Month: October 2019

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United Airlines and Air New Zealand Announce First Ever Nonstop Service Between New York/Newark and Auckland, New Zealand

United Airlines and Air New Zealand Announce First Ever Nonstop Service Between New York/Newark and Auckland, New Zealand

Air New Zealand and United Airlines today announced the only nonstop service between New Zealand and the United States East Coast will begin in October 2020. Air New Zealand announced it will begin three-times weekly new nonstop service between Auckland and New York/Newark, further strengthening the joint venture relationship between Air New Zealand and United Airlines.

In 2018, Air New Zealand and United Airlines announced new year-round nonstop Air New Zealand service between Chicago and Auckland.

"Air New Zealand's nonstop flight will cut travel time by around three hours, putting New Zealand in easy reach of New York and the East Coast United States," said Jeff McDowall, Air New Zealand's acting Chief Executive Officer. "It's terrific we can make a seamless journey a reality for Kiwis wanting to experience New York and for U.S. travelers who have added New Zealand to their bucket list and we look forward to partnering with United Airlines to grow travel in both directions."

"United's strong, strategic alliance partnership with Air New Zealand provides our customers with more options to travel between the United States and New Zealand than any other airline in the world and we are proud to partner on this first ever nonstop service connecting New Zealand with our hub at Newark Liberty International Airport," said John Gebo, United's senior vice president of Alliances. "We are excited to offer our shared customers another option when planning travel to beautiful New Zealand while conveniently connecting visitors to more than 90 destinations across the United States with just one-stop connections at our New York hub."

Air New Zealand service between New York/Newark and Auckland

Air New Zealand will operate three times weekly, year-round service with its newly configurated Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Flight time will be approximately 17 hours and 40 minutes southbound and 15 hours 40 minutes northbound.

Air New Zealand code share service will be offered on 90 flights across the U.S. for convenient connections to Auckland via New York/Newark. United Airlines operates more flights from its hub at Newark Liberty International Airport than any other airline, with more than 400 flights in the U.S. and around the world.

Since United and Air New Zealand began their alliance in 2016, the joint venture has opened up more travel options for U.S. and New Zealand travelers than ever before. Overall passenger volumes have grown as customers traveling from New Zealand to the U.S. connect to United's broad domestic network through its hubs in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Air New Zealand's new flights between New York/Newark and Auckland will be available for purchase beginning in November on

Flight No.

Operated by








Air New Zealand

Boeing 787-9




06:45+2 days

Thurs, Sat


Air New Zealand

Boeing 787-9



New York/Newark


Thurs, Sat

Subject to Government Approval

The above timings are subject to change

Every customer. Every flight. Every day.

In 2019, United is focusing more than ever on its commitment to its customers, looking at every aspect of its business to ensure that the carrier keeps customers' best interests at the heart of its service. In addition to today's news, United recently announced that MileagePlus miles will now never expire, giving members a lifetime to use miles on flights and experiences. Customers now have more free on board snack options as well, with a choice of Lotus Biscoff cookies, pretzels and the Stroopwafel. The airline also recently released a re-imagined version of the most downloaded app in the airline industry, introduced ConnectionSaver – a tool dedicated to improving the experience for customers connecting from one United flight to the next – and launched PlusPoints, a new upgrade benefit for MileagePlus premier members.

Source: UA Newsroom

Seabourn Announces World-Class Expedition Team to Lead  The Best Experience in Antarctica & Patagonia for 2019-2020

Seabourn Announces World-Class Expedition Team to Lead The Best Experience in Antarctica & Patagonia for 2019-2020

 It will soon be the height of the spring and summer travel season in the southern hemisphere, and Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury cruise line, is ready for adventure with a world-class and very experienced expedition team assembled to lead all expeditions through the wilds of Antarctica and Patagonia from Seabourn Quest.

The ship’s latest voyage to Antarctica will set sail with a 21-Day Ultimate Antarctica & Patagonia itinerary on November 28, 2019. The hand-selected expedition team is set to accompany travelers to pristine Chilean lakes, volcanoes, fjords and glaciers in Patagonia, and six unforgettable days in Antarctica.

“There is so much waiting to thrill Seabourn guests in Antarctica and Patagonia, and this season’s expedition team will be there with them heightening the excitement of every kayaking paddle stroke, Zodiac ride, and shore excursion along the way,” said Robin West, vice president of Expedition Operations for Seabourn. “As always, our expedition team members will support the onboard experience of Seabourn Quest, ready for edifying, knowledgeable and compelling conversation with guests at many times of day throughout their fascinating journey.”  

