News & Views of the Week

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Tis the season to think travel.  Really?  Yes Indeed.

It won't be long before those dark days of winter are with us, we get a taste of cabin fever and want to get some sun and warmth.

The most common destinations come to mind for us on the west coast.  And those are Mexico and Hawaii.  You can get some pretty good deals right now for the ISLANDS OF ALOHA as well as our SOUTH OF THE BORDER neighbors.  Plenty of seats on airplanes and plenty of deals in those all important all inclusive resorts.  And if you really want to get a break from the kids there are ADULTS only resorts in Mexico that we can place you in.

And that goes for the Caribbean as well with visits to Jamaica and Aruba having lots to choose from in the way of ALL INCLUSIVE resorts.

So contact us now and let's see what we can together come up with OK?

You may be pleasantly surprised at just how reasonable it is to GETAWAY FROM YOUR EVERYDAY. 


And talk about deals you can certainly travel to Ireland now from San Francisco very reasonably.  We will recommend booking direct with Ser Lingus for the best deals.  Some roundtrip airfares from San Francisco to Dublin are less than $800.  Now isn't that a deal?



Fill your heart





Aer Lingus Offer


Aer Lingus Sale to Ireland on Now!

Go when others don’t and experience Ireland like never before with the Aer Lingus off-season sale!


Fly from the USA to Ireland with fares starting from $399* from the East Coast, $499* from the Midwest, and $579* from the West Coast on round-trip Aer Lingus scheduled transatlantic flights.


Valid for travel November 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020. Book by October 3, 2019 only at


*Roundtrip per person, includes air transportation charges, taxes & fees. Restrictions apply.


Book Now



Perhaps the Caribbean on a cruise is in your future and NCL has you covered with both long and short vacations and many itineraries to choose from.  We'll getcha just what you want and all it takes is a call or email to us.




*Prices are per person, include Guarantee rates, based on double occupancy in an inside stateroom, in U.S. dollars, applicable to select sailings and subject to change. With all bookings made under Guarantee rates, stateroom assignment is subject to Norwegian Cruise Line discretion and can be assigned at any time up to day of sailing.




Conde Nast answers one of those questions that come up from time to time and that is CAN YOU CHANGE THE NAME on a ticket from the airlines.   


Yes, You Can Change the Name on an Airline Ticket


July 31, 2019

As long as it's still going to be you traveling, airlines have policies in place to correct any errors.

Can you change the name on an airline ticket? It’s a question many travelers have wondered, whether a friend suddenly couldn't make a trip, or you notice a dreaded spelling mistake on a boarding pass at the last minute.

While every airline has systems in place to help passengers handle such situations, factors like how close to the flight you'll be able to make changes—and how much it'll cost—depend on each company's specific policy. Read on for what you need to know.

Can I travel under an incorrect name?

Definitely not. Under the Transportation Security Administration’s (T.S.A.) rules, the name on the boarding pass must match the passenger's government-issued ID. This is to ensure that all passengers have been screened against the government’s watchlist and are approved to fly. Not only do airlines have the right to deny you flight access, but many also have a cutoff point for making name changes. Even if you feel it's too late, it's still worth contacting their customer service, who may be able to note on the reservation that they've been made aware of the issue.

How can I correct a typo in my name?

Once you find such an error, contact the airline or agency you booked with immediately (although prepare to be on hold for a while during peak hours.) If you're at the airport in a panic, head to the airline's ticket desk. And don't sweat if you've left out a middle initial: airlines are specifically focused on first and last names.

Will it cost me money to make the change?

On any airline, you have twenty-four hours to correct the error charge-free, whether you need to change a single letter or the entire name. For this reason, passengers should always review their confirmations immediately after purchasing.


If it's been more than 24 hours, that's when each airline's specific ticket change policy comes into play. While Alaska and Delta charge $125 and $200 respectively for changes, other airlines, such as JetBlue and Southwest, allow at least one free correction. For the most part, no matter how good your reason may be to make a change, expect the airlines to apply all penalties, fees, and increased fares. When airlines say tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable, they mean it.

Can I give my ticket to a friend?

Almost never. While airline customer services will usually assist you in correcting the name for the original passenger, hardly any allow you to change it to a whole new traveler. Delta, United, Southwest, and JetBlue all have strict policies against this—although Frontier Airlines allows it for $75. Airlines will typically tell you the reason tickets are non-transferable is for security purposes, but in truth, from a government policy perspective, you can change the name on an airline ticket. What's really happening is that airlines want to control their revenue. In the days when you could transfer tickets, consolidators would scoop up the cheap ones and resell them, negating the airline's ability to move the ticket price around as demand ebbed and flowed.

