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World’s largest cruise ship ready for the first voyage

The world’s biggest cruise-liner, Symphony of the Seas, has left the shipyard of Saint-Nazaire in France to embark on its maiden voyage in the Mediterranean. French shipbuilder STX handed over to U.S. giant Royal Caribbean International on Friday. The ship, which weighs 228,000 tonnes, is 362 metres long just 20 metres shy of the length of the Empire State Building. It is marginally bigger than its sister ship, the Harmony of the Seas, which STX France delivered to Royal Caribbean in 2016.

Love cruising? Read: Which are the world’s most popular cruises!

Majestic view of the Symphony of the seas

The Symphony will head to Malaga in Spain and spending its first season in the Mediterranean before heading to its home port of Miami. Michael Bayley, President and CEO of Royal Caribbean International, Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., and Laurent Castaing, General Manager of STX France, led the traditional flag-changing ceremony, which symbolizes the ship’s official delivery from the ship builder to Royal Caribbean.

Crew celebrating the inauguration

Symphony of the Seas will welcome her first guests on Saturday, March 31 for a one-time-only, 5-night preview sailing, calling on Naples and Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy. The ship’s maiden 7-night Mediterranean voyage departs Saturday, April 7 from Barcelona, Spain, where the crescendo of thrills will be brought to life by the 2,200 international crew members who proudly represent 77 countries around the world. Symphony of the Seas will homeport in Barcelona for the summer, visiting Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Provence, France; and Florence/Pisa, Rome and Naples, Italy.

The 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, Symphony of the Seas is 228,081 gross registered tons, measures 238 feet tall and spans 1,188 feet long. She will welcome 5,518 guests at double occupancy in 2,759 staterooms, including 28 additional balcony rooms that overlook the ocean or signature Boardwalk neighbourhood. One Oasis Class ship, seven distinctive neighbourhoods, the tallest slide at sea with the Ultimate Abyss and countless adventures for guests of all ages, the family adventure of a lifetime has surprises at every turn.

Language of the cruise! Read: Cruise Lingo to help travellers talk the talk!

New Culinary Adventures

• Hooked Seafood: This upscale eatery atop of the world’s largest cruise ship in the Solarium serves up the real taste of New England-inspired seafood and unparalleled ocean vistas to match. Approachable and unassuming, the menu offers classic coastal favorites, such as lobster rolls, crab claws, signature fish sandwich, and a raw bar where oysters are shucked to order.

Playmakers bar at the Symphony of the seas

• Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade: Stretching the length of a reimagined Boardwalk, now touting fresh energy and swagger, the whole family can watch the home team play across 31 big-screen TVs, during the day and into the late night. The indoor and outdoor arcade, packed with over 20 games, offers the opportunity for friendly competition. The on-point menu of classic American bar food features everything from wings, burgers and popcorn shrimp to picture-perfect sundaes; as well as craft beers and cocktails.

• El Loco Fresh: Made-to-order tacos and burritos wrapped with fresh tortillas are among the Mexican “street food” favourites that will hit the spot for adventure seekers looking to fuel up with minimal downtime.

• Sugar Beach: The signature candy and ice cream shop is the sweet spot on the Boardwalk with more than 100 types of candies, a lineup of ice cream flavors and even DIY activities for the aspiring culinary artist.

New destinations for cruise! Read: Adventure seekers can now visit Havana on Empress of the seas

A view from balcony of the rooms around central park

New Ways to Play

• Battle for Planet Z: Royal Caribbean’s first glow-in-the-dark laser tag game brings two teams of eight head to head in an out-of-this-world adventure to determine who will claim the last planet in the galaxy.

• Escape the Rubicon: In the ultimate race against the clock, friends old and new must band together in the Rubicon submarine – a sophisticated, custom-built escape room – to solve a collection of puzzles before time runs out.

Royal suite with a loft

Unparalleled Family Accommodations

  • Ultimate Family Suite: A two-level, 1,346-square-foot suite filled with awesome thrills offers more than enough room for the whole family – and friends – to come together and catch up on “me time.” Features include an in-room slide, a private cinema with an 85-inch HD TV, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO wall, a 212-square-foot balcony complete with table tennis and a full-size whirlpool. Complete with a Royal Genie, who caters to every whim, there are many more surprises awaiting guests along the way.

