TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: A Giraffe’s grace notes for Anthem of the Seas

Industry trade show ad

Gigi the Giraffe keeps watch of things on board Anthem the Seas as it gears up for its launch in Southampton, April 16 2015

Gigi the Giraffe keeps watch of things on board Anthem the Seas as it gears up for its launch in Southampton, April 16 2015

The headlines this week:

  • ITAA wants Tour Operators category
  • Getting around Portugal is now easier
  • Travel Counsellors Ireland Turns 10
  • The East’s Awake (at last)
  • TIGS record turnout & a trophy for Ray

Travel Extra TV

Video of the week Apr 19Our video of the week is Fáilte Ireland’s showcase of Ireland’s Ancient East. Watch here. See footage from the launch of the initiative: Watch here.

  • Ryanair’s new TV ad: Watch here. See Kenny Jacobs introduce the campaign. Watch here.
  • Take a look at Aer Lingus’ lounge at JFK. Watch here.
  • Indian prime minister Narendra Modi visited the Airbus factories in Toulouse. Watch here.
  • Promo for Food on the Edge with JP McMahon. The conference for chefs and food industry professionals takes place in Galway on October 19 and 20. Watch here.
  • A fresh start for discarded bars of hotel soap: Watch here.
  • A day in the life of easyJet. Watch here.


The AGM of the Irish Travel Agents Association this week will hear of a drive for new members and proposals for a new tour operator category membership of the association. The Irish Tour Operators Federation did not hold an AGM last year, partly reflective of the withdrawal of Thomas Cook from the Irish market and decline of the tour operator sector from nine tour operators at peak to the current five. ITOF served a purpose when it was founded in September 2002 with Niall McDonnell as its first president, as charter business out of Ireland was at near-peak, to defend the interest of the package holiday sector, tour operators would argue that it has accomplished most of those goals and will serve a different role in the future.

ireland's ancient east_0091Meitheal in Dublin hosted 220 buyers from around the world and was the stage for Irish tourism’s big ticket launch for 2015: The long awaited launch of Fáilte Ireland’s new Ireland’s Ancient East by two ministers, Paschal Donohoe (listen here) and Michael Ring (listen here) had the air of “let’s do something for the east” about it. Unlike the Wild Atlantic Way, Ancient East is a confluence of routes and communities from Meath to Cork. The initiative is based on four themes:

  • Ancient Ireland – The Dawn of Civilisation (including Boyne Valley in Newgrange and sites like the Brownshill Dolmen in Carlow)
  • Early Christian Ireland (including Clonmacnoise, Glendalough, Mellifont abbey, Jerpoint Abbey, St.Canice’s Cathedral and Holycross Abbey)
  • Medieval Ireland (including Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile, the Viking Quarter in Waterford, Hook Head Lighthouse, Trim Castle and the Rock of Cashel)
  • Anglo Ireland (including Ireland’s Great Houses and Gardens as well as sites such as the Dunbrody Famine Ship and Wicklow Gaol).Meitheal 2015 in the RDS, Dublin, April 14 2015

