Golden Chariot: Exploring the Mystique of South India

The Southern part of India is a renowned tourist destination in the country. The picturesque locations and the splendid beauty of the South India attract a number of tourists with their fascinating charm. If you want to explore the beauty of South India by travelling in a luxurious vehicle, then the Golden Chariot is the best one of the best bet available to you.

From Bangalore to Goa and from Tamil Nadu to Kerala, the train will let you experience the charismatic beauty of the country’s one of the most visited destination. Named after the World Heritage Stone Chariot in Hampi, the Golden Chariot luxury train has been designed and operated in a manner to recreate the romance of a bygone era. One of the best rail journeys in the World, this luxury cruise train charts the course of some of the famed destinations across South India offering two distinct itineraries.

The luxury train, Golden Chariot is equipped with modern amenities. Amenities include two suave restaurants, a lounge bar having various brands of wines and spirits, a gym and a well equipped spa. The accommodation facility of the train is also up to the mark. There are a total of eleven well furnished coaches in the train suffused with Hoysala and Dravidian architecture to recreate an era of pomp and splendor of erstwhile ruling dynasties, which will give you homely feeling.

The Golden Chariot Train offers you two enriching itineraries, i.e. Pride of the South and Splendor of the South. Both the itineraries provide 7 nights and 8 days train journey. Included in the tour are journey to some of the most illuminating and significant attractions as well as cultural hubbubs of local sightseeing tours. Where as the Pride of the South itinerary traverses the course of major tourist attractions in the South Indian state of Karnataka, the Splendor of South itinerary entails a journey to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry beginning its journey from Bangalore.

A journey on board the Golden Chariot not only ensures that you travel in the lap of sheer luxury but you get to uncover the most charming aspects of South India. It is said that it’s not just the destinations but the journey which counts. With interiors suffused with heritage and luxury and amenities which technology can offer and money could buy, this luxury train in India offers one of the most enchanting tours in South India. Meticulously crafted itineraries and expert guides ensure that you do discover true colors of kaleidoscope that is South India.

Chartering Luxury Yachts: How to Make the Best Choice?

This motor-driven luxury boat is the choice of wealthy tourists who want to go on a special weekend journey. Nowadays, the most modern schooner boasts of the most opulent amenities such as Jacuzzi whirlpool baths, spa clinics, helipads, sports gymnasiums and home theaters. This makes yacht charters a very expensive diversion. If you have made up your mind to lease this kind of sailboat, there are a number of factors to consider.

  • The first aspect is the size of the yacht. Small vessels normally have two cabins and each one can accommodate a couple for a total of four guests. Standard dimensions of luxury boats range from approximately 75 to 200 feet in length. However, there are small yachts which can be used for a maximum of two days and measure from 40 up to almost 75 feet.
  • The daily rate of yacht charter services for a 24-meter boat can go up by as much as $15,000. This rate depends on vessel availability and current season. These boats are more expensive to rent during summer. Thus, it is important to set a budget before talking to any charter company. It is important to determine your capacity to lease before entering into a contract with any booking agent.
  • Make reservations in advance and give the exact dates when you rent a yacht. The minimum charter date is usually three days but most companies charge a premium when the trip is less than one week. It is advisable to book much earlier like six months before an actual trip.
  • You have to provide the number of guests and indicate the number of kids joining the cruise. A number of charter firms prescribe a minimum age for children. Members of the crew will not act as babysitters and these children should be under the care of the adult passengers.
  • It is imperative to know your destination and the weather forecast in the area. Major charter areas are the Australian and Mediterranean region, New England and Greece during the summer season. On the other hand, the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Florida are ideal for winter.
  • Clients are asked to give down payments of at least 50 percent when agreements are formalized. Meanwhile, the balance should be settled from 30 to 45 days before the actual charter dates. Deposits for super yachts are made through wire transfers while companies providing small yacht cruises do not accept credit card payments for initial installments.
  • There are also fees for advanced provisioning allowance or APA which includes fuel cost, communications systems, docking fees, food, and liquor. This is generally 35 percent of the lease cost and must be paid in full one month to 45 days ahead of the charter date. Any excess payment for the APA is refunded to the client.
  • You also have to expect extra costs such as tips for crew members which can be up to 20 percent of the charter price. Tipping is rarely practiced in Europe but a bonus of five to ten percent is suggested.

