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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News
Record-setting increase in international visitors

Between 2006 and 2011, the number of domestic and foreign visitors to Mexico increased from 162 million to 191.5 million, an increase of 18.2 percent and an historic record, according to a report released by Secretary of Tourism Gloria Guevara.

Mexico has seen a 53.7 percent increase in private sector investment, from US$1 billion in 2001 to $1.58 billion in 2012, which played a pivotal role in Mexico’s best-ever tourism activity in 2011. Public sector investment also rose during President Felipe Calderon’s administration; 582 percent over the administration of President Ernesto Zedillo and 146.8 percent over the administration of President Vicente Fox.

“Usher Live!” at Moon Palace, Riviera Maya

Palace Resorts announces their next event in the highly acclaimed 2012 Palace Concert Series. Multi-platinum recording artist Usher will perform live on stage at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort on Saturday, December 29, 2012.

Cruise News

Orient-Express’s second river cruise vessel in Myanmar

Orient-Express Hotels Ltd., which owns luxury hotels, cruise and rail businesses in 22 countries, said it will launch a new river cruiser in Myanmar in July 2013. The move comes as the number of travel options to Myanmar (Burma) has exploded in recent months following the country’s transition to a democracy from a military dictatorship.

Orient-Express’ new ship, named Orcaella, is currently under construction in Yangon and will carry 50 guests. It will join the Road To Mandalay, a river cruiser that has been sailing the Ayeyarwady River for 17 years. The new ship is named Orcaella after the dolphins known to inhabit the Ayeyarwady River.

Family promotions for Sea of Cortez holiday cruise

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic is offering promotions on its December 29 holiday cruise in the Sea of Cortéz. On bookings made by October 31, the offer includes one child (17 and under) sailing for free with two full-fare-paying adults and a second child at 50 percent off. Or guests may opt for free roundtrip air from Los Angeles to La Paz.

Rates begin at US$4,680 per person, double occupancy. The cruise on the 62-passenger National Geographic Sea Bird offers activities for kids including Zodiac-driving lessons, a science program, journal writing, ship navigation, point-and-shoot photo sessions and movie nights.

Heavy metal cruise ‘to hell’

The Barge to Hell, a cruise billing itself as the “The World’s Most Extreme Metal Cruise,” is set to depart from Miami on December 7 aboard Royal Caribbean International’s 2,744-passenger Majesty of the Seas. The four-night, heavy metal music festival will feature 40 metal bands playing live shows for over 2,000 “headbangers from around the world.”

Barge to Hell has announced 23 of the featured bands so far, including Napalm Death, Behemoth, Enslaved and Sepultura. The organizers say there will be no set mealtimes onboard and no assigned seating in the ship’s theater, where seats will be removed.

Air News

Aeromexico orders US$11 billion worth of Boeing aircraft

Aeromexico says it has signed a letter of intent to buy 90 Boeing 737 MAX jets and 10 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. It says the order will be the biggest aircraft investment ever made in the history of Mexican aviation. When finalized, Aeromexico says the order will be worth US$10.8 billion at list prices, though the company is all but certain to have negotiated a discount.

Aeromexico expects to take delivery of its first Dreamliner in 2013 and its first 737 MAX in 2018. Reuters said “the decision to buy was based mainly on bets Mexico’s economy will remain robust in coming years.” Reuters notes Aeromexico’s “latest order comes on top of a 20-aircraft package that Aeromexico announced last year, for 10 Embraer jets and 10 Boeing 737-8 NG.”

International News

Waldorf Astoria’s Scotland debut

Scotland’s first Waldorf Astoria will open in Edinburgh at what was formerly the Caledonian Hilton, after a US$38 million renovation is completed. The Caledonian, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, will include 241 rooms and will add the UK’s first Guerlain Spa this winter.

Freaky food tour

There’s a saying in China that people will eat anything with four legs except a table, and anything with wings except an airplane. On Untour’s “Weird Meat Tour of Shanghai” the culinary endeavor treks foodies through twisting back streets, frequently stopping at some of Shanghai’s most secret savory sites.

Your fearless food leader will take you on an adventure that will include plates of dragonflies, fried bees, pigeon, duck tongue, and who knows what else. It’s easy to get lost in this sensory overload but they’ll provide you with a detailed recap of what you’ve consumed and the pictures to prove it to your friends when you get back.

Three kilometers and three hours later, you may find yourself reaching for the Pepto but one thing’s for sure, it will be a heck of an adventure not likely to be repeated. Best of luck and may the food force be with you.


Deal of the Week

India: A Journey of Spiritual Discovery

15 days from US$8,275 per person

The Maha Kumbh Mela is a spiritual event of epic proportions, which takes place every 12 years in the city of Allahabad in northern India. Over the centuries pilgrims have celebrated by bathing in the rivers, which is believed will cleanse one of all their sins, and grant an escape from the endless cycle of reincarnation by paving a path for salvation. Come experience this very unique journey offered in January and February 2013 by Cox & Kings.


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 La Biblioteca – the next seminar will be November 6 at 2:30pm and the topic will be announced in Atencion. Contact Judy by email at


Sources: Travel Pulse, Palace Resorts, USA Today, Travel Weekly, The Explorateur


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