Celebrity Cruises to Offer Legal Same-Sex Marriages Onboard

The Historic First For The Brand Was Made Possible Following A Monumental Vote In The Fleet’s Country Of Registry

Celebrity Cruises is proud to announce that same-sex marriages performed onboard are now legally recognized, marking a historic first for the modern luxury brand.

Celebrity Cruises Logo

Celebrity Cruises Logo

The motion follows a transformative vote in Malta, where a majority of the Celebrity fleet is registered, which passed the country’s parliament 66-1. The long-awaited referendum opens the door for Celebrity to legally recognize same-sex marriages performed onboard, and have the fleet’s captains officiate the ceremonies.

Celebrity Cruises has a long history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community, and I cannot think of a more important time in our history than right now to do all we can to support inclusion. I am absolutely thrilled to announce that starting today, we welcome same-sex couples to marry on our ships while in international waters,” said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO, Celebrity Cruises. “This is one for the history books!

The Celebrity Weddings program offers onboard ceremonies and destination weddings for lovebirds. The Nautical Nuptials at Sea package includes a Captain-led ceremony, an event coordinator’s services, live music, one hour of photography, cake for two, bottle of Champagne, a bouquet and boutonniere, plus additional romantic turndown amenities post-ceremony.

Celebrity Weddings has already hosted many same-sex weddings in the U.S., Mexico, and the Caribbean, where legal,” said Barbara Whitehall, Managing Director, The Wedding Experience. “We are ecstatic that this new Malta ruling opens up marriage equality for anyone and everyone sailing with Celebrity Cruises while in international waters.

To learn more about the Celebrity Weddings program and The Wedding Experience, visit www.celebrityweddings.eweddingcalendar.com.

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Virtuoso® Unveils The Hottest Luxury Hotels Debuting Soon

Travelers in the know seeking the next great upscale hotel look no further. Luxury and experiential travel network Virtuoso, along with its more than 16,000 travel advisors worldwide, has revealed the hottest hotel openings around the globe for this fall and beyond.

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Virtuoso logo

Virtuoso® is the leading international travel agency network specializing in luxury and experiential travel. This by-invitation-only organization comprises over 800 travel agency partners with more than 16,000 elite travel advisors in over 45 countries throughout North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. Drawing upon its preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s best hotels and resorts, cruise lines, airlines, tour companies and premier destinations, the network provides its upscale clientele with exclusive amenities, rare experiences and privileged access. More than (U.S.) $21.2 billion in annual travel sales makes Virtuoso a powerhouse in the luxury travel industry.

From relaxing resorts to iconic urban landmarks, these five properties are sure to make an indelible impression on guests when they open or reopen over the next several months:

Bulgari Hotel Shanghai, China – Opening late 2017

Bulgari Hotel Shanghai, China – Opening late 2017

Bulgari Hotel Shanghai, China Opening late 2017
Situated in a tranquil riverside location in the heart of the city, Bulgari Hotel Shanghai will feature contemporary, spacious rooms and exceptional guest amenities including Maserati transportation. Offering stunning views of the city’s dramatic skyline, the hotel is located just minutes from attractions such as the iconic Bund and the museums of People’s Square. Virtuoso guests will enjoy an upgrade at arrival if available, breakfast for two daily offered 24 hours a day, hotel credit valued at $100 USD, complimentary Wi-Fi, and early check in and late check-out if available.

Montage Los Cabos, Mexico – Opening spring of 2018

Montage Los Cabos, Mexico – Opening spring of 2018

Montage Los Cabos, Mexico Opening spring of 2018
Perched upon 39 acres of white-sand beachfront, Montage Los Cabos will feature 122 expansive rooms and suites when it opens. The resort will offer spectacular views and unique walk-in access to the finest swimming, diving and snorkeling in the region. Guests can take advantage of wellness programs and treatments at Spa Montage, and fitness offerings including two pools and tennis and recreational lawn facilities. Virtuoso guests will receive an upgrade when they arrive if available, daily breakfast for two, special amenity, complimentary Wi-Fi, and early check-in and late check-out subject to availability.

Raffles Europejski Warsaw, Poland Reopening spring of 2018
Originally opened in 1857, the legendary hotel in Warsaw’s historic district has recently undergone restoration to preserve its heritage and character. Raffles Europejski, Warsaw will offer 106 elegant guestrooms and suites, a restaurant with an outdoor terrace showcasing Poland’s cuisine, a bar and cigar lounge, a patisserie and a spa. Virtuoso guests will enjoy an upgrade upon arrival, based on availability; daily buffet breakfast for two; hotel credit worth $100 USD; complimentary roundtrip private airport transfers; complimentary Wi-Fi; and early check-in and late check-out, subject to availability.
Continue reading

Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau Debuts Evocative #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers

The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched an unprecedented new destination brand initiative to serve as a warm welcome and visitor invitation to the international travel community. The campaign, which includes a new brand video and comprehensive digital marketing strategy, launches on United Nation’s World Tourism Day, a day that celebrates the importance of tourism and its cultural, political and economic values.

