TRAVEL WITH PURPOSE Whatâ€™s Trending in 2020 | Warm Weather Escapes Frozen Family Vacations | Borobudur & Beyond
With personalized touches, added amenities and stress-free planning, our agency designs once-in-alifetime experiences that are unique, just like you. Explore, dream and discover, and let us do the rest. WE PROMISE: COUNTLESS BENEFITS WITHOUT THE STRESS Your time is valuable, so planning your trip should be seamless. Enjoy exclusive privileges like complimentary amenities and custom touches when you book with us. UNIQUE EXPERIENCES + LOCAL INSIGHTS Gain the insider’s edge through our worldwide partnerships and expertise. PERSONALIZED SERVICE We thoughtfully plan unforgettable tailor-made moments – simply put, our focus is you.
Contents Winter 2020
3 From the Editor
30 You'll Always Have Frozen
49 Hup! Learning the Rules
54 The Regeneration Vacation 56 The Life-Changing Magic of Exclusive Group Getaways
58 Flexing My Travel Muscles Fogo Island, Newfoundland 34 Chasing Icebergs on Fogo Island
of the Road for Irish Music and Dance
Cayman Islands 60 A Caymanian Cornucopia Copenhagen, Denmark 70 Copenhagen Food Halls Borobudur, Indonesia 73 Borobudur
Segovia, Spain 40 A Friend's Eye-View
2 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
8 BriefCase: Fun Facts
Scotland, United Kingdom 78 Let the Games Begin!
10 What's Trending Now 26 Travel Horoscopes 2020: What's in Your Travel Future
44 U .S. City Spotlight: Austin 82 Travelerâ€™s Notebook:
Exclusive deals & offers from our preferred travel suppliers
EDITORIAL EDITOR IN CHIEF
MANAGING EDITOR ASSOCIATE EDITOR STAFF WRITER CREATIVE DIRECTOR
ART DIRECTOR AT LARGE ART DIRECTOR
Alice Stroh Kimberly Buerkle Valerie Murray Alexa Wheeler Laura Torrisi Yin Wong Allyn Bacher
DESIGN & PRODUCTION Torrisi Design Associates An Ensemble Travel® Group Publication Ensemble Vacations® is a publication of Ensemble Travel® Group. © February 2020 Ensemble Travel, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without written permission of the publisher. Ensemble Travel Group 256 West 38th Street New York, NY 10018. Ensemble® Ensemble Travel® Ensemble® Hosted Cruises Ensemble® Hotel & Resort Collection Ensemble® On Location Ensemble® Villas & Vacation Homes Ensemble® Exclusives Ensemble® Experience and the floret design are registered and unregistered trademarks of Ensemble Travel, Inc.
From the Editor Dear Traveler,
E ALL KNOW that travel can be a life-changing experience, and is vital to opening our minds and understanding other cultures. However, in 2020 we are also aware of the global impact travel can have on our environment. The average American emits 16.6 tons of carbon pollution annually, but for a frequent flyer, that number is about 50 tons. Yikes! Fortunately, you can now take an eco-positive trip (see page 54 for ideas), or offset your carbon footprint through non-profit organizations like Cool Effect’s Travel Offset Tool. For example, on a 2,500-mile flight on a 280-passenger airplane, each passenger’s carbon emissions could be offset by a donation of just $7.80. In this issue, we’re exploring the idea of traveling with purpose: traveling with the intention of making a positive impact on our environment, as well as other unique reasons that drive us to travel. In our “What’s Trending Now” section, we’re learning about Green Globe Certified Hotels, philanthropic travel, femalepowered cruises, and much more. Elsewhere, we’re traveling to chase icebergs on Fogo Island; balloon over Segovia; attend pub sessions in Ireland; go beyond the beaches of the Cayman Islands; eat our way through Copenhagen’s new food halls; experience Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world; witness the Highland Games in Scotland; and embark on a family vacation inspired by the movie Frozen 2.
I’d love to hear from you! Please share your travel stories with me:
If you’re feeling lost trying to find your own travel email@example.com purpose, you can always consult your travel horoscope on page 26. Once you’ve found your travel inspiration, you can rest assured that your Ensemble-member travel advisor (their contact information is on the back cover) is ready with insider information, and special perks to make your travels out of this world.
Alice Stroh Editor in Chief
ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 3
HOLLY BOWNE is a Michigan-based writer and passionate travel enthusiast. Her work includes content marketing projects as well as travel stories, which have appeared in national, international and online publications. Her journeys have carried her from the natural wonders of America and the Caribbean, to the historic treasures of Europe, to the breathtaking beauty of Greece, and beyond. hollybowne.com. p. 78
SMITA and SANJEEV CHANDRA love to travel together, pursuing their passion for history and cuisine. They have worked together on three best selling Indian cookbooks, a cookery app as well as numerous articles. Smita is a cooking instructor, brand ambassador, food and travel writer, TV personality and South Asian cooking expert. smitachandra.com Sanjeev, a professor of engineering at the University of Toronto, loves to explore the stories of people, cultures and cuisines. p. 73
ROBIN CHERRY lives in the Hudson Valley and writes about travel, food, and popular culture. She’s written two books: Catalog: The Illustrated History of Mail Order Shopping and Garlic: An Edible Biography (with over 100 recipes). She’s visited over 100 countries and has a passion for Central and Eastern Europe. p. 10
RICHARD FRISBIE Chef, publisher, gardener, and freelance writer Richard Frisbie combines his passions for food, wine, and adventure, with his curiosity about other cultures to create compelling culinary travelogues. p. 40
Based in Colorado, NANCY HELLMRICH is a recovering advertising creative director and active travel enthusiast. Her work includes brand alignment projects as well as travel stories. Her recent adventures include grappa tasting on the coast of Croatia, cycling in New Zealand, snuggling up in Sweden’s Ice Hotel, and glamping in the Sahara. p. 26, 30, 54, 56, 58
KAREN LEIVA is the editor and a frequent contributor to Ensemble Vacations magazine in Canada. She is based in Toronto but loves the east coast of Canada. Some of her best holidays have been to Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island with her son and husband. p. 34
Alaska-based travel and outdoors writer LISA MALONEY is the author of three guidebooks, including the awardwinning Moon Alaska, and served as senior editor at Alaska magazine. When she’s not adventuring Lisa plays the button accordion and the fiddle, and is a devoted student of traditional Irish dance. p. 49
VICTORIA MEEWES is an Austin-based journalist specializing in food, beverage and travel features. Her work has appeared in a number of digital and print publications, and she’s written two books: The Fish Sauce Cookbook and The Odd Duck Almanac. Follow her on Instagram @wellfedlife and visit veronicameewes.com. p. 44
DON NICHOLS is the former editor-in-chief of Private Clubs, a luxury lifestyle magazine that won four Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Awards for excellence in travel coverage under his leadership. Copenhagen and its much-heralded food scene earned five stars in his book when he recently spent two weeks exploring the Danish capital. p. 70
Whether skippering a sailboat in the Caribbean or mushing dogs in the Yukon, Toronto area travel writer MARK STEVENS seeks adventure, learning and great stories. He’s won numerous awards for his contributions to national and international magazines and newspapers over a two-decade career. His trusty travel companion is photographer Sharon Matthews-Stevens. p. 60
4 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
EUROPE LIKE NEVER BEFORE
The best premium cruise line just got better in Europe. Discover Mediterranean Old World charm on the best new ship of 2018, Celebrity Edge ®, and the second ship in our Edge® Series, Celebrity Apex SM. Unwind in world-class accommodations. Dine in distinctive restaurants with menus crafted by our Michelin-starred chefs. And, enjoy seamless service that means you’ll never have to lift a finger on vacation. With a total of seven award-winning ships in Europe, you’ll find the perfect sailing for an unforgettable vacation. AGENCY EXCLUSIVE: Book an Aqua Class or Concierge Class cabin and receive $100 Shore Excursion Credit per stateroom!
For more information please contact your ® Ensemble Travel Group Advisor.
Offer applies to 4-night and longer itineraries that depart now through December 31st, 2021. Bookings must be made by December 31, 2020. Offer excludes Galapagos and Future cruise bookings. $100 per stateroom Shore Excursion credit will be applied in the form of an onboard credit to guests’ stateroom folio. Offer is $100 Onboard credit per stateroom for Concierge, and Aqua class cabins. Offer is applicable to new individual bookings and to staterooms in non-contracted group bookings, which must be named and deposited. Onboard credit has no cash value, is applicable to cruise only, non-transferable, not redeemable for cash, and will expire if not used by 10:00 PM on the final night of the cruise. Offer excludes interior, oceanview, standard veranda and suite staterooms. Single occupancy bookings are eligible for the Offer. Celebrity reserves the right to cancel the Offer, correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions at any time without prior notice. ©2020 Celebrity Cruises Inc. Ships’ registry: Malta and Ecuador. 11/2019
A DV E RT I S E M E N T
Breathtaking scenic voyages, immersive Alaska experiences and unforgettable Cunard style.
The spectacle of ice calving from massive glaciers is matched only by the thrill of spotting wild grizzlies foraging in tidal flats. Sail Queen Elizabeth® to Alaska on a voyage filled with majestic scenery and local culture, interspersed with blissful days on board as only a Cunard Queen can offer. The landscape shimmers in these northern reaches, where the sun barely sets in summer months. Bald eagles soar across blue skies and bears feast on salmon in streams. Choose from spectacular itineraries throughout the Pacific Northwest and the incredible wonders of Alaska. Enjoy ample time in port to experience enriching cultures and spend scenic days cruising Hubbard Glacier, Glacier Bay national Park and Tracy Arm Fjord, as you discover all the amenities that only a Cunard Queen can offer.
With Cunard, access over 140 shore excursions, explore Alaska’s wilderness, parks, wildlife and glaciers, including smaller-group luxury experiences such as Whale Watching by Yacht, Private Whale
Watching and Private Hummer Tours. Enjoy the luxury of Cunard’s Champagne Experience on the White Pass Railroad - luxury class.
Join a voyage enriched by stops in the Pacific Northwest or extend your adventure along the blissful Pacific Coast. On a cruise that connects Japan to Alaska, crossing the International Date Line brings you to Kodiak – home to the Alutiiq people for over 7,000 years. Anchorage awaits with its access to incredible national parks and 60 glaciers. Explore the beautiful
➜ F or more information on special offers from Cunard, please contact your
Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor. 6 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
capital of Juneau with dramatic mountains and serene shores and watch the 76-mile long Hubbard Glacier calve before your eyes. Sail past lush woodlands, cascading waterfalls and blue-tinged glaciers in Tracy Arm Fjord and witness legendary gold rush towns like
Skagway that still harbor gold fields from the past. In Skagway, enjoy a custom designed Ensemble® Experience shore event.
Unique Ways to Enjoy Italy with Alexander+Roberts
Italy by Rail – A Flexible Holiday
Sicilian Delights + Antiquity
9 days from $3,099 $2,599 Rome + Florence + Venice
9 days from $6, 299 $5,799 No Single Supplement
Go any day… Choose deluxe or luxury hotels and guided city tours with never more than 8 guests.
Expertly guided from start to finish with all sightseeing, unique cultural encounters, and fine food + wine.
$ COUPLE | 500 SOLO SAVE $ 1,000 PER Pay-in-full at booking for either tour by Mar 31, 2020
For more information, please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor
Save $500 per person when you pay in full at booking by Mar 31, 2020. Offer applies for all 2020-2021 departures of Sicilian Delights and for deluxe or luxury hotels on Italy by Rail for travel through April 2021. Discounted rates reflect this Ensemble Exclusive Offer and are per person for double occupancy on Italy by Rail, and for double or single occupancy on Sicilian Delights.
Fun facts to inspire your travels in 2020
VILD MAD A new app that helps users find wild, edible herbs, berries, and fruits in Copenhagen’s natural landscapes. It’s part of a socially conscious global effort called MAD (the Danish word for food), and yet another brainchild of René Redzepi, the dynamic chef-restaurateur behind Copenhagen’s Noma.
Kee-jera Correct pronunciation of Botswana’s new Xigera Safari Lodge, opening in June 2020.
75% Portion of Guyana that is covered in rain forest.
IMAGINE A NEW WAY TO EXPERIENCE THE WORLD An exclusive collection of unique travel experiences. Discover a world of possibility through hands-on exploration, experiences connected to projects supported by National Geographic and G Adventures, and the freedom to roam, all within the structure and security of traveling in a small group.
For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
The number of gems on display in the newly opened Amrapali Museum in Jaipur, India.
The 250th anniversary of Ludwig von Beethoven’s birth. Party in Vienna, anyone?
Species of birds recorded so far in Iran’s Hyrcanian Forests, a newly recognized UNESCO site on the southern coast of the Caspian Sea.
The minimum height to board Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, the new Galaxy’s Edge thrill ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland.
The cost to offset the 16.6 tons of CO2 an average American emits annually through
www.cooleffect.org. Bonus: you get to pick which project your money supports.
New ships on the horizon: Enchanted Princess, Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas, Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras, Celebrity Apex, and Disney Wish.
The number of tents in the family-friendly new Nayara Tented Camp, set inside a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. #travelslow
The new recordholder for the youngest person to travel to every country in the world. Her real name is Alexis Alford, she’s just 21 years old, with 311K followers and counting.
The number of islands and cays in the Turks & Caicos.
The price to score four Rent the Runway outfits at W Hotels in Aspen, Hollywood, South Beach, and Washington, D.C. More locations coming soon. #travelglam
15 liters Volume of champagne spilled when NASA Captain Kay Hire and engineer Poppy Northcutt christened the new Sky Princess cruise ship. ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 9
What’s Trending Now by ROBIN CHERRY
Cruising Your Way Today’s cruises encourage travelers to push boundaries, post photos, listen to the music, and sometimes, just kick back and relax. As you'll see, whatever your interest, there’s a cruise for that.
Expedition Cruising Goes Luxe Expedition ships used to be bare-boned, stripped down vessels but today’s expedition vessels, led by luxury stalwarts Crystal, Silversea, and Seabourn, are as sumptuous as their other ships. Crystal Endeavor, launching in 2020, will be Crystal Cruises' first expedition ship and will call on ports in the Russian Far East, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. In addition to two excursion helicopters and a submarine, the Polar-class yacht will feature 100 all balcony suites, a spa and six elegant restaurants. Silversea’s Silver Explorer sails to the Russian Far East while the new Silver Origin, launching in 2020, will explore the Galapagos. The ship boasts all-suite accommodations, butler service for all passengers, the highest crew to passenger ratio in the Galapagos and the most environmentally conscious ship Silversea has ever built. Seabourn Venture, scheduled to launch in 2021 was created specifically for the luxury loving expedition traveler. With 132 all suite, ocean-view staterooms with balconies, the ship will call on ports in the Arctic, the Amazon, and Antarctica. For a once-in-alifetime adventure, guests will be able to explore the world below the sea in one of two custom built submarines.
