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Travel News

Mexico Travel News

By Judy Newell

Tech Concierge at Velas Resorts

Following the successful launch of its no-technology-allowed “Digital Detox” family program, Mexico’s all-inclusive Velas Resorts is now paying attention to the world’s traveling tech lovers. A tech concierge will now be available for troubleshooting as part of the all-inclusive rate at Casa Velas, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit, Grand Velas Riviera Maya, and Velas Vallarta.

Available so that guests may spend more time enjoying the sun and less time struggling with tech problems, the concierge can help with everything from resizing files and fixing international computer or phone problems to connecting devices and printing needed documents.

The four Velas resorts have won numerous accolades for all-inclusive excellence. Included in the cost are luxury suite accommodations, gourmet meals, premium beverages, 24-hour in-suite service and more.

International News

Roman Luxury at a New Bath Hotel

A new hotel is coming to Bath, England, a fashionable city founded by the Romans. The Gainsborough Bath Spa will finally open this month after being in development for almost 10 years. The luxury property features a one-hour “Bath Circuit” using water sourced from the local natural hot springs. The 99-room property features copious spa treatments, local art pieces, and fine cuisine.

Dracula’s Birthplace

Twice a year, in April and October, the small seaside town of Whitby on England’s Yorkshire coast plays host to the Whitby Goth Weekend. Whitby is a popular destination for tourists, and its literary history gives them lots to explore. It is reputedly the place where Bram Stoker wrote the classic Gothic horror novel Dracula. The popular music festival for Goths, which next takes place October 30-November 1, draws thousands who don their spookiest finery for the three-day extravaganza.

Cruise News

Mega Cruise Ships on the Way

The race to sail the largest mega cruise ships is heating up among the world’s cruise ship companies. Carnival announced that its newly ordered ships will hold nearly 7,000 passengers each, making them literally floating cities. It’s all about profit because larger ships will afford cruise lines greater ability to scale costs per passenger.

Not to be outdone, Norwegian Cruise Line, MSC Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Silversea Cruises are also set to sail bigger ships than they have ever before.

These new mega cruise ships, such as Norwegian’s Escape and MSC’s Meraviglia, which cost nearly US$1 billion to build, will also command higher ticket prices than do the older, smaller cruise ships in the same fleets that sail identical itineraries.

The fare for a seven-night cruise on RCCL’s Oasis of the Seas carries a starting fare of US$946, compared to the older and smaller Independence of the Seas, at US$599 per person. Both ships depart from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades and sail around the Eastern Caribbean.

Cruise the Ukraine Again

Viking River Cruises will return to Ukraine’s Dnieper River in 2016 after discontinuing its Ukraine river cruise program amid tensions among Russia, Ukraine, and the West in 2014. The company is the only major river cruise line to offer Dnieper voyages. It has reintroduced a cruise from Kiev to Odessa on the 98-passenger Viking Sineus. The 11-day itinerary is book-ended by three days in Kiev and four days in Odessa. Prices start at US$3,780 per person, based on double occupancy.

Viking is also launching a third ship on Portugal’s Douro River in 2016. The 106-passenger Viking Osfrid’s first sailing will be March 27 with the 10-day “Portugal’s River of Gold” itinerary, priced from US$2,456 per person, based on double occupancy.

Words of the wise and well-traveled: “Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.”—Mark Twain

Deal of the Week

Cook Islands, Sydney, and Auckland

Experience three stunning South Pacific locations in one package: the Cook Islands, Sydney, and Auckland. Twelve-night air and land inclusive vacation from US$2,899 per person based on double occupancy. Single supplements apply.

The tour must be booked by November 30, 2015. The travel period is February 1-March 31, 2016. All prices, itineraries, and routing are subject to change without notice.

The Cook Islands are a stunning necklace of islands in the sun and are the jewel in the crown of the South Pacific. Enjoy four nights discovering the islands. Continue your vacation on an overnight flight to Sydney. Visit all the attractions and take a road-trip to the Blue Mountains National Park or the Hunter Valley wine region. Enjoy a day at Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach.

Auckland is the “City of Sails” and offers almost every activity that you could wish for. Beyond the city, you will find islands such as Waiheke, known for its local artists and wineries.


•Round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Rarotonga, Sydney, and Auckland

•Round-trip airport/hotel transfers throughout

•Four nights Castaway Beach Villas, Poolside Villa

•Four nights Travelodge Wynyard, Guest Room

•Three nights Mercure Auckland, Standard Queen Room

•Applicable airline fuel surcharges

•US/foreign taxes and fees including Sept 11 Security Fee

Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for 44 years, heads Perfect Journeys, which specializes in crafting personalized cruise and land itineraries. She designs trips that are carefully tailored to suit the 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 View the latest travel specials on the website, where you can book your hotels, tours, and cruises online.

Sources: Velas Resorts, Forbes, Daily Mail, The Huffington Post, Viking River Cruises, Air New Zealand


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