Travel insights...

Monthly archives for November, 2015

See New York and Save 15%

Take your next trip outside the big city limits and see more of what New York has to offer. Book today using the “Book It Now” button to see New York and save 15% off.
A world of fantastic art, culture and cuisine awaits you in the city that never sleeps. And once you get outside New York City, the state has a wealth of natural wonders for you to see. Take in the natural beauty of:
Niagara Falls
Lake Placid
The Adirondacks
And more
With multiple routes spanning the state, you’ll be able to see more of what New York can offer with the comfort, convenience and savings of Amtrak.
After you book and save 15% on your next trip, visit NewYorkByRail.com for additional destination information, or visit ILOVENY.com for ideas on what to do once you arrive. Find events happening in each destination from New York City to Long Island, Saratoga Springs, Niagara Falls and more. Plan your New York getaway today.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Times Square and take the train home with the additional 1:10 am departure on the Empire Service.

Exclusively available at Amtrak.com and via ILOVENY.com.
Valid for 15% off the regular (full) adult rail fare.
Valid for sale through May 26, 2016.
Valid for travel May 31, 2015 – May 31, 2016.
Blackout dates: – July 2, 3 and 5, 2015 – September 4 and 7, 2015 – October 12, 2015 – November 24 – 25 and 28 – 29, 2015 – December 19 – 23 and 26 – 30, 2015 – January 2 – 3, 2016 – February 12 and 15, 2016 – March 24, 25 and 28, 2016 – May 27 and 30, 2016
Advance reservations are required a minimum of five (5) days prior to travel.
Valid for travel on the following services: Adirondack, Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express and Maple Leaf.
Valid for travel to/from all cities within the state of New York, also includes travel from New York State to Montreal and St. Lambert, Quebec.
Travel is prohibited between Montreal and St. Lambert, Quebec.
Valid for Coach seats only, no upgrades permitted.
Seating is limited; seats may not be available on all trains at all times.
Up to two (2) children ages 2 – 12 may accompany each adult at half the discounted adult rail fare.
Children and infants must travel with an adult who is at least 18 years or older.
Fares are subject to availability.
Fares, routes and schedules are subject to change without notice.
Not combinable with any other discount offer.
Subject to any restrictions, blackouts and refund rules that apply to the type of fare purchased and upon which the discount is based.
Once travel has begun, no changes to the itinerary are permitted.
Other restrictions may apply.

Source: Amtrak

Thomson Announces Plans for New Ship Discovery

Thomson Cruises has unveiled plans for its brand new ship, Thomson Discovery, including a whole host of exciting dining options, a sleek new design and the announcement of its entertainment and hotel providers in order to modernise the fleet and the onboard customer experience, the cruise line announced today in a statement.
The ship will be transfered from Royal Caribbean International new spring, currently sailing as the Splendour of the Seas.
The Thomson Discovery will have eight dining venues, including two new signature restaurants – Snack Shack and Gallery 47 ˚.
Located on the pool deck and themed around brightly coloured, iconic British beach huts, Snack Shack is a fun, ‘festival-style’ eatery serving grill foods such as quesadillas, and nachos during the day and popcorn and cocoa on film nights.
The second signature venue is Gallery 47˚, located in the upstairs of the main restaurant, this venue will serve contemporary Italian food, as voted for by over 4,000 customers.  
The ship’s exterior will also receive a brand new look and feel.
Also announced is the news that PEEL Entertainment Group has been awarded the contract for onboard entertainment on Discovery and The Apollo Group has been awarded the contract for the hotel provision.
PEEL has been the live entertainment partner since the launch of Thomson Cruises in 2003 and together with Thomson, they have grown the award-winning programme into a product which is much-loved by passengers.
The appointment of The Apollo Group on Thomson Discovery follows its take-over as the hotel supplier on Thomson Dream and Thomson Celebration in November 2014; a move that saw customer satisfaction go from strength to strength. Apollo are well-versed in hotel operations and their dedication to excellence has seen them supplying innovative hotel services in the cruise industry for over 40 years.
Managing Director of Thomson Cruises, Helen Caron, said: “I’m really delighted to start unveiling our plans for Thomson Discovery as we are now just six months away from the launch. A big focus of our strategy is to modernise our on-board customer experience. On Discovery we’ll be offering our customers more choice and balance so they can really personalise their cruise with us.  I’m confident the new signature restaurants, together with other exciting on board features, will delight our current cruise customers while attracting new ones too, especially families.  
“The contracts for both suppliers will also play a key role in delivering the modernisation and pushing the boundaries of the on board customer experience push the boundaries of the on-board experience, with agreements for new shows and modernising and making changes to food and beverage offering for customers to be announced as Thomson Cruises delivers its modernisation plans.”
Based in Palma from June 2016, Discovery will be the largest in the fleet with a capacity of 1,830 across 915 cabins – almost 40 percent of which will offer balconies. In addition to the extensive dining choices, the family-friendly ship boasts an outdoor movie screen, rock climbing wall and eight bars and lounges.
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Source: Cruise Industry News

Royal Caribbean Launches Periscope Video Marketing Program

Royal Caribbean International today launched COME SEEK LIVE, running through the social media app Periscope (live video streaming) and showcased on billboards in New York City. This lets the public to interact in real time with features on the Anthem of the Seas and various ports.”It will allow followers from around the world the opportunity to experience the adventures of influential seekers via live-streaming of 13 live broadcasts from five islands over seven days, beginning today,” said a Royal Caribbean statement. “Streaming events will begin at the Las Playas natural water slide in Puerto Rico and adventure-hop from playing with green monkeys at the Wildlife Reserve in Barbados to riding ATVs in St. Maarten or enjoying a post-expedition refreshment made by a robot at Anthem’s Bionic Bar. Periscope followers will be able to direct the adventurers next steps with the unfolding story showing followers what they could be doing right at that moment onboard a Royal Caribbean adventure.”“COME SEEK LIVE is an exciting way for Royal Caribbean to challenge the misperceptions travelers have about the cruise industry. We are continually evolving the experience across our fleet, designing adventures that inspire and excite our travelers,” said Jim Berra, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Marketing, Royal Caribbean International. “It is natural that we would bring this innovation to the transformation of our marketing as well, especially as we recognize that millennials require us to communicate with them using new channels.”
Source: Cruise Industry News

New Aeronautical and Academic Library opens next to New York-LaGuardia

Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in Flushing, New York, has completed the new Aeronautical and Academic Library and Learning Center, just 200ft from one of the runways at LaGuardia Airport.

“The new two-story, $2.6-million library and learning centre was the final phase of the $40-million multi-phased expansion, renovation, and sound mitigation construction programme at the college’s main campus,” says Regina Gallagher Marengo, president of construction manager, Ensign Engineering.“The renovation equipped Vaughn College with expanded and upgraded educational facilities, including the new library, and the robust sound insulation necessary for a college located only 200 feet from one of LaGuardia Airport’s runways.”
The 83-year-old private college is a cutting edge engineering and technology education hub for more than 1,700 students offering master’s, bachelor’s and associate degree programmes in engineering, technology, aviation, and management. 
Established in Newark, New Jersey, in  1932 in Newark, it moved to its current location in 1941. 
“The new 11,000sqft library replaced the outdated and insufficient library previously located in a different section of the main building,” explains Richard Piacentini, senior project architect at John Ciardullo Associates.  “During the pre-design phase, the library leadership expressed the need for more space, additional stacks for the expanding collection, and a large meeting and study area to accommodate students between classes.”
It clearly got what it wanted as today’s library is designed to hold a collection of 26,300 items and boasts 2,654 linear feet of shelving and filing space. 

Source: Airport World

View from the top

ACI World director general, Angela Gittens, discusses building capacity and ensuring that airports continue to function as engines of local and regional economies.

