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WINDSTAR BUYS THREE SEABOURN SMALL SHIP ‘SISTERS”

WINDSTAR BUYS THREE SEABOURN SMALL SHIP ‘SISTERS”

Windstar Cruises, a line that operates three unique small cruise ships with computerized sails, has suddenly become the largest of the small ship (under 300 guests) operators with the announcement that it has purchased the three smaller and older Seabourn ships, the Pride, the Legend, and the Spirit. The delivery of the 208 passenger ships will occur over the course of the next 24 months with renovations and “re-branding” preceding deployment of the Pride in April of 2014 and the Spirit and Legend in 2015. Continue Reading »

THE FOREPLAY IS OVER; AMERICAN AIRLINES AND US AIRWAYS TIE THE FINANCIAL KNOT

THE FOREPLAY IS OVER; AMERICAN AIRLINES AND US AIRWAYS TIE THE FINANCIAL KNOT

American Airlines and US Airways have consummated their stormy merger prenuptials, and we are expecting Justice Department approval of a deal worth an estimated $11 billion to be finalized this Fall. The new carrier will be known as American Airlines with headquarters remaining in Ft. Worth.

After all is said and done, the stockholders in US Airways will end up owning just under 30% of the new airline. Continue Reading »

THE TRAVEL GLITCH OF THE YEAR

THE TRAVEL GLITCH OF THE YEAR

BOEING’S NEW 787 DREAMLINER TAKEN OFF THE TARMAC

The mostly eagerly anticipated aircraft of the decade has been taken out of service worldwide because of fire-inducing issues with the new lithium ion batteries unique to the 787. ANA and Japan Airlines have already taken delivery of 28 of the planes. Air India has has 6. Lot-Polish, the only European carrier to have taken delivery, has two. Continue Reading »

ARE WE GOING THERE OR ARE THEY COMING HERE?

ARE WE GOING THERE OR ARE THEY COMING HERE?

THE REALLY BIG PICTURE

Sometimes, we in travel need to step back a few paces, to see the big picture in terms of future travel destinations. NASA’s latest data collected from the amazing Kepler long-range telescope, now indicates that there may be as many as 17 billion planets the size of Earth in the galaxy, including the 461 new ones Kepler just unearthed. Continue Reading »

DISNEY’S MAGIC WRIST BRACELET

DISNEY’S MAGIC WRIST BRACELET

The Disney folks are launching a new series of technology improvements to enhance guest experiences. The initiative is known as MyMagic+. The program, which will first be introduced at Walt Disney World in Orlando will include a new website and dedicated apps. But the innovative part of this is the radio-frequency technology that comes embedded in a MagicBand bracelet. Continue Reading »

THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE LUNCH

THE WORLD’S MOST EXPENSIVE LUNCH

The most expensive lunch ever recorded will be consumed by an anonymous bidder who paid $3.46 million to break bread with legendary investor Warren Buffett. The money will be donated to Glide Community Church and its outreach center in San Francisco.

Do not scoff at the cost of this meal. Last year, Ted Weschler paid $2.6 million for the privilege of dining with Buffett and he would surely say that it was worth every penny. Continue Reading »

THE BEST AT THE AIRPORT “AM I EVER GONNA TAKE OFF APP”

THE BEST AT THE AIRPORT “AM I EVER GONNA TAKE OFF APP”

If you want to know more about pending airport delays then the airline’s reservations people are telling you – well, now there’s an app for that. FAAwait, which can be downloaded for Android and iPhones, gives you access to the current FAA status reports on airports throughout the country including current delay times.  This App even gives you the actual reason your flight is being delayed so you will likely know more than anyone else in line and it is highly likely you will know more than the airline’s own counter staff. Continue Reading »

THE WORLD’S WORST HOTEL WON’T TAKE RESERVATIONS ANYTIME SOON

THE WORLD’S WORST HOTEL WON’T TAKE RESERVATIONS ANYTIME SOON

Lots of hotel properties unknowingly compete for the “World’s Worst Hotel” title among travel mavens, but there seems to be real consensus that North Korea’s Ryugyong Hotel is the clear winner. This is somewhat amazing given that the 105 story property was never completed despite being started in 1987.

It is not as if funding became a problem. Continue Reading »

The Three Biggest Cruise Myths and Legends

The Three Biggest Cruise Myths and Legends

WHY IT “AIN’T NECESSARILY SO”

Now that almost 10% of the adult population has taken a cruise, more and more “experts” seem to be popping up in online in chat rooms,  in your local community, and on the telephone as part-time practitioners of the travel craft attempt to show off their knowledge of cruising. Some of these cruise urban legends get spread at cocktail parties where the “recently returned” are quizzed about their experiences. Continue Reading »

WHAT IS HAPPENING AT AMERICAN AIRLINES?

WHAT IS HAPPENING AT AMERICAN AIRLINES?

