Airline news

Map out a break on the new online feature from easyJet.

The ‘Inspire Me’ section gives customers the option to select and narrow down their choice of trips on a map by price and style of break, such as cultural, romantic or beach.

EasyJet’s Peter Duffy said: “We know that around 40% of customers coming to know that they want to travel, but are unsure exactly where to.

“This simple, yet innovative feature means they can search our 600 destinations more easily”


Thomson Airways’ glass of red has uncorked top spot in flights search website Skyscanner’s 2012 Airline Wine Awards.

A panel blind tasted 21 wines served in economy class on European carriers and Thomson’s Finca La Linda Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 took pride of place ahead of Scandinavia’s SAS and Pegasus from Turkey.

In the white wine category Germany’s Lufthansa just edged out Holland’s KLM and easyJet.


Thomas Cook has partnered with easyJet to extend its regional package holiday flights to 21 airports serving more than 50 destinations for summer 2013. While the majority of travel will still be on Thomas Cook’s own fleet of 35 aircraft, the move will see Southend included for the first time, as well as new routes from Bristol, Belfast, Edinburgh, Stansted and Luton.

A Thomas Cook spokesman said: “Combining the best and most experienced name in travel with one of Europe’s leading airlines means holidaymakers will have more choice while continuing to offer excellent value for money.”

Call: 0844 12 59 59.


Air New Zealand has launched a global search for four adventurers to tackle New Zealand’s nine famous Great Walks in just nine weeks.

The walks span 343 miles of Kiwi terrain ranging from alpine peaks to glacial valleys, native bush, rainforest and beaches. Each of the adventures takes three to five days to complete.

Entry to the competition is open now. It closes on October 22. The winners will be flown to New Zealand in February to complete the epic trek.


Want to book a trip for 2013 but don’t have all the cash yet? A new online deposit system from ­British Airways mean that customers who book a flight and hotel, or flight and car package, can now pay just the deposit when they book (from £150) and the remaining balance 10 weeks before departure.


Airline, which has hubs in Leeds ­Bradford, Newcastle and ­Edinburgh, is starting flights to Marrakech, Iceland and St Petersburg. They are part of its Discovery Weekends ­programme of three-night deals starting at £329pp for flights, ­accommodation and transfers in April and May 2013.

X Factor getaways

It’s that time of year when it’s getting nippy in the morning, the nights are drawing in… and the X Factor judges head off somewhere sunny.

Travel Supermarket says online holiday searches to St Lucia (chez Tulisa) are up 259% compared to the previous weekend, while flight searches to Las Vegas (chez Louis) soared 236%.

The judges’ houses in Dubai and the UK proved less popular, though.

Nicole’s Dubai base prompted a 76% increase while it was “not good news” for Gary’s UK destination at Boughton House, Northamptonshire, with no rise.

Destination details

The water in Majorca…

With the crowds gone and the weather still good, now is a great time to visit Majorca – and Palma is the perfect place for some early Christmas shopping. Villa specialist ­Mallorca Farmhouses is offering 50 per cent off selected properties for bookings throughout October. Choose ­between the tranquil Pollensa hills to the north, and beach resorts in the south.


Bajan beauties

There are some ­amazing offers from Hayes & Jarvis and Virgin Atlantic to the Caribbean ­available to book this week (until ­October 14). Save a whopping £974pp on a week to the Turtle Beach Resort in Barbados, departing March 11, 2013 (now £1,495pp).


Underwater nightclub in Maldives

The DJ probably won’t be playing Handel’s Water Music but Ocean Colour Scene, Wet Wet Wet or Katrina and the Waves might just make it to the mixing desk at the world’s first underwater nightclub.

Subsix is at the upmarket Niyama resort in the Maldives and is accessible only by boat.

Guests will be hitting the dance floor and sipping cocktails six metres (20ft) under the Indian Ocean, with floor to ceiling windows giving great views of marine life.


New York, New York

The Big Apple is planning a big attraction – the world’s largest Ferris wheel on the city’s Staten Island.

The £158million, 625ft New York Wheel – 182ft higher than the London Eye – is planned to carry 4.5 million visitors a year once it opens in 2015. It will have views of the Statue of Liberty, New York harbour and the Lower Manhattan skyline.


IWM Duxford Autumn Air Show

Mustangs and Spitfires will star at IWM Duxford’s Autumn Air Show next weekend. The legendary American and British WW2 fighter planes will mark the 70th anniversary of the first flight of a Mustang powered by the mighty Rolls-Royce Merlin engine.

Tickets on the gate are adult £25.50/child £12.75. Call: 01223 499353.


Asian rail trips

Asia specialist Wendy Wu’s range of brochures for 2013 features 22 new tours to make a total of 600 to 18 countries. Itineraries now on offer include rail trips across China and Vietnam and a journey down Burma’s Irrawaddy River.


Brits take home comforts on hols

Dorothy got it spot on in the Wizard of Oz – there’s no place like home. Even when it comes to packing for a holiday.

A third of Brits took domestic comforts abroad on their summer break this year, says luggage firm Samsonite.

  • Framed photo of a loved one

  • Slippers

  • Dressing Gown

  • Laptop

  • iPod

  • Kindle

  • Cuddly Toy

  • Iron

Cruise news

by John Honeywell

At 225,000 tons and carrying the population of a small town – up to 6,360 passengers and 2,160 crew – Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas are the world’s biggest passenger ships, making weekly cruises to the Caribbean from their base in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

When Allure was completed two years ago, owner Royal Caribbean International announced it had no plans for more vessels of that size and instead started work on designing two which would carry 4,000 passengers each.

Work dried up at the Finnish shipyard where the giants were constructed and thousands of employees were laid off.

A glimmer of hope that they may be able to return to their jobs came this week with news that a Finnish government committee was considering how to find the billion dollars needed to guarantee the financing of a third Oasis-class ship.

If rumour becomes fact – and there has been no comment from Royal Caribbean – the next question to be answered would be: “Where will it sail?”

The Caribbean is already crowded and the giant ships had to have berths specially constructed in ports such as Falmouth, Jamaica, and St Thomas in the Virgin Islands.

Few Mediterranean ports could currently accommodate an Oasis but Royal Caribbean president Adam Goldstein, who was in the UK two weeks ago for a cruise seminar, was talking encouragingly about the potential for growth in the Far East.

What are the odds on a new ship with Oriental allure?

Ferry news

New firm MyFerryLink is now running cross-Channel passenger services on the Dover-Calais route.

The company has risen from the ashes of the old SeaFrance business which closed in January and is using two of its vessels for 16 daily crossings.

Day trips start at £35, with longer stay crossings from £45 each way.

At present there are only crossings with vehicles available, not for foot passengers.

Cruise bargains

  • Thomson Cruises is offering a seven-night Colourful Coasts cruise on Thomson Dream from £611pp (saving £760 per couple) from October 19. Stops include Gibraltar, Casablanca and Santa Cruz. Call: 0871 231 3243.

  • Cunard has cut the price of its 10-night Mediterranean cruise on the Queen Elizabeth from £999pp to £599pp, a saving of £400pp. It sails from Civitavecchia on November 29. Call 0843 374 0000.