TRAVEL Extra’s Sunday Supplement: Is that a Viking on the waves?




The headlines this week:

  • France expects recovery in Irish visitors
  • Centerparcs plan to come to Longford
  • ITAA’s best figures since global recession
  • Viking enters the ocean

Travel Extra TV

Video-of-week-April-5Our video of the week is English ferry company Condor’s cringe-worthy rap safety video. Three crew members showcase their rapping skills and dance moves to the tune of ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by Sugarhill. So far, the video has gained 57,000 views. Watch here.

  • Check out WestJet’s hilarious Smart Seats gag from April Fool’s Day. Watch here.
  • Aircam Ireland gave Cork city the drone treatment. Watch here.
  • YouTube user World Aviation HD captured this footage of a near wingtip strike by an Aer Lingus jet attempting to land in strong winds. Heart in mouth stuff. Watch here.
  • Air France uploaded behind the scenes footage of the film France is in the Air. Watch here.
  • Tourism Ireland motorsport promos: Circuit of Ireland (watch here), North West 200, May 10 to 16 (watch here), and Ulster Grand Prix, August 3 to 8 (watch here).
  • EasyJet TV ads for allocated seating(watch here) and mobile boarding (watch here).


speed-cameraHoliday makers driving abroad will be subject to speed fines caught on camera from May. A revision states that all countries in the European Union must comply with cross-border rules and all 28 EU member states will be able to share information on drivers, enabling them to pursue fines for eight driving offences including speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, using a mobile phone, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, jumping a red light, not wearing a helmet on a motorbike and driving on the hard shoulder. Currently 15pc of EU speeding offences are committed by non-residents. Estimates suggest up to 4,000 offences a year are committed by Irish drivers in France alone.

Martial law has been lifted in Thailand, except for the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, the Sadao district of Songkhla province and some border areas which are not known and visited by British & Irish tourists. Joanna Cooke of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said The removal of Martial Law this month is a positive step and does not impact on tourists planning a visit to Thailand in 2015. They should continue with their travel plans as normal, all tourist resorts are ready to welcome visitors. Since Martial Law was imposed, Irish tourist arrivals have remained consistently good and we are pleased to report a particularly positive start for the Irish market in January 2015 (+2.21pc).

The Irish Travel Industry Trade Show (April 24-25) is to be served by four bus routes operating to the exhibition and social events from Dundalk, Cork, Galway and Waterford, with an offer of subsidised travel for agency staff from other parts of the country. The show is set to be the biggest Travel Trade Show ever staged in Ireland and the only B2B event on the island guaranteed to bring together travel professionals from every aspect of the industry. The show will coincide with the ITAA AGM and front line staff will be bussed in from all parts of Ireland for a programme of social events and networking over two days.

Fresh snow has fallen in huge quantities across the Alps. Austria has been carpeted with snow this week. French resorts have seen wet weather, heavy snowfall and very strong winds at eoghan espace killy copyhigher altitudes. In the Espace Killy only 37 out of 79 lifts were operating. Strong winds caused the closure of some of the higher lifts in the Northern Alps. Italian resorts were curtailed by strong winds which limited lift operations. After quite a wet and cloudy start to the week, Andorra’s skies cleared and brought plenty of sunshine for spring time skiing. Norway had sunny skies followed by a mixture of cloud and light snow. America saw sunny skies although cloudier weather moved in over the western resorts for the weekend. The more Southerly Alps and Pyrenees are sunny so skiers can expect slushy slopes and variable conditions off piste.

agnes angrand groupAtout France is anticipating a recovery in the Irish market this year after four years which saw visitor number decline below 600,000. Speaking at Rendez Vous 2015 Agnes Angrand said that the Toulouse area had seen a particular increase and there was more interest in the Irish market from the french regions, ten of which participated in a recent roadshow. The 44 media who participated in the event programme saw the stunning new €400m Philoharmonie, the big-ticket opening in Paris this year. Delegates were hosted at events in the Pompidou centre and Galleries Lafayette and given a preview of the Lido’s new show, lighter on the feathers and can-can than its predecessor. Next year’s Rendez Vous will take place in Montpellier. Picture shows Christian Mantei, Director General of Atout France, Agnes Angrand of Atout France in London responsible for the Irish market, Matthias Fekl, Minister of State at the French Dept of Foreign Affairs with responsibility for Tourism and Francois Huwart, Chair of Atout France, at Rendez Vous de France in the Porte de Versailles convention centre in Paris. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

ITAA CEO Pat Dawson and President Martin Skelly.The AGM of the Irish Travel Agents Association will see its healthiest set of figures for many years when it convenes at Citywest on April 24. The Association has a surplus of €25,000 “Funds will be ploughed back into improving services members,” Pat Dawson says. “Significant reductions in fees have been achieved over the last three years that has been made up by more commercial projects including PR.” As is customery half way through his two year presidential term, Martin Skelly will be returned unopposed as ITAA President and Des Manning unopposed as treasurer. Picture shows Martin Skelly with Pat Dawson.

