Travel Extra’s Sunday Supplement September 29 2013: 38 more cabins makes Oasis 3 even bigger


Dublin welcomed its millionth cruise passenger on Friday. A big fuss was made when Diane Taylor, from Newfoundland, stepped off Carnival Legend with her husband, Doug. She was presented with flowers and champagne and they were brought off to the Guinness Storehouse for VIP treatment. The next passenger off the ship had cause to be very grumpy indeed. According to cruise director John Heald, Mr Ayers of Iowa would have been the millionth passenger if only his wife had not paused at the top of the gangway “to sort her purse out.” Carnival Legend was the 100th cruise ship to visit the city this year and is now heading for New York on a 14-night sailing via Dublin, Glasgow, Belfast, Reykjavik, Qaqortoq and St John’s, Newfoundland. Cruise passenger numbers to Dublin have tripled in a decade and are expected to quadruple during the next 10 years.richard fain adam goldstein steel cutting

The cruise ship business is to get a new biggest ever cruise ship. The steel cutting ceremony was held this week for the third ship in the Oasis class, temporarily known as A34 to the St Nazaire shipyard and Oasis 3. The ship to be delivered in mid 2016 will be slightly bigger and have 38 more cabins than Oasis or Allure. At 362.15 metres it will be 2.15m longer, 2,718 more gross tonnage, a maximum capacity of 6,360 passengers, 42 more than Allure. It is the 13th Royal Caribbean Ship to be built by STX at St Nazaire and marks a return to the yards from the STX yard in Turku. A giant new crane, ordered two years ago but to be used for the first time on Oasis 3, will enable Oasis 3 to be constructed in 90 individual blocks, whereas the earlier two ships were made up of 160 blocks. Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain said he would not be revealing the details of Oasis 3’s features until mid-2014.  the steel was cut to Vangelis’s theme music for the film 1492: Conquest of Paradise in a construction shed. The first piece, a silhouette of the ship, was signed by (pictured, left to right) Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain, STX operations director Jean Yves Jaouen, Royal Caribbean president Adam Goldstein, Royal Caribbean vice-president Harri Kulovaara and STX CEO Laurent Castaing at the steel-cutting ceremony for Oasis 3 in St Nazaire, September 23 2013. richard fain eoghan corry 600

Royal Caribbean has an option to order a fourth Oasis-class vessel in the next 12 months. It is also building three slightly smaller Quantum-class ships at the Meyer-Werft yard in Papenburg, Germany.

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Air France unveiled their new economy and premium economy long haul product to international media in Paris, including Travel Extra (Eoghan is pictured trying out the seat). The features include an extra inch in seat pitch for economy passengers, to be fitted on 32 aircraft by end 2015, new lighter seats, new trays and a €500m revamp of the product, to chase the standards set by Emirates and Etihad. A new business class seat will be due in January and a full cabin revamp in April 2015. Air France CEO Alexandre de Juniac told Travel Extra: “Others have raised the bar but we will catch up.” IN response to questions from Travel Extra, Air France is committed to maintaining its strong support for the Travel Trade amid its restructuring and cost-cutting. Air France promised new products and “a new attitude of crew,” and reminded the 200 invited media from around the world that they are only airline to serve complimentary champagne in economy class long haul.etihad montage

Etihad hosted 200 guests at the replay of the All Ireland hurling final and 190 other tickets were distributed to grateful travel contacts. Pictures shows Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and Dave Walsh of Etihad, and on right, the Cork delegation: Roz Walsh of Travelfox, Declan O’Connell of Lee Travel, Cathy Burke of Travel Counsellors. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.simon polito 74