10 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
Music Themed Cruises Jazz, country, progressive rock, oldies — cruise lines have a cruises for almost any musical taste. Celebrity Infinity will welcome Cheap Trick, America, and Jefferson Starship on its 70’s Rock and Romance cruise. The ship will also host The Hollies, The Zombies, and Arlo Guthrie on a Flower Power cruise. Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas will feature The B-52s, Dire Straits, and original MTV VJs Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, and Mark Goodman on its 80’s Cruise.
Female Centered Cruising Crystal Endeavor
Silversea Silver Explorer
Ships Ahoy Ladies! Women are traveling more, and female-specific cruise itineraries focused around different interests including health and wellness activities, excursions to feminist landmarks, or community-themed sailings. On March 8, 2020 (International Women’s History Day), Celebrity Cruises will have the first sailing with an all-female bridge and officer team made up of twenty-seven women from over a dozen different countries. The cruise will have a speaker’s series, networking opportunities, and film screenings aimed at inspiring girls and women to pursue maritime careers. America’s first female cruise ship captain, Captain Kate McCue, will be at the helm. The cruise industry is leading the way in promoting women; between five and 22 percent of all cruise officers are women compared with the flight industry in which only five percent are pilots.
ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 11
What�s Trending Now: Cruising Your Way
Lip Sync Battle:Carnival
Get your money’s worth Tips to save money on your cruise holiday.
LOGODOWNLOAD.ORG Royal Caribbean, Riptide
Princess Skywalkers Nightclub
Royal Caribbean, Perfect Storm
Celebrity Dueling DJs Silent Disco
#Instagood Gen-Z is on track to supersede millennials as the largest consumer generation and these younger cruise passengers want authentic and Instagrammable experiences. Fortunately, with their exotic ports and adventurous onboard activities, cruise lines are made for Instagram and the five most popular Instagram cruise lines are Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Celebrity Cruises. With adrenaline-pumping onboard adventures like surf simulators, zip lines, trapezes and multi-story water slides. Royal Caribbean’s ships are ready made for Instagram. Its Harmony of the Seas is the most Instagrammed thanks to such thrilling activities as the ten-story Ultimate AbyssSM water slide and the three stories of twisting, turning chutes of The Perfect StormSM. On Navigator of the Seas the RiptideSM slide leaves you camera ready and over the edge — literally. Guests on Carnival, on the other hand, tend to post photos from elaborate song and dance performances, glitzy nightclub parties, and guests’ performances in karaoke and “Lip Sync Battle: Carnival.” And of course Disney Cruise Line has Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and other Instagram stars.
Gastropubs at Sea The gastropub craze is catching on with cruise lines and pub grub has gotten a delicious upgrade. Working with Miami’s Pubbelly gastropub group, Norwegian Cruise Line created Food Republic which offers sushi and an internationally-inspired menu of small bites and shareables. Standouts are Peruvian Beef Skewers. Lamb Rogan Josh dumplings, Korean Fried Chicken, and Tempura Shishito Peppers. They’re best enjoyed with one of the 70+ craft beers available across the hall at the District Brew House. Princess Cruises has partnered with chef Ernest Uchimura to open The Salty Dog Gastropub inside the Wheelhouse Bar on the Crown, Emerald, and Ruby Princesses. Start with a complimentary order of Ernesto’s crunchy bread sticks with beer cheddar fondue, but be sure to save room for The Ernesto, a freshly ground rib eye and short rib patty topped with grilled pork belly, Gruyère, caramelized kimchi, beer battered jalapeño, and charred onion aioli, on a smoked salt & pepper brioche bun that’s been voted “Best Burger at Sea” by Cruise Critic.
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Off- Season Cruises Gaining in Popularity Booking cruises in non-peak months are gaining popularity for the savings, extra incentives, and less crowded ports of call. May and September are less popular for Alaskan cruises than the summer months. The weather may be a little chillier but it should be easier to sleep as the sun won’t be shining day and night. The Caribbean is cheapest during August, September, and October as it’s hurricane season. Should a hurricane hit, fear not, the ship’s captain will reroute around it. Summer is low season for Mexico although hurricanes can also be a factor. Summer is Europe’s high season, so book a late spring or early fall sailing to get the best prices. For Hawaii, September and October can be slower and less expensive coming just after the summer rush. Sea Days Repositioning cruises, when ships move from one region to another, are also a good way to save money and can be more relaxing as there are more days at sea and fewer ports of call. Common repositioning cruises are transatlantic voyages often returning to North America and the Caribbean from northern Europe and the Mediterranean for the winter season and from Mexico, Asia, and Australia to Vancouver for Alaska’s summer season. As the cruises are often longer, they also offer unique stops like the Canary Islands and Casablanca.
FEEL FREE TO GET YOUR ISLAND ON. With seven convenient departure ports, 12 amazing ships including our newest ship, Norwegian Encore, island-hopping with Norwegian is a breeze. Paradise awaits on Harvest Caye, where you can splash the day away in a 15,000-square-foot pool. Or paddle along the tranquil coastline of Great Stirrup Cay, our private island in the Bahamas. Ready for an off-road trip? Take a scenic drive in St. Lucia and discover the magnificent Piton Mountains. Back on board, you’ll enjoy superb restaurants with no fixed dining times, Broadway shows and thrilling watersides. Come aboard Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line voted 6 years in a row by World Travel Awards and experience a journey that’s just as exciting as the places you visit. FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL ® GROUP ADVISOR.
©2020 NCL Corporation Ltd. Ships’ Registry: Bahamas and USA. 38715 1/20
What’s Trending Now
Travel with a Purpose Both travelers and travel companies are stepping up to the plate to help support sustainability projects around the world. Discover how you can change the world while exploring it.
TreadRight #MakeTravelMatter TreadRight is a not-for-profit foundation established by The Travel Corporation. All travel brands under TTC group — some of which include: Insight Vacations, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises Collection, Contiki Holidays, and Red Carnation Hotels — give financial support to TreadRight, which in turn supports sustainable tourism projects around the world. The projects are focused on three key pillars: people, wildlife, and the planet. Believing that travel is a gift that comes with responsibility, TreadRight supports 55 projects in 280 communities in 26 countries. Partners include the Kari Foundation in Australia which encourages indigenous and non-indigenous communities to work together on initiatives that will provide indigenous advancement; the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco which strives to keep Cusco’s weaving traditions alive, the Wildlife Conservation Fund’s Big Cat Fund which seeks to conserve all big cat species, and the worldwide Single-Use Plastics Elimination Initiative. To be part of the conversation, follow TreadRight at their hashtag #MakeTravelMatter.
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A&K Bike Shop Program Abercrombie & Kent has over fifty sustainability projects throughout the world. One of their most innovative is the Bike Shop Program which has been set up in eight countries in Africa and the Middle East. Donated bikes are collected and sent to the bike shops, each of which employs five women and makes it possible for them to support their families through their salaries. The bikes then empower their local communities by making it possible for health care workers to see more patients, students to get to distant schools, and workers to get to work in a climate friendly and affordable fashion.
Profile Céline Cousteau, TreadRight Ambassador
Céline Cousteau, granddaughter of renowned ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, is a humanitarian, an environmentalist, and a documentary film maker. She has been the official ambassador for the TreadRight Foundation since 2015. Cousteu’s involvement with the foundation started with her role as sustainability partner with Contiki Holidays. In that capacity, she was lucky enough to experience and film several TreadRight projects including the Mesoamerican Reef Leadership program in Mexico, WildAid’s project Sharks Count in The Galapagos and most recently, the Sea Turtle Conservancy rescue and rehabilitation center in Costa Rica.
When asked which projects she is most passionate about, she answers thoughtfully. “My heartstrings leap at the possibilities of supporting wildlife conservation projects and I will always be present to help defend the species that need it. That being said, I have a real penchant towards helping empower people at the grassroots level, those who have the willpower to move forward but need support to make it happen. This can be done through skills training, education, and access to resources, but always in collaboration with the person in need.”
Cousteau is a powerful and articulate advocate for TreadRight and its mission and considers herself the foundation’s public voice or storyteller. She believes that, “We all have a role to play in conserving our environment; after all, we want future generations to have the opportunity to experience the diverse and inspiring people, cultures, and places this world offers. Together with TreadRight, I am working to support the organizations looking to make this a reality. I know that together we can make a big difference.”
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What�s Trending Now: Travel with a Purpose
Eco-Friendly Suitcases Suitcase manufacturers are combatting climate change with these eco-friendly luggage lines.
Cool Effect By incorporating Cool Effect’s Travel Offset Tool into its platform, Ensemble Travel Group is the first consortium that enables its advisors to help clients offset their carbon footprint by donating to sustainability projects. Cool Effect is a non-profit devoted to reducing carbon emissions and fighting climate change. To date, it has reduced over one million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. Using the flight length and passenger load, the Travel Offset Tool calculates the quantity of carbon emissions a person uses. On a 2,500-mile flight on a 280-passenger airplane, each passenger would use one ton of carbon emissions which can be offset by a donation of $7.80. Passengers can donate that amount to one of Cool Effect’s fifteen projects that are devoted to such causes as protecting the rainforest, saving endangered orangutans, helping indigenous communities, and conserving wildlife.
Green Globe Certified Hotels Part of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, Green Globe is supported by the United Nations Foundation. To get certified, hotels have made changes such as: Using solar rooftop heaters for all hot water needs; Getting water from desalinization plants; Using salt-based pool purification systems rather than chlorine; Composting waste and raising their own vegetables for restaurant use; and purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables grown locally and organically. The following Ensemble Preferred Hotels are Green Globe Certified: the Colony Club in Barbados; Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, and Half Moon Bay in Jamaica.
InCase’s Ecoya® Collection is made using an innovative eco-dyeing process that reduces CO2 emissions and uses less water, less energy, and fewer chemicals. Thanks to the eco-dyeing process, the EO Roller’s fabric retains color longer and has minimal fading when the bag is washed or exposed to light.
Rainforest Alliance Rainforest Alliance-certified hotels are required to minimize their environmental foot print and support workers, local cultures, and surrounding communities and ecosystems. These Preferred Hotels are certified: Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Hotel Andaz Mayakoba, and Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita. 16 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
All of the fabrics including the lining of Samsonite ECO-Nu are made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic bottles. By repurposing post consumer and post industrial plastic waste from their own production lines, Samsonite also decreases its surplus waste and repurposes it. On some models, even the carry handle, ID tag, and logo are made from wood waste.
Patagonia’s Black Hole® duffel bag collection is made from lightweight 100% recycled polyester fabric, polyester lining, and nylon webbing. It is also made at a factory that produces zero wastewater.
SECLUDED SHORES & SUN-WASHED CITIES Beyond the Mediterranean’s azure waters lie tiny whitewashed villages nestled against sandy shores, marble-clad fortresses, and winding chains of turquoise waterfalls—places loved by locals. Follow us down sun-soaked streets to discover the places where cities, seas, and cultures connect—places you won’t find on other tours or cruises. No one gets you closer to the magic of the Mediterranean than Globus.
NEW! GREEK ISLA N D ADVENT UR E
N EW! SOUTHE RN ITALY & G R EE CE
8 Days | Overnights in Athens, Heraklion, Naxos, Paros
14 Days | Overnights in Palermo, Catania, Cosenza, Matera, Lecce, Overnight Cruise to Greece, Itea, Athens
THE CROATIAN 11 Days | Overnights in Zagreb, Ljubljana, Opatija, Zadar, Split, Dubrovnik
F O R M O R E IN F O R MAT IO N P L E ASE CO NTACT YO U R E N S E M BL E TRAVE L® G RO U P ADVISO R.
What’s Trending Now
Stay Calm, Cool and Collected Travelers are embracing nature and wellness to achieve a happy, healthy and fulfilling life. Explore wellness trends that offer the perfect prescription for achieving the ultimate Ohm.
Forest Bathing Shinrin-Yoku is the Japanese term for forest bathing which originated in Japan in the 1980’s. Forest bathing refers to soaking in the essence of the forest rather than literally taking a bath in the middle of the forest. Experience forest bathing while on an extremely slow guided walk and mindful approaches that include yoga and meditation — all with the intent on elevating your sensory immersion. Studies have revealed the many health benefits of immersing yourself in nature which include reduced stress hormone production and improved feelings of happiness as well as lower heart rate and blood pressure, a strong immune system, and accelerated recovery from illness. Forest bathing is available at L'Auberge de Sedona in Sedona, Arizona, Mohonk Mountain House, overlooking the Hudson Rver in New York, the Blackberry Farm, tucked into the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and the Tucker House Inn on the San Juan Islands, Washington, two hours from Seattle.
18 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
Happy Travel The study of happiness is all the rage and one thing most academics and philosophers agree on is that travel makes us happy. Dr. Stefan Klein, author of ”The Science of Happiness” writes, “The pleasures of discovery, the joy of meeting people from other back-grounds and finally the thrill of tasting food I would not get at home usually far exceed all strains of traveling.” Professor A.C. Grayling agrees that travel makes us happy because ”travel expands the mind and spirit, is educative, and puts one in touch with new people and ideas. Grayling is inspired by “great cities with vibrant culture, and beautiful countryside” while diplomat Lu Ping writes “My eyes are refreshed and my spirit renewed by the scenery of places such as Angkor Wat.”
L'Auberge de Sedona
Mohonk Mountain House
Go to Your Happy Place The United Nations annual World Happiness Report includes a list of the world's happiest countries and for the second year in a row, Finland takes the top spot.
In addition to measuring GDP, generosity, social support, healthy life expectancy, and freedom from corruption and to make life choices, the report measured immigrant happiness and Finland came out on top of that as well. The ranking coincided with the country’s “Rent a Finn” tourism initiative which encourages tourists to travel to the country to meet regular Finns who will act as “Happiness Guides.” Happiness Guides will share their knowledge about the country as well as show their guests how to “connect with nature and find their calm.” As Finns say, “When others go to therapy, Finns put on a pair of rubber boots and head to the woods.” Finland was followed by its Nordic neighbors Denmark, Norway, and Iceland with The Netherlands coming in fifth.
Tucker House Inn
ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 19
What�s Trending Now: Stay Cool Calm and Collected
CBD ASAP Cannabidoil (CBD Oil) is the new wellness trend at these three Ensemble Preferred Hotels.
Miraval — Life in Balance Miraval’s goal is to awaken your best self and all activity is driven by four pillars – Challenge, Improve, Renew, and Indulge. Miraval Austin rests on 220 acres in the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve in Texas Hill Country overlooking Lake Travis. Miraval Arizona offers healing energy at their desert oasis resort and spa. Situated on 400 acres in the Santa Catalina Mountains in northern Tucson, Miraval Arizona is a destination resort and spa dedicated to helping guests live life in the moment. At their only Caribbean outpost, the Park Hyatt St Kitts, Miraval St. Kitts, special marine inspired treatments include Salt Bar with invigorating sea salt; Seaside Serenity, a hydrating marine mask; and Mangrove Goddess an energizing ritual that includes exfoliation with ginger grasses and fir oil, and a healing massage with essence of red mangrove and eucalyptus. A new Miraval Resort will open in The Berkshires in early 2020.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Colorado offers a CBD Massage, a deeply moisturizing, CBD-enhanced treatment that allows the oil to penetrate deep into your body, relaxing both mind and body. Spa Ojai at California’s Ojai Valley Inn offers an Advanced CBD Oil Massage to soothe aches and pains caused by joint inflammation and damaged connective tissue. It’s especially beneficial for easing chronic joint and muscle pain caused by arthritis. Spa Solage at Solage in Napa Valley offers Healthy Lotus CBD oil in its massages, facials and body scrubs. The Mellow Me Out package uses CBD oil in each step of the hydrating treatment, including the body scrub, massage, and hair treatment. The pet friendly hotel is even considering giving four legged guests treats made from CBD oil to calm them down after a long trip.
