Archive for the ‘European travel’ Category

Hotel PACAI in Vilnius Old Town, First Member of Design Hotels in the Baltics, Celebrates First Anniversary

August 8, 2019
Hotel Pacai Vilnius

The award-winning Hotel PACAI, located in the Vilnius’s old city, Lithuania, celebrated its first anniversary. A former palace for the noble family of Pacai, the hotel is now becoming increasingly popular among travelers seeking to unwind in comfort and style and explore the city’s vibrant social scene.

Situated in the heart of the historic Vilnius Old Town of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, Hotel PACAI celebrated its first anniversary since it opened. The stylish hotel realized its promise to mesmerize guests seeking authentic experiences, offering a blend of history and sophisticated high-end design which so far has delighted nearly 25,000 guests from around the globe.

Former residence of the noble Lithuanian Pacai family, the building that hosts the hotel is a Baroque palace dating back to 1677. The historic palace outlived the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth, the reign of Russian tsars, as well as Napoleon and his armies. Throughout history, countless historic personalities frequently visited the Pacai mansion during their travels in Vilnius.

PACAI is currently the only hotel in the Baltic states that holds a Design Hotels membership. In order for a hotel to become a part of Design Hotels, it must meet the rigorous admittance criteria. Most importantly, a hotel must harmoniously blend into local surroundings and preserve local traditions.

Guests looking to capture the spirit of stylish and sensory Vilnius visit from nearly every corner of the world – with travelers from the USA, Israel, France, Australia, and the United Kingdom being the most frequent visitors. As a testament to its authenticity, Hotel PACAI is also appreciated by locals wanting to reconnect with their history, as well as people from neighboring countries looking to try out the best of internationally acknowledged Lithuanian hospitality.

During its first year of operation, the hotel has been awarded a 1st place in the design category at the International Hospitality Awards. Furthermore, it was also included among the best new design hotels ranked by the Surface magazine. PACAI has also been noticed in a variety of regional awards for the effort to revive historic buildings, sustainable attitude, and the quality of services.

“We are a unique hotel in Vilnius and the Baltic states in that we offer the most integrated experience. The music, the plants and the decor are all matched with our theme of un-fussed sophistication. We integrate works by local artists and blend modern aesthetics with authenticity. The 25 thousand guests that have visited us in the past year is the best testament to our creativity and effort to make staying at PACAI an extraordinary experience,” says Rūta Pulkauninkaitė-Macikė, General Manager of Hotel PACAI.

It is not only the historic appeal of the opulent Baroque palace that makes staying at PACAI a unique experience. The guests can also indulge in authentic experiences at the hotel’s restaurants and SPA.

Restaurant Nineteen18, featured in The White Guide as 2nd best restaurant in the Nordics, is located on the premises of the hotel. It invites to indulge in its tasting menus of the New Nordic Cuisine that uses Lithuanian ingredients and local food traditions. The chefs source the food from local farms located within a 100-kilometer radius around Vilnius, ensuring locally inspired gastronomical experience.

Brasserie 14 HORSES, also sourcing seasonal products from local suppliers and infused with Lithuanian and Baltic traditions, is a perfect place for breakfast, lunch or a laid-back dinner. Evenings at PACAI usually end up in SOFIJA bar, where guests can unwind in comfort and style while enjoying classic and modern cocktails, local craft beers, artisanal spirits, champagne and wine from around the globe.

One of the most unique aspects of PACAI SPA is that it’s located in the historical Hotel PACAI and is surrounded by exposed antique brick walls and artifacts.

Member of the Design HotelsPACAI is a 104 room hotel situated in a 17th century Baroque Palace in Vilnius, Lithuania. Opened in May 2018, the 5 star hotel was designed to preserve as many architectural details as possible, showcasing elegant simplicity through local aesthetics. Breaking creative boundaries, the PACAI complex is now a meeting point with local artists and entrepreneurs, and home to the Nineteen18 restaurant, a brasserie and a cocktail bar as well as a SPA, specializing in uniquely tailored treatments and beauty packages.

