Join Abercrombie & Kent President on Luxury African Safari to Botswana

Celebrate the reopening of Sanctuary Chief's Camp in Botswana  with Abercrombie & Kent President  (c) Sanctuary Retreats
Celebrate the reopening of Sanctuary Chief’s Camp in Botswana with Abercrombie & Kent President (c) Sanctuary Retreats

DOWNERS GROVE, IL –Experience a one-time-offering of Abercrombie & Kent’s flagship Botswana Safari in Style hosted by A&K USA President Phil Otterson and Paul Bauer, Managing Director of A&K Southern Africa in July 2016 to celebrate the reopening of Sanctuary Chief’s Camp in the Okavango Delta. Limited to just 22 guests, this journey features a host of extras handpicked to elevate the experience, including a scenic Flight of the Angels helicopter tour over Victoria Falls, a ride on the Royal Livingstone Express train and a stay at Chief’s Camp in the Moremi Game Reserve, which offers Africa’s finest game-viewing.

“This year Botswana is celebrating 50 years of independence,” says Otterson. “The story of Botswana’s journey from poverty to becoming one of Africa’s most stable, thriving societies and a leader in sustainable tourism is inspirational and I’m looking forward to sharing it with our guests.”

Botswana Safari In Style: Special President’s Journey

July 11-20, 2016

  • Explore three phenomenal wildlife areas – Chobe National Park, the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve – under the expert guidance of A&K’s incomparable safari guides.
  • View mighty Victoria Falls from a scenic “Flight of the Angels” helicopter ride.
  • Experience the newly rebuilt Sanctuary Chief’s Camp – named one of Africa’s best by Condé Nast Traveler – set in the Mombo Concession of the Moremi Game Reserve, home to superb “Big 5” game viewing.
  • Gather for a unique dining experience on the Royal Livingstone Express, as you journey by train through the untamed Zambian bushveld.
  • Sharpen your photography skills with a presentation by a noted wildlife photographer.
  • Meet the elephant whisperer and a trio of semi-habituated African elephants.
  • Tour Nakatindi Village by bicycle, a project supported by A&K Philanthropy, and learn how bikes make education and healthcare more accessible in this remote region.

As with all Luxury Small Group Journeys, Abercrombie & Kent includes private airport transfers on arrival and departure; Scenic Sundowners, a chance to enjoy a refreshing cocktail and a spectacular view; and Travelling Bell Boy® service that transfers luggage from camp to camp, along with complimentary Internet access.

To learn more about this exclusive opportunity to travel on Botswana Safari In Style: Special President’s Journey (10 days from $13,295 pp/dbl), contact your travel professional, call 800.554.7094 to speak with an A&K travel consultant or go to


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New York State to Spend $50 Million to Promote Tourism

Feel like an Olympian at the bobsled run at Lake Placid, New York © 2015 Karen Rubin/
Feel like an Olympian at the bobsled run at Lake Placid, New York © 2015 Karen Rubin/

At the third New York State Tourism Summit, State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a commitment of $50 million  to promote statewide tourism, create jobs, and attract more visitors to every region of New York. This investment, which is one of the largest ever by the State, builds upon the historic investments in the tourism industry which generated a $100.1 billion economic impact in 2014.

The summit, held in Albany, brought hundreds of tourism experts to the Capitol to discuss innovative ideas and new ways to encourage travel to all 11 vacations regions of the State. As a result of the Governor’s support of tourism, the industry has seen an increase in spending, state and local tax revenue, visitors and employment since 2011, and a record-breaking economic impact of $100.1 billion in 2014.

Last year, New York’s tourism industry generated direct spending of $62.5 billion, producing $7.8 billion in state and local taxes. The number of visitors to New York increased by 8.2 million with nearly 227 million visitors in 2014. As New York’s fourth largest employment sector, one out of every 12 jobs in New York is tourism-related. Data from 2014 show the tourism industry supported 867,900 jobs and generated more than $31 billion in wages.

Initiatives announced at the Summit include:

Increased Level of Tourism Funding: The State will invest nearly $50 million in tourism funding. This is more than $5 million compared to last year and includes tourism marketing, transportation promotion, international marketing, and funding for industry development.

Tourism Marketing Campaign: $25 million will be utilized for tourism marketing, featuring the I LOVE NY, Path Through History and Taste NY initiatives. The new marketing campaign will feature TV ads and other media at airports, on roads, on railways, on the web and on mobile devices to promote tourism opportunities throughout New York State. The very successful I Love New York television advertising campaign featuring actors and athletes from New York will continue into 2016.

Increased Transportation Access: A $4 million investment will be utilized to work with the Port Authority and MTA for opportunities to promote Upstate travel and make transportation information easily accessible for all travelers. The investment will also promote linkages from New York City via partners like car rental companies and bus and train operators to create transportation options in key areas where none exist.

