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Business Traveller – The leading magazine for frequent flyers

Emirates set to launch premium economy

The carrier's president Sir Tim Clark is quoted as saying he hopes to have a premium economy offering "up and running" within the next year to 18 months

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Air India and IndiGo waive off cancellation charges

Due to cyclones in the islands, the airlines will not penalise stranded passengers for no-show

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United to axe Manchester-Washington DC route

The US carrier’s seasonal Manchester-Washington DC service will not go ahead in summer 2017

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Lufthansa reducing first class at Munich

The basing of ten three-class A350s at the airport means the number of long-haul routes from Munich offering first class will fall

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Pod Brooklyn to open in 2017

The 249-room “modular hotel” will feature a glass ceilinged lobby, and rooms measuring  around 9.3 sqm

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Four Seasons New York unveils renovated rooms and suites

The luxury hotel has revealed US$120 million worth of renovations to its 368 rooms and suites

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Monarch scraps credit card fees

From December 15 the carrier will no longer charge a fee for the use of credit card bookings made through its websites or UK based contact centres

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South African Airways takes delivery of A330-300

The new aircraft features 46 business class seats in a staggered 1-2-1 layout, and new slimline seats in economy

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Malaysia Airlines offering 40 per cent off flight redemptions

Members of the carrier’s Enrich loyalty programme can receive a discount off miles for flight redemptions to 22 destinations

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Banyan Tree and Accorhotels enter strategic partnership

The agreement will give Banyan Tree access to Accorhotels’ global reservations and sales network, and its loyalty programme

