Virgin Group Announces Plans to Make Waves in the Cruise Industry

Virgin Group, the Branson family-owned branded investment group, today announced the formation of Virgin Cruises, its new cruise line business, as well as the appointment of a CEO and its lead investment partner, Bain Capital. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Proven industry leader Tom McAlpin will join Virgin Cruises as CEO and will head the management team. Most recently, Tom has been President and CEO of The World, Residences at Sea. Tom also served as President of Disney Cruise Line having joined as part of the founding management team.

Virgin Cruises will be headquartered in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area and plans to design and construct two new world class cruise ships. At this time, the company has not disclosed when it will start operating for competitive reasons. As part of one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands, Virgin Cruises will offer guests an outstanding experience and service aimed at broadening consumer targets for the cruise market.

Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson said, “We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love. They’ll be sailing on the latest ships offering great quality, a real sense of fun, and many exciting activities all delivered with the famed Virgin service.”

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Cascade Mountain Open Again this Weekend, Open Daily Starting November 28th

Cascade Mountain has been able to make snow around the clock and are off to a strong start this season. They opened last weekend with some terrain park features at Tube Town and they will do that again this weekend. They’ll have two lines of features at Tube Town this weekend, and we will have at least 10 trails open for skiing and riding. There will be no tubing this weekend, but rental equipment and lessons will be available.
They will continue with “Bonus Days” this weekend, meaning any current Cascade season pass will get you on the slopes both days.
Hours: 9am to 4:30 pm Saturday and Sunday (November 22&23)
Cost: $25 for a lift ticket. Kids 12 & under ski free with a paid adult.
         Rental rates: Night prices
Regular Season Opening on Friday, November 28th 
They will be open daily with regular hours and services (including snow tubing) starting the day after Thanksgiving. Check out the webcams to see how things are looking!

The Top 10 Airports to Avoid This Thanksgiving

Traveling during the holidays is a headache, especially if you’re flying through one of these airports.

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10 airlines that still give fliers free perks

Surprise! We lost your luggage. Surprise! Your tray table is broken. While it seems like most airline surprises end in disappointment, a few bold airlines are delighting passengers every day with pleasing perks to make flying just a little better.

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DreamTrips Vacation Club Named “North America’s Leading Travel Club” for 2014 by World Travel Awards

DreamTrips™ vacation club, one of the world’s leading travel and vacation club membership organizations, was recognized as “North America’s Leading Travel Club” for 2014 as part of the World Travel Awards (WTA)—the fourth WTA regional award for the travel club this year. The WTA Caribbean & North America’s winners were announced on Sunday, October 26.

The award acknowledges DreamTrips‘ outstanding travel club excellence in North America within the last twelve months. Industry leaders identified DreamTrips for remarkable service and product offerings. Nominees in other North America travel categories included American Airlines, Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth Quebec, Adventures by Disney and Avis.

“It’s an exceptional privilege for DreamTrips to receive its fourth regional World Travel Award,” WorldVentures Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer Wayne Nugent said. “Rovia, our travel agency partner, is also our partner for this success. This sequence of awards reflects our peers’ recognition of DreamTrips’ distinguished travel experiences. We value greatly the travel industry’s confidence in our product.”

Since 1993, WTA has acknowledged and celebrated excellence across all sectors of the global tourism industry. Last year, DreamTrips was named “World’s Leading Travel Club” at the 2013 WTA Grand Finals. The annual Grand Tour visited Dubai, Greece and Ecuador earlier this year, and will arrive in Morocco for the Grand Finals in November.

Conde Nast Traveler Reveals The All-New 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards: The World’s Best Hotels, Resorts, Cities, Islands, Airlines, And Cruise Lines

Conde Nast Traveler today announced the results of its 27th annual Readers’ Choice Awards, ranking the best hotels, resorts, cities, islands, airlines, and cruise lines in the world. Over 76,600 dedicated readers cast votes for 7,721 hotels, 642 cities, 453 cruise ships, and 148 islands, in an average survey time of 16.5 minutes. The result? The 1,182 best travel experiences in the world.


  • Top U.S. City: Charleston, S.C., is the #1 city in the U.S. for the fourth year in a row!
  • Top Hotel in the U.S.: XV Beacon, Boston
  • Top Resort in the U.S.: Lodge & Spa at Brush Creek Ranch, Saratoga, Wyoming
  • Top Island in the World: Palawan Island, The Philippines
  • Top Hotel in Europe: Il Salviatino, Florence
  • Top Hotel in Asia: Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong
  • Top Hotel in South America: Sofitel Legend Santa Clara Cartagena, Colombia
  • Top Safari Camp: Londolozi, Sabi Sand, South Africa
  • Top Airline in the World: Singapore Airlines
  • Top Large Cruise Line: Disney
  • Top Midsize Cruise Line: Crystal Cruises
  • Top Small Cruise Line: Windstar Cruises
  • Top River Cruise Line: Grand Circle Cruise Line
  • Top Beach Resort in Mexico: Viceroy Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen
  • Top Beach Resort in the Caribbean: Jade Mountain, St. Lucia


  • Hall of Famers, iconic properties that more than withstand the test of time
  • The Newcomers and the Comebacks, new and recently refreshed properties that are destined to become future classics


  • What a man wants: A weekend getaway to Telluride or Las Vegas
  • What a woman wants: The beach in The Hamptons or Cape May
  • Top destination for 20-somethings: New England
  • The 30- to 50-year-old set heads to: the Rocky Mountains
  • 50-plus-year-old travelers are fascinated by: Alaska
  • The most popular honeymoon destination: The Caribbean, followed by Hawaii

The Readers’ Choice Awards are announced in the November issue of Conde Nast Traveler, on newsstands nationwide on October 28, 2014. The full list is published exclusively online, at

10Best: Deals during CLIA’s Cruise Week

The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is promoting the annual fall cruise sales blitz now known as CLIA Cruise Week (formerly National Cruise Vacation Week).

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Score free hotel upgrades with these three tips

Whether you’re a frequent flyer or traveling with your family and need to book a hotel room, use these three tips to better your chances for a free hotel room upgrade.

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