Expand Global Tourism Markets: The Governor announced I LOVE NEW YORK will continue to expand its global reach through key markets in Australia and Puerto Rico. New York will create a Tourism Advisory Board in Australia, and host the first-ever Australia trade mission to bring New York travel representatives to meet with airline operators, travel media, and tour operators in Australia. In addition, announced during the Governor’s Solidarity Mission to Puerto Rico, a $5 million joint I LOVE NY tourism ad campaign will be used to promote travel between New York and Puerto Rico. This investment will provide a unique opportunity for travelers to experience the beauty of both Puerto Rico and New York and maximize the newly opened “I Love New York Welcome Center” in Puerto Rico at the NYS Office of Trade and Tourism. New York will also promote Upstate and build awareness of New York’s 11 regions through targeted marketing.

Winter Tourism Promotion:

The weekend of January 16-18 (Martin Luther King Jr. Weekend) will be a free snowmobiling weekend to encourage out-of-state and Canadian snowmobile enthusiasts to sled in New York State. State registration fees will be waived for properly registered and insured out-of-state snowmobiling enthusiasts wishing to explore New York’s 10,500 miles of snowmobile trails. Information on snowmobiling, including online registration for out-of-state snowmobilers is available here

President’s Day weekend (February 13-14) will be a free ice fishing weekend to encourage more New Yorkers to try Ice fishing while many are on winter recess. Residents and visitors age 16 and older will be able to fish the fresh or marine waters of New York State without a license, providing a great opportunity for people to learn about this popular sport. More information is available here

I LOVE NY is also entering a partnership with all five New York State AHL teams: Utica Comets, Rochester Americans, Albany Devils, Binghamton Senators and the Syracuse Crunch to increase economic impact of spectators at New York winter sporting events and expose sports fans to New York State winter getaway opportunities. New York State tourism destinations will be promoted at team games and events and the AHL schedule will be featured on I LOVE NY platforms.

Business Travel and Special Events: To maximize New York State’s appeal to business travelers and event planners the State will: leverage corporate relationships to promote New York State through corporate travel departments to increase the number of meetings and conventions held in the state; engage concierges at New York City hotels, directly and through trade associates, to highlight daytrips and overnight getaways outside of Manhattan through the I LOVE NY Bus; and underwrite a percentage of costs incurred by municipalities or private entities who were successful in drawing new special events to New York State.

Lodging development: A multi-agency, public-private workgroup will be convened to explore incentives and grant programs that would encourage investors and developers to create and improve lodging in areas where few facilities exist.

Outdoor Recreation Promotion: Working in partnership with Department of Parks and DEC, leverage New York’s world-class parks and outdoor recreation facilities by promoting parks, trails and activities to nature lovers through targeted publications and websites.

Agri-Tourism and Heritage Tourism: Through the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and Taste NY, continue to build awareness of New York’s agri-tourism industry through culinary tours and encourage the creation of additional farm visit programs for consumers.

Market NY: Funding for the Market NY program will be increased to $13 million. This funding allows tourism assets to make necessary improvements and launch strategic marketing campaigns to increase visitorship. The funding will be awarded through the regional economic development council process.

In addition to increasing the state’s annual investment in tourism, the Governor will continue to host successful events such as the Adirondack Winter and Summer Challenges, and the new Catskills challenge to bring together state and local officials, tourism industry representatives and outdoor enthusiasts to strengthen tourism in Upstate New York.

“Tourism is vital to New York’s economy – it creates jobs and opportunity in virtually every community across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “When people visit New York, they fall in love with all that our state has to offer and keep coming back. I am proud that our administration is continuing to play a leading role in supporting tourism across the state, and I look forward to seeing the industry and our economy thrive for years to come.”

“As a result of Governor Cuomo’s historic investments, New York State continues to experience record-breaking tourism year after year,” Lieutenant Governor Hochul said.  This can be attributed to the Governor’s ambitious agenda that has helped resurrect our I Love New York campaign, create good paying jobs, and attract scores of visitors from the North Fork to Niagara Falls. It’s no wonder that tourism generated over $100 billion dollars in economic impact last year alone. And with today’s $50 million dollars in new investment, we will entice even more people to come see what New York has to offer.”

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Historic Hotels of America 2015 Awards of Excellence Winners Announced

The view of from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park just steps away from the lodge operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Xanterra which operates the lodges in several national parks, was named Historic Hotels of America's 2015 Historic Hotels of America Sustainability Champion © 2015 Karen Rubin/
The view of from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park just steps away from the lodge operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Xanterra which operates the lodges in several national parks, was named Historic Hotels of America’s 2015 Historic Hotels of America Sustainability Champion © 2015 Karen Rubin/

West Baden Springs, Indiana –Historic Hotels of America 2015 Awards of Excellence winners were announced at West Baden Springs Hotel (1902) at French Lick Resort in West Baden Springs, Indiana. Honors were given in multiple categories ranging from Hotelier of the Year and Hotel Historian of the Year to Best Historic Resort, Historic Hotelier of the Year, and others.

Each year, these awards honor, encourage, and recognize the most exemplary historic hotels, hoteliers, and leadership practices. The Awards of Excellence are presented to historic hotels demonstrating the highest contribution to furthering the celebration of history and demonstrating leadership and innovation.

