By Judy Newell
Mexico Travel News
Generations Riviera Maya serves up gourmet cuisine
Generations Riviera Maya offers a range of dining options to guests but emphasizes gourmet meals overseen by chefs who earned their chops in Michelin-starred restaurants. It is billed as Mexico’s premier all-suite, all-butler, all-gourmet beachfront resort. The 144-suite beachfront resort offers unique one, two, and three-bedroom suites with infinity pools.
The current promotion: Spend six nights and receive up to 50 percent off plus a free upgrade from an oceanfront luxury suite to an oceanfront one bedroom Jacuzzi suite. The offer must be booked by August 31, and is valid for travel now through December 22.
Cancun on its way to a record-breaking year
The Cancun Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) recently announced an 11 percent increase in visitors between January and May compared to the same time last year. Coupled with a surge in hotel builds, renovations and rebrandings, this should lead to a record-breaking year, topping the 4.6 million visitors Cancun received in 2013.
Orbitz named Cancun 2014’s No. 1 summer destination for North Americans (both nationally and internationally). Cancun officially includes the smaller destinations of Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres, Holbox and Contoy under the Cancun brand. New and extended flight connections by top airlines like Air Canada Rogue, Southwest, Alaska Airlines and Delta make it easy for visitors to enjoy Cancun’s extensive offerings.
Americans heading to Japan in record numbers
Over the last few years US tourism to Japan has gone from the lowest of the low in the aftermath of the March 2011 tsunami to where it is now at its highest point ever. In the first six months of this year, 446,000 Americans visited Japan, a record for any other six-month period. In fact, the 87,900 US visitors in June set a record for any month since records began being taken.
Travel to Japan is booming thanks to a solid dollar exchange rate with the yen, increased air capacity and the combined promotional efforts of local tourism boards and Japan National Tourism Organization’s (JNTO).
Kyoto tops the list. Travel & Leisure named Kyoto the world’s top city this year and the Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice award made Kyoto number one in Asia. Kyoto also made the New York Times top 52 places to travel to in 2014.
Crystal offers unique Northwest Passage cruise
The Crystal Serenity will traverse the Northwest Passage on a 32-day adventure usually only undertaken by expedition ships. It will maneuver 900 miles through the legendary Northwest Passage, north of mainland Canada and south of the Arctic Circle, beginning August 16, 2016, from Seward, Alaska, to New York City.
It took almost two years to plan, including reviewing operations with Canadian officials and meetings with Inuit elders in the Arctic. The itinerary will be flexible so the ship can follow whales or seek out better weather. Accompanying the cruise will be a 14-person team of experts, including a native Arctic guide, scientists and wildlife and landscape photographers.
The 1,070-guest Crystal Serenity will have an escort vessel that will carry additional safety and environmental protection equipment and personnel. It also will serve as a platform for a helicopter and Zodiac rafts. Guests will be provided with complimentary parkas, boot rentals and outfitter recommendations.
For this expedition voyage, Crystal will dispense with “black tie optional” nights, and the cuisine will be modified to reflect the locale and limited ability to re-supply goods and store waste during the month-long voyage.
Fares start at US$19,755 per person, double occupancy, with an additional Crystal Society savings starting at US$495 per person, and US$3,000 in savings if booked by August 29, 2014. The initial booking window opened July 17 and was available only to guests who had sailed with Crystal before. New-to-Crystal customers can add their names to a waitlist, and remaining space, if any, will open to the public on September 2.
Airlines court business travelers with amenity-rich lounges
Airlines are looking to improve the end-to-end experience of their premium-class passengers with new, upgraded or redesigned airport lounges. More than a dozen airlines have invested in the perk over the past 18 months, providing amenities like showers, day beds, personal assistants and freshly baked pizzas.
Deal of the Week
Cunard: 25 percent off & free gratuities
Save up to 25 percent off Launch Fares for 2015 and receive free gratuities on this special offer that expires August 15, 2014. Sample itineraries include the following:
Cape Town and Canaries: Sydney to Cape Town, 24 days, March 25, 2015, inside fares from US$3,299, balcony fares from US$4,874 per person. Cape Town to Southampton, 15 days, April 18, 2015, inside fares from US$2,025, balcony fares from US$3,074.
South Pacific: San Francisco to Sydney, 22 days, February 8, 2015, inside fares from US$3,074, balcony fares from US$4,499.
Panama Canal: Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles, 15 days, February 2, 2015, inside fares from US$1,724, balcony fares from US$2,399.
Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys, which specializes designing tours, cruises and independent travel for discerning travelers. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics, cell phone at 415-111-8765, email email@example.com, or view the latest travel specials on the website www.perfectjourneys.net.
Sources: TravelAge West, Travel Pulse, Crystal Cruises, NBC News, Cunard