What if I recently got married or divorced, and my name changed?


Legally, you're fine as long as you have the right documentation and allow enough time at the airport for it to be reviewed. Seeing as technically the name on your ticket simply needs to match the passenger's identification on the day of travel, the Department of Transportation on its Fly-Rightspage explains: "If your name has recently changed and the name on your ticket and your I.D. are different (or will be different by the time of your trip), bring documentation of the change (e.g., a marriage certificate or court order)." That'll show the necessary authorities that the name on your government ID now corresponds to the one on your ticket, even if your physical ID doesn't reflect it yet. To be safe, we'd encourage you to bring a printout of the Fly-Rights page in case the person you're dealing with isn't aware of this protection.



Some airports can be a joy to spend time in whilst waiting for your flight and others not so much as seen in this from YAHOO travel.  


The best and worst airports in America, according to The Points Guy

Yahoo Finance Aarthi Swaminathan,Yahoo Finance 3 hours ago 




JFK’S old TWA terminal is now a hotel

Good news for those passing through San Diego International Airport: The airport was recently ranked as the best in America.

The rankings — which were part of a study done by The Points Guy — looked at 34 different factors from flight delays, cancellations, ride-hailing prices, security wait times and more. Check out the full list here.

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport clinched second place, followed by Portland (Oregon) International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Sacramento International Airport.

The best and worst U.S. airport, according to the Points Guy. (Graphic: Yahoo Finance)The best and worst U.S. airport, according to the Points Guy. (Graphic: Yahoo Finance)

Commute in and out of the airport a big factor

San Diego’s airport got the top spot because of ample amenities, punctuality, and a short commute time “likely for its convenient proximity to the downtown area,” the report stated.

Phoenix’s airport, which took second place, is a “known travelers’ favorite,” the report stated. The airport had the second-best commute time, but lagged behind San Diego in terms of flights’ punctuality.

In this long time exposure photo, protesters march during a rally against the travel ban at San Diego International Airport on March 6, 2017 in San Diego, California. US President Donald Trump signed a revised ban on refugees and on travelers from six Muslim-majority nations, scaling back the order to exempt Iraqis and permanent US residents. / AFP PHOTO / Sandy Huffaker (Photo credit should read SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images)Protestors march in this long time exposure photo in front of the San Diego International Airport in March 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo: SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images)

A bunch of other airports in California also cracked the top 10.

Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose’s international airports as well as Orange County’s John Wayne airport, all scored points.

San Francisco was lauded for its amenities — things like lounges, restaurants, the quality of life and sustainability — and Sacramento was also credited for offering an easy commute into the city for passengers. San Jose also scored points for being the best airport in California for on-time flights.

Worst airports in America

On the flip side the worst airport in America, according to The Points Guy, is the Chicago Midway International Airport, followed by Orlando International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

Midway ranked last because of its limited amenities, the report found. On top of that, the airport was plagued by long wait times and a “less-than-desirable” commute.

Chicago Midway International Airport is largely empty of travelers on Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014, after Southwest Airlines canceled all outgoing flights in the morning due to severe weather concerns. Meanwhile, O'Hare International Airport canceled more than 490 flights. (Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)Chicago Midway International Airport was largely empty of travelers on in October 2014, after Southwest Airlines canceled all outgoing flights in the morning due to severe weather concerns. (Photo credit: Phil Velasquez/Chicago Tribune/MCT/Getty Images)

Orlando’s airport suffered from the same issues as well, hence its low ranking.

On top of that, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Southwest Florida International— which both ranked near Orlando in the bottom 10 — all contributed to Florida being the state with the biggest share of the worst airports in America.

Busiest airports

The busiest airports in America did fairly well on the list.

As mentioned before, Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson airport secured 4th place. Dallas/Forth Worth International, another big hub, came in 11th. LAX was ranked 16th, JFK — which also scored top marks for amenities — was 22nd, and Chicago’s O’Hare scored 30th.

Arriving passengers line up to get taxi outside of Terminal 4 at the JFK airport in New York on October 11, 2014. The airport started health screenings for travelers arriving from Ebola-hit West African nations on October 11, as the death toll from the deadly virus topped 4,000. Passengers arriving from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea will have their temperatures taken, be assessed for signs of illness and answer questions about their health and exposure history, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)Arriving passengers line up to get taxi outside of Terminal 4 at the JFK airport in New York on October 11, 2014. (Photo: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

JFK in particular, the report noted, was last-place last year but improved tremendously. A big reason for that is because of the increased availability of lounges. Despite having a “terrible” record of on-time flights and “painful commute times,” its 23 lounges — which apparently are “more than any other airport could boast” — offset, the report explained.