The International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) first ever World Aviation Forum, organised under the theme of ‘Aviation partnerships for sustainable development’, will take place on November 23–25 in Montréal, just across the street from ACI World’s offices at ICAO headquarters. 
ACI will be there participating in the discussions, but just as importantly, we are working daily in the field to ensure that airports, and by extension their local communities, prosper.
In line with ICAO’s ‘No Country Left Behind’ credo, ACI leaves no airport behind in its goal of helping members invest in their future. And with global passenger numbers set to nearly double over the next 15 years, these investments often take the form of much-needed capacity building initiatives. 
When we think of capacity building, new airport infrastructure is often the first thing that comes to mind, but the reality is that most of the world’s airports cannot afford to spend the millions or even billions needed for new terminals or runways. 
Although the industry has a net profit margin of 16% and an average return on invested capital of 6.3%, fully 69% of airports lose money, and most of these loss-making airports service fewer than a million passengers per year. 
In fact, these airports report a 12% loss margin and a 3.4% negative return on invested capital. 
Pouring concrete isn’t the only way to build capacity, and in many cases it isn’t the best way. Most airports can benefit just as much by investing in efficiency, employee training and safety. 
ACI helps airports of all sizes meet these needs through its Airport Service Quality (ASQ), Global Training and Airport Excellence (APEX) in Safety programmes. 
Our ASQ Survey measures passengers’ appraisal of 34 key performance indicators on the day they travel, allowing airports to get an accurate and timely picture of traveller sentiment. Indeed, ASQ has been designed for airports seeking to measure their passenger service performance and to benchmark to other airports or to their own performance over time in order to offer service improvements important to its passenger population. 
Programme offshoots such as ASQ Unique and ASQ Regional ensure that any airport, large or small, from anywhere in the world, can benefit from an ASQ Survey tailored to its needs.
ACI’s Global Training programme provides airports with affordable means of better serving the travelling public across essentially every aspect of an airport’s operation. 
Last year saw the launch of four new classroom courses in security, airport law, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) aerodrome regulations, and capacity enhancement and aerodrome planning, along with three new online courses in airside safety, runway safety management and wildlife hazard management to meet a range of training needs for airports large and small. 
Further in keeping with the ‘No airport left behind’ philosophy, we have increased our language capabilities, including the translation of the Airport Operations Diploma Programme into Spanish, and we now offer courses in four languages.
Finally, ACI’s APEX in Safety programme goes from strength to strength, having attracted the attention of regulators, with the US’s FAA participating in peer reviews as a welcome adjunct to the participation of ICAO, which has supported the programmefrom the very beginning. 
This year, the World Bank funded an APEX in Safety review in conjunction with an airport development project and will fund follow-up activities and a review in a second airport. Importantly when it comes to the topic of investing in our future, other multilateral institutions are making APEX a condition in project funding. 
The bottom line is that safe, efficient and customer-centric airports attract the attention of investors and the loyalty of the travelling public. 
I’m looking forward to discussing the above and more in November at the ICAO World Aviation Forum as we meet to find further solutions to ensure sustainable prosperity for communities around the globe.

Source: Airport World

Road Trippin Western Australia (Sailing La Vagabonde) – Part 1

Jimmy our friend from Perth who had once visited us on La Vagabonde before, was nice enough to lend us his beast of a car for a few weeks. So we took off on a little road trip up the West Australian coastline to show you guys where I am from!
We drove 820km north from Perth to reach Shark Bay, stopping at Dongara, Geraldton, Kalbarri, Billabong, Denham, Monkey Mia and we went for a 4WD up the western coast of shark bay which is the most western point of Australia and has some gorgeous little beaches off the track.

It was coming on summer, so the nights were still cold and the mornings super fresh, but when mid-day hit it was a good 30-35 degrees. Unfortunately the temperature of the ocean was not quite warm enough to frolic in their all day. In fact, it was absolutely freezing and neither of us could stay in for longer than half an hour without our wetsuits, proper free diving and spearfishing gear we had left overseas on La Vagabonde. Using cheap and tacky gear we bought at the servo for $10 a set turned out to be a nightmare (as expected), leaky masks that fogged up after 2 minutes, and fins that were plastic and hurt a lot. But we ended up getting 2 fish for dinner, so I suppose it was still worth it… sorta!
We planned to make it a few more hundred k’s north of Shark Bay for the roady, but due to some car troubles we found ourselves stuck in a tiny little town at a pub, watching the AFL (Australian Football League) while the car was repaired. We ended up having a really good time there and made the most of the situation. When she was all fixed we headed back down south to Perth, stopping at some pretty cool little spots on the way home.
We hope you guys enjoyed seeing a little of Aus through our eyes. Stay tuned for Part 2!
Love Elay
Source: La Vagabonde

