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travel world

DECEMBER 2013

The Islands & Cruises

I N T E R N AT I O N A L M A G A Z I N E

SPECIAL ISSUE

Cruising Tahiti & The Society Islands 10 Reasons to Book a Dream Cruise Turks & Caicos Islands Clipper Ship Cruise

The Magazine Written by North American Travel Journalists Association Members


travel world DECEMBER 2013

F E A T U R E S

I N T E R N AT I O N A L M AG A Z I N E

The Islands & Cruises SPECIAL ISSUE

OF TAHITI & SOCIETY ISLANDS 6 TASTE BY CHRISTINE GERMYN 10 REASONS 18 TOP THIS SHOULD BE YOUR NEXT DREAM CRUISE BY DALE SANDERS

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DECEMBER 2013 TravelWorld International Magazine is the only magazine that showcases the member talents of the North American Travel Journalists Association

Group Publisher: NATJA Publications Publisher: Helen Hernandez Editor: Joy Bushmeyer

travel world

I N T E R N AT I O N A L M AG A Z I N E

FEATURES (Continued) PARADISE: TURKS & CAICOS 34 ISLAND BY REBECCA RHOADES

Art Direction: Artistic Design Services Web Manager: Yanira Leon CVB Liaison: Dawn Vivenzio Staff Writer/ Photographer: Bennett W. Root, Jr. Contributing Writers : Christine Germyn Dale Sanders Rebecca Rhoades Kevin Weirzbicki

SAILING ABOARD 44 SMOOTH THE STAR CLIPPER BY KEVIN WIERZBICKI

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Editorial /Advertising Offices: TravelWorld International Magazine 150 S. Arroyo Parkway Pasadena, CA 91105 626.376.9754 www.travelworldmagazine.com Submit editorial queries to: queries@travelworldmagazine.com

Volume 2013.2 September 2013. Copyrignt Š2013 by NATJA Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Advertising rates and information sent upon request. Acceptance of advertising in TravelWorld International Magazine in no way constitutes approval or endorsement by NATJA Publications, Inc., nor do products or services advertised. NATJA Publications and TravelWorld International Magazine reserve the right to reject any advertising. Opinions expressed by authors are their own and not necessarily those of Travel World International Magazine or NATJA Publications. TravelWorld International Magazine reserves the right to edit all contributions for clarity and length, as well as to reject any material submitted, and is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts. This periodical’s name and logo along with the various titles and headings therein, are trademarks of NATJA Publications, Inc. PRODUCED IN U.S.A.

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Taste of Tahiti &


& Society Islands By Christine Germyn

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On Board the Luxurious m/s Paul Gauguin Cruise Line


Flying 8 hours by plane from Los Angeles you arrive at the tiny archipelago of French Polynesia otherwise known as the Society Islands. Located approximately 2,700 miles southeast of Hawai’i, this isolated paradise possesses an abundance of activities for travelers ranging from hikes and water sports for the physically demanding to simply appreciating the splendid scenery that the islands offer for those more sedentary. The best, most enjoyable and memorable way to experience the often visited Society Islands of Tahiti, Ra’iatea, Taha’a, Bora Bora, and Mo’orea is by taking Paul Gauguin Cruises. Operating on a year-round basis, Paul Gauguin Cruises is the only luxurious cruise line plying the waters of French Polynesia. This boutique cruise line offers a unique, unparalleled experience not found anywhere else in the cruise industry. With a 332 maximum passenger capacity and a crew to guest ratio of 1 to 1.5, coupled with over 70% balconies, the m/s Paul Gauguin truly is a floating masterpiece worthy of such a name.

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Arriving at the cruise terminal we were welcomed with live Polynesian entertainment, courtesy of the ship’s Les Gauguin’s and Les Gauguine’s entertainment troupe. Our host then escorted us to the ship entrance leading to the Grand Salon where we were welcomed with a glass of champagne followed by checking in.

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fter arriving at 6 a.m. in Papeete, Tahiti at Fa’a’ā International Airport, we walked down the staircase from the aircraft onto the tarmac which lead to a small, openaired terminal, where we were greeted by locals playing traditional French Polynesian music while we cleared customs. One of the impressive features about this cruise package from Paul Gauguin Cruises is their attention to detail and this couldn’t be expressed any better than being provided with a day room at the InterContinental Tahiti Resort to rest and freshen up.

I received a warm welcome from Apryl, my cabin attendant who showed me to my stateroom. I must say it was a perfect size featuring lots of closet space, a couch, a desk, and an ample size bathroom, complemented with bath products from L’Occitane. I also enjoyed the tropical flower arrangement, accompanied by a fresh fruit basket, box of Godiva chocolates and a bottle of champagne. This was a gift from me to myself and was available for purchase from the Bon Voyage gift list. What a perfect gesture to celebrate sailing Tahiti & the Society Islands on the luxurious m/s Paul Gauguin. Located down the hall from my stateroom wasa fitness room and a Deep Nature Spa by Algotherm. On deck 8 is a quaint pool bar which serves an assortment of refreshing beverages and the La Palette lounge which serves cocktails and delicious fresh juices, prepared in the morning and accompanied by a continental breakfast.