“[K]nowing the pros and cons of each airport is a helpful guide when planning your trip,” Scott Mayerowitz, executive news director of The Points Guy, said in a press release. “If you know the airport you’re traveling through lacks amenities, pack a meal. Leave early if commute times are unpredictable, and try to schedule connecting flights through more-reliable airports.”



Ever been to Tahiti?  How about spending a bit of time in the real Polynesia next year with us in November?  Here are the details and we do have special group pricing on this.  And if you book now you can get the three for free promotion from Princess.  It includes a stateroom upgrade, free gratuities and spending money while on board.





Tahiti & French Polynesia(#5842984)


Prices Starting At: $ 2119.00
+ 100.00 taxes/fees
Date(s): 11/14/2020 - 11/24/2020
Ship: Pacific Princess

There's a certain romance to sailing on a small ship like Pacific Princess® which offers a refined elegance yet with many of the wonderful amenities found on larger ships. With a smaller group of guests on board, you'll enjoy the camaraderie among fellow guests who share your passion for travel and visit unique ports that only smaller ships have access to.





According to Fred there is definitely more to see in Brazil than just Rio so let's see just what he has to say for us this week.


Where to Go Beyond Brazil’s Rio



Rio de Janeiro is Brazil's most popular destination, and with good reason: The Marvelous City, as it's called, dazzles with lush jungle, long stretches of sand, and a reverberating pat pat of samba tamborims dancing in the air. But Brazil is a massive country, with remarkable diversity in culture and topography, and Rio is just a sliver. Given the size of the country (as Brazilians like to remind you, all of Europe, minus Russia, could fit within its boundaries), it shouldn't be so surprising that the landscape goes well beyond the expected tropical tropes. The northeast coast teems with Afro-Brazilian rituals; head toward the interior, and you'll find preserved colonial architecture decorating snug mountain towns. Sure, it can take up as much as seven hours by plane to get between destinations, but one-of-a-kind stops like the Lençois Marenhenses sand dunes and southern Pantanal wetlands (the largest in the world) are worth the journey.,c_limit/brasilia-niemeyer_GettyImages-159668816.jpg


Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is an entirely planned city, established in 1960 as a centrally located seat for the government and based entirely in functionality. It stands in drastically contrast to the physical composition of every other city in the country. For architecture lovers and brutalist aesthetes, it's a must visit: the entire city is laid out in the shape of an airplane, and is home to iconic buildings from Brazilian national treasure Oscar Niemeyer, who designed most of the city, including the Cathedral of Brasilia and Museu Nacional. Plus, its origin story as a proposed urban utopia is fascinating to learn about. The city is just a two-hour flight from Rio; stay a night or two at the B Hotel Brasília before heading back.,c_limit/Amazon_manaus_GettyImages-935746242.jpg


Manaus is the key point of entry for the Brazilian Amazon, with most using it as a jumping off point for an Amazon cruise like the 12-passenger Gadean, or an off-the-grid eco-lodge like Amazon EcoPark. Given that it's the largest rainforest in the entire world, you could spend a lifetime spotting sloths and macaws in the dense jungle. If you have a day before heading into the jungle, the city itself warrants a visit: take in unexpected produce and proteins at the Adolpho Lisboa market (you might spot fresh açai berries, or nine-foot-long arapaima fish), ogle the decadent architecture in the old town (built on once-flowing rubber riches), and catch a show at the neo-classical Teatro Amazonas, before resting your head at boutique Hotel Villa Amazônia. Manaus is just a four-hour flight from Rio.,c_limit/jericoacoara_GettyImages-155150633.jpg


For generations, the fishing village of Jericoacoara didn't see many outside visitors, save for a few tapped-in backpackers who used it as their private escape. Word is out: it's become the resident bohemian resort town, with new hotels, an airport, and a somewhat-constant buzz. Thanks to a National Park designation, the natural beauty that made the area worth the journey in the first place—think giant sand dunes that roll right up to the windswept beach—holds on, and the crowds are still more spread out than on the beaches of Rio. For windsurfers and kiteboarders, "Jeri,, as many call it, is a must-visit (for the uninitiated, there are few better places to learn). If you're more of a beach bum, visit after May when the calmer swimming lagoons are filled to the brim. You can fly direct from cities like Rio (that route is about three hours nonstop), and enjoy stays like the could-be-in-Miami Essenza Hotel.,c_limit/SERRA-DOS-ORGAOS-NATIONAL-PARK_GettyImages-471926270.jpg

