Archive for November, 2014

Deadline to Purchase Vail Resorts’ EpicPass, For Access to 22 Ski Mountains is Nov. 23

November 11, 2014
The spectacular view from Heavenly Mountain, one of the 22 Vail Resorts included in the EpicPass © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The spectacular view from Heavenly Mountain, one of the 22 Vail Resorts included in the EpicPass © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

  • Park City Mountain now featured on the Epic Pass
  • Epic Pass now features 22 of the world’s most iconic mountains and more than 32,000 acres of skiing and riding for $769
  • All season passes (including Epic, Epic Local, Epic 4- and 7-Day and Tahoe products) are available only through Nov. 23, 2014
  • At the current price, the Epic Pass saves 30 percent vs. lift tickets and pays for itself in just over six days

BROOMFIELD, Colo. -—Nov. 23, 2014 is the last chance for skiers and riders to purchase an Epic Pass, one of the world’s most flexible, popular season passes, for the 2014-15 ski and snowboard season. With Keystone Resort in Colorado already open and recent snow storms combined with snowmaking systems in full operation across Vail Resorts’ iconic mountains in Colorado, Utah and Lake Tahoe, the clock is ticking down on being able to purchase the industry’s best-selling and arguably most valuable season pass.

Why is it so valuable? With the recent acquisition of Park City in Utah, Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass now offers unprecedented access to 22 legendary mountain resorts and more than 32,000 acres of the best skiing and riding in the world.  At $769 for adults and $399 for children (ages 5-12), it also offers the industry’s best value, saving 30 percent versus buying lift tickets and paying for itself in just over six days.

The 2014-15 Epic Pass features unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City and Canyons in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Furthermore, Epic Pass holders have the opportunity to extend their skiing and riding adventures globally with up to five consecutive free days each (when booking in-resort lodging) at the renowned mountain resorts of Les 3 Vallées, France (Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle) and Verbier, Switzerland, and five consecutive free days at Niseko United, Japan.

In addition to adding Park City to the Epic Pass line-up, Vail Resorts has poured $85 million into elevating the guest experience for 2014-15, bringing its five-year resort investment total to $492 million. Improvements include:

  • A new combination 10-person gondola/six-passenger express lift at Beaver Creek replacing Centennial Express, the resort’s primary portal.
  • Breckenridge upgraded the Colorado Super Chair from a quad express to a six-passenger express providing a 30 percent increase in capacity for Peak 8’s primary and most-used lift.
  • A one-of-a-kind “refresh” snowmaking system at Beaver Creek which will ensure, regardless of natural snowfall, the resorts’ guests will always be skiing or riding on the freshest snow available every day.
  • A remodeled Peak 9 restaurant at Breckenridge, providing a warm, welcoming, high-quality guest experience at the resort’s most scenic dining location, sitting at 11,274 feet.
  • Canyons will replace the temporary Cloud Dine structure with a permanent, 316-seat restaurant, a 41 percent increase in seating capacity to the only on-mountain facility serving the Dream Peak and Iron Mountain lift pods.
  • A snowmaking upgrade to Canyons’ pump station, increasing snowmaking efficiency by 25 percent and enabling top-to-bottom skiing and superior early-season snow surface conditions.
  • Vail’s most historic hotel, The Lodge at Vail, A RockResort, is undergoing significant renovations to 56 hotel rooms and the lobby, including contemporary mountain interior finishes, furnishings, soft goods, lighting and the installation of air conditioning.

All Vail Resorts 2014-15 season pass options are available only through Nov. 23, 2014, including:

  • The Epic Pass™: Unlimited skiing all winter for $769. Enjoy unlimited skiing or riding at 12 resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City and Canyons in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. No blackout days or restrictions apply. Pass holders can also enjoy up to five consecutive free days each at Les 3 Vallées, France (Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens and Orelle) and Verbier, Switzerland when booking in-resort lodging. New for winter 2014-15, Epic Pass purchasers will have access to five complimentary consecutive days at Niseko United, Japan–known as one of the snowiest and most celebrated powder skiing resorts in the world. The Epic Pass pays for itself in just over six days.
  • The Epic Local Pass TM  is perfect for people who can navigate a pass with restrictions.  At $589 for adults, $449 for teens (ages 13 – 18) and $299 for children (5 – 12), the Epic Local pass offers unlimited and unrestricted skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado with limited restrictions at Park City and Canyons in Utah, as well as Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe. It also offers 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado with holiday restrictions. The Epic Local Pass pays for itself in just over four days.
  • The Epic 4-Day ™ is optimal for guests planning one ski vacation during the 2014-15 winter season. At just$409 for adults and $229 for children (ages 5-12), ski any four days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City and Canyons in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe. In addition, pass holders receive four free days at Mt. Brighton or Afton Alps. This pass pays for itself in less than three days and offers a savings of up to 25 percent compared to lift tickets. And, for a little over $1,200 a family of four can ski four days at the world’s best ski resorts whenever they choose.
  • The Epic 7-Day ™ is ideal for guests planning to ski seven days throughout the winter season. At $589 for adults and $299 for children (ages 5-12), ski or ride a total of seven unrestricted days at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City and Canyons in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe. In addition, pass holders receive seven free days at Mt. Brighton or Afton Alps.

Season Pass Benefits

Epic Pass and all Vail Resorts season pass holders will receive exclusive offers on lodging, dining, ski rentals, equipment, ski school and special events for the 2014-15 ski and snowboard season at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood, as well as Mt. Brighton, Afton Alps and Arapahoe Basin. Season pass holders also automatically receive six Ski-With-a-Friend Tickets. Access to Les 3 Vallées, Verbier and Niseko United is only provided to Epic Pass holders and not holders of other passes offered by Vail Resorts (Epic 4-Day, Epic 7-Day, Epic Local Pass, Tahoe Local Pass, Summit Value Pass and Tahoe Value Pass). All season pass products are non-transferable and non-refundable.

Season Pass Insurance Option

Vail Resorts encourages guests to purchase pass insurance. All of the Company’s season pass products are non-refundable and non-transferrable; however, pass insurance covers pass holders in the event of unexpected circumstances including sickness, injury and job loss. Pass insurance is $20 for adults and $10 for children (ages 5-12). Coverage applies for all season passes, the Epic 4-Day and Epic 7-Day valid for the 2014-15 ski season.

For more information about the 2014-15 season pass line-up or to purchase a pass online, visit www.epicpass.com.

 

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Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem 5-Week Holiday Festival Begins Nov. 20 at Steelstacks; Tix on Sale

November 7, 2014
Festive Main Street, Bethlehem. A great place to stay is the historic Hotel Bethlehem.

Festive Main Street, Bethlehem. A great place to stay is the historic Hotel Bethlehem.

Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem, the popular holiday marketplace that takes place at PNC Plaza at SteelStacks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is set to return for its 22nd year, with 100 artisans and vendors, a special 50th anniversary celebration by Käthe Wohlfahrt and more. Advance discount tickets for the event, which takes place Thurs.-Sun., Nov. 20-Dec. 21, are now on sale at http://www.christmascity.org and 610-332-3378.

New this year is the Christkindlmarkt/Bethlehem: The Christmas City Movie combo ticket, which includes admission to the “Bethlehem: The Christmas City” film, highlighting Bethlehem’s rich history from its founding by the Moravians in 1741 through the present day.

Recognized as one of the best holiday markets in the U.S. by Travel + Leisure, Christkindlmarkt is a delightful family event that features aisles of exquisite, handmade works by the nation’s finest artisans, the heartwarming sounds of live Christmas music, delicious German and Austrian food, and more.

Each weekend, dozens of vendors and artisans come to the marketplace from as far away as North Carolina, Georgia, Indiana and Illinois. Approximately 135 different vendors will attend the market over its five-week run, with nearly 20 percent of them appearing at the event for the first time.

Among the thousands of holiday gift ideas guest will discover are beautiful glass art, handmade jewelry, wheel-thrown pottery, gourmet foods and hand-crafted candles.

