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Top 10 European Rail Journeys

A&K Destination management company
Top European Rail JourneysRomantic, comfortable and sublimely picturesque, rail travel is one of Europe’s great pleasures.

It is also a fast and relaxing way to combine destinations to create your perfect itinerary.

Meanwhile our outstanding Concierge Rail Service ensures your travel between destinations with the ease and comfort you have come to expect from an us.

For inspiration, take a look at our top 10 European rail journeys.

Top 10 European Rail Journeys

1.    Zermatt to St Moritz
2.    Moscow to Vladivostok
3.    Zurich to Milan
4.    Paris to Barcelona
5.    Amsterdam to Germany
6.    Budapest to Vienna to Prague
7.    London to Edinburgh
8.    Verona to Munich
9.    Santiago di Compostela to León
10.  Fort William to Mallaig

Should you wish to incoroparte any of these fantastic journeys into a European adventure we would love to hear from you.

Your Invitation to Buckingham Palace!


For most Brits it is a lifetime dream to snag an invite to a Buckingham Palace and few will ever realize it. Now here is YOUR chance!!! This very incredible package at the Ritz London includes tickets to the 60th Anniversary Coronation Festival on the grounds of the Palace. Wow!! This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!!!

Celebrate in style with The Ritz at London’s event of the year – the Coronation Festival! 

Festival Fantastic July 2013


 

 

The summer of 2013 heralds the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation and this incredible feat will be marked by a series of celebrations, the pinnacle of which will be the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace from Thursday 11th July until Sunday 14th July 2013. The Coronation Festival, THE event of the summer, will involve an occupation of the gorgeous grounds of Buckingham Palace by Royal Warrant holders – the official suppliers of goods and services to the Royal Households. Royal Warrants have become a mark of quality given the high standards demanded by our Royal Family and so visitors to the Coronation Festival can expect a stellar showcase of everything from haute cuisine to high quality home ware, luxurious automobiles to the finest vestments.

As a proud participant of the Coronation Festival, The Ritz has created the ‘Festival Fantastic’ residential programme offering you the opportunity for ‘Puttin’ on The Ritz’.

The Festival Fantastic Programme includes:

Two nights’ accommodation
English breakfast each morning
Dinner in The Ritz Restaurant on one night
A unique Ritz Coronation Festival gift
Tickets to the Coronation Festival at Buckingham Palace
Ritz Champagne and Canapés at the Festival
Value Added Tax
Rate from £1,155 for a twin or double room
The programme is available for arrivals from Thursday 11th July to Saturday 13th July 2013.

Please contact IANNAZZI ENTERPRISES for more information and reservations 

Due to the special nature of this event specific terms and conditions apply including full, non-refundable, prepayment.
Bookings and the names of all attendees must be confirmed to The Ritz by 31st May 2013

Portugal-a wine lover's heaven

Any wine aficionado who has taken the trouble to explore the glorious wines of Portugal will be able to confirm that this small country, nestled up against its Iberian neighbour, Spain, can hold its own in the wine stakes with dignity and flair. Perhaps Portugal is a latecomer to internationally acclaimed wines in comparison to, say, France, but there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that their superb viniculture is well up to the mark and deserves a closer look.

Wine is produced throughout Portugal from the Minho region down to the south coast of the Algarve; each region has its own distinctive identity, although perhaps the northern and central regions are the better known and appreciated.

The Origin of Port Wine

Wine Tourism Portugal iwinetc

With a wine trade going back hundreds of years, perhaps the best known of Portugal’s wines has to be Port. Produced in the Upper Douro region of Northern Portugal (which was incidentally the very first wine region in the world to be demarcated) and taken by boat down the Douro River to the coast, this classic, fortified wine was the subject of the first European trade agreement, made between England and Portugal, and became known as Port wine from the connection with Oporto, which was the shipping harbour through which Port was exported to England and later the rest of the world. Port is still one of the most popular drinks, particularly to round off a good meal to perfection, and whether you are on board a cruise ship or tucked away in a gourmet restaurant anywhere in the world, it is a given that you will be able to enjoy a glass or two of this sweet wine.

