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November 24, 2016

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Vacation is calling FAB FAMILY FIND IN MEXICO Big families are in for big fun at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort in Riviera Maya. Kids can build sandcastles on its stunning beach before snorkelling in its turquoise waters; or they can get their swing on at the playground or the minigolf at the Kids Club. Beach babies or landlubbers, Sandos Playacar has all family members covered!


CONTENTS

Noteworthy

REGULAR FEATURES

10 cover story There’s never a bad time for a quick Seattle getaway. Ted Davis offers some tips in this week’s cover story.

events

18 travel industry calendar

Peregrine unveils new carbon offset cruises

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eregrine Adventures has introduced a new range of carbon-offset adventure cruises, detailed the company’s first adventure cruising brochure. The 10 new small ship itineraries, for no more than 50 travellers, will visit small ports that the big ships can’t get to in destinations including Croatia, Cuba, Iceland, Portugal, Panama, and the Greek Islands. Intrepid Group’s managing director, James Thornton observed: “Traditional cruises do a great job of catering to those travellers who enjoy an all-inclusive beach resort, but tourism is changing and there is no real option on water for our travellers who prefer small hotels and Airbnb-style local authenticity.” He pointed out that: “We’re just a start-up in the fast-growing cruise market, but we think it is ripe for disruption because the big companies have not responded quickly enough to demand for genuine local experiences that benefit both travellers and the places and people they visit.” Peregrine Adventures is part of the Intrepid Group, which is a signatory of the UN Global Compact, committing the company to transparent reporting on environmental, social and economic sustainability. It has been carbon-neutral since 2010, and the group calculates carbon emissions from passengers on its trips and then neutralizes emissions on their behalf. tc

18 upcoming educational trips for the trade

DESTINATIONS & FEATURES

12 US Who knew Texas was big on wine?

16 mexico/latin america Globus will make its first foray into Mexico in 2017

19 off-season europe A renowned author offers a touch of Trafalgar

20 caribbean The new-look Pineapple Beach Club Antigua is welcoming guests again

DEPARTMENTS

23 careers

professional services business opportunities

cover photo by shutterstock

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For more information visit Sunwing.ca All flights include award-winning Champagne Service • Welcome glass of sparkling wine • Free checked baggage up to 23kg • Extensive buy on board menu ($) • Non-alcoholic beverages • First-run movies • Kidcations backpacks with games & toys • Free 5kg carry-on plus one personal item FOOD NETWORK is a trademark of Television Food Network G.P.; used with permission.

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CELEBRITY CHEF AN INSPIRING PRESENCE FOR NEW SUNWING CAFÉ Chef Lynn Crawford menu

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The verdict is in and it’s: delicious! It took a couple of weeks, but Sunwing Travel Group staff at the company’s Toronto airport area headquarters finally got a chance to see – and taste – what all the fuss is about. During the last week of October, Sunwing unveiled its new Sunwing Café on-board menu developed in partnership with Food Network Canada’s Lynn Crawford and last week (Nov. 16) the celebrity chef was on hand at the office to meet company staff, pose for photos, and, more importantly, oversee a reception where one of her now Sunwing signature dishes was served. Crawford touted the fresh ingredients – locally sourced in Canada – used in the meals, which can be ordered (along with other dishes) on board all Sunwing flights and the dedication of the catering and airline staff to make it all happen. “To get that one dish to you at 30,000 feet, that’s unbelievable,” she said. As for the fact that the three dishes – pasta, short ribs and peameal bacon sandwich – bear “inspired by” branding, Crawford laughed that “as much as I would like to be on every Sunwing flight, it is physically not possible” – hence the term “inspired by,” though she assured the recipes were truly hers. “If you come to my house for dinner, I will cook that pasta!” she vowed. “But to inspire it and set that standard of excellence is import to me.” Crawford-inspired items on the menu include:

TRAVEL

COURIER FOUNDER W.H. Baxter, 1919-2004

Chef Lynn Crawford and Sunwing president and CEO Stephen Hunter

ƒ For breakfast, honey Dijon peameal bacon on a kaiser, topped with onion marmalade and grainy mustard aioli; ƒ Lunch and dinner choices include slow-cooked beef short ribs served with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes, heirloom carrots, double-smoked bacon, pearl onions and Bourguignon sauce; and baked pasta with roasted tomatoes, mozzarella and jalapeno jack cheese, lemon ricotta and tomato basil sauce. Sunwing VP of Inflight Operations Marcella Howley says that passenger feedback on the new menu has been “phenomenal” so far. “I’ve never seen anything like this [in all my years in the business],” she marvelled. continued on page 7

Vol.51 No.45

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NEWS NEW-LOOK SANDALS WILL BE AN ‘EASY SELL’

Juan Pablo, Destination Quebec; Leonora Moncada, Alliance de L’industrie Touristique de Quebec; Gillian Hall, Destination Quebec and Deborah Edwards, Destination Quebec.

QUEBEC QUEUED UP FOR 2017 MILESTONES With Canada’s 150th anniversary and Montreal’s 375th birthday taking place next year, Destination Quebec is expecting tourism to la belle province to continue to boom. “Quebec has enjoyed a fabulous 2016,� Destination Quebec’s Gillian Hall told an industry gathering on Nov. 16 in Toronto. “Montreal will host over 10 million tourists, Quebec City was awarded the Cultural Centre of the Year at the Leading Culture Destination Awards in London, England, as well as being named the top tourist destination in Canada by Travel & Leisure.� From cultural activities, festivals, gastronomy, health and wellness, soft adventure, extreme adventure, cycling, golfing, hiking, kayaking, skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, dog sledding, zip-lining, rock climbing, wild life observation, to cruises and more, Hall says there is something in Quebec for all travellers. →w ww.quebecoriginal.com

