Tag Archives: Yahoo Travel

Tokyo, Japan

Go Now! 5 Countries Where Your Dollar Stretches Far

Note from Wendy: There can be a big difference between the cost of living in a destination and the cost of traveling there. First, what travelers spend money on is different than what residents spend on. Second, tourist taxes can be high. Third, sometimes there are lower rates for locals than for foreigners. Fourth, in some countries the price difference between, say, a three-star and a five-star experience is much more dramatic than in the U.S.  Still, when foreign currencies drop against the U.S. dollar, of course we want to take advantage of it. Here are five places where you can.  

This article originally ran on Yahoo! Travel

If you’re looking for a deal on your next trip, skip the guidebook and read today’s financial news.

It’s been a cruel, cruel summer in the financial world, and the economies of certain countries are still struggling to rebound.

In June, just as summertime tourism season kicked off, Greece announced it was on the verge of financial collapse, and its position in the eurozone was in peril.  In August, Greece was able to reach a billion-euro bailout plan with its lenders, but it is still on shaky ground in the eurozone.

Then two weeks ago, just as summertime tourism was winding down, China’s stock market went into a downward spiral, which had a ripple effect on stock markets around the world.

While China’s economy hasn’t bottomed out (yet), several other countries have been experiencing “significant currency depreciations,” said Douglas Quinby, vice president at Phocuswright, a hospitality research firm. “These currency rates have a big impact on travel.”

In short, when the exchange rate begins to favor the American dollar, travelers looking to explore the world should start packing their bags.

Here are a few countries to consider visiting in order to maximize your travel budget.


Quinby noted that Japan’s tourism is surging, due in part to the falling yen. A night at the new Andaz Tokyo Toranomon, which offers spectacular views of the city, can be had for around $483 in early October. That’s still a pretty penny, but it’s down about $200 from last summer’s rate. Nonstop flights from Los Angeles are also averaging around $720.

Also from Yahoo! Travel: The 10 Best Museums in the World

St. Petersburg, Russia

Take advantage of low airfares and see beautiful St. Petersburg. The Church of the Savior on Blood (not to be mistaken for St. Basil’s) is especially worth a visit. Photo courtesy iStock.


Like other countries with an oil-based economy, Russia’s currency fluctuates with global oil prices. The ruble has been falling steadily for about a year, and China’s recent woes haven’t helped. A cursory look at the cost of flights to St. Petersburg from New York on Google Flights found ticket prices in the low $500s in early October, which is comparable to some flights to the western U.S. A night at the opulent Ritz-Carlton Moscow was just $300 on Booking.com for a stay in early October.

Also from Yahoo! Travel: Foodie Bucket List: 12 Iconic Restaurants Worth Traveling for


Down under, the Australian dollar keeps slipping. Last week, one Australian dollar was equal to 70¢ U.S. Traveling to Australia is a long haul, and flights from Los Angeles are going for well over $1,000 next month (the start of summer in Oz). But if the currency rate holds, U.S. travelers will still get more for their money when booking hotels and resorts. The One&Only Hayman Island Resort, a private island in the Whitsundays, has one-bedroom suites available in mid-October for around $2,000 AUD a night. With the currency rate, that drops to about $1,369 USD.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

With an unlimited air pass, you can visit Rio, São Paolo, and everywhere in between. Photo courtesy iStock.


Despite hosting the recent FIFA World Cup and the upcoming Summer Olympics, Brazil’s economy has remained in a recession. The Brazilian real, the local currency, is the weakest it’s been in 13 years, and President Dilma Rousseff is fighting to save the country’s investment-grade credit rating. Perhaps that’s why Azul Brazilian Airlines recently announced their Azul Brazil Air Pass, which gives fliers 10 days of unlimited flights throughout Brazil for $299, or 21 days of flights for $399.

Also from Yahoo! Travel: The Most Scenic Drive in All 50 States

Toronto, Canada

Head north and visit great Canadian cities like Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Photo courtesy iStock.


Our neighbors to the north are also in a recession, with the Canadian dollar (or loonie) currently sitting at about 75¢ U.S. In major cities, debt-to-income ratio is near a record high, and the central bank is debating whether or not to lower interest rates again. With that said, cities like Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal are hot spots for traveling fashionistas, who can score major deals on designer wear. Home to stores like Hermès and Chanel, the exchange rate will work in your favor if you’re looking to purchase a pricey bag … or two!


Save Time, Room, and Money: Secret Travel Uses For Common Accessories

Note from Wendy: All travelers develop packing hacks over the years. I have several of my own. For instance, I always pack a thin, lightweight day pack or duffel in my carry-on, just in case I end up coming home with more than I left with and need to check the carry-on. In this article from Brittany Jones Cooper at Yahoo! Travel, she finds creative travel uses for items many of us have lying around the house. What are some of your best packing tips? Tell us in the comments below.

This article originally ran on Yahoo! Travel


Everyone has secret tricks they use when packing and traveling, and I think the best part is that it doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money.

In fact, some of my favorite travel hacks involve secret uses for items I use every day.

So, this week I’m going to share some ways that your eyewear can help you on the road…other than the obvious use of helping you to see.


You download a movie on your phone to watch on the plane…great planning. But what you didn’t plan on was holding it in your hands the entire time. To prevent fatigue, use your sunglasses to prop up your smartphone. You’ll look like a genius, and your arm won’t get tired!

contact case-cr-yahooContact Case

If you’re a contact wearer, you probably have a bunch of these contact cases lying around. You get them every time you buy a bottle of solution. But they can also be used to hold a small amount of cream. For instance, if you have really expensive eye cream that’s in a big bottle, you can put a small amount in your contact case for a short trip. You can also do the same thing with foundation or gels.

Added bonus: These cases are also a great place to carry small items that easily get lost—like earrings.

glasses case-cd-yahooGlasses Case

When I’m packing, I always throw my brush, comb, and toothbrush in my toiletry bag, but all of the small stuff always gets lost in the shuffle. That’s why I’ve started using my extra glasses case as a smaller vanity kit. I put in small things like cotton balls, Q-tips, hair ties, bobby pins, and even a small sewing kit. Now, they easily accessible AND organized!

Also from Yahoo! Travel: 6 Unusual Household Items You Need to Use When Packing

What are your best packing hacks?

Two lions at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Sleep With the Fishes (and Lions) at These Zoo and Aquarium Sleepovers

Note from Wendy: When my sons got the chance to spend the night at New York’s American Museum of Natural History my youngest, Doug, was so impressed that he wrote a blog post detailing the reasons why everyone should sign up for a museum sleepover. So when I saw that our friends at Yahoo! Travel had rounded up zoos that offer similar slumber-party programs, I immediately wanted to share the info. See their article below. For help planning memorable family vacations, take a look at my WOW List of Trusted Travel Experts. For more specific recommendations, email me at questions@wendyperrin.com and I can connect you with the right travel specialist for your family.