Vinho Verde – New Vintage Wines

Vinho Verde (green wine) is the Portuguese equivalent to Beaujolais Nouveau and is equally palatable, being available anywhere in Portugal throughout the year. Casal Garcia is perhaps one of the more popular of the vinho verdes, produced by Quinta de Aveleda although Quinta de Azevedo is equally palatable. For the avoidance of any confusion, Portuguese Vinho Verde refers to wine that is less than one year old and may be red, white or rose. By far the best known is the white, but the red is perhaps superior in taste should your personal preference be for reds.

What to Choose

Wine Tourism Portugal iwinetc

With so many great wines produced throughout Portugal it would be difficult to definitely state that one region is better than another. However, if you want a good run for your money, the Lisbon region is excellent for whites and a good Bucelas is hard to beat, closely matched by Colares. For a red wine drinker who enjoys a world class wine with a sophisticated bouquet and medium to heavy tannin, Bairrada wines would have to come somewhere at the top of the wine list with Dao a close second. These are definitely wines to store as they will improve with age – if you can resist popping the cork that is.

Of course it would be impossible to sample everything on offer and there are limits to how much you can do during the course of a holiday. One way of maximizing your time in Portugal and enjoying the widest range of wines is to take a food and wine tour or cruise. There are quite a few advantages to choosing to have a gastronomic adventure, apart from the obvious plus of having the luxury of drinking without any driving. On a wine and food cruise, for example, you will be able to visit a number of different regions with an experienced and knowledgeable tour guide who will be able to give you a real insight into the local viniculture. Your tour will include visits to vineyards which you may not ordinarily be able to gain access to; pre-arranged wine tastings will enable you to sample the best of what is available and a broader range of wines than you would have the pleasure of trying on your own. Your wine and food cruise organizer will almost certainly be able to offer you advantageous memberships to wine clubs back home; and last but certainly not least, you will be able to enjoy world class cuisine which will undoubtedly complement the fine wines served with your meals. You can combine this with learning something of the culture and getting to grips with how to prepare some of the local cuisine through the cookery courses and tasting sessions which will form part of the tour. As the Portuguese would say: bom apetite e saúde!

By WINEPLEASURES | Published: APRIL 25, 2013

Mexico Hotel News

Mexico Hotels Making News for Excellence 
Continuing its tradition of offering outstanding resorts and hotels, several properties in Mexico have recently been awarded by major international publications for their excellence. Mexico now proudly has 13 AAA Five Diamond hotels and a total of 37 properties have made it on to the Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List.

Umbria

Umbria, in the heart of Italy, is set like the centre stone on a beautiful ring. This region has long been known as the “Green Heart of Italy”, a flourishing oasis of woods and expanses of fields awash with the gleaming and marvellous colors of the various seasons, symbolising all that is genuine and natural in this practically untouched countryside. Enclosed by the perfect frame of the Apennines, the Umbrian land lends visitors the rare sensation of protection and the freedom to travel its highways and byways far from the hectic day-to-day life of the cities. The series of towns, villages and castles that literally climb the rolling hills grant glimpses of rare harmony, peace and enticing relaxation.  Umbria is crossed by valleys full of vegetation and protected oases, such as Valtiberina, Valle Umbra and the most intriguing of the three, Valnerina, which has remained almost completely intact and where nature is free to express itself to its full. The air of this region is cool and pleasant all year round thanks to the lakes, Trasimeno and Piediluco, and the rivers, Tevere, Nera and Clitunno. Visitors to Umbria can’t help but lose themselves in the sweetness of the air, the friendliness and hospitality of the people, and the marvel of the places that appear right before their eyes.

While staying in Umbria, enjoy a great choice of six unique half-day tours in and around Perugia, created for you by the people that have always lived here, to show you the actual soul of one of the oldest cities of Italy.

“Perugia Unique Local Experiences” are much more than simple guided tours of the city, they are the best way to experience its culture and traditions, the way you like it…

One for each day of the week…

 

 

Monday: “Authentic Farms and Villages of Umbria”: Enjoy a visit to a beautiful farm in relaxing Italian countryside. The tour includes a “full tasting ” of local products (ham, salami, olive oil, cheese,bruschetta) and wine tasting.

