A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT...CARLA BRUNI...CRUISES ON REBOUND?
My Dad's looking for a reasonably-priced place to stay while in Vernon, B.C. in August. I told him that last year I stayed at the Best Western Vernon Lodge and Conference Centre, which has a really cool atrium with tropical plants from all over the world - even bananas - and an actual river running through the place.
There's a river/creek that runs from Swan Lake into Okanagan Lake and Kalamalka Lake and the hotel was built right over the top back in, I believe, the 1970s. Naturally, the river's encased in rock, but it flows with remarkable speed just a few feet outside the window of some of the rooms, and it's pretty unusual.
I told my Dad about the place but he didn't see the picture of the river on the website so sent me a note asking me, firmly but politely, if I was sure I had the right one. I told him you can see the atrium on the website but not the river and I think that he now believes me.
It IS fun to be in a position to travel a bit and to recommend places to people. You just pray that they like them as well as you do, which isn't always the case.
Cruise bookings are beginning to pick up and prices are starting to solidify, cruise executives said at the recent 27th Annual Travel Trade Show in New York, Travel Trade reports.
"Royal Caribbean ships are sailing full, though at low prices, but on board spending is strong," said RCI vice president of sales Ken Muskatup.
Carnival Northeast regional VP Kirk Neal said Carnival ships are sailing full though at low prices.
I've only taken one cruise; a family trip on Royal Caribbean a few years back. I was surprised how much I liked it, actually. It was a huge ship and our kids had a wonderful time and I didn't have to look at my maps everyday to find out where we were going (although I did).
QUEEN SOFIA ... AND CARLA BRUNI
Not sure I get all the cultural references, but writer Peter Preston had a wonderfully acerbic piece in the Guardian on the weekend, alternately admiring (kind of) and railing against Ryanair for its pay to pee idea and other policies.
He makes some pretty good points. But my favourite bit was about Queen Sofia of Spain flying on Ryanair to visit London.
After noodling around on the web for a second, I found that we here in North America (well, me anyway) missed a good story. It seems the wife of King Juan Carlos DID hop on board a 13-pound flight (about $20 Canadian; less than a taxi would cost you from downtown to Pearson Airport) from Spain to London to visit family.
It probably made the Spanish taxpayer feel pretty good about the royals' frugality, but it seems Ryanair took things a bit far and used Sofia's picture in one of their ads; without her permission. They've since apologized and apparently donated about $7,500 Cdn. to charity.
(Apparently Ryanair did something similar last year with French president Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni; not that a picture of her would sell anything.)
The Spanish royal family says they try to fly on Spanish airlines but that Ryanair worked better for Queen Sofia on this occasion and that it was the first time they'd used Ryanair. Probably the last, too.
CHINA FLIGHTS CUT
US airlines are postponing or reducing services to China as air travel slumps due to the global economic slowdown, AFP reports.
Of the six non-stop China-US services approved in 2007, only Delta Air Lines' Atlanta-Shanghai route and Continental Airlines' Newark-Shanghai route are in operation, AFP said, quoting a story in the China Daily.
"All US carriers serving China have experienced much less favourable market conditions than were generally expected," said Delta in its request to cut the number of weekly flights between Atlanta and Shanghai, according to the report.
Northwest Airlines has delayed its Detroit-Shanghai service, while American Airlines has put off its Chicago-Beijing service until next year, it said.