News & Views of the Week

 

Sunday, July 14, 2019

When you're hot you're hot.  Remember that song back in the day.  And we definitely are in the hot mode these days around here.

Spending time indoors to stay awy from the heat does bring out the best in us to think travel and places to go.

There are some really good close in sailings from California ports that we want to advise you of.  Keep in mind however that some of these cruises are not roundtrip from California.

 

 

Having trouble viewing the graphics? Go here.

 

 

CLOSE IN CRUISES FROM LOS ANGELES AND SAN FRANCISCO

 

 

Los Angeles to Miami


Starting At: $ 7499.00
Ship: Seven Seas Mariner

The world's first all-suite, all-balcony ship, Seven Seas Mariner® exudes comfortable sophistication throughout her 350 suites and offers impeccable service from her 445 professional and friendly crew dedicated to fulfilling every wish. Guests enjoy 180-degree sea views from the curved bar and plush seating of the Observation Lounge and the Horizon Lounge boasts floor-to-ceiling windows with a comfortable outdoor deck for an aft view.

 

Inside Passage with Tracy Arm Fjord


Starting At: $ 1080.00
+ 252.96 taxes/fees
Ship: Grand Princess

Newly enhanced with our latest innovations, Grand Princess continues to offer the signature service for which Princess Cruises is renowned. With our innovative features like Movies Under the Stars®, our Italian-inspired Piazza and The Sanctuary®, there are plenty of ways to help you escape completely. Sip on a variety of soothing teas at Leaves Tea Lounge & Library, or enjoy hand-tossed pizza in Alfredo's, our full-service pizzeria.

 

Inside Passage with Tracy Arm Fjord


Starting At: $ 1048.00
+ 265.62 taxes/fees
Ship: Grand Princess

Newly enhanced with our latest innovations, Grand Princess continues to offer the signature service for which Princess Cruises is renowned. With our innovative features like Movies Under the Stars®, our Italian-inspired Piazza and The Sanctuary®, there are plenty of ways to help you escape completely. Sip on a variety of soothing teas at Leaves Tea Lounge & Library, or enjoy hand-tossed pizza in Alfredo's, our full-service pizzeria.

 

Inside Passage (Roundtrip San Francisco)


Starting At: $ 1101.00
+ 257.24 taxes/fees
Ship: Grand Princess

Newly enhanced with our latest innovations, Grand Princess continues to offer the signature service for which Princess Cruises is renowned. With our innovative features like Movies Under the Stars®, our Italian-inspired Piazza and The Sanctuary®, there are plenty of ways to help you escape completely. Sip on a variety of soothing teas at Leaves Tea Lounge & Library, or enjoy hand-tossed pizza in Alfredo's, our full-service pizzeria.

 

Inside Passage with Tracy Arm Fjord


Starting At: $ 1122.00
+ 250.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Grand Princess

Newly enhanced with our latest innovations, Grand Princess continues to offer the signature service for which Princess Cruises is renowned. With our innovative features like Movies Under the Stars®, our Italian-inspired Piazza and The Sanctuary®, there are plenty of ways to help you escape completely. Sip on a variety of soothing teas at Leaves Tea Lounge & Library, or enjoy hand-tossed pizza in Alfredo's, our full-service pizzeria.

 

Inside Passage (Roundtrip Los Angeles with Glacier Bay)


Starting At: $ 1507.00
+ 210.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Royal Princess

Christened by Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge on June 13, 2013, Royal Princess is dazzling its guests with exciting new features. Called one of the "Most Popular Ships at Sea" by Cruise Critic, she's already won five prestigious Travel Weekly Magellan Awards in the Large Ship, Atrium, Spa, Pool and Mobile App Design categories. And her innovative SeaWalk® is being hailed as one of the "Top Gee-Whiz Features at Sea" by USA Today!

 

Panama Canal - Ocean to Ocean


Starting At: $ 1209.00
+ 375.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Island Princess

Island Princess was built to Panamax size - this means she was built to the maximum size a cruise ship can be to sail through the Panama Canal. A high percentage of balcony staterooms give passengers the chance to view this feat of engineering up-close, or take in stunning views of spectacular glaciers during cruises to Alaska.

 

Mexican Riviera


Starting At: $ 599.00
+ 205.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Grand Princess

With an atmosphere of comfortable elegance, tantalizing dining options and dazzling entertainment, your stay on board Grand Princess® will be anything but ordinary. Relax at The Sanctuary, a tranquil haven reserved for adults, enjoy Movies Under the Stars® poolside or experience something new with our Discovery at SEAT enrichment programs.

 

Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific Crossing


Starting At: $ 1835.00
+ 165.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Ruby Princess

Ruby Princess® is a luminous jewel on the seas and a romantic destination in itself. Christened by lovebirds Trista and Ryan Sutter of TV's The Bachelorette, she offers nearly 900 balconies from which to view the world, an array of entertainment options including Movies Under the Stars,® and sumptuous dining choices from Crown GrillSM to the International Café.

 

Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific Crossing


Starting At: $ 2753.00
+ 265.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Ruby Princess

Ruby Princess® is a luminous jewel on the seas and a romantic destination in itself. Christened by lovebirds Trista and Ryan Sutter of TV's The Bachelorette, she offers nearly 900 balconies from which to view the world, an array of entertainment options including Movies Under the Stars,® and sumptuous dining choices from Crown GrillSM to the International Café.

 

Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific Crossing


Starting At: $ 1835.00
+ 235.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Golden Princess

An inviting world of wonder awaits your arrival on Golden Princess®. Connect with family and friends over world-class cuisine, gaze out at sea from one of 700 balcony staterooms or share new experiences with our Discovery at SEAT programs. From casino gaming to relaxing options like the Lotus Spa®, you'll find an array of ways to renew body and soul.

