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Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter
Travel Savings Alerts Newsletter, December 2010 Issue

Travel Savings Alerts
P.O. Box 91033
Columbus OH 43209
ISSN: 1542-801X, Copyright  2010 
All Rights Reserved.
Editor: Nicki Chodnoff

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Bengals Spa Kit thumb
NFL Team Branded Spa Bag

Every fan deserves to be pampered with this extravagant spa bag, available for all 32 NFL teams plus the Ohio State University.
  • Each spa bag includes - an 8 oz jar of natural brown sugar scrub with 3 natural raw sugars for gentle but deep exfoliation
  • 8 oz jar of goat's milk and honey lotion with shea butter and Vitamin E - natural moisturizers that help hydrate and nourish skin
  • 8 oz jar of Mediterranean Sea Salts - solar evaporated and one of the world's purest salts
  • 2 bottles of nail polish in team colors.

Priced at $39.99 per bag, each spa bag comes packaged in a lovely organza gift bag. Quantities are limited. Purchase at ke specialties llc.

In This Issue:
Confederate Monument at Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, TN

Confederate Monument at Elmwood Cemetery

  • Christmas, New Year Deals in Copenhagen
  • Home Exchange for Xmas and Anytime
  • All-Inclusive Hard Rock Opens in Punta Cana
  • Off Season Deals from The Broadmoor
  • American Intro Fares to Barbados
  • Packing Made Simple
  • Holiday Resort Deals at Florida Marriotts
  • China Spree Savings for 12-Day, 5-City Tour
  • Save up to $1,000 on Amalfi Package
  • Yellowstone Park Lodges for less than $55 per Night
  • The Chateaux Winter Season Promotions
  • Caribbean Stay Under $50 Per Night
  • Kiawah Island 20th Anniversary Ryder Cup Package
  • Marketplace for Last Minute Vacation Rentals
  • Cell Phone Replacing Room Keys
  • Up to 50% Off w/Dolce Winter Escape
  • Hurtigruten Easter 11-day Cruise
  • MilitaryTravelZone $100 Hotel Rebate
  • The Uncivil Civil War
  • Holland America Facebook Contest

    • Christmas, New Year Deals in Copenhagen

      The Brochner Hotels in Copenhagen have a gift for you: one night free when you book a double room at Hotel Kong Arthur, Hotel Fox, Hotel Danmark or Ibsens Hotel in Copenhagen. Book one night and stay for two, book two nights and stay for three, etc. Prices start at DKK 415 per person, per night based on double occupancy. Available Dec. 17, 2010 through Jan. 3, 2011.

      The Christmas All-Inclusive package at Hotel Danmark gives you one night's accommodation, a two-course traditional Danish Christmas meal at the hotel's restaurant, full breakfast and free high-speed Internet access. (From DKK 600 pp/n, Dec. 17 to 22, and Dec. 27 to 30, 2010.

      The Christmas Spa Break at Hotel Kong Arthur includes a 65-minute Ole Henriksen Christmas treatment, access to the hotel's fitness and spa facilities, organic breakfast, free Internet access and more. From DKK 1595 pp/pn, through Jan. 3, 2011.

      The five-star Radisson Blu Royal Hotel wants you to celebrate the season in style. For Christmas, the Tivoli Gardens package includes a one-night stay in a standard double room with breakfast for two and admission for two to Tivoli Gardens. From DKK 833 per person, per night.

      The Copenhagen Christmas Mini Break at Arp-Hansen Hotels puts you in the heart of Copenhagen, walking distance from Tivoli Gardens, shopping and the cafes of Nyhavn. Prices start from DKK 890 per room, per night for four people with a maximum of two people older than 18. Breakfast is included and there is a two night minimum. Available weekends, holidays and Dec. 20 to Jan. 2, 2011.

      The family-friendly package at the Tivoli Hotel all-inclusive includes an overnight stay in a standard room with two extra beds; full breakfast; admission to Tivoli Gardens and Tivoli Aquarium; one multi-ride ticket per person; meal at a participating Tivoli Gardens restaurant; ride photo; small Build-A-Bear gift for each child age three to 11; free shuttle bus to and from the park; free admission to the hotel swimming pool, playroom, outdoor playground and fitness center. The price for two adults and two children (ages three to 11) is DKK 595 per person. Available through Dec. 30, 2010, except the 24 and 25.

      The Christmas rate at the Copenhagen Admiral Hotel is DKK 325 per person in a shared double room. Add DKK 135 per person for the breakfast buffet. Available Dec. 18 to30, 2010 and Jan. 1 to 3, 2011. A limited number of rooms are offered and reservations must be made two days before arrival. (request code 014).

      Visit Denmark.

      Home Exchange for Xmas and Anytime

      A British family will beat the recession this Christmas by home exchanging with a family. With no hotel bills and the ability to exchange everything from family skiing equipment to cars and bicycles, home exchange has become the a way to experience the world like a local.

      The British family lives in Cambridge - a holiday destination - and they thought other people may be interested in exchanging with them. As a young family they like the space and facilities of a home rather than a hotel room.

      Home exchanging, whether for Christmas or any time of year, means that except for getting there and eating out when the mood strikes, a holiday nearly anywhere in the world doesn't have to cost any more than staying at home.

      With HomeExchange, you can take unlimited exchanges with no additional per day or per exchange charges of any kind. The cost is $9.95 a month. HomeExchange guarantees that if for any reason you don't make an exchange in the first year, the second year is free. HomeExchange has more than 37,000 listings in 137 countries.


      VitaminMenu Free Ship One Stop Bannerbanner

      All-Inclusive Hard Rock Opens in Punta Cana

      The new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was unveiled in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic following a recent transformation. The 121-acre property on Macao Beach became the first all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

      The 1,800 room Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana brings together the best of the former Moon Palace Casino, Golf & Spa Resort and the Hard Rock brand.

