News Briefs, Week of July 21, 2014

Virgin Atlantic adds leisure routes to U.S.

Continuing to spread its transatlantic network beyond London, Virgin Atlantic said it will launch seasonal service next year from Belfast to Orlando and from Glasgow, Scotland, to Las Vegas. Belfast will be a new point on the carrier's system. The flights will operate weekly on 747-400 aircraft in June and July for Belfast-Orlando and in September and October for Glasgow-Las Vegas. Virgin said the routes will operate as part of its joint venture with Delta.

Frontier to add routes to Cancun, Nassau
Frontier Airlines is to add two new destinations this fall with routes linking Washington Dulles and Trenton, N.J., with Nassau, beginning Nov. 20, followed by Washington-Cancun service on Nov. 22. Flights will be operated with A-319 and A-320 aircraft, subject to government approval.

Travelport to reduce stake in Orbitz
Travelport plans to reduce its stake in Orbitz from about 37% to 5% or less, depending on the outcome of an offering for most of its 40 million shares, a stake valued at over $300 million. Travelport, which itself is planning an IPO, said it expected to close on the sale of its Orbitz shares by July 22.

Hyatt, Playa eye 2015 for Ziva Cancun debut
Hyatt and Playa hotels are looking at a late 2015 opening for the proposed Hyatt Ziva Cancun, a makeover of the former Dreams Cancun, which recently closed. Hyatt said the property will be "reconfigured to create a village-like atmosphere." The hotel is one of several resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean that the partners are rebranding.

NCL orders two more Breakaway Plus ships
Norwegian Cruise Line ordered two ships for delivery in 2018 and 2019 from Germany's Meyer Werft shipyard that together will cost about $2.2 billion. The ships, not yet named, will be the third and fourth in the Breakaway Plus class, just over 164,600 gross tons and with 4,200 lower berths. The first two ships in the series are due for delivery in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2017. When all four are delivered, Norwegian will have 17 vessels in its fleet, barring any disposals.

Crystal to cruise Northwest Passage
Crystal Cruises said it will offer an unusual expedition cruise in 2016 from Anchorage to New York by way of the Arctic Ocean and Northwest Passage. The cruise, planned with help from Eyos Expeditions, is said to be a first for a luxury cruise line. The 32-day trip includes "surprise days" built into the itinerary for extemporaneous whale-watching, bear spotting and glacier cruising. Crystal said an escort vessel will shadow the Crystal Serenity, carrying safety and environmental equipment and serving as a platform for a helicopter and Zodiacs. The line said it will forgo the usual black-tie night and other standards of formality, in keeping with the expedition atmosphere. The booking window opened July 17, initially for previous guests only.

Norwegian bans smoking on balconies
Norwegian Cruise Lines became the latest line to ban smoking on balconies, following a similar move by Carnival. Norwegian said the policy takes effect Nov. 1, adding that smoking in the casino will be limited to active players. Violators of the smoking policy will be assessed a $250 fee.

Friends & Colleagues
Northstar Travel Media, parent of Travel Weekly, has named Rebecca Zhang group publisher, China. Zhang will lead the strategy and development plans for Travel Weekly China and M&C Events China. She has 16 years of experience across traditional print, digital and integrated media, and has worked extensively with Fox International Channels, Readers Digest, Hachette Filipacchi and Bauer. Susan Li will be promoted to editorial director of Northstar Travel Media China. She will be based in Beijing. • • • Protravel International has named Patrick Fragale president. He will join Protravel on Aug. 4. He replaces founder Priscilla Alexander, who retired in January. He most recently was president and COO of Direct Travel, a position he held from 1999 through last year. • • • The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) named Paul Pennicook director of tourism, effective July 9. Pennicook replaces John Lynch, who stepped down from the post at the end of May. Pennicook served in the JTB post from 2003 to 2006. Most recently he was head of his own consulting firm, PDP Management Consultants. • • • Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) appointed Martine Gerow executive vice president and CFO. Gerow will join CWT in September and will be based in the company's Paris office. Gerow joins CWT from Solocal Groupe, a France-based media services company, where she has been CFO and executive vice president of finance and purchasing since 2010. • • • Hilton Worldwide appointed Sheila Foley general manager of the Arizona Biltmore, a Waldorf Astoria Resort. She most recently served as the general manager of the JW Marriott Houston. • • • Barb Bowden has been named managing director of operations for Loews Hotels at Universal Orlando. Bowden comes to Loews after having previously served as general manager of the Orange County (Fla.) Convention Center and vice president of the Peabody Orlando.


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