American Airlines passengers can tell you that the airline is flying through some unusually strong turbulence. On September 4th, a federal judge ruled that American’s management could, under the rules of Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings, tear up the contract the airline had signed with its pilots. They were also allowed to make some serious benefits and wage cuts. Continue Reading »

COSTA CONCORDIA WINS AWARD

COSTA CONCORDIA WINS AWARD

The oldest continuously publishing Maritime Journal, Lloyd’s List, has given its annual “Seafarer of the Year” Award to the crew of the Costa Concordia which partially sank off the coast of the small island of Giglio on January 13th this year.

In an unusual move, the award was given to the Concordia’s entire crew in recognition of their “true examples of courage and professionalism” as exhibited in a highly dangerous night evacuation of the 4,229 onboard passengers

Lloyd’s commented that “what was largely missed in the media storm that ensued were the genuine examples of bravery and professionalism displayed by members of the crew.”

Given that at least 32 guests died in this tragedy, it was not surprising that the ship’s, at times pathetic, captain, Francesco Schettino, was brought up on a range of serious charges including manslaughter. Continue Reading »

THE BEST FAST FOOD HAMBURGER WINNER

THE BEST FAST FOOD HAMBURGER WINNER

The Battle of the Burger giants has just ended and the overall winner, based on nationwide polling by the Market Force Information Group, is Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Fuddruckerse came in second, followed  by, surprisingly A&W, and Smashburger.

The results were based on food quality, service, taste, value, and cleanliness. Five Guys swept every category but value. Continue Reading »

A POSTCARD FROM RELIGIOUS RIO

A POSTCARD FROM RELIGIOUS RIO

Rio de Janeiro has a reputation for explosive nightlife and a hedonistic attitude toward life. But the real trend in Rio is a sharp decrease int he Catholic population and a major growth spurt in the number of evangelical Christians.

Catholics now make up just 65% of the population and evangelicals and Pentecostals are now almost a fourth of the population. Continue Reading »

ANNOUNCING OUR 2013 SIGNATURE CRUISE FROM ICELAND TO THE COASTAL VILLAGES OF NORWAY

ANNOUNCING OUR 2013 SIGNATURE CRUISE FROM ICELAND TO THE COASTAL VILLAGES OF NORWAY

SPECIAL PREVIEW ANNOUNCEMENT:

We are very pleased to announce our annual Signature trip, June 12-24, 2013 from Reykjavik to Copenhagen aboard the five-star rated, all-suite, all-inclusive, Regent Seven Seas Voyager. This cruise will be personally escorted by Angela and Richard Turen. There is no better way to cool off this summer than “Chilling with the Vikings” as we explore ports in Iceland, Norway, ending our cruise in Denmark. Continue Reading »

THE LATEST EUROPEAN RIVER BOAT RATINGS

THE LATEST EUROPEAN RIVER BOAT RATINGS

You’ve seen the ads, you’ve heard the buzz, and now neighbors are returning from Europe’s growing number of river boat cruise options. So does all of the hype match the quality of the experience?

At present, not one of the major river boat players delivers anything like a five-star cruise experience. One of the basic problems with river boats is that most of the boats are leased and come complete with crew. Continue Reading »

A POSTCARD FROM LONDON; INSIDER ADVICE

A POSTCARD FROM LONDON; INSIDER ADVICE

We are pleased to take you inside one of London’s top-rated small hotels. The Stafford Kempinski, and the Concierge Desk where you will find Frank Laino. Mr. Laino is one of the most respected Head Concierge’s in Europe. Here are his personal recommendations in London for the busy month of September:

Buckingham Palace State Rooms Summer Opening

The 19 state rooms will open to the public until 7 October. Continue Reading »

WHICH FISH ON TODAY’S MENU ARE REALLY SAFE TO EAT?

WHICH FISH ON TODAY’S MENU ARE REALLY SAFE TO EAT?

Fresh fish has been our culinary safe haven. It is what we eat when we are feeling guilty about the food we actually enjoy eating. After all, fish are not shot up with hormones and quack science. What could be better than fresh fish from the sea?

Unfortunately, the National Academy of Sciences doesn;t quite see it that way. Continue Reading »

THE CANADIANS WIN – AND WE DON’T MEAN THE OLYMPICS

THE CANADIANS WIN – AND WE DON’T MEAN THE OLYMPICS

It has finally happened. Those folks up north, the ones  up in the attic who make so little noise compared to our neighbors down in the basement, have finally, quietly, passed us by. The net worth of the average Canadian household was $363,202 in 2011 compared to $319,970 in the United States. This means that we don’t even have the highest standard of living any longer in North America, something we could always count on when “who’s richer” topics were under debate. Continue Reading »

INSTEAD OF SPAIN – CONSIDER MAINE

INSTEAD OF SPAIN – CONSIDER MAINE

There are always a million reasons to consider a trip to the coastal towns of Maine. There are numerous country inns filled with charm, small villages with nary a tourist, great Atlantic Ocean views, and easy connectivity to the glories of New England and the eastern Canadian Provinces.