      In celebration of the opening, visitors to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana receive a $350 airfare credit per person, based on the adult rate with a maximum of two people, for travel through Dec. 15, 2010 and a 20 percent discount off the average daily rate for travel through Dec. 23, 2010.

      You can also take advantage of a $1,500 Resort Credit for use toward room upgrades, spa and beauty salon treatments, golf outings, romantic dinners, wedding packages and off-site excursions, all when booking a five-night stay or longer.

      Among the resorts many offerings are the Hard Rock's signature "Rock Star Suite," the signature Rock Spa, a celebrity chef branded restaurant, iconic music memorabilia, Vegas-style casino and see-and-be-seen nightclub, 18-hole golf course, 11 swimming pools, four swim-up bars, a kids pool and a lazy river.

      Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana.

      Off Season Deals from The Broadmoor

      The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, CO is primarily a summer destination. So through April, 2911, their lowest published price is $300. A Winter Savings package, valid through Feb. 28, 2011, offers deeper discounts. Package prices start at $85 per person, per night, based on double occupancy and are subject to availability. Package prices are not applicable to groups.

        The package includes: accommodations for one night
      • 15 percent discount on select retail purchases
      • free access to the Broadmoor movie theater
      • free spa gift with purchase of $100 in spa services
      • suites at 40 percent off published rates.

      Additional packages and specials are listed online.

      Broadmoor Resort or 866/837-9520.

      American Intro Fares to Barbados

      There's a new reason to head to the Caribbean this winter: American Airlines' new nonstop flight between Barbados and Dallas/Fort Worth beginning Dec. 16, 2010. Introductory rates start at $149 each way based on roundtrip travel.

      You must book online at the American Airlines web site to receive this special $149 fare between Dallas/Fort Worth to Barbados' Grantley Adams International Airport for travel starting Dec. 16, 2010. Flights from Dallas-Fort Worth to Barbados operate every Monday, Thursday and Saturday with returning flights every Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The advertised fare is not valid from Dallas/Fort Worth Dec. 17 to 24, 2010, or Dec. 26 to 28, 2010, and from Barbados Jan. 1 to 4, 2011.

      Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. Fares may vary depending on currency exchange rates at your time of purchase. Prior to departure, you may make changes to your ticket if you meet the restrictions applicable to the new fare, pay a $150 service fee, plus any fare difference.

      The fare has a minimum stay of two days and a maximum stay of 30 days. Additional government and security taxes and fees of up to $90 per round trip apply. Seats are limited and may not be available on all flights. Fares are subject to change without notice and other restrictions may apply.

      The flight will operate with Boeing 757 aircraft with 22 business class seats and 166 coach seats.

      American Airlines .


      Packing Made Simple

      There are two kinds of travelers: those who packed light and those who wish they had. With checked-baggage fees charged by most airlines, getting everything into as little space as possible is more important than ever. The American Society of Travel Agents ASTA provides some packing tips to help make packing a breeze.

      Make a plan and stick to it. A packing list eliminates the panic of last-second packing, serves as a handy guide for repacking at the end of the trip, and can be beneficial in the unfortunate event of lost or stolen luggage.

      Check and check again. Cross-check your packing list to determine if one piece can cover multiple occasions. Pick clothes that coordinate well together, based around complimentary colors.

      Leave it behind. When it comes to jewelry don't take what you don't want to lose, and leave behind the flashy pieces that can attract thieves. Leave the perfume behind when scented lotions will work just as well.

      Ready, set, go. Keep a travel kit perpetually stocked in a waterproof case -- it saves packing time before the trip and aggravation after arrival. And don't fill bottles up to the very top. Pressure inside the plane may force the contents to expand and overflow. Be careful with aerosols in your checked luggage as they can explode under pressure.

      Smooth operator. Iron everything before placing it in the suitcase. If it goes in crisp and clean, odds are more in its favor of coming out the same. Button all buttons and zip all zippers.

      Fold it like you mean it. Practice folding like they do in clothing stores - they use that method for a reason. The better the fold, the fewer the creases. The interlocking method of folding clothes is ideal for suitcases. Overlap two pieces of clothing flat and then fold them into each other so that each piece cushions the other to aid in defying wrinkles.

      Pack backwards. Pack what you plan to wear or will need first, last. This will prevent rooting around the suitcase for a specific item while disrupting the rest.

      Pack it in. Packing loosely wastes precious space and causes clothes to wrinkle. Eliminate wasted space, such as the insides of shoes, which are perfect for socks or underwear. When repacking, remember that balled-up, dirty laundry takes more space than carefully folded clothes, so repack your used clothing identically to your original packing method.

      Pack it out. Always carry travel documents, medication, jewelry, traveler's checks, keys and other valuables in your carry-on luggage. Never pack these items in checked luggage.

      Signed and delivered. Label each piece of luggage, both inside and out, with your name and telephone number, but not your home address. If an address is needed, then put your office address.

      ASTA's consumer web site makes packing easy with a customizable packing list based on your destination, accommodations, weather at your destination, tour activities and number of travelers.

      Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) .

      Holiday Resort Deals at Florida Marriotts

      Marriott Hotels & Resorts properties in Florida offer a variety of deals this holiday season.

      Ten resorts offer a $100 Activity Credit promotion for a minimum two-night stay through Jan. 30, 2011. The Activity Credit can be used for golf, spa treatments, dining or other activities. For additional nights booked, you receive a $50 resort credit per night. Specify promotional code ZXO when booking. Click here to book the Florida Activity Credit promotion.

      Three Marriott Resorts in Florida offer additional deals:

    • Harbor Beach Marriott Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale - Book two consecutive nights through Dec. 31, 2010, with the "Stay Two Nights, Get the Third Night Free" package (promotional code B4F) and receive a third night free. Rates start at $309 per night, per room.

