Ty Warner introduces Cecil™ the Lion Beanie Baby®

Ty Warner, Founder and Chairman of Ty Inc, has created Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby in memory of the beloved lion tragically killed July 2, 2015. Warner has also pledged 100% of profits from the original sale to WildCRU, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of University of Oxford in Oxford, England.

Ty Warner introduces Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby - 100% of profits from the original sale to WildCRU, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of University of Oxford in Oxford England. (PRNewsFoto/Ty Inc.)

Ty Warner introduces Cecil the Lion Beanie Baby – 100% of profits from the original sale to WildCRU, the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit of University of Oxford in Oxford England. (PRNewsFoto/Ty Inc.)

The mission of WildCRU, founded in 1986 by Prof David Macdonald, is to achieve practical solutions to conservation problems through original scientific research. WildCRU’s work spans many species in many countries around the world. David and Dr Andrew Loveridge set up the Hwange lion study inZimbabwe in 1999 and it is one of the longest running

Coming Soon to The Museum at FIT: Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch

Susanne Bartsch with Gage of the Boone, 2013. Photo © Wilsonmodels.

Susanne Bartsch with Gage of the Boone, 2013. Photo © Wilsonmodels.

Susanne wearing a dress by Rachel Auburn, Liberty Theatre in Times Square, 2014. Photo by Robin Souma.

Susanne wearing a dress by Rachel Auburn, Liberty Theatre in Times Square, 2014. Photo by Robin Souma.

The Museum at FIT presents Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch (Special Exhibitions Gallery, September 18 – December 5, 2015), featuring approximately 80 looks from the underground fashion impresario’s personal collection of clothing and accessories, including designs by Rachel Auburn, The Blonds, Leigh Bowery, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Pam Hogg, Stephen Jones, Alexander McQueen, Thierry Mugler, Rick Owens, Vivienne Westwood, and Zaldy, thanks to the generosity of the Couture Council and MAC Cosmetics.

Susanne and François Sagat in Switzerland hosting an AIDS benefit. Dress by Mathu and Zaldy, 2011. © Patrick MettRaux and Lukas Beyeler.

Susanne and François Sagat in Switzerland hosting an AIDS benefit. Dress by Mathu and Zaldy, 2011. © Patrick MettRaux and Lukas Beyeler.

Born in Switzerland, Susanne Bartsch moved to London as a teenager, living there for a decade. “We called her the Swiss Miss,” say old friends from London, where Bartsch was a key figure among the New Romantics. Arriving in New York on Valentine’s Day 1981, Bartsch opened a boutique in Soho while still on a tourist visa. An enthusiastic proponent of 1980s English fashion, she was one of the first New York retailers to import Vivienne Westwood. She also organized fashion shows, such as New London in New York and London Goes to Tokyo, that showcased designers Leigh Bowery, Body Map, and Stephen Jones. But life in 1980s New York was not just a party; AIDS was devastating the community. As her friends began dying, Bartsch notes that she “survived this period by becoming a fundraiser.” In 1989, she organized the Love Ball, one of the first and most important AIDS benefits. Over the next few years, she raised a total of $2.5 million for AIDS research and advocacy.

The catwalk crew at Marquee, 2013. Photo by Jason Akira Somma.

The catwalk crew at Marquee, 2013. Photo by Jason Akira Somma.

Susanne Bartsch has also been the longtime reigning queen of New York City nightlife since the 1980s when she became renowned for creating spectacular parties where she and a diverse mix of individuals—uptown, downtown, gay, straight, multiracial—dressed up in their own versions of high fashion, street style, drag, and Mardi Gras extravaganza. Her first party took place in 1986 at a club near The Chelsea Hotel, where she has lived for many years. “It was about seeing and being seen,” says Bartsch.

Bartsch and her friends have long constituted a fashion underground of creative individuals who take dressing up to the level of performance art. “Style is about expressing yourself,adds Bartsch. “You can be whatever you want to be—a silver-screen star, a Marie Antoinette baroque creature, a Victorian punk. I love that about fashion and makeup.” A muse for fashion designers and makeup artists, Bartsch has also been a catalyst for the cross-fertilization of ideas between creative people in a range of fields. Today, she is increasingly creating events that explicitly link fashion and art.

Photo by Robin Souma

Photo by Robin Souma

Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch opens with a small introductory gallery of images and videos about Bartsch and her world. In the main exhibition gallery, the first section focuses on the 1980s English fashions that Bartsch introduced to New York displayed in a tableau evoking her surreally styled boutiques. The second and largest section features a variety of the creations that Bartsch and her friends have worn at her famous club nights at Savage, Copacabana, and Le Bains, with a special section devoted to the AIDS balls. The final section evokes her apartment at the Chelsea Hotel, the center of her creative world. Videos and projected photographs throughout the exhibition document Bartsch’s 30 years of sartorial self-expression and its influence on the global fashion scene.

