in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing October 8, 2013 470 Views Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Investors Lenders & Servicers Movers & Shakers Processing Service Providers 2013-10-08 Tory Barringer In California, “”Stearns Lending, Inc.””:http://www.stearns.com/, appointed Kathleen L. Vaughan to the newly created role of EVP of national third-party production.[IMAGE]Vaughan has a long history holding high management positions, having served as COO at two separate mortgage banking firms in the 1990s and having worked most recently as EVP at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, where she led the wholesale business channel to a No. 1 market share position. In her 19-year tenure at Wells Fargo, she also served as EVP of home equity and SVP of correspondent lending.In addition to her industry work, Vaughan is a founding member of the FORTUNE/U.S. State Department International Mentorship program and has been recognized by the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit since 2006. She also serves as a member of the board of directors of Vital Voices, a non-profit that has trained and mentored more than 14,000 emerging women leaders from all over the world.In her new position at Stearns, she will lead the company’s technology-driven third-party origination platform, which includes both wholesale and correspondent lending channels, as well as the rapidly growing mortgage servicing rights acquisition unit.””We are very pleased to welcome Kathleen to the senior management team at Stearns Lending,”” said CEO Brian Hale. “”With twenty-five years of mortgage industry experience and her impressive ability to drive results, Kathleen will be an invaluable asset to the entire organization, but especially to our Wholesale and Correspondent Division teams and clients.”” New,Stearns Appoints Wells Fargo Exec to New Position Share
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“”Mortgage Industry Advisory Corporation””:http://www.miacanalytics.com/ (MIAC) announced two new mortgage servicing rights (MSR) portfolios totaling more than $694 million.[IMAGE]The first offering is a “”$669.22 million portfolio””:http://www.miacanalytics.com/aboutmiacnews/669_Mil_FNMA_GNMA_Servicing_Offering_MIACExclusiveOffering.html from a seller with originations focused mostly in the Northeast. The portfolio contains a mix of Fannie Mae (47 percent) and Ginnie Mae (50.9 percent) loans, with warehouse loans making up the rest.According to MIAC, the portfolio contains all fixed-rate loans with a weighted average interest rate of 3.9 percent, a weighted average delinquency rate of 2.27 percent, and a weighted average loan age of six months. The average loan size for the portfolio is $185,071.The seller will provide full representations and warranties for the loans included in the offering, MIAC said. The bid date for the portfolio is January 30.In addition, MIAC is representing another seller offering a “”$24.96 million servicing portfolio””:http://www.miacanalytics.com/aboutmiacnews/25_Mil_FNMA_GNMA_Servicing_Offering_MIACExclusiveOffering.html.The portfolio contains 79.8 percent Ginnie Mae and 20.2 percent Fannie Mae loans. All loans included are fixed-rate and have an average interest rate of 4.5 percent, a delinquency rate of 0.76 percent, and a loan age of two months. Most of the portfolio’s concentration is in New York.The average loan size for the portfolio is $190,504.The bid date for the second portfolio is February 7. According to MIAC, the seller is offering the portfolio without full representations and warranties. in Secondary Market, Servicing January 21, 2014 439 Views Fannie, Ginnie Mae MSRs Up for Bid Share Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Fannie Mae Fixed-Rate Mortgage Ginnie Mae Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Servicing Rights Service Providers 2014-01-21 Tory Barringer
January’s New Home Sales Rate Changes Little From Revised December Estimate Housing Market HUD New Home Sales U.S. Census Bureau 2015-02-25 Seth Welborn February 25, 2015 435 Views Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News January saw relatively little change in the number of new home sales from December, according to data released today from HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau on new residential home sales in January; however, sales are on the rise from last year.According to the report, homes sold at an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate of 481,000 in January. Home sales dropped a slight 0.2 percent from the revised December estimate of 482,000, but still grew 5.2 percent from the January estimate of 457,000 homes sold.Regionally, the Northeast had the least number of homes sold at 15,000 and decreased 51.6 percent from the December sales of 31,000. While the South had the most home sales of any region with 278,000, an increase of 2.2 percent from the previous sale of 272,000 homes in December.”On the analysis side as to why the month-over-month figures may have declined. I’m quite certain there’s a significant ‘seasonality’ effect at work here,” said Brian Sullivan, public affairs supervisor at HUD. “Practically all of New England was buried under multiple snow storms and we normally see sales decline in the winter months as a general rule.”The median sales price for homes sold in January was $239,300 and the average sales price was $348,300. Most homes were sold between the range of $200,000 and $299,000, while there was a slight increase in $150,000 to $199,999, a number that shows a slight uptake in the number of first-time buyers who usually tend to buy homes at a lower cost.According to Sullivan, this increase in first-time buyers can’t yet be attributed to any federal programs, but could mark a trend due to a new reduction announced by the Federal Housing Administration.”FHA announced a reduction in the annual mortgage insurance premiums new borrowers will pay,” he said. “We very much believe this will have an impact on the number of new, first-time buyers entering the market, but since this premium reduction just took effect, we can’t attribute any year-over-year growth in sales to that.”
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, News September 24, 2015 548 Views Housing Recovery Linked Directly to Credit Loosening, Report Says Credit Availability Home Value Forecast Pro Teck 2015-09-24 Staff Writer Share The next phase of the housing market recovery will be dependent upon looser credit standards.Pro Teck’s Home Value Forecast (HVF) found that in markets like San Francisco and Detroit are experiencing different recoveries and one reason for this is the credit availability.The forecast found San Francisco, California buyers have averaged 20 percent of more down over the last 14 years, with loan-to-value (LTV) ratios between 67 percent and 82 percent. On the other hand, Detroit, Michigan buyers’ average LTV ratios between 86 percent and 101 percent.”While we don’t want to go back to the days of sub-prime loans and zero down, some loosening of credit policy will be needed for the recovery to penetrate deeply into the communities hardest hit by the housing crisis,” Pro Teck said.Pro Teck also outlined the top 200 core-based statistical areas (CBSAs). Leading these areas was Bellingham, Washington; Boise City, Indiana; Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Mount Vernon-Anacortes, Washington; and Oak Harbor, Washington.At the bottom of this list were: Midland, Texas; Atlantic City-Hammonton, New Jersey; Hagerstown-Martinsburg, Maryland-West Virginia; Jacksonville, North Carolina; and Saginaw, Michigan.Phoenix, Arizona metro held the sixth spot in the top ten CBSAs, with high demand and low inventory levels, the report noted. Within this metro, Scottsdale, Arizona home prices have been rebounding since 2011 and are now 20 percent below peak levels following a 37.5 percent drop. Scottsdale, ArizonaIn Apache Junction, Arizona, at the height of the housing crisis, homes lost over half their value another city within the CBSA, is still 36 percent below its all-time high. At the height of the housing crisis, homes in Apache Junction lost more than half their value.”Higher LTV has historically meant more foreclosures also — something we saw during the housing crisis,” the report explained. “Apache Junction has seen a steeper drop in home prices and a slower recovery, due to more foreclosures on high LTV loans. Just like Detroit and Cleveland, the town would benefit from higher LTV limits to spur the housing recovery.”Pro Teck concluded that higher LTV ratios combined with many of the other credit safeguards that were initiated over the last five years should “protect banks and safeguard the economy from a repeat of 2007.”Click here to view the full Pro Teck Home Value Forecast Report.
