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Travel News Reports

Photo tour: The D Casino Hotel Las Vegas 13 April 2015, 23.28 Travel
Photo tour: The D Casino Hotel Las Vegas
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Experience Las Vegas features exclusive, in-depth photo tours of the city's world-famous hotels and casino resorts. We explore a different Vegas property each
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First look: Inside the year's hottest new cruise ship
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide River giant Viking's first ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star, will be christened in Bergen, Norway in May 2015.(Photo: Viking River
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Exclusive: Disney to get into river cruising 13 April 2015, 23.28 Travel
Exclusive: Disney to get into river cruising
Disney will begin offering river cruises on the Danube in 2016.(Photo: Adventures by Disney) Tags Disney Cruise Line AmaWaterways 30 CONNECT LINKEDINEMAILMORE (6:00 PM ET) -- In a move that could mark the beginning of a new
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Nik Wallenda to walk atop new Orlando Eye as it spins
Nik Wallenda to walk atop new Orlando Eye as it spins Sign in with FacebookSign in with GoogleSign in FAQ 57 Share This Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading
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Five myths about frequent-flier miles 13 April 2015, 23.28 Travel
Five myths about frequent-flier miles
Everett Potter, Special for USA TODAY 10:15 a.m. EDT April 13, 2015 Regardless of how often you fly, it pays to sign up for frequent-flier programs.(Photo: Matt Rourke, AP) 1 CONNECT LINKEDINEMAILMORE Ever since the first
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Traveler's table: Dipping sauces around the world
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Traveling foodie Kate Parham Kordsmeier offers a taste of how seven cultures prepare dipping sauces and where you can find each variation here in the USA. Every
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Wallet-friendly cruising: 10 money-saving tips 24 January 2015, 00.25 Travel
Wallet-friendly cruising: 10 money-saving tips
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide You booked your cruise and paid the basic fare. Now it's time to consider extras. The cruise fare covers accommodations, meals, most activities and
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Las Vegas casinos' biggest winners 24 January 2015, 00.25 Travel
Las Vegas casinos' biggest winners
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Visitors hear it all the time when they come to Las Vegas: These big casinos weren't built on letting people win. But on occasion, people do win and they win
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Cheers: The coolest Caribbean hotel lobby bars 24 January 2015, 00.24 Travel
Cheers: The coolest Caribbean hotel lobby bars
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Not just for hotel guests anymore, lobby bars are the epicenter of cocktail cool for a rum-spiked morning coffee, an afternoon martini swill or a nightcap on
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10Best: Phoenix faves that split the uprights 24 January 2015, 00.24 Travel
10Best: Phoenix faves that split the uprights
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 8:11 a.m. EST January 23, 2015 The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel is home to the pampering Willow Stream Spa.(Photo: scottsdaleprincess.com) 4 CONNECT 4 LINKEDINEMAILMORE Phoenix
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Latest gee-whiz cruise attraction: Open-air 'sky ride'
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Dubbed the SkyRide, the Carnival Vista's peddle-powered aerial attraction encircles the ship's top deck.(Photo: Carnival Cruise Line) Tags Carnival Cruise
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Indiana 24 January 2015, 00.24 Travel
Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Indiana
The Most Beautiful Places in America Sign in with FacebookSign in with GoogleSign in FAQ1703360Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour:
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Photo tour: Cruising Norway's fjords on the Lofoten
Photo tour: Cruising Norway's fjords on the Lofoten Sign in with FacebookSign in with GoogleSign in FAQ18Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading
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Pour over Seattle's independent coffee purveyors 08 January 2015, 00.13 Travel
Pour over Seattle's independent coffee purveyors
Seattle is synonymous with coffee. The coastal gem has so much more to offer than just Starbucks or Seattle's Best, though. As citizens of the Pacific Northwest, we have the kind of love affair with coffee that is usually
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Disney World: Secrets of the Be Our Guest Restaurant
The Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland takes a page right out of the animated classic Beauty and the Beast. Learn how Walt Disney Imagineering approached bringing this restaurant to life through
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New Year's Resolution: Visit a wellness resort in 2015
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide With the turkey and stuffing season in the rearview, many of us are forging forward with New Year's resolutions to de-stuff, tone up, get off the couch, and
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Celebrate Elvis' birthday in Las Vegas 08 January 2015, 00.13 Travel
Celebrate Elvis' birthday in Las Vegas
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Presley is arguably the most iconic entertainer to ever be associated with Las Vegas, though it may be hard to find evidence of his reign as King these days. In
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#avgeek gallery: 30 cool aviation photos from around the globe
#avgeek gallery: 30 cool aviation photos from around the globe Sign in with FacebookSign in with GoogleSign in FAQ211Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading
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What's the catch? Monster lobster caught in The Bahamas
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Toto, we aren't in Maine anymore.... These lobster caught off the hundreds of islands, islets and cays of this beautiful archipelago are truly enormous. The
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Hotels revamp guest rooms for Millennial travelers
At the Comfort Suites Fargo, guest rooms have a sitting area with modular cubes instead of traditional coffee tables, which can serve as laptop stands, seating for a work meeting or places to hold glasses of wine.(Photo:
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Fly Guy: Free city tours on long layovers 26 December 2014, 02.49 Travel
Fly Guy: Free city tours on long layovers
George Hobica, Airfarewatchdog.com 7 a.m. EST December 23, 2014 Turkish Airlines offers three tours from Ataturk Airport, showing visitors Istanbul's highlights.(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto) 10 CONNECT 6 LINKEDIN
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Headed for Orlando? Here's what's new 26 December 2014, 02.49 Travel
Headed for Orlando? Here's what's new
Ellen Creager, Detroit Free Press 8:39 a.m. EST December 22, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The penguins are real at SeaWorld Orlando's Antarctica exhibit.(Photo: Ellen Creager/Detroit
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Best of 2014: Prettiest cobblestone streets in the USA
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide They scramble the brains of bike riders and threaten sprained ankles for anyone wearing heels, but the Old World feel and aching charm of cobblestone streets
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First look: New day cruises from Florida to Bimini
First look: New day cruises from Florida to Bimini Loading Your News...Log In or Subscribe to skipSign in with FacebookSign in with GoogleSign in FAQ4Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are
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Most romantic California beaches 19 October 2014, 22.26 Travel
Most romantic California beaches
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide California has an awe-inspiring 840-miles of shoreline studded with beautiful beaches, one after the other. While any strand with crashing waves and a
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Farm dinners: Feast where your food was grown 19 October 2014, 22.26 Travel
Farm dinners: Feast where your food was grown
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:45 a.m. EDT October 17, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide On Friday nights from May through Thanksgiving, Fresh and Wyld Farmhouse Inn and Garden in
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NYC secrets: The Burger Joint behind a hotel lobby
Share This Story! Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about FacebookEmailTwitterGoogle+LinkedInPinterest NYC secrets: The Burger Joint behind a hotel lobby USA TODAY's Nancy Trejos goes inside the
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in New Hampshire
The Most Beautiful Places in America Loading Your News...Log In or Subscribe to skipSign in with FacebookSign in with GoogleSign in FAQ1367655Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading
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An insider's guide to Baltimore 19 October 2014, 22.26 Travel
An insider's guide to Baltimore
provided by Homewood Suites by Hilton Traveling? You Can Keep Your Daily Routine At Homewood Suites Home isn't just part of our name, it's in everything we do. From a free hot breakfast every morning, to complimentary dinner
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Ebola and air travel: What to expect 08 October 2014, 23.44 Travel
Ebola and air travel: What to expect
Passengers arriving from abroad use automated passport kiosks as they get ready to go through Customs.(Photo: Nick Ut, AP) Tags Ebola Malaria Border Patrol 854 CONNECT 4 LINKEDIN EMAILMORE Travelers from West Africa
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Earn your relaxation: Volunteer on a beach vacation
(Photo: Sandals Resorts) Today's traveler is looking for more than just a vacation – they're looking to connect with a destination. Once they connect, they begin to look at their vacation surroundings with fresh eyes, and
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Experience America: Prepare for scares this Halloween
Find your AMERICA Experience Best of America Theme Park Guides Download our free iPad app! Your Complete Guide to Walt Disney World Resort Guide to Universal Studios Theme Parks National Park
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Top U.S. destinations for fall 2014 08 October 2014, 23.44 Travel
Top U.S. destinations for fall 2014
Deb Hopewell, SmarterTravel.com 7 a.m. EDT October 9, 2014 New York never goes out of season for tourists.(Photo: Songquan Deng, Getty Images/iStockphoto) 63 CONNECT 1 LINKEDINEMAILMORE Fall travel has a lot to recommend
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Love/hate food trends (and where to find them) 08 October 2014, 23.44 Travel
Love/hate food trends (and where to find them)
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Eating is controversial business. One person's fine dining revolution is the portent of an underdressed apocalypse to another. Debates over tipping practices
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Top luxury ship in Galapagos emerges from makeover
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide An exterior shot of the Silver Galapagos, which will undergo a second round of renovations in September.(Photo: Silversea Cruises) Tags Silver
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Taste the bold, full-bodied future of American coffee
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide In our not-so-distant culinary past, Jell-O molds were the height of chic, olive oil was exotic, and coffee came from a can. As a gourmet nation, we've come a
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10Best: Southern tourist attractions worth the crowds
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide We've all been there. A place that's clogged with so many tourists that the first reaction is "get me outta here!" Be that as it may, there are a few tourist
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#Stressedpets: Inside Edition and 10Best want your vote!
A longtime travel journalist, Libby chose her beautiful city after a nationwide search for a new hometown. Greenville's amazing downtown, four mild seasons, varied terrain, friendly residents and countless nearby waterfalls
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Ken Burns shares secrets of Grand Canyon National Park
Ken Burns sat down with USA TODAY and shared some of the secrets of America's national parks. Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan are the creators of the PBS documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," available via
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Great girlfriend getaways to the Caribbean 29 September 2014, 19.16 Travel
Great girlfriend getaways to the Caribbean
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide A diamond may be a girl's best friend but a women's-only getaway in the Caribbean is worth gold. Barbados Girls just wanna have fun at the Hilton Barbados
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Party on: The best cruise ships for nightlife 29 September 2014, 19.16 Travel
Party on: The best cruise ships for nightlife
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide For most vacationers, a cruise is all about sun, sand, sights and relaxation. But for those for whom the night is always young, many cruise ships also provide a
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St. Lucia is for lovers: What to do as a couple 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
St. Lucia is for lovers: What to do as a couple
(Photo: St. Lucia Tourism Board) There are only a few destinations in the world that are synonymous with romance, among them — Fiji in the South Pacific, Paris in Europe, Hawaii in the United States. In the Caribbean, the
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Where to party in Vegas during iHeartRadio 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
Where to party in Vegas during iHeartRadio
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The iHeartRadio Music Festival is rolling into Vegas this weekend. But what's a festival without some rockin' after-parties featuring high-profile hosts,
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Taste Wisconsin from beer to brats 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
Taste Wisconsin from beer to brats
Sharon McDonnell, Special for USA TODAY 8:03 a.m. EDT September 19, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide 2 CONNECT LINKEDINEMAILMORE It's not all cheese and beer in "America's Dairyland," even
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10Best: Amazing American wildlife watching 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
10Best: Amazing American wildlife watching
Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 7:55 a.m. EDT September 19, 2014 Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Humpback whales are often seen near the Farallon Islands, Calif., about 30 miles west of
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Fantasy camps: Get a taste of a different life 20 September 2014, 19.53 Travel
Fantasy camps: Get a taste of a different life
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Summer may be over, but that doesn't mean that camps aren't still going strong – for adults, anyway. Throughout the USA, camps are available to make just
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Vacationships: These couples only meet up on the road
In a more mobile world, couples are taking long-distance relationships to another level.(Photo: Getty Images) 468 CONNECT 13 LINKEDIN EMAILMORE For their first date, Emily Harrington and Adrian Ballinger went rock-climbing
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2014 wine harvest festival guide 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
2014 wine harvest festival guide
As major wine regions around the country prepare for harvest season, the celebrations are starting as soon as this weekend. If you live or travel near these popular wineries, plan to participate with this breakdown of harvest
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10Best: Conspiracies and legends around the USA 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
10Best: Conspiracies and legends around the USA
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you." ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22 The items on this varied list may not all warrant heightened
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Photo tour: The stunning SLS Las Vegas 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
Photo tour: The stunning SLS Las Vegas
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Experience Las Vegas is featuring in-depth photo tours of the city's world-famous hotels and casino resorts this year. We feature a different Vegas property
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Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park
Ken Burns shares secrets of Arches National Park 26Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestKen Burns shares secrets of Arches National ParkThe
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When gross things happen to good passengers 15 September 2014, 21.21 Travel
When gross things happen to good passengers
Christopher Elliott , Special for USA TODAY 12:50 p.m. EDT September 14, 2014 You board a plane and find your seat stained with bodily fluids. Now what?(Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto) 2942 CONNECT 41 LINKEDIN
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Connecticut
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1357252Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in ConnecticutA
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Webcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga whales 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Webcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga whales
Webcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga whales 357Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestWebcam Wednesday: Go for a swim with beluga
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10Best: Beautiful and historic Southern resorts 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
10Best: Beautiful and historic Southern resorts
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide The South offers some of the nation's most famous resorts, several of which enjoy international name recognition. Even the most iconic historic properties are
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New York City's must-see specialty food stores 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
New York City's must-see specialty food stores
Whoever said, "You get what you pay for" never set foot in New York. In the city where East Village studios rent for $3,000/month, and baseball stadium beers run upwards of $10, cost savings are relative.As a result, Gothamites
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Costa Rica's top eco-destination hotspots 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Costa Rica's top eco-destination hotspots
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Costa Rica knows which side its bread is buttered on. People don't visit for the culture, cuisine or nightlife; they come for the nature. The country has
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Adorable hotels on America's Main Streets 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Adorable hotels on America's Main Streets
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide With everything that's going on in the world today, it's nice to occasionally be reminded that simple things do exist -- and they're what counts, right? So
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Video: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's Navigator 10 September 2014, 18.52 Travel
Video: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's Navigator
Video: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's Navigator 1Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestVideo: Spa chillin' on Royal Caribbean's NavigatorThe
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Video tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's Navigator 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Video tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's Navigator
Video tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's Navigator 1321Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestVideo tour: The fun of Royal Caribbean's
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Cozumel's best places for a honeymoon 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Cozumel's best places for a honeymoon
(Photo: Nathan Gutshall-Kresge, Getty Images/iStockphoto) Cozumel combines the best of two worlds for honeymooners: Mexican culture suffused with a captivating Caribbean ambience. Mexico's largest island also has a range of
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Otherworldly views: Explore Zion National Park 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Otherworldly views: Explore Zion National Park
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide Spanning across Southwestern Utah, Zion National Park encompasses over 229 miles of canyon country. Utah's first National Park, this oasis amid the high plateau
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Colorado's famous Broadmoor takes luxury to new heights
Stormy skies hang over the main lodge of the Broadmoor's Cloud Camp. The all-inclusive camp is one of three new retreats that make up the Broadmoor's new "Wilderness Experience."(Photo: MARK REIS Colorado Springs Gazette) 2
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Oklahoma 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
Photo tour: The most beautiful places in Oklahoma
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1353852Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in OklahomaA
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An insider's guide to Denver 06 September 2014, 20.29 Travel
An insider's guide to Denver
provided by Homewood Suites by Hilton Traveling? You Can Keep Your Daily Routine At Homewood Suites Home isn't just part of our name, it's in everything we do. From a free hot breakfast every morning, to complimentary dinner
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Photo tour: The most beautiful places in North Dakota
The Most Beautiful Places in America 1333452Share This Story!Let friends in your social network know what you are reading aboutFacebookEmailGoogle+LinkedInPinterestPhoto tour: The most beautiful places in North DakotaA
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Whatever happened to the heart-shaped tub? 22 August 2014, 19.29 Travel
Whatever happened to the heart-shaped tub?
Autoplay Show Thumbnails Show Captions Last SlideNext Slide As the first resort to install lipstick-red, heart-shaped tubs in its couples-only digs, Cove Haven created an image indelibly linked to the Poconos.(Photo:
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Cancun's top honeymoon resorts 22 August 2014, 19.29 Travel
Cancun's top honeymoon resorts
(Photo: javarman3, Getty Images/iStockphoto) Cancun is a perfect choice for honeymooners looking for action and distraction in a beautiful, beachside setting. Situated on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula in northern Quintana Roo
Read More 313 Hits 0 Ratings
Cuisine with a zing: Spiked dishes and desserts
If you've noticed that entrees and desserts have been tasting a little more "spirited" lately, there's probably a very good reason. More U.S. chefs are taking some creative liberties with libations by adding a dash of
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Future News Reports

