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Discover Archives - Page 29 of 29 - Air Canada Vacations

27 Jun

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Viva Las Vegas!

June 27, 2011 | By |

 

How I wish there were more

Than the twenty-four hours in the day

Cause even if there were forty more

I wouldn’t sleep a minute away

Elvis Presley

Much has been said, sung and written about Las Vegas; with good reason. It’s the ultimate escape where time is irrelevant and adrenaline-fuelled nights dissolve into sun-soaked days. Not to mention the fact that it’s the fastest growing metropolis in the United States.

Never one to pass up an opportunity for great food, awe-inspiring hotels and some of the best shopping in the world, two girlfriends and I recently made our mark on Sin City. And how!

Our three-day escapade started at Planet Hollywood, a Caesars Entertainment hotel with star-worthy accommodations. Our room featured a display case with the dress worn by Joan Crawford in Mommie Dearest as well as a variety of Bonnie and Clyde memorabilia, including Faye Dunaway’s famous fedora!

We dined at the Strip House on our first night and I literally fell in love with my meal: Maine lobster linguini. Mmm. My friends Judith and Joelle equally enjoyed their meals, sesame crusted yellow fin tuna and pan seared red salmon, respectively. Executive Chef John Shenck created the menu which is a tasty mix of surf and turf, fresh from the sea and with all of the best cuts. The rich, red, burlesque-like atmosphere was also the perfect precursor to our next stop: Holly Madison’s Peepshow.

Peepshow is a sophisticated burlesque show led by Holly Madison, best known for her television shows Holly’s World and The Girls Next Door. It was a fun and sexy romp through Madison’s world which is ripe with beautiful, and talented, dancers and singers. And Timber! After Peepshow the good times continued at Gallery Nightclub, where we skipped the line, enjoyed complimentary drinks and danced the night away.

After checking-in at Caesars Palace I did a little dance when I saw the heavenly Jacuzzi in our room. After spending some down time at the pool, soaking up the rays and the tunes, we ordered takeout from the Beijing Noodle No. 9. From its dramatic entrance flanked by giant fish tanks to its authentic Northern Chinese cuisine, it did not disappoint.

A delicious, casual noodle shop, we especially enjoyed the mouth-watering handmade, knife-cut noodles and dim sum, which we ate while watching television in our room. Thank you Executive Chef Li Yu!

Later that night, after a long soak in the Jacuzzi and a tasty dinner, we made our way to PURE, Caesars’ hottest nightclub. With a great view of the Strip and four different atmospheres on two storeys, it was definitely a night to remember. But you know what they say? What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

Our third day was taken up by shopping at the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino where we pillaged Bettie Page, a vintage-inspired clothing store.

 

As the King sang “Bright light city gonna set my soul, gonna set my soul on fire… Viva Las Vegas.”

19 Jan

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Choosing a cruise

January 19, 2011 | By |

There are many ways of choosing a cruise, such as following in the footsteps of friends who are just back from a trip that stirred their passions, but as a veteran of 200 sailings, let me tell you the best way: go to a professional who knows the business such as a cruise specialist at Air Canada Vacations or a travel agency.

 

They know what’s out there, and they want to sell you a vacation that you will love. Why? Because they want you to come back with a smile on your face and give them more business. It’s as simple as that.

But first, think about where you want to go and when. There are a lot of choices, with dozens of ships of all sizes, at vastly different price levels and offering something for everyone.

For starters, who’s going? Some ships are better for couples, others suit children, while a few specialize in weddings with the captain doing the honours. Ships are great for families, sometimes several generations, who will have their own spaces, but can get together easily, such as for dinner.

Yes, meals are served on board (the understatement of the year) but you don’t have to put on weight because the newer vessels have fabulous spas and tremendous gyms to help you stay in shape. In fact, spas have become a very important part of cruising.

Sports fans who choose the right ship are well catered to with live, big-screen showings of top games, while I know from experience that Carnival Cruise Lines has a big golf program with rental clubs and shoes on board.

And if you want nightlife, Royal Caribbean International will find a way to keep you up all night.

Fact is, modern cruise ships are floating resorts. But why not see some of the world at the same time? There are epic destinations out there. A Mediterranean cruise, for example, can let you spend a night out in Monte Carlo or a day exploring Tuscany. In Spain, visit the Alhambra in Granada, while a Baltic cruise is the easy way to get to the treasures of St. Petersburg.

Closer to home, there’s the colonial charm of Bermuda, diving in the Bahamas, the thrill of a Panama Canal transit and ships that will let you go down the gangway to the beat of the samba. And almost anywhere, you can go shopping!

Be prepared to find the experience of cruising addictive, so regard your first trip as base camp. You might start with a honeymoon cruise to a faraway place, enjoy fun getaways in the Caribbean, and one day take the kids on a Disney cruise.

I’d start with a short cruise, say a week, and nothing too complicated. If you’re close to the east coast, choose a sailing out of Miami or thereabouts. Westerners might want a sailing from Los Angeles or Hawaii.

And while the big, new ships are so stable you hardly know you’re moving, if in doubt, ask for a cabin in the middle of the ship and on a lower deck. It will likely be cheaper too, and nothing wrong with that!

By David Wishart, who likes to write about cruises, and has taken more than 200 of them.

01 Nov

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The perfect swing

November 1, 2010 | By |

Built on the beautiful island of Great Exuma, Bahamas, The Emerald Reef Golf Club, designed by the famous Greg Norman, is a stunning 18-hole, 7200-yard, par 72 course. Taking full advantage of the landscape, the front nine take you inland, into the native vegetation of a mangrove preserve. The back nine run along the coast, offering astounding ocean views and the sights and sounds of breaking waves. You couldn’t ask for a more amazing location.

Voted among the best courses in the Caribbean by Travel & Leisure Golf, this course is truly a golfer’s dream. “I worked hard to integrate what was there before into the way the fairways are now, so it’s a seamless flow,” says Norman, who has won 91 professional events around the world, including 20 U.S. PGA Tour titles. The result is quite simply a fantastic course with six signature holes. And with five tee boxes, golfers, from the most avid to the most inexperienced, will find a thrilling game.

Holes 11 through 16 are especially beautiful as they run along the turquoise waters of Emerald Bay. The 14th has one of the most spectacular tee shots in the Caribbean, surrounded on three sides by water. Number 12 was Greg Norman’s most difficult to design and a guest favourite. The trick to this one? Don’t be fooled by the amazing views. Aim middle to the right side of the fairway. The approach will require a well-struck ball. And for the dog-leg on the 16th, aim for the right centre of the fairway. A well-struck tee shot can set up a short iron approach to this well-bunkered green, making birdies a real possibility.

Experience this all for yourself while staying at the world’s first all-butler, oceanfront resort, Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas.