Viking cruises to Duluth
Last week, Viking announced a cruise route that hits close to home. Beginning May 2022, the company that got its start plying European waterways will sail the Great Lakes and make Duluth among its ports of call. Viking introduced four 2022 Great Lakes options. The “Undiscovered Great Lakes” cruise will stop in Duluth. It will sail from Thunder Bay to Milwaukee seven times between May and September; prices start at $6,695 per person. For the new routes, Viking is building Octantis, a ship designed for 378 guests in 189 staterooms. It will also be used for voyages to Antarctica. A sister ship, the Viking Polaris, will head to the Arctic and Antarctica beginning in August 2022.
$15 million resort deal
A large North Shore resort in Two Harbors, Minn., has traded hands for what could be a record price. Superior Shores Resort was sold to North Shore Resort Co. for about $15 million this month. New owner Bryce Campbell said he wants to make the rustic Superior Shores more “rustic-chic.” His purchase came with 131 of the 184 units at the 30-acre resort, including the Burlington Bay condo development; a lodge and event center; a restaurant, and a great deal of developable land with shoreline access. First on his list is an overhaul of the Kamloops restaurant and the addition of a spa. “It will end up being one of the largest resorts overall in the state,” said Frank Jermusek, who represented the seller.
Hipmunk calls it quits
Hipmunk, the travel metasearch engine with the cute chipmunk mascot, will cease operations on Thursday. The 2010 start-up revolutionized fare searches. Instead of organizing its findings by price alone, the site took a more holistic approach, factoring in flying time, number of stops and on-time performance. “I was always a fan of how Hipmunk changed the industry,” said Scott Keyes, founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. Customers will no longer be able to access their accounts or trip data, but their reservations will remain intact.
Hong Kong losing tourists
Visitor numbers to Hong Kong fell by nearly 40% in the second half of last year amid clashes between police and anti-government protesters. The Hong Kong Tourism Board said that the numbers started to drop off in July as protests against proposed legislation allowing extradition to China gathered pace. Arrivals were off by 14% for the entire year. The protests have lost momentum amid mass arrests and since major opposition electoral wins. Secretary for Home Affairs Lau Kong-wah announced the cancellation of the annual Lunar New Year fireworks show on Jan. 25 “based on the public safety concern.”
TSA apologizes to traveler
A Transportation Security Administration official has apologized to a Native American air traveler who says an agent treated her offensively at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Tara Houska said a TSA employee patted down her braids looking for weapons, began laughing, and then pulled them back behind her head and “whipped them like reins.” In a statement, the agency said TSA officials investigated the incident, and on Tuesday TSA’s Federal Security Director for Minnesota Cliff Van Leuven spoke with Houska and apologized for the officer’s actions.