Obama's War Against US Energy Independence:  Give Away Oil Rich Alaskan Islands to Russia!
  By Joe Miller The Obama administration, despite the nation’s economic woes, effectively killed the job-producing Keystone Pipeline last month. The Arab Spring is turning the oil production of Libya and other Arab
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OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials 08 April 2012, 02.33 Administrator Energy
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials Visit http://www.osbitpower.com for further information OSBIT Power (OP), Siemens Wind Power and Statoil have successfully completed offshore
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North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost 12 January 2012, 02.01 Administrator Energy
North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost
        North America’s EV charging infrastructure may soon see significant improvements, thanks to a recent agreement between Eaton Corporation and Coulomb Technologies. Under the deal, Eaton’s Level II and
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Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source? 28 May 2011, 01.34 Administrator Energy
Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source?
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Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation 25 September 2011, 16.27 Administrator Energy
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Steorn's Free Energy Orbo -- From Permanent Magnets to Solid State Systems   My associate, Hank Mills composed this for PESN, Saturday, February 12, 2011 6:17 Steorn is a small company based in Dublin, Ireland. For
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Cold Fusion, Releases Energy from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field 16 January 2011, 09.17 Administrator Energy
Cold Fusion, Releases Energy  from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field
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Eco Factor: Sustainable development to generate renewable solar energy. Bernard Tschumi Architects have re-imagined their master plan for the new Abu Dhabi Media Zone, by incorporating several environmentally-friendly
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Photo tour: The D Casino Hotel Las Vegas PDF Print E-mail

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Experience Las Vegas features exclusive, in-depth photo tours of the city's world-famous hotels and casino resorts. We explore a different Vegas property each month so you can visit virtually before booking your stay, or just fantasize about plush digs outside of your budget.

This April, we go downtown to an increasingly popular stay, The D Casino Hotel Las Vegas. The D is known for its budget-friendly rooms, lively party atmosphere and proximity to the ever-growing attractions in Downtown Las Vegas. Guests can walk right out to the Fremont Street Experience, gamble with vintage games and slots inside, and dine on casual chili dogs or fine Italian on-site. Plus, the go-go dancers on the bar outside offer a very Vegas welcome.

Browse the gallery above for the complete exclusive tour, and view the video below for a sneak peek.

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  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Travel  |  
 
First look: Inside the year's hottest new cruise ship PDF Print E-mail

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River giant Viking's first ocean ship, the 930-passenger Viking Star, will be christened in Bergen, Norway in May 2015.(Photo: Viking River Cruises)

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ISTANBUL, Turkey — Eager for a glimpse of Viking Star -- the much-awaited first ocean ship from river giant Viking? USA TODAY Cruise this week is getting early access to the 930-passenger vessel as it sets sail on its maiden voyage, and we're posting photos in the carousel above and at our Twitter page and Facebook page.

Click HERE to see the photos above in larger format.

Scheduled to be christened in May in Bergen, Norway, Viking Star is being billed by some as the most significant new cruise ship of the year -- the prototype for at least two and likely many more new ocean vessels to come from fast-growing Viking.

A third the size of the latest megaships from the likes of Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, the Viking Star is designed to mix onboard elegance with a focus on destinations that Viking executives say has been lost across much of the cruise industry in recent years.

RELATED: Viking chief says line won't nickel-and-dime
PHOTO TOUR: The sleek style of a Viking river ship

The Viking Star's itineraries will feature more time in ports than at many other lines, and in a relatively rare twist, shore excursions will be included in the price (as will beer and wine with lunch and dinner; and even wi-fi access -- something that can cost up to 75 cents a minute at other lines).

The Viking Star also will be able to access smaller ports that often are off limits to today's megaships, thanks to its smaller size.

As can be seen in the photos, the Viking Star has a modern Scandinavian design that echoes what is found on Viking's river ships. Cabins are large for a cruise ship, with the smallest of five cabin categories having 270 square feet of space. In addition, every cabin has a balcony. Fourteen two-room suites on the ship range from 757 to 1,448 square feet and offer sweeping views from wrap-around private balconies.

The Viking Star's inaugural season features eight- to 50-day sailings around the Baltic and Mediterranean starting at $2,499 per person.

Viking's move into ocean cruising comes as the company increasingly dominates the world of river cruising. The line last month christened 12 new river ships, on top of 18 vessels added in 2014. The company now has 64 river ships in all. For a deck-by-deck look at one of Viking's 12 new river vessels, click through the carousel below.

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More on Viking Star
First Viking ocean ship takes to water
And the godmother for Viking Star is ...
Fast-growing Viking orders two more ocean ships
Viking cuts steel for new ocean ship
A sneak peek at plans for new Viking ship
New upscale line to debut in 2015
Head of new line: We won't nickel-and-dime

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  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Travel  |  
 
Exclusive: Disney to get into river cruising PDF Print E-mail

Disney will begin offering river cruises on the Danube in 2016.(Photo: Adventures by Disney)

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(6:00 PM ET) -- In a move that could mark the beginning of a new era for river cruising, family vacation giant Disney is getting into the business.

Disney tonight will announce it's partnering with river line AmaWaterways to offer family-focused river cruises on the Danube starting in 2016.

The seven-night trips between Budapest, Hungary and Vilshofen, Germany will take place on a new AmaWaterways vessel that is being custom built for the family market with cabin configurations that can hold up to five people -- a rarity in river cruising. Shore tours and on-board activities also are being custom-designed with families in mind.

If successful, the venture could open up a new market for river cruising, which until now has appealed mostly to adult travelers without children, particularly older couples and retirees.

"We think the Disney brand will bring families to the river cruising category, and we think that's a very exciting development for the industry," the Disney executive in charge of the project, Ken Potrock, tells USA TODAY in an exclusive interview.

The new Disney cruises will be sold through Disney's fast-growing touring arm, Adventures by Disney, which has been offering family-friendly adventure tours around the globe for a decade. The sailings will be separate from those offered by the 17-year-old Disney Cruise Line, which operates four ocean-going vessels.

Initially, there will be just five departures, on July 7, 14, 21 and 28, and Dec. 22, 2016. Still, while starting small, the venture could grow significantly over the coming years, suggests Potrock, who runs Adventures by Disney as well as the Disney Vacation Club.

"We aspire to more, both in terms of the number of departures and the rivers that we consider, and (also) in terms of the geographic locales from a worldwide perspective," he says. "We think the response is going to be great, and we're already having conversations about what more could look like."

Disney's first river cruises will be on the Danube river between Budapest, Hungary and Vilshofen, Germany. (Photo: Adventures by Disney)

In addition to the gateway ports of Budapest and Vilshofen, the initial cruises will feature stops along the Danube in Passau, Germany; Linz, Melk and Vienna, Austria; and Bratislava, Slovakia. Passengers also can add a two-night, Disney guide-led visit to Prague to the beginning or end of the sailing, creating a nine-night trip.

Potrock says the itinerary will offer an unusual array of active, family-focused options both on and off the ship.

Custom-designed, family-friendly shore excursions will range from family bike rides along the Danube to learning archery and other medieval activities at a historic castle to strudel making.

On-board, Disney will be adding everything from interactive Disney games to family competitions on the ship's top deck, and the company also is lining up parks along the sailing route where families can take a break from touring to play a game of soccer or capture-the-flag.

Disney also is planning "junior adventure nights" where on-board adventure guides will have special entertainment activities for children such as a movie night with a makeshift theater on-board the ship.

In all, there will be five or six activities from which to choose each day, far more than on most river trips.

A passenger "might choose to do one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening," Potrock says. Disney wants people to "come away and say, 'wow, there was more (there) than I ever thought I would get to do.'"

In addition to the ship's staff, Disney will have eight "adventure guides" on board each sailing who will lead family-focused activities -- a key differentiator with other river lines, says Potrock.

Chosen from 1,000 applicants, the guides will be "truly the best of the best from the Disney system and beyond," he says. "They all either have experience in international markets or skills ... that will surprise and delight the children and the families. They might be a ventriloquist or a concert pianist or a comedian, or they might do voices."

To be called AmaViola, the AmaWaterways ship will feature several family-friendly cabin configurations that are common on many ocean cruise ships but rare in river cruising.

The ship will have four suites with beds and pull-out sofas that can hold a family of four. An additional dozen cabins will be able to hold up to three family members, thanks to chairs that convert into an extra bed. There also will be six sets of adjoining cabins that can be connected via a three-foot-wide wall segment that slides open at the push of a button. The adjoining cabins will allow for four or five members of a family to share accommodations.

