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Packages available though December 18, 2008

Originally built in 1835 by French General Allard for his wife Princess Pan Deï, this historical mansion has recently been transformed into an exotic 12-room boutique hotel. Located in the coveted center of Saint-Tropez several meters from the Place des Lices, the legendary palace reignites the sumptuous era of colonial India, welcoming guests year-round to this stylish jetsetter’s haven.

While many know Saint-Tropez as a summer getaway, the city has much to offer in the winter months when visitors can experience the charms of the city almost as a local, sans the crowds and gaping celebrity onlookers.  Once through Pan Deï’s discrete façade doorway, the intense winter sun invite guests to enjoy the private garden suffused with light.

Guests booking the following winter packages can enjoy the hotel’s Turkish bath, massage and beauty treatments, acclaimed international cuisine and the hotel’s dedicated service. The packages are available though December 18 and include the following:

COLONIAL PLEASURES – This three-night package starts at 490EU per night, excluding tax and gratuity.

  • Accommodation in Prestige room
  • Pan Deï breakfast for two persons per day
  • Free access to the Turkish bath
  • A beauty treatment per person in the Spa
  • A Dinner for two persons (excluding beverages)

ESCAPADE INDIENNE - This five-night package starts at 379EU per night, excluding tax and gratuity.

  • Accommodation in Classic Room
  • Pan Deï breakfast for two persons per day
  • Free access to the Turkish bath
  • A beauty treatment per person in the Spa
  • A Dinner for two persons (excluding beverages)
  • A visit to a local winemaker
  • A gift from Pan Deï Palais

About Pan Dei:
 Pan Dei is located at 52 Boulevard Gambetta and is accessible by the Nice International Airport, Saint-Tropez International (limited airline service) and Toulon-Hyeres National. The property consists of 12 rooms and suites, an outdoor swimming pool lined with day beds, a Turkish bath, spa, and a renowned restaurant serving Japanese-influenced French fusion cuisine by Chef Satoshi Kubota. The architects Thomas Paturle and Michel Lefevbre and interior designer Françoise Piault, kept the spirit of the family home while updating the accommodations with every modern amenity including with Wi-Fi, LCD screens, and air-conditioning. Guests will find subtle and charming Asian décor throughout including antiquities brought back from India, Indonesia and the Orient. The 12 rooms can be changed into suites or private apartments as required. The house can also be rented as a whole, transforming into private villa experience with all the services of a luxury hotel.

For reservations and more information please visit, www.pandei.com or
ring 33 (0) 4-94-17-71-71.

Fly Green Now. Get Jet Blue Later.


Ski Season opens in Titlis GlacierThe ski season opened on the Titlis Glacier on Saturday, October 11 with the pistes open daily. The prices for this year's day and season passes remain unchanged. What's more, there is plenty of snow on Titlis for the "Ice Flyer" and glacier lift pistes. The winter sport season on Titlis runs until May 24, 2009 with a brief interruption of 12 days due to maintenance work between November 10 - 21, 2008.



The Dublin PassThe Dublin Pass – the best way to see it all! With FREE transport from the airport to the city, FREE entrance to 27 of Dublin’s top attractions and access to over 25 special offers and discounts in shops, restaurants, leisure pursuits, tours and much more!

Visit www.dublinpass.ie to avail of an amazing buy one get one free limited time offer for Aer Lingus customers.


Experience true royal treatment including romantic caviar aperitifs, multi-course dinners, private shopping excursions and luxe spa treatments at luxury lakeside respite-

The picturesque lakeside village of Weggis in Central Switzerland with mountain views of Mts. Pilatus and Rigi has been long established as a restful respite hosting famous visitors throughout history including Queen Victoria.  The village of Weggis today continues this royal treatment as the luxury, five-star, 53-room Park Hotel Weggis offers guests the utmost in luxury with its Parc & Premium package featuring magnificent accommodations, gourmet dining, private tours and luxe spa treatments with package rates starting at $4,066* per person representing 10 percent cost savings off standard room rate.

