Category Archives: Europe

Jewish Heritage Tour River Cruise

7 NIGHT Jewish Heritage Tour River Cruise.

Jewish Heritage Tours

The jewish religion is one of the oldest in the world and in almost every country on the earth has left it’s mark in the magnificent buildings both in ancient and modern history.

Here is an opportunity to visit some of these places and experience first hand and judge for yourself in the form of a river cruise down the Danube and give you the experience of a lifetime that you have always promised yourself.

To request more information

click here:

There are two tours on offer:

1. The Legendary Danube 

 Experience the historic towns full of Jewish Culture on a 7 night The Legendary Danube cruise from Nuremberg to Budapest or in the opposite direction on The Blue Danube Discovery from Budapest to Nuremberg.

Sites to visit in Budapest:

1074 Dohány utca 2 District 7. City Center Budapest

JewishMuseumBudapest
The Great Synagogue in Dohány street is the world’s second largest synagogue, second only to the Temple Emanuel in New York City. It has a vast collection of Judaica on display. Permanent exhibitions are: Devotional objects for Jewish celebrations; Everyday objects; History of the Hungarian Holocaust. . It was built by the Neolog Jewish community of Budapest between 1854 and 1859; its architect was Ludwig Förster from Vienna, Austria. The flat-ceiling interior can accommodate nearly 3,000.

1094 Páva utca 39 District 9. Budapest

HolocaustMemorialCentreBudapest

Holocaust Memorial Centre.This Neolog Synagogue, inaugurated in 1924, is the work of architect Lipót Baumhorn, who designed no less than 22 synagogues in the territory of historical, pre-WWI Hungary. The temple functioned until 1944, when it was turned into an internment station.

As an added bonus once in this beautiful city that I last visited in 1996 you get to see the world famous sights such as Fisherman Bastion, Heroes Square, Budapest Castle and many more.

I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed with this 2 World Heritage Sites city. To stand on the ancient walls of Fisherman Bastion  and admire the view sent chills down my spine and I hope it can do the same for yours.

BudapestWaterfront

Nuremberg.

I haven’t been to Nuremberg but the city has lots of connections to the Jewish community, it was one of the most important commercial city’s of Bavaria and Jews were living in Nuremberg as early as the beginning of the twelfth century.

Jewish Museum of Franconia.

JewishMuseumNuremberg

One of the exhibits in the museum represent the newly found letters Schnaittach Guttag family before, and thus also an example of Jewish emigration to the United States and Frankish homeland ties in the 19 Jahrhundert. Century.

As you can see this is a totally unique experience that does not come along very often so why not find out more information about this once in a lifetime trip that not only gives you the chance to view Jewish Heritage Sites but also the world famous sights that Budapest and Nuremberg have to offer the regular tourist.

Prices starting from only

$1,999 per person

To request more information

click here:

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(USD based on double occupancy, for bookings made between 5July & 31August 2011, prices don’t include land programme, round trip airfare, port charges and gratuities. Departure dates 7 & 15  November 2011)

Last Minute Cruising Deals in Europe

 Last Minute Cruising Deals in Europe

Carnival Cruises Europe 2011

 

This summer cruise lines have increased their capacity to Europe to take advantage of the variety of itineraries that can be offered.

Here are some examples of what’s on offer and lead in prices subject to availability.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE

Ship:Noordam

Dept Date: 30 Jul 11

Itinerary: 7 Day Riviera Romance from Rome

Cruise Only Fare\; From USD $699 (inside-double occupancy)

CELEBRITY CRUISES

Ship:Constellation

Dept Date: 14 Aug 11

Itinerary: 12 Day Scandinavia and Russia from Amsterdam

Cruise Only Fare\; From USD $1,699 (inside-double occupancy)

CARNIVAL CRUISES

Ship:Magic

Dept Date: 17 Jul 11

Itinerary: 7 Day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona

Cruise Only Fare\; From USD $989 (inside-double occupancy)

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES

Ship:Jade

Dept Date: 20 Aug 11

Itinerary: 14 Day Eastern Mediterranean from Venice

Cruise Only Fare\; From USD $1,438 (inside-double occupancy)

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINES

Ship:Epic

Dept Date: 31 Jul 11

Itinerary: 7 Day Western Mediterranean from Barcelona

Cruise Only Fare\; From USD $1,109 (inside-double occupancy)

All prices subject to availability at time of reservation, fuel surcharges may apply, all prices in USD  based on inside double occupancy cabins.

