Author: Richard Telling

Napa Valley Wine Train

Aside from traveling with utmost luxury, this journey is all about going back in time as you will travel on a beautifully restored vintage train while exploring the famous American wine country. Most of the cars were built in 1915 by the renowned Pullman Standard Company and were intended to be first class coaches for the Northern Pacific Railway. These days, the refurbished cars have retained their steel structure and come with modern features such as steam heat and electric lights. They are also furnished with velveteen fabric armchairs, Honduran mahogany paneling and brass accents to achieve a high degree of luxury and comfort.

But what makes Napa Valley Wine Train even more exciting is the fantastic dining experience that comes with the train ride. You can enjoy this experience in the form of a multiple course gourmet lunch or dinner. Meals are freshly prepared in the three on board kitchens on the train. Dining arrangements for lunch packages usually follow traditional rail seating. This means that you will share a table with another party. Although it is possible to book a table all for yourself and your companion, the option is limited to when you book the Gourmet Express Package.

If you are willing to pay more, you can have your meal in the Vista Dome, where all the tables are private. Dinner on board the Napa Valley Wine Train is an entirely different experience as the tables are private, the ambiance is more formal and the dishes are complemented with glasses of fine wine. If you want a romantic date night, then there’s no other ideal package than the Moonlight Escape excursion.

Meals can be enjoyed in the first or second seating section. In the first seating section, meals are served when the train goes to St Helena. You can choose between soup or salad which accompanies the main course of your choice. Your dining experience is completed with coffee and dessert, which you can enjoy in one of the lounges while train is heading back to Napa. If you choose the second seating section, you will have appetizers on the way to St. Helena, and then have your main course on the return trip. Some examples of main course meals include roasted beef tenderloin, coriander chicken breast and grilled salmon with potatoes.

Vacations of a Lifetime

The Millennials, also known as Generation Y, a well-informed and socially responsible group of people born between the years 1980 and 2000, are transforming the travel industry, which is currently striving to respond to the changing market conditions.

The new trend among this social segment, whose members constitute the spearhead of economic activity and thus can afford to travel to foreign countries, is “reaching out to local communities, learning the local customs, and fully experiencing with all senses what each place has to offer.”

Of course, realizing how some of our supposedly innocent personal decisions may affect other people’s lives and our planet in general has also played a key role in shaping new attitudes and creating new perspectives in vacation planning, especially when travelling abroad.

As early as 1990, a number of joint initiatives aiming to strategically promote ecotourism were launched by government agencies and organizations active in tourism, and have been supported since by companies and individuals around the world.

For example, the International Ecotourism Society has been providing for decades the guidelines, setting the standards and advancing the principles of ecotourism in more than 120 countries. However, ecotourism does not always mean eco-friendly tourism. Guests could spend their vacations close to nature but at the same time leave their footprint in a way that has a negative impact in the environment and the native population.

Therefore, it comes without saying that we should all significantly contribute in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and untreatable waste by discouraging uncontrollable pollution in places we travel.

We could actively repudiate overexploitation of the environment, and hopefully avoid global warming and other undesirable or irreversible effects, if only we were more sensitive to eco-friendly vacation offers. Instead of blindly selecting one of the package deals that are usually advertised online, we should rather ask for more information about environmentally inspired trips and search on our own for the true facts.

Check out the destinations in terms of the methods they use in agriculture, transportation, energy production and recycling. You will be surprised to see that some of the most unspoiled places in our planet face unaddressed challenges because of wrongful practices in the expansion of tourism.

As far as concerns my home country, Greece, a country that almost doubles its population in summertime thanks to tourism, it is worth noting that travelers seek to have all options available. In the morning they may desire to walk alone their way discovering pathways or sail routes that usually lead to a remote beach, but also like to spend the evening tasting extraordinary food recipes of fresh “tsipoura” and “lavraki” fish, accompanied with green salad enriched with local herbs and extra virgin olive oil pressed on the olive mill of the area.

Register a Vessel in Panama

Yacht Registration

It is possible to register recreational yachts in Panama. This has a different pricing structure than the ship registration described above. The registration certificate is issued for a two-year period, which is renewable after this period.

Applicable Registration Tariff:

  • $1,500.00 – if owned by a foreigner
  • $1,000.00 – if owned by a Panamanian (or a Panamanian corporation which is a nominal expense to arrange)

This tariff must also be paid upon renewal of the Registration.