During the four-night stay, guests will enjoy the serenity and exclusivity of the hotel’s shinning Adara Suites, featuring stunning views of the majestic Lake Lucerne from every vantage point of the suites and private terraces, including the oversized soaking tubs.  Indulgences during the stay include a private shopping trip to Zurich and an exclusive Mount Rigi Royal Tour day excursion with an authentic Swiss lunch and local spirits tasting.

The gourmet dining highlights include a romantic six-course “tête-à-tête” dinner in the vaulted cellars of the authentic Vinothek boasting one of Switzerland’s largest wine collections with 2,600 labels and a five-course dinner at the Michelin-rated Restaurant Annex with wine pairing.  Guests will also enjoy specially selected luxurious spa treatments in the hotel’s extensive Sparkling Wellness spa, including three hours in a private SPA cottage to relax, rejuvenate and soak in the VIP treatment.Newly refurbished Park Hotel

Weggis offers 53 guestrooms and suites, including the uniquely designed Adara Suites featuring unadulterated views of Lake Lucerne, luxurious baths and amenities, in-room wine coolers and the latest in technology.  Asian-influenced private spa cottages, Tibetan themed spa treatment rooms and therapies and Japanese gardens provide a tranquil respite in which to unwind.  The refurbishment features the incorporation of modern day luxury design and style in the original hotel structure that housed the Mark Twain and Queen Victoria Suites.  The hotel is open year-round. For information and reservations contact Park Hotel Weggis at www.phw.ch or info@phw.ch or 011-41-(0)41-392-05-05.  October 1, 2008-March 31, 2009 rates start at CHF 170 for Parc double room (standard) to CHF 1,000.00 for Adara Two-Bedroom suite with lake views and balcony.  Rates are per guest per night and include service and VAT but exclude tourist tax of CHF 2.50.). 

*U.S. conversion rates as of October 2, 2008 and subject to change.


Travel to New Zealand on a tailor-made vacation featuring

world-class courses; Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs 

SANTA MONICA, CA, October 15, 2008 – U.S. golf fans viewing the PGA TOUR series on NBC this month can now follow in the footsteps of the pros, with a new itinerary to New Zealand featuring both courses used in the Kiwi Challenge tournament.

The Kiwi Challenge features four of the top under-30 players in the world: Adam Scott, Anthony Kim, Brandt Snedeker and Hunter Mahan, who will compete from 27-28 October at Cape Kidnappers and Kauri Cliffs – both listed among the world’s top 50 golf resorts by Golfer’s Digest.

Golfers can now experience these two courses in one luxurious vacation with Down Under Endeavours, especially designed for fans of the Kiwi Challenge.
Traveling in May or June 2009, the "Luxury Golf, Spa & Wine" itinerary starts from US$3,049 per person, including 12 nights accommodation, private transfers and car rental, a half-day guided helicopter hike of Fox Glacier and the scenic Tranz Alpine train journey. Airfare is not included.

Blending golf and relaxation with adventure, this vacation starts amid the stunning scenery of New Zealand’s South Island - incorporating the winelands of Central Otago, the ancient wonders of Milford Sound, and the glaciers of the West Coast. 
For the second half of the vacation, guests will stay at Kauri Cliffs in the Bay of Islands and Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay, both set in stunning ocean front locations.  At Kauri Cliffs, you can see 50 miles of the northern New Zealand coastline. The inland holes feature their own pristine settings: winding through marsh, forest and farmland.  The course at Cape Kidnappers not only juts out dramatically over the Pacific, but brings a working farm into play.

To book this vacation, go to www.newzealand.com/travel/getting-to-around-nz/getting-to-nz/travel-deals/united-states/display-travel-deal.cfm/deal_uuid/c48c5716-bcd8-3537-81b5-4a2ca955b6a7/market/us.html?traveldealtype=*&startrow=1 or call Down Under Endeavours directly on (888) 229-0082.

For more information on the Kiwi Challenge, visit www.thekiwichallenge.com.