 

Hawaii, Tahiti & South Pacific Crossing


Starting At: $ 2294.00
+ 335.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Golden Princess

An inviting world of wonder awaits your arrival on Golden Princess®. Connect with family and friends over world-class cuisine, gaze out at sea from one of 700 balcony staterooms or share new experiences with our Discovery at SEAT programs. From casino gaming to relaxing options like the Lotus Spa®, you'll find an array of ways to renew body and soul.

 

Panama Canal Pacific Adventure


Starting At: $ 1871.00
+ 395.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Coral Princess

Coral Princess is one of just two cruise ships in the Princess fleet specially built to sail through the Panama Canal! Ninety percent of her staterooms offer ocean views, with 700 balconies available, perfect for witnessing the engineering marvel of the Canal. Spend the night watching a movie, concert or sporting event outdoors in a plush lounge chair at Movies Under the Stars® and escape completely® in The Sanctuary®, our tranquil haven just for adults.

 

Cabo San Lucas Getaway


Starting At: $ 601.00
+ 100.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Royal Princess

From its breathtaking piazza-style Atrium to the dramatic views from the glass-floored SeaWalk,® Royal Princess® is sure to delight. Relax at The Sanctuary, a tranquil haven reserved for adults, watch the mesmerizing Princess WaterColor Fantasy light and water show, or dine on tantalizing cuisine at venues like Crown GrillSM and more.

 

Baja Peninsula & Sea of Cortez


Starting At: $ 1249.00
+ 130.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Royal Princess

From its breathtaking piazza-style Atrium to the dramatic views from the glass-floored SeaWalk,® Royal Princess® is sure to delight. Relax at The Sanctuary, a tranquil haven reserved for adults, watch the mesmerizing Princess WaterColor Fantasy light and water show, or dine on tantalizing cuisine at venues like Crown GrillSM and more.

 

Pacific Northwest Coast


Starting At: $ 999.00
+ 210.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Grand Princess

Newly enhanced with our latest innovations, Grand Princess continues to offer the signature service for which Princess Cruises is renowned. With our innovative features like Movies Under the Stars®, our Italian-inspired Piazza and The Sanctuary®, there are plenty of ways to help you escape completely. Sip on a variety of soothing teas at Leaves Tea Lounge & Library, or enjoy hand-tossed pizza in Alfredo's, our full-service pizzeria.

 

7-Day Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles


Starting At: $ 599.00
+ 142.86 taxes/fees
Ship: Norwegian Bliss

Romance, adventure, drama - the Mexican Riviera has it all. Whether you're zip-lining through a pristine forest or shopping in charming downtown, you'll get your adrenaline going in Puerto Vallarta. A scenic drive along the coastline of Mazatlán offers stunning ocean views. When you arrive in Cabo San Lucas, you can journey back in time in the town of Todos Los Santos.

 

16-Day Panama Canal from Los Angeles


Starting At: $ 999.00
+ 446.02 taxes/fees
Ship: Norwegian Joy

Lush landscapes? Check. Classic architecture? Double check. A journey unlike any other? Expect nothing less. This 16-day jaunt from Los Angeles to Miami has everything you dreamed of and few goodies beyond your wildest. From the haunts of LA's trendiest locales, to Costa Rican rainforests and Miami's Art Deco District, the intrigue does not cease.

 

7 Days Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles, CA


Starting At: $ 714.00
+ 111.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Carnival Splendor

It's hard to tell which onboard space best represents Carnival Splendor - they all seem to hint at the amazing time you're going to have. El Morocco Lounge hosts comedy shows, musical performances, karaoke and more. and wears its 1930s namesake clearly on its nameplate. The words "Royal Flush Casino" incite visions of winning, while our onboard jazz club - The Cool - simply says it all without saying a word.

 

4 Days Baja Mexico from Los Angeles, CA


Starting At: $ 324.00
+ 105.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Carnival Inspiration

All Carnival ships inspire guests to have a great time and a memorable vacation, but it won't surprise you to learn that the inspiration for Carnival Inspiration. was nothing less than inspiration itself! From the moment you step aboard, you'll realize that this isn't just a cruise ship. The Grand Atrium isn't just a room with a high ceiling - it's a place of high art.

 

4 Days Baja Mexico from Los Angeles, CA


Starting At: $ 324.00
+ 108.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Carnival Imagination

If you could design your dream vacation, what would it look like? A little sun, a little sea. but a lot of fun, right? On Carnival Imagination, this is your reality. Nothing brings the family together like the time-honored tradition of food and fun, and there's plenty of that to go around on Carnival Imagination. Oh, also: mini-golf. You can never play too many rounds of mini-golf, especially at sea.

 

3 Days Baja Mexico from Los Angeles, CA


Starting At: $ 349.00
+ 98.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Carnival Imagination

If you could design your dream vacation, what would it look like? A little sun, a little sea. but a lot of fun, right? On Carnival Imagination, this is your reality. Nothing brings the family together like the time-honored tradition of food and fun, and there's plenty of that to go around on Carnival Imagination. Oh, also: mini-golf. You can never play too many rounds of mini-golf, especially at sea.

 

3 Days Baja Mexico from Los Angeles, CA


Starting At: $ 354.00
+ 96.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Carnival Inspiration

All Carnival ships inspire guests to have a great time and a memorable vacation, but it won't surprise you to learn that the inspiration for Carnival Inspiration. was nothing less than inspiration itself! From the moment you step aboard, you'll realize that this isn't just a cruise ship. The Grand Atrium isn't just a room with a high ceiling - it's a place of high art.

 

24 Days Transpacific from Los Angeles, CA


Starting At: $ 4919.00
+ 183.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Carnival Splendor

It's hard to tell which onboard space best represents Carnival Splendor - they all seem to hint at the amazing time you're going to have. El Morocco Lounge hosts comedy shows, musical performances, karaoke and more. and wears its 1930s namesake clearly on its nameplate. The words "Royal Flush Casino" incite visions of winning, while our onboard jazz club - The Cool - simply says it all without saying a word.

 

7 Days Mexican Riviera from Los Angeles, CA


Starting At: $ 879.00
+ 120.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Carnival Miracle

Carnival Miracle is a ship you may not believe when you see. but definitely don't miss seeing it! When we say that Carnival Miracle takes you to another world, we mean that in every sense. Not only does this ship visit stunning destinations, but features incredible onboard spaces inspired by elements of fantasy. Escape from reality as you take in a show at the Phantom Lounge, a drink at Odyssey Bar or a dance at Dr. Frankenstein's Lab.

 

15 Days Panama Canal from Los Angeles, CA


Starting At: $ 1419.00
+ 372.00 taxes/fees
Ship: Carnival Legend

Legends are made, not born. and over time, this ship has become even more deserving of its nameplate. Let's discover some of the secrets about Carnival Legend. This ship, which pays tribute to some of the most enduring legends throughout the ages, still features classic Carnival Legend favorites. Take a dip in the Camelot and Avalon pools, wish for fortune at Club Merlin Casino, and taste something savory at Truffles Restaurant.

 

 

And of those things that people definitely show an interest in is airline suyrveys and where our domestica airlines stand in the eye of the public.  Well this week we have the info you are looing for as provided to us by Conde Nast.

 

 

The Best U.S. Airlines: 2018 Readers' Choice Awards

5 PHOTOS

by BARBARA PETERSON

October 9, 2018

When 429,000 of you speak, we listen.

Condé Nast Traveler readers rated the best U.S. airlines, large and small, in the 2018 Readers' Choice Awards survey—and the results may surprise you, especially considering how the news is often dominated by the "Big Three' carriers of Delta, United, and American. For these awards, we asked fliers to evaluate airlines on a number of criteria, and deliver they did. Which airlines have the best in-flight Wi-Fi? The comfiest seats? The friendliest staff? The best—yep, we're going there—snacks? Read on to see if your favorite carrier made the cut. Is your favorite on the list? If not, VOTE in this year's survey—and you might win a dream getaway for two. Counting down...

Delta Air Lines

Courtesy Delta Air Lines

5. Delta Air Lines

The second-largest airline in the U.S. based on passengers carried (after American), Delta is also rising in customers’ expectations. Among the four largest U.S. carriers, Delta leads in getting fliers—and their bags—to their respective destinations on time, a change due, in part, to a slew of innovations, including a high-tech luggage scanning and tracking system.

Passengers also appreciate service upgrades ranging from free meals on some domestic flights, to the business class suites on its new Airbus A350 jetliners. With a route map encompassing more than 60 foreign countries—and close partnerships with Virgin Atlantic and Air France-KLM—the Atlanta-based line literally blankets the globe.

Southwest Airlines

Stephen M. Keller/Courtesy Southwest Airlines

4. Southwest Airlines

Southwest’s mantra is to keep it simple: one class of service, one type of plane, and easy-to-decode, affordable fares. And in this fee-for-all era of airline pricing, it's sticking with its “bags fly free” policy, which lets fliers check two suitcases free of charge.

New amenities like in-flight Wi-Fi have helped smooth the rougher edges off its basic in-flight service, which on most hops consists of a bag of pretzels (its trademark peanuts recently got the axe due to food allergy concerns). Ultimately, though, Southwest’s stand-up worthy cabin crew wins over fliers: Where else would you hear an in-flight announcement like, "Flight attendants, prepare your hair for arrival"?

https://media.cntraveler.com/photos/56213edc799ed1fe16a2fbc9/master/w_420,c_limit/Hawaiian-Airlines-Alamy.jpg

Alamy

3. Hawaiian Airlines

From its humble beginnings as an island puddle-jumper, Hawaiian is now girdling half the globe with New York-Honolulu nonstops and flights from its hub to Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti.

A premium cabin with lie-flat seating is available on those ultra-long flights to the Antipodes. Readers also appreciate the welcome Mai Tais and guava cookies, as well as the airline’s punctuality—it's the most on-time carrier in the country.

https://media.cntraveler.com/photos/56213edc8bd380d2282da490/master/w_420,c_limit/Jetblue-Interior-Courtesy.jpg

Courtesy JetBlue

2. JetBlue Airways

New York’s hometown airline has come a long way in less than 20 years, with historic flights to Cuba, and a refreshed coach product with ten-inch seat-back screens that allow streaming for a variety of entertainment options.

A premium cabin, Mint, has grown from just New York-to-West Coast routes to include major Caribbean markets like Barbados. Even better? The airline’s “Fly-Fi”delivers one of the fastest internet connections in the skies, and it’s free—just like the ever-popular unlimited blue chips and snacks.

Alaska Airlines

Chad Slattery/Courtesy Alaska Airlines

1. Alaska Airlines

Following its official merger with Virgin America (long voted the number one domestic airline by Traveler readers), Alaska is vowing to retain the best of both offerings, with Virgin’s stylish cabin lighting and top-notch entertainment, right alongside Alaska’s homage to the craft beer and wine culture of its Pacific Northwest home.

Alaska Airlines is now the fifth-largest airline in the U.S., and flies to more than 100 destinations, from New York to the Hawaiian Islands, and Mexico and Costa Rica. Readers already appreciate its friendly staff, Starbucks coffee, comfortable seats, and reliability—it guarantees luggage will arrive no later than 20 minutes after passengers do—and the betting is that some of that Virgin star power will rub off on this solid performer.