Elsewhere at Meitheal, the US sent 32 buyers for the first time. Delegates were hosted at events in Carton House and the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham and a group went to the Slieve Donard Hotel in Newcastle for an NITB event on Tuesday. In reply to a question from Travel Extra Paul Keeley said €500,000 had been set aside for marketing the project (listen here). Éist anseo le Eoghan Corry ar Raidió na Gaeltachta where he suggested suggested the domestic impact might be more important than aboad. See more pictures here from the launch and from Meitheal or connect with the album on Facebook. tigs winners_5953The Travel Industry Golf Society president Audrey Headon and sponsors Etihad hosted their largest golfer’s gathering in recent years at Druids Glen, with 84 golfers taking the field. Tributes were paid to Ray Treacy and Sean Daly at the event. Winners were Oliver McCann and Nicola Burns, pictured with Audrey Headon President of TIGS and Beatrice Cosgrove, Ireland country manger of event sponsors Etihad. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. cathy burke steve byrneTravel Counsellors Ireland looked back at their ten year history at their conference in Carton House where 55 out of the 62 travel counsellors and 29 partners convened. It was the first conference since last November’s management buy out of the home working group, which turns over €22m in Ireland. The supplier workshops featured 11 airlines, 12 tour operators, six tourist boards , seven cruise lines, three bedbanks, a GDS and DMC from Asia, a car hire company, insurance and attractions. Pictures shows Cathy Burke, newly appointed as international business development manager for Travel Counsellors as well as Ireland country manager, and Steve Byrne Group Managing Director of Travel Counsellors. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. eileen o'mara wlash speeches_0178Representatives of the inbound and outbound trade gathered to see Ruairi Quinn launch Eileen O’Mara Walsh’s book, The Third Daughter, at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. Three chapters of her book relate to her career in the travel industry. Picture on right shows Eileen O’Mara Walsh and Anthony Farrell of Lilliput Press listening to Ruairi Quinn speaking at the event See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook. Citywest Leisure Centre - Front copyThis week’s Irish Travel Industry Trade Show at Citywest on Thursday and Friday offers an opportunity to meet face-to-face with over 120  brands including airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, technology suppliers, destinations, insurance companies, car hire suppliers, bed banks, international hotels and hotel chains, airports, ferry operators, rail and travel related services. Delegates can book face-to-face appointments with existing and new suppliers and participate in a social activities including a golf day, and a BBQ, win prizes on offer every hour during the Trade Show. Transport is being supplied from Cork, Limerick and Dundalk. Enthusiasts turned out in Shannon to see the world’s largest aircraft, the Antonov 225. The jet has a wing span wider than the pitch at Croke Park and is one and half times the length of an Olympic swimming pool and previously visited Shannon in 2013. ray treacy copy Good idea from a sad occasion. One outcome of the funeral gathering celebrating Ray Treacy in Stillorgan last week by his soccer and travel colleagues could be the revival of the Trinity Cup. The tournament, once played by travel agents and suppliers between Ireland, Portugal and Spain may be revived as the Ray Treacy Memorial Trophy. Wouldn’t it be nice to eavesdrop on the conversation between Ray Treacy and Ján Popluhár in the afterlife this week: the most extraordinary event in the extraordinary life of Ray was when he turned Popluhár’s clearance back into the goal to put Czechoslovakia out of the 1968 European Championship. May the story be retold for many the year to come.

Travel Trade

IMG_5965 copyNiall McDonnell of Red Sea Resorts says that the All inclusive Grand Hotel Sharm is the top seller of his product, newly launched in the Irish market. It is very popular with families with a child price of €479, all season, all durations. The ITAA is to join with other EU Travel Agent associations to sue the refund of Malev payments, which have not been repaid. Shannon Airport and Falcon Holidays launched a joint advertising campaign for direct flights from Shannon to Majorca, Lanzarote and Costa Dorada. British Airways are to downsize the Irish sales office by two people. o'mara travel group Picture shows the former O’Mara Travel team at the launch of The Third Daughter by Eileen O’Mara Walsh at the RIA, Dublin: Niamh Burns, Eileen Kelly, John Healy, Eileen O’Mara Walsh, Susanne Monks, Fiona Herald and Grainne Cryan.

  • The ITAA is drawing annual attention to the Benevolent Fund which provides confidential relief to current or past members of the Irish Travel Trade. The Benevolent Fund Trustees are Audrey Headon, Barry Walsh, Bepi Gaidoni, John Galligan.
  • Voyages-sncf is celebrating its 15th birthday by paying an extra 2pc commission to travel agents until July 15.
  • Turkish Airlines hosted the trade at a private screening of Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner. Turkish will host several groups visiting the battle fields of Gallipolli.
  • Sarah Lindsay formerly of DG Ventures is to head up JacTravel’s new Irish operation.
  • British Airways are offering free upgrades to First one-way on us, when you book them on an eligible Club World return fare from April 13 2015.
  • turkish group copyPicture shows a press group en route to Korea pictured visiting the Turkish Airlines simulator in Istanbul: Onur Gul of Turkish Airlines, Mary Kate O’Flanagan of the Sunday Business Post, Katy Docherty of the Scottish Sun, Jamie Blake Knox of the Sunday Independent, Tom Kelly of the Irish Times and Ramy Salameh of the Korea Tourism Organisation.
  • Malaysia Airlines is giving agents shopping vouchers worth up to €50 for every return first or business class ticketed sale booked before April 24 for travel before December 7, and vouchers worth up to €10 for every economy class sale. Register at
  • Sunway reported that online bookings were up 15pc from January to March and conversion rate for online bookings increased 53pc.
  • portuguese workshopThe Portuguese Tourist Board hosted their National Portuguese Workshop in Dublin’s Westbury Hotel and the Clarion Hotel in Cork this week. Antonio Padeira (listen here) welcomed the return of the Madeira route and the increase in flights to Lisbon, saying that improved road connections had opened dup regions of the country not previously associated with large-scale tourism from Ireland. Picture shows Antonio Padeira of Turismo de Portugal and Clare Dunn of Travel Broker at the workshop in Dublin. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.
  • Bobby Healy’s car hire software firm CarTrawler is set to acquire US rival Auto Europe.
  • Camino Ways uploaded an interactive Camino de Santiago map.
  • Mgt, Joe, Ang, Mary, DarPicture shows Margaret Cronin, Joe Collins, Mary Bowe and Skål Dublin president Daragh O’Neil with Cronins Coach which transported Skål members on the coach tour to Marlfield House & Woodenbridge Hotels in Wexford.