New GFL Logo

Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau logo

From the seagrass to the sawgrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale, located in Broward County, boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a vibrant cosmopolitan vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

In Broward County, we are making sure that we let the traveling public understand that we are a welcoming destination to all people across the world regardless of the color of their skin, whom they choose to love or what religion they believe in. We want to make sure that our message gets through despite the negative clutter they see on their nightly news, every day,” said Stacy Ritter, President/CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The #greatertogether video is an expression of Greater Fort Lauderdale‘s open-door/open heart philosophy for visitors in times of travel bans and safety concerns. Central to the initiative is a 1:45 minute video that draws the viewer’s attention to a story that plays out in a sunrise-to-sunset destination experience with people of different ethnic backgrounds. It opens with an iconic visual of yoga on the beach and continues with a portrayal of diverse activities and visitors, including two Muslim women wearing hijabs enjoying a cup of coffee together with a non-Muslim friend, millennials of mixed nationalities at play, LGBTQI couples and friends in warm embraces, members of the indigenous Seminole tribe, a not-so-mythical mermaid, local African-American street art and ending with a reveal of a human thumbprint and a welcome message in multiple languages. The video will serve to foster resident’s continued pride in the community and let the world know that in Greater Fort Lauderdale, everyone is welcome…every day.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

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Image from the new Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau #greatertogether Welcome Initiative as a Warm Embrace to Global Travelers.

An international marketing campaign will launch the #greatertogether video to consumers and international tour operators. The video will be featured on the CVB’s website (www.sunny.org/greatertogether) including the stories of diverse residents and visitors describing why they enjoy living in Greater Fort Lauderdale and how they welcome visitors to the community. The “Faces” social media component of the program will include key local residents that were featured in the video and communicate the diversity of the destination and how proud they are of the community that they live in. Continue reading

Silversea Unveils Grand Asia Pacific Voyage In Partnership With The Peninsula Hotels

Silversea Cruises has announced a partnership with The Peninsula Hotels that will enhance the programming for Silver Muse‘s 73-day Grand Asia Pacific Voyage, departing on February 2, 2019, as part of the First Quarter Itinerary for 2019 now open to reservations. The two renowned luxury brands will also collaborate on other Asia-focused itineraries.

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Silversea Cruises’ Silver Muse at Sea. The ship will embark on a 73-day Grand Asia Pacific Voyage, departing on February 2, 2019, as part of the First Quarter Itinerary for 2019.

Silversea Cruises, which is chaired by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, is recognized as an innovator in the ultra-luxury cruise line industry, offering guests large-ship amenities aboard its intimate, all-suite vessels: Silver Wind, Silver Shadow, Silver Whisper, Silver Spirit and Silver Muse – all designed to offer an atmosphere of conviviality and casual elegance. With the inclusion of the expedition ships Silver Explorer, Silver Galapagos, Silver Discoverer, and with Silver Cloud joining the Expedition fleet in 2018, Silversea’s itineraries encompass all seven continents and feature worldwide luxury cruises to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, both Polar Regions and 1,000 fascinating destinations in between.

The Grand Asia Pacific Voyage will sail from Sydney to Tokyo, visiting 39 enchanting destinations in 12 countries. On this extraordinary journey, Silver Muse will trace a path through lands Down Under, revealing its unique cultures and breath-taking scenery — from Sydney’s iconic Opera House to the green-draped fjords of New Zealand‘s Milford Sound. The adventure then continues to the timeless treasures and futuristic vision of Asia, with a trio of segments encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China and Japan.

The Peninsula Hotels will enrich the experience for Silversea guests with insider knowledge provided on the exotic Asian destination by an on board team of local specialists and chefs. Guests will also enjoy exclusive events in select Asian cities, arranged in collaboration with The Peninsula Hotels.

Providing the perfect finishing touch will be a three-night post-cruise stay at The Peninsula Tokyo, where guests will be treated to a Japanese-themed dinner event in the hotel’s elegant Grand Ballroom.

We are delighted and honoured to have this opportunity to partner with such a legendary brand,” said Mr Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Silversea’s executive chairman. “The Peninsula Hotels shares our commitment to excellence and providing the highest level of personal attention, and we are certain this will be reflected in every detail of their contributions to our guests’ travel experience.”

Aboard Silver Muse guests enjoy spacious ocean-view suites, sumptuous cuisine at eight dining venues, the personalized service of a butler, and a generous selection of all-inclusive shipboard amenities, including a complimentary selection of wines, premium spirits, specialty coffees, bottled water, juices and soft drinks; in-suite bar stocked with guests’ preferences; in-suite 24-hour dining service; lecture and enrichment programs; roundtrip transportation into town (in most ports); on board gratuities (exclusive of spa treatments); and one hour of complimentary Wi-Fi per day for all guests.

