held annually in Bavaria’s capital of Munich, with similar events throughout the entire region, is one of the world’s most epic celebrations.

Name notwithstanding, Oktoberfest actually runs for just over two weeks from mid-late September to the first Sunday in October. It’s been cancelled again in 2021, but that gives you time to brush up on your vocabulary – and German beer drinking skills – until you can visit Munich’s Oktoberfest soon.

Here are a few expressions you’ll want to file away for good use at your next Munich – or backyard – Oktoberfest.

Bier

The word needs no translation, but it is what Oktoberfest is all about. According to recent stats, nearly 8 million liters, or around 16 million pints, were served to 6 million locals and visitors who thronged to the Munich Oktoberfest.
 
Bier is not just Bavarians’ favorite beverage, there’s a special one brewed exclusively for Oktoberfest every year: Oktoberfestbier. It has to meet certain standards, including German Beer Purity Laws and it must be brewed within Munich city limits.
 
Note to self: Oktoberfestbier is stronger than normal German beers, at 6% alcohol content.
 
Bonus word: Bierhallen. Pretty self-explanatory. The place they drink the beer during Oktoberfest.

Prost

 
This word involves essential Oktoberfest etiquette. Prost is German for ‘cheers’ (and a generally good word to know outside of Oktoberfest too!). You toast before drinking your beer, and you must look into your drinking friends’ eyes, raise your beer stein, clink, and shout (yes, shout) Prost! (Pronounced Prohst!)
 
You’ll find yourself doing ein Prosit often, and the bands in the Bierhallen strike up a specific tune every 20 minutes for a tent-wide toast, too.
 

Wurst

The jokes make themselves, when it comes to the German word for sausage. The ‘best’ of the ‘Wurst’. And so on. Actually, it’s pronounced ‘Vurst’, which is much less conducive to joking.

There are many kinds of Wurst to have with your Bier. In Germany you’ll likely encounter ‘Weisswurst’, which means ‘white sausage,’ and refers to its ingredients: minced veal and pork; Kasewurst, which has cheese inside, and of course every man-cave in North America has some Bratwurst, which just means finely-chopped meat in the sausage casing, usually pork.

Maybe the best thing about the Wurst is the wonderful variety of mustards served with them. You’ll quickly learn which kind of ‘Senf’ you like with which ‘Wurst’.
 

Tracht

For Germans and visitors alike, Oktoberfest is about ‘getting your Tracht on.’ Tracht refers to traditional costume in Germany and also other German-speaking countries. Oktoberfest guests are encouraged to get into the local culture and spirit by donning Tracht, and you have two choices:

Dirndl
A traditional alpine dress for women, dirndls consist of a long skirt, white blouse, bodice that’s done up so tight it can’t help being very eye-catching, and apron in vivid colors. It’s derived from a Bavarian word for ‘girl,’ and many women keep a hand-made, heirloom dirndl in the closet for formal, not just beer-drinking, occasions, like attending weddings.
 
Lederhosen  
The male equivalent simply means ‘leather pants.’ Actually, they’re shorts, usually worn with a white shirt, warm knee socks, suspenders/ braces and some go for the whole look with special shoes. Bonus points for a dashing wool felt hat with a jaunty feater - that’s also a symbol of the region.
 

Gemutlichkeit

 
There’s no exact English translation for this word, pronounced something like ‘geh-MOOT-ly-kite’) but it is the essence – even more than beer – of Oktoberfest.
 
Some call it fellowship, friendliness, or even good times. It’s the atmosphere surrounding you at Oktoberfest as you clink beer mugs with new and old friends.
 

#StartYourTrip!


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host BestTrip TV

Image: BestTrip TV

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



To celebrate the release of the long-awaited new James Bond film, No Time to Die, the Jamaica Tourist Board is releasing some exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage.

It showcases cast and crew from the movie, as well as some of the locations shot in Jamaica.

The country has been part of the Bond legacy from the very beginning. Author Ian Fleming created the series and wrote the James Bond novels at his seaside home, appropriately named ‘Goldeneye’.

And in fact, Jamaica had a starring role in the very first Bond film, 1962’s Dr. No, and also was the vivid backdrop to Bond action in Live and Let Die in 1973.

It can easily be said that Jamaica is the birthplace and spiritual home of the 007 character – so it’s fitting that the latest – 25th - film in the classic spy thriller series should return there for the latest actor playing Bond, Daniel Craig’s, exit from the role of James Bond. 

“We’re a place for beginnings,” says Edmund Bartlett, Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, in the video released by the Jamaica Tourist Board. “But we are also the place for great endings.”


Without giving anything away! In No Time to Die, Bond has aged out of active service, enjoying retirement in Jamaica (image captured from the video above). That is, until his old CIA friend, Felix Leiter, shows up asking for help.

Naturally, their mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be much more complex and treacherous than they expected, leading James Bond to a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology and evil in his heart.

After that… well, you’ll just have to head to the theater to see the film!

But watch the short film above as an appetizer to the full Bond movie – or your next trip to Jamaica! You can get a sneak preview of some of the spectacular beachside and urban scenes filmed for the movie in Jamaica, as well as glimpses inside Ian Fleming’s Jamaica home, Goldeneye, which is now a hotel, with access to – you guessed it – James Bond Beach.

For more details about the upcoming Bond Film No Time to Die, you can visit www.007.com

Start Your Trip!




This Old Ship is the Caribbean's Great New Dive Destination
Sunken wrecks aren’t just fascinating destinations for underwater exploration or fantasies of pirate ‘days of yore’. Properly and carefully submerged, wrecks enhance natural reef ecosystems and provide new homes for marine plants and creatures.

A new submerged ship is about to become a prime diving attraction in the 2nd-largest barrier reef in the world. It will also contribute to sustainability in a number of ways.

“The Wit Concrete” ship is a 375-foot long, 58-foot wide, and 38-foot deep ship originally built during WW2, one of the largest concrete ships built during wartime. Over its hard-working life, the ship had different tasks, beginning as a floating transfer station for supplies along the U.S. Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard during the war, up to its most recent ‘life’ as a storage vessel for molasses by Belize Sugar Industries.

Upon retiring the ship, the company donated it to the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association to submerge.
The Turneffe Atoll is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. Sometimes called the Great Maya Reef, this UNESCO World Heritage site stretches 700 miles from the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, south along the Caribbean coasts of Belize, Guatamala and Honduras.

Nearly a third of the system lies along Belize’s coastline.

That includes the Turneffe Atoll, a 30-mile long chain of ‘cayes’ (mini-islands, pronounced ‘keys’) that covers over 300,000 acres just 20 miles off the coast of Belize City. Belize declared the atoll a national marine reserve in 2012.

Over 500 species of fish, 65 types of corals, sea turtles, manatees, dolphins, marine birds and other wildlife call the chain of cayes and their waters, mangroves and seagrass shallows home. Surrounded by deep ocean, the Turneffe Atoll is considered the largest, and most biologically diverse coral atoll in the country and the entire Mesoamerican Reef marine ecoregion.

The Turneffe Atoll is already a prime destination for sustainable ocean tourism, including ecotours, snorkeling, diving and salt-water sport fishing. For those in the know, it’s one of the best places for a sport-fishing ‘Grand Slam’ – that is: catching a bone-fish, permit and tarpon all on the same day at sea.

Sustainable dive tourism to the Turneffe Atoll is getting a big boost, too, with the submerging of The Wit.

Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA) is in charge of day-to-day operations of the reserve. TASA worked with Artificial Reefs International, an organization with expertise in the planned submersion of ships. Local marine experts cleaned and prepped The Wit to create, add or widen access points for divers and sealife to enter and exit the ship, and remove any hazardous materials, meeting US Environmental Protection Agency standards that avoid any negative impact of the ship on its new home on the ocean floor.

All that was done in prepareation for The Wit to be towed to the Turneffe Atoll and carefully sunk in a designated place, to begin a new and final life on the ocean floor in the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve.

The benefits are three-fold. First, “The Wit Turneffe” is a new dive destination for Belize and the entire region. It puts Belize on the map as the home of one of the largest wreck dive attractions in the Caribbean.

In fact, The Wit Concrete’s sister ship – TheWitConcrete II – was sunk in the U.S. Virgin Islands in the ‘90’s, where it has become of that destination’s premier dive sites and top marine attraction.

“Wreck diving is an increasingly popular activity that draws a select population of environmentally-conscious divers from across the world,” says Valdemar Andrade, Executive Director of TASA.

Attracting divers provides new income for the marine reserve and local stakeholders that host dive tourists. Funds collected from wreck diving through the park entrance fee system will assist in funding TASA’s operations and other sustainability programs in the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve.

And thirdly, the Wit Turneffe wreck enhances the reef’s ecosystem and contributes to increasing marine biodiversity.
“Over the years, marine flora and fauna will use The Wit’s walls, rooms and cabins, filling them with a different history, as the wreck gradually blends into the existing reef system,” Andrade explains.

Over the long term, TASA plans to develop an impactful and exclusive experience where divers can directly participate in scientific monitoring, protection of the area and other exciting, hands-on environmental programs in the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve.

Divers who visit annually will see not just a fascinating wreck, but also a growing ecosystem inside and surrounding an old ship with a new, underwater purpose.

#StartYourTrip


Image courtesy of the Belize Tourism Board






Chicago's Signature Sculpture is Now 'Spilling the Beans' on the Best Ways to Visit
Chicago’s ‘The Bean’ sculpture is already one of the most popular attractions in the city.

