November 15, 2013 483 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank of America Citigroup Customer Satisfaction First-Time Homebuyers Investors JPMorgan Chase Lenders & Servicers Quicken Loans Service Providers U.S. Bancorp Wells Fargo 2013-11-15 Krista Franks Brock in Origination Customer satisfaction with mortgage loan originators reached a seven-year high this year with Quicken Loans earning the highest ranking for the fourth year in a row, according to the “”J.D. Power 2013 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study.””:http://www.jdpower.com/content/press-release/guM7kPe/2013-u-s-primary-mortgage-origination-satisfaction-study.htm [IMAGE]The study ranks originators on a 1,000-point scale, taking into consideration four factors, including the application/approval process, loan representatives, closing, and contact with lenders. Satisfaction across the industry increased for the third year in a row, reaching a seven-year high of 771. Five originators earned scores above the industry average. Topping the list was Quicken Loans with a score of 841. The remaining four lenders to outrank the industry average are BB&T (798), U.S. Bank (783), PNC Mortgage (778), and Chase (773). Just below the industry average, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage earned a score of 768, followed by CitiMortgage at 764. [COLUMN_BREAK]Those refinancing their mortgage loans were more satisfied with the process than those purchasing a home, according to “”J.D. Power.””:http://www.jdpower.com/ Satisfaction among refinancers was 775 compared to 765 among homebuyers. J.D. Power attributes this to “”refinance customers’ familiarity with the process.”” However, first-time home buyers were significantly more satisfied with the process than repeat buyers. The satisfaction ranking for first-time buyers is 772 compared to 757 for repeat buyers. First-time buyers were the most likely category of customers to acquire additional fees at closing. Seventeen percent of first-time buyers had fees tacked on at closing, compared to 8 percent of repeat buyers and 7 percent of refinancers. First-time buyers were also the most likely to cite problems with understanding their loan options. While 81 percent of refinancers said their loan officer “”clearly explained their options,”” just 61 percent of first-time buyers indicated the same. “”Much of the stress with borrowing comes from a lack of information and knowledge during the process,”” said Craig Martin, director of the financial services practice at J.D. Power. Martin encourages first-time buyers to ask questions and gain an understanding of how and when they will be updated throughout the process. While only a minority of customers close their loans electronically, J.D. Power said, “”[t]he use of electronic closing documents improves customer closing satisfaction.”” Just 8 percent of customers closed their loans electronically, but their satisfaction rating with the closing process was 830, while satisfaction among those who closed in person was 772. Customer Satisfaction with Originators Rises, Quicken’s Reign Continues Share
“Today, we’re seizing the opportunity to shape a cleaner and more sustainable nation.”Ed Golding, HUD FHA to Insure Mortgages with Clean Energy Assessments July 19, 2016 623 Views The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) on Tuesday announced it will ensure certain mortgages on properties with Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) assessments in an effort to offer a range of financing options to homeowners seeking to add clean energy technologies to their homes.On Tuesday, FHA announced the guidance that outlines circumstances under which it will offer insurance on properties with a PACE assessment. The action announced Tuesday by the FHA is part of a broader effort by the Administration to offer clean energy technologies to every American family that is looking to cut their energy bills by switching to solar energy and making other energy-efficiency improvements.As part of this effort, FHA will approve purchase and refinance mortgage applications in states that treat PACE obligations as special assessments similar to property taxes, according to the FHA’s announcement.“Today, we’re seizing the opportunity to shape a cleaner and more sustainable nation,” said Ed Golding, HUD Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing. “Using PACE, families will be able to make their homes more energy efficient and sustainable in the long run, while still keeping their costs affordable today. As PACE programs continue to develop across the nation, the positive impact on families, jobs, and the environment will only grow.”According to FHA, PACE has shown promise as an effective way to finance improvements to homes that focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation, among other improvements in such areas as heating and cooling systems, lighting, water pumps, and insulation. PACE financing pays for these home improvements and is repaid as an assessment added to the property’s tax bill, according to FHA; state and local governments sponsor PACE financing in order to encourage homes to add energy efficiency, which in turn promotes economic development.While the FHA has announced it will approve some purchase in refinance applications for properties with PACE assessments, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has taken the opposite stance. The FHFA forbids Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase mortgages with a PACE loan, because the PACE program gives these loans first-lien status. FHFA has warned that programs attaching first-lien status to mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not push the first-lien status of those loans to the secondary position because of the risk they pose to taxpayers while the GSEs are under conservatorship.The guidance issued by FHA protects the Administration from risk by requiring lenders to escrow PACE assessment payments so that FHA would not be at risk of losing collateral in a tax sale. Also, FHA’s appraisal policy requires that appraisals take the PACE assessment and the value of improvements into account. FHA Mortgage Insurance PACE Property Assessed Clean Energy 2016-07-19 Seth Welborn Share in Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News
September 12, 2016 781 Views in Daily Dose, Headlines, News, REO Charting the Course for the Future for REO Agents and Brokers Charting the course for the future was the theme of the day when members of the Five Star Institute’s Federation of Certified REO Experts (FORCE) convened on Sunday for the 6th Annual FORCE Rally at the 2016 Five Star Conference and Expo in Dallas.The three-hour rally included presentations from some of the most elite REO agents and brokers and other industry stakeholders on trending topics within the REO industry and how to prepare for the future. Ruben Peña, President/Owner of TC Austin (Texas) Residential and chairman of the FORCE advisory board, moderated the event and provided his usually witty commentary throughout.Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute, provided an update on the market. Delgado told the audience not to abandon the REO space, because REO is a byproduct of the industry that will never stop; the businesses that perform well in the current REO market—that is, one where volume levels are similar to those from before the crisis—are the ones that diversify their business model.Several experts from the industry spoke to the audience about various aspects on the state of REO. Sharon Bartlett, Executive Director of Industry Relations for the Five Star Institute, spoke about the most important benefits for FORCE members and partnerships that can benefit a brand. Jerry Mavellia, CEO of Guardian Asset Management, spoke about the importance of making lasting connections in order to grow a business.Randy Cecil, President of Truly Noble Services, spoke on expanding business by utilizing the relationship between agents and property preservation companies; Mercedes Henriksson, director of loss mitigation with Fannie Mae, spoke about the importance of being proactive as an REO agent and executing a top of mind strategy. Dennis Cisterna, CRO of Investability, spoke on where the hottest single-family rental markets are; Eddie Speed, founder of NoteSchool, talked about the importance of finding market inefficiencies when buying notes; Amy Sanchez, VP of Business Development with Prescient Asset Management, spoke on new government and private sector assets that are booming in the REO and single-family rental markets; Steve Liang, co-founder of MLS Deal Finder, spoke on the new software programs that make an REO agent or broker’s job easier; and Rick Sharga, EVP of Corporate Communications with Ten-X, spoke on the importance of shifting real estate transactions to online from end to end.Mixed in with the speakers, the audience also heard from three panels that included various experts within the REO industry on topics such as investment and single-family rental, growing a business through networking, technology, and market insights, and best practices and strategies to excel in the “contact sport” of real estate.Editor’s note: The Federation of REO Certified Experts (FORCE) is the Five Star Institute’s organization of residential agents and brokers working in the field of real estate owned (REO) properties. The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com. FORCE REO Agents and Brokers The Five Star Institute 2016-09-12 Seth Welborn Share
LenderLive Promotes Ian Morgan LenderLive Holdings, Inc., a mortgage services provider based in Denver, that Ian Morgan has been promoted to Chief Information Security Officer (CISO).In this role, Morgan will be responsible for the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the company’s information assets, partnering with LenderLive’s business lines to strengthen existing security controls, setting the strategic direction of information security at LenderLive and adhering to regulatory requirements. He will report to Lorie Helms, Chief Information Officer (CIO).Morgan joined LenderLive in September 2010. Throughout his career with LenderLive, he has held positions of increasing management responsibility within the organization. Most recently, Mr. Morgan served as vice president, Technology Solutions, where he guided the build-out of the company’s workflow system, strengthened the company’s eSign, eMortgage, and document imaging platforms, and strove to secure business systems by meeting comprehensive audit requirements.Prior to LenderLive, Morgan held IT management positions with Alameda Mortgage Corporation, Assurity Financial Services, Information Management Research, and Optimus Corporation. He holds a bachelor’s in Business Administration from Colorado State University and holds multiple certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional, Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, Cisco Certified Networking Associate, Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and ITIL Foundations v3.“Information security has become a critical and essential priority for our clients.By creating a dedicated executive level position, we are demonstrating our commitment to protecting client and customer information entrusted to LenderLive,” said Rob Clements, Chairman, and CEO of LenderLive. “During his tenure at LenderLive, [Morgan] has demonstrated proven success in building strong teams to achieve a streamlined and cohesive operation. I am confident that Ian will continue to be a critical contributor as we grow and evolve.” HOUSING LenderLive mortgage 2018-03-19 Rachel Williams March 19, 2018 576 Views in Headlines, journal, News, Technology Share
Construction Consumers Foreclosures homes HOUSING Housing Starts Tarriff Unemployment 2018-05-08 Radhika Ojha Consumers are feeling relatively relaxed about their finances; foreclosures are wallowing near 30-year lows; and the outlook for the housing market is mostly positive, albeit with a few worrisome headwinds, according to the latest LegalShield Law Index, released Tuesday. LegalShield’s Housing Activity Index rose in April, amid declining foreclosures and an uptick in housing starts in March. Housing starts are up 1.9 percent, reaching an annual rate of 1.32 million, which according to LegalShield is one of the highest rates recorded since the recession. “Although LegalShield data suggest housing starts should continue to improve in the coming months, several headwinds facing construction activity have worsened in recent weeks,” said James Rosseau, Chief Commercial Officer at LegalShield. The major threats to housing are rising interest rates and deteriorating trade relations, according to Rosseau. “The price of framing lumber has risen over 40 percent from a year ago due to import tariffs, while confrontations with key U.S. trading partners, particularly China, have also led to increased costs for steel and aluminum,” he added. Despite these headwinds, Rosseau said, “For the time being, however, we are cautiously optimistic about new housing construction in 2018.”The Housing Activity Index climbed 3.5 points over the month of April to 115.2. In fact, the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index and Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment Index also posted improvements in April, which LegalShield said is to be expected “in light of multi-decade low unemployment levels.” The LegalShield Foreclosure Index, another component of the LegalShield Law Index, fell to a record-low in April, declining 9.1 points to 54.3. The Foreclosure Index for April “points to muted foreclosure activity over the coming months,” according to LegalShield. LegalShield’s Consumer Financial Stress Index declined 1 point over April, reaching a record low for the index at 71.3. In fact, April’s record just beats the previous index record charted a month earlier. “Financial stress is likely to remain subdued while consumer confidence should remain elevated over the next one to three months due to the combination of low unemployment, reduced tax burden, and slowly rising wages,” Rosseau said. May 8, 2018 627 Views Share Housing Construction Outlook Remains “Cautiously Optimistic” in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News
January 24 , 2019 You might also be interested in New York-based Satur Farms is voluntarily recalling baby spinach and mesclun over concerns they might be contaminated with salmonella, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).The recall announced on Jan. 23 involves product that was grown in Florida and distributed in New York and Florida through retail stores, the FDA said. No illnesses have been reported according to the company’s notice. The voluntary recall is being initiated following routine sampling by Florida Department of Agriculture and New York State Department of Agriculture and markets. U.S.: Salmonella outbreak linked to Mexican papaya … U.S.: Salmonella outbreak linked to pre-cut melon … U.S.: FDA finds no salmonella outbreak source at D …
#SkalSydney’s July lunch celebrates French National Day, with a sumptuous get together at The Little Snail Restaurant in Pyrmont. The event will be held on Wednesday 10 July 2019, ahead of what we know as Bastille Day, on 14 July.Tickets for members are $65 and guests $75, plus booking fee. CLICK HERE for more information and to reserve your spot.DATE: Wednesday 10 JulyVENUE: The Little Snail, 50 Murray St, PyrmontTIME: 12.00pm eventSkal International Sydney
All joking aside, an odd coping mechanism could be the reason the Minnesota Vikings have blown leads and are sitting at 0-4.“The knock against Donovan [McNabb]…is his intensity level is not what it needs to be, both throughout the week and during games,” said Ron Wolfley, co-host of Arizona Sports 620’s Doug & Wolf Show. Wolfley was quick to add that this is not his opinion, but something he has heard around the NFL. Top Stories 0 Comments Share What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Apparently McNabb’s way of coping with the pressure brought on by a close game is to start laughing and joking with his teammates. This may be a great way to break the tension, but Wolfley said that seeing a man who commands respect throughout the NFL, like McNabb, smiling his way through the fourth quarter is demoralizing.“He is a king in the locker room and you can’t have a mad king in the locker room,” said Wolfley, adding that joking around after a loss — especially a close one — can take the intensity that is needed to improve for next week and drop it through the floor.“Football is a sobering game and it’s played by serious people,” Wolfley said.When the Cardinals come to town on Sunday, it is going to be a test for two teams who entered the seasons with high hopes and the glint of a possible stunner season in their eyes. Two teams who now have won just a single game between them.We’ll see who has the last laugh on Sunday.
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments Share “This is two games we haven’t done as good a job as the first three. But, we’ve got a bunch of guys that will work hard and we’ll get back to it,” said Whisenhunt. “I’m not going to lose sight that we’re 4-1. We’re a good football team, we just didn’t play as well as we can tonight and that’s what we’ve got to get corrected.”Whisenhunt went on to say that he’s going to use the extra days off to get to make these corrections and get his team healthy for their next game against the Buffalo Bills.“We’ve got a chance to get couple of days to get healthier and get back and get focused and that’s what we’ll do,” said Whisenhunt.”No matter what else happens we’re in first place so we’ll keep working.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The Arizona Cardinals’ winning streak has come to an end with a resounding thud. Right off the bat, it didn’t look good as the St. Louis Rams marched down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. After the opening series, the Cardinals defense managed to settle down and forced the Rams quarterback Sam Bradford to throw 12 straight incompletions.The Cardinals had a handful of chances late in the game to set up a comeback they always seem to pull off. But, dropped passes and a lack of run offense killed any momentum the Cardinals had. Top Stories “We didn’t make plays in the first half that could’ve changed that game. We gave up two big plays defensively, which is tough, but offensively we had a lot of dropped balls tonight,” said Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt. “Missed throws, dropped balls, we didn’t protect well, we didn’t run it well and with all that being said we still had a change at the end of the game to get back in it.” The Rams defense held the Cardinals to only a field goal and tore through the Cardinals offensive line to bring down quarterback Kevin Kolb a total of nine times.“It’s always easy to say ‘you had this many sacks up front,’ but you’ve got to look at some of the other factors that contribute,” said Whisenhunt. “If we make a play or two that can takes the pressure off the line we’re able to do some different things and we didn’t get that done. So we’ve got to look at what we’ve got to do better.”This marked the first time this season the Cardinals failed to put at least 20 points on the board. It’s also the second straight game Kolb has been sacked at least eight times. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo The Arizona Cardinals underwent a plethora of changes this offseason — and changes continue to abound.The Cardinals opened camp at University of Phoenix Stadium — a drastic change from their old digs at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.“It does make camp feel a little bit more like it means something,” Cardinals’ defensive end Calais Campbell said. “When you’re at your locker, you can envision yourself being there on game day, it makes it more worthwhile when you come out here to practice and get ready for that day.” Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Comments Share While the new scenery was a hot topic of discussion on the team’s first day of camp, another prevailing theme was apparent.Quite a few players spoke to a different vibe and style of play under new head coach Bruce Arians and his regime.“The style is a lot different,” Campbell stated. “The way we do things, the tempo, everything is just a little bit different.”Campbell also said he’s seen a change in philosophy to the Cardinals’ defense — highlighting a more aggressive mentality.“They’re already on top of us,” Campbell said. “First practice and they’re telling me get up the field a little bit more and be more explosive. So that’s something I am working on and I have been working on this whole offseason.”Campbell isn’t the only player who is relishing in the team’s new approach.“It’s totally different from in the past,” linebacker Karlos Dansby said. “It’s a new feel. Everybody’s trying to get use to it. The terminology of the defense and offense on both sides of the ball, there’s a lot of learning on both sides of the ball. We are just anxious to get back out there and get going.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling While Campbell and Dansby are new to Arians’ ways, offseason acquisition Rashard Mendenhall is quite familiar with the head coach’s system from their days together in Pittsburgh.The Cardinals’ running back said his teammates seem to be acclimating well to Arians’ ways — especially his persona.“[Arians] is so straightforward,” Mendenhall explained. “He’s so honest. He lets you know exactly what’s going on, he lets you know exactly what we’re going to do and he lets you know where you are at personally. “Everybody respects him because he’s very, very honest and straightforward and that’s all you want as a player.” – / 25 Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires
It’s probably safe to say the Arizona Cardinals will send a handful of players to the NFL Pro Bowl at the end of the season, which will be held in Glendale ahead of Super Bowl XLIX, by the way.The team is 9-1, and even though it has suffered injuries to prominent players like Carson Palmer and Darnell Dockett, others have stepped in and kept the momentum right on going. With that in mind, in Wednesday, Nov. 19’s Sanderson Ford Poll Question of the Day, we asked which Cardinal you would send to the Pro Bowl this year, if you could only choose one. Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The answers were pretty split, but the top vote-getter was “I can’t pick just one — all of them,” which earned 159 of the 545 total votes (29 percent).Although it’s not realistic to get the entire team into the Pro Bowl, the answer reflects how many contributors there are on this year’s squad.Patrick Peterson was the next-most-popular answer in the poll with 142 votes (26 percent). The fourth-year cornerback had a huge game two weeks ago to help the Cardinals to victory over St. Louis, and he has 26 tackles on the season to go with two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown.Wide receivers John Brown and Larry Fitzgerald were neck-and-neck with 96 votes (18 percent) and 93 (17 percent), respectively. Brown, a rookie, has caught 34 balls for 468 and five touchdowns, while the sage-like Fitzgerald has 46 catches for 658 yards and two TDs.The last option we offered was Deone Bucannon, who garnered 10 percent (55 total) of the vote. Not bad for a rookie.The Cardinals, winners of six straight, next will take on the division-rival Seattle Seahawks (6-4) on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. The game kicks off at 2:05 p.m. and you can catch the call on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories
It wasn’t as easy as taking the biggest offer.Uninterrupted followed Campbell leading into free agency and during it to compose a 16-minute documentary short covering Campbell’s nervous hours navigating his latest career move. Early on, the film reveals his skepticism about a return to the Cardinals despite his desire to remain in the desert.“I tell you like this, man, it’s been a pleasure,” Campbell says while sitting down for a meal with former Cardinals teammate Chandler Jones.“Stop saying that, bro,” Jones replies. “Once I see that ESPN (say Campbell is on another team), I’m going to call you and say, ‘it’s a pleasure.’”From the beginning, it’s clear Campbell’s decision isn’t so clear-cut, even with the Cardinals out of the picture having only a $9 million per-year deal to offer. And it’s clear how complicated the negotiating process becomes once the free agency period begins.Conflict finds Campbell when the Jaguars put the $15 million per year deal on the table just as the Broncos, the Denver native’s hometown team, express their own interest. He consults with his siblings and fellow Denver product and former NBA star Chauncey Billups as he wrestles with the two options. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling 4 Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Even with that Jaguars’ deal on the table, Campbell even makes his agent, Tom Condon, give Denver and Arizona a final call.“I know what they’re going to say, just for the hell of it,” Condon says, before calling back. “They can’t do anything. As a matter of fact, we tried to give them what the (Jacksonville) offer was and they said, ‘we don’t need to hear it.’”Because Condon fears the Jaguars’ offer could be pulled, Campbell is given just minutes to give the Jaguars a call back to take the contract.Eventually, he makes the call.“Let’s go with Jacksonville,” Campbell says. For nine seasons, Calais Campbell terrorized opponents of the Arizona Cardinals. But the second-round draft pick by Arizona in 2008 hit free agency this offseason as a 31-year-old whose price-point and contract length didn’t fit into the long-term outlook.So he and his agent worked the phones, eventually choosing the Jacksonville Jaguars as his second NFL home.Campbell inked a four-year, $60 million contract with half of the money guaranteed.