 

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Insight Vacations Offers Discount on Air Fare on European Fall Itineraries Booked by Aug 29

June 29, 2019

Visit scenic Seville on Insight Vacations’ “Amazing Spain and Portugal” itinerary © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Insight Vacations shows travelers the wonders of Europe in relaxed style that puts them into the heart and soul of a destination, premium hotels in the best locations, iconic sites and experiences. And for bookings through August 29 on travel from from Sept. 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020, the tour operator is offering a discount on the air fare on a selection of itineraries:

Best of Ireland and Scotland: Trace back to Gaelic roots, gaze at marvelous landscapes and cherish warm-hearted communities on this 14-day journey across Ireland and Scotland. In Dublin, enjoy VIP priority entrance to the legendary Book of Kells and a guided walk though Trinity College with a university insider. Meet one of Northern Ireland’s best storytellers, Ronan, as he walks with you inside the 17th-century, gothic city walls of Londonderry. In Ardgowan, learn the wonderous and exciting history of the Shaw Stewart family on a tour with Sir Ludovic Shaw-Stewart, who will personally show you his 10,000-acre coastal estate. Along the way, you’ll get the chance to walk inside the historic walls of the Edinburgh Castle to see the Scottish Crown Jewels, the Stone of Destiny and Mons Meg and also venture into a world of towering cliffs, lush lakelands and villages in the magical Ring of Kerry.

Italian Escapade: Revel in city riches and observe the beauty of Italian landscapes on this 13-day adventure filled with history, food and art. View the mighty Colosseum and stunning architecture of Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches throughout the ancient city of Rome. In the charming hill town of Assisi, marvel at beautiful stone-built structures that overlook the grand Mount Subasiom and visit the actual birthplace of St. Francis at the Basilica of St. Francis, that’s filled with colorful medieval paintings, gold plated ceilings and mosaic-tile floors. Take time to relax on a cruise through the famous sun-kissed Isle of Capri, surrounded by beautiful blue Mediterranean waters. In the glistening city of Florence, enjoy a mouth-watering, traditional Bistecca alla Fiorentina steak dinner and sip on decadent wine at a historic winery in Lake Iseo.

Amazing Spain and Portugal: Delve into the heart and soul of each destination on this 9-day journey through the Iberian Peninsula. Tour the celebrated Alhambra Palace with a Local Expert, taste authentic Pastéis de Belém in Lisbon, and see the ancient Roman arches across the river Tormes in Salamanca. Embark on a scenic drive to Seville to explore the maze of narrow lanes and shady squares of the Santa Cruz Quarter, and see the final resting place of Christopher Columbus, along with his tomb, at the grand 15th century Seville Cathedral. In the historic city of Toledo, visit the workshop of a master craftsman and see how Damascene swords are made. In Jabugo, taste the famous jamon Iberico (Iberian ham) and learn about its history and production.

From now until August 29, travelers can take advantage of an air offer of $150 off per person on economy, $200 off per person on premium economy and $250 off per person on business class with British Airways, American Airlines, Finnair or Iberia Airlines. This exclusive offer is valid for travel from Sept. 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020 and can save travelers up to $500 per couple. Offer is valid on our Europe, Morocco, Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean Itineraries.

To find out more, visit insightvacations.com.

 

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Rian Johnson Casts Ireland as Dream Location to Film ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’

January 2, 2018
Ireland-lucasfilm

Since 1977, the renowned “Star Wars” movie franchise has traveled through many galaxies. Ireland’s Star Wars journey, which began in Portmagee, County Kerry in 2014, has spanned some 2,000 kms of the Wild Atlantic Way – from the south-western Skellig islands to Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head.

Dublin –  Films often become the motivation for fans to follow in the footsteps and that is likely to be the case after the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The dramatic coastal scenery of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way has been wowing audiences since the release of the film – the real-life Ahch-To, where the latest installment of the blockbuster series was filmed.

In a brand new, behind-the-scenes film released today, Mark Hamill praises Ireland’s beauty: “It’s like fairy tale world…you just can’t believe your eyes.”

The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson recalls shooting: “A big chunk of the movie takes place on Luke’s Island, which is Skellig Michael, this uninhabited, tiny little island.”

Filming for Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Skellig Michael took place over just two days in 2015 before moving to the mainland. Rian explains: “It’s a UNESCO Heritage Site, it’s a bird sanctuary, we could only get there for two days to shoot so the vast majority of the stuff set on the island was shot on the south west coast of Ireland because it very naturally shared the same kind of feel and look of Skellig.”