 

 

Singles cruising is fast become a thing but most cruise lines are slow to take action on that issue.  Reason being that in their opinions each stateroom is desigend for two people so even if one person is going they must pay for that second person in the room even though in reality there is no second person sailing with them.  

It can be noted that a few cruise ships now have staterooms designed for one person cruising and they are extremely popular and often sell out way in advance.  And the rate for that room is for a single person traveling.  Taking the lead on that is NCL and also Royal Caribbean.  

It can be stated however that some of the river cruise loines have times when they promote special deals for singles wanting to take a river cruise but you have to keep a sharp eye out for those and those rooms are very limited as are the promotions.  They often are only for a few days.

With that in mind here is the lates from Conde Nast on sigles cruising.

 

 

These Cruise Lines Are Making it Much Easier to Travel Alone

by MARK ELLWOOD

June 26, 2019

Single? Skip the bar-hopping and opt for island-hopping instead.

Solo travel has shed any lingering stigmas to become one of the key trends of the past decade. And yet, a cruise may still seem an unlikely choice for someone traveling alone. Nearly everything—meals, excursions, onboard activities—is done en masse. Now, however, the famously family-friendly industry is working hard to appeal to that very set of single travelers.

Demographics are shifting: According to the U.S. Census, in 2018, 70 percent of 18-to-34-year-olds were unmarried, compared to 41 percent in 1978. Norwegian Cruise Line was one of the first to turn its attention to this trend, repurposing interior-facing cabins as podlike solo rooms known as “studios” when it launched the Norwegian Epic in 2010; now you can find them on five other ships in the fleet. Luxury line Cunard—famous for transatlantic trips and for keeping the sailing glamour of yesteryear—introduced solo rooms to the Queen Elizabeth 2 and then the Queen Mary 2 during its $132 million refit three years ago.

The Complete Guide to Cruise

Expedition line Hurtigruten began waiving “single supplements” (the fees typically slapped on those who occupy a room designed to hold two or more) on certain sailings and saw its solo-traveler business shoot up 40 percent as a result. American Cruise Lines, the river specialist, has supplement-free one-person staterooms on all 12 of its ships, including 250-square-foot options with their own balconies on American Song, its newest, with itineraries through the Pacific Northwest. There’s now a place on the high seas for the new nomad.

 

 

Our Tahiti group is taking place for NOvember next year and we started off with 6 rooms and now have 2 left.  If you want to hoin us please contact Bill.  He does have special cruise rates for balcony staterooms and if you had booked during the cruise sale last week the rate was a special one week reduced one and that was even a surprise to us.

Details on the cruise are below.

 

ANNOUNCING OUR GROUP TO TAHITI AND SOUTH PACIFIC FOR NOVEMBER 2020


Tahiti & French Polynesia(#5842984)

 

Prices Starting At: $ 2049.00
+ 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.

 

 

The annual SCOTTISH GAMES AND GATHERING are at our back door now and we will be there in our normal space.

Last year they did move the main gate a bit down the road but you can still find us in our spot that we have had for 12 years.   Old habits die hard right and we are creatures of habit so come on by and check us out and grab a brochure or two and talk to either Fred or Bill.

 

Join us on Labor Day Weekend (August 31 and September 1) 2019, as we celebrate the very best of Scottish culture, competition, cuisine and entertainment, right here in California. The 154th consecutive Scottish Highland Gathering and Games takes place at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.

In the Beginning Long before colonists began to settle in the New World, Scotland already had a lengthy history and culture. Heavy Athletics Events were being held in Scotland at least 1,000 years ago, and some historians believe that Heavy Events originated during Druid times! Heavy Events began as tests of strength and conditioning for Scottish troops. A tree trunk would be made into a caber and tossed by the strongest military men. Smooth rocks from river beds would be heaved for distance. Lead weights would be tossed underhand over a bar more than twice as high as the athlete. Over the centuries, Heavy Events evolved from military exercises into festivals for the Scottish public, and with the addition of dancing, music, food and drink, the Highland Games were born. They are a traditional method of passing Scottish culture from generation to generation, and held throughout Scotland and the rest of the World. Caledonian Club of San Francisco’s Inaugural Games In 1866, San Francisco had been sobered by the Civil War, the bloodiest war in American history. It was also still recovering from the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the gunning down in a city street of prominent newspaper editor, James King. California’s gold rush had attracted many a Scot to San Francisco, and on November 24, 1866, seventeen Scots congregated in Clem Dixon’s Ale Vaults on Summer Street to plan California’s first Scottish Games. Less than a week later, the inaugural Games were held at San Francisco’s Hayes Park (on Laguna and Hayes Streets) on Thanksgiving Day 1866. The Club’s inaugural Games were more of a family picnic and athletic contest featuring nine competitive events including hammer throwing and stone putting, and threelegged and blindfolded wheelbarrow races. This article (right) published in the following day’s Daily Evening Bulletin covered the Games, and noted that the “solid silver quoit” awarded to quoits champion, Mr Carmichael, was valued at $50, which was no mean prize in 1866! A Brief History of the Caledonian Club of San Francisco’s Scottish Highland Gathering and Games A History of Tradition and Growth The Caledonian Club of San Francisco's Scottish Highland Gathering and Games have taken place every year since that inaugural event in Hayes Park in 1866. The scale of the Games has grown significantly as events attracted more competitors, more events were added, and bigger crowds turned up. Over the years, the Scottish Highland Gathering and Games had been held at various locations in San Francisco, Sausalito and Oakland before settling on Santa Rosa in 1962, and switching to a 2-day format in 1964. The Games remained in Santa Rosa for the next 32 years, hosting the Centennial Games of 1965 and the first U.S. Invitational Heavy Events Championships in 1975. In 1994, the Games moved to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton. The Largest Scottish Highland Gathering and Games On Labor Day Weekend 2015, the Sesquicentennial Scottish Highland Gathering and Games attracted record crowds close to 50,000 - the largest Scottish gathering ever in the USA. The 153rd Games on September 1-2, 2018 at the Alameda County Fairgrounds marked the 25th anniversary of the Games moving to Pleasanton. This 2-day event features Heavy Events Championships, the US Drum Major Championships, the Western U.S. Open Highland Dancing Championships and various grades of Pipe Band Competitions. Other competitive events include the Kilted Mile Race and Soccer, Shinty and Rugby competitions. Visitors to the Games can enjoy Scottish Country Dancers, the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers and other traditional entertainment on the Celtic Heritage stages. Other events include Birds of Prey and Archery exhibitions, historical re-enactments, historic British cars and motorcycles, sheep dog trials, the Clan Glen and Children’s Glen, Clydesdale horses and Highland cattle. In addition, there is more live entertainment in the Irish Pavilion, Traditional and Celtic Rock Bands on the Entertainment Stages and whisky tasting and master classes with ‘Whisky Live’. Finally, each day, the Games Grandstand Show features the ceremony, competition and entertainment of the Games including the hugely impressive March of the Massed Bands with over 600 pipers and drummers. The annual Scottish Highland Gathering and Games are produced entirely by volunteers from the Caledonian Club of San Francisco, and does not take government funding or apply for foundation support.