Vivid Sydney has been recognised as a world leading event, taking out one of the top honours at the 2015 Pacific Asia Travel Association Grand and Gold Awards.Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres announced Vivid Sydney won the Gold Award in the Marketing – State Government Destination category, recognising State or city tourism organisations.“This is great news for NSW and this win highlights how important the world’s largest festival of light, music and ideas is for our great State,” Mr Ayres said. “The win reinforces the professionalism of Destination NSW’s marketing promotional activities and the success of how they work with partners to develop travel packages and other activities to increase awareness of and visitation to Vivid Sydney.“The popularity of Vivid Sydney continues to increase with 1.7 million people visiting the festival this year on the back of this campaign. This included the sale of over 26,000 international Vivid Sydney travel packages with more than 11,000 packages sold to China.”The Pacific Asia Travel Association Awards recognise exceptional achievement in a range of activities in the Asia Pacific travel industry. There were 269 entries from 83 travel and tourism organisations and individuals across the world in this year’s awards.
Having recently launched more than 700 exceptional outdoor encounters under the banner of ‘My Swiss Experience’, Switzerland Tourism reports that interest in the various activities on offer remains high.Many travellers and agents alike now have the ability and flexibility to look up experiences and book them directly online in just a few clicks.Some of the more popular themes this summer include nature, urban, adventure, culture and action. Agents assisting their clients with suggestions and bookings can search experiences by themes, seasons, travel group sizes and even by the preferred language.Under the nature theme, exploring the rocky desert and learning about local herbs and brewing skills are quite popular as travellers get to see and experience very different sides to the country, in addition to the alpine setting.Travellers opting for urban tours have been delighted with discovering trendy Zurich West and the design aspects that have influenced and continue to influence the look and feel of many Swiss cities.Meanwhile, paddling in the heights of the Alpine canyons and paragliding have proved popular among adventure- and thrill-seekers, while wildlife watching is fast becoming an essential Swiss summer experience.Travellers in search of some local culture have been enjoying following the footsteps of Hermann Hesse, listening to scary ghost stories, and touring with a night watchman to add a bit of literary experience and mystery to their holiday itinerary.Finally, while spectacular views and farm animals have always been quite popular among walkers and hikers, two programmes that have gained traction this summer include climbing a 4000-metre mountain in the Valais region and trekking with goats.More experiences can be found here. Lake Lucerne
Go back to the enewsletterViking has announced new departure dates for some of its most popular ocean cruises, starting from August 2020 right through to March 2021.These include, new departure dates for the following itineraries:Far East & Alaska – departing 24 August 2020, from Vancouver to Hong Kong. This 37-day cruise is priced from $20,995 per person in a Veranda stateroom.North Pacific Passage – departing 24 August 2020, from Vancouver to Tokyo. This 23-day cruise is priced from $11,595 per person in a Veranda stateroom. In the Wake of the Vikings – departing 27 August 2020, from Bergen to Montreal. This 15-day cruise is priced from $10,995 per person in a Veranda stateroom.Australia & New Zealand – departing 11 November 2020, from Sydney to Auckland. This 15-day cruise is priced from $8,495 per person in a Veranda stateroom. Stay tuned for two additional departure dates.Empires of the Mediterranean – departing 28 March 2021, from Venice to Athens. This 10-day cruise is priced from $5,695 per person in a Veranda stateroom.“While 2020 and 2021 might seem far off, these new departures for some of our most popular cruise itineraries are guaranteed to sell out fast, so guests are encouraged to book early – we don’t want anyone to miss out,” said Michelle Black, Managing Director of Viking Cruises Australia and New Zealand.For additional information, visit vikingcruises.com.au.Go back to the enewsletter
RelatedNew business aviation centre for Norwich airportNorwich International Airport is set to expand.New Manchester-Spain service from easyJetNew Manchester-Spain service from easyJetRyanair to add two new flights at Leeds BradfordRyanair has announced two new cheap flights to Spain from Leeds Bradford International Airport. Iberian carrier LTE International has good news for travellers from Norwich Airport seeking the Spanish sun.The airline will be offering weekly services to Alicante, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca from the East Anglian hub, marking the airline’s first scheduled services from a UK regional airport.Richard Jenner, managing director of Norwich Airport, said: “They are an established charter airline, having worked with UK tour operators such as Thomas Cook and Thomsonfly – indeed, many passengers from Norwich have already flown with LTE to Lanzarote on First Choice holidays.”Southern Spanish destinations are already hugely popular with UK air travellers – and a new international airport on the doorstep of Alicante could soon provide further travel options for Brits.The Corvera Airport in Murcia has been tipped to process some three million passengers during its first year, with construction work now under way and first phase completion due for 2009.Spanish travellers looking further afield than the UK could themselves be given a boost if British Airways builds on its planned New York routes to Paris and Brussels and extends its new Open Skies services to Madrid, as has been reported by El Economista. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
