Archive for July, 2013

Photography by Jason Leppert

Love cruises and Dancing With the Stars? Now you can combine the 2 into one great cruise experience.

Holland America Line has partnered with Dancing with the Stars, the popular TV show that has made ratings magic with its signature pairing of professional dancers and celebrities, to create Dancing with the Stars: At Sea. The result is a set of theme cruises featuring select dancers and stars onboard and a fleet-wide dancing competition.

The aim is to promote cross-generational appeal among cruise-goers.

“Of course with anything we do, we hope to attract new guests, whether new to cruising or new to Holland America,” says Erik Elvejord, director of public relations at the cruise line. “Our primary considerations in selecting new partners are finding those that meet the desires and tastes of our guests and that can be delivered successfully onboard.”

So far that vision is paying off. Multigenerational fans — grandparents and grandchildren alike — have packed the house for the dance classes, fashion shows, photo-ops, signings and performances.

Photography by Jason Leppert

“I think what they love so much about it is that they get to be a part of it,” says Carson Kressley, one of the show’s stars. Another contestant and Olympian, Shawn Johnson, adds, “It’s very intimate. We walk around the cruise all week and get to share breakfast, lunch and dinner with all these people.”

If all this sounds like a cruise experience you’d love to have, you now have a chance to hop aboard – and dance away the nights — for free: Holland America is sponsoring a chance to win a free cruise trip on all sailings departing through November 2013.

Here’s how it works: Across the Holland America’s 15 ships, participating passengers will accumulate points with the single-highest scorer per ship winning passage on the Champions Cruise in January 2014. Onboard, a final dance-off will commence to see who will be rewarded a special version of the Mirror Ball Trophy as seen on the show. Only 2 theme cruises remain for now, but the partnership is expected to renew. So make sure you jump into the competition!

- Jason Leppert

Jason Leppert is a San Diego-based writer, photographer and videographer who publishes his own cruise travel website,PopularCruising.com.

Photography by Joel Santos / Aurora Photos

There’s a reason why this slip of sand on Portugal’s southern coast is routinely named one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. More »

Photography by Bruce Rowles

Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County heads to even colder territory tonight with a visit to the legendary snow-covered ski town of Whistler, British Columbia. Newbie Lydia, the sweet Canadian girl, wants the ladies to see her beautiful country in the hopes that the mountain air (and neutral vibe of Canada) will do the hot-tempered gals some good.

The snow bunnies don’t just drink wine in the lodge fireside all weekend. On this girls getaway, the Real Housewives get physical … with mountain sports, that is (their arguments continue to remain verbal slams). The ladies brace themselves for the freezing Canadian temps and hit the slopes on Whistler Blackcomb, two of the biggest vertical drops in North America, where Lydia snowboards and Vicki brags about her days on a ski team.

In the episode that airs tonight, the decked-out-in-fur housewives channel James Bond girls with a high-speed snowmobile tour. And it wouldn’t be a Real Housewives vacation without a few fights, like the one between Vicki and Lauri on the ski slopes.

Learning to ski can cause some epic meltdowns, even if you aren’t a reality star. Whistler PR supervisor Lauren Everest says the Whistler ski team enjoyed teaching the Real Housewives how to ski, even with the drama.

“Our expert snow school instructor Nadio made sure the ladies felt as comfortable as possible while learning a new sport,” says Everest. “The lesson got cut a bit short due to some drama while the cameras were rolling, but that’s what the show is all about … and why we love it when the Real Housewives come to town!”

After some heated discussions slopeside, the ladies whine and dine après-ski at The Bearfoot Bistro, one of Whistler’s hottest foodie scenes. The restaurant focuses on local in-season ingredients and features one of the world’s coldest ice bars, The Belvedere Ice Room, in which more than 50 vodkas are chilled in minus-25 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s almost as cold as one of Tamra’s “evil eyes.”

The second part of the Real Housewives’ ski trip airs tonight. We wonder: Will there be a massive snowball fight between Vicki and Lauri? Will Alexis run out of fur outfits to wear? Will Vicki’s maddening screams cause an avalanche? As Bravo says, we’ll have to watch what happens.

