Angry Brits stage demonstration at Caribbean hotel

Angry British holidaymakers have staged a sit-in demonstration at a luxury Caribbean hotel, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

The protest apparently came about when the British holidaymakers, who had booked their vacation in the Dominican Republic through travel company Thomson, suffered an invasion by a large party of locals on bargain breaks at the luxury resort, ClubHotel Riu Merengue. The rowdy newcomers allegedly defecated in the hotel swimming pool, which forced its closure, and took all of the food from the hotel buffet, leaving none for anyone else. It was also claimed that they urinated on the hotel’s sun loungers while they were in use.

The Daily Mail reported that one of the complainants, Tony Walton from Doncaster in the UK, had had his GBP12,000 family holiday ruined by the invasion, while Thomson had only offered him GBP30 as compensation. He claimed that when complaints were made to hotel staff they suggested that paying for excursions would be a way to escape from the problems at the hotel.

It was Mr Walton who arranged the sit-in at the Thomson desk, attended by between 50 and 60 other disgruntled holidaymakers, a move that eventually gained them a transfer to another hotel with fewer amenities. Mr Walton also claimed that he and a large percentage of the hotel guests had suffered stomach upsets during their stay.

Speaking to MailOnline, a spokesman for Thomson said, ‘Thomson is sorry to hear that Mr Walton was disappointed with his stay at the Riu Merengue in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. We are aware that some customers expressed a disappointment with the levels of service during high occupancy and, as a gesture of goodwill, have moved them to a hotel nearby, including Mr Walton’s party. We are not aware of any reported cases of illness and the majority of customers at the hotel have opted to stay and continue their holiday. Thomson takes customer satisfaction very seriously and is currently working with the hotelier to fully investigate Mr Walton’s complaint.’

Mr Walton has said that he will be taking legal advice on his return to the UK.


Thomas Cook announces Manchester – Caribbean routes

Thomas Cook Airlines, a British charter airline based in Manchester, UK, has announced new flights to the Caribbean from Manchester Airport.

Providing travellers with an option to London’s current monopoly on routes to St Lucia and Antigua, Thomas Cook will be offering flights to both destinations from Manchester, via Barbados, from next winter.

The new weekly flights are scheduled to operate until the end of April next year, with the Manchester-St Lucia-Barbados route commencing on November 10, and the Manchester-Antigau-Barbados route commencing a month later on December 19. While a proportion of seats will be earmarked for passengers that have booked an accommodation package with Thomas Cook, around 80 percent of seats will be available as flight only. A late morning departure from Manchester is intended to provide passengers with a convenient amount of commuting or transiting time.

For flight only, prices start from £464 return, while accommodation inclusive packages vary in price dependent on duration of stay and level of accommodation.

Christoph Debus, head of air travel for Thomas Cook Group, said, ‘It’s fantastic news that we’re able to offer UK travellers seat-only and holidays from Manchester to some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean, initially for the coming winter season. With the recent reduction in connections from Manchester to Gatwick limiting the travel options for those from the Midlands, the North and Scotland to connect with Caribbean flights from London, we’re pleased to be able to offer more flexibility and choice for our customers, competing with the very best scheduled and charter carriers.’

St Barths already preparing for Christmas revelry

Caribbean island, St. Barths, is being decked up to receive the rich and famous for this year’s Christmas holidays, as it has become one of the must-visit holiday destinations for the elite, according to

The tiny island claims to be blessed with all of the natural assets that make it a tourist’s haven. A green-blue harbour and landing strips for private jets are just some of the many facilities that attract celebrities and the well to do.

St. Barths has villas, hotels, spas, restaurants, and numerous recreation options for those who have enough time and money on their hands. The island is especially attractive to migratory tourists intent on escaping the harsh winters in parts of Europe.

The island has ambitious plans to celebrate this year’s festive season, as it sets out to provide its Christmas visitors with a holiday to remember.

St. Barth’s Christmas celebrations will start on December 12, with ‘The Colours of Christmas in St. Barths,’ an annual two-and-half week competition that involves businesses vying with one another to create the best storefront window decorations. A panel of 10 judges will decide on the winners of the competition, and they will be announced at a December 30 cocktail party on Quai General de Gaulle in Gustavia.

The Port of Gustavia will host the St. Barths Christmas Village from December 12 to 23, providing ample opportunities for shoppers to choose from the European-style market’s merchandise.

The island also hosts the annual New Year’s Eve Regatta, beginning on December 31st. It is during the Regatta that yacht owners visit the harbours for fun and friendly nautical competitions. Once the competitions come to an end, visitors are treated to live music, dance and a fireworks display.


British Airways Offers New First Class Service to the Caribbean

British Airways, a UK based airline company, has announced the launch of its new First class service on four of its popular routes from London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

The airline is offering the new luxury service for passengers travelling from London Gatwick to Barbados, Bermuda, St Lucia and Port of Spain in Trinidad.