Sandals Resorts celebrated the reopening of Sandals Royal Bahamian in Nassau last week (Nov. 18) with many travel trade partners and special guests on hand including Perry Christie, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the Bahamas; Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica; and Obediah Wilchcombe, Bahamas Minister of Tourism. Canadian representatives from Air Canada Vacations, WestJet and TravelBrands were also on hand for the reopening. Following a reported $4-million makeover, renovations and updates to the property include a new boiler system and plumbing, new furniture and furnishings in rooms and common areas, and updates to the main pool area. “I think this is definitely going to be an easy sell for us Canadians with the cold winter coming,� Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, Sun Markets at Air Canada Vacations told PressToday. “The product looks phenomenal, they’ve done a great job of cleaning it up and bringing it to the next level, and our customers are going to have an amazing experience here and love the product.� →w ww.sandals.com

continued from page 6

Crawford, who worked with Four Seasons resorts for 24 years, told Travel Courier the prospect of trying to make airline food appealing was not at all daunting. “When you get in that plane, you want something wow; something simple; something not too ‘chef-fy,’â€? she said. “You want good, real food. And I think we accomplished that. If you want a Canadian sandwich, what could be better than peameal‌ [enhanced] with caramelized onion marmalade?â€? Sunwing execs note that Crawford’s dishes are selling out fast on flights, observing that the lunch and dinner dishes are even being ordered for breakfast. They add that more drinks (like wine) are being sold to accompany the meals. Sunwing president and CEO Stephen Hunter says the Crawford menu – along with the other dishes available, simply enhance the airline’s “champagne serviceâ€? motto. “This is something that goes along with our entire customer service experience: something better than [passengers] would normally get on our competitors. This is really important to us!â€? tc november 24, 2016 | travelcourier.ca 7


NEWS

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AGENTS CAN WIN WITH WESTJET, AMRESORTS WestJet Vacations and AMResorts have teamed to invite travel agents to enter the “Win your way away� contest, which offers a chance to win a seven-night Unlimited-Luxury vacation package, including airfare, to Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun, Mexico. “This contest highlights the fantastic AMResorts properties we offer, and the Indulgence Package, which is

exclusive to WestJet Vacations guests,� says Jane Clementino, director of agency sales for WestJet. To enter, travel agents must submit all eligible WestJet Vacations bookings to select AMResorts properties made between Nov. 3 and Dec. 1, and submitted by contest close on Dec. 5. Full details on eligible bookings are available at: →w ww.westjetagentcontests.com

G ADVENTURES ADDS MORE LIMITED EDITION EXPERIENCES A Halloween party at Bran Castle in Romania, celebrating Haitian Carnival in Jacmel, jamming at Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica, indulging at Pizzafest in Italy, and running in the Serengeti half-marathon are all new, once-in-a-lifetime experiences now available with the launch of G Adventures’ Limited Edition program. The updated program of tours from the leading small-group adventure operator combines existing “one-off�

trips with newly created trips, and is designed to get travellers more immersed in a country by delivering experiences that are completely unique to a place and its people. The 32 trips offer experiences in more than 20 countries and also include recognized events such as La Tomatina in Spain, Carnivals in Rio de Janiero, Brazil and Venice, Italy, and Mardi Gras in New Orleans. →w ww.gadventures.com

WHAT’S GOOD FOR B&R IS GOOD FOR THE GANDER Premier active travel company Butterfield & Robinson has partnered with Arctic luxury apparel company Canada Goose to launch Canada Goose Adventure Trips. Beginning in 2017, the intimate group voyages will provide travellers with the opportunity to explore destinations, while sporting apparel from the Canada Goose Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer collections. The two Canadian brands will launch the program with two trips: the first in Iceland and the second in Newfoundland. Travellers are encouraged to be immersed in the untamed natural beauty of the regions and take part in expeditionary activities from snorkelling and sea kayaking to snowmobiling and all-terrain adventures. Guests will stay at luxurious wilderness lodges, savour culinary delicacies and relish in many natural wonders. →w ww.butterfield.com/ canada-goose-adventure-travel

AIR

PORTER Porter Escapes has partnered with Tourism Toronto, Ontario Travel and Destination Canada to promote the rich arts and cultural experiences available in and around the Ontario capital with special air, hotel and entertainment packages. Packages feature air with Porter Airlines, which brings passengers to the heart of downtown Toronto. Toronto Arts package tickets available through Porter Escapes include: Canadian Opera Company; Canadian Stage; Toronto Symphony Orchestra; National Ballet of Canada;

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McMichael Canadian Art Collection (Kleinburg, Ont.); Mirvish Productions; Opera Atelier; Royal Ontario Museum; Starvox Entertainment. Toronto Arts tickets are also available to passengers travelling with air-only Porter Airlines itineraries by contacting a Porter Escapes Travel Planner at 1-855-372-1100. → www.porterescapes.com

AVIANCA Latin carrier Avianca is reminding people that passengers departing from Toronto and its many US gateways can connect to over 60 destinations in Central America, South America and the Caribbean through

the airlines’ hubs in San Salvador, Bogotå and Lima. Destinations in Central America and the Caribbean include – Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Panama, Curaçao, Guatemala, Havana, Liberia (Costa Rica), Managua, Punta Cana, San JosÊ, San Juan, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, Santo Domingo, Roatan and Tegucigalpa; in South America – Lima, Cuzco, Quito, Guayaquil, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Asuncion, Buenos Aires, Caracas, La Paz, Montevideo and Santiago, as well as multiple destinations within Colombia, such as Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Cartagena and San Andres, among others. → www.avianca.com


COVER STORY | SEATTLE

GET AN EDGE on Seattle getaway at overwater hotel The cozy fireplace lounge, facing Seattle’s Elliott Bay

Edgewater ‘a great place to hang one’s hat’ Story and photos by TED DAVIS

S

eattle beckons with the buzz of NFL fan fever in the fall and early winter, as the Seahawks wage another football campaign. Seattle’s “getaway” factor favours Canadians, who need only about three hours for the drive south from Vancouver, across the border and down the I-5 freeway. Once in the Emerald City, they can sample American-style shopping, eclectic dining, live music entertainment, the Experience Music Project, the Space Needle… and perhaps catch a Seahawks game. A great place to hang one’s hat for such a visit is the Edgewater Hotel. It is so named for its proximity to the calm waters of Elliott Bay (Seattle’s harbour), and its cozy interior

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is an inviting refuge from the fall winds and rain that usually sweep through the city. The fireplace lounge, reading nook, dining room, bar and many of the rooms have big windows that face the bay and provide great views of Seattle’s waterfront, framed by the Olympic mountains behind. Located at Pier 67, The Edgewater is the only over-water hotel in Seattle. The Six Seven Restaurant & Lounge at The Edgewater is a popular place to gather, and reservations are recommended. It combines stunning waterfront sunset views with a menu comprised of organic local produce, meat and seafood from around the Pacific Northwest.


The reading nook has a wall of photos to describe a more riotous past, when rock and roll royalty would take up residence at the Edgewater when in town for a concert. Among the guest luminaries were The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones, to name a few. A photo of the Beatles is especially evocative, as it shows the lads leaning out the windows, pretending to fish. This is a reminder that room windows are indeed directly above the waters of the bay, and provide a boat-like experience to guests staying there. The Edgewater rooms have gas fireplaces and lots of Pacific Northwest dĂŠcor. For instance, the Waterfront Premium rooms have luxury accommodations and panoramic views of Elliott Bay; Waterside rooms have partial views of Elliott Bay with spacious living areas; Cityside deluxe rooms have a full view of the downtown skyline, etc. Guests can even stay in the same room the Beatles occupied, where the “fishingâ€? photo was captured. The Beatles Suite is appointed with band portraits and memorabilia. From here, it is a short walk to explore the popular Pike Place Market, the Space Needle and many other places of interest. Bear in mind that most walkable attractions are steeply uphill from the waterfront. Year 2017 will mark the launch of “55 Years on The Edgeâ€? to honour the Edgewater’s 55th anniversary. Special packages and programming consistent with the “55â€? theme will be available as of January. →w ww.edgewaterhotel.com

BOEING Speaking of anniversaries‌. it is 100 years of aviation history for the Boeing Company in 2016. Yep, 1916 was the year that the Boeing Model 1 seaplane was built by William Boeing and Conrad Westervelt in a hangar on Lake Union in Seattle. The massive aircraft and aerospace company that has since evolved hasn’t moved far from its roots. In fact, the current Museum of Flight in Seattle was established in the original Boeing factory at Boeing Field near to downtown Seattle, after Boeing moved to its current operations in Everett, Washington. The Museum of Flight is not affiliated with Boeing, but nonetheless retains a large collection of many significant aircraft, artifacts, images and documents associated with the company. This has been highlighted for the centennial throughout the museum campus, including at the new Aviation Pavilion that opened last June. This 1.2-hectare facility is open to the air, but sheltered by a roof and connected to the main museum building by a covered walkway, so visitors are never affected by wet weather – just make sure to have a coat for warmth! In this space are World War II-era Boeing B-17 and B-29 aircraft, a B-47 Stratojet from the 1950s, prototypes of B737 and B747 airliners and even a B787 Dreamliner. Part of the museum has been built within the original Boeing airplane factory, Plant One, which was dubbed the Red Barn. The Red Barn has many Boeing artifacts, but it also explores the history of flight from its earliest roots, with exhibits dedicated to the Wright brothers and other aviation pioneers. Nearby are the exhibits of everything from World War II fighter aircraft to the Lockheed M-21 Blackbird – the fastest and highest-flying aircraft ever built. Zoom! →w ww.museumofflight.org tc

View of the Seattle downtown skyline from the waterfront

a

b (a) A WWII-era Boeing B-29 Superfortress at the Museum of Flight (b) A rare Lockheed Blackbird is a centrepiece at the Museum of Flight

The entrance driveway and façade at the Edgewater Hotel in Seattle

november 24, 2016 | travelcourier.ca 11


DESTINATION | U.S.

TEXAS BIG ON WINE, WHO KNEW? Wine lovers will be in their element in Texas, says Chris Radley. At a recent Toronto event, the Texas Tourism rep in Canada noted that the state has more than 180 wineries and is the fifth-largest producer of wine in the US. It also has several easily navigable wine trails. Tourism authorities add that Texas is also home to 80 craft breweries and distilleries, underscoring varied tourism attributes in the jurisdiction. houston, san antonio Carina Boukary-Mory, Canadian rep for the Greater Houston Convention & Visitors Bureau, touted that city’s flourishing cultural scene, being home to some 19 major museums and over 10,000 restaurants serving cuisine

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The Visit Anaheim Road Show made its inaugural Toronto debut recently highlighting the destination has much more on oer than Disneyland. Canada is a top three market for Anaheim, which saw a 6.6% growth in international tourism, including 517,838 Canadian visitors in 2015. More than 20 tourism partners were on hand for the road show, which continued in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver with events geared at travel agents and consumers. Pictured at Omni King Edward Hotel are Visit Anaheim’s (l-r) Rylee Chapman, Charles Harris and Pepe Avila.

from some 70 countries, and baseball fans can go for a “behind-the-scenes tour� of the Houston Astros’ stadium. And Patrice Bell, San Antonio’s Canadian rep, Convention & Visitors Bureau, noted that that city will be marking its 300th anniversary in 2018,