From more than 200 nominees, the following Historic Hotels of America hotels and hoteliers were honored with these prestigious awards:

Historic Hotels of America New Member of the Year
• Hilton Chicago (1927) Chicago, Illinois

Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel (Under 75 Guestrooms)
• Green Park Inn (1891) Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Best Historic Hotel (75-200 Guestrooms)
• The Jefferson, Washington, DC (1923) Washington, DC
Best Historic Hotel (201-400 Guestrooms)
• Loews Don CeSar Hotel (1928) St. Pete Beach, Florida
Best City Center Historic Hotel
• Hawthorne Hotel (1925) Salem, Massachusetts
Best Historic Hotel (Over 400 Guestrooms)
• The Peabody Memphis (1869) Memphis, Tennessee
Best Historic Resort
• Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan

Hotel Historian of the Year
• Michaelene Lusk Norton, The Lancaster Hotel (1926) Houston, Texas

Legendary Family Historic Hoteliers of the Year
• The Lusk Family, The Lancaster Hotel (1926) Houston, Texas

Best Historic Restaurant in Conjunction with a Historic Hotel
• Plume, The Jefferson, Washington, DC (1923) Washington, DC

Best Social Media of a Historic Hotel
• French Lick Resort (1845) French Lick, Indiana

Historic Hotels of America Sustainability Champion
• Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Historic Hotels of America Ambassador of the Year (Quarter Century Service)
• Bill Ott, 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa (1886) Eureka Springs, Arkansas

2015 Historic Hotelier of the Year
• Dean Lane, Palmer House®, A Hilton Hotel (1871) Chicago, Illinois

2015 Lifetime Achievement Award
• Gayle Cook

2015 Historic Hotels of America Historian of the Year Award
• Stanley Turkel, Author and Consultant

2016 Historic Hotels of America Journalist of the Year Award
• Peter Greenberg, Travel Editor for CBS News

“Historic Hotels of America is proud to congratulate the 2015 Awards of Excellence winners,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director of Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “These historic hotels and hoteliers represent the pinnacle in historic hotels and their achievements from Portland, Oregon to St. Pete Beach, Florida.”
The hotels were nominated by fellow members, past award recipients, and honorees. A panel of experts judged and weighed the nominees in each category in order to determine a winner. As the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Hotels of America provides the recognition to travelers, civic leaders, and the global cultural, heritage and historic travel market that the members’ hotels are among the finest historic hotels across America.

Historic Hotels of America, founded in 1989 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to recognize and celebrate the finest Historic Hotels, has more than 275 members. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated properties. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; have been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, visit

Click here to see the About Historic Hotels of America video. To view the Historic Hotels of America 2015 Annual Directory ebook or download the free app on iTunesAmazonGoogle Play, and the  Windows Store.


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Historic Hotels of Europe Name Best of 2016 Award Winners

Castle Hotel Sonnenburg, in St. Lorenzen, Valley Pustertal, Italy was awarded Historic Hotels of Europe's Best Castle Historic Hotel 2016.
Castle Hotel Sonnenburg, in St. Lorenzen, Valley Pustertal, Italy was awarded Historic Hotels of Europe’s Best Castle Historic Hotel 2016.

Castles, a convent, elegant country houses and a former tobacco store are  among the 10 luxury hotels named winners of Historic Hotels of Europe awards for 2016.

Guests voted for their favorite hotels in 10 categories, including romance, legend, fine dining, and spa facilities.

Historic Hotels of Europe (HHE) chairman Barbara Avdis said: ‘These awards are an opportunity to reward the outstanding effort that the staff at our member hotels put in to ensure their guests are happy.

“It’s also a celebration of the commitment our members make to maintain the incredibly rich heritage and stories encapsulated in these buildings – and to recognize their constant striving to provide an excellent service for their guests.”

HHE is a not-for-profit umbrella company championing more than 500 of Europe’s most historically-significant hotels.

Each member hotel is unique and each is wrapped inextricably into the history of their location – and of Europe beyond. That’s why the organization selected ten separate categories for the judging.

“The HHE members are so diverse in location, history and type, so having one common measure would be unfair to all,” Barbara Avdis commented.

The winners of the fourth HHE awards were announced in November at a gala dinner at Château de l’Epinay in Saint-Georges-sur-Loire, France.

Winners include Chesa Salis in Bever, Switzerland. Owners Jurg and Sibylla Degiacomi describe their hotel as ‘your home in the Engadin’, so they were delighted to take home the award for best customer care. Little wonder Chesa Salis is a frequent retreat for celebrities escaping the bustle of nearby St Moritz.

Another winner is Aigialos Hotel, in Santorini, Greece. The 16 renovated neoclassical houses that make up the hotel were originally the homes of the island’s noble captain families. Named best historic hotel with a story to tell, the Aigialos charms visitors with its cobbled walkways, overlooking deep blue seas and the island’s volcano.

Winner of the most romantic hotel is Vadstena Convent Hotel, in Sweden. The property has a remarkable history: originally a royal palace, in the 1300s it was the scene of lavish parties thrown by King Magnus Eriksson and his wife Blanche. But the place underwent an abrupt change of fortune when it was transformed into a monastery and convent so austere that log fires, even in a Swedish winter, were strictly forbidden. Vadstena has even been a nursing home for wounded soldiers during wartime – but today it’s a luxury hotel packed with historic charm.