Susanne at a Swiss dance event at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, January 2015. Photo by Robin Souma

Susanne at a Swiss dance event at the Tribeca Grand Hotel, January 2015. Photo by Robin Souma

Susanne Bartsch, 1990s. Photograph by Andrea Barbiroli.

Susanne Bartsch, 1990s. Photograph by Andrea Barbiroli.

The exhibition, curated by Valerie Steele and Susanne Bartsch and designed by Kim Ackert after a concept by Thierry Loriot, will be accompanied by a book by Steele and Melissa Marra. A two-day symposium will feature a range of designers, performers, and scholars speaking on fashion, creativity, nightlife, and performance art.

The Museum at FIT, which is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, is the only museum in New York City dedicated solely to the art of fashion. Best known for its innovative and award-winning exhibitions, the museum has a collection of more than 50,000 garments and accessories dating from the 18th century to the present. Like other fashion museums, such as the Musée de la Mode, the Mode Museum, and the Museo de la Moda, The Museum at FIT collects, conserves, documents, exhibits, and interprets fashion, with a mission is to advance knowledge of fashion through exhibitions, publications, and public programs.

The museum is part of the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), a State University of New York (SUNY) college of art, design, business, and technology that has been at the crossroads of commerce and creativity for 70 years. With programs that blend hands-on practice, a strong grounding in theory, and a broad-based liberal arts foundation, FIT offers career education in nearly 50 areas, and grants associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. FIT provides students with a complete college experience at an affordable cost, a vibrant campus life in New York City, and industry-relevant preparation for rewarding careers. Visit fitnyc.edu.

The Couture Council is a philanthropic membership group that helps support the exhibitions and programs of The Museum at FIT. The Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion is given to a selected designer at a benefit luncheon held every September.

National Geographic Traveler Magazine Announces Winners of 2015 Photography Contest

Selected from more than 17,000 entries, an underwater photograph of divers swimming near a humpback whale taken by Anuar Patjane Floriuk of Tehuacán, Puebla, Mexico, has won the 2015 National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest grand prize. Floriuk wins an eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal for two. Shot near Roca Partida, an island off the western coast of Mexico, the winning photo is titled “Whale Whisperer.”

Diving with a humpback whale and her new born calf while they cruise around Roca Partida Island, in Revillagigedo, Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life so we need to accelerate the incorporation of this islands into UNESCO as natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing ilegal fishing corporations and big game fishing.

Diving with a humpback whale and her new born calf while they cruise around Roca Partida Island, in Revillagigedo, Mexico. This is an outstanding and unique place full of pelagic life so we need to accelerate the incorporation of this islands into UNESCO as natural heritage site in order to increase the protection of the islands against the prevailing ilegal fishing corporations and big game fishing.

“The photo wasn’t planned,” Floriuk said. “I was taking photos near the head of the whale, and all of a sudden she began to swim toward the rest of the diving team. The divers gave the whale and her calf space, and I just clicked at the moment when the flow and composition seemed right.”

Faisal Azim of Chittagong, Bangladesh, placed second for his photo “Gravel Workmen.” He will receive a six-day National Geographic Photo Expedition: Winter Wildlife in Yellowstone for two. The third-place photo, “Camel Ardah,” was shot by Ahmed Al Toqi of Muscat, Oman. He wins a six-day cruise for two from Schooner American Eagle and Heritage. Seven merit-prize winners will receive a $200 (USD) gift certificate to B&H Photo and theNational Geographic Masters of Photography course on DVD. All winners will receive a subscription to National Geographic Traveler magazine. The winning photos may be viewed online on the Traveler Photo Contest website.

National Geographic Travel celebrates and illuminates destinations around the globe, and it was exciting to see that same theme captured in the contest entries,” said Maggie Zackowitz, editor-in-chief of National Geographic Traveler magazine. “I was blown away by the creativity of the photographers.

This year’s contest received more than 17,000 entries from photographers around the world. There were four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place and Spontaneous Moments. Judging consisted of two rounds of evaluation based on creativity and photographic quality.

As grand-prize winner, Floriuk will embark on the National Geographic Sea Lion for the Costa Rica and the Panama Canal Photo Expedition, an eight-day voyage with a National Geographic photographer and a team of photo instructors. Tracing the Pacific coasts of Costa Rica and Panama, guests on board the vessel will explore the Manuel Antonio National Park, Osa Peninsula, Isla de Coiba and much more on the way to the Panama Canal. The trip is provided by National Geographic Expeditions, the travel program of the National Geographic Society, which offers guided trips spanning all seven continents and more than 80 destinations.