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO READY FOR CHRISTMAS

Macy’s Christmas Parade

Beginning Dec. 3 and running daily through Jan. 1, travel agents’ clients can celebrate Christmas at Universal Orlando Resort’s Holidays celebration. Adults and children will see majestic balloons in the 15th anniversary of Macy’s Holiday Parade, discover the holiday cheer of Who-ville at Grinchmas and hear holiday

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and numerous festivals “are being prepared for that big birthday.� Five long-standing Spanish missions in San Antonio have received UNESCO World Heritage Site status, she added. →w ww.traveltexas.com

classics performed by Christmas sensation Mannheim Steamroller. At Universal Studios Florida, the larger-thanlife balloons seen in the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City will fill the streets during the 15th anniversary Macy’s Holiday Parade. New to this year’s parade is the “Virginia� balloon depicting the eight-year old girl from the famed Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus newspaper editorial of the late 1800s, as well as the “Mother Ginger� special character from The Nutcracker, which will join the many popular balloons in the Macy’s Holiday Parade including “Big Man Santa� and the “Wiggleworm.� Access to Universal Orlando’s Holidays festivities is included in regular admission to the theme parks. →w ww.UniversalTravelAgents.com.


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Dynamic pricing is per person based on double occupancy and is valid for travel January 22 to January 27/17. Price and availability are subject to change without prior notification and were available on November 14/16. Black-out dates and restrictions apply. Surcharges may apply. Hotel taxes are included in the dynamic pricing. Not included: transfers or car rental. EP: European plan. Additional restrictions may apply. Attraction prices are per person including tax. The 2-Park 4-Day Park to Park ticket entitles one (1) guest admission to BOTH Universal Studios Florida™ AND Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ theme parks on the same day. Ticket is valid for any 4 calendar days during a seven (7) consecutive calendar day period which includes the first day any portion of the ticket is used. This ticket also includes seven (7) consecutive calendar days of admission to select live entertainment venues of Universal CityWalk™ which commences and includes the first day any portion of the ticket is used. The ticket will expire in full on the expiration date printed on the ticket. Unused days will be forfeited. ^The ticket offer is offered by TravelBrands and is not available at the front gate; it is only available with advance purchase. Must be purchased in conjunction with a 3-night minimum stay in an Orlando hotel. *Requires theme park admission. Early Park Admission begins one (1) hour prior to regular scheduled park opening to either Universal Studios Florida™ or Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ as determined by Universal Orlando and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ (Opening 2017). Valid at select attractions at each park. Attractions are subject to substitutions without notice. Additional restrictions may apply. Sapphire Falls Resort™ & ©2016 UCF Hotel Venture III. All Rights Reserved. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2016 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.


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TOURING

EXODUS Exodus Travels has announced more exotic winter escapes (there are 57 in total). The adventures have seasonal traditions, holiday celebrations and wintry charm, taking clients to destinations completely altered by the first snowfall. Hosted by local guides, travellers can learn to lead a team of huskies across Lapland, cycle across frozen lakes on fat bikes, border hop the Alps by Nordic skies, admire the Northern Lights, and relax by the fire

TAUCK Tauck has announced that next summer it will again offer helicopter-assisted alpine explorations in the Rockies. Tauck will offer three departures of Bugaboos Adventure (from $5,990 p.p., double, plus airfare). It begins with two nights at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park. On Day 3,

in a cozy Norwegian cabin. In 2017, Exodus will debut 12 adventures that prove winter is enchanting. In Finland, active travellers can explore Lapland’s Oulanka National Park by the chunky, extra grip tires of their fat bikes. They will cycle through snow-veiled pine forests and across frozen lakes to the border of Russia. Surrounded by remote wilderness and beneath dark skies, the guided group will have an excellent chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Nights are spent in remote cabins with wood-burning fireplaces and traditional saunas. The tour is eight days and starts from $2,085. →w ww.exodustravels.com

guests will be airlifted by helicopter to the Bugaboo Lodge high in the Purcell Mountains, where they’ll enjoy a threenight stay. While at the lodge, guests will travel by helicopter to locations in the Purcells for guided daily walks in small groups based on guests’ preference for easier or more challenging terrain. (Hiking gear – including boots, jackets and rainpants – is available free, or guests may bring their own.) On Day 6, guests

will be ferried by helicopter down from the mountains and transported to the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, where they’ll enjoy an afternoon of free time and an overnight stay. Included in the price are lodging, helicopter and ground transportation, airport transfers, most meals and gratuities, and more. Departures of Bugaboos Adventure are in July and August. →w ww.tauck.com

ROOMS

KIMPTON SEAFIRE RESORT Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants has opened its first Caribbean property, Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa along famed Seven Mile Beach in Grand

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Cayman. Seafire marks the boutique hotel company’s first foray into the international luxury resort market and Grand Cayman’s first new hotel in more than a decade. The resort “pays tribute to the classic Caymanian culture and authentic aesthetic, while introducing modern elements and sophisticated-yet-playful amenities for an enriching and innovative stay experience for leisure and business travelers alike.� Perched 24-feet-above sea level, nearly every one of Seafire’s 266 guest rooms boasts a private balcony and views of a turquoise pool and ocean waters and lush landscapes. Seafire’s three free-standing beachside bungalows offer loft-like one- and two-bedroom layouts, enhanced amenities and exclusive vantage points of the beach and ocean. →w ww.kimptonhotels.com


CRUISE

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MSC OPERA RAISES CURTAIN ON CUBA MSC Cruises reports that its newly refurbished MSC Opera will home port in Havana year-round to meet the growing demand for the destination as part of its Caribbean itineraries. MSC Cruises was actually the first international cruise line to home port in Havana, doing so in 2015 with MSC Armonia. Now, MSC is doubling its capacity dedicated to Cuba as a destination with the addition of a second ship. MSC Opera recently went through a complete upgrade as part of MSC’s Renaissance Program, meaning that it can offer guests great “levels of comfort, service and entertainment.� As part of this multi-million-euro project, the ship now offers enhanced balcony cabins with panoramic sea views, additional dining facilities extending the range of authentic food options available, new entertainment space and an enlarged MSC Aurea Spa. → www.msccruisesusa.com

