Banking on high demand for trips to Europe and the Mediterranean this summer and fall, cruise companies moved extra ships to the region in the hopes of capitalizing on heavy bookings. Then high fuel prices sent airfares soaring, making a European cruise suddenly more expensive for Americans, and forcing cruise lines to slash prices to fill those ships.
Royal Caribbean, which sent half of its fleet of 22 ships to Europe this season, is offering some of the cheapest rates. Hotwire.com recently listed a seven-night Mediterranean cruise departing from Venice on Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas in late June for as low as $499 a person for an inside cabin, roughly 30 percent off the normal price in late June.
At the high end, Crystal Cruises has two-for-one rates from $7,050 a person on Northern European summer cruises. Its fall fare sale on 10 southern European voyages lists rates from $4,235 a person, a saving of up to $8,000.
“The rates on 2011 summer cruises to Europe and the Med are the best we’ve ever seen,” said Rich Tucker, head of business development for CruiseDeals.com in Charlotte, N.C. But travelers must act fast to nab a bargain. Already, he added, “we’ve seen the prices hit bottom and start to rebound.”
Indeed, some of the cheapest rates, including a seven-night sailing on Norwegian Cruise Line that was marked down to as low as $349 a person a couple of weeks ago, have already been snapped up. Celebrity Cruises recently ended a “fly and sail” promotion it had been running with reduced rates on airfare (from $999 a person) and 10-night Mediterranean cruises starting at $1,199 a person. Another result of shifting demand is Royal Caribbean’s decision to move its 3,114-passenger ship, Navigator of the Seas, originally scheduled to sail in the Mediterranean this winter, to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where it will sail the Caribbean starting in November. As part of the switch, the line is canceling a series of 14-night Mediterranean voyages scheduled to take place out of Barcelona between November and April.
But there are still plenty of good deals. A recent search on the cruise shopping site Cayole.com turned up a six-night eastern Mediterranean cruise on Royal Caribbean in July from $549 a person (originally $1,519), and a seven-night Mediterranean cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line in June from $749 a person for a balcony room (originally $1,799).
Even without the price breaks, the all-inclusive nature of cruising — with the ship providing meals, lodging and transportation from city to city — can offer savings and relief from the complications of piecing together a complex European itinerary, which normally involves booking intra-Europe airfares, train tickets and hotels.
The biggest hurdle facing bargain-cruisers is finding reasonable airline tickets to go along with last-minute cruise discounts. The lowest average round-trip summer fare from New York to five top European cities is $1,198, up roughly 8 percent from $1,105 for the same time frame last year, according to Bing Travel.
To bring airfare costs down, consider sailing in late August, when rates are often lower, recommended Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of CruiseCritic.com, which follows the industry. If you are flexible with dates, you might also consider cashing in all your frequent flier miles.
“Whatever you do,” she said, “don’t succumb to the temptation of a fantastic Europe deal without making sure you can get affordable air beforehand.”
To help negate the high cost of airline tickets and keep travelers booking, a few lines are also wrapping airfare into their deals. Just last month, Oceania Cruises put 18 cruises on sale, including eight Mediterranean voyages from September through November starting at $1,999 a person, including round-trip airfare in coach — more than 60 percent off brochure prices.
And the luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering round-trip business class airfare for $999 a person each way and has reduced fares by $10,000 per couple for several European sailings. This brings the cost of a 12-night sailing from Istanbul to Athens, for example, to $5,999 a person, 40 percent less than similar cruises last year.
Other cruise lines are slashing rates so low that the savings will help balance out the high cost of flying to Europe. Holland America Line has been running a European cruise sale with rates from $599 a person on seven-night sailings in Scandinavia, $699 a person on cruises that visit the Italian and French Riviera and $899 in other parts of the Mediterranean.
One way to cut the cost of your cruise vacation is to work with an experienced travel agent who can uncover the best bargains for you. Cruises are still one of the few categories of travel in which agents have an edge over D.I.Y. online booking.
Even better is combining your own research with the expertise of an agent. CruiseCompete.com, for example, allows you to select the cruise you want to take, and then independent travel agents compete to offer you the best deal. You compare the offers in your account, then contact the agent with the best rates directly by phone or e-mail to book.
Another option is to check CruiseSource.us, a marketing site for the Travel Leaders cruise agencies, which regularly posts deals like a recent offer from Celebrity of up to $1,000 in shipboard credits for suites on European cruises of 10-nights or more. On Fridays, the site, which finds out about sales from the cruise lines before they become public, highlights coming offers so travelers can jump on the deals once they become available.
One recent example: an alert that a seven-night Adriatic Sea cruise in July on Royal Caribbean would soon drop $500 to $399 a person. The site also publishes on Twitter under the handle @CruiseDeals and sends out a weekly e-mail to subscribers.
“Agencies and customers get bombarded by cruise lines with sales and special offers,” said Rich Tucker of CruiseDeals.com, who also founded CruiseSource. “We try to put the best sales into context in these posts instead of just presenting prices.”
Another site, Vacationstogo.com, offers an online “90-day ticker” pointing out last-minute bargains on cruises departing within the next 90 days. Recent listings included a seven-night Mediterranean voyage on Norwegian Cruise Line, departing from Venice that was reduced to $549 from $1,599. There was also a 12-night Holland America cruise in August visiting Copenhagen, Berlin, Tallinn, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Stockholm for $1,199 for an ocean view room or about $100 a night, reduced from
Crayon Art, Courtesy of Cornell Museum of Art in Delray Beach
Looking to vacation in Palm Beach County this summer? Consider:
Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort: Stay three nights and get a fourth night free at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort Spa through Sept. 29.
The 20-floor hotel offers 191 units with one- or two-bedrooms at nightly rates from $214 to $419. The vacation resort also features pools, a spa and more. Use promotional code D52.
For more information, call 1-888-213-0414 or visit www.marriott.com/pbisg.
Crane’s BeachHouse Hotel Tiki Bar in Delray Beach: Celebrating an exhibit nearby on the history of crayon art, Crane’s BeachHouse Hotel Tiki Bar in Delray Beach offers a summer special with a crayon theme from July 15 through Oct. 23.
The hotel’s ”Colorful Getaway” package starts at $209 per night for a one-bedroom suite (additional nights from $149 per night) or $179 per night for a BeachHouse room (additional nights available from $119) – based on double occupancy only.
The package includes free tickets to the art exhibition, a welcome gift Beach Pail filled with crayons, coloring book, snacks, a family movie DVD rental, a bottle of wine and a $50 food credit at Café Luna Rosa.
The rate is based on availability. Some restrictions and blackout dates apply. Some taxes and fees are not included.
The deal comes as the nearby Cornell Museum of Art American Culture at Old School Square offers the exhibit, “Coloring Outside the Lines: The History of the Crayon, the Art, the Innovations” from July 12 through Oct. 23. It features the work of master crayon artist Don Marco, whose creations rival traditional paintings.
For more information on Crane’s BeachHouse, call 561-278-1700 or visit cranesbeachhouse.com.
The Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau features many deals on its Web site. Visit palmbeachfl.com/stay-play/stay-hotel-offers-packages/
Budget-Conscious Vacationers Can Visit Savings.com on June 21st for Exclusive Discounts and Ultimate Giveaway
SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — On June 21st, Savings.com, the premier destination for online coupons and coupon codes, will kick off the summer season with exclusive travel deals in its first official Savings.com Travel Spotlight. Consumers can visit www.savings.com/travelspotlight to check out the very best deals on summer travel, enter to win an ultimate travel giveaway from Travelocity valued at $2500, and interact with the Savings.com Travel DealPros to get tips and advice on how to get the most for their money this summer travel season.
“While the economy and gas prices are having an impact on daily life, they aren’t going to keep people home,” said Loren Bendele, CEO of Savings.com. ”Our research shows that this year, more than 80% of consumers plan to take a summer vacation and finding a good deal on hotels, rental cars, flights and attractions is the most important factor for more than 40% of vacationers.* That is why we created this event to kick off summer and give our community a one-stop destination to get all the best travel deals and advice on the Web.”
Some of the limited time offers and promotions shoppers will find include:
- An ultimate travel giveaway from Travelocity valued at $2500
- 40% off print and digital books at Lonely Planet
- 30% off on packing aids and in-flight comfort categories at Magellan’s
- $50 off any online reservation at bedandbreakfast.com
Shoppers can also visit Savings.com at anytime throughout the summer to find ongoing exclusive deals from popular travel sites such as Travelocity and Orbitz to help them save on their next booking.
In addition to exclusive deals, visitors to Savings.com on June 21st can participate in a live Q A with Savings.com DealPros®, Savings.com’s elite team of savvy shopping experts and bloggers. Shoppers can ask their burning travel questions and receive expert tips and advice on how to save this summer and get the best deals.
For those unable to participate in the live Q A, the Savings.com Answers page is another great resource. Answers is the first-ever service that allows consumers to ask a question about shopping and saving and receive high-quality answers and relevant coupon codes from Savings.com. Shoppers can also follow the DealPros by visiting the Savings.com’s blog, Blog Save, one of the most popular personal finance blogs on the Web.
“Having fun this summer doesn’t mean having to spend tons of money,” said Bendele. ”By taking advantage of the right deals and seeking advice from experts like our DealPros, you can get all the resources you need to help you enjoy your summer vacation while staying on budget.”
Savings.com helps consumers save money every day. The premier online savings Web site and community has the best deals for everything shoppers want, making it easier than ever to search, find and share big savings from top brands and stores. The company’s dedicated team of DealPros® scours the Web to find top offers in every category from designer clothes and baby gear to big-screen TVs and gourmet food. The site’s community of members and savers rates each deal to make sure users find the best stuff first eliminating the need to spend time sifting through expired coupons and coupon codes that don’t work. Savings.com is a safe haven of high-quality, reliable deals. Savings.com’s sister site, Savoo.co.uk, offers top coupons and deals to UK-based shoppers.
*Sources: American Automobile Association, American Express, Savings.com, Tripadvisor.com
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LONDON – Prince William and the former Kate Middleton plan to combine red-carpet glamour with serious charity work during a trip to California next month, palace officials said Wednesday.
The three-day visit to the Los Angeles area will be Middleton’s first visit to the United States. It will follow a longer trip to Canada where the royal couple, now known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, will celebrate Canada’s national day in the capital, visit the remote Northwest Territories and open the Calgary Stampede.
Private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton said the duke and duchess will attend a black-tie dinner at LA’s renovated Belasco Theater to introduce young British film talent to Hollywood executives on July 9.
He said the guest list for the red carpet event is still being worked out.
“The goal is not to meet celebrities, the goal is to connect young British talent with Hollywood decision makers, the people in the back room who put the deals together,” Lowther-Pinkerton said.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is organizing the event, called “BAFTA Brits to Watch.” William serves as president of the academy.
Earlier that day, William will play at a charity polo match in Santa Barbara, with Middleton scheduled to award the trophy to the winning team.
Officials said Middleton, whose fashion choices have been widely praised since she took up her official duties, would not bring a special “dresser” on the trip but would rely on an administrative assistant to help with her clothes and provide other kinds of help on her first royal tour.
A hairdresser will be part of the entourage, officials said.
In addition, Lowther-Pinkerton said that announced plans to hire a housekeeper and dresser in London had been dropped because the household workers are not needed while the couple’s primary base is in Anglesey, Wales, where William serves as a Royal Air Force helicopter rescue pilot.
“That’s been put on hold,” he said. “It’s not needed in the next couple of years.”
The royal couple also plans to meet inner-city youths involved in an arts program and to meet military families in Los Angeles to learn more about how veterans are reintegrated into society. They will pack care packages bound for service personnel in Afghanistan.
