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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

New resorts on Riviera Maya

Karisma Hotels & Resorts is unveiling Generations Resorts by Karisma. Under the new brand, Karisma will debut two all-suite resorts: Generations Maroma and Generations Riviera Maya. The resorts are targeted to multi-generational families, couples and wedding parties.

Generations will feature all-suite accommodations with unlimited nanny and butler service, as well as Karisma’s Gourmet Inclusive experience, including gourmet à la carte meals, premium alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and 24-hour room service. Both properties will features suites with living areas with the option of adjoining other suites or converting into two or three-bedroom apartments to accommodate large groups.

Record sales for Mexico in March

Pleasant Holidays reports that it broke all records for March sales of vacation packages to Mexico in March of 2013. The company has been selling packages to Mexico for 20 years.

“Travelers can enjoy idyllic beaches and superb cuisine, exceptional accommodations and service, enriching cultural experiences for all ages, pampering spas and world-class golf at all-inclusive resorts that make luxury affordable,” said Jack Richards, Pleasant’s president and CEO

International News

Edinburgh’s colorful Military Tattoo

August is a busy month in Scotland’s capital city of Edinburgh as most of the Edinburgh Festival occurs during this fair-weather month. One of the most notable of the many annual festivals is the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, performed on the esplanade of Edinburgh Castle by international military bands and display teams.

The first Military Tattoo took place in 1949. The combined traditional sound of bagpipes and drums with the organized marching of military personnel in full regalia is exciting and diverse. The Tattoo is performed every weekday evening and twice on Saturdays throughout August. Tickets sell out early.

“Car Free LA” campaign

The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board has launched “Car Free LA,” a campaign designed to encourage visitors and residents to walk, bike or ride public transit. The city has created more than 120 miles of bikeways in the last two years, increased Metro transit options and the expanded CicLAvia, an annual bicycle-riding event.

The campaign features a series of itineraries centered on exploring Los Angeles’ neighborhoods and highlighting the city’s attractions, music scene, historic architecture, arts and culture, cuisine and entertainment. The itineraries are posted on the campaign’s web page. The self-guided itineraries provide navigation tools for exploring the destination without a car.

Cruise News

Smoke-free cruises

Crystal Cruises will eliminate smoking in all indoor areas, except for the Connoisseur Club smoking lounge, effective with the first cruises in 2014. The move eliminates smoking in all staterooms and suites, the lobby lounge and both nightclubs. Most areas have been non-smoking for several years, including restaurants, main entertainment lounges and the Casino.

The revised policy begins with the January 5 and 8 voyages of Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Crystal will continue to offer the Connoisseur Club, the only remaining interior smoking area, and designated spaces on exterior open decks for cigar, pipe and cigarette smoking.

Inaugural voyages for the National Geographic Orion

Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic will launch its new National Geographic Orion in March 2014 with three itineraries. The 102-passenger ship will carry kayaks, a state-of the-art ROV (remote operated vehicle) that can dive 1,000 feet deep, snorkeling gear, and a scuba program.

The three programs are Exploring Papua New Guinea and the Islands of Vanuatu and the Solomons, a 25-day trip departing March 19, 2014, priced from US$25,390 per person; The Great Barrier Reef, Papua New Guinea and Micronesia, embarking April 9, 2014, for 22 days, priced from US$19,990 per person; and Voyage to the Spice Islands and the Coral Triangle, a 17-day trip departing April 27 priced from US$14,730.

Air News

United Airlines raises change fees

United Airlines has raised their change fee by US$50 for all domestic and some international destinations. This took the domestic change fee from US$150 to US$200 and most international change fees from US$250 to US$300, primarily to South America. The new change fees apply to any tickets issued on and after April 17, 2013. At time of writing, no other carriers have followed suit.


Deal of the Week

“Celebrate Ireland,” an 18-day private small group tour, focuses on Ireland’s historic and cultural sights and the festivals and events of “The Gathering 2013.” This year the government of Ireland is inviting home the 70 million people worldwide of Irish descent and everyone else who loves all things Irish. The tour is limited to 16 guests and features a two-night stay at luxurious Dromoland Castle, the Ring of Kerry, National Stud, famed houses and gardens, Blarney Castle, Waterford Crystal and Northern Ireland including the Titanic Belfast, Derry, Giant’s Causeway and the Ulster American Folk Park. Special events include a weekend at the Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival, an Irish county fair and a weekend at the Dublin Theater Festival. Contact Judy Newell at Perfect Journeys for details.

Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in custom-designed tours, cruises and travel for everyone. Her private trips this year include “Splendor of Turkey” on July 9-22 and “Celebrate Ireland” on September 21-Ocotober 8. Contact Judy at cell 415-111-8765, email, or website

Sources: Travel Pulse, Europe Express, Nexion

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