DISNEY CRUISE LINE BOUND FOR BONAIRE Disney Cruise Line is adding Bonaire to its Caribbean lineup in 2018. The new port of call is part of a seven-night sailing that departs San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Jan. 28. The island is a favourite with water sport enthusiasts and known for its scuba diving, snorkelling, windsurfing and kiteboarding. The cruise line is also offering limited-time engagements in Puerto Rico and California, plus a variety of cruises from Florida with calls to such ports as The Bahamas and Mexican Riviera from January through May. Bookings are open. More details on 2018 itineraries can be found at: → http://bit.ly/2fjPdRi

Taking part in a recent preview sailing of Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas out of Port Everglades in Florida were the cruise line’s Canadian sales team of (l-r) Lisa Connell, Shane Buksh, Mary Ogaki, Colin Price, and Stephanie McDonald. Harmony has joined sister ships Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas on the east coast of Florida following a stint in Europe and oers seven-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN ROLLS OUT NEXT PHASE OF RES SYSTEM Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is rolling out the next phase of Espresso, its travel agent reservation system, touting new and major capabilities for groups business with the cruise operator’s three major brands. The latest enhancements include the ability to create and book headquarter group space, simplified groups management and Espresso’s first group amenity points redemption feature. Travel partners selling Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises can leverage the easy-to-use system to create, increase and seamlessly manage their group business more so than ever before. → www.bookespresso.com/new

NCL IN A STATE OF BLISS Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) is celebrating the cutting of the first piece of steel for Norwegian Bliss, the line’s 16th vessel and the first one designed for the ultimate Alaska cruising experience. The third ship in the line’s BreakawayPlus class, scheduled for delivery in spring 2018, Norwegian Bliss will be the first cruise ship custom-built with features and amenities for the ultimate Alaska cruise experience and the first NCL ship to make its debut in Seattle. At approximately 167,800 gross tons and accommodating 4,000 guests, Bliss will sail weekly seven-day Alaska cruises each Saturday from Pier 66 in Seattle. The ship’s itinerary will feature calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, BC, along with scenic glacier cruising. → www.bliss.ncl.com november 24, 2016 | travelcourier.ca 15


DESTINATION | MEXICO/LATIN AMERICA

HONDURAS WELCOMES NEW CURIO HOTEL

GLOBUS ON THE MOVE IN MEXICO IN 2017 2017 marks a whole new destination for Globus: Mexico. The escorted tour company is launching two itineraries, one to the Yucatan and one to Copper Canyon. The 10-day Mexico’s Copper Canyon tour, which departs from and returns to Phoenix, incorporates the Sonora Desert, a private boat cruise on the Sea of Cortez, a rail journey to the spectacular Canyon, and a two-night stay at the legendary Hotel Mirador at the canyon’s edge. Clients booking by Nov. 29 will save 10%. monograms Meanwhile, Globus sister brand Monograms is expanding its City Getaways program in 2017 to include Lima, Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Santiago. The four-day mini-tours include hand-picked accommodation, breakfast, a half-day sightseeing and services of a Local Host. “It’s a perfect introduction to a city, helping clients find their feet and perhaps get over jetag,â€? says StĂŠphanie Bishop of the Globus family of brands in Canada, who adds they are ideal as a pre- or post-extensions of a cruise or tour. → www.agentlingo.ca

Steps from the Caribbean Sea in Honduras, Indura Beach & Golf Resort has joined Curio – A Collection by Hilton, the brand’s collection of upscale hotels that caters to travellers seeking local discovery and authentic experiences. With 50 km of the picturesque Tela Bay on the North Coast of Honduras as its backdrop, and Jeanette Kawas National Park as its surroundings, Indura Beach & Golf Resort is part of a larger destination resort that will eventually include two to three hotels and 800 residential units. “Indura� is the Garifuna word for Honduras, and the resort incorporates the culture of the Garifuna people – descendants of Caribe, Arawak and West African people – into its offerings, with local Honduran products and sustainable materials used in its construction. The hotel’s 60 junior suites are in 15 scattered villas, interconnected by footpaths that meander to a pristine beach. The design of each guest room reflects the Honduran architecture and tropical style combined with modern elegance. Room highlights include bamboo floors, pine walls, decorative accents of Guanacaste wood and floor-to-ceiling windows that open to breezy wrap-around terraces with ocean, golf course or garden views. →w ww.indurabeachandgolfresort.curiocollection.com

SANDOS CARACOL RENOS AIMED AT MULTI-GEN MARKET The Riviera Maya’s Sandos Caracol Eco Resort has announced the renovation of its entire 639-room Family Section, transforming the traditional hotel suite into a retreat catering to the needs of multi-generational travellers. The US$20-million investment at the all-inclusive resort aims to offer families more convenience, comfort and entertainment, featuring seamless in-room WiFi, newly designed splash pools, bunk beds and private bathrooms. Over the course of three

years, each of the resort’s 639 family rooms will be renovated and offer three distinct room categories: Signature Eco Superior, Signature Eco Deluxe and Signature Eco Junior Suite. Slated to be completed just in time for a winter getaway, phase one will transform 92 rooms, creating 72 Signature Eco Superior rooms and 20 Signature Eco Junior Suites. The new rooms will be available for booking as of Dec. 23 with rates starting at US$247 p.p. →w ww.sandos.com

STARFISH RESORTS ADDS VARADERO ALL-INCLUSIVE Starfish Resorts has expanded its offering of all-inclusive hotels with the addition of the beachfront Starfish Varadero, which has 24-hour all-inclusive amenities. The hotel will undergo improvements that include changes to the buffet and Ă  la carte restaurant Atenas, and ongoing renovations to approximately 100 guest rooms. Starfish Varadero offers 411 16 travelcourier.ca | november 24, 2016

air-conditioned rooms and a bungalow section that is suited for groups and families with connecting rooms. Multiple swimming pools and a selection of water sports, tennis courts and fitness facilities ensure that guests have plenty to do. À la carte dining, an international buffet and non-stop beverage service in all five restaurants and six bars is combined with entertainment.

Younger guests can look forward to a centrally located kids club, familyoriented evening entertainment, dedicated children’s pools and more relaxed menus with dining options. Parents can relax by the pool area and beachfront, while watching their children sample land and non-motorized water sports at no additional charge. → www.starfishresorts.com


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EVENTS

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{Send Submissions to calendar@baxter.net}

TRAFALGAR ‘Love to Talk Travel’ Events November–January dates For the seventh consecutive year, Trafalgar is inviting agents and their clients to discover the all-new “Love to Talk Travel� events. From November to January, Trafalgar executives will take guests on an interactive travel journey with Trafalgar’s worldwide guided vacations. Attendees can also enjoy complimentary refreshments, exclusive prizes and booking incentives. Clients who attend a Love to

Talk Travel event will be entered to win a $2,000 Trafalgar travel voucher and $2,000 flight voucher valid on any guided vacation with Trafalgar. For a list of all the Love to Talk Travel dates and cities, visit: →w ww.lovetotalktravel.com

Insight Vacations Europe Travel Showcase Through Dec. 8 Insight Vacations is staging its Europe Travel Showcase for the fourth year in a row with 25 events across Canada. Also this year, Insight is partnering on select dates with sister brand Uniworld Boutique River Cruises to “share their combined passion for travel and people

with their finest European journeys by river and road.� Guests at these free Travel Showcase events will hear about the new trips offered by Insight and Uniworld from the experts who lead the experiences. The evenings will be led by travel discussion and finish with the opportunity for guests to receive savings and win a grand prize worth several thousand dollars, which will be awarded at the end of the Travel Showcase season. The Travel Showcase finishes in Mississauga on Dec. 8. For a complete list of dates and to register, visit: →http://bit.ly/IVUWshowcase More events at clearingcalendar.ca

FAMS {Send Submissions to tc@baxter.net}

CUBA Celestyal Cruises Various dates Celestyal Cruises is inviting travel partners to take part in seven-night cruises in Cuba at special introduction rates of US$659 for interior staterooms and US$699 for oceanview staterooms. With nightly live entertainment by local Cuban artists and authentic Cuban dishes, the rates include a seven-night cruise, four fully-guided shore excursions, unlimited alcoholic drink package (Blue Package), breakfast, lunch, dinner and afternoon tea, port charges and gratuities. Limited spaces on departure dates from Havana, Cuba: Nov. 28 and Dec. 5, 12, 19, and from Montego Bay, Jamaica: Nov. 25 and Dec. 2, 9, 16, 23, are available. Rate is for one travel agent and one travelling companion

18 travelcourier.ca | november 24, 2016

sharing stateroom. Additional costs that are the travel agent’s responsibility: flight, transfers, upgrades, items of a personal nature, mandatory health insurance, room service. Single travel agent rate is US$699 for interior staterooms and US$799 for oceanview staterooms. Space is subject to availability. Agents are asked to submit their requested sailing date, passport number, date of birth, email/phone contact, agency name and address, IATA/CLIA number, names as per passport, passport expiry and issue date, nationality and a copy of Agent Photo ID to Cindy Burton at: →c.burton@celestyalcruises.com

RUSSIA Jan. 8-16, 2017 CG Journeys is hosting a Jan. 8-16, 2017 fam to Russia, which will include visits to Moscow and St. Petersburg. Accommodation is at the Ritz-Carlton Moscow and Belmond Grand Hotel Europe in St. Petersburg. The US$1,099 land-only

cost includes transportation, tours, museums and attractions, Englishspeaking guide, business-class train ticket for travel between Moscow and St. Petersburg, and visa support letter and assistance with Russian visa application process. Companions are allowed at an extra US$700. →smirnov@canadiangateway.com

ISRAEL & JORDAN Jan. 17-26, 2017 Sunworld Tours invites travel agents and a companion to sign up for a fam to Israel and Jordan. A special promotion rate for agents is US$1,199; companion rate US$1,999. This includes return airfare out of Toronto, hotel accommodation, breakfast and dinner daily and guided sightseeing tour. Contact Sunworld Tours at 1-800461-6854 or via email at sunworld@ sunworldtours.com . →w ww.sunworldtours.com


DESTINATION | OFF-SEASON EUROPE

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SCENIC RIVER CRUISE OFFER MARKS 30-YEAR MILESTONE

1,000 PLACES AUTHOR TOUTS TRAFALGAR TOURS

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Scenic is offering Canadian residents a special offer on (most) new European river cruise bookings made by Dec. 16. They include:

Perhaps Patricia Schultz’s New York ƒ Fly Free with Economy Class air from Times bestseller 1,000 Places To See all major gateways, receive a â‚Ź100 Before You Die should have been called VISA Currency Card and enjoy one More Than 1,000 Places To See Before free hotel night; You Die. In fact, Schultz says, this great wide world of ours holds many more ƒ Fly Business Class air for only $599 places she would gladly set foot in. “The from Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa or more you travel, the more you keep Montreal; or, stumbling on them [places of interƒ Fly Free Premium Class air from est],â€? says Schultz, who’s working with Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa or Trafalgar and has gone on a Trafalgar Montreal. Eastern Europe itinerary, which featured the likes of Prague, which she labels “one →w ww.scenic.ca of the most beautiful cities on the planet.â€? Schultz welcomes Trafalgar’s expanding Europe program, saying the world is home to an endless number of places of interest. “If you’re curious, you don’t need to go that far to understand how special the world is. There is no disappointment [in travel] to me. There is always something of interest. There is always a friendship to be made. There is always an epiphany to be had. [Only] 1,000 places [of interest for tourists] – that’s laughable.â€? → www.trafalgar.com

TRAVELLING WITH CONTIKI IS A SNAP Contiki has launched one of three of its Limited Edition Summer Series as part of its 2017/18 Europe program. The first, SNAP, is designed for budding photographers and Instagram addicts. SNAP will be led by a Contiki trip manager and an experienced Instagram photographer to help travellers get that perfect shot in each destination visited. Spanning nine days and visiting Berlin, Dresden, Prague, Berchtesgaden, Salzburg, Lake Bled, Ljubljana, and Venice, SNAP delivers all the essentials of a European Contiki trip, with an added focus on honing travellers’ photographic abilities and capturing images of the journey. Like the other two Limited Edition Summer Series trips, SNAP will feature a group of 25 to 30 passengers. In addition, it will also feature a curated selection of included and optional photographic experiences exclusive to SNAP departures, including early starts for sunrise shots and afternoons built around golden hour photography. Two departures of SNAP will run in summer 2017, with further departures expected in 2018. → www.contiki.com

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november 24, 2016 | travelcourier.ca 19


DESTINATION | CARIBBEAN

DOMINICAN WELCOMES NEW NOW

PUNTA CANA RESORT TREATS GUESTS ROYALLY Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts has created the new Luxury Bahia Principe Fantasia Don Pablo Collection in BĂĄvaro Beach in Punta Cana. The themed hotel “goes deep into the concept of family holidays.â€? The new all-inclusive hotel is becoming a destination in itself. “Its notable unique facilities include three castles, which you can find at several points in the hotel, which house the Kids Club, the Garden Circus restaurant and the Kokoro sushi bar. The central castle, what’s more, becomes the hotel’s entertainment nerve centre at night, playing host to a special audiovisual show that will delight children and adults alike,â€? Bahia Principe says. The property has 512 Junior Suite Deluxe rooms, able to accommodate families with as many as five members. It also has a gym and wellness centre. In addition, it has culinary alternatives, such as a gourmet restaurant, an Italian restaurant, a grill, an international buffet, beach and swimming-pool snacks, and six bars. →w ww.bahia-principe.com

VIEWPOINT TRULY IS HIGHER GROUND Talk about a high point... The Loma de La Cruz in Holguin, Cuba, rises 261 metres, with energetic sorts invited to

20 travelcourier.ca | november 24, 2016

AMResorts has opened Now Onyx Punta Cana, the brand’s property in the Dominican Republic. Located on the pristine beaches of Uvero Alto, the 502-suite, family-friendly resort features luxuriously appointed accommodations and the brand’s signature Unlimited-Luxury vacation concept, where everything from limitless access to gourmet dining and premium spirits, to 24-hour room and concierge service, and a variety of day and night entertainment options is included. Resort amenities include five pools, including an infinity pool, children’s pool and saltwater pool;

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Explorer’s Club for Kids and Core Zone Teens Club; nine restaurants and 10 bars; and much more. promotion For all new reservations, up to two kids stay free when travelling in the same room as two paying adults. The over is valid through Dec. 22 and again Aug. 19-Dec. 22, 2017. →w ww.nowresorts.com

‘NEW’ PINEAPPLE BEACH WELCOMING GUESTS After a brief closure for renovations, Pineapple Beach Club Antigua (formerly Grand Pineapple Beach) is again welcoming guests. The refurbishment project included a variety of upgrades to the resort’s buildings, dining areas, facilities, equipment and overall operations. Represented by Elite Island Resorts, the 180-room all-inclusive resort sits on a stretch of white-sand beach and has five

restaurants, three bars and lounges, and two pools. It is also a popular spot for weddings and vow renewals. Other amenities include a spa, water sports, tennis courts and fitness centre. Off-property excursions can also be arranged for an extra fee. →w ww.eliteislandresorts.com

hoof it up some 445 stairs, enjoying a dramatic view of the city. Those wary of the trek to the lookout can ride up in a vehicle, with a parking lot and small restaurant awaiting them. Cubatur guide Betzy Olivares Betancourt has hoofed it up the stairs, while acknowledging that some of those that she’s lead through Holguin have had to rely on a vehicle to take in the viewpoint. “It’s hard,� she says of the climb. “It’s like a challenge. But when they have this view, they feel happy,� she adds of the hikers. →w ww.gocuba.ca

Resorts World Bimini reports new ferry service is connecting the ports of Miami and the Bahamian island of Bimini. Bimini, home to Resorts World Bimini, is the closest Bahamian island to the United States, 50 miles from South Florida. The ferry operates from the Port of Miami to the new pier at Resorts World Bimini, the 750-acre beachfront resort that opened a 305-room luxury Hilton hotel in June. The resort is home to a casino, six restaurants, four pools, a spa, and a private marina in The Bahamas. MY San Gwann, reaches a speed of 38 knots, making the route from port to port in two hours. →w ww.rwbimini.com

FERRY LINKS MIAMI WITH BAHAMIAN ISLAND


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WEST

BC WHISTLER BLACKCOMB OPENS WITH EARLY SEASON DEALS Whistler Blackcomb opens for another winter season this week with acceptable early season conditions and discount prices to match. Adult full-day lift tickets are $79 for Nov. 24 and $89 beginning on Friday, Nov. 25 through the weekend. For Canadian, Washington and Oregon state residents, Whistler Blackcomb offers the EDGE Card, allowing guests to ski/ride from $73 per day with a ten day card. EDGE Cards are valid for use all season long, and guests can choose from one, three, five or ten discounted days. →whistlerblackcomb.com

NEW EXPERT LEVEL TERRAIN AT PANORAMA RESORT Panorama Mountain Resort in BC is now preparing for the 2016/17 snow season, and is scheduled to open on Dec. 9. New for this season, the resort will unveil an additional 6.5 hectares of expert double blackdiamond backcountry terrain in Taynton Bowl, bringing this territory in-bounds. An investment of $120,000 improves Panorama’s off-piste offering with new glading on both the front and backside of the mountain, opening up more acreage. Panorama’s total 1,150 hectares of patrolled terrain features 125 trails, the Taynton Bowl, Extreme Dream Zone and two terrain parks. →w ww.panoramaresort.com

YVR’s South Terminal, used for small aircraft, oat planes and helicopters, was the location of the arrival of 60 rescue dogs from northern California recently. The dogs arrived through the Thank Dog I Am Out rescue society, and were destined for new homes in BC after spending the night with volunteers in a hangar donated by Landmark Aviation.

RESERVATIONS OPEN EARLIER FOR TWO SIGNATURE PARKS Reservations for two of BC’s most popular park destinations – the Berg Lake trail and the Bowron Lake canoe circuit – have opened for bookings earlier than ever. As of Oct. 1, those looking to hike the scenic Berg Lake trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park, or paddle the pristine Bowron Lake canoe circuit in Bowron Lake Provincial Park, could reserve a spot for next season through the Discover Camping booking site by BC Parks. That means reservations for these two key international attractions went online for bookings three months earlier than last year. →w ww.discovercamping.ca

SASK MORE FLIGHTS TO SUN FROM SASKATCHEWAN Sunwing is adding flights to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, from Saskatoon this coming winter season, scheduled to operate on Thursdays between Dec. 15 and March 30, 2017 inclusive. And the leisure airline is introducing a weekly flight service from Regina to Puerto Plata for the winter season, operating Tuesdays between Dec. 13 and March 28, 2017. With these expanded services, residents of Saskatoon can take sunshine flights to 12 popular vacation destinations this winter, while the choice is expanded to 14 destinations for Regina residents. →w ww.sunwing.ca

november 24, 2016 | travelcourier.ca 21


INCENTIVES

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CAYMAN ISLANDS AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES Azamara Club Cruises is offering agents a special booking incentive through Dec. 2, encouraging them to help clients shop for an “AzAmazing� vacation with the reward of a little shopping money of their own. When agents book a featured immersive European voyage, they will receive a $100 Amazon gift card. The card is per booking, and there is no cap. Eighteen sailings, spanning the Amalfi Coast to the Arctic Circle, departing June through September, are included. → www.CruisingPower.com

TRAVELBOUND TravelBound is offering agents an extra 2% commission on Europe bookings made before Dec. 31 for travel between Jan. 1, 2017 and March 31. The extra commission will be paid after clients have completed travel. Qualifying destinations are: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Irish Republic, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

AIR CANADA VACATIONS Air Canada Vacations (ACV) is offering agents another chance to earn extra commission on cruise bookings. For every Norwegian Cruise Line or MSC Cruises itinerary booked online until Dec. 31, agents will earn 17% commission. The offer applies to new bookings only and must be made online. It is valid for travel anytime, and not applicable to groups. → http://vacations.aircanada.com

22 travelcourier.ca | november 24, 2016

The Cayman Islands’ new “Cayman Loves Agents� promotion has special rates for the travel trade to enjoy the destination. Agents can visit www.cayman islands.ky/travelagents to learn more about the promotion and view reduced pricing on accommodations and water Seven Mile Beach sports and other activities available in the Caymans. The promotion has an array of accommodation, attraction, water sport and dive offerings. Blackout dates may apply. Deadline to enter is Dec. 16. →w ww.caymanislands.ky/travelpartners

AIR FRANCE, KLM Air France and KLM are looking ahead to the fall resumption of business travel activity with a new contest for travel agents. Until Dec. 15, agents can sign up for the “Back to Business with Air France and KLM� contest. All Air France and KLM departures from anywhere in Canada are eligible, and the grand prize is a pair of Canada-Europe tickets in Economy class. Tickets sold in Business Class or World Business Class give three chances to participate; those in Premium Economy are good for two chances and those in Economy get one. → www.back-to-business.ca

SUNWING Through March 28, agents who book a group of 10 or more clients with either Sunwing or Signature Vacations can win up to one million STAR Agent Reward Points that can be used for travel rewards, or be converted into an equivalent cash value of $1,800 ($1 is equivalent to 555 STAR points). Agents booking weddings, family reunions, business meetings or incentive group packages to Mexico, the Caribbean, or Central America for departures from May 1, 2017 and onwards can also earn additional commission when they add select features such as tours and excursions. → www.sunwingagents.ca

COLLETTE Collette has brought back its annual “Book Your Own Bonus� agent incentive. Agents qualify for this promotion after their first booking. Following their initial booking, their money starts to grow – second booking, earn $50; third booking, earn $100. Any booking after three, receive $100 per booking. The offer is valid on new bookings made through March 31 for departures in 2017 on all of Collette’s product lines including Explorations, River Cruises and Spotlights. A booking is defined as a minimum of two full paying passengers in a double room or a single passenger in a single room. →w ww.gocollette.com/agentincentive


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Dhawa Cayo Santa María Resort, Cuba

New for 2017 Season. Edgy, cool and sassy, Dhawa is the fourth brand of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and Dhawa Cayo Santa María marks the Group´s first foray into Cuba. Dhawa Cayo Santa María, Cuba will be the first and only lifestyle resort in the destination. Perfect for family, couples and group leisure stays, look out for great entertainment, exhilarating activities and recreation and all-inclusive gourmet dining.

Dhawa Cayo Santa María, Villa Clara, Cuba

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Travel Courier - November 24, 2016