Western Australian Debut for Pacific Eden

P&O Cruises’ new Pacific Eden cruises from Fremantle on her maiden voyage this Sunday.
The 55,820-ton Pacific Eden is berthed in Fremantle this week, with final touches being made to the ship’s striking features ahead of her inaugural 10-night cruise.
About 1,500 guests will join Pacific Eden’s historic first itinerary which will see her call at Esperance (Nov 17), Adelaide (Nov 20), Kangaroo Island (Nov 21) and Melbourne (Nov 23) en route to Sydney.
Pacific Eden will be christened by actress Kate Ritchie in a dual naming ceremony on Sydney Harbour on November 25 with sister ship Pacific Aria, which will be named by singer Jessica Mauboy. 
The ceremony will be a key part of P&O Cruises’ Five Ship Spectacular which will see its entire five-ship fleet meet in Sydney for the first time for a day of celebrations.
P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Sture Myrmell said the addition of Pacific Eden and sister ship Pacific Aria had increased the cruise line’s fleet to five ships, enabling P&O to base a ship in Western Australia for longer periods of time.
“Western Australia is really coming into its own both as a cruise destination and a homeport, so we’re thrilled to have the capacity to be able to base one of our latest ships in Fremantle for the next two summers. Pacific Eden is sure to become a fast favourite among Western Australians as she offers an exciting line up of cruises from the state, giving local tourism a boost and bringing a wealth of economic opportunities to port towns up and down the coast,”  Myrmell said.
Source: Cruise Industry News

New digital TV network launched on Australian airport baggage carousels

Airport advertising agency, oOh!media, today launched ‘Collect & Connect TV,’ a new digital advertising network reaching flyers at airport baggage carousels across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.It offers the networked reach of 44 screens capable of full motion animation and audio content at baggage carousels across all capital city airports. 
According to the company, the new screens will provide the flexibility to run high definition 15 to 60 second TVC spots in standard, widescreen or modified format, equipped with sound capabilities.
Group director of Fly!, Robbie Dery, claims that its new initiative will reach more than 70% of passengers passing through Australia’s airports. “’Collect and Connect TV’ taps into an audience that we know has an average of 12 minutes dwell time in front of screens waiting for their bags to arrive when they get off their flight,” he notes.
“This new digital network entertains and engages what is essentially a captive audience with contextually relevant real time updates and interesting content intertwined with advertising opportunities.
“We are offering advertisers full TVC capability to an audience that we know is growing and where the advertising cannot be switched off.”
Collect & Connect TV has launched with Roadshow Films Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 release as well as ANZ.
It is currently available across six terminals: Sydney (Qantas), Melbourne (Qantas and Multi-airline), Brisbane (Qantas and Multi-airline) and Perth (Qantas). 
Source: Airport World

Liberty of the Seas Arrives in Galveston

Royal Caribbean’s, Liberty of the Seas arrived on Friday at the Port of Galveston. The Freedom class ship replaced Navigator of the Seas year-round sailings from Galveston offering Texas vacationers roundtrip seven-night Western Caribbean itineraries throughout the year. “The repositioning of Liberty of the Seas to the Port of Galveston represents Royal Caribbean’s confidence in the Port of Galveston’s efficient cruise  operations and ability to attract passengers on its Freedom class ships,” said Mike Mierzwa, Port Director . “We are excited to homeport the largest cruise ship to sail from the State of Texas”. The Liberty of the Seas will offer 7-night Western Caribbean cruise itineraries, including Isla Roatan, Honduras; Belize City Belize; Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Montego Bay, Jamaica; and Costa Maya, Mexico as ports of call.
Source: Cruise Industry News

Marriott International's Statement on Terrorist Attacks in Paris

November 14, 2015 – We are deeply saddened by the tragic events in Paris and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims, their loved ones and all those impacted.  At this time, all of our guests and employees have been accounted for and there has been no direct impact to our hotels. The safety and security of our guests and employees is always a top priority.  We will continue to monitor the situation.
Given the ongoing situation, we are sensitive to the potential impact on our guests.  As such, we are waiving cancellation fees for guests holding existing reservations at all 15 Marriott properties in Paris through November 28, 2015. Additionally, we are working with our group and special event customers on a case by case basis.
For reservation information please contact Marriott International global reservations at (800) 228-9290. Those in countries outside of the United States should contact the Marriott International toll-free number in their country. 

Source: Marriott