This article originally ran on Yahoo! Travel


By Jordi Lippe of Yahoo! Travel

Going to the zoo and aquarium can be a magical experience. You get to see animals you’ve only ever read about in real life—monkeys, penguins, sharks, whales, etc.—up close. But have you ever wondered what happens at these parks after all the tourists leave and the lights go out? Now kids of all ages can find out. Some of your favorite attractions offer overnight stays, so you can literally sleep with the fishes—and other wild animals. Here are 10 zoos and aquariums where you can actually spend the night.

Resident Camp at SeaWorld, various U.S. locations

SeaWorld in Orlando

SeaWorld in Orlando. (Photo: SeaWorld/Facebook)

What do dolphins look like when they sleep? That’s a question you can have answered by attending one of SeaWorld’s Summer Resident Camps, where students grades four through college can spend a few nights sleeping next to beluga whales, manatees, and dolphins. When the sun comes up, participants also get to do cool stuff like follow zoological professionals as they handle penguins, take a swim in the dolphin stadium show pool, and prepare educational presentations to share with park guests. Bonus: This program is offered at SeaWorlds across the country.

Snore and Roar at Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Washington, D.C.

Two lions at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

Two lions at the Smithsonian National Zoo. (Photo: Smithsonian’s National Zoo/Facebook)

Typically, when spending the night in D.C., you hear city sounds like cars honking and people yelling. How about trading those in for wolves howling and sea lions barking? Just head to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo for its overnight program. You can pitch a tent on Lion/Tiger Hill before taking an exclusive animal-keeper-led tour through the exhibits and animal territories. With both family and adult-only versions available from June through September, it will be the wildest experience you’ve never had in our nation’s capital.

 Also from Yahoo! Travel: Nearly-Extinct Turtle Is Coming Back With Help From Zoo

Overnight Safari at the Bronx Zoo, Bronx, New York

Two sea lions at sunrise at the Bronx Zoo. (Photo: Joey/Flickr)

Two sea lions at sunrise at the Bronx Zoo. (Photo: Joey/Flickr)

Trade your zebra-print skirt for an actual zebra on your next night out in New York City. The Bronx Zoo hosts Family Overnight Safaris to which you can bring a tent, sleeping bags, and a picnic dinner and enjoy an evening of animal-themed activities and classic camping rituals like roasting marshmallows. Be sure to stay up late to hear the wild calls from the various species on the grounds. But no need for an alarm clock—zoo officials say the sea lions provide a natural wake-up call.

Sleepover With the Sharks at National Aquarium, Baltimore

Blacktip shark at the National Aquarium.

Blacktip shark at the National Aquarium. (Photo: JJ Jackson/Flickr)

Total darkness + sharks isn’t usually an equation you want to find yourself in the middle of. But when you participate in Sleepover With the Sharks at the National Aquarium, you get to see these beautiful creatures sans the sheer terror. Overnight guests set up sleeping bags in the underwater viewing area as the kings of fish swim overhead. Included in the program is a behind-the-scenes tour, reserved seating in the dolphin amphitheater, a 4D immersion film, dinner, and breakfast.

Big Cat-Nap Campout at Zoo Miami

A leopard at the Miami Zoo.

A leopard at the Miami Zoo. (Photo: Zoo Miami/Facebook)

Each year during the Big Cat-Nap Campout, families are invited to pitch their own tents for the night in the zoo’s “grasslands” before heading off on a behind-the-scenes tour and enjoying a campfire complete with s’mores. Participants also get breakfast and free admission to the park the next day and, of course, a T-shirt to commemorate the totally awesome experience.

 Also from Yahoo! Travel: You Have to See It to Believe It — Lion Shocks Tourists by Opening Car Door on Safari

Adult Overnights at the Philadelphia Zoo

A red panda at the Philadelphia Zoo.

A red panda at the Philadelphia Zoo. (Photo: National Geographic Image Collection/Alamy)

While there are overnight programs for children and teens throughout the year, the Philadelphia Zoo sometimes lets adults in on the fun, too. Go behind the scenes at the attractions, have up-close encounters with live animals, tour the park after dark, and have a light dinner. And what’s a night out without some cocktails? Enjoy a happy hour surrounded by exotic species.

Harbor Discoveries Camps at the New England Aquarium, Boston

Flame jellies at the New England Aquarium.

Flame jellies at the New England Aquarium. (Photo: New England Aquarium/Facebook)

This Boston aquarium is already pretty cool, what with animals like penguins and jellyfish. So why not take it up a notch and slumber alongside some of these sea creatures? Families sleep in the west wing and get a tour of the main aquarium, admission to an IMAX movie, and breakfast, all while learning about life in the ocean.

 Also from Yahoo! Travel: With its Aquarium and Miniature Forest, Vancouver Is Canada’s Coolest Airport

Zzzoofari Slumber at the Nashville Zoo

Two barn owls at the Nashville Zoo.

Two barn owls at the Nashville Zoo. (Photo: Art Directors & TRIP/Alamy)

It’s as if you’re going on a camping trip, only this one has giraffes, red pandas, and kangaroos. During a night under the stars at the Nashville Zoo, families are treated to a tour of the zoo, play games and do crafts, have a marshmallow roast, and enjoy hayrides before falling asleep to the sounds of apes and exotic birdcalls. Plus, there’s breakfast the next morning.

Seashore Sleepovers at Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Bay, California

Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium

Enjoy an evening with live music, a wine tasting, and … stingrays. Guests participating in one of the aquarium’s Summer Nights Seashore Sleepovers get to explore the property after the doors close to the public at 8 p.m. There’s also a bedtime snack and a late-night nature movie before you go to bed in front of your favorite exhibit. Wake up with the fishes and enjoy a continental breakfast in the café.

Zookeeping 101 at Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch Gardens Tampa

If exotic land animals are your thing, you’ll love the Zookeeping 101 overnight summer program at Busch Gardens Tampa. Created for high school and college kids, campers assist zookeepers with their daily routines, including preparing diets, training animals, and providing veterinary care for a variety of animals from giraffes to hippos to lemurs. Of course, they also get to try out all the fun rides after the crowds leave. Camper lodging is in dormitories inside the park.

african elephants Photo by Susan Portnoy

Elephant Orphanage to Open in Tanzania

By Anne Daly of Yahoo! Travel

Good news for elephant lovers: An elephant orphanage is set to open in Tanzania, beginning construction on June 1st. 

The orphanage, called Ivory Orphans, is a big milestone for conservationists, whose mission is to save the elephant population in Tanzania, which is now in crisis due to illegal wildlife trade. More and more baby elephants have been forced to roam the wild alone without guidance or protection, as their parents have been killed by illegal elephant poaching for the ivory in their tusks. Many young calves reportedly wait by their dead mothers for days after they have been killed—during which time the babies slowly deteriorate with no mother’s milk to survive.  

