Roger Kershaw Custom Travel Design Inc.
The Confidante Your Source for What's New in Luxury Travel
Spring 2015

I want to get a short newsletter out, as there are a few important items that I'd like to cover, and that will "clear the slate" for a newsletter after Virtuoso TravelWeek in August, which I'm sure will be filled with updates on new destinations and properties all waiting for your visit! In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying a wonderful spring.

I'll leave you with one reminder: Christmas 2015 and Spring Break 2016 - where are we going? Now is the time to let me know, then sit back and ...

Consider it done!

Roger Kershaw, ASA
Roger Kershaw Custom Travel Inc.

in this issue
  • Featured Destination
  • USD-CAD Exchange Rates - Let me help!
  • Been to a library recently?
  • YVR, Fairmont Vancouver Airport tops in North America
  • Queen Elizabeth II christens Britannia
  • China allows long-term, multiple-entry visas for Canadians
  • Why are you still dragging your luggage?
  • Crystal Cruises has new owner, and big plans!
  • Orlando Eye set for May 4 grand opening
  • Come cruise with me! Your companion is Half Price!

  • USD-CAD Exchange Rates - Let me help!

    TTI Canada has recently added the facility to process charges in USD for clients with USD credit cards. This can mean that where there are USD deposits or payments made in advance of travel, I can have them applied directly to your USD credit card, thus saving you the foreign exchange transaction fees charged by credit cards, and at least one currency conversion fee. If you have a USD card, then that's probably why you got it - so let me know about it and I'll use it where we can.

    Most airfares and my service fee will continue to be charged in Canadian dollars.

    Been to a library recently?

    Spring Break is often called "Reading Week" so what better excuse to visit some of the greatest libraries in the world. Look over this collection and let me know which one you'd like to get lost in on your next trip!

    YVR, Fairmont Vancouver Airport tops in North America

    Vancouver was in spotlight at the 2015 World Airport Awards recently, with Vancouver International Airport and the Fairmont Vancouver Airport receiving top honours from Skytrax.

    YVR took the title of Best Airport in North America as well as the best airport in the 10-20 million passenger category, while the Fairmont was named Best Airport Hotel in North America. This is the sixth consecutive year YVR has won the title. The hotel category was introduced five years ago and Fairmont Vancouver Airport has held first place in four of those five years, and remains my personal favourite airport hotel in the world.

    Queen Elizabeth II christens Britannia

    Ever wish you could actually see that champagne bottle smash against the hull of a great ocean liner? Here's a video of Her Majesty launching the largest ship in the British cruise industry, the new 4300-passenger MV Britannia launched by P&O Cruises on May 15, 2015. Skip the first 38 minutes of the video as it's just a flag waving (literally). If you just want to cut to the Queen, go to 1:32:37.

    Or there's an abridged version here.

    China allows long-term, multiple-entry visas for Canadians

    Canadians may now submit their requests for the new multiple-entry visa to Chinese consulates and authorities. The new multiple-entry visa, valid for up to 10 years, will ease travel, reduce costs and cut down on delays and time spent preparing for trips to China, particularly for Canadian business people, who regularly travel between the two countries to boost exports, as well as tourists and Canadians visiting family.

    This is in addition to the visa-free 72-hour visit for all travellers in transit through Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou or Shanghai.

    It's never been so easy to visit the Middle Kingdom!

    Why are you still dragging your luggage?

    You know there's a better way! You have just spent ten or twenty thousand dollars on a trip, yet you stand in line to drop off your luggage and you stand at the carousel to collect it, and you pay one tip after another to load it into a taxi, rent a cart, move it through customs, into a limo and up to your hotel room.

    Wouldn't it be easier to just arrive in your room and find it already on the bed?

    Ship your luggage anywhere, including to a cruise ship, for less than USD 7.00/pound. Ship your bike, golf clubs, skis - anything - anywhere. And then relax. Your vacation has begun. You are Luggage Free!

    PS: Let me give you a USD 25.00 Gift Certificate to get you started!

    Crystal Cruises has new owner, and big plans!

    The pending sale of Crystal Cruises to deep-pocketed Genting Hong Kong means new ships, growth and a new era for the luxury line that is the "crème de la crème and Rolls-Royce of the travel industry," according to President and COO Edie Rodriguez. Genting owns about a quarter of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which in turn owns Regent Seven Seas Cruises, a competitor of Crystal.

