The Most Expensive Cruises a Lottery Winner Can Go for

The recent spree of lottery jackpots around the world got us thinking: if you were to win the US Powerball jackpot and be able to afford pretty much any imaginable trip, which would be the luxurious world cruise befitting a man of your stature?

Here are the top rated cruise lines, each with their own twist on what luxury cruising is all about:

Crystal Cruises – Around the World in 89 Days – $197,810

Cited as the best large-ship luxury cruise line of 2013, Crystal Cruises will supply you with a 1345 square feet suite. The balcony may be a bit small, but everything about the suite is first class. The suite contains a dining area seating 6 people, complete with a separate entrance for the butler. A living room, a master bedroom and bath (the shower has a heated floor and a heated marble bench for you to rest on), a media room with a Bose surround sound system, flat screen TV and an iPod docking station; an exercise room and a guest bathroom with shower. All these accompany the aforementioned balcony, for those times you wish to lay in the sun and enjoy some of the ocean’s breeze. The décor is lavish with handmade Italian marble tiles, Swarovski crystals and unique art designed to give every suite a unique look and feel. All this and more is readily available for what amounts to $2,222 a day.

Oceania Cruises – Around the World in 180 Days -$312,000

In order to enjoy 180 days at sea, you must have the proper accommodations. Winner of the Cruise Critic Editors’ Pick Award for best suites, Oceania’s owners’ suite will not disappoint. The 1000 square feet space is divided beautifully to give a spacious feel while providing guests with Cashmere blankets and wallpaper, a private whirlpool hot-tub, living room, dining area, a huge teak balcony and 2 bathrooms.  Oceania also provides you with around the clock butler service, bringing you your choice of newspaper printed daily, shining your shoes and delivering food from your restaurant of choice if you are not inclined to dine out. The in-suite bar will be stocked with 6 full-sized bottles of your favorite premium spirits, to go along with the complimentary bottle of champagne.

The lavish suite tops off with a high tech Bose surround sound system, 2 flat screen TVs, complimentary laptop and iPad, and internet access.

All this and more is available to you for $1,733 a day. All you have to do is show up, and enjoy.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises – Sydney to London in 121 Days – $205,249

The 2002 square feet master suite is nothing short of spectacular, for those who are looking for a spacious living area. The suite comes with 2 balconies, a large one to serve the living area (guests and children) and a smaller private balcony accessible from the master bedroom.  The living area and dining area are undivided, adding to the immense feel of the space. Marble bathrooms, 2 king size beds, a butler, iPad, iPod docking, and a satellite phone all round up the package we have to expect from a luxury cruise liner, and for $1,696 a day,  it is on par with the other offerings.

SilverSea Luxury Cruises – Around the World in 115 Days – $171,250

The SilverSea offering is unique in the atmosphere is provides. There are far fewer passengers than in the previously mentioned cruises, and the ship is entirely populated with suites; Making this cruise a more intimate way of touring the world. The owner’s suite spans 1264 square feet, with a teak balcony, a dining area and a bar with a selection of your favorite liquors. 2 queen size beds with Egyptian cotton linens and your choice of pillows, a living room, marbled bathrooms with a full-sized whirlpool hot-tub, flat screen TVs and telephones with satellite reception, built-in Bang & Olufsen audio system, and of course the service of an attentive butler. At $1489 a day, this is by far the cheapest of the master suites, but every last bit as indulging as the others.

It would seem that with most luxury suite offerings being fairly similar in nature, the difference makers when choosing your luxury cruise should be the course the ship is planned to take, and the on-board entertainment and facilities. These range from casinos and cigar rooms to fitness centers, pools and spas. Some even go as far as to hold lavish productions of plays and classical recitals. Pick the offering that best suits your heart’s wishes, to ensure you enjoy your luxurious months at sea.

London’s Best Restaurants to eat great British food

Sweetspot, Fitzrovia, London

photo: Ewan-M

London is the home of many of the world’s finest dining establishments, many of them reflecting world culture from France and Spain to China, India, Thailand, Vietnam and beyond.  But London also boasts several revered restaurants that offer the quintessential British dining experience, from steak and kidney pie to sticky toffee pudding and classic fish and chips. While the phrase ‘English cooking’ has sometimes served as a punchline, at these three British restaurants in London there’s nothing to laugh at.

Rules

London’s oldest restaurant, Rules was established as an oyster bar by Thomas Rules in 1798. Over the last 215 years, Rules has never wavered from serving traditional British fare, yet continues to delight patrons yearning for a bona fide experience of British cuisine. Today the menu lists haddock, venison, crab, partridge, rabbit and duck. Whatever the British Isles can produce, Rules can offer. Rules is steeped in history, especially the history of the hunt, and the décor reflects this – oil paintings, mirrors, white napery, red tones and polished wood, as well as antlers and taxidermy on the walls. Rules owns an estate in the north of England, which is the source of its game birds, roe deer and belted Galloway beef. Rules is conveniently located for London bus tours, as you can see on this webpage.