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Cool Happenings in London Now

In my bottomless inbox of travel news, I’ve come across a few articles about London and why you might be interested in taking a trip there before the end of summer.

Putpockets We’ve all heard of pickpockets and how we should be wary of them at home and while we’re abroad. However, 20 former pickpockets who have changed from their former wicked ways have been hired by a broadband company, TalkTalk, to discreetly drop anything from 5 to 20 pound notes in the unguarded pockets, purses, and bags in Trafalgar Square, Covent Gardens, and other busy spots. This initiative to brighten the lives of people in unusual ways runs until the end of August which will see at least 100,000 pounds given away.

Free Bottled Water To provide abit of relief during the summer heat, Soak Media, is providing free bottled water to London commuters. The UK media company sells on-bottle advertising. Their staff distribute the 330ml bottles from ice-filled carts. Their research show that the bottles are held in the hands of the recipients for an average of 50 minutes. What makes Soak Media unique is that they distribute all their profits to charitable causes.

Writer in Residence It’s not unusual unless you consider where it will be. Heathrow Airport has appointed Alain de Botton as the writer-in-residence for 1 week starting August 19, 2009. His desk is located in the new Terminal 5 where his writings appear on a screen behind him for all to read. During the week he will interview passengers and airport staff before returning home to write a short book titled, A Week At The Airport: A Heathrow Diary. The book will include photographs by Richard Baker. On September 21, 2009, ten thousand copies will be distributed for free to Heathrow travellers and then be available for sale through Amazon’s British website and traditional brick and mortar stores.

If you have time for a trip to London in the next few months, you may get a chance to experience the new personal rapid transit (PRT) system that will be launching in Q4 at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. The PRT vehicles will transport 4 passengers at a time from Terminal 5 to various parking lots. It cost the British Airport Authority (BAA) $41 million for these 18 battery powered pods which travel at a maximum of 25 mph.

I’ve received a few e-mails about cruises from my previous blog posts.  To respond to these, my next couple of posts will hopefully answer them, firstly beginning with the types of cruises available.

Travel News Allsorts

In the past month, I’ve come across a few interesting travel related articles that might be of interest to you all:

Aon France is offering sunshine insurance through french travel agencies, Pierre et Vacances and FranceLoc. If vacationers encounter at least 4 days of rain in a week, they can submit a claim for part of their holiday cost. Here’s the link to the press release by Aon France.

Air France has implemented a new luggage policy that allows sports equipment to be included in the free luggage allowance.  For example, bicycles, golf bags, diving equipment,  and skis. Visit their website for further details.

Pet Airways has launched. Dog and cat owners can now rejoice that weekly routes are now available between Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Baltimore, and New York City with one fares starting at $149. What makes Pet Airways unique is that your loved flies in the safety and comfort of the main cabin, not in cargo, where they are monitored regularly throughout the flight.

Air New Zealand continues to make waves with their latest marketing campaign, The Matchmaking Flight. They hope that passengers will find that special person through this special experience. Canadian singles will depart Vancouver for Los Angeles on October 13th and then transfer on to the matchmaking flight to Auckland.  The matchmaking flight will include free party snacks, open bar, speed dating and other games.

A few  months ago, Air New Zealand came out with a really cheeky commercial to show that their staff have nothing to hide.  This was followed up by another video about onboard safety. Most people ignore the safety video and demo on air planes, this hopefully will encourage people to watch theirs.

New trend for hotels?

Came across a couple of  articles in a travel journal recently about a “pay what you want”  experiments. 

