Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Royalty at Sea - Tour the Glamorous Queen Ships

Royalty at Sea: Tour the Glamorous Queen Ships

In 1936, the Cunard ship Queen Mary was decommissioned from war service and assigned to express sailings between England and New York, launching an era of crossing the Atlantic in style. This glamour has become synonymous with the entire line of Queen ships, including the newest of Cunard’s cruise boats, the Queen Victoria.

In December 2007, the newest of Cunard’s cruise ships, the Queen Victoria (pictured), set sail from Southampton, England, on its maiden voyage. In 2008, the ship celebrates its European heritage by offering itineraries to iconic ports such as the Mediterranean’s whitewashed seaside villages and northern Europe’s dreamlike fjords.

Fireworks in NY harbor for the 3 Cunard Queens!

Passengers are made most welcome upon entering the lobby of the newest Cunard ocean liner, the Queen Victoria

Of the 990 staterooms onboard the Queen Victoria, the most opulent are the four Grand Suites named for past Cunard liners: Aquitania, Berengaria, Mauretania and Laconia.

Guests on the Queen Victoria are assigned to dine at one of three restaurants: the Britannia Restaurant, the Queens Grill and the Princess Grill (pictured is the al fresco courtyard for the grills). In addition, diners may pull up a chair at several smaller caf?s and lounges, or choose from a private-dining menu for delivery to their stateroom.

This spiral staircase leads to the Queen Victoria’s library. The 6,000-title selection of reading material will come in handy for those who set sail in 2009 on the ship’s inaugural “Full World” cruises, which will take passengers around the globe through famous waters from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean over more than 80 days.

Fencing class is one of the many activities hosted in the Queens Room on the Queen Victoria. At night, this room converts to a ballroom where couples glide across the gleaming dance floor under shimmering chandeliers.

Beginning service in January 2004, the Queen Mary 2 was the largest cruise ship at the time of its completion (a distinction that now belongs to Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas). At 147 feet longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall, this regal ship holds up to 2,592 guests.

The Queen Mary 2’s Grand Lobby staircase is just one visual reminder that you are ascending to a new world of luxury onboard. The ship’s varied itineraries escort guests to the ports of cosmopolitan cities such as Sydney and Singapore.

The well-known Canyon Ranch Spa also has a location at sea aboard the Queen Mary 2, where guests can receive treatments such as facials and massages. For those looking for more active pursuits, the ship’s Sports Deck includes two pools, a golf simulator and putting green, basketball and shuffleboard courts and more.

All aboard, Fifi and Fido! The Queen Mary 2 is pet-friendly, offering a kennel program for all crossings between New York and Southampton, England. A full-time kennel master cares for the furry passengers housed in the ship’s 12 kennels. The kennels and adjacent indoor and outdoor walking areas are open throughout the day so passengers can interact with their pets.

Passengers on the Queen Mary 2 can experience cultural treats such as black-tie soirees, West End-caliber theater productions and gourmet wine tastings. Stargazers can catch a glimpse of the heavens in the ship’s planetarium.

In 1967, the Queen Elizabeth 2 was launched by Her Majesty, for whom the ship was named. In the more than 40 years since then, the liner has carried more than 2.5 million passengers and has crossed the Atlantic Ocean more than 800 times.

The historic Queen Elizabeth 2 is being retired in 2008. Its final voyage will set sail on Nov. 11 on an itinerary that will take it from Southampton to Dubai.

Guests onboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 may dine in a variety of settings, including the Queens, Princess and Britannia grills and the Caronia and Mauretania restaurants. Casual options also abound, from the midnight buffet at the Lido to pints in the Gold Lion Pub.

Nothing says British tradition like afternoon tea in the Queens Room aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2. White-gloved waiters serve tea leaves plucked from around the world, accompanied by fresh cucumber sandwiches and jam-smothered scones.

The three queens had a once-in-a-lifetime rendezvous in New York Harbor in January. The Queen Victoria, Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 held court in the waters near Manhattan, illuminated by fireworks and witnessed by another famous lady — the Statue of Liberty.

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Monday, 28 April 2008

World's Best Awards: Top 10 Hotels

1. Oberoi Udaivilas; Udaipur, India: Perched on the banks of Lake Pichola in the heart of Rajasthan, the Oberoi Udaivilas gives guests the royal treatment. Choose your level of luxury: perhaps a room with a private terrace overlooking the hotel’s moated pool, or the 2,650-square-foot, fit-for-a-maharaja Kohinoor Suite, with fireplaces, a private pool and a wooden sauna. Top it all off with an afternoon in the hotel’s Oberoi Spa by Banyan Tree, where treatment suites look out onto the cream-colored walls of the grand 16th-century City Palace.

2. Singita Sabi Sand/Kruger National Park, South Africa: Four lodges inside Sabi Sand Reserve and the Kruger National Park offer guests a perfect vantage point for spotting game or simply enjoying the surrounding landscape. Survey the savannah for buffalo, elephant, lions, leopards and antelope from the open-air lounge of Singita Boulders Lodge, or take in a view of the Sand River, and perhaps also see some game, from your private plunge pool at the Singita Ebony Lodge.

3. The Oriental, Bangkok: Having recently undergone a $75 million renovation, each room and suite in this hotel, which claims a 130-year history, is designed with traditional Thai sensibilities. Across the Chao Phrya River, the hotel’s Oriental Spa offers distinctive touches as well, such as heated scrub tables and an herbal steam bath.

4. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet: This hotel has had an unusual past: It was fashioned from a century-old neoclassic Turkish prison. Conditions, though, are far from austere. Conveniently located near the Blue Mosque and Topkapi Palace, this intimate property’s 65 rooms and suites—each decorated to blend with the architectural heritage of the city—surround an open courtyard and combine ancient charm with modern comfort.

5. The Milestone, London: Overlooking Kensington Palace, this hotel’s property has been the site of a private dwelling, an academy for young gentlemen, a Jesuit school and an insane asylum. The current structures, built in the 1880s and restored in 1999, now house 45 bedrooms, 12 suites and six two-bedroom apartments, all boasting five-star comfort and easy access to attractions such as the Royal Albert Hall, Harrods and the West End.

6. Relais Il Falconiere; Cortona, Italy: This Relais & Chateaux hotel offers guests a Tuscan vacation to remember with themed stays. You can opt for a cooking school experience, a wine tour-focused trip or a hunting holiday.

7. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve; Sabi Sands, South Africa: The Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, inside South Africa’s Sabi Sand Reserve, boasts four luxury lodges, not to mention “Big Five” game: elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalo. Each lodge is designed around a different theme, from Selati Cam, which pays homage to Africa’s colonial days, to the more modern-in-theme Earth Lodge, which boasts an eco-harmonious design (the lodge is sculpted into a slope in the earth).

8. Mandarin Oriental, Munich: This hotel offers 73 luxury rooms and suites in the heart of the city’s action. A five-minute walk will take you to Munich’s Old Town square (the Marienplatz), where you’ll find caf?s, bars and designer shops. Even closer: Maximilianstrasse, a mecca of high-end fashion and jewelry, as well as Renaissance and Gothic architecture. End your day with a dip in the Mandarin Oriental’s rooftop pool, where you’ll enjoy 360-degree views of the surrounding city.

9. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii: Located on the Kona-Kohala Coast, on the Big Island of Hawaii, this hotel offers an elegant home base from which to see the island’s diverse offerings. Take a day trip to see active volcanoes, tour a nearby coffee plantation or stay close to home and just relax on the beach or play a round on the resort’s private Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course.

10. Oberoi Amarvilas; Agra, India: The sight to see here is, of course, the Taj Mahal—and the Oberoi Amarvilas delivers. The hotel offers views of the monument (built in the 17th century by Emperor Shah Jahan to honor his late wife) from each of its 102 rooms and suites. For a closer look at the world’s most famous shrine to love, the resort offers guests complimentary transfers to and from the Taj in environmentally friendly, battery-operated buggies.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Miss Arab World 2007 Contest In Cairo

Dubai: Miss Bahrain bagged the Miss Arab World 2007 crown in Cairo on Friday night after nearly six hours of contest

Wafaa Ganahi, a 23-year-old teacher from the Law Faculty of Bahrain University, won the title, while the first runner-up was 25-year-old Miss Egypt Shaimaa Mansour. Miss Lebanon Rula Bahij, 23, was the second runner-up. Wafaa, Bahrain's first ever contestant in the event, was crowned by Miss Arab World 2006 Claudia Hanna from Iraq.

Asked whether she would continue her teaching career, Wafaa hesitantly nodded in affirmation.

Earlier, Shaimaa, who is a football referee, said she was attending the contest to promote Egypt's tourism and sports.

Seventeen women from 15 countries attended the final competition, one of the major attractions of the second Arab Tourism Festival, which opened in Cairo.

The first Miss Arab World Contest was held in Sharm Al Shaikh last year (2006).

(Text taken from: http://www.bahrainembassy.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=document.home&id=104)

Candidates Came From 16 Arab Countries

Miss Arab World 2007 Runner Up

Miss Arab World 2007 Winner ( Wafa Yaqoob Bahrain )

Miss Arab World 2007 Wafaa Ganahi poses with first runner-up Egyptian Shaimaa Mansour (second left), second runner-up Lebanese Rula Bahij (left), third runner-up Tunisian Khadija Mrabt (second right) and fourth runner-up Libyan Rima Al Kseri, in the contest results in Cairo.

Further references:

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