The connecting cabins, in particular, are a rarity in the river cruise world.

Potrock says he spent a lot of time talking with AmaWaterways founders Rudi Schreiner and Kristin Karst about the ship's design.

"We really wanted to build this from the ground up (for families)," he says. "The traditional river cruising vessel is staterooms for two, and families don't travel in that configuration. Sometimes they travel in three and four and five, and multigenerational, and families traveling with other families."

Like some other Adventures by Disney trips, the cruises are recommended for children ages eight and up, and there will be a minimum age of four to sail.

While the first five sailings are being sold as family departures, "it doesn't mean that we won't in the future consider adult-only departures," he adds, noting that Adventures by Disney offers adult-only departures to some of the 30 other destinations on its schedule.

In an exclusive interview with USA TODAY, AmaWaterways' Schreiner and Karst say they're excited about the partnership.

"I think there is hidden demand (for family river cruising) that is there but has never been developed," says Karst, noting that the few families the line has gotten over the years invariably leave glowing feedback.

River cruising is "a fantastic product for children," she says. "Not many have come on board yet, but when (they do) they always enjoy it."

Karst says she suspects families have been uncomfortable booking river cruises because the typical river line doesn't offer organized family activities on trips. Even when river lines have marketed departures as family friendly, they haven't had the sort of infusion of family activity that Disney is planning, she says.

Calling what Disney is planning "tremendous," Karst notes the line even has shifted its typical sailing schedule on the Danube for the Disney departures to leave more time in ports for family activities.

Fares for the new Disney cruises will start at $4,179 per person, based on double occupancy, and include all meals, gratuities, wine with dinner and transportation between the ship and airports.

Disney's move into river cruising comes as the company's ocean cruise business continues to expand its offerings. The Disney Cruise Line will operate its first cruises to Norway in June and last month announced plans for its first cruise to the British Isles.

Disney also recently completed a major makeover of its 1,754-passenger Disney Magic. For a deck-by-deck look at Disney's newest ship, the Disney Fantasy, click through the carousel below.

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Nik Wallenda to walk atop new Orlando Eye as it spins PDF Print E-mail

Nik Wallenda to walk atop new Orlando Eye as it spins

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Nik Wallenda to walk atop new Orlando Eye as it spins

Nik Wallenda survived walking the "Wheel of Death" at Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City. Now, he's ready to spin the wheel once more. This one will be on the Orlando Eye, which is billed as the

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Daredevil Nik Wallenda walked across a tightrope over Chicago Sunday as thousands below him watched. The 35-year-old daredevil is a 7th generation progeny of the famed Flying Wallendas circus family.

Nik Wallenda crosses the Grand Canyon on tightrope.(Photo: Courtery of Nik Wallenda)

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Nik Wallenda survived walking the "Wheel of Death" at Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City.

Now, he's ready to spin the wheel once more.

This one will be on the Orlando Eye, which is billed as the largest observation wheel on the East Coast. The 400-foot Orlando Eye is set to open this spring, and Wallenda will walk it on April 29.

Wallenda, a seventh generation member of The Flying Wallendas clan, already has nine Guinness World Records for acrobatic accomplishments.

The Sarasota, Fla., native will return to his home state for his next feat.

Wallenda will get into a capsule of the Orlando Eye and ride it to the top. The wheel will stop rotating. He will then climb to the roof. He will cross over the tracks and get over to the eye of the wheel. He will stand on the rim, which is less than six inches wide.

"It's quite dangerous just getting to that rim," Wallenda told USA TODAY in an interview.

The wheel will then start rotating again.

"I'm not in control anymore," he says. "This apparatus is moved by an operator and I won't have a remote control. As It moves, my job is to stay on top and balance."

He won't be able to use a balancing bar while he does it. At some point, as the structure rotates, he will have to duck under a six-foot wide beam.

"I've never done anything of this capacity," he says.

Wallenda has walked across tightropes over both the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls.

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDADaredevil Nik Wallenda walks tightrope over Chicago | 03:32

Daredevil Nik Wallenda walked across a tightrope over Chicago Sunday as thousands below him watched. The 35-year-old daredevil is a 7th generation progeny of the famed Flying Wallendas circus family.

1 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDAWatch daredevil Nik Wallenda conquer Chicago's skyline | 01:00

With thousands of roaring spectators on hand to watch, daredevil Nik Wallenda walked across the Marina City Towers in Chicago, blindfolded.

2 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDANiagara Falls daredevil rides motorcycle over lake | 00:50

Daredevil Nik Wallenda thrilled the crowd once again today with one of his high wire performances as he rode a motorcycle on the wire over a lake with two performers riding underneath. VPC

3 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDAWallenda wants NYC skyline next | 00:37

High-wire walker Nik Wallenda already has a dream about where his next stunt will be. VPC

4 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDANik Wallenda prays, kisses ground after canyon walk | 01:36

Daredevil Nik Wallenda, the seventh-generation high-wire artist, on Sunday successfully walked a two-inch thick cable across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon. VPC

5 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDANik Wallenda crosses canyon on tightrope | 02:06

Aerialist Nik Wallenda crossed the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon on Sunday. The stunt took him about 1,500 feet above the river. It took him 22 minutes to cross the quarter-mile gorge. (June 24) AP

6 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDATimelapse: Nik Wallenda walks across Niagara Falls | 01:01

It took daredevil Nik Wallenda about 25 minutes to cross Niagara Falls on a two-inch-wide wire last June. Watch his entire 1,800 foot journey in one minute. VPC

7 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDAHIghwire walk from Wallenda's point of view | 01:48

Nik Wallenda filmed his Skywalk over downtown Sarasota, Fla, on a camera attached to his balancing stick. VPC

8 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDAWallenda crosses Fla. tightrope 200 feet high | 00:58

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda has completed a high-wire crossing, without a safety harness or net, over an oceanfront highway in Florida. (Jan. 29) AP

9 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDATight roper Wallenda crosses highway in 30 seconds | 00:35

Famed tightrope walker Nik Wallenda crossed 200 feet over an oceanfront highway in Sarasota, Fla. on a wire without a safety harness or net.

10 of 10

  • Daredevil Nik Wallenda walks tightrope over Chicago

    Daredevil Nik Wallenda walks tightrope over Chicago

  • Watch daredevil Nik Wallenda conquer Chicago's skyline

    Watch daredevil Nik Wallenda conquer Chicago's skyline

  • Niagara Falls daredevil rides motorcycle over lake

    Niagara Falls daredevil rides motorcycle over lake

  • Wallenda wants NYC skyline next

    Wallenda wants NYC skyline next

  • Nik Wallenda prays, kisses ground after canyon walk

    Nik Wallenda prays, kisses ground after canyon walk

  • Nik Wallenda crosses canyon on tightrope

    Nik Wallenda crosses canyon on tightrope

  • Timelapse: Nik Wallenda walks across Niagara Falls

    Timelapse: Nik Wallenda walks across Niagara Falls

  • HIghwire walk from Wallenda's point of view

    HIghwire walk from Wallenda's point of view

  • Wallenda crosses Fla. tightrope 200 feet high

    Wallenda crosses Fla. tightrope 200 feet high

  • Tight roper Wallenda crosses highway in 30 seconds

    Tight roper Wallenda crosses highway in 30 seconds

The Orlando Eye is part of the city's newest entertainment complex set to open this spring along International Drive. I-Drive 360, as it is called, features the Orlando Eye as well as Madame Tussauds wax museum, Sea Life Orlando aquarium and several restaurants including Shake Shack and Buffalo Wild Wings.

"Nik, he's both born and raised in Florida," says John Stine, director of marketing and sales for I-Drive 360. "He's Florida. He's all about entertainment and we think he fits in perfectly with our venue for our upcoming celebration."

Wallenda will get to enjoy his surroundings while he performs. He says he makes it a point to do so.

"I absolutely do take advantage of every opportunity I have," he says. "I definitely try to look around and take in the scenery while I'm there. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't be doing it."

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Nik Wallenda to walk atop new Orlando Eye as it spins

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Nik Wallenda to walk atop new Orlando Eye as it spins

Nik Wallenda survived walking the "Wheel of Death" at Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City. Now, he's ready to spin the wheel once more. This one will be on the Orlando Eye, which is billed as the

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Daredevil Nik Wallenda walked across a tightrope over Chicago Sunday as thousands below him watched. The 35-year-old daredevil is a 7th generation progeny of the famed Flying Wallendas circus family.