Officially titled ‘Cloud Gate’, the massive, stainless steel sculpture anchors Chicago’s lakefront Millennium Park. At 33 feet high, 42 feet wide, 66 feet long… and about the weight of 15 elephants! the abstract work of public art dominates the cityscape and is one of the largest outdoor art installations in the world.

Almost every visitor to Chicago finds themselves taking in the awe-inspiring reflective surface of The Bean at least once. It mirrors the park and park visitors, the lights along Michigan Avenue, the Chicago skyline - and visitors themselves – in its shiny surface.

Many don’t just look at themselves in The Bean. The perfect, smooth finish invites park visitors to touch the surface, and its curved underside serves as an entrance to the park (hence its formal name Cloud Park.)
Now, The Bean isn’t just the iconic symbol of Chicago and a mirror onto life in the park.

(CH/ Choose Chicago)

Thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI), The Bean is now part of the visitor action. And travelers to Chicago can interact with The Bean on a whole new level. 

Choose Chicago describes it from the perspective of The Bean:

“Day in and day out for years, humans have come to stare at The Bean. And The Bean has been staring back. And been in more selfies than even The Bean can count. The Bean has loved all of it.

Then, in 2020, the visitors paused.
 
And that’s when something wonderful happened to The Bean. The Bean’s friends at Choose Chicago knew the world deserved more Bean. A Bean whose visitors could interact with digitally. A Bean that could truly reflect all that the beautiful city of Chicago has to offer.”
 
Choose Chicago partnered with a Northwestern University student lab to power The Bean by AI, enabling it to have digital conversations and answer questions from visitors, suggesting places and events for them to experience the city, from neighbourhood restaurants to events next weekend to child-friendly activities, things to do and more.
 
You don’t have to travel to Chicago to meet its new digital ambassador. The Bean's AI entity lives on the Choose Chicago website, and is available 24-7 to help people from near and far to discover the best of Chicago and plan a future trip.
 
As The Bean ‘says’:

“The sentient Bean is now ready to tell you all about stunning Chicago. The Bean spent years analyzing the idle chitchat of nearby visitors. The Bean learned the importance of helping people locate pizza of all depths. The Bean learned there is other non-Bean art and culture to help humans to enjoy. And The Bean learned more than The Bean wanted about the baseball rivalry that splits the city into two areas: North of The Bean and South of The Bean.
 
“Ask The Bean anything—and The Bean will share everything it knows.”
 
We took The Bean up on its challenge and went online to explorewiththebean.com to have a chat with The now-sentient Bean ourselves. It went like this:



 

 
According to Choose Chicago, The Bean is improving its conversation skills every day and cannot wait to speak with every human who wants to explore the city.
 
“The Bean wants to relay that this is just a wonderful start to its mission.” 

#StartYourTrip


Top Image: A.Alexander courtesy of Choose Chicago

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.












5 Top Places to Nama-'Stay' During National Yoga Month
For many of us, September feels more like the ‘New Year’ than when the calendar says it’s January. Time to exhale, regroup, and reset yourself on a fulfilling course for the future, one that includes meeting life and wellness goals.
Maybe that’s why September is National Yoga Month.

The ideal time to practice – or at least plan for - two intersecting life goals: more yoga and more travel.

Here are 5 inspired places to practice yoga on an enriching journey. 
 

Flamingo Yoga at Baha Mar, The Bahamas

Located on the pristine white sands of Cable Beach in Nassau, Baha Mar is a tropical island dreamscape, no matter which of its three beachfront resorts best suits your luxury travel style. Whether you choose to stay in the richly refined Rosewood, the playfully hip SLS, or the stylish and modern Grand Hyatt, stunning views and an epic selection of pools and resort experiences awaits.
 
Flamingo Cay is a unique habitat within Baha Mar, designed to shelter these iconic and vivid tropical waterbirds, to educate guests about flamingos and preserve their population in The Bahamas for future generations. 
 

For guests who practice yoga, there’s also an exceptional experience - Flamingo Yoga (pictured above and top) - where guests can practice their flamingo poses, breathing techniques, and mindfulness with the ultimate yoga experts – the Baha Mar Ambassador Flamingos.

The Yoga Instructor is dedicated to working with the flamingos and is on hand to educate guests and look after the birds. The classes are small and intimate, once-weekly sessions that will embed themselves in your memory as a treasured wellness and travel experience.

 

‘Flo-Yo’ in a ‘Spa Without Walls’, Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii



The Fairmont Orchid is uniquely Hawaiian: 32 oceanfront acres with a white sand beach on the black-lava Kohala Coast of Hawaii Island. When you’re not snorkeling with sea turtles in the resort’s private lagoon, napping in a hammock, immersing yourself in Hawaiian cultural activities like storytelling, hula and ukulele, watching the sun rise from a traditional outrigger canoe on the bay… you can rediscover your inner, primal human, surrounded by rushing waterfalls, and greenery, orchids and palms in the resort’s ‘Spa Without Walls.’


Where the indoors is outdoors in paradise, it seems easier to realign mind and body balance immersed in Nature.
 
The resort offers complimentary seaside and sunset yoga, and ‘flo-yo’ or floating yoga on stand-up paddleboards in the quiet waters of the resort’s quiet, private lagoon – a beautiful way to start the day – and a complete core workout where warm ocean breezes and lapping waves set the pace and soothe the spirits.


SUP Yoga at the Westin Bayshore, Vancouver

It may be the essential Vancouver wellness experience. Where stand up paddleboard meets downward dog – in a South Beach-style pool overlooking Vancouver's seawall and mountains.

On a fair summer day in Vancouver, British Columbia, the locals joke it's like 'British California'. And it seems that somehow, every resident and visitor in town is outdoors or on the water.
 
The Liquid Yoga program offered by Just Add Water Yoga at the Westin Bayshore gives hotel guests – and the general public – a unique way to be part of Vancouver’s famed local wellness and open air culture - in the security of a pool as an aquatic yoga studio, rather than the open sea like other SUP yoga.

Photo: BestTrip.TV
Didn't bring workout wear? We love that guests can take advantage of the Run Westin's gear lending program.
 
Liquid Yoga is a terrific way to enjoy the Westin Bayshore's gorgeous, circular pool, and its views of Vancouver's harbor, seawall and mountains.
 

Sun-Rise Yoga at Sea in the Caribbean on Virgin Voyages

Imagine yoga on the deck of a sailing ship at dawn, with the sun peeking over the horizon, the sounds and the sights of the sea all around, and the shifting of the ship in the waves adding just a touch of challenge to your core in holding those poses, greeting the new day filling your lungs with fresh sea air.… take it from me: this is living.


One of the most unique places to do yoga overlooking the infinite sea is Virgin Voyages.

Richard Branson’s cheeky new, ‘breaking-the-mould-of-cruising’ cruise line taps into the celebrity billionaire’s history as a music industry entrepreneur. The newly-launched Virgin Voyages feels a lot like a hip, tropical club at sea, with Branson himself telling me that the tables in suites were designed to be danced on!

The line takes a ‘detox, retox’ approach to the cruise lifestyle, so in addition to a nightclub atmosphere, champagne on demand anywhere on the ship, and the first tattoo parlor at sea, guests on the line’s first ship, the Scarlet Lady will also find their daytime downtime wellness options robust.


It starts with the ‘Aquatic Club’ outdoor pool deck, and continues with such wildly different wellness options as outdoor boxing, to meditation and yes, sun-rise yoga.
 

Yoga On the Top Deck of a European River Cruise on U By Uniworld

Before Virgin Voyages launched a new way of cruising, U By Uniworld reimagined river cruising for ‘Active Travelers’, with distinctive, modern black-hulled river ships and a whole new approach to experiencing the shore and the ship. It’s more of a hipster river cruise, with mixology (bar chefs), overnights in key European cities for clubbing, dance parties on board in a private ship version of a club, top deck ‘camping’, a modern approach to cuisine – and yes, yoga!

After an exciting night, guests are welcome to greet the day with complimentary, morning top-deck yoga sessions, led by the ship’s wellness coach.


Why do yoga on a European river cruise? The views are sure to help with the meditation.

Some of the very best views of favorite European cities are from the rivers that run through them. Without the congestion of other buildings around, you can absorb the breathtaking historic beauty of cities that were built on rivers when they - not roads – were the highways of Europe.

Early morning, top-deck yoga in European cities gives you a unique, over-the-rail perspective on some of the most inspiring cityscapes on the continent, and a way to absorb some of the city’s energy before an active day of exploring walking, hiking, cycling or kayaking through town.  
 

#StartYourTrip


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/Host, BestTrip TV

Images courtesy of their respective hotels/ cruise lines except where otherwise stated.










2 New Airport Lounges That Make Us Want to Miss Our Flight
They are a calm oasis in the heart of the hustle and bustle of an airport, and among the few places where air travel retains a sense of ceremony.
 
Certainly, they are the very best places for people who love to remind themselves of the romance of travel by watching planes take off and land.
 
Airport lounges have gone beyond generic luxury living rooms / bars for first-class passengers. The latest in lounges reflects the culture of the airline as well as the destination, and have become art, design, wine and culinary, even wellness or entertainment hubs only accessible to fortunate travellers passing through.
 
Two airlines on two continents have recently opened two very different lounge concepts for air travelers to relax, recharge, and celebrate their upcoming flight.