    • Doral Golf Resort & Spa Family Time Miami Vacation package (promotion code MAJ) kids eat free. The package is available until Dec. 31, 2010. Rates start at $199 per night, per room.

    • Marco Island Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa - Stay any four nights with a Christmas Eve stay over (promotional code HOL) and receive a free night from Dec. 21 through Dec. 27, 2010, plus receive a $100 resort credit per stay. Available for stays Dec. 21 though Dec. 27, 2010. Rates start at $219 per night, per room.
    • Marriott Resorts.

      China Spree Savings for 12-Day, 5-City Tour

      The normal roundtrip airfare to China is $1,653, so when China Spree charges $1,298 for their 12-day, five-city China Delights tour, it's a deal. This deal includes roundtrip non-stop transpacific airfare from San Francisco, accommodations in four-star hotels, airport transfers and internal transportation, guided tours and entrance fees, fuel surcharges and taxes, professional tour director and guides, baggage handling and 24 meals, including American buffet breakfasts.

      The price for the Jan.2, 2011 departure from San Francisco is $1,298 ($979 tour fare plus $220 fuel surcharge and $99 taxes). During the rest of January it's $1,318 and in February $1,418. Prices for New York departures are $320 higher; other departure cities involve a connection and additional airfare.

      The tour visits five cities: Beijing including the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the Great Wall; Suzhou with its classic gardens and canals; the water village of Tongli; Hangzhou, famed for its West Lake and terraced tea plantations; and Shanghai.

      The tour includes hotel stays at the Shanghai Crowne Plaza and the Bejing Huabin International; a Peking duck dinner and Mongolian Barbecue lunch; a rickshaw ride through Beijing's hutongs (old neighborhoods of courtyard homes and narrow lanes) with lunch in the home of a Chinese family.

      Prices quoted are per person based on double occupancy at the cash discount rate and are subject to availability. They do not include the China visa fee.

      China Spree or 866/652-5656.


      Philadelphia Eagles boys growth chart thumb NFL Team Branded Growth Chart

      A great keepsake to capture a child's growth through the years and show your team spirit. Available for all 32 NFL teams plus the Ohio State University, the large growth chart (54" long by 15" wide) easily hangs on any surface with removable adhesive tabs. A pink version for all 32 NFL teams is available for girls. The growth chart comes with 14 removable footballs that adhere directly onto the chart. Footballs, placed at the child's measurement each year, include a place to write the date and child's age, when measured, and a place for a photo!

      NFL team and Ohio State University growth charts are available at ke specialties llc

      Save up to $1,000 on Amalfi Package

      Sceptre Tours offers savings of up to $1,000 per couple on its Amalfi Coast with Car plus Air package, when you travel this winter.

      You stay six nights in Sorrento at the Hotel Gardenia, a short walk to shopping, dining, and the ferry to the Isle of Capri. For $99 per person, you can upgrade the final two nights to the four-star Villa Franca in Positano (available to March 2011 only).

    • The package includes:
    • six nights' accommodations at the Hotel Gardenia in Sorrento
    • Roundtrip economy class airfare to Naples, Italy
    • Manual rental car for the week
    • This package is priced from $799 from New York and Newark or $829 from Boston for travel to Jan. 31, 2011 (excluding Dec. 24, 2010 to Jan. 2, 2011).

      Rates are per person, based on double occupancy and do not include government taxes and security fees of up to $150 per person. This package is available for travel Feb. 1 to May 15, 2011 at higher rates.

      Sceptre Tours or 800/221-0924.

      Yellowstone Park Lodges for less than $55 per Night

      Yellowstone National Park Lodges, operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts and the manager of lodging, restaurants and activities in Yellowstone National Park, has a "Winter Getaway" package from $54.50 per person, per night for the upcoming season.

      The "Frosty Fun at Mammoth" package includes two nights at the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, two breakfasts per person, welcome gift, a one-hour hot tub rental, unlimited ice skating and skates and a "Snow Card" good for 10 percent off meals, in-park transportation, tours, ski shop services and select retail items. Rates are $109 per person plus tax for two nights' double occupancy in a room with a shared bathroom. Rates do not include taxes or utility fee. Rates for rooms with private bathrooms start at $129 per person plus tax, double occupancy.

      During the winter, the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and the Old Faithful Snow Lodge are the only two overnight facilities open in the park. The Snow Lodge is only accessible by over-the-snow vehicles. The park's winter season begins Dec. 18, 2010 with the opening of the Old Faithful Snow Lodge. The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel opens Dec. 21, 2010. Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel will close for the season Mar. 7, 2011, and Old Faithful Snow Lodge will close Mar. 6, 2011.

      Winter rates for single or double occupancy, plus tax and utility fee, for individual room nights at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel start at $87 for a room with a shared bathroom or $117 for a standard hotel room with a private bathroom. Rates at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge are $197 for a lodge room, $143 for a Western Cabin or $96 for a Frontier Cabin, all with private bathrooms.

      Except for the road from Gardiner, MT to Cooke City, MT via Mammoth Hot Springs, transportation within the park is limited to snowmobiles and enclosed heated snowcoaches during the winter. Snowcoach transportation is available daily to a variety of park locations. Xanterra also offers half- and full-day snowcoach, ski and snowshoe tours and ski and snowshoe rentals as well as expert instruction and other services.

      Yellowstone National Park "Winter Getaway" package or 866/439-7375.

      468x60_Graphic Banner_DropDownbanner

      The Chateaux Winter Season Promotions

      The Chateaux at Silver Lake, located mid-mountain at Deer Valley Resort, in Park City UT, has 2010/11 winter promotions.

      The Chateaux at Silver Lake is a condominium hotel that offers hotel rooms, studios and multi-bedroom suites. The Chateaux features on-site dining, spa, fitness center and access to year-round recreation. Conveniently steps from the ski lifts of Deer Valley Resort, the Chateaux offers the following promotions:

      Early and Late Season, Ski and Stay Free: Book three nights and get the fourth night and the fourth day of skiing free. Rates start at $235 per person, per night, based on double occupancy. This package includes daily lift tickets and is valid Dec. 4 to17, 2010, and Mar.27 to Apr. 10, 2011.

