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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News
Broadway Smash Hit Comes to Cancun Resort

Palace Resorts announced that The Illusionists will play this holiday season at the AAA Four Diamond, Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort from December 22 through January 2, 2016. Palace Resort guests receive a special discounted rate on tickets to the show.

The Illusionists is a fast-paced show, featuring seven of the world’s greatest magicians. The production has shattered box office records across the globe and stunned thousands with some of the most outrageous and unbelievable acts ever to be seen on stage.

Additionally, guests who book a stay of five nights or more will receive US$1,500 resort credit, which can be used on spa and beauty salon treatments, golf outings, romantic dinners, and off-site excursions and tours.

International News
One of the Most Isolated Islands on Earth Is Set for a Tourism Boom

The name Pitcairn Island probably sounds vaguely familiar. It is the only inhabited island of a remote chain in the South Pacific and the only remaining British territory in the region. The island was made famous by the crew of the HMS Bounty, the ship whose crew mutinied near there in the late 1700s. The mutineers escaped and the survivors eventually made their way to Pitcairn.

Today the island only has a small permanent population, and most of the people who live there are related to the original settlers from the Bounty. Many of the residents still have the last name “Christian” and are direct descendants of mutiny leader Fletcher Christian.

In many ways, Pitcairn is a paradise. The temperature rarely drops below 60 degrees F, and every immigrant who wants to live here is promised a free plot of land by the government. Because of the sheer remoteness of the island, few people have been willing to relocate. In fact, the permanent population has now shrunk to around 50 people.

Despite its storied past, creating a tourism industry has been a challenge for the territory. The nearest airport is more than 300 miles away, so the only way to get to the island is by boat. Only one vesselt sails regularly to the island. The MV Claymore II, owned by a Kiwi shipping company, is a passenger and cargo vessel that makes trips to Pitcairn from French Polynesia. It is set to increase its number of voyages in 2016. Passengers can choose from 12-round trip cruises. As part of one of these trips, tourists will be able to stay on the island for between four and eleven days.

Bounty-related attractions, including a museum and the remains of the ship, are modest by international standards. The ship was picked over by divers before anyone thought about protecting it. The biggest draw is the remoteness and nature. The island is literally in the middle of nowhere. It is roughly 3,500 miles from both New Zealand and Peru. Its sea caves, cliffs, and rugged interior are attractive to adventure travelers and to those who delight in being very, very far away from civilization.

Harbin Ice and Snow Festival in Japan

The 32nd Annual Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival will open to visitors January 5, 2016, and go through March. The festival has been named among the top four ice and snow festivals in the world, alongside world-class events in Japan, Quebec, and Oslo. Festivities include fireworks, performances, lights, and more.

Expedia Acquires HomeAway for US$3.9 Billion

Expedia has announced an agreement with HomeAway to acquire the leading vacation rental marketplace and all of its brands for US$3.9 billion in cash and Expedia common stock. Both companies’ boards of directors unanimously approved the transaction, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

With an accommodation−sharing website under its ownership, Expedia will now be able to compete head-to-head against Airbnb and has a leg up on other competitors, including the Priceline Group and

Cruise News
Carnival Heads to China

Carnival Cruise Line will put two ships in China. The 2,124-passenger Carnival Miracle will be redeployed to China in 2017, followed by the 3,006-passenger Carnival Splendor in 2018. Homeports and itineraries in China were not announced for the two vessels.

Next Princess Cruises Ship Gets Chinese Name

Princess Cruises’ next ship will have two names, one in English and one in Chinese characters. Currently under construction in Italy, the 3,560-passenger vessel will feature both the names Majestic Princess and Shèng Shì Gōng Zh- Haò on its hull. The ship will be based year-round in Shanghai and cater to a local Chinese market when it debuts in the summer of 2017. The new vessel’s Chinese name can be translated to mean “Grand World” or “Grand Spirit.”

Words of the Wise and Well-Traveled

“Make voyages. Attempt them. There is nothing else.” — Tennessee Williams

Deal of the Week
Escape to Tasmania plus Sydney and Melbourne

This unique air-inclusive trip combines the country’s two best-known cities with less-visited Tasmania, the picturesque and historic island state. The 12-day trip has prices from US$2,219 per person and includes international flights and flights to/from Hobart, rental car in Tasmania, and 10 nights’ accommodations in Sydney, Tasmania, and Melbourne. Departures: December 15, 2015, and September 21, 2016.

Price Includes:

• Round trip airfare from North America with Air New Zealand

• 10 nights’ accommodation as listed in itinerary

• Goway Self Drive Kit: backpack with directions, maps, discount vouchers

• Hertz Group S Car Rental: standard-sized automatic vehicle

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 a 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, where you can book your hotels, tours, and cruises online.

Sources: Palace Resorts, Travel Pulse, China National Tourist Office, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruise, Goway


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