Archive for October, 2012

Ship of Fear: A Horror Cruise Sets Sail for Halloween

October 24, 2012

The most terrifying villains from the greatest fright films of all time turn the high seas into their newest hunting ground next Halloween when the very first SHIP OF FEAR: A HORROR CRUISE, hosted by Tom Holland, sets sail in October 2013. Led by the Architect of Shock Rock, Alice Cooper, directors and actors from genre-defining films including Child’s Play, Candyman, Phantasm, Fright Night, The Lost Boys, Gremlins, Friday the 13th, The Howling, Pet Sematary and morewill roam the decks with macabre illusionists, performance artists and rock stars for five full-moonlit nights of madness for horror fans aboard.

Launched by ECP, the world’s largest independent cruise production company, and StarVista, THE SHIP OF FEAR (a full ship charter) departs on its maiden voyage from Miami, FL on October 28, 2013. The Carnival Victory will sail Halloween week with stops in Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport before returning to Miami on November 2nd. Horror/thriller network Chiller has joined the cruise as a presenting sponsor, running extensive promotions on the network, onboard events and establishing co-branding opportunities.

“Ship of Fear is a culmination of everything I love about the horror genre; the movies, the monsters, the special effects and especially the fans,” says film writer/director and cruise host Tom Holland. “What we have in store will be unlike any other convention experience out there – we’re planning an immersive experience for devotees that includes panels and screenings of many beloved genre classics, horror-themed parties and costume contests as well as daily signings and other special events including bringing five of the Masters of Horror together in front of their fans for a rare group appearance.”

THE SHIP OF FEAR will pay homage to the horror genre in all forms; from daily panels and classic horror film reunions (featuring appearances by many of the genre’s biggest names in front of and behind the camera) to costume contests, live talent demonstrations and more. The non-stop fun features appearances by stars Zach Galligan (“Gremlins, Hatchet 3”), Reggie Bannister (“Phantasm” series), R.A. “Leatherface” Mihailoff, Ed “Chucky” Gale, Kane “Jason” Hodder, Tony “Candyman” Todd, Belinda Balaski (“The Howling”) and directors Tom Holland (Fright Night, Child’s Play), Don Coscarelli (“Phantasm,” “The Beastmaster,” “Bubba Ho-Tep”), Mick Garris (television’s “Masters of Horror,” “The Stand,” “Freddy’s Nightmares”), Joe Dante (The Howling, Piranha, Gremlins), and Mary Lambert (Pet Sematary) as well as live musical performances by Alice Cooper, Dee Snider and Corey Feldman and Truth Movement. On the Ship of Fear, the terror never ends!

Cruisers aboard the Ship of Fear will also be able to go behind the scenes with some of Hollywood’s best special effects and make-up artists and join performance artists such as the irreverent steam-punk, zombie hunting team, League of S.T.E.A.M. Horror fans will be captivated by illusionists, nightly movie screenings with Q&A’s, an amateur horror film festival, party it up during “Screech on the Beach” (held on Carnival’s own private island), a Zombie Prom on Halloween night and meet with many more surprises.

Reservations for cabins on this cruise may be made now by visiting or calling (toll free) 855-770-1313. Special “before dawn” cabin rates will be in effect until December 31, 2012 and start at $729 per person. Rates include all meals, concerts, entertainment and onboard activities.

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Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers Ski Free on Opening Day and lift ticket giveaways up to Nov. 21

October 24, 2012

Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) is giving away a lift ticket a day until Opening Day on November 21, 2012 to lucky fans on their Facebook Page. The free lift tickets will be good for use during the 2012-2013 ski season, with holiday blackout dates of 12/24/2012 – 1/4/2013. “Like” the resort on Facebook and enter to win. With the anticipation of soon being able to let gravity take over on snow covered slopes, the resort realizes that everyone likes to ski for free, so why not let them?

Known for  “ski free” promotions throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, last year, CBMR resurrected the program to offer Ski Free on their 50th birthday, Opening Day 2011. With so much success and excitement built around the one day promotion, the resort has decided to bring back Ski Free on Opening Day. On November 21, 2012, all guests will ski for free at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, no strings attached.

“Ski Free has been synonymous with Crested Butte since the 90s, so why change tradition and offer free skiing on Opening Day?” asks vice president of sales and marketing at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Scott Clarkson. “Then we thought it would be fun to give away a few more free days to our loyal social media fans. Go “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, check in on Foursquare when you’re here and enjoy!”

Rules and Regulations for the Sweepstakes are listed on the Crested Butte Hearts Ski Free Sweepstakes page.

