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(2013 - Fall/Winter Issue)


Cunard Line’s 2014–15 cruise program features an increase in Mediterranean sailings, new land tours, special transatlantic crossings, and events to mark the 10th birthday of flagship Queen Mary 2. Throughout 2014, Queen Mary 2 will provide 17 scheduled transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton as well as Hamburg from May through June. Her anniversary schedule includes two eight-night transatlantic crossings with a stop in Halifax, the line’s original east coast port-of-call and the birthplace of company founder Sir Samuel Cunard. Queen Mary 2 will also sail popular Americas and Caribbean voyages. The Queen Elizabeth will offer more than 70 departure combinations in the Mediterranean from June to December 2014, calling at such ports as Monte Carlo, Corfu, Mykonos, Naples, Dubrovnik and Livorno, and offering overnight stays in Istanbul and Venice. Based in Southampton for summer 2014, Queen Victoria will sail to the Norwegian fjords, Baltic cities, Mediterranean shores, Atlantic islands, Black Sea and Turkish ports. cunard.com

Nearly 50,000 fans attended the Ottawa Folk Festival in August, and more are expected next year now that the American Bus Association named the annual festival as one of only nine Canadian events on its Top 100 Events in North America for 2014. The list, which includes the best fairs, festivals and theatre across Canada and the U.S., is sought after by travel professionals, motorcoach operators and the general public. This year’s five-day event included concerts by Canadian folk icon Gordon Lightfoot, reggae stars The Wailers, punk rock godmother Patti Smith, New York City rock band Vampire Weekend and American roots-rockers the Avett Brothers. Planning has already begun for next year’s festival.ottawafolk.com

The Stratford Festival’s 2014 season promises to be quite mad as a dozen plays explore the theme of Madness: Minds Pushed to the Edge. To mark the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth, artistic director Antoni Cimolino has programmed five Shakespeare plays including two versions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which revolves around the madness of young love. The season will also feature King Lear, Antony and Cleopatra, King John, the 1707 comedy The Beaux’ Stratagem, Mother Courage (directed by Martha Henry), Hay Fever, Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Christina the Girl King, plus musicals Crazy for You and Man of La Mancha. stratfordfestival.ca

It may seem like Yesterday, but 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first U.S. concert and their legendary appearance on theEd Sullivan Show (February 9, 1964). August 8 will mark 45 years since the iconic photo of the Beatles was taken on the crosswalk outside London’s Abbey Road Studios. To explore the roots of Beatlemania, take a trip to Liverpool, England, to tour places associated with John, Paul, George and Ringo as they grew up and formed their famous band. Visit landmarks that inspired songs, including Penny Lane and Strawberry Field. For the full story, take the two-hour Magical Mystery bus tour. Visitliverpool.com/music/50-years-of-the-beatles/event-programme

Abrand new visitor centre will make a trip to one of England’s most famous monuments, Stonehenge, even more memorable. The centre presents the story of the prehistoric ring of standing stones for the first time at the site. Removal of a nearby road and parking lots means visitors will be able to walk freely around the vast site for the first time in centuries to discover the Iron Age barrows and burial mounds. A shuttle bus will travel between the new visitor centre and the stones, some of which weigh more than 45 tons and tower seven metres high. english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge

Los Angeles is full of free and entertaining things to do. Here’s a sample! Take a docent-led walking tour of the Los Angeles Central Library, one of the city’s most treasured downtown buildings. Magnificently restored to its 1926 roots, its murals depict California’s history. For fun, get free tickets before you leave home and join a live studio audience for shows like Jeopardy! or Dr. Phil. Stroll through L.A.’s original farmers’ market, open since 1934, or stroll through a cemetery, past the graves of Liberace, Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. And check out the world’s most amazing street entertainers every weekend on the Venice Beach Boardwalk, heading north from Windward Avenue. discoverlosangeles.com

Fashion-conscious Torontonians who love a deal on designer clothes but don’t own a car can now take a shuttle bus from Union Station downtown to the new Premium Outlets mall in Halton Hills. King Tours offers five round trips from Monday through Saturday in a comfortable bus, starting at 9 a.m., with four round trips on Sunday. A round trip ticket costs $30 and includes a $10 coupon book. The first of its kind in Canada, the mall offers 85 outlet stores promising everyday discounts of 25 to 65 per cent on designer duds, accessories, kitchenware, home furnishings and more. Torontopremiumoutlets.ca