The new service is being offered on Boeing 777-200 aircraft, and includes 60 percent wider seating, private wardrobes, personal electronic blinds, and balanced privacy options.

The airline has recently introduced a new food and drink menu for its World Traveller Plus premium economy cabins on all long distance flights from Gatwick Airport. The World Traveller Plus also offers increased personal space for passengers, with larger seats, adjustable headrests, lumbar support and leg rests.

Colm Lacy, the airline head of commercial at Gatwick, said, ‘These are significant steps forward for our premium customers at Gatwick. The introduction of the new First cabin means our customers can enjoy the very best travel experience British Airways has to offer.

Our World Traveller Plus customers are also benefiting from an upgraded food and drink service, offering them even more choice in our premium economy cabin.’

The airline is also offering holiday packages to the Caribbean, in celebration of its new First class cabin and World Traveller Plus cabin services. The holidays include seven nights’ stay at St Lucia, and Barbados, at resorts that include Cap Maison, Jade Mountain, the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, and The Sandpiper, for leisure travellers from London.

MSC Cruises Offers New Amenities and Sale Fares for Travellers

MSC Cruises, a US-based cruise company, is offering new complimentary upgrades on holiday sailings aboard the luxurious, MSC Poesia.

The cruise line is offering its guests complimentary upgrades from ocean view to balcony staterooms, or from balcony standard to balcony superior staterooms, on certain five-night and seven-night cruises through the Mediterranean, as part of its ‘Holidays on Sale’. The sale fares are available untilJuly 31, 2012, for prices commencing at GBP403 per person, for double occupancy.

Holidays on Sale itineraries include a Christmas Cruise departing December 21, 2012, calling at Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Mexico, and the Roatan Islands; a New Year’s Cruise departing December 28, 2012, calling at Antigua, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas; a Five-night Passover Cruise departing March 25, 2013, calling at the Cayman Islands and Jamaica; and an Easter Cruise departing March 30, 2013, calling at Mexico, Honduras, Cayman Islands, and Jamaica.

The company is also offering Europe Last Minute Sail fares commencing from GBP228 per person for double occupancy, to some of Europe’s most celebrated destinations, including those in Spain, France, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Germany, and Russia.

The company is also offering complimentary voyages for children aged 11 years and younger, while children aged 12 to 18 years can sail with paying parents for reduced rates. Four different Kids Club programmes are on offer on cruises, each catering for a different age group.

For passengers booking a Standard Balcony Suite on certain voyages, the company is offering a number of exclusive amenities, including complimentary wines and beverages, access to an exclusive restaurant, lounge and swimming pool, and Butler and Concierge services. The cruises also provide various entertainment programmes.


British Airways Passengers Favour Caribbean as Summer Holiday Destination

British Airways, a UK-based airline company, has announced that a recent poll of its passengers has suggested that the Caribbean tops the list of favourite summer holiday destinations.

The survey of passengers showed that while Caribbean holidays are becoming ever more popular, they are closely followed by destinations that include South Africa and Florida, in the US, and other favourite vacation destinations include London and the Maldives.

Respondents to the survey also chose ‘a relaxing beach vacation’ as their favourite kind of holiday, in preference to ‘romantic city-breaks’, ‘fun-filled family getaways’, or ‘an all-action adventure trip’.

British Airways organised the survey on its Facebook page.

Claire Bentley, the airline’s holidays managing director, said, ‘The thought of relaxing on a stunning beach, in the warm and friendly Caribbean is a real draw as the summer weather continues to be a bit of a letdown. Equally, South Africa is a real dream destination with Cape Town, Table Mountain and the Garden route all top attractions, while Florida is proving as popular as ever as an all-round destination with fantastic beaches, great attractions and weather.

We’ve had a great response to our Facebook poll which just shows how important holidays are to people.’

The airline is currently serving several Caribbean destinations with extra flights from London Gatwick Airport for the summer, in keeping with the increased demand for the routes. Service to Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua, in the Caribbean, have been increased to daily, and an extra flight a week has been added to Kingston in Jamaica. The airline is also offering three extra flights to Orlando, in Florida, US, for a total of 10 flights weekly.


Caribbean Airlines Offers Service to Trinidad and Tobago from Gatwick Airport

Caribbean Airlines, an airline based in Trinidad and Tobago, has introduced a non-stop service to Port of Spain in Trinidad and Tobago, from London Gatwick Airport in the UK.

The new non-stop twice-weekly services commenced from Gatwick on June 15, 2012, from the North Terminal. With launch of its new services to the UK, Caribbean Airlines becomes the fifth international air carrier to begin offering services from Gatwick Airport in 2012

Guy Stephenson, the airport chief commercial officer, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Caribbean Airlines and its passengers to our airport today. This non-stop service will not only be welcomed by business travellers with links to the economic hub of Trinidad but also with holiday makers wanting to soak up the Caribbean sun and vibrant culture this destination offers.’

