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
The famous Skytrax World Airline Awards publish the most prominent airline rankings in the world, taking into consideration the experiences of millions of business and leisure passengers in all classes. This year, Etihad Airways has been crowned the world’s best first class airline. The youngest airline with the fastest rise in the awards, Etihad first won a string of first class accolades back in 2010, and the airline’s commitment to providing perfect service has made it a consistent winner ever since.
PRIVATE SUITES WITH UNPARALLELED LUXURY: Etihad Airways offers a blissfully comfortable flatbed seat in every private Diamond First Class suite. At the press of a button, the seat turns into a bed that is over six and a half feet in length. This flatbed seat is utterly customizable, so the seat’s dimensions can be adjusted to suit your preferences and body shape. A soft but supportive pillow and an inbuilt massager help to rest and rejuvenate tired muscles, and the suite is stylishly decorated with leather upholstery manufactured by Poltrona Frau (who also supply Ferrari’s interiors). You are provided with a mini-bar, your own convenient wardrobe, and a stunning 23 inch television screen that comes with noise-cancelling headphones and more than 600 hours of on-demand entertainment. Even the lighting conditions are customizable, and with a wide range of personal light settings at your disposal it is easy to set the perfect mood for everything from sleeping to a romantic dinner date. Finally, you can make your suite an entirely private and safe haven for work or relaxation by simply sliding your screen door shut and activating your ‘do not disturb’ sign.
FIVE-STAR CATERING: Another particularly remarkable feature of Etihad Airways is its provision of five-star restaurant service in its Diamond First Class Cabins. An onboard chef is provided, and dishes are painstakingly produced to suit each passenger’s individual taste preferences. You can dine at the time that suits you, whether it is in the middle of the day or in the middle of the night. Further, you can even select the airline’s own delicious produce from the Organics Farm. The chefs and the food managers employed by Etihad Airways are all found and recruited from the very best restaurants and hotels all over the world, so you can rest assured that the quality of every meal is second to none.
When you fly first class with Etihad Airways, you are guaranteed to enjoy the journey just as much as the destination. A round-trip, first class ticket from New York to the airline’s hub in Abu Dhabi costs around $15,000.
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!