Water Sports to Enjoy On Vacation

There is nothing more fun and exciting than having a vacation. Although planning a vacation can be a bit stressful at times, if you know what you want to do and where you are going the planning process is much simpler. One of the best vacations you can go on with either your family or your friends is a vacation to a tropical destination. Tropical destinations mean time spent sitting on the beach enjoying sand, sun, and surf. A vacation spent in a tropical destination also means the opportunity to enjoy a broad range of water sports.

Snorkeling

Snorkeling is a water sport that is fun for people of all ages. Everyone from young children to older people can enjoy snorkeling as long as they know how to swim and can breathe through the snorkel mouthpiece. Another great aspect to snorkeling is you only need a mask, the snorkel to breathe, and swim fins if you need assistance moving through the water. Snorkeling gives the individual the ability to see all the sea life that lives beneath the surface of the water. The best part of snorkeling is you do not need certification to enjoy this sport.

Scuba Diving

If you want the opportunity to witness more of what is lies under the surface of the ocean, or in deep rivers, then scuba diving is the ideal sporting option. Whereas you need no training with snorkeling, you do need some training and certification to go snorkeling. With the proper equipment including swim fins, a mask, a regulator, an oxygen tank, and a wetsuit, you can explore coral reefs, old sunken ships, or just enjoy the broad spectrum of fish and other marine life.

Jet Skiing

One water sport that many people like to enjoy when they are on vacation is jet skiing. A Jet Ski gives people the opportunity to cruise across the water at high speeds instead of swimming or riding on a boat. It is also possible to sit and relax on the Jet Ski out in the water if that is what you want to do. The best part about Jet Skis is many people have them for rent near many rivers and oceans. It is smart to wear a life jacket or vest in the off chance you fall off.

If you plan a vacation to the beach or a lake, some of the activities you can enjoy include swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and jet skiing. Pick the sport that best suits your needs, desires, and level of fitness.

The Top 3 Activities Not to Miss in Fiji

Snorkelling and Diving

Clear waters along the coasts offer many opportunities for snorkelling with excellent visibility of colorful fish. Divers come from all over the world to experience the barrier reefs and walls of coral here.

The Great Sea Reef extends out in a curve between the two largest islands, Viti Levu (Big Fiji) and Vanua Levu. This reef embraces an intense lagoon. Along with Rainbow Reef between Taveuni and Vanua Levu, and Astrolabe Reef to the south of Viti Levu, this is one of the most prized diving areas in the world.

Fiji has many hotel options convenient to these top diving locations. Choose a travel package that includes accommodations and flight for the savings and convenience of having experts take care of the bookings. Fiji hotels fit all budgets from economy to luxury. Most hotels have arrangements for full diving equipment rental.

Day Cruise

Take a cruise of the archipelago for an intimate exploration of the islands. Many trips give travelers the chance to visit unpopulated islands and traditional Fijian villages. Enjoy the flash of bright feathers and bird calls in unspoiled rainforests. Cruises generally offer opportunities for diving or hiking.

A cruise to the Mamanuca Islands is a highlight of a trip to Fiji. The beaches and lagoons invite exploration and relaxation. Viewing the islands from a ship gives a sense of how these gems of the Pacific have looked to travelers from the time the first people arrived here.

The unspoiled coastlines, volcanic formations, verdant rainforests and pure aquamarine waters offer tranquility. A cruise gives travelers a larger vision of these islands. It's a sense of time travel, to boat, trek and dive, experiencing the ancient roots of the way of life that reigns here.

Sightseeing in Suva

Fiji's capital, located on Viti Levu, impresses visitors with its vitality and history. The Suva Municipal Marketplace offers an abundance of delights. Browse open-air stalls of vegetables, delicious tropical fruits, fish and local trips for a picnic or self-catering feast. Find souvenirs, handcrafts and playful photo opportunities amid localities and tourists mingling in one of the Fiji's largest markets.

The Botanical Gardens in Suva features the lush tropical plants and flowers that flourish in the islands. The Fiji Museum, located here, is a must-see for its extensive collection of archaeological artefacts and exhibits on the history and culture of this diverse land.

