WHAT A DIFFERENCE a year makes! As I prepared my letter for last November’s issue, our first-ever Cruising Issue, it had been years since I’d last cruised. Now, as I prepare for final sign-off on this November issue, I reminisce about the two cruises I’ve been on in the past year, and I’m washed with nostalgia for the experiences and memories each brought.
What makes cruising such big business? Based on my two different experiences — one a river cruise on the Danube for New Year’s Eve and one a luxury cruise in the Caribbean on a larger ship — I can draw some of my own conclusions. One cannot overlook the ease of unpacking once yet seeing multiple destinations. Cruises are good for a wide range of family types; my New Year’s Eve river cruise with my fiancé in Europe was perfect for us, while the all-inclusive ocean cruise I took with my mom suited us nicely. You can please most members of the family with a cruise. Planned itineraries and offered excursions take some of the headache out of putting together your own trip, and with dining included, people can budget funds for other activities. I could go on about the benefits of cruising, but I’ll let the articles on the following pages entice you instead. As you can tell from my GT Tested reviews of U River Cruises and Seabourn, I had more words to write than room on the page.
To depart from the subject of cruising briefly, I need to offer a little update to my letter from last month. I wrote about the subject of haunted tourism just a few days before departing for Savannah, a well-known haunted destination. On a tour of the haunted Sorrel-Weed House I saw a ghost. While not necessarily a believer before, I am now. I know what I saw was paranormal activity, and it only bolstered the sentiment expressed in our October issue: Haunted tourism is and will continue to be popular for good reason, and there’s a bounty of it to be explored further.
Where do we cruise in this issue? Sail away with us to Colombo, İzmir, Miami, Cartagena, Nassau, Roatán, Dubai and Croatia. Prepare for the holiday season with a look at Christmas market cruises on page 70, and use Katie McElveen’s feature story on page 40 to determine which cruise line is right for you.
Celebrate with us next month as we announce the winners of our 16th annual GT Tested Reader Survey awards. Until then, happy sailing!
Leovard skincare, formulated by Dr. Sheg Aranmolate, MD, uses natural ingredients to nourish skin, calm irritation, decrease wrinkles, hydrate and soothe — all while sanitizing skin of bacteria. Leovard’s 06 sanitizer is among a line a like-minded products, designed to ease the stress of environmental damage on our skin while cleansing.
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
It’s been almost three years since Category 5 Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, wreaking havoc on the island and leaving most residents without electricity and clean water. Tourism, which accounts for 6.5 percent of Puerto Rico’s gross domestic product, took a beating, with hotels closed for year-long repairs, airlines cutting service and cruise lines shifting itineraries to other Caribbean destinations. Timing for the hurricane couldn’t have been worse, coming on the heels of the government’s announcement in May 2017 that it was unable to pay more than $70 billion in public debt and thus forced to file for bankruptcy. Large protests and a change of government would follow. Then, in January 2020, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake rocked the south side of the island, forcing San Juan restaurants to close while power was restored. And as we write this story, coronavirus runs rampant across the globe with severe economic implications for all destinations, including Puerto Rico.
Climbing along the coast, I was trying to snap pictures of the cool-blue Puerto Vallarta waters outside my car window (I know, it never works) when we started winding along stone walls draped in jungle-like foliage. Annoyed my view was blocked, I looked around to see where we were just as we were parking at Hotel Mousai — I audibly gasped. The all-glass, chic and incredibly grand entrance was so well-secluded, it somehow snuck up on me.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
Three weeks after welcoming the first international flights since its borders closed, Saint Lucia’s government reinforced its mandatory travel protocol messaging. The island also launched an informative video with on-island footage of the actual travel experience.
IHG® Business Edge provides small- to midsized enterprises with benefits and confidence to navigate the evolving business travel environment.
As more destinations around the globe reopen to travelers, we are ready to get back to one of our favorite activities. Join us over the next several weeks as we take you to places around the world saying #WelcomeBacktoTravel. Take a visual journey through Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with us.