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From The Editors Travel

A Trip To The Grand Canyon – Arizona

Just north of Flagstaff in Northern Arizona lies one of the most awe-inspiring wonders of nature – the Grand Canyon National Park. Carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries, the Grand Canyon is a 446 km long and 29 km wide gorge with sheer walls. It is considered one of the world’s top natural attractions, drawing some five million visitors every year.

While the site offers a number of fun and adventure activities such as hiking, running, skydiving, helicopter rides, camping and rafting, just viewing this deep, rugged, massive expanse of light and shadows from different vantage points is an experience in itself – in fact the main purpose of visit for most – and may take hours to cover, if not an entire day.

The North Rim of the gorge is located at an average elevation of 8300 feet and is less frequented, while the 7000-foot-high South Rim has considerably high tourist traffic. Weather permitting, the South Rim is open throughout the year and the North Rim can be accessed from mid-May to mid-October only.

While the average summer temperatures can range between 50 and 80 degrees F, certain areas can reach 100 degrees, with the Inner Gorge receiving the most intense heat during the summer months.

Winters are pretty severe here with frequent storms. Morning fog can obstruct the view of the canyon from time to time; however, it clears up as the sun rises overhead.

The Park is home to a rich variety of wildlife species including the rare California Condor, mule, deer, and elk with Desert Bighorn Sheep inhabiting the Inner Gorge.

The bird population includes ravens, hummingbirds, Stellar’s Jays, and Canyon Wrens.

Bobcats and mountain lions are also sometimes seen in the area.

The desert is full of different kinds of squirrel and chipmunks.

Grand Canyon Activities and Attractions

The Grand Canyon Village

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The Grand Canyon Village boasts some of the best vantage points in the Park making it the most popular and, hence, the most crowded point of entry into the Park. The Yavapai Point is rated by Frommer’s as one of the best lookout points of the Canyon.

The Village is home to some of the Park’s best hotels and lodges including the El Tovar Hotel and the Bright Angel Lodge, but be advised that they have exorbitant price tags attached.

Bright Angel Trail

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Close to the Bright Angel Lodge in the Grand Canyon Village starts the steep Bright Angel Trail all the way to Plateau Point offering some great vistas of the Colorado River. While the 12-mile up-down hike can be undertaken in a day, it is advised, for safety reason, to plan an overnight trip equipped with camping gear and plenty of water.

North Rim

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Mainstream travelers are under the impression that the North Rim with its rugged terrain isolated trails, and lack of facilities, is not worthy of a visit. Which is not all true! Nature purists love to explore the area, still relatively untouched by development.

Between late spring and early fall – the peak season – North Rim attracts a fairly large number of visitors who come to visit popular spots including the Bright Angel Point offering a great view of the Roaring Springs and Point Imperial – the highest point of the Rim at 8803 feet.

The only accommodation available on the North Rim is the rather expensive Grand Canyon Lodge where entry is impossible without prior reservation.

Havasu Falls

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With its crystal clear waterways and roaring waterfalls, the Havasu Falls is claimed by many travelers as one of the most stunning Grand Canyon sights. Located on the Havasupai Indian Reservation just south of the Grand Canyon National Park, the falls can be reached if you are okay with a 10-mile hike starting at the Hualapai Hilltop. Facilities are almost non-existent with just a large parking area and some portable toilets.

Grand Canyon Skywalk

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Criticized by nature purists for spoiling the natural beauty of the area, the Skywalk is a semi-circular bridge with transparent floors offering excellent views of the canyon. It is located in Hualapai Indian Reservation outside of the Park.

In addition to the long drive from the South Rim, as well as the North Rim, a trip to the Skywalk will take up an entire day with ticket prices as high as $75 each. Cameras of any kind are strictly prohibited in the area allowing Skywalk photographers to charge $20 per photograph.

Colorado River Rafting

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River rafting allows you to view and enjoy the Grand Canyon from a different perspective.

For the less adventurous traveler looking for a smooth-water experience, the Colorado River Discover company is a good option as they offer smooth-water day trips between Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry in the north-eastern part of the canyon.

For those interested in white-water trips, the Hualapai River Runners can give you that great turbulent-water experience between Diamond Creek and Lake Mead in the westernmost part of the canyon.

Grand Canyon Railway

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The Grand Canyon Railway opened to the public in 1901 giving direct access to the Park. However, with more and more people taking to cars over the years, the Railway lost its profitability and closed down in 1968 only to open again in 1989 after a complete overhaul.

The Railway operates between Williams and the South Rim’s Grand Canyon Depot departing daily at 9:30 a.m. from Williams reaching Grand Canyon Village by 11:45 a.m.

Return journey commences at 3:30 p.m. and ends in Williams at around 5:45 p.m.

Hotels and Lodges at the Grand Canyon National Park

  • Bright Angel Lodge – South Rim
  • Maswik Lodge – South Rim
  • Thunderbird Lodge – South Rim
  • Kachina Lodge – South Rim
  • Yavapai Lodge – South Rim
  • Grand Canyon Lodge – North Rim
  • The Grand Hotel
  • Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites
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From The Editors Top 5 Travel

Top Five “Off the Beaten Path” World Destinations

From the town of Ittoqqortoormiit, way up north in Greenland, all the way down to Deception Island on the Antarctic Peninsula in the southern hemisphere with the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan, Federated States of Micronesia, and the island nation of Madagascar in between, we bring to you five of the planet’s most remote locations for adventure seekers looking to avoid commonplace destinations.

Ittoqqortoormiit, Greenland

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Ittoqqortoormiit is situated atop a peninsula on eastern Greenland that goes by the name of Liverpool Land. It is Greenland’s most remote area – a vast tract of land where polar bear, walrus, reindeer, musk ox, bird populations, and small game thrive.

First occupied by Inuit settlers in 1925, the depleting population of Ittoqqortoormiit, down to just 450 inhabitants, live in flamboyantly colored wooden houses dotting the stark landscape and sustain themselves hunting whales and polar bear for food and trade.

Despite its inaccessibility to ships for nine months of the year, Ittoqqortoormiit has fast become a key cruise destination for modestly-sized expeditionary vessels exploring wildlife and culture, and nature in general, of North-eastern Greenland.

Attractions in and around Ittoqqortoormiit

  • Kap Hope
  • Northeast Greenland National Park
  • Ittoqqortoormiit Museum
  • Midnight Sun
  • Northern Lights

Activities

  • Dog Sledding – You can enjoy multi-day sled trips led by hunters who know the area more than they know the backs of their hands with impressive knowledge of local weather conditions, wildlife, and hunting, ensuring a safe and memorable experience.
  • Kayaking – What better place for kayaking than Greenland? Marvel at the surrounding natural wonders while kayaking in modern sea kayaks available for rent.
  • Hiking – An excellent way to explore this uniquely beautiful and surreal land, especially if you employ the services of a trained guide familiar with the best hiking trails.
  • Hunting – Arranged trophy hunting mainly for caribou, musk ox and seal with the help of local hunting guides who are themselves accomplished hunters; polar bear hunting is the sole privilege of locals – trophy hunting of the animal is a strictly enforced No-No.

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Remoteness of Ittoqqortoormiit: 2,388 km from London; 4,408 km from New York; 4,304 km from Toronto; 15,940 km from Sydney

Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan

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Sandwiched between the Hindukush and the Pamir Mountains, the Wakahn Corridor is a panhandle shaped strip of land in the north eastern extreme of Afghanistan, bordering the entire length of the strip with Tajikistan in the north and Pakistan in the south, and sharing a much small border at its easternmost edge with China.

Home to the Kyrgyz and Wakhi ethnic groups, large parts of the rugged Corridor are without roads and other government services with people, basically, fending for themselves.

The Kyrgyz people are nomadically inclined, moving their portable yurt tents and livestock from valley to valley with the changing seasons.

The Wakhi, on the other hand, generally have separate winter and summer homes made of stones.

Livestock rearing is the predominant occupation of these simple mountain folks – so different from the stereotyped media version of the Afghani people. They trade sheep, goats, and yaks in exchange for food, clothing, and other essentials they can’t produce owing to their limited resources and the kind of terrain they inhabit. They trade with merchants from Pakistan and from other parts of Afghanistan.

Located way off the beaten path, the Wakahn Corridor attracts a handful of visitors every year; basically, die-hard adventurers and explorers who are drawn to the raw beauty this rugged mountain territory has to offer.

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Travelers are safe in this neck of the woods in Afghanistan, free from the Taliban or Al-Qaeda – far from the conflict zones of this troubled nation. Most of the local population are moderate Muslims and are by nature-friendly and welcoming. They are happy to host foreigners as it helps them economically as well.

Approximate Costs

  • Afghanistan Visa: $200 USD for U.S. citizens – cheaper form other nationals
  • Taxi to Eshkashim: $20
  • Guest House: $10-$25 USD per night (x 8)
  • Wakhan Permits: $50 USD
  • 4×4 Taxi: $350 USD one way (x 2)
  • Pack Animal: $20 USD per day (x 10)
  • Guide/Translator: $30 USD per day (x 14)

Remoteness of Wakahn Corridor: 5,834 km from London; 10,772 km from New York; 10,647 km from Toronto; 11,254 km from Sydney

The Federated States of Micronesia

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The Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), also known simply as Micronesia, is a sovereign island state just north of the equator in the western Pacific Ocean, under a Compact of Free Association (COFA) with the United States. The four islands in the east of the Caroline Islands that make up Micronesia are Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae.

FSM enjoys a tropical climate with heavy rainfall throughout the year, especially in the eastern islands. Located on the southern edge of the typhoon belt, June through December can be a pretty rough as typhoons can be expected during this period sometimes causing extensive damage.

Micronesia Attractions

  • Kepirohi Waterfall (Pohnpei)
  • Sokehs Rock (Pohnpei)
  • The Blue Hole (Kosrae)
  • Tamilyog Trail (Colonia)
  • Lelu Island (Kosrae)
  • Ant Atoll (Kolonia)
  • Truk Lagoon (Chuuk)
  • Nan Madol (Pohnpei)
  • Stone Money (Yap)
  • Bechyal Cultural Center (Yap)
  • The Ethnic Art Institute of Micronesia (Yap)
  • Yap Art Studio Gallery (Colonia)
  • Hiroshi’s Point (Kosrae)
  • Sunset Park (Yap)
  • Kuop Atoll (Chuuk)

Outdoor Activities

  • Scuba & Snorkeling – Pohnpei Surf Club and Yap Rize Diving Center & Village View Resort
  • Boat Tours – Pohnpei Surf Club
  • Fishing Charters & Tours – Pohnpei Surf Club
  • Hiking Trails – Tamilyog Trail (Colonia)
  • Kayaking & Canoeing – Kayak Launch (Yap)
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding – Pohnpei Surf Club (Pohnpei)
  • Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing – Pohnpei Surf Club (Pohnpei)
    Water Sports – Beyond the Reef (Yap)

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Remoteness of FSM: 13,215 km from London; 12,524 km from New York; 11,976 km from Toronto; 4,597 km from Sydney

Madagascar

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This unspoiled island country of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, off the eastern coast of Africa, covers 587,000 square km of amazingly beautiful and marvelously diverse country, roughly the same size as France.