October 29, 2015 596 Views in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Market Studies, News, Secondary Market In a nationwide survey of real estate investors bidding on single-family residential properties offered for auction during the third quarter of 2015, online real estate marketplace Auction.com found that flipping is still the preferred strategy over hold-to-rent.Largely due to a combination of increasing home prices and a lack of suitable inventory, flipping edged out renting as the preferred strategy in Q3 2015 for the fourth consecutive quarter, since Auction.com began tracking investor intent data. Overall in Q3, 53.7 percent of investors said they preferred flipping, while 45.1 percent said they intended to rent the properties the purchased. About 1.2 percent were undecided.Although overall more investors preferred flipping in Q3, the data showed that investor intent varied widely by the type of auction (live or online) and by investor profile. Investors who bought properties at live auctions were far more likely to flip, while most investors who purchased homes online said they intended to rent. Out of the four regions surveyed (West, Midwest, South, and Northeast), the Northeast was the only one in which investors who bought online preferred flipping over renting (52.7 percent compared to 45.5 percent).“Rising prices and extremely limited inventory make a nearly ideal environment for real estate investors who want to buy, fix, and flip properties, and that is precisely where we are in today’s market,” said Auction.com EVP Rick Sharga. “But record occupancy rates in the rental market also present opportunities for investors who find moderately priced homes they can rent out at a reasonable rate of return, so it’s not surprising that we’re continuing to see buy-and-hold investing activity in the Midwest and Southeastern states.”Overall, 54 percent of investors who purchased online in Q3 preferred a hold-and-rent strategy compared to 43.3 percent who said they intended to fix and flip. Conversely, 62.4 percent of investors who purchased at live auctions said they intended to flip, compared to 37.6 percent who said they preferred renting the properties they bought.Most investors who bought only one property per year preferred renting over flipping (60.1 percent compared to 37.3 percent). Investors who purchased between two and 49 properties per year mostly preferred flipping, however (58.8 percent), as did investors who purchased more than 50 properties per year (66.7 percent). Home Prices Housing Market Conditions Inventory Investors 2015-10-29 Seth Welborn Share Housing Market Conditions Ideal for Fix-and-Flip Investors, Survey Finds
February 18, 2016 584 Views Share Conservatorship Fannie Mae Federal Housing Finance Agency Freddie Mac 2016-02-18 Staff Writer Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been under conservatorship for almost eight years following a massive taxpayer-funded bailout. While many in the industry have called for a GSE reform on numerous occasions over the years, the future of the conservatorship remains uncertain.In September 2008, the GSEs were placed into conservatorship by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) at which point they received a $187.5 billion bailout from taxpayers to continue operations. Treasury purchased senior preferred stock in the GSEs as a result of the bailout and was given sole discretion as to what to do with those shares.In November 2015, U.S. Senators Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) and Mark Warner (D-Virginia) have introduced a bipartisan amendment (Jumpstart GSE Reform Act) to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2577) in an effort to spur substantive and structural housing finance reform, according to an announcement from Corker.“Although the FHFA is taking important steps to de-risk Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taxpayers will continue to be on the hook for a future bailout if Congress does not produce legislation to transform our housing finance system,” Corker said. “There is overwhelming consensus that congressional action is needed, and it is hard to imagine that anyone would ever want to harm taxpayers and return to the failed model of private gains and public losses. While comprehensive reform is my preference, this amendment will ensure the future of Fannie and Freddie will be determined by Congress.”Melvin L. WattMelvin L. Watt, Director FHFA, delivered a speech at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., Thursday morning touch on two important facets of the conservatorship to provide the industry some clarity on what it encompasses. First, he talked about accomplishments among the GSEs since the establishment of the conservatorship. Second, Watt provides a future outlook on some of the challenges and risks associated with the conservatorship.Since the GSEs were put into conservatorship, Watt stated that we have a “safer and more stable housing finance system.” In his speech he noted that guarantee fees have increased by two and a half times since 2009 to an appropriate level, stronger credit standards have removed unsound risk layering, and the FHFA is focused on how to support sustainable access to credit for homeowners.”In all of these things, we have also placed greater attention on diversity and inclusion in the Enterprises’ business operations, consistent with legal standards and with projections that the future composition of homeowners, renters, and the country as a whole will be more diverse,” Watt stated.”FHFA’s conservatorship decisions have helped navigate the Enterprises through a financial crisis and, despite the substantial negative impact of the crisis, helped prevent it from being far worse.” -Director of the FHFA Melvin L. WattOf the challenges and risks associated with the conservatorship, Watt stated that a lack of capital and declining buffers among the Enterprises is the largest issue they are facing. Another issue identified in the speech is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s insulation from normal market forces that would otherwise inform their operations and business practices. A final challenge that Watt pointed out is the uncertain future of the consevatorship.”We have made these ongoing conservatorships work thus far through the dedication of staff at FHFA and the staffs of both Enterprises and we, of course, remain committed to continuing this task,” Watt stated. “We know that the stakes are high for the housing finance market and for the broader economy. However, as I have indicated in my remarks today, there are substantial challenges and risks associated with the unprecedented size, complexity, and duration of the conservatorships of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. After more than two years at FHFA, I can assure you that these challenges are certainly not going away, and some of them are almost certain to escalate the longer the Enterprises remain in conservatorship.”Click here to view Watt’s full speech. in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News FHFA Director Watt Demystifies Challenges and Risks Behind GSE Conservatorship
