Onsite & Onboard Reviews

Onsite & Onboard Reviews

Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa in Costa Rica offers an outstanding spa and thermal springs experience.

Globetrotting: Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa

“Unique” and “extraordinary” are common and oft-misused terms when describing a spa resort, but not in the case of Costa Rica’s award-winning Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa.
The Broadway-style adaptation of “Frozen” aboard the Disney Wonder.

Onboard Review: Disney Wonder, Reimagined

Taking a live class with Black Widow at the Marvel Super Hero Academy and feeling the snow during a Broadway-style adaptation of the animated hit “Frozen” are just two of the ground-breaking experiences I sampled on the inaugural post-dry dock sailing of the renovated Disney Wonder.
Dragon boat race on the Elbe River.

Onsite Review: Smile, You’re in Magdeburg

We, and more than 1,100 delegates from 45 countries, were in Saxony-Anhalt’s capital city of Magdeburg for the 42nd Germany Travel Mart (GTM), the largest incoming workshop for Destination Germany hosted by the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) and the Magdeburg Marketing Kongress und Tourismus GmbH.
Disney Cruise Line is debuting “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” on board the Disney Wonder in November (David Roark).

Onboard Fun Made for Gen Z & Their Families

Gen Z. You’ve heard of them, I’m sure. They’re the generation that’s coming full-force right after the Millennials. They’re still kids, for sure, but they already play a major role in family vacation decisions, especially when it comes to a cruise vacation.
Exploring Budapest, Hungary is one of the many highlights of Adventures by Disney’s Danube River itinerary. (Roxy Rico)

Onboard Review: Adventures by Disney Sails the Danube

The entire dreamlike scenery seems plucked from the pages of an enchanted tale, so it makes perfect sense that tour operator Adventures by Disney (ABD) has started offering a 7-day family-friendly sailing on this charming river from Vilshofen, Germany to Budapest, Hungary.
Stonehenge in Wiltshire County.

Onsite Review: Family Fun in England

England remains one of the world’s greatest destinations for families. Indeed, there are so many family-friendly attractions in the country that you need to separate it all into regions to fully appreciate what it has to offer.
Swim-up Flat Suites are one of many accommodation styles.

Onsite Review: Nickelodeon Resort in Punta Cana

Prepare to be slimed…with fun at the Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Punta Cana.

Onsite Review: The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne

A weekend in paradise...I mean, a weekend at The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, was tasty, fabulous, swanky and purely blissful.
Meijiawu Tea Plantation. (Melissa Bryant)

Hangzhou: China’s Rising Star

The word on everyone’s lips and travel bucket lists this year is Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province’s capital city where jaw-dropping natural scenery and well-preserved cultural sites are inspiring North American travelers to explore outside of Beijing and Shanghai and into this timeless Chinese retreat.
Need Caption. (Paloma Villaverde de Rico)

Onboard Review: QM2 Remastered

The remastering of Cunard’s 2,961-passenger Queen Mary 2.
Decor in the accommodations plays off the surroundings. (Michelle Arean)

RIU Republica, Punta Cana

It’s only been about a month since its opening date and already the RIU Republica is booked at about 90 percent occupancy. In fact, it’s been at about 90 percent since the first week.
Guests can enjoy paddleboarding on the St. Lucie River. (Michelle Arean)

Onsite Review: An Athletic Transformation at Club Med Sandpiper Bay

onfession: I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. My idea of a workout is my occasional Bar Method class or biking through the neighborhood. And even that, I can’t commit to with much accountability. But during my stay at Club Med Sandpiper Bay in Port St. Lucie, Florida, I transformed into a pseudo-athlete. A
The Marchenzimmer Raum (Fairy Tale Room) at the Boutique Hotel Schieferhof.

At Home in Thuringia, Germany

It was a chilly December night when I settled into my seat at St. George’s Church (Georgenkirche) in Eisenach, Germany for the sold-out Johann Sebastian Bach Weihnachts Oratorium. By this time, my press trip through the central German state of Thuringia had ended, but my affable guide Cornelia insisted I take part in this cherished holiday tradition she and her husband attend annually.
Chayote Lodge, Costa Rica.

Onsite Review: Chayote Lodge, Costa Rica

Fine, sustainable lodgings mixed with authentic experiences are in the DNA of Costa Rica, and Rico Tours president Leigh Ann Cloutier is excited about the country’s newest: Chayote Lodge.
Pathway to the beach at Bougainvillea Beach Resort. (Paloma Villaverde de Rico)

Onsite Review: Barbados

Sea turtles, blooming gardens & a dash of English china...It’s the scent that lures you in, and then it’s the lively ambiance and tasty fish that keep you hanging out for hours. For clients who want to immerse themselves in the local culture and experience a colorful hangout, with authentic Barbadian music and food, Oistins Fish Fry is a top experience in Barbados.
At BLEND By Chateau Ste. Michelle, wine enthusiasts can create their own wines.