Vast tracts of uninhabited and largely unexplored terrain with its overabundant flora and fauna attract adventure seekers and wildlife lovers from different parts of the globe. The diversity of the landscape is truly amazing where lush rainforest can turn into desert country in a matter of just 300 km.

Five percent of the island’s plant and animal species are unique to Madagascar – not to be found in the wild elsewhere in the world.

Animal and Bird Life

  • Fossa – a sinister-looking cat-like predator endemic to the island
  • Lemur – Over 100 lemur species exist on the island and almost all of them are rare, vulnerable or endangered. Lemurs have been classified as “Madagascar’s flagship mammal species” by Conservation International
  • Birds – Out of the 300 recorded species of birds, 60% are unique to Madagascar
  • Reptiles – Madagascar boasts 260 reptile species out of which 90% are native to the island. Two-thirds of the world’s chameleons species thrive on the island including the smallest known.
  • Fish – Over 100 indigenous species of freshwater fish inhabit the rivers and lakes of Madagascar.
  • Invertebrates – All 651 species of terrestrial snail are endemic, as are a majority of the island’s butterflies, scarab beetles, lacewings, spiders, and dragonflies.

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Madagascar Attractions

  • Isalo National Park – Famous for its canyon and lemur population – ideal for backpacking and hiking
  • Avenue of the Baobabs – An extraordinary stand of huge baobab trees located 45 minutes north of Morondava on Madagascar’s west coast
  • Ranomafana National Park – Features a forest, rainforest, lemurs, and a hot spring
  • Amber Mountain National Park – Known for its lemur population, rainforest, nature reserves, and waterfall
  • Rova of Antananarivo – Historical Palace
  • Tsimbazaza Botanical and Zoological Gardens – Zoo, Botanical garden and Park
  • Parc Ivoloina – Zoo and Park
  • Zahamena National Park – Rainforest, Park, and Nature Reserve
    Analamazaotra Special Reserve – Nature Reserves, Protected Area, and Eco Tourism
  • Andringitra Massif – Mountainous Park area good for hiking
  • Pirates Museum
  • Royal Palace
  • Central Park Zoo
  • Namorona River
  • Libanona Beach
  • Maromokotoro Mountain

Activities

  • Deep sea fishing
  • Kite and wind surfing
  • Guided Kayaking
  • Wildlife safaris

Remoteness of Madagascar: 9,058 km from London; 13,950 km from New York; 14,343 km from Toronto; 10,117 km from Sydney

Deception Island, Antarctica

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Located north of the Antarctic Peninsula in the South Shetland Islands, Deception Island owes its name to its past – full of blood and destruction – and to the unpredictable volcano and its partially submerged caldera.

The above-the-surface part of the caldera forms Deception Island. Sitting atop a restless dragon that last breathed fire in 1967 and 1969 causing extensive damage to scientific stations, the island appears ‘deceptively’ calm.

Once a Chilean-Norwegian whaling station, the shores of Deception Island have witnessed the slaughter of whales for commercial purposes on a scale that almost drove the species to extinction. It was not only an example of human cruelty to animals but cruelty to humans as well – ironic!

You can well picture men working in freezing Arctic conditions – cold and bitter – carving up whale carcasses to be thrown into giant boilers; a fleet of factory ships designed to process blubber anchored in the bay; the beaches strewn with carved-up whale carcasses, bones, and blood – lots of it.

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Well, it all had to end some day – and end it did!

In 1931, plunging whale oil prices could not sustain the massive operation forcing the whalers to shut shop and abandon the station. Gutted wooden buildings; rusting giant boilers and other whaling equipment; a cemetery with 45 graves of whalers who died along the way; all still stand in silent testimony to a dark past.

Not everything is sinister about Deception Island, though. Considered one of the safest harbors in Antarctica because of its horseshoe shape, the island is an excellent holiday destination for travelers with an adventurous streak seeking destinations off the beaten track.

Can’t think of another place in Antarctica where you can enjoy in your swimwear! The geothermally heated water on Deception Island allows you to do exactly that.

Exploring the largest cemetery on the continent and the ruins of the Hektor Whaling Station are not to be missed activities on this caldera island.

Deception Island Attractions

  • Whalers Bay
  • Pendulum Cove
  • Mount Kirkwood
  • Mount Pond
  • Mount Achala
  • Hector Whaling Station
  • Deception Island Cemetery

Remoteness of Deception Island: 13,789 km from London; 11,601 km from New York; 11,984 km from Toronto; 8,896 km from Sydney

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From The Editors Travel

Bora Bora – The French Polynesian Paradise Retreat

Located in the South Pacific on the Leeward Islands of French Polynesia some 225 km northwest of Tahiti, Bora Bora is up there among the top island destinations in the world. Surrounded by a lagoon and a barrier reef, this beautiful island retreat is world famous for its ultra luxurious water-centric resorts that range from expensive to the insanely expensive.

The surrounding lagoon; the crystal-clear shallow waters of the barrier reef; and the planet’s biggest ocean beyond provide an awesome backdrop in dazzling shades of blue – lighter in the shallows with hints of sea-green, darker where the waters are deep with the azure sky arching down to meet the deep blue of the ocean on the horizon.

The property boasts a 360° view of the horizon that will make you feel like the radial point of a giant blue circle of exploding shades of blue all around.

Add to that the tropical greenery of the island with twin volcanic peaks rising from its center and a bevy of world-class luxury properties and you will make it hard for yourself to find a better island destination – be prepared for the damages to the bank account, though.

Here’s a look at what we believe are the top five resorts on this island of the gods.

Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora

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The Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora is one of the premier resorts on the island – an exotic blend of luxury and nature. Built on stilts over the lagoon in northeast Bora Bora bordering the outer coral reef, the property boasts vistas that you will never get tired of.

Some of the main features of this exclusive enclave are:

  • Plush thatched overwater bungalows with porches, lounge areas with sofas and mini fridges, plus satellite TV, free Wi-Fi and iPod docks
  • Some bungalows come with private plunge pools
  • Deluxe beachfront villas feature private gardens and outdoor pools
  • Upgraded bungalows offer pull-out sofas and extra rooms
  • 4 Polynesian restaurants with open-air dining
  • Polynesian-style spa
  • Gym with regular yoga
  • infinity pool
  • Three beachfront villas ideal for families with children
  • Indoor playroom
  • Outdoor playground with splash pad
  • Paddleboards and snorkeling gear
  • Educational snorkeling tour through the resort’s inner lagoon with the resident marine biologist.

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Source & Official Website: http://www.fourseasons.com/borabora/landing_pages/property/villas-and-suites/

InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora

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The InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora is located at Maitra Point on the southern part of the main island. Formed by a windward beach on Tahana Bay and a leeward beach on Maitra Bay, the famous Maitra Point is considered the most picturesque site in French Polynesia.

At a distance of 8 km from the main village Vaitape, the property offers beautiful vistas of the twin volcanic peaks, Mount Otemanu and Mount Pahia, and a breathtaking view of the turquoise lagoon.

Here are some of the salient features of the InterContinental Le Moana Bora Bora

  • 48 overwater bungalows with 2 overwater bungalows linked to a lounge
  • 1 overwater suite called “Poe Va’i”
  • 12 beach bungalows with 2 beach bungalows linked to a lounge
  • 1 beach suite called “Heremoana”
  • All the bungalows are junior suite size with air conditioning.
  • All bungalows feature a large sun terrace, living room, bedroom and beautiful bathroom with bath and dressing area decorated with live vanilla plants.
  • You can look through the living room glass coffee tables in Overwater bungalows into the clear waters of the lagoon with its abundant marine life – illumination allows night time viewing as well.

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Source & Official Website: https://www.intercontinental.com/hotels/gb/en/bora-bora/bobhb/hoteldetail?

InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa

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Located 6 km from Bora Bora Yacht Club and about the same distance from the scenic Matira Point, the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa stands on an islet overlooking a lagoon.

At this upscale resort, you can step off the deck of your luxury overwater villa into the warm embrace of a tranquil lagoon. Enjoy everything from scuba diving to sunset cruises on the surrounding reefs, while a pristine beach and an award-winning spa invite you to relax. From weddings in the glass-bottomed Chapel to candlelit dinners beneath swaying palm trees, it’s the perfect setting in which to experience the romance of the South Pacific.

This upscale beachfront resort features the following.

  • Spa Amenities and spa treatments
  • 24/7 business center
  • Each luxury overwater villa comes with picture window, king-size bed, spacious living area, a private bath tub and terrace
  • Restaurants and Bars – The Reef Restaurant, South Beach Bar, Sands
  • Restaurant, Bubbles Bar, and the Le Corail Restaurant

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Source & Official Website: https://www.intercontinental.com/hotels/gb/en/bora-bora/bobhb/hoteldetail?

Conrad Bora Bora Nui

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Formerly a Hilton property, the newly transformed Conrad Bora Bora Nui is a 20-minute boat ride from the airport. This world class luxury resort occupies the islet of Motu To’opua with a world-famous lagoon off the Bora Bora coast.

With uninterrupted views of the horizon and the dormant volcanic peak of Mount Otemanuas as an imposing backdrop, this multi-million-dollar haven boasts authentic Polynesian setting rich with the region’s culture and mythology.

Check out the main features of the Conrad Bora Bora Nui

  • 86 overwater bungalows, including Bora Bora’s only double-storey Presidential Suites
  • 29 garden and beach villas
  • Accommodations are designed around the lagoon with expansive patios
  • Guests can choose from suites, villas, and overwater villas, each with outdoor sitting areas with chaise lounges, large bathrooms with granite countertops, separate bathtubs and showers, indoor living space with sofa sleepers, and dining tables with chairs.
  • Six unique restaurants and bars, including the resort’s signature Iriatai French Restaurant with authentic French cuisine in an open-air setting.There’s also the Banyan Chinese Restaurant, Tamure Beach Grill, and the Upa Upa Lounge Bar.
  • A full-service spa and beauty salon, and a state-of-the-art fitness center
  • Miniature golf course
  • Infinity pool
  • Outdoor jogging track.
  • The Tamari’i’ Kids Club has organized activities for young travelers
    Multiple boutiques
  • Private helipad

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Official Website: http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/en/hotels/french-polynesia/conrad-bora-bora-

Le Meridien Bora Bora

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Located on a Polynesian islet with a turquoise lagoon surrounding the magnificent property, Le Meridien Bora Bora boasts luxurious overwater bungalows with glass-bottom floors and beach bungalows under tall coconut trees.

