Do you have an exceptionally dedicated and hardworking team?
Why not consider conducting your next business meeting on a cruise.
Demanding projects can sometimes stagnate the minds of even the most talented business professionals. A break away from the traditional confines of the concrete business world could be just the incentive plan your team needs to kick it into high gear. A business meeting cruise is also an exceptional performance reward for a job well done. Planning, motivation, training, and even team building are all possible at sea aboard a luxury cruise line. What you can accomplish with your team in the boardroom, can now be accomplished on a business cruise.
Cruises are all-inclusive, therefore very cost effective in the business world. Due to the sheer size of a luxury cruise liner, accommodations for large groups are not an obstacle. If you book a business cruise you can also rest assured that the necessary business tools will be on hand for your use. Most large cruise lines offer audio-visual equipment and high-speed internet access as part of their business meeting cruise package. Some cruise lines are even offering the entire ship for private business cruise charter. The cost of a business cruise can vary greatly and sometimes depends on the services required while onboard. One little-known perk to a business cruise is that participants may be eligible to write off up to $2,000 of the cost on their taxes. (ask your tax account for more details)
When considering a business cruise, especially if your group is exceptionally large or you require the charter of the entire ship, is to make your reservations for up to a full year in advance. In most cases, you will be held responsible for payment in full regardless of whether you’re actually able to sail on your business cruise charter date or not. Therefore, planning is crucial when considering a whole ship charter or booking for an exceptionally large group.
Club 1 Hotels has exclusive rates on 15 cruise lines with 3,000 worldwide itineraries and over 1,000 ports of call.
A picturesque tropical beach as a winter getaway makes for a smart vacation idea. Imagine frolicking in one of the world’s most spectacular warm-climate beaches as you wait away the passing of the cold months.
Here are ten of the world’s great tropical beaches to consider as your holiday vacation destination.
Bamboo Island Beach, Thailand
(a.k.a Phi Phi Island/Ko Pee Pee)
Located in Southern Thailand and protected by cliffs of limestone that tame the waves, the fantastic Bamboo Island is a remote tropical paradise of white sand and shimmering turquoise-colored waters. It is near the bustling Maya Bay, where The Beach was filmed.
Eleuthera is a narrow island in the Bahamas. It sports rolling beaches of pink sand and fabulously huge outcroppings of coral reefs. The beaches of Eleuthera are unspoiled as the island is not heavily inhabited by people.
Featured Hotel & Resort: The Cove Eleuthera, Eleuthera, Bahamas
Rio de Janeiro’s popular Ipanema Beach offers a lively, beach-party atmosphere where tourists and Brazilians gather as they sunbathe, drink beer, surf, and enjoy the warm weather. The western part of Ipanema Beach is framed by Dois Irmãos, a graceful-looking pair of mountains.
Featured Hotel & Resort: Belmond Copacabana Palace, Ipanema Beach, Brazil
Jobson’s Cove is an enchanting spot in Bermuda. It features a natural formation of limestone. The limestone outcropping creates a shallow pool of around forty feet in diameter in the Bermuda waters. The pinkish sandy beach of Jobson’s Cove treats you to experience clear waters, reefs, and a view of the towering cliffs made of limestone that borders the pool.
Featured Hotel & Resort: The Fairmont Southampton, Bermuda
The immaculate beaches of Kadmat Island rest on a coral reef. The clear shallow waters washing off from the Indian Ocean make diving, snorkeling, and swimming much more enjoyable. Dolphins and other marine animals are also abundant in the beaches along Kadmat Island.
Matria Beach, French Polynesia
This dazzling white-sandy beach in Bora Bora is a heaven of tropical sun and gleaming blue-green waters. There are also bungalows by the beach where you can relax and marvel at the stunning French Polynesian views.
Featured Hotel & Resort: The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort, French Polynesia
Located in Vieques, Navio Beach’s charm includes rough waves that are perfect for surfing, natural rock formations ideal for rock climbing, pristine and empty coastlines, and the rural island-municipality’s old-world vibe.
