ALTHOUGH THE UNITED STATES ELIMINATED its cruise travel to Cuba in June, affecting some 800,000 passengers, travel by sea shows no sign of slowing worldwide, and cruise lines are expanding their fleets and destinations for 2020, expected to be a record year. North Americans will make up nearly half of the expected 30 million passengers in the coming year, an increase spurred on by the continuing popularity of cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, along with the rising tide of river cruises and expedition-style sailing.
A score of brand-new ships, ranging from luxury-laden yachts to lavish floating resorts, will take to the waters in 2020. Virgin Voyages launches its first vessel, the 2,800-passenger Scarlet Lady, while The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection introduces the first of its three yachts, the 298-passenger Azora. Princess Cruises will showcase its newest ship, the 3,660-passenger Enchanted Princess, on 21 alternating seven-day Caribbean sailings out of Fort Lauderdale starting in November 2020.
In most cases, new ships mean added luxuries and novel features. Celebrity Cruises’ new ship for 2020, the 2,800-passenger Celebrity Apex, will feature the “Magic Carpet,” a movable deck cantilevered over the side of the ship that elevates from decks 2 to 16 to serve as a restaurant and embarkation plat- form. P&O’s new Iona, powered by liquid natural gas, includes a half-mile-long lanai deck featuring 17 eateries, 12 bars, 13 entertainment venues, 16 whirlpools and four swimming pools.
Silversea Cruises will debut two new ships in 2020, the 596-passenger Silver Moon and the 100-passenger Silver Origin, an ultra-luxury expedition ship specially designed for Galápagos cruising, with eight Zodiacs and butler service for all suites.
Among other full-luxury expedition ships christened next year are Lindblad Expeditions’ 126-passenger National Geographic Endurance, with saunas, yoga rooms and infinity Jacuzzis; Crystal Cruises’ 200-passenger Crystal Endeavor, designed for polar exploration with helicopters and a submarine aboard; and Scenic Cruises’ 228-passenger, all-suite Scenic Eclipse II, also with its own submarine and helicopters as well as 10 dining options, a gym and butler service.
While smaller ships with bigger luxuries are leading the way in 2020, new mega-ships have not been pushed aside. Royal Caribbean will launch another in its line of behemoth cruisers, the 4,246-passenger Odyssey of the Seas, complete with room for bumper cars, robotic bartenders and “virtual balconies” for its inside cabins. MSC Cruises’ MSC Virtuoso is laden with 6,334 passenger berths, a fine arts museum, “cluster cabins” for families, Cirque du Soleil performances and a double-deck amusement park. And Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Mardi Gras, coming August 2020, will accommodate 6,600 passengers, a new world record.
Set to open in 2026, Rosewood San Francisco will be the last skyscraper developed in the downtown region for the foreseeable future. The projected 800-foot-tall property will host a hotel, residences, office and rental spaces. The brand’s third property in California will join Rosewood Sand Hill in Menlo Park, and Rosewood Miramar Beach in Montecito.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
It’s not even 9a.m. in the sleepy fishing village of Rawai on Thailand’s famous Phuket Island, but already the turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea swarm with local fishermen casting their lines and releasing their nets from the bows of rustic long-tail boats. The scents of lemongrass, incense and sweet pandan leaves season the air as the villagers slowly rise from their beachside bungalows to start their day. In just a few more hours, the fishermen will return with their catches, filling the stalls of the iconic Rawai Seafood Market with buckets of shellfish and displays of fresh filets. Visitors line up each afternoon for the catch of the day, selecting their fish with care before hauling their purchases across the well-worn road to the restaurants opposite the market to have the fish cooked for 100 Thai baht per kilo.
MMGY Travel Intelligence released findings from its 2021 fall edition of its Portrait of American Travelers survey. It revealed the vast majority of vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers are planning trips in the months ahead, but the types of trips are different.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
Airbnb.org is an independent non-profit organization dedicated to facilitating temporary stays for people in moments of crisis, sheltering those displaced by natural disasters, offering frontline workers a place to stay at the height of the pandemic and, now, helping Afghan refugees.
Italian hospitality brand AG Group announced an international collaboration with Hyatt Hotels. AG Group’s IL Tornabuoni, slated to open in Florence in October 2021, will be part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt. The Tribune in Rome will become part of JdV by Hyatt in October 2021.
Since its prestige for attracting the world elite grew in the 1960s, Greece remains the go-to destination for glittering holidays. Each step of the journey is enrobed in luxury, from culinary traditions with the highest standard of execution and name-brand, high-end shopping to first-rate wellness locales and elite accommodations, like 5-star hotels, private villas and yachts.
Hotel diversity isn’t where it could be, but it’s a work in progress. Fueled with new energy that emerged from the racial reckoning of 2020, there’s more of a sense of urgency ... and with good reason. There’s plenty to do when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion in the hotel industry.