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Top 10 Bucket List Trips

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The Top 10 Bucket List Trips

 

Kangaroos are Plentiful in Australia

Kangaroos are Plentiful in Australia

What are your top 10 dream destinations? Come on; I know you have a list. The Travel Dreams survey conducted by Virtuoso unveils high-end travelers Trips of a Lifetime. As baby boomers move closer and closer toward retirement age, they are looking to enjoy the fruits of their labor. And traveling is at the top of their list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the Top 10 Trips of a Lifetime:

  1. Taking a World Cruise
  2. Italy’s Amalfi Coast
  3. Visiting all Seven Continents
  4. Renting a Private Island
  5. Renting a European Villa
  6. Australia
  7. Photographing the Big Five on Safari
  8. The Galapagos Islands
  9. Pilgrimage to their Respective Holy Land
  10. Chartering a Private Jet

 

 

The Top 10 Bucket List Trips vary from person to person but there are a few destinations that seem to be on everyone’s list.  A Big Five safari game drive, heading “down under” to Australia and seeing the ancient treasures of Italy frequently appear at the top of many dream lists.

According to a new survey by Virtuoso, luxury travelers also have dream destination lists. These are the top 10 places they want to visit:

  1. Australia
  2. Italy
  3. New Zealand
  4. France
  5. Fiji
  6. Ireland
  7. Greece
  8. Antarctica
  9. South Africa
  10. The Caribbean

 

So just how many places on your list do you have yet to visit? Call Us. We can help turn your Bucket List Dream List into reality living.  Are any of these destinations on your Bucket List?

 

Source: Virtuoso, Survey responses from 8,830 in 33 countries

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Australia Vacations

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A trip “Down Under” to Australia is truly a Bucket List Vacation. There’s something for everyone. Australia, one of the world’s seven continents is vast in size.  It’s approximately the same land mass as the continental United States. Read More >

Traveler News

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Travel Updates and Alerts

For the week of July 28, here’s the latest traveler news and hot topics for the leisure and business traveler, ranging from cruises to airlines to destinations to resorts and hotels. Enjoy!

Cruise News
UNESCO World Heritage  Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Vietnamese officials have issued a temporary ban on overnight, as well as day cruises on Halong Bay due to flooding.  The region was hit with the worst flooding in 40 years.  According to the press, at least 14 people have died and another three are missing due to the floods.

Many tourists in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Halong Bay have been stranded on more remote islands.

 

 

WindStar Cruises has introduced a new, all-inclusive vacation for Panama and Costa Rica itineraries. With WindStar, you sail on the extraordinary in a country club environment. This special offer includes:

  • FREE Shore Excursions
  • FREE Beverage Package
  • FREE Gratuities
  • FREE Private Events

You’ll also get FREE, unlimited Wi-Fi so you can share all of your exciting travels as they happen with family and friends.

 

Destinations

At long last, Americans can travel direct to Cuba. Through the revised, people-to-people program, we can send you to our frozen-in-time Caribbean neighbor. We sell several land and sea-based itineraries including:

  • Culture of the Afro-Cuban, 7-days
  • Charming Colonial Cities, 9 days
  • Cultural Exploration, varies
  • Hidden Gems, 9 days
  • Land & Sea, 10 days
  • Grand Coast to Coast Tour, 17 days

If you would like to be one of lucky few Americans during the past 50 years to visit Cuba, Call Us Today. We have a bucket list, Cuban vacation designed with your interests in mind.

 

Lush Hawaii

Lush Hawaii

With perfect year-round weather, Hawaii is always a great vacation choice. But now the stakes just got hotter. The luxurious, oceanfront Wailea Marriott Resort and Spa has a new special starting at only $996 per person.

When you book before August 15, 2015 and travel between August 22 – December 21, 2015, you’ll receive:

  • 5-night Garden View Room
  • 5-days Midsize Car Rental
  • All Applicable Taxes

We’d be happy to book this romantic getaway or honeymoon for you and your sweetheart.  Give us a call for full details.

