Introducing Delta Studio’s free entertainment service

Delta announced its latest effort to improve the customer travel experience Monday with the introduction of Delta Studio.

Delta Studio entertainment services

With its latest investments in inflight products, including the complete installation of seat-back entertainment systems on all long haul international aircraft in 2013 and 140 additional mainline domestic aircraft with in-seat video screens, Delta is the clear leader in delivering personal entertainment selections.

With Delta Studio, customers will have access to free entertainment on more than 1,000 aircraft through a combination of seat-back systems or on demand video streaming on board the airline’s wifi equipped aircraft beginning August 1st.

In addition to seat-back systems, customers flying on Delta’s wifi equipped aircraft will be able to stream movies and TV options right to their mobile devices. By using either Gogo’s video player app or the integrated player within the Fly Delta app for iPhone, customers have a simple-to-access entertainment viewing experience on their own device.

Delta continues to be driven by customer feedback which has consistently placed the desire to be entertained at the top of the list of ways to improve our customers’ time in the air, said Tim Mapes, s.v.p.–Marketing, in a release.

Customers traveling at every seat on international flights and in BusinessElite, First Class and Economy Comfort on domestic flights will have free, unrestricted access to all in-flight entertainment using either their seat-back system or their own portable electronic devices. Customers in domestic economy will have a menu of free entertainment options and premium entertainment for purchase.

“Through the introduction of Delta Studio our customers have yet another reason to choose Delta and a different travel experience,” Tim said.

Delta’s full entertainment line-up for the month of August is available in Sky magazine.

Delta also formally launched its exclusive new Artist Spotlight which started appearing on aircraft featuring emerging artist Sam Smith in June and will introduce Canadian-born songstress Kiezsa in August. The program highlights popular artists by bringing their music to millions of passengers during boarding and deplaning in addition to offering customized channel options on seat back entertainment systems.

Also introduced as part of its effort to improve customer entertainment options was an industry-first partnership with Billboard that started in July. The partnership provides passengers with new ergonomically designed earbuds with better sound quality and improved comfort. The earbuds are complimentary on international flights as well as flights between New York and Los Angeles, San Francisco or Seattle and are offered for purchase on all other flights more than 250 miles.

Delta’s investments in in-flight entertainment and products are part of the airline’s efforts to continue working toward its 2014 Flight Plan goals of earning the J.D. Power award for customer service among network carriers and raising affinity for the Delta brand to a new level.

The Low Down for Carry on Bags

Airlines are cracking down on carry on bags.

This may sound inconvenient, but it could actually be good news if you can travel light. Fewer travelers with overstuffed bags translates into faster, easier boarding.

Packing Carry on luggage

Carry on Bag Dimensions

Although enforcement varies, the current restriction for carryon bag dimensions is 22x14x9 for American, Delta, United and US Airways. AirTran, JetBlue and Southwest are slightly more generous with dimensions set at 24x16x10. Of course, you can also bring a purse, laptop or small personal item, but it must fit under the seat in front of you. Check the policies from the major airlines.

While most major U.S. airlines don’t charge a fee for one carry-on, budget carriers may. Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit Airlines charge anywhere from $25 to $100 per carry-on bag.

You may be surprised to find that your relatively small, wheeled luggage is now too big for the overhead bin. In fact, if it doesn’t fit in the size-wise metal frame at the gate, you may have to go back to check-in, where you’ll likely encounter a fee to check your luggage.

Nearly all the airlines (except Southwest) are charging fees for checked luggage, starting around $15 and running up to $30 apiece for the first bag or two. After that, fees skyrocket: extra, overweight or over sized luggage can cost up to $200 per bag.

Dimension restrictions vary on foreign carriers, so make sure you check out their policies before leaving for an international trip. In addition, while most U.S. airlines don’t have carry-on baggage weight limits, some foreign carriers do (and the weight fees can be hefty, up to and over $150 per overweight bag).

Packing Tips

  • Balance the need for wheels – Wheels and a frame can lighten your load, but they also take up quite a bit of space. To make the most of your carry-on space, consider a soft tote that can expand but still manages to meet size requirements.
  • Use and lose – Disposable items, like shavers and old clothes, are a great way to lighten the load on your return, especially if you have to bring back paperwork or business tchotchkes.
  • Go monotone – Pack one color theme (black or brown) to cut down on the need for more shoes and other accessories.
  • Downsize – Travel-sized toiletries can save a lot of space… and don’t forget that most business hotels have good health and beauty products.

Rethink what you need to bring; Be more discriminating when packing. Make decisions before you put everything in your luggage, as we tend to want to throw in a few extras after a bag is packed. And remember, you can always buy as you go.

United Airlines Updates MileagePlus

United Airlines Boeing

United Airlines is changing the way you earn award miles, and giving you more ways to use them.

United is changing the MileagePlus® program to reward members for their travel spending. And they’re adding new ways to use your award miles, to make the frequent flyer program with the best award availability.

This program update will apply to all MileagePlus members worldwide.

As of March 1, 2015, the award miles you earn on most United and United Express® tickets will be based on your ticket price (that is, base fare plus carrier-imposed surcharges) instead of the distance you fly, so members will be rewarded for their travel spending on United. And when you have Premier status, you’ll earn even more.

You can still earn even more miles with a MileagePlus cobranded credit card, just as you do today.

For tickets that will earn award miles based on ticket price, the class-of-service bonus and Premier bonus will be included in the number of award miles you earn per dollar.

This new way of earning award miles will apply to most tickets for flights operated by United and United Express. It will also apply to tickets for flights operated by a Star Alliance™ or MileagePlus partner airline when the ticket number starts with 016.

New MileagePlus Perks from United

  • You will be able to earn up to 75,000 award miles per ticket. There will not be a minimum number of award miles you can earn for a flight.
  • You can earn Premier qualifying miles (PQM) based on the distance of your flight. Premier members will still earn a minimum of 500 PQM on United and United Express flights shorter than 500 miles.
  • Tickets for flights operated by a Star Alliance or MileagePlus partner airline that aren’t issued by United (ticket numbers that don’t start with 016) will still earn award miles based on distance flown and the purchased fare class.

This program update take effect for flights departing on or after March 1, 2015, regardless of when you purchase the ticket. The new options for using miles will be available in early 2015 – be sure to watch your email for more details.

Premier qualifying miles and segments are still based on the number of paid flight miles traveled and the fare purchased and, where applicable, PQD are still determined by the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges. Learn more about Premier status qualification.

If you hold a credit card that earns MileagePlus miles, nothing is changing with how you earn those miles.For example, United MileagePlus Explorer cardmembers will earn two award miles for each $1 spent on tickets purchased from United. Visit united.com for more information on our credit card partners.

Please contact us with any questions.

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New BusinessElite flat beds on International Flights

Delta Air Lines has completed the installation of full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access in BusinessElite across its entire international widebody fleet, making it the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seats and the convenience of direct-aisle access on all widebody overseas flights.

Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents. For more information visit news.delta.com.
The completed interior fleet modifications include all Delta Airbus A330-200/300, Boeing 767-300ER/400ER, 747-400 and 777-200ER/LR aircraft, which represents Delta’s largest interior fleet modification investment in more than a decade. With these modifications complete, Delta also is the only U.S. domestic carrier to offer personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul international flights.

The fleet modifications are Delta’s latest investment in improving the customer experience. Since 2010, Delta also has:

  • Launched international wifi service and completed the installation of Wi-Fi on all domestic, two-class mainline and regional jets, offering more than 400,000 customers per day access to the Internet above 10,000 feet on more than 870 aircraft.
  • Transformed the sleep experience in the air by offering Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding for customers in the BusinessElite cabin.
  • Updated BusinessElite amenity kits with stylish cases from Tumi and skincare product brand Malin+Goetz.
    Built a team of celebrity chefs and James Beard Award winners to offer customers great food and wine selections at 30,000 feet.
  • Introduced International Economy Sleep Kits and added new amenities for its Economy customers on transoceanic flights.

“We’re investing in giving our customers the wide range of options they want on long flights — from being fully connected via in-flight Wi-Fi to being fully disconnected and enjoying a great movie or comfortable sleep,” said Tim Mapes, senior vice president – Marketing. “Delta has set a new standard for our customers by adding full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access, improved meals and amenities, and quality in-flight entertainment options.”

Beginning July 1, 2014, Delta also will operate three updated Boeing 757 aircraft with full flat-bed seats on the transcontinental route between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. These will be the first 757 aircraft in service to feature Delta’s previously announced upgrades including full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on transcon flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. All transcon flights on these routes will feature full flat-bed seats by summer 2015.

New upgrades of Delta’s BusinessElite seats are available on:

  • A330 BusinessElite seat
  • 747 BusinessElite seat
  • 777 BusinessElite seat
  • 767 BusinessElite seat

DELTA TO JOIN VIRGIN ATLANTIC AT HEATHROW TERMINAL

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) and Virgin Atlantic Airways today mark another major step forward in their partnership as Delta relocates some of its key services to join Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow Terminal 3. The move comes as both airlines start flying their new and aligned summer schedules that offer customers more choice and flexibility while reducing onward transit times.

Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents.
Delta moves its arrival and departure terminal for several important business markets including its London to New York-JFK, London to Boston, and new London to Seattle services to Heathrow’s Terminal 3.

This move will enhance convenience and a seamless customer experience. For example, on the world’s most important business travel market between London Heathrow Terminal 3 and New York JFK Terminal 4 Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now operate from the same terminal and make it easier for customers to manage their travel plans including any last minute flight changes. The two airlines have also introduced a dedicated New York to London schedule with the customer in mind.

In co-operation with Virgin Atlantic, Delta will also operate a second daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit Metropolitan Airport effective June 2, 2014. The service will be particularly appealing to corporate customers needing an early morning arrival into London while offering more schedule choice for customers between London and the U.S. Midwest.

The two airlines’ summer schedule includes a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K.. Of these, 25 flights will operate between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington.

NEW SEATTLE-LONDON HEATHROW SERVICE

Delta continued its rapid expansion in Seattle with the launch of new daily nonstop service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to London Heathrow Airport on Saturday, March 29. The route, established as part of Delta’s joint venture with Virgin Atlantic Airways, gives Seattle customers nonstop access to one of the world’s top business markets and is an important enhancement to Delta’s growing trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific network from Seattle.

Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents. For more information visit news.delta.com
Through its trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia, Delta offers Seattle-area travelers nonstop service to Paris and Amsterdam while also providing connecting service to more than 150 additional destinations beyond those European hubs.

This spring Delta will also begin expanded Seattle service from Anchorage; Fairbanks, Alaska; Juneau, Alaska; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; and Vancouver to support its growing international gateway that currently serves London Heathrow, Amsterdam and Paris-Charles de Gaulle as well as Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo-Narita, and Tokyo-Haneda.

In June, Delta will begin new international service from Seattle to Seoul and Hong Kong, bringing Delta’s total nonstop transoceanic destinations to nine, as many as all other Sea-Tac international carriers combined. Every transoceanic Delta flight from Seattle features full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite, Economy Comfort seating and personal, on demand entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft. All international flights will feature Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi by the end of 2015.

Delta: wifi on International Flights & attendants get new Phablets

WIFI ACCESS ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

Delta Air Lines will launch international wifi service on flights 283 and 295 equipped with Ku-band satellite wifi on Boeing 747-400 aircraft departing Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Narita International Airport in Tokyo.

wifi on International Flights and Delta attendants get new Phablets

Customers can access wifi service with introductory pricing options that begin with one hour passes for laptop users as low as $14.00 and $8.00 for mobile users or a flight pass option, which will keep customers connected throughout their flight, starting at $24.95 for laptop users and $14.95 for mobile users. All of Delta’s 747-400 aircraft will have wifi installed by mid-2014.

Delta has three of 16 747-400 aircraft complete which also operate between Detroit and Seoul-Incheon; Detroit and Nagoya, Japan; Detroit and Tokyo-Narita; New York-JFK and Tel Aviv as well as New York-JFK and Tokyo-Narita.

The new international service uses satellites for global connectivity to offer coverage internationally and will compliment Delta’s existing air-to-ground service already provided by Gogo for aircraft flying within the domestic U.S.

DELTA FLIGHT ATTENDANTS TO SWITCH TO PHABLET

Delta Air Lines will equip more than 20,000 flight attendants with handheld Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets, which will serve as their on-board manual and in-flight sales device as well as a platform for future, more personalized in-flight customer service by this fall.

The Lumia 1520 features a larger format, 6-inch screen and will replace the smaller Lumia 820 already in the hands of Delta on-board professionals.

Providing electronic access to the more than 500 page, five pound On-Board Manual carried by every flight attendant is expected to save more than $1 million annually in reduced fuel and printing costs while providing on board professionals a more intuitive way to access essential information.

In addition to its functionality as an in-flight sales device and replacement for the on-board manual, the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet, running Windows Phone 8.1, will, as it develops, enable flight attendants to take customer meal orders, receive detailed information about their flight and provide information for personalized service, including customers’ frequent flyer status and potential need for special services during flight.

