C AR L S O N
WAG O N L IT
T R AV E L
THE VIEW FROM
DOWN UNDER VACATION OF THE GENERATION
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Celebrate Milestones & Occasions s we welcome you to the fall issue of Possibilities, we know as travellers ourselves that more and more people are choosing to celebrate important milestones and special occasions in beautiful and memorable destinations. From a short getaway to a destination wedding or a trip of a lifetime, our Travel Advisors are in the know and can help from idea to celebration. Maybe a getaway to a vibrant city like Las Vegas, which is much more than just slot machines and sunshine, but a city with something for everyone. Are you trying to decide between a cruise, which is
one of the fastest growing trends in weddings, and one gorgeous destination? Our Travel Advisors can help you find and plan the perfect location for your vows, and bring the various generations of your family and friends together to create wonderful memories. And whatâ€™s topping your travel bucket list these days? Maybe a memorable vacation to the land down under? We can help, as travel is in our DNA and our Travel Advisors are there for you from idea to celebration, and for all the excitement in between.
The View From Down Under
Vacation of the Generation: The New Trend in Travel
What Else Happens in Vegas? Art, Gourmet Eats and So Much More Destination Weddings: Easy as an Ocean Breeze
Diving in the reef.
Written By Pat Lee
Australian road sign on the highway.
The View From Down Under
“This will be your worst look ever,” we were warned as we wedge ourselves into skintight full-body Lycra suits before slipping off a diving platform at the Great Barrier Reef. Think giant sausages. Think – well, just don’t think. Because the prize at the end of this fashion don’t is the experience of a lifetime. A chance to slip into the warm Coral Sea and witness a teeny, tiny portion of the 2,300-kilometre ecosystem off Australia’s northeast coast. It’s a chance to see one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A chance to see a living organism that can be viewed from space. What a sight it was. The 90-minute catamaran trip to the Outer Barrier Reef, including an eye-popping helicopter tour, came toward the end of an amazing visit to the land down under. My friends and family are generally nice, polite folks. But news I was heading to the other hemisphere was met with outright hostility, their envy overriding usual good manners. Australia, it seems, is quite high up or at the top of the bucket list for many Canadians. It turns out their envy is well justified. What a place it is. Familiar yet different, energized yet laid back, there’s an easy charm that is readily evident when we land in Brisbane to begin our exploration of the region. Our adventures centred in Queensland, including Cairns, Gold Coast and its charming capital city of Brisbane, which covers a fair bit of territory. Just to give you a size perspective: Queensland is larger than Quebec, and two and a half times the size of Texas. We started in Brisbane, and I was keen to put my advance research to good use, pronouncing the city Brisbin like a local and not saying koala bears. They’re not bears. You’re welcome. 3
Just to Set the Scene:
Brisbane’s not on the beach, in the outback, the reef or the rainforest. But it’s close to much of it, making it the perfect launching pad for adventures near and far. But before you run off to those other places, stay awhile. As a local resident told me, “Brisbane’s got its own vibe.” While it’s not coastal, it’s still a city on the water with the Brisbane River flowing through it, with extensive cycling and walking paths lining both banks, taking you past shops, restaurants, galleries and parks, including a man-made beach for the little ones. Tired of one side of the river? Jump on the various water taxis or free ferries like the City Hopper, which has a set route, to take you where you’d like to go. Want to get a bird's-eye view of the river and surrounding city? Then climb 80 metres up the Story Bridge with a guide who will make sure you scale the structure safely while giving you the history of Australia’s longest cantilevered bridge. We were led on foot to the riverbanks by AnneMarie White, a volunteer with the Brisbane Greeters. It’s a unique program that has
The Three Sisters rock formation in Blue Mountains National Park, New South Wales. 4
hile wandering through Brisbane's funky Fortitude Valley, be sure to swing by the historic and eye-popping Empire Hotel, the oft-renovated but never duplicated Brunswick Street landmark. Built in 1888, the ornate and whimsical hotel is a daytime treat for tourists who can pop in to check out the mind-blowing art deco design, including an amazing staircase, intricate plaster ceilings and a boho chic bar area. Located in the bustling entertainment district, it is also a nighttime hot spot.