      Stay Three Nights and Get the Fourth Night Free: This offer is valid on studio, hotel and one bedroom suites Jan. 2 to19, 2011; Jan. 24 to Feb. 16, 2011; and Feb. 27 to Mar. 26, 2011.

      The Chateaux at Silver Lake or 877/288-2978.

      Caribbean Stay Under $50 Per Night

      The Caribbean becomes more affordable thanks to rex resorts fall/winter sale. On the shores of five islands, the seven rex resort properties offer savings up to 50 percent off direct bookings plus free spa treatments. The rex resort rates are valid until Dec. 22, 2010.

      The St Lucian by rex resorts is a three star property on the beach in St Lucia. From $41 per adult, per night (based on two sharing), the resort offers a range of options from room only to all inclusive.

      The newly refurbished Royal by rex resorts is a four star property on the same beach as the St. Lucian and offers ocean view suites, with savings of 40 percent off nightly rates. A stay at this resort, which includes a fine dining restaurant, starts from $153 per couple and includes a 30 minute spa treatment when staying three nights or more.

      Discovery Bay by rex resorts in Barbados offers 35 percent off with rooms from $139.75 per couple. The plantation-style house and gardens are on St James beach, on the fashionable West coast of the island.

      The Grenadian by rex resorts offers 40 percent off rooms from $87 per couple, that's under $45 per person per night. A range of meal plans are available.

      Turtle Beach by rex resorts in Tobago offers rooms from $97.50 per couple, a saving of 35 percent.

      The three star Halcyon Cove by rex resorts in Antigua has a 50 percent off sale with rooms from $80 per couple or an all inclusive rate of $174 per couple.

      rex resorts.

      Kiawah Island 20th Anniversary Ryder Cup Package

      Kiawah Island Golf Resort, off the coast of Charleston, SC, offers golfers a chance to play with their 20th Anniversary Ryder Cup package.

      Twenty years ago on Kiawah Island, the golf world saw a dramatic Ryder Cup championship. Golfers can play on the same venue, the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. For less than $1,000 each, groups can play three of the resort's courses, ending on the Ocean Course, in a Ryder Cup experience.

      Ideally, groups of 16 participate in this package (separated into teams of eight). The resort's golf professionals will work with each group, regardless of size, to provide the best experience.

      The packages, which start at less than $1,000 per person, include:

    • Three nights' accommodations in villas or private homes
    • Three rounds of golf with one round on The Ocean Course
    • A one hour opening/closing reception with complimentary beer and wine
    • Breakfast daily
    • One team hat and golf shirt (red or blue)
    • Trophy for the winning team
    • On-island transportation
    • All taxes and service charges (except caddy gratuity on the Ocean Course)
    • This offer is valid throughout 2011 (20 years after Kiawah's 1991 Ryder Cup) and is subject to availability. Offer is unavailable over holidays and during the summer (Jun. 1 through Aug. 31, 2011).

      Located on 10 miles of beach south of Charleston, SC, Kiawah Island Golf Resort has 255 rooms in its Sanctuary oceanfront hotel and spa and the resort manages 600 private villas and homes, nine restaurants, two tennis centers, a recreation and nature program and has five golf courses.

      Kiawah Island Golf Resort or 800/654-2924.

      Dallas Cowboys kleen kit thumb NFL Team Branded kleen kits

      Fight against bacteria and flu germs with National Football League team branded hand sanitizer kleen kits. Produced by ke specialties llc, a kleen kit consists of a 2 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer, an 8 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer and a 40 count canister of wipes, available for all 32 NFL teams plus The Ohio State University.

      The 2 ounce bottle (TSA approved for 3-1-1 carry-ons) or 8 ounce bottle of hand sanitizer easily fit into a pocket, purse or back pack and the 40 count canister of wipes can be used at home, while tailgating or at work.

      NFL team and Ohio State branded kleen kits are available at ke specialties llc.

      Marketplace for Last Minute Vacation Rentals

      PackLate.com is a new marketplace for last minute vacation rental deals. The rental price drops as the rental dates draw nearer. And the rates continue to drop until someone rents or the owner takes it off the market. Discounts typically range from 20 to 50 percent. Most listed properties are condos, some individual units, and mostly part of established resort complexes and professionally managed.

      PackLate offers real-time pricing and availability and you can instantly book a vacation rental with a major credit card.

      When I checked the web site in mid-November, coverage was limited to a few major destination areas, mainly coastal and ski resorts in Alabama, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Utah and international locations of Los Cabos, Mexico and Costa Rica.

      Packlate.com or 877/472-2552.

      Cell Phone Replacing Room Keys

      Visitors to the Clarion Hotel Stockholm will be able to use mobile phones instead of keys to unlock the doors to their rooms, a new major pilot project.

      The project, to be implemented with Assa Abloy, the world's largest maker of door locks, lends hotel guests mobile phones with close-range radio chips, like devices used for contact-less payments at gas stations. The pilot project will last for four months.

      Repeat visitors will be able to check in through their phones before arrival and have their phones activated as "keys." They will skip the registration desk and unlock the door by holding the phone next to it. Assa Abloy says it wants to test the system before expanding it to other hotels, commercial buildings and homes.

      The short-range radio technology, known as Near Field Communication, is expected to be built into smart phones in the coming years. But since most smart phones currently don't have NFC technology, participants in the trial may find it cumbersome to have an extra mobile phone.

      The hotel said the goal is to get feedback from guests and employees using the phones for a variety of services. Guests will be able to check in to the hotel and receive the hotel room key directly on to their mobile phones before arriving at the hotel. Guests can also access other services via their mobile, and on departure, checking out using the phone promises to be easy and stress- free.