The season’s first journey will also feature acclaimed Antarctic explorer Colin O’Brady as part of the ship’s complimentary Seabourn Conversations onboard enrichment program. O’Brady made headlines around the world on December 26, 2018 when he became the first person ever to cross the landmass of Antarctica solo, unaided by kites or resupplies.

As on every exploration choreographed by Seabourn around the world, the expedition team bound for Antarctica is made up of experienced wilderness experts, scientists, historians, Zodiac operators, kayak guides, and photographers focused on enhancing travelers’ time amid the remote beauty and fascinating wildlife of the region. Guests will also be able to enjoy Ventures by Seabourn optional, for-charge kayak excursions scheduled throughout the season which can be booked in advance of departure. 

Along with their roles off the ship, expedition team members will be part of the ship’s Seabourn Conversations program, and will regularly interact with guests throughout each sailing, sharing keen insight and in-depth knowledge about the history, ecology and culture of the region. Their valuable insights are offered both in complimentary formal presentations on a variety of topics and in more casual conversations on deck, over meals or at leisure. In addition, the team chronicles their adventures with stories and photos via Seabourn’s Voyage Tracker.

The expedition team to Antarctica & Patagonia will be equipped with high-quality binoculars from Swarovski Optik. Through the line’s unique partnership with Swarovski, Seabourn Quest’s expedition team and bridge staff will utilize optics widely regarded as some of the finest available to search for wildlife and view the stunning landscapes from on board the ship and ashore. Premium suite guests will also find a pair of Swarovski binoculars in their suite to use onboard during their sailing and Swarovski products are also available for purchase in The Shops adjacent to Seabourn Square.

Select members of the handpicked 18-person expedition team that will be onboard each voyage for Seabourn’s 2019-2020 season in Antarctica & Patagonia include:

  • Ignacio “Iggy” Rojas, Expedition Leader – Iggy has 20 years of experience in expedition travel, nearly all of it including cruising in Antarctica where he shares his expertise and knowledge of the natural history of the “White Continent” with fellow travelers. Since the beginning of his career in expedition cruising, Iggy has spent at least twenty uninterrupted seasons in Antarctica, including the Peninsula, Ross Sea and sub-Antarctic Islands in the South Atlantic, Australia and New Zealand.
  • Chris Srigley, Expedition Leader – Chris spends up to nine months a year on expedition ships, with full seasons in Antarctica and the Arctic among them. His deep interest in natural history developed in his youth, and he is well-versed in all of the regions he travels, taking joy in conveying his passion and knowledge to fellow travelers as they experience stunning settings and incredible adventures.
  • Professor Sean Todd Ph.D., Lecturer – A professor at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine, Sean has been researching marine mammals for three decades and first visited Antarctica in 2001. He returns to guide and research, including collecting data for the Antarctic Humpback Whale Catalog he manages for a marine research facility. He recently used his experiences to create a video series, “Life in the World’s Oceans,” co-produced by The Great Courses and Smithsonian Institute.
  • Trevor Potts, Lecturer – A retired teacher who has long enjoyed teaching outdoor skills to children, Trevor knows his way around down south. In the early 1990s, he was on a team that re-created Ernest Shackleton’s epic 1916 rescue mission from Elephant Island to South Georgia, and 2001 he joined another team completing Shackleton’s mountain crossing from King Haakon Bay to Stromness. Trevor has sailed and kayaked to remote regions, including paddling the Bering Strait and in Arctic Norway and Arctic Canada.
  • Brent Houston, Lecturer – Over the past 30 years, Brent’s wildlife research has taken him on over 450 expeditions visiting 100 countries. His ship-based expertise includes seabirds, penguins, polar bears and whales, and he is a contributing editor and photographer for field guides, as well as for The Encyclopedia of Antarctica and the Southern Oceans. In 1995, he sailed with the British Royal Navy using helicopters to photograph and document every known penguin colony on the Antarctic Peninsula, discovering two. He has traveled to Antarctica more than 120 times.
  • Luciano “Luqui” Bernacchi, Lecturer – Luqui has abundant experience in adventure travel and eco-tourism, including leading, guiding and lecturing to groups. He has worked as a mountain guide, ski guide, naturalist guide, and birding guide throughout Argentina, including expeditions across the Patagonian Ice Field and ice walks on the Perito Moreno Glacier. While birding and glaciers are his main passions, his diverse interests have taken him to destinations and wilderness areas around the world.
  • Jennifer Fought, Lecturer – Jennifer’s love for the natural world dates from her youth spent camping, canoeing, and riding horses. With a graduate degree in structural geology, she has conducted research from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico to the glaciers of Greenland where she was a field guide on camping trips to the Greenland Ice Sheet. An avid outdoorswoman, Jennifer is passionate about building her knowledge and understanding of Earth’s processes and experiencing its wonders.
  • Saskia Coulson, Photographer/Videographer – Internationally acclaimed for her research and imagery, Saskia uses her diverse experience to explore complex global issues through visual communication and storytelling. Passionate about photography since her youth, she traveled the globe with her photographer parents and later studied fine art photography at Glasgow School of Art. Widely published, she loves discussing how photography can communicate great wonders and complex challenges of the world. 
  • Anton Wolfaardt, Lecturer – Over decades as a conservation scientist, Anton has focused on seabirds and island ecosystems, basing himself everywhere from Marion Island in the Southern Indian Ocean to the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic. His interest and experience in the conservation of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic environments is broad. He lives in the foothills of the Tsitsikamma Mountain of South Africa, where he enjoys outdoor activities including surfing, trail running, botanizing, and bird watching.
  • Will Wagstaff, Lecturer – A birder since age 5, Will has led wildlife walks around the Isles of Scilly southwest of Cornwall, UK for over 30 years. During the off-season he leads wildlife holidays elsewhere and works on expedition vessels in the Arctic and Antarctica. His favorite spot is the Falkland Islands, of which he wrote the Bradt Guide, and he has also led trips to destinations in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe. Deep into geology and history, he is quick to share his knowledge with anyone interested.
  • Kara Weller, Lecturer – Kara’s passion for wildlife biology led her to global exploration for research, expeditions, and enjoyment. Raised in the woods in central Alaska, she earned a graduate degree in biology and has studied whales in the Bering Sea, eiders on the Arctic coast, river otters in Europe, and raptors in her home state. She has been an expedition leader for the past 15 years, guiding to remote locations including over 180 trips to Antarctica and 100 to the Arctic with 6 visits to the North Pole along the way. 

