Hotels are going the boutique route. Cruise ships are going the opposite direction. Each year, cruise ship operators seem to be upping their “mine is bigger and fancier than yours game.” And nobody does it better than Royal Caribbean. The cruise line made a big splash, as it were, with its remake of the Oasis of the Seas about five years ago. Then came its ever-so-slightly bigger sister ship, Allure of the Seas. Both ships feature seven distinct “neighbourhoods,” along with a carousel and designer shops, such as Kate Spade, and carry roughly 5,400 passengers. The Quantum of the Seas, ... continue reading →

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Priceoftravel.com has released its annual list of what it costs to spend a day in a whack of European cities. There’s a real science to it, as they look for cheap three-star hotels that have mostly positive online reviews and tally up the cost of one night’s stay (based on double occupancy). They also add in two short cab rides, one cultural attraction, three higher-end restaurants that are still ranked as “budget” and three drinks. Based on those factors it’s amazing how much the cost of a day in Europe can vary. In Bucharest, arguably not a chart topper on ... continue reading →

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Feel like a great holiday in a fantastic hotel in one of the world’s great cities? I’m giving away another in a series of trips to the wonderful Eaton Chelsea Hotel here in downtown Toronto. One (1) winner will receive two (2) nights deluxe accommodation for four (4) – one room, in deluxe accommodation, at the Eaton Chelsea Hotel, Toronto including underground hotel self-parking. The hotel was given a huge makeover a while back and is both stylish and family-friendly, with a terrific indoor swimming pool and water slide complex, lovely rooms and warm yet modern design features. The Eaton ... continue reading →

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I’ve been saying for years now that the federal government in Ottawa doesn’t understand tourism and doesn’t give it the support it should. Now I see that MP Elizabeth May and TV comedian/pundit Rick Mercer are saying the same thing. Here’s my Globe and Mail blog from Friday, Feb. 20…. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/travel-news/when-will-the-government-give-tourism-the-respect-it-deserves/article23115880/

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It’s a Millenials’ world, folks. You may have heard about the so-called “Instagram Hotel” in Sydney, Australia. No? Well, it’s a property called the 1888 Hotel that was designed to be incredibly photographable and thus appeal to folks who understand that words like “Hefe,” “Crema” and “Lo-Fi” aren’t flavours at Baskin-Robbins or types of stereos but rather filters you can use for Instagram photos. The hotel is not only achingly pretty to look at but they’ll give folks free rooms if they have 10,000 Instagram followers. They’ve received more publicity than many hotels with enormous p.r. budgets, so it’s been ... continue reading →

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I wrote the other day in my Globe and Mail Navigator column about robots moving into the world of travel at a rapid pace, taking over the jobs of bartenders on cruise ships and even acting as a concierge at a hotel, where at least a lonely business person on the road doesn’t have to be embarrassed by asking another human being where to find a companion for the night. And we don’t have to leave them a tip, although they might appreciate gift certificates for Jiffy Lube. But I spotted something on travelpulse.com the other day that said Japan ... continue reading →

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I get asked a lot about what destinations to visit. It’s a fun question to answer. I don’t, however, always know the best TIME to book a trip. I know that hotels in New York City and Toronto and other business centres are often cheaper on weekends than during the week when biz folks travel the most. And I’ve always been told it’s best to book tickets for North America travel about four to six weeks ahead, the reasoning being that airlines know if we book a year in advance it’s probably a wedding or something important and that if ... continue reading →

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