Hemp by Request At the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows Santa Monica, they have introduced a first-of-its-kind Cannabis Concierge program.
Do Good, Feel Good Giving and helping both improves the world and makes us feel good about ourselves which is why experiential travel with an emphasis on philanthropy is increasingly popular. And that’s a good thing for all of us. Passengers on Crystal Cruises have been participating in the cruise line’s “We Care, You Care” voluntarism program for almost ten years now. From playing games, reading, and dancing with the elderly and children at the Grantitos de Paz Foundation in Cartagena, Colombia to assisting with the care of animals at the Samui Animal Shelter in Koh Samui, Thailand and planting trees at the Heidmork Natural Reserve in Reykjavik, Iceland, guests have the opportunity to share in Crystal’s commitment to “bettering the lives of those we meet on our journeys and preserving the beauty of the oceans, rivers and lands in which we travel. 20 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
Recreational Embassy, a curator of cannabis products for the luxury hospitality industry, offers adult guests customized in room menus featuring low dose and non-inhalation hemp and cannabis products. The hotel also has bespoke CBD products including a fig scented, CBD-infused bath bomb inspired by the property’s signature fig tree.
LUXURY EXPEDITION CRUISES
Book now and save up to $6,000 per stateroom
Embark on a One-of-a-Kind Voyage to Iceland and Greenland with the Luxury Expedition Leaders at Sea Join A&K’s award-winning team of experts on an active exploration of awe-inspiring Iceland and Greenland, discovering spectacular landscapes along with a treasure trove of Viking culture and traditional villages. Sail with the longtime leaders in polar expedition cruising on luxurious ‘Le Boreal,’ exclusively chartered by A&K to offer the finest amenities — including all-balcony accommodations, an intimate guest capacity of just 199 and A&K’s own brand of all-inclusive cruising.
Ultimate Iceland & Greenland Cruise 15 Days | Aug 13–27, 2020 | From $15,995 (was $17,495) Reykjavik Post-Tour Extension | 4 days from $4,495 Receive an additional $1,500 per-person credit on any stateroom or suite when you reserve your international air with A&K by March 31, 2020. NEW! Waived single supplement for solo travellers. For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel ® Group Advisor.
Offers valid for new bookings only through March 31, 2020. Waived single supplement valid for solo travellers in stateroom categories 1–3 and not combinable with Marco Polo Club® or any other single supplement discounts. International air credit of $1,500 per person valid for all staterooms and suites. Air must be booked and ticketed through A&K USA, LLC. Airfare must be paid in full by the traveller for ticket issuance. Air credit will appear as a discount off the cruise on the traveller’s invoice. Offer subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time. Other restrictions may apply. ©2019 Abercrombie & Kent USA, LLC CST#2007274-20
What’s Trending Now
Consider the Alternatives Travel to lesser known destinations where you can experience authentic places with fewer crowds. Osaka Ankara
Second City Travel
Small City Index
We've officially declared 2020 to be the year of the second city traveler. Second cities are described as “not the first city that comes to mind when you think of a country.” Mention England and London springs to mind; dig a little deeper and you’ll find that Manchester is a fascinating destination.
Monocle magazine just launched its inaugural Small Cities Index identifying the top 25 small cities in the world. Lausanne took the top spot thanks in part to its global outlook, multilingual population, public transport (it’s the smallest city in the world with a metro), and beautiful natural setting on the banks of Lake Geneva. For travelers, it also has some of the world’s best hotels including the Beau-Rivage Palace.
So in 2020, instead of going to Paris, San Francisco and Tokyo, travelers are heading to Marseille, San Jose, and Osaka where they’ll encounter fewer crowds and lower prices while forgoing over touristed destinations for a more authentic experience. A few others to consider: Belfast over Dublin; Ankara rather than Istanbul; Porto (another favorite) instead of Lisbon; and Fez (a fabulous place) in lieu of Marrakech; Hamburg over Berlin.
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Rounding out the top five are Boulder, Colorado with 300 sunny days a year; Bergen, Norway, the gateway to the fjords; Hobart, Australia, the capital of the island of Tasmania; and Chigasaki, Japan, famed for its surfing scene.
A DV E RT I S E M E N T
The Magic of Insight Vacations When you travel with Insight Vacations every second is magical. You won’t just see a destination, you will meet it, feel it and taste it. Travel in style and stay at premium hotels in the right location. Discover new cultures and people with authentic dining experiences that take you to the heart of a destination.
CHOOSE FROM OVER 120 TRIPS TO OVER 50 COUNTRIES, EACH CRAFTED WITH GREAT CARE TO SHOW YOU ALL
Experience some of the most iconic and remarkable destinations throughout Europe, the USA and Canada and beyond. With a mix of dining experiences, meaningful interactions with local experts and exciting cultural activities, we offer a unique collection of stylish journeys for you to choose from.
THE SIGHTS AND THE INSIGHTS.
Get up close and personal with your passionate Travel Director who is an expert at delivering a seamless, magical travel experience. Our Travel Directors and Local Experts show you the must-see sights and reveal the insights within each destination. Dive deeper with unique Insight Experiences that are unavailable to the independent traveler. ➜ For special offers from Insight
Vacations please see page 84. Contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor to book your 2020 magical Insight Vacation and start creating memories that will last a lifetime.
Meet amazing people who open their homes and hearts, inviting you to experience the destination as a local. Taste the flavors of the destination with a variety of exciting and delicious ways to dine. Hand-picked hotels are always in the right locations – be they central or scenic and with no more than 40 and an average of 32, our groups are just the right size. Large enough to bring likeminded guests together and small enough to travel with ease.
ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 23
A DV E RT I S E M E N T
With apologies to Sir Francis, some of us won’t be sailing to Antarctica via Drake Passage next year. We’ll be jetting over instead. In Business Class, no less. All thanks to the cleverly named “Antarctica Bridge,” a luxurious new air and sea expedition from Silversea Expedition Cruises. The adventure begins with reduced international Business Class, or free Economy Class, round trip tickets to Punta Arenas, Chile. There, we’ll enjoy a welcome reception, a hotel stay, and a bon voyage celebration before nestling into spacious Business Class seats for a spectacular flight over Drake Passage, straight to Antarctica’s King George Island. Then, fresh from our flyover and brimming with excitement, we’ll embark on a cruise to Antarctic Sound, the Antarctic Peninsula, and the South Shetland Islands aboard Silversea’s luxurious Silver Explorer. With accommodations for up to 144 guests, Silversea’s Silver Explorer expedition cruise ship is custombuilt for navigating waters in some of the world’s most remote ➜ C ontact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor to secure your place on Silversea’s
amazing Antarctica Bridge.
24 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
destinations. A strengthened hull with a Lloyd’s Register ice-class notation (1A) for passenger vessels enables Silver Explorer to safely push through ice floes with ease. For six glorious days, we’ll cruise seas of glass, ogle giant prisms of ice riding atop the ink-blue sea, revel in the stark beauty around us, and delight in elephant seals and raucous rookeries of penguins unafraid and unperturbed by our presence. Expertly guided Zodiac excursions with high-tech exploration gear ensure each day is both exhilarating and fascinating. Back on board the ship, warm rejuvenation awaits in the sauna and steam rooms of Zagara Spa & Salon and what is very possibly the southernmost afternoon tea in the world.
UNIQUE TRAVEL EXPERIENCES Travel with Tauck along the scenic Yellow Roads of Europe and become part of the places you’re invited to discover. Explore the Louvre and the Vatican during visits for Tauck guests after hours. Make yourself at home in royal castles, restored convents, country châteaux, Spanish paradors, chic Alpine resorts, grand hotels, and charming inns. Meet chefs, artists, dancers, equestrians and royalty who inspire you with their passions and perspectives. Wine and dine with the locals in their homes, palaces, pubs, and vineyards. And return home with a real sense of what life is like wherever you travel with Tauck.
For full details on 2020 and 2021 Europe departures, please contact your preferred Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
TRAVEL H OR OS COP ES 2 02 0 by NANCY HELLMRICH
ARIES (Mar 21 - Apr 19) Your singular enthusiasm and an unexpected influx of time fuel an extended solo trip related to a future ambition, such as a photo safari in the Netherlands.
LIBRA (Sep 23 - Oct 22) With Mars in your 2nd house, you jump at the chance for a work trip to an exquisite locale – a palace or the opera? Spend free time outdoors to avoid misunderstandings.
TAURUS (Apr 20 - May 20) This year, money that was bound up breaks free, allowing you to invest in a decadent escape with your posse … in Mexico, Costa Rica, or the Dominican Republic.
SCORPIO (Oct 23 - Nov 21) If you’ve calculated correctly, the change you’ve been working toward will come to fruition. A recovery trip in Greece or Fiji could intensify a personal connection.
GEMINI (May 21 - Jun 20) Hyperactive and highly social, you’re in for several short, fun adventures that allow for maximum self expression. Summer in a city is a must. New York? Paris? Montreal?
SAGITTARIUS (Nov 22 - Dec 21) Ruled by abundant Jupiter, you’ll rebound from last year with a wild ride. Take a hot minute to clarify plans before running off to Patagonia or the Himalayas.
CANCER (Jun 21 - Jul 22) Your open-hearted nurturing lifts another’s spirits when you invite them to a personal sanctuary – an Arizona spa, Hawaiian golf course, or Spanish museo.
CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19) Despite tight funds, an international initiative results in productive teamwork and a rare surfacing of your inner partier. Australia and Brazil are strong contenders.
LEO (Jul 23 - Aug 22) Bold moves bring about victory over a nemesis and a celebratory trip that mixes business with pleasure may lead to a dramatic romance. See and be seen in Dubai.
AQUARIUS (Jan 20 - Feb 18) This year brings a long journey, a dramatic change in your social circle, and growth. A higher calling sends you off grid. Kilimanjaro? Antarctica? Or perhaps the Amazon?
VIRGO (Aug 23 - Sep 22) There’s little time to process all that’s happening, so resist the urge to be alone. Loved ones help you “go with the flow” on a raucous trip in the Caribbean or Argentina.
PISCES (Feb 19 - Mar 20) Finally, things calm down, work delivers long-awaited rewards, and summer is freed up for spiritual renewal. Follow your intuition to India, California, or Morocco.
26 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
THE WORLD AGENCY EXCLUSIVE OFFER: FREE AUCKLAND HARBOUR CRUISE
AGENCY EXCLUSIVE OFFER: FREE AUCKLAND HARBOUR CRUISE
ESSENTIAL NEW ZEALAND
9 DAYS US $1511
Get to know both of New Zealand’s islands by taking in some of their most popular sites. Travel from Auckland to Christchurch, visiting Rotorua, Queenstown and Milford Sound in between.
BEST OF BOTH ISLANDS NZ SELF DRIVE
10 DAYS US $1417
This self-drive tour combines the highlights of New Zealand’s North and South islands to create a swift, yet satisfying 10 day journey.
...it’s what we’ve been doing for 50 years SAVE
AUCKLAND & QUEENSTOWN
10 DAYS $1999
FIJI NORTHERN ISLANDS 10 DAYS $2469
QUINTESSENTIAL JAPAN 10 DAYS $4359
The very essence of this special country is revealed with stays in its vibrant capital, Tokyo and its historic ancient capital, the beautiful Kyoto. A further stay in Hakone National Park with the nearby Mount Fuji.
REYKJAVIK & GOLDEN CIRCLE 5 DAYS $3549
Discover Reykjavik and the beautiful scenery of the Golden Circle and South Iceland on this introductory tour of Iceland. Experience a taste of the city’s culinary scene before exploring Solheimajokull.
Discover a Fiji rarely seen by tourists on this exclusive escape to the North, known as the soft coral capital of the world and the hidden paradise of Fiji. Complimentary Honeymoon Package Offer!
13 DAYS $4935
An African safari touches something deep within all of us, it is an experience that will never be forgotten. Explore some of the finest national parks and game reserves in Kenya and Tanzania.
This vacation is packed with land and nature. Explore Auckland and visit wineries on beautiful Waiheke Island plus more.
WONDERS OF EAST AFRICA
WONDERS OF PERU 7 DAYS $875
Spend some time in cosmopolitan Lima enjoying the vibrant energy and fantastic cuisine. A stop in culture rich Cusco and the Sacred Valley is the perfect lead up to a visit to the ancient Incan city of Machu Picchu.
CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL GROUP ADVISOR TO BOOK YOUR NEXT VACATION Prices are “from” per person in US dollars. Please enquire about US Gateways and pricing. Twin/double share accommodation. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travelers are available on request - please enquire.
TA H I T I
PA R I S
Welcome to Travel Inspired by Tahiti. Onboard our new fleet of Tahitian Dreamliners, youâ€™ll be immersed in pure luxury. Full lie-flat seats in Poerava Business. Spacious 2-3-2 seating in the truly Premium Economy cabin. And all-inclusive Moana Economy that will remind you of the glory days of air travel. Make your dreams come true on Air Tahiti Nui.
For more information, please contact your Ensemble Travel Group Advisor.
YOU’LL ALWAYS HAVE FROZEN by NANCY HELLMRICH
Right. So. Disney’s Frozen 2 ™ happened
and all the little princes and princesses are happy. Really happy. So happy that parents the world over are learning to live with sudden outbursts of “Into the Unknoooooown!” in not so outbursty places like the grocery store, the library, and the back seat of the car. And then there’s the accompanying blitz of merchandise, a dazzling array of mementos that ignite deep yearning in both the young and old. This begs the question, well, two questions actually. Do you stick to your sober parental commitment to spend money on experiences rather than things? Or do you cave in and buy up all the merch you can find? I’m going to recommend the former. Primarily because, deep in my heart, I know that travel allows you to find your true north in life. At least it did for me. Secondarily because, as Olaf the snowman put it so perfectly, “you’re older and thus all knowing.” Now that that’s settled, let’s talk about how you can make Disney’s newest cultural phenomenon into a learning experience that fuels your youngster’s craving for adventure until the end of time. As I see it, there are three options: go with the obvious, go with the original, or take your loved ones into the unknown. Rest assured, no matter which you choose, the kingdom will be saved. As of this writing, worldwide box office figures for the film had surpassed a billion dollars. And, yes, you’ll probably acquire a bit of merchandise at some point too. But that’s normal.
