Recommend October 2012 - (Page 8)

agentspeak editor’snotes same sex destination weddings I just received the August issue of Recommend, and read the “Agent Speak” letter from Jaime Wolf about same sex weddings. I confirmed a destination wedding for a heterosexual couple in Jamaica, and was told it was wonderful. The bride recommended her friends to me for a same sex destination wedding for May 2013. They were interested in Jamaica, Aruba and Punta Cana. After much research on the acceptance of same sex couples in various Caribbean islands, I found that Jamaica is very much against it, and advised the couple to stay away from Jamaica, finally confirming Punta Cana. Every island has a website that details its “wedding” requirements, so I suggest condensing this list and including in future articles on this subject. Also, the big complaint I receive from my destination wedding couples is about the length of time it takes for them to receive their official marriage license (three-nine months after the wedding). This too should be added to an article. Besides the Caribbean, what other destinations embrace same sex destination weddings? Will a cruise ship perform a same sex wedding? Do they work with agents to plan the event? Debbie Gorman, President Fun & Sun Travel Center Pt. Pleasant, NJ Recommend’s response: We reached out to travel agents specializing in cruise and LGBT travel and according to Michelle Fee, CEO & co-founder of Cruise Planners, American Express Travel, “Cruise lines do offer same sex commitment ceremonies on board their ships, which can be arranged through a travel agent. In addition to onboard ceremonies, couples are also choosing to book ceremonies in various ports of call as a way of enhancing their over-all experience and individualizing the ceremony a bit more.” Jeremy Bryant, CEO of, an LGBT travel agency, adds, “Besides the Caribbean, other destinations that embrace same sex destination weddings are the U.S. (parts), Mexico, South Africa, Canada, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden.” This month we’re living in the lap of luxury and bringing you a gold mine of travel information in our biannual Luxury & Spa issue. As we traveled around the world and did the research for this month’s stories, the one thing that was always top of mind was: What is luxury travel? Is it exploring far-off lands that the Joneses down the street haven’t ventured off to, or is it having afternoon tea in swanky Palm Beach? Or is it, as Cassandra Bookholder, CTA, Camelback Odyssey Travel, A Virtuoso Travel Office, says, “The extra step that is taken that shows that it is true luxury. This may be finishing a hike in Patagonia while dipping your feet in glacier water and your guide handing you a cheese board and a glass of Chilean wine…or knowing where you can mountain bike through a field of kangaroos in the Blue Mountains.” Of course, you know it’s all this and more. Luxury clients wants everything from visiting off-the-beaten-track destinations to being immersed in authentically local experiences, all complemented by indulgent pampering, because as Bookholder notes, “The luxury traveler expects to have all the comforts of home when they travel.” Our own contributing editor Sarah Muñoz—who traveled to Asia and Africa to report on the five-star group of ITC Hotels in India (page 36) and secluded Indigo Bay Island Resort and Spa in Mozambique (page 57)—agrees that having all your whims catered to is of utmost importance during a luxury vacation. “Luxury is people anticipating your wants and needs; not having to ask twice...a sumptuous amenity-filled hotel room.” Asia/South Pacific editor Sergio Ortiz, who wrote this month’s high-end cruise lines feature (page 60), concurs: “It means having everything at arm’s reach, even if you don’t need it.” For Latin America editor Carla Hunt travel itself is luxury, “one of discovering or re-discovering one wonderful place,” such as Santa Catarina in Brazil, which she writes about on page 54. What is your idea of luxury travel? What are your luxury clients requesting? Send your thoughts to As you flip through this issue reading the aforementioned stories as well as features on Napa Valley (page 22), Gateway Canyons Resort (page 26) and Caribbean Private Island Resorts (page 46), you’ll notice we’ve introduced a redesign with more images and sidebars. You’ll also notice that the reader service card is missing from this issue. For advertiser information, visit, where you can input your request and expect a quicker response time as you don’t have to wait for mailed-in requests to get to the supplier. what you’re booking If the 2012 Recommend Reader Survey is any indication, clients are hungry for cruise trips, and it seems that Viking River Cruises’ decision to add not six but eight Viking Longships to its fleet in 2013 was a smart move because river cruising is one of the hottest ways to visit ports of call, according to the survey. In fact, cruise bookings in general are quite popular, with luxury cruises and small ship cruises also taking a large chunk of those top spots. What else has seen a rise in bookings year after year? Bermuda, Central America, Israel, South Africa and Western Europe; Scandinavia, too, is garnering quite a bit of interest. online offerings We’ve launched a revamped that we know will make your road to becoming a specialist in destinations from Aruba to Panama much easier. The site offers brand-new mapping technology; usability across many different platforms—mobile and tablet to desktop—and is much more user-friendly. With this launch comes a revamped St. Vincent and the Grenadines specialist program—offering three CEUs from The Travel Institute and two from the Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors (CITC)—as well as a new Chile specialist program, offering four CEUs from The Travel Institute and three from CITC. And you can become part of our social circle @Recommendmag and recommendmag.—Paloma Villaverde de Rico Responses, opinions and comments are welcome at Recommend reserves the right to edit letters submitted to Agent Speak. 8 october 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend October 2012

Editor's Notes
Hotel Desk: Sofitel Luxury Hotels
Tour Talk: Travcoa
A Villa Vacation in Europe
Napa Valley Revisited
Gateway Canyons Resort, Colorado
Vintage Palm Beach
The Surrey, New York City
The Best of India at ITC Hotels
St. Regis Offers City Sophistication & Barefoot Luxury in Mexico
Mexico Boutique Hotels' Stellar Collection
Four World-Class Private Island Resorts
Update: More on Luxury Private Island Resorts
In Santa Catarina, Brazil, the Surf's Up for Luxury Travel
Indigo Bay Island Resort & Spa, Mozambique
New Offerings on Luxe Cruise Lines

Recommend October 2012