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Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

New Riviera Maya Hotel Welcomes Guests

AMResorts’ adults-only Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya welcomed its first guests earlier this month. The resort features six gourmet a la carte restaurants, complimentary 24-hour room service, unlimited top-shelf spirits with pool and beach waiters, waived green fees at Riviera Maya Golf Club, and three pools, including an oceanfront infinity pool. The 425-room hotel is the second Secrets property in Riviera Maya.

Unlimited Golf at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort

Guests can use their US$1,500 Resort Credit at Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun to pay for rounds of golf and other resort amenities, or use the entire Resort Credit for Unlimited Golf. The Unlimited Golf offer can be booked through January 31, 2016, for travel through December 23, 2016.

The resort is home to one of the only two Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses in Cancun. Players can enjoy 27 holes on the Dunes & Jungle, Jungle & Lakes, and Lakes & Dunes courses. Unlimited Golf includes unlimited golf rounds; transportation to and from the course; golf balls for practice; food and beverages on the course and in the club house. A shared cart fee per person/per round must be paid.


International News

Marriott Acquires Starwood

Marriott International has agreed to purchase Starwood Hotels & Resorts for US$12.2 billion, creating the world’s largest hotel company. Combined, Marriott and Starwood account for over 1.1 million rooms. With the acquisition, Marriott will increase its brand count to 30, and executives said all brands will be retained.

Motel 6 Gets a Chic Makeover

Motel 6, the ultra-value brand that is the largest owned and operated hotel chain in the economy segment of the North American hotel market, has launched a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to celebrate the new look and feel of its rooms.

Owned by G6 Hospitality Corp., Motel 6 currently has more than 1,200 locations across the US. The company’s goal is to renovate up to 75 percent of its portfolio in the US and Canada by the end of 2015. The renovated properties will showcase functional, space-efficient areas that deliver contemporary decor and extra comfort for budget-conscious travelers.


Cruise News

Save US$1,500 on Galapagos Islands cruises

Reserve your cabin for Galapagos departures aboard the 32-guest Evolution on February 26 or April 22, 2016 and save US$1,500 per person. The 10-day tour is priced from US$5,998. And select cabins on all January-November departures are available with no single supplement fees.

Accompanied by the highest-rated native naturalist guides, you’ll find yourself just inches away from giant tortoises, comical blue-footed boobies, sea lions, penguins, iguanas, and many other animals. You also will gain an appreciation for how remarkable life on Earth can be.

Air News

Delta to Acquire Additional Shares of Grupo Aeroméxico

Delta Air Lines intends to acquire up to an additional 32 percent of the outstanding capital stock of Grupo Aeroméxico S.A.B. de C.V. through a cash tender offer for MXP[PF1] US$43.59 per share. Currently, Delta owns approximately 4.1 percent of the outstanding shares of Grupo Aeroméxico and holds an option to acquire an additional 8.1 percent.

Separately, the Delta pension trust holds options to acquire approximately 4.6 percent of Grupo Aeroméxico. Following completion of the tender offer, Delta and the Delta pension trust collectively would own and/or have options to acquire up to a total of 49 percent of the outstanding shares of Grupo Aeroméxico.

Delta intends to commence the tender offer once required regulatory approvals in Mexico and the United States, which were filed in March 2015, have been obtained. The transaction is also subject to approval by the Boards of Directors of Delta and Grupo Aeroméxico.

US Downgrades Thailand’s Aviation Safety Rating

The FAA has downgraded Thailand’s civil aviation authority to a Category 2 rating for failing to comply with international safety standards, a move that means Thailand-based airlines won’t be able to establish new service into the United States.

The decision also spells the end, at least for the time being, for nonstop Thailand-US flights served by Thai airlines. Thai Airways suspended its last nonstop route between Bangkok and Los Angeles in October as a cost-saving measure. No other Thai carrier had routes to the US.


Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“Traveling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” –Ibn Battuta



Deal of the Week

Holiday Savings Event on SeaDream

Save up to US$1000 per stateroom on select 2016 voyages with SeaDream Yacht Club. SeaDream’s luxury mega-yachts SeaDream I and SeaDream II were designed for an ultra-luxury yachting experience and reflect a passion for style, quality, and casual perfection. “It’s yachting, not cruising. Enjoy the difference.”

Only 56 couples are pampered by an award-winning crew of 95. The voyage fare includes ocean view accommodations, gourmet meals, gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner, and so much more. The 5-star cuisine onboard SeaDream I and SeaDream II is a gastronomical treat.

Examples of amazing voyages, exceptional savings include Athens (Piraeus) to Dubrovnik, Aug 6-13, 2016 (7 days), was US$4,499, on sale from US$3,999 per person. Ports: Piraeus (Athens), Hydra, Corinth Canal (transit), Itea (Delphi), Fiskardo, Parga, Kotor (overnight), Dubrovnik (overnight).

St. Thomas to San Juan, Nov 26 to Dec 3, 2016 (7 days), was US$2,799, on sale from US$2,549 per person. Ports: Charlotte Amalie, St. John, Anguilla, St. Barts (overnight), Tortola, Norman Island, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke, San Juan.

Barbados Round-Trip, Nov 22-26, 2016 (4 days), from just US$1,599 per person. Ports: Bridgetown, Port Elizabeth (Bequia), Tobago Cays, Union Island, Mayreau, Bridgetown.

The Holiday Savings offer is valid for new bookings made prior to Jan 15, 2016, on applicable voyages. The savings is either US$250 or US$500 per person for double occupancy staterooms, depending on the voyage.


Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in personalized cruises and tours. She designs trips that are tailored to suit a client’s interests, abilities and budgets. 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: AMResorts, Moon Palace Spa & Golf Club, Travel Industry Wire, Travel Pulse, International Expeditions, Travel Weekly, SeaDream Yacht Club


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