Officially approved by the Tanzanian government, along with the Minister of Tourism and Natural Resources, the orphanage will take in the baby elephants and care for them until they are ready to be released back into the wild. It will be both built and operated by the African Wildlife Trust, a Tanzanian non-profit run by volunteers whose main goal is to save the African elephants. The orphanage’s home base will be located on the boundary of Kikoti Safari Camp, and there will be another location in nearby Arusha that will open on an as-needed basis when elephants need medical care. 

 Also from Yahoo! Travel: Overworked Elephant Dies While Carrying Tourists in Vietnam

elephants locking trunks safari photo

Photo by Susan Portnoy, theinsatiabletraveler.com.

 Also from Yahoo! Travel: WATCH: Two Minutes of Adorable Baby Elephant Bath Time

It is also important to note that Tanzania has long had a “no interference with wildlife” policy. In honor of that policy, the orphanage will only help elephants who are already victims of “human interference,” i.e., the illegal slaughtering of elephants. 

Though this is the first elephant orphanage in Tanzania, others, like the David and Daphne Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Nairobi, exist around the world. The Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage has more than 130 elephants—and let’s hope that the Ivory Orphans will be just as successful. 

Elephants taking a stroll in Tarangire National Park.

Elephants taking a stroll in Tarangire National Park. (Photo: Ivory Orphans/Facebook)

Also from Yahoo! Travel: WATCH: Get Caught in an Elephant Traffic Jam

If you want to help, the African Wildlife Trust asks that you spread awareness about the orphanage to everyone you know, and donations are more than welcome. You can also help build the orphanage itself. All volunteer laborers can stay at Kikoti Safari Camp. It costs $150 per person, per day, and includes all meals, laundry, and a donation to the orphanage. 

This article originally ran on Yahoo! Travel


Note from Wendy:
A safari can be an extraordinary vacation, but requires a lot of knowledge and know-how from the right travel planner to ensure you have access to the most authentic (and humane) wildlife experiences. My Trusted Travel Experts for East Africa are at the top of the safari game.

Linda Friedman has been on more than 100 safaris and travels to Africa four times a year (she even speaks Swahili). Whether you choose to track gorillas in Rwanda or follow the annual Great Migration in the Masai Mara, Linda will make sure that you optimize your time and resources. Her particular passion is the nomadic traditions of the Maasai; she has been interviewing Maasai elders for more than ten years, and loves to arrange authentic cultural interactions. Read her Insider’s Guide to The Great Migration in Kenya & Tanzania. Nina Wennersten and Dan Saperstein know that most travelers will only take one safari during their lives and they work tirelessly, drawing on their decades of knowledge and vast network of connections, to ensure that each trip really is the trip of a lifetime. Read Nina and Dan’s Insider’s Guide to East Africa Safaris.

Sri Panwa, Phuket, Thailand hotel pool

Larger-Than-Life Hotel Pools

Note from Wendy: When I travel with my kids, an exciting hotel pool is a godsend. The more fun it is for them, the more relaxing it is for me. Adult pools never factored into my hotel decisions…until they started to become a property’s design showpiece and social center. Nowadays hotel pools may offer stunning views from a rooftop, transform into the hottest hangout at night, or be tucked into your own private villa.


By Jenny Adams of Yahoo! Travel

We know you are doing it. How do we know? Because we are doing it too. It’s normal to scour the Internet in cold weather, warming up mentally by staring at pictures of warm-weather resorts from Santorini to Santiago. Just the sight of a palm tree in sunlight or the razor’s edge of an infinity pool is enough to make us whip out our credit cards in the name of an escape from late winter’s freezing clutches.

If you need to get away, these hotels around the globe offer pools that certainly made us drool.

There’s an incredible, bird’s-eye view over the treetops at the Baba Nest at Sri Panwa in Phuket, Thailand. The Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver has an indoor pool that doubles as a glowing, Art Deco piece of art. New York City was not to be outdone by more tropical locations and opened a brand new, year-round pool at the Park Hyatt. The hotel pipes in music via underwater speakers, giving a whole new meaning to the term “swimmer’s ear.”

Several on this list are budgetary bucket-list experiences (we definitely drooled over the Iniala Beach House), but we’ve also found many that are as affordable as they are beautiful. Check out the hippie enclave Hicksville in Joshua Tree, Calif.! And, don’t forget your little ones, because we didn’t. Disney has a pool that kids from 9 to 92 will want to visit in 2015.

Sri Panwa, Phuket, Thailand

This family-owned resort (pictured above) is set atop a cliff overlooking Cape Panwa, surrounded by lush foliage, thick groves of trees, and an absurd number of infinity pools. There are 85 on the property! The Baba Nest is the crowning glory, where you can literally swim with the birds and enjoy 360-degree views of the Andaman Sea. Large, fluffy beanbags are set out around 5 p.m. for those who want to enjoy the vista without getting wet, and even if you aren’t staying at Sri Panwa, you can make a reservation for a spot on this roof deck by calling the hotel.

Fun Fact: If you want an infinity pool at your disposal 24/7, book a pool villa. As you swim, you get direct views into your master bedroom, which appears to float on a platform over the water. There are more than 75 villas featuring private pools at Sri Panwa, and prices start at $1,000 per night.


Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy hotel pool

Courtesy Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy.

Belmond Hotel Caruso, Ravello, Italy

Set at the highest point above the town of Ravello, this pool is an architectural masterpiece, seemingly suspended in the clouds. Swimming here provides an unparalleled view and breathtaking photo opportunities of the coastline below. Prices from $500 per night.

Fun Fact: The concierge can bring you an iPod pre-loaded with your choice of music and a fresh fruit appetizer. There’s also something called “an Evian vaporizer” for guests. Because when you’re in a pool, you definitely need to mist your face with European bottled water, right?

 Also from Yahoo! Travel: 9 Hotels with Amazing Private Plunge Pools

The Singular, Patagonia, Chile hotel pool

Courtesy The Singular, Patagonia, Chile

The Singular, Patagonia, Chile

Gazing out at the Last Hope Fjord in Puerto Bories, Chile, there’s no way one can help but feel tiny in the face of such awesome, staggering beauty. There is only wild, untouched coast and the snowcapped Patagonian mountains in front of you as you soak in this heated indoor/outdoor pool. It’s definitely an “edge of the Earth” moment.

Fun Fact: In a former life, the property was a early 20th-century cold storage plant. The owners transformed it into a luxury hotel, but they kept a few of the machines as a quirky, private museum collection inside the hotel. Rooms start at $350 per night.


The Park Hyatt, New York City hotel pool

Courtesy The Park Hyatt, New York City

The Park Hyatt, New York City

Debuted in August 2014, the hotel’s breathtaking, three-story aerie on the 25th floor features an indoor swimming pool, modern lines, bright blue water, and incredible poolside service. Those aren’t the only amenities you’ll find here. There are underwater speakers built in the pool walls and floor, and the exclusive soundtrack is specially curated by Carnegie Hall for the Hyatt’s pool. How classy is that?