      Clarion management said the technology also increases security. If a mobile phone is lost, the access credentials can be revoked remotely and then reissued. This makes it impossible for unauthorized people to use a lost or stolen mobile phone. The phone technology works with existing radio-enabled locks, so hotels can continue giving key cards to visitors who don't have the new technology in their phones.

      Up to 50% Off w/Dolce Winter Escape

      Dolce Hotels and Resorts offer a special rate called Dolce Winter Escape that features discounts of up to 50 percent off the best available rate and breakfast for two adults and their children up to 12 years old at participating hotels and resorts.

      Available through Apr. 20, 2011, Dolce Winter Escape can be booked at their web site by selecting a destination and entering rate code DWE.

      Many of the Dolce hotels and resorts offer nearby skiing and winter sports, spas and exercise facilities. For example, Dolce's Aspen Meadows Resort offers Colorado skiing and snowboarding at nearby slopes including Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk. The hotel can arrange outdoor winter adventures including back-country ski tours, dog-sled rides, romantic sleigh rides and ice-climbing.

      Many Dolce destinations offer spas, golf, indoor swimming pools, free parking and free wireless Internet service, among other services and amenities.

      Dolce Winter Escape is subject to availability, non-retroactive and cannot be combined with other offers. Blackout dates may apply, and discounts and facilities vary by property. Breakfast is offered exclusively at designated hotel and resort restaurants and excludes in-room dining.

      Dolce Hotels and Resorts, an operator of 27 upscale hotels, resorts and conference hotels, has properties in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Colorado, California, Ontario, Texas, Nevada, Belgium, France, Spain and Germany.

      Dolce Hotels and Resorts.

      $20 Off Promotion

      Hurtigruten Easter 11-day Cruise

      Sail aboard the MS Fram on the 11-day Norwegian Highlights cruise, an itinerary that focuses on the Easter traditions of northern Europe and gives you a chance to sample some of the region's holiday specialties.

      Fares for the Apr. 25, 2011 departure, with early booking savings, range from $1,499 to $4,234 per person, double occupancy. Savings of up to 20 percent are available on this and other 2011 European spring itineraries booked by Dec. 31, 2010.

      Departing from Dover, UK, you spend a day at sea where you can listen to onboard lectures or relax on the deck. The 17 ports of call include Stavanger, Rosendal, Ulvik, Eidfjord, Flam, Gudvangen, Alesund and Nordfjord. Good Friday is spent in Olden before heading to Bergen. Easter Sunday is spent at sea, where you can enjoy the vistas and onboard lectures before arriving in Oslo.

      Hurtigruten offers optional shore excursions so you can create your own holiday. Excursions include a city tour of Alesund; the Briksdal Glacier Walking tour which takes in the lakes of Floren and Olden; and the Fantoft Stave Church & Edvard Grieg with Recital option.

      In addition to the Easter cruise, Hurtigruten offers two other European itineraries in April. The nine-day "Spring in Western Europe" departs from Lisbon, Portugal, on April 7 and travels north, visiting eight ports in four countries. Departing Apr. 25, 2011 from Oslo, the 11-day "Pearls of the Baltic Sea" travels to the Baltic Sea, including Copenhagen, Helsinki and St. Petersburg. Depending on itinerary selected, fares with the early booking discount range from $1,021 to $5,047.

      The cruises include all meals aboard ship, taxes, port charges and roundtrip transfers between the airports and ports. Some restrictions apply; international flights, travel insurance, luggage handling and optional excursions and gratuities are not included.

      MS Fram, the newest expedition ship, accommodates 318 guests in suites and staterooms and features a restaurant, two bars, panoramic lounges library, and Internet cafe and conference rooms.

      Hurtigruten or 800/323-7436.

      MilitaryTravelZone $100 Hotel Rebate

      BOOK BY DEC. 31 - - MilitaryTravelZone.com provides air, hotel and rental car discounts and reservations exclusively for military personnel, veterans, and family of the military.

      The online coupon is valid for reservations on special internet rates, booked and prepaid through Hotel Reservations Network. Rebate Levels are as follows:

    • three nights - $20 rebate
    • five nights- $30 rebate
    • eight nights- $50 rebate
    • 10 nights- $75 rebate
    • 12 nights- $100 rebate
    • You must book and confirm online to be eligible for offer. No call-ins or faxes are accepted. Print out the coupon, write in your name, hotel and date of stay and mail in the coupon after your completed stay. Not valid with any other offer, including frequent flyer miles. Rebates will be credited back to your credit card within three weeks of receipt of this form.

      One rebate per customer or household. Rebates do not apply to vacation package hotel stays. This offer is valid for stays booked by Dec 31, 2010 for travel through Feb 28, 2011.

      The site also provides military news, list of US Military Bases, Upcoming Military Trade Shows, Directory of Military Schools, and a US and International Airport Guide.


      The Uncivil Civil War - - article and photos by Nicki Chodnoff

      Island No. 10 monument The murky Mississippi River lapped onto the gravel boat pull ins. The cloud filled gray sky was almost as murky as the water, barely revealing two buoys about 100 yards away. During the Civil War, Island Number 10 once rose between the two buoy markers. Now not much remains from that battle for control of the Mighty Mississippi in Northwest Tennessee near Tiptonville, a mere mile from the Missouri border and close to Kentucky and Arkansas.

      Island No. 10 was one of the places in western Tennessee where I gained an in-depth perspective about the uncivil Civil War, the self-inflicted conflict that tore our country apart from 1861 to 1865. Standing on the battlegrounds and seeing the war cannons, relics and remnants grabbed my attention and imagination.

      Tennessee's role in the Civil War was monumental and many of the state's battlefields and war-related sites are now parks and museums. The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development offers self-guided Civil War tour maps so you can explore the now beautiful Tennessee countryside.

