What’s New in Hawaii

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Photo credit: Mauna Lani Point 

For centuries, people have visited the islands of aloha for basically the same reasons: vibrant beaches, verdant mountains, lively volcanoes and ancient culture. Yet that doesn’t stop this American slice of paradise from trying to improve itself. Here are the latest enhancements that will have travelers returning to live the island life.

Molokai Now More Accessible – There are no mega-resorts on friendly, little Molokai island, which has long been an attraction to backpackers and snorkelers who could brave the long ferry ride. Thankfully, Mokulele Airlines has introduced new routes to the island from both Oahu and Maui, opening up this unspoiled island to a new generation of travelers.

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Pu’uka’oku Falls, Molokai

Resorts – Multi-million dollar renovations are happening across the islands, adding luxury, space and style to such popular resorts as Maui’s Hotel Wailea and Grand Wailea, A Alwadorf Astoria Resort, and Oahu’s Spa and Turtle Bay Resort and Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort, the latter of which will add an on-site apiary to house 80,000 honey-producing bees.

Attractions & Activities – The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is now offering the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park as a new offsite venue for groups, where your event could also include exclusive access to the USS Arizona Memorial’s two museums and theaters. At the recently-opened Maui Hawaiian Village, you can learn how native Hawaiians have thrived for generations. And the always-dazzling Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art just opened the Mughal Suite at Shangri La to the public for the first time, showcasing private living quarters inspired by the Taj Mahal.

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Pōhaku, The story of Hawaii’s native people, presented by Christopher K. Morgan at the Maui Hawaii Village

Being your travel advisor is more than offering you enchanting vacations to the far reaches of the globe. It also involves offering you personal support and helpful advice to enhance all your travel experiences, whether near or far.

As always, please feel free to contact us about your future travel plans.

Happy travels!
Cruise & Travel Masters
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Most Luxurious Airport Lounges in the USA

virgin-atlantic-jfk-new-york-clubhouse-05-905x500

After a long day of traveling, there’s nothing more relaxing than checking into a peaceful airport lounge where the internet is high-speed, the food is delicious (and plenty) and showers and other amenities are free. These sacred spots were once only accessible for the elite traveler with first class or business class tickets, however, the times are a-changing. Now, many American airlines offer day passes for any traveler looking to escape the crowded concourse.

Virgin America Loft (LAX)
Virgin is known for their excellent customer service. It’s no surprise then that their lounge is also top notch. Here you’ll enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages from their contemporary bar. The modern, trendy feel will make you forget you’re in an airport at all. No children under 12 are permitted. If you’re in the mood to get some work done, there are plenty of outlets and free internet access. A day pass to this hideaway costs $40.

AA Admirals Club (LAX)
This spacious lounge, operated by American Airlines, is touted for its good food and great customer service. Enjoy gazing at the planes or get some work done while you’re waiting in between flights, you can even take a refreshing shower. Children are permitted in here, but have their own separate play area. Day passes to this lounge cost $50.

Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse (JFK)
This 10,000 square foot space is modern and comfortable. It offers spa services to guests including massages, facials, or even haircuts. Instead of the typical complimentary buffet, this lounge offers table service and a fantastic selection of cocktails. When you’ve had your fill, enjoy a quick game of pool before catching your flight. Day passes to this oasis cost $75.

Centurion Lounge (DFW)
Get complimentary 15-minute spa treatments at this spacious southwestern themed lounge. Enjoy a buffet of southwestern food options for breakfast or lunch/dinner. There also have comfortable seating, workstations, and chaise lounges perfect for napping, working, or reading for any traveler. Day passes to this lounge run $50.

While all airports have lounges, many still cater to the first class fliers, or club members. Annual memberships can be purchased, but first check to see if any of your credit cards carry travel perks for members. Some will get you access to these clubs and others without having to pay a fee at all. Keep airport lounges in mind for your next long layover or cancelled flight.

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Chicago’s Food Tours Take the Cake!

What better way to explore the city so rich in culture, history and culinary flair than by jumping on a food tour! Chicago is known for deep-dish pizza, the Italian beef sandwich and Chicago style hot dogs! Enjoy these mouth-watering favorites and many more iconic eats with one (or both) of these Windy City food tours!

 

Chicago Food Planet Food Tours

Courtesy of Chicago Food Planet Food Tours

Chicago Food Planet Food Tours 
Coast & Old Town Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour:

“Tease your taste buds as we bring to life the Near North neighborhoods of the Gold Coast and Old Town as you eat delicious foods from 7 one-of-a-kind specialty food stores, ethnic delis and local restaurants off the beaten track on our signature walking tour. All food tastings, enough for lunch, are included in the ticket price of $47.” -Chicago Food Planet 

In just 3 hours these folks will give you a new culinary perspective, big smiles, satisfied taste buds and solid exposure to some of the most delicious, off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods of Chicago. With the combination of tasty food, killer drinks and lots of fun, this is a foodie experience not to miss!

 

Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique

courtesy of Tastebud Tours

Tastebud Tours
Sweet Chicago Tour:

Do you have more of a sweet tooth? Enjoy Chicago chocolates and other delicious desserts as you walk through the heart of the city on this indulgent 3-hour adventure! Enjoy delicious sweet treats from five memorable restaurants and food specialty shops. Hear about Chicago’s history and cultural fun facts while you tantalize and satisfy your sweet taste buds!

Like what you’re reading (or should I say tasting)? Check out our Culinary Traveler Facebook page for more! Let us help you build your perfect culinary vacation!

Sonja @ Cruise & Travel Masters
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Eat, Play, Sleep: The More Affordable “Bests” of Las Vegas

Las Vegas

photo credit: The Hipmunk Blog

With all there is to do in Las Vegas, the cost of a weekend trip can really add up fast! But of course we are still going to go so, check out some of our favorite hot spots that won’t break the bank!


EAT!

The Beat Coffeehouse, Las VegasThe Beat

Las Vegas’ creative crowd hangs out at this downtown coffeehouse and record shop. At any time of day, The Beat is humming with chatter from tech innovators, local artists and passersby as they catch up over a range of coffees, chilled drinks and alcoholic beverages, as well as a small selection of food. Also noteworthy is the variety of vinyl on sale.

The Beat, 520 Fremont St.; +1 702 385 2328; Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-midnight, Saturday, 9 a.m.-midnight, Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Hash House A Go Go, Las VegasHash House A Go GO

Featuring self-proclaimed “twisted farm food,” this quirky diner serves up meals in mammoth portions. Flapjacks are larger than the platters they sit on, chicken and waffles are stacked several inches above the plate and coffees overflow onto saucers. Though it’s open all day long, Hash House’s breakfast menu is most robust, with a variety of hashes, scrambles and farm benedicts. It’s common to find people dining after they’ve left the bar at night or nursing a hangover in the morning.

Hash House A Go Go, 6800 W. Sahara Ave., +1 702 804 4646; in Plaza Hotel & Casino, 1 S. Main St., +1 702 384 4646; in Imperial Palace, 3535 Las Vegas Blvd. S., +1 702 254 4646; in M Resort, 12300 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Henderson, +1 702 797 1000; hours vary by location

Public House, Las VegasPublic House

Located on Restaurant Row at The Venetian, Public House boasts a high-end, speakeasy feel with dark colors and deep seats. The fare is pub grub with a creative touch and lots of drink options. The menu is meat heavy, but there are a few salads available as well. Public House lays claim to Nevada’s first certified beer cicerone (similar to a wine sommelier), offering more than 200 brews, 24 of which are on tap. A climate-controlled room holds hundreds of bottles of wine.

Public House, in The Venetian, 3355 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; +1 702 407 5310


PLAY!

Mc Mullan's Irish Pub, Las VegasMcMullan’s Irish Pub

McMullan’s has a large selection of classic pub fare, as well as many Irish specialties and an extensive selection of beers with taps built into every table.
There’s live music on weekends and quizzes every Tuesday night.

McMullan’s Irish Pub, 4650 W. Tropicana; +1 702 247 7000; open 24 hours

Harrah's Piano BarHarrah’s Piano Bar

This popular, casual dueling piano bar is often crowded with visitors engaged in bidding frenzies to hear certain songs. Dueling twin sisters Kimberley and Tamara Pinegar are crowd favorites, though all of the bar’s pianists actively engage the crowd during their acts. It’s common for everyone in the bar to sing along.

Harrah’s Piano Bar, in Harrah’s Las Vegas, 3475 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; +1 702 369 5000

 

The Chandelier, Las VegasThe Chandelier

This multi-tiered chandelier isn’t just an interesting centerpiece; it’s The Cosmopolitan’s signature bar. Each of the three levels in The Chandelier offers a distinct nightlife setting. An energetic atmosphere radiates from the casino floor. On the second level, you’ll find the finest spirits from the resort’s mixologists. A more relaxed lounge sits at the top.