Fun Fact: As part of the pool experience, guests can indulge in the hydrotherapy hot tub, decadent steam room, and private changing rooms. The starting price for a night’s stay at the hotel starts at $795, but this is one on the list you can enjoy even in winter.

Also from Yahoo! Travel: 10 Best Urban Pools 

The Iniala Beach House, Phuket, Thailand hotel pool

Courtesy The Iniala Beach House, Phuket, Thailand

The Iniala Beach House, Phuket, Thailand

This resort (open since fall 2013) was previously a private home. It was converted to a boutique hotel, offering only three villas and one penthouse. For the rooms and layout, owner Mark Weingard contacted his favorite designers from around the globe. No two rooms are alike. Each villa sleeps six and features a private, unique, infinity pool. Every pool on property faces a pristine stretch of the white sands of Natai Beach and the ocean beyond.

Fun Fact: It’s not cheap to carve out an escape here (villas start around $3,500 per day), but the included amenities are insane. You get daily spa treatments, free activities — like kayaking past herds of water buffalo in Phuket’s estuaries, Muay Thai kickboxing training, and guided mountain bike tours — and dinner at the property’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Aziamendi.


The Hicksville Trailer Palace, Joshua Tree, Calif. hotel pool

Courtesy The Hicksville Trailer Palace, Joshua Tree, Calif.

The Hicksville Trailer Palace, Joshua Tree, Calif.

Who wouldn’t want to pull off the highway for Hicksville? This trailer-park motel is a retreat for artists, from filmmakers to musicians, who come for the peace and fun peculiarity of spending a few days in a restored Airstream ($125) that’s powered by solar energy and has fast Wi-Fi for surfing. The pool is a welcoming attraction in the center of the trailers. Tiny, filled with saltwater, peanut-shaped and heated, it’s a one-of-a-kind place to collaborate on your documentary or have an impromptu jam session with total strangers.

Fun Fact: The Trailer Palace also offers a BB gun range, table tennis, a fire pit for s’mores, and archery. It’s like summer camp for adults, y’all.

 Also from Yahoo! Travel: Six Absolutely Insane Cruise Ship Pools

The Joule, Dallas hotel pool

Courtesy The Joule, Dallas

The Joule, Dallas

This pool has landed on many a list, thanks to its lofty location. The Dallas-based architecture group Architexas cantilevered it eight feet off the side of a Gothic high-rise building smack in the middle of Downtown. Swimmers can literally backstroke above busy city traffic. Room rates to stay here start at $250 per night.

Fun Fact: Valet parking is free here if you arrive in a hybrid vehicle.


Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada hotel pool

Courtesy Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

Stretching more than 50 feet and heated to accommodate the fickle Canadian weather, this one doubles as a work of art thanks to classic Art Deco-styled lights in the pool floor. Based on the time of day or mood of the moment, the lights change color, creating a sensory experience for the swimmers. Natural light also streams in from the adjacent, outdoor restaurant, aptly named Reflections.

Fun Fact: You can stay at this Forbes five-star property for only $230 per night.


The Fairmont Montebello, Quebec, Canada hotel pool

Courtesy The Fairmont Montebello, Quebec, Canada

The Fairmont Montebello, Quebec, Canada

If you love the cold but still crave a great pool, check out Canada’s largest indoor option. Towering cedar timber surrounds you in this log-cabin-housed, 55-meter lap pool.

Fun Fact: Rumor has it that the architects designed this one to be a foot short of the Olympic length on purpose. This assured it would never been used by teams looking to practice and would always retain the peacefulness associated with vacationing in the mountains. Rooms start at $200 a night.


The Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C. hotel pool

Courtesy The Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C.

The Omni Grove Park Inn, Asheville, N.C.

If you can’t afford to stay ($199 per night), it’s no problem. You can still experience one of America’s coolest pools by simply purchasing a day pass to the spa. The Grove Park’s swimming chamber is subterranean and encompasses an amazing 43,000 square feet. Built into the natural rock, there are caves, waterfalls, tunnels, rock walls, and arches to explore. It’s a sensory experience full of bouncing shadows and beautiful colored lights.

Fun Fact: The Omni Grove Park Inn has hosted many celebrated guests including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harry Houdini, Will Rogers, Helen Keller, and Eleanor Roosevelt.


Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Florida hotel pool

Courtesy Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Disney’s Boardwalk Inn Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Disney understandably spares no expense or sense of whimsy when it comes to pools. It was tough to pick just one. Sliding out of a giant clown’s mouth won us over in the end. The pool features an actual roller-coaster water slide, culminating in the carnival-themed, massive blue pool with a carousel bar and elephant statues that spray you with cold water. Rates are from $381 per night.

Fun Fact: At this resort, you can rent surrey bikes that seat two, four, or even six people. Take a cruise down the hotel’s iconic boardwalk.



This article originally ran on Yahoo! Travel

GoPro Hero 4 Black

A Beginner’s Guide to Using a GoPro on Vacation

Note from Wendy:
My husband Tim is a photojournalist so we’re always thinking about how to best document our travels. He’s a big fan of GoPro cameras and filmed this great underwater video when we went snorkeling in Mexico last summer (on a cool trip arranged by my Trusted Travel Expert for diving, Meg Austin). This story by Yahoo! Travel’s Brittany Jones Cooper is a good introduction to using the GoPro equipment, which is sure to help you capture some extraordinary memories.



For me, capturing memories on vacation is essential.

And while your smartphones can capture a lot, you need a camera that can really travel with you…and for that reason, I am officially a GoPro addict.

The GoPro Hero 4

These little cameras are waterproof, damage-proof, and can be mounted to pretty much anything. An added bonus is that the camera shoots in fisheye (very wide-angle) mode, so you can capture everything.

And while it only has three buttons, I encounter a lot of people who get a little intimidated when it comes to using their GoPros. So,in today’s Travel Hacks, I’m going to share three easy ways to step up your travel game using a GoPro camera.

But first, let’s review the buttons. On the front, you have your power button, which you hold down to turn the GoPro on and off. You also use this button to toggle between modes, such as video and photo.

On the side is the settings button. You can use this to adjust the settings within the different shooting modes. Also, if you hold it down for three seconds, it turns on your GoPro’s Wi-Fi.

And finally, we have the button on top, which is the shutter. You use it to take photos or start and stop video recording.

1. Select the right mode

The video and photo settings are very easy to use. You simply press the shutter button on the top to start and stop recording or to snap a photo.

There is also a Multishot mode that allows you to effortlessly capture a ton of photos at one time. I’m a big fan of the Time Lapse Mode, which automatically takes a photo at an interval chosen by you.