Ryanair extended their campaign to attract more business travellers. They announced a new acceptance agreement with American Express, although cards will be subjected to a 2pc charge. Ryanair announced its first two Polish routes from Warsaw Modlin to Gdansk and Wroclaw. Ryanair returns to Warsaw Modlin Airport on tomorrow Monday. Ryanair alleged unfair procedure in last month’s ruling by the London Competition Commission chaired by Simon Polito (pictured) directing them to reduce their Aer Lingus shareholding from 29.82pc to 5pc. Their appeal says that Polito’s case relied upon evidence and allegations “that have been kept secret from Ryanair.” It was reported that another English legal case is examining the hiring of pilots by Ryanair through third party company, Brookfield. Ryanair employs an estimated 2,300 pilots through hundreds of joint stock companies, something that has begun to exercise the minds of tax authorities in Germany. An analysis of the Ryanair by airscoop said the 2013 – 2014 period will definitely be a pivotal year for Ryanair: “the three pillars on which Ryanair stands (legal strategy, financial optimization, communication), albeit composing a relevant model, might fall victims to the winds of change that have been blowing all over Europe.”  The Centre for Aviation Policy noted Ryanair’s share of summer capacity at Stansted increased from 60pc in 2007 to 74pc in 2013. Listen to an analysis of the price war between Ryanair and Aer Lingus here, (contributors include Travel Extra’s Eoghan Corry), on RTÉ’s Today programme with Sean O’Rourke.

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Amadeus hosted their biggest golf day for the travel trade to date at the Heritage in Killenard, 14 teams and 56 golfers (up from 48 last year), with some spa guests as well. Picture shows the Amadeus team of Trish O’Leary, Volker Lorenz and Olwen McKinney and, on right, Volker posing with the overall winners Jonathan Adair of Northern Ireland Travel News and Yvonne Lennox of World Travel Centre. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.  Listen here to the speech by Clare Dunne, President of the ITAA, at the prize giving.itof cropped

The Irish Tour Operators Federation AGM takes place in Palma today, unfortunately down John Kinane of Thomas Cook and ITOF CEO Flan Clune. Remarkably this is the first no-show in ITOF history since Eugene Corcoran of Budget Travel in 2007. Con Howard, Pat Dawson and Clare Dunne lead an ITAA delegation which will meet ITOF as part of the Camp Gonzalo peace accord organised by Gonzalo Ceballos. Guests and media flew out last (Saturday) evening,castleknock hotel

Castleknock Hotel & Country Club won the AA Hotel of the year award, Tankardstown House won Guest Accommodation of the year, Hotel Westport the AA Courtesy and care award, Dolores Jordan of Red River Lodge Ballina the Bean an Ti of the Year, Shelbourne Hotel the AA Red Star award, Cliff House Waterford the AA 4 rosettes for culinary excellence. Gravetye Manor in West Sussex, Cringletie House in Peeblesshire, Llangoed Hall in Powys, and DUKES in London, were named among England’s best hotels. Slieve Donard in Down was the overall winner and the K Club in Straffan won the five star award in the Hotel & Catering Review Gold Medal Awards in Dublin.

The CSO monthly data showed US and Canada inbound figures were up 19.9pc. Leo Varadkar claimed that 300,000 visitors came for the Gathering, within 25,000 of his target. Kavanagh Fennell reported that 118 companies in the hospitality industry went to the wall so far this year, The IHF said 63pc of Irish hoteliers saw business from the UK either stall or decline during the summer period.

German, Czech, Belgian and Dutch holidaymakers were given the green light to return to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts by their country’s governments. Irish advice was still unchanged and advising against travel to Red Sea at the time of publication. The Belfast Wednesday charter continues. The turmoil in Egypt has once again hit package holidays to the Red Sea, Thomas Cook and TUI Travel warned.

The bonding system as we know it may be about to come to an end. The European Commission requested that Ireland respect the principle of free movement of services as regards travel agents and tour operators (Article 56 TFEUArticle 16 Services DirectiveArticle 3 e-commerce Directive). The directives criticised Ireland’s legislation and administrative practice which requires that tour operators and travel agencies from other Member States, intending to provide services in Ireland, “obtain an Irish authorisation, subscribe to an Irish bond, have a minimum capital required by Irish law and indicate a postal address in Ireland. These provisions do not take into account the fact that such service providers are entitled to provide services in other Member States and are already subject to insolvency protection requirements in their Member State of establishment, according to the Package Travel Directive.”