Big Sur resort reopens following property-wide
renovation and summer wildfire

Ventana Inn & Spa, located in Big Sur above the Pacific Ocean on California’s Central Coast, reopens Friday, Oct. 31, unveiling an $18-million renovation that returns the iconic resort to its rustic, yet luxurious origins.
To commemorate the occasion, Ventana is extending a “Grand Reopening” discount offer of 20 percent off its best available rate, which, based on availability, could be as low as $280 per night. Available Nov. 2 through Jan. 29, 2009, the offer is eligible for Sunday through Thursday night stays.
Founded in 1975 and recently named one of “The World’s Best Places to Stay” by readers of Condé Nast Traveler, Ventana Inn & Spa is eagerly anticipating the completion of the property-wide renovation project that has produced uniquely designed suites and guest rooms, while enhancing the famed Japanese baths, pools and landscaping.
Ventana Inn & Spa is re-emerging from the summer wildfire that closed historic Highway 1 and a structural fire that damaged the property’s stand-alone restaurant. Until the restaurant reopens in April 2009, the intimate Ventana Bistro has been created at the Inn to serve lunch and dinner and provide room service for guests.  The Bistro menu, under the guidance of Chef de Cuisine Mathew Scherer, will reflect Ventana’s high culinary standards of excellence and make use of the abundance of California’s Central Coast.
There will continue to be some construction on the property through the end of the year with the majority of the activity in the guestroom interiors. In order to maintain the meditative and tranquil environment of Ventana Inn & Spa, disruptions will be kept to a minimum.
Named a “Top 10 U.S. Luxury Spa” by SpaFinder magazine, Allegria Spa offers massage, facials, wraps, scrubs and wet treatments and has developed several new services and signature treatments including the Essence of Big Sur Herbs massage and the Organic Seaweed Muslin wrap.
Lodging options at Ventana feature 60 spacious rooms and suites in 12 separate one- and two-story buildings. Each room has its own private balcony, or patio, along with a view of the ocean, the valley or the mountains.
Additional amenities contributing to the resort’s appeal include two swimming pools (one that is clothing-optional) and the Inn’s popular Japanese baths, which are open daily – as well as nightly under the moonlight and Ventana’s spectacle of stars.

For more information about Ventana Inn and Spa, visit www.ventanainn.com. To book a reservation with the special “Grand Reopening” rate, call 800.628.6500.


The holidays have always marked a busy travel period for the tourism industry, and towns across the state are gearing up for holiday celebrations with festivals, lights and exciting activities.

“The holidays are a perfect excuse to get away from it all,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Caroline Beteta of the California Travel and Tourism Commission (CTTC). “Whether you’re visiting family or exploring a new destination, California regions make it extra special with their holiday festivals, events and travel packages.”

They turn the switch on – literally – in Riverside November 28 with the Switch-On Ceremony for the 16th Annual Riverside Festival of Lights. The historic Mission Inn Hotel & Spa, along with surrounding downtown buildings, are lit up with more than three million holiday lights as part of the festival that runs through January 4, 2009. The month-long event, which takes places in the Inland Empire Region, typically attracts 125,000 visitors and features more than 100 acts and performances. Festival-goers also enjoy outdoor ice skating and scenic carriage rides.

For a Thanksgiving getaway with a western twist, visitors heads to Greenhorn Creek Guest Ranch in Quincy, part of the Shasta Cascade Region, for their Country Thanksgiving November 24-29. Horseback riding is the main activity here, and travelers choose from rides through the thousands of scenic acres of Plumas National Forest. Thanksgiving activities also include wreath-making and horse-drawn wagon rides that take guests into the forest to cut down the perfect Christmas tree.

Holiday sleigh rides California-style means sailing the waters of the Ventura Keys and Ventura Harbor via the Dreamer with Ventura Boat Rentals, located in the Central Coast Region. Throughout December, guests enjoy the sparkling Christmas lights adorning shoreline homes and casting picturesque reflections in the nighttime waters. Cruises depart nightly. Morro Bay hosts the Lighted Boat Parade December 6, when a parade of boats decorated in lights cruise the harbor. Village streets are decked with thousands of twinkling lights November 21 through January 9, 2009, as part of the Solvang Annual Winterfest Celebration. The festival also features carolers on street corners and more than 150 boutiques and specialty shops hosting open houses and holiday celebrations. Oxnard’s historical past will be dressed up in holiday attire during the Victorian Christmas House, December 13-14, at downtown’s Heritage Square.