Aerial view of Gold Coast.
residents who love their town guiding walking tours of the various precincts. White met us at our hotel, set in a quiet residential district in New Farm, and off we went, learning about Queenslander homes with their raised floors to allow for ventilation during the hottest months, and other interesting local factoids. Our guided meander also took us through the funky shopping area on James Street, the Queen Street Mall and the utterly charming laneways of the Fortitude Valley district where you might grab a fancy coffee or beer to sip outdoors at a table tucked in a narrow winding passage. What’s around the corner? You will want to find out, for sure. A travel colleague dubbed it “crevice culture”, a phrase I’ve shamelessly stolen. Along with being really interesting, it turns out the walk and talk was a perfect activity to get oriented in the city centre while blowing off some cobwebs after a 14-hour flight. Later, we dined along the river, diving into plates of wonderfully fresh seafood that would be the hallmark of our dining throughout the trip. Not far from Brisbane is the Hinterland region and the shiny city of Gold Coast and kilometres and kilometres of beaches. Hinterland is the place to go when you want to get your tropical rainforest on, exploring the flora and fauna of the region, which includes Tamborine National Park and its extensive trail system, waterfalls and birds that sound nothing like the ones at home. We were lucky enough to get off the beaten track in a four-wheel drive, with the guide stopping every once in a while to open gates with a key attached to a spoon, for some wild off-roading on trails not
accessible to most, all the while keeping an eye open for kangaroos, wallabies and other wildlife. But it’s not all rough and rugged in the area. There are also some quaint towns with cheese, fudge and wine shops. (I’ll get off here, please. Thanks.) For a close-up view of indigenous animals – and to have a photo taken with a koala (more venom from home when that hit Facebook) – we dropped by the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the oldest such facility in the world, near Brisbane. Of course, if you think Australia, you think surf and sand, which we first got a taste of at Burleigh Heads, a renowned surfers' hangout. Surfing is a great spectator sport, and we watched from surrounding hills as surfers waited for the perfect wave, with the skyline of Gold Coast shimmering in the distance. Just up the coast is the appropriately named Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast, a city reminiscent of Miami with skyscrapers lining whitesand beaches. A waterfront promenade with vendors, restaurants and hotels is fun to explore as you soak up the chic-meets-surfer-dude vibe. Nearby is the Q1 residential building, once the tallest in the world, and its public SkyPoint Observation Deck providing a 360-degree view of the city. Doesn’t take long to reach the top: the elevator climbs 77 floors in 43 seconds. Later, a two-hour flight gets us to Cairns and then the smaller community of Port Douglas, the launching point for excursions to the Great Barrier Reef. While in the area, we gilded the lily with a sunset sail as well as a scenic 7.5-kilometre Skyrail gondola ride over the canopy of a tropical forest. Thanks, Australia. My bucket list, and my friends list, is decidedly smaller these days.
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The top 3 reasons to choose WestJet Vacations for your next holiday: The top 3 reasons to choose WestJet Vacations for your next holiday: 1. Outstanding customer service 1. Outstanding customer service Canadian vacationers rated WestJet Vacations the top vacation company for customer service, Canadian vacationers rated WestJet the top vacation company for customer service, † and named us Canada’s most trustedVacations vacation company. and named us Canada’s most trusted vacation company.† 2. 24-hour change and cancel 2. 24-hour change and cancel Book your vacation package with WestJet Vacations and if you change your mind you can change or Book your vacation package with WestJet and if you change your mind you can change or cancel within 24 hours of booking without Vacations a fee. cancel within 24 hours of booking without a fee. 3. Over 55 destinations 3. Over 55 destinations WestJet Vacations offers vacation packages to more than 55 incredible destinations in the Caribbean, WestJet VacationsEurope, offers vacation packages to more than 55 incredible destinations in the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and the United States. Central America, Europe, Mexico and the United States. Contact your CWT Travel Advisor for more information and to book. Contact your CWT Travel Advisor for more information and to book.