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THE OBVIOUS: A Journey to the Source Long ago, a visionary named Walt Disney made that same commitment to experiences that you did. So it’s a given that you might want to take your little reindeer to the source of all that is Frozen. Or sources, I should say, as you’ve got a lot of options here. Walt Disney World Resort® in balmy Florida comes to mind. This, of course, can be paired with a Disney Cruise departing from Port Canaveral or Miami. If your true north is further west, Disneyland Resort®in California, never fails to please. Alternately, you could aim for Disneyland in Paris, Tokyo, Shanghai, or Hong Kong. Yes, parents, Olaf speaks French, Japanese, and Chinese now too. The little guy is growing up so fast. For the truly committed, Disney Cruise Line will ferry your bundles of joy as far north as you can go to Norwegian fjords, Finland, Sweden, and Iceland, too. Adventures by Disney®, their land tour operation, has a similarly Northuldran itinerary. That’s a lot of options, but let’s face it, Disney understands kids, even grown up ones. If they didn’t, would they have cute little Olaf cake pops at their resorts? No, they would not.
Disney Magic in Norway
Denali National Park, Alaska
THE ORIGINAL: The One You Can’t Let Go If your Arendelle villagers are still throwing open doors in the house and belting out “Let it go!” then a wintery wonderland destination is likely to spark their fondness for the original adventures of Elsa and Anna. I must admit, for experiences that are based in reality rather than fantasy, the options are truly fantastic. Alaska has icy fjords, deep forests, river rafting, an ice hotel, and ice museum that are part of a hot springs resort. Try not to scream, okay? If you’re inclined to go Scandinavian, I can recommend the Ice Hotel in Sweden as a sparkly, wintertime, character-building experience. You can find similar igloo camps and ice hotels in Norway, Finland, Sweden, Austria, and outside Quebec City in Canada. If your kids are too young to spend the night, stay in a regular hotel nearby and dazzle them with a day tour instead. Speaking of daytime activities, don’t miss the chance to meet with the original Sven herders, the Lapland Sámi people. You might also want to
Ice Hotel, Sweden
Sami child, Sweden
use your parental powers to mix in snow slides, ice sculptures, dogsledding, snowmobiling, or skiing. The cherry on top? The possibility of seeing the Northern Lights glowing in the night sky.
Northern Lights, Finland
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Acadia National Park
THE UNKNOWN: Seek Out the Elemental Spirits Since Frozen 2 is set in the fall, a family vacation in an enchanted forest is perhaps truest to the film’s theme. Imagine frolicking in swirling piles of leaves, rafting down a river of memories, encountering the elements of nature, and playing charades beside a crackling fire. This type of adventure lends itself nicely to a scavenger hunt in which you search for a salamander, morning mist, a face in the rocks, and … Samantha? Closer to home, you can chase the autumn colors on a journey to the Great Lakes & New England or tour one of our many leafy national parks. Overseas, your family might enjoy a European river cruise in the land of fairytale castles. And mini Kristoffs are sure to be animated when they come face-toface with real reindeer at Scotland’s Cairngorms Reindeer Centre, Tromsø Arctic Reindeer or Viewpoint Snøhetta in Norway, or Sweden’s Reindeer Lodge Nutti Sámi Siida.
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Norwegian fjord horse
Speaking of four-legged friends, how about that water spirit? If you were as mesmerized as I was by the Nøkk, as it’s known in Scandinavian lore, you’ll be pleased to know there is such a thing, sort of. Norwegian fjord horses are small, strong, and agile. They are one of the purest horse breeds in the world and a beauty to behold. While any equine experience might very well satisfy a quest for this particular spirit, purists will head for the Bergen region of Norway, visit the Norwegian Fjord Horse Centre, and live happily ever after.
by KAREN LEIVA
Fogo Island Inn
FOGO ISLAND INN Fogo Island | Newfoundland
Fogo Island Inn Dining Room
34 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
Fogo Island Inn is on an island, off an island, at one of the four corners of the Earth. Situated along Iceberg Alley, all 29 rooms and suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto the most powerful ocean on the planet. The Inn delivers genuine, place-specific hospitality in a stark, unforgiving wilderness. Furnished with handmade quiet luxuries, it serves as a refuge from the numbing uniformity of modern times.
Fogo Island Inn Room
Fogo Island Inn is a 100% social business and a community asset. There is no private gain; all operating surpluses are reinvested in the initiatives of Shorefast, a Canadian charity dedicated to building economic and cultural resilience on Fogo Island. Ensemble Exclusive Amenities • $100 CAD hotel credit per room, per stay • Upgraded room at time of check-in when available • Early check-in / late check-out when available
Iceberg Alley: Fogo Island is one of the top places in Canada to see 10,000-yearold icebergs.
Rounding a corner on a walking path, my friends and I, bundled in winter coats and boots despite it being May, are gawking at a blue iceberg with jagged edges. We’ve been here on Fogo Island, Newfoundland, for a few days and have already seen many icebergs, but this is the first bright blue one – and it’s extraordinary. We snap photos (never quite capturing this iceberg’s magnificence) and, suddenly, there is an incredible thunder. Literally, within seconds, the iceberg shoots water into the air and then disappears. More than 10,000 years old, the iceberg has split in half and rolled upside down. Its journey from the Arctic almost complete. “You can wait forever to see that, and it wouldn’t happen,” says our guide, Fogo Islander Al Dwyer. “I’ve only seen it happen, maybe, three times in my lifetime.” We are on a walking tour with Al, whose family has lived on this island for five generations. A retired schoolteacher, Al is also a community host with the Fogo Island Inn. All eyes have been on this rugged fishing village since the inn opened in 2013. An inspiring example of sustainable tourism, the Fogo Island Inn is a not-for-profit luxury hotel built by entrepreneur Zita Cobb, born and raised here. The inn employs locals, like Al, to give ‘come-from-aways’, a typical Newfoundlander welcome, and show them around. I’ve had the good fortune of visiting Fogo Island twice in recent years – both times in iceberg season. Fogo Island is one of the key spots in this area known as Iceberg Alley, stretching from Labrador and beyond Fogo Island to the southeast coast of Newfoundland. Most of Newfoundland’s icebergs have made their way from Greenland. It can take several years before they reach Canadian shores.
My first time seeing an iceberg was in Fogo Island. I traveled in late June 2018, but at that time, the icebergs had mostly passed. I got lucky on a boat tour, getting close to a large iceberg. It was thrilling, and I was hooked. I returned in May 2019, and it was perfect timing for the start of the season. When traveling to Fogo Island, many people fly to Gander (made famous in the Come From Away musical) and rent a car or charter a flight to Fogo Island Inn. We rent a car. Not five minutes off the ferry that connects Fogo Island to the mainland, and my friends are calling out: “Iceberg!” Making our way across the island over the next few days, we stop repeatedly to take photos. It’s exciting to see that around almost every corner and, in every cove, there is ice. One morning, we wake to find the area around Fogo Island Inn, that was clear just the day before, suddenly full of “pack ice” (which is basically sea ice that is on the move). Days later, it will be gone. We are fortunate to be there for Community Quilt Hang Out day to see the contrast of traditional hand-made quilts flapping in the wind alongside the ice. On our walking tour, we spot many more icebergs along the coast. I ask Al, having lived on these lands his entire life, if he ever tires of seeing them. “We love them up here, and I just can’t wait for the icebergs to pass our way. There’s something about where they came from and how they were formed – it’s remarkable,” he says. “It doesn’t matter if you see them every year or once in a lifetime – it’s spectacular.” I couldn’t agree more. I’m already planning my return to Fogo Island.
To book your trip to Fogo Island, please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 35
more time to spend together — that’s Princess
Sail on the newest ships, designed with Princess MedallionClass™
ind your happy place on one of the new ships that rounds out the Royal class collection: Sky Princess, Enchanted Princess and the newly announced Discovery Princess. These ships all feature Princess MedallionClass™ to make your cruise even easier, so you can focus on enjoying the world with your favorite people in it. SM
Why you’ll love Princess MedallionClass:
Think faster boarding. Being able to order whatever you need – burger and beer, sunscreen, even spa services – wherever you are. An easy way to find family and friends, or any location on board.
Why you’ll love the new ships:
There’s the Sky Suites, which have just about anything you could want: 270-degree views, the largest balcony at sea, even a dedicated Suite Experience Manager. Brand-new entertainment, including Take Five, the only jazz theater at sea, and Princess Live! and Café. A French bistro from a three Michelin-star chef. And so much more.
11-Day Scandinavia & Russia
7-Day Western Caribbean
Sky Princess Aug 24, 2020
Enchanted PrincessSM Nov 21, 2020
Discovery PrincessSM Nov 17, 2021
Roundtrip Copenhagen SM
Balcony fares from*
*Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses of up to $205 are additional
Roundtrip Ft. Lauderdale Balcony fares from*
*Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses of up to $150 are additional
Barcelona to Rome Balcony fares from*
*Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses of up to $110 are additional
Enjoy up to $75 onboard credit per stateroom^
For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel Group Advisor. ®
†Certain restrictions apply, please refer to your travel advisor for complete term, conditions and definitions that apply to all bookings. Offer valid 12/11/19 to 2/29/20.*Fare based on lead-in balcony categories on a space-available basis at time of booking. Fares for other dates may vary. Fares are per person, non-air, cruise-only, based on double occupancy and apply to the first two passengers in a state-room. These fares do not apply to singles or third/ fourth-berth passengers. This offer is capacity controlled and may not be combinable with any other public, group or past passenger discount, including onboard credits. Fares quoted in U.S. dollars. ^Up to $75 onboard spending money is per stateroom and is applicable to first/second-berth guests only. Third/fourth-berth guests are not eligible. Onboard spending money may be used on a single voyage only, is not redeemable for cash, cannot be used in the casino and expires at the end of that voyage. Offer is not transferable and may not be combinable with other select offers or other onboard credits. Onboard spending money is quoted in U.S. dollars and is based on the ship’s onboard currency. Void where prohibited by law. ©2019, Princess Cruise Lines, Ltd. Ships of Bermudan and British registry.
Exclusive Complimentary Roundtrip Hotel Transfers & Spa Credit! 24-Hour All-Inclusive RIU Hotels & Resorts feature palatial architecture in stunning beachfront settings throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama. Indulge in a great variety of restaurants offering impeccable service. Refresh yourself in elegant infinity pools with swim-up bars and jacuzzis, and relax in tastefully decorated junior suites and suites. Guests receive complimentary access to Riu Party and Splash Water World at selected properties. Apple Vacations makes getting there easy and affordable, with Exclusive Nonstop Vacation and Scheduled Air Flight Packages. Once you arrive at your destination, a Resort Representative will meet you at the airport and guide you to your roundtrip hotel transfer. Thatâ€™s the Apple Advantage!
EXCLUSIVE: Receive Roundtrip Hotel Transfers Plus a $35 Spa Credit when you book and travel now through 12/23/20! Participating Resorts: PLAYA DEL CARMEN, MEXICO
Riu Palace Riviera Maya CANCUN, MEXICO
Riu Palace Costa Mujeres LOS CABOS, MEXICO
Riu Palace Baja California - Adults-Only Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas Riu Santa Fe
For more information please contact your Ensemble TravelÂŽ Group Advisor. Tours operated by Apple Vacations. Promotions are accurate at time of publication and are subject to changes, exceptions, cancellation charges and restrictions. A 3-night minimum stay is required. Complimentary roundtrip hotel transfers are shared and are only valid for select room categories. $35 spa credit is per adult, per stay and is valid for Renova Spa Center combination services of 80 minutes or more. Promotions are subject to change at any time without prior notice. Other restrictions may also apply. Blackout, weekend, holiday and peak season surcharges apply. Valid for new bookings only. Not responsible for errors or omissions in the publication of this information. CST# 2139014-20.
A DV E RT I S E M E N T
Discover New Cultures with Azamara
What makes Azamara different from other travel providers? Maybe it’s their penchant for taking you beneath the surface to explore what life is truly like in each destination. Maybe it’s Azamara’s smaller ships, elegant vessels that slip gracefully into the world’s most interesting, hard-to-reach ports. Maybe it’s their refreshingly authentic service. Or their all-inclusive amenities. Perhaps the difference can be found in Azamara’s Destination Immersion®, a philosophy that begets meaningful itineraries featuring longer days in port (later than 8:00 p.m.), generous overnight stays, and night tours that reveal more of the history, art, cuisine, and local customs that make each place unique.
CRAVING AN EVEN MORE EXCLUSIVE JOURNEY?
Ask your travel advisor about “Azamara Amenity Voyages,” featuring $200 per stateroom onboard credit on select voyages. ➜ F or more information
It may be true that all these things set Azamara apart. But what really makes them different ... is you. While others are content to touch the outer layers of a destination, you know that true discovery requires a more intentional journey. Every time you escape to places unknown, you do so with a fresh perspective and a willingness to dive deeper. To get lost in the ancient stories of South Africa’s Zulu culture, the hazy wisps of an Amazonian shamanic ceremony, the good-natured banter of a Dublin pub, the echoes of the Roman Colosseum, the roar of powerful Iguazu Falls.
on special offers from Azamara, please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
Azamara’s complimentary AzAmazing EveningsSM further satisfy your cultural curiosity with bespoke hosted events held after hours in remarkable historic venues. And warm relationships with trusted operators mean you can take your exploration even further with Azamara’s pre- and post-voyage land tours, available for one satisfyingly inclusive price.
Explore Further with Azamara SM
ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 39
A Friend’s Eye-View of
SEGOVIA by RICHARD FRISBIE
I travel to visit friends, to explore the history and culture, and to taste the local cuisine. My recent visit to the city of Segovia, in Castilla y León, Spain, combined all three, and I had a blast!
After a 30 minute train ride from Madrid, my friend Tomas met me at the Segovia station for a bespoke tour of this beautiful city with the best-conserved 2,000+ yearold Roman aqueduct in the world. The double-arch, freestanding structure is almost 100 feet high over the Plaza del Azoguejo. Its nine mile length, constructed without any mortar, has survived centuries, major earthquakes, and conflicts to become a leading example of Roman engineering in Spain.
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The aqueduct is awesome! As we strolled in its shadow, Tomas pointed out the indentations where each of the 1,000s of stones were lifted into place. It’s almost too tall to look at from the plaza, but elsewhere it dribbles down to street level before finishing its water delivery underground. Together we walked the UNESCO designated old city and found the best spot to admire it from the top of the Postigo steps leading down into Plaza del Azoguejo.
That is, until Tomas surprised me with a balloon ride over the city at dawn. Distant rain squalls and low clouds almost scuttled our plans, but we lifted off with dogs barking and kids screaming, gaining altitude to cross the suburbs from the surrounding pastureland and rise over the city. The full length of the aqueduct stretched from the distant hills to the city center below us. The massive gothic Cathedral, with its bell tower reaching up toward us, ditto the slate-roofed turrets of the Castle Alcázar, said to be the model for the castle in Disneyland, and the twisting streets of the Jewish Quarter all looked like a 3-D map of our walk the day before. What an amazing vantage for a panoramic view of the city.
