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Ready for some Sun this December?

The hottest Caribbean hotel openings from St Lucia to Barbados and Jamaica

Whether you like to fly and flop, kick back on a catamaran with a rum punch, or hike through a towering rainforest, the charismatic Caribbean offers it all. Today, with ridiculous ease, you can jet direct from the UK to a dozen balmy islands, arriving just in time for tea or a sundowner. Every year, there are new, fun things to do and yet more fabulous hotels in which to relax. Here we look at some of the hottest new openings for 2020.


Exact $500million replica of the Titanic will set sail in 2022

Exact replica of the Titanic will set sail in 2022 and follow original ship's route

Construction has resumed on the Titanic II after an ongoing financial dispute. The new boat will feature the same cabin layout as the original to mimic its 'overall aesthetic', including formal dining rooms, a grand staircase, a smoke room, and a Turkish bath. The ship will also be able to fit nearly the same number of passengers as the original - but this time there will be far more lifeboats, just in case it meets a similar fate as the doomed ship that hit an iceberg and sunk in 1912, killing 1,500 people.


St Lucia has all the write stuff

Joining a Caribbean course for budding novelists – and discovering an island that’s a real thriller

This, ladies and gentlemen, is the beautiful Caribbean island of St Lucia where the warmth and friendliness of its people are matched only by the beauty of its landscape. 

From the moment you arrive, the island is mesmerisingly otherworldly... from the chickens strutting around outside the airport, to the banana plantations lining the roads. Then there are the tropical forests packed with birds in jewel-coloured jackets.

The Caribbean island of St Lucia, which has been passed back and forth between the French and the English through the years, as the two countries fought for ownership

Victoria Pepe is an experienced editor who wears her knowledge lightly. She expects nothing but that you get involved, enjoy yourself and develop your skills. I’m an experienced novelist, but there were people who had no experience, and they found it useful and uplifting. 

It begins with basic word games, and develops slowly until you are writing fluently. You won’t write a novel while you’re there, but you will leave with a suitcase full of ideas.

Away from the writing, we also spent time at the hotel where the course is based. East Winds is a boutique resort set in 12 acres by a private beach near Rodney Bay in the north of the island.

It’s run by Judith Milne, an English businesswoman who moved to St Lucia to manage the hotel. She socialises with guests and is on hand with tips about the island and its heritage. 

St Lucia has been passed back and forth between the French and the English through the years, as the two countries fought for ownership. This explains the language: many things have English names, others French.

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USA NEWS Best Winter Vacations

1Some travelers are enchanted by winter's first snowfall, while others are itching to escape the season's cold weather. To help you find the locale that best suits your winter vacation wants and needs, U.S. Newscompiled a list of the best winter destinations based on expert analysis and reader votes. Use 1these ideas to start planning your getaway, and vote for your favorite spots to help determine next year's ranking.

Sun, Snow or in between many love to travel over the winter time. From Hawaiian destinations, to Winter sports events in the Canadian world-renowned ski slopes at Whistler Blackcomb.   Rome, St Lucia, Florida and more.   See some great destinations HERE


TripAdvisor names America’s top beaches and Clearwater steals it AGAIN

1. Clearwater Beach, Pinellas County, Florida 

For the third time in the last four years, Clearwater Beach in Pinellas County, Florida has been ranked No. 1 in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards

Hawaii has another beach in the top 10 - Hapuna Beach, ranked No. 7, on the island of Hawaii.

The eighth and ninth spots are reclaimed by Florida, with St. Augustine Beach ranked No. 8 and Fort Lauderdale Beach ranked No. 9.

Rounding out the top 10 is Driftwood Beach on Georgia’s Jekyll Island.  

 see the full list of the top 25 beaches according to the review website.