The Chandelier, in The Cosmopolitan, 3708 Las Vegas Blvd. S.; hours vary by level

SLEEP!

Rumor, Las VegasRumor

This all-suite, modern boutique hotel is designed for relaxation. Its small size makes it a lot more manageable than many of the massive casino resorts in Las Vegas, and the intimate bar, restaurant and pool are ideal places to unwind. Rooms are decorated in deep colors with the latest design details. The hotel is known for its pet policy, welcoming critters less than 25 pounds. It hosts yappy hours the third Thursday of each month with cocktail specials, doggy goodie bags and appetizer specials.

Rumor, 455 E. Harmon Ave.; +1 877 997 8667; from $42 per night

Trump International HotelTrump International Hotel

There’s nothing distinctly Las Vegas-flavored about Trump International Hotel. In fact, it’s casino-free, which is why it’s so appealing to some travelers. Many people aren’t into the gambling scene and everything that accompanies it — noise, smoke, lack of clocks. For these people, Trump is ideal. Without a casino, extensive attractions or shows, Trump focuses on what it’s good at: customer service and quality hotel experiences. The accommodations are chic, with massive windows offering views of the city or Strip. Given its location just off Las Vegas Boulevard, the southward views down the neon-lit street are arguably the best in the city, so opt for a Strip view.

Trump International Hotel, 2000 Fashion Show Dr.; +1 702 982 0000

For more money-saving travel ideas call us at Cruise & Travel Masters!
*** REMEMBER, book with Cruise & Travel Masters to get the ultimate lowest price, travel tips from the pros and someone to help you through the sticky situations that can sometimes come up when on the road!

Sonja @ Cruise & Travel Masters
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Poland Culinary Vacations: Krakow to Zakopane

Krakow Poland

Krakow Poland

Cooking Your Way From Krakow To Zakopane

 AUGUST 11 – 17, 2013 CULINARY VACATION IS SCHEDULED AROUND THE ANNUAL PIEROGI FESTIVAL BEING HELD IN KRAKOW, POLAND. JOIN US IN 2013 AT THE XI PIEROGI FESTIVAL FOR PIEROGI TASTING, ZYWIEC BEER, LIVE ENTERTAINMENT AND MORE…

Local Cuisine

Local Cuisine

Lesser Poland (Malopolska), located in the southeast part of the country, is one of Poland’s most beautiful and “delicious” regions. In addition to its many unique historic and resort attractions, it is home to the region’s magnificent capital city: Krakow, designated as a “European City of Culture” in 2000. The Old Town district of Krakow was built around Europe’s largest medieval market square, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

But Lesser Poland is also home to the highlanders, or “gorale,” as they are called in Polish. And, while we’re in the charming town of Zakopane and surrounding areas, we will spend lots of time immersed in highlander culture: cooking,singing and dancing in their homes and restaurants. The highlanders’ rich culinary and cultural traditions make this region one of the most exciting Polish destinations to explore in-depth.

Outdoor Attractions:  Lesser Poland offers an exceptionally varied and pristine landscape. First-rate hiking and biking trails run through the Tatra Mountains, offering stunning views of gorgeous scenery. Winter sports facilities and folklore events attract travelers here in every season. This region is also famous for its many fine health resorts and national parks that protect its unique environment.

Urban Amenities: Krakow, the capital of Lesser Poland, boasts many of the best museums, theaters and architecture in the country. Krakow is also home to one of the world’s oldest and most distinguished universities, the Jagellonian University founded in 1364. Krakow’s Main Square is filled with unique and beautiful cafés, restaurants, and pubs. The square is frequently used for concerts and artistic events. Cultural events or culinary festivals happen during each month of the year, offering residents and visitors many opportunities for fun and entertainment. We’ll dine and cook with Krakow’s talented chefs in some of the city’s best restaurants. And, we’ll take time to explore its unique architecture and history during our custom-designed city tour.

A toast with new friends!

A toast with new friends!