The Rancho Bernardo Inn Golf Resort and Spa is offering a promotion called the “Survivior Package“.  Basically, you decide your price by deciding what amenities you can do without.  For $219  per night you get deluxe accommodations plus breakfast for two.  However, if you can do without breakfast, it’s $199; without honor bar, it’s $179; without heat or air condition, it’s $159; etc. It’s a great way to attract budget conscious travellers.  Contact them for more details. 

A village in Austria’s Alps, Langenfeld, is offering tourists to test their hotels, restaurants, and leisure facilities in return for completing a survey paying what they think their stay was worth.  They are accepting up to 200 people to participate in this event.  The local tourism organization is looking to find out their strengths and weaknesses so they can improve for the future.

This actually reminds of me of another hotel that also offered a “Pay What You Want” promotion. In March 2009, the Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen Hotel allowed guests to choose the rate they wanted to pay. For a designated number of hours each day during the promotion, potential guests could bid on a price they would like to pay.  If they were one of the first to bid, they could win a night at the hotel for the price they bid.

Not sure if this could be a new trend but it definitely provides insightful information for the companies involved on the quality of their services and their current pricing strategy during these challenging economic times.

When I think of Spain…

I recently came across an article about the air quality in Spain. It got me to think…what does Spain mean to me? Well…for most people they associate Spain with things like the distinct architecture, Don Quixote, Pablo Picasso, Pedro Almodovar, football (aka soccer in North America), tapas, paella, flamenco, Ibiza, bull fighting, and the Castile but to name a few. So what do you associate with Spain?

For me, I associate Spain with the “Running of the Bulls” and “La Tomatina”.

Rainbow Travel Inc - Running of the Bulls

Rainbow Travel Inc - Running of the Bulls

The “Running of the Bulls” refers to the tradition of running in front of a herd of bulls that have been let loose through a sectioned off part of the town. The purpose is to transport the bulls from off-site corrals to the bullring where they will be killed in the evening. The most famous “Running of the Bulls” is the one that is part of the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona. The festival runs for 9 consecutive days from July 6th to 14th with a run each day at 8am.

Rainbow Travel Inc - La Tomatina

Rainbow Travel Inc - La Tomatina

“La Tomatina” is a food fight festival in Spain in the town of Brunol. It takes place the last Wednesday of August at 10am. More than 20,000 people participate in this event each year. Being a small industrial town, accommodations are limited and most tourists stay in Valencia and take the bus or train in.

There are numerous events and festivals around the world that many people have not heard of. If you know of something different or unique, please share with us.

Return air fares from Vancouver to Barcelona start at $778 including taxes and fees.

Liverpool and London

I know that my last 2 blog posts have been about Liverpool.  But I just want to share one last thing I recently read in the media about my home before I start a new topic.  Liverpool is known for many things…like football, European Capital of Culture 2008, and La Princesse.

As you all know, it’s also where the Beatles began.  Liverpool Hope University has announced they are offering a Master of Arts program on “The Beatles, Popular Music, and Society”. The school hopes the program attracts attention locally as well as internationally.

welcome_web-liverpool-hope-university2

London Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

London is known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world…but it doesn’t have to be if you do your research beforehand. Here are a few tips to start you off based on my own experience and investigation:

tategallery2

Things to Do:  Admission to view the permanent collections at most art galleries and museums is free. However, there are fees to view  visiting exhibitions.  If you like art,  I recommend the Tate Modern and a short boat ride away, the Tate Britain.

Where to Stay: easyJet, one of Europe’s leading low cost airlines, has launched, easyHotel. With five locations in London, you’re sure to find an area that’s convenient for you. Keep in mind that similar to the airline, easyHotel offers low / no frills budget accomodations.  Rooms are small and spartan. They can only be booked online. If you can, book early for the best deals. Remember, you’re on vacation visiting one of the most exciting cities in the world, you’re going to be out seeing the sites and shopping, not hanging out in your room.

easyjet-hotel-london

Theatre/Shows: Great deals can be found on tickets for same day performances. There are a few websites where these discount tickets can be purchased including the Visit London website.

