Source = Likuliku Lagoon Resort – National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World Likuliku Lagoon Resort (Photo Credit: Samantha Muspratt)Another Fiji first for Likuliku Lagoon ResortFiji’s unique resort joins National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World.Fijian owned and multi-award-winning Likuliku Lagoon Resort, is delighted to announce that they have been accepted as a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World (NGULW) – the first and only one in Fiji and one of only two in the Pacific.When Likuliku Lagoon Resort opened in 2007, it blazed a trail for Fiji with the country’s first and only over-water bures/bungalows and immediately set new benchmarks for cuisine and service. In the 11 years since, the Resort has garnered an enviable reputation for excellence whilst continuing to set more benchmarks for not only service and experiences but in environmental practices. National Geographic Unique Lodges has exacting and uncompromising standards, and to be accepted into their portfolio of Lodges is a testament to the excellence that Likuliku has achieved. And, like all of the exclusive Unique Lodges of the World, Likuliku chooses to tread lightly – celebrating nature rather than conquering it, supporting cultural heritage and engagement with local communities, in addition to offering an authentic, quintessential Fijian experience in pristine ocean and wilderness surroundings.“We are honoured that Likuliku Lagoon Resort has been selected to join this extraordinary and prestigious collection of boutique accommodation around the world” says Steve Anstey, Ahura Resorts, Group General Manager. “Becoming a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges collection – with its esteemed global reputation in hospitality and conservation and cultural experiences, was a natural fit and step forward for us.”Steve continues, “We have always been environmentally focused as one needs to be when building and operating in pristine locations. During construction, extraordinary care and attention was taken to protect the natural resources including our reef and forest areas which were always intended to be a focal point of the Likuliku experience. Programs based on marine flora and fauna including turtle conservation, coral and clam planting, and consultation with the local community to install marine protection areas on reefs in order improve fish stocks, have been in place since we opened”.Likuliku’s environmental initiatives took a dramatic turn in 2010 when a single Fiji Crested Iguana “Brachylophus Vitiensis” was found at Likuliku. The Fiji Crested Iguana is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1), and listed on Appendix I of CITES and was thought to be extinct on the island of Malolo as there had not been any sightings for over 30 years. Like most animals on the brink of extinction, the demise of the Fiji Iguana has been largely due to the destruction of their natural habitat, which in the case of the Fiji Crested Iguana, is Dry Forest. Through urbanisation and development, the complex and diverse Dry Forest ecosystem has been radically diminished and along with the introduction of non-native animals – including rats, cats, mongoose and goats – which consume either the Iguanas or compete for their food sources, the Iguanas have over time simply disappeared.Dry Forest once covered most of the islands in the Mamanuca Group, yet today only one percent of this ecosystem remains in the country, making it one of the most endangered on the planet. On Malolo Levu Island only 3 percent of Dry Forest remains. Since Dry Forests are crucial to the survival of the Fiji Crested Iguana and other wildlife, Ahura Resorts embarked on a major regeneration and restoration program. It established the first Dry Forest Nursery in Fiji on the island at Likuliku and using a scientific method, focused on growing 12 particular species that, once planted in a 10m x 10m grid, would provide a prototype Dry Forest suitable for Crested Iguana habitation.Over a period of 4 years, this reforestation initiative in combination with a controlled program of invasive species eradication – particularly cats and rats, started to bare fruit. Leading up to this time, the Iguanas found were serendipitous. Suddenly they were visible in the wild but still in low numbers. This enabled the start of a catch, tag and release program whereby Iguana activity could be tracked and monitored in the wild. In addition, Likuliku was granted a permit to hold and breed Crested Iguanas in captivity and today cares for 4 breeding pairs. Likuliku is the only facility in the world to hatch Iguana eggs in captivity under natural conditions ie not in an egg incubator.Likuliku’s Fijian owner, Tony Whitton adds, “To become part of this extraordinary and internationally renowned worldwide network and being associated with the significantly historical organisation that is National Geographic, is a culmination of all that has been achieved for our young resort company and the product that is Likuliku Lagoon Resort. This a global stage like no other, and to be the first and only in Fiji is a credit to the Ahura Team on creating a product worthy of this type of attention and inclusion”.Guests who book their experiences at the Likuliku Lagoon Resort through National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World www.nationalgeographiclodges.com will also enjoy exclusive, specially-designed eco experiences.(1) IUCN Red List: The International Union for Conservation of Nature ( IUC) List of Threatened Species™ is widely recognized as the most comprehensive, objective global approach for evaluating the conservation status of plant and animal species.https://www.nationalgeographiclodges.com/lodges/australia-and-pacific/likuliku-lagoon-resort/about/About Ahura ResortsAhura was an ancient god of creations who symbolised life, kindness, equality, care of the environment, charity, loyalty and faithfulness to settlement, tribe and county. The omnipresent sun was an enduring symbol of radiance, purity and life sustenance. Today, Ahura Resorts embodies these same values. As a 100 percent Fijian-owned company, with over 15 years experience in tourism and hospitality throughout the Pacific, Ahura is dedicated to providing quality holiday and lifestyle experiences while preserving cultural values and the surrounding environment. Ahura is the management company operating one of Fiji’s most popular and well-known resorts — Malolo Island Fiji, and the luxury escape for couples which features Fiji’s first and only authentic over-water bures —- Likuliku Lagoon Resort. Experience the Warm Heart of Fiji with Ahura Resorts. www.ahuraresorts.com
Lufthansa is the best airlines for business travellers in EuropeGold and bronze for the Lufthansa Group Airlines at this year’s Business Traveller AwardsAt this year’s Business Traveller Awards, which were presented yesterday in Frankfurt, the airlines of the Lufthansa Group took first and third place in the category “Best Airline for Business Travelers in German and European Transport”. Lufthansa took first place and Eurowings won bronze.“The Lufthansa Group Airlines are aligning its product development with current and future customer needs. The fact that Lufthansa was chosen as the best airline for business travellers shows that customers reward our investments in product and service as well as the outstanding service of our employees,” says Heike Birlenbach, Senior Vice President Sales Lufthansa Hub Airlines and Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Hub Frankfurt.Every year, readers of the renowned German Business Traveller magazine evaluate various companies from the travel industry in a survey conducted by an independent market research institute.Source = Lufthansa Group
An extravagant master plan for Machu Picchu was approved recently that calls for a dramatic ‘reconceptualisation’ of the Inca Citadel, backed by a proposed USD 43.7 million makeover of its tourist infrastructure.A striking feature of the 2015-2019 plan is how it frames and deals with the problem of the increasing waves of visitors who have flocked to the iconic ruins since the 2007 designation of Machu Picchu as a ‘New Wonder of the World’.According to figures released by the Ministry of Culture, last year Machu Picchu received 1,079,426 visitors, not including the 200-plus trekkers who entered the sanctuary each day from the Inca Trail.The reconceptualisation plan wants to change the experience for visitors to a more holistic view of the citadel. Machu Picchu will become more than the peak, the mountains, the clouds, and the structure of the temple in the clouds. The site is a “patrimonial network that unfolds across the mountain and is symbiotically integrated with it.” Therefore, the plan is to experience a larger picture, the entire mountain.
The Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Secretary General, Le Luong Minh, officially launched the VisitASEAN@50 Golden Celebration tourism campaign during the opening of the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Singapore.The campaign promotes the twin objectives of commemorating the 50th anniversary of ASEAN and embracing the ASEAN region as a single and united tourism destination.The VisitASEAN@50 campaign comes at a time when tourism has been a star performer in Southeast Asia, rising from 42 million international arrivals to the region in 2000 to 108 million in 2015, according to numbers provided by the ASEAN Secretariat.Ahead of its launch, ASEAN Tourism Ministers agreed that the objectives of the campaign were to raise tourist arrivals to the region to 121 million by the end of 2017, up from 108 million in 2015. Tourism officials also hope to boost tourism receipts to $83 billion and increase average length of stay to 6-7 days by encouraging tourists to travel to at least two ASEAN countries on each visit.50 special tour packages carefully selected by the 10 member countries of ASEAN are the main draw of the tourism campaign, which is supported by globally recognised companies such as MasterCard and AirAsia.In his speech, Prime Minister Lee called for better connectivity within Southeast Asia and urged fellow member countries not to shy away from ‘less glamorous’ tourism development tasks such as building new infrastructure, enhancing training and reducing red tape. Specifically he said he would like to see ASEAN strengthen air links, boost cruise tourism and develop tourism’s human resource skills.
In an attempt to increase visitors to the country, Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism will focus on ecotourism. Myanmar will open a new ecotourism site, near Oaktwin and Pauk Khaung townships, in the Bago Yoma forest later this year.Myanmar currently has 21 ecotourism sites, which include 16 existing sites and a handful of underdeveloped ones, as well as 13 community-based tourism projects in Sagaing, Mandalay, Magwe and Yangon regions and Shan, Karenni and Kachin states.Marine Tourism is also opening up on the Myeik archipelago. The country is now promoting the archipelago, which lies in the far south of the country. The area is emerging as an attractive destination for travellers who have already visited Mandalay, Bagan and Yangon.Ecotourism and community-based tourism are now strong marketing trends used to attract tourists and Myanmar has already considerable experience in homestay and community-linked tourism.
Share Ocwen Agrees to Settle Compliance Suits in Daily Dose, Foreclosure, News, Servicing FHA HAMP Mortgage Servicers Ocwen Settlements 2016-06-24 Seth Welborn Atlanta-based mortgage servicing firm Ocwen Financial disclosed that it has agreed to pay $30 million “in order to avoid the uncertain outcome of two trials” revolving around a pair of lawsuits that accused the company of falsely certifying its compliance with federal mortgage programs.The cases, known as the Fisher Cases because of whistleblower Michael Fisher, revolve around accusations stemming from 2012 that Ocwen lied to the Federal Housing Administration about its compliance with Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, rules, as well as FHA insurance programs.According to Ocwen’s filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 22, those suits sought damages intended to triple the total HAMP and FHA payments made on Ocwen-serviced loans, or roughly $5,500 to $11,000 per alleged false claim. Ocwen’s defense, according to the filing, was an assertion that it had “sound legal and factual defenses” to the allegations.Ocwen, however, announced that it would instead settle by paying $15 million to the Unted States (which made the HAMP and FHA payments on the Ocwen-serviced loans) and another $15 million for “private citizens’ attorneys’ fees costs.” As part of the settlement, the company will not admit to any liability or wrongdoing for the alleged actions.According to the SEC filing, the Department of Justice agreed to seek final approval for the settlement.“We have accrued $30 million with respect to the settlement in principle because we believe this amount is both probable and reasonably estimable based on current information,” Ocwen wrote in its SEC filing, adding, “There can be no assurance that the settlement in principle will be finalized and approved by the United States and the Court.”In the event the settlement in principle is not ultimately finalized and approved by the Department of Justice, the Fisher Cases would continue and “we would vigorously defend the allegations made against Ocwen,” the company wrote.Ocwen spokesperson John Lovallo issued the following statement: “We are pleased to have reached an agreement in principle to resolve these two cases. Even though we have solid legal and factual defenses, we decided to settle to avoid prolonged and distracting litigation and the associated legal costs. Ocwen believes the proposed settlement is in the best interests of the company, its borrowers, employees and shareholders. We look forward to returning our full focus to what we do best—helping homeowners stay in their homes.” June 24, 2016 619 Views
Andrew Duke CFPB Delicia Reynolds Kathleen L. Kraninger Laura Fiene Lora McCray Marisol Garibay 2019-01-31 Donna Joseph January 31, 2019 620 Views in Headlines, News CFPB Director Announces Leadership Changes Share The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director, Kathleen L. Kraninger, announced leadership changes within the Bureau on Friday, January 25. The positions announced are:Policy Associate Director for External Affairs; West Regional Director; Acting Chief Communications Officer; Deputy Associate Director for External Affairs; and the Director for the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.The following individuals were announced as joining the CFPB leadership team:Andrew Duke will serve as the Policy Associate Director for External Affairs. Duke has 27 years of experience in public policy, including 20 years on Capitol Hill serving with three different members of Congress. He received his B.A. in Economics from Hampden-Sydney College.Laura Fiene will serve as West Regional Director. Fiene joined the CFPB at its inception in 2011. She brings over 31 continuous years of experience in regulating financial services companies, including 27 years dedicated to supervising and examining compliance with federal consumer financial laws and regulations. She graduated from Southern Illinois University. She holds an MBA from Golden Gate University and a J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.Marisol Garibay will serve as the Acting Chief Communications Officer. Garibay has 14 years of experience in policy communications focused on financial issues and served most recently as Senior Advisor and Acting Communications Director at the Office of Management and Budget. She received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.Delicia Reynolds Hand will serve as Deputy Associate Director for External Affairs. Hand joined the Bureau in 2012 and has 17 years of experience, having worked in consumer advocacy, community development, and on Capitol Hill. She holds a JD from the American University’s Washington College of Law, and M.A. from Cambridge University, U.K.Lora McCray will serve as Director for the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. McCray’s career includes 15 years of experience in diversity practice and management, most recently as the Assistant Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. She holds an M.A. in Applied Anthropology from the University of Memphis; a J.D. from the University Of Washington School Of Law; and a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia.
