La Quinta will accelerate its international growth in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Panama through agreements with an affiliate of Grupo Santos, a Honduran company whose affiliates include a construction and development company. Grupo Santos will first develop a hotel of more than 100 rooms in Tegucigalpa, the capital city of Honduras. Construction is expected to begin by summer of 2013 and a grand opening is anticipated in early 2014.
In addition to the hotel in Tegucigalpa, the agreements with Grupo Santos also call for the development of new construction hotels in San Pedro Sula, Comayagua, Choluteca, and Roatan, Honduras; Managua, Nicaragua; Panama City, Panama; and Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Star Clippers has released a brochure detailing its fall 2013 through spring 2014 cruises in the Caribbean, Costa Rica and Panama.
The itineraries feature free air and air taxes/surcharges from select cities, so guests pay a single cruise rate that includes the free air. Star Clippers also offers an air credit for those who make their own flight arrangements.
Free air is available from Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington D.C.
New for the 2013-14 season, Star Flyer will sails a nine-night Caribbean crossing departing March 31, 2014, from Montego Bay to Philipsburg, St. Maarten. It is the first time a Star Clippers ship has visited Jamaica. This cruise also calls at Port Antonio, Jamaica, as well as the Dominican Republic, Jost van Dyke, Tortola and Virgin Gorda.
Prior to that, the 170-pasenger ship will operate a season in Costa Rica. The seven-night itineraries sail round-trip from Puerto Caldera and take two different routes. The “Costa Rica and Nicaragua” route calls at San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, and Playa del Coco, National Park Santa Rosa, Flamingo Beach and Curu/Isla Tortugas, Costa Rica. The “Costa Rica and Panama” itinerary calls at Isla Gamez, Panama, and Golfito, Drake Bay, Isla del Caño (evening scenic sailing), Quepos and Curu/Isla Tortugas, Costa Rica.
Star Flyer also will make transits of the Panama Canal in November and February.
Royal Clipper, the 227-passenger flagship, returns to the Caribbean for another season of round-trip Barbados itineraries. The ship sails two seven-night itineraries. The Windward Islands itinerary features calls at St. Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, St. Kitts, Iles des Saintes and Martinique. The Grenadine Islands itinerary includes calls at the Grenadines, Grenada, Tobago Cays, St. Vincent, Bequia, Martinique and St. Lucia.
Once again, the 170-passenger Star Clipper will sail two seven-night itineraries round-trip from St. Maarten. The “Treasure Islands” itinerary calls at Anguilla, Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Tortola, Jost van Dyke, St. Kitts and St. Barts. The Leeward Islands itinerary visits Nevis, Dominica, Iles de Saintes, Guadeloupe, Antigua and St. Barts.
Carnival Cruise Lines is expanding itinerary options on the Carnival Splendor from New York in 2014, adding four- and five- day Canada cruises, seven-day Canada/New England departures, and eight-day Eastern Caribbean voyages operating one-way between New York and San Juan.
These new voyages are in addition to the ship’s year-round eight-day cruises to the Caribbean, the Bahamas and Central Florida.
Carnival Splendor will operate a schedule of four-, five- and seven-day Canada/New England cruises running from June to October 2014. Four-day weekend cruises depart June 5, July 3, July 31 and Aug. 28, 2014, calling at Saint John, New Brunswick, while five-day cruises depart Sept. 1 and Oct. 11, 2014, calling at both Saint John and Halifax, Nova Scotia. Five week-long “fall foliage” Canada/New England cruises will also be offered, featuring extended stops at Boston; Portland, Maine; Saint John; and Halifax. The seven-day voyages will depart Sept. 6, Sept. 13, Sept. 20, Sept. 27 and Oct. 4, 2014.
For the first time, Carnival Splendor will offer a series of one-way voyages between New York and San Juan. The eight-day itineraries will operate between New York and San Juan, with stops at St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Antigua and St. Maarten. The New York-to-San Juan cruises will depart Oct. 24, 2014, and Jan. 12 and Feb. 13, 2015, while three San Juan-to-New York voyages will depart Nov. 1, 2014, and Jan. 20 and Feb. 21, 2015.
Starting next year, the cruise industry will have a new port to visit on the Western Caribbean in Central America. The Banana Coast cruise port, now under construction on mainland Honduras, said Holland America Line is the first cruise line to schedule regular calls. The 1,260-passenger Ryndam plans to make its first call on Nov. 19, 2014, followed by 10 more visits during its winter Western Caribbean season. Silversea Cruises was the first line to book a call at Banana Coast for the Silver Cloud on Dec. 17, 2014.
The $30 million project is located on the Bay of Trujillo, which has a natural, deepwater harbor that is protected from winds and waves.
The site is about 32 miles south of the Honduran island of Roatan, a familiar port of call on Western Caribbean itineraries.
Construction has been completed on a passenger reception area, some retail and a tender pier. They are part of what will be the 50,000-square-foot Banana Coast Landing, which is also expected to offer jewelry stores, boutiques, and a themed restaurant and bar. The site is home to a marina for shore excursions and a large, sandy beach. The second phase of the development includes a two-berth pier capable of handling post-Panamax ships.
The facility’s design evokes the Banana Coast’s glory days, from the 1920s to 1940s when the economy was fueled by the banana trade, and big commerce, steam trains, foreign consulates, and American capitalists were mainstays in the colonial town.
It is believed that Christopher Columbus landed in present-day Trujillo in 1502, and the town was settled in 1524 by Spanish conquistadors under Hernán Cortés. A Spanish adventurer, conquistador and rebel Cristóbal de Olid is regarded as the town’s founder. The Santa Bárbara Fort was constructed starting around 1575 to protect the town from pirates. The fort is still largely intact and its cannons overlook the bay. A town plaza and park are near the fort, as is San Juan Baptista Church. Historic British, French, and U.S. consulates are within walking distance.
A slate of shore excursions has been developed, including a plane ride to the Mayan ruins of Copan, a hop-on-hop-off tour of Trujillo on an open-air trolley, an 18-tower zipline at the Guaimoreto Lagoon, snorkeling, ATV rides through the jungles to the beach, and trekking to waterfalls and a lagoon.
The first six rooms in Panama’s Resort at Isla Palenqueresort, located on a private island in the Gulf of Chiriqui opened its first six rooms in February, according to a company statement. The island is a private resort community featuring luxury amenities along with adventure tours that allow guests to engage with local people and ecosystems.
Resort rooms are immersed in old-growth jungle and offer views of Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui. Amenities include fine dining options and a three-to-one employee-to -guest ratio. The resort also offers more than 20 tours and activities featuring the resort’s wilderness setting. A spa, beach restaurant and lounge, yacht club and marina, canopy rope walk and nature center are also planned.