Food: Meals can be expensive when you travel. I think pubs offer great deals plus a chance to quench your thirst with english beer.  They are a step above the international fast food restaurants found throughout any major city. Last month I read about a restaurant chain in London that offered “pay what you want” during February, Little Bay. Don’t know if they will offer it again but it appears to have been a success.

180px-pubcamdentown

Transit: Take advantage of the extensive public transit system. With the Oyster card system, you can can top up with money so you can pay as you go or you can get unlimited travel for a set period of time. Consider taking public transit to and from the airport as well since it’s very convenient.

250px-routemaster

Hope this provides you with an introduction to London. If you have any tips or suggestions to share, please leave a comment.

Rainbow Travel Tips & Tidbits – 11 October 2008

Christmas Markets in Europe

Christmas is just around the corner and what better excuse to plan a trip and buy those unique gifts for the ones you love in your life. This year, why not skip the mad dash to the mall and, instead, combine a little retail therapy with a European vacation? If you’re thinking a trip to Europe’s enchanting Christmas Markets will blow your budget, we’ve got good news for you.  There are more European charter flights than ever before from your local Canadian airport to help you bring home unique seasonal treasures at bargain market prices. This brings back memories of my time in Liverpool, U.K. when I operated Day Trips by air from my home airport, Liverpool, John Lennon International Airport back in the late 90’s. I chartered an Airbus A320 and took over 150 passengers to Salzburg, Austria for a day at the Christmas Market (click on the link in the upper right column for an english translation). What an experience, to explore Salzburg, a picturesque city that hosts a 500-year-old holiday craft fair, I found this information on the fare for this season:

Held in the picturesque Cathedral and the surrounding squares, the annual Salzburg Christmas Market is a great place to soak up the Christmas atmosphere and pick up a few Christmas presents from the many stalls and vendors. Items range from traditional festive foodstuffs, handmade Christmas decorations, jewellery, candles and other arts and crafts. In addition to hot food stalls and mulled wine stalls, visitors can enjoy a range of entertainment ranging from nativity plays to choral performances.

Times

Mon–Thur 1000–2030; Fri 1000–2100; Sat 0900–2100; Sun 0900–2030

So forget the standard stocking stuffers and head to Austria and even further afield to other countries who each host their own Christmas Markets, places such as Germany, France, and more for a seasonal shopping extravaganza. Plus, if you’d rather shop online and just enjoy London over the holidays, you can also book a festive vacation too.  Salzburg’s Christmas Market, mentioned as far back as the 15th century, is located at the foot of the Hohensalzburg fortress, around the venerable cathedral of Salzburg.

The Salzburg Christmas market will be open again from November 20th until December 26th, 2008.

For more information about flights, fares, and/or accommodations, contact us.

Cool Ways to Avoid New Airline Fees

Carry-on to Put Fees in Check

The most common-sense solution for avoiding checked baggage fees is to simply not check your bags. With American, Continental, Northwest, United, US Airways, Frontier, and Spirit now charging $15 for a first checked bag (and most legacy and budget airlines charging around $25 for the second one checked) on each leg of a flight, it just makes (dollars and) sense to carry on. Invest in a strong, yet lightweight bag that’s in accordance with the bulk of airlines’ carry-on allowances (check individual airline websites for details as sizes do vary) and reusable toiletries containers (sized under the TSA’s mandated maximum of three ounces) and leave worries of lost luggage, hefty additional fees, and long waits at ticket counters (and carousels) for checked bags – behind.

If You Must Check Bags, Check Wisely

The steepest checked baggage fees are tacked onto bags that are overweight (usually above 50 pounds) or oversized (from 62 inches). So while it may at first seem logical to try to cram everything into one bag instead of using two, know that while a first checked bag won’t set you back more than $15 on any airline, if it ends up being oversized or overweight it can cost anywhere from $29 (AirTran) to $175 (Delta, for over 70 pounds). Considering second checked bag fees hover around $25 on most airlines (bringing the average total for two checked bags to about $40), it’s near-always the more economical option to check two bags than to go overboard on one. Alternatively, think about packing a small tote bag in your luggage that can be pulled out to use as a quick-fix carry on to transfer luggage overflow that might make your checked bag overweight by just a pound or two. If you must travel with more than two bags, or with overweight or oversized luggage, looking into a shipping agent like FedEx or the USPS for cost comparison is a smart move, as rates can actually be quite competitive.

Take your own Sleep Aids With You

If you’re looking to catch some onboard shut-eye, pack an inflatable pillow to carry on. Available at many travel and luggage stores, they can be quite comfortable, are more sanitary than airlines’ recycled arsenal, and takes up very little room; you can even fit one in your briefcase or purse.

BYOH: Bring Your Own Headset

A handful of airlines (United, JetBlue, and US Airways among them) are now charging anywhere from $1 to $5 for headsets that allow travelers to tune into the in-flight video entertainment. Simply bring your own iPod earbuds or headphones aboard for superior quality, and save on dishing out for their cheapie versions which you’ll most likely end up throwing away.

Fight In-Flight Food Fees

With Continental the only remaining carrier to still provide complimentary meals, and more than half of domestic airlines now charging even for light snacks. Be wise and  pack a brown bag meal ahead of time to carry on, there are lots of fast food outlets airside to purchase a meal from in advance.

Let Your Hotel Foot the Bill

Some very smart hotel chains have figured out a way to attract guests by offering to alleviate their newfound checked baggage expenses. Show your first checked bag receipt when checking in at a Loews Hotels for up to $30 in dining credit at the property under their Baggage Buy Back campaign. Kor Hotel’s Los Angeles-area hotels will reimburse guests with up to $75 in hotel credit through their Money Bags promotion, while Kimpton Hotels’ We Got Your Bag campaign (which was just extended through the year’s end) gives guests who bunk down at one of the chain’s 43 boutique hotels throughout the US and Canada a room credit of up to $25 issued on the spot. Just don’t forget to hang onto those checked baggage receipts as proof.

Join the Airlines Frequent Flyer Club

Several airlines – including United, American, and Continental – will waive baggage fees if you are an elite member of their frequent flyer program. Remember to sign up for your carrier’s frequent flyer program before booking your flight to start accruing points, and if you are already a member of a program, keep in mind that loyalty to them might very well pay off in the long run.

Choose your Seat Wisely!

About half of domestic airlines are now charging for “preferred” seat selection – you’ll pay $20 for an exit row seat on AirTran or $10 for an aisle seat on Spirit, for instance. To avoid doling out the extra cash, check in online just prior to your flight (most airlines open up online check-in 24 hours before scheduled departures), when non-assigned seating inventory usually opens up to all passengers. If you are able to pick your seats in advance, however (the bulk of airlines are still not charging for non-preferred seating assignments), consider booking seats at the back of the plane where you’ll have first dibs on luggage space, meaning you won’t have to store your bag under the seat in front of you, taking up precious leg room. You’ll also get dibs on first-come, first-served amenities (for any that are still left!) like blankets and newspapers.

Rainbow Travel Tips & Tidbits – 5 September 2008

Travel Tidbits from Rainbow Travel Inc:

Air Transat delivers More Room in Economy:

The space between each row of seats has been increased by about 2 inches from 30 to 32 inches. By doing this, Air Transat has reduced the seating on it’s Airbus 310‘s from 259 to 249 seats and on their Airbus 330‘s from 362 to 342 seats. Air Transat operates a fleet of 13 Airbus A310’s and four A330’s.

Toy Story Opens at Two Parks

Disney Park guests are now able to enter a wild and wooly 4-D world, Toy Story, featuring Woody, Buzz and other favourite characters. This exciting new feature is available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It’s a high energy adventure that puts guests right in the heart of the action as your game play triggers fun surprises that provide a fourth dimention of fun. Upon entering the attraction, guests are welcomed by Mr Potato Head. More than 5ft tall, this state of the art audio animatronics Mr Potato Head makes two way conversation and asks you to ” step right up” for the incredible Toy Story Experience.