Travelers leave their sweaters, scarves and gloves at home when escaping to Palm Springs during the holiday season. Located in the Desert Region, Palm Springs pays tribute to the annual festivities with its Festival of Lights Parade December 6, when lighted floats, bands and celebrities make their way down Palm Canyon Drive. History buffs will enjoy the city’s Walk of the Inns December 11, a walking tour of historic boutique and small inns in downtown Palm Springs. For the ultimate holiday rest and relaxation, the luxurious Viceroy Palm Springs is offering a Sun, Spa & Holiday Shopping package December 1-18, with two nights accommodations, two 60-minute spa treatments, two Chocolate Sun spray tans, unlimited wellness classes, VIP discount booklet for Desert Hills Cabazon Outlet Mall and daily breakfast, all for $816, Sunday through Thursday, and $935, Friday to Saturday.

Visitors don’t have to head to the North Pole to see real reindeer. In the San Francisco Bay Area Region, the San Francisco Zoo hosts Reindeer Romp November 24 through December 31, when reindeers Holly, Velvet, Peppermint and Belle bring the holiday spirit to children of all ages. Illuminated snowflakes will hang from Market Street’s signature Path of Gold light poles this winter – the first time in 103 years that San Francisco’s Market Street will be lit. A lighting ceremony is scheduled for November 18 in front of the Westfield San Francisco Centre. The Holiday Lights Train pulls into the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk November 29 for a festive start to the holiday season with its vintage excursion cars adorned with lights, taking passengers on a one-hour journey past the Santa Cruz Wharf and Victorian houses. Christmas in the Park is a San Jose tradition that marks the beginning of the holiday season. This year, the event takes place November 28 through January 1, 2009, when the two-acre Plaza de Cesar Chavez is transformed into a holiday fantasy with more than 60 musical and animated exhibits.

For a true hometown light show, Reedley, in the Central Valley Region, puts on the Electrical Farm Equipment Parade December 4, when more than 50 tractors and antique vehicles are lit up to pay tribute to the region’s agricultural heritage. Fresno plays host to the country’s largest Hmong New Year Celebration, scheduled this year for December 26 through January 1, 2009, when the richness of the Hmong culture is celebrated. Modesto also offers a host of holiday events, including a Holiday Parade, Dickens Faire and Farmers Market December 6. In Lodi, the 17th Annual Festival of Trees takes place December 6-7 with more than 70 uniquely decorated trees.

Cultural delights abound during Balboa Park December Nights, December 5-6, in San Diego. The popular holiday (and largest free community festival in San Diego) includes carolers, live entertainment, children’s rides and free admission to more than 80 of the park’s museums and cultural organizations. Also located in the San Diego County Region, the Holiday of Lights at Del Mar offers more than 400 brilliant holiday light displays. The event, which is held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds November 27 through January 4, 2009, is the largest animated drive-through light show on the West Coast. SeaWorld San Diego’s Holiday Celebration returns for the third year November 28-30, December 6-7, 13-14 and 20-31. Festivities include the sea lion and otter comedy show, “Clyde and Seamore’s Night Before Christmas,” and “Shamu’s Holiday Night.” In Carlsbad, LEGOLAND California celebrates its 10th Annual Holiday Block Party December 20-30, when thousands of LEGOs come together to create a massive 30-foot-tall Christmas tree decorated with hundreds of ornaments.

For those who think the holidays aren’t authentic without snow on the ground, visitors can head to the High Sierra Region, where the deals are as plentiful as the snowflakes. In Mammoth Lakes, Mammoth Mountain is offering its First Tracks package when the resort opens for the season November 13, conditions permitting. First Tracks is available through December 17 for just $99 per person, per night and includes lift ticket and lodging. Not everyone can gracefully glide down black diamond slopes, so North Lake Tahoe ski resorts are giving novice skiers and snowboarders the opportunity to learn at bargain prices. The 9th Annual Learn to Ski and Board Weekend, scheduled for the weekend of December 13-14, costs $25 and includes an all-day beginner lift ticket, group lesson and gear rental. In South Lake Tahoe, Heavenly Mountain Resort is offering holiday packages as low as $425 per person, which includes three nights’ lodging, two days of skiing or snowboarding, and a ride on a horse-drawn sleigh.