Perhentian Island, Malaysia
The tropical beaches along the pair of Malaysian islands called the Perhentians feature a postcard-perfect scenario complete with palm trees, white sand, warm climate, and crystal blue sea waters. Marine life—the likes of jellyfish, sea turtles, reef fish, and corals—is abundant, so you get the most out of any snorkeling and diving adventures.
Tulum Beaches, Mexico
Located southeast of Cancun, Tulum is a well-known archaeological site, as well as the location of beach resorts that deliver awe-inspiring views of the Caribbean. After spending time visiting Pre-Columbian ruins and cenotes, unwind under the sun and walk along the gorgeous coastline of Tulum.
Yasawa Island Beach, Fiji
You can’t go wrong with this warm-weather paradise popular for its unmarred beaches and clear blue-green waters. The volcanic Yasawa island group also features breathtaking mountainous terrain. In 1980, The Blue Lagoon was filmed in some parts of the Yasawa.
Club 1 Hotels Featured Hotel & Resort: Viwa Island Resort, Viwa Island, Fiji
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Singapore is often regarded as a very modern city because of its huge, bright shopping-centres, high-rise buildings, and luxurious hotels. However, it was once a British colony and the colonial area of Singapore is one of its most interesting. Here the visitor can find many grand and imposing historical buildings, such as the Raffles and Fullerton Hotels, St. Andrew’s Cathedral, and the Supreme Court and City Hall.
It is easy to imagine being back in the days of long Edwardian summer days as one walks around the wide, tree-lined streets in this area.
Raffles Hotel, founded in 1887 by the American Sarkies brothers, has a long and illustrious past. The Singapore sling was invented here. No visit to Singapore is complete without enjoying this relaxing cocktail in the cool garden courtyard at this famous hotel. Hollywood stars, including Ava Gardner and Charlie Chaplin, stayed in sumptuous suites at the elegant white building. The dark and stylish Writer’s Bar pays tribute to them and features photographs of some of the great authors, such as Joseph Conrad and Somerset Maugham.
Studying the history of the hotel at the Raffles Museum is well- worth it. Here there are photos of the many famous guests, antiques, and travel items. One can imagine the elegance and excitement of travel in bygone days in this museum.
Most people can’t afford to stay at Raffles but there is a wide choice of eating places which range from expensive restaurants to the rather cheaper Empire cafe. This has large American-style meals and delicious desserts.
The modern extension includes an exclusive shopping arcade with purveyors of luxury items, such as Louis Vuitton.
THE FULLERTON HOTEL
The Fullerton Hotel overlooking the Singapore river is another luxury hotel worth seeing. This building with its wide columns used to be the site of Singapore’s General Post Office and exclusive Singapore Club and other government buildings. Staying here is very expensive but having a drink at the tastefully furnished Post Bar won’t ‘break the bank’. The huge lobby with its atrium and extremely modern look is worth exploring and doesn’t clash with the colonial style of the building.
The Victorian Cavenagh Bridge, the oldest bridge in Singapore, is near the Fullerton Hotel. This iron and steel suspension bridge is worth walking over to see the spectacular views, especially at night. An old-fashioned police sign at the end which forbids some vehicles and all cattle and horses ‘by order of the Chief Police Officer’ adds an air of nostalgia.
ST. ANDREW’S CATHEDRAL
Consecrated in 1862, this Anglican cathedral was built by convict labour. The large light-filled church built in the Neo-Gothic style with its romantic arches and a towering ceiling is a pleasure to visit. Interesting memorials to eminent people in colonial Singapore line the naves.
OLD SUPREME COURT BUILDING
This impressive colonial building features wide Corinthian columns and a large dome. The Italian artist, Cavalieri Nolli, designed the murals inside.
The long rectangular structure also has Roman columns but isn’t as attractive as the Supreme Court Building which looks more elegant. This is probably because of its classical dome. This building was the site of the Japanese surrender to Lord Mountbatten in 1945.