One of the highlights of Christkindlmarkt 2014 is the return of Käthe Wohlfahrt, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. In honor of the special occasion, the renowned German ornament and nutcracker maker is featuring a handful of special 50th Anniversary collectibles and ornaments, all available only in very limited quantities.

Other new attractions include the first limited-edition Christkindlmarkt Bethlehem collectible from Rich Connolly, the popular local artist known for his hand-painted chalkware figurines created with century-old antique candy molds; as well as the opportunity for guests to work with the glass artists at the Glassblowing Tent powered by Think Energy to create their own Stamped Glass Bethlehem Star, the perfect souvenir of their visit to the Christmas City.

Families attending Christkindlmarkt will also enjoy the ice sculpting demonstrations, giant playhouses created by area architects, and visits with the market’s authentic German St. Nicholas.  Plus, the popular “Breakfast with St. Nick” is back Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 and 13 at 9 a.m. During the events, which sell out each year, children and their families enjoy a delicious hot breakfast, goodie bag and arts & crafts, as well as a photos with the jolly, old man himself.
Christkindlmarkt hours are Thurs., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving), Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Advance tickets are $8 for ages 13 and older, $4 for ages 6-12, and admission is free for ages 5 and under. Advance season passes are $16 for ages 13 and older, and $8 for ages 6-12;

Tickets for Breakfast with St. Nick are  $14.95 for ages 11 and older; $11.95 for ages 2-10, and $6.95 for ages under 2.

For complete Christkindlmarkt information, as well as tickets and season passes, visit http://www.christmascity.org or call 610-332-3378.

 

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CardHub Picks Best Credit Cards for Winter, Holiday Travel

November 7, 2014

cardhub-credit card

CardHub.com, a leading credit card comparison website, announced its picks for Best Travel Credit Cards for Winter 2014.

“While American wallets are getting a bit of a break these days thanks to low oil and gas prices, a volatile stock market and economic growth concerns are likely to send consumers searching for deals. Initial rewards bonuses, in particular, have displayed impressive and continued growth in the post-Great Recession environment. It is now possible to get $400 cash, a couple of free flights, or weeks of free hotel nights just by opening the right new credit card.

“But in order to leverage plastic to maximum benefit this winter travel season, you’ll need to find a card that complements your spending and payment habits and then open it far enough in advance of your trip to qualify for your rewards bounty.”

CardHub compared more than 1,000 credit card offers (some are CardHub advertising partners) in order to identify the most rewarding cards for winter and holiday travel.

Here is a summary of CardHub’s Editor’s Picks. For more information about each card as well as CardHub’s money-saving travel tips and expert insights on the outlook for winter and holiday travel, visit: http://www.cardhub.com/best-travel-credit-cards/

Best All-Around Cards

Best Airline Credit Cards

Best Hotel Credit Cards

  • Club Carlson Premier Rewards: 85,000 bonus points = up to 18 free nights, 10 points per $1 at Carlson properties, 40,000 bonus points each account anniversary
  • HHonors Surpass Credit Card: 60,000 bonus points = up to 12 free nights, 12 points per $1 at Hilton properties
  • IHG Credit Card: 60,000 bonus points = 12 free nights, 1 free night on account anniversary, 5 points per $1 spent at IHG hotel chains, 2 points per $1 spent at gas stations, grocery stores and restaurants
  • Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card: 25,000 bonus points, redeemable for up to 8 free nights, and 2 points per $1 spent at SPG properties

Best Roadtrip Credit Cards

Best Cards for Financing Travel

Buy More Time to Pay for Winter Travel:

Reduce Your Existing Debt Burden:

 

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Study Shows 2014’s Best and Worst Cities for Winter Holiday Travel

November 7, 2014
The festive air in New York City is one reason it is the most top domestic winter holiday destination, according to WalletHub © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

The festive air in New York City is one reason it is the most top domestic winter holiday destination, according to WalletHub © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

With Americans spending $53 billion every year on winter-related travel and gear and nearly a third of them planning to increase their leisure travel spending in the coming months, a leading personal finance social network, WalletHub, conducted an in-depth analysis of 2014’s Best and Worst Cities for Winter Holiday Travel. This study supplements the money-saving reports on Currency Conversion and Best Travel Credit Cards available through a sister site, CardHub.

