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Copyright © November 2003

Table of Contents
  • Sea Days—What to Expect
    by Marilyn King
  • Oh...We Sail the Ocean Blue...
    and our Saucy Ship's a Beauty...
  • Majestic Beauty of Swiss Winter Alps by Balloon
  • Céad Mile Fáilte!—"1,001 Welcomes"
  • My First Time—Spa Eastman, Quebec
    by Ann Abel
  • "The Soft Scuba Adventurer"

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Sea Days—What to Expect
Marilyn King

Sea days are not all the same, but have a lot in common. Activities, games, fitness programs, lectures, port talks—non-stop! Personalize your cruise experience. Participate in any or all activities available—or do nothing more than enjoy your tropical drink while reading a book on the pool deck.

When you boarded your ship, you probably noticed that the shops and casino were closed. Local regulations do not allow them to open while in port—however, once at sea, all ship's facilities are available during set hours.

Let your daily schedule be your guide. Mark the activities you don't want to miss with a highlighter. You can choose from—

  • Exercise and fitness classes
  • Casino gaming and "tournaments"
  • Bingo
  • Lectures—ports and shopping, health and fitness, lifestyles, language classes, and more
  • Bridge lessons & tournaments
  • Pool games, ping-pong and shuffleboard contests
  • Art auctions
  • Dance classes
  • Horseracing (a shipboard classic)
  • Wine tasting
  • Meetings
  • Spa and salon services
Head for the library or card room for quiet activities. Many of the ship's lounges are also open.

One of the most popular spots on board during sunny sea days is the swimming pool. Towels are provided. A lively band plays poolside and the pool bar is a great spot to make new friends. Enjoy the festivities from a shaded chair—if you are not a sun worshipper.

Breakfast and lunch during sea days are casual. Open-seating in the dining room—you can dine at any time during specified hours. Shorts are acceptable, but not bathing suits! If you don't want to change, toss on a cover-up and head for the lido buffet. Some ships feature a poolside grill—have a quick bite without sacrificing your tanning time.

Sea days, particularly if they are the second and next-to-the last days of the cruise, are usually followed by formal evenings. During your first formal night, the Captain hosts a reception. You are greeted by the ship's Social Hostess, who introduces you to the Master of the Vessel (a photo opportunity). Complimentary beverages and hors d'oeuvres are served. Then the Captain takes the stage to introduce his officers and staff.

Ship photographers set their equipment up in a variety of locations before and after dinner to take formal portraits. They also make the rounds in the dining room to take informal shots of couples and groups.

Bon Appetit! You're off to a formal dinner, followed by an elaborate show in the main theatre. Afterwards, one lounge may feature a pianist, another might offer karaoke, and yet another swings into disco mode until the wee hours of the morning. There's a lot to keep you busy! Or you may just want to take a romantic stroll in the moonlight on the promenade deck—then retire to rest up for your next day in port.



Oh...We Sail the Ocean Blue...
and our Saucy Ship's a Beauty...

The Joy of Holiday Cruising!...Azure waters and sugar-sand beaches. Dance the night away on deck while you sail to your Caribbean island. Go back in time to historic cities and coastal towns of Europe that display their colorful architecture to the sea. Experience the traditions and customs of the Norwegian Yuletide. This year, make the holidays a voyage of exploration, discovery, relaxation, and learning. Experience the Joy of Holiday Cruising!

Norwegian Sky
Exotic Southern Caribbean Cruise
7 nights from $699 (USD)
—St. Thomas is rated by National Geographic as one of the top destinations in the world for sailing, scuba diving, and fishing. St. Johns has exciting nightlife, filled with excellent restaurants and bars. Martinique offers a pristine landscape with remote sandy beaches and hiking trails into the mountains. Tortola is all about green hills, blue skies and powdery sand. In addition to these magical ports you will find superior service, splendid accommodations and a wide variety of places to relax while watching the ocean slip by.

Western Caribbean Holiday
7 nights from $875 (USD)
—Want to turn up the heat with a little off-road island action? Hang on—for a world adventure. World-class dive sites, Jeep safaris, Atlantis Submarine excursions, ancient Mayan ruins. The coolly exhilarating experience of climbing a waterfall is not to be missed. The warm, friendly inhabitants of the Caribbean welcome you.

