Category Archives: Europe

Travel News: Eat With The Fishes At Norway’s New Underwater Restaurant

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Eat With The Fishes At Norway’s New Underwater Restaurant
Open Jaw reports a new restaurant with what’s being billed as Europe’s first underwater dining room will soon open on the southern tip of Norway. The semi-submerged, aptly named Under is housed in a 112-foot long rectangular building, one end of which sits on the seabed, 18 feet below the surface of the North Atlantic.
The other, above ground end looks kind of like an intermediate species dragging itself from the sea on an evolution chart or, as The Guardian more picturesquely puts it, a “whale resting its head on the rocky shore.” Diners descend through a steadily darkening interior, decorated with earth-toned wood and metal, pink and coral textiles, and finally rich greens and blues, before reaching the submerged dining room, where 40 guests are seated in front of a 36-foot wide, 11-foot high window looking out on the aquatic goings-on. The menu will showcase locally grown produce and locally caught seafood, such as stone crab, rugose squat lobster, limpets, clams, and sea cucumbers. Try to ignore the horrified looks of the fish swimming by the window as you eat their neighbors. Unusual and underappreciated ingredients will be welcome in the kitchen. A dessert made with two types of algae is promised. Located in southern Norway’s forested, beachy, and often stormy Lindesnes region, Under opens to the public on April 2, but we couldn’t find an available reservation until September, so book well in advance.

List Of New Zealand’s Visa Waiver Countries modified
In October, requirements will change for people from several nations planning to visit New Zealand. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETV) along with an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy will be introduced. The visa waiver applies if visitors intend on staying for three months or less.  Here’s a list of New Zealand visa waiver countries but who will need to get the ETV: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia (citizens only), Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA, Uruguay, Vatican City.

Cuba Set To Build Over 3,800 Guestrooms In 2019
Open Jaw reports as part of an ambitious Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) development plan through 2030, this year around 3,805 hotel rooms should be completed across Cuba, with another 5,000 to be renovated and improved. Currently, according to José R. Daniel Alonso, Mintur’s general director of development, investment by Cuban state enterprises and international companies are geared towards expanding lodging capacity. Alonso said, “We are doing so in important tourist poles like Varadero, where there is investment by the Almest furniture enterprise and Mintur’s real estate company, Inmotur. In this case, we can mention the Oasis and Varadero Internacional hotels. Meanwhile, in this destination, other investment projects are in the preparation stage.” New facilities are being built in the center of the country. For creating diverse range of tourist options across the island and taking advantage of its natural potential, Cuban investments are also being made for new hotels on the Ramón Peninsula and in Guardalavaca, Holguín. Also, the development of a tourist pole on Camagüey’s Cayo Cruz is planned by the Ministry for reaching the capacity projected for 2030. Another issue that needs to be addressed is connectivity. The Ministry of Tourism, along with the Ministry of Communications, is carrying out a national development plan for getting hundred percent Wi-Fi coverage in all tourist facilities.

 

This Is The Best Cruise Destination In The World
Travel+Leisure reports if you’re looking for the ultimate cruise destination, one place just took the top spot in the cruise industry’s Wave Awards: Greece. The U.K.-based awards recognize the best of the cruise industry, from the best locations to the best operators, and winners are decided by a combination of industry judges and public vote. The judges named Greece as the best destination, both as a port and a country, for 2019. Greece has more than 2,000 islands each offering their own charms and attractions, and the country’s ideal climate makes cruising possible for most of the year. Wave Awards representatives highlighted the picturesque seascapes and many cruise options, including smaller ships that visit quieter islands, as a major benefit. Explore lesser-known gems like Giola, a natural pool located on the island of Thassos. Greece’s islands are a longtime favorite, particularly with Travel + Leisure readers. The island of Páros was named the best island to visit in Europe and one of the best islands in the world in the World’s Best Awards. The country’s tourism sector is growing at a record place, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. In the public vote, Greece came in second, just behind Barbados. Barbados also has a lot to offer, from the pristine coastline and 70 miles of beach to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bridgetown.

