News Briefs, Week of June 6, 2016

MSC plans a private island in Persian Gulf


MSC Cruises plans to open a private island in December off the coast of Abu Dhabi. The island, called Sir Bani Yas Island Beach Oasis, includes about one-and-a-half miles of beachfront. It will feature a nature preserve and offer horseback riding, watersports and a dhow tour around the island. It is the second private island announced by MSC in recent months; the line earlier disclosed plans for a development in Bimini, the Bahamas.

Fiji's Castaway Island rebuilds, reopens
Castaway Island resort in Fiji reopened after a three-month shutdown due to  damage from Tropical Cyclone Winston in February. Outrigger Resorts, which owns and manages the 50-year-old property, said 14 of the resort's 65 bures, or huts, were either rebuilt or upgraded. Improvements were made to the property's outdoor kitchen and beachfront restaurant.

United decides to scrap its sole flight to Africa
United will discontinue its lone flight to Africa on June 29. The route, from Houston to Lagos, Nigeria, caters to the oil business. The low price of oil is one reason United has decided to drop the route, according to a spokesman, who added that Star Alliance partner Lufthansa can still transport customers from Houston to Lagos via Frankfurt.

Marriott-CLIA pact includes agent pay
Marriott International and CLIA have formed a partnership that enables CLIA-certified agents to earn commissions on room bookings. CLIA agents also can access discounted rates once they complete the Marriott Hotel Excellence training program.

Royal sells the Legend to Thomson Cruises
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. has agreed to sell the 21-year-old Legend of the Seas to Thomson Cruises for an undisclosed price. The Legend will exit the Royal Caribbean International fleet in March; the ship's sailings after Feb. 20, including cruises from Brisbane, Australia, and a summer schedule from Venice, will be canceled. Itineraries for two other Royal Caribbean ships will be shuffled as a result.

Norwegian upgrading its Great Stirrup Cay
Norwegian Cruise Line outlined plans to upgrade its facilities at its Great Stirrup Cay private island in the Bahamas. Additions include a boardwalk along the beach, a pair of parallel 1,000-foot-long ziplines and an air-conditioned reception area where guests can get oriented, change clothes and make reservations. New family activities include an underwater sculpture trail for snorkelers. A Lagoon Retreat aimed at suite- and Haven-level guests will offer villas for rent, among other amenities.

Celebrity gratuity to increase again in July
Celebrity Cruises plans to raise the daily gratuity that is automatically added to a passenger's account on July 1. The new daily charge would be $13.50 per passenger in most cabins, $14 for Concierge and Aqua suites and $17 for suite accommodations. Currently, the tiers are $12.95, $13.45 and $16.45, respectively. The increase follows an 8% hike implemented last July.

Delta adds service to London from Portland
Delta will commence service between London Heathrow and Portland, Ore., next May. The flight will be offered four times per week beginning May 26 and will be the first between the two cities.

Friends & Colleagues
Sean McCarron is the new general manager at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. McCarron brings more than 15 years' hospitality experience to the post. He broke in on the culinary end and has served as banquet director at the Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta and as director of food and beverage at the Four Seasons hotels in Chicago and Boston. Since moving into operations, McCarron has worked as hotel manager at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore and most recently as hotel manager at the Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas. • • • The Auberge Resorts Collection has chosen Michael Minchin as its chief marketing officer. Minchin will lead Auberge's national and resort sales teams and oversee brand marketing initiatives. Minchin spent 11 years at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, most recently as senior vice president of marketing. • • • Denis Herron has been named international sales manager at the four-star-rated Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten. Herron had worked at the Radisson Aruba and the Radisson Blu in St. Martin and prior to that spent 14 years as a National Hockey League goaltender with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Kansas City Scouts and Montreal Canadiens. His responsibilities include working with tour operators and travel agents in the U.S., Canada, France and South America. • • • The Caribbean Tourism Organization appointed Amanda Charles, a native of Dominica, as sustainable tourism specialist. Charles will coordinate and implement the CTO's sustainable tourism program aimed at enhancing the development, growth, quality and competitiveness of tourism in the region. She formerly was an adviser on sustainable tourism at the Association of Caribbean States in Trinidad. Prior to that, Charles worked as a tourism specialist at the Organization of American States' department of economic development, trade and tourism in Washington.

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