To find the Time Lapse Mode
1. Click the mode button until you see Multishot.
2. Use the top shutter button to scroll through until you see Time Lapse.
3. Push the mode button again, which will take you to the second line, where you’ll select your timing.
4. Use the shutter button to select how often you want to take a photo…every .5 seconds, every second, up to every 60 seconds.
5. Press mode/power button to scroll down to the exit screen and press shutter button to select “exit.”
6. Press the shutter button to start recording photos.

As you go about your action, your GoPro is taking a photo every second. This is the mode many athletes use when they capture those awesome once-in-a-lifetime shots.

2. Select the right accessory

There are dozens of great mounts, and if you ski, surf, or bike, you should definitely look into purchasing mounts for those specific activities. But if you’re just starting out, there are three mounts I really recommend.

The first is the Handler. I love this one because it’s perfect if you’re shooting in or out of the water. It’s light and easy to pack and it floats…so you don’t have to worry about losing your GoPro in the water.

The second must-have accessory is the 3-Way. Like the Handler, you can use this to take a selfie or capture a great photo. It also extends if you need to capture more of a scene or get a sense of distance in your photos. And it has this cool tripod that you can use to take stationary shots. I took this awesome photo from the top of Table Mountain in South Africa using my GoPro on the Time Lapse Mode while using the 3-Way tripod.

3. Use the App

The GoPro app is literally a game changer. Setup takes a few minutes, and the instructions are easy to follow.

1. Open the GoPro App and select “Connect to Camera.”
2. Press the “Add a New Camera” button.
3. Select “Add Your HERO4.”
4. Press and hold the Settings button on the left-hand side of the camera until Wi-Fi Mode appears on the screen.
5. Press the mode button to scroll down to “GoPro App” and press the Select button.
6. Press the “Continue” button in the app.
7. Select your camera from the list (e.g., GP245###…).
8. Enter the pin number and select “Pair My Camera.”
9. Create a new camera name and password.
10. You should now see and be able to control the camera to which your phone or tablet is connected.

For more instructions, visit GoPro.

After your camera is set up, simply hold down the Settings button on the side for three seconds until a blue light starts flashing … that’s your Wi-Fi and allows your phone and GoPro to connect.

The coolest part is that you can view and play back photos and videos that you captured on your GoPro. This means that after you take a great photo, you can look at it, save it to your phone, and upload it to Instagram or Facebook within seconds.

And just when you didn’t think it could get any cooler, you can use the app to see a live feed of what you’re viewing. So, if you mount your camera somewhere out of reach, you can use the app to make sure that the image you want in your photo or video is in the frame. How cool is that?!

There are a lot of great things you can do, but that was just a quick beginner’s guide to how to use your GoPro.

If you have any questions, contact me on Twitter or leave them in the comments section below. And if you take any awesome GoPro pictures that you want to share, just tag @yahootravel! I’d love to see them.


More from Yahoo! Travel

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Feeling Stuffed? Here’s How to Work it Off on the Road

Use Your TV as a Phone Charger and More Helpful Hotel Hacks

This article originally ran on Yahoo! Travel

Virgin America Wi-fi

Wi-Fi Report Card: Which Airlines Keep You Connected the Best?

For Internet-addicted business travelers, an in-flight announcement that “Wi-Fi is down at the moment” is enough to induce the shakes. And getting booked on a flight that doesn’t offer Wi-Fi at all is enough to send them into fits of rage.

Fortunately, a new study finds plugged-in road warriors had less reason to panic over their in-flight connectivity last year. And 2015 looks even better.


Also from Yahoo! Travel: The Wi-Fi Race: What Are the Best-Connected U.S. Airlines?


A new report by travel website Routehappy finds U.S. flyers now have at least “some chance” of finding Wi-Fi on 66 percent of domestic flights. In contrast, Routehappy’s last report, in June 2013, found Wi-Fi connectivity on less than half of domestic flights. And the story is getting brighter internationally too.

So what’s the Wi-Fi state of the union? Here are the main highlights of Routehappy’s “Global State of In-Flight Wi-Fi” report.

Routehappy Wi-Fi report

Virgin America is out in front on percentage of flights with Wi-Fi. But when you look at the total number of Wi-Fi-connected flights, it’s another story. (Photo: Routehappy)

Wi-Fi is growing like a weed on U.S. air carriers.

Overall, Virgin America leads Routehappy’s list, with the highest percentage of total flights and flight miles with Wi-Fi (that’s not surprising; unlike many other carriers, all of Virgin America’s planes offer Wi-Fi). Southwest is in second place.

But when you’re talking the raw total number of flights that offer Wi-Fi, Delta Air Lines—which runs many more flights than Virgin—is number one by far. It’s followed by the newly combined American Airlines/US Airways.

Delta Wi-Fi

Because of its size and aggressive upgrades, Delta has more Wi-Fi connected flights than anyone. (Photo: Delta)


Also from Yahoo! Travel: No More In-Flight Wi-Fi for AT&T


United Airlines did top one domestic category: Wi-Fi growth. In Routehappy’s last survey, United offered at least “some chance” of Wi-Fi on 518 U.S. domestic flights. Today, that number is 1,445 flights—a 179 percent increase. American/US was a distant second with a 23 percent increase, followed by Delta with 15 percent.

“Domestically, Wi-Fi is being offered on more flights than ever before,” Jason Rabinowitz, data research manager for Routehappy, tells Yahoo Travel. “All mainline airlines have either finished or are nearly finished rolling out Wi-Fi to their entire domestic fleets.”

It’s not just what airline you fly—it’s where you go.

Routehappy finds that all the busiest U.S. domestic routes (20 daily flights or more in each direction) have Wi-Fi availability on all flights. That includes: New York’s JFK to Los Angeles; New York’s LaGuardia to Boston; LaGuardia to Washington-Dulles; New York’s JFK to San Francisco; and Charlotte to Atlanta.

Wi-Fi and power don’t always go together (but they should).

What’s the point of offering passengers Wi-Fi if their computers, tablets and phones run out of juice while they’re using it? “That drives people crazy,” Rabinowitz says. Offering Wi-Fi without power is like offering mac without cheese: Yeah, you can do it, but what’s the point?

Fortunately, some airlines have gotten that message. In Routehappy’s report, Virgin America leads the way with 100 percent of flight miles with Wi-Fi and in-seat power in Economy class. Alaska Airlines is second, and United is third. But if you’re flying JetBlue or Southwest, you’d better bring a book: Those airlines were found to offer the greatest majority of flights with that unfortunate Wi-Fi/no power combination.


Wi-Fi on international flights

Wi-Fi on international flights is getting much more common, especially on Icelandair. (Photo: Routehappy)

Slowly but surely, Wi-Fi is spreading worldwide.