RelatedAir Southwest launches flights to Plymouth and Newquay from London CityAir Southwest has celebrated the launch of flights to Plymouth and Newquay from London City AirportVLM to launch flights to Frankfurt from AntwerpVLM Airlines will launch three flights to Frankfurt per day from AntwerpLondon City’s most punctual airport is CityJetCityJet has been revealed as the most punctual airline operating from London City Airport during the first six months. Air France will launch new flights to Nantes from London City Airport on April 27th.The flights to western France will be introduced in co-operation with the airline’s subsidiaries, CityJet and VLM Airlines.Christine Ourmieres, Air France-KLM’s UK & Ireland general manager, said the airline is “delighted” to launch the new flight, which is hoped to prove popular with both leisure and business passengers.”Our flights have been deliberately timed to enable travellers to undertake a day’s business in either city,” she said.Weekday and Saturday flights will depart from London City at 08:25 BST and arrive in Nantes at 11:10 local time. The Sunday flight will leave the capital at 17:45 and arrive in France at 20:30.The flights will be operated using VLM Airlines’ Fokker 50 aircrafts, which offer a choice of both business and economy class.Air France will launch its new summer schedule from Toulouse on Sunday (March 29th), which includes 34 daily flights to Paris. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
This little guy is not your everyday travel alarm clock. This clock from Sharper Image offers 17 therapeutic sounds to tune out even the loudest flight mate after a long, exhausting day. It also includes four different alarms, and if you don’t like those, the clock has a voice recorder to make your own! Even though cell phones are sure to have this feature, a true traveller never knows when their battery will die. That’s why this clock’s AA batteries will save the day, and maybe a couple hundred quid for not missing your flight!For the frequent flyer: PocketFinderIt makes sense that the more you travel, the more likely you are to lose your luggage. Luckily, we now have GPS technology to track down your missing baggage. The PocketFinder is a little chargeable GPS sensor you place in your bag which is tracked using GPS and a laptop or smartphone app. There is a monthly fee for the service, but it could be well worth it when you need to know where your business suit is.For the travelling presenter: Victorinox Presentation Master Swiss Army KnifeIf you give presentations, you might agree a laser pointer is probably your best friend. Victorianox realized this, and put a laserpointer inside their Swiss Army knife, along with a Flash drive with up to 128GB of memory. Don’t want your precious data falling into the wrong hands? This gadget even has a fingerprint biometric sensor to keep your files safe. Also, the blade detaches to guarantee it gets to fly too.For the foreign tourist: Lingo Navigator 12 Language Talking TranslatorEver wish you could hire a personal interpreter to erase the language barrier? Well, this talking electronic translator speaks 12 different languages to ensure you’re understood correctly, including English, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and German. For someone learning a language, the translator says the correct pronunciation to improve both speaking and listening skills. Features also include a travel alarm, night-time backlight, and currency converter.For the heavy packer: Balanzza Ergo Digital Luggage Scale There’s no worse feeling while registering when your flight is on time than getting hit with a fee for a bag over the requested weight limit. If this sounds like a similar situation, a portable luggage scale will save you some time and maybe lighten your suitcase a little. Measuring up to 100lbs, the scale tells you the exact weight of your bag just by attaching the strap and lifting it off the ground. I wish you could bring that extra sweatshirt too, but with the money you saved you now have an excuse to buy another!For the instant photographer: Gorilla Adjustable TripodWe’ve all been there before: you see the perfect opportunity for a night-time photo, whip out your camera, and what happens? Blurry picture after blurry picture. The Gorilla Mobile Adjustable Tripod connects to your digital camera or mobile phone for a steadier shot at any angle, and can even wrap around poles, fencing, and almost anything else you can imagine.For the road rocker: Sony Ericsson Wireless HeadphonesDon’t get tangled up in cords when you don’t have to! Besides offering high-quality stereo music, these 5-ounce wireless earbuds from Sony are perfect for the person wanting to put the mp3 player on shuffle and set it aside. Microphone and on-off call controls let you handle phone calls, and it also includes echo cancellation and noise reduction features.When he’s not using his study abroad experiences to write for TravelProducts.com, Nate Schrader enjoys training for extreme outdoors races, snapping landscape photos, and reading about the latest technology to make his life even easier.