Dining

on the m/s Paul Gauguin is truly fine dining at its best. The three dining venues, La Veranda located on deck 6, L’ Étoile located on deck 5 and Le Grill located on deck 8, each provide a unique dining experience. Reservations are recommended. La Veranda is a dining must! This 134 seat restaurant boasts the finest French dining on the high seas, compliments of Chef JeanPierre Vigato. La Veranda’s floor-to-ceiling windows, indoor and al fresco seating and refined atmosphere make it the perfect place to enjoy a buffet breakfast and lunch, often featuring international themes. À la carte menus are also available. In the evening, La Veranda is transformed into an elegant, reservation-only dining venue featuring gourmet creations by Chef Vigato who is owner and Chef Propriétaire of one of the finest restaurants in Paris, the two Michelin-starred Restaurant Apicius. I experienced Chef Vigato’s gastronomic delights by delighting my palate with a delicate crab cake served with chilie garlic aioli, frisée herb salad and smoked paprika. This was complemented with a grilled yellow fish with roasted garlic mashed potato, onion compote, a green bean wrapped in bacon and doused with champagne and chervil beurre blanc. Dessert was a creamy Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée. For my dining at L’ Étoile, I ordered Shrimp Escabeche, marinated plump, juicy shrimp with saffron carrots, onion and coriander complemented with a chilled local papaya and ginger soup. From the Specialities choices, I ordered the grilled moonfish fillet. Wow! The flavour was in-between a salmon and tuna and the sauce was a hit consisting of rosemary onion, sautéed potatoes garnished with marinated arugula salad. Le Grill offers an array of choices. I started with a crisp Chop Chop Salad served with a melody of veggies diced and tossed on a bed of romaine lettuce, grilled chicken and goat cheese all laced with tarragon vinaigrette.


The first stopover is the island of Ra’iatea which means “bright sky.” Somewhat smaller than Tahiti, Ra’iatea is the second largest of the Society Islands in French Polynesia. Being the largest of the Leeward Islands, Ra’iatea lies within the same barrier reef as the island of Taha’a, a 20 minute boat ride away. These two islands, both enclosed by the same coral reef, may once have been a single island. In the early afternoon we rendezvoused at the Grand Salon prior to boarding the ship’s tender for a snorkel and black pearl farm tour to Taha’a. This pre-tour of Taha’a provided by our tour guide was via outrigger canoe which allowed for a truly scenic ride to the farm. The process of the pearl making is very interesting and the guide was very informative. The idea that a grain of sand, lodged in an oyster and repeatedly layered over a number of years with the natural excretion nakar, would produce such a tapestry of color is simply nature’s beauty at its best. Pearls take approximately 5 years to become commercially viable at which time they are graded for sale. Departing the pearl farm, we headed to a shallow lagoon for the snorkeling part of the tour. There’s water, water everywhere and some of the island’s best views lie beneath its shimmering surface, so slip on your snorkel mask and fins and float in warm, clear aqua water above a kaleidoscope of nature. Witness the checkerboard wrasse or the lemonpeel angle fish dart playfully in and out of sight as you slowly drift. After snorkeling, we arrived back at the ship just in time for afternoon tea at Le Grill. Each afternoon, there is an assortment of tea, sweet treats, fruits, ice-cream and some hot foods offered. If you happen to miss afternoon tea you can utilize the complimentary 24-hour room service. Special VIP’s are served daily canapés while staying in staterooms category B and higher. The ship has a variety of live entertainment featuring a piano bar, La Palette lounge, and the Grand Salon which offers French Polynesian entertainment and comedy shows.


The second stopover is Taha’a. It is often called the “Vanilla Island” for its numerous plantations of “black gold” as vanilla is otherwise known. Watersports are a definite highlight in French Polynesia and one would be remiss not to participate. One of the many unique features of the m/s Paul Gauguin`s naval architecture is its shallow draft which allows it to take full advantage of navigating the shallow waters which other ships don’t dare to ply. The retracting onboard watersports marina brings you down to sea level where you can hop aboard a windsurfer, paddle board, kayak or Zodiac. Yes, a well-equipped marina, for watersports... what fun! Scuba diving is also popular and you can take onboard scuba lessons as the m/s Paul Gauguin is the only luxury ship in French Polynesia to offer Padi Certification on board for novice divers. It’s time to explore the Motu Mahana off the coast of Taha’a which is a private island exclusively for m/s Paul Gauguin guests to enjoy. We met at the reception area and proceeded to the ship’s marina located on the lower deck to board the Zodiac and spent the afternoon swimming. This was followed by a delicious barbeque lunch prepared by the crew. The Zodiac was arranged for our group. Guests take the tender back and forth from Motu Mahana.

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The third stopover of Bora Bora, which is known as “a little jewel of an island,” is set within a wide barrier reef through which there is only one pass... known as Te Ava Nui.