International airlines have been slower to offer Wi-Fi than U.S.-based airlines, but they’re getting better.  In Routehappy’s latest report, non-U.S. airlines offered at least “some” chance of Wi-Fi on 15 percent of their international flights. That may not seem like much, but it’s still a slight improvement. “As of our last report 18 months ago, very few airlines outside of the United States offered the service, with only a handful of flights each day,” Rabinowitz says. But now, “some airlines have nearly completed the rollout of in-flight Wi-Fi on their entire widebody fleet.”

In all, Routehappy finds nine non-U.S. airlines now offer a “very good” chance of having Wi-Fi on 20 percent or more of their international flight miles: Japan, Emirates, Aeroflot, Iberia, Lufthansa, Singapore and Etihad. On the remaining two airlines—Norwegian and Icelandair—that number tops 80 percent. Overall, the airline with the most international planes with Wi-Fi was United.

Wi-Fi user on a plane

Don’t worry: There’s a lot more Wi-Fi in your future. (Photo: Thinkstock)

The future is bright for Wi-Fi on planes.

Rabinowitz thinks we’re not far from seeing in-flight Wi-Fi that resembles the speedy connections you have at home and the office. “In-flight Wi-Fi will be faster, less expensive and available on airlines you probably wouldn’t have guessed today,” he says. With the launch of newer satellites—which offer better connectivity than the more common land-based Wi-Fi systems—he expects the Wi-Fi experience to greatly improve.

In addition to getting faster, Rabinowitz predicts Wi-Fi will get even more commonplace, with U.S. airlines expanding it to more international routes and to their smaller regional planes as well. “Passengers are not only aware that in-flight Wi-Fi exists, but they actually expect it to be available,” he says.

So it looks like “What do you mean this flight doesn’t have Wi-Fi?” will be a question workaholic business travelers will have to ask less and less.


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This article originally ran on Yahoo! Travel

GoPro Hero 4 Black

11 Cool Things From the Consumer Electronics Show That Will Make Travel Better

While the breathtaking new televisions and connected home displays that do everything except break up with your girlfriend might get the most attention at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there are plenty of excellent new gadgets that could make your next vacation or business trip a little less stressful.


Also from Yahoo! Travel: The New Gadget That Makes Disney Even More Magical


Travel technology is all over the cavernous expo floor, if you know what you’re looking for — from a passport case that promises you’ll never lose your identification documents again to a luggage lock that pops open with a tap of your smart phone. And we’re desperate to get our hands on the luggage GPS tracker, though we bet the airlines are less than stoked about that one.

You’ll get a kick out of this selection of travel gems from this year’s CES that we think will make travel a little bit easier, or at least a lot more fun.

iWallet Passport Holder ($599) — Your passport is the one thing you truly cannot do without when you are traveling internationally. This passport case comes with biometric sensors, ensuring that only you (and up to four other people you authorize) have access to it. Misplacing your passport also becomes a thing of the past, since the case will sound an alarm if you walk more than 10 feet away from it.

SMS ANC Headphones ($280) — The newest version of these noise-canceling headphones not only allows you to tune out the screaming child three rows back, it also offers a premium listening experience that could last your entire trip. Weighing just 200 grams, these headphones have a 70-hour battery life and come with a snazzy leather travel case.

eGee Touch Smart Luggage Locks

Your new luggage lock might be smarter than you are. (Photo: eGee)

eGeeTouch Smart Luggage Locks (Price not available) — eGee’s take on the luggage lock does away with keys and combination codes. Instead, this lock responds to the near field communication feature in your smartphone — opening when you tap your phone against the lock. These locks are also TSA compliant, with a built-in key mechanism that allows authorized agents to gain access.

Trackimo Universe luagge tracking device

Here’s how to know where your luggage is all of the time. (Photo: Trackimo)

Trackimo Universal ($100) — We want this now! Ensure your luggage never gets lost with this GPS Tracker. Just toss one in your bag and you’ll always know where it is — even if the airline doesn’t. You’ll even get a text alert when your bag is moved.

GoPro Hero 4 Black ($500) — GoPro is setting the bar even higher with its latest line of mountable cameras. The Black records in 4K ultra-high definition at a lightning fast 120 frames per second, meaning images stay crisp when you put them in slow motion in your edits. Better still, the user interface has been improved, making it much easier to operate on the go.


Also from Yahoo! Travel: Katie Couric Explains CES


Monster Backfloat Speaker ($169) — Waterproof speakers generally focus more on being waterproof than on being good speakers. Monster’s new entry in the market (in collaboration with Shaquille O’Neal of course) puts out some incredible sound while happily floating in your pool or garden tub, playing anything from your nearby (and safe and dry) smartphone.

Mophie Juice Pack ($99 and up) — Mophie is the king of battery cases for your phone — and rightfully so. This year it offers two new devices for the iPhone 6, effectively doubling the phone’s (already impressive) battery life, letting you take calls and pictures all day (and night) long.

Narrative Clip 2 photo taking device

Finally a camera that lets you document everything all of the time. (Photo: Narrative Clip)

Narrative Clip 2 ($199) — Want to live in the moment and not worry about pulling out your camera but still have pictures commemorating every single thing that you do? So do we. The Narrative Clip 2 is a “life-logging” camera that automatically takes a picture every 30 seconds without any required action from you. The new version shoots 8 MP photos and has a wider field of view than its predecessor. It also automatically uploads the pictures to your phone via WiFi and Bluetooth creating a seamless record of your day without requiring you to do anything at all.

Samsung Portable SSD ($180–$600) — Samsung’s new portable SSD drive is lightning fast, offers storage from 250 GB to 1 TB, and is as small and lightweight as a credit card. Aimed more at business travelers, it’s also useful for people who are shooting a lot of digital video during their trips.


Also from Yahoo! Travel: Wired Babies Invade CES


Powerocks Power Bank Charger ($80) — Now you can avoid being stranded when your rental car battery dies unexpectedly. This charger (which is about the size of a paperback book and weighs under one pound) not only gives your phones and tablets more juice, it can jump-start a car. It’s also equipped with a flashlight, red and blue flashing emergency lights, and a sharp metal corner to knock out a car window in the case of a dire emergency.

Zolt’s Tiny Laptop Charger ($99) — Finally! This teeny tiny charging brick has three USB slots. And with a MagSafe cable ($30) it can power MacBooks that require chargers up to 70 watts. Could this be the charger to end all chargers?

Beating Jet Lag and Travel Exhaustion with Science and Magic

Note from Wendy: My strategy for beating jet lag when flying across an ocean is, upon landing, to make the rest of the day about getting outdoor exercise and sunlight. I walk around sightseeing all day and don’t stop moving till 8 p.m., when I collapse into bed, taking two Benadryl (the drowsy-making kind) or Tylenol PM to ensure I’ll sleep uninterrupted through the night. When I wake up circa 6 a.m., I find I’m adjusted to the new time zone. We all try different ways of coping with jet lag, though—and I got a kick out of these unusual solutions tested by Yahoo! Travel’s Managing Editor Jo Piazza. Maybe one of them will work for you.


