Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Statue of Liberty Opening but Ellis Island to Remain Closed

The National Parks Service has said that it will re-open the Statue of Liberty on July 4th.  However, they will most likely keep the Ellis Island Immigration Museum closed for Hurricane Sandy-related repairs through the rest of 2013. The Statue of Liberty, on Liberty Island, and the Museum on Ellis Island have always been visited by the same tour boats. However, the Museum's Hurricane Sandy-related damage meant that its vast collection of artifacts had to be moved into storage while more extensive repairs are made.
The Parks Service said it will route tour boats from Battery Park for a quick stop at the island only for security processing. The museum will remain closed until all the necessary preparations can be made for artifacts to return to their climate-controlled environment in the museum.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Carnival Announces Spending Multi Millions to Fix Older Ships

Carnival Cruise Line has realized that it must take steps to stop the power-outages and failures that have upset so many passengers recently. They have announced that they are now taking emergency measures to equip all their ships with back-up power sources. Carnival will spend tens of millions of dollars to immediately upgrade the electrical connections from one set of generators to another on its ships that are needing such improvements.
The newest ships built within the last few years have redundancy in their electrical generators, according to recent reports. Older ships may or may not have such back-up facilities. Older ships in the Carnival fleet will be equipped with substitute sources, or access to substitute sources via more powerful and protected power cables, as a result of the immediate expenditures that Carnival executives have promised. The initial steps of this process will take place starting next week.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Norwegian Cruise Line Will Offer First Grammy Experience At Sea

Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it has partnered with The Recording Academy to feature the first Grammy Experience at Sea onboard its newest ship, Norwegian Getaway, set to launch in February 2014. As part of the partnership, Norwegian Cruise Line has been named "Official Cruise Line Partner of the Grammy Awards." The companies will partner on the first Grammy-themed cruise that is scheduled to set sail in the fall of 2014.

The Grammy Experience will be located on Deck 8 on Norwegian Getaway and will feature artifacts chosen and curated by the Grammy Museum at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles. In the evenings, the venue will feature live performances by past Grammy winners and nominees, among others. More details regarding the Grammy Experience theme cruise will be revealed in the coming months.

Contact a Cruise Specialist today to book your next Cruise Vacation

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Australia Giving Away Six "Best Jobs in the World"

Tourism Australia is reinventing Queensland's acclaimed campaign, in which Englishman Ben Southall scored a high-paying job as a caretaker of a tropical island in The Whitsundays. Tourism Australia is going to give away six "best jobs in the world" around the country as part of a $4 million youth tourism campaign that was launched in Cairns last week. Each of the jobs will showcase the best tourism attributes of each state and territory.

Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory's tourism boards chose not to be part of the campaign. Each of the jobs comes with a six month salary package worth $100,000, including living costs. Around 35,000 applications were received for first The Best Job in the World campaign in 2009, which achieved worldwide publicity and was hailed as "the best idea since Willy Wonka decided to hide golden tickets in chocolate bars". Tourism Australia said it was prepared for criticism that the idea for the new campaign was not original.

Contact an Australia Travel Specialist today to book your Australian Vacation!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

FAA Says 173 Control Towers are Closing

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the federal government will close down 173 small airport towers next month. The closures will affect small airports, many of them rural, where towers are manned by unionized contractors rather than FAA employees. The FAA oversees 250 contract towers. The FAA notified operators in a conference call on Tuesday of the closures. The contract program has been around for the last 30 years and during that time only three airports have been shut down.  Most of the employees are former FAA and military air-traffic controllers.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Taking a Look at Tasmania

Tasmania is an island off the South Eastern coast of Australia, separated from the main land by the Bass Strait. Tasmania is the name of the island as well the state. Sometimes referred to as the Natural State, or the Island of Inspiration, almost 40 percent of Tasmania’s land is preserved as a World Heritage Listed area. This temperate island paradise boasts 20 national parks, and the mild sunny climate makes this a prosperous region for making fine foods and wine.

The capitol of Tasmania is Australia’s second oldest city, Hobart. With the River Derwent running through it and Mount Wellington just behind, Hobart does not lack charm and beauty. Many of the historic colonial houses and buildings in Hobart have been preserved, and are now used as restaurants, art studios, cafes and boutique hotels.

Some of the most popular attractions in Hobart include:
  • Bonorong Wildlife Center offers visitors the chance to interact with native animals, including koalas, Tasmanian devils, kangaroos, emus and wombats. Open year round, except for national holidays. Tours run twice daily.

  • Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is located near the city center and is home to historic plant collections and a large number of significant trees, some dating back to the nineteenth century. Open year round except for Christmas day and Good Friday. Admission is free!
  • Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery is a great place to find out about Tasmania’s history, including its Aboriginal heritage. Also features traveling art exhibits. Open year round. Admission is free!
  • Salamanca Place is Hobart’s entertainment hotspot, offering a wide variety of shopping, restaurants, galleries, pubs and nightlife. It is also home to the famous Salamanca Market, which is open every Saturday.
  • Kayak tours are one of the best, and perhaps most interesting way to see Hobart. Dozens of tour companies offer these tours year round. Most are about 2 hours long.
  • Walking tours can be a fun way to see this scenic city. There are many different tour options available, one to suit just about everyone, including historic tours, coastal walks, treasure hunts and ghost tours.
  • Mount Wellington stands right behind the city of Hobart. When it is not covered in snow, there are many walking trails to explore its heavily forested slopes. Near the top is an enclosed look out which provides spectacular views of the city below.
Hastings Caves and Thermal Springs are located approximately 80 miles south of Hobart. The richly decorated cave is one of the few caves in Australia formed by dolomite. It began forming over 40 million years ago. Admission to the Cave Tour also includes use of the thermal springs pool, changing rooms, hot showers and barbeques for the day. Open year round.

Port Arthur Historic Site is the best preserved convict settlement in Australia. Every feature of this historic site has a story to tell. Besides the historic buildings, Port Arthur also features magnificent gardens, guided tours and a restaurant and café. It is open every day of the year, except Christmas.

The Cradle Mountain – Lake St Claire National Park is one of the most popular and beautiful natural areas in Tasmania. The park contains a network of walking trails and paths, many of them leading to lookout points with breathtaking views below. There are many picnic areas complete with barbeques throughout the park.

Vineyards and Wineries. Tasmania has over 60 vineyards and wineries, spanning over seven wine regions, mainly on the east side of the state. The wines produced in Tasmania include Chardonnay, Merlot, Riesling and Pinot Noir, just to name a few. Many of the wineries offer tours and free wine tastings.

Contact a Professional Travel Agent today to book your dream vacation to Australia!