Documents required for Registration:

  • Sale & Purchase Agreement, Bill of Sale – or if the yacht is newly built, then a Builder’s Certificate
  • Power of Attorney
  • Deletion Certificate from previous registry (or Builder’s Certificate if brand new)
    Please note: you must also comply with the Radio Operator requirements, in order to register the yacht in Panama. If the yacht is more than 20 years old, then it will also be required to undergo a survey and safety
    inspection.

Anonymous Yacht Ownership – What is done is the yacht is purchased in the name of the Panama bearer share corporation. The ownership of such a corporation is anonymous in that no ownership records are in any database or registry. Thus if the yacht is owned by the corporation which is anonymous, the yacht ownership is anonymous. The nominee directors and your law firm (us) can handle the transaction for you completing all paperwork. We can wrap additional layers around the boat by having the Panama Bearer Share Corporation owned by a Panama Private Interest Foundation which is also anonymous, yet controllable by you. There are a number of different strategies we can employ to keep the ownership of your vessel anonymous and confidential as a tool to protect you from kidnapping, extortion, criminals and to keep your affairs private in general. Panama excels in privacy. Unfortunately financing with conventional lenders does not work with anonymous ownership strategies. If you were wondering when it comes time to sell the boat you basically just sell the corporation which owns the boat leaving the boat ownership in tact. There is no requirement to report new owners of Panama corporations.

Two Yacht-Based Panama Residency Visa Approaches

Because your yacht is owned by a Panama anonymous bearer share corporation and your investment is over $150,000, immediate residency is granted. You must have 3 full time Panamanian employees along with your company, which is easy to do with the standard minimal wage at $253 a month for crew members. This would be under the so called inversionista (business investor) program. However, if you invested $200,000 or more you could qualify under the solvencia economia propia program (person of means visa) and not even have the requirement of hiring at least three Panamanian crewman, since it can be easily argued that you are buying a home, albeit a moveable one. This latter probably would require investing in a full time moorage at a Panama port which would become your home away from home.

Cuban Connectivity

So getting my escape-to-Medellin, Columbia ticket – where they have free wi-fi-everywhere – rivaled a Charlie Chaplin movie. It took two days to find a site to book the ticket. The reservation was confirmed, but for some reason they couldn’t process the credit card details. Damn good thing, too, as I had managed to book another ticket. I didn’t confirm the first one within 24-hours so it was cancelled.

The confirmation was sent to my email address to I had to go to the hotel to have it printed. Fine. The address was the longest I have ever seen and I made a mistake so I had to get the woman who worked there to type it in for me.

With my confirmed ticket in my hot-little hand I felt safer and more secure. But this was Cuba and one can never take anything for granted.

For example, when I arrived on Cubana de Aviacion (CDA) – after a 24-hour delay in Madird -neither of my bags showed up on the conveyor belt. There was a group of about 25 people all yelling and pushing and shoving at some poor official cowering behind a glass wall who was trying to sort out claims. I wonder if he got danger pay as the Latinos weren’t pulling any punches.

A European woman who spoke Spanish told me that as the flight had doubled they had arranged another plane that went via Caracas. As it was a longer flight, the CDA people had convinced a number of passengers – she and her partner included – to go that route as it was “safer.” The bags didn’t make the connecting flight so they were in Venezuela.

Late the next morning the casa particular where I was staying received a call saying my bags were at the airport. They were filthy and covered in some sort of white powder. But at least they were in Havana. It took three hours and a taxi fare of $30 to retrieve them.

The next task was finding an Air B&B type of accommodation in Medellin. After waiting an hour – there are only four computers available and one has to wait – I gave up as it was so slow. I Decided to just find a hotel near the airport for the first night and organize something in the city center via wi-fi.

Cuba is a delightful country, which oozes old world charm. In 1978 I was there on a holiday – on my Canadian passport – and so much has stayed the same. The villas, however, are in even more need of repair, the old cars are still running, being stuck together with snare wire and a bit of chewing gum.

International Travel Security

When traveling internationally do not wear clothes that scream “tourist”. Try to fit in with your clothing and your behavior. Do not put cash or your wallet in your back pocket. If you bring a purse carry it across your body. Make color copies of your passports and carry those instead of your actual passport. Store it in the hotel safe. If your passport is lost or stolen go to the U.S. Embassy, they will help you get another one.

If you have to get cash it is better to go to a bank or the hotel front desk. Use ATM’s as your very last resort. Do not use debit cards, you are much safer using credit cards. Always try to keep your credit card in your sight when using it to pay for things. Before you leave make sure that your credit card has the new chip in it. In Europe and many Asian countries they do not accept cards without the chip. You should keep all your credit card numbers either in your locked cell phone or locked up in a safe. If your cards are lost or stolen those numbers make it much easier to get things sorted out.

When checking into your hotel, you should ask for a room on the 3-5 floors. Also ask the front desk clerk for a hotel business card with the hotel contact information in the language of the country you are in. This helps when you need to get a cab to get back to your hotel. Above all the hotel should give you a feeling of safety, if not find another hotel.

The most important safety items that you have is you. You should be aware of your surroundings and if your “gut” tells you something listen to it and respond. Awareness will be your most important tool for international travel security.

George Uliano is a security professional with years of law enforcement and security experience. He earned a Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice and Business graduating with honors. George holds three U.S. patents on different locking principles. This combination gives George and His Company Locking Systems International Inc the unique ability to provide its customers with the correct security at an affordable price.

Sunreef Yachts

Add to this the effort of keeping the catamaran clean and well maintained for the season and you can see it takes a big commitment to own a cat, especially, one of Sunreef’s million dollar yachts.

If you have purchased a Sunreef through us or another company there are ways of reducing the work and cost of owning a yacht. A great way to do this is to put your Sunreef Yacht into our charter fleet. While not is use your new yacht could be paying back for itself and even better yet, earning you money. You will have the privilege of always having your yacht is sailing shape in a convenient Caribbean location.

When you own a charter yacht you can sail any time you like. Your yacht is always in perfect condition, clean, technically perfect. You won’t have to worry about getting your yacht ready when it comes time for you use it. It will be always ready to sail where the sun is shining and the wind is blowing.

With more leisure time and expendable income, demand for charter mega yachts is strong and rising. Our strategic location down in the beautiful British Virgin Islands gives us an advantage in the growing charter market. The Caribbean is the area in which the most charter revenue is earned. Within the Caribbean the British Virgin Islands is renown for the amount of sailing vacations they have. Interested? Become a partner in this exiting venture.

EID Travel To The Maldives

  • Jumeirah Dhevanafushi – It is a luxurious Indian Ocean escape that will make your EID experience memorable. It offers spectacular azure water view villas and delicious cuisine. You can choose to have romantic strolls along the beach or engage in fun water activities for you and your family as you enjoy the great marine life found here. You can also invigorate your senses by enjoying a spa treatment at the Talise Spa located in the resort or get your adrenaline rushing by taking part in the thrilling activities such as snorkeling. The villas here have everything you could need on a holiday including complimentary WIFI internet, mood lighting, plunge pool, butler services, walk-in wardrobes, refrigerators, and tea and coffee makers, hair dryers, security safe and deluxe king size bed among others.
  • Anantara Kihavah – The villas are nothing short of luxury with their spacious pools and underwater restaurant that completes your holiday experience. The resort is amazing for those looking for romantic EID vacations or those looking for some solitude as they enjoy the natural wonders making up the surroundings. The resort has 79 villas with sun loungers, sunken baths for two, oversized beds, wine chillers, espresso machines and iPod docking among others. You will particularly find the underwater restaurant amazing as you dine with the sea animals swimming around you. There is so much to enjoy from the resort to give you the best EID holiday experience.
  • Conrad Maldives Rangali – This is a five star hotel with friendly staff and comfortable settings to make your stay most amazing. You will love the glass walled living spaces opening to private gardens complete with secluded open air tropical bathrooms, bath pavilions, fountained courtyards and private sun decks just for you. The villas are family friendly and you get to enjoy fine dining and wining experiences from the bars and restaurants found here as well as a relaxing spa treatment. Fun activities you can enjoy here during the EID holidays include swimming, cruising, fishing and diving and a variety of other beach and water sports. The villas are well equipped with features including sofa beds, AC systems, bathrobes, housekeeping services, fridge, hairdryers, hand held showers and high speed internet.

Book For A Cruise

  • Where is the cruise leaving from? You need to get to the port in order to get onto the ship. So there is the additional cost of flying to the port or driving there.
  • What is there to do on the cruise? Some cruises offer water skiing, fishing or scuba diving.
  • Who will be on the cruise with you? Some cruises are designed with special themes while others are not. A cruise that is designed for children may not be the one you want to take if you do not have children. Or, if you are single looking to find your soul mate, consider a singles cruise.
  • Where will the cruise stop on the way? Many cruises will allow you to stop and enjoy the attractions of several ports. Perhaps you would like to do some sight seeing. Or, maybe you would like to find just the right location to do some whale watching.

One of the best ways to save money on your cruise is to look for deals that are available on the web. You may think that popular cruise vacations are the most expensive ones. This isn’t necessary true. Many people are able to find a cruise at a good deal. But, you need to know how to do this and where to look.