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Travolution

Hotels.com releases Apple TV app and announces online check-in and room key service
Expedia-owned Hotels.com has built an Apple TV app and started trials on a check-in, check-out and electronic room key service ahead of launch in 2017. Neha Parikh, Hotels.com senior vice president global brands and retail, revealed the developments at this 17th annual Expedia Partner Conference in Las Vegas this week. She said although Expedia as … Continue reading Hotels.com releases Apple TV app and announces online check-in and room key service Read More
Expedia on track to become world’s first $100bn travel agency
Expedia is on the way to becoming the world’s first $100 billion travel agency, a landmark it will achieve in the next few years, according to its chief executive. Dara Khosrowshahi, told the 17th annual Expedia Partner Conference in Las Vegas this week that the decision to invest heavily in technology in 2007 was critical … Continue reading Expedia on track to become world’s first $100bn travel agency Read More
James Villa Holidays refreshes website as it launches to trade
James Villa Holidays launches to the travel trade today with a new website able to take bookings from agents. All existing Villas4You bookings and documentation can be accessed via a James agent login. Agents are being given the chance to win a £3,000 holiday gift voucher by accessing the site via a dedicated log-in and … Continue reading James Villa Holidays refreshes website as it launches to trade Read More
On The Beach boss attributes 776% profit leap to ‘low-risk approach’
Online travel agent On the Beach says its “low-risk” approach has helped it report a 776% leap in annual pre-tax profits in a turbulent year for the travel industry. Chief executive Simon Cooper said the “flexibility” of not owning its own aircraft or having commitments to hotels has helped. “We have been able to present … Continue reading On The Beach boss attributes 776% profit leap to ‘low-risk approach’ Read More
Neilson unveils new website amid ongoing digital focus
Agents are being promised better access to Neilson product offerings and deals via a more responsive new website. Used in conjunction with the operator’s online booking site for agents, introduced earlier this year, the new website provides the trade with improved access to essential information. As well as layout and aesthetic improvements, a more intuitive … Continue reading Neilson unveils new website amid ongoing digital focus Read More
Expedia retains Glassdoor ‘best workplace’ crown
Expedia Group has been rated as the top place to work in the UK for the second year running. The owner of Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Expedia Affiliate Network took the accolade in awards, which are based on input from staff. Run by jobs and recruiting marketplace Glassdoor UK, the annual awards rated Expedia as the … Continue reading Expedia retains Glassdoor ‘best workplace’ crown Read More
Black Tomato launches Blink for one-off luxury travel experiences
Online luxury travel agent Black Tomato has launched Blink, a new hyper-personalised service for clients looking for something unrepeatable and unique. The London-based luxury agent said the idea came from a trend it has seen from clients looking to design their own experiences where no one else has travelled or done before. The name of … Continue reading Black Tomato launches Blink for one-off luxury travel experiences Read More
Hogg Robinson’s Fraedom tech arm reports 21% revenue growth
Cost savings of £11.5 million over the past 18 months in the middle of a three-year restructuring helped boost half-year profits at Hogg Robinson Group. Pre-tax profit for the six months to September 30 was up by 17% to £15.2 million as revenue rose by 5% to £163.6 million. Newly deployed technology delivering increased productivity … Continue reading Hogg Robinson’s Fraedom tech arm reports 21% revenue growth Read More
Ryanair’s ‘cunning plan’ for holidays to claim more share of customers’ wallet
Ryanair made no ambitious claims for how big its new Holidays service will become when it launched yesterday, but the budget carrier clearly sees an opportunity to disrupt a significant market. If you want a good idea about the projected scale of Ryanair Holidays the Civil Aviation Authority’s Atol check service on the regulator’s website … Continue reading Ryanair’s ‘cunning plan’ for holidays to claim more share of customers’ wallet Read More
Thomas Cook credits boost in Discovery Store bookings to VR
Virtual reality has helped Thomas Cook secure more bookings in its new Discovery Stores, according to the firm’s director of retail and customer experience. Kathryn Darbandi said feedback from stores with the virtual reality offering had said it was the “sale clincher” in some cases. The technology allows potential holidaymakers to put on a VR … Continue reading Thomas Cook credits boost in Discovery Store bookings to VR Read More
Bedsonline reports 4% revenue growth despite ‘very tough year’
Bedsonline today reported 4% revenue growth in Europe, despite a “very tough year” due to terrorist attacks and geopolitical uncertainty. Some overall markets suffered a decrease in sales, the Spanish-based company admitted, without providing details. The provider of online accommodation and ancillary services to travel agencies countered the sluggish performance in Europe with higher revenue … Continue reading Bedsonline reports 4% revenue growth despite ‘very tough year’ Read More
Travolution Awards: Winners revealed
View our gallery of the night here Cheapflights parent Momondo Group chief executive Hugo Burge was honoured with the Travolution achievement award last night as the digit travel brand marked its 10 year anniversary at its annual awards in London. Burge joined the likes of lastminute.com founder Brent Hoberman, easyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Kayak’s Steve … Continue reading Travolution Awards: Winners revealed Read More
On The Beach names new finance director
Gala Coral Interactive finance director Paul Meehan was today named as new finance chief at On the Beach. He will succeed Wendy Parry who is to retire from the OTA on January 16, 2017. Parry joined On the Beach in April 2010 and led the finance function covering its IPO last year. The company said … Continue reading On The Beach names new finance director Read More
Former Lowcost Holidays boss takes chief marketing role at Broadway Travel
Former Lowcost Holidays managing director Tim Buckman has been appointed chief marketing officer of Broadway Travel Group. He will make the switch to the travel agency group from marketing agency Addmustard on December 1. Buckman has also previously held senior positions at transfers specialist Resorthoppa (now Hoppa) and worked for a number of airlines including … Continue reading Former Lowcost Holidays boss takes chief marketing role at Broadway Travel Read More
Opodo chief looks to a positive future as OTA turns 15
Opodo marked its 15th birthday with an event in London last night celebrating the landmark with many of its airline partners. See our gallery of the Opodo 15th Anniversary Event The OTA, which was originally founded by nine European airlines and powered by Amadeus technology, is now owned by eDreams ODIGEO, the Barcelona-based online giant. … Continue reading Opodo chief looks to a positive future as OTA turns 15 Read More
Inside Expedia’s London usability lab
Expedia is using facial recognition technology on holidaymakers surfing the internet for inspiration and to book their next trip. Ben Ireland sat in as the online travel agent’s scientists demonstrated their new technology. Walking through what could have been mistaken for a door into a boiler room in Expedia’s modern London offices in Angel, you … Continue reading Inside Expedia’s London usability lab Read More
Thomson to start virtual travel agent trial
Thomson is to trial a new “virtual agent” after research revealed that 77% of people thought such technology would be useful when searching for a holiday. Customers will be able to interact via a simple chat interface to get responses in real-time, resulting in suggestions of holiday destinations or experiences. The service is being beta … Continue reading Thomson to start virtual travel agent trial Read More
Expedia deploys chatbots and machine learning as it monitors every customer click
Expedia uses every single click a customer makes on its website as it looks to build up a profile of their travel needs and is using the data – alongside machine learning – to “optimise the customer experience”. After the online travel agent announced its new usability lab on Tuesday morning, vice president in product … Continue reading Expedia deploys chatbots and machine learning as it monitors every customer click Read More
EDreams ODIGEO doubles profits over summer period
Pictured: Dana Dunne European OTA eDreams ODIGEO saw adjusted net profits almost double for the summer period to €16.6 million. Results for the half-year to September 30 show an 8% year-on-year rise in bookings due to a “solid performance” in all core markets. Adjusted earnings [EBITDA] for the six months rose by 22% to €54.1 … Continue reading EDreams ODIGEO doubles profits over summer period Read More
Airbnb reveals intent to become full service travel company
Airbnb is moving beyond accommodation for the first time by adding a ‘Trips’ element for travellers. It also signaled its intention to become a full-service travel company by adding other travel products like flights, restaurant bookings and car hire. The San Francisco-based internet giant made the announcement, which will see it compete head on with … Continue reading Airbnb reveals intent to become full service travel company Read More