Transit the Panama Canal on a tall ship
The Panama Canal is a 50 mile-long engineering marvel linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, slicing through the mountainous, serpent-like country of Panama. Experience a full Panama Canal transit through the many locks of this magnificent waterway on board the 170-passenger square rigger, Star Flyer, as she repositions from her summer cruising area in Europe to Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica, and vice versa. Because of her grace and beauty, and small size in comparison to other Canal traffic, Star Flyer is always the focus of much attention during the transit. A 14-night voyage on board Star Flyer from Panama to St Maarten via the Panama Canal, Cartagena, Aruba, Curacao, the British Virgin Islands and St Barths, departing March 30, costs from £2,610pp, excluding flights. Contact Star Clippers on 0845 200 6145, www.starclippers.co.uk
Learn to paint and sketch afloat
Learn to draw and paint against the backdrop of a magnificent tall ship under sail on a voyage along the French and Italian Rivieras or, new for 2013, the beautiful Croatian coastline. Both of these themed cruises are led by British artist Richard Nichols, who specialises in seascapes and coastal scenes. Daily ‘Art Afloat’ workshops include tuition in a variety of media and the cruise price includes an artist’s backpack containing sketchbooks, paper, watercolours, brushes and pencils. The seven-night Art Afloat cruise cost from £1,599 per person for the French Riviera, on board Star Clipper, departing April 27 and including flights to Nice, transfers, full board on the ship, all art equipment, daily tuition and welcome cocktail party. Contact Star Clippers on 0845 200 6145, www.starclippers.co.uk
Join the Tall Ships Parade in Hamburg
From May 9-12, Hamburg hosts the world’s largest sailing festival, during which 1.5 million visitors from around the world descend on the 800-year-old port to view the magnificent Tall Ships Parade, an assembly of some of the world’s most stunning sailing vessels. Star Flyer, a replica of the trading ships of the 19th century, will be in Hamburg harbour for all three days of the event, including the grand arrival and departure parades of tall ships, historic ships, cruise ships, sailing and motor yachts and other vessels. There will be a water ballet performed by tug boats, a firework display and a culinary festival set up all along the harbour front. A three night stay on board Star Flyer for the Hamburg port party costs from £690pp, including all meals on board and sailing excursions during the event (flights extra). Contact Star Clippers on 0845 200 6145, www.starclippers.co.uk
Experience white nights in St Petersburg
Summer cruises in the Baltic mean long, light evenings and the opportunity to sit up on deck at nearly midnight and see the sun finally slip briefly behind the horizon. Experience white midsummer nights in St Petersburg, when the sun only sets briefly in the early hours of the morning. The city’s White Nights festival, or Beliye Nochi, lasts from June 11 to July 2, during which time there are concerts and festivals, and the bridges over the Neva River open all night to let boats through. The magnificent four masted Star Flyer overnights in St Petersburg on her summer Baltic itineraries; a ten-day voyage round-trip from Stockholm departing June 4th costs from £2,270pp, excluding flights. Contact Star Clippers on 0845 200 6145, www.starclippers.co.uk
Christmas 2013 sailing the coastline of Costa Rica
Imagine spending Christmas Day with scarlet macaws soaring over the forest canopy and howler monkeys swinging through the trees, before sitting down to a traditional Christmas lunch in the bay of Golfito on board the four masted tall ship, Star Flyer. This magnificent clipper will spend Christmas 2013 cruising the coastline of Costa Rica, stopping at deserted islands for sunbathing and snorkelling and stopping in harbours and ports along the way to allow guests time to explore the national parks, go horseriding along deserted beaches or strolling along the sands. The seven night sailing costs from £1,305pp excluding flights, departing December 22, 2013. Contact Star Clippers on 0845 200 6145, www.starclippers.co.uk
Notes to editors:
Star Clippers operates three of the world’s largest and tallest sailing vessels. Visiting ports often untouched by larger cruise ships and offering passengers the activities, amenities and atmosphere of a private yacht, Star Clippers is recognised as one of the premier speciality cruise lines.
Passengers can enjoy the romance of sailing on board a true tall ship in a relaxed atmosphere with high standards of service provided by an attentive crew. All three ships have expansive teak decks, swimming pools, informal dining, a convivial Tropical Bar on deck and a comfortable piano bar and are large enough to offer first class accommodation and dining, but small enough to call into intimate ports, untouched by large cruise ships.
The two smaller ships, Star Flyer and Star Clipper, take 170 passengers each, with a crew of 70, while Royal Clipper carries 227 with a crew of 106.
Hilton Worldwide’s Waldorf Astoria luxury brand opened the Waldorf Astoria Panama, the company’s first Latin American hotel. The 248-room property offers four restaurants and bars, a 2,000-square-foot spa and more than 3,500 square feet of meetings space.
The hotel is within walking distance of the Calle Uruguay restaurant and entertainment district and within 25 minutes of both Tocumen Airport and the Panama Canal.