Fly into cruise! Read: Cruisefly for Royal Caribbean cruises

A family suite at the Symphony of the seas

Beginning Nov. 10, Miami, FL. will become the ship’s year-round homeport, making Symphony of the Seas the first new Oasis Class ship to sail from the cruise capital of the world using Royal Caribbean’s new state-of-the-art Terminal A. The 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean cruises will call on Perfect Day at CocoCay, Royal Caribbean’s newly revealed destination in the Bahamas.

Aerial view of the helipad of the Symphony of the seas

Royal Caribbean International is an award-winning global cruise brand with a 49-year legacy of innovation and introducing industry “firsts” never before seen at sea. The cruise line features an expansive and unmatched array of features and amenities only found on Royal Caribbean, including jaw dropping, state-of-the-art entertainment and industry-acclaimed programming that appeals to families and adventurous vacationers alike.

Also read: Vagabond at a cruise- Super Star Virgo

On board, guests are catered to with the cruise line’s world-renowned friendly and engaging service by every staff and crew member. Royal Caribbean has been voted “Best Cruise Line Overall” for 15 consecutive years in the Travel Weekly Readers Choice Awards. The cruise line sails 25 of the world’s most innovative cruise ships to the most popular destinations in Bermuda and the Caribbean, Europe, Canada and New England, Alaska, South America, Asia, and Australia and New Zealand.

Have you been on cruise with Royal Caribbean Cruises? Share your experiences in the comments section below!

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Aquatica Orlando celebrates 10 years of fun memories

On March 1st, Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, Orlando celebrated ten years of providing extreme and serene watery fun to Orlando visitors and residents alike. The park, which opened March 1, 2008, quickly became a staple in the vast landscape of Orlando water parks and ranks as one of the best water parks in the United States by TripAdvisor®.

To commemorate the park’s special day, Aquatica commissioned the sculpting of a 22-ton sand sculpture depicting a birthday cake inspired by Aquatica’s latest addition, Ray Rush. The sculpture measures 15’ wide, 8’ tall and took skilled artisans nearly 25 hours to complete. The park was also recently voted “Best Water Park” by Orlando Sentinel readers in the publication’s annual Best Bets reader’s choice awards in 2017. “The Sentinel just confirmed what everyone already knew, Aquatica is the place where Orlando residents go when they want the best water park experience,” said David Heaton, Aquatica Orlando vice president. “We are so excited to be the water playground of choice for Orlando locals and visitors alike.”

Orlando’s best water park is only getting better in 2018 with the ultimate birthday gift for park guests, Ray Rush. The new attraction promises to be a fully-loaded water adventure which will combine three unique slide elements, never before seen at Aquatica, into one action-packed attraction families can enjoy together. With a height requirement of only 42”, this all-new triple-fusion family raft ride will allow guests of all ages to slide, splash and soar like never before on a slide that is both thrilling and family-friendly.

The park is also celebrating the occasion by offering an incredible deal on Annual Passes. Aquatica Pass Members enjoy unlimited admission and free parking as well as discounts and the opportunity to be among the first to ride Ray Rush when it opens in spring 2018. The park is also offering guests the opportunity to purchase 6” x 8” photos in the park for just $10 through the end of April.

Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark Orlando

From high-speed water slides and exhilarating wave pools, to tranquil beaches, Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark® Orlando, delights all ages and interests. This one-of-a-kind waterpark is home to some of the world’s most thrilling water rides, featuring 42 slides, rivers and lagoons and 84,000 square feet of sparkling white, sandy beaches. Get ready to brave a watery free-fall on Ihu’s Breakaway Falls™ – the steepest and only multi-drop tower slide of its kind in Orlando. Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark, offers exclusive attractions that promise unlimited fun, sending guests on amazing undersea adventures.

About SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organisations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioural training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 31,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

Photo: Busch Gardens

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognised brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a wholly owned subsidiary of SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc., a publicly traded company.

Ten wayward manatees rescued

Members of the SeaWorld Orlando Rescue Team at Florida, USA traveled to Charleston, S.C. recently, where in collaboration with multiple organisations and volunteers – they helped save 10 wayward manatees. The manatees were spotted in the upper reaches of the Cooper River, near a warm water outflow area. Historically, manatees move south into warmer waters when the water temperature drops below 68 degrees.  Due to rapidly dropping water temperatures in the river, the manatees remained close to the warm water outflow, instead of continuing to travel south. In doing so, they were isolated from adequate food sources and naturally warm waters.  Following close coordination with some members of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) staff decided that rescues and relocation of the animals by SeaWorld Orlando’s manatee rescue team were warranted.

SeaWorld Assists with Rescue of Ten Manatees Stranded in South Carolina

Manatees are also called as sea cows. They are found in West Africa, Caribbean Sea and the Amazonian area. They are called as cows as they are slow plant eaters, peaceful and similar to cows on land. They often graze on water in tropical seas. Female manatees are called as cows, male are called bulls and their offsprings are called as calfs. But they are more closely related to elephants. Despite their size, they are graceful swimmers in coastal waters and rivers.

(Also Read: Melon Headed Whale Rescued in Florida)

In addition to SeaWorld Orlando’s team, support for the rescue effort included USFWS Ecological Services Office staff from Florida and South Carolina, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) – including staff from St. Petersburg, the Northeast Florida Field Lab in Jacksonville, and the East Central Field Lab in Melbourne along with volunteers and law enforcement, Sea to Shore Alliance, ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge, NOAA National Ocean Services – Charleston, South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR), Clearwater (FL) Marine Aquarium, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, Brevard Zoo, Brevard County Parks and Recreation, Florida Wildlife Hospital, and Waterfront Solutions. Sea to Shore Alliance and local businesses played an integral role in monitoring the manatees’ activity and condition in the weeks leading up to the rescue effort.

Florida manatee and calf {Trichchus manatus latirostris} Crystal River, Florida, USA. Image by © Doug Perrine/Nature Picture Library/Corbis

The rescue operation took place over three days.  From November 28-30, 2017, the interagency rescue team captured 10 manatees from the Cooper River including eight males and two females. Once captured, each manatee received an immediate health assessment by a veterinary medical team comprised of veterinarians from SeaWorld, Jacksonville Zoo and UF. Manatees were transported south and accompanied on their journey by veterinary and animal care staff.  Once in Florida, additional health assessments were conducted at the Jacksonville Zoo by vets from the Zoo and the UF College of Veterinary Medicine. FWC staff served as the lead on transports in Florida to the release site in Brevard County, FL. Nine manatees were deemed releasable.  One female was exhibiting mild cold stress and is being cared for by veterinarians and staff at the Jacksonville Zoo with support from SeaWorld and the Lowry Park Zoo. She is Jacksonville Zoo’s first critical care patient at their new facility and is doing well. The Sea to Shore Alliance tagged five of the manatees before release and will monitor these animals as part of their Atlantic Coast manatee study.

One of the rescued Manatees

Jon Peterson, SeaWorld’s rescue manager, helped with coordination of the multi-agency effort.  “It is particularly gratifying to be a part of such a large scale effort, with partners from all over the Southeast lending expertise and manpower,” he explained. “When you can give ten threatened animals another chance at life that is a great week.”

(Also Read: SeaWorld returns two more sea turtles to the ocean)

Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership

As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), SeaWorld Orlando is an acute care rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees. The MRP is a cooperative group of non-profit, private, state, and federal entities who work together to monitor the health and survival of rehabilitated and released manatees. The Florida manatee was recently reclassified from endangered to threatened but is still at risk from both natural and human causes of injury and mortality. Exposure to red tide, cold stress and disease are all natural problems that can affect manatees. Human-caused threats include boat strikes, crushing by floodgates or locks, and entanglement in or ingestion of fishing gear.  As part of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP), SeaWorld Orlando is an acute care rehabilitation facility that provides life-saving medical care to rescued manatees.

SeaWorld’s Rescue Efforts

SeaWorld Assists with Rescue of Ten Manatees Stranded in South Carolina

Over the last five decades, SeaWorld has rescued more than 31,000 wild animals in need including those that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned. SeaWorld’s goal for every rescued animal is to rehabilitate and return them to their natural environment as soon as possible. This year alone, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued 47 manatees and returned 25 following successful rehabilitation. Guests to SeaWorld Orlando can learn more about the vital rescue work SeaWorld does for wildlife at the park’s behind-the-scenes Rescue Center used for rehabilitating wildlife that has been ill, injured or orphaned – including manatees, sea turtles, birds and other marine animals.