    However, there will be no overlap or conflicts, says Rodriguez. "One-hundred percent, there will be no cutbacks; there will in fact be growth," Rodriguez said. And that growth means a new ship, doubling the capacity of the line, expected to enter service in 2018.

    Orlando Eye set for May 4 grand opening

    Impatient for a bird's eye view of downtown Orlando? You can now start planning. Merlin Entertainments has announced that its 400-feet (121m) high Orlando Eye will open to the public on May 4. The Eye, which can be seen from Interstate 4, is the largest wheel on the East Coast (London's Eye edges out the height contest at 135m) and features 30 observation capsules, each accommodating 15 people.

    Merlin's two other attractions on International Drive - Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and SEA LIFE Aquarium - will also open on the same date.

    Come cruise with me! Your companion is Half Price!

    Venice to Rome in 2016

    Our next almost-annual "Reunion" cruise embarks from Venice on September 16, 2016, aboard the luxurious Azamara Journey, visiting Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu, Crotone, Taormina, and Sorrento before arriving in Rome a week later. The voyage includes one of Azamara's AzAmazing Evenings in Montenegro, a Virtuoso Voyager Club excursion in Kotor, will be the 12th of our Reunion cruises with friends and clients-who-become-friends, and is the only group that Jim, Ian and I personally host.

    Book this voyage by June 30, 2015, and receive 50% off the cruise fare of the second guest!

    Featured Destination

    Dubai and Abu Dhabi

    It had been 11 years since my last visit to the UAE, and what a difference!

    As an overview, Dubai and Abu Dhabi are two of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates. Only 15% of the resident population are citizens ("Emiratis") and they receive free housing, education, utilities and medical. Dubai is the fastest growing city in the world: in 1991 there was only one highrise; now there are over 400, including the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa at 164 storeys.

    The city swells with superlatives, like the largest mall in the world (Dubai Mall, 1200 stores), the world's busiest airport (DXB with 73 million passengers/year; Terminal 3 is the largest terminal in the world and the second largest building in the world), the world's richest horse race, the biggest fireworks display, tallest apartment building, the fastest roller coaster ... the list grows daily. They even added a 42-stop above ground metro system (with "Gold Car" option) in just 18 months. Yes, 18 months.

    It's also one of the safest places on earth. Stories are legion about lost property being returned, cars left unlocked and running in the parking lot while owners shopped, and personal safety. We even saw Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (the constitutional monarch) driving alone in his Mercedes (licence DUBAI 1) on the highway beside us.

    Looking for Shopping? Every brand imaginable from anywhere in the world has a store or fleet of stores here. Dining? Although Dubai has yet to see a Michelin guide, there is no shortage of Michelin-starred chefs with branch eateries ready to fill your tummy as fast they can empty your pocketbook. Or anything else, from Cheesecake Factory to Tim Hortons. Even drinking hotspots abound - in hotels. Beaches? It's such a popular beach resort they built The Palm in the Persian Gulf just to double their beachfront from 78 miles to 160 miles. Racing? Drive at F1 speeds at Ferrari World, in Abu Dhabi. And Old Dubai? The Souks, mosques, camels, and sand are still there as well.

    Let me, with the expert attention of my Virtuoso colleagues from Arabian Adventures, show you the New (and the Old) Dubai and Abu Dhabi soon!

    Read Virtuoso Life online

    The award winning magazine published by Virtuoso for its agents and their most travelled clients is available online for everyone. You can always find a link to the latest issue from my website. In the meantime, here are some highlights from the current issue:

    Fantasy Islands Splash down in the Maldives for villas, reef life, and beaches beyond compare.

    Sun, Sand and Surf The ultimate guide to five beach towns we love.

    Suites That Will Move (With) You. Ten cruise-ship suites that rival top hotel penthouses.

    In the Neighborhood Istanbul's historic blue-collar quarter is the city's hottest cultural hub.

    Great Outdoors Natural beauty and villa chic reign on Costa Rica's Peninsula Papagayo.

    Read the complete current edition of VIRTUOSO LIFE now! © 2015 Virtuoso, LTD.

    Referrals welcome!

    The highest compliment my clients can give is the referral of their friends, family and business associates.

    Thank you for your support.

    Cruise & Travel Links

    Crystal Cruises

    Silversea Cruises

    Seabourn Cruises

    Regent Seven Seas Cruises

    SeaDream Yacht Club

    Celebrity Cruises

    Azamara Club Cruises


    Hosted Villas

    Belmond Hotels Trains and Cruises

    Lindblad Expeditions National Geographic


    Cox & Kings

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