ashford castleAshford Castle Hotel has reopened following a €47m restoration that involved repointing the stone walls to tackle heat loss in the hotel. Stanley and Beatrice Tollman’s Red Carnation Hotels purchased the 82 bedroom for €20m in June 2014 and the Ashford Lodge in January 2014 for €1.8m. A new spa and swimming pool will open in July. An old coal bunker in the basement has been converted into a wine cavern. The nine hole golf course, fishing, shooting, and archery facilities have all been restored.

  • Michael McElligott’s Tetrarch Capital purchased the Clonmel Park Hotel in Tipperary.
  • world book launch1Manor House Hotels is the official partner of World Book Night (April 23). Guests staying at any of the group’s 29 properties will receive a copy of Dead Man Talking by Roddy Doyle, which they are asked to pass on to someone else after reading. Copies will also be left in the hotel staff rooms, at reception and in bars for guests to pick up, read and pass on. Picture shows Mary Fitzgerald, Chairperson of the Irish Country Hotels and Manor House Hotels group, and Maire O’Connor, Manor House Hotels brand chairperson, with Ferdia, the Irish wolfhound.
  • Hotel Doolin won the Green Tourism and Entertainment award at the 2015 Green Awards. Picture shows Cara Augustenborg, MD Impact Research Management, Bord Iascaigh Mhara presenting the award to Lisa Fearon and Raquel Noboa of Hotel Doolin.
  • Starwood Hotels will launch a new brand called the Tribute Portfolio.
  • Marriott International will open the first of two Edition properties in New York next month, located in the city’s clock tower building opposite Madison Square Park.
  • German group Maritim Hotels announced plans to build  the 34-story Maritim Hotel Amsterdam in the Overhoeks neighbourhood, scheduled to open in 2018. The property will contain 579 rooms and suites, three restaurants and two bars. 
  • said one in five of a survey of 1,000 Irish people claimed they would use a guilt free day to go on holiday.
  • Accor Group say Q1 revenue increased by 5.6pc.
  • Apa Group is looking to build Japan’s biggest hotel, the 2400-room hotel will be in Yokohama, for the 2020 Olympics.
  • The March 2015 STR Global Construction Pipeline Report says are 868 hotels totalling 139,057 rooms Under Contract in Europe, according to with 59,194 rooms in 364 hotels under construction, England has 11,542 rooms in 80 hotels, Russia (9,735 rooms in 51 hotels); Turkey (8,970 rooms in 52 hotels); and Germany (6,183 rooms in 37 hotels).
  • Loews Regency San Francisco joins the Loews Regency New York, creating a distinct Luxury Brand, Loews Regency
  • The 585 room JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar opened. Hyatt Regency Ahmedabad opened in Western India.
  • London’s Ace Hotel in Shoreditch was sold for £150m on behalf of Starwood Capital Group, £580,000 per bedroom.
  • HG Rewards Club are to add a new top membership level in July 2015. This new membership level can be reached by earning 75,000 qualifying points or staying at IHG hotels for 75 qualifying nights, over the course of a year.


wttc global summitTim Kitchin of Euromonitor International told the World Travel & Tourism Council Global Summit in Madrid that 15 of top 45 economies will be cities in 2030, New York will be larger than Spain and Chicago bigger than Poland.

  • TripAdvisor announced that it is launching an app for the Apple Watch.
  • Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection officers travelled to Dublin in February to discuss immigration and border protection issues with their Irish counterparts after they expressed concern over the use of Irish names on Irish passports.
  • APH surveyed the different rules and regulations across the top 20 European holiday destinations. The research can be found in the Know Before You Go section of the APH website. Motorway speed limits vary from 62mph in Cyprus and Latvia to 80mph in Austria, France and Greece. Germany, on the other hand, currently imposes no legal speed limit on motorways.
  • Majorca will host an international Business School specialised in Tourism in September 2016
  • A survey showed European business travellers prefer rail over flights.
  • Brand USA launched a new website on America’s Great Outdoors.
  • NightSwapping is the latest peer to peer web travel initiative, inviting members to swap nights with other members.
  • To celebrate the release of Ron Howard’s film In The Heart of the Sea, Nantucket Island Resorts will launch an In The Heart of The Sea experience from May 2015 from $370, which includes a two night stay and two tickets to the Nantucket Whaling Museum.
  • Downton Abbey star Jessica Brown-Findlay (Sybil) provides the voiceover for Secret Escapes new TV ad campaign.
  • The Israel Ministry of Tourism announced a tourism directive to encourage airline operators to fly to Eilat. From October 6 2015 to April 22 2016, the ministry will reimburse airlines operators €45 for every passenger flying to Ovda airport up to the total amount of €1m per annum per airline.
  • TUI group HR director Jacky Simmonds will leave the company after 15 years following the merger of the English and German businesses.
  • New York City’s One World Observatory will open to the public on Friday, May 29.
  • ONYX Hospitality Group announced that it will operate at least 10 properties in India by 2022.

