Travel Weekly's Asia-Pacific E-letter: December 8, 2005

KINTETSU INTL TRAVEL CONSULTANTS partnered with the Japan National Tourist Organization, Random House Publishers and Sony Pictures Entertainment to promote a Memoirs of a Geisha tour based on the novel of the same name and a movie due out in theaters on Dec. 9. The tour will concentrate on the Japanese city of Kyoto, where the story is set. Priced from $1,229 per person, double the tour includes roundtrip air on American Airlines from Los Angeles, five nights accommodations at the New Miyako hotel in Kyoto and a full-day sightseeing tour of Kyoto with lunch; air from New York (Kennedy) and Chicago (OHare) also can be arranged. A two-day supplemental program is also available for $763 per person that includes visits to some of the locations in the movie. The cost covers services of a guide, entrance fees, some meals and a tea ceremony. For more information, contact Kintetsu International at (800) 422-3481.

VACATION.COM CRUISECENTRE unveiled its first Asia itinerary for 2006, a 14-day cruise aboard Holland Americas Statendam to Japan and China. Passengers will board in Osaka, Japan, on April 3 cruising the East China Sea and the Taiwan Strait with port calls in Nagasaki, Japan, and Beijing and Shanghai, China. The Vacation Vignette package includes value-added amenities like pre- and post-cruise gifts, a Bon Voyage Cocktail Reception, an onboard Pinnacle Grille dinner and an exclusive on-shore event featuring an acrobatic performance. The entire trip will be attended by a Concierge to answer questions and help the guests. For more information, call (800) 321-1060 or e-mail [email protected].

VICTORIA CRUISES unveiled a series of winter specials for its Yangtze River cruises with prices cut of more than 40%. The Chongqing-Yichang trip, which is a four-day downstream trip, and its reverse, the Yichang-Chongqing, which is a five-day upstream trip, are both priced from $450 per person, double, in a standard cabin. The price, valid through mid-March, includes meals, entertainment and on-board lectures. Meanwhile, the Chongqing-Yichang-Chongqing trip, which is an eight-day trip that journeys through the Three Gorges, is priced from $800 per person, double occupancy. For information, call (800) 348-8084; e-mail [email protected]; or log onto

THE MANDARIN ORIENTAL, HONG KONG, will begin a major renovation at the end of 2005. The $140 million project will take about eight months to complete. The hotels balconies will be enclosed, which will increase the size of the rooms. The number of rooms will be reduced from 541 to 503, including 69 suites. The public areas, restaurants and bars also will be refurbished and the hotel exterior will be upgraded. The property will close Dec. 28 and when it re-opens in late August 2006, the renovation will be complete on the public areas and 200 of the rooms. The rest of the rooms will be re-opened as the work is completed during the remaining months of 2006.

CORRECTION: The rate for Swain Tours' six-night family plan to Tahiti is $4,099 for a family of four. An incorrect price appeared in the Dec. 1 Asia Pacific E-letter.


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