Serra dos Órgãos

Rio isn't short on hikes, but if you're up for a 1.5 hour drive, the Serra dos Órgãos National Park blows the city's trails out of the water. On a clear day, you can even see the serrated topography looming beyond the city—the ridges, jutting towers, and sloping mountains, which were formed some 620 million years ago, have been further carved by erosion into a truly notable horizon. Ambitious travelers can climb Pedra do Sino (the highest peak at 7,400 feet, doable as a day trip), or go big on the three-day trek between the charming mountain towns of Petropolis and Teresopolis. Keep in mind that the area has more extreme temperatures than sea-level Rio—both treks are best during shoulder seasons (our fall or spring), when it's not too cold or too rainy. Tap a local operator in Rio, or work with a trusted travel specialist before touching down to hammer out the details.,c_limit/belo-horizonte_GettyImages-520731746.jpg

Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte was one of the hosts during the 2014 World Cup, and is hosting during the 2019 Copa America as well. Travelers are likely to be in town to see one of the matches, but that doesn't mean you should write it off—this city is a sleeper hit. It's the capital of Minas Gerais, a landlocked state known for lush farmland, colonial-era architecture, and rich, comforting cuisine that caught Bourdain's eye. It was also the heart of the Brazilian Gold Rush, making it quite literally rich as well. You could easily spend a couple days eating Minas cheese in the Mercado Central and walking the leafy avenues, but don't miss taking a day trip to Inhotim—a massive modern art complex set within a botanical garden just an hour outside town—which is reason enough to hop the hour-long flight from Rio. Bunk down at Hotel Fasano: the São Paolo-based hotel brand is a reliable favorite throughout the country.,c_limit/paraty_GettyImages-969086572.jpg


Paraty is a classic go-to for a small town getaway from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo (it's a four-hour drive from both). It's full of charm, thanks to 17-century colonial buildings with whitewashed walls and bright pops of color, and its tight, cobblestoned streets are dotted with shops selling artisanal cachaça and independent galleries. It's so easy to love, you probably won't be the only tourist around, but that's okay—the buzz around the main square is a welcome hum in the otherwise quiet town, and with more than 65 islands and 200 beaches within the boundaries of Paraty, it's easy to break off from the herd. Hire a boat to explore the speck that is Cedro Island, or the secluded Saco de Mamangua, or enjoy favorite stretches of sand on the mainland, like beaches Trinidade and Sono. Most of the accommodations are small boutiques built into colonial homes (Paraty Casa Colonial is a comfortable option).,c_limit/lencois-maranhenses_GettyImages-495845477.jpg

Lençóis Maranhenses National Park

If there's one reason to extend your trip beyond Rio, Lençóis Maranhenses is probably it. The National Park is a collection of rippled white sand dunes resembling crumpled up bedsheets (lençóis means "sheets" in Portuguese), stretching some 380,000 acres on the north Atlantic coast. And, for just a few months a year, it becomes home to semi-permanent beaches as rainwater pools settle in the dips of its dunes. Fly into the São Luís Inernational Airport (about seven hours from Rio), and hire a car to take you to one of two basecamps: Barreirinhas or Santo Amaro do Maranhão. From there, you can explore the most popular pools—Lake Azul and Lake Bonita—on your own, or have a guide take you out on a 4x4 for a days-long excursion (tap a travel specialist for help with the latter). Visit between July and Sept, when the pools are full but the heat is still bearable.,c_limit/buzios_GettyImages-637894952.jpg


In the '60s, Brigitte Bardot used to steal away to Búzios with her Brazilian boyfriend—and a glamorous set of travelers, including Madonna and Mick Jagger, have flitted off to its sun-soaked beaches ever since. The little peninsula is carved with nearly two dozen beaches, with highlights like the rocky cove of Praia Azeda, and the jungle-meets-sand setting of Praia Brava. And, even though it's just a three-hour drive from the Marvelous City, the water is calmer (and cleaner) than in Rio, and the vibe on-land feels more like your classic beach town—expect cobblestoned streets, sail-up restaurants, and relaxing stays like Insolito Boutique Hotel. Rent a car in Rio—you'll also need it for beach-hopping while in town—and stay for a long weekend.,c_limit/sao-paulo_GettyImages-153879009.jpg