Delta Air Lines Economy Fares Information

The Basic Economy product is designed to offer consumer choice and customization to the individual’s travel experience.

Photo of Delta air plane taken on the runway by Ken Nash, pilot.

The product is ideal for travelers who seek the lowest fare option, do not intend to make changes and do not consider seat choice an important part of their travel experience.

Please note: Customers who prefer selecting seats and having flexibility in travel should consider fare options other than Basic Economy.

Basic Economy Fares Highlights:

  • Are identifiable by class of service E
  • Are published and available via GDS
  • Voluntary changes will not be permitted
  • Are non-refundable (except due to involuntary cases, such as irregular operations)
  • Are combinable only with other Basic Economy fares
    • Itinerary must be all E class segments or no E class segments
    • E class interline combinations are not permitted
  • Advance seat assignments are not permitted. Seats will be auto-assigned by Delta at the time of customer check-in, and once assigned, no changes will be allowed.

Note: Same-day Travel Changes, schedule changes, irregular operations, baggage handling and all other processes are treated the same for Basic Economy fares as they are for any other fare type purchased.

Travel Agency Information – GDS and Self Booking Tools

  • Fare Shopping, Pricing Low Fare Products, Low- Fare Finders, and Self Booking Tools
  • When using low-fare finder type options or self-booking tools that search for the lowest fares, it is important to note the following
  • Basic Economy will likely be returned, in the select markets where is offered, as it is the lowest fare
  • The Basic Economy fare will be nonrefundable, non-changeable and will not permit advanced seat assignments
  • If the Basic Economy fare is selected, the customer must be notified of all the fare rules. In addition, expectations of the travel experience must be clearly explained.
  • Consult the GDS or Online Booking Tool (OBT) provider to determine the most effective entries for pricing “sell up” fares or exclusions.

Delta Updates it’s Seats and Flat Beds

Delta to Improve Passenger Comfort on 225 Domestic Narrow body Aircraft

Delta Airlines

Delta Air Lines will invest more than $770 million through 2016 to refresh the interiors on its Boeing 757-200, 737-800, Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft to provide power at every seat, add new slim-line seats with adjustable headrests, updated lavatories, add more efficient galleys and additional features to improve passenger comfort.

We’re continuing to make smart long-term investments in our products and services to meet the expectations of our customers,” said Glen Hauenstein, executive vice president – Chief Revenue Officer. “In just six years, we will have made updates to interiors throughout Delta’s fleet giving customers improved comfort and more options to work or relax and be entertained.”

This investment will improve the service consistency provided to Delta’s customers in First Class and Economy cabins as well as increasing aircraft efficiency and overall customer satisfaction of the airline’s domestic narrowbody fleet.

All Delta international widebody aircraft will include full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access in BusinessElite by mid-2014 and all transcontinental flights will have full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite by summer 2015.

Delta will maintain more First Class seats than any U.S. carrier; offer more in-flight entertainment options; provided access to Wi-Fi on all domestic two-class domestic aircraft and willexpan to the international fleet by 2015.

757-200 aircraft improvements

Delta’s new modifications to 56 of its 757-200s will include installing in-seat video, satellite TV and access to power for every passenger, along with new galleys, updated LED cabin lighting, new lavatory designs as well as larger capacity overhead bins.

Delta will be the first carrier in North America to install the new bin system which will increase passenger carry-on baggage capacity by more than 50%.

The 49 modified domestic aircraft will feature a layout of

  • 20 First Class seats
  • 29 Economy Comfort seats
  • 150 Economy seats.

The remaining seven 757-200 international aircraft will have a configuration of

  • 18 First Class seats,
  • 28 Economy Comfort seats
  • 151 Economy seats.

737-800 aircraft improvements

The investment in 43 of Delta’s 737-800 aircraft will include the addition of in-seat video with satellite TV, new LED cabin lighting and updated lavatories. The aircraft will be configured with

  • 16 First Class seats
  • 18 Economy Comfort seats
  • 126 Economy seats.

When the modifications are complete, Delta’s entire fleet of 73 737-800 aircraft will have in-seat video with access to satellite TV and in-seat power throughout the aircraft.

A319 and A320 aircraft improvements

Delta’s 57 A319 and 69 A320 aircraft will receive complete interior updates including new seats in both First Class and Economy cabins with in-seat power throughout the aircraft.

The aircraft will also receive new space-saving galleys, new lavatories, new larger-capacity overhead bins with an average increase of 60 percent more carry-on baggage space, updated LED lighting systems and new cabin interiors. Updates to the A319 fleet will also include the installation of in-seat video with satellite TV.