Roast

Partially housed in the re-erected entranceway of the former Borough Market Floral Hall, Roast could be Rules’ younger, more hip brother. Occupying its location since 2005 on a site that’s been an open market since circa 1014, the dedication to the British tradition remains – from black pudding and a proper British fry up to fresh game with ‘mushy peas’. Traditional dishes can get tangled up with an infusion of imagination from celeriac, chestnuts, spelt or Jerusalem artichokes, all brilliantly prepared with fresh ingredients largely purchased from the market one story below. Roast’s setting is spectacular, with its windows and ceilings high above the Borough Market, and St. Paul’s framed just in the distance. Head chef Marcus Verberne recently authored Roast, a cookbook with the subtitle A Very British Cookbook. Indeed.

Poppies

Despite the varied palette of traditional British cooking,’fish and chips’ might be the dish with the highest profile. Originally simple street food, today in London the market is saturated with claims and counter claims of the best, the healthiest or the most trendy. Tempers may flare, but for true tradition, the go-to place is Poppies of Spitalfields, East London, and Camden, North London. On the menu, there’s cod and haddock fried in groundnut oil, with chips or salad on the side. Saveloy, jellied eels and calamari are available.  Sides include pickled onions, Heinz beans and the universal mushy peas. Most importantly, Poppies is dedicated to sustainable fishing practices, so the next generation can taste fresh, hot battered whitefish at a table, or enjoyed with liberal servings of salt and vinegar while held in a sheet of newsprint. Owner Pop Newland is at the helm of Poppies – serving this traditional dish his entire life.

The restaurants mentioned here are not trendy, but tried-and-true, and are certainly worth a visit if you stay in London.

Written by Thomas Edwards. Thomas has been an international traveller since the early ‘80s. He has travelled across Europe, the USA and as far afield as Thailand, Hong Kong and China. He has written as a business, individual and family traveller and a language or two has given him the opportunity to engage with locals in most places he visits.

A Guide To Historical Sites In Marrakech

Marrakech Images

photo: Filskifoto

Koutoubia Mosque

The Koutoubia Mosque is one of the biggest and most iconic symbols of Morocco not only Marrakech. Built in a very old and traditional style, there is a tradition in Marrakech that no building in the medina be higher than a palm tree. With this is mind the mosque towers over all of its surroundings at 77 metres tall, making it the largest mosque in Marrakech. The mosque is still active and still is a popular place of worship; if you are not Muslim it is forbidden that you enter the building. Where being a tourist and not a Muslim, you are forbidden from entering but you can still admire the majestic and beauty of the building from the narrow streets of the medina.

Saadian Tombs

The Saadian tombs filled with lots of culture and history, the tombs are made up of 2 main mausoleums the tombs have 66 tombs laid out within them, and over 100 more in the gardens. The first mausoleum is known to be the finer of the two sides, built almost 200 years ago. The roof of the mausoleum is covered with detailed carvings and amazing Zellji tiles. El Mansours the man who built these very tombs is buried with all his sons and successors in the back of the tomb in a domed shape room with 12 beautiful marble pillars. The second mausoleum is older but known to be the less impressive one of the two, this was built in the place of a pavilion that already existed over the tombs of his mother and the founder of the Saadian dynasty.

Maison de la Photographie

Maison de la Photohraphie simply means the house of photography; this is a museum home to lots of different old and unique photos. The museum only opened in 2009, but is home to over 3,500 photographs. The collection of photographs in the museum is only about morocco and the photos cover the period of time between 1870 & 1950. The museum is only home to hundreds of photos but is home to the first ever film recorded in the high atlas in colour. The photos include lots of pictures of landscapes, portraits of old successors and also lots of important architectural complexes.

Medina of Marrakech

The medina of Marrakech is built up of narrow streets, bright colours and lots of bazaars. In the medina you will find a lot of character and life, it is known as the ‘Historical city’. Founded in 1070-72 the medina hasn’t lost life since, it is still home to lots of various acts and culture such as dancers and silent hissing cobras. If you do get down to the medina of Marrakech be ready to haggle as haggling is an old tradition that is in all the local shops. The medina is free of cars, making it a peaceful and religious place to be keeping all its many traditions.

Jemaael-Fnaa

The Jemaa el-Fnaa is a square that is part of the Medina; It is a square full of live performances and a market. The performances are very much traditions with snake charmers that will happily let you take pictures of them. Every day and night the performances carry on, at night when the snake charmers go home they are replaced with dancers and story tellers all welcome to tourists. The square is often filled with many food stores when the square starts to get busier throughout the evening.

So with lots of historic places to go in Marrakech, you will find that the city is still full of a wide culture. Very old traditions and landmarks have still kept their beauty in this city and will be there for hundreds of years to come as well as the hundreds of years it has been in place.So if a trip to this stunning destination interests you, why not go to this travel site and book a holiday to Marrakech that you’ll never forget.