Links to social media pages for Crested Butte Mountain Resort:

Crested Butte Hearts Ski Free Sweepstakes Page –

Twitter Handle: @skicrestedbutte

Instagram Handle: @skicrestedbutte


About Crested Butte:

Nestled in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, Crested Butte is committed to preserving the pristine landscape and mountain lifestyle. With vibrant Victorian store fronts and expressive local characters, the small historic town remains true to its heritage and radiates an unparalleled welcoming and inviting spirit that celebrates a simpler life and time. Thanks to a widely diverse landscape, outdoor enthusiasts of all levels will find a new challenge with each visit. From world-class mountain biking, to legendary skiing and snowboarding, to a secluded fly-fishing experience, Crested Butte is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets.

For more information about Crested Butte’s lodging, conference, meeting facilities, and special packages, call Crested Butte Vacations, (800) 600-2803 or visit the web site at

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American Museum of Natural History Re-opening of Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Marked by Special Events Oct 27 and Year-Round

October 9, 2012

On Saturday, October 27, New York City’s iconic American Museum of Natural History is re-opening one of its greatest treasures: the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial.

The recently restored two-story Memorial — which includes the iconic Central Park West façade, Theodore Roosevelt Rotunda, and Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall — serves as New York State’s official memorial to its 33rd Governor and the nation’s 26th President. The Hall includes a new exhibition charting Roosevelt’s journey from budding naturalist to an elected leader committed to conservation.

Long before he was President and placed some 230 million acres of land under federal protection, Roosevelt was a boy whose father helped to found this Museum. And Roosevelt’s ongoing relationship with Museum scientists, such as ornithologist Frank Chapman, helped seed the American conservation movement.

To celebrate this larger-than-life man, his love for nature, and his instrumental role in the American conservation movement, the Museum is launching a year of events, lectures, and special programs.

The Museum on October 27 will celebrate this momentous occasion with a day of inspiring programs for naturalists and museum-lovers of all ages. Exhibition experts will discuss how art and science combine to great effect in the Museum’s world-renowned dioramas; you can get up close with falcons and owls in live-animal encounters; enjoy Roosevelt-themed tours; see rare items from our collection, and much more.

To receive updates on programs and activities, or to see photos and videos captured behind the scenes at the Museum, click this link,

American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY 10024-5192, Phone: 212-769-5100

Crystal Cruises Triples Ambassador Host Dance Partners for March 31 ‘Big Band and Ballroom Dance’ Voyage

October 9, 2012

Ultra-luxury specialist Crystal Cruises has tripled the number of its Ambassador Host dance partners, from the normal four aboard every sailing, to 12 for its March 31 “Big Band and Ballroom Dance” voyage. The Experience of Discovery cruise will also have double the usual amount of dance instructors on board, along with the legendary Glenn Miller Orchestra to keep toes tapping. The Miami-Lisbon voyage aboard the award-winning Crystal Serenity provides an easy U.S. departure for Americans and easy return home for Europeans, with an average all-inclusive – yet value-priced — rate starting at just $221/person per day.

Crystal’s gentlemen Ambassador Hosts serve as engaging dancing, dining, and conversation partners for solo women during their cruise. Hosts are also available to accompany women on the dance floor whose companions might not be dancers. The social hosting services are complimentary, as are all musical theme activities, including daily intro and advanced dance classes teaching everything from classical ballroom to Latin favorites and swing.

The 17+-piece Glenn Miller Orchestra and vocalists will also play into the wee hours nightly, providing a lively soundtrack of timeless hits. Numerous grand and intimate spaces on board, including Palm Court, Stardust Lounge, Pulse nightclub, and the central atrium near the Cove Bar, serve as on board music and dancing venues during the cruise.

“Big Band and Ballroom Dance is hotter than ever now, and our music cruises are always among our most popular voyages, packed with fun,” says Bret Bullock, vice president of entertainment. “Solo travelers feel comfortable sailing Crystal because we offer so many ways to socialize with others, from dining to dancing. On this particular cruise, we will have plenty of dance partners to go around.”

Also featured during the 10-day sailing are new Magic Castle at Sea shows and Crystal’s newly-released Elton John tribute production, Rocket Man.

The classic Trans-Atlantic luxury cruise provides ample days at sea to fully enjoy the indulgent Crystal resort experience, with a call in sub-tropical Madeira/Funchal, Portugal en route. Fares booked by October 31 start at $2,210/person, double occupancy, with $1000/person in “Book Now” savings. Known for one of the lowest solo supplements in the industry, Crystal’s sole occupancy rates for this cruise start at $3,015/person.

