News Briefs, Week of July 20, 2015

QM2 to get single occupancy cabins


Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 will undergo a major refurbishment over a 25-day drydock next year, giving it new features, including 15 single-occupancy cabins, the ship's first; 30 more Britannia Club balcony cabins; and an expanded dog kennel program. The ship is scheduled to emerge from drydock June 21.

Ritz-Carlton is tops in J.D. Power poll
Marriott International's Ritz-Carlton overtook Four Seasons to take the top luxury-hotel spot in this year's J.D. Power North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Survey. Omni Hotels won upper-upscale; Hyatt Place, upscale; Drury Hotels, upper-midscale; and Homewood Suites by Hilton, upper-extended stay.

Regent to resume world cruises in 2017
Regent Seven Seas Cruises will offer its first world cruise in six years, enabled by the arrival of a new ship, the Seven Seas Explorer, in 2016. The line's 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator will offer a 128-day world cruise departing Miami Jan. 5, 2017. It is scheduled to do a complete circumnavigation and visit six continents, 31 countries and more than 60 ports of call. Rates start at $54,999 per person.

Costa Rica's first W hotel to open in 2019
Starwood Hotels & Resorts will debut its W brand in Costa Rica with the W Costa Rica-Reserve Conchal, slated to open in the Pacific coast province of Guanacaste in 2019. The 151-room property will be the fourth W in Latin America, following the W Santiago in Chile, last year's opening of the W Bogota in Colombia and a planned W in Panama City in 2017.

Gogo reinstates booking change fees
Gogo Vacations will reinstate a revision service fee after not charging for booking changes for over eight years. A flat rate of $25 will cover unlimited revisions on the day a deposit is made. Changes after that will result in a $25 fee per revision, unless it results in a higher trip cost, in which case the fee will be waived. Revision service fees will be fully commissionable.

Carnival enhances its shorex program
Carnival Cruise Line is now offering exclusive tours and free excursions for young kids. "Only on Carnival" tours, in the Caribbean and Mexico, include the use of a home in Jamaica for the day with a private beach and a home-cooked meal. On "family friendly" beach excursions offered in all Caribbean ports, children 5 and younger are free. Carnival is also creating exclusive private tours to nontraditional sites.

New York's first Cambria Hotel opens
New York's first hotel under Choice Hotels International's Cambria Hotels & Suites brand opened in Manhattan. Cambria Hotels & Suites New York-Chelsea has 135 rooms. Choice has two dozen Cambria properties in the U.S. and plans to invest as much as $400 million to help speed up the development of Cambria hotels in major U.S. cities.

MGM plans overhaul of Vegas' Monte Carlo
MGM Resorts International plans to overhaul and likely rename the Monte Carlo casino-hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. It will also build a $100 million, 5,300-seat theater at the Monte Carlo to attract top musicians for extended stays as part of its outdoor entertainment development known as the Park.

Friends & Colleagues
Carnival Cruise Line has created a dedicated team to boost its presence at travel agent shows, conferences and other trade events. The new team will be led by Mia Landrin, who was named trade events and programs manager. Previously, Landrin had been Carnival's brand manager for youth activities. • • • In other Carnival news, the line said its executive vice president of shipboard operations, Ruben Rodriguez, is leaving effective July 23.
Rodriguez will be succeeded by Gus Antorcha, currently senior vice president of guest operations and services, whose new title will be executive vice president of guest shipboard operations. Carnival said that Martin Landtman will continue in his role as senior vice president of marine shipboard operations. • • • Virtuoso selected David Kolner to be its senior vice president of global member partnerships. A seven-year veteran with the consortium, Kolner last served as senior vice president, consumer, where he headed up initiatives that included a revamping of the Virtuoso.com website. • • • NYC & Company, New York's official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, named Abby Spatz chief marketing officer. Spatz previously was head of integrated marketing and communications at the spa and beauty brand Bliss. Prior to that, she spent 20 years in various marketing functions with global consumer lifestyle brands.

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