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Tourism Ireland and a group of airlines, ferry companies, tour operators, regions and attractions promoted Ireland in the crucial French market at the IFTM Top Resa tourism trade fair in Paris from Monday to Thursday. Picture shows Marie Paul Arnold of Joe O’Reilly Tours and Huda Said of Tourism Ireland on the stand and Marc Faivre of Tourism Ireland talking to a trade buyer. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Michelin Star restaurants for 2013 included two newcomers. Garrett Byrne’s Campagne in Kilkenny and Ken Harker’s Lady Helenin Mount Juliet are additions to Ireland’s now nine Michelin Star restaurants: Aniar House in Galway (where Ultan Cooke replaced Enda McEvoy this year), Oliver Dunne’s Bon Appétit in Malahide, Adriaan Bartels and Martijn Kajuiter’s Cliff House in Ardmore and four in Dublin Patrick Guilbaud (2 stars), Ross Lewis and Martin Corbett’s Chapter One, SallyAnn and Derry Clarke’s L’Ecrivain and Kevin Thornton’s. Another 11 restaurants in Ireland appear in its Bib Gourmands section: Deasy’s in Co Cork; Sha Roe Bistro in Co Carlow; Chart House, Co Kerry; Courthouse, Co Monaghan; Aldridge Lodge, Co Wexford; Fishy Fishy Cafe, Co Cork, the Wild Honey Inn in Lisdoonvarna, and four in Dublin: Pig’s Ear, Pichet, Downstairs and Brasserie at Bon Appétit.Minty Woolgar Sarah Watson, Gary Little Laura Vass

The city of Glasgow hosts 130 events a week nowadays, and is about to get a new 12,000 seat entertainment centre, Minty Woolgar of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau told us this week when she stopped by to visit Dublin and promote the city’s vibrant arts and music scene. Minty is pictured with Glasgow comedy festival director Sarah Watson, comedian Gary Little and Laura Vass of Glasgow attractions who hosted Irish travel writers at Chapter One restaurant in Dublin. Listen here to comedian Gary Little performing at the event.

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Pictured on the Dubai Tourism and Etihad airways fam trip at Fairmont The Palm: Kathryn Vaughan of Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Michelle Anderson of Sunway, Jill Rankin of Clubworld Travel, Michaela Piehl of Dubai Tourism, Elaine O’Hagan of Travel Counsellors, Jonathan Ritchie of Oasis Travel. Front row: Carla May of Dubai Tourism, Jacqueline Sheehan of Tropical Sky, Mary Downes of John Cassidy Travel, Fiona Lawless of Etihad Airways and Joanne McCabe of Atlas GoHop, See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

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Pictured on the Lowcost Beds agent trip to Costa Blanca in Spain: Suzanne Furlong of, Brenda Quirke of Cassidy Travel, Borja Bedoya of the Spanish Tourist office, Grainne Caffrey of, Aisling Crowe of Bowe Travel, Sarah Slattery of Skytours, Andrea Dixon of Cassidy Travel, Jean Cusack of Icon Travel and Emma Kilkelly of Kilkelly Travel.dawson travel

The four week Facebook promotion by One Stop Travel Shop yielded its final prizewinners this week, Liberty Travel in Letterkenny. The Dawson Travel group are pictured receiving their Facebook Friday goodies from One Stop Travel Shop: Marlen Webelholz, Michela Borrello, Gaulia Vaira, Cecilia Battaiola, Dana Amthor, Marketa Brochazkoba and (front) Judy Coughlan. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

Spain reported record tourism figures, 8.3m foreign tourists in all with English, French and German holidaymakers leading the charge. Irish visits was up 3.1pc to 148,700 according to the Frontur monthly report on foreigners movement at Spanish frontiers, “quite remarkable considering the fantastic weather here” according to Gonzalo Ceballos, director of the Spanish Tourism Office in Dublin. The cumulative figures for 2013 (January-August) reflect a total 925,790 Irish tourists visiting Spain, 8.3pc up on the same period in 2012. In the period January-September inclusive, there have been 1,099,635 passengers of every nationality on direct flights from Ireland to Spanish airports, up 6.22pc. Air capacity was up 5.9pc.

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