The ultimate Robinson Crusoe retreat

 

Moonhole resort on Caribbean island Bequia is available to hire

Moonhole is located on the island of Bequia and consists of a collection of villas that offer spectacular sea views. The unique cluster of stone homes were built in the 1960s by a couple who sought to create their dream Caribbean retreat. Living in the front house (left) they built the surrounding villas (top and bottom right) for friends who wanted to enjoy their own slice of paradise. Now five of the villas are available for adventurous holidaymakers to rent. The ultimate Robinson Crusoe retreat: Castaway at a Caribbean island hideaway built under a volcanic arch


Revealed: The top 10 worst resorts for food poisoning

From Hurghada in Egypt to Riviera Maya in Mexico

  •  Hurghada in Egypt tops the list with 380 cases since the start of 2017
  •  Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic isn't far behind with 211 reported cases
  •  Experts say a lot of food poisoning is due to food being left out in the heat

image from i.dailymail.co.uk

If you're already thinking about booking next year's summer holiday, or still planning a late getaway, some new research could save you a whole lot of pain… in the tummy.

A new study has highlighted the world's food poisoning hotspots and top of the list is Hurghada in Egypt – 380 cases have been reported since the start of 2017. 

The next highest on the sickness list was Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, with 211 reported cases.

 


How to enjoy Florida fun without breaking the bank

Florida has all the fun of the fair - mainly because it's jam-packed full of them.

Theme parks, water parks, zoos - the Sunshine State really is a mecca for those looking for an action-packed holiday.

But does going on an American adventure really have to cost the big bucks? Luckily for Florida fans, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment have four fantastic parks and two great-value tickets to enjoy them all.

So here's how YOU can get the most out of your Stateside break...

Theme parks, water parks, zoos - the Sunshine State really is a mecca for those looking for an action-packed holiday, and thanks to SeaWorld Parks, it doesn't have to break the bank
 

Continue reading "How to enjoy Florida fun without breaking the bank" »


Florida's new 'coaster' is the scariest yet

The new Tigris coaster at Tampa's Busch Gardens is the scariest yet

The Tigris coaster flies at 60mph, 150ft up in the air and is a thrilling new addition to Busch Gardens in Tampa. It's now Florida's tallest triple-launch coaster and also features an 'inverted head roll'. Kate Johnson had a roaring time on it, but it wasn't her favorite coaster of the 10 on offer.  


Must see places to Visit in 2020

Rough Guides reveals the 100 best places on earth to visit in 2020 from America to New

Need some travel bucket list inspiration? How about taking a trip to the vast yet intricate Forbidden City in Beijing, taking to the roads that follow the rugged shore on the Pacific Coast Highway or exploring Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital? They're all locations that are listed in a brand new book by Rough Guides called The Rough Guide to the 100 Best Places on Earth. It features the destinations Rough Guides' team of authors and editors believe are 'unmissable, underrated, up-and-coming or back on the tourist map'. Pictured, clockwise from top left: Queenstown, Monument Valley, Gorges du Verdon in Provence, Madagascar and (inset) the Genghis Khan Equestrian Statue in Mongolia.


Why Greece has got it all (and more!)

The stunning Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach on Zante

Greek holidays are the stuff of legend. No, really. How many other countries can offer thousand-year-old monuments, beaches of bleached white sand and pretty villages of sugar-cube houses with cornflower blue shutters?

And with its mix of beautiful mainland coastlines and pretty-as-a-picture islands you can simply pick one perfect escape or choose to hop between two or three.

In Crete you can enjoy amazing local produce and one of the healthiest diets in the world; think fresh fish, plenty of vegetables and rich olive oil washed down by local wines. In Rhodes you'll find a blend of ancient civilisations and dazzling turquoise bays while in Halkidiki on the mainland, forested mountains plunge down to meet sandy coves lapped by the Aegean Sea.    MORE


BEAT the HEAT! BEST USA BEACHES 2019

image from www.best-of-oahu.com
The beach in Oahu has been selected as the best stretch of sand by Stephen Leatherman, a coastal scientist and professor at Florida International University, who compiles the annual 'Dr Beach' list. Kailua Beach Park (top left) came top thanks to its soft sand, clear water and stunning views. Second in the list is Ocracoke Beach, North Carolina (top right); third is Grayton Beach State Park in Florida (bottom left) and fourth is Coopers Beach in New York (bottom right).
 
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Why Go To St. Lucia

image from www.sandals.com

Lush, unspoiled St. Lucia has a growing fan base. Some of its vacationers are music lovers, letting loose at the springtime St. Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival, or adrenaline junkies, testing their limits climbing The Pitons or zip lining through the Chassin region's rain forest. Others are honeymooners, unwinding on one of the island's chalky beaches or holing up in one of its isolated resorts.