“Our historic hotels are eclectic and authentic, and we aim to take our guests on a journey of inspiring experiences beyond the expected,” Avidis commented

The winners are:

1. Best Castle Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Castle Hotel Sonnenburg
Country: Italy
Member of: Schlosshotels & Herrenhäuser

2. Best Countryside Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Hotel See-Villa
Country: Austria
Member of: Schlosshotels & Herrenhäuser

3. Best Customer Care Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Chesa Salis
Country: Switzerland
Member of: Swiss Historic Hotels

4. Best Historic Hotel Spa Award 2016
Winner: Szidónia Manor House
Country: Hungary
Member of: Hungarian Castle Hotels Association

5. Best City Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Hotel Elizabeth
Country: Slovakia
Member of: Historic Hotels of Slovakia

6. Best Historic Hotel New Member Award 2016
Winner: Hotel Marpessa
Country: Greece
Member of: Yades Greek Historic Hotels

7. Best Historic Hotel with “A Story to Tell” 2016
Winner: Aigialos Hotel Santorini
Country: Greece
Member of: Yades Greek Historic Hotels

8. Best Adventure and Activities Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Knutholmen
Country: Norway
Member of: De Historiske

9. Historic Hotel Best Restaurant 2016
Winner: Marlfield House
Country: Ireland
Member of: Ireland’s Blue Book

10. Most Romantic Historic Hotel 2016
Winner: Vadstena Convent Hotel
Country: Sweden
Member of: Countryside Hotels Sweden


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Nayara Hotels to Open Luxury Tented Resort in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park

Nayara Hotels has two properties set in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park and is opening a third, exclusive accommodation, Nayara Tented Resort.
Nayara Hotels has two properties set in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park and is opening a third, exclusive accommodation, Nayara Tented Resort.

The award-winning Nayara Hotels, with two existing properties set in Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park, is growing its collection with the announcement of a third, exclusive accommodation, Nayara Tented Resort. The resort will be the first of its kind in the Americas to offer year-round accommodations.

A sister property to Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens and Nayara Springs, this new resort will consist of 24, 945-sq.-ft. tents, each made up of a master suite and en-suite bathroom as well as an adjoining tent that can be arranged as a lounge or a second bedroom, perfect for families. Each tent will sit on its own platform furnished with an outdoor living area and a plunge pool filled from nearby hot springs.  The three resorts are located 2-3 hours by car from the capital, San Jose and once there, guests will have easy access between the properties via golf cart.

“We loved the beautiful tented camps in Africa and Asia, and recognized that there was nothing in Costa Rica, or even Central America, as spectacular, especially nothing that was open year-round. We have access to the highest mountain in the area with 360-degree views It is a magical setting for an ultra-luxury tented camp,” said Leo Ghitis, of Nayara Hotels.

In developing the accommodations, Nayara has partnered with Luxury Frontiers, known for its roster of top-ranked tented camps in Africa, among them Chief’s Camp in Botswana, Swala Camp in Tanzania, and Olonana Camp in Kenya as well as others in the works around the world. The partnership reflects Nayara’s intent to make the experience of the Costa Rican rainforest at Nayara Tented Resort akin to that of an African safari camp.   With wildlife surrounding the resort including 400 species of birds in the Arenal Rainforest, this tented experience promises to be extra immersive.

“It is exciting to work with a company that shares similar goals and values to create an outstanding, immersive experience for guests,” said Luca Franco, Managing Partner and Founder, Luxury Frontiers.  “We are thrilled to partner with Nayara on their newest luxury hotel, one in which the new lodging becomes an unforgettable experiential journey.”

In addition to the accommodations, Nayara Tented Resort will offer a 16-table restaurant and two additional private dining pavilions, a pool with a swim-up bar, cabanas, a fire pit, and a Wellness Oasis with three spa treatment rooms and a relaxation room. Spa treatments will incorporate local elements such as volcanic mud. The kids’ club will be an interactive learning center focused on rainforest ecology. 

Nayara Hotels is a collection of two properties set in Arenal Volcano National Park, Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens and Nayara Springs. Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens is a tranquil, five-star oasis set amongst 15 acres of lush gardens and Costa Rican rainforest overlooking the Arenal Volcano, the world’s third most active volcano. An exclusive and luxurious retreat, Nayara features just 50 spacious and private casitas (bungalows), all with private terraces with outdoor showers and Jacuzzi tubs for two. Nayara Springs offers 16 luxury villas with views of the Arenal Volcano. Each villa is equipped with a private pool fed by mineral hot springs and an expansive private garden with exterior shower, sleek four-poster bed wrapped in soft cottons, and indoor and outdoor sitting areas. Nayara Springs is connected to its sister hotel Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens by footbridge. In January 2016, Nayara Springs will be adding 19 additional villas.