Paul Gauguin
Tahiti by Gauguin - Free Air on Selected Sailings
7 nights from $3695 (USD)
—The story of French Polynesia is a celebration of life. With mystical reputation and stunning natural beauty, these islands are a natural destination—maybe the ultimate destination. Every new vista, every new taste and every new experience brings gladness to your soul. Life aboard the six-star Paul Gauguin is effortless and utterly exhilarating. What luxury! And what better place to enjoy a warm, restful, tropical holiday vacation.

6 Day Cruise the Great Barrier Reef on Coral Princess
5 nights from $1236 (USD)
—Step aboard the Coral Princess for an unforgettable cruise through the most picturesque islands and coastline in Australia. Coral Princess offers you a unique cruise incorporating soft adventure and expedition-type experiences. With cruising time kept to a minimum, Coral Princess takes you through this tropical paradise with the care and attention you would expect from a Captain and crew who know the reefs and islands intimately. In addition a marine biologist provides professional, interpretive programs on the reef, rainforest and mangrove environments visited.

Legend of the Seas
10-Night Hawaii Cruise from Honolulu to Ensenada
10 nights from $899 (USD)
—Find paradise! Under Maui's waterfalls and along winding back roads. On a four-wheel adventure through Kauai. Within lush rainforests and orchid-scented botanical gardens on Hawaii. On tours past Oahu's Diamond Head and Koko Head volcanoes. Find paradise—on a Royal Caribbean Hawaiian Island cruise vacation.

Marco Polo
South American Explorer - Barbados to Santiago
19 nights from $4495 (USD) 2nd Guest 50% Off!
—Snow-capped peaks and colonial cities. Mysterious desert landscapes and lush oases. Ancient Incan cities hidden on mountain peaks and cloud forests in Peru. Explore them all, and much more, on this wondrous voyage to the lands of the Conquistadors. This dazzling 20-day cruise odyssey combines the sparkling waters of the Caribbean with all the warmth of South America. And it adds a milestone in any traveler's experience—a passage through the Panama Canal.

Panama Canal Cruise
10 nights from $950 (USD)
—When the Panama Canal opened in 1914, this engineering miracle saved ships nearly 8,000 miles of Atlantic to Pacific travel time. Today, the 50-mile-long canal joins two worlds into one great adventure. Voyages trace the routes of pirates and hopscotch across the resort ports of the Pacific coast.

Caribbean Hideaways
12 nights from $1695 (USD)
—Regatta will set sail from Miami to such sultry and captivating ports as Gustavia on the island of Saint Barts and Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. Exquisite, secluded beaches, vast coral reefs, pristine and unspoiled paradise—an enchanted world awaits. Regatta creates a lifestyle designed to forever transform these special moments into unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.

Viking Europe
Danube Explorer - Nuremberg to Vienna
7 nights from $999 (USD)
—Mingle with the locals as you encounter the timeless beauty and friendly warmth of Austria and Germany—a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Enjoy visits to historic towns and riverside villages as you cruise through the Danube's picturesque countryside cherished for its centuries of tradition and splendor. Amidst the enchanting Wachau Valley and Bavarian countryside, you'll revel in the magic of the holiday season where so many Christmas traditions began.

Wind Spirit
7 Night Caribbean Holiday Cruise
7 nights from $2095 (USD)
—Each beautiful day unfurls like the crisp white sails of your spectacular yacht. Sleep late and enjoy breakfast in bed. Warm breezes beckon and you eye a deserted cove nearby. Teak decking, rich wood interiors, an attentive service staff, intimate surroundings, eclectic artwork, exceptional signature cuisine featuring both light and vegetarian menu selections, and an extensive wine list are some of the extraordinary elements which are synonymous with Windstar.

