#1. ORLANDO, FLORIDA
For a family friendly, affordable vacation destination, visit the mecca of theme park adventure — Orlando, Florida! Each year, families with small children and “big” kids flock to Walt Disney World for an all around vacation value. With the free Magical Express transfers now included and all the great promotions Disney offers, it is a win-win for both parents and kids. Universal Studios also features promotions and fun-filled vacations for the entire family. Orlando also offers easy access to some of the best shorelines in the world, and Daytona Beach is just one hour away. If resorts aren’t your style, there are a multitude of beachfront condos that cater to families.
Travel to the world’s most desired locations in the lap of luxury. Receive a well-appointed room, unprecedented menu choices, room service, Las Vegas-style entertainment, a casino, kids clubs and more! Cruising is such a wonderful way to relax, see new sites and enjoy the convenience factor of having almost everything prepaid. Plus, most cruise lines have wonderful kids programs, meaning mom and dad can truly relax as well. The most popular family cruise lines include 4- to 7-night cruises with Carnival and Royal Caribbean with the Caribbean as the top destination. Consider a “no flying cruise,” such as those offered by Carnival. These are popular because the prices are very reasonable and there is less hassle for families. Royal Caribbean attracts families with older children because of the rock climbing wall and huge buzz surrounding the Freedom Class ships. Happy sailing!
Young families are taking their clans beyond the boundaries of the United States to Mexico in growing numbers. Whether clients want the fun-filled, actionpacked hotel zone with nonstop activities, or the opulent expansive golf and quieter spa resorts, there is something for everyone. Plus, non-stop flights to Cancun are very reasonably priced with short flight times to and from Mexico. Depending on the location you choose, Mexico offers history, culture, archeology, nature and so much more. Some resorts even include excursions at no charge. For all-age appeal, look toward family friendly favorites in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya, as well as the Occidental Grand Xcaret, Club Med Cancun and the Iberostar hotels and resorts. More luxurious options like Hacienda Tres Rios and the Fairmont Mayakoba are also popular. Most of these properties have programs set up for young children and teens, so mom and dad can enjoy alone time and yet have plenty of family fun, too.
Combine a white powdery sand beach, a luxury resort with every imaginable amenity, great food and drinks, a spa and free scuba, and you’ve got a haven for any family. One of the most popular choices in Jamaica, the allinclusive family friendly Beaches Negril located right on the beautiful 7 mile beach. It offers “Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street,” which includes parades, stage shows and character breakfasts. An interactive gaming center called the “Game Garage” has the latest in XBOX 360® video games. There’s also a water park, Teen Club and much, much more! Adventurous local tours and excursions are also available. Rose Hall Resort is also popular at Spring Break. This deluxe beachfront hotel, once a legendary 18th-century sugar plantation, evokes the historic charm and hospitality made famous by the island. Indulge in cool ocean breezes, a private beach, one of the Caribbean’s largest water park, a championship golf course, and the relaxing services of Soothe Spa. Just 15 miles from breathtaking Montego Bay — and only 15 minutes from the airport—this allinclusive Jamaica hotel and resort offers spacious, luxurious accommodations in an inspired setting.
Hawaii provides gorgeous beaches with the most vivid color pallet imaginable. More and more families are flocking to Hawaii (and avoiding the extra passport expense) while still enjoying an island experience. All the islands of Hawaii have great condos to accommodate even large families, and most cost the same or less than many hotels. With a minivan or car, families can explore the islands on their own and save hundreds on the cost of tours, enjoy great beaches, and breath-taking scenery everywhere they go. In Oahu, do not miss the Hanauma Bay Marine preserve, a capacitycontrolled sanctuary that’s home to thousands of colorful tropical fish (remember to bring a picnic lunch and snorkel gear!). A day trip to the North Shore’s Polynesian Cultural Center will never be forgotten. Top off the day and stay for the luau and hula show! Maui provides more action and adventure. Arrive at Haleakala National Park in time to see the sun rise above the clouds and bike ride down the mountain. Take a boat trip to snorkel at the Molokini Crater. If you are staying in the Kaanapali Beach area, pour a glass of wine and sit on your balcony to watch the nightly cliff dive from Black Rock. It’s simply paradise! One of the key ingredients to a memorable vacation is the culinary delights one discovers along the way. That tiny bistro tucked inside a centuries old cobblestone walkway; those delicate pastry delights, so tempting through that tiny village bakery window; or the aromatic flavors of an entire region, so bountiful and yes...so intoxicating!
Taste the Flavors of Italy
Whether you live to eat or eat to live, this “foodie” trip from Trafalgar is for you! Enjoy an in-depth taste of a nation as you explore the tradition of Italian cuisine and wine at their origin. Sample Bolognese in Bologna, Chianti in Tuscany and Prosciutto in Parma. Start the day off shopping at an outdoor farmers market while gaining a unique insight into Italian cuisine from Libero, a charismatic local chef. Hand-select fresh fruits and vegetables harvested earlier that morning from the Tuscan soil nearby, then head over to his Florence restaurant for a cooking class. He’ll teach you the art of making homemade ravioli and assist you in preparing a luncheon from your fresh ingredients. Afterward, you’ll dine and relax in his tranquil garden, savoring a glass or two of his homemade wine.
Become a Master of the Culinary Arts
Not to be out done, Holland America Line’s onboard Culinary Arts Center is presented by Food & Wine Magazine and combines the love of food and wine with unique and engaging culinary programs in a theater-style venue. Each Culinary Arts Center features a large cooking display counter where guests can learn from Holland America Line’s own professional, award-winning culinary staff. Classes often include special appearances by some of the world’s leading culinary experts and top chefs. Guests sailing on Alaskan cruises are offered programs like “Flavors of the Northwest” and “Fresh Ketch,” while guests on Caribbean cruises may learn how to make jerk chicken or shrimp scampi.
Experience the Colours of Provence, France
On Collette’s cultural and epicurean Colours of Provence tour, you’ll take in the vibrant markets and capture the beauty of the charming villages and landscapes that inspired master artists for centuries. Your 10-day trip includes a three-night stay in a medieval building in the heart of Avignon. While there, be sure to participate in their hands-on cooking demonstration to reveal the secrets of authentic Provencal cooking. You will have the opportunity to explore the ancient Roman origins of the area, taste the world-class wine and chocolate of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, discover the secrets of lavender essence, and mix and create your own perfume at one of Grasse’s oldest perfume factories.
Savor the Flavors of Tuscany in Beautiful Sonoma
For an intriguing twist on Italian cooking, brite spokes’ 4-night Bringing Tuscany to Sonoma itinerary will immerse you in the culinary and wine experience of a lifetime. Together with Hilton, this fun culinary adventure will take place at the Doubletree by Hilton Sonoma Wine Country, a classic vineyard-inspired property set before the region’s picturesque countryside. Using the finest local ingredients, beloved Tuscan chefs of Il Vicario, Katia and Fulvio, will teach you to expertly cook authentic Italian dishes that capture their philosophy of gastronomy. Complementing the flavors of Italy are notes of California. Between cooking classes you will sip on spectacular wine, bike ride around the vineyards and hike through the Armstrong Woods.
The Bon Appetit Culinary Center
Get ready to take ordinary cooking classes to a whole new level with Oceania Cruises’ Bon Appetit Culinary Center, the only cooking school at sea to offer hands-on instruction. Now available on their two new ships, Riviera and Marina, and produced in conjunction with Bon Appetit, America’s premier publication catering to fine food and wine, it’s a gourmand’s delight. 12 individual cooking stations are each equipped to accommodate two guests. With over 20 culinary course offerings to choose from, you can expand your knowledge and appreciation of your favorite cuisines. Select the Provencal course or the one on one Parisian bistro-style cooking and you’ll begin to master the art of French cooking. Sample a taste of Spain with a tapas making class, complete with sangria and other authentic Spanish dishes.
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