Gatwick Airport has invested around £20 million a month to offer improved services and facilities to its passengers, which include faster check-in, competent security procedures, and offering direct transportation to central London. The airport currently boasts that it serves 200 destinations in 90 countries across the world.

Caribbean Airlines chief executive officer, Robert Corbie, said, ‘We are extremely happy to announce the start-up of our service from Gatwick to Piarco International Airport as our flights will provide a vital link between London and the Caribbean. We are well positioned strategically to become the preferred airline for all customers flying between London and the Caribbean with seamless connections to South America.’

New Gatwick Service For Caribbean Airlines

Caribbean Airlines, an airline company that has its base and hub at Piarco International Airport, Port of Spain, Trinidad, has commenced flights between Trinidad and Gatwick Airport in the UK.

The Gatwick service, which started on Saturday June 16, will be non-stop, twice weekly to Piarco International Airport.

Commenting on the inauguration of the new flights, Guy Stephenson, the chief commercial officer at Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Caribbean Airlines and its passengers to our airport today. This non-stop service will not only be welcomed by business travellers with links to the economic hub of Trinidad but also with holiday makers wanting to soak up the Caribbean sun and vibrant culture this destination offers.’

While Caribbean Airlines chief executive officer, Mr Robert Corbie said: ‘We are extremely happy to announce the start-up of our service from Gatwick to Piarco International Airport as our flights will provide a vital link between London and the Caribbean. We are well positioned strategically to become the preferred airline for all customers flying between London and the Caribbean with seamless connections to South America. ‘Fly Caribbean’ to experience the warmth of the islands as soon as you step on board.’

Caribbean Airlines joins other international air carriers that have chosen to commence operations out of Gatwick Airport this year, including Air Nigeria, Korean Air, Hong Kong Airways and Air China. The airport’s increased popularity with overseas operators is considered to be partly due to improvements in its facilities, on which the airport’s management has recently been investing £20m per month.

Hilton Hotels in the Caribbean and Latin America Announces New Summer Offers for Families

Hilton Hotels and resorts, a multinational hotel company, is offering family vacations in its Caribbean and Latin America properties.

The ‘Family Time package’ will remain available until September 8, 2012 at participating properties in the Caribbean and Latin America. The package includes accommodation with connecting rooms; daily family breakfast; complimentary gifts and activities for children; and in-room high-speed Internet access.

The participating hotels are Hilton Buenos Aires, Argentina; Hilton Sao Paulo Morumbi, Brazil; Hilton Belem, Brazil; Hilton Bogota, Colombia; Hilton Cartagena, Colombia; Hilton Garden Inn Santiago Airport, Chile; Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort, Mexico; Hilton Mexico City Reforma, Mexico; Hilton Villahermosa & Conference Center, Mexico; Hilton Garden Inn Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico; Hampton Inn by Hilton Ciudad del Carmen, Mexico; DoubleTree by Hilton Queretaro, Mexico; Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa, Costa Rica; DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Central Pacific, Costa Rica; DoubleTree Cariari by Hilton San Jose, Costa Rica; Hilton Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; British Colonial Hilton Nassau, The Bahamas; Hilton Barbados Resort; and others.

The 21 participating hotels and resorts are offering special amenities for children, including a Kidz Paradise club at Hilton Barbados Resort, and a specially designed programme, Cabo Kids, from Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort.

The hotels are offering additional complimentary children’s amenities, including a gift upon arrival, cookies and milk in-room on request, one children’s movie in-room, a book rental for children, and Kid’s Club access.

Summer Savings from IHG for Travel to Caribbean and Latin America

This summer, for those travellers planning a trip to the Caribbean but have yet to make firm reservations, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is offering summer savings on vacations.

The UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group, the promoter of hotel brands that include InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts, Holiday Inn Express, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, and others, is offering a new Latin America and Caribbean promotion for travellers.

The company is offering a Discover Latin America and Caribbean, for travellers booking a stay at a hotel in around 75 select destinations between June 1 and September 1, 2012, and completing the stay by September 15, 2012. The promotion is offering travellers complimentary breakfast and a discount of 20 percent on regular room rates at key destinations in Latin America and Caribbean.

Some of the properties participating in the promotion include the InterContinental Buenos Aires, in Argentina; Holiday Inn Aruba-Beach Resort & Casino, in Aruba; Holiday Inn Cartagena Morros, in Columbia; Crowne Plaza Lima, in Peru; Holiday Inn Sunspree Montego Bay in Jamaica; Holiday Inn Bridgetown Barbados Resort in Barbados; Holiday Inn Express Santiago, in Chile; and many others.

The hotel properties are situated in various locations, ranging from tropical forests and islands with beaches, to contemporary skyscraper buildings in cities, and claim to offer something for every kind of travel requirement.

Members of the company’s Priority Club Rewards loyalty programme will also be able to earn rewards points for stays during the promotional period.