      That's how I happened onto Island No. 10, a Confederate stronghold, which got its name from the fact that it was the tenth island in the Mississippi River south of its junction with the Ohio River. It was an enlarged sandbar about one mile long, 450 yards wide at its widest point and only 10 feet above the low water mark.

      Jason Allison, our guide and local historian, was driving us around Lake County, which is still as agricultural now (about 95 percent) as it was during the Civil War, evidenced by the vast fields of soybeans growing on both sides of Tiptonville Ferry Road.

      More important, Island No. 10 was at the southern end of a 180 degree clockwise turn of the Mississippi which was followed immediately by a counterclockwise turn. This double bend left the river moving almost parallel to its original course. The bend made the island a natural defense for control of the Mississippi River. Known as the New Madrid Bend, it still exists in almost the same location.

      Allison informed us that this is the same New Madrid area where three earthquakes in 1811 to 1812, considered the largest quakes in North America, changed the course of the Mississippi River. Allison explained that the quake was thought to exceed 8.0 on the Richter Scale, rang church bells as far away as Philadelphia and sank large areas of land forming more than 2,000 lakes, the largest being Reelfoot Lake. Davey Crocket called this seismically active area "the quakes."

      Strategically, the only approach to Island No. 10 on dry land was through Tennessee. The mainland behind the island on the south side was connected to Tiptonville by a road on the natural levee of the river. In low water, the northern end of Reelfoot Lake was near Tiptonville, but in high water, as in the spring of 1862, it extended north to beyond the bend. Soldiers could wade across or use makeshift rafts to cross the shallow water. But an army crossing en masse, couldn't move its heavy equipment. That's why the Confederacy considered Island No. 10 invulnerable to land attack from the Tennessee side. And the only route for reinforcement or escape was Tiptonville Road.

      Fort Pillow Visitor Center Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, commander of what was then the Confederate Army of the Mississippi, chose Island No. 10 as a strong point for defending the Mississippi River. Land batteries were placed on the island, and a floating battery was located in the river about 12 miles upstream from New Madrid, Mo. Five Confederate gunboats were assigned to the area.

      Brig. Gen. John Pope, commander of the Union Army of the Mississippi set out to attack New Madrid. He marched through swamps, lugging supplies and artillery. When he reached the New Madrid outskirts, he laid siege to the city.

      Confederate Brig. Gen. John P. McCown defended New Madrid and Island No. 10. He launched a sortie against the Union besiegers and brought up heavy artillery to bombard them, but to no avail. So McCown moved the rest of his forces and gunboats to Tiptonville and Island No. 10.

      When Pope's army discovered that New Madrid was deserted, they occupied it clearing the way for an U.S. Navy flotilla to approach Island No. 10 from upstream.

      The heavy Confederate cannon on Island No. 10 posed a major threat to the slow, underpowered Federal ships, which could not pass the island unless the upper battery was silenced because Confederates guns were a few inches above the water and could sink any boat that tried to pass.

      On a stormy, "hurricane-like" night about 50 Union soldiers in five small boats floated downstream to Island No. 10. The Union infantry took the Confederate defenders by surprise. The Confederate sentry was either overpowered or fled, and the Union soldiers began their work. In a half an hour, the Union soldiers damaged all seven cannons in the upper battery.

      Unknown soldiers at Memphia National Cemetery The ironclad USS Carondelet braved the Island No. 10 batteries and anchored off New Madrid. The USS Pittsburg arrived the next night. The ironclads helped overcome the Confederate batteries at Island No. 10, enabling Pope's men to cross the river and block the Confederate escape route. The Confederates surrendered Island No. 10 and its garrison . With that victory, Union forces controlled the Mississippi to Fort Pillow near Memphis.

      Not much commemorates this important battle. Two buoy markers near the gravel boat pull ins, a marker erected by the Tennessee Historical Commission at New Markham Road and Tennessee Route 22, and some artifacts at the Emmett Lewis Memorial Heritage Center and Museum in Tiptonville, TN are all that still tell this tale.

      The 1,642 acre Fort Pillow State Park, on the Chickasaw Bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River, is rich in historic and archaeological significance. In 1861, the Confederate Army built extensive fortifications here and named the site for General Gideon J. Pillow . The fort was attacked and captured by the Union Army, which controlled it during most of the war. An exception occurred for less than one day immediately after the Battle of Fort Pillow in 1864.

      Named a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1974, the state park in Henning, TN, preserves the Civil War site of the Battle of Fort Pillow.

      Now peaceful and pastoral fields and forests, on April 12, 1864, about 1,500 troops commanded by Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest overwhelmed the Union garrison at Fort Pillow. The Union garrison consisted of about 600 men, divided almost evenly between Black and White troops. The Southern forces surrounded the fort before Forrest asked the Union commander to surrender. The Union commander refused and Forrest gave the command to attack. Many accuse the Confederates of massacring the Black troops. Of 557 Union troops, 221 were killed. Only 58 of the 262 Black troops walked away as prisoners. The remainder were killed or badly wounded. Immediately after the Southern capture, the North called it a massacre citing Forrest's "take no prisoners" reputation, Union losses and survivor accounts of the killing of captured troops. The controversy remains today.

      Of the battle, Horace Greeley, editor of the New York Tribune wrote "If human testimony ever did or can establish anything, then Fort Pillow is proved a case of deliberate, wholesale massacre of prisoners of war after they surrendered." "Remember Fort Pillow!" became a battle cry among Black soldiers for the remainder of the Civil War. An Interpretive Visitors Center and Museum describes life at Fort Pillow and the battle. In addition to the well preserved fortifications and earthworks, the park is designated as a Wildlife Observation Area and a sanctuary for deer and turkey. Bird watchers frequent the park, There are rustic trails, a restored Civil War fort, a beautiful river overlook and many recreational activities including camping, picnicking and fishing.

