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According to USA Today

The government appears all but certain to regulate minimum seat sizes for airline flights after the Senate voted 93-6 to pass legislation that extends funding for the FAA for another five years. The legislation also includes provisions that affect air travelers.

Chief among them: The bill orders the FAA to set standards for the size of airline seats, part of what’s known as the “Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act.” The agency would have one year to come up with minimum requirements for seat width and for the space between seats.

The legislation has already been passed by the House and is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump.

As for the seat sizes, however, it’s unclear what rules the agency might ultimately adopt. Passengers’ rights groups undoubtedly hope the FAA might pass requirements that would require airlines to add more space to seats that now have as little as 29 inches between rows. However, it’s possible that the FAA’s rules could instead end up codifying the tightest seating arrangements already offered on U.S. airlines.

The FAA bill is also notable for what is not included.

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Royal Caribbean announced a new cruise cancellation policy that will go into effect on all bookings made on or after April 8, 2018.

The policy change is aimed at encouraging guests to finalize their bookings earlier.  The cancellation policy adjustments announced, “were decided upon in an effort to better align with industry standards and to make the schedule simpler and more concise.”

We have limited space on this fantastic Oasis of the Seas cruise sailing in September.
http://www.thecruisexperts.com/TravelInfo/Details?PriceId=5333720&mid=55815

Sandals has got some Wow to report, and the Caribbean has just gotten a lot better.Sandals over the waterCheck out the new Over The Water Suites that are going to change everything. From luxurious accommodations such as the Caribbean’s first Over-the-water Suites to unique dining concepts that bring you a taste of the world – Sandals is constantly innovating the Luxury Included® experience. Discover the latest amenities and accommodations at Sandals and learn why we are continuously voted the World’s Leading All-Inclusive Company.

Link to the New Sandals Experience

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uss united states

NEW YORK – The deal announced here on Thursday was the one nobody expected – an attempt to restore the aged, rusting SS United States to a glamorous ocean liner and sail it across the world.

Luxury operator Crystal Cruises has signed an option agreement with the ship’s owner, the SS United States Conservancy, that its chief executive said could see the iconic vessel ferrying passengers to faraway ports as early as 2018, thus ending the liner’s two-decade docking in South Philadelphia.

The Washington-based conservancy had long sought to make the ship a floating hotel, museum and retail venue, a destination for tourists and ship lovers. But a new vision emerged after the conservancy issued a save-it-or-scrap-it deadline last fall, and a strong response came from Los-Angeles-based Crystal Cruises.

“It is our aspiration that the ship returns to the seas as America’s flagship one again,” Crystal CEO Edie Rodriguez told about a hundred people at a news conference here.

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The project’s cost, if successful, was estimated at more than $700 million.

The option agreement runs nine months when the cruise line will conduct a feasibility study, including extensive checks and surveys of the vessel. There’s no certainty of restoration. If any one factor might sink the deal, Rodriguez said, it would be environmental issues.

The ship is contaminated with cancer-causing PCBs, often found in old paint and insulation. Also challenging, she said, is making a 1952 liner both mechanically modern and compliant with current safety regulations.

Rodriguez noted the undertaking was huge, difficult, and perhaps unprecedented, but pledged, “Failure is not an option. . . . We’re ever the optimists.”

The announcement – on a stage flanked by flags and flowers – was made here at an appropriately seafaring setting: Pier 88, on the Hudson River, with the aircraft carrier Intrepid standing just across the way. Conservancy members, ship enthusiasts, and other supporters greeted the news with applause.

“The SS United States is ready to make history again,” said Susan Gibbs, the conservancy’s executive director and the granddaughter of naval architect William Francis Gibbs, who designed the ship. “Full speed ahead!”

Crystal Cruises will pay the $60,000-a-month cost of docking and maintaining the ship during the feasibility study – a big benefit to the conservancy, which operates in a constant search for money. The cruise company will pay no additional fees for now. At the end of nine months, if the decision is to go forward, further negotiations over money would take place.

“Together, we beat the odds,” Gibbs told those gathered at the pier. “Together we refused to give up.”

The announcement marked the first time a developer has formally, publicly signed on to the project. For years, plans and hopes for the ship have risen and fallen like the tides. Even under favorable circumstances, restoration remains an extremely complicated and costly endeavor, composed of business plans overlaid with historic preservation.

The conservancy announced in November that it had raised $600,000 to prevent the vessel from being junked. That money would have bought the group about 10 more months to reach a deal.

Its leaders have suggested New York as the best location for the ship. Plans to potentially place the liner in Philadelphia or Chester never materialized.