Food & Wine

Sage Restaurant won best Emerging Irish Cuisine in Munster at the Munster finals of the Irish Restaurant Awards. susan lavelleSusan Lavelle (pictured) has been appointed Business Development Manager across Cork International Hotel and Cork Airport Hotel.

  • Galway Bay Brewery are to open a new premises on High Street near Dublin’s Christchurch area on Wednesday, April 22.
  • The Morrison Hotel, on Dublin’s Lower Ormond Quay appointed Sushil Kumar as new Executive Head Chef, who has specially created brand new menus for the Spring/Summer season.
  • A coffee kiosk at the junction of Lansdowne Road, Pembroke Road and Northumberland Road in Dublin 4 has been sold for €250k, €50k above the asking price.
  • Cully & Sully are launching a competition, Give Peas a Chance, to encourage workers to grow peas on their workplace windowsill, rooftop or breakout area. The competition runs from June to August with a €4,500 prize, €3,000 of which will be donated to provide a food garden to a worthy cause. The winners will also receive a €300 voucher each to spend at Ballymaloe House and Cookery School. Enter your team at to receive a start pack of seeds, soil and containers.
  • howth festival launchThe fifth annual Dublin Bay Prawn Festival takes place in Howth on April 24-26.
  • Crown Paints Ireland launched the PaintMyPub Campaign, whereby members of the public are given the chance to nominate a pub in their area that’s in need of an exterior makeover. People are being asked to post photos o Crown Paints Ireland’s Facebook page, or by tweeting it to @CrownPaintsIRL with the hashtag #PaintMyPub.
  • James Winans of Vanguard Beer Collective is to host a series of beer appreciation courses at the Dublin Bar Academy at 70 Francis St Dublin 8. Participants will sample over a dozen different beers, including a variety of Irish craft beers from breweries such as Eight Degrees Brewing, Reel Deel Brewery, and Bo Bristle. The four hour course covers everything from beer styles and ingredients to history and food pairings.
  • Carlow Brewing Company, best known for its O’Hara’s range of beers, is to create 12 new jobs in Bagnelstown
  • May is Whisky Month in Scotland, with events taking places across the country
  • The Noosa International Food and Wine festival takes place in Queensland from May 14 to 17.


It was an exciting week in Irish aviation with rumours that Ethiopian were to transfer their Rome European outbound fuel stops, daily B777 to Washington, 3 per B787 week to Toronto, eastbound only and necessitated by the elevation of Addis Adaba, initially to Shannon before being quickly superseded by the news that the fuel stop would move to Dublin. Negotiations with DAA included the possibility of fifth freedom passenger pick up in years to come. Delta plans to reduce 2015-16 winter international capacity by 3pc “to address currency headwinds’ resulting from strong dollar. London’s Competition and Markets Authority said there was no material change in circumstances or special reason for it not to reduce Ryanair’s shareholding in Aer Lingus to 5pc. The shortlist for the 2015 Aviation Awards, sponsored by the IAA, was announced. The gala awards black tie event takes place on May 28 at the Double Tree  by Hilton on Burlington Road, Dublin:

  • Aircraft Operator Aer Lingus, Air Contractors, Emirates, Etihad, Stobart Air, Turkish Airlines
  • Aviation Academic Education Dublin City University, Dublin Institute of Technology, Intitute of Technology Carlow, University of Limerick
  • MRO Achievement Aero Inspection International, Dublin Aerospace, Eirtech
  • Aviation Leasing Achievement AerCap Ireland, Avolon, GE Capital Aviation Services
  • Aviation Sustainability & Environment Cork Airport, Shannon Airport Authority,
  • Aviation Export Aero Inspection International, Airbus Helicopters International Services, Airtel-ATN, CAE Parc Aviation, Datalex, Eirtech Aviation, Gerard Daniel Worldwide
  • Aviation R & D Centre for Innovative Human Systems – Trinity College Dublin Fluids, Vibration & Acoustics Research Group – Trinity College Dublin Tyndall National Institute Vocavio
  • Aviation Innovation Airconics, Coastway Surveys, DAA, GE Capital Aviation Services & Milestone Aviation Group, International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) – Shannon Group, Registair, Ryanair, Versadrones, Waterford Institute of Technology & CHC
  • Airport Achievement City of Derry Airport , DAA, Ireland West Airport Knock, Shannon Airport Authority,
  • Aviation Training Aircraft Maintenance and Engineering Apprenticeship Scheme – Aer Lingus, Cadet Pilot Training – Aer Lingus, DIATA, National Flight Centre, Ryanair, Simtech Aviation Training, Trident Safety Group,
  • Up & Coming Aviation Professional Niall Duggan – Part M Aviation Ireland, Mark Dwyer – National Microlight Association of Ireland & Flying in Ireland, Capt Julie Garland – National Flight Centre, Ellie McGimpsey – Belfast City Airport,
  • Safety Promotion City of Derry Airport , DHL Express Ireland, DAA, General Aviation Council of Ireland, Shannon Airport, Shell & Topaz Aviation, Stobart Air, Swissport Ireland
  • Aviation Support Services Aero Inspection International, Part M Aviation Ireland, Piercom, Simtech, Swissport Ireland, TEG
  • General and Sport Aviation Executive Helicopters, Foynes Air Show, National Flight Centre, National Microlight Association of Ireland, Simtech Aviation,
  • Customer Service Cork Airport, DUB HUB – DAA, Project Free Runner – DAA, Ryanair, Signature Flight Support, Swissport Ireland
  • People Development Transforming Security Programme – DAA, Certified International Management Programme – DHL Express Ireland, Certified International Specialist Programme – DHL Express Ireland, National Flight Centre,

Iberia and British Airways left the lobby group Association of European Airlines over demands by Air France-KLM and Lufthansa to limit access to Europe for Gulf carriers.

Aer Lingus reported its €13m increase in sales last year was thanks to the ill-fated Little Red deal with Virgin to lease aircraft and crew,. Trade union sources have ramped up their campaign against catering reorganisation issues and are claiming they are causing on-board shortages on Aer Lingus flights.

  • newsarticle-248343-scaled-560x0The DAA introduced a revised branding for Dublin Airport with a new logot.
  • The European Regions Airline Association hosted 180 senior executives including representatives from 29 airlines,
  • Ryanair and Aer Lingus went back to battle on Twitter.
  • SITA reported a tenfold increase in passenger adoption of Wi-Fi when it is free
  • Singapore Airlines new SilverKris Lounge opened in Heathrow T2.
  • Ryanair promoted its new Instagram account with a competition for free flight vouchers.
  • A Germanwings jet bound for Milan was evacuated at Cologne-Bonn after the flight received an alleged bomb threat.
  • The air freight division of Emirates has become the number one air cargo carrier for Irish exports since the start of the year, according to figures compiled by the IATA.
  • An Alaska Airlines jet bound for LA had to return to Seattle after a ramp agent was trapped in the  cargo hold after falling asleep. The pilot detected banging noises. Watch a video of his rescue here.
  • star wars anaJapanese carrier ANA unveiled plans to paint one of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners in a Star Wars livery that features the likeness of R2-D2.
  • A Ryanair steward was fired after trying to sell a €500 camera on eBay after it was left behind on a flight.
  • is offering the chance to win €1,000. To enter, pre-book your parking at Dublin airport before midnight, April 30.
  • United Airlines will launch a new inflight menu for economy passengers on June 1.
  • A Loganair flight carrying 30 passengers fell into a steep dive after it was struck by lightning. The pilot regained control and restored full power after the flight fell to 1,100ft.
  • Virgin apologised to passengers on a flight from Las Vegas to London Gatwick that was delayed for 33 hours. The passengers set up a Facebook page demanding compensation.
  • Authorities launched an investigation after an Asiana Airlines jet skidded off a runway as it landed at Hiroshima airport, injuring 20 people.
  • Heathrow announced the appointment of T5’s independent lounge, Aspire. Located near Gate 18, it will be open to customers this summer, regardless of their class.
  • colm barrington 1400 copyColm Barrington’s (pictured) FLY Leasing acquired a B737-800 manufactured in 2008. The Dun Laoghaire based lessor announced it has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per common share.
  • A fourth year Transaero apprentice, Ros Wynne has been selected to represent Ireland in the 2015 world skills competition in the category of Aircraft Maintenance in Sao Paulo Brazil from Aug 11-16.
  • Malaysia Airlines is the launch customer for SITA On Air’s AIRCOM FlightTracker.
  • Singapore Airlines subsidiary Silk Air launched a new uniform design.
  • Airbus will offer an 11-abreast economy-seat configuration in the A380.
  • EasyJet is to appoint Andrew Findlay to replace Chris Kennedy as CFO, effective October 2015.
  • Airbus and Germany’s Recaro Aircraft Seating plan to offer a “supplier-furnished-equipment” Economy Class seat option, named “3530Swift”, for A320 operators.
  • A passenger was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight after poking a fellow passenger with a pen because she was bothered by his snoring.
  • Embraer delivered 20 jets to the commercial market and 12 to the business market in Q1.
  • Ireland West Airport Knock is to upgrade security with two new devices to detect explosive and a new security scanner.