São Paulo

The sprawling yet congested megalopolis of São Paulo is usually the de facto second stop after Rio, but there's a reason the country's creatives prefer the former: São Paulo is the country's hub of most every major industry and it has more immigrant communities and cultures than anywhere else in the country. You could spend a couple days eating at destination restaurants like the two Michelin-starred D.O.M., checking out art hubs like the São Paulo Museum of Art, people-watching in its sprawling parks like Ibirapuera, or bouncing between late-night roaming parties such as Mamba Negra. In between, crash at the design-friendly Hotel Unique. The flight from Rio is just one hour, and there are dozens every day.,c_limit/pantanal_GettyImages-200250791-001.jpg


The Amazon may be the crown jewel of Brazilian wildlife destinations, but the lesser-known Pantanal wetlands offer a completely different—yet equally remarkable—wildlife experience for travelers. The Pantanal is the world's largest tropical wetland and is home to the largest concentration of wildlife on the continent, with some calling it the best preserved wetlands in the world. Plus, because the terrain is fairly flat with fauna thinner and lower than that of the lush Amazon, it's easier to spot the jaguars, giant anteaters, green anacondas, and howler monkeys that call it home. You'll want to work with a travel specialist or tour company who can help arrange transportation from Rio, São Paulo, or the nearby airport of Cuiaba (a four-hour flight from Rio), several days of excursions, and a comfortable home base like Araras Eco Lodge for the best experience.,c_limit/fernando-de-noronha_GettyImages-498497241.jpg

Fernando de Noronha


Some 200 miles off the northeast coast lies the volcanic archipelago of Fernando de Noronha. The crystal clear water, undeveloped beaches, and dramatic peaked and curving landscape deserve the superlatives they earn, but the main island is also a protected ecological reserve and marine park where travelers can spot everything from giant sea turtles to pan-tropical spotted dolphins in the water. It has strict tourist limits of only 460 visitors on the island at any time, so you won't have to worry about crowds—but you will have to book well in advance. Fly into Recife or Natal (three hours from Rio), and spend a few nights at the contemporary Pousada Maravhila, easily the chicest stay on the island with sublime bay-front views.



And from the News and Views department we do have some for you so sit a spell and enjoy.


Airlines Stepping Up to Provide Aid Following Hurricane Dorian



American, Airlines, reliefPHOTO: American Airlines employees preparing relief flight. (photo via American Airlines)

As Hurricane Dorian moves away from the United States, the storm has left a path of destruction stretching from The Bahamas to North Carolina.

Several of the most prominent players in the travel industry have stepped up and are donating time, money and resources to relief and recovery efforts, including many of the top airlines in the U.S.

For example, American Airlines deployed a flight to Nassau with more than 14,000 pounds of supplies, has expanded fare caps and waived baggage fees to assist impacted customers.

American’s AAdvantage passengers can also earn 10 miles per dollar when they donate to the Red Cross through September 20 on the airline’s donation page.

Delta Air Lines is also jumping in to help by contributing $250,000 to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Dorian relief in the Bahamas. Travelers flying with Delta will be able to donate to the Red Cross through the airline’s page.

In addition, Delta already announced a $1 million grant as an Annual Disaster Giving Program partner.

United Airlines has launched a Crowdrise fundraising campaign that provides assistance in the U.S. and internationally, including donations to the Red Cross, Airlink, Americares and Global Giving.

In total, United will match the first $100,000 raised and provide up to five million bonus miles for individuals who make donations of $50 or more.

Southwest has also joined the fight with the launch of its own Red Cross page.



More Cruise Lines Pledge Dorian Aid

by Adam Leposa

Sep 6, 2019 9:19am



A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over a house destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, in High Rock, Grand Bahama, Bahamas. // Photo by AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa via Newscred

Major cruise lines are pledging additional aid and supply deliveries to the Bahamas following the devastating passage of Hurricane Dorian

Carnival Cruise Line has announced that two ships departing from U.S. homeports next week will make stops in Freeport to distribute food, water and relief supplies. The stops will be part of Carnival Pride’s seven-day cruise from Baltimore departing September 8 and Carnival Liberty’s four-day cruise from Port Canaveral departing September 9. These efforts are in addition to supplies being transported to the Bahamas via the already announced agreement with Tropical Shipping and The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency to deliver items donated by residents of Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, the cruise line said. A container ship with the first shipment of supplies departed for Freeport Thursday evening.

Additionally, Carnival Corporation’s philanthropic arm, Carnival Foundation, and its nine global cruise line brands together with the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation, have pledged to donate $2 million in funding and in-kind support for hurricane relief efforts in The Bahamas. 