Bookabed hosted an agents’ lunch in Sophie’s Restaurant at Dublin’s newest hotel, The Dean, on Harcourt Street. Picture shows Lee Osborne bookabed-eventand Bev Fly, representing Bookabed, with Adam McKnight, representing the co-sponsor, A2B Transfers. Over drinks on the rooftop bar, Lee Osborne thanked the trade for their support and briefly introduced Bookabed’s White Label Booking System. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

The Garissa University attack in north East Kenya could be a blow to the Kenyan tourism sector especially after Westminster’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond accused Kenya of sitting on intelligence information, making it difficult to review travel warnings, as President Uhuru Kenyatta repeated Kenya was safe. President Kenyatta was apparently incensed after several governments advised its nationals from visiting the Coast unless they were on ‘essential travel.’ “We want to send a clear message; that they will not intimidate us with these travel advisory threats. President Kenyatta disputed the claims: “That is not true and the challenge is on them now. There is nothing that they can claim not to be aware of.”Turkish double daily

Turkish6 cockpitTurkish Airlines increased their service from 7w to double daily this week. Vice President of Turkish Airlines Murat Bas (pictured) said the Dublin expansion was based on a model Turkish started to use in 2005 when they launched more than 20 new routes and started increasing frequencies. “First we start a daily flight to offer a service every day otherwise there is a huge advantage, daily gives you a bigger market share, more than three times what three weekly would give you. We worked that model and found it feasible for eight years and we have experience of this growth. Sometimes we made it 8 or 11 from seven. Or double daily from daily in four or five years. Dublin has grown faster than other destinations, it is a medium haul route more than three hours. Therefore we had to be much more careful. The risk is greater on longer routes.” Picture shows Ann Marie Dalton and Murat Balandi of Turkish Airlines, passengers Marie O’Regan, Áine O’Malley and Annette Meany from Limerick and Tipperary and Dublin Airport team members Daragh Hanratty and John Hurley.

Center Parcs CEO Martin Dalby said he plans to create a €100m holiday village close to Ballymahon, Co Longford with capacity for 2,500 holidaymakers.The group signed an option agreement with Coillte for a development on 375 acres in Newcastle wood which will create 1,000 permanent jobs if it goes ahead. Taoiseach Enda Kenny urged the local authority to “get it right” when the planning application comes before them. Between 10-12pc of trees would be removed from Newcastle Woods to build the resort.

Air Canada Rouge reported strong bookings ahead of its four additional weekly flights to its Dublin-Toronto route this summer from June 13 to September 16. The additional Dublin-Toronto flights will be operated by 280-seat wide-body Boeing 767-300ER in 24-35-221 configuration. These are in addition to the year round Dublin-Toronto service operating daily from 28 June 2015 and means there will be up to eleven flights a week. The additional flight will depart Dublin at 9.00 and return from Toronto at 18:55, the existing service departs Dublin at 12:25 and returns from Toronto at 23:10.

Good news from Egypt. Recently introduced visa rules and requirements which due to be introduced on May 15, have been annulled. Current visa requirements remain the same for both individuals and groups travelling to Egypt. Discussions are underway to introduce a new electronic visa system, no exact dates have been set yet.

The annual round of April fool stories bewildered the travel industry: Apparently Aer Lingus added a fourth leaf to the Shamrock, converting the Gherkin into the largest helter-skelter in the world, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is to be turned into a luxury hotel and Dubai Airports made an approach to DAA Plc to purchase the IATA code DUB for an undisclosed sum to use DUB as the airport code for Dubai instead of DXB. Oh dear.

Travel Trade

Travel Department is offering free car parking at Belfast City Airport for customers travelling to Italy via Belfast.

audrey headonAudrey Headon’s Presidents’ Day outing for the Travel Industry Golf Society is fully booked with 80 golfers registered to play. The event at Druids Glenn on April 16 is sponsored by Etihad airlines.

The Travel Centres expulsion saga continued with meetings with some expelled agents. King Travel and Killiney travel will not be rejoining Travel Centres.

Duffy Rafferty Communications was appointed to handle and Jet2holidays’ PR activity in the north.

Sunway Holidays’ weekly Dublin to Mahon, Majorca route commences May 30 on British Airways.

