So do those two terms equate to the same thing then? I don't think so.
Here is my definition of a "recovery week" (as it refers to cycling) vs. a "vacation". Tell me your thoughts...
Recovery Week - A week to decrease mileage and intensity on the bike, almost to the point that you feel a bit guilty. A recovery period allows the microtrauma of training to heal. If done correctly other aspects of fitness can be gained as the main elements are healing. When the recovery week is over you should be stronger and ready to begin higher intensity workouts or do an event you've been training for. Recovery weeks don't necessarily have to be easy but they do have to rest whatever was targeted during the preceding workouts.
Vacation - A time (usually 1-3 weeks) that is spent either A) running around like a chicken with it's head cut off trying to see and do as many things possible, or B) sitting around and completely relaxing not doing anything. And the worst part about a vacation is that when it's over you feel completely depressed (the feeling you get when you realize that you have to go back to work). In contrast, once a recovery week is over you're dying to up the intensity and mileage. If you're not, then you need to recover a little longer.
There, I hope that this answers any questions about a recovery week vs. a vacation. Now if you hear your boss tell you that he/she is in need of a recovery week, most likely he/she is a cyclist. If he/she is not then you know you better be putting in some overtime.
The reason for this post is because I just finished a "recovery" week and am foaming at the mouth to race, and the week prior was on "vacation".