Carnival has also asked employees and guests to join the effort through online giving tools, and over the next few days, will ramp up a donation program at its U.S. homeports as guests board their cruises.  Organizations supported by these online efforts include Direct Relief and World Central Kitchen.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, has pledged a minimum commitment of $1 million toward immediate short-term relief for those affected by the storm as part of its Hope Starts Here campaign, which it launched in 2017 in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria. NCLH will also match donations dollar-for-dollar to assist with rebuilding efforts. 

NCLH is also coordinating with local Bahamas authorities to bring provisions to affected areas. On September 5, Norwegian Breakaway departed Miami with relief supplies donated by the company and its employees, in addition to items collected by the City of Miami, Baptist Health South Florida, the 305 Gives Back foundation, and other Miami-based organizations, to be delivered to Nassau, Great Harbor Cay, the company’s private island Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas.  

MSC Cruises has dispatched a delegation comprised of members of its U.S. senior management team, as well as the leadership of its philanthropic arm, the MSC Foundation, to Nassau to identify the most timely and urgent relief needs. In this initial phase, in addition to providing and delivering goods of primary necessity, the company's efforts will focus on semi-permanent prefabricated modular housing for the population of the areas most affected by the hurricane as well as making available geared ships for cargo relief service from the U.S. to the Freeport and Marsh Harbour, Abaco container terminals. 

As we’ve previously reported, Royal Caribbean is committing $1 million to rebuilding efforts in partnership with the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) and the Bahamas Feeding Network. Guests interested in assisting can visit the cruise line’s hurricane relief page



Carnival Corp. To Test Battery Power For Cruise Ships

by Adam Leposa

Aug 27, 2019 11:00am



AIDA Cruises New Ship

Carnival Corporation has announced a new partnership with Corvus Energy to pilot new, sustainable cruise travel technology. The agreement will see Corvus supply marine batteries to ships on Carnival Corp.’s AIDA Cruises brand, with the goal of allowing for the practical use of electrical energy from battery storage systems onboard large cruise ships for the first time. 

The first AIDA ship will receive the batteries in 2020. The program will test the system's use of stored battery power for emission-free ship operation for an extended period as well as to meet onboard energy needs. Following the pilot electrification program aboard an AIDA vessel, the effort will expand to Costa Cruises.

In a written statement Costa Group and Carnival Asia CEO Michael Thamm said that the partnership’s goal is to reach emission-neutral ship operation. 

The program is the latest effort to lower emissions from cruise ships. In December 2018, AIDA introduced the first cruise ship capable of being powered in port and at sea by liquefied natural gas, which Carnival Corp. says produces less carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides, as well as 95 to 100 percent less particulate matter and virtually zero sulfur dioxide. Carnival Corp. has a total of 10 next-generation cruise ships that incorporate sustainable technologies, including the Costa Smeralda, which will be the second LNG-powered ship for the company when it launches in October. 

Carnival Corp. says that it is also installing Advanced Air Quality Systems to clean exhaust gas; as of July 2019, these systems have been installed on 77 of the more than 100 ships in the company’s fleet. Additionally, since 2000, every ship built for AIDA Cruises has been built for “cold ironing,” or the ability to connect directly into the land-based electrical grid while in port where the infrastructure is available, meaning that emissions are managed and regulated under the emission control requirements at the power plant supplying the port. By the end of 2020, 12 of AIDA's 14 ships will be able to use shore power where available, Carnival Corp. said. 

Looking ahead, AIDA is exploring the use of CO2-free production of liquefied gas from renewable sources through its "Power to Gas" project. The brand also plans to test its first onboard fuel cell in 2021, in cooperation with the Meyer Werft shipyard and other partners. By the end of 2023, 94 percent of all AIDA guests will travel on ships that can be fully powered by low-emission LNG or shore power where possible, Carnival Corp. said. 



Air Travel: New Flights To Brussels, Singapore

by Adam Leposa

Sep 7, 2019 8:00am



Brussels Airlines A330 Airbus

New flights in Europe and Asia lead this week’s air travel news. 

Brussels Airlines announced plans to launch flights to Montreal in March 2020. Starting from the end of that month, the seasonal route will operate five times per week, leaving from and returning to Brussels early in the morning on Airbus A330-300 aircraft. With its remaining capacity in the winter season, which runs from the end of October through the end of March, the airline will increase its Washington service to year-round. During the summer, the service will be offered daily, while during the winter it will be four times per week. 