Anthem of the SeasThe first delegation of 50 Irish trade and media flew out yesterday to join Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas with a further 170 travelling out tomorrow. Anthem arrived in Southampton, its homeport for the summer during the week. A sister ship to Quantum of the Seas, Anthem will sail out of Southampton until October, before redeploying to Bayonnet. Stuart Leven, two country Managing Director of Royal Caribbean based in London said: Ships like Anthem of the Seas will help attract new groups of people and build the future of cruising. Ireland and Britain is our second largest market and with 1.7m from the two countries taking a cruise every year it has huge importance for our business. So we’re over the moon that our latest Quantum-class ship is arriving for the summer season. The 4,180-passenger ship will be formally named on tomorrow Monday (April 20), by 27-year-old travel agent Emma Wilby from Sunderland. Picture shows Emma sampling the flowrider on Anthem. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley is offering repeat Quantum-class passengers an onboard credit if they choose the controversial Dynamic Dining concept, on the line’s newest ship, Anthem of the Seas.
  • Princess Cruises’ Dawn Princess is to host a first-ever Beer & Wine Garden Festival after its multimillion-dollar refurbishment May 11-24.
  • Ponant cruise line has taken delivery of the latest in its fleet of ultra-luxury ships, the 260-passenger Le Lyrial.
  • L’Austral, Le Boreal and Le Soleal, were delivered in May 2010, April 2011 and June 2013.
  • Thomson Cruises will name its newest ship Thomson Discovery when it joins the fleet in 2016. Thomson has acquired Royal Caribbean’s Splendour of the Seas. Thomson Discovery will homeport in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, when in launches in June 2016, and the ship will undergo a rebranding and refurbishment.
  • Hurtigruten’s Northern Lights Promise, has been re-introduced for next Winter. There will be a direct departure form Dublin on March 22 following the success of the director charter flights from Dublin to Tromso in 2014.
  • Azamara Club Cruises is to use virtual reality to allow passengers to experience life on the ship and shore excursions.
  • Disney is introducing new shore tours in Alaska for summer 2015, to a mining camp in Juneau and the White Pass Summit in Skagway.
  • Carnival cruise ships have added Perry, Boston, Lionel Richie and Heart to the roster of musicians slated to perform on this summer and fall.
  • Norovirus hit Celebrity Infinity, with 106 of 2,117 passengers falling ill (about 5pc) and Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas affecting 114 of 1,763 passengers (about 6.5pc).
  • Norwegian Cruise Line has waived cover charge and a la carte pricing at selected Asian restaurants fleetwide.
  • Disney announced a partnership with AmaWaterways. Tour operator Adventures by Disney will operate family river cruises using AmaWaterways’ 170-passenger AmaViola ship when it launches in 2016.

Deal Watch

Malaysia Airlines spring sale, book between now and April 30 for travel from now until December 7. Return economy fares from Dublin Cork and Shannon: Bangkok from €570. Phuket from €570. Singapore from €650. Ko Samui from €655. Manila from €670. Hanoi from €675. Ho Chi Minh City from €675. Kauai Lumpur from €700 Penang from €700. Bali from €700. Perth from €790. Darwin from €810. Auckland from €835. Adelaide from €850. Brisbane from €850. Melbourne from €850. Sydney from €850. Malaysia Airlines and Tourism Malaysia are offering a free one-night stopover in Kuala Lumpur at either Berjaya Times Square Hotel or Sama-Sama Hotel. For bookings and more info visit or call 01 6761561.