And we do have som tidbits of information from Fred this week...

 

 

Pink Sand Beaches of the World

 

What makes a pink sand beach—a million pieces of shattered coral? A trick of the eye and the light? On Harbor Island in the Bahamas—one of the most famous beaches pictured here—the pink hue comes from foraminifera, a microscopic organism that actually has a reddish-pink shell, while the sand is a mix of coral, shells, and calcium carbonate. It sounds like a science project, but in truth, it's one of the most magical things to see.

 

So why settle for an ordinary beach, when you can go pink!  Here are some places around the world with beautiful pink sand.

 

https://media.cntraveler.com/photos/5c5dfdd0e243ea4a765e8080/master/w_420,c_limit/Elafonisi_GettyImages-95767837.jpg

Elafonisi Beach, Crete, Greece

Elafonisi has the amenities of a popular vacation beach (parking lot, nearby bathrooms) but the feel of a remote oasis, thanks to its location removed from major cities. After swimming in the shallow waters, walk across the sandbar to snap some photos of wildflowers and rock formations—that's if you haven't filled your camera roll with shots of the pink-hued shore, of course.

 

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Playa de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Spain

Formentera is a less-crowded alternative to nearby Ibiza, and Playa de Ses Illetes is its most fashionable beach (just check out designer Laura Ferrara's guide for proof). For a full day, share some rosy sand with yacht-owning vacationers, then enjoy a plate of fish at one of the island's glitzy restaurants. Try Ca Na Pepa for Italian (a 15-minute drive from the beach), or Can Dani, the only Michelin-starred restaurant on Formentera.

 

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Horseshoe Bay, Bermuda

Even if you have access to the private beaches next to Horseshoe Bay, you'll probably migrate over for a day, drawn by its contrasts: the blush pink sand and turquoise water, ideal for snorkeling.

 

https://media.cntraveler.com/photos/59669110f9e37f55cb0bfab5/master/w_420,c_limit/crane-beach-barbados-GettyImages-88530629.jpg

Crane Beach, Barbados

Located on the rugged east coast of Barbados, the pink shoreline of Crane Beach is flanked by lush vegetation and turquoise waters. The beach is known for its boogie board-ready waves, and luxe hotels where you can dry off after pulling yourself out of your beach chair. (We're particular fans of The Crane, one of the oldest operating hotels in the Caribbean.)

 

https://media.cntraveler.com/photos/57166ee93658675c4f784ffb/master/w_420,c_limit/pink-beaches-balos-bay-cr-getty-508445897.jpg

Balos Bay, Crete, Greece

Easily one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, Balos Bay stuns with pinkish-white sands and shallow pools of bright blue saltwater. And if you're in the market for a honeymoon destination, you'll be following in the royal footsteps of Prince Charles and Princess Diana—they reportedly visited this spot after their 1981 wedding.

 

https://media.cntraveler.com/photos/57166ef045342aa9548fa30e/master/w_420,c_limit/pink-beaches-Spiaggia-Rosa-cr-getty-136799813.jpg

Spiaggia Rosa, Budelli, Sardinia

Spiaggia Rosa is not exactly an under-the-radar gem: Back in 1994, the Italian government had to permanently close the site off to visitors, due to the crowds disturbing the coral beach. You can still admire the iconic shore from neighboring Spiaggia di Cavalieri, or follow the Instagram account of Michele Ardu, Budelli's sole resident and caretaker.

 

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Pink Sands Beach, Harbour Island, Bahamas

You can't think of pink beaches without thinking of Harbour Island. This Instagram darling draws crowds for its colorful sand, sure, but also for its swimmable water, colonial cottages, and excellent restaurants within the vicinity.

 

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Pink Beach, Komodo, Indonesia

As if catching a glimpse of the island's eponymous dragons wasn't reason enough to visit, Komodo also happens to have one seriously beautiful pink beach. Between the coral-lined waters and bright green hills rolling in the distance, you're not likely to find another vacation spot quite this scenic. The waters are safe for swimming and snorkeling, but just use common sense (i.e. if you see a Komodo dragon, um, stay away).

 

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Elbow Beach, Bermuda

Despite its stunning appearance, Elbow Beach is much quieter than other popular beaches on Bermuda. Translation: That means you can snorkel around the off-shore shipwrecks and lounge on the coral-colored sand without bumping into too many other tourists.

 

 

Before we forget we still can get you going North on the GRAND PRINCESS for October 13th.  Space is very tight now as final payments have been maed in the last week but if you can GETAWAY FROM YOUR EVERYDAY for a week beginning October 13th you can sail roundtrip with us to Astoria, Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver.  Contact Bill ASAP as there are only a few rooms left in all inventory.

 

OUr NEWS AND VIEWS this week includes an article about the most annoying travelers in the world.  Can you take a guess who they think it is?

 

 

New Cruise Ships and Brands to Watch for Next Year and Beyond

by Susan J. Young | 

Jul 4, 2019 8:00am

https://qtxasset.com/styles/breakpoint_sm_default_480px_w/s3/travelagentcentral/1562174340/scarletladygorgeoussuite.jpg?duvkmQbISNQniURawos098aFs6jOMv.k&itok=PCxWs22p

The Gorgeous Suite onboard Virgin Voyages' inaugural ship, the Scarlet Lady.

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Cruising isn’t one size fits all. Increasingly, the products attract their own audiences and repeaters. That’s created an arena for new products. Virgin Voyages will take to the water early next year with the 2,770-passenger Scarlet Lady. Whatever people think cruising is about, this line clearly will do things differently. Look for an adults-only approach, 78 Mega RockStar Suites (with fun perks such as a dedicated hair and make-up crew available upon request) and cruise fares that include dining at all onboard restaurants, sodas, group fitness classes and more. The ship’s first “master” will be Captain Wendy Williams, the first Canadian woman named captain of a major cruise brand’s ship. 

All Virgin Voyages itineraries will feature multiple late-night sail-aways, including one midnight departure. Given recent U.S. government changes in Cuba travel regulations, Cuba was eliminated. Now, the new brand will offer four-, five- and some special seven-night holiday sailings, all roundtrip from PortMiami and calling at Bimini, the Bahamas, home to the Beach Club, a private club for use by Virgin’s guests. Five-night Riviera Maya sailings also will call at Cozumel and Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, while four-night “Fire and Sunset Soirees” will call at Key West, FL. Seven-night holiday season sailings will stop at San Juan, Puerto Rico and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

One new ultra-luxury brand launching early next year is Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection, which just ordered its second yacht for construction at the H. J. Barreras Shipyard in Vigo, Spain; the first will be delivered later this year and its inaugural voyage will be in February. Guests can expect Ritz-Carlton service, an all-inclusive product and such onboard spaces as a restaurant by Sven Elverfeld of Aqua (a three-Michelin star restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Wolfsburg, Germany); a Ritz-Carlton Spa; children’s programming; and a Panorama Lounge and champagne bar with entertainment. The yacht will sail within the Mediterranean, Caribbean and northern Europe

Cruise companies have also branched out in new ways. Known for its river cruises, CroisiEurope will launch its new oceangoing La Belle des Océans in October. Through late December, the vessel will sail 11-day voyages between Singapore and Phuket, Thailand. That will be followed by cruises in the Indian Ocean and Mediterranean, before the ship heads to Quebec for summer 2020. 

On April 8, Viking and China Merchants Shekou, representing China Merchants Group, said they’d signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture designed to create a new cruise line for the Chinese cruise market. Look for this partnership to cover everything from product development to sales and marketing. Further, China Merchants Group’s shipbuilding subsidiaries will design the new ocean ships. 

Some lines also have new owners. Victory Cruise Lines, now owned by American Queen Steamboat Company, is sailing the Great Lakes this summer and next with the 202-passenger Victory I and Victory II. Next summer, both will be back on the Great Lakes. Several new itineraries will debut next summer including the nine-day “North America’s Coastal Connection” itinerary from Port Colborne (Niagara Falls), Ontario to Chicago, IL, visiting Detroit, Green Bay and Chicago, plus Mackinac Island on Lake Huron.

https://www.travelagentcentral.com/s3/files/styles/breakpoint_sm_default_480px_w/s3/travelagentcentral/1562174437/roaldamundsen.jpg?itok=6ZdbYKubHurtigruten’s new Roald Amundsen is set to launch this year. 

A Robust Pipeline of New Ships 

Is there any signal of a slow down in new ship orders? Definitely not, as the portfolio of new ships launching through 2027 is mind-boggling — at least 114 new ships are on the Seatrade Order Book, representing $66.3 billion in new tonnage. Many new ships of major lines were delivered earlier this year, among them Viking’s 930-passenger Viking Jupiter, the line’s sixth ocean ship. Viking plans 10 additional oceangoing vessels for delivery starting in 2021, bringing the line’s fleet to 16 ships by 2027.

Twelve more new ships are yet to launch this year. Among them are Costa Cruises’ new LNG ship, Costa Smeralda; the new Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection mega-yacht (first cruises in 2020); several expedition ships including Hurtigruten’s new Roald Amundsen and others; and a new West Coast home-ported ship, Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Panorama, which will sail from Long Beach, CA

The biggest new ship set to launch this fall is MSC Cruises’ 4,900-passenger MSC Grandiosa. This Meraviglia-Plus class vessel offers even more public space than her sister ship. Cirque du Soleil at Sea has created two new shows exclusive for the ship. And if guests choose the Aurea Experience, they can enjoy flexible dining and unlimited drinks in a dedicated restaurant.

Other big ships launching later this year are Norwegian Cruise Line’s 3,889-passenger Norwegian Encore and Princess Cruises’ 3,560-passenger Sky Princess. A masted sailing ship, Star Clippers’ Flying Clipper, is also still listed on the order book for launch later this year, but that delivery date has moved forward multiple times.   