Beginning November 21 through January 4, 2009, Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park in Anaheim are transformed into alluring holiday wonderlands. The signature Sleeping Beauty Castle will be aglow with lights that resemble hanging icicles during the “Believe…In Holiday Magic” fireworks show, which also includes a lights display and music. One of Disneyland’s most famous attractions will again resound with the joys of the season as the children of the world sing and play in harmony at the “It’s a Small World Holiday.” Also located in the Orange County Region, the St. Regis Resort, Monarch Beach in Dana Point continues the tradition of its Gingerbread Academy December 6-7, 13-14 and 20-21, when children have the opportunity to decorate their houses with all the frosting and candy imaginable. In San Juan Capistrano, the Christmas at the Mission takes place December 6 with the official ceremony and lighting of the San Juan Capistrano Christmas tree, as well as a visit from Santa Claus, live nativity presentation, open house and music.

In the Gold Country Region, the 34th Anniversary of the Sonora Christmas Festival is scheduled for November 28-30, when more than 200 craft artists are featured, along with street performers, costumed elves and carolers. Visitors to Newcastle gather, taste and shop at the Christmas in the Foothills December 6-7 as they wind their way through small farms for mandarins, Christmas trees, wine and unique gifts. The Country Christmas Faire, November 28-30, in Grass Valley is also ideal for handcrafted and unique gifts, including hand-made jewelry, candles and baskets.

More than the stars will shine this holiday season as Beverly Hills, in the Los Angeles County Region, lights the night November 22 at the annual City of Beverly Hills and UNICEF Holiday Lighting Ceremony. There will also be a fireworks finale synchronized with holiday musical favorites. The Avenues of Art and Design, located along Melrose Avenue and Robertson and Beverly Boulevards in West Hollywood, is hosting its inaugural Avenues Holiday Shopping Night December 11, with special shopper discounts, hors d’oeuvres and beverages, as well as roaming carolers and Santas. Thousands of pounds of confetti and a spectacular fireworks show blast into the winter’s night sky as part of Southern California’s largest free outdoors New Year’s Eve Bash at Universal Studios CityWalk Hollywood in Universal City. Marina del Rey also has extravagant fireworks, which can be viewed from all over the Marina, at their New Year’s Eve Fireworks event.

Visitors are invited to the 20th Annual Mendocino Coast Candlelight Tour December 10-12 in the North Coast Region, where they can tour historic inns via evening tours and enjoy holiday refreshments. Scenic train rides aboard the Skunk Train through the California Redwoods between Fort Bragg and Willits take on a holiday vibe via the Christmas Train, which runs through December, a popular ride with Santa, elves, storytellers, musicians, hot cocoa and cookies.

The CTTC is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs - in partnership with the state's travel industry - that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to the CTTC, travel and tourism expenditures total $96.7 billion annually in California, support jobs for 924,100 Californians and generate $5.8 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about the CTTC and for a free California Visitor’s Guide, go to www.VisitCalifornia.com.

Language options for Web site in German, Spanish and Dutch

While Holland America Line’s Web site – www.hollandamerica.com – has always enjoyed a global audience, the 135-year-old company announced today the addition of a translation feature that allows visitors  to select the language of their choice to the Web site’s highest traffic areas. Now, visitors to www.hollandamerica.com can display destination information, fares, online e-brochures, news articles, special offers, Mariner Society information and more in German, Spanish and Dutch.

“As a global company, we recognize the value of offering our Web site in a variety of languages,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, Holland America Line. “It is our goal to make our Web site user experience as clear, convenient and as welcoming as possible.”

Translation Access

Once on the Web site, visitors are able to switch between languages at any time simply by choosing a different language from the “Select a Language” drop-down menu in the upper right-hand corner of each applicable Web page. If a visitor does not choose a language, the site will automatically default to English.