The Old Supreme Court Building and the City Hall are soon to be converted into the National Art Gallery of Singapore.
OLD PARLIAMENT HOUSE
Built in 1827, this was originally the residence of a Scottish merchant, John Argylle Maxwell. Although Singapore now has another Parliament House, this Neo-Palladian building has been restored and now houses the Arts House in which exhibitions and concerts are held.
SINGAPORE CRICKET CLUB
Located in the Padang (the CBD) of Singapore, this is another historic building worth seeing. Cricket was once the most popular game in countries of British origin and the grand style of the building reflects this.
After the bustle of the shopping and Chinatown districts of Singapore, it is a good idea to wander around the much more peaceful colonial area of the city and become immersed in the history and grandeur of its early days.
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The small town of Kaikoura, on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, is a place not to be missed. Its stunning location, with turquoise seas and snow-capped mountains, makes it an attractive destination in its own right, but Kaikoura can also lay claim to being one of the world’s best sites for viewing marine life. Sperm whales, dusky dolphins, the rare Hectors dolphin and fur seals are among the many mammals to be seen, while bird life includes the wandering albatross, petrels and fulmars.
Whale watching is probably the highlight for many visitors to Kaikoura. Northerly and southerly currents meet off the coast, and this, combined with an offshore continental shelf which drops suddenly into an 800 metre deep canyon, forces nutrients up to the surface, attracting whales and other marine life. Local companies offer whale watching by boat, helicopter and aeroplane, and all trips can be booked at the friendly and helpful Visitors Centre. A half hour flight is similar in price to a three and a half hour boat trip, and both offer a high chance of spotting sperm whales. Guides on the boat trips use their experience to predict exactly when the whales are about to dive, allowing photographers to be ready in time to catch the typical shot of the whale’s tail disappearing amid flying water droplets.
A whale watching trip often includes sightings of other marine life, with dusky dolphins frequently jumping and diving alongside the boat, but true dolphin fans may wish to take the opportunity to swim alongside them. Both whale watching and dolphin swimming should be booked a few days ahead to avoid disappointment, and as they are dependent on good weather conditions, it is advisable to be prepared to stay on in Kaikoura and wait for better weather.
Although most visitors come to Kaikoura for the marine life, the area offers other attractions, particularly its beautiful scenery. The town is situated on a tiny peninsula, providing spectacular views to both north and south. Short circular walks can be made from the town along the cliffs and back along the beach past the fur seal colony, although tide times should be checked first. For more seasoned walkers there is a three-day loop walk, with opportunities for luggage to be transported each day.
Other Kaikoura highlights include the Seafest, an annual food and wine celebration in early October, the Maori Leap Cave, a limestone cave with stalagmites, and the Kaikoura Wine Company, which offers guided tours.
HOW TO GET THERE
Kaikoura is around 180 km north of Christchurch, the main city on South Island, and is easily reached by road and rail. The TranzCoastal train passes through Kaikoura on its way from Christchurch to Picton, from where ferries leave for the North Island. It is a beautiful train journey, with mountain ranges on one side and the coast on the other, and 175 bridges and 22 tunnels en route. The road also hugs the coast for much of the journey from Christchurch, and plenty of view stops are recommended for drivers.
Kaikoura itself has a population of less than 4000, but became one of New Zealand’s premier tourist attractions after the first whale watching trips were made in the late 1980s. There is much evidence of early Maori settlement, and the area is thought to have been a base for hunting the giant moa bird, now extinct. Captain Cook sailed past Kaikoura in 1770 but did not stop, and the first European settlers were whalers, who came in 1842. Whaling, along with agriculture, was the town’s main industry until tourism took over.
WHERE TO STAY AND EAT
There is a plentiful supply of accommodation in Kaikoura, ranging from backpacker hostels and bed and breakfasts to holiday parks, motels and boutique hotels. However, despite the abundance, it is advisable to book ahead in the summer months. There is also no shortage of places to eat, with various budgets catered for and seafood a specialty. Crayfish is the feature meal in many establishments, and even the town’s name means ‘crayfish food’ (‘kai’ means ‘food’ and ‘koura’ means ‘crayfish’).
