Cruises for LGBT travelers keep getting bigger, as evidenced by the January 2017 debut of what Atlantis Events calls the “largest and most extravagant gay cruise in history.” Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas will take some 5,400 passengers on an action-packed cruise slated for Jan. 22–29, 2017. Setting sail from Fort Lauderdale, the ship stops at Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico; and Labadee, Haiti. With 17 decks, 5 theaters, 13 restaurants and 5 dance spaces, the Allure of the Seas promises a lot of onboard activities for Atlantis passengers.
On a smaller scale, Atlantis also introduces a new itinerary from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires, scheduled for Feb. 25–March 7, 2017, with three days in port at Rio during Carnival. Atlantis will offer tickets to samba school parades as well as other LGBToriented and general events. The 684-passenger Oceania Regatta then makes calls at Paraty and Porto Belo, Brazil; and Punta del Este and Montevideo, Uruguay, before docking in Buenos Aires.
Also new on the waves is the 2,650-passenger Holland America Line ms Koningsdam, making its first LGBT run with RSVP Vacations Feb. 5–12, 2017, leaving from Fort Lauderdale with stops at Key West; Grand Cayman; Roatán, Honduras; and Cozumel. The RSVP cruise will feature open-air parties and what the company calls a YouCreate Party, which allows guests to choose the theme.
Olivia, which specializes in lesbian travel, offers a wide array of cruises scheduled for 2017. Among its new itineraries is Majestic Alaska, slated for June 25–July 2, 2017, aboard the 1,380-passenger Holland America Line ms Amsterdam, departing from Seattle with scenic cruising along Alaska’s Stephens Passage and Hubbard Glacier. Also new from Olivia is an Iceland cruise, sailing July 28–Aug. 4, 2017, from Reykjavík aboard the 212-passenger Star Legend.
Many so-called mainstream cruises make it easy to connect with fellow LGBT passengers as well, often during cocktail parties and social gatherings organized with the “Friends of Dorothy” moniker. Companies like Pied Piper Travel also sell organized gay group excursions on major cruises, with special activities just for its clients. Upcoming 2017 RSVP itineraries include an Asia cruise on the Celebrity Millennium in February, a trans-Atlantic crossing aboard the Queen Mary 2 in June and a Rhine River cruise in September.
Southwest Airlines is cutting almost 20 non-stop routes as of January 2020. The airline says the move will allow it to focus its efforts on top destinations. The airline announced the move last month, with flights from Boston (BOS), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Los Angeles (LAX) and Orlando (MCO) seeing the most cuts.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
Mandarin Oriental, Geneva now offers its Royal Penthouse suite, one of the largest in the city at nearly 3,500 square feet, with an additional 1,800-square-foot terrace.
For any traveler interested in backcountry camping, wilderness exploration or any other type of outdoor adventure, REI now offers a wilderness safety training course to the general public. The programming is in partnership with the National Outdoor Leadership School, takes place on weekends and is “ideal for all outdoor enthusiasts.”
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Ryanair will soon start its first round-trip Georgia flights. The flights, which start this November, will connect the capital Tbilisi (TBS) to Milan Bergamo (BGY) four times weekly and the western city of Kutaisi (KUT) to Bologna (BLQ) and Marseille (MRS), both twice weekly. Then, in April, Ryanair will add twice weekly flights between Tbilisi and Cologne (CGN).
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Attend one of the most acclaimed fall events, Autumn at the Arboretum, in Dallas. In its 14th year, the annual event is known as one of the best pumpkin festivals in the country, with its creative displays featuring more than 90,000 pumpkins, gourds and squash. The event takes place at Dallas Arboretum, Sept. 21 –Oct. 31. Alongside thousands of pumpkins, guests glimpse 150,000 autumn flowers across the 66-acre space.