For more information about Holland America Line,


Loews HotelsRealizing that the current economic climate is making it more difficult for consumers to travel and to dine out, Loews Hotels is announcing a fall “Harvest of Benefits” package which encourages business travelers to turn any fall trip into a vacation. The “Harvest of Benefits” package features an increasing food and beverage credit based on length of stay: $50 credit for a two-night stay; $75 for three nights and $100 for four or more nights. The food and beverage credit can be used at any onsite restaurant or for room service.

The "Harvest of Benefits" package, which is available October 2 through December 30, 2008, is based on Loews Best Rate available at 17 Loews Hotels in the U.S. and Canada, with prices starting at $119 - $239 a night, and up, depending on location.

To enhance this offering, Loews is introducing new, seasonal fall menus at each hotel. Highlighting local ingredients and flavors, the menus will be available through December 31, 2008 and feature items such as Pumpkin Ravioli at the Loews Portofino Hotel, Westchester Beet Salad from the Loews Regency, Chesapeake Stew from the Loews Annapolis Hotel, Everglades Seared Striped Bass from the Loews Miami Beach and Popcorn Sundaes from the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel.

“Tacking on a mini-vacation to a business trip is a great way for people to get some rest and relaxation without much incremental expense,” said Nancy Mendelson, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Loews Hotels. “With the current economy, we know that it’s a real benefit to our guests to get a little relief on their dining bill. We created these menus to provide warm and welcoming, uniquely local dining options for our guests.”

The Loews “Harvest of Benefits” package is subject to availability and is bookable at 17 Loews Hotels in the U.S. and Canada. For more information or to book, call 1-800-23-LOEWS or visit www.loewshotels.com.


Shorter cruises offered along with longer Collectors’ Voyages
Holland America LineSeattle, WA, October 16, 2008 — For those with less time on their hands but still looking to take a cruise holiday that abounds with popular ports of call, Holland America Line’s newest ship, the Signature-class, ms Eurodam, will sail two four-day and one two-day itineraries between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Dover (London), England, in July 2009 that make the perfect midsummer getaway.
Guests wanting to take a longer holiday can book the voyages in combination with extended cruises to form 12- and 14-day Collectors’ Voyages.
“We understand that some travelers are looking for a quick and relaxing holiday, which is why we developed these shorter, exciting itineraries,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, marketing, sales and guest programs, Holland America Line. “We’ve put together some fascinating ports, so whether guests book a four-day cruise or a full 14-day Collectors’ Voyage, they’re going to have an unforgettable, premium-cruise experience.”
The first four-day itinerary departs July 2, 2009, and sails from Copenhagen to Dover (London). Along the way, the line’s 2,104-passenger ship will call at Oslo, Norway, with a late-night departure so guests can enjoy the local nightlife and have time to become fully immersed in Scandinavia’s third-largest city. The ship also calls at Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a charming city rich in culture, history and ambiance.
The second four-day cruise departs July 6 and sails round-trip Dover. The port-intensive itinerary visits an impressive three countries during its short journey. Eurodam first calls at Zeebrugge (Brussels), Belgium, a city overflowing with history and known for its chocolate, beer, waffles and diamonds. Next, the vessel calls at Cherbourg, France, where it stays until midnight allowing for plenty of extra time to explore the Normandy port. St. Peter Port, Guernsey, is the final call en route to Dover, and guests will be greeted by the islands’ charming 18th-century Georgian houses, pubs, cafés and restaurants.
Eurodam sails a two-day mini-holiday from Dover to Copenhagen, departing July 10, that is ideal for the traveler looking to experience Eurodam or simply enjoy a brief respite from the everyday demands of day-to-day life. 
12 and 14-day Collectors’ Voyages
A 14-day Copenhagen to Dover (London) Collector’s Voyage sets sail June 22 with one repeated call at Copenhagen. In addition to scenic cruising through the pine-tree covered Stockholm Archipelago, ports of call include Warnemünde (Berlin); Tallinn, Estonia; and an overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. From St. Petersburg, Eurodam continues its sailing making calls at Helsinki, Finland; Stockholm, Sweden; Kiel, Germany; Oslo and Amsterdam.
The 12-day Collectors’ Voyage combines the two-day Eurodam sampler cruise departing July 10, and continues on its Copenhagen round-trip journey to Warnemünde (Berlin), Stockholm, Helsinki, St. Petersburg (overnight), Tallinn and Kiel.
Cruise fares are per person, double occupancy, and rates start at $239 for the two-day mini-holiday departing July 10; $449 for the four-day voyages departing July 2 or 6; $1,599 for the 12-day Collectors’ Voyage departing July 10 from Dover, and $1,799 for the 14-day Collectors’ Voyage departing June 22 from Copenhagen. Fuel supplement charges are additional.
The Holland America premium cruise experience
At the heart of every Holland America cruise is a warm and award-winning style of service that is never in the way and never out of reach. With the new As You Wish™ dining, the onboard culinary experience is more inviting with options to suit every taste. Guests will be able to choose a classic fixed seating and dining time or a more flexible, open seating schedule. And alternative dining always is available, including the elegant Pinnacle Grill, new Pan-Asian Tamarind, Canaletto and relaxed Lido Restaurant.
Culinary staff and guest chefs will lead cooking classes and demonstrations in the onboard Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine. The Explorations Café — powered by the New York Times — enables guests to stay connected to loved ones. To rest up for the next day, guests are assured a good night’s sleep with the Mariner’s Dream stateroom amenities, including luxurious beds and linens.
When in port, guests can choose from a multitude of diverse shore excursions including Overland Adventures, off-the-beaten-track explorations, Signature Collection private-car touring and exclusive Medallion Collection excursions.
For a cruise brochure or for more information on Holland America Line’s Grand Voyages, consult a professional travel agent, call 1-800-522-3399 or visit www.hollandamerica.com.