Fashion, jewellery and interiors designer Jade Jagger has created a limited edition range of kaftans for Thomson to celebrate the launch of the Sensatori Resort Ibiza, which will open this May.​

Air Transat appointed Lesley Kane, formerly of Ryanair, as Director of Sales in Britain and Ireland.

Camino Ways’ next Camino de Santiago talk takes place at 53 Degrees North Carrickmines on Tuesday, April 7, at 7pm. Register here.

George byrneSad news, a long standing press trip companion of Travel Extra’s. George Byrne of the Irish Independent has died at the age of 57, rock and roll (and later film) writer who tended to live the lifestyle and broke the heart of many tourism PR people.

Former TUI executive Chris Mottershead was appointed business development director for Thomas Cook in England.

Four agents won tickets to see One Direction perform in Dubai on Saturday: Stella Grant of O’Hanrahan Travel, Donna McGann of Eimer Hannon Travel, Lynn Casey of Fahy Travel and Lorraine O’Connor of Travel Fox. The competition, run by Emirates, included Business Class travel.

TravelCube is offering the chance to win a €50 One4all voucher for any sightseeing, attraction or transfer booked online in April.

Travel Professionals Skillnet is offering a 2 day Finance for Non Finance Professionals programme at the Professional Development Training Centre in Blanchardstown, May 21 and 22, 9.30am-5.30pc. Cost €299. More info/bookings.

Agents who book a United flight from Dublin to Chicago can win a place on a fam trip. Dublin to Chicago operates from June 5th to August 18th departing Dublin at 9.50 and Chicago at 16.05.

Azamara Club Cruises has joined Royal Caribbean International’s trade loyalty scheme, Club Royal. For every Azamara booking, a £10 credit will be loaded onto their Club Royals’ rewards Mastercard for immediate use

Irish interest in IPW in Orlando on May 30-June 3 is up on last year with seven journalists and 16 buyers signed up.

Eileen O’Mara Walsh’s memoir The Third Daughter will be published by Lilliput Press on April 16th. The memoir features her parents and growing up in Bohemian Dublin of the 1950s and 1960s with two chapters focussing on her business career in tourism and travel.

topflightTopflight hosted the trade at an event in the Old Oak in Cork city. Picture shows Tony Collins, Chairman Of Topflight; Peter Chatham, Online Marketing Of Topflight; Linda Tiernan, Worldwide Dept Of Topflight; Maria Pazienza, European Dept Of Topflight; Mauricce Shiels, European Sales Manager of Topflight. See more pictures here or connect with the album on Facebook.

  • Stephen Sands’ Riviera Travel launched their 2016 River Cruise products, lead in price for eight days are €1,239 and 14 days from €1779 . Medieval Germany, The Main to the Danube is a new itinerary for 2016.
  • brian stauntonVirtual card issuer Optal became the primary issuer of eNett Virtual Account Numbers. According to Brian Staunton, eNett has increased revenue to the travel trade by 49pc in 2014 and Optal’s new role as primary issuer will allow eNett to take Virtual Account Numbers into new markets.
  • Travel technology publication Tnooz noted how data can help uncover the hidden treasure in travel agencies
  • Correction: an unfortunate caption transposition in some releases of last week’s Sunday Supplement assigned Brian Hughes of United Airlines to another organisation, Brian is still at the heart of United’s team in Dublin. Travel Extra would like to apologise for any confusion caused.


Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 00.01.24

For the first time five Irish destinations featured in the top ten searches by Irish customers over the past three months; 1 Dublin, 2 London, 3 Galway, 4 New York, 5 Cork, 6 Killarney, 7 Paris, 8 Kilkenny, 9 Amsterdam, 10 Rome

  • Hotel group Dalata is to acquire the Maldron Hotel Wexford for €3.53m.
  • Trivago launched a new feature: #trivagoMatch, once they have found their ideal hotel, single travellers can find their ideal travelling partner.
  • Slieve Donard Resort in Newcastle, County Down was named as Official Host Hotel for the 2015 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by The Rory Foundation.
  • Starwood opened the 141 –room Sheraton Samui Resort in Koh Samui.sheraton koh samui room
  • Declan Ryan sold his €40m shareholding in Irish-headquartered apartment letting company Staycity.
  • 25 hotels with a combined value of €500m were sold since the start of the year, the highest quarterly volume of hotel sales on record, according to commercial property consultants CBRE.
  • Designs for a tower hotel in the alpine resort of Vals were unveiled this week. With room rates from €925 to €22,000, the proposed 107-bedroom hotel is 381 metres tall and has a spa, restaurants, a sky bar, swimming pool, library, ballroom and art gallery.
  • Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces opened its second Dubai property in the Downtown district near the Burj Khalifa.
  • Le Club Accorhotels members can earn 500 bonus points on stays at participating Mercure properties in Britain and Ireland. Stay between now and September 6 and book at least 30 days in advance by June 22.