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map Are you the person who is always on the go, and always has the latest, coolest, or most helpful gadget? If not, you might know someone who is. As laptops get smaller and smart phones get smarter, Nate Schrader presents these nifty gadgets sure to be useful to the frequent traveller for years to come.For the sleepless traveler: Travel Sleep Sound Machine RelatedPointless travel products – and the ones you really needSome ‘travel essentials’ are nothing more than a waste of luggage space. Which of these useless items do you have – and which should you pack instead?Editor’s picks: 11 top travel gifts for Christmas 2015Got a frequent traveller or a budding backpacker in your life? Want to get them something truly useful this Christmas? Look no further. We’ve rounded up the best travel gifts for Christmas 2015, from stocking fillers to the perfect package for under the tree.17 must have travel gadgets for your summer holidaysWhether you’ve found a cheap holiday dealor are heading off on an important business trip this summer, packing a few handy gadgets in your suitcase (or backpack) can help to make your trip run much more smoothly. From waterproof cameras for underwater scuba shots to practical luggage organisers for on-the-go essentials,…
As the great British weather bites back in style with rain, gales and several inches snow in Scotland, the BBQ summer is on hold. Cheer yourself up – book your beach fix now! Here are some ideas. 10. VietnamThe recent launch of direct flights from the UK and the opening of a number of high-end luxury resort hotels have propelled Vietnam into the spotlight as a new possibility for long-haul sun. Ong Lan Beach and Bai Sao on the island of Phu Quoc is possibly the best beach, but there is plenty of competition.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map Related7 exotic winter sun destinations under £400Seven amazing exotic places for winter sun escapes, all with flights less than £400 return: in gorgeous pictures.8 of the cheapest flights to get winter sun right nowTo paraphrase Frank Sinatra, ‘Fly me to the sun, let me play among the sandbars. Let me see what winter is like in Florida and Oman.’ Ol’ Blue Eyes might have liked the moon, but as his perma-tan showed, he loved the scorching sun – as do we. So we’ve…Exit planet snow: 10 winter sun breaksExit planet snow: 10 winter sun breaks 1. Cape VerdeCape Verde is one of the fastest-growing year-round sun choices for UK holidaymakers. With an average April temperature of 26C, incredible white beaches and world-class watersports, it’s no wonder the islands are ‘the new Canaries’, and they’re only a six-hour flight away.2. OmanOman can get really hot in the summer, but in spring the temperature is comfortably in the late 20s. Some of the best beaches on Oman’s 17,000km of coastline are around the capital Muscat, such as dramatic Doqum, with more super sands at Al Sawadi, only an hour away.3. Goa, IndiaSummer is monsoon season in Goa, but go(a) now because spring is gorgeously hot, dry and sunny. Indulge your fantasies for exotic palm-backed beaches (preferably with a cold Kingfisher beer from a beach café in hand) at Anjuna and Vagator in the north of the state, where hippies have been sun-seeking since the 70s.4. Gran CanariaApril is a little early for a week in your bikini in the Med, so head further south to the Canaries for spring sun. Gran Canaria’s climate actually varies across the island, but in the sub-tropical south you are pretty much guaranteed spring sunshine and temperatures in the mid-20s.5. Sharm el Sheikh, EgyptSharm is hot all year round, but the mercury is on he rise now, with 30C the norm next month, encouraging lazy days on the sun lounger. If you’re after more activity than sunbathing, the warm waters of the Red Sea are a scuba paradise.6. CroatiaCroatia gets hot in the height of summer but a visit early in the season will still get you a sunshine fix, and you’ll also beat the crowds to the beaches and islands of the Dalmatian Coast. Try Zlatni Rat on the island of Brac – often rated as Croatia’s best beach – or the aptly-named Rajska Plaza (Paradise Beach) on Rab.7. SardiniaThe Mediterranean island of Sardinia boasts Caribbean-standard beaches, like Chia – only an hour from Cagliari airport – and the exquisite Cala Luna on the glamorous Costa Smerelda. Summer is scorchio, while September, when the crowds have gone and the temperatures have dropped a little, is a lovely time to visit.8. Bodrum, TurkeyBodrum in Turkey is a summer holiday favourite for Brits but the resorts of the ‘Turquoise Coast’. No wonder – it’s reliably hot and sunny from late spring to mid-autumn. In high summer it can hot 35C, which might be too much for some, but you’d give it a go, wouldn’t you?9. Florida, USAOf course, it’s a longer trip to go Stateside, but it’s no surprise that so many Brits choose Florida for their holidays. As well as the excitement of Disney and all the Orlando theme parks, the Sunshine State boasts incredible beaches on both its Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines, and glitzy resorts like Palm Beach and Clearwater.