Crystal Cruises’ award-winning entertainment offerings include a range of venues and performances, from cabaret nightclub to piano bar saloon; acclaimed productions to headline entertainers; and sophisticated enrichment activities to in-room Blu-ray-viewing, for all world travelers.

For more information and Crystal reservations, contact a travel agent, call 888-799-4625, or visit

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Clifton Hotel, Eco-Chic Beach Retreat in Miami’s South Beach Offers Value Rates thru Nov. 30

October 9, 2012

Looking for an eco-chic beach retreat this fall? Rates at The Clifton Hotel in Miami’s South Beach start at $149 per night weekdays and $199 per night on weekends through Nov. 30, 2012.

The Clifton – Florida’s first LEED Gold hotel – just joined the Ascend Hotel Collection membership program from Choice Hotels International, an elite portfolio of independent hotels. As part of this global network, the property remains independently owned and operated, while gaining a presence on, one of the industry’s most visited websites, drawing 100 million visits annually. The Clifton also gets a loyalty program, Choice Privileges, with more than 15 million rewards members worldwide.

This 35-room boutique hotel is located in the heart of the historic Art Deco District, one-half block from the beach and a short stroll to South Beach’s famous nightlife, shops and restaurants. The Clifton underwent a multi-million-dollar eco-renovation and reopened in 2010 with its historic, Art Deco façade refreshed and redesigned interiors that are fresh, hip and environmentally friendly.

Contemporary decor features custom furnishings made locally with bamboo. Guestrooms are outfitted with modern LED lighting, and beds boast comfortable mattresses created from renewable materials and topped with soft pillows made of recycled bottle fibers that are allergen-free and anti-microbial. Among the many other green features: solar power, an occupancy-sensing energy management system, high-efficiency faucets and air conditioning system, water-conserving dual-flush toilets and energy-efficient windows. The lobby bar serves up organic wines and cocktails along with traditional South Beach favorites. Guests can enjoy a continental breakfast as well as VIP passes to nightclubs and pre-parties.

Launched in the fall of 2008, Ascend Hotel Collection today has more than 75 distinctive hotels in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, Scandinavia and Costa Rica. The fast-growing portfolio appeals to savvy travelers who like to immerse themselves in a destination and live like the locals when they travel.

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Tickets Available for Solstice of Souls Halloween Party at Legendary Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Oct 27; New 3-Night Package Offered

October 9, 2012

The Solstice of Souls Halloween Party at the Hawthorne Hotel taking place October 27, 8-midnight is the Party of the Year in Salem, Massachusetts.

Besides music from band Hush, and two DJs, there will be Halloween-themed food, drinks and giveaways.  The hotel is also offering $1,500 in cash and prizes during the costume contest held that evening.

Beginning the 20 days prior to the party, the hotel will be highlighting Halloween trivia, photos from past Balls, surprise Party ticket giveaways and more on Facebook.

Approximately 1,000 party-goers make their way through the hotel that night so tickets  are going fast.  Tickets are $90 (must be 21 and older to attend). To get one, go to or call 978-744-4080.

Rooms are available at the Hawthorne Hotel for a new THREE-NIGHT PACKAGE ON OCTOBER 29-31 as well.  This is a great opportunity to see the Haunted Happenings events that take place through the end of the month. Contact 978-744-4080.

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Cuba, Congo, Namibia Among 8 Trailblazing Adventures for 2013 Added by GeoEx

October 5, 2012

GeoEx (Geographic Expeditions) announced today that it will offer eight trailblazing new trips as part of its 2013 portfolio of more than 150 journeys to all seven continents.

The award-winning adventure travel company, recently named Best Travel Company by Outside magazine, has crafted new itineraries in Cuba, Congo, Namibia, Japan, China, Georgia, Turkey, and Iraq.

GeoEx’s Connecting with Cuba’s Living History, a US government-sanctioned educational exchange program, focuses on history and culture, arranging insightful exchanges with a spectrum of local Cubans, including artists, dancers, historians, and students. One highlight: GeoEx travelers will talk with enterprising restaurateurs and sample delicious homemade specialties.

Perfect for ahead-of-the-curve adventure travelers, Heart of Diversity: Gorilla Tracking in the Congo, explores the fantastic wildlife and undisturbed tropical landscapes in this Central African country, overnighting in two new eco-friendly camps. Outings by boat, foot, and four-by-four are all led by professional wildlife guides.

