VIKING RIVER CRUISES has become familiar to millions of TV viewers, chiefly through its sponsorship of the hit PBS series Downton Abbey. Those beguiling ads paint a picture of a premium cruise line delivering unforgettable experiences on the legendary riverways of northern Europe — the Danube, the Rhine, the Seine — and the picture is accurate. Passengers can expect a grand river tour filled with spectacles and special experiences, rendered in sophisticated style. Founded in 1997 by Torstein Hagen, who often appears in the Viking ads, the line grew especially rapidly, adding 40 of its signature 190-passenger Longships between 2012 and 2016 to become the largest river cruise line in the world.
THE GRAND DEL MAR HOTEL (now a Fairmont property) opened in 2007 — not the best time to launch a luxury property — on the cusp of the recession, but it powered through and created a great resort with one of the top golf courses in Southern California. Grand Del Mar Golf Course, designed by Tom Fazio, originally opened in 1999 as part of the Meadows Del Mar. Lying in Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve just north of San Diego City, the course eventually became part of the Grand Del Mar Hotel. The private course is open only to members and hotel guests but recently opened to groups.