Norwegian Christmas
11 nights from $1441 (USD)
—Revelers! Experience the traditions and customs of Norwegian Yuletide—predecessor of Christian celebration of Christmas, from December 14 to 30 on daily holiday departures of Norwegian Coastal Voyage's 11 ships. Visit 34 ports along the country's 1,250-mile rugged west coast from Bergen to Kirkenes, above the Arctic Circle. In winter, silence envelops the dark, snow-clad landscape, punctuated with glowing lights from villages, towns and lighthouses.

Convince your "significant other" to take a cruise with you!—

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Alps by Balloon  

Majestic Beauty
of Swiss Winter Alps
by Balloon



Snow-covered alpine villages! Spectacular winter scenes!
Drift quietly at low level in your colorful balloon,
Just-above-the-rooftops of a charming alpine village
Tucked deep in the valleys of the Swiss Winter Alps.
Your Magical Winter Vacation awaits!
Gstaad is your setting for this Magical 6-day, 5 night winter vacation. Skim snow-covered tree-tops. Discover quiet, untouched mountain trails and villages hidden deep in the valleys of the Swiss winter Alps. Scheduled balloon flights are approximately 3½ hours each day. Experience Buddy Bombard's famous In-Flight Luncheon—a casual but lavish meal served with the finest French wines, to be enjoyed aloft as you drift gently just-above-the-rooftops of quaint chalets and through spectacular Alpine scenery. Each afternoon after your day's balloon adventure, return to your hotel—intimate le Grand Chalet, Gstaad—for free time to enjoy and discover on your own. Each evening dine in elegant restaurants or local pubs and enjoy the intimate nighttime atmosphere of Gstaad.

2004 Magical Winter Vacation dates—
January 15–20 * February 5–10 * February 10–15.

Gstaad—Know Before You Go!

Gstaad is one of the lowest major ski areas in Europe—well known for its mild winter weather. Approximately 1 mile lower at sea level than Vail or Aspen, it enjoys average daytime temperatures of 39 degrees Farenheit in January and 48 degrees Farenheit in February.

Your Magical Winter Vacation includes deluxe hotel accommodations, all meals including lavish lunches (some while drifting in your balloon!) and intimate dinner parties, fine wines included with all lunches and dinners, daily ballooning adventures, sightseeing by private car, customary hotel and dining gratuities and round trip transfers from tour meeting place in Geneva to your lovely hotel in Gstaad.

Extend your Magical Winter Vacation!

Two Additional Extended Tours Include
The Chateau d'Oex International Winter Alpine Balloon Festival

Each year nearly 100 balloons from all over Europe meet for this favorite annual alpine ballooning event—this year celebrating its 25th anniversary. A world class spectacle of color, precision flying, competitions and fun in the snow-covered Chateau d'Oex Valley. Enjoy several days of Festival, where Buddy Bombard's balloons are included as international Festival participants. Rise in mass ascension with other Festival balloons to drift together through the beautiful Chateau d'Oex Valley.

Enjoy this wonderful party on the ground and in the air—as Europe''s most skilled pilots convene to compete in precision flying, paragliding, airship and special shaped balloon demonstrations. Continual entertainment is provided by professional parachute teams, hang gliders and large hot air dirigibles for a truly ''festive festival!'' Also included are additional long distance Bombard adventures through the beautiful winter alpine landscape. Each evening enjoy a festive dinner party in a fine restaurant. Plan to experience your Magical Winter Vacation as described above, along with the fun of Festival for a 9 day, 8 night Buddy Bombard trip.

2004 Festival Trip dates—
January 20–28 *January 28–February 5.

Buddy Bombard's Europe was founded by Buddy Bombard in 1977 as one man's vision of how he would like to entertain his friends. 27 years later, Buddy operates 26 trips annually in 6 European countries, and continues to host every trip.

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Céad Mile Fáilte!

[This is a time honored Gaelic Greeting: a hundred thousand welcomes! Ireland extends this welcome to all who come!.]

When the Normans came to Ireland in the 12th century, they built thousands of castles. Though the majority have become picturesque ruins scattered throughout the countryside, some are still home to Irish gentry. Many have been transformed into some of Europe's finest hotels.

Céad Mile Fáilte! Welcome to Ireland's Emerald Castles. Found in every county, you can experience these deluxe accommodations. Each has its own unique history, period art and furnishings. Enjoy the elegance!