There cannot be many more enjoyable ways to spend a day than watching whales and dolphins swim and dive, then going for a walk along the stunning coastline and finishing up with a fresh seafood meal under a starlit sky. Kaikoura is truly a place well worth visiting.
CLUB 1 HOTELS PREFERRED ACCOMMODATIONS
Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses
State Highway 1 at Station Road RD 1
Kaikoura 7371 . New Zealand
Hapuku Lodge was built to give all guests a great night’s sleep in one the most beautiful places in the world. Located 12kms north of the world-renowned eco-marine town of Kaikoura, on New Zealand’s South Island, Hapuku Lodge shares the land with a deer stud and olive grove, nestled between the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Range and famed Mangamaunu Bay.
A contemporary country lodge, Hapuku Lodge has four luxurious lodge rooms (including two suites), five luxury Tree Houses, built in the canopy of a native Manuka grove, one spacious stand-alone apartment, and multiple meeting and event venues. All rooms at Hapuku Lodge feature custom designed, handcrafted furniture, tailor-made beds and mattresses, Japanese soaking tubs (in the four lodge rooms), heated towel rails and floors, raindrop showers, and individual balconies.
The Tree Houses and apartment also have large spa baths and fireplaces. Breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains and surf-washed coastline are seen from all rooms. The food at Hapuku Lodge is fresh, uncomplicated and flavorful, sourced whenever possible from their garden and other local organic farms and nearby waters.
From the romance of the Eiffel Tower to the magnificence of the Louvre and its priceless works of art to the enchantment of the street life, Paris is a delight for the senses. With something to offer every visitor, the city of Paris is the perfect choice for a first-time visitor to Europe, but with so much to see and do, you will want to return again and again.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
Any time is a great time to visit this world-class city, but springtime in Paris is particularly delightful. Summers in Paris can be hot and humid, but visitors can always cool off in the air-conditioned comfort of a museum or seek respite in one of the city’s many parks.
The winter season is also a wonderful choice for visiting Paris. The crowds are sparser, the hot, humid weather is long gone, and there are fewer lines at the historical and artistic sites.
Everyone loves Paris, and you will notice its popularity when you see the traffic. Luckily, Paris has set up an extensive network of public transportation, including the modern metro and many clean and tidy buses. You will also find plenty of tourist buses, and these are great for getting the lay of the land when you first arrive.
Paris is known for its wonderful climate, but temperatures vary quite a bit. July and August are the hottest months in Paris, with average high temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit).
On the other end of the scale, December is typically the coldest month of the year. During the cold winter months, temperatures routinely dip close to 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit), and even the highs generally reach only 7-10 degrees Celsius.
Are you considering going on a cruise but not sure if it’s right for you? Here are some reasons why a cruise might be ideal for your next vacation.
1. ENJOY YOUR TRIP WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT THE LOGISTICS
If you like to travel, but the thought of getting from Point A to Point B stresses you out, a cruise might be the perfect type of vacation for you. On a cruise ship, you can sit back and enjoy the view as you travel between ports without worrying about getting lost or making tight transportation connections. Plus, you’ll avoid the potential hassle of managing multiple rental car and hotel reservations.
2. AVOID AIR TRAVEL
As modern air travel has all the glamor of a long-distance bus trip, some people feel nostalgic for the golden era of trans-Atlantic Ocean liner travel. Although the overwhelming majority of passenger trips across the Atlantic are by air, the good news is that there are still cruise ships that sail between the United States and the Caribbean and various European ports. Of course, a cruise across the Atlantic will take much longer than a flight — up to two weeks each way — and it will probably be more expensive. However, many trans-Atlantic cruise ships visit several different ports, so you’ll get to see much more than you would on a flight. There are also cruise ships that travel between the west coast of North America and Hawaii.