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Outdoor Scenes – Third Place – Camel Ardah, Photo and caption by Ahmed Al Toqi. Location: Badīyah, Ash Sharqiyah, Oman.

Camel Ardah, as it [is] called in Oman, is one of the traditional styles of camel racing … between two camels controlled by expert men. The faster camel is the loser … so they must be running [at] the same speed level in the same track. The main purpose of Ardah is to show the beauty and strength of the Arabian camels and the riders’ skills. Ardah [is] considered one of the most risky situations, since always the camels reactions are unpredictable [and] it may get wild and jump [toward the] audience.”

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Outdoor Scenes -Merit Winner – Sauna in the Sky, Photo and caption by Stefano Zardini. A sauna at 2,800 meters high in the heart of Dolomites. Monte Lagazuoi, Cortina, eastern Italian Alps.

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Outdoor Scenes – Merit Winner – Romania, Land of Fairy Tales, Photo and caption by Eduard Gutescu. Location: Bran, Brasov, Romania. White frost over Pestera village.


Travel Portraits – 2nd Place – Gravel Workmen – Photo and caption by faisal azim. Location: Chittagong, Chittagong, Bangladesh.

“[This] gravel-crush working place remains full of dust and sand. Three gravel workmen are looking through the window glass at their working place. Chittagong, Bangladesh.”


Sense of a Place – Merit Winner – A Night at Deadvlei, Photo and caption by Beth McCarley. Location: Windhoek, Khomas, Namibia.

The night before returning to Windhoek, we spent several hours at Deadvlei. The moon was bright enough to illuminate the sand dunes in the distance, but the skies were still dark enough to clearly see the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds. Deadvlei means “dead marsh.” The camelthorn trees are believed to be about 900 years old but have not decomposed because the environment is so dry.”


Spontaneous Moments – Merit Winner – White Rhinos, Photo and caption by Stefane Berube.

The night before this photo, we tried all day to get a good photo of the endangered white rhino. Skulking through the grass carefully, trying to stay 30 feet away to be safe, didn’t provide me the photo I was hoping for. In the morning, however, I woke up to all three rhinos grazing in front of me. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Uganda.”

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Spontaneous Moments – Merit Winner – Kushti, Indian Wrestling, Photo and caption by alain schroeder. Location: Kolhapur, Maharashtra, India.

Kushti is the traditional form of Indian wrestling. Wearing only a well-adjusted loincloth (langot), wrestlers (pelwhans) enter a pit made of clay, often mixed with salt, lemon, and ghee (clarified butter). At the end of a workout, wrestlers rest against the walls of the arena, covering their heads and bodies with earth to soak up any perspiration and avoid catching cold. This relaxation ceremony is completed with massages to soothe tired muscles and demonstrate mutual respect.”

Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to cut and sort the hay.

Traditional haymaking in Poland. Many people continue to use the scythe and pitchfork to cut and sort the hay. © Bart Omiej Jurecki / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Two boys are trying to catch a duck near a waterfall. # © Sarah Wouters / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Two boys are trying to catch a duck near a waterfall. # © Sarah Wouters / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest

Tempur Sealy Debuts New Products at Las Vegas Market

Company Introduces Sealy Posturepedic 65th Anniversary Edition Series and the New TEMPUR-Contour Collection of Pillows

The world’s largest bedding provider, Tempur Sealy International, Inc. has  debuted new products from two of the most recognized brands-Sealy Posturepedic and Tempur-Pedic– in the industry at the 2015 edition of Las Vegas Market.

Celebrating the milestone of one of history’s most well-known mattress brands, the company is launching the Sealy Posturepedic® 65th Anniversary Edition, which includes three mattresses inspired by the brand’s legacy of unsurpassed back support, engineered with the latest Posturepedic technology and aesthetics.



Included in the Series, which will begin shipping to retail in August, are: A Tight Top mattress at a recommended price point of $599, a EuroTop mattress at a recommended price point of $699 and a PillowTop mattress at a recommended price point of $799. (For more information on Sealy Posturepedic products, visit www.sealy.com.)



The Posturepedic® Series Anniversary Edition delivers the famous all-over support and comfort of Sealy Posturepedic, in a special edition for Posturepedic’s 65th Anniversary,” said Dan Calderwood, Vice President of Marketing, Sealy Portfolio. “The Anniversary Posturepedic Series features a profile range of 12″ to 14″ and our classic open coil, offering a higher-profile mattress at an attractive price point.”   