Balloon ride over Castle Alcázar at sunrise
Below us in the Plaza del Azoguejo, at the base of the aqueduct, we could also see Mesón de Cándido, the most famous restaurant in Segovia, perhaps in all of Castilla y León. From its 1884 beginnings as a humble inn, Cándido has grown into a large, internationally known restaurant catering to Captains and Kings. The walls of the ancient rooms are hidden behind historical memorabilia and framed photos of the famous who dined there.
Cathedral of Segovia
The specialty of the house is cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig). Order it and get ready for a show! Our pig was ceremoniously carried out by two men and placed on a nearby table. The stately grandfather of the current chef, wearing a formal jacket with the ornate medal of “The Greatest Innkeeper of Castile” around his neck, read a proclamation welcoming us to his restaurant. With elaborate gestures and more fanfare he grabbed a plate and chopped up our obviously tender piglet. Then, with a final flourish he smashed the plate on the floor, posing for pictures as the crowd gasped. That could have been dismissed as pure theater except that it was the best pork I’ve ever tasted! Go to Candido for the spectacle and stay for the great food. The same could be said of Segovia and all of Castilla y León – GO!
To book your trip to Segovia, please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
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TURN VACATION DAYS INTO
LASTING MEMORIES. Delta Vacations is the convenient, one-stop shop to book memorable getaways that feature Delta’s award-winning flight service, combined with stays at 5,000+ hotels and resorts in 300+ destinations worldwide.
CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL GROUP ADVISOR.
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Taking Travel to the Extreme Crystal Endeavor doesn’t simply break boundaries; she sails far beyond them. Those who claim they aren't the ”expedition type“ might walk back their words when they catch wind of Crystal Expedition Cruise™’s newest ship, Crystal Endeavor®. Built in Germany to Polar Class 6 specifications, she’s robust enough to take on the farthest reaches of the earth – from the pristine glories of the Arctic to the remote wonders of the Antarctic. When it comes to comfort and elegance, the world’s most spacious luxury expedition yacht goes to extremes as well. The unquestionably sleek, new Crystal Endeavor accommodates just 200 guests in one Owners, one Expedition Penthouse, eight Penthouse and 90 Deluxe suites, with butler service for every suite. Highlights include high-tech adventure toys, complimentary excursions, Michelin-level dining including Master Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s Umi Uma & Sushi Bar, the Crystal Life Salon & Spa, and one of the highest staff-to-guest ratios in the industry. Crystal Endeavor’s inaugural season stretches from August 2020 through January 2021, but itineraries are available through January 2023 featuring all-inclusive voyages of up to 22 days that travel far beyond traditional cruise routes. “Remote Expeditions” include journeys to the High Arctic, Norway, Svalbard, Iceland, and Greenland; Chile’s famous fjords, the Lake Region, and Patagonia; as well as voyages to Antarctica, the Falklands, and South Georgia. Those craving greener climes can take advantage of “Cultural Discovery” and “Destination Exploration” itineraries in the British Isles, Caribbean, and Panama Canal. “River Explorations” in Europe sail along the Guadalquivir and Loire Rivers into Seville and Nantes. New Africa routes follow the Ivory and Gold Coasts for astounding explorations in Ghana, Angola, Sierra Leone, and more. ➜ Contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor about ”Agency Exclusives,“
featuring $300 in shipboard credits on select Island Explorations of Japan and New Zealand Immersion in 2020 as well as two Antarctica & The Ross Sea expeditions in 2021.
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U.S. CI T Y SP OT LI GHT
AUSTIN HIP METROLPOLIS
by VERONICA MEEWES
C E N T E R S O F GR A V I T Y
Ladybird Lake The stretch of the Colorado River running right through the city draws locals and visitors to its surface to kayak, canoe and stand-up paddle board both day and night.
Texas State Capitol This Renaissance Revival-style capitol building offers free public tours — or go on your own to the whispering gallery and its beautiful rotunda.
South Congress Just down Congress Avenue from the Capitol, visitors flock to this entertainment district for its independent shops and old school Austin vibes.
With sunny skies shining on the better part of the year and nightly live music found all across town, it’s no wonder Austin has become a destination for revelers of all sorts. The quirky capital of Texas has also become a hub for technology and innovation without losing site of its hippie roots. Spliced by the majestic Colorado River and surrounded by miles of trails and limestone bluffs, central Austin is an urban explorer’s dream — and the city was recently declared one of the most sustainable in the U.S.
Congress Avenue bats You can’t visit Austin without experiencing the 1.5-million Mexican free-tailed bats that take flight from underneath the Congress Avenue bridge at sunset from mid-March until November. The majestic swarm is a sight to behold.
Spring-fed pools Find sweet relief from the often-brutal heat of summer at Barton Springs and Deep Eddy, two spring-fed public pools that are also important community gathering places.
East Austin Home to plenty of bars and restaurants plus a thriving arts scene (and the annual East Austin Studio Tour), this neighborhood is due east of I-35.
MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME
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Fairmont Austin This 37-story luxury hotel joined Austin’s skyline in March of 2018, becoming the city’s second-tallest building, and the first hotel to connect to the Austin Convention Center. Local art can be found throughout the space, starting with a galloping horse sculpture in the lobby and a massive oak tree lit up with twinkling lights. The Fairmont Austin features five different restaurant and bar concepts, ranging from the poolside, cocktail-centric Rules & Regs to the elegant, live-fire-focused fine dining at Garrison.
K E E P I T C U LT U R E D
TEXAS TIPPLES Microbreweries With close to 300 breweries, Austin has more craft beer than any other city in Texas. Many are located centrally on the eastside (Lazarus Brewing Co., Batch Brewery, Hi Sign Brewing) or north of 183 (Celis Brewery, Adelbert’s Brewery, Hopsquad), but Jester King’s outdoor space and spontaneously fermented farmhouse ales are well worth the drive to the southwestern edge of town.
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center Discover native Texan plant species as you wander the beautiful gardens and grounds named after the former First Lady, an avid naturalist.
Speakeasies Must-experience Midnight Cowboy, in a former brothel, has some of the best cocktails in town. Here Nor There is a sexy subterranean lounge located in a historic downtown building. Milonga Room is hidden beneath the eastside Buenos Aires Cafe, and enter Small Victory through the parking lot of the Stephen F. Austin Hotel. The Austin Winery If you don’t have time to make it out to any of the state’s notable Hill Country wineries, be sure to pay a visit to The Austin Winery, the first facility located within city limits.
The Blanton Museum of Art Located on the University of Texas campus, the Blanton is one of the biggest university art museums in the U.S. Be sure to visit Ellsworth Kelly’s stained-glass-bejeweled structure named "Austin". The Paramount Theatre Opened as a vaudeville house in 1915, the Paramount Theatre now hosts film festivals, live music performances, and important movie premieres.
LONE STAR PROVISIONS
Fareground Austin’s very first food hall, located in the heart of downtown, is also a sleek work-play space with plenty of options for both indoor and outdoor lounging.
Texas Barbecue There’s a reason meatheads flock from all over the globe to eat their way through Austin’s barbecue scene. See what all the hype is about by visiting Franklin Barbecue, la Barbecue, Micklethwait Craft Meats and Leroy and Lewis Barbecue.
Otoko If you’re celebrating a special occasion, make a booking at Otoko, where chef Yoshi Otai serves an artfully conceived omakase menu inside the South Congress Hotel.
Odd Duck What started as a humble farm-to-trailer concept in Austin is now a family of three restaurants (Odd Duck, Sour Duck and Barley Swine) that embody the city’s “keep Austin weird” mentality with dishes made using local, sustainable ingredients.
B O O T S C O O T I N ’ B O O GI E
Live Music Capital of the World Austin earned this superlative for a reason; it is indeed possible to catch live music any day of the week. Big venues like ACL Live and Stubb’s host major acts, as does the more intimate Mohawk, while the divier stages at Barracuda and Hotel Vegas feature indie, punk and garage rock shows.
Classic clubs Austin was once filled with juke joints where blues musicians shared their soulful music with a small crowd. To feel like you’ve stepped back in time, check out Skylark Lounge, Continental Club and C-Boy’s Heart and Soul.
Honkytonks Learn how to two-step at one of the city’s honkytonks, like the iconic Broken Spoke, which features a spacious dance floor and a room full of country western tchotchkes, or prepare for an inevitably fun night at The White Horse, an eastside hipster honkytonk.
Music festivals Austin City Limits, the PBS live music performance series, put Austin on the music map and people have been flocking to the city for ACL Festival since 2002. And each year South by Southwest brings innovators from across the globe for cutting edge music, film and technology programming.
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An Unparalleled River Cruise Experience with AmaWaterways
Traveling aboard a river cruise isn’t just about the wonderful places you’ll go; it’s very much about the people you will meet. From fellow guests who are sure to become lifelong friends, to a genuinely warm and welcoming staff who go above and beyond to ensure your journey with us is as memorable as possible, it is the people who truly make your experience worthwhile. With a high staff to guest ratio, you’ll be well taken care of by our professionally trained, all English-speaking staff. AmaWaterways hires the very best team of professionals in the industry and continuously trains them to ensure they always exceed expectations. That means getting to know you, so they can anticipate your individual preferences and offer you those extra special touches to make you feel at home.
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love is at the heart of everything we do
When you embark on a river cruise, the views are everything. And there’s nowhere better to experience the romance of Budapest illuminated at night while on the Danube or the UNESCO-designated castle-laden Rhine than from the comfort of your signature twin balcony stateroom, where both a unrivaled French balcony and full outside balcony bring fresh air and postcardworthy views. You may want to experience the added luxury of traveling in a suite. From incredible benefits, such as a larger sitting area and expansive bathrooms with a bathtub and shower, to enhanced personal space and unrivaled balcony views, the suites aboard our award-winning fleet offer a truly memorable experience.
As a member of the prestigious international culinary society La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, AmaWaterways offers guests an unforgettable culinary experience enhanced by daily hand-selected complimentary wine chosen by acclaimed European sommeliers. Indulge in exquisite regionally-inspired exquisite regionally-inspired cuisine lovingly prepared using only the freshest local and seasonal ingredients sourced from destinations visited ashore. Enjoy our Sip & Sail cocktail hour and savor unlimited wine, beer and soft drinks served with lunch and dinner. Appetizers and handmade desserts are artfully presented – while delicious vegetarian, low sodium and gluten-free choices are also available. AmaWaterways provides guests with one-of-a-kind dining in which food is not merely sustenance – it’s an unforgettable experience. When traveling with AmaWaterways, you don’t just pass through a destination – you experience it with all of your senses. Follow the routes of emperors and other legendary figures on creative and adventurous carefully curated itineraries along timeless rivers, through inspiring countryside, historic capitals, fairytale towns and even out-of-the-way hotspots that locals favor. Carefully curated excursions showcase the rich diversity of each city along your journey. Excursions are hosted by the most experienced and knowledgeable local guides and Cruise Managers who have a genuine passion for world history and a real knack for bringing the past to life. Explore at your own pace on a small guided group excursion with a variety of choices, whether that is on a walking, hiking and/or bike tour. “AMA” means love and love is at the heart of everything we do. We have always considered our guests an extended part of our family. That’s why we continue to exceed our already high standards historic capitals, of accommodations and dining to provide you with access to exclusive experiences and create unforgettable travel moments you’ll cherish forever.
➜ F or special offers from AmaWaterways please see page 86. For more
information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
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BUCKET-LIST DESTINATIONS MEETS NONSTOP FUN — CARIBBEAN, MEXICO, AND MORE! SPECIAL OFFER — Early Saver Rates — Up to $50 Onboard Credit — Offer runs: February 15 - March 31, 2020
Everyone deserves to have a little FUN! Think good friends, family fun, spontaneous laughter and memorable adventures onboard one of Carnival’s newer bigger ships like Carnival Panorama® and Mardi GrasTM. When you Choose Fun, it’s all yours for the taking- including the sweet destinations, award-winning service, delicious dining, onboard activities, nighttime entertainment, spacious accommodations, and more!
7 Day Mexican Riviera Sailing from Long Beach, CA Carnival Panorama® – New Ship Cabo San Lucas; Mazatlán; Puerto Vallarta April 4, 2020 - April 30, 2022
7 Day Western Caribbean Sailing from Port Canaveral, FL
For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
Mardi Gras™ – New Ship Cozumel; Costa Maya; Mahogany Bay October 31, 2020 - April 30, 2022
Onboard Credit offer is non-transferable and non-refundable provided to your Sail & Sign account of up to $25 per stateroom on 2-5 day sailings and up to $50 per stateroom on 6+ day sailings. The Early Saver fare is subject to availability and is capacity controlled. Deposit is non-refundable. Changes made to the reservation may result in the assessment of cancellation penalties or service fees. Full names are required for each guest. Carnival reserves the right to withdraw and/or change offer at any time without prior notice. Price Protection applies to the cruise fare only and does not include Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses which range from $63.14 to $395.00, and are assessed on a per guest basis for all guests according to the itinerary. Early Saver fare is backed by a unique price protection policy (only available to bookings made in USD currency) that allows you to adjust your cruise fare to the best available fare for a like category stateroom (no downgrades allowed) advertised by Carnival and available to the general public. Carnival will honor your request for price protection if the reduction on the total amount paid for your booking results only from a lower cruise fare and not from the booked ancillary services, such as air, transfers, pre-paid gratuities, or Taxes, Fees and Port Expenses. Guest may select the stateroom, but a minimum purchase of category 1A is required. Offer is applicable on new bookings made between February 15, 2020- March 31, 2020. Offer is applicable on sailings through April 2022. For full terms and conditions please contact your travel advisor. © 2020 Carnival Corporation. Carnival® and the Carnival logos are trademarks of Carnival Corporation. All rights reserved. Used under license. Ships’ Registry: The Bahamas, Panama and Malta
Learning the Rules of the Road for Irish Music and Dance by LISA MALONEY Wherever you may live, I'll bet good money that there's a traditional Irish music session somewhere near you â€” either a place where the Irish have settled, or where love has spontaneously kindled for their music's charisma, energy and many-faceted nuances. And where there's music, you may find dance: twin pastimes that wander hand in hand, waltzing sweetly through a kitchen or exploding to life in the corner of a pub. I know this because ten years ago I stumbled across an Irish music and dance session at home in Alaska. It wasn't long after that I found myself on a plane to Ireland, searching for the pulse of a tradition that had wrapped its tendrils around my heart from thousands of miles away. What I found in Ireland was a gymnasium floor that heaved in time as the people of an entire town danced on it, raising a cloud of mist up into the rafters. And a friend in the west of the country who introduced me to the joy of a few people leaping up to dance a half-set at a session, or watching someone beating out the rhythm of the dance with her feet on a wood floor, sean-nĂłs style.
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Both Irish music and dance are very much person-toperson traditions: Once you've met people who are involved, they'll often connect you with others.