You May Also Like:

Year-Round Adventures in Whistler

Whistler Foodie Guide

Destination Wedding: Whistler

Photography by Kempinski Hotel Aqaba

Stylishly set on the cerulean waters of the Red Sea, it’s a good thing the Hotel Aqaba is designed in an ultra-minimalistic aesthetic. More »

Welcome to the battle that never ends: West Coast vs. East Coast. Everyone has their own opinion on which coast has the best beaches, and tonight at 7|6c, we weigh in on a new episode of Bikinis & Boardwalks. From the capital of beach fun, Rehoboth Beach, DE, to the bohemian mecca, Venice Beach, CA, find out what makes these boardwalks top summertime destinations.

Which boardwalk would you rather visit? Maybe these beachside hotspots will help you decide:

Rehoboth Beach, DE

Take a tour of Dogfish Head Brewery, and try some samples of their tasty brews, before hitting up their restaurant for a little brewpub fare that perfectly complements their ever-changing beers on tap.

In 1963, Grotto Pizza opened in Rehoboth, and has been a staple on the Eastern Shore ever since.  Plus, what stroll down the boardwalk is complete without pizza?

Venice Beach, CA

In the birthplace of skateboarding, it would be a sin not to visit one of the skate shops, especially Arbor Skate Shop, which has been handcrafting environmentally sustainable, high-performance surf, skate and snowboards since 1995.

One of the prime activities of Venice Beach is people watching, and thank goodness the Venice Ale House has patio seating, so you can enjoy the view with your cocktails.

On tonight’s premiere of Adam Richman’s Fandemonium, you’ll dive headfirst into the top tailgating events that the great state of Florida has to offer. First at 10|9c, Adam heads to the Daytona 500 where tailgating (and super fandom) is taken to new levels. This is the only place where you’ll find a checkered flag beard.

Then at 10:30|9:30c, Adam sees what mudding is all about when he goes to the Redneck Yacht Club’s Trucks Gone Wild. In Punta Gorda, FL, the parties get down and dirty with unique barbecue (atomic buffalo turd, anyone?) and non-stop off roading.

Are you a super fan? Get tips for the Daytona 500 or the Redneck Yacht Club with our travel guides, and we’ll see you in sunny Florida!

Courtesy of Island Outpost

Oracabessa Bay. Even the name sounds exotic. More »

Yellowstone’s busiest season is now in full swing, and if you’re among the thousands of travelers who plan to visit America’s first national park this July, first thing’s first: Bring a jacket. Yes, really, a jacket — in July. You’ll be grateful you did when winds up to 15 mph nip at your face and temperatures drop into the 40s at night. You may even see snow. (Keep current on Yellowstone’s weather here.)

Hard to believe, as scorching temperatures cripple other regions of the west, but Yellowstone is one place you do not want to explore without a jacket this month. I found out first-hand on a visit to the national park just a few weeks ago. From a chilly morning rain to a late-evening snowstorm, I experienced Yellowstone’s dramatic temperature drops all within the span of a few hours.

Once you’ve brought a coat (and a good pair of boots and sunscreen, too), you’ll be well on your way to exploring the park — here’s a taste of Yellowstone’s beauty in summer.

Roosevelt Arch: An elk rests by Yellowstone’s famous Roosevelt Arch — Teddy Roosevelt himself laid the cornerstone of the arch, located at the park’s north entrance. “For the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” reads its inscription. (All Photos: Lisa Singh) 

Grand Canyon of Yellowstone: Geysers … bears … but just why is Yellowstone called “Yellowstone”? The park’s abundant yellow-colored rhyolite lavas provide the answer. You’ll see these rich colors at Yellowstone’s massive gorge, roughly 20 miles long.

Yellowstone Norris Geyser Basin: Remember your jacket? These smart folks certainly did as they make their way down a walkway to view some of Yellowstone’s breathtaking geysers. Did you know Yellowstone is home to the largest concentration geysers in the world?

Rocky Mountain Fauna: It’s not just bears or American bison you may see at Yellowstone. Look up! This mountain goat, with some winter fur still left to shed, may be peering down at you from a mountain cliff. Just beware of Yellowstone’s deadly bears.

