In the News this Week...
brought to you by News Editor, Roger Bray
Belfast International Airport is charging passengers a £1 fee for a last minute smokealmost 8 years ago
Belfast International Airport is charging passengers a £1 fee for a last minute smoke before boarding their flights. The fee gets them into a special room airside – beyond passport and security checks. A spokesperson for the airport pointed out that travellers may still light up free in designated areas outside the check in hall but added that the new facility “cost a certain amount to design, construct and maintain and we have therefore levied a small cover charge to offset this, which we will review over time.”
Cruise guests in beach clean-upalmost 8 years ago
Cruise guests from niche tall ship operator Star Clippers have removed 1,700 pounds of rubbish from North Friar’s Beach and Keys Beach in St. Kitts in a beach clean-op operation organised by on-board marine biologist, Mariano Peruzzo. This is the third time Star Clippers guests have take part in beach clean-ups, on this occasion joining volunteers from a local charity to rid the island’s beaches of plastics and other litter.
The marine biology team on board the flag-ship five-masted Royal Clipper have been resident for two years, carrying out research in the marine environments of the Mediterranean and Caribbean as well as leading dives, beach walks and conservation efforts and giving talks to guests.
This is the latest initiative of an ongoing eco-awareness programme operated by Star Clippers, one of the world’s leading niche cruise operators, owned and operated by passionate environmentalist Mikael Krafft.
For information about Star Clippers' tall ship cruises, visit www.starclippers.co.uk
Tallinn opens new restaurant for high fliersalmost 8 years ago
For just five days in June 2011 diners in Estonia’s cultural capital, Tallinn, can enjoy champagne, aperitifs, lunch or dinner 50 metres in the air with spectacular views over the medieval Old Town, Tallinn’s steel and glass business sector and the Bay of Finland.
Dinner in the Sky® (www.dinnerinthesky.ee) can be enjoyed daily between 8th and 12th June, in Tallinn’s Rotermann quarter, the transformed former industrial area between the Old Town and the sea. Guests harnessed into specially constructed dining chairs and seated with 21 other diners at a table, suspended to a height of 50 metres, and enjoy cuisine prepared under the auspices of award winning Executive Chef Rene Uusmees, a patron of modern Estonian cuisine.
High flyers in Tallinn are offered four choices of `lift length’ and menu, from a 20 minute champagne & aperitif `taster’ (29 euros pp), to an 80 minute four course meal with aperitif, wine and cognac, with the final dinner of the day served at sunset by the chef with Tallinn’s skyline as a backdrop (84 euros pp). A 40 minute 3 course lunch and a 60 minute 4 course dinner is also offered.
For information about Tallinn go to www.visitestonia.com
Life begins at 80...almost 8 years ago
London’s Metro newspaper reports that “the oldest triplets in Britain have celebrated their 80th birthday together. Ron, Eric and david Thurman inhaled helium from party balloons to speak in squeaky voices and competed to see who could stand on one leg for the longest. The Thurmans were joined by relatives for the bash in Turville, Oxfordshire. The triplets were born in Gravesend, Kent, in 1931”.
New `Rail and sail’ tall ship cruises for summer 2011almost 8 years ago
Tall ship cruise operator Star Clippers (0845 200 6145) has added a new range of `rail & sail’ departures for summer 2011, allowing guests to take the train directly from the UK to the south of France to join one of its magnificent tall ship sailings, completely avoiding airports and flying.
The company’s tall ship cruises from Cannes or Monaco operate between June and October 2011 and new rail-cruise packages cost from £1599 per person including all meals, return rail travel from London, a night’s b&b pre-cruise accommodation in a 4* hotel in Monaco or Nice, non-UK transfers to and from the ship and all port taxes.
The sailings are on board Star Clippers’ four masted, head-turning tall ship `Star Flyer’, departing from Cannes or Monaco on 4th June, 10th September and 1st October 2011.
Travellers to Mexico are probably more likely...almost 8 years ago
Travellers to Mexico are probably more likely to associate eating out with Montezuma's revenge than with gourmet dining. Tour company Travel the Unknown is out to banish the conventional wisdom. It has launched a package to what it calls the country's “culinary capital” – the southern state of Oaxaca. It promises customers will learn cooking sercrets from some of the area's best chefs. The trip will include instruction in the techniques of leading restaurant chefs and a visiting a family home, where Dona Marina will show them how to make Amarillo, a rich mole sauce (www.traveltheunknown.com).
Heading to the Big Apple this summer?almost 8 years ago
Heading to the Big Apple this summer? Lookout for some tasty lunch and dinner deals. New York's Summer Restaurant Week will take place from July 11 – 24. It'll be the 20th anniversary of what is claimed to be the first such event anywhere. Prix fixe lunches at participating eateries have been frozen for the 12th Consecutive year at $24.07 (approx. £14.50) for lunch and $35 (approx. £21) for dinner (excluding drinks, taxes and gratuities). The deals will be available on weekdays and at some restaurants on Sundays – but not on Saturdays. Restaurants taking part will be listed before then event at www.nycgo.com/restaurantweek. The link will also allow you to make reservations.