3. EXPLORE PLACES THAT AIR TRAVELERS CAN’T VISIT
Although the world seems smaller than ever with long-distance air travel becoming more accessible to more people, there are still many places you can’t get to by flying. You can only visit these remote sites by ship, and while getting there might be expensive, you’ll be well off the beaten path. Remote cruise ship destinations include Antarctica, Greenland, the Canadian Arctic, and South Atlantic islands such as Saint Helena and Tristan da Cunha. Scholars and naturalists often accompany cruises to these places, so you’ll be able to get expert insights into these remote areas.
4. SEE MANY DIFFERENT DESTINATIONS WHILE SLEEPING IN THE SAME BED EACH NIGHT
Do you want to visit several cities without having to haul your luggage between different hotels of unknown quality? A cruise might be the right choice for you. Plus, think of all the time you’ll save and stress you’ll avoid from not having to pack your suitcase each time you leave port. Instead, you can spend more time relaxing and less time wondering if you remembered to pack your toothbrush.
5. PAY FOR EVERYTHING IN ONE PACKAGE
When you book an all-inclusive cruise, you’re purchasing a package that includes many different things, such as your cabin, meals, drinks, gratuities, and, in some cases, even shore excursions and round-trip airfare from your hometown to the ship’s port of departure. Some luxury cruise liners even offer on-call butlers and room service. An all-inclusive cruise is a good option for those who want to enjoy their vacation without racking up a lot of extra charges along the way.
6. ENJOY A VARIETY OF ENTERTAINMENT OPTIONS IN ONE PLACE
Cruise ships provide a broad range of entertainment, and the variety of choices, especially on larger ships, can be astounding. You can swim laps in the pool, sample specialty foods and drinks at restaurants and bars, play games, work out at an onboard gym, go to a live music performance or educational lecture, and much more, all without leaving the ship. You’ll find it hard to get bored on a cruise.
7. MAKE NEW FRIENDS – OR KEEP TO YOURSELF
Independent travelers sometimes have a hard time meeting people, while those on a guided tour might yearn for more independence and solitude. On a cruise, you can have it both ways. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to socialize on the ship and organized shore excursions, but you can also keep to yourself on board and explore each destination on your own.
There are several advantages to taking a cruise, from hassle-free travel to making new friends to exploring places that you can’t get to by plane. Plus, with many different types of journeys and ships to choose from, you can find a cruise that fits your personality and interests.
VIEW ABOARD THE NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES’ NEW FLAGSHIP: THE NORWEGIAN ESCAPE
Spend your holiday vacation in the scenic island nation of Maldives, the smallest country in Asia. The Maldives Islands makes up for its small land area and population by hosting some of the most stunning atolls and five-star beach resorts in the world.
In addition, the following five great Maldivian tourist attractions should be enough reasons for you to make the country your vacation destination this year.
Located in Male, the capital of Maldives, the National Museum should be one of your first stops. The museum is part of the gorgeous Sultan’s Park, another Maldivian tourist attraction. A varied collection of artifacts and memorabilia are housed in the museum, including the prized eleventh-century coral stone Lord Buddha. When you tour the National Museum, learn about the country’s rich history from its Buddhist-era heritage to its Islamic influences.
HUKURU MISKIIY OR OLD FRIDAY MOSQUE
After visiting the National Museum, take a quick trip to Hukuru Miskiiy, which is also located in Male. Hukuru Miskiiy, which dates back to the 1600s, is one of the oldest of its kind in Maldives. The historic architectural beauty has carved walls made of coral stone. Ancient tombs built in the memory of Maldivian notables surround Hukuru Miskiiy.
CONRAD MALDIVES RANGALI ISLAND RESORT AND SPA
Situated in the Alif Dhaal atoll, this spectacular luxury resort features Ithaa Undersea Restaurant, a one-of-a-kind underwater restaurant where you can dine in style and feast on spicy local cuisine. You can choose to stay in one of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island’s dreamy water villas or modern villas surrounded by tropical greenery. Complete your holiday vacation with a soothing spa treatment at the Spa Retreat.