(Also read: Swim with sharks and feed the stingrays)

While a guided tour of the entire facility has been available for years, the park has now opened up one portion of this area for complimentary viewing to all park guests. Visitors are invited to step behind-the-scenes and catch a glimpse of SeaWorld’s working manatee rescue and rehabilitation facility to learn more about the plight of these vulnerable animals in the wild. See firsthand some of the top problems today’s manatee populations are facing and simple actions we can all take to help through digital medical charts, interactive displays, underwater camera viewing and rescue footage straight from the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team.

Melon Headed Whale rescued in Florida


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Rescuing any animal is a tough task, tougher is to take care of it and return it to its natural habitat. Few have got the commitment to do that. SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team is rehabilitating a rescued melon-headed whale that was found stranded on the west coast of Florida. The 320 pound, 8 and a half foot adult male melon-headed whale was rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) on October 13 and transported to SeaWorld Orlando.

A melon headed whale

Upon arrival, he was placed in a quarantine rehabilitation pool where the Animal Rescue Team and veterinarians provided immediate treatment and care including, fluids and antibiotics.

Over the last three weeks, the Animal Rescue and Veterinary Teams have monitored him round-the-clock tracking his vitals, appetite and swimming activity. Based on those tests and observations the whale is facing a lot of challenges, including a likely case of pneumonia, but the teams are working day and night to give him the best chance for a successful rehabilitation.

Although he is still in critical condition, the Animal Rescue and Veterinary Teams are working toward the ultimate goal of returning him back to the wild. The next step in his rehabilitation is a hearing test conducted by SeaWorld zoological experts and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hearing specialists to ensure that hearing loss was not the cause of the stranding.

While melon-headed whales are found widespread throughout the world’s tropical waters, they are not often seen as they are a pelagic, deep water, species.

You can see the video of rescue here-

SeaWorld Orlando’s Animal Rescue Team is on call 24/7 to save and care for injured, orphaned or ill animals. In collaboration with the government and other members of accredited stranding networks, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue ill and injured marine animals, with the goal to rehabilitate and return to the ocean. SeaWorld animal experts have helped more than 31,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned – for more than five decades.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organisations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioural training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team has helped more than 31,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

P.S. Footage was produced by SeaWorld under the National Marine Fisheries Service Marine Mammal Health and Response Program.

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Rush, Plunge & Vanish!


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Orlando, USA offers two brand-new thrills for the coming season. A brand-new family raft slide is splashing into Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark in spring 2018. Ray Rush promises to be a fully-loaded water adventure which will combine three unique slide elements, never before seen at Aquatica, into one action-packed attraction the entire family can enjoy together.

At nearly 60 feet tall, Ray Rush is where family and friends can take on three exciting thrills as they slide, splash and soar like never before. First, riders will be launched at 33 feet per second with water jets designed to propel rafts into the first of several enclosed tube sections. Next, riders will swirl into a colossal translucent sphere which spins the raft around the slide walls before entering another enclosed tube section. Finally, riders will drop into an open-air halfpipe that resembles the shape of a manta ray. Rafts will soar back and forth on the wings of the manta before entering the final enclosed tube section that ends with a splash.

“Ray Rush will offer a ride experience you won’t be able to get anywhere else in Florida. Aquatica will be the first waterpark in the state to combine these three unique elements into one attraction” said Cathy Valeriano, Aquatica Orlando vice president. “Ray Rush is the perfect addition to our attraction portfolio, complementing what is already one of the most family-friendly waterslide lineups in Orlando.”

Ray Rush will have a height requirement of 42” to appeal to families with children and will accommodate up to four riders per raft. The new slide will be located on the north side of the park next to Walkabout Waters.

Also Read: Swim With Sharks And Feed The Stingrays

In order to make way for the new attraction, HooRoo Run will close permanently on October 31, 2017. To accommodate construction, Walhalla Wave will temporarily close on this date and re-open in spring 2018 alongside Ray Rush. For a limited-time, Aquatica Pass Members will receive a one-time Quick Queue to ride both HooRoo Run and Walhalla Wave on select days in October before construction begins in November. Assemble your squad and get ready to turn up the fun at Aquatica in 2018.

Whereas, at Adventure Island in Tampa Bay guests are in for the slide of their lives when new epic drop slide, Vanish Point opens in March 2018. Inspired by the point on a wave where water and gravity form a perfect partnership, the crest of this 70-foot tower challenges you with two 425 ft. wave paths. Step into one of two skyboxes, and face your fears as the floor disappears beneath you. Or, get horizontal on a 455-foot long slide ending with a high speed finale.

“These unique ride paths give guests options on how they want their thrills delivered,” said Stewart Clark, president of Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay and Adventure Island.  “Whether you choose to have the floor drop from beneath your feet, or race to the bottom on a looped slide, the only way down once you get to the top is a wild ride that gets your heart pumping.”

Located right across the street from Busch Gardens, Adventure Island is the ultimate combination of high-speed thrills and tropical, tranquil surroundings for guests of all ages. Within a soothing Key West atmosphere, guests enjoy slides, corkscrews, water falls, a wave pool, children’s water playground and other family attractions.
Vanish Point will be located at the centre of the park next to another family-favourite thrill slide, Colossal Curl. Construction on Vanish Point will begin in the coming weeks, and the ride is expected to be completed to kick off the 2018 season for Adventure Island.

Photo: Busch Gardens

Adventure Island, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay’s Waterpark
Located right across the street from Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Adventure Island is Tampa Bay’s premier water park, featuring a combination of exhilarating water rides and tropical, tranquil surroundings. Within a soothing Key West atmosphere await slides, such as Calypso Coaster, Caribbean Corkscrew and Colossal Curl, waterfalls, a 17,000-square-foot wave pool, children’s water playground called Fabian’s Funport and other family attractions. Guests can dig their toes into the sand or relax in lounge chairs or a private cabana. For more information, visit AdventureIsland.com for more information.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organisations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioural training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team has helped more than 31,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

Also Read: SeaWorld Returns Two More Sea Turtles To The Ocean

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognised brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sea Rescue. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

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Swim with sharks and feed the stingrays!

Sharks often bring fear to your mind. You are often warned to stay away from waters where sharks are at large. News of fatal shark attacks often come from beaches down under. But are all sharks so dreadful? How would react to an opportunity o swim with sharks? Have you ever envisioned yourself swimming amongst sharks? If not then you can, or you should try it once. Guests visiting tropical day resort Discovery Cove in Orlando can now do just that – if they wish.

In celebration of Shark Awareness Day guests at Discovery Cove can now take part in exclusive new animal experiences at the park. Discovery Cove has always been known for its memorable dolphin interactions, and now guests can enhance their visit with one of-a-kind, hands-on encounters with sharks and stingrays. The awe-inspiring Shark Swim program provides closer-than-ever encounters with legendary predators. While guests have always been able to view park’s sharks, the new program takes them on a daring next step – swimming freely among five species: Pacific blacktip, reef whitetip, nurse shark, zebra shark, and a spotted wobbegong.

The immersive session is divided into two unique interactions and begins as guests meet with the park’s shark team and head into the water. Through hands-on interaction, guests learn about shark anatomy and the threats the animals face in the wild. Guests can also join the sharks in the deeper part of their habitat and embark on an exhilarating snorkel experience.

Discovery Cove works to dispel myths about sharks and to inspire guests to learn more about these mysterious creatures. As top predators, sharks play an essential role in maintaining the balance of ocean ecosystems worldwide by monitoring fish populations. Sadly, shark finning and overfishing threaten many shark species and disrupt that natural balance. Guests who take part in the new Shark Swim program will walk away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for these fascinating ocean ambassadors.

The Shark Swim experience is available to Discovery Cove guests ages 10 and older. The cost is US$85 per person. For every shark swim package purchased, SeaWorld will donate 5% of the proceeds to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) in support of shark conservation and research.

In addition to the Shark Swim program, Discovery Cove has launched a new Ray Feeding experience. This exclusive opportunity gives guests the chance to feed the stingrays during a private tour of the Grand Reef. Guided by one of the park’s aquarists, guests ages 6 and older spend their session in the Grand Reef learning all about the species of rays as they hand-feed the incredible creatures. The Ray Feeding program is US$50 per person. The new interaction programs require a Dolphin Swim or Day Resort reservation at Discovery Cove to participate. Space for each program is limited and guests are encouraged to book in advance.

Discovery Cove® in Orlando is an all-inclusive day resort where guests can enjoy a one-of-a-kind opportunity to swim with dolphins, snorkel among thousands of tropical fish and rays, hand-feed exotic birds, and encounter playful otters and curious marmosets. At the park, guests can relax and explore rocky lagoons surrounded by lush landscaping, tropical reefs, winding rivers and white, sandy beaches. Freshly prepared meals, snacks and beverages throughout the day and swim gear are included, plus unlimited, 14-day admission to SeaWorld® Orlando and Aquatica, SeaWorld’s Waterpark®. Guests will experience the most exciting animal encounters the world has to offer in a breathtaking tropical atmosphere.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 30,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

Want to see a video of tourists swimming with sharks? Watch it on my channel by clicking the thumbnail below-

Get up-close and personal with killer whales!

These are close encounters of different kind. Visitors to SeaWorld Orlando in US now have the opportunity to experience the park’s majestic killer whales in a brand-new way. The Killer Whale Up-Close Tour gives guests the opportunity to meet the park’s killer whales in ways never before offered at the park. The 45-minute tour includes learning from the park’s killer whale trainers, meeting the whales and understanding their unique personalities and even taking part in an interaction with one of the whales.

During the tour, which takes place daily, SeaWorld’s trainers share stories and information about the killer whales, demonstrate how the whales take part in voluntary husbandry sessions and discuss their healthcare, feeding habits and more. The engaging and interactive tour also gives participants the chance to try their hand at a session with the whales alongside a trainer. Throughout the entire experience, guests can take photos to help forever preserve the memory of the one-of-a-kind experience.

Also read: Seaworld returns two more Sea Turtles to the Ocean

The Killer Whale Up-Close Tour is the latest in the SeaWorld’s collection of memorable, educational and inspirational tours. Popular guest experiences, including the Dolphin Up-Close Tour and Penguin Up-Close Tour provide hands-on interactions with some of the park’s most popular animals while encouraging guests to care about all of the animals found in the oceans. The Behind-the-Scenes Tour, a guest favorite, provides an inside look at the park’s amazing animal rescue operation and ends with the opportunity to touch a shark and meet a Magellanic penguin. The Killer Whale Up-Close Tour begins at 10:00 a.m. and lasts approximately 45 minutes. Space is limited, and guests are encouraged to make reservations online in advance. Prices start at $79 per person.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 30,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

SeaWorld returns two more Sea turtles to the Ocean

Two loggerhead sea turtles are back home in the wild thanks to SeaWorld Orlando’s Rescue Team. In partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) the turtles were returned to the ocean at Pineda Beach Park on Wednesday morning.

Rescued in December 2016, a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle was transported to SeaWorld Orlando from Massachusetts, where the animal received initial treatment from the New England Aquarium. Upon intake, the turtle had a dangerously low body temperature and a large wound under its right flipper. As a part of the turtle’s wound care, SeaWorld utilized radiographs, antibiotics, and laser therapy to heal the injury.

The second turtle released, a sub-adult loggerhead, came to SeaWorld in March after it was found upside down in the surf at Port Canaveral. The animal was covered in barnacles, emaciated, and lethargic. At SeaWorld, the veterinary team discovered blockage in the turtle’s digestive track caused from seashells. Through fluid therapy, the team helped the animal pass the impaction and gain 28 healthy pounds.

With two more sea turtles back in the ocean, SeaWorld has now returned 14 total turtles this year. In partnership with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, SeaWorld Orlando has rescued nearly 2,000 sea turtles since 1980.

It is critical that beachgoers are mindful of the impact they leave on Florida coastlines as sea turtle nesting season is in full swing now through October. Debris and trash left on beaches can threaten the survival of sea turtles during this vulnerable time of year.

The successful rehabilitation of endangered sea turtles is another great example of SeaWorld’s commitment to protecting sea life. For more than 50 years, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has helped animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. More than 30,000 animals have been rescued by the expert animal rescue team that is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment™ is a leading theme park and entertainment company providing experiences that matter and inspiring guests to protect animals and the wild wonders of our world. The company is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, behavioral training, husbandry and veterinary care. The company collectively cares for what it believes is one of the largest zoological collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of animals. The company also rescues and rehabilitates marine and terrestrial animals that are ill, injured, orphaned or abandoned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld® rescue team has helped more than 30,000 animals in need over the last 50 years.

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The company owns or licenses a portfolio of recognized brands including SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sea Rescue®. Over its more than 50-year history, the company has built a diversified portfolio of 12 destination and regional theme parks that are grouped in key markets across the United States, many of which showcase its one-of-a-kind zoological collection. The company’s theme parks feature a diverse array of rides, shows and other attractions with broad demographic appeal which deliver memorable experiences and a strong value proposition for its guests.

Fall in Love in MIAMI for the first time or all over again

Miami_LoveIf you haven’t been to Miami lately, you haven’t been to Miami! The destination is fast evolving welcoming a growing numbers of visitors each year to enjoy favourite classic spots as well as many new museums, cultural attractions and even whole neighbourhoods. From hotel, restaurant and spa packages to paint nights, contests and a wedding showcase, The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) celebrates its sixth annual Miami Romance Month and invites locals and visitors to take advantage.

When it comes to planning a romantic milestone from engagements and bridal party celebrations to weddings and honeymoons, Miami and the Beaches is more popular than ever.  Pristine beaches combined with world class accommodations, restaurants, cultural attractions and emerging neighbourhoods make for a rare destination offering. Marrying romantic beach resorts with all the benefits of a sophisticated cosmopolitan is truly unique.

A sampling of Miami Romance Month experiences include:

Miami_BeachA Day of Rest, Renewal and Romance: Fontainebleau Miami Beach is offerings couples an all-new RELAX + INDULGE + SUN + SWIM day package.  Guests can recharge by spending a full day poolside and at the iconic 40,000-squre-foot Lapis Spa.

Couple Close-up: The Zoological Wildlife Foundation is giving couples a chance to get close with an outdoor photo session.  Featuring the natural and tropical surroundings found in South Florida, the offer is available for $500 with the code Miami Romance Month.

The Couple who Paints Together: Pair wine with art to create an inspiring date night at Bottle & Bottega throughout the month.  Future Van Gogh’s can enjoy an interactive evening with personal attention from an art instructor while sipping spirits. All supplies and ice/wine buckets to keep BYOB selections at the perfect temperature provided.  Enjoy a Buy One, Get One 50% off special using Romance as the code.

Honeymoon Magic in Coral Gables:

For those saying “I do” at the Westin Colonnade in majestic Coral Gables this month, a complimentary honeymoon is being offered.  Newlyweds also receive one Starwood Rewards Point for each dollar they spend.

Connect at Emena Spa

Couples relax side-by-side during massages followed by individual facials created to make any couple glow.  Each couple will receive a complimentary Organic Apricot Body/Massage Oil.

Wedding showcase

The annual Wedding Showcase brings future brides and grooms access to more than 60 wedding exhibitors to help with planning nuptials in Miami and The Beaches. With new additions including a bridal accessory shop, make-over salon and interactive panel discussions, saying “I do” in the destination is easier than ever. The Wedding Showcase will run from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24th at the Coral Gables Country Club.  Guests can expect exclusive giveaways throughout the evening from local retailers, hotels and more!

Ultimate #MiamiRomance Staycation

The GMCVB and the Palms Hotel & Spa have teamed up to give one deserving duo a chance to win the ultimate staycation in Greater Miami and The Beaches. One lucky couple will receive 4 day, 3 night accommodations in an Oceanfront room at The Palms Hotel & Spa, a bottle of Prosecco as a welcome amenity, and daily full American breakfast buffet for two.

Miami_Beach_CafeMiami Romance Month is part of the GMCVB’s increasingly popular Miami Temptations Program, which takes a thematic focus on the best that Miami has to offer throughout the year at attractive prices. Other programs include Miami Cruise Month (January), Shop Miami Month (March), Miami Sports Month (April), Miami Museum Month (May), Miami Film Month (June), Miami Spa Month (July-August), Miami Spice Restaurant Month (August-September), Miami Attractions Month (October), Miami Live Month (November) and Miami Heritage Month (December).

Celebrate the Holiday Season in the Sunshine State

This season, the state of Florida will shine extra bright with holiday spirit as millions of Christmas lights delicately cover the land and water, and the smell of delicious delicacies fill the air. As angels illuminate the bow of magnificently decorated boats and tiny lights decorate palm trees, locals and visitors alike will enjoy Florida’s unique and magical holiday season.

