News Briefs

Holland America Skips Acapulco Calls


Holland America Line ships will no longer stop in Acapulco, Mexico during scheduled Panama Canal and South American sailings because of security concerns.

The cruise line was scheduled to make eight calls to Acapulco through 2018, but will instead stop at other Mexican ports.

The U.S. State Department included Acapulco in a travel warning from December, writing that Guerrero, the state that includes Acapulco, “was the most violent state in Mexico in 2015 for the third year in a row.”

Global Affairs Canada advised its citizens against non-essential travel to Guerrero earlier this month, as well, “due to the high levels of violence and organized crime.”

Midnight Madness At RyanAir: Book $7 flights NOW


Ditch that latte and convince your clients to hop on a one-way flight with Ryan Air at rock-bottom rates to just about anywhere on the continent. But do it within 24 hours.

Here’s your selling line: These April sale seats are only available for booking until midnight tonight, so log on to the Ryanair.com website and book today – they’d be April Fools to miss out.

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, today (March 23) launched a massive April seat sale, with 60,000 seats on over 250 routes on sale starting at just €9.99 or $10.77.

Among the sample one-way fares from London Stansted: $6.23 to Bordeaux, France; $6.24 to Gdansk, Poland; from Madrid, here are a few options: $10.28 to Palermo, Sicily, Italy; $18.33 to Luxemourg;

These fares are available now but must be booked before midnight tonight on the Ryanair.com website.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said: “Spring is in the air – and you could be too, jetting off on a low fare sun or city break with Ryanair. We’ve put 60,000 seats on sale from just €9.99 for travel on over 250 routes in April. And there are still a limited number of €5 or $5.39 seats left over from our last sale.

Virgin Cuts Steel For First Cruise Ship


At a ceremony in Genoa, Italy, Virgin Voyages took another step toward its entry in the industry when it cut steel for its first cruise ship.

Fincantieri shipyard director Paolo Capobianco and Virgin Voyages president and CEO Tom McAlpin were both on hand for the ceremony, which included an appearance from Virgin CEO Richard Branson on a prerecorded video.

McAlpin called the occasion not just a step toward a cruise ship, but one aimed at “building a whole new brand.”

The 110,000 ton ship is scheduled for delivery in 2020. It will sail seven-night Caribbean itineraries out of Miami. Two more ships are in the works from Virgin and are expected to hit the waters in 2021 and 2022.

Hi-End Swissworks Completed At Two Luxury Properties, And SWISS Partners With Grand Du Lac


The Hotel Valrose in Rougemont, which had been closed since 2007, reopened in mid-December after a 20-month renovation that cost more than 10 million Swiss Francs ($9.9 million). It’s a breathtaking modern interpretation of Alpine design, with wooden walls, leather chairs, and sensual fabrics. The property, which is a few minutes from the slopes, was built in 1904, when the Montreux-Oberland Bernois (MOB) railway arrived in the Pays-d’Enhaut. Jean-Jacques Gauer, a former director of the Lausanne Palace, and Edgar Bovier, executive chef at the Palace, are behind the project. This boutique property features just 12 guestrooms, a restaurant, coffee shop and a garden patio. The hotel is managed by Florian Carrard, a former chef at the Lausanne Palace, who offers local cuisine based on regional products. 

Suites at the legendary Fairmont Le Montreux Palace have undergone a complete renovation, thanks to London-based Aedas, one of the world's leading global architecture and design practices. The suites have been carefully updated in a contemporary style that looks clean and modern yet respects the hotel’s Belle-Époque heritage. 

The city of Montreux is the site of the international Montreux Jazz Festival that will be celebrating its 51st anniversary this year. From June 30-July 15, more than 250,000 visitors are expected to arrive at one of the best-known and respected Jazz festivals in Europe. Montreux has seen historic performances by artists including Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Marvin Gaye, Prince, Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, and Stevie Wonder. The three ticketed venues (Auditorium Stravinski, Montreux Jazz Club, Montreux Jazz Lab) showcase the Festival’s prestigious lineup of artists. 

“We Know Berlin” Even Better With Commissionable Berlin-WelcomeCard


Agents can tie the proverbial bow around all-inclusive packages to Berlin with the addition of the new Berlin WelcomeCard that covers admission to 30 attractions across the city as well as public transportation, and is commissionable.

Among the highlights is access to selected national museums such as the Pergamon Museum and the Bode Museum, and private museums such as C/O Berlin, the Jewish Museum, and the DDR Museum. A hop-on, hop-off bus tour and a boat cruise are also included as is admission to Berlin's TV Tower and Madame Tussaud's. The city guide that comes with the pass provides insider tips and the city map points the way to all of the participating sites.

Last year, the visitor count to Berlin exceeded five million for the first time. "Berlin has asserted itself in a difficult international environment as one of the top three European destinations”, says Burkhard Kieker, CEO of visitBerlin. Since the three most cited reasons given for a trip to Berlin are the sights, the art and culture scene as well as the cityscape and architecture, the improved Berlin WelcomeCard has arrived just in time.

Particularly large numbers of visitors came from Great Britain, USA and Spain. Israel also features among the top 10 countries with the most overnight stays for the first time. German guests, with 54.4 percent, still account for the largest proportion of overnight stays.

The Berlin WelcomeCard all-inclusive is available from €79 or $84 for adults and €49 or $52 for children ages 3 to 14 and is available for three durations: 48 hours, 72 hours, and four calendar days. The Berlin WelcomeCard all inclusive includes public transport in the city of Berlin and the surrounding region.

Adding to Berlin’s elan, the Germany Michelin Guide for 2017 awarded two stars to Marco Müller’s Weinbar Rutz, a 15-year-old landmark and the first star for the minimalist fine dining sanctuary einsunternull (along with Opus V in Mannheim and Geisels Werneckhof in Munich which claimed its second Michelin star) altogether raising Germany’s Michelin-starred restaurants to a total of 292 second only to France. Last years’s Michelin guide awarded stars to several Berlin restaurants that have been around for years and years such as Bandol Sur Mer and Richard.

It will be sold at Berlin Tourist Information centers, at berlin-welcomecard.com, at turbopass.com, and by travel agents and tour operators. The Berlin WelcomeCard all inclusive is being offered in partnership with Turbopass. 

"We know Berlin“ This is the marketing line Berlin Tourismus & Kongress GmbH, operates under the trademark visitBerlin, has been using since 1993 to advertise Berlin globally as a travel destination.