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Travel News

Travel News

Mexico Travel News

By Judy Newell

New luxury hotel in Mexico City

Las Alcobas, from the Starwood Hotels Luxury Collection, opened March 1 in Mexico City’s bustling Polanco district, surrounded by vibrant commerce, culture, entertainment, dining, and shopping. Each of the 35 guest rooms and suites are complete with Mexican contemporary art, textiles, and furnishings to reflect the country’s unique culture.

Within walking distance of Mexico City’s Anthropology Museum, Palace of Fine Arts, Cathedral, Presidential National Palace, Templo Mayor, and Alameda Central, Las Alcobas is a prime destination for culture-lovers.

International News

Trump backlash

Add Apple Vacations and Pleasant Holidays to the list of companies disassociating from Donald Trump in the wake of his disparaging comments about Mexican immigrants. Apple Vacations has canceled plans to host its annual Golden Apple Gala, which honors top hotels and resorts, at the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.

“Apple Vacations is the largest Mexico-bound tour operator with close ties to the government and the tourism industry of Mexico, and our annual event has a very strong focus on Mexico,” said Apple President Timothy Mullen. “Mr. Trump’s expressed views are certainly sharply at odds with our own views at Apple Vacations, as we have a deep appreciation for the work ethic and social values of Mexicans living in the United States and abroad.”

Pleasant Holidays announced that it has suspended sales of all Trump International Hotels in its portfolio until the company “receives greater clarity on statements by Donald Trump about Mexican immigrants.” Hotels affected by Pleasant’s decision include Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk, Trump International Hotel Las Vegas, and Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower Panama. Current bookings will be honored; however no future bookings will be taken until further notice.

During his rambling June 16 announcement that he was running for president, Trump said about immigration: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best…they’re sending  people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with them. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

After that, many companies began cutting ties with Trump and canceling plans for major events at his properties, including Macy’s, NBC Universal, and PGA of America.

World’s best cities

Travel + Leisure has revealed its World’s Best Awards. The lists are based on reader surveys that take a variety of factors into consideration, including sights and landmarks; culture and arts; restaurants and food; people and friendliness; and shopping and value. Here’s how the world’s 10 best cities ranked in 2015:

1. Kyoto, Japan

2. Charleston, SC

3. Siem Reap, Cambodia

4. Florence, Italy

5. Rome, Italy

6. Bangkok, Thailand

7. Krakow, Poland

8. Barcelona, Spain

9. Cape Town, South Africa

10. Jerusalem, Israel

Cruise News

Cruise ship to be based in Cuba

MSC Opera, carrying 2,120 passengers, will become the largest ship based in Havana, Cuba, this winter—while US cruise giant Carnival has been given permission to visit the island. MSC Cruises will offer one-week voyages from the capital starting on December 22 and concluding on April 12, 2016. The cruises will include two nights in Havana, and itineraries will also feature Montego Bay, Jamaica; Cozumel, Mexico; and Georgetown in the Cayman Islands.

Meanwhile Carnival Corporation, which operates 10 cruise brands, announced that it has secured US authorization to begin sailing to Cuba starting in May 2016 aboard its newly launched Fathom line, which is aimed at travelers interested in volunteer opportunities. The seven-day voyages from Port Miami will use the 710-berth MV Adonia and will start at about US$3,000 per person, “excluding taxes, port, and other government and related fees,” that haven’t yet been determined.

The largest cruise ship currently based in Cuba is the 1,200-capacity Celestyal Crystal, which is operated from the island each winter by the Canadian company Cuba Cruise. Several non-US cruise lines, such as Thomson, Saga, Fred Olsen, Swan Hellenic, and Noble Caledonia include stops in Cuba in their Caribbean itineraries.

The announcements further highlight the growing popularity of the country following the easing of trade and travel restrictions with the United States earlier this year.

Timeless wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Mekong

15-day cruise/tour Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi from Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, with special two-for-one pricing on September 13, 23, and 27, 2015.

There’s still time to experience a truly epic adventure in 2015: enjoy two-for-one savings on a 15-day cruise/tour through two beautiful and beguiling countries, Vietnam and Cambodia. Experience the mighty Mekong, a river that has sustained life and inspired art, music, and folktales for thousands of years.

Travel the Mekong onboard the 58-passenger River Orchid, an elegant French Colonial-style vessel with gracious service, fine dining, spa services, and well-appointed river view staterooms. Luxurious onshore accommodations provided at the Intercontinental Hanoi Westlake Hotel, Victoria Angkor Resort and Spa, and the Park Hyatt Saigon.

Featured highlights include two full days at Angkor Wat, the world’s largest religious temple complex and a UNESCO World Heritage Site; special water blessing from Buddhist monks; sightseeing via electric cart and sampan; artisanal workshops and colorful floating markets; Apsara dance performance; traditional water puppet show; and much more.

September 13 and 23: Category two stateroom, US$3,050 per person, Category one stateroom, US$3,425 per person, including all taxes and port charges. September 27: add US$100 per person. Space is limited—book today.


Judy Newell heads the travel company Perfect Journeys which specializes in crafting personalized cruise and land itineraries for couples, singles, families, and small groups. She designs trips that are carefully tailored to suit client’s interests, ability, and budget. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any of the Travel News topics; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email or view the latest travel specials on the website where you can book your hotels, tours and cruises online.

Sources: Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Travel Pulse, Travel Agent Central, The Telegraph, Condé Nast Travel, Uniworld Boutique River Cruises


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