Contact us for more details and fantastic options for the rest of the week!

Umbria – not to be missed on your next visit to Italy.

Now Any American Can Go to Cuba...

If traveling to this fascinating country which has been off limits to Americans for over 50 years has intrigued you,

there are now legal ways visit Cuba with one of these sanctioned programs. Contact us for more details.

Now Any American Can Go to Cuba…
With Special Savings on these 10 Departures!
 
From Old Havana and Colonial Trinidad to the tranquil countryside and the artistic vibrancy of Santiago de Cuba, these 4 programs offer you the widest choice available in the market…
And every journey is enriched by authentic and engaging connections with island residents!
Save on 4 journeys to Cuba
Now SAVE $600 per couple when you pay-in-full
at time of booking for select departures through September!

 


Scenic Cuba – 8 days for $3,195 Now $2,895
Jun 8 to 15; Jul 6 to 13; Sep 14 to 21

Discover bustling Havana and the beautiful countryside on this memorable trip enriched by authentic encounters with island residents from all backgrounds.

 


Classic Cuba – 8 days for $3,595 Now $3,295
Jul 2 to 9; Aug 6 to 13; Aug 20 to 27; Sep 23 to 30

Encounter the island’s warm spirit as the residents of Havana, Cienfuegos and Colonial Trinidad open their hearts and shed light on their fascinating lives.

 


Cuban Music & Art – 9 days for $4,295 Now $3,995
Sep 20 to 28

Cuba comes alive on this unique journey planned for music lovers and art enthusiasts. Meet island residents who live and breathe artistic expression.

 


New! Undiscovered Cuba – 12 days for $4,295 Now $3,995
Jul 15 to 26; Aug 19 to 30

This exclusive cross-island odyssey gets you behind the scenes and into the art and culture of smaller towns across Cuba usually missed by American travelers.

 

Last Chance to Experience the Douro with USD2000 Savings

This is a truly amazing itinerary. The scenery is breathtaking, the port visits are fabulous and it is absolutely one of the best trips I have ever taken. If you are a wine enthusiast it is a must-do. This is a fantastic offer. Don’t pass it up!

 

AmaWaterways - Leading The Way In River Cruising
Discover the Dramatic Douro
 Exceptional Savings on Summer Douro Cruises
Save up to $2,000 per stateroom
Cruises from $1,899 per person
AmaWaterways has two exciting river cruises debuting on Portugal’s Douro River in 2013. Experience one of Europe’s most unspoiled and undiscovered rivers on a journey filled with ancient monasteries, sleepy fishing villages, centuries-old wineries and vibrant cultural centers. With its ruggedly beautiful terrain and laboriously terraced hillsides, no wonder the locals boast, “God made the earth, but man made the Douro.”

ENTICING DOURO ENTICING DOURO
7-night roundtrip Porto cruise on the brand-new AmaVida
Optional 3 nights in Lisbon available for $690 per person
U.S. departure dates: August 2 and 9, 2013
Starting from $1,899 per person

OR $1,000 SAVINGS PER STATEROOM
U.S. departure date: July 5 and 26, 2013
Starting from $2,399 per person

PORT WINE & FLAMENCO PORT WINE & FLAMENCO
$1,000 SAVINGS PER STATEROOM
7-night cruise from Vega Terrón to Porto on the brand-new AmaVida
Optional 3 nights in Lisbon & 3 nights in Madrid
available for $1,380 per person
U.S. departure dates: July 12 & 19, 2013
Starting from $2,399 per person

Silversea's Galapagos

THIS IS SUCH EXCITING NEWS – TO BE ABLE TO EXPLORE THE AMAZING GALAPAGOS ISLANDS WHILE STAYING ON AN EXQUISITE SILVERSEA VESSEL AND ENJOY ALL THE LUXURY AND PAMPERING THAT SILVERSEA CAN OFFER YOU IS THE VERY BEST OF BOTH WONDERFUL WORLDS!! CALL US FOR MORE DETAILS AS THESE VOYAGES WILL SELL OUT VERY FAST.