Nik Wallenda crosses the Grand Canyon on tightrope.(Photo: Courtery of Nik Wallenda)

57 CONNECTLINKEDINEMAILMORE

Nik Wallenda survived walking the "Wheel of Death" at Tropicana Casino and Resort in Atlantic City.

Now, he's ready to spin the wheel once more.

This one will be on the Orlando Eye, which is billed as the largest observation wheel on the East Coast. The 400-foot Orlando Eye is set to open this spring, and Wallenda will walk it on April 29.

Wallenda, a seventh generation member of The Flying Wallendas clan, already has nine Guinness World Records for acrobatic accomplishments.

The Sarasota, Fla., native will return to his home state for his next feat.

Wallenda will get into a capsule of the Orlando Eye and ride it to the top. The wheel will stop rotating. He will then climb to the roof. He will cross over the tracks and get over to the eye of the wheel. He will stand on the rim, which is less than six inches wide.

"It's quite dangerous just getting to that rim," Wallenda told USA TODAY in an interview.

The wheel will then start rotating again.

"I'm not in control anymore," he says. "This apparatus is moved by an operator and I won't have a remote control. As It moves, my job is to stay on top and balance."

He won't be able to use a balancing bar while he does it. At some point, as the structure rotates, he will have to duck under a six-foot wide beam.

"I've never done anything of this capacity," he says.

Wallenda has walked across tightropes over both the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls.

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDADaredevil Nik Wallenda walks tightrope over Chicago | 03:32

Daredevil Nik Wallenda walked across a tightrope over Chicago Sunday as thousands below him watched. The 35-year-old daredevil is a 7th generation progeny of the famed Flying Wallendas circus family.

1 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDAWatch daredevil Nik Wallenda conquer Chicago's skyline | 01:00

With thousands of roaring spectators on hand to watch, daredevil Nik Wallenda walked across the Marina City Towers in Chicago, blindfolded.

2 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDANiagara Falls daredevil rides motorcycle over lake | 00:50

Daredevil Nik Wallenda thrilled the crowd once again today with one of his high wire performances as he rode a motorcycle on the wire over a lake with two performers riding underneath. VPC

3 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDAWallenda wants NYC skyline next | 00:37

High-wire walker Nik Wallenda already has a dream about where his next stunt will be. VPC

4 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDANik Wallenda prays, kisses ground after canyon walk | 01:36

Daredevil Nik Wallenda, the seventh-generation high-wire artist, on Sunday successfully walked a two-inch thick cable across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon. VPC

5 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDANik Wallenda crosses canyon on tightrope | 02:06

Aerialist Nik Wallenda crossed the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon on Sunday. The stunt took him about 1,500 feet above the river. It took him 22 minutes to cross the quarter-mile gorge. (June 24) AP

6 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDATimelapse: Nik Wallenda walks across Niagara Falls | 01:01

It took daredevil Nik Wallenda about 25 minutes to cross Niagara Falls on a two-inch-wide wire last June. Watch his entire 1,800 foot journey in one minute. VPC

7 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDAHIghwire walk from Wallenda's point of view | 01:48

Nik Wallenda filmed his Skywalk over downtown Sarasota, Fla, on a camera attached to his balancing stick. VPC

8 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDAWallenda crosses Fla. tightrope 200 feet high | 00:58

Tightrope walker Nik Wallenda has completed a high-wire crossing, without a safety harness or net, over an oceanfront highway in Florida. (Jan. 29) AP

9 of 10

THE AMAZING NIK WALLENDATight roper Wallenda crosses highway in 30 seconds | 00:35

Famed tightrope walker Nik Wallenda crossed 200 feet over an oceanfront highway in Sarasota, Fla. on a wire without a safety harness or net.

10 of 10

  • Daredevil Nik Wallenda walks tightrope over Chicago

    Daredevil Nik Wallenda walks tightrope over Chicago

  • Watch daredevil Nik Wallenda conquer Chicago's skyline

    Watch daredevil Nik Wallenda conquer Chicago's skyline

  • Niagara Falls daredevil rides motorcycle over lake

    Niagara Falls daredevil rides motorcycle over lake

  • Wallenda wants NYC skyline next

    Wallenda wants NYC skyline next

  • Nik Wallenda prays, kisses ground after canyon walk

    Nik Wallenda prays, kisses ground after canyon walk

  • Nik Wallenda crosses canyon on tightrope

    Nik Wallenda crosses canyon on tightrope

  • Timelapse: Nik Wallenda walks across Niagara Falls

    Timelapse: Nik Wallenda walks across Niagara Falls

  • HIghwire walk from Wallenda's point of view

    HIghwire walk from Wallenda's point of view

  • Wallenda crosses Fla. tightrope 200 feet high

    Wallenda crosses Fla. tightrope 200 feet high

  • Tight roper Wallenda crosses highway in 30 seconds

    Tight roper Wallenda crosses highway in 30 seconds

The Orlando Eye is part of the city's newest entertainment complex set to open this spring along International Drive. I-Drive 360, as it is called, features the Orlando Eye as well as Madame Tussauds wax museum, Sea Life Orlando aquarium and several restaurants including Shake Shack and Buffalo Wild Wings.

"Nik, he's both born and raised in Florida," says John Stine, director of marketing and sales for I-Drive 360. "He's Florida. He's all about entertainment and we think he fits in perfectly with our venue for our upcoming celebration."

Wallenda will get to enjoy his surroundings while he performs. He says he makes it a point to do so.

"I absolutely do take advantage of every opportunity I have," he says. "I definitely try to look around and take in the scenery while I'm there. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't be doing it."

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Show Captions

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Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1yoniEq

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Raw: Okla. Officer shoots gun instead of taser
Apr 13, 2015
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Five myths about frequent-flier miles PDF Print E-mail

Everett Potter, Special for USA TODAY 10:15 a.m. EDT April 13, 2015

Regardless of how often you fly, it pays to sign up for frequent-flier programs.(Photo: Matt Rourke, AP)

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Ever since the first frequent-flier program was launched in the early 1970s by United Airlines, there have been plenty of misconceptions and myths about getting and using miles. But with today's airfares at sky-high prices, getting that elusive free ticket has become more important than ever. Don't let these five myths about frequent-flier mileage programs get in the way of your next reward seat.

1. I don't fly enough to join frequent-flier programs.

Regardless of how often you fly, it pays to sign up for frequent-flier programs, which are free.

"The cost of frequent-flier miles and awards is baked into the price of your ticket," says Tim Winship, editor-at-large at SmarterTravel.com. "So if you don't participate, you're not getting full value for your airfare dollar. "

Besides, you don't have to fly very often to enjoy the benefits of a frequent-flier program. In fact flying is almost beside the point, says Brian Kelly, founder of thepointsguy.com.

"You don't need to fly a lot to rack up frequent-flier miles," says Kelly. "More than 50% of miles these days are generated from credit cards and shopping partners. They're really frequent-buyer programs more than frequent flier."

Go on a shopping spree to earn miles if you must, but finding the right credit card to earn those miles with is key. Start with a visit to Bankrate.com, which has ranked every major airline affiliate credit card according to benefits and costs. The benefits do vary widely, with some cards providing two miles for every dollar spent as well as bonus miles for large expenditures. The fee for these cards is also far from uniform. Some cards are free, while other cards come with yearly fees, typically $49 to $99 a year, topping out at $495 a year for a Visa Black Card.

In terms of partners who offer miles, car rental companies are a no-brainer, but did you know that you can earn miles by opening an account with Fidelity or signing up with Dish Network? Or that you can get JetBlue TrueBlue points for simply signing up for Zipcar? Big spenders can take it to another level the next time they're buying or selling a house or moving. American HomeMiles, part of the American Airlines AAdvantage program, offers a range of real estate services and gives 2,000 miles for every $10,000 of the sale or purchase price when you buy or sell a home, 1,250 miles for every $10,000 on a financed house and 5,000 miles when you move state-to-state with Allied, North American or Global Van Lines.

2. One frequent-flier program is the same as another.

Join one program? Join every program? Winship cautions against "joining programs willy-nilly." Otherwise, you end up with "dribs and drabs of miles, scattered over multiple programs, which are worthless."

To build up miles, concentrate your travel and your affiliated credit card purchases with one or two major frequent-flier mile programs. But do so only with carriers that serve your home airport, since they're the ones that you're most likely to be flying.

"One of the keys to maximizing the value of loyalty-program participation is choosing a program that works with your travel and consumption patterns and then channeling the bulk of your mileage earning into that program," says Winship. "The result is more awards and a shot at earning elite status and the perks that come with it."