Like other Leeward Islands, Bora Bora is the eroded cone of an extinct and extensive volcano. The eastern part of the island is dominated by the spectacular basaltic mountain named, Mount Otemanu, meaning “sea of birds”, while the isles of Toopua and Toopuaiti are the remnants of the western rim. The ancient Polynesians called this island Porapora meaning “first born” believing that it was the first island to rise after Havai’i (Ra’iatea). As the ship is docked for two days in Bora Bora, you can make reservations to stay overnight at either the four star InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort or at the five-star InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa. The five-star, InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa has a chic appeal as weddings are very popula. Also on the property is a beautiful wedding chapel viewing Mount Otemanu. Inside this charming chapel there are views of Mount Otemanu and the reef, which is directly underfoot. The over-water bungalows are luxurious inside and offer an outstanding view of Mount Otemanu. We had the opportunity to experience an overnight stay at the InterContinental Bora Bora Le Moana Resort. Upon arrival, we were met by our gracious host who showed us to our assigned beach bungalows. The layout of the property was so inviting I fell in love with my adorable beach bungalow. I could open my sliding door and step down from the deck directly onto the soft white sand which leads to sparkling, pristine water for a delightful plunge… ah, this is paradise! Following an afternoon of relaxation, we had a delicious dinner buffet accompanied by live entertainment. After a restful sleep, we met for breakfast and departed the resort by Zodiac. Taking the Zodiac on calm early-morning waters showcases the incredible backdrop of Bora Bora’s breathtaking views. I can see why Bora Bora is a world-wide wedding destination. Arriving back at the m/s Paul Gauguin, I prepared my beach bag and met the tender for a short ride to the Bora Bora Motu. This motu is a strip of isolated white sand, shading palm trees and spectacular clear turquoise waters. What a gorgeous setting, highlighting Bora Bora on a higher note.


The last port of call is Mo’orea (moe oh-ray-ah). Mo’orea is a rugged mountainous island, roughly triangular in shape, measuring approximately 51 sq. miles offering lush natural surroundings with high mountain peaks which can be seen from Tahiti. To have the opportunity to swim with wild creatures, especially potentially dangerous ones, is truly a unique experience. So to tempt fate and garner a thrill, I suggest swimming with two of Poseidon’s most beautiful and unpredictable animals: manta rays and blacktip reef sharks. The shallow waters and lagoons surrounding Mo’orea offer an excellent chance to experience such an occasion. Approaching the lagoon near the island’s outer reef, our guide shut off the motor and as we drifted silently into the waist high water we could see manta rays and blacktip reef sharks slowly starting to surround the Zodiac. After a few minutes we were in the company of over a dozen rays and sharks loitering about. As our guide plunged into the water assuring us it was safe, he said, “Keep close to the manta rays as they intimidate the sharks.” He then proceeded to feed fish bait to the rays while they slipped in and out of his hands. Who knew? Rays can actually be quite entertaining!

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In the early evening, we boarded the Zodiac to view an unbelievable sunset exhibiting shades of bright pink with a hue of magnificent orange. As the remnants of the setting sun slowly melted away, we were left with a patchwork of stars dotting the inky black sky.

Returning to the ship, the marina’s platform was prepared elegantly with a table setting for five. This was more than a surprise as we were about to have dinner under the stars. This was a perfectly touching way for our last evening on the ship. Departing the ship the next morning, we took the tender to Mo’orea where we were taken to the InterContinental Moorea Resort & Spa. This resort has a natural setting featuring a dolphin centre, turtle sanctuary, and an assortment of birds. Here, I was assigned an overwater bungalow where I had access for a swim from my deck. The resort offers kayaking, snorkeling, a swimming pool and an enclosed lagoon along with a natural spa featuring island made ingredients for spa services. The following day upon departing the resort we took the 30 minute ferry ride back to Papeete harbour and proceeded to the InterContinental Tahiti Resort to relax prior to the long flight back home. In one week, I had the opportunity to experience Tahiti and the Society Islands. This outstanding trip was a remarkable one indeed. I look forward to my next voyage.

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www.pgcruises.com

www.airtahitinui.com


Top 10 THIS Should Be Your 18


Reasons Next Dream Cruise! Text and Photos By: Dale Sanders

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Reason #1: Dining beneath the stars on a yacht may seem like a dream to some, but on one exclusive cruise line, it’s an everyday occurrence. This experience is not just for an elite few, but for all guests aboard this all-inclusive small ship cruise line. There’s nothing quite like viewing the glistening lights of a small village as you dine on freshly prepared gourmet dishes and are served premium wines. This al fresco, on-deck dining is only one reason why demanding cruisers should consider booking a luxury cruise on one of two “yacht style” cruise ships operated by SeaDreams.

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Having a retractable marina platform that offers every imaginable aqua-toy is typically found on mega-yachts. Enter SeaDream Yacht Cruises, who offers a plethora of options including jet skis, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, sailboats, towable banana boat rides, windsurfers, waterskiing, and wake boarding. All of these activities take place amidst a floating, island-style trampoline that trails behind the ship when at anchor. Yes, a few other ships have similar lowering marinas, but none offer all of these complimentary watersport options. And none have it open, weather permitting, on a daily basis. Additionally, the marina, on both of SeaDream’s ships, offers separate hours where swimming and snorkeling can take place without the worry of a swimmer / water-toy collision.

Reason #2: Watersp


ports

& More Watersports

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Reason #3: Overnight Stays in Famous Ports The average cruise experience is arriving in a port-o-call in the morning and then quickly departing late in the afternoon. However, aboard SeaDream, the majority of their itineraries include an overnight stay in one or more of the world’s most glamorous ports. St. Barths, a favorite of yachters near and far, would fill the bill on this itinerary. Being able to experience the waterside dining and nightlife options at these sensuous, twilight settings is usually reserved for only the rich and famous. However, guests aboard SeaDream can experience these ports much like a private yacht owner!