Alaska Airlines at SFO

 

The 8th Alaska Airlines lounge in the U.S. follows the pattern of its predecessors in emphasizing the local cuisine and culture, along with the carrier’s laid-back, West Coast version of full service aviation.
 
At Alaska Airline’s San Francisco International Airport (SFO) lounge, travelers will find 9200 square feet of Bay-Area inspired amenities and flavors.

 
A gallery wall, featuring fine art by local artists, greets guests entering the Terminal 2 lounge. Inside, a powerful painting titled “Offshore” dominates the main space with the artist Anne Neely’s message of climate change in honor of the airline’s commitment to “environmental responsibility and communities.”
 
Kids get in on the local-inspired action, too, with a children’s play area decked out with San Francisco Giants art and fan-favorite mascot Lou Seal. It’s a ‘home run’ for parents who love to see their kids happy and tired out by the time they board their flight!
 
The Bay Area beverage selection might help traveling parents’ nerves, too. You’ll find a full bar featuring complimentary local craft beer on tap, wine from local vineyards and even an espresso bar – staffed with a trained barista.
 
Pair your beverage with more regional tastes. You can satisfy your sweet tooth with made-to-order pancakes, the treats from a local candy bar, and travel-themed cookies by Oakland Fortune Cookie Factory. 

 
For a truly one-of-a-kind local snack, head to the vintage-style ‘sourdough toast cart.’ Sourdough bread has been a part of San Francisco's food scene since Gold Rush days, and local bakeries keep the tradition alive. Available at lunch and dinner meal times, the sourdough cart in the Alaska Airlines lounge will offer a variety of sweet and savory toppings, such as ricotta with figs and honey, and burrata with pesto.
 
 

Air France at CDG

Air France has unveiled its brand-new flagship lounge at Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG). While its location in Terminal 2F of the main airport in France’s national capital gives the iconic national carrier home field advantage to provide the ultimate in French-style travel, expectations are also very high.

So naturally, they brought in famous designers to craft the over-32 thousand square foot lounge, with nearly 600 seats over two floors. The Canadian and French designer team Jouin Manku were inspired by the concepts of ‘levitation’, ‘grace’ and a ‘haven of serenity’ in designing a space for air travelers to experience ‘a real moment suspended in time’ and decompress and refresh before they board short- and medium-haul flights within Europe.

Imagine yourself coming off an overnight flight from North America with time to spend in the lounge before your European connection. There’s left luggage space upon entry, so you don’t have to haul your bags through the lounge if you don’t want to.


In addition to staff, a giant sculpture, inspired by aircraft wings and symbolizing flight, technology and ‘the avant-garde’ greets arrivals to the lounge and passing by it gives passengers entry into the lounge’s escapist cocoon in CDG.
Vast, curving floor-to-ceiling windows feature the romance of travel through their runway views, and epic arches in the design feel other-worldy. In addition to the runway views, a sweeping staircase to the second floor dominates your eyes (pictured, top).

Terazzo, lava stone, leather and other premium materials add to the authentic elegance of the space, while Air France’s symbol, and the winged seahorse appears to remind passengers of the airline’s long history in flight.
 
The lounge is not just a feast for the eyes. It is technology enabled, with wifi and ubiquitous device charging.
French ‘savoir vivre’ is demonstrated through the lounge’s gourmet cuisine in coppery, champagne-colored dining stations on both levels, with French culinary offerings in the spirit of a French bistro changing throughout the day, including a pancake station in the mornings, aperitifs service, cheese and dessert offerings, and a wine and champagne selection curated by one of the world’s top sommeliers.


In addition to celebrating French hospitality, the cuisine emphasizes regional and seasonal products to be eco-responsible, too. Single-use plastics are limited, and recycling emphasized. Water fountains are located throughout the lounge to avoid the need for bottled water.

If you’ve already over-indulged in French fare, a ‘detox’ area has a relaxing atmosphere and a wide range of herbal teas. A Clarins treatment area offers guests a new ‘Traveller Spa’ concept with express beauty or radiance treatments, or even 20-minute tailor-made facials to refresh travel-weary skin. And a wellness area with showers and a changing room is also available for guests to recharge between flights.
 
Of course, we’re used to airport lounges being accessible to business- and first-class air travelers, but one more thing we love about both of these new lounges is that even economy-class passengers can enjoy the local delights and pre-flight luxuries by purchasing a day pass to the lounges on their next flight from San Francisco or Paris.

#StartYourTrip


Images courtesy of their respective airlines.

By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer / Host, BestTrip TV


Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.









Canoes have become the ultimate symbol of Canada’s sub-Arctic indigenous people. Living where there are more freshwater lakes and rivers than anywhere else on the planet, they became one of the great inland water travelling cultures of the world.

European arrivals quickly came to appreciate the indigenous people’s mastery of building and navigating their canoes. ‘Voyageurs’ and trappers adopted indigenous peoples’ perfectly adapted vessels to explore Canada. Canoes became entrenched into Canada’s history, culture and lifestyle from its earliest years.

Peterborough and the Kawarthas, between Toronto and the national capital of Ottawa, became the Canoe Capital of the World.’ The Kawarthas translates to ‘the land of shining waters’ and with nearly 150 lakes, as well as rivers and streams, it became the home of wooden canoe craftsmanship in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Brands like the Peterborough Canoe Company became renowned internationally.

Each year, the region hosts events for National Paddling Week and National Canoe Day. But year round, here are four, one-of-a-kind ways to immerse yourself in the Canoe Capital of the World:

 

1. Visit the largest collection of canoes and kayaks in the world.


Peterborough’s Canadian Canoe Museum has over 600 canoes, kayaks and paddled watercraft. The collection spans Canada from East to West to North coasts.

You’ll be able to compare dugouts of the First Nations of the Pacific Northwest with bark canoes from Newfoundland; skin-on-frame kayaks of northern peoples to the all-wood and canvas-covered watercraft manufactured by companies with names like Herald, Peterborough, Chestnut, Lakefield and Canadian. 

There are Canadian canoes owned by British royalty and celebrities gifted or loaned to the Canadian Canoe Museum for display, and it’s not only the most comprehensive representation of the watercraft traditions of Canada.

The museum also has watercraft that represent international paddling cultures, including Paraguay and the Amazon.
 
And the Canadian Canoe Museum isn’t just about the collection on display.
 

2. Make your own paddle.


Hands-on classes keep canoe, kayak and paddle-making traditions alive and passed along to new generations.

Visitors can sign up to make their own paddles, or even learn techniques to restore family heirloom canoes to get them back out onto the water.

WATCH THE VIDEO AT THE TOP TO MEET A VOLUNTEER TEACHING PADDLE MAKING AND BUILDING NEW VESSELS USING TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES.

3. Ascend the highest hydraulic LiftLock in the world.


Originally an aboriginal transportation route of rivers and portages, then expanded with canals and locks for logging and shipping goods and people into growing farming communities, the Trent-Severn Waterway connects two Great Lakes along a 386 km (240 mile) route that goes through Peterborough and the Kawarthas.

The inland waterway is now a marine playground and it’s been called “one of the finest interconnected systems of navigation in the world'.

45 heritage locks punctuate the route for paddlers and recreational boaters in renowned ‘cottage country’ along the 386 km Trent-Severn Waterway, connecting the playgrounds of Lake Ontario and Lake Huron. Cruise Canada’s renowned inland passageway through historic lockstations.

Midway, right in the city of Peterborough, Lock 21 puts the city and waterway on the map as the highest hydraulic liftlock in the world.


Its two, water-filled tubs alternately lift and lower boats 20 meters (65 feet) from the lower reach of the canal to the upper reach.

Canoeing or kayaking along the Trent-Severn Waterway, and ascending or descending the Liftlocks, is a bucket-list experience for anyone who loves to paddle.

AND

4. Paddle into Canadian adventure and artistic history.


Just a couple of hours north, novice or avid paddlers can explore Ontario’s oldest provincial park. Algonquin Provincial Park shares its name with the indigenous people of the region, and was established in 1893. Today, it’s home to over 7500 square kilometers (close to 2 million acres) of canoe tripping opportunities in rivers, lakes and waterways, with 2000 km (1200 miles) of canoe routes.

(Algonquin Park: BestTrip TV)

The shoreline landscapes of Algonquin park as seen from the water in a canoe are not only essential Canadian vistas. They also inspired the country’s first national art movement in the 1920’s and ‘30’s. The Group of Seven is also known as the Algonquin School. The landscapes of the Seven and other artists subsequently associated with the Algonquin School remain some of Canada’s most iconic works of art.
 
Many of us have discovered or rediscovered a love for exploring the outdoors during the pandemic.

Your trusted travel advisor can help you create the perfect canoe adventure in Canada, no matter how novice or experienced your paddling skills.
 

#StartYourTrip!


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.





Rum and Cigar Festival Elevates St. Barts to New Levels of Luxury Island Lifestyle
 It’s a tiny island with a big reputation as one of the most chic destinations in the Caribbean. Legendary St. Barts combines French ‘art de vivre’ with a lush tropical setting and an exclusive atmosphere. 

If you’ve been waiting to discover – or re-visit – this jewel of the islands, there may be no better time than November.
That’s when the Caribbean Rum Awards bring island luminaries and rum and cigar VIP’s from around the world together to celebrate two island luxury indulgences.

Saint-Barthelemy, affectionately shortened to the anglicized nickname St. Barts or St. Barths, is only 25 square kilometers (just under 10 square miles). Only small planes can land on St. Barts, and its iconic yacht harbour – one of the most renowned in the Caribbean – only accommodates yachts. That preserves the island’s charms from mass tourism.

Visitors arrive by small plane from nearby islands like St. Maarten, or sail in on a private or chartered yacht or even on one of the small, luxury cruise ships that can be accommodated in St. Barts’ picture-perfect, U-shaped harbour nestled in a cove in its capital city, Gustavia.

Some of the world’s most stylish, influential and prestigious travelers include the French overseas island on their annual calendar of travels.

The week-long Caribbean Rum Awards originated in 2018 and have become a highlight of the island’s November social calendar.

Anchored by Gustavia’s Rhum Room, home to the largest collection of fine rums of any bar in the hemisphere, the Caribbean Rum Awards are centered around a blind-tasting of the most premium rums in the world vying for the event’s top award. 

Rum luminaries and cigar aficionados from far and wide gather to sip, savour, judge, share their insights and tastes, and celebrate the iconic sugarcane spirit of the Caribbean.

In addition to the main event, rum lovers enjoy a slate of day and evening events including cocktail parties, master classes, private tastings, rum and cigar pairings, cocktail pairing dinners led by top chefs at one of the island’s most talked-about restaurants that end with spectacular, rare cigars, and nightly tasting parties at the Rhum Room.
A one-day Rum Expo is open to the public that week. Only holders of VIP tickets can access the other events.
 
If you haven’t over indulged already, we recommend you stick around in St. Barths. The Caribbean Rum Awards week kicks off the island’s ‘Gourmet Month,’ with the St Barth Gourmet Festival scheduled for the following week.
 

#StartYourTrip!


Images: Getty


Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tips for Traveling with Your Pet
A survey by a North American hospitality company reveals that over half of pet owners say they plan to travel with Fido or Fluffy in the coming year.

And while a surprising one-third of respondents say they have a special music playlist for their beloved animals, less than 10% have prepared for their trip by doing online research about traveling with their pets.

Well, we’ve come to the rescue.

If you just can’t bear to leave your animal companion at home while you vacation, we’ve prepared a list of tips to make it enjoyable for both you and your pet.

Start Your Journey at the Vet’s

Just as you should make sure you’re healthy to travel, your pet should be, too. Ask your pet’s veterinarian if they think your animal companion is physically and mentally fit to travel.

If their trip to the local vet’s creates high anxiety, maybe you need to rethink whether it’s the best idea to take the pet on a much less familiar journey.

Discuss your mode of travel with the vet. They might recommend medication to help reduce the stress of air travel, for example.

Make sure all of their vaccinations are up to date, and ensure that you have proper documentation. Airlines, even for domestic flights, and certainly any border officials will require health certifications. 

ID

At the very least, your pet should have a sturdy, well-labelled collar with its and your name and contact information. Vets advise micro-chipping so in case of a worse-case scenario, you have the best chance of being reconnected with your precious pet.

Experts also suggest ensuring you have a clear and recent picture of your pet with you, just in case. And of course any carrier or crate should be clearly labelled, including right-side-up.

Stock Up

Your pet needs more than a playlist. Make sure you are traveling with enough of its choice – or medically required – food, treats and medications as you don’t want to find yourself without access at your destination.

And help Fido and Fluffy feel at home. Over 40% of survey respondents say their pet can’t travel without their favorite toy. We’d expand that to include blankets and cat or dog beds if you can bring them along.

And Buckle Up

Your goal is to ensure your pet is as comfortable and also as safe as it is at home. Animals should never be roaming around in a vehicle or any mode of transportation. They should be secured in a carrier or crate or buckled up using a specialized attachment just like people.


When Pigs Fly

Don’t think you’re going to slip your darling llama with you onto a plane as an ‘emotional support animal’ in the passenger cabin.

Pretty much every airline in North America has cracked down on travelers abusing the system, and will no longer accept the astonishing array of creatures - all the way to reptiles and large birds - that people were trying to get into the passenger cabin of planes under the guise of legitimate ‘emotional support animal.’

So before your flights get booked, talk with your travel agent about your options. Different airlines - and routes with different aircraft – have different rules for pets.

Depending on the size of your pet, you may be able to bring a properly-stowed pet in a carrier into the passenger cabin if it fits under the seat in front of you.

One thing we would always recommend when flying with a pet: ask your travel advisor to help you book the most direct route with zero - or the fewest possible - stopovers. It’ll cut down on stress for your pet.

You can’t just show up at the airport with an animal. You must also make reservations for your pet, even if it’s permitted in the cabin with you. There is often a surcharge, and airlines cap the number of animals they will accept, so it’s best to book early and also make sure you have all your i’s dotted and t’s crossed.

The American Kennel Club has some more tips about how to properly and securely crate your pet for flying.

Accommodations

While your vet may recommend your pet travel on an empty stomach for its own comfort (but you’ll still need to ensure it has water and ventilation), once you arrive, you’re going to need to make sure your pet can eat, run around and do its business.

That means more planning ahead to ensure you have enough breaks, and to make sure you have a welcome place to call home during your stay.

Nearly half of the respondents of the pet travel survey say that the biggest hurdle in traveling with their pet is finding a place to stay.

Never leave it to chance and risk not being able to take your pet into your accommodations with you. Work with your travel advisor to find and book pet-friendly accommodations in advance.

Make sure you know about any additional costs of having an animal with you in advance so you don’t have any surprises – and make sure you don’t leave behind any surprises either.

Make sure your pet is safe and content and entertained so it doesn’t cause damage – and it goes without saying – always clean up after your pet.

Chill

If you’re relaxed and calm and comfortable enjoying your vacation, your pet will take its cues from you and also be calm and happy so everyone can enjoy the trip.
 

#StartYourTrip!


Images: Getty

By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Places to Celebrate Britain's 'Football' Heritage
This month, English fans of ‘footy’ had lots to celebrate. Despite a heartbreaking loss in the finals of the Euros, it was England’s best performance ever in the continent’s biggest game.

Soccer, that is.

Britain is the birthplace of the modern sport that has traveled around the world to become the most popular in the world. It’s also morphed into versions with their own fans - for example, North America has co-opted the name ‘football’ for a different game entirely.

Although kids all over the world since the beginning of time have kicked things around the village, the game that became British ‘football’ and the world’s ‘soccer’ traces its roots back to the mid-19th century.

That’s when players and clubs from around Britain came together as the Football Association to come up with a single set of rules. Not everyone was happy with the new rules; a splinter group of clubs opted instead to form the new Rugby Football Union, and so two completely different games were born.

No matter how you define ‘football’ today, any sporting fan on a trip to Britain should try to get tickets to see a game live in its birthplace.

Here are some other places and ways to immerse yourself in British footballing heritage while traveling around Britain:

Aston Villa’s Villa Park

Aston Villa football club was formed by members of the Villa Cross Wesleyan Chapel, which sounds very sedate, but the club’s competitive attitude has nothing to do with church-like behavior. Since 1897, the club has played its home games at Villa Park, which was once a Victorian amusement park developed in the former grounds of Aston Hall, a grand stately home with gardens dating back to the mid-17th century. Alongside touring the stadium, this slice of history is just a short distance away.

The Wolves’ Interactive Museum at Molineux


Molineux has been the home of the Wolves (Wolverhampton Wanderers) since 1889. Another of British football’s founding clubs, the stadium’s interactive museum takes visitors on a journey through the early years of modern football, while stadium tours provide a behind-the-scenes peek into memorable moments from the club’s history.



Manchester United’s Playing Field and National Football Museum


Some clubs can trace their origins to the workplace. Manchester United, as they are now known, was initially formed by the Carriage and Wagon Department of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1878.

When they changed their name at the turn of the century, the club moved to their current Old Trafford stadium in 1910 and have remained there ever since. Learn more about this world-famous club’s heritage on a museum and stadium tour.


Football fans in Manchester can also embark on an interactive journey through the beautiful game at the National Football Museum, set in the striking Urbis building in the city centre. Alongside a penalty shootout and other interactive games, it’s packed with footballing memorabilia including medals, replica trophies and shirts from history-making games..

London’s Storied Clubs


Arsenal can trace its roots to the south of the capital, in the late 19th century when a group of workers from the Royal Arsenal, an armaments factory in Woolwich. The club relocated to North Londond then to its current Emirates site in 2006. Behind-the-scenes tours dive into the club’s rich history, and there’s also legend experiences – guided tours by some of the club’s former players – to enjoy.

North London club Tottenham Hotspur was formed by a gang of schoolboys in the 1880s, and played at their White Hart Lane stadium from 1899. The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, built on the same site, opened in 2019. It includes the Goal Line Bar, which at 65 metres is the longest bar in Europe!

After enjoying a stadium tour, those with a head for heights can gaze out over the capital on the Dare Skywalk, a chance to climb the stadium and look down on the pitch below. A similar rooftop tour is also available at Newcastle’s St James’ Park stadium, offering up panoramic views of Tyneside.

Chelsea, another of London’s top clubs, was formed in 1905 in an upstairs room of a pub, now named the Butcher’s Hook. Located in the shadow of Stamford Bridge, which was being built at the time, fans can tour the club’s stadium and museum.

National Footballing Sites


Iconic Wembley Stadium, complete with its massive, 133 metre (430 foot) arch, reopened in 2007. It can hold up to 90,000 fans, making it Britain’s largest sporting venue. In addition to history-making matches like Euro 2020’s final, played in July 2021, it’s also where epic concerts including the record-breaking Live Aid take place.