But what if you don't fall into any of these categories? Don't worry: St. Lucia refuses to be pigeonholed as any "type" of Caribbean vacation. Plus, you also don't have to spend a lot of money (its reputation as a luxurious hideout is only somewhat warranted). To discover some of the island's indescribable charms, you'll have to visit for yourself. Start your mornings basking in an orange-tinted Soufrière sunrise then round out your evenings at an evening "jump-up" (or dance party) along Gros Islet.

St_Lucia


Get the Most Out of Your Next Weekend Getaway with Train Travel

Westbound California Zephyr, operated by Amtra...Westbound California Zephyr, operated by Amtrak, in front of the Book Cliffs, between Green River and Floy, Utah, USA. The train is hauled by two General Electric P42DC locomotives. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Convenient, Stress-free Nature of Amtrak Train Travel and the Onboard Experience Enhances Any Weekend Travel Adventure

Do you feel like you need to get away from it all sometimes? A small break from hectic modern life can be both relaxing and invigorating. Remember, getting away doesn't necessarily mean planning a big, elaborate vacation across the globe — some of the most sensational destinations are sprinkled throughout the U.S. and are easily accessible by planning a weekend getaway.

Whether you travel somewhere in your home state or head to another region of the country, traveling by train offers many benefits. First, by skipping congested roads and hectic airports, you can drastically cut stress levels. Additionally, the onboard experience adds a touch of comfort to your weekend travel excursion. With amazing Amtrak customer service, roomy seats, delicious food and many other amenities, you're sure to travel in style no matter where you're headed.

There's a weekend travel deal for any type of traveler. Here are a few ideas that will inspire you to book now and start packing your bags:

Couples are sure to love a long weekend sampling some of the best wines our country has to offer. Book a Napa Valley wine tasting weekend getaway. The area is ideal for car-free travel, meaning travelers can save on gas, vehicle wear and tear, and the hassles that come with driving. There are numerous train routes criss-crossing northern California, including:

 

Why not hit the slopes with your best friends and create memories to last a lifetime? Epic hills and pristine scenery can be found in Vermont. Plan a weekend trip to this gorgeous area and stay at numerous outstanding resorts. Kick start your getaway with a scenic train ride, an excellent way to access the slopes. Remember, Amtrak makes it easy and affordable to travel with ski equipment — allowing you to bring skis free of charge in lieu of a piece of baggage.

 

Continue reading "Get the Most Out of Your Next Weekend Getaway with Train Travel" »


Round the World Cruise

The ultimate round-the-world cruise for £194k with Viking Ocean Cruises

The world's longest cruise is being offered by Viking Ocean Cruises. It lasts eight months and includes explorations of the world's most thrilling landscapes, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Amazon rainforest. But only lottery-winners and plutocrats need apply for the entire trip - you can join the cruise for as little as a week at a time. To book a more standard room for the whole trip, prices start at £66,990, though, it has to be said, for top dollar, you do get the experience of a lifetime, writes Lesley Bellew. Unless your travel bucket list includes a visit to the International Space Station, you are likely to tick off everything on it.


The Norwegian island that abolished time: 'You can cut the lawn at 4am'

Sommarøy island in Norway
Sommarøy island in Norway, whose 350 residents want to escape the tyranny of the clock. Photograph: Anna Berkut/Alamy

The 350 residents of Sommarøy in the land of the midnight sun are hoping to free themselves from the tyranny of the clock by declaring the small Norwegian island the world’s first time-free zone.

“All over the world, people are characterised by stress and depression,” Kjell Ove Hveding, the leader of the campaign on the island, west of Tromsø and inside the Arctic circle, told the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK.

“In many cases this can be linked to the feeling of being trapped by the clock. We will be a time-free zone where everyone can live their lives to the fullest … Our goal is to provide full flexibility, 24/7. If you want to cut the lawn at 4am, then you can do it.”  MORE


Travel in Luxury-The Best Hotels

Forbes Travel Guide reveals the world's best hotel rooms for 2019

They are the hotel rooms that are, according to the inspectors - 'perfect'. Forbes Travel Guide has unveiled its list of the world's best hotel rooms for 2019 - and they all received maximum marks. Undercover reviewers stayed at hundreds of properties across the globe assessing them on comfort, convenience, cleanliness and maintenance. And according to Forbes, those on the best-of list have 'rooms and bathrooms that are not only beautiful, but exceptionally comfortable, functional and elegantly appointed with special touches such as high-quality linens, an array of luxurious bath amenities and well-designed technology'. Pictured clockwise from top left: The Wynn Macau; Bulgari Hotel London; The Encore Macau and the Park Hyatt New York.