In anticipation of the holiday season, WalletHub identified the best and worst winter travel destinations and departure points, based on 16 different metrics such as airfare costs, flight times, the number of flight connections and hotel costs.

Best US Departure Points for Domestic Travel:

  1. Atlanta, GA
  2. Salt Lake City
  3. Metrolina
  4. Valley of the Sun
  5. Denver

Best US Departure Points for International Travel

  1. Miami
  2. Atlanta
  3. Washington DC
  4. Metrolina
  5. Greater Twin Cities

Top Domestic Destinations

  1. New York
  2. Las Vegas Valley
  3. Greater Orlando
  4. Southland
  5. San Francisco

Top International Destinations

  1. Riviera Maya, Mexico
  2. Cancun, Mexico
  3. London, UK
  4. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  5. Paris France.

Here are more of the findings:

  • The best overall points of departure are Atlanta (GA), Metrolina, Miami (FL) and Greater Twin Cities.
  • The average international flight to a popular destination costs $2,318, takes 18 hours and has one connection.
  • The average domestic flight to a popular destination costs $1,056, lasts a little more than 7 hours and has 0.66 connections.
  • Despite LAX being the third-busiest airport in the U.S., California cities average a dismal ranking of No. 43 in terms of international travel affordability. This can be attributed to the popularity of European and Caribbean vacations over Asian getaways among U.S. winter travelers.
  • Atlanta (GA) is not only home to the busiest airport in the U.S. but also the most affordable East Coast departure port for winter travelers. It ranks No. 1 in terms of domestic flight affordability, No. 2 for international affordability and No. 1 overall.
  • Of the top 10 most popular winter destinations on our list, New York ranks as the No. 1 domestic destination, whereas Maui (HI), ranks last. For foreign destinations, Riviera Maya, Mexico, snags the top spot, while Sydney, Australia, falls to the bottom.

For the full report and key stats and to see where your city ranks, visit:
http://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-cities-for-winter-travel/7930/

 

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Tickets now on Sale for 2015 Kids’ Night on Broadway; Actress Judith Light Named Ambassador

November 6, 2014
Judith Light, a two-time Tony Award winner, will serve as the 2015 KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY National Ambassador. The 19th KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY will take place Jan. 9-15, 2015 (photo by j.w.stoller).

Judith Light, a two-time Tony Award winner, will serve as the 2015 KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY National Ambassador. The 19th KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY will take place Jan. 9-15, 2015 (photo by j.w.stoller).

The Broadway League announced today that Judith Light, a two-time Tony Award® winner, will serve as the 2015 KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY® National Ambassador. The 19th KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY will take place Friday, January 9, 2015 to Thursday, January 15, 2015. Tickets to participating shows are available now.

KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY is an annual event when kids ages 6 to 18 can see Broadway shows for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. A KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY ticket includes restaurant discounts, educational programs, and some very special events still to be announced.

Participating shows (subject to change) include:

Aladdin, Beautiful – The Carole King Musical, Chicago, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Honeymoon in Vegas, If/Then, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots, Les Misérables, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Matilda The Musical, The Phantom of the Opera, On the Town, Pippin, Rock of Ages, Side Show, and Wicked.

Many Times Square area eateries will offer specials for KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY ticket-holders. Check back to kidsnightonbroadway.com for specific dates and locations.

“We’re thrilled to announce that Judith Light, a two-time Tony Award winner who we love to see on the stages of Broadway, will be our 2015 Kids’ Night on Broadway National Ambassador,” said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League. “In addition to her award-winning talents and impressive Broadway credentials, she portrayed one of the all-time favorite moms on a popular TV series. Her passion and involvement with Point Foundation reiterates her devotion and commitment to education.”