But this year, the real reason to go, and to go now, is the food, or more precisely the lobsters. Continue Reading »

NEW CREDIT CARD USE FEES FOR TRAVEL SERVICES?

NEW CREDIT CARD USE FEES FOR TRAVEL SERVICES?

The good folks at Visa, Mastercard, and, of course, Amex may be able to enrich their coffers by penalizing their own cardholders for actually using the cards. This could have a major effect on the nation’s second largest industry, travel, since an estimated 92% of all transactions occur by credit card.

How did this likely scenario develop? Continue Reading »

THE GREEKS DON’T GET ENOUGH CREDIT

THE GREEKS DON’T GET ENOUGH CREDIT

It is time to stop beating up on the Greeks and the management of their faltering economy and unwillingness to maintain even minimal levels of competent property and tax records. It turns out that the Greeks do one thing extremely well. They make yogurt the old-fashioned way, more firm and filling than its skinnier American or French cousins.  Continue Reading »

HAWAII’S MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND SOLD

HAWAII’S MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND SOLD

The sixth largest island in Hawaii, Lanai, has been sold to the founder and CEO of tech giant Oracle, Larry Ellison. In a deal reputed to be worth $600 million, Ellison now owns 98% of the island just off the coast of Maui. Lanai was once a thriving pineapple plantation owned by Dole and then Castle & Cook. Continue Reading »

A POSTCARD FROM OVERWORKED SWEDEN

A POSTCARD FROM OVERWORKED SWEDEN

It isn’t easy being Swedish. A report has just come out showing that the average full-time worker is now toiling 26.2 hours a week, a historic high. Some labor unions are calling for changes to these long hours with claims that working that many hours “may affect people’s health. It is, however, interesting to note that Swedish workers, particularly those employed in factory work, are generally thought to be above average when it comes to issues of worker productivity. Continue Reading »

BEST CRUISE AIR CONNECTION STRATEGIES

BEST CRUISE AIR CONNECTION STRATEGIES

Currently, we get more questions about airline strategies than any other single subject. A growing number of your questions have to do with the best ways to make airline arrangements in conjunction with European-based cruises. Here then, is our list of Our Top Ten Air Strategies for “Comfortable Cruise Connections>”

01 – If possible, connect in Munich, Zurich, or Amsterdam. Continue Reading »

WHY MUCH OF AFRICA IS ENTRALLED WITH T.B. JOSHUA

WHY MUCH OF AFRICA IS ENTRALLED WITH T.B. JOSHUA

How could it be that one of the best known personalities on the African Continent is virtually unknown in the United States? Meet T.B. Joshua who holds tens of millions of his followers and believers in his pocket. Joshua is a Nigerian televangelist who is highly respected by many of Africa’s leaders and worshipped by the common people across Africa. Continue Reading »

THE ALTERNATIVE TO BORING, BIG BUS  CRUISE SHORE EXCURSIONS IN EUROPE?

THE ALTERNATIVE TO BORING, BIG BUS CRUISE SHORE EXCURSIONS IN EUROPE?

You should know about a new company called “A TASTE OF LIFE”. Just imagine – private shore excursions and pre and post cruise stays in leading cities in Europe that promise:

No museums, cathedrals, historic monuments or dry historical narration

If you have done the history tours and would like unique experiences focusing on the foods locals prepare in their homes, and an understanding of what it would mean to actually live in Europe, a new concept in cruise ship shoew excursions may be perfect for you. Continue Reading »

WHY THE EUROPEANS NEED TO HIDE THEIR CONTRACEPTIVES

WHY THE EUROPEANS NEED TO HIDE THEIR CONTRACEPTIVES

The economic future of Europe is tied to issues of current debt fueled by sharply declining birth rates. More people usually means more workers, more purchasers, and higher levels of GDP. But not one European country has current fertility rate that would enable it to maintain its current population into the foreseeable future.

The pending economic finish line for Greece has been well documented. Continue Reading »

ITALY COFFEE ETIQUETTE 101

ITALY COFFEE ETIQUETTE 101

Travelers to Italy this summer need to know the basic rules of coffee etiquette. It will really help you tear into the fabric of the country. Start with standing – you’ll pay significantly less than the tourists seated at the tables. Never order a latte – only young children actually drink milk in Italy. It is, however, permisso to order a cafe latte in the morning, The biggest breach of coffee etiquette concerns tourists who order a cappuccino in the afternoon or evening. Continue Reading »

AND THE EUROPEAN COUNTRY WITH THE FASTEST RISE IN PROSTITUTION IS

AND THE EUROPEAN COUNTRY WITH THE FASTEST RISE IN PROSTITUTION IS

Well, believe it or not, that country would be Switzerland. While the rest of the world has been busy fighting its wars, politicians from neutral Switzerland have been “improving” life for their citizens. This has translated to mean that certain cantons have made Prostitution legal. But that has caused traffic jams.

The Swiss blame the sudden and rapid growth in the night trade on the French who have been going after the profession with steely determination. Continue Reading »

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