      Memphis National Cemetery - The Memphis National Cemetery, established in 1867, was originally established as the Mississippi River National Cemetery during the Civil War. More than 42,000 people are buried in the 44 acre cemetery with many Union veterans who died in the military hospitals in the delta region of the Mississippi River. After the war, several battlefield cemeteries were transferred to Memphis National Cemetery including 250 bodies of Confederate and Union soldiers, casualties of the Battle of Fort Pillow.

      Confederate Monument at Elmwood Cemetery The states of Illinois and Minnesota erected monuments for their Civil War Union dead in memory of their soldiers who fought and were buried at the cemetery.

      According to Jimmy Ogle of Memphis Talks and Tours, this cemetery has the second largest population of unknown soldiers. Ogle explains that this is due to the long interval between battlefield burial and re-interment at Memphis National Cemetery. Often, the crude wood markers that identified original burials were removed or no longer legible. As soldiers were not required to carry personal identification, it was difficult to determine the identity of the remains. Small white marble markers are placed on unknown soldiers graves. A simple shield that says unknown U.S. soldier identifies the unknown graves.

      The cemetery is the final resting place of many victims, both known and unknown, who died in one of the nation's most tragic maritime disasters, the explosion and burning of the Mississippi River steamboat, USS Sultana on April 26, 1865.

      This ship, by law, could carry 376 persons including crew. On April 24, 1865, a throng of it Union soldiers released from Confederate prison camps boarded the boat at Vicksburg. An estimated 1,800 to 2,000 soldiers crowded on board the ship on their way to Cairo, Illinois. A leaking boiler had been hastily repaired at Vicksburg. The overloaded steamer sailed upriver, bucking river currents reinforced by heavy spring rains. Above Memphis near the group of islands known as the "Hen and Chickens," the overburdened and weakened boilers exploded. Fire broke out on the ship and hundreds of passengers jumped into the swift current of the dark Mississippi. Some drowned. Others were rescued and taken to various Memphis hospitals where many died from burns, exposure to the elements and weakness from long stays as prisoners of war in Confederate prison camps. The death toll has been estimated at more than 1,537 persons.

      Without a doubt, Elmwood Cemetery is one of the most fascinating places to visit in Memphis. Elmwood Cemetery was part of the park-like Rural Cemetery Movement when it started in the 1850s by 50 Memphis gentlemen who committed $500 each to purchase the land 2.5 miles from town.

      As we walked through Elmwood with Jimmy Ogle, an official bird sanctuary and arboretum, we got its sense of history. From its Rural Cemetery Movement heritage, the cemetery includes picturesque curving drives, separated pathways, shady knolls, plenty of trees that lean dramatically over ornate monuments of angels, flowers and logs, and sweeping vistas. Cemeteries built to the standard of the Rural Cemetery Movement had carefully constructed scenes to take people away from the noise and congestion of the city. The park-like setting was planned so there was time to reflect on the dead and a place to relax and enjoy life.

      Originally consisting of 40 acres, it was expanded after the Civil War to 80 acres as nearly 1,200 Confederate soldiers and 20 Confederate generals are buried here. Most Confederate soldiers are in Confederate Soldiers Rest, in the cemetery's Fowler Section.

      Union soldiers were buried at Elmwood in the 1860s. Nearly all were removed in 1868 and re-interred in Memphis National Cemetery. Two Union generals remain at Elmwood, William Jay Smith and Milton T. Williamson.

      In addition to Civil War soldiers, a wide variety of people call Elmwood "home." Side-by-side generals, mayors, outlaws and everyday folks are buried here. Some have massive monuments, others rest beneath dilapidated tombstones.

      Ranger Charles Spearman at Shiloh Church Elmwood Cemetery can also entertain you. There are lunchtime lectures, a 5K run through the cemetery and an annual Costume Twilight Tour where people in costumes play some of cemetery's most notable residents

      A 90-minute public docent tour is scheduled once a month on Saturday morning. The cost is $10 per person. If you're short on time, tour Elmwood from your car with a one-hour audio tour, which you can rent for $10. The tour rental includes a map that interprets some of the more common symbols found on the tombstones.

      Docent-led arboretum tours showcase the more than 1,200 trees on the property, some dating back to the cemetery's founding in 1852. The cost is $5 per person.

      Shiloh National Military Park - Park Ranger Charles Spearman characterized Shiloh as one of the bloodiest engagements of the Civil War. It was a pivotal battle for control of West Tennessee and northern Mississippi, the battle that told all Americans that the Civil War would be long, bloody and costly. In April 1862, Union and Confederate armies clashed in fields and wooded areas near a religious meeting-house called Shiloh in southwestern Tennessee. The real prize was 20 miles to the southwest, in Corinth, Miss., the site of a strategic Confederate railroad crossing that the Union was determined to take.

      Spearman indicated that Shiloh had many firsts. Established in 1896, it was the first national park established by veterans. It was the first mass-casualty battle of the Civil War. There were 20,000 casualties, soldiers killed, wounded, or missing, over the course of two days of fighting. More Americans fell at Shiloh than in all previous American wars combined. It was the first time in warfare that railroads played an important part. The Corinth, Miss. terminal was the goal. It was the first time that field hospitals were at the scene of battles.

      Ulysses S. Grant landed his troops at Shiloh because he was moving his men down the Tennessee River by boat, the river was swollen due to heavy rains. Grant was confident that Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston wouldn't march his 42,000 men out of Corinth and attack.

      At a clearing, Union scouts discovered 10,000 Confederate Army of the Mississippi soldiers, led by Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, advancing on the Union encampments. Johnston surprised Grant's Union army camped near the river landing. Hearing Ranger Spearman and reading about the accounts and statistics is one thing. As the area looks pretty much as it did in 1862, standing at that clearing where the Union scouts happened upon the Confederate Army and imaging a field suddenly teeming with gray uniforms can send chills up and down your spine.