The trip to California will follow a June 30-July 8 visit to Canada that will mark the royal couple’s first overseas engagement since their marriage in late April.
The couple will visit the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island and Alberta, as well as the vast Northwest Territories.
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) June 15, 2011
With the start of the 2011 summer travel season, Viator – the leading resource for nearly 9,000 tours and activities in 750 destinations in 150 countries – today announced a summer sale on popular tours and activities in top vacation destinations.
“Consumers have many great incentives right now to head out of town on a short day trip or a week-long getaway, including discounts and savings on popular destination activities,” said Ms. Barrie Seidenberg, president and CEO of Viator Inc. “And with Viator’s new travel apps, it’s easier than ever to find and book things to do, on the go and up to the last minute.”
Save on Close-to-Home Day Trips
With soaring prices at the pump, a Viator day trip is cost-effective: someone else does the driving (or flying), you don’t have to fill the car up with gas, and you avoid paying fuel surcharges. In fact, pricing on Viator tours and activities has remained stable in this economy, and summer vacationers will find many discounts up to 50 percent off on popular day trips, including Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam Day Trip from Las Vegas, Niagara Falls Day Trip from New York by Air, Paris Rail Day Trip from London, London to Stonehenge Day Trip, Pyrenees Mountains Day Trip from Barcelona, and Naples and Pompeii Day Trip from Rome, among many others.
Purchase a City Pass at a Bargain Rate
If you’re headed to a city, see the sights for less by picking up a city pass at the start of your trip. These passes are offered in many cities across the U.S. and abroad, and give travelers all-inclusive, unlimited access to top attractions and activities, including cruises, tours, museums, galleries, public transportation, and in some cases the ability to skip long lines. Viator offers city passes in top destinations worldwide with savings up to 50 percent, including Amsterdam, Boston, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, San Francisco, Sydney and Toronto.
Great Deals at National Parks
National parks are a great option for budget-oriented travelers, with so many within a short drive – or ferry ride – away from home. For example, Alcatraz Island, part of Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is a popular attraction on Viator, with a variety of tour options and savings, including Alcatraz and San Francisco City Tour (10 percent discount) and Alcatraz Tour plus Muir Woods, Giant Redwoods and Sausalito Day Trip (13 percent discount), among others.
Take Advantage of “Kids are Free” Promotions
Summer is the most popular time for families to get away, and Viator offers a variety of attractions appealing to kids – and adults – of all ages, easily found through its Family Friendly links on city pages. Many destinations offer “kids are free” promotions, and Viator has an assortment of tours featuring free admission for children under 12, including The Superhero Walking Tour of New York, The Harry Potter Walking Tour of London, and Waikiki’s Arizona Memorial, Pearl Harbor and Punchbowl Sightseeing Tour.
Significant Savings When You Book Last Minute
Suddenly faced with an afternoon free of obligations or unannounced out-of-town guests? Finding something cool to do at the very last minute is now easier than ever with the Viator Tours and Activities App for iPhone and iPod touch and the Viator Ultimate Experience Guide for iPad – both free in the App Store. The apps provide access to all tours and activities offered on the Viator website, most available for purchase within 24 hours or less. Plus, e-vouchers make it easy to book a tour and check in on the same device without having to print out a paper copy. Last-minute trips include a range of activities, including traditional sightseeing tours like the Sydney Opera House Guided Walking Tour to more exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime experiences like a Private Viewing of Stonehenge including Bath and Lacock and a Private Viewing of the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums.
Travelers planning an escape can visit the Viator Travel Blog for more inspiration or follow the company on Facebook and Twitter for the latest deals, promotions, contests and Viator news.
