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Travel News

Norway cruise

By Judy Newell

Mexico Travel News

Three Airports Debut Digital Biometric Kiosks

The first digital biometric kiosks for automatic passenger registration were launched at three major Mexican airports, including Cancún International Airport, Mexico City International Airport, and Los Cabos International Airport.

In Mexico City’s aiport, 40 were installed, split between two terminals. In Cancún, another 40 were added to the terminal. In Los Cabos, 20 were added. The new electronic self-serve systems use biometrics rather than visas as documentation to enter and leave the country.

The head of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation said that these devices are a faster option for national and international tourists. Travelers who opt for the new self-serve kiosks can have their review complete within two-and-a-half minutes, according to officials.

The report stressed that for every million new passengers that arrive by plane, 4,000 jobs are generated. It specified that 120,000 passengers arrive daily at Mexico City International, and together with Los Cabos and Cancún, the airports receive almost 75 percent of the total tourism that comes into the country by air.


Cruise News

Crystal River Cruises Welcomes Fifth Ship

The fifth vessel for Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Ravel, was officially handed over to the company April 12 in Wismar, Germany. Its inaugural voyage will be May 10, sailing from Basel to Vienna.

Itineraries will be along the Rhine, Danube, Main, and Moselle rivers, visiting medieval towns and cosmopolitan hubs in Austria, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, and Slovakia.

Crystal Ravel joins Crystal River Cruises approximately one month after its sibling ship, Crystal Debussy, embarked on her maiden voyage on April 9 from Amsterdam.

Like its newly built sibling ships, the 106-guest Crystal Ravel offers Crystal’s butler service in every room category, king-sized beds, panoramic balcony windows, walk-in closets and dual vanities in the bathrooms in most categories, ETRO robes and slippers, and wall-mounted flat-screen HDTVs.

Farm-to-table cuisine will be served in its open-seating eateries: the Waterside Restaurant, Bistro cafés, the Vintage Room, and the Palm Court.

More than 200 inclusive shore excursions will be available on Crystal Ravel’s itineraries. Excursion group sizes are limited to no more than 15 guests. Each river itinerary also includes Signature Events, such as rare access and musical performances in iconic landmarks.

Air News

Passengers Could Sleep in Plane Cargo Holds

Ever wished you could get out of your uncomfortable economy class seat during a long-haul flight and have a lie down? Soon you might be able to.

Aircraft manufacturer Airbus is partnering with aviation equipment supplier Zodiac Aerospace to develop new passenger sleeping berths that would fit in the cargo compartment of planes. The beds would be housed in removable modules that could be interchanged with regular cargo containers.

Qantas revealed that the airline is looking at potentially installing train-style bunk beds in its cargo holds for new, ultra-long-haul flights. Airbus said that the option would be available for its A330 planes by 2020.

Qantas is aiming to launch nonstop flights between Australia’s east coast cities and London and New York. The airline last month launched the first-ever nonstop commercial flights between Europe and Australia, flying from Perth to London.

As with every airline decision, this plan will come down to the economics. Ultra-long-haul flights, taking 20 hours or more, will likely mean airlines are unable to carry as much weight in order to make the distance. This could result in planes not being able to carry as much cargo, which in turn could result in otherwise unused space in the cargo hold.

Rather than have this space go to waste, installing sleeping berths—which would weigh far less than cargo—could create an additional revenue stream. Passengers would pay an additional fee (likely to be at least several hundred dollars) for access to the sleeping compartment.

In the meantime, comfortable sleeping on planes will remain the privilege of those fortunate enough to be flying in business or first class.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

“The goal is to die with memories, not dreams”—Anonymous

Deal of the Week

A Coastal Adventure in Norway

Unbridled nature, in the form of an ever-changing panorama of sea, sky, and coast, is sure to capture your heart on this 11-night cruise along pristine Norwegian coastline.

Reserve your spot on this Norwegian cruise vessel as it sets sail from Bergen for fjordlands, the Arctic Circle, and beyond.


Adventure highlights:

  • Roundtrip airfare from US gateways
  • Voyage through the Norwegian fjords
  • Tour of Bergen and Bryggen Wharf, plus Troldhaugen—the home of Edvard Grieg
  • Picturesque cruising among the Vesteralen Islands
  • Walking tour of medieval Trondheim and Art Nouveau-style Ålesund
  • Exploration of Tromso, the Gateway to the Arctic
  • Excursion to the Russian border, then Andersgrotta or a snow hotel
  • Guided hikes led by the expedition team
  • A drive on the Atlantic Road, “the world’s most beautiful drive”


Reserve a departure between October 7, 2018, and March 25, 2019, for the Northern Lights Promise. If there is no Northern Lights occurrence recorded during your cruise, you will receive US$500 cash back per person. These dates offer your greatest chance of witnessing nature’s magnificent light show, the Aurora Borealis.


Special offers in 2018 with limited cabin availability:

October 11 and October 22—from US$3,399

November 2, 8, and 30—from US$3,299

December 5—from US$3,299


Free single supplements on Category IS (Inside Cabin) subject to availability


Moderate-deluxe travel style


Extend your adventure with a five-day trip to St Petersburg, Russia, from US$799 with airfare.

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 Agent Central, Traveler, Vantage Adventures


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