Overlooking Mount Pahia and Bora Bora lagoon, the hotel is a Polynesian paradise offering an extraordinary view of the island. It is located on one of the finest isolated beaches to be found in the South Pacific. The hotel is designed for the rich and famous looking for exclusive and ultimate privacy. There are no roads and no traffic, just peace and tranquility.

Activities include water sports, swimming with turtles, deep-sea fishing, and shark feeding!

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Official Website: http://www.lemeridien-borabora.com

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From The Editors Travel

Ice Hotels, Glass Igloos and the spectacular Northern Lights – Rovaniemi, Finland

Igloos, as most of us know them, are shelters built from compacted snow to provide insulation to their occupants. They are generally associated with the indigenous peoples of the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland who are culturally similar and are collectively known as Inuit. However, in Canada and the United States “Eskimo” was the term used to describe them.

Little did the early Eskimos know that igloos, a shelter for them and their families from the harsh Arctic elements, would one day become luxury tourist attractions with glass domes for star gazing and witnessing the erratic but spectacular Northern Lights – the Aurora Borealis.

Glass igloos are scientifically built with decent amenities and perfectly insulated interiors guaranteeing the comfortable temperature of any five-star hotel room on the coldest of nights.

Occupants can immerse themselves in the wonders of the northern skies including nature’s most spectacular light show from the comfort of their circular space – a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ experience for most.

We have shared below our top three choices of Arctic resorts for the perfect Arctic holiday.

Arctic Snow Hotel and Glass Igloos – Rovaniemi, Finland

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Located 26 kilometers from central Rovaniemi on the shores of Lake Lehtojärvi in the Finnish Lapland, the Arctic Hotel and Glass Igloos offer a number of well thought of packages, rooms, and igloos to suit various tourist types. Visitors can opt for a stay in one of the ice hotel rooms or a glass igloo or opt for a package deal and enjoy both.

The unique Arctic Snow Hotel offers rooms made of ice and snow and, in case you were wondering, have electric lighting too. Add to that, onsite facilities such as a snow sauna, an ice bar, and three restaurants by the serenely picturesque Lehtojärvi Lake and you’ll be looking at a satisfying-to-the-core and unforgettable Arctic holiday.

The glass igloos on this Arctic paradise are equipped with dedicated showers and toilets and are available in two different sizes designed for couples and groups of four. Also, each igloo has its own refrigerator, electric kettle, and hair dryer.

  • a. 34x Glass igloo for two (roughly 20 square meters)
  • b. 5x Glass igloo for a maximum of four occupants (roughly 33 square meters)

The electrically heated glass dome and under the floor heating with excellent insulation keep the heat trapped and evenly distributed. The thermal glass melts away the snow and ice from the dome keeping it clear at all times for an uninterrupted view of the sky. Motorized beds allow you to maneuver them for optimal viewing or comfort.

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The main building serves breakfast and hot drinks and has an open fire place for guest comfort. Each of the arriving guests receives an overnight package including a top quality sleeping bag.

Igloos are available from November 20, 2017, to 31 March 2018, the best vacation time for Aurora chasers.

The three lakeside restaurants serve Lapland specialties, which you are most likely to take to, made from locally sourced ingredients.

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In addition to the onsite snow sauna and ice bar you can even enjoy a dip in the outdoor hot tub should you fancy it.

The hotel has a special alarm system that alerts hotel and igloo guests of the appearance of the Aurora so that they don’t miss the mind blowing sky show – something most of them, if not all, have traveled great distances to experience.

Guests can indulge in fun activities such as ice fishing, ice sculpting, and snowshoeing at the site itself.

Although November through March is the best period to witness the blindingly white snow, the Aurora Borealis and Kaamos light shows, other seasons in the Arctic have their own attractions to boast. Summer for the mystical Midnight Sun and Autumn for “Ruska” – the colors of Autumn – are also great seasons to visit this remote, surreal Arctic destination.

Official Website: http://arcticsnowhotel.fi/

Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort – Igloos and Chalets

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Located in the Saariselkä Fell region of Finnish Lapland, the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort offers glass igloos and traditional wooden chalets surrounded by nature in a pleasantly unique color. The property boasts the world’s largest smoke sauna and has free WiFi.

The igloos on the property are made of thermal glass and feature luxury beds. Guests can opt for one with a personal bathroom and sauna or choose from the more economical igloos with shared shower facilities.

The chalet comes with a seating area and a fire place, a kitchenette, and a private sauna.

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Two on-site à la carte restaurants serve local specialties including reindeer and salmon.

The property boasts a total of six saunas each with a relaxation room and an open fireplace with a handy ice hole for chilling – literally.

For fun activities, there’s nothing better than Husky and reindeer safaris and ‘snowmobiling.’

All in all, the Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort is another great place to experience the magic of the Arctic.

Official Website: http://www.kakslauttanen.fi/

Snow Village

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Sixteen kilometers from the town of Ylläsjärvi and 20 km away from the Ylläs ski resort, the Snow Village is a 3-star property featuring creative ice art and sculptures; frozen rooms and suites with sleeping bags; and 2-6 person cabins with Television, hot tubs, and kitchenettes.

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Main Features

  • Corridors lined with great snow and ice art
  • Free breakfast and guided tours of the resort
  • An ice-restaurant
  • A traditional Lapland eatery
  • A slide
  • A chapel
  • An onsite hot-tub
  • A candle-lit ice-bar
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From The Editors Travel

The Maldives – Paradise on Earth

An archipelago of 1,192 coral islands, naturally grouped into a chain of 26 coral atolls, make up the stunningly picturesque Republic of Maldives located in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka. Covering an area of about 298 square kilometers, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia by area as well as population.

The capital city of Malé, also known as the “King’s Island” due to its central location on the archipelago, has the highest concentration of the nation’s, roughly, 394,000 inhabitants occupying less than 200 islands. The other islands are predominantly used for economic purposes.

The highest point on this beautiful island nation is no more than three meters above sea level making it the lowest lying country on the planet. The white sandy beaches, the surrounding crystal clear aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean, and the submerged coral reefs teeming with marine life all along the archipelago attract beach bums, divers and snorkelers and from all parts of the world.

Tourism and agriculture are the main contributors to the Republic’s economy with tourism accounting for 28% of the country’s GDP and 90% of the state’s income coming from tourism-related taxes and import duties.

The Maldives is an Islamic nation of almost entirely Sunni Muslims with a motley mix of South Indian, Sinhalese, and Arab cultural influences. The law of the land does not allow non-Muslims to vote or hold public offices and the use of alcohol, drugs, and public observance of non-Muslim religions are strictly prohibited.

While the above is true for the locally inhabited islands, the ones dedicated to resorts and tourism do not have any such restrictions where almost anything and everything goes.

In accordance with Islamic traditions, the weekend is observed Friday-Saturday with Sunday being a full working day. While Banks, government offices, and most shops remain closed over the weekend, it is business as usual for the resorts. The only exception could be a shift in the lunch hours to accommodate the Friday prayers.

As is expected in the region, the Maldives is blessed with a tropical climate with its generous share of the sunshine and a maximum temperature that hovers around 30° Celsius all through the year.

Only ten of the 26 atolls or “atholhu” in Dhivehi, the Maldivian language, officially allow tourism.

Going north to south, they are:

  • Lhaviyani (Faadhihpolhu)
  • Raa (Maalhosmadulu Uthuruburi)
  • Baa (Maalhosmadulu Dhekunuburi)
  • Kaafu – site of capital Male and the airport and home to most Maldivian resorts
  • Alifu (Ari)
  • Vaavu (Felidhu)
  • Meemu (Mulak)
  • Faafu (Nilandhe Atholhu Uthuruburi)
  • Dhaalu (Nilandhe Atholhu Dhekunuburi)
  • Seenu (Addu) – site of Gan International Airport

Some worthy attractions in the Maldives

Malé Friday Mosque

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The oldest mosque in the Maldives dating back to 1656 AD, the ornate Malé Friday Mosque is located on the Kaafu Atoll. Made from coral boulders abundantly available throughout the archipelago, the grand old mosque is part of UNESCO World Heritage cultural list for its unique architecture utilizing sea elements.

Hulhumalé

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Reclaimed from the ocean to meet the housing and commercial demands of the region, Hulhumalé is an artificial island on the North Malé Atoll inaugurated in 2004 by the then President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

The development and management of the island fall under the auspices of the Housing Development Corporation, a government-owned entity.

It is considered a great honeymoon location and is home to some awesome beaches.

Theemuge

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Located in Malé, Theemuge served as the presidential palace up until 2008, but has, since, been home to the Supreme Court of the Maldives.

Varunulaa Raalhugandu

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Located in the capital Malé, Varunulaa Raalhugandu, is up there among the best surf points in the Maldives making it one of the most crowded as well. The breaks, located in the southwest corner of the island offer some of the most powerful and regular waves that surfers are always on the lookout for.

National Museum

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The National Museum in the Maldives is the first national museum of this island paradise inaugurated in 1952 by the then Prime Minister Mohamed Amin Didi.

Both the new and old buildings of the museum are located in the Sultan Park in Malé, which forms part of the 17th century Maldivian Royal Palace compound.

The museum is home to a wide-ranging collection of relics such as the 11th-century coral stone head of Buddha, pre-Islamic artifacts, thrones, period furniture, costumes and shoes, arms and armor, rare coins, and much more.

Things to do

  • Scuba diving and snorkeling
  • Surfing
  • Shopping
  • Maldivian cuisine

Some of the top luxury resorts

Cheval Blanc Randheli

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Experience true “Art de Recevoir” – the French art of welcoming and entertainment – at the Cheval Blanc Randheli, an amazing resort designed by French architect Jean-Michel Gathy. Cheval Blanc is a well-maintained island about 40 minutes from Malé on Noonu Atoll. A series of lush green islands, a large coral reef protecting the atoll from the ocean, white sand banks, long palm trees, and beautiful tropical flowers are some of the highlights of this picturesque atoll.

Cocoon Maldives

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A short 30-minute seaplane ride from the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, the 150-villa Cocoon Maldives is located on the pristine, unspoiled island of Ookolhufinolhu on the Lhaviyani Atoll. At the Cocoon, you will experience a magnificent blend of luxury, design aesthetics, and unbridled pampering to make your stay an unforgettable holiday experience.

Velaa Island

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Velaa Velaa Island is an exclusive boutique getaway developed to exemplify only the very best of the wonderful and unique location. Located on the breathtakingly beautiful Noonu Atoll, The 45-villa resort island is an out-of-this-world holiday retreat where you are treated no less than a royalty.

Soneva Jani

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Water Villas and Island Sanctuaries bordered by pristine white sandy beaches and the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean beyond, with lush green tropical foliage all around, make this 24-villa resort worthy of its name which in Sanskrit means ‘wisdom.’

The resort can be reached by a scenic 40-minute seaplane flight direct from Malé International Airport, a 60-minute speedboat ride from Soneva Fushi, or by a leisurely half day cruise from Soneva Fushi on board the Soneva in Aqua.

Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru

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A 25-minute speedboat ride from the Malé international airport, the 14-villa Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru resort is located on the North Malé Atoll on a round island surrounded by a round coral reef.

Again the unspoiled white beaches, the clear azure skies and the shimmering turquoise waters combined with the pampering hospitality of the Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru make it a surreal experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Four Seasons Kuda Huraa

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The Four Seasons Kuda Huraa is an exotic retreat located on the island of Kuda Huraa on the North Malé Atoll, a mere half-hour away from Malé by speedboat. This mesmerizing garden island is an excellent surfing destination with Tropicsurf coaches for learners and world-class breaks for the pros. The island is host to the annual Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Champions Trophy.

Relax at the Island spa, enjoy the thrilling shark snorkel safaris, embark on a dolphin cruise or explore the Maldives extensively aboard the luxury three-tiered catamaran – the Four Seasons Explorer – that sails between Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa and Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru, in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Categories
From The Editors Travel

Top Three Immigration Destinations in the World

Our choice of three best immigration destinations is not, by any means, based on the number of immigrants a country takes in every year, but more on what the country has on offer for immigrants in terms of career, welfare, medical cover, education, old age benefits, and rights.

Obviously, countries inviting immigrants are not doing it for charitable reasons and entry is not open to everybody and anybody. There are certain criteria that applicants, whether individuals or families, have to meet in order to be eligible for immigration to any given country.

Again, not unexpectedly, each country determines its own set of criteria according to its requirements – or else why would it accept immigrants in the first place?

Finding suitable employment is the primary concern of most, if not every, applicant when contemplating immigration. The good thing is that each of these countries has an occupation list which contains all those occupations that are required at a national level. This effectively means that if the applicant’s profession is on that list, he/she is eligible for immigration with more than a fair chance of finding suitable employment. Needless to say, all other immigration criteria for that particular profession have to be met.

Certain criteria can vary according to the nationality of the applicant; for example, educational certificates from certain colleges may not be acceptable to the country the applicant intends to immigrate to – there’s a chance those colleges are blacklisted in that country.

Based on all the above factors, we have given our choice of the top three immigration destinations in the world and why.

Australia

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World-class cities, great job opportunities with high salaries, cultural diversity, and other developed-world benefits make Australia one of the top immigration destinations in the world.

Being an underpopulated country with an aging populace, there is an ongoing skill shortage across various industries in this continent-country, attracting thousands of immigrants each year with lucrative job offers.

Australia invites applicants by way of its points-based Skilled Migration program granting a Permanent Resident (PR) Visa to eligible applicants.

PR Visa is given under three categories: Subclass 189, Subclass 190, and Subclass 489

Benefits of the PR Visa

  • The PR visa is a five-year multiple-entry visa which allows you live and work in Australia indefinitely. On completion of five years, you are eligible to apply for renewal provided you meet the renewal criteria. In order to apply for citizenship, a different set of criteria needs to be met.
  • Permanent residents enjoy most benefits that Australian citizens do, including free education for children up to high school and access to free or subsidized legal and medical services as well as old age benefits. Permanent Residents are not eligible to vote until they become Australian citizens.
  • You are allowed to take your immediate family (spouse and children under 18) with you or have them join you later.
  • Spouse is eligible to work in Australia
  • Permanent Residents can sponsor parents subject to fulfilling sponsorship requirements.
  • Australian permanent residents are free to live, work, and study in New Zealand.
  • Children born in Australia will be deemed Australian citizens by birth.

Eligibility Criteria for Australian PR under Subclass 189

This is the most sought after PR visa. Applicants must have an aggregate of 60 points with points given for age, education, work experience, English language skills, sponsorship points if applicable, and bonus points if any.

  • The applicant should not be more than 50 years old.
  • It is mandatory for an applicant to nominate an occupation according to the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) which suits the applicant’s experience, qualification, and skill sets.
  • A Skill Assessment Certificate for the nominated occupation from the relevant authority in Australia is mandatory. For example, if you are an IT person, like a software engineer or a network administrator, you need to have a positive skill assessment report from the Australian Computer Society (ACS). Likewise, an engineer would require a skill assessment certificate from the assessing body for engineers, “Engineers Australia,” and so on.
  • English Language proficiency has to be proved through designated tests such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System), OET (Occupational English Test) or PTE (Pearson Test of English).
    Details of relevant work experience have to be provided as per the demand of the nominated occupation.
  • Education certificates must be provided.
  • Character and Health requirements have to be fulfilled.

Eligibility Criteria for Australian PR under Subclass 190

The Subclass 190 is a state sponsored visa for those applicants whose skills may not be required at a national level but is in demand at the state level. The state has to sponsor such applicants to gain entry on a PR Visa.

Applicants must score an aggregate of 60 points with points given for age, education, work experience, English language skills, state sponsorship (5 points), and bonus points if any.

  • The applicant should not be more than 50 years old.
  • It is mandatory for an applicant to nominate an occupation according to the Combined Skilled Occupation List (CSOL) which suits the applicant’s experience, qualification, and skill sets.
  • A Skill Assessment Certificate for the nominated occupation from the relevant authority in Australia is mandatory. For example, if you are an IT person, like a software engineer or a network administrator, you need to have a positive skill assessment report from the Australian Computer Society (ACS). Likewise, an engineer would require a skill assessment certificate from the assessing body for engineers, “Engineers Australia,” and so on.
  • English Language proficiency has to be proved through designated tests such as IELTS (International English Language Testing System), OET (Occupational English Test) or PTE (Pearson Test of English).
  • Details of relevant work experience have to be provided as per the demand of the nominated occupation.
  • Education certificates must be provided.
  • Character and Health requirements have to be fulfilled.
  • The applicant has to show sufficient maintenance funds in order to receive state sponsorship. The fund requirement may vary from state to state.

Eligibility Criteria for Australian PR under Subclass 489

The Subclass 489 is a Skilled Regional Sponsored Visa with a four-year validity period. This visa suits applicants who do not meet the requirements of the Subclass 189 or 190 PR Visa.

  • To qualify for this visa the applicant must be sponsored by a state, territory, or a relative residing in the area.
  • The 60-point benchmark is mandatory for this visa as well.
    The applicant must live for 2 years in the sponsoring state/territory and work for at least 1 year during that period to be eligible to apply for Permanent Residency.
  • English Language, Health and Character, Education, and Work Experience requirements have to be fulfilled.

Official website: https://www.border.gov.au/australian-border-force-abf

Canada

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Canada is another great immigration destination for people looking for a high quality of life in one of the safest countries in the world with plenty of opportunities for skilled aspirants. Like Australia, Canada is also experiencing an ongoing shortage of skilled workers with a long list of in- demand occupations in almost all industrial sectors of the country.

Freedom and equal rights for all its people, including immigrants, is secured by the “Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

An immigrant who attains citizenship becomes automatically eligible to live and work in neighboring United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, United States, and Mexico.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) invites immigrants through a recently launched Express Entry system for those who qualify under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Skilled Trades Program, and the Provincial Nominee Program.

The FSWP is the most popular and sought after by immigrants looking to establish themselves in the country.

Eligibility requirement for PR under the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP)

A minimum of 67 points has to be scored to qualify for PR under FSWP. Points are given for age, work experience, education, language proficiency, spouse skills if applicable, previous work experience or education in Canada, a valid job offer from a Canadian employer.

  • Age – 12 points is the maximum given to applicants aged between 18 and 35 while 1 point is the lowest score for 45-year-olds.
  • Work Experience – Have at least one year of full-time work experience in the last 10 years in a skilled occupation.
  • Qualification – An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report by a CIC approved agency to assess the Canadian equivalent of the applicant’s educational qualifications.
  • English Language – A CIC approved language test to prove speaking, listening, reading, and writing ability in English.

For details of Canadian PR visa under other categories, you can access the CIC website below.

Official website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/

Hong Kong

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An erstwhile British Colony, Hong Kong is now an autonomous territory of China and is one of the top financial hubs in Asia. It’s relaxed taxation policies, a pulsating economy, plenty of business and employment opportunities, and its free port status makes it an exciting immigration destination in Asia.

Hong Kong invites immigrants by way of its Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS) attracting thousands of skilled immigrants from all over the world each year.

Quality Migrant Admission Scheme (QMAS)

The main objective of QMAS is to attract highly skilled and talented people who can contribute to the economy of the state. In order to qualify for the QMAS permit, it is not mandatory to have a prior job offer from a Hong Kong employer.

QMAS is basically an open work permit which does not restrict you to one employer as is the case with regular work permits.

To be eligible under QMAS, the applicant must meet the scheme’s General Points Test requirement of 80 points – an aggregate of points earned for Age, Experience, Qualification, Language, and accompanying spouse if applicable.

All applicants must satisfy all of the following prerequisites:

Age – The applicant must be aged 18 or above when lodging an application under the Scheme.

Financial requirement – The applicant must be able to demonstrate that he/she is capable of supporting and accommodating himself/herself and his/her dependents, if any, on his/her own financial resources without relying on public assistance during his/her stay in Hong Kong.

Good character – The applicant should not have any criminal record or adverse immigration record in Hong Kong or elsewhere.

Language proficiency – The applicant should be proficient in written and spoken Chinese (Putonghua or Cantonese) or English.

Basic educational qualification – The applicant must have a good education background, normally a first degree from a recognized university or a tertiary educational institution. In special circumstances, good technical qualifications, proven professional abilities and/or experience and achievements supported by documentary evidence may be considered.

If the applicant fails to provide satisfactory supporting documents showing that he/she meets all the above prerequisites, his/her application will not be processed further and will be refused immediately.

Hong Kong also accepts immigrants on QMAS under an Achievement-based Points Test to attract individuals with exceptional talent and skills and outstanding achievements.

“Requirement under this test is very high. Those who are considered to have met one of the criteria under this test listed in the following paragraph will be awarded 195 points; otherwise, no point will be awarded. Applications which fail to score points under this test will be refused immediately.

Points may be awarded under this test if:

  • a) The applicant has received an award of exceptional achievement (e.g. Olympic medals, Nobel prize, national/international awards); or
  • b) The applicant can show that his/her work has been acknowledged by his/her peers or has contributed significantly to the development of his/her field (e.g. lifetime achievement award from industry).”

QMAS is not applicable to nationals of Afghanistan, Cuba, Laos, Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of), Nepal and Vietnam.

Source & Official website: http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/

 

Categories
From The Editors Top 5 Travel

Top Five Travel Destinations in Asia

The largest and the most diverse continent in the world, Asia is home to many great cities each with its own unique culture and history. As difficult as it was to pick out five cities from a rather long list, we have, nevertheless, made an effort to give you our choice of the top five Asian destinations.

