A travel agency in Austin, Texas, chartered a 1,400-passenger Carnival cruise ship for a nudist cruise of the Caribbean — and, to its surprise, quickly sold out every cabin.
In February, it will book the 2,200-passenger Costa Mediterranea for an all-nude Caribbean cruise; in April, it will charter the Windstar, a sailing ship, for an all-nude two-week cruise of the Caribbean.
For more information, call (800) 743-0405 or visit http://www.bare-necessities.com .
Many travelers are fans of websites that feature user reviews of hotels and tours because they can help in making good travel decisions. Sites such as http://www.tripadvisor.com and http://www.virtualtourist.com contain comments from people who have stayed at a particular resort or taken a tour that you might be contemplating. But take that advice with a grain of salt. Some of these comments may be from other hotels using phony names and experiences to knock the competition. Still others are from ringers, employees of a particular resort who write extravagant praise of it.
Despite the huge tourist industry in Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas, each of those nations has fewer than 20,000 hotel rooms. The Dominican Republic now has nearly 70,000 hotel rooms, including 3,000 new ones completed this year. It has become the single most popular destination in the Caribbean, and plans have been filed for the creation of many thousands of additional rooms in the years ahead. All this reflects the fact that the Dominican Republic is, generally, the least expensive destination in the Caribbean, offering modern accommodations at low prices. If you don't mind the crowds in some areas, and the cookie-cutter resorts that cater to them, you might want to consider it for your next tropical vacation.
What's it like to spend less than a week in Europe? I returned last month from the shortest vacation stay — six nights — I have ever enjoyed on that continent and found the experience thoroughly satisfying. I stayed in Stockholm. I slept for about three hours upon arrival after an overnight flight and paced myself over the next two days, napping whenever I could. With jet lag controlled, I had a fine holiday break without feeling shortchanged for time.
This fall and winter, airfares to Europe are at their lowest levels, and all sorts of tour operators offer inexpensive packages consisting of — you guessed it — six nights.
For really hardy types, they also offer three-night stays, but I'm not ready to endorse a trans-Atlantic weekend.
A little more than a year ago, Hurricane Charley made a direct hit on Captiva Island off western Florida, north of Fort Myers, causing damage to the island's main resort, South Seas Plantation. Although its owners could have made minor repairs and reopened fairly quickly, they chose instead to spend $140 million on a thorough upgrade that will result in a new and enhanced operation called the South Seas Resort & Yacht Harbor. The 330-acre property, which will open in mid-January, is along a stretch of the Gulf of Mexico that teems with manatees, dolphins and other wildlife. To find out more, go to http://www.south-seas-resort.com .