Germany - The travel DestinationSnowy mountains, historic churches, pilgrimage towns, cozy Christmas markets enclosed in traditional town squares compose the perfect setting for a seasonal visit to the towns in the Ammergau Alps as well as to Altoetting, Bamberg, Munich, Passau, Regensburg and Kaethe the Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Village in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. 

Altoetting, east of Munich, is since centuries the spiritual centre of Bavaria and one of the most significant places of pilgrimage in Germany. A year-round pilgrimage destination for the Virgin Mary for 500 years, the "Black Madonna", a wooden statue from 1330, attracts visitors from all over the world. Being close to where Pope Benedict XVI grew up, Altoetting played a viable part in the Pope’s spiritual education and his footsteps can be traced in the town as well as in his neighboring birthplace Marktl. During Advent, the Christmas market comes alive with evening concerts starting at 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Wednesdays in the St. Anna Basilica with its life-sized wooden manger. In nearby Kreszentiheimstrasse, the "mechanical manger" (with 130 figures) is set in motion electrically.

Every ten years, the town of Oberammergau in the Ammergau Alps, puts on the re-enactment of the Passion Play from May to October. In 2010, the town will once again host hundreds of thousands for this intense six hour drama with its cast of 2,000 local actors. Ticket sales start April 20th, 2009.   www.oberammergau.de

But you don’t have to wait that long to appreciate Oberammergau. Tradition and customs are carefully honored especially at Christmas time. The "Christkindlmärkte" of the region are very special and original. You will find everything from homemade jams, hand-knitted socks to skillfully crafted Christmas jewelries.

A special and comfortable way to discover the Ammergau winter wonderland is by gliding on a horse sleigh through the Graswang Valley to the fairytale King Ludwig’s Castle Linderhof. For the more active traveler however, Ammergau’s slopes are great for every proficiency level from downhill to cross country skiing for less than $30 per day. At New Years Eve the town of Oberammergau greets the new year with the "Sterngang" (Grand Star Procession). Both locals and guests parade through the town with a large illuminated star, accompanied by singers and musicians to sing in the New Year with traditional star songs, that originated in the Middle Ages.

