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And the best cruise bartender of 2015 winner is ...

If you're picky about the cocktails you sip on your next cruise, you may want to sail with Gerome Firmalo.

He's the bartender with Holland America Line who won the 2015 Cruise Competition Bartender of the Year.

His winning cocktail selected from 2,500 entries: Passion Blossom 13. It's a blend of Bombay Sapphire gin, St. Germain liqueur, passion fruit syrup, lemon sour and cranberry juice. Spirits maker Bacardi held the final competition at its offices in Coral Gables, Fla., according to a statement.

You can try a Passion Blossom 13 onboard the MS Oosterdam, where Firmalo is the resident bartender.

Bacardi started the competition in 2015 to help cruise lines develop a fresh generation of mixologists, according to a statement.

Finalists participated in three days of mixing it up (drinks that is) and touring Miami's South Beach bars to hone their skills, sit in on educational workshops and watch the pros at work.

Other finalists included Kenneth Tuason from Holland America's MS Maasdam,...

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Earliest opening in 20 years for Yosemite's Glacier Point Road

Glacier Point Road in Yosemite National Park, which provides access to the popular Glacier Point overlook, opened Saturday (yes, today) -- the earliest date in 20 years.

Winter snow usually closes the Yosemite National Park road until May, but this year the road and visitor services at the view point for Half Dome and Yosemite Valley were to open at 6 a.m.

The National Park Service also said that the Bridalveil Creek Campground would be opening in the next several weeks, a sure sign that spring has come early to Yosemite Valley.

The unusually early opening of Glacier Point Road is one more indication of California's serious and onging drought. The Sierra Nevada snowpack measured in March shows record or near-record lows, sending shock waves throughout the state and prompting Gov. Jerry Brown to propose a $1-billion drought plan.

To see the effect of the drought on Yosemite, check out these time-lapse photos of Half Dome taken in late March, from 2011 to the present. The snow recedes as...

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Gear: Clock radio weighs 1 1/4 pounds, but it's no lightweight

Even if your cellphone’s alarm clock performs reliably, the newest Electrohome EEAC 475 USB Alarm Clock Radio may earn a place in your luggage.

Its 1.2-inch blue LED display has four dimming modes and allows you to view the time (or cycle through the time, year), month/day and indoor temperature. The 180-degree swivel projection function beams the time in bright red onto the wall or ceiling; a USB port can charge your smartphone.

The 3.5-millimeter audio input jack lets you listen to music from your phone using the clock radio's speakers.

Each of the dual alarms, which wake you up to a buzzer or the radio, can be set to go off at the same time every day, only weekends or to skip weekends.

At 7.5 by 3.1 inches by 3 inches deep, this is not the tiniest take-along, but it weighs in at just 1 1/4 pounds.

Info: Electrohome USB Alarm Clock Radio with swivel projection (EEAC475) costs $35.

 

 

 

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Fairmont set to take over swank Grand Del Mar in San Diego

The lavish Grand Del Mar in San Diego will gain a new name: Fairmont.

The luxury hotel brand soon will take over management of the Forbes five-star and AAA five-diamond hotel.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts operates the Plaza in New York City and the Savoy in London, among others. The luxury hotel company will take over day-to-day operations under a long-term agreement, it said in a statement.

Richard Blum, husband of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, will be the owner of the property.

The hotel, which opened in 2007 and will be called the Fairmont Grand Del Mar, is known for its old-world grandeur and design. This year, its spa picked up a five-star rating from Forbes.

It has 249 rooms and eight two-story villas as well as an 18-hole golf course and club, six on-site eateries and a fitness center.

It's the second recent partnership for Fairmont and Blum.

Last year, the two bought the castle-like Claremont Hotel Club & Spa in Berkeley and began a multimillion-dollar refurbishment of the...

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Deal: 35% off sportfishing package at Alaska's Waterfall Resort

Alaska's Waterfall Resort is putting its sportfishing trips on sale this summer. On selected dates, visitors save 35% on two-night stays at the cannery-turned-fishing lodge near Ketchikan on Prince of Wales Island.

The deal: The Waterfall Resort on 52 acres puts the sale price at $1,995 per person, based on double occupancy.

The price includes lodging in an ocean-front cabin or lodge room, meals (including wine with dinner) and guided sport fishing on 25-foot cabin cruisers.

You can expect to catch Chinook and Coho salmon, halibut, ling cod and other fish. The cost includes fishing gear, fish cleaning and professional packing of your catch for the trip home.

When: The offer is good on select dates between mid-June and mid-August. It's based on availability.

Details: For those who love to fish and want a wilderness experience, the savings on this package are great. It usually costs $3,090 per person.

The two-day trips are squeezed into the summer schedule and may go fast, according to...

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If you plan to boycott Indiana, here is some of what you won't see

A day after Indiana’s governor signed a hot-button business law, calls for travel boycotts began. The chief of tech giant Salesforce.com said the San Francisco company will stop sending staff to meetings in Indianapolis with its locally based ExactTarget division. And Gen Con, a gamer convention, and the Disciples of Christ church group were considering pulling their conventions out of Indianapolis.

The measure could allow businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers in the name of "religious freedom."

As businesses worried about the impact on next’s week's Final Four tournament in Indianapolis, the Indiana and Indianapolis area chambers of commerce quickly decried passage of the law. Most businesses surveyed said they had no desire to discriminate against any of their customers, calls from the Chicago Tribune found.

What would travelers miss?

Indianapolis: Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

Fort Wayne: Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo

Bloomington: Indiana University

South Bend: Basilica...

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