Waterford Castle EMERALD 1,001 WELCOME CASTLE PACKAGE: Waterford Castle The Emerald Castle package with your final night in the unique Waterford Castle on its own private 310-acre island on the river Suir!


Ashford Castle EMERALD 1,001 WELCOME CASTLE PACKAGE: Ashford Castle. The Emerald Castle package with your final night at Ashford Castle. Home to the recent wedding of Pierce Brosnan, this 700 year old Castle overlooks Lough Corrib.


Adare Castle EMERALD 1,001 WELCOME CASTLE PACKAGE: Adare Manor. The Emerald Castle package with your final night at Adare Manor. This property is currently Conde Nast's #1 Luxury Resort in Europe and is sure to be a memorable stay.


Dromoland Castle EMERALD 1,001 WELCOME CASTLE PACKAGE: Dromoland Castle. The Emerald Castle package with your final night in the 16th Century Dromoland Castle. Located just 40 minutes from Shannon Airport and on its own estate.


IRELAND'S "Emerald 1,001 Welcome Castle Package"
Air, Car, 6 nights (incl. 5 Star Castle) from $619

Be King or Queen of your castle with this "Touch of Romance" package—


    (Chicago departures from $90 additional per person)
    (Los Angeles departures from $200 additional per person)
  • 6 NIGHTS ACCOMMODATIONS: 1st Night at a First Class HOTEL &
    4 Nights Town & Country B&Bs with Private Bath and the
    Final Night in a 5 Star LUXURY CASTLE!!
    Dromoland Castle, Adare Manor, Ashford Castle or Waterford Castle
  • WEEKLY CAR RENTAL including unlimited mileage, VAT, 24 hour
    roadside assistance, 12 hour grace period on return day*
  • FULL IRISH BREAKFAST each morning
  • COMPLIMENTARY "Irish Coffee Welcome Reception" on 1st evening
  • Sales tax, VAT, & Services of Sceptre's offices in Ireland
    (SUPER CDW!) from $108 total per week
  • UPGRADE TO AUTOMATIC CAR $36 per person total for the week,
    Rates depend on season traveling
Great Rates Available for 2004—

JFK/BOS/BWI Starting from—

ORD add on from $90—LAX add on from $200
Please note: This package is based on 2 people traveling, double occupancy accommodations and midweek travel. It is an instant Purchase, Non-Changeable, Non-refundable & Subject to availability. Departure taxes not included (starting from $72 per person). Call Center Fee, Dublin Airport and Weekend Surcharges may apply.

Reserve your Emerald 1,001 Welcome Castle Package now—

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My First Time
Spa Eastman, Quebec

Ann Abel
[Spa Finder Magazine, January/February 2003]

Can a hip, young urbanite mellow out and have a total mind-body experience at destination spa? The author went to Spa Eastman in Quebec to find out.

I like to be pampered. I've been going to day spas for about six years, ever since I moved from Houston to New York City. Massage, facial, scrub: If it makes my body feel good and leaves me glowing, I want it. But I viewed my day-spa going as a luxurious indulgence, a guilty pleasure like martinis and Manolo Blahniks, that certain twenty-something Manhattan women spend their money on.

Still, I assumed I'd graduate to destination spas eventually - after I'd had my fill of whirlwind jaunts to European capitals. But then the war drums started sounding, and my usual low-level tension ratcheted up a few notches. I had trouble sleeping, and my shoulders refused to unknot. I'd lost interest in flying overseas, but I wanted a break. I figured my spa time had come. I looked for a nearby, reasonably priced escape and found Spa Eastman in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

When I set off for a five-day stay, I expected the day spa experience times five. I'd wear a fluffy robe and comfortable slippers all week. I'd be massaged and exfoliated to my heart's content. I anticipated simply having a good time, not reaping therapeutic benefits or making major life changes. After all, I take care of myself - eat healthfully, exercise, don't smoke, limit caffeine, and swill my martinis in moderation- and I feel great. Okay, maybe I perpetually feel a little stressed out. But I prefer to think of it as being ambitious career-wise and having a robust social life. What could I possibly need to change?