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You'll need a good head for heights to enjoy...almost 8 years ago
You'll need a good head for heights to enjoy the latest attraction in the Swiss mountain resort of Leukerbad. A spectacular new viewing platform, scheduled to be open this summer, juts out ten metres from a cliff and has an open grid floor, allowing views straight down to the valley floor 250 metres below. The platform is an extension of the sun terrace at the Wildstrubel restaurant next to the Gemmi cable car station.
May one have an iPad?almost 8 years ago
According to newspaper reports in The Sun and Daily Telegraph, the Queen, who is 85, has asked for an iPad after seeing her grand children use theirs. http://bit.ly/Queenipad
The Telegraph reports "A ‘royal insider’ apparently told The Sun: “The Queen hadn’t seen anything like the iPad before. She was very impressed.” Buckingham Palace declined to comment on the report. The Queen has had a mobile phone for almost a decade, having been bought one by her son, the Duke of York. Previously she had banned her staff from using mobile phones on duty but she it is understood that she uses her mobile to keep in touch from her estates, though never in public.
In 2007, the Queen upgraded to a BlackBerry and got her own email address. Last year, while touring the headquarters of Research In Motion, the Canadian firm that makes the BlackBerry, the Queen was given a white BlackBerry Bold. If the Queen has ordered an iPad, it won’t even be her first Apple product. She is said to have bought a silver iPod mini in 2005 – again at the suggestion of Prince Andrew – she was given an iPod by Barack Obama, when the American president visited Buckingham Palace in 2009. The iPod was loaded with photos and videos from the Queen’s 2007 trip to America".
Travel bridges the generation gap in 2011almost 8 years ago
According to escorted touring specialist, Journeys of Distinction, 2011 is the year of the 60+ gap year with more older travellers taking more exotic and longer travels than ever before, a marked change from 2000 when a much younger gap year generation were travelling the world between school and university.
The survey of 1000 regular travellers was undertaken to establish how social attitudes and attitudes towards travel have changed in the last 10 years.
Journeys of Distinction MD Karen Gee says “There’s a marked trend that older people are the new gap year generation, those aged 60+ are travelling more often and further afield than ever before. We also discovered that of there is a much greater concern about the environment and the effects of travel, as well as a far greater interest in taking part and experiencing local life”
“It’s clear we are becoming increasingly adventurous in our choice of destinations as we get older, people are inspired by their grandchildren taking time off to see the world and now many older people are now taking the time to explore and take their own gap year.
Low cost airline Jet2 has launched flights between Edinburgh and Budapestalmost 8 years ago
Low cost airline Jet2 has launched flights between Edinburgh and Budapest. It operates three round trips a week to the Hungarian capital in summer – on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. In winter it will drop the Tuesday service. Jet2, whose headquarters are at Leeds Bradford Airport, also flies to Budapest from Manchester.
Plymouth Airport will close at the end of this yearalmost 8 years ago
Plymouth Airport will close at the end of this year, and the city will lose its air links with UK, Irish and Channel Islands destinations. The airport has been losing money for some and its owner, the Sutton Harbour Group, “has concluded there is no realistic prospect of trade improving in the near future”. Air Southwest currently operates from Plymouth to destinations including Manchester, Dublin, Glasgow, Jersey and Guernsey.
Ready, set, go! Harley Davidson and bike enthusiasts from around the world...almost 8 years ago
Ready, set, go! Harley Davidson and bike enthusiasts from around the world will be coming together for the first time in Rockford, Illinois. The inaugural ‘Ride the Rumble to Rockford’ is expected to draw up to two thousand Harley enthusiasts with an impressive line up over four days.
Starting on 9 June, 2011, the event will open with ‘Get Tilted at the Kilt’ pre-opening party. Join in with an evening of Irish fun and foolery, along with the girls from Tilted Kilt, and performances from McNulty Irish Dancers and the City of Rockford Bagpipe and Drum Band.
The event hosted by the Harley Owners Group (HOG), will take to the road on a guided ride along the beautiful Rock River that runs through Rockford and McHenry County. Bikers can also explore the town of Rockford on a self guided ride in search of five special Harley Sock Monkeys, “hidden” in plain sight, on this 80 mile ride, and make sure to get all the answers to the clues correct to be entered into the prize draw.
The fun doesn’t stop there – there is a huge range of entertainment available throughout the rally including a Biker Jam event at Kegel’s Harley Davidson; live entertainment from some of Rockford’s local musicians; bike events and bike displays. Along with the world’s largest HOG Friday night Fish Fry, an American take on traditional British fish and chips, and all topped off with a closing ceremony and of course an all night party.