Travel Weekly

Thomas Cook honours agent for organising 'friendship cruises'
A Cook agent with 40 years’ experience has been honoured for organising cruise trips that bring together widows who would not otherwise have holiday companions. Read More
Trade help sought to rehome rescue cat named Kuoni
Kuoni is calling on the travel industry to help rehome an elderly rescue cat of the same name this Christmas. Read More
Manchester airport claims carbon neutral status
Manchester airport has become the first in the UK to be awarded Level 3-Plus carbon neutral status. Read More
Higher oil prices will dent global airline profits in 2017, says Iata
Net profits for the global airline industry are set to fall by more than $5 billion in 2017 as higher oil prices come into effect. Read More
Thomas Cook Airlines aircraft diverts after suspicious package'
Bomb squad officers were reportedly called to check out a suspicious package on Thomas Cook Airlines aircraft after it was forced to divert to Tenerife. Read More
AccorHotels takes minority stake in Banyan Tree to help expand brand
AccorHotels is to invest an initial €16 million for a 5% stake in luxury Asian group Banyan Tree Holdings to help expand the brand. Read More
Comment: Getting down with the gaming heroes proves fruitful
It is not often that a day out with the kids on a Sunday provides food for thought for business but the other day certainly did. We were at a gaming and YouTuber event in London called Upload 2016. Read More
Trade unfazed by Ryanair's launch into package holiday sector
Industry players appear unperturbed by Ryanair’s launch into the package holiday sector. Read More
Jet2 woos agents for joint branding
Jet2holidays has urged independent travel agents to “not fear the brand” and use joint marketing with the operator to increase sales. Read More
14 killed as floods engulf Thai tourist islands
At least 14 people have been killed in Thailand as floods engulfed southern holiday islands ahead of the December-January high season for tourism. Read More
UK delivers strong performance for Tui Group
The UK delivered a strong operating performance for Tui Group with carryings up by 4% in the year to September in the face of “continuing geopolitical crises” and economic challenges. Read More
Expedia on track to become world's first $100bn travel agency
Expedia is on the way to becoming the world’s first $100 billion travel agency, a landmark it will achieve in the next few years, according to its chief executive. Read More
CAA issues new guidelines for airports to support people with hidden disabilities
Passengers with hidden disabilities are to get better support at UK airports and more effective communication ahead of travel under new guidelines published by the aviation regulator. Read More
Five US cruise brands win green light to serve Cuba
Five US brands operated collectively by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean Cruises have received the green light to start sailing to Cuba next year. Read More
Kuoni Global Travel Services appoints Reto Wilhelm as chief executive
Senior Thomas Cook Group executive Reto Wilhelm has been poached to head Kuoni Global Travel Services. Read More
SLH tips Mexico, the Caribbean and Ibiza as key destinations for 2017
Mexico is poised to be Small Luxury Hotels of the World's biggest hotel destination for 2017. Read More
Pakistan International Airlines aircraft crashes with 40 on board
A Pakistan International Airlines flight with more than 40 people on board has crashed in the north of the country. Read More
Cruise ship calls to Scottish ports rise for seventh successive year
Scottish ports are expecting a further rise in cruise ship calls in 2017, following a seventh successive record year. Read More
Iata reports October dip in global airline passenger demand
Global airline passenger demand fell back in October from the previous month, latest Iata data shows. Read More
Caribtours appoints Danny Joel as trade sales manager
Former Club Med business development manager Danny Joel is joining Caribtours this month as trade sales manager. Read More

