Friday, July 18, 2008

FLORIDA WHAT'S HAPPENING CITY BY CITY

DE LEON SPRINGS, August 02 A Day in Florida History. Re-enactment of a Seminole Indian battle, plus storytelling and historical displays. (386) 985-4212
TAMPA, August 02 WaZoo Lowry Park Zoo
Annual beverage festival enefitting the zoo's animals. Features samples from breweries worldwide, a wine garden, enertainment and food.. (813) 935-8552 lowryparkzoo.com
DELRAY BEACH, August 09 Bon Festival 2008 Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Taiko drum performances, Japanese folk dancing, sreet fair with games, vendor booths and fireworks (561) 495-0233 morikami.org
NEW PORT RICHEY, August 15-17 A Night in the Tropics. Reminiscent of a Caribbean street celebration. This party features a custom cars cruise-in, three stages, island style music and tropical food.

American Airlines’ sale on fall flights to Mexico and Caribbean

Come fall, will you be ready for a beach vacation away from it all? If so, have a look at what American Airlines has going for its sale to a number of destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. Deal: The “Caribbean and Mexico Sale” features low fares to a handful of popular locales bearing cabana-shaded sands aplenty. Destinations include Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Los Cabos and Cozumel, Mexico; other sale options are Turks and Caicos, the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas and more. If you’re willing to go for the nonrefundable “economy super saver” ticket and stop once instead of booking a nonstop, you’ll get the best prices. The airline has the cheapest fares that I’m seeing right now from Los Angeles (LAX) to Jamaica. I found a round-trip ticket to Montego Bay, Jamaica (MBJ), with a stop each way in Miami (MIA), for $310, including taxes, for early September. When: Travel Monday through Thursday, Sept. 2 to Dec. 10, 2008 (excluding Nov. 22-30, 2008). Contact: American Airlines, (800) 433-7300

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Hampton Cup Regatta: Ridin’ the Rooster Tail

HAMPTON, VA- The nation’s oldest continuously running hydroplane boat race, the Hampton Cup Regatta, will celebrate its 82nd Anniversary August 8-10, 2008. The competition, taking place on Mill Creek at the entrance of Fort Monroe, will once again return to Hampton, Virginia boasting more than 80 hydroplanes and Jersey Speed Skiffs from the Unites States and Canada! Featuring speeds in excess of 150 miles-per hour, the race will play host to some of the fastest watercraft in the world. At 20 ft. long, these nautical gems can often reach speeds of 150 mph, setting both national and world records. Best of all, the Hampton Cup Regatta is one of the last remaining boat races in the country FREE OF CHARGE! This year, Hampton welcomes 9 classes of the fastest hydroplane’s in North America. Considered the loudest piston-powered racing boats in the world, these hydroplane’s are sure to have on-lookers marveling at their warp-like speed. Other event festivities include food and beverage vendors, souvenir programs, children’s area, a special Bash at the Bridge Friday Night Party, and racing-enthusiast clothing and collectibles. Race contestants will be also on-hand participating in autograph sessions throughout the competition. Lawn chairs are highly encouraged as bleacher seating is limited. Attendees are also encouraged to bring pop-up tents or umbrellas for shade; however coolers, pets, and skateboards are not permitted. Races start at 12:00 Noon and end at 5:00 p.m. daily in Mill Creek, located at the entrance of Fort Monroe from the East Mercury Boulevard bridge in Hampton, Virginia. The bridge opens to the public at 9:30 a.m. and boat checks will take place before the races begin. The Bash at the Bridge begins at 7:00 p.m. on Friday August 8 and will feature live musical entertainment. The bash is free and open to the public (food and beverages can be purchased on-site). For more information on the 82nd annual Hampton Cup Regatta, check out http://www.hamptoncupregatta.org/. or Ryan LaFata Hampton CVB

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

ORLANDO CELEBRATES MAGICAL DINING MONTH

This September, the Orlando CVB will hold the 3rd annual "Orlando Magical Dining Month". From Sept 1-30, 2008, participating restaurants will offer three-course prix-fixe dinners for $19 or $29 (excluding beverage, tax and gratuity), allowing locals and visitors alike to enjoy exceptional values at some of Orlando's most popular restaurants. More information on Orlando Magical Dining Month and participating establishments is available online at orlandomagicaldining.com