 

A Wisconsin Cruise Ship Passenger Faces Years In Cayman Islands prison After A Gun Was Found In Her Luggage
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Carol Ann McNeill-Skorupan’s ship had anchored at George Town in the Cayman Islands last month, the first stop on a nine-night Caribbean cruise that departed from Florida. Once in port on Feb. 3, the 68-year-old Madison, Wisconsin, woman got a notice that her third piece of luggage, which hadn’t arrived with her flight from Wisconsin to Fort Lauderdale, had been found and flown down to the George Town airport. But when McNeill-Skorupan went to pick it up, her vacation turned into an expensive lesson in how American gun rights don’t always travel well, and that could land her in a foreign prison. Inside that third bag, X-rays showed, was a .25 caliber handgun and six rounds of ammunition. Despite her claim of a Wisconsin concealed carry permit, in the Caymans, it was considered illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm. Conviction carries a mandatory seven-year prison term upon a guilty plea, 10 years if convicted at trial, unless the court finds “exceptional circumstances.” She’s among dozens of Americans caught up in the Cayman Islands’ strict enforcement of gun laws, but one of only two facing trial and the risk of significant incarceration. According to reports in the Cayman Compass, the Cayman Islands’ main news outlet, McNeill-Skorupan spent three nights in jail before her release on $10,000 bail and the surrender of her passport. She was living in a hotel with an evening curfew while awaiting trial next month. McNeill-Skorupan didn’t ask that Delta forward the bag, her lawyer told the court, and had directed that it should be left with a friend in Florida, Meadors said. A judge later granted her permission to travel, and Meadors said she’s back in Madison. He said he has been tracking her case because it could impact his own and has been in touch with people who have spoken with her. Meadors, 54, who is in Florida awaiting a hearing in May, is in bigger trouble. He has already pleaded guilty to bringing his 9mm handgun to the Caymans, where he was building a multi-million dollar retirement home, but was allowed to return to Florida for medical treatment. It’s unclear if McNeill-Skorupan was planning to bring the gun on her cruise since Celebrity Cruises bans passengers from taking firearms on board. Guns and ammunition are strictly regulated in the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica, as several other visitors have learned recently.

 

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Travel News: Wow Air, Viking Sky

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Disney Doing Away With Smoking Areas, Oversized Strollers

Orlando Sentinel reports Disney announced Thursday that it will be removing all smoking areas from theme parks and banning oversized strollers. On May 1, Disney is going smoke-free. Smoking will be prohibited in all parks, but designated smoking areas will be available outside the entrances of the parks, and in designated areas at Disney Springs and at Disney resort hotels. Also, starting on May 1, strollers will have to be no wider than 31 inches, which is a reduction from the current 36-inch limit.

Viking Sky Cruise Ship Engines Failed Because Of Low Oil Levels,

USA TODAY reports Norwegian authorities are investigating why the Viking Sky cruise ship sailed despite a weather warning, leading to engine failure, a mayday call, and air evacuations. The Viking Sky cruise ship that had to be evacuated off the coast of Norway over the weekend had low oil levels that led to engine failure, according to the Norwegian Maritime Authority, which has been investigating the incident.

Norwegian officials opened an investigation into the incident Monday. The NMA indicated in a press release that while oil in the tanks was relatively low, it was within set limits. But as the ship crossed rocky seas, movement of oil in the tanks triggered an alarm. Norwegian media reported gusts up to 43 mph and waves over 26 feet. “The heavy seas in Hustadvika probably caused movements in the tanks so large that the supply to the lubricating oil pumps stopped,” Alvestad said. “This triggered an alarm indicating a low level of lubrication oil, which in turn shortly thereafter caused an automatic shutdown of the engines.”

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Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport Has Banned Irregular-Shaped Bags

New rules for checking in bags of irregular shape and size have come into effect at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport from Monday, March 25, 2019.

The new rules are aimed at preventing blockages and breakdowns in the baggage handling system caused by bags that do not have any flat surfaces or that have long straps or grips as per the International Air Transport Association (IATA) guidelines. The new rules have been agreed to after extensive consultations with the Airline Operators Committee (AOC) and other bodies representing airlines. Effective, March 25, 2019, only regular-shaped bags will be allowed at check-in counters; The bags must have at least one flat surface to be accepted on the check-in system; Round or irregular-shaped bags will not be allowed at check-in counters; Bags with longs straps will not be allowed at check-in counters. Passengers trying to check-in bags that do not conform to these rules will be offered the option of having their baggage wrapped with one flat side at the airport approved baggage wrapping stations.

United Airlines Announced It Will Be The First Airline To Offer Nonbinary Gender Options For Customers To Book Flights

The airline said the decision was made to “lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity.” United Airlines announced Friday that it has become the first US airline to allow customers to have the option to book flights with a nonbinary gender prefix and title, “Mx.” In a press release shared by the company, United said customers “now have the ability to identify themselves as M(male), F(female), U(undisclosed) or X(unspecified), corresponding with what is indicated on their passports or identification.” The airline said the decision was made to “lead the industry in LGBT inclusivity” and “to exhibit our care for” its customers. As part of its security screenings, federal Transportation Security Administration regulations require all flying passengers to disclose their gender identity prior to their flight, but TSA agents will accept any gender identification as long as it’s consistent with what’s listed on the flyer’s government-issued ID. Several states now offer IDs that allow people to identify as something other than male or female.

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Amsterdam Bans Red Light District Tours, Sold As Shore Excursion On Cruises

Cruise Critic reports Amsterdam is banning all tours of its Red Light District as part of an ongoing effort to address tourist congestion and to show respect for the city’s sex workers. Tours of the city’s Red Light District are popular excursions offered by many cruise lines, oceangoing and river, as well as independent tour operators. Each week, more than 1,000 guided tour groups pass through Oudekerksplein, the Red Light District’s main square, according to the city. During peak hours, between 11 a.m. and noon, and 7 and 8 p.m, more than 25 groups routinely crowd the area, disturbing businesses, and residents. The implementation will be gradual: As of April 1, guides will be forced to end tours by 7 p.m. as opposed to 11 p.m. The full ban goes into effect on January 1, 2020. “We are banning tours that take visitors along sex workers’ windows, not only because we want to prevent overcrowding in the Red Light District, but also because it is not respectful to sex workers,” Deputy Mayor Udo Kock said in a statement. “It is outdated to treat sex workers as a tourist attraction.” 

Wow Air Collapses

Wow Air has officially ceased operations after it failed to secure a rescue deal. The cash-strapped airline had already canceled some flights earlier this week after a potential rescue deal with rival Icelandair fell through for a second time. Icelandair had reopened talks with Wow after the low-cost carrier lost the support of a potential US financial backer last week, but discussions broke down over the weekend. Icelandair announced on Sunday that ‘its possible involvement with Wow Air’s operations, as announced on 20 March 2019, will not materialize’. Chief executive of Icelandair Group Bogi Nils Bogason added: “The financial position and operations are such that we did not see any reason to continue.” The airline, which operates low-cost flights from the UK to Reykjavik and onwards to the US and Canada, has been scrapping unprofitable routes since late last year. It is telling passengers to rebook with other airlines and says these might be offering special ‘rescue’ fares. “Passengers whose ticket was paid with a credit card are advised to contact their credit card company to check whether a refund of the ticket cost will be issued. Those passengers are advised to contact their travel agent to arrange an alternative flight. “Passengers who may have bought travel protection, or those passengers whose credit card terms may include such protection, may be entitled to claim compensation and assistance due to delays or travel disruption. 

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Uganda’s Kibale Forest National Park with Africa Wild Explorations

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This April, WIT Agent Nancy is embarking on an incredible trip to Uganda with Africa Wild Explorations. Uganda is THE destination for mountain gorillas. But for her first stop, she’ll spend a full day at Kibale Forest National Park, one of the best safari destinations in Africa for chimpanzee tracking. 