Travel Weekly

Africa: Malawi
Malawi deserves more than a quick dip, writes Nick Redmayne. Read More
Cyprus: Families v couples
A trip for two or with the little ones in tow? Sun-blessed Cyprus has got the lot. Read More
Tried & tested: Neilson's Retreat Beachclub
Laura French embraces her sporty side at Neilson’s Retreat Beachclub in Sivota. Read More
Alternative Asia
Steer second-time visitors to Asia towards the spots that will inspire them, suggests Laura French. Read More
Aviation: Ready for take off
Stay on top of the most interesting new flights for 2017, writes Samantha Mayling. Read More
Aviation: High-time fliers
Passengers are making their pounds go further with low-cost long-haul routes, writes Phil Davies. Read More
Myth-busting: Accessible Tourism
Accessible travel isn’t nearly as tricky as you might think, finds Tom Jamison Read More
The Caribbean: Nassau Paradise Island
Nassau Paradise Island is worth more than a quick shore excursion, discovers Jeannine Williamson. Read More
The Caribbean: Puerto Rico
This new kid on the block is quite a catch, writes Jo Cooke. Read More
North Africa: Marrakech add-ons
Marrakech is pure magic – if a bit manic – and it’s one of the most compelling reasons to visit Morocco. Read More
North Africa: Winter three ways
Anyone who has ever holidayed in North Africa will have been struck by the warmth and friendliness of the locals, the richness of cultures, and the fantastic food and drink. Read More
All inclusive: Mexico
Nothing beats a Mexican welcome, a kiss on both cheeks and a warm hug, just what’s needed after a 10-hour flight. Read More
All inclusive: Pause and play
Spending a week sprawled out on a lounger soaking up the sunshine isn’t for everyone. Read More
Six of the best wildlife experiences
See the Indian Ocean’s wilder side. Read More
Escorted tours: Trend game
Escorted touring is on the up, but what’s in store for 2017, asks Katie McGonagle. Read More
Escorted tours: Homestays
Live like a local and make lasting memories on a homestay, says Aby Dunsby. Read More
Latin America: 10 of the best food and drink experiences
Get a taste for Latin America, says Aby Dunsby. Read More
The US: Swamp thing
Robin Searle gets more than he bargained for on the alligator-filled waterways of Louisiana. Read More
The US: State of play
Escape the buzz of the Big Apple to find a quieter side of New York State, writes David Whitley. Read More
Canada: Quebec in winter
When the mercury drops, the fun kicks up a gear, finds Tom Irwin. Read More
Breaking Travel News