Company introduces the new TEMPUR-Contour collection of pillows (PRNewsFoto/Tempur Sealy International, Inc.)

Company introduces the new TEMPUR-Contour collection of pillows (PRNewsFoto/Tempur Sealy International, Inc.)

Right up my alley is the TEMPUR-Contour Pillow Collection. Building on the successful launch of the TEMPUR-Cloud pillow collection in 2014, Tempur-Pedic is debuting the TEMPUR-Contour pillow collection this summer. The three TEMPUR-Contour pillows are built for specific sleep positions and, in an industry first, feature a new Dual Feel.

The Dual Feel feature incorporates firm TEMPUR material for neck support and soft TEMPUR material for head comfort. This is a new formulation of TEMPUR material designed specifically for pillows,” said Brent Pfister, Vice President of Marketing, Tempur-Pedic Portfolio. “Whether you’re a side sleeper, a back sleeper or both, there is a TEMPUR-Contour pillow designed to provide the best night’s sleep for you.”

The TEMPUR-Contour collection includes: The TEMPUR-Contour Side-to-Side (starting at $129), The TEMPUR-Contour Side-to-Back (starting at $129) and The TEMPUR-Contour Side-to-Side Breeze (starting at $169). The company is also debuting the TEMPUR-Essential Support pillow, which features a new feel for back and stomach sleepers at an attractive price point: a suggested retail price of only $79.


Long Awaited New Darlene Love Album ‘Introducing Darlene Love’ Available For Pre-Order Today


Well, it’s about time! The first new album in decades from beloved legendary vocalist and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member  Darlene Love, Introducing Darlene Love, is available for pre-order today at iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon.   Produced and arranged by artist/producer/E Street Band great Stevie Van Zandt, the album is comprised of all new recordings and features never-before-heard and classic songs from a superstar cast of songwriters eager to showcase one of the most seminal voices in music history.  Fans who pre-order the album will receive the Elvis Costello-penned first single “Forbidden Nights” as an instant grat track.

Long Awaited New Darlene Love Album 'Introducing Darlene Love' Available September 18 (PRNewsFoto/Columbia Records)

Long Awaited New Darlene Love Album ‘Introducing Darlene Love’ Available September 18 (PRNewsFoto/Columbia Records)

Superstar musicians and Super Darlene Love fans (Check out video below), Elvis Costello and Bruce Springsteen contribute two tracks each to the 14-song album (released on Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool label in partnership with Columbia Records – see full tracklist below) with Stevie Van Zandt penning three songs.  Other writers include Jim Webb, Linda Perry, Desmond Child, Joan Jett, longtime songwriting team Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, and Michael Des Barres, and more.

The forever captivating Love brings her iconic vocal delivery to each song, including “Night Closing In” (Bruce Springsteen,) “Still To Soon To Know” (Elvis Costello),”Love Kept Us Foolin’ Around” (Linda Perry), “Who Under Heaven” (Jimmy Webb), “River Deep, Mountain High” (Phil Spector/Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich), and “Sweet Freedom” (Barry Man/Cynthia Weil), among others.  Inducted in to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame (at age 70) in 2011, The New York Times has called the singer “a thunderbolt voice embedded in the history of rock n’ roll…” and Rolling Stone praised her trademark vocal style as “a rare instrument sturdy enough to vault over Phil Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound.’

Love’s five-decade career spans some of the greatest signature moments in music, with the Los Angeles native nurturing her talent early as a member of the Blossoms, a local trio who began their career providing backup vocals for artists such as Sam Cooke and Bobbie Day.  The Blossoms also were featured as part of the house band for the popular ’60s music show Shindig, backing up many of the performers who appeared on the series.  Love would go on to become one of the most sought-after singers in music history, recording with Elvis Presley, Cher, Bette Midler, Frank Sinatra, The Beach Boys, Dionne Warwick, The Righteous Brothers, Tom Jones, and dozens of other vocal giants throughout her career.  Her early work with pioneering producer Phil Spector on songs such as the trailblazing “He’s A Rebel,” “He’s Sure The Boy I Love,” and “Why Do Lover’s Break Each Other’s Hearts,” would garner her legend status. She is featured in the 2013 Academy Award and Grammy winning documentary ‘20 Feet From Stardom,’ chronicling the behind-the-scenes lives of background singers.  Darlene’s annual holiday performance of her classic “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” on Late Night With David Letterman became a holiday viewing staple.

The prolific Van Zandt creates a compelling production aesthetic on Introducing Darlene Love, echoing the classic recording style of many early ’60s pop standards on the forthcoming Columbia Records/Wicked Cool release, available everywhere on September 18.