  • Classic Resorts is offering 10 nights Mexico and Las Vegas from €1,799pps incl. 7 nights All Inclusive 4* Occidental Grand Xcaret, Mexico, 3 nights 4* Luxor Resort & Casino Las Vegas, flights and taxes, book by April 30, travel May 1 to June 24 or September 1 to October 31. To book visit  or call 01 874 5000.
  • Sunday G Adventure Tours offers, prices include accommodation, adventure itinerary and most meals: 10 days Nepal from €949pp, depart August 9. 10 days Cambodia from €649pp, depart May 28. 3-day African safari from €869pp, depart May 30. 8-day India Golden Triangle from €499pp, depart June 28. 8 days Bali from €749pp, depart August 21. 8 days Cuba from €699pp, depart September 5. 12 days Vietnam from €649pp, depart August 1. 7-day Peru Inca Trail from €899pp, depart September 8. 9-day Amazon riverboat adventure from €1359pp, depart July 25. 9 days Galápagos 9 Days from €1599pp, depart June 19.  7 nights self catering Tamaimo Tropical Apts, Tenerife from €399pp, depart May 23. 7 nights B&B Sheraton Fuerteventura Beach, Golf & Spa Resort from €749pp, depart May 23. 7 nights self catering Tilila Studios, Morocco from €299pp (flight only €294pp).
  • Sunway Bodrum, Turkey offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Summer Garden Apts from €359pp, depart June 7. 7 nights B&B 3* Baba Beach Hotel from €429pp, depart June 7. 7 nights B&B 4* Ambrosia Hotel from €599pp, depart June 7. 7 nights All Inclusive 3* Sami Beach from €739pp, depart June 7.
  • Keith Prowse Experience Wimbledon packages begin at €513 per person
  • Thomson offers: 7 nights full board Dublin to Sensatori, Lyttos beach, Crete from €1,139pps, depart June 14. 7 nights full board highlights of the Med cruise, Shannon to Majorca from €939pp. To book visit or call 1850 45 35 45.
  • Falcon offers: 7 nights All Inclusive Dublin to Arminda, Hersonissos, Crete from €699pp, depart June 7. 7 nights self catering Dublin to Mika, Piskopiano, Crete from €369pps, depart May 31. 7 nights full board Dublin to Sensatori, Lyttos beach, Crete from €1,129pps, depart June 14. Visit or call1850 45 35 45.
  • Travel Department offers: 5 nights B&B Hotel Novotel Montfleury, Cannes from €359pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and excursion to St Paul de Vence, depart April 17. 7 nights B&B Valamar Club Dubrovnik Hotel from €299 incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, depart April 20. 7 nights B&B Hotel Arnolfo & Aqua Laetitia, Montecatini, Tuscany from €349pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transfer on arrival, taxes and charges, depart April 23 or 28. 3 nights Reykjavik city break from €259pp incl. 3*/4* accommodation, fights ex Dublin, transfer on arrival, taxes and charges, depart April 23. 7 nights Tuscany and the Italian Riviera from €499pp incl flights ex Belfast, option of coach transfer from Dublin airport or free parking at Belfast airport, 3 nights in San Remo and 4 nights Montecatini, taxes and charges, depart May 19. 7 nights Tuscany from €459pp incl. flights ex Dublin, option of coach transfer from Dublin airport or free parking at Belfast airport, taxes and charges, depart May 19 or June 9. To book visit or call 01 637 1600.
  • Click and Go offers: 2 nights B&B 3* Van Belle Hotel, Brussels from €149pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in May. 7 nights All Inclusive 3* Complejo Calas de Majorca Hotel from €449pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transfers taxes and charges, travel in May. 7 nights half board 4* VIK San Antonio, Puerto del Carmen from €599pp incl. flights ex Dublin, transfers, taxes and charges, travel in June. 7 nights B&B 5* Volcan Lanzarote, Playa Blanca from €599pp incl. flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in June. 3 nights 3* Arctic Comfort Hotel, Reykjavik from €259pp incl. flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in April. To book visit  or call 01 637 1699.
  • Topflight, agents for The Rocky Mountaineer in Ireland, are offering a 9 day Canadian Rockies trip from €3,680pp incl. 4 days onboard The Rocky Mountaineer, rail station transfers in Vancouver, Kamloops, Jasper and Banff, luggage handling, National Park pass, 8 nights hotel accommodation, excursions, flights, private airport transfers and RedLeaf, travel in May.Topflight is also offering 7 nights Lake Garda from €599pps incl. flights, transfers and rep service, travel in June, add tickets to the Verona opera festival from €78pp (June 19 to September 6). For more info see or call 01 240 1709.
  • Stena Line is offering a 7 night family break to Centre Parks Les Bois Francs, Normandy from €1,199 for two adults and two children incl. return travel by car Rosslare-Cherbourg, accommodation and access to Aqua Mundo, book by April 27, depart June 18.
  • Tourism NI offers of the week: 2 nights B&B Canal Court Hotel & Spa, Newry from £129pp incl. one evening dinner, available until April 30, call 028 3025 1234 to book. 1 night B&B Templeton Hotel, Ballyclare from £69 per couple incl. main course and glass of wine, call 028 9443 2984 to book. 2 nights Beech Cottage, Lisnakea, Enniskillen from £285 (sleeps 8 people) incl. kayak, paddles and life jackets, available May 1 to June 30, call 028 6772 2240 to book.