Luxury Frontiers is a market leader in conceiving, designing and developing luxury tented suites and creative tree-top experiences for the global traveler. The accommodations are created to the highest standards and are designed and operated to provide exciting, authentic and memorable experiences without compromising guest expectations for luxury comfort and quality. Its skilled leadership team has deep experience in the African safari camp business and has worked with leading luxury hospitality brands such as Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Abercrombie & Kent, Six Senses, Belmond, Wilderness Safaris, Explora and Aman. For more information, visit


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Cruising where Few Have Cruised Before, AdventureSmith Explorations Announces New Small Ship Cruises for 2016

AdventureSmith Exploration's new cruise, Tahitian Affair, sails over eight days round-trip from Bora Bora, also visiting the islands of Tahaá, Raiatea and Huahine.
AdventureSmith Explorations’ new cruise, Tahitian Affair, sails eight days round-trip from Bora Bora, also visiting the islands of Tahaá, Raiatea and Huahine.

Small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations plans to go where few have cruised before. Itineraries unveiled for 2016 include regions only recently opened for cruising, along with new routes and the introduction of state-of-the-art, newly built vessels.

“Where there’s curiosity and desire to experience some place new and where we’re seeing our established destinations explored in a new way are two of the major themes in our 2016 new trip line-up,” said Todd Smith, AdventureSmith Explorations’ founder and director.

The Top New Cruises for 2016 Include:

The 24-guest Island Passage sails May through October in Tahiti before returning to New Zealand for the austral summer. The new cruise, Tahitian Affair, sails over eight days round-trip from Bora Bora, also visiting the islands of Tahaá, Raiatea and Huahine. This is an active cruise with kayaking, fishing, swimming, snorkeling and stand-up paddleboarding spliced in with visits to a vanilla plantation, local markets and the Maeva Marae archaeological site. Time will also be spent listening to a local choir and learning how to crack coconuts.

The US embargo against Cuba, in place since 1960, once prevented ordinary Americans from traveling to Cuba, but now with a special visa under the provision of a “people-to-people exchange,” US citizens can visit on properly licensed tours. The new Cuba People to People Cruise aboard the 49-guest Panorama sail cruiser focuses on bringing travelers into contact with Cuban people, culture and their communities. Departures start in late December and run through April 2016 for the cruise’s inaugural season. Panorama and Panorama II, with their white sails and masts, provide a romantic yet modern home base.

According to AdventureSmith, the Amazon River and its tributaries represent a hot destination with travelers right now, with high- and low-water seasons providing a varied travel experience year-round. One new itinerary and vessel recently introduced is the newly built 44-guest Amazon Discovery, an all-suite riverboat that sails round-trip from Iquitos and includes a visit to a private reserve on Monkey Island, home to seven different species. The Amazon Discovery Cruise offers seven-day departures year-round, with the inaugural voyage sailing in December 2015.

The Dalmatian Coast Cruise utilizes, among other sister ships, a 2015-built vessel, the 38-guest Infinity, on explorations of the Adriatic Sea coastline between Split and Dubrovnik over eight days. These port towns are featured in the popular Game of Thrones HBO series. The show’s fictional city of King’s Landing is filmed in Dubrovnik, with Split also appearing in scenes. Sailings start at $1,425 per person and start in May 2016.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The 90-guest Santa Cruz II made its maiden voyage last October and is the star in AdventureSmith’s Santa Cruz Galapagos Cruise, the top pick for what’s new and exciting in the Galapagos for 2016. The completely refurbished vessel has been refitted for the Galapagos Islands’ style of cruising, and it represents a 58 percent increase in passenger space and a 31 percent reduction in fuel consumption over its predecessor. See: 6 New Ways to Cruise the Galapagos

New Zealand
Voted by Lonely Planet as its fifth top region to travel to in 2016, New Zealand’s Waiheke Island is making many travelers’ lists for 2016. The Bay of Islands Explorer cruise aboard the 24-guest Island Passage visits this 36-square-mile island just north of Auckland before sailing farther north to the Bay of Islands region. Highlights of the eight-day itinerary include wine tasting on Waiheke, dolphin watching, dining on the region’s famed green-lipped mussels, a scenic helicopter ride in the Bay of Islands and visiting the wild and enchanting Great Barrier Island, home to the beautiful Fitzroy Harbour.

Costa Rica
A new ship and itinerary to Costa Rica, Uncharted Isthmus: Sloths, Monkeys & Mangroves aboard the 64-guest Safari Voyager, is an eight-day cruise offering guests twice-daily options by skiff, hike, stand-up paddleboard, snorkel and kayak. Itinerary highlights include transiting the 48-mile-long Panama Canal connecting the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, visiting Costa Rica’s largest park, Corcovado National Park, and snorkeling the crystalline waters at Panama’s Granito de Oro.

New to the company’s wilderness cruise program is the Alaska’s Islands, Whales & Glaciers itinerary, featuring eight days between Sitka and Juneau aboard the intimate 10-guest yacht Misty Fjord. Native culture and off-the-beaten path explorations along with sea kayaking, hiking and zodiac adventures engage guests in the pleasures of exploring Southeast Alaska. A hover flight at Taku Glacier offers a ride on an amphibious vehicle designed to travel over ice, water, sandbars and grasslands.