Bangkok, THAILAND

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A pulsating modern city of over 11 million inhabitants and one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia, the Thai capital, Bangkok, not only boasts high-rise buildings and a promiscuous nightlife but is also blessed with ancient temples, magnificent palaces, canals, pleasantly chaotic markets including the famous floating market, and a vibrant nightlife – yes, different from the “promiscuous” kind. The city has something for everyone.

Bangkok also serves as a springboard to other destinations in Thailand that are worthy of a visit. Connectivity to places such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and other popular tourist destinations is pretty much convenient with flight, rail, and bus options available.

Some of the must-see Bangkok attractions

Grand Palace

  • Hours: 8:30am-3:30pm daily
  • Admission: 500 Baht; additional 100 Baht for audio guides (available in English, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, and Japanese)
  • Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon
  • Official site: http://www.palaces.thai.net/

Wat Traimit – Temple of the Golden Buddha

This historic temple features a gilded exterior, exhibitions & a massive golden statue of Buddha.

Address: 661 Tri Mit Rd, Khwaeng Talat Noi, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100, Thailand

Wat Pho

  • Hours: 8:30am-6pm daily
  • Admission: 100 Baht
  • Address: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District

Hours:

  • Thursday
    9 AM–4 PM
  • Friday
    9 AM–4 PM
  • Saturday
    9 AM–4 PM
  • Sunday
    9 AM–4 PM
  • Monday
    Closed

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a floating market located in the Damnoen Saduak District, located about 100 kilometers southwest of Bangkok, Thailand.Wikipedia

Address: Damnoen Saduak, Damnoen Saduak District, Ratchaburi 70130, Thailand

Hours:

  • Thursday
    9 AM–8 PM
  • Friday
    8 AM–5 PM
  • Saturday
    8 AM–5 PM
  • Sunday
    8 AM–5 PM
  • Monday
    9 AM–8 PM
  • Tuesday
    9 AM–8PM
    Wednesday
    9 AM–8 PM

Wat Arun

  • Hours: 8:30am-5:30pm daily
  • Admission: 20 Baht
  • Location: Arun Amarin Rd

Wat Suthat

  • Hours: 8:30am-9:00pm daily
  • Admission: 20 Baht
  • Location: Bamrung Muang Road, Sao Chingcha, Phra Nakhon

Chatuchak Market

The Chatuchak Weekend Market, on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road, Chatuchak, Bangkok, is the largest market in Thailand. Also known as JJ Market, it has more than 8,000 stalls, divided into 27 sections. Wikipedia

Address: 587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, Khwaeng Chatuchak, Khet Chatuchak, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10900, Thailand

Hours:

  • Thursday
    7 AM–6 PM
  • Friday
    6 PM–12 AM
  • Saturday
    9 AM–6 PM
  • Sunday
    9 AM–6 PM
  • Monday
    Closed
  • Tuesday
    Closed
  • Wednesday
    7 AM–6 PM

Official site: http://www.chatuchak.org/

Kathmandu, NEPAL

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Located 4600 feet above sea level in the bowl-shaped Kathmandu Valley, this Himalayan city gets its name from the valley it occupies and is the capital and largest city of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.

Four major mountains, namely Shivapuri, Phulchoki, Nagarjun, and Chandragiri, surround this truly exotic city of temples, gardens, stupas, and more. Kathmandu is an excellent Himalayan destination for all budgets.

Some of the must-see Kathmandu attractions

  • Boudhanath Stupa
  • Kopan Monastery
  • Hanuman Dhoka
  • Kathmandu Durbar Square
  • Pashupatinath Temple
  • Thamel
  • Basantapur Tower

Seoul, KOREA

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A major financial and cultural hub of East Asia, Seoul is South Korea’s capital and, by far, its largest city with a metropolitan population exceeding 25 million. With a captivating mix of avant-garde technology and timeless traditions, Seoul has way too much on offer for all visitor types.

It is a fine example of a city full of stark contrasts – a dynamic nightlife with dedicated districts for nighttime revelers; a plethora of vendors selling mind blowing street food; amazing architecture; peaceful Buddhist temples and much more bear testimony to the city’s versatility.

Some of the must-see Seoul attractions

  • Seoul Central Mosque
  • Myeong-dong Cathedral
  • Jogyesa Temple
  • Gyeongbokgung Palace
  • Culture Station Seoul 284
  • Changdeokgung Palace
  • Bukchon Hanok Village

SINGAPORE

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This Southeast Asian city-state is a miraculous amalgamation, if you will, of cutting-edge modern developments and a rich cultural heritage. Singapore boasts an extraordinary balance between development and the eco system with enough green spaces to go with the numerous skyscrapers dotting the Singapore skyline.

A trading post of the East India Company founded in 1819 by Stamford Raffles, this erstwhile British colony has come a long way indeed from those humble beginnings, becoming one of the world’s most affluent countries with the busiest port in the world.

The city of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences is a top class Asian destination with its tropical climate, great shopping, fine cuisine, a thumping nightlife, exquisite gardens, and relaxed visa requirements.

Some of the must-see Singapore attractions

  • Marina Bay Sands
  • Gardens by the Bay
  • Botanic Gardens
  • Chinatown
  • Little India
  • Changi Chapel and Museum
  • Fort Canning Park
  • Sentosa Island
  • Orchard Road
  • Clarke Quay

Tokyo, JAPAN

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Tokyo is not a real city in the true sense of the word but rather a “metropolitan prefecture,” which includes the features of a city as well as a prefecture.

With a population in excess of 37 million people, greater Tokyo is the most populous area in the world and, in addition to the city, it includes the rugged mountains in the west and the subtropical islands down south. The metropolitan area alone is home to 13 million inhabitants.

This prosperous, sprawling metropolis is an excellent tourist destination in that it boasts everything that comes with any ultra high-tech city of the future – and some – in addition to providing glimpses of the country’s rich history.

Some of the must-see Tokyo attractions

  • The Imperial Palace
  • The Meiji Shrine
  • The Miraikan and Edo-Tokyo Museums
  • The Tokyo Skytree
  • The Kabuki-za Theatre
  • Akasaka Palace (State Guesthouse)
  • Tokyo National Museum
  • Ueno Park and Zoo
  • LaQua
  • Tsukiji Fish Market
Categories
From The Editors Top 5 Travel

Top Five World Cuisines for the Avid Foodie

There is no place in the world where delicious food is not made. However, a dish or preparation that appeals to one palate may not find favor with another person’s taste buds. Then again, you may find one exotic dish really delicious while another may not excite your culinary senses; however, if you are persistent enough to give it a few tries you may just develop a taste for it.

Cuisines vary the world over according to region, tradition, and culture. Often you will find that cuisines differ radically within the same country where different languages and cultures coexist and there can be no better example than that of India, where diversity in language and culture determines the diversity in cuisines.

Although cuisines are region, language, and culture specific, some cuisines have become truly global by way of tourism, immigration, and publicity – word of mouth and otherwise. Also, with significant advancements made in food production, preservation, storage, and shipping in the last century, people now have relatively easy access to cuisines from different countries, regions, and cultures.

Here’s a look at 5 world cuisines that can be considered genuinely global.

Australian Cuisine

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When we talk about Australian cuisine we are actually referring to multi-cultural cuisines including, but not limited to, European and Mediterranean cuisine, Thai and Indian curries, and the likes that have become as much influential in the Australian culinary scene as they have been in their native lands.

What is unique about Australian cuisine, though, is its extensive use of kangaroo, possum, ostrich, and crocodile meat.

Few iconic Australian delicacies

  • Pavlova
  • Tim Tams
  • Anzac biscuits
  • Kangaroo and Mixed Veggie Stir Fry
  • Australian prawns
  • Australian meat pie
  • Australian hamburger
  • Fish and chips

Chinese Cuisine

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As you travel across China you will discover different styles of Chinese cuisine specific to each region’s traditions, culture, produce, and climate and weather conditions.

Here are the five regions in China that boast the most dominant cuisines in the country.

Sichuan cuisine – Sichuan cuisine is a favorite with spice lovers. Special attention is given to balancing the flavor which is considered the foundation of the Sichuan style of cooking.

Shandong cuisine – Shandong cuisine is the earliest and most influential Chinese cooking dating back to the Ming dynasty. It is known for its variety of food styles and cooking methods. The dishes are salty and savory with tender and crispy textures.

Cantonese cuisine – It is the most popular cuisine in the U.S. and is known for its creativity using fresh ingredients. Master chefs are adept at manipulating the dishes according to seasonal and climatic changes.

Huaiyang cuisine – This style utilizes more sugar than any other Chinese cuisine and is known for its painstaking preparation to ensure a fine balance between flavor and unadulterated taste.

North Eastern cuisine – As it is from a region which is generally very cold, people are used to eating very hot dishes – temperature wise. Hence, techniques such as a casserole, hot pot, and roasting have developed over time. North Eastern cuisine is famous for its wild game dishes like rabbit and boar.

French Cuisine

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It has been said on countless occasions but I’ll go ahead and say it one more time – France is the undisputed gourmet capital of the world. The endless flavors of French cuisine cannot be expressed in words – it has to be experienced firsthand.

Olive oil, honey, lavender, and garlic are widely used in French cooking. Pasta, yogurt and hot chocolate also play a major role in the country’s culinary scene.

Although the list can go on and on, here are a few selections of dishes, one from each major region of the country.

  • Bœuf bourguignon (beef stewed in red wine)
  • Bouchée à la reine (Shell puff pastry with cream sauce and chicken)
  • Choucroute garnie (sauerkraut with sausages, salt pork and potatoes)
    Foie gras
  • Crêpes (a very thin type of pancake, often eaten filled with sweet or savory fillings)
  • Andouillettes (sausage made with chitterlings)
  • Fondue Savoyard (fondue made with cheese and white wine into which cubes of bread are dipped)
  • Aligot (mashed potatoes blended with young Tomme cheese)
  • Cassoulet (made with beans, sausages, and preserved duck or goose)
  • Aïoli (sauce made of garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, and egg yolks)
  • Bourride (white fish stewed with vegetables and wine, garnished with aïoli)

Indian Cuisine

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Generally, Indian food is appreciated the world over for its variety and liberal use of herbs and spices. However, given the diversity of languages, traditions, culture, and religions across the length and breadth of the country Indian cuisines from different regions vary quite a bit from one another.

Indian cuisine can be broadly classified into the following types:

South Indian cuisine – Main Dishes include Dosa, Sambar, Idly, Rasam, Upma, Uttapam, Pulihora, Curd Rice, Poriyal, Koottu, Bonda.

Rajasthani cuisine – Main dishes include Dal Bati Churma, Boondo Raita, Gatte ki Khichdi, Laal Maas, Dil Khushal, Rajasthani Kadi, Mohan Maas, Ker Sangri.