Airbnb was appointed alternative accommodation services supplier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

The Egyptian Museum in Turin reopened fully on Wednesday following a €50m renovation over five years.

avios-apple watchAvios will launch a loyalty programme app for the Apple Watch, available to download for free from April 24 when the device goes on sale.

NYC & Company introduced South Bronx’s Grand Concourse as its latest NYCGO Insider Guide.

  • Spanish Tourist Board upcoming events: Canary Islands Workshop in Limerick on April 22, Canary Islands Workshop in Dublin April 23, Andalucia Sol Golf Cup May 6 and Let’s Talk about Andalucia in Dublin May 7.petra hedorfer 300
  • Petra Hedorfer, CEO of the German National Tourist Board said that Irish visitor numbers are up substantially, overnight stays are up 34.1pc.
  • Irish visitor numbers to Oman grew 3.6pc in 2014.
  • Whistler mountain is to remain open until May 18.
  • Optal Financial now issues eNett Virtual Account Numbers.
  • Upcoming events supported by the Israel Tourism Office: Eilat Pride Festival, May 7 to 9. Tel Aviv Pride Week, June 4 to 14. The International LGBT Sports and Cultural Festival, Tel Aviv, October 15 to 19. The Jerusalem Festival of Light, June 3 to 11. Guitarist Robert Cray in concert, Heichal HaTarbut in Tel Aviv and Shuni amphitheatre, April 12.
  • Turkey gave the go ahead for a $224m Ritz Carlton resort in the Grace Bay area on the island of Providenciales.
  • The Liechtenstein Treasure Chamber museum opened in the Alps on Tuesday.
  • Thomas Cook unveiled plans to open its own theme park in Loughborough, near Birmingham.
  • A sandstorm warning has been issued to travellers heading to Dubai for the easter break.
  • Airbnb announced it will offer accommodations to pre-approved US consumers traveling to Cuba.
  • Check out the world’s most futuristic caravans, according to The London Telegraph. The list included: The Walking House, the caravan that is — you guessed it — able to walk; the deceptively spacious Mica; and the Volkner Mobil 800 C, which has a compartment to store a supercar.
  • Selfie sticks have been banned from the Coachella and Lollapalooza music festivals in the USA this summer.

Food and Wine

Aldridge Lodge and Billy Whitty won the Best Restaurant and Best Chef award for Wexford for the fourth consecutive year at the Leinster Regional Final of the Irish Restaurant Awards in the Clyde Court Hotel, Ballsbridge

  • The Restaurants Association of Ireland said the alcohol ban on Good Friday is costing the restaurant sector €15m in revenue.
  • Kilkenny Cookery School opens on Friary St at 6pm, April 15.
  • Reeds Restaurant at the four-star Ferrycarrig Hotel in Wexford has been re-designed and unveiled following an extensive renovation.
  • The Kilkenny Café at Shanagarry Design Centre has scooped the prestigious title of Best Restaurant in East Cork at the Chernobyl Children’s Trust Fundraiser.
  • Ballygally Castle in Antrim is offering a Game of Thrones Afternoon Tea.
  • ORSO Kitchen & Bar on Pembroke Street, Co Cork is offering 3 hour barista skills classes on May 11 and June 8. See to book. Cost €70.


Ireland West Airport Knock is offering a new service for families. The ‘Little Flyers Club’ is Ireland’s first airport crèche facility for families. See video.

  • Ryanair’s summer 2015 schedule includes four new routes to Brussels Zaventem, Cologne, Copenhagen and Glasgow as well as increased frequencies on 13 other routes (including Manchester 5 x daily). There are ·82 Dublin routes and 350 weekly flights. delivering 9.7m customers.
  • Belfast summer schedule includes new Wizz Air routes to Katowice and Vilnius and new Jet2 routes to Prague and Rome. Easyjet’s winter schedule for 2015-16 from Belfast International sees increases in seat numbers to Gatwick, London Luton and Stansted by more than 125,000, bringing the total number of seats to over 500,000 up to the end of February, 2016. EasyJet will add seat capacity to Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester, bringing the total to 160,000 seats.
  • dublin airport hall_4353Dublin airport will handle 285,000 passengers over the Easter bank holiday weekend, 10pc up on last year. The airport advised passengers be in the terminal building at least 90 minutes before their flight departure time irrespective of whether they are checking in at the airport or have checked in online.
  • Virgin pressed for IAG interline commitments as part of any successful takeover of Aer Lingus.