Stann Creek, BELIZE — An entire Caribbean island dedicated to one couple at a time, Royal Belize excels at creating the perfect environment for newlyweds. Sensuality and spontaneity; fine wine and dining; luxurious accommodations and amenities …. Royal Belize has it all, and a Honeymoon Package to boot.
This dream honeymoon offering includes five nights’ accommodation in a private villa, the services of a private chef and resident masseuse, exemplary concierge and butler services, and exclusive enjoyment of the entire island, including a plunge pool, the Grand Palapa, and a range of land and water activities. To add to the thrill, the package includes complimentary helicopter transfers as well as a number of other small but memorable touches such as rose petal-strewn pillows and Dom Perignon by the sea.
Available until further notice, the Honeymoon Package rate begins at $27,250 per couple. Standard rates apply to additional nights and accommodations. A 9% Hotel Tax is not included; discretionary gratuities are suggested.
The Royal Belize Experience: Paradise, Personalized
About Royal Belize:
Located on a private Caribbean island, Royal Belize offers the epitome of exclusivity in an unspoiled setting of tropical beauty and absolute privacy, where guests are immersed in luxurious indulgence in one of three bespoke casitas serviced by a dedicated and discreet staff. Available for booking by only one party at a time to ensure the ultimate in serenity, yet close to world-class natural attractions, Royal Belize offers an escape for guests seeking five star service, a relaxed environment, gourmet meals prepared by a personal chef, and captivating surroundings. Above all, Royal Belize provides an entirely personalized luxury leisure experience in one of the most spectacular settings in the world.
Royal Belize is situated within a World Heritage Site and the South Water Caye Marine Reserve, approximately nine miles off the central coast of Belize. For more information or reservations, contact Royal Belize via telephone at 011.501.610.1701; website (www.PrivateVacationIsland.com); or email (email@example.com)
Hamanasi Adventure and Dive Resort helps guests experience the best of Belize on and off-shore, from whale sharks to lionfish, jaguars to scarlet macaws.
As the full moon rises in March, April, May, and June, gentle giants appear off the Southern Belize coast at Gladden Spit.
Whale sharks are drawn by their favorite snack, mutton and cubera snapper spawn. With visibility often over 100 feet this is an incredible snorkeling and scuba diving experience.
The world’s only jaguar preserve, the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to pumas, ocelots, tapirs, howler monkeys, margays, foxes, and more.
Day trips into the 128,000 acre park in deep tropical forest are popular, though night hikes are more likely to reveal these nocturnal cats. Knowledgeable local guides can point out flora and fauna along the way.
February and March bring a rare opportunity, when the scarlet macaw migration brings the magnificent birds to the foothills of the Maya Mountains.
While watching for the bright, yellow and blue plumage of the scarlet macaws, travelers should also keep an eye out for colorful parrots, toucans, and white eagles who share the hills. Belize has over 500 species of birds, a paradise for new and experienced birders alike.
While the Belize Barrier Reef and nearby Belizean atolls have scores of tropical fish and corals, one invasive species has recently attracted attention for its destructive appetite.
The lionfish, recognized by its bright stripes and venomous spines, is a recent resident of the Caribbean causing havoc with its voracious appetite and lack of natural predators.
Hamanasi has created a lionfish spear fishing adventure, allowing guests to help capture the culprits. A private divemaster leads the two tank trip, first demonstrating how to safely spear fish the animals and then allowing divers a try.
Divers are then able to avoid the local catch and release policy on this delicious, yet invasive species when they find it served up as the day’s catch on the dinner table.
Wildlife adventures can be paired with spacious beachfront or private tree house accommodations. Award-winning customer service, stunning scenery, and culinary delights await all guests at Hamanasi.
The Resort at Isla Palenque will open in Panama on Feb. 14. The luxury resort will be located on a jungle island adjacent to a national marine park in Panama’s Gulf of Chiriqui. The resort’s accommodations are set among 10-story high jungle trees, and offer views into the canopy and Chiriqui Gulf through floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. Island-hopping, snorkeling, sport-fishing and diving activities featuring local guides will be available.
Next Page »