Month: December 2018

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Aeroflot expands range of passenger services with more upgrades and seat-selection options

Aeroflot expands range of passenger services with more upgrades and seat-selection options

Aeroflot has expanded its range of extra services for passengers with the introduction of paid-for advance seat selection for travelers on Promo and Budget fares. Previously, passengers holding these ticket types were not able to choose a seat before check-in. In addition, passengers can pay an additional fee to upgrade to Business Class from Economy or Comfort Class. 

Passengers holding Economy or Comfort Class tickets will be able to upgrade to Business Class for an extra fee. Upgrades can be purchased during check-in at the airport at least 1.5 hours before the flight, via the Online Check-In page of Aeroflot’s website or through Aeroflot’s 24-hour Contact Centre, starting 72 hours before the flight and at least 2 hours before take-off time. 

Upgrades are subject to seat availability in Business Class by the end of check-in. Passengers will receive a new boarding pass before boarding the plane. If no upgrades are available, passengers will get a full refund. More information can be found on the Aeroflot website.

The new advance seat selection service gives passengers with Budget and Promo tickets the opportunity to book the seat they want in advance for an extra fee before check-in. Seats can be reserved when buying a ticket, with the cost depending on the duration of the flight and the location of the selected seat. The service is currently available on Aeroflot flights between Moscow and Magnitogorsk, Saratov and Belgorod. The service is available through the Check the Reservation section of Aeroflot’s website, or via the Сontact Center, sales and representative offices and authorized agents. Aeroflot intends to introduce this service on many more flights in the near future.

Advance seat reservation is an optional service that passengers can choose to take advantage of. Those who do not need this option will still be able to choose a seat for free during check-in. Seat selection after check-in begins remains free for all Aeroflot passengers.

For passengers on Premium and Optimum fares, elite members of the Aeroflot Bonus program, as well as Sky Team loyalty programs, seat selection is still free of charge before check-in.

The introduction of these services is part of Aeroflot's initiatives to improve the level of service for passengers.


Holland America Line Takes Delivery of Nieuw Statendam from Fincantieri Shipyard

Holland America Line Takes Delivery of Nieuw Statendam from Fincantieri Shipyard

Seattle, Wash., Nov. 29, 2018 — Holland America Line took delivery of Nieuw Statendam today, Nov. 29, 2018, officially making it the 15th ship in the fleet. A hand-over ceremony took place at Fincantieri’s Marghera, Italy, shipyard, and Nieuw Statendam will set sail for Venice tomorrow en route to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy, for its Premiere Voyage with guests departing Dec. 5.

The delivery was attended by Orlando Ashford, Holland America Line’s president; Carnival Corporation’s Micky Arison, chairman of the board, and Arnold Donald, president and CEO; and Stein Kruse, chief executive officer of Holland America Group and Carnival UK. Giuseppe Bono, CEO of Fincantieri, and several other executives from both companies also attended.  

“Today the Holland America Line family celebrates the addition of Nieuw Statendam to our fleet, and it’s a proud moment for everyone involved,” said Ashford. “Thank you to our partners at Fincantieri and our own team members who worked diligently to deliver the ship looking more stunning than we imagined. Nieuw Statendam represents our continued evolution of adding exciting new experiences while maintaining the hallmarks that have made Holland America Line a leader in premium cruising.”

Following its transatlantic crossing from Civitavecchia, Nieuw Statendam will spend a full season in the Caribbean sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale. Nieuw Statendam’s official naming ceremony will take place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Feb. 2.

The ship will head to its summer homeport of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in May and sail a series of northern Europe, Baltic and Iceland cruises before making its way to the Mediterranean in September for cruises out of Civitavecchia.

The 99,902-ton vessel accommodates 2,666 guests and is the ultimate expression of the Holland America Line brand. The ship features purpose-built staterooms for families and solo travelers among its 1,377 guest accommodations.

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 grand, light-filled spaces, visual drama and sumptuous interiors inspired by the fluid curves of musical instruments.

In addition to the stunning Dining Room, guests will delight in specialty restaurants that include newly designed Rudi’s Sel de Mer, a French seafood brasserie; pan-Asian Tamarind, with a new al fresco dining area where guests can enjoy the gentle ocean breeze; Nami Sushi, a new sushi experience within Tamarind; the award-winning Pinnacle Grill; Canaletto, with family-style Italian dining; and the new Club Orange restaurant exclusively for guests in the Club Orange program.

Additional culinary venues include Grand Dutch Cafe featuring traditional Dutch coffee and treats and European beer; Dive-In, serving up gourmet burgers and fries poolside; New York Deli & Pizza, offering made-to-order sandwiches and pies; and Lido Market, with themed serving stations that revolutionize the buffet experience.

Onboard entertainment features the innovative Music Walk offering a variety of authentic live musical experiences and genres unlike any other at sea. These include the debut of the new Rolling Stone Rock Room with classic rock hits; Lincoln Center Stage, with chamber music; Billboard Onboard, with chart-topping hits; and the popular B.B. King’s Blues Club, bringing the best of Memphis music to sea. With the 270-degree LED projection at World Stage and expanded seating on Nieuw Statendam, even more guests will enjoy spectacular performances with panoramic visuals and sound effects.

Source: Hollan American Line

Two Awards for Macao at World Gourmet Top Awards 2018

Two Awards for Macao at World Gourmet Top Awards 2018

Macao recently was granted two prestigious awards at the World Top Gourmet Awards 2018 on 29th November, 2018. Organised by World Gourmet Federation (WGF), the awards are a tribute to best-in-industry and best-in-class achievements by food and beverage retailers.

The awards cover all cuisine genres and promote efforts in making Asia as one of the world’s top food destination. Macao was selected as the first ever recipient for Gourmet City of the Year Award. Gourmet City of the Year Award aims to recognize and reward the best destination for gastronomy experience and for the excellent work in promoting its city or country’s cultural identity, while promoting sustainable development and expanding its international cooperation.

Top Outstanding Young Chef Award was received by Macanese chef, Sandra Niza Barros. With a family history steeped in gastronomy and professional background in bakery and pastry, Chef
Sandra is the owner of Café SAB 8 in Macao which offers Contemporary Macanese Cuisine. Chef Sandra has delighted us with her culinary skills at Malaysian gourmet event TasteMIGF earlier this year, in collaboration with Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).

Since Macao was designated at UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy in 2017, MGTO’s marketing efforts are riveted on fostering the development of Macao’s gastronomy. A 4-year master plan in currently in place to achieve the objectives set forth by UCCN as a Creative City of Gastronomy. This is primarily to cooperate with other cities in the field of Gastronomy as well as cross-cut with other fields, for example Crafts and Folk Arts, Design, Film, Literature, Media Arts, and Music.

Next year, Macao will celebrate its 20th year of being established as China’s Special Administrative Region. Expect more exciting events and festivals to celebrate this historic moment!

For more information about Macao, please visit: and

Group photo of Macao awarded Gourmet City of the Year 2018: (From left to right) Peggy Chong (Organising Chairlady of World Gourmet), Cherry Lee (Macao Government Tourism Office Representative in Malaysia), Puan Sri Datin Seri (Dr.) Susan Cheah (Sunway Group EXCO member & World Gourmet Patron) & Frederick Yap (President of IBF HQ).

MGTO: MGM Cotai ‘Embroiders’ Aesthetic of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage

MGTO: MGM Cotai ‘Embroiders’ Aesthetic of Chinese Intangible Cultural Heritage

The phenomenal Chinese drama Story of Yanxi Palace borrows lustre from a series of intangible cultural heritage crafts such as Chinese traditional embroidery, Kunqu Opera, Kesi (silk), Ronghua (crafted velvet flowers) and so forth, which MGM is now displaying for public appreciation.

Thus, MGM Cotai has launched the 'Explore the Beauty of Chinese Embroidery' programme, featuring a series of events such as art tours, costume exhibition and art symposium (the symposium ended in November) until 31st December, bringing magnificent art and cultural experiences to residents and visitors.

Silk and metal-thread carpets have consistently served as essential decorations in the Forbidden City in Beijing since the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). Today, only 300 Chinese imperial carpets are known to exist in public and private collections around the world, of which 28 are currently displayed in MGM Cotai.

'Art Tour of the Imperial Carpets' allows guests to appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship and learn about the historic symbolism behind such precious collections as well as the artistry showcased by the Story of Yanxi Palace drama series, glimpsing the lifestyle of the ancient Chinese Imperials.

During the art tour period, MGM has also specially launched Qianlong Emperor's favorite imperial dim sums, pairing them with a selection of Chinese tea in the Imperial Court in MGM Macau and Chun in MGM Cotai.

In addition, the intricate costumes and accessories of the Story of Yanxi Palace - a selection of Kunqu Opera costumes - will be exhibited for the very first time in Macao, proclaiming the delicacy of Chinese traditional embroidery art to exhibition-goers in the 'Ancient Costume Exhibition'.

'Art Tour of the Imperial Carpets' will be held from now to 31st December, with four tours on Mondays to Thursdays (12:00 noon, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm and 6:00 pm) and six tours on Fridays to Sundays (10:30am, 12:00 noon, 1:30pm, 3:00pm, 4:30pm and 6:00pm), each lasting approximately 45 minutes, available in three languages (Mandarin, Cantonese and English), with free admission.

The 'Ancient Costume Exhibition' will be held from now to 9th December, 11:00 am to 8:00 pm on weekdays, and from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, with admission to the exhibition MOP50 (Free admission for children aged 2 and under). All the aforementioned events will be held in MGM Cotai's Emerald Lobby.

