Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Marketing targets Latino market

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board, AMResorts and Aeromexico have joined forces to create a promotional campaign designed to highlight the destination’s cultural assets to a Latino population. The campaign is targeting radio and digital media, including Spanish Broadcasting Systems, Telemundo and Univision in such markets as California, Texas and New York.

International News

Ecuador’s Tren Crucero begins service

A high-end rail service that traces historic routes through the Ecuador’s Andes and coastal regions recently launched from the historic capital city of Quito. The Tren Crucero offers one- to three-night steam and diesel locomotive excursions through 300 miles of Ecuador’s highlands. Travelers encounter indigenous communities and experience regional cuisine, creative arts and cultural customs. Tours range from Ecuador’s Andes to the country’s Pacific Coast.

It offers three routes: Quito to Guayaquil (three nights), Quito to Alausi (two) and Alausi to Guayaquil (one). Daily excursions visit Ecuador’s “Avenue of the Volcanoes” and exotic Cloud Forest, and Guamote indigenous market, one of Ecuador’s last authentic Andean markets. Itineraries also include visits to Cotopaxi National Park and a rose plantation.

Shakespeare’s 450th birthday

In 2014, celebrations will mark the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth. Special celebration events will be held in Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday, April 26 and Sunday April 27.

March 17 to 24 the first Shakespeare Week will take place across the UK in celebration of the 450th anniversary of the bard’s birth. The Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare’s Birthplace will be holding an array of special events to celebration the occasion.

Cruise News

Grab a repositioning cruise bargain

Repositioning cruises – when a ship moves from one destination area to another – bring big bargains twice a year in spring and in the fall. This year’s no exception; on some lines you can cruise for less than US$33 per day.

Repositioning cruises are most common when ships move from the West Coast/Alaska to the Caribbean and the reverse (through the Panama Canal) and to and from Europe. But there are others too.

To sweeten the pot on sailings of more than a week – which most of these cruises are – the cruise lines typically add on special guest lecturers and entertainers, and offer full, daily programs of activities during days at sea.

Among bargain-priced repositioning cruises this fall you’ll find:

On a 13-day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas, departing October 27, port calls include St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, Curacao and Aruba, with seven days at sea. Fares from US$799.

Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam will reposition from Barcelona to Fort Lauderdale, October 13, on a 14-day sailing with port calls in Spain and Portugal and nine days at sea. Fares from US$699.

Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Seas embarks November 13 on a rare three-day, non-stop repositioning cruise from Miami to Panama. Fares start at US$99, or US$33 per day.

Passengers on a 15-day transatlantic sailing on the Ruby Princess, embarking November 19 from Barcelona, will call at ports in France, Italy and Portugal, with 10 days at sea. Fares from US$799.

Turner Classic Movies cruise adds more stars

The upcoming TCM Classic Cruise has added new guest speakers, including actresses Margaret O’Brien and Ileana Douglas, game show host Alex Trebek and film historian Eddie Muller. The cruise will take place December 8-13 aboard the Disney Magic. Previously announced guests include Jane Powell, Robert Wagner, Theodore Bikel and TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz.

Deal of the Week

France & Normandy, River Cruise on the Seine

Cruise the Seine through the heart of Normandy on a 7-night river cruise followed by two nights in romantic Paris. The Perfect Journeys small group tour will be May 8-17, 2014 aboard the AMA Waterways vessel AmaLegro. From Paris cruise to Giverny and visit Monet’s home and gardens. Stroll through Rouen − the historic capital of Normandy immortalized by Impressionist artists − and see the square where Joan of Arc was martyred.

Visit D-Day beaches on their 70th Anniversary or sample Calvados in the quaint Norman towns where it is made. Amble along the river in Les Andelys to view Château Gaillard, the ruins of the fortress of Richard the Lionhearted. Visit Château Malmaision, the former home of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte and his wife Josephine, or travel to Auvers-sur-Oise, a town made famous by Paul Cézanne, Camille Pissarro and Vincent van Gogh. Then discover the art of Paris for two nights including a panoramic tour and a visit to Musée d’Orsay.

Enjoy all outside staterooms, fine dining and unlimited red and white wines of France, French cooking demonstration, and all transfers and taxes. Make your reservation before November 30 and receive US$500 off per person (US$1,000 per stateroom) or no single supplement, and an additional US$200 each off for military veterans and spouses. Deluxe River cruise program from US$2,999 per person; Paris and deluxe river cruise program from US$3,599 per person. Contact Judy Newell at Perfect Journeys, SMA cell: 415-111-8765, Vonage 949-300-3682,

Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys, which specializes in custom-designed independent tours, cruises and travel for singles, couples and friends. Perfect Journeys small group tour France & Normandy, a river cruise on the Seine, will depart May 7, 2014. Contact Judy by cell phone at 415-111-8765, by email at, or view the latest travel specials on the website

Sources: Travel Pulse, Greatdays UK, Ecuador Specialist, USA Today

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