Also in Europe, TAP Air Portugal announced that, effective immediately, it will operate a daily flight from Munich to Porto. The new flight departs Munich at 3:55 p.m. and lands in Porto at 5:45 p.m. The return flight takes off in Porto at 11:40 a.m. and touches down in Munich at 3:10 p.m.

Singapore Airlines celebrated the inaugural flight of its new nonstop service between Seattle and Singapore. The new flight departed Seattle September 3 at 11:13 a.m. and arrived in Singapore a 5:45 p.m. the following day. The Seattle flights will initially be operated three times weekly before increasing to four times weekly in October, bringing the total number of weekly nonstop U.S.-Singapore services to 31. Seattle is the airline’s fourth U.S. destination after Los Angeles, New York (Newark) and San Francisco to be served nonstop from Singapore. 



Tourist-Dependent Bahamas Says It's Still Open For Business

by Adriana Gomez LiconDee-Ann Durbin

Sep 9, 2019 3:03pm



by Adriana Gomez Licon and Dee-Ann Durbin, The Associated Press, September 9, 2019

The Bahamas was on track for a record year of tourism before Hurricane Dorian hit. Now, the outlook for that vital sector is uncertain.

Some of the best-known resorts in the 700-island chain, like Atlantis, Paradise Island, were unscathed by the monster storm. So was Nassau, the largest city.

But 100 miles away, on Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco islands, many smaller hotels and vacation rentals were damaged or destroyed. That leaves the Bahamas with a double challenge: convincing tourists to keep coming without trivializing the suffering on the affected islands.

"All of the donations are welcome, but they can also, very much, assist us by still visiting the islands of the Bahamas in the unaffected areas. They are open for business," said Ellison Thompson, the deputy director general of the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation.

The Bahamas depend heavily on tourism, which supplies half their annual gross domestic product of $5.7 billion, according to the Bahamas Investment Authority. By comparison, tourism brings in 20% of Hawaii's annual GDP and less than 3% of the GDP of the United States.

The Ministry of Tourism confirmed on Friday that all hotels on Abaco and Grand Bahama are closed. Together, the islands have around 3,000 hotel rooms, or 19% of the 16,000 rooms in the Bahamas, according to Frank Comito, the CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. They also have hundreds of vacation homes. Airbnb lists more than 600 rentals for Grand Bahama and the Abacos islands.

According to government statistics, Grand Bahama received 670,000 visitors in 2018, the vast majority arriving on cruise ships. More than 100,000 visitors flew last year into Marsh Harbour, the largest town in the Abaco islands.

Comito has beachfront property in the Abaco islands but doesn't know how it had fared. Some hotels were providing updates on Facebook. For instance, the owners of Pelican Beach Villas said their oceanfront cottages near Marsh Harbour were completely destroyed and they were evacuated to Nassau by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers. Firefly Resort Abaco tweeted photos of downed trees and a building with no roof and a collapsed wall.

"Hurricane Dorian destroyed our paradise. We will rebuild," the resort said in its Twitter post.

There's also some industry in the area. Grand Bahama is home to the Freeport Container Port, a deep water port for oceangoing container ships. Hong Kong-based Hutchinson Ports, which owns the facility, said its emergency team was helping with rescue efforts and trying to re-establish power at the port. Spokesman Anthony Tam said the company's nearby cruise terminal sustained minimal damage and was expecting ships carrying humanitarian supplies as early as Monday.

Those businesses could help speed the recovery. Carnival Cruise Line said it's still committed to a port development project in Grand Bahama announced earlier this year. Slated to be completed in 2021, the port will be the largest Carnival Cruise port in the world and is expected to create at least 1,000 jobs.

Tourism to unaffected islands could also bring in much-needed cash and provide jobs to displaced hotel workers. At the start of this year, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and Aviation was reporting record tourist arrivals thanks in part to the recently completed Baha Mar luxury resort. On its home page, Baha Mar has a prominent link to donate to hurricane relief efforts.

"If I were the minister of tourism, I would be strongly supporting an awareness campaign," said Robertico Croes, who researches small island destinations at the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management. "What is important is that the overall perception continues to be positive."

Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis made that plea Friday.

"One of the best ways that people around the world can show their support and solidarity... is to visit our other islands by air or by cruise ship," he said.

Pallab Mozumder, an environmental economist at the Florida International University, says rebuilding homes, businesses and networks of utilities in the northern Bahamas will cost between $15 billion and $25 billion. He expects it will take five years or longer to recover from the catastrophe. Hurricane Dorian's Category 5 strength and extremely low speed — which exacerbated flooding — made the devastation worse, he said.

Comito said the speed of the rebuilding effort will depend on a lot of things, including how quickly insurance claims can be processed, government incentives and the availability of building supplies and labor.

After hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the Caribbean in 2017, the World Travel and Tourism Council estimated it would take four years for the impacted islands to get back to their previous level of tourism. But Comito said that recovery is ahead of schedule. Ninety percent of Puerto Rico's hotel rooms are back online, while the U.S. Virgin Islands has 70% of its previous capacity.



Stats: 10th Record Year Forecast For San Francisco Tourism

by Adam Leposa

Sep 11, 2019 11:06am



San Francisco, California

Photo by RudyBalasko/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

For the 10th year in a row, the San Francisco Travel Association is forecasting record levels of visitor volume and spending for 2019.  

San Francisco’s destination marketing organization is projecting a total of 26.2 million visitors to the city for 2019, up 1.5 percent over 25.8 million in 2018. 

Total spending by visitors is projected to reach $9.56 billion. This is up 2.6 percent over $9.3 billion in 2018. 

On the convention side, San Francisco Travel has set a new record for the Moscone Center.  The year 2019 will be the first to have 1.2 million definite room nights booked.  The previous record was 1.0 million room nights booked for 2014.

San Francisco Travel is also forecasting visitor volume and spending for the entire region, including the Peninsula (San Francisco International Airport, San Mateo, Redwood City), the East Bay (Oakland, Berkeley, Hayward), Marin and coastal San Mateo County and wine country (Napa and Sonoma Counties).

Visitor volume for the region is projected to reach 57.7 million for 2019, with a total of $19.7 billion combined visitor spending. San Francisco Travel will continue to report this data going forward.

International Visitation and Spending

San Francisco Travel reports that the city will welcome 3 million international visitors in 2019, an increase of 2.0 percent over 2018.  They are projected to spend $5.1 billion, up 2.8 percent from $4.9 billion in 2018.

International visitors should comprise 29 percent of visitors and 62 percent of all overnight visitor spending in 2019. 

Some of the strongest visitor growth will be in the Asia/Pacific markets of India and South Korea. The top five international markets for visitor volume are Mexico, China, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany. The top five international markets for visitor spending are China, United Kingdom, India, Australia and South Korea.

“Despite some headwinds, China remains San Francisco’s most important overseas visitor market in spending and volume. San Francisco Travel continues to invest in new direct-to-consumer marketing programs to maximize the long-term potential of the market,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel, in a written statement. 

Overnight visitor volume and spending from domestic markets also grew, though more slowly at 2 percent.



Carnival Ecstasy Makes First Call At Half Moon Cay Since Dorian

by Adam Leposa

Sep 13, 2019 9:43am



Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Ecstasy became the first ship to call at the private island destination of Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas since the passage of Hurricane Dorian. The ship brought nearly 2,200 guests to the destination. 

Carnival Ecstasy’s stop at Half Moon Cay was one of more than 200 Carnival Cruise Line call at destinations in the Bahamas, including Nassau and Princess Cays, between now and the end of the year, the cruise line said. 

“Carnival Cruise Line has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with the Bahamas for decades and by resuming these calls we are showcasing to our guests the incredible beauty of this destination while at the same time supporting the local economy,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line, in a written statement. 

Carnival is also continuing its support of the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian with Carnival Pride and Carnival Liberty delivering relief supplies to Freeport this week. Carnival Corporation and the Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation have pledged $2 million in funding and in-kind support for relief efforts. Relief shipments on cargo vessels started arriving last week.


Carnival has also asked employees and guests to join the effort through online giving tools, as well as a donation program at its U.S. homeports, benefiting Direct Relief ( and World Central Kitchen (



While it is a month away we do want to advise you that we will not publish on the weekend of October 19th.  And why you ask?  We will be on board GRAND PRINCESS and just in case you can getaway there still are a few rooms left for the one week cruise from San Francisco beginning on October 13th.  We will visit Astoria, Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver.  Contact Bill ASAP if you want a last minute chance to GETAWAY FROM YOUR EVERYDAY.


Have a good week and can you believe it?  They say we might have a bit of rain tomorrow here.  Probably just enough to make a mess of things and mix with all the oil on the roads and create hazards like you would not believe.   If it happens please drive safely OK?

Until next week remain vigilant and always be safe, stay safe and travel safe.

Cheers from Oakley.

Bill and Fred