Our weekday morning digest that includes consumer news, deals, tips and anything else that travelers may want to know.
CARNIVAL PLOTS GROWTH IN CHINA, EUROPE
Carnival Corporation, operator of 10 cruise lines including Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Cunard and Carnival Cruise Line, plans to add more ships in China next year to tap into the world’s fastest-growing cruise market. Costa Cruises and Princess Cruises will each move a ship in their fleet to China in 2016, for a total of four Costa ships and two Princess ships operating in the region. Together, the two brands will offer about four million passenger cruise days next year to Chinese cruisers. In the summer of 2017, Princess plans to add a newly built 3,600-passenger ship to the Chinese fleet.
Separately, Carnival also plans to invest $32 million in Spain to build a second private cruise terminal at the Port of Barcelona, which is visited by seven of the company’s lines. Construction will start next year and the terminal is expected to open in 2018. Carnival currently operates four ports around the world and will open Amber Cove in the northern Puerta Plata region of the Dominican Republic in October.
NEW RACE IN NEW ZEALAND
A new mountain bike race, the Pioneer, is set to hit the rugged trails of New Zealand’s Southern Alps in the Southern Hemisphere summer, between Jan. 31 through Feb. 6. The seven-day race will string together established bike trails with overland rides across farms and hillsides over 358 miles from Christchurch to Queenstown, with tent villages set up nightly for racers.
Open to amateurs, the race requires each rider to pair up and cycle as a team of two. Capped at 1,000 riders, the race costs 2,499 New Zealand dollars per person or 4,998 dollars per team ($1,695 to $3,388, at 1.48 New Zealand dollars to the U.S. dollar) and includes nightly accommodation in tents and daily meals. Fitness is a prerequisite; all those mountain climbs account for over 55,000 feet in elevation gain. Prizes of up to 7,000 New Zealand dollars will be awarded for the fastest cumulative time for both members of a team. More symbolic daily awards include special jerseys for the leaders.
ON NEW MEXICO’S CHILE TRAIL
In time for New Mexico’s pepper harvest season, when its popular Hatch green chiles are picked and roasted, the town of Las Cruces has created a Walk of Flame, a guide to green chile foods. Also known as the Green Chile Trail, the online directory, created by the Las Cruces Convention & Visitors Bureau, identifies green chile dishes at area restaurants. Not limited to New Mexican fare, they include green chile lasagna, stew, chicken won tons, hummus, margaritas and even frozen custard. The guide also identifies a pick-your-own farm and the Chile Pepper Institute Garden at New Mexico State University, which is open for tours. Spice-obsessed visitors can book a special green chile package at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces, which includes dinner for two and green chile cocktails, from $182 a night.
MORE DEPARTURES FOR HAWAIIAN
Hawaiian Airlines has announced it will expand its nonstop service between Los Angeles and Lihue, Kauai, for holiday travel from Dec. 17 through Jan. 3. The route mirrors current seasonal service with four direct flights weekly in summer. During the holiday period, the airline will offer five flights per week. After Jan. 8, Hawaiian will continue to offer three direct flights per week on the route, the first time it has offered regular service between Los Angeles and Kauai.
CHECK-IN WITH DOLLY IN THE SMOKIES
Owned by the entertainer Dolly Parton, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort opens today near Dollywood, her Smoky Mountain theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Set on 20 acres, with décor that features Ms. Parton’s musical instruments and album covers, the 300-room family-focused resort features children’s play areas, porches lined in rocking chairs, indoor and outdoor pools, lawn areas designed for stargazing, a spa with services for children as young as 4 and a Southern restaurant, Song & Hearth, serving family-style dinners. After nightly bedtime stories in the lobby, children can tuck into bunk beds with linens that resemble sleeping bags. Beyond the resort, guests receive special privileges at the nearby theme park, including free transportation to it, early admission on Saturdays and front-of-the-line access to rides. Rooms from $179.