Month: February 2018

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Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam to Explore Norway, the Baltic, Iceland and the Mediterranean for the 2019 Summer/Fall Season

Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam to Explore Norway, the Baltic, Iceland and the Mediterranean for the 2019 Summer/Fall Season

Seattle, Wash., Feb. 7, 2018 — Following an inaugural season island-hopping throughout the Caribbean, Holland America Line’s Nieuw Statendam will cross the Atlantic Ocean in late April 2019 and spend the summer and fall exploring northern Europe and the Mediterranean.

The new Pinnacle Class ship will homeport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for the summer. Offering an enchanting collection of seven- and 14-day itineraries to the Norwegian Fjords, the Baltic, Iceland and North Cape, Nieuw Statendam will visit some of the most scenic and culturally rich ports in the region.

In September the ship will head to the warm waters of the Mediterranean on a 12-day cruise from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy. Three 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia will explore the eastern and western Mediterranean. The ship then departs Civitavecchia Oct. 27 for a 14-day cruise back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"Holland America Line is known for offering incredible itineraries that deeply immerse our guests in the places we visit, and for Nieuw Statendam’s inaugural season in Europe we crafted cruises that will deliver an unforgettable experience," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "By offering nearly six months of cruising in the region, we’re able to take the ship from Iceland to Greece and everywhere in between. We encourage everyone to book early because interest has been remarkably high for our newest ship."

Nieuw Statendam Showcases Norway in Summer 2019

Once arriving in Amsterdam, Nieuw Statendam will cruise seven- and 14-day itineraries. Two different seven-day itineraries offering nine departures from May through September call at some of the country’s most popular ports and feature multiple scenic cruising experiences.

A longer 14-day Norwegian exploration departs June 9 and July 7, featuring eight ports in Norway while crossing into the Arctic Circle. Guests also will enjoy scenic cruising in Hardangerfjord, Geirangerfjord, the North Cape and Sognefjord.

British Isles and Baltic Round Out Nieuw Statendam Europe Highlights

The Baltic awaits Nieuw Statendam guests on two 14-day itineraries in May and August, also sailing roundtrip from Amsterdam. The ship calls at the most sought-after ports in the region, with visits to Copenhagen and Aarhus, Denmark; Warnemünde (Berlin) and Kiel (Hamburg), Germany; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg (overnight), Russia; Helsinki, Finland; and Stockholm, Sweden.

Travelers looking to visit the British Isles and Iceland can embark Nieuw Statendam Aug. 4 for a 14-day cruise to Newcastle upon Tyne, England; South Queensferry (Edinburgh), Scotland, for an overnight permitting guests to attend the Edinburgh Military Tattoo if they would like; Reykjavik (overnight), Isafjordur and Akureyri, Iceland; and Ålesund and Bergen, Norway.

Mediterranean Cruises in the Fall Span the Region

In September, Nieuw Statendam sails from Amsterdam to Civitavecchia on a 12-day journey that visits Ireland, Portugal and four ports in Spain. The ship then offers two 10-day cruises roundtrip from Civitavecchia to Croatia, Montenegro, Greece and Italy, while another 10-day itinerary visits ports in Spain, Gibraltar, France, Monaco and Italy.

On Oct. 27 the ship repositions to Fort Lauderdale on a 14-day voyage that crosses the Atlantic Ocean following calls at Cartagena, Málaga (Granada) and Cádiz, Spain; and Ponta Delgada, Azores.

Fares for Nieuw Statendam Europe cruises begin at $1,199 per person, double occupancy. Taxes, fees and port expenses are additional.

The Premiere Voyage and Inaugural Caribbean Season

Nieuw Statendam’s Premiere voyage will depart Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, Dec. 5, 2018, for a 14-day transatlantic crossing to Fort Lauderdale. The ship will spend the winter, holiday and spring seasons cruising roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale on three or four-day Bahamas sailings, seven-day eastern or western Caribbean cruises and one 10-day southern Caribbean itinerary.

