Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Carnival Magic skips Cozumel after Mexico refuses clearance

Carnival Cruise Lines curtailed the Carnival Magic’s itinerary and headed back to Galveston after Mexican authorities failed to clear the ship for its scheduled call at Cozumel on October 17. On the ship was a Texas healthcare worker who might have handled lab samples from an Ebola patient at a Dallas hospital.

Carnival said the ship waited until noon for clearance but when it wasn’t forthcoming “the decision was made to proceed to Galveston to ensure the ship arrives there on time on Sunday morning.”

Guests on the ship will get a US$200-per-person credit on their shipboard accounts and a 50 percent discount on a future cruise based on the missed visit to Cozumel.

The healthcare worker who was quarantined aboard the Carnival Magic is not infected with the Ebola virus, a blood test confirmed in Galveston. Although not required or requested by health authorities, the ship underwent “a very comprehensive and aggressive cleaning and sanitizing” before guests started boarding for the next voyage at 1pm that day.

Belize authorities did not allow the healthcare worker to enter the country and then Mexico refused clearance to the entire ship.

International News

Ebola affects safari tour operators

Once again the African travel industry has fallen victim to guilt by association that comes from the primitive conception of geography in mainstream America. Safari tour operator Abercrombie & Kent is countering panic with rationality, reassuring travelers with a list of relevant facts:

1. The continent of Africa is larger than the US, China, India, Europe and Japan combined.

2. Africa is not one country but 54 independent nations with strict customs controls. Most have restricted entry to travelers that visited affected West African countries.

3. The main safari destinations are in East and Southern Africa, which is farther away from the affected countries in West Africa than parts of Europe and South America.

4. The affected countries are in the extreme western part of the African continent, thousands of kilometers from the main safari routes. Geographically, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea are closer to Madrid, Paris and London than they are to Kenya.

5. There have been no cases of Ebola in Southern or East Africa, which includes South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.

6. Dakar, Senegal, in the affected area, is closer to New York (3,818 miles) than it is to Nairobi (3,865 miles), Johannesburg (4,159 miles) or Cape Town (4,100 miles).

Within Africa, Ebola has been confined to Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal.

According to Dan Austin, president of Austin Adventures, “In my humble opinion there are better odds for winning the lottery than getting Ebola. Reading up on it, the average traveler needs to relax.”

Cruise News

Coming in 2015: A 22-day cruise down the Mississippi

Call it the ultimate cruise for American riverboat fans. American Cruise Lines has announced plans for a 22-day Mississippi River sailing in 2015 that takes in nearly the entire length of the waterway from the Gulf of Mexico to Minnesota. The Complete Mississippi Cruise will kick off on August. 8, 2015 in New Orleans and include 16 stops before ending in St. Paul, Minnesota.

The voyage will take place on the line’s 150-passenger American Eagle, a new vessel that will debut in 2015. The new American Eagle will feature larger cabins than other riverboats sailing in North America as well as private balconies, more lounges and more spacious dining areas than other riverboats.

The American Eagle is one of four new riverboats that American Cruise Lines is building for America’s waterways in what amounts to a major bet on American river cruising. It operates six ships in all, four of which are coastal cruisers that sail along the coast of New England, in the Chesapeake Bay, in Alaska’s Inside Passage and other coastal areas.

Air News

A look at Etihad’s US$43,000 Residence Suite

Spread across 125 square feet of the A380’s upper deck, Etihad’s extravagant, two-person Residence Suite takes in-flight luxury to a new level. The living area includes a supple, Poltrona Frau leather sofa and 32-inch HDTV.

Savoy Academy-trained private butlers can procure anything you could ask for (in advance) − even specific vintages of Merlot. Made-to-order multi-course meals are whipped up in the plane’s galley.

In the oversize en suite bathroom you’ll find a spa-style shower with 60 nozzles. The extra-long bed stretches 82 inches, with a natural-fiber mattress and custom linens. And you thought you hated air travel.

United to offer Wi-Fi on regional jets

United Airlines will partner with Gogo to provide in-flight Wi-Fi service on its two-cabin regional jets. The service will be available later this year and will include an array of streaming in-flight entertainment options.

Deal of the Week

India Highlights

Nine days from US$2,700; Now US$1,950 per person. Stimulate your senses with this magical private guided tour of Delhi, Jaipur, Agra and Varanasi. It features your own private guide and  driver and a tantalizing array of exotic cuisine, timeless temples, and colorful markets. Book before December 1, 2014 for travel before March 31, 2015 and save US$1500 per couple!


Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in 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, or view the latest travel specials on the website where you can book your hotels, tours and cruises online.

Sources: Travel Pulse, USA Today, American Cruise Lines, Travel+Leisure, Frequent Business Traveler, Kensington Tours


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