This unique nature resort floats in the cloud forest near the Lost City of the Andes – Machu Picchu. As part of the Inkaterra stable, which has pioneered sustainable tourism since the 1970s, the hotel shares in the holistic approach of bringing together scientific research with conservation.
There are 81 traditional Andean casitas with huge windows overlooking the forest, large fireplaces, Andean artefacts, alpaca blankets and lovely bathrooms. Some suites have a terrace or balcony. A beautiful restaurant, with thatched roof and glass walls, serves local food and the Spa offers a range of natural treatments.
The on-site eco-centre introduces guests to local conservation projects, offering the chance to take part in a range of itineraries or customise a bespoke experience. As well as visiting the world-famous Machu Picchu, trips are also arranged to the nearby Andean Bear Centre and local tea plantation. Treks through the forest, particularly on the Orchid Trail, reveal the diversity and beauty of this precious environment.
Holland America Line is steeped in maritime tradition, with a history of sailing going back to 1873. Their elegant ships, with promenade decks and clean nautical lines, appeal to sophisticated world travellers. Despite such a conventional backdrop, the cruise line is thoroughly modern in focus: embracing global travel, enrichment, fine food, music and culture.
Recently I visited Holland America Line’s, Nieuw Statendam, which was dedicated by Godmother, Oprah Winfrey in February 2019. Built at the Fincanteri yard, there are 1337 cabins to accommodate 2666 passengers. It is a beautiful ship, with a very relaxed atmosphere. There are many quiet spaces, as well as lots and lots to do. That’s a tricky balance to achieve. The essence is on travel, so Laser-Tag and water-slides are shunned in favour of great destinations and a true cruising experience.
As the second Pinnacle class vessel in the fleet, many of the successful features found on sister ship, Koningsdam, are carried over. The World Stage Theatre is a highlight, showing BBC Earth documentaries on giant LED screens, and the two-tier Lido deck transforms into an outdoor cinema at night, complete with blanket-covered loungers and popcorn. BLEND is a wonderful venue, where guests create their own wine to drink during the cruise, and Rudi’s Sel de Mer holds its place firmly amongst the other fantastic speciality restaurants. The Dutch Cafe, serving delicious coffee and local Dutch snacks, is incredibly popular as is the serene Greenhouse Spa.
Of course, the Music Walk is a key feature on the Nieuw Statendam, as it is throughout the fleet, bringing the trademark Holland America Line world-class live performances every evening. Seasoned HAL cruisers will be familiar with duelling pianos at Billboard Onboard, classical recitals from Lincoln Centre Stage and B.B King’s Blues Club’s Memphis soul sounds. In an exciting move, Nieuw Statendam adds another dimension to the experience. The Rolling Stone Rock Room, in collaboration with Rolling Stone magazine, brings a top-class rock band to the stage until late, belting out one classic after another at this superb new venue.
The onboard art collection, worth over $4 million dollars, is one of the finest at sea. Unique contemporary works are found around the ship, some in prominent places, other more hidden. It could take a whole cruise to discover them all.
One of the most astonishing aspects of Holland America Line, and the Nieuw Statendam in particular, is the dizzying array of high-quality partnerships offered as part of the brand. The music-related collaborations, seen along the Music Walk, as well as partnerships with BBC Earth, leading Chef Rudi Sodamin and Chateau Ste. Michelle at BLEND are only part of the story. ‘O The Oprah Magazine’ is now fundamentally involved in the Holland America Line cruise experience; bringing meditation classes, a book club and workshops together to improve wellness.
Suites have been re-designed in response to customer feedback, as have family cabins. Solo rooms are given as much importance as any other. All staterooms have Mariner Dream beds, glass shower screens, Elemis toiletries, free movies and USB sockets.
Club Orange is a programme introduced on Nieuw Statendam, where guest can access a range of priority perks and an exclusive eatery for $35 per day. I don’t feel entirely convinced by this addition to the Holland America Line brand, as the cost is quite steep and not really necessary on a ship offering such a high standard of services already. Time will tell if this addition goes the distance.
Nieuw Statendam is an enhancement of an already great Holland America Line cruise experience. This is a lovely ship: perfect for adults but still suiting families, peaceful yet packed with interesting activities, based in tradition and still embracing modern values. All in all, this is a perfect way to travel.