Share Does This Advocacy Group Have the TRID Answer? May 10, 2016 619 Views CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Moody’s Investor Service TRID 2016-05-10 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Government, Headlines, News The Structured Finance Industry Group’s (SFIG’s), a member-based, trade industry advocacy group focused on improving and strengthening the broader structured finance and securitization market, recently proposed an initiative that would standardize the framework for reviewing and grading loans for TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule compliance.Moody’s Investor’s Service followed up on Tuesday with a seal of approval for this proposal by noting in a report that it is adequate to address compliance risks that are likely to cause losses to residential mortgage-backed securitization (RMBS) trusts despite uncertainties. However, there was one grading provision in the SFIG’s proposal that the rating’s agency did not agree.The SFIG said that the proposal will be incorporated in the RMBS 3.0 Green Papers and that the project will not supplant SFIG’s efforts to pursue a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) resolution to the current uncertainty related to TRID exceptions.The draft “assumes TRID is interpreted by regulators and courts in accordance with the principles of liability set forth in a December 29, 2015 letter from Richard Cordray, the Director of the CFPB. The proposed exception grading and remediation does not necessarily reflect how courts and regulators, including the CFPB, may view liability for TRID violations in the future,” SFIG stated in a release.However, Moody’s stated that it believes “that any risks to RMBS trusts from these positions are minimal over the long term. Furthermore, the SFIG proposal will likely benefit from the official guidance that the CFPB has signaled it will provide in July, as well as from feedback from other market participants.”The SFIG framework uses a grading scale to separate actual TRID violations from immaterial ones, Moody’s said.Moody’s found that of the three possible grades for each section of the rule that a third-party review (TPR) firm will review:EV1-A represents that no TRID violation has been determined to carry assignee liability;EV2-B represents an immaterial violation that, while it may carry assignee liability, is nevertheless unlikely to cause losses to an RMBS trust because it would not carry statutory damages; andEV3-C represents a material violation that is likely to carry assignee liability and statutory damages.Moody’s also determined that the impact of the letter from the CFPB will minimal, and the Bureau will issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in July in response to SFIG’s efforts.”Although the Cordray Letter provided some clarity on a number of TRID compliance issues, the Cordray Letter is not an official interpretation published in the Federal Register and is not binding on the CFPB, other regulators, or courts,” Moody’s said. “SFIG caveats its framework with a notice that the proposal is an attempt to resolve compliance issues under TRID and that there is no guarantee how the CFPB or the courts will view the Cordray Letter. In tandem with designing the framework, SFIG has been leading the effort to encourage the CFPB to release an official interpretation of the TRID rule.”
May 27, 2016 594 Views U.S. home prices are high and are still rising, but the price picture looks a bit different when consumer buying power is brought into the equation.First American Financial Corporation’s inaugural Real House Price Index (RHPI), provides a new take on the way the industry view home prices.The index measures the price changes of single-family properties throughout the U.S. adjusted for the impact of income and interest rate changes on consumer house-buying power over time and across the U.S. at national, state, and metropolitan area levels. In addition, the index also measures of housing affordability.”House prices are typically reported nominally,” the report said. “In other words, without adjusting for any inflation. Just like other goods and services, the price of a house today is not directly comparable to the price of that same house 30 years ago because of the long-run influence of inflation in the economy.””Simply looking at house price changes without considering the changes in consumer house-buying power misrepresents the real change in prices.” -First American Chief Economist Mark Fleming. The report said that real house prices are significantly lower than they were prior to the housing boom. After adjusting for increased consumer house-buying power, real house prices are 39.1 percent under their housing-boom peak in July 2006 and 18 percent below the level of prices in January 2000.The report found that unadjusted house prices are expected to increase by 5.1 percent in March on a year-over-year basis, but real house prices increased by 2.1 percent over the same period. The unadjusted national price level is less than 2.9 percent away from the housing-boom peak in 2007.According to First American, the RHPI was unchanged in March and increased 2.1 percent year-over-year. “Low rates have fueled increases in consumer house-buying power, keeping real house prices low by historic standards,” Fleming noted.“Many potential homebuyers this spring may experience sticker shock when house hunting, as unadjusted prices are consistently outpacing income growth,” said Fleming. “Yet, the real price level is much lower than even in the years before the housing boom, largely because consumer house-buying power is significantly higher today due to the current environment of historically low mortgage rates.”First American’s 5 states with the highest year-over-year increase in the RHPI are:North Dakota (+16.0 percent)Wyoming (+14.7 percent)Rhode Island (+12.2 percent)Delaware (+6.0 percent)Missouri (+5.6 percent).First American’s 5 states with the highest year-over-year decrease in the RHPI are:District of Columbia (-5.5 percent)Alaska (-5.2 percent)Maryland (-5.0 percent)Pennsylvania (-4.4 percent)West Virginia (-4.2 percent)First American questioned if the rapid pace of home price appreciation impacted affordability for consumers. Although recent home price and household income data shows that affordability has declined, First American determined that a consumer’s ability to afford a house is not just a function of their income.”Location matters in real estate, but incomes and interest rates matter more when considering house price changes. Simply looking at house price changes without considering the changes in consumer house-buying power misrepresents the real change in prices,” Fleming stated. “Taking the real, consumer house-buying power adjusted perspective on measuring house prices yields a very different perspective on affordability.” The Relationship Between Buying Power and Prices First American Home Prices Homebuying Power 2016-05-27 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, Market Studies, News Share
Substantial Growth on the Origination Front in Headlines, News, Origination February 16, 2017 589 Views Share Data Equifax Low-Credit Borrowers 2017-02-16 Scott_Morgan First mortgage originations stayed above 2 percent to close 2016, according to the latest Consumer trends report by Equifax. The total number of new loans originated was about 7 million, an increase of just below 9 percent from the same time period a year ago.The total balance of new loans in that same time was $1.69 trillion, an increase of 13.8 percent. Equifax found that there were more than 326,300 new loans originated for borrowers with low-credit, a year-over-year increase of 9.5 percent. In that same time, the total balance of new loans was $54.7 billion, an increase of 15.6 percent. Of all new first mortgages, 4.7 percent were issued to low-credit borrowers.The total number of new home equity installment loans originated in Q4 was 689,400, an increase of 4.5 percent from the year prior. The total balance of new loans in that same time was almost $23 billion, an increase of 3.5 percent.According to Equifax, there were more than 71,000 new loans originated for borrowers with below average credit, a year-over-year increase of 2.7 percent. In that same time, the total balance of new loans was $1.54 billion, an increase of 7 percent. Of all new home equity installment loans, 10.3 percent were issued to low-credit borrowers, a slight decrease from the previous year’s share (10.5 percent).In terms of home equity installments, “total origination numbers are increasing slightly, but they aren’t matching the payoff rates,” said Amy Crews Cutts, chief economist at Equifax. She added that home equity installment loans tend to be more appropriate for borrowers with low credit scores.The total number of new revolving HELOCs originated in Q4 was 1.2 million, up 4.6 percent from a year ago. The total balance of new loans in that same time was $132.6 billion, which was an increase of 9.1 percent.Equifax reported that there were 17,800 new HELOCs originated for borrowers with low credit, a year-over-year increase of 5.6 percent. In that same time, the total balance of new loans was $706.2 million, an increase of 16.9 percent. Overall 1.5 percent of all new HELOCs were issued to low-credit borrowers.
12 Infinity Holidays reservations team members have returned from a famil to north east Bali. Among the highlights for the group was discovering Mount Agung in Bali’s east, and visiting the Besakih Temple, Bali’s largest and holiest Hindu temple. Infinity Holidays res team members at the Besakih TempleStaying at Siddhartha Ocean Front Resort & Spa they relaxed with massages at the spa and a leisurely swim in the resort-s oceanside infinity pool. The full-board experience also allowed for indulges in traditional Indonesian delicacies such as the spicy Udang Pedas and coconut-rich Rendand Ayam.The group also made a small trip to Alam Anda Ocean Front Resort & Spa, where they took in the oceanfront resort’s traditional Balinese atmosphere among the coconut and banana trees.Both resorts boast world-renowned diving centres, and dives to the shipwrecked USS Liberty or Manta Point at Nusa Penida. baliEvent & Famil photosInfinity Holidays
Monday marked the official opening, for Marriott Hotels, Lai Sun Group and Ocean Park Hong Kong, of the new Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel. “Marriott Hotels is excited to open its latest hotel in a very special partnership with the iconic Ocean Park Hong Kong and Lai Sun Group. The new destination resort offers a unique getaway experience in Hong Kong and is a perfect example of what Marriott means by travelling brilliantly,” said Mike Fulkerson, Vice President, Brand and Marketing Asia Pacific, Marriott International. “There’s adventure at Ocean Park Hong Kong, one of Asia’s leading conservation theme parks, and convenient access to Hong Kong’s lesser explored green spaces as well as remarkable proximity to the city’s shopping and business districts, broadening our guests’ perspectives and experiences in this globally renowned city.”Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel is committed to a sustainable future and reducing its environmental footprint and opens with several initiatives in place. These initiatives include the hotel façade design that features energy-saving components to keep the building cooler in summer. In addition, rainwater collection areas and vertical planting systems are found throughout the hotel. Also, the hotel will launch its own green education program for guests of all ages, as well as joining hands with Ocean Park to connect people with nature.Leo Kung, Chairman of Ocean Park Hong Kong said: “We are proud to present the integration of the first hotel in Ocean Park by Marriott International which signifies the theme park’s transformation into a resort destination and reinforces our position as one of the leading education and entertainment attractions in Hong Kong. From planning a stay, savouring magnificent hospitality at the hotel to enjoying delightful entertainment and animal encounters at the theme park, guests can expect a seamless journey filled with the thrill of discovery.”With families and staycations in mind, at the heart of the destination resort is the large lagoon pool which includes adjacent children’s pools. These swimming pools are easily accessed from the three surrounding hotel wings, four restaurants and leisure facilities. Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel will also be inspiring children and their parents to travel brilliantly with the M Passport program. The pilot program encourages younger visitors to participate in various resort activities with educational and fun themes, such as seashell art, scavenger hunts and dinners that encourage parent and child bonding. Completion of each activity is linked to rewards and treats that are tracked using a specially designed passport. Underpinning the program is Marriott’s Art of Hosting ethos where each associate can thoughtfully and dynamically create a memorable experience for each guest.Designed by Aedas, Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel is an homage to a modern urban green oasis comprising of three towers – The Pier Wing, Club Wing and Marina Wing. It offers 471 smoke-free, contemporary rooms and suites that capture the Modern Marriott ethos with streamlined interiors, expansive naturally lit spaces and ocean-inspired décor. Three types of Ocean Park-themed rooms are available at The Pier Wing and Marina Wing.The Club Wing houses the executive M Club, an exclusive space where guests can work, enjoy a bite, recharge and connect. It also offers premium services including breakfast, evening hors d’oeuvres with premium drink options. Renowned international interior designer Peter Remedios created The Club Wing’s interiors with an inviting palette of natural colors and modern furnishings. The highly anticipated Club Wing is scheduled to open early next year.The hotel showcases four restaurants and bars designed for brilliant dining experiences complete with alfresco areas offering amazing views over the hotel lagoon. These include The Pier Lounge and Bar for modern dining and cocktails; and Marina Kitchen, an all-day dining and international buffet featuring live cooking stations and a kids dessert counter. Meanwhile, guests can head to the Canton Bistro for Cantonese specialities and the Prohibition Grill House & Cocktail Bar to enjoy an American steakhouse concept. All dining outlets also serve WWF-certified sustainable seafood from approved suppliers.This urban retreat features innovative spaces including the largest pillar-free ballroom at 1,200sqm on Hong Kong island and flexible meeting spaces that can be configured to suit any agenda. For inspirational and creative events, the resort offers extensive outdoor facilities and special access to Ocean Park for exclusive meeting options. After an eventful day of work or exploration, guests can refresh in the outdoor lagoon pool or rejuvenate in Hong Kong’s first Harnn Heritage Spa or work out their stress in the fitness center.While the hotel’s location is perfectly situated for access to the city, it also offers convenient access to Hong Kong’s breathtaking hiking and jogging trails. These trails wind through some of Hong Kong’s finest coastline and country parks, including Repulse Bay, the Aberdeen Reservoir and the challenging Dragon’s Back Trail. Hotel guests are also entitled to exclusive Ocean Park benefits, such as special opening and seasonal offers, when staying at the hotel. Hong KongHong Kong Ocean Park Marriott HotelhotelsMarriottOcean Park
australiacruiseDream CruisesNewcastle Dream Cruises has paused sales of Explorer Dream departures ex-Newcastle, with Vice President Australia and New Zealand, Brigita Devries saying “We have recently been advised by Port Authorities that they are unable to support the disembarkation of passengers and their goods at the Port of Newcastle, due to new Biosecurity Legislation. This contradicts advice we previously received from the Australian Government Departure of Agriculture”In May 2019, Dream Cruises announced they would offer the option for guests to embark and disembark in Newcastle on two selected departure dates, receiving strong support from local trade and consumers, however, the new legislation has deemed this announcement as moot at this time.Dream Cruises Port Operations team says it is working closely with the relevant government authorities, including Maritime Traveller Processing Committee, National Passenger Processing Committee and GoG Coordination, to request special dispensation and a waiver to allow guests currently booked to embark and disembark in Newcastle. “We will continue to update our trade partners and any passengers affected by this situation, and thank them for their support while we resolve this matter” says Devries.
D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away The NFL work stoppage has made things a little interesting to say the least. Since no teams can sign free agents or make trades the fans and the media have been left to guess what the next moves will be for teams. It also must be difficult for coaches and general managers preparing for a season that may or may not happen with rosters far from complete.Could the post on the Eagles website be a smoke signal to other teams about the value they expect in return for Kolb or could it just be a staff writer scrambling like the rest of us to find something to write about? We don’t know and thanks to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling it will be awhile before we find out just how much they’ll really get. What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation If there was ever any doubt about the Philadelphia Eagles willingness to trade Kevin Kolb it looks like you can lay those to rest. That’s because the team’s website is now trying to drive up the price of the young quarterback. At least it looks that way.Over the weekend PhiladelphiaEagles.com ran a piece that suggested the team should get a lot more than many people think back in return for Kolb.NFL Network’s Charley Casserly, a two-time Super Bowl-champion general manager, believes that with the NFL Draft now in the rear-view mirror Kolb’s trade value has only increased. Casserly believes the Eagles should receive more than a first-round pick for the veteran quarterback.Casserly’s reasoning is simple.“If you don’t have (a quarterback), you can’t play,” he said.Alright, the fact that someone thinks that Kolb is worth more than a first-round pick isn’t all that odd and who are we to argue with a two-time Super Bowl winning general manager? What is strange is the fact that this is posted on the team’s official website. Top Stories Comments Share
“It’s really just a measuring stick game of where are we,” Horton said. “That team up there have been a perennial Super Bowl and AFC East champions, day in and day out. We are trying to build that here.”Horton worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2004 to 2010 and during that time he coached in many “epic” battles against New England. During that time, Horton has become familiar with the Patriots’ style of play and feels that his defense knows what to expect. “They are not going to surprise us, they are not going to fool us,” Horton said. “They are being well-respected in our building going up there.”New England’s simple style of play makes them easy to prepare for, but it is also what makes them tough to beat. “They just figure we will beat you because we are better than you and we know what we are doing,” Horton said. “You got to disrupt them, you’ve got to hit them, you’ve got to hit the quarterback. If you don’t make it uncomfortable for them, it’s like seven-on-seven.” D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Top Stories Comments Share After a thrilling Week 1 victory against the Seattle Seahawks, the Arizona Cardinals will try to improve to 2-0 in a tough road game against the New England Patriots.“It’s going to be a fantastic challenge for our guys,” Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton said. “They are well-coached, well-disciplined, they don’t make mistakes and they don’t beat themselves.” Horton feels that this game will teach his team a lot about where they stand. Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away
Only six players who made that trip to Tampa are still with the organization, including wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald capped one of the best individual postseasons in NFL history in that Super Bowl with a two-touchdown performance. His second score, a 64-yard reception from quarterback Kurt Warner, gave Arizona a three-point lead with just 2:37 remaining in the game.Despite his success in that game, Raymond James Stadium isn’t one of the Pro Bowl receiver’s favorite places.“No, I don’t have any good memories from this stadium, at all,” Fitzgerald said Thursday. “Two losses. I’d love to be able to turn that around and get a win down here.”The other loss happened in Week 9 of the 2007 season. The Bucs beat the Cardinals 17-10 as Arizona mustered only 23 rushing yards and Warner completed just 10-of-30 passes for 172 yards and threw two interceptions. Fitzgerald had four catches for 95 yards in the defeat.There is one similarity between this trip to Tampa and the Cardinals’ last — the length of time the team is spending there. After a loss in New Orleans last Sunday, the Cardinals opted to travel straight to Florida instead of heading home to Arizona to practice. Inclement weather in the area has made their stay challenging, to say the least. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo 0 Comments Share Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Top Stories “It’s just an adjustment for us, we’d all love to be at home, in our normal routines and things like that, but they felt this was the best move for us, so we’ve got to deal with it,” Fitzgerald said.“Like (Wednesday), guys could have said ‘the heck with it, it’s wet out here, it’s raining, we don’t want to be out here,’ but we had a good day’s work, we got better when it easily could have been a throwaway day.” When the Arizona Cardinals take the field at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa against the Buccaneers Sunday, the stakes will be much different than the last time the team played there.That’s because the last time was the biggest game in franchise history. Sunday, February 1, 2009, the Cardinals played the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII — a game the Cardinals actually led with under three minutes left. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Free agent Bashaud Breeland will visit the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday as the team continues to look at options in the competition for the second starting cornerback slot, reports ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.Breeland will first visit the Indianapolis Colts on Wednesday, according to a source of Demovsky.Despite having four years of NFL experience, the free agent remains on the market after his agreed-upon contract with the Carolina Panthers was nullified in March. Breeland failed a physical, and his three-year, $24 million deal was rescinded after he injured himself by cutting the heel of his left foot earlier that month. Top Stories Arizona Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson (14) pulls in a pass as Washington Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland (26) closes in during the first half of an NFL football game in Landover, Md., Sunday, Dec 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) He told ESPN he was hit by a golf cart in the back of his leg, which “reopened a wound first suffered in fourth grade,” and the injury later became infected.Related LinksRB David Johnson ‘excited’ about fullback use in Cardinals offenseCardinals’ Markus Golden on his ACL rehab: ‘I’ll be out there soon’Cardinals hit the field for OTAs; David Johnson, Josh Rosen impressChandler Jones: DT Robert Nkemdiche, Cards will benefit from 4-3 defenseThe cornerback told ESPN he required a skin graft and expected to play in 2018. He called the injury a freak accident and said he didn’t fault the Panthers for their decision to cut him.Breeland, who was projected to start for Panthers before he was cut, was a fourth-round pick by the Washington Redskins in 2014 and has played 14 games every season since entering the league.The 5-foot-11, 195-pound corner recorded 50 tackles last season to go with one interception and 19 passes defensed.He has 271 career tackles with seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, eight interceptions and 59 passes defensed in 60 career games for Washington. 4 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling
But when the quarterback was at his best late in the fourth quarter, the play-calling went away from Rosen on the final Arizona drive, instead opting to feed David Johnson, who admitted to making a missed read on the third-down play that set up a Phil Dawson missed field goal. A week after the coaching staff took flak for not having Johnson on the field at all, it sets up a further narrative that even though Arizona finally bested Seattle in the third-down conversion realm, the mix of late-game decision-making and sound football playing will remain elusive for the Cardinals.Jordan Byrd, producer of Burns & Gambo and host of Arizona Sports SaturdayThe future is here, and Josh Rosen did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for what it may hold. His numbers weren’t anything special, but the difference between the rookie quarterback and Sam Bradford were obvious. He spent more time in the pocket, allowing receivers to get open, and his accuracy was far better than what we’ve seen the previous three weeks from Bradford. Rosen’s biggest issue of the day was receivers that couldn’t hold onto some perfectly placed passes. Christian Kirk and JJ Nelson dropped some easy balls that not only would have made Rosen’s stat line look better, but also would have provided a lift to an offense that desperately needs it. It’s hard to get excited about the future when the present is so lousy. The play calling at the end of the game was far too passive. Even if Phil Dawson makes the kick there is still nearly two minutes left on the clock and plenty of time for “Houdini in a Helmet” Russell Wilson to make a play or two and tie up the game. Too conservative. Too cautious. Anybody else missing the occasional biscuit? A fed-up fan base seems to have had enough of this offense and its coordinator. Dawson has to make that kick. Forty-five yards. Indoors. Glad to see him stand up and take responsibility for it but I would have been much happier to see him make the kick. The defense played pretty well. Seattle had 92 yards on their first two drives and only 239 the rest of the game. One of Seattle’s touchdowns came on a short field from a special teams penalty. Deone Bucannon found his way back on the field and Haason Reddick did as well. Mostly the game, and now the rest of the season, is about Rosen. But it’s also about making certain — absolute certain — that the right offensive mind is there to guide him.John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo I just for the life of me cannot understand the play calling again. Tie game, 7:11 left and Josh Rosen takes over from his own 24-yard line and drives the Cardinals down the field. Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) eludes Seattle Seahawks cornerback Shaquill Griffin (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Top Stories Seahawks kicker Sebastian Janikowski hit a game-winning, 52-yard field goal as time expired giving Seattle a 20-17 lead leaving the Cardinals 0-4 to start the season.Here are the rapid reactions from the 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station hosts.Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & MarottaA crucial third-down play right after the two-minute warning? What could go wrong?It wasn’t a carbon copy of last week’s third-down decision that dominated our talk air waves, but it wasn’t much better either. Facing a 3rd-and-6 from the Seattle 27, the Cardinals ran David Johnson for a fourth consecutive play. Yes, he was on the field this time. No, he didn’t lose yardage this time. But no, he didn’t pick up the first down either as he was snowed under by Seattle’s Justin Coleman. The Cardinals settled for a 45-yard field goal attempt by Phil Dawson, who left it wide right and left the door wide open for the Seahawks.With no timeouts at his disposal and 1:50 of game clock, Russell Wilson calmly took his team down the field and in position for a potential game-winner from Sebastian Janikowski, who had missed two earlier attempts. The third time was the charm as Janikowski connected from 52 yards with zeroes on the clock giving the visitors a 20-17 win – and running their unbeaten streak to six straight in Glendale. But, the defense still has question marks, like Seattle’s 171 yards on the ground, and the pass-catchers need to do their job.That was the difference between a win and a loss, but the Cardinals looked like a legitimate football team on Sunday, which is progress.Luke Lapinski, host and reporterIt’s tough to find a lot of bright spots with an 0-4 start. Particularly when three of those games have been at home, and at least two of them were against teams that look pretty beatable.That said, there were improvements on Sunday. Josh Rosen looks legit so far, and his positive attitude is refreshing in what could quickly become a pretty depressing environment here if some wins don’t start showing up soon.He threw for 180 yards, probably should’ve had about 100 more if the guys he was throwing to weren’t dropping passes they usually catch, didn’t get discouraged by those drops, didn’t turn the ball over and gave Arizona a real chance to win. For the first time in 2018, this team looked more like the 2017 Cardinals. Not the ultimate goal, of course, but better than what we’ve been seeing.Problem is, they ultimately ended up looking like the 2016 Cardinals when Phil Dawson pushed a kick wide with a chance to win late — his second miss of the game. The last thing this team needs right now is special teams headaches. 19 Comments Share Josh Rosen was solid in his starting debut, but didn’t get much help. The rookie’s stats should have been better — but a slew of drops by receivers, most notably long passes by Christian Kirk and J.J. Nelson – and more ultra-conservative play-calling by offensive coordinator Mike McCoy didn’t help.The Cardinals are 0-4 for the first time since 1986, which pre-dates their arrival in the desert. With two road games looming, it might be a while before the number in the ‘W’ column changes, if it does at all in 2018.Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & GamboTruth be told, my instant reaction to this game is to rave about Josh Rosen. To recognize that he could have had a hundred yards more if his receivers could just hold on to the ball. To admire the poise and the patience in the pocket and the fearlessness that was sorely lacking from the quarterback position the first three weeks. To express confidence in him moving forward and the future of the position here in Arizona. But all of that ignores yet another frustrating afternoon of Cardinals football. One that has the Cardinals as the only winless team in football. They just lost to a team that went the whole game without a conversion on third down. Since moving to Arizona the Cardinals have never started a season 0-4. My issue still resides with the play calling decisions. I understand the Cardinals were already in field goal range when they ran the ball on 3rd down under the two-minute warning, but a first down there wouldn’t have iced the game. Even if Phil Dawson had made the field goal, there still would have been enough time for Seattle to tie the game or possibly even take the lead.The Cardinals needed to be more aggressive on that 3rd down and to me that all comes down to Mike McCoy. Even with an upgrade at quarterback, this offense is still pedestrian and simple. David Johnson showed some life Sunday but the overall offensive game plan still feels average and uninspired. Even as Rosen improves, McCoy’s status as offensive coordinator should be under consideration. – / 28 David Johnson went over 100 total yards (his previous high this season was 67) and got into the end zone, and the defense was 10-for-10 in getting the Seahawks off the field on third down. There were missed tackles, some bad penalties and they gave up 171 rushing yards to a Seattle team that was missing their No. 1 back but, overall, the defense held an offense led by Russell Wilson to 20 points. In today’s NFL, that’s usually enough to win. And it’s the second week in a row they’ve done that.So yeah, there are some bright spots. But, at the end of the day, a team with far too much talent to be 0-4 is, in fact, 0-4. And it’s the first time they’ve done that since arriving in Arizona in the 80’s.Kevin Zimmerman, reporter and editorTurns out the last guy we should be worrying about is Josh Rosen. The rookie quarterback not only looked ready for the bright lights — he was the one trying to pick up his veteran teammates when they dropped balls, and he was the one putting together a fourth-quarter rally to try to will the Cardinals to victory.The Cardinals showed that the offense opens up quite a bit under offensive coordinator Mike McCoy when its quarterback has that kind of arm talent. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo He hits David Johnson for 5 yards, then again for six yards, Ricky Seals-Jones for 21 yards, Christian Kirk for seven yards. And then on a 3rd and 1 the Cardinals — with the correct personnel on the field this time — convert with Johnson rushing for a two-yard gain. First and 10 at the Seattle 31 with 2:59 left and Seattle down to just one timeout. Pretty simple here — play aggressively. Gain one more first down to kill the clock and then play for the field goal. And that choice should have been easy based on the way Rosen was playing. You trusted him to start the fourth game of the season yet couldn’t trust him to throw a pass in the final three minutes? So the Cardinals go run, run, run for a total of four yards leaving Phil Dawson with a long 45-yard attempt (which he should have made) but also leaving a very good quarterback in Russell Wilson plenty of time on the clock — 1:50 to be exact. So even if Dawson had made the field goal — wrong call! Can’t leave all that time on the clock. So two crucial mistakes. One playing conservative and not looking to get a field goal attempt inside of 40 yards. And two, leaving Wilson all the time in the world to drive his team down the field for the winning field goal. The Arizona Cardinals offense labored through Josh Rosen’s first career start, but still scored a season high 17 points, including Phil Dawson’s first field goal attempts of the season.The problem was, he missed two of his three attempts.Rosen managed the game well distributing the football to seven different receivers for 180 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions.David Johnson recorded 112 total yards on 25 touches including one touchdown run, but it wasn’t enough.Related LinksThe Cardinals are 0-4 yet the biggest takeaway is cause for celebrationIn a loss that had plenty of blown opportunities, Dawson’s kicks stand outCardinals drops, Earl Thomas’ errant finger stand out vs. SeahawksCardinals open up playbook but go conservative late in loss to SeahawksRosen’s performance provides rare bright spot for CardinalsRosen looks strong in 4th quarter but Cardinals fall on last second field goalJosh Rosen combats WR drops, leads Cardinals to first half TD THE GAME: I hate any strategy that thinks settling for a field goal attempt is a plan. I have no idea if Arizona would have scored a touchdown but Seattle didn’t stop Arizona’s last drive, Steve Wilks did.ROSEN: The first thing he proved is what a lot of people asked in the off-season, why give Sam Bradford all that money. He was clearly a major part of the problem.Rosen did so many things well. Of course, there were a lot of mistakes but nothing alarming. The most impressive thing was how well he did without getting into a rhythm. His receivers were such a major let down, it’s impossible to assume how good he could have been.The goal for next week is a slight improvement on accuracy to increase yards after the catch. Clearly, he has to throw a perfect ball so it will, almost, catch itself. His throws weren’t inaccurate but a small tweak could go a long way to help an anemic offense.Kellan Olson, reporter and editorBaby steps.The discussion will swirl around Mike McCoy’s play-calling late, but the most notable story from the Cardinals’ loss was them looking competent in some areas.Arizona had good quarterback play and were actually able to establish David Johnson and the running game. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling This is the second week in a row we are complaining about coaching decisions. Offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, for some reason, decided on three runs when Rosen was primed to stick the dagger in the Seahawks. You took the ball out of your rookie’s hands and played to Seattle’s strength. The decisions by McCoy overshadowed the solid performance by Rosen who went 15-27 for 180 yards and a touchdown. But damn did he come close to having a solid performance be spectacular. Had Chad Williams got both feet down on what was called a touchdown catch then reversed. Had JJ Nelson not dropped a bomb that would have been an explosive play and possibly a 58-yard touchdown. Had Kirk not dropped a ball right in his bread basket. Had the usually reliable Larry Fitzgerald not dropped two balls. Had Seals-Jones not dropped an easy one. All of a sudden Rosen’s numbers would have have been somewhere around 21-27 for close to 300 yards with two touchdowns. Had that happened Rosen would be the talk of the NFL these next 24-48 hours. Instead, the Cards are 0-4 and Rosen will have to wait to get the accolades that seem inevitable with all of his talent.Doug Franz, co-host of Doug & Wolf Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The Arizona Cardinals added to their offensive line on Saturday, nabbing Georgia center Lamont Gaillard with the No. 179 pick in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft.It was the second pick in the round for the Cardinals, who selected Fresno State wide receiver KeeSean Johnson.