What’s Next? Find Out With Our Latest Travel News “Shorts”

In the latest travel news, Rome is one of the top destinations for 2023 holiday travel. Photo by Seabourn.

With just a month to go in 2023, The Meandering Traveler gathered up five fascinating “end of year” developments. What’s coming up? What can travelers expect for 2024 and 2025? What’s the latest travel news?

Check out our “Shorts” below. Presented in rapid-fire fashion, some are major news announcements, others just snazzy new options or simply insightful “intel.” Our goal is a quick look, a sneak peek so to speak. So, be sure to contact your personal travel planner for any questions and all the details.

(Shown above is Vatican City, which is surrounded by Rome, Italy, a popular European city for 2023 holiday travel. See #2 of our “Shorts” below. Photo by Seabourn.)

1. Latest Travel News: First Time In South America!

Boutique luxury line Windstar Cruises is expanding its global reach in a big way. Known for its small ships, the line’s 312-passenger Star Pride, an all-suite yacht, will offer Windstar’s first ever cruises in South America. Those will begin in late December 2025 and continue into January 2026.

In the latest travel news, Windstar Cruises' Star Pride will operate the line's first ever South America voyages. The itinerary, from Panama to Peru will include a five-night pre- or post-cruise Machu Picchu tour and guests can also choose an optional Galapagos mid-cruise tour. Photo/map by Windstar Cruises.
(In the latest travel news, Windstar Cruises said that Star Pride will sail its first-ever South America cruises. Photo/map by Windstar Cruises.)

The new 16-day “Marvels of Latin America Cruise Tour” will set sail from Colon, Panama, to Lima, Peru (or reverse). What’s unique is that the line will include either a pre- or post-cruise tour to Machu Picchu, the 15th century Incan city in the Peruvian highlands.

In addition, guests can also choose to take an optional mid-cruise overland tour to the Galapagos Islands. Why not follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, who visited this eco-paradise in 1835? These pristine, remote isles are home to crystal clear waters, nature trails, prolific marine life and turtle breeding centers.

At press time, cruise-only pricing started at $7,699 per person, double occupancy. All-inclusive fares began at $8,678 per person, double occupancy, and include unlimited beer, wine, and cocktails, Wi-Fi, and gratuities.

A bit shorter option without the Machu Picchu land trip is also available. Chat with your personal travel planner about these new Windstar vacations.

2. Latest Travel News: Soaring European Holiday Travel 

As the holiday season kicks off, we thought it would be interesting to check out Allianz Partners USA’s “2023 European Holiday Destination Index” to glean the latest travel news — “intel” about where travelers are heading to celebrate.

Of course, it’s not surprising that London and Paris top the list. They’re consistently favorite holiday travel destinations.

Rising in popularity, though, are Lisbon, Portugal; Prague, the Czech Republic; and Geneva, Switzerland. In fact, Geneva made the list for the first time since 2017. Curious? Here’s the full list!

What are the top European travel destinations this holiday season? Check out the results of an Allianz Partners travel study. Photo by Allianz Partners.
(Top European travel destinations for this holiday season, based on an Allianz Partners study, are shown above. Photo by Allianz Partners.)

Allianz Partners reviewed more than 1.3 million travel itineraries across the peak holiday travel period to create this list. Holiday travel to Europe was up by 21 percent compared to 2022. Super hot is Barcelona with a 61 percent increase for holiday travel.

“Right now is a great time to start planning next year’s holiday travel, so give your personal travel planner a call,” says Shelby Steudle, president, Pavlus Travel. “Let us handle all the details, so you can just relax and savor the anticipation of a wonderful 2024 holiday getaway. Best of all, you’ll have optimum travel choices by planning a year in advance.”

3. Latest Travel News: The Love Boat Down Under

For those seeking to sail from “down under,” Princess Cruises just unveiled its 2025-26 Australia and New Zealand sailing season. Highlights? For one, the 3,660-passenger Discovery Princess will debut in the region for the first time.

In addition, Princess will launch its longest ever World Cruise from Australia. That’s a 114-night voyage onboard 3,080-passenger Crown Princess. Grand Princess will also cruise in the region during 2025-2026.

In the latest travel news, Discovery Princess will head "down under" for the first time. Photo by Princess Cruises.
(In the latest travel news, Princess announced that its Discovery Princess will head “down under” for the first time. Photo by Princess Cruises.)

In the regular season 2025-2026 departures, diversity rules! Guests will have a choice of  two- to 37-day cruises from seven homeports. Those include Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth (Fremantle), Adelaide and Hobart (Tasmania), all in Australia, plus Auckland, New Zealand.

If you travel on one of these voyages, you’ll choose from itineraries with access to more than 20 UNESCO World Heritage Sites including the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system, from either Yorkeys Knob or Port Douglas.