Immortalised by Johann Strauss in his famous waltz, the Danube is one of Europe’s most famous rivers, flowing through the heart of continent from the Black Forest of Germany to the Black Sea. The 1700-mile waterway meanders past UNESCO status countryside along with fine cities brimming with fascinating culture and history; such as Vienna, Prague and Budapest. Imagine combining this adventure with playing on some of Europe’s best golf courses?
AMA Waterways, widely recognised as one of the leading luxury river cruise lines, offers a sensational Concierge Golf Programme to marry the two interests together in perfect harmony. Offering certainly one of the best golf river cruises in 2019, each 7-night journey includes all the luxuries you would expect with AMA, such as fine dining and beautiful accommodation, as well as shore excursions and at least 5 games on these top courses.
Albatross Golf Club, Albatross Course, Prague, Host of the Czech Open
Hartl Resorts Beckenbauer Course, Bad Griesbach, Germany, Host of the Porsche European Open
Diamond Country Club, Diamond Course, Atzenbrugg, Austria, Host of the Lyoness Austrian Open
Penati Country Club, Legends Course, Senica, Slovakia, Host of the Slovakian Open
Pannonia Country Club, Budapest, Hungary, Host of the Hungarian Open
On arrival at each destination, you will be chauffeur driven to the day’s course with tee times, practice balls and trolleys arranged in advance. After your round, during a pleasant lunch in the clubhouse, AMA staff will clean your golf clubs before returning you to the ship to enjoy dinner and all the facilities.
For non-golfing partners, there are plenty of on-board activities as well as thoughtfully curated shore excursions. A generous discount is also offered on the cruise price. ‘Pre’ and ‘Post’ cruise options can be added to allow more time in Prague and dates run until mid October. Watch the video below to see the AMA experience.
Osaka is Japan’s second largest city and the birthplace of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Maikoya, a former geisha house, hosts professionally taught introductions to this ancient cultural pastime.
Visitors, sitting on tatami mats, wear authentic kimono robes and learn to make the unique green match tea. Japanese sweets, specially made to complement the flavour of the tea, are served during the ceremony.
Taught in English by a Japanese Tea Master, the ceremony lasts around an hour. Guests can choose to experience the ritual in a group setting or pay more for a private lesson.
The artistic form of this ritual, from adopting the correct posture to learning how to pour and sip the tea, requires focus and concentration. It is a contemplative process, with periods of silence as the tea steeps, settling the mind into a zen-like calm.
Maikoya is a cultural hub, intent on preserving and educating people on Japanese culture. The six-storied traditional building, complete with rickshaw outside, was once home to Osaka geisha who were highly trained in the arts and conversation. Calligraphy tools and artwork decorate the space, giving a taster of the the Samurai tradition which is so integral to Japanese culture.
The ‘hamster-wheel’ of suburban life is losing its appeal. Families are struggling with traffic-clogged morning commutes, fighting for places in decent schools, blindly pushing their kids through rigid and irrelevant subject curriculums and then having to pay double for a packed-out Majorca week during inflexible school holidays … just to get a brief rest.
To counter this, some families are opting for a year of ‘eventure’ where education comes from the wider perspective of travel and adventure. With over 40% of parents expected to be freelance workers by 2020 and homeschooling growing at an exponential rate, the choice to shun the conventions of traditional family norms is on the rise.
Embarking on a global adventure as a family is an opportunity to live and learn together – far from modern pressures. Travel is a great teacher and Instagram is awash with people embracing this idea.
The @bucketlistfamily have been travelling together since 2015, choosing to sell everything at home and take their children around the world. Working as travel journalists, with a huge Instagram and You Tube following, finances their long-term commitment (not to mention selling an app to Snapchat!).
But taking time off together as a family doesn’t have to be a such a permanent choice. Many people decide to take a year (or less) away from their hectic lives, opting for a ‘sabbatical’ approach so they can maintain and return to their jobs and schools, hopefully as more well-rounded people.
For those dreaming of ditching the school-run, chicken dippers, homework and ‘no-screen-time-before-bed’ nags …. repeat …. then where will you go? Popular choices for the intrepid travelling family include a Rwandan safari, shark-swimming in the Bahamas, Greek island-hopping, hiking in the Swiss Alps, snorkelling the coral reefs of Belize and joining a community project in Nepal.
You’ll need money of course, but when all the pennies are spent you will be richer in experience with memories of invaluable time together as a family to last you all a lifetime.
The North Pole is a geographical concept; a frozen point on an ever-moving slab of sea ice forming and moving with the seasons.
Sadly the Arctic is warming as global oceans heat up and melting sea ice reveals darker water which absorbs more solar radiation. Higher temperatures are melting this frozen landscape with record lows of sea ice being recorded year upon year. The quality of the ice is also in decline as thicker ice, built up over long periods of time, is replaced by thin layers which are more mobile and unpredictable. This dynamic, shifting ice is a nightmare for polar expeditions which could soon become impossible to complete.
Trekking to the North Pole is a trip of a lifetime. Icetrek are specialists in guiding trips of this type as well as providing the specialist equipment needed for such an undertaking. Their North Pole Last Degree Ski Expedition heads off on April 4th 2019 and places are still available. Starting at Longyearbyen in Svalbard the 10-day trek covers 112km across pressure ridges, open leads, sastrugi and ice rubble … all against a backdrop of freezing conditions and 24-hour daylight.
The €41,690 price tag includes all equipment, helicopter transfers, exert guiding, expedition food, on-trek accommodation and training. Rated as a Level 4 challenge, participants must be fit enough to pull a 45kg sled against drift in temperatures as low as -30°C. Unsheltered exposure could be as much as 6 – 9 hours each day.
Icetrek Expeditions is a world-leading polar adventure travel company, offering trips to the Arctic and Antarctica. The company was founded in 1999 by Eric Philips who is an International Polar Guides Association Master Polar Guide and one of IPGA’s founding members.
Owned by Atzaro, the luxe Ibizan hospitality group, this stunning Phinisi super-yacht is the largest of its kind in the world. Voyages explore the remote Indonesian Coral Triangle, following the trade winds to some of the world’s most inaccessible and dreamy islands.
Designed to reflect the ancient Indonesian double-masted Phinisi sailing vessels, this 180-foot ship is entirely handmade from ironwood and teak according to traditional methods.
Beyond this authentic backdrop Prana gives way to pure luxury. Nine beautiful suites, with en-suite bathrooms and deluxe furnishings, are carefully placed across four decks ensuring privacy and wonderful sea views from floor-to -ceiling windows.
Daily sun salutations on the yoga deck start the day followed by an outdoor breakfast and a leisurely rest on one of the sumptuous day beds; perfectly placed to watch the aquamarine waters of the Indian Ocean drift by.
Days are as active or restful as you like. A range of water sports and spa treatments are offered on board as well as carefully curated shore-based adventures.
During May to October, Prana visits the Komodo National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to the famous ‘dragons’, stunning pink beaches and pristine waters. If you seek adventure, the ship’s resident dive expert hosts specialist diving trips to explore the protected reefs.
In the shoulder seasons of autumn and spring, Prana traverses the remote Banda Islands. Famously part of the colonial spice trade, this heavenly part of the world is rich in myth and legend. Dominated by the grand Mount Api, the landscape gives way to virgin rainforest, white-sandy beaches and coral cliffs plunging deep into an ocean brimming with marine life.
The islands of Raja Ampat are Prana’s destination from December until April. Nestled in the heart of the Coral Triangle, these lost islands are home to prehistoric caves, hidden lagoons, forgotten tribes and some of the best diving in the world. There are ten times the number of hard coral species here as found in the Caribbean.
Prana is quite simply a haven after such exhilarating days ashore. Chefs prepare the very finest regional dishes served either under the stars, in the elegant lounge or on a deserted island beach. Old and new wines complement the cuisine along with a collection of carefully chosen cocktails, beers and spirits. After dinner the open-air cinema beckons or simply an early night to the sound of gently lapping waves.
‘Luxury is access’ and Bushtracks Expeditions private aircraft safari brings the very best of Africa together in one stunning 15-day trip.
Taking guests from the cloud forests of the Volcanoes National Park to the wetlands of the Okavango Delta, this ultimate safari brings together the magic of mountain gorillas and African wild dogs with the classic Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino).
The trip is rich in educational content and unique experiences. Guests travel by private chartered plane along the path of the Great Rift Valley, enjoying exclusive access to remote wildlife habitats and a unique ariel perspective as they move from place to place.
Hosted by Tara Stoinski, (president, CEO, and Chief Scientific Officer for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund) the itinerary includes witnessing one of the natural wonders of the world: the great wildebeest and zebra migration in the Masai Mara.
Accommodation is in some of Africa’s finest lodges including Vumbura Plains in the Okavango Delta plus an option to upgrade to the new and exclusive Bisate Lodge.
In keeping with the company’s ethos of sustainability and community involvement, for every booking, Bushtracks will pay for a year of secondary education for a student at a school in Zambia or Rwanda.
The ‘Sky Road’ runs 1956 kilometres across the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau connecting Chinese Xining with Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. As the world’s highest railway, reaching a literally breathtaking 5231 metres at the Tanggula Pass, this incredible engineering success spans an area known for earthquakes, low atmospheric pressure and freezing temperatures.
The line opened in 2006, after engineers battled permafrost, low-oxygen levels and a very sensitive eco-system. At peak times, up to 1000 passengers board the train for this magnificent journey. Of course many tourists use this route; brimming with heightened anticipation for the fluttering prayer flags, golden temples, chanting monks and endlessly photogenic landscape of Tibet.
Rwanda, previously torn apart by genocide, is now one of the most talked about safari hotspots in the world. This remote, intimate and peaceful East African country is still essentially under-the-radar of mass tourism. To come here on safari feels like having Africa all to yourself; just you and the wilderness.
The environment is pristine and spectacular. Mountains meet savannah amidst the glittering tin roofs of unspoilt villages, forests rich with mahogany and cedar, vertiginous hillsides, deep valleys, bamboo groves and rice paddies. The rehabilitation of this country is everywhere to be seen. Largely driven by the strength and determination of local communities, wildlife numbers are recovering and conservation is of key importance.
Trekking to see mountain gorillas is a truly authentic safari experience. These wonderful primates live in the lofty cloud forests of Virunga, amongst the volcanoes created where Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo collide. Fiercely protected by a rigourous conservation policy, only a small number of guided treks are allowed to visit each day.
These social animals enjoy long lunches, grazing on shoots and leaves continually to satisfy their need for substantial calories. For the human observer, they display so many similarities to ourselves; from the expressive eyes to the hand gestures, hugs and playfulness. Coming face-to-face with a mountain gorilla is a unique and life-changing experience.
Bisate Lodge is one of Africa’s most exclusive safari lodges. As part of the stable of eco-pioneers, Wilderness Safari, Bisate sits just outside the Volcanoes National Park. It’s a mere twenty minutes drive from the park headquarters and starting point for daily mountain gorilla excursions.
Designed by Johannesburg-based architect Nick Plowman, the design follows the fluid lines and traditional materials of the former Royal Palace in Nyanza. The lodge has close links with the local community, using local artisans to create many of the beautiful furnishings and accessories decorating the space as well as employing many local people to work in Bisate.
Guest accommodation is in six thatched round villas nestling on the steep hillside with balconies looking out over Mount Bisoke. Luxury is as much an element of Bisate Lodge as the authenticity of the experience. Living spaces have custom-made armchairs, log-burning fireplaces and huge bathrooms with black oval resin bathtubs and walk-in showers.
In the communal areas, fine dining brings together European and African cuisine paired with fine wines and intellectual company. Evenings are often spent curled up at the fire talking to the other guests or resident experts about conservation or wildlife.
When not out visiting the gorillas, you can walk through the national park with a local guide, join the reforestation project planting trees, visit local farmers or trek to seek out the golden monkeys.
Rwanda is a place to be humbled, inspired and nourished.
Our top reasons to go to Bisate:
access to exclusive areas of African wilderness
opportunities to contribute to the local biodiversity, community and conservation through hands-on projects
easy to combine with other African experience camps as part of a purposeful itinerary
Lindblad Expeditions introduce the exciting new National Geographic Venture with two new and unique itineraries to California. These inaugural voyages explore the Pacific coast, before Venture begins her season in Baja, the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.
The first inaugural voyage, COASTAL CALIFORNIA BY SEA, departs from San Francisco on December 2nd 2018. Joined by Sven Lindblad, CEO and Founder of Lindblad Expeditions, this is a five-night tour stretching from the Golden Gate Bridge to Santa Catalina Islands.
A stunning sunset cocktail cruise through San Francisco’s picturesque harbour
Behind-the-scenes access to Northern CA’s acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium and Southern CA’s architecturally stellar Catalina Casino
Exploring key coastal sites and islands including Angel Island, Sausalito, Monterey and Point Lobos, Avila Beach and Catalina Island.
