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Travel News

By Judy Newell

México News

Bachelor in Paradise Resort in Sayulita

Playa Escondida Resort in Sayulita, México, is coming to TV screens during ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise series: the resort is providing lodgings for the cast-off bachelors and bachelorettes of The Bachelor who have returned to TV for one more shot at love. Cast members are staying in five of the resort’s bungalows a quarter-mile from the main hotel. The resort offers beach, canyon, and jungle views, all just 40 minutes away from Puerto Vallarta.


International News

Sitting on Rome’s Spanish Steps Will Cost You

Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn perched there without a care in the 1953 film Roman Holiday. But according to local government officials, the Spanish Steps in Rome are no longer a place for sitting.

The Spanish Steps have always provided a welcome—and iconic—resting point for visitors to Rome; but now, taking a moment to kick back on the steps is officially illegal.

Enforcing an ordinance that took effect last month, police officers patrol the famed stone staircase to tell locals and visitors, “Please, no sitting” on one of the Eternal City’s most recognizable landmarks.

The 137 steps were built in the 1720s. As of July 8, sitting, eating, and drinking on them can result in a fine of up to 400 euros (US$450.) The ordinance also applies to other photogenic sites in Rome such as the Trevi Fountain.

Rome’s efforts to curb the unwelcome behavior of tourists and to protect pieces of history mirror actions in Italian cities like Venice and Florence, where shirtless gondola rides and eating on church steps are banned.

Cruise News

NCL Named Leading Cruise Line in Caribbean & Europe

Earlier this year, the World Travel Awards recognized Norwegian Cruise Line as the “Caribbean’s Leading Cruise Line” for the seventh consecutive year, as well as “North America’s Leading Cruise Line” for the fourth year in a row.

With six cruise ships sailing in Europe—Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Spirit, the recently renovated Norwegian Getaway, and for the very first time, Norwegian Pearl—the cruise line offers itineraries from various ports throughout the continent to multiple destinations, including the Mediterranean; the Greek Isles; the French, Spanish, and Italian Rivieras; and the Baltic.

In the summer of 2020, Norwegian Escape, the first ship of the company’s most successful and innovative class, the Breakaway Plus class, will make her European debut with 9, 12 and 14-day cruises from Southampton, England; Civitavecchia, Italy; and Copenhagen, offering new and exciting guest experiences on both land and sea.


Venice Asks Other Cities to Join in Effort to Curb Cruise Ships

Venice officials have asked several of Europe’s other popular cruise destinations, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, and Marseille, to join them in working toward the enforcement of new rules that would require cruise lines to adapt their ships to reduce environmental impact as well as the potential for injury to people.

In early June, the MSC Opera suffered a mechanical issue before crashing into a Uniworld riverboat and a dock in Venice, injuring at least four people. In a related incident, video surfaced last month of the Costa Deliziosa narrowly missing a yacht and the dock while being towed by a tugboat during a storm.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site and bucket-list destination for many, Venice is slowly sinking. Officials blame cruise ships for contributing to the growing problem. The city has called on UNESCO to add Venice to the World Heritage Site blacklist of endangered destinations.


Air News

World’s Best Airline for 2019

Qatar Airways has been named the world’s best airline for 2019 at the annual World Airline Awards, the result of which were announced at the Paris Air Show. It’s the fifth time the Middle East carrier has taken the award. Qatar is the first airline to win the world’s best award five times since the rankings began in 1999.

The World Airlines Awards are based on customer surveys conducted by the research firm Skytrax. More than 20 million survey entries were recorded between September 2018 and May 2019 for this year’s awards, with voters coming from more than 100 different countries.

As usual, the top 10 was dominated by Asian and Middle Eastern airlines:

Qatar Airways

Singapore Airlines

ANA All Nippon Airways

Cathay Pacific



Hainan Airlines

Qantas Airways


Thai Airways


Words of the Wise and Well-traveled

Never be limited by other people’s limited imagination. —Mae Jemison

Deal of the Week

The Perfect Way to Say “Thank You for Being a Friend”

Take your pals on a five-night pleasure cruise that even Dorothy Zbornak can’t scowl at.

Golden Girls fans can embark on a special “Golden Girls at Sea” cruise in 2020, where they can indulge in their favorite classic 1980s TV show, which featured the sassiest ladies to ever grace the small screen.

The special cruise will take place on the luxurious Celebrity Infinity cruise ship. Much like other pop-culture cruises out there, including a Harry Potter river cruise and a Walking Dead-themed cruise, this trip is packed with activities that fans can get excited about.

These include “Dorothy’s Bingo Night,” costume contests, a “One Night in St Olaf” dance party, karaoke, trivia, bar crawls, and arts and crafts, as well as the usual cruise perks, such as fine dining, pools, Broadway-style theater, live comedy, circus performances, magic shows, and live music.

The cruise takes off from Miami on February 24, 2020, and makes stops in Key West and Cozumel. Booking prices begin around US$1,000 per person for a standard cabin to around US$1,200 for a deluxe cabin with a balcony. The fare includes an unlimited drinks package.

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: Fox Business, Travel Agent Central, Cruise Fever, Travel Pulse, Traveler, Travel+Leisure


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