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AirlineRatings.com has announced the best of the best in the airline industry, in turn, helping you choose who to fly with. As well as in flight product, the world’s top ten airlines must be innovative, have a good route network and score highly for safety. These top ten are those which, experienced editors feel, offer the best in comfort, innovation, value and safety across each cabin class.

Korean Air has evolved into a top ten airline for 2018!

 

Korean Air’s new B747-8 Intercontinental is configured with 368 seats in a three-class configuration; 6 First Class, 48 Prestige Class (26 seats on the upper deck and 22 seats on the main deck) and 314 Economy Class. The aircraft also features Korean Air’s brand new First Class Kosmo Suites 2.0  designed with a sliding door and higher partitions to provide added privacy for passengers.

The suites are also equipped with updated in-flight entertainment systems, with large 24-inch high-definition monitors and new handheld touch remotes. The airline’s Prestige Class Suites will feature staggered seating and privacy panels, along with 18” high definition touch screens.

About 70% of the aircraft, by structural weight, incorporates new advanced aluminum alloys and carbon composites to reduce the weight drastically and giving a 16% improvement in fuel consumption and emissions over its predecessor the 747-400, while generating 30% less noise. With a range of  14,815km, the new B747 will be the fastest wide body passenger jet in the world with a normal cruising  speed of Mach 0.86.

 

submitted by -- Gayle

Picking the right cruise can be a tricky process. From small sailing ships to mega cruise ships, how do you know what is right for you?

Here are a few of our personal suggestions and tips to get your started.

Who is travelling? A couple, a family? Perhaps a solo traveller?

Most cruise lines cater for all sorts of traveller, but in fairness some are better suited than others to particular guests. We like Royal Caribbean for families as they cater extraordinarily well for children of all ages. If travelling solo, consider a cruise line such as Holland America or Norwegian Cruise Lines, where single travellers are welcomed aboard with special single cabins and events.

Budgeting?

The million-dollar question. Our biggest tip is this: While all-inclusive lines such as Seabourn Cruises, Silversea and Regent Seven Seas Cruises on the face of it are more expensive than others, they are all suites (amazing space compared to a regular stateroom), include all your drinks onboard including mini bar set up of your choice, and in the case of Regent Seven Seas, they include your Shore Excursions. Speciality dining is often included in nearly all cases, so by the time you add up a few cocktails, that bottle of wine over dinner etc, often the cost is worth it for a stress free journey and no nasty credit card bill at the end.

What size ship is best? Those floating hotels are somewhat daunting!

Ask what you want out of your holiday. Are you seeking exploration ashore, with extended time in port? If so, go for a “mid size” or small ship experience. Often smaller ships can get into ports the big ones cannot, and getting ashore can be a little easier. We love Holland America Line (max 2650 guests) and Windstar Cruises (max 310 guests) for 5 star service coupled with excellent itineraries and time ashore.

If a myriad of dining options, incredible nightlife and shows, a few sea days lazing by the pool or enjoying spa treatments floats your boat, then you would love the larger ships, offering such variety we doubt you will have a second to get bored. Celebrity Cruises are our pick for gorgeous ships and innovation.

When is the best time to book?

Earlier is better. Yes, these days the cruise lines may bring out a late special, but there is no guarantee of this, and by the time they release a special, it may be the last cabins or suites they are trying to fill, and they may not be in the best location. By booking early, you get a much wider choice of your stateroom. Often when a new itinerary or season is released, this is the time the cruise lines will entice you to book early with discounts on onboard offers.

Now a little info on some of our favourites...

Holland America Line: 5 star traditional mid size cruising

✓ 5 star, mid sizes ships (no more than 2650 guests onboard)
✓ Traditional cruising experience with modern touches
✓ Around-the-world sailings offered
✓ Extensive dining options and enrichment programs

Why we love Holland America Line:

Stepping onboard a Holland America Line ship gives you a sense of warmth and comfort. Colours and fabrics are rich, giving you a sense of what traditional cruising is all about. No gaudy or tacky lighting or unexplainable art pieces, just the right balance of tradition and modern. Dining is exceptional, and service is unobtrusive and professional. Staterooms are of a good size, with comfy beds dressed in high standard linens.

Windstar Cruises: 5 star yacht style cruising

✓ Options to travel on masted sailing ships or all-suite yachts
✓ Intimate ships sail to destinations bigger ships can't 
✓ Attentive service, with a passenger-crew ratio of 1.5 to 1
✓ Casual atmosphere with fine dining

Why we love Windstar Cruises:

Windstar brilliantly combines style with the romance of ocean travel. Smaller vessels get into the ports that the big ships cannot, making for often quicker access to the cities and ports you are visiting. Think casual onboard but with the fine dining and service you would come to expect from a 5 star line.

