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Travel News


By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Two New Highways in Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa

The Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa area of Guerrero, Mexico recently opened two new stretches of highway linking resort towns along the Pacific Coast and also the regional airport.

The new US$6.2 million Cerro del Vigia-Riscalillo-Playa Larga scenic highway connects the two resort towns of Playa Larga and Playa La Ropa within Zihuatanejo. The second project, a US$1.5 million undertaking, runs from Playa Blanca to the airport.

Both projects are aimed at improving the image of one of the most important regions on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa.

International News

Samba and Soul

Experience the cultural attractions and lively nightlife of Rio, followed by the vibrant and culturally diverse Salvador.

With Brazil’s new electronic visa program, it’s cheaper and easier to travel to Brazil. Travelers can simply apply online and receive approval in approximately 72 hours. And with visa prices dropping from US$160 to just US$40, there can’t be a better time to visit this alluring destination.

Travel in Style: 7 days from US$1,229 double occupancy and $2,259 single occupancy. Travel in luxury from US$1,749 double occupancy to Rio de Janeiro and Salvador, Brazil. Daily arrivals for independent travelers.

Cruise News

World’s Largest Cruise Ship

It’s official: there’s a new world’s largest cruise ship.

Royal Caribbean International recently took delivery of the much-awaited, 228,081-ton Symphony of the Seas from the French shipyard that has been constructing the vessel for more than three years.

Eighteen decks high and 1,188 feet long, Symphony is a slightly larger version of the current size leaders in the cruise world, Royal Caribbean’s 22-month-old Harmony of the Seas, and two other Royal Caribbean ships that make up the line’s groundbreaking Oasis Class of vessels.

Designed for vacationers who love big, bustling megaresorts, Symphony boasts dozens of lounges, bars, and restaurants, as well as an array of deck-top amusements. It will hold up to 6,680 passengers.

Symphony offers several new features, including a first-of-its-kind, two-deck-high family suite with a slide between floors. It also has a revamped Boardwalk amusement area, a new laser tag attraction, and a new-for-Royal Caribbean seafood restaurant.

Symphony made its first voyage with passengers on March 31. The ship will spend its first few months sailing in the Mediterranean out of Barcelona before moving to Miami to operate cruises to the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class vessels have made waves in the cruise industry since they began debuting in 2009. All three of the Oasis Class ships currently at sea are more than 30 percent larger than the next largest cruise ships.

With the arrival of Symphony, Royal Caribbean has 25 vessels.


Epic Sailing Ship Voyage in Med

Call it the ultimate Mediterranean cruise for sailing-ship lovers. Small-ship line Windstar Cruises has announced plans for an epic, 51-day sailing-ship voyage across the Mediterranean that will include visits to dozens of the region’s most famous ports.

The Grand Mediterranean voyage, as it’s being called, will take place in 2019 on Windstar’s 310-passenger Wind Surf and boasts stops in 10 countries.

Kicking off July 7, 2019, in Lisbon, Portugal, the trip will begin with a sail down the Atlantic coast of Spain and around Gibraltar into the Western Mediterranean for a series of stops in Spain, Italy, and Malta. From there, the vessel will head east to Greece and Turkey for several weeks of port calls.

From Greece and Turkey, the ship will double back to Croatia, Montenegro, and Italy before visiting Monaco and the southern coast of France. The trip ends August 27, 2019, in Barcelona.

Air News

Turkish Airlines Expands Stopovers

Turkish Airlines has expanded its stopover service for travelers flying from US gateways.

Passengers can enjoy Turkish Airlines fantastic service to destinations around the world, including Africa, Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Southern Europe, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Russia, Iran and Kazakhstan. They can combine any of those places with a quick trip to Istanbul as well.

Passengers connecting through Istanbul from the US with a layover of more than 20 hours can even receive a free hotel stay. Economy-class passengers will receive a one-night stay at a four-star hotel, and those flying in business class receive up to two nights in a five-star property in Taksim. Passengers completing the booking process will receive vouchers for the accommodation.

Business-class passengers can also take advantage of the Istanbul Bosphorus Experience, which includes a tour of the Bosphorus on a luxury motorboat as well as sightseeing at historical landmarks such as the Maiden’s Tower, Topkapi Palace, Galata Tower, and Dolmabahce Palace, all offered at a special price.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“It is the same with people as it is with riding a bike. Only when moving can one comfortably maintain one’s balance.” — Albert Einstein

Deal of the Week

Rarotonga Getaway

7 days/5 nights from US$1,699 per person, including international airfare from Los Angeles.

Rarotonga is the vibrant center of the Cook Islands. Its circular shape is dominated by high mountain peaks, from which lush rain forests cascade to a palm-fringed shore. The island is almost completely encircled by a reef, which harbors a lagoon of clear turquoise water and many inviting white sand beaches. Beyond the reef, the indigo blue of the ocean provides a vivid contrast and a bountiful supply of fish. The tour package includes:

  • Round-trip airfare on Air New Zealand from Los Angeles to Rarotonga
  • Five nights’ accommodation Rarotonga, choice of hotel
  • Round-trip airport/hotel transfers
  • Lagoon Cruise including lunch
  • Early check-in
  • Tropical breakfast daily
  • US/foreign taxes and fees including 9/11 Security Fee.

Based on departures April 1–September 30, 2018, from US$1,699 to $2,359 per person, double occupancy, depending on hotel choice. Book by May 15, 2018.

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 your interests, abilities, and budget. Please contact Judy for further information on Travel News topics and around-the-world travel; cell phone 415 111 8765; Vonage 949 300 3682; email Her office is in Rancho Los Labradores, Carr a Dolores Hidalgo. View the latest travel specials on the website


Sources: Travel Pulse, Central Holidays, Royal Caribbean International, USA Today, Down Under Answers


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