Travelers looking to spend more time on board and experience the new ship can choose from 11- to 17-day Collectors’ Voyages that combine back-to-back Caribbean itineraries. All of Nieuw Statendam’s Caribbean cruises feature a call at Holland America Line’s award-winning private Bahamian island, Half Moon Cay, known for its pristine beaches, exciting shore excursions, exclusive beach cabanas and child-friendly activities.

About Nieuw Statendam

Due for delivery Dec. 1, 2018, Nieuw Statendam currently is under construction at Fincantieri’s Marghera shipyard in Italy. The 2,666-guest, 99,500-ton ship will reflect the ongoing evolution of Holland America Line. While much of the ship’s design will be similar to Koningsdam, the first Pinnacle Class ship, Nieuw Statendam will have exclusive public spaces and its own style created by leading hospitality designer Adam D. Tihany and designer and architect Bjørn Storbraaten. The ship will feature all of the hallmarks of Pinnacle-class design: grand, light-filled spaces; visual drama; and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

Holland America Line’s first ship to be called Statendam sailed in 1898, and this will be the sixth ship in the company’s history to carry the name. In combining the Dutch word for "new" with the classic "Statendam," Holland America Line celebrates the company’s past, present and future.

South African Airways introduces the new Airbus A330-300 on the Johannesburg to London route and rationalises frequency

South African Airways introduces the new Airbus A330-300 on the Johannesburg to London route and rationalises frequency

JOHANNESBURG, 1 February 2018 - South African Airways (SAA) has announced plans to introduce the new A330-300 on the London route from March 2018. The airline has also decided to adjust frequencies on the route to a single daily service. 

“We have decided to focus on those areas of our business that will enhance our efficiencies, bring more value to our customers and produce improved overall performance of the airline. Network optimisation is one such area that can contribute towards containing our costs and we introduced some initiatives that must yield dividends to return the business to commercial sustainability in the shortest time possible,” said SAA CEO, Vuyani Jarana. 

At the end of 2017, SAA announced network remediation on the domestic and regional markets and the airline has now turned its attention to its international network.

“We have also decided to upgrade the service operating between Johannesburg and London Heathrow to the new Airbus A330-300 with effect from Sunday, 25 March 2018. This will afford customers a significantly improved on-board Business and Economy product, with state-of-the-art technology, increased comfort and capacity,” explained Jarana. 

With effect from 20 April 2018, SAA will operate a single daily flight from Johannesburg to London Heathrow replacing the double daily service operating on the route currently.


The new Airbus A330-300

“Our announcement to introduce the new A330-300 on the very competitive London route next month is exciting and positive news for our customers,” added JaranaSAA took delivery of five new A330-300 aircraft last year.  The aircraft offers state-of-the-art technology; they are environmentally friendly and super-comfortable. The interiors are striking in warm, neutral colours to provide a comfortable, elegant and relaxed ambience, leaving customers feeling well rested.  The A330-300s offer more Business Class seats than any aircraft already in the SAA fleet. In total, the aircraft has capacity for 249 passengers, with 46 in Business Class and 203 in Economy Class. They are quieter than previous-generation aircraft, equipped with advanced avionics and navigation systems, and have ultra-fuel-efficient Rolls-Royce Trent engines, resulting in lower fuel burn and, as a result, lower carbon emissions.


Business Class experience

Business Class on the new A330s is set to make customers between London and Johannesburg feel at home in their very own ‘living space’. Seating in Business Class cabins is in a staggered 1-2-1 configuration, offering all customers a forward facing, lie-flat seat, increased privacy and direct access to the aisle.  To give customers the best possible viewing experience, each seat is fitted with its own high-tech, 15” easy-to-use touchscreen. 

There is space for personal tablets to rest in the back of the seat and SAA introduced an app where customers can download additional entertainment before their flight.  Customers can of course continue to expect restaurant quality a-la-carte dining, served with award-winning South African wines.


There is space for personal tablets to rest in the back of the seat and SAA introduced an app where customers can download additional entertainment before their flight.  Customers can of course continue to expect restaurant quality a-la-carte dining, served with award-winning South African wines.


Economy Class experience

Economy Class on the A330-300 is fitted with newly designed seats with personal space and generous legroom for travelling comfort. Each seat is fitted with a 10.1” high-resolution screen, individual USB charging ports, and access to shared PC power points, so customers can enjoy the latest movies and TV shows, on-demand. 


