News Briefs, Week of Oct. 26, 2015

GBTA survey: 42% are selling less Lufthansa

Since Lufthansa's surcharge on GDS bookings went into effect on Sept. 1, 42% of travel buyers have decreased bookings with the carrier, according to a survey by the Global Business Travel Association and its network of European partners. Of the 434 surveyed, just 2% said they would book directly with Lufthansa to avoid the 16 euro fee.

Ritz-Carlton inks deal to run Geneva hotel
Ritz-Carlton will take over Geneva's historical Hotel de la Paix. The 150-year-old property will undergo a renovation before reopening as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix Geneva in 2016. The hotel is currently operated by Concorde Hotels & Resorts.

Norwegian Epic sails with new features
Its three-week renovation complete, the Norwegian Epic is sailing again with new venues and attractions. Among the new features are the Cavern Club, an entertainment venue that pays tribute to the club in Liverpool where the Beatles performed, and a Broadway-style revue, "Priscilla Queen of the Desert -- The Musical," which celebrates gay pride and is based on the 1994 Australian film.

JetBlue in codeshare with Caribbean airline
JetBlue and regional Caribbean carrier Seaborne Airlines have begun selling flights under a codeshare agreement the two carriers announced in May. JetBlue customers can now fly on a single ticket to eight new destinations: Anguilla, Tortola, Dominica, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and St. Croix. Connections to each of those locations will be made in San Juan. JetBlue is also awaiting government approval to codeshare with Seaborne on the remainder of the carrier's routes.

New line to serve LGBT community
Anteros Cruises, a new cruise line dedicated to the LGBT community, announced it will launch service with Mediterranean and Caribbean sailings in April 2017. The Miami-based line did not reveal many details about its vessels other than to say sailings would be "onboard an intimate, 400-passenger luxury yacht-like ship." It plans sailings to smaller ports in exotic destinations, with itineraries from five to 14 days. Anteros said it plans to pay commissions and will offer training webinars for travel agents.

Aer Lingus adds three transatlantic flights
Aer Lingus will add three transatlantic routes in 2016. It will begin year-round service five days a week between Los Angeles and Dublin in May, daily year-round service between Newark and Dublin in early September and daily year-round service between Hartford, Conn., and Dublin in late September.

Oceania to upgrade suites on the Sirena
Oceania Cruises said the six Owners and four Vista suites on the Sirena will be upgraded and redone as part of the ship's $40 million refit. The 684-passenger ship, which now sails for Princess Cruises as the Ocean Princess, will be converted to the Sirena during a renovation in March. The ship is scheduled to enter service on April 27. The Owners suites will get new custom-made furnishings, Oceania's exclusive Prestige Tranquility Bed and a newly renovated master bath. Vista suites will offer a cozy sitting area, a Prestige Tranquility Bed, a marble-infused master bath with expansive shower and a second bath.

Friends & Colleagues
The Oetker Collection of hotels announced some changes to its leadership team. Didier Le Calvez was promoted to COO, while retaining the position of managing director for Le Bristol Paris. Philippe Perd accepted the post of chief project development officer. Perd will continue to serve as managing director for the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes as well as play a supervisory role at the Chateau St. Martin & Spa in Vence and  L'Apogee Courchevel in France. Jean-Pierre Soutric, meanwhile, has joined Oetker from Four Seasons and has been appointed senior vice president, sales and marketing. He will be supported by Caroline Goux, who has been promoted to vice president of sales, and Joelle Edwards-Tonks, promoted to vice president of marketing. • • • Miraval Group, a joint venture of an affiliate of KSL Capital Partners and Revolution Places, appointed Steven A. Rudnitsky president and CEO. During his 35-year career, Rudnitsky held leadership positions with a number of companies, including Dolce Hotels & Resorts, Wyndham Worldwide and the former Cendant Corp. • • • Peninsula Hotels named Sonja Vodusek general manager of the Peninsula Tokyo. The company said she will become the first female general manager of a Tokyo luxury hotel when she begins work on Dec. 15. Vodusek currently serves as general manager of the Peninsula Manila.


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