Speakers at the ERAA conference in Rome, on April 15-16 will incude Patrick Ky, executive director, EASA; Margus Rahuoja, director of aviation & international transport affairs, European Commission; Mark Hughes, EVP corporate finance, Falko; and Jean Louis Colson, head of unit for consumer rights, European Commission.

  • Finnair launched its 6w Dublin to Helsinki service on Monday. The airline extended the service to the winter months.
  • Luxair appointed APG as its GSA in Ireland.
  • and Jet2holidays launched a new service from Belfast International Airport to Rome on Thursday and a service from Belfast to Prague on Friday.
  • Easyjet opened its 26th base at Amsterdam Schiphol airport on Tuesday.
  • Avolon delivered a B737-800 to Pegasus Airlines.
  • Wizz 2Wizz Air launched its service from Belfast International Airport to Katowice, Poland on Tuesday. The airline will launch its Belfast-Vilnius, Lithuania route on April 22.

British Airways is offering double Avios points to Executive Club members on all tiers when they book flights from Dublin to London City Airport before April 27 for travel before May 31. Bonus points are available on an unlimited number of flights.

ICTS 2Tomorrow (April 6), five members of ICTS security at Belfast International Airport will cycle 900 miles over nine days along the west coast of Ireland to raise £10,000 for Cancer Focus. Click here to donate.

  • South African Airways launched its daily Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi service with codeshare partner Etihad Airways this week.
  • Ryanair will add services from Bucharest to Bologna, Milan Bergamo, and Rome Ciampino on October 25.
  • Shannon Airport open an exhibition of memorabilia in the transit lounge.
  • British Airways Executive Club members get double Avios points when they book Dublin to London City. Booking Period April 1-27, Travel Period Apr 1-May 31.
  • Aer Lingus reached a tentative agreement with IAM for US staff.
  • Balfour Beatty was awarded the contract to build a €14m Dublin Airport car park extension.
  • Ryanair issued a clarification following its Irish app update.
  • Aer Lingus in-flight magazine Cara has increased its business content to 16 pages and named the new section On Business. Read here.
  • Ryanair overtook Alitalia in Italy.
  • Ryanair are to lease in two Latvian A320s this summer.
  • Lufthansa cancelled its 60 year anniversary celebrations and will instead have a memorial service for the victims of the Germanwings disaster. Lufthansa has set aside $300m to cover possible costs rising from last week’s crash.
  • Dalmac, official training and recruitment partner for Ryanair, is recruiting in Ireland April 2015.
  • Willie Walsh told the #MercSeminar leadership summit: Be true to yourself and true to people around you. Etihad’s James Hogan said the only major airline group not against us is Willie Walsh’s IAG. He just accepts competition and gets on with it.
  • Yemenia suspended all flights for safety reasons till further notice.
  • China Southern will use an Airbus A380 on the Amsterdam-Beijing route from June 20.
  • Eurolot ceased operations.
  • An incident involving two Ryanair planes which clipped wings at Dublin Airport was under investigation.
  • Cityjet appointed BMI Regional chief executive Cathal O’Connell as commercial director.
  • Stobart Air launched its new route from Dublin to East Midlands on Friday.
  • IATA announced the global passenger traffic results for February 2015, with RPKs up 6.2pc, ASKs up 5.6pc, and load factor up 0.5 points to 78.5pc.
  • Austrian Airlines re-launched with a new identity with changed colours on the ‘My’ livery. The airline will sell short-haul tickets under a revised four-tier tariff structure from October.
  • Aer Lingus gifted former chief executive Christoph Mueller lucrative long term share rights.
  • Irish lessor Aergen Leasing and Avioserv hope to raise additional equity funding after raising $200m capital from a group of financial investors led by Greenbriar Equity Group.
  • After its inaugural flight from Atlanta, Virgin Atlantic’s ‘Beauty Queen’ Airbus A330-300 was grounded after a water cannon salute in Manchester Airport went wrong — the airport firefighters accidentally sprayed foam instead of water and the engines got clogged up.
  • Schiphol airport experienced delays, cancellations and diversions on Friday after a power cut hit Amsterdam.
  • Ryanair is to wet lease two A320-200s, serial 244 and 662, from SmartLynx Airlines during summer 2015.
  • Lufthansa Germanwings noteA note given to a Lufthansa crew member was retweeted 4,700 times. The message, penned in light of last week’s Germanwings crash, read: I understand an event so horrific as this one affects those with your responsibility more than others, and maybe sometimes a kind word, random but heartfelt, can make a difference. Thank you for taking me home. Thank you for doing so safely.
  • The Swiss Federal Office of Civil Aviation approved Etihad’s 33.3pc investment in Swiss regional carrier Darwin Airline.