Fishing in Yellowstone: Don’t forget to get in some fishing. Pick up a Yellowstone fishing permit, and enjoy angling and fly-fishing in this massive 2 million-plus-acre wonderland, home to 13 native fish species … and plenty of trout.


You May Also Like:

Learn about Yellowstone’s volcano threat.

Listen for mysterious sounds at Yellowstone’s whispering lake.

Keep in mind these national park safety tips.

This Week in Photos, Washington Monument Lit

A plane crash, peak US customs wait times, and phony phone cards? It wasn’t all doom and gloom for our favorite travel bloggers this week, well, at least not for Johnny Jet.

Skift has the 13 longest wait times at US customs. In May 2013, the average daily wait time at JFK Terminal 4 skyrocketed to 93 minutes, a 35% increase year over year.

After the Asiana Airlines evacuation in San Francisco this week, you may be wondering how to survive a plane crash. The Daily Traveler shares 10 ways fliers can improve the odds.

Johnny Jet provides 12 reasons to take a scenic river cruise in Europe — like you need more than one. Find out how he started the massively popular travel site in our inaugural Our Type of Traveler feature.

Is your phone card phony? Elliot has 5 ways to tell. The Federal Trade Commission recently discovered some cards only offer 40% of the call minutes customers thought they were paying for — in other words, your pre-paid “hour” could turn out to be a measly 36 minutes.

Nomadic Matt found out the hard way that 3 days is not enough time to see some cities, but he also learned what to do when that’s all the time you have.

Want even more travel highlights from this week? Check out our This Week in Photos slideshow!

The world eagerly awaits the arrival of the royal baby and the news of whether the newest successor to the British throne will be a Prince or Princess of Cambridge. With the Duchess of Cambridge’s due date believed to be July 11, the champagne is chilling and the cigars are ready to be lit for the royal baby’s arrival any minute now.

Once again royal watchers have all eyes on London and the royal couple. Royal baby watch reaches a fever pitch with worldwide outlets camping out in tents outside St. Mary’s Hospital in London’s Paddington neighborhood, the expected delivery location for the royal baby; it’s also the hospital where Prince William was born.

How will the world find out if the little prince or princess has arrived? With a little pomp and circumstance, which is only fitting for a royal birth. The palace will announce when Kate is in labor, and then when the baby arrives, the announcement will be signed by medical staff and rushed to Buckingham Palace with a police escort. Royal sources say the official announcement will be displayed on an easel, the same easel used when Prince William was born, inside the Buckingham Palace gates. After the royal family receives the news, royal watchers all over the globe will finally find out if it is a little royal prince or princess. Then the world will go into official baby-mania for the foreseeable future.

The royal baby will not only boost collective “awws” around the world but will also boost the British economy with royal baby merchandise and royal baby celebrations all over London (who couldn’t resist this Born to Rule onesie?) The biggest celebration is expected to be at Green Park, a 40-acre royal park right outside of Buckingham Palace, where the official birth announcement will be displayed for the public.

Pubs all over London are gearing up to toast the little monarch’s arrival. Royal fans who would rather escape the rowdy revelers than join them can head to the Museum of London’s new exhibit, The Royal Arrival, showcasing items worn by Queen Victoria’s children; the show runs through Oct. 13. Also, for a perfectly posh British-style celebration, get the royal treatment at hotels offering Royal Baby Shower Teas, like St. James Hotel and the London Marriott Hotel County Hall.

For couples who are patiently awaiting their own baby’s arrival, we’ve selected the best babymoon destinations to get away before your buddle of joy arrives. Yes, if you are expecting your own little prince or princess soon, we suggest taking a romantic and relaxing trip while you can, before it’s you and your partner plus one.  For the moms ready to pop any moment, if your baby arrives the same day as the royal baby, you will be honored with a commerative coin from the Royal Mint.

The downside if your child shares a birthday with the royal baby? Just think of the pressure to top the royal birthday parties every year!

 

You May Also Like:

Royal Spotting

Royal Couple Tour

Best Babymoon Destinations

 

Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • Bali, Indonesia

  • Ica, Peru

  • Smugglers’ Notch, Vermont

  • Valais, Switzerland