3. Every time I go to use miles, there are always blackout dates or the miles have expired before I have a chance to use them.

"Blackout dates don't really exist anymore," says Kelly. "Instead, airlines have added new 'tiers' so you can redeem more miles for peak flights versus having them blacked out."

Take American Airlines, for example. For a domestic round-trip in economy class in the lower 48 states, a frequent-flier ticket can run anywhere from 12,500 to 30,000 miles, depending on when you want to fly. There are no longer blackout periods -- you simply need to cash in more miles if you want to travel during a peak period. Most airline frequent-flier programs put expiration dates on miles, but it's not difficult to get around those restrictions.

"It's not true that you need to fly to keep miles from expiring," says Kelly. "In most cases, all you need to do is simply have any activity, like transferring credit card points or making a purchase through a dining or shopping program, to keep them from expiring."

4. You need to book way in advance to get award seats.

Booking early can still work as a way to score frequent-flier seats, but it's not the only way and it's not always the best. Just as the airlines use yield management to squeeze as much revenue as possible out of paid tickets, they employ a similar strategy when it comes to releasing seats for frequent-flier miles.

"Booking 330 days before departure, when most airlines make award seats available for booking, is just one among many strategies for securing scarce award seats," says Winship. "Booking late, say within 14 days of departure, is another option, since airlines will then make unsold seats available for mileage redemptions. "

Kelly is also an advocate of looking late in the game to find a frequent-flier seat.

"The best time to redeem is last minute when airlines open up a lot of availability, especially in premium cabins," he says. "Airlines these days want to sell seats until the last minute, but they don't want seats going empty, so in many cases they only open up award seats within a week of departure. It's great for procrastinators."

Winship offers yet another strategy in the never-ending hunt for the elusive frequent-flier seat.

"Be a contrarian, he advises. "Plan to use miles for travel on less-popular routes, during low-demand travel periods."

5. The only seats worth redeeming miles for are business- or first-class seats.

This is one of the more persistently stubborn beliefs about frequent-flier miles. But given how expensive economy-class seats have become, it doesn't hold water anymore.

"It's always smart to squeeze the most value-per-mile from point redemptions," says Winship. " And often, that's indeed from cashing in miles for premium-cabin travel. But not always. Sometimes a coach award ticket, booked last minute, when the market price would be quite high, can deliver solid value as well."

Kelly agrees, noting that "Economy redemptions can still be extremely valuable, especially for last-minute travel when fares are sky-high. That's when airlines are trying to gouge business travelers. Coincidentally, last minute is when airlines make a lot of award seats available, so it can be great time to redeem for economy."

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Traveler's table: Dipping sauces around the world PDF Print E-mail

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Traveling foodie Kate Parham Kordsmeier offers a taste of how seven cultures prepare dipping sauces and where you can find each variation here in the USA.

Every one knows the best way to eat carrots is to dip them in ranch dressing. Shrimp cocktail without cocktail sauce might as well not be eaten. And chips without salsa is as blasphemous as French fries without ketchup. It's a universal truth that dipping sauces elevate even the simplest of foods, making nearly every dish more flavorful, interesting and delicious. Turns out, Americans aren't the only ones with a penchant for dipping. Take a look at the gallery above to see how seven other countries around the world use condiments to improve their plates.

SEE MORE: Croquettes around the world

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Wallet-friendly cruising: 10 money-saving tips PDF Print E-mail

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You booked your cruise and paid the basic fare. Now it's time to consider extras.

The cruise fare covers accommodations, meals, most activities and entertainment. But there are plenty of other ways to spend money shipboard (before you add in gratuities and shore activities).

You can just say no to all the extras, but that's not practical for most cruise passengers. Here are 10 ways to save money onboard.

Watch the soda:

See if you can bring your own 12-pack of soda onboard instead of paying a per-can fee. (Photo: AP)

If you're a big soda or bottled water drinker, see if you can bring your own 12-pack onboard, which saves you paying per can/bottle on the ship. Purchasing an unlimited soda/water package (special pricing for kids) is another option. Or plan to drinking the free stuff – such as ice tea, lemonade, juice and flavored water (on lines including Norwegian Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises) available at the buffet. Bring your own water bottle, and you can fill up whenever you like.

Take advantage of free "adult" drinks:

You can also sip champagne or sparkling wine for free at the art auction. It's a come-on tactic, but you're under no obligation to buy. (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

Wet your whistle at the Captain's party (you'll receive an invite if you're a past cruiser). Get there early and you may be able to snag more than one cocktail from the trays proffered by waiters. You can also sip champagne or sparkling wine for free at the art auction. It's a come-on tactic, but you're under no obligation to buy.

Indulge in free ice cream:

You can likely get free, self-serve soft-serve on Lido Deck whenever you want, with unbranded hard-serve often available at the buffet and in the main dining room. (Photo: Dan Klempa, Carnival Cruise Lines)

Skip the gelato and name brands (Ben & Jerry's, Haagen-Daz), which come with a fee. You can likely get free, self-serve soft-serve on Lido Deck whenever you want, with unbranded hard-serve often available at the buffet and in the main dining room.

Do on-deck fitness classes:

For a free workout, hit the gym's state-of-the-art equipment or the jogging track. (Photo: Andy Paradise, Royal Caribbean International)

Skip the fee-based fitness classes in the gym and instead check the daily newsletter for any complimentary sessions held on deck – such as Zumba sessions on Celebrity Cruises. For a free workout, hit the gym's state-of-the-art equipment or the jogging track. Another good option is to bring a fitness DVD for your laptop and do your own session.

Do your own laundry:

If you really want to send laundry out, look for a set-price laundry bag special – stuff the provided bag and everything comes back clean and nicely folded. (Photo: Getty Images)

Your ship may have a self-serve laundry and it may be free – if not, you can exchange dollars for quarters or purchase tokens for the washers and dryers and soap dispensers at the purser's desk. If you really want to send laundry out, look for a set-price laundry bag special – stuff the provided bag and everything comes back clean and nicely folded.

Bring your own wine:

If you order wine off the menu and don't finish the bottle, have it corked – it will be stored so you can drink the rest the next day. Holland America's Wine Bar on the ms Ryndam is pictured. (Photo: Michel Verdure, Holland America Line)

You are generally not allowed to bring your own liquor onboard (if you try it may be confiscated). But Holland America Line, among others, lets you pack a bottle or two of wine or champagne. Consume it in your cabin for free, or in a public area for a corkage fee. If you order wine off the menu and don't finish the bottle, have it corked – it will be stored so you can drink the rest the next day.

RELATED: What NOT to pack on your cruise

Get beauty treatments in advance:

Shipboard massages and other beauty treatments are no bargain either. If you plan on indulging, look for special discounts on port days. (Photo: Royal Caribbean International)

Don't wait until you get on the ship to get a pedicure or manicure. What costs $30 at home will cost $70 and up on the ship. Shipboard massages and other beauty treatments are no bargain either. If you plan on indulging, look for special discounts on port days.

Don't connect:

Despite efforts being made by lines, including Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, to make Internet access both faster and cheaper, logging on shipboard is still an expensive proposition. (Photo: Carnival Cruise Lines)

Despite efforts being made by lines, including Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, to make Internet access both faster and cheaper, logging on shipboard is still an expensive proposition. Wait and brag about your vacation when you get to port – finding a bar or café where a beer or coffee comes with free WiFi.

Look for a restaurant deal:

If you plan to indulge in several, see whether a dining package may save you bucks. Note: You may have to book the package in advance of your cruise. (Photo: Norwegian Cruise Line)

Your ship's specialty restaurants will offer upgraded meals in intimate venues, as an alternative to complimentary dining rooms. But these special restaurants come with fees of $15 to $75. If you plan to indulge in several, see whether a dining package may save you bucks. Note: You may have to book the package in advance of your cruise.

Bring your own camera:

Carry your own camera or iPhone and snap selfies in the same poses, for free. You can have the photos printed cheaply when you get home. (Photo: Getty Images)

It may seem like every time you turn around a shipboard photographer is snapping your photo – including with costumed characters and staged backdrops. The idea is to get you to buy the photos. Carry your own camera or iPhone and snap selfies in the same poses, for free. You can have the photos printed cheaply when you get home.

SEE MORE #CRUISETIPS: How to get the best cruise ship cabin, 10 cruise ship cabins to avoid

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Las Vegas casinos' biggest winners PDF Print E-mail

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Visitors hear it all the time when they come to Las Vegas: These big casinos weren't built on letting people win. But on occasion, people do win and they win big. Statistically those who play on high-limit machines (say, a minimum of $250 per pull on a slot machine) earn bigger payouts, but there are plenty of other ways to hit the jackpot.