Read on to follow in her (upcoming) footsteps!

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After breakfast, her guides will escort her by vehicle through lush highlands to the West, through tea, coffee and banana plantations. Uganda grows more bananas than any other country in Africa! They’ll also have unobstructed views of the Mountains of the Moon! Peaking at 5,109 Meters (16,762 ft!), the Rwenzori Mountain Range can certainly call itself one of the most iconic summits in the world with pride.

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KIBALE RAINFOREST NATIONAL PARK

The national park is a paradise for primates, home to 13+ different species of primates and countless other mammals, butterflies, and birds. The flora in the park ranges from wet tropical forest to dry tropical forest, and on to woodland and savanna along the rift valley floor.

The African jungle has the greatest variety and concentration of primate species found anywhere on the continent. It’s certainly a happy habitat to the parks 1,400+ chimpanzees, like the uncommon I’Hoest’s monkey, endangered red colobus, black & white colobus, red-tailed monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, grey-cheeked mangabey, bush baby and potto.

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PRIMATE LODGE

During her visit to the rainforest, Nancy will be staying at the Primate Lodge Kibale. Tucked in right at the heart of the park, the lodge is at the doorstep of the Chimpanzee Habituation, and the point from which the Chimpanzee tracking excursion departs. From the comfort of your Luxury Cottage, you can unwind and listen to the chattering of the red-tailed monkeys in the dense branches.

Eco-Lodge, Eco-Travel!

Primate Lodge’s commitment to Sustainable Tourism matches the surrounding environment. The lodge was constructed with local materials, draws on solar-powered electricity, and the lodge’s economy contributes to the livelihood of many families in surrounding communities.

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LUXURY COTTAGES

The lodge keeps nine spacious and ensuite luxury cottages, with eco-friendly habits, a rustic ambiance, spacious verandas, and plenty of cozy room.  The luxury cottages are secluded and furnished in a rustic African interior.

Made of local brick and thatched grass, the cottages have been specially designed to enjoy the warmth of the tropical sun rays yet without oppressive heat or cold. Beautiful and artistic wall hangings, soft colored full length drapes on locally made rails as well as soft handwoven jute and wool rugs adorning the classic wooden floor finish this 30m² suite secluded in its corner of the forest for maximum privacy and comfort.

STANDARD COTTAGES

There are also seven standard cottages. These are newly refurbished, private and ensuite with a cozy bedroom and bathroom. Each room also enjoys beautiful views of the surrounding forest vegetation from the wide glass windows and doors as well as from the spacious veranda over-looking the rain-forest

FAMILY COTTAGE

Traveling with your family? No problem. L’hoest Cottage and Colobus Cottages are adjoining, with individual bathrooms and an interconnecting door.

HONEYMOON COTTAGE

The popular double storied ‘Elephant Banda’ comprises an upstairs bedroom which extends out over a large, elevated thatched wooden deck/veranda which too seems to extend right into the forest canopy. The deck is very popular for evening relaxation with a drink as you soak in the sunrays sipping through the tall forest trees. It is also an ideal spot for private room-service dining, either breakfast or lunch in the company of Black and White Colobus Monkeys or Red Colobus Monkeys that frequent the surrounding trees! It can also be amazing for candlelit dinner for your special night. The room also comes with a giant 7×7 King Size Bed. Not surprisingly, this cottage is especially popular with honeymooners or those celebrating anniversaries!

Stay Tuned to Next Week to hear of Nancy’s adventures in Queen Elizabeth National Park and cruising on the Kazinga Channel — and of course, the gorillas!

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Context Travel: Japan for Families

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Japan for Families

One of our favorite tour guides Context Travel offers excellent day trips in Japan – a single day to explore the marvelous kaleidoscope that is Tokyo.

There’s also an awesome 5-day itinerary of the highlights: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Arashiyama — curated especially for Families.

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Or pick and choose your tours for Japan – a la carte style!