MIRIHI ISLAND RESORT
At South Ari Atoll, this paradise of a tropical island resort basks in the middle of turquoise blue waters. From Male, take a thirty-minute ride on a seaplane to reach the picturesque Mirihi Island Resort. Take a walk along the white sandy beaches bordered by pine trees and catch a glimpse of stunning house-reefs.
This Maldivian tourist spot and luxury beach resort is famous for serving as home to Subsix, the first underwater nightclub in the world. At Subsix, dance the night away and have the most memorable clubbing experience of your life. Niyama resort is relatively small, but it makes up for its compactness by offering breathtaking island views, glorious beaches, and sumptuous food. Go to Sub-Lime, and pamper yourself with a private spa relaxation treat. For foodies, try either Epicure or Tribal.
Although Mexico is best known for its all-inclusive resorts, colonial hill towns and European-inspired capital city, the best places to visit in Mexico are actually the country’s laid-back beach towns. These towns are dotted along the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines and offer travelers unique ecotourism, cultural travel and budget travel experiences. Clean, safe and welcoming, each of these Mexican beach towns has its own allure.
Twenty-five miles north of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s breathtaking Pacific Coast, Sayulita is one of the most picturesque beach towns in all of Mexico. In 2015 it was awarded the <em>Pueblo Magico</em> (Magical Town) designation by Mexico’s Ministry of Tourism, celebrating its charming central square and ecological biodiversity. Sayulita’s narrow cobblestone streets are packed with surf shops, artisan boutiques and comfortable apartment rentals. For the ultimate Sayulita experience, walk from the city center through the jungle to the town’s historic graveyard, then continue on the trail to one of the region’s smallest and most beautiful beaches.
Keep heading past Sayulita for five miles and you’ll stumble across San Pancho, a traditional fishing village that has slowly been opening its doors to increasing numbers of foreign visitors. San Pancho is home to an upscale polo club (the season runs from November to May) and hosts an annual music festival each February. Visitors will also enjoy browsing through San Pancho’s independent gift and souvenir shops before stopping for lunch or dinner at one of the town’s organic restaurants.
Further south, on the coast of Oaxaca State, Zipolite still retains some of the charms that made it a hippie hotspot in the 1970s. Perfect for travelers who want to get off the grid, Zipolite doesn’t have a bank or proper police station, and many of the beachfront hotels still use cold water showers. Visitors who can make do with a little bit less will be rewarded with a friendly community atmosphere, home-cooked Mexican cuisine and a two-kilometer stretch of clean, clothing-optional beach. Beachgoers should pay attention to the warning flags posted along Zipolite’s beach. The town’s name comes from the local word for “beach of the dead”, accurately describing the strong current and undertow in several spots along the shore.
Less than three miles up the road from Zipolite is Mazunte, another <em>Pueblo Magico</em> with its own unique charms. Mazunte is much more developed than Zipolite and offers its visitors a more contemporary travel experience. The highlight of any visit to this Oaxacan town is a visit to the National Turtle Center, where guests can learn about turtles, volunteer for local conservation efforts and assist with the moonlight release of baby sea turtles. If you fall in love with Mazunte, it’s possible to spend a few months in the town while obtaining yoga teacher certification or studying Spanish.
Travelers looking for white sand beaches and turquoise waters will want to cross over to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, which juts out into the Caribbean Sea. The region’s most laid-back beach town, Tulum, rose in the shadows of historic waterfront Mayan ruins dating back to the thirteenth century. The town of Tulum is also an easy home base for visitors who want to explore the nearby <em>cenotes</em>. These underground rivers and caves are filled with fresh water, making for an unusual swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving experience. Of course, nobody will judge you if you skip out on both and spend your entire holiday relaxing in a hammock on the beach.
With most major currencies holding strong against the Mexican peso, there has never been a better time to book a trip to one of these laid-back beach towns. Toss your towel, flip-flops and sunscreen in your suitcase and head south to the sunshine!