Airlines

Lot Polish Airlines announced plans to expand its presence in America.  They are adding flights from New York and Chicago, headed to Warsaw. This will be welcome news for many travelers heading to the region to disembark on  river cruises.In addition, the airline will start flying to Tokyo in January.

 

Thinking about heading “Down Under”?  Well it just got easier.  American Airlines will begin non-stop service between Los Angeles and Sydney, Australia on the Boeing 777-300-ER. The “Triple 7″ has in-seat entertainment, international Wi-Fi, AC power outlets, USB ports and most importantly, added legroom.  This arrangement came about as a result of a partnership with Quantas.  The first flight from LAX will depart on Dec. 17, 2015.


 

 

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Adventures in Africa

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Africa Awaits

Exotic Birds and Unique Flora

Exotic Birds and Unique Flora

Africa is truly like no other place in the world. The African continent is far larger than most people imagine. Its size combined exceeds the United States, China, India, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom, Japan and a handful of other countries. It is far more diverse than North and South America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.

 

No Two Countries are the Same

Northern Africa is heavily influenced by the Middle East, which is evident in the culinary dishes, religion and politics. Western Africa is filled with an array of history, including painful reminders of European colonization, particularly the slave trade. Eastern Africa offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world, along with wonderful beaches unknown to most Americans. Southern Africa is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, amazing safari game viewing, archaeological sites including the beginning of humankind, and cosmopolitan cuisine and award-winning wine from world-class cities.

In this five-part series on experiencing Africa, we will share with you why Africa delivers unbelievably beautiful, pristine and awe-inspiring vacation destinations.

 

Tanzania
Parade of Elephant

Parade of Elephant

Home to some of the most amazing natural wonders on the African continent, a visit to Tanzania is an unforgettable journey. It surely will be among the remarkable experiences you’ll ever have.

Mount Kilimanjaro

  • The snow-capped peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro are a sight to behold. It is Africa’s highest mountain. Ascending from the grassy, lush plains, its elevation exceeds 19,300 feet. For those brave enough to attempt a climb, they will travel through five different climatic zones during the 5- to 9-day trip. You might want to start planning because due to the influence of global warming, the ice may be extinct within 20 years.

Ngorongoro Crater

  • It is the world’s largest intact caldera. A geological wonder dating back nearly 3,000,000 years, it is home to a vast array of wildlife. Nearly 25,000 large mammals reside here including black-maned lions, cheetahs, leopards, flamingos, giant-tusked elephants, and a dwindling number of highly endangered black rhinos.

    Great Migration Plains

    Plains of The Great Migration

Serengeti National Park

  • The Serengeti region is most famous for The Great Migration. This is the annual occasion where hundreds of thousands of zebra, wildebeest, and other herbivores cross the plains and rivers, risking their lives as they try to avoid encounters with lions, crocodiles and other natural predators. The ecosystem here is one of the earth’s oldest and has nearly unchanged fauna, vegetation, and climate.

 

South Africa

Most people are familiar with South Africa because of its two Nobel Prize recipients Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. With the dismantling of the oppressive apartheid system, this “Rainbow Nation” has quickly become a top travel destination. South Africa truly has it all. See why South Africa has been voted as a Bucket List vacation.

Three World-class Cities:

Johannesburg, dubbed the “City of Gold”, Joburg is the economic heartbeat of the African continent. It is also a great city for those with an interest in the arts and history.

Apartheid Museum

The Apartheid Museum, an Emotional Journey

Cultural opportunities include:

  • Journey to FreedomSoweto or South Western Township was command central for much of the apartheid struggle. Historic landmarks include Regina Mundi Church, a popular underground meeting place; Hector Pieterson Museum and Mandela House. Vilakazi Street is the only street in the world that can lay claim to being the former home of two Nobel Prize winners.
  • Museums Abound – The top choices include the Apartheid Museum, the Museum of Africa, the National Railway & Steam Museum, and the South African Museum of Military History
  • Art – Rosebank Rooftop Craft Market has over 600 clothing, craft, art and ceramic stalls with handmade African items.