Twenty-one new ships will launch in 2020. Certainly, the movement into LNG is showing as a big trend for coming years. Two new LNG-powered vessels are Carnival Cruise Line’s Mardi Gras and P&O’s Iona as the industry looks to sustainability and cleaner fuel to power it into the future.  

https://www.travelagentcentral.com/s3/files/styles/breakpoint_sm_default_480px_w/s3/travelagentcentral/1562174551/celebrityequinoxreno.jpg?itok=5q9GZypmIn June, Celebrity Equinox became the third Celebrity Cruises
vessel and the first Solstice-class vessel to be revitalized in the
line’s $500 million Celebrity Revolution program.

Everything Old Is New Again 

As new ships debut, cruise lines still wish to assure that their existing tonnage is both fresh and amenity-laden. Many lines have undertaken multi-billion revitalization programs for older ships. That assures that guests have a fresh, brand-specific experience with signature dining, activity spaces or entertainment. As each line has more new ships, as fleets grow, refurbishments to make “everything old new again” is on the rise. 

As part of the Norwegian Edge program, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway recently emerged from a two-week dry dock with new, updated venues, social spaces, artwork and accommodations; it’s sailing in northern Europe this summer and will home port in New Orleans this winter. Since 2016, Regent Seven Seas Cruises has invested more than $150 million refurbishing and modernizing its fleet; its 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator recently emerged from a two-week drydock refurbishment.

In June, Celebrity Equinox became the third Celebrity Cruises vessel and the first Solstice-class vessel to be revitalized in the line’s $500 million Celebrity Revolution program; Celebrity Silhouette will be updated by January 31, with five more ships to be modernized by 2023. 

Planning took two years and involved 7,000 people for the $200 million dry dock update of the former Carnival Triumph, now sailing as the new Carnival Sunrise from New York; it will reposition to Port Everglades, FL, for the 2019-2020 winter season. Updates were undertaken as part of Carnival Cruise Line’s $2 billion fleetwide enhancement program. More contemporary in feel and with a lighter, brighter look, Carnival Sunrise now has Guy’s Burger Joint and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse; the Chef’s Table fine dining experience; and a WaterWorks aqua park, SportSquare recreation area and the Serenityadults-only retreat. The three-deck theater was transformed into a two-deck Liquid Lounge. The ship also has 115 more staterooms. Check out our Carnival Sunrise slide show here.

Royal Caribbean International’s 3,386-passenger Navigator of the Seas recently emerged from a $115 million dry dock under the $1 billion “Royal Amplified” program. New spaces thrill seekers should love are The Blaster, the longest aqua coaster at sea with more than 800 feet of dips, drops and straightaways that extend over the ship’s side, and Riptide, the industry’s only head-first mat racer waterslide. Also new is To Dry For, a stand-alone blow-dry bar, plus dining and lounge spaces including the Lime and Coconut, a signature bar with a rooftop deck. 

Smaller vessels, too, are getting updates. As part of Windstar Cruises’ $250 million Star-Plus Initiative, updates including lengthening of the line’s three motorized ships will begin this October and finish in November 2020. When the work is completed, Star Legend, Star Breeze and Star Pride will each have expanded capacity of 312 passengers and 50 new suites configured with a bed by a window or balcony. A new 1,374-square-foot Grand Owner’s Suite will combine three adjoining suites into a three-bedroom, 3.5-bath suite. Also, bathrooms in existing suites will be renovated and a new infinity pool will be added. 

 

 

 

Stats: 30% of Americans Lose Their Work Device on Vacation

by Adam Leposa | 

Jul 8, 2019 10:28am

Unplugging Smartphone

Photo by AntonioGuillem/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

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While the vast majority of U.S. workers take their work device with them on vacation, that comes with a drawback – nearly a third will lose their device during the trip, according to new research from technology intelligence solutions provider Snow Software

According to the report, only 26 percent of U.S. employees say that they leave their work device behind while they are on vacation. At the same time, around 30 percent of Americans – nearly a third – report losing their work device while on their vacation. Americans are also more likely to lose a work device while on vacation than travelers from Europe or the Asia Pacific region. 

Of those who do lose their work device, only half (49%) report the loss to their company, and of those who report, only 49 percent do so immediately. A lucky 47 percent have had their device returned to them. 

The data is from a survey by Snow Software of 3,000 workers worldwide. 

The report is timely as the busy summer travel season is well underway. According to AAA, nearly 49 million Americans took a trip during this past Fourth of July travel weekend, making it the busiest one since the organization began compiling its annual travel forecast in 2000. 

At the same time, only 42 percent of respondents to a separate survey by Allianz Global Assistance said that they were confident that they will take a summer vacation this year, the lowest level since 2013. That report also found that over a third (36%) of Americans haven’t taken a vacation in two years. 

 

 

Air Travel: SAA’s New Airbus Heads to JFK, New Hong Kong Flight

by Adam Leposa | 

Jul 6, 2019 8:00am

Hong Kong

Hong Kong // Photo by IakovKalinin/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

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This week in air travel major airlines are expanding capacity and adding new flights. 

South African Airways reports that it is introducing the new Airbus A350-900 on its ultra-long-haul flights between New York City’s John F. Kennedy Airport and Johannesburg O.R. Tambo International Airport in South Africa, following the delivery of the new aircraft in the second half of 2019. The A350-900 will replace the A340-600 currently operating the route, which South African Airways says will allow it to reduce fuel burn by 20 percent, reducing carbon emissions, as well as offer fully flat-bed seats in Business Class and extra legroom seating in Economy Class

In new flight news, United Airlines has announced plans for a second daily nonstop flight between San Francisco and Hong Kong starting October 26. The new flight will offer an evening departure for San Francisco for a morning arrival in Hong Kong, while a new evening departure from Hong Kong will arrive in San Francisco in the evening. 