And as it turns out, when a huddle of Irish musicians sees you coming with a musical instrument, they'll almost always make you welcome.
Isn't there a class on that?
A love letter to backers
Finding my way into the dances was fairly easy: Community-driven set dancing and ceili dancing are advertised on social media, bulletin boards and dedicated websites like sets.ie, and there are plenty of classes — on their own, or before an organized dance — to help beginners get their feet under them. Both Irish music and dance are very much personto-person traditions: Once you've met people who are involved, they'll often connect you with others.
Whelan's first piece of advice was that when you step into a session you've never been to before, it's good to listen and get a feel for what's going on in the room.
But years later, when I returned with fiddle in hand and hopes of playing a few tunes, I found the musicians' circle to be a little more opaque. I did find my way in, by following the twin standards of navigating any culture not your own: Check your sense of entitlement at the door and, when in doubt, introduce yourself and inquire politely. And as it turns out, when a huddle of Irish musicians see you coming with a musical instrument, they'll almost always make you welcome. But there is also a set of unwritten, largely unspoken rules that stir beneath the surface of an Irish session. For some help in unraveling those I turned to button accordionist John Whelan, a seven-time All-Ireland champion who often teaches workshops to help people who didn't grow up in the world of sessions learn how to navigate those musical connections.
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What are you looking and listening for? Well, everything. Irish music remains an aural tradition with a spirit that's transmitted chiefly by ear, no matter how many sheet music transcriptions may pop up in Google. If you play a backing instrument — guitar, bouzouki, or the oft-maligned bodhran, which is easy to play but not so easy to play well — then instrumentation is a good place to start. Melodies rule the day during an Irish session and, as Whelan explains, "If you have two guitar players and you're a guitar player, you can introduce yourself and try and get in on the session — but it's gonna be hard to have three guitar players playing with a couple of instrumentalists." Unless you're capable of telepathy, once the backing instruments start multiplying, the best you can usually hope for is to trade off in turns — unless you're able to pick out a few melodies yourself.
When you step into a session you've never been to before, it's good to listen and get a feel for what's going on in the room.
Step into the circle Feeling out the pulse of a session isn't just about counting instruments. As Whelan explains, the quality of the musicians and the tempo they're playing at are all things you should think about before jumping headfirst into the deep end. "I think generally speaking, you have to have some idea of what session etiquette is, and that is to blend in with the musicians, not to dominate," Whelan explains. "Not to all of a sudden take control and you're playing much faster or slower than everybody was playing all night." It might help to think of approaching a session as joining an ongoing conversation: They're as much social transactions as musical ones, and a little social intelligence and sensitivity will go a long way in helping you strike the right note. But you don't have to be a master player to make your session debut. As Whelan notes, "Even if you're a beginner or a learner you can sit on the periphery of the session, and if you
don't know that many tunes, you can still at least try to learn tunes during the course of the session, as long as you do it quietly." And if you didn't bring your instrument, choose not to play in that moment, or don't play at all, that doesn't mean you should turn around and leave. Pull up a chair and have a drink. Listening is a valuable contribution to the night too, and the best musicians are often the keenest listeners. Take time to heed this reminder from Whelan, too: "One of the main things I say in my workshop is, it's always about the music. If you make the music first, and not you, whoever it is individually, then generally speaking it's going to be a good session. Music was here before I ever played, and it'll be here when I'm gone." Whether you're listening, dancing or playing, if you use that kind of attitude as your barometer to judge the climate of a session, and approach each visit with the question of what you can contribute to the joy of the night, then you've got your ticket in the door.
It might help to think of approaching a session as joining an ongoing conversation: They're as much social transactions as musical ones, and a little social intelligence and sensitivity will go a long way in helping you strike the right note.
Rules of the Road for a Session
Have a tune ready. If you Blend with others. Be sensitive to the sound and feel of the room. You're there to feel out the tone that's already been set and contribute what you can, not to take things over or show off your latest solo.
walk into a session with an instrument, you may be invited to start a tune —which often means playing once through the tune on your own before others join in. Might as well be ready!
Listen, listen, listen.
Consider music camps. If
Merging into an aural tradition requires listening. Even if you're not playing in a session, you can still be part of it — and take a part of it back home with you — by listening with your whole heart. Buy a drink for the musicians while you're at it.
music and dance are your chief reason for traveling, consider centering your trip around the many music/dance camps that are available in Ireland and all around the world. They're a great way to learn and play with others, and to make connections that can last a lifetime.
Look for open sessions. Most public trad sessions are open — but a few will be closed (invitation only) or run with mics, where only a few of the players have mics and thus amplification. When in doubt, just call the pub and ask if the session is "open" or if all musicians are welcome.
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This is more than a place. Itâ€™s a story. And no one knows it better than a local. Our local guides connect you with the stories, people and experiences that make the faraway feel like home.
Kylemore Abbey, Co. Galway
From guided tours to private driver packages, experience the legendary beauty and historical treasures of Ireland, Britain, Iceland and Italy with CIE Tours. To book or for more information, contact your Ensemble Travel ÂŽ Group Advisor.
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GO DEEPER As if gorgeous new ships, onboard indulgences, and ocean vistas weren't enough, some cruise lines are keeping the luxuries flowing on shore.
When You Go ASHORE In 2020, for example, those fortunate enough to sail with Regent Seven Seas Cruises® can enjoy a fresh Spotlight Collection of onboard enrichment experiences designed to wow culinary buffs, oenophiles, floral art fans, and more. But the fun truly begins when they pull into port. That’s because, on select voyages, Regent guests will set sail with up to $1,000 in Regent Choice Shore Excursion credits. Offering a deeper level of engagement, these finely honed experiences go above and beyond with private art viewings, intimate cooking classes, transcendent flightseeing, and more. Tranquility seekers will revel in Regent’s Wellness Tours, which feature unique opportunities such as practicing yoga in the serenity of an ancient olive grove. Meanwhile, Go Local Tours provide direct access to beloved artisans and amiable local families. Guests witness cooking methods that have been handed down through generations and share the resulting meal with their hosts. ➜ F or more information on special
Aboard the sparkling, new Seven Seas Splendor™ and sister-ship Seven Seas Explorer®, Regent’s flavor chasers can choose from 16 new Culinary Arts Kitchen classes, including Farmstand Fabulous, The Nourished Kitchen, and Sensuous Spain. Then take their culinary exploration ashore with a Master Chef-led Gourmet Explorer Tour.
offers from Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
Fleetwide, Regent refreshes her guests with still and sparkling Vero Water, the goldstandard in on-premise purified water for luxury hotels, resorts, and Michelin-starred restaurants worldwide. Perhaps that’s why they say, with Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, every moment is An Unrivaled Experience™.
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Home to the secondlargest barrier reef on the planet, Belize has perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to give back to nature.
The Regeneration Vacation by NANCY HELLMRICH
Home to the second-largest barrier reef on the planet, Belize has perhaps one of the most compelling reasons to give back to nature. There, Hamanasi Adventure & Dive Resort is leading the way with initiatives that “regenerate our environment while increasing awareness and appreciation for nature and diverse cultures.” They pull it off beautifully, while thrilling guests with jaguar preserve night hikes, snorkeling and dive trips, cave adventures, and jungle birding.
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Finca Luna Nueva, in Costa Rica, operates an organic, biodynamic farm, while Ecuador’s Mashpi Lodge hosts “science and magic” in a forest reserve. Extreme greenies love the solar-powered Treehouse Lodge in the Peruvian Amazon and Mumbo Island, in Malawi, which operates with no electricity or running water. Luxury lovers fear not, as nature nurturing and ultra-luxury amenities coexist in “eco-chic” spots like Six Senses Yao Noi in Thailand, Soneva Fushi in the Maldives, Song Saa in Cambodia, and Misool Eco Resort in Indonesia.
nca Lun a Nu eva
Yet eco-positive, in its intended form – describing something that doesn’t merely offset tourism’s impact but goes a step further to strengthen the environment – is actually quite useful. In fact, more and more operators are finding eco-rejuvenation makes a great differentiator in the travel world.
Elsewhere, eco-positive activities include replanting rain forests, re-populating bird habitats, regenerating reefs, hosting research initiatives and survey dives, cultivating organic vegetable gardens, and building water and waste management systems. Australia’s Thala Beach Lodge has had a dramatic impact on vegetation and biodiversity. At North Island, in the Seychelles, a Noah’s Ark project nurtures endemic flora and fauna.
es o rt
Those who like a dollop of green in their itineraries may have noticed the term “eco-positive” being embraced by marketers as much as baby Simba was in The Lion King. Some are using it to greenwash existing offerings. Others are printing the term on t-shirts to express innate environmental exuberance.
oR l Ec o o s Mi
Archipelago Suite Rendering subject to change
The best place to start is (un)like any other For years, Club Med scouted the Caribbean in search of a new, unspoiled paradise, to be the home of its first Exclusive Collection resort in the Americas. Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda will be the first all-inclusive, eco-chic property, featuring four boutique villages designed for families, honeymooners, adventurers and wellness seekers alike. From oceanfront suites with private pools for couples to family movie nights under the stars, send your clients on an all-inclusive vacation designed for those seeking a mix of exclusivity and adventure. CLUB MED IDENTITE MICHES Nº dossier : 20170391E Date : 22/05/18 Validation DA/DC : Validation Client :
Now open in the Dominican Republic For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
PANTONE 2955 C BLEU VELOURS
THE LIFE CHANGING MAGIC OF
Exclusive Group Getaways by NANCY HELLMRICH
Adjoining hotel rooms, schmotel rooms. Let’s get a yacht. Or a seaside villa with to-die-for views. Let’s vacate like the Clooneys on a YouTuber’s budget. Run away with each other to Tuscany, Austria, Anguilla, or Brazil. Let’s decide what to do as each moment arises. Then get lost in town and walk back along the beach … barefoot, tired, and happy. We could invite a few friends, easygoing travelers, and split the cost seven ways. We could wake up early, drink Turkish coffee, and watch fishermen load their nets in pink dawn light. We could spend lazy afternoons riding scooters around the island or playing soccer with some rascally kids. Pop into a vineyard, bring a few bottles home, and invite the vintner to join us. Or wander into a taverna and ask where the locals go to dance.
There’s something about chartering a small yacht in the Seychelles or renting a Cyprian villa that feels less like a vacation and more like a change in lifestyle, a release. Something that says it’s okay to lean back a little farther, close our eyes, and revel in adolescent levels of abandon. To eat when we want, do as we please, go where the mood takes us, and dream impossible dreams on the deck beneath the stars. With a yacht or a villa, there’s no lobby to walk through on the way to our rooms. No housekeeper knocking on our door. No dress code for dinner. No one in the pool or sauna before us. Nothing but a quiet, comfortable casualness that makes us consider moving to Provence, Portugal, or Puerto Rico for a year, maybe two, or the rest of our lives. People do that all the time. We could be those people. We could do this.
With a yacht or a villa, there’s no lobby to walk through on the way to our rooms. No housekeeper knocking on our door. No dress code for dinner.
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Flexing My Travel Muscles
by NANCY HELLMRICH
I wanted to be on a vacation that awakened me, not just emotionally and intellectually, but physically.
Last year, aboard an air-conditioned bus in Croatia, I looked out the window, saw people cycling up the hill beside us, and felt a pang of envy. I wanted their dopamine levels and cooling sweat. I longed to sleep the way they would sleep after a day of fresh air and exercise. I wanted to be on a vacation that awakened me, not just emotionally and intellectually, but physically. Not that what I was doing was sedentary. I laced up for city tours, nature walks, Dubrovnik’s wall, and wandering around Zagreb after dark in search of our hotel. (It’s around here somewhere, I’m certain.) Sure, logging 29,000 steps a day is bragworthy. But is it invigorating? Empowering? Does it expand my quality and quantity of life? For some, yes. For me? Not anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still queue up to gander at a Michelangelo any day, as long as the next day involves a visit to the cardio zone. Luckily, there’s a flourishing sub-culture of active travelers out there. And a growing list 58 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
of suppliers who are happy to swap trip directors for fitness coaches, replace apfel tortes with “clean” meals, and walking tours with workouts. From boot camps and Club Med to Canyon Ranch and Miraval, the world is my exercise class. On the extreme end, places like Tulum’s Amansala Beach Body Camp offer intense sweat sessions with a view that promises to slim and tone in ways I didn’t think were possible. Peripatetic escapes like Ketanga Fitness Retreats mix it up with workouts, excursions, and dance parties in ever-changing locales. Diving, snorkeling, cycling, and multisport tours are growing in popularity too, and not just with Gen Z. Of course, a cardiovascular boost with a hot stone massage on the side is nothing to sniff at either. I stumbled into The BodyHoliday in St. Lucia once and had the time of my life. When it ended, I opted out of the bus to the airport and took a helicopter instead. #worthit
Every island has a story. If you listen, it will speak to you. HAWAIIROOTED.COM/ K AUAI
For more information please contact your Ensemble TravelÂŽ Group Advisor.
Queen Elizabeth Botanical Gardens
A CAYMANIAN CORNUCOPIA
by MARK STEVENS
Sting Ray City
Given the fact that Grand Cayman’s Seven-Mile Beach is considered one of the Caribbean’s best, you’d be forgiven for plunking yourself down on the sand, pulling out that beach read and opening a cold Caybrew beer. But that would be a mistake. The beach is just the beginning. Visitors who make landfall in the Cayman Islands are treated to a smorgasbord of delights, a veritable Caymanian Cornucopia.
Cayman Islands Art Gallery 60 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
Cayman Islands National Museum
Pedro St. James Boasting a quirky back-
Sting Ray City While this Caymanian must-
story (one owner renovated this landmark to look like a pirate’s castle, claiming Captain Morgan once lodged here), Pedro St. James has been refurbished to reflect both its architectural legacy and its historical importance.
do does include fun in the sun, it’s a unique experience where you get up-close-andpersonal with nature.
In addition to a tour of the great house itself, a masterpiece of stone and mahogany, visitors experience a sophisticated multimedia presentation. Explore the period kitchen here, stroll through rooms boasting authentic furnishings that will ensure you lose yourself in time. In 1831, Pedro St. James, the island’s oldest structure, hosted Grand Cayman’s first elected parliament. Emancipation was declared from its verandahs in 1835.
Cayman Islands Art Gallery An art gallery might not be the most obvious addition to your island getaway agenda but this repository, offering a wide variety of local art displayed in a majestic alabaster building, is worth the visit. Explore the light, airy permanent gallery upstairs where they house Cayman Islands’ National Art Collection or visit one of the temporary exhibits downstairs. Peruse the breadth and variety of Caymanian masterpieces, from watercolors to sculpture. Once you’ve toured the gallery itself head outside to the Sculpture Gardens, maybe pick up a unique locally made fine craft or artwork at the gift shop since money’s no object. Gallery admission is free.
