Updated every day: travel and tourism news
Updated on 23 July (see end of post)
So, I received a direct-marketing email from Royal Caribbean, the American cruise company.
Headed “We want to hear from you”, it invited me to take part in a survey. The email said: “This survey will only take about 10 minutes to complete. We hope you’ll make your opinion count as your feedback is very important to us.”
The issue of appropriate attire for travellers has been in the news lately. There was outrage in the Middle East, and an official apology in America, when a man from the United Arab Emirates was judged suspicious by an Ohio hotel clerk, and later arrested, partly because he was wearing national costume.
That incident led to an advisory from UAE authorities to its own citizens suggesting that they not wear traditional clothing while travelling.
Meanwhile, in a survey of 2,500 Americans, 59 per cent agreed that passengers should be kicked off aircraft for “dressing inappropriately”.
I’m pretty much an omnivore, but I am sensitive to other people’s dietary requirements. And I feel for those with diet restrictions when they are travelling.
I’ve written before about my concerns about a cruise line offering passengers free, unlimited alcoholic drinks. My comments then related to certain Norwegian Cruise Line sailing.
Now another cruise operator, Thomson, has announced that on its new TUI Discovery, “everyone goes all inclusive from summer 2017”.
So you’ve spend a shed-load of money, rearranged your work and life schedule, paid well in advance and raced around like crazy to put everything in place, all so you can enjoy your dream holiday without a hassle. Yes, it’s been hard, but you know it’ll be worth it
But what if things don’t turn out the way you expect? Continue reading Are we having fun yet?
I once asked a friend for his opinion of a particular airline, and he replied: “They’re great in the air, but terrible on the ground.”
He then described the litany of problems he had had with his website booking, and with customer service both on the phone and at the airport. Continue reading Highs and lows of flying
Some friends who recently flew from Australia to Europe were annoyed when a few bottles of alcohol in their luggage were broken, ruining some of their clothes. So, they took to social media to broadcast their displeasure with their airline.
It got me thinking about the whole issue of baggage handling. I’ve been pretty lucky. My bag was torn by handlers at a German airport many years ago, but British Airways cheerfully provided me with a better one.
Ibis Styles on Macpherson
I chose to stay at this hotel for a very simple reason: it was the cheapest room I could find online among my preferred brands.
I was looking for a relaxing stay in a no-hassle place. I’d already chosen Singapore as my destination because of the excellent business-class deal I secured from Oman Air, and the knowledge that I’d be comfortable with my surroundings.
The Styles came in at about S$128 (US$95.50) a night for bed and breakfast. Continue reading Review: Ibis Styles, Singapore
Oman Air A330-300* business class
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Yes, it’s the long way around to get from Abu Dhabi to Singapore and back, but with Oman Air it was a pleasure.
As I discovered when I flew to Bangkok recently, Oman Air has a very good business-class product. Continue reading Review: Oman Air to Singapore
Many of my flying frustrations relate to baggage. Not just packing and hauling my own, but coping with the way other people deal with theirs.
Some tourists or business travellers pack like they’re migrating. They dump three or four large suitcases onto the belt at airport check-in, then try to sneak a fully laden backpack larger than an eight-year-old child on to the plane.
A time-lapse video doing the rounds of social media demonstrates three years of change in Singapore in just under five minutes.
Created by artist Keith Loutit and posted on Vimeo, it shows buildings going up, and coming down, cars winding through the streets, and changes in season and weather.
You can read more about the artist and his work here.
A trip to Raffles features on many a bucket list — especially for those interested in Singapore’s colonial past who want to see (or stay in, if they can afford it) arguably the most celebrated hotel in the world. For me, this was my third visit, and a somewhat sentimental one as I remembered a departed friend with whom I first visited Raffles many years ago.
I’ve been in Singapore for less than a day. Real reviews of the city, the journey and my hotel will follow. For now, here are some pictures from my first excursion into the city.
Here is a short video of and from trains, taxis and a boat in Bangkok. No palaces, temples, bars or other attractions, but some street scenes to give those who’ve not been there a taste of the Thai capital.
For those who have been there, I know it’s edited well out of order.
Those of us who like to travel sometimes forget about the delights of where we live. While researching the next exotic destination, we are sometimes oblivious to changes in our own neighbourhood.
It pays to have a look around; to go somewhere new but nearby. I did this today with my first proper visit to Al Maryah Island, which has been designed to be the new central business district of Abu Dhabi (which, in case you don’t know is where I live).
We go on holiday to relax. And, for many of us, that means some overindulgence, especially when it comes to food and drink. And when the food is free and all you can eat, you can see why cruise passengers are wont to put on a kilogram or two on holiday.
But overeating isn’t the only danger. Cruise ships do a roaring trade in alcohol. Most lines offer an all-you-can drink package that can cost as little as $30 per day.
Some people love to shop. I am not one of them, and I certainly don’t come back from holiday with my bags full of designer goods.
What time should you arrive at the airport? Well, for international flights, the general advice used to be at least an hour and no more than three hours.
These days, for various reasons, many airlines are requesting that you arrive even earlier than three hours – although, in my experience, that can just mean hanging about waiting for check in to open.
If you are an American in America, there is no discussion. Tipping is a way of life. If somebody performs a service for you, from opening a door to waiting on your table at a restaurant, they expect, and you will automatically oblige with, a tip.
But tipping is not a universal thing. Continue reading Tipping point
Oman Air B787 business class
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My decision to go to Bangkok with Oman Air was made at the last minute. After my original plans fell through, I was looking to spend two weeks at an affordable destination, but with a high level of comfort.
Oman Air fit the bill, with a business-class fare less than two-thirds the price of the big regional operators, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar. I was expecting that the standards would be a little lower than the other airlines but was delighted to discover that it was very high indeed. Continue reading Review: Oman Air experience