Breaking Travel News

Focus: Breaking Travel News investigates: Sea Spray restaurant, Galle Face Hotel, Sri Lanka
With its panoramic views of the Indian Ocean in a defined casual-chic setting, Sea Spray introduces an exclusive alfresco dining experience to Colombo. Inspired by European seafronts, the atmosphere is refined but relaxed, with seamless understated service. Here Breaking Travel News editor Chris O’Toole calls in for dinner.
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News: Thomson unveils final UK ad campaign before 2017 rebrand
This December leading UK holiday company, Thomson, will mark its ultimate campaign titled ‘Moments’, airing before Christmas ahead of rebranding to TUI in 2017. Thomson is proud to have led the way since the 1960’s by producing emotive holiday campaigns, with the new creative continuing the legacy theme as the story signifies the importance of enjoying those important holiday ‘moments’ with loved ones.
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News: Banyan Tree Holdings signs innovative partnership with Accor
Banyan Tree Holdings has announced that it has entered into an agreement with AccorHotels designed to allow the French hospitality giant to design and manage Banyan Tree branded hotels around the world. AccorHotels will invest an initial €16 million in Singapore-based Banyan Tree and both parties will then co-develop the brands owned by Banyan Tree.
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News: American cruise ships poised for Cuban return following government green light
Royal Caribbean has announced that the Cuban government has granted them approval for cruises to Cuba and they plan to announce their first Florida-Cuba itineraries in the near future. At the same time, Oceania Cruises has revealed its first three inaugural voyages from Miami to Cuba. The first will depart in March 2017.
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News: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them comes to Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood
Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood has revealed its latest tour addition, from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World: The Harry Potter & Fantastic Beasts Exhibit. On hand were special guests Dan Fogler, from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and Bonnie Wright, of Harry Potter film series fame.
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News: Qatar Airways to welcome UnionPay credit and debit cards
Qatar Airways will now accept UnionPay credit and debit cards through its website for ticket and other sales, expanding payment options for customers around the world. With more than 5.8 billion cards issued globally, UnionPay is an international bankcard network and is the preferred method of payment for the Chinese market.
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News: Low-cost airline Wingo launches Quito-Bogota flights
A new milestone in connectivity has been reached in Ecuador, with the inaugural flight of low-cost airline Wingo on the Quito-Bogota route. There was a celebratory atmosphere at Mariscal Sucre Airport before the first passengers boarded the new flight, which will join both capital cities with four weekly flights on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
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News: IATA: Slight moderation in global passenger growth
The International Air Transport Association has announced global passenger traffic results for October showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometres, or RPKs) rose 5.8 per cent compared to the same month last year. Capacity grew 6.3 per cent and load factor slid 0.4 percentage points to 80.1 per cent.
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News: TUI Group reports earnings increase and predicts bright future for hospitality
TUI Group has reported an operating result of €1.001 billion for the financial year, up from €953 million last year. The figure excludes the specialist unit Travelopia, which is available for sale as announced and is accounted for as discontinued operation.
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News: Qatar Airways to launch daily flights to Dublin, Ireland
Qatar Airways has announced that it will offer daily non-stop flights between Doha and Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, commencing June 12th, 2017. Situated on Ireland’s east coast, Dublin features many cultural and historic highlights and has long attracted visitors from all over the world.
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News: Scott takes up leadership role with Royal Caribbean in Scotland
Royal Caribbean has announced the appointment of George Scott as regional sales manager for Scotland. Starting in January 2017, Scott joins Royal Caribbean from Kuoni Travel where he held the position of store manager, and Thomson where he was senior retail manager.
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News: New UK country manager for Royal Brunei Airlines
Royal Brunei Airlines has announced the appointment of Adiel Mambara as its new UK country manager. Promoted from UK sales and marketing manager, Mambara will be tasked with growing RB’s business class customer base and increasing market share to RB’s key destinations. In his ten years at RB, Mambara has been instrumental in building RB’s strategic partnerships and increasing the number of business passengers flying with RB, particularly among SMEs.
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News: Pinnon Safari Lodge set to launch in Zambia in spring 2017
May 2017 will see the official launch of Pinnon Safari Lodge, an independently owned and managed safari lodge located in the Kafue National Park, Zambia. Situated on the banks of the Kafue River and surrounded by the most stunning variety of birds and wildlife, Pinnon Lodges offers an authentically wild safari experience.
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News: Garuda Indonesia to connect Indonesia to India for first time
Garuda Indonesia will provide the first direct link between Indonesia and India by operating a new route from Jakarta to the Indian metropolis Mumbai, starting December 12th. The new service will be served through Bangkok three times a week by the airline’s Boeing 738 aircraft with a two-class cabin configuration.
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News: Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel, opens in US
Tribute Portfolio has announced its official debut in The Gateway City with Magnolia Hotel St. Louis, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel. Originally the historic Mayfair Hotel, the property’s charming character and features have been preserved, while integrating touches of indie design and flair.
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News: W London – Leicester Square launches Mega Bar
Say goodbye to the generic mini bar with W London – Leicester Square’s Mega Bar, a luxurious in-room bar service complete with personal mixologist, sound system and disco ball; available exclusively to suite guests. Measuring 2.4m x 1.6m, the imposing Mega Bar will be wheeled into suites offering guests a unique cocktail experience they’ll never forget.
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News: Radier steps up to chief executive role with Kenya Tourism Board
Betty Radier has been appointed as the new Kenya Tourism Board chief executive following an extensive recruitment process. Announcing the appointment, KTB chairman Jimi Kariuki said the board was confident Radier had the right qualifications to steer KTB and the country’s tourism sector into great new frontiers.
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Playlists: World Travel Awards - Grand Final 2016
World Travel Awards this year hosted its prestigious Grand Final at The Sun Siyam Iru Fushi in the Maldives in front of an audience of over 250 hospitality leaders from around the world. Here Breaking Travel News catches up with the winners as they claim their trophies.
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Focus: Breaking Travel News investigates: Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Sri Lanka
The scent of Cinnamon put Sri Lanka on the map centuries ago, in the glory days of the Spice Route. Cinnamon is a timeless classic: a versatile, well-loved spice with the power to heal, rejuvenate, inspire, and stimulate the senses. What the spice did for our history books, Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts strives to do today. Here Breaking Travel News editor Chris O’Toole finds out more about this iconic brand.
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News: Keel laying ceremony for Seabourn Ovation takes place ahead of 2018 launch
In a busy week for the luxury cruise line, Seabourn has welcomed the keel laying celebrations for Seabourn Ovation at the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestri, Italy. With Seabourn Ovation’s launch date set for spring 2018, the ceremony marked a significant milestone in the construction of Seabourn’s newest ultra-luxury ship.
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