If you have the ability to travel at any time, it is best to take a cruise vacation during the off-peak season. Most cruise lines operate all year round. The peak season is usually during the summer and school holidays when it is the most expensive to travel.

Some cruise lines offer packages as an incentive to attract passengers. There may be free meals, free gifts or additional days for less.

Do you need to fly to the port where the cruise departs? You can easily compare airfares and book your tickets on the web. Airfares are relatively cheaper if you travel late at night and during mid-week.

If you plan your cruise trip in advance, you are likely to find some amazing deals. It is easy to compare various cruises and prices on the web. You are bound to find a cruise that fits your budget.

Family Reunion Cruises

When that urge strikes (and believe me, it will strike), you’ve got to be prepared with a plan of action. If you mention the idea of a “family reunion” to your family members without a plan, you’ll most likely end up with mayhem on your hands. The next thing you know you’ll have relatives camping out on every square inch of your floor, piling your sink sky high with dirty dishes, and making executive decisions with your remote control. In addition, you’ll become far too acquainted with the health problems and bodily functions of some of your senior relatives (Who knew that toenail fungus was so prevalent?).

So, what’s the plan of action? You’ve got to head off those pesky relatives at the pass and make sure they never plan that family reunion at your house. What’s the alternative? You’ve got to plan your family reunion on a cruise ship!

Cruise ships are the perfect setting for a family reunion. This is neutral territory, so people don’t feel they are imposing on others. It levels the playing field and takes away the control that can sometimes come into play when reunions are held on a family member’s “turf.” Plus, the best part is the cruise line does all the work — the cleaning, the cooking, and the entertaining. All your family members have to do is relax and enjoy their time together. Plus, lest we forget to mention one of the most important factors — the variety of activities onboard the ship and at the various ports of call is a perfect fit for groups who want to do some of their activities together and some separately. In other words, you’re not trapped in “family reunion” bedlam the entire time. You can take a breather at one of the many bars or lounges onboard your ship, catch a current movie in the ship’s theater, put on your dancin’ shoes for the disco, try your luck at the casino, or simply hide out in your stateroom and order complimentary room service.

If your family group has children, traditional reunions can be horrible experiences for kids! You know what I’m talking about — the endless “remember when” discussions they overhear about things they’re too young to understand, the frequent rebukes for running through the house making too much noise, and the obligatory playing with the dreadful cousins. Yikes! What kid would look forward to that? But, tell a kid they’re going on a cruise ship with a miniature golf course, a pool, a sports court, an ice rink, and a really cool kid’s activity program, and they won’t grumble about having to endure a few hours of interaction with the relatives.

Most cruise lines offer attractive rates for groups — and some offer special packages specifically for family reunions. With their all-inclusive approach (meals and entertainment are included) and hassle-free planning, booking your family reunion aboard a cruise ship is the only way to go.

Because there are so many cruise ships in the water these days, it can take a huge amount of research to determine which ship and itinerary would be the best match for your family’s reunion. So, before you plunk down the dough for a family reunion cruise, make sure you’ve consulted with an experienced travel agent — preferably one who specializes in group cruises. The service is complimentary (agents receive their commission from the cruise line) and you’ll save yourself a lot of time and hassle.

Having A Beach Vacation

Finding the perfect beach in your area is the key. If you’re inclined to think that’s it’s just like any other seaside escape, you’re greatly mistaken; this place has a charm uniquely its own. The local vibe is most certainly not similar to other beach towns in the country, and if you intend to bring your entire family with you for a holiday, you will find that it has more delightful provisions to ensure convenience for you and your company. Check out the advantage you can get from having a beach vacation.

  • You can have a choice of room accommodation. There is an impressive selection of villas, apartments, and rental homes to suit all budgets. All these boast of breathtaking views of the landscape and seascape.
  • You can enjoy the amenities provided. There are various amenities that enhance the natural charm of the location. In fact, many of the holiday rental provisions have their own tropical swimming pools if you don’t feel like heading to the beach, as well as tennis courts.
  • You can eat fresh seafood. Local flavours are delightful. If you wish to try the freshest seafood, many of the locally owned dining establishments here specialise in dishes that highlight the catches of the day.
  • You can shop at local shops. Colourful shops are aplenty and they dominate chain retail stores. You can easily find delightful buys in various spots throughout the area. If you wish to include retail therapy to your itinerary, for sure, you will not be disappointed with the wares produced by local entrepreneurs.
  • You can choose from a variety of water activities. There’s no shortage of activities here-surfing, hiking, scuba diving, biking, kayaking, golf, motocross, skydiving and so much more. It’s important to mention as well that there are artsy offerings in town and you can check local artists at work or displaying their creations.

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