Main Attractions

7-day/6-night custom-designed, intimate cooking vacation in Poland’s Lesser Poland region, immersed in beautiful Krakow and the unique highlander culture.
Elegant and comfortable accommodations at a luxurious: 5-star Villa Marilor palace/hotel/SPA in Zakopane and 5-star luxury boutique Hotel Kosciuszko in Krakow.
Visits to local markets; opportunities to learn crafts from local artists.
Hands-on and demonstration-style cooking lessons throughout the week.
Delicious regional cuisine: freshly made meals and breads, plus wine, beer and vodka tastings.
Visits to agrotourist farms, famous for warm hospitality and Polish countryside experiences.
Motor excursions into famous cities and towns to see renowned art and architecture, including buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
An excursion by raft through the Dunajec River Gorge.
The option to extend your time in Krakow and further explore this spectacular southern Polish city.
For more details about Poland Culinary Vacations please contact our travel specialists!
Sonja Arrasi, Cruise & Travel Masters
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Poland Culinary Vacations: Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk

Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk

The Pomerania region of Poland is an exciting destination for a culinary vacation. The region offers unique and delicious seafood and other types of specialties found only in this part of Poland. In addition, the area is full of spectacular beaches and scenery, thanks to the Baltic Sea coast and three diverse sub-regions of Western Pomerania, Kuyavia and Kaszubia or Kashubia. Kashubians are of particular interest, they live in the Eastern part of Pomerania which is often referred to as “Kashubian Switzerland”. They have a distinct cuisine, culture, language, musical style and art form. Kashubian folklore is still alive and carefully looked after to this day. We’ll be cooking with Kashubian women in their villages and learning about their rich cultural traditions throughout the entire week.

Teutonic Knights Castle

Teutonic Knights Castle

The Baltic Sea coast witnessed many historical events but most people remember the beginning of trade union “Solidarity” in Gdansk shipyard in September 1980. Gdansk is also considered the most beautiful city in Pomerania. Together with Sopot and Gdynia they form a metropolitan area called Tricity (Trojmiasto). For those who prefer more peaceful places to visit there are beautiful parks such as Bory Tucholskie National Park, which has recently been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Spend seven glorious days exploring Pomerania region during this unforgettable culinary vacation in Poland. Travel from Gdansk to Sopot, Gdynia and Malbork, home to the Teutonic Knights castle and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight stays in beautifully restored palaces, castles, manors and/or boutique hotels. Participate in hands-on and demonstration style cooking classes in quaint villages with local women and professional chefs in the regional capital. You’ll dine in the areas finest restaurants, take daily excursions to fascinating old cities and towns with rich histories making this truly a once in a lifetime adventure!

Cooking Fun!

Cooking Fun!

Main Attractions

7-day/6-night custom-designed, intimate cooking vacation in Pomerania region of Poland, immersed in beautiful Gdansk and the unique Kashubian culture.
Elegant and comfortable accommodations at Manor House Lisewski Dwor and 4-star Hotel Gdansk, located in Gdansk Old Town.
Visits to local markets; opportunities to learn crafts from local artists.
Hands-on and demonstration-style cooking lessons throughout the week.
Delicious regional cuisine: freshly made meals and breads, plus wine, beer and vodka tastings.
Visits to agrotourist farms, famous for warm hospitality and Polish countryside experiences.
Motor excursions into famous cities and towns to see renowned art and architecture, including buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The option to extend your time in Tri-City and further explore this spectacular northern region of Poland.
For more information on booking Poland Culinary Vacations: Coastal Cooking in Pomerania and Gdansk contact our travel specialist!
Sonja Arrasi, Cruise & Travel Masters
800-264-0557
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Napa Valley Wine Train

Napa Vineyards

Napa Vineyards

The Napa Valley Wine Train has some wonderful 2013 packages!

Napa Valley Train

Napa Valley Train

Sip and Supper enhances your Wine Train experience with an expert-lead wine tasting before dinner. Sip and Supper guests spend their first hour-and-half in the Wine Train’s beautifully restored lounge car tasting through five (5) exceptional wines and savoring a delicious appetizer. Wine Educators guide the guests through the art of wine tasting and when the Sipping concludes, guests move to their table in the dining car for a fabulous multiple course Supper.

In 2013, the Napa Valley Wine Train Management decided to offer a welcome glass of wine with all packages on board the train. The wine is produced by Raymond Vineyards. Guests are offered a choice of Raymond Reserve Chardonnay or Raymond Reserve Merlot.

For guests staying in San Francisco interested in a day trip to the Napa Valley, check out the SF Bay Tour! It is an excellent way to turn an ordinary commute into a scenic adventure!

Wine Train at a Glance

  • One of the Nation’s only Active, Historic Passenger Railroads.
  • Voted the “Best Place to Take Visitors.”
  • Special Wine Events and Dinner Theater.
  • Exclusive Winery Tours.
  • Family Owned.

For more information on the Napa Valley Wine Train and traveling to the San Francisco area, call our travel specialists!

Sonja Arrasi, Cruise & Travel Masters
800-264-0557
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