We are delighted to announce this partnership with Silversea, which marks an exceptional and personalised travel opportunity. Silversea is globally recognised as an innovative leader in ultra-luxury cruising and The Peninsula is renowned as one of the world’s finest ultra-luxury hotel brands. By coming together, the two companies will offer a seamless and exquisite journey on sea and on land for our discerning guests,” said Mr Clement Kwok, CEO of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels, owner and operator of The Peninsula Hotels. “We look forward to developing personalised programmes that will provide Silversea guests with truly memorable and authentic experiences of Asia’s culture, history and traditions.”

Now Open: The Spectacular New Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya

The New Property Marks A New Era Of Luxurious Hospitality And Personalized Service In The Capital Of Kuwait

Four Seasons Invites Guests To Experience Its Newest Hotel In The Gulf Region With Special Introductory Offer

Entering the all-new Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya, one’s eyes are immediately drawn to the dramatic staircase, spiraling 13 meters (43 feet) up through the soaring lobby, appearing to defy gravity as it makes its way toward the sky. Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait at Burj Alshaya is part of a growing collection of Four Seasons hotels and resorts in the Gulf region, including award-winning hotels in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar, and three properties in the United Arab Emirates.

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya - Grand Stairways in Lobby

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya – Grand Stairways in Lobby

Our own ‘stairway to heaven’ is quickly becoming the symbol of Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait, and indeed it reflects the optimism one feels in this dynamic city,” notes General Manager Didier Jardin on the occasion of the Hotel’s opening day. “For our team of 415 staff, it’s a daily inspiration to take the hospitality experience to new heights, proudly introducing renowned Four Seasons service culture in a new country while being at the vanguard of the company’s continuing leadership around the world.

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya - Kuwait City

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya in Kuwait City (Far Right)

Located within the new, two-tower Burj Alshaya development – the stylish new centerpiece of Kuwait City – Four Seasons is ideally situated for business and leisure travelers visiting the city, as well as local guests to dine, entertain and relax. Indeed, with 2,912 square meters (31,349 square feet) of beautifully-appointed event spaces hosting up to 1,200 guests, Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait already has many important business meetings and social events on the calendar – including 21 weddings so far.

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya - Royal Suite

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya – Royal Suite

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya - Guest Room

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya – Guest Room

With 217 guest rooms plus 67 lavish suites, the property easily transforms for each individual guest, whether in the city to do business, enjoy an urban getaway for two, or with the whole family for a holiday filled with shopping, sightseeing and playing in the outdoor pool. Four dining venues – plus a fifth opening this month – showcase the creations of international culinary talent while celebrating local tastes and traditions. A two-level spa complex hosts innovative treatments as well as a state-of-the-art fitness center and second swimming pool.

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya - Hotel Public Space

Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait At Burj Alshaya – Hotel Public Space

The Look of the New Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait

Conceived by Gensler architects and designed by Yabu Pushelberg, Four Seasons Hotel Kuwait easily stands among the most striking hotels in the world, and yet it is distinctly Kuwaiti in style and ambiance. Continue reading

Blue Ridge Fall Color Forecast: Ideal Conditions For “Vibrant 2017”

New Ways To See The Leaves Change, Interactive 360-Degree Views And Weekly Color Reports at FallintheMountains.com

Biologists and NOAA weather experts are citing ideal conditions for a healthy and bright 2017 fall color show across the Blue Ridge Mountains and Asheville, an area known for one of the longest and most colorful fall foliage seasons in the world.

Surrounded by the highest peaks in the East, Asheville is steeped in natural history, fall adventure and cultural legacies – including America’s Largest Home, Biltmore. With elevations that range from 1,500 feet in the valleys to 6,684 feet at Mount Mitchell (the highest peak east of the Mississippi River), the Blue Ridge Mountains have more than 100 deciduous (leaf-shedding) tree species, regularly placing the area among the nation’s top fall travel destinations.

Explore Asheville Fall-Forecast-2017

The Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding Asheville make a premier Southeastern destination for autumn leaf watchers. The fall color season extends from late September through early November, with significant variance in elevation providing no one “peak” for viewing fall color. (Photo courtesy of FallintheMountains.com)

Named Lonely Planet‘s “Best in the U.S.” travel destination for 2017, Asheville heads into autumn with a slate of new fall color adventures for travelers including new hotels with rooftop views, “forest bathing” eco-tours and craft breweries with panoramic mountain scenery. Fall travel deals, weekly color updates and interactive 360-degree views of peaking fall leaves at http://www.FallintheMountains.com.