The expedition team will rotate throughout the season, and additional team members will join select sailings periodically, opening guests’ eyes and minds to the wonders of the natural world in this coveted travel destination.

Seabourn represents the pinnacle of ultra-luxury travel with intimate ships offering key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas and all oceanfront; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available on board at all times; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel at home on board. The ships travel the globe to many of the world’s most desirable destinations including marquee cities, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and lesser-known ports and hideaways. The line is also the Official Cruise Partner of UNESCO World Heritage, aiding its mission of safeguarding and promoting the world’s unique cultural and natural heritage recognized for its outstanding universal value

Regular guests of Seabourn will continue to find a number of innovative offerings and programs, including partnerships with a select group of companies and individuals whose dedication to superior quality, exceptional service and consistent customer satisfaction matches Seabourn.

Such programs include ‘An Evening with Tim Rice, the new evening entertainment experience created exclusively for the line in association with Belinda King Creative Productions; ‘Shopping with the Chef’ excursions in select ports, with an expert Seabourn chef as guide to learn about regional markets and see how the freshest ingredients are selected; ‘Seabourn Conversations’ with special guest speaker including knowledgeable historians, naturalists, marine biologists, destination experts and more; Spa and Wellness with Dr. Andrew Weil, offering guests a holistic spa and wellness experience that integrates physical, social, environmental and spiritual well-being; and The Grill by Thomas Keller, reminiscent of the classic American restaurant from the 50’s and 60’s. Exclusive to Seabourn, The Grill is a unique culinary concept for Chef Keller, focusing on updated versions of iconic dishes. Guests will be treated to table-side preparations of Caesar salad and ice cream sundaes, as well as a range of other favorites like premium steaks, whole roasted chicken, and Lobster Thermidor, presented à la carte.


Countdown to New Cunard Ship Begins as First Steel is Cut

Countdown to New Cunard Ship Begins as First Steel is Cut

Cunard and Fincantieri celebrated the start of construction on the 249th ship of the luxury cruise line, marking an exciting moment in the company’s 179-year history.  

The yet unnamed ship, which is being built to meet the growing global demand in luxury cruising, is set to reimagine the luxury cruise experience with an array of unique and exciting on board amenities. 

The first section of the ship is under construction at Fincantieri’s Castellammare di Stabia ship yard. The shipbuilding group previously delivered Cunard’s popular and world-renowned Queen Victoria in 2007 and Queen Elizabeth in 2010. 

The steel cutting ceremony is a keystone-event in the life of Cunard’s new ship, marking the commencement of building works that will culminate in its delivery in Monfalcone, Gorizia, Italy, in 2022. 