British Airways confirmed that its frequent flyer accounts have been hacked but insisted that no personal details were stolen.

Twenty-three passengers and crew were injured after an Air Canada A320 aircraft crash landed in snow at Halifax international airport. The aircraft sustained substantial damage after hitting a utility line, causing a power outage in the air terminal and airport. Air Canada paid out $5,000 for each of the 133 passengers involved in the crash landing.

Etihad - Alitalia Venice Milan Launch - PHOTO 1Etihad Airways and codeshare partner Alitalia celebrated the inaugural flights from Venice and Milan to Abu Dhabi this week.

Alitalia and Etihad are offering a 15pc discount on return tickets to Italy for those enrolled in the Made of Italians programme for expatriates heading to Italy for EXPO Milano.

Aviation enthusiasts were out to welcome the arrival of a 73 year old Douglas DC-3 at Shannon Airport. The twin turboprop flew 8 hours across the Atlantic from St John’s, Newfoundland, making an overnight stop at Shannon on Wednesday.

  • Avolon issued a White Paper containing updated and expanded analysis of key factors that influence the economic life of commercial jet aircraft.
  • Etihad expanded codeshare coverage in Europe, as additional Aer Lingus and Flybe operating routes carrying EY code. Majority of these new codeshare routes began on March 29.
  • The inaugural Dublin Aviation Air Ball in aid of the Darndale Belcamp Children’s Centre will take place Thursday, June 4 in the RDS Concert Hall.
  • How to spot a terrorist according to a  leaked Transportation Security Administration document: Throbbing neck arteries. Whistling. Exaggerated yawning. Excessive laughter. Verbally expressing contempt for the screening process. Excessive fidgeting. Cold penetrating stare. See more here.
  • Remember the famous teal carpet at Portland International Airport that became an internet sensation? (See Sunday Supplement, February 1) It made its final appearance as grand marshal at the annual Starlight Parade on Thursday.


Celebrity Cruises drinks package will increase from $49 to $55 per passenger per day on Monday April 6. The premium package rises from $59 to $65. Soft drinks ($8 to $9) and water ($16 to $18) packages also increase.

  • This week saw that rarity, a new cruise line. Viking Ocean Cruises, a wing of Viking River, took delivery of its first ship. The 930-passenger Viking Star built by Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard. Viking Star sails its first passenger cruise on April 11 from Istanbul to Venice.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line added a room service charge of up to $7.95 per order. Norwegian recently imposed an automatic 18pc gratuity on all specialty and entertainment dining.
  • Quark Expeditions has chartered Russian icebreaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov, for four back-to-back voyages that circumnavigate the Arctic in 2016.
  • anthem godmotherRoyal Caribbean has selected 27-year-old travel agent Emma Wilby from Sunderland as Godmother for the 4,180-passenger Anthem of the Seas to launch in Southampton on April 20.
  • Princess Cruise Lines will offer sailings on Diamond Princess in 2016 and introduce two maiden ports, Miyazaki and Yatushiro.
  • CroisiEurope named a paddlewheel vessel the 96-passenger Loire Princesse, which is the first hotel ship to sail on the Loire River. Dual engine technology enables it to continue sailing in the Loire’s shallow waters.
  • Disney Cruise Line is to introduce an original musical onboard Disney Magic.
  • Crystal Symphony introduced two new shows in its Galaxy Lounge.
  • Norwegian Cruise Line announced that it will be offering legally recognised weddings at sea performed by the ship’s captain on Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway, and on Norwegian Escape when she launches later this year. The Weddings At Sea package includes a bridal bouquet with matching boutonniere, champagne toast cake and more. Norwegian will also offer bespoke weddings in one of the line’s ports of call. The cruise line is also offering honeymoon packages and deals for those who wish to renew their vows at sea. For additional information, availability and package pricing for weddings, contact Royal Ocean Events at 1888 475 5511 or email
  • Rivera Travel’s 2016 River Cruise products are on sale now, including a new Danube itinerary. Lead price is from €1,239 for eight days and €1,779 for 14 days. The newest 5* ship, MS Jane Austen, will commence operations on April 29.
  • Princess Cruises is celebrating its 50th anniversary by hosting Sound of Music events on-board. The musical also celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Activities include sing-a-longs, trivia nights and the film will be screened once on every sailing during 2015.
  • Two passengers were found dead inside a stateroom on a HAL cruise ship as it docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The cause of their deaths are unknown, but murder-suicide is suspected.
  • French luxury cruise line PONANT became CLIA’s 28th member.
  • A passenger died in an accident as she was trying to board the Cunard ship Queen Elisabeth by tender boat in Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

Deal Watch

Lowcostbeds city break B&B deals, prices based on 2 sharing for 3 nights, arrive May 14: 3.5* Park Inn by Radisson, Berlin from €54pppn. 4* Turner Hotel, Rome from €70pppn. 3* Excelsior Hotel, Lisbon from €37pppn.