For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and 2016 reservations, call 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit


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Holiday Expeditions Clusters Rafting, Biking with Star Gazing in New ‘Dark Sky’ Trip Series

Holiday River Expeditions is working with the Clark Planetarium of Salt Lake City on a new "Dark Sky Stargazing" trip series that combines biking and rafting.
Holiday River Expeditions is working with the Clark Planetarium of Salt Lake City on a new “Dark Sky Stargazing” trip series that combines biking and rafting.

Veteran adventure travel company, Holiday River Expeditions clusters spokes with stars and river canyons with constellations in a new “Dark Sky Stargazing” trip series for 2016, in cooperation with Salt Lake City’s Clark Planetarium.

The Dark Sky Stargazing series includes both mountain biking and whitewater rafting programs with a night-time focus expected to include Saturn, the Milky Way, Whirlpool and Sombrero galaxies, Hercules Globular Cluster, iridium flares and Earth-born satellites.

“Each night on these bike and river trips we will attempt to find and identify stars, constellations, planets, galaxies, nebulas, clusters and satellites. More importantly, we’ll use those objects to talk about the structure of our galaxy, the origin and future of the universe, our place in the cosmos,” says Tom Beckett, board chair of Clark Planetarium and part-time guide for Holiday River Expeditions. “Much of Earth is losing its dark night skies to light pollution and many Americans never have a chance to see the Milky Way. However, the rivers we run, and the trails we bike are all desolate and have some of the darkest night skies on the planet.”

The series begins in early May and runs through early October. Each trip takes place during the “New Moon” phase for the darkest sky. Three of four trips are in Canyonlands National Park designated as a gold-tier “dark sky” park. A Clark Planetarium representative will accompany each trip. Guests camp under the stars. Trail and river-side meals have garnered rave reviews.

The new trip series includes:

White Rim Trail Mountain Biking in Canyonlands National Park explores Canyonlands NP, recently certified as a “Dark Sky Park” by the International Dark Sky Association.  Luminaries to be revealed include the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy, among others. While looking up, guests will stand 1,000 feet above the confluence of the Green and Colorado rivers. The group meets up at Holiday River Expeditions headquarters in Green River, UT.  A two-hour van ride to the head of the Shafer Trail marks the start of the trip. After that it’s pedal power on some of the most technically challenging mountain bike trails in the country. A telescope accompanies the guests. Scheduled trips are May 7-9 and Oct. 1-4 and the per person rate is from $750.

Green River through Lodore Canyon in Dinosaur National Monument is a July 5-8 river rafting departure through a protected region recognized by the National Park Service as a “Sanctuary of Natural Darkness.” This trip connects to ghosts of river-runners and canyon dwellers of the past while escaping into deep-red cliffs and exhilarating whitewater. With binoculars and the naked eye guests explore the Milky Way, see the Andromeda Galaxy, watch satellites and meteors, and learn the constellations. The per person rate is from $935.

Colorado River through Cataract Canyon in Canyonlands National Park is an Aug. 1-6 departure cradled in Canyonlands National Park. Again the Andromeda Galaxy, satellites and meteors take center stage at night. Days are spent luxuriating in the sunshine, exploring ancient side-canyons (many with rock art and ruins) and facing some of the biggest whitewater in North America. The per person rate is from $1,175.

“It’s a natural partnership,” says Beckett. “Clark Planetarium’s mission is to teach science and astronomy. Holiday’s mission is to take people into the wilderness and teach them about the natural world.  Working together, Holiday and Clark can offer multi-night star parties in the wilderness, where the night skies are darkest and the daytime scenery is simply out of this world.”

Clark Planetarium, in Salt Lake City, is one of the world’s leading centers for space and science education.  Clark Planetarium’s mission is to create and present stimulating educational programs that effectively share astronomy and space exploration information with Salt Lake County residents, Utah students, educators and families, and visitors from around the country and the world. For more information visit

Holiday River Expeditions ( began in 1966, when Dee Holladay and his wife Sue took the plunge to become river outfitters. Due to its respect for the lands, rivers, guests and employees, the family-owned-and-operated company has grown exponentially. Each of its guides is professionally trained in first aid and river safety, and with 50 years of experience, the company provides guests the opportunity to explore the nation’s wild lands safely and securely. Holiday River Expeditions has a commitment to protect the environment through education and conservation, and as such, uses oar-powered and paddle rafts exclusively.

For more information, availability, reservations or the 2016 catalog,  call 800-624-6323, Email: or log onto:


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In National Parks Centennial Year, AdventureSmith Explorations New Way to Visit: Cruise a Park

The small vessels that AdventureSmith Explorations uses access many of the coves and landings around hundreds of miles of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
The small vessels that AdventureSmith Explorations uses access many of the coves and landings around hundreds of miles of Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.

In the spirit of 2016’s National Park Centennial Celebration, small ship cruise expert AdventureSmith Explorations is offering a different way to experience our National Parks: cruise a park.

While Alaska has the whale’s share of cruises in National Parks, and therefore many choices of ship size and amenities, the San Juan Islands and Oregon’s Columbia River are key players as well.

Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve covers over three million acres with open ocean and fjord coastlines spanning most of its perimeter. This means that the small vessels that AdventureSmith Explorations employs access many of the coves and landings around hundreds of miles. Examples of itineraries here are three eight-day programs: Exploring Muir’s Wilderness on the 84-guest Safari Endeavor; Northern Passages & Glacier Bay on the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer, 74-guest Wilderness Explorer or 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer; and Discoverers Glacier Country on the 22-guest Safari Quest, the 36-guest Safari Explorer, the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer or the 84-guest Safari Endeavour. Itineraries have themed departures the week of Aug. 25, 2016 celebrating the Centennial, with commemoration gifts, guest speakers, evening onboard presentations focused on the history of the National Parks, surprise birthday celebrations and special presentations by Park Rangers on board while in Glacier Bay.

For those that want to see as much of Glacier Bay National Park as possible on a cruise, the six-day Glacier Bay Adventure Cruise is the only Inside Passage small ship cruise that spends most of its itinerary inside the park. The itinerary travels from waterfall-laden Geike Inlet to the barren mountain faces of the East and West arms of Glacier Bay National Park, then routes outside the park to Point Adolphus for whale watching. Hundreds of miles of glacial fjords are here for kayaking, hiking and small ship cruising. The base of exploration is the historic 12-passenger small ship M/V Sea Wolf, owned and operated by Alaskans.

Kenai Fjords National Park, on the edge of the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage, covers an area of nearly 670,000 acres, 51 percent of which is ice. A number of lodge-based itineraries allow guests to spend ample time on the water boating through Kenai Fjords. To access most of these remote lodges, guests embark by boat from Seward on a five-hour wildlife and tidewater glacier journey. Kenai Fjords Backcountry Explorer over seven days reveals by raft and boat and on shore the many of the activities and animals on the Native-owned, 1,700-acre Pedersen Lagoon Wildlife Sanctuary. The eight-day Ultimate Alaska Adventure pairs backcountry adventure and wild Alaska by sea kayaking in Kenai Fjords National Park, a helicopter landing onto a glacial snowpack, a floatplane journey to a remote mountain lake and more.

Olympic National Park, at nearly 1 million acres along Washington’s coast, is famed for its diversity of ecosystems and rich cultural history. Olympic Wilderness & San Juan Islands is an eight-day-expedition along this coastline from the comfort of the 60-guest Wilderness Adventurer or the 76-guest Wilderness Discoverer. Kayaks and paddleboards sail aboard, allowing guests to actively explore the park’s coves and canals.

Lewis & Clark National Historical Park at Fort Clatsop in Astoria, Oregon, is a hub focusing on the lore of early explorers. Two small ship itineraries visiting here herald the legacy of two great western rivers: the Columbia and the Snake. Columbia & Snake Rivers Journey over seven days embraces culture and history with food and wine bounties of the Pacific Northwest. This trip recently acquired Food Alliance affiliation ensuring that local and sustainable are prominent in in every culinary presentation. Guests will be on board either 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Bird or 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Lion. Over eight days on Legacy of Discovery guests aboard the 88-guest S.S. Legacy that emulates a turn-of-century steamer traverse the nearly 1,000 miles of history on the Columbia River Gorge.

Some of AdventureSmith Explorations’ itineraries define remote to its core, with guests going beyond the boat, being transported to a National Park by small plane or train. There are fly-to itineraries accessing Katmai National Park including Brown Bears of Katmai, a five-day program recommended as a cruise extension. On Denali Backcountry Explorer guests explore the wilderness from a lodge deep in Denali National Park and Preserve with access that may include a bus or train from Anchorage.

Alaska Coast to Denali is a cruise-a-park highlight, visiting two national parks over seven days via boat and train. The itinerary starts with a small boat cruise into a Kenai Fjords National Park lodge, travels overland to Denali National Park and Preserve and then concludes with a scenic train ride on the Alaska Railroad to Anchorage.

See this blog post for a comprehensive list of 18 ways to “Cruise a Park”: Learn more unique ways to travel our National Parks by following AdventureSmith’s #cruiseapark hashtag.

For current cruise specials and early-booking offers worldwide see: For information on all of AdventureSmith’s small ship cruises, itineraries, availability and 2015-2016 reservations, Phone: 800-728-2875 toll-free or visit

Founded in 2003, AdventureSmith Explorations is based in Tahoe City, CA, along the northern shore of Lake Tahoe. A recognized leader in small ship cruising, in 2012 owner Todd Smith joined the ranks of Conde Nast Traveler‘s prestigious Annual Travel Specialists List as the world’s expert on small ship expeditions.
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Experience Total Solar Eclipse in Spice Islands aboard Sailing Schooner with Wildland Adventures

On March 9, 2016, tracking directly over the Equator above Indonesia’s remote Maluku island group, a handful of guests aboard a classic two-masted sailing schooner will witness a total solar eclipse.
On March 9, 2016, tracking directly over the Equator above Indonesia’s remote Maluku island group, a handful of guests aboard a classic two-masted sailing schooner will witness a total solar eclipse.

On March 9, 2016, tracking directly over the Equator above Indonesia’s remote Maluku island group, a handful of guests aboard a classic two-masted sailing schooner will witness a total solar eclipse surrounded by a jungle landscape of uninhabited islands and towering volcanoes.