Judith Light was awarded her second back-to-back Tony Awardâ for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for The Assembled Parties in 2013. She also starred in Other Desert Cities in 2012 for which she won her first Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play. She was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in 2011, for starring in Lombardi. Light’s television career began with her two time Best Actress Emmy turn on “One Life to Live”, followed by the comedy series, ” Who’s the Boss.” She played Claire Meade in the Emmy winning ABC series, “Ugly Betty” and was Emmy nominated for her performance.  She is currently on the groundbreaking new Amazon Studio’s series, “Transparent” which premiered the entire first season for binge watching on September 26, 2014.  A graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a BFA, Judith has worked in repertory theaters throughout the United States and Canada, as well as a USO Tour of “Guys and Dolls” performed throughout Europe.

Judith has been an activist in relation to many causes, especially fighting the AIDS pandemic and championing equal rights, including: Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS, The Names Project/The AIDS Memorial Quilt, CDC’s Business Responds to AIDS/Labor Responds to AIDS, Project Angel Food, the Hunger Project, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, the National Aids Memorial Grove, Drama League National Advisory Council, the Trevor Project, FCNL and many others.  She has also been a longtime board member of the Point Foundation that gives scholarships to LGBT youth.

“Broadway has always been and always will be such an important part of my life. I love the magic that happens on the stage, the joy of bringing unique and creative stories to life, and the opportunity to participate in such a welcoming, friendly community that shares a deep passion for the art of theatre,” said Judith Light. “I’m also thrilled that we can bring a focus to LGBT equality through the collaboration with Point Foundation, an organization deserving of recognition for their efforts to promote the continued education of LGBT students.”

KIDS’ NIGHT ON BROADWAY will also take place in multiple cities around the country, with different shows and venues putting their own spin on the event, on numerous dates throughout the year. Check kidsnightonbroadway.com for specific dates and locations.

For more information, visit www.BroadwayLeague.com, or follow The Broadway League on Twitter @TheBwayLeague or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BroadwayLeague. BROADWAY.ORG is the League’s new official on-line headquarters for Broadway in NYC and on tour. Download the free Broadway.org mobile app for iOS or Android, and the free IBDB mobile app for iOS or Android.

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Royal Caribbean International Takes Delivery of Quantum of the Seas

November 6, 2014
Royal Caribbean International took delivery of the newest addition to the cruise line’s fleet, Quantum of the Seas, from Meyer Werft Yard. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain (pictured right) and Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer (pictured left) attended the official signing ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany

Royal Caribbean International took delivery of the newest addition to the cruise line’s fleet, Quantum of the Seas, from Meyer Werft Yard. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain (pictured right) and Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer (pictured left) attended the official signing ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany

Royal Caribbean International took delivery of the newest addition to the cruise line’s fleet, Quantum of the Seas, from Meyer Werft Yard. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain and Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer attended the official signing ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany.

With Captain Srecko “Felix” Ban at the helm, the ship sailed to Southampton, U.K., where she welcomed her first guests on November 2, for a trans-Atlantic voyage to her home port of Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne, New Jersey.

Quantum of the Seas will sail from New York harbor to the Bahamas and the Caribbean for her inaugural season before departing for her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China, in May 2015. Sister-ship Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton in April 2015 and sail Mediterranean itineraries.

Quantum-class ships are the world’s most technologically advanced in the world with “boatloads of bandwidth” which allow the cruise line to offer unprecedented connectivity – 500 times more than any other cruise ship; easy-to-use systems that expand guest choices and simplify schedules, plus, RFID technology that speeds up the boarding process and allows guest to track their luggage every step of the way.

The ships offer new unprecedented features, such as RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; as well as the Bionic Bar powered by Makr Shakr which features the world’s first robotic bartenders.

The ships also showcase the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever staterooms with Virtual Balconies, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations from every interior stateroom.

Quantum-class ships span 16 guest decks; encompass 167,800 gross registered tons; carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy; and feature 2,090 staterooms. For more information, visit www.RoyalCaribbean.com/QuantumoftheSeas.

Fans and enthusiasts are invited to follow Quantum of the Seas’ through daily webisodes on RoyalCaribbeanPressCenter.com and also by following @RoyalCaribPR on Twitter.

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