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The New Trend in Travel
- Written by Anne - Marie Marais -
elebrating the generations of family, sharing experiences and creating memories through travel is why multi-generational travel is one of the current top travel trends. Depending on your background, family vacations or multi-generational travel may have been the norm in your family, but for many it’s a new adventure. I can remember - maybe not actually remember but the pictures and stories prove it - that when I was a baby in South Africa, we often enjoyed multi-generational vacations with our grandparents. We would rent a house by the sea and vacation as one family unit. The same was true once we moved to Canada and our grandparents would come to our side of the world to visit. Vacations were planned, cottages were rented and we would have the chance to celebrate our family with time together.
But these types of multi-generational holidays were not common practice at the time in North America. Now times have changed and we’re seeing more and more families choosing to take trips together. From a relaxing all-inclusive holiday to Mexico to cruising the Caribbean and even trips around Europe. Families of parents and their children are what most vacations looked like, but now grandparents or a third generation are joining in the fun as families head off on adventures together. Multi-generational travel is a growing trend as families are living further and further apart and with baby boomers, or the grandparents, being healthier and more energetic than previous generations, there are more opportunities for such trips. We’re also seeing trips for celebrating milestones and anniversaries that are on a much grander scale than that of previous generations. 7
My personal experience is not that of the true three generations that make up multi-generational. I often join in the fun of travel with my sister and her family, which includes my two energetic and entertaining nieces. Weâ€™ve had the opportunity to enjoy vacations together in warm climates during our cold Canadian winters. When planning such a trip, we ensure that we find a destination that we share an interest to visit, along with booking the right accommodation to allow us time and space together, but also apart. Making sure that activities are planned that everyone gets a chance to enjoy, while leaving enough free time for individual interests or relaxation.
What we truly enjoy about sharing these experiences is the memories that weâ€™re making as a family: from adventures together like snorkelling to simply enjoying an early morning dip in the pool for us younger folk (and yes, I still include myself in with my nieces as the "younger folk") or a walk along a white sandy beach alone. These types of family vacations provide many opportunities for everyone to take time away from their busy schedules and technology to really get back to the roots of what family means. Special moments could be as simple as an afternoon drink between generations or silly fun among young and old frolicking in the ocean or lovely meals shared together without all the fuss and muss of one person doing all the work.
With families spread across the continent or the world, travel together is the best way for everyone to congregate in one destination and enjoy quality time as a family without all the stress and pressure that goes along with hosting traditional holiday events. Travel Advisors are recognizing the importance of creating travel experiences that will please
Travelâ€† Advisors are recognizing the importance of creating travel experiences that will please all from the young to the more mature within one multi-generational trip.
everyone, from the young to the more mature, within one multi-generational trip. Multi-generational travel gives families an opportunity to build memories at a time when lives are busier, people are more preoccupied by technology and schedules and making the
most of the time that we have together is crucial. ---------------
FEEL FREE TO CELEBRATE YOUR LOVE. You’re ready for the beginning of the rest of your lives together. Norwegian is ready to make sure your day is as spectacular as you imagined. Imagine saying your vows on top of a glacier in Alaska, under a canopy on a beautiful Caribbean beach or in a villa overlooking the stunning cliffs in Santorini. We have designed our wedding packages to create your ideal wedding. So, whether you prefer a wedding on board ship or on shore at an exotic destination, our wedding packages and extensive upgrade offerings help you create the perfect day.
Contact your CWT Travel Advisor for more information and booking!
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What Else Happens in Vegas? Art, Gourmet Eats and So Much More Written by Catherine Dunwoody
Las Vegas is so much more than just slot machines and sunshine. Truly a something-for-everyone getaway, whether celebrating a milestone birthday, anniversary, wedding or shopping-centric stagette, or just enjoying golf and gambling
Besides the dazzling casinos, hotels ranging from classics to modern city-chic properties, the famous Las Vegas strip, world-class concerts with the biggest names in show biz, designer shopping and Grand Canyon tours – Sin City’s dining scene has exploded. Culinary travel is big business now, and Vegas is no longer just all-you-can-eat buffets, but home to some of the biggest celebrity chefs’ world-class restaurants. Once Wolfgang Puck's Spago opened in 1992, others quickly followed suit, like Gordon Ramsay Steak, Nobu for Chef Matsuhisa’s exquisite sushi in his largest restaurant yet, Food Network star Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill, and highly acclaimed Mr. Chow, which just opened in 2015.
with the guys. The city’s official tourism catchphrase may be “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but I’d much rather share my findings with you – right here.