BIG BOY Makes Historic DEBUT-under it's own power

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Union Pacific’s Big Boy 4014 releases steam during a ceremony at the Cheyenne Depot on Saturday, May 4, 2019.

The world’s biggest and most powerful steam locomotives is chugging to its big debut after five years of restoration work.

Big Boy No. 4014 rolled out of a Union Pacific restoration shop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, on Saturday morning as hundreds of spectators looked on. From there, it goes to Ogden, Utah, to help celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad.

Big Boy engines hauled freight between Wyoming and Utah in the 1940s and 1950s. Of the 25 Big Boys built, eight remain, but only this one will be operational.

The Big Boy locomotive measures longer than two city buses. It’s heavier than a Boeing 747 jet plane fully loaded with passengers, yet powerful enough to pull 16 Statues of Liberty over a mountain range.

VIDEO:

See our previous story: Big Boy coming through! Locomotive of the Union Pacific Railroad to be restored to its former glory


Around the world in 15 days!

New York City traveling duo make it to each of the seven Wonders of the World in just 15

New Yorkers Louis Frangella, 28, and Courtney Kaiser, 26, left their Long Island home on April 7 and before they set foot back on American soil just over two weeks later, the engaged couple had visited the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal, Petra in Jordan, the Roman Colosseum, the site of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Machu Picchu and Chichen Itza. Their favorites were Machu Picchu and Petra, in Jordan, but the entire experience was one for a lifetime. The two shared snapshots throughout the journey on their Instagram page under an account aptly named ' @wonderchasers.' Frangella won the opportunity through a competition where he works at Howard Hughes Corporation and Kaiser joined him on the fully-funded adventure.


Big Boy No. 4014 fired up for the first time; May 12 excursion announced

4014PomonaWrinn
Big Boy No. 4014, shown at Pomona, Calif., in November 2013, is hot once more.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Union Pacific said Wednesday steam shop crews lit a fire in Big Boy 4-8-8-4 No. 4014 for the first time in 60 years on April 9. It was the first time the engine was fired up as an oil burner.

The locomotive, which has been under rebuild since 2016, will undergo further testing before its debut on a trip on Ogden, Utah, on May 4 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first transcontinental railroad.

The railroad also said tickets will go on sale April 15 for a one-way May 12 trip from Ogden to Evanston, Wyo., with No. 4014 doubleheading with 4-8-4 No. 844. This would be the first opportunity for any of the public to ride behind No. 4014.

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Route 66, America's 'Mother Road,' revs back to life

For decades, Route 66 captured the imagination of travelers the world over, offering a glimpse of a bygone era of American history, when people hit the road in search of adventure and a better life.

For decades, Route 66 captured the imagination of travelers the world over, offering a glimpse of a bygone era of American history, when people hit the road in search of adventure and a better life.

The two-lane highway established in 1926 and coined the "Mother Road" by John Steinbeck seemed to encompass the essence of America, threading through eight states from Chicago to Santa Monica.

But after it was decommissioned in the 1980s in favor of larger and faster thoroughfares, Route 66 appeared headed for the dustbin of history as the mom and pop stores, kitschy motels, diners and petrol stations that lined the road gradually shut down.

After it was decommissioned in the 1980s in favor of larger and faster thoroughfares, Route 66 appeared headed for the dustbin of history as the mom and pop stores, kitschy motels, diners and petrol stations that lined the road gradually shut down.

"Entire towns folded up and what had been a 2,400-mile (4,000 kilometer) carnival became to a large extent a 2,400-mile ghost town," explained David Knudson, founder and executive director of the non-profit National Historic Route 66 Federation.

In recent years, however, the iconic road that has been immortalized in countless books, movies, music ("Get your kicks on Route 66"), and a TV series has been experiencing a nostalgia-driven revival that is attracting tourists from around the globe.

- Ultimate road trip -   MORE