Finally, in onboard product news, Delta has announced it will debut a new Main Cabin experience on international routes starting this November. Starting then, customers flying internationally in the Main Cabin will be able to enjoy free “welcome aboard” cocktails, with Bellinis to start, as well as hot towel service and mix-and-match options for premium appetizers and larger entrees. The official launch follows a pilot program in which the product was tested on more than 700 flights between Portland and Tokyo Narita, earning increased customer satisfaction scores. The airline also made a number of tweaks to the product based on customer feedback. 

 

 

Stats: Wi-Fi Top Hotel Concern for Business Travelers

by Adam Leposa | 

Jul 8, 2019 4:52pm

Cisco predicts that 5G will account for over 3% of total mobile connections by 2022 (Image jamesteohart / iStockPhoto)

Photo by jamesteohart / iStockPhoto

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Access to Wi-Fi and room rate are the top qualities influencing hotel choice among business travelers, but there are some important differences depending on the countries those travelers hail from, according to new research by RoomIt by CWT, the hotel distribution division of CWT

The survey, which compiled responses from 660 business travelers from nine countries to identify what influences them to choose a particular hotel during the booking process, found that globally, having access to Wi-Fi (84%), room rate (81%), distance from business site (81%) and breakfast (79%) are the most important influences. By country, business travelers from the UK and Germany are the most influenced by having access to a health club (44%), while loyalty programs are the most important to those from Mexico and Germany(46%). 

Overall, business travelers are more likely to stay at upper midscale to upper upscale properties. Travelers from the United States, Mexico and Italy are more likely to stay in upper midscale properties (32%, 35% and 27%), while travelers from India and Australia are more likely to stay in luxury properties (35% and 25%). 

Globally, hotel and service are stronger drivers in picking the ideal hotel accommodation than amenities, image or location, according to the report. Quality (44%), trustworthiness (38%), convenience (40%), quietness (30%), affordability (28%) and coziness (28%) resonate the strongest. Regionally, quality is most important to India (63%), the U.S. (44%), Canada (40%) and the UK (39%). France prefers coziness and quiet the most (49% and 39%), while Mexico ranks trustworthiness the highest (54%). 

 

 

Survey Finds Americans Are Most Annoying Airline Passengers

AIRLINES & AIRPORTS  DONALD WOOD  JULY 09, 2019

Flight attendant helping passengerFlight attendant helping a passenger. (Photo via iStock / Getty Images Plus / Wittayayut)

A new survey found that American travelers are considered the most annoying passengers to fly with on domestic and international flights.

According to information from Jetcost.com, over 2,300 French residents who have recently flown were asked about annoying passengers, with 77 percent of respondents saying they had experienced travelers that stood out as being particularly bothersome.

A total of 61 percent of people said medium-haul flights featured the most irritating passengers on board. While 35 percent of respondents said they just ignore the annoying travelers, another 28 percent said they have complained to the cabin crew.

“A flight is the last place you want to be stuck with someone that sticks out as being irritating and disrupting, especially on a three- to six-hour flight, or one that’s longer,” a Jetcost.com spokesperson said. “While you can usually put your headphones in and drown that person out, it’s not always the case, and let’s be honest – you shouldn’t have to.”

“Cabin crew are trained to deal with people who are being a nuisance – especially if they’re intoxicated or too loud – so don’t be afraid to have a quiet word, the statement continued. “However, if it is just the voice of someone that annoys you, it may be worth popping your headphones in and sucking it up.”

Surveyed travelers said intoxicated passengers were the most annoying (36 percent), people with aggravating voices or accents were second at 25 percent and overly loud flyers were the third most annoying at 24 percent.

Another 19 percent of respondents said children were the most annoying travelers.

As for where the most irritating passengers come from, the survey found that Americans top the list at 46 percent, followed by Germany at 35 percent, South Africa at 32 percent, England at 29 percent and Australia at 27 percent.

 

 

For 2020, Royal Caribbean Sends Empress to New Orleans Year-Round

by Adam Leposa | 

Jul 10, 2019 10:40am

Empress of the Seas

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Following the end of people-to-people cruise travel to CubaRoyal Caribbean is repositioning the Majesty of the Seas to New Orleans in 2020, marking the cruise line’s year-round return to the port. Empress of the Seas, which had also offered Cuba cruises from Florida, will continue to sail from that port on itineraries that now include a call at Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands

From New Orleans, Majesty of the Seas’ 2020 schedule will see it sail seven-night itineraries with calls at the Bahamas, including Perfect Day at CocoCay, the line’s newly revamped private island destination. Cruises from New Orleans onboard Majesty are now open to book for itineraries departing through April 2020. Sailings departing from May 2020 through April 2021 will be open to book the week of July 22, 2019.

Continuing to homeport in MiamiEmpress of the Seas will sail six- to eight-night eastern and western Caribbean sailings with a new call at Virgin Gorda. The ship will also visit MexicoBelize and the Bahamas, as well as Perfect Day at CocoCay on select itineraries. Details for the ship’s 2020-21 deployment will be announced and available to book in the upcoming weeks. 

In addition to the new call at Virgin Gorda, the move adds two new ships calling at the revamped CocoCay, which travel agents gave high marks during the cruise line’s recent Travel Partner Advisory Board meeting on a sailing of the recently revitalized Navigator of the Seas. Demand for the new destination, which is part of the cruise line’s new Perfect Day Island Collection, also prompted Royal Caribbean to keep Independence of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale in 2020, instead of repositioning the ship to Southampton as had been originally planned. 

 

 

Tiime now for a cool tall glas of somefreshing.  We'll eave it up to you as to what you choose OK?

Until next week please remain vigilant and of course be safe, stay safe and travel safe.

Cheers for a rather steamy and hot Oakley this week.

Bill and Fred