Fly to Fiji

Fiji flights land at Nadi International Airport on Viti Levu. Book a package tour and travel with confidence, knowing that the Fiji accommodation and travel arrangements will be completed with expertise and care. Packages offer the best rates for Fiji accommodation and travel. Close encounters with hypnotic manta rays and schools of brilliant fish weaving through fans of coral wait.

Experience the Magic of a Destination Wedding

Having a wedding in a destination like Goa is a dream for many but few people are able to realize it given the logistics required to conduct an event of such a magnitude at an outstation locale. Couples who hire wedding planners and wedding management outfits delegate the ground work to expert hands and relax as the wedding planners weave magic on the D-day. Couples who choose Goa for their wedding often celebrate their honeymoon also in Goa. For there is no better destination like Goa for a honeymoon couple that provides the perfect blend of sea, sand and sunshine to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul.

The romantic beaches of Goa provide the perfect backdrop for a romantic wedding. Couples who choose Goa for their wedding often choose Indo-western or Mediterranean themes for their wedding. In theme- based weddings, the entire menu, d├ęcor and music revolves around the theme setting the stage for a memorable event. In most cases even the guests are dressed in an attire which is in sync with the chosen theme.

Very few destinations can match the scenic beauty of the beach paradise of Goa. The beautiful secluded beaches of Goa provide just the right amount of privacy to couples looking for seclusion. If you are planning a wedding in Goa then you can choose to entertain your guests on any of the river cruises like Santa Monica. These cruises have song and dance performances which provide a cultural fiesta for onboard tourists.

Goa provides a unique cocktail of food, music and sea breeze to make any event a memorable one. Nowhere in the country would you find such a unique combinations of all the elements that can make any wedding a splendid affair. People who would attend the wedding would depart with a joyous, wholesome feeling after attending a wedding which is set against such an exotic backdrop.

So, if you desire to have a wedding, the memories of which would linger in the minds of your close ones for a long time to come then Goa would be the best place for you.

Charmed by a Sunset Cruise

The sunset never fails to bring out the poet, philosopher, or the hopeless romantic in us. Wherever we are in the world, the sight of the setting sun always evokes a feeling of nostalgia that is astonishing and heartwarming.

This is true especially when we experience this glorious sight on board a quiet and soothing yacht cruise. As the yacht gracefully glides out to the sea, you can feel yourself gently being prepared for a one-of-a-kind experience that only the sunset in the distant horizon can bring.

A special yacht charter in Dubai can take you on a relaxing sunset cruise. You can get away from the hustle and bustle of the frantic city life. You can savor the soothing sound of the waves and the cool wind rustling through your hair. With your friends, family, or your special someone, you can delight in this intimate moment with the sunset together.

Starting at around dusk from the picturesque Dubai Marina, a sunset cruise takes you out to witness the day’s buzz transform into the vibrant Dubai nightlife. The Cayan Tower, in its swirling-shaped glory, and all the other stunning skyscrapers start lighting up as your yacht glides past them.

From the marina, you will then ride out to the coast of Dubai where you can see a stretch of pristine white sand beach glittering in the waning light of the sun. From this view, the iconic Burj Al Arab looks even more majestic and awe-inspiring amidst the skies that are slowly turning into warm hues of deep orange and purple.

As the yacht takes a cruise around the Palm Jumeirah, you can freshen up with some light drinks on board and wait until the golden sun bids its goodbye for the day. This riveting moment creates the perfect backdrop for a heartfelt wedding proposal or even a passionate wedding kiss.

As your yacht charter cruises by Atlantis The Palm, you can feel the enchantment in the air. Gaze at this landmark resort that is boldly facing the Arabian gulf. Feel it oozing with the mythical aura of its namesake, the Lost City of Atlantis, and the elegance of its Arabian character. Add the charming sunset into that image and you’re in for a magical visual feast.

Obviously, you can’t let the moment pass you by. Capture its beauty and preserve it for all time. Sunset photography famously yields the most breathtaking pictures. This one is no exception whether you have a top-of-the-line DSLR camera or a handy smartphone.

As the day fully turns into night, your yacht cruises back home to the marina and you find yourself sitting there awestruck at the unique pleasure that you have just experienced. As the sun makes way for a charming Arabian night, you can’t help but feel blessed to have witnessed such a wonder that only Dubai can offer.