Delta Continues Transcon Enhancements with New Food and Wine

Delta Air Lines is introducing a new line of healthy menu items from Luvo now available in the economy cabin on Delta’s transcontinental flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport  and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

The Luvo meals – all made with natural ingredients, no added trans-fats, and hormone and antibiotic-free proteins – are complimentary for customers seated in Economy Comfort and available for purchase for customers seated in Economy.

“Our customers love Luvo’s fresh snacks on our west coast Delta Shuttle flights, so it makes sense to make these healthy, delicious meals available on our coast-to-coast flights,” said Joanne Smith, Delta’s senior vice president In-flight Service.

Each flight will feature two sandwich wraps from the following menu:

  • Luvo Quinoa Crunch Wrap (360 calories) - Fresh crunchy vegetables, quinoa, avocado, edamame hummus, black rice and bean salad in an olive oil-whole wheat tortilla with a side of seedless grapes and a multi-seed coconut chocolate chip cookie.
  • Luvo Grilled Chicken Wrap (400 calories) – Spiced grilled chicken, crisp romaine lettuce, avocado, cherry tomato, vegan herb aioli, in an olive oil-whole wheat tortilla with a side of seedless grapes and a multi-seed coconut chocolate chip cookie.
  • Luvo Roast Turkey & Havarti Wrap (440 calories) – Sliced roast turkey breast, havarti cheese, black rice and bean salad, arugula, edamame hummus in an olive oil-whole wheat tortilla with a side of seedless grapes and a multi-seed coconut chocolate chip cookie.

The new transcontinental menu follows the successful launch of Luvo snacks currently offered on Delta Shuttle flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco International airports.

Additionally, customers in BusinessElite on transcontinental flights will continue to enjoy the Delta WineMaker Series with new selections for 2014.  Since its launch in 2012, the series has featured high profile and sought-after California wines curated by Master Sommlier Andrea Robinson.

The first two selections for 2014 are a Sauvignon Blanc from Matanzas Creek Winery in Sonoma County and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Arrowood inSonoma County. Customers in BusinessElite will continue to enjoy multi-course meals developed by Napa Valley based Chef Michael Chiarello.

Transcontinental service between JFK and Los Angeles increases to eight daily frequencies beginning in April and this July,

Delta is coming out with 3 new Boeing 757s. These will be the first 757 aircraft in service to feature Delta’s previously announced upgrades including

  • full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on transcon flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
  • All transcon flights on these routes will feature flat-bed seats by summer 2015.

On the Ground

Delta’s new Terminal 4 at New York-JFK International Airport features the largest Delta Sky Club in the system with a chef-designed menu and wine list as well as the award winning Sky Deck.

Last year, Delta debuted a brighter, more open lobby at LAX Terminal 5. The new lobby complements recent upgrades to the LAX Delta Sky Club as well as new dining and retail options throughout the concourse.

Passport Control Kiosks Installed at Seattle

A total of 14 new Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks have been installed at Seattle’s international airport to assist U.S. citizens arriving into the U.S. from international flights. These self-service kiosks offer sophisticated technology to process passengers at the customs checkpoint; reducing wait times and congestion.

Best Luxury Destinations for 2014

It’s often said that luxury is in the eye of the beholder. What some may find extravagant may seem merely pedestrian to someone else. Still, others think of the opportunity to indulge in truly unique experiences few are afforded as the ultimate luxury.

Hotel lobby at Palace resort, luxury in Mexico

Whatever your definition of luxury is, you can be assured of two things when it comes to travel in 2014. One, you can find the luxury you seek all around the globe, and two, your travel professional can help you find just what you’re looking for.

A recent survey of Travel Leaders’ front-line agents revealed that the luxury their clients desire the most – by a wide margin – is to have deluxe accommodations. But this is followed by the desire to enjoy bragging rights through unique and exciting activities offered in the places they visit.

Since getting there is said to be half the fun, it should come as no surprise that third on the list is first or business class air travel, which can help set the tone of a truly memorable journey from beginning to end.

Where are these discriminating travelers choosing to go during 2014? Here are the luxury travel destinations being booked most often by Travel Leaders agents throughout North America:

1. Mexico. While Mexico remains a favorite choice of sun-seeking travelers on a budget, there are a growing number of luxury waterfront properties from which to select along the county’s Caribbean coast, which includes Cancun and the Rivera Maya; and along the Pacific coast, from Los Cabos to Puerto Vallarta. Some of most venerated hoteliers have fashionable addresses in the capital, Mexico City, which provides a multitude of culture and high-end shopping amidst spectacular history.