To continue to film on location in Ireland, the crew returned in 2016 and built replicas of Skellig Michael’s 6th century monastic ‘beehive’ huts on the mainland. The location scouts were so taken with Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way that key locations in counties Cork, Kerry, Clare and Donegal were handpicked to represent the planet Ahch-to in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

More background and stories about Star Wars filming on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way are available here: http://www.ireland.com/starwars

Since 1977, the renowned movie franchise has travelled through many galaxies. Ireland’s Star Wars journey, which began in Portmagee, County Kerry in 2014, has spanned some 2,000 kms of the Wild Atlantic Way – from the south-western Skellig islands to Ireland’s most northerly point, Malin Head.

Describing Ireland, Rian said, “It’s a gorgeous place. I feel very, very lucky to be able to get it on film.”

Inspired to see the locations first-hand? Get more information from Tourism Ireland, 345 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10154, 800-SHAMROCK, www.ireland.com.

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Romantic Getaways: Iconic Santorini Boutique ‘Cave’ Hideaway Offers Early Booking Discounts

February 9, 2017
greece-iconic-santorini-e2

Iconic Santorini is a multi-level hideaway carved into traditional caves on the volcanic cliffs, perched 1,000 feet above the sparkling blue bay of the caldera.

(Santorini, Greece) If sitting in the sun, gazing at a sweeping view of the Aegean Sea or bathing in your own plunge pool while sipping a glass of local Greek wine, is your ideal for a romantic getaway, you might plot a stay at the Iconic Santorini and taking advantage of early booking discounts for vacations between April 28 and June 18.

Iconic Santorini is an extraordinary multi-level hideaway carved into traditional caves on the volcanic cliffs, perched 1,000 feet above the sparkling blue bay of the caldera.  Its 19 residences and rooftop decks feature balconies and terraces so that guests can dine, relax, cool off and cast off the cares of the everyday life enveloped by awesome panoramic views.

The serene retreat has been voted “Greece’s Leading Boutique Hotel” at the World Travel Awards 3 years in a row.

The individually designed suites, re-imagined from traditional Santorini homes and craft shops, reflect the island’s famous white-vaulted style and colorful fabrics, adapted for today’s demanding travelers.  Guests live the authentic Greek experience while still enjoying luxury amenities like individual air-conditioning, flat-screen televisions with international channels, private routers for hi-speed Wi-Fi, JBL sound systems and sumptuous 4-layer COCO-MAT bedding.

In addition, discerning travelers, honeymooners and lovers rave about Iconic’s serene fitness and massage suite with its own grotto pool, the outdoor swimming pool with a jetted seating area and the hotel’s modern take on a traditional taverna serving Greek cuisine of the highest quality.

Regular double rates at “Greece’s Leading Boutique Hotel” include breakfast, mineral water, roundtrip airport transfers and complimentary high-speed Internet access begin at $621 a night .  For details of the specific Early Booking Offers for each individual suite, email info@iconicsantorini.com and include booking code ICO-10.

Special Romance Packages that include sightseeing, Moet & Chandon Champagne, dinners and other extras at great value-added rates are available at

www.iconicsantorini.com/iconic-santorini-romance-packages

Visit www.iconicsantorini.com  for full details of each residence with photographs.

 

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Castle that Highlights Wayfarers Walking Vacations’ New Hike ‘Stars’ in ‘Downton Abbey’ Episode

December 10, 2014
Alnwick Castle in England’s Northumberland, which will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode of "Downton Abbey," highlights a new 2015 Wayfarers Walking Vacations trip.

Alnwick Castle in England’s Northumberland, which will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode of “Downton Abbey,” highlights a new 2015 Wayfarers Walking Vacations trip.

A new highlight of The Wayfarers Walking Vacations 2015 program is also set to star in a Christmas episode of “Downton Abbey” on PBS’s hugely popular Masterpiece Classic series.

Alnwick (pronounced ‘Annick’) Castle in England’s Northumberland, will take a leading role in a special Christmas episode as Brancaster Castle. No stranger to the cameras, Alnwick was also the setting for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts.

The cast and crew spent two weeks at the castle last summer, filming extensively in the spectacular State Rooms, as well as in the castle’s grounds and at the semi-ruined Hulne Abbey in the Duke of Northumberland’s parklands in Alnwick. 

