Senator: Expose hidden hotel fees
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), looking to crack down on hidden charges, introduced a bill mandating that hotels include resort fees and all other charges in publicized room rates. McCaskill said the Federal Trade Commission should have the authority to either enforce full publication of charges or take action against hotel operators that fail to do so. Fees outside the base room price have risen as travel spending has jumped in recent years.
Hyatt Hotels launches soft-brand division
Hyatt Hotels launched its own soft brand of independent properties, joining companies such as Marriott, Hilton and Starwood with a soft-branded hotel division. The Unbound Collection by Hyatt will include new and existing luxury and upper-upscale hotels, including the Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas, and the Hotel du Louvre in Paris.
DOT stamps out e-smoking on flights
The Department of Transportation banned the use of electronic cigarettes on all commercial flights within the U.S. as well as on international flights to or from the U.S. The department had previously considered e-cigarettes illegal under its general airline smoking ban, but the new regulation clarifies the issue.
Airlines apply for Cuba routes
Alaska, American, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit and United all applied for federal approval to fly to Cuba before the March 2 deadline. Commercial service between the two countries is expected to resume later this year.
Viking names six more Longships
Viking River Cruises christened six Longships in Amsterdam last week, with six travel-trade partners serving as godmothers for the vessels. The ships join the 46 Longships that Viking has launched in Europe during the last four years, for a total of 52. Four of the new vessels will be deployed on the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers, and two will cruise on the Seine.
China-bound ship named Norwegian Joy
Norwegian Cruise Line named its first cruise ship designed for Chinese passengers the Norwegian Joy. The 3,900-passenger ship is slated to set sail in 2017 from Shanghai with both English and Chinese names on its hull. Norwegian also revealed a new Chinese name for its use in the China market that translates as a 'Promising, Exclusive and Authentic' cruise line.
Genting acquires 3 German shipyards
Genting Hong Kong said it has acquired three German shipyards from Nordic Yards for 231 million euros (about $250 million). The yards are located in Wismar, Warnemunde and Straslund. Genting said that together with the purchase of the Lloyd Werft yard last year, the acquisition will enable it to realize its shipbuilding strategy for the coming years.
Extended drydock cuts into Quest's cruise
Azamara Club Cruises said it will extend the Azamara Quest's current drydock by three days, cutting into a cruise scheduled to depart Singapore March 17. The cruise, shortened by three days, will not stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Friends & Colleagues
Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa in Puerto Rico named Willie Chin as its director of sales and marketing. Chin returns to the 500-acre beachfront resort where he once served as its director of sales. Most recently, he served as the regional director of sales and marketing for InterContinental Hotel Group's Caribbean properties. Prior to that, he held sales and marketing leadership positions with Caribbean-based Starwood and Sonesta properties. • • • The Tourism Corporation Bonaire named Maurice Adriaens its director of tourism. Adriaens most recently served as the managing director of Curacao Airport Holding from 2010 to 2015. Prior to that, he was the minister of traffic and telecommunications of the Netherlands Antilles. • • • CroisiEurope has added Lisa Boyadjian to its team as the U.S. West Coast sales manager for the European river cruise company. For the past 23 years, Boyadjian had served as the West Coast regional sales manager at France Vacations/Central Holidays. Prior to that, she was a sales manager for AOM French Airlines. • • • The Miraval Group appointed Sue Adkins, a veteran of the company's flagship resort in Arizona, as the vice president to lead companywide program development. Adkins had spent the past 17 years at the Miraval Tucson Resort & Spa as the director of programs and assistant program director, managing the daily operations of the resort's programs. From 1991 to 1999, she worked in sales, operations, reservations, front office and rooms management for Tucson-area hotels including the Sheraton Tucson Hotel & Suites, Westward Look Wyndham Grand Resort & Spa and Clarion Hotel and Conference Center -- Tucson Airport.