News Briefs, Week of May 11, 2015

Windstar relaunches former Seabourn ship


Travel journalist Wendy Perrin named Windstar Cruises' 212-passenger Star Breeze in Nice, France, last week. Windstar spent $8.5 million renovating the 1989-built, former Seabourn Spirit, the second of three former Seabourn ships joining the Windstar fleet. The ship's first voyage was a four-day cruise to Rome via Monaco and Portofino and Portoferraio, Italy.  

Legoland Resort set to debut in Florida
The Legoland Florida Resort, a 152-room hotel located steps from the Legoland theme park in Winter Haven, is slated to open May 15. Each guestroom will have at least eight Lego models, and nightly entertainment will include Lego building contests. Rates start at $279, with a $20 resort fee.

Ritz-Carlton to fly its first flag in Budapest
Ritz-Carlton will reflag the Le Meridien Budapest next year, giving the luxury hotel brand its first hotel in Hungary. The hotel has 192 guestrooms and views of Erzsebet Square and St. Stephen's Basilica. The hotel is slated to complete renovations and reopen as a Ritz-Carlton in June 2016.

Carnival cuts Gold members from party
Starting May 15, Carnival Cruise Line will change its loyalty program to include only Diamond- and Platinum-level members at its frequent-cruisers party, held on sailings of at least five days. Gold level members will get a voucher good for a drink on the last sea day of the cruise at any bar. Cruisers get Gold status after 24 or more cruise days, Platinum after 75 cruise days and Diamond after 200 days.

AA launches direct Dallas-Beijing flights
American Airlines launched daily nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth and Beijing, American's 11th route between the U.S. and Asia and the only daily ,nonstop flight connecting the two cities. American also became the second U.S. carrier to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, which it will start using on the Dallas-Beijing route in June.

Royal orders fourth Quantum-class ship
Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. ordered a fourth Quantum-class vessel from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany for a 2019 delivery. Royal's third Quantum ship, the Ovation of the Seas, is to debut in China in 2017. The 4,180-passenger ships have a sky-diving simulator, bumper cars and a crane-powered observation gondola.

The long-anticipated Eye opens in Orlando
The Orlando Eye, the tallest Ferris wheel on the East Coast, opened May 4, taking passengers 400 feet above Orlando. The 20-minute ride in an enclosed, air-conditioned capsule costs $18 and is the centerpiece of the new I-Drive 360 entertainment complex featuring the Sea Life Aquarium and Madame Tussauds wax museum.

Riu to open Dubai's first all-inclusive
Riu Hotels & Resorts is scheduled to open an all-inclusive resort in Dubai in 2017, the city's first. The 750-room, beachfront resort will open at the Deira Islands, a man-made, 6-square- mile, waterfront city that will add 25 miles to Dubai's coastline, including 13 miles of beachfront. The beach area also is scheduled to open in 2017.

Friends & Colleagues
Starwood Hotels & Resorts made a number of changes to its leadership team. John Peyton was named senior vice president, brands and shared services. Dave Marr was appointed as Global Brand Leader, Sheraton and Tribute Portfolio. Longtime Starwood exec Jim Petrus is returning to the company to take on the role of global brand leader, St. Regis. Hoyt Harper, who has been with Starwood for nearly a quarter-century, assumed the role of global brand leader, the Luxury Collection. Anthony Ingham is the new global brand leader, W Hotels Worldwide. • • • Hertz Global Holdings has hired longtime aviation industry executive Dave Myrick as its senior vice president of sales for North America. Myrick has more than three decades of travel-industry experience with carriers such as United Airlines, British Airways and US Airways and, more recently, in the private-aviation sector. • • • The Fairmont Mayakoba in Mexico's Riviera Maya region appointed Dennis Clark general manager. Clark was previously a general manager at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle and is a former president of the Seattle Hotel Association. • • • Spafinder Wellness appointed John Bevan COO. Bevan has served as managing director and vice president of Spafinder Europe Limited since 2013. He will be based at the company's new headquarters in Miami and will immediately assume responsibility for global sales, digital marketing, advanced technology products and operations. • • • PuntaCana Resort & Club named Roger Belletti general manager of the Tortuga Bay Hotel. Belletti previously served as manager of the Punta Molino Beach Resort & Spa in Ischia, Italy.

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