Pick up a CityPASS booklet when you travel to major U.S. cities (and Toronto!) and enjoy dramatic savings on admission tickets to must-see attractions. In the U.S., CityPASS is available for Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hollywood, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Southern California. It allows you to skip most ticket lines, and it’s valid for nine days from first day of use. The Toronto pass contains coupons for five attractions, including the CN Tower, Toronto Zoo and the Ontario Science Centre. Order your pass online or buy it at any attraction. It makes a great Christmas stocking stuffer or a gift for visiting friends. citypass.com

It’s “Reggae, set, go!” at the 13th annual Reggae Marathon in Negril, Jamaica’s capital of casual. Pros, sports enthusiasts and beginners from all over the world will converge on Seven Mile Beach December 7 to run a full marathon, a half-marathon or a 10K run along Jamaica’s scenic north coast. Enthusiastic supporters come out to cheer, while each mile marker features pulsating reggae music to keep runners in an “irie” spirit. Events include the pre-race World’s Best Pasta Party, a two-day marathon expo and a post-race victory party on the beach. American Airlines flight discounts are available and Divine Tours offers all-inclusive rates. reggaemarathon.com

Explore the City of Light during La Belle Epoque, from 1889–1914, at Paris on Stage, a remarkable exhibition at Québec City’s Museum of Civilization. Wander into the heart of Les Halles and discover the people, events and places that made Paris the cultural capital of Europe during this remarkable era. Visitors equipped with audio guides can stroll the wide boulevards, hear music from a café and enjoy the view from the first floor of the Eiffel Tower. The exhibition, which ends February 23, 2014, includes paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec, sculptures by Rodin and other works of art and inventions on loan from leading Paris museums. mcq.org

The historic 324-hectare Doral Resort, recently renamed the Trump National Doral Miami, is being returned to its former grandeur after being purchased last year by the Trump Organization. The Doral has long been recognized for its five championship golf courses, including PGA favourite The Blue Monster. Once the costly renovation is complete, the hotel will feature 640 remodelled guestrooms, a state-of-the-art spa, new restaurants and bars and high-tech upgrades for rooms and event spaces. It will also feature the five-star level of service synonymous with the Trump brand. The Doral will remain open and offer special rates during the renovation. trumphotelcollection.com

World-renowned Finger Lakes Wine Country in upstate New York comes to life during the winter, without the crowds. Visit more than 100 fine wineries and try ice wine, sparkling wine and the area’s award-winning Riesling in a relaxed, intimate setting. Spend a romantic weekend at a quaint B&B or a hotel with a lake view at astonishingly affordable prices. Get outdoors and wander through Watkins Glen State Park to see frozen waterfalls shimmering like crystals. Or keep warm at the Corning Museum and watch the heat of 2,760 C torches bend and shape glass. fingerlakeswinecountry.com

The next time you rent a car in Orlando, Florida, make it electric! Drive Electric Orlando is the first initiative of its kind to offer visitors an all-electric rental car. The Nissan Leaf costs the same as a regular rental, and comes with GPS to point you to one of more than 300 charging stations in the area. It travels about 160 kilometres on a single charge, and a full charge costs $3. By skipping the gas pump and enjoying perks such as free hotel valet parking, drivers can help the environment and save up to $265 a week over a regular rental. driveelectricorlando.org

Go nose to nose with the Space Shuttle Atlantis at the new $100-million interactive attraction at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in eastern Florida. The retired shuttle flew into space 33 times and has the scorch marks to prove it. Visitors can see it as the astronauts did, seeming to float in space with its payload bay doors open and Canadarm extended. In September, a time capsule was buried in a wall of the new exhibit that will be opened in 2061. It includes a BlackBerry smartphone and a bear that says Mission Accomplished. By the end of its final mission, Atlantis had orbited Earth 4,848 times. kennedyspacecenter.com

Miles of soft white sand, groomed golf courses, accommodation for every budget and great food await visitors to Fort Myers and Sanibel Island in Southwest Florida. It’s the perfect spot for snowbirds—bring the grandkids!—or anyone looking for a relaxing break close to home. Nature enthusiasts can hike the trails, wander the beach looking for shells and visit a wildlife refuge. Dine in your rented condo or sample the local seafood at a casual restaurant as you watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico. If it gets too quiet, head to nearby Naples or take a trip through the Everglades. fortmyers-sanibel.com

Whether you like to ski, snowboard, snowshoe, Nordic ski or dogsled, Sun Peaks, B.C., one of North America’s top ski resorts, is the place to be this winter. Bring the family for a new midweek race camp or brush up on your moguls at a three-day off-piste training camp. There’s local food and Okanagan wine on tap at more than 20 restaurants in the picturesque village, surrounded by three mountain peaks. How does a moonlight Nordic ski and chocolate fondue night sound? Kids can hit the slopes with Santa and meet resident Olympic champion Nancy Greene Raine. sunpeaksresort.com

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