Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Receive a $200 Gift Card on Family Vacations!

brendan.jpg Travel with Brendan Vacations and Save!

Valid on Escorted Family Vacations in the USA and Canada, Europe and Ireland.

Brendan Vacations offers a wide array of summer family vacations with escorted travel and boutique experiences to destinations in both Europe and Ireland.

Contact us to book a Brendan Vacations Package, book a Brendan Vacations package online, or see the Tour with Naka’s page to book vacation tour packages around the world.

With today’s hectic lifestyles, it can be very difficult for families to find time to spend together. Summer is the ideal time to take the kids on a family vacation and share memorable moments and experiences. Brendan’s Escorted Family Vacations allow you to take a break and enjoy some quality time with your kids at a great value, price and a wide array of destination offerings. These enriching experiences have been carefully planned to include fun, multi-generational and kid-friendly activities that will entertain and educate children and people of all ages. You might find yourself decorating your own colorful Carnival mask in Venice, making paella in Valencia or riding on the London Eye. Whether it’s parents traveling with their children, grandparents with their grandchildren, or extended family, Brendan makes it easy to create memories that will last a lifetime.

Spring breaks, summer vacations, graduation gifts and family reunions all call for exciting celebrations. Create great memories with loved ones this season.

*Price is per person, land only. Receive a $200 American Express gift card per booking on all 2011 Family Escorted Vacations booked and deposited until August 31, 2011. Offer valid on any new 2011 Escorted Family Vacation in the ‘USA & Canada’ brochure, ‘Europe’ brochure and ‘Small Group Discoveries’ brochure in Ireland. Must be a family (min. of 4; max. of 8) traveling together to qualify. American Express gift card, one per booking, will be mailed to the consumer directly or to the agent with final documents. Please mention promo code BVFAMLI when booking. Offer is valid for new bookings only. Not valid for groups larger than 8 people. Promo is subject to availability and other conditions. Once payment is received, cancellation penalties apply. Offer may be withdrawn at any time. Offer is combinable with brochure discounts (except Early Payment) and Brendan Vacations discount vouchers.

Japan Adds More World Heritage Sites

jts-logo.jpg Thanks to its rich history and nature, Japan has already been recognized as a country rich in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites with 14 designated destinations.

An additional two locations came into the international spotlight when they were added to the list this June.

Contact us to book your travel to Japan and speak to our bi-lingual English and Japanese speaking tour consultants.

Hiraizumi, a Northern Metropolis

Hiraizumi may seem one of the many historic temple towns, but founded in the 12th century, this was the political and commercial center of Japan’s northern region. This time, UNESCO recognized the legacy of the Fujiwara family, who rivaled the capitol in Kyoto and established northern political and cultural power hub with the paramount art and architectural techniques of that time, and the cultural and historic significance and appreciation of the remaining pieces. The most significant sign of the past political power in Hiraizumi is Chusonji-Temple, an elaborated structures in such a rich design from its heyday: Konjikido, literally translated as Golden Hall, has fortunately been preserved, because among all the magnificent constructions of a 20-year project, it is the only original structure survived fires and wars. Protected inside a later-constructed concrete pavilion, Konjikido is a must-see in lifetime: The entire structure is covered with gold leaf inside and outside, full of Buddhism statues in the alter, which showed the Fujiwara Lord’s aspiration for Buddhism and the top quality of designs.

In spite that Hiraizumi is located in the northeast region of Japan, it was very fortunate that the March earthquake didn’t affect the area at all, and international attention becomes a great momentum for the region’s tourism recovery. Along with Shirakami Mountain Range that was designated in 1993, Hiraizumi has become the highlight of the northern Japan.

Tokyo’s Hidden Beaches, the Ogasawara

Ogasawara Islands, also known as Bonin Islands, are a small archipelago of over 30 small subtropical islands 1,000km (620 miles) directly south off Tokyo. UNESCO found these hidden islands under Tokyo’s municipality as a natural sanctuary for unique ecosystem. Consist of over 30 tiny islands including well-known Iwojima, the Ogasawara Islands cherishes very little touched jungles and infinity blue beaches, which create perfect environment for rich ecosystem among one-of-a-kind mammals, over 400 native plants, several ocean species that creates world’s rarest scuba diving spots around the islands. The isolated location also enables the indigenous species so unique, and the Ogasawara receives the nick name of the Oriental Galapagos. As the Ogasawara has become more known among outdoor lovers, there has been a discussion on building an airport to improve the weekly ferry shuttle between Tokyo’s downtown port and Chichi-jima Island, the most populated among the Ogasawara. However the high vulnerability of the area’s untouched unique ocean lives keeps the islands airport free, but it makes the islands’ wealth of nature even more attractive as a hidden gem of Japan. See www.ogasawaramura.com/en/

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Essential Experience Number 39 - Athens

princess-curise-logo.gif “An Eye-Opening Dream Destination”

Princess Cruises reveals Athens as “Essential Experience Number 39” on its blog, “50 Essential Experiences: The Travel Bucket List.” This week Crown Princess Customer Services Director Dana Ionescu writes about her first trip away from her home country – to her dream destination of Athens.

She writes: “I felt that Greece was more than another country, it was another planet. It was disorienting in the sense that their culture was similar to my own, but at the same time it was completely different.” read more

These and other stories can be found online at www.50EssentialExperiences.com, where a new experience is unveiled weekly. Each is authored by a Princess destination expert – a long-serving and well-traveled shipboard or shoreside employee.