Sunset Station and Green Valley Ranch, two off-Strip casinos that cater to both visitors and locals, have seen their fair share of big winners on penny slots with progressive payouts. Progressive jackpots grow slowly but surely, with multiple machines all competing for the big win. One of the largest progressive payouts in history happened in 1998 at Palace Station, where a retired flight attendant dropped $300 into a Megabucks machine and was rewarded with $27.5 million. Last year at Sunset Station, a local hit the Willy Wonka progressive for $741,287.92, while another made $670,280 off The Walking Dead machine. One tourist walked away with $383,852.19 from the Lord of the Rings game.

Willy Wonka seems to be pretty loose all around, as a player at Wynn earned $375,000.24 from the game based on the eccentric chocolatier.

One of the most legendary slots in gaming history is known as the Lion's Share at MGM Grand, a $1 machine that is one of the originals from when the property opened 20 years ago. It never paid out its progressive jackpot in all that time, until August of last year when a couple from New Hampshire got the lucky lions all in a row for $2.4 million.

It isn't all about pouring your cash into a machine and hoping the algorithms calculate in your favor. Huge money can be won at table games as well. There are a number of ways to become a millionaire at Caesars properties, such as Harrah's and Planet Hollywood. Three-card poker with million-dollar jackpots had the winning hand for several visitors, including Shawna Caldwell from South Carolina and Matthew Bloodgood of Oregon. So far, Caesars has paid $1 million jackpots 11 times, with five in 2014 alone.

When you're super serious about poker, there's a whole event dedicated to you. Last year's World Series of Poker tournament attracted a record 82,360 players from 110 countries, generating the largest prize pool in tournament history of $227 million. The $10 million grand prize went to 27-year-old Martin Jacobson of Stockholm, Sweden.

Just because Jacobson is a professional poker player, doesn't mean that Lady Luck can't smile on you too.

Use gambling tips and tricks from a former pro:

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Cheers: The coolest Caribbean hotel lobby bars PDF Print E-mail

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Not just for hotel guests anymore, lobby bars are the epicenter of cocktail cool for a rum-spiked morning coffee, an afternoon martini swill or a nightcap on the rocks. Whether you come for the vibe, for the drinks or for both, peruse our list of the Caribbean's hip and happening lobby bars for the best of the best.

Puerto Rico

Straight through the spacious lobby, you'll find views of the Atlantic Ocean, a discreet piano player and cocktails that aim to please. (Photo: Magda Biernat, Condado Vanderbilt Hotel)

The nearly century-old Condado Vanderbilt in San Juan is named for Frederick William Vanderbilt, scion of one of America's richest families. Designed by the same team that created New York's Grand Central Station, it was once the haunt of A-list bluebloods like Charles Lindberg, Errol Flynn and President Franklin and Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt. Today, the Grande Dame of Condado is newly renovated yet still honors the glory days of San Juan especially in the elegant Veritas Wine and Cognac Bar. Straight through the spacious lobby, you'll find views of the Atlantic Ocean, a discreet piano player and cocktails that aim to please. Order the fabulously saintly St. Hillaire, which does a flute justice with Prosecco, lemon peel and the elderberry-flavored liqueur called St. Germaine (find a bottle to bring home). Looking to cool off? Sip on a Vanderbilt Mojito, chilled with local Ron del Barrilito Three Star rum, lime, brown sugar and a sprig of mint or go classic with a masterful dirty martini with a three –olive skewer. For a tapas treat, try a bowl of olive-oil-fried yucca chips with a chaser of marinated olives and a set of montaditos or mini-sandwiches topped with lobster, caviar and avocado.

Curacao

Blue Bar is action-central for those with a hankering for a sip and a snack after shopping in Willemstad or posing for photos on the nearby Floating Bridge. (Photo: Renaissance Curacao)

A creative melange of Blue Curacao liquor, vodka and licorice-y Sambuca, 'Meet Me in Paradise' is bliss in a glass at the Blue Bar in the Renaissance Curacao. Easy to spot near the front desk and around the corner from the lively casino, Blue Bar is action-central for those with a hankering for a sip and a snack after shopping in Willemstad or posing for photos on the nearby Floating Bridge. Bartenders pour until 3 am and the kitchen serves local fan favorites like beef croquettes called 'Dutch Bitterballen'.

Anguilla

Sunset Lounge at the Viceroy Anguilla is the height of Caribbean chic. Here you'll find fine champagne, aged rum, Cuban cigars and expertly rolled sushi. (Photo: Viceroy Anguilla)

Sunset Lounge at the Viceroy Anguilla is the height of Caribbean chic. Here you'll find fine champagne, aged rum, Cuban cigars and expertly rolled sushi. Crowning the coralline point where Barnes Bay meets Meads Bay, the lobby lounge is big on ambience with an adults-only infinity pool and DJ's who marry reggae with European hipster tunes. On the rocks and packing a punch, 'The Anguillahattan' is a trendy twist on the Manhattan with Pyrat rum, Cointreau, sweet vermouth and Angostura bitters. For the less adventurous, whiskey straight-up or a shot of sake will do the trick.

St. Maarten

The spirited lobby bar and the open air Lounge tempts with wine cellar treasures that run the gamut from a USD$495.00 bottle of Robert Mondavi and Baron de Rothschild Opus One to a six-dollar glass of Chardonnay Trivento Tribu from Argentina. (Photo: Holland House)

Sitting pretty on Great Bay Beach in Philipsburg, Ocean Lounge at Holland House is vacation nirvana bookended by the ocean on one side and the island's busiest shopping street on the other. The spirited lobby bar and the open air Lounge tempts with wine cellar treasures that run the gamut from a USD$495.00 bottle of Robert Mondavi and Baron de Rothschild Opus One to a six-dollar glass of Chardonnay Trivento Tribu from Argentina.

LOOKING TO BE PAMPERED? See the best Caribbean resort perks

Aruba

Front row center in the well-dressed lobby at the Ritz-Carlton, Divi Bar invites with an Asian-inspired menu, impressive medley of artisan tipples and fine glasses of wine. (Photo: Don Riddle)

Front row center in the well-dressed lobby at the Ritz-Carlton, Divi Bar invites with an Asian-inspired menu, impressive medley of artisan tipples and fine glasses of wine. Fronting Palm Beach, the bar is easy to spot with its funky illuminated lights and happy cast of regulars celebrating a lucky streak in the 24-hour casino just steps away. For fans of island fare, try a 'Cadushi ' cocktail; a homerun of white rum, triple sec, lime and cactus puree.

St. Thomas

As the sun sets, look left from the bar and head for the open air terrace, which boasts sweeping views of the parade of boats that pass through the colorful harbor daily. (Photo: Corey Weiner, Marriott Frenchman's Reef)

Veer right from the front desk and snag a seat at the Rum Bar at Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Beach Resort. As the sun sets, look left from the bar and head for the open air terrace, which boasts sweeping views of the parade of boats that pass through the colorful harbor daily. It's the perfect scene to order a dessert in a glass, like the Key-Limetini with Cruzan vanilla rum, pineapple juice and a graham cracker rim or the 'Cool Breeze ' with Sauza Silver Tequila, triple sec, cilantro petals and an avocado infusion. Delectable chilled margaritas appeal to those with less adventurous taste buds.

Nevis

Open at the magic hour for sunset toasting, the dapper bar in the Great House Lobby pours tropical rums like Haiti's smooth Barbancourt Reserve and the more subtle J. Bally from Martinique. (Photo: Four Seasons)

Despite its name, there's nothing boring about the Library Bar at the swanky five-star Four Seasons on the leeward side of the petite isle across the channel from St. Kitts. Open at the magic hour for sunset toasting, the dapper bar in the Great House Lobby pours tropical rums like Haiti's smooth Barbancourt Reserve and the more subtle J. Bally from Martinique. For those who prefer a glass of wine, stand-out sips include Centenario Gran Reserva from Costa Rico and Diplomatico Anejo from Venezuela. Sweet drink aficionados will order another round after the first 'Nevisian Spirit 'blended with vanilla rum, peach schnapps and fruity juice add-ons.