 

Durban, with a tongue-in-cheek nickname “Durban the Turban”, is home to the greatest population of Indians outside of India.

  • Walking along the beachfront try to spot dolphins just offshore in the Indian Ocean or experience a rickshaw ride in Victoria Park.
  • Take in a slice of history in Shakaland, with authentic re-creations of the life and times of Shaka, the King of the Zulu tribe.
  • Enjoy authentic crafts, fabric and authentic cuisine at the Victoria Market.

 

Cape Town is referred to as the Mother City since it is South Africa’s oldest. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, with both unique beaches and splendid mountains.

  • Walk to Freedom – Her rich history includes Robben Island, the isolated home for political prisoners including Nelson Mandela; The District Six Museum; Langa, the oldest apartheid housing system and the Gold Museum.
  • Sightseeing abounds with visits to:
    • The V & A Waterfront, is a shopping and dining district set along a working harbor. You can purchase locally made beads and other arts and crafts at the Green Market Square, a short world from the V&A.
    • Table Mountain offers panoramic views of the entire city. It can be accessed via the world’s largest, rotating cable car or by strenuous hike for the adventure seeker.

      Baboons at the Cape of Good Horn

      Baboons at the Cape of Good Hope

    • Cape Point is the southwestern-most point on the continent. It’s also home to the Cape Floral Kingdom, a UNESCO World Heritage site that boasts more than 20% of Africa’s flora and comprises eight protected areas. Baboons still roam wild here.
    • Watching the colony of endangered African penguins at Boulders Beach will bring out the kid in everyone.
    • Chapman’s Peak is a 6-mile, picturesque drive that rivals California’s Big Sur.
  • Safari Game Drive & Wildlife Viewing
    • Searching for the Big-5

      Searching for the Big 5 on a Game Drive

      Kruger National Park – Enjoy outstanding wildlife viewing in the world’s oldest national park, as well as in the surrounding private, luxury game lodges.

    • Pilanesberg National Park – Located in a 1.2 billion-year-old extinct volcanic crater, it houses an extensive wildlife population including more than 300 bird species.
    • KwaZulu-Natal Province – Home of the popular walking safari, the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve gained recognition for its conservation efforts in saving the white rhino from extinction.
    • Addo Elephant National Park – With prime-viewing opportunities for its 300 elephants, it’s also a great place for bird watchers to try and spot some of the 180 species.
  • Gourmet Food & Wine
    Cape Winelands are Surrounded by Mountains

    The Cape Winelands are Surrounded by Mountains

    • Evenings rich with mouthwatering cuisine and fine wine are abundant in this cosmopolitan city. Guided and self-drive tours of the Cape Winelands’ 13 wine routes are popular ways to experience the up-and-coming wine regions. Located within an hour’s drive of Cape Town are the most famous, Stellenbosch, Constantia, Franschhoek and Paarl. Better yet, stay in one of the well appointed B&B’s, hotels or inns with breathtaking mountain and vineyard vistas.

Return to TheTravelGospel.com for our five-part series. We’ll share more information on must-see points of interest and must-do attractions on the amazing African continent.

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Taste of Bordeaux

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7-night Wine Cruise / 5-night Paris & Loire Valley

Cruise from only $$2,549 p/p

The Bordeaux wine region is the most famous in the world.  It’s renown for exceptional Bordeaux wines and is the undisputed king of fine wine. Read More >

Bordeaux Wine Cruise

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We’re Heading to Wine Mecca

Bordeaux Wine River Cruise

Bordeaux Wine River Cruise

We are hitting the road. Well make that the river on a journey to wine mecca, Bordeaux, France. We will be leading a small group to Bordeaux, home to arguably the world’s best wine. So, Save the Date, April 15, 2016.