Falcon Holidays is offering 7 nights self catering Elisa Aparthotel, Playa De Muro, Majorca from €489pps/ €1,182 for two adults and one child/ €1,599 for two adults and two children, departing Dublin June 4. See to book or call 1850 45 35 45.

Topflight Easter offers, book before midnight April 8: 7 nights B&B 3* Dorisal Florisal, Funchal, Madeira from €399pps, depart May 7. 7 nights B&B 4* Alta Lido, Funchal, Madeira from €469pps, depart May 7. 7 nights 4* Bell Italia, Peschiera, Lake Garda from €1,476 for two adults and two children, depart May 16. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Majestic Palace, Lake Garda from €569pps, depart May 9. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel Eden, Torbole, Lake Garda from €599pps, depart May 23. 7 nights half board 4* Hotel Splendid Palace, Limone, Lake Garda from €829pps, depart May 23. 7 nights 4* Hotel Bristol, Sorrento from €899pps, depart May 10. 7 nights B&B 3* Hotel San Pietro, Sicily from €669pps, depart July 19. 7 nights half board 4* Naxos Beach Hotel, Sicily from €999pps, depart July 5. All prices include return flights ex Dublin, return resort transfers, luggage allowance, all taxes and rep service.

Thomson offers: 7 nights All Inclusive Hotel Haiti, C’an Picalfort, Majorca from €569pps, depart Dublin June 4.  7 nights on Thomson cruise from Palma, Majorca from €899pp, depart Shannon May 9. See to book or call 1850 45 35 45.

Click and Go offers of the week: 3 nights Sunotel Aston, Barcelona from €269pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes and charges, travel in May. 7 nights self catering in the Central City Apartments, San Antonio, Ibiza from €449pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in June. 7 nights self catering Forte do Vale Hotel, Albufeira, the Algarve from €399pp incl. flights ex Dublin and transfers, travel in April. 7 nights All Inclusive in the Occidental Grand Punta Cana, Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from €973pp incl. return flights ex Dublin, taxes, charges and transfers, travel in June. Visit to book or call 01 637 1699.

Globe Hotels is offering 7 nights All Inclusive Gloria Palace Royal Hotel and Spa, Puerto Rico from €484.50, depart May 1. See for more.

Sunway offers: 7 nights at the Binimar Aparments, Calan Forcat, Menorca from €2,499 for two adults and two children, depart June 13. 7 nights at the Vistablanes Apartments in Calan Forcat, Menorca from €399pp, depart September 12 or 19. 10 days Trafalgar Escorted Tour from €1,399pp incl. escorted tours, accommodation and flights, depart October 9.

Sunway Lake Garda offers: 7 nights B&B 3* Meridiana Hotel from €684pp, depart May 30, from €774, depart June 27. 7 nights self catering 4* Belvedere Hotel from €689pp, depart May 30, from €899pp depart June 27. 7 nights full board 4* Antico Monastero Hotel from €734pp, depart May 30, from €824pp, depart June 27. 7 nights B&B 4* Portici Hotel from €744pp, depart May 30, from €824pp, depart June 27. 7 nights B&B 4* Sole Hotel from €774pp, depart May 30, from €854pp, depart June 27. 7 nights B&B 4* Savoy Palace Hotel from €1,104pp, depart May 30, from €1,224pp, depart June 27. All prices include return flights, return transfers, taxes, charges, 20kg check in baggage pp and Sunway rep service.

Riviera Travel late offers: 5 day escorted tour of Rome from €799pp incl. flights, depart April 23. 8-day half board escorted tour of Lake Garda Venice and Verona from €859pp incl. flights, depart April 27.