Everyone gets a front row seat when they put on their 3-D specs, shrink to the size of a toy, and board Toy Story Carnival tram ride cars.

Players can pair up and shoot at a variety of targets and because of the 4-D special effects, they can be amongst the action on their exciting journey where objects seem to whirl past as they pop out of the 3-D scenes

Very Affordable Tropical Cruises:

Signature Vacations new Tropical Cruise Programme this winter will feature two itineraries in the Caribbean aboard the 1450 pax Thomson Destiny cruise ship. Thomson Destiny will sail every second Sunday from La Romana in the Dominican Republic visiting Grenada, Dominica, Antigua, St Martin and Tortola before returning to La Romana. The second itinerary will feature The Coral Islands, St Lucia, Barbados, Guadeloupe, St Kitts and Tortola due to Monday and Tuesday flights from Vancouver from Nov 10th onwards.

The Thomson Destiny offers a Kitzone with daily activity programmes, two pools, 24Hr per day buffets, two restaurants, Broadway style shows, library, video, gym and sauna, and all the cruises include port taxes and tipping. There is even an option to pre purchase your alcoholic beverages.

La Machine: The Giant spider, La Princess, brings Liverpool to Standstill

Celebrations for European city of culture continue in my home town, Liverpool (U.K.)

A GIANT spider appeared in Liverpool, Lime Street today. Stunned onlookers stared in amazement as the 37-tonne, 50ft creature dangled high above the street from Concourse Tower. The massive arachnid is the first glimpse of the mysterious La Princess, the mechanical creature at the centre of the La Machine extravaganza. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected on the streets of the city, many of which will be closed off, as the five-day street theatre event unfolds this weekend. The Capital of Culture event will see “scientists” arrive in the city to investigate the creature. The spider, named La Princesse, is the brainchild of François Delarozière and his company La Machine. This is his first spider, and its appearance is part of the city’s capital of culture celebrations. La Princesse is a big girl, weighing 37 tonnes, and a marvel of engineering. She has 50 hydraulic axes of movement, took a year to build, and trundles along the road at two miles an hour.

European Destinations with a Difference

Now that the European seasonal flights are well under way, don’t just set your sights on the capitals and the well known cultural cities but think further afield to the mediterranean hot spots, places like Greece, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, and Turkey to name but a few.

During the summer, Vancouver is connected to the hub airports of Europe by charter flights.  These include the usual cities like, London, Manchester, Glasgow, Frankfurt, Paris, and Amsterdam.  However, there are some new destinations too.  Zurich opens up the breathtaking sights of Switzerland, as well as Dusseldorf for Germany and Central Europe.  The latest addition is Dublin for southern Ireland – original draft Guinness is closer than you think.

So what Mediterranean countries have you always wanted to visit but thought that they were always out of your reach?  Well, no they’re not.  How about the Spanish Costas?  For example, Costa Dorada (Salou airport), which boasts one of Europe’s largest theme parks called Port Aventura. Possibly the spanish Canary Islands, such as Tenerife. You will find luxury spas, new theme parks, designer shops, cosmopolitan marinas, and the last word in hotels; these draw visitors to the island’s stylish south while ecologically minded and active travellers come to discover the lush forests, small coastal towns, and the mountain villages of the North. All these “destinations with a difference” can be booked from Canada.

So forget the usual vacation spots like Mexico and the Caribbean, be the envy of your friends when you show them your holiday photos with a “difference”.  I grew up holidaying at these Mediteranean destinations and many others, so go on pick my brains, I will be happy to recommend some of these destintions to you based on what you’re looking for.

Rainbow Travel Blog - Mount Teide

Rainbow Travel Blog - Mount Teide

Rainbow Travel Blog - Port Aventura

Rainbow Travel Blog - Port Aventura