1. Among The Believers (Stevie Van Zandt)
2. Forbidden Nights (Elvis Costello)
3. Love Kept Us Foolin’ Around (Linda Perry)
4. Little Liar (Desmond Child/Joan Jett)
5. Still Too Soon To Know (Elvis Costello)
6. Who Under Heaven (Jimmy Webb)
7. Night Closing In (Bruce Springsteen)
8. Painkiller (Michael Des Barres/Paul Ill)
9. Just Another Lonely Mile (Bruce Springsteen)
10. Last Time (Stevie Van Zandt)
11. River Deep, Mountain High (Phil Spector/Jeff Barry/Ellie Greenwich)
12. Sweet Freedom (Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil)
13. Marvelous (Walter Hawkins)
14. Jesus Is The Rock (That Keeps Me Rollin) (Stevie Van Zandt)

Crystal Cruises to Expand Luxury Travel in Ocean, River, Yacht and…Air

Exactly 25 years after Crystal Cruises set its course as a leader in luxury cruising with the launch of the first of three ships, the world’s most awarded luxury cruise line is charting a new, much more vast, route. Crystal’s president and CEO, Edie Rodriguez and Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay announced Crystal’s plans for the most significant brand expansion in the history of luxury travel and hospitality.  Over the next three years, Crystal Cruises will introduce new ships – effectively establishing three brand new classes of cruising – as well as its own Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

In their special address to guests aboard the line’s annual President’s Cruise on Crystal Serenity and Chairman’s Cruise on Crystal Symphony respectively, Rodriguez and Tan Sri Lim made clear of new parent company, Genting Hong Kong’s investment in maintaining Crystal’s award-winning reputation and writing a new chapter in the continuing story of Crystal Cruises. The Chairman stated, “Our intent is to make Crystal Cruises the core of what will become the world’s premier luxury hospitality and lifestyle brand portfolio, not only for the immediate Crystal_Cruises_Logo_horzfuture but for years to come.

In her announcement on Crystal Serenity, Rodriguez shared her enthusiasm about the expansion of Crystal Cruises, saying, “We continue to think bigger, aiming to create unparalleled luxury experiences and adventures for our loyal and new guests, who – like Crystal – continue to seek broader horizons and new perspectives on the world.” She added, “We are ecstatic to continue pioneering new areas of luxury travel. Crystal’s newly expanded fleet will truly be travelers’ passport to virtually the entire world.

Crystal Yacht Cruises – December 23, 2015

Late this year, Crystal Esprit will embark on its maiden voyage as the first expansion of the Crystal Cruises fleet.  The vessel is an extravagantly appointed yacht, delivered to Crystal Cruises by Genting Hong Kong (GHK), and extensively redesigned to reflect the stylish elegance for which Crystal is renowned.  The 62-guest, 3,000-tonnage yacht will offer intimate, exclusive, and immersive experiences with a boutique ambiance. The all-suite yacht will feature posh, high-end finishes and modern technology, and is outfitted with some decidedly extreme features, like a two-passenger submarine, four 10-passenger zodiacs for special excursions and a 12-passenger Wider 32-foot super yacht tender for special boating adventures.  Additionally, at their guests’ fingertips are water skis, wake boards, kayaks, jet skis, fishing, scuba, and snorkel equipment.

Crystal Esprit (Artist Rendition)

Crystal Esprit (Artist Rendition)

Set for delivery in November 2015, Crystal Esprit marks the debut of the new all-inclusive Crystal Yacht Cruises program, which will sail regional, warm-water itineraries of seven days and offer thrilling experiences on water and ashore.  The first voyage sails December 23, 2015, exploring the Seychelles Islands, followed by an inclusive, post-cruise New Year’s Eve celebration at the Taj Dubai Hotel. Effective immediately for Crystal Society members (the line’s repeat guest loyalty program), 2015 – through early 2018 Crystal Yacht Cruises itineraries are exclusively available for booking through August 31, 2015. (All-inclusive “Book Now” yacht fares start at just $2,690 per person for a four-day, roundtrip Mahé, Victoria, Seychelles itinerary in 2017.)

The Crystal Esprit features a variety of watersports equipment that can be used directly from the marina deck aft. Snorkel or swim in the inviting waters of the Adriatic or Seychelles; water ski and jet ski, or paddle a kayak in the early morning quiet. The Esprit’s activity director will help you plan your day on the water or ashore, with a variety of excursions or suggestions for personal discovery.

The hallmarks of the Crystal Cruises brand – service, space, quality and choices – will continue to thrive on a yacht that offers the best of all inclusive.  Butlers for every room, six-star service and food, unique Crystal Adventures designed for a more intimate, exclusive feeling translating the World’s Best Ocean Cruising to the World’s Best Yacht Experience. Crystal Esprit will redefine Luxury Adventure in some of the most beautiful cruising areas in the world.