Grand Cayman

For the daring, full marks go to the 'Painkiller' heady with rum, coconut cream, pineapple and orange juice. (Photo: Sunshine Suites)

With cocktails called 'Mango Massage' and 'Vodka Paralyser', you know the Sunshine Grill at the Sunshine Suites is a watering hole with a sense of humor rather than just another hotel lobby bar. A seashell away from the white sand of Grand Cayman's Seven Mile Beach, quality bar time is all about frosty pints of the local Cay Brew and mighty mugs of margaritas and mojitos. For the daring, full marks go to the 'Painkiller' heady with rum, coconut cream, pineapple and orange juice.

Barbados

Uniquely styled as the hull of a keeled boat, the bar is popular for reasonably priced pitchers of Banks beer. (Photo: Hilton Resorts)

Ten miles from the Grantley Adams International Airport and ten minutes from Bridgetown; the capital and largest city on the island, Careenage Bar in the airy lobby of the Hilton Barbados is the in-spot for locals taking five after work, pilots from around the world resting up before their next flight and tourists who like the vibe of a neighborhood bar. Uniquely styled as the hull of a keeled boat, the bar is popular for reasonably priced pitchers of Banks beer and rum punch jazzed up with the island's own Mount Gay brand. Pitcher-pleasing snacks include Bajan fish cakes and coconut fried shrimp.

Trinidad

Snuggling the Waterfront Centre, the oh-so-chic bar is Port of Spain's hot spot for postcard-perfect for views of the Gulf of Paria. (Photo: Corey Weiner)

Cozy on a couch or restful on a stylish settee, cocktails are serious business at the Lobby Lounge at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad. Snuggling the Waterfront Centre, the oh-so-chic bar is Port of Spain's hot spot for postcard-perfect for views of the Gulf of Paria, small plates from a global menu and cocktails like the 'Chutney Rhythm' stirred with Angostura rum, mangos and a sweet splash of clove syrup . For calorie counters, 'Diamond Lite Mojito' weighs in at less than two hundred calories. Funky bands keep the island vibe until midnight from Thursday to Saturday.

WORKING ON YOUR FITNESS? Book a stay at the best health and wellness resorts in the Caribbean

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10Best: Phoenix faves that split the uprights PDF Print E-mail

Larry Bleiberg, Special for USA TODAY 8:11 a.m. EST January 23, 2015

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess hotel is home to the pampering Willow Stream Spa.(Photo: scottsdaleprincess.com)

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Phoenix gets its moment in the spotlight Feb. 1 when it hosts the Super Bowl, but resident Robbie Gould says the desert metropolis shines year-round. The Chicago Bears player, the third-most-accurate place kicker in NFL history, moved to the city 2 1/2 years ago. "It's a great place. There's lots to do and the weather's fantastic," he says. Also a broadcaster and philanthropist, Gould shares some favorite Phoenix-area spots with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.

Arrogant Butcher

Gould loves the scene at this downtown eatery across the street from Chase Field, which attracts theater crowds and politicians seeking salads, burgers, steaks, seafood and cocktails. "It's one of my favorite places in downtown Phoenix," he says. "We sit outside on the patio area. It's really fun to be able to people-watch." he says. 602-324-8502; foxrc.com

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

There's no shortage of spots to get pampered in the Phoenix area, but Gould is particularly fond of this resort in neighboring Scottsdale, home to the Willow Stream Spa. "It's great to get a massage there, and they have great amenities for males and females." Afterward, he likes to grab a bite at the hotel's Mexican restaurant La Hacienda by Richard Sandoval. 866-540-4495; scottsdaleprincess.com

Phoenix Zoo

Gould has a 1-year-old son and has discovered the charms of the city's zoo, which sprawls over 125 acres with 1,400 animals on display. Kids love the monkey village, giraffe encounter and camel rides. "It's one of the better zoos I've been to," he says. "It's a great place for families to get out and enjoy some of that weather, to be able to walk outside and have the kids out and doing something." 602-286-3800; phoenixzoo.org

Waste Management Phoenix Open

Football isn't the only sport bringing excitement to the desert this winter. The PGA tournament, running Jan. 26-Feb. 1 at TPC Scottsdale, will feature Tiger Woods, who famously shot a hole-in-one here in 1997. Gould likes the atmosphere on the par-3 hole 16, considered the rowdiest in golf. "They set it up as if it's a stadium, and there are thousands of people and they're drinking and having a good time," he says. wmphoenixopen.com

Baseball spring training

Just a month after the Super Bowl, baseball fans will descend on Phoenix for spring training. Gould loves catching both Chicago teams, but he probably sees more of the Cubs in their new stadium, Sloan Park, in nearby Mesa because his father-in-law has season tickets. "There's a restaurant in back and bars to watch the game. It's almost like a spring break place. You can sit on the lawn, eat at different food trucks," he says. cactusleague.com

Arizona Diamondbacks

Baseball fans aren't just limited to spring training. Gould loves to visit Chase Field, home to Major League Baseball's Arizona Diamondbacks. "The tickets are cheap, and you can see a great game here," Gould says. "You can really enjoy it whether it's 110 degrees and they have the roof closed, or at night when it's 75 or 80 and the roof opens up." 602-462-6500; arizona.diamondbacks.mlb.com

Ak-Chin Pavilion

Last year Gould saw Lady Antebellum perform at this outdoor venue, which seats 20,000, with 8,000 under a pavilion roof. "It's an awesome place where you can catch concerts relatively close to downtown," he says. 602-254-7200; ak-chinpavilion.com

US Airways Center

Gould is a regular at this venue, home to the Arena Football League Arizona Rattlers, where his brother Chris is a placekicker. The center, which will change its name to Talking Stick Resort Arena this year, is also home to the NBA's Suns and the WNBA's Mercury. "It's nice. You feel like you're part of the game and involved in it," he says. 602-379-7800; usairwayscenter.com

The Living Room

This lounge-style cafe and wine bar in nearby Chandler offers a casual atmosphere, with outside fireplaces and heating. "You can take in some great sandwiches and nice food. When it's 70 degrees at night, you can really enjoy the weather but sit in a lounge bar area and hang out with family," Gould says. 480-855-2848; livingroomwinebar.com

Quintero Golf Club

When he's not on the gridiron, you'll probably find Gould on the greens. And with hundreds of courses in the area, he has no shortage of places to play. But the kicker is particularly fond of this high-desert course northwest of Phoenix. "You're out in the middle of nowhere," he says. "You've got awesome views of the redstone mountains and valley." 928-501-1500; quinterogolf.com

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Latest gee-whiz cruise attraction: Open-air 'sky ride' PDF Print E-mail

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Dubbed the SkyRide, the Carnival Vista's peddle-powered aerial attraction encircles the ship's top deck.(Photo: Carnival Cruise Line)

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NEW YORK -- Get ready to ride in the sky on a cruise ship.

Industry giant Carnival's next vessel, the Carnival Vista, will feature an 800-foot-long track suspended around its top deck that passengers can circle in peddle-powered capsules, the line revealed Thursday at a New York event.

Dubbed the SkyRide, it's being billed as the cruise industry's first pedal-powered, open-air aerial attraction and is just one of several first-for-the-industry features planned for the ship.

Carnival Vista also will have the first IMAX Theater at sea and a record size, 455-foot-long water tube attraction, Carnival announced. The ship also will have a pub with a working brewery on site -- a first for a line catering to North Americans. Only one other cruise ship, the AIDAblue operated by German line Aida, has a working brewery on board.

RELATED: New Carnival ship coming in 2016
PHOTO TOUR: Inside the Carnival ships that made cruising history

The SkyRide attraction will be part of an expanded version of the outdoor activity parks that Carnival has installed on recent ships that also will include a suspended ropes course. The area will have a new indoor sports hangout, The Clubhouse at SportSquare¸ featuring mini-bowling, ping-pong, arcade basketball and sports video gaming, the line says.

Dubbed Kaleid-o-Slide, the new tube attraction will be part of the largest water park in the Carnival fleet. Passengers will be able to ride it on inflatable one or two-person rafts.

The ship's IMAX Theater will be three decks high and will show the latest Hollywood blockbusters as well as IMAX classics and IMAX documentary films, Carnival says. It'll be adjacent to a "thrill theater" that will offer a multi-dimensional special effects experience. The two theaters are part of a theater area with a concession stand offering popcorn and snacks that Carnival is calling the Carnival Multiplex and billing as the first multi-theater complex at sea.

Scheduled to debut in spring 2016, the Carnival Vista will carry 4,000 passengers at double occupancy. Carnival on Thursday said it will spend the summer of 2016 in Europe before sailing to New York for a series of cruises.

The Carnival Vista will build on the design of the line's last new ship, the Carnival Breeze. For a deck-by-deck tour of the Carnival Breeze, click through the carousel below.

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