Friday, 27 February 2015

Belgian masterpieces on show again

Masterpieces of Belgian art are show in Brussels again with the re-opening of the Musee d’Ixelles Part of the museum has remained open for temporary exhibitions. But the main collection, which includes works by Magritte, Paul Delvaux, Constantin Meunier, and Théo Van Rysselberghe as well as those of artists from outside Belgium – among them a major collection of posters by Toulouse-Lautrec - has been on tour while the museum underwent refurbishment.

Top cruise ships named in survey

Celebrity Cruises has emerged as the big winner in a new survey of consumer reviews. Based on reviews submitted during 2014 to the website Cruise Critic its ships variously came top seven of ten large ship categories. They included best overall and best dining (Celebrity Equinox) and best cabins (Eclipse). Best medium size ship overall and for cabins was Oceania Riviera. In the small ship category Saga Sapphire best top overall in – and best for cabins and dining. Best for entertainment were Norwegian Epic (large), MSC Lirica (medium) and Azmara Quest (small). Best for service – in the three categories respectively – were Emerald Princess, Oceania Riviera and Fred Olsen’s Black Watch. 

Wi fi now available on Dover-Calais ferries

Wi fi is now available on all Dover – Calais ships operated by P&O Ferries. It’s free throughout the crossing to passengers with Club Lounge access and for 30 minutes with standard and full “flexi” fares. It isn’t included with saver deals but travellers can buy 90 minutes’ access for £3. P&O Ferries operates 11 ships and carries more than 9m passengers a year on the route. Meanwhile Premier Inns now provider unlimited free wi fi. Previously guests were offered complimentary access for up to 30 minutes.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Opinion: Health tourism insurance plan pointless

To stop "health tourism" placing a burden on the NHS, UKIP wants foreign visitors to Britain to show proof on arrival that they have insurance. Never mind the delays this would create at immigration - the idea is pointless. If travellers can afford health insurance it must be assumed they will seek private treatment in any case. And since, if they are "health tourists" it must also be assumed that their condition will be pre-existing, their travel insurance won't cover it.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Hotel offer: act out Pretty Woman scenes

Couples are invited to “mimic classic scenes” from the film Pretty Woman “for exclusive photo opportunities” at the Beverly Wiltshire hotel in Los Angeles. There will be a photographer on hand to record key moments though possibly not the one in the bubble bath. It’s part of a weekend package which, depending on price, might include a personal shopping consultation, a Rolls Royce ride to a “shoeless picnic” and a massage for two. The movie first came out 25 years ago. Just how female partners will feel about playing hooker to his Richard Gere isn't clear. But - with prices starting at US$10,000 – the hooker they’ll be playing will at least be very high class.

New Montenegro walking trips

Walking holidays in Montenegro have been introduced by Headwater for the coming summer. The twin centre, guided group tours include walking in the Durmitor National Park and a visit to the world’s second deepest canyon and a stay in the photogenic village of Perast, on the Bay of Kotor, which is noted for its Venetian buildings. It costs £1349 for a week including BA flights from Gatwick to Dubrovnik, onward transfers, and most meals.

Dubrovnik to get new hotel

A new hotel is scheduled to open just outside the lovely Adriatic coast city of Dubrovnik, Croatia, in the second quarter if this year. The 250 room Sheraton will be on the 20 kilometre coastal stretch between the old city and Cavtat to the south. It will have a spa, indoor and outdoor pools and a tennis court.

Over-50s are big holiday spenders

Over-50s now account for more than half the money spent(54%) by UK residents on travel and tourism, new research suggests. In 2012, the last year for which figures are available, they splashed around £25 billions on package holidays in Britain and abroad, accommodation, spending while away and travel insurance. That was up £6.3 billions over ten years after taking inflation into account. The proportion is unlikely to have fallen significantly in the past two years. The research, published by Saga, is an analysis by Cebr of data from the Office for National Statistics and the Cruise Lines International Association. It also suggests the proportion of Britons travelling by air starts dropping after they reach 50. So though many have the money, it seems we become less tolerant of the airport hassle. But the proportion going by sea rises, reflecting strong demand for cruises and – probably – an increased propensity to take the car ferry.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

New bike route in Northumberland

A new mountain bike route will be fully launched in Northumberland at Easter. The Sandstone Way, which was “soft-launched” in November to iron out any potential problems, runs for 120 miles between Berwick-upon-Tweed in the far north of the county and Hexham in the south. It can be completed in 2-4 days and has optional looped sections designed for less able riders.