StAugustine-nights-of-lightsHistoric Holidays – While it may not snow in St. Augustine, the Nation’s oldest city turns into a winter wonderland during the holiday season. As the Annual Nights of Lights celebration takes over the city from November 21 to January 31, 2016, the historic district will be lit with more than 3 million white lights from the ground up to the rooftops. Tracing its origins to the Spanish tradition of displaying a white candle in the window during the Christmas holidays, the spectacular lighting display reflects the city’s 450-year history and illuminates the beautiful ancient city. Holiday music and the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree add to the splendour of one of the world’s greatest holiday light displays.

There are many ways to enjoy Nights of Lights, including on foot, by bicycle or pedicab, on the Old Town Holly Jolly Trolly, aboard Ripley’s Red Train or by horse and carriage. Local attractions also offer special Nights of Lights tours, in which visitors can appreciate the remarkable display from the water aboard the Schooner Freedom, the Osprey or with Ripple Effects Eco Tours, or by air with St. Augustine Bi-Plane Tours.

Historic Fernandina Beach-Centre Street, Books Plus Bookstore and Palace Saloon
Historic Fernandina Beach-Centre Street, Books Plus Bookstore and Palace Saloon

Santa & Sweets – Further north of St. Augustine, not quite to the North Pole, is another historic district belonging to Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island where visitors will go back in time to old Victorian Christmas traditions. With Chestnuts roasting, carolers strolling and Saint Nick arriving, an enchanted Victorian experience awaits visitors on Centre Street in downtown Fernandina Beach. Satisfy holiday cravings and catch the spirit of the season at the Annual Amelia Island Bed and Breakfast Holiday Cookie Tour on Saturday, December 12, 2015. During this delicious tour, guests will sample a signature cookie from each Inn, take home a beautifully printed recipe card and gather inspiring decorating ideas just in time for the Holidays. With so much to do and see, visitors can extend their Amelia Island Holiday experience with these great Holiday Stay Packages.

SeaWorld-Polar ExpressSplash, Skate, Celebrate – Spend the Holidays with your favorite sea creatures during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. Gather with the family to hear the classic Christmas story, as told through the eyes of animals, followed by a wondrous journey to the North Pole aboard The Polar Express to visit Santa Claus. Guests can sit back and relax as they watch Winter Wonderland on Ice, a show-stopping ice-skating extravaganza of skaters gliding across a stage of ice, jewels and light.

Guests can also take a leisurely stroll through The Christmas Village where artisans, festive entertainment and delicious culinary delights create a bustling market that lines Bayside Pathway. Guests can discover one-of-a-kind gifts, enjoy scrumptious holiday treats, encounter playful elves and holiday characters, sing-a-long with musicians, and marvel at a charming model train village.

Circus Nutcracker-SarasotaTraditions with a Twist – The Nutcracker ballet is already a worldwide Christmas tradition on its own; however, the Sarasota Ballet is adding a new twist to the famous performance in their Circus Nutcracker. Bringing the spirit of the holidays to Sarasota, Matthew Hart’s John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker will enchant audiences at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score by the Sarasota Orchestra, John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker entwines the history of John and Mable Ringling and Sarasota’s connection to the circus with Hoffman’s classical Nutcracker.

Boat parades-Palm beachWinter Waterland – What would a Florida holiday be without water and boat parades? This season, Florida’s waterways will be festively aglow with the holiday spirit as boats twinkle with dazzling Christmas lights and displays. Boat parades can be enjoyed across the entire state, from Naples to the Palm Beaches. Along Florida’s Paradise Coast, guests can enjoy a series of boat parades throughout December on Marco Island, Naples Bay and theVillage on Venetian Bay. Moving up the Gulf Coast and across the state, there will be boat parades in Venice, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Stuart and the Palm Beaches, among many other destinations.  With free admission, guests can view the parades from their favourite spots, whether it be a waterfront restaurant or hotel, a park, a bay walk or a cozy chair on the water’s edge.

Canal Cruise-FloridaPrefer to be on the water? Visitors in Punta Gorda can enjoy nightly Christmas Light Canal Cruises from December 4 – 31, 2015. A tradition for more than 30 years, these popular, family-oriented cruises tour the residential canals to view Christmas lights, displays and decorations on homes, boats, seawalls and docks. Guests can even experience the joy of a private Catamaran Christmas Canal Cruise aboard the 47’Smoke and Roses.

From historic districts and theme parks to boat parades and ballets, Florida’s festivities provide unforgettable Holiday experiences for every type of visitor.

(All images courtesy respective owners)