Seating in the Economy cabin remains in the popular 2-4-2 configuration, continuing to ensure that customers are only ever one seat away from the aisle.  The A330s complement SAA’s existing Airbus long haul on the domestic/regional fleet, which include A320s that were delivered in 2015. 


South African Airways network

“We will continue to operate the daily non-stop SA234/SA235 service which offers customers convenient connections into and out of Johannesburg on SAA and our codeshare partners’ domestic and regional networks,” Jarana concluded. 

SAA has leased the second Heathrow slot, giving the airline the flexibility to reinstate a second flight at the end of the lease period, providing the airline an opportunity to grow and develop in the future. 

SAA has announced a flexible re-accommodation policy for customers currently booked on SA236/SA237 to switch onto the earlier SA234/SA235 service and enjoy the new aircraft.


Source :  flysaa 

Something Completely Different: Seabourn Quest’s Summer Viking Ventures

Something Completely Different: Seabourn Quest’s Summer Viking Ventures

Spectacular Adventures in Iceland, Greenland and other North Atlantic isles

In recent years, intrepid travelers have increasingly begun to discover the astonishing natural splendors and vivid Viking history concentrated in Iceland and Greenland. These remote destinations are never more appealing than in summer, when massive populations of migrant birds and other wildlife gather in the long, lingering sunlight.

Seabourn has curated a series of brand new itineraries for Seabourn Quest for the summer of 2018, taking full advantage of the region’s unspoiled grandeur with a veteran expedition team of naturalists and other experts that includes Dr. Colleen Batey, an archaeologist specializing in the area’s rich indigenous and Viking legacies.

Ventures by Seabourn™ options abound

The 15-day British Isles & Iceland voyage (departing May 17 from Dover to Reykjavik) begins with calls in England, Wales, the Isle of Man, Northern Ireland and Scotland with multiple opportunities for active Ventures by Seabourn kayak, Zodiac or hiking excursions, and archaeologist-guided visits to museums and other sites. The cruise culminates with calls at the isolated fjord villages of Seydisfjordur, Djupivogur and Grundarfjordur on Iceland’s coast, with Ventures by Seabourn options including wildlife viewing, Zodiac cruises under teeming seabird cliffs and hikes to Viking sites with Dr. Batey.

Another 15-day Iceland & North Cape Quest voyage (departing June 1 from Reykjavik to Copenhagen) includes four Icelandic ports: Isafjordur, Akureyri, Siglufjordur and Vopnafjordur, as well as the Norwegian coastal gems of Tromso, the teeming seabird colonies of Storstappen Island, Honningsvaag near the North Cape, plus Hammerfest, Harstad, the dramatic pierced mountain at Bronnoysund and Arendal, and finally Arhus in Denmark. Again, Ventures by Seabourn options abound for kayaking Zodiac cruises, hikes and site visits with Dr. Batey.

True to its name, the 45-day Atlantic Isles Quest voyage (departing July 16 from Dover to Montreal) traces a jeweled strand of exceptional islands across the North Atlantic:  Welsh and Scottish isles, the Isle of Man; the dramatic sea stacks of Borea and Stac Lee, the Orkneys, Shetlands and Denmark’s Faroe Islands. The centerpiece of this exceptional voyage is an in-depth exploration of six harbors in Iceland and eight different destinations in Greenland, where towering glaciers flow from the vast Greenland Ice Field to the sea, calving a parade of huge icebergs that glide like ghostly ships into the Atlantic. That unforgettable interlude is followed by visits to some of the most remote and least-visited islands in Canada’s northeast Nunavut territory: Lady Franklin Island and Monumental Island; the haunt of polar bears and other exotic wildlife; and L’Anse aux Meadows, the site of an 11th century Viking settlement that is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At last, the shores of the St. Lawrence welcome you to Quebec City and civilization.

As delightfully different as these summer voyages are, they share a common thread: the unique blend of unfettered adventure and unstinting luxury that is the hallmark of Seabourn Quest.