The 100-guest Silver Galapagos. With sleek lines and a proven skill for navigating the waterways throughout the Galápagos Islands, she is naturally suited for in-depth explorations of this spectacular region. She offers all the intimate conviviality and elegant sophistication that has made Silversea the preferred choice for today’s discerning travellers.

All accommodations are ocean-view suites, most feature private balconies – and all offer the personalised services of a professional butler. Relax completely and leave the unpacking to your butler as you sail away on your unforgettable adventure. Like-minded guests from across the globe are your travelling companions, and the intimate ambience is much like a country club where conversations flow as easily as the complimentary drinks.

Silversea
Announcing Our Premiere Voyage
HIGHLIGHTS & SPECIAL EVENTS
Guest lecturers, Dr. Paul D. Stewart and Richard Wollocombe
Expedition team including renowned zoologists, naturalists, writers and photographers
Premiere Lecture Programme supported by Royal Geographical Society
A memorable cultural experience at a local Ecuadorian school
Voyage hosted by senior executives of Silversea
Commemorative Silver Galapagos logo apparel
Commemorative “old world” chart of the Galapagos Islands
Hand-crafted sculpture by a local Ecuadorian artisan
DAYS VOYAGE FROM/TO SILVER PRIVILEGE
EXPLORER SUITE FARES FROM
SILVER PRIVILEGE
VERANDA SUITE FARES FROM
SILVER SKY*
AIR FROM
7 8404 Baltra to Baltra $5,950 $8,150 $1,100
* The Silver Galapagos Air Package from Quito to Baltra and return to Guayaquil, park entrance fees and immigration fees are additional costs and not reflected in the fares shown above. Please contact Silversea Reservations for pricing.
— SPECIAL GUEST LECTURERS —
PAUL STEWART DR. PAUL STEWART, Award-winning Zoologist, Writer, Producer and Photographer
Having earned his Doctorate from Oxford’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Dr. Stewart has won the national Prince Philip Zoology prize. He has written and photographed for wildlife magazines around the world, including his book “Galapagos — Islands That Changed the World.” He is also a multiple Primetime Emmy and BAFTA award-winning cameraman and producer across 40 countries.
RICHARD WOLLOCOMBE RICHARD WOLLOCOMBE, Renowned Wildlife Cameraman, Naturalist and Galapagos Resident Mr. Wollocombe is an Emmy and RTS award-winning cameraman with 15 years experience filming on land and underwater. His natural history filmmaking credentials include extensive work for Discovery in the South Pacific, as well as his award-winning Galapagos, voted best film at the Jackson Hole Film Festival. As a resident of the Galapagos, Mr. Wollocombe knows first hand the natural riches the islands possess.
BOOK A LUXURY EXPEDITION TODAY!
For more information, please call us

Downton Abbey and Highgrove!


Highclere Castle and Highgrove October Tour

You’ve watched every episode of Downton Abbey and probably own boxed sets of each series.  Now’s your chance to relive some of your favourite moments through this exclusive access visit to Highclere Castle, the family home of the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon. To make the experience even more memorable, there’s also a private tour of the famous gardens at Highgrove which surround the home of their Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales and the Countess of Cornwall. A meander through the southern Cotswolds will then take you to the French chateau-style Waddesdon Manor, built by Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild to display his vast collection of art treasures. The tour concludes in London with opportunities for you to extend your stay as you so wish.

Price per person $2678.00 sharing double with $765 single supplement

Price includes:

•  6 nights Bed & Full English Breakfast  •  2 Dinners  •  4 days coach hire  •  4 days guide/tour manager  Cocktail Party on arrival

 Afternoon Tea    Exclusive visit to Highclere Castle with champagne reception and private guided tour  • Entrance to Abbey House Gardens, Highgrove, National Arboretum at Westonbirt, Rococo Garden, Waddesdon Manor 

Contact us for the complete itinerary!!! Space is limited and filling fast…..

 

 

Silversea Cruise in South America

Notes on our South America cruise on board Silver Cloud 
Valparaiso to Fort Laderdale Feb 6-26,2013
Valparaiso
A UNESCO World Heritage site, Valparaiso is colorful and charming and a wonderful place to rest up from your long overnight flight to Santiago-11 hours from New York. Brightly painted houses climb the 45 hills and are decorated with even more colorful murals. It is also close to many
vineyards which make a great stop on your way from the  Santiago  airport.

Coqimbo, chile
The drive inland from Coqimbo, Chile into the Elqui Valley is totally breathtaking. The Andean desert mountainscapes give way to the fertile
vineyards which produce Chile's national drink, Pisco. 

Arica, Chile
Arica, Chile is in the amazing Atacama desert which stretches 600 miles along the coast of Peru and Chile. Awesome landscapes with no sign of animal or plant life stretch on forever. This is the driest place on earth. The mountains and the undulating colors are simply breathtaking.


Matarani, Peru

Arequipa, the "white city" is about a 2-hour drive from the port of Matarani, but the drive is totally spectacular. As you finally approach
Arequipa, the huge snow-capped Andean volcanoes come into view. In the town, the Plaza de Armas with the huge cathedral taking up one whole
side is most impressive. The stunning Santa Catarina Monastery, gives us some insight into how the wealthy daughters of the aristocracy spent
their time as nuns - along with their personal servants! This ia a beautiful colonial town well worth a stopover.

Pisco, Peru
A short drive from the port took us to Pisco Airport where we boarded our 12-passenger plane for the exciting flight over the Nazca lines. The low flying plane gave us amazing views of the landscape then the pilots pointed out each figure and they performed acrobat maneuvers so that
passengers on each side of the plane got a good view. A once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Lima, Peru
Ship offers a complimentary shuttle to the JW Marriott in Miraflores - great location 45 minutes from port. Traffic in Lima is horrendous.
Voyager Club excursion in colonial Lima with lunch Huaca Pucllana in Miraflores.
Visited the Barranco district the following day (by taxi from the Miraflores shuttle stop). Lovely colorful colonial area well worth a few
hours.
Salaverry, Peru
Nearby Trujillo is a lovely colonial city and the ship offers a complimentary shuttle ino town.
We elected to visit the Chan Chan archeological site from the Chimu empire built approximately 1100 A.D. This enormous UNESCO World Heritage
site represents the largest clay city in pre-Hispanic America.

Manta, Ecuador
The large, calm harbor at Manta, Ecuador  is filled with fishing vessels of every size from the one-man skiffs to giant cargo-ship sized tuna processing ships equipped with helicopters. This, after all, is the tuna capital of the world. Your can of Sunkist probably originated right here. A 30-minute ride on a "chivas bus" complete with a brass band on top, takes us to nearby Montecristi, the epicenter for making Panama hats. The ride was loads of fun with people waving and dogs chasing us along the whole route! Long, Pleasant, sandy  beaches emanate from both sides of the port but the town of Manta itself is unremarkable.

Panama Canal
Awoke at dawn to see all the ships great and small lined up in the Pacific awaiting their turn to enter the locks at Miraflores. Amazing to see the system of tying up to the "mules" actually highly powerful engines which tow the ship through the locks. Our ship had two at the front and two at the back following alongside on the tracks. On through the cut and into huge Lake Gatun. Three more locks and we are back at sea level on our way to the Atlantic. All along the way we see evidence of the huge expansion that is underway.
Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
Opted for a 2-hour drive into the mountains to visit a working hacienda. Marvelous choice, so well done. Very busy port for bananas and
pineapple....Chiquita and Dole containers piled up for miles!

Sea days were occupied with cooking demonstrations by the chef, galley tour, wine tasting, team trivia competitions, bridge, putting, water
polo, lectures on the ports of call and South American history, culture, flora and fauna as well as resting up from all our excursions.


Not once during our stay in Chile, Peru, Ecuador or Costa Rica did we have a need for local currency. We used US dollars throughout (legal
tender in Ecuador and Panama).
I should add that with Santiago 2hours ahead of EST, Lima on EST, Costa Rica on CST and then back to EST, jet lag was non existent. The weather was perfection every day! 70's to 80's with no humidity until we hit the Gulf of Mexico on the last sea day. Hardly a cloud (even always
cloudy Lima was sunny) and not a drop of rain for 3 weeks! South America is definitely the place to be in February!