6) Maggot-infested cheese, SardiniaIf you like ripe stilton or a cheeky wedge of gorgonzola, then you might just enjoy this one. Casu Marza is a decomposed soft sheep milk cheese that is home to the cheese fly larvae. When you order the dish, you’ll be able to see the insects moving, but be careful not to disturb them too much when you nudge the plate as they can launch themselves 15 centimetres in the air if aggravated (before being eaten of course).7) Escamoles (ant larvae), MexicoEscamoles are the eggs of the very aggressive giant black Liometopum ants. They’re found in the root system of agave plants and farmers often get bitten retrieving them. To prepare hem, they are first fried up with butter and spices, then wrapped in a tortilla. The consistency is like cottage cheese, the taste is buttery and nutty and they’re widely referred to as ‘insect caviar’. 8) Pufferfish, Japan Known as fugu in Japan, the pufferfish is so dangerous that it can kill you. Nearly all pufferfish contain a poison known as tetrodotoxin, which can kill thirty people in one hit and there’s no known antidote. People still eat pufferfish though and put their lives in the hands of specially trained chefs who are taught how to remove the poison. Let’s hope your chef has a steady hand. If a bacon sarnie just isn’t cutting it and you fancy something more exotic, how about sinking your teeth into some raw whale blubber? If that doesn’t quite float your boat, don’t worry, there’s always a crispy tarantula. If you’re hungry now, you won’t be by the end of this article. Here are 15 of the weirdest foods to try on your travels.1) Crispy tarantula, CambodiaIf the eight-legged freak is your worst nightmare, then it’s debatable whether this option is better on worse. In Cambodia, don’t miss the opportunity to munch on the local delicacy of a deep-fried tarantula. Apparently the taste is actually quite bearable – think of a cross between chicken and cod (just with eight hairy legs attached). 11) Developing duck foetus (balut), PhilippinesThis one takes a boiled egg a step too far. Also known as ‘the egg with the legs’, there will be nowhere to dip your soldiers here. The egg contains an 18 day-old fertilised bird that still has its feathers, beak and bones – crunchy!12) Dried lizard, Hong KongThey’re crunchy, crispy, but you won’t get much flavour out of them. Dried lizards are a popular street-side snack and are often used in soup too. Sometimes they are even infused in alcohol and are believed to have medicinal properties such as being an energy booster, cold cure and even a weight loss aid. 2) Sheep eyeball juice, MongoliaIf you ever needed an alcohol deterrent, this is it. In Mongolia, the traditional hangover cure is a glass full of tomato juice, vinegar and sheep eyeballs. It’s full of vitamins and very good for you, but possibly the only hangover ‘cure’ that’ll leave you feeling more sick than when you started. Here’s looking at you, kid!3) Century egg, ChinaYou’ll need a strong stomach to handle this one, ‘hundred (or even a thousand) year-old eggs’ are black inside and are usually preservered for several months in a mixture of clay, ash and lime. They have a strong stench of ammonia and sulphur, so if you’re after a pungent, preserved delicacy, this is the one for you. 9) Guinea pig, PeruHigh in protein, low in cholesterol, what’s not to love? Oh, the fact it reminds you of your beloved child pet. If you see ‘cuy’ on the menu, you’re going to get a stuffed, roasted or flattened guinea pig. Don’t think of Fluffy. 10) Seahorses, starfish and scorpions on a stick, ChinaYou need to be very brave to get your jaw around this one. In China, they serve all sorts of things on a stick including sea horses and starfish. Be careful with the scorpions though as you’ll notice they’re so fresh that some of them are still moving. Related9 weirdest alcoholic drinks around the world9 weirdest alcoholic drinks around the world12 best street foods around the world: in picturesTantalise (or terrify) your tastebuds with our global gallery of the good, the gorgeous (and the grasshoppers) of gourmet street food.10 traditional Spanish foods you must tryFrom North to South Spain, here are 10 traditional dishes that will leave you drooling. 13) Live octopus, South KoreaSannakji is a dish that will slither down your throat – literally. In South Korea, the food is so fresh, they serve octopus live on a plate with sesame seeds and sesame oil. Just be careful because the active suction cups can grip on to the roof of your mouth or throat and become a choking hazard. Probably best to stick to the calamari.14) Giant tuna eyeball, JapanLike sushi? Well how about an eyeball? Pop to a local Japanese supermarket and you may just find a large tuna eyeball looking back up at you. It’s very fatty and surrounded by severed eye muscles, so definitely not for the squeamish.15) Mouse wine, ChinaIf you need something to wash all that down, check out these nine world’s weirdest alcoholic drinks. Bon appetit!If you love all things weird, check out world’s weirdest hotel requests and complaints. For a more appetising selection of foods, check out 10 best things to eat in New York – and the best places to eat themReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map 4) Frozen whale skin and blubber, GreenlandKnown affectionately to locals as ‘muktuk’, this oily/rubbery treat is packed full of vitamin C and D. The skin and blubber from the Bowhead Whale is normally eaten raw, but if you fancy something different, you can get the deep-fried version. 5) Chicken feet, ChinaWarning: this is a gristly little number. As the old saying goes, the Chinese eat anything with legs, apart from the table. Crunchy to the core, chicken feet are as popular a snack in China as crisps are in the UK. Wherever you go, you’ll be able to grab a pack of these deep-fried fried morsels. If you don’t want the snack-food version, you can get them boiled in a soup, barbecued or marinated for hours so you’ve got something to look forward to when you get home.