Punjabi cuisine – Main dishes include Butter Chicken, Sarson Ka Saag Aur Makki Ki Roti, Tandoori Chicken, Chole Bhature, Masala Channa, Dal Makhani, Machchli Amritsari,.Paneer Tikka, .Murgh Malaiwala.

Mughlai cuisine – Main dishes include Mutton/Chicken Biryani, , Mughlai Paratha, Shahi Tukda, Mutton Seekh Kebab, Roghni Naan, Nargisi Kofta, Mutton Kadai, Murg Malai Kebab, Chicken/Mutton Korma.

Kashmiri cuisine – Main dishes include Kashmiri Dum Aloo, Kashmiri Mutton Biryani, Kashmiri Chicken Pulao, Kashmiri Rajma, Yakhni, Naat Yakkhn (Yogurt Lamb), Neni Rogan Josh, Rogan Josh.

Gujarati cuisine – Main dishes include Khandvi, Gujarati Samosa, Undhiyu, Aam Shrikhand with Mango Salad, Gujarati Kadi, Dhokla, Bardoli ki Khichdi, Methi Ka Thepla, Dal Dhokli, Handvo.

Bengali cuisine – Dimer Dhokkar Dalna and Luchi, Bhapaa Aloo, Chingri Malai Curry, Sorsebata Ilish Mach, Bengali Lamb Curry, Doi Maach, Baigun Bhajja, Patishapta, Sandesh, Chor Chori

Italian cuisine

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Italian cuisine is among the oldest cuisines in the world and has evolved through centuries of cultural and political changes. Italian food is almost as popular as Chinese food the world over and has influenced many cuisines of the world particularly the United States.

Italian cuisine involves a variety of ingredients including fruits, meats, vegetables, sauces, fish, potatoes, rice, corn, and most importantly different types of cheeses in addition to many other regional ingredients.

Some delicious Italian preparations

Caprese Salad with Pesto Sauce – Juicy tomatoes and mozzarella cheese salad topped with freshly made pesto sauce.

Panzanella – Panzanella is a Tuscan bread salad, ideal for summer. It does not follow a particular recipe. but the two ingredients that do not change are tomatoes and bread. This salad is great with a chilled glass of Prosecco.

Pasta Carbonara – The original recipe calls for guanciale, which is pig’s cheek, but since it’s not easily available, the chef has used bacon instead.

Bruschetta – Country bread sliced and topped with different toppings – the evergreen tomato-basil and an inventive mushroom-garlic.

Focaccia Bread – Fresh dough is topped with caramelized onions, olives, tomato slices, basil leaves, grated parmesan cheese and baked delicious.

Margherita Pizza

Mushroom Risotto – A plateful of buttery risotto with the goodness of mushrooms.

Pasta Con Pomodoro E Basilico – This is the most basic and simplest cooked pasta sauce, hence it is the benchmark of a good Italian home cook.

Panna Cotta With Raspberry Coulis – A dessert made with gelatine, cream, and milk. Chilled and served with whole raspberries and raspberry coulis. Panna Cotta, in Italian, means ‘cooked cream.’

Categories
From The Editors Top 5 Travel

Top Five Iconic Safari Destinations in Africa

Ask anyone who has been on an African safari and you’ll be told there’s no better thrill than a wildlife expedition in Africa – be it the misty mountains of Uganda home to hundreds of mountain gorillas and the endangered golden monkey; the open plains of the Masai Mara where you are likely to see the fastest animal on the planet chase down its prey in a blur of speed and agility – yes, it’s the cheetah we are talking about; or the churning Mara river during the Great Migration, where 20-foot crocodiles lie in wait for the annual crossover of a multitude of wildebeests, zebras, and Thompson’s gazelles.

When it comes to African safaris there is no dearth of destinations in Africa; hence, deciding on one particular park becomes a tedious exercise. While some parks are ideal for family safaris, others may be good for romance. Then again, there are parks that will appeal to birders while some are good to visit only at certain times during the year.

Here, we look at five of the most symbolic African safari destinations that will not disappoint you whichever category of traveler you may come under.

Kruger National Park, South Africa

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The 20,000- square-kilometer Kruger National Park with 14 different eco zones, each boasting its own unique wildlife, is one of the biggest and best-known game reserves on the African continent.

Located in northeast South Africa bordering Zimbabwe in the north, Mozambique in the east, and the Crocodile River in the south, the park is home to a thriving wildlife species including the endangered wild dog, the South African cheetah and the iconic big five of Africa – the African lion, the African elephant, the Cape buffalo, the African leopard, and the double-horned African rhinoceros.

The Big Five (the African lion, black rhinos, the African tusker, cape buffalos, and the elusive leopard)
The Big Five (the African lion, black rhino, the African tusker, cape buffalos, and the elusive leopard)

An efficient network of roads within the park makes it a perfect self-drive safari destination.

October through March are the best months for avid birders and ornithologists to visit the site as more than 200 migrating bird species visit the KNP during this time.

Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

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With the addition of the Usangu Game Reserve in 2008, the Ruaha National Park now covers an area of 20,226 square kilometers and is easily the largest of its kind in Tanzania – and with an abundance of exotic flora and fauna to boast, it is certainly the most impressive as well.

There are fewer more exhilarating experiences than watching large prides of majestic lions in their natural habitat along with graceful giraffes, herds of the largest land animal – the African tusker, and an unimaginable variety of other exotic wild animals and birds, and the ecosystems they thrive in.

The roads in the park are never too far from the Ruaha River, most times, where largest congregations of animals are seen, particularly in the dry season.

Some of the wildlife that is sure to get captured – not only in your cameras but in your imaginations as well – includes:

  • Lions, cheetahs, buffalos, wild dogs, hyenas
  • In excess of 10,000 African elephants
  • Giraffes
  • Kudus (greater and lesser)
  • Sables and roan antelopes
  • Hippos, crocodiles, impalas, jackals
  • Abundant bird populations

Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda

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This misty mountain retreat in the heart of Central Africa is located at an altitude ranging from 2,227m to 4,127 m covering an area 33.7 square kilometers in the Virunga Mountains. This protected area, as is evident from its name, is dedicated to the rare and mysterious mountain gorillas in addition to serving as a safe haven for the endangered golden monkey.

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The smallest wildlife park in Uganda, it borders Rwanda and Sabyinyo – a border confluence of Uganda, Rwanda and the Congo.

Out of the eight volcanoes that the Virunga Mountains are home to, three of them are inside the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park area.

Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

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The Masai Mara National Reserve, named in honor of the Masai people and the Mara region, which in the Masai language means “spotted” because, when looked at from a distance, that’s how the area appears to be – marked with acacia trees, scrub & undergrowth, and shadows of the clouds above.

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The game reserve is in the immediate proximity of the Serengeti National Park across the border in Tanzania and is bisected by the Mara and Talek rivers. The MMNR is a regular feature on wildlife channels like Discovery, Animal Planet, and NatGeo because of its abundant wildlife population as well as the great annual migration of wildebeests, zebras, and Thompson gazelles to and from the Serengeti plains in Tanzania. This mass exodus of animals that chase the seasonal rains is considered a “wonder of the world” – it is, indeed, one of the most wondrous and thrilling spectacles you can ever hope to see.

Wildlife Populations

  • Wildebeests, topis, zebras, giraffes, and Thompson’s gazelles forage on the plains
  • Large groups of Hippos and crocodiles jostling for space in the Mara and Talek rivers
  • Plenty of cheetahs, hyenas, jackals, elands, antelopes, bat-eared foxes, the big five, and many more exotic species are also found in the Mara.

Etosha National Park, Namibia

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Located in northwest Namibia, the Etosha National Park covers 22,270 square kilometers of evolving landscape and craggy coastlines and is rated among the top safari destinations in Africa with its populations of abundant wildlife including black rhinos, giant tuskers, and the big cats that are drawn to the perennial springs and waterholes in search of prey.

High-end lodges and camps surrounding the boundaries of the park offer excellent accommodation inclusive of guided safaris. The Onguma Treetop Camp built on stilts in level with the surrounding treetops is an excellent vantage point offering great vistas of the Onguma Game reserve on the eastern border of the Etosha.

Some of the wildlife inhabitants of ENP

  • African bush elephant
  • Southern white rhinoceros
  • South-western black rhinoceros
  • African buffalo
  • Angolan giraffe
  • Southwest African lion
  • African leopard
  • South African cheetah
  • Serval
  • Caracal
  • Southern African wildcat
  • Blue wildebeest
  • Springbok
  • Mountain zebra
  • Plains zebra
  • Common eland
Categories
From The Editors Travel

A Selection of 12 of the World’s Best Cruise Lines for All Types of Travelers

Cruises don’t come cheap; so, before you decide on a particular cruise you have to first take into account your preferences and what kind of a traveler you are.

Are you going solo, or with a romantic partner? Or, is it with your family? Are you an adventurer, an out-and-out foodie – or a nocturnal beast? Other factors such as ports of call preferences, budget constraints – if any, port of departure and the duration of the voyage have to be taken into consideration as well.

Now comes the most difficult part – choosing the right cruise keeping in mind all of the above. It really is a Herculean task to sift through the exhaustive list of luxury ships for a Mediterranean cruise, party boats in the Caribbean, expedition ships in Antarctica or even river cruises in Asia, Africa or South America among a lot of other cruise types.

We have endeavored to make your task of choosing the right cruise a little simpler by giving you our pick of the 12 best cruises.

Our selection has taken into account the best for each category of travelers including luxury seekers, party animals, families with teenagers, families with kids, solo travelers, foodies, seniors, enrichment seekers, thrill seekers, romantic couples, river cruise lovers and budget oriented travelers.

Regent Seven Seas Explorer- for Luxury Seekers

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Regent Seven Seas offers one of the most inclusive cruises in the industry. Its fares are inclusive of pre- and post-cruise tours and hotel stay, meals in the main and specialty dining venues, beverages from liquor to sodas (in your suite, at dinner or in the ships’ public areas), gratuities and shore excursions.