Where do I start? The range is vast, depending on the style, location and budget that suits your getaway. Caesars Palace is iconic and celebrating its 50th anniversary. The 85-acre resort has 4,000 guest rooms and two luxury boutique hotels within: Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace and Forbes Star Award-winning The Laurel Collection by Caesars Palace. The Linq Hotel and Casino is a good budget option on the strip, geared to the millennial crowd.
The best view of Las Vegas Boulevard’s neon lights is from the Linq Hotel’s High Roller Experience, a massive ferris wheel that features 28 glassenclosed cabins. The cabins - some with bar service - can hold 40 people each, and weddings have been known to take place here. T-Mobile Arena is a brand new entertainment venue and home to Las Vegas's new NHL team. Auto aficionado? Speed Vegas is a new racetrack where you can take your dream car for a spin, or there's Liberace Garage which houses - you guessed it – Lee’s over-the-top onstage car collection. Topgolf at the MGM Grand is a new and interactive multi-level venue that goes well beyond golf, with pools, a concert venue, restaurants and more.
Take a break from the frenetic energy of the casinos, and duck into the quiet of the Bellagio hotel’s Gallery of Fine Art. Exhibits have included the works of Picasso, Warhol and Karsh.
Most major resorts offer a place of tranquility and Zen, much needed in a non-stop city like Vegas. Noteworthy is Qua Baths & Spa at Caesars Palace: this 50,000-square-foot oasis has healing Roman baths and 51 treatment rooms, including three deluxe couples’ studios.
The blockbuster live performances alone are worth a visit to Vegas, and the range is exceptional. J. Lo and Lionel Richie have new residencies at the AXIS theatre at Planet Hollywood, and film director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, The Great Gatsby) has the new BAZ Star-Crossed Love playing at The Venetian.
There’s no shortage of luxury designer shops in the major resorts, outlet malls for those looking for a sweet deal on brand names and air-conditioned shopping centres. Newly opened is The Park, a $100 million, 8-acre outdoor space between New York-New York and Monte Carlo, with restaurants, bars and, of course, shopping.
Celebrate in the sun NEW IN 2016 You only need
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Destination Weddings Easy as an Ocean Breeze
Saying “I do” to sand, sea and sun A few years ago, I attended my very first destination wedding and I was instantly converted. My stepdaughter Monica was marrying her fiancé Andrew, and it was clear they both had their hearts set on their dream wedding somewhere in the Caribbean. So, after browsing websites and brochures, they chose a date and settled on Dreams Palm Beach, a lovely resort on a gorgeous white sand beach lined with towering Royal Palms in Punta Cana, the Dominican Republic. Family and friends were invited down for the week and the couple planned to stay on for a second week’s honeymoon.
Through Monica, I observed the many benefits of a destination wedding. Once the wedding had been booked, with the wedding package selected at the hotel and the travel arrangements set up so that guests could make their arrangements with the travel agent, there was not a lot left to do until the week in Punta Cana itself. Many things went into their decision, including the availability of flights for friends and family. Arrival dates and departures were also important, as was affordability. Monica and Andrew had chosen to have their wedding and reception on the beach, starting at 5pm. Of course, there was a backup plan in case of rain, and the call would be made the evening before. I have to admit I did have my doubts about the beach in terms of everyone’s comfort, but I was so wrong.