Glasgow’s Hampden Park is known as the home of Scottish football. It was the world’s biggest stadium when it opened in 1903. Hampden Park still holds the British attendance record, from 1937, when nearly 150,000 people crammed in to watch Scotland play England in 1937. Although its capacity has massively reduced with modernisation and the introduction of safe seating, Hampden Park is still home to the Scottish Football Museum – a space dedicated to documenting the northern nation’s footballing history.

#StartYourTrip!










New Museum in Denmark Celebrates the Fantastical World of Hans Christian Andersen
Many of us have spent hours of our own childhoods or alongside our favorite kids immersed in stories like the Snow Queen, the Emperor’s New Clothes, the Princess and the Pea, the Nightingale, and the Little Mermaid, either in timeless storybooks or Disney movie incarnations.

Now, the author who created these immortal works is being reinterpreted and remembered in a new museum in his birthplace of Odense in Denmark. The new attraction is one of Denmark’s largest and most ambitious museums.
 
Hans Christian Andersen was born in 1805, and lived until 1875. Denmark is home to a number of reminders of his enormous contributions to our collective culture, including a statue of Andersen himself and another of his famous Little Mermaid overlooking the sea in Copenhagen.

In the summer of 2021, a new museum opens in Odense, called H.C. Andersen’s House, and the exhibition leads to the author’s childhood home to showcase Andersen’s life’s journey. 

His fantastical fairytales serve as the foundation of a brand new type of museum, whose designers say will not just communicate about Andersen, but as Andersen.

The vision for H.C. Andersen's House is to create a complete artistic experience in which architecture, sound, light and a stream of images constantly invite new encounters between each visitor and Andersen’s fairytales. 


“Hans Christian Andersen’s artistic universe is fantastic, because it reverses how you imagine this world you thought you knew,” explains Creative Director of the new museum, Henrik Lübker.
 
“In the new museum, we use Andersen’s own artistic strategies as the starting point for how the garden, the house and the exhibition have all been shaped, as well as for the many artistic contributions that will also be part of the museum.”
 

The museum is a vision of a fantastical world that might have been dreamed up by the teller of fairytales himself. The famous Japanese architect who designed the museum was inspired by Andersen’s story ‘The Tinderbox,’ in which a tree reveals an underground world and a secret, new universe.


In a nearly 1.5 acre site, a children’s house and underground museum, entwined with a surrounding magical garden, don’t just retell favorite fairytales, they let you walk in the footsteps of the author, and pique visitors with the familiarity and nostalgia of childhood memories, and inspire us to re-read the works of Hans Christian Andersen all over again with fresh and playful eyes.
 
Fun fact about Hans Christian Andersen: he had a travel imagination, too. Andersen travelled throughout Europe, as far as Morocco in the mid-19th century, and the travel quote, “To travel is to live” was written by Andersen in 1855.

#StartYourTrip!


All images via Visit Denmark




Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




New Ships Put the ‘Luxe’ in Luxury Expedition Cruising to the Remote Oceans of the World
It’s one of the biggest trends in cruising. Not getting bigger, but getting out there. In style.

Expedition cruises used to be only for the most intrepid travelers. You would join a working research vessel on its voyage to a very distant destination, tolerating the discomfort for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of getting up close and personal with the unique and fascinating natural wonders and wildlife of a maritime region you’d never otherwise encounter. 

The good news is that you no longer have to sacrifice comfort for the privilege of immersion into a magical and otherwise unreachable marine frontier.

Luxury expedition cruising is coming of age. Smaller vessels, able to reach hidden places even where there are no ports, staffed by scientific experts and guides, equipped with polar-class hulls for ice safety, zodiacs and kayaks and other ways to get off the ship to explore remote shorelines, but also outfitted with superb onboard amenities, design, cuisine and service - give you the very best of both worlds. 

Think of them as safaris at sea. New ships are being purpose-built for these one-of-a-kind, bucket list voyages in the distant destinations of your dreams: the Galapagos, Antarctica, Canada’s Northwest Passage… the seas around both of the Earth’s poles and every unspoiled, natural marine destination in between.

Here are the new ships making luxury expedition cruising evermore available to curious, active, travelers who appreciate getting outdoors into Nature… then stepping back into a deluxe and pampered lifestyle.


Crystal Endeavor

Crystal Cruise’s first-ever expedition ship sailed in July, 2021 on her inaugural voyage from Reykjavik, a 10-day circumnavigation of Iceland’s dramatic coastlines.

Complimentary excursions led by naturalist experts on the Endeavor’s expedition team include sea kayaking on the waters of the Westfjords in Patreksfjörður, an Arctic Circle walkabout on Grimsey Island, and Zodiac cruising amid mountain landscapes in Djúpivogur. Crystal Endeavor’s expedition leaders and guides for its Iceland voyages include a marine biologist, ornithologist, geologist/glaciologist, historian, two professional photographers, polar expedition specialists and an artist-in-residence who will instruct and encourage guests to capture travel memories with snapshot sketches and drawings.

 
Zodiacs and kayaks can be launched directly from the ship’s marina. Other expedition ‘toys’ include snorkel gear, a six-person sub, and two helicopters for flightseeing spectacular scenery. A 4K camera capturing the land and seascapes sailing by can be directed by guests in the Palm Court and Expedition Lounge, and the imagery fed to large screens in public areas and guest suites.

(The Endeavor's Expedition Lounge)

The polar-class ship accommodates just 200 guests in 100, all-verandah, all-butler, expansive suites. There’s a one-to-one ratio of staff to guests, guaranteeing highly personalized service. And high tech innovations ensure responsible stewardship of the world’s oceans.

The Endeavor sails Europe’s North Seas, including Iceland, Norway, the Scottish Isles, before making her way south as summer turns to fall, calling in London, Bordeaux and Lisbon for her inaugural Europe season.
 
 

Silver Origin

While she was delivered in 2020, Silver Origin (pictured, top) made her inaugural sailing in the summer of 2021 as one of the first Silversea ships to return to cruising.

Unlike other ‘generalist’ expedition ships in Silversea’s luxury fleet, Silver Origin is purpose made just for the very specific and special islands of the Galapagos, where she will sail all-new itineraries year round. The ship has high-tech innovations that ensure it has minimum impact on the sensitive environment.


Just 100 guests luxuriate in balcony-only suites with the only all-butler service in the Galapagos. With the highest expert-to-guest ratio, the Silver Origin doesn’t just deliver luxury and expedition expertise on board. It also incorporates local culture, local ingredients including produce and seafood from Ecuadorian food producers, and its design brings guests closer to the Galapagos seascape with floor-to-ceiling windows in the Restaurant, an open air Grill which can also be converted to a sheltered space, and maximized observation areas that bring the outdoors onboard the ship. 
 
Just how popular is expedition cruising in the lap of luxury and style? Coming Soon…

Silver Wind

Silversea is converting one of its classic ships, Silver Wind, to an ice-class expedition ship, the fourth in Silversea’s fleet. In addition to a strengthened hull, the Silver Wind will be fitted with two dozen zodiacs, 14 kayaks, a Photo Studio, a luxury ‘mudroom’, and a new pool system for heated swimming in cold climates, as well as interior space enhancements in lounges, restaurants, and guest suites.


She’s slated to re-launch late 2021 in time to be in Antarctica for the expedition ship event of 2021: the solar eclipse over the White Continent on December 4th, 2021.

Seabourn Venture

Another luxury cruise line, Seabourn, is also set to launch its first expedition ship, the Seabourn Venture, in December of 2021, with a sister ship in 2022.

The Seabourn Venture will sail inaugural – and one-of-a-kind – winter Norway voyages, and in addition to zodiaks, kayaks, and submarines, it will also carry mountain and e-bikes for its approximately 250 guests.

Quark’s Ultramarine

The newest ship for expedition cruise line Quark, also firmly establishes its luxury credentials. Ultramarine was purpose-built for polar expedition cruising, sailing with 200 guests and 140 crew when it debuts in late 2021.
 
Do you think expedition cruising could be for you? Ask us for more information and..

#StartYourTrip

 
By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV

Images courtesy their respective cruise lines.

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.




Miami Heats Up This Summer with Three Hotel Openings
Miami has always been one of the hottest destinations on the continent, with art, design and architecture creds, a blistering beach/ party scene, vibrant cultural scene that reflects the city’s status as a Latin American hub, and a celebrity/ jet set appeal that never seems to die down.
 
This summer, the city’s getting even hotter, with three hotel openings set to hit the reset button on restarting travel to Miami. They’re must-stay, must-taste experiences that tap into the essence of Miami’s iconic South Beach.
 

The Goodtime Hotel

 
With a name like that – and star power like Pharrell Williams’ of the song ‘Happy’ fame – behind it, this hotel (pictured, top) promises escapist, playful atmosphere – and it delivers.

With 100,000 square feet of curated public space and only 266 guest rooms with an Art Deco aesthetic that reimagines the style of the district it lives in, a 30,000 square foot pool deck dotted with cabanas, lush greenery, carpet woven with mock wet footprints and Insta-worthy touches like pink land line phones, the award-winning music celebrity and his partners say The Goodtime Hotel (pictured top) is a place for “hedonistic revelry and laidback R&R.”
 