One of the appeals of the Crystal Yachting Lifestyle is the unregimented environment, leaving you free to set your own pace, which is the ultimate luxury in itself. You can opt to explore on your own, join an active or cultural excursion with fellow guests, or simply relax on the deck while admiring the views.

This sleek and sophisticated yacht is characterized by Crystal’s unique understanding of luxury and is designed to deliver an exceptional customer experience. The overall atmosphere is classic elegance mixed with modern comfort. Suites feature a refined color palette of bright neutrals that are complemented by a series of soft grays and warm taupes. Natural materials, traditional patterns and subtle navigational cues offer a refined nod to nautical traditions. The textures of rich woods, lavish marbles and natural fabrics combine to create a welcoming environment where guests feel at home. Each suite is is further enriched by thoughtful appointments that accentuates the yacht’s unique interior design while providing superior guest comfort. Every detail has been accounted for – a variety of integrated cabinetry accommodate longer stays; architectural and task lighting can be adjusted on preference; an custom designed bathroom featuring high-end finishes and modern technology enhance guest comfort; and a tranquil master bedroom and lounge area help travelers unwind. (For more detailed information on cabins, amenities, etc., click here.)

For 2016 and 2017, and early 2018, Crystal Esprit routes for the Seychelles Islands, Dubai and Adriatic Coast include:

  • Seychelles Islands – Mahé, Victoria; St. Anne Island, La Passe, la Digue; Baie Ste. Anne, Praslin; Laraie Bay, Curieuse Island; Anse Saint Jose, Curieuse Island; Cousin Island; Aride; Big Sister Island; and Desroches Island)
  • Dubai  – Khasab and Muscat, Oman; Doha, Qatar; Sir Bani Yas Island and Abu Dhabi, UAB)
  • Venice, Italy/Dubrovnik, Croatia – Rovinj, Sibenik, Trogir, Vis, Hvar, and Korcula, Croatia
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia/Venice, Italy – Kotor, Montenegro; Split, Zadar, and Opatija, Croatia; and Piran, Slovenia
  • Dubrovnik, Croatia/ Athens, Greece – Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Parga, Itea, Hydra, and Navplion, Greece)

Crystal River Cruises – 2017

The spring of 2017 brings more growth with Crystal River Cruises. Featuring expertly curated itineraries, Crystal River Cruises will offer the hallmarks of the all-inclusive Crystal experience – six-star service, world-class dining, and enriching shore-side adventures.  Spacious suites with exquisitely designed interiors and elegant public rooms will punctuate Crystal’s entry into worldwide river cruising.

Crystal Luxury Air – 2017

Also in 2017, Crystal’s brand of Six-Star luxury will soar to new heights with the launch of Crystal Luxury Air, becoming the first in the luxury travel industry to offer extravagant around-the-world trips on the world’s most advanced twin-aisle Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  The plush aircraft, which typically seats 300, will fly 60 guests in fully reclining business class seats to coveted destinations to which major airlines do not offer nonstop service.  Each approximately 28-day itinerary will visit 10-12 remote and/or sought-after locales, with accommodations at some of the world’s finest hotels and resorts; cuisine prepared by celebrity chefs inspired by the destination; and world-class cultural entertainment. Continue reading


400 years ago, a convent was built in the village of Mane in the South of France to shelter the botanist monks of the Minims, who used their considerable knowledge of plants to tend a garden of curative herbs and flowers.  Centuries later, the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary continued the original convention of cultivating beneficial ingredients to help strengthen and restore those in need through food recipes. This emphasis on nourishing and reparative care through nature inspired Le Couvent des Minimes’ own simple yet powerful natural care recipes, the basis of a collection of efficacious formulas that draw on the heritage and traditions of the convent of Mane. The rich, plant-based range is formulated with the highest quality botanicals, offering natural skincare solutions in lush fragrances and beautiful textures.


For the first time, Le Couvent des Minimes is offering lip balms (0.5 oz; $9 each, available on usa.lecouventdesminimes.com and select products at ULTA Beauty) in their four coveted colognes with the new line of Smile Lip Balms, offering four deliciously scented ways to soothe dry, chapped lips. Made from an original recipe, the balms feature 10% Shea Butter to nourish lips, gentle Marshmallow Extract to soften and Apricot Seed Oil to keep the pout perfectly supple. Featuring a new formula, each offering complements the brand’s body care and scent lines for four total fragrance families.