Context Travel offers cultural and historical tours and activities led by deep subject-matter experts in over 50 cities around the world. It’s an in-depth, thematic way to explore the city, get to know its intimate nooks and crannies.

Japan for Families: 5-day itinerary

This is an in-depth introduction to Japan’s major hubs, as much as you can reasonably see in five days. It’s a comfortable step back in time that’s perfect for curious families. You’ll start in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo, then grab the bullet train to the old capital of Kyoto, keeper of Japan’s centuries-old heritage. On the outskirts of Kyoto lie the beautiful temples and landscapes of Arashiyama.

  • Pricing from: $2,900 for 5 private tours led by an expert guide*
  • Includes hotel meet up for each tour
  • Does not include accommodation or train to Kyoto

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Day 1: Tokyo in a Day

  • Akihabara electric city
  • Omotesando and Harajuku hip shops and quirky fashion
  • Meiji-jingu & Shinto

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Day 2: Evening: Kyoto Geisha Tour: Gion at Twilight

  • Travel to Kyoto by train
  • Explore the historic district of Gion

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Day 3: Introduction to Kyoto: Temples and Shrines

  • Kyoto’s temples and shrines

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Day 4: Kyoto for Families: World of the Warriors

  • Samurai culture, games and activities for kids
  • Nijo Castle
  • Japanese gardens

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Day 5: Arashiyama Tour

  • Travel back in time to the Heian period in Arashiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto
  • The Heian period (794 to 1185 c.e.) is analogous to the ancient Greek and Roman periods for Europeans. Many of Japan’s foundational beliefs, arts and traditions were developed during this period. 

Ask your Travel Agent for more tours led by expert travel guides around the globe. 

Photos courtesy of Context Travel. 

READ MORE About Context Travel: 

London Walking Tours with Context Travel

Stockholm with Context Travel

Walking Tours In & Around Town

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Travel News: Cambodia bans food inside Angkor Wat

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Hurtigruten’s Finnmarken To Be Transformed Into Premium Expedition Ship

Seatrade reports Finnmarkens new Science Center will be packed with the latest technology and high-tech gadgets. After the most extensive upgrade in Hurtigruten’s 125-year history, Finnmarken will reemerge as a premium expedition cruise ship. From 2021, the fully refurbished Finnmarken will explore handpicked destinations along the rugged Norwegian coastline on year-round expedition cruises. Already from 2020, travelers on Hurtigruten’s original Norwegian coastal voyage will get the opportunity to experience a new Finnmarken. Low emission engines, shore power and battery pack capability. ‘We will transform her into a full-fledged premium expedition cruise ship, with all the comforts, facilities and expertise you need for creating a perfect adventure,’ Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam said. The keel-to-mast upgrade will bring several new features. Some of the highlights include substantially upgraded, low-emission engines, complying with all known and upcoming regulations (Tier III), installation of shore power connectivity and preparation for future battery pack installation. All cabins and suites will be fully refurbished. Using natural Scandinavian materials such as granite, oak, birch and wool, this will create a relaxed and stylish look and feel, and add to the premium on-board experience. On Deck 8 aft, in the current gym and sauna area, five roomy suites with large panoramic windows will be added. Four new restaurants will be installed. These include Hurtigruten’s new expedition cruise main restaurant, Aune. Social and and informal, with the use of natural elements in design and interiors, Restaurant Aune will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner featuring Scandinavian dishes. Restaurant Lindstrøm, a specialty restaurant named after the favorite chef of the Norwegian polar heroes, will provide fine dining with strong roots in traditional Norwegian cooking that are contrasted with modern cuisine. The informal eatery Fredheim, named after a legendary 1920s hunting station in Svalbard that sheltered adventurers from around the world, will be added on Deck 7. In addition, Deck 8 will gain a new grill venue. In other changes, Hurtigruten’s signature Science Center will be found on Deck 4. Packed with the latest technology and high-tech gadgets such as touch screens, science equipment and other interactive features, this edutainment area will also be the on-board headquarters of the ship’s expedition team. A new, larger wellness area will be added on Deck 7, and includes a lounge, treatment rooms, gym and panoramic sauna. The outdoor pool area will be fully refurbished, the shop expanded, and Finnmarken’s car deck will be replaced by a launching area for exploration boats and other expedition equipment. The ship’s extensive art collection will be preserved during the refurbishment, which will take place in the first quarter of 2020.

