TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement November 1 2015: Dining to Diming, pay restaurants outnumber free ones on new cruise ship



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Norwegian Escape pre-launch cruise

Norwegian Escape pre-launch cruise


SEVEN things you need to know in travel this week:

  • On board the Norwegian Escape
  • Getting to grips with the ropes course – the scariest thing at sea
  • Pre-launch woes for NCL and the erosion of all inclusive
  • Brendan’s savage Carnevil attraction in Galway
  • A hard day’s night with Aer Lingus and Visit Liverpool
  • The rush to Euro 2016 has kicked off
  • A night of fright at Loftus Hall

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week nov 1Our video of the week is Emirates safety demo — tailored for 65,000 Benfica fans. Watch here.

  • See the artinoment the pilot of an Aer Lingus ATR 72 propellor jet decided to abort landing and perform a go around in strong winds at Manchester airportWatch here.
  • Ryanair celebrated Halloween by looking back on some of Michael O’Leary’s scariest costumes. Watch here.
  • A GoPro captures a pilot landing a B787 in StockholmWatch here.
  • Merseyside in a MinuteTravel Extra’s 60 second guide to Liverpool. Watch here.
  • See Fáilte Ireland’s video promo for the Wild Atlantic Way Expo 2015Watch here.


IMG_6446 copyScared? We were. The ropes course on Norwegian Escape, one level higher and ten levels scarier than Getaway which hosted the travel trade and media in Southampton before it embarked for Miami on Thursday, may just be the scariest thing at sea. The plank is scarier on the port side than on the starboard side because it moves. The zipline runs off the edge of the ship over the ocean and (hopefully) swings you back in. The water slide, less speedy than it looked, can handle 1,000 people an hour. Alas, Travel Extra was not the first in the pool. Don’t ask.

AB1_8309 copyThe spa includes a snow room with real snow, two or three inches on the floor when it full snow-flow. The casino is the largest yet. Travel Extra dined in the impressive Food Republic, fusion food with sushi and steak landing in quick succession on an overladen table. Picture shows Helen Skelton, Louie Spence, Niamh Shields from Dungarvan), Lewis Nunn and Sarah Vince the so called Escape team, with NCL’s new Norwegian Escape in Southampton.

IMG_6661 copyNot everything worked, as happens on pre-launch cruises. The dining arrangements came close to breaking down altogether and cards stopped working in the early hours of Thursday morning when many of the Irish guests were only getting into their stride. Stressed staff, reacting badly to the pressure, created a bad impression in some quarters. The mix of paying passengers and trade guests meant that a credit was loaded into the cards of the trade guests, which quickly evaporated when the impact of taxes and an 18pc service charge was added on to the beverage and food bills. Picture shows Sarah Murphy, Tom Briton and Gillian Purser of Marble City Travel.

Which brings us to a worrying trend that Norwegian Escape has confirmed, the erosion of all inclusive. Premium (extra charge) restaurants outnumber free restaurants on Escape, the first time this has happened confirming cruising’s trend away from a dining experience to a to nickel-and-diming experience. There are still eight restaurants with complimentary dining, including Taste and O’Sheehan’s (the ex CEO’s name still adorns the Irish pub), but there are ten premium restaurants and a la carte pricing in some.

IMG_7769 copyWhen the controversial 18pc charge was raised at the press conference it was stridently defended by Chief Operating Officer for Norwegian Brand Andy Stuart as being below average in NCL’s main market, the USA (watch here). He also explained that the decision to raise the daily service charges twice in one season was part of the change in perspective brought by new management (watch here) and said that the move to a la carte dining and premium restaurants was enabling NCL to bring more choice to customers (watch here).

IMG_6672 copyAndy Stuart said that the design reconnected customers with the Sea (watch here): decks six, seven and eight is where all the action takes place. It is one of the differentiations of this new class of ship. You get a sense of the atmosphere of the ship across the three decks. We have a mix of venues across the three decks and the waterfront is a reconnection with the ocean, something that the big ships had forgotten, us included. We became a little bit inward facing and from Breakaway forward we became outward facing again. And we reconnected out guests with the sea which is what they want. They want the romance of the sea and waterfront dining. Shouldn’t you be able to dine by the sea on any ship? It is what people come for. The waterfront has been a revelation to the industry.

IMG_6537 copyHarry Sommer VP of International Business updated the media on the integration of the three NCL brands (watch here) and told the press conference that NCL will be retrofitting 10 of 11 vessels in the fleet with longer dry docks and a considerable investment to move standards up a notch or twoWatch here.

IMG_6581 copyAndy Stuart stressed that dining is an important element of Norwegian Escape (watch here) and revealed details of the venues (watch here), accommodation (watch here), Haven luxury accommodation (watch here), entertainment options (watch here). Andy Stuart described the evolution of the NCL brand (watch here) and the signature features that could be found across the NCL fleet (watch here). He said that Norwegian Escape Ideal for European customers (watch here). See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

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Margaret Jenkins and Aislinn O’Driscoll of the House Hotel in Galway (pictured) hosted Travel Extra for a visit to Brendan Savage’s Carnevil scare attraction which involves 12 actors mounting fight-fests in different rooms and proved to be that , rarity, something that is scarier than the marketing would lead you believe. The focus of the media visit was a tour of Galway’s Latin Quarter in Galway, and an added bonus was a sail around the harbour (watch here)  in two Galway hookers, Croí an Cladaigh and the newly acquired Manuela, with Jimmy Keady, Joe Joyce and Coilín Hernon . Watch here as Margaret Jenkins and Seamus Hughes describes how the Latin Quarter came about. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook..

Anfield groupHe’s a Day Tripper: Travel Extra’s Conor McMahon spent a hard day’s night in Liverpoolhosted by Aer Lingus and Visit Liverpool. A cheery little city, Liverpool offers plenty of rich cultural experiences with free entry to Tate Liverpool, Museum of Liverpool, Merseyside Maritime Museum and other attractions. The enormous Liverpool One district offers lots of shopping opportunities for the aspirational market as well as restaurants and a busy nightlife. Football fans will enjoy the trivia and banter on the Anfield Stadium tour — groups are now encouraged to stick together after a wandering tourist triggered a high security alert this week. You’ll never walk alone indeed. The beautiful Liverpool Cathedral and the Arthur C Clarke-esque Metropolitan Cathedral serve as beacons to Hope Street, where there are a host of interesting Merseyside minutesites that Beatles fans should check out, including the famous Philharmonic pub and Ye Cracke bar on nearby Rice Street, frequented by the mop-top boys. They can trace the story of the Fab Four under one roof at the Beatles Story museum on Albert Dock. Travel Extra stayed in the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel on Thomas Street, which opened only a week and a half ago. The spa opens next week. Aer Lingus launched its winter 2015/16 daily service to Liverpool John Lennon Airport. See our 60-second guide to Liverpool, Merseyside in a MinuteWatch here. Picture shows Derek Foley of The Herald, Liz Farsaci of the Irish Daily Mail, Paula Donaghy of Aer Lingus, Denise Smith of the Sunday World, Ingmar Kiang of Cara magazine, Johnny Butler of the Irish Examiner and Conor McMahon of Travel Extra outside Anfield stadium. See more pictures hereor connect with the album on Facebook.

Roaming fees for calling, sending text messages and using mobile internet abroad in the EU will be banned from June 15, 2017.

The rush to Euro 2016 in France has begun, despite tour operator not knowing where the Northern Ireland (and potentially Ireland) team will be based. Peter McMinn of Travel Solutions intends operating daily charters: Travel Solutions intend to operate supporters’ packages to Northern Ireland games at the Euro’s , but until the draw in December, when we will find out when and where the team are playing, no details will be released. With hotel beds already snapped up (one Belfast travel agent has taken 70 rooms in Lyons), the travel trade is hoping for a favourable draw, Lille or Paris.

Loftus HallTravel Extra tinkered in the paranormal last night when Conor McMahon visited Loftus Hall, Ireland’s most haunted house. The legend of the troubled Anne Tottenham was brought to life by creepy “g-hosts”, who accompanied their victims on a terrifying tour of the ground floor and haunted tapestry room. A re-enactment of the famous card game with the devil, a realistic séance and a host of unseen characters wailing in the shadows had the punters screaming and jumping, no matter how hard they tried to hold their nerve.

The house is open for tours during the Christmas break and other school holidays and is definitely worth adding to your itinerary if you are visiting the south-east. There are both child-friendly and adult tours available, and those with an appetite for the unknown can take part in the overnight Lockdown sessions. See for more.

Travel Extra’s Action replay

acceptance speechIs this the sweetest acceptance speech ever? Brian Surgenor was awarded the Roll of Honour award at the Northern Ireland Travel news travel awards in Newcastle Co Down, October 16 2015. Brian retired from his long established business, Crumlin Travel in 2015 at the same time giving up membership of the Consort Travel Group after 25 years. Watch here.

For Samhain, check out Ireland’s ten most haunted tourist attractions. Watch here. And to sample the atmosphere in a town that takes Hallowe’en to heart, watch here Hallowe’en in Galway.

More video on

Travel Trade


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ballsbridge hotelThe ITAA formally announced the new city centre location for the Irish Travel Industry Trade Show 2016,  the Ballsbridge Hotel (Formerly Jury’s Hotel) on April 7 2016.

CSO figures shows trips by Irish residentswere up 3.5pc, but still 10pc below the level in 2008 Q3.

IMG_6235 copyVisit USA hosted the travel trade in Belfast. Picture shows Ciara Foley of Platinum Travel, chair of Visit USA Ireland, Mukesh Sharma of WTC, Patrick McGuigan of Classic Sports, Doreen McKenzie and Terry Murphy of Terra Travel at the Visit USA event in Shu Restaurant. Watch hereSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

IMG_6398 copyIsabel Oliveira of Tourism Malaysia hosted the travel trade at the Gibson Hotel for a presentation and workshop. Picture shows Ambassador Dato Syed Sultan Idris, Isabel Oliveira of Malaysian Tourism and Ishak Ismail Senior Deputy Director of European Division of Malaysia Tourism. Watch hereSee more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Bryan Arnicar Qantas GSA for IrelandQantas appointed Bryan Arnicar as GSA for Ireland. Hazel Young, who has managed the relationships with the Irish market for the last nine years will continue in her role at Qantas as Sales Manager Leisure for Britain.

ITAA President Martin Skelly is to make a presentation to European travel agent association heads. Former president Clare Dunne is to make a presentation on Dynamic Packaging in Poland.

european parliamentEuropean Parliament MEPs adapted the new package travel rules. Package holidays, consisting of a flight, hotel or car-hire and purchased online for an all-in price or through linked web pages, will get the same protection as packages bought in travel agencies under rules voted by MEPs. It also secured the right for travellers to cancel a package-deal contract and get their money back if the price of the package rises by more than 8pc (the Commission had proposed 10pc) or if “unavoidable” events such as natural disasters or militant attacks strike the place of destination. See here for adopted texts, watch a Video recording of debate (click on 26.10.2015), see background notes here.

francis-rileySpeaking to Travel Extra at the pre-launch cruise of Norwegian Escape, Francis Riley, VP & General Manager International said that NCL has plans to grow in Ireland: We have plans for Ireland and it is one of our target markets We are trying to figure out how we do that. At the moment we have pricing in euro in GBP and that affects our system, we can’t take the pricing in GBP. We don’t necessarily want to create a separate pricing programme. We have a pricing programme in Europe but that does not connect into GBP pricing. It is a complex and we know we have a problem. The solution is to take flexipricing off the GBP prices and have a commonality of price for the Irish and British markets. Otherwise we end up discriminating against Ireland or against Britain and we have all of our travel partners up in arms against us because some of them are selling in both euro and GBP. In the meantime we have been building our business with tour operators. We give them a net rate and they bundle that with air with land arrangements and creating a fly cruise package. We know we are paying catch up to our competitors but we have a man based in Ireland now. We have a fantastic product. We just need to tell more people. We do not go out and try customers to book direct. We are agnostic to price channel. In Britain 90pc of our business is through the trade. It is even higher in Ireland. When customers rebook on board it goes back to the last agent on the record. Our sales people follow up with a call to the agent.

IMG_3303 copyPicture shows Irish agents on a fam trip to Las Vegas, Adrienne Irwin of Club Travel, Paula McCarthy of Cassidy Travel, Martinia Hayden of Travel Counsellors, Mary Dargan of Gohop, Sonya Walsh of World Travel Centre, Niamh O’Brien, of Trailfinders, Wendy McCartney of American Holidays, Ivan Beacom or Aer Lingus, Tryphavana Cross of Las Vegas CVA on the Aer Lingus/Las Vegas fam trip, October 17-24 2015.

Travel Professionals Skillnet Excel training at New Horizons, Strand St Great, Dublin 1: Level 1, December 3, 9.15am-5pm from €110pp, book here. Level 2, December 11, 9.15am-5pm from €110pp, book here. Level 3, December 16, 9.15am-5pm from €110pp, book here. Other training: Tools for travel retail managers, ITAA, Westmoreland St, Dublin 2, November 11, 9.30am-5pm, book here. Closing Techniques training, ITAA, Westmoreland St, Dublin 2, November 19, 9.30am-5pm from €120, book here.

Skal’s next function takes place in The Guinness Storehouse on November 10, 12.30pm. Price for member €30, €35pp for guests.


hard rockHard Rock announced that Hard Rock Tenerife is to open October 2016.

Down Hall in Essex announced £6m refurbishment and new spa due for completion in mid-2016.

Viejas Casino & Resort opened a second luxury hotel tower.

stephen mcnally2The IHF welcomed changes to the definition of a package in consumer legislation going through the European parliament, claiming it would have resulted in “onerous levels of regulation for hotels that provide guests with additional services such as airport transfers. These hotels would have been subject to requirements associated with package tour operators such as insolvency insurance protection.” The IHF conference takes place in the Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney on Feb 29-March 1 2015.

Small Luxury Hotels of the World new CEO is Filip Boyen.

intercontinental dublinInterContinental Dublin completed phase one of its €5m refurbishment. It donated the used carpets in the meetings rooms, worth €30,000, to the Tiglin Rehab Programme for Addition in Wicklow.

Feargal Mooney’s Hostelworld announced an IPO which values it at €245m. Shares were listed on the London and Irish stock exchanges at 185p per share.

stanley hotel shiningThe owners of The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, plan to build a horror museum inside the hotel, a 500-seat auditorium, an exhibition space and a production studio with soundstage.

Four Seasons group introduced free Wi-Fi for all guests and visitors.


LONELY PLANET DECLARES DUBLIN ‘BEST IN TRAVEL’ FOR 2016The Lonely Planet Best in Travel lists were released with Latvia and Palau among the surprise inclusions: Australia, Botswana, Fiji, Greenland, Japan, Latvia, Palau, Poland, USA City list is Dublin, Fremantle, Georgetown (Malaysia), Kotor, Manchester, Mumbai, Nashville, Quito, Rome and Rotterdam, Regions: Friulli’s wine regions, Auvergne, Bavaria, Costa Verde, Hawaii, West iceland, Transylvania, Valle de Vinales, St Helena and Waiheke Island (NZ), The lists are famously arbitrary, but keeping your place there is important as Tourism Ireland acknowledged this week. Ireland was a top ten in 2015 and won friendliest destination in 2007. Cork were among the top ten cities in 2008 and Derry in 2013 and Clare won a top cycling destination in 2008.

  • Blue Air signed a contract with Amadeus as its first Global Distribution System partner.
  • A new cruise excursion company Tripashore claimed that agents can earn ‘excellent commission levels’, says it will offer a wide choice of tours with an average of 12 guests.
  • Macs Adventure is to create four unique walking routes in the Dordogne for 2016.
  • Visit Savannah partnering with VVV Global to promote International travel to the destination.
  • Mark henry_7650Mark Henry of Tourism Ireland spoke at the Travel & Tourism Research Association in Philadelphia.
  • Enterprise Holdings to roll out customer satisfaction measurement across Europe to drive excellence in car rental.
  • Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 25 watch here.
  • Travelport appointed Stephen Shurrockas Chief Commercial Officer.
  • Stephen Shurrock picSix pairs of panda twins were born at Chengdu panda conservation centre.
  • According to research by mobile network Three, travellers can save up to £330 each year by taking advantage of their new ‘Feel at Home’ scheme whilst travelling abroad to promote their Airport Parking & Hotels. The research can be found in the Know Before You Go section of the APH website.
  • At least six people were killed after a whale-watching boat capsized near Tofino on Vancouver Island.
  • Australia and New Zealand are considering trialling a cloud-based passport.
  • Dan Berlin became the first blind athlete to run the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The hike usually takes four days — he ran it in 13 hours.

Food and Wine

RAIThe Restaurants Association of Ireland claimed calorie counts on menus will have a devastating impact, costing restaurants an extra €5,000 per annum with the risk of job losses if legislation goes ahead.

Barry FitzGerald’s restaurant Bastible opens on 111 South Circular Road on Wednesday.


KogalymaviaThe travel industry was deeply saddened by the news of the crash of the Kogalymavia A321 in Central Sinai, Egypt. EI-ETJ was on lease from AerCap, having been inherited on their takeover of International Lease Finance Corporation in December 2013 and passed an IAA safety review earlier this year. On behalf of the international tourism community, UNWTO conveys its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the victims as well as to the Russian people. Lufthansa and Air France stopped flying over Sinai amid speculation that the aircraft had been shot down. Investigators from Ireland, France, Germany and Russia are expected to travel to Egypt to participate in the investigation.

Ryanair_Amsterdam_Launch_4Ryanair launched a new route to Vigo. Pictured launching Ryanair’s new route to Amsterdam is Tammy Donohoe, Robin Kiely, Siobhan O’Donnell, Vincent Harrison and Solvita Boltika.

Aer Lingus appears to be dropping its Dublin to Copenhagen next summer.
Has the aviation industry ever been healthier? There was just one loss maker (Tiger in Singapore) among the 21 airlines and airline groups who reported Q3 results this week. LufthansaGroup’s nine-month 2015 net profit was up 262.7pc to €1.75bn. American Airlines Group profit was up 79.8pc to $1.69bn. United third-quarter net profit was up 74.6pc to $1.61bn. Air France-KLM Group’s profit rose to €898m despite a pilots strike. IAG profit was up 39.3pc to €883m. Southwest earned net income of $584m. JetBlue profit was $198m. Finnair Group doubled their net profit to €39m. Norwegian doubled pre-tax profit and ordered 19 Boeing 787-9s, plus 10 options.

According to IAG’s results, Aer Lingus ASK is expected to increase by 4.7pc in Q4 and by 5.1pc for the year 2015. British Airways’ cash position was €3,615m, Iberia €1,058m, Vueling €904m, Aer Lingus €958m and the remaining IAG companies €251m, report and presentation.

willie walsh_9312IAG CEO Willie Walsh told Paul O’Donoghueof the Irish Independent that Aer Lingus will add one or two trans-Atlantic routes a year and concentrate on places which have a large Irish diaspora. He says Dublin Airport needs more capacity to cope with demand during peak hours. “There is space at times during the day but the airport is full during peak hours, which leads to delays and congestion. We would be very much in favour of a parallel runay, we think it is inevitable. The operators are all in favour of the extra infrastructure as long as it is cost-effective. We would also encourage the airport to look at utilising existing facilities as much as possible.” From Forbes Magazine (read here): For decades Aer Lingus has languished in the middle of the pack of the world’s large air carriers, better known for low prices and getting people to Ireland than quality or destinations beyond the Emerald Isle.  That is changing fast. Earlier this year, Aer Lingus starting rolling out a new and greatly upgraded business class cabin product.

Passengers at Dublin Airport copyDublin Airport’s slot report confirms the drift towards earlier morning activity, with 5am the new 6am. Aer Lingus services to Bordeaux are scheduled only Dec 15 to Jan 4 and there will be no services to Toulouse. BA is reducing frequencies to Heathrow and increasing London City. Norwegian decided against using its slots for Helsinki.

Aegean Airlines, which is part of Star Alliance, will operate Dublin to Athens 2w June 20 to September 19 on Mondays and Saturdays at 23.15.

etihad A330-200Etihad has adjusted its plans for Dublin to Abu Dhabi to increase to double daily A330-200 from June 15 to September 15 and returning to single daily using a B777-300ER.

Aer Lingus and British Airways have jointly applied to the US DoT for reciprocal blanket codesharing.  This was approved for Air France/Alitalia, Austrian/Lufthansa, Aer BA/Iberia and Aer Lingus/Spanair in 2010 for the Washington-Madrid service..

ryanair from above copyRyanair announced six new routes from Manchester for summer 2016 to Bratislava (3 pw), Bremen (2 pw), Brindisi (2 pw) , Carcassonne (3 pw), Limoges (4 pw) and Malta (3 pw)  and increased frequencies on other 10 routes, including 6 daily to Dublin. Ryanair announced its first flights from Newquay Airport 2w to Alicante and Frankfurt Hahn.  Ryanair will open a new base at Ibiza (No. 76), from March 2016.

CityJet will operate from London City Airport to both Avignon and Toulon.

turkish airlines group Turkish open 002Turkish Airlines launched new flights to Maputo (Mozambique), increasing its flight destinations to Africa to 45 and its first flight to Miami, its 8th destination in the United States. Turkish Airlines hosted members of the Irish travel trade at the Turkish Open and announced its extension of the Open Sponsorship.

CarTrawler reportCartrawler’s The Airline Manual for Merchandising was released today as a free 13-page report. To download the report, please click this link.

Michael DiLollo cited personal reasons for his sudden resignation as CEO of Caribbean Airlines

  • Flybe announced a Get More ticket scheme allowing passenger change their flights for free on the original day of travel, Flybe celebrated its first anniversary at London City Airport. Travel Extra editor Eoghan Corry spoke at the inaugural event last year.
  • South African Airways opened a new domestic lounge, perfect for international passengers
  • FLY Leasing acquired a B777-200LRF in a sale and 12-year leaseback transaction.
  • Ryanair’s flash winter seat sale continues until tomorrow (Nov 2). 500,000 seats went for sale for €9.99.
  • AWAS acquired three A320-200s from ALAFCO on lease to Turkish Airlines.

dopplegangerNeil Thomas Douglas found his doppelgänger sitting in his seat as he boarded a Ryanair flight from Stansted to Glasgow (widely reported as Galway). Their selfie was retweeted thousands of times and generated 300 news articles.

The US department of transportation has banned passengers and flight crew from placing e-cigarettes in checked bags.

A woman prematurely went into labour on an American Airlines flight from Paris to North Carolina. The flight was diverted to Dublin where the woman gave birth to a baby girl, named Zoe Ireland, in the Rotunda.

ba front wheel lossA BA Boeing 737-400’s front left wheel collapsed after landing in Johannesburg.

BA launched its first class in-flight magazine, First, today, to coincide with the debut of its B787-9 Dreamliner.

Air France introduced latest long haul cabin products to five additional B777-200 routes.

Qatar Airways announced an expansion of its codeshare partnership with JetBlue.

Airbus filed a patent for foldable wings on large aircraft.

Jet2 is testing a “tamper-free” bag for duty free alcohol that is sealed to deter passengers from consuming the goods on board.


harmony with slidesRoyal Caribbean’s new Harmony of the Seasand P&O Cruises’ Ventura will feature at CLIA’s 2016 Cruise Conference in Southampton May 18-20 2016. Royal Caribbean released a ‘making of’ video for Harmony of the Seas. Watch here.

The Celebrity Cruises team distributed toolkits to agents across Ireland offering selling tips and information on how to earn more Celebrity Rewards points.

Stena ExplorerStena Line’s Stena Explorer, which operated the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire route from 1996 to 2014, made her final journey on the Irish Sea this weekend to her new base in Turkey. The original farewell voyage had to be cancelled on Thursday due to bad weather. The Stena Explorer carried 15m passengers, 3m cars and 500,000 freight units on 29,000 sailings.

Block #110 movement witnessed by a 100 guests

The keel was laid for Royal Caribbean‘s fourth 5,200 passenger Oasis-class ship at the STX shipyard in St. Nazaire. During the ceremony, a 1,000-ton-block was lifted into the building dock and newly minted coins were placed under the keel. The as yet unnamed ship is scheduled to launch in spring 2018.

Costa Crociere officially launched Carnival Maritime, the digital support unit for Costa Crociere, Costa Asia and AIDA Cruises vessels.

Silver Muse SMReservations for Silver Muse SM open tomorrow (November 2). Silversea Cruises’ flagship begins sailing in April 2017.

Disney Cruise Line lowered its commission from 16 to 10pc on re-bookings .

Regent Seven Seas Explorer floated out at Fincantieri’s shipyard in Genoa, in advance of its launch in July 2016.

Azamara JourneyThe 686-passenger Azamara Journey plans a 102-day journey from Sydney’s Opera House to London’s Tower Bridge in 2018.

The 2,000 passenger Dawn Princess is to switch brands in May 2017 and become the P&O Cruises Pacific Explorer. Princess Cruises is to introduce a gastropub on Crown Princess called the Salty Dog.

Gaenor Meakes, the fiancee of champion yachter Mark Richards, has been named the godmother of Crystal’s new yacht, Crystal Esprit, to launch in December.

Deal Watch

Wendy Wu deal watchWendy Wu Tours launches its joint Cathay Pacific offers today, available until November 30: Book a selected Vietnam tour and get 2 nights B&B in a 4* hotel, Cambodia for free incl. sightseeing in Angkor, domestic flight and return airport transfers,, valid on tours depart January 13 2016 to February 9 2016 and February 17 2016 to March 17 2016. Book China, Japan or Burma and get 2 nights B&B in a 4* hotel in Hong Kong free incl. half-day city tour and return airport transfers, valid on tours departing January 13 2016 to February 2016, February 17 2016 to March 17 2016, April 11 2016 to June 9 2016 and August 19 2016 to October 31 2016. Visit

Sunway offers: Morocco deals, flights ex Dublin, depart December 26: 7 nights self catering 3* Intouriste Apartments from €599pp. 7 nights B&B 3* Plus Argana Hotel from €769pp incl. New Year’s dinner. 7 nights B&B 4* Kenzi Europa Hotel from €899pp incl. New Year’s dinner. 7 nights B&B 4* Royal Atlas Hotel from €1,139pp incl. New Year’s dinner. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Founty Beach Hotel from €1,239pp incl. New Year’s dinner. 7 nights B&B 5* Sofitel Agadir Royal Bay from €1,249pp. Lanzarote offer, ex Dublin: 7 nights self cntergin 2* Oasis Apartments from €869pp, depart December 26. Ski offer: 7 nights all inclusive Club Med Wengen, Switzerland from €2,379pp, depart December 27. Cruise offers: 7 nights full board Arabian adventure on board Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas from €1,675pp incl. flights, taxes, gratuities and baggage, depart December 28. 7 nights full board Mediterranean cruise on board MSC Preziosa from €1,584pp incl. flights, balcony stateroom and taxes. USA city break offers: 3 nights 3* Hilton Garden Inn, New York from €1,569pp incl. taxes, flights and baggage, depart December 29. 7 nights 3* Rosen Plaza from €1,299pp, depart December 27. 4 nights 3* Circus Circus, Las Vegas from €1,169pp, depart December 30. River cruise offer: 7 nights all inclusive Christmas on the Rhine cruise from €1,1559pp, depart December 28. Morocco offers, depart December 5 or 12: 7 nights self catering 2* Tilia Studios from €299pp, depart November 18, December 5 or 12. 7 nights B&B 3* Argana Hotel from €499pp, no single supplement. 7 nights B&B 4* Kenzi Europa Hotel from €499pp. 7 nights B&B 5* Atlantic Palace Resort from €549pp. 4 nights B&B Agadir and 3 nights B&B Marrakech in a 3* hotel from €599pp. 4 nights B&B Agadir and 3 nights B&B Essaouira in a 4* hotel from €649pp. 4 nights B&B Agadir and 3 nights B&B Taroudant in a 4* hotel from €799pp. 7 nights half board 4* Paradis Plage Hotel, Imi Ouddar, surf/yoga and spa retreat from €849pp. Visit or call 01 231 1800.

Thomson deal watchThomson offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Izaro Club, Puerto Del Carmen, Lanzarote from €379pps, depart December 6. 7 nights self catering 3* Cay Beach, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €399pps, depart December 19. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Jaz Mirabel Beach, Sharm El Sheikh from €629pps, depart January 15 2016. Lapland day trip from €639 per adult and €539 per child, depart December 5, 12 or 18. 7 nights B&B Island Blue, Pefkos, Rhodes from €789pps, depart June 15 2016. 7 nights all inclusive Iberotel Palace, Sharm El Sheikh from €969pps, depart June 9 2016. 7 nights all inclusive Oceanis Beach Spa, Psaldi, Kos from €889pps, depart June 1 2016. 14 nights all inclusive Grand Bahia Principe, Riviera Maya, Mexico from €1,699pps, depart June 20 2016. 7 nights full board Spanish Sunsets cruise on board Thomson Spirit from €1,099pps, depart June 26 2016. Visit or call 1850 45 35 45.

Falcon deal watchFalcon offers: 7 nights all inclusive 4* Holiday Village, Sarigerme, Dalaman from €2,179 for two adults and one child and from €2,949 for two adults and two children, depart June 6 2016. 7 nights self catering 2* Hyde Park Lane, Puerto del Carmen from €299pp, depart December 13. 7 nights self catering 2* Green Park, Maspalomas, Gran Canaria from €399pp, depart December 19. 7 nights all inclusive 3* Xperience St George, Sharm El Sheikh from €499pp, depart January 15 2016.

Royal Caribbean offers, prices include return flights and up to $100 on board spend per room, offers end tomorrow (Nov 2): 7 nights Arabian Gulf cruise on Splendour of the Seas from €1,219pp, offer ends tomorrow, depart February 22 2016. 9 night Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise from €1,255pp, depart April 24 2016. 7 nights Western Mediterranean cruise from €1,669pp, depart June 12 2016. Visit or call 1800 555 604.

Click and Go offers: 7 nights 4* Paradise Bay Hotel, Mellieha Bay, Malta from €199pp incl. return flights from Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in December. 3 nights 4* Wyndham Berlin Excelsior Hotel, Berlin from €249pp incl. return flights from Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in November. 3 nights B&B 5* Corinthia Hotel, Prague from €289pp incl. return flight ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in December. 7 nights self catering 4* Holiday Polynesia Hotel, Menalmadena, Costa del Sol from €329pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in November. Visit

ITAA offers: 3 nights B&B 5* Corinthia Hotel, Prague from €279pps incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges. 7 nights all inclusive 4* Club del Sol Majorca from €2,699 for two adults and one child incl. return flights ex Dublin, Cork or Shannon, depart August 6 2016. RBS 6 Nations tickets for Irish home matches, Ireland v Wales from €104pp, February 7 2016, Ireland v Ital from €84pp, March 12 2016, Ireland v Scotland from €84pp, March 19 2016, price includes match ticket, drink voucher and programme.

BA world sale continues until November 17, for travel from December 15 to September 3 2016: Shanghai from €788, Mumbai from €907, Beijing from €1,104, Rio from €1,590, San Paulo from €1,630, Lima from €1,690, Barbados, Antigua and St Lucia from €1,380. Leisure sale continues until November 17, for travel from November 22 to September 3 2016: Miami from €794, Boston from €925, Philadelphia from €1,125, Toronto from €1,145, Vancouver from €1,245, Mexico from €1,805. Visit your GDS for more.

Lowcostbeds offers, depart January 16 2016, based on 2 sharing: 4* Costa Sal Suites, Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote from €34pppn self catering. 4* Hotel Beatriz Playa & Spa, Matagorda, Lanzarote from €33pppn B&B. 3* Caleta Gardens, Caleta de Fuste, Fuerteventura from €19pppn self catering. 4* Correlejo Beach Hotel, Fuerteventura from €27pppn B&B. Visit

Discovery Cove Preferred_ Dolphin InteractionTour America offers: Discovery Cove holidays from €215,  7 nights Rosen Inn Pointe Orlando from €599pp incl. return flights, depart February 2 2016. 3 nights Roosevelt Hotel, New York from €619pp incl. return flights, depart March 3 2016. 4 nights Tropicana Hotel, Las Vegas from €699pp incl. return flights, depart February 3 2016. Visit

Tourism NI deal watchTourism NI offers, quote promo code Autumn Leaves when booking: 2 nights B&B Armagh City Hotel from £99pps, available until December 13, call 028 3751 8888. 2 nights B&B golf break at Millbrook Lodge Hotel, Ballynahinch from £97pps incl. evening meal voucher worth £20 and a round of golf at Spa Golf Club, available until December 13, call 028 9756 2828. 2 nights B&B Ramada Da Vinci’s Hotel, Derry from £89pps incl. evening meal on evening of your choice and a bottle of wine in your room or a walking tour of Derry’s Walls, available until December 13, call 028 7127 9111.

failte ireland barometerIreland

Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Barometer found that 79pc of tourist attractions saw an increase in visitors so far this year, while 67pc of golf clubs reported an increase in visitors. Restaurants saw a 58pc increase in business.

The CSO reported 12pc growth from overseas for January-September 2015.

TOURISM MINISTER PASCHAL DONOHOE MEETS TOURISM IRELAND BOARDTourism minister Paschal Donohoe met the board members of Tourism Ireland at their October board meeting in Dublin. Picture shows Howard Hastings former chair of Tourism NI, Shane Clarke, Tourism Ireland’s director of corporate services and policy, David Rodway,, Shaun Quinn, CEO of Fáilte Ireland, Denis Cregan,, Simon Gregory, Tourism Ireland’s director of markets, Elaine Murphy,, Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland’s central marketing director. Front row: Jim Flannery, vice-chairman of Tourism Ireland; Brian Ambrose, chairman of Tourism Ireland; Minister Paschal Donohoe, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland and John Healy.

Harland and Wolff veteran made a replica clock in boards for Titanic Belfast.

Visit Belfast welcomed more than 100 of Belfast and Northern IreVisit Belfast hosted 100 professionals in Ulster Museum for the Belfast Ambassador Awards 2015. Picture shows Ulster University doctors Anthea Irwin, Karyn Stapleton and Catrin Rys being presented their awards by Visit Belfast chief executive Gerry Lennon.

Wild Atlantic Way on a Crest of a Wave at eir Spider won two awards at the Eir Spider Awards 2015. was nominated for two other awards. Picture shows Fáilte Ireland digital team Phil Jamison, Kathrin Chambers, Eoin Mac Donnacha, Keith Lacy, Cait Twomey, Patrick Marjolet and Pat Reede of United Airlines.

Kildare Village opened 35 new outlets this week. There are rumours of a phase three development to be announced in 2016.

game of thrones campaignTourism Ireland launched an online Game of Thrones campaign in India to promote locations where the HBO TV series is shot.

A feature on Belfast appeared in the weekend edition of Swedish newspaper Svenska DagbladetDublin was profiled in Denmark’s Ekstra Bladet.

The Gobbins Coastal Path was named one of the top new tourist attractions in the world by The Sydney Daily Telegraph.

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