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Travel News


Travel News

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Holland America Increases Mexico Sailings

Holland America Line has announced that it is upping its Mexico capacity by repositioning the larger, Vista-class Westerdam from October 2016 through February 2017. The ship will sail 13 seven-day cruises roundtrip from San Diego, CA, including two special holiday departures in December.

To kick off the season, the ship will depart from Vancouver, BC, October 18, 2016, on an 11-day itinerary. The ship visits Santa Barbara, CA, before calling at San Diego the first time, then continues on to make calls at the Mexican ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta before returning to San Diego. Guests who want to take a seven-day portion can embark October 22 in San Diego following the call at Santa Barbara.

For the remainder of the season, Westerdam will sail seven-day Mexican Riviera cruises roundtrip from San Diego through February 7, 2017. The itinerary calls at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlán, and Puerto Vallarta, and offers three days at sea.

Throughout the voyage, “On Location” programming brings Mexico’s local traditions, culinary tastes, and cultural experiences to life on board. A mariachi band will perform throughout the voyage, while a barbecue on Lido Deck features authentic Mexican dishes.

Guests who want to learn more about the country can attend a destination presentation or head to the Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food and Wine magazine, for a cooking demonstration, cooking class, or themed mixology class featuring local fare. The main dining room and Lido Market also will showcase the flavors of Mexico.

Los Cabos “Open of Surf” Set for June

While it’s always surf season in Los Cabos, June is an especially “swell” time to catch professional surfing action in the Baja destination. From June 7–12, wave riders from across the globe will gather at Zippers Beach for the fourth annual Los Cabos Open of Surf. The largest surf festival in Mexico and Latin America, the event also elevates the surf culture vibe with music and a Friday night concert.

The Los Cabos event is sanctioned by the World Surfing League (WSL) with sponsorship by the Los Cabos Tourism Board (LCTB) and is part of the WSL Samsung Galaxy World Championship Tour. For updates on the Los Cabos Open of Surf’s 2016 competitors, musical line-up, and schedule, visit

Querétaro Gets AC by Marriott Hotel

FibraHotel, the first real estate investment trust specialized in urban business-class hotels in Mexico, announced the opening of the AC by Marriott Queretaro hotel with 175 full-service rooms operated by Marriott International.

The hotel is located at avenida Antea inside a mixed-use complex in Juriquilla, the highest growth area in Querétaro. The city is one of the most dynamic in Mexico with important investments in the aerospace, automotive, and manufacturing industries.

International News

China’s National Museum Named Among Top Three Worldwide

Although many travelers typically think of American and European museums among the world’s best, China’s National Museum was recently named among the top three worldwide by German newspaper Die Welt, which showcased the “Top 20 Most Popular Museums Around the World.” The Louvre in France claimed the top spot, followed by the National Museum of China, and then the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

There were two other museums included in the top 20 list: the National Palace Museum in Taipei (10th) and the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum (13th).

Cruise News

Cuba Cruises Launch in May

Carnival Corporation has become the first US cruise company in more than 50 years to be granted approval from Cuba to sail from the US to Cuba.

Fathom, Carnival Corporation’s latest cruise brand, is officially beginning cruises to Cuba on May 1, 2016, after receiving final Cuba government approval. The cruise line had previously set out to embark on voluntourism sailings to the Dominican Republic beginning in April 2016, and now the line is set to make both destinations part of its official program.

P&O Cruises’ Adonia, which carries 710 guests, is being reassigned for Fathom’s voyages and is receiving a minor overhaul. The cruises are designed for travelers who want to work alongside local communities in areas such as education, the environment, and economic development. The ship will be sailing each week from Miami to either the Dominican Republic or Cuba, and guests will be working on programs that make a positive social impact on the communities they visit.

Fathom’s ports-of-call in Cuba are set to include Havana, Cienfuegos, and Santiago de Cuba during the seven-day cruises roundtrip from Miami, FL. Cultural exchanges will include interactions with local artists, musicians, health workers, and entrepreneurs, and onboard education will continue with everything from regional dining and entertainment to language lessons and shopping opportunities.

Fathom’s Cuban cruises will start at US$1,800 per person, and the Dominican Republic ones will begin at US$974 per person. There will be a chance to book back-to-back cruises to experience both destinations in a row.

Words of the Wise and Well-Traveled

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”—David Mitchell

Deal of the Week

US$300 Discount on Croatian Tour

The splendors and charms of Croatia await as you explore the glorious cities of Zagreb, Plitvice, Hvar, Split, Dubrovnik, and beyond on this nine-day Croatian Discovery Escorted Tour travel package. Possibly the best-kept secret in the Adriatic, Croatia is a captivating European country boasting a year-round mild Mediterranean climate, rich cultural heritage, and stylishly cosmopolitan appeal.

This special discount is available only through Perfect Journeys and applies to US residents only. Book by April 30, 2016, for a $300 discount. Group dates in April, May, June, and September. Nine days from US$2,115 per person.

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 Her office hours are Mon–Fri, 11am–4pm; Office 1A, Rancho Los Labradores, Car. D. Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website, where you can book your hotels, tours, and cruises online.

Sources: Holland America Line, Los Cabos Tourism Board, Marriott International, China National Tourist Office, Fathom, Central Holidays


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