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Reason #4: Cocktails and Fine Wines Pour Freely Socializing over cocktails and dining with the sommelier’s daily selection of fine wines is an ongoing, all-inclusive experience aboard Seadream. Have a crazy, frozen drink concoction you want to try out? The bartenders on SeaDream will gladly make it happen, and many times with blended fresh fruits and juices. An excellent selection of liquor, champagne and wine from distinguished vineyards are poured freely, even into the wee hours of the morning, if so desired.

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Reason #5: Healthy Lifestyle and Cuisine Options Whether it be joining a crew led biking tour (from their fleet of onboard bikes), or a hike to a nearby point of interest, SeaDream offers these fitness oriented Comp. shore excursions and more. Even with the abundance of multi-course (freshly prepared) dining options, SeaDream’s chefs also offer numerous healthy dishes, each denoted by a symbol on the menu. They include: gluten free, vegan and low fat selections. Breakfast onboard SeaDream even includes fruit and vegetables … “freshly juiced” right on deck! Instructor-led Tai Chi and Yoga classes, along with a full gym and Tai Spa, round out this cruise lines’ efforts to afford guests the option of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, all the while cruising in somewhat decadent luxury.


Reason #6: Dress is “Yacht Casual” and Relaxed Yes, the days of tuxedo or black tie dining are far in these ships’ wake. This younger, mostly 40 to 50 something couples (who make up the body of their guest list) appreciate the finer things in life, without stuffiness. Whether it be the near nightly twilight ambiance of sharing portside stories around the ships’ back deck, or dining indoors or out, it’s all done amidst a casual but smartly dressed group of guests.

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Reason #7: Rarely Visited Islands & Access to Luxury Resorts and Exclusive Golf Courses Through partnering relationships with SeaDreams, many off the beaten path stops afford guests the chance to visit some of the world’s most elite resorts, private beaches and titillating golf courses. The Cuisinart Resort and Golf Club on Anguilla is just one of many signature properties that are part of Seadream’s exclusive access itineraries. To play 18 holes on a Greg Norman course with stunning ocean vistas is simply priceless, yet possible on SeaDreams. Need a little practice before you tee off, try out the ship’s complimentary golf simulator.


Reason #8: Sleep Under the Stars Another exclusive option of SeaDreams is to sleep beneath the stars on one of 11 Balinese Beds. During the day, these queen-size beds double as oversize chase lounges, optimum for couples wishing to perfect their tans. Just reserve your bed on the evening of your choice, and SeaDream’s staff will provide turn down service and your choice of pillows, Belgian linens and a cozy duvet. Want an added romantic touch for your evening on deck? Be creative and just ask.

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Reason #9: High Staff-to-Guest Ratio With a maximum of 56 couples to 95 crew… service is impeccable! This becomes evident the moment passengers board for the simple check in process. Within moments, guests are offered a glass of champagne plus treated to a neck and shoulder massage. This singular event sets the tone for how relaxed and pampered guests will feel throughout the cruise. If you have a want or desire, given enough time and onboard accoutrements, SeaDream’s staff regularly turn wishes into reality. “It’s all about making guests feel like they are cruising on their own private yacht… with our staff at their beckon call,” one crew member said.


Reason #10: Cruise Like a Rock Star There are sooo many complimentary experiences available to guests on this cruise line that it is difficult to squeeze them all in. Perhaps the premier event that makes one feel much like a rock star is SeaDream’s “Caviar Splash.” This caviar and champagne extravaganza takes place in the surf served from a paddleboard. Evening experiences include strolling guitarists who serenade couples on various decks, to a full on laser lit disco dance party on the aft deck. Guests get their boogie on here and toast to SeaDream’s credo,

“It’s yachting not cruising.”


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Island Paradise The unspoiled Caribbean of the imagination thrives in Turks & Caicos. Story and photography by Rebecca L. Rhoades

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“It makes you strong for romance, if you know what I mean,” said Buff, the “first mate” of our Caicos Dream Tours charter boat. I think he was just trying to see if I would take the bait, a phrase that in this situation was more of a literal reality than an idiom. A few girlfriends and I had just finished an afternoon of snorkeling, including free diving for conch, and now we were anchored on the shores of Little Water Cay, a deserted island save for the approximately 2,000 endangered rock iguanas that inhabit its rocky shores (hence the local nickname, “Iguana Island”). Buff was preparing our afternoon’s catch, and from each conch he “knocked” from its shiny pink shell, he would pull out a long, translucent, spaghetti-like protein rod. It was the conch’s pistol, part of its digestive tract. “It’s island Viagra,” he said. “Suck it down like an oyster.” As each of us, unwilling to be the one who chickened-out, stepped up to take our turn slurping down what locals referred to as the

“conch penis,” Buff would laugh, wiggling the rubbery appendage in front of us and enjoying our trepidation and squeamish “eeews.” I closed my eyes and let the pistol slide down the back of my throat. It reminded me of a salty ocean-flavored gummy worm. “When you’re done, I will give you my number,” he said with a wink. “You will need it.” Following his good-natured teasing, Buff continued to prepare the conch, soaking it in salt water and slicing it up with tomatoes, green peppers, onions and hot sauce. The completed salad was simple and fresh, the perfect complement to the island’s balmy solitude .

Caribbean Chic

Little Water Cay is one of 40 sun-drenched spots—eight inhabited islands and 32 smaller cays—that make up the Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI). Dangling on the southern end of the Bahamas, due north of Hispaniola, this archipelago is one of the Caribbean’s top luxury destinations, thanks in part to its mostly undeveloped landscape and stunning white-sand beaches dotted with luxury resorts and hotels. The most developed of the islands is Providenciales, or “Provo” as it is known locally. Here, along its north shore, you’ll find Grace Bay Beach. Named “World’s Leading Beach” by the World Travel Awards for four straight years and one of the best beaches in the world by Condé Nast Traveler, this wide 12-mile crescent offers silky white sand and Tiffany blue waters. It’s also where you’ll find most of the TCI’s resorts. From the all-inclusive and island-ubiquitous Beaches and Club Med resorts to the ultra-luxurious, ultra-secluded and ultra-expensive (averaging thousands of dollars per night) Amanyara, Provo is an island paradise for both active travelers and those who simply wish to relax in privacy.

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For a recent long-weekend getaway, my friends and I chose to stay at one of Provo’s newest, and hippest, resorts, Gansevoort Turks + Caicos, which opened in 2009. With its contemporary urban design, clean lines, white-onwhite décor, and intimate vibe, Gansevoort Turks & Caicos is the epitome of urban chic meets Caribbean cool. Plus, it’s the only resort on the island in which every room (91 in all) has a view of the ocean. Step into Gansevoort’s open-air lobby, and you’re greeted by a stunning blue-tiled infinity-edged pool, surrounded by cushioned lounge chairs and lush gardens overlooking the beach. “The first thing visitors do is pull out their cameras and take a picture of the pool area,” says Grant Friedman, general manager of the resort. “The view from our lobby is spectacular. It gives you the sense that you’re already on vacation from the moment you arrive. You relax and calm down; it completely changes your mindset.” Outdoors, the aroma of bougainvillea is heady; in my room, the view of the beach is breathtaking. The rooms themselves are sleek and sensual—white with blue and brown accents, creating a softness and connection to the watery surroundings. A free-standing tub sits in the rear of the room, a rain-shower head hidden above it in the ceiling. It’s the perfect place to refresh after a long day in the sun and salt water. Perfect your tan in one of Gansevoort’s poolside floating island cabanas or round beach beds. Enjoy a light meal of fish tacos and a traditional island beverage, such as the ever-popular rum punch—a sweet mix of orange juice, pineapple juice, local Bambarra Gold and Silver rums, and a dash of grenadine—or locally brewed Turks Head lager at the resort’s Beach Bar & Grille. Or head to its Stelle restaurant for a creative island-inspired cocktail, such as the Watermelon Cucumber Mojito or the Bakewell Punch, a vibrant take on the Bakewell tart. Stelle is also renowned for its weekend champagne brunches. And on Friday nights, Stelle is the place to be. Starting at 10 pm, the glass doors that separate the restaurant from the pool area close, the laser lights start swirling, and a DJ pumps out dance tunes ‘til the early morning. Another must-visit hot spot is da Conch Shack. This low-key beachside landmark—forget the resortwear; da Conch Shack is strictly a shorts-and-flip-flips type of establishment—is the handsdown restaurant of choice when it comes to conch (pronounced “konk”). Cracked. Chowder. Ceviche. Fritters. Salad. Creole style. No place does conch better than da Conch Shack, which was highlighted in the book “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.” Claim a spot at a picnic table in the sand and enjoy your meal along with a pitcher of the adjacent Rum Bar’s famous rum punch. On Thursdays, live music draws in locals and tourists alike.


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Water World No matter where they choose to stay, most visitors to the TCI come here for one thing: the water. The islands are surrounded by the world’s third-largest barrier reef, which protects the beaches from strong waves (and hurricanes) and creates the calm, iridescent turquoise waters that are so beloved by scuba divers and snorkelers. It’s no wonder most activities here revolve around the water, from the aforementioned scuba diving and snorkeling to kayaking and paddleboarding, to parasailing and boat tours, to

fishing expeditions and even the occasional horseback ride on the beach. “The water is beautiful from the beach, but tell me what you think when you come back after spending a day on it,” says Trem Quinlan, operations facilitator at Gansevoort Turks & Caicos and a Canadian expatriate who moved to Provo nine years ago. “There’s just something about being on that water that’s so special. You can look down and see a huge starfish, or if it’s really calm, you can even see the coral. Turks & Caicos is really about the water and the beaches.” It’s a sentiment I heard over and over again during my stay.


“I’ve been all over the world, but Turks & Caicos has the most beautiful beaches and water that you’ve ever seen. It’s a postcard,” says Pete Soltesz, operations manager at da Conch Shack and another Canadian expatriate. “I’ve been to many, many other places that feature these beautiful ads of their hotels, but when you get there, the water’s not that clear. I don’t know if it was just a really nice day when they took their photos, or the water was different, or maybe they used Photoshop. But here it’s picturesque all the time. Even on a cloudy day.”

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W

ith sun 350 days a year, there really is no wrong time to visit the TCI. The best weather occurs in November through May, with temperatures in the low 70s to mid 80s. July through October brings humid weather and occasional rainstorms, but the southeasterly trade winds and brief showers temper the heat. (Note: While the weather may be suitable for a holiday year-round, many small businesses close for the season during the entire month of September and even through mid-October. Of course, this also correlates to fewer tourists, so if you’re looking for that true private-island feeling, this is the perfect time to visit.) Even our final night in Provo involved the beach. The staff at Gansevoort created a special beachside dinner just for our group, complete with a formal table setting; a never-ending feast of jerk chicken, lobster tails, shrimp and other tasty treats; and a bonfire over which to roast our dessert s’mores. Afterwards, we gathered on round beach beds that had been placed around the fire. We talked about the last few days’ experiences, laughed over funny stories about boyfriends and pets, and drank plenty of wine. And as a cool breeze slowly moved in, the gentle lapping of waves hitting the shore provided the evening’s only soundtrack. For a short while, it felt as though we were the only people around. That we truly were on our own private island. That’s the magic of Turks & Caicos.

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Nothin’ But a Breeze Smooth Sailing

Aboard the Wind-Powered Star Clipper

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By Kevin Wierzbicki


It’s true, the road to paradise is often under construction. Having arrived at the airport in Philipsburg, St. Maarten for my first-ever cruise on a tall ship, I was anxious to climb aboard the Star Clipper and begin a weeklong (and preferably rum-enhanced) exploration of some Caribbean islands I had not yet seen and revisit some that I had. The shuttle ride through busy Philipsburg was slowed just a little as our driver dodged members of a road gang operating bulldozers and wielding shovels, safely navigating around a maze of giant orange traffic barrels. The detour was actually of benefit; instead of zipping right through town I got to see, just beyond the construction activity, the city going about its daily routine as colorful characters, beach boys and business folk mingled on sidewalks lined with small shops. Soon though, after a panoramic drive around the harbor, the buoyant sound of reggaeton music wafting through the air gave it away that we had reached the pier where Star Clipper awaited. The ship’s boarding procedure is startlingly efficient: drop off luggage, get photo taken for on-board ID, get on ship. With no long lines or any of the drawbacks inherent to the mega-liners, the Star Clipper process actually played out in a matter of minutes. Fortunately the pierside tropical drink purveyors had a few ideas as to how I could spend some of that time I had just saved.

If that’s Vangelis,

this must be Nevis

The Star Clipper is a sailboat, a mega yacht, a tall ship that carries just 170 passengers. Her relatively small size means there’s no room for a casino, all-night disco or art gallery; these things are replaced by the serenity that comes from not having to share your space with thousands of other passengers, from not having to elbow your way to the bar or the buffet line. The atmosphere is more like that of a (very happy!) tight-knit community; by mid-cruise I knew a dozen of my fellow sailors by name and lots more by sight. Everyone gets to meet the entire crew on the first day; the omnipresent guy with the pony tail is affable cruise director Peter and the guy tickling the ivories in the piano bar, well that’s Tamas.

Star Clipper has a Captain’s dinner near the end of the voyage but there’s no need to wait until then to schmooze with the skipper; he’s out and about every day, chatting with all comers and also hosting one of the ship’s amusing and informative “story times.” For me, the most exciting part of the day came when the ship’s sound system roared to life with the dramatic swells of the Vangelis instrumental “Conquest of Paradise.” The song is Star Clipper’s traditional departure music and hearing it means that the sails are being hoisted and the ship is getting underway, and by the tone of the music, for someplace apparently quite grand. In this case, on the first night, we were headed for untold adventure on the lush isle of Nevis.


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Terre de Haut’s economy is driven by fishing, not tourism, and the complete lack of souvenir vendors and hucksters makes the place very refreshing. My stroll through Le Bourg took me past where locals live, work and play, and amongst the colorful seaside activity it was amusing to see that the roadside fruit vendor, resplendent with his table of juicy goodies, was doing more business than the small grocery store just across the street. Here the “peace” Better yet, Star Clipper’s seems always to be in tact even when the smaller size allows her to go plac- “quiet” is interrupted by the buzz of the es the big tubs can’t go at all, like island’s ubiquitous motor scooters. hore excursions are a big part of any cruise and the arrival at the day’s exotic port is always thrilling. And while Star Clipper visits some of the same islands (like tony St. Barts and freewheeling Antigua) that are frequented by larger ships, she’ll often anchor in an alternate harbor away from the crowds.

Le Bourg, the capital of Terre de Haut, one of the infrequently-vis- The visit to Nevis turned out to be very relaxing too; I took a tour of some of the ited islands of Iles de Saintes island’s former sugar plantations where near Guadeloupe. There’s an organized tour that can be taken on Terre de Haut but I chose just to explore Le Bourg on foot on my own and I wasn’t disappointed.

after each property had been seen, all sat down to chat and sample the plantation’s signature rum cocktail (hey, the stuff is after all made from the cane the place used to grow … ).

It might have just been me, but it seemed like the drinks got more potent from property to property, like each was trying to outdo the other. Another really fun experience I had was in Guadeloupe where as soon as I got off Star Clipper I hopped onto another boat, the Coco Mambo, to be whisked back out to sea to a tiny spit of land called Caret Island. Caret is so small you could heave a coconut from one shore to the other but it is sort of a secret getaway where locals go to play in the warm water and have picnics. The Coco Mambo crew had brought the makings of a picnic for our small group, all locally-sourced and featuring grilled chicken and fish, fresh fruits and veggies and a treat of coconut meat right from the shell. And there’s no fooling around with the rum drinks here; just help yourself from the jug the size of a jerry can.


Meanwhile, aboard Star Clipper Everything that occurs on or adjacent to Star Clipper, however mundane, tends to have an air of romance about it. There’s something almost otherworldly about sailing under the power of the wind and it certainly creates an atmosphere conducive to daydreaming. I imagine this would be a great place to pop the question or celebrate an anniversary, or just set the mood for an amorous evening (alas, I sailed alone…) I will admit to having a childlike fantasy of the pirate sort; yoho-ho and a bottle of you-know-what. Surprisingly you don’t have to dream to take over the helm of the Star Clipper; the ship has an “open bridge” policy and passengers are welcome

to stop by virtually anytime and get behind the wheel. You can also help raise and trim the sails and it doesn’t matter if you don’t know your bow sprit from your flying jib; the crew will, shall we say, show you the ropes. And for the really adventurous there are a couple of opportunities per sailing to strap into a safety harness and climb up into the rigging to the crow’s nest observation platform. Me, I preferred to laze around sipping a rum drink until Vangelis played us into the start of the next adventure. I got pretty good at discerning the faint tinkling of someone playing the triangle, too; that means dinner is served.

If you go

Star Clipper is one of three tall ships operated by Star Clippers; the others are her twin sister Star Flyer and the slightly larger Royal Clipper. Seven to 22-day itineraries are offered in the Caribbean, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, northern Europe and the Baltic Sea, both the western and eastern Mediterranean and trans-Atlantic sailings. Bookings can be made through a travel agent or with Star Clippers directly. Bookings made through Star Clippers are charged in Euros as are all shipboard purchases.

Star Clippers Americas 760 NW 107th Avenue, Suite 100 Miami, Florida 33172 Phone: (305) 442-0550 Fax: (305) 442-1611 Reservations: (800) 442-0551 E-mail: info@starclippers.com www.starclippers.com

Getting to Know the Star Clipper

Like with any sailboat, sometimes the strength and direction of the wind will cause the Star Clipper to pitch a little but it doesn’t take long to get accustomed to this and get your “sea legs.” Sometimes the fact that the ship leans a little bit even works in your favor; when the glass of wine belonging to your dining companion slides over to you, just claim it as your own! Seriously though, just make sure that any small items that could roll about in your cabin are secured while the ship is underway. Persons with mobility issues should know that all travel between decks is via short staircases; there are no elevators. Star Clipper generally anchors out in the harbor in most ports and then the ship’s tenders (smaller boats) ferry passengers to the shore and back. Some optional shore excursions, usually to a beach away from town, will require the tender to make a “wet landing;” this means you’ll need to hop off the tender into waist deep water and then wade ashore. All excursions with wet landings are clearly identified so you won’t be taken by surprise. If you go on one of these, avoid taking anything with you that you can’t afford to get wet. Star Clipper has a small onboard store that sells a few basic hygiene items but otherwise you’ll need to pick up any needed amenities while you’re ashore. All cabins have a TV with a DVD player attached; channels are limited so you might want to bring along a couple of DVDs just in case. Star Clipper offers breakfast and lunch buffets, a happy hour snack and a choice of dinner entrees; room service is not available.

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DESTINATION INFORMATION SHREVEPORT - BOSSIER

ALYESKA RESORT

THE NEW ORLEANS HOTEL COLLECTION

It’s that unique combination of two great American heritages that set Shreveport-Bossier apart. It’s a little Texas, a little cajun. You’ll find the combination reflected in our mouth-watering dining, where flavorful Texas steak may be combined with spicy crawfish. Or you might find it in our music, with nightclubs and concerts for jazz, country, bluegrass, folk, zydeco, and everything in between. There’s no place like it in America, a world of color and sound, taste and entertainment, elegant Southern charm and a relaxed attitude that suggests you kick off your boots and stay awhile.

Alyeska Resort is Alaska’s premier year-round destination featuring the 304-room Hotel Alyeska. Located just 40 miles from Anchorage and Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Alyeska Resort is the perfect base camp for visitors whether they are seeking powder-filled slopes or a mountain retreat between stops at national parks and sports-fishing lodges. The resort is within close proximity of three national parks and the Kenai Peninsula, and is home to the northernmost coastal temperate rainforest, part of the Chugach Mountain Range.

Discover an exceptional collection of upscale hotels, restaurants, bars and lounges that capture the essence of New Orleans charm and hospitality. The New Orleans Hotel Collection is set apart by its distinctive style, personalized service and superb location ideal for meetings and weddings large or small as well as business and leisure travelers alike.

UNITED STATES ALABAMA

Palm Springs 760-778-8415 www.VisitPalmSprings.com

Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau 205-458-8000 www.BirminghamAL.org Huntsville / Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau 256-551-2235 www.Huntsville.org

ALASKA

Alyeska Resort 907-754-2592 www.AlyeskaResort.com

ARIZONA Phoenix

602-452-6250 www.VisitPhoenix.com

ARKANSAS

Fort Smith Convention & Visitors Bureau 479-783-8888 www.FortSmith.org

CALIFORNIA

Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 562-495-8345 www.VisitLongBeach.com Monterey 831-657-6415 www.SeeMonterey.com Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau 805-385-7545 www.VisitOxnard.com

Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau 626-395-0211 www.VisitPasadena.com San Diego Zoo 619-685-3291 www.SanDiegoZoo.org Tri-Valley Convention & Visitors Bureau 925-846-8910 www.TriValleyCVB.com West Hollywood 310-289-2525 www.VisitWestHollywood.com

COLORADO

Glenwood Springs Chamber of Commerce 970-945-5002 www.GlenwoodChamber.com

FLORIDA

Franklin County Tourist Development Council 850-653-8678 www.SaltyFlorida.com

IDAHO Idaho

208-334-2470 www.VisitIdaho.org

LOUISIANA

Alexandria / Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 318-442-9546 www.TheHeartOfLouisiana.com Baton Rouge 225-382-3578 www.VisitBatonRouge.com New Orleans Hotel Collection 504-527-0407 www.NewOrleansHotelCollection.com Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau 888-45-VISIT www.Shreveport-Bossier.org

MICHIGAN

Greater Lansing Michigan Convention & Visitors Bureau 517-377-1423 www.Lansing.org

MINNESOTA

Meet Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Bureau 612-767-8038 www.Minneapolis.org

MISSOURI

Explore Branson 417-243-2137 www.ExploreBranson.com Maryland Heights Convention & Visitors Bureau 314-548-6051 www.More2Do.org


VISIT WEST HOLLYWOOD

PINEHURST, SOUTHERN PINES, ABERDEEN

MONTEREY

West Hollywood is set in the heart of Los Angeles. It’s where rock & roll meets fashion, art merges with lifestyle and everyone is free to to be different. Today, West Hollywood is a top travel destination among the entertainment industry, the jet set and LGBT community. The scene is densely packed into 1.9 miles of walkability including: a vast culinary landscape, The Sunset Strip’s notorious lifestyle, designer flagships lining The Avenues district, celebrity hot spots, global annual events, premier spas and fitness, entertainment and much more. West Hollywood is a place that’s proud to stand out. It’s time - come experience why West Hollywood is the city that’s truly LIVING FORWARD.

From Donald Ross’ creation of Pinehurst No. 2 to Payne Stewart’s legendary putt to win the 1999 US Open Championship, the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area has a storied legacy of golf unlike any other place in the country. Here, you’ll find North Carolina’s best golf courses, incredible outdoor adventures, world-class dining and shopping, beautiful equestrian facilities, and more. But it’s not just the perfect family vacation destination. With a variety of hotels, resort-style accommodations and meeting spaces, it’s also an ideal location for corporate events and group golf outings. Great rates and vacation packages are just a click away. So start planning your trip to the Home of American Golf today.

Monterey offers iconic California experiences. Experience the top road trip in the United States as you wind along the breathtaking Big Sur coastline on Highway One. Book a Monterey hotel on the beach, then explore the shops and attractions of iconic Cannery Row. Sip handcrafted wines at tucked-away tasting rooms where the winemaker might just be the person pouring. Take a surfing lesson and catch a glimpse of a barefoot beach wedding as you ride your board to shore. Play 18 holes at legendary golf courses, or just hang out at the 19th hole and watch the pros practice. Monterey County has something special for everyone.

NEW YORK

Dutchess County Tourism 845-463-5446 www.DutchessTourism.com

Missy Farren & Associates Marketing & Public Relations 212-528-1691 www.MFALTD.com Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation 716-282-8992 www.Niagara-USA.com

RHODE ISLAND Go Newport 401-845-9117 www.GoNewport.com

South County Rhode Island Tourism Council 401-489-4422 www.SouthCountyRI.com

TENNESSEE

Cherohala Skyway National Scenic Byway 423-442-9147 www.MonroeCounty.com

WASHINGTON

San Juan Islands Washington Visitors Bureau 360-378-6822 www.VisitSanJuans.com Travel Tacoma 253-284-3265 www.TravelTacoma.com

WASHINGTON DC

Development Counsellors International 212-725-0707 www.DC-Intl.com

NEVADA

TEXAS

WEST VIRGINIA

NORTH CAROLINA

UTAH

CANADA

Pinehurst Southern Pines Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 910-692-3330 www.HomeOfGolf.com

VIRGINIA

City of Henderson The Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce 702-267-2171 www.CityofHenderson.com 830-608-2803 www.NBCham.org Cedar City-Brian Head Tourism Bureau 435-586-5127 www.ScenicSouthernUtah.com

Pocahontas County Convention & Visitors Bureau 304-799-4636 www.PocahontasCountyWV.com Québec City Tourism 418-641-6654 www.QuebecRegion.com

INDIA

The Travel Planners 905-230-2701 www.TTPKerala.com

Norfolk Convention & Visitors Bureau 757-664-6620 OHIO www.VisitNorfolkToday.com MEXICO Tuscarawas County Convention & Visitors Bureau Virginia Beach Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board 212-633-2047 330-602-2420 757-385-6645 www.VisitPuertoVallarta.com www.TravelTUSC.com www.VisitVirginiaBeach.com

51


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