Cambodia Bans Food Inside Angkor Complex

Travelwirenews reports t he Apsara Authority is trying to reduce littering at the World Heritage site in Siem Reap province of Cambodia. The Cambodian tourism authority has banned visitors from eating food in the World Heritage temple complex in Siem Reap. Hang Pov, Apsara Authority director, said in a letter dated Thursday that the authority wished to remind relevant parties that the Angkor area is a World Heritage Site with many famous temples, especially Angkor Wat, and that eating food in the complex is now banned. “In order to preserve the precious Khmer legacy and to maintain public order and good sanitation, we ban all food, especially packed meals brought in during sunrise or sunset visits, in the temple complex,” the Khmer Times on Monday quoted him as saying. He added that tour operators, tourist associations as well as guides have to advice their guests not eat meals in the temple complex. Nuon Mony, the Siem Reap provincial environment department director, on Sunday said that the ban will help to keep the Angkor site environment clean. “Leftover food and discarded packages litter the temple complex and it affects the environment at Angkor,” he said. “The authority is taking action as part of efforts to protect the environment at the Angkor complex and keep its surroundings clean.” Mony added that tourists should find appropriate places to eat instead of in the complex. Sou Malin, a Siem Reap city resident, on Sunday said that residents support the ban. “Some people do not clean up after they eat and they litter the area, which affects the environment,” she said. In October 2017, Apsara Authority banned food vendors from setting up stalls in front of Angkor Wat. The Angkor Archaeological Park, which includes the famed Unesco-listed Angkor temples, generated US$116.6 million in income from entry tickets last year, an 8% increase compared with the year before.

The World’s Longest-Running Airlines

CNN reports KLM: The flag carrier airline of the Netherlands turns 100 in October this year, making it the oldest airline still in operation. October 2019 will mark the 100-year anniversary of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands granting the “royal” title to a small, pioneering airline that was due to be founded. The Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, more commonly known by its initials KLM, grew to become one of the largest airlines in Europe, as well as one of the most iconic brands in the aviation industry. A crown features prominently in its livery, but perhaps the crown this airline carries with the most pride is that of being the oldest airline in the world today. Surprisingly for an industry known for its volatility and financial instability, quite a few airlines from those heroic early years of aviation are still surviving in their original form. Here are 10 of the oldest airlines in the world still in operation:

  1. KLM turns 100 this year, making it the oldest airline still in operation.

  2. Avianca the national airline of Colombia since 1919.

  3. Qantas Year of foundation: 1920. Passengers transported in 2018: 55.3 million. Few people outside of Australia know that Qantas stands for “Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.” Its first aircraft was an Avro 504, a pre-World War I biplane that could seat a pilot and one passenger.

  4. Aeroflot; Aeroflot was the largest airline in the world during the Soviet era. Year of foundation: 1923. First flight: July 1923. Passengers transported in 2018: 55.7 million.

  5. Czech Airlines (CSA) Czech Airlines, the national airline of the Czech Republic. Year of foundation: 1923. First flight: October 1923 Passengers transported in 2018: 2.9 million.

  6. Finnair; The Finnish government has a 55.8% holding of Finnair. Year of foundation: 1923. First flight: March 1924. Passengers transported in 2017: 13.2 million.

  7. Delta Air Lines; Delta is the oldest airline still operating in the US. Year of foundation: 1924. Passengers transported in 2018: 192.5 million. Delta has grown from a small crop-dusting operation in America’s Deep South to the largest airline in the world by some measures.