Munich, Bavaria’s capital, boasts a Christmas Market that dating back to the 14th century. Still today, daily at 5:30 pm, from the balcony of the Town Hall, local groups sing and perform carols, and the Glockenspiel (bells) plays its "Good Night" melody at 9:00 pm during the Advent season. While the main Christmas market is in the city center, many others are spread around Bavaria’s capital. For example, the market at the Wittelsbach Square is presented in a medieval style, where their artists exhibit and demonstrate crafts: glass-blowing, goldsmithing, miniature painting and wood carving. Munich’s Nativity Market (also called the Creche Market), the largest in Germany, is in Marienhof, St. Mary’s Courtyard. In Munich’s nearly 300 churches, religious travelers can trace Catholic Bavaria’s history and follow in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI, who lived, taught and preached in this southern capital.

Passau, located in the far southeast of Bavaria, is a beautiful city on the crossing of the Danube, Ilz and Inn Rivers and therefore the destination for many cruises. Dominated by the beautiful Baroque St. Stephan’s Cathedral, the old town is a fascinating gem close to the German-Austrian border. The organ in the St. Stephan’s Cathedral is the largest organ in the world with 17,974 pipes. During the Christmas season about 70 selected little stalls show and sell special Christmas goods, presents, arts and crafts in front of the cathedral. Every Wednesday and Saturday in Advent organ concerts are performed at noon. High above Passau is the Baroque monastery church Mariahilf an important pilgrimage church that has an important painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder of the Maria with the baby Jesus from 1537. The 321 pilgrim steps remind visitors of their goal.

Further west along the Danube, Regensburg invites the traveler to the largest original medieval city in Germany. Not destroyed during World War II, the former trade post is full of beautiful Renaissance and Baroque architecture around the majestic Regensburg Cathedral and the Castle of Thurn and Taxis. For 40 years Pope Benedict XVI has been closely linked with Regensburg not only by virtue of his work at the university where he taught for eight years, but also through family ties. The Pope’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, former conductor of the Regensburg Cathedral Boys' Choir, one of the world’s oldest boys’ choir, still lives in Regensburg while his parents and his sister are buried there. His private residence stands in Pentling, a village close to Regensburg. "Pope Benedict XVI and Regensburg" is the title of a special themed city tour. For the Christmas season Regensburg Tourism offers a special deal for two overnight stays, including a guided city tour, a tour of Castle Thurn and Taxis, free entry to the Christmas Market at the castle and a special boat trip on the Danube. This offer starts at $290 per person.

Further north, the old emperor’s city of Bamberg in Bavaria’s northern region of Franconia is a gem from the Middle Ages, a pearl of Germany, spared of Allied bombs by the protective cloak of clouds delivered by its patron saint, as the story goes. The UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts six churches, mostly in Baroque style, including the magnificent Kaiserdom St. Peter from the 13th century and the Carmelite monastery perched on one of the city’s seven hills and known for its garden of Biblical plants. During Christmas time, Bamberg’s famous Trail of Nativity Scenes comprise more than 38 different churches, public places, chapels, and museums with Christmas Creches and Nativity Scenes of all ages and sizes. Bamberg holds four Christmas Markets during the holiday season with the traditional market, right in the middle of the pedestrian zone on Maximilian Square with an abundance of stalls with regional specialities. A special treat is the medieval Christmas Market in the Old Court on Cathedral Square. With medieval music, craftsmen, and jugglers, plays, mead and ginger bread the Middle Ages are as alive as ever (Dec 6th - Dec 14th). Two smaller markets highlight the handicraft tradition of Bamberg in other quarters of the Old Town on the first and the third weekend of Advent.

Christmas never goes out of season in Kaethe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Village in the beautiful medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. All the fascinating, hand-crafted German Christmas decorations and many more beautiful items such as the traditional Christmas Pyramid - a wooden, automatically revolving pyramid with candles - wooden tree ornaments or music boxes can be found in Kaethe Wohlfahrt’s year-round Christmas Village. In addition to the traditional decorations from the Ore Mountains, the manufacturer offers its own hand-made product lines "Kaethes Original" and "Rothenburger Weihnachtswerkstatt." 

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