Travel News You Can Use

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Aeromexico soars as Best Airline in South/Latin America

Global Traveler’s Eighth Annual Reader Survey and “Best Airline in South/Latin America 2011” by Business Traveler Magazine named Mexico’s global airline “Best Airline in Mexico.” It is ranked as one of the most punctual airlines in the world and offers approximately 300 daily departures.

Aeromexico carried record 14.3 million passengers in 2011, a 20 percent increase over 2010. Domestic passengers increased 14 percent and international passengers increased 42 percent. The year ended with a load factor of 78.4 percent.

With flights to 14 US destinations that can connect to a network of over 40 destinations in Mexico, Aeromexico offers the most flight connections between the United States and Mexico.

New Secrets Resort in Cancun set to open

The adults-only Secrets The Vine Cancun will make its debut in August 2012 when it will become the company’s 21st property in Mexico and the 10th in the Secrets portfolio. The newly built hotel will feature 495 rooms, all with ocean views, private balconies and teak wood furnishings.

All resort guests will enjoy limitless access to gourmet a la carte dining and premium beverage brands, 24-hour room and concierge services, countless daytime activities, live evening entertainment and more. The resort features seven distinctive restaurants and three bars in addition to land and water sports, daily special events such as movies on the beach, dance classes, nightly shows, evening entertainment and more.

To celebrate the impending opening, Secrets Resorts & Spas is offering a limited time pre-opening special of US$160 per person per night based on double occupancy for travel between August 1 to October 28, 2012, and US$175 per person per night for travel from October 29 to December 27, 2012.

Airline News

Full disclosure on air ticket prices

So what’s this flight really going to cost me? On January 26, new government regulations went into effect requiring all airlines and travel companies to include taxes and fees in published airfare. This makes pricing more transparent for consumers.

Prices will appear to be higher but travelers will see the full price and, hopefully, this will mean that fewer will feel like they’ve been subjected to a bait-and-switch, in which the fare that first attracted them to book is replaced by a flight that isn’t quite as good a deal.

But remember, it’s only the non–optional taxes and fees that must be included in advertised fares. A wide range of optional fees, including those for baggage, seat selection, in–flight entertainment and refreshments, won’t be included in the fares you see. For some travelers, these fees will come as a most unpleasant surprise.

Aeromexico launches new route

Non-stop services from Miami will be launched July 4 to Cancun, one of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean. Now passengers can fly from Miami to Cancun on twice-daily flights without making a stopover in Mexico City. The destination recently inaugurated the world’s largest underwater museum and it’s also the home of the world’s largest fish: the whale shark, during the months of May-September.

Cruise News

Buy one Europe river cruise, get one free

The “buy-one-get-one-free” mark-off usually applies to things like socks, cereal, and cans of soup. But this time, it’s a six-night cruise through the European countryside: purchase one Danube River cruise and get one free.

Why the steep discount? The select cruises that are on sale depart in fall 2012, which is shoulder season for travel to Europe, but this is even more great news for bargain-hunting travelers, who will have a good chance of finding a more affordable flight to Europe when traveling in autumn. Buy-one-get-one cruises depart on October 27 and November 2, 8, and 14.

This cruise package includes a six-night Danube sailing on the MS Sound of Music, port taxes, shore excursions, and most meals. Itineraries vary slightly based on travel dates, but most cruises pass through Germany and Austria—count on visiting old stone bridges, Gothic cathedrals, vineyards, castles, and palaces. All cabins on the MS Sound of Music are outside cabins that have either balconies or large windows, so you’ll get a great view of the passing European countryside from any room on the ship.

Prices start at US$749 per person based on double occupancy (a 50 percent discount over standard prices for this cruise).

International News

Travel to Cuba during Pope’s visit

Cuba Tours and Travel, a licensed Travel Service Provider under the US Treasury Department, is offering a tour to Cuba timed to coincide with the visit to Cuba of Pope Benedict XVI, March 26 to 28.

The papal visit − the first since John Paul II’s 1998 arrival − is scheduled to include trips to the major Cuban cities of Havana and Santiago de Cuba. The visit will feature a Mass conducted in Havana’s world-famous Jose Marti Revolution Square. The visit is timed to coincide with nationwide celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of The Virgin of Charity of El Cobre, Cuba’s patron saint. CTT has rooms reserved in four- and five-star Havana hotels during Benedict XVI’s visit.

Marriott – free night after two stays

Between February 1 and April 30, Marriott Rewards members can earn one free night after two paid stays at Marriott, JW Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Renaissance, AC Hotels, Residence Inn, Courtyard, TownePlace Suites, Fairfield Inn, and SpringHill Suites hotels. The free nights may be taken at Category 1 through 4 hotels between February 1 and September 30. A maximum of two free nights may be earned during the promotion period. Registration is required by March 31, and members’ earning preferences must be set to points.

US State Department travel alerts

Tunisia: An alert has been issued regarding the potential for unrest in Tunisia. Although the security situation in most tourist and business centers remains calm, spontaneous and unpredictable events, such as work stoppages and demonstrations still occur. A state of emergency remains in force, and curfews can be re-established on short notice.

Congo: A warning has also been issued on the risks of traveling to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) (DRC), and recommending against non-essential travel to eastern and northeastern DRC. The warning refers to armed groups, bandits, and elements of the Congolese military, which remain security concerns in eastern and northeastern DRC.

Bahrain: An alert has been issued about the dangers of traveling in Bahrain, due to the potential for unrest in the country. All travelers to Bahrain face increased scrutiny from Bahraini authorities, and the government of Bahrain has refused to allow some US citizens permission to enter Bahrain.


Sources: Prevue, Travel Pulse, Travelzoo, Budget Travel, Smarter Travel

Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys, named the #1 tour company by “Best of San Miguel de Allende 2011.” Contact Judy at email

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