Do Something Special This Season

Visit by Hans Jorg Conzelmann to Bella Coola Heli Sports

photo: www.bellacoolaheliskiing.com

Looking for a special way to celebrate the winter holiday this season? Why not rent a private mountain cabin for the holidays and take your family or group on a winter vacation they’ll never forget? Heliskiing offers a total ski adventure, from the thrilling helicopter ride to the top of the slopes, with amazing terrestrial views to the jaw-dropping ski down the fluffy, snow-paved terrains.

British Columbia is world-renowned for its amazing heliskiing experience. With unlimited terrains and fluffy, light snow, it’s no wonder BC prides itself as the heliskiing capital of the world. Ski trips in this area do not leave anything out, from the warm, welcoming arrival with drinks in the lounge, to tours of the facility, to three-course dinners at the lodge, right down to helping you choose your ski equipment and planning your actual ski adventure for the next day. All you have to do is show up!

Nestled in some of the best skiing mountains in the world,BC provides the ideal ski weather, the best flying conditions, tens of thousands of square kilometers of wilderness and vast terrains with glaciers, an alpine bowl, steeps, mushrooms and pillows and gladed trees, which provides every adventurer with plenty to see and do. For a greater heliskiing experience, book a small group package. Only a few people can fit in the helicopters at a time, allowing for greater accessibility to terrains, including more varied and interesting views, fresh tracks, faster mobility, easier management, more personalization with the guides and greater safety and communication.

Ski guides are trained in snow safety, weather analysis, emergency medical techniques and mechanized ski guiding — which means day by day, they will find you the best of what Mother Nature has to offer. The helicopters are powerful and comfortable, with views from every window, making them ideal for flying in mountains. They undergo daily inspections and regularly-scheduled maintenance by certified and experienced engineers to ensure your safety. Pilots are certified, highly skilled and very experienced in mountain-flying conditions.

Heliskiing trips come with many options for lodging such as chalet, cabin and lodge rentals, just to name a few. At Bella Coola Heli Sports, the latest addition to the Magnificent Seven, you can rent a private cabin for greater independence, peace, seclusion and amazing views of snow-peaked mountains. Some cabin amenities include open air plans, wood-burning stoves, deep soaking tubs, wireless internet, hi-definition televisions, decks, electric grills, and jacuzzis and more. If you’re looking for the perfect getaway this holiday season, look no further than a heliskiing trip in BC.

The strangest Christmas events around the world

Tree + Tower (wide)

photo: Eric Kilby

Christmas is nearly upon us again. Father Christmas, sleigh bells and Christmas carols have always been a part of our Christmas celebrations. However, in some far corners of the globe Christmas is celebrated differently:

Italy

Due to the Vatican being uncomfortable with the existence of Father Christmas, parents tell children that an elderly, friendly witch (La Befana) brings presents to them. No waiting for Santa to arrive, it’s the witch who brings Christmas gifts.

Ukraine

In the Ukraine spider’s webs are included on Christmas trees. The web is supposed to bring good luck on Christmas morning. There’s a Ukrainian folk tale in which a very poor women, who couldn’t afford decorations on her Christmas tree, woke on Christmas day to find that spiders had adorned her Christmas tree with webs. In the morning sunlight the webs turned to silver and gold.

Japan

In Japan, Christmas cards are usually white to represent snow. It isn’t customary in Japan to send red Christmas cards because funeral notices are usually printed in red.

Venezuela (Caracas)

Venezuela’s capital Caracas is closed to traffic every Christmas Eve to allow roller skating churchgoers to pass through the city to church for Christmas mass on time.

Spain (Catalonia)

A part of the nativity scene is to put up a ‘belan’ depicting the day when baby Jesus was born and the three wise men came to Bethlehem.

There are also Christmas characters called ‘El Caganer’ (the great defecator) and ‘Caga Tio’. The latter is a poo log, who poos out presents on Christmas day. The log is covered in a blanket and beaten with a stick by the children every day in the run up to Christmas, until it drops presents from its rear end. Of course, really the children reach into the blanket and take their presents in turn.

Portugal (the Algarve)

Every year there is a ‘Christmas Grand Prix’ in Albufeira, in the Algarve region of Portugal. Rather than involving racing, this is a foot race where entrants have a choice between a 9km run or a 3km ‘Father Christmas walk’, which is a firm family favourite in the area.

Norway

All the brooms in the home are hidden away on Christmas Eve in the old belief that spirits and witches come out after dark and would take their brooms to ride up into the skies.

Latvia

One of the better known Latvian Christmas traditions is called ‘mumming’. Mummers dress in assorted masks and roam the streets on Christmas Eve. Some masks are of gypsies, bears, goats and horses.

Jim Stanton has travelled across Europe and the world, including several lengthy stints living in Asia and South America, but has found himself drawn time and time again to Portugal, becoming an expert on the culture and history of the country, especially the Algarve region. He now splits his time between the UK and Portugal. You can find him on Google+. Jim Stanton