Viator® is the world’s leading online resource for travel experiences, providing access to nearly 9,000 tours, attractions and activities in 750-plus destinations in more than 150 countries. Viator – the Latin word for traveler – offers a one-stop shop to plan, research and book trip activities via its Web and mobile platforms with resources such as 260,000 traveler reviews, ratings and photos, suggested itineraries and the Viator Travel Blog. Viator’s in-house travel experts hand-pick trusted local operators to ensure quality, value and service, all backed by a low-price guarantee. Viator sells its products through Viator.com, the Viator Tours and Activities App for iPhone, the Viator Ultimate Experience Guide for iPad, eight local language sites for the European and Japanese markets and more than 2,000 affiliated sites that include major hotel chains and airlines, online travel agencies, city-specific sites and more. Viator is a privately held company, with lead investment from The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. Founded in 1995, Viator is headquartered in San Francisco with regional offices in Sydney, London and Las Vegas.
For the original version on PRWeb visit: www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2011/6/prweb8573339.htm
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Norfolk Southern Corp. says it’s restricting the speed that Amtrak trains can run on tracks the railroad company owns between Dearborn and Kalamazoo even as the line is prepared for high-speed passenger rail, according to AnnArbor.com.
Norfolk Southern spokesman Randy Husband told AnnArbor.com for a story Monday that the company would only pay the maintenance costs necessary for the tracks to handle trains traveling between 25 and 60 mph. He says someone else will have to pay for increased maintenance costs that would come with higher speeds than freight trains run.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the federal money Michigan is receiving to improve the tracks will correct the problem.
Norfolk, Va.-based Norfolk Southern owns Norfolk Southern Railway, which operates about 21,000 miles of track in 22 states and the District of Columbia.
Information from: AnnArbor.com, http://www.annarbor.com
WASHINGTON – Inspectors need authority to randomly pull over tour buses on the highway if they are to catch rogue carriers using a variety of schemes to evade even the most basic safety rules, federal and state officials said Monday.
Anne Ferro, who heads the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, told a House panel that her agency, working with state police, is forbidden from making such checks now. Police can pull over buses only if they see something to indicate a possible safety violation like an expired inspection sticker.
Concern about tour bus safety has spiked since March, when a bus returning passengers to New York’s Chinatown after a night of gambling ran off a highway and struck a utility pole. The collision, the first of a string of high-profile crashes, sheared off the bus roof, killed 15 passengers and injured 18 others.
Of special concern are small bus companies known as reincarnated or chameleon carriers who continue to operate under new names or in new locations after being shut down for safety violations.
Ferro’s call for random inspections was supported by David Palmer, an official with the Texas Department of Public Safety who testified on behalf of a coalition of government safety enforcement officials in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The bus companies with the most severe safety problems tend to be what’s known as “curbside operators” who don’t have a fixed place of business or bus terminal, Palmer said. The most effective way to inspect them is through random roadside checks, he said.
One reason it’s hard for inspectors to catch up with such companies is they frequently change the locations where they pick up and drop off passengers — a parking lot one day, a street corner the next.
In Houston, where Palmer works, sometimes the only way safety officials can find rogue bus companies is to go to a neighborhood and look for flyers advertising where passengers will be picked up and dropped off, he told a hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
In place of roadside inspections, federal officials working with state police have been going to destinations popular with tour bus passengers to conduct surprise inspections. But the effectiveness is limited.
“Once the first group of buses gets to the location, then the surprise is gone,” Palmer said.
Bus industry officials and several lawmakers said they were concerned that roadside inspections may put passengers at risk.
“The last thing I want to see on an interstate highway is a bus inspection and passengers unloaded,” said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the committee.
Buses can be moved to locations off the highway if it appears there are serious violations, officials told the committee.
Lawmakers were also leery of Ferro’s request for $50 million more in next year’s budget to hire more bus inspectors.
“It’s specific for boots on the ground,” Ferro said. “Getting to high risk carriers enough, that’s always a resource issue.”
Federal officials rely on state enforcement agencies for help, but industry officials said only about a dozen states have aggressive bus inspection programs. It hasn’t been a priority for many states or they’ve shifted money and manpower to truck safety enforcement.