      Johnston, regarded by many as the best Southern general, was killed the first day. The Confederates, now under Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard, renewed the attack the next day. Union forces regrouped, partly because William Tecumseh Sherman, wounded twice, rallies his men to stand and fight, at one point catching a bullet in his hand.

      Shiloh Visitor Center The battlefield park is perhaps the best preserved in the country. Looking largely as it did when Grant landed here in 1862, Shiloh is beautiful. Beauty is counterbalanced by atrocity and the great irony is that some of the ghastliest battles sites are now some of the loveliest parts of the park. For instance, Union and Confederate troops confronted one another in a picturesque peach orchard. The fighting there was so fierce that a nearby pond came to be known as Bloody Pond, said to have turned red with the blood of the fallen. The truth is that algae grows in the pond giving the water a burnt-red hue. A fitting reminder of the carnage that transpired near its banks.

      A driving tour takes you past Bloody Pond, the Hornet's Nest, Peach Orchard and the site of Shiloh Church.

      Some 3,500 Union soldiers are buried in the Shiloh cemetery, 2,300 of them in graves marked "unknown." National cemeteries are reserved for veterans of the U.S. military. In 1866, when the cemetery was established, soldiers who had served the Confederate States of America were considered traitors. After the battle, Union troops buried the Confederate dead in 11 or 12 mass graves on the battlefield, where they remain today. Only five have been found and marked.

      Parker's Crossroads is yet another battle that few people hear about. The results of many little know battles, cumulatively, can alter the course of any war. Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, the same General Forrest from the alleged prisoner of war massacre at Fort Pillow, was nearly trapped by converging Union forces Dec. 31, 1862, at Parker's Crossroads, Tennessee's newest public battlefield park. Forrest attacked and destroyed a Union train and Union railroad lines carrying supplies for the building Federal offensive against Vicksburg. Union troops caught up with him at Parker's Crossroads. Forrest's men fought their way out of the trap when Forrest ordered his troops to "charge them both ways."

      Local historian Steve McDaniel talked about the encounter at the log cabin visitor center. One room contains a display of the then surrounding battlefield. Artifacts offer insights into the weapons of war and everyday life of Civil War participants. A driving tour of the battlefield, which straddles I-40, with two interpreted walking trails are part of this well-preserved park.

      The visitors center offers a free driving tour map and audio tapes and CDs (not free).

      Standing at a battle field gives you a better understanding of that struggle between life and death - triumph and tragedy. At a museum, you learn about that battle and another dimension to that conflict, artifacts. The Tennessee River Museum in Savannah, TN offers a tribute to the Tennessee River and its influence on the land, people and the heritage of the Tennessee Valley. As for battle artifacts, the War on the River exhibit has a one-half scale model of the bow of the ironclad USS Cairo, the first ship in history to be sunk by an electrically detonated torpedo plus artifacts from other gunboats. The Army exhibit features a collection of Shiloh field artillery, firearms and personal items. And the Johnsonville exhibit tells the story and shows the equipment of General Forrest's cavalrymen. Apart from war, other museum exhibits chronicle prehistoric times, life of the Mississippian mound builders, the Trail of Tears, the Golden Age of Steamboats and the Tennessee River today.

      In 2011, the U.S. commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, where Tennessee was the buffer that protected the Deep South. The state's rivers and rails, industries and farmlands made control of Tennessee crucial for either side. More than 1,462 battles were fought in Tennessee, at least one in each of the state's 95 counties. Given this strategic location, hundreds of Tennessee museums, battlefields, cemeteries and state historic parks have opened. Our brief tour barely scratched the surface.

      For more information on the Civil War in Tennessee.

      Holland America Facebook Contest

      Holland America Line has a fan-friendly Facebook contest called "Win the Key to Half Moon Cay." Named for the line's private Bahamian island, the contest runs through Jan. 3, 2011.

      To enter, registered Facebook users must "like" Holland America Line's Facebook page and then upload a favorite vacation photograph of themselves to the page. The photo should show what you feel captures the essence of "living the good life on vacation" and does not have to be from a cruise. No purchase is necessary to enter the contest and some restrictions apply.

      Visitors to Holland America Line's Facebook site will vote on their favorite submissions from Dec. 6 through Dec. 26, 2010, and the entries will be narrowed down to the top 10 finalists. Fans will then vote again to select the winning photo that best reflects "living the good life on vacation." The winner will be announced Jan. 4, 2011.

      The exclusive prize includes a seven-night Holland America Line cruise in a suite for the winner and a guest, plus a verandah stateroom for two more friends on an itinerary calling at Half Moon Cay. Roundtrip airfare also is included for four. The winner can choose among select eastern Caribbean cruises aboard ms Eurodam, ms Nieuw Amsterdam or ms Westerdam departing February 2011 through April 2011, subject to availability.

      Once on Half Moon Cay, the winner will be presented a key to the island in a ceremony presided by the captain of the ship or a senior officer. In addition, the winner's party will have a butler to help with the transfer from the ship to the island and to serve them ashore, plus a private cabana for the day, unlimited beverage service, a picnic lunch and a shore excursion for four.

      Shipboard prizes for the winner include a $500 shipboard credit (for shore excursions, etc.), $150 spa credit, Pinnacle Grill dinner for four, Tamarind dinner for four (available on Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam only) and 250 minutes of Internet access. The total prize package is worth approximately $13,367.

      Half Moon Cay, the line's private Bahamian island, provides a natural setting on Caribbean and Panama Canal itineraries. The port offers everything for a day of play: a two-mile crescent beach, an interior lagoon, private beach side cabanas with butler service, showers and misters, water sports and activities, including a children's aqua park, swim with the stingrays lagoon and a buoyed personal watercraft course.

      The contest is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 18 years of age or older. The contest is void in Puerto Rico, Quebec and where prohibited.

      Click here to enter the contest and for the complete official rules and details.

      Holland America Line or 877/724-5425.

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