'We want The Goodtime Hotel to impart a feeling of both revitalization and that rare, exciting thrill that takes over when you discover something special,' says Pharrell Williams. 'It's that adrenaline-fueled sensation of entering a whole new setting and a whole new mindset. This place will provide a natural good time, for all who come through.'
 
Between drinks at ‘Strawberry Moon’, cozying up with an old-time book at the library, or recording music at the on-site studio, guests will feel transported into a fantasy, urban beach resort world that is just so Miami.
 

Moxy Miami South Beach

Colorful murals, floor-to-ceiling windows, blurred transitions between indoors and outdoors, a rooftop pool with panoramic views, a dedicated beach club, and six dining and sipping venues, including a rooftop resto, capture the essence of the district’s Art Deco heritage.
 
Moxy Miami South Beach’s designers say its vibe blends the glamour of midcentury Havana, the artistry of contemporary Mexico City, and a tropical vibrancy that's unmistakably Miami, all located steps from the sand.
 
Inspired in part by an overnight ferry that ran between Miami and Havana in the 1940s and '50s, the rooms resemble ocean liner staterooms dressed in vivid Miami hues and bathed in sunlight thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Rooms on higher floors offer unobstructed vistas of the Atlantic, while other rooms feature expansive views of South Beach's pastel-hued architecture. Bedrooms feature custom art by Miami artist Aquarela Sabol depicting iconic artists — Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Pablo Picasso, and Salvador Dalí — visiting South Beach.

 
New dining and drinking venues include Como Como, a marisquería and raw bar; Mezcalista, a sexy mezcal lounge; Serena, an open-air rooftop restaurant and bar; Los Buenos, a taco stand/bodega in the lobby, complemented by Bar Moxy, which does double duty as a social hub and check-in area; and The Upside, a rooftop bar on the eighth floor exclusively for hotel guests and private events.
 
Multiple indoor-outdoor spaces include a ground floor courtyard; a 72-foot, cabana-lined pool; an indoor-outdoor fitness center; an outdoor movie screening room on the rooftop; and an exclusive beach club on Miami's famous South Beach give the young and stylish at heart a natural home in Miami.
 
 

The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach


This hotel isn’t exactly new. In fact, it’s one of the breathtakingly original Miami-Modern hotels along the beach, that gave the city its world-famous signature Deco style.
 
What’s new is its re-opening after a $90-million renovation.
 
As a landmark Ritz-Carlton hotel, this 376-guestroom beach resort delivers urban beach resort luxury with an unmatched glamour and sophistication. It almost looks like a luxe, modern interpretation of a mid-century movie set, except that it’s real and full of life and current style. You can almost imagine the Rat Pack ambling in from the pool, towels over their arms, drinks and cigarettes carelessly in hand and lazy smiles on their faces as they head up to their rooms to get ready to entertain hotel guests that night at the club.

 
The hotel’s stunning new lobby is a celebration of the original design, enhanced by elegant touches that transition the property into a modern era. Steps away, the all-new Lapidus Bar is a classic cocktail lounge honoring that bygone era of Miami with live music, vintage cocktails, and a design that invites visitors to settle in and absorb their magnificent surroundings.
 
The vibrant flavors of Latin America take the lead at Fuego y Mar, the hotel’s new restaurant, where guests also find a tech lounge, where they work in a sophisticated, convivial setting while ordering coffee and cocktails. DiLido Beach Club and its oceanfront location promise an intimate dining enclave with plush seating and views out across the turquoise water, and a new, elevated swimming pool overlooks the ocean.
 
When was the last time you indulged in Miami’s high style, culture, and beach lifestyle?
 

#StartYourTrip!

 
Images courtesy of their respective hotel companies.







Celebrate the Māori Lunar New Year and the Southern Dark Skies in New Zealand
New Zealand is in celebration mode in July with the arrival of Matariki.

It's a constellation of stars that rises in New Zealand skies, shining their brightest in the first week of the month.

Known to astronomers as Pleiades or the Seven Sisters, Matariki is believed to have formed more than 100 million years ago, and this pre-historic cluster of stars plays a pivotal role in modern and ancient Māori mythology.

The rising of Matariki marks the Māori Lunar New Year, a significant time in the New Zealand cultural calendar.

The Matariki celebration focuses on three principles:
  • Remembrance: Honoring those lost since the last rising of Matariki;
  • Celebrating the present: Gathering together and giving thanks for today's blessings; and
  • Looking to the future: Anticipating the promise of a new year.
 
In addition to the Māori Lunar New Year, this astronomical event inspires festivals across the country, and like the commemorations of the indigenous people, it's seen as a time to celebrate new life, to remember those who’ve passed and to plan for the future. A time to spend with whānau (extended family) and friends – to enjoy kai (food), kōrero (story) and waiata (song).

(Aurora Australis 'Southern Lights', courtesy Dunedin, NZ)
 
In 2022, the reappearance of the constellation will be recognised as an official public holiday on June 24th, providing the opportunity for visitors to plan holidays in the middle of the year, and reconnect with friends and family in New Zealand.

The magic of astronomy each summer has more than history and cultural significance. It also gives star gazers an occasion to turn their gazes to the heavens above New Zealand. Here are some of the most incredible places in the country to catch a glimpse of the Matariki constellation.

(Dark Sky Reserve - Twizel courtesy Jack Austin)

Dark Sky Sanctuary at Aotea (Great Barrier Island), Hauraki Gulf

 
Aotea (meaning 'white cloud' in Māori), also known as Great Barrier, is New Zealand’s sixth-largest island and completely off the grid, with no electricity supply. The island is one of only five Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world, and was named the first ever Island Sanctuary in June 2017.
 
 
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Luxury Cabins at Owhaoko, Taupō

 
There’s no roads, no people, no internet and no cell phone coverage at Owhaoko, making it the perfect place for a digital detox in a luxury cabin with views so spectacular one of the bedrooms is made of glass. The luxury cabin’s Māori name is Te Whare Ruruhau (a place of shelter, refuge and protection) has two double bedrooms – one with glass walls and ceiling – and guests can enjoy everything from a bubble bath under the stars with champagne to gourmet meals cooked using traditional Māori methods.
 
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(Night Skies over Red Tarns, Aoraki courtesy Lee Cook)

The Darkest Skies in the world: Aoraki / Mount Cook Mackenzie Region

 
Much of New Zealand has no 'light pollution' and is home to some of the most accessible observatories in the world. In 2012, 4,300 square kilometers of New Zealand’s South Island was recognized as the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. That formalized restrictions on light pollution that had been in place since the 1980s.


This was the first reserve to be awarded gold status, meaning nearly non-existent light pollution. It is one of the clearest, darkest and most spectacular places in New Zealand to view the night skies, and keen stargazers are able to see amazing constellations that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way.
 
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(Aurora Australis ('Southern Lights') Southland, NZ courtesy VideocopterNZ)

Dark Sky Sanctuary: Rakiura (Stewart Island), Southland

 
Stewart Island’s population is only around 400 people, making little impact on the darkness that surrounds the island. Plus, its far-south vantage point means you’ll see celestial features not visible from any other spot in the country. Local policies formalize the community's commitment to environmental protection and help to preserve the pristine skies. 
 

#StartYourTrip!


Images courtesy NewZealand.com and specific copyright holders where indicated.






Two New Luxury Brands for the Secluded Turks & Caicos Islands
They are among the Caribbean’s best kept secrets. The forty islands and cays that make up the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are favored by travelers in the know for their pristine waters, picture-perfect white sand beaches and conch and lobster fisheries that make local dining such a joy.

TCI’s archipelago is strung out along the sea at the tail-end of The Bahamas and before you get to the Dominican Republic.

Bookended by two popular and busy beach destinations, this British Overseas Territory stands out for its quiet seclusion. Only about 30,000 people live on TCI - mainly on Providenciales in the Caicos islands. In fact, fewer than a dozen of the islands are inhabited at all. But possibly because of its primary business as an international banking center, TCI has great air service from Miami, New York, Toronto and London.

So anyone looking for an idyllic island escape can add TCI to their list. Even more now, since two luxury hospitality brands have arrived on the archipelago, boosting its credentials as a luxe beach destination away from the bustle of its bigger neighbors.

Ritz-Carlton Turks & Caicos

This iconic luxury company has opened its first resort on TCI on renowned Grace Bay in Providenciales. Ritz-Carlton Turks & Caicos joins a small family of Ritz-Carlton ultra-luxury resorts in the Islands, one that includes Aruba, St. Thomas USVI, Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands.


The latest Ritz-Carlton resort’s design was inspired by the natural wonders of the Turks & Caicos, incorporating the heritage of its earliest Lucayan inhabitants in the use of rich wood, calming ocean themes as well as desert magic, incorporating local cactus and sponges into the property, including the native turk-head cactus that thrives in TCI’s dry climate and gave the islands its name.

Guests are welcomed to nearly 150 ocean view rooms including 23 suites, or a number of three-story penthouse suites with private, rooftop plunge pools and endless views.

The resort is designed for private and romantic or fun family vacations; the company’s ‘Ritz Kids’ program offers programs for children to explore the island and learn about marine life through arts and crafts.

For grown-ups, there’s an adults-only pool with private cabanas, a private catamaran for marine exploration, a casino; a seaside spa and yoga on the beach; and multiple dining venues that offer both local and global flavors.

Celebrating the island’s natural abundance of conch, the resort marks the end of every day with the sound of this iconic shell and offers guests the chance to sample conch ceviche and other island delicacies.
 
A Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge offers an exclusive sanctuary that offers private check-in, a dedicated Club Concierge, and multiple culinary presentations throughout the day, in addition to dedicated service at the beach.
 
Indoor and outdoor venues are also designed for meeting and events including a 5000 square-foot ballroom and an ‘event lawn and grand promenade’ with the white sands and sparkling waters of Grace Bay in the background that will fulfil any bride’s dreams.
 

The Meridian Club on Pine Cay

The Meridian Club (pictured top) has occupied a spectacular private, 800 acre island off of Providenciales since the 1970’s, when the exclusive, intimate beachside property became the first tourist development in TCI.

What’s new is its recent adoption into the fold of Relais & Chateaux, the elite collection of boutique hotels, resorts, villas and restaurants all committed to the highest standards of hospitality and gourmet cuisine. That designation just formalizes the recognition of The Meridian Club at Pine Cay as one of the region’s leading private island resorts.

Pine Cay is less than a mile wide and only two miles long. Despite its small size, the island has over 9 miles of trails and a breathtaking 2-mile stretch of white sand beach. The ideal place for beach walking, the island is connected to its neighbors, Water Cay and Little Water Cay – you can even walk the beach for 5 miles to the end of Little Water Cay.

Just 13 rooms host 26 guests with nearly the entire 800 acres of island nature and beauty to explore.


Guests choose between private cottages or spacious beachfront rooms – all inclusive of the fine dining that helped secure its inclusion into the collection of Relais & Chateaux properties world wide. Every room opens directly onto the 2-mile beach.

You can imagine why people with milestones to celebrate often book out the island for their party – it may be the private island party of your dreams!

In addition to miles of arid island hiking, guest while away their days swimming in crystal clear waters, joining daily snorkeling trips, kayaking, paddleboarding, days at the spa, yoga classes, boating on a charter or on complimentary Hobie Cat boats, fishing, or just relaxing seaside.
 
It’s the beach getaway you’ve always really wanted.
 

#StartYourTrip


Images courtesy of their respective resorts. Top image: two of the cottages at the Meridian Club



You’ve Missed Danube Day But You Can Still Discover Europe’s Record-Breaking River
Every year on June 29th, eighty-one million people in 14 European countries celebrate the single river that ties them together and provides drinking water, food, power, recreation, jobs and transportation.

Danube Day annually marks the signing of the Danube River Protection Convention, which facilitates collaboration between the countries of the Danube River and the rivers that flow into it to ensure that it’s clean, healthy and safe. 
It’s also the largest river festival in the world. Huge celebrations take place on the riverbanks of towns along the waterway, in addition to clean-ups and greening activities, and educational events. 

That’s just one day of the year. But any visit to the region is the perfect time to discover what makes mainland Europe’s biggest waterway so special.

At 1770 miles (2,850 km), the Danube is the longest river in mainland Europe (only Russia’s Volga is longer).

Beginning in Germany’s Black Forest, the Danube flows southeast all the way across Central and Eastern Europe to drain into the Black Sea. It served as a vital transportation and trade route as well as food source for the earliest humans in Europe and was even the frontier of the Roman Empire.

Today, the Danube flows through more countries than any other river in the world. In a very real way, the region was built from the river inland. In addition to countless cities and towns that were built along its river banks beginning in ancient times, the Danube also flows through more national capital cities than any other river on the planet.

The capitals are the largest cities on the Danube, and include the can’t-miss European destinations and cultural and historic centers of Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and Bratislava.
 
There are land tours in many of the countries and communities along the Danube. But perhaps the most authentic way to experience the river is to travel on it.

River cruises allow you to follow the footsteps of the ancient Europeans who navigated the river fishing, and trading goods from Eurasia into the heart of the continent, who established vineyards in the optimal terrain of steep riverbanks and microclimates nurtured along the Danube’s shores, and built the iconic cityscapes that are the hallmark of a Central European vacation. A night time sailing past the illuminated, riverbank Budapest parliament buildings (pictured top) should be on everyone’s travel bucket list.

A cruise that calls in the towns and ports in the countryside along the banks of what Strauss called “The Beautiful Blue Danube”, you’ll have a whole week of ‘Danube Days’ – and memories of a lifetime.

#StartYourTrip!

 
By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.






Cruising From the US is Back!
It’s official. Cruising has returned to ports in the U.S.

While many cruise lines have already started sailing with North American guests from offshore ports in the Caribbean and Europe, there’s been no cruising from ports we can drive to.

Until now. Between the end of June and the holiday weekend, three ships have set sail from three different American homeports.

And now the seal is broken, cruises from homeports from coast to coast to coast are scheduled to set sail in a flood that’s restarting a favorite style of travel at last.

Celebrity Edge: Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale


First out of the gate: the Celebrity Edge, which, on the last weekend in June became the first large ship to sail with guests from a U.S. port in fifteen months.

The first of the cruise line’s Edge-class ships – with their unmistakable ‘Flying Carpet,’ the orange, cantilevered venue that climbs up and down the side of the ship - sailed out of South Florida.

 
On her first sailing since 2020, the Edge had fewer than 1200 guests onboard. That’s less than half of the ship’s full capacity, to allow for natural social distancing as part of the cruise line’s new health safety measures.
 
For this landmark cruise, it was appropriately helmed by another gamechanger: the first – and still only – American woman to captain a major cruise ship. Captain Kate McCue set the Edge on course for a 7-day cruise to Mexico and the Bahamas.
 
“Last March, I started a #HopeFloats tradition of blowing the ship’s horn every evening to let the world know that not only were we safe, but we were thinking of those at home and hoping the same for them,” said Captain McCue just before setting sail. “Now, the sound of a ship’s horn symbolizes rising above hardship. The entire crew is so happy to be back and we can’t wait to welcome our guests aboard!”
 
With the Edge’s sailing, eight of the 14 ships within the Celebrity Cruises’ fleet now have plans to return to sailing in 2021:
  • Celebrity Millennium led North America’s return to service as the first ship to sail in the Caribbean on June 5 from St. Maarten;
  • Celebrity Apex, the newest addition to the Celebrity fleet, made her world debut June 19, beginning sailings of the Greek Isles;
  • Celebrity Silhouette summers in the UK with bubble cruises of the British Isles beginning July 3;
  • Beginning July 4, the mega-yacht, Celebrity Flora, resumed sailing the Galapagos Islands. She’ll be followed by the Celebrity Xpedition and Celebrity Xploration on July 24, and September 18, respectively;
  • And Celebrity’s return to Alaska begins July 23.
 
The Edge’s sailing marked a new beginning for its family of cruise lines – and indeed, the entire cruise industry.
 

Freedom of the Seas: Port Miami

 
Celebrity’s sister cruise line, Royal Caribbean, made its return to cruise at the beginning of the July holiday weekend. 

Freedom of the Seas – which spent her time not cruising since March 2020 undergoing a $120-million transformation including new features and activities - became the first Royal Caribbean ship to sail and the first from Miami, the biggest cruise port in the world.

 
It’s the beginning of a summer-long series of short cruises by Freedom of the Seas ( pictured above and top) to Royal Caribbean’s private island destination Perfect Day at CocoCay and Nassau in The Bahamas, with the cruise line’s president declaring, “Summer family vacations are back, and we are just getting started.” 
 
Freedom of the Seas is the first of ten Royal Caribbean ships to return through August, including Anthem of the Seas in the UK, Serenade and Ovation of the Seas in Alaska, and the brand-new Odyssey of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale. The cruise line will soon announce plans to reintroduce the rest of its fleet around the world by year’s end.
 

Carnival Vista: Port of Galveston


One other cruise line used the occasion of the long weekend to mark its return to cruising.

Carnival Cruise line made its first sailing from Texas, on the Carnival Vista, with ship’s officers, cruise line and local officials leading a “Back to Fun” ribbon cutting ceremony to welcome guests on board.


The Vista then set sail from her homeport of Galveston on a weeklong cruise with stops at the private beach resort Mahogany Bay on Roatan Island, Honduras, Cozumel and Belize City.
 
Another Carnival ship also returned to cruising on the long weekend, with Carnival Horizon sailing from Port Miami the day after the Vista. Carnival Breeze sails from Galveston July 15 and Carnival Miracle kicks off the line’s Alaska season from Seattle July 27. Mardi Gras, Carnival’s newest ship, sails from Port Canaveral July 31. Other ships in the Carnival fleet restart service in August.
 
Carnival operates from more U.S. homeports than any other cruise line, and says half of Americans –and many Canadians – are within a day’s drive of one of Carnival’s 14 U.S. homeports.
 
Other lines are returning to cruise from U.S. ports and ports around the world this summer, too. All of them have new measures and protocols in place to keep guests, crew, and residents in ports of call safe in the new, post-pandemic travel world.

Your trusted travel advisor can help you navigate the cruise line’s return to service schedule, which cruise on which cruise line – and when- best suits your travel plans and comfort level. And they can help familiarize you with the new protocols and requirements that will be part of the landscape – and seascape – as we begin to cruise again.

#PlanYourCruiseNow

 

By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV

Images courtesy their respective cruise lines.

Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.






Now You Can Discover Your European Family Heritage While Sailing on a River Cruise
It’s news that marries two of the fastest-growing styles of travel: river cruising and family heritage travel.

AmaWaterways has partnered with Ancestry, the company that specializes in genomics and connecting people to their family history.