Source : Seabourn

Aeroflot among global airlines honored at Cellars in the Sky fine wines awards

Aeroflot among global airlines honored at Cellars in the Sky fine wines awards

Moscow, 22 February 2018 – Aeroflot has received a prestigious prize at the Cellars in the Sky Awards that recognise the best business and first class wines served by airlines worldwide. Russia’s flag carrier shared the bronze medal in the category “Best Business Class Fortified/Dessert Wine”.

The expert jury awarded Aeroflot’s exquisite offering of Graham’s Ten Year Old Tawny Port, which has become a calling card for Portugal. Aeroflot shared the bronze medal with Singapore Airlines, a Skytrax 5-star airline that received the most prizes at this year’s Cellars in the Sky Awards.

The Cellars in the Sky Awards were established more than 30 years ago by well-known British travel magazine Business Traveller. The awards were presented this week at Trinity House near Tower Hill, London.

As the organisers of the awards note, approximately half of business class passengers take food and beverage options into consideration when choosing an airline, with wines an important component of catering options.

Aeroflot is a leader in the global airline industry for service quality and product offering, and is prioritising continually improvement in this area. Aeroflot has been recognised on many occasions for the quality of its wines, and in 2017 it continued to improve and expand its food and beverage offerings on board and in the Terminal D business lounges at Sheremetyevo airport.

About Aeroflot

Aeroflot is Russia’s flagship carrier and a proud member of the SkyTeam global airline alliance. Aeroflot and its partners serve 1,074 destinations in 177 countries worldwide. In 2017, Aeroflot carried 32.8 million passengers (50.1 million passengers as Aeroflot Group including subsidiaries).

Aeroflot became the first Russian airline to be awarded Four Star Airline status by Skytrax in recognition of the high-quality of its customer service. In 2017, Aeroflot was named Best Airline in Eastern Europe for the sixth time at the Skytrax World Airline Awards.

In 2017, Aeroflot was named the most powerful brand in Russia and the world’s strongest airline brand by leading valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance. Aeroflot was also named Best Major Airline in Europe by TripAdvisor travellers and recognised as the Favourite International Airline in China at the Flyer Award Ceremony 2017.

Aeroflot operates one of the youngest fleets in the world with 228 aircraft. Aeroflot is based in Moscow, at Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Aeroflot is among the global leaders in aviation safety, with a European Community Safety Assessment of Foreign Aircraft (SAFA) Index, the main globally recognized safety parameter, comparable to global peers.

The first Russian carrier to enter the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) register, renewing its registration for the seventh time in 2017, Aeroflot has successfully passed the IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations (ISAGO) and is fully ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2004 compliant.

Source: Aeroflot

PAL becomes Philippines’ first 4-star airline

PAL becomes Philippines’ first 4-star airline

The Philippine Airlines has been certified as a 4-star airline by Skytrax, a London-based international air transport rating organization."

MANILA - Philippine Airlines has been certified as the country's first 4-star airline, the flag carrier said Thursday.

PAL joined 42 other 4-star airlines on the list of Skytrax, a London-based international air transport rating organization.

"PAL achieved this coveted rating after Skytrax conducted a rigorous audit of the airline's inflight and on ground service for both international and domestic flights and noted major enhancements on its end-to-end passenger experience and distinct whole-hearted service called Buong Pusong Alaga," the flag carrier said in a statement.

PAL chairman and chief executive officer Lucio Tan called the accreditation a "big win for the Philippines."

“We are elated by this recognition which is a victory for the more than seven thousand members of the Philippine Airlines family. Our achievement is the country's achievement and we share this with all Filipinos around the globe," Tan said in a statement.

Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted said the rating "recognizes the great improvements that the airline has introduced over the last 2 years."

"New and retrofitted aircraft have played an important part in the quality improvement process, and this looks set to develop further when Philippine Airlines introduces the A350 into their fleet. We look for consistency of quality in the 4-Star rating, and we look to Philippine Airlines to ensure this is duly delivered to customers," he said.

PAL placed 67th in Skytrax's Top 100 Airlines in 2017, a 16-notch increase from its 83rd place in 2016.