2. Australia. In addition to Australia’s fabled cultural cities led by Sydney and Melbourne, an abundance of Aussie culture includes some of the best vineyards on earth. But a luxury tour of the Outback may appeal to the adventurer in you – at the country’s “Red Centre,” visitors can experience the peaceful, yet humbling Uluru (Ayers Rock) in lux accommodations. For divers and even snorkelers, there’s nothing like the fabled Great Barrier Reef, which provides ample opportunities to get up close and personal with an array of aquatic life unlike anywhere else in the world.

Best Luxury in Europe

3. European River Cruising. Enjoy the luxurious comfort of a river cruise ship as you glide from one charming town to another along Europe’s historic rivers – such as the Seine, Rhone, Rhine or Danube – or through the historic canals of The Netherlands. The deluxe vessels not only provide gourmet meals and surprisingly spacious accommodations, but they also feature a wide variety of excursions that can transport you even deeper into some of Europe’s most fabled places.

4. Italy. A hands-on epicurean food tour of Italy is a perfect complement to the country’s renowned luxury accommodations. Imagine sampling and learning to cook with truffles in Bologna; balsamic vinegars in Modena; ham, pancetta and aged parmesan in Parma; pizza margherita in Naples; and fine Chianti in Tuscany.

5. Mediterranean Cruising. Several luxury cruise lines regularly sail the Mediterranean, including Crystal, Silversea, Seabourn, and Regent Seven Seas. Some itineraries offer overnight stays in selected ports, giving you more time to explore and enjoy the local culture.

To put a little or a lot of luxury in your vacation plans for 2014, talk with your travel professional.

Best International Travel Destinations for 2014

The hottest vacation trends for the 2014 are Caribbean cruises and Cancun
once again top the list of best international destinations, according to the recent Travel Trends Survey by Travel Leaders.

Barbados Fairmont Beach Resort

Front-line travel agents throughout North America shared the international vacation destinations they are booking most often for their clients:

1. Caribbean Cruises. The islands that dot the Caribbean Sea offer blue skies, turquoise waters and sandy beaches, and a cruise ship will take you from one to another with the greatest of ease.

Some new ships will sail in the Caribbean during 2014, including the highly anticipated Quantum of the Seas from Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Getaway. These exceptional cruise ships are destinations unto themselves. Each has features that will make the time between islands as enjoyable as the islands themselves.

2. Cancun, Mexico. With some of the most beautiful, crystal clear water found anywhere, Cancun is a nearly perfect beach destination.

One of its most celebrated and environmentally-friendly new attractions can be found under those sparkling blue waters in Cancun’s Underwater Museum, which contains over 400 original sculptures within the protected National Marine Park of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Additionally, visitors can also explore some of the nearby “Treasures of the Caribbean, including Contoy Island, where there’s an abundance of beautiful bird life; and the charming fishing village of Puerto Morelos.

Best Options in European

3. Mediterranean Cruises. The beautiful and massive Mediterranean Sea has many diverse and captivating regions worth exploring. Whether you’re most interested in the sophisticated Riviera or the ancient history that can be found in Turkey or Greece or taking in the dramatic coastlines found in Croatia and Italy, you can enjoy some of Europe’s best traveling by sea.

Mediterranean cruises have grown in popularity in part because they offer the opportunity to experience it all from the comfort of your cruise cabin, meaning you only have to unpack once.

4. Rome, Italy. There’s a reason why this destination has earned its well-deserved moniker as the Eternal City. With ancient sights at almost every turn, including the instantly recognizable Colosseum along with the nearly 2,000 year old Pantheon, Rome offers visitors multiple opportunities to span millenniums easily.

Plus, it’s further buoyed by the individual heralded as Time magazine’s Man of the Year, who resides in the city state within the city – the faithful are flocking to see the popular Pope Francis, who provides regular blessings in Vatican City.

5. European River Cruises. River cruises are an increasingly popular way to see the interior of Europe in stylish comfort. Some river cruise lines also provide options for some additional time on land.

Viking River Cruises just introduced Land Extensions for cruises that visit The Hague, The Netherlands; Bruges, Belgium; Krakow, Poland; Nuremberg, Germany; Nice, France; and Lake Geneva, Switzerland.

To make your reservations for these or other popular international destinations, talk with your travel professional.