All-Inclusive Fares Include

  • Roundtrip Business Class Air*on Intercontinental Flights
  • Roundtrip Air on Domestic Flights
  • Unlimited Shore Excursions
  • 1-Night Pre-Cruise Hotel Package
  • Unlimited Beverages Including Fine Wines and Premium Spirits
  • Open Bars and Lounges PLUS
  • In-Suite Mini-Bar Replenished Daily
  • Pre-Paid Gratuities
  • Specialty Restaurants
  • Transfers Between Airport and Ship*
  • Unlimited WiFi
  • 24-Hour Room Service
  • An extraordinary staff-to-guest ratio of at most 1 to 1.5
  • Intimate, luxurious ships feature no more than 377 suites, resulting in stellar service, no lines, and no waiting
  • All-suite accommodations, 98% with private balconies
  • World-famous Canyon Ranch SpaClub®Fitness Center and Steam and Sauna Rooms
  • An enriching onboard lecture program from The Smithsonian
    Collection by Smithsonian Journeys, plus spectacular production shows, virtuoso musical performances, culinary demonstrations and wine tastings.
  • A sophisticated ambiance and an elegant casual dress code
  • The comfort of smoke-free environments throughout almost the entirety of the ships
  • Enticing voyages to more than 425 destinations around the world, aboard perfectly-sized ships that can access the world’s most intimate ports that larger vessels cannot reach

*Terms & Conditions apply

Fleet

Seven Seas Explorer

  • Overall Length – 735 feet
  • Beam (Width) – 102 feet
  • Guests – 750
  • Crew – 552
  • Guest Decks – 10
  • Crew-Guest Ratio – 1 : 1.13

Seven Seas Mariner

  • Overall Length – 709 feet
  • Beam (Width) – 93 feet
  • Guests – 700
  • Crew – 445
  • Guest Decks – 8
  • Crew-Guest Ratio – 1 : 1.57

Seven Seas Voyager

  • Overall Length – 670 feet
  • Beam (Width) – 94 feet
  • Guests – 700
  • Crew – 447
  • Guest Decks – 9
  • Crew-Guest Ratio – 1 : 1.56

Seven Seas Navigator

  • Overall Length – 566 feet
  • Beam (Width) – 81 feet
  • Guests – 490
  • Crew – 345
  • Guest Decks – 8
  • Crew-Guest Ratio – 1 : 1.42

(Source & Official Website: https://www.rssc.com/)

Norwegian Cruise Line – for Party Animals

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Norwegian Cruise offers guests the freedom and flexibility to design their ideal cruise holiday. Cruising on Norwegian means no fixed dining times, relaxed attire, several distinct dining options, relaxed disembarkation and more lounges, bars, theaters and other entertainment and activity options.

Fleet with Ports of Call

  • Norwegian Bliss (Breakaway Plus Class) – Alaska, Pacific Coastal, Mexican Riviera, Panama Canal, Caribbean
  • Norwegian Breakaway (Breakaway Class) – Bahamas & Florida, Bermuda, Caribbean
  • Norwegian Dawn (Dawn Class) – Bermuda, Canada & New England, Caribbean
  • Norwegian Epic (Epic Class) – Europe, Caribbean, Bahamas & Florida, Transatlantic
  • Norwegian Escape (Breakaway Plus Class) – Caribbean, Bahamas & Florida
  • Norwegian Gem (Jewel Class) – Bahamas & Florida, Caribbean, Canada & New England
  • Norwegian Getaway (Breakaway Class) – Caribbean, Bahamas & Florida, Weekend
  • Norwegian Jade (Jewel Class) – Europe, Caribbean, Transatlantic
  • Norwegian Jewel (Jewel Class) – Alaska, Pacific Coastal, Mexican Riviera, Weekend, Panama Canal
  • Norwegian Joy – Asia
  • Norwegian Pearl (Jewel Class) – Alaska, Pacific Coastal, Panama Canal, Bahamas & Florida, Weekend
  • Norwegian Sky (Sun Class) – Bahamas & Florida, Weekend, Cuba
  • Norwegian Spirit – Europe, Caribbean, Transatlantic, Bahamas & Florida
  • Norwegian Star (Dawn Class) – Europe, Transatlantic, Caribbean, Asia, Australia & New Zealand
  • Norwegian Sun (Sun Class) – Alaska, Pacific Coastal, South America, Mexican Riviera
  • Pride of America – Hawaii

(Source & Official Website: https://www.ncl.com/)

Royal Caribbean International – for Families with Teenagers

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You’ll discover endless thrills for every kind of adventurer onboard any one of the Royal Caribbean International ships. From the daredevils to the culinary crusaders and fun-loving families to couples on a romantic getaway RCI has something for everybody.

Fleet

  • Harmony of the Seas
  • Oasis of the Seas
  • Symphony of the Seas
  • Allure of the Seas
  • Anthem of the Seas
  • Majesty of the Seas
  • Independence of the Seas
  • Mariner of the Seas
  • Empress of the Seas
  • Enchantment of the Seas
  • Vision of the Seas
  • Serenade Navigator of the Seas
  • Brilliance of the Seas
  • Adventure of the Seas
  • Jewel of the Seas
  • Freedom of the Seas
  • Navigator of the Seas
  • Rhapsody of the Seas
  • Radiance of the Seas
  • Explorer of the Seas
  • Voyager of the Seas
  • Liberty of the Seas
  • Grandeur of the Seas
  • Quantum of the Seas
  • Ovation of the Seas

(Source & Official Website: https://www.royalcaribbean.com)

Disney Cruise Line – for Families with Kids

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Stunning vessels that pay homage to the grand era of the luxury ocean liner, Disney’s 4 distinguished ships pamper Guests with state-of-the-art comforts, legendary service and Disney-exclusive activities that bring families together en route to exotic ports of call. From bow to stern, each magnificent ship brims with restaurants, nightclubs, shops and recreational facilities that make cruising a pleasure for Guests of all ages. With so much to experience built right in, getting there is half the fun!

Fleet

  • Disney Magic – Delight in an unforgettable vacation aboard the Disney Magic, where there’s always something happening around every corner—including extraordinary entertainment, imaginative recreation, and decadent dining.
  • Disney Wonder – Be immersed in a seemingly endless stream of one-of-a-kind offerings to inspire and delight the entire family—where Disney’s world-renowned quality and service are matched only by the magic that can be found around every corner.
  • Disney Dream – There’s an almost endless amount of one-of-a-kind entertainment, recreation, and dining offerings on the Disney Dream to keep the entire family smiling from sun-up to well after sundown.
  • Disney Fantasy – There’s never a dull moment aboard the Disney Fantasy! With a nearly endless number of activities, eateries, and experiences for the entire family, it’s easy to not ever want to leave the ship.

(Source & Official Website: https://disneycruise.disney.go.com)

Holland America Line – for Solo Travellers

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There’s so much to see and do onboard. Hone your video-editing skills, rejuvenate at the Greenhouse Spa, attend an engaging lecture, take a cooking class from a master chef, go to a wine tasting or simply relax and unwind.

Fleet

  • Amsterdam – 690 Cabins
  • Maasdam – 629 Cabins
  • Noordam – 986 Cabins
  • Rotterdam – 702 Cabins
  • Westerdam – 984 Cabins
  • Eurodam – 1053 Cabins
  • Nieuw Amsterdam – 1053 Cabins
  • Oosterdam – 1012 Cabins
  • Veendam – 675 Cabins
  • Zaandam – 716 Cabins
  • Koningsdam – 1331 Cabins
  • Nieuw Statendam – 1331 Cabins
  • Prinsendam – 419 Cabins
  • Volendam – 716 Cabins
  • Zuiderdam – 985 Cabins

(Source & Official Website: https://www.hollandamerica.com/)

Oceania Cruises – for Foodies

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The Company’s mission statement: Mission Statement

Oceania Cruises will provide the highest quality cruise product for mature and discerning travelers by offering the finest culinary experience at sea, authentic destination experiences, and a warm and luxurious ambiance on every voyage. Combining a casually sophisticated onboard experience with the most alluring destinations around the world, we provide our guests with a truly extraordinary travel experience.

Relax onboard one of the 6 luxury boats that comprise the “Oceania Cruises” fleet and savor cuisine renowned as the finest at sea, rivaling even Michelin-starred restaurants ashore. Inspired by Master Chef Jacques Pépin, these culinary delights have always been a hallmark that distinguishes the Oceania Cruises experience from any other.

Fleet

Insignia

  • Year Built: 1998
  • Year Refurbished: 2014
  • Guests: 684
  • Staff: 400
  • Guest to Staff Ratio: 1.71 to 1’

Marina

  • Year Built: 2011
  • Guests: 1,250
  • Staff: 800
  • Guest to Staff Ratio: 1.56 to 1

Nautica

  • Year Built: 2000 (refurbished in 2014)
  • Guests: 684
  • Staff: 400
  • Guest to Staff Ratio: 1.71 to 1

Regatta

  • Year Built: 1998 (refurbished in 2014)
  • Guests: 684
  • Staff: 400
  • Guest to Staff Ratio: 1.71 to 1

Riviera

  • Year Built: 2012
  • Guests: 1,250
  • Staff: 800
  • Guest to Staff Ratio: 1.56 to 1

Sirena

  • Year Built: 1999 (refurbished in 2014)
  • Guests: 684
  • Staff: 400
  • Guest to Staff Ratio: 1.71 to 1

(Source & Official Website: https://www.oceaniacruises.com/)

Cunard Line – for Enrichment Seekers

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A holiday with Cunard is all about relaxation and making exactly what you want of your day. With that in mind, you shouldn’t need to worry about paying for things like food and entertainment. As with an all inclusive holiday, your food is included in the price of your cruise, so you won’t have to fork out to enjoy dinner. You’ll also find that most activities and entertainment are included too.

Accommodation

  • A choice of Britannia, Britannia Club, Princess Grill and Queens Grill staterooms and suites. All en suite and air conditioned.
  • Nightly turndown service and steward to look ensure your stateroom or suite is always pristine.
  • Satellite TV (with multi-language film and music channels)

Dining

  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are available in the main restaurants
    24-hour room service
  • Traditional afternoon tea is served each day in the Queens Room
    Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks along with tea, coffee, water and fruit juice are all available 24 hours a day at the buffet restaurants.

Entertainment

  • Comedy and drama shows, Shakespeare classics and spectacular musical productions in the Royal Court Theatre
  • Cunard Insights – talks on a range of issues by well-known celebrities and experts
  • Go dancing in the nightclub or Queens Room
  • Live music from resident bands to jazz ensembles and classical recitals to singers

Health & Wellbeing

  • Full use of the sports court for football, deck tennis, basketball and more
  • A choice of swimming pools and whirlpool spas
  • Fully equipped gym

Flights & Transfers

  • Our Package Fares include economy class flights and transfers to and/or from your ship where the embarkation/disembarkation port is outside of the UK (subject to availability).
  • Or choose our Cruise-Only Fares to make your own transfer arrangements.

