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JOYÀ comes to Riviera Maya

Cirque du Soleil and Grupo Vidanta, a leading developer of resorts and tourism infrastructure in Mexico, unveiled the plans for JOYÀ, an intimate performing arts and culinary experience that will open this month exclusively at the Cirque du Soleil Theater in Riviera Maya near The Grand Mayan resort.

Drawing on Mexico’s history and heritage, JOYÀ tells the story of an alchemist and his granddaughter embarking on a transformative quest to uncover the secrets of life. Through their wonderfully disorienting journey, they will discover a hidden gem in the mangrove, passing along the poetry of love and life to future generations.

The name JOYÀ is rooted in the Spanish “joya” meaning jewel or pearl and alludes to a person or event of great value. Through the performance, the alchemist’s granddaughter will discover joy and wisdom by sharing an extraordinary experience in an unlikely place.

Performances of JOYÀ began on November 8, 2014, and it will premiere on November 21, 2014. It will bring together a team of 24 artists in a performance that will captivate audiences of all ages.

JOYÀ is housed in a 600-seat theater custom-built for Cirque du Soleil, which draws inspiration from the natural beauty of the surrounding jungle. The premium dinner service will feature international cuisine and the finest beverages as a prelude to JOYÀ.

Ticket prices are:

Bistro Stools—Show only, US$65

Show only, US$80

Show and Champagne, US$110

Show, Dinner and Champagne, US$165

VIP Show, Dinner and Champagne, US$225

“Rocking down Mexico way,” The Vallarta-Nayarit Classic Rock Festival 2014 will take place December 12-14. Featured artists include Kansas, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Craig Fuller, Mickey Dolenz, Foghat, the Spencer Davis Group, Jefferson Starship, Firefall Pure Prairie League, Steve Augeri, Poco, Silm Jim Phantom, Dave Mason, Bodeans, Lee Rocker, Cheap Trick, Micki Free’s American Horse Trio and many more. Tickets are available online at

International News

Luxury hotel catering to pets opens in Singapore

A new luxury resort hotel catering to furry guests and their human companions opened this month in Singapore. The Wagington Hotel, which describes itself as offering “five-star premium luxury,” features a room service menu with rabbit and kangaroo meat, a bone-shaped pool, dog-themed television programming, and a spa where pets can receive special pampering.

Rishikesh, India, stands out as a wellness landmark

Rishikesh, India, where the Beatles once retreated to meditate and compose several of their best hits, continues to draw wellness-focused travelers. The city offers a quiet, nature-rich setting beside the Ganges River and a deep spiritual significance. Rishikesh also offers many meditation centers and yoga studios, which led to it being called “the unofficial capital of yoga.”

Eurail offers off-peak discounts

Eurail is reaching out to travelers outside of Europe with a 20 percent discount off the regular price of Eurail Global and Select Passes in both first and second class this fall and winter. The passes are available until December 31 for travel through March 31, 2015. It’s the third year that Eurail has run its “Off-Peak” promotion.

Global Passes, Eurail’s most popular product, are good on the rail systems of 24 European countries as well as free or discounted travel on some major shipping lines. The Select Pass is valid for travel in four adjoining Eurail countries, offering travelers 27 participating countries to choose from. It’s their second most popular pass.

The discounted Eurail Global or Eurail Select Pass also offers travelers discounted airfares, a wide selection of affordable hotel rooms, and shorter or no lines when visiting popular tourist attractions.

Cruise News

AmaWaterways suspends Russia river cruises

AmaWaterways will not operate its 212-passenger Amakatarina on Russia’s Volga River for 2015. AmaWaterways launched the Amakatarina in 2011 and signed a five-year lease with the ship’s owner, the Russian company Vodohod.

The decision to suspend Russia river cruises came just as the results of elections held in two eastern Ukraine states November 3 put support behind rebel separatist leaders, an outcome supported by Russia and denounced by Ukrainian President Petró Poroshenko and Western countries. Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in March.

River cruise and tour operators have reported softness in Russia bookings throughout much of 2014.

Deal of the Week

Germany’s Christmas markets

Experience the magical atmosphere of Germany’s famous Christmas markets. It’s a wonderful German tradition with sparkling lights, beautifully decorated streets, wonderful handicrafts, and great food. Visit charming medieval towns like Rothenberg and Regensburg along with modern cities such as Munich and Stuttgart and get into the holiday spirit!

The package pricing includes seven nights sharing in a double/twin room in four star accommodations; daily buffet breakfast and VAT; visits and excursions as listed in the itinerary; admission to Heidelberg and Neuschwanstein Castles and the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart; transfers from Frankfurt airport to hotel; transportation by car, minivan or bus during the entire tour. English-Spanish speaking tour guide during the entire tour. Six-day itinerary starting at US$1,695 per person. Travel season: November 29-December 17, 2014. Single supplement US$950 additional.

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 415 111 8765, email, or view the latest travel specials on the website where you can book your hotels, tours and cruises online.

Sources: Cirque du Soleil, CVB Riviera Nayarit, Conde Nast Traveler, TravelAge West, Travel Pulse, Travel Weekly, Eurobound


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