The Smile Lip Balms pay tribute to the happiness these selfless Sisters brought and the help they provided through four original recipes that care for your lips. Each balm is adorned with the image of an angel announcing good news, illustrating the tradition of joyful generosity.

The four new aromas include:

Orange Blossom: Made with soft Orange Blossoms and five beneficial plants, this fragrance perfectly complements the Botanical Cologne of Love collection. Both floral and fruity, the scent pays homage to the devotion of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary who loved and cared for those in need.

Citrus: Inspired by the “miraculous waters” distilled in convents in the 14th century, this balm is the latest addition to the Botanical Cologne of the Minims line. Blending together eau de vie—the “water of life”—with seven beneficial plants and a trio of refreshing citrus fruits, the fragrance is light and sparkling.

Apple & Pear: With the essence of ripe Apple and juicy Pear, this fragrance captures the scent of morning dew in the early light of day as part of the Botanical Cologne of the Morning line. The herbal, fruity fragrance evokes the scent of the garden at dawn for the perfect start to the day.

Rose & Berries: This luminous, sparkling fragrance pays tribute to the convent’s sunbathed beds of roses joyfully tended by the Sisters. Four soothing plants and Pink Peppercorns blend with the delicate scent of roses for a light, uplifting fragrance as part of the Botanical Cologne of the Cloister line.

Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to Host the ‘Las Vegas Beer and Barrel Project’ August 28-30

The exciting three-day craft beer and barrel festival, presented by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in partnership with Back Bar USA, will take over Las Vegas from Friday, Aug. 28 through Sunday, Aug. 30. Mandalay Bay, a AAA Four Diamond Award-winning resort, is set on 120 lush acres featuring the award-winning Mandalay Bay Beach, a tropical pool paradise with real sand and the only climate-controlled, poolside gaming in the city.

The headlining event will be the “Mandalay Beach Craft Beer and Barrel Festival,” held from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29 at Mandalay Bay. Guests may enjoy dozens of BeerandBarrel_lowspirits and craft beer barrel stations serving a variety of the country’s best beers, along with award-winning cuisine by a selection of Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s top chefs. Sarah Johnson, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Director of Food & Beverage and Nevada’s first female Certified Cicerone®, will serve as the host for the entire event. (All-inclusive tickets are priced at $75 per person, and are available for purchase on the Las Vegas Beer and Barrel Project website.)

In addition to the festival, the “Las Vegas Beer and Barrel Project” will present an exciting weekend lineup of seminars and mixers to celebrate the craft of brewing. A detailed schedule for the weekend’s events can be found below:

Friday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.  
VIP Reception and Pop-Up Pub Experience will be held at Shanghai Lilly. This event will be hosted by Johnson and will begin with food and beer pairings, live music and conversation with guest brewers, distillers, chefs and industry VIPs. Entrance will be limited to VIP all-access ticket holders.
Saturday, Aug. 29, 1 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Seminars & Panel Discussions will include: “Beer Got Your Tongue” with brew master Jared Rouben of Moody Tongue Brewing Company; “Sour Beers” with Patrick Rue of The Bruery and Jonathan Buford of Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company; “State Of  The Industry” with Matt Brynildson of Firestone Walker Brewing Company, Paul Gatza of the Brewers Association and Nikos Ridge of Ninkasi Brewing Company; and “Beer Cocktails” with Wirtz Beverage experts, Andrew Pollard and Michael Shetler. Admission for all four seminars is $99 per person and all-inclusive with limited seating available. More information about each seminar and class leaders can be found online.
7:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.
Mandalay Bay Beach Beer and Barrel Festival will be held at Mandalay Bay Beach. Attendees will enjoy dozens of brews from a variety of beer and distillery vendors; gourmet food stations from select Mandalay Bay restaurant chefs, such as Fleur Executive Chef Hubert Keller, and live entertainment.
Sunday, Aug. 30, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Beer For Breakfast” will be held at Fleur by Hubert Keller. Guests may enjoy gourmet bites, including family style pastries, entrées, family-style desserts and beer pairings, selected by Sarah Johnson. Tickets will be priced at $50 per person and are available at www.lvbeerbarrelproject.com.
Guests also may take advantage of exclusive room packages at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino and Delano Las Vegas. Additional information about the event, including participating brewers, distillers and chefs and ticket purchase details, is available at www.lvbeerbarrelproject.com.

Chef Alain Ducasse to Debut Rivea and Skyfall Lounge at Delano Las Vegas Fall 2015

Alain Ducasse, one of the world’s most influential chefs will debut Rivea (inspired by the casual elegance of the Mediterranean coast) and Skyfall Lounge (a sophisticated nightlife concept) at Delano Las Vegas in fall 2015, sitting high atop the stunning resort.