For more information visit www.ilstatehogrally.com
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Last minute travel bargains?almost 8 years ago
May looks like bring a month of price cuts, according to travel industry insiders. Word is that the extra Bank Holiday, which has enabled people to enjoy substantial breaks without taking too many days off work, has scooped up customers who might otherwise have waited until the schools went back. Couple this with the fact that unease about the economy in general and jobs in particular is making holidays hard to sell and next month looks likely to produce a bumper crop of discounted packages.
Star Clippers, whose passengers get the chance to journey under sail.almost 8 years ago
Star Clippers, whose passengers get the chance to journey under sail, is launching a cruise aimed at beginner or budding artists. On board the 170-passenger Star Flyer for the 7-night voyage from Cannes on September 24 will be Suffolk-born Richard Nichols who specialises in seascapes and coastal scenes. He will run workshops in techniques from sketching to painting with watercolours. Passengers will be provided wih the necessary equipment. The ship calls at Corsica, Elba, Portofino and the Hyeres islands, winding up in Monaco, and the cruise costs £1469 (singles pay £1659). www.thecruiseline.co.uk
Read our Star Review about Star Clippers by Steve Newman
Lovers of the impressive wines produced in Portugal's Alentejo.almost 8 years ago
Lovers of the impressive wines produced in Portugal's Alentejo will be surprised to learn that the region has been barely touched by tourism from Britain. The numbers visiting are a tiny fraction of those going to the Algarve. New flights there, scheduled for take off in May, could give the area a boost.. As well as a long Atlantic coastline, the Alentejo's attractions include the city of Evora, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Buckingham librarian wins our £4000 AmaWaterway river cruise competition.almost 8 years ago
Librarian Louise Hammond from Buckingham, was stunned to receive a phone call from one of our team telling her she had won a luxury river cruise for two in the March prize draw.
The competition was run in conjunction with luxury river cruise operator AmaWaterways and the first prize, won by Louise, is a 7 night fully inclusive cruise holiday along the Rhine, taking in a visit to the Koblenz horticultural festival.
Louise said: “I am still in shock from winning this holiday! What a wonderful prize, a luxury Rhine River cruise including the Koblenz flower show. My partner Andrew was delighted when I phoned him to say I have won this holiday. It is certainly worth entering a review on the Silver Travel Advisor website, with such excellent prizes on offer and I’ll certainly be writing up this cruise holiday as it’s a real chance of a lifetime”.
Granny and Grandad can go freealmost 8 years ago
Granny and Grandad can go free with families booking a Canvas Holidays package this summer although not if the kids have started school. The deal is only valid for trips starting on or before June 30 – or after September 2. Provided there have to be two adults in your party paying the full price, two other adults can join them with no extra charge. For example, says the operator, a week starting on June 3 at Camping les Deux Fontaines in Brittany, costs £417 per family. That includes accommodation for four adults and two children in a Select Plus mobile home (3 bedrooms, 2 shower rooms and 2 toilets) and midweek Dover – Calais ferry crossings. (www.canvasholidays.co.uk).
Low cost airline bmibaby is to axe flights from Manchester and Cardiff.almost 8 years ago
Low cost airline bmibaby is to axe flights from Manchester and Cardiff at the end of the coming summer. But on the positive side it has announced it will fly to seven new destinations from Belfast City Airport. It plans summer services in 2012 to Malaga, Alicante, Palma, Faro and Ibiza, new year round flights to Amsterdam. Meanwhile this winter it will fly from Belfast City to Geneva. The airline has also announced it will launch services from East Midlands Airport to Toulouse and Chambery for winter 2011. Managing directo Julian Carr says: “In the current economic climate it is essential for bmibaby to focus on airports where the airline already has a strong market presence and where there are strong growth opportunities for the bmibaby business” BMI and its regional arm will continue to operate to a range of destinations from Manchester.
FREE holidays with the NBFAalmost 8 years ago
The National Benevolent Fund for the Aged (NBFA) provides free holidays for older people who are living on a low income. Each holiday is for four nights, five days accommodation at a UK resort. The holiday includes coach travel from a local pick up point to the holiday destination, bed, breakfast, a three course evening meal, nightly entertainment and daily excursions. The next break away is from the 9th – 13th May 2011. The coach is picking up from Staines, Woking, Crawley and Reigate and is going to the holiday destination of The South Downs (Bracklesham Bay)! Anyone able to make their way to one of these pick up points are more than welcome to go on the break away, please call for an application form as soon as possible as limited places are available. To qualify for a FREE break away with NBFA you need to be; over 60 years old, living on a low income, able to get off and on a coach and look after yourself. Please contact the NBFA office 0207 828 0200 for further information.