The Setting pproaching 5pm, the hotel set up a beautiful little wedding canopy right near the water on an area of the beach often used for parties. The setting sun was behind us and gave the entire area a golden glow. There were white draped chairs arranged with a centre aisle facing the canopy. This created a beautiful and romantic scene as the couple and their attendants walked down the aisle to stand on the beach with the glow of the sunset providing the lighting. It was a magical setting for their vows, against the backdrop of the blue Caribbean Sea.
re you or someone close to you planning a wedding soon? If so, a destination wedding may be the perfect way to celebrate saying "I do". Consider a wedding in an idyllic, sunny spot in the Caribbean or Mexico or say "Aloha" to Hawaii. Perhaps you’ll venture further afield to French Polynesia or the Mediterranean – or even exchange vows in a memorable wedding at sea. The key is to choose a resort or venue that will build a unique wedding experience that suits your ideas, dreams and, of course, your budget. Here’s a personal wedding-in-paradise story about one couple who opted for a sunset beach ceremony in the Caribbean and were thrilled with their choice. 14
The Reception urther back on the beach, a bar, DJ and tables had been set up, along with a dance floor. As darkness descended, we had a candlelight dinner followed by speeches, music and dancing. The warm tropical air and gentle offshore breeze afforded us perfect comfort.
Weddings at Sea When couples consider a destination wedding, Mexico, Hawaii or an idyllic Caribbean island typically comes to mind. But did you know one of the fastest growing trends is getting married on a cruise? It’s a great way to tie the knot, as accommodations, meals, entertainment and activities are all included. Ships are floating resorts with amenities to suit every taste and budget. The bonus of visiting multiple places, great food and pampering service are just a few elements that make a wedding at sea so alluring. Imagine the thrill of having the captain of your ship conduct your wedding ceremony. Legal weddings at sea while sailing across international waters are now very popular. And if your friends and family can’t join you on the cruise, they can still attend your
wedding and reception aboard the ship on embarkation day, before you sail into the sunset. These shoreside weddings can have all the special touches of a wedding at sea. Or get married at an exotic port of call – aboard or ashore. A destination wedding includes the services of a wedding planner who will look after all the important details, leaving the happy couple stress-free to enjoy their special day. Couples can choose from several packages to suit their wishes and budget, which can include assistance with obtaining a marriage licence, wedding ceremony, flowers for the bride and groom, recorded music, cake, champagne and photography services – and more!
Please contact your CWT Travel Advisor for more information and to book
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everyone closer TOGETHER
A Beaches Luxury Included® vacation promises unforgettable family fun beneath the Caribbean sun in Jamaica and Turks & Caicos. Play on pristine, white-sand beaches. Stay in luxurious rooms and suites, some with exclusive Butler Elite service. Enjoy a whole array of incredibly exciting and fun activities for kids of every age. Beaches offers something for everyone, from unlimited land and water sports to gourmet dining choices for every palate in up to 20 specialty restaurants. Grown-ups can take advantage of up to 13 bars serving premium brand liquors and Robert Mondavi wines. Kids and teens get an endless variety of fun activities, with sprawling water parks, Xbox Play Lounge and the Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street®, with parades, nightly stage shows and more. Best of all, everything is included. 17
LITTLE SMILES BIG DREAMS Kids get extra attention with tailor-made fun. Beaches includes supervised Kids Camp programs for infants through age 12 run by child-care experts so parents will know their little ones are in good hands. TWEENS RULES! Tweens make cool friends, go sailing and snorkeling or even learn to scuba dive. There’s beach volleyball, sand soccer, all the Xbox games they can handle, non-stop waterpark excitement and nighttime talent and fashion shows. TEENS DO WHATEVER THEY WANT With everything included in their stay, teens can do what they want – sail, windsurf, and snorkel or just chill in the teens-only Beach Shack or hang at Trench Town with everything from hoops to foosball. FOR PARENTS & GRANDPARENTS TOO Feast on a candlelight dinner in one of several romantic, ﬁne-dining restaurants. Pamper yourself at the heavenly Red Lane® Spa. Relax beside the Caribbean Sea or splash, swim and sip the day away at a sparkling swim-up pool bar. Beaches is your very own adult tropical playground.
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© 2016 CWT V1–ISS2 Destination Weddings editorial content supplied by Cruise Strategies Ltd/Cruise and Travel Lifestyles, Ontario, Canada. Reproduction in whole or part by any means without express written permission from the publisher is prohibited.