For more information, please visit:


MGTO: ‘Macao Light Festival 2018 – Time Travel in Macao’ presents Innovative Food Truck x Light and VR gam

MGTO: ‘Macao Light Festival 2018 – Time Travel in Macao’ presents Innovative Food Truck x Light and VR gam

The 'Macao Light Festival 2018 - Time Travel in Macao' will glamorously unfold in various locations around Macao from 2nd to 31st December. The Macao Light Festival will feature mapping shows created by local and overseas teams, light installations and interactive games plus an array of new highlights such as Food Truck x Light and Gastronomy Night Market, a virtual reality (VR) game as well as Cultural and Creative Night Market, among others. The route will connect a string of new locations to welcome visitors to various neighborhoods.

Three themed routes, five projection mapping shows

Revolving around the concept of time, the Festival will not only manifest the city's East-meets-West culture but portray nostalgic stories and childhood memories of Macao people, leading spectators on a glittering journey across time and space in Macao.

Three distinctively themed routes cover 11 locations in five districts: 1) 'Play Time' passes through St. Dominic's Church and the Ruins of St. Paul's as well as new locations including Pátio de Chôn Sau, Rua das Estalagens, Rua dos Ervanários and Largo do Pagode do Bazar in the central district, in addition to the Camões Garden at St. Anthony's Parish and Calçada da Igreja de S. Lázaro at St. Lazarus' Parish; 2) 'Youth Time' covers the Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre and Anim'Arte NAM VAN at Nam Van and Sai Van district; 3) 'Taste Time' passes through the Taipa Houses at Our Lady of Carmel Parish and new locations including the Taipa Municipal Market, Pak Tai Temple and the square in front of Pak Tai Temple.

Five mapping shows will be projected in three locations, besides an itinerant projection show in Taipa Municipal Market. Three mapping shows produced by their respective teams from Portugal, Belgium and Macao will dazzle the Ruins of St. Paul's throughout different periods.

Two other mapping shows have been meticulously created by local production entities: In 'Flashing Macao' at St. Dominic's Church, the Macao Tourism Mascot 'MAK MAK' will lead the audience to travel back in time to old Macao before returning to the present and venturing into the city of the future; 'Search for the Taste of Memory' in the square in front of Pak Tai Temple will open the eyes of the audience to local dining culture and habits throughout different decades, thereby manifesting the preservation and renovation of the gastronomic culture of Macao as a Creative City of Gastronomy; the itinerant projection show in the Taipa Municipal Market, 'Taste Buds Surprise', will showcase the diverse cuisines of Macao in a splendid feast.

Debut of Food Truck x Light plus MAK MAK mascot

Launched for the first time, 'Food Truck x Light' will offer illuminated drinks and souvenirs for redemption. The public can complete various designated activities in exchange for illuminated drinks and souvenirs from food trucks parked in three locations. Meanwhile, Gastronomy Night Market features local signature delights in the square in front of Pak Tai Temple as another new highlight. Information stations will be set up along the three routes to provide information about the Light Festival and offer souvenirs for redemption.

Residents and visitors can take photos with the Macao Tourism Mascot 'MAK MAK', who will appear along the three routes in a total of 14 image styles around the theme of Christmas, chef and gastronomy. Welcoming residents and visitors to join, one of the activities requires participants to look for 'MAK MAK' along the routes, take pictures with it and complete the required steps in exchange for souvenirs.

Interactive games, light installations and New VR game

The event will bring forth an array of interactive games and light installations designed to enchant the audience and enhance their participation. 'Nostalgic Hopscotch' in Largo do Pagode do Bazar will enable Festival-goers to relive their childhood fun in Macao by hopping across dazzling checkers. 'Future Mailbox' in Calçada da Igreja de S. Lázaro will encourage people to express their heart to themselves and others in the future on the big screen via the Macao Light Festival 2018 mobile app.

'Fly over Macao.VR Experience' in Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre will give participants their first virtual reality experience in the Macao Light Festival whereby participants can soar above Macao and enjoy a panoramically scenic flight by putting on VR goggles and robotic arm.

Other illuminations and interactive installations include 'Space-time Hot Air Balloons' floating across Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre and 'Wall of Times', which will give an introduction to the transformation of culinary culture in Macao in Taipa Houses, delivering the essence of creative gastronomy.

Artistic vibes from Cultural, Creative Night Market and concerts

The Macao Light Festival will feature its first Cultural and Creative Night Market in Anim'Arte NAM VAN, the local hub for culture, creativity and leisure. In addition, an Outdoor Local Concert will be staged on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, creating exchange opportunities and showing Macao's cultural and creative industries to visitors from around the world.

The 'Macao Light Festival 2018 - Time Travel in Macao' will be staged from 7:00pm to 10:00pm from 2nd to 31st December (the last projection mapping show will start at 9:50pm daily, while the light installations in Anim'Arte NAM VAN will be illuminated until 00:10 on 31st December). The public can download the mobile app on App Store or Google Play for free when the Festival arrives, and also obtain information about the Festival via the Macao Government Tourism Office's (MGTO) official WeChat ID or the pages about the Macao Light Festival 2018 on Facebook, Instagram and Weibo, as well as visiting MGTO's official website: