Recommend August 2015 - (Page 8)

ì editor's notes Me in Prague. RICHARD RICO As I write this Editor's Notes, it's the day after Cuba and the U.S. reopened longclosed embassies in each other's capitals- with that comes a re-establishing of diplomatic relations and for the U.S.-based travel industry, that means, undoubtedly, more demand for travel to Cuba from the U.S. and thus the opportunity to create even more enriching tour programs to the island-nation. With that in mind and knowing that your inbox will be inundated with requests for travel to Cuba, the Recommend editorial team-several of Cuban descent, incidentally-decided that we'd feature Cuba on the cover. In fact, as Taryn Riquier of Cuba Travel Services, points out, "People are very excited to visit a destination that has been off limits to U.S. citizens for so long. We've seen a very large increase [in interest for travel to Cuba]." Turn to page 9, where we highlight new peopleto-people programs from several tour operators. We've got even more Cuba coverage online at, including an interview with Apple Vacations' president, Tim Mullen, in which he discusses the company's new people-to-people programs to the Caribbean island. In the interview, Caribbean Editor Ed Wetschler asks Mullen, "Why is Apple Vacations, known for F.I.T. travel to Caribbean sun-and-fun resorts, departing from business as usual to offer these guided tours?" Mullen's response? "Agents kept asking us, 'When are you going to Cuba?' We listened." If you haven't already jumped on this cash cow, it's time you did because, as a Travel Leaders Group survey revealed back in May, the number of Americans interested in travel to Cuba if all U.S. government restrictions are lifted-keep in mind, the embargo still stands-has increased from 6.9 percent in 2014 to 8.8 percent in 2015. Another travel trend that needs to be top of mind is river cruising, which we cover on page 10. There, you'll find updates on the major river cruise companies, although the biggest news this summer for river cruising comes from Crystal Cruises, which has announced that in spring of 2017, it will launch a brand extension, Crystal River Cruises. E-mail me to let me know what your top selling vacations are and what's adding real cash to your bottom line.-Paloma Villaverde de Rico E-mail me at group publisher/editorial director associate publisher editor-in-chief managing editor associate editor art director latin america editor caribbean editor cruise editor contributing editor corporate director of marketing marketing associates laurel a. herman terence k. murphy paloma villaverde de rico deserae e. del campo michelle marie arean janet del mastro carla hunt ed wetschler vivian holley sergio ortiz sharon lewen kristina viera amor pagan irizarry production manager estrella bibas ad traffic coordinator daimee feliz chairman/founding editor hal herman president/editorial director laurel a. herman executive vice president gary herman miami corporate headquarters: 5979 nw 151st. st., suite 120, miami lakes, florida 33014, tel: (305) 828-0123; fax: (305) 826-6950 corporate director of sales: garey bell,, tel: (305) 828-0123; ext. 181; cell: (770) 235-8225 caribbean, central & south america, south florida, georgia: terry murphy, tel: (305) 828-0123; ext. 120; fax: (305) 828-0799 northeast usa, eastern canada, europe, maryland, virginia, D.C.: monique agaliotis,, tel: (917) 244-7000 colorado, utah, idaho, montana, wyoming, texas: garey bell,, tel: (305) 828-0123; ext. 181; cell: (770) 235-8225 florida, southeast and midwest usa: brenda goodwin,, tel: (305) 828-0123; ext.160; fax: (305) 826-6950 western usa, nevada, new mexico, alaska, arizona, western canada, asia: lisa marie costa,, tel: 310-804-9465 hawaii: alan rock,, tel: (310) 721-2825 mexico city: renata villa,, tel: 011 52 555-255-3212 cancun: margarita alvarez, tel: 011 52 998 287 1545; fax: 011 52-998 884-1716 martinique travel planner The Martinique Travel Planner (page 19) is an introduction to the online Martinique Specialist Program, available at This specialist program provides in-depth information on the island's accommodations, cuisine, shopping, historic sights, and land- and water-based activities, as well as the many reasons to sell it and who to sell it to. Take the course, complete the exam and sign up for a "magnifique" incentive program that uses Recommend's Agent Transaction Monitor (ATM) to record your bookings. Incentives include financial rewards, certificate, consumer leads and, for the "best seller," a dream holiday for two to Martinique! let's get social Hang out with us @Recommendmag and And if you want to see what our editors are up to away from the office, follow them @EdWetschler & @AreanWanderlust. 6 august 2015 RECOMMEND, Vol. 30, issue number 11, (ISSN 0034-1452) is published monthly by Worth International Media Group. OFFICE OF PUBLICATION: 5979 N.W. 151st St., Suite 120, Miami Lakes, FL 33014.Periodicals postage paid at Hialeah, FL and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to RECOMMEND Circulation Department, P.O. Box 171070 Hialeah, FL 33017-1070. RECOMMEND is distributed at no charge to qualified travel agents and tour operators. Paid annual subscriptions are available for $48 in the U.S., $96 in Canada, payable in U.S. dollars in advance. Published for North American distribution. Canada Post: Publications Mail Agreement #40612608. Canada Returns to be sent to Pitney Bowes International, P.O. Box 25542, London, ON N6C 6B2 Copyright© 2005 Worth International Media Group. All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A. Recommend is not responsible for unsolicited photography, art or manuscripts. Subscriptions: To manage your subscription, visit or email

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recommend August 2015

Editor’s Notes
Hotel Desk: AC Hotels by Marriott
Tour Talk: Cuba Calling
River Cruise Update
AmaWaterways’ AmaCerto
The Girls—& Guys— Just Wanna Have Fun
Martinique Travel Planner
Sint Maarten’s Three All-Inclusive Sonestas
Puerto Rico
Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya
Update on Air, Hotels & Tours
Israel: A Journey of Divine Discovery
Festival Time: “Step Outside the Ordinary”
Official Florida Travel Industry Education Program–Beaches Course
The Battle Begins: Girls vs. Guys Getaways

Recommend August 2015