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Travel News

Travel News

By Judy Newell

Make the Most of Your Time Together

The holidays are the time of year when we gather with family and close friends and share great company, lively conversation, and delicious food. And with everyone together around the table, it’s the perfect time to start planning your next vacation. So, in-between bites, talk about your 2016 travel plans. Will it be wild Yellowstone or a safari to Botswana? The old-world charm of a river cruise in Europe? Maybe the raw beauty of the Galapagos Islands or Peru’s Inca Trail? Let us help you plan a perfect journey you’ll always remember.

Mexico Travel News

Palace Resorts’ First Hotel Outside of Mexico

Palace Resorts recently celebrated the grand opening of Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, the brand’s first property outside of Mexico. It features an array of luxurious amenities, including Jamaica’s largest spa and elegant décor reflective of its Jamaican setting. The resort is strategically situated on the northern coast of Jamaica, accessible from the Montego Bay Airport.

Following a multimillion-dollar transformation of what was formerly the iconic Sunset Jamaica Grande, the Moon Palace Jamaica Grande boasts more than 700 guest rooms and suites with oceanfront views of the Caribbean Sea. The hotel features 17 acres of ivory sand on the longest stretch of private beach in Ocho Rios.

International News

Lodgings at Highclere Castle

The moment fans have all been waiting for—Highclere Castle, the glorious setting for the PBS hit series Downton Abbey—is opening reservations for the spring 2016 season in its on-estate hotel called London Lodge. They’re bound to sell out fast.

Highclere Castle is located in Newbury, West Berkshire, less than an hour west of London. Owned by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, the estate’s London Lodge was built in 1793 by the first Earl of Carnarvon. The Lodge required extensive restoration to modernize it for contemporary guests.

Non-Religious Organization Wants Bibles Removed from Hotels  Gideons International has spent the last 107 years working on The Bible Project, ensuring that a bound copy of that book is beside every possible hotel bed. The association has distributed more than two billion bibles printed in 90 different languages in more than 190 countries. And one group isn’t happy about that.


The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a Wisconsin-based non-profit nontheist organization, has sent letters to 15 hotel companies—including most of the major chains—asking them to remove the bibles from their hotel rooms in an effort to make the properties “more hospitable” to non-Christian or non-religious guests. According to the group, the hotels it has contacted have more than 33,000 properties in the United States. The FFRF has succeeded with only a handful of hotels so far.

In August 2014, the English hotel group Travelodge Hotels Limited decided to remove bibles from its hotel rooms so it would not discriminate against any guest of any other faith. The group, which operates almost 500 hotels in the United Kingdom and Ireland, is so far the largest national chain to remove the books from its rooms (although it makes them available at the front desk for those who want them). In the United States, Kimpton Hotels opts not to place bibles in its 65 boutique hotels.

BritRail Low Season Pass

20 percent off the BritRail Pass when you book the BritRail Low Season Promo by February 15, 2016.

Cruise News

Herbie Hancock to play QM2 crossing

Jazz legend Herbie Hancock is the latest artist to be announced in Cunard Line’s jazz-at-sea-themed transatlantic crossings on the Queen Mary 2. Hancock will perform three shows on the August 1 voyage from Southampton, England, to New York. A pianist, Hancock played early in his career with Miles Davis and wrote modern jazz standards such as “Maiden Voyage” and “Watermelon Man.”

Jazz singer Gregory Porter is scheduled to play on a crossing departing October 25 from New York as part of Cunard’s partnership with Blue Note Records and Blue Note Jazz Clubs.

Air News

DOT Issues Warning to Airlines about Damaged Bags

The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) officially issued a notice to airlines reminding them that their companies are liable for damage to passengers’ bags if it was caused during the transportation of the luggage.

The statement adds that even if the airline does not believe it is liable for the damage in question, the companies must accept all reports of mishandled baggage from customers. The notice was issued following the Department’s routine airport inspection that uncovered airlines denying liability for damage to specific parts of checked baggage.

As for what kind of damage airlines are liable for, DOT stated that companies are expected to compensate passengers if wheels, straps, zippers, handles, and other parts of luggage are damaged beyond what is considered to be normal wear and tear.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” Seneca

Deal of the Week

Fly Free to the Mystical Irrawaddy

A 14-day Burma tour from Yangon to Mandalay aboard the Scenic Aura. With only 44 guests, you’ll relish the high level of service and luxury on board. Absolutely everything is included in the price of your river cruise, even the luxuries you’d expect to pay extra for and port taxes of up to US$500 per person. From US$7,195 per person, plus fly free.

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 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: Travel Agent Central, Luxury Travel Advisor, USA Today, Cunard Line, Travel Pulse, Scenic Cruises


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