Travel News

By Judy Newell

Blue Mosque, Istanbul

Mexico Travel News

Excellence Group to add Finest Resort in Playa Mujeres

The nascent Mexican resort destination of Playa Mujeres continues to blossom, with the Finest Playa Mujeres set to debut on March 1, 2015. The resort will join AMResorts’ Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, which opened on November 15. To celebrate the opening of its third property at Playa Mujeres, the Excellence Group is offering Finest guests 35 percent savings on rates. The offer is good for bookings made through the end of April. One of the Finest resort’s strongest selling points will be the size of its 450 suites which, at minimum, will measure 800 square feet. Also, the resort will feature separate family and adults-only areas, along with suites dedicated to both groups. The resort will be equipped with nine a la carte restaurants, 17 bars and lounges, and facilities for children.

Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta set to open next month

The all-inclusive resort Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta is scheduled to open in December at the site of the former Dreams Puerto Vallarta. It is the culmination of an approximate US$20 million expansion, renovation, and repositioning. The 336-suite, all-inclusive beachfront property is located on the southern coast of Banderas Bay. Features include tequila sommeliers, 24-hour in-suite dining service, fire pits and marshmallow roasts in the evenings, butler service at the adults-only pool, swim-up suites, supervised kids’ activities, and a la carte and buffet restaurants.

Grand opening rates offer 60 percent off rack rates for reservations booked and confirmed by November 30 for travel through December 15, 2015. When the early-booking bonus expires, winter season rates start at US$760 per suite, per night, double.

Wine & Food Festival in Cancun-Riviera Maya

Branded under the motto, “Europe Meets the Americas,” the Wine & Food Festival Cancun-Riviera Maya will celebrate its fourth edition March 12-15, 2015. More than 30 gastronomic stars from Spain, France, and Mexico will be honored and cook their native cuisine at venues throughout the region. Events will include the culinary journey “Star Chefs of the Americas,” the “Gourmet Tasting Village,” and an incredible “Gala Dinner” offered to only 60 special guests. The “Ten Diva Chefs” event will unite Mexican female chefs cooking a unique five-course dinner paired with the best Mexican wines. “France Night” has guests tasting French cuisine, champagne, wine, and cocktails. More than 25 events will be celebrated highlighting Nizuc Resort & Spa, The Ritz Carlton Hotel, and Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa. Tickets for the festival are available to the public on

JetBlue proposes to serve Mexico City from Florida

In a filing at the Department of Transportation on November 4, JetBlue said it plans to add nonstop service to Mexico City from both Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. If approved, the carrier would begin service on the routes in or around June 2015. Aeromexico has nonstop service between Orlando and Mexico City, while low-cost carrier Volaris begins Fort Lauderdale-Mexico City service on December 1. JetBlue is eyeing two daily roundtrips between Fort Lauderdale and Mexico City and a daily roundtrip from Orlando, using 150-seat aircraft on both routes. The carrier currently serves Cancun with nonstop service from Boston, Fort Lauderdale, New York JFK, and Orlando.

Cruise News

New round-Cuba cruise

Thomson Cruises will offer a new itinerary for winter 2015 with a cruise around Cuba that goes to Santiago de Cuba and Holguin for the first time. The ship Thomson Dream will circumnavigate the Caribbean island during its seven-day Cuban Revolution itinerary, which includes a night and two days in the old colonial capital Havana. The roundtrip from Jamaica’s Montego Bay calls at Grand Cayman as well as the colorful Cuban ports onboard Thomson Dream, which carries 1,506 passengers.

This is the second Cuban itinerary for Thomson Dream, which also has regular seven-night Cuban Fusian cruises from Jamaica to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico. This cruise includes an overnight in Havana and returns to Jamaica via Georgetown in the Cayman Islands. The move follows Louis Cruises’ launch of a round-Cuba itinerary in 2013 onboard Louis Cristal. Star Clippers have offered Cuban itineraries onboard Star Flyer since February 2014.


Deal of the Week

Classical Turkey tour

Meeting place of the Eastern and Western worlds, Turkey has always been a land of contrasts. Cosmopolitan Istanbul stood at the head of the Byzantine Empire for a thousand years, while its Islamic successors, the Ottomans, ruled the Mediterranean and beyond for six centuries more. This long Christian and Islamic history has left a legacy of historical sites.

This small group trip, limited to 24 guests, visits Istanbul, Ankara, Cappadocia, Konya, Pamukkale, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Canakkale, and Troy. The 11-day tour offers weekly departures and includes all transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle; nine nights accommodation in 5-star hotels; nine breakfasts, eight lunches, and six hotel dinners; English-speaking professional guide throughout; entrance fees to museums; and all taxes and service charges. US$1,595 per person, single supplement US$715.


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 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, Travel Weekly,, Cruise Critic, Flotours


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