By Judy Newell
Mexico Travel News
AeroMéxico to Launch Austin Service
AeroMéxico will begin flights between Austin and Mexico City on November 17. It will be the lone nonstop service between the Mexican capital and the Texas state capital. The approximately two-hour flights will be offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Riviera Nayarit a GOLF Magazine Top Pick
GOLF Magazine, the top golf publication in the United States, announced the winners of its annual awards for the very best golf offerings in the world. The RivIera Nayarit’s Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita was one of the top picks.
The Four Seasons placed at number 12 out of 37 courses from around the world that were recognized as Gold Premier Resorts Gold and Silver Winners 2016–2017. The hotel, located in the Punta Mita development, is one of the newest resorts on that prestigious list.
The World’s First Hotel with Its Own Rainforest
Architects in Dubai are building the world’s first hotel with its own rainforest. Set to open in 2018, the Rosemont Hotel and Residences will boast more than 2 million square feet of hotel, residential, and leisure space; an artificial beach; and a glass-bottom pool suspended above the streets of Dubai.
The hotel, designed by ZAS Architects, will be in a 47-story tower neighboring a twin tower of the same height housing 280 residential properties. All entertainment facilities—including the 75,000-square-foot rainforest—will be located in the “podium” at the base of the two towers.
Build a Bear While You Cruise with Carnival
Kids can create their own custom teddy bears on Carnival Cruise Line ships under a new partnership with Build-A-Bear Workshop. The workshops have been on land since 1997, but this will be their first voyage at sea. Kids can choose a stuffed animal that can be personalized with accessories and outfits.
Carnival carries about 700,000 kids annually and already has a toy chest full of activities for them, including watersides, mini-golf, video arcades, and Seuss-at-Sea parades featuring Dr. Seuss characters.
New Five-Masted Square-Rigger to Be World’s Biggest Tall Ship
In late 2017, Star Clippers will launch the world’s biggest tall ship. The five-masted square-rigger Flying Clipper will be the cruise line’s fourth ship, and its debut will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launching of the Star Flyer.
Every evening at dusk before the Star Flyer tall ship sets sail for another island, her crew unfurls the sails on her four soaring masts. It’s a stunning display and, with the heroic strains of the Vangelis theme “Conquest of Paradise” filling the sea air, a rousing moment for passengers on the 25-year-old clipper ship.
Some of the passengers may have tried their skills earlier in the day at climbing the mast or just lazed under the sun in the large bowsprit net as the ship slices through the waves below. It’s a surprise in this age of mega-ships that these old-school cruise experiences can still be booked. It explains why the repeat passenger rate is above 60% for the three ships in the small Star Clippers line.
The ships are as faithful as possible to the historic clippers that were launched shortly before the 1849 Gold Rush, when speedy ships were sailing around Cape Horn between San Francisco and New York.
US Airlines Approved for Havana Service
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) recently proposed to select eight US airlines to begin scheduled flights between Atlanta, Charlotte, Fort Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York City, Orlando, and Tampa, and Havana as early as this fall.
The airlines receiving the tentative awards are Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines.
Under the arrangement for scheduled air service, each country may operate up to 20 daily round-trip flights between the US and Havana. The arrangement also provides each country with the opportunity to operate up to 10 daily round-trip flights between the US and each of Cuba’s nine international airports other than Havana, for a total of 90 daily round trips.
Words of the Wise and Well-traveled
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” —Tim Cahill
Deal of the Week
Perfection in Portugal
The winter is perfect for wandering around historic sites and relaxing in sunny squares in Portugal: 9-day package with deluxe accommodations, private tours, 1st class rail, wine tasting, lunch reservations, and more. Starting at US$3,800 per person, land only, with options to customize the tour itinerary.
Package pricing includes:
•3 nights at Pestana Vintage Porto hotel 4*, in a Deluxe river view room
•2 nights at Pousada Convento de Evora, in a Superior room
•3 nights at Pousada de Lisboa, in a Deluxe room
•Hotels include breakfast and VAT
•Private transfer from Porto airport to hotel
• Half-day Porto walking tour
• Full day Douro Valley tour, including driver guide, visit to Quinta de Marrocos, tasting of Douro wines and picnic lunch, and a shared Douro river cruise
•Train from Porto to Evora
•Full day city tour of Evora and wine tasting at Herdade da Cartuxa, lunch reservations at typical Alentejano restaurant Fialho
•Train from Evora to Lisbon
•Half day afternoon walking tour of Lisbon
•6-hour tour of Sintra and Estoril with driver guide. Lunch reservations at Fortaleza do Guincho
•Half day private boat tour of Lisbon, includes drinks and snacks
•Transfer from Lisbon hotel to Lisbon airport
Judy Newell, an international travel consultant for over 40 years, heads Perfect Journeys and specializes in unique travel experiences to destinations around the world. She designs journeys that are tailored to suit a client’s interests, abilities and budget. Please contact Judy for reservations or further information on any Travel News topics; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email email@example.com. Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Car. a Dolores Hidalgo; hours Mon–Fri, 11am–4pm. View the latest travel specials on the website www.perfectjourneys.net.
Sources: Aero México, Office of Visitors & Convention Bureau Riviera Nayarit, Business Insider, USA Today, Forbes, DOT, Eurobound