In its day, the S.S. United States was an ocean queen, longer than the Titanic, serving as a trans-Atlantic liner making its way from New York to ports in Europe. It was built in Newport News, Va., with steel from the Lukens company in Coatesville.

It was both liner and secret weapon: If needed, the United States could quickly be turned into a troop ship able to transport 15,000 soldiers up to 10,000 miles without refueling. The ship’s 1952 maiden voyage shattered the trans-Atlantic speed record, which it still holds. But in the 1960s, plane travel made liners outmoded.

When the United States docked in Newport News for an annual overhaul in 1969, it was taken from service. The ship was moved to Norfolk, sold, resold, put up for auction, towed to Turkey and to Ukraine, and finally to South Philadelphia in 1996. Its furniture and interior were long since stripped.

It seemed destined for scrap when its owner, Norwegian Cruise Line, offered it for sale in 2009. The conservancy was offered the first chance to buy but lacked the money. The next year, Philadelphia philanthropist H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, until recently the owner of The Inquirer, said he would donate up to $5.8 million.

Today it floats at Pier 82, looming over Ikea and the big-box stores in the shopping center across the boulevard. It was unclear where remediation and renovation of the ship would occur, if undertaken. Eventually the ship would likely have New York as its home port, conservancy officials said.

Crystal Cruises takes customers to places all over the world. Rodriguez said the SS United States, if restored, would display the glamour it exhibited at the height of its run.

“This was the way to travel,” Rodriguez said. “We aim to make her that way again.”

jgammage@phillynews.com

215-854-4906

@JeffGammage
Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20160205_Report__Cruise_ship_company_in_deal_to_buy_SS_United_States.html#myyuIMwKpsUoh7EV.99

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SSAnew5

The Cruise Experts International, Inc. Earns Esteemed 2015 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

The Cruise Experts has earned the service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of service provided to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2015.

The Cruise Experts has strived to give the very best customer service to all of our valued clients since opening in 2004. We are proud to have earned this prestigious award from Angie’s List and look forward to providing World Class Service for many years to come! We are a full service agency that offers concierge service to our clients by booking resorts, tours, land packages, and we specialize in cruises.

“Only about 5 percent of the Travel Agents in The U.S. have performed so consistently well enough to earn our Super Service Award,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “It’s a really high standard.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2015 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade; the company must be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

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 Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than three million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly rated service providers in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of more than 10 million verified reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

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viking_River_logoTraveling with the Best
When you cruise with Viking you sail with the world’s leading river cruise company, and you enjoy the rewards of more than 175 years of heritage and a level of expertise second to none.

Inspiring destinations, beautifully crafted itineraries, expert tour guides, luxurious ships, fine cuisine, excellent service, remarkable value—our success is defined by all these things, and something else, too: personal attention to every detail. It’s the way the bartender has your drink ready for you, at just the right time. It’s the gentle guidance from your tai chi master in a lesson you take while sailing along the Yangtze. It’s the handwritten directions from your concierge to the best coffeehouse in Vienna.
At Viking, we never forget that looking after you is why we have become the world’s favorite river cruise line, and why our guests return to cruise with us again and again. Indeed, it is our guests who are our greatest ambassadors, making us the most honored river cruise line in the world.

viking river

If you have experienced the pleasure of traveling with us, then you will appreciate what makes a river cruise with Viking so special. And if that experience is still ahead of you, then it is one you are sure to enjoy.

The Most Award-Winning River Cruise Line
Viking River Cruises is the World’s Best River Cruise Line in the Travel + Leisure 2012 World’s Best Awards readers’ survey and has consistently placed high on competitive rankings like Condé Nast Traveler’s Gold List, Reader’s Choice and Best Small Ships awards. We have also been honored by prestigious international organizations like the World Travel Awards. Meanwhile, travel agents have recognized us with awards including TravelAge West’s Best Line for River Cruising and Travel Weekly’s #1 River Cruise Line. And Viking is featured in National Geographic’s The 10 Best of Everything. Enriching Encounters – If you want to truly experience, explore and discover your destination, Viking takes you up close to meet the people, tour the places, learn about the customs and sample the cuisines.

Choice – A river cruise is unique in the extent to which you can make the experience your own; the choice in accommodations, excursions and dining styles cannot be matched in other ways of travel.

Celebrating Fine Food – In the company of friends, old and new, you will share one of the greatest joys of travel: the discovery of new and exciting dishes and the places they represent.

The Best Service – Unparalleled service is one of Viking’s cornerstones, and over the years we have been recognized by esteemed magazines and travel industry organizations for service excellence.

Viking Value – All Viking itineraries offer great value because they are all-inclusive; your fare covers accommodations, meals, tours, cultural enrichment and more. So you get the most out of your vacation dollar.

Link to travel offer

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