The river cruise line has done family-heritage themed cruises before, but now, you’ll be able to uncover specific details about your own family. That’s because guests are given pre-cruise private ancestry consultation and family history research, while onboard, presentations and curated excursions hosted by an expert genealogist connect your present with your past.

AmaWaterways says the pandemic highlighted how we cherish our family connections and travel – and trips like these offer us the privilege to travel to find our roots. They were inspired to help guests bring “treasured family stories to life.”

Obviously, not everyone will find their roots on a European river cruise. The series begins on the Rhine river, from Amsterdam through the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Switzerland, so people with ancestors who came from one – or more! – of those countries, and who have wanted to walk in the footsteps of family members who came before them, will find it an appealing opportunity to have an expert-hosted trip to the land your family once called 'home'.


Imagine a deep dive into your family story, with the help of experts – and while you are sailing the historic Rhine river, the magic of travel is enhanced by the knowledge that your forebears likely passed along the river too. The rivers were the first transportation and communication routes, before road travel developed, so sailing on the river makes an ancestry trip feel even more authentic.

The marriage of ancestry and river cruise begins before you actually sail. You’re matched with an expert from Ancestry’s professional research division, and on a call at home, you can discuss what you already know about your family history and what you’re hoping to discover.

The experts take that information away and start researching your family background – and filter away what is true and what’s just family legend! As well as identify places of interest you may visit or pass by while sailing along the Rhine.

On board, an expert genealogist offers presentations to provide insight into what life was like for guests’ ancestors and highlight the types of records that are available for them to learn more. As guests sail along the Rhine, enjoying every delight of a river cruise, since you’re passing through different regions where your ancestors lived, it triggers your historic imagination and heightens the river cruise experience even more.

The genealogist will also explain the history behind those areas, providing a deeper understanding of the past and a glimpse of guests’ ancestors’ everyday lives.

Guests also enjoy a private onboard consultation with the expert genealogist to review their own family tree, coming full circle from their initial consultation at home before their trip and connecting the dots with what was discovered during your journey. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy an Ancestry-specific group excursion with their expert genealogist. In certain cases, travelers can delve even deeper with an optional add-on of an Ancestral Home Visit accompanied by an expert genealogist.
 
Heritage travel on the rivers of Europe promises to be a whole new way to enjoy European river cruising, with another dimension of meaning to the historic towns and countryside, even the waterways themselves.

Your trusted travel advisor can help you plan a trip with the deep meaning of returning to your roots – and the great pleasure of returning to travel.
 

#StartYourTrip!

 
Images courtesy AmaWaterways




On some islands, they like to tell you how many beaches they have, or days of sunshine. On Nevis, it’s how many different varieties of mangoes they have.

The answer? Officially, nearly four dozen – and unofficially, it’s estimated nearly 200 different varieties of mangoes grow on this tiny Caribbean island.

Nevis makes up the other part of the twin-island nation of St. Kitts & Nevis. Tucked away between Antigua and the British Virgin Islands, Nevis is off the beaten track in the Caribbean sense – which makes it a treasure for travellers looking for a secluded, charming island paradise. 

Dominated by the cloud-topped Mount Nevis, whose verdant sides slope down before becoming sandy beaches at the water’s edge, Nevis is beloved by savvy travelers in the know, who call in port in Nevis on a private yacht charter or luxury, small-ship cruise, or arrive by ferry from St. Kitts a couple of miles away.

 
No buildings higher than a tree are permitted, so the island retains a local, island character that heavily-developed Caribbean destinations lose. Only one famous resort brand calls Nevis home, and the Four Seasons resort on Nevis is a legendary, luxury, tropical island escape (more about that below.) Many visitors to Nevis stay in villas and small inns – where mango trees fill gardens and yards.

Something very special about Nevis’ microclimate and soil has made it the ideal growing environment for mangoes where they almost grow like weeds. In addition to yards and gardens, mangoes grow in wild abundance along roadsides, and in the green rainforests up the sides of Mount Nevis. They’re there for the picking for the island’s residents as well as its famous monkey population, who climb the trees, and donkeys, who eat them off the ground.

Ripening mangoes on the trees add to the vibrant color palette of the island especially in July and again towards the end of the year. Everyone has their own favorite varieties, from Amory Polly, to Julie, to graft mangoes that can grow as big as your head, and many Nevisians eat them right from the trees.


Mangoes are such an integral part of Nevisian life that there’s even a festival during peak season in early July to celebrate them.

The Nevis Mango & Food Festival usually takes place over the first weekend of the month. It’s one of the biggest events on the island and draws some of the region’s most talented chefs who compete over the course of the weekend to create dishes judged by celebrity chefs like UK Iron Chef Judy Joo who often appears at the festival to judge and also to teach masterclasses.

If you don’t make it to Nevis during the festival, you don’t have to worry you’ll miss the flavors of Nevis’ famous mangoes at other times of the year. If there are four dozen – or two hundred – types of mangoes on Nevis, there are at least as many ways to enjoy them served throughout the island, from cocktails made with mango puree, mango guacamole and salads and sherbet, biscotti, jellies, sauces for fish dishes… even some you can take home with you as souvenirs, like mango chutney, or jam or even mango hot sauce!

Complete your mango-themed visit to Nevis dining at the restaurant called Mango at the newly-renovated Four Seasons resort. The breezy, vivid yellow seaside restaurant is the epitome of upscale island dining.


WATCH THE VIDEO at the top to see more of the new Four Seasons resort’s renovations – plus another can’t miss culinary experience: ‘Dive and Dine’ lobster at one of the resort’s private, beach side cabanas.
 

#StartYourTrip!


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV



Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.







The World has a New Ocean to Explore
Get out a sharpie – there’s a new ocean to label on your map of the world. Or globe, if you have one. You might have to update your travel bucket list, too.

If you’ve already ticked off ‘visit all the oceans of the world’, you’ll have to uncheck that box. Even if you’ve seen, swum in, or sailed upon the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian and Arctic oceans, your work to ‘collect’ all the oceans of the world is not done.

That’s because National Geographic has officially recognized the ‘Southern Ocean.’ It’s the body of water that surrounds Antarctica in a ring, technically from the coastline of the White Continent to 60 degrees south latitude.
Just how big is that? The Southern Ocean is more than twice the size of the U.S.A.

This marks the first ‘new’ ocean recognized by NatGeo in over a hundred years. But it’s not exactly a new idea.
“The Southern Ocean has long been recognized by scientists, but because there was never agreement internationally, we never officially recognized it,” one National Geographic Society Geographer told the magazine.
 
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA – recognized the Southern Ocean earlier this year, joining the International Hydrographic Organization and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Both of those organizations have long acknowledged the body of water surrounding Antarctica, but it never caught on.

Maybe that will change, now that National Geographic – as a non-profit media and education/research organization - says it will include the Southern Ocean on all the maps it publishes for its readers and viewers of all ages, from young children to adults.

So why do the planet’s southern-most polar waters merit their own designation now? The scientists at NatGeo hope it will increase awareness of the importance of – and need to preserve – this essential body of water.

It’s connected to the southern-most ends of all four other oceans, and its current circulates the most water of any on the planet. Since it channels vast volumes of warmer and cooler waters around the earth, it has a big effect on climate the world over. So what happens in the Southern Ocean is important for the world. In recent months, two vast icebergs, including the world’s largest, broke off Antarctica into the Southern Ocean.


The Southern Ocean “encompasses unique and fragile marine ecosystems that are home to wonderful marine life such as whales, penguins, and seals,” a National Geographic Explorer in Residence told the magazine. For all its reputation as a frozen wasteland, NatGeo says that there are thousands of species living in the Southern Ocean that live nowhere else on earth.
 
‘Christening’ the new seas around Antarctica comes at a time when polar expedition cruises are one of the planet’s hottest travel tickets. ‘Polar class’ expedition cruise ships have reinforced hulls that make them strong enough for the lesser ice of the water in the summer months.

The newest expedition ships are purpose-designed with the latest technology and innovations in fuel, power, systems that allow them to maintain their position on the water without having to drop an anchor that could damage the ocean floor, and waste management that allow fortunate travellers to check a fifth ocean off their essential travel bucket list.
  
Your trusted travel advisor can help you plan the perfect expedition cruise to the Southern Ocean, some even in the lap of pampered luxury between forays onto island and ice floes to see penguins and other Antarctic wildlife up close.
 

#StartYourTrip!


By: Lynn Elmhirst, Producer/ Host, BestTrip TV



Copyright BestTrip.TV/Influence Entertainment Group Inc or Rights Holder. All rights reserved. You are welcome to share this material from this page, but it may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.








Discover 'Japan's Machu Picchu'
 In Japan, it’s called the ‘Castle in the Sky’, but international travelers who’ve discovered historic Takeda Castle have compared it to another mountain-top historic ruin half a world away in South America.

Peru’s Machu Picchu has made most intrepid travelers’ bucket lists of adventures. But Japan’s Takeda Castle (pronounced: ‘tah-kay-dah’) - that's about the same age as Peru's Machu Picchu - remains an other-worldly experience unknown to most overseas travelers. That's especially surprising considering it’s in the district next door to the ancient capital city of Kyoto, which is a must-do stop for nearly every visitor to Japan.

It’s worth the detour to the mountains of Hyogo Prefecture. Visitors make pre-dawn ascents to viewpoints on the mountain opposite just to gaze over upon the wonder of Takeda Castle at sunrise, appearing to float on top of what the Japanese call ‘unkai’ or ‘a sea of clouds’ - triggered by early morning fog.