Visitors to Alnwick Castle in 2015 can explore a brand new Downton Abbey exhibition, featuring photography, costumes, and props from the filming. It is rumoured that the episode, which will be screened on Christmas Day in the UK, is likely to air in the US at the end of season 5, which runs from Sunday, January 4 on Masterpiece on PBS.

The castle is a centerpiece of The Wayfarers’ new itinerary, ‘Northumbria – Land of Castles, Saints and Vikings’, based on the ancient kingdom of one of Britain’s most remote and beautiful landscapes.

It is one of three Walks new to the schedule. The others are in Italy’s Puglia region and a new take on the historic pilgrimage route of the Via Francigena in Tuscany.

A Wayfarers’ Downton Abbey vacation already includes a visit inside the ‘real’ Downton, Highclere Castle, in the south of England, other key locations and hiking amid classic English villages and countryside.

In festive spirit, the company, which has been providing all-inclusive hiking tours for more than 30 years, is offering ‘a walk in an envelope’ – Gift Certificates which can be redeemed by the recipient for a Wayfarers’ vacation in one of 20 countries across the globe.

The vouchers are available for values from $500, up to the full price of a Walk.

“Our Walk in Northumbria was designed before we knew Alnwick would be a location in Downton Abbey, because it is such a wonderful place, steeped in more than 700 years of history,” The Wayfarers’ founder Michael West said. “As on our Downton Abbey Walk, we aim to give our guests much more than just a sight-seeing stop – we really aim to get beneath the skin of a place and I guarantee that Northumbria will be unforgettable.”

“Meanwhile, our Gift Certificates are the chance for someone to give a truly wonderful gift of one of our Walks as a surprise on Christmas morning – or at any time of the year!”

Founded more than 30 years ago, The Wayfarers Walking Vacations was named by National Geographic Traveler as purveyor of one of the ‘50 Tours of a Lifetime,’ and by National Geographic Adventure as one of the ‘Best Hiking Companies,’ The Wayfarers offers an eco-sensitive walking vacation of both culture and fitness in 19 countries with 40+ itineraries.

Walks cover England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, France, Italy, Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, New Zealand, Patagonia, Alaska, Colorado, Southwest USA, and a barging/walk combination in Burgundy, France.

Wayfarers Walks offer exclusive entrees into homes and gardens otherwise closed to the public, graceful accommodations, outstanding cuisine, and meetings with local residents. Walks are from 6-13 days and are rated on a five-level challenge scale. Price per person is all-inclusive from Day One: including all transfers, hotel accommodation, full board plus twice daily snacks, wine with dinner, tips, entrance tickets, maps and postcards.

The Wayfarers is a member of Trusted Adventures, www.trustedadventures.com, dedicated to the highest standards of small-group travel and supporting local economies.

The Wayfarers Walk Away Guide explains the benefits and practicalities of walking vacations and is guaranteed to inspire new walkers. Available at http://www.thewayfarers.com/walkawayguide

The Wayfarers 2015 Brochure http://bit.ly/1t2wwkr

For more information on all the Wayfarers Walks or the Gift Certificates contact www.thewayfarers.com, 800-249-4620 or email walk-info@thewayfarers.com

Facebook The Wayfarers Walking Vacations; Twitter @wayfarers; Instagram Wayfarerswalks.

 

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New: Moral Compass: Great Places to Go Where the Going Does Good

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Eurail Off-Peak Promotion Gives 20% Discount on Rail Passes

October 1, 2014
Using Eurailpass for the overnight train from Munich to Dijon © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Using Eurailpass for the overnight train from Munich to Dijon © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Travelers residing outside of Europe can once again take advantage of a special 20% discount off the regular price of Eurail Global & Select Passes during the fall and winter season. The off-peak promotional passes are available until December 31, 2014 and pass holders can travel through March 31, 2015. The offer is applicable to all product variations and includes both first and second class.

“The Eurail Off-Peak Promotion has already proven its success over the past two years. Increasingly travelers are realizing the advantages of Europe’s off-peak season,” says Silvia Görlach, Eurail Group’s Sales and Marketing Manager. “It is a win-win situation: not only can tourists benefit from a discounted Eurail Global or Eurail Select Pass, but travelers can also profit from discounted airfares, a wider selection of affordable hotel rooms and shorter or no lines when visiting popular tourist attractions,” Görlach concludes.

Fall and winter seasons showcase Europe in a different light. Sceneries from the train turn into winter wonderlands in much of central and northern Europe, while traditions change as well. Christmas markets, winter festivals and winter sports activities can be discovered across a variety of countries. Eurail Pass holders may also choose to head towards the Mediterranean where the temperature is warmer, yet the crowds much thinner versus summer.

Eurail Global Passes are valid for travel in 24 European countries (including free or discounted travel on some major shipping lines) and offer independent travelers the flexibility to create their own itinerary whilst hopping on and off trains across Europe. The Eurail Global Pass continues to be the most popular pass in the Eurail portfolio, followed closely by the Eurail Select Pass, valid for travel in four adjoining Eurail countries, offering travelers 27 participating countries to choose from.

Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized General Sales Agents.  For more information, visit: www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors.

Eurail Group G.I.E., the organization which markets and manages the Eurail and InterRail Passes, is wholly owned by 30 participating railways and shipping companies. In addition, the Group has many benefit partners, including hotels, transport companies and museums, which offer their services either at a reduced rate or free of charge to rail pass holders.

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Eurail Pass Travelers Save Up to 40% on European Ferry Crossings on Grimaldi Lines

September 5, 2014

Eurail Pass travelers get even deeper discounts on ferry crossings between Spain, Greece, Sicily and Sardinia with an augmented partnership between Eurail and Grimaldi Lines.

Eurail’s benefit partner Grimaldi Lines offers a 20% discount on ferry crossings and a 10% discount on accommodation supplements such as Pullman seats, berths and cabins to Eurail Pass travelers who purchase a Eurail Pass on or after this date. These discounts apply to standard as well as special fares such as advanced booking offers. The discounts are also applicable in the off-season, providing even more value for money by saving 40% when booking ship passages between September 15 and December 21, 2104. Eurail Pass travelers can make reservations and redeem these special discounts via Grimaldiˈs Contact Centers and at its points of sales in Italy and Spain. For more information, please visit www.grimaldi-lines.com.

In addition, Eurail travelers can find detailed information about the Grimaldi Lines discounts on the Rail Planner App. This free and off-line app is available from the App Store or Google Play, providing travelers with valuable information such as a complete list of Eurail Pass benefits by country, a European railway timetable and more. For further details, visit: http://www.eurailgroup.org/railplanner

Grimaldi Lines, owned by the Grimaldi Group, is one of Europe’s leading shipping companies, offering ferry services to the most popular tourism destinations in the Mediterranean region. Grimaldi Lines connections are synonymous with convenience, comfort and safety, while its Cruise Roma and Cruise Barcelona routes, servicing Sardinia and Spain, offer facilities and services similar to those of cruise ships.

Eurail offers four types of Eurail Passes as part of its product portfolio to those residing outside of Europe: the Eurail Global Pass valid in 24 member countries, Eurail Select Pass, Eurail Regional Pass and Eurail One Country Pass. Eurail Passes are available from a worldwide network of Authorized Sales Agents.  Please visit: www.eurailgroup.org/eurail-vendors.

 

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LAST- MINUTE DEAL: Holiday Week in Paris from $1,269 with Air

August 20, 2014

Plunk your money (or credit card) down by August 28 and you can spend Thanksgiving or Christmas in Paris starting at $1,269 from New York or $1,377 from Chicago. This phenomenal deal includes round-trip air fare to Paris, 6 nights accommodation in the 3-star Comfort Hotel Mouffetard, and daily breakfast. Departures are every day from November 1 to December 27, but the package must be booked and paid in full by August 28.

Now that you can get an authentic turkey dinner in many Paris restaurants, Thanksgiving is a great time to enjoy the city. You can zoom to the top of the Eiffel Tower, see the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, visit the Palace of Versailles, or even relish a cup of the world’s best hot chocolate at Angelina on the rue de Rivoli—all without the summer crowds. (TourCrafters offers optional tours of many Paris attractions.)

Christmastime, when the City of Light lives up to its name, is magical. There are Christmas illuminations on the Champs-Elysées and Place Vendôme, window displays at Printemps and other department stores, Christmas markets and ice skating rinks in several squares and wonderfully festive meals in many hotels and restaurants. Most impressive of all, there are Christmas services in the beautiful Gothic Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris.

The cozy, contemporary Comfort Hotel Mouffetard is on one of the most interesting old streets in Paris, close to the Latin Quarter, the famous Mouffetard Market and a metro stop, and surrounded by charming little shops, cafés and restaurants. Those who want something grander can upgrade to a 4-star hotel in Montparnasse, from $1,607.

TourCrafters has a similar last-minute deal to Vienna and Prague that includes some extras. The price starts at $1,539 from New York, $1,595 from Chicago.

All prices are per person, double occupancy, and are subject to availability. Fuel charges are included, but are subject to change by the airline. Airport taxes of $109 per person are not included and must be paid prior to departure. A supplement will be charged for weekend departures.

For more information, visit www.tourcrafters.com, click “Special Offers” and then “Deal of the Week.” For reservations, call 800-482-5995.

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TourCrafters Offers Air-Inclusive Deals for Fall Travel to Spain, Italy, Booked by Aug 28

August 9, 2014
TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive packages to Florence, Italy, in September and October © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

TourCrafters is offering air-inclusive deals to Spain and Italy for September and October, booked and paid for by August 28.

This is the ideal time to travel to Europe: the weather is pleasant, the sidewalk cafés are open, but the summertime crowds have gone home.

TourCrafters’ six-night Madrid and Barcelona deal, for example, costs only $1,919 including round-trip air fare from New York, daily breakfast, three nights’ accommodation in a 3-star Madrid hotel, a half-day Madrid sightseeing tour, high-speed AVE train from Madrid to Barcelona, three nights in a 3-star Barcelona hotel and a half-day Artistic Tour of Barcelona.

You’ll have a chance to see such Madrid highlights as the Royal Palace, the Paseo del Prado and the Gran Via, and then take in some of the capital’s great museums and fine shops on your own. TourCrafters even offers an optional excursion to Toledo. In Barcelona the tour covers Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpieces—the Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, and buildings on the Paseo de Gracia—but you’ll also have time to see the Gothic Quarter and the fascinating life (cafés, market, canaries, flower stalls) along Las Ramblas, as well as to dine in some of its celebrated restaurants.

TourCrafters is also offering the following September/October air and land deals: Rome and Florence, from $1,919; Madrid, Mallorca and Barcelona, from $3,079; Madrid, Ibiza and Barcelona, from $2,559; and Italy by Train, from $2,379.

In addition, for a limited time only, TourCrafters is having an Airfare Sale from New York (JFK) to several European destinations including London, Paris, Munich, Vienna, Prague and Athens.

All prices are per person, double occupancy. Air fare add-ons are available from many other cities than New York. Fuel charges are included but are subject to change by the airlines. Airport taxes ($109 per person) are not included and hotel taxes in Italy must be paid directly to the hotel in euros.

For more information on these last-minute fall deals, visit www.tourcrafters.com, click “Special Offers,” and then “Deal of the Week.” For reservations, call 800-482-5995.

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Fred Olsen Cruise Lines Unveils New ‘Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise’ for Summer 2015

August 6, 2014

Oporto, Portugal, will be one of the stops on the Boudicca's 16-night "Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise" presented by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Oporto, Portugal, will be one of the stops on the Boudicca’s 16-night “Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise” presented by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines © 2014 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Secrecy and suspense will be aboard 880-guest ship Boudicca for a 16-night “Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise,” departing Rosyth (Edinburgh) July 10, 2015. The cruise, presented by Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines links the Duchess of Northumberland’s ‘Poison Gardens’ at Alnwick Castle – which starred as ‘Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry’ in the Harry Potter films – and that of Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior in Guimar, Tenerife.

Fred. Olsen unveiled this participative ‘murder mystery’ cruise at an exclusive VIP launch at The Tower of London, hosted by The Duchess of Northumberland and Fred. Olsen Senior, on July 24, 2014.

Guests will get to take part in this great adventure as it unfolds on board, whilst Boudicca takes a leisurely cruise to Leixoes (for Oporto, Portugal), Funchal (Madeira), Santa Cruz (Tenerife), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Lisbon (Portugal) and Newcastle (UK) – famous as the ‘Agatha Christie Route’.

This intriguing ‘Poison, Murder & Mystery Cruise’ is a first for any cruise line, and is the result of a creative collaboration between Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior and Her Grace, the Duchess of Northumberland. Fred. Olsen is delighted that, as well as hosting the largest participative ‘murder mystery’ event ever held on a cruise ship – which will be officially witnessed on board by ‘Guinness World Records’ – the Duchess will be joining the ship for part of the voyage, along with Mr. Fred. Olsen Senior, it is hoped.

“In Fred. Olsen, I was excited to meet someone with a fellow passion for poison plants, and together we have sown a seed that has flourished into this fascinating cruise experience for Fred. Olsen’s guests next year, linking our two unique gardens,” Her Grace, The Duchess of Northumberland, said.

“I wanted to create a ‘theatre of poisons and poisoning’, and working with Fred. has allowed me to bring this desire to life aboard a cruise ship, where guests can sample something new, something different and something very special indeed!”

“It seemed to me the most natural thing to undertake such a cruise, with so few ‘Poison Gardens’ in Europe,” said Fred. Olsen Senior, Chairman of the Fred. Olsen group of companies. “For me, it is very special to be able to link these gardens with a unique cruise itinerary, and we know that many of our guests share an enthusiasm for gardening. We also know, from previous experiences such as our Titanic Centenary cruise in April 2012, that they enjoy dressing up and taking part in murder mystery-themed events.”

Highlights of this cruise include:

– Visit to The Alnwick Garden and Alnwick Castle – the grand and magnificent home of the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland. Here, guests will not only see the Gardens – which have been transformed by Her Grace with an investment of over £40 million – but also visit the only ‘Poison Garden’ in Britain.

– In Tenerife, discover the mythical ‘Pyramids of Guimar’ and their own ‘Poison Garden’.

– Throughout the cruise, the subject of poison and mystery will be everywhere, with plays, talks and special tours – and a murder mystery starting as soon as guests get on board, which will run through to a ‘Grand Finale’ at Alnwick Castle.

Felix Francis, younger son of thriller-writing legend, Dick Francis, will be penning a short crime story on board as the intrigue around this cruise unravels.

Guest speakers on this cruise include:

Peter Dean, Her Majesty’s Coroner for Essex and a former Forensic Medical Examiner with the Metropolitan Police, with some fascinating and gruesome insights into his varied and often ‘dark’ career.

Doctor Dan Jones, eminent poison Historian and Archaeologist, who gives a closer look into Rasputin and the Borgias family’s darkest secrets!

Doctor Mark Siddall, curator of ‘The Power of Poison’ exhibition at The American Museum of Natural History, will be cooking up all manner of potions and poisons in a hands-on, interactive demonstration.

The Duchess of Northumberland is the visionary behind The Alnwick Garden, the largest visitor attraction in the North East. It is a registered charity, which aims to raise aspirations and run charitable programmes for the education and well-being of the local community. It offers local people access to projects, events, services and opportunities and it aims to promote a healthy, fulfilled quality of life. Alnwick Castle and The Alnwick Garden welcome over 800,000 visitors each year. She has travelled worldwide and around the UK, giving over 400 lectures about The Alnwick Garden and its charitable ethos.

She is particularly interested in natural poisons and aphrodisiacs and has built one of the only ‘Poison Gardens’ in the world, in which every plant is a killer. She had a trilogy of books published called ‘The Poison Diaries’ and recently a ‘Little Book of Poisons, Potions and Aphrodisiacs’ and one of ‘Jams, Jellies and Preserves’, with her own range of marmalades being commercially made from the oldest known recipe in the world.  The latest book, ‘The Little Book of Cocktails, Cordials and Elixirs’ – just recently launched – features some of the oldest recipes for cocktails and cordials ever recorded.

The cruise returns to Edinburgh on the morning of July 26, 2015, after two weeks of mystery, poison and murder at sea.

Prices start from $4125 per person, based on two adults sharing a twin-bedded, Inside cabin, and include accommodation, all meals and entertainment, plus port fees. If guests book by August 31 2014, they can take advantage of free door-to-door travel for guests who live within 250 mainland miles of Rosyth or up to $250 per person free onboard spending credit.

For further information on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, visit the website at www.bortonoverseas.com.

 

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