Boy, was I wrong. A destination spa visit is not just a long day spa appointment. And I have a thing or two to learn about being healthy. But as usual, I'm going too fast and getting ahead of myself.

What Is Letting Go?

When I arrive at Spa Eastman on a Sunday afternoon, my room isn't quite ready, so Ramzy, the director of operations, invites me to lunch. Over soup and salad, he tells me most guests need a couple of days to really "let go" and get used to the rhythm at Eastman (even compared to other spas, the tempo here is adagio) and New Yorkers generally take the longest. I suspect I'll be a late bloomer, since I'm not sure what, exactly, I have to let go of.

I look around the main pavilion - a lounge with a fireplace, lots of sunlit nooks, a beautiful dining room, treatment rooms downstairs, and guest rooms upstairs, then meet with a stay advisor who goes over the schedule and the treatments I'll be having. Eastman emphasizes contemplative rest over vigorous activity, so rather than the full agenda of healthful fun things I expected, the schedule included lots of blank spaces.

In my simple room there are beautiful white linens, a fireplace, a whirlpool bathtub, a terrace and, best of all, a breathtaking view of Mount Orford. I unpack and think, Now what? I'm suddenly a little freaked out by all the unstructured time, and I'm not sure I can last five days without accomplishing something. I didn't bring enough to read. The lack of phones, TVs and newspapers makes me antsy, and I'm already worrying about the emails I 'll have to return when I get home. Although the staff is bilingual, most of the eighty or so guests are Quebecois. The French language had been a selling point (it would make me feel as if I'd gone somewhere exotic), but now I realize there will be few people with whom I can talk. Frankly, I'm frightened by the idea of having so much time alone and being forced to confront the things I usually keep myself too busy to think about. Is it possible to fail at spa- going? I wonder.

Overview—Spa Eastman

Spa Eastman Against a backdrop of cedar, birch and pine trees, rolling meadows and streams, sits Spa Eastman, Canada's first destination spa.. Set in the shadows of Mount Orford and affording wide views of the picturesque countryside, you will feel like you have stepped inside a landscape painting during your stay. Spa Eastman prides itself on personalized care for body and mind, as well as invigorating activities that allow maximum relaxation. 45 rooms are located in seven pavilions spread out over 315 acres of land, creating intimate lodgings with interiors that range from luxurious to simple.

Spa Eastman believes that attending to the body means connecting with the spirit. Soft background music, private treatment rooms and soothing light-colored walls help you relax as you ease your way into the spa experience. Body and massage treatments include exfoliation, wraps and extensive hydrotherapy options. Beauty treatments include hand, nail, feet and back treatments, as well as facials. A naturopath can suggest a tonic or grape cure to detoxify your body or help you develop new eating habits. Spa specialists tailor individual weight management plans, offer fitness consultations, and guide personal training sessions.

Spa Eastman's separate and spread out pavilions helps you to create the vacation experience you desire. Enjoy the beautiful countryside. Take walks or cross-country ski on 15 kilometers of hiking paths. Relax under the gorgeous Mount Orford landscape at the serene outdoor pool and pond or take a body sculpting or tai chi class at the fitness center.

In the main pavilion at the heart of the resort, you will enjoy luxurious rooms, some with terraces and fireplaces, and walk only seconds to the dining room, indoor pool and common room. Choose the serene views from the rooms in the Maison Canadienne pavilion, or the country charm of the rooms in the log-walled Pavilion Bois Corde. For a Walden experience, L'Ermitage offers real wilderness living (no running water or electricity) in the solitude of the forest. A cozy bathrobe awaits you. Homemade herbal teas are found in each pavilion.

Cuisine at Spa Eastman features many regional and homemade dishes such as yogurts, tabouleh, jams, muffins and broth and stringently avoids all genetically altered ingredients. Dairy and cream are replaced with soy and rice milks. Organic ingredients are used whenever possible. Many of the fresh vegetables and produce come from the gardens right outside. The resort's French influence extends to the occasional glass of wine, hand-selected from the owner's collection.

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