  8. Tajik Air (until January 2019). Year of foundation: 1924. Passengers transported in 2017: 356,000.

  9. Air Serbia; Year of foundation: 1927. Passengers transported in 2017: 2.62 million. 10. Iberia; Year of foundation: 1927. First flight: December 1927. Passengers transported in 2017: 54.9 million

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Waikiki Unveils New Measures To Reduce Crime

Travelmole reports that Waikiki has been plagued by a spike in petty crime, and is fighting back. It announced a new crime-fighting plan to ensure ‘visitors always feel comfortable,’ said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. The wide-ranging plan will include the installation of dozens of new surveillance cameras which will be paid for by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Bike patrols will be increased and it will enforce a late night curfew for unaccompanied children under the age of 16. Waikiki may also impose a moratorium on late-night cabaret liquor licenses. It will also remove benches and walls where ‘bad elements’ are known to congregate at night. There has been a spate of robberies where visiting tourists seem to have been targeted close to hotels. “Waikiki is one of the safest visitor destinations in the entire world, and we want to make sure our visitors always feel comfortable in this very special place,” Caldwell said.

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Travel News: More cruise lines doing away with plastic bottles

More cruise lines doing away with plastic bottles

Beginning in spring 2019, Regent Seven Seas Cruises will serve water in reusable glass bottles, replacing traditional plastic water bottles across the fleet. The cruise line has set a goal to eliminate approximately 2 million plastic water bottles annually. Passengers will be able to choose from Vero-branded still or sparkling water, which uses a proprietary five-stage nanofiltration process to reduce impurities, chemicals and imperfections. An onboard purification and filling system will enable the line to purify, chill and serve Vero water on all its ships Regent Seven Seas’ move toward Vero water is part of a Sail & Sustain environmental program helmed by its parent company, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. The latest announcement comes only two weeks after Regent Seven Seas’ sister brand, Oceania, also revealed it would replace plastic bottles with Vero water. Last year, all three lines under the Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. umbrella — including Norwegian Cruise Line — eliminated plastic straws from their ships.

Malta continues to climb in popularity

Statistics released by Malta’s National Statistics Office for inbound tourism for 2018 show that Malta’s popularity in the North American market is still rising. The Hon. Konrad Mizzi, Minister of Tourism for Malta, noted that the US was one of the fastest growing tourism markets for Malta, recording a dramatic increase of 31.9% from 2017 to 2018, with a total of 47,170 Americans visitors. The increase from Canada in 2018 was 6.6% (15,015 Canadians) bringing the total arrivals in 2018 from North America to a record-breaking 62,185. This archipelago in the Mediterranean recorded an overall 2.6 million visitors (+14.3% between 2017 and 2018), bringing a record number of tourists to Malta from around the world.

First Italian beach to go non-smoking

The Venetian seaside resort of Bibione will be the first Italian beach to go completely smoke-free, in a mission to safeguard the environment from discarded cigarette ends and protect visitors from secondhand smoke. The decision comes after eight years of trials, as part of the Breathe the Sea Air project, which saw an initial smoking ban between the first row of umbrellas to thewater’s edge. New measures, to be imposed by the end of May, will include designated smoking areas 300 to 400 meters away from the sea, at the edge of the beach. Details regarding fines and whether e-cigarettes are to be permitted will be published in May. The 8km stretch of beach received 5,317,064 visitors in 2017, making it the fourth most visited beach in the country, after Rimini, Cavallino-Treporti and Jesolo.

Non-binary gender options soon to be available when buying airline tickets

US airline passengers will soon be able to select a gender option which is not “male” or “female” when purchasing tickets. Major American airlines have said they will soon change their ticketing process to include choices such as “undisclosed” or “unspecified”. There could also be the optional title of “Mx”. American, Delta, United, Southwest, Alaska and JetBlue said they are in the process of updating their booking tools and plan to add a binary option to the gender menu on their sites. They said the change will be made in the next few weeks. The Transportation Security Administration said passengers should use the name, gender and birth date on their government-issued ID. The airlines said they are making the change to be more inclusive in dealing with a diverse range of customers. “It’s a significant step forward for non-binary individuals, so they are not faced with a mismatch between their ticketing information and their legal identification,” Beck Bailey, of the Human Rights Campaign, said.

