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Editor's Letter,
January 2018

Dear ActiveTravels Members,

We are happy to present to you our yearly roundup of all that is new and exciting in the travel world this year. Our newsletter  features 2018's New Resorts, Cruise Ships, Adventures, and more that you'll definitely want on your radar for the coming year. 

This is the time to take a moment, gather your loved ones, and make a plan! If you don't, the days blur into months and before you know it, a whole year has passed again. Do you want to spend another year without making memories with those you adore in places you want to explore? Certainly not! 

With the long Martin Luther King Jr. weekend ahead of you, make that phone call to your family or friends and start a conversation about scheduling time away together. Next step, call or email ActiveTravels to brainstorm with us where and how to check off some of those locales on your  bucket list this year. 

Where is ActiveTravels going this coming year? Steve and I and our Marketer Extraordinaire, Amy Basseches and her husband, Josh, will be sailing in the British Virgin Islands together come early February. Steve and I also hope to travel to Peru or Colombia in the Fall.  Our bright and bubbly assistant, Rachel DeLong, recently traveled to Iceland and in the coming year she'll be staying closer to home and visiting Lake George, NY, York, Maine, and their beloved Storyland in New Hampshire with her hubby and adorable 3 and 1 year old boys.

Where do you want to go? Come up with either the time frame or the destination, contact us and we'll brainstorm with you and steer you in the right direction. We want to help you to actively engage in travel this coming year and make your dreams a reality for you and your loved ones.
Have a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Traveled 2018!

Steve & Lisa
New Resorts You Won't Want to Miss in 2018

Lago di Como, Italy
This intimate hotel will be the first five-star property smack dab in the city of Como, combining stunning views of the lake with easy access to restaurants and shops when it opens in June. Housed in a former palazzo, it has 18 rooms and suites and a rooftop "infinity bar" with a counter overlooking the water. 

Megeve, France
A modern interpretation of an alpine chalet, Four Seasons' first European mountain hotel has 55 guest rooms and suites, and five restaurants and lounges, including a new incarnation of the Michelin two-star restaurant Le 1920. In addition to 235 groomed snow runs in winter, guests have preferred access to the Mont d'Arbois Golf Club close by

Paris, France
Matisse and Picasso would approve of the new incarnation of their beloved Hotel Lutetia Paris, a Left Bank staple that first debuted in 1910. When it reopens in the spring, the hotel will feature 184 guest rooms and a sultry jazz club that harkens back to the nights when Josephine Baker roamed the hotel's hallways. 

When it opens this month, this new all-inclusive property will offer butler service, a villa-inspired spa, two swimming pools, private beachside cabanas, and state-of-the-art fitness center. Accommodations include one and two-bedroom suites and three-bedroom villas. All accommodations feature a fully-equipped kitchen with high-end stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and private balconies.

Grenada, Caribbean
The first major resort to open on Grand Anse beach in 25 years, Silversands will bring a new level of luxury to Grenada when it opens in March. Along with 43 suites, it will have a 100-meter swimming pool, the longest in the Caribbean. Guests can also find a spa retreat and two globally inspired restaurants. 

Puebla, Mexico
This historic city has long been esteemed for its rich history and colonial architecture but until now has been lacking in equally charming places to stay. That changed in November with the opening of Hotel Cartesiano, with 78 rooms and suites in three 18th-century buildings a stone's throw from the main city square and many historical sites. The design is woven with contemporary Mexican art and architectural elements like sections of beautifully decayed original brickwork. 

Los Cabos, Mexico

Cabo is getting a new infusion of grown-up luxury via the latest outpost of Ritz-Carlton's highest-of-high-end hospitality, which makes its debut early 2018. On the coast of San José del Cabo, the resort has 115 elegant villas with private pool, two championship golf courses, and a desert botanical park. 

Golfo de Chiriqui, Panama
Clients who have already ventured to Lapa Rios, Arenas del Mar, and Finca Rosa Blanca know the level of luxury and sense of indigenous style the Cayuga Collection can offer. Now they have plans to venture into Panama this June when they open 8 beachfront casitas on a private island. If you were wise, you'd book it now for next winter. 

Savannah, Georgia
Bridging the antebellum past with modern comforts, this hotel aims to offer Southern hospitality at its best. On the main thoroughfare of the downtown corridor, the Perry Lane will have 167 guest rooms when it opens this spring. The development team spent five years studying Savannah, so they've figured out how to transform all that history into a 21st-century hotel.  

West Hollywood, California

Luxury and style define this new West Hollywood hotel, opening this month in the walkable Design District neighborhood. White oak floors and string art installations decorate the 105 guest rooms and suites. Guests will enjoy the heated outdoor pool and custom bicycles available for exploring the area. The pet-friendly hotel also offers a hosted evening social hour.

Grand Canyon, Arizona  
Sumptuous outdoor accommodations come to the Grand Canyon this summer, when 56 secluded acres of forest will be transformed into the ultimate glamping experience. Guests can explore one of the wonders of the world or enjoy an extensive variety of activities a short distance away for outdoor adventure with the comforts of home.

New York, New York
Opening in January, the 394-room Freehand New York will be housed in the former George Washington Hotel in the Flatiron District (Lexington and 23rd), once home to many storied writers and musicians. The property's restaurant, Simon & The Whale, and its cocktail lounge, The George Washington Bar, will be led by acclaimed West Village restaurateur Gabriel Stulman. A rooftop restaurant is slated to open in spring. 

New Cruise Ships Making Waves in 2018

Royal Caribbean is readying to roll out the world's largest cruise ship-again. Come April, the Symphony of the Seas-weighing in at nearly 230,000 tons, with 18 decks and a capacity for a 5,535 guests-will steal the "biggest cruise ship" crown from its sister vessel, the Harmony of the Seas, which has reigned since 2016. On board, the ship comes loaded with the line's signature wow-factor diversions, such as robot bartenders, a waterfront theater, an ice-skating rink, and a 10-story slide. During its inaugural summer season, the behemoth cruises the Mediterranean from Barcelona, followed up by a winter run in the Caribbean. 

Crystal Cruises started offering river cruises in 2016, and in spring 2018 it will add two brand-new "river yachts": the 106-passenger Crystal Debussy and  Crystal Ravel. The duo follows on the heels of sister ships Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler, which debuted in 2017. The vessels stand out for their all-suite, above-the-waterline accommodations, with guest rooms boasting posh extras like king-size beds, walk-in closets, and personal butler service.  The Debussy and Ravel will ply some of Europe's most popular waterways, with itineraries scheduled on the Rhine, Danube, and Main.

The first ocean-going ship for river cruise line Scenic, the sleek, 228-passenger Scenic Eclipse launches in August as a cutting-edge expedition craft. It is equipped not only with fancy equipment designed for intrepid exploration-including two helicopters and a six-passenger submarine-but also a 5,900-square-foot spa; four pools; all-balcony, butler-serviced suite accommodations; and nine dining venues and eight bars. Sign up for polar expeditions to Antarctica or the Arctic or for sailings to destinations including Cuba and South America. 

New Adventures to Try in 2018

Ever since Backroads partnered with AmaWaterways to bring families to the Danube River in 2015, the demand has far exceeded number of available berths. The chance to ride along the river on bike paths during the day though small European villages and then catch up with the cruise for cocktails, dinner, and your room for the week (no packing and unpacking) is ideally suited for all age groups. 

Now Backroads is bringing their active travel itineraries to the oceans. They are partnering with Lindblad, Un-Cruise, and Ponant on voyages to Alaska, Antarctica, Japan, New Zealand, the Baltic Sea, Galápagos, Iceland and more - totaling 51 departures on 14 itineraries. 

The bulk of the trips will debut in 2019 but they are already offering one cruise the summer of 2018 on the National Geographic Explorer, a 10-day multi-sport trip to Iceland. Bike along the shore of a remote fjord on Backroads custom-designed titanium bikes, hike volcanic moonscapes and untamed islands on off-the-beaten-path excursions, and jump in a Zodiac when your naturalist spot passing whales, seals, and rugged cliffs teeming with nesting seabirds like puffins. 

Contact ActiveTravels for any Backroads itinerary and we'll be more than happy to find out who already signed up for the trip and if the ages are appropriate for you and your family. 

"Life is Good Vacations will allow us to combine our love and respect for the outdoors with Life is Good's mission to approach each day with positivity. We will work together to design multi-sport itineraries, with activities including hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding and mountain top yoga, infused with expressions of gratitude and optimism," says Austin Adventures founder, Dan Austin. We've traveled twice with Austin Adventures, on a family multi-sport trip to the Canadian Rockies and with Dan Austin and his daughter, Kasey, on a relatively new outing to the Broadmoor Wilderness Camps on the outskirts of Colorado Springs. Both trips were memorable. So much so, in fact, that we have no qualms about placing our members on any of their itineraries. They always come back with glowing reviews from their experience. We're excited about this new venture, especially since Life is Good started around the corner from us, in a small room atop Bob's Sub Shop in ActiveTravels' home office location of Newton Upper Falls. In 2018, Austin plans to offer six family and adult Life Is Good Vacations in Montana, Utah, the Canadian Rockies and Costa Rica. 

You don't typically go to Tanzania for the food. Unless you're traveling with the James Beard-award winning chef Jody Adams, best know for her long stint at Rialto in Cambridge, Mass. Thomson Safaris, experts on safari travel to Tanzania for more than two decades, will travel with Chef Adams from October 4-16, 2018. You'll see lions, giraffes, elephant and zebras in the wild, interact with Tanzanians in both traditional and modern contexts, all while savoring Tanzanian cuisine in luxury camps in the Serengeti. The culinary finale will be a hands-on cooking class in the lavish accommodations of Gibbs Farm, a working coffee plantation and pioneer in organic farming.

Random Openings 
Worth Checking Out in 2018!

Orlando, Florida
One of the most anticipated openings for 2018 is Toy Story Land, expected to open early this summer at Walt Disney World Resort's Hollywood Studios just outside Orlando. Attractions and restaurants in the 11-acre land will be themed on toys from the "Toy Story" movie series, like the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster and Woody's Lunch Box, a quick-service window serving soda floats and more. Another ride will be Alien Swirling Saucers, where aliens circling in flying saucers pull along rocket ships full of guests. 

Paris, France

Paris' art scene will get a breath of fresh air when L'Atelier des Lumières opens in April to the public. Devoted to immersive art experiences, each year the Atelier will showcase a major exhibition offering a digital perspective on one of art's biggest names, allowing you to step inside the world's most famous artworks. Covering a whopping 2000 square meters, L'Atelier des Lumières is set to utterly transform a 19th-century factory, with innovative, 8 meter-high projections cloaking its walls.

Hudson Yards, New York City

When it opens in the fall of 2018, Vessel will be a spectacular climbable installation in the middle of the new Hudson Yards development, which is set to regenerate the city's Far West Side (previously an industrial zone). The glinting copper structure will be the centerpiece of the Public Square and Gardens and will comprise 154 interconnecting flights of stairs in a geometric pattern. Visitors can ascend the 148-feet high structure via the mile-long network of pathways, with each staircase providing a slightly different perspective on the revitalized neighborhood below.

©2017 Active Travels