Namibia: A Celebration of the Vast and Luminous offers a diversity of experiences unavailable in any other single African destination. Among much else there are river trips on the wildlife-rich Kunene in the country’s far northeastern reaches, ATV riding on Namib dunes, safari drives in search of elusive black rhino, wine tasting at what must be the world’s driest vineyard, and rare moments to share with semi-nomadic Himba tribespeople.

On Journey through Ancient Japan: Shikoku and Kyoto with Don George,  award-winning travel writer and Japan expert Don George leads GeoEx travelers into the heart of ancient Japan. Highlights include a stay at author Alex Kerr’s remarkably preserved 300-year-old thatched-roof farmhouse in the gorgeous and isolated Iya Valley, a soak in an idyllic onsen (outdoor hot spring), and off-the-beaten-path encounters with artisans, priests, and pilgrims along Shikoku’s 88-temple pilgrimage trail.

GeoEx’s new trips in China, Eastern Turkey, Georgia, and Iraqi Kurdistan trips explore richly historic and eye-poppingly scenic regions that are far off the tourist track.

For information, call 415-922-0448, 888-570-7108, visit


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Enjoy Off-Season Value at Award-Winning Grand Isle Resort & Spa, Bahamas

October 5, 2012

Delightful warm weather and quiet beaches await visitors who want to take advantage of 30% off luxurious 1- to 4-bedroom tropical villas at Grand Isle Resort & Spa, on the shores of Emerald Bay’s azure clear waters.

Available for reservations of three or more consecutive days from October 30 – December 18, 2012, the special value villa rates can easily be booked, along with airfare, by calling 866-380-5213 or +214-393-2841, or e-mailing All villa configurations are eligible for the off-season prices.

Grand Isle has just completed enhancements to the resort, including expanding the al fresco dining room and bar and modernizing the kitchen. At The [newly refurbished] Palapa Grill, meals begin with a Caribbean flair. Bahamian Chef Romeha Forbes is creating a new menu of regional dishes, from blackened red snapper with plantain, accented by chutney spice, to freshly caught tuna or wahoo. Avid fishermen can bring their day’s catch to Chef Forbes, and request him to prepare it for dinner. Guests can unwind with the signature Exuma Blue cocktail or traditional island Sky Juice, among others. Chef Forbes has also added house made tropical ice cream in flavors such as guava, coconut and mango. In-villa dining is offered for a more intimate experience, along with a variety of excellent catering options perfect for destination wedding receptions.

For a first-hand preview of accommodations, enjoy the Grand Isle Experience, an enticing look at the resort named by TripAdvisor as among the top ten luxury resorts in the Caribbean, and winner of the AAA four-diamond rating. Grand Isle will complete the restaurant renovation and reopen on October 30, 2012.

Located on Emerald Bay in Great Exuma, a magnificent island located in The Bahamas, Grand Isle Resort & Spa is a stunning ocean front villa resort. The exclusive gated community consists of 78 luxuriously appointed 1- to 4-bedroom villas, decorated in color palettes inspired by the sea, lush landscape, and tropical ambience. The villas range from 1,250 sq. ft. to over 5,000 sq. ft. and offer a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living area, high-end amenities, and extraordinary views. Getting around the resort is quick and convenient, as every villa is equipped with a personal golf cart. Complimentary high-speed wireless internet is also available.

Grand Isle is ideally suited for family holidays, romantic getaways, destination weddings and honeymoons, or for simply enjoying the beach, a luxury villa vacation at Grand Isle is an experience never to be forgotten.

Contact reservations at 866-380-5213 (US toll-free), 214-393-2841 (US direct) or Villas are available for sale or rent. Visit for more information.

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Food & Wine Trails Offers 12 New Cruises for 2013

October 4, 2012

Food & Wine Trails has released details of 12 new food and wine cruises for 2013, filled with opportunities to drink the best wines, experience great meals and travel with top wine and food personalities.

Among the highlights:

  • A multi-course, wine-paired dinner at Chateau Smith Haut-Lafite in Bordeaux hosted by star Napa winemaker David Ramey who has previously worked in Bordeaux – on the Oceania Nautica June 13-20 Lisbon to London cruise.
  • A vertical library tasting of Duckhorn’s acclaimed Merlot, with founder Margaret Duckhorn – on the June 26 to July 3 Azamara Journey Rome to Monte Carlo cruise.
  • A private wine-maker hosted luncheon at a top Chateauneuf-du-Pape winery served by a Michelin starred chef on the Azamara Journey July 3-11 Monte Carlo to Barcelona cruise.
  • A tour of the Grgich family winery in Croatia with Violet Grgich – on the Oceania Riviera Sept 7-19 Venice to Barcelona cruise.

The value of a Food & Wine Trails cruise becomes apparent when viewed against a comparable land-based culinary vacation. Whereas a typical price for a land-based wine program is $4,000 to $5,000 per week per person, the price of a similar length Food & Wine Trails wine cruise starts at $2,274. This includes the cruise cost with transportation to and within Europe, all meals and entertainment, plus an exclusive to the group wine experience with winemaker dinners, parties, receptions and educational wine tastings.

The mission of Food & Wine Trails is to provide authenticity, value and access to the world’s best food and wine travel experiences. Each program is led or organized by a recognized local culinary expert to provide the guest with insight, access and a behind-the-kitchen (or cellar) door experience. Food & Wine Trails is the tour division of the HMS Travel Group, a 25-year-old company based in Santa Rosa, California. The company designs culinary travel programs for enthusiasts and for the creme of the food and wine world, producing programs for Julia Child, Jacques Pepin, and many of America’s top food magazines and wineries. Larry Martin, the president of Food & Wine Trails, is a wine collector, vegetable gardener and the Northern California Regional Governor for Slow Food, an international food advocacy organization. The editors of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine have chosen Martin as World’s Top Wine Travel Specialist for three consecutive years.

Contact Food & Wine Trails at 800 367-5348, or A complete list of 2013 wine cruises can be found at

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Family Holiday Jungle Safari Offered by The Lodge at Pico Bonito, Eco-Lodge in Honduras

October 2, 2012

Spot Vibrant Toucans, Sleek Jaguars, and Elusive Hummingbirds

Let your kids discover their inner explorer on an exciting and educational family adventure through the pristine Honduran rainforest this holiday season. For the first time ever, the highly-acclaimed Lodge at Pico Bonito, perched at the base of Pico Bonito National Park, will be offering a Family Holiday Jungle Safari complete with a guided-scavenger hunt that is sure to provide your children with jungle book thrills.

Uncover spellbinding rock formations, marvel at jaw-dropping waterfalls and catch glimpses of elusive jaguars, keel-billed toucans, vibrant contingas and endangered emerald hummingbirds on the ultimate bonding vacation.

From guided night hikes to exhilarating white water rafting, your children will revel in the natural wonders of the unexplored rainforest with the added excitement of an inspiring, learning competition.

Family Holiday Jungle Safari

From November 1, 2012 through January 5, 2013, The Lodge at Pico Bonito will offer the groundbreaking Family Holiday Jungle Safari – a six-day, five-night package and naturalist scavenger hunt with a grand prize the entire family can enjoy.

Highlights include:

• Scavenger Hunt – During daily hikes led by expert instructors, your entire family will learn about everything from the native birds and endangered species to flora and fauna and geological rock formations. Following the hikes, you will embark on a scavenger hunt with your “Pico Bonito Scavenger Hunt” booklet in hand – checking off various bird species, reptiles, flora and fauna that your guide confirms you spot.

At the completion of the offering period, The Lodge at Pico Bonito will award the family with the most confirmed sightings 20% off a stay at the property between April 1 and December 20, 2013.

• Family Picnic at the Unbelievable Falls –Savor sightings of pumas, jaguars, spider monkeys and over 420 species of birds on an educational trek culminating at a spectacular double-drop waterfall. Take a refreshing dip in the sites irresistible swimming hole before enjoying a family picnic at the base of the unforgettable natural wonder.

• Early Morning Trip to the Observation Tower – Awaken with the jungle and experience a cacophony of sounds as hundreds of exotic bird species herald the start of a new day. On your guided hike you will discover Pico Bonito’s secret spots that make the property a paradise for birders. The journey culminates in a trip to the property’s three multi-story observation towers where your family can take in the jungles astounding scenery from above.

• Night Hike to Spot Reptiles – Search for nocturnal reptiles and amphibians guided by flashlight and the experienced eyes of your guide on an excursion that is sure to bring your children’s adventure fantasies to life.

• Whitewater Rafting – Enjoy a day of family bonding as you paddle away on an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip down the Rio Cangrejal, a world-class whitewater destination.

Rates include two adults and one child and start from $1,069 for a standard cabin for the period of November 1 through December 20, 2012. From December 21 through January 5, 2012 rates start at $1,405 for a standard cabin. Each additional child is $560 for a standard cabin or $669 for a standard plus cabin. Package includes a full daily breakfast. Additional costs include taxes and gratuities. Cabins are subject to maximum occupancy restrictions. Holiday Season has a minimum stay requirement of five nights. The Lodge is accessible from major American gateway airports. For further info visit or call 888-428-0221.

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