Between June and September, I was on the road for about 20 days out of each month.

By the time October rolled around, I was completely knackered. In my years of traveling, I have learned to conquer traditional jet lag. I stay away from both alcohol and caffeine when I travel. I make sure I get eight hours of sleep a night on the road, and I try to work out for at least 30 minutes outside whenever I land in a new place.

But after hopping from time zone to time zone for three months, the jet lag starts to settle into your bones, along with complete and utter travel exhaustion. My immune system was shot. I couldn’t sleep. When I fell asleep, I couldn’t wake up. My whole body hurt in places where I didn’t know my body could hurt. I came down with bronchitis accompanied by a persistent cough that just wouldn’t go away and made mothers pull their children away from me on the subway.

Something had to change, because my travel schedule certainly wasn’t going to. I started talking to other frequent travelers, doctors, scientists, the checkout guy at GNC, and my acupuncturist, anyone who might have a suggestion for how to conquer my complete and utter exhaustion. And then I tried it all. These are the five things I attempted to rebuild my immune system and boost my energy. I’m still traveling just as much, but I haven’t gotten run down again.

1. Blue Light Therapy
Blue LED technology has been used by NASA to adjust researchers’ body clocks to stay synchronized for important space missions and research has shown that blue light can help to improve mood and energy by regulating your circadian rhythms. I got myself a Philips goLITE BLU, which is small and portable and connected to a timer so that it beams 15 minutes of blue light onto my face right when I wake up at 6 a.m. each morning. It is like Avatar every single day. I also keep one in the office timed to energy dips around 3 p.m. It has replaced my 3:30 p.m. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups habit, which was causing an unhealthy sugar spike in the afternoon. I bring it along when I travel and put it next to my hotel bed. It is smaller than my Kindle.

 2. A Vitamin IV Treatment
I had heard of friends using intravenous vitamin therapy to cure their hangovers, but I hadn’t even thought about it to cure anything more than a night of too much tequila. But since I was willing to try anything, I went to Fountain Med Spa in New York City, where they customized an intravenous vitamin bag for me with vitamin B-12 (cyanocobalamin) to help with energy and immunity. They added vitamins B-1 (thiamine), B-2 (riboflavin), B-3 (niacin), and B-6 (pyridoxine) to help with my metabolism, fatigue, and skin.

Also from Yahoo! Travel: 10 Ways to Stay Healthy While Flying


“Vitamin C is ascorbic acid, and only a small amount can be absorbed orally a day,” said Dr. Todd Schlifstein of Fountain, explaining why the IV treatment was more effective. “Phosphatidylcholine also helps booster your immune system, which may be lowered due to travel, fatigue, and lack of sleep. Intravenous vitamins are a quick way to recover from jet lag, fatigue, and just feeling rundown after a trip.”

I was a little scared at first. Needles! IVs! But they calmed me down with the promise of a moisturizing facial and after the initial prick, I hardly noticed that I was hooked up to the drip for the better part of an hour.

Dr. Schlifstein told me I might not feel anything right away.

“Some people feel it right after they hop off the table,” he said. “Some don’t.” I didn’t. But within a few days, I definitely noticed a difference in my energy levels. And I haven’t been sick since (fingers crossed).

Also from Yahoo! Travel: These Apps Claim to Help You Get Over Jet Lag — But, Do They Work?


3. Supplements
I have a friend, who shall remain nameless, who is the queen of supplements. If it guarantees that she will look 12 years younger or that it will make her boyfriend perform better in bed, she will buy a crate of it. And so when she recommended something called Youth H2O, I blew her off. But then I chatted with Youth H2O’s nutritionist Manuel Villacorta about what it could do for me.

“Jet lag means low energy. Your immunity is compromised, and your system is unbalanced,” Villacorta said. “Youth H2O is filled with three ingredients that are extremely potent and will get you back up to speed with one shot in this easy energy booster.” The drink, sold in shot form, contains maca, which raises stamina and focus; camu, which supports the immune system; and purple corn, which is filled with antioxidants to ward off exhaustion.

Also from Yahoo! Travel: Everything You Need to Know About Sleeping on the Plane and Beating Jet Lag


4. Acupuncture
Most people think of acupuncture as a way to relieve pain and stress, but it can also do wonders for your immune system.

When we get sick, our immune system is unable to defend against the invading bacteria. Traditional Chinese medicine works to rid the body of blockages that are making the immune system work more slowly or ineffectively. I had four different appointments with an acupuncturist. She selected about 10 points—my wrists, the top of my head, my ear lobes, my belly and my feet—where the needles would help my nervous system to remove those blockages. Each session last about an hour and she gave me a delightful neck rub during each appointment.

5. Magic
I happened to mention my exhaustion to my friend Anabel, who is a practicing Wiccan.

“Where have you been?” she asked.

“All over,” I replied. “Ireland, Bermuda, New Orleans.” She nodded.

“It was New Orleans. You probably have a jinx.”

“A jinx?” I asked.

“A curse, a hex, a jinx.” And so she gave me a jinx-removing candle. I burned it for seven days, and I have to say, I have never felt better.

Cyber Monday Travel Deals

Note from Wendy: Luxe hotel stays are nice, but sometimes it’s better to scrimp on your hotel room so you can splurge on special experiences at your destination. These steep travel deals let you do just.

It’s that time of the year, when hungry shoppers start lining up in droves for post-Thanksgiving shopping deals, whether it’s on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. This year, even the travel industry is getting in on the action — everywhere you look, there are Cyber Monday deals galore.

Omni Hotels
This year, Omni’s Seasons of Savings Package is giving Cyber Monday a head start to book pre-or-post holiday vacations at almost every Omni property for $89 to $169. The package started last week and is bookable through Cyber Monday, Dec. 1. The offer is valid for stays through Jan. 31, 2015.

MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises, with its fleet of 12 ships, has also started its sale already — and it will continue through Cyber Monday. Here’s a sample: on MSC Divina, passengers can choose from 2015 winter and spring dates departing from Miami and sailing to the Caribbean, as well as Bermuda. Rates range as low as $99 per person for two-night sailing to $349 per person for a seven-night sailing. (Do the math: a seven-day cruise comes to $49 a night… that’s really cheap.)

Atlantis Resort, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Want to hit the beach this winter? Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island is offering massive savings of up to 50 percent off winter travel. This once-a-year-deal is valid for travel between Dec. 1, 2014 through Mar. 31, 2105 and includes great add-ons, like kids under 12 eat breakfast and dinner free, with the purchase of an adult meal plan.

Kimpton Hotels in Florida 
Snowbirds rejoice. Look for savings of up to 20 percent at Kimpton’s Florida hotels: EPIC Hotel in downtown Miami, Surfcomber Miami, South Beach, Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, and The Angler’s. The sale starts on Nov. 26 for Kimpton Karma members; on Nov. 28, the sale opens to the general public. Rates are available for stays now through Mar. 1.