For more details and World Cruise information, read much more about what’s planned in Princess’ official press release. These voyages open for sale to the general public at the end of this November.

But we’d highly recommend contacting your travel advisor right away if interested, as travel agencies have “first dibs” access to the inventory.

4. Luxury Train Travel: Back to SE Asia’s Rails

In the latest travel news, the Eastern and Oriental Express, a Belmond Train, will return to Southeast Asia's rails for passenger travel in 2024. Photo by Eastern and Oriental Express, a Belmond Train.
(In the latest travel news, the Eastern and Oriental Express, a Belmond Train, will return to Southeast Asia’s rails in 2024. Photo by Eastern and Oriental Express, a Belmond Train.)

After a four-year hiatus, Eastern & Oriental Express, a Belmond Train in Southeast Asia, will make its much-anticipated return to the rails in February 2024.

What’s the scoop? The elegant, luxurious train will launch two new seasonal journeys departing from Singapore. They’ll journey through Malaysia’s ever-changing landscapes and vibrant cities. Guests can choose one of these three-night itineraries:

  • The Essence of Malaysia” (between November and February) — Sample pricing, based on the February 11, 2024, departure, started at $3,750 per person.
  • Wild Malaysia” (from March through October) — Sample pricing, based on the August 5, 2024, departure, started at $3,410 per person.

Belmond says that guests will discover restyled train interiors as well as elevated onboard experiences. Plus, they’ll enjoy activities revolving around culture, gastronomy, architecture and the arts.

Seeking the best of the best? Then we’d ask your travel advisor about the availability of the train’s Presidential Suite. It’s spacious, well-appointed and has a large bathroom. Plus, guests staying here will receive enhanced amenities such as Champagne and caviar.

For more information check out the luxury train’s website. But be sure to contact a reputable travel agency such as Pavlus Travel for questions and booking.

5. Latest Travel News: Themed River Cruises

What’s better than a relaxing, exploratory European river cruise that sails right into the heart of famous cities and quaint towns? Well, it could be a themed cruise — one that feeds a traveler’s “personal passion.”

So, we took notice when Riviera River Cruises announced a new 2025 collection of eight themed European river cruise itineraries. Those themed offerings will unfold on the Rhine, Rhone, Danube and Douro rivers.

In the latest travel news announcement, Riviera River Cruises said that its guests can indulge their personal passion (art, history, cuisine, music and more) on new themed cruises. The Geoffrey Chaucer's deluxe balcony suite is shown above. Photo by Riviera River Cruises.
(In our look at the latest travel news, check out Riviera River Cruises’ new 2025 themed voyages. A deluxe balcony suite on the Geoffrey Chaucer is shown above. Photo by Riviera River Cruises.)

Themed voyages allow guests to indulge their favorite interest — perhaps a love of art, music, history, food, wine or nature. “In 2025, let your passion guide you on your next European river cruise,” says Marilyn Conroy, executive vice president sales and marketing, North America, for Riviera River Cruises.

New Themed Itineraries

The new themed river cruise itineraries start at $2,499 to $3,199 per person based on double occupancy. They include:

  • Gastronomy of Switzerland and the Rhine
  • Music, Arts & Craft of Switzerland and the Rhine
  • Music of the Blue Danube
  • Art and History on the Danube
  • History and Art of the Rhône
  • Gardens and Natural Beauty of the Rhône
  • Gastronomy of the Douro – from Portugal to Spain
  • History of the Douro – from Portugal to Spain

“Along the way, our insightful speakers and local guides will share their knowledge with you,” she adds. “And as always, you’ll enjoy luxurious accommodations, delicious meals and a free drinks package aboard our ships.” So, visit the Riviera River Cruises website, and then chat with your professional travel advisor.

Also in 2025, upscale AmaWaterways will introduce new European combination cruises. Here’s a link to our recent blog about those voyages here.

In bringing you the latest travel news, we hope you’ve enjoyed these “shorts” about holiday travel or newly announced travel experiences. And we hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Important Notes from Pavlus Travel

  • If anything does tweak your interest in this blog and you DO have questions about specific pricing, brochures, savings, accommodations, accessible options and so on, please contact us at  800-528-9300.
  • Or visit us online at Pavlus Travel’s official agency Web site; there you can “live chat” with us online too!
  • This blog site is designed for “basic, general information” about travel. It’s not staffed by travel advisors.
  • Any price examples used in the above blog are subject to change. They also do not represent the full range of options; a travel advisor can assist with additional information.
  • Please don’t use the Reply Section below if you are asking for pricing, travel dates, accommodations, brochures or other specific requests. Please use the 800 number or online link. 


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