Onboard Review: MS Koningsdam

Watching fellow passengers gracefully samba and cha-cha to a live band as white-gloved waiters served a formal high tea in the elegant Queen’s Lounge, stopping by the sidewalk bistro-style Grand Dutch Cafe for a sandwich and brew, watching movies under the stars, and savoring our artistically presented gourmet dinner in the new Sel de Mer French restaurant were just a few of the highlights for my husband and me during a recent sailing on the ms Koningsdam.
A stylish Zen Oasis retreat at Club Med Punta Cana.

Onsite Review: CHIC Punta Cana & Club Med Zen Oasis

How can two adults-only, all-inclusive honeymoon havens in the same corner of the same Caribbean island be so successful and yet so different? Guests I met at Royalton Resorts’ CHIC Punta Cana in late April would have felt out of place at Club Med Punta Cana’s Zen Oasis, and vice versa
The Sand Dune wedding venue.

Onsite Review: Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa

Florida’s Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa in the north end of the Palm Beaches delivers...whether your clients are looking for an idyllic destination wedding spot or seeking out some romantic time together.
The resort’s Awe-Spa offers a 1-hour Water Journey.

Onsite Review: Moon Palace Jamaica Grande

Two questions guided my recent stay at Palace Resorts’ first foothold in Jamaica, the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande: 1. How was Mexican-owned Palace Resorts adapting to the land of alright? 2. How could it stand out on an island that already has dozens of all-inclusive brands?
The Sunscape Puerto Vallarta opened in December.

Onsite Review: Puerto Vallarta’s Hotel Scene

This Mexican destination on the Pacific side isn’t just overflowing with vibrantly colorful bougainvillea, it’s also bursting at the seams with new hotel openings and revamps, ranging from all-inclusives to ultra-luxe and eco options. During my visit to the destination for Gala Vallarta-Nayarit, I learned that there are at least 11 properties in the area that either recently opened or underwent a revamping, giving you plenty of new booking options.
Bird’s-eye view of the Iberostar Playa Mita.

Onsite Review: Iberostar Playa Mita

It’s a gorgeous day in Riviera Nayarit. The sun isn’t being shy about how luminous it can get, and nature in general—from the beach to the lush mountains—is having one of its finest days. I’m at the Iberostar Playa Mita property in Riviera Nayarit, and although I’ve been to this area of Mexico a few times, I’m always blown away by how utterly gorgeous it is—nature really outdoes itself here. That striking scenery takes center stage at the 452-room Iberostar Playa Mita, which pays homage to the natural surroundings, creating a lovely, laid-back ambiance throughout the property.
Carved in stone, warriors and devils, nymphs and gods stand guard over Angkor Wat. (Carla Hunt)

Onsite Review: Angkor Wat + Siem Reap = A Longer Stay

More than four decades ago, the Grand Hotel d’Angkor, which was opened by the French in 1932, was almost the only and certainly the most colonial place to stay in the sleepy town of Siem Reap. The property was once an important trading center and always the gateway to the magnificent temple complexes of Angkor, as well as the capital of the Khmer Empire from 800 to 1200 A.D.
Bali beds on the Heaven side offer stunning views of the surroundings.

Onsite Review: Rock Royalty Only

Experience a taste of the rock star lifestyle at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya, no Grammy necessary.
Discovery Cove offers a relaxing environment.

Escape to Discovery Cove

While visiting the Discovery Cove all-inclusive day resort on a recent press trip in Orlando, I underwent a digital detox as a result of a depleted phone battery and MIA portable solar charger.
Six Viking Longships were christened last month in Amsterdam.

Onboard Review: Viking Celebrates Agents

Testament to the growth of and rising interest in river cruising, Viking River Cruises put six more of their Longships into European river service last month.
Palace restaurant at Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem.

Onsite Review: Dining Through the Holy Land

It’s just after Sukkot, the 7-day Jewish harvest holiday, and the hooks holding the traditional tents are still hanging from the atrium of Jerusalem’s newest five-star hotel. Strolling through the courtyard at the Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem feels just as if you’re walking through the Old City, the lamps and Ottoman-style arches bringing elements of Jerusalem’s streets indoors.
Valencia’s Central Market is open daily.

Onsite Review: Lovely Valencia

Valencia, Spain’s third largest city, after Barcelona and Madrid, has plenty of cultural and family-friendly activities, as well as great eats.
The Tres CerveZa’s microbrewery.

Onsite Review: Hyatt Ziva Cancun

In the rapidly expanding world of all-inclusive resorts Hyatt Ziva Cancun is finding new ways to up the all-inclusive ante.
The Butler Village Honeymoon Romeo & Juliet Sanctuary One Bedroom Villa Suite with Private Pool.

Onsite Review: Sandals Ochi Beach Resort

Almost every time a staffer in a golf cart passed me while I was walking to/from my butler suite at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort, he or she offered me a lift. Why? (a) The resort covers a lot of ground. (b) The employees really know how to provide service. (c) I looked incapable of walking without adult supervision. Class, your job is to pick the two correct answers.
Icy Strait Point in Hoonah, Alaska is building a new dock and Welcome Center for the upcoming cruise season.

Onsite Review: Icy Strait Point, Hoonah

What can a town with no stop lights, two gas stations, one public school from pre-K to 12th grade, a total population of 765, one combined volunteer fire and police station, and a clinic with one doctor who comes to town a few times a month offer your clients? A whole lotta charm.
A premium oceanview guestroom.

