Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News
Massages and merlot in Los Cabos

Vinotherapy, a combination of wine and massage therapy, is a new concept offered at the Somma Wine Spa at the 249-room, all-inclusive Fiesta Americana Grand Golf & Spa Resort in Los Cabos.

“The healing and rejuvenating power of wine is infused into all aspects of spa treatments, from merlot and chardonnay creams to a post-massage local wine pairing,” said Francisco Gutierrez, wine spa coordinator.

Somma Wine Spa employs a select group of sommeliers to assist guests in selecting the best treatment for their skin needs and therapy preferences. The sommeliers then pair guests with the perfect glass of wine to round out the therapy.

Cancun Palace now flies Hard Rock flag

The Cancun Palace has been re-flagged as the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun. It is the first of four properties in Mexico to be re-branded under a deal reached last year between Palace Resorts and Hard Rock International. In 2013, the Vallarta Palace will become the Hard Rock Puerto Vallarta, and the adjacent Aventura Cove Palace and Aventura Spa Palace will become the Hard Rock Riviera Maya.

Dolphin Dreams opens in Puerto Aventuras

The Dolphin Dreams aquarium at Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa opens in November and will be the largest of its kind in Cancun and the Riviera Maya−and the first to have dolphins and manatees born and raised in captivity exclusively. It will be managed by Dolphin Discovery, which currently has locations in Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, Isla Mujeres, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos and Mexico City, as well as several Caribbean locations.

Dolphin Dreams will offer an interactive educational program enabling resort guests to observe and swim side by side with the dolphins. There’s also a “kayak with the dolphins” experience, a first for the region.

In conjunction with the opening of Dolphin Dreams, the resort will offer a promotion for the Swim with the Dolphins program, valid for travel through March 31, 2013. A paying adult must accompany all kids; the promotion is free for kids through 7 years of age and half-price for kids ages 8 to 12. The adult ticket is approximately US$120.

Cruise News

Horror film cruise

Carnival Victory has been chartered to host a theme cruise for fans of horror films. The “Ship Of Fear: A Horror Cruise,” will depart Miami on October 28, 2013. Scheduled to attend are directors and actors from films including Child’s Play, Candyman, Phantasm, Fright Night,“The Lost Boys, Gremlins, Friday the 13th,“The Howling, Pet Sematary, and more. Also scheduled to perform are Alice Cooper, Dee Snider, Corey Feldman and Truth Movement. Rates start at US$729 per person when booked by December 31.

New York at sea

When 4,000-passenger Norwegian Breakaway debuts in the spring of 2013, passengers will have no trouble spotting it in a crowd. That’s because the ship’s vibrantly colored New York City-themed hull is designed by pop art icon Peter Max. The final design features a New York City skyline, a disembodied Statue of Liberty head and several planetary bodies and stars.

International News

New York’s big plans for Staten Island include giant Ferris wheel

New York aims to make its Staten Island borough a tourist draw with a 625-foot Ferris wheel and retail complex along the waterfront. According to a news release from the mayor’s office, the Ferris wheel will be the world’s tallest.

The New York Wheel will have 36 capsules, each able to carry up to 40 passengers. New York expects that the wheel will draw 4.5 million visitors per year. Construction is expected to begin in early 2014, with the goal of hosting a grand opening by the end of 2015.

Also to be constructed is Harbor Commons, a 350,000-square-foot retail complex with outlet stores, restaurants and a hotel. The development, targeted to open in 2016, will be built on a site south of Richmond County Bank Ballpark. The 200-room hotel will offer views of the Manhattan skyline.

Both the New York Wheel and Harbor Commons will be within walking distance of the St. George terminal for the Staten Island Ferry, which transports riders from lower Manhattan.

Hot stuff: Hotel set to reopen overlooking Hawaii volcano

Shuttered for the past two years, a historic hotel overlooking the Big Island of Hawaii’s dramatic Kilauea caldera has reopened for day-trippers and campers in popular Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

The 32-room Volcano House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, started out as a grass shack in 1824 and has housed such notable guests as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mark Twain. The inn is open daily for sales of food items and souvenirs. Guests also can stay in the park’s 10 A-frame cabins at a nearby campground for US$55 a night.



Deal of the Week

Photographic Safari in South Africa

Learn valuable photographic tips and techniques from renowned professional photographers, with countless opportunities to practice your new-found skills in Africa! All levels, from amateur to advanced are welcome.

This package includes international flights on South African Airways from New York (JFK) or Washington (DC), internal flights and all taxes and fees, 5-star accommodations for 4 nights in Cape Town at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, and 2 nights on safari at Sabi Sabi Little Bush Camp. A half day Winelands Tour and a full day scenic Cape Peninsula Tour are included, both accompanied by your Cape Town photographer. On safari at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve you’ll be accompanied on four thrilling game drives by a professional sports and wildlife photographer.

March 19-27, 2013; US$4,799 per person, including all taxes and fuel surcharges, based on two people sharing.


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 – the next seminar will be announced. Contact Judy by email at

Sources: Travel Weekly, Travel Pulse, USA Today, Lion World

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