Travel News: December 31, 2014 – Norwegian Cruise Line Enters Luxury Market, New Downton Abbey Hotel and AirAsia Jet Found


Norwegian Cruise Line May Make Waves In Luxury Travel

Now Norwegian is going smaller — and more exclusive.

With eight new niche ships under two new cruise brands acquired last month from Prestige Cruises, it’s dipping into the high-end luxury cruise market.

As part of the $3 billion deal that closed last month, Norwegian took over five small to midsize “upper-premium” vessels under Prestige’s Oceania Cruises brand and three all-suite ships under the Regent Seven Seas brand, aimed at luxury travelers.

The eight ships together have just 6,442 berths, but attract an older demographic of loyal, seasoned cruisers who pay higher prices for highly personalized services.


Sonar May Show Wreck of AirAsia Jet on Sea Floor

Indonesian rescue teams said Wednesday they may have found the wreck of a downed AirAsia plane on the ocean floor off Borneo, as bad weather hampered search and recovery efforts.

Hernanto, head of the search and rescue agency in Surabaya, told Reuters that believed they had found the plane on the sea bed with a sonar scan in water 100-165 feet deep. AirAsia Chief Executive Tony Fernandes later told reporters that there was “nothing confirmed.”

Ships and planes from a number of nations are scouring the Karimata Strait, which divides Sumatra and Borneo, for AirAsia Flight QZ8510.


Downton Abbey Hotel Is Opening on Valentine’s Day
Condé Nast Traveler

Highclere Castle, the English country estate where Downton Abbey is filmed, will be opening an on-site hotel called London Lodge. (Despite the name, the castle and its hotel are in Newbury, West Berkshire, not in London.) The estate, built in 1793, is home to the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon and has already been open to tourists for some time—there are organized Downton-themed tours that take tourists to see the building and grounds. But this will mark the first time that visitors can stay overnight there.


Vending machine dispenses art at Kansas City airport
USA Today

Go elsewhere to buy soda and snacks: the newest vending machine at Kansas City International Airport is stocked with art and one-of-a-kind souvenirs curated by SouveNEAR, a company that produces and sells authentic local goods.

Located in the Southwest Airlines area of KCI’s Terminal B, the vending machine features jewelry, original art, small-batch hand-printed T-shirts and a wide array of travel-sized mementos by Kansas City-based artists and makers, with prices ranging from $2.50 to about $40.

By: Matt Long

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