Onsite Review: Viva Ziva!

Symbolizing rebirth after Hurricane Odile’s wrath forced the shuttering of Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos in September 2014, a single surviving palm continues to sprout fresh fronds. One year and one day after Category 3 winds battered the Baja Peninsula’s southern tip, the Playa Hotels & Resorts-owned beachfront property emerged as a re-imagined playground more deeply infused with the area’s rich spirit.
A Maasai community welcome is warm and colorful. (Carla Hunt)

Onsite Review: Kenya, Wildly Appealing

Kenya cares. And had you joined our press trip last November, you would have learned that an extensive private-public sector commitment is underway to conserve Kenya’s wild heritage and enhance the well-being of this country’s local communities.
Spa relaxation area.

Onsite Review: Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal Don Pablo Collection

The Bahia Principe resort in Riviera Maya, a huge, 4-complex property complete with a casino, a marketplace, a nightclub, spas, and more than enough places for kicking back and relaxing, is made for clients who might want to venture offsite to explore the area, but are perfectly content staying put and enjoying all the amenities an all-inclusive resort of this magnitude offers.
Cabana Bay Beach Resort Courtyard Pool.

A Universally Entertaining Experience:

Universal Orlando’s New Attractions, Rides, Hotels...Oh My!
Royal Caribbean introduces its newest and most technologically advanced cruise ship Anthem of the Seas.

Onboard Review: Anthem of the Seas

New York Harbor was all aflutter this November with the permanent arrival of the third largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas.
The adults-only Spice H2O area.

Onboard Review: Norwegian Escape

“It’s So Miami” is the slogan for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, but it can easily describe the 4,200-passenger Norwegian Escape, which sailed out of PortMiami on its inaugural voyage in early November.
The Voyageur Quest Algonquin Log Cabin.

Onsite Review: Canada—Road Tripping Through Ontario

This FAM trip through the Ontario region gave me a peek of Canada’s diverse offerings.
The Radisson Blu Edwardian Manchester Hotel.

Onsite Review: Manchester, England

While visiting Manchester on an individual FAM this past July, I encountered a city that had shed its industrial skin and is now boasting an impressive cultural side.

B Resort & Spa Lake Buena Vista

With hundreds of hotels to choose from in Orlando—there are currently approximately 450 hotels with more than 116,000 rooms in the area—how can you decide which hotel is right for your clients?

Onboard Review: AmaWaterways’ AmaCerto

When trip-planning clients pounce on a river cruise line bearing a name derived from the Latin word for “love,” chances are they’re conjuring a vision of themselves as pampered passengers on the receiving end of intimate, nurturing attention.

Onsite Review: Amara Cay Resort, Islamorada, Florida Keys

Islamorada's newest gem, Amara Cay Resort.
Windstar Cruises' Star Breeze.

Windstar’s Star Breeze

The sparkling newcomers—Star Pride, Star Breeze and Star Legend—sport no sails, and it’s scarcely a surprise that the line’s veteran cruisers might be caught momentarily off base.
Writer Ed Wetschler poses with Galapagos’ famous tortoises.

Small Boats & Big Tortoises in the Galapagos

When my friend Larry returned from Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, he told me (repeatedly) that he’d found the water too cold for snorkeling. A few months ago, when I returned from the Galapagos, I told him that his skinny pal had felt warm enough. How could this be?
Just a 30-minute drive from Angama Mara, Governor’s Balloon Safaris offers hot air balloon rides.

Indaba 2015 (with a taste of Durban)

For four days last May, the city of Durban welcomed just over 1,000 exhibitors from 20 African countries, about 2,000 buyers and 750 members of the media from around the globe at INDABA 2015.
Sucevita Monastery.

Romania Superbly Scenic, Marvelously Medieval

The focus of our trip to Romania was quite singular: to see the unique painted monasteries of Bucovina, a region of rolling hills and dense forests within the northeastern principality of Moldavia.
Castle in Cesky Krumlov.

Central Europe with Adventures by Disney

Wow! I’ll say that one more time, a bit slower now: W-o-w! That’s my one word to describe Adventures by Disney’s itinerary through Central Europe.

Onboard Review: Celestyal Cruises’ Celestyal Cristal

Celestyal Cruises offers a unique sailing experience in the Greek Islands.

Onsite Review: Eating Our Way Through Peru

Culture Xplorers provides well-crafted itineraries in Peru.

Onsite Review: Great Swiss Hotels Go Gault-Millau

A journey through the Swiss countryside must include culinary stops along the way.
Guests on Cox & Kings’ customized tour options in Egypt can opt for a camel ride in the Sahara.

It’s Not Just the Temperature, Egypt is Hot!

After a few years of instability, tourism to Egypt is slowly rebounding.
The Harajuku area is a funky shopping mecca for travelers. (Paloma Villaverde de Rico)

5 Places to Hang in Tokyo

Here are five can't miss places to see in Tokyo.

Irpinia, Italy’s Next Sweet Spot

This untouched region of Italy is a gem for wine and culture lovers.

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