Monday, July 7, 2008

Norwegian Sky to Begin Bahamas Operations


Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Sky, which previously sailed under the name Pride of Aloha in Hawaii, will begin three and four-day Bahamas cruises from Miami Monday, July 14. The ship recently underwent a two-month wet dock where it was outfitted with a casino and other NCL's enhancements. The last time NCL had a ship operating short three- and four-day Bahamas itineraries from Miami was in 2003. The ship departs Mondays from Miami for the four-day cruise, stopping in Grand Bahama Island, Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, NCL's own private island. Then, on Friday's, the ship will operate the three-day cruise, departing Miami at 5 p.m. with all-day stops in Nassau and Great Stirrup Cay, before returning to Miami early Monday morning. The itinerary is ideal for families or couples who can't miss work or school. Visit http://www.ncl.com/.

Consumers Seek Affordable Regional Vacations

The latest reports indicate Travelers’ summer vacation plans include vacations closer to home as well as affordable regional destinations. The late June survey found that more than 64 percent of respondents plan to be tourists in their home state or within a three-hour drive of their house. Attractions appealing most to travelers looking to stay closer to home include beaches (29 percent), mountains (20 percent), national parks (15 percent) and lakes (13 percent). More than 60 percent had yet to book their summer vacations. Many travelers plan to save money on summer vacation by traveling to a destination during the off-season or choosing a regional city with more affordable hotel and entertainment options. When asked what travelers are most willing to sacrifice to save money, more than 41 percent are willing to forgo bragging rights on the latest hot spot for a more affordable vacation at a regional destination This is followed by a limited selection of flights, hotels and entertainment available in the off-season (28 percent, and uncomfortable temperatures (12 percent). 68 percent will save money on a beach vacation by traveling during hurricane season, although almost half will opt for trip insurance to protect their investment. People work too hard all year to forgo their annual summer vacation, "But with gas prices flirting with $4 per gallon, travelers are thinking about new destinations to ensure their families enjoy the trip. Regional cities offer affordable accommodations, good public transportation and free attractions. We are seeing an increase in search queries for destinations such as Florida, Atlanta, Richmond, Austin and San Diego, and regional beaches that might have been overlooked for the Caribbean will be packed all summer according to hotel searches." Another way Americans are saving money is by extending business trips for a few extra days of leisure. The survey found that approximately 46 percent use company-paid airfare and accommodations to explore destinations outside the boardroom with friends and family. 50 percent of respondents like to plan a trip around a festival or event to take advantage of affordable concerts, food and activities. So, Floridians let's look in our own back yard, who can offer more than good ole Florida. .....

Wine Lovers' Deal in Tuscany’s Vineyards L'Andana

Alain Ducasse’s luxury inn, L’Andana, introduces the Super Tuscans Package this summer. The Super Tuscans Package offers travelers and œnophiles the opportunity to visit some of Tuscany’s premier wine cellars including Ornellaia, Sassicaia, and Michele Saita and Petra. The Super Tuscans Package includes 3 nights stay in Deluxe room (Upgraded to Junior Suite if available at time of arrival); daily buffet breakfast; two Days visit and wine tasting in the cellars of Ornellaia, Sassicaia, Michele Saita and Petra (if available) with transfer and lunch; and dinner for two at Michelin-starred Trattoria Toscana. The package must be booked 15 days before arrival and requires 3 nights minimum stay. Extra nights are available at € 352.00 ($549). Rates for two people with transfer begin at € 2.502.00 ($3,901); Rates for two people without transfer between vineyards start at € 2.066.00 ($3,222). Reservations can be made by calling +39 0564 944 800 or emailing info@andana.it. For more information on L’Andana visit http://www.andana.it/.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

SKI RESORTS OFFERING SUBSIDIES TO AIRLINES

Colorado ski resorts are offering to pay airlines more to bring out-of-state skiers to town this winter. Nonstop flights to the mountains from cities like New York are so important to many resorts that they guarantee a minimum revenue to airlines who offer the flights. If airlines sell enough seats, the resorts don't have to pay as much in subsidies. But with rising airfares and trimmed flight schedules making it tougher to travel, some resorts are raising their subsidy offers to airlines flying to mountain airports. Steamboat Ski Resort says it agreed to pay airlines up to 2.8 million dollars in subsidies, up 14 percent from last year. It expects actual costs to be 1.5 million to 2.5 million dollars, compared with 1.7 million dollars last season.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

DECK CHAIR MARKERS

Did you ever have your deck chair taken while you wandered away for a bit? Problem solved! While Darrell Bowman and his family where on a cruise last summer, they witnessed more than one scuffle over chaise lounges breaking out on the main deck. Instead of merely relaxing in the sun, vacationers fought about whether another cruiser moved a towel to usurp a prized spot. “There’s high demand to get just the right chair during sun time,” Bowman said. But rather than get riled up, he saw an opportunity. And on the drive home, he couldn’t let the idea go. “People were getting into arguments and I just kept thinking, there’s got to be a better way,” . So in late May Bowman launched Lounge Hats LLC, an Indianapolis-based company that makes fabric covers that fit over chaise lounges to make one thing clear" This seat is taken". For more informaion you can go to Lounge Hats.com

Friday, July 4, 2008

Alaska Airlines goes cashless for onboard purchases

Alaska Airlines has removed at least one frustrating task that confronts all air travelers before boarding: Hunting for cash to buy drinks, food and other extras on a flight. Starting Aug. 5, Alaska Airlines flight attendants will accept only major credit cards for onboard goodies. The flight attendants, who will be packing hand-held charging devices from Toronto-based GuestLogix Inc., will accept no cash. What can you buy on board? For $5 you can get a “Picnic Pack” that includes crackers, cheese and salami or a “premium beverage,” such as beer, wine or vodka. Such drinks are complimentary for first-class passengers. Several other airlines, including Virgin America, Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue, have already switched to plastic for online purchases. Maybe in the future they will offer a little more variety in a deluxe "Picnic Pack" ....

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

’Tween Waters Inn “Half Crazy Summer Sale”

One of my favorite places ’Tween Waters Inn, on beautiful Captiva Island, Fla. is offering guests an opportunity to actually extend their vacation during its “Half Crazy Summer Sale.” From now through August 28, 2008, when you make reservations to stay at ’Tween Waters Inn, you will be eligible to stay additional nights at 50 percent off the guaranteed best rate of every room, a savings of potentially hundreds of dollars a night. The Half Crazy Summer Sale is valid July 6 through August 28. Sale prices are not applicable on holidays, with any other discounts or previously confirmed reservations. These special rates are valid for Sunday-Thursday nights only and can be added to weekend stays either at the front or back of the weekend. So, put some of the savings in your gas tank and get "Half Crazy" at the Tween Waters Inn on Captiva. You might want to consider a pit stop along the way at Doc Ford's on Sanibel to kick it off.....
To make reservations or for additional information, visit http://www.tween-waters.com/ or call 800.223.5865 and mention “Half Crazy.”

USVI WANTS TO KNOW "HOW WAS YOUR STAY"

With a View Toward Improving Travelers’ Experiences The USVI is seeking travel feedback from each and every visitor, whether a vacationer or business traveler. The Departartment of Tourism (DOT) realizes that the real test of a destination is whether visitors remain as excited about their travel experiences when it’s time to leave as they were upon arrival. The Department is surveying visitors to find out systematically what travelers really think. The survey is promoted to visitors on a “travel tips” card, received as they depart the destination and later filled out online. It asks a variety of multiple choice questions including, “What was the primary reason for your visit?”, “How would you rate your overall experience in the U.S. Virgin Islands?” and “How did you book your trip?”“We anticipate that our survey will provide valuable feedback on how our visitors perceive America’s Caribbean and where we can improve our tourism product,” said Commissioner of Tourism Beverly Nicholson-Doty. “Not only does the survey provide a snapshot of perceptions, but also helps to establish a baseline from which the department can compare visitors’ attitudes and perceptions today with those of future visitors, in order to determine whether real improvements are being made to services, accommodations and activities over time.”Once visitors complete the survey they may enter their contact information for a chance to win a trip back to the U.S. Virgin Islands. To view the survey, visit www.usvitourism.vi/survey.
The photo above was taken at a recent industry reception sponsored by the USVI.