Super Bowl XLV at sea? You bet

Just about every cruise ship has a sports bar. Many ships have huge LED outdoor screens. It just seems to be a natural pairing to add this year’s Superbowl in for on-board programming. Cruise lines are doing just that and more.

Just to be sure the big game would be around for those sailing on Superbowl Sunday, Doug Parker of CruiseRadio got with each line to see what they had planned. “I’ve called every cruise line and most got right back to me with their plans” said Parker, working on a story for next week’s Cruise Radio broadcast.

They will be showing the game from “at least one lounge area on each ship” replied Holland America Line. “We will be airing the game fleet-wide!” chimed in Royal Caribbean.

Cruise lines have played a part in Super Bowls of the past too. In 2005, cruise ships parked close to Jacksonville Florida to serve as floating hotels for Super Bowl fans. On board, cruise lines often offer special game day packages complete with junk food and traditional beverages.

Travel Agencies are joining in the fun too, sponsoring “Super Bowl Cruise Party” groups on several major cruise lines. Boasting “Large screen TV’s everywhere”, Super Bowl groups formed long ago requiring just a small deposit to sign up and allowing monthly payments over time.

There is one drawback to watching the Super Bowl at sea though:

Cruise ship television reception works off a satellite system that must constantly be re-aimed because the ship is in motion. That can cause momentary signal loss from time to time. A few seconds lost at a critical moment on the football field could be a problem.

Would mutiny result?

Photo: Chris Owen

Super Bowl bound? Check out these ten travel friendly gadgets for your trip!

People who watch the Super Bowl at home use the big game as an excuse to shop for a new big screen TV – but can you use the game as an excuse to go gadget shopping? You bet you can.

We’ve collected ten gadgets that can make the trip to Arlington even more exciting – from a neat product that can send your Super Bowl photos to the Internet as soon as you make them, to a device you leave at home that allows you to watch the Super Bowl commercials (and other fun content) on your phone or laptop – no matter where you are.

[AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez]

Eye-Fi wireless memory card

Made some amazing photos of the “big game”? Find yourself a Wi-Fi hotspot, turn your camera on, and send them instantly to a variety of online photo services – including Facebook, Picasa and YouTube (for videos). Cards work in any device that takes SD memory cards, as well as several recent camcorders.

Product page: Eye.Fi
Price: from $49.99

Super Bowl mobile apps

There are 100’s of mobile applications designed just for the Super Bowl. Some are useless – others provide everything you’d ever need for the big game in a single app. Apps are available for almost every mobile platform, but you’ll obviously find the best quality stuff in the mobile market of your iPhone or Android device.

For iPhone specific apps, check out our friends at

Prodcuct page: iPhone App Store, Android Marketplace, Blackberry App world
Price: from free

Pocket HD Camcorder

The rules at most stadiums prohibit camcorders – but thanks to the current generation of pocket HD camcorders, you won’t have a problem getting one of these past the checkpoint. Just keep in mind that almost none of these shooter will feature a zoom lens (other than digital zoom), so if you want a close-up of that hot guy or girl 50 rows away, you’ll be better off with a decent digital camera with HD video support.

Product page: Flip Camera
Price: from $149.99

Balanzza Mini Luggage scales

Prevent disappointment at the airport by investing $25 in a compact luggage scale -especially if you went a little crazy at one of the merchandise stands at the stadium, your airline may want a big chunk of whatever cash you have left to let your overweight luggage back on the plane.

Thank goodness airlines don’t weigh passengers (yet) – all that stadium food would cost a fortune to load on the plane!

Product page: Balanzza Mini
Price: $24.95

Vulkano Multimedia streamer

Catch pre-game TV by streaming your home cable or satellite signal over the Internet to your mobile phone or laptop. Simply hook the Vulkano up to your home AV system, and the box sends TV anywhere in the world – including to your smartphone when you are waiting for the game to begin. Bonus: watch the halftime commercials as the are broadcast.

Product page: Monsoon Multimedia Vulkano
Price: from $109.99 (with promo code)

XtremeMac InCharge Mobile

Traveling with an iPhone usually means having to decide between using your phone all day long and running out of battery life by dinner time, or only using your phone for emergencies. If you want to take full advantage of your phone at the game, consider the new XtremeMac InCharge Mobile. This 2300mAh battery pack can almost triple your normal battery life.

To top it all off, the InCharge Mobile also features a built in kickstand, LED battery indicator and MicroUSB charger/sync port.

Product page: XtremeMac
Price: $79.99

Scottevest jacket or vest

Carrying all your gadgets to the game in a backpack or other carrier can be a pain in the backside – especially when you need your hands to carry beer and burgers. A Scottevest jacket has up to 25 different pockets, some large enough to hold an iPad or other large device. Jackets come in a variety of styles, colors and sizes.

Product page: Scottevest
Price: from $100

Nikon S8100 digital camera

The new Nikon S8100 is a compact digital camera with a 10x optical zoom, full HD video and easy to use controls. Best of all, the camera can be found for under $250 – making it a fantastic bargain.

Product page: Nikon S8100
Price: $299 (MSRP, $249 in most retail stores)

Joby Gorollapod Tripod

Large tripods are banned from the stadium, but compact flexible tripods from Joby won’t bother anyone. The newest magnetic tripods from Joby can be stuck to metal or wrapped around almost any other object.

Product page: Joby Gorillapod
Price: from $19.95

Monster Mobile Jamz headphones

The atmosphere in the stadium may be exploding – but sometimes you may want to just listen to some of your own music before the game begins. Good noise isolating headphones can block out a massive amount of outside noise and let you relax in relative peave and quiet. The Monster Mobile Jamz headphones feature an in-line remote control and powerful noise isolation.