Seabourn Cruise Line: 6 star luxury

✓ Features exotic itineraries
✓ All inclusive
✓ Outstanding reputation for service

Why we love Seabourn Cruise Line:

Seabourn have a knack of combining soft adventure travel with elegance. Our favourite destination for Seabourn is Antarctica, where you can explore ashore with a team of experts, but be welcomed back into warm, 6 star luxury. Being all inclusive removes the worry for what your drinks bill will be by the end of the cruise – enjoy welcome champagne, your mini bar stocked with your preferences, and an open bar throughout the cruise. To top it off, tipping is not expected, nor included. Pay a bit more and treat yourself.

Silversea Cruises: 6 star luxury

✓ All-suite, all-inclusive cruise line
✓ Adventure ship goes beyond traditional luxury
✓ Itineraries blend exotic ports and mainstream locales
✓ Stellar service and cuisine onboard

Why we love Silversea Cruises:

Silversea give us a lot of reasons to love them – from popular Mediterranean cruises through to small ship expedition opportunities in unique destinations such as the Kimberleys, the Galapagos Islands and Russia, enjoy all suite luxury and explore. And the all-inclusive drinks onboard including fine wines, champagne, your choice of what your mini bar is stocked with does not hurt either. Yes, you will pay a bit more than the ‘mainstream’ cruise lines, but it is worth it.

Avalon Waterways:

✓ Suite class ships feature floor-to-ceiling, retractable windows
✓ Shore Excursions included and local wines with dinner
✓ Cruises great rivers in Europe and Asia 

Why we love Avalon Waterways:

We feel the Avalon Waterways river experience is the best one for Kiwis. Most river companies include of course your meals, wine with dinner, shore excursions, as does Avalon, but what makes them different is each day there is free time to do as you wish. You may do a guided tour in the morning, then you may choose to stay in the village and make your own way back at your leisure, rather than go back for lunch, and feel you have to join the next tour. You can sit back in a towns piazza with a local lunch, enjoy the sunshine with a glass of wine, and relax. Avalon also offer free bikes onboard many of their vessels to enjoy your own exploration, just adding to the reasons why we believe Avalon Waterways is a great way to cruise.

 

submitted by -- Gayle

Emirates has tonight unveiled completely refreshed interiors for its Boeing 777 aircraft, including it new first-class private suites it says were inspired by Mercedes Benz and technology from Nasa.

The leather seat reclines into a fully flat bed and can be placed in a "zero-gravity" position inspired by Nasa technology, giving a feeling of relaxation and weightlessness, Emirates says.

To ensure all first-class customers have a view, Emirates is introducing what it says are the industry's first virtual windows for suites located in the middle of the cabin.

These virtual windows - which are used in some cruise ships - project the view from outside the aircraft using real-time camera technology. In the other suites, binoculars are available for customers who want to explore the sky outside their windows.

On the first day of the Dubai Air Show, the airline said the new suites with floor-to-ceiling sliding doors would be a "game changer". The unveiling comes just under a fortnight after rival Singapore Airlines revealed new first-class suites in its superjumbos that could feature double beds.

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark said Emirates pioneered the private suite concept back in 2003, and the airline continued to set the industry benchmark. The suites have nearly 4sq m of personal space and are arranged in a 1-1-1 configuration at the front of the 777s. Emirates' latest first-class product gives a nod to the design philosophy of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

"We are very excited about our new fully-enclosed suite which is a real game-changer in terms of privacy, comfort, and thoughtful luxury. This is the first time an Emirates product has been so influenced by another luxury brand, but it is a natural fit," said Clark.

Emirates has updated the most popular features of its private suites, including a personal minibar for drinks and snacks within each suite; and wireless controls to adjust seating positions, as well as to navigate the in-flight entertainment system.

The Boeing 777s don't have the showers that are aboard Emirates' A380s. All parts of the plane have had a multi-million-dollar upgrade.

"The in-flight experience is the heart of our brand and service proposition. features our latest fully-flat leather seats with personal minibars, economy-class seats have adjustable full leather headrests, and the in-flight entertainment system has been upgraded for all cabin classes." Passengers would see more modern and airy cabins, said Clark.

The latest Emirates 777 aircraft with the new features will enter commercial service on December 1, making its debut on flights from Dubai to Geneva and Brussels. Emirates uses A380s on its services out of New Zealand.

Source: NZ Herald

 

submitted by -- Gayle