News Briefs, Week of Feb. 15, 2016

Royal vows better storm avoidance

Royal Caribbean International said it has strengthened its storm-avoidance policy after the Anthem of the Seas aborted a storm-battered cruise and returned to port. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) called on the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the line's decision to sail the 4,180-passenger ship into the storm on Feb. 7.

ASTA opposes ending full-fare ad rules
ASTA is among the opposition to Rep. Carlos Curbelo's (R-Fla.) proposal to end the Department of Transportation's federal full-fare advertising rule, requiring airline-ticket advertising to post total price, including any taxes and fees. The proposal would allow ticket sellers to post base fares on websites and in advertisements as long as other costs are separately disclosed. ASTA argues that would "frustrate consumers' ability to comparison shop."

Princess hulls to get new sea witch logos
Princess Cruises will splash an updated version of its sea witch logo on its ships' hulls, starting with the new Majestic Princess. The change alters the appearance of Princess ships to make them more identifiable from a distance. The design will be rolled out for the rest of the fleet over the next several years.

Melia to open first ME and Innside in U.S.
Melia Hotels International will open its first ME- and Innside-branded properties in the U.S. in March. The 129-room ME Miami will debut on March 3 on the site of what was previously Casa Moderna on Miami's Biscayne Boulevard, and the 313-room Innside New York NoMad will open March 7 in New York's NoMad neighborhood.

Dream plans to expand the Chatwal brand
The Dream Hotel Group plans to launch a collection of Chatwal hotels, expanding the five-star brand beyond its one New York location. Dream, operator of the Dream, Time, Night and Unscripted brands, is looking at locations in London, Chicago, Los Angeles and Sao Paulo to form a "collection" rather than a chain, said Ashish Verma, vice president of the luxury division.

MSC makes sweet deal with chocolatier
MSC Cruises partnered with chocolatier Jean-Philippe Maury to put a chocolate atelier with an open kitchen, a gourmet ice cream parlor and creperie on MSC's upcoming Meraviglia-class ships. Maury will first roll out new desserts on the MSC Divina. Maury manages two Jean Philippe Patisserie shops in partnership with MGM Resorts International.

Langham to expand in North America
Langham Hospitality Group said it will increase its North American hotel inventory by 60% within the next three years by introducing its brands to the U.S. Southwest and San Francisco. Langham will open the Langham Place Wade Park in Frisco, Texas, and re-open Santa Fe, N.M.'s historic Bishop's Lodge as the Langham Bishop's Lodge in 2018.  The Langham Place San Francisco will open in 2019.

U.N. agrees on aircraft emissions standards
The United Nations agreed on the first carbon dioxide emissions standards for commercial aircraft that would apply to new planes beginning in 2020 and to existing ones from 2023 to 2028. The White House said the proposed standards would reduce carbon emissions by more than 650 million tons between 2020 and 2040, the equivalent of removing 140 million cars from the road for a year.

Friends & Colleagues
MSC Cruises has brought Marianne Sequeira onboard as its national accounts manager. Sequeira will be responsible for elevating MSC's existing relationships with the industry's largest travel consortia, franchise and host-agency partners. In addition, she will be responsible for developing relationships with new partners with national scope. Sequeira will also introduce new programs to engage consortia members, home-based agents and hosted agencies. She joins MSC Cruises with more than 20 years of experience in various sectors of the travel industry. After beginning her career with Eastern Airlines, Sequeira worked for Amadeus, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line. For the past three years, she worked at Hertz Corp. as a travel territory manager. • • • Executive Travel, based in Lincoln, Neb., has added Mark Widder to its development team. Widder is an industry veteran who has held leadership positions in global business development for more than 25 years. In his new position, he will develop and execute Executive Travel's commercial strategy of driving business growth and market share in the areas of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Executive Travel is an affiliate of BCD Travel. • • • Hyatt has appointed Nate Hardesty and Christopher Finelli regional vice presidents of sales. Hardesty, based in Washington, will be responsible for sales production across the eastern region of the U.S. Finelli, based in Chicago, will have the same role and is responsible for the West and Midwest region. Hardesty most recently served as director of sales and marketing of the Hyatt Regency Orlando. He has more than 15 years with Hyatt. Finelli joined Hyatt's sales team more than 12 years ago, most recently serving as the director of sales and marketing at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Chicago.


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