Not to be sacrilegious, but many wine lovers have the Bordeaux wine region on their Bucket List since it is considered Mecca for wine enthusiasts. Our group will be embarking on a 7-day Bordeaux wine cruise, traveling along the rivers through the top communes with winery visits and tastings, wine and food pairing dinners, cultural walking tours and so much more. The cruise will begin and end in the city of Bordeaux, with pre- and/or post-cruise land packages available.

 

Bordeaux – The Ancestral Home
Bordeaux Red Wine Mecca

Bordeaux – Red Wine Mecca

Serious wine drinkers and of course, I’m referring to those who drink red, all have a bottle or 12 of Bordeaux in their wine collections. Bordeaux is the celebrated offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Typically, a Bordeaux red blend is comprised of the following five grapes:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Petit Verdot
  • Malbec

Due to Frances’ strict viticulture laws, these, along with carmenere are the only red grape varieties allowed to be grown.

These five varieties are used in varying combinations in wine regions the world over but all got their start in Bordeaux. Bordeaux-style red blends are referred to as Claret by the Brits, whereas American winemakers use the name Meritage (rhymes with heritage), which can only be used by members of the association.

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grown on the “Right Bank”, the name given to the vineyards on the east side of the Gironde River. Merlot, the most widely planted adds fruit and richness to the mid-palate during blending.

Bordeaux Communes Map

Bordeaux Communes Map
Courtesy of CIVBordeaux

Notable Right Bank appellations include St-Émilion and Pomerol. The wines produced in these regions are of excellent quality and have lengthy aging potential, but without the stratospheric prices common for Left Bank reds.

Plan on leaving room in your suitcase or think about shipping a case or two home of these amazing bargain reds. For those traveling with us from the same gateway city, San Diego we can mix and match cases for more cost-effective buying.

The top communes and the ones fetching the highest prices are:

  • Médoc (Haut-Médoc)
  • Pauillac
  • St-Estephe
  • St-Julien
  • Margaux

White wine lovers, do not despair. On our cruise tour, you’ll also get to experience Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion as well as Muscadelle, which is a different grape variety from similar sounding name Muscat. The primary growing regions for these three white varietals are located south of Bordeaux along the Garonne River.  Sauternes is home to the delicious, sweet dessert wine of the same name. The city of Graves produces dry and sweet wines.

 

Reserve Your Spot
Let's Hang Out Together on the River Cruise

Let’s Hang Out together on the River Cruise

Call us today so we can add your name to our Interest List for those joining us on the Bordeaux Wine Cruise.  Plus, your $400 deposit guarantees you the reduced 2015 pricing.  And, if you change your mind, your deposit is fully refundable until March 31, 2015.

It’s going to be a merry, fun time. Why not join us? Joie de vivre!

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Tourism Changes Lives

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Cape Town's Iconic Table Mountain

Table Mountain in Cape Town

South African Tourism 

Due to the injustices from decades of Apartheid, many indigenous Africans are financially disadvantaged. In an effort to help right some of these wrongs, trust and initiatives have been instituted for various industries, including the wine industry.

Currently, there are approximately 160,000 individuals from socio-economically disadvantaged communities who are employed within the industry.  With each visit, additional employment opportunities open up.

 

African Winemakers

On my first visit to South Africa in 2004, I met a young man from one of the townships who was working toward a career as a winemaker. Today, around a dozen Africans, whose families suffered under Apartheid have risen to the role of winemaker.  Although that number is still quite small, it is a prime example of how tourism brings hope and changes lives. Tourism is an integral part of the South African economy, creating one in twelve jobs.

 

First African Female Winemaker

First African Female Winemaker

In the late 1990s, Ntsiki Biyela, from KwaZulu Natal enrolled in the University of Stellenbosch’s oenology program. Her road to becoming a winemaker was atypical and quite difficult. All of our classmates were white and classes were taught in Afrikaans,  the language of her oppressors. However, Ms. Biyela, a proud Zulu persevered. Upon graduation, she joined the staff at boutique wine producer Stellekaya, becoming the country’s first African female winemaker. Shortly thereafter, she was named Female Winemaker of the Year.

Stellekaya, located in the heart of the Cape Winelands produces seven red wines, many with a blend that includes Merlot. Stellekaya sources grapes from local producers. When the grapes arrive at the winery, Ms. Biyela has them undergo a cold maceration process designed to capture the fruit flavors. She then uses a traditional punch down method followed by a wooden basket press. After fermentation, the wine is aged in 100% French oak barrels.  You should taste the award-winning results for yourself.

South Africa dons many travelers’ Bucket Lists.  This is hardly surprising given its ideal climate, friendly people, great exchange rate to the US Dollar, awesome food scene, quality wines and beautiful wine regions.

When you visit Stellenbosch, (I suggest you do) stop in at the Stellekaya winery and see firsthand how your tourism dollars have helped lift this country. Then, head to dinner at Aubergine with its cosmopolitan menu and dazzling wine list. But that’s a discussion for another post.

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Yarra Valley Balloon & Wine

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Aussie Day Wine Tour

Yarra Valley Hot Air Balloon

Yarra Valley Hot Air Balloon

Imagine starting your day soaring over the vineyards of beautiful Yarra Valley in a hot-air balloon. May is Aussie Wine Month.  So what better way to get in the spirit than by planning your Bucket List Vacation to the land “down under”.

Located just east of Melbourne, Australia, the Yarra Valley is a cool-growing wine region.  The region has a long-growing season, allowing it to produce excellent quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Yarra River through Melbourne

Yarra River through Melbourne

On this wine lover’s excursion, you’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast accompanied by an Australian sparkling wine.  Then, it’s off for some serious tasting.  As you swirl, sniff and sip wines produced from the nearby vineyards, you’ll learn about the wine-making process from knowledgeable winery staff.  At each stop, sample wines from family-owned and boutique wineries.

During your included lunch, you will enjoy a full glass of wine before leaving on your next winery visit.  The Yarra Valley benefits from close proximity to Discovery Bay, making for less summer rain.  You will learn how this helps the ‘diva’ Pinot Noir vines avoid growing problems like coulure or millerandage.

Champagne's good friend, Chardonnay

Champagne’s good friend, Chardonnay

And about that sparkling wine you had with breakfast, well it’s produced in this region also.  You’re probably familiar with the French champagne house Moët et Chandon, right?  Well, in 1986 they established Domaine Chandon Australia.

You champagne lovers know that Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are two of the three grapes (the third is Pinot Meunier)  used in champagne production.  The Yarra Valley climate helps the grapes produce exceptional fruit that is excellent enough to bear the name of one of the finest champagne houses in Epernay, France.  Your wine tour concludes with a tour of the facility and, of course, a glass of bubbly.

 

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Celebrity Cruises Latin Am.

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Plan & Book Your 2015 Celebrity Cruise

South America

Cruise South America

Celebrity Cruises has unveiled its 2015-16 itineraries for South America and the Panama Canal.  There are  a total of 34 different destinations in 15 countries. Exciting destinations includes voyages to the Galapagos Islands.

If you are a Celebrity Cruises Captain’s Club loyalty member, then you’ll have exclusive ‘Priority Access’ for booking on South America and Panama Canal cruises.

 

There are many exciting ports-of-call on these voyages.  How would you like to check these countries off your Bucket List? Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Falkland Islands – Check!

Christ the Redeemer Brazil

Christ the Redeemer Brazil

Iguazu Falls  - Brazil

Iguazu Falls – Brazil

Sample Itineraries Include:

  • Chile – Argentina
  • Antarctica
  • South America & Panama Canal
  • Valparaiso – Ft. Lauderdale

We can book these for youCelebrity Cruises is a Preferred supplier with my host agency affiliate Nexion, so ask us about additional discounts or shipboard credits. Plus, you’ll receive a FREE bon voyage gift. *

*Upon final payment

 

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