Cayman Islands National Museum Housed in a white Georgian building, testament to Grand Cayman’s colonial British heritage, the Cayman Islands National Museum is a wonderful side trip whether you’re a true history buff or just seeking a bit of island background. Consider the life-size model of the fisherman in the catboat dominating one gallery upstairs. Might find yourself getting seasick. Listen to recorded tales of the sea. Comprised of five galleries occupying this erstwhile courthouse, school and church, the museum offers exhibits featuring both natural and cultural history, along with a children’s gallery and two galleries featuring temporary exhibits.
Visit one of the two locations sharing this title and snorkel in ten feet of water. Sting rays wheel and cavort mere inches from your mask. At the other location wade across a sand bar where these majestic behemoths might pass between your legs and even let you pet them. But these are no captive animals; fisherman once offloaded their excess bait here and the sting rays appreciated the handouts. And they just kept coming back. Sting Ray City’s just as appealing to them as it is to countless lubberly visitors.
Queen Elizabeth Botanical Gardens Stroll the roughly two-mile-long Woodland Trail in this botanical park and be struck by the beauty and lushness of the foliage here: The Orchid Boardwalk, the floral color gardens. Stop before the Silver Thatch (the archipelago’s national tree). Listen to the chorus of bird calls as you consider the Duppy Bush, named for island ghosts who haunt come moonlight. Visit a transplanted Caymanian house (circa 1900) and explore the Heritage Garden with its medicinal herbs. Bask in a gazebo beside a limpid sundappled pond. Breathe in the fragrances of a concatenation of blooms. And savor just one more delicacy in this Caymanian Cornucopia.
To book your trip to the Cayman Islands, please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor. ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 61
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LOVE in 2020 TIME Remember when you first met? That zing of nervous excitement that made you want to break out into song. Reading too much into simple texts. Waiting for a call. Feeling like all the possibilities in the world were yours – like life was suddenly somehow … unlimited? That, right there, is the secret to the perfect romantic escape. There’s no better time than the start of a new decade to reawaken that fresh, new love feeling by booking a romantic escape. And there are no better settings for such things than the Unlimited-Luxury® adults-only (18+) Secrets Resorts & Spas. While some might go for the excitement of jetting off to Spain or Costa Rica, others might like the familiar comforts of an escape closer to home. A secluded beach in the Dominican Republic, perhaps. A dazzling hideaway on the coast of Mexico. The balmy island of Jamaica. Or the Euro vibes of St. Martin.
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No matter which Secrets Resort & Spa you choose, you’ll find fresh, clean, beautifully appointed rooms and suites with steal-your-heart ocean views, wide beaches with room to roam, unlimited gourmet dining, and spa menus designed to melt all your stresses away. Sun-soaked activities include scuba diving, jogging trails, yoga, golf, tennis, swimming, catamarans, and more. Unlimited-Luxury® fuels the fun with natural fruit juices, soft drinks, beer, topshelf spirits, and gourmet dishes served poolside, beachside, or delivered to your room 24/7. Mimosas and breakfast in bed anyone? After dark, the night comes alive with theme parties, oceanfront entertainment, and stars. Who doesn’t love the stars. ➜ F or other special offers from Travel
Impressions please see page 85. Contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor to plan your 2020 romantic escape.
TAH IT I | FR EN CH P O LYN E SIA | FIJ I | S O UT H PACI FI C
Choose Your Own Adventure «
Stargaze Moorea’s velvet night sky in the Southern Hemisphere
Snorkel amidst thousands of darting colors
Learn how to say“Cheers!” in Tahitian
For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
All-Inclusive, Luxury Small-Ship Voyages
Celebrate your love with a Polynesian Blessing Ceremony in Bora Bora
EXTRAORDINARY WORLDS ™ Elegant adventure, luxury unbound. Elegant adventure, luxury unbound.
Portofino Monte Carlo St. Tropez Le Lavandou Bandol
Civitavecchia Tyrrhenian Sea
Ciutadella de Menorca Palma de Mallorca
SPAIN & ROMANTIC RIVIERAS Seabourn Encore Roundtrip Barcelona, Spain 14 days, Jul 18*; Aug 22, 2020
2020 Print 14-day Spain & Romantic Rivieras Seabourn Encore: Roundtrip Barcelona SBN_EU20_EN_14d_CIV_BAR_E0M14A_crop.ai
Please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor to begin your journey on the World’s Finest Ultra-Luxury Resort at Sea. Book today to take advantage of amenities including a dedicated Travel Host, a Welcome Reception and an Exclusive Complimentary Shore Event. *Fares based on these sail dates. All fares are in U.S. dollars, cruise-only, for new bookings only, per guest, double occupancy, and subject to availability. Taxes, Fees & Port Expenses of $330 per person are additional. Fares are not combinable with any other offer, may vary by sailing date, are capacity controlled, and are subject to change without prior notice. All savings amounts are included in fares shown. Certain restrictions apply. Seabourn reserves the right to correct errors. Ships’ registry: Bahamas. ©2020 Seabourn.
Discover the World of
CARIBBEAN • CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA • EUROPE • HAWAII • JAPAN & ASIA MEXICO • SOUTH PACIFIC • UNITED STATES & CANADA • CRUISE VACATIONS Experience – Celebrating 61 years in travel and named Best Tour Operator, Hawaii for 15 consecutive years. Pleasant Holidays’ direct connectivity to hotels and resorts worldwide lets you book real-time rates, inventory and last room availability into 2021. Pleasant Holidays’ EXCLUSIVE vacation deals featuring savings up to $800 a day! Best Price Guarantee1—our promise to deliver the best price on your vacation package—guaranteed! Groups, Boutique Groups & Destination Wedding Travel from 3 rooms to 10,000 travelers Pleasant Holidays’ Cruise Desk—our dedicated cruise experts can book complete vacation packages with flights, pre- and post-cruise hotel stays, onboard accommodations, transfers, cruise protection coverage and more. Exceptional service from knowledgeable reservation sales agents. Ask about complete vacation packages including convenient flights, hotel and resort accommodations, cruise vacations, exciting activities, travel protection coverage and more.
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVEL® GROUP ADVISOR 1 Best Price Guarantee (BPG): To be eligible for Pleasant Holidays’ Best Price Guarantee (BPG), all components of the vacation to be matched must be identical, including airline, air class of service, hotel, hotel room category, meal plan, airport/hotel transfers, rental car, activities, arrival date, length of stay and add-on features. BPG is valid for new, same-day bookings only. Valid against U.S.-based competitor’s final price including promo codes when all vacation components match. Matches against membership clubs and other select online vacation companies/reservations are subject to review and all components, including commission, may not be matched. Only one price match eligible per booking. Travel protection is considered separate from price matches due to variances in plan benefits. BPG does not apply to agent bookings redeeming TRIP Points. Some restrictions may apply. This offer is subject to change or cancellation at the discretion of Pleasant Holidays. Not responsible for errors or omissions. Pleasant Holidays acts only as an agent for cruise & tour providers listed. CST# 1007939-10. Copyright©2020 Pleasant Holidays, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
EMBR ACE YOUR NAT UR E
Luxurious oversized rooms and suites - Swim-up suites with private garden and terrace - 8 restaurants and 6 bars Maia Spa by Natura BissĂŠ ($) - Stay at 1, Play at 3 program - Blast! Aqua Waterpark - Habitat kids & teens club BURN fitness center with the latest equipment - 8 Swimming pools - Day & Nighttime activities and entertainment For more information, please contact your Ensemble TravelÂŽ Group Advisor.
Did you KNOW?
VIKING TAKES YOU TO THE HEART OF EUROPE’S GREAT CITIES
As the small ship experts, Viking is able to deliver you right to your destination’s doorstep. We own prime docking
locations along Europe’s great rivers, enabling our fleet of thoughtfully designed river cruise vessels to dock in the heart of town, so you can walk right off and start exploring.
FEATURED RIVER SAILINGS
D A N U B E WA LT Z
G R A N D E U RO P E A N TO U R
R H I N E G E TAWAY
PASSAU TO BUDAPEST
BUDAPEST TO AMSTERDAM
BASEL TO AMSTERDAM
8 DAYS • 6 TOURS • 5 COUNTRIES
15 DAYS • 12 TOURS • 4 COUNTRIES
8 DAYS • 6 TOURS • 4 COUNTRIES
Ask about special cruise fares plus international air discounts*.
For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
Note: All prices are in US dollars and for US residents only and are based on double occupancy. Special cruise fares and international air discounts are considered a single offer. International air does not have to be purchased to get cruise offer. Air offers valid on all North American gateways except Alaska, Hawaii, San Juan and Mexico City. Prices are based on lowest at time of print and subject to change without notice. Must request offer at time of booking. Pay in full by current cruise and air promotions’ expiration date. Valid on new bookings only as of 12/1/19, subject to availability and may not be combinable with any other offers except Past Guest Travel Credit and Referral Rewards Credit. Viking reserves the right to correct errors and to change any and all fares, fees and surcharges at any time. Additional terms and conditions may apply; see Passenger Ticket Contract at vikingrivercruises.com. Offer expires 3/31/20. CST#2052644-40
ROCK THE BOAT Cruisers can be choosers
Who says you can’t rise when you like, dine when you want, and explore as you wish? On an Avalon cruise, schedules give way to whims, leaving you the freedom to do exactly as you please, when you please. Oodles of included excursions are on every cruise, from in-depth sightseeing to local discoveries and active pursuits...whatever floats your boat. Sail with us and one thing is certain—you’re free to rock your style your way.
With Serious Savings
SAVE UP TO $2,500 per couple on select 2020 & 2021 Avalon Europe river cruises* PLUS, lock in 2021 cruises at 2020 prices** FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ENSEMBLE TRAVELÂŽ GROUP ADVISOR. *Book a select 2020 or 2021 Avalon Waterways Europe river cruise to receive up to $1,250 off per person on the cruise/land or cruise only price. Booking must be made, under deposit and discount applied between November 19, 2019-April 6, 2020 for travel at select times in 2021 and 2020. Not applicable to custom tours. Not applicable on TBA space. Offer combinable only with Welcome Back Credit. Applies to new bookings only and will not be applied to pre-existing bookings. Offer reliant on space availability at time of booking and may be withdrawn at any time. Full cancellation penalties will apply. Additional restrictions may apply; see Travel Terms & Conditions for details. Offer applies to participating GFOB offices only. **Book a select 2021 Avalon Waterways Europe river cruise to secure 2020 pricing for 2021 cruises. Booking must be made November 19, 2019-April 6, 2020, for travel in 2021. Applies to new bookings only and will not be applied to pre-existing bookings. Offer reliant on space availability at time of booking and may be withdrawn at any time. Full cancellation penalties will apply. Additional restrictions may apply; see Travel Terms & Conditions for details. Offer applies to participating GFOB offices only.
COPENHAGEN FOOD HALLS by DON NICHOLS
Tivoloi Food Hall
I’m savoring every bite of my grilled and braised tri tip with a red wine and cream sauce. Chef Thomas Skov just served the mouthwatering dish to me at République, a small food stall he owns at Reffen — Copenhagen Street Food, a popular 2-year-old food market in the Danish capital. Skov has manned kitchens in Denmark and France and dreams of opening his own freestanding restaurant in the city. Last spring, in hopes of making his dream come true, the Dane started whipping up French cuisine at Reffen, an outdoor culinary haven with 40-plus stalls, many owned by other talented chefs with the same dream but lacking the capital to go it alone just yet. Foodies from around the world have been flocking to Copenhagen to sample its culinary scene ever since Chef René Redzepi’s Noma restaurant started regularly landing atop the World’s Best Restaurants list in 2010 with its New Nordic cuisine. Redzepi’s success spawned other lauded local restaurants that foodies eagerly book, as well. These culinary stars are all pricey, with Noma’s meals costing the most, nearly $400 per person before wine pairings. But noshing your way through this culinary powerhouse of a city more economically is now much easier: Over the past 2-1/2 years, Reffen and three other new food markets have burst onto the scene, serving dishes from around the world at more affordable prices in lively, casual settings.
Tivoli Food Hall | Tivoli Food Hall debuted in late 2017 in a handsome new building at Tivoli Gardens, the 176-year-old amusement park in the city center. Most of its 15 stalls are also outposts of local restaurants, such as Glò, which serves up healthy meals. Its BBQ Chicken Bowl more than satisfies me with its mix of greens, vegetable spaghetti, broccoli, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and chicken with a BBQ dressing. At $15, the bowl proves you can eat well for less in this city of world-class, but pricey restaurants.
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“Foodies from around the world have been flocking to Copenhagen to sample its cuisine. Now new food markets have burst onto the scene, serving dishes from around the world at more affordable prices in lively, casual settings.”
Reffen | You’ll find Reffen in gritty Refshaleøen, a former industrial district in Copenhagen’s harbor that’s also home to Noma and Alchemist, the city’s hottest new high-end restaurant. At Reffen last October, not only do I meet Skov, but other dreamers behind Reffen’s stalls, all built out of storage containers. Thrilla in Manila co-owner Alfie Escabarte tells me he saw an opportunity because Copenhagen has lots of Asian restaurants, but no Filipino ones. His specialty: spicy Philippine meat skewers. Julian Nesta proudly uses his Jamaican grandmother’s recipes for Jamaican-inspired cuisine at Jujus Jamaican Jerk. It takes up to two days to season the meat, he explains, using ingredients such as all-around spice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Boltens Food Court | Copenhagen’s newest market, Boltens Food Court, opened last April near Kongens Nytorv, the central old square. The indoor market’s 17 vendors are also entrepreneurs introducing new dining concepts to the city. I’m drawn to the Fat Greek, where the Greek chef uses his Greek grandfather’s recipes to marinate gyro meat cooked over a charcoal grill. My chicken gyro is juicy and delicious. I’m also tempted at Ciao, which uses only homemade pasta for classic Italian dishes, but I’m just too full.
Bridge Street Kitchen | Two-year-old Bridge Street Kitchen, an outdoor market a short walk from Kongens Nytorv just across the Inner Harbour Bridge, features 11 vendors, all outposts of local restaurants or new ventures from well-known local chefs. As I scope out its stalls, I consider ordering the spicy Sichuanstyle noodles at Will at the Bridge, owned by Will King-Smith, the former sous chef at Geranium, one of the city’s Michelinstarred restaurants. Ultimately, however, I opt for a tried-and-true hamburger from Gasoline Grill, a small local chain that Bloomberg named one of the world’s best burger joints in 2017. One bite of my burger — made from organic, freshly ground beef and served on a brioche bun — and I know why.
To book your trip to Copenhagen please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor. ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 71
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What’s Inside Your Next DESTINATION Oceania Cruises just unveiled its Go Local series of 120 new shore excursions. One of the company’s rich array of OceaniaNEXT enhancements, these exclusive experiences invite you to step inside local homes and businesses for firsthand “day-in-the-life” immersions in destinations around the world. If you’re up for an adventure, you could spend a day on a family farm in the Spanish countryside. Try your hand at milking or shearing sheep. Learn the secrets to a satisfying goat cheese. Share a family meal of fresh, home-baked bread, local cheeses, and cured meats. And toast the day with a perfectly paired Spanish wine. In Buenos Aires, you might find yourself navigating a local market with an expert guide. Asking butchers to show you their finest cuts. Chatting with a fishmonger and marveling at vibrant fruits and vegetables grown in the Argentine sunshine. Then sharing a homecooked meal made from your market finds.