(Source & Official Website: http://www.cunard.co.uk)

Silversea Cruises – for Seniors

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Distinctions

  • Intimate, elegant ships extraordinary space per guest ratio
  • Superlative service nearly one crew member for every guest
  • All ocean-view suites, over 85% with private verandas
  • Butler service for all ships, all guests
  • Open-seating in The Restaurant no assigned time, no assigned table
  • Alternative dining options multiple venues
  • Gourmet cuisine inspired by Relais & Châteaux
  • Sophisticated entertainment from live music to production shows
  • Enrichment lecturers, acclaimed chefs, and destination consultants

Fleet

Silver Cloud

  • Maximum Guests – 296
  • Crew – 222
  • Officers – European
  • Length – 514.14′ / 156.71 m
  • Width – 70.62′ / 21.52 m

Silver Muse

  • Maximum Guests – 596
  • Crew – 411
  • Officers – Europen
  • Length – 698 Feet/212.8 Meters
  • Width – 86 Feet/27 Metres

Silver Wind

  • Maximum Guests – 296
  • Crew – 222
  • Officers – European
  • Length – 156.7 m / 514.14 ft
  • Width – 21.5 m / 70.62 ft

Silver Shadow

  • Maximum Guests – 382
  • Crew – 302
  • Officers – European
  • Length – 186 m / 610 ft

Silver Whisper

  • Maximum Guests – 382
  • Crew – 302
  • Officers – European
  • Length – 186 m / 610 ft
  • Width – 4.9 m / 81.8 ft

Silver Spirit

  • Maximum Guests – 540
  • Crew – 376
  • Officers – European
  • Length – 198.5 m / 642 ft
  • Width – 26.2 m / 86 ft

Silver Explorer

  • Maximum Guests – 132
  • Crew – 117
  • Officers – International
  • Length – 354 ft
  • Width – 52 ft

Silver Galapagos

  • Maximum Guests – 100
  • Crew – 70
  • Officers – Ecuadorian
  • Length – 88.16m
  • Width – Bm 15.3m, Daft 4.012m

(Source & Official Website: http://silverseacruises.in)

Lindblad Expeditions – for Adventurers

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Expeditions are extraordinary experiences—designed with curious, intelligent people in mind. There are opportunities:

  • To go to the planet’s exceptional places, many of which are either otherwise inaccessible (e.g. Antarctica) or best accessed by a ship (e.g. Galápagos, Alaska, Baja’s Sea of Cortez, Costa Rica & Panama, to name only a few)
  • To have privileged, personal encounters with the world’s wonders
  • To travel accompanied by veteran expedition teams with the expertise to ensure you see all the facets, and contribute insight along the way
  • To share the experience with like-minded others
  • To have incredible stories to share, a priceless stock of memories, and perhaps, even the best photos of your life

Fleet and Ports of call/Destinations

  • National Geographic Explorer – Arctic, Antarctica, British Isles, Canada, Patagonia, South America
  • National Geographic Orion – Antarctica, Arctic, Europe
  • National Geographic Endeavour II – GalápagosNational Geographic Islander – Galápagos
  • National Geographic Sea Bird – Alaska, Baja California, Pacific Northwest
  • National Geographic Sea Lion – Alaska, Baja California, Pacific Northwest
  • National Geographic Quest – Alaska, Belize, Costa Rica & Panama, Pacific Northwest
  • National Geographic Venture – Alaska
  • Delfin II – Amazon
  • Jahan – Vietnam & Cambodia
  • Lord of the Glens – Scotland
  • Sea Cloud – Caribbean, Mediterranean
  • Harmony V – Cuba

(Source & Official Website: https://www.expeditions.com/)

Paul Gauguin Cruises – for Romantic Couples

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Paul Gauguin Cruises offer an extraordinary value in luxury cruising, thanks to the all-inclusive pricing. Spend more time enjoying your cruise vacation and less time worrying about every little detail when it’s all been taken care of—from gourmet dining to onboard gratuities, and so much more.

When you travel on board The Gauguin, you’ll enjoy:

  • Roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles*
  • Roundtrip airport/pier transfers*
  • Spacious, ocean view accommodations where nearly 70 percent of staterooms and suites have private balconies
  • Intimate sailing experience, with only 332 guests and a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:1.5—among the highest at sea
  • All shipboard meals, in your choice of venues
  • Complimentary room service
  • Complimentary beverages, including select wines and spirits, beers, soft drinks, bottled water, and hot beverages served throughout the ship
  • In-room refrigerator replenished daily with soft drinks, beer, and bottled water
  • All shipboard entertainment, including our troupe of Polynesian performers and live music in the evenings
  • Presentations by onboard experts and guest hosts
  • Le Casino
  • La Palette lounge and disco
  • Onboard gratuities for room stewards, dining and bar staff
  • Luxurious onboard spa
  • Fitness center
  • Pool with poolside bar
  • Watersports, including complimentary kayaking, windsurfing, and paddleboarding from our marina or destination beaches
  • Use of our secluded, white-sand beach in Bora Bora with bar service, volleyball, and snorkeling (on select voyages)
  • A day on our private islet, Motu Mahana, off the coast of Taha’a, featuring snorkeling, watersports, a barbecue, full bar service, and Polynesian hospitality (on select voyages)

*Unless pricing specifically states it is cruise-only.

Ship Statistics

  • Capacity: 332 guests
  • Crew: 217/International
  • Crew-to-Guest Ratio: 1:1.5, one of the highest of any luxury cruise ship
  • Officers: European and International
  • Length: 504 feet
  • Width: 72 feet
  • Draft: 17.1 feet
  • Passenger decks: 7

(Source and Official Website: http://www.pgcruises.com/)

Viking River Cruises for River Lovers

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Fleet

Viking Longships

Sailing the most popular itineraries, the award-winning Viking Longships showcase innovative engineering, streamlined design and understated elegance for the most comfortable river cruise experience available.

Viking Russia River Cruise Ships

  • Viking Akun
  • Viking Helg
  • iViking Ingvar
  • Viking Truvor
  • Viking Rurik

Viking Europe Ships

  • Viking Douro Ships
    These intimate ships were custom built to sail Portugal’s Douro River, with state-of-the-art engineering, deluxe accommodations, and streamlined Scandinavian interiors. Like our Viking Longships, you can choose from a variety of stateroom classes, all with sweeping river views.
  • Viking Elbe Ships
    Boasting many of the same popular design elements of our Viking Longships, our new Elbe ships feature state-of-the-art engineering, deluxe accommodations, and streamlined Scandinavian interiors. The other classic, intimate ships feature deluxe accommodations and streamlined Scandinavian interiors. Their customized hulls and engines are specially built to navigate the historic Elbe river.

Viking Asia Ships

  • Viking Emerald
    Cruise the Yangtze River on Viking Emerald, a state-of-the-art river cruise vessel. Accommodating 256 guests with full verandas, hotel-style beds in every spacious suite and stateroom, public areas bathed in light and an English-speaking crew, Viking Emerald is one of the most sophisticated river ships sailing the region.
  • Viking Mekong
    Explore the sights and sounds of one of the most scenic regions in the world while enjoying the comfort and elegant romance of our Southeast Asia ships, specifically built to navigate the Mekong and Irrawaddy Rivers.

Viking Ukraine Ship

  • Viking Sineus
    Sineus was a brother of Rurik and sailed with him from Scandinavia to the location of present-day Kiev in Ukraine. According to the 12th-century Primary Chronicle, Sineus settled in Beloozero, now called Belozersk, on the shores of Lake Beloye, where he secured these lands for the growing Kievan Rus empire.

Viking Ukraine Ship

  • MS Mayfair
    Float along the life-giving Nile on MS Mayfair, enjoying comfort and style the ancient pharaohs could only dream of, and witness the monuments of ancient civilizations that once flourished on its banks.
  • MS Omar El Khayam
    Cruise across Lake Nasser on the deluxe MS Omar El Khayam.
  • Viking Ra
    Owned and operated by Viking, Viking Ra is the newest, most upscale ship in Egypt. Specifically built to navigate the Nile, in 2017 she was completely stripped down to her steel frame and reconfigured to be a modern, elegant vessel. Fully reimagined to international standards and Viking design specifications, she is now an all-suite, state-of-the-art ship with the clean, elegant Scandinavian design for which Viking is known blended with local influences like traditional geometric Arabic patterns. Accommodating just 48 guests, she offers the ultimate in comfort.

(Source and Official Website: https://www.vikingrivercruises.com)

Carnival Cruise Line (Budget)

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While Carnival Cruise lines have everything to offer that one would expect from a luxury cruise line, what makes it different is that it caters to a broad spectrum of tourists whose main interest is to have great fun without putting too much of a burden on finances.

Fleet

Carnival Horizon

  • Cruise To: Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Europe, Transatlantic
  • Depart From: Barcelona, Spain, Miami, FL, New York, NY
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Vista

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: Galveston, TX, Miami, FL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days

Carnival Magic

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: Miami, FL, Port Canaveral (Orlando), FL
  • Cruise Length: 6-9 Days

Carnival Breeze

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: Galveston, TX, Port Canaveral (Orlando), FL
  • Cruise Length: 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Sunshine

  • Cruise To: Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean
  • Depart From: Charleston, SC, New York, NY, Norfolk, VA, Port
    Canaveral (Orlando), FL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Dream

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: New Orleans, LA
  • Cruise Length: 6-9 Days

Carnival Sensation

  • Cruise To: Bahamas, Caribbean
  • Depart From: Miami, FL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days

Carnival Glory

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: Miami, FL
  • Cruise Length: 6-9 Days

Carnival Ecstasy

  • Cruise To: Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean
  • Depart From: Charleston, SC
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Valor

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: Galveston, TX
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days

Carnival Victory

  • Cruise To: Bahamas, Caribbean
  • Depart From: Miami, FL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days

Carnival Liberty

  • Cruise To: Bahamas
  • Depart From: Port Canaveral (Orlando), FL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days

Carnival Fantasy

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: Mobile, AL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Splendor

  • Cruise To: Alaska, Bahamas, Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico
  • Depart From: Fort Lauderdale, FL, Los Angeles, CA, Miami, FL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Conquest

  • Cruise To: Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean
  • Depart From: Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days

Carnival Inspiration

  • Cruise To: Mexico
  • Depart From: Los Angeles, CA
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days

Carnival Triumph

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: New Orleans, LA
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days

Carnival Freedom

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: Galveston, TX
  • Cruise Length: 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Imagination

  • Cruise To: Mexico
  • Depart From: Los Angeles, CA
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days

Carnival Elation

  • Cruise To: Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean
  • Depart From: Jacksonville, FL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days

Carnival Pride

  • Cruise To: Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean
  • Depart From: Baltimore, MD
  • Cruise Length: 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Paradise

  • Cruise To: Caribbean, Cuba
  • Depart From: Tampa, FL
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Legend

  • Cruise To: Alaska, Hawaii
  • Depart From: Honolulu, HI, Seattle, WA, Vancouver, Bc, Canada
  • Cruise Length: 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

Carnival Fascination

  • Cruise To: Caribbean
  • Depart From: Barbados, San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Cruise Length: 2-5 Days, 6-9 Days

Carnival Miracle

  • Cruise To: Alaska, Caribbean, Hawaii, Mexico
  • Depart From: Los Angeles, CA, Tampa, FL
  • Cruise Length: 6-9 Days, 10+ Days

(Source and Official Website: https://www.carnival.com/)