The second trip, FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TO BAJA: SAILING THE PACIFIC COAST, departs from San Francisco on December 7th 2018. This 12-night cruise travels from Los Angeles to La Paz in Mexico bringing together fine food and wine, snorkelling in Cabo Pulmo Marine Park, visiting the Vizcaino Biosphere and the residents of Isla Natividad. Migrating whales and nesting birds are commonly sighted in the area and National Geographic naturalists are on hand throughout the voyage.
Snorkel in Cabo Pulmo National Marine Park, the only hard coral reef in North America; featuring over 220 species of fish
Learn about the region’s culture with exclusive visits to the world’s largest salt mine in Guerrero Negro; and tour the small fish processing plant of Isla Natividad’s fishing coop
Explore the ever-shifting sand dunes of Isla Magdalena and count the 40 species of birds inhabit this area
See why everyone is talking about the vineyards of Valle de Guadalupe
Watch the sunrise illuminate El Arco de Cabo San Lucas
National Geographic Venture, sister ship of National Geographic Quest is designed as a 50-cabin coastal expedition vessel. Sweeping views from the lounge and deck encourage wildlife and shoreline viewing at close range. Lindblad-National Geographic certified photo instructors accompany passengers on the voyage, offering advice and experience for the ultimate photo captures. Zodiacs take guests on specialist trips to explore coastal areas and marine mammals; the ship will also change course to follow wildlife sightings when possible. Kayaks, snorkelling and hiking allow guests to explore the fascinating marine and remote landscapes while the onboard facilities offer respite in the form of a well-stocked library, spa and a wealth of enrichment lectures and activities.
Good news for sun-loving adventure junkies … expedition cruising doesn’t have to be cold! Despite the growing popularity of cruises to the Arctic and Antarctica, the stunning north-west of Australia is emerging as a hot spot in more ways than one. As well as the reliable sunshine and high temperatures, Kimberley is also a remote wilderness, threaded with winding rivers and framed by a rocky coastline, home to thumping waterfalls, deep gorges, dangerous crocodiles, scorching desert and rocky mountains burning red in the fiery light.
Small ship cruising is a fantastic way to explore this fascinating wilderness. Ponant, Silversea and Lindblad all offering stunning itineraries. Generally Kimberley cruises are bookended by tropical Darwin, a lively outpost surrounded by the turquoise water of the Timor Sea, and the cosmopolitan beach town of Broome, famous for a stunning beach and friendly atmosphere. This part of Australia follows a tropical monsoon climate with distinct dry (May to October) and wet (November to April) seasons. The best time to cruise is immediately following the wet season when waterfalls and rivers are at their most exciting, although cruises do depart all through the dry season until May.
Here are our top highlights for an expedition cruise to Kimberley.
Wyndham is the gateway to the Bungle Bungle mountain range in Purnululu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rich in Aboriginal culture, the area is known for the strange orange and black geological formations found across the landscape. Scenic flights are offered here, as are trips along the Ord river where freshwater crocodiles, fruit-bats, short-eared rock wallabies, mangrove herons and mangrove gerygones are sure to be spotted.
The breathtaking King George Falls are twin cascading waterfalls with drops of 80 metres, making them the highest in north-western Australia. Zodiac tours travel to the base of the waterfall, past towering ancient Warton sandstone cliffs.
Hunter River is an immense network of narrow mangrove channels, home to the notoriously dangerous saltwater crocodile. Many cruise lines offer helicopter flightseeing excursions to the famous Mitchell Falls Plateau and Mitchell Falls, where four tiers of waterfalls plunge into deep pools that flow out into the Mitchell River.
Raft Point is the is the site of the incredible outdoor Aboriginal Wandjina art gallery. Guided hikes take guests to the top of Raft Point to enjoy far-reaching views of the bay in the shade of the overhanging cliff, which is home to the Wandjina Spirit.
Montgomery Reef is one of Kimberley’s iconic wonders. This famous tidal movement is massive; at just under 400km2 it is Australia’s largest inshore reef, containing large areas of shallow lagoon, seagrass beds and corals. As the tide drops a raging torrent of water cascades off the top of the reef and the entire reef appears to rise from the ocean. Zodiac tours take guest close the the myriad of waterfalls appearing along the reef.
Talbot Bay, described by Sir David Attenborough as “one of the greatest wonders of the natural world” is also known as the ‘Horizontal Waterfalls’. This pair of stunning breaks in the McLarty Range are approximately 300m apart with massive tidal differences of up to 10.8m on a spring tide. As seawater builds up faster on one side of the gaps than the other, a waterfall appears up to 4m high.