Lowcostholidays’ May and June offers: 7 nights self catering 3* Rio Apartments, Algarve from €169pp, depart May 6. 7 nights self catering 4* THB Corbeta, Lanzarote from €335pp, depart June 11. 7 nights 3* Days Inn Kissimmee, Orlando from €612pp, depart May 19. 7 nights B&B 4* Andaman Cannacia Resort & Spa, Phuket from €789pp, depart June 1. 2 nights B&B 3* Best Western Hotel Piccadilly, Rome from €210pp, depart May 7. 2 nights B&B 4* Salles Hotel Pere IV, Barcelona from €185pp, depart May 5. All prices include return flights ex Dublin and taxes. Visit to book or call 01 485 3835. More offers here.

Tourism NI offers of the week: 1 night B&B couples retreat in Finn Lough Lakeside Lodges, Leggs, Enniskillen from £150 incl. one 3-course evening meal, Easter picnic hamper, luxury suite room with roll top bath and amenities, available until April 12, call 028 6863 1957 to book. 2 nights in Ferry Lodge, Portaferry from £100, available until April 30, call 07771 890 973 to book. The Boat House, Ballygally, Larne from £120, availbale until April 30, call 028 2858 3158 to book.


The shortlist for the Best Design category for the Irish Tourism Industry Awards: Cliff House Hotel – Ardmore. Equipage Shoes – Shoeniversity – Bantry. Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites. Spirit of Place Discovery Points – Mayo County Council. Trail Kilkenny – Connected Communities.

Loop Head Lighthouse in West Clare re-opened on Friday. It is open daily, 10am-6pm, until October 4. Last year, the lighthouse attracted 20,368 visitors.

SALES BLITZ TO BOOST CANADIAN VISITORS TO IRELANDTourism Ireland and ten Irish tourism companies travelled to Canada this week for a four-city sales blitz, meeting with travel professionals in Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver and Victoria. Looking to build on 2014’s performance —  visitor numbers up 30pc — the key messages included the WAW, the Causeway Coastal Route, Yeats 2015 and ID2015. Picture shows Alison Deegan, Manor House Hotels & Irish Country Hotels; Mary Hartnett, Killarney Plaza Hotel & Spa; Eamon McEneaney, Waterford Museum of Treasures; Fiona Delahunty, Griffin Hotel Group; Jim Deegan, Railtours Ireland – First Class; Dana Welch, Tourism Ireland; Steve Royston;; Tanya Johnson, Royal Irish Tours; Katie Daly, Specialized Travel Services; Paul Shortall, Lough Eske Castle Hotel; and Suzanne Meade, Edward Hotels, taking part in Tourism Ireland’s Ireland Always in Season group travel organisers’ workshop in Toronto.

DRIVE TO WOO BRITISH TOURISTSTourism Ireland and a number of tourism partners from Ireland attended the 2015 Goodwood Member’s Meeting in Chichester, England, showcasing Ireland’s car touring routes. Picture David Cleary, Manor House Hotels & Irish Country Hotels; Gretchen Ridgeway, Barberstown Castle; and Tom Randles, Randles Hotels, Killarney, on the Tourism Ireland stand at the event.

CLARE SAYS ‘HOLA’ TO SPANISH TRAVEL PROFESSIONALSSpanish tour operator Panavisión Tours and ten agents were invited by Tourism Ireland in Madrid to visit Ireland. The group’s itinerary included a walking tour of Dublin with Pat Liddy, visits to the National Stud and Japanese Gardens in Kildare, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara and Kilbeggan Distillery in Westmeath. Picture shows the Spanish agents at the Cliffs of Moher.

PUTTING IRELAND ON THE ‘MAP’ IN PARISTourism companies and Tourism Ireland travelled to Paris for the le Monde a Paris (MAP) holiday fair. 10,000 visitors attended the event, including French tour operators, agents and travel writers as well as holidaymakers. This year’s event took place alongside the hiking and adventure travel fair, Destinations Nature. Picture shows Caoimhe Ní Mhuilleoir, Tourism Ireland; John Hughes, Randwick B&B, Ballyshannon; and Martine McKenna, Irish Ferries, on the Tourism Ireland stand at MAP.

  • TOURISM IRELAND’S WEBSITE, IRELAND.COM, WINS TOP AWARD IN was the joint winner of the prize for best tourist board website at the Les Travel d’Or awards in France. Tourism Ireland and Reunion Island Tourism’s sites were both voted number one. Picture shows Séverine Tharreau of Tourism Ireland accepting the Travel d’Or award.
  • US Ambassador Kevin O’Malley is to launch an exhibition on the Famine in Westport House on April 14.
  • Trump International invited participants in the Great Irish Links Challenge.
  • Ireland’s Content Pool developed jointly by Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland was launched as a new, online library of free promotional images, video footage and other marketing assets. To register, log on to
  • Russborough launched their very first fairy trail on Lady’s Island.

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

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