www.keewiphotography.comThe inaugural Clare Wellness Festival takes place at The Falls Hotel, Ennistymon from May 11 to 17. There will be workshops on Mindfulness, yoga, chakra dance and homeopathy, as well as a guided Burren walk, Cliffs of Moher cruise, trip to the Aran Islands, heritage trail and a foraging walk. For info on 2, 3 or 4-day packages and activities from €185pp see  or email

  • ???????????????????????Irish tourism organisations joined Tourism Ireland in Spain for this year’s B-Travel fair in Barcelona. B-Travel attracted 200,000 visitors. Pictures shows Oscar Gutiérrez Mecias of Irland en español, Jenny Armstrong of Tourism Ireland and Miriam Barrios of Irland en español at the event.
  • The CSO household survey for the end of 2014 showed that domestic trips increased 3pc to 4m and domestic holidays increased 4pc to 6m. Revenue grew 7pc to €1.5bn and domestic holiday expenditure increased 1pc to €852m. Domestic trips with hotel stays increased 4pc with nights in hotels increasing 2pc.
  • Fáilte Ireland’s Visitor Attitudes Survey 2014, conducted by Millward Brown, show 54pc of visitors saying that they found good or very good value in Ireland – up from 51pc the year before. Last year only 6pc of visitors found value for money to be poor or very poor, in 2007 the equivalent figure was 41pc. This year 55pc of respondents said that their trip met all their expectations and a further 44pc of visitors said their holiday exceeded all expectations. The most popular word used to describe their experience was “relaxed,” Domestic trips grew by 3pc to 6m last year and domestic holidays increased by 4pc last year. Trips involving stays in hotels increased by 4pc with nights in hotels growing by 2pc.. The Irish people ranked the highest reason for exceeding expectations, followed by the scenery and history. Travel agents and operators accounted for 12pc of sources that influenced the choice to visit Ireland. See the survey here.
  • What is happening the National Diaspora Centre? Two of the bidders appear to be going ahead with plans for the project. Minister Paschal Donohoe told Travel Extra this week (listen here) that he thinks it is going to re-emerge. “I think we are going to see a number. I believe that the Diaspora story is one that is best told locally, through local communities and businesses and that the taxpayer was not in a position to support it through additional funding and investment. I believe that we are going to see local authorities and initiatives deliver that in their own capacity and their own localities.”
  • Scans of 130 monuments and buildings went online at
  • Burren Cycling Club’s 32 members will attempt to cycle the entire length of Wild Atlantic Way in just five days.
  • Landscape2US Open champion Martin Kaymer, Luke Donald and Patrick Reed have added their names for the the Irish Open. Following the addition of Dubai Duty Free as title sponsor, the prize fund increased to €2.5m, up 25pc. The winner will take home €416,660.
  • JestfestThree festivals are taking place in Wexford this May bank holiday weekend: The inaugural JestFest comedy and street theatre festival, line up includes David McSavage, Andrea Farell and Al Porter, May 1-4. Hook Lighthouse Maritime Matters Festival, highlights include live music, Irish Coastguard display and talks from the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, May 1-4. ZorroFest to celebrate the 400th anniversary of William Lamppost and the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Mexico and Ireland, May 2-4.
  • CLEAN2The Burren Ecotourism Network is rolling out the Adopt a Hedgerow Scheme to keep the Burren litter free. Thirty business have signed up to the scheme, which is supported by Clare County Council and the Burren & Cliffs of Moher Geopark.
  • Twenty travel agents from group travel specialiser Euro Moselle Loisirs visited Ireland this weekend. The itinerary, organised ???????????????????????????????????????????????by Tourism Ireland in Paris in conjunction with Irish Welcome Tours, included visits to the Guinness Storehouse, the Irish Whiskey Musem, the Book of Kells, Glendalough and Powerscourt Hotels & Gardens. Picture shows the group with tour guide Hubert Servignat.
  • A group of travel and lifestyle journalists from Italy visited the north this week, as guests of Tourism Ireland and Representing ?????????????????????????????????????????various online and print publications including Italian Vogue, as well as a popular radio station, the journalists flew to Belfast on the new Jet2 flight from Rome. Picture shows the group at Titanic Belfast with Fabiana Marraccini of Tourism Ireland.

Email to have your say or it is @TravelExtraIre on Twitter if that’s your bag.


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