Of the occasion, Simon Palethorpe, President, Cunard said, “After years of planning and design, we are delighted to see building works commence on our newest ship. The 249th Cunarder will be our fourth luxury liner for the 21st century. The new ship is taking inspiration from the successes of our past, integrating the Cunard spirit with exciting new concepts and ideas that will provide a uniquely luxurious travel experience for our guests.”

Mr Gilberto Tobaldi, Castellammare Shipyard Director, Fincantieri added, “We are very proud to be embarking on this next chapter of Cunard’s history with the start of the build of their newest ship and we look forward to working with the Cunard and Carnival UK teams over the next months.”

Cunard used the auspicious occasion to announce the commissioning of a unique sculpture, masterly crafted from the first piece of metal cut for the new ship. Acclaimed sculptor Sam Shendi will complete the work, which will be displayed on board the ship for Cunard’s guests to enjoy. Shendi is an Egyptian-born, British sculptor and uses contemporary industrial material, steel, stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass to create his figurative work. 

Shendi said, “I’m really looking forward to working with the Cunard team and to be given the challenge of creating a sculpture from the first piece of steel cut for their new ship is such a unique opportunity. It would be exciting for any artist to be part of such a long history and know that their artwork will travel the world on the ship connecting guests from all corners of the globe.”

With construction underway, the new ship’s interior designers will work alongside Fincantieri to deliver a one of a kind on board experience. Led by globally acclaimed designer Adam D. Tihany, the award winning design team includes Simon Rawlings (David Collins Studio), Terry McGillicuddy (Richmond International) and Sybille de Margerie (Sybille de Margerie Paris). Each brings experience from various world-class international hotels and resorts with the aim of delivering a new standard of Cunard luxury.


Aeroflot wins at Business Traveller Awards 2019 affirming global leadership among premium airlines

Aeroflot wins at Business Traveller Awards 2019 affirming global leadership among premium airlines

Aeroflot has won at the Business Traveller Awards for the second straight year reconfirming global leadership among premium carriers. The prestigious award in the Best Eastern European Airline category was presented by UK magazine Business Traveller at a gala-ceremony in London.

“We are pleased to receive the prestigious accolade from Business Traveller," said Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev. “Our recognition based on the opinion of discerning business travellers choosing Aeroflot has confirmed the airline’s leading positions in the premium segment of the world’s airline market. Our key competitive advantages of punctuality, optimal value-for-money and strong connectivity are instrumental in Aeroflot’s further expansion as a global player in line with our 2023 Strategy”.

The Business Traveller Awards are among the most authoritative in the industry, and have been a fixture of the business travel and hospitality annual calendar since 1988. The award programme comprises dozens of nominations to recognize the best service providers of the global travel industry. The results of the poll of the magazine’s readers are authenticated by an independent auditing company, and are widely recognised as the market’s benchmark for excellence.

Business Traveller is the leading magazine for frequent business travellers, with 14 editions worldwide. Launched in the UK in 1976, Business Traveller has become the leading magazine around the world for corporate travellers who seek out superior service whether on the road for business or pleasure.

Aeroflot has gained an array of international awards based on both passenger and expert polls. Last month, the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) extended Aeroflot’s Five Star Global Airline rating through 2020. Aeroflot was named Best Airline in Eastern Europe for the eighth time at this year’s Skytrax World Airline Awards. The high quality of the airline’s service is sealed with the 4-Star airline status from Skytrax. Aeroflot has been granted the highest five-star rating for punctuality from the world's leading provider of travel data and insight OAG.

Source: Aeroflot News

Seabourn Offers Guests An Unforgettable And Immersive Australia & New Zealand Upcoming Season, Showcasing More Inaugural Port Calls

Seabourn Offers Guests An Unforgettable And Immersive Australia & New Zealand Upcoming Season, Showcasing More Inaugural Port Calls

 Seabourn, the world’s finest ultra-luxury travel experience, will return to Australia and New Zealand in December 2019, including a number of new exciting ports around the picturesque country. In total, Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Sojourn will make 40 calls across Australia this summer season, along with a number of diverse, insightful port calls across the island nation of New Zealand.

From December 2019 to April 2020, Seabourn’s two ultra-luxury ships will visit boutique ports, sheltered coves and hidden harbours that larger cruise ships often cannot access as well as favorite marquee ports, with a variety of onboard offerings and on-shore experiences that cater to every type of traveler.

Sailing the awe inspiring South Pacific Ocean from December to March, the cruise line will make its first ever call to Portland, Victoria, site of the first permanent European settlement in the state, when Seabourn Encore visits on March 14. Other maiden ship calls include Seabourn Encore’s first visits to Hobart (March 11), Kangaroo Island (March 15) and Adelaide (March 16). This is a very unique and exhilarating itinerary with its heavy emphasis on ports in the east and south, including New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

Seabourn Sojourn will visit six Australian ports as part of her world cruise, including her first calls to Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef (April 24) and Brisbane (April 26), officially closing the cruise season on April 29 as the last international ship scheduled to depart Sydney.

“We are thrilled to offer our guests so many choices in ultra-luxury cruising in Australia and New Zealand this year,” said Chris Austin, senior vice president of Global Marketing & Sales for Seabourn. “This fascinating, beautiful part of the world provides our guests with a wide array of extraordinary destinations and experiences in a way that only Seabourn can deliver.”

New Zealand shines aboard Seabourn Encore where guests can visit this multi-cultural nation of people from Maori, European, Pacific, and Asian origin, who are often regarded as warm and friendly. A selection of departures from December 2019 through February 2020 offer plenty of options to explore this nation of two main and many small nations in depth in locations such as Milford Sound, a UNESCO World Heritage site and New Zealand’s most famous tourist destination. Other port calls include Timaru, where the South Canterbury Museum traces the history of the region from the Maori arrival to the present; Lyttelton (Christchurch), where historic Antarctic voyages began and home of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens; and Wellington, with its crown jewel Te Papa, a museum of Australasian natural history, science and culture.

With multiple cruises around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, guests will witness sweeping landscapes, stunning waterfalls, pristine beaches and wildlife eye-to-eye in ultra-luxury style aboard Seabourn’s intimate ships. As the Official Cruise Partner for UNESCO World Heritage, Seabourn guests will also have the opportunity to visit iconic and cherished sites such as Daintree National Park, Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef as part of Seabourn’s pre- and post-cruise Seabourn Journeys which can be added to itineraries.

Inspired by the rising interest in mindful, healthy living, Seabourn will bring a dedicated wellness cruise to Australia and New Zealand for the first time in February 2020. Celebrated physician and best-selling author Dr. Andrew Weil will join guests on board with a team of wellness experts. Sailing from Auckland, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia through Milford Sound, the onboard itinerary will include lectures, discussions, classes and demonstrations led by Dr. Weil and his team to help guests enrich their lives for better mental and physical health.

Further highlights of the season include:

Discover the exotic isles of the Indonesian Archipelago, port in Darwin and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Great Barrier Reef before finishing in Sydney with the 24-Day Java Sea & Coral Coast cruise. Travel dates November 27 to December 21, 2019.
• The 17-Day Orchard Isles & Coral Coast itinerary departs Bali and travels along the Australian coastline to Sydney. Travel dates December 4 to 21, 2019.
• Celebrate the holiday season with the 33-Day Gems of the Southern Seas cruise which departs from Denpasar, Bali and explore the Indonesian isles, east coast of Australia and all three islands of New Zealand. Travel dates December 4 to January 6, 2020.
• Seabourn’s favourite antipodean itinerary is a 16-Day survey of all three New Zealand islands before visiting Melbourne and Sydney Harbour. Travel dates December 21 to January 6, January 20 to February 5 and February 5 to 21, 2020.
• Departing Sydney with a stop in Melbourne, 30-Day Treasures of New Zealand is Seabourn’s most immersive exploration of “The Land of the Long White Cloud,” which also visits Norfolk Island. Travel dates December 21, 2019 to January 20, 2020.
• 16-Day Wellness cruise departs from Auckland and explores both of New Zealand’s beautiful islands before sailing to Melbourne and Sydney. Travel dates February 21 to March 8, 2020.
• Ventures by Seabourn optional for-charge expedition-style excursions including Zodiacs and kayaks delivered by a world-class team of experts in a variety of fields such as marine biology, ornithology, and geology. The team also interacts with guests throughout the course of the sailing through presentations, interpretation on the outdoor decks of the ship, and even during meals. Available in select ports on itineraries departing in 2019 on November 27, December 4 & 21, and 2020 departures on January 6 & 20, February 5 & 21, March 8 & 22, and April 7.

Seabourn represents the best of ultra-luxury travel with intimate ships offering key elements that set the line apart: spacious, thoughtfully appointed suites, many with verandas and all 100% ocean front; superb dining in a choice of venues; complimentary premium spirits and fine wines available on board at all times; award-winning service and a relaxed, sociable atmosphere that makes guests feel right at home on board.