Well-known for such unique and inspiring expeditions, Seattle-based Wildland Adventures ( has sweetened the offer by knocking $1,000 off the 12-day Spice Islands Solar Eclipse Sailing Adventure package that runs March 7-18, 2016. This brings the per person double rate to $5,495 for the privilege of witnessing one of nature’s grandest shows in a setting that defies description.

Accommodations for the luxury cruise are aboard the 24-passenger phinisi Ombak Putih, a traditional two-masted Indonesian schooner.
Accommodations for the luxury cruise are aboard the 24-passenger phinisi Ombak Putih, a traditional two-masted Indonesian schooner.

Accommodations for the luxury cruise are aboard the 24-passenger phinisi Ombak Putih, a traditional two-masted Indonesian schooner. Guided day excursions and evening lectures by escort and guest lecturer Jeffrey Mellefont, research associate of the Australian National Maritime Museum, enhance the on-board experience of the rich natural history, cultures and customs in the archipelago.

Flying out of Bali and embarking in Ternate, the ship sails across the equator encountering diverse cultures and pristine island habitats while re-discovering the dramatic history of this fascinating maritime world sought after by fortune hunters and adventurers for its exotic cloves, nutmeg and mace. Hidden for centuries by the same remoteness that keeps these islands unspoiled today, the ship anchors in turquoise-colored coves so that guests may visit isolated villages and spice plantations, ancient forts and trading posts, and snorkel over stunning coral reefs. The loveliest and most remote of the islands is kept till last. This is the glorious Banda group that guests visit before disembarking on historic Ambon.

Snorkels, kayaks and paddleboards are kept on board so that guests may enjoy activities in the warm water when they are not on walking and birding tours, enjoying a community beach dinner and touring farms, a clove plantation and a distillery producing ‘kayu putih’ oil. The oil, extracted from Melaleuca tree leaves, is a universal panacea that no Indonesian household is without. It is used as a topical for aches and pains, an inhalant for colds and a remedy for stomach unrest.

Wildland-TernateOn the island of Ternate guests visit the old house of Alfred Russel Wallace, the British naturalist and explorer who spent many years based here exploring the archipelago and independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection when Darwin was in the Galapagos. Here, too, is ‘Afu’, the oldest clove tree in the world, representing a fascinating history of intrigue, greed and hope

On Wednesday, March 9, the ship anchors at 0.4˚N, 127.4˚E, just 24 nautical miles north of the Equator and centered directly beneath the track of the umbra, or moon’s shadow, to experience the sun’s 100 percent occultation for the longest possible time. The partial eclipse commences at 08:35 am local time (23:35:45 UTC + 9), with total eclipse starting at 9.51 am. Maximum eclipse is at 9:52:38, and on Ombak Putih the total eclipse lasts for three minutes and 16 seconds. This is followed by a crossing-the-line ceremony transiting across the equator.

In the Banda archipelago guests will stroll through a nutmeg grove where the shapely nutmeg fruit-bearing trees grow in the shelter of towering, gigantic ‘kenari’ or native almond trees. Visitors when leaving Banda are typically escorted by a ceremonial canoe called a ‘kora-kora’ propelled by banks of warrior-oarsmen, an apropos departure from paradise.

For complete details and itinerary see:

Jeffrey Mellefont, research associate of the Australian National Maritime Museum, is a former blue-water mariner and navigator; a writer, photographer and editor who has made a lifetime study of the fascinating maritime world of Indonesia. Along with regular host and guide, Frans Huneker, special guest and fluent Indonesian speaker, Jeffrey Mellefont will guide the group ashore. At the end of each day, in the comfort of the Ombak Putih, Jeffrey will reveal more of this amazing maritime realm.

The Ombak Putih is a mix of traditional and modern design. Her hull and rigging are traditional, while the deck house and interior were custom designed to adapt to Western tastes of space, privacy and comfort. While Indonesian traditional sailing vessels are customarily referred to as Bugi Schooners, strictly speaking she is rigged as a Ketch, the foremast being higher than the aft mast. Of the 12 cabins, four have double beds, four are configured as twin-bunks and four as triple, with a double and an extra singe bed. All cabins are air-conditioned (individually controlled) and have private bathrooms with warm and cold water.

Wildland Adventures was established in 1986 by Kurt Kutay, Founding CEO/President, and Anne Kutay, Vice-President. As active managing directors they are continuously refining and evolving their Wild Style of travel. The ‘Wild Style’ is based on an ethic of sincerity, compassion and understanding that breaks down barriers of separation to build lasting intercultural, interpersonal, and environmental bonds designed to enhance rather than exploit the people and places where they travel. By fostering genuine connections to create personalized experiences their travelers, Wildland fosters a growing and vibrant community of enlightened and compassionate travelers. Rated by National Geographic Adventure as the #1 Best ‘Doitall’ Outfitter on Earth and Fodor’s as one of the Worlds Best Tour Specialists, Wildland Adventures offers more than 150 unique itineraries on 6 continents in 37 countries.


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Setting up a pertinent framework to support your argument

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