This Week in Travel News
Active travelers have a need to know! Every week, there are things that can and do impact the art and act of travelling. Things you need to know about. We’ll report the highlights here, so you can focus on what you do best: Travelling! In case you missed it, here’s what happened This Week in Travel News!
Service Charges Changes
Norwegian Cruise Line is raising its pre-paid service charges, last adjusted in August 2015. Starting with sailings booked on and after 1 April, guests on all ships except Sky staying in The Haven and Suite cabins will pay $16.99 per guest per day, up from $15.50. Guests staying in other cabin classes up to Mini-Suite will see the service charges rise 49¢ to $13.99 per guest per day. On Norwegian Sky, prepaid service charges will be $21.99 for suites, and $18.99 for all other cabins.
Guests who did not purchase a gratuity package in advance will get hit with the new rates starting 1 April, regardless when the cruise was booked. Additionally, guests sailing to Hawaii will be charged an additional 4.275-percent Pre-Paid Service Charge GET Tax.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean will debut their newly updated room service menu on 27 March. At least one new item won’t be so popular: A room service charge. As part of a new policy, guests (except those in Grand Suite staterooms and above) will be charged $7.95 per order for room service from the All Day Menu and the American section of the breakfast menu. Continental breakfast options will still be complimentary.
Jet Away to Your One&Only
Jetting away to the Bahamas has likely never been an issue for the rich and famous, but now it’s even easier. And maybe a bit more accessible for the kinda-sorta rich and famous.
One&Only Ocean Club has added their Bahamas location to the places you can escape to with Ultimate Jet Vacations. The result is Jet-to-Villa service from a number of gateway cities, including New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, and Miami, aboard a handsome Embraer Phenom 300.
The luxury experience includes transfers from Nassau International Airport to the One&Only Ocean Club, catering during the flight home by Dune restaurant, a premium bar package, and a $1,500 fuel credit. The villa you are jetting to at One&Only will be a spacious three- or four-bedroom villa with a private pool. To further spoil you, a 50-minute Swedish massage is included (up to four session when you book a three-bedroom villa, or six sessions with a four-bedroom). Daily breakfast is included, along with one complimentary in-villa dinner with a private chef.
One&Only operates bespoke resorts in Australia, Bahamas, Dubai, Mexico, Maldives, Mauritius, and South Africa. Ultimate Jet Vacations’ travel specialists create customized luxury journeys to the Caribbean and Mexico, and partners with resorts around the world.
Amping Up the Glamping
Camping has come a long way since “glamping” became a thing a little more than a decade ago. There are now full-fledged luxury camping outfitters around the world who can take you into the great outdoors with many of the creature comforts from the greatest of indoors. The latest to raise the bar on glamping is a new experiential travel company called Collective Retreats, which recently launched and will be opening five locations this summer.
The company partners with landowners to set up camp in places where hotels can’t be built. Instead, canvas tents on wood platforms are installed, and equipped with 1500-thread-count Egyptian cotton linens, a French-Press coffee bar, en-suite (en-tent?) bathrooms, and high-end furnishings. To remind you that you are, in fact, camping in a remote location, rugged and authentic touches like an antler chandelier or other locally-sourced décor. Cuisine will be locally sourced as well, featuring fresh ingredients served under the stars, and followed by s’mores around the campfire. Because, after all, you are camping.
Retreats will be opening this summer in Vail (in May) and Yellowstone National Park (in June), followed by locations in Sonoma, California, New York’s Hudson Valley, and the Texas Hill Country over the summer. So far, only Vail and Yellowstone are open for booking.
Up Close & Personal with the Guate-Mayans
One of the most impressive ancient civilizations, still largely unknown to much of the world, is the Mayan. Stretching across Mexico and Central America, the Mayans left a network of cities and temples for us to explore. Some of the best-preserved sites dot the jungles of Guatemala. This spring, Bella Guatemala Travel will take you there on the Lost Kingdoms of the Maya tour.
The tour will take you to the phenomenal Tikal National Park; Mixco Viego, with Aztec and Toltec influences; and more than 500 structures at Yaxha. Across the border in Honduras, you’ll visit the UNESCO site of Copán. Finally, there’s a helicopter trip to the remote El Mirador Basin Project, an extensive, active excavation site. Project director Dr. Richard Hansen will lead a tour of the site, known as the “Cradle of Maya Civilization,” and home to La Danta Pyramid, one of the largest in the world.
The all-inclusive tours are limited to 16 guests on each of two dates available in May and June. At a rate of $6,195pp, the package includes international flights from the U.S.
Crystal Forced to Reshedule
Saying their new ships need just a bit more work, Crystal River Cruises has rescheduled the maiden voyages of the Crystal Bach and Crystal Mahler. The new ships need more time to complete work on innovations that are not anywhere in the market yet, including glass roofs, retractable roofs in public areas, and new technologies. Six voyages have been cancelled, affecting 600 guests. The Crystal Bach will now begin sailing the Rhine River on 13 August. Sister-ship Crystal Mahler launches on the Danube on 30 September. Crystal Cruises CEO Edie Rodriguez said, “You have only one chance to have a great first impression so we want our new builds to be flawless.”
Deal of the Week
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club recently completed a $50-million renovation, and is celebrating with a 3rd Night Free special. The resort sits on seven miles of beach, and is just a few blocks from Naple’s shopping districts. The 3rd Night Free offer is available from stays on 11 and 12 May, and again from 1 June through 30 September, and can be booked now.
Save up to 20% on some of the most popular City Passes through 31 March:
Hotels.com: Save big NOW on all hotel bookings with Up to a $100 Cash Back Rebate with code REBATES17! Book by 12/31/17, Travel by 1/31/18.
The Weekly Win
The live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast has been a huge success! There is still the chance that it can be a huge success in your vacation plans, too. The Weekly Win has featured two Disney-related sweepstakes this month. Grand prizes could take you on a Rhine River cruise, or put you in your very own castle in Scotland! Entry deadlines as early as 31 March.
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