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Mexico Travel News

By Judy Newell

“Wine-inspired” Secrets the Vine Cancun Resort

AMResorts opened Secrets the Vine Cancun, a “wine-inspired” adults-only property, on August 19. Secrets The Vine Cancun offers 495 guest rooms and The Vine Bar, located in the lobby, includes a designated wine tasting area for guests and a wall-mounted wine rack offering 3,000 varieties. The bar features sommelier-led tastings and the hotel offers a Vine Bazaar complex with the Vine Café and a spa.

Travelers who book stays at Secrets the Vine Cancun by September 30 for travel through December 22, 2012, will be eligible for “Free Fall” promotional savings including a free third, fifth, seventh and/or ninth nights, plus US$200 in resort coupons for use towards wine, specialty dining and spa treatments.

Mexico to offer exclusive access to cultural attractions

Mexico Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevera announced that her country will provide “unique access” to historical and cultural attractions and museums to travelers willing to spend extra for the opportunity.

As part of a strategy to increase the amount of revenue per visitor, Guevera said that some areas of historical sites, such as Chichen Itza, that could not withstand high volumes of tourists, could be visited by smaller numbers of people.

The money raised by providing private access would be used to maintain historical and cultural sites, she said. Without giving further specific examples, she said that museums might open early to provide a more exclusive and intimate experience for clients willing to spend more.

Cruise News

Egypt reopens long stretch of the Nile River to cruise ships

The portion of the Nile River between Cairo and Luxor has reopened to allow cruises to sail all the way from Cairo to Aswan. The 465-mile stretch of the river was closed to cruises since the mid-1980s, due in part to security concerns and in part to unpredictable water levels.

Prior to this stretch of the Nile reopening, most Egypt itineraries that include cruises began in Cairo. Then passengers usually took a one-hour flight to Luxor, where they began a 140-mile sailing to Aswan, visiting ancient sites along the way. Many operators add the option to fly or drive to Abu Simbel.

A&K plans to offer the entire 600-mile river cruise in 2013. New stops include Beni Hassan, where tombs were carved into the limestone cliffs on the east bank of the Nile dating back to the Middle Kingdom; Amarna, an ancient capital site built by King Akhenaten around 1350 B.C.; Sohag’s Red & White Coptic Monasteries, and Abydos, a holy city center dedicated to the god Osiris and a burial place for kings and pharaohs dating back to the fourth millennium B.C.

Voyages to Antiquity offers low single supplements

Voyages to Antiquity is offering single-friendly accommodations and fares with low single supplements. The company has increased the number of dedicated single cabins to 26, with supplements that range from 5 to 15 percent higher than the per person double occupancy charge of the same category cabin. Single cabins are available in a variety of categories from inside to deluxe outside with balcony.

Single passenger cruise fares start at US$4,550 in the Mediterranean and US$4,795 in the Far East, which includes pre- and/or post-cruise hotel stays, shore excursions with complimentary bottled water, gratuities to shipboard staff and wine, beer and soft drinks at dinner. Guests who book by September 30 can save up to US$500 per stateroom savings on select 2012-13 departures in the Far East and the Mediterranean from March 30 through July 3.

International News

World’s most expensive city for a hotel room

Moscow’s hotels have been named the world’s most expensive. In a survey of average room rates in 50 major cities, the perennially pricey Russian capital came out on top, with a one-night hotel stay typically costing travelers US$387. Moscow has topped the annual study for eight years running.

Lagos in Nigeria climbed to second place with average room rates standing at US$325 a night, thanks to a “high volume of inbound business travel connected with the oil industry”. Travelers to Lagos are conscious of its “well-documented” security issues and more inclined to choose five-star accommodation.

Geneva, where hotel accommodation will typically cost around US$324, came third. Average room rates dipped in other European cities, including Barcelona, Madrid and Dublin.

Sydney also rated among the world’s most expensive in the cities surveyed, coming in seventh place with an average rate of US$297.

The largest increases in hotel rates were seen in Latin America. In Rio de Janeiro prices rose by 15 per cent. Mexico City saw average rates soar by nearly a third.

Google buying Frommer’s to merge with Zagat

Google is buying the well-known Frommer’s travel guidebook brand and will combine it with its Zagat restaurant review brand. Google bought Zagat last September. Frommer’s, which began with the 1957 publication of “Europe on US$5 a Day,” now includes over 300 guidebooks as well as the website.


Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in custom-designed tour and cruise travel. She presents “Travel Tuesdays”, a free seminar on travel topics at the Biblioteca. Topics will be announced in Que Pasa.


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