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Travel News

Ponant 2020 cruise

By Judy Newell

México News

Puerto Vallarta: What’s New

This summer, Puerto Vallarta is opening a new cruise terminal that will provide an improved arrivals experience to nearly 80 percent of guests. The terminal will aim for a more locally inspired vibe, with hacienda-style architecture and shops selling local products.

Air travel to the destination should get easier with the opening of a new airport expansion that will more than double the facility’s arrivals capacity. Also planned: a smoother customs and immigration experience with a scanner that luggage can go through before travelers arrive at customs.

International News

Sri Lanka to Offer Free Visas on Arrival

If you’re planning to visit Sri Lanka this year, you’ll enjoy this next bit of good news: starting on May 1, 2019, citizens from more than 30 countries will receive a free visa on arrival, including US citizens.

That’s a US$20–40 savings to visit the island. Nearby India charges US$80–100 for a visa. This new move could persuade visitors to choose the island country over India.

Tourists from the US, UK, EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and South Korea are among the countries that qualify. The free visas will run for six months and could possibly become permanent if it boosts tourism to the island.

Costa Rica Luxury All-Inclusive Sale

Playa Conchal is truly one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful beaches. Combine that with the Westin’s world-class service, offering a kaleidoscope of dining options throughout its lush grounds and fabulous facilities. Howler monkey wake-up calls are included!

Duration: 5-days; Cost: US$1,099 per person. What’s included:

•4-nights accommodation at the Deluxe Westin Conchal Golf Resort & Spa

•All meals in any of the restaurants

•Alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages

•Snacks 24-hours a day

•Daily resort activities, nightly entertainment.

•Round trip transfers airport; LIR–hotel-airport –LIR.

•Hotel taxes

Cruise News

MSC 2-for-1 Positioning Cruise

Discover breathtaking landscapes, stunning cities, and vibrant people in far-off places. Explore the culture and cuisine of each destination. And relax like never before, taking advantage of endless entertainment possibilities on board.

Visit ports in Italy, Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean on this 20-night cruise aboard the MSC Divina, departing November 5, 2019. Embark in Genoa, Italy, and disembark in Miami. Cruise from US$1,099 per person.

Into the Heart of Portugal

The Douro River curves through the terraced vineyards of Douro wine country, a United Nations World Heritage Site celebrated for its spectacular beauty and centuries-old viticulture.

On Scenic’s 11-day National Geographic sailing, step back in time to explore medieval villages, examine world-renowned rock art, and cross into Spain to roam the Renaissance-era streets of Salamanca. Along the way, taste excellent wines in the cellars of Porto and historic countryside estates, and listen to the traditional rhythms of fado and flamenco music in spectacular settings.

The May 25, 2019, sailing will play host to a very special guest, Susan Goldberg, editor-in-chief of National Geographic magazine. Come aboard and mingle with her as she shares a behind-the-scenes look at the magazine.

When you book this special departure, you will also receive complimentary Premium Economy airfare from US gateways. If you prefer to book your own airfare, you will receive a US$1,500 credit per person. 11-days, Porto to Porto, from US$7,545 per person with free air.

Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

Adventure is worthwhile. —Aesop

Deal of the Week

A Musical Odyssey in Northern Europe

Celebrate Ludwig van Beethoven’s two hundred fiftieth birthday on a 10-day cruise from Stockholm to Honfleur on September 8-17, 2020, aboard Ponant Cruises’s Le Dumont d’Urville.

Created for like-minded travelers, Ponant invites you aboard its brand new, 5-star, intimate yacht to explore exquisite European destinations set to the soundtrack of chamber music.

This handcrafted voyage offers unique ports of call daily, with private recitals each evening by musicians hand-picked by Artistic Director Michael Parloff, former principal flautist of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

In 2020, the entire world will celebrate this anniversary of the most beloved and transformative composer of all time. You are invited to join Ponant’s musical odyssey as you explore the rich cultural heritage of northern Europe, accompanied by world-class chamber musicians performing an all-Beethoven repertoire.

In ports of call along the way, you will have access to some of the best museums in the world, while your days at sea will be filled with music ranging widely across the great composer’s body of work—a veritable feast of music and art.

After your first recital during a day at sea, you will arrive in Copenhagen, where the marvelous collection of modern art at Louisiana Museum awaits you. The second onboard concert occurs as you transit the Kiel Canal to arrive on the eastern shores of the North Sea.

You will spend the next five days exploring the great museums of Holland and Belgium—the stunning architecture and contemporary art of the Groninger Museum; the Dutch Masters of the Rijksmuseum; the incomparable Van Gogh Museum; Rubens’ masterpieces in the Antwerp Cathedral; and Michelangelo’s Madonna of Bruges.

These five days will include two more private concerts of Beethoven’s oeuvre, curated exclusively for your group—one of them to be performed at the historic seventeenth-century Westerkerk Church in Amsterdam.

On Ponant’s Quintessential Music Theme Voyage, the artists do not simply perform; they participate fully in life aboard ship. The intimacy of concerts aboard ship and ashore and the quality of the performing artists provide a truly unparalleled experience.

Fares from US$4,590 per person, subject to availability.

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 custom-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, Travel Pulse, Sunny Land Tours, MSC Cruise Lines, Scenic Luxury Cruises and Tours, Ponant Cruises


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