The Ultimate Sailing Vacation: Book a Cruise on a Tall Ship

From the coast of Maine to Key West, from The Pacific Northwest to Antarctica, tall ships offer a unique experience. Sailing vessels of centuries-old designs moved goods all over the world in the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; now they enjoy an esteemed place in the minds and hearts of modern men and women.

Tall ships caught the public’s imagination in the 1970s after having been relegated to the history books; everyone alive and conscious during the U.S. 1976 bicentennial remembers the glorious sight of scores of tall ships sailing into New York harbor, past the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan’s skyline. Since then, governments all over the world maintain fleets of tall ships as some sort of maritime ambassadors; and many small private companies have sprung up to offer both short cruises and ones lasting days.

In Maine, the owners of the schooner Mary Kay have been offering windjammer cruises since 1950, long before the tall ships craze hit. The cruises, lasting from three to six days, sail out of Camden, Maine and explore the islands and coastal passages of Maine. Accommodations on this specially designed schooner include a choice of single, double, or triple occupancy cabins and a saloon, featuring a cozy fireplace, offering delicious meals prepared by an experienced chef.

Adventure on the High Seas

If you’re looking for adventure on the high seas, the Liberty Fleet offers a two-week cruise on a gaff-rigged schooner, a replica of the famous nineteenth-century Baltimore clippers, from Key West, Florida to Boston, Massachusetts in May of 2006, with a stop in Charleston, South Carolina and a possible additional stop in on Nantucket or Block Island before arriving at its final destination in Boston. Participants can either relax onboard or be put to work as part of the crew, learning navigation and other maritime skills. In the fall, the ship participates in a series of schooner races and short sails stopping in Provincetown, Baltimore, Norfolk, Virginia, Charleston, and back to Key West; participants can sign on for any leg of the southward journey.

For the most adventurous among us, the bark Europa offers a 22 day voyage from Argentina to Antarctica and back, featuring a full itinerary with many stops along the way to explore the unique natural environment of this remote region of the world, with its unusual animal life, volcanic geological formations, looming ice cliffs, and geo-thermal pools.

Anyone who loves sailing would find one of these adventures – whether a day-long jaunt or a three-week Antarctic tour – the ultimate sailing experience, a voyage tied to centuries of maritime history and offering a unique vantage point on the world. And these three opportunities represent only a fraction of the many seafaring voyages available to every corner of the world.

Tips To Save Money On Cruise Vacations

Taking a cruise vacation can be a wonderful relaxing and rejuvenating experience. It proves beyond doubt that it is not only about the destination but also the journey itself. There are so many activities and entertainment options that you can enjoy and be waited on hand and foot. But these vacations can be a little heavy on the pocket. But you can get a number of discounts and make use of that offers that will put them in an affordable bracket for you.

In the case of most travel options it is always advisable to book your tickets in advance so that you can take advantage of the slashed prices but this is not necessary for cruises. In this case you should try to book your passes very close to the departure dates. The reason for this is quite simple – the ship does not want to set sail with empty rooms and cabins. So, a few days before the departure dates the prices are heavily reduced to encourage travelers to book with them.

The rates of the rooms are usually based on their size and their view. The upper level and larger rooms are very expensive but the inside cabins on the lower levels are quite cheap. Booking these rooms can save you a lot of money. Another foolproof method to get cheaper rates is to book during off-season periods. Also, you can get a lot of discounts and offers from the official websites or from travel agents. There are also discount travel websites that are specifically for this use!

Liberty Of The Seas Review, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Review

Liberty of the Seas is a 160,000 ton, 3634-passenger cruise ship that entered service in December 2007. She is the third of three Freedom Class ships, Freedom of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, and Liberty of the Seas. Donnalea Madeley is the Godmother of this beautiful ship, the first travel agent to earn that honor for her contribution in the success of Royal Caribbean and her philanthropy work in her community.

I was impressed with the ice skating rink, the cantilevered hot tubs that extended 12 feet beyond the side of the ship, the FlowRider, the rock climbing wall, and the H20 Zone waterpark for kids.