Influenced by the delectable food markets of Provence and Italy, Alain Ducasse and Rivea Executive Chef Bruno Riou’s menu will focus on simple, fresh Mediterranean flavors made with the best West Coast-sourced seasonal ingredients. House-made pizzette, pastas and premium grill offerings with Mediterranean accents embody the nature of the Riviera. Signature dishes including Crispy Socca, a traditional cold cut board, Stuffed Baby Vegetables, an original Niçoise salad in a chickpea wrap, Gilt-head Bream with a minestrone reduction, and an outstanding Lemon Shortbread and Limoncello Sorbet dessert are designed to be shared, encouraging a lively social experience.

Aperitifs, a true Riviera staple, will prep palates for the meal ahead while sommeliers suggest a distinctive list of spirits or classic Italian cocktails. Dinner service will allow guests to select from a simple and easy-to-understand wine list made up of more than 300 wines from France, Italy and California. Traditional digestifs such as Grappa provide the ideal ending to the enchanting meal.

Having worked together on numerous restaurants and projects throughout the years, Ducasse invited Paris-based and acclaimed French-Canadian design duo Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku to create his new Las Vegas restaurant and lounge. Inspired by Ducasse’s modern French-Italian Riviera menu offerings, Jouin and Manku will design the space with a palette of maritime blues and yellow accents synonymous with the laid-back vibe found on the coast. Cozy corners and sweeping mahogany banquettes inspired by the exquisite yachts in Venice will abound throughout the 200-seat dining room offering spaces for both large and intimate gatherings. Drawing upon the coastal climate, wooden Venetian blinds will line the windows and woven rattan lighting fixtures will hang throughout the space, while elegant striped fabrics and leather chairs bring a cozy touch to the contemporary feel of the room. A lighted “Wave Wall,” crafted by arranging hundreds of glass squares in a pattern mimicking the lapping motion of the Mediterranean Sea, will be a glistening focal point. The iconic, custom-designed glass chandelier composed of 15,000 hand-blown glass spheres made in Murano, Italy, will remain in the center of the dining room igniting visions of water drops pearling down from above.

The new 50-seat private dining room will astound guests with extraordinary views of The Strip through floor-to-ceiling windows and features a majestic light fixture comprised of twinkling lights arranged to accurately represent the constellations found in Las Vegas’ night sky, which will serve as an exquisite enhancement to the gorgeous space. This intimate and secluded room will be available for hosting truly memorable occasions.

Skyfall Lounge, located adjacent to Rivea, will offer 180-degree views of the city along with an evolving nightlife experience that gradually increases in tempo as the night progresses. The contemporary, theatre-style space, also designed by Jouin Manku, will offer multiple levels creating optimal views of the sparkling Vegas skyline from every seat in the room, while an expansive outdoor patio will offer a relaxing, fresh-air escape. Seating islands surrounding the centrally located dance floor create semi-private retreats for conversation and taking in unobstructed views of the Vegas skyline. The décor will simulate the beauty of an evening sunset with deep purple, red and honey-gold accents and subtle cloud forms hanging overhead.

Delano Skyfall Lounge  Cocktail (Photo Credit - Pierre Monetta)

Delano Skyfall Lounge Cocktail (Photo Credit – Pierre Monetta)

Delano Skyfall Lounge - Traditional Cold Cut Platter  (Photo Credit - Pierre Monetta)

Delano Skyfall Lounge – Traditional Cold Cut Platter (Photo Credit – Pierre Monetta)

Skyfall’s cocktail program will feature a list of handcrafted cocktails created with artisanal liquor and spirits from the United States as well as dynamic domestic craft beers and American wine selections. Elevated light fare from Rivea’s kitchen will include small crispy Tigelle sandwiches with cured ham, tomato and basil; and Squid Fritters with spicy pink dipping sauce will be available throughout the evening.

Delano Las Vegas (3940 Las Vegas Blvd South Las Vegas, NV 89119 | 877 632 5400) offers a new all-suite, smoke-free luxury hotel experience located steps from Mandalay Bay, blending signature elements from the iconic Delano South Beach with the distinct energy only found on the Las Vegas Strip. The hotel features dynamic social spaces such as Franklin, an eclectic lounge; 3940 Coffee + Tea; and Della’s Kitchen, where historic farmhouse meets urban kitchen. The BATHHOUSE Spa infuses the soothing elements of locally sourced ingredients, drawing inspiration from Morgans Hotel Group’s collection of hotels around the world as well as Delano Las Vegas’ desert locale.

Hours of operation for Rivea will be 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Skyfall Lounge will be open 5 p.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.