Peninsula Hotels
The Peninsula Hotels’ three U.S. properties — New York, Chicago, and Beverly Hills — are offering their largest rate promotion of the year, with rooms discounted up to 30 percent, as well as other discounts, like 30 percent off some treatments at the Peninsula Spa in New York. And with cool winter events, like an outdoor ice skating rink on the fourth floor of the Peninsula Chicago, you know it’s going to be a can’t-miss experience.

Sonesta Hotels and Resorts
Sonesta Hotels and Resorts has properties across the U.S., from Boston to Fort Lauderdale to New Orleans. Here, the Cyber Monday promotion gives you up to 25 percent off two night stays for reservations — just use promo code Cyber2014.

Ski season has begun, and Liftopia, a digital marketplace for advance purchase lift tickets, just launched its annual Black Friday Preview on Monday, Nov. 24. The promotion allows skiers and boarders to save on lift tickets all season — up to 87 percent when you stack them up against walk-up prices.

More from Yahoo! Travel

Get Ready for Cyber Monday Deals

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Wendy’s Wisdom:

Sometimes any old hotel room will do, but when you need a one-of-a-kind hotel room–complete with the special treatment that preferred guests get—that’s the moment to reach out to the right Trusted Travel Expert on Wendy’s WOW List.

The pool on the Royal Princess cruise ship

8 Cruise-Ship Pools that Make You Say Wow

Note from Wendy: Cruise-ship pools used to be tiny, boring, and pretty much all the same. Nowadays there’s a huge variety: indoor spa pools, private-deck pools, adults-only pools, pools with outdoor movies, pools with scuba lessons…. Yahoo! Travel has pinpointed eight of the coolest pools at sea today, and they’re worth looking at so you know all your options.


When temperatures rise, take a dip. Floating in a pool on a cruise ship that’s gliding along the ocean is an inimitable indulgence—especially when it’s in one of the industry’s most remarkable pool oases. Dive in on one of these eight wow-factor cruise ship pools and you’ll have to think twice about getting off in port.

1. Princess Cruises

Princess Cruises touts their signature “Movies Under the Stars” poolside cinema (see photo above) on nearly all of their ships, but it’s the Royal Princess and Regal Princess that boast the biggest movie screens at sea. Watch favorite flicks or sporting events day or night while swimming in the duo of freshwater pools, and for an extra dab of dazzle, catch the colorful water-and-light show put on by the adjacent dancing fountains.

Viking Cruises cruise ship pool

Photo courtesy Viking Cruises.

2. Viking Cruises

Viking Cruises‘ upcoming trio of oceangoing vessels—the Viking Star, Viking Sky, and Viking Sea, debuting in 2015 and 2016—will be outfitted with onboard infinity pools, a rarity for the industry. Backed by glass paneling, the infinity pools will cantilever over the ships’ stern, allowing passengers to fully immerse themselves in the ocean and port-side scenery.

Pool on the Sun Boat III cruise ship

Pool on the Sun Boat III. Photo by Mohammed Ismail—Abercrombie & Kent Picture Library.

3. Sanctuary Retreats

Onboard Sanctuary RetreatsSun Boat III, guests float along the Nile River. Fittingly, “Cleopatra’s Oasis” on the upper deck proposes the perfect perch to combine a refreshing dip with ogling of ancient temples along the riverbanks. The watering hole-style oasis is fringed by live palm trees, a sun deck with canopied daybeds, and an open-air bar—though it’s up to you to bring along somebody willing to fan you and feed you grapes.

cruise ship pool on AmaWaterways AmaPrima

The pool on the AmaPrima. Photo courtesy AmaWaterways.

4. AmaWaterways

It’s fairly uncommon for European river vessels to have a pool at all, let alone one with a nifty swim-up bar. Board AmaWaterwaysAmaCerto, AmaPrima, AmaSerena, AmaReina, or AmaSonata, and you can take in the passing European landscapes from the comfort of a heated swimming pool, froufrou cocktail served up on command. As if you needed to take any more of a load off, the swim-up bars also come equipped with in-water seating, where you can sip your swill without a care.

cruise ship pool on Royal Caribbean

Photo courtesy Royal Caribbean

5. Royal Caribbean

Disappear deep into the Asian jungle-inspired retreat that is the adults-only (ages 16 and up) Solarium aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the SeasA pool and large whirlpool serves as the centerpiece to this transporting center for R & R, replete with verdant foliage, playful water features, and elephant statuary, all set at the entrance of the ship spa. Plus, with a retractable glass roof, the Solarium is relaxation-ready, whether the weather cooperates or not.

Infinity-style pool on the MSC Divina cruise ship

Infinity-style pool on the MSC Divina. Photo courtesy MSC Cruises.

6. MSC Cruises

Sail aboard MSC CruisesMSC Divina, where the onboard infinity-style pool is almost as much of a draw as the Caribbean ports the ship sails to. The adults-only, Zen-inspiring Garden Pool exudes minimalist design and is trimmed by four resounding sculptures that emit sounds from nature (like bird songs and waterfalls). The pool’s infinity edge melds with the ocean for seamless views, while a lively pool bar dishes out perfectly frothy drinks.

Pool on the Oasis of the Seas

Pool on the Oasis of the Seas. Photo courtesy Royal Caribbean.

7. Royal Caribbean’s AquaTheater

Sister Royal Caribbean ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas tout the deepest onboard pools at sea—reaching depths of nearly 18 feet. Popular public pools by day (and the setting for afternoon scuba lessons), bordered by tiered platforms overloaded with lounge chairs, the kidney-shaped pools transform into the AquaTheater come nightfall, where aquatic performers—high-diving aerial athletes, water acrobats, synchronized swimmers, and more—reinvent the space as a theatrical venue, complete with amphitheater-style seating. Look, too, for a synchronized fountain show here, with shoots of water that reach up to 65 feet high.

The pool on the Marina. Photo courtesy Oceania Cruises.

The pool on the Marina. Photo courtesy Oceania Cruises.

8. Oceania Cruises

Classy Oceania twin ships Marina and Riviera each boast stylish pool areas, fringed by teak decks, soothing greenery, a duo of whirlpools, a pool bar, and plenty of plush lounge chairs. A water fountain feature adds atmosphere, while a large, built-in TV screen (airing movies, sports, and more) encourages guests to fully submit to being refreshingly submerged. The pool really pops, however, come evening, when soothing blue LED illuminations set the pool area’s sleek design aglow.


More from Yahoo! Travel

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Wendy’s Wisdom:

If you want your next cruise to be extraordinary, you’ll need a lot more than a cool pool. Ensure you get the right ship, cabin, and itinerary for your needs—and the best value for your dollar—by consulting with one of Wendy’s Trusted Travel Experts for Cruises.