“The matchup [with the Cardinals] is amazing,” Gaillard told reporters after being selected. “We just got a great quarterback and I feel like I’m going to fit right in once I get into the offensive line schemes and everything they do there. Top Stories Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Comments Share (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) For his efforts, he was named First Team All-SEC by coaches and Second Team All-SEC by the media.Gaillard joins an Arizona offensive line in desperate need of improvement.Seven offensive linemen saw themselves on the IR at one point or another, while rookie center Mason Cole was the lone constant in the trenches, starting all 16 games.The offense suffered greatly as the team ranked dead last in rushing yards per attempt (3.8) and rushing yards per game (83.9). The line also allowed 52 sacks last season, tied with Oakland and Miami as the fifth most in the NFL.Arizona Cardinals2019 Draft BoardRoundPick #PlayerPos.11Kyler MurrayQB21Byron MurphyCB230Andy IsabellaWR31Zach AllenDE41Hakeem ButlerWR51Deionte ThompsonS61KeeSean JohnsonWR66Lamont GaillardC734*Joshua MilesT735*Michael DogbeDE740*Caleb WilsonTE* = Compensatory Selection© STATS – 20192019 NFL DraftRound 1#TeamPlayerPos1K. MurrayQB2N. BosaDE3Q. WilliamsDT4C. FerrellDE5D. WhiteLB6D. JonesQB7J. AllenDE8T.J. HockensonTE9E. OliverDT10D. BushLB11J. WilliamsG12R. GaryDE13C. WilkinsDT14C. LindstromG15D. HaskinsQB16B. BurnsDE17D. LawrenceDT18G. BradburyC19J. SimmonsDT20N. FantTE21D. Savage, Jr.S22A. DillardT23T. HowardT24J. JacobsRB25M. BrownWR26M. SweatDE27J. AbramS28J. TilleryDT29L.J. CollierDE30D. BakerCB31K. McGaryT32N. HarryWR © STATS – 2019 – / 52 Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo “I’m just going to come in and ball and show my versatility around the board and just do what I can to provide for the team.”Gaillard comes to the Cardinals after being a three-year starter with the Bulldogs.Initially projecting out of high school as a defensive lineman, Gaillard made the switch after arriving at Georgia in 2015. The center redshirted one year before being named a starter.“That’s one of the things that we liked so much about him. He brings that intensity to the offensive line,” general manager Steve Keim said about the lineman’s defensive background. “The key for him and for us is he’s not a center only. We were excited to watch him at those spots.”Related LinksCardinals take 3rd WR of draft, Fresno State’s KeeSean Johnson in 6thCardinals take ‘Bama S Deionte Thompson, who downplays knee issueArizona State DT Renell Wren drafted 125th overall by BengalsEarp and Holliday draft for Cards from O.K. Corral in TombstoneCardinals take Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler in 4th round of draftGaillard started 13 games at right guard in the 2016-17 season before moving to center his junior year. He went on to start all 15 games the next year as Georgia went on to the National Championship game.His senior year, Gaillard was one of the catalysts of an offensive line that garnered national recognition for its play all season, being named as a Joe Moore Award finalist. The award is given to the nation’s top offensive line.With Gaillard under center, the Bulldogs bolstered four different 1,000-yard runners in Sony Michel, Nick Chubb, D’Andre Swift and Elijah Holyfield.
Go back to the e-newsletter >John O’Sullivan, General Manager of the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico, has released the following statement following the landfall of Hurricane Patricia:“We are pleased to report that operations at Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita have returned to normal today following Hurricane Patricia. All of our guests and staff are safe and well. The hurricane made landfall further south than initially anticipated and brought only strong rains and wind to our community.“Throughout the progress of the storm, the Resort closely monitored reports of the NHC (National Hurricane Center) and remained in constant contact with the local authorities regarding the movement of Hurricane Patricia as the safety and well-being of our guests and employees were our highest priority. The Resort proactively prepared for the storm’s arrival in accordance with the response plan, taking considerable measure to assist guests departing the Resort and prepare shelter for guests and staff who remained on the Resort premises. The Resort also ensured that energy, water and food supply was sufficient. Guests have returned to their rooms last night once civil protection announced that the area was safe. The Resort has sustained no major damage.“Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone in other areas of Mexico who are affected by the hurricane.”Go back to the e-newsletter >
Go back to the e-newsletterAnyone venturing down to Circular Quay in Sydney on Saturday 13 February would have discovered a rather peculiar sight: two ocean liners moored at the Overseas Passenger Terminal. It was the first time the city welcomed two ships to the same dock at Circular Quay, with another two luxury vessels (Seabourn Odyssey and Silversea‘s Silver Whisper) moored at White Bay Cruise Terminal at Rozelle. It was visual proof of the booming popularity of cruising among Australian travellers.The phenomenon was made possible by the two ocean liners in port: the 686-guest Azamara Quest, in her inaugural Australian season, and Ponant‘s Le Soléal, arriving in Sydney for the first time. At just 142 metres long with 132 guest cabins, the French-flagged ship is among the youngest in the world.To celebrate her inaugural visit, Ponant invited media and travel trade guests aboard the sleek, chic ship to sample her at-sea grace. Le Soléal is the epitome of elegance, with interiors designed by Jean-Philippe Nuel for a feel that is more private superyacht than the mega-cruisers that normally have pride of place at Circular Quay. From the hull up, Le Soléal and her sisters (Le Boréal, L’Austral and Le Lyrial, launched in May 2015) have been built for expedition cruising, equipped with ice-rated hulls, zodiacs and a large marina. On board, two restaurants, a spa by Sothys Paris, a main lounge for tea, cocktails and dancing, a theatre for lectures and nightly performances, and a pool heated during polar voyages provide a sense of intimacy and relaxed living, whether exploring the Sub-Antarctic Islands or island-hopping in Micronesia.Prior to the visit, CLIA Australasia, the Port Authority of NSW and Ponant Chairman Asia Pacific, Sarina Bratton, held a media conference to discuss the historic berthing. February 2016 is set to be the busiest cruise month for Sydney, with 27 different ships making 45 calls over just 29 days.Go back to the e-newsletter