Product page: Monster Mobile Jamz
Price: $149.95

Omni Chicago Hotel offers special rates for Bears, Packers playoff game

Everyone is gearing up for Sunday’s big game, especially Chicago hotels! We already brought you news about the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas‘, month-long Super Bowl promotions and the Chicago Kimpton’s four hotel deals for this weekend’s game. Now the Omni Chicago Hotel is joining the team and giving travelers a sweet deal for the playoffs.

The Omni Chicago Hotel, Michigan Avenue’s only all-suite hotel, is offering travelers heading to the Windy City for Sunday’s game a “Green Bay Bundle” — a two-night stay where the second night is free of charge should Green Bay triumph over Chicago. The promotion also includes a $50 food and beverage credit.

To sweeten the deal, Bill Bennett, director of sales and marketing for the Omni Chicago Hotel, Windy City native and die hard Chicago fan, has agreed to wear a Green Bay jersey and the iconic “cheesehead” hat if Green Bay wins.

The “Green Bay Bundle” package is available on January 21, 22 and 23 only, has limited availability and can be booked on a first come, first serve basis. The rate is $179.00 per night with a free second night should Green Bay win.

Chicago Kimpton hotels announce last-minute deals for Bears, Packers game

Are you ready for some serious football? Chicago is! And Kimpton Hotels is gearing up to give travelers coming in for the historic NFC Championship game a deal they can’t refuse.

The Chicago Bears take on the Green Day Packers this weekend, and the four Kimpton Chicago hotels — Allegro, Burnham, Monaco and Palomar — are offering an “End Zone” package to celebrate the matchup.

Guests who book the “End Zone” package receive deluxe overnight accommodations for two, which reflects a 20 to 60% discount before package elements, Wisconsin Cheddar Cheese, two Chicago-brewed beers and two pretzels.Hotel Allegro: Located at 171 W. Randolph St., Hotel Allegro is proud to be Green Seal™ Silver certified for its sustainable, earth-friendly practices.

Hotel Burnham: The Hotel Burnham, 1 W. Washington St., is one of Chicago’s great architectural jewels. Originally designed by Daniel Burnham and built as the Reliance Building in 1895, this living landmark is the first direct predecessor to Chicago’s modern skyscrapers.

Hotel Monaco: The AAA Four Diamond Property at 225 N. Wabash Ave overlooks the Chicago River and is located just steps from the North Michigan Avenue and State Street shopping districts.

Hotel Palomar: Located in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Palomar is Kimpton’s newest addition to its Chicago family. The boutique concept features 261 guest rooms and suites, all with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a rooftop indoor pool. The hotel is located at 505 North State Street, Chicago, IL, 60654.

Rates start at $129/night and are valid today through Monday, January 24, 2010. For reservations and to check availability, call 1.800.KIMPTON and use the Rate Code “END.”

Ritz-Carlton Dallas plans month-long football promotions for Super Bowl

Whether or not your favorite NFL team will play the Super Bowl is irrelevant. What matters is where you’ll watch the game. The Ritz-Carlton, Dallas, is making things easy for you by offering month-long football promotions in partnership with Fearing’s Restaurant.

With Super Bowl XLV scheduled to take place February 6, 2011 at Cowboys Stadium near Dallas, the luxury hotel and its neighboring restaurant have customized the following gridiron treats for hotel guests and local residents:

Fearing’s Tailgate Cooking Class (January 22, 2011). Need some tailgating snack ideas? Head to Celebrity Chef Dean Fearing counter and get some tips from the acclaimed chef on menu items and beer pairings for the big game. On the menu: Chili Frito Pie, Jalapeo-Braised Carnitas Sliders, and Tacos with Barbecued Thousand Island Cole Slaw, Pickled Red Onions and Dutch Oven Beans. A dessert of Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites will complement the menu.

If the game is getting to be too much for you, head to the the Ritz-Carlton Spa for the Quarterback Sports Wrap, First Down Facial and Tight End Body Treatment. The Ritz-Carlton Spa has also introduced a new Rookie Package, providing a 20 percent savings on Monday-through-Thursday spa treatments for first-time guests of the spa between now and February 28. If the spa and tailgating menu options aren’t enough, the hotel will pay tribute to the pigskin with Spa Tailgate, offered all Sundays in January coinciding with major televised sports events.
And this is all before and after the big game. On Super Bowl weekend, the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas and Fearing’s will also offer the following:

  • A roster of hotel Football Concierges will provide guests with information on the upcoming game, team stats, road traffic updates, driving routes to the stadium and more.
  • Hotel guests staying during game weekend will receive a complimentary in-room gift of a luxurious cobalt blue throw blanket commemorating the special date.
  • A special menu of added In-Room Dining selections will include a post-revelry, wee-hours selection called “Aftermath”, consisting of a bacon & egg pizza with ranch dressing, an array of sliders and cold beer. Additionally, In Room Dining will offer an ultra-gourmet hot dog menu for the weekend.
  • Fearing’s Restaurant will offer several specialty food items and specialty cocktails in honor of the two team cities represented in the game. Fearing’s will offer extended dining and bar hours during Super Bowl weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday), including dinner beginning at 5 p.m. and continuing to 11 p.m.

For those not staying at the Ritz-Carlton, fear not: you can still enjoy the Super Bowl and all the excitement in the hotel’s lobby bar starting at 6 p.m. on game day!