Therapy dogs added at Toronto Pearson airport

Toronto Pearson International Airport and the St. John Ambulance (SJA) Therapy Dog Program are partnering to bring 15 therapy dog teams to YYZ. As part of the Toronto Pearson Welcome Team Volunteer Program, SJA Therapy Dog teams will roam Terminals 1 and 3 to bring enjoyment and help alleviate the anxiety that some passengers experience while traveling. Engaging with a therapy dog has been known to have a positive effect in helping to reduce anxiety and create a sense of calm. Along with their handlers wearing the distinctive blue Toronto Pearson Welcome Team vests or jackets, SJA therapy dogs Bella, Cheyenne, Daisey, Ghost, Hunter, Kahlua, Luna, Pumpkin, Ringo Starr, Shep, Snickers, Sofia, and Zorie will roam Terminals 1 and 3 on a flexible, weekly rotation and can be easily spotted by their official red and white SJA Therapy Dog bandanas. Passengers are welcome to approach the dogs and pet them to help them relax while at the airport.

Think of lovely Wales for cruising!

Wales may not immediately spring to mind as a cruise destination, but in 2018 alone the country welcomed more than 100 ships. That means more than 51,000 cruise passengers from the USA, Canada, France and Germany sailed to Wales last year. It is a significant upturn on 2017’s figures which show a year on year increase of 15%. The Welsh Government say they want to continue this growth for 2019. They’ve been working with Cruise Wales and local authorities and ports on a marketing program for Wales. The country has attracted new lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Aida, Regent Seven Seas and Phoenix Reissen and work is ongoing to attract further cruise lines as well as retain the existing ones. The Welsh Government has invested in a pontoon in the Fishguard port, allowing larger cruise vessels to call. There has already been an increase in passenger numbers for 2019 of 50% including the arrival of the Aidabella cruise ship, with 2,500 cruise passengers on board. This will be the largest ship to call in Fishguard so far. Cruise & Maritime Voyages are set to continue offering turnaround cruises in 2019, following the second successful year of sailing out of Cardiff where 750 passengers will board and disembark the Marco Polo cruise vessel. The Marco Polo cruise ship will be setting sail from Cardiff to four locations this summer including to Iceland.

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SALE: Hurtigruten in Antarctica

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Hope you all had a lovely weekend! This week, we’re happy to announce a new SALE that’s come our way via Hurtigruten.

Valentine’s Day SALE-ing

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With awe-inspiring icebergs and scores of penguins and whales, travel to Antarctica is always one for the bucket lists! But we know that it can also be a big investment, which is why we were thrilled to hear about this new, incredible offer from Hurtigruten for you and a plus one — in the spirit of Valentine’s.

Choose 1 of 2 sailings departing Nov/Dec 2019 and save 50% off the second guest! Hurry because this only applies to new bookings made by Feb 25! 

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OPTION 1: Chilean Fjords, Antarctica and Falklands

  • Dept Nov 27, 2019
  • Aboard the MS Roald Amundsen
  • 18 Days
  • Discover the glaciers, wilderness, and wildlife of the Chilean fjords
  • Travel to the end of the world; experience the unique wildlife and scenery of Antarctica and the Falklands
  • High-tech Science Centre and lectures on popular topics on board
  • Landings and excursions with a high-class Expedition team

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OPTION 2: Christmas on the White Continent

  • Dept December 13, 2019
  • Board the MS Midnatol
  • 17 Days
  • Experience glaciers, nature, and wildlife
  • Come ashore in Antarctica and meet penguins up close
  • A Christmas celebration in the land of ice and snow
  • Landings and excursions with our expert Expedition team

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READ MORE ABOUT HURTIGRUTEN + ANTARCTICA

Hurtigruten: Exclusive Norway Voyage with NASA Astronaut Dr. Thagard

Hurtigruten: Voyage to Antarctica

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