Share In an attempt to prevent increases in fees paid by individuals seeking a mortgage through the GSEs when those fees are used to fund unrelated federal spending, Senators David Perdue and Bob Menendez, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, released a bill to regulate the usage of guaranteed fees (G-Fees).“It’s time for Congress to cut the budget gimmicks and back-door tax hikes on middle class Americans,” said Senator Perdue, a member of the Senate Banking and Budget Committees, in a statement. “Any increase of guarantee fees should be used to protect taxpayers from mortgage losses, not as an artificial offset whenever Congress decides to spend more money. Ultimately, the federal government should budget responsibly for its needs, just like people in the real world.”The bill has received support from key real estate and mortgage experts.“The National Association of Realtors commends Senators David Perdue and Bob Menendez for taking action to secure America’s housing finance system,” said National Association of Realtors President John Smaby. “By preventing Congress from using GSE revenues to fund unrelated federal government spending, this legislation will help to protect taxpayers and countless potential homebuyers, ensuring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can continue helping families and credit worthy individuals achieve the American Dream. This is the mission Congress outlined for the GSEs when they were first chartered, and NAR will continue working with Congress to support the critical role Fannie and Freddie play in our housing market.”“MBA applauds Senators Perdue and Menendez for their commitment to protect current and future homeowners from unnecessary costs,” said Mortgage Bankers Association President and CEO Bob Broeksmit. “Guarantee fees are a critical risk management tool used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to protect against losses. Any increase of these fees that is not related to housing is effectively a tax on home ownership. MBA will continue to advocate on behalf of policies that both ensure a healthy real estate market and provide consumers with affordable, sustainable housing choices.” May 15, 2019 835 Views in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News, Origination Fannie Mae Freddie Mac Guaranteed Fees Servicing 2019-05-15 Seth Welborn Industry Reacts: Lawmakers Introduce Guaranteed Fee Bill
You might also be interested in January 08 , 2019 Chile scores access to Chinese pear market … Significant increases in volumes numerous fruit commodities in 2018 helped Chile to notch a year-on-year export growth of 11% to 2.9 million metric tons (MT).Cherries and mandarins were responsible for much of the growth, along with other fruits including plums, nectarines, peaches and table grapes.Apples were the most heavily exported fruit by volume in 2018 which rose by 8% to 776,000MT, closely followed by table grapes which rose 3% to 724,000MT, and then cherries, which saw exports soar by 126% to 185,000MT.“The value of fruit exports in 2018 exceeded US$5.5 billion FOB, the largest our industry has ever seen in a calendar year,” said Jorge Valenzuela, president of the Chilean Federation of Fruit Exporters.“We are living through a rise in high-value fruit exports in the market, like cherries and blueberries, a phenomenon which has increased the value of shipments.”He added that the massive rise in cherry exports “has made cherries the third-most exported fruit in terms of volume, after apples and table grapes, pushing out kiwifruit and avocados”.The increase was largely attributed to “exceptional weather conditions” in the spring of 2017, allowing orchards to reach their maximum potential.Cherry volumes in 2019 are expected to be lower, he said, as the spring season was more unstable and saw a severe hail storm.Higher volumes of stonefruit and citrusAside from cherries, other notable increases seen in 2018 include plums, which rose by 29% year-on-year to 120,000MT. Nectarines rose by 11% to 65,000MT, driven in part by access to the Chinese market gained at the end of 2016. Peach exports increased by 30% to 31,000MTMandarins and clementines saw a huge rise in 2018, growing by 46% to 170,000MT.Meanwhile, avocado exports fell by 25% to 132,000MT due to the strengthening of the Chilean market and challenging weather conditions.Challenging year for table grapesFedefruta said that 2018 had been a challenging year in terms of prices for table grapes. For this current season, Fedefruta said the industry had been concerned about price levels in its key market, the U.S., amid stocks at the end of October that were 33% higher year-on-year. But stocks have since reduced significantly.“It remains to be seen how we are going to manage our shipments, amid the recovery in table grape volumes from Peru,” Valenzuela said.“The challenge … is to have storage programs for our late or mid-season fruit to export as late as possible and hopefully find ourselves in a more empty market.” Chilean citrus: Clementines end with 18% volume dr … Blueberries in Charts: Finding opportunities in th … Experts analyze biggest challenges facing Chile at …
agentsGlobusGlobus family of brandsSupertour … it’s Croatia!Globus family of brands’ annual Supertour is designed to reward leading agents for their loyalty to the company, with the 20 top-selling travel agents from Australia, and top 10 from New Zealand, offered a place on the Croatia trip, departing 4 May, 2018.To be in the running for this year’s Supertour, agents need to book as many passengers as possible on Globus or Cosmos tours, Monograms city stays or Avalon Waterways river cruises, with all bookings made from 1 March, 2017 to 28 February, 2018 counting in the tally.While GFOB remains tight-lipped on the itinerary inclusions, Croatia is known for its glistening blue oceans, interesting architecture, stunning natural beauty and delicious cuisine and wine – meaning top selling agents will be in for a well-deserved treat. The winning agents will be notified early next year.Visit the Supertour Facebook page for updates facebook.com/GFOBSupertour
Five of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival favourites have been confirmed for the Roadshow in Norfolk Island from 3 August 2019 and these all stars guarantee plenty of belly laughs! Urzila CarlsonMulti award winning stand-up comedian, Urzila, is a TV regular on Australia’s ‘Have You Been Paying Attention’ and New Zealand’s 7 Days, Super City and Road Madness. She has also appeared on Spicks and Specks, Dirty Laundry, The Great Debate, and ABC’s Comedy Up Late, and was the host of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival’s Opening Night Comedy Allstars Supershow earlier this year. Urzila’s natural cheeky, straight up style will have everyone eating out of her hand.Bob FranklinStand-up comic, writer, director and actor Bob was a recipient of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Comic’s Choice award, the Piece of Wood Award, and also received the Sunday Age Best Comedy Show of the Year Award. Bob’s television and film work includes Jack Irish, The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce, Bad Eggs, The Librarians, Stupid, Stupid Man, Please Like Me and Thank God You’re Here. Bob has written and directed two short suspense films, two recent episodes of Little Lunch for ABC TV and Lano & Woodley’s stage show, Fly.Xavier MichelidesAn active writer and stand-up comic, Xavier has travelled to each corner of the country, performing at every club, pub, watering hole, cruise line, tent and stage. Xavier is currently a writer on Network Ten’s The Project and has previously worked on Good News Week, You’re Skitting Me and Dafuq. Xavier has also appeared on television programs including ROVE Live, Stand Up @ Bella Union and ABC’s Comedy Up Late.Mel Buttle Mel is a hilarious bundle of contradictions and a package that is rapidly making herself felt in all mediums, right across the country. She has been heard across Australia’s airwaves with Mel’s Strongly Worded Letters on triple j’s Breakfast with Tom and Alex and as a guest on ABC Radio Brisbane. Mel’s TV work includes co-hosting’s Foxtel’s The Great Australian Bake Off and appearances on Network Ten’s The Project and as a regular guest on This Week Live, ABC TV’s Tractor Monkeys, Back Seat Drivers and The Weekly with Charlie Pickering.Dane SimpsonOne of Australia’s rapidly rising stars, Dane has toured comedy shows across Australia. Dane’s TV credits include ABC’s Comedy Up Late, Melbourne International Comedy Festival Gala and Network Ten’s Have You Been Paying Attention. Dane starred in the hit sold out stand-up comedy show, Aborigi-LOL, in 2018 toured Western Australia with his variety show, Great Danes, and in 2019 performed his first solo show Origins at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.Urzila CarlsonThe Norfolk Island Travel Centre has announced a 3-night and 7-night Norfolk Island Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow packages including:Return Air New Zealand economy class ‘seat plus bag’ airfare to Norfolk IslandAll pre-paid airline taxesMeet and greet at Norfolk Island airportReturn airport transfers on Norfolk Island3 or 7 nights’ twin share accommodation3 or 7 days’ car hire (petrol additional and payable direct)Ticket entry to Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow on 3 AugustComplimentary cocktail at Black Anchor Bar10% discount on main meal at Castaway Hotel (excluding Friday night pizzas, small plates and beverages)Complimentary Miniature GolfComplimentary A Walk in the Wild rainforest walk plus bonus gift redeemable at The Bounty CentreBonus Norfolk Island discount shopping cardThe package is priced from:$1199 per person twin share ex-Sydney 2 – 5 August 2019 (3 nights)$1299 per person twin share ex-Sydney 2 – 9 August 2019 (7 nights)$1229 per person twin share ex-Brisbane 3 – 6 August 2019 (3 nights)$1379 per person twin share ex-Brisbane 3 – 10 August 2019 (7 nights)For Norfolk Island Melbourne International Comedy Festival Roadshow packages, contact Christan Davies at Norfolk Island Travel Centre on Toll Free 1800 1400 66 or firstname.lastname@example.org or 2019Melbourne International Comedy Festival RoadshowNorfolk Island
Top Stories D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away Yes, every training camp is important as it helps lay the foundation for the upcoming season, but as Dockett points out, the missed time could be very costly for a team breaking in a new quarterback and defensive coordinator.“We’ve missed OTA’s and mini camps and all the chemistry things we would have done during the summer,” Dockett said. “Now we are just going to get a few short weeks together.”The Cardinals will have a limited amount of time together prior to preseason games so it is imperative they make the most of it.The defense will likely face a learning curve with new defensive coordinator Ray Horton and the offense will have to undergo an adjustment period as well as they adapt to a new quarterback, presumably Kevin Kolb.While every team will have limited training camps, the lockout and shortened offseason really hampered teams going through such personnel changes.The success of these teams will depend on their ability to make the most out of training camp, but if the entire Cardinals roster approaches training camp with the same attitude as Dockett, the team should be just fine. It appears NFL training camp is right around the corner and Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett is ready to return to work.“I’ve already packed for training camp,” Dockett told the NFL Network. “I’m just waiting to hear the official word on what day to be in Flagstaff.”Dockett’s enthusiasm is certainly a welcome sight for the Cardinals and their fans as they begin what is a very important training camp. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke 0 Comments Share
Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact What about Evan Boehm?“He’s still making some mistakes on some calls, back blocks, but skill-level is fine. It’s just continue to evolve with all the stuff he has to learn.”How valuable was it for Robert Nkemdiche to get the snaps he did in preseason?“Oh, it was great. Practice is only at one level. He didn’t get to go against a lot of starters the last two weeks, but I thought he held his own against the players he was playing against.”Did Marqui Christian progress over the course of training camp and preseason?“Yeah, he’s gotten better and better also from a small school guy, being overwhelmed in the beginning. He’s got to figure out that he can’t blow up guys in the middle of the field. He better breakdown and make tackles.” – / 34 Top Stories Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “Cut-wise, there’s some guys that made a case for themselves last night, both ways. We’re still in deliberations. There’s a lot of things that can happen here in the last 24 hours with other teams, our team, so there’s not a lot to say about that right now.”Do you have an update on Kareem Martin?“Kareem is still getting the MRI results. It could be as good as two weeks; it could be as bad as six weeks.”After watching the film from last night, how much did what you see impact the decisions you need to make?“Oh, a lot, a lot. People say we don’t need the fourth preseason game. I don’t know why because there’s a lot of guys fighting for their lives, good and bad, in that ballgame to make rosters — our roster and somebody else’s roster.”After last night, what are your feelings about the other starting cornerback spot?“It hasn’t changed any. I thought Brandon (Williams) got better. He’s still got problems looking back at the quarterback when he’s playing man-to-man sometimes, but the guys that are going to play it next Sunday night, I have all the confidence in the world in.”With Earl Watford’s position versatility, will that affect how many offensive linemen you keep? “He had a heck of a ballgame and I think he’s got a really good future.”With the depth you have at certain positions, will it be tough to keep a third quarterback?“Again, it’s 52, 53. Who’s the best player, not the best position? Who’s the best player?”Do anticipate Tyrann Mathieu playing next week against New England?“I expect him to play every single play.”With the players you are releasing, would you like to bring some back on the practice squad?“Oh, there’s no doubt. We’re not looking for anybody else’s practice squad guys, we’d like to get our own guys back.”How did you think your young players along both the offensive and defensive lines performed last night?“Really well. They made a great case for themselves up and down the board. Defensively, there was a great rotation, got a lot of pressure, stopping the run. Offensively, I thought those guys played a ton of snaps in the last three weeks and they got a lot better. We still made a lot of mistakes, but they showed they can run block and the pocket was pretty clean for the majority of time.”What has impressed you about Cole Toner?“He’s smart and he’s tough. He’s limited in his strength, but he’s still young. We can always improve that, but he’s smart and he’s tough.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians yells during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Denver Broncos, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) “Probably not. It’s still going to come down to No. 52 and No. 53.”And as you’ve said before, with the waiver wire, those players might not all be there by the end of the weekend.“Yeah, the waiver wire — don’t celebrate too quick.”What’s the latest with J.J. Nelson?“He will move into a splint. He’ll take the cast off, and it should be a whole lot easier for him to catch punts and kickoffs and catch passes.”Some teams are announcing cuts today. How does it help to wait until the deadline?“Well, I think some teams are happy to cut guys and get it over with. We’ve got a very talented group. There are calls being made back-and-forth. A lot of things can happen in the last few hours. Steve (Keim, general manger) is pretty active right now, and when you have a roster as talented as ours, you want to make sure you make it right all the way down to the end.”What are those conversations like when you have to cut a player?“I don’t talk to all of them. The veteran guys I do, the guys who have been around and they’re always tough. That’s the hardest part of this business, but I don’t get personally involved with every single one of them.”What did Elijhaa Penny show you with his performance last night? TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians meets the media the day after every game, often times explaining injury situations as well as anything else he may have seen the day before.Here in this space, we’ll highlight some of the most notable quotes.“Good morning. I’m not going to announce the things you want. It’s called a deadline for a reason. Alright, we’re going to the deadline, so I will announce the captains for this year: Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald on offense; Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu on defense; Chandler Catanzaro and Justin Bethel on special teams. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The Arizona Cardinals made a series of roster moves Tuesday, as they waived punter Drew Butler (calf) with an injury settlement and placed safety Tyvon Branch and running back Chris Johnson on injured reserve with groin injuries.The Cardinals also signed RB Kerwynn Williams, elevated QB Zac Dysert and receiver Brittan Golden from the practice squad to the active roster and signed safety Christian Bryant to the practice squad. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Comments Share Butler suffered an Achilles injury in the team’s Week 3 loss in Buffalo; Branch and Johnson injured their groins during Arizona’s 17-13 loss to Los Angeles last Sunday.In his first season with the Cardinals, Branch notched 20 total tackles along with two passes defensed. Johnson was in his second season with the team, and he ran for 95 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries.The move to promote Dysert is related to the health status of starting QB Carson Palmer, who sustained a concussion on Sunday and may not be cleared to play by the time the team plays the 49ers Thursday night. The QB was added to the Cardinals’ practice squad on Sept. 6 after spending preseason with the Miami Dolphins. He has also been with the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Buffalo Bills.Williams was brought on to replace Johnson, as Arizona’s depth at running back took a hit. He played in 11 games for the Cardinals the last two seasons, tallying 388 rushing yards and one touchdown on 80 carries. He was released by the Cardinals as part of the final roster cuts on Sept. 3.Bryant played in nine games with the Rams last season after joining the team as a seventh-round pick out of Ohio State. Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (23) is chased by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Troy Hill (32) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Top Stories
Injury reportIn addition to Iupati, the Cardinals’ first official injury report listed $LB Deone Bucannon (ankle) and defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche (calf) as not practicing. Bucannon has already been ruled out for Week 1, while Nkemdiche “has a got a real good shot” at playing, according to Arians.Palmer and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald also didn’t practice. Those two had the day off.For the Lions, defensive end Ziggy Ansah (knee), wide receiver Kenny Golladay (ankle), tackle Corey Robinson (foot) and running back Zach Zenner (back) were all limited on Wednesday. TEMPE, Ariz. – Protect quarterback Carson Palmer, and the Arizona Cardinals’ odds of having a successful season in 2017 go up exponentially.With that in mind, and with a roster spot available, the team signed veteran offensive lineman Alex Boone to a one-year contract on Tuesday.One day later, Boone found himself in full pads, going through his first practice with the Cardinals, a team he had spent his first seven years in the league battling as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. “He’s just learning,” head coach Bruce Arians said of Boone, who checks in at 6-foot-8 and 310 pounds. “Right now, he learned the snap count today, and he got a few reps. We’ll see. Right now, there’ll have to be an injury or somebody has to really fail badly.”Boone, 30, becomes the sixth former Niners player on the Cardinals roster.“I remember a lot of those games and I remember Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell, and I remember getting fined for starting a fight with the nose tackle (Alameda Ta’amu in 2013). We had a lot of good fun,” he said. “That’s what kind of brought me here was I knew the passion that this team had and that these guys really wanted to win and I’ve played them so many times I figured I might as well come play with them.”John Brown proclaims himself readyIf keeping Palmer upright and giving him time to throw the football is priority No.1 for the Cardinals offense, then second on that list might be the health of wide receiver John Brown.In the last year-and-a-half, Brown sustained a concussion, dealt with hamstring tightness and hurt his quadriceps; the latter occurring most recently in training camp. Recovery from both the hamstring and quadriceps injuries was slowed due to the sickle cell trait he carries. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact 15 Comments Share Top Stories San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Alex Boone (75) and quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) react during the second half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) “It was a little weird, I’m not going to lie,” he said, standing in front of his locker. “I’m going to be straight-up with you, it felt a little weird but at the same time, it felt right.”Boone is back in the NFC West after a year in Minnesota. The Vikings released Boone, whom they had signed to a four-year, $26.8 million free-agent contract in 2016, after he reportedly refused to take a pay cut.Boone’s release caught many by surprise.“Yeah, but at the end of the day, this is a business. I get it. This isn’t my first rodeo,” he said. “I’m just happy to get picked up here with a great group of guys.”A starter at left guard for each of the past two seasons and prior to that at right guard for three seasons, Boone will begin his Cardinals tenure as a backup.“I just follow orders,” he said. “I’m a good soldier.”Currently, the Cardinals have Mike Iupati and Evan Boehm at left and right guard, respectively.Iupati, however, has been dealing with a triceps injury — he was limited in practice on Wednesday — and Boehm is playing out of position. Drafted as a center, Boehm got his feet wet at guard late last season and held onto the job throughout training camp and preseason. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Talking to reporters after participating fully in practice on Wednesday, Brown sounded confident about his availability for Sunday’s opener at Detroit.“I’ll be ready no matter what,” he said. “Even if I’m not 100-percent, I’ll do what I can do.”And what John can do is stretch the field, as evidenced by his two touchdown catches in Atlanta on Aug. 26, his only two catches of the preseason.“He’s one of our better receivers and any time you lose that guy, things change,” Palmer said. “He means a ton to us.”Full-time officialsEarlier on Wednesday, the NFL announced the hiring of 21 full-time game officials from among its current 124-person roster of officials.According to the league, the full-time game officials will work throughout the calendar year on game preparation and game administration, analyzing current game trends, communicating with the officiating roster and assisting to ensure that there is a qualified pipeline of future officials through scouting efforts.Arians applauded the move.“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it,” he said. “If we can have all the referees in each crew, the referee was full-time, then I think you’d have very consistent — from New York, from the referee to his crew — get more consistent refereeing.”
• Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr. have to be discussed in Giants GM interviews (ESPN NFL Nation)The candidates’ backgrounds, plans to turn around the franchise, general philosophies and major changes they will make if handed the job will undoubtedly be discussed during the interview process. So will a variety of other topics, the most pressing of which are the futures of the team’s two most popular players.• Why New York Giants should shut down Landon Collins (G-men HQ)“I have no regrets about having him play. He doesn’t either. He tweaked it again and he just wasn’t able to go. He’s going to go if he can go. He’s a warrior. Love that man. But, he just wasn’t able to go at a certain point.”Tuesday, December 19• This is the Giants’ quick-fix plan (New York Post)This has been one of the most miserable, trying, ripping seasons of John Mara’s football life.It must seem as if all the king’s horses and all the king’s men have to put his Giants back together again.• Eli Manning just gave Giants definitive statement on his future (New York Post)If this is truly Eli Manning’s Last Stand with the New York Football Giants, there is no doubt that the Eagles and their fans will be happy to see him go. • Giants bring back young pass-rusher for a two-game look (New York Post)Perhaps Romeo Okwara in the final two games can salvage something from a lost 2017 season.Okwara on Tuesday was activated from the reserve/injured; designated for return list. He has not played since the fifth game of the season, placed on IR with a knee injury.• Compiling Giants’ long Christmas wish list: Next franchise QB, new offensive line, and more (New York Daily News)With all that has gone wrong, the Giants are going to be asking for a lot this holiday season as they try to restore stability and a winning culture back within the organization.If they have a Christmas wish list, it probably looks like this:• Giants’ Eli Manning nominated for FedEx Air Player of the Week award (New York Daily News)Manning was nominated on Tuesday as a finalist for the FedEx Air Player of the Week after completing 37 of 54 passes for 434 yards and three touchdowns in a 34-29 loss to the Eagles.• Giants closing in on most losses in franchise history (Newsday)With two games remaining, this 2017 squad faces the very real possibility of becoming the first Giants team to lose more than 12 games in a season. They’ve already tied the franchise record for most losses in a season with 12, matching the depths plumbed in 1966 (1-12-1), 1974 (2-12), 1980 (4-12), 1983 (3-12-1) and 2003 (4-12). Apple, 22, has already been benched. He’s been fined and reprimanded. He’s rubbed coaches, teammates and management the wrong way since the start of the season.• All eyes on Tom Quinn and the Giants’ special teams after latest loss (ESPN NFL Nation)Where do you even start? Quinn is the Giants special teams coordinator and just about every part of his group was a mess. They looked woefully unprepared as they had a field goal, extra point and punt blocked. Quite the trifecta.• Fixing New York Giants Offensive Line in 1 Offseason (Bleacher Report)If getting the right general manager and coaching staff are priorities No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, for the New York Giants, fixing their offensive line is a close third on the top offseason list. Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact 0 Comments Share • Kevin Abrams makes pitch for interim Giants GM job to be permanent (New York Post)Kevin Abrams, the only candidate who has publicly expressed his desire for the Giants’ general manager job, got his chance Friday to convince the team hierarchy the interim role he currently holds should be turned into a permanent position. He is the fourth candidate to interview this week, following Marc Ross, Dave Gettleman and Louis Riddick.Thursday, December 21• Giants interview Dave Gettleman for GM job; Louis Riddick up next, source says (ESPN NFL Nation)Former Carolina Panthers executive Dave Gettleman was the second candidate to interview for the vacant New York Giants general manager job. Gettleman has ties to the Giants, where he spent 15 years in their personnel department before joining the Panthers as general manager.• Giants QB Davis Webb gets first-team reps in practice (NFL.com)Webb remains the team’s third-string passer behind Manning and Geno Smith, but his work with the first-team signals that he could be active for the first time in his career Sunday versus the Arizona Cardinals.• The unlikely centerpiece of the Giants’ offensive line: Brett Jones (NorthJersey.com) What Giants fans endured this season was an organizational meltdown the likes of which only Browns fans can comprehend.Only old-timers who witnessed The Fumble back on Nov. 19, 1978, can recall such a soul-crushing crumbling of Giants Pride that has left a gaping hole in all Big Blue hearts.• Star college QB trying to force his way to Giants (New York Post)UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, one of the projected top picks in next year’s draft, prefers the Giants to the Browns and may stay in college another year if it becomes clear Cleveland would take him No. 1, according to an ESPN report.• Sources: Giants GM search likely to extend past first round of interviews (ESPN NFL Nation)The first round of interviews for New York Giantsgeneral manager is complete. The candidates had their time to blow away ownership.The next step appears to be another round of options. Multiple sources in and around the Giants’ search told ESPN the process is expected to continue, likely into the new year.Saturday, December 23• Family problems are impacting Giants’ pariah Eli Apple (New York Post)He’s been benched, made inactive, embarrassed in a team film session and sparred with a teammate through the media. Through all of it, there was one obvious issue in his personal life that Apple has been dealing with: His mom, Annie Apple, recently underwent brain surgery. If you thought the Arizona Cardinals have had a trying season, take a look at what the New York Giants have gone through.The Giants have placed 18 players on injured reserve this year, including All-World wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. They fired their head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese. This came one week after the organization made the curious decision to bench quarterback Eli Manning — who had led the Giants to two Super Bowl wins and had started 210 straight games — in favor of Geno Smith. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Fast forward to today, and Jones is not just the starting center for the Giants, having assumed the role when Weston Richburg went out with a concussion in the Oct. 4 loss at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.In a lost season during which so much has been made about what the Giants can do to fix their line going forward, Jones has emerged as the unlikeliest of centerpieces.• Giants rookies cook up nice gifts for veterans (New York Post)Sitting in front of every defensive lineman’s locker was one large box containing a Big Green Egg grill, described as “the ultimate cooking experience,’’ with a slew of accessories, including a large bag of 100 percent natural Oak and Hickory Lump Charcoal.Wednesday, December 20• Why Sam Darnold would thrive with Giants: ex-USC teammate (New York Post)A California quarterback coming cross-country to become the new face of the franchise — can you see it?• Landon Collins is the only Giants player to make the Pro Bowl (New York Post)Collins’ play was not nearly as spectacular in 2017, but he was the only Giants player selected Tuesday to the Pro Bowl, named the NFC’s starting strong safety. His team is 2-12, and that sours some of the sweetness of the personal achievement. • Giants’ desert trip can prove last week wasn’t a mirage (New York Post)Ho, ho, ho, will daddy bring home from the desert a victory? Does it matter? As luck would have it, the Giants are on the road — far out on the road — for Sunday’s Christmas Eve game against the Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.• One Giant has proven he’s a big part of the future (New York Post)Amid the wreckage of this 2-12 campaign, however, is one distinct bright spot: the continued emergence of wide receiver Sterling Shepard.Despite everything that has happened — all the losing, the injuries to top receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall, the multiple quarterback changes — Shepard has had a strong second season, further cementing his status as a future organizational linchpin.• 2018 NFL Draft: Top 10 RBs New York Giants should target (G-men HQ)New York’s next general manager is likely to select a running back at some point during the 2018 NFL Draft. Whether that’s in the first-round or seventh-round is unknown, but that shouldn’t stop Giants fans from taking a closer look at some of the top running back prospects in this year’s class.Friday, December 22 • Eli Manning loves the NFL rule that everyone hates (New York Post)“I was watching the game live, you see it, and it doesn’t look like an incompletion at all,’’ Manning said. “Once they slow it down and see him going to the ground and the ball hitting the ground, incompletion.’’• The Giants GM search begins in-house (New York Post)The Giants began their interview process for general manager, keeping things in house by speaking Monday with Marc Ross, their vice president of player evaluation.• The complicated Eli Manning-Giants relationship is likely to continue — for better or worse (Daily News)But unquestionably the primary topic coming off of this game will be Eli Manning, who complicated the plans for whoever becomes the next GM and coach of the Giants for how to proceed at quarterback by throwing for more than 400 yards for the first time without Odell Beckham Jr.’s help since Sept. 8, 2013.• Landon Collins says tweaked sprained ankle is ‘sore,’ status for Sunday vs. Cardinals uncertain (Newsday)Landon Collins gave a one-word update on his sprained ankle as he walked through the Giants’ locker room on Monday.“Sore,” he said.• Giants safety Landon Collins: Eli Apple has to grow up (ESPN NFL Nation) The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo • Giants’ busy week complete as Kevin Abrams interviews for GM job (ESPN NFL Nation)A week of interviews concluded Friday with interim general manager Kevin Abrams meeting with the New York Giants for the full-time job. ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, former Giants general manager Dave Gettleman and current vice president of player evaluation Marc Ross also interviewed for the job earlier this week.• Davis Webb to be inactive versus Cardinals; Landon Collins, JPP could play (ESPN NFL Nation)Safety Landon Collins and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul barely practiced this week, while rookie quarterback Davis Webb received some first-team reps in drills. That isn’t exactly indicative of what will likely happen this Sunday when the New York Giants play the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium.• Season always about more than trophy for Jason Pierre-Paul (New York Post)The season is more enjoyable when you’re in contention for the playoffs. But it can’t be all about the trophy.“Sometimes you just play for pride, Giants pride,” he said. “It’s really not about us. It’s about what has come through here. This might be one of the worst seasons ever in Giants history, but we’ve got to look past it and get ready for Sunday and then next year.” (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires That didn’t work out well. In fact, nothing has for the 2-12 Giants, who head to University of Phoenix Stadium since 2011, when they beat the Cardinals 31-27 behind two touchdown passes by Manning in the final 3:37 of the game. In fact, the Giants are unbeaten in Glendale — 3-0 overall — including a historic 17-14 win over the unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.All week, we’ll give you an update on what’s going on with the Giants as they prepare for their Week 16 matchup against the Cardinals on Christmas Eve.It’s Behind Enemy Lines.Sunday, December 24• Landon Collins brushes off Pro Bowl criticism (New York Post)Based on the standard he set last year, Landon Collins has not come close to duplicating that performance this season. He was a legitimate 2016 NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate. This year, he was voted into a second consecutive Pro Bowl and heard on social media that he did not deserve the honor.• Giants-Cardinals: What you need to know on game day (NorthJersey.com)Catch up on all the matchups, story lines and stats before the Giants take on the Cardinals.• The writing was on the wall from beginning for this Giants disaster (New York Post)
Go back to the e-newsletterSir Richard Branson’s privately owned collection of award-winning luxury hotels and retreats Virgin Limited Edition has announced the opening of Son Bunyola situated on the northwest coast of Mallorca, which Branson bought 13 years ago, sold to a wealthy couple, and reacquired last year.Jon Brown, Managing Director of Virgin Limited Edition, said: “It is well known that both Virgin Limited Edition and Sir Richard Branson have historic ties and a great fondness for Mallorca and we are delighted that Son Bunyola will be joining the collection.”Son Bunyola is a large private historic estate which is made up of one main Finca building dating back to the 1800s surrounded by vines, citrus fruit trees, almonds and olive trees. There are also three individual villas –Sa Punta de S’Aguila (five bedrooms), Sa Terra Rotja (four bedrooms) and Son Balagueret (due to open in the northern summer of 2017) – each of which has its own private grounds.The estate is over 283 hectares and is located in between Esporles and Banyalbufar on the northwest coast of Mallorca. The area is dominated by the Tramuntana mountain range with its breathtaking scenery, and is home to some of the most historical and picturesque towns on the island.Go back to the e-newsletter
Seabourn has announced international recording artist and world’s best-selling Soprano Sarah Brightman will be the godmother of its newest vessel, the intimate, all-suite Seabourn Encore, when the ship is named at the port of Singapore on 7 January 2017.Brightman will preside over a glittering evening ceremony and all-around festive occasion, attended by guests and crew departing on a 10-day maiden voyage bound for Indonesia.Brightman launched her career with the British dance troupe Hot Gossip in the late 1970s. In 1981, she made her West End musical theatre debut in Cats, and went on to star in several West End and Broadway musicals, including originating the role of Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera. Brightman furthered her musical career as a classical crossover artist, a genre she is often credited with creating and has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. Her 1996 duet with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli on “Time to Say Goodbye” became an international sensation and one of the best-selling singles of all time.Brightman is the first artist to have been invited twice to perform the theme song at the Olympic Games: first at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, where she sang “Amigos Para Siempre” with Spanish tenor José Carreras; and second at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, performing “You and Me” with Chinese singer Liu Huan. In 2012,Brightman accepted the UNESCO nomination for Artist for Peace, honouring her “commitment to humanitarian and charitable causes”.Seabourn Encore is the fourth of five luxury ships that will eventually be part of the Seabourn fleet. The next, Seabourn Ovation, will join the fleet in 2018. Seabourn Encore is ushering in a new ultra-luxury style for Seabourn, with modern interior design elements by hospitality icon Adam D. Tihany.Following its gala naming ceremony, the 600-guest Seabourn Encore will cruise Australian waters making nine maiden calls to Australian ports from Darwin to Geelong between 22 January 2017 and 17 March 2017.When Seabourn Encore arrives down under it will be the youngest and most luxurious ship to ever visit Australia.
On Tuesday 30 May 2017 Marriott International announced the launch of the new Club Marriott, combining Club Marriott, Eat Drink & More and Star Privilege – three powerful dining loyalty programmes in Asia-Pacific – into one single paid membership programme. The newly combined Club Marriott will provide members with more choices and benefits whenever dining out in their hometown or when visiting one of the 200 participating hotels across 15 brands in 13 countries across the region, with more hotels joining every month.The new Club Marriott membership offers experiences that go beyond food and beverage, hoping to build an even stronger loyalty base that recognises guests with exclusive events, experiences and a sense of community.“With the new portfolio of brands under Marriott International, loyalty is the key driving force that will allow us to cut through the competition,” said Peggy Fang Roe, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Marriott International, Asia Pacific. “Club Marriott gives us the platform to drive loyalty that extends even beyond a stay, via rewarding and recognising the ‘local member’ through exclusive benefits and memorable experiences across a vast variety of brands.”Dining and beyondThe new Club Marriott opens the door to endless hotel experiences. Members may enjoy 20% off food and beverage and best available room rates at all participating hotels in Asia Pacific. Even when members are not travelling, they may continue to benefit from room privileges such as complimentary stays, upgrades and spa, fitness and wellness vouchers. Members will also be personally recognised on special occasions, from catering discounts for those important dates and invitations to exclusive member events. Club members’ children will also be treated to parties and surprises.Club Marriott PacificThe Pacific region is the first to launch this special membership programme in six key locations in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, New Caledonia and Samoa, currently involving 25 hotels. Members will be able to save with two additional dining certificates for group dining or use their personal dining credits in a number of exceptional restaurants, receive welcome amenities, room discounts, upgrade and spa vouchers at participating hotels, and enjoy birthday offers as well as access to exclusive member events. Membership is also recognised beyond the Pacific with food and beverage and room discounts in participating hotels in Asia.Following the launch in the Pacific, the new combined Club Marriott programme will roll out in the rest of the Asia Pacific regions starting in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Guam, Indonesia, India, Japan and Korea throughout June, July and August. The Philippines will launch the programme in November and Thailand by December this year.“With over 200,000 members today and growing, the new Club Marriott combined programme has evolved as the preferred Hotel Dining Loyalty Programme,” adds Ralph Frehner, Vice President, Food & Beverage, Marriott International, Asia Pacific. “By offering locally relevant benefits to members, we aim to continue having a sharp focus on positioning our hotels as ‘the favourite destinations where locals go to meet, eat and drink.’”
Uniworld’s new ships launching in 2020 include: Go back to the enewsletterUniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection has announced plans to evolve the cruise company’s offering over the next two years, which will include more than half of the ships evolving to “Super Ship” status, along with the addition of three new vessels in Vietnam, Egypt and Portugal. Another Super Ship renovation in Italy has also been confirmed. The new floating boutique hotels will feature the signature touches and distinctive themes the company’s ships are known for – more suites, more dining venues and more luxurious finishes – while maintaining their high crew-to-guest ratio.Uniworld CEO Ellen Bettridge said that over the last five years the company has successfully moved on its plan to transform the fleet that began in 2017 with the successful launch of the S.S. Joie de Vivre, the debut of the fully renovated S.S. Beatrice in 2018 and the premier this April of the completely transformed S.S. Bon Voyage. The plan continues in 2020 with four new Super Ships planned for the Mekong, Nile, Venetian Lagoon and Douro rivers.“We have been in a consistent and relentless pursuit of excellence,” says Bettridge. “But expansion for expansion’s sake has never been our business model.“Our ships are absolutely unique and like a boutique hotel, reflect the destinations they serve, from décor and artwork to food, beverage and programming. We look forward to making our high calibre of service and personalisation in these remarkable destinations even better.” SS Satet deck planS.S. Satet – EgyptLaunching on the Nile river on 6 January 2020. Named after the goddess of the Nile, S.S. Satet will offer three gourmet dining venues, including a private dining room and an al fresco dining experience on the upper deck, a swimming pool, massage room and 42 suites. This ship will include 12 adventure-filled days to experience Egypt and the Nile’s top sites starting and ending in Cairo.S.S. São Gabriel – PortugalLaunching on 26 March 2020, S.S. São Gabriel will be the newest ship on the Douro River. The entire top deck will offer all lavishly appointed suites, enhanced with butler service, giving guests the option to dine at any time they’d like while enjoying the ship. Guests will experience the UNESCO-designated Douro River Valley and indulge in the best of Spanish and Portuguese culture and cutting-edge, locally sourced cuisine.S.S. La Venezia – VeniceRiver Countess will undergo a complete design renovation and re-emerge as S.S. La Venezia on 27 March 2020, bringing guests complete luxury while exploring Northern Italy. She will offer a 10-day itinerary that starts with an included two-day land stay in Milan where guests will visit Da Vinci’s renowned The Last Supper, and then continue with an eight-day of cruising through and around Venice, the Po River and three outer-lying Venetian islands: Burano, Mazzorbo and Torcello. Guests will also have the option of purchasing the eight-day cruise-only portion of the itinerary.Mekong Jewel – Vietnam & CambodiaDebuting on 3 January 2020, this will be the newest and most luxurious ship on the Mekong River. Uniworld’s all-suite ship will include two dining venues: one main restaurant and an al fresco eatery on the upper deck. Mekong Jewel will be 10 metres longer than Mekong Navigator, but with the same capacity, offering guests more space and amenities. The 13-day itinerary will take guests from Ho Chi Minh City to Siem Reap, with visits to Phnom Penh, Angkor Wat and more.Lead image: The external design of S.S La Venezia is under wrapsGo back to the enewsletter