Contact us to book a Princess Cruise or see the Cruise with Naka’s page to book cruises around the world.

One of the best-known names in cruising, Princess Cruises first set sail in 1965 with a single ship cruising to Mexico. Today, the line has grown to become the third largest cruise line in the world, renowned for innovative ships, an array of onboard options, and an environment of exceptional customer service. A recognized leader in worldwide cruising, Princess offers approximately 1.3 million passengers each year the opportunity to escape to the top destinations around the globe, aboard a fleet of 17 modern vessels.

Princess Cruises was catapulted to stardom in 1977 when one of its ships, Pacific Princess, was cast in a starring role on a new television show called “The Love Boat.” The weekly series, which introduced millions of viewers to the concept of a sea-going vacation, was an instant hit and both the company name and its “seawitch” logo have remained synonymous with cruising ever since. The show, which can still seen around the world, has been widely credited with fueling the dramatic expansion of the industry.

Join the Experts with Cunard Insights

cunard-logo.jpg Join Experts in Astronomy and Politics Aboard Queen Mary 2!

Enrichment and discovery are immensely thrilling features of every Transatlantic Crossing. You will be delighted by the extraordinary talent we are featuring through the award-winning Cunard Insights on board enrichment programme.

Mark Butterworth, Royal Astronomical Society
Voyage date: 20 September 2011

Mark Butterworth studied Astronomy at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and is a researcher of astronomical history. He is an expert in presenting current astronomical concepts through their historical background and also specialises in understanding how popular astronomy was presented to the general public in the 18th and 19th centuries. As a frequent lecturer on the Astronomical Society speaker circuit he has given presentations at the Royal Astronomical Society’s annual National Astronomy Meeting and other International Conferences, and is also a regular contributor to Astronomical Journals.

Eamonn Gearon
Voyage date: 16 October 2011

Eamonn Gearon is a writer, Arabist, historian and analyst who has been based in the Greater Middle East – from Kabul to Casablanca – for nearly 20 years, writing about some of the world’s most fascinating, little understood and sometimes dangerous places, most recently covering the Egyptian revolution. An accomplished solo, camel-powered, Saharan explorer, these days Eamonn spends most of his time engaged as a freelance regional analyst and consultant. His clients include government officials, security companies and private business on both sides of the Atlantic. With an intimate understanding of the Middle East’s complex mix of cultures and traditions, and being able to speak, read and write Arabic, Eamonn is uniquely placed to guide audiences through the region, whether on the ground or through his fascinating lectures.

Jeffrey Weinberg
Voyage date: 12 December 2011

Jeffrey Weinberg is known for his unique perspective on the domestic aspects of the U.S. presidency from the vantage points of both an academic and a practitioner. For the past 10 years he has taught graduate courses on the presidency and the Executive Branch at universities in Washington, D.C. He was a Fulbright Distinguished Scholar in the UK in the spring of 2008 where he served as a guest lecturer on the presidency at universities including Aberdeen, Cambridge, Glasgow, and Oxford, and at the London School of Economics. Beginning with the Ford Administration, in 1974, he has served each of the last seven Presidents as a legislative attorney at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Executive Office of the President.

Contact us to book a Cunard Cruise or see the Cruise with Naka’s page to book cruises around the world.

Cunard Line, operator of the most famous ocean liners in the world, sails legendary voyages including Transatlantic Crossings and World Voyages. Sailing the world’s oceans for over 170 years, Cunard was the first to operate a Transatlantic liner service between England and America and is the only company to provide regularly scheduled service today. Cunard was also the first to sail an around the world voyage in 1922. Cunard Line is the most iconic British liner company in the world sailing flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria - Cunard honors its British heritage by maintaining traditions on board, including a traditional English pub, white-gloved afternoon tea service and Royal Nights themed formal balls

Thursday, July 14, 2011

1st Hawaii Food and Wine Festival

Hawaii Destination Specialist Logo.  4 color jpg file. 1st Hawaii Food and Wine Festival to Celebrate
20th Anniversary of Hawaii Regional Cuisine

Top chefs from around the world and Hawaii, led by renowned local chefs Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong, will converge on Oahu to celebrate the Islands’ culinary traditions at the inaugural Hawaii Food and Wine Festival from September 29 to October 1. The three-day extravaganza will feature three exclusive signature events: Streets of Asia: Morimoto and Friends at The Waikiki EDITION; First Annual Halekulani Master Chefs Gala Dinner Series at the Halekulani; and From Mauka to Makai: Hawaii’s Sustainable Future at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, each showcasing dishes using local produce, seafood, beef, and poultry.

Hawaii has long been home to fresh produce and a variety of flavors, providing a selection of food as diverse as its people. In 1991, 12 award-winning chefs took this diversity and kicked it up to a new level, ultimately putting Hawaii on the national and international culinary map. What became of this collaboration was Hawaii Regional Cuisine, a unique culinary movement that takes the Islands’ freshest ingredients and utilizes them to blend the many unique cuisines of the numerous ethnicities that call Hawaii home. No longer was Hawaii fare viewed as only traditional luau foods.

2011 marks the 20th anniversary of this defining movement in the world’s culinary circle. This milestone will be celebrated in September with the induction of the 12 Founding Chefs into the Hawaii Restaurant Association’s (HRA) Hall of Fame along with other activities and programs (TBA online).

For more information, visit: HawaiiFoodandWineFestival.com.

For more information on Hawaii regional cuisine, visit: hawaiiregionalcuisine.com and restauranthi.com.