Fall Foliage Report: Ideal Conditions For A Colorful Blue Ridge Autumn

A warm and wet 2017 with a temperate summer has biologists and fall color experts predicting that autumn will be beautiful and vibrant across the Blue Ridge.

According to NOAA Climate Scientist Jake Crouch, Asheville is experiencing its second warmest year on record. The average high temperature of 58.8 degrees Fahrenheit is 3.5 degrees above normal. Much of the warmth occurred in winter and early spring, with summer offering more temperate conditions. While precipitation levels for Asheville are above average in 2017, the summer has been fairly dry. “Drier soils typically mean brighter fall color in the mountains,” said Crouch. “But we aren’t having to worry about any extreme conditions like drought and what that might do to the leaves.”ashevillelogo2

Healthy trees will add to the color spectrum this year says Dr. Howard S. Neufeld, professor of biology and “fall color guy” at Appalachian State University. “We aren’t seeing trees prematurely losing their leaves in the mountains. Tulip poplars often lose their leaves in the summer, but this year we may get to enjoy an added burst of bright yellow from these sentinels in the forest.

As the area moves into autumn with favorable conditions, a continuation of below-average precipitation is ideal to keep the strong color on track this year. Dr. Beverly Collins, a biology professor and fall foliage forecaster at Western Carolina University, adds that September weather is a very important factor for fall color. Sunny days and crisp, cool nights during the month are what causes green chlorophyll in leaves to degrade and red, orange and yellow pigments to emerge. The extreme variation in elevation and variety of tree species make for a colorful display of falling leaves from late September (at the highest locations like Grandfather Mountain and Mt. Mitchell) to early November (lower locales like Chimney Rock). Continue reading

IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts Opens Exclusive Designer Hotel in Majorca’s Portals Nous

  • The new five-star IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Portals Nous is situated in one of Majorca’s most exclusive areas.
  • Designed by Marcel Wanders, facilities at the new hotel include Astir, a gourmet restaurant and the only one on the island to serve El Capricho meat, the finest in the world.
  • Guests at the hotel will enjoy a butler service endorsed by the prestigious British Butler Guild, as well as an extensive ‘menu’ of special services.

IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts opened its newest hotel, the IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Portals Nous, boasting a prime beachfront location in one of Majorca’s most exclusive areas. This grand luxury five-star hotel is the first establishment in the Mediterranean to be included in The Grand Collection, the company’s premium category, combining impeccable designer architecture with the most innovative and personalized services.

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(Courtesy of the IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts)

The hotel stands in a prime location set against a stunning backdrop, and meticulous attention has been paid to every detail of the interior design. Five-star hotel standards are guaranteed thanks to the butler service endorsed by the prestigious British Butler Guild, including a fabulous ‘menu’ of special services.

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IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Portals Nous(Photo Courtesy of IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts)

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IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Portals Nous(Photo Courtesy of IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts)

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Portals Nous 5

IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Portals Nous(Photo Courtesy of IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts)

The 66 rooms include four double penthouses with a private terrace and Jacuzzi, and five unique themed suites, all designed by Marcel Wanders. The accommodation options include two Naughty Suites for those wishing to live out their most secret fantasies, and a Stargazer Suite, where guests will have the chance to travel far beyond the stars in a unique adventure into outer space. The fun-filled facilities in the Games Suite feature a pinball machine, table football, video game console and even a putting green on the terrace. In turn, the Heritage Suite has been designed with lovers of art and antiques in mind, whilst the Spa Suite is the ideal choice for those in search of total rest and relaxation. All in all, a fabulous range of one-of-a-kind rooms.

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IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts Opens Exclusive Designer Hotel in Majorca’s Portals Nous (Courtesy of OBERISTAR Hotels & Resorts)

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IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts Opens Exclusive Designer Hotel in Majorca’s Portals Nous. Courtesy of OBERISTAR Hotels & Resorts)

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IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts Opens Exclusive Designer Hotel in Majorca’s Portals Nous. Courtesy of OBERISTAR Hotels & Resorts)

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IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts Opens Exclusive Designer Hotel in Majorca’s Portals Nous. Courtesy of OBERISTAR Hotels & Resorts)

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IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts Opens Exclusive Designer Hotel in Majorca’s Portals Nous. Courtesy of OBERISTAR Hotels & Resorts)

The chain’s painstaking attention to even the smallest detail is also reflected in the hotel’s gastronomy options. The IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Portals Nous has four spaces serving locally sourced organic products including the Astir Gourmet Restaurant, the Selini Lobby Bar, and the Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar. Guests will also be able to take advantage of the Guest Experience offering unlimited personalized services such as getting a table at any of the island’s restaurants without having to give a thought to waiting lists, access to a personal shopper, or even making a last-minute booking for a helicopter or boat. Nothing is beyond the reach of guests staying at the IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Portals Nous.