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In Italy, you can sail out onto the stunning Ligurian Sea with a skilled fishing crew. Learn to cast the nets and lay traditional Italian palamiti lines. Of course, no day at sea would be complete without a meal of fresh fish, hot off the grill. Then it’s off to the shore for an afternoon swim along the coast of Portofino. If Ireland is your destination, pack your inner artist. Are you an Impressionist? A Realist? Something a bit more abstract? You’re certain to find out when you join celebrated local artist and bovine aficionado Brigid Shelly in her Ardmore Village studio for a boisterous painting session. Oceania Cruises now boasts an incredibly immersive range of tour options, including Oceania Exclusive, Oceania Select, Culinary Discovery Tours, Food & Wine Trails, Wellness Tours, and the intimate, new Go Local series. ➜ For more information on special
offers from Oceania Cruises, please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
by SMITA and SANJEEV CHANDRA
Our first glimpse of Borobudur took our breath away. Nothing had prepared us for the sheer expanse and grandeur of the largest Buddhist temple in the world as we approached through the park that surrounded it. Situated on a lush plateau on the Indonesian island of Java, the immense pyramid looks like a colossal rock that erupted from the earth. It is easy to understand why local people created legends of a great giant conjuring up the massive structure out of thin air. These myths were born in the centuries when the shrine was abandoned, its origins and purpose forgotten, while the religion it served disappeared from the surrounding lands as Indonesia went from being devoutly Buddhist to a largely Muslim country. Borobudur was built in the ninth century by the Buddhist Shailendra dynasty that ruled Java at the time. India has had close relations with Southeast Asia throughout history and Indian culture and religions, both Buddhism and Hinduism, were widely adopted across the region. Kings competed to create enormous temple complexes, such as those at Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar and Ayutthaya in Thailand, to display their piety and wealth. Borobudur was designed to rank among the greatest of these. ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020 73
Borobudur was abandoned in the fourteenth century as eruptions of a nearby volcano forced an evacuation of the surrounding area. At the same time the Javanese population increasingly converted to Islam, a new religion brought by Arab traders and mystics. The temple stones collapsed and were buried under volcanic ash until the nineteenth century when Dutch colonial administrators began to have them unearthed. It was only in 1973 that a massive international effort led to the temple being restored close to its original glory. Today Borobudur is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Indonesia’s biggest tourist attraction, with millions of visitors each year. It is also an active pilgrimage site where devotees congregate every year to celebrate the Buddhist festival of Vesak. The temple consists of nine stacked platforms that grow progressively smaller as you ascend. Each terrace has walls covered with stone carvings, interspersed with life-sized statues of the Buddha. The building is designed to take devotees on a spiritual pilgrimage as they walk through its galleries. As we circled each level and then climbed to the next, we were symbolically scaling planes of higher consciousness. The relief carvings that cover every wall illustrate Buddhist philosophy while simultaneously narrating stories from mythology and episodes from the life of the Buddha. Visitors can follow the Buddha’s quest for enlightenment,
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As we circled each level and then climbed to the next, we were symbolically scaling planes of higher consciousness. starting with his birth and scenes from his earliest days. As we ascended to the higher levels of the temple, the carvings depicted later stages of the Buddha’s life as he severed all worldly ties and gained greater awareness. The apex of the pyramid, where we emerged into the light, is occupied by an array of Buddha figures, each inside a latticed dome, symbolizing the achievement of nirvana. The carvings, quite apart from their religious symbolism, are a delightful album of life in ninth century Java. The walls are alive with people feasting, praying, fishing and hunting. Horses and elephants walk in stately processions while queens ride in carriages. Birds perch in the canopy of trees, where every leaf is carved in precise detail, while boars roam under them. Ships battle the waves as sailors cling to their masts.
Borobudur is a short, scenic drive from the bustling city of Yogyakarta on the island of Java, which is where we stayed during our visit. The journey from Yogyakarta to Borobudur is part of the charm of visiting the temple. Some people travel before dawn to catch the sunrise over the pyramid of Borobudur. We chose to leave after sun-up so that we could enjoy the sights along the route. This decision proved well worth it as we stopped many times along the way to take photographs of idyllic rice terraces, gently flowing streams and the lush, mountain fringed countryside. There is much to see and do in the city of Yogyakarta itself, including sampling their famous street food, visiting local markets or watching a dance performance. Shop here to your heart’s content for handmade batiks, local spices and handicrafts or visit the fresh market, brimming with just picked fruit and vegetables. Indonesia produces some of the finest spices in the world and market stalls overflow with cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and a host of other exotic vegetables and plants. One of the greatest attractions of traveling in Indonesia is the food. Warungs (family owned roadside eateries) are very popular and a great way to experience local flavors. The food here is always freshly prepared and is never expensive. We sat alongside families of regulars in a shaded veranda overlooking rice fields and enjoyed dishes like sambal grilled fish, sate
babi (pork satay), gado gado (salad with peanut sauce) and lumpia (crisp spring rolls), all served with generous helpings of nasi goreng (fried rice). In the evening, after our return from Borobudur, we attended an open-air performance of a ballet that recounted tales from the Hindu epic Ramayana using intricate Javanese dance movements accompanied by a gamelan orchestra. The stories have little religious significance for the mostly
Muslim actors and audience, but they are a treasured part of Indonesiaâ€™s cultural heritage. For Indian visitors like us it was an intensely moving experience to hear stories that are an integral part of our lives, recounted in such beautiful, exotic surroundings. The moment seemed to capture the essence of Indonesian culture, in which each stratum of history adds a new hue without ever completely erasing the colors of the many layers below, all melding into a beautiful whole.
To book your trip to Borobudur, please contact your Ensemble TravelÂŽ Group Advisor.
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SEE THE WORLD with
Holland America Line has 145 years of experience cruising Europe, and there’s nothing they love more than sharing their favorite places with their guests.
With carefully crafted itineraries that take you to magnificent destinations, Holland America Line’s perfectly sized, refreshingly uncrowded ships will give you a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you long to explore the legendary castles and fjords of Northern Europe or embark on the ultimate Alaska cruise, Holland America Line offers an array of options to transform your ideas about the world.
Listen for the bells of Westerkerk as you wander Amsterdam’s many canals, crossing over a bridge whenever the mood strikes you (there are more than 1,200 to choose from). Or travel on their newest Pinnacle-class ship, Nieuw Statendam, as it rediscovers some of the longest, deepest, most beautiful fjords in the world. Northern Europe offers a smorgasbord of travel delights. And the taste of Europe continues on board. Where you can explore the great cuisines of Europe – from A Taste of Librije, inspired by the Michelin-starred cuisine of Culinary Council® member Jonny Boer, and the authentic Italian fare at Canaletto to the French seafood classics of Rudi’s Sel de Mer and also Dutch delicacies and Belgian beers at the Grand Dutch Café. However, if Alaska is next on your list, Holland America Line has been taking
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A DV E RT I S E M E N T
guests to the Great Land for more than 70 years. There’s nowhere else on Earth quite like Alaska and no better way to see it than on board one of Holland America Line’s perfectly sized ships. The ideal size for exploring Alaska, their ships are designed to get you closer to each wonder, from the breathtaking Inside Passage to awe-inspiring Glacier Bay National Park. Embark on a voyage where adventure waits at every turn with the only cruise company that combines the wonders of an Alaska cruise and the beauty of Denali with the rich history and majesty of the Yukon Territory. Extend your exploration and experience fascinating Gold Rush history and wild Yukon scenery. As you wander through frontier towns and travel through unspoiled wilderness, you’ll come face to face with the mustsee and seldom-seen treasures of the Yukon, delivered as only the experts at Holland America Line can. Also, on all of
their Yukon + Denali Land+Sea Journeys you’ll be accompanied by a professional Journey Host on the land portion, who will provide in-depth insights on the places you visit and make sure everything goes smoothly. Sailing out of Vancouver in 2020, Koningsdam will make her Alaska debut. This Holland America Line ship offers the popular hallmarks of their perfectly sized ships, plus some unique Pinnacle-class exclusives including the innovative new dining venue, Nami Sushi, and entertainment like The World Stage and Music Walk®. It also features dedicated single staterooms and family staterooms, with accommodations for up to five guests. Also on both Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam is the wine-blending venue, BLEND. It has a tasting table that accommodates 10 guests, who can create their own blend from a selection of five barrels of single-vineyard red wine. In addition to participating in the
blending process, you’ll also learn about wine from the ship’s wine expert, who leads the blending session. Make the most of each destination with Explorations Central™ (EXC®), where you can engage in local language lessons, expert-led talks and more. Explore the natural world with exclusive films and shows from BBC Earth, including Planet Earth II in Concert. Connect with other guests and discover new authors and stories in O’s Reading Room. Revel in thrilling evening entertainment at Lincoln Center State, Billboard Onboard and B.B. King’s Blues Club. With their spacious ships, exclusive onboard entertainment, unrivaled access and unmatched experience and insider knowledge, see the world as only Holland America Line can show it to you. ➜ F or special offers from Holland
America Line please see page 87. For more information please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
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Let the GAMES begin! Attend the Scottish Highland Games
by HOLLY BOWNE
iceps bulge and calves strain as a brawny man sporting a kilt whirls a metal ball attached to a long, wooden handle overhead. He lets go and the ball flies through the air, landing with a thud down the field. This is the Scottish hammer throw, one of the traditional heavy events in the Scottish Highland Games. The Highland games date back nearly a thousand years, when chieftains would gather their clansmen and hold competitions to select their best fighters and fastest couriers. Today, more than 80 Highland games take place throughout Scotland from May to September. They include soul-stirring music and dance performances, and fierce battles of strength, speed and the fighting arts. Each gathering incorporates time-honored events such as the hammer throw, tug o’ war, stone put, weight throw and iconic caber toss – where competitors try tossing a full-length 175-lb. larch tree log so that it lands in a perfect 12 o’clock position. Yet the gatherings are also decidedly distinct from one another, reflecting the unique heritage of their locations. Here’s a look at what makes a few of these Scottish Highland Games so special.
Tug o' War
ACT: The Seann Tribuhas dance tells the story of the Highlander’s desire to shake off the hated “Sassenach” trousers that Scots were forced to wear when the kilt was prohibited after the 1745 Jacobite rebellion.
BRAEMAR Gathering BIRNAM Highland Games In addition to traditional events, anyone over 18 can register in advance for the Birnam Highland Games’ quirky World Championship Haggis Eating Competition. Haggis is one of Scotland’s most popular dishes: a savory pudding made from meat, oatmeal, and spices. Competitors race to consume a pound of it in the quickest amount of time. Highland games competitions continue throughout the day. So, for a tranquil break you can stroll along the sparkling River Tay, or consider visiting the nearby Beatrix Potter Exhibition and Garden.
In the quaint village of Braemar, population 400, the Braemar Gathering takes place amid the breathtaking Cairngorm Mountains. Awarded royal patronage by Queen Victoria in 1848, the gathering is still regularly attended by the reigning monarch. Her Majesty The Queen has attended since she was seven years old. Along with traditional events, the hotly contested Morrone hill race is not to be missed. The race spans approximately three miles and climbs 1,200 feet to five cairns visible on the horizon. After completing the brutal climb, runners race back down to complete a lap around the arena, mud-spattered legs flying as they finish opposite the Royal Pavilion.
Her Majesty The Queen
78 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
ACT: The Scottish Highland Games Association states that all competitors in open heavy events must wear a kilt when they compete.
Wrestling, Inveraray Highland Games
ACT: The games’ most iconic event, the caber toss, allegedly stemmed from the need to toss logs over chasms. Today however, the toss is judged on style rather than distance. Caber Toss
ACT: Games organizers often soak their cabers in a burn before the event to make them heavier, since they can dry out over time and lose some of their original weight.
CERES Highland Games Dating back more than 700 years, the Ceres Highland Games are the oldest free games in Scotland. It’s said that the original charter was granted to Ceres by Robert the Bruce in 1314, in celebration of their victory in the Battle of Bannockburn. Alongside the cheerful mix of traditional events held on the village green, this event hosts a “five-a-side” soccer competition each year. Visitors can also browse market stalls filled with locally made crafts and goods, and grab a bite to eat at the famous Games Burger Barbeque.
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ACT: Highland dancing at the games was originally an all-male event, until the late 19th century when women started competing.
COWAL Highland Gathering As the world’s largest Highland games, the Cowal Highland Gathering is a three-day event that attracts some 3,500 competitors. Watch dancers perform the graceful pre-war Sword Dance, Seann Tribuhas and lively Highland Fling, as they compete for the World Highland Dancing Championships. Listen to the rousing tunes of pipers as they challenge each other for the coveted Argyll Shield, donated in 1906 by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. And marvel as Scotland’s strongest men and women compete for the country’s only international heavy athletics championship – including one of the biggest caber tosses in the games circuit. Immerse yourself in Highland culture by joining in the lively ceilidh – a Scottish form of country dancing – the night before the games.
To book your trip to the Scottish Highlands, please contact your Ensemble Travel® Group Advisor.
80 ENSEMBLE VACATIONS WINTER 2020
Loch Lomond Cycling
CRIEFF Highland Gathering With its unique blend of bustling country town and unrivaled Perthshire scenery, the Crieff Highland Gathering offers a bespoke games experience. The Earl of Strathearn, Prince William, is the Gathering’s Royal Chieftan. He’s easy to spot with his honorary balmoral bonnet sporting two eagles’ feathers according to Highland clan tradition. Don a kilt and join the “Tartan Dash” kilt race through town. Pipers pipe and crowds cheer as you get your fastest mile time, dropping about 50 meters in altitude from race start to finish. This gathering also hosts the prestigious Scottish Professional and Native Heavyweight Championships. If you attend this gathering, bring along your dancing shoes because the Glenturret Music Tent showcases top Scottish and international music acts.
LOCH LOMOND Highland Games The bonnie banks of the loch provide a picturesque setting for the Loch Lomond Highland Games. Before cheering crowds, games participants take part in traditional events and the prestigious Scottish Highland Games Association World Heavyweight Championship along with a challenging cycle race over rugged woodland terrain. You’ll also witness the intensely adversarial form of wrestling known as the Scottish Backhold Cumberland Style Championships.
Isle of Skye Sailing Regatta
ISLE OF SKYE Highland Games The heather-clad moorlands, jagged mountains and glittering lochs of the Isle of Skye offer a Highland landscape like no other. These games date back to 1877, and are one of the only games in Scotland to feature a sailing regatta. A fleet of yachts navigate around the gorgeous Portree Bay as quickly as possible to win the Vice Admiral’s Cup. And because Skye is renowned for piping, visitors will also enjoy music from the most talented pipers in the world.
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