The Royal Promenade deck was set up like Main St….and had many places to sit and people watch…including Sorrento’s Pizzeria, Seattle’s Best coffee shop, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop, barbershop and shopping. There was a 70s disco party one night on the Royal Promenade deck, complete with “Men at Work”, who danced with cruisers. It was a whole lot of fun!

The cabins on Liberty of the Seas were comfortable and well laid out. I stayed in an interior (inside) stateroom with no windows. There were full-size flat-screen TVs in every room. There was enough room to move around and settle in for 2 adults, but 3 or 4 in this size stateroom would have been very tight. There was a loveseat, end table, desk and chair in the room, making it very easy to work on my computer or apply makeup.

The pool area was fantastic, with a waterpark area for children, with interactive sculpture fountains, ground geysers and cascading waterfalls. The FlowRider was great fun to watch people as they attempted surfing or bodysurfing, and great fun it appeared for the more adventurous who tried it.

Dining onboard Liberty of the Seas was very good. Dinner was fabulous in the 3-story formal dining room. The variety of dining venue choices was exciting, including Chops Steakhouse, Portofino’s Italian Restaurant, Windjammer Cafe for buffet-style dining, Jade Cafe Asian-themed casual dining, Sorrento’s Pizzeria, and Johnny Rockets diner. There is even a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop for ice-cream lovers, or Cupcake Cafe for those with a sweet tooth.

The ship had warm Caribbean colors and was tastefully decorated. Liberty was in great condition, and well maintained by the staff onboard, who obviously took pride in being onboard.

Liberty of the Seas is a great cruise ship for families with children, multigenerational families looking for a quality cruise with lots to offer for every age group, and active adults.

If you’re interested in sailing on Liberty of the Seas, she cruises the Caribbean in the winter, with prices starting at $589 per person.

This is a sample 7-day Caribbean cruise itinerary

Sun, 03/27/11 Miami, Florida

Mon, 03/28/11 Cruising

Tue, 03/29/11 Belize City, Belize

Wed, 03/30/11 Costa Maya, Mexico

Thu, 03/31/11 Cozumel, Mexico

Fri, 04/01/11 Cruising

Sat, 04/02/11 Miami, Florida

What Type of Cabin to Buy on Your First River Cruise

River cruising in Europe has become one of the most demanded vacations options for “boomers and pre-boomers” alike. This demand is fueled by both past ocean cruise customers and those who have never enjoyed an ocean cruise before. The reasons for this demand are; the all-inclusive nature of the river cruise experience, the immersive destination experience and overall affordability that every river cruise customer enjoys on their vacation.

While the European river cruise experience is very rewarding and river trips enjoy an extremely high satisfaction level, we know that some elements of planning your first river trip can be a bit daunting. That’s because all cruise lines and all river cruise ships are not created equal and that most certainly applies to the type of cabin you buy.

In talking with thousands of first time buyers, a significant number of those first time buyers commented that choosing the right cabin on their first river trip was one of the most frustrating and challenging things that they faced as new customers.

If you have never enjoyed the wonders of a very affordable European river cruise, you may not understand how to select the best cabin for your trip. Selecting that perfect cabin can be made more confusing by two factors that may impact your decision; the different generations of river ships and the various types of cabins (also called staterooms) on each ship.

In addition to these distinctions, a number of other factors must be considered before selecting your stateroom. But you can take solace in knowing that cabin selection is a pretty logical process and that other than your stateroom selection, almost every other element of a guest’s shipboard and shore side experience is exactly the same, no matter what type of cabin you buy. Why? Because every passenger on a river ship enjoys the same in-depth shore excursions, delightful cuisine and excellent personal service.

At first glance, one might not understand why cabin selection is so important and maybe you will reach the same conclusion. The reason it is very relevant is because of the price difference between a window and balcony stateroom. In general, for a one week cruise, the difference can be between $599 and $1500 per person for the balcony, so if price is important, go window. If your prefer a balcony, but your budget mandates a window, by all means go for the window stateroom versus not going as all other elements of the trip will be exactly the same as if you had bought the balcony.

Traveling with like-minded, like-aged travelers is one of the other very rewarding elements of a river trip. They are geared to those who are 55+ years of age and while there are many active shore excursions, these types of cruises are not suitable for children.

While not suited for children, these river trips are well suited for single or solo travelers looking for a vacation that attracts other such travelers.