“We see a lot of places that just don’t put enough emphasis on bus inspections,” said Pete Pantuso, president of the American Bus Association.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/
BOSTON, MA–(Marketwire – Jun 14, 2011) – In honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, Cheapflights.com, the online leader in finding and publishing travel deals, pays tribute to cities, states and countries where monumental strides in LGBT rights have taken place. While many cities host pride events in June to mark this annual celebration, the destinations on Cheapflights.com’s list of Top 10 Destinations to Celebrate Gay Rights are spots that are not only great gay-friendly getaways and hubs for Pride celebrations but are major historical landmarks from the ongoing rights movement.
For those looking to take in some of the upcoming festivities for Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, below are five destinations featured in Cheapflights.com’s list of Top 10 Destinations to Celebrate Gay Rights with celebrations taking place over the next couple of months.
New York City, US – The Stonewall Riots in New York’s Greenwich Village incited the first gay rights movement in the United States in 1969. When police raided a local gay bar that summer, compelled activists around the downtown neighborhood and beyond fought back. Organizations in New York and nationwide formed, and — to honor the one-year anniversary of the riot — activists marched from downtown to Central Park in the first-ever gay pride march in the country. Today Greenwich Village, or ‘The Village,’ offers restaurants, theaters and a thriving art scene cultivated by the liberated men and women who were called to action more than 40 years ago. Search and compare cheap flights to New York to check out New York City Pride Week from June 18 – 26.
Minneapolis, US – Even though the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear their case, Jack Baker and James Michael McConnell stopped at nothing to be married in the state of Minnesota in the 1970s. After the court’s ruling, the two men applied for a marriage license in a different county and in 1971 were married before a Methodist minister in Minneapolis. Though unrecognized by many, including the IRS, the couple is a symbol — and reference for lawyers — of the fight for marriage equality. And how far Minneapolis has come; The Advocate named it the gayest city in America in 2011. Search and compare cheap flights to Minneapolis to check out the Twin Cities Pride 2011 on June 25 and 26.
San Francisco, US – For decades members of LGBT community have flocked to San Francisco seeking equality and a chance to belong. It was Harvey Milk in the 1970s who encouraged a generation of men and women to mobilize and fight for civil rights and changes in legislation. The first openly gay man elected to office in California, Milk was a beacon for a younger generation and a martyr for homosexuals nationwide. San Francisco mourned after his assassination in 1978, and continues to revere Milk as an icon for the city and the gay rights movement. Search and compare cheap flights to San Francisco to check out SF Pride 2011 on June 25 and 26.
Toronto, Canada – Canada is by far the gay-friendliest country in all of the Americas, having offered civil marriage and legislative rights to members of the LGBT community for years. But equality did not always come so easy for our neighbors to the north. The 1981 bathhouse raid in Toronto enraged so many people in the liberal city that thousands took to the streets to protest the injustice. The city’s come a long way since; it was recently picked to host WorldPride, an international celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, in 2014. Search and compare cheap flights to Toronto to check out Toronto Pride Week — one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world from June 24 – July 3.
Netherlands – The Dutch have it so good. The bicycle is a legitimate mode of transportation; the government doles out vakantiegeld, or vacation money, annually for citizens to use on extended summer travel; and — of course — marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples abound. Renowned for being the first country to legalize gay marriage in 2001, the left-leaning Netherlands was voted the largest supporter of same-sex marriage in 2006 by the European Union and is a premier destination for LGBT travelers and residents alike. Search and compare cheap flights to Amsterdam to check out Amsterdam Pride from July 30 – August 7.
Athens, Greece; Los Angeles, California; Tel Aviv, Israel; Hawaii and Massachusetts round out the list of gay-friendly and historic spots and make wonderful considerations for your next vacation away. For further details on these destinations and the complete list, visit http://news.cheapflights.com/2011/06/top-10-destinations-to-celebrate-gay-rights/.
