Read up on the latest travel news and stay in the know. From brand new hotels to 48-hour check-ins and Bali now a visa-free zone, a lot has been happening recently in the wonderful world of travel.
In a triumph for travellers, Indonesia's President Joko Widodo has finally granted Australians free entry to the country for up to 30 days. After three rounds of 'will they, won't they' policy back flips, Australian travellers will no longer have to pay the $US35 (approx $46) visa on arrival. In order to attract more visitors to Indonesia, another 90 countries have also been freed from the tourist visa fee.
Following an unprecedented fleet renewal, P&O will farewell the Pacific Pearl in April 2017. By this time, the 1800-passenger ship will have completed 294 separate cruises and have carried more than half a million passengers in its five-year service. Last year, P&O saw the addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden and will welcome the Pacific Explore to its fleet in 2017. In a world first, the cruise line is also building a ship specifically for Australian cruisers, which will debut in 2019.
Emirates have doubled their check-in window to 48 hours in a move to offer passengers greater flexibility and decrease waiting times at the airport. The earlier check-in time is global, though boarding passes in the United States will still only be issued 24 hours prior to departure. The earlier check-in will also allow better availability of upgrades for Skywards program members.
Norwegian Cruise Line's Pride of America has returned to her homeport of Honolulu following an extensive onboard renovation. More than just a fresh coat of paint, new interiors have essentially transformed the liner into a new ship. Restaurants, lounges and the pool deck feature contemporary decor (and updated menus), while all staterooms received new bedding, furniture, televisions and updated flooring. Guests can also enjoy new venues including the Soho Art Gallery and its collection of modern pieces available for purchase; Perspectives Photo Studio for professional photo mementoes; Dolce Gelato, Norwegian Cruise Lines' signature gelateria; and a new wedding chapel.
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Between December 13 and January 24, Qantas is increasing the services between Sydney and the United States. A380 flights to Los Angeles will increase from six services a week to daily flights. Qantas is also adding two more weekly 747 services to the route. During the same period, the Sydney – San Francisco route will also move to daily flights, with the additional service to fly on Tuesdays.
Adding more rooms to Oahu's resplendent North Shore is the new Courtyard Oahu North Shore. Nestled within the town of La'ie, guests are promised a peaceful stay in a selection of comfortable hotel rooms, as well as one- and two-bedroom suites. Mod-cons are generous (such as Netflix access) and facilities include an American restaurant and a relaxing waterfall pool. The Courtyard Marriott hotel is just steps from the Polynesian Cultural Center and a short drive from the pounding waves of Sunset, Pipeline and Waimea Bay.
A stack of new restaurants and stores will open in lively Las Vegas precinct The LINQ Promenade this year, including America's favourite burger chain: In-N-Out. Other eateries to debut are Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips, Canter's Deli and Virgil's Real Barbecue.
As part of the four-year $100 million refurbishment of Brisbane International Airport, Air New Zealand has debuted its brand-new departure lounge. Business class travellers and Velocity Gold and Platinum guests passing through Queensland's capital can relax in an expansive wrap-around space complete with views of the city and lower terminal. The area features distinct zones (a children's play den away from the business traveller hub), as well as food and beverage offerings.
From the hotel that brought us Heavenly Beds, Westin Hotels & Resorts are now further enhancing quality slumber with their Sleep Well menu. Items on the 24-hour menu are packed with nourishing amino acids, vitamins and minerals that promote rest and recovery, especially for those adjusting to a new time zone or lethargic from travels. The selection of sleep-enhancing super foods is available in-room to ensure a peaceful nights' rest.
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