About Cheapflights Media
Cheapflights Media is an international media network providing users with different ways to find low cost travel. Since 1996, Cheapflights Media has been helping consumers research, compare and save on domestic and international travel. Our flagship brand, Cheapflights, is one of the largest flight deals publishers, delivering over 4 million deals daily. With brand-name deals on airline tickets from more than 300 partners and 600 airlines and a team of travel experts hand picking the best offerings, Cheapflights offers visitors a mix of deals they can’t find anywhere else. There are currently Cheapflights sites in the U.K., U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia New Zealand, France, Italy and Spain. For more information, visit www.cheapflights.com.
A spokeswoman for DBED, which organized the trip, said tax dollars were used to fund travel for six officials. That does not include O’Malley’s security detail or University System of Maryland staff.
A more complete accounting is expected later this week.
O’Malley, who had never traveled in Asia, said he was struck by the “enormity” of the sprawling Asian cities and the “the pace of the industrial progress.” He noted that Shanghai, one of the five cities he visited, has a population 35 times that of Baltimore.
The pace of development was also stunning, he said. On a high-speed train ride from Shanghai to nearby Nanjing he said he “saw nothing by cranes on the horizon.”
He spoke also of a downside to the rapid development and industrialization. In five days in China, he said, “we never saw the sun. We never saw the sky. So thick was the smog.”
Lin Hwang, vice president of JR Seafood Inc. in Cambridge, said the trip was “better than expected.”
Hwang’s company exports blue crabs to South Korea. He met with five potential buyers in China, where he said drought has made crabs scarce; he said one wanted an exclusive deal “for everything we could produce.”
Terry Lin, the chief executive officer of Planned Systems International in Columbia, said the trip accelerated the pace of a $45 million deal the information technology consulting firm had been negotiating with a Chinese company. The contract was one of the first O’Malley announced during his trip.
The governor hinted that more deals from the trip are in the works.
The governor displayed a slideshow of pictures from the trip, including images from the Great Wall of China and The Forbidden City in Beijing. His 13-year-old son William joined him during those portions of the trip, at O’Malley’s expense.
O’Malley was also photographed visiting the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. The image shows him standing inside a building on the border as two North Korean soldiers outside glare through a window over his shoulder.
A new travel website that focuses on cheap travel deals is all set to enter the online travel advice industry
Online PR News – 14-June-2011 –Brunswick, VIC A new travel website, CheapFlights CheapHotels has been launched to help people with just that-Cheap Flights and Cheap Hotels. With listings of over 2,500,000 hotel deals, 600 airlines, and plenty of other travel sites, the website is sure to have a deal for everyone and anyone.
Even with recession being on its peak, there’s one industry that has continued to remain unabashed. The travel industry has managed to surprise everyone, with the way it’s managed to keep its head above waters. A product of the economic downturn, cheap travel has been the driving force for the industry. CheapFlights CheapHotels is the latest to join the bandwagon of these travel websites. Online travel bookings throughout the world have seen immense growth. In 2010 alone, revenues from online bookings stood at about $256 billion, but this year they’re expected to jump to a record $284 billion this year.
“What makes us different from other websites is that it’s not only a one stop shop for vacations, as there’s everything for everyone. You could either choose from cheap hotels including international hotels or also choose from cheap airlines, says the spokesperson for the website.
Everyone’s trying to get a bigger slice of the pie, with better websites, and better customer service. But speed is something that not many have managed. Visitors looking to book flights or hotels often refer to multiple sites to compare prices. But when websites are slow, it often stands as a deterrent. In fact a recent study reveals that most sites often take more than 2 seconds for their home page to open.
“Our focus was to make the transaction as quick as possible. The moment a visitor chooses our link, our focus is to help him get his desired choice in the shortest possible time and that includes decrease load time, proper navigation and effective customer service, adds the spokesperson.
There’s also an effort made to serve as a complete guide for visitors. For example, if you’re planning to visit Bali, there are articles that focus on the different elements in Bali including the weather, and places to visit.
About CheapFlights CheapHotels: Started by a travel lover, the website is ideal for people looking for a complete guide including cheap flights and hotels.
To know more, http://cheapflightscheaphotels.com.au